intpleeus Comments

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  • Watch Titanfall on Xbox One at 60fps

  • intpleeus 13/02/2014

    I really don't understand this fascination with screen resolution.

    (1) With a screen that is 20" wide, most people only begin to see a difference between 1280x720 and 1920x1080 displays at about 4'. For a screen that's 40" wide, the difference is seen about 8', and with a screen that is 60" wide, it's about 12'. In other words, we're bickering about differences which human eyes can barely perceive. This doesn't mean that, all else being equal, higher resolutions aren't preferable, but just that diminishing returns kick in pretty sharply for anything more than 1280x720. That is, 1920x1080 may have twice as many pixels, but that doesn't mean people perceive anywhere near twice as much detail.

    (2) Even if we have a large television and sit close enough to benefit from more than 1280x720 pixels, we still have to pay attention to the resolution to appreciate the difference. But it's the content of the image rather than its resolution that we're primarily interested in. While we're concentrating on playing the game, marginal differences in screen resolution are even less important. How many people figured out that Halo 3 ran at 1138x640 until they read it online? I suspect very few. How many ordinary people notice that their Xbox 360 games run at lower resolutions than their blu-ray movies? Suppose you secretly changed somebody's television to display at 1280x720 rather than 1920x1080, would you expect them to quickly identify and diagnose the problem? I doubt many would.

    (3) How much games benefit from increased resolutions depends on the underlying quality of their art. If a 50x50 texture is rendered by a 50x50 patch of screen, then doubling screen resolution will not resolve more texture detail. It will be the same 50x50 texture but now rendered by by a 100x100 patch of screen. Most Xbox 360 games would not have benefited much from bumping up to 1920x1080, because their underlying art was optimised for 1280x720. Indeed, most of them fell short of even that benchmark, so there is still a lot of room to improve art assets before moving to 1920x1080 will have much benefit. So far as most people are concerned, a Pixar movie running at 640x480 looks better than any videogame running at 1920x1080, because pre-rendering each scene removes almost all constraints on the art.

    (4) In some cases, increasing the resolution can actually make art look worse, which is evident from the recent spate of "HD remakes" like the Hitman Trilogy or Devil May Cry Collection. Much of what we "see" is inferred from context, and clever art can exploit this to create the illusion of greater detail--we see with our minds more than our eyes. To the extent that we perceive a difference, higher resolutions often just expose all the ugly seams and ruin the illusion. In such cases, it may actually be preferable to play games at lower resolution.

    At around 1280x720 pixels, even large increases in the number of pixels only translate into marginal improvements for the end user. What's far, far, far, far, far more important to most people is the underlying quality of the art. However, you can't measure that by counting pixels, which is, I suspect, a bit like how measuring dicks is a lot easier than measuring important things.
    Reply +1
  • Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is 60fps on PS4 - report

  • intpleeus 23/01/2014

    The difference between 30fps and 60fps is barely perceivable, especially in a slow-moving game like Tomb Raider. The difference between 720p and 1080p is barely perceivable, unless you have an enormous television or sit too close. The difference between multiplatform releases on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 was barely perceivable 99 percent of the time; you needed a trained eye and fancy equipment to identify discrepancies between platforms. The most important consideration for a lot of people was whether they wanted to get achievements or trophies, because everything else was near identical.

    We will never again see differences between the platforms that we observed, for example, between the Playstation 2 and Xbox. Games like Splinter Cell had to be almost completely remade to be compatible with the Playstation 2, and nobody would even have attempted converting games like Escape From Butcher Bay or Halo 2 for technical reasons alone. There were only a handful of similar cases for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, and we may never see anything like it again.

