Friday, December 31, 2010

Welcoming a New Year

I'm not the most optimistic person, but I'm going to attempt and go towards a positive outlook for next year. Because hey...it may be the last. XD

In all seriousness, there are some last minute things on the to-do list for any geek to help make the new year more enjoyable. And if you don't do them today, then at least do them tomorrow:

~ See Tron: Legacy. I'll post my review soon.
~ Suck it up and buy a Smartphone. They have begun to drop in price, with crazy reductions for holiday sales. Now is a great time to invest in one.
~ Play your Wii for at least an hour. Let it breathe some fresh air now before you put it back in it's box.
~ Got 33 minutes? Make your own lightsaber.
~ Pull that Mario costume out of your closet and run around the neighborhood for a few minutes. No one will mind.
~ Make your own list of gaming new year resolutions. Though I'm not in full agreement on Farmville.
~ Take a moment and laugh at the silly dialogue of The Old Republic.

That should take care of the rest of your day. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Live Free or Die Donkey Kong. Returns with a Vengeance.

At the rate that it has been going, the DK franchise seems to keep reinventing itself like Die Hard or Rocky. Or Madonna. But this is one that I approve of. Donkey Kong Country Returns for the Wii is a re-imagination of the original DKC for Super Nintendo. Released by Nintendo but developed by Retro Studios (Metroid Prime), it takes a lot of the good from DKC and gives it a nice facelift.

Positives:

It looks and feels just like the original DKC. If you are in my age group (24-30) you probably played DKC as a kid. So you know how huge DKC was. Back then, it was a breakout on the Super Nintendo. It was one of the first games to use pre-rendered 3D graphics. Today, it’d be a joke if you didn’t have that, but back then, this was huge. And on the Super Nintendo of all places! DKC Returns brings that same side-scrolling, 3D feeling back. The upgrade is the Kong can now interact with the foreground and background visa-vie barrels. Now the game doesn’t feel like a flat side-scrolling with pretty graphics.

The music is spot on. Very rarely I’ll boast about music in a game or movie unless it’s really good. DKC Returns will have you humming and whistling as you play. So many of the original soundtracks are back with, of course, upgrades. From the very first level, I knew the song and I couldn’t help but stop Donkey in his tracks and bop my head to the beat. Thank you for Retro Studios for keeping the classics a classic.

Using the Wii controllers, for once, isn’t a hassle. One of my issues with the Wii are the controllers. Unless you get the classic controller or plug in your gamecube one (assuming the game will allow you to use those), the standard Wii controllers can be finicky. Mario Kart Wii is a great example of this. If you’re not 100% on all of the time, Mario will drive off course in a flash. Retro Studios took that as a challenge to make a game to work with the Wii controllers. So much so that you can’t use anything BUT the Wii controllers on DKC Returns. The control scheme for DKC Returns makes sense. If you want to do the ground pound, move your hands up and down. If you want to do your barrel rolls, start running and use your Wii Remote to go for a spin. Motions and fluid and requires little effort to make things work.

Good platforming with some odd challenges. As the game progresses, it can become difficult, in a good way. It uses a similar progression system of challenge as DKC. The further you go, the harder it gets. If it becomes too hard, you do have the Super Kong mode to zip you through the end of the level. New challenges including grabbing onto walls and ceilings to surpass obstacles, dodge 3D objects in the background such as a giant octopus or large tidal waves, and the like. It’s a good progression on the challenges Donkey has had to overcome to get his bananas back.

Negatives:

No Underwater level. I’ll leave it at that.

You can’t play as Diddy in single player. To elaborate, Diddy Kong is there and you need Diddy to access hidden puzzle pieces, Kong letters, and what not. However, Diddy is an accessory. You can’t do the buddy swap like in DKC. He’s just there. And it’s lame. Now you CAN play Donkey and Diddy in two player mode, but again, they are restricted to first and second player with no switching.

Donkey’s jungle friends are no where to be seen. With the exception of the Rhino, everyone else is noticeably absent. Even the Kong family is missing a few members, such as Candy. Cranky Kong is still around to act as shop owner, but the rest are sadly MIA. They would have added more dynamics to the game if Retro took the time to add them in.

The Cranky Kong shop. As one of the features in the game, you can buy items such as extra life balloons, hidden level keys, and extra hearts using banana coins found strewn about the island. Aside from the balloons, everything has a one time use that you have to equip, and you can only equip one thing at a time. Bought that extra heart? Great. It’s only good once and you better hope you find enough coins in that level or you can’t get another. And don’t forget to equip them! This is one feature that I disliked. Mostly because I want to play just like DKC and not have to worry about equipping items. So by the time I was halfway through the game, I had a stockpile of hearts stored up because I kept forgetting to equip. I just want to play the game! If you’re going to give me an extra heart, tack it on to all of the levels.

Bottom line: It will make you feel like a kid again. Ignoring the no underwater levels, no Donkey/Diddy switch, and no jungle friends, this is one hell of a flashback that was worth the wait.

Monday, December 27, 2010

10 Things I Have Learned From Video Games

To make up for the absence in posting due to the holidays, I have made another list! I realize that this has been done before, but this is my personal list. There is no order to this. Just 10 things that I have learned in my life thanks to video games. From the simple to the insane.

(Katamari Damacy) If I were given a giant ball and asked to roll up the world, Europe and Africa would be good places to start because they have a lot of small countries. And if you are going to ask “Why not the U.S.?” then shame on you for not playing Katamari and not knowing basic geography. The U.S. is a country. The 50 states don’t make up countries, and Katamari understand that, so it’s a giant hunk of land as one piece that can’t be picked up until you can get Brazil and Canada. Starting with the smaller countries makes it easier to pick up the bigger ones. And of course, once you get Russia, you can go into outer space. So I guess that’s really 11 things I have learned from video games.

(Any space-themed game) Sometime in Earth’s future one of the following will happen: Earth will be taken over by aliens and colonize the planet with their race, Earth will be blasted back to the medieval era by aliens, or Earth will be on the verge of destruction by aliens.

(Any game featuring a woman who isn’t a mom) Less clothes = more armor. The strongest female character will be the one wearing the tightest and/or skimpiest outfit.

(Any MMORPG) If you look to an area that has a lot of people or shiny objects, you may find that time will slow down and your vision blurs. (Lag ftl)

(Final Fantasy) Sleep is essential to living. That’s why you can sleep at any time of day regardless of where you are in life or how critical the situation is. Like, about to go stab the most evil creature in the world. You can always take a moment to have a nap…at pre-designated towns of course.

(Metal Gear Solid) If you crouch behind a tiny box or stand in a semi-shaded corner, people walking by will never see you.

