Friday, September 28, 2012

Economics of Gaming Scale. Redux!

I was saying that this is a pretty nifty field to start jumping into. And now they’re all doing it! Oh economists you. Nothing new since the 1960’s and now that you have a toy to play with, you want to be first in line to make discoveries.
And as I’ve said before, we as gamers are fully aware of the power of currency in video games. It runs our life force for MMO’s and other online games.

One thing the Washington Post article focuses on, possibly unintentionally, is that our actions in video games are replicated in reality. The banking crisis of 2007 in Second Life was very similar to the real-world U.S. equivalent, but not with billions of dollars more like $750k. In World of Warcraft when we want to shift the market to drive down the cost of tin (for example), we’ll group up with others and sell other products at a fixed price that requires tin, eventually causing it to lower in price.

Or my favorite from Final Fantasy XI when they announced that the magic accuracy was going to be altered for a patch. People flipped out and started selling all of their million gil (at that time having 10 million meant you were one rich mofo) gear for next to nothing. Some of us were pretty smart and stocked up (Sale Price: 25k. Original Price: 5.5 million). The patch was released. People worried over nothing and started buying their gear back, kicking the prices back up to the millions.

These situations occur constantly in reality. That bacon crisis people were flipping out over this week? Well you probably will only pay a few cents more at the grocery store next year. Whoopie.
But something that simple can cause a drastic change in the economy. Prices change. People start stocking up.

We do it all the times in video games. How many times have you horded a material so you wouldn’t have to worry about price fluxes in the future?

I’ve been reading up on how SecondLife is currently holding up. It became a hot ticket a few years back but the buzz around it isn’t as heavy as it was.

One thing I can say quality really has succeeded over quantity. I pulled out a list of businesses (everything from clothing, hair, art, photography, homes, scripts, objects, dances) and most are still up and running. A few have had their moved locations or have scaled up/down to accommodate the changing environment, but these have lasted for years under the same owners versus the night clubs or dance pad camps. Those places on my old list are long gone.

In fact, it seems like “camping” has completely died out as well as those survey hubs. Does anyone remember those? They were such a big deal when I was in the world. Basically you sit at this place, typically with a group tag on, you fill out surveys and offers online, and after completing them within a few minutes you would be sent Linden based on your responses. Typical payout was 50L, which is still quite a bit to live off of. That is if you didn’t mind the amount of spam your e-mail would be flooded with.

Now if you want to earn Linden, you have to work for it. I think the banking scare of 2007, causing Linden Labs to have more authority, that people fear repercussions. It’s still a budding place of creativity and unique visions. But plastered on the walls of “shops” are anti-piracy laws that Linden Labs is trying to enforce. Be free and have fun! but we’re still watching you.

Second Life is also an interesting pickle because unlike other “games” you don’t really need money. If you have even half of a creative cell in your body you could make all of your clothes, body parts, accessories, items, objects, and pets. There are also loads of Freebe places still available that you can pick up items without any contracts to sign or spam e-mails. Having money is nice and can get you objects that you can’t make, but it’s not a necessity, where as WoW you kind of need money to make/buy some things. There’s just no way to avoid it.

You know what…I think I’m going to jump back into SL and see what it’s really like. I’m basing all of this from internet research. I haven’t been back in YEARS. This might be a good time to see what’s up and who’s who. This is interesting to me! I know…I’m a geek. Deal with it.

Mass Effect Journal 12: It’s Mountainous!

This game should be renamed Mountain Effect. Everywhere you go there’s a large ass mountain in your way that you have to get your dune buggy over. If only it were so easy. Those little boosters that help you jump really don’t work. It’s just perseverance and stamina to climb over mountains to your destination. I must have spent 8 minutes climbing one last night. Just ONE out of the hundreds.

Only to reach your destination, touch a fallen satellite, and learn that your electronic skill isn’t high enough. Well f. Thanks.

The one that really ticked me off was this ice planet. It wasn’t just mountains. It was mountains on top of mountains. Steep as could possibly be. So really you have to drive around and hope you find a slope that would let you go up without sliding back. There was no flat patch to go around it. You HAVE to drive up one of these mountains to get to the stuff on the other side.

And what’s up with putting the gang lord’s base on the top of the highest mountain of them all, in the blinding ice and snow storm, of course. I ended up muting about a third of the way through the drive. The pounding sound was really difficult to listen to for an extended period of time while mountain climbing.

And then let’s shove some turrets up there while we’re at it. So when you reach the top you have to knock them out asap. But you can’t really drive around and dodge the incoming attack. If you move, your ass rolls right back down the mountain and you have to climb it. Again. Double f!

Last gaming run was all about questing. I’m tired of that Journal/Codex box blinking whenever I open up the main menu. Let’s get some of these out of the way. More xp. More loot. More random comments from my NPC buddies.

Garrus is quite a complex alien, isn’t he? He seems to be about justice and doing what’s right by condemning the horrible actions of others. At the same time, he thinks it’s necessary sometimes to skirt the system in order to achieve your goals. So, let me make sure I have this correct. You want me to follow the rules and not follow them at the same time? Explain please. Dartanian doesn’t know how to make you like him if you contradict yourself.

Ah well. All the ladies love Dartanian. That’s what really matters.

“I don’t like the aliens, human lady. We’re cool.”

“I’m going to make sure you get a kickass gift for your clan, helmet lady.”

“You are strange, and awesome, and we’re cool together blue-fin head.”

What a charmer!

I have found that while doing these fetch/kill quests, more have cropped up. :/ This is, pretty much, defeating the purpose of what I was attempting to accomplish. I was hoping to grey some of these out. Instead, I managed to complete 6 missions and gained 4 more. Well…bleh. lol More stuff to do I guess but I was hoping to get these cleared out and back onto the main story. But I can see how people get caught up with the game and take dozens of hours to complete it.

I’m at roughly 20 hours gameplay time. I’m not certain how much more of the primary storyline I have left. I’m still going after the bad guy. The matriarch wants me to find a spire, or a satellite, or something. I can’t remember at this moment. She gave me coordinates and I spent the rest of the time killing bugs. :D I felt I was being productive for the story.

So Dartanian is back to surfing the galaxy. Next round I need to do something completely random and liven up these journals.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Video Game Reality We Don't Want

This one is a gem today. Scrolling through the news stories, this one popped out at me. Freedom of the press and opinions galore, this is golden.

The scary stuff from video games is coming true. If the movies were bad (seriously, why would you name your company Skynet? Did no one learn from The Terminator?),  video games are becoming a creepy reality.

This isn’t the “cool” stuff like the self-driving cars that have just been legalized in California. This is like creepy end of the world sh*t. And I didn’t think about it until the Houston Press took a shot.
If you don’t want to read the article, this is jist: Google is turning into ShinRa, Ayn Rand on a cruise ship, Homefront predicting the future and Texas will probably gtfo, sharks with freekin’ laser beams on their heads, and a lemon cannon.

