Why Conservatives and Liberals Should Respect Video Games

Warning: this post is political!

If you pay attention to politics, you’ll notice that neither Republicans or Democrats are fond of video games. Every single politician and news show equates video games with underachievement, corruption, and societal ills. If either party recognized gaming as a huge mass medium that improved society in many ways and brought people together, we’d have to sit through fewer horror stories about some video game you’ve never heard of being a form of mind control that caused someone to commit a crime, and any politician who supports them would earn major support themselves. Instead, Conservatives think video games are corrupting our children, and Liberals think they’re turning us into antisocial, bigoted reprobates. Neither of these things are true.

Conservatives should be championing the challenge of video games. When old adults born before the 1970s talk about video games (which tends to be a Conservative stereotype), they usually say we WATCH video games. No, we don’t WATCH them, we PLAY them. With a controller. Unlike movies and TV, you don’t passively sit and absorb a video game. The vast majority of them require players to master a set of skills throughout a series of levels. When you fail, you get sent back quite far, usually to the beginning of a challenge. As you play it more, you learn more about mechanics and strategies you can utilize. Upon repeat playthroughs, you become better than you previously were before. I have definitely learned more about patience, discipline, and other adult attributes by playing difficult children’s video games than I have through watching adult movies. Conservatives talk a big game about bringing the world back to places of manliness and grit, but see video games as an obstacle to this. Of course it’s not good to become hopelessly addicted to them, but even ones starring cute or childish content can make us stronger.

Liberals, you’ve got something to learn too. I understand you want video games to be more inclusive, but the thing is, they already are. SJWs telling us how to behave isn’t needed because I can already go to Twitch.TV and enjoy myself watching a Mexican play NES games, a guy from Trinidad play Super Mario 64, and a Pakistani play Perfect Dark. Simply enjoying fun video games with people is what melted the race and gender barriers. Plus, the way games empower player characters isn’t some ableist statement, it’s the opposite. The less able can get their mobility and dexterity wishes through a fun gaming experience. Nobody goes to conventions to listen to lectures on how to stop being such a racist bully. They just want to enjoy something they like and meet new friends.

The way I can tell video games have truly made it into accpetancehood is when the most powerful politicians (especially from Germany, Australia, and China) stop demonizing them to further a political campaign. This will require work- gamers have to band together and conditionally support anyone who’s got their back. There are not only huge political gains to be made in doing this, there are also many other gaming-specific benefits.


Ryan Recommends: Adventure Pals

Do you like old and obscure video games? I sure do. The Adventure Pals take you through some pretty entertainingly bad ones, and they laugh their way through all of it. There’s disc-based Sega games, Year One PS1 games, and plenty of imports as well. Some of them qualify as kuso-ge, but the AP’s give them a chance. Some of the games they do are the first footage of them on YouTube.

Ryan Recommends: Leo DS

Leo DS is a gamer from Brazil. He currently lives in Germany, and makes unpopular, but very interesting, youtube videos. Mostly, I just get bored listening to someone ramble on and on, but there’s something weirdly charming about the way Leo structures his sentences and yanks you back into laughter with a funny statement or wording. He seems to be one of those nostalgia retrogamers who discusses the horrors of the modern industry and how certain things are preventing better games from being made, but I just find him more relatable and less elitist than most of his ilk. He doesn’t think he’s better just because he was born earlier. For how long he rambles, he just gets to the point and doesn’t disguise his message in flowery dialogue to make it look more sophisticated. I think it’s because he doesn’t have any sponsors or patreons or contractual expectations towards reviewing all the new games and then advising us not to buy/get hyped for them (unlike certain other youtubers). Overall, I would say Leo DS opened my mind more to gamers who grew up in the 8-bit generation.

