Ok, sale's over, back to normal.

 Another great Steam sale is over, this time, Christmas/New Year. My only disappointment goes to not seeing Morrowind on sale, I'm going crazy for that game but I'm not brave enough to drop 19.99 dollars on that -- I believe it was like 15 while on sale, but it's still a no. I have played Super Meat Boy already and it's great, clocked 14 hours into the game, I've also played Burnout Paradise and it's also great, clocked 39 hours into it. Not I'm playing Team Fortress 2 which is a pretty good game too, it's a shooter and I dislike shooters, but I'm kinda getting used to them so it's fun, even though I suck at it.

Here's my list of the games I got during the whole sale:
 
* Bullet Candy
* Galcon Fusion
* Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved
* The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom
* Super Laser Racer
* Super Meat Boy
* VVVVVV
* Burnout Paradise: The Ultimate Box
* The Witcher: Enhanced Edition
* The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition
* Monkey Island 2: Special Edition
* Amnesia: The Dark Descent
* S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl
* S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat
* Team Fortress 2
* Team Fortress 2 Beta
* Half-Life 2
* Half-Life 2: Episode One
* Half-Life 2: Episode Two

Breaks my heart not seeing Morrowind in there.

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Good Stuff

 Listen to some good news, Steam is currently having a big year ending sale! I know I grew addicted to those, just can't resist them. Among the offers many great games. I bought the following games already:

* Bullet Candy
* Galcon Fusion
* Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved
* The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom
* Super Laser Racer
* Super Meat Boy
* VVVVVV

Highlights go to Super Meat Boy and VVVVVV which I've been wanting to get my hands on for a while, and Geometry Wars which I have played already, it's a good game, it's nice having it on Steam. Another good thing is that now Grand Theft Auto got unbanned in my region (country), before I couldn't even enter the page, it used to say it was unavailable on where I live, now it's unlocked. I've only played GTA 4 so if I see Vice City or San Andreas with a good price in the next days I won't hesitate in buying it.

Steam servers are acting all weird today, maybe it's the high demand in bandwidth because of the sale, that must be it. If I had the power I would make a request for Steam, please put up Morrowind with a decent price cut, I read news about it being 4.99 in the middle of this year, I unfortunately hadn't discovered the wonderful possibilities of online distribution (especially at a ridiculously low price) so I missed it. I'm still thinking Freedom Force. I'll take advantage of the blog entry to express my thanks once more to mufujifi for the gift I received.

Last but not least, I have passed my exam for college, which doesn't mean I will get into college, just means I'll go to the next phase, if I succeed the next phase (which I highly doubt) I'll get in! I'm trying for History.
 

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Gamespot's Video-Game Awards 2010

 I simply love this time of year, lots of fun stuff to do, and one of these fun things is Gamespot's yearly gaming awards. As I did in the past years I'll be celebrating the year's ending by listing my own winners for each of the categories Gamespot presents. I was reluctant in modifying slightly my method of doing it, taking into account the manner I keep doing year after year since, I don't know, one or two years. Not a long-time tradition I know, but I thought of including brief comments after each award to just point things out, tell the reader (if any) how or why I was selecting that game. I ultimately decided not to, instead, I'll just gather the pieces and give a little overview before the important part. Onto work.

For the most surprisingly good game I have to say Alice in Wonderland, it's a great DS game, I actually did like Hydro Thunder for the Nintendo 64, so I never doubted Hurricane could be at least slightly fun. It's good not having Crysis competing on best technical graphics because that's obvious win, at least for now and the near future, none of the candidates actually stand out, I voted God of War II. For artistic graphics Alan Wake has the atmosphere in its favor, Castlevania has its characteristic Castlevania charm, Red Dead Redemption looks pretty fresh, and Mass Effect 2 is also great; but Kirby's Epic Yarn takes the crown, such a wonder to behold that game was. For best new character I chose a character stereotype that's easy to find in movies but hard to find in games, feels fresh. I'm not sure I'd pick Super Meat Boy for best downloadable console game if I had a more diverse set of choices, I've had little contact with Super Meat Boy, since this is a game that demands time and dedication.

