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PlayStation Month

On 29 Sept 1995, Sony released the PlayStation in the UK. Little did we know at the time, but it would go on to change the face of gaming as we knew it. So let’s celebrate it! 25 years is a good birthday to host a month long party for. So the whole month of September is going to be a celebration of all things to do with Sony’s original grey box. See below for the intro video to the month…

The intro to that video is somewhat special. It was burnt to a PlayStation format disc – and would have been run from the disc if it weren’t for the fact the HDMI upscaler used in the studio has a large on-screen display that lingers entirely too long. Everything from the game-play on was edited in afterwards but the opening was ripped from the PS1 disc I had burned. You can see the disc working (and the on-screen display) in the video below:

And if that’s not enough, how about a download link? If your PS1 is chipped (or you have a working disc swap method) you can download the .iso file I made, burn it to a blank CD, and run it in your own console. Bear in mind, this works best on an original (modified) console that’s able to run NTSC video (as I used the NTSC dimensions as it was quicker and easier to do that than work out a PAL equivalent that the PS1 could cope with). So PAL TVs may show a black & white image, even though it’s technically a PAL disc. I guess that warning works both ways – make sure your TV can handle a PAL signal if running outside of the PAL areas. If running in an emulator, don’t enable the bios display as the twinkles on the licence screen may loop in the background forever.

Click the below link to download the .iso file:

The video file is designed to loop until you press Start, whereupon everything stops and you’ll need to reset your console/emulator to restart proceedings. If you have the correct tools, you can also rip the .str file from the disc for your viewing pleasure (like I did to include it in the main video).

If I get the time, I might make a video explaining how I made the disc, but it would not have been possible without LameGuy64 who wrote the code and offered help in the PSXDev forums to those who came before me, and whose problems I learned from when compiling the code myself. Other thanks must go to the other members of the PSXDev forums who made tools and resources to help make creating homebrew PS1 discs a reality – this silly little project would not have been possible without their indirect help.

Stay tuned to TigerTails Gaming, both here and on YouTube, as there is going to be a bit more content coming out over the next month. The usual Friday livestreams have already been planned out and will feature some linked PlayStation titles (2 player games, using 2 consoles networked together with the link cable), as well the first live video in the Mystery Game series. I actually played the game that will be featured to ensure the disc worked, and I had quite a bit of fun with it – what Xavier will make of it remains to be seen. There will also be a new video every Tuesday featuring some videos that I have scripted and recorded. Xavier has also scripted a video which will hopefully be released in time. He will also be doing some Saturday livestreams, and there may also be additional mid-week streams too. So there’s lots of PS1 fun to look out for and enjoy.

Do not underestimate the power of PlayStation.

Driveclub for Train Spotters

Having recently managed to save up enough to get myself a PlayStation 4 and one of the first thing I did was upgrade the PS Plus version of Evolution Studio’s racing game Driveclub I’d installed on Angel Darksong’s device to the full-fat version. I got quite hooked on the game before owning my own console and so taking advantage of a convenient sale and getting the game at half price was a no-brainer. Basking in the delights of the whole selection of tracks, I stumbled upon a point-to-point race in Scotland that featured a steam locomotive sitting in a station. I didn’t see it at first, as the station lies partially under a bridge, but the after-race track montage showed me where to look, and it didn’t take me long to hunt down the station and the train waiting at it.

The station in the montage

The station in the montage

From a distance the train looked simple enough. Typical “generic steam locomotive” design with three coaches in tow. Getting up close thanks to the replay feature and the photograph tools allowed me to take a much closer look. I was quite impressed at the level of detail I was to uncover for a simple background object that you can’t even see in the race unless you’re looking for it. The locomotive itself was the LMS Standard 5MT design, also known as the Black 5, albeit in red, and it was hooked up to three BR Mk1 coaches in red/cream livery. A fairly typical setup for a preserved railway, if a little short, even if the sight of a red Black 5 was a little out of the ordinary. Then I remembered this was Scotland and therefore probably a nod towards the Hogwarts Express. J.K.Rowling has a lot to answer for.
A look at the locomotive

