Tag Archives: Japan

Shadows are Us

It is almost 20 years ago that me, myself, I, my playstation and controller took a gander into the world of Tenchu. Even as I now shiver on the graphics that were then amazing, the gameplay is something I missed. This came to light when I got a dose of Aragami 2 on YouTube. Proper sneak games are a rare commodity, and as we look for the next sneaker (Splinter cell, Metal gear solid, etc.) those who love stealth games, we all have a fondness for Tenchu, 

I personally do not think that there is an exception to that rule. And for some reason, even as we all love Thief and its versions, it feels a little more amazing in Japan around the 1600’s. Japan in that era was a fun place (a little superstitious), but fun none the less. So Tenchu was a lovely step into the past. 10 years after that, when Microsoft still knew what it was doing, Tenchu Z was launched and the thump in my heart was as happy as it could be. 

Even as we saw some repetition in the levels, the levels themselves were amazing. And there was the second setting where you wanted to live in the levels you were mastering, the house, the inn, they were all amazing. There were off course issues, there always are for those who do some of the levels again and again, some of the parts that Tenchu 1 offered did not happen in Tenchu Z, yet I was not upset, after 10 years I got to tenchu again. 

So what happened? Why did the PS4 not have its own Tenchu, or whatever it would be called. A Japanese set stealth game, I know there is a sizeable population that wants one. Even if we see an upgraded remastered Tenchu Z, it is a stage that could propel the cloud consoles (Google Stadia, Amazon Luna and whatever Microsoft has) forward and yes, Microsoft does have the advantage, but only if they act, if not it is up for grabs. Microsoft does not have IP on Japan or stealth gaming. I wonder why I had not missed it sooner. Perhaps I had hoped that Ubisoft got its act together. Perhaps I hoped that some would remember the great games. 

Yet if Aragami 2 (due out in September 2021) delivers, we will feel happy and after such a long silence it should optionally receive a large following. Yes, the first Aragami had flaws (a few) but it felt much closer to the original Tenchu than many other stealth games. Styx and Thief are good games, they have their own niche and they are quite good, yet it is not sneaking in 1600 Japan. The era speaks to our imagination, it has pretty much since a man named James Clavell wrote Shogun in 1975. The age of Blackthorn and Toranaga. It spoke to most people and the image continued in gaming. So now, when we see the Sony PS5 and Microsoft alternative, we see a system that can render an entire village, one would hope that Tenchu gets a new lease on life in gaming, optionally in a much larger setting. We learned so much over 20 years that this is all possible and cloud gaming might actually end up with a larger advantage.

Options
Cloud gaming has its own stage and its stage is a lot larger than any game. I staged that play in a previous blog when I coined the return of Murder on the Zinderneuf. The cloud consoles will have an option what I call ‘cross gaming tokens’ Something found in one game can be used in another game, or better stated becomes an unlocked item in another game. Consider that you find a house ceramic in Murder on the Zinderneuf, that could unlock the steampunk version of Monopoly, When you play Tenchu, you can unlock a weapon that is an additional weapon in Clue, and so on. It is a stage never contemplated before , or never acted on, but in cloud gaming it becomes real, as we embrace subscriptions and therefor we need long term gaming. As such long term gaming is found in adding to games, but what makes the addition? By adding games, other games will optionally be enhanced, or even added to, all because you played Murder on the Zinderneuf and you examined the chess set in a room, a new chess set is added to chess. And there is no end to the options you can unlock making a long term connection. Now consider that setting in a game like Tenchu. As the enemy is there, it is also possible that a game like Anno 1600 will unlock more powerful enemies in Tenchu. 

Remember that evil Dutch Merchant? Well, if you played Anno 1600, he will become a VOC representative, complete with two bodyguards yielding a ‘Donderbus’ (the Dutch invention that would later become the shotgun). When the stage is adjusted the game becomes again enticing and rewarding. A simple stage of adjusting, and players like Ubisoft never went there, why is that (equally other players did not go there either). 

So whilst we can argue that we must move forward, we have a ton of options that have not been acted on, as such there are years of exploration in sight and there Cloud gaming has the option to offer more, not merely another version of a game, but a much larger game, if only the developers had that in sight when they thought that one platform is merely a port of another platform. 

In all this we can lie in the shadows awaiting what comes next, or we can adjust the lights and create alternative paths. So whilst we all await a new game, what is wrong with replaying a game we forgot about, only to see that it has been enhanced by other games we have played in the meantime. I believe that there are a lot of developers and they do not realise the impact of long term gaming yet, they seemingly forget that soon we get to a point (in 6 months) when some people will have played the same game for 10 years. There are not many games that are worthy of that but Skyrim pulled it off, so what happens when on 11.11.21 the game offers the players something new in the same game they played? In opposition, what happens when the ‘patch’ will unlock a whalebone dagger in Dishonored 2? These are options that cloud gaming can offer, or perhaps a Skyrim board in Monopoly, an Axe in Clue or a Skyrim style chess set? It is not merely cosmetic, consider that over time you get additional rooms, people and items in Clue. The standard formula you had in your mind will no longer work, it needs adjusting for the different items optionally altered items. The game suddenly becomes more fun to play again. A stage many forgot about but Cloud gaming enables it and suddenly the stealth games all get an upgrade and that is what we like a challenging game that offers more over time. So whilst we see Aragami 2 coming in September, what happens when some of the guards have crossbows? Do not laugh, the Japanese had crossbows as early as 230 AD, they called them Shudo, they also had something not unlike a ballista, but that came 400 years later, still ahead of Europe though. History provides a whole range of options and opportunities. And the coming of Argami 2 made me consider that. I wonder what Google and Amazon are doing. Most likely relying on a deal with Ubisoft, I wonder how that goes over time. 

