Last Week’s King and Kong (July 20-26): Championship Quality

Friday, July 31st, 2015

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Ben Gilbert | Last Week's King and KongSo, some people were upset over the fact that I didn’t Kong Business Insider’s Ben Gilbert for his assertion that Super Mario Maker was racist. This stems from an article that he wrote in regards to a representative telling him that the hand that appears on screen moving parts around couldn’t be changed.

Ultimately, I didn’t Kong him for two reason. One, the representative I feel is more responsible for passing on bad information to the journalist. If you had something that was going to be your big product for the year, you damn well better know it inside and out. Two, and more importantly, I think I would’ve thought the same thing as Gilbert when told this. Now, I wouldn’t have posted anything until getting confirmation from the Redmond offices, but I would’ve thought it noteworthy to talk about if it were true.

Could I have Konged him just for running with it? Sure… on any other week. The thing is, when you get someone sticking his foot in his mouth in such a way that Victor Ireland did, that trumps it.

And for the record, I didn’t Kong him because he said that his company self-censors. It was because he went above and beyond that on a site that is heavily anti-censorship and then proceeded to bash those that wanted a little Japanese flavor in their translated games.

Also, apologies for getting this out so late in the week. I promise to have this series out on a regular basis in the early parts of the week in the future.

With that, here are the King and Kong of last week. Take only as seriously as you wish.

KING

Honorable mention to ESL, the Electronic Sports League. They announced early last week that they will begin drug testing measures done in association with the World Anti-Doping Agency. Now I hear what most of you are saying: “What kind of drugs could possibly help you when you’re sitting down and playing on a computer?” Simple answer: Adderall. The medicine commonly used for those with ADHD — Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder — has been known to be abused in a number of fields, including the military, students looking for higher test scores, and professional sports leagues — both athletic and electronic. The reason for the use is that it helps people focus, which if you’re in a situation that you could benefit from a little extra focus, having something like that could come in handy — even if you don’t have ADHD — which is why ESL is looking to curb the use of the drug.

Fnatic - Kings | Last Week's King and Kong

The winning King of the week — or should I say Kings — goes to the European League of Legends team known as Fnatic. The team — consisting of Seong “Huni” Hoon Heo and Kim “Reignover” Ui-jin from South Korea, Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten from the Netherlands, Martin “Rekkles” Larsson from Sweden, and Bora “YellOwStaR” Kim of France — just completed the regular season of the European League of Legends Championship Series in the top position. Not only that, the team completed the season undefeated.

In case you are unfamiliar with how these things run, don’t worry — I didn’t have a clue to begin with. However, I did some research and, after learning of the format used and mixed it with the fact that this team has only two main players from the same country — and that country being South Korea — it is pretty amazing. Not only do they have to overcome the language barriers, but they have to do so in a winner-takes-all format, not the Best of 3 or 5 used in tournaments and playoffs. In addition, the team also had to deal with new AD Carry (or Marksman, for those that want to use the new term) Rekkles coming in mid-season, which bringing in a whole new language barrier could’ve spelled even more trouble for the team.

Although, given the other positive piece from last week, I wonder if I should also call them the LCS Kings of Adderall.

Oh well. Here’s to an excellent 18-0 summer season. And I hope you do well against the New York Giants in the playoffs.

KONG

Dishonorable mention to Chinese League of Legends player XiaoWeiXiao. The gamer was caught ELO boosting, in which he was paid so that gamers could be ranked in higher divisions of competition in LoL by squashing lower level gamers. He was apparently paid about $1400 per boost. And aside from the boost, the customers received a “Victorious” skin for a champion with said champion becoming unlocked if it hadn’t been already. Next time, if you want to ELO boost, just buy something by the Electric Light Orchestra.

Randy Pitchford - Kong | Last Week's King and Kong

But the big Kong of the week… Oh… Hello, Randy. Yes, Randy Pitchford, the retired professional magician turned video game conman — or is that video game developer, I haven’t quite figured that out — as he continues to defend the schlock he has peddled to the masses, particularly Duke Nukem Forever and Aliens: Colonial Marines.