A look at the locomotive

Once over the colour it was time to look into the details and size them up. First, I was impressed at just how complete it was. Loco, tender, train, with the correct basic shape and most of the bodywork for a Black 5, down to rivets where they would be expected. It wasn’t a perfect match to prototype, but certainly good enough. It was the little details that interested me. Things like the number being in the right font on the smokebox door, and a shed plate being included. The railway company, Northern Kinloch Railways – either a fictional preserved line or a nod to the Dundee and Perth Railway (hush, I can dream), proudly displayed on the tender. The coaches are nice too, featuring numbers of their own. The number of the locomotive is 44971 and she was actually a real member of the Black 5 clan, built on 30th April 1946 and designed by William Stanier. Starting her days in Crewe she didn’t have a long life due to the demise of British steam when she was withdrawn from service on 31/08/1968 and scrapped on 28/02/1969. Her sister, 44871, was preserved and potentially formed the base for this model.
The detailing on the smokebox door

The detailing on the smokebox door

For what it does right, however, there are a few glaring errors and odd artistic choices. First, as nice as the detailing is on the smokebox door, the shed code on the shed plate never existed. 89M is fictional, however 89A to 89C did exist. The codes were for sheds in Wales, not Scotland. 63A was the Perth shed code and is far more appropriate if the loco is to be stabled on this railway, especially in Northern Kinloch livery. 63F could have been created if they wanted to maintain it’s fictional base. There is the argument that a Welsh shed code could reflect the pre-preservation days, but as Wales was very much the turf of Great Western locomotives, with LMS locos rarely venturing into that part of the world let alone being based there.
Motion gear and close up on wheels

Motion gear and close up on wheels

The biggest let down comes when you look down towards the wheels. A lot of the motion gear is missing with bits of the gearing just hovering in mid-air, which seems an odd omission compared to the small details they have included. The largest cardinal sin though is the fact the whole train is derailed. Not a single wheel sits on the rails but instead has the wheel flange sitting on the sleepers on the outside of the rails. Chances are this was because the person who built the world objects was not the same person who built the ground-level scenery (the grounds, roads, and rails) and the scale wasn’t communicated so the train went out of gauge.
Other places the Black 5 can be seen

Other places the Black 5 can be seen

As I said at the start, though, for something that you drive past at over 100mph and not even see this is a very impressive effort overall and I can forgive the errors and shortcomings. To have a mostly correctly modelled Black 5 in the game at all is more than I expected, and the train pops up in the other Scottish courses for an added bonus. The question is, what other PS4 games can give us surprise steam locomotive cameos? Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, I’m kinda looking at you… And no, I will not be making a video about this. I’m not that sad.

TigerTails Gaming Editorial: GamerGate #fullyexpectedrage

So, we kind of avoided the topic of what the gaming hobby was going through on the last episode of TigerTails Radio. Given what has been going on since, the articles and “some” discussion, I thought I’d better get some of this into words before the next show. Otherwise we’d be over-running just a bit.

Topic the first: Gaming journalism and bias.

This has existed for some time, all the articles that are being brought out are partly old. When this hobby was beginning to develop advertising was not the biggest thing. Sure, we had TV ads and billboards, but it was about kids games, toys and fun. Publishers had budgets and market research to help them get the best positive message across and slowly we had gaming articles written and journalism about it.

To start with, most was from the people who made the games/software as a way of getting more people to buy products. Nintendo Power is the easiest example to mention. Cross promoting with reviews seem to be somewhat of a thing. As the independent press realised that the advertising from games was also a thing, we saw the rise of other magazines. Edge, PC Format, etc, and as with some areas of journalism bias was created. This exists because money will get favourable views.

The problem often came when more force came from the “big” publishers who threatened to not send games to the magazines, blacklist them etc. A small mag could not deal with the lawyers of a big company.

As the Internet grew, a new form of journalism came about, blogging. Where as journalists will usually have actual education and training into being a journalist, bloggers are people with opinions who might have some normal education, usually a different viewpoint, and a need to get it heard.

Journalists have become stronger in dealing with the idea of bias and weighted opinion based on advertising. With some sites changing their policy to the point that they don’t write about kickstarter projects they fund. To the journos who care about the hobby they saw the frustration of their readers and took steps to make sure they were reporting about games. Important word here, reporting. Any reviews had to be recognised as having the writers opinion causing some weight, which is why the guy who reviews sports games always reviews sports games. He had a well rounded opinion about it.

But as bloggers and journos became interchangeable, so did the scrabble for getting money. And believe me, that is an actual thing that is also an issue. Page views, clicks and hits are taken on board by advertisers. Unless you are on your own page with no advertising at all, you will be getting some sort of revenue and presence in clicks. So articles which get hits will be good things, same for newspapers, same for TV.

