All About Gelugon_baat
Welcome to my profile page! Do kindly check out my About Me page, which summarizes my intentions for this Internet endeavour of mine at GameSpot.
If you are here because of my profile images or any images that I may have used to adorn my forum posts with, then do please look at this blog post:
If you are here because of my user reviews, then I suggest looking at this one:
If you are here because of milk-related reasons, then do look at this blog post:
Customary opening picture to let you know what I am really writing about. Picture includes insignificant cameos.
IMPORTANT FOREWORD: This article is perhaps better directed at those who have seen and still remember the movie, as I am rather averse to describing scenes in a movie with anything more detailed than vague statements.
Now, I have to admit something here, if you haven't heard this already: I am very jaded about film-watching.
Perhaps I had been watching one too many films that I had once found awesome that everything else that came later felt bland to me - such as Brave, which I find to be filled with one too many story devices that I have seen before.
However, I am personally glad that once in a while there is a movie that slaps me silly for thinking that I have seen everything to see in movies. It so happens that the latest one is a game concerning movies.
I mean movie concerning games. I am not going to edit this out.
CLOSE-TO-MISLEADING MARKETING FOR WRECK-IT RALPH
I have to admit here too that I am one of those people whose first thought that comes to mine when they hear about game-related movies is an expletive. I certainly have thought the same about Wreck-It Ralph. I suppose that I don't have to tell you much about movies with video game licenses that give the impression that they are only there to feed off their license sources' popularity.
The irony that Fix-It Felix Jr. and many other games mentioned in the film are almost completely fictional could have made me less suspicious of Disney's product, but that Disney is jumping on the bandwagon of the dubious marketing stunt that is faking things about entertainment products of the past did not make me any less skeptical and cynical towards this film.
Here's another thing that I have to admit: I had immediately despised Wreck-It Ralph when I heard that it "celebrates" games and video game characters. Such cameos seemed like yet more frivolous promotion and popularity-exploitation to me, and I would say that my impression of these cameos did not change after having watched the film.
That gaming is now starting to become accepted culture (and thus profitable for the likes of Disney), barring attempts by some parties that are trying to demonize it, made me even more leery of this film.
All of the above prejudiced me enough to forget about Wreck-It Ralph after I learned about it.
SIDE NOTE: "SO HOW DID I COME ABOUT TO WATCHING IT?"
Some almost-expiring 75%-discount coupons for a cinema franchise had me picking months-old Wreck-It Ralph out of the rest that the occasional anti-hipster in me could care less to name.
I did not pick 3-D of course. To me, that's still a fad, though I suppose that some time into the future, there may be an astoundingly refreshing 3-D film that slaps me silly for thinking of it as a fad. This is not a joke, by the way.
Another thing that I have to admit here is my bias towards animated films. I really don't want to see familiar faces in films anymore, as much as I like certain actors/actresses; familiar voices are alright to me. That is why I tend to pick animated films instead of the rest as they tend not to have characters looking like their voice talents.
Yet there are exceptions.
On a near-related matter, I have to say here that film-makers who are making films with game licenses don't seem to consider that some actors/actresses could never even come close to looking like the game characters that they are portraying. They tend to make live-action films anyway, and that irks me a lot.
THE (REST OF THE) MOVIE SANS TWO POIGNANT MOMENTS (MORE ON THESE LATER)
Most of the movie was dull to me; it was trope after trope.
There is yet another "anonymous group" of conflicted people sitting on chairs in a circle. Fictional characters living in digital worlds that are visualized as facsimiles of the real one was done yet again in this film.
Ralph was yet another initially villainous character turn jaded, and this coming a few years after a certain other animated movie.
The appearances of cameo characters were ultimately inconsequential and at best little more than gags and nostalgia-bait. I certainly did not bother to spot this-and-that game character in the movie's scenes.
The true antagonist of the film was perhaps easy for experienced movie-goers to pick out even before said villain was revealed due to the inclusion of a certain speed-related (and hazardous) past-time as a story element.
