hello, I'm Zorine Te. I work hard to quietly deliver the best content in video games.

Archive for the ‘Gaming Issues’ Category

Top 5 work I’m proudest of in 2016

To say that 2016 has been an eventful year would be an understatement. Looking back, I realised that I’d published much more work than I thought I had. But isn’t that always the case? We always diminish our own achievements.

Of course, 2016 marked a huge transition for me–moving from Australia to the United States to accept a new job offer I received. I’ll talk more about that in a separate post. For now, please enjoy a look back on the year through my eyes.

I hope you all enjoy reading or watching these. A lot of hard work went into them! And most of all, thank you to all the people out there who support me. Without you folks, I could not do what I do. From the bottom of my heart, I wish you all a happy new year and all the best for 2017!

Warcraft Movie Review

http://www.gamespot.com/articles/warcraft-movie-review/1100-6440592/

First published on June 8, 2016

This press trip was exciting to me for a multitude of reasons. Firstly, it took me to the Warcraft film premiere in Hollywood. Secondly, I was among the first to watch the Warcraft film. As a longtime fan of Warcraft lore and its games, excited did not even begin to describe it. The event itself was a lot of fun too. I saw a lot of interesting cosplay, met Leeroy Jenkins himself, saw a bunch of actors and actresses. After the event concluded, I wrote the review on the plane ride back to San Francisco, in the taxi ride, and finally finished it in my hotel room at 2AM. This feature also marked my first ever movie review.

How Pokemon Go Nearly Destroyed a Quiet Suburb

http://www.gamespot.com/articles/how-pokemon-go-nearly-destroyed-a-quiet-suburb/1100-6442283/

First published August 1, 2016

At its peak popularity the Pokemon Go phenomenon brought my friends and I together. However, it also brought out the ugly parts of people and the mob mentality, as this feature highlights. I investigated, photographed, and interviewed several folks in one particularl suburb in Sydney which had been negatively impacted by the effects of the game. I had hoped that shining a spotlight on the issues would prompt developer Niantic into taking some action. It eventually did.

Xbox Head Phil Spencer Talks Scorpio, PS4 Pro, 4K Resolution, and More

http://www.gamespot.com/articles/xbox-head-phil-spencer-talks-scorpio-ps4-pro-4k-re/1100-6444198/

First published on October 5, 2016

This was the last major feature I published on GameSpot before I left. I’d interviewed quite a few high-profile people before, but head of Xbox Phil Spencer defied expectations. He was friendly. He liked to laugh. He would turn questions back on me and ask for my opinion on certain matters, which was unexpected. Most folks I interviewed tended to answer questions systematically, then wait for me to continue. Phil made the whole ordeal flow like a candid conversation and he did so while being very down to Earth. I really enjoyed this interview and I feel like the tone, and Phil’s love for the games industry, really shows in the feature.

Why World of Tanks Is Wildly Popular and No One Seems to Know Why

http://www.gamespot.com/articles/why-world-of-tanks-is-wildly-popular-and-no-one-se/1100-6444022/

First published October 1, 2016

In my entire career as a writer, this feature was the longest and most researched I’d ever published. It was the product of travelling far to South Korea and Poland, 14 interviews, and a lot of writing and editing. The topic was fascinating to me to begin with, but I knew when I took on this assignment that it would be a challenging sell. However, I could not be happier with the result. Unearthing the mystery of how the World of Tanks came to be one of the most successful games in the world right under our noses without the majority of us noticing was great fun. Super interesting and insightful interviews, too.

monte

MonteCristo on casting Overwatch: ‘Blizzard paid me more in two weeks than Riot has in five…’
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ke5G7W4XTAI

First published November 10, 2016

This interview was shot at my very first BlizzCon, and my first event to cover with Yahoo Esports, whom at this point in time was a publication I had worked at for 2 weeks. I wasn’t sure what to expect from MonteCristo but prepared for the interview as I would any other. Thank you to Rod Breslau who answered my many questions beforehand. MonteCristo’s frank honesty and ability to articulate made this interview a very interesting one. I lost track of time throughout and our poor cameraman was apparently struggling towards the end! Still, I’m very proud of the end result. I hope you find it as interesting to watch as I did to conduct it.

Hardcore Gamers vs Casual Gamers

I wrote an article a while back on the ‘Hardcore vs. Casual’ debate. Seems like I somehow run into people every day who claim to be hardcore gamers and yet they can’t play for shit (For the original article click here).

 

So I made a little video to help illustrate the difference.

 

 

 

R18+ Games Rating for Australia?

In approximately four hours from right now, we will find out whether or not Australia will get a R18+ rating for games.

Whether or not all our efforts were wasted.

Whether or not we got the message across.

Whether or not public opinion matters.

Whether or not the multitude of journal articles published regarding the topic taught anybody anything.

We wait.

Apparently there are phones for gamers – or so Microsoft claims

So recently Microsoft has turned their eye to the smartphone market. Apparently they saw a potential opening for them, somewhere amongst the battle between the iPhones and other Android-powered devices and thought “Ooohh, there’s a space there I can squeeze into!”

