Category Archives: game analysis

Mega Man X: Becoming Stronger

MegaMan X is truly one of my all time favorite games.

Sequel to the popular “MegaMan” game series for NES, MegaMan X was intended to be a new revamped version of an already popular game, and was designed for the Super Nintendo– which was a revamped version of the NES. So the shoe really did fit.

If I allowed myself to, I could rant about MegaMan X for days. I could write a book on it, I am sure of that. But to keep this relatively brief, I am going to discuss three major aspects of gaming that MegaMan X accomplishes magnificently; intuition, fluidity, and overarching theme.

When I say intuition, I am referring to a game’s ability to teach the player how to play, without having to resort to obvious tutorial levels, or warning signs before obstacles. When I play a video game, I don’t want to have to wait, I don’t want to have to read, and I don’t want to have to be talked down to in order to proceed. In MegaMan X, Capcom (the developers) respect the player by placing them in situations that force them to naturally learn how the game works. For example, let me explain to you how the tutorial level works. You press “Game Start” from the menu, and are immediately placed into your standard platform game. First thing you notice? There is a wall to your left, and blank space to your right. So the first lesson is immediately given to you; you move from left to right in order to proceed.

So, you proceed to the right, like they knew you would. As you walk to the right, you will be approached by a spinning wheel with spikes on it. He is your first enemy. Now, you can clear this enemy one of two ways, you can shoot it to death, or the easier way– which would be to jump over it. It is at a pretty small height, so it is pretty clear that the intention is for you to jump over it. But as you keep walking past this enemy, you run into a taller baddie. This guy you can only beat by shooting. However! His attacks travel across the ground. Again, encouraging the idea of jumping. Really, each levels design is made to encourage jumping and shooting. That’s mostly what this game is.

Finally, you proceed past this baddie, and run into your first mini boss. A big flying moth looking robot who you can only hit by jumping and shooting a whole bunch of times. He is really easy to beat, you just jump and shoot. But after you beat him, the floor collapses and you fall to the bottom of a pit. This is one of the most fascinating parts..!! This pit is designed such that as you fall, you see a gap in the floor on the right side, and are inclined to fall towards the right.  Naturally, the average gamer will brush against the right side of this pit and discover MegaMan X’s famous mechanic, the wall kick!  You can press the directional button against a wall, and keep pressing jump to kick all the way up a wall.  You cannot pass this part of the game without learning how to wall kick.  There is no sign or label to teach you these things.  No fairy in a bottle to follow you around and tell you that you need to wall kick.  This game uses INTUITION to teach you how to play!  And that is just SO much more fun.  

Next up, fluidity!  When I talk about fluidity in a game, I’m talking about how well the game holds together with its own rules.  How prominent glitches are, and if they are gamebreaking.  How well you can control the character using the rules of the game and provided buttons.  MegaMan X’s demonstrated fluidity perfectly.  This game featured two very original movement techniques; the wall kick, which I’ve already mentioned, and the dash.  Dashing is just when you press right or left twice, and you dash that direction.  You can also use a button instead of pressing directional twice.  But this dash can also be combined with jumping for a higher, farther, and faster jump.  You can shoot while doing this.  You can dash jump off of a wall kick… this also incorporates the intuitive nature of MegaMan X, because the game leaves these advantages for you to discover.  It’s like figuring out your own cheat code.  I remember being about 10 years old when I figured out how to dash jump, I couldn’t believe it!  I would ALWAYS die trying to jump over gaps, and just miscalculating the distance and falling to my death.  Naturally figuring out the dash jump is just such a cool little secret left behind for the player.  It’s an experience that absolutely cannot be communicated through another form of media.  

This is getting a little long, so let me close things up with the overarching theme in MegaMan X.  Simply put, this game is all about getting stronger.  At the end of the introduction level, MegaMan has to fight a boss that he cannot jump over, and seemingly cannot harm either.  This is a fight that you are actually FORCED to lose.  Right when you are about to die, this crazy looking red version of yourself shows up out of nowhere, and scares the boss away.  So now you, the player, are looking at this red MegaMan (his name is Zero) and all you can think is WOW he is way more powerful than I am, I wish I could do that!  Zero proceeds to tell you that you aren’t at your full power yet, and that you will have to beat the 8 robot masters to reach your full power.  So, that is the game. There are 8 levels, each with a boss at the end.  When you beat that boss, you get that bosses power.  In each of the levels, there are also other powerups hidden that will make you stronger.  More health, armor upgrades, weapon upgrades, etc.  By the end of the game, MegaMan literally LOOKS different.  He is all decked out in new armor, he has a fancy helmet and blaster, new shoes and more.  You reach the final stages knowing that you don’t just look more powerful– you ARE more powerful; you have reached your full power, and you’re ready for round 2 with that first boss.  

