Final Impressions: Daibanchou – Big Bang Age

daibanchou1As promised, here is my review of Alice Soft’s 2003 eroge RPG Daibanchou: Big Bang Age. I’m honestly not sure why I started playing this game to begin with, but I’m pretty sure it’s because I found an intriguing image of one of the heroines and a little bit of research here and a little more there, and voila, next thing you know I have the English-translated version of the game downloaded on my computer. As a fan of RPGs and cute anime girls, this seemed to be up my alley, even if it did have erotic content. I had played Utawarerumono previously and that game was amazingly fun even though there were sex scenes in it, so I figured I’d give Big Bang Age a try.

I’m glad I did, because even though the game has a really steep learning curve, it was incredibly addictive once I started figuring it all out. So let me do my best to explain why.

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Final Impressions: Deadpool (Video Game)

Deadpool 11 variantAdmittedly I was a bit cautiously optimistic about the Deadpool game when High Moon Studios first announced it. Don’t get me wrong, Deadpool is an awesome character and if anyone deserves their own video game, it’s him. I was just a bit worried that, well, initially that it was just going to be a cheap churned-out cash-grab piece of trash like so many other comic book video games in the past (*cough*Aquaman*cough*). But I was also nervous because I wasn’t sure if a somewhat grating, ultra-violent, borderline-psychotic, somewhat needy, completely batshit-insane, fourth-wall breaking character could do well as the main character in his own video game.

The first thing I want to point out is that this game is Rated M for Mature (17+) and there is certainly a reason for that, so before I get into the meat of the review, a refresher course on the character of Deadpool is probably in order since the nature of his personality has much to do with that rating as well as the mileage the player will get out of the game. For the sake of the game, here’s what you need to know:

Deadpool, real name Wade Wilson, was born in Canada and was a mercenary before being diagnosed with cancer. He was enrolled in the Weapon X program, the same program that gave Wolverine his adamantium skeleton, and was given Wolverine’s healing factor which keeps his cancer at bay and makes him virtually unkillable; it unfortunately had the side-effect of rendering his body hideously scarred due to the accelerated growth of his cancerous tumors, which is why he constantly wears a mask. Considered something of a failure, he was ejected from the Weapon X program and entered into the Hospice, a government facility where failed superhuman operatives were treated. It was also where patients secretly underwent sadistic experiments, with patients placing bets in a “deadpool” as to how long each patient would survive. Not exactly of sound mind to begin with, these experiments helped crack Wilson’s insanity even further, and during his near-death experiences during the experiments, he found his romantic kindred spirit in the cosmic entity Death, the female embodiment of the taker of souls, as the name implies. His affair with Death would also catch the attention of Thanos, who has something of an obsession with Death himself, and thus he made him immortal so that the two could never be together, thus eliminating Wade as a rival. Escaping the Hospice, Wilson took the name Deadpool and became a mercenary for hire.

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Is A Video Game Minus Game Play Still A Video Game?

This post can be considered something of a illegitimate quasi-incestuous sister post to my last one.

I know the article in question may be old, but I only learned about it a few weeks back while listening to a recent The Indoor Kids podcast. Apparently back in 2006, Killer Betties interviewed Bioware writer Jennifer Hepler to get a woman’s perspective of working in the gaming industry. While she gave several enlightening responses, there were two in particular that rubbed gamers the wrong way, which is a kind way of saying a lot of gamers got up in arms and took to message boards with a vengeance armed only with bad grammar, sexist epithets and the ever-present homophobic slurs.

Here are the offending answers:

Q: What is your least favorite thing about working in the industry?

A: Playing the games. This is probably a terrible thing to admit, but it has definitely been the single most difficult thing for me. I came into the job out of a love of writing, not a love of playing games… I’m really terrible at so many things which most games use incessantly — I have awful hand-eye coordination, I don’t like tactics, I don’t like fighting, I don’t like keeping track of inventory, and I can’t read a game map to save my life.

Q: If you could tell developers of games to make sure to put one thing in games to appeal to a broader audience which includes women, what would that one thing be?

A: A fast-forward button. Games almost always include a way to “button through” dialogue without paying attention, because they understand that some players don’t enjoy listening to dialogue and they don’t want to stop their fun. Yet they persist in practically coming into your living room and forcing you to play through the combats even if you’re a player who only enjoys the dialogue.

Let me first clarify that this blog post is in no way an attack or dismissal of Jennifer Hepler’s opinion of video games. Her answers simply raise a compelling question about the symbiotic nature of storytelling and game play in video games. But while it is not my intention to belittle or go into full-on fanboy rage over Ms. Hepler’s statements, I would still like to address them.

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