The elements about the film that I appreciate the least are the inclusion of a femme fatale and her unlikely love interest and yet more savagely destructive bugs. I find these tropes very tiresome.
Then, there are perhaps some pokes at gaming culture and its Internet-based half, specifically when one character misheard/mispronounced "Duty" as "Doodie". This is perhaps not a coincidence, and if it is indeed a poke at Activision's money-printing franchise as I suspect, I do not appreciate it as such poking is yet another tiresome, juvenile fad in the gaming community.
I find it disappointing that the rest of the movie is so run-of-the-mill when compared to the two moments that will be explained shortly.
THAT TWO POIGNANT MOMENTS
I don't know who is credited with these two moments. However, I doubt it is Rich Moore as he is mainly an animator; Moore's student, Jim Reardon, is the kind that makes parodies out of popular works of fiction; I don't know who Phil Johnston and Jennifer Lee is.
If none of them can be credited with these two scenes, that would leave Clark Spencer, who is known for having been a producer for some animated films that would have been thoroughly run-of-the-mill if not for certain similarly heart-wrenching moments. Of course, it can be argued that the contribution of producers to their films are hard to trace.
Now, if only the rest of the movie can be written in such ways.
TAKE-AWAY: I wish that film-makers will just shed the tendency to exploit that other entertainment industry and focus more on what they do best: making films. Specifically, they should throw any tendency to make use of their licenses to market their films, and instead focus on creating what they believe would be particularly memorable moments - just like they would do for any other film, if they have the calibre to keep this in mind all the time.
Whoever that thought of those two scenes in Wreck-It Ralph certainly had, and I would say that the sub-segment of films that concern video games is a lot better off with the likes of this movie being in it.
P.S. I am aware that I haven't made a blog post for a long time; that is because I feel that it is pointless to do one when I cannot reply to any responses, which in turn is due to a glitch that prevents my posts from appearing in LiveFyre threads, including the one that you might write a post into below. However, I suppose that I was impressed quite a lot by these two moments in Wreck-It-Ralph that I was inspired to write this anyway.
P.P.S. I recall that a certain GameSpot editor wrote an editorial about Wreck-It Ralph. Can anyone recall it exactly?
Season's greeting to those who celebrate Christmas in whatever form!
Oh, and I wish you a happy Gregorian new year too.
Cover Shot (Exact original image source uncertain)
(Note: I am aware that the picture may well be the result of some person's imagination.)
Firstly, I am not a frequent consumer of console hardware or console games. However, I do acknowledge their appeals though, especially that of consoles being mainly dedicated gaming hardware.
Personally, I am wary of the proprietary restrictions that come with being a (legitimate) consumer of console products, but I do recognize the conveniences that are provided by these, such as being able to send faulty hardware for refurbishment (albeit for a fee), as well as the ease of design that developers get from having to work with systems with specific (albeit somewhat limited) technical designs.
I also find this very convenient for moving a player character about a 2D plane.
In other words, I am a lot more open to console gaming than you would think.
A HOPE FOR MORE VARIETY IN GAME PRODUCTS
First things first: the technical designs of console machines will make it likely that game designs eventually hit a technological barrier. When this may happen is debatable, of course, but it is difficult to argue that it won't happen for certain. Besides, there had been generations of console machines that are more sophisticated than their forebearers that came along to usurp their predecessors as the dominant products in the console hardware markets, thus making it difficult to refute this claim.
Non-game products are intended to extend the life cycle of console machines.
Of course, I am aware that console-makers are resorting to adding non-game-related functionalities to the console machines. However, this effectively turns them into general home entertainment devices, away from their roots as dedicated gaming machines. This may not be pleasing to puritan gamers of course, but any wise person would realize that these people are no longer the target customers of console-makers.
Personally, I am in favor of these decisions of the console-makers, as the console machines have the technical prowess to support applications other than just gaming. I find it wasteful if all those electronics are dedicated to only segment of digital entertainment. Yet, even these non-gaming applications will hit the aforementioned design barrier eventually.
