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The Extra Credits thread!! EC is amazing!


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RTS games tend to be pretty difficult to watch, as enthusiastic as korean announcers can be about it...a lot of it is that they can be slow to start and have a build up phase where something like FPS or fighting games goes right into the action

it's also good that they generally have similar concepts and gameplay, like I don't play SFIV but I watch it sometimes and I can still see a lot of the zoning, reads, baits etc. another fighting game will come along and be the next big thing pretty quickly maybe but I can still watch that too even while missing a lot of the specific game knowledge, and this is even more true of FPS games.

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I would definately recommend HuskyStarcraft as the best commentator. I would not be a fan without him. He casts a game almost every day and always has a bit of fun with it as well. For example, a game I watched from him yesterday, he was feeling bad about how larva will die when off of the creep. "It's like when you step off of the carpet, you die. Imagine if he was all like goin to the kitchen and he stepped off but wait, that larva would be ballin' because he went from being a larva to having his own house."

You need to actually listen to him to enjoy it though. I can't really do him justice.

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I think that Tastosis and Seth Killian are the best commentators on their respective games, with Day9 and James Chen just beneath them (but still good).

One point that will eventually have to happen: The best commentators are often not top players. Get people in there for their ability to speak clearly and make a game exciting, not because they happen to click the mouse / move the joystick around the best. (Of course, they have to know their stuff, but that's a separate issue).

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Wow.... BardicKnowledge, you hit the nail on the head there. It seems we're talking about a separate issue altogether here. How a host's and/or commentator's articulation, knowledge, and showmanship might be an essential element in making a normally somewhat mundane competition transcend into the 'pro' circuit.

I know this is how I feel about Alton Brown's impact on Iron Chef America.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So I've been marathoning this over the past week or so - been meaning to ever since I caught Sephfire being interviewed on OCAD - and I hit the second part of the game addiction video. And it may have been said already in this thread, but that episode was...really, really powerful. I was shaking by the end, mostly from dredged up memories of the time I spent there, and the hell it caused.

I've been down that road. It contributed to spending 6 months in a mental hospital - through December. I missed Christmas with my family, spending it instead 100 miles away in a room with bars on the windows and bolted locks on all the doors. It's...game compulsion is a horrible thing to go through, and it's something I consider the absolute lowest point of my life. I didn't stop for eating - or hygiene, at all. Just played and played and played.

I am very glad James managed to pull out, and that most of his friends pulled out. I think it's a good thing to push the message out, that if you're in that hole, it's never too late to reach up and get pulled out. It's one of the hardest things to do, to reach up initially, but it's worth it.

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So I've been marathoning this over the past week or so - been meaning to ever since I caught Sephfire being interviewed on OCAD - and I hit the second part of the game addiction video. And it may have been said already in this thread, but that episode was...really, really powerful. I was shaking by the end, mostly from dredged up memories of the time I spent there, and the hell it caused.

I've been down that road. It contributed to spending 6 months in a mental hospital - through December. I missed Christmas with my family, spending it instead 100 miles away in a room with bars on the windows and bolted locks on all the doors. It's...game compulsion is a horrible thing to go through, and it's something I consider the absolute lowest point of my life. I didn't stop for eating - or hygiene, at all. Just played and played and played.

I am very glad James managed to pull out, and that most of his friends pulled out. I think it's a good thing to push the message out, that if you're in that hole, it's never too late to reach up and get pulled out. It's one of the hardest things to do, to reach up initially, but it's worth it.

Wow dude.

As much as I empathize for how horrible it must have been for you in that time... all I can think is: 'I seriously hope the same people who think video games cause violence don't start catching wind of cases like this.'

I guess I never realized how severe it can be for some people.

Glad someone else was really moved by that episode. Despite being so different it's one of my favourites.

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There were other mental issues I was dealing with, but the video games did contribute - and as mentioned in the video, generally, life sucks pretty hard for someone to dive into things like that.

I spend what time and effort I can advocating that video games can be a tool for good if used right. Cases like mine are an exception, and don't happen just because of video games, there's always other things going on.

