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Sun 24th March, 2013

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Galenmereth commented on Review: Nintendo Pocket Football Club (3DS eShop):

@Damo How necessary would you say the microtransactions are for fully enjoying the game? Having played my fair share of iOS games through the last years, I've grown very, very, VERY sceptical to microtransactions. It's enough to make me drop this whole game, especially since it's already far from cheap.



Galenmereth commented on Review: Yoshi's New Island (3DS):

If only there was a demo so I could try this out. After the disappointing Yoshi's Island DS, I won't fall for this again, especially considering the mediocre reviews. But a demo would go a long way in potentially convincing myself that I could like it.

Alas, there is no such thing.



Galenmereth commented on Animal Crossing: New Leaf's Team Was An Even S...:

@Ralizah Absolutely agree. In many ways, it's progressive also when compared to western games, which tend to lack balance and finesse in this area. Either a game is all out "progressive" and often feeling disingenous, or they're Gears of War. No, a buff female militant is not progressive...

AC:NL feels honest. When you play a male character, and try on a dress in the store, Mable says something along the lines of "I guess it's ok to be adventurous sometimes." This is actually very clever, because society as of right now – east or west – does not truly accept men dressed in women's clothing, but it's not such a big taboo anymore. It's alright to be adventurous, and the game reflects this. It ever so subtly tells you that it can be ok to wear a women's dress as a man, but do know that it can cause some awkward reactions. It's one of those tiny details on this topic that games can do a much better job of conveying than any other medium, because you have to decide to try it before the reaction is conveyed.



Galenmereth commented on Soapbox: Ignoring The Objectification Of Women...:

@blodermoder Physical attraction is a necessary and fundamental part of mammal psychology, humans included. While many (myself included) tend to prefer emotional and psychological compatibility more than physiological qualities, physical appearance still plays a significant part when it comes to being able to be attracted to another person. And if you're going to have a healthy relationship with another person, you need to be emotionally and physically attracted to them. If neither is lacking, it can't last long. The scales may tip differently for different people, but both are significant.

This is where sexual objectification comes in: We all have different preferences in physical characteristics when looking for a mate. And make no mistake: Most of our life is spent looking for a mate in one way or another. We are driven by this basic instinct much more than most of us seem aware of. And now enters the common difference between the male and female psyche and instincts when it comes to finding a sexual partner: Males tend to be far more physical. Breasts, hips, skin tone (as a sign of poor or good health), hair qualities, overall body shape; these are important characteristics for a male to find a partner, because it determines the success of healthy and strong offspring. Females also look for physical characteristics, of course, but while physical strength was paramount for healthy offspring in the distant past, in modern times, the strength of a man can be measured by his wealth and/or his power over others (leadership). Today, relative wealth and influence is much more beneficial in terms of security of offspring than physical health. Of course, if a man has a strong, lean physical body and wealth and power, then that is the ideal suitor.

At this point it's apparent that while the options for a succesfull mate have become more varied for females, for men it's to a much lesser degree. Physical appearance, in most societies, is still the dominating factor. These are not absolutes, however, and it varies greatly from society to society; from the west, where women pursue long careers often at the cost of having children – to the middle east, where things are standing still and women are still very suppressed.

This is not off topic, actually: Art can be as much self-fullfillment and gratification as it is social commentary. Pornography, whatever one might think of the demeaning position it puts women in even in modern western society (something I personally cannot enjoy watching), is important. It's important because sexuality when one is alone is as important as when with a partner. But sometimes sexuality is a bit more subtle than that; just playing around in a fantasy environment where all the characters are ample bosomed women flashing their panties can, obviously, have a negative affect on a child's mind, but it can also have a positive effect on a mature mind. Because you get to live out a fantasy that isn't real, you can be more equipped to tackle reality, where everything is far more complicated, comes at an enormous emotional toll (dating is very tough for most people, especially if it doesn't go well). This is where sexual objectification is a good thing; because humans have sexual fantasies, and we can live these out to some extent in virtual environments where no real people are hurt. The few that tend to not understand the gap between reality and the virtual realm have psychological problems that would pose a problem regardless of whether their fantasy plays out in their mind or on a TV screen.

