Two months ago, I made a Gone Home review and said that I’d like to follow it up with an in-depth, deeper and more spoiler-sprinkled second review. Since the Internet ended up hating (the very successful) Gone Home and decided that it was propaganda for left-wing hippies, I’m now on the defensive. But it’s not like I mind. Gone Home is pretty easy to defend.
Shortly after publishing the first review, I noticed a “nongame” sentiment towards Gone Home begin to foment on various message boards and user reviews, and I thought that was interesting because it’s inherently more touchy and twitchy than its counterparts. That was actually a point I made in the review, I did not expect the whole “anti-game” debate to stick to the game, but it did.
The internet has an infinite capacity for misinterpreting everything and jumping to the most hyperbolic conclusions, and that’s pretty hilarious. I saw one too many user reviews that claimed Gone Home was a liberal political conspiracy out to infect our children’s minds with the poisonous gay agenda (and you can see a small clip of one in the article), so I knew I had to write something.
I emailed Steve Gaynor up and asked him about the anti-game accusations, then pooled his answer alongside my own notes and the swatch of negative user reviews to put together this feature that ended up on Gameranx.
Remember that Gone Home is a thoroughly mundane game that uses a constant threat of the supernatural as a bait-and-switch. The whole game is about questioning what we consider “normal” for video game storytelling, and then making those norms look ridiculous. If you’re angry that “nothing happened” or that “the ending was predictable,” then congratulations. You’re getting it. All you can do is feel embarrassed that you were looking forward to seeing a ghost or a suicide or whatever, and that embarrassment is the point.
The feature can be read here: http://www.gameranx.com/features/id/17896/article/two-months-later-gone-home-is-still-asking-us-what-a-game-actually-is/
PS: I’ve added a new “Outside Articles” section to the nav bar on the top of the page, to help people find my non-bunnyhop articles easier. I’ll update it every time I write something for another site, and I’ll also make a few tweets or blog posts or something about it as well, so keep an eye out!
- George Weidman
YouTube comments are where sanity goes to die. Way back in March I made a video criticizing the PS4 reveal, and for the first two weeks the viewcount stayed fairly low and most comments showed some kind of coherent thought process. But almost as soon the viewership of this video broke out of bunnyhop subscribers and into the mainstream viewing public of YouTube, views skyrocketed up about as fast as the dislikes. Despite the video being five months old and its production values lacking in comparison to more worthy projects, people just love to hate it.
Would I have chosen a few words differently if I were to do it again? Sure. Has my content gotten better since then? I’d hope so, and the metrics seems to suggest so. Do I still stand by every word I’ve said in the video? Yup.
Here’s a list of some of the most hilariously awful things people have had to say about it. It’s for your own personal amusement, and also my own cathartic release. Be warned though, as you may lose all hope for humanity by the time you make it to the end of this list:
I actually re-read through the script just to see what evidence might be supporting their assumptions. I get so many claims of being an “xbox fanboy” that it was hard not to. Turns out, the word “Xbox” showed up a total of one time, here. And this visual reminder of a certain previous console reveal was hardly less than flattering.
The video gets about 4 of these “xbox fanboy!” comments a day. This just serves to remind us of how (in the mind of these kids) the duality and hype of the console wars is inescapably pervasive. If someone’s not excited for one company competing in a competitive market, then they surely must be excited for the other, right? Even though I seriously don’t give a damn (for justifiable reasons) I have to be excited for something, right? Right!?
Charles Gill proves that the kind of people who proudly call themselves “a true gamer” are also the kind of people who write comments like that.
Ginzastop16 makes a lot of false assumptions, but he saved the most foul, acerbic and hateful one for last:
Page: 1, 2, 3, 4
Jesus. This is the first written content since, like, one jillion years ago. This was also the first Critical Close-up since January, which means that this video was a whopping 5 months in the making. Sure, I wasn’t writing and editing it for the entire 5 months, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t the biggest, messiest video project embarked on thus far.
I also managed to put it together in the scant few bits of free time that skipped between the cracks of my two jobs and weekly webshow. It’s the closest thing to a magnum opus yet– a totally new style of writing, delivery and presentation that I hope goes over well, with a layer of polish and production values that the other videos just don’t have. But I still wish I could’ve given it more time.
This blog post is here to announce that we’re gonna break for next week and take some free time for once. All things considered, it’ll actually feel like the first full weekend I’ve had in months. I didn’t even take a break after GDC. Fun fact: I was actually doing the first round of readings for the MGS2 project while on those trains.
This project absolutely wore me out, so one Bunnyhopless week will give me time to rest and also give this video some much-needed time in the spotlight. I’m eager to hear what everyone thought of it!
If you’re reading this, you’re probably saying “Wow, bunnyhop has new written content! I wonder why it’s been so long?”
That’s why I’m here to give you an explanation.
At some point around mid-December, we decided to rustle our priorities from producing a mix of written and video content to exclusively producing video content. There were several reasons why, a few of which I will list below:
- In December, we noticed that way more people watched our videos than read our articles
- At some point in January, a metric shitload of people started watching our videos
- Those same people didn’t come over to read our articles
- When a controversial news topic comes up, making a video about it yields our opinion far more exposure than writing an article does
- All things considered, there’s more to be gained from being an upstart YouTube channel than being an upstart gaming website
This could still be a nifty place for a production blog or something similar, but as far as making entertaining vidya-related content goes, baking it for YouTube is the recipe for success.
