Tag Archives: PS4

Let’s Talk About Sony’s Censoring of Sexual Content

I’ve wanted to stay away from this topic, to be honest. I’ve fought it for so long that it’s kind of become a boring topic to talk about. But this particular round has not gone away, fans are still bashing the hell out of Sony for this current round of censoring of sexual content in video games, something that is continuous, has never stopped and switches between companies on a regular basis.

There’s a lot to unpack with this topic, but let’s start with why I had to finally put my two cents in on this very topic:

Will Someone Please Think Of The Children?!

“Regarding the regulation of the depiction of content, it’s simply a matter of matching global standards.”
“As for the freedom of expression… we have to think about what might be unpleasant for children and shield them from those things while also thinking and assessing ways to find a balance [for that expression].”


Atsushi Morita – President, Sony Japan

We all know the immediate counter for this comment, a comment that is such bullshit, a pure dodge of the question, featuring an answer that anyone with an iota of a brain cell in their head could figure out was an outright lie. 

Unless Japan literally has zero restrictions on who can buy games with sexual content in them, especially games that here in the West would be given an ‘M’ rating, the “we must protect the children” line is an absolutely ridiculous reason as to why Sony is suddenly making a heavy push to censor sexual content in the games released on their platform. For the umpteenth time, we have all the possible restrictions we can place on these games without outright banning the production of them. Games have warning labels on them that say the required age for the game, with descriptions of what is contained within the game. Stores are “supposed” to check the ID of customers who buy these games as well. There shouldn’t be any reason a child owns a game as explicit as say a Senran Kagura game.

Well…

Point The Finger Elsewhere

I don’t know how many times this has to be said. Apparently we’ll never stop saying it.

STOP LAYING THE BLAME SOLELY AT THE FEET OF GAMERS!!!

When it comes to both violence and sex in video games, there is a consistent push from parents, journalists, politicians, as well as the developers and publishers themselves to blame the player base for the scrutiny, the problems the industry is facing. Instead, we should put a mirror in front of all the groups I just listed, as they should be taking as much of the blame, if not more.

Parents for starters are the worst offenders. These lazy, irresponsible people are the ones who walk into a store, hear their son or daughter cry for more than half a second about something and then buy whatever it is they want to shut them up. I’ve watched countless times as parents walk into a store, ask for a copy of Grand Theft Auto, are told that this game is for 17 and up and will brush the employee off. Then they have the audacity to turn around and say their child is out of control.

You are supposed to be the one responsible for your child, not the black gaming box underneath the TV. It is your job to know exactly what you’re buying your children. If you’re buying your 10 year-old a game that is supposed to be for people about to graduate high school, use your fucking brain for a moment. And don’t give me the excuse that you didn’t know what you were buying, it’s your responsibility to do the fucking research. It takes one Google search to learn everything you need to know about a single game. And once again, if you’re too lazy to even notice the ESRB label in the corner of the box that tells you exactly what the game is for, you don’t get to complain. You failed not only as a parent, but a supposed “intelligent” lifeform.

Next are journalists. This is pretty straight-forward. The vast majority of the major outlets need to get off their anti-free speech platforms and stop complaining about every game that features a woman with any amount of skin showing. It has been because of Gamergate and the constant outrage culture behind sexually themed content in games that has put censorship on the table more often that it has been since the PS2/Xbox era. 

There is nothing wrong with this sort of content. We’ve shown through so many different sets of research and testing that there is no correlation between what gamers see and engage with while playing video games, and what they do in real life. Just like how shooters aren’t making kids shoot up schools, games with blonde elves in bikinis are making men suddenly leave their house to go rape women randomly. There is no reason to believe that and research supports that. Just because you don’t like the content, doesn’t mean it doesn’t get to exist. Get a fucking grip.

Politicians. Good lord. As if it’s bad enough watching a bunch of rich, crooked assholes yelling at each other over anything and everything, these bourgeois members think it’s up to them to dictate we, the not 1% should be doing with our lives. It’s not good enough for them that they tax us to near-death, constantly pass laws that benefit anyone besides us, and engage in pissing contests with other countries around the world (I’m not speaking about anyone in particular either), they now feel they need to control the few things we have left that we enjoy.

