The GeeksverseLeaving Proof 155 | The Occasional Digression

Leaving Proof 155 | The Occasional Digression
Published on Friday, October 26, 2012 by
Today’s order of business: A very important note concerning the future of trade paperback and graphic novel reviews on Leaving Proof. Also, I share a couple of custom desktop backgrounds for the PC and PS3 as well as a new video game-inspired mixtape.

Time’s Makin’ Changes

The original intent when I started writing Leaving Proof as a series of posts on the now defunct Kitty’s Pryde message board was to concentrate on reviews of trade paperbacks and graphic novels I’d bought for myself. In the 28 months since that time however, things have changed somewhat drastically with regards to my little Internet-writing hobby: Leaving Proof got picked up as a recurring feature for the relaunched Kitty’s Pryde site, I started getting digital “comps” for review from publishers, at some point I decided to stop writing behind my fifteen year-old web alias (“zuludelta”), and Kitty’s Pryde eventually spun off into the current Comixverse and Toyverse.

Well, changes are in the offing again.

The Comixverse and Toyverse sites are due for a major revamp and reorganization in the near future. We’re talking big changes here, although the timeline for instituting them isn’t firmly established as of yet. One of the first of many revisions that will be readily apparent to returning Leaving Proof readers is that starting next week, my trade paperback and graphic novel reviews will no longer be tagged and categorized under the Leaving Proof heading. They will instead be classed along with the site’s other comics reviews—the arbitrary distinction between my reviews and those penned by other site staff was a holdover from the days when all I was doing was posting reviews on a message board, something that no longer served a purpose once I became a regular site contributor. If you’ve been getting to the Comixverse trade paperback and graphic novel reviews through a bookmark or direct link to the Leaving Proof article hub, note that you’ll now have to go through either the appropriate links on the Comixverse front page (which is how these things are supposed to work in the first place) or the “Reviews” article hub to get to the ones I’ll be posting henceforth. All of my old trade paperback and graphic novel reviews will still be filed under the Leaving Proof category for now and the foreseeable future, though.

So what does this mean for Leaving Proof? Well, it will now feature more critical comics and entertainment commentary, relevant retrospectives, analyses of creative and industry trends, and the occasional, multi-topic “bloggy” digression like this one. Keep your eyes peeled for the new Comixverse—we’re all working hard behind the scenes to make the site better in all sorts of ways, and we hope you’ll stick around to see what we have in store.

More on Sega’s Binary Domain

The recent Leaving Proof piece on Binary Domain caught the attention of writer Antony Johnston, who had some good things to say about it on Twitter. I’m certainly thrilled to learn that he read the piece, with all the sites out there covering video games and comics, it’s nice to be singled out by a professional who works in both fields.

Binary Domain sold well in Japan, but met with disappointing retail sales elsewhere.

Still, even with the plaudits the game received from critics and the gaming community in the months since its February 2012 release, Binary Domain didn’t exactly set the sales charts alight, selling 220,000 copies for the PS3 platform, way behind the 960,000 PS3 copies moved by First Quarter 2012’s other “AAA” science-fiction game Mass Effect 3 (note: sales numbers current as of October 13, 2012). That gulf widens further when sales of the XBox 360 versions of the games are factored in: The XBox 360 edition of Sega’s game has racked up sales of 100,000 copies so far, while EA can lay claim to 2.5 million purchases of the XBox 360 variant of Mass Effect 3. That’s a staggering difference in performance between two games that—at least on the surface—share some similarities in genre and design. It’s made all the more baffling by the fact that, according to review aggregator site Metacritic, gamers rank Binary Domain significantly higher (7.8 based on 60 PS3 user ratings as of this writing) than Mass Effect 3 (4.3 based on 1,213 PS3 user ratings) on a subjective ten-point scale.

It can be argued that Binary Domain was perhaps hit particularly hard by an industry-wide economic downturn; consumer spending on video games for the first three months of 2012 took an 11% drop compared to the same period the previous year. Sega’s scant North American advertising efforts for Binary Domain—charitably described as “minimal” by some observerslikely also hurt the game at retail.

But those explanations alone can’t account for the wide difference in market performance between Binary Domain and Mass Effect 3. A recent Nielsen study revealed that many consumers overwhelmingly prefer to buy video game sequels over games featuring new properties, despite public calls from the media and game developers alike for innovation and new, original IPs. It’s perfectly reasonable purchasing behavior given the cost of buying games at retail and consumers’ limited budgets for entertainment; of course a gamer will be much more amenable to spending money on a new iteration of a game that he or she has previously enjoyed, as opposed to gambling on an unproven commodity. Additionally, we are in the tail-end of the longest interval between new home game console releases—the XBox 360 debuted in 2005 and the Wii and Playstation 3 appeared in 2006—and years of built-up consumer decision fatigue is perhaps making gamers more risk-averse with regards to their game-buying habits. This conservative approach to purchasing games doesn’t have to be all bad news for developers and publishers of games that introduce new IPs, however. For one thing, this consumer tendency might bode well for the sales prospects of a theoretical Binary Domain sequel irrespective of the original’s retail reception.

This is all a terribly roundabout way for me to segue into the observation that there isn’t a lot of official or fan-made media and content for Binary Domain. There’s no DLC whatsoever and I was fairly disappointed that there weren’t any Binary Domain desktop themes, wallpapers, and avatars available on the Playstation Store. Two quick Google Image Searches—the first using English terms, the second using the game’s Japanese title, バイナリー ドメイン—turned up only one fan-made wallpaper that I was really interested in downloading. In the end, I ended up making my own wallpapers, which you can download by right-clicking on the images below.

Binary Domain wallpaper (1920 x 1080), optimized for PS3 desktop use.

Binary Domain wallpaper (1366 x 768) originally intended for use with the Ubuntu 12.04 desktop, but can also be used with other systems.

The Mixtape

It’s been a while since we last did this, so here you go, a video game-inspired virtual mixtape:

  • Dan the Automator & Hieroglyphics – Don’t Hate the Player (from NBA 2K7)

  • Random (a.k.a. Mega Ran) – Splash Woman (I have to say this song, which uses a stage from Mega Man 9 as the basis for a tragic love story, is perhaps my favorite video game track remix)

  • Sleaze – A Link 2 the Past

  • Random (a.k.a. Mega Ran) and Lost Perception – AVALANCHE

  • Jake Kaufman feat. Mango Tango – Neon Jungle/City Streets 2 (from Double Dragon Neon; the full game soundtrack can be legally downloaded here)

http://youtu.be/nEANHnqiyrU

  • The Mountain Goats – Thank You Mario! But Our Princess Is In Another Castle!

  • Anamanaguchi – Airbrushed

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