DOTA 2 and LoL: similar, but completely different

Lazy blogging, it happens to the best of us. I just happen to be rather normal, so I don't keep up very well. Regardless, I decided this was worth writing about, though I'm sure it's a totally beaten-down topic. But, I don't use a blog to create new ideas. I use it to give my input on subjects I deem worthy. I enjoy opening a direct conversation to people who care enough to read my thoughts, though it doesn't necessarily matter to me if no one reads it. If you do read this, just know I love you a little bit more than the rest of the world ;-)

SO, I've been an avid LoL player for the better part of 2 years now. I follow the pro circuit (MakNooN is my favorite, and American teams are absolutely dreadful. "They're getting better!" No they're not, they'll always be second rate. The day they make it to the world finals is the day LoL is dead.). Now, I used to be completely obsessed, but these days I just enjoy the game when I get time. I still believe that it deserves the fanbase it has developed, and that game could stick around for a good while. That said, recently I have been trying out Dota 2. I started playing the week before Brad jumped into it, if you follow the bombcast at all.

Dota 2 definitely has a learning curve. I actually tried to get into it 8 months ago, but found it way too complex. Now, before the Dota 2 released, people were swearing that it would destroy LoL and be this big fantastic game. That is not, and will never be true. The reason for this is because Dota 2's mechanics are far more advanced than those of LoL. This makes for a high barrier of entry and a fair amount of time where you are just getting hammered for your mistakes. For instance, instead of being able to go back to base by just hitting a button, like in LoL, you must use a special item known as the recall scroll. But that's not all. That scroll is a single use, but can also teleport you to ANY friendly building on the field. So, it acts as a teleport and a recall, but it takes up an item slot. Also, there are 3 places to buy 3 different sets of items, and you can have a courier on your team, which is literally another controllable character that runs items from any store to any friendly character.

LoL keeps things simple. It rarely has instances where you must control more than one champ. All items are kept at the storekeeper at base, and most mechanics are very straightforward. Dota 2 seriously has a guy where he transforms into 5 of himself. His name is Meepo, and you can control each of those people as individuals. Only the main one can carry items, but all of them can farm or jungle. If any one of them dies, they all die. That's not a mechanic for a casual player.

LoL has a good learning slope. You start out with 0 of everything, and you only get a handful of champions to play. This may sound boring, but it is actually really helpful since your choices are limited. You aren't overwhelmed with options, and you have a solid week to hone your skills with those champs. It's actually a nice way to learn, and you are never tempted to just jump from champion to champion to champion. When you get Dota 2, you get the whole thing. It's awesome, but it's also very tough to find that one champ that really stick. You're always thinking, "sure, I'm pretty good with this guy, but there 100 others that I may be better with!" This ends with people playing champs that are extremely tough (I'm looking at you, Invoker), and they fail miserably. That's not to say LoL doesn't have its terrible players; in fact, LoL can be more frustrating than playing a fighting game where the other guy just bangs his head on the controller. It's just that there is a lot more room to screw up in Dota 2.

The point of this wall of text is that I've been an avid LoL fan, but it can be pretty boring at times. And it can definitely get frustrating. If you can get over the learning curve, and you want a bit more complexity and excitement, try out some Dota 2. The items have some really fantastic effects, the mechanics are downright insane at times, and the champions vary just as wildly as in LoL. It's not a game for the casual MOBA player, though. In my experience, it can be immensely rewarding, though, once you get the hang of it. LoL is more competitive, but anyone stuck in the ranked cycle knows that it can feel absolutely hopeless at times. Dota 2 doesn't throw the ranked thing in your face, and you are rewarded almost every game with loot and new clothing items for different champs. Even if you lose, you can still win.

Anyways, thanks for reading. If you have any questions about LoL, I know tons. As for Dota 2, I don't know as much, but I can be helpful. I hope you enjoyed it, and maybe you can decide which game to learn. They're both really great, though I know that Giant Bomb isn't known for its massive competitive gaming readers. They're worth the investment.

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Buying Nintendo

So I was listening to the podcast tonight, and as I'm listening about Disney buying up God and everything, it made me wonder:

Who really would benefit the most from buying Nintendo?