    From here on, it'll be barely perceivable differences between framerate and resolution, maybe a texture here or there, an anti-aliasing implementation or whatever. One thing's for sure: 99 percent of gamers will neither notice nor care. Bickering about it online like cheering for a sports team is the depth of stupid.
    Reply -48
  • intpleeus 23/01/2014

    While it's obvious the Playstation 4 has the edge over the Xbox One in technical performance, the difference between them is far less than between the Playstation 2 and Xbox or the Playstation and Nintendo 64. Some perspective wouldn't go amiss. Reply 0
  • Xbox One Resolutiongate: the 720p fallout

  • intpleeus 01/11/2013


    I will, at least for a while.
    Reply 0
  • intpleeus 01/11/2013

    My television is limited to 720p. It's compact and fits neatly into the space where I play games. I wouldn't want a larger television, and the increase from 720p to 1080p is less noticable on a smaller screens, so I doubt I'll upgrade anytime soon. All else being equal, higher resolution is better, but it's really one of the things I care least about. For example, it's nice to go for the blu-ray when buying a movie, but it depends on the price of the DVD, because that extra resolution really isn't worth that much to me.

    Techies place a lot of importance on "tru HD" and 60fps, but does the average consumer? Did people complain about the Nintendo Wii because it didn't support HD visuals while its competitors did? I bet most people hardly even noticed.
    Reply -5
  • Beyond: Two Souls review

  • intpleeus 08/10/2013


    Doesn't 6/10 mean that it's worth checking out if you're into this kind of thing, but otherwise is probably best given a miss?

    While that's less, no doubt, than Cage et al. were striving for, but it hardly counts a failure either.
    Reply +5
  • Warning! Don't stand your Xbox One vertically

  • intpleeus 20/09/2013

    I position is vertically because I have limited space under the television. I don't know where I'd put an Xbox One. Reply 0
  • Metal Gear Solid 5's torture scene will be non-playable

  • intpleeus 20/09/2013

    But there will be a torture scene, right? I mean, I don't think I can buy a videogame unless it has a torture scene. I can live with it being unplayable, but in this day and age, with the maturity of the medium and modern technology, there really has to be a torture scene or else people might think videogames are just for children. Reply +2
  • Microsoft kills game ownership and expects us to smile

  • intpleeus 07/06/2013


    Go read an the end user license agreement for all the videogames you "own", and you can find out watch you actually paid for.

    For the most part, Microsoft is merely planning to enforce or modify provisions which already exist in current end user agreements.

    I'm looking at the end user agreement for Rage on the Xbox 360 right now. the section titled 'Termination' is especially interesting:

    "This agreement and the licenses granted under this agreement are effective until terminated. They shall terminate automatically without notice if You fail to comply with any provision of this Agreement. Upon termination You shall immediately cease using the product, and destroy the Product, the Documentation, and other parts of the Package, and all copies of any parts thereof."

    What you can do with "your" game is severely circumscribed by the license you actually purchased. Technically, trading games is already a breach of the end user agreement.

    In any case, your ability to play your videogames anytime, anywhere has always been limited. The most trivial example is that nobody is obligated to provide you a working Xbox 360 just because you own an Xbox 360 game. If you don't have access to a working Xbox 360, then you don't get to play your game anytime, anywhere. The same is true of multiplayer games that require an internet connection, a community of players, and active servers to enjoy. There are many aspects of current games that have a shelf life, or can only be enjoyed at the discretion of the platform holder or publisher.
    Reply -5
  • intpleeus 07/06/2013


    Yes, disregarding the status quo is ignorant. To disregard something is to give it no thought or consideration, to pay no attention or to ignore.

    I suppose you meant to say that you reject the status quo. But, of course, nobody ever said that was ignorant. Everyone rejects the status quo to some extent or other. The relevant question is what they reject, why, and what they would prefer to see instead.

    Apparently, you reject the concept of legal ownership because it's possible to appropriate things by deception or force. This is a pretty stupid argument, as it goes, and I'm pretty sure you haven't given the issue much thought or study beyond what sounds the most shocking and nihilistic.
    Reply 0
  • intpleeus 07/06/2013


    Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realise you were so ignorant. I shouldn't have even tried to address your arguments seriously. My mistake.

    Go run along now with your sophomoric "revelations" about the nature of law and property.

    PS. It's spelled 'philosophical'.
    Reply -3
  • intpleeus 07/06/2013


    Maybe my comment was wrong, but it wasn't nonsense, never mind 'absolute nonsense.'

