Putting PSN/Sony-gate into perspective

Great article where you realize there are companies you probably haven't even heard of that have done worse.
http://wikibon.org/blog/the-11-largest-data-breaches-in-recent-history/

 The minute they officially brought down the entire PSN network, I assumed something bad was up. Yeah, it was bullshit that they waited days to inform people to that fact, but I think we all had a pretty good idea that whatever was going on wasn't going to be good.

Also, I think this was more of a "See Sony, we can do this" kind of hack and data theft than someone actually wanting to use that data for malicious purposes. Sony has pissed off a lot of people over the past few months, for better or worse, and this seems more like someone wanting to make a point than actually screw with individuals' personal information.  Not to say you shouldn't be vigilant about bank and credit card accounts created in your name that may or may not have been created by you personally. I had a roomate in college create an account with Sprint under my name and run up $3100 in phone/internet charges over a 3 week period while I was out of town, but luckily in the end I was able to have the charges dismissed because he gave them a SS# that wasn't even remotely close to my real one.

I did cancel the card I had on PSN and have a new one issued, but I think this is the 3rd time in as many years that I've had to do it, personal information and credit card information theft aren't a new concept, some of the more prominent retail sites on the internet have had similar things happen, albeit on a smaller scale.

Sucks, but it always sucks, and a month or two from now, it'll be all but forgotten. You can't expect to use online services these days and not take the risk of things like this happening, we have reached a level of transparency in personal information that we've never had to deal with. I think if anything this has been a wake up call to Sony, and hopefully the endgame will be that their security will be much better for it.

And I'm still playing Uncharted 3 when it comes out later this year yo. Hopefully online.

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5 hours in, my initial thoughts on Fallout New Vegas

I put 200 odd hours into Fallout 3, it was an amazing experience, and I still go back into that world occasionally just to putter around.  I still haven't beaten the last couple of pieces of DLC, I should definitely do that, but now there's Fallout New Vegas.
 
I spent about 3 hours playing yesterday, and woke up 2 hours before I needed to leave for work this morning and jumped back in again.  The game has crashed on me twice, not a horrible crash:hours played ratio when it comes to games based on Bethesda's engine, but still annoying when it happens.  If Fallout 3 taught me anything, it was that F5 is your friend, your very, very good friend who doesn't let you walk for 40 minutes, kill a dozen powder keggers and a handful of giant ants, only to send you to the desktop with a vague error message that loses all the XP gathering.
 
I've gotten pretty spoiled in Fallout 3 with the hi-res texture mods out there, so New Vegas seems a little drab in comparison.  Still not a bad looking game, and I knew what to expect, but I definitely look forward to one of the great contributors are Fallout Nexus releasing a giant texture pack that will make it look even better.  I have a fairly beefy PC (I7-920, GTX470, 9GB of RAM) so it runs great, I haven't seen the framerate issues that others have experienced when NPCs are on the screen, but I have a few friends with that problem, hopefully Bethesda/Obsidian will get that ironed out.  For me running at 1920x1080, Ultra High, the game is very smooth and consistent, other than the crashing.
 
My favorite thing about the game so far is that it's had a lot of genuinely funny moments even in the 5 or so hours I've been playing.  Fallout 3 was a great game, but it wasn't funny, even the one moment in the game with the guy and the naughty nighty was just more awkward in the context of the situation than anything else (and it didn't help that it was broken, since I left the nighty in the case it  was in and he was still demanding it even tho I didn't have it).  New Vegas has made me smile several times already, almost every mission seems to have either an outright play on a given situation, or a tongue-in-cheek moment that reminds me of Fallout 1 or 2.  There's a lot of Obsidian in this game, a lot of what was missing from Bethesda's Fallout game.
 
The voice acting is better than it was in Fallout 3, not always exceptional, I was going along, really impressed, then one of the women in the bar at the Mojave Outpost brought my expectations down a bit.  The women in general in the game feel way too over the top for their own good, it feels like everyone is Calamity Jane from Deadwood.  I don't mind foul language, but I also think enough is enough, and too much is too much.  So far it's too much, especially considering it only seems to really be the women who bring it.   Otherwise, the voice acting is definitely a step up from Fallout 3.
 
There seem to be a lot more enemies in the game this time around, especially out in the wild traveling between towns and outposts.  it's also nice to see groups of enemies clumped together, it definitely provides more of a challenge and adds more strategy to the game that Fallout 3's 1 or 2 at a time approach lacked.  Last night I found myself trying to whittle down a group of 5 Powder Keggers and getting owned over and over by them.  It made me spend a lot more time planning out an approach and deciding which weapons I would be using against them.  There have been at least 3-4 situations where I was fighting off 4+ bad guys at one time, which is great.
 
