Ask 411 Games 1.06.14: Fallout, Microtransactions, More
Posted by Stewart Lange on 01.06.2014
Is Fallout the greatest video game franchise of all-time? Are microtransactions good for gaming or bad for it? How should female characters be utilized within video games? All this and more covered this week in the return of Ask 411 Games!
Hello everyone and welcome to the first edition of my rebooted ASK 411 GAMES! First of all, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Stewart Lange and I've been writing for 411mania for almost 3 years. I started out in the MMA zone and wrote a few things over there. Since leaving that a year ago I have been writing the Retronomicon every Friday for the last 7 months or so, but I'm considering the move to Ask 411 as something of a promotion. This first column won't be standard format or anything, but it will give me the chance to fully introduce myself, hopefully get some feedback from you guys and hopefully get the questions rolling in!
Those of you familiar with the Ask 411 format will know that as far as questions are concerned, anything goes. If it's tough, if it's personal, if it needs a full columns worth of work to answer it, I'll do my 100% best to do so. Questions can be sent via email or left in the comments section below, or via my Facebook page, which I'll link to later on. I'm not going to try and fill Mathew Sforcina's shoes, but I'm also not going to go too far the other way either. The way I see it, Ask 411 is your column as much as anyone elses and no matter who is writing it, there is a certain standard that should be maintained. That said, I'm also open to criticism as long as it is put to me in the correct way. "You suck, because you do" isn't really the right way to put something, but if I'm wrong, or you disagree with something, or just flat out don't like a part of the column, then let me know rationally and I'll admit to my mistake, re-explain my view or see what I can do to make things better for everyone. That sound good? Excellent. I've got all new banners and a few features to play about with, so how about we just get down to it? The first of the new reboot of Ask 411 Games!
I don't really have any comments or feedback yet, but that's all going to go here. If you don't comment, I have to type more rubbish to fill up my word count. Make sure and get in touch so I have something to put here. In the meantime, I'll just skip to my first new feature, which is in no way ripping off "Your turn, smart guy!" in the wrestling column. So, without further messing around, let's see if you can.........
Answer in the comments section below if you can get the answer to this! This will sometimes be a picture puzzle, too! Figured we'd go with an easy one to start off.
I've sold over 50 million games and had a TV show and anime series. My nemesis is an evil Doctor, although he's not the only one who has an issue with me! I have a different name in Japan and my story hasn't ended yet, although you may have some theories yourself. Who am I?
Think you know? First correct answer wins 50 internets, second place gets 20. Go!
So, here it begins! Thankfully, I did get a rather helpful email from Mathew Sforcina AKA Massive Q aka my predecessor here on Ask 411 Games which he thinks will help me explain myself to you guys and with any luck, build a nice little rapport between us! Neat, huh? So, let's think of this as a "Getting to know you" session. Or, a "Getting to know Stew session, if you will. Fuck, that was bad. Let's get to it. From here, all text in bold will be Mat.
So someone else is taking the reigns of my second baby? Fair enough too, someone ought to. But from my time if I know one thing, it's that I should shut up about that bloody Sega column.
But if I know two things, it's that it helps if the readers get a sense of where you're coming from. If you're upfront in your dislike for Final Fantasy and/or that you've spent more time playing DOAXBV than you have Zelda games or whatever, the readers will get where you're coming from. And/or they should know your creds. So, with that in mind, some questions for you.
First game you ever remember playing?
The first game I really remember playing would be Atic Atac for the ZX Spectrum. If we're going all the way back, let me put it all into a little perspective for you. I was born in 1984, making me 29. My parents had a Spectrum but weren't exactly "gamers" so I was maybe 4 or 5 before I played my first video game. We had a lot of cassettes for the thing, including the likes of Fantasy World Dizzy and Jet Set Willy, but I was fixated on Atic Atac. Maybe it was because I knew the words were spelled wrong, or maybe I just really liked the Serf's little hat, but I knew Atic Atac was fun and I was hooked. See for yourself.
Although, that video ruined it for me as I always liked to think of it as un-completable!
First system and first game you bought for yourself?
I'd had a Master System and a Gameboy bought for me over Christmas and a Birthday, so my first game purchase I believe was Sonic 2 for the Master System. I remember in the Toys 'R' Us I would buy my games from they had a crazy cabinet with all the games locked inside so you could only see the front cover and weren't actually able to look at the back to enjoy the lovely images. You had to pick up a slip of paper and take it to a guy who was far too angry and opinionated to be selling video games to children. Seems right. So yeah, I think that's a safe bet for the first game purchase I made. Must have been about 7 or so.
As far as my first console purchase, I'm actually very proud of myself. I had been saving up money from delivering newspapers and from my birthday for a while and because I'd done well, I bought a Sega Saturn. I think it sometime before my 13th birthday which makes me sad, because I think my parents must have contributed a little more than they let on due to how damned expensive the Saturn would have been at that time and how much money a 12 year old boy would realistically been able to save up. I got the console, a random football game and Virtua Fighter for it, adding Sega Rally and Nights Into Dreams shortly after. I was hooked.
What did you consider yourself as a kid? Nintendo, Sega, Dos, what?
I always had a home PC to play games on, so I was able to play Doom, Carmageddon, Tomb Raider and the like on that, but hand on heart, I class myself as a Sega guy. Aside from my Gameboy, I've only owned one Nintendo console while it was current and that was the N64. The wife has a Wii, but since I've spent about 10 minutes playing that, I don't think it counts. My Sega collection is the biggest and most complete, I grew up in love with my Master System and while I was jealous of those kid who had a SNES or NES, I even loved the hell out of that Saturn. I'll not hear a bad word against it. So yeah. I'll go with Sega all the way, but more recently, I'm an Xbox guy too. I can't even tell you why, but my PS3 was little more than a glorified blu-ray player and I sold it. I'll pick one up again but realistically, I don't have the time or money to rededicate myself to another system so until I get an Xbox One, it'll be my 360 and 3DS all the way.
