A Man, a Blog, a First Day at E3.

This is an attempt to summarize my thoughts after the first day of E3 press conferences, namely Sony's and Microsoft's. Worth mentioning: I didn't own a PS3 this past generation, and spent the majority of my gaming on my X360 and PC.

Microsoft

I have to say that Microsoft pulled off one of their (if not the) best E3 conferences in recent years. This was in most parts thanks to the lackluster reveal a few weeks ago, where they focused on the 'boring stuff', and thus saved the focus on games for E3. Hell, a Dead Rising 3 exclusive deal is almost enough for me to buy the console. And it seems they're (finally) adding some more value to Xbox Live Gold by copying the PSN+ model of free games every month. And who the hell would think that a Swery65 game would appear on their quick trailer reel?

However, there are certainly things that are difficult to look past, even if the conference itself was a treat. They didn't mention their take on DRM, used games, or online-once-per-day, probably because they knew it was a hot-button issue and likely not very easy to explain in a briefing format. None of these bother me personally; my console and PC is already constantly connected, I barely buy any used games or sell games for that matter, and I'm soon 31 years old so I'm not exactly running around lending and borrowing games from and to my friends. But for Microsoft to not understand that these topics are hugely controversial for their targeted consumers is bananas. What's even more weird is that none of the major publishers, except EA, seems to care that much about it, so either EA is pulling some heavy strings (which I doubt), or Microsoft is once again trying to nickle-and-dime their way through consumers; the ones they should try their best to appeal to.

And this is without even mentioning the €499 price-tag. The cheapest online retailer I can find in Sweden is currently listing the XONE at 4698SEK (roughly $714), which is way above my budget. Sure, I didn't exactly expect it to be much cheaper than that, but to see all these consumer constraints Microsoft put on their console, along with actually worse hardware inside the box than their rival Sony, is baffling and frankly a bit insulting.

To me the entire thing reeks of hubris. Microsoft enjoyed the best selling HD console this past generation, they made a shitload of cash off their Xbox Live Gold members, and most developers and publishers agreed that the architecture on X360 was easier to develop for than the PS3's. We now seem to get a 'jack of all trades, master of none'-console, with huge focus on cable TV (which I don't have, or ever will have), 'the cloud', Smart Glass, and so on. I know that a lot of consumers moved on to tablets and smartphones, but to aim for every possible consumer out there only results in pissing off the ones that were your fans to begin with.

I'm torn between a rock and a hard place because I really wanted to like the Xbox One. I have my gamer tag attached to the service, I have several friends on my friendslist I wouldn't want to lose, and so on. Though I doubt Microsoft will in the coming days go "Oh that price tag? Yeah, that was only a joke, it's really $399 just like Sony. And by the way, we're scrapping all these plans on DRM, used games and stuff because we value you as consumers just too much!"

Sony

I was sleeping during their conference since it was aired at 3am my local time. So I woke up to a twitter and neogaf feed full of "HAHAHA SONY WON, F U M$". I then watched their briefing and to be perfectly honest (and I know this will sound like I'm biased after my 'worth mentioning' in the first paragraph) I thought Microsoft's briefing was a lot more enjoyable. Mostly because where Microsoft focused on games, Sony focused on kicking Microsoft while it was on the ground and reassuring their consumers that they certainly won't take the draconian route of blocking used games or demanding an online status check once per day. That's not to say that Sony didn't show off interesting titles (FFXV and KH3, for example), but I'm quite sure both of those will show up on the XONE as well since they didn't explicitly say they were PS4 exclusives (like they did with FFXIV that was in the same reel).

But who am I to complain. Microsoft may have won the games-card, but Sony took home the show with the 'we respect you'-deck. Not to mention it has more horsepower than their rival's machine, and is still priced at €100 less (roughly $562 here in Sweden). Oh, but if Microsoft was copying the PSN+ thing with free games, Sony made sure to copy Microsoft as well, by putting online play behind a pay wall (which I, by the way, have said that they would do since February).

