Is another review needed?

Some games out there are real gems but will never get any attention. And that’s sad, so I started reviewing games on this blog and recommending underrated games to friends and eventually, this became a big part of my life. It’s a hobby that I’ve been doing for more than a year now and it’s always fun to find gems and recommend stuff and write down my thoughts about all of these things. Lovely!

Meanwhile, other gems out there are well-known and have their own dedicated communities. People know titles like Slay the Spire, The Binding of Isaac, Stardew Valley, etc. already. Do they need more reviews or should I even write about titles like that?

Note: Since I forgot to take any screenshots for most of the games I’m mentioning in this post apart from Hades, I’ll only use screenshots from Hades. I’ll keep it spoiler-free, though, so no worries about that.

That’s something that I’ve been thinking about a lot for the past couple of months. I’ve got countless posts sitting in the drafts about titles that I wanted to review and that I wanted to talk about. Just when I was about to get ready for the finishing touches, I ended up hesitating: Do I add something to the world by just saying what is already known? There are too many reviews for me to add any new thoughts to the same topic, after all, right? 

And that’s where my opinion changed recently: The fact that it’s a review by me should be enough to make my review different from other reviews.

The Steam Curator “Can you pet the dog?” would now say “yes, you can pet the dog”, I guess.

Even though everyone has probably said everything about every popular game out there, I can’t be 100% sure about that without having read all of the reviews out there. Obviously, that’s not possible. I can’t read every review out there and honestly, I don’t want to. In the first place, I don’t read reviews on games that I’m reviewing until after I’ve posted them as I don’t want to get influenced by other people’s opinions on the matter. I feel like that’s quite important, especially as I don’t want to accidentally or subconsciously write something similar or maybe even the same sentences as someone else has. 

Alas, I kind of changed my opinion on the matter. Of course, countless people probably know about Graveyard Keeper, Monster Train, Celeste, and the like, but I think that my opinion should matter as well. Maybe I actually do have something to add to the giant pool of reviews out there. Maybe I actually do have a different point as to why a game should or should not be bought. 

Every opinion matters, after all, and alas, every review is important. There probably is someone out there that hasn’t played Celeste yet or that has been hesitating to play it because they don’t like Platformers… and only recently, I played it for the very first time and enjoyed it a lot! It made me feel good about myself as a person that plays games as I was dashing through the air in levels that other people thought were really difficult. Meanwhile, Celeste was thought-provoking and challenging in other rooms when people said that it was an easy level while I was struggling to figure out what the intended way was and whether or not my way was doable, at all. There are countless reviews on Celeste out there but I’m not sure if any platformer-haters out there have taken a look at the game only to say that it’s actually great as an introduction to platformers. I don’t know if people that hate the genre would pick it up. Alas, my opinion as someone like that, as someone who hates and sucks at platformers, matters! My opinion matters and in that instance I probably have something meaningful to add to the ocean of reviews.

Well, who would have thought that there’s lava in hell, eh? What a surprise… /s – no spoiler. ūüėõ

Or take Hades, for instance, the game that got updated so much during Early Access that I ended up having to rewrite my review a total of nine (!) times because things that I didn’t like got changed or updated and suddenly with new implementations old weapons and boons actually were incredibly strong or powerful. I suddenly enjoyed those, so I rewrote a few paragraphs, only to realise that it all didn’t work out too well, as my style changed in that time. When I was done with rewriting it for the ninth time, it has already been released with its version 1.0 and everyone hopped onto the hype train, resulting in me feeling like my review wasn’t needed. Again, that mindset is bad. 

I can praise and love Hades as much as I want to and I’ll do so eventually. I’ll be able to add a lot to the discussion as I’m a mythology-crack and as I love Transistor and Bastion. I probably have other takes on the game that other reviewers may not have had.

Alas, since I have had different interests in my life and since I’ve been enjoying different games, movies, books, poems, shows, and other media, my reviews may already have a different take on things. Just because I am obsessed with mythology, I may already have different bits and pieces of information to add to the discussion. Just because I’m into Drama and plays and stuff, I may already be able to connect lore pieces together or laugh about something that other people may not get. 

No turning back now.

I’m not saying that I’m better at reviewing games than other people or that my reviews are better or worse. I’m just saying that every review is unique and that every reviewer has different tastes, interests and takes on the same topic, making them unique and special and alas, their opinions are important. 

What does this mean for me and my blog? Well, I’ll revisit all of those drafts and try to publish some of my older posts throughout the year and rework them to fit my current style and you’ll probably see some newer games in there as well as some more popular ones. There will be the odd one here and there with a very underrated and unknown game and I’ll just hope that it’ll get more attention. 

I hope you liked my take on the matter. I feel as every take on a topic is important even if some if not all points are the same. As long as it’s written independantly it should be allowed to exist. As long as it’s a different person writing it, it already should be able to provide some new thoughts and opinions on it. And well, obviously, the people that read my blog posts are not the same that read Frosti‘s or Krikket‘s, right? 

Alas, I hope you enjoyed this post and the next few on other stuff. Have a nice day and stay awesome!

Cheers!

This post originated on Indiecator and was first published on there by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Looking forward to LoL Season 11

Another year, another season. League of Legend’s Preseason 11 has started quite a while ago, and with 2021 being around the corner, I thought I’d take the time to write a post on it.


Just like other seasons, there has been a major change in the Rift this time around to keep the game fresh and innovative: The Item Rework!

Alas, this season brought a whole new shop system and the introduction of Mythic items that basically are supposed to be super overpowered but you can only buy one Mythic item. On top of that, they have Mythic passives that add bonus stats to all other Legendary (aka completed) items, including boots! These new Mythic items, as well as a bunch of new other items, replace about a third of the old items that got removed. Meanwhile, the last third of the items have been reworks. Generally, I feel like a lot of the items are quite strong but not too strong. There are some items that still need to get touched but I’ll talk about that later.

Before we talk about my issues with the new season, I wanted to talk about what I’m looking forward to, my champ pool, builds I’ve enjoyed, and what I’m glad about.