That said, returning to the matter of next-generation consoles, having consoles that are more advanced than the current-generation ones would allow for even more applications, which of course means more variety of entertainment options to be had for the customer.
Perhaps more importantly, more advanced technology allows for more sophistication in the games that would be designed for these machines. Of course, this statement is ultimately just a forecast, based on examination of previous generation consoles and their games. One could argue that the only improvements so far have only been aesthetics, though another can argue that games that were once limited to the computer platforms are already appearing on the consoles, namely the shooters, the simpler ones of the real-time strategy genre and of course turn-based strategy games.
On the other hand, it remains to be seen whether consoles would be just playing catch-up with the computer platforms or not when it comes to offering variety in games.
It would be easy to presume that next-generation consoles will be more technologically sophisticated in order to offer more variety in games and non-game products. However, there is the doubt that there are ...
UNCERTAINTIES IN DESIGNS AND OFFERING OF GAMES ...
Now, I am not one to have no skepticism and be all "glass half-full" - or "all-full", if I would be deluded enough to think that there cannot possibly be any issues when I do not have any information or guarantee that nothing could go wrong.
(Yes, there are people like these - namely those that say that "console-makers have learned lessons from the past" or that "the next-gen consoles won't be expensive" when they do not have any concrete data to support these claims.)
The only way to clear these doubts is by having more information on these next-generation consoles, but all there are to be had seem to be merely unverifiable statements and images that may or may not even be true.
Hopefully, the differences that next-generation consoles have compared to their predecessors are not just only aesthetic. (Orbis is not entirely confirmed to be the PS4.)
There is little if anything concrete on the designs and specifications of the next-generation consoles that Sony Entertainment and Microsoft Games are developing, and whatever claims there are, if they are true, only pertain to designs that are still on the figurative drawing board.
Then, there are the games that would come in the wake of these would-be new consoles. Looking back at the history of past generation of consoles, console-makers made use of launch line-ups of games that are convincingly different from those for previous-generation ones to market their new consoles with.
The Wii U, if it can be considered a next-generation console (and there are many opinions that express doubt at this or even outright denial), could be seen as having failed to do this.
After all, the confirmed titles for the Wii U include many games that have already debuted on other platforms, or are continuations of franchises that have been around for a long time.
There is a silver lining to the Wii U's line-up of games, of course, such as ZombiU, which has a control option that I find somewhat refreshing, namely moving the Wii-U gamepad around for finer aiming, as opposed to using only analog sticks (which I do not consider to be practical enough for this purpose). Moreover, the usual control options for console games are still there on the gamepad, e.g. the usual D-pad layouts and analog sticks.
The use of two screens (one on the TV and the other on the gamepad) may allow for features that are infrequently seen in video games, like tracking and manipulating two objects of interest separately and independently of each other (which is a feature that some games for Nintendo's current handhelds have done already, I am aware, and perhaps which the VITA and PS3 would do).
I am very much aware of the jeers that these are just "gimmicks", if you are thinking that I do not. However, I would say here that if not for these gimmicks, console machines would just be playing catch-up with the computer platforms, as suggested earlier. (I am also aware that the more snobbish of PC elitists would love to keep claiming this.)
Without these gimmicks, there would be nothing to differentiate games on console platforms from those on the computer platforms. Of course, others (likely the same snobbish PC elitists) can argue that whatever the console platforms can do, the computer platforms can do, but I am not seeing any concerted effort by hardware- and game-makers to develop the same gimmicks for the computer games market (for which the same snobs would say that these gimmicks are not wanted, of course).
(Side note: Much of what the more outspoken of PC elitists say are bitter, sanctimonious and exaggerated arguments that are often not substantiated by hard data and unarguably relevant facts, by the way.)