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Create history with history

It is a stage I have been pondering about. To get there, I need to tell you how I got there, I do believe it matters. I wrote articles of the Afreet in the past. I was introduced to them in a game called Archon 2 by Electronic arts (30 years ago). Archon was a sort of battle chess. Consider chess, but you do not ‘conquer’ the piece when you hit it. It starts a battle between the two and the victor is left standing. So like chess pieces each one has abilities, not to move, but to fight (the higher the chess piece, the stronger his or her ability to fight). The additional part is that black pieces are stronger on black squares, white pieces are stronger on white squares and the board also has a collection of squares that rotate colour from dark to light and in the other direction in several stages. As such standing still there is a dangerous undertaking. The Ifrit, or afreet is like a whirlwind and quite powerful, its opposition is the thunderbird. That was my introduction to the Afreet. Over time I learned more, but that is the start. So when we see time travel stories we tend to go to places, yet what happens when time comes to us? What happens when time becomes a defence mechanism? What happens when the Afreet go back to defend the sands they love, defend the places that threw them out, but in this case as they return they fight for the people? It is merely one part of the setting. 

An Afreet has been part in several series, usually as a temporary antagonist. Yet what happens when the world is dying to a much larger degree, because of our stupidity and the Greek gods come back to defend what they believe is the world of their making? In that setting what happens when the gods of the dead unite in a struggle? Hel (Nordic), Hades (Greek), Afreet (Arabic), Yama (Hindu), Shinigami (Japan) and Mictlantecuhtli (Aztec) they unite because the people are killing the earth, which will then no longer feed them the souls that sustain them. In this they start via the Afreet to start larger wars and to push for population control. 

As the push into one direction we see the battlegrounds move from the Middle East and India to Western Europe and America. The movie shows us the evil and the bad that people do under the excuse ‘the devil made me do it’ (thanks to Tom Ellis for reminding me), yet what happens when there really was some form of devil (afreet) pushing people?

A series that shows the horrors of death, direct, blunt and overwhelming. A stage that has inspiration from some of the horror movies and series, but it is overwhelmed by the interaction of horror and war movies, which apart from Jacob’s Ladder has never happened, and a more brutal version is a little overdue. And it goes beyond of what we see, what happens when it re-inspires faith in people? Are these gods of the dead the safety valve for the other gods?

It is just a thought, but I cannot remember where different ideologies interact to a much larger degree and that in itself makes for a new level of TV history, does it not?

Just a thought, have a nice weekend, optionally one not involving death. And before you think it is an outrageous idea, consider India has 22,000,000 covid cases, another 4200 died in the last 24 hours and over 3 million in total have died of this disease and Australia is opening the borders with India over some bleeding heart stage. So the people (and media) making Prime Minister Scott Morrison a pariah for taking the tougher decisions. As such when the Indian variant runs blatantly through  Australia as per June 2021, feel free to sue those bleeding heart media people. Catering to shareholders and stakeholders by relying on flames and avoiding the harsh realities of choices that Narendra Modi of India refused to make should come with a price-tag, should it not? So whilst he decides to spend $1.8 billion on parliament renovation (not essential oxygen needs), we see the larger inactions, and I have written about it for days, the media avoided it all, but the media is all about happy family pictures and how it is such a sad discriminatory setting. Make sure that your court case includes the reporters and media that relied on flames whilst avoiding a lot of data, because as per June it could be the death of your child, brother, sister, partner or parent. 

So as many rely on the blame game, I merely came up with a new TV series (the creative part in my DNA) and there is every chance that Covid will have a definite presence, with 3,279,018 deaths, how could it not be?

So all hail to the gods of death and try not to choke on your tea or coffee this weekend. 

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Belated brilliance

Some of us know what I am talking about, when we first see it, we think ‘nice’, nothing negative, just a plain nice. We liked the story, the girls loved Jude Law, the men were all over Jennifer Jason Leigh (virtually). The story was good, there was nothing bad about the whole thing, but now 20 years later some are realising just how brilliant David Cronenberg really was at that moment, our computers are catching on, our approach to virtual reality is catching on and suddenly what was once nice, is now regarded as the Koh-i-nor diamond. I am off course referring to eXistenZ the movie. We can take it apart from any angle, but consider the side we can now use on the PS5? What if we create an RPG that is a dream within a dream?

Not unlike the book the Talisman, consider a map, the normal game map set to a normal grid (whatever you call normal). Now we see a second map, that map has relative places in the same place (not the same place), but you are placed in wherever the temple, or resting place was. So in map one we have something resembling Japan, whilst Map 2 is more like New Zealand, as such map one is 50% larger, yet in relative places we see similar places and the resting places is an option to travel between the worlds, both worlds having duties, quests and achievements, but if you are a Shaman in one, you are an artisan in the other, a ying to every yang. Now that we have the power systems (like a PS5), we should use that to fuel gaming imagination, not merely a more buggy and textured killing game, but a sandbox game with several sandboxes, optionally they have very different kinds of sand in that box. Optionally there aren’t 2 worlds, but three or four, the opportunity offered will be staggering. 

Now consider that no game designer has ever considered creating such a leap, well, apart from serious Intel computers, the power was not there before, so why do we see more Assassin’s Creed 2022 LEAKS, with references to Africa, why more of the same whilst the last two games are still buggy? Why more existing IP, and what makes for the massive absence of new gaming IP? The creativity is out there, some of it is 20 years old and never considered for gaming, all whilst that movie was all about virtual gaming. What allows for an iterative mind to exist in a world that relies on true innovation? I mentioned that before, when you try to make a game that appeals to all, you end up with a product that pleases none, I would think that some game makers would have learned that small truth by now. I created (in my mind) in the last three months close to half a dozen games and if I can do it, why not these self proclaimed experts? 

