4K HDR TV’s

I’m looking at buying an HDR TV ready for when I buy an Xbox one X (previously Project Scorpio.) It soon dawned on me that there are a lot of things to consider that aren’t obvious when reading the average TV sellers website.

The ‘right’ HDR

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. In real terms it means that the black will be black the whites will be whiter, yellows will be yellower and so on and so forth. If you are looking to buy a 4K TV, this is something that you should be making sure it has.

It turns out that HDR comes in different standards. Although I haven’t managed to find a good guide online as to how the standards rank against each other, if you are buying an Xbox One S, Xbox one X, or PS4 pro, you should be looking to get ‘HDR 10’ as that is what the consoles put out anything less than that and you won’t be seeing the full benefit. Anything more and you will effectively be wasting your money for the time being.

Input Lag

I’m going to describe this using an anecdote. A friend of mine – a few years ago – brought a brand new 4K tv. It was a fairly high end and offered image processing to improve the picture quality for non-4K images. This is really great for upscaling, I don’t know, Barbara Windsor’s hair on Eastenders.

The problem is in the way that it works. The software that is used to improve the image takes time. It’s a fraction of a second in real terms and that will never pose an issue when watching something pre-filmed. It will, however, have a significant impact if you are playing on a games console. my friend hates his tv as when he presses a button, it has a little delay before the screen shows it. Many TV’s have a ‘Game’ setting that deactivates this, but many do not. It is worth while checking this before committing to a purchase.

All TV’s suffer from input lag of some description as it will always take time for the signal to travel along the wires etc. As this stat isn’t really recognised in the technical specs, I am using the following website to check. Take a look: hdtvtest.co.uk

Recommendation

Sadly, there is no standout TV at the moment. Last years Samsung 8000 series was certainly the one to get but has recently gone out of stock in favour of this year’s more expensive version.  If you can find one you should pick it up though.

Does anyone care if they are playing as a male anymore?

If the act of improving diversity in video games needs a motto, how about this: “I just don’t think that women should fight in bras on the battlefield.”

Paul Wedgwood, chief executive of games studio Splash Damage, was highlighting what he sees as absurd: women are sometimes portrayed in games ludicrously and inappropriately dressed for the situation they are in.

“We must not forget that we are entertainment,” he added.

“There’s nothing wrong with sexualising men or women, because that is called for in certain narratives and with certain casts.

Horizon: Zero Dawn“Just rarely is it necessary when someone is holding an AK-47.”
‘Splash Damage’ is an independent games studio that has traditionally worked on what are generally considered ‘masculine’ titles. Games like Doom, Wolfenstein and Gears of War.The studio were at E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) to promote Dirty Bomb, a first-person shooter in which you take control of a large cast of mercenaries deployed to a London ravaged by severe radiation.It’s a game that is being complimented on its portrayal of women.

They’re strong. They’re fearsome. They’re diverse. And they’re dressed… here’s the breakthrough… like soldiers.

Dirty Bomb

Proactive protagonists

Two years ago at this event, there was considerable uproar when it was revealed that the new Assassin’s Creed title would feature four playable male characters. Developer Ubisoft didn’t help the matter by saying that plans for a female character were shelved as developers would have to “re-do a lot of animation”.

Assassin's Creed: UnityFrom a purely numbers perspective, there are less playable female characters within games at this years E3. From a slightly different perspective though, more of Sony’s and Microsoft’s headline games feature female characters.Recore (Xbox One) features a heroine who calls upon several robotic sidekicks – named Mack, Seth and Duncan to explore a mysterious, isolated world.In Horizon: New Dawn (PlayStation 4), you play Aloy. She finds herself up against dinosaur-like robots with not much more than a bow, arrow and knife.
Mass Effect: AndromedaAnd Mass Effect: Andromeda (cross platform) appears to have a female character as the default, though you can play as a male if you wish. This is a little different from the others, as you have always had the option to play as a female in the franchise, but the male option has always appeared in the marketing activity whereas the female has not appeared in any. But do people careI have always had an opinion when I am playing a game, that I am not that immersed within the character. A great story can be told by being able to relate to the character. I don’t have to agree with the choices that they make, or being able to have their life choices aligned directly with my own.

What I am suggesting is that when I play Uncharted 4, I am not relating to an international treasure seeker in his 40, with a wife. I am none of those things. No-one is tricking my brain into believing that I could free climb like him, or that I would be as proficient with any gun I would happen to stumble upon.

The nature of the character does not really concern the average player. The thought that I may be playing as a female is not even a thing on my mind. I, like many others, will adopt the beliefs and skills of whomever they play.

This leads me to my conclusion.  Strong characters are the future of story. You may as well flip a coin if it is not relevant to the story. Anything that takes me out of the game is going to be a negative. If I have started to think “why is she in tiny clothes” then you have taken me out of the game, and failed to achieve what you are attempting to do.

There is nothing worse than being reminded you are playing a game, or watching the a film when you are enjoying it. The game itself is the last thing that should be doing that to you in my opinion.