The two companies they brought up were Apple and Disney, which made me think: that would not be a terrible move on Apple's part if they swiped up Nintendo. Given, Apple already has a quasi-gaming console in both the iPhone and iPad, but with the Nintendo purchase, they'd have an easy in for the actual consoles. Also, it'd be a short step for them to create their major at-home media device like they wanted to do with Apple TV and such. And Nintendo uses touch screen controls pretty liberally, which Apple has proven to be an expert with. I don't feel like it'd be too far out of mind for Apple to make that kind of jump in order to compete more directly in all aspects with Microsoft. Plus, the syncing of the Nintendo consoles with all of your apple gear? that's a serious network in one house, for sure.

Now I'm no business expert, and I'm well aware of the dangers of major company purchases. But it does seem like a viable strategy for a major company. Any thoughts or insight would be greatly appreciated!

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The Gamers of South Korea Pt. 3

It's been a crazy couple of weeks. With Korea being such a small country compared to America, everything that happens is within 2 hours. And Koreans LOVE their festivals. Gaming has taken a bit of a backseat when it comes to the big platforms, though my mobile gaming is in full swing.

So, this last post is going to attempt to delve into the idea of Gaming as it fits into Korean Society. It's an interesting topic for me because I feel that in America, gamers are looked down upon by the average person. You know, there's just a bit of, " oh, you're a gamer? you must not do much with your life." Korea's evolved past this stage. The fact that I'm a gamer is not something I have to hide from people. In fact, any time I do tell someone, they want more details. They want to know what I play, what level I am in this game, and when I'm online. It's a fresh change, for sure.

The first thing to note is that they have a full out gaming Channel on their cable. I'm talking all games, all the time. And not just the mention of games, but the live showing of major game tournaments all over Korea. If anyone follows a particular game that's also popular in Korea, then you'd know that the best teams in the major Korean Games (i.e. Starcraft 1 and 2, and LoL) are invited over to play on the live stage. They have tournaments basically every week where they duke it out for a sizable prize pool that's given to the winner. These are no small tournaments either. They're actually a pretty big deal. It gets the same crowd as any major sporting event that occurs in Korea. And they treat as such. They bring signs and banners, noise makers, and wear their favorite team's jersey. It's quite the spectacle.

This leads into another point: Korean pro gamers are celebrities over here. People know the best players, they get groupies, they have a constant following, and they are adored by the masses. Given, Korean gamers don't exactly get much time off, but when they do, they are always swarmed with people. It's not just the Korean players either. If you've done well for yourself in one of their games and have made some TV appearances, they'll know who you are. If you don't believe me, it's happened to CLG.EU when they trained over here with Azubu.

That's just the MLG scene, though. As far as the rest of society goes, you'd be surprised about how many people actually play. Every person I tell about my gaming has come back with "OH DO YOU PLAY STARCRAFT?!" Now, I'm terrible at Starcraft, I'll be the first to admit that. But I do appreciate a good player when I meet them. So I end up asking about it, and everyone offers tips on how to get better, what I'm doing wrong, and which race would be best for my caliber(it's protoss).

They also love them some mobile games, as I've mentioned before. Any time people are travelling, 75% of them are playing the latest mobile game. And they want to dominate those leaderboards. The latest game is DragonFlight, which, if you've played Dragonflight, is a bit interesting. Apart from the nice artwork, it's a pretty run-of-the-mill upgrade game. These people LOVE that game. Hell, a rather pretty girl that I've met over here has levelled the gun up to 35 already, has 2 dragon babies, and has some ridiculously high score. And it blew my mind immediately. They just happen to love beating their friends on games. Now this may be due to the social chat app that they all use, titled KakaoTalk. This app hosts all of the games and high scores so that you automatically include your entire group of friends when playing. It may not be the most hardcore of games that they love, but they are passionate about the ones that do come along.

Another solid wall of text. That's it for my miniseries, though. If there are any questions, feel free to ask me. If I don't know the answer, I'll find someone who does.

Thanks again for listening.

Euphorio

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The Gamers of South Korea Pt. 2

So the LoL finals ended. Azubu Frost came in 2nd to the Taipei Assassins. If that wasn't a shocking conclusion to the tournament, then you probably don't follow too much LoL. Regardless, I've come back to continue my little essay on the way games work in Korea. I'm attempting to highlight this fantastic culture in the best way I can because I feel like, as a gamer, it's such an eye-opening experience to see how other countries handle video games. So, without further ado, let's get into the conversation about the people who game in Korea.

The shortest answer I can give: Everyone.

