My Two Cents

Today I got this message from my friend @ackbarthegreat on Skype.

I was really confused. I thought it must have been some reference in some video or Twitter post that I must have missed. I looked at my Twitter feed and noticed that everyone was talking about him, and then I checked the site.

For a good hour I was just completely shocked. I couldn't believe it. I mustered up the words to form a quick Facebook post and told my girlfriend about it, but that's all I could really say with any coherence until now. My whole day was spent just staring at Twitter and seeing other people's thoughts, and going back to old Giant Bomb videos and pictures, experiencing a wide range of emotions.

I've been a Giant Bomb fan since the beginning, and ever since I was 12 I've been watching Quick Looks, Live Shows, and listening to Bombcasts. Not only will I miss hearing his perspective on video games as we move forward with the new consoles, but I will also miss his hilarity and chemistry with the rest of the staff, which has been enough to cheer me up whenever I've been feeling down.

It's hard to believe that he's truly gone, and I imagine it will be for a long time.

But no matter what the Giant Bomb staff decides to do in the future, I will support them no matter what, until the end and beyond.

I think I speak for everyone that's reading this when I say that Giant Bomb means the world to us. We love you guys, we love the site, and we'll do our best to stay strong and support you guys in any way we can.

Rest in peace, Ryan Davis.

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My Out Of Touch Programming Teacher

I keep having nightmares. Not the ones I used to have, like being possessed by Pazuzu or having the girl from The Exorcist stab me while I'm laying in bed. (Yeah, just thinking about that movies really fucks me up. And I haven’t even seen the whole thing!)

The nightmares that I’ve been having involve my programming teacher that I had in the second semester of this past school year. It’s summer for me right now, but apparently my subconscious still completely hates everything about that class. I would just have dreams about being in her class and having to put up with her crap on a daily basis, and I think that alone is completely terrifying.

And it’s not the subject of programming that scares me. Basic programming is pretty easy once you know all the terms and the math involved. It’s just that my teacher wasn’t very fit to teach it. It baffles me that we live in an age where technology is so prominent in our lives, and yet some of our teachers in charge of educating us are so out of touch.

So, what was so bad about my teacher? Well, first off, she never stops talking. You would think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not. She talks through almost every second of our 90 minute period. She would repeat herself constantly and give us useless tips. Every ten minutes she felt the need to remind us that we can work together, and then five minutes later contradict herself by tell us to stop communicating with each other. When she had to teach, she would pull up a slideshow and just read it, and when we asked questions or didn’t get something, she would tell us to read our textbook, even though she thinks our textbooks aren’t very good at explaining things. And then she would keep talking, making it extremely hard to focus on trying to understand the textbook or do any of the work. She did this to a point where I don’t think she understood how to program. Whenever someone in our class needed help on a specific program, she would give us clues that had nothing to do with the problems we were having, and if that didn’t work, she would just pull the program up on her computer and show us the code. By that time, we would realize “Oh, I just made a small mistake right here.” If it were any other teacher, it would've taken probably two seconds to figure out our errors, but our teacher insisted on making things way more complicated than it actually was.

We lost a lot a class time because of this. When we were learning how to do loops, she just gave us assignments from the book and told us to figure it out on our own. We did this for a week, and it was obvious that almost everyone was lost. The next week, when she actually tried to make an effort to teach us, she told us that the past week was just us “dipping our toes in the water, and now we’re going to swim with the sharks.” And she repeated this sentence as she taught the material. Over and over again.

This is the fundamental problem with her class. She talked about teaching more than she actually taught us. We didn’t even finish all of the curriculum, and she just brushed it off, saying “oh, it’s okay, you’re going to learn all that in advanced programming anyway.” Yeah, but isn’t your job to prepare us for the advanced class? I barely learned any real programming because she was so terrible at her job. Do you want to know her explanation of a Do While Loop? “Remember, you do the loop...while you do something else.”

Yeah, that really helped.

On top of her incoherent banter, she would also get mad for no reason. One class, I think it was in March, there was some cold going around and a lot of people in my class were sick. When you get sick, you start coughing. She yelled at us all for coughing while she was talking, and accused us all for faking it. She even told us that if we needed to cough, we should go outside of the class to cough. And when people went outside, they got yelled at for going outside.

She was also pretty sexist towards males. Maybe sexist is too strong of a word, but she definitely favored the females in her class. We had only one girl in our class, and our teacher would only yell at the males for talking, even though everyone in the class was talking. She also put people who got good grades on a pedestal, including me. She would call out the people with the highest grades and tell everyone to be more like them. And the best part of that is that we were clueless about a lot of the same things everyone else in the class was, we just got higher grades because we did all of the work and did our best to figure it out, while others just didn’t bother.

The worst part of it was just the little stuff. The stuff that she said that proved that she knew nothing about computers. Stuff like “You’re not allowed to have a desktop background because that would just take up bandwidth” or “They’re skipping Windows 9 and going to straight to making Windows 10” or “Our computers don’t have enough RAM or ROM to run all of these programs.” She would say these things constantly.

