Tag Archive: Video Games


I’m currently involved with a Gamerscore Challenge on http://360voice.gamerdna.com/. My first gamerscore challenge (if I remember correctly) was back in 2009-2010.  I must admit – coming to the store on my days or evenings off to play elementary, terrible games that just brought out our inner gamer aggression.  It wasn’t active aggression,  just passive. You could see it in our faces! The pain! The agony! TMNT – you suck.

Anyway, the challenge I’m involved with right now is called The Buffet Challenge.  You score 1,000 gamerscore points in 18 different genres of video games. There are at least 26 different genres to choose from as well.  Here are the following genres I could choose from:

  • Action shooter
  • Action/Adventure
  • Family
  • Fighting
  • Hack and Slash
  • Historic Shooter
  • JRPG
  • Karaoke/Rhythm
  • Modern Shooter
  • Oddball
  • Party
  • Point and Click
  • Puzzle
  • Race
  • Retro
  • Rockstar
  • Sandbox
  • Sci-Fi Shooter
  • Social
  • Sports
  • Strategy
  • Survival Horror
  • Top Gun
  • Wrestling
  • WRPG

So far, I’m playing a Point and Click game, meaning that you usually play in a first person view and you point….and click…on items to progress through the game.  An example of this game is CSI: Fatal Conspiracy.  The one I’m working on is Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper.

 

Nothing like cuttin' up prostitutes and figuring out who did it!

I was relatively excited about this game when I heard that BoZack , my boss, ordered it for the store.  When I was a senior in high school,  I chose Jack the Ripper as a subject for an English paper.  That paper earned me a $500 scholarship for my freshman year at college!  Onward to the video gameage: I was nerding out about the history I know of Jack the Ripper and the entertainment I receive from reading Sherlock Holmes mysteries.  Knowing that both are woven into a video game made my hopes rise a bit higher than I had intended.

I started this before the gamerscore competition started just to get an idea on how the game is going to play. I received approximately 100 gamerscore from the game, so I need to play another point and click game for 100 points to complete the genre.  As stated previously, my hopes were pretty high for this game.  The first chapter starts you out in Sherlock Holmes apartment, and you’re playing as Watson.  If you hit the X button,  you can toggle from first person to third person view. In my opinion, third person is about useless in this game. I don’t think I used it much, if at all.

As I kept playing,  I noticed all of these green magnifying glasses popping up when I got closer to an item.  When I clicked on one, it automatically gave me a description of the item.  I also noticed when you pull the left trigger, all of the items with green magnifying glasses popped up. What. Just. Happened? I do have to admit that I don’t play point and click games that often, but is it really supposed to be that easy? I was expecting it to be a bit more challenging. Then I realized that I was using this for a gamerscore competition, and I shouldn’t complain about complexity in a game that I want to be within reasonable time. After exploring Holmes’s apartment, an 80G achievement popped up! Looks like I’m on the road to a good outlook on this competition!

The history of the game (on Jack’s side) is pretty accurate. The names, locations, ages, dates, and manner of death were all correct based on what I could recall.

By golly, I think this is Elizabeth Stride!

After some tedious routine examinations of items, the real fun began. I started investigating the murder of Polly Nichols, Jack the Rippers’ first known/publicized victim.  This is where it can become a bit gory. The reenactments of the murders were pretty fun. There’s a chalk outline of the body (which, if you really want to know, is a myth and never really happened. The chalk outline could potentially ruin evidence around the crime scene) that indicates where the murder took place. When you click on the chalk outline, you’re given an image of a woman that has been murdered. There’s also a magnifying glass you click on in order to zoom in on the victim. The zoom-in isn’t too graphic, but it’s still enough to possibly make one queezy, especially the last examination of Katherine Eddowes.

Once the body has been fully examined, you’re pulled into the deduction and sometimes the timeline board. The timeline board tells you what time to place the figure, so it’s not challenging at all. You will have to pay attention to the deduction board, but you’ll know when you get it right since the clip boards on the far right turn green.  The deduction board is really just a matter of paying attention to dialogue and having some reading comprehension.

Deduction board.

Timeline Board

The cases are captivating as well as the logic Holmes throws into the case with his cunning demeanor. The puzzles were relatively easy, and there is no difficulty setting on the game.  The characters you come across are quite entertaining, like Danny…the uh, woman with ill repute who despises cats.

Meet Danny. She's allergic to cats and throws rocks at them.

The graphics and voice acting of the game are sub par, but if you can get past that and the fact that the game isn’t super challenging, then this game really isn’t half bad. The history is relatively accurate, even the potential suspects for Jack the Ripper are mentioned. Granted, the identity of Jack the Ripper is still a mystery, but there are tons of theorists out there that have attempted to explain their thought of who it potentially could be.