If you do want to read, jump to the third page about the sharks and lemons. Our government is doing some really strange things. It sounds like living in Texas and knowing some gun hobbyists isn’t so bad right now.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Silly Yahoo

I might write up something insightful later. But I have to post this “article,” if that’s what you want to call it, from the front-page of

How to Sell Old Video Games for Cash!
“There are two basic ways to get cash for old video games. The first is to sell them yourself, on an auction web site or in person. This method takes time, however, and can be tricky. Your second option is to sell them using a service like RadioShack's Trade and Save Program.”

It’s a RadioShack ad. And oh look! There’s another picture-ad just to the right of this “article.” Wow!

Really guys? We’re not that gullible. You’re about 10 years too late and not being subtle about it.

This “article” could have had potential. There is a trick to getting more money out of your old games. But RadioShack doesn’t outline any of it. Clearly this is an advertisement parading as an article. Good job guys!

*scrolls down* This page is littered with RadioShack ads. But it’s good to see that the commenter’s are not swayed by the stupidity.

So how about some REAL tips about selling your used video games from someone that worked at a REAL gaming business and knows how things works. I present to you:

“The REAL Article on How to Sell Your Old Video Games.”

Let’s break this down to a few segments.

1 – Your game is not worth the original retail value.

This is the biggest misconception I heard from customers constantly, and still read on blogs or Kotaku. If you buy Madden 2013 and attempt to sell it back a week later, it is not worth that original value. Why? Because it’s been “used”. Once you open that package and void the return policy, that’s it. Your game has now decreased in value.

2 – If you sell your game through a retailer, be prepared to be offered a really low value. Retailers are a BUSINESS. A business of what? To make money.

Long #2 but it’s the truth. You will never, ever, ever, and I mean EVER find a retailer that will give you $59.99 for your used copy of Madden 2013. At most…maybe $18.00 if you have the original box and manual included with no scratches.

Look. These guys are businesses; a business to make money. They gain no profit if they buy your game for $59.99 and sell it back to another customer at the same value.

“But GameStop sells the used game at $54.99.” Ok. Same principle applies. If GameStop gives you $54.99 for your used game, they make no profit. They gain nothing by giving you the game at the price they plan to sell it at. It’s just like a pawn shop. How do pawn shops stay in business? They give you an estimated value of your product and knock off 10-30% depending upon the condition and likeliness of resale. That’s what you get. The pawn shop sells the product at the estimated value.

It’s always about making money in the end, which leads me to #3.

3 – If you don’t like the value being offered to you by a retailer or pawn shop, you don’t have to take it.

Another complaint that I heard constantly. Who forced you all to sell your game to GameStop or GameFly? No one did. They made an offer, which apparently you couldn’t refuse. But now you don’t like it and want to get your game back? Make up your minds people!

Shop around! If you don’t like the amount a retailer offers, try selling it online or go through one of the smaller online shops that specialize in rare titles. Sometimes they’ll offer more, or you can get a better dollar amount. Madden 2013 used at GameStop is $54.99, but on EBay hundreds of people are selling the same quality of the used GameStop game at $25-45. You’ll still make more money than you would at a retailer (remember those shipping fees of course). What you lose out on is the convenience. EBay or any auction site can take weeks to cultivate a sale.

So keep the options open. Just because someone makes an offer doesn’t mean you have to jump on it.

4 – Do your research.

Anyone remember that Storage Wars video posted on Kotaku about a guy who thought he found a $13,000 Nintendo, only to be told that it was worth $10?  Good stuff!

A lot of us made fun of it. Why? Because this was a man who had 0 knowledge about video games and what to look for. He also confused his facts. Greatly. That $13,000 Nintendo machine doesn’t exist. That was actually a sealed copy of Stadium Events. A game that had very few copies produced and was subject to the purge after Nintendo bought the rights to the Family Fun Fitness pad. And the game itself wasn’t 13 grand. It was the game, plus 4 others and an NES that were sold on EBay.
Just because you have a Nintendo game doesn’t mean it’s worth a lot of money. Just because you have an Atari doesn’t mean it’s worth a lot of money. A number of Nintendos, Ataris, and CalicoVisions are sold for $20 online. Original box and never opened? Maybe $50.

So research your games. Figure out what’s hot and what’s not. A lot of SNES and N64 games are in style right now. You’ll find a lot of the online game collector stores are stocking up on those products.

5 – Keep them clean. Keep the box. Keep the manual.

Very simple. You’ll get more money that way. Games with the original box and manual are worth more versus the game by itself. I never understood why people tossed away the box and manual after opening, but oh well. If that’s their deal. I always keep mine.

If the game has never been opened, the value is greater.

6 – Follow the local stores.

Here’s what I mean. Games styles and trends do come in waves and can be separated out by regions. One store may be taking in more first person shooters because of higher demand, thus they’re willing to pay more for it. Whereas another store in a different county might be looking for more RPG’s. Don’t be afraid to ask around and see what retailers are looking for. While some companies will have a blanket value available (sports games are subject to this), stores can have a little bit of leeway here and there to offer more for a product that they are eager to resell due to demand.

7 – Looking for the big bucks or to sell a collection? Go online.

Here’s the thing with brick and mortar retailers. They’ll only sell what can guarantee them a profit, fast and! What can be played on current gen systems-the things that they stock and sell. I can’t name a current retailer that will accept anything older then a PS2/Xbox game. Even then, that may be highly questionable.

So if you have a game made within the last 3-5 years for a current gen system, then a retailer is fine.

If you have a PS1 collection of the Persona series that’s never been opened, go online to sell it. You’ll get more money, you’ll have more serious bidders, and there are a number of smaller online gaming retailers that will want full collections. It’ll take them longer to sell, sure, but they know there will be a special buyer for it and they’re willing to hold it. Their business model is smaller and they will be much more willing to accommodate you and your collections then a GameStop, Best Buy, or RadioShack.

8 – Visit your local nerdy conventions for on-the-spot cash.

Those smaller online gaming retailers are making their presence known at anime, gaming, and general nerdy conventions. I’ve been able to finish up some collections because of it! And yes! They are willing to offer you a price for your games right then and there. Sometimes even more then online because, guess what, no one pays for shipping. So start looking at local conventions to see what dealers will be showing up. You might be surprised at what you can sell, and what you can find.

9 – The obvious: Don’t expect to sell a copy of Super Mario Bros. for the NES at $100.

You’re not going to get it. Even an unopened copy. There are still so many of those rolling around that it might be at least another 20-30 years before we’ll start seeing the prices escalate.

Only the rarest of the rare will ever fetch that type of value. Like #4, research what your games might be worth. A good rule of thumb is to take the GameStop, RadioShack, or Amazon value of your game and add $10 to it (if you plan to sell online, that is).