The long answer: People of all ages game. This includes kids, mothers, fathers, college students, grandparents, the elderly, and anyone else that can find their way to a PC room or cell phone. Each group does have a certain niche of game they prefer, though. As I sit in a PC room, it's always entertaining to look around and see what the others are playing. Sure, some games are familiar to me. Then there are those games that look just straight up ridiculous, and then there are the ones where I can only think, "gee, you came to a PC room to play THAT?" In any case let's take a quick analysis of these different groups and see where they stand.

First off, the youngest group is that of the children. These are the people who still aren't in High School, but venture out into Korea with their group of friends to game, eat food, and generally cause a ruckus. Now, as stated, they come in packs. You rarely see just one kid playing a game. There will always be a set of 3 or 4 and they will be playing some team game that looks rather simplistic (and it probably is). Their favorite time of day is right after school lets out, so about 3pm, and they stay in the rooms up until dinner, when I assume their parents tell them to come home.

Quick Note: South Korea is extremely safe, so it's not uncommon to see kids of any age above 7 walking around on their own.

Now, the games they do play generally feature your normal little avatars that can be decked out in clothes, hairstyles, and weapons. The games, as I said, are simple. There's one that is a lot like Super Smash Bros.. They're in a 2D environment, and they have buttons for regular attack and special attack. There's another which I believe goes by the name of Elsword. It's in the style of a manga, where the action takes place in a comic panel. They do play their fair share of both Sudden Attack and that Gundam Seed game I talked about earlier. It's pretty entertaining to watch the pack of players yelling at each other as they fight, even if I have no clue what they're saying.

The elderly also really enjoy themselves some games. Their choices are rather unique, though, and can be broken down to 2 categories: Traditional Korean games, and Gambling. That's right, gambling. I'm not actually sure if it uses real money or not, but it is complete with a full virtual horse race and a poker game with some hilariously large cards. Their preferred time to game generally run very late. They are the night crowd. They come late, and it's not unusual to see them stay until the wee hours of morning. They almost always smoke (half of any pc room is smoking). They also love to play card games and that strategy game Go!, which I will never understand.

The college students and high schoolers are your typical gamers in Korea. They come at all hours, they play a large variety of games, and they love to have friends there, but don't care if they're alone. If I had to figure out the biggest games for them, it'd be League, Starcraft, and Diablo 3. Yes, they did take very well to Diablo 3. What I find odd is that I have yet to see someone play a class that isn't the Wizard. Also, I'd like to note that that game looks tremendously boring once you get to top level stuff. These guys just roll their fingers across 1,2, and 3, and click the mouse. Boring. Like I said before, we are talking Starcraft 1. I still remember being in a PC room during my 3rd week here and seeing 4 guys dressed in full suits at 1am. They walked into a PC room, sat down together, opened up some starcraft, and just duked it out. I am not sure how long they played because I actually left before them. These guys are just straight intense about games they love. This group does play almost any game at these rooms, and they are the main players for FIFA.

My favorite group has got to be the parents. I've seen, on many occasions, parents joining their kids in playing different games. A slice of Korean culture: it's common practice for kids to stay with their parents until they are married. That can mean that you may be 32 and still living with your Mom and Dad, and no one would mind it. You aren't a bum, you just couldn't find love.

This group actually loves to play MMOs. This can range from Aion, to Blade and Soul, and then to many Korean MMOs, of which I'm not too familiar. They could be Lineage, but I haven't seen enough of Lineage to be able to point it out. They also love them some card games, and they normally compete amongst each other in the pc room.

This is just for PC rooms, mind you. There is, of course, a large market for mobile gaming, but only on cell phones. Most people from about 16 to 30 love to play mobile games on the subways and buses. It's actually common to see couples playing cellphone games together. In fact, couples in Korea do almost everything together. But that's a completely different post.

Anyways, I know this is quite the wall of text, but if it interests you, I thank you for reading!

Until next time

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The Gamer: Redifined in South Korea Pt. 1

So I've been living the life in Korea. It's pretty amazing. I've also been closely following the LoL World Championships Season 2, and I can safely say that Korea is again making a name for itself through their elite eSports gamers. But what is it about Korea that makes them so fantastic at these things? Why can the create fantastic players in any game they try to master? As I've been living here, it's become quite apparent as to how Korean gamers work. And the differences and atmosphere all work together to create a paradise for people like me.