I’m sorry that you miserable curmudgeons are bored of grandstanding, campaigning and fundraising, but do us all a favour and mind your own goddamn business. It’s bad enough we have to deal with you letting the FCC fuck us over, letting big pharma fuck us over, screwing over everyone via health care, taxes, hydro, rent and whatever else you’re taxing us for, we don’t need you to tell us what we should be playing too. Also, get your shit together in Chicago. What the hell is with that gaming tax I’m hearing about?!

Finally, the developers and publishers themselves. You’re not necessarily a huge part of the problem, but your endless caving to pressure from people who don’t often buy your products anyway is a sign that you don’t care about your player base, your audience. I don’t care that a bunch of moms in Australia are yelling at you about violence in Grand Theft Auto, I don’t care that Kotaku, Polygon and other major “games journalism” websites are writing a ridiculous amount of smear articles, because they think breasts and butts are offensive. Stop caving to the vocal minority, especially the ones who never planned on purchasing the games they complain about in the first place.

We all know that the people who are holding the torches and pitchforks outside your building never planned to buy Dead or Alive Xtreme 3, Senran Kagura, or any game with similar content. You caving to them does nothing to help your bottom line. You know what does help your bottom line for these games? Doubling down, supporting the people who actually put money into what you produce. You know, the sensible thing to do as a publisher.

But I’m not going to sit here and act like the conversations about this current wave of censorship from Sony has bad points and bad apples on only one side of the debate. Oh no no no, there’s plenty of stuff on my side that’s being said that I cannot stand either.

The Console Wars Doesn’t Belong Here

The most irritating thing I’ve seen during this entire wave of outrage, debates, arguments, screaming matches, and everything in between, has been this overwhelming hatred coming from people clearly anti-Playstation, or at the very least sitting on the fence, looking for the next bandwagon to jump onto.

Anyone who’s acting like this is a Sony problem is clearly looking through the biggest pair of rose-coloured glasses that has ever been produced. These same people are acting like Nintendo is the white knight of games because they’re currently not actively censoring games with sexual content. The reality is that EVERY SINGLE CONSOLE goes through a round of censoring this kind of content. Nintendo, Microsoft and Valve have their own history of censoring games featuring explicit sexual content on their platforms. Don’t act like Sony is the only one doing this, it’s just their turn.

I’m not defending what Sony’s doing right now, they are 100% in the wrong. But for anyone to defend the other consoles is insane, they have all done their fair share of censorship as well. You are more than in your right to call out Sony for their bullshit, but don’t talk to me about how great your favourite company this week is doing. This isn’t a fanbase battle, this is a gamer-wide battle that we all need to be fighting together. The console war needs to fought on a different battlefield, this ain’t the one.

This Isn’t The Hill To Die On

Lastly, this is the point that might get me in trouble the most, especially with people on my side of the debate.

Let’s get one thing straight guys. Yes, it is important that we fight back against censorship, but let’s be honest here, how many of us were going to buy these games to begin with? I will admit, when the heavy bashing of Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 was abundant, I nearly purchased a copy from Play-Asia just to spite people. But in reality, would have I ever bought any of these games? In about 90% of these cases, the answer is no. The only game released this year I would’ve bought that falls into the same jurisdiction as all these games was Punch Line. I still plan on buying it, just not at the price it’s set at currently.

But in reality, how many of us are buying these sexual visual novel sort of games? These are the bulk of games being censored and I imagine the majority of people shouting about it have not and will not purchase the games being censored. I’ve always said that you need to vote with your wallet and this works both ways. If you want something to keep being made, you have to buy it. If you want certain practices to stop, you don’t buy the thing in question. So to truly have a horse in this race, you gotta have put some money into it. It’s fine to put your two cents in, but the amount of screaming, rage and even threats I’ve seen people post, it’s pretty ridiculous considering these people likely don’t even own any of these games they’re sending death threats to Sony about. Come the fuck on.

This Is A Real Issue, But We Need To Fight Smart

The vast majority of us that are on the side of anti-censorship, we know what the outrage culture looks like on the other side of the debate. It’s full of lies, deceit, twisting of words, crying over nothing, fakeness, an inability to listen to truth and facts. We all know what the other side does. So let’s take what we’ve learned from being on the other side and apply that to how we respond.

