Tag Archives: Video Games

Video Games from Playing to Watching Part 2: Livestreaming

“There’s nothing more boring than watching someone else play an RPG.” – Kazuto Kirigaya (SAO)

Apparently the main protagonist of popular anime Sword Art Online has never heard of Twitch.tv and the fact that it was purchased by Amazon for $970 Million.

Last time I covered YouTube’s part in making video games more viewer friendly in the form of fan created content and eventually Let’s Plays. In the middle I briefly mentioned why Let’s Plays are so successful both in terms of production and fan consumption. They provide the viewer an experience. The ability to watch someone else play and react to a game at a fixed point in time. If it’s boring then the viewer can just click away, but if something scary or funny happens then the viewer is hooked. What if instead of a video, the viewers were watching a live broadcast?

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Enter Twitch.tv “The worlds leading video platform and community for gamers.” Their words not mine. What Twitch allows for is a longer, more community driven experience that happens in real time. YouTube does not allow for a community driven environment because interaction is call and response. Video and comment. Twitch provides a live broadcast with a live chatbox where viewers can communicate with each other and the person streaming. They can have conversations, ask questions, and post emotes exclusive to the site like Kappa, PogChamp, and FrankerZ.

Another one of Twitch’s strengths is authenticity. A YouTube video is edited down and can be scripted or forced. You can play up your reactions for more views. Twitch is live and most streams last for hours. Full-time streamer Lobosjr said in an interview “I’m much more vulgar on stream but when it comes down to it, that’s pretty much who I am in real life, minus the obscenities.”

Twitch’s biggest asset however is also its greatest weakness. If something isn’t happening then people will click away. If a streamer takes a bathroom break or leaves to get food from their kitchen then hundreds of people click away. To avoid this problem charity livestreams like the bi-annual Zeldathon rotate out their streamers constantly so a game is always being played and something is always happening on camera.

Recently YouTube has developed its own gaming platform not-so-cleverly-named YouTube Gaming. It functions similarly to Twitch, but with the option to save the broadcast directly to your YouTube channel. It also functions as a mobile app allowing for people to stream games from their phone. A few years ago this would have been innovative and certainly would have driven traffic to the platform, but with so many communities developed around Twitch it looks like YouTube Gaming will have to settle for second best.

Did you miss the first part of this multi-form post? Read it here!

Video Games from Playing to Watching Part 1: YouTube’s Gaming Debut  

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Clash Royale! Clash of Clans Meets Tower Defense Meets Card Games!

Everyone knows about the pay-to-progress faster waiting simulator known as Clash of Clans. It’s a game that brings in so much money that they got Liam Neeson for their Superbowl commercial. It makes  $5,000,000 a day!

Clash Royale is what many consider developer Supercell’s first attempt at an actual game in their almost six years of being a company and since its global release in March in has received a lot of support. It has had a couple of balance patches and a lot of marketing behind it. The game even had a tournament in Helsinki with a cash prize of 10,000€ last week.

This game however is fundamentally broken. The more you win the better cards you’ll unlock through in-game chests. These chests take a minimum of 3 hours to open and a maximum of 24 depending on its rarity. What’s so bad about that? Well you only have 4 chest slots and once they are all full then you won’t get another chest until you have an open one. This is only the first of many ways that the game limits your progression.

Each card has a level so the more you collect the stronger it can become if you combine them using in game gold. Eventually the number of cards becomes astronomically high and the gold cost is just as inflated. So how do you cope with this slow progression? Well it’s simple spend money. For the low price of $11,000 you too can make it to the top 50 of the leaderboards in about a month. The game’s global release was a month ago and its already projected to make a billion dollars this year.

Finally the game will match you against better players if you win consistently enough. I do not say better as in “higher skill or trophy rank.” I say better as in they are a higher level which means that their defensive crown towers do more damage and have more health. The game also does not factor card levels into the matchmaking at all so you could be matched against someone with a level 8 musketeer while yours is level 5.

