Video Game

Video Games and the Dopamine-driven Reward System

I’m reading a book right now titled “Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World” by Jane McGonigal. I’m not too far into it, but I’m already learning so much about the intensive psychological research surrounding games.

One of the most important elements of a great video game is a great reward system. If our busywork is shrouded with rewards whether that be cosmetics, player capabilities, or the next chapter to the story.

It’s fascinating.


Halo – or Microsoft Studios’ most profitable franchise

“Halo 5” is currently the 2nd most profitable game on the Xbox One and the most profitable exclusive for the console.

“Halo 5” grossed $400 million in its first 24 hours and $500 million in its first week.

Some claim the rise to that lucrative second place ranking is due to the addition of loot boxes and microtransactions, which I’m absolutely sure helped, but I’m not about to go on another rant about this uninviting addition to infrastructure in the business of video games.


The e3 Tradition

With e3 right around the corner myself, and several other avid and casual gamers pretty much have their pitchforks ready.

We live in an age, particularly with movies and video games where fan criticism (whether it’s on social media or direct messages to the development team) pale in comparison to financial gain.

What I mean is, the input is considered, but the profit number is considered much more substantially. This is just good business in industries bordering monopoly. There’s no competition to force EA Games, for instance, to recall their over-reaching micro-transactions. Plus the micro-transactions themselves assure profit.


The Despicables – Sitcoms about horrible human beings

It’s fascinating to me how writers can make this work and the philosophy of comedy that petains to it.

In dramas we have anti-heroes: Our Walter Whites, Tony Sopranos etc.

What makes us love these shows? What makes us want to watch these despicable characters go through trials and tribulations? And when they succeed, what makes us happy for them?


Rockstar and the value of a $60 game

Gamers hate DLC, plain and simple. At least that use to be the consensus. We alreadypaid $60; we deserve our game.

Over time arguments were made and having a system that adds content for the gamer and increases revenue for the developer could be a win-win situation.

You pay $60 for an amount of content worth $60, then it’s not that big of deal to drop more money once more content becomes available.


Sea of Thieves: Style that severely lacks substance

It should be common knowledge for any aspiring game developers that an audience’s investment in your game is driven by a “reward system.”

Unfortunately the rallied developers at Rare (which has been resurrected as an empty shell of its former self) were more focused on spectacle than good game design.

Companies like EA Games and Ubisoft sabotage their own good games with imbalanced micro-transactions that are “pay-to-win.” Rare didn’t commit this cardinal sin. They did, however, commit the same sin as “No Man’s Sky.”


The worthlessness of Top 10 lists

The Media 10 name originated from me wanting to create a website of Top 10s.

It was early on in the decade just before Buzzfeed hammered “list” articles into the ground which subsequently perpetuated clickbait content across the web.

More clicks, more ad revenue. This isn’t rocket science. It’s also a plague transmitted by the consolidation of corporate media.

Anyway, I’ll lower my pitchfork and step down from my soapbox… for now.

So yeah, lists were everywhere. Not only were they a mine for ad revenue, but they were easy to write and easily digestible for the reader.


The heart of Stardew Valley

We’ve seen this game before in many variations. Harvest Moon helped streamline simulation-RPGs in the 90s. Animal Crossing helped popularize the genre as well.

Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One won’t be the first film about simulation gaming. However, it once again introduces the conversation about how we embrace alternate realities and what we can learn about ourselves from them


EA: The company who took on the world

If you’ve been a gamer this past decade you’d know that the gaming community has been at war with micro-transactions for some time now.

There has been no worse perpetrator than Electronic Arts.

Voted multiple times as the worst company in America. Yes, below oil companies, lobbying firms, and all of America’s internet companies that have borderline monopolies. Isn’t that insane?

Let’s talk a bit about micro-transactions. I listened to an interview once that the profit that comes in from micro-transactions is substantial and often laps the initial profit of the video game. Here’s where there argument gets a little more valid: (more…)

Video Game: My 8 picks for original XBOX backward compatibility

Video Game: My 8 picks for original XBOX backward compatibility

One of the more exciting moments of e3 2017 was Microsoft’s announcement to expand their backward compatibility program to original XBOX titles.

There are a lot of great titles we could see from “Fable” to franchises like “Splinter Cell” and “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.” Those are some runner-ups, but here are 8 games I’d really like to see:

8. Mercenaries

This game was a ton of fun. I still distinctly remember the many tactics you could use to approach a level. Also blowing shit up was fun.

7. Freedom Fighters

“Freedom Fighters” was a real cheesy game and it was as imperfect as they get. It was also one of my favorite third-person shooters in my youth. I would love to raise that American flag again.

6. Halo CE/Halo 2

I know it’s unlikely that they’ll resurrect the servers for “Halo 2,” and I know we have the ever-broken “Master Chief Collection” to play some of these titles, but I want it all. All the maps, all the game types, etc.

5. Destroy All Humans

“Grand Theft Auto” with aliens! Few things are more satisfying in life than running around a 50s suburban town throwing cars and people around. This is destruction-porn at its best and one of the most satisfying experiences as a gamer.

4. Prince of Persia trilogy

If we just get “Sands of Time” it’s still a yuggge victory. This is one of the greatest story-driven franchises of all time. Modern parkour games including “Assassin’s Creed” pale in comparison.


If we’re talking games with good storylines, XIII is one of the best. This game works mechanically, stylistically, and has so many strong twists and turns in narrative. One of the few games I’ve gone back and beat multiple times.

2. Burnout 3: Takedown

Let’s go back to “satisfying experiences.” Can anyone name anything in any video game more satisfying than taking down a rival racer in “Burnout 3”? Still considered one of the greatest racing games of all time, I would love to revisit this masterpiece

1. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

This has to happen. Before Bioware created the best trilogy in video game history with Mass Effect, they made this masterpiece. “KOTOR” is still widely considered the greatest “Star Wars” game ever made as well as one of the greatest games of its generation.