When things would go bad, like if our programs were not working or the internet was down, she would blame it on the school’s network. “The computers are slow, it’s the network.” “Your programming isn’t running correctly, it’s the network.” “Your files are gone? It’s the network.” Sure, some of that might be true, but when I find a coding error later on and you’re still blaming the network...how does that make any sense?

The last unit we had learn was how to use GameMaker, because apparently our curriculum required that we knew how to make a game in that thing. This was probably the best part of the whole class because that’s pretty much all we did for the last two weeks about school, but there was also paperwork associated with it. We had to list different genres of games and state our favorite game in that genre. My teacher tried giving us an example, but she didn’t know what she was doing. For the first half of that class period, she pronounced genres as “jeneres” and had to google “five different types of game genres” just to get an idea of what they were. It’s also pretty dumb considering there are way more that five types of games out there. But anyway, someone in the class gave her the game Dark Souls as an example of a role-playing game, and on the projector, she spelled it “Dark Soles.” This “lesson” was followed by people in the class arguing about what games belong to what genres, and as someone who couldn’t give less of a shit about labeling things, I wanted to die.

So...yeah. I’m really glad that I never have to set foot in her room ever again. It was the worst.

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So...video games, right?

Before E3, I didn’t really care about the “next gen” stuff. The DRM with Xbox One was very troubling and everyone was certain that Sony was going to having something similar.

Nope.

I still think the design is kind of awesome.

Say what you will about the DRM and pricing decisions, but there’s no way you watched the Sony conference and not felt any excitement for video games. They knocked it out of the park with that conference, and it completely sold me on the system.

Looking back on the PS3’s life, I realized that it is the perfect time for the new consoles. The games are starting to look more and more dated. But that doesn’t mean I think that the PS3 is a bad console. Yeah, it has major flaws. Downloads take forever. The recent firmware update (which they have since pulled) bricked people’s systems. People got hacked. The PSN interface isn’t great. But I’m 100% satisfied with my PS3. This last week I downloaded Deus Ex: Human Revolution and the new X-COM, and right now I’m downloading Saints Row the Third, all because of Playstation Plus. It’s a hell of a service, and I hope they deliver the same quality on the PS4, and hopefully the downloading with be much, much faster. PS3 is just a great platform for games right now, and yeah, it took awhile to get there, but I’m so happy with where it is now.

I’m excited for the PS4, and I haven’t been this excited for a console since the PS2. It feels good to have the old Sony back.

360 is a pretty okay system too but holy shit fuck this xbox one shit

Games I'm looking forward to:

Transistor

Watch_Dawgz

Infamous

Battlefield

Destiny

Trenched: Plants vs. Zombies Edition

am I the only one who thinks Knack looks pretty awesome

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My venture into Fatal Frame - Part One

(Not actually based on a true story.)

I only knew about Fatal Frame from videos of people freaking out at it online, but that’s about it. I had no context to what the story was about or anything. Just some dudes on webcam, losing their shit. I don’t really like horror games, but it’s fun to watch people be scared at them. One afternoon, I turned on my PS3 and went to the Playstation Store to see what was there.

They were selling the original Fatal Frame as a Playstation Classics thing. I became curious, not only because I was familiar with it, but because I’ve been looking for games to play with my girlfriend, and what’s a better game to experience with a significant other than a horror game?

(...probably Rayman: Origins, but we already played it.)

Anyway, we're about an hour into the game, right around where you find diaries about a girl in a white kimono. And although we're pretty early in the game (at least I’m assuming that we are), I have a few thoughts on it so far.

One thing that I didn't expect going in, but totally should have expected, was the god awful voice acting. I mean, just listen to these these audio logs. It’s basically on the same level as Bioshock Infinite. Not really. It’s pretty bad, laughably so, and you can say the same things about some of the writing in the game, too.

But the thing is, at it’s core, the game is fucking terrifying. The best moments in Fatal Frame come from the build up of the music when you’re about to run into a ghost. And when you do, fighting them is a horrific experience, mostly because you always think that L1 is going to bring up the camera view, similar to how a first person shooter would control. But no, that’s mapped to the circle button, and by the time I remember that, the ghost has only gotten closer to me.

I think Fatal Frame is trying to say something about the state of journalism.

In the camera mode, you’re basically shooting the ghost to make them go away. They lunge at you out of nowhere while you’re trying to do that, which is the scariest part of the whole game. But the satisfaction you get when you finally defeat a ghost is remarkable. It makes the stressful process of fighting it totally worthwhile. I’m pretty sure I exclaimed “Yes!” in every instance that I defeated one.

Now I know why people play horror games.

Fatal Frame is great so far. Yes, the controls are clunky, and yes, the voice acting is really bad. But not only does the game do everything else right, but to me, these faults add to the charm of the game. The bad voice acting is comic relief and the clunky controls successfully adds tension to the game. If the game had “modern” controls, I don’t think it would be nearly as frightening. I can’t wait to see what the game has in store from here.

