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"Those who go mad are merely thoughtful souls who failed to reach any conclusions." - Bloodborne

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Hey fellow Gamers, stop being so fucking stupid. Please?

Let me ask you guys something... could we PLEASE stop supporting bullshit in the gaming industry already? Please? Let me explain.

In order to raise profits higher and higher, certain things have been and are being done to video games that are incredibly stupid. Things like real world ads inside of games, on disc DLC, crazy micro transactions, etc. You hear about a company's dirty dealings, mistreatment of their staff and all assortment of shady, greedy dealings, especially from companies like EA. But for some reason, none of this seems to matter. People keep supporting it. We've got to stop.

If we don't, I think we're going to take this industry down a very bad path. A good example is a soon-to-be-released, in North America anyway, 3DS game called Bravely Default. It's a cool looking game but there's a big issue. In the game you get "sleep points" by leaving your 3DS in sleep mode. Every (non-consecutive) eight hour period you do this, you get one SP up to a maximum of three. These are, apparently, used in battle to stop time. If you don't feel like waiting, you can simply by special "SP drinks" or some such in the eShop for real money that will instantly give you three.

Some people might just say "oh well that's optional, I just won't do it" or "I don't have time to earn SP so I'll just buy them that way." The problem with the first statement, is that things like this still affect the design of the game. Being able to buy power or wins, even if you don't HAVE TO sets a REALLY bad precedent. What incentive do the developers have to make earning SP fun, or at least not take forever, if they want you to buy it with actual money? The problem with the second statement is that things like that used to be called "cheats" in the form of codes or unlockables. Now instead of you entering a special code or finding a hidden area to unlock a cheat, developers are simply asking you to get out your credit card.

One defense of this stuff I've seen is "oh well all games will have it soon anyway" which is complete bullshit. The video games industry is perhaps the greatest example of the phrase "vote with your wallet" that exists. Some developers can go under if one or two games flop. The effect our purchasing decisions make is, in some cases, that dramatic. We can simply choose not only to not purchase the micro transactions, but to avoid the games that have them entirely.

The other defense, which is that games are so much cheaper now than they were before and cost more to make, so devs need the money. I'm to call bullshit on that as well. One way game companies have chosen to make games more profitable are with DLC. When done correctly, DLC can be a great way for the devs to make more money and for us, the gamers, to get more content for our games. I'm all for good DLC that actually adds to the game and is fairly priced, that's fine and is a great way for developers to add to their profits. Shady tactics like monetizing cheats and ridiculous micro transactions aren't necessary at all.

So here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to email the company that made Bravely Default and let them know that I won't be buying the game due to their micro transaction policies. Then, I'm going to not buy the game. Imagine the response if a game came out that had this type of shit, sold poorly but the devs got a hundred thousand "well we would've bought your game if not for those micro transactions" emails? Things would change pretty goddamn quick. We have that kind of power, we just need to be smart enough to use it.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Xbox One and Playstation 4 disappoint me.

When a new generation of videogame consoles are released, it used to surprise me. It used to amaze me. I was blown away. The games looked much better than anything we had seen before. The price point of upgrading to the "next generation" seemed worth it.

The differences have always been pretty easy to appreciate. NES to SNES to N64 to GameCube. While Nintendo took a different route with their next system, the Wii, the tech race continued with the Xbox 360 and PS3. Both of those systems had another sizable increase in graphics from the previous console generation. When I saw a demo of "Kameo Elements of Power" being run on the Xbox 360, I was very impressed. The camera zoomed out and I saw hundreds, maybe more than a thousand orcs on the screen. My jaw hit the floor, next gen had arrived.

While the graphics in Kameo still hold up today, and I'd recommend it to anyone who owns an Xbox 360 and hasn't tried it, games that look far better have come out since. With the release of the three (now) current generation consoles, I'm left unimpressed. Maybe it's diminishing returns, maybe it's the fact that I've had a really good gaming PC for a while, I'm not sure. Nintendo have made a significant step up over their last system, which admittedly isn't a huge accomplishment, but the other two haven't. At least, I don't feel like they have.

The game that really cemented that idea in my head is Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition. It's made to sound like some extra, super awesome edition. What it is, basically, is a slightly tweaked PC port. A game we got a year ago, finally looking almost as good as it did on PC but on Xbox One and PS4. Is this what "next gen" means now for consoles? What you got on PC two or three years ago? Is that all we can expect on modern videogame machines?

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm sure both of those consoles will get enough interesting exclusives to warrant purchasing eventually, I'm just disappointed that the graphical leap doesn't seem as large as it has in console generations past. I'm not trying to bash on the new systems, either. I think it's pretty likely that I'll end up getting a PS4 at some point. I guess it was inevitable that consoles would stop being able to surpass a modern PC at launch. What do you think?

Monday, November 25, 2013

The saddest possible existence.

A thought crossed my mind, as they sometimes do, and I thought I would share. I figure that the saddest possible existence has to be the male, Islaming cross-dresser. Why? Let me explain. Cross dressing, according to Wikipedia, is:
"Cross-dressing refers to the act of wearing clothing and other accoutrements commonly associated with the opposite sex within a particular society.[1] Cross-dressing has been used for purposes of disguise, comfort, and as a literary trope in modern times and throughout history. It does not, however, necessarily indicate transgender identity."
Now, the reason for male Islamic cross dressers having such a sad existence, in my opinion, is the type of clothing females usually wear in the more restrictive Islamic countries. Think about it... Burkas. Yep, nothin' but burkas. Burkas all day every day. If you're a man and you want to dress like a woman? Burka. They all wear the same thing, they all look the same.

You have my sympathy.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Speaking of new gaming consoles... price drops.

Okay guys, since the PS4 recently released and the Xbone is right around the corner, let's discuss something real quick. As with the Wii U, there will be price cuts and you guys need to try not to bitch about it this time.

This happens every single time. A console releases and, usually within the first year, there's a price cut. Some people are happy about it but others will bitch and complain that they just bought it.

"waaah I didn't expect what happens to EVERY CONSOLE EVER to happen to the one I bought! I'm owed something for choosing to buy something at a certain price! WAAAH!"

Over and over again. At a certain point, you'd think people would expect this and react accordingly. Unfortunately, it never ends.

I'm going to tell you guys, right here, right now, the PS4 and Xbox One will most likely see a price cut before they turn 1 year old. You heard it right here. You were warned. If that's okay with you, go ahead and buy either system, or both. If it's NOT okay, then don't just buy one now and bitch later. Wait on purchasing one until it hits a price you're comfortable paying and make sure you won't be complaining about seeing it at a lower price later. It WILL happen. It always does.

I've mentioned this issue before but I've gotten absolutely sick of hearing it every time a console releases and goes through its first price cut. Every. Single. Time. It happened with the PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U and it will happen with the Xbox One and PS4. Don't say you weren't warned.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

I guess Katt Williams is an idiot.

This is old news, I suppose, but I didn't realize it until just now. I was watching a Katt Williams special, Kattpacalypse, on Netflix. It was funny, as stuff from this guy usually is, but then he started talking about Evolution being bullshit and Atheists being stupid. What? Well, I closed that video very quick. I get a large dose of stupid every single day on the Internet, but sometimes it's just too much too fast. That definitely qualified.

Here's a video I found showing that segment of his special and then an excellent rebuttal by Dr. Richard Dawkins. Have a look.

Katt Williams says,"Evolution is bullshit" and "Atheists are stupid." Rebuttled by Dr. Richard Dawkins from TheAbe546 on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Xbox One or PS4? How about neither? At least for now.

Update: Added a very relevant video near the bottom. Check it out.

Updates: I'll add an update here or there to this post as certain points become more or less relevant in the following days.

I've had my say about Xbox and why it doesn't deserve fanboys but a lot of people are still wondering which of the two new consoles to get soon. My opinion? How about neither? For now, anyway. Let me explain.

  • Potential hardware issues.

  • This was a BIG one for the Xbox 360. The first Xbox may have been a rock solid machine, but the 360 (at least for the first few models) was a piece of shit. Many people paid the price for that, including myself. Now, I seriously hope Microsoft would be smart enough to make DAMN sure that didn't happen again with their new system, but I'd still be wary of getting one for a while, just to be safe.

    As for the Playstation 4, I'm a little concerned about this one for slightly different reasons. The PS3 didn't have a huge failure rate like the 360 did, but the PS4 is new hardware which always has a chance of failure. Unlike the Xbox One, the Playstation 4 has its power supply inside the system. The system itself meanwhile is smaller than the Xbox One. Those two things combined means more tightly packed components and a greater potential for heat. It could just be that the system is very well designed and this won't be an issue, but we won't know for a while after launch.

    Update: A small (so far) percentage of both Xbone and PS4 systems have experienced issues. It's always a safe bet that when a new console launches, some people will have bad experiences with them. A great reason to wait a while before purchasing one..

  • Looming price cuts.

  • Despite all the whining that happens when a system gets a price cut by the people who just bought one last week, it's going to happen. In fact, it's most likely going to happen within a year of the release of both new systems. With the Xbox One launching at $500, a price cut is almost required as soon as Microsoft can manage to do it. There's even plenty of industry speculation that this will be the case, especially if sales lag behind the PS4.