As a Support player, I made it to Gold last season and this Pre-Season, so I want to reach that goal again in the next season and potentially even climb past it to Platinum+ if I’m good enough. Riot changed the ranked system in a way that is going to make climbing easier, so I’m happy about that. From now on, there is no promotional series (aka “win two out of three games” to be promoted) between the ranks of one division. Instead, you have to reach 100 LP to climb from, say, Gold IV to Gold III. Once you’re at 100 LP in Gold I, you need to win three out of five games to be able to get to Platinum IV, which is a great change! On top of that, being at 99 LP is less frustrating now as a win translates into, say, +16 LP in the next rank if you gain 17 LP after your win. This is a welcome change that I’ve been asking for, for quite a while now actually. There was nothing more frustrating in League than winning a game only to gain 1 LP and to then get inters, feeders and AFKs in your promotional series only to reach the next step in your climb.

I’ve been playing a bit of ADC this season and have been enjoying a plethora of champions in that role. Alas, I’m going to go with ADC for my second role and I’ll most likely play (in this order) Jhin, Caitlyn, Ashe, and Varus. Otherwise, I obviously would also manage to trade roles or potentially pick something else to fit my team’s needs. On Jhin, I’ve been enjoying the crit builds a lot with Krakenslayer/Galeforce into Rapidfire Cannon into Infinity Edge/Bloodthirster. With Krakenslayer your third shot basically deals as much damage as your fourth shot, which is a pretty big deal. Meanwhile, you’re super fast with Galeforce and also gain a dash to get out of some peculiar situations, which is quite fun. Most of the time, though, I play a lethality build with Eclipse into Collector on Jhin, running Dark Harvest, and basically one-shotting everyone. The Collector is incredibly broken as it basically executes enemy champions at 5% of their health, which sounds like nothing‚Ķ but if a Champion had about 5000 HP, they’d get executed at 250 HP, which is surreal‚Ķ and a lot of fun.

But my main role is obviously Support. I’m a sucker for mage supporters and enchanters and I used to play a lot of Nautilus and Braum in the past‚Ķ but tank supporters feel incredibly weak. Unless you get super ahead, you can’t get tanky enough and you can’t really set up kills either. Tank items are constantly getting nerfed when it comes to their tankiness (the part that you need) when it’s actually the damage that should get nerfed (the part that a Tank/Tank Support doesn’t need). At the same time, Tank items are extremely overpriced and you end up in this weird spot where you need kills as a supporter to make the dream possible. I wanted to try out Tahm Kench again and some other champions that I used to main, like Taric, but I’ve put it off since everything else feels a lot stronger and better in my humble opinion.

And I don’t mind that. I don’t mind that tank supporters feel weak in a tank meta. I don’t mind not having to dodge a thousand hooks in the bot lane. I really don’t. Obviously, people still play tank supporters and statistics say that Leona, Thresh and other champs are really strong at the moment‚Ķ but I just personally don’t like the feel of tanks, at the moment, and alas, I go for mages and enchanters instead.

This brings us to my current favourite mages to play in the Support lane: Xerath, Zyra, Vel’Koz, Brand, Neeko, and Morgana.

Xerath and Vel’Koz are incredible at poking down enemies from afar, setting up kills or securing them when your ADC isn’t close enough yet. Both of these champions scale well into the late game but don’t need many items to burst people down. Xerath has a lot of burst damage, a slow and a stun in his kit as well as a semi-global ult and a lot of sustain through his passive. I tend to go for Luden’s Tempest into Event Horizon on him, although Liandry’s into Demonic Embrace also can work quite well on him against tanky teams. Luden’s Tempest gives you some movement speed on every proc and adds a lot of burst-damage to your abilities when you hit enemies. Meanwhile, Event Horizon adds an increase in damage on abilities that hit enemies at more than 750 range or that immobilize them. Xerath’s Q is already 750 range long when tapped, as far as I know, so this is a great item on him as well. Vel’Koz has a knock-up on his E as well as plenty of tools in his kit to zone enemies, secure objectives and kills as well as a lot of true damage to melt enemies away, which is just lovely. I tend to go for the same items on him as on Xerath. On these two champions, I tend to run Comet, Manaflowband, Transcendence/Absolute Focus and Scorch‚Ķ and then I go for Cosmic insight+Cookies in the second tree or I opt-in for Presence of Mind and Coup de Grace for some extra damage.

All the other supports I mentioned have also great poke and some degree of utility to them. Zyra is incredibly nice to pick when you have an Ezreal for your ADC. Ezreal scales well into the late game and usually buys Tear for his first item, so picking up lane-dominant supports like Zyra can help him scale away without problems or maybe even pick up an early kill or two to snowball. Zyra is also great against Melee comps that are fairly tanky, as you most likely will buy Liandry’s+Demonic Embrace into Morello. The double burn procs on all of your plants which makes you great for taking Baron Nashor or for team fights. Brand already has a DoT on his passive, so obviously, you want to capitalize on that by building double burn, hence resulting in a triple burn. Brand also has a Stun in his Q when applied on a burning target as well as percentage-health damage in his passive (and if I remember correctly, the other part of your passive with hitting three abilities on one target actually does true damage!). Hence, Brand doesn’t need many items to really shine and he’s also great to take objectives or to team fight with.

And well, Neeko,‚Ķ is‚Ķ interesting. She never has been weak but people don’t really play her as a Support anymore. I usually go Luden’s or Protobelt on her. You can also build Night Harvester on her or go for the double burn if you want to. There are a lot of different options for her and you can easily catch people off-guard with the clones, her damage, her utility and her epic ultimates in team fights, which makes her a great pocket-pick.

As you can see these are all mages… but sometimes you just have too much magic damage on your team already, so I have two picks for that case to balance out the damage more: Ashe and Senna.

On the one hand, Senna has been one of my favourite champions to play last season. She has great scaling, great poke and a heal (that scales with Attack Damage), as well as some decent CC on her W in form of a long-range AoE root. Her E ability lets you camouflage your teammates to get away or to engage on people in a better way while her ultimate does decent damage and even shields allies at a global range! My favourite build on her is Eclipse into the Collector. I usually run either Grasp of the Undying or Glacial Augment on her, based on what I play against. The items generally are the same as Jhin’s as you’re basically doing the same thing as him‚Ķ but in a less artsy way.

