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Ben’s Week In Review: November 4

All kinds of interesting stuff to talk about this week, so let's get to it.

Girls and games, games and girls

You've probably seen it by now – whether you saw it here first or actually picked up the magazine – but PlayBoy's 4th annual tribute to this year's gaming goddesses has been published. As you can see, the designers of certain games and characters provide PlayBoy with some nude "photos" of their curvaceous virtual females. I put "photos" in quotes because it's not really a photograph; essentially, it's a drawing. As much as we'd like to believe it, none of those women are real. While I certainly understand the concept of hot women, I have difficulty understanding the concept of hot fake women. Let's face it- all these virtual hotties are the creations of men (usually), and they're the ones who had trouble gettin' some in high school. Hence, the impossibly formed leading lady…'cough' Lara Croft 'cough'. But I won't harp on this theory too much, because I'd like to point something out.

All these liberal women and feminists are always complaining that such female game designs objectify women. Yeah, this is complete and total crap. These women are strong – often depicted as being stronger than men – and they've got a ton of self-esteem and even special powers. They're not "objectified," they're glorified . They're set on a damn pedestal, most times. Furthermore, and perhaps nobody noticed, but I can't recall the last game I played that featured a middle-aged, balding, slow-footed dude with a beer gut as the main hero.

Game industry keeps getting better, movie industry…

And I'm not talking about the sales, either. Despite the fact that 2007 is expected to be yet another record-breaking year for both films and games, the game industry should once again trump Hollywood box office ticket sales. I have noticed that while the game industry continues to produce better and better titles, I doubt the same can be argued for movies. Granted, movies have been around a lot longer, and that medium has had plenty of time to grow and then, consequently, stagnate a bit. In direct comparison, video games are still in the infancy stages, so that could explain the discrepancy in quality growth. However, the fact remains: while we continue to see more and more top-quality video games each and every year, movies just…don't seem to have the same cache. Oddly enough, while films are starting to sacrifice storyline and character development for flash, many of the best games are doing exactly the opposite.

Look at the likes of new RPGs, for instance. Many are calling Mass Effect one of the most engaging games ever, and it's primarily due to an amazing plot and presentation that redefines interactive storytelling. We've heard some incredible voice acting from The Darkness and Heavenly Sword , and you can bet some truly outstanding stories will be found in future titles; perhaps with Assassin's Creed and, of course, Final Fantasy XIII in the future. Is it really any wonder that games are topping movies?

Well, that was a pleasant fantasy

Now that Warhawk v1.1 is available, my nice little imaginary fantasy has come to an unfortunate end. This patch fixed a number of things, but perhaps most importantly, it fixed the issue of all these users ranking up accidentally. I was a Brigadier General with a mere 1600 points (you need something insane, like 250,000), and I always played with other Generals, Captains, and the like. But after I downloaded that patch, I found myself appropriately mired back in Sargeant rank. Awww… Well, we have to play fair, don't we? I really don't think it's humanly possible to amass enough points to reach General, but I'm sure people play the game more than I do. I will miss my kick-ass ship designs, though. On the other hand, I'm just glad Incognito has managed to fix this major glitch and put everyone back on the same playing field, even if I will be thoroughly petrified to find a General in any ranked match. Heh.

Brief Personal Gaming Update

So obviously, I still play Warhawk occasionally, and I'm also in the midst of Halo 3 . I traded in Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 simply because it wasn't my style, but I'm greatly looking forward to Mass Effect and Assassin's Creed this month. Those two will take up the remainder of November for me, although I still want to try and finish Folklore . And I'm already starting to compile my Christmas list, which currently includes The Orange Box , Haze , and possibly Uncharted: Drake's Fortune and Unreal Tournament 3 .

Oh, and I downloaded and played the TimeShift demo today. It was pretty fun, but not something I want to spend $60 on.

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