    As for the Playstation 4, I could definitely see them taking $50 or more off the price within the first year, especially to counter any potential price drop from Microsoft to maintain a healthy price advantage. If either of these two systems stays at the launch price for more than a year, I'll be surprised. If you're a thrifty gamer with plenty of patience, it might pay to wait.

  • Lackluster launch lineup.

  • I'm personally not too impressed with the launch lineup for either system. There's Ryse, for Xbox One. That's been reported as being about as fun as dialing a phone. A repetitive QTE-fest that has nice graphics and not much else. Killer Instinct for Xbox One isn't being made by Rare, so that killed any enthusiasm I had for that game. It could turn out to be nice, but not having Rare make the game is an absolutely boneheaded move that I couldn't even begin to explain.
    The really big titles for Xbox One like Titanfall and Halo won't be out at launch, so there's no hurry.

    As for Playstation 4, it's mostly the same deal. Highly anticipated titles like Infamous Second Son and Final Fantasy XV won't be out for a while. Unless the Killzone Shadow Fall looks like something you absolutely need, I'd hold off. Both systems will most likely end up with a great library of games, but not for at least or a year or two.

  • Limited availability.

  • Hopefully this won't be an issue, but I'm aware that at least some people are planning over night camp outs for one of the new systems. Not only will waiting give you a better lineup, a better chance of knowing how the hardware is fairing and a potentially lower price, but you won't have to sleep in a tent outside in the cold, if availability turns out to be an issue, that is.

    Update: From what I'm hearing, availability is, in fact, going to be an issue as pre-orders seem to be sold out pretty much everywhere.

    Oh hey, I almost forgot this. Here you go.

    So there's my thoughts on the two new video game systems coming out soon and why you might want to wait a while before buying either one (or both.) What do you think? Are you going to get one or both anyway? Let me know. Leave a comment.

    Saturday, November 9, 2013

    You know what pisses me off? The new Youtube comment system.

    You've probably heard about it already, but in case you haven't, Youtube now requires you to use Google+. They also want you to use your real name, but of course no one is. You can simply enter any name, so there's Obamas and Hitlers everywhere. This also apparently enabled easy posting of ASCII pictures and links. This is the Internet, so I'm certain you can guess what that's being used for. Hooray. Great job, Google.

    As for what to do, other than bitching to Google, I'd say... abuse it. Make a Google+ profile with a fake name and post horrible, terrible things in the comments section. Plenty of people are already doing that, so do some more. If they think that doing this will somehow "clean up" the comments, they're mistaken. It's a terrible idea that isn't working and isn't going to. Instead of making more people love Google+, it's going to do the exact opposite. No one likes being forced to sign up for a social network just to do something.

    Of course, you can simply do away with the comments section altogether. I usually have it blocked myself. If you have Firefox, download adblock plus (or adblock edge, which I personally use) and install the element hiding helper addon for adblock. Add a custom element blocking rule "youtube.com###watch-discussion" without the quotes, and the Youtube comments section will be gone forever.

    Wednesday, November 6, 2013

    You know what pisses me off? Xbox fanboys.

    Let me get this out of the way first, I owned and loved the original Xbox. That thing was a tank. Well built, solid. I even loved the original "Duke" controller. For the first two thirds or so of my time with the Xbox 360, I loved that system as well. It was, visually at least, well designed. It had a fantastic controller, great online functionality and a large array of amazing games. With that out of the way, let me get to the main question here...

    Why the HELL are there still Xbox fanboys?

    Yes, I know, you have a lot of fond memories of the Xbox. Halo, Gears of War, I get it. I have plenty myself. But I feel like Microsoft has shown a pattern of behavior with the Xbox brand that makes them no longer worthy of having customers loyal enough to be called fanboys. At a certain point, you say enough is enough and you stop giving them money, that's what I did. Maybe after hearing some of my complaints, you might understand my feelings on this subject.

  • Ads on the Dashboard

  • One of my biggest pet peeves is advertisements in gaming. In games themselves or the console interface. I have absolutely no explanation for why putting ads on the Xbox 360 dashboard was even considered, other than blatant greed at the expense of loyal customers. If I'm paying for Xbox Live Gold, $50 a year (or whatever it's going for these days) I shouldn't have to put up with that type of shit.

    Hell, if I'm NOT paying for Xbox Live Gold I still shouldn't have to. If you bought a blu-ray player and it had ads in the menus, I bet you'd return that piece of shit immediately. I would, I bet most people would. I payed for the god damn thing, don't try to show me ads too, that's just ridiculous.

  • Broken promises of quality standards

  • With the Xbox 360, Microsoft promised a set of strict standards for all games on that system. They would all be required to run at a minimum resolution of 1280x720 and would also be required to have 5.1 surround sound. This included Xbox Live Arcade titles as well. I thought that was really cool.

    Eventually, though, they abandoned these requirements as developers wanted to be able to render games at less than HD resolutions to increase effects or improve frame rate. I understand why this was done, but they shouldn't have made a promise in the first place they couldn't keep. That's a big lack of foresight in my opinion.

  • RROD

  • You can't complain about Xbox without mentioning this. The Xbox 360, while nice looking and featuring a lot of great games, was a piece of shit. Between me and my sister, we had seven die. Seven. What?

    A friend of mine has had a 360 die and has his current one hanging off of an entertainment center with a fan blowing directly on its exposed innards to function. I'm not sure what the fuck happened, but Microsoft sure as hell better not repeat it with the Xbox One.

  • Themes and camera obsolescence

  • Since these two or so similar, I'll combine them into one point. The Xbox 360s interface, consisting of multiple "blades" had a nifty feature that allowed you to purchase and use custom themes. They were designed for this specific interface and a lot of them looked great. They were fairly inexpensive so I bought a few. Later, they decided to completely change the interface. The themes you had purchased technically still worked, but looked much worse. Did we get refunds? Store credit (even partial) or so much as an apology? Nope. Boy, am I glad I bought those themes!

    Another great example of this kind of bullshit was the original Xbox 360 camera. No, I'm not talking about Kinect. Before that launched, we had a $30 (if I remember correctly) webcam type thing. It allowed video chat and games would support it for (terrible) motion control and doing other things like importing your face to use in the game. After the Kinect released, games that wanted camera functions required that and wouldn't use the old one. If you bought the old one? Well, fuck you, go buy a Kinect you sucker.

  • Walled off features

  • I won't paste the list here, but there are a LARGE number of features that Microsoft requires you to pay for Xbox Live Gold to access. A couple of funny examples are Pizza Hut. If you want to order Pizza from your console, you need to pay for Gold. Another good one is UFC pay per view. If you want to pay for UFC matches, you have to pay for the ability to do that. Wow, Microsoft. Very nice.

  • The destruction of Rare

  • When Microsoft purchased Rare, I had high hopes for what they might do with the company. The first order of business was an enhanced version of Conkers Bad Fur Day for the original Xbox. I didn't play that one, but I heard good things. When the Xbox 360 launched, the first game I got was the absolutely wonderful Kameo Elements of Power from Rare. An absolutely beautiful game with fun game play and graphics that still hold up today.

    Their other launch window title, Perfect Dark Zero, wasn't quite as good as Kameo but it was still an enjoyable game. Despite the backlash the game received due to it not being a platformer, Banjo Kazooie Nuts & Bolts which came a good bit later, was an amazing game. One of my favorite games of all time, no joke. I'd still recommend it to this day if you have an Xbox 360 and haven't given it a try.

    It seemed, after that, Microsoft was done letting Rare make awesome games. Microsoft then relegated Rare to making stupid Kinect related shit like Kinect Sports and designing the Xbox 360 Avatar system. No more Banjo Kazooie, Perfect Dark, Kameo, Conker or anything else that made Rare great.

    Now, don't get me wrong, I understand that the games most likely sold poorly on Xbox 360, that's part of the issue. The games that Rare makes weren't going to be appreciated by the Xbox community. Nintendo owned a small stake in Rare (which they sold to Microsoft when Microsoft acquired a majority of Rare stock) but they should have bought the company when they had the chance. A mixture of Rare and Microsoft was never going to end well. It was doomed from the beginning.

    But hey, we ARE getting a new Killer Instinct... that's NOT made by Rare. What the fuck, Microsoft??

  • Pretty much everything Xbox One related so far

  • Oh man, has Microsoft gotten off to a fantastic start with this new system or what? They decide that the console will REQUIRE a connection to the Internet once every 24 hours to check in or all your games simply stop working. If your Internet goes out for a couple days or more? Well, you're screwed. If you bring a game to a friends house? That check in requirement is down to once PER HOUR. This pissed off a lot of people for good reason, especially people in the military as they've traditionally been big Xbox supporters who also happen to lack 24/7 stable Internet access.

    Another interesting tidbit is the fact that discs would be tied to your system. Publishers would be able to decide if you could buy their games used, sell them, lend them or even just give them away. Even if they allowed one or more of those things, they could decide, for example, how many times a game could be given to a new person. The system for handling all of this wouldn't even be available at launch. The backlash over this one was great. You can still see it if you visit the official Xbox YouTube channel and look at the number of thumbs downs on most Xbox One related videos. People are bitter, and rightfully so, in my opinion at least. Telling people that they have no control or ownership over the physical media they purchase is an absolute outrage.