Pink Pong PAL PS2

Pink Pong is the PAL version of Love Pingpong. It is essentially the same game, except in English. Non-Japanese speakers now get to read what the girls are saying to them, although they can’t hear them. This version, much like most pre-2010s games, took so long to come out in other territories that it’s practically a remaster. There’s no voice acting (except for grunts and names of power shots) and no voice section in View mode. I do feel that this is the superior version- it’s one of the few PAL PS2 games to run in both PAL and NTSC resolution. On most NTSC TVs (if you happen to be an importer like me) PAL games are off-center, flickery, and black and white. Before the game starts, you can change it to NTSC, which fixes it to make it colorful and fast. Playing it in PAL (which it starts on) is boring because of how slow it is. It makes me feel bad for PAL console gamers who have had to deal with slower, less exciting speeds for virtually every game up until now. To think, if they switched it to NTSC, they’d have off-center black and white flickering.

Pink Pong is still a PS2 exclusive and is only available in only two of the three major regions, and it doesn’t look to get re-releases anytime soon. Still, both the NTSC-J and PAL versions are cheap. There’s a reason this game never made it to the U.S.- it’s a budget game and there was no need for it in a country where top-tier games were already affordable for enough people. Reviewers would have probably given it low scores for the lack of content. That’s a shame- games like this get missed because of the U.S.’s advantages.

How to properly introduce a game you like to someone

It’s becoming increasingly rare for everyone to like the same games these days, with video games becoming more varied and being made for every niche. How do you introduce people to your favorites? Take it from me, a fan of import games that’s made many attempts to introduce them to friends.

First off, you chose the game, so let them choose the modes, the options, and quitting time, unless they ask you to choose those things. you want them to be as comfortable as possible with a game they’re unfamiliar with. Also, let them choose if they want you to guide them through single player mode, or if they want to play multiplayer with you. If they choose multiplayer, then don’t let them win, but slow down and give them as many chances as possible to learn and demonstrate techniques. If you do nothing but obliterate them in competitive mode, carry them through cooperative mode, or backseat drive them through single player mode, they won’t have any fun or learn anything, and will want to quit. Remember, you’re here to train them, not beat them. If you’re so elite, remember that it takes a genius to play a fool. Whenever possible, find ways to make training matches last longer. In a tennis/volleyball/badminton/pingpong game, see if you can make rallies last longer. In a fighting or competitive puzzle game where stamina is limited, telegraph your attacks and see if they can block/dodge/counter it. If the game has complex controls, don’t try to interfere with their learning. If the game has handicaps, use them. That’s what they’re for. They’re not as adept as you are.

The number one priority should be if they’re having fun. You should already be having fun because you’re playing a game you like. Making them the priority is the initial price you pay for choosing the game. And later on, they might be willing to try the parts of it that you like. When they’re getting better, give them compliments, even if its for things that are virtually no-brainer to you. And never underestimate the power of being quiet and letting them ask the questions. They might not even know which things in the game are good or bad for them to touch. And finally, let them decide when they don’t want you or the game to hold back anymore.

Why Wii Sports Club is my favorite online game

Wii Sports Club is certainly out of the ordinary for online gaming- it’s a sports game, and it’s on the Wii U. Usually, online gaming is associated with FPS games on an Xbox console or PC genres on PCs. What makes Wii Sports Club the one I want to commit too out of all the other offerings?

First off, the uniqueness that I just mentioned. Wii Sports Club could be thought of as an HD Extended Cut of the original Wii Sports. One thing that puts it above its predecessor (for me, at least) is its online mode. Here, the linear succession of incrementally increasing challenge opponents is replaced with a sea of potentially endless and ever-evolving online opponents. You may never know where you stand or how big the skill range is (the progress bars are poor indications of it, but more on that later) but that gives you an unlimited amount of rivals to discover.

Second, the lack of modes and features. This is a positive because it means there’s virtually no downtime fretting or fighting over which options and rulesets to use. Instead, you get one, two, or three modes that work for everyone and allow you to just get to the game as efficiently as possible. It’s a quality over quantity approach.