Or if you’re unsure, go to an appraiser. Many auction houses now understand the value of new media and will give you a logical and fair estimate.

There. I think those tips will suffice.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mass Effect Journal 11: I’m a Man. A Manly Man, Man

Sweet! Back to some action. There’s the Matriarch. Other than having an implausible neck line for a dress (that’s some gravity defying on levels I couldn’t imagine), I would so cosplay her. But no time for that; we need to keep this story going.

Yea for a boss fight! About time with all of this running and talking. I read that someone believed this was the most difficult fight in the game because of the numerous waves of enemies. Can I laugh at that statement, because that has to be a joke? Numerous, as in 3 waves? Oh my. I can’t possibly hold all of them off.

*ducks behind a crate, continues shooting, bad guys die, done in under 3.*

Hmph. Gamers these days just don’t understand difficulty. Go play some Ninja Gaiden or Ghosts and Goblins. Then we’ll talk.
Story-wise, I’m really starting to get into this, even with the prolonged set-up. I’m seeing the pieces falling into place. Still not a fan of the crazy eyes (zomg Liara stop making that face at me! So creepy!), or the dune buggy controls, or the constant quest fetching, but I’m glad that the story is living up to the expectations.

Also, what’s up with bad guys always willing to talk just before they die? Not just Mass Effect where every NPC wants to tell you their life story. All villains everywhere, in any media. What happened to bros before hoes? Keep the secrets to your grave. Even if you don’t succeed, your villains-in-arms will if you keep your mouth shut. So…zip it. I know it doesn’t help me, the hero, if you stay quiet. But if I were a bad guy I would never tell the good guys where to go.

“The spire is at these coordinates, on this ridge, looking over this object, with this many guards. Hurry!”

Is it supposed to be for some form of redemption? If there is a heaven, hell, purgatory, or anything of the like (whatever your religious beliefs may be) I’m pretty sure that if you’re a bad guy, your need to purge the badness from your soul isn’t going to be enough in the 1 minute before your death. You’re still going to the bad place in the afterlife. Sorry. 1 minute does not atone for all of your evil deeds. But thanks for trying.

Another thing I love is when they say “Hurry!” But you don’t really have to hurry. You still have to finish off the last wave of enemies darting into the room. You still have to decide if this queen bug gets to live or die (I opted to play nice and let her live for the Paragon points). You still have to detox the Hot Lab and get out. And you can still fly all over the galaxy before you “really” have to move forward with the story.

Nah. I’m not going to hurry. Clearly there’s no rush, else I would have been sent right back to my ship to handle it.

Instead, I’m going to search around and finish some of these miscellaneous quests building up in my log.

Ok…how about here. Sand planet…what’s up with ME and the sandy planets that I’m landing on? Ok, Peak 15 was an ice world, but there seem to be a lot of sandy and/or rocky planets to explore. Where are the nice, lush, green ones? NOT THE CITADEL.

Fine. Fine. I’ll search the sandy pits of the universe. Yippie.

More fetch quests, of course, but at least there is some variety and having to play explorer. I like that. I miss that. An old MMO feeling that I really enjoy: going into the cubbyholes of a map that few others get to see. It’s a great way to take photos.

The Alpha Listening Post? handled. More bugs squashed. More sand in my shoes. Well sand and volcanic ash. Lost Asari Sister? Half-found, though that hideout had some nice loot. Well worth the 3 minutes of spinning in circles and killing off the thugs with my dune buggy (Forget shooting. Run them over!!) Still have sand in my shoes.

All-in-all a productive gaming session with lots of dead bugs, geth, and a handful of Asari. Sorry Liara. Your mom’s fault. She made me do it.

Monday, September 24, 2012

That Other Art: Theatre

Because it has to come full circle, we’re going to start seeing more video game translations into the theatre. But this is a bit different. “Build” written by Michael Golamco and directed by Will Fears takes the story of two gaming pioneers who get back together to create their dream game. Sounds familiar…

Kip is the down-trodden one, who lost his wife and built this MMO world to escape his reality. In doing so he develops a very advanced AI (also acted out on stage) to keep him in this fantasy realm. Will, his buddy, is the businessman trying to keep Kip’s head on straight while attempting to please his company. It’s a struggle between Kip and Will (Kip wanting to keep the game to himself and Will wanting it to be released for monetary purposes. It’s always about the money).

The playwright states that the story is about how these developers are artists. When do they allow their creation to be released to the world, or do you keep it to yourself? The use of video games was ideal to the “story’s theme of art, love and learning to fight for and let those things go.”

It’s an original concept, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see more video game franchises becoming plays and musicals. Look at the recent string of campy films from the 1990’s being re-envisioned into theatre. Sister Act and The Adams Family come to mind.

If you’re in the LA area, “Build” will be at the Geffen Playhouse starting October 9th. And if you do see it, let me know how it rolls. I’m curious about it. Not so much to buy a plane ticket and fly out, but curious enough.

Just imagine.


The Musical.

It would be epic.

Mass Effect Journal 10: Thank you auto-save.

I’m going to start this journal with a question: Why did I stop last time?

I don’t even know. I got off the tram thinking that I would have more bugs in my face. The map in the game menu looked pretty expansive. So I saved it and called it a night. Instead it was a series of very long talking scenes on Saturday morning. And I wasn’t in the mood for the talking stuff. But whatever I have to do this to move forward, then I have to do it.

So talking we go! And more talking! And more talking… I think this officially beats out KOTOR for most talking scenes ever. How many choice dialogues can I have at this rate? Next time I’m playing the asshole. I don’t care. I want to be a jerk-face. Being nice gets boring sometimes. Even if it does weasel me out of more money, at least it’d liven up the convo.

I spent about 2 hours running around in circles doing the fetch quests. Talk to this person, and then this one, and that one, and then go get this item. Let’s do something random! I haven’t been back here to this secure door yet. What’s this about? I have to hack in? Ok.

*pushes the buttons* Yea! Secret area time! And then stuff is shooting at me. And I got a large chunk of negative points. Oh crap. Bad move. Entire base is out to get me. Um…hide?

*smacks the Start button*

Awh come on. I can’t reload a past save while the “good” bad guys are out? Oh please tell me auto-save kicked in. I haven’t saved in a long time and I don’t want to spend another 2 hours running around this place starting over.

*resets the game*

*waits on the loading screen*

*gets a drink of water*

Ok load saves. Please let there be a recent auto-save.


I have to kill that Asari biatch again but that’s fine. That was just before I decided to go rogue on the station. Doc, here’s your meds. Thank you for the key that goes downstairs. I’ll just ignore that backroom up here. Off we go! *shoots a bug in the face* And………………that’s it. It feels like it’s taking me forever to get through this area but that’s probably because this is a very important section of the story that shouldn’t be overlooked. But ugh. I want to get back to shooting at the bad guys. I know I could leave the area and hunt around, but I know very well that my ass probably will have to make the long trek back up. No thanks.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Mass Effect Journal 9: Paperback Writer

Dear Sir or Madam,

Will you follow my play?

