This is looking at indie videogames and Steam but, as always, it remains relevant for publishing and Amazon, too.
So after flunking out of Monster Hunter: World the other day, I decided to give Black Desert Online another shot.
I’d played it before briefly on my old computer, which didn’t handle the graphics well and consequent made the combat too annoying. But I have a new computer now, and I reinstalled it, and… I’m really enjoying it?
- Really obnoxiously pretty (and fanservicey!) characters in the character creator.
- Combat is pretty fun, even for noobs like me who aren’t great at that “action combo buttons” style of play.
- Interesting zone mechanics around exploration and unlocking content. (Talking to NPCs actually matters!)
- Cities actually feel alive and populated, even in lowbie zones.
- Anime Nazis… anime fucking Nazis every fucking where.
- Like I’m not even kidding the first zone I was playing in was controlled by a guild whose Pepe the Frog fucking avatar was slapped on every guard in the city.
- I turned off all chat and nameplates and play like it’s an offline RPG makes the experience much better A++ would recommend.
- Can only be a human.
My little Wizard girl now has a little Monk boy to hold hands with!
I am… really enjoying Ragnarök M, which I should totally post about at some point properly. The game is just really fun, super addictive, and well-engineered for mobile but, more than that, being able to run multiple instances of it in Android emulators on my PC gives me massive, massive university flashbacks, where we used to mass-bot accounts in the original Ragnarök Online.1
I do find it kind of amusing that apparently Gravity took the architectural decision with their mobile game to, “Make it like people used to play RO. Y’know. With AFK botting.” but… I’m into it.
- This ironically means I now… don’t play it on my phone. Which… go figure? I should really roll up that third account… ^
There’s something here that often confuses outsiders. Why is it that fans, those most-passionate consumers of a product and who identify with the product on some deeply personal level, are often the ones who are most hateful and spiteful towards those individuals who create the thing they love? Often this gets explained away as an overly zealous and protective passion, but the answer is both more insidious and more straightforward: fans are not loyal to workers; fans are loyal to brands. This is especially true of gamers, that young and predominantly male demographic explicitly and deliberately cultivated by videogame publishers throughout the 90s to identify strongly enough with a range of brands, to constantly invest money in new titles and hardware. The gamer’s allegiance is to ArenaNet, not the workers at ArenaNet who do the creative labour. Gamers are allies to corporations.
At the same time, the managerial class of the games industry has long seen the creative workers that actually produce games as disposable and easily replaceable. ‘A passion for games’ is held up as a primary requirement for working in the videogame industry, and those who have been brought up through the gamer identity are offered low wages and demanded to do unpaid overtime in return for so generously being given the opportunity to work in the industry. Despite videogames existing for over half a century at this point, they are still often called a ‘young’ medium. In large part, this is because the poor and precarious working conditions of many large studios mean many developers leave the games industry for other sectors once they enter their thirties. While alternative development models in recent years have disrupted this greatly, the blockbuster videogame industry persists as a cycle of passionate and predominantly male adolescents being cultivated into twenty-somethings who are crunched and burnt in order to make products for the next generation of passionate and predominantly male adolescents.
Brendan Keogh knows it’s about ethics in videogame management.
This is a long quote from a long piece, which is worth reading in its entirety.