Conclusion: Bias will exist because of advertising, and good news sites will do as much as possible to separate themselves from that due to professional reasons. Can’t say that always happens, but they will. Bloggers, and sites that run on advertising funding will look favourably on getting more hits, and doing things to get more hits. Some won’t, but when you actually start getting money/product because of something you have done on the internet, it will be hard not to do more to get more.

(Point: Any advertising seen on the whole TigerTails Entertainment Network is powered by Google. This is so we can remaining wholly impartial as we don’t know who is advertising on our sites/videos in advance – and the adverts constantly change anyway. We like to think we are open about our own personal bias towards games/consoles and they are not in anyway influenced by monetary gain.)

Topic Second: Sexism.

I like sex, I enjoy sex, I enjoy the idea of sex and sexualisation of men and women. It has its time for being appropriate, and time when not. I am not saying sexism is good, not in the term of using or abusing because of ones sex inappropriately. (Note from the editor: Normally I’m reasonably good at translating XavierSpeak into English, but even I’m struggling with that paragraph.)

We have seen examples of when this sexulisation has been over the top in video games. From Custer’s Revenge to Metal Gear, women have been portrayed as sexual images and not always in a positive light. The industry has cried foul at times and we have seen a change in games and stories to some extent.

But that is the thing: Games and stories sometime require images and plots that will be extreme. Speaking as someone who tries to run role playing games, there will be times when I want a sexualised image or shocking scene. I will work within the boundaries of my players to generate that story, to develop that immersion to get a reaction. But the scene will be as appropriate to the story and tone of the story as I can make it. This is also true of games developers who are looking to evoke a reaction from the player and to immerse them in the story. Just because the lead female has large breasts, does not mean the game is sexist. Unless that was taken out of context from the game. Just because we have the option to create female characters as sexual objects, does not make the player sexist. Unless this is taken out of context of the game.

Things become sexist dependant on the context and situation. To say that games should approach this theme in a more sympathetic way is a good thing, but most games are not actually putting these themes to be sexist in. Often, they are put in to help immerse the player (whatever sex they are) into the world. To generate connection and often to help progress gameplay and development.

Conclusion: Sexism is about the context of the act within what is going on. Lots of things can be called sexist when taken out of context. For example, Premier League football is sexist because its full of men. Gay porn is sexist because its full of men. Sexism is an act taken out of context of the environment, and with story and game telling you have to take the whole in order to make a proper judgement.

That said, marketing has caused a lot of issues, because the largest demographic will be the one often targeted. And despite surveys and stats been passed about who plays games, the largest audience for most things are young males.

Third: Gamer identity.

I strongly identify with being a gamer. Those who listen to TigerTails Radio will know my rants against the papers and research saying gaming is bad because [insert random nonsense reason here].

But I am a gamer because I play lots of games, from computer, to console, to boardgames. and role play. Gamer is a thing that I am as much as a furry, film lover, and reader. When people begin to actively target identities with negative press because of things done wrong or perceived by them, people who identify with that will get upset. Especially in an age when finding who you are is a big thing.

Now I am not a fan of the idiots who will do stupid things, spread hatred, or be aggressive towards other. I certainly don’t support their actions, but I won’t try to take away the identity, or claim all are that way. Why? Look at football fans, they have as much diversity of good and bad as gamers, but you don’t see people trying to take that identity away, or say football should not be for the fans. In fact, every kind of label and identity will have some sort of extreme on one side and the other.

So why try to take this away? I’ve seen articles saying that gamers are dead and you should not market to gamers. The people who are writing them are probably just as angry over things, but they are being stupid. Gamers are those who play games, sure we have bad apples but its down to everyone else to then say “we are not like that” and say good things. Trouble is it’s easier to make labels hit larger audiences because of the bubble that most people are in within the hobby. If the only people commenting that they are gamers are being dicks then your assumption is that gamers are dicks.

The sites that are posting these articles are really not trying to step away from the news or even report it. And in doing so they are alienating the people who claim that identity because no distinction is being made.

Conclusion: Everyone has labels that they will defend to the death. But every label has a diverse collection inside it, including idiots and fanboys. Who are usually the most vocal.

Fourth, but not final: Death threats.

I understand the argument of being open about harassment, encouraging people to do things about it and not suffering in silence. What I would say is you need to deal with it in the right way, and as one journo actually tweeted, don’t write a blog or make a YouTube about it.

If you personally know anyone in the newspaper industry, or editorial/magazine industry, ask them what they do about thing like death threats. Same goes for any celeb. They will report it, then get on with things. That is it. Some things do need to be publicly addressed, but stuff like this will not solve problems, it just generates more.

