In response to “Phoenix Wright’s Objection!” from The Escapist Forums: Interesting. I never considered a game as cartoonishly overblown as Phoenix Wright to have any real basis in the world whatsoever. In fact, I’m really surprised to hear, in particular, about the prosecutors overseeing investigations in some cases, since that tends to be a widely sneered at gimmick. (Particularly in courtroom fictional dramas)
The statistics are kind of alarming, though. It made me remember a documentary I saw once about this kind of thing that didn’t really register at the time. It basically said that if you’re accused of a crime in Japan and it goes to trial, you might as well consider yourself guilty and focus instead on trying to get the lightest punishment you can rather than proving your innocence. It’s a little disheartening.
Of course, I come from Canada, where we’ll believe you’re innocent as long as we can’t see your fingers crossed behind your back, so I admit to being fairly idealistic. “Yeah, he had the knife ‘n all, but he said he didn’t do it, and it’s not like he’d lie, eh?”
In response to “Pardon My French” from The Escapist Forums: I teach English as a second language for a living, and I can’t stress the importance of video games (and games in general) as a teaching tool. Not only are games much more fun than rote exercises, they also often provide a level of immersion that is quite similar to studying abroad. After all, using English isn’t just about knowing vocab or grammar rules; it’s about being able to function in an entirely English environment (even a virtual one).
I’ve had the same experience, but substituting your French with Spanish. I’m from Spain and I mostly started learning English through videogames. I remember trying to decipher those mission briefs in X-Wing when I was little, and a few years later playing through Final Fantasy IV while translating with the help of a dictionary those bits I couldn’t understand. Nowadays, I just can’t stand material that has been translated to Spanish, it just feels wrong. I’ve seen a fair share of bad translations, like the “Hollow One” monster in Diablo II becoming the “Hueco Uno” in Spanish (which would translate back to “Hole (Number) One”), but even a good translation seems off. And it’s quite bad too when I get a translation that is in fact in American Spanish, which is understandable but sounds completely alien in choice of words and accent.
In the end I buy my games from Steam or order them online from Amazon or other online shops so I’m sure I get the English version, and I always hate it when Spanish game reviewers criticize games for not being translated, when for me it means I’ll enjoy the game much more and I can get it directly at the local shop instead of buying online.
This frantic translation of every material that is published in Spain (and other countries like France) is in the end bad for the education of people in these countries, and for their economy too. Most Spanish persons don’t know a word of English, because they’ve never had the need to learn it since everything has been spoon-fed to them in Spanish, and thus will never think bigger than the country for anything they do. Heck, even some of our recent Presidents/Prime Ministers didn’t know how to speak English, and had need of interpreters in international meetings. Of course, this means it’s impossible for them to keep a conversation with many other leaders, and makes their reactions slower than they should be.
As for me, I’m practically trilingual in Spanish, English and French, and I’m trying to learn Japanese. And I’ll never regret having learned any of those languages.
In response to “Physician, Gank Thyself” from The Escapist Forums: Very interesting article. I’ve recently started playing WoW, after years of avoiding it, and other games like it. I never really saw the appeal in it as a player of FPS games. I got onto it after my PS3 broke and had to be repaired, so I needed something to fill the 6+ hours of MW2 that I would usually play a night. What better to do this then to replace the grind-tastic leveling of COD’s multiplayer with WoW.
Now to be honest, I probably played less WoW then I did MW2, but I could definitely see the addictive qualities of this epic new world. No longer was I limited to 10 or so small locales, of which I knew every corner to hide in, but know had miles of open land to explore at my own pace. With Modern Warfare once the fight was over, I’d put the controller down and go on with my day. With WoW I find myself thinking about the world and my character long after I’ve turned the PC off. What gear I need, best way to level, where to go next. The six hours of play are only a small part of the experience. In essence you are playing every waking hour of everyday, and in this lies the problem of addiction. It’s like the game you can never turn off.
I’m lucky that I haven’t fallen into the 16 hour a day cycle, but then I am just a level 35 Blood Elf Warlock, far from the hours of time-bending end game content. I guess we will see how that goes when I get there.
In response to “Physician, Gank Thyself” from The Escapist Forums: MMOs, especially WoW, can be so immersive, especially when things at home aren’t their greatest. WoW helped me through some rough times (being a stay at home mom with two kids, and no money to go out and do things, it was my only adult social life for a long time).
The key is to be able to find balance. It’s been hard, but I’ve weaned myself off when things get busy (now that I’m back in school, that’s usually a good chunk of my time.)
I’ve been glad to see WoW become more casual friendly. Raiding no longer requires 20+ hours a week. (My own guild raids about 9 hours per week, with a relatively lax attendance policy.)
