Tuesday, 5 May 2015

GAMERTROLL'S A-Z OF VIDEO GAMING: G IS FOR..

G is for..

Game boy - created for Nintendo by genius designer Gunpei Yokoi and released in 1989, The Game boy is the Mini-cooper of gaming handhelds. The commercial champion of all handhelds for as long as handheld game systems have existed, today's Game boy can be found in Various forms (2DS, 3DS, 3DS XL). It's easy to see how Nintendo have dominated with the Game boy's constant innovations, tactile stylings, perfectly partnered games and most importantly: the stupidity of their rivals. Quite why so many would-be rivals thought their 'portable' handhelds would be best used plugged into a wall, we will never know, but that's the Game boy's greatest success in a nutshell: Battery life.

Gunpei Yokoi - Nintendo employee for 31 years, attributed with the invention of the game controller D-pad and the Game boy. Retired shortly after the failure of his Virtual Boy project, but not before he contributed the incredibly successful Gameboy successor, The Game boy Pocket. Tragically, the following year (1997) at the age of 56, Gunpei was killed by 2 passing cars whilst inspecting the damage to his vehicle after rear-ending a truck moments earlier.

Grand Theft Auto - AKA GTA. In 1997 the Little known Scottish studio DMA Design (now known as Rockstar North) had a few projects on the go, GTA was thought of as the runt of that litter, but history had other plans. The Primitive 16-bit-stylings looked more like A.P.B. or SpyHunter, a real throw back when they arrived on the PSone, but they concealed and crucially facilitated a complex open-world game. Right from the start, GTA courted controversy with the wider media, legal and political establishments for it's largely user-created narrative of beastly behaviour. Consistently the leading example of it's open-world genre, GTA's transformation from the basic top-down graphics of the first games to the progressively staggering arms-war of detail found in it's 3rd, 4th and 5th editions is nothing short of miraculous. There are notable pretenders, but no other developer is daft enough to take the series on directly. The transformation from a quirky and popular franchise to the all-conquering blockbuster we see today in GTAV can safely be attributed to the creative direction of brothers Dan and Sam Houser. As the games have grown in perspective and presentational quality so has their cultural remit. Today, whilst it retains it's original gameplay values, GTA could best be described as a hugely ambitious satirical critique on contemporary U.S. culture. Satire is not a bullet-proof defence against criticism however and controversy still dogs the game at every turn. GTAV is currently the target of some strong rhetoric from a growing feminist movement in video gaming and still faces bans, both national and retail imposed in some countries around the world. 
*Reader footnote* Trivia fact about the GTA series: it was by accident that a game called 'Race & Chase' became the first GTA. There was an accidental glitch in the code that caused the police to crash into you. The developers loved the glitch so much they kept it in, this led to an entirely different game! Shouted out by +Ricky McMillan

Guitar Hero - the most successful and unlikely descendant of the 'Simon says' games and Parappa the Rapper, Guitar Hero rythm action games deserve credit not just for being top fun but also the progenitor of true musical learning experiences like Rocksmith, where plastic 6 button controllers have given way to plugging in real, off the shelf electric guitars. All that's going to be pretty expensive but even if you'd rather stick to Guitar Hero's arcade experience, you'll still need get your wallet out, because the increasingly poor on-disc line-ups will have you shelling out for some decent tracks the play around with.

Gaming - used to describe the hobby of growing and collecting phallic vegetables and hollowing them out to produce disposable wind instruments. Did you seriously expect Gamertroll to come up with a revelatory definition for gaming? Apologies, but thanks for the complement.