    After vigorously defending their new policies, they were eventually forced to backtrack on all of them due to public outcry and pre-order numbers that weren't looking as good as those for the Playstation 4. Some people have completely forgiven them for it, but some others (like me) no longer trust them. If someone planned to murder me and then went through every step but the very last one, I wouldn't call them a great person for suddenly deciding not to do it at the last second.

    So there's my list, the major points anyway. I personally no longer trust Microsoft or the Xbox brand. I can understand why people would still have fond memories of Xbox, I have plenty myself. But these things (along with others) shows the character of a company. I won't be purchasing an Xbox One and I recommend that you don't, either. If Microsoft decides to continue making consoles after the Xbox One, they need a good kick in the pants to remind them of their place and the fact that the consumers should always be put first.

    I hope you see now why I'm absolutely baffled by the fact that Xbox fanboys still exist. Being that loyal to a company who has treated its customers poorly is confusing. If you still plan to buy an Xbox One after all of this and everything else that's happened, my advice would be to wait a bit. See how they handle the launch, see if the consoles start dying like Xbox 360s, wait till the system has more interesting exclusives. You don't need to rush in to support them right away. After all, they wouldn't do it for you.

    Tuesday, October 22, 2013

    Kickstarter recommendation: Spark Rising. Mechs vs Dinos vs Zombies!

    With Kickstarter becoming a really big thing for the indie game industry, among others, I thought I would share interesting ones I come across here.

    Via a reddit question and answer session (that can be found here), I learned of an interesting one for a game called Spark Rising. Mechs vs Dinos vs Zombies! It was described by it's creator as "Minecraft + Battlefront. Pew Pew!" which sounds like a fun combination to me. Despite the somewhat low support for the Kickstarter campaign so far, I decided to back it.

    Visit the Kickstarter page here and check out the game for yourself, and consider supporting it if you like the concept.

    Sunday, October 20, 2013

    Top 5 things I don't want to see in future video game consoles.

    1. Disc Drives

    As someone who loves buying games digitally on both Wii U and Steam, I welcome the death of disc drives. I know there are a lot of people who are going to resist this idea, which is probably why it hasn't happend with the Xbone and PS4, but it's inevitable.

    Not having to put one in future consoles would free up internal space for smaller, cooler designs. This would also make them cheaper to manufacture and, hopefully, buy... if perhaps only slightly.

    2. Multiple Skus

    Multiple Skus are designed to offer people a choice between the premium model with all the bells and whistles, or the slightly stripped down version at a more attractive price point. What ends up happening is confusion among the populace who's not as "tech educated" as your average hardcore gamer and lack of support for premium features.

    For instance, it's hard to have really good support a built in hard drive if only some of the consoles have them.

    I hope this generation of consoles is the last one we see with multiple hardware Skus. Really, the only console of this coming generation with multiple Skus is the Wii U, or was. With the recent price cut, the "basic set" seems to be a thing of the past. With no sign of different versions of the PS4 or Xbone, this goal might actually be in sight.

    3. A lack of built-in storage

    Nintendo has been mostly guilty of this one lately. The Wii U "deluxe set" has 32GB of flash memory, while the "basic set" has only 8GB. Either of these works well for simply saving games and downloading a few virtual console or other little eShop exclusive games, but if you're downloading full retail titles then that much space won't last very long.

    Maybe getting rid of those disc drives would leave plenty of room for a full sized HDD... whaddya say Nintendo? How does that sound?

    4. Scarcity at launch

    I have a feeling that the days of having to wait in a long line on launch day or checking specialty console tracking websites to see if a store near you has a Wii are over. But just in case, I'm going to throw this suggestion out there. Let's make sure that when a console is launched, there are MORE than enough so everyone that wants one, can find one.

    I suspect that PS4 and Xbone (especially Xbone) will be available for everyone when they launch, let's hope I'm right about that.

    5. Super high prices

    When the PS3 launched with the "cheap" version being $499 and the premium model coming in at $599, people weren't exactly thrilled. The Xbone and it's $499 price isn't inspiring much delight, especially with the PS4 launching at $399 and the Wii U now $299.

    One of the (very few) advantages of console gaming over PC gaming is the inexpensive hardware. If I'm going to spend $600+ I might as well just build a decent computer and play games on that.

    That was my list, but what do you think? Anything to add? Disagree? Leave a comment.

    Monday, October 7, 2013

    A few updates.

    I haven't been posting, have I? Whoops. Well, no one reads this shit so it doesn't matter anyway! Woot! But the Kickstarters for Might No. 9 and Shantae 1/2 Genie Hero have ended, both successfully. I backed both so I'm very happy to see it. I wished Shantae had gotten a little more money, but I can't complain too much. Clicking either link will take you to their respective Kickstarter page, which has links to their continuing campaigns via PayPal. You can keep pledging for a while longer still to both games and, in the case of Shantae, the money will continue to provide progress toward any unfinished stretch goals that still exist. I highly encourage you to check those out and back them both, they're coming to absolutely every system that's of any current importance.

    So what's awesome lately? Well, there's a new Super Mario 3D World trailer out and it looks great. In fact, have a look right now.

    It surprises me that people hated so much on this game when it was first shown off at E3. This shows why I've stopped doubting Nintendo. If they know how to do anything, it's deliver great experiences. They've made some mistakes, as the recent Wii U system sales prove, but as long as Sony and Microsoft keep trying to steal ideas from them, I figure they must be doing something right. Oh, and the new Kirby Trailer looks fantastic as well. If you know me, and you probably don't, you know that I'm all about Kirby.

    Hopefully I'll feel like posting more soon.

    Sunday, September 8, 2013

    A couple gaming Kickstarter recommendations.

    1. Shantae 1/2 Genie Hero

    I love Wayforward, everything I've played from them so far has been fantastic. So when I heard about this Kickstarter, I was immediately on board, despite not having played a Shantae game before. I recently acquired the original Gameboy Color game and have been playing that, which made me even more excited for this. Coming to Wii U, PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbone and PC via Steam. Anyone who likes the Shantae series, Wayforward or good games in general should give this a look.

    Kickstarter link

    2. Mighty No. 9

    It's not like this Kickstarter needs any more promotion, but here you go. An awesome looking game by the original creator of Mega Man, Keiji Inafune. Coming to PC, it will also very likely make it to Wii U, Xbox 360 and PS3. It may have by the time you read this. It's getting a ton of support and is definitely worth checking out.

    Kickstarter link

    Thursday, September 5, 2013

    Product Review: Dust An Elysian Tale.

    I recently finished one of my favorite games in recent history and thought I would recommend it to you. It's called Dust An Elysian Tale and it's awesome.

    Why is it awesome? Well, a few things. The graphics are beautiful. While not quite as high res as something like Rayman Legends, the art is very well done. It's just wonderful to look at, especially in motion. The characters are hand drawn and everything else appears to be painted, either by hand or digitally I'm not sure.

    The game play is very fun. Lots of exploration and melee combat with your giant talking sword, Ahrah. I never got tired of combat as doing combos and slaying enemies was always enjoyable. The game is sort of a "metroidvania" with multiple paths and back tracking as you gain new abilities that allow you to reach previously unreachable areas. Going back to previous areas was never annoying, especially since the art is so nice and absolutely wrecking the enemies with your now higher damage. The game has light RPG elements with the ability to level up and upgrade your health, damage and other attributes to make yourself more powerful. Purchasable items such as armor and trinkets further improves your character, although they don't change your physical appearance.

    I can't go much into the story, for the sake of not spoiling anything for you. Your character begins the game not knowing who he is or where he came from. You acquire Ahrah, meeting Fidget (your sidekick throughout the game) and begin the quest to discover the answers to those questions. During the course of your adventure you meet many interesting characters and accept various quests you can complete. Some of the quests are minor, but they're fun and allow you to learn more about the amusing and well written characters throughout the game.

    And finally, the characters. My favorite part of the game. The three man characters, Dust (you) Fidget (your sidekick, a small flying creature called a Nimbat) and Ahrah, your talking sword. The dialog between Dust and Fidget are an absolute joy to witness. Fidget is probably my favorite character from a video game in a long time. She's cute, funny, and yet still manages to grow as a character throughout the game and has some real emotional moments. She's voiced by the incredible Kimlinh Tran so check out her YouTube channel. Although if you haven't yet played Dust, some of her videos may contain minor spoilers. The rest of the characters are great and the voice acting is well done for everyone. I found myself wanting to continue playing just to experience more of the story and find more cutscenes, which doesn't happen often with me and games.

    I could probably ramble on some more but the bottom line is, the game is fantastic. The game is available for PC on Steam or for Xbox 360. I highly recommend it.

    Verdict: 5/5

    Sunday, September 1, 2013

    What would it take for me to vote again?

    So for most of my life, I didn't pay much attention to politics. My first bit of actual attention payed to it was George W Bush. During the Bush vs Gore race, I didn't really have a preference. I didn't know anything about politics at that point, so I didn't understand much of it, I didn't care to. After Bush was elected, I learned a lot very quickly. Bush was a moron, absolutely terrible for the country and the entire world as a president of the USA for a variety of reasons. As much as I disliked Bush, I didn't bother with actual elections at that point, I didn't even bother to vote for Kerry.