Again, I could go on about this game for a long time.  It really is a work of art.  I feel that many games today have lost touch when it comes to clever design.  Rather than teach you through intuition, they give you an aggravating and tedious tutorial level.  And in their attempts to make things look pretty, the game becomes sloppy and prone to glitches.  If you want to try playing MegaMan X, it is available for free on various websites, I will leave a link here.  You should play it and pay attention to these things that I have pointed out.   I really believe seeing these elements first hand can change and mature a person’s perspective on gaming.  I know it did for me!

http://www.snesfun.com/mega-man-x Click here and play it!

GTA5

As you already know, I’m not much of a gamer at all, so my analysis might be sub par.

Grand Theft Auto 5 for PS3 is the game which will be focused here. The game was a gift to me . It was accompanied by a PS3 and Call of Duty; Modern Warfare 3.  When time permits, which is only about 4 hours a week, I pop in the game and mentally prepare myself for some mayhem.

 

GTA 5 is an addictive, beautifully designed actions game developed by Rockstar Games. It was released not to long ago, September 17 2013 to be exact, for both X-Box and Playstation 3. However, GTA 5 is set to release for Playstation 4, X-box One, and Pc this Fall as well. The first game in the series was released in 1997.

The gameplay of every game in the series is: free roaming, open world, action-adventure. Its third person point of view also. Each game is based in fictional cities, Sand Andreas, Vice City, etc.

One of the most intriguing and unique features of the series is, game after game, it gets more and more violent. Which adds more interest to it, which is why the series is so popular.

 

Moving onto the game of topic, GTA is one of my favorites.  As with all of the games in the GTA series, there are missions, objectives, and an overall story to follow.  The game allows you  to control three characters: Michael De Santa, Trevor Philips and Franklin Clinton. I personally prefer to play as Trevor, no real reason or explanation, I just, for some reason, prefer him.

Some missions allow you to switch between each, while some only permit game play with only one character. Though you can switch between characters the majority of the time, each character is better at something than the other. Such as driving, swimming, and flying planes.

GTA-5

Speaking of planes, that’s my favorite feature. I would have never thought that this feature would ever be incorporated into the game, but RockStar proved me wrong. Flying planes and helicopters is the main reason I play this game.

After you complete the first mission in the beginning, you are free to roam the game, the world is your oyster, or the city in this case. this is what I did. I just completed the first mission, and then went straight into online mode, which I love! Never have I ever encountered such insane individuals. To get the most out of online play, a headset is a must! Once online and headset on, you will enter a new world. you can expect to encounter people from down the street, another state, and even another country.

But perhaps what most astonishes me while online, is the age of the children playing the game. four out of five times you can expect to hear a young voice, predominantly boys. This astonished me from the start. So many curses spewed out of his mouth, some that I had never even used! screaming “i’ll kill you!” “you fag!”. I was astonished, lost for words even. Speechless. This went on for weeks until I finally decided to investigate how an innocent soul acquired this game, and for that matter, his vocabulary.

 

Upon discussion, one child confessed that his mother bought it for him, another said it was his brothers, and another even, whose age was 15, said that he just bought it himself!

 

I asked the youngest, 12, if his family knew about his gameplay. he said that they did know, but never made a big deal out of it. this was the case for every single child/ teen I spoke with.

I was appaulled by the irresponsibility. Parents without a care in the world, oblivious to the atrocities, games like GTA subject children to.

It is this irresponsibility that endangers the lives and future of the young.

Needless to say, video game violence is a concern to me, because I feel it’s indeed rising. this may be due to games, tv shows, and society, but its the irresponsibility of the adults that is the root of this problem.

I couldn’t continue playing with children of such young age, and attempted to persuade them to turn it off, but it didnt help, instead, they opted to just kill my character. which was hilarious.

 

Pardon my digression.

 

The game allows for you to use multiple weapons. you can choose from guns, knives, and even bottles! basically, if there were any realistic way to kill someone, it’s there. however, these items aren’t cheap, or free. in order to obtain money to purchase these items, you must complete missions or rob gas stations. Or, you could befriend some ‘rich’ online players so you could receive money as a gift.