Final Thoughts

Both parties had, in my opinion, good briefings, but neither party swayed me to go for one or the other. For me it's more of a money issue, since I would gladly just buy both machines if I could. I would not, however, be surprised if Microsoft was seriously reconsidering some of their plans for the XONE. For their sake I truly hope they are at least.

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4 Years, 4 Months, and 1,268 Quick Looks Later

After buying my new computer in November with an impressive (for me) 2TB hard drive I decided to download pretty much every video published on Giant Bomb in 'High' quality. Why? Well, when the bombs start falling and the zombies are clawing at my door and my ISP's office is burned to the ground, I'd at least have thousands of videos to keep me entertained until I go under. So I decided to do some stats on the 1,268 quick looks that you can find on Giant Bomb! I know the page says 1,269 videos, but that's because put the Thursday Night Throwdown 12/06/12 under quick looks rather than its proper page, tsk tsk.

So what are we looking at here? Starting with the first quick look of Legendary (which was an EX!) from August 27 2008, they've made a total of 1,268 quick looks. It was very interesting to see how the quick look format changed over the years; in the beginning it was often someone doing it alone with little commentary, and there were a lot of DLC quick looks (there are a lot of Burnout Paradise, Fallout 3 and Fable II DLC quick looks!) in the first months. A note here is that there are a lot of 'demo' and 'beta' quicklooks, that later were made into 'proper' quick looks. I still count them however, since they officially named them quick looks.

Adding all the videos together in length they add up to a total of 608 hours 50 minutes and 12 seconds. That's 36,530 minutes and 12 seconds! If you started watching them right now without pause you wouldn't be done until 25,3 days later, so start that marathon already!

Top 5 Shortest Quick Looks

I'm not counting the Killzone 2 quick look from February 2009 which was, for some reason, split up into three shorter quick looks. Otherwise part 2 and 3 from that would be here instead of the Altitude and Need for Speed: The Run quick looks. Also, the Sprint 8 quick look is sort of special since it was recorded at California Extreme 2010.

Top 5 Longest Quick Looks

Three quick looks from 2012 being in the top five! And a whooping total of 41 quick looks are lasting for more than an hour.

Stats By Year

  • 8 quick looks during 2008 (Average length 12,9 minutes)
  • 231 quick looks during 2009 (Average length 21,3 minutes) (4,44 per week on average)
  • 344 quick looks during 2010 (Average length 25,5 minutes) (6,61 per week on average)
  • 343 quick looks during 2011 (Average length 32,1 minutes) (6,59 per week on average)
  • 342 quick looks during 2012 (Average length 34,3 minutes) (6,58 per week on average)

So yeah, it's not often quick looks are posted on saturdays or sundays, but it does happen. Since 2010 the amount of quick looks increased heavily over 2009, and has since been a steady number. The average length have gone up with each year by quite a lot; a quick look in 2012 was on average 13 minutes longer than a quick look made in 2009.

So there you have it! All the quick look stats you'd ever want, at least until 2013 starts rolling out. All the quick looks in 'High' detail takes up 291GB of hard drive space, which I gladly offer. I might add that the total size of my Giant Bomb folder is 471GB, but that's with all the Endurance Runs, Subscriber Videos, and pretty much anything else I deem worthy of downloading.

Have a great 2013, and maybe I'll do this again next new year's day! And sorry for any grammatical errors, but I'm a dumb Swede after all.

/ Chris

ENDURANCE RUN BONUS STATS!

