(2) Things you should be reading...

This is the second part in a series of re-purposing blog posts. The first one introduced you to the idea of Transgaming, video games and art, and political parties and their unscrupulous desire to manipulate everything.  Previously I mentioned each one of these would only have three articles, however; I've decided that was such an arbitrary rule--it needs to be broken. So without further stalling, here is what I've found interesting this week:
 
EVE: The single server MMO 
 
Inception-Video Games are way behind
 
An issue with Indie storytelling

 
Financial journalism and it's Arbiter. 
 
I hope everyone finds something interesting in this blog post, if you don't, I apologize. Last week I left you with a famous quote by Hunter S. Thompson, a very influential gonzo style journalist. Today I actually want to leave with two things. One is that the lovable SNIDE clearly has great taste in music; and like him, I urge you to check out Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs." With that out of the way, here is my quote of the week:
 
  Politics can be relatively fair in the breathing spaces of history; at its critical turning points there is no other rule possible than the old one, that the end justifies the means. 
 
As usual, leave your comments and what not below.

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(1) Things you should be reading...

Often I find myself being drawn away from video games; whether it be work, school, or some other activity, video games have a tendency to alienate us from the rest of the "artistic" world. That is why I am re-purposing my blog--that is no longer will there be random nonsensical ramblings about video games, my computer upgrades, or my desperate attempt to show that I indeed have a life beyond video games (college drinking parties anyone?). Yes, a reinvention is what this blog needs, so, without any more explanation here are some links I found rather interesting this week:
 
Transgaming: Mac & PC
 
German Expressionism and video gaming
 
Digg and how it too is manipulated by political parties
 
I've just decided, randomly, in a rather ambiguous way, that each of these will feature two articles about video games and another one just concerning what I feel is interesting. Although to end, I will leave you with a favorite quote of mine:

I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me.  
 
Leave your thoughts, comments, and hate below.

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Despicable me. Stupid, Awesome Deals. And other such nonsense.

Every so often I like to detail what I've been doing as opposed to random updates concerning gaming (this blog will still discuss gaming).
 

First Off

 Despicable Me. Great movie: Steve Carrell and what'd ya know: Russel Brand (Get Him to the Greek and Forgetting Sarah Marhsall) is the main character's side kick. Very fun and dare I say, cute, movie. Check it out. 

Stupid, Awesome Deals

The other week an EPIC Steam sale occurred; during the sale I picked it GTA: IV for $5 and Crysis for $15. I bit the bullet and bought the expansion to Dawn of War II (hint, hint: it's awesome). What's so Stupid, Awesome other than the insane price the first two games were had for, is the fact that my brother is selling me his MAC ($1200 new, 1 year used) for $380 just so he will have the money to buy an IPAD. Stupid? Maybe. Take of Advantage of? Perhaps. Feel bad about taking advanatage of his desperation? Just a little. 
 

Other Such Nonsense

I've finally created a profile for Screened and Tested (mrhankey and mrhankeyofgb, respectively). So if you're on those site's as well, add me. 
Writing an essay about Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand in the hopes of winning $10K.
My job is going well, although there isn't as large as a plethora of patients as there were at the beginning of the month. 
New York in just two weeks. 
School starting up again in August; Junior standing, here I COME!
 
Crysis? More fun than I remember. 
GTA: IV, wtf, what shitty port. $5 you say? I buy I say.
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Reemergence

Last Christmas i sold my Xbox 360 to a friend so he could give it to his cousin for christmas, I do not regret this decision because at the time the last time I had played my 360 was probably around 8 months before, so I had perceived it as a waste of money. Well lets fast forward, its now almost July 2010 and I sold my Xbox 360 December 2009 and up until recently I hadn't had the itch to play a console game. What did me in?
 
Alan Wake & Red Dead Redemption
 
I did not; however, want to buy a new 360 (and if I did it would be the newest version of the 360, ie: 360s). So while talking to a friend of mine he mentioned he had a spare 360 sitting around without a powersupply, he went on a bit more and said that if I wanted I could have it, all I'd have to do is buy a powersupply. So I did, for $40 at EB Games (could have saved $20 and purchased on Amazon, but wasn't sure I'd get the right power supply). After this I hightailed it to BestBuy and bought Alan Wake for $40 (cheapest in town). 
 
So far I have played through two episodes, and while I have come to the realization that it is a short game, there is no 100% guarantee that it was going to be released on the PC, so I do not regret spending $80 (and some tax) to get back into 360 gaming. The next game to get will be Red Dead Redemption, that may be a couple of weeks or so because of a trip to New York happening at the end of July.
 
*Note here: this 360 is supposed to be shared between myself and my dorm mate...he owes me $10 on the PSU assuming he buys Red Dead Redemption (meaning we each spent $70). If he doesn't cough up soon though, I will assume full control and ownership of the 360. This console will not replace my love of the pc...but I can now, once again, play games that may never see the light of day on the PC. And no, I will not be selling this 360, a stipulation between the friend that gave it to me was that I had to keep it until a new Xbox came out.

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MONUMENT ARMOR!