Gran Turismo - 'The real driving simulator' or so
the legend goes. A small team headed by Kazunori Yamauchi began work in 1992 on a project to recreate a real world driving experience. Gran turismo was to be the fruit of that labour, finally seeing release late 1997. The game was a runaway success selling over 10 million copies. The dye was set and from that illustrious beginning Kazunori's games have consistently been Sony's highest selling franchise and the technical yard stick against which all Playstation games are measured. Much of their success comes from the uncannily realistic visuals, attention to detail, sheer variety of cars and customisations offered. The appreciably modifiable handling model was an immediate hit with players and it's 'left foot braking' style is still noticeable upto the present day version. 18 Years have past since we first saw those clever, pseudo-reflections dancing across our favourite cars. It's no small feat that Polyphony Digital's work on GT7 still remains so key to Sony's exclusive release strategy. Like many great game series, Gran Turismo has been carefully improved by increments, but while many deride that conservative process the results speak for themselves. Kazunori Yamauchi started out recreating the world's most outstanding real-life cars so we could drive them in a virtual world: today all the major car manufacturers are beating down his door just for the chance to specifically design cars to be showcased in his game. GT is a perfect example of how the cultural phenomenon of video games can turn the world on it's head.

God of War - Based around ancient Greek mythology, Santa Monica Studio's QTE-infested third-person hack and slashers made a name for themselves not only for excessive gore and adult themes but also as an example of quality gameplay and graphical prowess. So far the series has been exclusive to Sony machines, always getting the AAA treatment. The first God of War debuted in 2005, a time where the PS2 had been technically outclassed by it's rivals and desperately needed a lift: Santa Monica Studio delivered on this brief in spades. So much so in fact, that it was hard to believe the PS2 was running it. Series protagonist Kratos, is the bastard son of the Gods, Ghost of Sparta and an unspeakably hilarious arsehole. Anti-heroes don't get much more fun than this, when you arn't twisting off the heads of Ancient Greek Gods over petty squabbles, you are engaging in track and field-style concubine bonking mini-games. Talk about knowing your target audience.

The GamerGate controversy - In 2012 feminist cultural speaker Anita Sarkeesian made the fateful decision to examine female protagonists and characterisation in video games. Her findings were hardly surprising as we've all seen Dead or Alive Beach Volleyball in action or the female costumes in well, almost any game really. When she sought to raise $6000 in a Kickstarter campaign to help production of her video series, Women Vs Tropes in Video Games, gamers might have been irritated by her right-wing feminist rhetoric, but of course they'd have to be thicker than a short plank with a dollop of shit on top not to see the basic truth behind her claims. That might account for the fact she smashed her campaign target, receiving in excess of $160,000 from supporters. Unfortunately this was not to be the only overwhelming reaction. Events took a daft turn for the preposterously pathetic when some elements of the gaming community lost control of the argument for everyone. Instead of being largely ignored in the background noise of dozens of other similar observational pieces, the growing notoriety of Sarkeesian's campaign increasingly drew the attention of thousands of gamers that actually were thicker than short planks sledge-hammered into fossilised dinosaur shit. They promptly proceeded to bombard her with thousands of gruesome insults, stalking attention, rape and death threats. Her subsequent public appearances were cancelled on multiple occasions by phoney terrorist bomb plots and even the threat of a shooting spree. Some individuals even felt the need to construct various images of video game characters raping Sarkeesian and one attacker made a primitive game innovatively titled, 'beating up Anita Sarkeesian'. Gamertroll suspects most of those feckless internet wankers were pre-pubescent 11-14 yr olds, but it's also important to note some of them weren't. Whatever the true demographic, it all played straight into Sarkeesian's hands. As did the dubious honour of being hounded from her home and having an FBI case file opened in a bid to protect her. Although other, similar figures such as Brianna Wu and Zoe Quinn were also targeted, nothing could have landed Sarkeesian's arguments more credibility at that time. She was catapulted overnight into the unenviable fame of being the first significant face of Video game feminism. 
Sarkeesian in effect, set out to find sexism and chauvinism in a virtual strip club, but she came away under a hail of misogyny so vehement that nobody could have anticipated it. As such, GamerGate signify's indefatigable proof that feminists like Sarkeesian have a valid reason to target gaming for their future attentions. Also see the entry for Feminism
If anybody who was involved with 'Gamergate' is reading this right now, nice work bonehead, do punch yourself in the bollocks from the rest of us.