So let's first discuss the types of games Koreans play. In later posts, I'll talk about the group of people who play, and finally we'll discuss how gaming fits into society.

It's rather interesting to note that Koreans don't actually play very many console games, other than the ones they get on their phones, and that doesn't really count. Those games are summed up with Minecraft and some small games that go with their group chat app known as Kakao Talk. Other than that, it's all PC, all day. The reason for this is because of the PC rooms I mentioned in my former post. It is actually these very rooms that allow PC games to be the main form of gaming in Korea. Think about this: in America, PC gaming is only a small portion of the overall market. There are a ton of gamers who dedicate to the newest console or handheld generations, and they generally see PC gaming as a total waste because of the constantly evolving hardware situation. This is true. When you have to keep up on the newest specs for the PC market, it can get tiring and downright expensive. Therefore, many people don't even try to keep up with the newest PC games. They'd rather stick with the guarantee that their console can play any game for that system without the need to buy a new gfx card.

In Korea it's a different story. Because of these PC rooms, it eliminates the hassle of keeping your computer up to date. They do it for you. This allows for anyone to be capable of playing the newest MMO or the best shooter. Now, there is a limited selection of games on these computers, and almost all of them are multiplayer oriented. They have all of the latest MMOs, a healthy quantity of online shooters that look a lot like Korean knockoffs of the most popular shooters in the US (because they are), and FIFA. Yes, FIFA. These people love themselves some FIFA. Now you can download any game you want onto these computers. However, they will be deleted as soon as the computer shuts down, so don't get too attached.

A couple of quick notes about the games on these computers. Roughly 50% of them don't even exist in the Western Market. Now, they may be available, but no one really plays them. One such game is based off of Gundam SEED. It's actually one of the cooler games I've watched over someone's shoulder. It's all Actiony and packed with Gundams, which is awesome. Regardless, there is one concept that is devilishly common in Korean games. The gamers love to level up and better their characters all the time, so it's become a common mechanic to have microtransaction systems. That's nothing special, of course. What is special is the idea that many items you purchase actually disappear after a set amount of time. For instance, I play a game called Sudden Attack 2. Think Counter Strike, but with more outfits and guns. Oh, and there's more than one play type. As you play, you accrue points that you use to buy new gear, skins, and such. I decided I would go for the one-shot sniper rifle first. I bought it, used it a ton and owned faces. However, after a week the gun was gone for good, and I'd have to repurchase it to continue using it. It's rather tedious and annoying.

Also, Korean MMOs are notorious for being grindfests, and I come here to tell you that that's entirely accurate. Another interesting development comes from Starcraft. They may have come out with Starcraft 2, but Koreans really just don't care. You always see people playing the original Starcraft. I have yet to see one person even open up SC2. Also, I have seen all of 1 person playing WoW, and I go to the PC rooms almost daily. It just isn't a thing. I do, however, see tons of people playing Blade & Soul. The game is extremely pretty, so it takes a good computer to play it. Of course, the PC rooms all have these, so people come there to get their fill in a day.

League of Legends has also caught on like wildfire. They've had the game less than a year in Korea, but everyone loves it. A ton of people play it, and many Koreans will friend English players on Korean servers just so they may practice their English. Therefore, I have plenty of friends on the game even though I'm on a second account in a country with a language I can't yet speak. Also, the caliber of these players is rather high. I have been levelling from 1 for a long while now, and I have yet to play a game where someone doesn't understand what to do, how to play, where to ward, how to leash or any other more advanced concepts. Though I'm still levelling in blind pick, every game feels like a level 30 epic struggle. These people are just good at games.

Anyways, in my next post I will break down the people you see playing games, how many people play games, and where each group spends the most time.

Thanks for reading! I hope you got something out of this post!

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Living in Korea, and the gaming atmosphere

So, as I said in my last post, I finally moved over to Korea just outside of Seoul.

It's entirely true: living in Eastern Asia is a totally different culture than America. For starters, there's really no such thing as "rural" South Korea. Everywhere I've seen is just packed with skyscrapers, light-up signs and TONS of restaurants. But that's not really why I came here. What's truly amazing is the gaming culture. In America, it's generally a physically solitary experience, with everyone joining up via the internet rather than in person. For Korea, that's crazy talk.

