Steam winter sale 2013 roundup

As is a semi-tradition, I spent way too much money on Steam crap this past sale. Not so much on Steam itself, as other sites (Humble Store, Amazon, etc.), but still, the case remains. Here's a list of things I bought/received as gifts/given as gifts. I'm kind of estimating at some of these prices, but it's close enough:

1. Gone Home ($5, Humble Store)

2. London 2012: The Official Video Game of the Olympics ($2, Amazon)

3. 3D Mark ($3, Steam)

4. Solar 2 ($2, Steam)

5. Monaco ($3.36, Steam)

6. YOU DON'T KNOW JACK Classic Pack ($5, Humble Store)

7. Trackmania Stadium ($2.50, Steam)

8. Cook, Serve, Delicious! ($5, Humble store)

9. Game Dev Tycon ($5, Humble store)

10. Kerbal Space Program ($16, Steam)

11. 10000000 ($1.69 Green Man Gaming)

12. Sang-Froid - Tales of Werewolves ($7.50 Steam)

13. Hero Academy, Anomal 2, Bad Hotel, Jack Lumber ($5, Humble bundle)

14. Mark of the Ninja DLC ($1, Steam)

15. Europa Univrsalis 4 ($20, Humble Store)

16. Prison Architect ($15, Humble Store)

17. Kentucky Route Zero ($16, Humble Store)

18. Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom Gold ($10, Steam)

19. Deadpool ($8, Gamefly, after yanked off Steam)

20. Valdis Story: Abyssal City ($3.75, Steam)

21. Sonic Collection Pack -- 17 Sonic things, ($15, Amazon)

22. Onimusha 3 ($5, Steam)

23. Borderlands 2 Season Pass ($15, Steam)

24. Tomb Raider DLC Collection ($5, Steam)

25. Borderlands 2 Vault Hunger Upgrade Pack 2 ($5, Steam)

26. Batman: Arkham Origins ($15, Steam key website)

27. Batman: Arkham Origins Season pass ($10, Steam)

28. Brothers ($6, Steam)

29. Castle of Illusion ($3.75 Amazon)

Gifts I received:

1. F1 2013

2. Final Fantasy 8

3. Football Manager 2014 (Won on a Twitter contest)

4. Tower Wars

5. Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller

6. Call of Juarez Gunslinger

Gifts I gave out:

1. Trackmania Stadium

2. Bastion

3. Deadpool (pre-yanking)

4. Dungeon Defenders

5. Starcraft 2

I think that's about all of it.

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World War Z Book Adaptation plan

I've seen a few movie reviews of World War Z saying that a true adaptation wouldn't work, or at least wouldn't work in a film setting. I don't believe that.

Assume, for the moment that the movie is going to be 2 hours long (give or take), which is pretty standard, minus credits/title sequence. Also assume that every story in the book could be broken down into 5 to 10 minute long short films (with some time for the interviewer sections), with one or two parts being longer.

Here's how you do a World War Z movie:

Part 1 -- Warnings:

1. Do the Chinese section (where the infection started)

2. Possibly do the Brazil organ story (but not necessarily needed)

3. Do the Israel story (where Israel builds a wall), and possibly combine with the Palestine story

(10-15 minutes, give or take)

Part 2 -- Blame:

1. Do the "Wacko" story and the Grover Carlson story (show initial response of America)

2. Do the Montana story also (might not be needed, but could introduce the Phalanx stuff)

(10 minutes)

Part 3 -- The Great Panic:

1. Do the India, Barbados, and first Denver, Colorado bits. Possibly do the Russian story, but not entirely needed. The Denver bits take up more time, due to their complexity

(25 minutes, give or take, possibly 30)

Part 4 -- Turning the Tide:

1. Do the Redeker plan stuff (South Africa), and possibly the Canada story

(10 to 20 minutes, depending on Canada story)

Part 5 -- Home Front USA:

1. Do New Mexico (Arthur Sinclair), the 2nd Wacko story, and possibly the Malibu story, but not needed

(10 to 20 minutes)

Part 6 -- Around the World and Above:

1. Federated States of Micronesia (Radio Free Earth)

2. Cuba

3. Australia

4. Chile

(let's say 30 minutes for all 4? These could probably be trimmed up a bit)

Part 7 -- Total War:

1. Denver Colorado Pt. 2

2. Quebec

3. Denver Colorado Pt. 3

(Quebec isn't needed, per se, but both Denver stories are critical, let's say 30 minutes, but only 25 for just Denver 2 and 3)

Part 8 -- Goodbyes

3-5 minutes of everyone in the story giving their conclusion speech.