    Like I said, you do not own any videogames. You own a license to use software. If you owned it, then you could sell copies or do public demonstrations without consent of the publisher. Yes, you own a physical copy of the game and a license to use it, but you do not own the game itself. Your rights to do what you want with your copy of the game are circumscribed by the license.

    What is changing with the Xbox One is the license they are selling. It has added restrictions, though still fewer than are currently present on Xbox Live purchases. If you don't like it, if it's not worth the price, then don't buy it. If enough people feel similarly, then maybe Microsoft will disable the restrictions after a while (or reduce their prices to reflect the lower desirability of the product).
    Reply -3
  • intpleeus 07/06/2013


    Perhaps. I don't think so, but maybe. My point was simply that many people make this claim but then make hasty and ill-conceived excuses for Steam.
    Reply -1
  • intpleeus 07/06/2013


    At what margin is it fair? So you say that 60 euros for game with a shelf life of 15 years is "unfair", but what about 60 euros for 30 years or 30 euros for 15 years? How do you determine what's fair? Does it matter that some people care more about longevity than price and vice versa? Why can't each person decide for themselves what's fair, i.e. what price they are willing to pay for the product offered?

    The concept of ownership is very complicated. It's not a straightforward idea. Just do some research in property law and especially intellectual property. It's not straightforward, and often it defies our intuitions for some very good and hard to understand reasons.

    On a final note, Microsoft can turn off these restrictions if they want. Publishers can even decide for themselves what restrictions are going to apply to which games. In any case, it's likely that, many years from now, Microsoft will simply disable its always online policy or licensing restrictions. Perhaps that will be their last patch for the Xbox One OS.
    Reply -2
  • intpleeus 07/06/2013


    'If you have a brain, I implore you to vote with you wallets.'

    In other words, if you think the product Microsoft is offering is worth the price, then you're an idiot.

    I'm sceptical about whether it will be worth the price to me. I'm certainly not going to be first in line to buy an Xbox One. However, to those who value games more or their money less, why shouldn't they buy the products that are offered to them?

    In other words, to you, sir, I say fuck off.
    Reply -2
  • intpleeus 07/06/2013


    You're right in one respect--people are making very bad arguments. They argue as though Microsoft's new policies are wrong in principle, but when confronted with the fact that Steam pursues similar policies already, they reveal that it's actually a matter of price. That is, if Microsoft would charge less (or offer a better product at the same price), then it would be okay after all. The cynic in us suspects that critics who argue like this just like Valve more than Microsoft.

    Of course, we don't know how Microsoft's new policies will effect the quality and price of their products. They obviously claim it will improve, and why would they lie? They have nothing to gain from customers abandoning them for the Playstation 4 or Wii U, which I may actually do precisely because I, personally, don't like the sound of the new policies. Microsoft only benefit themselves when they offer a product which, overall, is more appealing to gamers than the alternatives. The issue is overall. Clearly, the new licenses will make gamer worse off in some respects, but all these decisions have many, often unpredictable consequences--all else will not be equal.
    Reply -3
  • intpleeus 07/06/2013



    If you know they're are selling licenses to use their software rather than the ownership of the software itself, and you understand what the terms and conditions imply (e.g. you're not allowed to make copies and sell them, you're not allowed to do public demonstrations without consent of the publisher, or you're not allowed to transfer your license to someone else), then what's the problem? There is no fraud or misdirection--you know exactly what product they're selling and can choose to spend your money on something else if you don't like it.

    I understand that such arrangements may not be ideal for you, but nobody is obligated to supply you entertainment products under terms and conditions that make you happy.
    Reply -2
  • intpleeus 07/06/2013


    The United Kingdom. I don't live there anymore.