It remains to be seen if Nintendo and its game-making partners would utilize the potential behind the Wii U's gimmicks, but if Nintendo wants the Wii U to be as successful as its predecessors, it had better provide support for game-makers who have ideas for the Wii U, and not just help them port existing IPs over to the platform.
... AND UNCERTAINTY IN COST INFLUENCES ON DESIGN AND PRICING
With more advanced technology, the new consoles would be more expensive than previous consoles which use older technology. This is a difficult-to-deny statement.
Of course, one can argue that the next-generation consoles would likely use technology that had debuted years earlier to cut costs, much like what had been done for the current-generation ones, but they would still likely have price tags that are higher than the current price tags of current-generation consoles (which have since dropped in asking price since their launch, by the way).
If this is so, this will ever pose a hurdle in getting consumers who are used to the current-generation consoles' prices to buy the next-generation ones.
A (rather naive) person could say that console-makers would sell the next-generation consoles at a loss to cut down its asking price and spur sales, while compensating by making money off the software products for the consoles. The same person would point to the past (again) to bolster this claim.
But here's a catch (I like saying this, I admit): the next-generation consoles have to offer products that have not been offered for previous- and current-generation consoles in order to be seen as offering something new. Otherwise, it would be seen as just recycling things that have already been done before.
Another catch is that investors may not allow this to happen. The likes of Sony Entertainment have sold some of their consoles at losses, promising investors that there would be pay-offs down the line from having a wider customer base for its software products. Although this move certainly did not turn out disastrous (at least for the PS3), the pay-offs have not been consistently substantial either, upon examination of Sony's yearly financial statements and the segments on its Sony Entertainment subsidiary.
Of course, if one is to look at somewhat-related facts, Nintendo appeared to have persuaded its investors to allow it to do this for the Wii U, citing the same promise of compensating by software sales (albeit this was reworded as "combining sales of hardware and software"). However, it remains to be seen if Sony and Microsoft can do the same without investors baulking and thinking that their executives have gone bananas.
On a not-entirely-unrelated note, this is popularly thought to be a hint at Donkey Kong, but the kanji above him (which Iwata said is a reference to Nintendo's work culture that is oriented around "creating something unique" - and another Donkey Kong game is certainly not "unique") may suggest that this is a sarcastic jab by Nintendo's leadership at its skeptics.
... AND DOUBTS OVER WHAT REALLY IS "NEXT-GENERATION"
I believe that the worst outcome that could happen is that the next-generation consoles are not really more technologically advanced. They might turn out to be just repackaging and restructuring of existing console technology in some new shell.
(Having gimmicks in addition is not the worst outcome to me. At least the gimmicks make the console remarkable, for better or worse; this is still better than recycling, which would be boring.)
I know, it is quite difficult to believe that this can happen for Sony's or Microsoft's next-generation consoles - but we do not have any guarantee that this would not happen, do we?
Using the example of the Wii U again, it has been argued, such as by the likes of Bitmob, that the Wii U is only "next-generation" because it is a successor to the Wii, and does not have other "qualifications" of being next-generation, such as having convincingly "better" technical specs than the PS3 or Xbox 360, and that its main difference is it having gimmicks in its control options.
Then, there are counter-arguments - usually by Nintendo's supporters, such as Nintendo Life - that the next-generation is "about the experience", that is, the utilization of gimmicks for gaming experiences that are more than just a single lonely gamer holding a conventional controller in one's hands and sitting on a couch.
I am using a lot of quotation marks here, because those who are putting forth these arguments do not seem to be aware that there is no empiric definition of what is "next-generation", much less any consensus. They are making unilateral definitions of what is "next-generation" as they see fit.
That there are all sorts of outlandish concept art for the next-generation is, to me, another indicator that people don't really know what "next-generation" really is, if it is anything other than a loosely-coined term.
ANOTHER HOPE: MORE OPTIONS AND FREEDOM FOR CONSUMERS
Personally, I consider consumer-friendliness to be the most important aspect of any product.
