Monday, December 15, 2014

Fan Service

Fan Service Continues

"Currently, I have to admit, I'm a bit swamped with work, cause we're planning a wonderful patch for Primordia", is what I wrote a week ago to save myself from writing last week's article. Though this means I just abused this webspace for personal promotion, I promise I'm not going to reference the game on this article again. It's not even what the article is about, it's only but a spark. But, returning back to it, why would anyone bother with something released over 2 years ago? Doesn't that make you wonder? What are the reasonings behind it? Well, the answer is not logical in itself. But let's take things from the top.

In anime and manga any material added or adjusted to please the audience intentionally is clarified as Fan Service. In the weird cultural differences between the Western world and the Japanese, fan service could even mean about having a long shot of a woman's body and/or generally gratuitous nudity. But it's not just about that. Prolonged scenes, extra violence, references to other shows are also deemed as fan service. But what is this term I've been throwing at your face actually about?

It is about servicing the fans, if you will, providing the audience with the premise that was initially hinted at or directly promised, or somewhere in the process deeply desired. For its about giving your fanbase, regardless of size, what they want, to put it bluntly. As it has been said before, it could be fixing an annoying issue, fixing a crash, it could be adding content, adjusting previously existing content, it could be virtually anything.

What helps clarify it as such, is the fact that you've went out of your own way to provide a version of the product closer to the desires of the fans. A direct nod of appreciation, to show the bondage between you and the audience. Every remake of a game, every remastered version of it, despite being approved for profit reasons is also falling under the rule of servicing the fanbase.

A big example of that, are the Neon Genesis Evangelion (Shin - Seiki Evangerion) movies. Categorized as a fan service because they are created to satisfy the fans desire for a better (perhaps alternative is a better word) ending to the series. It's even stated on last addition to the saga, Evangelion 3.33, You Can (Not) Redo, that the movies have been partly if not entirely for the fan's satisfaction, as they will continue till the fourth movie gets released. The original television series first airing almost two decades ago (October, 1995), ended rather philosophically and abruptly.

The finale itself, mostly abstract in its nature (containing concept drawings, unfinished sequences, real-life stills and voice-over dialogue), has being heavily criticized by critics and fans alike, who considered even the possibility that the ending was forced from budget cuts. Thus, the creators have embarked on a quest to satisfy the thirst of the fanbase (cult, would be more appropriate) for a proper closure.

Fan service is a weird kind of love, nobody gets it, except the parties involved. Then again we could rule it down to explicit sexual content, but that's not what it's about. It's not logical, it's not even always good for business, it's the opposite of value-per-time-spent, but it's a wonderful thing we do, a silly anniversary to form a wonderful relationship.

Posted@Gnome's Lair

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Don't play it safe, all of the time

Well, Ghost says it all. Stop not-taking risks, be a man. GROW THE BEARD OF MANLINESS, MAKE THAT DAMN GAME, SON!

Stop crying and be a MAN.

*If you're offended by the amount of manliness message qptain_nemo over at the AGS forums.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

AdventureX 2014: Still going strong!

You know, I'll save the formalities, this an expo of sorts full of nice people from the AG crowd, conducted by Mark Lovegrove. It's amazing really, and it has begun to grow to a much bigger thing. Today's schedule includes Dave Gilbert, Theodor Waern and others. Sunday also looks out to be great  (I've sent something bound to change history) There's also high chance there will be streaming of the event, so it will be nice to watch.

And there's that. Not sure if it was also seen on AdventureX, but here's a fantastic trailer of Nelly Cootalot.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Date In The Park

Frankly, everyone has been making a big fuzz about this game, so I thought, might as well give it a try. And I should have done so sooner. Even though it's a pretty small game, the puzzles themselves are quite enjoyable, helping built up tension and momentum at the right moments. After playing a bit, and as the plotline is revealing itsself, it's pretty obvious that A Date In The Park is falling under some cliches (refusing to explain which ones exactly as I will spoil the game to the readers), but the presentation of the story elements and the wonderful natural dialogues between the protagonists are masterfully executed/implemented.

I'm willing to perhaps write a bigger review on this, but for now, till the majority of the community plays this, I am saying that Shaun Aitcheson made a fan out of me with this lovely game.

Oh, my manners, get the game here
And do follow the author on twitter, he's a wonderful fellow.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Did you cry

Talking about TV series with my brother yesterday, the conversation took an interesting turn. "Have you played The Walking Dead video-", he said, but briefly interrupted by my nod. "This may be weird to you, but I cried at the end", he exclaimed. This created a wonderful discussion over which videogames have made us feel sentimental in the past. Anyhow, as I started to wonder, I felt a nice warm feeling recalling the games I was connected to in such emotional way.

For a moment I got lost into a philosophical journey. In movies it's somewhat easier to cry and generally share or be overcome by certain sentiments/feelings, because the usual behavior we have while experiencing a story is to attempt to relate to it. But with games that's usually different, mostly because we have full (or at least the illusion of such) control over the protagonist's actions, and the protagonist in most cases serves as a vessel of ourselves.

With the creation and the world-wide success of Elite, a significant change to videogames has occurred. An alteration to the rule that a score must determine the skill of the player and the player's involvement to the game must resolve around his/her attempts to get the highest score possible. With Elite we were slowly introduced to something far greater. The probability that games could "just" have a decent storyline instead of a score. And as time passed and technology progressed, it happened. The early nineties were mostly dominated by Adventure Games and RPGs, both primarily focused on gripping story arcs presenting elements such as branches, depth, setting, character development, etc.

Even if the adventure game genre itself  lost part of its sunlight and glory, it helped immensely in paving the way for other genres, that then were mostly focusing on excessive button mashing, to evolve. Action / First Person Shooter franchises such as Max Payne, Metal Gear Solid, System Shock, Half Life, Resident Evil disengaged from the brainless stereotype of exaggerated, rapid frenzy and reckless gameplay to a more delicate, no rather, realistic approach. As storyline became an new element in game design, cinematic elements have been introduced, converting videogames to a new form of art (even though that could be a stretch). An art we can interact with our own ways within the limits that are presented to us (visible and not).

Posted @Gnome's Lair