Death threats are treated seriously by the police and if they have credence people will get arrested. They have people who are trained to look into this and will usually find and prosecute. ‘Cause if you’re stupid enough to send death threats, you probably don’t know how many things you have given to the police to help them find you.

Posting about it and saying its because of this, that, or the other, basically polling for opinion, is also stupid. It’s not asking for help unless you perhaps need the straightjacket kind.

Now, with the way online is, and the way people are, you will always have those who will be vocal and angry and want to say something to make you hurt. When 10% of your reader base will respond, you have to acknowledge that they are the most passionate of each extreme, so you are going to have to accept some flack. I’m not saying you should accept threats, those you pass to the police and then you get on with things. Tweeting about it will then get the most vocal 10% of those who want to respond to the idea of death threats contacting you.

Conclusion: There is a right way to respond, and a wrong way. Wearing a sign saying “I Hate [Racial/Sexual Epitaph]” is the wrong way.

Lastly: Blogging with no Goddam point.

There was a lot that has led up to what is going on now, much of it over years, which could still be simmering on except for a couple of things. First the depression quest thing. Now I’ll say the timing wasn’t great and the game is certainly not. But I’m fairly sure I was behind the idea of getting this kind of supportive message out there. Depression is a thing, I’ve certainly had to fight it off and I consider myself fortunate that I’ve not gotten to the bottom of a bottle or had to manage via pills. But awareness of this matter is good.

My issue was when Phil Fish, a guy I can kindly describe as a tool, put his oar in about the whole matter. Now, arguments aside, this could have stopped there.

However, much was then made of her links with others, links being a word that could be replaced with sex. This also could of been passed except by the action of a few idiots and then people raising her up as a social avatar.

Then came the female tropes thing.

Now, if I want an opinion on women in gaming I can very easily get Evee3 on the phone and be raged at. Usually, she will have a point and get to it. However, the lass from female tropes proceeded to make a project about women in gaming. I’m sure we commented on it and thought it was a good thing, although I did not back the kickstarter to fund it.

I have read the transcript that she put out for her second episode.

Now, if you’ve got this far, congratulations, but frankly, she is a blogger who really should not have gotten the funding. This is an opinion based on her work, and more over the complete lack of conclusion or any recommendation of how to move forward. In school if I had put what she did out as a piece of homework I’d be marked down for those things.

Her article is pretty much her making terms up for female representations. Picked examples of background scenes within a game to make a point about sexism in the game. No context was given about why it was in the game, what the main player was doing or the world that it was trying to represent. In fact, she skimmed over it more that most people will reading this. All her examples then led to the point that women were being sexualised and exploited and game developers should address this. No mention on how. No mention on why. No actual psychological research on the impact or anything except the suggestion that this was aimed at the obligatory target market.

This is what makes me angry, as really there was no point in the project. She cherry picked scenes to prove a point, and a fellow journo defended her work by effectively saying the same thing, but with wordier words. That is not an argument, that is not a project, that’s colour matching. That is saying I found all these separate pieces of red in different sports strips, so red must make people aggressive.

Final conclusion.

I have strong opinions on gaming and how we are represented, and no illusions of how we are “perceived”. The reason I am pissed is because people are trying to make logical points based on perception and the actions of those who actually make some sort of comment (even if it is stupid). I’m not a flag waver myself but will be vocal about things and if you can provide arguments with good points I will listen.

Doing some quick online viewing I see a lot of independent gamers and bloggers getting pissed about everything. These people are usually spouting more thought out points than seen in the shit that started this, or the bull reports and editorials from those who might be getting a quick like off it. Which is frustrating because the journalists who should be reporting on all the sides of this, are being strangely quiet.

I will always be vocal on how gamers are perceived, and the issue with #gamergate comes down to how we are perceived, and how we are enjoying our games. Gamers love the idea of getting more girls into gaming, the memes say it all. Gamers love games, the challenge they present, and stories they tell as it gives them experiences they wouldn’t normally have. Good or bad, but it does not mean the gamer is that.

This is something that is going to pull gamers away from the idea of journalists being fair and for them. The flag waving and finger pointing will affect how people will make games and how they get reported on. The long and the short of this is that there will be opinions, and we want to be heard, but don’t just point a finger back and say well you’re “this”.

