ARE YOU A DLC LOVER, OR HATER?

With the holiday season upon us, gamers around the world are eager to get their hands on the year end DLC (downloadable content) for their favorite titles. Whether Christmas themed or not, major updates are now expected around this time of year. Whether it be cosmetic updates, or gameplay enhancing additions, DLC has become a surefire method for developers to extend the life of their games while raking in the dough.

Some people revel in these updates that give their favorite games a long lifetime after their initial release, while others find fault in developers for holding content behind a paywall that could have essentially been free. It is a conundrum that begs the question; who wins from this DLC-friendly generation of gaming, the consumer or the developer?

HOW MUCH FOR LANDO CALRISSIAN??

HOW MUCH FOR LANDO CALRISSIAN??

Microtransactions are a form of DLC that are currently giving the concept a bad name. Take the newly released Star Wars Battlefront 2 for example; after being maligned by critics for having game affecting content locked behind a paywall, Electronic Arts decided to remove microtransactions temporarily.    Substantial gameplay enhancements were tied to loot boxes, and major characters like Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker were off-limits to those that didn’t buy them with real money. It was a greedy ploy, and EA is diligently working to remedy the situation that was obviously influenced by the Dark Side of the Force. (LOL)

NBA 2K18 has been plagued by its microtransactions since its release. Players must utilize virtual currency to buy almost everything in game; from tattoos and shoes, to more viable pieces like player stats and abilities. Since the virtual currency can be purchased with real money, the game has a pay-to-win philosophy that hasn't gone over well with critics and gamers. Both NBA 2K18 and Star Wars: Battlefront 2 have felt the appropriate heat for these gaffes, negatively impacting critical acclaim and sales.

Some forms of DLC have their place in today’s gaming. Fighting games benefit greatly from the DLC practice, as balance adjustments, gameplay enhancements, and additional content can be patched in on a monthly basis. Street Fighter 4 and Killer Instinct were the innovators of this practice, offering updates to their base game on an annual bases at a nominal price to keep interest and replay-ability strong. From new characters, to new stages and costumes, these types of core enhancements to a fighting game are now an expected part of their legacy.

THEY HAD THE INTERNET GOING NUTS...

THEY HAD THE INTERNET GOING NUTS...

Anticipating the latest DLC for established games has become an event in itself.  NetherRealm studios set the internet on fire with the character reveals for their third character pack, especially the inclusion of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It garnered hyper-renewed interest in a fighting game released months earlier, injecting a fresh revenue stream into an old game. Street Fighter 5, Tekken 7, Super Smash Bros and others have generated renewed interest in their games months and years after their initial releases with the spectacle surrounding updated announcements.

Older fans of the fighting game genre will be able to recall the  way fighting games used to be updated: with a fully-priced new release. Back in the day new characters for Street Fighter 2 were released in the Champion and Turbo Editions, and Mortal Kombat took advantage of the popularity of Mortal Kombat 3 by releasing Ultimate Editions and Trilogies. The last fighting game to utilize this method wasn’t even that long ago, as Capcom (supposedly) was forced to release a brand new disc for their updated Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami rocked Japan.

In order to get the best bang for your buck downloadable content has become a necessary evil within the video game landscape. There will always be those completionist type consumer, who will have purchased  Killer Instinct's season pass back in 2013 to play with the newest characters and enhancements upon their release. On the opposite spectrum is the jaded gamer, who was offended that classic characters like T.J. Combo and Tusk were held back from the original roster in in order to drum up interest in the second and third seasons of the game.

In the end, neither gamer is right or wrong; it’s your money, so dole it out as you see fit. It goes without saying that the completionist probably gets a lot more enjoyment out of his Killer Instinct than the jaded gamer, though. Season 3 was just completed in 2016, giving him 3-4 years of fresh gameplay for a few dollars more.   

