5 Conclusions - 11/01/19
A regular look at gaming-related stories from the past week or so whereby conclusions are drawn from anything and everything. These may be incredibly well reasoned based on events from the week. Alternatively, they may be highly speculative, drawn from very little evidence. More likely, they will be somewhere in between.
Conclusion One: Japan takes a similar view on cheaters to South Korea
Japan has just made console modding and save editing illegal, with a potential fine of £36,000 or 5 years in jail. Or both. As part of the Unfair Competition Act, it is now a criminal offense to distribute any tools and programs to alter save data, selling product keys that are unauthorised by the maker of the software via online auctions and any services that modify save data on a customers behalf.
It’s notable that this is already being strongly enforced, with products such as Cyber Save Editor already being discontinued. However, other more innocuous products such as Action Replay have also been put in the firing line in an odd move which seems to imply that having infinite lives in a game somehow undermines the developer and publisher of a game. Furthermore, it is also now illegal to mod classic NES, SNES or PC Classic systems to play more games.
Ultimately, the change in law is another (positive) step in clamping down on piracy and those that rip off honest workers who put their blood, sweat and tears into developing a game. However, good intentions aside, this feels like dropping a hand grenade into a room with a few bad guys and a whole lot of civilians and just shrugging at the inevitable collateral damage. The likes of cheat code cartridges are part of gaming's life blood — it’s just another part of our glorious history. They’re not evil creations, they’re designed to be fun, and to make otherwise rock-solid games a bit more bearable.
Hopefully in the months to come, there will be a little more precision from Japan’s lawmakers, and that the right people get targeted, rather than a kid who just needed infinite lives for that one level they kept dying on.
Conclusion Two: Game (well, mod) of the year is here already!
Wow. That’s the only appropriate response to the fact that the quite brilliant modder, known on Reddit as Grimrukh has just released his mod of Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition on PC. He’s spent over one thousand hours creating his vision of Dark Souls.
He told the Dark Souls subreddit the following:
“Dark Souls: Daughters of Ash is Dark Souls, re-imagined and massively expanded. It's my vision of what Dark Souls might have been if FromSoftware had been given an additional six months to develop content for the game.
Put another way: this is an enormous fan-made overhaul of Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition on PC. And I do mean enormous. (It'll be released for Dark Souls: Remastered later in 2019.)”
How can anyone’s jaw not totally drop when they hear this? The remastered version of Dark Souls was one of Jump Dash Roll’s picks of 2018 — a game which was originally released eight years ago now. It is all about the environment, the combat, the asynchronous multiplayer and the lore though, isn’t it? So the ability to experience more of that — if fan-made rather than canon — is a total gift from the gaming community. This game’s community never fails to elicit wonder from all.
For a game which I love so much, to have such incredible mod love, it’s impossible not to imagine, or expect even, this will be my game of the year. I can’t wait to find out.
Conclusion Three: Some things are better rushed
Games Done Quick has kicked off again for 2019. This semi-annual event has been running since 2010, bringing together gamers to take part in a video game speedrun marathon. Money is raised for several charities, with the most common being the Prevent Cancer foundation, and Doctors Without Borders.
Over the course of 21 marathons, they’ve raised around $16.9 million for various charitable causes.
Speedrunners take turns beating various titles in the quickest possible time, in front of a live audience, as well as livestream through Twitch.tv. Most of the fastest runs feature creative use of glitches or other game-breaking mechanics, but viewers can also donate to set challenges for players, such as only using specific characters, having multiple runners competing, or making them play blindfolded.
You can see the planned runs on the Games Done Quick website, or jump onto the Twitch channel to watch the event live — and if you are able, please support this wonderfully innovative event brought to you by a compassionate gaming community.
Conclusion Four: DOOM composer wants you to scream for him
The latest incarnation of DOOM, released in 2016 by id Software, met with considerable critical acclaim and success. A big part of the experience, other than stomping the sweet bejesus out of various demon’s heads, was the absolutely balls-to-the-wall soundtrack.
The composer, Mick Gordon – aka ‘Rip & Tear guy’, is currently working on the follow-up title DOOM Eternal and has posted an intriguing message on his website.
"I'm currently writing music for a video game. I really want to record a choir," Gordon says. "But for this project, I don't want to record a regular choir; I want to record a choir made up entirely of Heavy Metal Screamers."
"To the best of my knowledge, I don't believe this has ever been done before. Therefore, here is an open invitation to anyone out there who wants to apply to join our Heavy Metal Choir. We're looking for all types of screamers. Your level of experience doesn't matter. We're looking for all genders. As long as you're over 18, it doesn't matter how old you are.
"As long as you have a killer metal scream, I want you."
This isn’t a free gig: as long as you can make your way to Austin, Texas for the March 2019 recording session, you’ll be paid and receive a credit for your work when the game eventually releases.
If you fancy your chances at screaming for your supper, you may well find yourself in the next DOOM game. You can find out how to apply on Mick’s website here.
Conclusion Five: Facebook needs to work on its porn filters
When it’s not avoiding tax payments or harvesting information to allow rogue nations to influence election results, Facebook is hard at work misunderstanding the notion of the word “pornography”.
This week saw Devolver Digital, the publisher behind Gris, have a Facebook advert blocked from the social media site on the grounds of it containing a “sexually suggestive” scene. The image in question in the scene? Judge for yourself.
While we understand that Facebook is trying to keep its nose clean after a tide of bad press over the last year, it seems apparent that their content filter needs a lot of work. Facebook’s advertising policies page states that ads must not include “nudity, depictions of people in explicit or suggestive positions or activities that are overly suggestive or sexually provocative.”
It’d be a huge push to suggest that the figure is naked; even a psychologist issuing a Rorschach test would struggle to find anything suggestive in the above image. That is, unless porn is now synonymous with “silhouettes”, “hair” and “moonlight”, in which case the publishers of future Bayonetta releases are going to have their work cut out.
If you’d like to hear our thoughts on the completely porn-free game then check out our Gris review.
We promise: there is absolutely no nudity.