    That changed when the 2008 election started. I payed attention, watching speeches from most everyone. I liked Obama, but didn't think he had much of a chance of actually winning because he was black. That sounds very odd now, doesn't it? I didn't have any kind of racist feelings toward him personally, I just didn't think America would vote for him over a white guy. I'm definitely glad I was wrong about that, though. As soon as it appeared he had the support of the American people and had a real chance of winning, I supported him 100% myself. I got me and my family to register to vote so we could vote for him in the primaries and then again in the general election. That's the first time I had ever voted for anyone.

    I didn't bother to vote for him again when he came up against Romney, partly because of apathy and partly because I didn't think Romney stood a chance in hell. I've been fairly okay with Obama since... until the NSA revelations.

    We know what happened with that, so I won't recap it here, but it completely changed my feelings about Obama. Now I think he's a traitor to the country and to the constitution. And yes, I'm aware that Bush started this, but Obama is just as guilty by continuing it. With Bush, spying on everyone in the name of "security" was expected, but with Obama it's like a stab in the back. It made me realize that politicians are shit, all of them. No matter how many great speeches they give, no matter what promises they make, no matter how likeable they are. Absolute shit. Every single one.

    So that leaves me with a question, if Mr Hope-and-Change Obama turned out to be shit, how could I vote for anyone else? What could anyone else say that would convince me at this point? That they won't spy on everyone? Well, Obama spoke out against a lot of the things he's supporting now, such as national security letters. Could someone else be more likeable than Obama? Give better speeches? Make better promises? Maybe. Would it matter? I don't think so.

    I've asked myself that question for a while, and I think I finally have an answer. What could convince me to vote for another candidate is... they have to pardon Edward Snowden. A full, presidential pardon. In fact, along with the pardon should come an award for giving up his life in America to reveal all the dark and dirty shit that was going on with the NSA. Anyone that values privacy or the constitution owes him a great deal of gratitude for that. I think that's the only way a presidential candidate could convince me that they were serious about ending the warrantless spying on American citizens, and indeed citizens of many countries.

    A full pardon for Snowden being the bare minimum, I'd also love to hear exactly what kind of reforms the candidate would make to the NSA surveillance programs. I want to hear about protections that could be, and would be enacted for future Edward Snowdens who have the guts to inform the American people of illegal actions by the government. If a candidate stepped forward and did these things, I would give them a chance and vote for them. Otherwise, I'll probably never vote again. Why should I? Why should you? Why should anyone? Thoughts?

    Monday, August 19, 2013

    Protest the NSA email surveilance with encrypted files, a guide.

    So browsing around the Internet, I found a comment by someone discussing email privacy. They suggested an act of protest regarding the NSA and their email (among other things) spying. I thought the idea was so good, I'd share it with you and even show you how to do it.

    The NSA current keeps track of many things, way too many for me to list and we probably don't know everything that they do yet. One thing we do know is that they track email "metadata" and if an email contains anything encrypted, they keep it on a permanent or semi-permanent basis in order to decrypt it later. No warrant, no reasonable suspicion, nothing. They consider encryption to be suspicious in of itself. Even with the resources of the US government, no agency could track all traffic on the Internet or store everything, there's just far too much.

    That brings me to the idea itself. What if we used something like TrueCrypt to create a small, encrypted file and attached it to all outgoing emails we send? These would likely be snatched up by the NSA for decryption at a later date, if and when it becomes possible to do without decades of computing time. If even a TINY percentage of Internet users did this, they would be up to their ears in encrypted files that contained... nothing.

    I think this is a brilliant idea and I'll be doing this myself. I suggest you do, too. So here's a guide on how to set this up if you're interested.

    Note: This is for Windows only, using TrueCrypt. The same idea would work with any OS or any program that allowed you to encrypt a file or container of files.

    Step 1: Download and install TrueCrypt.

    Head on over to truecrypt.org and download the program. Click "Downloads" at the top of the page and then select the version appropriate for your OS. Download it and run the file. Follow the instructions and finish.

    Step 2: Create an encrypted container.

    Now that you have TrueCrypt installed, open it up.

    Click "Volumes" then "Create New Volume..."

    The first option, "Create an encrypted file container" should be selected automatically, if not, select it and click "Next".

    If "Standard TrueCrypt volume" isn't selected by default, select it and hit "Next".

    Click "Select File..." then go to whatever folder you want to create the encrypted contained in and enter a name for the container. You can name it anything, with any extension or none. Waffles.jpg, stuff.doc, anything.mov or just plain BISCUITS. It really doesn't matter. After you've picked a folder and entered the name of the container, click "Save" then click "Next"

    For the Encryption Algorithm, any will work but I recommend either AES-Twofish-Serpent or Serpent-Twofish-AES, just for the added complexity. As for the Hash Algorithm, any should be fine. Once you've made your selections on this page, click "Next"

    Now we pick the size of the container. You'll want it to be small, so that sending emails doesn't take a long time. It should be big enough to contain whatever you want to put in it. Make a copy of the US constitution, a note from you to the NSA or something like that. You probably don't want it more than 1 or 2 MB. We'll set it to 1 MB. Click "Next"

    Now we set a password. This should be a good one. TrueCrypt supports up to 64 characters for passwords, so let's do that. You can simply roll your face on the keyboard or type random characters, whatever works for you. Whatever it is, make sure it's 64 characters long and is a combination of letters, numbers, spaces and special characters. When you've got a nice looking one in the top box, copy it and then paste it into the second box.

    We're also going to use a keyfile. You can even use multiple keyfiles if you want. TrueCrypt will take data from the keyfile(s) to strengthen the encryption, so why not? Check the "use keyfiles" box then click the "Keyfiles..." button. Click "Add Files..." and select one file, or multiple files. After that's done, click "OK"

    The next window will take random data from your mouse movements in the window to help make the encryption more secure. Move your mouse randomly within the window for a few seconds, then click "Format"
    And... that's it. You did it. Click "Exit"

    Step 3: Attach this file to your outgoing emails.

    Now, whenever you send an email, attach this file. You might want to avoid sending it to companies or businesses as they might be suspicious of random files being sent to them, and rightly so. But if you send an email to a friend or family member, attach the file. You might even want to change the name of the file every now and then.

    Let the NSA get hundreds or thousands of useless, encrypted files that they will save for who knows how long. And if they actually do manage to get a system powerful enough to start decrypting them? Congratulations, you just wasted their time and resources! If they want to invade our privacy and destroy our 4th amendment rights, let's make them work for it.

    And this isn't limited to Americans, if you're from another country you can do this when emailing anyone in the USA, the NSA will pay just as much attention to that, maybe more.


    Thursday, August 8, 2013

    FUCK the NSA, or, DO NOT do business with American "cloud" service companies.

    With the NSA bullshit lighting the Internet up like a Christmas tree, I'm here to ask you something. As an American citizen, I'm asking you to COMPLETELY avoid doing business with any American company that handles data such as an email provider or any other "cloud" service. We simply cannot be trusted to keep anyone's data private.

    I have a link near the top of the page, PRISM Break, with a lot of info on how to have some actual privacy online. Of course, nothing is perfect. No data online can be considered 100% safe, but you can get pretty close and should try to make it as difficult as possible for anyone to spy on you.

    This doesn't just affect the USA, as the NSA spies on any communications coming into or going out of America. If you aren't in America, Petition your law makers and government officials to stop doing business with America and American companies until this mass surveillance ends. If you use any "cloud" services that are hosted in the USA, stop. If you run a business or know anyone who does, encourage them to do the same.

    One of the things we, Americans, listen to is money. And if this NSA spying ends up hurting us economically, perfect. That may be the only way to make any progress towards restoring any small amount of privacy to the Internet in the short term. Until then, encrypt absolutely everything. I've already taken steps to regain some of my lost privacy, and over time I'll be doing more. I suggest you do the same.

    Saturday, August 3, 2013

    A few of my favorite YouTube channels.

    I've been big into YouTube lately. Of course, I'm not new to it, as I click random links to cat videos and other strange or funny things like everyone else every now and then. But I've been watching a lot more recently and have subscribed to a number of really good channels. Here are a few I would recommend, along with an example video for each.


    This channel has some very good videos providing analysis of game trailers and footage. I always find a ton of details I missed previously.


    There's always something interesting here. I like the hosts tendency to start with the main question of the video and then go off on a tangent about related things.

    Did You Know Gaming?

    This channel is filled with facts and tidbits about many popular games that you may not have known.


    An assortment of weird tricks and illusions.

    MC Frontalot

    If you've heard of "nerdcore" rap, then you probably know who this is. If not, I highly encourage you to check this guys music out.

    What are your favorite YouTube channels? Leave a comment and let me know.

    Tuesday, July 30, 2013

    A call to arms... #ReggieForSmashBros

    Update: Uh oh, I left out the actual petition link! I used the wrong one instead, oh well, corrected now. Clearly, my body wasn't ready.

    Gentleman, ladies, now is our time. The fates have traveled through space and dimension to deliver onto us a great quest. It is a quest of pure greatitude. It's a pretty good quest, all things considered. We are to persuade the #1 guy working on the game Super Smash Bros For Wii U/For 3DS to include Reggie Fils-Aime as a character or in some other way.