    The BBC is funded by a television license. If you own a TV in the U.K., and it's capable of receiving BBC broadcasts, then you have to pay an annual television license (about $200). It's a criminal offense to own and use a television without a license, punishable by a hefty fine.
    Reply +2
  • intpleeus 07/06/2013


    You've been misinformed. You've never bought a videogame, but only a license. If you owned the videogame itself, then it would be legal for you to make copies and sell them or do public demonstrations against the wishes of the publisher (see the recent actions of Nintendo to close down Let's Play videos). A videogame disc is merely a particular instantiation of the videogame. The videogame itself is an abstract thing, an idea or code, that can be instantiated in many different forms (on a disc, hard-drive, or even printed on sheets of paper). This is what makes intellectual property different than regular physical property, and videogames are classic examples of intellectual property. Like I said, unless you produced it yourself or bought the IP or copyright from someone who did, then you've never owned a videogame--all you've ever owned is a restricted license to use the software.
    Reply 0
  • intpleeus 07/06/2013


    When you buy a television, you own the television except you're not allowed to use it to watch television without purchasing a license. This is similar to the situation with hard copies of Xbox One games. Even if you own the disc, you're not allowed to play it on your Xbox One unless you have purchased the license.
    Reply 0
  • intpleeus 07/06/2013

    Ultimately, Microsoft is in the business of pleasing its customers as much as possible while making money. They know that videogames are a highly competitive industry, and that last year's market leader can easily become next year's market loser. The new license agreements (don't forget that you've always been buying licenses), all else being equal, mean that Microsoft is selling a worse product. However, presumably, Microsoft do not expect all else to be equal, but expect to deliver better games, secure better exclusives, offer a better service, and perhaps lower prices. Whether the trade-off will be worth the weaker license is not a foregone conclusion, and each person will evaluate the situation differently. Reply +1
  • intpleeus 07/06/2013

    Remember, in the U.K., you also need a license to watch your own television. Every television effectively belongs to the BBC, and you just rent it from them. Reply -14
  • What is the point of Xbox One DRM?

  • intpleeus 01/06/2013

    There is a difference between what you are willing to pay and what you actually pay. When the difference is large, it makes you happy. For example, you were willing to pay as much as $100 for Super Gun Explosion IV, but you actually paid $50. That's good for you; it happens because there is lots of competition among sellers.

    Microsoft thinks that people are paying significantly less than they would be willing to pay for used games, so they're trying to close the gap between what people are willing to pay and what they actually pay, and they're going to take a slice of the additional revenue for themselves and publishers.

    Because Microsoft controls the infrastructure necessary to play the games, they're able to institute a kind of price floor below which sellers cannot compete.

    If Microsoft are right, then gamers will spend a higher proportion of their income on games, rather than simply reducing the number of games they purchase. This will increase the total revenues across the industry. In the short-run, this would likely increase profits, but in the longer run profit margins are likely to be squeezed again so long as the industry remains highly competitive.

    There is no law of nature mandating that games keep getting more complex and costly to produce. If publishers can't find an audience for such games, then they will either stop making them or go out of business, and others who are making less complex games will rise in their place.

    The reason that games are so costly to produce and profit margins are so tight is just that fierce competition forces everyone to cut profit margins to the bone. In the long run, increasing revenues across the games industry will not reduce risks or bulk up profit margins, because the "problem" is competition. However, increased revenues will direct more of societies' resources--its technologies and talent--toward the production of videogames.
    Reply 0
  • This is how Xbox One game trade-ins will work, apparently

  • intpleeus 01/06/2013


    You, sir, are an idiot.

    The disc is not worthless, it's just worth less.

    Moreover, the assumption is that people who buy used games are enjoying lots of consumer surplus--that's an economics term. In short, they would be willing to pay a lot more for each game if they had no other choice. In consequence, quantity demanded is inelastic--if the price of games goes up, then they spend more money on games rather than reduce the number of games they buy. (It's like cigarettes).

