Archive for July, 2011

It Ain’t Easy Makin’ Games

July 25, 2011 1 comment

Video games are a great way to relax after a long hard day of work, so how often have you been playing a game and thought, “I wonder how much effort went into creating this?” Modern video games are huge endeavors with lots of little details and getting them all to work together smoothly is no small feat. To show you just how hard it can be, we present to you 15 of the most popular secrets and glitches in video game history! Here’s one of them:

15. Super Smash Bros: Play as Master Hand

Probably no one ever used this in Smash Bros’ time, but it really does exist— by opening a character window for controller port 3 and pressing the right combination of buttons, you’ll move on to the level selection screen. Controller 3 will default to playing as Master Hand, and you’ll be slapping your friends around with a white glove in no time. Falcon punch THIS— oh, you still can. I forgot Master Hand isn’t invincible, and also a painfully slow poker.

This game clearly came before Facebook.

Source: Dorkly

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Do Video Games Make you Dumber?

Despite video games’ growing popularity, there remains a vocal group of people who insist that playing video games is bad for mental health, especially for developing minds.  The reasoning stretches every imaginable angle: violence, sex, drugs, delinquency, and just overall evil. Video games have been around for a while but they have only recently begun to enter mainstream consciousness to the level of movies and music. The root of the criticism directed at video games is that they mimic real life and can make it difficult to distinguish fantasy from reality, especially problematic if the games contain unsavory elements like the ones listed above.

Is this really a problem? After all, every medium of art incorporates elements from the dark side of human nature, but they didn’t cause anyone to think that it was okay to do it after reading,watching, or listening to it. Of course, video games have a huge distinction from previous forms of art, they are interactive and require active participation from the audience. Critics argue that this causes more cases of “life imitating art” than before. This seems to make sense but what they tend to overlook is that there are consequences for negative actions in both video games and in real life. Even if the consequences in a video game seem to encourage bad behavior, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that it doesn’t apply to real life. Cases of “video-game induced violence” tend to involve other pre-existing factors like anger issues or delusion.

What about the argument that video games are mindless entertainment and decrease intelligence? We’ve all heard about video gaming recluse who lost his/her scholarship because couldn’t tear themselves away from the screen. Again, the problem here lies not in the video game itself, but with the gamer. The constant desire to escape reality is a symptom of larger problems and could just as easily lead to drug abuse or gambling addiction. In fact, video game addiction is slowly being recognized as a treatable condition, but at least it’s less destructive than the other forms of escape.

Lastly, what about for young children with developing minds? Surely they shouldn’t even look at a video game until later right? Wrong, video games can be just as beneficial to them as Sesame Street, an award-winning educational TV program. After all, the interactive element of video games can immerse and reinforce numbers and letters being taught just like Sesame Street does. Furthermore, video games can encourage exploration and discovery in a way that isn’t possible in other forms of media or in real life. By providing a safe place to make mistakes, learn from them, and formulate their own theories; video games can engage developing minds in unimaginable ways.

All this isn’t to say that video games are completely harmless, but like all things must be monitored and used in moderation. With the advancement of technology blurring the distinction between “video games” and reality, they can become a valuable tool for training, for example flight simulators for pilots. Although nothing will truly take the place of the real thing, at least you can restart the level if you crash!

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Make Love, Not War: Online Romance and Virtual Dating in MMOs

Been doing some research on romance in virtual worlds and have come across some pretty interesting—if a bit alarming—stuff.

Like a small explosion of stories on Stacy Passell, who met her current husband through Second Life, and after six months of adjusting her sleep schedule to his work schedule sold all (I assume this means “most”) of her possessions and moved from the United States to Australia to meet and get married to him. According to their interview with the BBC, when the pair first met, her husband had the habit of decking out his avatar with pirate costumes, animal ears, and a tail. While few of us would deny the aphrodisiac effect of Orlando’s elflobes, it is feasible that some might take a less-than-positive view of the possibility that even an animated parahuman deserves to show and receive love. Or will tolerance of a wider range of behavior types online predate similar tolerance in reality?