(Resident Evil) While we all may worry about the zombie apocalypse, the reality is if a virus-induced zombie bites you, you’re not going to turn into one. However, that doesn’t make them any less annoying. Don’t forget to double tap!

(Grand Theft Auto) Cars don’t require gas. “The man” just likes to keep us down and make us believe that we need gas to run our cars. Greedy bastards.

(Dragon Quest) Smashing pots is not only good fun, but you can pick up gold, herbs, and other random goodies. Sometimes horse manure and cow patties. I wish I were kidding about that one.

(Frogger and almost every Nintendo game) Water will always kill you. Avoid water at all costs.

Hope you have enjoyed and a happy holidays to all!

Friday, December 24, 2010

I Hate 3D

Today was suppose to be a fun day. I'll be picking up my brother this afternoon to surprise my parents with his holiday return before he has to go back to work on Monday. And to kill some time before mom is home from work (we all rarely get holidays off together), we were going to go to the movies and see Tron. I have searched every movie theater in the area. Guess what time the first non-3D showing of the movie is. Go on. Guess. 3:45 in the afternoon. Seriously? You have to be kidding me. There aren't enough people out there that would choose the normal, non-3D version over the expensive, wallet-breaking 3D one? There's one theater here that is only having one daily showing of the non-3D at 7:45 pm. -_-

I hate 3D. Can we let the fad die out again and go back to our normal 2D viewing? Thanks.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

It's the holidays!

Which means I'm being lazy. XD It'd help if news wasn't being lazy either. So I'm rehasing stuff.

How to play your Kinect in Japan!

Was the fuss over FFXIII worth it? I think it was.

Sony is pushing 3D down our throats.

Chrono Trigger reboot for mobile phones!!

Enjoy the holidays! I'll try to be more alive next week.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's Another Sunday

I don't know if it's me being lazy or lack of any decent gaming news, but this is a throw-away entry. I'll try to come up with something more...thoughtful next time.

In any case, here is a re-post of Kotaku's most recent Shop Contest. By far one of their best. Ripping on Neil Patrick Harris after his "performance?" at the Spike random celebrity party (aka the video game awards). Happy Sunday!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Whatever Happen to Those 360 Faceplates?

I'm still amazed that it's been 5 years of the 360. Time sure does fly.

Recently OXM interviewed Albert Penello, marketing director at Microsoft, for a look back at 5 years of Xbox 360 Accessories. Including the faceplates. To put it simply, the idea didn't take off. Penello compared the faceplates to the cellphone plate fad back when the 360 was released. Everyone would change up their phone whenever they could. This was back before the IPhone and the Blackberries and when very few phones would take pictures, let alone video. Back when we had faceplates on our phones. Now I'm really starting to feel old. But because the 360 faceplates didn't take off, they died out pretty fast. Though several companies still market them for bonus items with pre-releases.

I personally think that the faceplates didn't work because a lot of them were crappy and didn't match the system. Why on earth would you get a bright red and pink flaming skull faceplate to go on your white or black system? Nothing matches! "But you can get the matching skin." And gunk up my system with horrible sticky tape? Pass. The only faceplate I have is the one from Final Fantasy XIII for pre-ordering the limited edition system. Guess what? It's not on my pretty black 360 because it doesn't match...It'd be nice if Microsoft made multiple casings with different designs so it's not limited to just the faceplate and stickers.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mass Effect 2 on PS3 the "True" Vision

With Mass Effect 2 making the move from Xbox 360 to PS3 this January, of course BioWare is going to talk about how pretty and awesome the game is on the PS3. It's a no brainer. PS3 has better technology powering it's system. Duh.

"One of the first things you've going to see is improved graphics. We actually created the engine for Mass Effect 3 and used that to make Mass Effect 2 PS3. So we took the content, the story and all the other assets that made up Mass Effect 2 and put it into the Mass Effect 3 engine. And that's what we're actually delivering" says PS3 producer Jesse Houston.

While Mass Effect 1 will never be released on the PS3 (it was published by Microsoft after all), BioWare has created an interactive comic in ME2 that tells the story of the first title. Another aspect of concern is that you could merge ME1 with ME2 on the 360 to continue the story. Well guess what? That interactive comic will give you the same choices as if you were playing the original ME1 and will impact your game of ME2. Way to think BioWare. Way to think.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dreamcast Collection Is A Go...If you didn't know that already.

Back in November...
About a month ago, the geniuses at GameStop marketing and their web team put up a Dreamcast Collection on their website.Which they proceeded to take down about an hour later. Good job guys. I'm sure the people in Customer Service adored you all for the rest of the week after that move.

Well GameInformer has officially announced the collection (funny that it's the GameStop magazine). Sega's executive vp has compared the compilation to the Ultimate Genesis Collection that was released earlier this year. It'll be a disc chock full of Dreamcast favorites.

"The Dreamcast fans are very devoted. You see on eBay people are still buying the games and system. We actually have a Dreamcast collection coming out soon. We are looking to bring some of the old Dreamcast games to market digitally and packaged. The titles are still to be announced."

Crazy Taxi will probably not be one of those titles, as it's available on Xbox Live for download. But the collection will be made available for the PS3 and 360 systems. My guess is that it'll be Jet Set Radio, Echo, and Space Channel 5. Not to overlook Phantasy Star, but let's be honest. They won't put an RPG on a collection disc. We'll probably see Q*Bert over that.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

You Can Stop Feaking Out About Uncharted 3 Now.

Good lord. Ever since Spike's VGA's, or whatever the hell they call themselves these days, people have been pissing all over themselves on the interwebs over Uncharted 3. You all do realize that it won't be out for at LEAST another year, right? But in a wonderful effort to rub it into everyone's faces that you're not famous enough to get to play a demo, here's Jimmy Fallon playing Uncharted 3:






Patience is a virtue. No reason to piddle all over yourselves.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Vacation Over?

World of Warcraft Cataclysm,
after the patch that ends the world.
When you're sick in bed, it feels like it is.

But wow, a lot of news has went down since I've been gone. So let's start with what's going on today. WoW expansion pack. Blizzard has their numbers in. Cataclysm sold 3.3 million copies within its first 24 hours of release. That's a lot. A lot a lot. The sales beat out the previous expansion, and all other WoW sales, Wrath of the Lich King at 2.8 million. Clearly WoW is still king of the Western MMO's.

Final Fantasy XIV subscribers have been given an unlimited trial period, for the time being, until the developers can work out the problems. An email was issued Friday, 12/10/10, to subscribers outlining changes in the developer lineup and what to expect. Most importantly? No fees until they clean up the mess. Not a bad trade off. It does, however, push back the PS3 release of the game until an undetermined date. And they have taken the Final Fantasy XI director (as the game has had a recent revival of activity) and moved him to XIV and removed Sage Sundi. It's an odd mess. But, for all of the crap we might give SE, at least they are being open and honest about screwing up and wanting to fix things. Good for them.