It took me hours to write, will you sit and stay?

It’s set in space with some hot alien chicks,

And an evil dude that doesn’t care about humans.

It’s called Mass Effect.

Mass Effect!

It’s a long ass story with a short ass name,

With lots of pretty pictures to pass the time.

You can choose your path or you can follow the course,

No matter where you go you’ll be on the attack due to Mass Effect.

Mass Effect!

That was so corny. Thank you. *bows*

I played Beatles Rock Band last night instead of Mass Effect. Why? What started as one song turned into ten. “Why haven’t I conquered these on expert? I know them better then I know my own phone number.”

Until next round!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mass Effect Journal 8: Don’t Fear the Reaper

Shep almost died last night.

And for a dumbass reason too. The dune buggy got stuck in ice. Rocket + buggy boost = flying into a rock. I couldn’t move it. The geth and their turrets were pummeling the vehicle. I jumped out hoping that maybe I could get un-stuck, which half worked. The buggy was no longer going to blow up with me inside. But now my team and I are on the rocks not able to move.


But this apparently meant that none of the Geth could aim their weapons to hit us. We were able to coast along without a single shot connecting. And luckily Garrus had a line of sight that allowed him to take out a couple of the enemies, and I could pot shot the rest.

Whew. An unfortunate event that ended up a happy accident.

So how did I get out of the crag of cold ice? I jumped back into the buggy and stated smashing buttons. Yes it’s silly. But it worked. I was almost at Peak 15! I didn’t want to have to roll back to my last save point wayyyy at the beginning. So now I’m over-saving. Thanks Mass Effect. -_-

But I made it to Peak 15. And after locking the scientist out on accident (there’s a reset for your NPC buddy but not your vehicle?) the change in pace with combat was welcomed. All of those dialogue scenes were getting a bit heavy. Heavy as in “zomg that’s a lot!” Not heavy as in emotional/dramatic/story heavy.

The rest of the play session should be pretty obvious; lots of shooting, exploring, and being cold. I decided to take a break after jumping on the tram. I have a feeling I still have quite a bit of a way to go before I meet up with the Matriarch. Scientist lady…I hope you’re worth putting you into my party. I lost out on some awesome people because of you and you are making me regret my job choice. Two party pistol wielders yea!!!!!!


The studios of Microsoft are keeping busy. Calling in on some of the power heads of Hollywood, they are branching out to create more television programming and turn the Xbox empire into an all-inclusive entertainment machines.

Nothing in the article notes what type of television shows they will focus on, but it’s safe to assume that it’ll be something similar to how Sony works with their PS3 content like The Tester. I’m sure some shows will be exclusive to Xbox only, and will branch out to include more content from NetFlix and Hulu. Possibly even combining multiple aspects of entertainment to tell one story (the game, the show, the movie) that we as users of said Xbox can determine what happens next. Syfy and Trion are working on a concept for that right now.

Microsoft doesn’t seem to be shy about shelling out money for this endeavor. While Sony is releasing a slimmer PS3 and Nintendo a Wii-U, Microsoft wants to make you feel good about your original Xbox 360 investment, with tv shows! As long as the content is better than The Tester, then we’re good.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mass Effect Journal 7: I’m Scanning Ma!

I’m sticking to my Spore Space comparison. The way you navigate through planets and scour for resources is a clone of Spore. And knowing Spore, that’s a great way to make money and pick up rare items. Time to start spamming the Scan option!

*scan, scan, scan*

Yea shinies! As if I wasn’t already overpowered enough with loot. Now I have more! :D

*scan, scan, scan*

There aren’t even any enemies to disturb me from my scanning. Or if there are, they have yet to come after me. So I’ll just keep at it for more items, rarities, and monies!

*scan, scan, scan*

Ok. Enough of that. I’ve hit every planet I possibly can. If more open up later, then the scanning will resume. Let’s get on with the story. After the Matriarch!

So whatever this port is that I landed at, it’s full of ice and snow. No one likes Shep because he’s a Specter. Well…damn. Wasn’t one of the perks of the job to be admired to a degree? Thanks for the lies mister ambassador. I’m back to being a smelly ol’ human.

Maybe the local law in this area will be of help?

“Have you seen this woman?”

“Yeah. But we don’t like you. But let us tell you everything we know about this woman. You can’t leave without a pass though. Here’s where you get it.”

Oh RPG’s. How I love you.

That’s about as far as I got. A lot of spacing, running, and talking.

*scan, scan, scan*

My feelings about the game so far? Predictable. I’d like to see how in-depth the story will go because right now it seems like a lot of fetch questing, whether it be physical items or information.

Video Game Government Campaigns. It’s really happening!

I’m not going all Big Brother on you. Holy crap we must hide ourselves from the government. Ahhh!!!

Really? That’s just silly. It’s similar to not giving the IRS your checking information for a faster tax refund and waiting out the 6-8 weeks via snail mail. “But then they’ll have access to your money!?!?!” Well you know what? It would take the government probably less than a minute to get my life story. It won’t make a difference if they know my routing info. I’ll just take my refund in 1 week versus the 2 months. Thanks!

But really, there are political ads in video games. The Obama campaign has implemented “billboard-like” ads for use with online games or titles with online capabilities. They are focusing on a few key states that could affect the election: Ohio, Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Virginia. They’ve partnered with EA Games to run these through titles like Madden, and some older internet-only titles like Battleship and Tetris. Even Pogo (also owned by EA) will run ads in their browser-based products. Any billboards you see in Madden may have President Obama all over it! The ads will only run until early October, but it has a lot of potential to make a dent in the demographic that isn’t known for voting.

This isn’t new, but it’s a trending concept. They did this back in 2008 with other EA titles, but some of the smaller ones. This is the first time that we’re seeing it on such a large scale that casual gamers will notice.

…which might be a good thing. Halo 4 comes out on election day. Guess how many millions will be calling in sick to work/school/life that day?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mass Effect Journal 6 (but really 4): I’m using Final Fantasy numbers!

I’m running around and exploring the galaxy, for reals now! Is it weird that space in Mass Effect kind of reminds me of Spore? You hop planet to planet, search for resources and rare artifacts without actually landing on said planet, with the occasional 1 planet within each system that you drop in and explore with your vehicle. You shoot at the bad guys. You save the good guys. Jump back into your ship and repeat! And occasionally you take over a planet to keep your little Spore civilization going.

Except in Mass Effect I don’t have to worry about my fuel levels. And I don’t think I have to concern myself with trade routes…yet? So other than that, ME space is just like the Spore space section. Even the way the galaxy is laid out for you to move in and out of each system. Way to share content EA. Way. To. Share.