The co-founder of Gearbox Software had an interview with Eurogamer, which was published just last week. In it, the interviewer, Wesley Yin-Poole, focused on a number of issues surrounding Gearbox, including questions regarding Aliens: Colonial Marines and the lawsuit that the studio was able to slip out of. Randy, on the other hand, seemed ready to fight.

Eurogamer: Specifically regarding Aliens, if we forget for a moment whether we like it or we don’t like it, a lot of people feel the game that launched was substantially different to the game that had been shown previously at trade shows.

Randy Pitchford: Yeah, games change under development, that’s true.

Eurogamer: I absolutely accept that, and the footage was marked as work in progress and that’s fair. What I’m curious about is why did this game change in the way it did?

Randy Pitchford: Which way do you want to talk about? Pick a way it changed. Do you have a specific example of something that changed?

Eurogamer: Yes! If we look at the E3 2011 gameplay demo for Aliens, there were certain graphical effects we didn’t see in the launch version.

Randy Pitchford: We need a laptop. We can’t do this.

Eurogamer: Oh come on. You must know what I’m talking about.

Randy Pitchford: I can’t remember every effect. I can’t possibly remember.

You know that point when you need to admit defeat and move on? Randy apparently missed that point two years ago.

But wait, there’s more.

Randy Pitchford: I liked it. And it frustrates the people who didn’t to hear me say that.

Randy Pitchford: It’s almost like they want to hear me say, yeah, it was rubbish. But it would be a lie for me to say it. I actually like, f**k, I like Duke Nukem Forever. I thought it was brilliant. I did! I know I’m not objective. But when I say that you should go, that guy’s clearly not objective. Why would you expect me to be objective? Have you ever seen weird, bizarre art you don’t even understand? The artist who created it clearly did it for a reason and loved it, you know.

Yes, which is why people are mad. This is not some new IP that has no history. This was a game that was created for a franchise that begin well over 30 years prior. And this game was supposedly canon. Which means it should’ve been more in the vein of what had been established in the franchise rather than feel like a generic FPS with an Alien skin.

You want to claim that it’s art? Okay, but then you have to answer for when the art you are trying to peddle as a licensed game doesn’t mesh with the art created by Ridley Scott, Dan O’Bannon, and Ronald Shusett.

By the way, I don’t think he’ll ever do this to us but just in case, that ellipsis there was just Wesley saying “Yeah,” and sort of brings to a head a part of the conversation in which he tries to get Randy to explain certain changes in the game.

There’s a lot more to this, which you may want to read yourself. Just follow the link here and check it out. Make sure you have plenty of time since it’s a long piece.

But before I close it out, I want to focus on two things. One, the choice of opening image for the article.

Randy Pitchford, Magician | Last Week's King and Kong

And that pretty much sums up what people feel about him. It feels like he’s doing one gigantic magic trick, making us focus on one thing while the gears and levers are preparing for the finish, which fell flat for both Duke Nukem Forever and Aliens: Colonial Marines.

The second comes from the article opening when someone wrote in that Colonial Marines was their favorite game.

“Typically, it doesn’t matter what the game is, the usual ratio is about three love letters for every one hate letter,” Randy continues. “The scale’s different. Volume relates to impact. So Borderlands, we get a lot more mail than, say, Brothers in Arms. But it’s usually about 3:1 positive to negative.”

Even for Aliens?

Even for Aliens, Randy says.

3 positive to 1 negative for Colonial Marines? I smell another magic trick. Somewhere in the universe are the many missing negative messages about the game. Either that or Randy magically made enough positive comments appear so that the ratio remained 3 to 1.

In any case, Randy Pitchford, for your next magic trick, how about a good game not named Borderlands? Or how about disappearing for a long time? Either way, you are this week’s deserving Kong.

Agree with the choices? Have your own opinions on King and Kong? Let us know in the comments below.

About Jeff Neuenschwander

Jeff has been a supporter of the website and campaign since the beginning. Joining in for E3 2012, he worked his way up the ranks quickly, making it to the Editing Manager post at the beginning of 2013. Jeff has a wide variety of tastes when it comes to gaming and pretty much likes anything that is quirky, although his favorite genres are Action, Platforming, and RPG. Outside of gaming, Jeff is a musician, being trained as a trombonist for Jazz and Classical music, and holds a degree in Sound Recording.