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Himalaya Studios' Mage's Initiation - Kickstarter

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Hey, guys! Just wanted to share with you the news that a game I've been composing music for for the past while, Mage's Initiation: Reign of the Elements by Himalaya Studios (aka AGD Interactive), makers of Al Emmo and the KQ and QFG2 remakes, is now a project up live on Kickstarter! Mage's Initiation is a classic-style RPG/Adventure game with hi-res graphics. Also, Daniel Stacey wrote and designed it. There are tons of rewards and stretch goals with loads of content and swag. I was surprised at the amount of physical rewards, actually! Take a gander. There's lots of sample content to gawk at as well as some preview tracks from the game. Please check it out and spread the word if it's up your alley. See more at:

 

Mage's Initiation: Reign of the Elements Kickstarter

 

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http-~~-//www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=isHYeocsOj8

 

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The lone female appears that way in game...for a plot-centric reason. It's not just random art for the cover. Indeed, all of the characters have a place in the plot.

 

Lots of games that have scantily-clad females can claim this to a certain degree, that the look is just right for the character being portrayed. Funny how many of those AAA titles end up needing to work in such characters, isn't it? I'm sure it's very inspiring to teenage girls who play games -- at least the ones who look like supermodels and consider little strips of cloth to be stylish every-day attire.

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Yes, we get that she's in the actual game, not just box art. The actual game is much more significant than the box art, especially since more people will get a digital copy than the box anyways. All the more reason why I wouldn't want to be giving a copy of this game to a teenage girl (not that my younger cousins are teenagers any more, but you get the point).

 

I have no idea how much feedback you get to offer on story and art stuff (perhaps none) but it would be neat if you could work in a polite suggestion to avoid this sort of thing in future projects that aren't specifically intended for the Larry crowd. There was no peep from me about Quest for Infamy, because they made it plain that it was a not-for-kids twisted take on Quest for Glory; if this was intended to be the same, it was fairly hard to tell from the kickstarter page. This particular character who appeared in a couple places was the only clue, if so.

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I'm sorry, penguinfan, but the analogy to Larry doesn't wash. It's like saying women walking around on a beach in their bikinis are akin to working in a red light district. The character in question is an important part of the story, and in fact much of her "power" is gained from the way she presents herself. As for suitability for children (which I always envisaged as being 12 and up), it's by far more acceptable than some of what can be found on TV these days. There's no profanity. No sex (nor hint of it). The (combat) violence is bloodless.

 

Come to think of it, Princess Leia wore not a great deal more once. Hope the kiddies back in 1983 were okay. Are we okay?

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Heh. Thanks Frede. And I wasn't trying to come across as harsh or anything. I never imagined KS campaigns to be this full-on! We're naturally trying to produce a title which appeals to as many as possible, which of course means that few will be happy with everything. My hat is off to the Two Guys (there's my obligatory SQ reference for this thread!) and all the other project heads and teams for putting themselves through this process. Rewarding, yes. Exciting, definitely. But, in the mono-syllabic utterance of Keanu - "Woah."

 

I hope there's enough of me left to send to Europe in April. :)

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The character in question is an important part of the story, and in fact much of her "power" is gained from the way she presents herself.

Come to think of it, Princess Leia wore not a great deal more once. Hope the kiddies back in 1983 were okay. Are we okay?

 

When it comes to giving impressionable young girls (and boys) ideas about women's power, the former sounds way worse than the latter, unless the point turns out to be that trying to gain power by being physically beautiful and going around mostly-naked in public is generally a bad idea. I wouldn't recommend it even for people who can pull it off. If I recall correctly, Princess Leia was temporarily under control of a bad guy when she wore the metal bikin+skirt; her normal competent (if grumpy) self didn't go around trying to get by on looks.

 

I take it all of you here are old enough to not be as impressionable any more, so go ahead and enjoy whatever fantasies you like. Enjoying Larry games doesn't brand you as a woman-hater either, I have examples to the contrary ;)

 

However, it would be nice if game devs cared a little more about providing "family-friendly" stories that weren't *just* for kids. Lots of kids are really bright while still being rather impressionable to cultural forces. I have been planning to give a copy of Hero U to my bright young niece to play with her dad, assuming it does turn out to be suitable (ha, how could I forget about buying games for my niece? I knew there was a better example than my cousins now). This game looked like a close miss, which is why I was frustrated enough to comment. Even if the current game is too advanced for the devs to be open to feedback, perhaps they would consider making their future games more friendly to girls by leaving out the stereotypical scantily-clad female character (who is reportedly not a main character)? Seemed worth a try.

 

I'm going to try to avoid saying any more in this thread -- don't want to turn someone else's thread about a project they are excited about into arguments about more general side topics (whether games people play as kids actually influence their cultural views, whether using looks to gain power is a net gain for the people who can get away with it let alone those who can't, whether the costume is really in line with the bikinis typical girls wear to the beach,etc etc). I am sorry if the sarcasm I used in an earlier comment put people on the defensive; that was really not my intention. Just a clumsy attempt to get people to think about making games more suitable for pre-teen and teenage girls with minor alterations that would not turn the whole thing into a sissy girly game.

 

P.S. my reference to Larry was taken backwards -- I was trying to say that it would be stupid to assert nearly-naked women in Larry games are unnecessary since that's the *main point*. A standard RPG-ish game can be just as good with sensible armor instead of chainmail bikinis; whereas Infamous Quests might make it a key part of the story. Now do you see the point?

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@penguinfan - It's not even about whether the people playing it are "impressionable" or not. It's just absolutely sexist that every female character (bar some wonderful exceptions) appears to have her sexuality (cans) as her most predominant feature... all right... two features.