    Why Reggie in the new Smash Bros, you ask? Well, let me ask you this, why do you hate freedom? And kittens? And hope? Here's one for you, super Hitler, if you follow that link you'll see that he used to work for Pizza Hut. What did he do there? Oh, nothing much, just introduced the goddamn BIGFOOT PIZZA. Is that not worthy of all your praise and a cameo in an awesome game?

    This may be the one Internet petition that actually matters, unlike every single one ever or every one that will come in the future. You can be part of history, right now, by signing that petition and spreading the word to all your friends, family, complete strangers and most hated enemies. You can tell all your friends that YOU were one of those guys who signed that petition and helped get that one guy in that game.

    Remember, if you don't sign the petition then you hate [insert your country name here] and you don't hate [insert your country name here]... do you?

    Friday, July 19, 2013

    Protecting America isn't mass surveillance.

    I just wanted to rant a bit about the mass surveillance that we now know the NSA is doing on everyone in America, and everyone communicating in some way with anyone in America.

    I don't know what the motivations are behind it. They (the NSA types) would say that it's to "protect America." Some people would speculate that it's a power grab, an attempt to control everyone under the guise of protection. I don't know which it is, and I really don't care.

    But, just for the sake of this rant, let's assume that they're intentions are purely, or at least mostly, for protecting us. That's complete bullshit. Why? Because if you say you're "protecting America" but just keeping people alive, you're missing the point. That means the entire country is simply a collection of vital signs that must be kept intact at all costs, at all expense to quality of life. Expense to rights, liberty, freedom, all of it. Nanny state for the win, lock us all in a safe padded room so we don't die and watch everything we do at all times so we don't hurt our little selves.

    If you want to TRULY protect America, you protect not only the citizens but the constitution, the rights and liberty of the people in it. This country is, supposedly, not just about a bunch of warm bodies but about a certain set of rights and ideals that the country stands for. If you are going to throw all that away, then we might as well change our name because we aren't America any more.

    All the time people in this country hear phrases like "freedom isn't free!" well you know what? That's true. It's not. You have to pay for your freedom. Whether it's through the loss of soldiers (hopefully in wars that actually matter) or a slightly increased chance of dying for it here at home. If 9/11 could have been prevented by tapping everyone's phones, reading everyone's emails, tracking everyone's movement and watching everyone's Internet activity then I submit to you that it would not have been worth preventing. It was tragic, it shouldn't have happened, but it's not worth turning this country into a permanent 1984 style surveillance state.

    How we SHOULD be preventing 9/11 type events, instead of eroding our rights and privacy, is doing things like becoming energy independent so we aren't dependent on turbulent parts of the world for some of our energy needs. Not getting involved in the personal affairs of nations we have nothing to do with. Not electing war mongers who poke the international bee hive and then wonder why we're getting stung.

    If you've never contacted your representatives for anything, this would be an excellent occasion to start. Let them know that the NSA surveillance is absolute bullshit and you demand that it end. I recommend an email AND a letter.

    Find Your Representative - House

    Find Your Representative - Senate

    To anyone reading this outside the USA who doesn't like the idea of their information being taken by the NSA, there are things you can do as well. Contact your own government representatives and let them know that you don't want your data collected by the NSA. Demand that your companies stop doing business with any USA companies that offer "cloud services" until the NSA shit stops. If you're doing business with them yourselves, stop and let them know why. The more noise people make and the more this hurts America financially, the better.

    Wednesday, July 10, 2013

    Upcoming Amazing Wii U Games 2013/2014

    I ran across this video and thought I would share. As a Wii U owner this kind of thing is really exciting to see. Likewise for anyone considering purchasing the system. I love the Wii U and I'm glad to see it getting more games in the near future. Good times ahead.

    One thing to remember, though, is that this is not even the full list and only contains games announced as of the date of this videos creation. There are a lot more coming.

    Tuesday, July 9, 2013

    You know what pisses me off? Obama.

    This is why I don't pay much attention to politics or the news any more. Why bother? The government is going to do what it's going to do. Republicans get elected and fuck things up, Democrats get elected and fuck things up, no other party has any chance. All the voting, and protesting, and petitioning in the world seems pointless. With George W Bush, the guy was an idiot. A moron. A right-wing piece of shit with no concern for the average American citizen or their rights or privacy. In comes Obama, who seems like a CLEAR alternative to all of that. He talks a big game, gets elected and... what? PRISM? Oh wow! Thanks a lot!

    And don't tell me this shit started under George W Bush, I realize that's likely the case. Obama should have completely dismantled it by now, instead of being a big supporter of it. So let me ask you this, why bother at this point? Who could I possibly vote for now? A Republican who is sure to further this bullshit? Or maybe a Democrat, who, at this point, seems sure to further this bullshit? Or maybe I should throw my vote away on a third party candidate who has exactly a 0% chance to be president?

    What could a politician say at this point? What could they promise? Obama gave amazing speeches, made big yet plausible promises and we see how that worked out. Say someone else runs next on the Democratic ticket and makes good speeches and promises to protect our privacy, why should I believe that person? Why should you? Why should ANYONE? Fuck it.

    Friday, July 5, 2013

    Hot pocket Joe.

    Joe was a mild mannered extremist, until one fateful day.
    A day like no other, but this was no day like no other, oh no.
    It was a day that was full. Full of fate. One might say... fateful.
    Between bouts of explosive diarrhea and fist fighting the elderly, he experimented.
    He twisted the very laws of nature to his whims. His experiments most foul.
    Joe worked mostly with Mexicans, and a few guys from New Hampshire.
    Their minds warped and their bones twisted by his awful machinery.
    One day, while working with various types of radiation and pudding, he felt it.
    Power, unlike anyone outside of the MPAA had ever felt. The power to shape his world.
    He discovered an ability to shoot microwaves from his hands.
    Would he use this power for good? Evil? Neutrality? No.
    He had other plans.
    Joe would scour the earth, for hot pockets.
    With merely a gesture he would alter their very atomic structure.
    They would become searing hot on the outside, frozen on the inside.
    Did he conquer earth? Spread terror? Change the world? Not at all.
    And that's how he become known as Hot Pocket Joe.

    Friday, June 28, 2013

    What's wrong with GameStop?

    I ran across a very good video on this subject and thought I would share it, have a look.

    I've been annoyed with GameStop for a while, mostly because the experience shopping there is irritating. No, guy at the checkout counter, I don't want to pre order anything. I don't want to see what's coming out soon. I don't want a magazine subscription or a discount card or fucking disc protection. And no, I don't want to trade anything in. Every single time I went in there. It gets very, very old.

    The other major issue I have is, they sell used games as new. Most of the time when you go to buy a new game, you bring an empty box to the counter and they pull the disc out of a drawer and put it in the box. Once you remove a disc from a sealed case and handle it, guess what? That game is no longer new. Yes, I realize they do this to prevent theft, I don't give a shit. Walmart and Best Buy don't need to do that so they can figure out another way.

    The last time I went into a GameStop I found it... distasteful. Vast rows of used games, very little new. Hell, I found what I was looking for, but the copies were used so I didn't get them. Don't get me wrong, though, I don't have a problem with used games. I just wanted new copies, but GameStop is nothing more than a pawn shop that's far too full of itself. It thinks that it's the best place to buy games, but it really isn't and more people need to realize that.

    As for alternatives, I would highly recommend Best Buy, Amazon or WalMart. If you have any smaller, independent game stores in your area then you should check those out as well. I'll join Boogie2988, the guy in the above video, in suggesting that you avoid GameStop from now on.

    Wednesday, June 19, 2013

    Xbox One does away with DRM, but why did it ever have any?

    So you've probably already heard, but the internet is flipping its shit over Microsoft giving in to the extreme displays of hate and displeasure surrounding some of the Xbox One policies. They've decided to completely get rid of any DRM disc based restrictions for renting, trading, selling, or buying used games. They've removed the requirement for your games to periodically check in online. Okay, that's great but...


    I just... I can't imagine why. Did they not know what would happen? Why didn't they just ask? Because ANYONE could have told them. You could have, I could have, absolutely anyone. How do you not predict the backlash and anger and hate that would come your way if you announce that the new Xbox is going to have this type of shit? Why did they not see it coming?

    Was this a severe lack of vision? Were these policies thought out by people who have absolutely zero idea what people want? How could this ever have happened? Don't get me wrong here, I'm definitely glad that they've pulled an "Xbox 180" and reversed their decision on the disc DRM and online requirement bullshit, it's a good thing for gamers and gaming in general. It's certainly a good thing for anyone who wanted or wants an Xbox One. I'm not bitching that they're (apparently) fixing things, but they shouldn't have broken them to begin with.

    I kind of wonder if the people from Microsoft who decided to put the "Metro" touch based UI in the full version of Windows 8 had any hand in this. This just stinks of that kind of "give people what WE want and let them get used to it" mentality that they seem to have lately. My advice would be to find everyone in Microsoft who thought this was a good idea and fire them immediately before they do any more damage to the company or its products. They've already put a huge dent in consumer trust and faith in the Xbox Division, and they almost just killed the Xbox brand outright.

    Tuesday, June 18, 2013

    Upcoming Wii U games I'm looking forward to. UPDATED.

    With everyone still talking about the big E3 battle between PS4 and Xbox One, I thought I would post a list of Wii U games coming this year that I'm excited about. Here goes.