I'd like to comment on the cognitive dissonance part: I am not indifferent towards violence, but I am a curious person. I like to experience as many different experiences as possible in life, bar dangerous substances that alter the chemical makeup of my brain far more rapidly than visual and audio input does. While I'm no doubt indifferent to a certain extent to violence seen on a screen – the internet has caused this – I still do not enjoy violence for the sake of violence. Games like GTA, for example, are amusing playgrounds, but I do find the often gratuitous violence to take more away from the experience than it gives. It removes the weight of violence, and makes every scene that is meant to shock (through story) that much less effective. I do not think that it's only natural for women to be shown this way, but I think that as long as there's variation in how women are depicted – and with today's tv shows, movies and games, there's greater variation than ever.

Sexual objectification will be the norm for a long time: It is a part of our basic instincts. But we have moved into an era where the objectification of people – men and women alike – is more and more in safe fantasy environments, and we are bridging the rights gap between the sexes more and more. That is the important fight: That both sexes be allowed the same fantasies, the same freedoms and opportunities, and the same rights to enjoy objectified charicatures of the gender(s) that they are attracted to.



Galenmereth commented on Soapbox: Ignoring The Objectification Of Women...:

@blodermoder Sure, but please also read my earlier post about psychology and biology, and do also account for sexuality: While no doubt we should always strive to improve and do better in society and culture, not all objectification is inherently bad. If you are going to claim that games can instill values in society, then why are we not all mass-murderers and raving psychopaths by now? For all of the hours I have spent fragging people in Unreal Tournament 2k4 (the count exceeded 1500 hours last I checked, many many years ago), I am a pacifist in reality; I refused military duty, and while I have trained martial arts, I have used it to never have to fight anyone. For all of the hours I have spent watching anime which obviously objectifies women, I do in no way confuse that with real women; contrary, I watch such shows with women and we both find them amusing, often funny in their banality (a pantyshot again?) Obviously this is anecdotal, but do understand that people in general are not paper thin charicatures; few people play a game and think that women in real life are sluts because the women in the game is. I do understand that a few do, but that is actually a whole other psychological issue, which usually will fall under different categories of delusion. Entertainment and art can reinforce stereotypes, obviously, but you also have to understand the flipside of this: That entertainment and art can be a contrast to reality to bring about a broader look on reality as a whole. I would hate for everything to be homogenized so as to not offend anyone, not that it's possible in the slightest.



Galenmereth commented on Soapbox: Ignoring The Objectification Of Women...:

@Phle There are all sorts of women out there; don't stigmatize naturally thin and muscular women who look good without makeup. They exist, too, you know.

While the above is slightly in jest – they do exist, though – this is the problem with this argument; there are all sorts of women out there. All sorts. There are women who find games like Senran Kagura Burst a lot of fun, without them wanting to (or not) look like the girs in the game, or not even offended in the slightest. The fight shouldn't be against the portrayal of women in fantastic settings; it should be about equality in rights and opportunity. All this energy is wasted on something that art has done since we started to draw anything more detailed than stick figures on cave walls: Artists paint people unrealistically, often idealistically to impress or to arouse. This is not something that hurts women; lower wages, lack of human rights (like in the Middle East) and being robbed of opportunities in male dominated societies: That is what hurts women.

We objectify men just as much as women; it's just different, because different objectifications interest (or turn on) women, than men. This is something people would understand if they actually talked to a lot of different people.



Galenmereth commented on Soapbox: Ignoring The Objectification Of Women...:

@Zach: Excuse me here, but you do know men and women are psychologically and physiologically different, right? We should all have the same rights in society, obviously, but to say that women === men is ridiculous. Women have a tendency to fantasize differently about sex than men, for example. Women have a tendency (and do note my repeat use of the word "tendency", because of course this is not globally true for all women everywhere) to be desired, and physiologically women have a tendency to be more attracted to men that can provide for them. This is biology and psychology that combines into what people consider "stereotypes", which it is; we are mammals and our actions and thoughts can be explained to great lengths by basic psychological archetypes.