Total run time? On the conservative side, 125 minutes, or 2 hours and 5 minutes (that's with every low value assumed). Possibly 130, with interviewer parts included. If you assume a longer running time it's 160 minutes or 2 hours and 40 minutes. That time might be a tad long, but certainly doable (look at the Hobbit or Dark Knight Rises for examples).

So, YES, World War Z (as written) could be adapted just fine into a movie. Brad Pitt just wanted a passion project and in doing so, has ruined a perfectly good book.

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The Cloud?

If true, this is interesting:

http://pastebin.com/uCmdh9jB

The idea is that the Xbox One is going to be like Steam, but the problems are readily apparent.

1. Steam has a 30 day check in, NOT a 24 hour check in. A lot of the use cases don't apply to most people, and MS is theoretically right in saying that most people do have online access for some part of a 24 hour period, but it's missing the larger idea that if you don't sign in, your game doesn't work at all. Besides, on the PC, there are alternatives, Origin (blah), Direct2Drive, uPlay, Desura, Gamefly, or Impulse. There is no other alternative on the Xbox One.

2. The (obvious) problem is: What happens on day one? People are going to get a Xbox One, buy a game or two, set it up at home, and find that the online authentication servers are getting hammered. Blizzard and Steam can't even handle really busy times, what hope does Microsoft have? Besides which, having a system that is ENTIRELY dependent on an authentication online check is going to be he most tempting target to hackers everywhere. Either to bring it down (and make customers angry), or to create a modded private one, where you can sign in to that and do whatever you want.

Them talking about "the cloud man, the CLOUD!" is buzz-word bullshit. Even servers with huge redundancy systems, Wikipedia, Amazon, even Google, occasionally go down. And when that happens to someone when they press the button on the Xbox One, it says "Connecting", then says "Connection Error", Microsoft is toast.

3. Uh, I don't want Microsoft to "own the living room". Go fuck yourselves with that heavy-handed bullshit, thanks.

4. Another telling quote, "Honestly, if you care about anything other then pure games AT ALL. Xbox 1 > PS4. If all you do is play games, and nothing else, PS4."

...who else was asking about anything other than games? Ok, "Yes", Netflix is big on the 360, or PS3. But that's about it. And NO ONE goes "Man, this 360 is good, but why can't it function like a cable box?" Microsoft's strategy seems to be aimed at (poorly) answering problems to questions that no one has asked.

If you're trying to be like how Steam was originally (semi-busted), then you're doing a good job. If you're trying to be like how Steam is now (superb), then you're failing, big time.

Again, I don't know if the Pastebin thing is legitimate or not, but my points remain the same.

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The Truth about the PS4...up to the PS9

So, if the PS9 is due out in 2078 as the old commercial said, with the PS2 out in 2000, the PS3 out in 2006, and the PS4 out in 2013 (rumored anyway), where does this leave Sony's long-term plans? There's still 65 years between the PS4's release date, and the PS9's. Do they just hope that each new Playstation can hold the line longer? Does that mean a PS5 is due out sometime in 2025? PS6 in 2037. PS7 in 2052. PS8 in 2061. Then finally the PS9 in 2078? That seems like an awfully long time between the PS8 coming out and the PS9.

Here is the commercial in question:

You can fudge the numbers a little bit, maybe say the PS6 will be due out in 2038, or the PS8 won't be out till 2065, but Sony has set a time-limit on themselves for getting the Playstation 9 out in the year 2078. I've solved it all.