Ashe, on the other hand, is a fantastic pocket pick of mine that I haven’t seen too many people play as a Support yet. Essentially you run comet to poke enemies down with your W and you stack up Focus on enemies to then burst them down with your Q. Your E provides vision for your team while your W makes it easier to hit the comet. On top of that, your ultimate is a great engage/disengage tool at a global range, although I suck at landing those. As for builds, I tend to go for Imperial Mandate into Manamune into Ravenous Hydra. This build is all about your W which does more damage thanks to Imperial Mandate and Muramana (the upgraded Manamune) and which basically also amplifies your allies’ damage by a considerable amount as well. All of the items in this build have a lot of ability haste, resulting in you basically being able to spam your W while not running out of mana. Muramana also applies on-hit damage to all of your attacks and spells. Ravenous Hydra heals you and also applies some AoE damage to your volley and auto-attacks. Overall, it’s a fun build to try out into some team comps or when your team is lacking in the physical damage or CC department.

Speaking of ability haste: Cooldown Reduction has been changed. Before the change 10% cooldown reduction would allow about 11% more casts and getting more cooldown reduction would result in even more casts of abilities, which was great. Getting 40% cooldown reduction was basically what you’d want most of the time as it scales exponentially. The new system, however, is all about ability haste which stacks linearly, just like most other stats in the game. There is no cap on how much Ability Haste you can have, meaning that it’s possible to even reach 50% or 60% CDR with the new system, although you’d have to opt-in for very specific items to do exactly that, resulting in potentially losing some power as you’re not going for more damage but more tasks. This new system is actually also quite cool as it means that getting less is better compared to before.

The last category of champions that I’m playing this season is about enchanters!
I mainly tried out Nami in the preseason as well as a few others and overall, everyone felt quite neat to play. Nami, Bard, Janna, Soraka, Lulu, Sona, Seraphine, and Rakan are great champions to pick up (and yes, I count Bard and Rakan as Enchanters) especially with all the new items. Before the item rework, you’d go the exact same items on every enchanter in every game for your first three: Ardent Censer, Athene’s Unholy Grail, and Redemption. There wasn’t much variety from game to game and while I miss Athene’s Unholy Grail a ton‚Ķ I’m kind of happy about the new changes. Generally, I go for Imperial Mandate on Nami followed by Ardent Censer or Staff of Flowing Water.

Imperial Mandate causes immobilizing abilities to mark enemies and deal extra damage – and allies can proc the mark to deal even more damage on top of that. Nami’s Q, E and R work great with this item. Ardent Censer is still a great item but sometimes I have to opt-in for the Staff of Flowing Water as it’s basically made for Nami‚Ķ I mean, what item would be more befitting of Nami who’s already wielding the Tidecaller’s Staff? The Staff of Flowing Water grants you and your allies Ability Power and Movement Speed whenever you affect them with your abilities. The bonus MS paired with your passive works great to rescue allies in bad positions while the ability power works quite well with a lot of champions‚Ķ although it’s mostly for yourself. When I play with a Kog’Maw, Lucian, Varus, Senna, or Kai’Sa this is a great pick-up as it enables them, even more, to get away, kite better, get closer, or add damage to the abilities that scale with AP in their kit. Ardent Censer, however, gives you and your ally on-hit damage and attack speed, which is also great. It just depends on the champions.

Now, this is a great change for Enchanters: You basically have your Mythic Item, your Support Item, Boots, an Enchanter Item, and potentially another‚Ķ but what do you do with your last slot? Generally, you’d get more pink wards but you can only place down one at most on the map and you can only carry two at the same time. Buying an additional item results in no more pink wards for your team, which sucks. Alas, you’ll get‚Ķ hear me out‚Ķ the best item that was introduced this season‚Ķ the Vigilant Wardstone.

For a price of only 1100 gold, you get an item that grants you the ability to store three pink wards at the same time in your inventory. Once you placed down 20 Stealth Wards (#easy #supportlyfe), it transforms into the next level of the item which basically grants you some bonus stats… and then you can also invest another 1300 gold into it to get even more bonus stats. The end result is an item that stores pink wards (that you still have to buy) but it also grants you bonus movement speed and ability haste (GREAT for enchanters!) and… it also increases the cap for stealth and pink wards placed. You can now place down a maximum of four stealth wards and two pink wards (instead of three/one) with this item.

Vision = Power

On top of that, you also have other options that you can go for as far as items go‚Ķ Zeke’s procs now whenever you CC enemies, so it’s a viable option to use on champions like Nami as it doesn’t require a short ult cooldown to work efficiently anymore. Meanwhile, Moonstone Renewer is a great item for times when you need to heal a lot instead of dealing a lot of damage. Instead of amplifying your damage with Imperial Mandate, you instead opt-in for amplifying your heals, which is great on Soraka, for instance. Also, you don’t have to buy a completed Morellonomicon to have Grievous Wounds as a Mage but can instead just build the Oblivion Orb for considerably less gold. And that’s lovely. On so many levels.

Now, earlier I talked about issues with items that I have and‚Ķ well,‚Ķ The Collector is just unhealthy for the game. Being able to execute people like that is a bullshit mechanic to have in a game as it makes champions like Jhin, Senna, Draven and even Veigar incredibly strong with little to no counterplay. Again, 5% of your maximum health is a huge amount of health still‚Ķ If they tuned it down to 2.5% or maybe just 1%, it would be considerably less strong to the point where it was useless‚Ķ Alas, I’d say that the item should receive a nerf to its stats and/or its price. Being able to build this as your second item every damn game on some champions and get away with just having two items is bullshit and super unhealthy. It not only makes it easier to get kills but also rewards you a bonus of 25 gold every time you take down an enemy, which eventually pays for your next item, making you even stronger. It’s a snowball item like the Sword of the Occult, which is unhealthy for the game.