Other Stuff

I've also been playing Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny lately on my Vita because it was free on Playstation Plus.

I did this one move and all this girl's clothes came off. Like I hit her and then poof! Vanished! The only things left on was her underwear.

I understand that fighting games typically sexualize characters literally all the time, and I'm talking about the same series where Ivy is a thing, and that I such be used to that by now.

But come on, this is just ridiculous.

...

The game’s really fun regardless, though. I like Soul Calibur so it’s nice to get a pretty good portable version of it.

That regular price for that game is forty dollars, though.

$40.

That’s insane.

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I've also been playing Guacamelee! on my Vita as well. It’s really addicting and very fun to play. Totally recommend it for people who want a PSN game to play. Go read MooseyMcMan’s blog for the specifics on that, because he summed up my thoughts on it really well.

----------------------------

Anyway, that’s all from me for now.

My eyes are killing me, so I'm gonna go lay down.

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We Need To Go Deeper: A Reflection on the Community's Reaction to Bioshock Infinite

The discussion in this thread may go into spoiler territory. You've been warned.

Bioshock Infinite is the Inception of video games.

On the latest Bombcast, Brad alluded that the game reminded him of that movie (4/2/13 - 8:50). I heard that long before I had even purchased the game, but now that I've completed it, I completely agree with that sentiment.

It's the shot that made everyone in the theater go "fuck!"

(EDIT: Welp, turns out Brad was referring to a different movie, titled Primer. Either way, my opinion still stands. Thanks to @elwoodan for the correction!)

Whether you think the comparison undersells or oversells Bioshock Infinite is irrelevant. It has nothing to do with the quality or plot of either of the two stories. Both projects had massive budgets to work with, and they have been successful at being thought provoking to their audiences. It just so happened that the audience has been massive.

Inception was a cool thing. It was a movie that everyone absolutely had to see because everyone was talking about the ending and coming up with their own theories about the story. It's basically the same with Bioshock Infinite, if not a bit more complex.

It drove me crazy when I saw people I follow on Twitter finish the game and freak out over the ending when I haven't played it yet. This encouraged me to buy it and play it over the course of two days. I played it on PS3, because I play most of my games on a Playstation console nowadays, and really enjoyed it. I know that the PC version is, graphically speaking, the best version of the game, but that isn't an option for me. But according to the Digital Foundry, the game runs smoother on PS3 than on 360. That's the Dave Lang touch, I guess.

Regardless of what blurry mess the console version of the game is compared to the PC version, I still found the world of Colombia completely stunning. It's one of the few games where I stopped playing just to admire the art style. The number of art assets and animations that they did made me think, "this game just looks expensive." In the grand scheme of things, I feel like the low-resolution graphics don't really matter that much. I still felt what the game wanted me to feel by the end of it, so the game accomplished its goal.

There are so many things that Infinite gets right. The extremely believable characters, incredible world, great plot, it all feels so well done and every part of the game feels handled with care. Ken Levine can go write literature if he really wanted to, but the fact that he wrote an incredible interactive story is just as great. Warner Bros. gave Christopher Nolan money to do whatever he wanted to do since those Batman movies were successful, and Inception came out of it. It's a similar deal with 2K and Levine, or so it seems. But I guess that isn't the point.

Seeing people on message boards pick apart the story has been a lot of fun. I find it a lot more interesting than any of the Inception discussions, mostly because it's more than "is Cobb dreaming/in reality." There are so many constants and variables to keep track of in Infinite and more than one way to interpret different plot points that allow many theories to exist. It's so impressive that a video game can spark all of these in-depth discussions, and I wish it would happen more often than it does.

It just makes me happy that at least someone is willing to fund this huge, AAA-budget title that has a lot more meaning than "hey, go shoot this guy in the head and level up and stuff." And the fact that everyone is talking about it makes me equally as happy. I hope the sales of the game are enough to prove that you don't need multiplayer and a generic premise to sell a big budget game.

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Blog: Chrono Trigger and inFamous 2

Owning a PS3 and a Vita with Playstation Plus is both a blessing and a curse. On the plus side, I get access to tons of great games for free but because of that, it's hard to focus on just one game. I like playing games to completion, and getting new games every month decreases the chances of that happening. Despite this, I've decided to focus on two games to try to beat: Chrono Trigger and inFamous 2.

My favorite thing about playing Chrono Trigger on my Vita is that when you boot it up, it shows you the PSP heath warning screen, and then it shows you the Playstation One logo, for a game that originally came out on the SNES. BWWWRR

Chrono Trigger is pretty awesome. I'm seven hours in, and I can see why people call it the best video game of all time. The combat is satisfying, the story is interesting, and the music...just amazing. But regardless of how much I enjoy it, I feel really stupid playing it. Maybe this is just me being spoiled by modern game design, but in my experience with the game, it's been very easy to get lost. While the game hasn't been especially hard at all, I find myself taking a peek at a FAQ just to point me in the right direction, because the game isn't real clear on what you need to do when you finish a task. But is that just me? Or is that the entire point of the game in the first place? Regardless, I'm having a lot of fun with it, and I can't wait to see what's in store for my characters, whom I have named Raz, Chie, and Pizza, respectively (I kept Frog and Robo's default names because I couldn't think of anything else.)