What's been your progression since then? Like, did you jump ahead every new gen or did you spend more time on one gen before updating? Basically what's the Evolution Schematic of your gaming history?
I've always had a "current gen" console, but I've only owned two from launch weekend- the PS2 and the Xbox 360. I got my PS1 and N64 after their release once games were coming down in price, because I already had a Saturn sitting at home. The Dreamcast didn't last too long in my house, because I moved away from home and sold it, keeping only my PS2 as it was my DVD player too. I kept the N64 in a cupboard and the PS2 became my system of choice, but for a few years I had a lull in my gaming, only paying attention to big release games like GTA, Final Fantasy X and a bunch of sports games that were mainly used as part of drinking games and parties. It was only a few months before the end of my time with the PS2 I really got into finding decent games for it, mainly to save money and stop going out as often.
Funny story- the summer the Xbox 360 came out, I'd been dating this girl for a couple of weeks. Things were going okay, but I also didn't tell her I had a pre-ordered 360 as I'd got a bonus at work and fancied treating myself. So, the day I went to pick it up, I noticed I had 4 missed calls as I was heading back to my flat in my friends car, hyped to be playing my new game- Blazing Angels (urgh). I text saying I couldn't go round, she asked why, then went mental when I "hadn't consulted her" in my financial commitments. After three weeks? No thanks. The happy ending? Two weeks later, I met the woman I ended up marrying. All's well that ends well.
I've had a PS3 and Wii too, but the 360 is my main console aside from the retro consoles I collect and play.
Biggest/most popular game series you don't like?
This is a tough one. I have several glaring holes in my gaming life, the Silent Hill series after 2, Uncharted, numerous RPG series and Gears of War but I think the biggest series I've played and just do not get the appeal of is Halo. I've tried, I've even completed 2 of them, but I just do not enjoy them whatsoever. I just don't understand what makes them so special. Maybe it's because I missed the first one as it came out as the original Xbox is the only console from the past 15 years I don't/haven't owned, but I've played them and been seriously unimpressed. Doubt I can be convinced otherwise, either.
Biggest guilty pleasure in gaming?
Guilty pleasure? That's a tough one, I have liked some really bad games. One game I rarely share that I play is Pokemon, since I still have my original Ruby cart that gets brought out from time to time, so maybe that counts. I know they're popular and all, but I'm nearly 30 years old and getting excited about my Zigzagoon evolving shouldn't be something I'm proud of. I did go through a stage of achievement hunting, playing some terrible games just in order to get some decent achievements, but I never stooped as low as Avatar or the Hannah Montana game for that.
I also think E.T. For the 2600 has a really nice charm to it, for the record. It's definitely not the worst Atari game I've played.
And what's your take on the following topics in gaming?
I don't have a huge issue with them, as long as they are things that are unlockable later in the game anyway. If you want to purchase an upgrade early, a new club for your golfer or new sails for your ship in Black Flag, fair play. But, I do have an issue with them being the only way to gain content that is already "on-disc" or even as the full purpose of the game being created (90% of iOS games).
AAA Gaming V Indy game makers?
I believe there is plenty of room in the world for both, however I am worried about how big the gap between them is becoming. There doesn't seem to be as much of a middle ground anymore and while this is good for getting rid of some of the shovelware content we saw on the PS2, it also means we may not see as many hidden gems sneak through. Look at the "last generation" of consoles. Would we have seen Dishonoured had it not come from Bethesda? Would The Walking Dead have stood a chance as anything other than a downloadable release? Would publishers look twice at games such as Brothers, The Journey or similar titles when they really want all their games to be shifting Call of Duty numbers? Probably not. 95% of all games coming out seem to be from well known, or at least "new" divisions of financially able companies (Warner Bros.) so I'm not sure where that next exciting new developing house is really going to get their break from.
Women in gaming?
We all know that women in games should be treated only as objects that we should desire, right? Wrong, at least now. People lusting after video game characters has always made me feel slightly uncomfortable. I'm not trying to be vulgar, but if you know enough about the world to be lusting after Lara Croft, or one of the Rumble Roses or Dead or Alive characters, you surely know how to use the internet to get your gratification, right? Thankfully, the last few years have steered us away from that. With Elika from the 2008 Prince of Persia reboot, to Lara in the Tomb Raider reboot, Ellie in The Last of Us and Elizabeth in Bioshock Infinite, thankfully we're starting to see some real characters instead of just bouncing pixels.
Oh, and Chell from Portal, of course.
And finally, the Fallout games. Great game series or Greatest game series?
Well, as much as a don't want to call Fallout the "Greatest" game series, Fallout 3 is certainly my favourite game of all time. I know it top to bottom, I've put in weeks worth of game play, completely maxed out all achievements (including a Platinum trophy during my short lived PS3 period) and even have a tattoo. Now, that puts me under pressure to name something else as the "Greatest game series" I've ever played and I'm not sure I can do it. I will however, give you my top 5 in no particular order.
Fallout Bioshock Assassin's Creed Sonic The Hedgehog Mass Effect
Will that list change? Undoubtedly. Could that list have easily been 10 series in no particular order? Yes. But you know what, opinions are completely objective so I invite you to not only ask me a question for next week's column, but also list your own favourite game series too! Remember to take part in Name That Game and send any thoughts, comments or questions to Stewart.411Games@Gmail.com or leave them in the comments section.
Next week will have a bit more of a format, but I hope you've enjoyed the first instalment in the new series of Ask 411 Games!