Don’t fight with fake outrage. Don’t fight with death threats. Don’t fight with deplatforming. Don’t fight with lies, deceit, twisting of words and all that bullshit. If you truly want to fight this issue, do it the right way. Say your piece without bias. This isn’t a console war, this isn’t a culture war, this is just a phase. Like Valve, Nintendo and Microsoft, Sony will eventually concede and be a little more lax on the censorship front. It will go away eventually. But it will last longer if we turn it into a war, an unnecessary battle.

We’re better than that.

Saturday Morning Rant: “Quality” Over Quality

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Horizon: Zero Dawn

At some point, folks…we’re gonna have to stop caring about how beautiful a game looks.

Seriously, we’re at a point now where games look damn good. No longer are we in the age of 8-bit, no longer are we in the age of pixelated 3D garbage, we are now in an age of graphic quality that is more than acceptable. Almost every major game coming out nowadays looks fantastic, there’s very few occasions where a Triple-A game comes out looking like a giant pile of shit.

So I think it’s about time that we stopped as gamers and fans, as well as game developers, worrying so much about how beautiful our game looks in 1080p or 4K, which I really don’t give a flying fuck about right now, 4K’s not cheap enough to justify it in terms of console gaming just yet. The cheapest 4K TV right now is $600 in Canada and that’s a 40″ TV. Until that price drops under $500, I don’t see why there’s a huge rush in terms of the gaming fanbase to push for 4K gaming, how many of us can actually afford that, especially when for half the price you can get 1080p, which is just fine!

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Trails of Cold Steel II

This screenshot was taken of the JRPG game Trails of Cold Steel II and this is also the PS Vita version (I play on a PS TV). I don’t know about you guys, but for a game that’s not even on the current console generation (released on PS Vita/PS3), it looks pretty damn good! Granted, the anime art style enhances that a little bit and lets the game get away with a little more, but then again, did Call of Duty 4 look terrible on Xbox 360? Did Mass Effect look bad on PS3? No! And they still don’t now!

The problem is that we’re currently in a generation where people will immediately reference the highest graphical quality game they’ve seen as the only acceptable standard now, whereas the reality is that games that are 5 years old are still more than acceptable today. We’re also allowing PC gamers to influence the overall opinions of graphical fidelity a little too much.

Take John “TotalBiscuit” Bain for example. I’m a huge fan of his work on YouTube, but if there’s one thing I get a little bothered by, it’s when he goes through a game and talks about what I perceive as minor things like close-up texture quality and things like that. Framerate, I’m behind him on 100%, but for the smaller things, they don’t bother me as much and I think that honestly the expectation that every single object in the game should look like the real thing, have zero blurry textures in the entire game, all that jazz…they’re way too fucking high. You are more than welcome to call a developer out when they’ve clearly half-assed their character models and haven’t optimized things properly, but something as miniscule as being right next to a brick wall and you can’t see every single tiny chunk that’s eroded over 100 years, that might be a tad bit much.

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Overwatch

I think it’s about time that we pull everyone aside and have a bit meeting and simply say that it’s time for us to focus on the gameplay again rather than focusing on how good our game looks in a screenshot. How many games in the current generation have come out and we’re praised before its release for being a gorgeous looking game, but then got poor reviews cause the actual game was boring, garbage, all that jazz? Think games like The Order: 1886, Knack, The Crew, Assassin’s Creed: Unity, Dead Rising 3, Tom Clancy’s The Division and the recently released No Man’s Sky and ReCore. They were all pretty looking games, yet had little to no substance game-wise, maybe they came out a broken mess, there’s a lot of things with these games that happened to cause it to be a poorly reviewed game, but before the game came out, everyone was talking all day long about how beautiful the game looked.

And that’s the key here, at the end of the day, a video game is a game. The focus should be on the game, or the gameplay, not about wowing audiences at E3 with pretty landscapes, horizons, all that shit. Sure, it does look fantastic, but haven’t we learned over these past few years that a lot of the best games haven’t been award-winning in terms of graphics? Shovel KnightOverwatchBloodborne and of course the various Nintendo games that have never been known for having the best graphics, they were all solid GAMES. Granted there are games like Uncharted 4 and Metal Gear Solid V that look incredible graphic-wise, but more of these stunningly beautiful games end up falling into the “It’s all right.” category more often than Game of the Year levels of quality.

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Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 5

Too many games come out these days lacking a core part of what makes a video game so interesting. In the search for obtaining the title of “Best Looking Game at E3”, so many games end up being released a broken mess, missing an engaging and interesting story with interesting and diverse characters, they’re missing core gameplay mechanics, the music is terrible and so much more. I’m so sick and tired of games coming out and not being all that fun, but they look really good guys! Isn’t that amazing?!

