Ask Kotaku

This is a little experiment so bear with me! Every Wednesday at 11am we usually have 'Ask Me Stuff', but I've come to wonder if this isn't a little egotistical, and by the time I get round to answering the questions, other folks in the community have already answered them! I thought — why not change it to 'Ask Kotaku?' Of course, I'll drop by to answer questions as well, but if you want to just throw a question out there, this is the place...

Also — feel free to direct questions to me if you like, and I'll be happy to answer them* — I just thought doing things this way might make this post more manageable and flexible! Have at it!


    Something I got into a (semi-serious) argument over with a friend from high school:

    Asking someone out over facebook; Yay or Nay?

    I said it's creepy, she said it's fine... :|

      I've done it a few times, with mixed results. More of a reconnecting with someone rather than someone I could ask out in person, but was too cowardly. Also, I think I pegged it more as "hanging out".

        And by mixed results:

        The first time was the worst dates I've ever had. She would not STFU about her ex from seven years prior. We were 24! And the I found out the place she'd suggested was outside his work! I swear she was not crazy when I knew her in high school.

        The last time was with my current partner.

    I does Kotaku hire me?


      Allure Media was an awesome place to work. If they have a job going that you could fit, apply for it!

    Mark, I hate to be that guy again, but did you find out what happened to that JBHi-Fi gift card from the Rage competition? Five months later, and I'm still trying to convince my mates that it's on the way.

      Oh man, that sucks. They definitely exist though, I swear!

    Kotaku AU, do you sometimes find yourself being embarrassed by the antics of your older American brother?

      I just look at like the US does the boring nitty-gritty trawling for things to post to keep their quota which leaves Sir Serrels and Kotaku AU more time to concentrate on writing articles about things that matter.
      The big American brother takes the heat for the little AU brother to give him a chance to shine, so to speak. :P

    have you ever played Dwarf Fortress?

    I've just started to learn, I think its the steepest learning curve of a game I've ever played. Do you think the graphical clones (towns & a game of dwarfs) that have recently been released/about to be released are because of the difficulty and/or is there a market for a game like that?

      I'm not Kotaku, but I'll answer this anyway because I'm an outlaw. Dwarf Fortress is the most complicated, hardest-to-learn game I've ever played too, but there's definitely a brilliant game in there somewhere. I'm not sure about anyone else, but I'd gladly pay for a version of it with presentable graphics, some sound effects, and a friendlier, more intuitive interface. I'm not familiar with Towns, but A Game of Dwarfs is clearly banking on the "Dwarf Fortress, except penetrable" idea.

      I think there's probably a decent-sized market for something like this. If nothing else, a simplified version of DF would probably thrive as an iPhone or Facebook game.

    Im curious to know your prediction as to whether BLOPS2 is likely to sell like the metaphorical hot cakes or whether the series has well and truly peaked and this is merely a dying wheeze. Surely this current model of pumping out a repeat every year is running its course.

    Also, if you feel so inclined I would love to know whether your ps3 or 360 is getting more loving these days.

      I thought CoD was going to start dying off after MW3 wrapped up (I know BlOps1 outsold MW2 but I figure that's on the strength of the perfectly decent [email protected] and MW2) but this BlOps2 trailer has grabbed people's attention. I haven't seen it myself and was planning on skipping this year's Call of Duty, but I guess there's something there people want, aside from the fact that it'll inevitably be *the* multiplayer game you have to have because it's what your friends are playing.

      I don't think it will outsell MW3 though, which racked up something like 23 million units sold by the end of 2012. I don't know where it's at today.


    Hey Kotaku. Found some info and screenshots of the Wonderboy Collection and Alex Kidd & Co. for XBLA/PSN;


      I will buy Alex Kidd in Miracle World just to see if I can still beat it! HOLY CRAP THIS IS AWESOME.

      A full screen HD remake would be the balls.


      Dragons Trap was the best one :(

    Also contains the first official transalation of the Japan only MonsterWorld 4!

    Avengers, the movie is brilliant.

    Seeing as there has so far been no rushed out crap ass game to milk profit off, do you think we might get a solid Avengers game in the future?

      A video game based on the film was planned for concurrent release. The game was to be a first-person shooter/brawler for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Windows and published by THQ, with THQ Studio Australia developing of the console versions and Blue Tongue Entertainment the PC version. After THQ closed both studios, the game was cancelled. Intellectual property rights for an Avengers video game reverted to Marvel, which said it was exploring potential publishing and licensing opportunities.

        Ohhhhhh that's right I remember that. I think I'd rather a 3rd person, although that first person one did look pretty promising from those couple of videos that were shown.

    Why do you always choose headslam?

      Mark is Scottish. Scottish are angry people.

        My girlfriend is Scottish. 'Throwing the toys' is her specialty.

    Zou Bisou Bisou? (aka. Caught up with Mad Men season five yet?)

    Q1: Mark, what's the deal with Console only DLC or in some cases console first DLC these days, are the companies (M$ & Sony) trying to make gamers choose their branded console over the choice of PC gaming? There are some of us who choose not to own a console or simply cannot budget to have a console & a gaming capable PC, it really hurts when routes like this are taken.

    Q2: In relation to console first releases, in the case of Prototype 2, any idea why there is a 3 month gap between the console & PC release? Surely they would've been finished with the PC version & had it ready for distribution week or a few months ago, is this another tactic employed to make us choose a console over a PC?

      My assumption is that its to encourage multi-platform owners to buy that machines version. I have my doubts about how effective this is. Its rare for games to be THAT equivalent that the DLC becomes the main comparison. I usually choose PC or Xbox because I prefer the controls. Most people tell me they prefer Xbox live to PSN. I got Enslaved for PS3 because it was on sale at Heathrow.