This is why one has to consider this when one looks for problems in the way women are presented to men in mediums such as art, books, and games; because it's usually teams consisting of mostly men that make these games, and often they target them towards male demographics. I'm sure by now you're thinking "but it's about time we changed this", and I agree to some extent; we should strive to evolve as a species. However, you cannot ignore the presence of biology, psychology, and the inherent physiological and psychological differences between the sexes.

If you look at soap operas that are made for female demographics, I will imagine you'd be hard pressed not to see the male characters as objectified. But they're objectified differently than women usually are; they don't go around dangling super large manly bits, for example, but they do build off psychological archetypes and physical stereotypes that women have a tendency to largely find attractive.

It worries me that we are looking at this so very "black and white"; as if it's all either good or bad. Objectification is inherent in our psychology; we are each and every one of us the only subject in our reality. Everyone else is an object, because we can only try to understand their complex feelings and thoughts, but we can never truly know anyone but ourselves. Objectification combined with sexuality is necessary, because imagination is necessary for a healthy sexuality.



Galenmereth commented on Soapbox: Ignoring The Objectification Of Women...:

Well, better abolish porn, implement draconian porn filters, and otherwise do what the UK is doing.

Sounds great; I'll keep holding onto my freedom of expression thank you very much. Games are art, and if you're going to not allow certain kinds of art, then you are censoring art. Once you censor art, you've lost it as a society.



Galenmereth commented on UK Retailer Argos Drops Wii U Premium to £179.99:

I think this is one of Nintendo's major hurdles, but not only because of the price jump from the Wii generation and competition from other budget gaming devices. With the Wii, Nintendo arguably alienated customers that were not fans of motion controls. While Nintendo reached new demographics with the Wii, it also lost the interest of many older fans who found the content on offer lacking or not interesting.

These same fans went to other platforms, and stayed there for years. With what some might consider a new "gimmick" (the Gamepad) and motion controls still in the picture, it's required that Nintendo show enough content that inspires the older fans to return, and a price point that makes it easier for the new Wii demographics to make the transition. It's a balancing act that is harder to execute than many seem willing to acknowledge.

It certainly doesn't help that marketing has been severely lacking, and that the name confuses people.



Galenmereth commented on Talking Point: Nintendo's Wii U Struggles Brin...:

If Nintendo goes microtransaction crazy, IAP bananas, first-day DLC trigger-happy and extort their customers like every profitable mobile game dev does these days, I will actually quit this hobby. It would disgust me so much that I would lose faith in the whole damn thing. Even all the non-Nintendo games I play on PC. It would signal that – yet again – pure profits trump everything in society. It would be time to go learn skiing.

I hate skiing.



Galenmereth commented on Nintendo Reiterates Confidence That the Wii U ...:

@gatorboi352 When you think Nintendo consoles, you think Nintendo. People don't need any special branding for their console; it's the latest Nintendo console. Sony and Microsoft both do a bazillion other things than making games consoles, so they NEED a consistent brand for their console division. Nintendo just needs to put Nintendo next to their console's name, and that's it.

That doesn't mean calling it the Wii U was a good idea, however.



Galenmereth commented on Tech Site The Verge Thinks The Wii U's Failure...:

Having finally bought a Wii U, with the gamepad in hand, I have to admit: This feels like a next-gen console more than the "real" next-gen consoles, because it's actually different! The xbone and ps4 are just "more of the same", and the games I can get on them that I'm interested in, I'd rather get on PC. 60fps is important to me; Wii U delivers in 3D World (oh so gloriously), and my PC does that for "next-gen" games.

To me, Wii U is the actual next-gen console. I've been negative of Nintendo's online strategy around here lately (still not loving that part...), but man does this console feel awesome to use!



