Friday, January 10, 2020

We all live in Virtual America

Most game coming out today still have an "America" undertone. If we think of a war video game, we usually think about a conflict that involves America, or an "Americanize" side, against an enemy that's either Russian or Middle east inspired. Sure, each side may have a different name with fictional places but everything still very much feel like "America vs some other nation".

Why are non-fantasy games based on America more so than other nations? Is it because America represent a large user base and it's therefor good business to have them represented? Or is it just me that feels like I'm always in America when it comes to virtual worlds? Or is it because when we think about conflict we usually think about America?

When we think about the major racing games releases, some of them are set in other countries like Forza Horizon and it's great but that genre is still very much set in America. If we think of Need For Speed, for example, they usually create fictional cities that are very much Americanized.

I would like to see non-fantasy type of games inspired from other part of the planet. Don't get me wrong, America is beautifully represented in those games but it's not the only place that's worth virtually recreating.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Loot Boxes is Gambling

In many Countries, you need to be at least 18 years old in order to gamble. Gambling machines are designed to be addictive with their sounds and attractive light effects and we can see the exact same logic being used for loot boxes in games.

A loot box is a mini game, within a game, that give you a chance at winning in-game items. Many gaming companies are including these into their games as a way to make more money out of the consumer base. The problem is that, unlike casino gambling where you have to be 18 years old, kids are playing these games and are exposed to the addicting effect of it all.

Even if we were to change the rating of those games to "Adult Only - Reason: Gambling" kids can still play them. It would be difficult to stop a kid, for example, from playing Fortnight at this point.

The only game I like that also had loot boxes was "The Division". Even though I never bought one with real money, you could win some loot boxes via in-game events, I definitely felt the "feel good" feeling that comes from winning a rare item. Being an adult, I was able to identify this feeling easier than a kid would of.

Keep gambling away from the kids.

Clean Up Your Online Presence in 2020

Do you know the extend of your online presence? Do you still stand by what you said, in that one obscure forum, 10 years ago? If you're like me, you don't even remember all that you've done online but the internet remembers and it will for as long as the servers are kept alive.

Make 2020 the year where you review and become mindful of your online presence. The below is a few things you can do:
  • Go through your old Facebook posts and delete what is no longer relevant.
  • Search for your account names, emails or other type of aliases you've used in the past and see what comes up. Delete the accounts that you no longer use or update the password of those that you still actively use.
  • When making new posts, subscribing to a new online service or site, think about the trail you're leaving behind.
  • When deleting an app be sure to also delete the account associated to the app (when ever it applies).
We're a few weeks into 2020 let's make this year the year we're mindful of our online presence.