Playstation 3 owners will get a treat if they pick up the new Mortal Kombat game. Kratos! While not available in story mode, he seems like a good fit for the MK universe. Though granted, he's killed a few gods, so how they are going to dum down his power while keeping him cool is a challenge.

Media Molecule sent out another batch of LPB2 beta testing codes. However, the emails all contained the same code, which of course led to massive rage. MM is fixing the issue, but that's a big whoopsie. Someone forgot to merge the excel sheets with Outlook before sending out the emails. >.>

More Resident Evil 3DS pictures are out. And they are pretty. I don't know how they got this pretty. My little DS could never look this good. And if this is really the final outcome, I might need to cave in and upgrade.

Final Fantasy XIV
Because it wouldn't be a news roundup without a random story, a man stole several gaming systems from a hosptial on 12/10. Systems that were meant for cancer patients to play while they were recovering in the hospital. Theft at a store is one thing. But at a hospital? Are you really asking for a fastpast to hell? And the genius looked dead square in the camera while doing it. Hopefully the man will be caught. On the positive, EA and the Halo team have sent packages to the hospital to have those stolen items replaced. Which is nice and all that. But the cynical side of me is thinking that EA's PR team is loving every moment of this. Anything to make themselves look good!

Michael Washington is suing Rockstar claiming that his likeness was used in GTA San Andreas. Who is Michael Washington? He's known as Shagg from Cypress Hill. One of the other guys in the group. I can admit I didn't know who he was either. It really seems like he's grasping for attention. He's wanting 25% of the profit made by Rockstar and the publisher Take-Two, which is around the sum of $250 million. Good luck with that. Take-Two's response is a great summary of the situation:

"The Company believes the lawsuit is completely without merit and will vigorously defend itself in the matter."

Oh, and Spike's silly video game awards were on. If anyone cares. I was having more fun watching paint dry.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Today of All Days

So I woke up this morning to check my e-mail only to find out the Firefox has completely crapped out on me. I've spent the past 5 hours attempting to determine what was wrong because the only thing Mozilla can suggest is that I have a horrible virus on my computer. Which isn't the case after the multitude of scans I went through. What a fantastic day this has been. Submitted a report to Firefox which I won't be able to read until I'm back home. /sigh Great way to start out a day when you have to fly. *shudders* Anyone happen to have a link to a previous version of Firefox? I get the feeling that if I go to an older version it'll work totally fine. Not that I don't NEED my bookmarks or anything to pay bills. *rolls eyes* (Before anyone says anything, no I'm an artard and never did a bookmark backup through Firefox directly. However! I did make a copy of the bookmark file so that if Firefox works again I can easily restore everything).

Technology is an evil bastard sometimes. Anyway, I'll be MIA until the 13th so don't get too lonely. >.>

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

TSA Invading Your Kinect!

Thanks to Rooster Teeth and Mega 64 I will now never feel comfortable with getting a Kinect. >.>

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"The Jungle" is entering consumer test phase.



I was hoping it would be a joke. But apparently it's not. Those who have registered to test the product received an email from Panasonic that testing will begin soon. It's been confirmed by the Tokyo company that it is indeed a legit email and legit testing. For anyone who got the email congrats and enjoy your new gaming system that plays nothing! XD

“We know other companies out there have traditional hand- held gaming covered,” as stated in the email. “We’re doing something very different.”

While the device will have a touchpad and a keyboard, the main focus will still be on online gaming. Again, I don't know how an online game can work on a hand held portable being powered by Linux, but if that's what Panasonic wants to waste their money on, so be it.

Monday, November 29, 2010

You Know When You're Getting Old...

Director of The Empire Strikes Back, Irvin Kershner died today at the age of 87. George Lucas commented on his passing and looked at Kershner as a mentor.TESB is still considered a fan favorite as one of the best movies in the Star Wars series, and it was with Kershner at the helm that it became something great.

Kershner also directed the James Bond film Never Say Never Again, Robocop 2, and S*P*Y*S.

And just yesterday Leslie Nielson, best known for his roles in Airplane! and Naked Gun movies passed away at the age of 84. His career is best known for comedies, but he had a pretty stable tv lineup in the 1950's as a dramatic actor. Both of these men helped to define the action and comedy of the 1980's.

I don't get the nitpicking

Pixelninja is one of the finest cosplayers out there (Swedish and Japanese apparently makes for a great visual combo). She's best known for her Samus/Metroid costumes, and she unveiled her new Gravity Suit this week. Kotaku being Kotaku posted up a few of the pictures from her website, and she could easily pass as the real deal.

And then you get all of the unecessary comments.

"The bangs are wrong. /nitpcking"
"Knees are too sharp."
"Her hair/face looks nothing like Samus"
"Costume = win. Face? Not so much."

Are those comments really necessary? That is an awesome costume that she made by herself and she's a beautiful woman. I'd hazard a guess that all of those postings are from people who don't even know how to thread a needle. 

If you're going to hate, put your money where your mouth is and prove that you can do better. Otherwise, keep your mouth shut and appreciate the costume and the cosplayer for their effort. 

Sorry. Ranting there, but I'm getting so sick of random people hating on costumes when they show no appreciation for the craft. If you can't do any better, then zip it. 


Not the post I intended today, but needed a moment to rant.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday Musing ~ Or "Why I don't like to discuss the Spike Video Game Awards"

I was asked by a reader to comment on this because I haven't given any coverage over the Spike Video Game awards. So to Mike C from Colorado, here's the reason:

I remember wayyyyyy back in 2003 when the awards first aired. I was excited. Finally there was something that was semi-official and recognized the art of video gaming. It was a moment for gamers to be proud of their hobby and show the world that this could be a legitimate form of media art.

What won game of the year? Madden 2004. Between the bad game choices, the hosting, and the random celebrity concoctions (who would put Jamie Presley and members of the WWE in the same room? For that matter, does Jamie Presley even know what a video game is?) it was a horrible excuse of an award show. The first year of the MTV movie awards and video music awards were a million times better then the crap Spike threw together. Best Animation: DOA Beach Vollyball. Best Music: Def Jam Vendetta. It became a man show of who had the biggest boobs, the biggest explosions and they would win an award. It killed all hope that I had for a video game award that was somewhat serious. And I get that there are a lot of games out there that don't take themselves seriously. But for every 10 that are crap, there are 2-3 that are really good. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater >>> Madden 2004. (Yeah it came out that long ago. I was surprised too when I saw the list of 2004 games and wondered "why were none of these listed?" Devil May Cry 2, Panzer Dragoon (Xbox), Beyond Good & Evil. So many better games then Madden.)