I originally wanted to finish all of the Sly Cooper games before moving on to inFamous 2, but the temptation got the best of me. However, I'm glad I'm playing it. I haven't played the first inFamous since it came out, and inFamous 2 reminded me of everything that a liked about the first one, at the same improving upon a lot of things that was wrong with the first. Scaling buildings and shooting guys is so much fun, and I find myself just exploring the city most of the time. The story seems fine for far, it definitely hits what it's going for in terms of the comic book tone, but I don't really play it for that. This is the first time in a while that I can't stop playing a game for the game part of it, and the story itself kinda takes shotgun. I needed a break from playing 70 hour games with amazing stories and the inability to jump around like an insane person, I guess. Also, I'm playing as a good guy. While some of the evil actions are funny (like killing street performers), a lot of them seem like the dick option just for the sake of being a dick. I like helping the citizens, so I'm gonna stick to that.

Besides those two games, I've also been playing Wipeout 2048 and Lumines when I have some down time and don't feel like playing those other games. Those games are very fun when you need to kill time, and also very relaxing as well.

That's about it for now, thanks for reading. I'll be back with another update when I play some more games! In the meantime, I'll be updating Twitter and stuff.

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Blog: Read All The Pamphlets And Watch The Tapes

Subtle references.

It's been almost two weeks since I've updated here, and while there are other things I could be doing, I feel bad for not keeping up, time's been moving way too fast, especially with so much stuff happening. Also, I wanted my blog title to have an obvious LCD Soundsystem reference despite the fact that I'm listening to Weezer's Pinkerton while I'm writing this, so yeah, there's that. Games!

I updated my PS3 hard drive and recovered my stuff, finally. The new cradle from eBay did the trick, and luckily, with re-formatting, the hard drive works like a charm. I still have 200 GB left over, and I can't wait to mindlessly fill that up with Playstation Plus goodies in the future.

That being said...I've been playing my Vita about 90 percent of the time. During week-days, I typically don't get to touch my consoles, my afternoons normally consist of homework, reading stuff online, exercising, eating, hanging out with family, etc. I don't really find the time to play my PS3, and that's why the Vita is so convenient to me right now. I can play it on the couch downstairs (my PS3 and 360 are in my room), and I can also play it on the bus for half an hour before and after school. It's been a month since I got it and I seriously love this thing, though I find that I'm gonna need a bigger memory card to download some of the games that I want to play later, though...I'm not gonna go through with spending 100 bucks for 32 GB of memory right now. Don't get me wrong, 32 GB is fine for what I want to use that system for, but...it's 100 dollars. Come on.

That said, I have a lot of games on my Vita already! Now, you're probably squinting your eyes in confusion as to how I have games on my Vita, but I'm going to post a picture of my Vita home screen for proof.

Now, before you say "I can play most of those games elsewhere," again, the Vita has been so convenient and flexible to how my life is right now, so I actually prefer playing 3rd party games like Plants vs. Zombies and Retro City Rampage on my Vita. Both of which were free on Playstation Plus, which is great. I didn't expect to like Retro City Rampage with the mediocre scores it's been getting, and that I'm a little tired of every game going for the "retro" look, but RCR pulls it off so well, and I think it's pretty funny so far. Then again, I'm only a few missions in, so I'll see how it holds up. As for Plants vs. Zombies...it's Plants vs. Zombies. You can tilt the Vita to collect the sunlight, so it ends up being a lot easier. But it's still Plants vs. Zombies.

My girlfriend also bought me Lumines (along with a majority of the things I'm talking about, anyway) last week and it's pretty awesome. Once you start playing, it's easy to get hooked. Especially when I'm trying to beat people on my friends list. And the music on it is pretty great.

But out of all those games, the one I'm playing the most is Persona 4 Golden. I decided to take a break from Persona 3 Portable to play Golden, and holy shit. Persona 4 Golden is really good. They made a better, more polished game, with awesome additions. The new "social" situations are good so far, and the actual combat is just a lot more fun to play, and it all looks great. It's so good.

Not much else other than that, I have a lot of games that I need to get back to eventually, like Mass Effect 3 and Psychonauts. I have too many games...and I want more! I want to finish the Sly Cooper Collection and then get the new Sly Cooper, and get that new Bit.Trip Runner game when it comes out on Vita later this year. Yeah, games! On the Vita! But seriously, with developers saying stuff like this, it gives me a bit of hope that people will support that system more. It's a great piece of hardware, it just needs more games (and a price drop.)

Maybe E3...