 

Right.

 

So my point is, the latest news from Microsoft on the phone front has seen them touting the Windows 7 Phone as a “gamer’s phone”. What exactly makes a phone a gamer‘s phone, hmm? A phone that one can play games on, perhaps?

 

It’s through no fault of their’s which I am arguing – just that phones simply aren’t devices that are suited to gaming (prime example of fail: the N-gage). My strong belief is that if a gamer wants a handheld gaming experience, they’re going to turn to a handheld gaming device. A device who’s key purpose is gaming; not where it’s some other tacked on novelty.

 

Not to mention that battery life is still an issue on handhelds (although my PSP can clock up to about 7 hours of life) and even worse on smartphones.

 

Personally I don’t even have a problem with the Windows 7 phone – it just irks me when they try to sell it as a “gamer’s phone”, which is stupid. There’s no such thing.

 

You want a gaming experience. Which do you reach for?

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We’ll wait and see, Microsoft. We’ll wait and see.

Hardcore vs. Casual – The Debate on Definition

 

This is a topic that has been heavily debated amongst gamers ever since we realised that the hardcore market actually existed, and we took gaming pretty seriously. Even I have been constantly circling myself on this – how exactly can you define, in words, a hardcore gamer from a casual one?

 

At least one thing I know for certain, though, and that is hardcore gamers can sniff each other out in an instance and anyone who comes across as ‘casual’ will be dismissed. Posers are struck down without mercy. You can’t fake this kind of definition.

 

This argument was brought to light one evening whilst I was chatting to my clanmates. We were discussing the gaming habits of a mutual friend, and attempting to define said habits. We couldn’t really call him a casual gamer, and yet we were hesitant to say he was a hardcore gamer too.  It drove us around in circles.

 

You see, the problem was that he was too hardcore to be casual and too casual to be hardcore. A casual hardcore gamer? A hardcore casual gamer?

 

Where exactly do you draw the line, and how would you go about defining it? The problem is there is so many exceptions to any rules I could create. And so being the kind of person who needs to have things explained to them visually, I created a table.

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If there’s anything there you disagree with, I’d love to hear it.

 

EDIT: There is one more thing I’d like to add and that is level of competitiveness, or how much you want to win.

(Lack of) Indie Game Developers in Sydney?

Game devs in Sydney? Please. As if Australia’s Industry isn’t a straggling, dying child already. My baby. The one that was never born.

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For the most part, Sydney is a nice place to live in. For a gamer it’s nothing special – we pay the same absurd amount for game as the rest of Australia, don’t have much in the way of niche game shops and our arcades would make Japan guffaw.

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For game developers, its a whole lot worse. Is there a reason why Australia’s better known developers aren’t in Sydney?

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Lets look at some facts. Sydney boasts to be the center of Australia’s film and TV industry (supposedly). This industry requires artists, actors, journalists, editors, the list goes on. Hmm, some of those resources are also needed in game development. Oh, hold on…

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So, is it perhaps because of a lot of the resources required for game development are instead diverted to film and television? Or is it the rental costs in Sydney offices? Or something completely unrelated? Surely, Sydney does not lack skilled workers.

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I speculate because as a part of the indie game project myself, it’s increasingly frustrating. I’ve spoken to colleagues over the whole lack of a scene and lack of action as well, and one particularly had some interesting things to say.

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Me: Whats your impression of the current Sydney game dev scene?

Him: Not that great. I mean, there is some involvement – like AFTRS trying to improve things generally, so there are some efforts being made. But I have a very jaded view of the Sydney scene.

Me: Agreed.

High five!

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At least us developers share their hatred of the current state of things in common.

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For those wondering about the EA offices in Pyrmont and Activision building in Epping, they are not developer studios but serve as marketing and/or distribution offices. And Bigworld based in Glebe is exclusively for development.

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Achievement Farming – What’s the point?

That's just not good enough.

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As an OCG (Obsessive Compulsive Gamer) I’m the kind of person who likes to explore every nook and cranny, collect every secret item, unlock hidden characters, finish storylines at 120% and… tick off achievements.

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Last night was spent farming achievements for TF2 on Steam. Whilst at first it was so I could be rewarded with more weapons, it eventually dawned on me that I also wanted to tick everything possible off, even after all rewards had been distributed.

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But what was the point? As their title suggests, was it so I could feel as though I was actually achieving something? Looking back, all I can feel is nothing. I guess it’s just a marker of how long somebody’s actually been playing a game, and/or how dedicated they are to it.

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When L4D first came out I was set on ticking off everything possible. I’m still unsure as to why I wanted to in the first place, but the fact still remains that I only have a handful left. I would play match after match, seeking to finally clear my whole list.

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Sad but true. It seems that these achievements achieve what the purpose developers have built them in for – to draw gamers into playing longer, and feel as though they are experiencing something more rewarding.