 

It's not just degrading to women - it's degrading to men. You're telling me and my gender that the only reason I will accept a woman is because she's fuckable. I find that deeply offensive.

 

As you can probably tell by my language and general demeanour, I couldn't give two cyber shits whether any game is "family friendly" or not. I would prefer it to just be "good". I'm not saying sex doesn't have its place, it's just supremely irritating that women continue to be defined primarily in this way. You can look at Joss Whedon's characters for how a fictional person can be incredibly beautiful and sexy, but defined by far, far more than how much of her cleavage is showing on the front cover of the box:

 

 

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I'm sure the young lady in the cover art is a rather smart woman, who doesn't define herself through her relationships with men and is an independent, well-rounded individual. But - hey - I'm judging a book by its cover. And the cover says "jazz mag". Is there a particular reason why she has to be so scantily clad, other than the fact that you've defined the target audience as priapic 35-year olds living in their parent's basement who cry themselves to sleep wanking over their highschool year books?

 

If you don't think women in computer games can or should be rounded people, you're an idiot. If you have a problem with someone pointing out the inherent sexism of this, you can go eat a bag of dicks.

 

Oh, I'll leave with Joss. For whom I now have a raging boner (because he's a sexy, smart individual, not because he gets his norks out).

 

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On a positive and on-topic note, the Kickstarter looks very professional, so I've no doubt they'll be able to pull this off. Not too au fait with the company and the people working on it, but I might check them out. Fantasy has never really been my bag, but it looks intriguing.

 

What I love most about these new games that are coming out/yet to be funded is that it shows that massive explosions and complicated FPS games are not what everyone wants to play. Plot, immersion, imagination and a bit of intellectual stimulation have their place too. While a classic adventure game may not give you hundreds of hours of replay value (although it very certainly CAN do) by putting in lots of "achievements" and "hidden missions", it can be far, far more satisfying.

 

I'll be interested to see how this develops.

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@penguinfan - It's not even about whether the people playing it are "impressionable" or not. It's just absolutely sexist that every female character (bar some wonderful exceptions) appears to have her sexuality (cans) as her most predominant feature... all right... two features.

 

It's not just degrading to women - it's degrading to men. You're telling me and my gender that the only reason I will accept a woman is because she's fuckable. I find that deeply offensive.

 

As you can probably tell by my language and general demeanour, I couldn't give two cyber shits whether any game is "family friendly" or not. I would prefer it to just be "good". I'm not saying sex doesn't have its place, it's just supremely irritating that women continue to be defined primarily in this way. You can look at Joss Whedon's characters for how a fictional person can be incredibly beautiful and sexy, but defined by far, far more than how much of her cleavage is showing on the front cover of the box:

 

I'm sure the young lady in the cover art is a rather smart woman, who doesn't define herself through her relationships with men and is an independent, well-rounded individual. But - hey - I'm judging a book by its cover. And the cover says "jazz mag". Is there a particular reason why she has to be so scantily clad, other than the fact that you've defined the target audience as priapic 35-year olds living in their parent's basement who cry themselves to sleep wanking over their highschool year books?

 

If you don't think women in computer games can or should be rounded people, you're an idiot. If you have a problem with someone pointing out the inherent sexism of this, you can go eat a bag of dicks.

 

For the first time in possibly my entire life, I find myself agreeing with Gareth almost completely. Yes, it's true that there is probably a great deal more to the woman on the game cover than meets the eye - but you would never know that just by looking at the game cover, because that's the nature of advertising. It's a first impression, it's telling you what you're going to be in for when you start this game up. When you slap a half-naked woman on box art, you are perceived as attempting to titillate to the young male audience, whether or not that was your actual intent.

 

It will be an incredible game, I'm sure, and I for one will probably play it. That does not change the fact that this particular element of the box art was in poor taste given everything else, especially the current state of the gaming market nowadays - as well as evolving trends in gender studies.

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Wow, all that buzz from a single post...And here I was thinking nobody reads what I spew onto this site every few months.

 

I read it! I don't click "like" on every post worth reading, only a few that are particularly insightful, trying not to "devalue" it I suppose.

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I do see your point/s, penguinfan. Hope you can see mine. :)

 

Right, back to the campaign... <pant pant>

 

I think so...

 

* this was not a conscious attempt to abuse the stereotype, "Hey what can we do to get more funding? Need more cheesecake in the box art!!"

* because examples as bad or worse abound in current pop culture, you guys were genuinely surprised that some percentage of real adventure gamers (as opposed to professional activists) would be disappointed

* running a kickstarter is super hectic, so coming up with diplomatic responses to criticism is extra hard right now

 

fair enough, but hopefully you'll eventually pass on this feedback to the team, to be taken into account for future projects. It seems fair to say that the appeal would have been broader if the Priestess had been written differently, since you've lost a few potential backers just among the gamers active on sqnet, while it is likely that all of your current backers would *still* be backing even if that character never existed. After all, most of them were enthusiastic Hero U backers too, and they didn't seem to mind the lack of beautiful tiny-bikini-clad characters in either the game or box art ;)

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Seeing as we've reached our goal (and surpassed it so far by over $8k!) you can now pledge via PayPal! http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2112639455/mages-initiation-a-classic-sierra-style-adventure

 

Another $1900 or so and we'll reach our first stretch goal!

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We're at $90,000! We've also got a demo you can try.

 

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2112639455/mages-initiation-a-classic-sierra-style-adventure/posts

 

The puzzles are lite so don't worry if it feels too easy. There's more coming. We're looking for feedback on the combat specifically as this is still alpha, but all constructive feedback is welcome. During combat you can use the mouse alone or WASD and a couple other keys as well. There are plans to make keys customizable as well. Check it out!

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