Third, the duration of online matches are short and setting them up is easy. There’s no subscription or account details you have to set up within the game. Creating a Mii is simple compared to a more realistic avatar. Matches are compressed and are far shorter than a match in an average sports video game. You could pop in for a few quick matches, but the ease at which they can be set up might make it hard to quit. In addition to that, matches can be started in a handful of A button presses- one to get out of the results screen, one to select keep playing, one to select play with anyone, and one to select start. Automatic pairing is hassle-free- the game simply takes whoever entered the most recently and pairs them up with you.

Fourth, the community is among the most pleasant I’ve ever seen in an online game. There’s no harassment, and disconnects are very rare. Losing players will either try their best or forfeit and take the loss. They won’t turn off their console, nor will they complain about formidable opponents on the Miiverse. Besides, it would take a long time to turn the console back on and get back to the game. The fanbase consists of adults who understand it’s a game and not a lifestyle. They also have responsibilities and aren’t going to play it all day either. This does result in player droughts, but it is a long-lasting game that didn’t have in initial 3-month surge of players before having it quickly evaporate.

Lastly, mastery of Wii Sports Club is dependent entirely upon your skill. There are no level ups or quirks or perks to equip your Mii with to make them better with no effort on your part. I like it when games depend entirely on me to get better at them. WSC superficially has filling up experience bars, but they aren’t even indicative of the players’ skill. Upsets can and do happen frequently. The game could remove them in the online mode entirely. This game is entertaining enough to not need a “false motivation” to play it.

How NX can have a successful launch

The New Nintendo Console will possibly launch in the holiday season of this year. Launches are important for consoles. The early stages of a console’s life can solidify its fate, so plan carefully.

The goal of the launch titles is to get the console out there. Regardless of past successes or failures, a new console is a blank slate. While successful games usually depend on polish and lastability, the goal of launch games is simply to perform as many jobs to as many demographics as possible to get the console out there and prove it’ll be a viable entertainment device. Instead of delaying games to make sure they are perfect, the optimal strategy is to saturate a console with staple games that reaffirm the impatient masses that the console will be supported. While proven genre games are appreciated and previous-generation classics are good for giving veteran gamers a comfortable way to learn a new controller, you need to make the sports games and casual multiplayer activity games as well. (based on electronic versions of cards/board games/toys).

Targeting die-hard fans isn’t going to work if you don’t have any fanbase in the first place. Having a variety of games also appeals to different parts of a whole family. Casual games appeal to mom, sports appeal to dad, and genre games appeal to any amount of age groups for the kids. And there can be overlaps too. Games based on familiar genres and material also makes development processes shorter and easier. This doesn’t mean huge video game fans can’t enjoy the stories, fantasies, and creative visions of their favorite developers, but the console will have to eat its vegetables first. I can sit and dream about an Umihara Kawase installment for the NX, but popular types of games that expand the audience have to be the top priority. And even then, consoles can’t switch gears and abandon huge parts of their audiences even after they get the momentum rolling. Even the install base of a Wii won’t sell mediocre late titles. When I go on forums, I see many people suggesting new installments/remasters of their favorite niche series like Golden Sun. That won’t do good.

So, what would my idea of the perfect Nintendo launch title be? Well, considering they’ve been a toy company for almost a century before their video game ventures, I think a collection of games based on their pre-NES toys would be pretty cool- sort of like a fully realized version of the 9-Volt WarioWare microgames. It would be pretty much a no-brainer for Nintendo to make- they could have virtual rooms where you guide a Chiritori or grab things with an Ultra Hand. You could also try to solve a Ten Billion puzzle, as well as variations of it (and even easier versions). There could even be games from the Color TV Game series and some pre-Donkey Kong arcade machines, which are virtually impossible to find and unplayable on modern TVs. It would be a great pack-in game that would probably even do a good job of demoing motion controls as well. It’s a win-win- a cheap and easy game to make that’ll also do great at providing for a launch library.