On this play through I wanted to focus on progression though the story, because my ass was getting bored of the Citadel. There is no one right or wrong way to go about moving forward, at least according to all of the walkthroughs they have available. Anywhere I go will work!

(BTW I’m not using the walkthroughs to play the game. I’ve been reviewing them after each play session to see how badly I screwed up, or what I missed out on. XD I don’t use them to look and see what’s coming up next, just what I’ve already accomplished. I’m curious to find out how other people played the game and if that affected their interpretation of the content.)

The NPC’s gave me 3 areas to go to and it was my job to determine which one to follow. I’m going to go after the scientist that’s related to the Matriarch. She probably knows something. So we’re off to the excavation site! On a rocky, volcanic planet; Yea! Tharum. It just sounds like a bad place, doesn’t it?

Well now I’m finally able to really put my new equipment to the test. As well as Mako, the road buggie. Not exactly the best driving mechanics, but it’ll do. I figured out quite fast that one of the best ways to kill a Geth is to run your vehicle into it and start shooting. I’ve have yet had to worry about damage to my buggie because I keep smacking down the enemies before they can get a shot off. Unintentional design or years of GTA experience? You decide.

The layout for the planet was pretty straight forward. Follow the path and you’ll get to the exclamation point on the map where there are, undoubtedly, more enemies to stop you.

This is also the first time where I could experience the enemy AI in more open areas. With the prologue on Eden Prime, the area for movement was restricted. But on Tharum, even with the rock “barriers” to prevent you from falling off the map, there was a lot of room to move. So I also figured out that the enemies are neither passive nor aggressive. They tend to cycle in a particular pattern. Even the larger Geth creatures that required the buggie to kill, they never proactively came after me if I was only a few meters outside of their area of interest. They might shoot at me, sure, but they weren’t the active enemies I had anticipated. Of course, playing the tactical monkey that I am, the sniper rifle was put to a lot of use during this run.

My likes with the sniper rifle; it’s kind of like a real one in that you have to calibrate for movement and it’s not a straight, steady shot. My dislike is that it’s kind of like a real one and you have to take your time to line everything up. Damn Halo for spoiling me. But a head shot, is a head shot, is a head shot. I’ll take it.

So we get to the dig site. We shoot more Geth. I beefed up Tali even more because she’s so awesome. Don’t ask why I like her. I don’t quite understand it myself. She’s not evil enough. Yet. :D But clearly this is where I’m meant to go.

In we go, and down, and down, and more down…so many elevators. BioWare was obsessed with the slow elevators in this game. And there’s Liara. Stuck in a bubble within the shield.

“Please help me!”

Hang on lady. We’re coming.

“This shield is impenetrable. But you have to break it open to release me.”

Well sh*t. Explain how I can do that. Please. Because if that’s the case, you’re better off staying in that bubble so the Geth can never get to you. You will probably die but you will die free!

Oh hey. There’s this laser here that can poke a hole into the floor. That’s how we’ll get around the system! Design flaw working to my advantage~ Great job ancient super-smart alien race.

And then we go up another slow elevator, which was already readily available after I blasted the floor. Game logic and all that. Ok. Let’s get this scientist out of the bubble and we’ll go back on the slow ass elevator to the top and make our escape!

The rest is really uneventful. The expected cronies show up and I wipe them out. The dig site is collapsing and we must get out in time! No cut-scene button pressing. Just watch the pretty pictures. We all knew Shep would live to fight another day. And there’s our wonderful ship that couldn’t help us out. Wouldn’t it just be easier to shoot first and ask questions later? This sounds like a wonderful plan. Sarrus might be onto something here. I could have saved myself 60 minutes by shooting everything before I landed and went down into the dig site. I’m just saying~

So we do that back story thing again, talking to the crew, gauging their feelings, and being the nice guy (I’m totally going to be an ass in ME2). Yes I think you’re on our side Liara, but I’m going to tell everyone else that I agree with their concerns so I get more awesome social points. Onward to more adventure!

“Commander Shepard. I need to speak with you about a special request. But we can’t talk over the unsecure channel. Meet me at the embassies on the Citadel.”

See you next time Spacers~

Nintendo/Wii-U Confusing Us All!

Bayonetta 2.

I knew it was coming. It was just a matter of time and who would get it. Well it was announced just a few days ago that Wii-U would have the exclusive.

Bayonetta /= Nintendo “friendly”. In fact, she’s the opposite. It’s like…bam! In your face with the violence and sexy. I guess the fans clamoring for Resident Evil are helping open the doors for more mature content on Nintendo consoles? I wonder how and why Nintendo got the say. That’s…weird. My brain can’t wrap around this.

Well a trailer is out, which is why I’m mentioning it now, and not then.
Well damn you once again Nintendo. Now I might actually have to buy your non-system. Though now I’m extra curious to find out how the hell this is going to play on the Wii-U. One of the key features of the system that isn’t a system (because they keep saying it’s not) is that it’s portable, as well as an at-home accessory. How does that work for an action game like Bayonetta, unless they redesigned the system. Ew. That would suck.

Though I do think the title image is a little “soft” in comparison to the first game. It looks like NiGHTS and Bayonetta had a title baby. Hah!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mass Effect Journal 3, 4, and 5: We’re still on the fing Citadel

I had to roll this into one journal. I felt that breaking up the Citadel into 3 sections would be too kind.

I’ve been told that the layout and transportation design in the second and third game is much better. But for right now, this place sucks. Even with the quick transit system (with the worse overlay graphic ever), you still have to run around quite a bit. You still have to take the ridiculously slow elevator. You still have to hunt to find NPC’s for quests. Pointlessly time consuming. And knowing myself, if I’m given a quest I want to finish it before I leave the area. Well guess what? I apparently can’t ever leave the Citadel. I think I bugged the “Scan the Keepers” quest. I’ve visited all 21 and one either didn’t scan properly or flipped out when I scanned it, because it’s open and will never be finished. So lame. All that running around for nothing. Yippie. -_-

“But it helped you learn the layout.” Not really. There are too many odd corners and everything is so spaced out that I was still relying on the map to determine my location.

On the other hand, I now have a lot of context (probably too much) for story. Things are starting to make sense. Who these aliens are, why I need to do this, how I have to handle that, etc. Now I can go out and start saving people and aliens from all of the bad guys!

I’ve also started acquiring my crew. Yea! I’m missing one person. Not entirely sure who but meh. Tali is awesome. The rest are cannon fodder. >.> Sorry Garus. You go be decoy. Tali and I can handle the rest.

So after 9 hours and 3 login’s I was FINALLY able to leave the station, even though I had to abandon Scan the Keepers. It just won’t be completed and I don’t have the energy to restart the entire game just to get this one quest done. Oh well! I’m sure the Keepers will thank me later.