The quests seem a lot beefier and satisfying.  5 hours is still pretty early in the game, and I have yet to hit level 3 yet, but the missions I've taken on have seemed very much in line with the atmosphere of the world I'm moving around in.  There's definitely a more defined sense of people wanting you to prove yourself before they give you anything, which is something else Fallout 3 was missing.
 
So far I'm totally absorbed by this game.  It's definitely on track as being a much better experience than Fallout 3 was, and I loved me some Fallout 3.

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Bobby Kotick - Master of Chest Beating and Idle Threats

Bobby Kotick is threatening to stop publishing PS3 games if Sony doesn't drop the price on the PS3 to up the attach rate for Activision games.

Yeah, I'm sure Bobby is really going to dump publishing on a major gaming console, specifically the one that, to date, can't be pirated.  I think Bobby's big concern is that, after buying a PS3, Joe Average isn't going to be too excited about throwing for $130 for a fake skateboard or a fake turntable.  He's totally justified in his concern, but I think he's also missing the irony of Activision dumping overpriced plastic BS onto the market in droves, and then calling out Sony for overpriced hardware.

This won't happen, but I'd love to see it, because once they dropped the PS3, Harmonix would clean up with new Rock Band releases.

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No online support for Ghostbusters PC? And DRM'd up to boot!

http://www.ecto-web.org/~spookcentral/scblog/index.php/2009/06/10/ghostbusters-video-game-box-backs-specs

Apparently if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Turns out Ghostbusters PC is (of course) DRM'd up.  Also turns out it's stripped of the multiplayer component, which is an offense I cannot forgive.

Good work Atari, you just lost my business as far as this game is concerned.
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So excited about Ghostbusters on the PC

If you haven't seen the HardOCP video footage of Ghostbusters running on a quad core PC with a GTX 280, it's definitely worth checking out.  Their engine scales "infinitely" based on the hardware and does all of the physics work through the CPU you're using which means that a high end quad core CPU or an I7 should kick ass in this game.  Comparing this to some of the PS3/360 footage I've seen, I gotta say I think the PC version is going to be the one to latch onto.

http://hardocp.com/news.html?news=MzkwMjUsLCxoZW50aHVzaWFzdCwsLDE=

The game is retailing for $30 on the PC, half the price of the PS3/360 versions, which also makes it a lot more attractive.  I may just end up grabbing this and the Wii version so I can enjoy the best of both art styles used in the game.

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Mirrors, starring Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer as Ben Carson

I watched Mirrors last night, Unrated version, dunno what is different between it and the theatrical cut, but it's pretty good, generic at worst, but has a cool premise.  While the ending seems tacked on, it was still worth watching.  As a semi-fan of 24, it strikes me that Kiefer Sutherland in this movie is the equivalent of 24 if Jack Bauer was fighting demons.  Not a bad thing, definitely a better performance than him NOT being Jack Bauer in The Sentinel.

Lost Planet is $4.99 on Steam this weekend, 75% off the normal price on Steam.  While it's not worth buying for the multiplayer side, the single player campaign is definitely worth at the least a $5 drop, especially if you have the PC to handle it.  The game gets hard as balls close to the middle, and there's a very strong Japanese quirkiness to it, which again, depending on what you like, not necessarily a bad thing.

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Working my way through The Walking Dead

I'm up to issue 28 of The Walking Dead.  I'm not usually much into comic books/graphic novels/whatever term isn't offensive to people who don't read books with no pictures, but this series totally has me sucked in.  The first volume was kind of meh, but once I got into issue #6 I started to really get hooked in.  I'm totally a zombie whore anyway, so this comic is pretty much right down my alley, and I haven't been disappointed.  With Walking Dead and the Angel:  After the Fall series, I've really been enjoying getting back into the comic book scene after years of not reading anything in that area.

Oh, to anyone who was a big fan of Shawn Elliott from the GFW podcasts over at 1up.com until he left last year, he's on a couple of podcasts on gamerswithjobs.com.  I totally recommend it.  I think Shawn manages to stay pretty insightful and honest with his opinions on the gaming industry, even now that he's part of the side that he spent years writing about.  I hope to hear more of him.  There's also an episode from December on there where him and Jeff Green sit in, which is great to hear.

Also, Team Fortress 2 is $10 (50% off) on Steam right now.  For the 3 people out there that haven't bought it, might be a good time.

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Paul Blart: Mall Cop: The Game

Just got done seeing the amazing, special effects laden film epic which is Paul Blart: Mall Cop.

While the movie is shit, I can't help but think it would make a great budget video game.  Playing Kevin James in a 3rd person perspective, speeding around a mall, sometimes on a Segway, sometimes on foot, changing into different outfits to meet the demands of his job.  Plus, you got the dudes running around doing parkour while you beat them off with various mall items.  This seems like Adam Sandler just left money laying on the table when it came to the E for Everyone crowd.

Oh, and this movie is shit.  Even my 8 year old was relieved it was over.  Of course, he wants to see Hotel for Dogs next.

I'm scared, someone hold me.

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