Thursday, May 31, 2018

Can Multipath Games Be A Boon For Gaming YouTubers and Streamers?

(Warning: This post openly and freely talks about the video game Detroit: Become Human. That means this post will contain spoilers for this game. If you do not want any details spoiled then  DO NOT READ THIS POST!!! This is your only warning!!!)
The image above is from the recently released PS4 exclusive Detroit: Become Human developed by Quantic Dream.

Since I don't own a PS4 I've been limited to watching playthroughs of it on YouTube. And while I have spectated countless games in my day this one made me realize something. 

I've seen just how unique a player's own experience with a game can be and how that unique experience can be worth watching across different players even on the same game.

The main premise of the game is that in the not too distant future humans have figured out how to create life like androids in the image of humans. As such these androids are often utilized for tasks that many if not most humans don't want to do. Construction work. Child care. Even sex work. One driving force behind this is that androids unlike humans don't have the ability to choose what to do with their existence much less the free will to act on such desires. But what if androids started to develop those desires? What if if they gained the will to act on such them?

Detroit: Become Human gives players the task of playing out the seeming rise of androids as they fight for freedom from their human creators. This puts their fate, and the fates of many humans, directly in your hands. 

At the start of the game you play as Connor, an android assigned to assist the Detroit Police Department on any and all cases involving androids.

Connor enters a high rise apartment. An android servant has killed the father of the family he serves and is holding the daughter Emma hostage on the roof while armed with a gun. The fates of Connor, the rogue android, and Emma all depend on how you perform.

This is where I immediately was taken by surprise just how much of a gold mine this game can be. Here are three gamers going into the same situation and getting three different results.

In this clip we see JazzyGuns convince the rogue android to let Emma go just to be gunned down by snipers on nearby rooftops.
Here we have Suzy Lu grabbing Emma and pushing her to safety as Connor falls to his "death" along with the rogue android.

Finally TuYasRecords managed to push the rogue android off the roof, taking several shots to the back while protecting Emma.

And this is just the first instance of a tense situation you will have to navigate. Later events include having to decide what to do when a young girl is being abused by her father (which shakes Suzy Lu up real bad), dealing with an unruly hostage while hijacking a broadcast station, and whether or not to snitch on an android who murdered his abusive owner in self defense.

We have seen games before where the player has multiple choices to pick from. Do you use Jill or Chris in Resident Evil 1 (or Leon or Claire in RE2)? Who do you side with an any given Far Cry Game? Do you shoot Emily in Until Dawn after she is bitten by the Wendigo? And we've also see less remarkable examples where choices just don't seem to matter in the long run (coughcoughTellTaleGamescoughcough).

I think what makes Detroit: Become Human is that the games I mentioned above have major choices that are few and far between where you can easily go back and look at footage of what another person did. On the other hand with Detroit there are so many branching paths and intertwining decision that it's quite difficult (or at least time consuming) for a single player to see every single branching path.

In fact at this point I'm actually watching Detroit on the above 3 channels plus theRadBrad to see as many possible outcomes as I can in this game. Which brings me to my point about this being a great development for YouTubers and streamers that do video game content.

For the most part when it comes to watching gamers online people will find a few favorites and pretty much stick to them.

When a game like Detroit comes along it leaves viewers curious other choices and outcomes. However due to the nature of streaming game content gamers don't have much time to spend on a single game and will have to quickly move on to the next release.

But what about those other choices and outcomes?

These days with so many streamers and YouTubers active online its very easy to find a channel where the player will do different things than what you previously saw.

Now I'm not saying that these sorts of games need to become the flavor of the month where every publisher and developer has to drop battle royale and zombie action in order to cash in. But I do think we will see more of these games as time passes and I think streamers and YouTubers will benefit greatly from them.

I hope to see more games like this.


Thursday, May 24, 2018

Looks like the NFL owners stand for something I suppose

It was announced today that NFL owners unanimously approved of a new policy in regards to the national anthem.

The new policy requires players and team personnel to stand if they are on the field during the performance of the national anthem. If any players or team personnel do not show the proper respect for the anthem the team itself will be subject to fines.In addition teams will have the option to fine any personnel for any such actions. Although personnel do have the option of staying in the locker room during the performance if they wish.

This bug me a lot. Its the owners' way of washing it's hands of the issue to protect the NFL's image from the reality that players have been protesting for the last 2 seasons. And make no mistake trying to frame this as an issue of "respect" is a smokescreen.

Using your voice to protest racist treatment is not disrespectful to the flag. If anything its making use of your voice to speak up for those that for the most part have no platform to speak up for themselves.

On one hand yes players have the option to simply not be on the field during the performance of the national anthem. This does give them at least some avenue to make their statement and use their actions to protest.

However to try to make this out about respect allows owners to paint the picture that "anyone who chooses to stay in the locker room does not respect the flag". And I'm sure that is exactly how it will be reported and spun next season when someone decides to exercise their right stay behind during the performance.

This allows NFL owners to send the protesters to the back so they are out of view while at the same time condemning their protest and control the resulting narrative that will come out of it.

I understand that you can't expect the NFL to do much about the racial injustice that plagues America but at the same time this policy does seem to show that they not only don't support the protestors for but are doing their best to tuck it away out of sight in a manner that makes the protesters look like the enemy.

Looks like I won't be watching the NFL this season.