Console Wars: Good or Bad?

Photo Credit: TechRadar

It has been several years now since the releases of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 back at the end of 2013. Back then, console wars about which system was better and what should be bought was huge, but even now, the war continues. For those interested, IGN keeps and regularly updates a detailed chart comparing the two consoles as well as the WII U (I don’t know if they are going to update it to include the Switch or not).

Fans of both consoles bicker with each other about which is better. But why? Why does it matter which system is better if we all just play on our own console of choice? The battle is worse for Xbox and PlayStation fans, but this goes for PC and Nintendo users too. Why do we care about what other people think about our console of choice?

Really, most of it comes from marketing. Gaming companies want these wars to rage because it draws more attention to their product. Xbox wants their fans to be loyal, just as PlayStation fans do, because when they are passionately loyal, they continue to buy their products and maybe even persuade their friends to buy them as well.

The wars also stem from the fact that the gaming community is passionate about what they love. Game consoles are different from other technology, because gamers are different than other technology enthusiasts. There’s more passion there, because games make us feel powerful emotions and they mean something to us as gamers.

So, are the console wars good or bad?

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For me, there is a good side and a bad side.

The bad side is when it comes to the fans. We’ve all seen forum posts and YouTube comments of toxic fans that spout their hate-filled rants against consoles that they don’t like. They are mean, illogical, and only ever generate more anger and hate. This is prominate in the Xbox vs. PlayStation world, as well as those “PC master race” people who call gamers on console “peasants.” Thankfully, it always seems that Nintendo fans are much more civil.

The reason this is so dumb is that each console has its pros and cons and it has been this way since the beginning. The hate is also silly when you think about how gaming should be about games, not hardware. I chose to buy an Xbox One back in 2013 because I love Halo, and I wanted to be able to play the next Halo game. I also love Uncharted, but I knew that I would spend more hours on a Halo game than I would on any future Uncharted game. Certain consoles may have more games on certain years, but whichever has the games that interest you should be the console you choose.

Some people also care about performance and hardware, and that is fine. If you have the money, build a nice PC. If you are on a budget, or you prefer console gaming, Playstation has the best hardware right now.

These are choices that individuals make because of their preference. To start fights and arguments over such decisions is pointless, and, from a Christian perspective, not Christ-like at all (Jesus only ever started arguments over things that mattered). If I had the money, I would have an Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo, so I could play Halo, Uncharted. and Smash Bros Does that mean I hope that one day there will be only one console that has all the games? Actually, no, and that brings me to the good side of the console wars.

Competition. Competition is always good between companies. In a free market, competition insures that companies will always do their best to create the most awesome products that they can. It is a beautiful thing, really. If we only had one console, chances are, it would be pretty crappy, cost more, and not have any interesting first-party games. So, console wars are good, because monopolies are bad.

The PlayStation 4 vs. Xbox One console wars continue. PlayStation has sold almost double the consoles that Xbox has according to most estimates, but Xbox is still doing well. Nintendo, who has lagged severely behind with the Wii U, may be making a comeback with the Switch, but only time will tell. Hopefully, we continue to have strong competition and a healthy gaming market, because all we really want are good games, and quality consoles to play them on.

Thank you for reading, and God bless!

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New Character Introduced to Overwatch

Overwatch is a truly great competitive multiplayer game that has much to entice gamers into playing. One of the greatest features of Overwatch is the free DLC. The third free character has just been added to Overwatch, and she seems pretty cool.

The video above from GameSpot’s Youtube channel is the released origin story of the Orisa. Apparently, the new character used to be just another model of a generic battle robot, very much like Bastion. However, this robot was rebuilt and reprogrammed by a little girl named Efi to be a new hero.

Orisa is a new tank with supportive and defensive abilities. Right now, she has 400 health, which is less than all the other tanks. There is a strong possibility that she will be modded before the next competitive season at least once, since she has been withheld from the current season, but here is a list of her abilities and how they work as of now.

Fusion Driver

Orisa’s main weapon holds 150 shots, deals 12 damage per shot, and shoots at a rate of 12 shots per second. It seems to be a great tool for spraying the enemy and spreading out damage among their ranks in order to support your teammates.  It is not accurate or powerful enough to be great at eliminating single targets, but it is still a powerful gun for a more support-oriented hero.

Protective Barrier

This is the real meat of this character. It has a barrier, much like Rienhardt’s shield, but stationary. The shield has 900 health points to Rienhardt’s 2000, but Orisa has the ability to shoot while using it. It is on a 8-second cool down that starts after placement, not after the barrier is destroyed, so it is fairly easy to move. After playing as Orisa, I like the barrier much better than Winston’s, because it does not time out. I am not sure I like it better than Rienhardt’s though, even though it is nice to be able to shoot while using the barrier.

