I need new earbuds!

After I was skyping my girlfriend, I realized that I had thrown one of my Apple headphone earbuds into a glass of water.  I was astounded at myself and how I could let such a stupid thing happen, what the fuck.  Anyways, they still work, but the sound is not as loud in the earbud I submerged in water, so I will need to get a new pair.  I don't want to go back to Apple earbuds because I have now gone through about three pairs.   
  
I want to know if any of you Giant Bombers have any recommendations for good, cheap earbuds.  I don't want any of the in-ear, sound canceling ones.  Also, the more inexpensive the better.  I'm willing to drop about $20.  Any thoughts?

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Only 39 more days.....

So this year was my first year at university.  Unfortunately, I was unable to secure a console and tv for my dorm room.  I share my Xbox 360 with my brother, and he got to keep it at home.  The only console gaming I have done was on winter break, and a few weeks ago for reading week.  During my time off university, I only managed to play and beat Modern Warfare 2, Assassin's Creed 2, and Halo 3: ODST.  I also started Brutal Legend and Borderlands but I didn't get very far.  Lastly, I am also nearing the end of Mass Effect 2.   
There is a ton of gaming I need to catch up on.  I need to play more MW2 multiplayer, finish Mass Effect 2, and finish Brutal Legend and Borderlands (although that will take a lot of time due to DLC).  On top of this, I have not even touched Batman: Arkham Asylum, Bioshock 2, Left 4 Dead 2, Bayonetta, Aliens vs. Predator, Dante's Inferno, Battlefield Bad Company 2, and Army of Two: The 40th Day.   
In 39 more days I will be back home and I will be able to use my console.  And good news, I actually got my own Xbox 360, but I still need a tv to play it on, so I will get that when I get working when I get back. 
I wonder, does anyone have any advice for someone like me who has a lot to catch up on?  Any dos and don'ts?

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Ken Levine and Bioshock 2

It seems that some people are worried that Bioshock 2 will not be as good as it's predecessor.  People say this is due to the lack of Ken Levine's involvement.  I find this proposition insulting, and let me tell you why.  I don't know who Ken Levine really is.  All I know is that he worked on BIoshock.  I don't know why people are freaking out because of this one guy.  IT TAKE MORE THAN ONE PERSON TO MAKE A GAME!  Attributing the success of a game to only one person is insulting to all the other people that worked on it in my opinion.  From what I have seen, BIoshock 2 looks fucking great.  So everyone who thinks Levine has the Midas Touch, stop complaining, you are being silly. 
 
UPDATE 
For all those people commenting saying Bioshock didn't need a sequel, I will tell you that I don't think that is a valid excuse to freak the fuck out.  I know I know, Bioshock had such an amazing ending that you don't want anything to screw up its perfection, but come on.  You could say tons of game did not need sequels like Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.  They wrapped up the story pretty good in that game, but the sequel went on to become one of the fastest selling games of all time.  It's not like they are REPLACING Bioshock with Bioshock 2, you can still play Bioshcok if you want and you don't even have to touch Bioshock 2.  You have nothing to complain about, think about it.