At the same time, healing is too strong in the game even though it was supposed to go down. Tanks are also too strong. It’s not the problem that you can’t kill them easily‚Ķ after all, that’s their purpose: They’re tanks!
The problem is that they’re dealing a ton of damage to enemies around them. Sunfire and some of the other Immolate-Mythic-Tank-Items are way too overtuned, in my opinion, with their damage increasing based on your other tank-stats such as your health. Being tanky is good but dealing scaling damage is not so good for the health of the game. Now, I haven’t played League in two weeks so maybe there’s been another patch. Alas, I’ll hold off on this rant for until I’m home again, this Sunday. I may write about this again in the new year.


I hope you enjoyed this looooooooooooooooooong post. I wouldn’t have thought that this would turn into a post that is nearly as long as my Moonlighter review‚Ķ Oh well. Personally speaking, I really enjoy writing about topics like these here with my strategies or thoughts on a meta. As mentioned before, I don’t like being forced to play tanks or whatever in a season. I play what I enjoy and this season… I can do that. I can play enchanters and mages, poke and cc, I can do all kinds of things and still have fun with the game while climbing. I’m looking forward to Season 11. And I’m looking forward to potentially writing about these topics as well throughout the season.

How about you? What champions are you going to play? What are your thoughts on any of these changes and my pool? Let me know!

Cheers!

This post originated on Indiecator and was first published on there by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Opinion on “Nazi Gamer?” by Frontal 21

The other day, a major media outlet called ZDF uploaded a documentary on how nazis are infiltrating gaming culture produced by their magazine, Frontal 21. The documentary is available in German in the video embedded below this paragraph. I thought I’d comment on what went wrong with that specific documentary.

Let’s start with the beginning of the documentary: They start by showing Hitler skins in Minecraft and some sort of Nazi server or whatever… While Minecraft itself is harmless, Notch (formerly the creator of Minecraft and founder of Mojang) is no longer part of Mojang due to him being a white supremacist. Fair enough. I get that. Depicting Minecraft as some sort of Nazi playground, however, is just wrong. Sure, someone made that video and it sucks but this paints a picture of Nazis using this to turn your children into little Nazis. Idk. 

They ask questions about how Nazis are infiltrating gaming-culture and how games turn people into killers. “People get annoyed at these questions, including our interviewees”, they say, quickly cutting to a clip where Sissor, a big-ish streamer on Twitch is saying that media kinda fucked it up. The context of that answer was that they messed up trying to unite old people that have no clue and young people that are in the medium. A lot of older people think that games turn you into killers while younger gamers don’t think so at all. It’s just very hard to have an unbiased conversation on that topic, is what Sissor is trying to say, as she mentioned in the video below this paragraph. They basically are just taking her out of context, trying to show her as someone who’s very biased and doesn’t want to talk to the media even though it’s completely different. 

Later on, this trend continues with interviewees getting taken out of context and not given any speaking-time. Sissor, in particular, talked to the journalist for about an hour – got featured for about two minutes, though. A lot of times, the documentary is portraying her in a wrong light, making it seem as if her whole community is flaming her when she plays badly. That was in an instance where she talked about “some haters”. She also said that “of course Nazis come into the stream every now and then but they’ll get instantly banned”, which is not in the actual documentary. 

There is a nazi-game called “Heimat Defender: Rebellion” that some people developed for some obvious propaganda. The protagonist of the game is Alex Malenki who’s a right-wing activist in Germany. They talk to him and take him out of context as well, allowing people to shout “L√ľgenpresse”, yet again, “proving” that you cannot talk to official journalists. “L√ľgenpresse” is nazi jargon and basically means “fake news”, FYI. 

Instead of including more information on community management, chat rules, guidelines, etc., they instead focus on filler clips from ages ago, showing Sissor with her cats and things she said taken out of context. Nothing of this adds value to the documentary. Nothing of this is professional. The whole documentary is lurid at best, aiming to provoke and get clicks and reactions. 

The channel the video was uploaded on apologised in the comment section for a lot of these things but doesn’t intend to upload the full interviews or a reworked video any time soon. 

At one point, Frontal 21 is showing Steam, Twitch and Discord as platforms for Nazis and say that these platforms don’t do anything to prevent hate speech from happening. There apparently is no report function on Twitch and people never get banned for sexism, not even MontanaBlack, some bigshot German streamer who got banned on Twitch for saying that women are like dogs. They mentioned that in their own documentary but didn’t connect the dots that sexism and racism don’t get condoned on Twitch and on other platforms. 

After Sissor mentions sexism, the MontanaBlack example is being used to further showcase sexism in the gaming community, before eventually heading into a direction I didn’t expect at all: Gamergate. They explain gamergate and link it to Nazi-groups. A source they used as a “fact” is labelled as an “opinion”, which is quite amusing. Minutes passed and suddenly, we’re talking about Christchurch and how different people “gamify” their murder sprees for “high scores” and “achievements”. 

Usernames like “jewkiller88” or whatever also get mentioned in the documentary but the way they mention it implies that it’s literally every second username that is offensive.

Eventually, they say themselves that “no scientific study has shown that games lead to violence in real life”… and then they continue with “but”, leading to their point that “there has to something about to it”, which is basically an “I’m not racist but” kinda thing. Instead of accepting facts, they try so hard to steer this narrative about “killer games” and “Nazi gamers” into a direction that proves their point. The expert, they asked, also says multiple times throughout the documentary that the gaming-scene isn’t more susceptible to Nazis compared to other scenes. In essence, book readers, dog owners, kids that got breastfed… are you all nazis? There are Nazis after all that have read books, owned dogs or that have been breastfed in the past. 

(this is sarcasm) Let’s ban breastfeeding because it turns people into Nazis. Quod erat demonstrandum. (back to the serious post)

Despite being presented with facts that do not prove their point, they paint a picture of Nazis in the gaming community and present their opinions as facts instead. They’re implying that every gamer is automatically a racist, sexist, homophobe or even a potential gunman, about to shoot up a mosque or synagogue. They’re not adding value to their own documentary but instead rely on GTA clips and questionable music and other devices to have this very alarming tone throughout their documentary. 

This “documentary” is just another one of many trying to picture video games as the new medium introduced by the devil himself to tempt people into killing other people in real life.¬†The expert that they asked also mentioned that “the statement that media are not reporting factually about video games is not unfounded” which is quite ironic, considering how biased and opinionated this whole ordeal is.