THE SINKING IMAGE OF THE MIDDLE-AGED WHITE MALE

SPACEY AT HIS FINEST

SPACEY AT HIS FINEST

Has anyone else noticed the sullied reputation of older-white men lately? Pedophilia and rape consenting, out-of-touch and racist; the portrayal of Caucasian gentlemen over the age of fifty has taken a steep decline over the last few years.

My biggest disappointment of the lot would have to be Kevin Spacey. He was always portrayed as such a gentleman; a respected thespian representing some of the most captivating characters in cinema such as John Doe in SEVEN, or Verbal Kint/Keyser Soze in THE USUAL SUSPECTS. Now, at 58 his awesome career will be eclipsed by his sexual assault of an underage boy? Come on, Kevin!

Now Kevin Spacey can be lumped in with deviants like Donald Trump. Spacey is lucky that he doesn’t have the douche-baggery written all over his face like the Donald, though the recounts of his assaults portray him as a lewd pervert that took advantage of star -struck, young boys.  Not quite the definition of white privilege, but he definitely used his status to further his unwanted sexual advances which is a card you know President Trump would play.

Ah, the Donald; one of the biggest blemishes on the image of older, white males this decade. His finest accomplishment has to be his presidential bid and eventual victory. Donald ‘Freaking’ Trump, the picture of capitalism and ruthless business practices courts the working-class, blue collar, white males, yet he was literally given one-million dollars as a start-up fund from his father! How can they relate, aside from his bigotry and nationalism? If Trump had the opportunity to hire a skilled working class American, or a cheaper Chinese laborer; who’s the Donald going to pick? (A: CHINA)

trump grab em.jpg

The thing is, white guys have always been associated with ruthless, or 'savvy' business practices… just ask the Native-Americans, Africans, Japanese, Mexicans, etc. The corporate world is filled with stuffy suits and neckties thanks to the influence of European white males, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing in regards to uniformity. This whole commonplace practice of sexual assaults and payouts is a new age fire-storm, though, and it will taint the image of older white-guys for years to come.

From the aforementioned Kevin Spacey, to Harvey Weinstein, Mark Halperin, Jeremy Piven, Andy Dick, James Toback…it seems like casual sexual assault is the thing to do amongst 50+ white guys in a position of power. Let’s throw Donald Trump in with that list, since his habit of grabbing women by the pussy’ has got him in hot water as well. His reckless behavior didn’t affect his bid for the white house, but not every older white-guy can come out so clean on the other side of a scandal.

Jerry Sandusky’s 52 counts of sexual abuse against young boys from 1994 to 2009 got him a prison sentence of 60 years, and also destroyed the legacy of Penn State’s once vaunted football coach, Joe Paterno. Sandusky’s conviction in 2012 may have influenced other victims of sexual abuse by powerful men to be brave and expose their abusers over the next few years. I wonder how closely Rose McGowan, or the countless sharers of the popular #METOO movement followed the Sandusky case…

Older white-guys are like the guards in that movie SLEEPERS; when Kevin Bacon leads his co-workers on a romp of sexual abuse at a boy’s reform school. Those boys eventually grew up to be men with vengeance in their hearts, killing Bacon while he was having a lonely-man's dinner at a shabby bar. They went on to ruin the lives of the remaining guards that took part in their abuse, and the guards are so loathsome that the movie makes  you want to root for the killers, and the lawyers that conspire to sabotage the trial so that they can walk free.

CREEPY BACON

CREEPY BACON

I would like to think that the majority of older white-males would be the guards we don’t see in the movie. They are the ones that made the right decision to not participate in their co-worker’s sodomy and rape. But, this doesn’t mean that they weren’t aware of what was going on.

It would be sad to see an entire generation of older, salt and pepper haired, silver foxes be labeled as child abusing rapists, who dabble in pedophilia and sexual assault. No respectable human could have  remorse or respect for that type of scum-bucket. Older white-males need to start holding each other accountable for the good of their entire ilk, before they are generalized like the criminal African-Americans, or the illegal Mexican-Americans, or the terrorist Middle Eastern-Americans, or the number crunching Asian-Americans, or the drunken Native Americans, etc.