And the show hasn't evolved since then. It's still about who has the biggest boobs and the biggest explosions because they'll win. Oh, and it's 98% U.S. developers. Very few studios from Japan or Europe or anywhere else in the world are ever accepted. Just check out the 2010 categories. Your best bet for non-U.S. studios will be the Wii games. Even then Donkey Kong Country Returns was developed by a studio in Austin, Texas. So U.S. studio, boobs, explosions, and you have a winner!

Not to mention the general tackiness of the show. It's a means of promoting new video games, misappropriation of names/dates (infamously Samuel L. Jackson misnamed GTA San Andreas as GTA2, and some display cases had the game listed as GTA3, and then there is Halo winning best shooter when the game was released nearly 2 years earlier and should have put the title out of contention), and clamming up to "celebrities." That's it! It's a flashy show with no substance. A popularity contest with no real meat. I'm still not even certain how voting occurs. Supposedly it's all based on online voting by the audience, but that's only for a very select number of categories (usually no more then 2 with one being Most Anticipated game). A quick google search and I couldn't find much information and there's nothing on the Spike website that would lead me to believe that there is a fair system in place. So it seems like there are 5 guys in an office somewhere at Spike who pick 5 games they think are "cool" for each category and just pick a winner? There's not much else I can go by with so little info. And yes, I did check the website to see if I could vote but it didn't give me any options until I got to Most Anticipated game.

For an award show that touts itself as being a video game version of the Oscars, they failed miserably in that aspect and I don't have the stamina to give them a second chance. Nothing can compel me to want to sit though garbage like that again. Oh, and Jersey Shore cast members on the 2009 show. That loses all credibility right there.

So there you go. Hope that was the answer you were looking for. Or at least an answer. XD

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Now THIS is how you hack a Kinect.

Forget that Wii system. Throw away that Wiimote and Nunchuck. Because if you want to play Mario, this is how you want to do it:




Silly right? Granted it's buggy, but it seems like it would be a lot of fun to try. Keep in mind that the original Mario games were in no way designed to be played on a Kinect. But the concept is fun none-the-less. Here is hope that this gave the Mario crew something to think about for the next installment!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Survey's Galore For The Old Republic

For anyone who signed up for the beta within the past year (for me a year and 6 months ago) you may be receiving an odd looking email within the next few weeks asking for you to take a survey. The survey is a means of determining who will qualify for initial testing, but it is NOT a beta invite. (People see beta and they start wetting themselves. Learn to read before you click on stuff!) Because we're all paranoid of things from the internet, I'm sure we've all been trying to research the company involved to make sure it's legit.

So far it seems like it is. It's from a company called Frank N. Magid Associates, Inc. established in 1957. They have a long history of working with businesses to provide surveys to employees and customers. It's no stretch of the imagination that a gaming company would use a survey to weed out some of the random people who applied for beta testing. Blizzard did it for World of Warcraft many moons ago. The survey doesn't ask for any identifying information. It'll only record your email address tied to your SWTOR account when you clicked on the link. It doesn't ask for name, address, phone, password, or a credit card number. It's just asking how often you play games, genres, and the like.


Though Bioware hasn't said a word of it in any of their articles or random forum announcements. Which is a wonderful way to make your customers sweat it out in fear that their information may be misused. >.> Though if you read Biowares privacy legal jargon, they bascially have the right to send your email info to a third party company for testing opportunities. Honestly, this looks fairly legit after researching the company, checking and rechecking the web link in the email, and having it scanned by a multitude of spyware and virus scanners. As I said earlier, they don't ask for any personal information that would force you to give up credit/ss numbers. It's a pretty harmless survey.

When you complete it, your answers will determine if you are eligible for the first round of testing. This does not guarantee you a beta invite now, nor does it remove you from a future testing date. So don't get all jumpy and think that just because you took the survey, you'll get an invite. In actuality, it'll help to dwindle down the pool of applicants, which will then be toned down even more by Bioware, more then likely. But, the email does read that if you don't qualify for this round of testing, it doesn't mean that you won't be able to get into the future testings. No news on when testing will officially begin, but it is assumed it'll start in December.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Black Friday Duty

A lot of games released last year are on sale. Not so many of the newer ones. But if you're cheap and have been waiting to buy Beatles Rock Band, well now you can for $14.99. Here's a full list of websites to find your Black Friday cheap:

http://kotaku.com/5694231/these-gaming-deals-are-insane

http://www.cheapassgamer.com/?f=2267
http://www.blackfriday.info/category/video-games-black-friday-deals.html
http://blackfriday.com/categories/computer-and-electronics

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

WoW After The Patch That Destroys WoW.

Because it peaked my curiosity, and can provide oodles of educational material for interactive entertainment and social composition, I decided to go back to WoW and see what the patch to end the world was all about.

Running around I remember a lot more then I should have about the cities, locations, which mobs spawn where and would kick my level 1 ass, and the look of WoW. Other then a couple of NPC’s being switched around, no more warp portals (Mage’s are going to be making a killing in that), and a couple of new doors…I think I’m missing something. But I poked a few of the higher level people and they were just as confused. Nothing about the game had really changed.

So I ventured outside of the main cities and made my way to Lor’danel, outside of Night Elf hometown. And that’s where you’ll begin to see the changes. A lot of the landscape has really changed. Aside from the burning/charred forests and the broken buildings, pathways that were once safe are now disjointed. You’ll find yourself stopping at an edge of a cliff and see a 30 foot drop to a small stream below, which may or may not break your fall. So of course you either drop down and die, if you’re super low level like I was, or run around into all of the things that want to maim you. I ran to a few areas, but by far the wooded areas of the western continent are going to be the most obvious in the destruction/changes. You’re not going to see a whole lot of damage in the major player cities. But some of the cities have expanded to keep up with the player base.

This is quite an experiment Blizzard has embarked upon. I can’t think of any other MMO that has gone so far as to taking out huge chunks of it’s realm to create something new. I’ll be curious to follow this for the upcoming months to see how it affects gamers socially and psychologically.  



Monday, November 22, 2010

WoW Patch To Destroy The World!

Not our World. The WoW world.

If you've been living under a rock, the new World of Warcraft expansion pack, appropriately titled Cataclysm, will be available in a few weeks. And if you really haven't been watching any media, the trailer shows the world being destroyed. It's pretty fed up.




I may not be the biggest WoW supporter, but I did play it for a brief time. I get why it's popular and I understand that this is a pretty big deal. I'd probably feel crushed if SE were to release an expansion pack that destroyed my hometown in Final Fantasy XI. This is a bold move for Blizzard. After 6 years of WoW, the entire world is going to be torn asunder and reborn. Starting tonight.