For those who got to the bottom of this, do yourself a favour. Look at all the reports on both side. Look at your games and make your mind up on who you are. And if you don’t agree with how you feel you’re being portrayed, go out and make a point on this. Give a reason behind it and solid argument on how to go forward. For me, we need to realise that gaming journalists are not bloggers, they get to review and critique, but they are professional enough not to hold bias opinion, or not see all sides. Bloggers need to realise they just have opinions, and unless you’re are an academic who is doing a paper, thats all you will have and frankly we can then ignore it.

Lastly, play some games. That is why we like the hobby.

(Edited: So TK doesn’t have to.)
(Edited by TK, as Xavier’s editing wasn’t enough.)

Editorial – The tags we wear…

Whilst I was checking twitter, I came across an article from UKfurforums. The article itself was about reporting on the negative side of news relating to furry culture and a specific piece of news that had been reported.
The article itself was not the best and didn’t really address the point that it originally started on. However, in the comments came an interesting discussion on the tags that we give ourselves and the perception that comes with them.
We give ourselves tags to identify us as different from the rest of he world, furry, gamer, nerd, geek. They are badges that we wear with pride and give a clear image to everyone else of what we like and do. The discussion started with the amusing Google search game that everyone does by entering “word” is/are.
Starting with furries, Google states we are weird, sick, stupid, etc until at the end of the list we are not bad. If Google is a good example then the tag we choose has been affiliated with some very bad press.
Gamers are losers, idiots, stupid, smarter, sexist, sad. Again, some bad press here.
Yet we fight for the right to wear these badges with pride, often defending them with vitriol and passion that is not seen outside of sports fans.
I sometimes wonder why…
As gamers, we have tried hard to get our hobby recognized by the mainstream. To an extent this has occurred, with more people at least knowing about games and even playing casual ones. From Call of Duty to Candy Crush, our hobby has never been this popular and recognized and we are set to see it reaching further with the new console launch and greater penetration of the internet.
But if you say you are a gamer to people, you will get a look. That look that says, clearly you sit about in your pants eating cheese puffs playing WoW and drinking Mountain Dew.
Sure you can defend your hobby, you can argue about it being beneficial and hand eye co-ordination. Yet even the most well thought out argument will be thrown out by peoples perception of gamers.
Even I find it hard to bring games and gaming into casual conversation, especially as I see myself as a polygamer (made up term ish). I play computer games, roleplaying games, board games, card games, etc. My gamer “tag” covers a whole load of things, but peoples perception on what a gamer is will restrict how I would interact with people until I have a clear idea on peoples opinion.
So if it is difficult to maintain these tags, why do we use them? Why cling to the negative difference that they give?
We are, as a whole, a group of strange misanthropes who are not the most socially acceptable. I would dare anyone who reads this to say that they have no issues that can be fully accepted by society.
The reason that I can see on why we hold onto this, is the feeling of brotherhood it brings, the sense of identity, the warm fuzzy feeling you have when someone recognizes you as a gamer and say they are too. Its rare that this occurs, even with the increase in gamers, but we all look forward to that experience.
Could we find a way of making ours tags more acceptable? That’s the tricky one…
The Google search brings up several things that we as gamers have not addressed properly. Sexism, homophobia, self entitlement issues and intelligence.
We have all seen the news of sexism in games, at cons and on forums and on live chat. Heaven forbid that you’re a girl and announce the fact online, for fear of the pre-adolescent rampage that would head your way. This in itself is a whole editorial, but it is an issue that gamers ignore and sometimes propagate in comments and behavior. Women are people too, and should be treated as such, especially if they like the same hobby.
The LGBT issue has raised its head many a time, often with much vitriol as people state that games should not have these harmful things inside them. In my view, this is one of the best ways of being able to get a social taboo out to people in a way that can be understood by many. If it is done well, then the positive message it can have would be epic.
Self entitlement, lets just say Mass Effect 3 here. Granted, the game had issues, and people felt they were promised something when that wasn’t the case. Yet, gamers stamped their collective feet to get what they want to happen, and now have caused developers to do soundings before they even design a game, which is not a good way of creating something. Seriously, read Dilbert cartoons and see why this idea is stupid.
The idea that gamers are stupid and games make you stupid is one I find amusing, but the hardest to fight, especially with parents. I learnt a lot from all the games I have played and I look forward to teaching my skills to my daughter when she is able to roll dice and hold controllers. I will get her to the point that people will not play Monopoly with her and that she can hold her own in Street Fighter (Cheap Ken for the win) (ED: Cheap Ryu is better – how many times has your Cheap Ken defeated Salamander’s Troll Vega/Blanka?). I will also make sure that she still does her homework, something that I know most parents don’t do as it is easier not to fight over the console.

