Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

10
Nov
10

Video Gamers Have Power Over Their Nightmares

I found an interesting article worth mentioning…

A recent study suggests that video game players could have the power to alter their nightmares, turning the tide on the things that go bump in our subconscious minds. We are the Dream Warriors.

Jayne Gackenbach, a psychologist at Grant MacEwan University in Canada, thinks that gamers might have the power to alter their dreams.

Gackenbach’s main area of study used to be lucid dreams – dreams where the dreamer watches from outside of their own body. 3rd-person dreams, if you will.

Her studies veered towards video games in the 90’s, after she watched her son repeatedly kiss the box of a new Nintendo console on the way home from the store. Something that makes perfect sense to any gamer seemed strange to an outsider, and so she shifted her studies to incorporate gaming, perhaps as a way to cope with her son kissing cardboard boxes.

As she studied past research on video games, Gackenbach began to see parallels between lucid dreamers and gamers. Both groups have better spatial skills, for instance, and are better at coping with motion sickness. Both are able to achieve high levels of concentration and focus.

Both lucid dreams and video games are forms of alternate realities, though one is the result of a biological process and the other technological.

“If you’re spending hours a day in a virtual reality, if nothing else it’s practice,” said Gackenbach… “Gamers are used to controlling their game environments, so that can translate into dreams.”

Gackenbach further explored the relationship between lucid dreams and video games in a series of two studies published in 2006. The first surveyed a group of hardcore gamers and a group of non-gamers, with results suggesting that frequent gamers were more likely to have lucid dreams than non-gamers. Furthermore, the dreaming gamers evidenced dream control, the power to actively influence their dream worlds.

The power to control dreams!

The second study, conducted to narrow down information from the first, showed that while gamers did have control over their dream worlds, the control was limited to their dream selves, as if controlling a video game character.

They also tend to flip between first and third-person view.

If gamers could control dreams, what about nightmares?

Gackenbach explored that question with a new study in 2008. Using a group of 35 males and 63 females, she studied threat levels gleaned from after-dream reports. The results indicated that not only gamers experienced lower threat levels in their dreams, they also experienced reverse threat simulation, where the dreamer turns the tide of the nightmare, becoming an even bigger threat.

“What happens with gamers is that something inexplicable happens,” Gackenbach explained. “They don’t run away, they turn and fight back. They’re more aggressive than the norms.”

In our dreams we are fearless. In our dreams we are also particularly brutal, unafraid to bring a little bit of the old ultra-violence to bear against the nightmare nasties.

“If you look at the actual overall amount of aggression, gamers have less aggression in dreams,” Gackenbach said. “But when they’re aggressive, oh boy, they go off the top.”

See? We’re totally dream warriors.

Gackenbach hopes to use the information she’s gleaned from studying gamers’ reactions to nightmares to see if she can apply it to victims of post-traumatic stress disorder, a symptom of which is usually terrifying dreams. Could video games help control PTSD? That’s what she aims to find out.

She’s also studying the effect violent games have on dreams, based on ratings given by the ESRB.

Whatever her results show, I’m sure the video game dream warriors will be able to handle whatever their subconscious doles out.

See original article here

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22
Oct
10

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

The change:

This game does not follow the kanon of the previous ones. This is a whole new legend.
We need to remember that this game is not developed by the ordinary Castlevania team. Mercurysteam from Spain is behind this one, under guidance by Hideo Kojima. If you played the old Castlevania games and expected to experience Symphony of the Night, or Super Castlevania in 3D, you’ll be disappointed. But make no mistake, this is a great game, but you will just not get that “Vampire Killer-feeling” as you used to.

The prints of Kojimas mind are many in LoS, although much more subtle than in the MGS-series. This time, the plot presented to us through previews and trailers are not to kill Dracula. This time we’re gonna save our fair lady, much as in Dantes Inferno and Shadow of the Colossus. This tells us that this game is different from the other ones. But don’t worry.
Dracula has an appearence in this game to.
Kojima is a genius and he seldom fails when involved in a game. The minutes that follows after the end credits will make you understand and when you’re done shitting bricks, let’s all wait for his next nocturnal project in childish anticipation.