    If this assumption is true, then on some margin, Microsoft and other videogame publishers can extract a little more income out of gamers. Whether this will result in greater profit is another matter, because the videogame industry is highly competitive. The additional income is, in the long run, likely to be channeled into making better, bigger, and more expensive games, because competition squeezes profit margins.
    Reply 0
  • intpleeus 24/05/2013

    One potential problem concerns how many people will tricked into purchasing a second-hand game at full price. While gamers might know what to look for to confirm that a game is unused, average Joe will be easily fooled by new plastic wrap. How many angry phonecalls will Microsoft be getting from angry parents the day after Christmas when they discover they must pay an additional fee to activate a "used" videogame. On the other hand, these policies should discourage videogame theft, since there is little value from having the disc itself. Reply -1
  • intpleeus 24/05/2013


    When you purchase a videogame, you are actually purchasing a license to use a piece of software. The videogame itself remains the property of the publisher; that's why you can't make copies of a disc and sell them. Only the owner of a videogame can create new licenses, and they can put whatever stipulations they want into that license. For example, the license may prohibit or limit your right to sell (or otherwise transfer) that license to someone else.

    What Microsoft is doing is changing the nature of the license that we purchase when "buying a videogame". Note, however, that similar conditions already exist, and are much stricter, for downloadable videogames and content. For example, I bought Crysis from Xbox Live, yet I cannot transfer my license under any circumstances, and the same goes for all downloadable content. By comparison, Microsoft's new policies are relatively lax, since they do permit license transfer when the new user pays an additional fee.
    Reply +1
  • Raymond: Splinter Cell popularity held back by its complexity

  • intpleeus 23/04/2013


    Thank you for talking sense.
    Reply +1
  • intpleeus 23/04/2013

    Just to set the record straight. The original Splinter Cell had multiple confrontations where stealth was impossible and a gunfight inevitable, and it sucked so hard that Dyson decided to design their next vacuum using the same principles. Also, there was precious little choice what to do in the original Splinter Cell; it was rare for there to be more than one viable stealthy route through a location. It was tough, but still a pretty stupid game. People just don't realise it because they were just stupider back then. Reply +4
  • Tax Evaders is a fun browser game about corporate tax evasion

  • intpleeus 13/04/2013

    It's impossible to tax corporations. That's right, it's impossible, i.e. not something that can be done. Sure, you can take money out of an corporate bank account, or even confiscate corporate assets, but that doesn't mean the corporation is paying the tax, it's just accounting. Taxes are always paid by people. There is no alternative, because it's people who produce goods and services.

    A corporation is just a legal entity to facilitate cooperation and exchange; it's a tool people use to achieve their separate ends. (Notice how the words 'corporation' and 'cooperation' are kind of similar). It's like a hammer. You can't tax a hammer. Sure, you could remove it's rubber grip or even melt off a bit of metal, but you still aren't taxing the hammer. The hammer has no ends, no purpose, no reason besides that which is given to it by its user. If you are taxing anyone, it's the person who wants to use the hammer, because it's they who are incurring the cost of the removing the hammer's grip or weight.

    So when you attempt to tax a corporation, you're actually taxing people who use the corporation. Who uses corporations? Everyone. Yes, the corporation's shareholders and employees, but also the corporation's customers. How the incidence of a tax falls on the various users of a corporation will differ from case to case. Corporate tax evasion might reduce the total resources spent on social services, but it's probably not as much as it appears, and it might conceivably have the opposite effect. In any case, how the chips fall for any particular tax is too complex for anyone to calculate.

    In other words, Tax Evaders is not 'clever and political', it's just political. (But it is quite funny).
    Reply -18
  • Microsoft creative director dismisses "drama" around always-online consoles

  • intpleeus 05/04/2013

    I live too far away from the nearest exchange, so our phone company will not provide us an internet service. Instead, we use a satellite. It's slow, has daily download limits, and regularly goes out. Unless Microsoft has plans to control the weather, there is no way I can always be online. Reply +7
  • The video game industry's gender wage gap is worse than you think

  • intpleeus 04/04/2013

    Why is the wage gap worse than I think? By saying that it's worse rather than larger, you're presupposing it's the consequence of some injustice. But the raw numbers don't tell us anything about why men make about a 1/4 more on average.

    For example, when you control for men and women who began their careers with the similar qualifications and at a similar age, who have similar work experience and work similar hours, and who aren't preoccupied with other responsibilities (i.e. children or elderly parents), then I bet the wage difference would shrink to almost nothing. Indeed, I suspect that women would earn slightly more, precisely because most studios are willing to pay extra to employ a woman when all else is equal, because they don't want a reputation for sexism and are painfully aware how few women they employ. (Which is ironic, because such practices are obviously unfair to those men competing for the same job).