That being said, the website isn’t totally a ghost town just yet. We periodically update it to link to new videos. We also talk to plenty of fans who use it as a portal to access the YouTube channel, but we never hear anyone say they were fans of the daily news blogs and weekly written features we did up ’till Christmas.
Plus, writing them was a bit of a shot in the dark. Despite Google having a great set of analytics tools, we really have no way of knowing if anyone reading this is a human being or a spam bot. The channel, on the other hand, is a hotbed of daily activity. So I propose one desperate method for measuring traffic: if you’re human, please please please leave a comment.
It doesn’t have to be a worthwhile, thought-out comment. It doesn’t even have to be in English. Sit on the keyboard, mash your face against it, or put your cat on it. I don’t care, as long as it’s not linking to faux Gucci apparel bags, we’ll know it’s you. If you just leave any kind of comment at all, we’ll have some measure of how many people actually read this stuff, and can adjust our habits accordingly.
By: George Weidman
Three days ago a short interview between Kotaku and Gabe Newell yielded a bombshell announcement: a confirmation that Valve will be competing with the next generation of consoles from Sony and Microsoft. The interview clarifies the nature behind the rumors of a “Steam Box” hinted at back in March and sheds new lights on Valve’s recent efforts to make Steam more TV-friendly. But details are still murky as hell, and the concept itself is caked in contradictions. But brace yourselves– it’s the kind of concept that could potentially change everything, so it’s naturally a cause to question everything. Read more →
By: Nathan Velliquette
When I bought Zone of the Enders HD Collection, I was in for quite the surprise: it came with a demo of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. No, I wasn’t exactly seeking out to play it; in fact, I didn’t even think the game sounded that interesting. This Metal Gear doesn’t focus on everything the namesake is known for, sneaking and tactics. Instead, it tries to emulate the slice-errifc action from all the ninja cutscenes of the MGS games. And honestly, it actually does an okay job at it. When the demo starts up, the player is met by a rather intimidating looking Raiden. His entire lower jaw is completely replaced by a seemingly metal prosthetic and only one glowing cybernetic eye, clearly Raiden has seen some shit recently. Embers drifting around him dramatically, he holds his sword at the ready while orchestral music pulses in the background. The demo prepares you to experience the same theatrics prominent in the franchise. Read more →
By: George Weidman
Game or Platform?
In their review disclaimer, Polygon points out that the game industry often refers to its products as “platforms.” With so many games nowadays being designed as a way to push derivative products out later, it’s no wonder that people are getting a bit confused. In the midst of this confusion is Hawken, a game verily conceived to not stand on its own.
What do you do when you see a game already become a platform this early in its lifespan? Hawken isn’t out of beta yet and won’t be for a very long time, but it’s already become a mothership of planned subsidiary media that crawl from pre-paid DLC packages to TV shows.
With that in mind, don’t consider this article a review. It shouldn’t even be considered a preview. Instead, consider it an open letter of beta feedback with a bit of research and opinion thrown in.
Read more →
By: Nathan Velliquette
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona for the PSP varies from the original ’96 American release of Revelations: Persona. The ’96 game possesses ridiculous localizations and troubling game mechanics that bog down the game immensely. I guess the localization team decided Americans couldn’t handle the idea of there being other countries outside of their own. It is safe to say that our gaming society now is more receptive to foreign entities than they were thirteen years before SMT:P’s release so that they can experience SMT:P in its original Japanese glory. Read more →
By: George Weidman
Mike Capps, Richard Garriot and Chris Avellone talk games at Dragon*Con 2012. Photo by George.
Living in Atlanta sucks. The traffic is awful, the public transportation is worse, and the gaming scene is nonexistent.
Enter Dragon*Con: the largest science nerd/pop culture convention on the East Coast that’s not actually about dragons. It’s the closest thing we’ve got to a Comic Con over here (which says a lot about how uppity East Coasters are about this sort of thing,) and is arguably the coolest thing to happen down here every year.
This year was the first time that Dragon*Con featured a track of video gaming events, and the ensuing onslaught of panels, discussions and press shows was a bit of a shock to my inexperienced sensibilities. Epic revealed more of the new Infinity Blade and showed off Fortnight, their take on Minecraft. A few Gearbox developers drove all the way out from Texas to promote Borderlands 2, and members of BioWare and Obisidan also showed up to talk about Kickstarter and host general discussions on game writing and design.
Read more →
By: Nathan Velliquette
Wreck-It Ralph is everything you might expect it to be. You have Disney struggling to live up to Pixar’s legacy (which is even more apparent with the movie’s Toy Story-esque tale) and a bunch of partially accurate video game references coupled with star actors and licensed video game characters. However, even though Disney struggles, Wreck-It Ralph manages to land nicely between nerd culture and the rest of society.
Wreck-It Ralph starts off with the title character elaborating on his terrible living conditions, being limited to the status of villain and alienated from the other characters within an arcade game called Fix-It Felix, a game that is reminiscent of Donkey Kong and Rampage. Turns out that when everyone leaves the arcade, the toys– I mean arcade characters– spring to life and begin interacting with one another. They hang out and attend anonymous support groups to help accept their roles within their respective games, and the mish-match of licensed video game and fictional characters have a well established society built of laws that, if broken, threaten the lives of its many citizens. Read more →