Grinding - game slang. Also see farming, Only joking (apologies to those of you redirected here from Farming) In truth, the difference between Farming and Grinding is negligible, after all, one person's farm is another person's grind. Although Grinding a game to strengthen a character and/or amass resources can make for a tremendously compelling gameplay mechanic for the individual playing, it can often be described as repetitive and you most certainly wouldn't want to spectate on it. The term 'Grinding' brings to mind phrases such as the 'The Dailey Grind' with the connotations of a boring job, but it is better perhaps to consider grinding a game as working a job you like. Could Farming just be a term gamers choose to express a particularly enjoyable bout of grinding? Sod it, it's my A-Z: so yes, yes it could.

Glitching - Game slang, very similar to Cheesing, used to describe the act of exploiting malfunctions in a game's code to effectively cheat. This is widely considered taboo behaviour and the sole preserve of caddish bounders. Glitching players can be typically found breaking save and quit loops to duplicate items in RPGs, jumping and rolling at walls in MP shooters trying to find a way out of maps so they can fire back in on other players from positions of invincibility. The potential for the  dedicated cheaters is endless and it has to be said: only in video games could you find dedicated cheaters!. From day one of a game release, developers fight a running battle with these glitchers attempting to patch the holes they use to ruin competitive games for everybody else. Not all Glitchers are muppets however, the technique is also often employed by Speed runners to shortcut past large sections of games, in the name of sport and entertainment.
For the next step up, also see the pointless practice of Hacking where players actually mess with a game's code just to win. 
*There has been a recent development that blurrs the line between Glitching and Hacking. Incredibly talented Speedrunners have discovered how to enter rapid controller inputs which can actually break into and write commands into live game code. The technique has even been used to warp to the end game credits on the Snes classic, Super Mario World. It's hard to grasp the skill involved and it'll never be a concern for us, mere gaming mortals, but check this guy out)

Gunstar Heroes - released in 1993, this Megadrive/Genesis run and gun-style game was made by legendary development house Treasure. Easily one of that machine's top ten games, the side-scrolling platform shooter simply exuded quality, from it's detailed graphics and challenging gameplay, right down to it's fantastic soundtrack. The frenetic movement, abilty to slide, enemy grappling and set-piece boss battles made for impressive variety. It's truly baffling to listen to the magnificent sound that Norio Hanzawa managed to squeeze from the Megadrive's crappy 6-channel Yamaha sound chip. At the time it was equivalent to somebody picking up a rubber band and plucking out a flawless Adagio on it.

Gears of War - Epic Studio's finest creation, Gears of War wrote the book on how to craft cover based shooters. By choosing a cinematic 3rd person perspective, Creative Director Cliff Bleszinski arguably laid down the foundations for one of the last console generation's most enduring and celebrated licences. The acclaimed co-operative campaign is not the only feather in this series's cap however, these games feature a comprehensive selection of additional modes not least the long-serving cult favourite PVP games and the much imitated 5 player online 'Horde mode' first introduced in Gears of War 2. According to Raptor, Gamertroll spent 499 hrs playing Gears of wars 3 alone and there can be no greater praise for it than that. With the departure of Cliff Bleszinski shortly after completion of Gears of war 3, Epic Studios handed the job of making the 4th game, Gears of War Judgement to their junior studio 'People can Fly'. Despite a few interesting innovations like an assault mode, It was an unmitigated disaster, brimming with bad calls and painful mistakes. The backlash from series fans was severe and total, so much so that the new Gears of War game currently under production by Black Tusk studios rejects the previous game's very existence by naming itself Gears of War 4. Hopefully under the project stewardship of the original series stalwart, Rod Fergusson, the Game can bring the series back to it's previously lofty standards.

Game Gear - Sega's first foray into the handheld sector was effectively a handheld Sega Master System. It may have had a blurry display and pitiful 3hr battery life but this machine had a charm all of its own. A great game library, well-suited to the handheld helped immeasurably. It might not have had the power or backlit display of it's nearest rival, the Atari Lynx, but it certainly held it's own against it. Sadly the ill-conceived but excellent Nomad and later the Dreamcast PDA were it's only handheld Sega siblings. Needless to say, the Game boy would trounce them all.