I will let you decide, but if you get jumpy and overly exited when you see the next Assassins Creed, like a teenage boy seeing his first photo model topless shall we say. In a stage when we can be exploring life as a tailor, designing cloths for her naked body, I reckon you got exited for the wrong deal. By the way, according to some ladies that same formula works with Daniel Craig too, so he should be happy for now. 

For me, these ideas came to me as my mind was arranging books and movies, rearranging ideas in all novel ways to make connections that were not there before, so why aren’t others able to do just that?

And if you think gaming is a mess, consider that I completed the concept of a stealth systems to deploy a solution giving the Iranian navy a unique view of the Sea of Dammam (the view from the bottom), so what gives? Northrop Grumman lost idea’s and is relying on the Next Generation Interceptor program to stay alive a little longer? Well, if software iteration x.53 is anything to go by, it will not last long. Iteration was the game of financial stability, it is now the deterrent of innovative leaps ahead, it was the one part that the weapons industry had in common with the gaming world. Innovation was everything, and that is falling away more and more. 

So even as the Wall Street Journal gave us in 2018 “a payload adapter—that failed to operate properly in space”, it is interesting wording, apart from the silly notion that more than one thing went wrong, so as I gave two maps with different scaling, what else causes a person to be in a different place when he falls asleep? The person who never really knew where he (or she) was and that is important in gaming, because there we do not sleep, we merely pass time, so what happens when location and time are triggers? What if one life is set to time, but the other one is depending on a sun and a moon? In a real stage where we have two worlds where both work in a different premise, understanding that premise is essential if you want to efficiently win the game, that has been a cornerstone setting in RPG games for a long time, so why not change that stage, the technology is now powerful enough.

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A company for an apple & egg

This is the setting I find myself in today, I have been harsh on Ubisoft for several reasons and after Watchdogs: Legion, I thought they had learned their lesson, but no, they never learn and I reckoned 1-2 weeks ago in my blog that if Yves Guillemot would run off with 10 cents on the dollar he would be lucky, the negative setting of AC Valhalla is however adding up and up and up. Its reliance on questionable reviews, NDA’s until day 1 of the game and a misrepresented setting of ‘early release’ is adding fuel to the fire that I see Ubisoft degrade it value to a mere 250 million company, for a firm that used to be valued at 2,000,000,000 a mere two years ago, this is quite a leap and not a positive one, even as Elon Musk is set to twice that, all whilst his value will soon rocket to 1,200,000,000,000 soon enough, Ubisoft goes in the other direction, it goes from bad to worse if we connect ‘Ubisoft’s newest game in Japan censored’ (at https://www.mccourier.com/ubisofts-newest-game-in-japan-censored/) a week ago. There we see “Ubisoft responded, stating that removing blood stains was essential for the game to be validated by CERO (Computer Entertainment Rating Organization), which is responsible for classifying video games. However, CERO declines all responsibility for this choice and confirms that it has not been consulted by Ubisoft”, I am not judging here, but it seems that either CERO or Ubisoft is misdirecting the gamers and if it is Ubisoft, that is a really bad move, in light of squandered options, especially in light of ‘early release’ all whilst the bugs and glitches are adding up, Ubisoft missed its target by miles. Even as some claim that “Cloud saves have also been renamed to Manual Save Cloud to differentiate them from standard offline saves. A notification has been added as well for when cloud saves fail to be pulled from the server”, whether fixed or not, it is again shoddy testing by Ubisoft, will they never learn? A save game is the gospel and bible of the long term player, not properly testing that is an issue , and when we go from a level 0 issue to the several levels of glitches, one so hilarious (unless you are the player), where a Drakar (a Viking boat) is flying and put flying in a video of dragons, that is the stage Ubisoft find itself in, they have regressed towards the level of joke and it will hurt Google as well, its stadia is depending slightly too heavily on Ubisoft games with its new Google Stadia, in that stage with not enough alternatives it could find itself in all kinds of hurt, giving the Apple Arcadia a massive advantage over Google, something they will not be happy about.

And when we see “Visual bugs relating to Eivor’s cloak have been addressed, while player and NPC animation problems have also been improved. Audio, lighting, and texture clipping issues could also crop up, which Ubisoft said it’s addressed. For PC players, shadow resolution set to high will now work as intended”, we see a possible return to the age of AC: Unity. Is that what Ubisoft has regressed to? 

A stage of failure after failure, improper testing, hype creation, boasts and non-delivery. Each of them a massive hurt by themselves, combined they are the nails in the coffin of the cadaver once known as Ubisoft. And they had created an optional safe harbour with Watchdogs: Legion, what a day a software company can make. 

I am not happy, I am actually a little sad, from a decent company, they moved unto legendary, only to squander it away with massive failures, so as I see “a successful start for Ubisoft, but it hasn’t been without its problems. Users across all systems have reported problems with corrupted saves, performance issues, and other in-game glitches”, I see the hand of Ubisoft marketing, a set stage that could only fail over time and now that they think they got a reprieve, I am here with the personal view that it has ended for Ubisoft, all whilst the owners of PC and consoles they are all looking forward to a 45GB patch, I had to download a 50GB patch for Miles Morales, but at least it came with a second complete game (I had the Ultimate edition). So how many games and patches will it take for rural players (which add up to millions) to use up all their bandwidth? We all seem to focus on the cities with unlimited downloads, but consider that Rural France, Rural Germany, non metropolitan UK, Rural Australia, a stage with tens of millions of players, they will feel the brunt, merely because Ubisoft refuses to learn its lesson? How is that for value of software? And this was merely the day one patch, for the latest, optionally fixing your save games you will need to download 4GB more.

