Friday, 27 May 2011

Really Capcom? Wow.

I am honestly surprised at Capcom's reaction to the legion of unfavourable fan responses they got across the intertubes. Actually reaching out to fans and saying "if not this, then what else?", as a marketing tool, can't be beat. Personally, I like this guy's take on it:

And that was something like the third response to Sven's original posting.
I am really hoping that Capcom takes on board these suggestions, because if they truly choose to Ubisoft themselves, it's going to end badly. Last I checked (a week or so ago), RE5 and SF4 were STILL in the top ten most played list on GfWL. Actually I think they were in the top 5, but I'm not certain. The point is that their games are loved by PC gamers, including myself, and opening a dialogue could be the start of them really moving into the "big leagues" of this platform I do so love.

I was overwhelmed by the (mostly) intelligent and reasoned out responses by the fans on the capcom-unity board where all this took place. I agreed with a lot of them, and all of them understood that they want Capcom to feel secure in releasing their software. Hell, the guy I linked to above suggested handicapping any non-network authenticated copy to two characters on a vs. mode, or even just the benchmarking tool. Without SSA authentication, the game would be completely useless.

This kind of talk I can get behind, as it slaps pirates in the face as best they can, whilst avoiding damage done to legitimate customers. I think one of Valve's guys mentioned that the ideal pricing system is one that charges sociable people less, griefers and trolls more. With DRM, what we need is a system that restricts pirates WITHOUT restricting legitimate users. Unfortunately, like the pricing structure, we've not yet come up with the how for that system.

Obviously I'd prefer it if I had absolutely no DRM on my games. But then again, I would also like it if I had no locks on my car door. And while you can argue that the consumer is losing when a car is stolen, and the developer/publisher when software is pirated, the point I am trying to make is simple. In order for my property to be secure, I have to accept the loss of some liberties. Capcom wants the same, but unfortunately the only way to do so is if the consumers lose that liberty. At least, so far as we've seen. Hopefully a better method of fighting piracy will come about eventually.
CD Projekt, meanwhile, continues to sell The Witcher 2 like hookers at a sex-addict relapse convention. Does that metaphor make sense? I've been listening to a lot of Yahtzee recently ( This despite the fact that they are removing the DRM with the latest patch from all copies of The Witcher.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Really Capcom?

Really Capcom? Reallllllllly?

I used to like Capcom because they made good games. And that was it. That's all it took for me to like a video game company. It's the same reason I liked Bullfrog, way back when. But times have changed. Or rather, the internet has landed.

Politics plays a much bigger role in my loyalty to a company. I use for computer component purchases because their returns policy is incredible. I buy Corsair branded anything because their behaviour as a company shows they put their customers first. And I'm seriously considering not buying Super Street Fighter 4: Arcade Edition because of the DRM Capcom has decided to add to it.

I stopped buying Ubisoft games when they started with their nonsense, and now I'm faced with Capcom trying something similar. I guess the issue stems from wanting to profit from their work, and I don't begrudge them that. Hell, I know several struggling indie folks in various industries (including games) and they all have the same fear. But is DRM the answer?

I can see why you'd think there's no other option. You have to have someway of stopping illegimate copies from running. But hobbling legitimate players can't be the best solution to this problem. It's just the only one Capcom has thought up. There are some nice parts to it; with the not being thrown off as soon as you lose your connection. But compared to actually being able to play a game you bought without having to deal with that? We in trouble baby.

I mean, when it comes to things like this; punish the pirates and the hackers, not the legitimate players of the game. And I was a big proponent of getting Capcom games on the PC. I wrote letters to Capcom asking about SSF4 on the PC, about RE5 DLC, and was gleeful when I read a blog post about how Capcom is taking PC gaming more seriously. Unfortunately, more seriously seems to mean something different at Capcom HQ than it does for customers.

