Cosmetic Randomized Loot Boxes are Super Exploitative

I feel like everyone is in agreement about micro-transactions being bad for gamers. After all, allowing players to buy an advantage over other players, or flat out creating impediments, in games, that can only be surmounted through micro-transactions is, at best, irritating, and, at worst, horribly exploitative. But, to this day, there has been a hierarchy of these critiques which put micro-transactions which purely effect cosmetic aspects of the game lower on the scale of being reprehensible than systems which are more gameplay oriented. But, I believe there is an argument for these cosmetic systems being as bad, if not worse than their counterparts...

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It's Getting Harder For Me to Play Games About Teenagers

I had this realization earlier this year when I was playing Persona 5 which was, it's getting harder for me to play games about teenagers. This thought occurred to me as I was making the final decision about which teenage girl I would be setting my teenage protagonist up with. It felt too intimate a decision for me, an adult to be making on an emotional basis. I felt too old to be, that, involved in teenage romance.

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We Need More Tenderness in Shooters

Shooters, unsurprisingly, are traditionally set up around the idea of shooting things. The ability to aim, dodge bullets, and ultimately, kill enemies without being killed are the skills that these games value above all else and in online situations, those who cannot do those things need not apply. For games like Call of Duty, Halo, Battlefront, and others, if you aren't good, you're bad, and if you're bad, you were subject to horrible verbal harassment. Neither the game nor the community could show the weakest newest players any sense of understanding or tenderness. Not only did they lack the encouragement to do so, they also lacked the tools.

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A Few Do's and Don'ts of Dealing When Content Creators do Shitty Things

Over the weekend notorious shit lord, Felix Kjellberg, a famous Youtuber said the nigger during a live stream. When I saw that "headline" I was not surprised in the slightest. Did anyone doubt he was capable of such considering everything he's done over the years? Hell, it hasn't even been a year since he said: "Kill all Jews" as though any part of that would constitute a joke. But, it did bring up some thoughts about how people react when content creators do shitty, controversial things and how we talk about it without rewarding them for the very thing we despise.

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People of Color as Unicorns: Yet Another Look at the Game Industry's Race Issue

Even in a climate within the gaming industry which is becoming more and more accustomed to including people of color, when it comes to player characters, game developers seem to be resistant to including people of color within the narrative of their game worlds. This includes when players are allowed to play as a person of color but then, no NPCs of color appear in-game, as well as when games exclude racial customization for the player character and no NPCs of color appear in-game. With both of these phenomena come harmful messages about how people of color fit into the world and the medium of video games.

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The Dangers of the Hype Train and the Emboldening of Game Developers

In the last 20 years, the way that the gaming industry operates around marketing and sales has changed completely. To give you an idea, E3's first year was in 1995, the biggest gaming exposition in the western hemisphere is only 22 years old, that's younger than me. This age of gaming journalism and following game development closely is brand new and so too are the tribulations which accompany it. Just off of the top of my head, the number of development projects that have over promised and under-performed with their final product is rather alarming. I believe, it has much to do with the growing ability of developers to excite a fan base through their ideas rather than their actual product. The result for gamers is that we constantly are exposed and expose ourselves to investing energy and money into a project which was misrepresented to us.

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What to Take From This Dream Daddy Debate

Why judge Dream Daddy more harshly than games that are fucking this stuff up constantly? Why crawl up Bioware's ass for including gay romance options when their whole team is straight. We're falling down a slippery slope as a community of disenfranchised gamers of never supporting anything that has a molecule of care about us, put into it because, it isn't perfect. That holier than thou streak needs curving, now. 

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Where the Hell is the Wonder Woman Game and why the Hell isn't There a Black Panther Game in Production?

Let’s talk about superhero games for a moment. It’s a pretty big genre. Batman has over 40 games starring him, alone. Superman has 18, Spider-Man has 37, excluding a new game just announced at E3, and Hulk, Deadpool, Thor, and the Flash all can be accounted for in the annals of gaming history as starring in their very own games.  There's even Ant-Man Pinball. No kidding, here's the trailer. Now, this is by no means a comprehensive list but that doesn’t really affect the question I am about to ask which is, where are the women? And while I’m at it, where are the people of color?

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A Queer Narrative as Told by Farming Simulators and What Stardew Valley Means to me

My first exposure to Harvest Moon came when I got Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life for the Gamecube. I went through the introduction sequence, they gave me my first cow, who I named B Betsy and a dog with floppy ears and I was off to the races. To clumsily amble through the game in the most economically inefficient way I could have, raising cows, sheep, ducks, chickens and eventually a goat (who I later viciously neglected resulting in death because she stopped producing milk).

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The Sunken Place of Gaming

Between Final Fantasy XIV a Realm Reborn, the standard MMORPG, and immediate expansion Heavensword there are 113 quests. Meaning, once you have leveled your character and completed the main storyline of A Real Reborn, credits rolled and everything, there are 113 quests before you can move on to the new content in Heavensword. These 113 quests exist because back when there was no Heavensword, it constituted a significant part of the 'endgame' for a Real Reborn. Adding on to the base story to give the player things to do after they had reached the maximum level in the game. It's actually a rather noble thing for a developer to do and imperative to retain the player base when they have already have the steep obstacle of the $15 a month it takes to continue to access the game once you've purchased it. However, doing those 113 quests while not being at level cap and barely getting any experience from it, was one of the least pleasant gaming experiences I have ever had.

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A War Between Fans: How the Fire Emblem Community Become so Divisive and Why it's Unproductiveurre

In 1990 Fire Emblem roared onto the gaming scene on the Famicon. From there the series rapidly developed a reputation for its difficulty and layered on top of that, the famous permadeath system. Which, means once any one of your soldiers dies, they're dead forever. The concept of permadeath isn't new to gaming and Fire Emblem didn't introduce it  but the whole concept revolves around making every player choice must be made with thought and care. One wrong step and the solider you've been grooming for half the game dies forever. Fire Emblem also puts effort into developing the character of each playable unit. Each character has their own design, background, motivations and relationships. So where losing a generic thief wouldn't feel that bad, losing the thief who is fighting to protect his childhood best friend, who you've become attached to, sucks. But it creates a memorable level of tension which hardcore fans love.

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