Yes that was the early release of AC Valhalla and as I see it a CEO that cannot contain its marketing needs, a sad situation for any firm and those around them are hurting, merely because (as it seems) hypes seemingly creates the need of Ubisoft, not excellence, and when did we applaud mediocrity on that? So whilst McCourier gives us “In light of what CERO said, Ubisoft seems to have underestimated the tolerance of the Japanese authorities. Ubisoft has also apologised to Japanese players, and a corrective patch should address this issue in the coming days or weeks”, gamers will see another patch and optionally more glitches coming their way, I wonder how much more a gamer needs to download before they realise that Ubisoft is done for?

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Dead on arrival?

Yes, we get the at times, not when the ambulance is racing to get to the ER with a guy wearing 10 knives in his chest, but a setting the is less obvious, almost like the movie dead on arrival, I saw the Dennis Quaid version (1988), I never saw the original from 1950. Yet in this version the victim (USA) does not yet know that it is carrying a deadly toxin, it was the benefit Dennis Quaid had in the movie. So as we see the USA in a stage of what they think matters, we see a larger stage, the stage Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) gives the people, with a still open invitation to India, it is the first time we get an economic bloc of this size where the USA is no longer a consideration, their 300 million consumers are in a stage where they can afford less and less. So as we get (at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-54949260) “President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) shortly after taking office. The deal was to involve 12 countries and was supported by Mr Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama as a way to counter China’s surging power in the region”, we need to see the partial truth that was a problem, a global one. Some give us (in regard to the TPP “Most of the gains in income would have gone to workers making more than $87,000 a year. Free trade agreements contribute to income inequality in high-wage countries. They promote cheaper goods from low-wage countries”, in addition we get “The agreement regarding patents would have reduced the availability of cheap generics. That could have raised the cost of many drugs. Competitive business pressures would have reduced the incentives in Asia to protect the environment. Last but not least, the trade agreement could have superseded financial regulations”, and there was more, so now we see the RCEP, optionally with similar issues, yet with India optionally joining we see a severe blow to patents (not good for me), but generic medication gets better protection (really good for me), and as we now get “The RCEP is expected to eliminate a range of tariffs on imports within 20 years. It also includes provisions on intellectual property, telecommunications, financial services, e-commerce and professional services”, so if that pact grows any further, we see a larger stage, one where the US and the EU see their cushy incomes diminish by well over 25%, yet it might take a decade, but it also means that the stage cannot be continued, as such their economies will need a vast overhaul in the next 5 years or living there in 2030 might not be a nice ideal in several places. So whilst the players are all about their financial services, we see a field that will vastly adjust in the next 5 years. And as I personally see it, it means that the death clock on Wall Street is pushing towards midnight. This is the consequence of catering to the greed stricken, this is what happens when ego takes over and in this case the ego of the USA and the EU are limiting their options, but the EU can always cater to Iran. And as I see it, a third of the global population is holding on to its 29% of the global gross domestic product. A stage that is a little new for a lot of us. As I see it, in 2030 when the national budgets become reality, I wonder how many people will herald the Campaign Against the Arms Trade, remember these grannies holding up the banner, stopping the arms trade against those bad bad Saudi’s? So when their pension goes down another 20% (if it still exists then), who will they blame? Will they call for Jeremy Corbyn? Will he still be alive? The same for the USA, yet here it will be president elect Biden calling the shots (he is entitled to that), but. Can they foresee the impact that the RCEP will have on their economy? I very much doubt it, yet endangering the $8,500,000,000 deal out there tends to be a really bad call, so as the RCEP will deliver to a larger population, we see a slow push take the USA from the pool of those who matter. As I personally see it, hypocritical high morals are nice, that is until the invoices come in, and these always come in.

Today the largest trade agreement in history was signed and the USA was no longer part of the big things happening, it might be a first, but it is no longer a last, that is the impact of close to 15 years of stupidity, short sightedness and ego, all set in a near package, it is efficient, I merely wonder for who it was an efficient setting, not for the USA, not for the EU, that much is certain. 

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Reality helps out gaming

Yup, it happen, it is a little rare, but not unusual. So as I was setting the stage of a post apocalyptic game in Sweden, I was a little stuck. Yet reality was there to help me out. Yup, the Local SE newspaper gives us (at https://www.thelocal.se/20171101/why-sweden-is-home-to-65000-fallout-shelters) ‘Why Sweden is home to 65,000 fallout shelters’, we assuming that this is partially true, because 65,000 is a bit much, but it is something to work with, and as such we now have shelters, a lot of them, so the game is still in concept stage, but with that many shelters, the idea is starting and in this, Norway is helping out, they apparently have the Sentralanlegget (read: Central Facility). As such we now have a start and I am not one to be the minor, so I am setting the map stage from Alesund (Norway), to Sundsvall (Sweden) and the map is everything south of there, so it is a huge map. Instead of travelling everywhere, the stage would be that you get to chose the top of person you are and from the you wake up in a place (somewhere), and that age is the beginning. I have a few twists in mind, but it will include seeking strawberries on Gotland (the Swedish readers will get this). 

I will not give away the whole enchilada, because the gamer needs a surprise or two, but I want to set the stage where permadeath will make the game a lot more challenging (yet not essential), in addition to that with Oslo, Goteburg, Malmo and Stockholm in play, we have a lot more to see and to do. Yet it all started with one shelter and as we have no idea where we are, the sage is set for RPG, mystery and a whole dose of challenges. 

Wow, that took mot of the day to think this through, but I was hindered by the fact that Fallout is a really good product and I wanted to avoid the overlap, it cannot be completely avoided, but it can be minimised to the least and that is how I went to work. 

In this, the stage was about setting a new game based on a foundation that we have seen dozens time over from the C64 up to the current generation of consoles. 

