One thing that pops up in most conversations I have seems to be is this hypothetical questioning of what and how we would do in a post-apocalyptic world filled with the shambling corpses of the undead.
Now like many others, I believe that when faced with the overwhelming odds of a zombie horde, I would actually do quite well. Well that was until recently. My experiences with the current Day Z mod for Arma 2 has made me question not just the idea of my own skill and survival strategies, but also the very basics of trust and fellowship that hold us together in these situations.
[caption id=”attachment_9997” align=”alignleft” width=”300”] Quiet. Too quiet![/caption]
To best describe my experience in Day Z would be to reference Max Brooks Zombie Survival Guide.
“The biggest threat you can face is other humans.”
Interestingly enough in Day Z, it gets to a point where you become less concerned about zombies and more worried about where the other players are or what they are planning on doing. The point being, your survival can be affected depending on their actions.
The real point to this game comes from the fact that death is permanent, so when coming under fire you feel a real threat and fear from it. So every chance meeting, or even a glimpse of another player sets your heart racing. Every little noise can cause you panic and untold worry that perhaps this is it; this is the time where you get cut down. Do you dare open up to another player and let them help you out? The problem is, do they see you the same way you see them?
Trust is a rare thing to find in a game, the knowledge that if you come across other players that it could help or hinder you. Should you go for that extra risk of trusting them and letting them in on your experience, or stay on your own. Most other games lump you with a CPU controlled sidekick who you instantly trust because the game reassures you that they’re friendly.
Day Z doesn’t do this. There is no backstory to any characters you meet so the only thing you have is the first impression of someone, and that’s normally of them pointing a gun at you. How can you put your trust in this person you’ve only just met? In all likelihood they are asking themselves that exact same question.
I’ll explain an incident that caused me to question not only this problem of trusting others, but also how my own perception of an apocalypse was changed for good.
Numerous times in the game I had seen other players and approached them as friendly, only for them to notice what items I was carrying and they immediately opened fire. It resulted in me having this constant fear of other people in the game. I began to really wonder if I would ever find a like minded soul to share my journey with. However, not long after raiding a store for supplies I suddenly spied a larger building across the street. Unsure if I was a completely alone, I grudgingly began searching the building for more gear, but I had only just walked through the doorway of the first room when I froze in place. A loud metallic click confirmed my fear.
I was not alone. Out of the corner of the screen I made out another player crouched behind the doorway with a crossbow levelled at my head. He warned me not to move or he would fire, fear set in and I shifted uncomfortably on the spot. A loud thud signalled a warning shot into the wall behind my head. I reassured him I didn’t plan on doing anything and that all I had on me was my trusty axe. Panicking I lied saying that I was not alone, suggesting a possible alliance. After a long drawn out silence he agreed, but warned he was keeping an eye on me.
Stepping out into the hall I a thought suddenly hit me and sheer impulse took over, I no longer saw him as another person but as someone carrying something I wanted. But before I could stop, I had swung my axe straight into my new friend’s neck. He turned accusingly and fired off another bolt, it went wide and buried itself in a nearby desk, and I frantically swung again and again until he lay there motionless. The one person I had met who seemed friendly and I had murdered him. It was like 1996 all over again.
Suddenly a horrible thought struck me, what had I looked like to this poor guy? He had been hiding in this building from other players, fearing what I myself had been terrified of since the beginning. The thought of someone else coming along and ruining all he had worked for.
He had fled to a room hiding in the corner afraid, then suddenly someone had emerged into his tiny sanctuary with a large axe. Promising friendship and safety, only for his trust to be broken as his new found friend buried his weapon into his one vulnerable area he had bared to him.
In such a short time I had become like everyone else, a selfish monster only out for his own, I had taken that one idea of trust that I had been concerned over since starting the game and I had corrupted it utterly. I had become just another number in the vast lonely landscape, I realised what an apocalypse was really about, it wasn’t about working together through hardships, it was about simply surviving and ensuring your own personnel continuation.
No game has ever made me realise this, and I’m an avid fan of these kinds of games, the Fallout and Left4Dead series to name a few. In such a short time I had gone against my own personal beliefs and it really shook me up. To such an extent that I haven’t actually played the game in the same way again. I no longer fear other players; instead I worry about what can happen if I let myself go. I will always have that incident in the building as a constant reminder of what can happen if you completely fall into the idea of survival of the most devious. But the idea that it took just one small incident to make me really question the fact that, is there such a thing as trust in these kind of games?
Day Z is making an impact on the gaming community. I for one welcome the change of pace, if other publishers can work on making players question their ideals then we won’t have anymore games with sidekicks that are crowbarred in for the sake of not letting the player feel alone.