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Interesting episode. I don't have much to add on the topic, so I won't, but one thing did strike me.

I was intrigued by the short bit on "Anti-Japan War Online". Specifically, the phrase used to describe it's setting: "the 1937-1945 conflict between Japan and China". To most people, this conflict is better known as World War II. China was one of the Allies during WWII, and its people suffered horribly during the Japanese invasion, during which the Japanese army committed numerous atrocities against the Chinese people, including the Rape of Nanking (during which hundreds of thousands of Chinese civilians and POWs were murdered and tens of thousands of women were systematically raped) -- most of which modern-day Japan still publicly refuses to accept responsibility for.

Now think about how many WWII games there are. Do Americans get tired of killing Nazis? Not really -- it's easy to feel good about playing as a member of the righteous liberators fighting against a group of people who were responsible for genocide. Hey, wait, that applies to the Republic of China fighting the Imperial Japanese Army, too!

Not that I'm actually defending the game. I'm sure it's loathsome. But my point is that it struck me how a video about games as propaganda would use such a euphemistic phrase to refer to WWII and imply that the game is bad just because it has Chinese people killing Japanese people, when there's at least as much (and probably more) justification for having Chinese games about the Japanese invasion of China than there is for having American games about the Allied invasion of Europe. Hell, there's plenty of American games about the eastern front -- the Soviet Union (also communist!) fighting against Nazi Germany -- and people are generally okay with looking at the Russians as the "good guys". But not the Chinese, apparently.

I just thought that was interesting, is all.

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Interesting episode. I don't have much to add on the topic, so I won't, but one thing did strike me.

I was intrigued by the short bit on "Anti-Japan War Online". Specifically, the phrase used to describe it's setting: "the 1937-1945 conflict between Japan and China". To most people, this conflict is better known as World War II. China was one of the Allies during WWII, and its people suffered horribly during the Japanese invasion, during which the Japanese army committed numerous atrocities against the Chinese people, including the Rape of Nanking (during which hundreds of thousands of Chinese civilians and POWs were murdered and tens of thousands of women were systematically raped) -- most of which modern-day Japan still publicly refuses to accept responsibility for.

Now think about how many WWII games there are. Do Americans get tired of killing Nazis? Not really -- it's easy to feel good about playing as a member of the righteous liberators fighting against a group of people who were responsible for genocide. Hey, wait, that applies to the Republic of China fighting the Imperial Japanese Army, too!

Not that I'm actually defending the game. I'm sure it's loathsome. But my point is that it struck me how a video about games as propaganda would use such a euphemistic phrase to refer to WWII and imply that the game is bad just because it has Chinese people killing Japanese people, when there's at least as much (and probably more) justification for having Chinese games about the Japanese invasion of China than there is for having American games about the Allied invasion of Europe. Hell, there's plenty of American games about the eastern front -- the Soviet Union (also communist!) fighting against Nazi Germany -- and people are generally okay with looking at the Russians as the "good guys". But not the Chinese, apparently.

I just thought that was interesting, is all.

I love you for writing this.

I didn't even make that connection. I'm at that stage in my life where I'm very, very concerned about being politically correct and seeing both sides of the coin. It's really difficult to break out of the mindset we all got put in from taking all those history classes growing up, with their obvious American slant and nationalist undertones. They formulate this ideology of superiority that allows us to turn a blind eye to the things we condemn other countries for doing that we do quite blatantly ourselves. It's really quite interesting, though it's really hard to put into words...

I really think that's the issue with taking on a teacher role. Because as the audience, we really don't know any better. And I don't think the Extra Credits crew had any mal-intent while writing this episode. But it really spreads this doctrine of hypocrisy that is honestly a problem, even though it's unintentional.

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So something has caught my attention ever since it was commented on in s3e8... and while, sephire, I know you've got plenty of episode suggestions and I'm not necessarily suggesting an episode on the topic, I am really curious to know where you and James would weigh in on this one... and the rest of you for that matter.

