Diablo III

Recently came across Toronto-based software engineer Alex Curelea's blog, in which he describes the psychology behind why Diablo III may not be as satisfying as Diablo II was. It was a good read, and very quick too.

In the analysis, he compares Diablo fans to monkeys who are rewarded with flavored juice when they pull a lever after a specific sequence of shapes is displayed on screen. Eventually, the monkeys begin to associate the reward with the sequence of shapes, and the reward center of their brain becomes stimulated when the sequence appears, rather than when the actual reward is given later.

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Silent Hill 2

With the Silent Hill HD Collection being lambasted by fans and critics (my review now available here!), I thought I’d take a moment to discuss exactly why I feel it was so important for the original voice acting of the games (Silent Hill 2 specifically) to be retained. And it isn't just a matter of personal preference based on my familiarity with the original actors; although, that is definitely a contributing factor.

Critics tend to make a simple equivocation fallacy when describing the voice acting of Silent Hill as "awkward" and then calling it "bad". But "awkward" does not necessarily mean "bad". In fact, the awkward voice acting of Silent Hill 2 is actually a benefit to the game's narrative and mood. This is something that should be apparent to anybody who is actually paying attention to what's happening in the game.

Let us first take a step back and look at the design principles that went into Silent Hill 2.

Silent Hill 2 - I'm not crazy
James begins to doubt his own mental stability

Silent Hill 2 is a particular kind of horror game. It differs from other horror games at the time - such as Resident Evil and even its own predecessor Silent Hill - in that it is a very emotional brand of horror. The horror doesn't come so much from being "afraid", but rather, from being depressed, confused, and unsure of what is going on around you. Silent Hill 2 is a very dark and gloomy game, and definitely deserves its "M for Mature" rating with its story and themes alone. Team Silent accomplishes this by immersing the player in decrepit environments and introducing elements of surrealism to the game's reality. They then supplement this by slowing breaking down the foundational pillars of what the main character thinks is real, and then forcing the character and the player to wonder whether their own senses can be trusted.

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The depiction of the town of Silent Hill in its titular game has lead to a lot of confusion and over-analysis from many casual and some hard-core Silent Hill fans. The stories of the first few games are told in very indirect manners, with the player often being shown the story through the acquisition of clues and context, rather than being directly told what is going on by an objective character or outside narration.

One of the most common misconceptions about the games is the idea that the “Otherworld” in Silent Hill is some kind of “parallel dimension” that exists in conjunction with, but separate from, the “real world”. Alternatively, some fans claim that the games utilize some kind of “parallel perception” mechanism, in which everything that happens in the games that is even remotely supernatural is all just happening inside the character’s mind, such that separate characters can be in the same place at the same time, but see things differently. These interpretations have lead to many misunderstandings about other elements of the town and events, such as Alessa having hostile motivations, the residents of Silent Hill being turned into monsters, or that the people who visit the town can never truly leave.

Silent Hill - Harry in Nowhere Silent HIll - Lisa dream sequence

These ideas are all fallacious, and they are derived from fundamental misunderstanding due to how the game presents information, or by a reliance on out-of-game information that presents a false picture of what is happening in the games.

What’s worse, these misguided ideas have found their way into “official” Silent Hill material, including the motion picture and all of the post-Konami-developed games in the series.

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I made quite a splash with the fine folks who made "The Real Silent Hill Experience" videos on Youtube the other day with a comment that I placed in their "part 13b - Questions Unanswered" supplementary video.

About three and a half minutes into the video, Rosseter and DerFuzhwar begin discussing their views on the fate of Cybil Bennett from the first game. They assert that the Good+ ending (in which Cybil survives) is likely to be the canonical ending, even though conventional Silent Hill wisdom suggest that the Good ending (in which Cybil dies) is supposed to be orthadox, and they present the following quote from the first game's event programmer, Hiroyuki Owaku:

The Real Silent Hill experience - Hiroyuki Owaku on Cybil's fate
Hiroyuki Owaku (one of Silent Hill's event programmers) on Cybil Bennett's fate.

After reading this quote, I left a comment on the video saying:

Actually, if "what happens to [Cybil] afterwords is up to the player's imaginations", then that would REQUIRE that the Good+ ending be canon. Because in the Good ending, she dies. There's no ambiguity to be left "up to the player's imaginations".
   - MegaBearsFan

This quote apparently impressed the folks at Twin Perfect so much that they highlighted this post and replied:

HUGE BUMP. EVERYONE PLEASE READ.
   - TwinPerfectChannel
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Terminator robot

Recently came across this post on Cracked.com, through a Facebook link from Geek Fights.

I just couldn't read through this whole thing and not provide my two-cents of input. So I am going to provide a defense for every "reason" that this article gives for the movies making "no God damn sense". Because I like the Terminator movies. And the author is wrong.

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A gamer's thoughts

Welcome to Mega Bears Fan's blog, and thanks for visiting! This blog is mostly dedicated to game reviews, strategies, and analysis of my favorite games. I also talk about my other interests, like football, science and technology, movies, and so on. Feel free to read more about the blog.

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