My belated discovery of this neat little story came right on the heels of a video competition launched by Media Kingdom for its online dance MMO ShowUp, in which a disproportionate number of the (warm and fuzzy-feeling) entries focused on players’ romantic relationships with other players in the game. Power to the people for coopting an online dance game as an effective virtual dating service, a phenomenon that Nick Yee also documented in his cool little Daedalus Project report about romantic pairings in MMORPGs.

Might such creative cooption of existing platforms be indicative of a small vacuum in a potentially thriving virtual dating market filled only by (please correct me if I’m wrong) Omnidate (extremely convenient but kind of boring), Weopia (absolutely beautiful but a bit less-than-interactive), AChat (a bit too focused on adult content for comfort), and maybe (an under-construction website that recently disappeared off the face of cyberspace)?

As a thought-provoking supplement to these recently made observations, while eating together on the day of our video competition launch (coincidences all around), one of my friends complained to me about being far more attracted to the men she meets online than those whom she encounters in real life. Affectionately recalling the Sephiroth sketches I used to fangirlishly doodle on my high school lab notebooks, I had to wholeheartedly agree with her virtual preferences. But I wonder whether Stacy Passell, the ShowUp lovebirds, and my friend are more likely to seek virtually enabled relationships because some deep-seated psychological constitution makes them this way, or if online virtual communities like Second Life and ShowUp carry some inherent benefits that make the current generation all a little more likely to log on for love.

So, how about it, readers? Would you date someone you met online, perhaps (or maybe only) through Imperial Warfare?


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Top Ten Funniest Video Game Translation Mistakes

It’s no secret that Imperial Warfare, being the North American localization of Suzhou Snail Electronic Co.’s 帝国文明, is translated from Chinese. But perhaps it is not as known that just a few months ago, its text was full of mistranslations and grammatical ambiguities that added not only frustration but also a certain artistic quality to the game.

But it’s not alone in this circumstance. Hardly limited to Zero Wing’s classic “all your base are belong to us,” awkward and hilarious English translations abound in video game history. Let’s take a look at some of these classic translation and localization boo-boos (admittedly, mostly translated from Japanese, not Chinese) and then talk a bit about Imperial Warfare’s own translation jewels:

1. “Your fists of evil are about to meet my steel wall of niceness.”

Fatal Fury Special. Hope you’re wearing some thick gloves; you know how bad that niceness can burn.


2. “Defeat the Metroid of the Planet Zebeth and destroy the mother brain the mechanical life vein.”

Spoken to Samus Aran by mission command at the beginning of the original Metroid.



3. “Somebody set up us the bomb.”

Another Zero Wing classic.


4. Gradius

Apparently everyone’s favorite space shooter was originally supposed to be called Gladius, after the Latin word for sword. Oops.


5. “Conglaturation!!! You have completed a great game. And prooved the justice of our culture. Now go and rest our heroes!”

Spoken to the player upon completion of Ghostbusters. Oh, the omission of that bothersome r/l distinction puts even the publishers of Gradius to shame.


6. “Parental Advisoly.”

Metal Slug 2. Still another r/l mixup. The last. I promise.


7. “A winner is you”

To the victor in Pro Wrestling.


8. “A year has passed since Bimmy and Jimmy defeated the shadow warriors.”

Cut scene in Double Dragon. The first character’s name is actually “Billy,” but maybe the localizers were aspiring poets.


9. “Don’t underestimate the power of dolphin.”

I bet Ecco agrees with this nugget of wisdom from Super Chase.


10. “The barrier privates me from going there.”

Megaman 8. Not tonight, honey; Megaman’s wearing chastity pants.



From the name itself (帝国文明 literally translates to “Empire Civilization”) to archaic word usage (“Peltasts,” a specific type of ancient Greek foot soldier, was the original word for the general “Footmen”), Imperial Warfare has certainly seen its share of translation downturns.

But by far my favorite bit of old translation genius was spoken by one of the villagers that randomly wandered player Cities before the expansion, way before our localization team got its paws on the game:

And, of course, all your Neutral Area (CZ for you Ministry of War people) are belong to us.

And now it’s your turn, dear readers. What’s your favorite video game text error?

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