Galenmereth commented on Marty Reminds 3DS Users What Not To Do On Miiv...:

@19Robb92 Do you know why people complain about something? Because they disagree with it. I disagree with Nintendo's rules and service. And if, over time, I disagree enough, I will leave their platforms. But I like Nintendo, so I want to share my opinion so that perhaps they change instead of losing me as a customer. And yes I'll be fine without MiiVerse, but I'm annoyed that they pulled the plug on Swapnote like that; I made friends there, which I played games with. Now I can't even talk to them in any way. That annoys me. And I'm not allowed to talk to people on MiiVerse either, because "won't somebody think of the children hurr durr I'm a parent who want others to watch my kids for me". It's pathetic.



Galenmereth commented on Marty Reminds 3DS Users What Not To Do On Miiv...:

@19Robb92 And I won't, because it's absolutely useless drivel. And if Nintendo continues on like this with their regressive attitude towards their online functionality, I might also not use Nintendo products anymore. I'm not a child; maybe that's what they're trying to tell me? That I've grown too old for Nintendo?



Galenmereth commented on Marty Reminds 3DS Users What Not To Do On Miiv...:

@DarkKirby Amen. But you know, since parents want corporations to raise their children for them, the rest of us should just take it and stop complaining.

Or, you know, we could just jump ship and get other consoles that let us have some say in how we're allowed to interact with others. I must say the idea is starting to sound tempting these days.



Galenmereth commented on Parent Trap: StreetPass Makes Social Networks ...:

StreetPass probably works fine in the largest cities in the US and in Japan. In Bergen in Norway (the second largest city and former capital), I can walk around for hours and maybe get one or two people. Far more people have the 3DS, but everyone I've talked to just stopped walking around with it because it's still not anywhere near enough.

And the relay system isn't implemented here, either. The only reason I've been able to make any progress in any MiiPlaza game is because me and my gf StreetPassed each other in the same house. And then Nintendo went and reduced the amount of times that can happen to two per day, and we just said "screw this" and now we just shut our 3DS off when we're done because there's no point.

I get what Nintendo is trying to do, but just like with Swapnote and moronic parents' inability to watch their own kids, Nintendo caters to one small userbase and just forgets everyone else. Sooner or later I'll grow tired of this attitude of theirs, but I still love their games.



Galenmereth commented on Guide: Using Miiverse And The Nintendo Network...:

Mii Verse is really underwhelming, to be honest. First off, filtering options; the communities I checked out were full of posts in non-english languages I have no idea how to read, like spanish, what seems like russian and so on. I'd prefer to hide these, as they just clutter it up. Then there's the fact that there's no friend-to-friend communication, almost no games support screenshots, and the interface is so bloody slow it's not even fun. Sorry, but clicking on an image and waiting for five seconds might sound like it's fine in paper, but when you have to do it to view every single screenshot, it's just annoying.

I have a smart phone; I don't need this on my 3DS when it doesn't even perform well. Bleh.



Galenmereth commented on Review: Bravely Default (3DS):

@CanisWolfred Maybe you should take your own advice to heart; in the review it states: "Thankfully, the game has not been designed to be so difficult as to outright require using this service, and most players can disregard this system as soon as it is introduced." While I am certain I would manage without it, the fact that it's there and not cosmetic in nature (you can pay to make the game easier) is exactly the kind of business strategy that I talked about. It's shady, and it's especially ridiculous in a full priced retail game. Not to mention it wasn't there in the original japanese version; they tweaked difficulties (made it easier, afaik) and added this mechanic with microtransactions for the western market.

I'm not hating; I just strongly dislike this business practice, and my only actually effective (in some miniscule way) method of showing my dislike for it is to not buy into it.



Galenmereth commented on Review: Bravely Default (3DS):

@CanisWolfred I understood that from the review, but when it's included in the game, the game is balanced around it in some shape or form.The argument "you don't have to use it" for IAP boosters is the a given, but I've yet to see an example where it doesn't actually impact the gameplay design as a whole in some way or another.