So the news in the Local dot se was really a nice find, they give us “The country is home to around 65,000 bunkers, fit to host seven million people in the event of war, and an official report has now advised the government to start building more, following a 15-year pause”, implying that every bunker is for around 100 people, that is something we can work with. If the bunker is too big, it might not be operable with one person, with 100 that is still a risk, but a lot less likely. With that starting point, the stage is set for a story, because as I said before ‘the story is everything’, and in that resetting stage we see a larger need to find, to travel and to achieve. 

And the timing is right, some sources are confirming the fears I had regarding AC Valhalla, I will not give them here, because I would merely be repeating their reviews (read: rants). I have not seen it, and mot of the evidence has (as I suspect) been based on previous (pre gold edition) alpha’s and beta’s. So I will wait and take another look in 32 hours when the game becomes available. I know a person who is getting the game and I am not willing to spend a nickel on it (at present), I can wait for Black Friday and get it at 25%-50% of retail value. The other thing is that I am still playing Watchdogs: Legion. Now, that game has a few issues, but it is definitely a step up from one and needs you to engage in more sneak than number two demanded. It can be a good thing depending on your view on what hackers do. Yet there is little to no question, Watchdogs is a decent hit (it is better than a lot of other Ubisoft titles), even as Eurogamer gives us ‘Watch Dogs Legion review – a bleak and buggy retread of Ubisoft’s formula’, I particularly liked “Legion is too terrifyingly real, and just a tad too grim. I doubt the very real climate in the UK is helping much – which clearly isn’t Ubisoft’s fault – but I usually play games to escape the ills of Westminster, not to be smacked over the head by them. I appreciate that terrorist attacks and food banks and too many homeless people add a frosty layer of authenticity to this fictional vision of the capital, and I know this isn’t Ubisoft’s fault, either, but good grief, it’s depressing to recognise so many signs of a fictional dystopia from your local real-life news reports”, perhaps after the American President events it is a little too real, but that too adds to the positive, the hackers and their need to act. The ‘frosty layer of authenticity’ is as I see it positive, not negative. It is about hackers for a reason. Yes the game has issues, but nothing that will break the bank or glitch into reset. In some cases a better description (read: rant) might have been the solution, but such is life. 

Overall, after playing for a while, I do not disagree with “it will eventually grow stale as missions rarely deviate from this template”, yet as a hacker I signed up for the, did I not? Not to get shot in the face when a hacker should have far too little firearms experience against Albion special forces. So the article (at https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2020-11-03-watch-dogs-legion-review-a-bleak-and-buggy-retread-of-ubisofts-formula) is good, yet I feel that there is a setting that is partially overlooked. Yet I do understand and like the words Vikki Blake give us “Watch Dogs Legion is dark and unpleasant in more ways than one, and it doesn’t matter how many protagonists a game boasts if you’re unable to care about a single one of them”, it is an eye of the beholder view, agree or disagree, it is up to you. That part matters, because Ubisoft got a small reprieve, if AC Valhalla is near perfect they get a shot to survive, if not they might end up being part of Microsoft too. Microsoft is unlikely to pass up on 23 houses with fps experience, especially if they can get it for 5 cents on the dollar and lets face it, they spend most cash on Bethesda anyway. 

So here I aim handing out free Sony exclusive materials because that is the guy I am (when pissed off an absolute nightmare), and I did have some fun designing a way to sink the Iranian fleet (we all need hobbies). As such setting my fingers into a post apocalyptic games was also essential, you see it was an actual snow globe that gave me the idea on how to meltdown Bushehr 1 (a still untested concept), and that side might actually help me to design a few missions for the Swedish post-apocalyptic game which I aptly renamed ‘glödande godis’, and we all need candy, whether we glow in the dark or not. Ah well, such is life.

So even as reality can help out a gamer, we need a fair amount of indiscriminate imagination to get it all to work and lets face it, at present only the Japanese know what life in a post-apocalyptic setting has been (small reference to August 6 1945).

So whilst we will get to know what is the truth around AC Valhalla in a little over a day, the stage of finding an alternative to fallout will take a little longer than that.

In the mean time we will sit back, relax and enjoy the Trump show (as he is getting fired), for me it means that we can enjoy a more global version of the news in 1-2 days and that has been sorely lacking at present.

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A streaming war

Yup, this is about to come to larger blows, you see, there is Netflix (of course), Apple, Amazon Prime, Canal Plus/Foxtel and Disney Plus. There are a few more, but in many cases HBO is added to the film channels of Foxtel, and so on. Yet these players never took a serious look at the treasure of the east, Japan particularly. Yes they all look at the manga, yet there is a lot more. The Zatoichi series, which was followed by an amazing movie with Takeshi Kitano. There are a lot more, and even as there are some really good movies around that are done in
Japan (Earthquake bird with Alicia Vikander), Japan has a lot of original non manga material to offer. In the horror section there is the Audition and Oldboy, the second one is also seen as a remade English version, but it is nowhere near as good as the original, perhaps it was the atmosphere. There is of course the setting of Ju-On and that video that kills within 7 days, but those are the visible ones that made the press. A lot of people got interested in Japan as a provider of entertainment after Kill Bill part 1, that is fair enough, we all have our moments. For me it was the 1980 TV-series Shōgun with Richard Chamberlain, based on the novel by James Clavell with the same name. A series where we see giants like Toshiro Mifune, Yoko Shimada, Frankie Sakai, and Hideo Takamatsu (and many more). Not just that, even the Middle-Earth trusted Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) was already amazing 40 years ago. I reckon it might be time for a remake, if only the 1980 version was not so darn perfect. Yet there is more in Japan than just remakes. To see that we merely have to look at the Playstation 4 and the almost perfect Ghost of Tsushima. Until the game was there, I know nothing of this place and the setting it had. And I know I am not alone. We might want to travel back to 2006 when Clint Eastwood release the second part, Letters from Iwo Jima. As Flags of our fathers showed us the American side, Clint took a gander and showed us the other side as well. What we ended up with is a near complete view of a war no-one really wanted, but we were all forced to fight it, because there was no other way. 