Well Gamers, this is a very sad time as tragedy has struck in America; namely, Colorado. Yesterday, before the midnight grand opening of The Dark Knight Rises, a shooting occurred that saw the death of 12 people, with about 50 injured, some critically. First, I would like to say that Hard Reset would like to extend their deepest sympathy to everyone affected by this disgusting action. There is absolutely no reason for such a thing to occur and why I, as a human being, have started to lose faith in our species. But now you wonder, why is it that I am writing about this sad news on a gaming site? Well, there is an article on the internet that I stumbled onto thanks to a fellow Hard Reset writer and it turned my stomach.
I sat here, after reading the article, wondering if it would be in good taste to write something about these sad events. I then came to the conclusion that yes, I have to say something because I felt that it’s an outrage what that article had said. Pat Brown, a criminal profiler, has placed some of the blame on video games, stating that they played a part in this action. She did stress that video games weren’t the sole reason for such an act, but she did go on to say that the killer, who shall remain nameless for this article, had his already demented mindset further influenced by games and, more directly, shooters. Pat Brown went on to state;
““He’s probably prepared for this for a long time, just obsessing over it, gathering his weapons. [He] probably spent a lot of time in his apartment, playing one video game after the other—shooting, shooting, shooting—building up his courage and building up the excitement of when it’s going to be real for him. And it’s made his day.””
Video Games are entertainment; it doesn’t teach or cause a person’s mental state to blow out of control and think killing is alright.
Guess what? I agree 100% with this quote and I believe that she is correct. He most likely prepared for this disgusting act a long time; obsessing and fantasizing about it. But this stems from mental disorders; this is the cause of something neurological and psychological. A game is an innocent product that a company puts out for our entertainment - as well as generate cash to put food on their table. How could you hold a game company’s brain-child responsible for the madness that occurs? They are releasing a product with the intent of entertaining and they can’t be held liable if the person that purchases the video game has some sort of mental disturbance.
I do think that he sat in his apartment, playing games, but I don’t think that was what made him realize that shooting someone is, in fact, a simple act. In my opinion he is just a kid that enjoys first-person shooters, but because he was so broken from reality already and obsessed, he played games to pass the time until he, himself, could muster up that courage, uninfluenced by his game. Hell, we don’t even know if he was a huge gamer, so how can someone like Pat Brown make such an assumption?
This wasn’t all that Pat Brown had to say; she also went on to say this;
“This has been something he has really been into. And now we’re going to find, probably on [Facebook] or anybody who knows him will say, ‘Yeah, he did have a lot of interest in that. He was always playing the video games. And I’m not saying video games make you a killer. But if you’re a psychopath, video games help you get in the mode to do the killing.”
Although I agreed with the first comment; I feel that now, things have become bullocks. There are books that are out today that fully depict and describe how a murderer, or rapist, prepares and goes about raping/killing an unsuspecting female. I don’t remember the last time that I have heard books being attacked or used as a scape goat for a crime. I might be mistaken, but I personally don’t remember any. Right now the fact remains that video games, I feel, are unfairly attacked because they are visual. Just remember, some books speak on how to attack someone in vivid detail; imagine how that impacts on the mind of a psychopath, who can picture it because of the words.
My conclusion is this; video games, or any sort of entertainment shouldn’t be used as a scapegoat for disgusting actions. It’s really unfair to attack entertainment and yes, I get that young children that play a violent game might not know better when he sees the character beat up a female. But that is why a rating system is in place; not only that, but it is the parents duty to teach an innocent child, whose brain isn’t as developed, to know what is right and wrong. I’m only using video games as an example, mind you; any sort of graphic entertainment can translate badly when put into the hands of a child that is only 7 years old. But not because they are a psychopath; because they just haven’t learned the ways of the world and don’t understand what is right or wrong.
Now, I want to close this by saying that I think we should all say a prayer for those that lost someone in Colorado. But I think, instead of blaming pop culture and entertainment; we should try and pay more attention to our neighbours and friends. A psychopath isn’t hard to spot; the later they are spotted, the more chance that their mental disorder can evolve. And just note, they do not need the influence of gaming or any sort of media to do so.
R.I.P to all the victims and again, Hard Reset is truly sorry for your losses.
There are a lot of gamers out there that have a soft spot for the also soft belly plumber that we all know as Mario. In fact, whenever I talk to people, there are a hand full of characters that are mentioned immediately upon Nintendo’s mention. The Zelda franchise is one of them and usually, the Mario clan gets at least three mentions; Mario, Luigi, or Peach. But that made me ponder, over a cup of coffee, and made me wonder “Why is the Mario franchise so popular?”. Well, I, Fernando Da Costa, am going to give you my not-so-much-expert-but-obsessed-gamer (what a mouth full) opinion on what I think adds to the popularity.