Many people may have heard of the famous PC rooms (or bangs in Korean). They are basically large rooms filled with powerful computers, comfy chairs, and plenty of people. They come stocked with plenty of food and drinks that you can buy while you're playing. Some of them even have a console lounge where people can gather around some Street Fighter or whatever and just socialize on couches. What I'm telling you is that these are the gamers' paradise. Constant LAN party? Tons of food at your disposal? Solid machines complete with a chair that won't murder your back? They got it all. The cost? on average, it's about 1 dollar an hour, which is laughable. If you sign up for the PC room with a membership, which is free, they'll discount it even further. Why does this fantastic plan NOT exist in America? probably because the gaming society in America isn't the type to put forth effort and money for something they can do at home. But where's the fun in that?

Anyways, this would be my new home had it not been for the fact that all accounts made in America, sans Diablo 3, have been completely scrapped. I didn't do it, but as it turns out, every game and account ever has regional restrictions that don't allow it to be played halfway across the Earth. Even games like LoL, which you'd think since it's entirely online and you should just be able to change regions, are made impossible to use with my old accounts. I would be totally crushed because I owned 90% of the champs in LoL, but there's a light at the end of the tunnel. See, the PC room isn't just a big LAN party. Gaming companies have taken notice of these entities and decided that they'd prefer people in these public settings to be playing their games. How do they do that? special deals, and pretty sizable deals at that. For instance, from what I understand, LoL offers possibly the most fantastic deal of them all: while playing in a PC room, you get to unlock every champ in the game and you get 20% extra IP.

Now, I do have to point out that I haven't been able to test any of this. What they don't tell you about PC rooms is that you must be a Korean citizen or registered as an alien, which takes about a month -.- so, I'm stuck with waiting for that card to come in so I can make all new accounts. Needless to say, I'm excited.

Til next time,

Brian Stas

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Why I loved Chromehounds and Shadowrun

Ok, so I've been on a long hiatus from my blogging because I am moving to Korea for a year to teach English in about....oh....2 days. SO, I've been running around preparing to ship out my life (quite literally) halfway across the world. When you are planning such a life change, it's hard to do much of anything fun. BUT I've come back because I've been reminiscing recently about the games of old. Specifically, I've been thinking about my favorite games from the early days of the 360. Though there are plenty of big names that I could throw down (here's to you, first Modern Warfare), I was really drawn to remembering the good times on the sometimes overlooked titles.

First off, this is just my opinions on these games and, though they have huge flaws, I was reminiscing. That means I remembered the good times, not the bad. Now the first game that came to mind was Chromehounds. I don't actually know how many people played Chromehounds, but it was at least enough to make it feel very active. So many things about Chromehounds just fascinated the hell out of me. For starters, the multiplayer was utterly brilliant. It first forced you to pick a faction to be a part of. Each one had unique perks and downsides, all competing for the complete control of the overworld. The multiplayer hinged on a constant war, where the factions would battle it out to take over different sectors. Once a country dominated, the game started all over and began again. Of course, you could change sides eventually, but it was the immediate division that caught my attention. That wasn't even the best part, though.

Once you picked a side, though, you had to find a guild to join. That's right, you couldn't fight in the war unless you were a part of a team. This is where Chromehounds did things right. It forces you to socialize with others if you want to fully enjoy the multiplayer experience. I made quite a few immediate friends just because I played some Chromehounds MP. So, once you are in the guild, you can then group up and participate in some territory battles. This is where the interesting part begins.

First, you picked which mech to bring in. They were fully customizable, but you generally tried to fit into one of the 5 unique roles. The map was split up into a grid so that you could call out positions and locations as necessary. This is my favorite part: you could never see any of the map at first. You had to capture comm towers so that you could have an actual view around that tower. Also, you had to have a person be the designated Commander. He carried a mobile comm tower that gave him view of the map, and he was responsible for calling out the enemies as they appeared. As soon as he'd call someone out, you'd see your heavy gunners just launch a barrage of shells and missiles that would rain down upon that block and devastate anyone caught in the fire, including yourself. The game actually forced you, by way of well-planned mechanics, to play tactically. You just couldn't win by going out alone, so everyone constantly worked together to win. I've never played a game where success fully hinged on successful team work. The feeling of victory was simply magical.

Whew, long segment there, but bare with me because now we're going to delve into the often underrated Shadowrun.