Yet as we see the roll call of movies in Japan, we see the western view of it and some of it is really good, there is the Forest with Natalie Dorner who is pretty amazing (for those who merely know here from her ways to excite Henry VIII, or be the sweet dear in GoT), this is the movie to watch her in). We need to acknowledge that a movie about Japanese in Japan can only be made by the Japanese. We do not deny that Lost in Translation is a gem, yet who knows of 100 Yen Love, and before you think that this is mere love movie, think again, in this particular case it is Billion dollar baby on steroids. A slob turning her life around and it is that underdog fight that for some reason is a lot better when it is done in Japan. There is another example, The Ramen Girl, underestimated and a little shallow, but it shows us a side of Japan we rarely see, their strife for excellence, a spiritual side perhaps, perhaps not. But there is a multitude of sides to Japan we always seem to ignore. The technologists look at Japan, because what we see there now will hit our borders in about 5 years. Yet in all that, we seem to forget that Japan has a soul and even if we do not understand it, some wall parts are shown in their movies and TV-series. With the world wanting more and wanting something different, there is every chance that Japanese entertainment goods will b e fought over by the streaming giants. And if these parts do not convince you, take a look at Gokusen (2002) and I can tell you right now, the plot twist that hits you at the end of season one, is one you we’re never ready for. 

You could say: Only in Japan!

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Blaming the wrong party

Yup, we’ve all done that. The blame game is notorious in two aspects. The first is the party blamed, the second is the reason for blaming. So it is not just on how blame is designed, it is the intended and actual party of blaming the comes to mind. We tend to get both wrong when it is an emotional setting. There is one elements that we tend to forget, detachment is the drive that tends to set the matters of the mind straight. So I went through all the stages of the blame game when I saw ‘World’s richest urged to do more to keep millions from starving’ in Al Jazeera (at https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/09/world-richest-millions-starving-wfp-200918090724645.html). In this:

  1. Why is that up to the world’s richest?
  2. When millions are starving, why are individuals called upon, why are governments flaccid?
  3. Who created this situation in the first place?

These three elements are important. Because the article gives us “He cited the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) where violence has increased and instability has already forced 15.5 million people near starvation. He also said a lack of funding has forced cutbacks in assistance to feed people in war-ravaged Yemen”, with the additional quote ““Worldwide, there are over 2,000 billionaires with a net worth of $8 trillion,” the former South Carolina governor said, noting reports that some of the wealthiest Americans have made “billions upon billions” during the pandemic

So here is where the blame game comes into effect. As I personally see it, David Beasley has his heart in the right place, but not his brain. In the first, governments have been playing credit card jockey for well over a decade, this is the result. In the second, places like Yemen are in a stage of committed non-action by both NATO and commonwealth forces. They simply didn’t care and for close to 5 years nothing happened and this is the result. In the third, it was essential for tax laws to be overhauled for well over a decade in the US, Japan and EU nations, none of that happened. I offered an optional solution in 1998, yet is was thrown out, remarks like ‘too complex’ and ‘hindrance of free trading’, well these things come at a price. In the setting of “some of the wealthiest Americans have made “billions upon billions” during the pandemic” we see a cheap shot at Jeff Bezos and a few others. Now, I have no real interest in Jeff, but he (his company) made that revenue fair and square. If the blame game parties had acted over the last 10 years, the situation might not be as dire as it is now. We seem to forget that part.

In case of Jeff, there might be plenty to blame him for, but this is not one of these things, this is not the station to make a reference to Jeff Bezos and his Amazon, but to the governments and their greed driven short sightedness.

This is the price of capitalism, this is the consequence of free trading. Everything has a price and now that you are seeing the consequences, you do not get to be the blamer, you all went along with the setting for far too long and most governments set the station of revenue and the lack of options for well over the next decade is the consequence of choices made between 1998 and 2020. And in all this, it might blow over, you see, the media gives us again and again “a potential “hunger pandemic”” the media has been giving us ‘potential’ in Yemen, so when will it actually happen? 

Fair question is it not?

We need to set the record straight, we need to demand that our governments ACT, that they adjust tax laws the way they should have been from the start, but every time dome politicians will oppose, as such set these opposes in the limelight, let them explain it. Let’s not blame the people who merely used the system handed to them.  The system that we all voted into the place it is and we need to ac sept that we are all to blame by letting the elected people continue the way they did.

That is all before we get to Mark Lowcock some UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, who gives us “who have a particular responsibility, which they have discharged in recent years – have so far given nothing”, on one side he is not completely wrong, yet n the other side, the acts and hindrances by Houthi forces as well as the support given to the Houthi forces by Iran are left out of the equation, are they not? So while we are given “Continuing to hold back money from the humanitarian response now will be a death sentence for many families”, all whilst he remains silent on the acts of the Houthi forces intervening is just a big no-no. The blame game is taking a serous turn towards the people who might be partially blamed, whilst the parties who need to be fully blamed are left out of the equation. So is this how we are given the truth? Partial truths baked in larger non-truths and all whilst we see the pictures of those in need, but not the pictures of those who were actually responsible for the mess we are given nowadays. It is so nice to blame a person like Jeff Bezos, all whilst his company was able to provide to a little over 800 million in lockdown for months. Yup, it got him a few thousand million extra, but is that his fault? He merely supplied towards an outstanding demand, that is how capitalism works and he got to keep a lot of it because the laws of taxation allowed him to do that. 