BTW, what is up with the Keepers? They maintain the Citadel and we know squat about them. Ok. I feel completely safe letting them handle this place. Yep. Totally comfortable with them.

But that doesn’t matter. I now have my own shiny ship to play with. Time to check out the other areas that I didn’t bother with, or couldn’t access befor…awh crap! ANOTHER ELEVATOR? This is the future right? Why can’t these things go at lightning speed. Or where’s the teleportation? The elevator at my local shopping mall is at least 5 times faster. So much for that. I guess I’ll have to get use to doing a lot of waiting.

I opted to keep moving forward with the diplomats suggestion and find the matriarch’s offspring at a dig site. We need to keep the story rolling. Just like the Citadel, it’s all about exploring, because the game doesn’t like to point you to the exact planet you need to visit. Nope. You get a system and a wish of luck. So exploring I went. I found some lost data files, minerals, and a giant bug. No idea if I’m anywhere near the story point, but I am glad to finally be out of the Citadel.

Please don’t make me go back there! Pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!! >_<

Friday, September 14, 2012

Mass Effect Journal 2: His Name Is Dartanian

3 Musketeers! All for one and one for all~ the mantra of Mass Effect.

No. Not that crappy, half-ass, kung-fu remake they did last year. That was horrible. I’m talking about the originals. The best!

Hm… I should probably narrow this down and clarify that I’m referring to the 1953 French film with Georges Marchal. There have been way too many movies about the musketeers. It was even serialized in 1911. Although The Man in the Iron Mask with Leo was a pretty good variation too. I just like the French one better.

I know I used the bastardized English variation of the name, but I’m pretty sure Shep isn’t French. Sorry guys!

I didn’t have much time to play last night, but I wanted to at least get SOMETHING accomplished. What was up next? The thing that looked like it was pulled out of Halo. I’m at the Citadel! Time to start selling and buying new stuff that will make me broke for at least another mission or two.

Immediately I want something from this game: a mini-map that is actively on my screen. The one you have to access your main menu to reach is not as helpful as I’d like for it to be. Sure I can see when there’s an enemy as a little red blip, but meh. I’d rather have the map somewhere on my screen so I can properly position myself. Unless I’m missing something, because please tell me if I am. If there’s an option to flip that thing on, I’d love it right about now. I’d like to not be confused with endless/pointless running.

So after about 15 minutes of running in a giant circle to familiarize myself with the first floor, I accidently found my next mission point to talk to the council. The blinking ! told me to go there, so there I went.

Aside from the lack of proper mapping to keep me sane, what I do like is that I finally have back story. Now Shep has a reason for doing the things he’s doing. I’m not just “random soldier man”. I’m now “helping humanity move forward in the universe by being a badass soldier man.”

And look~ Mini-quests. How is this game not KOTOR? It just needs a few lightsabers and we’re golden.

But even with my stumbling around aimlessly, I’m starting to like the game. Story helps. There was a lot of it, of course, but now I feel like I have a purpose to continue on. Dartanian Shep will move forward in his journey!

Also, blue alien chicks. All over the place. Actually you know what the Citadel reminds me of? Starfleet Academy from the Star Trek “revision.” Utilitarian, but it was nifty to look at. And lots of meaningless, pretty water features. And green/blue alien women who are there as eye candy. With Mass Effect they’re open about it, so props for that?

What I hope to accomplish on the next play through? Getting off the Citadel; it feels like I’m going to be stuck there for longer than expected. “Fish face. I just scanned all of these spider things for you. There were a lot of them. I really don’t want to do anything else. Oh. You’re offering me 100 xp? Awh hell. Ok fine.” I’m a sucker for easy XP.

Monster Hunter Movie From RE Director. Probably.

Awh crap. Someone stop this man. Or stop Capcom. Or…well I don’t know who to stop anymore. All of them?

Paul Anderson, the director behind the Resident Evil movies, may be getting another Capcom franchise to work with into a movie: Monster Hunter. It’s not confirmed yet, but strongly pointing towards “this is going to happen” territory.

On the one hand Monster Hunter is pretty open for story possibilities. There is a thread connecting all of the points together, but it’s not a story set in stone like Resident Evil. So any deviations Anderson may have wouldn’t be a bad thing. The concept is you, the gamer, are a rookie hunter setting out to make his mark on the world. Seems very open to play with.

On the other hand, Anderson might piss off the gaming community again. Monster Hunter may be a “build your own story” type of game, but there are a lot of nuances and features that make Monster Hunter what it is. If they’re removed from the movie then what would be the point of the adaptation?

On the other hand, there is Anderson and he went wild with Resident Evil. I still attest that he’s cheating the movie audience as well as gamers out of a real horror RE experience. (Again, for the umpteenth time I’m not saying that the RE movies are bad. They have been able to maintain and grow their audience in their own way. But to link them to the RE games is a bit of an insult. The movies work best when you think of them as a separate entity.)

On the other hand…oh wait. That’s 4 hands. Too many!

I’m not against a Monster Hunter movie or that Paul Anderson wants to take charge of it. But I do feel like we need to have a pow-wow with him and make him understand what we as games and we as movie attendees want to see. It is possible to merge the two without jacking up the game franchise.

Can you tell that I’m tired of talking about video game movies? Unless it’s Ace Attorney of course. Anyone interested in working with me to come up with our own? You know it’ll kick ass. :D

Though while I’m on the subject of RE, who’s ready for RE6? Hell yeah. Chris vs. Leon. And the woman with the impractical wardrobe. Lady, I know you’re one of the primary antagonists, but that scarf is not a good idea during a zombie/sickness outbreak. One grab and you’re done for. Pretty sure they won’t care that you are their “creator” when you could be a meal.

What’s up with Capcom and illogical clothing for women? I’m currently working on a Rose costume from Street Fighter 4. There is no way in hell a real woman would wear that to fight in. It’s completely restricts your movement! I don’t care if you have a magical scarf.


I’m seeing the connection. Rose is the woman from RE6. O_o Ok what about the 3DS RE game, the operative that gets killed off in the first 5 minutes. Not just impractical clothing but hair too! What military program allows for such crazy hair? Even Jill’s would be too long for most branches.

But anyway. RE6. Chris and Leon are getting old. Leon might want to trim the hair down. He’s looking a little too rugged to still be sporting that style. Then again I’m half expecting for Chris to pull a Lethal Weapon, Danny Glover move. “I’m getting too old for this sh*t.” It’s good to see that the series is expanding the story. Characters get older. I don’t think Mario will ever age, but we do expect it from Chris, Leon, Ada, Jill, and the dozens of other characters.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Mass Effect Journal 1: What’s up with the eyes?

I realize that gaming technology has come a long way that even in the last 3 years with the same consoles it has vastly improved. But man. The eyes for humans in Mass Effect weird me out. If it’s like this with some of the aliens I might just focus in on this throughout the entire play-through.

Hey Shep.

Um. Shep…?