Now, Shadowrun got a fiercely terrible reputation almost as soon as it hit the shelves. It was supposed to be this major stepping stone in the FPS genre because you could actually play with computer players. That's all well and good, except they forgot to mention that you HAD to be running the almighty Windows Vista. That pretty much shut the door on 99% of pc gamers. It was a huge tragedy. To make matters worse, the company that created Shadowrun shut its doors very soon after its release, and no one was left to support the online community. Needless to say, the game died off quickly, but I don't give a damn because the time I had to play it was worth every penny.

For starters, they actually had the now-obsolete bot match. There is no better practice that won't get you trolled than playing against bots. It means there will always be 15 other people ready to dive back into Shadowrun if you ever get bored. I think bots are awesome, but some will disagree. It was no substitute for real people, but it did allow me to try out different builds and spells without completely embarrassing myself. This actually leads me perfectly into my next point.

The best thing about Shadowrun was the innovation. It took the per-life purchasing system of Counter Strike, mixed in some crazy spells and technology, and the end product was a place where first-person shooters had never gone. There were thousands of combinations of races, guns, spells, and technology that made every round completely different from the one before. I just remember running around with my rifle, coming around a corner to see a massive firefight, launching out a seed that bloomed into the Tree of Life, diving off the ledge and opening up my glider to gracefully land behind the tree for some makeshift cover, and just unloading on the enemy as my team healed back up from my Tree. It just brought me joy to have all these possible skills and weapons and spells so that I could play how I saw fit. It was just such a great concept and system that it depresses me to think that no one has tried to create an experience based on this game,but raised to the next level.

There are just certain games that do a few things so perfectly. I wish that someone would reiterate the positives of Chromehounds so that we could have a game where positive teamwork was a necessity to win. I wish that someone would take note of the amazing powers and techs in Shadowrun, so that another FPS could come out where I can do more than just shoot a gun.

Both of these games have shut down now, but I'll still always remember the good times. Anyways, epic rant is complete. Til next time.

Brian Stas

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The End of the Used Games Market?

Ok so I'm sure this topic's been discussed a billion times on these forums....buuut I'm relatively new, so I haven't gotten to hear a word. And it's my blog so I do what I want!

The game market is a sort of anomaly in the structured economic retail world that we live in. For starters, it sells a product that is easily transferable from one party to another. What I mean is that once one person buys a game, then they can easily finish that game and then allow all of their friends to borrow it so that they may finish the game. This isn't a unique quality, of course, because books are the same way, but it is an important concept.

Second, and possibly most important, is the used games section of every game store. Used games are what drive your local Gamestop, or what have you. When a person buys a new game, the game publisher gets a cut of the price, and the store gets a fraction of what is being charged. However, when a person buys a used game, 100% of that sale goes to the store. Now, they do have to buy back the game in the first place, but when it's a brand new title, the most you can generally hope for is $35. So, they then get to collect pretty much full price on that game, which makes up for the buyback.

"Gee, Brian, this is all pretty basic information. Who actually cares?" No one really....but I have a minor in economics, so this kind of stuff FASCINATES me. I told you all this to lead up to today's market. Game companies are trying a new strategy: they've decided that multiplayer games can actually turn more of a profit for them if they actually attach an activation code to play multiplayer features online. This is free if you buy that game new, but if that game is used, you are going to have to muscle out an extra $15 just to experience the online world. "Yes, Brian, we all know this. Get to the point!" OK FINE.

Doing this, game companies have essentially devalued their own games. With that new lawsuit that took hold in California, Gamestop needs to not only warn the customers of the added expense, but they are forced to lower the prices that they charge on these games just so that people will still have a reason to buy used copies. Remember, that's what drives most of their business, so they need to keep the used market going. However, that means that when a person trades in a brand new multiplayer game, Gamestop will almost assuredly give you at most $20 for it. So what this all amounts to is that the game you bought is now losing a hefty portion of its value right out of the box. This, in turn, decreases the income of Gamestops across the board. Why is this, you ask?

Let's relate back to my first point: games are easily transferable. When it comes to single player games, people can easily just trade them off and beat it one by one. This is the case for me and Skyrim. I have yet to buy, and probably never will buy, Skyrim. This is because there is no rush to get through Skyrim. Regardless if I pick that game up immediately when it comes out or 10 years down the road, it will essentially still be the same experience. I can wait for my friend's disc. If I figure out that a multiplayer game is awesome later on, though, I can't just wait for my friend's copy. I have to play it now, so that people will still be having fun in the multiplayer and that experience will be a positive one. As of now, that means that I go to gamestop, find the used copies of the people who only wanted the single player, and get that game for 10 bucks off.