There is of course the station where some very rich people are not as innocent, but are they guilty? Guilty of what? They became rich as they had the clever accountants who used the laws of taxation to the maximum, is that the fault of the wealthy, the accountant, or is this mess the fault of governments not overhauling the laws of taxation? An overhaul that had creamy be needed in 2 decades. And the lack of humanitarian acts, is that because that there is no-one to hand out humanitarian aid, or is that because the governments who did that are so deep in debt that they no longer have the ability to do that, which gets us to the laws of taxation again.

Well over a dozen governments have painted themselves into corners and we end up blaming the paint for not being dry, how does that make any kind of sense? We can blame all we like, but in the end we merely did this ourselves by elating the people who set the stage by doing almost nothing, that is the stage we need to look at and in this we need to realise that this is not a nanny state verdict, this is the stage of non-accountability and that is the part we forgot about. 

 

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On the way to a destination

It was yesterday that I came up with the Vatican game, a way to expose the truth and let it be seen to everyone who wishes to know. It was a stage where I got to design original gaming IP. I have original 5G IP, but the games (TESVII, Watchdogs IV), they are all based on IP others made. I came up with other gaming IP, but the Vatican view is 100% my IP (as a game that is). It is also intoxicating to design original IP. Originality is the food of life, in originality we trust, the rest can fake it until they make it.

Yet the intoxicating side is there, it will always be there and everyone creating or designing original pieces can concur. Yet in the light of the PS5, we can see that the intoxicating part tends to take over, especially as I spend $3 on a MAC game, only to be haunted by the bugs. Then I got a dose of irritating steam, I set up that in ONLY want to see MAC games, but I get every PC game in sight, can people not design anything without massive flaws? Oh and Apple is not off the hook, but I will tell you about that soon enough. I think back to the ideas of ME:A(1,2), Mass Effect Andromeda, both parts 1 and 2, in a very different coat, but that is not what is driving me today. Neither is it the new Mario 3D bundle out in 8.4 hours (when the shops open), no now is about the idea that is moving in my mind, left right centre, up and down. It was an idea I had written about before, a game that is based in Amsterdam, in about 500 years when the population is zero. It is set to people with two life cycles, a normalised on and a biological one. The biological one has no needs, nature preserves it in every way, the normalised one, needs tools, needs technology and it needs sustenance. Yet the two cycles are opposing one another and what heals one, will kill the other. I got the idea watching Aftermath: Population Zero, in this series we see scripted AI showing us what buildings will look like after 300 years and no population to maintain anything. This got me to thinking, what if we set that to a city (Amsterdam) and we deploy it parameters? It sets the stage where every game will be different, more importantly your neighbour playing the same game will get to face a different Amsterdam. That was the premise, so not only do yo get to seek for technology, it will be in a different place, optionally in a different building, in another street. It sets a different stage to survival. Yet this is merely one facet, the other facet is to adapt to a new stage, a stage where the plants that sustained you become poisonous. That too is part of the game and Amsterdam with all its canals will be about plants and water plants. So there I was considering the drive, curiosity can be a drive, but it is not powerful enough. Yet in all this there is a stage, and in that stage does technology drive us, or do we drive technology? 

It is important, but for different reasons. With ‘Dubai may be as indebted as South Africa if dissenters are right’ (at https://www.aljazeera.com/ajimpact/dubai-indebted-south-africa-dissenters-200917095907711.html) we see the stage we need to see. Even as we accept “Moody’s Investors Service and S&P Global Ratings include Dubai’s local bank borrowings to make the calculation, arriving at an estimate of about 290 billion dirhams ($79 billion). The debt burden could equal 77% of this year’s gross domestic product, according to S&P, comparable with what the International Monetary Fund predicts for South Africa and just behind Oman”, consider that the UAE has a population that is less than 10 million, about the size of Sweden, yet the debt is half of that of Sweden and here is the kicker, nearly every nation on the planet has crushing debts, so who has the actual funds that allow for these debts to continue? In a stage where we are polarised against nature, we need to see that embracing nature might be the only option left. Should you doubt the and of course, you can, consider the debts out there and consider that we are handing the debts to the next generation. In all this, IP is the only way for some to keep the next generation afloat. My version of Amsterdam was more spot on than even I realised. And if patent are the next currency, or at least the grounds for basic wealth, I am sitting decently pretty, but is that enough? I reckon that the next generation will see a very different stage of life, one that is not set on what is, and what they are entitles to, but what they can conquer, what they can overcome ad nature is a bitch when it comes to adversity. There is no denying that we are in a state of change, but our governments have gone the way of the dodo and the ostrich. They merely latch onto the largest payday possible and they cloth for bad weather, but that time has come and gone, it is no longer on what we can overcome, it is about what we can survive. You see, the owners of the debts could decide t cash in, and where does that leave us? Some even set the stage by claiming that there is good debt versus bad debt, yet in the end, all debt is bad and we need to catch on. As I see it this is the first generation that is worse off then the previous generations, in addition to that, we have created a life of legalised slave labour, legalised discrimination and legalised inequality. I wonder if we realised that when we were young, did we realise that this was a stage that we were signing up for? We might want to blame covid, but that would be wrong, perhaps it drove it to the surface, but the weak spots were already there. Even as CNBC gives us ‘What Would It Mean If U.S. States Went Bankrupt?’, yet it is too late, the US is already there, with the $25,000,000,000,000 debt, we need to accept that the annual interest would be no less than $150,000,000,000. This implies an amount that taxation is not getting, in addition to that, there are the spiralling costs of keeping the US alive (infrastructure) and it is not the only nation facing this, Japan is also on that scale and the EU is almost there, but they are all in denial that this is so, they are all setting the stage that they will overcome this, so how is that? Covid-19 brought it to the surface a lot faster, but we were already there and those who want to survive, will need to change to a patent grounded economy, which means that China has a decent advantage, so does the US and Japan less so, the EU is pretty much toast. In this everyone is in denial. You see the US amounted to $3.5 trillion collected taxation, but that is before the funding of the US started. When we take this into account, we see that the US was already $900 billion short, and that is before the $150 billion interest hits them and they are not alone, it is not merely an American flaw. Japan and the EU are on the same horse, not as big, but still a massively large horse of deficit. So when this collapses (when, not if) we see that the economic value of any nation will be the patents that they hold and as such, I personally feel that I am sitting pretty and with two new IP concepts created this week alone, I wonder where I will go next, I heard that the pastries in Monte Carlo are super yummy! (Piers Morgan told us that much) and bless his heart, I do like my pastries, so where we end up being, it will be in a very different economy soon enough, how soon? Well that depends on the powerbroker holding onto this failed horse, they like to stay ahead of the debt curve, surfing that wave for as long as they can before the wave crashes, it will drown a massive group of fin-tech people, but those who survive will come to worship the nations with patents, and as the new economy comes up, will you understand that you are merely driving these exploiters, or will you demand a fair system? Because that demand went so well the last time around. 