I personally prefer three weapons over everything. The flamethrower, the minigun, and the tank. the flame thrower allows you to incinerate anything and everything, which is fun at first, but then you begin to feel some sort of conscience reflection.  The tank isn’t much fun, but its near impregnable. and it destroys everything, near or far. but my favorite of the three is the minigun. it hold a maximum of nine-hundred bullets, and it shoots about one hundred freedoms persecond! “MURRICA!!

 

To sum it up; Grand Theft Auto 5 is a great game. I give it a 10/10. Why? because of the beautiful graphics. seriously, everything in it is finely drawn and put together that it deserves an award! Another reason is because of the excitement it brings. sure, it’s probably one of the most violent games on the market, but your fun is limitless on it. You can ride a boat, ride a bike, fly a plane, or simply just cruise in you ‘Ferrari’ like cars. Then again it could also take another turn, and you could feel like you’re in the middle of a scene from ‘”The Purge”.  I would recommend this game to anyone! But, i feel as though everyone already has the game. And if you don’t have this game, please get it as soon as possible! your inner felon will thank you endlessly.

However, I ask if you have young siblings or if any young children can access the game, please hide it, and kindly explain why. Do it for the future of our nation!

Parody at Play: An Analysis of San Andreas

Since the release of Grand Theft Auto 3, GTA games have made a reputation for being both wildly successful and gratuitously violent, and the fifth installment of the series, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, is no different. The game has sold a reported 27.5 million copies since its 2004 release, making it most successful game ever made for the Playstation 2 platform, and one of the best-selling games for any gaming system. Using an open world style of play, the game puts players in the shoes of Carl “CJ” Johnson, as he returns home to the fictional city of Los Santos, and is gradually pulled back into the life of street crime he led prior to his departure. True to GTA form, San Andreas encourages its players to steal, intimidate, kill and generally show a disregard for human life. Missions commonly include assassinations of previously unknown characters, burglarizing houses and killing hordes of rival gang members.

What is interesting about the game is how it refuses to justify its protagonist’s actions, and yet makes it feel as though these actions are permissible. Unlike other games, where the lines between villain and hero are clearly spelled out, in San Andreas every character, including your own seems at best morally grey. Yet even given this, there seems to be something off about applying our moral norms to the world of San Andreas, even in the same way we apply such norms to other fictional norms. When a player commits some brutal crime within the world of the game as CJ, it doesn’t seem as though CJ is a moral monster. I believe, and will argue in this post, that this inability to apply our moral norms to the world presented in the game is caused by the imitative qualities of the world in San Andreas. The game’s landscapes, characters, and story are either imitations of, or derive from, the early nineties street gangs of Southern California, and the way the game uses these imitations to create its world, makes the game a form of parody, and further works to create a context where the protagonist’s immorality is acceptable.

Parody is firstly an imitation, or a work which intentionally resembles a source, but does not identify as a representation of that source. So much is the case with San Andreas, which while bearing striking similarities to actual places and people, avoids claiming to be actual representations of those places. More specifically, parody is a work of transparent imitation, meaning that the resemblance of a parody to its source is not meant to be obscured or hidden from view; rather a recognition of the resemblance of the work of parody to the thing it is imitating is necessary for one to feel the full impact of the work. This transparency is clearly a feature of the imitations in San Andreas, for the world of the game isn’t subtle in how it imitates real American cities. The world of the game spans over three cities, Las Santos, San Fierro and Las Venturas, which besides phonetically resembling Las Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas, resemble the cities correspondingly. Las Venturas is located in a desert and features the only casinos in the game; San Fierro has a bridge which bears a striking resemblance to the Golden Gate Bridge; and Los Santos features a version of the Hollywood sign, over its ritzy district, ‘Vinewood’. Even the name ‘San Andreas’ is a reference to the fault line that stretches down California’s west coast. These are just a few examples of the way the makers of San Andreas communicate to players that the world of game is an imitation of real life places, but they are important not just for the way they imitate real places, but for the way they imitate the sort of features which are easily recognizable to players, because they imitate the salient features of the cities, making it easy for players to recognize these structures as imitations. That is, players seem to be meant to see the world of San Andreas as an imitation of the real world.

