Send in the CloneZ

Photo Credit: TimeDoctor Dot Org
Photo Credit: TimeDoctor Dot Org

Is anyone else getting tired of the DayZ: Stand Alone copy-cat games that are appearing? It feels like every time I launch Steam I am berated with advertising for games that look a heck of a lot like the aforementioned. In particular, today we have Dead State and 7 Days to Die (in addition to DayZ) as some of the thirteen Featured Selections (Rust gets a pass but don’t look past other similar titles such as The Dead Linger, Nether, How to Survive, Project Zomboid, Castleminer Z, et al.)

If imitation truly is the sincerest form of flattery the DayZ team should be pretty darn flattered. Now I do not pretend to know the development time frame for these other games (perhaps some have been around for some time), however, the fact that they are being marketed here and now in a manner similar to DayZ smacks of Johnny-come-lately cash-in.  The most famous case of this was in 2012 with The War Z (now titled Infestation: Survivor Stories,) a blatant ripoff of the then ARMA II Mod DayZ.

In some regard this cloning degrades a game that has not even been fully released yet. The competitors piggy-backing on not-fully-developed features and ideas takes away from the execution of DayZ and its potentiality. Why would a DayZ developer want to continue down a path already tread by an imitator? Or, for that matter, continue with an as yet unreleased idea that has been executed by a competitor, for fear that they (DayZ) would look like the clone? When every game coming down the pike is labeled with terms like crafting, survival, and scavenge we are not left with much but mimicry. Not to mention that these games are also all Early Release, as if this adds cachet.

DayZ does not have exclusive ownership on these terms but it has set the watermark through its beginnings as a Mod and now Alpha Stand Alone status and its future as a true example of ingenuity maybe stifled by lackluster competitors. As a dollar and cents example, the idea that one does not have the $29.99 for DayZ but does have the $19.99 for SurvivorX will erode the better product in terms of sales and user base in the long run is an all too true reality.

One of the great things about DayZ’s development is how open it has been in terms of garnering community feedback and showing use of features in development. I have not seen too many other games take this route and I am afraid that this refreshing transparency will be discouraged if other developers come in and loot their ideas. We are returned then to a development model of closed door secrecy and P.R. schemes of leaked screenshots to build momentum for games that are often poorly built and not out of the beta stage when they reach the consumer at $59.99.

I write as a fan of DayZ that thinks the better game is being besmirched by a lot of idea-stealing competition and that large game distribution channels such as Valve/Steam need to be mindful of promoting first class products and letting those other games first find their audience (in much the same way DayZ did) in ways that do not detract from the established brand. Let innovation, originality, and good game play win out.

Kali-ho!

Few things in this life are permanent.  Like a tattoo, however,  the online gaming software Kali, touts “life-time subscription[s]” (italics theirs) and thus, a form of permanence.

For those who started PC gaming relatively recently (sometime this decade), you may be unfamiliar with Kali. It can best be equated as a mid-90’s precursor of Xfire, however, it also added a unique element necessary for its times, network emulation.

Continue reading “Kali-ho!”

(Free) Box of Kotex Tampons-Super Plus (via Craigslist)

Found tonight under the free section on Craigslist in Philadelphia:

“Unopened box of Kotex Super Plus tampons. They will be in a plastic bag hanging on the mailbox at 359 Richfield Road in Upper Darby. Don’t bother emailing, just come and get them. Post will be removed as soon as they’re gone.”

You know you are no longer the ‘Prince of Darkness’ when…

Ozzy Osbourne’s latest appearance on the pop culture radar comes in the form of a commercial promoting Blizzard’s “World of Warcraft.”  In this advertisement, Mr. Osborne tells us that he is indeed the “Prince of Darkness,” at which point the elderly-Brit is transformed from a docile-mumbling and aged-hipster into the larger-than-life polygon Royalty of Doom and Gloom (it is him, the tinted glasses are a dead giveaway).

The reality is that the Ozzman stopped being the Magnate of Little-Light on March 5, 2002.  For that is the day that “The Osbournes” premiered and the curtain was pulled back on a former great showman.  From that premiere episode right up until the end of the reality series run in March of ’05, we learned that Ozzy is nothing more than a character of his stage persona and a creation of record lyric and promoter myth.