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GOTY Awards are Useless

At the end of each year, the gaming community comes together to argue and fight about the Game of the Year.  I think this is an incredibly useless and illogical ritual, and let me tell you why.   
What is a GOTY?  There is no clear definition, but I think most people think it is 'the best game that came out in a specific year'.  This means that if you give the title of GOTY to a game, then no other game that came out in that year is better than the GOTY.  So, what makes a game better than another?  There are two things to consider, the objective and the subjective.  The objective things that people consider are: Does the game have any glitches?  Are there any texture pop-ins?  Is there any clipping?  Does the game tend to freeze?  In short, the objective represents the physical construction and coding of a game.  Either a game is well constructed, or it isn't.  The subjective represents personal opinions: Was the game fun?  Did I like the story?  Did I like the look and feel of the game?  Both the subjective and objective play a part in deciding on a GOTY, but it seems that the subjective is more dominant.  Because subjective opinion is used in determining a GOTY, that means a GOTY for one person may not be a GOTY for another.   
A GOTY is very different that a game review.  A good review points out the positives and negatives of a game to help the consumer make a decision on whether or not they want to play or purchase the game.  However, a GOTY's only purpose is to say 'this game is better than all others this year'.  How is this useful to anyone?  The only thing I can think of is that a publisher could put GOTY on the box of their game.  It does not help the gaming community at all.  It only creates more arguments and trolling.  
It is a fact that games are multi-media mediums.  They incorporate writing, acting, music, sound, images, video, and the interactive experience that is unique to games.  In my subjective opinion, some games have better sound or graphics, and some games have better story or interaction.  I also think that people like different games for different reasons, like better graphics or story.  So when a GOTY is picked, there will be people that dislike it for many different reasons. 
So, it all comes down to the publication.  A GOTY is just what a certain media outlet thinks is the best game that came out in a certain year.  I don't know about you, but I couldn't care less about what a bunch of writers think is the best game of the year.   
I am writing about all this because I have been unmoved by the game of the year selections from the past decade.  Uncharted 2 as been named Game of the Year for 2009 in almost every single video game publication.  I have a PS3, and I played Uncharted 2.  I didn't finish it, I got up to chapter 5 or 6 I think.  I found the game incredibly boring.  I hated the way Drake jumps and moves around, I hated the combat, the story was uninteresting, and I found the humor in the game unfunny.  Sure, the graphics are quite impressive, but as I mentioned before, people like different games for different reasons, and graphics alone do not make me like a game.  So I am an example of someone who disagrees with last year's GOTY.  This is because my subjective opinion is different than everyone else's.  Again, a GOTY is also just a subjective opinion too.   
In conclusion, GOTY awards are useless.  They do nobody any good, and they propagate more fighting within the video game community.  Gaming journalists spend hours deliberating GOTY awards, all for nothing.   
 
Anyone agree or disagree with me?  

47 Comments

Incorrect Call of Duty Reference

I have noticed that people are now referring to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 as Call of Duty 6.  It is not Call of Duty 6.  There are more than 6 Call of Duty games.  It is also not called Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 2.  The only correct titles are Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, or just Modern Warfare 2.  Also, Call of Duty: World at War is not Call of Duty 5.  Nowhere on the box or in the game does it say Call of Duty 5.  This is like referring to Halo Wars as Halo 4, or Halo ODST as Halo 5.

17 Comments

My fight with Owen Good from Kotaku

 note: sorry about the varying fonts, copy and paste issues
 
A day or two ago, I commented on a story by Owen Good on Kotaku.  It was the one about the woman who held her piss to win a Wii for a radio station competition.  There were new developments in the story, and Owen Good reported on them.  He got his information from an article in the L.A. Times, and linked to it at the bottom of his article.  I read it, and I found that it was strangely similar to Owen's article.  It seemed to me that he just rephrased it and rearranged it.  I commented "Owen Good certainly knows how to rehash a story".  Owen responded "ErgoProxy77 certainly knows how to get himself banned".  He banned me from commenting on Kotaku.  I emailed him about this, and told him I had lost respect for him as a journalist.  He followed up and said: "  You so completely misunderstand what we do as a blog — which is to legitimately aggregate news from other sources in addition to our own original reporting — that I can say your presence as a commenter and a reader adds nothing and won't be missed.".  I then emailed him back saying "Hmmm, and I was taught journalists should be able to handle criticism".  He responded "  I can handle legitimate criticism. I'm not going to let uninformed cheap shots go unanswered, nor am I going to sit for an uncredentialed journalism lecture from someone who doesn't know a fucking thing about the subject."  I then told him that I am a journalism student at Carleton University.  I don't know everything about journalism, but I do know a rehashed story when I see one.  His last reply was "  I have a master of science from Columbia. I'm pretty sure I know, and have done, much more than you.  You confuse your role as a reader with the right to lecture me as my editor.".  My final email to him was this:

 "I'm not lecturing you at all, I was just voicing my opinion, something I have trouble doing now with people like you who ban people because you disagree with them." 
 
What do you think about this?  Am I being a bit of a jerk?  Was he wrong to ban me?  Please comment! 
 

Update

Here is an email Owen Good sent back to me today: 
 
 Let's get back to the original source of the trouble: Your completely uninformed criticism of the post.

What I did, young man, was to read, rewrite, add context, opinion and literary color to — and most importantly, credit another news organization so that my readership could be informed of something they would find interesting but might otherwise miss. Not every reader of a publication with a mandate as specific as Kotaku's — video games — is also a subscriber to the Los Angeles Times.