    1. New Super Luigi U - June 20, 2013

    This isn't a full game, but I think it still deserves a spot on the list. This is DLC for the game New Super Mario Bros U. It removes Mario, redesigns all 82 levels for Luigi to make them more challenging and introduces Nabbit as a playable character. Isn't it about time Luigi got his own game?

    2. Pikmin 3 - August 4, 2013

    I only played a little bit of Pikmin 2 on Wii, but I'm really excited for this one. It looks super fun and has multiple control options.

    3. Rayman Legends - September 3, 2013

    Despite the unfortunate delay from earlier this year, this game still looks incredibly fun. The demo is available right now for Wii U, so give that a try. It looks amazing in HD.

    4. The Wonderful 101 - September 15, 2013

    It looks sort of like Pikmin, with super heroes. I don't know about you, but that sounds pretty awesome.

    5. DuckTales Remastered - Q3 2013

    The fantastic WayForward is remaking the original NES game DuckTales in HD, for Wii U. If you haven't played the original, it was difficult but a good game. I'm looking forward to the remake.

    6. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD - October 2013

    When the original Wind Waker for Gamecube was first shown, I was disappointed with the cell shaded graphics. How wrong I was. The game was a beautiful, fun, amazing Zelda game. The HD remake is coming out this year on Wii U, I'll be getting it for sure.

    7. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze - November 2013

    Retro Studios has done an absolutely wonderful job reviving the Donkey Kong Country series. This second one on Wii U looks even better than the last one on Wii. Definitely looking forward to it.

    8. Super Mario 3D World - December 2013

    A brand new, 3D, HD, Super Mario for Wii U? Sign me up. I know a lot of people just wanted another Super Mario Galaxy, but I'm excited for this game. It looks like a ton of fun.

    9. Sonic Lost World - Holiday 2013

    A new Sonic game that's exclusive to Wii U and looks incredible? Sign me up! I'm anxiously awaiting this as I'm still a big Sonic fan, despite some of the previous games being terrible. The fact that this one looks so good and the last two, Sonic Generations and Sonic Colors, were great gives me a lot of hope for this new one.

    That's my own personal list, but there are plenty of other good Wii U games releasing this year. And next year? Holy shit guys, just wait. Good times are ahead.

    Tuesday, June 11, 2013

    My thoughts on E3 so far, or, Now might be a good time to buy a Wii U AND a PS4.

    I've been anxiously awaiting E3, so watching conferences and videos for a while now has been interesting. Here are my thoughts...

  • The PS4 is going to run away with it

  • Sony looks to have the best showing so far. Their system has similar games to Xbox One, but with slightly better specs, better (in my opinion) exclusives and NO DRM! NO ONLINE REQUIREMENTS! That one was a real kick in the teeth to Microsoft when they announced that, I was floored.

  • The Wii U is going to be fine

  • A lot of people have predicted doom and gloom for Wii U based on slow initial sales, but I'm not worried. It's sold more during the same period after launch than the PS3, and the PS3 is fine despite its own slow start. The 3DS was also considered dead in the water after its launch, as well. The sales will pick up after more good exclusives are released and perhaps after a price drop. as is what happened with both PS3 and 3DS. The latest Nintendo Direct showed off some really impressive, fun looking games. So I'm quite happy with the system so far, even if it did start slow.

  • Microsoft looks like shit

  • Microsoft let slip that there would be some kind of system for preventing or limiting used game sales on Xbox One, this made people mad. When they finally laid out their detailed plans, it made people furious. Renting games for Xbox One is impossible, buying and selling a disc used would be limited to games that the publisher decides can be bought/sold. You couldn't even GIVE someone one of your games unless they had been on your friends list for a minimum of 30 days, even then that game could never be gifted ever again.

    The system would HAVE to go online once every 24 hours to authenticate all your games, or they'd stop working completely. If you brought your games to a friends house or another system, that check in time would be once every single hour.
    When Sony announced that the PS4 would have none of this, it was a real kick in the teeth to Microsoft. In my opinion, if Microsoft doesn't do away with their plans for these requirements and restrictions, they're in real trouble.

    Oh, and the PS4 is $400, unlike $500 for Xbox One.


    Thursday, May 30, 2013

    Now might be a good time to buy a Wii U.

    I just wanted to share my excitement for the Wii U system and games that will be releasing for it this year. With E3 still a little over 11 days away, most people might not get my enthusiasm for the system. I'm sure once the 11th of June rolls around, that will change. On June 11th E3 will begin and early that morning, 9am CST, we'll get the E3 edition of Nintendo Direct. We'll see a list of exclusives that are very likely, in my opinion, to be the best lineup of games in 2013. Here are the games I'm currently excited to see...

    New 3D Mario (full title not yet available)

    If you played Mario Galaxy or and/or 2, then you know why you should be excited about this.

    New Mario Kart (full title not yet available)

    It's a new Mario Kart, for Wii U. When is Mario Kart not awesome? Never, that's when.

    New Super Smash Bros (full title not yet available)
    Possibly my most anticipated title of the show. Everyone who's a gamer should be excited for this. Who doesn't love Smash Bros??

    Bayonetta 2

    When I originally heard that Bayonetta 2 was cancelled, I was upset since I loved the hell out of the first game. Luckily for us, Nintendo stepped in and published the sequel. It's now a Wii U exclusive.

    Sonic Lost World

    One of the three titles in an announced partnership between Nintendo and Sega. This, like the other two, will be Nintendo exclusive. Meaning either Wii U or Wii U + 3DS. This game looks good, and with the quality of the last two Sonic games, this makes me very hopeful. I can't wait to see more of this.

    The Wonderful 101

    This looks like Pikmin with super heroes. I'm itching to give this one a shot and see how it plays.

    Pikmin 3

    It's like The Wonderful 101 with plants... wait... no. I only played a little bit of Pikmin 2 but found it enjoyable, so I'm looking forward to this one.

    Yarn Yoshi (possibly not the final title)

    I loved Kirby's Epic Yarn. Despite how easy it was (you couldn't die) I enjoyed it a lot. If this one is as fun as that, I'm on board.

    The Legend of Zelda The Wind Waker HD (possibly not the final title)

    I really liked the original Wind Waker, despite my initial misgivings about its graphical style. The newly remade version for Wii U is right at the top of my "must play" list.

    New Zelda Title (full title not yet available)

    I'm not sure who much of this we'll learn about, but I'm sure it will at least be mentioned. This game is going to be absolutely massive. Whenever it's shown, whether at this E3 or later on, it will make waves. You'll hear about it.

    New Zelda Title (full title not yet available)

    I'm not sure who much of this we'll learn about, but I'm sure it will at least be mentioned. This game is going to be absolutely massive. Whenever it's shown, whether at this E3 or later on, it will make waves. You'll hear about it.

    If you're even a little bit excited for Nintendo E3 news and information, don't forget to check out the Nintendo Direct the morning of June 11th and the following coverage from gaming websites for the entire week of E3. Oh, and if you're a big Nintendo fan and don't yet own the system? You should buy a Wii U right now.

    Friday, May 17, 2013

    Play what's FUN, not what you think is COOL.

    I just wanted to rant a bit about some people that are pissing me off. See, I'm a gamer, a lot of people are. Games used to be somewhat limited in their type. Mostly hardcore, difficult to win, lots of sports and shooters and platformers. Move from left to right while random objects try to kill you, etc. These days, games come in an absolutely gigantic variety. Hardcore, casual, 2d, 3d, indie, far too many for me to list in a reasonable amount of time.

    Even if you think you aren't a "gamer" you probably are and just don't realize it. If you've played anything that even remotely resembles a game on facebook, congratulations, you're a gamer. A lot of cable and satellite boxes have games or game channels, too. And if you play those? You're a gamer. Cell phone games? Even extremely simple ones? Yep, gamer. Games have evolved into such a rich medium that they encompass everything from the 100 million dollar epic down to something as simple as the most basic, one-man indie title.

    My point is, there are a LOT of different types of games. What's getting on my nerves are these people who think that certain gamers are "cooler" or "more mature" than others. That some games are just for kids and shouldn't be played by anyone over a certain age, often for the most ridiculous reasons. I'm not talking about some kind of ABCs-123s teaching game, I mean anything that's colorful. Anything that looks like it could have been a Saturday morning cartoon. Something that wouldn't horrify grandma into a coma.

    I'd like to say that it's only young, childhood gamers that do this, and it often is, but not exclusively. Plenty of people of all ages fall into the trap of not playing a game or even giving it a chance because it's cartoony and colorful. Everyone wants CALL OF MADDENFIELD BROWN WARS XTREEEEME because they think a game like Kirby or Mario is too colorful and therefor only for children. These type of people are one of the biggest things wrong with gaming today. Good games with incredible gameplay get overlooked for reasons like this, it's just not fair. It hurts the entire industry when good games sell like shit sandwiches because they aren't dark and about shooting.

    Whenever I see a Youtube video of a game like Kirby or Kameo and the comments section is filled with "DIS GAME IS FOR CHILDREN CALL OF DUTY IS A REAL GAME" it makes me sad, and also makes me wish people like that would all get cancer, and die. You should be willing to give anything a try, whether it's ULTRA BROWN MILITARY SHOOTER 12 or a colorful game about a fairy who turns into a plant. You're only lessening your potential fun if you only play what you think is "cool" or "mature." If you're one of those people, do yourself a big favor and start trying some of those games. You might be surprised.