Don’t even get me started on the games balancing. Not all cards are created equally. Prince is the most objectively overpowered card in the entire game and you only get it randomly unless you spend 2000 gold while it’s available in the shop. While Skeleton Army, another epic card is one of the worst cards in the game. Guess which one I got at the start? I’ll give ya a hint. It’s the garbage one.

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Despite all of these glaring flaws I find myself enjoying the game immensely. Yeah it’s a broken pay-to-win extravaganza. Yeah prince is overpowered. Yeah Hog Rider Freeze decks exist. Yeah the game’s community is cancerous and the game works against you at every possible turn to stop your win streak or limit your progress, but it’s fun. Winning against these odds is oh so satisfying and if you’re a fan of Clash of Clans then you’re already playing it.

Want to suggest a game? Then leave it in the comments!

Wanna join my clan? Here it is!

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Bad Design or Shameless Cash Grab? Licensed Games

The Video Game industry has garnered a lot of respect due to its marketing successes. Triple A titles have grossed hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. The industry also lacks quality control at all levels of entry so it is no surprise that someone looking to make a quick buck would release a sub-par or poorly made game to the masses.

According to an article on TV Tropes titled The Problem with Licensed Games, licensed games are marketed in two different ways. The first and most obvious being the quality of the game, and the second being the reputation or recognition of the game’s title. It also cites that even if a licensed game is made with good intentions, most of the production money goes into purchasing the license which leads to budget issues down the line.

Another article by Jared Cornelius of bleedingcool.com A History of Vileness: The Problem With Licensed Video Games provides a similar insight into licensed games, but takes a much more direct approach. The writer directly blames licensed video games like the infamous E.T. for the video game crash of 1983 that almost ruined the industry.

With so many terrible experiences and broken promises surrounding them, it’s no wonder there is such a stigma surrounding licensed games. YouTube reviewer SomecallmeJohnny reviewed Cory in the House for the nintendo DS. A game based on the kind of sort of popular Disney Channel sequel to That’s So Raven. In his video he mocks the game’s lazy mechanics and barely cohesive story. It is obvious that the game was only made to turn a quick buck and that the developers had absolutely no respect for the fans or the consumers whatsoever.

Although all games should be skeptical of licensed games, there are several examples of successful ones. The Batman Arkham franchise has been heralded as “The Best Super Hero games on the market.” by YouTuber Angry Joe. He has released reviews for every game in the franchise and they have all been fairly positive. The Lego games franchise has drawn in fans of Star Wars, Indiana Jones Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings with its charming art style and unique game mechanics.

YouTube personalities like the Angry Video Game Nerd and PewDiePie have their own respective licensed games like AVGN Adventures and its recently released sequel AVGN Adventures 2: ASSimilation while Pewds has Legends of the Brofist. These games serve as love letters to the fans and are full of references to their own content. I personally await Jim Sterling‘s Licensed Game Adventure! 

Connection! A Brief History of Gaming

Connection. That’s how it all started. Electricity powering the first pong machine. The most simple game made for two players. Connect a second controller and play with a friend.

Fast forward past the crash. The Nintendo Entertainment system was released. Two controllers and and countless games to play alone or with friends. A challenge that created a hotline that gives strategies for beating games.

The age of the arcade. Flashing lights and beeps reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. A place to spend quarters and make friends. Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter. Franchises that are still around today.

And what do we have today? The internet! All you need is an internet connection and you have access not just to video games, but to other players. We live in a digital age of gaming.

Video games and game related content from media coverage to tournaments are at our finger tips. Gaming has developed into a community of sorts, a subculture. Many of us find personalities in the community that we like whether it be YouTubers or Twitch streamers, and develop subcommunities around them.

We the players, the products of this digital age. We interact with each other and our games in search of fat loot and reaching the next level. All of us are connected. We play for different reasons, but we all play, and we all have that connection whether it be electrical, digital, physical, or spiritual.