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My Steam Sale Exploits

With the Steam Sale being over with, I thought I might to a rundown of the things I got. I'll break it down from gifts from people, games from other stores (Amazon/Humble Bundle), then Steam games I actually bought on Steam. Here goes:

Gifts from people:

1. MDK 2

2. MDK 2 HD

3. Don't Starve

4. Starvoid

5. Legend of Grimrock

6. Darksiders 2 The Abyssal Forge DLC

7. Lego Star Wars Complete Saga

Games from other stores/bundles:

1. Humble Bundle 7 (Closure, Snapshot, Indie Game: The Movie, Offspring Fling). Everything else in the bundle, I gave to other people.

2. Scribblenauts (off Amazon, was free due to promotions)

3. Lego Lord of the Rings (off Amazon, was 2.50$ instead of 7.50)

4. Far Cry 3 Deluxe (Off Steam Trades, 33$ for the game)

5. Sine Mora (2$ from Green Man Gaming)

Games from actual Steam (including DLC):

1. Super Street Fighter 4 All Costumes DLC Pack

2. Darksiders 2 Demon Lord Belial DLC

3. Dishonored

4. Who Wants to be a Millionare? (had to trade a UK friend, @loopy_101 , to buy it for me, since you can't get it in the States. Bought him Worms Armageddon as a trade)

5. Who Wants to be a Millionare, Video Game question DLC Pack (see no. 4)

6. The Sims Medieval

7. Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier Deluxe Edition

8. 3DMark 11

9. Mark of the Ninja

10. Serious Sam 3 BFE Deluxe Edition

11. Sleeping Dogs Nightmare in North Point DLC

12. Sleeping Dogs Dragon Master DLC

13. Fallout: New Vegas Dead Money DLC

14. Tiny and Big: Grandpa's Leftovers Soundtrack Edition

15. Saints Row 3 Tricks and Treats DLC

16. Saints Row 3 Complete Package (when I saw the rest of the DLC would be cheaper to get, then separately. I'm also an idiot)

17. Anno 2070 Deep Ocean DLC

Not a bad haul, all in all.

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On female gaming and the like.

I'm not going to pretend to really understand how women are treated, in online playing, or with game development (regardless of job/position). I do understand some of the impulse that men have towards women. There are three issues involved primarily:

1. Guys (incorrectly) see women gaming as some sort of encroachment on "their territory", as it were. These are the same idiots who tell a woman to "get back in the kitchen" if she dares utter a word while playing Call of Duty. That's usually why most women I know don't even bother with a headset when they play, because they don't want to get harassed by idiots. Here's a small flowchart of typical male gamer behavior:

1. Girl Speaks in a game (there's a female in here!)

2A. "You're either fat, ugly, or don't know how to play. Stop playing." (the usual response)

2B. "Woah, a girl? How old are you? You hot? Got Pics?" (the other usual response)

3B. Woman says "Uh, I just want to game" (Because she does, and doesn't want to be harassed)

4B. Guy then immediately proceeds to step 2A because his lame pickups were shot down. (Thus the cycle is complete)

2. There is a gender disparity within the gaming population. While you can argue about specifics and such, there is a bit of an imbalance with regards to number of men vs. number of women playing games. Here is a thought experiment to deal with:

(General set up)

Step 1: Assume that for every female gamer there is 10 guy gamers, as a ratio. So, for every 5 female gamers, there is 50 male gamers.

Step 2: With this 1 to 10 ratio, think about the ratio of single female gamers out there (in a group). I'm friendly with a decent amount of female gamers, and 9 out of 10 are either married, or have a boyfriend. I'm sure others might have different opinions, but there is also a disparity between single female gamers vs. "attached" female gamers. For the sake of this experiment, imagine that ratio is still 1 to 10. So for every 10 female gamers, 1 is single. So, in my original analogy, it translates into 100 guy gamers for every 1 single female gamer. (Just as a general example)

It's analogous to the "small fish in a big pond" quote, with a single female gamer having a LARGE number of guys that are interested in her. This is the primary reason why most guy gamers are so obnoxious/angry towards women. It's a mix of loneliness/rejection/and depression that is the cause. (Mixed in with the usual internet anonymity thing). Most guys want a girlfriend that plays games, and when they don't have one, they become bitter and angry because of it.