I would have loved a more or less professional and unbiased piece of investigative journalism that just states facts and has interviews in it with different experts and perspectives. I would have loved to see the whole interview with Sissor in it and maybe, I would have even liked to hear what that IB-guy, Malenki, has to say on the matter of games as propaganda. I would have enjoyed watching an hour to two hours of professional journalism but instead got to see 13 minutes of some female reporter doing her best to drag “gamers” through the mud and depicture them as terrorists. It just seems lurid at best. It seems as if someone’s horny to get those reactions and clicks with this when the video has over 50,000 dislikes in contrast to 1,762 likes. It’s absurd how they gave this thing an “okay” after seeing how they cut down 50 minutes of an interview to two minutes of highly opinionated journalism tucked into a “documentary” that can’t even be called that, to be fair.

Oh well, hope you enjoyed this post. I don’t wanna get too political on here but I just wanted to get my voice out. Obviously, I’m condoning every killer there is and every racist and fascist and all of that. I wrote a piece on that in the past that caused quite a dip in views at the time, I guess from people thinking that I’ll get super political now with my posts. Luckily, I don’t do that. Now and then I write about people goofing up and being stupid. This time it was left-wing journalists pointing fingers at people that play games. As someone who plays games, I know that their claims suck and don’t make sense. Their arguments are as valid as my breastfeeding argument: Not at all.

Stay healthy and be kind to others!

Cheers!

Alex Hutchinson is out of touch with reality

A lot of streamers on Twitch have been using music that they don’t own or that they weren’t explicitly allowed to use in their streams and now have to fear DMCA strikes and potential takedowns from clips and VODs that could be plenty of years old. Twitch is trying its best to mute those VODs and clips or potentially just remove it but has also handled the situation in an iffy way as it doesn’t communicate which content is problematic and what you’re getting struck for. Instead of saying that this VOD or this clip uses music by some artist who’s now claiming it, then you could delete that specific video and just not use that artist’s music, I guess…

But it’s all a rather difficult situation. Twitch doesn’t handle it well but should’ve stopped copyright infringements ages ago and should communicate it better right now… Meanwhile, labels, studios and artists are in the complete right as well to claim what they own, although the warner bros. bots are going a bit too far at times. 

But among all the chaos in regards to DMCAs and Music and Twitch, there is one man who’s completely out of touch with the world… Alex Hutchinson who’s known for working on Spore, The Sims 2, AC3, Far Cry 4 and Journey to the Savage Planet – who now is working on Google’s Stadia! 

Hutchinson’s hot take is that streamers should rather “worry about streaming the games they didn’t pay for as well” and that “streamers should pay developers and publishers of the games that they are streaming”. According to him, there should be a license “like in any real business” to pay for the content they use.

And naturally, this blew up and he’s responding to some of the comments and I’m not entirely sure if he’s not just baiting to get some attention going or if he’s completely serious about it… but it makes for a good prompt: Should streamers pay developers for the games that they make money with? Should bloggers do the same? Should I pay developers in order to acquire a license to be able to review their games, even when they sent me a copy or when I bought the copy myself? 

Well, short answer: No, that’s stupid. And here’s why:

The problem with this whole idea is that the gaming industry works in a wholly different way from the music industry. Let’s say you’re a solo developer without a publisher and you end up selling a game for 5 bucks on steam. Someone buys one copy of your game and you earn 3.5 bucks whilst Steam takes 1.5 bucks for every copy sold aka 30%. (We’ll just use the 30% cut for this instead of the actual numbers that scale with how many copies are being sold and stuff because it makes it a bit easier.)

If a hundred people buy that game, the developer will get 350 bucks while Steam gets 150 bucks and everyone is happy. Of course, there are other costs involved like advertisement and potential losses but generally, you can get “free” advertisement by giving copies to select streamers, bloggers, websites and certain people so that they can talk or write about it and potentially play it in front of a large audience. A great example for that would be SplattercatGaming on YouTube who’s doing First Impressions of games. Meanwhile, if FGSquared streams it in front of her audience, she’s showing gameplay for more than just half an hour and is able to show the gameplay quite well to her audience, encouraging them to buy it. And on another note, I do reviews as well whenever I get the time to do so – and there are developers that reach out via mail to me and that want me to review their game or at least write about it. 

Essentially, instead of investing a whole lot of money into Facebook, Instagram and YouTube ads, you can distribute review copies to people that will advertise your game for free. They earn money from YouTube ads and Subs/Donos on Twitch and uh… I don’t earn money at all apart from blogging but that doesn’t matter as you get the idea. It’s free advertisement, essentially, at the cost of not selling a copy to that one specific streamer, blogger or YouTuber. 

On the other hand, musicians earn $0.006 to $0.0084 per play on Spotify. If the streamer plays the song in front of a large audience, they earn that $0.006 from that one play. (I’ll stick to the lower number since I also used the highest cut in the example above.) If a hundred people decide to play that song one time, the musician earns $0.60 which is… not much compared to what a solo game developer would earn. And even then, I’m not sure if that musician is getting the whole 60 cents from Spotify or if it gets split up between the artist and the label/studio, etc. 

Obviously, developers will have publishers as well that may potentially take a cut as well but generally, I’d say that small developers earn more on Steam than small musicians do on Spotify. Of course, there are also sales from other music stores (like Bandcamp!) or if you buy the album somewhere else but the cut over there can be so different from artist to artist that I’m not sure if the comparison is fair.

So while the gaming industry and the music industry are completely different in that regard, at least in my uneducated and superficial opinion (prove me right if you wanna and if you know more about it), I actually do think that having licenses could be a good idea. Not for the games but rather for the music. 

In my streams, I use music by Bonaparte, Desmond Cheese and City Girl who I wrote E-Mails to in order to get permission to use their music. Whenever I play their music, it shows on screen and I tend to talk a bit more about the songs and what I like about them. I also tend to tell people to check out the links below to get to the social media pages for the different artists… and I’m also sure that Bonaparte at this point earned a lot from me alone on Spotify. 

What if there was a license that you could pay for that would support the artists that you used on Twitch? You’d essentially pay a fee every month or so and then you’re able to use select artists or playlists and the artists would get a better cut from the deal compared to Spotify… I’d like that idea personally but I’m not sure if that would ever work properly.