In an oh so cruel twist of fate, the expansion pack really isn't going to end the world. The patch being released today is. The expansion pack, according to designers, is meant to introduce new races, a new level cap, ease up on job/race restrictions, and add new content. Blizzard has given everyone a free week to come see the fireworks, including those with old/lapsed accounts. And if you're a first timer, you have the 10 day freebe trial. From a social/educational stand-point, this is a pretty big deal. Blizzard is destroying a world that 10 million people have spent a good chunk of their lives living in. And now it'll be taken away. I had a long time friend and avid WoW fan get emotional that he'll be losing his in game home. Ball is your corner Blizzard. What do you plan to do with it?

Cue all the bad YoutTube videos from fan's using R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)".

Halo Movie Is Really Happening. Maybe.

Many moons ago, Microsoft was working with Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings) on making a Halo movie. Which subsequently fell through and gave life to District 9. I don't know if it was a good trade off, but there you go.

It's been a discussion for years amongst fans and Microsoft staff members alike. The biggest concern I hear the most is who will be Master Chief. Because you gotta have the right face (sort of) and the right voice. If you don't have the right voice then forget it.

The movie was put on hold in August of 2009. And it's been in limbo since 2005, if you want to be realistic about it.

And then last week at a conference, a man from Microsoft named Frank O'Connor said there would be a Halo movie. Quite frank about it. Why was it held up? Lawyers. It boils down to Microsoft owns full control over Halo, including any products and licensing. Much like George Lucas owns full rights to Star Wars and was able to make gobs of money from all of the products. And why Hollywood is still kicking themselves for it. Whoever took Halo under it's wing for production wouldn't make any money from the product. That's why lawyers were involved.

There is no when, where, how, or who, but they seemed pretty persistent on making a Halo movie. Good luck.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Another Bookstore Getting Into Gaming

Books-A-Million, mostly based in the midwest and the third largest book chain in the country, is getting into the gaming business at some of their retail locations. But not just any games. Used video games, a market dominated by GameStop, which BestBuy, 7-Eleven, and other retailers are attempting to jump in to get a piece of the pot.

As with GameStop stores, the selection of games at a store is completely dependent upon what their corporate office sends them, or what customers trade in at that location. So don't expect to see the same game at multiple shops. This news comes after the retailer had a slump in their sales recently, as with a number of book businesses. Books-A-Million also announced an expansion of their toy, movie, and electronics department (visa-vie a reader alla Kindle). Games are unavailable online at this time.

Having never been to, or seen a Books-A-Million, I don't know if this is a good move for them or not. But hell. 7-Eleven is selling games. Let's have everyone else do the same.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Oh Foxconn. When Will You Learn?

Between the rash of suicides and Foxconn attempting to clean up it's image, rumors are that a protest has been going down at the Foxconn offices in China over low wages.

A few workers spoke with press outlets stating that there was a protest with at least six-seven thousand people walking the streets of the office complex. Employees were asking for higher wages and against a relocation of their positions to another Foxconn megaplex.

A spokesmen for Foxconn denied that there was any organized rally/protest. Instead he has stated that a few individuals have expressed concerns and declined to comment on how many were involved. Some workers have stated that anyone caught protesting would be threatened and potentially fired. One worker has claimed that the monthly wage at Foxconn is 1,100 yuan (roughly $160 in U.S. dollars), and the protest began as it was not the amount promised by the company.


Amid the scrutiny of the world, Foxconn is in need of a massive image overhaul. Treating their employees well wouldn't hurt either.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

So Many Silly Stories

I don't know where to begin!

You know those WoW Authenticator that looks just like the SquareEnix security token for Final Fantasy XI? Well someone swallowed theirs. And then proceeded to ask for help on the WoW forums. And let the insanity ensue.

Portal 2 is being delayed to April of 2011. For those who didn't see that coming, slap yourselves in the face.

Pirates of the Caribbean will soon be sent into LEGO land to join other franchises such as Star Wars, Batman, and Harry Potter. No dates listed/announced, but it is sure to be along the same line of good-ol family sillyness.

John Lennon's Imagine album will be available on Rock Band 3 as DLC starting next week. Which is enough to make me want to go out and buy the game right now.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

And Yet ANOTHER First Amendment Case

This one strictly courtesy of EA. Thanks once again EA. >.>

Sometime last year, former Arizona State quarterback Sam Keller sued EA for using a likeness of his and his friends images in their EA Sports college titles. Their names were not used in the game, due to NCAA  regulations that prevent college athletes from being involved in such projects and making a profit from them. However, it doesn't meant their some form of their likeness can't be up for grab. Now that Keller is an adult, he sued EA for using his likeness without his permission. Another football player in Rutgers sued last year as well for the same issue. With media conglomerates, PR firms, and actors all weighing in on this topic, it has grown into a bigger issue. It's not simply about video games using someone's image, but rather First Amendment freedom of speech.

EA recently appealed the case with their lawyers stating that the outcome could easily re-write the rules over how much ownership a public figure has over their image. Not just in video games, but in television, movies, news print. Even as far as Fashion Police on E!

This is the real question that this case is attempting to resolve: When should a person’s right to control his or her image trump the free-speech rights of others to use it?

It's a gray area for the Supreme Court. EA is claiming that the right to free speech includes using athlete's images. While Keller's side is claiming that the video games in question were created as a means of profit and should not be entitled to the same First Amendment protection. Who's backing EA? Well the MPAA, ESPN, and Viacom, the biggest of the biggest in movies and television. Though Keller has the Screen Actor's Guild, a series of players unions for professional sports on his side as individuals wanting more control over their image.

It's a topic begging for legal guidelines without infringing on First Amendment rights. If people are giving the ability to copyright their name and image, there would be a giant chunk of the entertainment industry kicked out of business. Think about tabloids, entertainment shows. Even that one show on CNN that talks about celebrities would have to be removed. Though I agree that EA is a money machine and makes products purely for profit (because isn't that what everyone does when they want to sell an item?), I'd have to side with them on this issue.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

National Opt-Out Day

Apologies that this isn't a post regarding gaming or anything geek related. But it's an issue I've taken up and felt a need to release the thoughts spinning in my head. 

For those living in the U.S. the TSA has been adding more Advance Imaging Technology scanners into airports (roughly 450 around the country) and have changed the "pat-down" guidelines. The AIT machines are bascially full body scans where you can see butt cracks, genitals, bascially every curve and detail of your body short of hair follicles. If you're selected for a random screening, you have the choice to go through the machine or do the "pat-down." The machine is, understandably, faster. According to TSA, the machine will scan your body. There is a computer that projects the scanned images in another room, behind closed doors, where a TSA employee will view the image for any weapons you may be hiding. TSA also states that the images are erased once the TSA agent is done reviewing them.