    Tuesday, May 7, 2013

    Democrats, save your party

    I posted a list of suggestions to fix the Republican party before and I was going to post a list of ideas to fix the Democratic party, but I won't do that. Not that I don't have ideas, it's just that most of them boil down to one thing, the Democratic party needs to grow a spine.

    I like the Democratic party, in theory. In practice, it's usually somewhere between "okay" and "deep depressing disappointment." Democrats have better ideas but don't stand up for them nearly as much as they should or for as long as they should. They often abandon their grand ideas and big proposals when met with the slightest opposition. They're too afraid of defeat or bad publicity. They think they can pander to ALL demographics, age groups and ideologies.

    It just comes off as... bad. Disappointing. Terrible. Republicans can go as crazy, batshit, right wing nuts as they want and get votes from their base. Democrats? Not so much. Where are the mighty Liberals, TRUE Liberals, not this watered down ineffectual moderate bullshit we get now? I don't know. I wish we could get some, in office, preferably with some kind of majority.

    I want to see Democrats that say "here's what I'm fighting for, here's why I'm fighting for it" in a clear and concise manner. Democrats who won't back down when the polls shift slightly or the attack ads start. Democrats who aren't afraid to lose an election because of doing so. What we have now, for the most part, are a bunch of spineless, watered down has-beens who should have given up a long time ago and let someone else who might actually put up a real fight give it a shot.

    Sunday, April 21, 2013

    Republicans, save your party.

    I was just thinking of what a funny/horrific idea it would be for Sarah Palin to be elected president, when I remembered that she actually has a somewhat sizable following in the Republican party. I'm not worried that she could actually become president, but it reminded me of just how batshit insane the GOP has become. If you or anyone you know is a Republican, you should probably be trying to save your party from this or tell them they should be. Here's a few of my ideas.

  • Social conservatism, drop it

  • This has been a scourge on politics for a long time. It's the kind of old, outdated thinking that's holding back not only your country, but a good section of the world. It makes your entire party look like a group of bigoted cavemen Get rid of it.

  • Religion, keep it out of politics

  • This is another major flaw of the party. Mixing your own personal religion with politics and policy is holding back progress and alienating the younger, increasingly non-religious segment of the population. This is one of the things that will eventually doom your party if you don't fix it. You know how you guys just HATE the idea of Islamic law in America? Yeah, that's the way I feel about you guys and Christian politics.

  • Cut the bullshit

  • Most politicians just love them some bullshit, but the Republicans are extra guilty of this. Hell, they have their own TV network (fox "news") devoted to 24/7 Republican themed bullshit. Of all the liars in politics, Republicans are #1. If you have to lie and distort reality to win elections, you should probably work on your policies instead of your double speak.

  • Stop trying to steal elections

  • Speaking of bullshit, the Republican party should really stop trying to steal elections through things like voter misdirection, gerrymandering and voter suppression. Trying to pass "Voter I.D." laws on the phony premise of preventing fraud in minority and Democratic-leaning areas is not even subtle. Everyone knows what you're up to, stop already. This includes schemes such as trying to split the electoral votes of states like California.

  • Stop being corporate puppets

  • Being "pro-business" shouldn't mean that you're a slave to it. Your first duty should always be to the American people, not corporations. Big Business exists to serve the public, not the other way around. Stop giving huge tax breaks to oil companies and the rich while raising taxes and cutting benefits to everyone else to pay for it.

    That ends my little rant about the Republican party and what it should do to start fixing itself. I have some stuff to say about the Democrats as well, that's coming soon. Thoughts? Comments? Ideas?

    Saturday, April 20, 2013

    WTF, Internet?

    So apparently, in certain traditionally liberal leaning circles of the Internet, it's now "cool" to defend George W Bush and call him "misunderstood." What? When did this happen? Are peoples memories really that short?

    Yes, I'm aware that his program to help with AIDS in Africa, PEPFAR, has helped people there, great. Even a broken clock is right twice a day, and you wouldn't be defending a clock that sent this country hurdling toward depression, started two wars, one of which was completely unprovoked, and ruined the standing of America in the world for generations to come.

    If you want to be "cool on the Internet" try using the word "hipster" or "neckbeard" like everyone else, George W Bush is a turd not worth defending.

    Sunday, March 24, 2013

    And the official bleach of the KKK is...

    ...Clorox! Who would have guessed? For anyone actually crazy enough to read this blog long term, you may remember that I previously attempted to contact the KKK and ask what bleach they use for their robes. I mean, who else would have the whitest whites but them? Whatever they use would have to be good. They didn't respond before but after contacting them again recently I got a response. Here's the text of the email I sent them.

    I'm writing to ask what bleach you use to clean your robes. This is a serious question. Thanks for your time.

    And here's their response.

    Thank-you for you recent E-mail.I recomend hand washing and very little Clorox bleach

    Is that hilarious or what? Now you can tell your friends and family that you know what bleach the KKK recommends. Is your life enriched with that knowledge? I think it is.

    As for the Clorox company, I wouldn't be too upset. I mean, if the KKK trusts your product to get rid of dark colors, it's surely the best. I'd call that a win.

    Friday, March 15, 2013

    You know what pisses me off? Frame rate issues in console games.

    One of the things I've been annoyed with recently is the very idea of a console video game having frame rate issues. The game that brought this up in my mind is Lego City: Undercover. Now, don't get me wrong, the game is supposedly pretty good. I'm not bashing the game itself, most of the reviews are good and I haven't tried it myself so I'm not going to judge it as far as gameplay goes.

    My issue is that it, according to most of the reviews, has frame rate issues. The thing that makes this very irritating is that a console, unlike a PC, is a fixed set of specs. You won't find an Xbox 360 that has more memory than any other one, or a PS3 with a faster processors than another PS3. They're all the same. There aren't any issues with viruses or drivers. Functionally, as far as designing a game for a console goes, they're all completely and totally identical. This provides consoles the opportunity to have their games optimized for the hardware in a way you could never do on PC. To have ANY issues with game performance when you know exactly what hardware you're designing it for is, I think, completely moronic.

    Whatever frame rate you're targeting for the game, be it 30 or 60, it should be locked there, never wavering for a moment. This is true for games that release on multiple consoles but it's especially true for games exclusive to just one console, such as Lego City: Undercover which is exclusive to Wii U.

    This is not an issue with the Wii U itself, it's an issue with any developer not willing to properly optimize their games. I just feel that if you know precisely the hardware you're designing for, you should make the game run within the boundaries and limitations of that hardware. Everything should be scaled up or down in all areas of the game to stay at your target frame rate and run smoothly. But maybe I'm just crazy.

    Monday, March 4, 2013

    Another good "income equality" video.

    I've been slacking off a lot lately with my posting, but I hope to pick up on that soon. Until then, here's another excellent video that everyone should see.

    Tuesday, February 19, 2013

    Saturday, February 16, 2013

    DE (Double Edge) Safety Razor: Part 1.

    So after browsing a popular social media site, particularly the part that talks a lot about shaving, I finally ordered a Double Edge Safety Razor from Amazon. I thought I would share my experiences as I use it for the first few days or so.

    Let me start by saying that I really don't like shaving. I find it to be tedious and annoying. I wish I could simply stop growing hair on my face below my eyelashes and be done with it forever. Unfortunately, shaving is a necessary thing unless I want to look like some kind of hairy beast of folk lore. I've tried a couple electric razors and found them to be... shit. They did a "meh" job while taking a lot of effort. They pulled and tugged far too much. Multi-blade cartridge razors fared better, but still more tugging and pulling that I would like. Not to mention the price of buying replacement cartridges. Absolute bullshit.

    Double edge razors are cheap as hell. I mean in the area of $10 for 100 razors cheap, with each one lasting around 4 -6 shaves. Do the math. Yeah. Awesome. Safety Razors are old, but have started gaining popularity again due to the quality of shave you can get and the low price of replaceable razors. Admittedly, you need a little more skill to get a good shave with a Safety Razor than with an electric or cartridge razor, but adamant users of Safety Razors will tell you it's well worth the effort to practice and learn.

    I got my Safety Razor, my brush and my blade sample pack. Because different blades perform differently based on the person, technique and razor it's recommended by pretty much everyone that you buy a sample pack with your new Safety Razor. It includes samples of many different brands so you can find the right one to buy in bulk. My first shave went well, a couple tiny nicks but nothing bad. Even though you're using a razor blade, they're called Safety Razors for a reason. Unless you were drunk/high/extremely careless you aren't going to do any real damage to yourself.

    The key is the angle at which you hold the blade, which I found easier than I thought it would be. I could feel when I had the correct angle, which I wasn't expecting but was pleasant surprised by. The other thing to remember is to not use any pressure. Merely touching the razor to your face and letting its own weight press against you is enough, you don't need any more than that. The resulting shave was good, not amazing. I would attribute that to my lack of skill mostly, with another factor possibly being my current choice of razor blades which is the brand the razor came with. I'll try other brands and hone by skills and I'm sure I'll start getting really amazing shaves.

    I'll close by saying that I enjoyed shaving which is really rare for me, so that's a huge plus right there. In fact, I'm looking forward to shaving again so I can get more practice. I look forward to getting better and trying different brands of blades from my sample pack. I'll link everything I've discussed here below so you can give it a look and quite possibly a try if you're feeling adventurous. I'll update soon after another shave or two and detail my progress a bit.