While I know it comes off as stubborn, I have ethical qualms with this kind of business mentality. I drop games because of it, and I don't feel any loss; there's plenty of other games to keep me entertained. I don't want to support it, simple as that. This time it was an easier choice to make, because the demo did not work for me, so I'm not interested to begin with. But I would've dropped it even if I'd found it enjoyable.



Galenmereth commented on Review: Bravely Default (3DS):

@Nick255 Are the timers really that bad? Because that sounds like you're paying 55$ (in Norway, at least) for a game where you get to pay even more money if you actually want to play the game at your own pace.

I really hate this IAP timer crap (it's mainly ruined mobile gaming by now, and it's seeping onto consoles), and I wish more people would boicott the whole concept...



Galenmereth commented on Review: Bravely Default (3DS):

@TheGZeus I like turn based combat, actually. I'm loving Pokémon Y, and I played almost 200 hours of Dragon Quest 9 on DS. But when it comes the Final Fantasy style of turn based combat, I seem to have grown bored of it. When I go back to play the SNES ones, and 7/8/9, I just find the combat tedious. I used to love it, but not any more. Bravely Default felt like more of the same, and I just didn't find it much fun at all. It's a shame, because it looks like the story might be good and the visual style is gorgeous, but if the meat of the gameplay bores me, then I can't be bothered :)

@Nico85 I actually am into turn based combat; I've just grown really tired of the FF style of it.



Galenmereth commented on Review: Bravely Default (3DS):

@Spoony_Tech What I've learned from demos and playing games for over twenty years now, is that while demos far from representative of the full game, they do give you a good indication of the core gameplay mechanics you can expect from the game, as well as sound and visuals.

Unless Bravely Default is a completely different game than its demo, it will still have the turn based battles and random encounters, and after playing around with it for about two hours, I can see that the bravely default mechanics just aren't that game changing. When I also read SE has added microtransactions to this, I know I'm going to bail – I've been burned by that scheme from them on iOS already, and I don't trust it combined with the bravely default combat mechanic either. But even without microtransactions, I wouldn't find this interesting. And I love the old Final Fantasy games, but that nostalgia isn't enough to let me overcome it.



Galenmereth commented on Review: Bravely Default (3DS):

I tried the demo, and while I really liked the visual style and the music, I found the battles to be awful. The "Bravely" and "Default" mechanics did nothing to alleviate the boring turn-based combat that I've been playing ad-nauseam in every Final Fantasy game.

I was hyped for it, but the demo pretty much convinced me that it's not worth getting.



Galenmereth commented on Eiji Aonuma Confirms Minor Changes to A Link B...:

@RainbowGazelle I only wish it said "requires 3D on to be playable" on the SM3DLand packaging, because that game is a nightmare without 3D on. Not that it's much better without it, but at least the camera angles work then...

Worst 3DS game for me, as I get migraines from more than a minute or so of 3D. Every other 3DS game can be played fine without 3D on; I expected the same of this game. I'm glad to see A Link Between Worlds takes the same, logical, approach that every other good game.



Galenmereth commented on Video: This Documentary Tells the Tale of Fina...:

@Alshain01 Well, the main storyline is very much Final Fantasy and is actually really good. And playing the game, even when with other people all around, feels like a Final Fantasy game. It is - and I did not expect it at all - very very good and a proper entry in the series.



Galenmereth commented on Smash Bros. Director Pushing Himself "To The B...:

@johndevine I don't think you understand how it feels to be responsible for a multi-million dollar entertainment project which is under scrutiny not just by your bosses, but also hundreds of thousands of potential customers. I seldom comment inane comments like yours, but the lack of respect you show for other peoples' jobs is ridiculous and disgusts me.

And let this be said: Any job can be a true challenge, whether that be directing Smash Bros. or washing toilets; every job has its own challenges and stress factors.