(Check out this blog that I setup containing all the articles that I've written for school!)

Yeah, that's it. Thanks for reading!

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Blog: My Love/Hate Relationship With Sony

Hello, Giant Bomb. It looks like we have made it to the other side. Giant Bomb got a face-lift and now it’s more prettier than ever. I would like to thank all of the designers behind the whole thing. All of you hard working guys are awesome, and you built a great looking site that has some awesome new features that make navigating and using the site a whole lot easier. It’s rough around the edges right now because it just launched, but over time it’ll be polished, and I imagine it’ll be even more amazing when everything’s 100 percent stable. I’m loving the look of the new site, as written content such as this is a lot easier to read and the video player has been much improved, and I applaud the crew for doing such a great job with it.

This is the only disk that has been going in and out of my Playstation lately.

As far as gaming goes, I’ve been playing my PS3 and Vita a lot. A played a whole bunch of the Sly collection last weekend, finishing the first game and completing the first chapter in the second one on Saturday night. I have also been trucking along in Persona 3 Portable which is still pretty good, along with some other Vita games. But as I was playing games that night, I’ve been thinking about how much I play Playstation games right now, and how invested in the brand I find myself in. So, I decided to get Playstation Plus. I downloaded Wipeout 2048 for free on the Vita, along with the HD/Fury DLC, and I really like it. It’s not as good as Wipeout HD, and the load times aren’t so great, but I still have a lot of fun playing it in short bursts when I’m taking a break from Persona on the bus and whatnot. Totally worth it.

Now, Playstation Plus is awesome, and I highly recommend it to anyone who has a PS3. There’s so much great content that they’re giving away and it almost seems like a steal. But here’s the problem I ran into with Playstation Plus: I ran out of hard drive space on my PS3. I had to order a bigger hard drive, since the one I have now is the 80 gig that I got at launch. I got the new 320 GB hard drive yesterday, but here’s another problem: I cannot unscrew the old hard drive from it’s cradle. I was able to unscrew every other screw in the process - even the cradle attached to the new hard drive - but not this one. I used different sizes of screw drivers and it wouldn’t budge. And now it’s probably impossible to get them all out now since I‘ve messed with it so much, the tops of them are completely rounded. Awesome. I called Sony to see if I could get a replacement on them, and he told me to buy it on eBay. Great job, customer support. Now I have to wait until that shows up from eBay so I can finally re-format my hard drive and begin the recovery process. I don’t have a USB flash drive to back up my saves, so I have to re-download everything, and it’s a process that I just want get over with as soon as possible.

"I love that Weezer album!" - No one

Because I’ve been playing so much on my Vita and PS3 lately, I find myself not being excited in the next generation of consoles. While I am interested in whatever Sony reveals on the 20th, I don’t see that making me want to go out and buy the thing. Granted, I’m not really someone who buys new hardware at launch, but at least back when the PS3 and 360 came out I had some desire to want the new thing. Maybe I’m wrong and it’ll set the world on fire and everyone will want one, but personally, I just got a Vita which I really like a lot, and I’m perfectly happy with the Playstation 3 being my main console, especially with Playstation Plus. All of the rumors that have been circulating don’t make the consoles out to be anything I would want out of a home console, either. Required voice recognition and motion controls? Touch screens? Thanks but no thanks. Give me a controller so I can hit the “play this fucking game right now” button and have it instantly load from my hard drive and I can play it anytime I want. That’s what I want out of the next generation. Oh wait, I’m getting that already. Admittedly, the idea of streaming PS3 games, making them backwards compatible, sounds great if it works, but that’s the coolest thing I’ve heard out of the rumors.

Is this really the future?

And apparently the Ouya is actually going to be a legitimate console that will be sold in actual stores, which honestly really surprises me. For the longest time I thought that all of those backers were running into a scam and the thing would never come out. But here we are. It’s coming out in the summer, before of all of the other huge console releases. I’m curious about the success of the device, since it is a lot cheaper than everything that’s out there, but I just don’t see it being a big deal. In a market where tablets and phones are the source of (mostly) casual gaming, and the hardcore audience is playing on Pcs and consoles, is there any room for the Ouya? I don’t really think so. And the developers behind it cannot be any more cocky. “There will be an Ouya 2 and an Ouya 3.” How about you get over yourselves, see how this thing does in the market, and then plan future iterations? It just all seems really silly.

I don’t what to think about the “future” of anything anymore. Sony has been having a rough time transitioning to the new hardware, closing down developers who really don’t deserve it (STUDIO LIVERPOOL) and doing no marketing what-so-ever on their first party games. It’s very frustrating to watch, but I hope they’re able to get their shit back together. There’s a reason why I’ve been playing Playstation stuff more than anything else lately, the company has some great potential, I just hope they haven’t completely killed it by the year is over.