The other core feature of parody that San Andreas exemplifies is the exaggeration of a characteristic of the source. Parody is an imitation which takes one feature of the imitated work and intentionally misrepresents that feature in a hyperbolic fashion. It is important to notice here that parody doesn’t add new features to a work; it rather portrays features which are exemplified by the source in an exaggerated fashion. This is what separates parody from an homage or a realistic imitation. One is not trying to create an accurate recreation of a thing, when they imitate it via parody, they are rather working to produce a warped, or slightly altered version of the thing. And San Andreas presents just such an altered version of the real world via its demented representations of common social entities. In the game, there are debating political commentators that advise utilizing tax breaks or organ donations to a caller who confesses to burning the bodies of immigrants in his backyard; there is a new anti-smoking legislation being proposed which would give people the right to shoot smokers dead; and much like Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, there is a casino in Las Venturas that references the palace of a Roman emperor in its name; “Caligula’s Palace”. This is just a sample of the myriad of ways that social fixtures and conventions in the world of San Andreas take on a Swiftian level of vicious absurdity. It should be noticed that none of these exaggerated imitations represent adding something to the game’s world which isn’t in our own; political commentators really do debate on the radio, and field calls from hateful people on immigration; anti-smoking legislation really is proposed more and more often. The exaggerated representation is thus not that the world exemplifies properties which our world does not, but that the properties in the world of the game are far more brutal and amoral in nature than in the real world.
Viewing the world of San Andreas as a parody of our own where brutal criminality, which the game makes its focus, has penetrated every facet of the world of the game, instead of being a relegated to a subculture as it is in the real world (at least to some extent), we can now see how the game makes its protagonists own criminality seem acceptable. For a world where brutal criminal behavior is greeted with nonchalance, and known mass murders lend their name to successful casinos, one person’s own criminality no longer seems blameworthy, since such behavior seems expected from members of the community. (For a practice which members of a community openly participate in can generally not be considered blameworthy.) Thus, CJ’s rampant criminal behavior in the game doesn’t seem despicable, as it would were it to take place in real life, because the world of the game sanctions this behavior; in fact to a certain degree CJ becomes heroic: he does what everyone does, he just does it better.

It should be noticed that making criminality the norm, would be much more difficult to accomplish if the game did not imitate the real world. For its method of producing this culture is to portray societal fixtures which players are likely to consider ordinary, like radio debates, or anti-smoking legislation as being entirely brutal in nature, because doing uses the players preconceptions about these fixtures to enforce the heightened relationship between brutality and banality within the world of San Andreas. But if the game did not work hard to imitate real structures and practices, then they could not use the fixtures which players consider to normal to create this atmosphere. That is, if the game didn’t use social fixtures commonly known to its players to reveal the criminal nature of the world of the game, then it could not work to marry banality and criminality as it does in the game, and thus, the imitative quality of the game seems necessary for the game’s ability to make a life of violent crime permissible. The game would also struggle to make criminality acceptable if it tried to be more representational, say by calling its cities Las Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas. For if the game represented real cities, rather than fake cities based off real cities, then the casual brutality of the culture would take on a much more satirical, dystopic feel, and players would feel an urge to fix the city in some sense, rather than an urge to indulge in the criminal behavior which manifests itself at every level of the city’s culture. By using a fake city, the designers don’t allow any positive, or compassionate feelings toward the environment, to enter a player’s experience: they are dealing with an entirely made up, and dysfunctional landscape, and this gives them the context they need to act destructively.

The great success of San Andreas is the way it makes the life of a criminal, which by nature has the virtue of being exciting, also seem utterly justified. And the game accomplishes this by parodying the real world in such a way as to create a culture where criminality is neither heroic nor villainous but rather the norm. This is different from saying that the game encourages a player to pursue criminal behavior in general; the game simply succeeds at providing a context where such behavior isn’t blameworthy, or is at least less blameworthy than usual.