Ok, look. The NPC is right in front of you. Why are your eyes going so far to the right that they’re rolling back into your head?

I’ve gone through the paces and created my Shep. I stuck with the male model and opted to not go for a custom look. I want to use the Shep that BioWare designed. Objective gaming go! Yeah it might not be “as personalized” but I’ll still make the story my own and select choices that I feel will best suit my game-style. As such I opted to be an Infiltrator. I like using tactics and looking for hidden areas, and being more of a ranged/sniper versus hand to hand combat. Though I’m really more of a medic but in a group setting like this where I’m the only “living” human playing, I like having control over the team…and shooting things in the head.

So after about 16 minutes of dialogue and setting up my character (even with Final Fantasy I’m still not use to so much dialogue) we started the first mission. Eden! Looks nothing like the photos. Oh right. An “ancient” alien race is attacking to get this spike thing. Ok. Let’s roll!

What the hell are these puffy things that glow? *shoots at it and watches is explode* Hurrah! I got one guys!

“These creatures are harmless” says the generic military NPC.

Oh. Whoops.

Too late now. *shoots another one*

“Enemies up ahead!”

Sweet. Let’s start playing with the buttons. Awh hell. One guy went down already? Either he was a wuss or these are real dicks. *5 seconds later* He’s a wuss. Progressing the story by killing random NPC’s that I’m suppose to care about but don’t really!

First off, I had the tutorial option on because hell if I know what the buttons do. Short of smashing them and seeing what happens. I found out really fast that, that was the best way to learn. The “guide” was of no help before or during battle. I fiddled around and figured out for myself what everything did. It wasn’t until after the fights that the pop up note came up and informed me about the bumper wheels of weapons and abilities. That would have been great 3 minutes ago, but I already figured it out. Thanks anyway.

I also found out that the “hacking” thing needed to open up special doors and areas requires you to be ridiculously fast. “This is very easy to open.” Well apparently not unless I have the speed of a cheetah. I realize that there are skills that I have to build up but that seems silly to label it “easy” but not be able to crack it open without having lightning reflexes. I also don’t understand the item system, if there is one. I get med packs and I can use them and these thermo gels, I believe, that help open said locked doors but I never seem to have enough of.

One thing that I’m already annoyed about with the game is lack of information. I have to stumble around to know what’s going on. I might start caring as the story progresses, but why should I give a flip about humanity being a part of this galactic alliance, and finding this spire, and me being the only hope. I just want to get some bacon and chill out in a space port. I’m sure it’ll get better (or at least I hope it will) now that I finished the first mission I’m able to walk around, talk to NPC’s, and get some of the back story. That helps! I’d like to have a reason for why I’m doing the things that I’m doing.

So I’m not very far into my first play through in terms of content. I spent a lot of time running around, getting accustomed to the controls, and shooting at the puffy, glowy, sheep things. My banter about the eyes should be entertaining in the audio. :D

We're Playing The "Let's Play" Game!

Ladies, gentlemen, and gamers.

I’m trying an experiment. It may not be new, but I think this will be unique.

You know all of those “Let’s Play ‘Such-and-Such’ “ videos? I’m not a fan of them because it’s people playing games that they know and probably have a strong attachment to. They give characters voices and piddle around for 50 videos. Great way to get more of your content on YouTube.

But I find them boring. What’s the fun in watching someone play a game that they love and know by heart? If it were to get secret items in the game or to show tips on how to beat a particularly hard boss, that’s one thing. Then it would be one 10 minute video.

The ones that I get enjoyment out of watching are when they are playing “blind” i.e. have never picked up the game, ever. These are typically the rare titles or smaller games that don’t get a lot of exposure, but I like to watch these because we get a genuine reaction out of people. We get to see them as they stumble through, make errors, and find enjoyment in ways we didn’t experience.

I decided to give this a shot. But instead of picking an obscure game that a handful of people would be aware of, I wanted to go after a big title. Something that even if you haven’t played it, you know the name, and have a rough idea of the story and/or the characters.


Mass Effect.

Yep readers. I have never played through Mass Effect. Which is why I don’t dump on it like I do with some other games *coughscallofdutycoughs*. (Ok seriously. I have no issues with the original Call of Duty games. It’s just getting a little stale and needs new life.) I lasted 10 minutes, and I don’t recall making it past the character creation screen.

It came out at a bad time where I had at least 4 titles I has been looking forward to, that released on or around that same date in 2007. Mass Effect got stuck into the pile and now I’m rounding back to finally play.

Why Mass Effect as my first choice? Other than being harped on by dozens of friends and family, I think I’m at the point where enough of the hype has died down that I can sit back and actually appreciate the game, and approach it from an objective standpoint. Do I have some bias going in? Of course. I know that it’s a BioWare game and I’m a fan of the KOTOR series. I’m fully aware going in what to expect in terms of story and making choices to influence what happens with the character. That’s about it. I don’t know a thing about the plot or how it plays out. I know there are some aliens that join your team. And yeah…that’s all I got. Go me!

But the bias comes from expectations that I have for BioWare. And of course outside influences. (Bro. I know you think it’s an awesome game. Let me play it first.) I’ll try my best to be open-minded and not allow the thoughts of others to alter my way of playing.

Now the downside to this is that I don’t really have the equipment to record the video of me playing, short of taking my photo camera, pointing it at the tv, and letting it go (I have the 360 version). I’ll be doing this in a blog format, posting thoughts from each game session, and will be recording audio of myself as I’m playing. I’m still working out the logistics for the audio portion. Listening to audio of me on YouTube is probably not the most entertaining thing in the world when there isn’t any video to watch. I might set my camera up to take screen shot grabs as I play and interweave them into a video format.

We’ll see what happens~

For the regular readers I’ll still have daily gaming news and musings. But I hope this is a feature some of you will enjoy.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Mindset: Just Because It Is Doesn't Make It Right

I realize that I keep harping on this issue, but sexism in the gaming and geek community has been a big button pusher lately. Here are some stats and here is a fantastic editorial.
We’re getting to the point, however, that like Lana Polansky that we’re just tired of it. But we’re not seeing any signs of change. It’s the same crap over and over again. (I think I just figured out what I like Dan Brown’s novels. They always go back to how women were worshipped and considered partners to men, not as servants visa-vie religion. Holy crap!) It’s been like this for, what, centuries now? Engrained into our culture, we as female geeks are going to always be subject to some form of verbal abuse because we are women.

Is it right that we have to shut up and deal with it? Of course not. But the hard reality is that it’s going to take a few lifetimes before we see any changes being made to the culture thought that anything not a human male is inferior. And it sucks! I can’t say it as eloquently as Polansky, but that’s the hard truth. What can we do to change it? I don’t really know for certain.