Btw, Twitch is now introducing “Soundtrack” now which is an app that not only allows you to use music by approved artists that gave permission to Twitch but that also separates the audio from the VOD, resulting in an easier time for you as a streamer. The overlay for it is also on the screen and doesn’t feel intrusive at all but I’ll write it about that eventually as well at another time.

As for gaming, I feel like it’s ridiculous to pay for a game again that you already bought just to be able to stream it. A revenue share is also a rather silly idea, in my opinion, as the streamers that earn money with their content don’t earn it because of the games… but rather because of the entertainment they provide. It’s transformative, in the sense that streamers add commentary and their personalities to the gameplay. It’s not about the game but rather about the streamer. 

A revenue split would not work in a way because the streamers that do it as a hobby and that don’t earn a cent from it would still have to pay to be able to stream the game they’re playing, for free…? The idea of review copies that the publishers are HANDING OUT to certain streamers would be idiotic as the streamers would suddenly have to make less money by streaming the games that they got given.¬†

If we take this proposal further (ad absurdum), then the pianist is going to have to pay the guy who made his piano for every single person that bought a ticket to his concert. The piano maker already got paid for the piano but suddenly, he’ll earn more and the pianist is going to have to deal with it.¬†

Let me go even further: The ASMR and Just Chatting streamers will have to pay money to the some state because they’re streaming and making money off words. They’ll also have to pay money to the company that made their mic, even though they already bought it. They’ll also have to pay additional money to their landlord since the rent only covers them living there but not them earning money in their flats.

On another note, a lot of athletes use certain brands as well and hence advertise those. My siblings used to play table tennis and when they followed the better players for a while on TV, they would constantly wish for a DONIC table tennis racket. The fact that the best of the best were using those, at the time, made these already worth buying in their eyes, even if they had to save up a lot for them. 

The pianist is playing his best music on a certain piano. The soccer player is using one specific brand of shoes whenever he wins a game. A member of a famous esports team is using a specific mouse in all of his games. 

The idea of marketing and free samples and review copies is something that works quite well. Streamers playing games for their audience and hence promoting it… it works and is nothing that should get changed to get even more money for Bigfish developers and publishers while small indie studios would probably not profit all that much from it. 

At last,… Hutchinson also mentioned, jokingly, that NFL and other sports organisations should maybe pay streamers to broadcast and comment on the full games… on Twitch… and that’s hilarious because while he’s mocking the idea, it’s actually a thing. Twitch does that. The NFL does that. It’s very successful actually. Hutchinson must be trolling. I don’t want to believe that someone who’s behind great titles like Spore and who’s working on Stadia is just really that out of touch with reality. Like, that can’t be…, right? 

So, uh, let’s summarise: As mentioned above, I think that the proposal of having streamers pay for games that they already paid for is stupid (I just noticed that that’s what WoW and FFOnline are doing… I’m still not a fan of paid subscription models in games that you already bought). I haven’t even gotten into tax stuff and all of that… in Germany, you’d have to pay taxes and your channel would get treated like a small business as well when you earn a specific amount of money per year. 

It’s also stupid to demand a revenue share when streamers add a lot of publicity to games, as you can see with Among Us (which was quite “dead” for two years and then blew up because of streamers) and Fall Guys (whose whole marketing campaign consisted of handing keys to streamers). It’s stupid to criticize streamers for earning money with their own content that is based around review copies handed out by publishers and developers. It’s like jumping in front of a car and then demanding that others pay for the hospital bills, not because of them running you over but rather because of them not being there for you and preventing you from jumping in front of the car. Doesn’t make sense? Yeah, exactly!

I hope you enjoyed this post. I kind of wanting to give my two cents on it and wanted to make a post while it’s still a “hot topic”. I’d like to hear your thoughts on it and see what you think of this whole ordeal. Is Hutchinson out of touch with reality or is he really just a genius that is too advanced for our current times?

Cheers!

Edit: I added “ad absurdum” to one of the paragraphs since that’s a word that I’ve been looking for while writing up the post but while it was lying on my tongue, it just didn’t come out. Now it’s there. The “to take it further” part was meant to be an “ad absurdum” mechanism to showcase how silly this idea would sound if we replace “games” and “streamers” with “pianos” and “pianists” or “microphones” and “ASMRtists/Just Chatting streamers” or “running shoes” and “athletes”. So that’s an edit I had to make to essentially just mention that it’s supposed to sound silly and absurd because it is silly and absurd in a way.

I’m not a gamer

So, yesterday, I made a post on a couple of topics, including toxicity, bad game design encouraging certain , “tryhards”, the terminology of “being a gamer”, gatekeeping and other stuff. My problem with that post was that it started with a question, then it suddenly branched out into three different topics and at the end, it concluded without ever answering the question. That’s what I’d consider a confusing and bad post.¬†

So, I edited the post and it didn’t help bring my point across because that post was overloaded and bad in quality. Hence, I’m splitting it up into multiple posts, each dedicated to their own topic so that I can get my idea across as intended. After all, I’m really bad at putting my thoughts into words and I should just write about one thing instead of trying to add in more and more herbs to the soup, if that makes sense.

This post is about “being a gamer”. 

A while ago, I had this experience with a German streamer who I followed for a bit who wanted to learn English. I thought that that was cute and wanted to help, so we hopped into Valorant and played a few rounds and I corrected him whenever he did use words in the wrong way, which he really found helpful.

During one of the games, he got frustrated. He was playing Jett, a duelist-class agent that has high mobility and an ultimate with some nice kill-potential. I was playing Sage, a support-class agent that has zone-control with an ice wall and a slow area but that can also heal and revive people. Sage doesn’t have any damaging abilities. Other people in our team would play Raze and Pheonix, as well, which are also duelists with tools in their kit to kill people with. Raze is also able to one-shot people with three of her abilities, which is major bullshit btw.¬†

That guy’s frustration came from him doing really well with 27 kills and us still losing the game. I, on the other hand, died a bunch and got a lot of assists for helping my team kill people – but I didn’t get that many kills. My KDA was, hence, not as good as his, so he insulted and “flamed” me. I told him that my or his KDA or stats don’t matter if we end up still losing the game because of bad team play. In the end, you can be the best player on your team but it doesn’t matter if you don’t win – and winning was our common goal.¬†

Roger said a while ago that there is always someone who wins and someone who loses in competitive games. You cannot change that unless it’s a tie of sorts… but those are quite unlikely with overtime mechanics in place and that kind of stuff. It’s a given that you cannot always win or that there is always someone better than you in any game. 