Bioshock Infinite

In Alexander R. Galloway’s Gaming Essays on Algorithmic Culture, he discusses the origin of the most popular video game perspective, first-person shooter. This subjective shot was originated from classic movies such as Jaws, Elephant, and multiple Alfred Hitchcock films. This perspective is shot through the character’s viewpoint, giving the visual of what one would ordinarily see in front of them. The purpose is to join the eyesight of the character with that of the viewer and by giving off the impression that the camera is placed in the character’s skull. This cinematic perception molded the visual style of first-person shooter, displaying only what one would see in front of them. The screen shows the character’s hands holding a weapon of choice, preventing the character’s physical appearance from being distinguished. With this, the first-person player witnesses everything the protagonist witnesses as if they were them.
In March of 2013, 2K Marin, Irrational Games, and Human Head Studios released an addition to the Bioshock collection, known as Bioshock Infinite. The game uses first-person shooter, enabling the player to witness a new world through the eyes of protagonist, Booker Dewitt. The performer can seldom see Booker’s appearance through faint reflections but can see the surrounding environment through his perceptiveness, creating a key example of the subjective shot discussed by Galloway. Because the player cannot see the character’s exterior appearance continuously, they are left to conjure up an image of what they believe the character to look like. This requires the player to employ their imagination to gather various ideas of the character’s graphics.
The perspective created by Irrational Games allows the player to spectate what Galloway calls “Mental Affect”. Mental affect is when the viewer sees the optical outlook of a drowsy, drugged, or intoxicated person. In order to increase Booker’s chance of success, food and ammunition are left out throughout the game. Among these, wine and whisky are placed out for Booker to drink. If Booker drinks too much of the alcohol, the screen becomes blurry and sways left to right to represent what happens to Booker’s vision when he is drunk. Another mental affect is when Booker’s vision slowly fades to black when he comes close to death.
A popular quote from the first Bioshock game created is: “We all make choices. But in the end, our choices make us.” A quote from the Bioshock Infinite is: “There is always a lighthouse, always a man, and always a city.” To anyone who has never played these games, the quotes make little to no sense, but to one who has completed the collection, they make plenty of sense. A theme stringed along in the Bioshock collection is that when a person makes a choice, the choice they make will always affect their path on life. After the game is completed, the player is left to think about what choices they have made that have altered their path. Ian Bogost, author of How to Do Things with Video Games, writes about procedural games being artistic because they “cause the player to reflect on one or more themes during or after play,” Bogost defends videogames in the controversy of whether they should be considered art or not within the first chapter of his book, (Bogost 14). He supports the idea that video games can be art, if they use explicit challenges that have significant meaning within them to lead the player to undergo self-evaluation.
Bioshock Infinite has all the requirements to meet the criteria of an average first-person shooter, rated a mature game due to its constant resort to guns and violence, even involvement of war. But, what separates Bioshock from games like Call of Duty or Halo is its hidden meaning and in depth plot. The game is centered during 1912, within a unique and dynamic city that floats in the sky, named Columbia. The city is founded by Zachary Hale Comstock, who calls himself a prophet of God and built Columbia as a sanctuary for followers of the Lord. Comstock created the city in the sky to be close to the heavens but plans to destroy the land below, starting with New York, to expand Columbia’s reign. Booker’s original mission was to rescue Comstock’s daughter, Elizabeth, from her imprisonment since birth, but finds a greater mission among his journey with Elizabeth. He and Elizabeth plan to remove Comstock’s existence through Elizabeth’s ability to open portals into other dimensions and enter other worlds. These worlds each consist of different events happening within Columbia. Booker and Elizabeth learn these worlds arise as lighthouses and form from the outcomes of the decisions Booker makes. For example, if Booker’s decision to rescue Elizabeth is successful, a lighthouse forms holding a world where Booker’s mission was effective, but there is also the formation of another lighthouse holding a world where Booker’s mission was unsuccessful. There are thousands of lighthouses that are created from Booker’s numerous decisions within Columbia, essentially creating the quote that there is always a lighthouse, a man, a city.
The connotation of Bioshock Infinite is to explore the idea of what happens when we choose one choice over another. It is not a form of game art that is displayed in galleries because it does not use art in a way of appearance, such as through graphics and design, but through in depth thought of decisions that create and destroy us. It pushes the player’s mind to examine their previous choices and consider how different their life would be if they chose otherwise. Ian Bogost reminds the reader that the focus of a procedural video game is different from ordinary videogames because it was not created to grant the player gratitude after completion of the game, but introspection.
The principals taken from Galloway’s and Bogost’s text provide a deeper analysis to video games, beyond what the average eye intakes. Those who invented a video game specifically planned to use either first or third person shooter to heighten the effects and plot of the game, just like how Industrial Games used first-person in Bioshock. Also, there is more than meets the eye with most video games. Some are used to make the player have revelations about life. The video game industry has quickly grown and advanced to become one of the many effective ways to reach out to the younger age group to remind them that there a lot that needs to be fixed in our world today.