I chose Alice in Wonderland for best creative license, it's clear that Disney Epic Mickey doesn't deserve to be even listed. For funniest game I wouldn't pick DeathSpank if I had more choices, but DeathSpank is not a bad choice at all. As for best original game mechanic I found it an awkward award, a flashlight doesn't look that "original", the stand-off may have been used before but it's used nicely in Red Dead Redemption, the way something is done may be more important than what is actually done, I believe the one that deserves this the most is the Rocket Sliding, although I have to say I'm not completely sure of it; my vote still goes to Rocket Sliding. Looking at the most improved sequel award I consider the presence of Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 there a joke, I voted Red Dead Redemption. Not much thinking about best boss fights, God of War III wins easily. The competitive multiplayer award is pretty even, every game has a chance of emerging victorious, but I voted Call of Duty: Black Ops.

When I reached worst game everyone played I felt compelled to vote the Wii game, I'm sure a good share of the Wii's demographics played that, according to vgchartz the game has sold almost eight hundred thousand copies and it wasn't released in Japan--yeah, I know, the world doesn't seem fair when I say that--it will eventually reach the 1-million mark, I'm sure of that. The least improved sequel seems fit for Pro Evolution Soccer 2011. Donkey Kong Country must be praised, be it when it runs for best platformer or best Wii game or anything else, I'm such a fanboy, I know, I'm disgusting. I hate Rhythm/Music games, though Dance Central seems pretty fun, hate to admit that, I even mentioned I'd like to try it out, and I will someday, I hope (I also hope no one reads this). Voted Civilization for best strategy game over Starcraft II, it was actually hard choosing one of them, not sure what led me to this decision.

My game of the year has nothing to do with my choice, I'd be amazed at how much I fail choosing it, my choice would shock. From the ones listed and leaving my own personal convictions aside, considering the game inserted in the context of the industry as a whole and the magnitude of the impact it caused in the gaming world this year, I've come to two names. Red Dead Redemption and Mass Effect 2. Out of these ones I chose Red Dead Redemption as my game of the year because it felt more fresh, both display undeniable quality, so either one would be a great choice. For my decision on which game I'm most anticipating on early 2011 I chose Mortal Kombat, I can't wait to play Mortal Kombat and Dragon Age II, both are great, as well as other choices there like Crysis 2, but my vote on this goes to Mortal Kombat, finally a new Mortal Kombat game I can look forward to.

Now enough talking and onto what really matters. It's worth reiterate that these are my own personal choices. 
 

+ Special Achievements
 
Most Surprisingly Good Game - Alice in Wonderland

Best Story - Alan Wake

Best Graphics, Technical - God of War III

Best Graphics, Artistic - Kirby's Epic Yarn

Best New Character - John Marston

Best Expansion Pack - Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening

Best Downloadable Console Game - Super Meat Boy

Best Downloadable Content - Borderlands: The Secret Armory of General Knoxx

Best Atmosphere - Alan Wake

Best Original Music - Super Mario Galaxy 2

Best Sound Design - Red Dead Redemption

Best Voice Acting - Red Dead Redemption

Best Use of a Creative License - Alice in Wonderland

Funniest Game - DeathSpank

Best Cooperative Multiplayer - Halo: Reach

Best Competitive Multiplayer - Call of Duty: Black Ops

Best Original Game Mechanic - Rocket sliding (Vanquish)