In a completely unrelated note, I wrote an article for the school newspaper and it got published on Thursday. I can’t post it because the article is about one of the counselors at our school, and that would I don’t think the people who appreciate all of that information getting posted online. But it happened, and I’m glad it did. It’s been really fun working on that stuff, and I look forward to doing similar things like that in the future. Now, I have to write an article about sports, due next week. Words can’t describe how badly I just want to get that over with.

Anyway, that’s about all for me at the moment. I’ll be back again when I have made progress about my PS3 situation or when I feel like ranting about more stuff. Until next time!

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Blog: Playstation Vita First Impressions

The best poster.

Well, I turned 17 at last. Some of you reading this probably thought I was at least seventeen to begin with, so I guess is isn't that big of a deal. Regardless, I celebrated with a party full of video games and movies and such and I got a fair amount of stuff. A couple of gift cards from my friends, some CDs, and a very awesome Persona 3 and 4 poster from my girlfriend. The day after my birthday, however, my generous parents went out and got me a Vita despite the hesitation of me wanting it because of how price-y the device is. I got the Wifi model with an 8 GB memory card and Persona 4 Golden and, despite all of the negatives, I still find myself thoroughly enjoying the system. It's been almost a week since I got it, so I figured I might as write about how I feel about it so far. I'm going to preface my thoughts by saying this: I haven't actually owned a handheld since the GBA SP. So my standards for handhelds are pretty low.

The device itself is pretty slick. As with all new technology, it made me feel afraid to touch it. The screen looks great and games just look extremely gorgeous on it. The touch on the screen feels really responsive, though I don't really use it outside of the system menu. The buttons and joystick (especially) feel great, and overall I just think the device itself is made really well. I know a lot of people complained about the joystick in the PSP, and it does seem to be an improvement, at least from the precious little I used a PSP at relatives and friends' houses and such.

It's my Vita.

When you first boot up the Vita, it automatically takes you to an app called Welcome Park, a "game" that highlights all the Vita's features. I played it for about 15 minutes before I just got tired of it, and exited out. It just wasn't fun, and it was way more of a "hey, this thing has some cool shit in it" than anything else. No amount of trophies or whatever makes me want to play it again, and you can't delete it, which is kinda dumb. If you asked me, they should've just made you boot up Frobisher Says as their tutorial, but we can talk about that later.

I think the UI is alright. I like the idea of having apps on the handheld and all, but it gets annoying when you're trying to transfer things from the Vita to a PC or PS3 because then it just opens a separate app for the picture or video you want to transfer. It's a sure way to get the Vita cluttered with additional apps that it doesn't need running at once, but luckily exiting out of them isn't much of a hassle. The system menu music is pretty good, too, and I like the ability to view friends and all of your PSN trophies from the Vita. It's something I hope Sony strides for more in the future, more integrating with the PS3, being able to access things you already bought and being able to play them on the Vita. It's a philosophy that I thought they had already subscribed to, so I was extremely disappointed when I found that I couldn't play my PSN copy of Crash 3 on there for no good reason. But apparently you can do it in Europe! Why not in the US? That doesn't make sense to me.

I can probably talk about the technical stuff about the Vita all day; how Near is a great idea executed a little less than ideally and how the Content Manager doesn't really work half of the time, but I don't really want to. I got a Vita for the games, so let's talk about that.

A Queen Bee.

I said I got the Vita with Persona 4 Golden. I have barely played any of it. Why? As soon as I got home I downloaded Persona 3 Portable onto it and started playing it, and at some point I made the decision to play that before I play Golden. Reason being, P3P got me hooked pretty fast, and playing two JRPGs at a time would be complete madness anyway. Don't get me wrong, I can't wait to see what Golden has in store, from what I played the game looked fucking amazing on the Vita screen, but I also really, really want to see what P3P is all about.

Persona 3 Portable

Yes, yes, very kawaii.

And so far it's been awesome. I've been playing as the female character, because she gets all of the new social links, including all the social links with the guys on your team. I'll say it right now - Persona 3 Portable is the best version of this game. It includes the improvements made in Persona 4, and the female character's social links are far superior to the male character's. I actually find myself caring about the people I social link with, unlike in the original game where I felt like the social linking felt a bit short. The writing is generally a lot better, and perhaps a lot of that is because of everything they learned from three and wrote for four and then coming back to three. It just feels like it breeds more life into that world and I felt like that was something the original game needed.

The combat is also improved with the ability to control your squadmates. It makes grinding less of a hassle and makes the game generally more enjoyable overall. There are a lot of little things that they added as well, like the ability to work and such, that I think are nice additions. Overall, I think Persona 3 Portable is an incredible game with so much more content packed it there. And I'm only ten hours in.

Frobisher Says

Frobisher Says showed me that all of the features that the Vita had to offer can be extremely fun. It's a game that continues to make me laugh and impresses me with how will it uses the Vita, and I think it's the perfect game to show off what the Vita can do functionality wise. It uses the camera and the touch screens in cool ways, and I'll be more than happy to pay to get another mini-game pack.

