Well, I'm still looking at Patreon, and it looks like there are plenty of artists who post artworks based on existing properties there. If things continue to look good on that front, I'll be signing up there.
Also, I've learned that the original Ghostbusters movie is going to be re-released come Labor Day weekend in celebration of its 30th Anniversary. Given that Harold Ramis passed away not that long ago, and I seriously doubt I ever saw it in theaters, I think I'll treat myself to that.
Now onto to some video game related stuff. I've been playing both Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City. I've beaten both on maximum difficulty levels, and I would like a chance to give a go at Arkham Origins. But after playing these games, I've been giving some thought to some other superhero properties that have been given the video game treatment, with the majority being...far less successful than the Arkham games.
For example, I was looking at the video game release of Amazing Spider-Man 2 that went with the recent movie, and while I like what the developers have done with Spidey's ability to move about, use of Spider-Sense, and some of the combat tricks, the game did not live up to the label of Amazing. And then I sat in thought, considering what it would take to make for a truly great Spider-Man video game experience.
And you know something? I think I've got it.
First of all, the game can't be a movie tie-in. Given the history of movie tie-in flops in games, that should be obvious. It needs to have it's own identity, taking from the best of Spidey lore. Second, it has to have a spectacular storyline for you to move through. Something that appeals to both people who don't have a clue about Spidey and those like me that have been reading the comics since forever. Third, it has to be a free-roaming game. The entirety of Marvel's New York City should be your playground to roam through as you wish, with all kinds of scenic locales such as Avengers Tower, Dr. Strange's house, the Baxter Building, and more. Fourth, it should employ all aspects of Spidey's identity. He's not just a superhero, he's also a super-scientist. Maybe not on the level of big brains such as Tony Stark or Reed Richards, but he's definitely one of the brainier heroes running around the Marvel Universe. So why not take advantage of that? For example, over the course of beating up bad guys, why not have Spidey acquire bits of technology they have or various odds and ends he can find here and there? Build an array of Spidey gadgets to make the game a bit easier, or upgrades for his costume? Perhaps even make making the gadgets mini-games themselves? And while some gadgets and upgrades are essential to winning the game, not all of them should be. For example, the gadgets that should be essential are the ones that won't offend the Spidey purists who resent him getting too much in the way of gadgetry or too many changes to the character. But they should also make other kinds of gadgets and maybe even vehicles available to him for fans who don't mind changes or, like me, think that if he has the resources, he should make use of them. Fifth, it should take advantage of other Marvel characters. Not just Spidey's immediate allies, such as Black Cat and so on, but the fact that there are other heroes, as well as give a reasonable explanation why Spidey's basically fighting through the game without any tangible backup.
Now, as I said, the game should have a great storyline, so let's try this on for size? It starts off with Spidey doing what he does best; swinging through New York and stumbling upon a bunch of crooks robbing a bank or something, and being led by one of the lesser members of his rogue's gallery. A Justified Tutorial with a Training Dummy boss, just to get you started. Once Spidey is done with them and hands them over to the police, a massive explosion rocks the city. Spidey goes off to investigate, and discovers that the explosion came from the Raft, a major supervillain prison located near New York. Watching as several of Marvel's superhero community go off to assist, including an Avengers Quinjet, Spidey hitches a ride. Once at the Raft, he can be met by a hero in charge, such as Captain America, who explains that there's a major jailbreak in progress, and either teams up with Spidey himself or assigns him to help another superhero. This would function as another Justified Tutorial, showing how to work with another superhero on those rare occasions when Spidey works with someone else over the course of the game, with possibly another Training Dummy boss.
Once that level is done, we learn that several supervillains have escaped into New York, and the Avengers and other superheroes will be chasing them down. Spidey offers to help, but at about that time, either a major broadcast is heard throughout New York, or a robot drone approaches Spider-Man, having tracked him down with a message. The message is from Dr. Octopus. He's reassembled the Sinister Six, and while New York's heroes and police were busy with the Raft, they managed to rig several points in New York with bombs, and have taken hostages. Dr. Octopus challenges Spider-Man to stop them, and makes it clear that if anyone aside from Spider-Man attempts to interfere with the Sinister Six, then the bombs will be blown and hostages killed. He also reminds them that the other heroes have problems of their own, such as all the loose inmates from the Raft. Without any other options, Spidey must deal with the entirety of the Sinister Six. Over the course of the game, Spidey will contact Black Cat for information regarding what's been going on in New York's undeworld, make use of his contacts at the Bugle as Peter Parker, and use all of his wits, intellect, and Spidey-powers in order to not just beat the Sinister Six, but get to the bottom of what they're up to.
I know, it's just a starting point, but does this sound like the basis of a good game to you?
And speaking of good games...I'm about to launch into one of my infamous diatribes about a game series that I consider to be anything but.
I've been aware of the Grand Theft Auto series for a long time, and by 'aware', I mean that I knew it existed. But beyond that, it was pretty much below my personal radar, as I generally prefer sci-fi games, RPGs, and so on. So I really didn't know what they were about. Recently, some reviews and video material caught my attention, so I checked them out.
And now, having learned about the GTA games...I'm presently signing petitions to get each and every one of them banned.
Before anybody complains that I'm just being a whiner about violence in video games, my problem isn't so much about the content of the games as it is about how its presented. The goal of the games is to become the absolute skuzziest piece of criminal filth you can by doing jobs for criminal syndicates, and in some games (I can't say all of them because I don't know them that well and I really don't want to), you are able to murder people with impunity for no other reason than that you can, and I understand that in more recent games, you are allowed (and in fact encouraged) to torture people.
Now would somebody please explain to me how this is supposed to be fun? And just what kind of person would such an abomination appeal to?!
This isn't the first game that I've come to hate with a passion. I remember when I was still very young, and I saw a review of a video game in which you played a Nazi and the goal was to kill and torture people working in the Nazi camps. And needless to say, I was sickened.
Now some people might say that this is all just harmless entertainment and that if I don't like it, I shouldn't play it. But I'm sorry, but I don't see harmless entertainment. I see people that are trivializing real problems that exist in real life and exploiting them so they can make money. I see games that portray such monstrous acts as not only acceptable, but enjoyable. I see these things and a whole lot more, but I certainly do not see harmless entertainment.
If we know something to be wrong, then it should always be treated as wrong. We shouldn't make excuses for it or try to justify it for any reason. Whether it happens in the real world, or within the worlds we create.