We’re at the right spot. The fact that a number of us are being vocal, telling our stories, and offering insight is good. We need to move to the next step. Boycotting couldn’t hurt either. We make up a pretty sizeable chunk of the video game purchasing audience (despite when men feel is a “boys only club”). If enough of us refuse to buy, that’ll get a few minds to change.

I can hear it now. “But it’s not the game developers fault that we are this way.” True. But they’re not helping the situation either when they pander to the expected culture/mind-frame.

Soap box moment over, for now~

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Where are we going with cartridges?

I’ll admit that I’m an old schooler at heart. I was one of the last to get into the Smart Phone run (not THE last. I know quite a few people that still stick with the flip phones). But I don’t have a tablet or a nooklet to read books. I still prefer the physical copy in my hands to turn the pages. Not to mention the digital versions are still pricier then the paperback. The fudge? And with such easy access to music can anyone remember the last time they bought a cd? Mine probably was…hell I can’t even answer that. I know there was a set in the FF13-2 limited edition. Not that I have played them. They’re still in their nice, neat, pristine packaging. The last music, music CD I can remember buying was Weezer’s album. That one with Hash Pipe as one of the tracks. Google lists that as 2001, so yep. That’s about right.

But even still, I love having the physical game in my hands. The box with its cover art ready to dazzle my collection. The manual, even with them being slimmed down further and further to only a few pages, they still make me smile like a little kid.

The only “digital” games that I own are MMO’s. Even then I have the discs. Oh, there’s Left 4 Dead 1 and 2 but those were gifts. :D I’d still opt for the real discs if I had the option.

So where does that put me in this realm of gaming? I don’t think the disc, cartridges, and blurays will die out any time soon. There are plenty of us that are nostalgic and will pay for it. Records are my example. Anyone remember those? Vinyl is totally back in style, but even before this became a hipster movement, a number of artists continued to release their albums on vinyl. They just weren’t as heavily distributed because who owns a record player these days? *raises hand* In my defense, it’s a pretty awesome sound system that goes from record, to atrack, to tape, to cd, to midi disc (those died out super fast!), and a bunch of other stuff in between. Now that records are “cool” again, people are buying them up left and right.

It’s true that game companies are focusing more on digital distribution. But I don’t think it’ll die out. There will always be people like myself who want our physical games. Not to mention, think about all the money EA would lose by not having those special, limited, ultimate, extra editions of Call of Duty? Yeah. That’s quite a bit!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Gaming History Expands

With another temporary museum opening up to pay tribute to our gaming past, this one in China, it makes me wonder more and more about the type of content that is placed into these exhibitions.

The Smithsonian asked for help from the nation to help narrow down their selections on what should be showcased. Others focused on whatever they had available in their closet or could borrow from friends.

As we’re seeing more and more of gaming history turning people into thousand- airs, our past with games has become a value. Not just monetary, though that has been helping spur this increase in museum tours, but sentimental.

You know why the Smithsonian is as awesome as it is and attracts so many people every year to visit D.C.? It’s the museum of everything. Literally everything. The giant archive that sits below the museum as visualized in Night at the Museum 2 and depicted in The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown really exists. It’s the place where you can see relics from the American Revolution to Abe’s hats. But what really stands out are the entertainment paraphernalia. Archie Bunker’s couch. Dorthy’s ruby red slippers. James T. Kirk’s uniform from the first season of star trek. Michael Jackon’s “Bad” jacket (which I remember seeing when I was 16 being right next to something from FDR, and laughing hysterically for 15 minutes).

Movies, television, music, theater: these all touch our lives in ways that most politicians can only dream of. I bet if I spouted off the name Bill Clinton you might be able to talk about the Lewinsky allegations, if you’re over the age of 25 that is. But does anyone remember what policies he enacted while in office? Or that he held a military campaign for the single largest bombing run in one day in US history? Probably not. But if you’re in the same age range you remember the final episode of Seinfeld, what happened to Rachel and Ross, and the Ruban/Clay results for American Idol.

Video games have come into that aspect of reality. No longer mindless, they speak a lot about who we are today and how they shaped our lives. We remember the first time we used Mario’s fireball power to defeat Bowser, or sending Frogger out onto the road just before a truck flattens him. Those are the memories we cherish and remind us of better times. And as games have matured, so do our memories. We learn from them morals and a sense of self much like tv, movies, and theater has done. And they stick out in our mind as more memorable than anything we could experience in reality.

To be cliché because this is the best example, you remember when Aeris died how you felt and the internal turmoil you were experiencing. (Even though mine was more of a pissed off emotional outburst because it jacked up my group dynamics for battle, there was turmoil!) You probably don’t remember President Obama’s inauguration address.

I’d be interested to see museums expand more on video games. Not just for interaction but for historical preservation. We’re at the point where the original Atari and Calicovision cartridges will no longer hold together. Much like Dorothy’s slippers, it’s our duty to keep our past in tact for future generations to appreciate. It might be a video game to some, but they hold a lot of valuable memories to others.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Video Games Increase Pain Tolerance?!

You know that adage that swearing will help increase pain tolerance? They proved it on Mythbusters, and if the Mythbusters say it, then it must be true!

Well some researchers in England decided to try this with violent video games. They gave 40 subjects 10 minutes to play a violent or non-violent video game, and then dunk their hand in colder water. They determined that those who played the violent games had a higher pain tolerance. Why? Emotional responses in the brain are believed to trigger this increased resistance to pain. Much like with swearing. It gives the illusion that we’re not in “that” much pain.

What does this say about violent video games? Who knows. I’m still working out the reasons behind doing this “study” in the first place.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Working for Glenn Beck Doesn't Pay

I’m back! And really flippin’ tired. *falls over* I enjoyed hosting my panels and had a lot of fun, but talking about robots can wear a person out. If anyone is interesting in my ramblings about the convention I’ll post something at one point. Probably tomorrow.

But today! I want to talk about Warren Spector hates Glenn Beck. So much so that he wouldn’t let a Beck employee have a pair of mouse ears to promote Epic Mickey 2.
Why is this amusing? Well this situation happened at the GameStop annual Managers conference. Why was a Glenn Beck employee there? Said employee also works for GameStop.

So here’s Glenn Beck. A man that left FOX and got a nice paycheck in the process. Forbes announced him as one of the top paid 25 celebrities this past fiscal year. He pocketed 60 million dollars.

And he has an employee working at a GameStop store.

When your salary is so piss poor that you have to work at GameStop, something is wrong with the picture. I think we have finally found someone who is cheaper then GameStop. Glenn Beck. Way to be a cheap ass Glenn. I’d be amazed if you even offered health insurance. Oh wait. We can’t talk about that. We know you’re anti-freedom to live.

This isn’t about Spector vs. Beck any more. Whatever you political affiliation may be. This is about a man wanting some damn Mickey Mouse ears that he’s way too poor to afford on his own because he works for Glenn Beck and GameStop. Someone get this man the ears he has earned!