        But in order to play the DLC, you actually have to have the game already... Wouldn't that suggest that the customers have already made their choice as to which system they're playing the game on? I find it highly unlikely that someone would buy ANOTHER copy of Skyrim PLUS Dawnguard just to experience the DLC earlier than the other systems...

          Well I know some people who own Skyrim on multiple platforms, so yeah...

          Usually these timed releases are announced prior to release. I admit that i find the lack of announcement in this case really odd, though most Bethesda games do have timed DLC. Myabe they thought people would assume it was the same for Skyrim.

    Three questions

    1/ Have you ever discussed the idea that open world games struggle with story driven gameplay? This is a particular dominant conversation in a lot of the Witcher forums when people try to compare it with Skyrim.

    2/ Have you ever looked into the Swedish philosopher, Nick Bostroms idea that there is a significant chance we are currently experiencing/living in a giant video game as part of his simulation hypothesis?

    3/ If the answer is no to either of these, would you be interested if I wrote something up for you?

      I think its much harder to produce a strong story in an open world game. The most effective example I can think of is the Fallout series, due to the emergent approach that story uses. I think the main issue is pacing - its always way off for me. Often I spend so long away from the main quest, I forget where I am up to.

        And I love Bostroms idea. I'd debate that its a proper hypothesis because as I understand it, its not falsifiable. But man, if it somehow were...

        Yeah, I was thinking of Fallout: New Vegas in particular as a good example -- mostly due to having BioWare-like party members with you. Kind of the connective tissue when between story points. I think it might have something to do with the fact that it takes so much effort to create a convincing open world that the story often is an after thought or atleast a little further down the priority list than a linear game. (Where the locations are built to serve the story instead of the other way around.)

        ... or something.

        Also, I feel that Bethesda are very good at writing short stories. Almost all of the side quests are more engaging than the main story. In many ways this is not a bad thing.

        In theory, there aren't any specific reasons why a game couldn't have both an open world and strongly driven gameplay, but I am yet to experience one. Fallout, Skyrim, Red Dead and GTAIV are all interesting examples where they have tried to up their game but in the end they have fallen short for a variety of reasons.

        Would you guys consider Mass Effect and ToR to be open world?

          Mass Effect I wouldn't consider open world. It's got a few branching paths where you can decide which locations to go to in whatever order you like, but each planet is still essentially a focused, linear hub. I remember exploring the capital wasteland in Fallout 3 and thinking it'd be so much better if there was stuff to do between towns. L.A. Noire had an interesting, story heavy take on open world too which I thought was a step in the right direction. (With some more refining and polish.)

          Most of the story telling in those games is very linear.

    Have you been watching Young Justice or Legend of Korra?

    If no, why do you have terrible taste in TV shows? :p

      He's probably whelmed by the aster that is "Hello, Megan!"

    OK, some of you know that I am travelling to visit my all time fav game developer next week. The company is Redlynx in Finland, creators of Trials HD and more recently Trials Evolution.

    If you were going to meet these guys, or more importantly 'your' all time favourite game developer, what would you do, what would you ask them... what souvenirs would you try and get???

      I would get them to write/draw something on me so I could tattoo it there permanently.

      Apart from that, take notes at the end of the day, even if it's just keywords. This helps you to remember all the details and you'll feel like you're there again every time you read your notes. This is something I learned from experience when meeting my favourite bands on the two 70000 Tons of Metal cruises.

        good idea (about the writing, not the ink!) Im actually hoping that I can make a video of the trip or something but I will take some notes for sure.

    Is Final Fantasy Versus 13 ever going to come out? And Type-0 in English as well?

    I'm going to Austria next year... and I was thinking of coming home via the Trans-Siberian railway (Moscow to Vladivostok) with a ferry to Japan and then flying home from there.

    Has anyone done anything like this before, and am I going to wake up in a bathtub filled with ice, missing a kidney?

    I read the original review by Bobby Hunter on Witcher 2. It wasn't a great review and the number rating at the end seemed extremely out of sync with even his negative points - giving a very dismal number far below anything else I have ever played (let alone loved). That said, my reaction was that I had a scroll through the comments section for a few chuckles and then closed the tab - likely never to return to that site again.

    I think we need to revisit what exactly the purpose of a game review actually is. I think the initial idea might be to give gamers an informed choice on whether or not they should purchase a game. But lets face it, the vast majority of people reading these reviews already own the game, played it and formed their own opinion. Why are they bothering to read a review of a game they've already played? I would say likely that they are simply looking for a confirmation of their own opinion, making it seem more valid to them. If the review of a game they like is bad, they take it as an attack on their extended identity and ability to build an informed opinion.

    I don't really have a solution to this - a lot of it is human nature. I think some of this reaction is in the hands of the reviewer. I very much doubt that a reviewer is unaware of the general opinions of a game they are reviewing - if you are going to go against the herd then it might be a good chance to acknowledge this fact and discuss why the positive points others have brought up do not resonate with you.

    Mark, I'm going to Scotland for two weeks (and then onto other parts of Europe, Woo-to-the-hoo)) this month - from your own experience, what's your favourite restaurant in Edinburgh and/or Glasgow and why?

    Kotaku, can you review (and I'll be honest - promote as a side effect, we need all the players we can get!) the minisculey multiplayer online game Track King, (you race horses/manage stable stuff/win money/trophies, it's free to play, but less Freemium than other freemium games, you can't buy your way to the top).

    I'll respectfully understand if you can't. It just pains me to see a good thing suffer.

    Does anyone know how to obtain a missing Catwoman DLC code? I bought a collector's edition of Batman Arkham City a few months ago but only recently opened it to find no Catwoman code was in there. The collector's edition should have come with a code, shouldn't it?

    I've emailed the address Warner supplied, but I get no response.

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