Chrono Trigger (Ryan & Patrick)

  • 42 episodes (First episode 11/28 2011, last episode 01/24 2012)
  • Total size (High Quality): 7,93GB
  • Total length: 29 hours 51 minutes 13 seconds (1 day 5 hours 51 minutes 13 seconds)
  • Average length of an episode: 42,6 minutes

Deadly Premonition (Brad & Ryan)

  • 41 episodes (First episode 04/05 2010, last episode 05/31 2010)
  • Total size (High Quality): 14,6GB
  • Total length: 25 hours 54 minutes 17 seconds (1 day 1 hour 54 minutes 17 seconds)
  • Average length of an episode: 37,9 minutes

Deadly Premonition (Vinny & Jeff)

  • 38 episodes (First episode 04/05 2010, last episode 05/26 2010)
  • Total size (High Quality): 14,3GB
  • Total length: 25 hours 59 minutes 32 seconds (1 day 1 hour 59 minutes 32 seconds)
  • Average length of an episode: 41 minutes

Persona 4 (Vinny & Jeff)

  • 155 episodes (First episode 02/09 2009, last episode 09/18 2009)
  • Total size (High Quality): 40,2GB
  • Total length: 99 hours 46 minutes 37 seconds (4 days 3 hours 46 minutes 37 seconds)
  • Average length of an episode: 38,6 minutes
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How I Got to Level 20

(This was originally a PM between me and some other users, but since I recently had a request to re-send it, and had to dig through hundreds of pages of my outbox, from now on I'm sticking this to the Game Room page! Enjoy, this is how I got to level 20 in Game Room).

(Point Buster / Survivor / Time Spender)

Games I Bought

  • Adventure (x / x / G)
  • Black Widow (G / G / G)
  • Breakout (S / G / G)
  • Buzz Bombers (G / G / G)
  • Crystal Castles (G / G / G)
  • Galactic Warriors (G / G / G)
  • Gravitar (G / G / G)
  • Jackal (G / G / G)
  • Lunar Lander (G / G / G)
  • Pitfall (G / G / G)
  • Pooyan (G / G / G)
  • Super Breakout (G / G / G)
  • Super Breakout (G / G / G)
  • Tempest (G / S / G)
  • Time Pilot (G / G / G)
  • Yars' Revenge (G / G / G)

The only bad purchase was Adventure, obviously, since it only had medal for Time Spender. Breakout was awful to score points in since it's a paddle game originally. And I swear to hell that I was 2 seconds away from Gold medal in Tempest Survivor. I ended up ragequitting it after that attempt since it was really difficult. There are guides and tricks out there for almost all of the games above, and none of them were really that difficult to Gold.

Single Plays

  • Activision Decathalon (x / G / G)
  • Asteroids (G / S / x)
  • Asteroids (B / B / x)
  • Asteroids Deluxe (B / x / x)
  • Astrosmash (G / G / x)
  • Beamrider (B / G / G)
  • Chopper Command (B / G / x)
  • Circus Atari (x / G / B)
  • Cosmic Commuter (x / G / G)
  • Laser Blast (G / G / G)
  • Night Stalker (x / G / G)
  • Pinball (x / G / G)
  • River Raid 2 (x / G / G)
  • Shark! Shark! (S / G / x)
  • Thunder Castle (G / G / G)
  • Video Pinball (x / G / G)
  • Yie Ar Kung-Fu (S / S / x)

A lot of my single plays were swing-and-a-miss, since I didn't spend enough time on the demo for the games. Many of them are just there for easy Survivor and Time Spender medals, since you can just stare at the screen and wiggle the stick once a minute. Golding Laser Blast was probably the most boring thing I've ever done in my life by the way.

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5 Improvements I Want to See in "Riptide"

The original Dead Island was one of my top 10 games of 2011. I'm a sucker for zombie games, and Dead Island did an awesome job of scratching that itch. That's not to say the game was perfect, far from it. But since the next title in the franchise, Riptide, is in full development, I'd like to sit down and think about what (hopefully) will be improved in Riptide.

Oh God, The Bugs!

Dead Island was a complete mess when it was released, no doubt about it. Especially the PC community suffered to no end (I played on the 360), but console players were not strangers to the myriad of bugs in the game. Corrupted saves, buggy AI, terrible connections when playing co-op, the list goes on. I really hope Techland learned from their mistakes and spend more time in QA with Riptide. It was extremely hard to defend the game, when even weeks after its release people were unable to play for various reasons.