Halt!

This ability functions like a Zarya ult in that it sucks enemies into it, but it is smaller, and it does not hold them.  It can be nice to slow enemies down or draw them from cover.

Fortify

Fortify makes Orisa take less damage for 4 seconds and also be immovable. This second part is more interesting because it basically makes her invulnerable to effects that would move or stun her, like Rienhardt’s charge, Lucio and Pharah’s boop, or Road Hog’s hook.

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Her ult is not the most exciting, but it can be very effective if used right. Orisa’s ultimate has her place a destructable object that projects damage boost beams (like Mercy’s) to all allies around it.  It can be very effective if the team is bunched together, as they will all gain a 50% increase to damage, and it is best if used behind Orisa’s barrier, because enemy’s can destroy it like Symmetra’s teleporter and shield generator.

All in all, the new tank seems to be a promising addition to the Overwatch team.  I personally plan on using her in payload defense games, but I am sure there will be many interesting strategies in how to use her.

Shadow of War Gameplay Trailer Looks Almost Too Good to be True

Middle Earth: Shadow of War from Warner Bros released a brand new gameplay trailer, and everything looks incredible, to say the least. Watch below, and keep in mind that this is alpha gameplay, and the gameplay shown is on “god mode” (infinite health, infinite arrows, infinite combat finishers), so do not be worried if the game looks too easy.

The biggest star of this trailer was the Nemesis System, just as it was the star in the previous game. Many thought that it would be impossible to improve so much on the previous Nemesis System, but this trailer promises that the game will do just that.

Improvements to the Nemesis System shown revolve around allies mostly.  In the first game players have limited relationships with the orcs that they dominate, but this trailer promises that the game will allow players to give them more jobs, use them in attacking strongholds, and develop more complicated relationships with them.  They appear to also be able to betray you, as well as step in to save your life when being attacked by an enemy captain.

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Many other interesting new elements are shown off in the trailer. The open world seems to be much bigger, judging by the map, and there seems to be many other areas in Mordor that are now open to explore, including Cirith Ungol and Minas Morgal from the movies (although, I already talked about how Minas Morgal will probably appear first as Minas Ithil in my analysis of the cinematic trailer).

Another improvement is the RPG elements. Equipping new armor is shown, as well as XP leveling up. There was some leveling in the first game, but it was limited. Let’s hope that more RPG elements don’t ruin the great hack-and-slash gameplay, but I doubt that they will.

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Of course, the entire trailer shows off taking a fortress, and this appears to be an event that will happen several times throughout the game as the player takes over the many fortresses within Mordor.  There are armies to lead and defenses to overcome. The trailer also mentions that fortresses need to be defended as well. How much control we have over our attacking armies and our fortresses’ defenses remains to be seen.

And I can’t write this without mentioning the drake.

You can ride flying fire drakes now!

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Do I sense potential aerial combat with the Nazgul on fell beasts that we saw in the cinematic trailer?

All things considered, it is important to note that this is alpha footage, and this means two things: first, the graphics and animations will likely improve, and secondly, the gameplay elements will probably change.

Hopefully we don’t lose too much of what we see in this trailer in the final game.

The trailer also announces different versions of the game that can be pre-ordered with a pre-order bonus of a sword and some special orc captains.  The Standard Edition is the pre-order of the basic game. The Silver Edition comes with the game plus two future expansions to the Nemesis System.  The Gold Edition comes with the game and the complete season pass, the two future Nemesis System expansions and two story DLCs.  There is also a Mithril Edition that includes everything in the Gold, but also a statue, a collector’s steelcase for the game, and other collectibles.

The game releases on August 22 of this year, so we have five months to wait and see if the game can live up to the promises made by its trailer. If it turns out to be as good as its trailer, I think we have a potential game of the year on our hands!

Thank you for reading, and God bless!

Do Violent Video Games Lead to Real-World Violence?

Photo credit: New York Times

I often think it’s funny that people still believe that violent video games lead to real-world violence. Back in 2014, researchers Patrick M. Markey, Charlotte N. Markey, and Juliana E. French conducted a study comparing rises in video game sales with real-world violent crime. They published their results in an article, “Violent Video Games and Real-World Violence: Rhetoric Versus Data” in Psychology of Popular Media Culture. The results of the study are telling.

The charts show that rises in video game sales corresponds to a decrease in homicides. This could be because of many factors, and one of the likely factors is that the same demographic that plays the most video games (young men) also commits the most murders.

Whatever the correlation, the data shows that video games are not linked to violence.

You can access the full article here.

This should set Christian minds at ease. Violent video games are not from the devil, as some may believe, and they do not necessarily cause sin. They are just another form of media to consume responsibly.

Thank you for reading and God bless.