So, this guy who was insulting me on his stream also said that I’m not a “gamer” because I don’t care about those stats. And it’s true. I don’t care about stats and care more about having fun in games. Winning is also fun btw so obviously it’s not that I don’t care about winning and doing my best. I’m just fine with losing if I’m able to gain experience, practice or just have fun.

Practically, I’m really bad at FPS games and even worse in Valorant as I haven’t had any practice in it for quite some time. I also haven’t played CS:GO or any of those other games, so I’m lacking experience. The only way for me to improve would be to play more. Playing more, however, requires me to have fun as I’ll get frustrated if the game gets boring, stale or if I just don’t enjoy it. I told him beforehand that I’m not good at the game and when he insulted me based on numbers without acknowledging that him playing Solo and for his stats only in a TEAM GAME wasn’t exactly “good” either,… well…. I just didn’t wanna bother with him anymore. I felt that he was toxic, selfish and honestly quite cringy. Him throwing a tantrum over me not being a “gamer” was childish at best.¬†Him rushing in to kill people without pinging, communicating or saying anything was really bad, actually. Him getting a kill but then dying, alone, with the spike on him, is a bad move. But that doesn’t matter apparently when you have good stats, right? Because people just look at the stats and not your individual plays or whatever.

So, what’s a “gamer” then? 

First up, I won’t include the urban dictionary definition because of obvious reasons.

Apparently, a gamer is someone who is not contempt with losing and who only cares about winning no matter what playstyle and what tool they have to resort to. Cheating or hacking is most likely not included in that definition. Ninja said that someone who is contempt with losing has lost twice and that you have to get angry and rage when you lose, to be considered a gamer Рor something like that.

My problem with that sort of definition is that it is kind of wrong? I mean, it doesn’t include casual gamers, otome gamers, mobile gamers, simulation-type gamers, and other types. I’d say that a “gamer” is someone who plays games a lot. A “competitive gamer” would be someone as mentioned above who is very competitive (duh.) and who really wants to improve and get better at the game. A “casual gamer” would be someone who rather focuses on having a fun experience and enjoying their time.¬†

Problem is that no matter what my personal definition is, there will always be people that won’t acknowledge it. “You’re not a gamer” is a form of gatekeeping that excludes me because I’m not honing my skills in certain games. It also excludes people that play games casually and people that play other types of games that cannot really be played competitively. There are a lot of people in “gaming communities” that don’t consider Visual Novels, otome games, mobile games and simulation-type games as “games”. I mean they are games but if a “gamer” is someone who “plays games” then those people that play the game types that I mentioned above aren’t “gamers” or “true gamers” in their eyes.¬†

That’s what I noticed in a lot of places like Twitter, Reddit, Twitch, and Discord. It’s gatekeeping at its finest and I don’t like it. It’s unhealthy for communities and toxic, at best. That’s why I don’t consider myself a “gamer” because that term is just oozing with toxicity. It’s a term that people use to label others while excluding other people. A “gamer” is more often than not almost obsessed with winning or obsessed with having high stats. You cannot always do good, though, and despite what Ninja may say on the topic, losing is completely fine as long as you did your best. There is always someone who is better than you after all. In the time that you rage or insult or badmouth others, you could easily try again and get better by reflecting on what you did wrong and what you can do better. And then you get better. That’s the way it is.

So, to sum it up, there is not really any definition of what a “gamer” is that literally everyone would accept, duh. There is a meme, as¬†Jett¬†and¬†Dan¬†pointed out once in my stream, of “getting your gamer card revoked” for liking certain types of games or certain game mechanics (e.g. escort missions) – and that’s really just gatekeeping, in my eyes. People that want to belong to a gaming community get excluded for not being “gamers” because they do things differently.¬†

Obviously, people will always be assholes and the only real solution to that is to ignore them. If you want to be a gamer, be a gamer. Fuck their opinions, just go for it. Nobody can stop you. If you want to consider yourself a core gamer or a true gamer or a veteran gamer or whatever, then just call yourself that. 

If someone calls me a “gamer”, then I’ll politely say that I’m not a “gamer” because I don’t like the term and because I have negative connotations with it. It’s a terminology that is oozing with toxicity and that seems gatekeep-ish and that does more harm than good, in my opinion. Also, I don’t like labels like that, be it “otter” or “gamer” or “otaku” or whatever.

Rather, I’m “someone who likes to play games” or rather “gaming is a big part of my life” or a “big hobby of mine”. Terminology like that puts it better into words and really helps me because it’s not negative or positive. It’s just neutral and objective. Similarly, I like watching anime but I wouldn’t consider myself an “otaku” because I have negative connotations with the term – or rather, it’s an insult, to begin with, and I hate the anime community because of my negative experiences with a lot of people in said community. Being an “otaku” and “liking anime” are two different things for me, personally, with a very small difference.

Wearing the “same trousers” and wearing “trousers that look the same” are two things as well, btw.

Furthermore, I’d like to say that I don’t care about how you play your games. You can be a speedrunner (which is awesome btw!), a competitive gamer (I play games competitively as well, at times), a casual gamer (I mostly play games casually), a mobile gamer (it’s still a game, innit?), or anything else. You can be someone who plays games or someone who is a gamer. Whatever floats your boat. I’m not critiquing the way people play their games but rather the terminology and the gatekeeping that I associate with it.

I just wanted to comment on the terminology of “being a gamer” and why I don’t like the terminology,¬†personally.¬†

What are your thoughts on the matter? What are statements that would “get your gamer card revoked”? Have you had any toxic experiences with gatekeeping in regards to being or not being a “gamer”? Would you consider yourself a “gamer” or rather “someone who plays games”? Do you see any difference at all? 

Cheers!

Got too many games? Fear not, here’s more!