So for the love of god, folks…relax a little bit on the graphic quality stuff. We have reached a more than acceptable point in technology that we can easily pump out games that look pretty damn good. So let’s stop focusing on new graphic engines and start going back to our roots, making good fucking games!

And I think it’s about time we go back and look at the Super Nintendo once again, specifically a game like Final Fantasy VI.

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Over two decades old and it still looks pretty damn good, doesn’t it? If 20+ year old games can still look pretty good, maybe we can still find ways in the present day to make games that aren’t just good-looking in the present day, but will be good looking years from now.

Just a thought.

Quickie: PS4 Finally Getting Some Long-Needed Features

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There have been a number of features that Playstation owners have been asking for over and over again since the Playstation 4’s launch.

Well it seems in the next major update, we will be seeing at least some of those finally being released.

For me the biggest one is the notification of a friend going online, something I’ve dearly missing since transferring from Xbox 360 to PS4. But other features like Appear Offline and apparently being able to stream PS4 to your PC/Mac are also very welcomed.

Here’s the official list as posted by Sony:

  • Friend Online Notification – Want to know the moment your friends come online? With this update, you can, as we’ve added an option to be notified when members of your friends list sign on the network.
  • Appear Offline – Sometimes you want to play a game or watch a movie without being bothered by friends. Now it’s easier to go incognito as we’ve added the option to appear offline. You can designate if you would like to appear offline when you log-in or at any time from your Profile or the Quick Menu.
  • User Scheduled Event – Time for a play date! We’ve added the ability to schedule a future gameplay session with your friends on the system. When your event starts, users who registered for the event will automatically be added to a party so you can start playing right away.
  • Play Together – This features allows all members of a Party to see what each person is playing so that you can easily join a friend’s game, or start a new game together.
  • Remote Play (PC/Mac) – We’re bringing PS4 Remote Play to Windows PC and Mac. This feature won’t be available to test in the beta, but you can look forward to it soon.
  • Dailymotion – With this update, you’ll be able to live stream directly to Dailymotion on PS4. We’ll also support archiving live broadcasts, like we do for other streaming services.

I don’t know at this point when the update will be officially released, it goes into beta status tomorrow for those who signed up for it. I imagine it will be out sooner than later though.

Firewatch Spoiler Talk

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It goes without saying, but this article will contain full spoilers to the entire Firewatch story. So if you haven’t played/finished the game yet and you don’t want to know how the game progresses and ends, do not read this article!

Anyways, let’s start right off the bat with the opening sequence of the game. It seems a lot of people had a tough time getting through that first section. I don’t know why honestly, I mean it sucks for Henry, but at this point let’s be honest, we have zero attachment to either Henry or Julia, so for me personally, it didn’t hit me hard at all. For those wondering, I picked Bucket the Beagle, convinced Julia to commute and in the end, put her in a full-time care facility. I figured it would’ve been bad to take care of her myself, given it would likely lead to more alcohol issues, which after watching my girlfriend struggle through this part and picked just that, that’s how it happened.

When it came to the overall mystery of who was listening in on Henry and Delilah’s conversations, I flipped through several options for what the big reveal would have been. Initially, I thought it was some weird government indoctrination experiment (as the reports were supposed to make you believe) but then I had a more harsh idea of what was going on. I was convinced from about the halfway point until the big reveal near the end that when the story ended, Henry would wake up in a mental asylum being asked question after question. I was sure everything we played was all in his own head and the game was going to be about dealing with mental trauma, depression, all that jazz. Turns out after going back into the cave with the anchors, I was wrong.

I had at no point in the entire game thought that Brian Goodwin would be dead, let alone us finding the poor kid’s rotting corpse in the cave. The second I saw the body, I knew and a long “Holy shit…” escaped my mouth when that realization came to me. I realized the story was no longer about Henry’s mental troubles, it was now all about Ned struggling to deal with his son’s death. My girlfriend was upset the whole time after that point, playing the card Delilah was with Ned, thinking he killed Brian, was a bad father, all that stuff. I played half and half on this. Ned was a terrible father, but not because he was abusive or whatnot, but because he either couldn’t see or wouldn’t see that Brian was scared of all the advanced climbing he was having to do, clearly Brian was doing way too much too fast and in the end Ned had him do something that he wasn’t experienced enough for and because of that, Brian didn’t hammer in his anchor hard enough and the rope gave out, falling to his death. Ned knows it’s his fault, but still won’t quite admit it because even to the very day he’s found out, he still believes Brian was just being careless and not that he was inexperienced. Sigh, it always sucks having to deal with a dead child story.