Most Improved Sequel - Red Dead Redemption

Best Implementation of User Generated Content - ModNation Racers

Best Original IP (Intellectual Property) - Alan Wake

Best Boss Fights - God of War III

Most Memorable Moment - Deadly Premonition

Best UK-Developed Game - Fable III

Most Surprising Game to Make It Past Aussie Censors - Splatterhouse

Best Writing/Dialogue - Mass Effect 2

Best Ending - Red Dead Redemption

+ Dubious honors
 
Most Disappointing Game - Disney Epic Mickey

Flat-Out Worst Game - Prison Break: The Conspiracy

Worst Game Everyone Played - Your Shape featuring Jenny McCarthy

Best Game No One Played - Vanquish

Least Improved Sequel - Fable III

Worst DLC For Good Games - Assassin's Creed II: Battle of Forli

+ Genre Awards
 
Best Action/Adventure Game - Red Dead Redemption

Best Driving Game - Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit

Best Platformer - Donkey Kong Country Returns

Best Puzzle Game - Professor Layton and the Unwound Future

Best Rhythm/Music Game - Dance Central

Best RPG - Call of Duty: Black Ops

Best Sports Game - FIFA Soccer 11

Best Strategy Game - Sid Meier's Civilization V

+ Platform Awards
 
Best PC Game - Mass Effect 2

Best Xbox 360 Game - Red Dead Redemption

Best Playstation 3 Game - God of War III

Best Wii Game - Donkey Kong Country Returns

Best PSP Game - Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

Best DS Game - Alice in Wonderland

+ Game of the Year
 
Game of the Year 2010 - Red Dead Redemption

+ Early 2011 Most Anticipated
 
Early 2011 Most Anticipated - Mortal Kombat
 
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I'm still deliberating if I'll make a blog post about my guesses of which games Gamespot will hand out the awards, I'll probably do it tomorrow or in a couple of days.
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Discount fest is over.

 Such a fun time, there are a few things I enjoy more than paying a mere handful of dollars for games, I just wish Steam (and any retailer for that matter) would do it every single day! Talk about going poor in a few months. The first days in Steam's discount week were the best ones, it's just sad that I couldn't buy Half-Life 2 for 2.50 dollars, it wasn't this time they presented the deal, maybe for having in mind that basically everyone should have the game by now, and I do have it, but having it on Steam makes things so much easier, it's not even worth going through all the trouble of getting the disc and putting it to spin, just give the 2 and a half dollars and business closed. Those pack deals with many copies of the games also got me, I wanted Freedom Force but I couldn't find any group buy to get into, so I ended without the game. Sad, they should have made individual prices for these games, and I would hope the individual prices weren't so far from the pack, like Freedom Force, each copy of the game would go for 75 cents, had they put a individual price of 1 dollar, I'm sure the number sold would be way over it was.

Now for games I wanted to buy I can cite Oblivion, Morrowind, Dragon Age Origins, The Ball, among others; also some racing games that never got a price reduction. For Oblivion and Morrowind I was hoping to see a deal with both for like 10-15 dollars, I know it's highly unlikely but a man can always hope. I have Dragon Age Origins but I'm so willing to replay the whole game that I'd buy it for like 10 dollars, also unlikely until the new one comes out. The Ball was on sale, but the price reduction was of only 50%, from 20 dollars to 10 dollars, and I wasn't so crazy about that game to buy for that, if the game had received the discount other games received of 75% at the price of 5 dollars I wouldn't think twice.

During the week I bought the following games from Steam:

* And Yet It Moves
* Counter-Strike Source
* Counter-Strike Source Beta
* Deus Ex: Game of the Year Edition
* Deus Ex: Invisible War
* DiRT 2
* Gish
* Jolly Rover
* Left 4 Dead 2
* Puzzle Agent
* Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale

Now I have a total of 23 games on Steam, since I've made my exam for college Sunday now I have the entire rest of the year to have fun, with games I bought, going Wake-boarding and enjoying Christmas time, which always puts a smile on my face.

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The spirit of capitalism has inflicted in me!

 Second day in Steam's discounted deals, and things are looking good for me. The first game I analyzed as being a contestant for purchase was AudioSurf, I have played this game in the past and thought it was okay, not a very replayable game so I won't buy it even though it's mere 2.50 dollars. Then I saw the indie pack for today, I instantly recognized Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale, which is another game I have already played, though I didn't find it very good; nevertheless, there were some other cool games, among them two interesting platformers which were the ones that weighed the most in my decision to buy it, look at the list of this indie pack:

* And Yet It Moves
* Gish
* Jolly Rover
* Puzzle Agent
* Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale

All this for 4.99 dollars, one dollar each. The highlight for this goes to the first two games, And Yet It Moves and Gish, two very stylish platformers. Recettear could be said as highlight even though I didn't like it when I played. That's it for today, only one purchase (valid for 5) and looking forward for the third day! So far, I have 21 games on my Steam account, lots of fun to be had in this year end, Christmas and New Year replete of gaming! The way I like it! 

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Black Friday thing.

 Well, I really don't get all this Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday stuff, but I sure as hell enjoy paying less money for stuff, so I'm having a blast with it today, Steam has made some neat special discounts and I've taken advantage of some of them and expect to take advantage of even more in the near future. Look what I already got:

* Deus Ex (Game of the Year Edition)
* Deus Ex: Invisible War
* Counter-Strike: Source

Like one week ago, before I even knew about all this Black Friday thing, I thought about buying Deus Ex, because it was already cheap (9.99 dollars) but after finding out about this "special day" for shopping and after I googled past discounts and found that Deus Ex has gotten a price cut in the past, I decided to wait, even though I thought it would be hard for them to repeat this act. Today I logged in on Steam waiting to find the deals and the first one that appeared in front of me was a pack with both Deus Ex games down to 5 dollars, I purchased it instantly.