So, those are the two games on the Vita that I feel like I can form a solid opinion on at the moment. Again, I have Persona 4 Golden but only played very little of it, and I downloaded Sound Shapes and played a few levels of it, and I really liked what I played there, too. I really hope Sony does more with the Vita, because I really like the system and I feel it could really benefit from a wider audience with more games and features.

Anyway, if I think up any other thoughts on the Vita, I'll be sure to voice my opinion somewhere on the internet.

Oh, and you all need to check out this Youtube channel. He's a Giant Bomb user named Aaox and he put a lot of work into making these Youtube videos. They're pretty great, I really think you should check them out. Here's his review of Torchlight 2 (but not really.)

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Blog: Growing Up And Playing A Little Bit Of Games

Hello again, Giant Bomb blog readers. It seems like I try to update this thing monthly now, even though I've been meaning to write something for a little bit. Some stuff been happening outside of my life besides video games, and I kinda wanted to talk a little bit about that before talking about games. I turn 17 in a week from when I'm writing this (meaning my birthday is on the 26th). And that seems really crazy to me. I mean, 17 is kinda the golden age for me. I get to buy M rated games by myself and see R rated movies in a movie theater. I'm getting my "official" driver's licence in February, so hopefully I'll have a car by then to get a job, so I can earn money and buy stuff on my own, have enough money to go on dates regularly, help pay the bills and whatnot. Thinking about it now, in one sense, I'm kind of afraid to grow up. I kinda have the least productive life ever right now and I wish it would stay that way, but I know it can't. That's just not how life works. But I'm also really excited. Soon I can have my own source of income and have the potential to do more with my life. And that's awesome. Even if it does potentially kill my free time.

I also have to think about college, and that's another struggle in of itself, but I suppose I have more time to think about that stuff. Life after high school is a scary thing to think about, especially with me. No work experience with no outstanding extra curricular activity to put on my application, and my girlfriend is in a higher grade than I am so I won't be able to see her (in person) that often after this school year ends. We've been together for more than a year and thought of seeing her go already hurts.

I guess there's a silver lining to all of this, and it's that I found something productive that I really have grown to love, and that's writing. This school year my counselors have decided to put me in Journalism, and honestly that's a subject that I haven't really been interested since freshman year, I've kinda shifted towards trying out computer classes since then. But there's something about getting information from research and interviewing and organizing all these facts into one smart, well-written piece that I really love. Having the freedom to write about pretty much anything I want to write about, as long as it's well written, is awesome to me and it's something I want to keep doing while I'm still at high school. I don't know if I want to make that a career or anything, but it's just fun to do. And I guess I'm alright at it too, since my teacher recommended I write some articles for the school paper (which first year journalism students normally don't do) and whenever I hand something in, it's full of compliments.

I recently wrote a review for The Walking Dead for that class and I posted it on here not too long ago. Check it out if you want to read it. (Keep in mind that it's written with the context of the school paper in mind, so a lot of the facts about the game itself is generalized and doesn't go into much detail.)

Journalism class naturally led me to reading things that I wouldn't read otherwise. I actually starting paying attention to news and articles and the way they are written. And some things I learned are this: Patrick Klepek was a great choice to be in charge of news of Giant Bomb, Kotaku is, for the most part, full of garbage, and the quality work shown at Polygon is pretty much what games journalism should strive for. Those guys know their stuff and I'm so surprised at how well written it their articles are. (Though some of their articles sometimes seem pretentious.) Oh, and I've been looking at CNN on the side, mostly because we get quizzed on current events stuff in journalism. All the reading kinda makes me want a tablet, too, and I bet loading Giant Bomb videos would be much faster on that as opposed to this outdated laptop...but I guess that's a conversation for another time.

ANYWAY, that's enough ranting about my personal transitional period. On to GAMES!

Sly Cooper

I bought the Sly Cooper collection a few weeks back, and I've been playing some of it here and there. It is awesome. The platforming is really well done, and the setup for the villains are really charming, along with the character models for them. The only things that I don't like are the missions that play like mini-games, because the platforming is so fun that I really don't want to play the game for anything else but that. And they're a little clunky. Also the voices of your side-kicks are really annoying, but I guess I was able to put up with with Daxter in those Jak and Daxter games so I should be able to put up with these. But I'm only speaking for the first game in the series here, mind you, and I think I might be about half-way through. It's my first time playing through these games and I'm excited about what comes next.

Psychonauts

I've also been playing a little more Psychonauts. I just because the Napoleon level, and yeah, that game is still great. I wish the platforming and combat felt a little more tight, though. But other than that it's great. Still funny.

Arkham City

Finished Arkham City and played the Harley Quinn DLC. It's great game, everything about the way it plays is still very fun to me, though I don't care too much about the story at this point. I'm very interested to see where the series goes next, though. Still weird that those Cat Woman sequences were locked behind a season pass when it was released.

Mass Effect 3

Best mission of the game so far.