NBA2K14 Next Gen: Put me in Coach!

I am a little confused on how to approach this post. I understand it is more analytical than a review, but I feel I have a good understanding on how to get my thought of the game across on a more academic level.

Here we go!

I am a huge basketball fan, and when I say a huge basketball fan I mean it! I have played the sport ever since I was little, starting in my driveway with my father, playing in leagues, middle school, Junior Varsity, Varsity and now multiple Men’s Leagues. Besides my love of playing the sport, I love watching it, and any form of basketball is game to me. I watch the NBA, WNBA, College Basketball, High School Basketball, but mostly I focus on the NBA. I am a die hard Celtics fan, GO C’s!

I’m a basketball nut, I love reading about it, coaching it, and playing video games of it. Most presently that means any 2K game, I have annually purchased each edition 2K has put out the past five to six years, and since NBA Live has failed to put out a quality game in years my choice to stick with 2K was not that hard. Yes, I know they just released a next gen game this year. But if 2K14 is Kobe Bryant, NBA Live 14 is Smush Parker. I hope someone gets that reference.

Let’s get to the point! I tried to look at NBA2K14 with more of a Bogost perspective. His book was very intriguing to me, I love how he looked at video games as more than games, and that is what I’m going to try to do for NBA 2K14. I should specify, I am analyzing the next-gen version of 2K14, not the Xbox360/PS3 version. I owned both and although the next gen plays a little differently, it is leaps ahead of the old-gen version.

I just purchased the PS4 after being an Xbox Boy for years. I crossed over to the dark side! The first and only game I have for the PS4 is 2K14, for those that are  not familiar with the game 2K14 is a basketball simulation game that allows the player to play with almost any NBA team of now and past time. Also, players are given the opportunity to take the seat of a General Manager in MyGM and fully direct a team in all aspects of management, whilst playing the season themselves. In another mode you can create an Avatar of yourself and take on the NBA in MyCareer, in my opinion this year’s edition of this game mode is one of the most ambitious of the series.

After spending countless hours sending Devin Chavanne the 6′ 3″ shooting guard from the University of Buffalo, through the ranks of the NBA, managing the Boston Celtics to a 2015-2016 NBA championship, and soundly defeating all of my friends and family in Quick Games time after time, I felt that I had a real grasp of the game as a whole. I began looking past the game itself, and looking at how it could be used as something more. How could 2K be used out of the world of gaming? Could it be considered as less of a game and more as a tool?

The game does a great job of simulating the sport of basketball played at the highest level, the NBA. The next-gen version looks beautiful, players almost look real. Sweat glistens of their bodies, jerseys sway as the cut to the basket, and player’s expressions and tendencies put the cherry on top to make it feel almost real. Though I do have an issue with some of the gameplay mechanics, sometimes you can get caught up in a preset animation that is unavoidable. It stops the flow of the game, and does not give any control to the player to counteract such animation. Otherwise, I think the game is wonderful. But how could a simulator of this kind be used as something besides a simulation. I began to think of how a coach would use this game, how would a coach utilize this tool to explain a play to a player? Then it hit me, what’s better then drawing X’s and O’s on a dry erase board? An actual real life looking simulation, adjustable to your liking. This is what essentially 2K is, a coach could use it to explain a play to a player, they could boot up the game and they could actually run through the set with 10 people on the court. They could simulate all possible actions and counter actions of the defense, and even possibly come up with new sets .  A coach could literally run through a team’s whole Offensive scheme and have a player experience it right then and there, without having to wait for a practice, scrimmage, or game to test out their understanding a player could prepare themselves mentally better and quicker.

What makes this use even more plausible is that the NBA is integrating technology into their practices, coaching, recruiting, game plans now more than ever. Players review film on tablets in practice and sometimes in games on the bench. Player movement is tracked and recorded digitally, along with experts now practicing an Analytical approach to game planning, basing play style and personnel decisions on statistical probabilites. All of these advancements made possible by different forms of technology. So why not incorporate video games, add a high end simulator into their association.

After all competitive video gaming is now considered a sport. With professional events begin held all over the world and even some colleges creating their own teams to compete against other universities. If I’m and NBA head, why not be the next pioneer in the sport. Why not bring in a great tool, that not only works but is obviously fun and refreshing to millions of people. I am sure a NBA player who constantly pounds through playbook after playbook, film session after film session would love to learn a new play through NBA 2K14, also while getting to beat his Assistant Coach in a Quick Game.  Who wouldn’t want those bragging rights?