Gaming Headsets - want to have Dolby 7.1 with chat optimisation and the ability to hear an enemy reloading at 30 paces? You're in luck because gaming Headsets have got you covered.  Fair warning though, the top headsets can cost you as much as a pony and a bag of hooves.

Golden Axe - Sega's legendary side-scrolling slash'em up featured a fantastic 2-player Co-op. Best played on the Megadrive, but available in perfectly serviceable home computer and 8-bit versions too. Spawned a swathe of sequels and spinoffs but make no mistake, the head-splitting, "bonk, bonk, (KICK!)" Gameplay of the first title is where the action is. Pick a brawny Barbarian, a Dwarf dressed like a green Smurf or a scantily armoured, sword wielding sorceress and off you went. The brutal combat, rideable dragons, catchy soundtrack melodies and imaginative locations made Golden Axe a surefire winner. Did Gamertroll mention that some levels took place on the back of giant mythical beasts like a turtle and an eagle? Gaming Gold. 

G-Police - PsOne game that really pushed the packet from a technical point of view. The gameplay nearly matched it's ambition and it was a perfect complement to Psygnosis's other, sister release Colony wars. Both games were to receive mediocre sequels. 

Game-trolling - Not to be confused with the more commonly known shit-witted practice of 'internet Trolling'. The gaming version of Trolling incorporates 2 distinctly different disciplines. The first is similar to internet Trolling and just involves insult hurling or 'flaming' associated with 'Internet hardmen' and pesky 'Squeakers' the world over. The second discipline is the interesting one. Have you ever had someone befriend you in Minecraft only to then destroy your architectural labour of love by transforming it into a penis statue once your back was turned? You just got trolled, gamer-style. Want to see how deep the rabbit hole goes? Type 'game trolling' on Youtube, you'll very likely laugh your ass off.

Griefing - The act of intentionally irritating other players for a sustained period of time. A losers bitterness can motivate this behaviour but some players will happily create a nuisance of themselves just the fun of it. Or a Youtube video. Also see Game-trolling.

Going Gold - the term used for the final pre-release milestone of game development. The game is supposed to be signed-off and the gold master copy is ready to be released for the purpose of manufacture. Some games go gold a week before, some with more strategic schedules can go gold way before we actually get them. Sadly it is becoming the norm for games these days to need massive day-one downloadable patches to fix all the stuff that has been found broken in the period between Going Gold and retail release. It's sloppy bollocks that curses gamer's with Hard Drives choked up with Bloatware, patches and hotfixes.

Gamertroll - A Troll that lives in a gaming cave and writes what he thinks about them on Gamertroll.uk. Not to be confused with the common internet Troll.


Click for other available A-Z letters>>>> 

A,B,C,D,
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Gamertroll Loves video gaming so much that the temptation to do an especially sarcastic and cynical personal version of it's all-time A-Z has proved too much to resist. 

It could just be the most fun ever or equally the most backbreaking task taken on since King James suggested having the Bible translated into Swahili. Time will be the decider because it's happening!


Either way, this A-Z is a mammoth undertaking and to start with at least, each new letter tackled will only have a frame work to begin 'fleshing-out' as other entries come to mind.

The plan here is to present a comprehensive A-Z featuring the most significant Games, Video game lore and Characters, Industry figures, Game companies and associated cultural phenomenon; whilst slotting in amusing 'did you know'-style Video gaming trivia and links leading to relevant articles and Reviews found elsewhere on Gamertroll.uk
 
Please feel free to point out, "Oi Gamertroll, you've missed a bit!"
If you want to add something you see missing or you simply can't believe that your favourite game isn't listed, post a comment below and Gamertroll will add it - with a credit should you so wish.


For example:
Command and Conquer - A.k.a. C+C, seminal entry into the top-down Real-Time-Strategy (RTS) genre. In the interest of censorship the German version of the game had tiny robots instead humans LOL! etc etc etc.
Shouted out by +Gamertroll dotUK


See? In that way you can attach your name to your favourite A-Z entry. Very much looking forward to your suggestions. (Please limit suggestions to Letters already published or Gamertroll's head might explode).

Note Gamertroll reserves the right to disregard entries not deemed relevant enough.