Category Archives: Games

Games That Got Banned and Why

Censorship – it’s a hot button issue in the video game world right now. When developers alter their vision to better suit the needs of the market, some gamers treat it like a knife to their heart. But the alternative might just be worse. All around the world, video games have been pulled from store shelves because they were just too much for the community to handle.

Whether that censorship is justified isn’t for us to say (but let’s be fair, it probably isn’t). What is instructive is to examine the games that got banned and try to figure out what pisses people off. In many cases, it’s pretty obvious – intense violence, graphic sex, or unsavory themes. And you’ll certainly see your share of those things in the games that follow. But there are other reasons that games get prohibited from sale, and they’re pretty weird.

RapeLay

Many of the games on this list were banned simply because of cultural misunderstandings. You… can’t say that for RapeLay. The insanely controversial game developed by Japanese studio Illusion was released in 2006 and almost immediately kicked off a firestorm of bad emotions. If you haven’t heard of it, RapeLay puts you in the shoes of a sexual predator and tasks you with stalking and having sex with a mother and her two daughters by force. Needless to say, this is incredibly screwed up and not cool.

RapeLay was banned in multiple countries after release. It’s illegal to sell it in Argentina, Indonesia, and New Zealand. Here in the States, it received an AO rating, which meant that most retailers would not stock it, but you can still get it online.

 

Tricks You Might Not Have Known

Minecraft: A game you can play for years and still feel like you know nothing about it.  There are a bunch of little tricks that, without research, you might never have even thought of. We’ve already given you 10 helpful tips. Here are 10 more Minecraft tricks you might not know!

1) Move Faster on Ice

Sprinting and jumping on ice increases speed. When you come across an icy biome, be sure to keep jumping and sprinting to cover ground seriously fast. Just make sure you aren’t hungry or you won’t be able to sprint.

2) Use Torches to Navigate

Place torches on one side of a cave to navigate. Place torches on say, only the right side. You can find your way back when the torches appear on the left. This is a great way to explore new territory.

3) Never Run Out of Air

A bucket will allow you to breath underwater. In times of emergency, it’s always good to have your trusty bucket. While underwater and running out of air, right clicking (Left Trigger, L2) will create a temporary air pocket to keep you alive.

4) Safely Fall from Heights

A bucket of water can save you from any fall. If you need a quick way down a drop, hold a bucket of water in your hand, look straight down, and right click (Left Trigger, L2) rapidly as you’re falling. If you did it right you should land safely on your own water.

5) Defeat the Ender Dragon with…

You can damage the Ender Dragon with snowballs. Snowballs are pretty easy to obtain, so why not use them against your ultimate enemy? They are a cheap and easy long range weapon.

Bring Us Back to Pokémon GO

Pokémon GO‘s release was a cultural phenomenon. For days, it was impossible to walk down the sidewalk or go to the park and not see several trainers-in-training huddled around a lured PokéStop. Yelling “there’s a Lapras over here!” became our generation’s new “crying fire in a crowded theater” as a sure stampede starter.

Unfortunately for many, ourselves included, the game didn’t hold interest for very long. That’s not to say the game is a lost cause, though. Niantic has made several updates to the game this past month, adding Daily Quests as well as re-implementing the “tracking” feature that was so bugged at launch. We have high hopes for a planned large patch hitting early this December, so here are some changes we’d like to see that might just make us put on our snap-back and go outside again.

 

1. Trading

Arguably the most requested feature since the game’s release, the ability to trade Pokémon with our friends is something nearly everyone wants. Niantic’s obviously had quite a difficult time adding this feature, considering it was portrayed in the popular announcement trailer over a year ago. There are some obvious concerns with the potential exploitative nature of power-users charging money for trades, but implementing a proximity requirement to trade would do away with most concerns there.

 

2. Team Progress Maps

Initially, there was a lot of pride involved with being a member of a Pokémon GO team. It was fun to capture gyms for the glory of your team, and working with strangers who happened to be on the same team as you was one of the game’s simplest pleasures. However, now capturing gyms is only useful as a means to an end to train Pokémon and gain XP. The lack of an indication of how your team is performing outside of your immediately area means travelling to capture new gyms is much less exciting than it could be.