Its a whole load of work to do to get a positive spin on the gamer tag, and it need to be done by everyone. If you take from this one thing, it should be that if you can help improve the image of gamers then you should. Then maybe we shall see Google saying we are friendly, fun and smart.

As for furries, we need to start culling the idiots from the herd… With fire.

E3 2013 Live Podcast Recording

TigerTails Radio doesn’t normally broadcast its E3 Podcast – keeping it as a download only thing for the loyal website visitors. However, this year they decided to stick a crappy webcam in the studio and broadcast the event via Hangout on Air. Sadly, it went to TK’s personal account and not the TTG account, but either way, the video is below. The final podcast will be available in better audio quality in the near future on the TigerTails Radio website.

Editorial – Do we need new gaming consoles?

With E3 upon us, and both Sony and Microsoft having announced their new consoles, everyone is ramping up for a mass info dump at E3, and the epic arguments that will follow.

Yet I think there is one question that will not be asked by the majority of gamers or news outlets: Do we need a new gaming console?

I have to say, even when the rumours first started coming out from the various camps, I did not hear that question being asked. Everyone was speculating, which they still are, about what would be in both and what would they offer. Would the new guys coming, from Ouya and Steam, make an impact? What about Apple and the offerings from the “i” range?

Of course, the idea of something new will always generate buzz and a sense of wanting. People would look at their old consoles and PC rigs, and then they would start saving for the new thing, as new is always better. Right?

People are stupid.

I looked at my consoles and wondered how the heck I would get through my back catalogue of cheap games that I have. That’s before looking at the games I will buy once they drop down in price, like Bioshock, which I will be adding to that list. I looked at my PC and wondered the same thing, although my PC is at least 5 years old so is now showing signs of age and need of update.

Yet I was curious to see what new shiny would be offered and what, if anything, would be said that would make me answer the question of “do I need a new console?”.

Sony started first with a good strong showing, pitching at the gamer and developer, and effectively apologising for everything they had done with the PS3. The specs were touted, nice PC specs, which would be outdated after 6 months of launch, but as a PC gamer that’s nothing new to me. We saw some lovely tech demos of graphic rendering, the social features of the share button, and streaming. The idea of downloads working behind scenes (finally) and even being able to start playing before the download has finished. These bits of news piqued my interest, as I really find the download and install process to be very tedious on PS3. Yet I’m not sure how many people will develop a game in that way, especially if it adds to the already lengthy developers cycle.

Sony did come out and say the console would not always require a internet connection to play games etc. Yet I will assume that to use most of the functions that they touted, I would always need an internet connection. They showed some pretty games, most of which I really didn’t care about, but that is down to my own gaming preferences. The only thing I really want is Watch Dogs, which also is set for PC. The announcement show solidified the idea that this would be a games console, as have much of the adverts, and very little news other than that has been confirmed or released since.

My issue, they did not answer the question of needing a new console for me. Yea, its nice having the streaming and video tools, it’s nice to have the background download. I don’t care about the controller with its move strip, and I am hoping to God they don’t make it look ribbed or curved or like a heat sink. Yet they did not give me enough of an answer to make me want to buy out of the gate.

Granted, I don’t really do that too often, anyway, but I do if the pitch is right.

Sony then went on to confirm details they announced, games being made with PS4 in mind. Yet little other info was mentioned. No confirmation on how the PSN will work, our IDs and achievements and if they would port over. No backwards compatibility was confirmed, although the option of Gaiki was proposed as a possible solution to that.

Eventually, a month later than originally planned, Microsoft came out and spoke about their console, amidst many comments about the console being always online, and other “leaked” documentation. Microsoft’s offering is the Xbox One, which many people immediately labelled the Xbone. They announced similar specs to PS4, as well as similar ideas of game streaming and editing (game dependant) which was quickly passed over. The chosen distinction for the Xbox one is TV integration. You can plug in your cable box and have it sat on its own layer, and the switch between that and games, internet and other apps. Most of the pitch was for this to be your one device to go to for all entertainment. Microsoft also showed various partnerships and alliances with publishers like EA and Activision, which will lead to timed DLC exclusives, and other social features.

Overall, the show was a completely different pitch to Sony, and set it apart as a machine that could also play games. A pitch that had been used by Sony for the PS3 at one point if I recall.