Let's Hit the Sewers!

I'm probably not alone when I say that my favorite area in the game was during the first act. The beach, the exploring, the everything. From there it seems it was a constant downhill in area design, and when you slogged through the godawful sewers for the third time you just about had enough. The city was uninspiring (especially since there were next to no actual buildings to explore), the jungle that followed was just a big empty nothingness, and eventually the prison was a linear snorefest. I'm exaggerating, but that's pretty much Dead Island summed up. The first area was superb, and the rest disappointment after disappointment when compared to it. Techland should take a page from the Fallout book, and hopefully include more buildings to explore and such (but still keep a fleshed out area outside of the buildings as well).

My Ears Are Bleeding!

I don't go into a zombie game expecting Hemingway level of writing, but holy hell it was awful sometimes. The voice acting, the story, and the characters were all quite...well, terrible. Not much else to say here, other than I hope they put a bit more 'oomph' into it in Riptide.

Loot, Loot, More Loot!

Half the fun of games like these is the loot and everything surrounding it. You want to find awesome loot, and you want to feel awesome when using it. Dead Island had its share of fun loot, but I really wish they'd expand it for the next game. Why limit it to weapons, why not let us equip clothing and accessories for example? Flesh out the crafting system, and expand the RPG mechanics! I'm no game designer, otherwise I'd list awesome solutions to this point, but I'd like to see it expanded (to say the least) in Riptide.

No CO-OP? No Fun!

I must admit that the biggest reason Dead Island made such a high mark on my top 10 list in 2011, other than the fact that I'm poor and can't afford that many games, is the awesome time I had with my GB buddy Aishan. We played through the story together, and it was a fucking blast. Of course I want to see Techland keep up with that achievement, but I must say that playing the game in single player was far from a stellar experience. It's certainly not easy to keep the balance of making a game that's fun for both single player and co-op, but I'm thinking this is where my other complaints come in. Improve on the previous four points, and I'm sure it will be a much better single player experience.

With all this said and done; I'm hyped. I'm totally hyped. And I really can't wait until we get more information about Riptide. I just...really hope they take a long hard look at Dead Island, realize they have major issues that needs improvement, and deliver those to us in Riptide. I for one can't wait for the next entry in Truck-TNT.

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Anyone Up For Some CO-OP?

Even though Dead Rising 2 was one of my top 10 of 2010, I never got around to pick up Off the Record until yesterday. Awesome game, but since it's sort of old by now I imagine finding a co-op partner for the achievements will not be easy. So before I go hunting around the web for a partner I thought I'd check in with my favorite website first! This is for the 360 version, and what we need to do is:

  • Photograph each other (easy-peasy).
  • Get Gold on all co-op challenges.
  • Kill 5 psychos together.

This is something we can probably cover in a couple of hours, though I really have no idea how difficult it is to Gold the challenges. I live in Sweden, so a European or an insomniac non-European is probably best. I also work some days during normal working hours, but if anyone's interested in this I'm sure we can setup a play-date.

Oh, and as an added bonus, if you still need the co-op achievements in the original Dead Rising 2 I don't mind plowing through that as well. :)

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An Update on Life in General

So here I am, bored to death at work, and figured I'd write a little blog on this and that.

Work You Say? You Always Complain that You're Broke!

Yeah, I do! In fact, I've been more or less broke for the past 7 months. I just recently got employed by a former boss of mine at his record store. The pay sucks ass, and I barely get any hours. Pretty much just enough to survive and pay them bills. On a brighter side I'm finally trying to take studying serious, as I'm fucking tired of jumping from job to job, which is often the case when you work in retail. So if everything goes as planned I'll get a degree in Programming, starting this autumn.

Cool, Cool. So, What Have You Been Playing?