Unfortunately, this aspect is also the reason that I am not too eager to peruse some console-makers' products - specifically Microsoft Games' and Sony Entertainment's. (You may want to notice that I am referring to specific subsidiaries of the corporations that are Microsoft and Sony.)
Neither of them has gained my confidence. The legal agreements that customers have to accede to in order to receive services from either of them require customers to use their products in ways that are only sanctioned by Sony Entertainment or Microsoft Games, or else lose privileges for customer support and online services (i.e. Sony's PSN and Microsoft's Xbox LIVE), as well as face possible lawsuits if they publicly reveal ways to use their consoles that are not condoned by either console-maker.
I cannot stomach these (especially the lawsuits), and therefore when I was faced with the "take-it-or-leave-it" deals that they have, I leave. That is not to say that I haven't used their products before though - I thank my friends for letting me mooch off them for an hour or two with some console games that caught my interest.
Therefore, it is my hope that Sony Entertainment and Microsoft Games would at the very least, be like Nintendo when it comes to relationships between customers and them, i.e. being laid-back, having their figurative hands off the customer and letting the customer do whatever he/she wants with the console machines.
Otherwise, the likes of Ouya can always claim to be "better" than what they can offer, despite criticisms that arise from Ouya's requirements that its games be either "free-to-play" or demos, to cite just one perceived setback (which I do not personally see as a problem, but I know some other people do).
After all, Ouya is having collaborations with open-source organizations like XBMC and Google Android - something that remains unheard of for Sony Entertainment's and Microsoft Games' consoles (or at least not that I know of; I am having difficulty finding info for any such collaborative project for the Xbox or Playstation).
These two mascots might never appear next to the logos for the Xbox or Playstation.
I am not saying that I would be supporting Ouya whole-heartedly and without reservations; besides, I didn't contribute to its Kickstarter project. However, I can say that I have far less aversion to Ouya than I would PS4/Orbis or the XBox 720/Durango, which I expect Sony Entertainment and Microsoft Games to shackle with stifling legal agreements.
That's all that I would write for now. I may update this blog post with more things if you would leave a suggestion. That said, happy Thanksgiving, Deepavali and Muharram for anyone who are celebrating/observing them!
My Recent Reviews
The initial iteration of the Tesla Cannon was considered overpowered, resulting in some people forgetting the importance of their role - namely the terribly careless Technician in this video.
If your team is actually any good at preparing for dangerous situations, you will find that as the team's medic, you can just sit tight and shoot the occasional bug that slips past them. On the other hand, it can be quite uneventful.
Against rather overwhelming odds, an experienced (and very lucky) player manages to complete the mission on the Hard setting.
May 19, 2013 3:56 pm GMTGelugon_baat reviewed Sanctum (2011) and gave it a score of 7.5
May 19, 2013 7:24 am GMTGelugon_baat added Metro 2033 to their now playing list
May 18, 2013 6:03 pm GMTGelugon_baat posted a new blog entry entitled Maybe Film-Makers Can Do Something with Games: A Remark about Wreck-It-Ralph
May 17, 2013 8:53 am GMTGelugon_baat posted in the topic Clarification on Thread on Possible Bandodger on the Moderation Clarification Station (formerly Ask the Mods) board
May 17, 2013 2:38 am GMTGelugon_baat posted in the topic Andrew Prokhorov's Modesty/Resignation Very Refreshing on the Metro: Last Light Forum board
May 17, 2013 2:23 am GMTGelugon_baat posted in the topic Possible Bandodger on the Moderation Clarification Station (formerly Ask the Mods) board
May 16, 2013 8:55 am GMTGelugon_baat reviewed Beneath a Steel Sky and gave it a score of 7.5
May 15, 2013 8:04 am GMTGelugon_baat added Tyrian 2000 to their now playing list
May 14, 2013 7:03 am GMTGelugon_baat reviewed Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones and gave it a score of 7.5
May 11, 2013 6:56 am GMTGelugon_baat added Sanctum: X-Mas Carnage to their now playing list