    Why do I suspect this is the case? Because the same is true for gender wage gaps in most other industries. When you control for all these extremely important variables, women frequently earn more than men on average. Predictably, such women are typically more like men than women when administered various personality tests, because most of the difference in wages is a product of different values, interests, and priorities which correlate with gender as an incidental byproduct of biology and tradition.

    Of course, I do believe injustice probably does account for some of the gender wage gap, but the effect is probably very small. I do feel upset when reading particular anecdotes of sexism in the game industry, but those feelings are not appropriate when reading these kind of statistics.

    Even if all sexism were eliminated, including preferential treatment for women, we shouldn't expect anything near a 50-50 representation of the sexes. People frequently act like 50-50 is somehow the default that we should expect, and any deviation is to be deplored. But it's absurd, because reality almost never exhibits such "equality" on any dimension, because reality, unlike statisticians, must account for every consequential variable. We should expect, when looking at any occupation, hobby, talent, or whatever else, to find a "gender gap", and we should expect the gender gap to be more extreme in some cases than in others.

    What is deplorable are specific acts of sexual harassment. What we shouldn't get worked up about are crude measures of an income gap, because even if we completely eliminated all sexism, there'd be no way to tell by looking at statistics like these. Even if there was no gender wage gap, it doesn't follow the sexism problem has been solved, because it's quite possible that women should be earning more on average.
    Reply +7
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director's Cut for Wii U spotted

  • intpleeus 19/03/2013

    The box art is ... how to put this delicately ... it is FUCKING AWFUL! Reply -1
  • SimCity modded so it can be played offline indefinitely

  • intpleeus 14/03/2013

    Wait, what!? EA are trying to make profit by selling a videogame? Gedoudderhere! What the fuck is the world coming to? Let's really show them why they should never try to make another Sim City ever again, the greedy fucks. Reply -14
  • US retail giant GameStop reminds Microsoft and Sony why it thinks always-online consoles are a bad idea

  • intpleeus 07/03/2013

    An online-only console would be a deal breaker for me. I live out in the country and don't have a good enough internet connection to download 7GB games, and the next Playstation and Xbox will have games at least double that size. I have trouble enough dealing with all the online passes and downloadable content; any more hassle and I need a new hobby. Reply +2
  • Amid growing anger at micro-transactions, CliffyB calls on gamers to vote with their wallets

  • intpleeus 02/03/2013

    With a few more qualfications and caveats, CliffyB is right.

    Gamers can be a bunch of whiny entitled brats.

    I don't like micro-transactions, so I avoid them. It sucks when someone buys a game without realising that it relies heavily on micro-transactions, but so what?
    Reply -1
  • Fox shamelessly steals Still Alive composer's song for Glee

  • intpleeus 26/01/2013

    This wasn't a triumph
    I'm making a note here: huge dicks
    Reply +4
  • Screenshots of Dishonored dev's Half-Life 2: Episode 4 Return to Ravenholm emerge

  • intpleeus 14/01/2013

    I't seems like I've been waiting half of my life for Episode 3. Oh, maybe that's the point! Reply +3
  • Rewriting Tomb Raider

  • intpleeus 06/11/2012


    Thank you!
    Reply 0
  • intpleeus 06/11/2012


    You're right that not every videogame journalist and critic is at fault. My previous comment was a spur-of-the-moment rant, and I was certainly guilty of overstatement. However, most journalists and critics who do not buy into the vision I describe usually remain silent, and when they do pipe up, they're often shouted down and forced to apologise. For example, take this June 3rd round-up of videogame bloggin at Critical Distance (coverage of the Hitman: Absolution trailer controversy begins about halfway down the post).

    You're also right that the Tomb Raider trailer was a catalyst for people to express their existing opinions. Indeed, there was practically nothing Crystal Dynamics could have done to avoid the controversy. People who filter everything through the presumption that sexism is ubiquitous, highly consequential, and covert see it everywhere they expect to find it. Like I said, a prima facie case is all that is required for a conviction.