There was one part I was oooing and aahhhing over. Holmes and Watson discover some body trafficking was occurring with a certain group of individuals.  Long story short, you MacGyver your way into the second story of this seemingly abandoned house (there’s a lot of MacGyver-ing in this game). You come across a body lying on the table.

Oh, dear Watson. What do we have here? Elementary!

Turns out someone is attempting to preserve a body to look exactly like a picture you find in that room. The equipment lying on the table, the make up on the cart next to the table and the chemicals used to embalm/preserve individuals is exactly what they used in the 1880’s.  This made me extremely happy.  For those of you that don’t know, I’m ~this~ close to becoming a licensed mortician and funeral home director. I love it when games get history correct!

As you continue with the game, you begin to build more suspects. One of them happens to be Jacob Levy. I won’t ruin anything for you, but if you’re curious, you should google his name and see what pops up.  I really don’t want to give any of the game away if you plan on playing it. The ending sequence occurs when you talk to your prime suspect, and it  is quite eery. The suspect displays  his violent acts and then laughs maniacally at the end.

Personally, I really liked the story. It was intriguing with historically correct facts. Frogwares didn’t do too bad developing this game, but they also know what they’re doing since they’re primary focus is on games that feature Sherlock Holmes.  Creating a game with a fictional character (Holmes) to a realistic murderer (Jack the Ripper) was definitely interesting. The game is also an outlet to foresee a possible theory of who Jack the Ripper was during that dreadful era in Whitechapel.

I’m extremely glad BoZack decided to purchase this game for the store as it is one of my favorites. Not my ultimate favorite, but it will still be one that I enjoyed playing.  This just proves that BoZack buys and chooses some pretty awesome games for the store, and he’s a pretty awesome boss 🙂

I work and participate in an industry that’s usually dominated by males between the ages of 16 and 34.  Personally, I like saying that I’m that small percentage of women that participate in this activity.  I am by no means a professional, but I do consider myself above average in some areas.  If you think I’m talking about racing cars, you’re wrong. I’m talking about video games! That’s right! Let me give you a brief background on when I started playing.

I remember receiving my first console, a Nintendo, on my fourth birthday with my own television. One of the first games I recall opening as a gift was in fact, Barbie.

"A Glamorous Quest Full of Magic, Fun, and Adventure!"

I honestly didn’t know what to do other than play the game.  I remember playing it, but I didn’t get the enjoyment out of it that I was expecting.  I remember dodging some water fountains in a mall, throwing a ball to a dog so he could close a hatch,  some evil ice cream cones, and some REALLY irritated music notes and vinyl records. For some reason, this type of game didn’t fancy me at all.  My grandfather, who was a major influence in my life and is also the blame for making me a tomboy, noticed this.  He decided to rectify the situation the best that he could; Contra and Metroid were now in my possession thanks to good ‘ol Grandpa!

CONTRAAAAA

Samus!!!

To make a longer story short, Grandpa also got me hooked on the Final Fantasies, Silent Hills, Resident Evils – you name  a game, he has probably helped me retrieve it in some shape or form (legally of course).  Now, let’s get to the heart of the article.

I was chatting in IRC with a friend from a forum I belong to, and he sent me this link that he thought would peak my interest.  He was indeed correct!  The link contained an article written by Petter C. Beller of http://www.forbes.com/ on July 6th, 2009. The title is Female Gamers on the Rise. Ok. I think I’ll give this a read even though it’s rather short.  Little did I know that I would be marking this article up and down with a pen like a graduate student taking notes for their thesis.  Now, I do feel that I’m slightly biased when I reviewed this article as I am not your typical female, and I’ve been playing video games for twenty one years.  I still figured I would share my initial feelings when I read it.

The beginning of the article states that when you get on ‘online shooter games like Call of Duty or Battlefield:2142′ you hardly hear a female voice. I would have to agree with that. You usually hear a teenage male playing the game while breathing heavily into his mic without even realizing it.  That first paragraph of the article is something I completely agree with, however, the rest of the article just stung me in the wrong places.

We move forward:

Much of that rise is likely due to the popularity of the Nintendo Wii…console is easy to use.”

*Looks around* What? So, you think that other females can’t figure out how to use an XBox 360 or a PlayStation 3? The controls are too difficult? That statement rubbed me the wrong way. It made me feel like the Wii is the dumbed down version of a console for a female.  There might be some more hand-eye coordination involved in some games that are console specific, but I feel that any person is intelligent enough to figure out how to operate a controller for multiple consoles.  It just takes practice like anything else.  A professional basketball player isn’t pulled from an alley to be expected to know all of the teams plays in less than a day, are they?  Also, yes there are some girlie games available for the Wii, but I honestly don’t think that was Nintendo’s target. Nintendo wanted to make a family, friendly console that can make an activity a fun, physical experience for everyone.  I feel that family bonding was the main reason behind the creation of the Wii and some, if not all,  of the games.