  • Edwin Jagger De86bl Faux Ebony Double Edge Safety Razor, Black

  • Van Der Hagen Men's Luxury, Shave Set


  • Wednesday, February 13, 2013

    I don't give a shit about drone strikes on American Citizens.

    I'm not going to paste a ton of links for sources on this issue because Google exists, use it. There has been quite a lot of hoopla over the killing of Anwar Al-Aulaqi via predator drones. A member of Al Qaeda. So.. what's the issue? Well, he had American citizenship.

    Skipping a lot of bullshit, the basic issue people are having is that he should have been arrested and given a trial due to his American citizenship. It's said, among other things, that his citizenship grants him Constitutional protections that should prevent him from simply being bombed in some random country. It sounds okay in theory but... I can't bring myself to give a shit.

    I'm a pretty liberal guy, but as far as I'm concerned if you go sign up with a group like Al Qaeda and start plotting against the USA, you should probably expect a cruise missile to land on your head, regardless of your citizenship. Honestly, I don't care about the legal justification, I personally don't believe that you should be able to go to another country and join a terrorist organization and still expect your rights as an American citizen to remain intact.

    If we refused to bomb a site because we knew one of the terrorists had American citizenship, what then? Do groups like Al Qaeda start recruiting people with American citizenship in large numbers so they can put one or two at every gathering and grouping to prevent them from being attacked? I don't buy it. Maybe I'm just crazy, but I really don't care about this issue in the slightest. If you want to complain about the government or people in power, there's plenty to complain about without bitching about terrorists being killed. Maybe I'm insane, but that's my opinion on this.

    Update: Just wanted to clarify that if you're in your house in fucking Chicago with some unpaid parking tickets, I wouldn't consider it okay for the government to blow up your house. I think there's a difference between that and joining Al Qaeda and plotting terrorist shit against the country from some cave or bunker somewhere in Fartistan.

    Thursday, January 24, 2013

    Do Republicans seem... strange to anyone else?

    Edit: I just wanted to add right up top that I'm not falling all over myself for Democrats either, but the level of Republican terribleness just has me really confused.

    I'm no fan of your average Republican, obviously. During my childhood and early teen years I payed no attention whatsoever to politics. I didn't know what a Republican was, what liberal meant, nothing. My sad introduction to Politics happened to be in the form of George W Bush. Watching him led me from indifference to hate. I hated that guy. What an idiot, almost all of his decisions made things worse. A lot of things he said were either incredibly wrong or just plain stupid. I didn't understand how something like that could be elected... then re-elected.

    Then came McCain, a "meh" Republican who picked perhaps one of the worst running mates in Presidential history, Sarah Palin. "Wow" I thought, "They actually managed to find someone dumber than Dubya, amazing." Fortunately he got absolutely trounced, but his decision to choose Palin as his VP was confusing. She wasn't just bad, she was fucking terrible. Since then, it's been one racist quote, homophobic quote, sexist quote and/or absolutely mind bogglingly dumb idea or decision after another. I truly believe that Republicans are getting worse at an incredible pace.

    This leads me back to my initial thought, it seems... strange now. Not bad, not terrible or dumb just, odd. Republicans have spent so much time trying to put the square peg into the round hole that I'm genuinely not sure if they're morons or are just screwing with us at this point. I'm not suggesting any kind of conspiracy, just an observation. I honestly don't understand why they're doing the things they're doing. If it was a fourth, maybe, of what it is, I'd say they just have some idiots running their show. But this much... terribleness? I don't know. I'm just confused by it all.

    Just look at some of this shit.

    And this.
    And this.
    And this.
    And this.
    And this.
    And this... okay, I'll stop now.

    But, seriously though, what's going on? Do Republicans all share the same type of glue that they pass around and take turns sniffing? Are they trying to lower the bar so much that when the first semi-intelligent Republican comes along he gets voted into unanimously... okay, that's kind of a conspiracy, but I'm out of ideas at this point.

    Wii U: Impressions.

    So I got a Wii U not too long ago and have been messing around with that for a while. I thought I would post my thoughts about various aspects of the system.

    The system itself looks a lot like the original Wii, but larger. In fact, the size is almost awkward looking, as if this is the prototype of the original Wii before they shrunk it for release. Although it's not an ugly system by any means. It's much smaller than its current competitors, the 360 and PS3, by a large margin. It should fit into any entertainment center. My favorite part of the appearance is the more rounded look compared to the Wii and its more jagged edges.

    I have the black version, but both versions are covered in a glossy finish that looks nice but will attract dust and fingerprints like a magnet. The system features the same sort of slot loading disc drive as the Wii, which is a nice touch in my opinion. I think these types of disc drives seem a lot more... modern, compared to traditional tray loading versions.

    The system has full compatibility with Wii games, controllers and accessories but unfortunately lacks ports for Gamecube controllers and memory cards leaving it unable to play Gamecube games. Playing Wii games is done via the Wii Menu which basically reboots the system into a sort of "Wii mode" that runs the OS of the original Wii. When in "Wii mode" you're unable to use any Wii U accessories or controllers such as the Wii U Pro Controller or the tablet-style gamepad.

    As far as horsepower goes, it's good. Nintendo doesn't think that specs for consoles are very important and I agree. If you want a stat-box with 100 gigga-wombats and 18 gajillion terranoodles of RAM you should build a PC. I have a PC just for that purpose. Anyone arguing about hardware specs on a console are missing the point. Consoles are first and foremost about games. It is a capable system and in the right hands I can see some really amazing looking games coming out on it. If you have doubts about its abilities, here's a demo they did at E3 2011 to show off what kind of things the system is capable of on the graphics front. It's running in real time on the system in 1080p.

    The interface seems more modern than the Wii interface, which I found good but kind of goofy. The channel system on the Wii worked well but some of the channels didn't make much sense to me, like the "everybody votes" channel which seemed like a novelty for small children. The Wii U interface is separated into two parts. The gamepad displays a DS-like arrangement of icons for system features and games. The TV displays the front page of Miiverse, which is a sort of social network that Nintendo has developed for Wii U. People can post screenshots, drawings and text regarding various games and even things like Netflix. Here's a pretty good video.

    As far as games, I only have a few right now. The game that comes with the system, Nintendo Land, along with New Super Mario Bros 2, ZombiU and Ninja Gaiden Black Razor's Edge. All very good games and I would highly recommend them. I don't think any of them really show off what the system is capable of yet, although Mario Bros is a very beautiful game and Ninja Gaiden looks great as it always does. Going back to the system itself, one of the things that impresses me about the Wii U is that a lot of the games are available digitally through the Wii U itself. The Wii U supports external HDD's up to 2TB in size to store games and game content on, along with SD cards like the original system. I didn't expect Nintendo to embrace digital distribution to this degree, but I'm pleasantly surprised by it.

    Okay, back to the games. The system has a decent selection of games out now, including the ones I listed, which, again, are all awesome. This system is in somewhat of a temporary drought right now with not much in the way of releases until March. On the horizon, Nintendo fans have a lot to look forward to with Wii U. Games such as Bayonetta 2 (which is a Wii U exclusive) Lego City, the usual suspects such as Zelda, Smash Bros, Mario, etc and many more from Nintendo and other third parties not yet announced. Nintendo has already confirmed a new 3D Mario and Mario Kart to be at E3 and in playable form with a new Zelda (along with an HD remake of Wind Waker) coming in the not-too-distant future. There's a lot more that will be undoubtedly announced at E3 so watch for that.

    The main attraction of Wii U is the gamepad. It features... almost everything, really. It has the standard ABXY start/select button layout along with L and R bumpers and ZL and ZR triggers on the back with two (clickable) analog sticks and a Dpad. It also has stereo speakers, a mic, a headphone jack, a front facing camera, a built in sensor bar, a gyroscope, an accelerometer, a magnetometer, an NFC (near field communication) reader, a volume slider, a stylus, a power button and a "TV" button which allows you to use the gamepad as a remote for your TV via the IR emitter. Oh, and it has a 16:9 ratio touch screen on the front. Some games use it extensively and very well, such as ZombiU. Other games like New Mario Bros U use it mostly as a replacement for the TV, should the need arise. This allows you to play the game entirely on the gamepad while the TV is free to be used for anything else. Only some games support this and I haven't personally had a use for it, but it's a really cool feature.

    The gamepad is light and comfortable, although really large for a controller. The battery life is about 3 - 4 hours, which isn't that great. The good news is that Nyko (along with others soon, I would imagine) will be releasing batteries far better that you can simply swap out yourself to get more life out of the thing. I'll be doing that ASAP. The gamepad offers a ton of possibilities for games and should give us a lot of interesting experiences only available on this system. Don't forget that the Wii U also supports your standard Wii remotes (with or without Wii Motion Plus) and Nunchucks along with or instead of the gamepad.

    I've written too much already so I think that's probably enough from me on this subject for now. Overall, I'm enjoying the system and looking forward to what the future holds for it. If you're a fan of Nintendo, I'd highly recommend getting a Wii U. If you aren't a big Nintendo fan or are on the fence about the system for any reason, keep an eye on it. It might surprise you.