(Actual thought experiment)

Step 3: With all that being said, imagine a world in which the gender ratios were reversed. That for every 100 Felicia Day's in the world, there was a nerdy guy. More-over, all 100 of the Felicia's, or Morgan Webb's, or whomever, were *AFTER* this guy non-stop, in hopes of getting a relationship with him (or really, just casual sex, which is what a large chunk of guys want). Now imagine you, the reader, was transported to this world. Do you think that there would be a lot of guys playing Halo complaining non-stop about women? No, of course not. It would be somewhat the opposite actually, with 20 women all instantly messaging you, and asking you if you're single, and the like.

Summation: While there are some outliers (sociopaths, trolls, etc.), most guys aren't inherently bad, or evil, just bitter and lonely. It's no excuse for guy behavior's online, but it is at least one reason to understand it.

3. A lot of developers and the media aren't even consciously aware of a problem. Most gaming sites only have 4 (max) women on them, as staff. Think about it, it's actually about the same ratio (1 woman to 10 men) when it comes to developers/reviewers. A friend of mine recently asked me why Giant Bomb doesn't have any female writers. I tried giving the reason that Jeff/Ryan/Vinny/Brad were the core group, and that they would expand, if needed. But honestly, that's a bit of garbage. How many women have been on the Bombcast over the years? I can think of two, Leigh Alexander, and Carrie Gouskos. And Carrie semi-doesn't count, because of her Hotspot/Gamespot connection. Compare that to the over two dozen guys on the Bombcast, over the years. Now, I don't think Giant Bomb hates women, by any means, but most everyone seems guilty of it, whether they are conscious of it or not. Gamespot (proper) has only one, Carolyn female, and that's it. The auxiliary GS sites (notably Australia) have more women, Laura Parker chief among them, but it's still not a perfect ratio.

Women are over 51% of the population (as a whole), but are only represented by about 20% (if that) when it comes to gaming. Now, not all women are into games, for sure, but the same can be said about men as well. Still, there is an uneven distribution of men and women in gaming. I have a female friend who works in game marketing, and frankly puts my computer/game knowledge to shame. She's said that when she goes to game events with her boyfriend, developers/designers always go up to him and ask him about stuff. Not her. He's not even that into games, but he's there to support her. That is another example of the inherent problem with the current gaming climate. I can think of only 5 or 6 female designers/developers off the top of my head: Brenda Romero (nee Brathwaite), Kim Swift, Corrinne Yu, Jade Raymonde, Amy Hennig, and a few others. Compare that to the dozens of male designers that most everyone knows, Kojima, CliffyB, Miyamoto, Inafune, American McGee, Sakaguchi, the list goes on.

I'm not going to pretend to say I have any real answers, but people should at least see this as a general problem, and hopefully address it. Otherwise, the gaming population is just going to get more and more fragmented, especially as more younger girls get into gaming, they're only going to encounter assholes in the future, which is good for no one.

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Eh, wanted to blog

Feeling kind of in a blogging mood (more so than Twitter), so I might as well talk about a few things:

1. I reviewed Torchlight 2 here and Dark Souls (PC Version) and Inquisitor here . Short versions: I loved Torchlight 2, reasonably enjoyed Dark Souls on PC, and think that Inquisitor is one of the worst games ever made.

2. My new laptop is still going strong, and can play anything I can throw at it. LA Noire looks great on it, (as in actually playable), which is a far cry from my previous laptop. The game is just not grabbing me though, although there are elements I enjoy. I love the look of it, the characters, voice acting and such, but the basic gameplay feels too plodding at times. And it never meshes very well between looking for clues, questioning people, then chasing baddies or shooting them.