In no sense of the word did I ever represent the Los Angeles Times' story as my own. Your sneering allegation that what I wrote was a "rehash" is a cheapshot from someone out to prove he knows more than the rest of the world.

The dirty secret here is that news aggregation is practiced by all sorts of mass media. Blogs didn't invent it. I'm sure from your perch as a know-it-all undergraduate journalism student with six clips in the student paper, I'm worse than a plagiarist because everything I write isn't pure, down to the preposition, and originally reported.

But this is the world of the media that is out there. It is legitimate. It is professional. And just because I displeased you with something I wrote does not legitimize your completely unfounded and insulting attack on my credibility.

You have a tremendous amount to learn, young man, and you need to deepen your understanding of journalism beyond the echo chamber of whatever it is you're reading in the Internet commenting threads that support your utterly deformed expectations of the world.

I'm sure your professors are delighted to have you in class.

OSG     
 

Update #2

 
I emailed Brian Crescente and linked to this blog post.  He said I broke the rules and that's why I was banned.  However, I can just make a new account, so they can't really stop me from commenting! 
 
Here is the email: 
  Commenting on Kotaku is in many ways a right. We try to cut out the unrelated name-calling and finger-pointing, no matter who it is directed at, so people can carry on thoughtful discussions on the topic at hand.

In this case you were posting about Owen, not about the subject of his article. Disagreeing with the an editor in a post on the topic that they wrote about will never get you banned, just go look at our threads, almost all of them include plenty of arguments against what a writer is saying.

Save the unrelated accusations and writer critiques for an open thread or the Talk Amongst Yourselves posts.

Hopes that helps you understand.

Thanks,
Brian    
95 Comments

'Post'-Order Bonuses

On the most recent Bombcast, VInny made a very interesting remark.  He said that he would like to see a game with a post release bonus, rather than a pre-order bonus.  It was only taken as a joke on the podcast, but when Vinny made that joke it hit me.   
What if a game had a bonus for people who have had the game for a couple months?  This could do a number of good things for a game's success.  First off, it would create more incentive to buy the game close to the launch date.  Second, it would discourage trading in the game because then those who did would miss out on the bonus.  I think for this idea to work, it would have to be something that is pretty big, but not big enough to make those who miss out on it too upset.  It could be something like character costumes, weapons, or upgrades.  Hell it could be anything as long as it doesn't 'break' the gameplay or make things unfair if it is tied to multiplayer.   
I think this idea is worth a shot.  It has just as much justification as pre-order bonuses, and I think gamers would enjoy a fresh take on marketing a game.  

9 Comments

Prototype vs Infamous

This has gone on for long enough.  Recently, Gametrailers posted a "Versus" video that compared Prototype and Infamous in order to determine which one was the better game.  I am appalled that people keep looking at the two games as if they were the same.  Sure they are both third-person action games, and they both take place in an urban open world setting, but the difference in gameplay remains vast.  I think the only reason why this comparison is happening is because they were released around around the same time.  People need to remember, the only thing that determines whether a game is good or not is you, the individual.  Gametrailers, what was the point of posting that video?  What is the need to compare two vastly different games, attempting to determine which one is better?  

6 Comments

E3 2009 Ubisoft Press Conference

What a disappointment.  I waited for two hours just to see a trailer for Assassin's Creed 2 without gameplay.  The host was horrible, and every presentation dragged on too much.  This was by far, the worst press conference at E3

1 Comments

E3 2009 Electronic Arts Press Conference

EA's press conference didn't hold as many surprises as Microsoft's, but it still had a few interesting things.  Mass Effect 2 looks great, although they had no gameplay demo.  I would have liked to see a demo of Dragon Age: Origins, but I guess that will have to wait too.  The only other thing that interested me was The Saboteur.  From what I saw, it could very well shape up to be a great game.  However, blowing up things and then running away to hide may get boring, so I hope there are plenty of options when it comes to mission objectives.  Lastly, ABP looks pretty cool.  I don't really get the name, but I like the style of all the characters.  I love customizable characters in video games, and what I saw from ABP looked really good.  This game also had no gameplay demo.  Overall the press conference was a little disappointing.  There were no gameplay demos for any of the games that interest me except The Saboteur. 

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