Then I had to go to my German class, after I came back, there were some more deals online and one of them was a game I was willing to buy but thought the price was "kinda" steep, it was Counter-Strike: Source. I'm not a hardcore Counter-Strike player (hence why I thought it wasn't cheap at 19.99), but I had my time playing it when younger, I wanted to try out this updated version. For someone who just recently discovered the wonders of online purchase I'm doing quite well at it.

There's still some game I'm willing to buy, some of them I'll only purchase if an insanely sweet deal is presented, which for some of them is almost impossible, most of them I've played already, but those do deserve a replay, so here's my list:

* Assassin's Creed
* Half-Life 2
* Dragon Age: Origins
* Left 4 Dead
* Left 4 Dead 2
* GRID
* DiRT
* DiRT 2
* Need for Speed Undercover

If you want to get cheap games for a limited price run before it's too late and visit Steam's webpage.

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My first online purchase

 For quite a while I have denied the true potential that non-physical purchase has. For me, as I have said before, the day the industry ceases from releasing physical games, with the actual CD/DVD/Blu-Ray/Cartridge inside a box, with an actual instructions booklet and anything that might come with it, will be the day the industry will have done something the wrong way. At least in my humble opinion. I don't have anything against digital purchase, I just don't feel inclined to start doing it, I like to buy the actual thing, I like to store it on my shelf, I like to literally "have it". That doesn't necessarily mean I won't do it, like today, I decided to browse Steam's website, out of bore, and see what's todays special promotion, and to my surprise there was a game I had the intention of playing since long, but never got around buying it, mainly because it's not my primary focus when it comes to games, a first-person shooter, and worse, a multiplayer-only first person shooter. The game in question is Day of Defeat Source.

I do have the original Day of Defeat, I did play it back in the day, so I wanted to try it out, the price? Couldn't be more alluring. Mere 2.50 dollars! It got a momentary price cut of 75% from its original price tag of 9.99. Now, I'd think twice before paying 9.99 for it (I know, not even I understand me, I just have a mental blockage when it comes to spending money), but I didn't think twice in buying it for 2.50 dollars. This is nice, the other day I almost bought a game with the price tag of, if I remember correctly, 50 cents. I decided not to because I realized the game had little to no chance of being actually good, but then again, who knows.

Well, let me finish this by saying that Steam claims that this promotion will only last a day, so if you want to buy Day of Defeat Source at a very reasonable price, be swift and get your ass over to Steam's website before it's too late.

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Wake Board

 Let me first say that last week I went to a marine event that happened around here, I was already willing to buy a Wake Board and it seemed like the perfect place. Of course I would find many boats of all kinds, now I can tell you I found boats ranging from 40.000 dollars to boats with an incredible price of 1.5 millions, gigantic really, four floors and everything you could imagine. Though I feared it would be focused too much on boats and not on accessories as well, since most people going for these events won't actually buy anything, they'll go just to poke around at the boats, get inside, maybe imagine for a few instants how the life of a millionaire would be like, but that's all. I was one of these guys, though I forgot to take my camera with me and finished the day without any photographic registry, unfortunately.

I was wrong about one thing though, there was a lot of stuff besides boats. Several types of life-jackets, some proper for water sports, some only for security; I do have life-jacket but those I saw in the event were so cool, though too expensive as well. There were many ski models, there was equipment for diving, kayaks, Jet Skis, and many other cool stuff. The event covered pretty much everything there is about marine, so it was a good time.

I didn't come home empty-handed though, I purchased my Wake Board there, I was uncertain between 3 other brands, and they were all present in the event, after analysis all of them, and many models of each, I decided that my best bet would be with Liquid Force, a brand I hadn't considered then, so I took advantage of a deal they had with a set of boots I thought were the best "cheap" ones I tried out. So then I was sold and brought the set home. Summer's gonna be nicer this year. I already have a ski but I was since long willing to get a Wake Board, it's good to save money to buy and pay in cash because you get a discount, and since it wasn't a major priority I could wait. It was worth the wait in my view.