3. I've been playing some of The Secret World MMO, and it's odd. They don't really explain anything to you, in the game. You're just kind of expected to go look everything up on Google, be it what you should spec in, to where quests are and such. I do kind of like the idea of it, but there just isn't enough to help you to get going. WoW succeeded because it was *very* dumb (but intelligently so), so it eased you in very gradually to play mechanics and such.

4. Doctor Who was very good today.

5. I was trying to get all the trophies in a PC playthough of Arkham City, but I abandoned that after my fight with Ra's. That game has entirely too much dumb shit for you to find. Riddles are cool, collecting crap isn't.

6. Playing Prototype 2 again, on a New Game + file, on hard mode. Even on hard, that game is fairly easy, which I actually kind of enjoy. I only need 2 more achievements to get the full 1,000, so that's my goal.

7. I'm still enjoying Pinball FX2, but I only have like 2 people to play it with. That's kind of a bummer.

8. At some point I need to get back into Lego Batman 2. A great friend of mine bought it for me, and I played up to the first Superman level, but then my old laptop took a dive, and the save didn't backup (so I lost it). Since then, I've had no incentive to replay the first few levels to get back there. It's still fun, but frustrating as always, and flawed (as all the Lego Games seem to be).

Eh...I guess that's about it, maybe? Yeah, that seems about it for me.

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New laptop get

Been a while since I posted here, but I might as well. The biggest thing is that I got a new laptop (on August 3rd). My old laptop was an Asus G72GX. The specs were an Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4ghz, 6gb of ram, Nvidia 260M GTX, and a 500gb hard drive.

The GPU essentially overheated and Best Buy (whom I bought the laptop from and had a warranty with) decided to replace it. I had to come up with 300$ more in cash (sold my Debug PS1 for the funds, which makes me sad) but I got an Asus G75VW model. It has an Intel i7, 2.3ghz, 8gb of ram, Nvidia 660M GTX and a 1tb drive. So, that's quite a nice little upgrade for me, for only 300$.

I also got a free, 200$ (basic) Xbox 360 with it. I already have a 360, but hey, why not get another one if it's free. I also signed up for that Windows 8 promotion, so when it does come out, Win 8 Pro will only cost me 15$.

So, what else is going on? I'm reviewing games and writing a weekly column for a site called 411mania. I started in like March, and it's going ok. My column is about PC/Steam gaming, which now that I have a better gaming computer, makes that a lot easier.

I also review the occasional game (as I see fit), the last one being Deadlight, but also Dirt Showdown, Sine Mora, and a few others.

Games I've been playing recently:

1. Darksiders 2 -- I've enjoyed it, but I hit a nasty progression-killing bug last weekend (was supposed to get a new quest, I didn't, and the game wouldn't give it to me). I actually restarted the game and played up to that point again. I like the game fairly well, aside from that bug. It's better than Darksiders 1, with a more cohesive plot, a better combat/exploration system, and more fun gameplay mechanics (overall). I actually bought a copy for myself, but the editor on the website got me a code from the developers, so I sold my bought copy for Anno 2070. Not a bad deal.

2. Binding of Isaac -- I really enjoy the game, but I know it's not for everyone. I just like exploring and randomly finding new weapons and stuff in the dungeons. I wish there was a mode that let you specify what power ups and weapons you found. Then I would enjoy the game a LOT more.

3. I downloaded Terraria but I really don't get it. I think it's just beyond me.

4. KoA: Reckoning -- I find the game kind of STUPIDLY easy, almost all of the time. The only problem with combat is when you have to deal with 4 or more guys and they constantly swarm you. This opinion aside, I like it. It's a big, quest driven, fun-combat, rpg. It's fun to explore the world and see what new quests you can discover. It actually feels like a Fable game, without all that stupid fucking social aspect in it (which makes Fable horrible). So, that's kind of neat.

5. Arkham City -- working on my New Game + campaign. I'm trying to actually get all the Riddler stuff. I probably have about 300 so far, with only 100 left to go. Because of all the guides and stuff out there now though, it should be pretty easy (just tedious and boring).