The biggest thing about raiding that people outside of Azeroth have difficulty understanding is that it’s really a team sport. There have been plenty of times, particularly in the more “serious” guilds I belonged to where I logged on to raid desperately hoping I could sit out and go do something else. But, I hated the thought, especially when recruitment was slim and we had some attendance problems, that my not logging on could mean that 20+ other players wouldn’t be able to raid. (Ok, I play a DPS, which is hardly crucial or hard to find, but still).
I think that is where the biggest challenge comes in. You don’t want to let down your team. I’ve been frustrated on nights where a tank or healer didn’t show and we had to call the raid. I made time to be there, I felt they should too (or at least give some kind of notice so the guild could alter the plan accordingly.)
I liked the article a lot; it gives a perspective from someone who understands both the psychology of addiction and the appeal of WoW.
It seems like any time the words “addiction” and “WoW” end up in the same sentence, you see people take a stand one way or the other. Either WoW is evil and everyone who plays it should quit immediately because sooner or later it will take over your life, or WoW is fine and it’s just the screwed-up people with addictive personalities who play it who give it a bad rap. The truth is somewhere in between: WoW is designed to keep you playing, but it’s a matter of your own self-control whether you let it take over your entire life or just become a (time-consuming) hobby.
Look, I’ve played WoW since a month after its release, when I was a sophomore in college. I’ve raided in all three expansion cycles (up to C’Thun in vanilla, killed Illidan in BC pre-nerf but only cleared Sunwell post-nerf, and with both 10 and 25 man Lich King kills in WotLK), I follow WoW news sites and forums, and I’m working on my 8th 80 (seriously). And in the meantime I graduated with honors from a well-regarded university, landed pretty much the best job out of school I could ask for, and actually get out of my apartment on the weekends. Could I have used my free time better? Probably, but there’s no fun in min/maxing your life like that. If WoW destroys the life of everyone it comes across, then if my life hadn’t been “destroyed” I’d be a multi-millionaire by now or something.
On the other hand, everyone knows That Guy who started playing [insert MMOG here], ended up dropping out of school, gaining 100 pounds, holing up in his parents’ basement, and not seeing his friends for 2 years. Okay, so that particular story is a bit of an exaggeration in most cases, but there are certainly people who don’t have any self-control. I see guild recruitment ads all the time making a big deal about how “hardcore” they are, that they raid 6 nights a week for 5 hours a night (never mind that the best guilds don’t actually do this except maybe for short periods). This isn’t healthy, and it’s a big problem that no one gets that fact through to these aspiring guild leaders.
All of which tells us that saying “WoW is evil” or “WoW is never the problem” is shortsighted. There’s very little research on how MMOG addiction, and video game addiction in particular, compares and contrasts with other kinds of addiction, and we need people to do it who aren’t beholden to one extreme position or the other.
In response to “Gamers of the Third World” from The Escapist Forums: This was a fascinating article. I always thought of India and China as countries of inexpensive electronics – I figured they’d be more prone to gaming than us because comparatively speaking, it costs less for them to buy it.
I guess I didn’t take into account the variences between class-based income and the lack of things like minimum wage and government pensions. I’ve never really felt rich – and right now on a student income I feel downright poor! But now I can see ‘Holy hell, my government actually pays me to study full time’. And if I picked up ten hours of work a fortnight (all I am allowed to do without cutting my payments in half) that’s almost $200 a fortnight I could then spend on games. Or food.
And this is me living BELOW the poverty line in Australia.
The best article on the site, by far.
I hope this puts a lot of things into perspective, because I’m also coming from the side of “piracy as only means” since where I grew up buying a game was prohibitively expensive so we either rented or bought them pirate cartridge (in the few cases it was worth owning something.)
But consoles not being sold until they were cracked to play pirate games is still the norm in a lot of places (you could get them still from big retailers, but for double the price and since you have to pay 200% for the games, you’ll end up cracking it anyway eventually if you want to play anything.)
In any case, I bet everyone who grew up away from Europe/America/Japan will identify with all this to some degree. Or for example someone’s first exposure to gaming was a Chinese NES knockoff that had 50 games in memory or whatever (hell I first knew the NES through the dozens of Brazilian clone consoles.) It’s all rather commonplace stuff that I bet many people “on the other side” don’t think about, or don’t see it as valid experiences for some reason because it involves “piracy.”
But really now, I see it as access to culture. If the economics are retarded, piracy will make things accessible and that ultimately is what counts to me. It’s not the method, it’s the end result (getting access to culture denied by politics/economics/etc.)
Oh yeah I specially liked the art-gallery comment. That’s a fantastic analogy. In many cases it would be like taking a photo of some famous painting and showing it to people who can’t see it personally. Sure it’s not the real thing, but depending on the photo you can still get an idea of what it’s like.