Game Analysis

Instead of focusing on a specific game, I followed the format of Galloway’s Gaming.  This is what my interpretation of what “chapter 6” would be.  As a replacement for writing about one game, I focused on the essence of certain a genre of games.

The United States was established based off of the grounds of violence.  The colonists no longer were able to live under Great Britain’s monarchy and wanted to declare their independence from foreign rule.  For almost 238 years, Americans have lived with the assumption that because of certain violent acts, we can persevere and defeat of enemies (i.e. World War I, World War II, The Korean War, The Vietnam War, Desert Storm and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  With this mentality, it does not seem surprising that there seems to be so much violence in America today. We are immersed in it and to be honest we are addicted to the violence.

 

Where It All Started!

Today violence is considered to be the norm.  Have you ever been to a hockey game and cried because the players were fighting one another?  Have you ever immediately reported a fight that was recorded and posted online because you were just so disgusted about what the human race has become?  The general consensus would be no!  We laugh and cheer on because the violence adds entertainment into our lives.  People complain that there isn’t enough violence.  Since the demand is so high, we are given what we have asked for.

In 1976, the game “Death Race” (based off of the cult movie Death Race 2000) made its debut in arcades.  “In the chunky, black-and-white pixilated graphics of the time, players ran down “gremlins” in their vehicles.  The targets squealed and cried, and were then replaced by tombstones on the screen.  It didn’t help when word leaked that the working titled had been “Pedestrian”.  It was enough to prompt the National Safety  Council to call the game “morbid” and earn it a spot in a “60 Minutes” segment on violence in games” (Gross, CNN).

 

Death Race triggered outrage not only because it was such a violent game at the time but because it did not follow the culturally accepted narratives of violence, such as military or police violence, or even westerns. Public disapproval of Death Race did not squelch distribution, instead driving sales and vaulting Exidy into the national spotlight. Discourse surrounding Death Race forged a strong tie between video gaming and violence in the public imagination, ensuring the development of similarly violent games.

With all of the controversy that has surrounded this game, there is no doubt that this is where the violence in video games started from.  If kids were told by their parents that they are not to play this game or any other games like it, the curiosity that could build up about the game would only make the child want to play even more and this would intentionally make them defy the rules of their parents.

Why is There Even Violence Portrayed in Video Games?

There have been numerous lawsuits brought against the makers of these video games.  All of the claims are usually congruent with one another.  The bottom line is that the plaintiffs want to have these violent video games removed from the shelves because they feel as if they are deteriorating the youth and they also feel that they are not appropriate for them.  Most of these claims have been dismissed because the courts rule in favor for the defendants (the makers of the video games ).  The ruling usually states that the video games adhere to the First Amendment which provided us with the freedom of speech.  Personally, I have seen a lot of disputes arise about video games rather than any other type of media that produces violence.  Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho is loosely based off of the real life and crimes of Ed Gein who was a serial killer.  Yet this movie is still considered to be a classic film within American film history today.  It seems to be very bizarre that films such as Psycho can be glorified but there are many people who rally to ban violent video games such as “Postal 2” (released in 2003) and MadWorld (released in 2009).  Don’t get me wrong, some of the violence that is portrayed in these video games can be a little bit excessive.  But at the end of the day, the designers of these video games are only supplying what the customers are demanding.  Not a lot of people are asking that their video games be filled with cotton candy, rainbows and unicorns.  The consumer wants guts and gore and that is what they shall receive.   Who are we to tell the makers of these types of video games to stop when Hollywood has been making money off of these types of ideas for decades?

 

Will It Ever Stop?

Unfortunately there really isn’t a definite answer to this question.  The ideal answer would be to say yes.  That one day, we would all steer away from the violence that are in these video games and express that we would rather play other games that would arouse the consumer’s curiosity.   This cannot seem to happen for multiple reasons.  The first would be that VIOLENCE IS FUN!  This wouldn’t be politically correct to say this in society, but we all know that this is the truth.  If this was not the case, we would have seen a decrease in how many violent video games were purchased decades ago.  Violent video games also RELIEVE STRESS.  Instead of projecting anger on to someone else, it is much safer to project the anger and the violence that one has against an inanimate object.  Within the game, no one will get hurt.  Lastly, WE JUST CAN’T GET ENOUGH!  There are numerous violent video games that have been created and we can all come to the conclusion that the all have some qualities that are similar to one another.  So why do we as consumers continue to be enslaved to the violence?  You would have to answer this question for your own peace of mind.