6. I got into the Painkiller Hell & Damnation beta. Here's a tip: Don't play Painkiller Hell & Damnation.

7. Beat the last Fallout NV DLC (with Ulysses). It felt kind of...dumb? Like, it just felt very non-important to the overall flow of the game. Ah well.

That's enough of my rambling for now. Hopefully I'll try and update this more frequently. Maybe with links to my columns, or just talking about more that is going on in my life. Have a good one, everyone.

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PS2 Games I own

Games I own for the ol'e PS2:
 
Amplitude, Arcana Heart, Shadow of the Colossus, Dark Cloud 2, DBZ Budokai 3 GH, Digital Devil Saga 2, Disgaea 2, Digital Devil Saga 1, Disgaea 1,  Final Fantasy XII, God of War 1, God of War 2, Gran Turismo 4, Grim Grimoire, Growlanser 2: Sense of Justice, GTA San Andreas, Kingdom Hearts 1, Kingdom Hearts 2,  MGS 3 Subsistence, Mortal Kombat Shaolin Monks, Namco X Capcom English (Patched), Odin Sphere, Okami, Persona 4, Persona 3 FES, Red Star, Resident Evil 4, Rogue Galaxy, Sly 2, Devil Summoner, Devil Summoner 2, Nocturne, SSX 3,  Naruto Ultimate Ninja 4, Suikoden 3, Suikoden 5, Transformers, Twisted Metal Black, two copies of Shadow Hearts: Covenant, Fantavision, Mister Mosquito, and 3 Codebreakers (version 9.1, and two version 10.1's)

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Some EA Criticism

1.  Them shutting down game servers.  As opposed to *every* other game company out there (that uses MS/Sony servers) EA saw fit to build their own for online play (and features).  This gives them the power to also shut down the game servers.  If you want to, you can go out and buy a copy of Perfect Dark Zero and play it online.  You *can't* do that with any EA game older than 2 years old.  They continually shut down older game servers for the official reason of "It's a drain to keep them up", when the actual reason is, they want to force people to buy the newer and inconsequential version of the game.   If it really was a drain on them, they could just do away with the server system entirely and use game servers that everyone else makes do with.
 
 
2.  EA's pandering, desperate attempt on Origin.  EA claims that Steam provides too many restrictions on DLC (reason 1) and that EA wants to have "a relationship with the consumer" (reason 2) for making Origin.  Yet, every other company seems to like Steam *just* fine when it comes to DLC (Capcom, Activision, Ubisoft).  No, they just want to control the market on their own games, like they always have (see Dreamcast for a good historical reference).  I don't *want* a relationship with a game company.  I want to buy a game, and that be it.  I don't want them constantly e-mailing me with stupid ads, survey's, and other garbage that EA is intent  on doing.  Worse yet, if you criticize them on their own forums they have the right to block you, rendering your purchased goods inert.
 
3.  Them completely nickel & diming people to death over content.  A good page on the topic:  http://www.pastapadre.com/2011/05/30/criticism-over-ea-sports-handling-of-pay-for-features-justified

Other companies do it to, sure, but not to the complete extent & ultimate detriment to the game.

Activison/THQ admit they're evil to an extent.  That's all Cod Elite really is, just a method to bilk people out of money.  Capcom is just stupid (and doesn't learn from their mistakes) and greedy.  But EA tries to hide their greed with platitudes of "Oh, we're not so bad!  Everyone does it!  We're here for you to provide you the best content we can!"  What a load of shit.  I'm surprised they're not trying to say "Greed is good", or better yet "2 + 2 = 5".

Look at my Burnout Paradise column (here:  http://www.411mania.com/games/columns/231077/Crossing-the-Steams-3.27.12:-Burnout-Paradise.htm ).  You can't even buy the DLC anymore.  They shut the store down.  Instead of doing right by the consumer (and releasing a patch to just unlock the content for everyone), they take a shit on it, and just ignore the problem.  They never face up to their mistakes, because in their eyes, they never make them.  They are the absolute worst.

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