5 Conclusions - 13/04/18
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: The Souls’ community is peerless
The Soulsborne games are a big thing these days. A very big thing. The first one, however, was an absolute unknown quantity, and one which many had their first taste of by way of import from Japan. A Sony exclusive, Demon’s Souls paved the way for Dark Souls and Bloodborne. Basically, it lit that very first bonfire for all of us.
On February 28th 2018 the servers were turned off. The world of Boletaria became that much darker — no phantoms, no messages. Just true emptiness, and finality.
Until now. A delightful soul, full of help, has written some code which enables online play once again! It’s magic, right? One Reddit user known as ymgve, according to Eurogamer, proved it was possible and shared the code; a second user named Yuvi has used that and installed a permanent server to allow ghosts to pass and jolly cooperation to begin again. For full details there’s a stickied Reddit post but the bottom line is, this is glorious.
Conclusion Two: GTA IV’s music library has been broken into
Grand Theft Auto IV is ten years old. Bloody hell. Anyway, ten years is a long time for musical licenses in games to last and it seems Rockstar is not immune to such woes. GTA IV will be losing some music, as previous titles in the series have also. This time Rockstar have at least warned end users so they know that when patch X is downloaded some content will disappear. In this specific case the music will be replaced, rather than just leaving a hole or being papered over.
It’s reassuring to know that even Rockstar has some form of licensing limitation, but with it comes sadness, in that Niko’s story will never quite be the same after this smash and grab.
Conclusion Three: Donkey Kong wins?
Donkey Kong is an iconic game, for many reasons. One such reason is the 2007 documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, where Billy Mitchell is officially crowned as the first person to ever top one million as the score in the game, and in so doing, set a new world record for Donkey Kong.
A rule in life which you may choose to follow is to make sure that when you become famous, you do it for the right reasons, and those reasons are rock solid, too. When following this rule, it probably helps not to become this world record holder and star of a significant gaming documentary - known to many gaming fans around the globe - all by cheating.
It has now been confirmed that Billy Mitchell could not have scored what he did on an unmodified Donkey Kong arcade board, something which was required to be an official record. It’s probable that some form of emulation was utilised to enable the captured high score. Mitchell’s name has been stricken from the record books. He is no more the King of Kong. Steve Wiebe is now the first person to have ever — really, truly, accurately — scored a million points on the game. It isn’t yet the Olympics, but it’s just as important, for now, and perhaps even more so, the future.
Conclusion Four: Spies like us no more
Steam Spy is at once a fun tool for gamers and an important tool for developers and publishers in learning about their games, other games and what games, people like to play. It’s a website which provides information on the total number of software sales — within an error of 10% — by assessing end users’ libraries.
Or, it did. New changes to Steam this week have meant Steam Spy can be no more.
Perhaps Valve will revert this but as things stand, Steam Spy will cease to exist going forward as the data will be too varied to be meaningful.
Conclusion Five: Games are most definitely art
The BAFTA has held a celebration of games for fourteen years now which is brilliant. Games mean as much to many around the world as film and TV and the industry around them is even more lucrative and involved in many regards.
April 12th saw the latest event, and the big news is that What Remains of Edith Finch won best game — something we can absolutely get behind here at Jump Dash Roll. A key reason why this won, I suspect, is that this game of curious delight, wonder and brevity is, in effect, a film-like narrative but enabled by the brilliance of game design and the sheer creativity and inventiveness that can be achieved with a blank canvas and only the limitations of tech, rather than real-world physics.