Still... I want to play SSF4:AE. I want to get good at it. I want to kick my friend's asses with it. And mostly, I want to encourage Capcom to keep putting games out on the PC. I suppose the best outcome, from a consumer perspective is for it to have great sales and for it to be pirated ravenously. Here's hoping I guess?

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

X-Men First Class

So, as previously insinuated, last night I got to go to an early screening of X-Men First Class. It was pretty much like watching a regular movie, except the trailers were terrible and there was a 45 minute wait between sitting down and actually seeing anything on screen.

But as for the movie itself? Having spoken the friends I watched it with, I guess it sort of depends on what kind of movie-goer you are.

I for, instance, thought it was the best X-Men film committed to film. Yes, better than the first two. The reason for this is simple; I felt that the first two films were more about Wolverine than they were about the X-Men. Logan was the character who we were introduced to, who went through the major character arc, and who we spent the most time with. At least, it felt that way. This movie isn't that. It's about the formation of the X-Men, about the choices these men and women have to make about a world that hates and fears them, but it's mostly about two men who are destined to become the greatest of enemies and perhaps their only true friends.

Erik and Charles are handled masterfully, and their interaction on screen is believable and engaging. And while Charles moves from a young man to a Professor, it is overshadowed by Erik's journey. While there is a main plot involving the Hellfire Club and the Cuban Missile crisis, it's all framed by Erik's character arc. Watching as he becomes the man he's destined to be, you can't help but understand, if not agree with him.

There are plenty of little asides to fans of the comics and of the previous movies, and they are well executed. You lose nothing from the movie by not realising these small detours, but it's nice that they're their for the more committed fans. It's laugh out loud funny at places, and the action scenes are excellent, as are the effects.

My only issues with the it are that some of the supporting characters aren't as fully realised as I would have liked. They're played well for the most part, but their arcs seem to lack subtlety. It's difficult to complain really, as they're are a lot of them, and a movie is only so many minutes long. Oh! And Moira McTaggart! That's a great big weird thing. She's literally Moira in name only, which begs the question, why not use someone else, or even better someone new? It seemed odd that they felt the need to shoehorn her into the movie with a character that has virtually nothing to do with the original. Why not just create a new character? Still, for her low screen time, she's played very well by Rose Byrne.

The "evil" mutants suffer from the same problem as the good ones, in that their characters aren't fleshed out. It's actually worse as they get even less screen time. Virtually none if you remove the scenes where they aren't kicking someone in the balls. The exception to this is Sebastian Shaw, who is not bad as played by Kevin Bacon, and Emma Frost, who is Betty Draper. I'm a big fan of Mad Men, but January Jones doesn't seem to display any kind of acting as Emma Frost beyond being Betty Draper. It kind of works, in that Emma is a rather cold hearted bitch (Marvel are clearly not ones for subtlety when it comes to surnames), but it did make me wonder if Jones can act, or is simply playing the same person over and over again. With more exposure that should become obvious. But for this film she is servicable. And yes, I am shying away from puns involving the terms exposing and servicable, which I feel compelled to make given the White Queen's attire.

Overall I think that this is an excellent film, and it will be joining my DVD collection, even while the original films didn't. Of the three guys I watched it with, one agreed with me, while the other two thought it was as good as the first films (well, the first two. The third is universally despised amongst us). So I guess it's either a return to form for the franchise or the best of the bunch.

PS: There's no scene after the credits. Seriously. We waited through it all and nothing. Which frankly, is an improvement. I always hated that about Marvel films.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Inauguration Day

Hello and welcome to the very first post of my blog. Why now? Why today? Because it's high time I actually wrote down the nonsense that comes along with my life. Like, for instance, how I'll be seeing the new X-Men movie tomorrow (possibly) when I really shouldn't have had the chance.

As the title kind of gives away, this blog will focus kind of heavily on the creative side of things. As time goes on, we'll see where we get to. But for now, hello and welcome to the wonderous land of my poorly medicated imagination.

I'm just kidding. I've been off my meds for years now...........