Mostly Binding of Isaac nonstop, and before that I had a few weeks of Diablo 3. Binding of Isaac is truly an amazing game, especially at that price. Right now I've put around 130 hours into it, and I still have some odd achievements left to do before I put it aside.

Diablo 3 was awesome for the short amount of time I played it. Granted, I put well over 100 hours into it, but a feeling of disappointment still reared its ugly head. I never really played the two first games, but since some old WoW mates were planning on putting some time into D3 I joined them. Yeah, it was fun while it lasted, but I haven't logged in for 2 weeks and I doubt that will change anytime soon.

Speaking of WoW; playing and talking with my former guild-buddies made me realize how much I missed WoW. I started playing during the very first open beta before the game was originally released, and I kept playing up until the end of Wrath of the Lich King. By that point heavy fatigue had set in, and even hardcore raiding didn't help. Log in > do dailies > stare at screen for hours until raid started > loot > repeat. So I bid farewell, and in hindsight it was probably a good idea. Something that's more interesting to me right now is the talk about Blizzard's next MMO; Project Titan. Personally I wouldn't mind WoW 2, but since that doesn't seem to be the case I'll probably be happy with whatever setting they choose. If there's one game that will scratch my MMO itch it's most likely Project Titan, it's just a shame that Blizzard are so tight lipped about it.

Aha, is This Our Chance?

While playing D3 and Isaac I've been having the Persona 4 endurance run running in the background. This is my fifth time I'm watching that thing (although I'm not exactly watching it this time, it serves more as background noise), and I've been thinking a lot about Persona 5 and how Giant Bomb will handle the release of it.

Will we see another endurance run featuring Jeff and Vinny? Not bloody likely. Will we see maybe some special live quick look showing of it? Who knows! I'm certain that Jeff and the others are well aware of the impact their original endurance run had on the site and its viewers, and to somewhat ignore the sequel's release is not something I'd bet they would do.

Atlus is, annoyingly enough, following Blizzard's footsteps of not revealing any information whatsoever, and frankly it's getting a bit tiresome. Will it be a Sony exclusive? Or even worse; a handheld-exclusive? Thankfully they released Catherine to both consoles, so if that's an indicator we'll hopefully see P5 one day for both the Playstation and Xbox. Again, I just wish they would give the fans some more information...anything, really.

Thanks for reading, we'll see when I'll write down my thoughts again.

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Curse You, Challenge 10

Here I am at work, reflecting back on this morning's attempt at completing challenge 10 in the Binding of Isaac.

For those unaware, the DLC Wrath of the Lamb brought ten challenges for you to complete the game in various ways. Challenge 10, the final one, includes:

  • Start the game as Isaac without any starting items.
  • No treasure rooms on any of the floors.
  • Defeat the final boss in the Cathedral (DLC's version of Sheol).

This pretty much requires you to have insane luck on at least the first two levels, finding every secret room and curse room there is hoping you'll get good items to start you off. I'm in a routine that if I haven't gotten at least two upgrades I'm happy with after the first two levels I restart the game. I had luck in this morning's run, having necessary upgrades such as flight and high damage. My problem? Too little health. I got greedy with the devil rooms and sacrificed 4 heart containers for more damage for example, along with bad play during Womb and Cathedral levels.

So I stood outside the boss door at the Cathedral with two full heart containers and two soul hearts. Shit. Do I risk exploring the level to refill my empty containers, or just bite the bullet and hope for the best? I had the Little Gish familiar, so the boss' projectiles would be easier to handle. I bit the bullet and went in. I managed to dodge the projectiles flawlessly, and once the third and final phase hit I still had my health I went in with. Then the fucking adds started to spawn, and of course everything went to dogshit from there. Long story short; the boss had literally a centimeter of health left when one of the adds finished me off. Two or three more shots on the boss, and the challenge would have been won.

Right now I'm just sitting at work and can't wait to get home and try again. And again. And again...

