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Two points for conventions

I don't like crowds or the media conglomerate running this.

Every time I think that I’m out, I get pulled back in. And that’s not counting the sheer number of times I want to be out.

As you read this – but not as I write this, since I work ahead – I’m getting my last preparations in order for another ride up to Boston for PAX East.  I’ve been going every single year for work since it first started running, and every year I have kind of hoped that this would be the year I didn’t have to go, because I don’t particularly like Boston or conventions in general.  Yet it keeps happening no matter how many stars seem to align against it.  Here I go again on my own, et cetera.

Despite my stated dislike for conventions, though, there’s a lot of good that does come out of them, sometimes in spite of everything.  So as much as people complain about the lines, the smell of sweat, the crowds, the expense, and the creepers that infest every event like a Minecraft region gone horribly wrong, there are two good reasons to still head up to one if you can take the time.  Even when I don’t want to ship out – which is usually the time – I’m happy that these are still there.

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Protected: How gaming turned me into a better person

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Review scores are silly

Because why not.

I give this questline a solid twelve elf ancestors out of four.

I hate review scores and I always have since the age of, oh, let’s just say ten.  Don’t get me wrong; I understand the why behind them.  I know full well why people have felt it necessary to append a whole written review with a score at the very end, a quick and easy sound bite.  But I think that anything more ornate than a thumb up or down is gilding the lily, and even that has a central problem of obscuring the most valuable part of the review: the actual review.

What I do here could not be construed as “reviewing” beyond demos and the occasional Patron-sponsored piece.  I have no temptation to do scored reviews, and we’ve already seen a few high-profile gaming news sites yank scores from their reviews.  But this is an issue that goes beyond just video games.  It’s something that we’ve had to deal with for years in movies, comics, shows, and almost everything else.  It’s trying to boil a whole lot of factors down to a number.  It’s silly, and it’s destructive, and it’ll be best if we can get rid of it.

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Why fan translations make me leery

I'm not saying it's perfect, I'm saying it's the reality unless you wish to never play a game developed by people who don't speak English.

“Well, why did they change anyone’s name?”
Because you can fit names into four characters that you can’t fit into four letters, because that’s how different languages work.

Localization is really, really tricky.

I have played through games that have been localized poorly, don’t get me wrong.  The original translation for Final Fantasy Tactics appears to have been made by a group of people for whom neither English nor Japanese was a native language; the same character or place will be referred to by two different names within the same dialogue.  I played through all of Lunar: Silver Star Story despite the fact that it was laden with pop culture references that seemed dated ten minutes after launch.  And I’m willing to bet good money that some parts of Transistor got mistranslated from whatever divine language the Supergiant folks speak.

But there’s a lot more to localization than just running a quick Google Translate on all of the words and typing out the resulting dialogue.  Translation is hard enough on its own, but localization is both necessary to make sure you aren’t vomiting out incoherent word soup and a form of editing by necessity.  Because there’s no such thing as a perfect translation of anything from one language to another.  Hence why fan translations earn a bit of a raised eyebrow from me.

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Demo Driver 8: Croixleur Sigma

Or quite possibly entirely validated.  I can't tell you how to feel.

If you’re expecting a personality beyond “girl one” and “girl two” you will be sadly disappointed.

Remember how I said two weeks ago that if you put out a demo for your game, it should include a tutorial?  Apparently that advice was taken to heart by the makers of Croixleur Sigma in the worst possible way.  Because they included one that is entirely non-interactive, thus invalidating the benefit of having a tutorial by preventing you from putting your hands on the controls and actually feeling how the game controls.  Then again, considering the game was already going out of its way to make sure it didn’t actually recognize my gamepad mappings, perhaps that’s a… understandable thing?

Croixleur Sigma is one of the various Japanese indie games that’s popped up on Steam, and like so many of them it’s kind of a thin offering.  By no means is it one of the worst games I’ve played here, but it manages to commit the worst of all sins.  Not by failing to last 15 minutes (although it does that, too), but by making slashing my way through a whole pile of monsters feel boring.

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