Here are some pictures of my purchase:
 


 
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Just a quick update...

 Well, just a few things, I bought a new Nintendo 64 game, it's actually used but it's new on my collection, it's Mission Impossible, I played this game when I was younger and I say it's pretty good, I find it strange to see most people saying bad things about it, of course it's not a masterpiece but it's pretty good, certainly not as bad as everyone says it is, completely recommendable. Another thing is that I'm having trouble with my computer, I spent three days without being able to turn it on, I looked for support and the guy who analyzed it said he couldn't fix it so I'll have to format. Knowing that, I went on to buy a new Hard Drive today--actually now it's yesterday--, which I finished installing now as slave and will be putting everything I have there, pretty nice space of 1.5 Tb, which adding to my already main Hard Drive of 500 Mb results in a very interesting 2.0 Tb of space available.

That's pretty much it, another good thing about this is that I'm finally leaving Vista behind to install Windows 7.

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The Two Towers

 Some of you might not know but I while ago I bought the Lord of the Rings trilogy books as well as The Hobbit and started reading, I read The Hobbit and Fellowship of the Ring but couldn't find time to read the other two books, eventually my interest ceased and I only read things related to study, now I still have to read some books for college preparation but I decided to go ahead and spare some time to the second Lord of the Rings book, two days ago I finished it, here's my thoughts about it, compared to the first and The Hobbit. I might spoil some content in this text, so if you've never read Lord of the Rings, beware.

I must say that I liked the second book more than the first one, I would rank it up there with The Hobbit, I really can't decide between these two, after all The Hobbit was a full book and Two Towers is just a continuation, there's no time lost introducing characters, over-detailing the main locations and so on. I always had an opinion about climaxes, I find them important but not the most important part of most mediums, take a suspense movie for example, the climaxes are generally ephemeral and just gives you a bang to reach the apex and soon enough fade into the end, while the moments preceding the climax are generally more exiting, it's where the atmosphere is constructed, the mysteries start to emerge, you deliberate, you make up possible solutions to what's being shown, it's simply the best moments of the movie. Of course that's me, other may not agree. With Two Towers what we have is possibly the finest moments of a story, where everything is all about the best moments of development. There are still many things to uncover, and that's what's great about it, we got to meet one of the menaces in Middle-Earth at the time, Saruman, we got to see Frodo and Sam infiltrating Sauron's domains, among other stuff.

If we simply look at characters' development I think this made several improvements over Fellowship of the Ring, I like to see how Gimli and Legolas bond, how two people of so different races and traditions end up relating so well, past their differences. The soon split-up of the character did good for the story as well, Tolkien got to focus more on a smaller group of characters, when Merry and Pippin got kidnapped and meet Treebeard and the Ents, and how Tolkien could focus on them two only; how Gimli, Legolas and Aragorn pursuing them also got special treatment; and specially Frodo and Sam. Frodo and Sam were two characters I didn't actually like in the first book, maybe because I preferred Bilbo so much over Frodo, and Sam didn't really show much depth; this time they two go separated from the rest and now I actually enjoy them, Frodo continues not being a better character than Bilbo, but he's not as bad as I thought upon finishing Fellowship of the Ring, and I got to know Sam's personality a lot more. A lesson to take note, bigger group of characters piled together means lesser development, while a smaller groups generally means better focus resulting in a deeper portray of the characters.

The first part--named 3rd book--is great, so great I was sad to see them changing to Frodo and Sam's perspective in the middle of the book--now changed to 4th book--, more because I wasn't very fond of them, I wished to know what happened to the rest of the Fellowship too though. Fortunately for me the second part could be described as even better than the first, Tolkien outdone himself in reversing my first impression of these two, their relation with Gollum also made it memorable. Though the first book had its good moments, like when they met Tom Bombadil, while in Bree, going down the flow of Anduin with that Orc attack in camp and the feeling of Gollum following them, and I could also say while in Lorien. This second book had as many or more memorable moments. The Helm's Deep part was a moment that could have lasted longer, yes, but my main complain would be that the details are too confusing on that specific part, not the battle itself, but the environment, maybe it's just me. The rest of the great moments include several of them, basically everything really, especially later in the book. Overall I could say The Two Towers is more consistent, and ultimately better than the first book, still not sure if it's better than The Hobbit, probably not.

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