At this point, thirty minutes ago, StuffedWombat, the developer of Gutwhale, asked on Twitter what long term effect this 1000+ game bundle will have on the people that will buy games/that have big gaming backlogs already… and well,… here’s my answer to that.

When I speak of “this bundle” I mean the Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality that the itch.io people put together featuring tons of great games and other lesser-known titles. For the next few days, you get about 1637 items by 1304 creators at a price of $5… instead of a regular price of $9,083. For only five bucks you can not only support the charity but also unlock DRM-free copies of MidBoss, Night of the Consumers, Odd Realm, Beacon, A Short Hike, Celeste, Overland, Night in the Woods, Long Gone Days, Tonight We Riot, Catlateral Damage, Nuclear Throne, Minit, Death and Taxes, OneShot, The Stillness of the Wind, a bunch of RPG assets, Fossil Hunters, Last Word, Crest, Pyre, Mon-Cuties for All, Octodad, and many more! 

There are a ton of titles in there that I’ve got wishlisted on steam for a while now or that I’ve seen screenshots of over on Twitter and that I wanted to review for my blog and now I’ve got them all… for five bucks. Sure, I own a lot of them already and some of these titles (like the RPG maker assets) are probably not going to get installed any time soon… but regardless of that there’s a ton of value in this package as well as a great cause as all proceeds will be donated to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and Community Bail Fund split 50/50! Isn’t that lovely?

But now, back to the original post idea: StuffedWombat (jokingly) said that people won’t buy any small games any time soon as they already have so much to play, which leads to the question of if that’s true. 

I personally have a fixed budget for each month that gets spent on free-time-activities, be it new books, games, going out with friends or games. With the lockdown being a thing “going out with friends” is not much of an option for me personally and with my backlog of books being a thing and exams coming around the corner, I don’t really need new books, to be honest, so naturally, I spend a lot of it on these kinds of things. This month, for instance, I’ve purchased this bundle, used my twelve bucks on Humble Choice, and bought Sea of Thieves, so that leaves me with little to nothing else.

By limiting myself to a certain amount of money I don’t get to go on these spending-sprees when the different sales are around the corner, like the upcoming Steam Summer Sale.

…and since I didn’t spend all that much last month, I decided to donate twenty bucks to the Trevor Project as part of our recent charity-stream and donate some money to some other projects. I feel like that’s a good cause and ever since I quit smoking two months ago, I’ve got more money available for games, which is a good thing. It’s a bit of a motivational thing. 

Now that I own this bundle, I obviously won’t need to spend too much money on titles in this bundle, right?

Well,… technically yes. I guess I won’t have to buy titles like Pyre or Tonight We Riot as I already own them… but I kind of want to also have them on Steam, if that makes sense?

Nuclear Throne, for instance, was one of my first purchases on Steam. Regardless of that, I also own it on the Epic Game Store and (now) twice on itch.io thanks to huge bundles. Do I need this game four times? No. Is it worth it? Hell yes. It was free on Epic Games but Epic Games doesn’t feature a lot of the features that I like in Steam like Achievements or INGAME SCREENSHOTS, FFS. WHY THE FUCK IS THAT NOT A THING YET? – sorry, I lost my composure. 

And well, itch.io is something I browse now and then, but I haven’t made any purchases on here apart from the bundle for racial justice and equality as well as the COVID-relief bundle. 

And there are still plenty of games on my steam-wishlist like Firewatch that I really want to play someday that we don’t have in this game yet. If it ends up to be in the upcoming steam summer sale, I’ll happily grab it if my funds allow it. And that although I already own 700+ unplayed games. I’m already spending a lot less on games and my backlog is shrinking slowly (if you don’t look at the pile of 1000+ games from itch.io that I now have) but regardless of that there will be times where I’ll buy releases that I find interesting, simply for the sake of owning and eventually playing them. 

Of course, eventually, I’ll have to limit the funds that I can spend on free-time-activities. When I have to deal with taxes and kids and pets and stuff, I’ll have different priorities. When I have a cat, I reckon that that cat will get a separate set of funds dedicated to its food and toys and whatever… and whenever I need to, I’ll reassign the game-funds to it or my food-funds or whatever. Yup, sounds like a fool-proof plan to me. Obviously, the game-funds would have to decrease… but I’d also have a job then, so that’d mean… more money! Maybe I’ll be able to work through my backlog and review more games, that way, but for now, I think my limited funds are alright. It’s an alright measure. 

And to get back on track, people will always spend money on games. Even if some of us will spend less in the future, we will still spend now and then and support the (Indie) Game industry in one way or another. 

And that’s fine. I doubt that any devs will have to fear that they’ll go extinct eventually. And I’m sure among all the hoarders and buyers there’s plenty of indie game promoters that have to buy games to get their blog posts and youtube videos and whatever out, so at least those will fuel that ever-raging and never-ending fire called the “backlog”. 

Either way, I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. It’s a bit of a silly prompt, I guess, but I wanted to give my two cents to the topic and also mention that I plan on getting a cat once I’m done with my studies. Lovely. 

I wish you a wonderful day. 

Cheers!

The Stray Sheep #3 – Certain things

There’s certain things that I always seem to need when writing.

I can’t start writing without having my table lamp turned on. I don’t seem to be able to start either without having a bottle of water or a cup of tea on my table. It’s just one those things. It’s not even the fact that I need light or that I got to stay hydrated. I just need those things to start writing or else I won’t be productive at all.

Today it’s coffee + my lamp.

Sometimes I get to start and when I finally take a break, my tea’s already cold. And as for my lamp, I even have it on broad daylight. I guess, it’s just cozier that way.

Maybe it’s just one those thing that you do, like holding hands with your partner but only while he or she is on your right side – because everything else would be weird. Or maybe it’s like having to wash out your mouth three times after brushing your teeth – since two times is never enough and four times would be silly, right?

It’s just one of those things, I guess.

Note: This is my tenth post already, btw.

This post is part of a contest/challenge called Blaugust! The goal is to post as much as possible and participants are awarded with different prizes depending on the goal they achieved. My aim is to post on all 31 days of August and if you’d like to know more about this “event”, you should check this post out.