The comment was; "Unfortunately James has run into a lot of designers and creative directors in the industry who are essentially frustrated filmmakers. They still envision narrative in terms of film."

Every time I think creatively on how I would design a game, or how I would want to further the game medium, I always come back to how this issue, and how there needs to be some kind of major breakthrough. You've approached this issue from many angles, from a need to tell risky and unconventional stories, to how gaming is a new medium compared to film, to the issues of non-linear choice-based stories and how that separates games from film, and even how the uncanny valley affects how we view the actors/characters.

...and yet I still feel like we will never win over the film critics who dislike games... and I still can't explain WHY.

...and your average foreign film with creative angles, story, or emotional depth manages to bring something to the table I've yet to get from any game and I can't explain WHY.

I guess it's just the issue that the gameplay has to be in its proper proportion, and that a game which would leave you with nothing to do, or the equivalent of only QTEs, or simple dialogue choices or 'mini-games' isn't much of a game at all no matter how good the story is.

Why, for some reason, does it seem the FMV point and click game is all-but-dead? Can't we do it better now? Is the genre such a flop?

and why, then, have games succeeded so well over film with the survival horror genre? Any well-made, effective, survival horror game, in part to its interactivity, is way creepier than a horror movie. Are we just desensitized to the imagery alone?

And what other genres can we still tap into, perhaps not yet discovered genres, which could carry a greater impact THROUGH gaming? A first hand Sophie's Choice of a choice. Where's that?

Maybe this is just a rant, but anyone else feeling where I'm coming from with this one?

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Question: Given how many images were used with some form of the word "fuck" in them (six that I saw after going back through), why did you bleep it near the end? That... kind of made no sense. It's like blurring the killing of Dick Jones at the end of "Robocop," after leaving every other death scene untouched.

I know, off topic, "not important given the subject being discussed" and all that. But, it kind of jumped out at me once the credits were done.

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There are games that usually get it right that are worth mentioning.

For instance, I am currently taking a graduate course on the Italian madrigal. While none of the music in 16th century Italy actually made it into Assassin's Creed (alas, and something my professors have rightly criticized), lots of the history is as close as it could be.

Example: Caterina Sforza was actually imprisoned inside the Castle Sant'Angelo in 1499. After her release (which, of course, was not in reality a daring rescue by Ezio Auditore, but bear with me), she indeed traveled to seek an audience with the Pope for the restoration of her lands, ultimately failing to do so. It is much, MUCH easier to remember this having played AC: Brotherhood. Similarly, it is much easier to recall that Pope Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia) comes (two) before Julius II, who is finally succeeded by Pope Leo X (Giovanni di Lorenzo de' Medici) -- the AC Lorenzo's son.

I'm not saying AC gets everything right, because obviously it does not (and isn't trying to). An easy example is that in the actual Florence, Italy, the Duomo is taller than Giotto's Belltower, and it is the reverse ingame. There are a number of details that it changes for the sake of the fiction. But overall, you can read the logs and figure out what was real vs. what was not -- and educate yourself greatly in the process.

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Remember when I said you guys give us gamers an important and well-spoken voice? Yeah. This episode FTW. As nauseating as I'm sure it was to endure, part of me hopes you guys really stir the pot with this one. They definitely deserve shit for this.

I spent the last 2 1/2 years steeped in Mexican pride. I worked in a Mexican Restaurant alongside Mexican Canadians who visit Mexico several times a year... many of them had family members in 'rough areas' and feared for their lives daily, sending money whenever they could. The level of racism and misinformation here is criminally negligent and should be upsetting to all and not just to those who notice.

Hopefully it is looked back on as an example of incredible poor taste, notoriously so, not unlike Birth of a Nation is to film (minus the ahead-of-its-time factor). One we can learn from as a level of insensitivity not to be repeated.

I can't even imagine how the Mexican American gamer population will be responding to this episode. I would be livid if it was my people.

EDIT: Watching it again, will likely make a point to share this one around.