 

3. PvP Skirmishes

Controlling gyms for the glory of your team is all well and good, but sometimes you need to settle a score with friends. Much like trading, there are certainly concerns with abuse of the system, but I would be content with the the PvP battles being simple “skirmishes” that don’t generate rewards or cause lasting damage to Pokémon. Niantic has been on record as saying a PvP battling system is “on the roadmap,” so it’s hopefully coming at some point.

Best Games I’ll Never Finish

As I get older I find that it’s getting much harder to find the time to play all of the great games out there. A fellow video game journalist and I were talking yesterday about our completion backlogs; the games that we’ve started, and really enjoyed, but have never actually taken the time to beat. The more I thought about it I began to realize that there are some amazing games out there that I’ll probably never finish. There’s an ever-present opportunity cost of time from which we all suffer as grown, working adults. This is especially true when your job is to cover an industry where something new is always right around the corner. I’d like to take a moment to eulogize the three greatest games that I don’t think I’ll ever get around to finishing, no matter how much I’d like to.

Final Fantasy Tactics

I feel especially ashamed about this one because I always say FFT is one of my favorite games. Here’s the thing: I played it for the first time as a kid when I borrowed my best friend’s copy. I got about 15 hours deep before having to give it back to him, and that’s just enough to time to really start developing some advanced jobs with solid abilities. I ended up buying the game for myself later on, but had to start over because in the meantime I needed some extra save blocks on my memory card (you remember the struggle). I got to almost the same point before life took over and I had to walk away. I’ve since invested about 7 hours on the PSP version, and most recently a few hours on my Vita. As much as I want to see the end game and recruit Cloud into my party, I just don’t see it happening, especially with the awful slowdown that plagues the PSP port during battles.

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate

This is my type of game: a challenging, loot-rich grindfest. Monster Hunter is one of the most gratifying games I’ve ever played. ProJared, I think, summarized what makes this game so addictive very poetically: “You can run around and gather things, you can mine things, you can kill things, and then you carve ‘em up and you use those things to make new weapons and new armor, and then you go fight bigger things.” It’s a simple formula, but it’s just so dang time consuming. Most of the great equipment that you’ll need will require that you go back and hunt some big monsters multiple times. That’s the point, really, each time you face one of these scaly giants you find that the battle gets easier as you learn their patterns and forge marginally better gear and upgrades. Time spent on fan forums will reveal that it’s not uncommon for serious players to spend well over a thousand hours on each installment of the franchise. That’s just time I don’t have anymore, y’all.

Best Games You Should Only Play

Some games are so great, they should only be played once. They can still be good on subsequent playthroughs, but these five games are prime examples of experiences that exist to shock or inspire the first time around. This shouldn’t put these games in diminished standing amongst their peers, though. These games are at their fullest when they aren’t over-prodded by the ever curious gamer.

 

1. Bioshock: Infinite

Bioshock is a great series of narrative-heavy first person shooters that bring a particularly unique set of mechanics to the genre. It’s always fun to shoot lightning bolts out of your hands, and the game’s focus almost always tends to be how twisted and dramatic the story is – especially in Infinite.

 

Once you play through the last half hour of it, you can never look at Bioshock: Infinite the same way again. One of the biggest plot twists in games is when the ending is obvious, but so well executed that it remains impactful. You can never have that “first time” back, though, and romping through Columbia again will not bring you back from behind the veil.

 

2. Journey

The evocative and almost ethereal adventure that Journey takes players on is really only great once. When you find random travelers (other players) and investigate the incredibly elegant spaces you’re lead through, everything comes together organically. Words are replaced with visual and audio cues, and the effort to get to the end is one that will never feel powerful a second time around. Every new environment relies on some form of “WOW” factor that you can’t unsee and get re-surprised by.

 

3. Any Telltale Game

Telltale has their particular brand of adventure game down to a science, and almost all of their games have followed a similar format. Unfortunately, that means there’s really only room for one genuine playthrough, where you set aside the fact that you know how these narrative paths work and can almost predict what happens next because of it.

 

Regardless of how you feel about the game’s stories, playing it a second time shows you not only the micro effects of the actions you didn’t take, but the fact that they really don’t change the overall course of the story much at all. It can be a real bummer to pull the veil back like that.