    But what if the hint of sexual violence in the trailer hadn't been there? What if Lara's assailent utterly ignored the fact she was an attractive young girl?

    Women are the vast majority of victims in sexual assualts; this is something all women have live with and consider at some time or other. The latest Tomb Raider is going for a more realistic vibe than its predecessors, and, given the context, the implied threat of sexual assault is entirely consistent with that. Indeed, the absence of such a threat would almost demand an explanation, since her attackers seem less like violent men stuck on an island without women and more like Saturday morning cartoon henchmen.

    Nobody has ever explained why it's wrong for such facts to be reflected in the offending scene. Neither has anyone described why it's wrong for gamers, especially male gamers, to feel more protective of Lara than they would a male counterpart. The very existence of an asymmetry is apparently all that is required to convict someone of sexism, and in the trvial sense of acknowledging or expecting differences on the basis of gender, it's even true. However, by a verbal sleight-of-hand such "sexism" is lumped together with a vast--perhaps unconscious and almost invisible--conspiracy to repress and degrade women in general. But this is just a narrow, simplistic, and almost paranoid vision of society that intoxicates minds with its illusion of explanatory power.

    Back to the trailer. The grunting, I agree, was excessive, but so was the blood and gore in Dragon Age 2. I assume the latter was just an artistic misjudgement rather than a subtle indication of a macabre fetish of the art design team. The most straightforward explanation for Lara's excessive grunting was that somebody at Crystal Dynamics went too far, and was probably rather surprised when sexist motives with imputed to him or her. Indeed, their aesthetic misjudgement was blown into an indictment of videogames in general. And then a bunch of pseudo-intellectual videogame critics all patted each other on the back for their deep insight and beneficence.

    The trailer doesn't imply that a strong and capable Lara will not the sell the game. This is exactly the kind of extravagant interpretation I am trying to push back against. Eidos have been selling Tomb Raider games for years while depicting her as powerful and capable, and it's precisely this Batman-esque Lara Croft Crystal Dynamics are now trying to steer away from. Again, the most straightforward explanation is that Crystal Dynamics are trying to emphasise survival over action in the trailer (which, not coincedentally, was taken almost entirely from an early part in the story--likely for the rather mundane reason that it was the most complete).

    I'll end this response now, because this comment is getting rather long and there probably aren't many people reading it. I thank you for your thoughtful response.
    Reply +3
  • intpleeus 02/11/2012

    There was nothing wrong with the "infamous" trailer. People, especially videogame critics and journalists, just share a narrow vision of society where sexism is highly consequential, covert, and must be zealously stamped out. In this view, the very existence of gender norms, roles, and expectations is axiomatically an indictment of society. When such norms, roles, and expectations are presented in popular media, it's always interpreted as perpetuating or promoting, rather than merely reflecting or reporting, said norms. Suposedly, videogames, movies, books, or whatever, should challenge these "perceptions" or "stereotypes", which are assumed to be wholly false and morally inexcusable without a hint of argument or evidence.

    A prima facie case is all that is required to convict any videogame of sexism, and so these views are "verified" or "corroborated" endlessly. Lara grunts too much? Sexism! Suggested sexual assault? Sexism! Claims that players will want to be protect Lara? Sexism! All other possible explanations or interpretations are cast aside; the matter has been preempted by verbal sleight-of-hand. The impossibly complex question of how such media effects society, whether it promotes, undermines, or has no impact or gender norms, roles, and expectations, and whether these effects are, on net, good or bad, is almost certainly beyond the ken almost everyone who passionately voices their opinion.