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Wanted to make another post to point out that I've actually had a few arguments by this point about this last episode. I'm feeling agitated about it even now. You'd think that the argument would be about how a game like this offends them and they might blame video games or even gamers as being ignorant, catering to, and producing this garbage.

In actuality, from multiple people, I've been confronted about how this is an issue that's being taken too seriously, a mountain out of a molehill.

-That games aren't supposed to be so closely analyzed...

-That games aren't a good source for sociopolitical information so why am I treating them as though they should be...

-That it's a shitty, poorly received, game which people wouldn't listen to anyway...

-That it makes an issue where there need not be, and whining about it or 'spreading awareness' will only succeed in making asshole activists out of gamers instead of looking at fps' like the 'mindless entertainment' they 'should be' at face value.

and finally,

-That the video itself was almost more offensive for over-dramatization than any of the offensive content was.

They've likened it to the much much lesser RE5 racism controversy about how they're only shooting black people, but since it's in Africa, there's nothing racist about it... Talk about missing the point...

None of these are my opinions but ones I've faced since introducing this issue within my friend circle. It's worth noting that none of these are my Mexican friends. Needless to say, I've been thinking on this last one a LOT. And if the episode at it's worst manages to get people to talk and think about where they stand on the issue it is still a massive success.

Here's why I still agree with Daniel, James, and the EC crew:

Ethically, there's a lot to argue for here:

Free speech, designer obligation (if there is any, if there should be), appropriate levels of parody, comedy, and fiction/non-fiction as it relates to modern issues, varying levels of sensitivity based on subject matter, the direction gaming is going, the standard we want it to rise to, and the accountability this implies.

All of these one has to weigh for themselves, these are matters of personal ethics and opinions. At the end of the day, it is just a game which has just as much reason to exist as to not exist and be played as not played.

What this boils down to for me is the racist lies it tells, and that for me, one of the darkest, most evil things you can do is wrongly educate. Racist hatred, religious extremism, bigoted worldviews, and the ability to dehumanize... all of these are fostered by harsh life experiences and agenda-driven mentors. Nothing about these dark things, the seed from which all evil mindsets start, would exist to the same capacity if it wasn't for a corruption of education.

If someone doesn't have their facts straight, they must be held accountable as to why. This is why this is important to me, and this is why I'm defending EC's stance here. AAA games, even A games exist in a very marketed very public space. We aren't able to hold it to the same standard as Custer's Revenge which can be shrugged off as a small crappy game of poor taste. We're supposed to get involved with these characters. We're supposed to immerse ourselves in on their story.

Here's an illustration for anyone in a similar boat as me. Let's look at the movie Borat for a second. Borat is a silly film, one with a character who is both an ethnic stereotype, and a notable anti-Semitic... but all of this is allowable because it is both obvious comedy and an effective portrayal of how Americans respond to foreigners.

What if in a 'Borat 2' movie he crackied jokes about killing Jews? Still on the fence of poor taste...

What if he made erroneous claims about Palestinians more often being the victims of Jewish suicide bombers? Really poor taste but obviously silly...

Now what if it wasn't a comedy?

There is a point at which getting offended is the right response. Some things are more important than shrugging off as 'in poor taste.'

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That episode was fun - loved the costume, Daniel... just be sure to wear it IRL. Great song at the end, too :D

BGC, I think the front page is in need of some hardcore updating, here. All the links are dead due to the legal issues with The Escapist.

The Vyse costume gave me a heart palpitation.

I only idolize two games and Skies of Arcadia is one of them.

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I hear so much praise for the game, I wish I could get a hold of Skies of Arcadia: Legends for a reasonable price up here. The lowest price from Amazon.ca is $70 used.
For the GAMECUBE version? Wow, it's rare here too but still lingers around $30 online.

*checks eBay*

Oh my god, the price shot up. I've gone through exactly four copies myself but never paid more than 30. Now I really regret selling those.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think that we're quickly approaching the other side of the valley, at least as far as games are concerned.

Honestly, I'm much more interested in a full episode on the quip at the end about the "lots of brown over there". We need to see a wider color palette in games -- the real world has it, and our "realistic" games should too.

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