Gameplay:

This game is addictively fun.
Not only is the gameplay wonderful (clever mapping of the controls, dynamic use of magics, sub-weapons and the whip) but the replay value is great as well. You’ll have a lot of techniques to learn and by revisiting levels and chapters, you’ll gain the XP required in no time – and have lots of fun doing so. There are three kinds of crystals representing life, light magic and shadow magic that you need to collect. While on the world map, you can easily check which levels you’ve missed crystals or weapon upgrades on and since you’ll need specific abilities to reach to the places where these items might be, the stat screen on the map comes in handy for these revisits.
Another thing that I find awesome in this game is the boss fights. They demand more than just button mashing and when you’re playing it on the second hardest difficulty, that is not a suggestion. It’s a must if you want to succeed. The diversity of actions gives you a splendid control of the situation in an user friendly way.
So if Gabriel dies, it is not the game who fails – it is you.

The story:

I did not find the story very compelling. Or entertaining.
It didn’t made you feel like “Holy shit! What will happen next?!” or anything like that. It’s an okay story, but WAY too thin and in lack of substance. A classic move in previous Castlevania games is to refer to other games in the franchise, but this time, I felt that was lacking. Sure, some characters and  locations was sharing names with previous equivalents from the predecessors, but it was not enough. The game was TOO new for an old fan of the franchise like me. Much like FF13, but this time I didn’t want to flay the characters and push them down a slope in a barrel full of salt.

The music:

The soundtrack is awful. Come back, Kinuyo Yamashita! We DO love you!
The Castlevania series has been known to have a really strong soundtrack. When we first heard ‘Vampire Killer’ on the first stage, smashing torches and collecting whip powerups in 1986, we knew that the music was awesome. We still know that it is. In the coming games, new songs appeared, but there were almost always a few old classic from an earlier game turning up somewhere. In Symphony of the Night, we fell in love with a whole bunch of new songs that today is considered Castlevania classics. With this in mind, there were still a couple of old songs reappearing – remixed or remastered.

There is only ONE song present in this game that is familiar to us. Listen carefully to it, because that will be the only time you hear anything from the past in this game.
This soundtrack is just your ordinary, mundane philharmonic score with no personality. It’s good music, but it’s NOT Castlevania material and if that was what they aimed for, they failed epically.

The voice acting:

As you probably already know, Robert Carlyle and Patrik Stewart are the voice actors of the two main characters and you can tell that there is a huge difference between acting in front of a camera and giving voices to animations. They succeeded in displaying emotions aurally, but they do it as you would in front of a camera. This is an epic adventure in a videogame and that demands some over-dramatic acting if it should be convincing. It was good, but not good enough.

The trophies:

“Collect them all” and “play the game”.  Oh yeah – there’s one for each difficulty too.
Surprised? Didn’t think so.

In short terms:

Just like Final Fantasy XIII, this is a game for new players. Sure, FFXIII was utter crap, convincing us of the enormous ego that Square Enix has gained after years of success and what shitstained damage that can leave us with.
This, however, is not that bad. There are new developers and a TOTALLY different mind supervising the whole thing.
But this is not a Castlevania game.
Yes, it has the same title and yes, the main character is named Belmont, but NO – this is not what some of us grew up with. With that put aside, the game is still great and I recommend you to play it, especially if you’re not familiar with the old series.

PS. By demand from my dear co-writer, I’ll recommend you to check out the Castlevania Wiki in case you’re not aware of the earlier games.

 

Why Dracula should fondle Big Boss…

The end is the beginning? – Beat the game and find out 

Solid Belmont – The spirit of Kojima is everywhere and I like it

Violence is fun! – Some bosses are just awesome to confront

Jooyyy….stick. – Tactical gameplay FTW

02
Oct
10

Videogame Style Guide Book

No review this week!
We’ve too busy feeding our abuse known as Borderlands.
It’s been far too long since we played it together and we got splendidly stuck with it last night, thus the “duty” to resume this fine social endeavour.

In the meantime – please enjoy this awesome guide that I happened to find a while back. It’s informative and thoroughly written and I’ve been wanting to post it anyways, so here you go.

See you on friday!

Videogame Style Guide Book