For me, there wasn’t much again that I really cared about. The inter-layered features and app spark my interest, as it would mean I could switch between gaming and TV easily. Handy for when my wife wants to watch TV but I would like to jump back on once the program has stopped. Also, the snap to feature would be nice, especially if it wasn’t just Skype apps that you could do that with. Order food, check weather, check twitter. Skyping next to a big screen also has some possibilities. The Kinect 2.0 has some nice tech, which if used by developers properly could lead to some actually innovative games.

Still nothing really answered the question of do I need a new console, though.

After the show, the animals were let out and chaos ensued. Sony has at least learnt to hide those who know nothing away once the show ended. Microsoft just left them to it and created a confusing atmosphere that left the gaming community baying for blood. Granted, we have had a lot more information come out since then, and some questions have been answered. Still there are plenty of questions left to answer, and Sony has remained even more tight-lipped than Microsoft about the same issues.

Even with the clarifications coming out, I still don’t have an answer to my question. The vocal majority of gamers will be championing PS4, as Microsoft is “clearly not understanding gamers” which I think is laughable as Sony has not yet clarified its stance on used games, authorising games and licenses, or anything about the PSN. Right now I am looking at pouring money into my PC, as I can get all the games I want to play on there. Of course I am using Steam, which is licensing games to me. There is an offline mode the service but will check the games are mine each time I log on. My PC requires internet, for most parts of my gaming experience as well as everything I do on there when not gaming. Plus I can record games and edit them, not to mention I use Google services… A lot.

It frustrates me that the question of why we need new consoles -now- is not being answered, and that people are jumping up and down about everything except this, as we still have two perfectly good consoles that are still being developed for. In the latter years of every generation we see better games and ideas, so I see no reason to throw money at a new console.

Frankly, I don’t think people will ask my question, because all they see is new and shiny. Whilst gamers will shout about DRM and corporations controlling what they can do, they will still use Steam, Google, Apple, and their ilk. They will still go out and buy both consoles. They will complain and moan about both… On their PCs, which they will pay money out on to keep on the technology curve and will outstrip both consoles after six months.

Buying Xcom has brought into focus that I need a new PC, as my current one really won’t run Windows 7 well enough. So I won’t be spending money on the new consoles simply because I already have two perfectly good machines and a computer I need to upgrade.

If you have any thoughts on this editorial, pop a comment on the site, Facebook or G+ page.

TigerTails Gaming Weekend

Something we’ve done for a couple of years for TigerTails Radio has been hosting a gaming weekend, for people to pop down and join us in some good console games for a few hours. This year we’re doing a bit more of the same – only this time you don’t need to come down to the studio to join us! We shall be playing a host of PC and console games – OVER THE INTERWEBS – and you can join us from the comfort of your own home. Yey!

Some of the games we’ll be playing online include:
The Ship – PC (Played online over Steam)
Minecraft – PC (Server URL to be provided nearer the time)
Artiemus – PC (Server URL will be the same as the Minecraft server, but the port will be different, obviously)
Super Street Fighter 4 Arcade Edition 2012 – PS3 (Endless Battle Mode)
Mortal Kombat 9 (AKA Mortal Kombat 2011) – PS3
Plus many more. Feel free to suggest games you’d like to utterly thrash us at, and if possible we’ll add them to the list.

Facebook users can register their interest for the event here:

The event is also listed on our Steam Group page, and that is where the password for The Ship will be (keeping the server password protected to stop random folk coming in and ruining our fun). The other server-related details will be listed here, and probably on our Facebook page for the event also.

More details will be posted here as we get them.

Beast’s Fury

Seeing as TK and Hedgie enjoy fighting games (expect some Mortal Kombat to be coming to this site soon, folks) we thought we’d take a moment to tell you about a new 2D fighting game that’s in the works. It’s called Beast’s Fury, and as you’d imagine, it features anthro animals duking it out for our entertainment and pleasure. I’ve not seen a game like this since Brutal: Paws of Fury on the Sega Mega Drive (and Mega CD) so I’m pretty happy to see this game appear on the landscape. The characters are drawn frame-by-frame (no crappy Flash motion-tweening here), and the work so far looks so good that I’m actually quite excited and can’t wait to get my hands on it.

At the moment, the guys making the game have started an IndieGoGo campaign to help get the game developed, and while they’ve gotten the $5,000 they are looking for to get things kicked off smoothly, they need far more to get the game out there. So this is where the people like you, yes you, come in. Have a watch of the video, and check out the campaign video – and if what you see tickles your fancy, throw them a few $s. $20,000 can get a working demo out there, so every little really does help.

