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Games Inbox: Why are death threats so common with video games?

The Monday Inbox is not sure that Horizon Zero Dawn on PC is a good idea, as one reader is very pleased with Ring Fit Adventure.

To join in with the discussions yourself email [email protected]

Standard response
I just want to say how sickened I am at the news that Laura Bailey, who voices Abby in The Last Of Us Part 2, has been receiving death threats. And just one or two vague comments but super creepy, super personal threats about murdering her family and doing unspeakable things to her. Someone doesn’t like a video game and their go-to solution is to threaten to murder one of the people paid to read out a script?!

There is something deeply wrong with gamer culture given how completely predictable this was. I remember that poor little indie developer, making a cute little Pokémon style game, who also got death threats because the game was an Epic Games Store exclusive.

I realise it’s the anonymity of the Internet and all this happens in every other walk of life and entertainment field but the irony of making death threats against someone in The Last Of US Part 2, considering what that story is about is mindboggling. I don’t know what the solution is but I hope that Twitter and whoever allow some means to trace these people and make prosecutions because this has to stop.

To leave on a positive note I’d just like to say that Laura Bailey, along with the rest of the cast gave an excellent performance and I think them for it.

Comparative entertainment
Got to say I’m slightly concerned about the news that next gen games could cost £65. Hoping that physical copies will be cheaper because I don’t know that I could justify those prices.

I know I’ll probably be shut down, but I just don’t get the logic. Sure, I understand people will say development costs are up and video games have traditionally been the same price for a while. But just look at music. CDs used to be about £12 to 15, if I remember correctly. Nowadays, it’s about £10. And as for streaming. For the price of a £65 game I could subscribe to Spotify or whoever and have unlimited access to virtually every song every recorded for about six months.

Perhaps that’s unfair. Music costs far less to make. A better comparison would be film and TV. Films possibly cost as much as games to make, if not more. But yet I can go to the cinema for like £10 a ticket or less depending on offers. I can access hundreds of TV shows and films through Netflix or other streaming services for £5 to 10 a month. I get that the target demographic for these services is greater and can reach more people but seriously, Blu-rays cost about £15 new release. That means I could buy four Blu-rays for the price of a new game and still have a fiver left.

Imagine the production and development costs of all those films put together plus marketing, manufacturing of discs, etc. when compared to one video game. Not to mention the fact that loot boxes, cosmetic items, etc. mean games can be free to play and still be profitable.

GC: Physical copies won’t be cheaper, it’ll just be possible for shops to discount them. And the whole point of that article was that cinema tickets, Netflix, and so on have all seen price rises over the last 10 years, but games have not.

Computer daddy
This month is Sir Clive Sinclair’s 80th birthday, and no-one is celebrating it.

He is the pioneer of home computers, calculators, pocket TVs, and electric motors.

The Micro Museum in Ramsgate, Kent is hosting a month long event showcasing his inventions and how he defined bedroom coders, inventors, and collectors keeping his dreams alive.

The Micro Museum YouTube page can be found here.

The museum is non-profit and charges a small fee that covers their costs, run by husband and wife Mike and Carol Deer to display their collection with help from volunteers.


E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

Opening the bottle
I have to agree that Sony letting the genie out of the bottle with a PC version of Horizon Zero Dawn is a bit of head-scratchers. I just don’t see what they have to gain from it. Sure, there’s money to be made selling the game but at the cost of making their console suddenly seem completely redundant?

Microsoft has already made steps to give up on hardware with Project xCloud but Sony don’t have that at all. The PlayStation console has been all that’s been keeping the company afloat at times and risking it all like this seems like madness, because you just know that more and more game are going to make the jump now, and they’ll be getting more and more recent each time until both come out at the same time.

It’s not a bad thing for customers but like many things I think many will come to regret this decision when consoles are no longer a thing and Sony are reduced to essentially being a third party publishers.

Peripheral pleasures
I long ago when 100% digital, for the convenience and the fact that games are actually cheaper if you wait for the sales, but if there’s one thing I miss it’s box art. I know it still exists but it’s becoming less and less important and you can tell they’re putting less and less effort into it.

And while I’ll be as glad as anyone to see the end of loading, I’m going to kind of miss loading screens. As often they could be very iconic and memorable too. (Also, do this mean they’re going to get rid of the minute long stream of unskippable company logos when a game starts? I’d love to think so, but something tells me they won’t.)