The new "pat-down" is anything but. Instead of using the back of the hand, agents can now use their palms and fingers. They are allowed to rub along your inner-thigh all the way up to your genitals. As one agent said "until your hand can feel bone along the thigh." So for most people that would be right at your crotch. Even me and my 110ish pound frame, that's right at the privates. Agents are also now allowed to be more aggressive on chest groping, for both men and women. TSA says it's suppose to be between the chest and under the bust. However, some individuals have reported agents were groping them with intent.

Honestly, I'm disgusted at the new rules that have been put into place. I understand that the government is doing it for the general protection of citizens in this country. But let's be blunt. They are bascially letting themselves be bullied around by a small group of extremists/terrorists and allowing them to win. We should be fighting back and saying "No. We're not going to change our ways and we're not going to cave in." Instead, the government is making out every man, woman, and child of this country to be evil and allowing for every portion of our body to be visually and physically assaulted as if we are all criminals until proven innocent. That's not how to stand up against terrorism. And, needless to say, the new methods still haven't been preventing bombings and plane hijacks (though still safer to travel then by car!) If anything, it's encouraging people to become more crafty at how to circumvent the system. Good job government.

For those interested in learning more, I'd recommend visiting the National Opt-Out Day website. On November 24th, one of the busiest flying days of the entire year, this individual has suggested to everyone that is flying to Opt-Out of the AIT scan and the "pat-down". If you have to go through the "pat-down" make sure to request to have it done in public so that everyone can see just how invasive the procedure is. Don't allow for them to take you behind closed doors where you are at greater risk for more thorough "patting". Let the public see how horrible the "pat-down" is so more and more will stand up against it. And I urge everyone to get in touch with your state's senator and voice your concerns. Tomorrow there is a hearing for this issue in which many of the populous states will be attending including California, Texas, and Florida (3 of the top 4).

Personally, I don't like the idea of dropping $500 for a plane ticket to be visually, mentally, and potentially physically assaulted. Twice if you are going round-trip.  I know that this isn't the airlines faults. It's strictly the government regulating air travel. And because of this, I won't be afraid to boycott flying as much as it would hurt me to know that people from airlines might be losing their jobs over this. Passengers and employees of airlines are going to be hurt by these changes.

Make your opinion known! Get involved and send an e-mail, call, or write to your senator.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pandemic In Memorium

Do you realize that it's been a year since Pandemic was closed down by EA? I know! A year already? Time flys.

So a look at what Mercenaries 3 COULD have been has cropped up on the interwebs. Just a word of warning: the video is very much early stages of production. Dialogue was clearly done by some of the staff members in the office and the cutscene is a series of storyboard drawings. Otherwise, it looks like an enhanced version of Mercs 2. With robots.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Not A Bad RE Fan Video

I had a really good one that I was going to post that was a parody of Resident Evil with some of the major characters living in one house. But I can't seem to find it on YouTube nor can I remember the name of the troupe that made it. /sigh If I find it, I'll post it.

Until then! Here's Stephen Colbert talking about Nintendo's attempt to trademark "On Like Donkey Kong." Not a crazy idea at all Nintendo.

Edit: Found it! 




Apparently googling the words "resident evil fan film youtube gross cake episode one" was the trick. The audio in some places is fuzzy, I won't lie. After about 3:12 in, turn up the volume so you can hear the dialogue. Episode 2 should be up in the next month or so.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Kinect Didn't Cost Microsoft Even $60 To Make

This is all I'm going to say. F you Microsoft and your $150 price tag.

Ok. That's not all I'm really going to say. But reading that the Kinect only cost roughly $56 to make, that's a giant slap in the face to the consumers. Microsoft will be making just under $100 for each Kinect sold (not including retail fees...I'm going to estimate that they probably sell each Kinect to retailers at $129.99-139.99 with a requirement that the item sell for $150 at stores. I'm making this estimation based off of how hardware is generally sold to retailers, having worked at such a location and seeing the numbers a multitude of times. Hardware tends to sell to retailers with a higher price due to low returns. Otherwise systems would cost $100-200 more. However, games are cheap to reproduce on discs, so it's easy to sell low to retailers with a higher dollar value pinned on the customers. ) Way to stick it to your customers.

Now the article does point out the benefits to such cost effective technology designed by PrimeSense Ltd, Texas Instruments, and an array of other companies. It can make future products, such as picking a movie from you DVR, a simple wave of the hand at an affordable price for just about anyone. That's the good. The $150 price tag is the bad. Now I see why Microsoft was ok with spending $500 million on marketing.

Is it wrong that I'm hoping there is a massive slide in sales and this becomes a Black Friday/Cyber Monday/Christmas Eve doorbuster deal for $79.99? I will laugh meniacially.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

...I don't know what to say





Poor Mario and Luigi. I don't know what is wrong with that kid...the last thing I would do if I lost would be that.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

DKC Returns with Super Mario Brothers Wii/Galaxy 2 Features

Remember in Super Mario Galaxy 2 you had that option in the game that made the computer beat really challenging levels for you? DKC will be getting the same treatment.After dying 8 times within a single level, you'll have the option to turn on Super Kong mode, which will allow Donkey to be controlled by the computer to finish the level where you failed. The difference from Mario is that you can turn off the Super Kong. So if you're having trouble getting through a small area, you can easily turn Super Kong off to go back into normal play mode.

Super Kong is only available in single player mode, so no two player cheating. And like Mario Bros./Galaxy 2 anytime Super Kong is on, you won't receive any of the bananas collected.

Some other changes: anyone remember in the original DKC that you could swap between Diddy and Donkey with ease? You can't do that anymore. Though Diddy is packing quite the punch for any second players that jump into the game. However that strategy element in DKC that required you to determine when to use Donkey and when to use Diddy has been reduced. On the plus, in cooperative mode, Diddy is able to take control of the show. He doesn't have to wait on Donkey to activate a platform, shoot out of a barrel, and collect items. The second player gets a chance to be involved in the game.

There is still that countdown timer if you fall off of the screen or fall behind, you'll reappear next to the leader after 5 seconds. And a lot of the same faces will reappear. Still no underwater level. Lame. But it appears that the developers are bringing DKC back to life from it's SNES beginnings. The game looks like an updated version of the SNES title. It brings back a lot of my childhood memories. Release is November 21st and I can't wait!