Lastly, the ending. I get why a lot of people are not happy with it, it’s definitely a buzzkill after everything that had happened. We thought we were going to be attacked, possibly killed, that a much larger mystery was going on, all the things that were bigger than what the ending ended up being. But honestly, it shouldn’t be bothering people as much as it has been. Firewatch is clearly a game built on real people with real emotions, so why would the game end with some over the top alien conspiracy level of ending? It makes zero sense.

The only thing that sucks is we never get to see Delilah. This woman we spent hours talking with and we never got to at least see her face. I think it would’ve been much better for people if we at least got to see a photograph of her, at least leaving Henry something to remember her by, as regardless of what you say to her she leaves you and you’ll likely never see or hear from each other again. For a game that clearly wants you to care about the relationship formed between Henry and Delilah, they sure didn’t want to bring any closure to it. That I will accept as being frustrating.

So what did you think about the entire Firewatch story? Leave your ideas and comments below!

Firewatch Non-Spoiler Review

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While it’s short and perhaps a tad bit expensive for the hours you can put into, Firewatch is a fantastic journey with a unique art style, phenomenal voice acting and a strong, investing story, albeit with what some view as a weak ending.

The game is set in a massive forest park in Wyoming, you play the role of Henry, an older man with a (without spoiling it) a troubled past who takes the job as a fire lookout as a way to get away from everything he’s been dealing with. The job itself is pretty straightforward, sit in a chair up in a lookout tower and keep your eyes open for smoke and fires. Though as the game goes on, it becomes much more than that.

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The shining star of Firewatch is in its voice acting. This may be the game that feels the most real to me and the voice acting is large in part the reason why. Rich Sommer (Henry) and Cissy Jones (Delilah) do a phenomenal job with their respective roles and the chemistry between them is absolutely perfect. The relationship between Henry and Delilah is of a teasing manner at first, but as the game moves on, your choices can change just where the relationship goes. You can be nice to her, a dick to her or just toss around witty remarks like you’re a less-vulgar version of Deadpool. Any option you pick works and both voice actors make it work extremely well.

In terms of the gameplay, if you’re looking for anything with substance, you’re not going to find it in Firewatch. The gameplay essentially is walking around, checking your map and compass, picking up and examining things and talking on the radio, that’s about it. There’s no fighting, no shooting, nothing of high-focus value. It’s a far more relaxing experience, so you can just sit back and enjoy it.

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Another major plus for the game is its artstyle. The game is a mixture of modern art and cartoonish styles. The best I can compare it too is like a molding together of Team Fortress 2, Life is Strange and the art style of paintings you’d see in an art gallery. The vistas are breathtaking and every time you walk into a new environment is a wonder. It’s a shame that some sections of the map don’t shine as much, but then again how beautiful can you make a cave? It’s just a ton of rocks.

The one subject people are fighting a lot over is the ending. While the story itself is a wonderful journey, filled with many different emotions, the ending (without spoiling it) for most was either a letdown or just not what they were hoping for given the journey leading up to the end. It’s a tough call, but I think anyone who reaches the end of Firewatch in the end should be looking at the game as something more reminiscent of real life and the ending reflects that.

Finally, the game itself can be finished somewhere between 3-6 hours, depending on how long you take to go through it, whether you rush through or take your time. There’s really not much to do other than the story, there’s no collectibles, no alternate endings, nothing to really bring a lot of replay value to the game. Which sets a few people off with the $20 price tag.

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Firewatch is a phenomenal short story kind of game. The graphics are beautiful, the voice acting is some of the best I’ve ever heard and the story is very engaging, it’s hard to stop until it’s over. However the ending leaves some with a little less than what they were hoping for and the initial $20 price tag is a lot for some who are looking for hours played over quality. But if you can deal with a semi-expensive 4-5 hour journey, it’s well worth the price of admission. Otherwise, wait a bit for it to go on sale, $10-15 is definitely a fair price for a game this good.