I played a lot of Mass Effect 3 today. The conclusion I came to, about 11 hours in? It's okay. The mission where you cure the Genophage is great, and the game has some really great things about it that make me want to keep playing. But in some ways it also feels half-finished. Like the fact you cannot engage in full conversation with the majority of your squad in any given time. What the hell? The scene that made me stop playing was when my Shepard got with Liara. Again. See, my Shepard has been loyal and I've been with Liara for two damn games, and yet the "romantic" scene on the Citadel didn't address any past events or anything. It just seemed so generic and badly written, to a point where I kept saying to myself "Wait, that's it? That's all they wrote? Seriously? What? Why didn't they talk about....what?" So yeah. That was disappointing. But I guess I should save a full judgement for when I actually finish it.

Anyway, that's about all for games. I'm going to hit that "Post Blog" button after I proof read this and add pictures or whatever and then watch some more Giant Bomb content - they have been absolutely killing it with the Premium stuff this week. It's been awesome. Until next time guys, thanks a lot for reading.

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Blog: My Top Ten Favorite Games I Played In 2012

Top Ten Favorite Games I Played In 2012

Look, I'm really bad at keeping up with games that come out throughout the year. I just don't have the money. So instead of making a list of games that came out this year, I thought I would make a list of games that I played over the course of the year that I thought were awesome. And though a couple of them came out this year, most of them didn't, so I hope you enjoy my completely irrelevant list.

1. The Walking Dead

If you told me a year ago that an adventure game based on a franchise that I didn't care too much about was going to become one of my favorite games, I would think you're insane. But there's no denying that The Walking Dead crafts a story full of characters that you grow to care about. This was the first time I actually cried at a game's conclusion, and anything that's able to move me like this deserves the praise, regardless of any frame rate issues or bugs that I came across along the way. I just wonder how Telltale could ever follow this up.

2. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4

I got my girlfriend into Giant Bomb's Endurance Run this past year, and watching it made me really want to play a Persona game. Having played Persona 3 before four, I came to really appreciate all the improvements and fixes they made in the sequel. The addicting JRPG gameplay matched an unforgettable, colorful cast of characters makes it such a joy to play, and an unforgettable experience overall. Those who disagree can go get bent.

3. Batman: Arkham City

They made a huge ass Arkham game. And if you liked Arkham Asylum, it'll be easy to get wrapped up in the word of Arkham City. The combat and stealth sections are just as good as you remember it. And after finishing the main story the other night, I can't wait to go back and explore the city and do a lot more of the side missions. Just like Arkham Asylum, Arkham City successfully captures the feeling of being Batman.

4. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES

It's interesting to play Persona 3 and look at Atlus' first attempt at making an accessible RPG with social components and Persona collecting and fusing and all the jazz. And even though Persona 4 undoubtedly improved everything about the gameplay, Persona 3 is still definitely worth experiencing despite it's few missteps. And Persona 3 taught me a life lesson: "Move ya body, make sure you don't hurt nobody." Thanks, Lotus Juice.

5. Rayman: Origins

The first time I played Rayman Origins, I was simply awestruck by how beautiful it looked and how well it controlled, and that feeling stayed with me as I finished it this year. It's a shame it's follow up is a WiiU exclusive, but if it comes to any other platforms, I'll be first in line to play it. What a fun game.

6. Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy

I missed out on playing the original Jak and Daxter when it first came out on the PS2, and playing the PS3 re-release, I could see how some people would be bummed by how Jak 2 turned out. Jak and Daxter has such a cool, rich, and wonderful world that I was happy to explore. It's one of my favorite 3D platformers I played in a while, making me wish more games like this would be made again.

7. Rock Band Blitz

Let's just say I had an obsession with rhythm games at the start of this console cycle. I spent way too much money on Rock Band stuff than I really needed to, and thankfully Rock Band Blitz rewarded of me of having so many songs. But...it actually convinced me to buy more songs so I ended up spending more money on Rock Band stuff, even though I don't really play Rock Band Blitz as often now. Damn it, their plan worked. At least I found joy in a refreshing Rock Band experience, even if it was for a brief time.

8. Super Meat Boy

After watching Indie Game: The Movie, I was more than happy to see what Super Meat Boy was all about. I was met with an addicting platformer that only grew more challenging-and rewarding-the more I played. Everything about it is so weird and funny that you can't help but like it, and it frustrates me that I'm having trouble with later parts of the game. Someday I'll finally beat it...

9. Costume Quest

I got this on sale around Halloween time to hype myself up for it, and it worked. Not only that, but I found Costume Quest to be a fun, light RPG that had clever writing and humor throughout. The designs of the costumes were all hilarious and worth seeing, though I wish they would've done more with the idea and had some voice acting. But it's still a really fun game if you're in the Halloween mood.

10. Incredible Crisis

I found this in a pawn shop close to where I live, and once I came across it, it was almost an instant buy. Incredible Crisis is completely stupid an crazy in all the right ways, and it's worth seeing if you're able to get past the super frustrating gameplay. Seriously, it's really hard.

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