Monday, November 08, 2010

My Only Kinect Post In The Past Week

Still not attracting players in Japan. Not surprised. The system is still in the pitts in Japan. The 360 was solely meant for Western gamers. Now if Microsoft were smart, they could have marketed and sold ONLY in the U.S. and Europe, therefore gaining demand in Asia. The keep-away marketing method. It works! >.>

But instead we get to look at the sad pictures of no one going near the 360's and Kinect in Japan.

Though the author of the article brings up a very good point, and it was something I was discussing with a friend of mine yesterday. The demo space shows that you need a large spot to use the Kinect. Unlike the Move and Wii where it is feasible to use in small quarters, due to the sensors on a controller. Since Kinect requires you, the person, to be the controller, you have to take up a lot of area to get the full effect. So think of Tokyo, New York City, even LA where there are a lot of small apartments. There isn't enough space available in one's own home to make use of the Kinect. So why drop $150ish on it if you can't use it?

I think Microsoft didn't hit the right market for Kinect. They were going for a family setting like the Wii. But because of the technology, it needs to be a family with a large home in the suburbs, not the gaming crowd that lives in apartments (where the bulk of their consumers are). Something to think about.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Want a gaming job in DFW? GameStop won't be on your list.

The Dallas Morning News published their annual top 100 companies to work for in the DFW Metroplex. The survey is conducted amongst 50,000 employees from all branches, everything from lawyers to your local laundromat. So it's not just about the company's earning power. It entails benefits, pay, work flexibility, ethics, education, how you feel about your boss, and everything in between.

And that's why GameStop didn't make the list. Sweet sweet justice.

For those who don't know, GameStop started in and is based in Texas, the Ft Worth area in particular. The company has had a slight profit increase in the past quarter due to the release of Halo Reach, Playstation Move, and most recently the Kinect. But profit /= a better work environment.

So to any of the GameStop employees, or former employees, that filled out the Dallas Morning News' survey, thank you. Your honesty will always help to keep GameStop on the ground floor. XD

Saturday, November 06, 2010

What Do You Do With A Dead MMO?

Pick up the pieces and sell them off, of course! With All Points Bulletin (APB) out of commission, several publishers have expressed interest in buying a piece of the license. Most recently Codemasters Online and APB's detailed character customization system. Which I would argue is still one of the best that I have seen to date.

But they were quick to dismiss the rumor that they were interested in buying. They're not.

However, they do agree that the technology should be preserved and that if, given enough time, someone were to buy the rights, a good game could emerge from the ashes. I still blame EA, but it's good to know that people out there do see that APB was a good idea. It just needed more time before release.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Random Assortment

Again, not talking about that thing that came out this week. Since EVERYONE has been talking about it. So news is a little light. Random assortment time!

A look behind Foxconn! The place where there was that rash of suicides, and are makers of fine products such as the PS3, Xbox 360, and iPhone. Not even a day after Gizmodo's article, another worker has died at the plant. As much as the company says they have been improving work conditions, it doesn't appear a whole lot has changed.

SE has acknowledge that FF14 needs some work. At least they admit it. Now they just need to work on the problems, that an extra month of free play won't fix. If anything FF14 has helped me to appreciate FF11 even more. I've decided to not renew my subscription to 14. 2 weeks into an extra 30 days of free play and I haven't touched the game. I'll go back once they implement new material. But until then, it's just a level grind.

Congrats to the world's stupidest thief! In Japan, a young man broke into a car and stole a PSP along with a few games (retail value around $170).  He then in turn went into a local store to try and sell the items. The store clerk, thought the PSP looked familiar, walked out to his car, and found that it had been broken into. Yep. The thief attempted to sell the PSP and games back to it's owner. Needless to say, he was arrested.

And what wouldn't be a random assortment of stories without a video clip. Courtesy of The Daily Show and it's quick quip about the Supreme Court case of video games. It even has Ira Glass in a catsuit. >.>

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Not Talking About Microsoft Today, instead Pokemon!

No, Lego Pikachu is not a new Pokemon in Black/White.
The Pokemon crowd has been taking Black/White super serious this time with not allowing images to be leaked to the West. They've even threatened a website with a potential lawsuit for copyright infringement on allowing images of the new game (which is already out in Japan and EVERYONE knows about it) to be uploaded. Super cereal you guys.

Well the Japanese are not impervious to the arm of the Pokemon law. A man was arrested this week for posting images of the new Pokemon game before it's September 18th release date. Even though video game magazines have had the same images a few weeks in advance and had already published them online. >.>

I think these guys are being way too sensitive about the situation. It's Pokemon. It's still a big seller. People are going to find out about all of the new Pokemon before the game's release. It just happens. So let it go. There's no reason to punish the western fans when the Japanese have the game in their hands and are posting pictures online. There are even videos on YouTube! Just let it be before you start alienating people.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

In Other EA News...

My they have been busy this week.

EA's release of Medal of Honor last month didn't meet quality expectations, but by no means do they think the game is a failure. The game did sell at over 2 million within it's first month of release, which is fantastic by all accounts for games these days. The concern is that the reviews have been middle of the road. And I don't think the "opposing force" controversy helped win them any votes. But I think the video from Eurogamer really shows how the quality of the product greatly differs between platforms. EA is stepping up and saying, yeah we know it doesn't look right, but we'll do better next time.

Next, EA is bringing Dragon Age to Facebook. The expected launch date will be February 2011. They are pitching it as a blend of action, adventure, and multiplayer. It'll also allow gamers who play the Facebook version to unlock bonuses in the upcoming Dragon Age 2. So yeah. More Facebook addiction in your future.

And on top of all of that, EA has signed a 5 year agreement with Facebook regarding sales transactions. What's it suppose to mean? Well instead of transactions being done with real-world dollars, it will all be handled by game currency. You can still buy game currency with your hard earned cash, but if you want that cute pirate hat for your pet, you have to use the game currency, and only the game currency, to get it. It's a good deal for Facebook. Any game credit purchased, Facebook takes a 30% cut. And for EA, that means better advertising of their products on Facebook when you log in.

And no one wants to believe me when I say that EA will take over the gaming world. Then I'll be forced to only buy their products. How evil of them.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

U.S. Supreme Court Hearing Cali Case Today

Supporters show their style.
Opening arguments will begin today for California vs. The Entertainment Merchants Association and Entertainment Software Association (a.k.a. everyone in the video game industry, including merchants and supporters from television, film, book publishers, and comic creators). I'd recommend reading this breakdown from Stephen Totilo. He'll be one of the few in the viewing gallery that will be able to make sense of the situation.

I realize that I've been making a big deal about this, but there is a lot at stake. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of California, it's going to mark some big changes to how video games will be handled in all aspects, from development up to retail. Basically lumping titles such as Gears of War, Halo (yeah it's an M rated game), and Metal Gear Solid to equate to XXX and pornography. For once! a non-gaming related publication understands why this is a big deal. Second reading recommendation, Forbes. Yep, Forbes. They get it.