Along with manuals a lot of the peripheral pleasures of getting a new game are going away now, replaced with day one patches and server issues. It’s all for the best in the long run, but I’m going to miss these little details.

Language Adventure
I’m surprised to be saying this myself, but I think Ring Fit Adventure may well be the best games purchase I’ve ever made! I’ve had it just over a week now and I’m already feeling the benefit. I don’t think I realised how much my body had turned to mush over the last few months with lockdown. The game genuinely makes exercise fun. It truly works wonders at keeping you motivated with its bright, colourful worlds, enthusiastic encouragement, from Tipp and Ring and a rewarding sense of progression.

Getting a new move takes on a whole extra level of excitement as you physically try it out to varied levels of success (the plank was not for me!). The Ring-Con itself is a brilliant peripheral, it’s really versatile and feels very sturdy. I especially love using it for the bow pull exercise whilst imagining I’m Link. I was surprised with the inclusion of the mini-games, which have all been great so far, and my quick go on the rhythm game was enjoyable too. I can see myself playing this game for years and hopefully becoming super fit!

Having worked their magic with fitness, I was thinking maybe Nintendo could turn their attention to some other daunting self-improvement activities. In particular I was thinking of learning a language. It’s been on my to do list for years but I really struggle to motivate myself. It may sound a strange suggestion but there were language training games on the Nintendo DS published by Ubisoft and Nintendo must have some expertise in the field to draw upon due to the extensive localisation their games go through. If Nintendo can make exercise seem so magical surely they can bring their talents to bear on this too.
Ryan O’D

GC: Now you make the suggestion it is surprising Nintendo has never tried that, as it does seem the sort of thing they’d be interested in. Maybe there was some sort of English language game in the early days but we certainly don’t remember any recently, let alone anything trying to teach English speakers.

Am I the only one has little interest or faith in a new Fable? The old games had a ton of problems and I’m not sure how you really make a new game that is good without it being completely different as well.

Are they just going to keep the combat ultra simple or will they actually make it more than just two buttons? Seems like an obvious decision but make it too complex and people will immediately start complaining it’s gone too far (dumbing-up?).

Just seems like a no-win situation to me and that they’d be better off going for a brand new franchise with none of the baggage.

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

All according to keikaku
The Reader’s Feature at the weekend about Nintendo’s approach to 2020 awoke an unwelcome thought in my mind. As much as I hate to admit it, I think they’ve actually been pretty smart.

The main difference between Nintendo’s radio silence now and in the past is that their software and hardware is continuing to sell. Every week, their games pepper the top 10 and I can’t remember a time when that’s ever been the case. Even during the halcyon days of the Wii and DS, it was predominantly Brain Training and fitness titles that charted week in, week out. Ring Fit Adventure aside, that’s not the case here.

Some of Nintendo’s success this year is no doubt fortuitous based on a worldwide pandemic. But even without that, I think they could reasonably have foreseen that Sony and Microsoft would start to divert their attention to the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. What additional value would Nintendo have gained by going hard this year?

They will need that momentum in 2021 when they’re going up against two new consoles and having more or less coasted through 2020 so far, in theory they should have plenty left in the tank. I don’t necessarily like Nintendo’s strategy this year but from being a disaster, it might serve them well in the long-term.

That is presuming they don’t once again manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
@craigherman (Twitter)

GC: You think all this was part of a plan? They had momentum already, why would they want to purposefully stop it?

Inbox also-rans
I’ve just noticed on Amazon that the PlayStation 5 has been listed. There is no price yet, just says unavailable, but seems to me Sony are getting ready to start pre-orders. Microsoft will be doing the same thing soon, all that’s left to say is next gen is nearly here.

GC: They’ve both got to start soon. The new consoles are due out in four months and are likely to be supply constrained from the start.

I think The Last Of Us Part 2 has some of the best graphics on the PlayStation 4! From cinematic to gameplay it’s so smooth. I get the delays for this game and really appreciate the hard work put into it. There’s scenes where you’re taken by how beautiful it looks, just brilliant.

This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Cranston who, inspired by the release of The Last Of Us Part 2, asks what is the best ever video game story?

No matter what kind of game it was, or when it was released, what do you feel has been the best story told in a video game, and why? Was the story the main element of the game or just part of the overall package? Did it work so well because of the script, the characters, the voiceovers, the integration with the gameplay, or something else?

How important is the story to you when playing a video game and how much do you care when it’s not very good? And how much do you put up with poor gameplay when it’s good?

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

You can also leave your comments below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.

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