Okami: single player games are still relevant

Normally I would do reviews on my website, but considering the fact I’m out of the country and don’t have access to the main site as a whole, talking about the game on here for now will have to do. A proper review will appear on my website at a later date.

So then, Okami. Originally released on the PS2 in 2006, published by Capcom and developed by Clover Studios, and then re-released on the Wii in 2008 (because who doesn’t want to use the Wiimote to draw lines and circles?) … and then released on the PS3 in 2012 and then released again on the PS4, the PC and the Xbox in the ass end of 2017, you could say that this game has seen a lot of releases.

More impressive still is that the game was developed by Clover Studios, who went defunct in 2007 and were dissolved into Capcom overall. So the developing studio wasn’t even around to re-release their game as many times as it was released, or at least, not in their original form as developers. So how does a game – whose developers went under – see so many releases over a span of eleven years?

Probably because it’s a damn good game.

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Battleships in Space: Misleading Title

Come on, Lucas Film. We all know that there isn’t going to be an end to the Jedi for as long as you want to keep squeezing the Star Wars franchise by its balls to get out every last drop of coin you can. And if that metaphor was a little too explicit for you, all I can do is apologise and say that the metaphor is probably as shameless as the storyline of the newest movies is.

Which isn’t to say that I didn’t like the movie. It’s just… well, like I said, it’s a shameless retelling of the previous trilogy we got. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, either, and I’m not going to pretend that they aren’t at least trying to spice it up a little and add new spin to it; something I credit them for doing. After all, it wasn’t like Star Wars had a bad story, though I’d certainly accuse it of being hammy and melodramatic and the same applies here.

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Clashing Cultures are very Strange™

Seasons greetings! From Florida, I might add.

I have to thank my beloved mother for making me being in Florida right now possible, otherwise I’d actually be back in England writing this from my own desktop. Which I kind of miss a little bit and I’m excited to see next year, but also I don’t miss it one single jot at the very same time. My Christmas present this year was extending an originally three week trip to Florida into a three month one, skirting just under the ninety days I get to stay in the USA without a visa thanks to the Visa Waiver programme in place.

I’ve been here since October and preparing for it for even longer, which is why you haven’t heard anything from me until now. I also pretty much abandoned all manner of gadgetry aside from my phone, for pictures, and sometimes the internet just to see how badly the world was or wasn’t on fire.

Spending three months in a different country is an interesting experience, though. Three months is, after all, an entire quarter of a year. Most vacations are never that long, so while you can get a hint of culture, you never really see it for very long or need to acclimate to it. It isn’t like I haven’t been to America before either; I’ve spent a total of two or so months in Texas across two different trips at different years, a couple of weeks in Michigan and I’ve been to Florida previously for three weeks, too. But being here for three months has made me realise just how different things can be… and often it’s the smallest differences that make me stare the longest.

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The PewDiePie Problem

Once again, the “face of YouTube” PewDiePie has found himself in hot water – and once again we have a throng of people ready to rip out his proverbial throat and a throng of people ready to defend him to the grave, and seemingly very few people understanding the actual issues that are coming about as a result of this.

I’ll be very clear: I don’t like PewDiePie’s brand of humour. I did, however, used to watch some of his videos when I was younger, as the style of humour appealed to me more then than it does now. Felix – his actual name, for those unsure of who I’m talking about – would probably do well to keep this in mind in the future. Because you see, the problem with Felix calling somebody a “nigger” on his PUBG livestream is not, in fact, that he called somebody playing a pixel avatar a nigger. And I’d like to dub this the “PewDiePie Problem” because, frankly, he’s the biggest face of this problem that we actually have.

So caught up in the problem at face-value – with the virtuous warriors of self-imposed social justice feeling the need to demonise Felix for being a racist in their eyes, and the mass of people thinking that their favourite YouTuber has done nothing wrong and most certainly isn’t a racist for his actions – nobody seems to be focusing on what this means in the bigger picture, here. And that bigger picture is a lot bigger than anybody seems to give it credit for.

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About Autism: the Concept of Time

Preface: these posts are about my personal experiences and my personal opinion with regards to autism. I’m not a mental health professional of any sort, nor am claiming to be one. I also do not claim to speak for everybody that has autism, I’m discussing my own experiences. Please keep this in mind while you read any posts in the About Autism series.

It’s often said that time is experienced differently by individuals and that the concept of time itself is a purely human construction. Our idea of time as a society has been constructed and made based around us and what we do.

That said, I often find myself swept up in tasks or chores and generally not adhering – nor not able to adhere – to a schedule everybody else seems to have. Days and nights don’t frankly matter to me because I don’t process them the same way, nor do I process an hour the same way anybody else seems to either. Today, I want to talk a little bit about how I experience time and things that, as a result, I find frustrating or difficult to deal with. I’m writing it because I figure, why not? And maybe it will interest some of you.

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Dear Esther: a narrative about gamers

I’ve always had a soft spot for Dear Esther, the landmark “walking simulator” that had humble beginnings as a free-to-download Half Life mod and eventually saw a full release. In fact it even warranted itself a “Landmark Edition” some years after that release, featuring small but pleasantly updated graphics, director commentary and some additional audio.

While many did – and continue to – question the game’s validity as a video game at all, due to the lack of interacting with pretty much anything in the game, I’ve always felt that Dear Esther did two things incredibly well. The first: it stood to prove that a “walking simulator” is still just as valid a piece of media as any other average game, and can still offer an experience to the people playing it without needing to rely on the usual trappings of most games. The second, and more important: it was a fantastic narrative on video gamers, the very people playing all of these many thousands of games.

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