No decision will be made today, and people probably won't be made aware of it for a few months since all Supreme Court hearings are closed to live television/feeds/etc. However, knowing that Kotaku and Forbes will have some sane individuals in the press box, we'll have accurate information provided online. Wishing the best of luck to preservation of the First Amendment.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Free Kinect!

I don't know how Microsoft is going to make back any of that 500 million marketing money for Kinect. Oprah gave away Kinects on her show, followed up by Ellen. Macy's showcase of Kinect also included a giveaway. And now BurgerKing is giving away a Kinect every 15 minutes for the next 27 days. That's 96 Kinects a day. By 27 days thats 2592 Kinects. Each Kinecty is roughly $150 bucks. So overall Microsoft is losing $388,800 in sales. Their marketing better pay off in the end.

As Kotaku has pointed out, it could very well be a flop. The game line-up for Kinect is subpar and no positive reviews are out on the product. Their claim that changes have been made hasn't been backed up yet. Microsoft is pretty confident that Kinect will sell regardless of the game reviews. I guess we'll find out when it releases. I'm not going to buy it. Rather spend the money buying a new Wii system that comes with a greater collection of games at start over the Kinect. Actually, I take that back. I'd rather spend HALF of the money and get the Playstation Move. Win win all around.

BTW, I love the disclaimer on the BK contest website of "no purchase necessary." But in order to play and enter, you need to purchase a whopper, a 30 or 40 oz drink, or large frypod. Their legal department will have fun with the complaints on that one.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Early Halloween Greetings

It's still the 30th in my time zone. >.>

As if it hasn't been obvious, I haven't posted this weekend. All thanks to Halloween. It's the only holiday I celebrate, so I go big. Lots of decorations, food, and sewing to take up my free time.

But I wanted to take a second, say hi to the readers (hi!) and post up a picture of the pumpkins I carved this year. Of course they are geeky and of course they are related to video games. And I realize that the Prince is a little wonky, but it was meant to be a simple cut and go pumpkin. Big Daddy took up enough time that I didn't want to fuss with the Prince. Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

FarmVille Is Not THAT Important

A mother in Jacksonville plead guilty for shaking her three month old child for interrupting her game of FarmVille. Really, I don't know what else to say. The article speaks for itself. I thought the WoW obsession was bad. FarmVille is becoming a growing problem in the realm of internet addiction. And I'm sure it's making a lot of psychiatrists very happy.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

If You Have An Hour To Kill...

Monthly contributor Tim Rogers has provided an article for Kotaku regarding MMO's. Final Fantasy XI in particular. It's a lengthy read. If you want to be lazy, here's the gist of it:

Tim has an online friend whom he has known for years but never knew that he played Final Fantasy XI. So he took a few hours one day to talk with his friend and determine why he plays. Tim knows squat about MMO's or any of the terminology. There are a few paragraphs about fun-stealers, some relation to gaming in Korea, how gold selling changes the game play, Fable II, FarmVille, Facebook, and chess. Whatever the main point of the column was, it got lost about a third of the way through.

I bring this up because I found the article quite interesting to see from the perspective of someone who has never been involved in MMO's. And in Tim's case, he really was clueless. He had to ask his friend about a myriad of terms that are common to most gamers. Even what gold farming/selling was. Which is a surprise since Tim speaks in the article about playing Gears of War, along with Fable and a myriad of other console games. Even things such as "guild" needed to be explained. Not what I was expecting. The most hard core console gamers that I know who never pick up PC games know what a guild is. World of Warcraft has seeped into the minds of all.

What I did like about the article was the first third before it delineated into non-sequiturs. The dialogue between Tim and his friend opened up why Final Fantasy XI works and doesn't in the MMO world. I also appreciated that Tim wasn't for or against the learning aspects of FFXI. I say that because his friend has a form of autism and FFXI helped him to become more social, i.e. not be as awkward around other people in what is considered "normal." And the fact that this is coming from a non-MMO gamer made the article more appealing.

The concepts that Tim's friend brings to the table are blunt. He plays the game as a means of learning what it is like to run a corporation. So he bought a linkshell and started his own business. In so many ways running a guild is just like running a company. And people wonder why I don't want to work in another corporation. Tim's friend calls the endgame linkshells fun-stealers. I couldn't agree more. When you get to the point in a game where you have to act like you're running a business, the fun stops. The fun of the game becomes broken down to a job where you pay (in hours and in monetary value) with meager hopes that you will achieve some form of pixilated gear. This part spoke to me greatly, and it's something I have experienced a multitude of times (most recently as Monday, and the article was posted Tuesday >.>).

The endgame linkshells, guilds, etc. they all change how people perceive MMO's. What you may believe is fun has now become a job. At one point, we all become fun-stealers in order to obtain that last little bit of high end gear. How depressing. And that's why I still keep my social linkshell around. Anytime I feel that someone is trying to take the fun out of the game, arguing over pixilated gear, I know that I have my social ls available to keep me in check. We all have the same mentality about keeping the game fun. We do the things that we want to do, such as go on missions, advance the story-line, play with the silly holiday events, because we enjoy those aspects of the game. It's not about the hardcore life of endgame. A good number of people could learn from Tim's friend. He's looking at FFXI from a good perspective and it can be applied to all MMO's. What's wrong with playing a game for fun?

Not to shove aside the social aspects, the one thing that has kept me playing FFXI is the forced human interaction. To get to the next story plot, the next mission, the next whatever, you need to work with other people. I'm going to keep this brief since that could be a giant article in itself, but it's the need to work with others in FFXI says a lot about the human experience. I'd recommend reading the article. If it becomes too droll, as I said Tim loses his focus about a third of the way through, read up to the first embedded video.

Oh and apologies for the random pictures. I wanted to use something from my massive stash that didn't give away any story pieces from the most recent expansion pack, and didn't give any character names.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Microsoft Plans To Open Online Shop

For video games that is. On Friday, Microsoft announced that they are working on opening an online, download only store for PC games. The estimated date is November 15th of this year, just in time for holiday shopping. The website will be gamesforwindows.com  which I'm sure will be linked to Microsoft.com directly a billion times.

It'll be an integration of the Xbox Live and Windows Live services. On Xbox Live online, PC not your Xbox system, you have the option to download from your PC to your Xbox system. At least sometimes when it decides to work. This will be a more direct to PC transaction.

The Marketplace is boasting over 100 titles, including Grand Theft Auto IV and Fable. Nothing has been mentioned about pricing. So it seems like it'll be a lot of games that came out 2-3 years ago for PC. >.> If Microsoft can provide the right price, it'll be a good boost to their holiday sales.