No matter what destination you go to, the currency you currently have will no longer have value, it is a harsh reality, but it is the one we all signed up for and the only one that the powerbroker accept, they have too much invested in the idea that their arrogance is the only one that ever mattered. 

 

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The view somewhere else

I was pleasantly surprised today when I got treated to: ‘Can Harry Potter magic tourists back to Japan?’ Yes, we can argue on when things need to be done and how things need to be, but consider the long term view, a case can be made that soon enough Japan would be a much more interesting place to visit than the US. Japan has its Disney Park, and when the Harry Potter park is completed another reason to visit Japan is born. It has interesting culture, it has entertainment, it has arcades, it has numerous food markets and overall In the direct vicinity of Tokyo most tourists can get a large amount of entertainment, and in all this they still have an upcoming Olympics. Japan is not the solution for everyone, yet I see it as an option for Asia and the Middle East, the nations shunned by President Trumps facade of idiocy, they can all relax in Japan, as such the US (and Europe to some degree) will have a larger faltering getting their economies back up, Japan will have a much larger stage of reserving their economy. Should Australians take the same route, Japan will push forward to a much larger degree whilst the US slowly limps into a less amicable endeavour. 

When we consider the options on a global scale, we see a larger contemplation. It is not where we were, but where we can go in the near future that counts and at present we see a larger absence of options in both the US and Europe. This is not about checks and balances, it becomes about the balance of opportunities and as such blatantly following the political needs of the US the entire setting of balance crashes for both the US and to a larger degree for Europe as well. So how does the view matters?

As we are being told that ‘The USPS is shutting down mail-sorting machines crucial for processing absentee ballots as the 2020 election looms’, as well as ‘A Fight Over the Future of the Mail Breaks Down Along Familiar Lines’ most consider quotes like “Without a financial rescue from Congress, they have warned, an agency that normally runs without taxpayer funds could run out of cash as soon as late September, raising the specter of bankruptcy and an interruption in regular delivery for millions of Americans”, that and the issues around voting issues are raised, but the stain of what might matter, the massive debt that the US has is left outside the bullpen. When we see “It was the White House that intervened in March, nixing a bipartisan plan to provide $13 billion to the Postal Service” (source: NY Times), we think it is about blaming this presidency, yet the larger truth is that the postal services need $13,000,000,000 just to stay alive and that is the issue, rural isolationism and connectivity issues are a much larger stage in the US, as such and only because the previous 4 presidents did not push rural internet enough, we see a stage of isolationists and it will go from bad to worse in the US. That is the stage that the US was always going towards and the Coronavirus issue merely hastened the direction it was going in, in an age where the US is bankrupt it had not many options in all this the China setting and the covid ignoramus people are merely speed accelerators, and as we see the
Middle East taking a different course, the US has more dangers as billion after billion in trade falls away and now we see Japan moving in the direction that Japan needs to be in and they will enjoy what comes off it. No matter what the US publishes on the ‘victories’ that they have in writing, 2021 will be a lot worse than 2020 was for them, the Americans that see this approaching will most likely m Ove to greener pastures in Canada, hastening what will come even more. Even as the NY Times makes the statement that Jeff Bezos is the nemesis, he really is not. Amazon made the decisions that were best for Amazon, and as Amazon grew, so did its delivery service, there is no issue with the USPS, they were merely outclassed by the existence of eMail, and the fact that it grew much faster than the USPS could adjust to. Amazon was a factor but not the cause, a bad budget was a much larger factor in all that and now we see the endgame and the struggle within the US to avoid whatever it can whilst the Wall Street bad boys have made enough to live larger than life for the next few decades. This is the stage we see there, yet Japan has a huge debt as well, in this they have the benefit of the 2020/2021 Olympics and after that it will be about tourism, because those people tend to come and spend money and the Harry Potter park was the one thing missing, we tend to go to places for a range of options and the more options the better the setting, in this a place that has close to a billion fans is not the stage that should be missed, that and the millions who love Disney and now there is more than one place where it an be enjoyed, all whilst the unacceptability of Americans can be avoided. I cannot answer how these matters are in Japan, but the louder stage of America is striating to rub a lot of people all over the world the wrong way and they seek another place to go to. I reckon that 2022 will start to be a shining light for Japan when things work out and it is up to them to shine that light stronger luring tourists like moths to the lighthouse. 

Is it the only option? No, it is not, but at this stage the US has so much going against them that Japan is a lot more likely to push for a new economy than the US is and that is perhaps one of the scariest things yet. 

 

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