You can visit the Beast’s Fury Facebook page here:

Check out the IndieGoGo page here:

Head on over to their FurAffinity page and see other artwork and stuff here:

Finally, you can watch the video below, and then pop over their YouTube page to see more things here:

Editorial – Always Online

I’m often exposing opinions and raging at the ludicrous nature of things on TigerTails Radio, mostly filling the news segment and over running. So its no surprise that I am henning and pecking away to get my opinion on the most contentious issue of the time.

Always Online, or Always Online requirement.

So lets brief out the basic premise: Always online is a service/system where a device is connected to the internet continuously. This also can mean that the device can only operate when connected or if connected.

The basic premise, in the above form, really is not contentious. It’s not. It’s the idea for a service that uses the internet, usually for the prime, if not only, function. So why all the issues with the “suggestion” of always on being incorporated in the latest gen of consoles.

When we look at the idea added to consoles we have a couple of ways of implementation. Either the device won’t work, unless connected to the internet, or the games require a constant connection.

The arguments start up at this point. Which is where my issue comes in. People say they hate this as what will happen if the internet dies, if they don’t have internet. People say they don’t want to have to connect to the internet just to play a game, just to play a single player game. Some say they don’t like the idea of it, that they don’t want to connect to the internet. Others call out DRM and data mining, usually pointing to examples of always online failures.

These are, sometimes, valid points, especially if they don’t have internet as, clearly the service can’t work with no internet. If they don’t like it, or the idea of it, then ok, if you don’t like it, don’t buy it.

However, a lot of the time these people are making arguments without covering some of the basics. Firstly, what if the internet dies: I can count on one hand the times my internet died. Not only that, I usually have it running and setup to connect to my devices once they turn on anyway. So let’s say you will have a very stable service being provided to the always connected device.

Don’t want to connect to the internet to play a single player game: I get the point of this, but people also need to recognise that most games now have functions that connect to the internet. From simple leaderboards to added gameplay functions like the autolog and battlelog functions. More and more games need to connect to the internet for functions, even basic updating and patching. Even single player games. Not only that, but the internet is usually connected to your machine once you switch on. Your machine logs you in automatically. Who hasn’t gotten a little annoyed the moment the PSN or XBL goes down for maintenance?

DRM and data mining: People need to read EULAs and service agreements. You do not need always online for data mining, as pretty much every service provider will be recording your details and habits to market to you anyway. As for DRM, while piracy is an issue, lets be honest, most of the DRM solutions that have been implemented have not worked. Usually they have caused more issues for consumers than pirates.

So where are we for the always online argument, well, first the whining and entitlement issues need to stop. And before you try to respond, take a breath and think how you are about to comment. Most people are jumping up and shouting about issues without any thought, and they are making gamers sound like whining entitled brats.

I want to put forward a reasonable discussion for this, taking into account that internet access is likely to be stable and plugged into the machine. You are likely to log onto the internet and the service provided by the machine, even if you’re only playing single player games. What would be the benefits of this service? Just off the top of my head, updates instantly, patches instantly, background download and install even when you’re playing games. Easy drop in and out co-op for games, less time waiting for lobbies and friends. Being able to have easy update on friends games and communications (preferably across games). Uploading of footage recorded whilst you play. Streaming games/demos, as well as TV and movies. Streaming of friend’s gameplay.

Just off the top of my head.

It would also be wise to address the whole online device, it is unlikely, ney highly unlikely, that a mass market device to play disc based games would be released with always online. Simply because that could cut the number of sales and, as the companies are answerable to the shareholders, they want to make money.

Would the functionality be on the device, yes. We are looking at this service coming and soon. Google fibre, BT infinity, Japan, South Korea and China. Major changes in internet providing and major internet consumers. Look to any sci fi writer, they will be incorporating the idea into stories, which often point to the way science and technology goes.

I find the arguments laughable, usually as the arguments are usually not thought out. To those with coherent points and arguments, feel free to comment and put your reasoning down. Why you don’t like this, or agree with this? What benefit would you have from the service? Is this something that actually bothers you or would even notice the transition for?

We will probably come back to this issue on the show, so any extra comments are welcome.

– Xavier.

The views of Xavier are purely his own, and do not represent the rest of the TigerTails Entertainment team, as can be evidenced by the debate on the matter on Season 7 Episode 24 of TigerTails Radio. – TK

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