Number 6 -
The fact that Mario still has the same voice; that is my first reason for his continued popularity. Yes, I’m aware that his voice actor has been doing it for years; but Mario’s voice is easily imitated by many people, that even when his “voice” retires; they can easily get him another one. I, myself, can do some of his voice but sadly, not the accent aspect as the only accent I can do is a muttered and broken Scottish one (that apparently sounds better when I’m drunk, go figure) The point that I am trying to make is that most gamers hate change; it has been seen with many franchises that had to make big changes to their franchises (Example would be Hudson’s “Bomberman Zero”. It was re-imagined, re-skinned, and re-tarded)
Number 5 -
For me, one of the things that makes this character so lovable is the appearance. A lot of times, you have amazingly fit, über attractive character’s that for average Joes like me, think “My God I’m ugly”. Mario is a fat italian plumber that has an enormous love for Ravioli. In fact, if you let him fall asleep in Mario 64; he will start dreaming about its uber delicious stuffed shell, with cheese sprinkled all over it and tomato sauce…Oh God, I drooled a bit. This revelation, if you will, allows for the average male to really feel like he is awesome and he can do anything he puts his mind to. Who says you have to be over-attractive and drive a kick-ass motorcycle with crazy hair? (I’m looking at you Cloud Strife)
Number 4 -
This is really a no brainer; the iconic Mario tune that is played in a lot of the earlier games, plus some new, has really made this franchise stick. Actually for several months, I had the Mario theme on my phone; it played while people called me and waited for my answer. I was immediately graced with not “Yo dude, what’s up man?” but something like “Dude, you have Mario on your phone!? That is *censored* awesome!”. Most of the music from this series is well-known with all of society, gamer or not. This is due to the fact that a lot of the earlier, more iconic tunes, are simple and easily still recognizable if just hummed for instance.
Number 3 -
The Mario franchise has an undeniable charm to it that just makes a gamer feel happy. This is mostly due to the fact that the gameplay is rather simple and easy to pick up. There is nothing confusing about jumping on heads, running through a level, and obtaining Fire Flowers or Mushrooms (Remember Kids, drugs are bad, mmkay?) But something else that really contributes helped this game throughout the years and that’s the fact that the character itself has undergone little changes. The gameplay is still the same basic jump on a head and complete the level. Of course, some games were more than this; Super Mario 64 gave you the ability to kick, punch, and butt slam. But, for those older gamers (guilty) that grew up with this Italian Hero; this game hasn’t steered from its roots, making it feel familiar and warming to those that are just playing another game of their favorite mascot, opposed to first-time Mario players.
Number 2 -
One of the best things that I have loved about the Mario series is that is doesn’t really take itself fully serious. I think that one of the best examples of this would be the Mario & Luigi franchises for the GBA and Nintendo DS. That game is filled with just the most silliest things that it could even be considered genius, in my eyes. Both Mario and Luigi don’t know actual words; or they are talking Italian to each other, who knows. But that iconic jump of his is given another usage; it was both Mario and Luigi’s way of saying a simple “Yes”. So, I guess in the future, when you are asked something; try jumping instead and imitating the Mario jumping sound; see if it gets recognized as a “yes”. Mario is truly a break from all that serious atmosphere’s of gaming and presents a fun, enjoyable environment that gamers just cling to.
Number 1 -
The number 1 reason that I think gives Mario credibility and popularity is not-so-much his personal gameplay abilities but the fact that he can be so diverse. How many characters do you know of, that can easily translate to such genres as Soccer, Tennis, Racing, Board Games, or Platforming and still do it with style and flair? I think the fact that Miyamoto chose not to center Mario and input so much detail and thought into him makes him able to go into anything because all the general gamer is expecting is to hear that voice and quirky gameplay.
These are 6 reasons why I personally think that Mario is just an amazing character that I honestly do not see dying out anytime soon. And I hope that I’m right because he is a joy to control and a welcome retreat from the overload of FPS lately. Hell, I still get giddy when I listen to him yelling, each time that I make him jump. This character has a lot of iconic presence and he will only continue to be an iconic part of Nintendo. Thankfully, we only have until August 18th until we can enjoy another Mario Platform adventure on the 3DS. Of course, let’s not forget that the Holiday season see’s Mario’s brother Luigi, play ghost buster, and the whole clan hits the Wii U in The New Super Mario Bros.U.
This is Hard Reset and we will be tumbling about gaming very soon :)