    The controversy about players wanting to protect Lara especially irks me. For better or worse, societal norms and values generally "promote" the idea of men being more protective of women. Perhaps this has some roots in our evolution. Certainly, since men tend to be larger and stronger than women, there is a straightforward division-of-labour case for men protecting women. In any case, right or wrong, it is generally seen as honourable. The fact is a lot of men feel quite differently about seeing a young woman in danger than a young man. To say that people, especially male gamers, will feel more protective or Lara, and to want to exploit such feelings for the purposes of emotional engagement, strikes me as neither false nor morally wrong

    The controversy surrounding that trailer, as well as countless other controversies about sexism, racism, or whatever-ism, in the videogame media sickens me usually far more than the (admittedly!) often tasteless or crass material (e.g. latex-clad killer nuns) that inspires it.
    Reply +12
  • Halo 4 review

  • intpleeus 01/11/2012

    This review was perfect for me. He basically said the ebb and flow of gameplay is (more or less) the same as previous Halo games. That's all I needed the know about that. What I also wanted to know about was the less concrete or mechanical qualities of the game: its ambiance, its narrative, ... its soul, so to speak. The review was quite effective to that end. Reply +5
  • Lost Humanity 18: A Table of Doritos

  • intpleeus 24/10/2012

    I strongly doubt games journalists are much worse than regular journalists, if at all. At worst, games journalists are just hacks for some videogame publisher; the worst they can do is mislead a few thousand people into spending $60 on the wrong game. Regular journalists, especially those who cover politics, are in a position to do far more damage and, I think, actually do.

    That said, for whatever reason, I concede that gaming culture is far too comfortable with overt demonstrations of the journalist-PR bff relationship. At least regular journalists normally try and hide the fact they're sell-outs.
    Reply +1
  • EA's Gibeau: "I have not green lit one game to be developed as a single-player experience"

  • intpleeus 06/09/2012

    I've never played an EA game online. I intentionally play Fifa 12 offline so I don't have to suffer all its online "features"--the same is true of most other EA games. Their focus on multiplayer at the expense of single-player is also why I tend to by EA games secondhand.

    It turns out that not everybody is the same as everybody else.
    Reply +3
  • Lost Humanity 11: Games TV, Again

  • intpleeus 06/09/2012

    Why would I watch TV when I could be playing videogames? Reply 0
  • Assassin's Creed exec: Japan devs' stories criticised less because of journalists' "subtle racism"

  • intpleeus 17/08/2012


    You're right that words do not have constant and immutable meanings. They shift overtime according to changing conventions, and ultimately we use words to be understood and yadda yadda yadda blah blah blah.

    On the other hand, while 'racism' is used very liberally these days, it remains an explosive term with damning connotations. If someone or something gets stuck with a reputation for being racist, true or not, it could mean anything from condescending Japanese storytellers to lynching black people. And it's not the innocuous who-really-gives-a-shit kind of racism that springs to mind. As soon as the word 'racist' is mentioned, all hope of a sensible discussion is lost. I'd rather people just call each other 'fucktards'. The guy should have just said that journalists are subtle fucktards for being lenient on Japanese storytellers.
    Reply +1
  • intpleeus 17/08/2012

    It has nothing to do with race. It's not racism. The guy has an okay, if overstated, point--lot of journalists are Japanophiles--but it's not racism. People have got to stop calling every little thing racism (or sexism). Reply +2
  • David Cage: "I'm not a frustrated movie director"

  • intpleeus 16/08/2012

    Frustrated movie director? No, 'frustrated' is the wrong word. Reply 0
  • Retrospective: Manhunt

  • intpleeus 12/08/2012

    I didn't like Manhunt. 'Like' is the wrong word, but it was a incredibly affecting experience. I'll never forget being trapped with Pigsy in the attic of Starkweather mansion. Reply +3
  • BioWare co-founder Greg Zeschuk quits Old Republic dev BioWare Austin - report

  • intpleeus 10/08/2012

    Oh, so they hadn't planned the job to have an infinite endpoint. That's good so far as refraining from doing the logically impossible is usually good. Reply +4
  • Lost Humanity 6: Killing Pirates

  • intpleeus 01/08/2012

    While we're at it, a pirate is not a word. A pirate is a type of person. What the author means is that 'pirate' is a word. See the quotation marks? The author (or editor?) should look up the use-mention distinction. Indeed, 'pirate' is just a word, like these randomly chosen words: 'you', 'are', 'a', 'sniveling' 'little', and 'moron', though you won't catch me using these words in a sentence. Reply +2