What we saw during the years the show was broadcast was a man who was nothing more than a famous and wealthy Jester of Dimness who was easily ignored until called upon -following the court’s (his home) pecking order he was on the bottom (after his wife Sharon, out of control children, house guests of his out of control children, and the heard of dogs.)  It is difficult to head bang away to “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” when you know that the perpetrator of this metal-driven-scowl is in reality, or currently anyway, nothing more than an over-drugged bird-biting sellout who did his time in the good ol’ Seventies, got bloated and almost killed his wife in the Eighties, sung about his Mama in the Nineties, and now in present-day has an embarrassment of a family and tremors worse than San Andreas.

“I never said, ‘Get the f***ing gun’.”  How does the former Purveyor of all things Ill-Lit go from suicide-inducing subliminal lyrics to suicide-inducing mumble-logue?  Lights, camera, reality-based-action is how.  This decade’s version of televised embarrassment (see variety shows of the Seventies) turned Black Sabbath and Ozzie Osbourne fans such as me into disgruntled bloggers looking to disassociate from their former idols before today’s Molly Cirus ilk find our spot of weakness and strike!

The downfall came swiftly after the sadness known as “The Osbournes” became a hit.  Things snowballed with a Super Bowl commercial for Pepsi, then the penultimate disgrace in a cameo for a fart-joke filled, was funny the first time around, sequel comedy (see Austin Powers:  The Spy Who Did Something We No Longer Found Funny.”)

So now, close to four years later, and with a tarnished crown, Mr. Osbourne is picking up the scepter by endorsing video games.  And it is not just World of Warcraft, Ozzy is also badassing it up and down your block in Guitar Hero (again, tinted glasses are a dead giveaway.)

This all brings us to the number one reason you know that you are no longer the ‘Prince of Darkness’…

…when you are whoring yourself for the űber-dork-playland known as W.o.W.*

*As in, “Wow, can my wife/agent/Power of Attorney for a now disabled rocker put me into any worse advertising nightmare than video games and another Sabbath reunion on this year’s Ozzfest?”

Satan laughing spreads his wings.

Needed: (hairy) game developers for exciting new project(s)

The 23rd scroll, 9th verse, of the ancient texts says:

Beware the beast man, for he is the devil’s pawn. Alone among God’s primates, he kills for sport or lust or greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother’s land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him. Drive him back into his jungle lair: For he is the harbinger of death.

 

In the time of chimpanzees I was a monkey, a monkey with an idea for a new game franchise. So, tonight as I watched my second favorite (see below post) film, I realized that an opportunity for game development was staring me right in the face.

The film, if you have not guessed it, is the legendary Planet of the Apes and the idea is two-fold.

Firstly, I think that a Planet of the Apes Massive Multiplayer Game is just what the internet needs. This game will be the prime place for geeks, the obese, shut-ins, the handicapped, dystopians, and the general Comic Book Store Guys of the world to flex their ape-might against that irritating group known as humanity. The same folks who belittled us er people in High School and picked up all of the mute women (hereafter Nova’s) that were meant for us.

When you sign up, for a mere $40 a month, you too will have your choice of player classes including:

  • Chimpanzee: these are the intelligentsia, by varying degrees, all mimicking the five films, from physician to scientist, theologian, and young activist.
  • Gorilla: grunt, military, street cleaner, and orange-jumpsuit clad revolutionary.
  • The Scum Of Future Earth (sssh, don’t blow the ending) human (mute slave, talking slave, oppressor, and turtleneck-sporting liberal). Word of warning for human chars; watch out for the dreaded lobotomist!

Imagine varying game environments from muddy beaches, to straw huts, and the desolate concrete jungles of future-Los Angeles. Depending on which server you log onto, you will face new challenges based on one of the film environments.

You will encounter familiar faces from the movie as you play the game. Everyone from Cornelius to Dr. Zaius, Taylor, and the greatest of them all, General Urko will either aid-in, or stymie, your quest to be top dog (or ape).

Secondly, that been said, perhaps the M.M.O. arena is a bit too overdone. How about we go the Lego Planet of the Apes route? All of the classic film series are doing it (Star Wars, Batman, Indiana Jones), why not the second greatest (see below post) of them all?!? I love you Dr. Zaius!