Monthly Archives: May 2014

Pre-E3 punditry


It’s almost that magical time of year again, when the Electronic Entertainment Expo happens and I become an insufferable recluse mainlining videogame news. And you’re all going to share the magic with me!

The conference (expo? exponference?) starts on the 9th of June with the annual Sony and Microsoft gaudy corporate press events, plus Nintendo’s cheaper and more low-key live-streaming presentation in which their CEO attempts to get the entire world hyped about Nintendo products despite not having any discernable personality. But before that let’s talk about the three main players and how they’re doing, what I’m expecting from them and what strategy they should take, according to my uninformed blog punditry.

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At some point in this review I am required by tradition to inform you that the original 1954 Gojira movie was not the goofy rubber monster suit spectacle that the Kaiju genre it spawned has become, but a serious, dark metaphor for the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The marketing for this new Godzilla seems to be trying very hard to convince people that it’s adopting the same style.

It’s not. This is a movie all about Godzilla the sort-of hero monster punching other, more eviler monsters in the face. It’s a film built entirely around the spectacle of awe-inspiring CG creations tearing cities apart.

And I guess there are humans as well, but you probably won’t care about them very much.

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Miiquality and taking risks


So let’s talk video games for a bit.

If you identify as a “Gamer” enough to follow the major gaming news sites then you’re probably aware that there’s been a growing trend of people protesting the long-held status- quo of the industry primarily catering to a straight white male audience. To a certain kind of person this is a Very Bad Thing Indeed, but I find the upswell of protest immensely heartening.

A few days ago a campaign started up on twitter using the hashtag #miiquality with the aim of getting Nintendo to put an option for same-sex relationships in its upcoming 3DS game Tomodachi Life. Similar efforts have sprung up before around games that offer players the chance to engage in optional relationships, but Tomodachi Life is significant because instead of romancing NPCs the player will be romancing other players, and very likely their actual real-life significant other. Instead of just pretending that gay people don’t exist, the game is actively excluding them.

The fact that Nintendo declined to act on the miiquality campaign is disappointing but not really all that surprising. What is surprising is the specific way they responded:

“The relationship options in the game represent a playful alternate world rather than a real-life simulation,” Nintendo said. “We hope that all of our fans will see thatTomodachi Life was intended to be a whimsical and quirky game, and that we were absolutely not trying to provide social commentary.”

Other people who are far more qualified than me have already written at length about why this is bullshit. I don’t want to focus on Nintendo’s response so much as the way some (by and large sincere and well-meaning) people have tried to minimize the outrage directed at them over the last few days- a response to the response to the response, if you will.

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