With this new code system, though, they can't discount me on the code. I'll essentially still pay for the entire game either way, so why would I waste my time with a used copy when I could get a brand-spankin-new copy with the same cash? Because of the necessity for everyone to have their own copy of a multiplayer game, these are the ones that really sell in massive quantities. People are constantly wanting used copies so that they may get into the fun. Single player games could ideally be enjoyed by the masses with just a few copies. If you take away the used multiplayer market from your Game store, all they'll be able to rely on is single player games and subscriptions to magazines; hardly a constant cashflow there.

Whew, epic rant. this will never be read. But I'm ok with that because I just like to release my thoughts from time to time. I won't pretend to be an expert on the game market, and this only pertains to hard copies, which is also slowly losing relevance. There are probably flaws in my logic, but I'll of course listen to criticisms with an open ear. If you have the courage to muscle through this, then I sincerely thank you for reading.

Until next time,

Brian Stas

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Gaming Depravation

So, I’m having game withdrawal syndrome. It’s been almost 4 weeks since I’ve had a gaming session longer than 1 hour. Anyone who’s an avid gamer knows that it totally sucks to suddenly be shut off from games; not because you want to be, but because you just have other obligations taking up all of your time. For me, I’ve had a weekend class for the past three weeks that lasted 9 hours on Saturday and Sunday. Any time during the week days was taken up by my girlfriend, which is awesome sure, but does Indiana Jones stop lookin for treasure when hes getting laid? No. I’m no better than Indie so I am missing my games.

I’m not addicted to games or anything….but I’m totally addicted to games. Recently, I’ve come to appreciate Diablo 3’s way of resetting the world whenever you disconnect. This means that in my short chunks of gaming I can at least explore and fight rapidly, so I can still level efficiently, even though I’ve cleared the same area probably 15 times now. Progress may be slow! But the Great Wall of Witchdoctor wasn’t built in one day, or however that saying goes.

I’m gaining this unhealthy obsession with news at work. I must read every Giant Bomb article that ever appears on the front page. It’s like I’m trying to live out a game by hearing a quick look on it. It’s as close as I can get! Desperate times call for desperate measures. Hell, I’m even tempted to start chargin through the Persona 4 endurance run. And that’s 150 somethin parts of gaming passion. Not to mention it’s been raining every day for the past week, which just brings down mood altogether. Sometimes, life hates games.

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Gaming with Little Time

Ok sooo

I just got into the “real world” recently. The main purpose of this whole entry starts in paragraph 3, so if you don’t too much care about me, skip on down. I graduated college in mid-may, which is pretty telling of my age. “OMG congratulations!!!!” Stfu, it sucks dick and you know it. I started work on my first, real, full-time job about 3 weeks ago. It’s not exactly the job of my choice, so I can safely say that the real world gets pretty damn boring. 10 hour work days just really aren’t my thing. Hence, I started blogging all the time. I get to work on a computer unsupervised, so, in my downtime, I can luckily come to Giant Bomb and talk about games and such.

Sob story: I do still live with my parents. “HAHA you’re one of those failures!” Not exactly, person-who-isn’t-actually-here. I am just in the process of getting a job in Korea to teach English, which would start prior to the end of the year. Getting signed into a lease or rent would just be a waste of money, so I’m waiting it out. I also have a girlfriend that takes up a solid portion of the time I get off.

Now, I tell you all that to get to my question. As a person who is either at work or only has 15 to 30 minutes to actually play something, what is the kind of games that you go to? What games do you start playing when you have only a short while before you have to do something else?

For me, it’s come down to browser games. I’ve been questing like a mofo on the Giant Bomb site because I find it hilariously entertaining. I also jump on Kongregate and tear up those long-term games that take energy to do action. My favorite one so far is War Metal: Tyrant. I happen to appreciate card games, and that one has a large amount of unique cards, so it’s a pretty good time. Where do Giant Bombers go, though?! Am I doing it wrong? If there’s some massive hit that I just haven’t heard of, do tell.

These kinds of short games have their place, but this may not be the forum where I can get answers. Maybe everyone here is more on the big-time games scale. Idk, but it’d be cool if you did have suggestions.

Until next time,

Brian Stas

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