…Wii is attractive to females…because of the ban on sexist material and graphic violence in games that play on its hardware.”

Ok. I admit. The amount of boobie physics can get a bit annoying, but after due time, you ignore it. You may say “Wow! Her boobs are as big as her head!” then it’s ignored.  Even though there are tons of family friendly games for the Wii, there are also not so family friendly games. I wouldn’t say there is a ban on them. No More Heroes is a great example. He uses a fluorescent bulb as his weapon, and he charges it in a rather phallic manner.  Dead Space, Obscure: The Aftermath, Silent Hill:Shattered Memories…all of these aren’t exactly family/’female’ friendly games.  I think this statement just bothered me because he made it sound like there were no mature rated games for the Wii.

 

Is that your weapon, or are you excited to see me?

“…Nintendo DS…started to attract female gamers earlier this decade…started to attract female gamers  with games such as Nintendogs which was specifically targeted to girls. The title simulates caring for a pet…can take their pets on walks.”

I can agree with this partially. I also feel that the Nintendo DS was the new revolution for handheld /  portable games and the touch screen.  Nintendogs aimed at girls? I felt it was aimed toward smaller children, but that’s just my opinion. One other huge revolution to think about was Tamagotchi. Who didn’t have one? Seriously?! You didn’t?! Oh man. I’ll let you borrow mine. I still have it!! I remember Tamagotchi was a huge success, and everyone (I mean EVERYONE) had one at my elementary school. Boys and girls alike! What if Mom and Dad don’t want you to have a real pet because you’re too young to assume responsibility? What if they find Nintendogs an outlet to any child to learn responsibility of taking care of a pet? (That’s the responsible pet owner in me).  I feel that Nintendogs and Tamagotchi were created to help assume responsibility of a living being.  Also, they’re pretty fun.

This is exactly what mine looks like.

Ubisoft…made Imagine games – a line that includes activities like babysitting, ballet, cooking…”

Okokok…hold on. Really? Yes, they sold a ton of copies within that line of games, but this made me feel like all girls should learn domestic or girl-like activities. Stereotype much? However, I’m also biting my own tongue with that statement. What if the parent wants the child to learn responsibility through simulation babysitting and cooking? Warning: Biased Ashley – While growing up, I don’t think I had a single game on babysitting or cooking. I turned out fine.  My cooking hasn’t killed anyone yet. Here I am, playing games that icky boys play, and I think my survival skill is up there.  Anyway, I guess I’m saying that if they make games like this, why don’t they make games for males on how to get a girlfriend or how to slam dunk or how to fix cars?  *shrug*

” ‘I think the biggest obstacle to growing the female gaming community is the trash talk that goes on in the online area,’ says Michael Pachter, analyst for Wedbush Morgan.”

I admit, I’m not the type of gamer to get my headset on and talk to a bunch of random people. I usually get my headset on to talk with some friends in a private party or private chat. Usually, when a female voice comes on, most of the male gamers can’t believe a person with a vagina has entered the gaming realm dominated by males.  Granted, I do put my headset on when I whooped up on them just to get some bragging rights. Everyone loves bragging rights…right?  Trash talk is an obstacle for any level headed, mature gamer.  It’s just super easy to mute them.

If you couldn’t tell,  this article rubbed me the wrong way, and I felt completely insulted.  To me, his article seemed a bit sexist.  I also may seem a bit biased since I’ve been playing games for a decent amount of time, but would another girl with gaming experience feel that way, too? I am in no way dissing the Wii since I personally enjoy some of the games that are Wii exclusive.

A few things that I felt could have been pointed out in this article:

  1. The term gamers could of been defined better. Gamers can be PC gamers, LARPer’s, tabletop gamers, and console gamers. How about gals that fall into those categories?
  2. Each console has a different association with a group of individuals. The Wii and Kinect (in my opinion) are geared toward families and or active individuals,  not necessarily one sex.
  3. There are games for every console that can fit different interest groups.  Want to ride some horses at your stable? My Horse and Me is for nearly every console (even PS2!).  Want to shoot some heads? There are a great handful of FPS’s for all consoles.  RTS’s? There’s a ton of the PC, and even more are starting to arise on consoles!

Yes, there are some females that play the games mentioned earlier in the post. I think the author of the article just approached his audience in an ill chosen manner.  Females that fit outside of this ‘criteria’ may find this article offensive and irksome. I know this is a subject I will touching on again in the near future, so watch out!

-Ash, a.k.a. TAGCDove