Game Analysis

NBA 2K14 is a sports based video game that allows the gamer to take part in the action of being a basketball player. Basketball is one of the most widely play sports internationally and NBA 2K14 is a video game that takes an inactive audience member and gives them the opportunity to become a part of the action. The game not only allows the gamer to play with characters that represent players who are currently in the league, it also allows the gamer to develop their own character and track their progress.

When the game begins, there is a picture and a message from LeBron James who is arguably the best player in the league as of now. Already there is a message of greatness. You want your character to be as good if not, better than LeBron James. The gamer is then introduced to the different modes which the game offers such as: Quick Games, My Career, Training Camp, LeBron James: Path to Greatness etc. Already, the game is offering the gamer multiple opportunities to be the best basketball player in the game that they can be. There are multiple opportunities that are offered in this game; opportunities that are not always granted in real life.

One of the first mode that the gamer is introduced to is called Quick Game. Quick Game is probably one of the most heavily used game mode in NBA 2K14. This mode can include anywhere from one to four players and gives the user the opportunity to experience playing as a current, retired, or international basketball player. The game consist of four quarters and each quarter is played for 12 minutes. Every winner receives VC or virtual currency. VC is a reminder that the gamer should aspire for greatness in the game. Obviously they would want to acquire a lot of VC. In reality, VC can be seen as a promotion of graduating with honors after four years of hard work.

My favorite mode in this game would have to be My Career. I think My Career would have to be the most widely used mode in this video game. The gamer has the chance to develop an avatar who is a college basketball player and watch his growth form college to the NBA. Like a normal college basketball player, the avatar can enter the NBA draft. The gamer can also chose the chose the college that his or her avatar attends. The gamer can chose the character’s name, age, position, height, weight, facial features, court specialties, etc. Instead of a draft combine, there is a rookie showcase in which the gamer can change his draft stock. Once the player is drafted, the player can receive more minutes in a game or more VC. Again VC is used a reward.

I find My Career to be the most interesting mode of the game because it reminds me of a how to manual. Often times in life, we think that the path to success is a straight forward one. It’s easy to see the goal and even easier to overlook the obstacles that may come in our way. It would be so much easier if we had a “How To” manual that gave us a step by step guide to accomplishing our goals. I think that My Career is similar to that “How To” manual. There is almost no room for failure. It’s almost impossible to not get drafted to the NBA in NBA 2K14. In reality, when you don’t get drafted to the NBA, you go to the D league and there is no D league in this game.

The player has the opportunity to go to practices in “Practice Mode”. In practice mode, the player can practice free throws, three point shots, post moves, or freestyles. The gamer can also chose the practice court that the avatar will be playing on. Once the player has earned enough VC or has great stats, they are able to talk to the GM. The video game is already set with questions that can be asked. In a way, these are the “right” questions. The kind of questions that they should be asked. In life, we don’t get a list of right or wrong questions. Sometimes there is no right or wrong answer to begin with and that’s a risk that we take in life. However, I do find it interesting that in the game, once you speak to the GM and you ask a sensitive question or make a statement such as, “I demand a trade” or “I think it would be best for our team if we acquired (insert name here) as a player”, you must wait a couple of games in order to get a response. I think this is similar to real life as well because sometimes we have to wait for our questions to be answered.

We can’t always expect for everything to go according to plan. I think this part of the game teaches the gamer that they have to be patient in life. Life does go on while you’re waiting for a big decision to be made just like in the game. The player still has to play the game while they wait for the GM to come back with an answer.
I found interest in this game (and ultimately chose this to be the basis of my research project) because I saw the way that this game impacted my little brother’s life. My brother used to be very inactive. He would go to school, go to band, and come home. He often ate foods that weren’t very good for him. He was surrounded with cousins that were physically active and I was always active myself. When I told him that I joined rugby at school, he said that he wanted to become active as well. He asked my mother to buy NBA 2K14 for him and he played religiously every day. When he realized how good he was at the game, he wanted to take it to the court. Over the past 8 months, he’s lost 25 pounds and he recently graduated 8th grade and was asked by his high school coach to join their JV basketball team. I think that games like this one inspire people to become more active whether it means finishing that project that was supposed to be done a week ago, or getting out of the house and bouncing a ball around for a couple of minutes.