Ghost in the Sale

Quick commentary on Microsoft’s always-on to block secondary market sales.

Wow guys.

Seriously?

Hey Gamespot, I know your market status is embattled and belittled. Does Microsoft have enough confidence in it’s digital marketplace to support such a claim?

Bullfeathers they do. Windows 8 is less successful than Vista was even though it has greater appeal and is arguably a better operating system than Windows 7. Arrogance they’re in no short supply of, however.

If you think this is a move to protect the developers, or even to protect its own secondary market (Xbox Live, yo) then stop right there. Bottom line is always cash. Never forget that. This is a move to project Microsoft’s shrinking cut of the market.

It’s not like these guys ever miss a meal, ya dig?

Sony’s been hacking away at this puppy with limited success, or haven’t you noticed? Does the failure of the Vita not catch your attention? The PSP is still a more valuable device to Sony than the Vita is – though I can understand it was positioned as being cheaper with less custom hardware aboard, thus reducing manufacturing costs.

It’s sweet hardware. Really. The PSP is a mixed bag of visual delights (hardware accelerated skeletons) juxtaposed with alarmingly PS1 looking foliage and unaccountably low frame rates in scenes of relatively low complexity. This is a system bent on making people look good. Literally.

So why did the Vita fail? Was it a really a failure?

Another time.

Yeah, I know. One of these days I’ll comb over my articles and make good on every instance of that statement. Can we make it a week from now?

Sounds like a good plan.

I figured today I might write about the lame storytelling brought to us in 2004 by Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core. You know, the one were they gave us a prequel when all we wanted was a remake?

Squaresoft could sell a few million copies of that – even today. I say “Squaresoft” because Square/Enix has been a dismal failure as a merger. The only indicator I need is that they haven’t clued into how much money they could make were they simply to do their fans a little service.

Presently the fans are doing a better job of taking care of the franchise than the legal rights owners are. Howabout a slew of fan retoolings of the original game? High resolution modifications, character mods, you name it. Fandom caretaking of this ilk are in no way alone – MLP:FiM is in a similar situation. Season 4 is a “cat out of the bag” all right, as in how proud was DHX Media to admit it?

Not terribly, it would seem. With the bungling they’ve been doing, I wouldn’t be proud either. Desk selling aside, what is there to look forward to? Nothing. I’m only hoping at this point that Rarity doesn’t get an episode, because you lot don’t know how to handle her.

The Bronies are doing a fine job of making appreciable content, thank you very much.

Don’t believe me?

I’ve a story for you. Perhaps I’ll post it on Castle Ashlar.

Yeah, why not?

In any case, Season 3 is being lauded as the fan-fueled kind, where ideas are being lifted from the fanbase. Almost every episode has a fanfic with which it can be associated. Since it never happened, though, I won’t be lining up fanfic to episode.

I figure Faust had a hand in the crystal ponies, at least conceptually.

[Steps down from soapbox.]

I guess today’s theme centers around failures. Honestly that’s easy, too easy. So many examples abide that we must tolerate or drown. Or so we feel at times. Or so I feel at times. Thankfully there’s better.

Hideo Kojima, step up. I’d like to spotlight your writing for a moment. A little known Sega CD title comes to mind, because I recent had the opportunity to watch a “Longplay”, which enabled me to enjoy the entire story in one sitting. Not the sort of thing you get to do unless you have a friend who enjoys an audience.

I’m sure we’ve all had friends like that. It’s rarer now though.

“Snatcher” a smartly written cyberpunk tale with sharp art and absolutely no rating to its label. With grisly scenes of murder and themes of death, it would land either the MA or 18+ rating these days. This may be another reason why some games aren’t making the jump to modern times.

This clever tale regales us with robots who want to take over the world. Whilst this is a “done” plot, it’s a fun story. You play a detective who unravels the tale in a clever, entertaining way. You also have the assistance of Metal Gear we have’t seen since Snake’s Revenge on NES.

It’s undoubtedly the best title published for the Sega-Mega CD.

Thankfully Kojima couldn’t be stopped, and we have been treated to several untarnished sequels telling the tale of Solid Snake, since. He’s one of those men whose more complex than his legend, whose conflict is a source of unending interest for fans. A deep moral and honor code keep him going when on the surface he has no apparent motivation.

Yep. No one knows really why he fights, but we’re glad so far he hasn’t stopped.

See, there’s the difference right there between him and Zack.

You know, the pro… I was about to write “profagonist”. Huh. They played that angle a little with Kunsei, but it was Aerith who had his heart in a mother-son-twisted relationship anyway, so that’s enough about that. She’s an ancient, part of the lifestream. So what’s any of that matter?

Not hard to understand why the story makes no dammed-up sense.

Zack is one of those wide eyed, high energy, clueless (read: naive, but really: clueless) good natured guys who gets it in the end. Really. He dies at the end of this story. Why wasn’t it a big hit in the US?

We don’t like it when our heros die pointlessly.

We really don’t.

We know it happens.

We just don’t like it.

Zack existed to pass on the torch to Cloud. What torch? An honor, a dream, a ridiculous looking sword that has little value. Excalibur is a holy sword, representing the might of divinity on Earth. The Buster sword is a slab of dramatic looking metal with no unique abilities or traits.

That’s just lame. The poor thing doesn’t even have a Chocobo embossed on it.

My point is that Zack is as Snake would say “…a rookie.” The trouble is he remains a rookie throughout his entire tale. Guess what? Kids grow up. Innocence is so treasured because it is forever lost. Zack couldn’t see the color of the sky at the beginning of his story, and didn’t notice it had not changed at its end.

Not for us, anyway. Somehow we were supposed to leave as hopeful as we arrived.

The tale in its telling was emotionally manipulative. I couldn’t relate to his loss. Can I relate to Snake’s peril in diverting nuclear disaster? Not really. I can’t even really relate to being tortured. I can relate to escaping dangerous situations and using my skills to overcome a threat. I can relate to his loss, his loneliness… his search, his desire to fight.

Zack didn’t lose anything. I say that because I was never given a sense that he had anything to lose. What person joins any cause with no dream whatsoever?

No dream. Hey, you’re … oh, looking about twenty now. Time to decide on a dream.

What?

Well. That’s a shame.

Kids in the streets – kids he interacted with – were never named. Not once. Somehow they were supposed to be important. How was he supposed to have fans if they never mattered? The Longplayer I watched amassed over fifty-one thousand of them.

Woo.

That should have been cool, but it wasn’t even remotely neat.

You can tell I feel pretty strongly about this one.

How about I tell you why.

Advent Children.

You see, Crisis Core is the tale of Sephiroth’s rise and beginning of his conflict with Shinra (hey… wait… China? Almost typo-hint). I love it when this happens. Is Final Fantasy VII really about Japan’s resource conflict with China? Probably. Wouldn’t be the first of many blows between borders in the form of popular media.

Advent was Square’s movie redemption for Final Fantasy: The Terrible Death of Everyone Except the Hot Lead Female. True story except for the we didn’t dig it in North America part. Tragedies are a hard sell in dark times – rather – times we are pretending aren’t dark.

I love Advent Children. Almost everything about it. The only part that doesn’t catch me is the spiritual side – but hey, you know where I sit with that. It’s still a Tale Told with Expertise. It’s the contrast of skill between Crisis and Avent that gets me worked up.

I can see how it falls apart. Zack may have always been part of the story, but brother he sure feels like he was never fleshed out. Wanting to be a hero isn’t enough. The story is ended with him asking “was I a Hero?”

If the writer(s) do(es)n’t know, then what’s the point of this story?

That’s the difference between whether we care or not.

hastypixels
hastypixels

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