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Another Barbarian Banging His Head (Inferno Act 2)

Disclaimer: I realize this blog post will probably sound like a bunch of whining and moaning, but don't get me wrong: I fucking love Diablo III. I realize it's a game about grinding, loot, and banging your head at the Inferno difficulty. However, since my head is getting fucking sore from all the banging I'd like to get some feedback on where things are going wrong for me.

Right now I can pretty much faceroll all the way through Act 1 on Inferno. Hell, earlier today I was chasing a Treasure Goblin halfway through the dungeon just before the Butcher, and after killing the Goblin I had zero issues with the 200+ mobs that had followed me including two elite groups. I then continue to kill the Butcher in under 30 seconds. Clearly I'm heavily outgearing the place, which is also obvious by the loot I'm getting. Hell, most of the loot is for levels 51-57. It's just not getting me anywhere, except money, at this point.

So naturally I'm thinking the next step should be Act 2. I've heard the horror stories, I've peeked inside a few times in there earlier, but this is seriously mindblowing. I've managed to take down two elite groups while rushing from checkpoint to checkpoint, and that was after dying 10+ times and blowing everything I had on them. One important note about my gear however is that I have no one-handed weapon with +Life on Hit, and many are saying that's more or less a must for melee classes on Inferno.

I'll provide three screenshots of my stats in the following order: Unbuffed, Self-Buffed (not using long cooldowns, just shouts), and Self-Buffed + the Enchantress buffs which is my follower when playing solo.

Unbuffed
Self-Buffed
Self-Buffed + Follower Buffs

In short, when I play alone I'm buffed with the third picture's stats constantly. This is not including cooldown buffs and "oh shit"-talents. Here's my full spec. A few notes on this spec:

  • The two main offenders are clearly Battle Rage and Ruthless. However, I feel those are more or less needed to boost my DPS enough.
  • The two lacking skills are clearly Threatening Shout (with Falter) and Superstition. See above reason to not having those.

What, if anything, would you personally change with my spec? Should I just sacrifice my DPS for increased survive-ability? As I see it I have the following options:

  1. Grind Butcher runs for money to use on the AH, basically confirming that I need Act 3 gear to be able to do Act 2.
  2. Just get a +Life on Hit weapon, it really makes a huge difference.
  3. Respec in some way that will magically let me do Act 2.
  4. Keep bashing my head against Act 2, I've just been unlucky with elite group traits.

I have two friends that I've been playing together with, and trying to bring them with me only makes matters worse. The mobs are a force of GODS that eventually hits enrage timers on us. So even worse is that I can't play through the Act 2 solo; I can't even play with my friends anymore.

Feedback is very appreciated, and sorry again if I come off as whiny.

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Oh Dear...

As you may or may not know, I'm a sucker for getting S-Ranks in games. Yeah I know, I'm pathetic (which this [and this] list will clearly show). Anyway, I'm about to finish up with Dragon Age II and now have my eyes on Star Ocean: The Last Hope. But holy hell, doing research on S-Ranking this game is...mindblowing. I've been looking at some of the lists you need to have handy unless you want to spend 300+ hours on the game, and just look at this shit!

I'm beginning to fear I've gone over my head on this en devour, but I won't be beaten! I really just don't know where to even start, what to ignore, and what to keep as necessary information since I really don't want to print an entire book to have handy when I play through the game.

Any personal experience from this game? I know I'm crazy, but is this taking it too far? Please keep the insults minimal since I'm a fragile man.

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How Me and Russia Bring New Visitors to GB

I like to look at the stats for my guides. You know, pat myself on the back saying I done good in my job to get Giant Bomb more visitors. Recently in my stat-tracking I noticed a new website soaring up the charts on what websites funnel outside visitors to my guides.

On the first three places there are (unsurprisingly) three variants of google: .com (4347 visits), co.uk (846 visits), and .ca (561 visits). On fourth place we have... gamer.ru with 465 visitors. That's more than Australian Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

Maybe I'm alone on this, but I at least thought it was quite funny. I just wish it was gamebomb.ru instead...

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