For anyone that read my last blog (and I know no one did), you know that i've been grinding my way through Guild Wars so that I would have a feeling of accomplishment. Well, let's go down the list:

  1. Ebon Vanguard Rank 5...CHECK
  2. Beat Nightfall...CHECK
  3. Beat Factions...CHECK
  4. Buy my Elite Monument Armor...CHECK
 
 
I'm three missions away from beating Prophecies then I will focus on beating Eye of the North and i'll be done as Far as I'm concerned.  
 
Now then, here are some pics of my character, DIA SHENTO, in his Monument Armor:

 It's dyed Red, with a black accent (Blue parts can't be altered)


 With my Balthazar's Fury Scythe


 With the Scythe I received for beating NightFall


 with my Draconic Scythe for beating Factions

Anyways,that's all. If you're bored...and polite...check out my previous blog.
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Pharmakon

Not Related to Gaming...

Pharmakon in Greek means both poison and cure. With that said, if you're interested in books that explore the human psyche and the elusiveness of happiness buy the book entitled Pharmakon by Dirk Wittenborn. Very good. Very interesting. I'll give a more in depth look (maybe a paragraph or so) when I finish it.  | LINK|

High Violet in English means...fuck if I know. Anyways, one of my favorite bands THE NATIONAL has released their long awaited fifth album. This album sounds like a blend between their third and fourth album, however; it is a lot more concise lyrically and makes use of repetitive cords like no other. All of this is to great affect because the album delivers a sense of melancholic maturity...maturity being what only started to show up in their fourth album entitled "Boxer." Either way, if you're looking for something new to listen to I would highly suggest giving them a chance. | PREVIEW| | LINK|
 

The Games of 1st Semester Sophomore Year

Ok, so I finished up my first year of College, with the 2nd semester being the beginning of my role as a Sophomore. Quick run down, was accepted into the Chellgren Fellowship Program (highest honor at UK) and came out with a 4.0 year and in good standing to be eligible for research opportunities and etc... However, amongst enjoying the college life I did take sometime (Saturday during the day) to catch up on some video games. Here is what I played:

Games of the Summer

Now that school is over and I've had a lot of free time I've been playing some games, mostly Guild Wars and Battlefield: Bad Company 2. I did buy Metro 2033 in April, but decided not to play it until I got my grades back, and since I did so well I decided to install the game. Needless to say, Metro 2033 is like a linear version of STALKER with some Half-life 2 and Doom thrown in for good measure. The game took me around eight hours to complete, and while some of the achievements are interesting, and I'm sure challenging. I have no real desire to go back and play the game again. It's like any other medium, not counting music, once I've experienced it there is no desire to do so again because I already know whats going to happen. So, what does someone in my position, with game ADD do? Keep playing Battlefield and revisit the world of Guild Wars.  




 


Goals of the Summer (game wise)

Battlefield: Bad Company 2:
  • Finish unlocking everything in Recon Kit
Guild Wars:
  • Level 5 Ebon Vanguard Reputation
  • Get Monument Armor (requires the above)
  • Beat Prophecies (three levels away, decided to wait for the above)
  • Beat Factions
  • Beat Eye of the North

Not Related to Gaming...

  • Work 40 hours a week as a Patient Safety Companion (this will look good on my resume since I'm a Psychology major and would like to go to Graduate school for clinical psychology)
  • Go to New York and visit my friend
  • Save lots of money so I can study abroad in Prague next year
  • Put the rest of the money in savings so I can move out after Prague
  • Read Atlast Shrugged and write that essay so that I may be able to win $10,000 (don't bank on this)
 

Quick Question

What games are you all looking forward to (coming out on the pc) that isn't on my wish list? | LINK|
 
And that's all I've really go to say. I know some of you probably don't give a rats ass about what I'm doing, but enjoy the blog. After writing this I feel accomplished so I'm goign to go grind in Guild Wars so I can get my Monument Armor. And one more thing I wanted to mention, I stumbled upon the following video related to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 yesterday. 
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Pc Gamers...the master race

(I apologize for the long post and have sincere gratitude for people that read the whole thing) 
I in no way condone the above, this is in reference to a post I recently saw on our lovely Giantbomb
 
  

@Dany

said:

" Why do people complain when games are 60 instead of 50? Or that they have to pay for DLC? I've never understood that, I've had my xbox then followed by my 360 and never touched  game on the PC. Why all the special treatment for the PC and their audience? "
 

  The above is a statement I've seen from a lot of people, his logic is also the justificationf or why so many console gamers despise us hardcore Pc gamers. Let me explain something:
 
The 360 and PS3 came out about five years ago and with them brought two things  that changed how games are sold: $60 games and $10-$5 DLC. These are two things that had never been heard of before in either the console or pc gaming market. These are two things perpetuated by by Microsoft and Sony; they are the cost of licensing fees so that a game company may get their game published on the Microsoft or Sony platform. DLC is a way to monetize game development, make more money for more content....justified by the amount of money it takes to make games now. 
 
With that said let's look at something:
PC GAMERS have ALWAYS received their games for $50 or less and always got content for free.  THERE IS NO LICENSING FEE to publish a game on the PC, hell, you don't even have to go through STEAM or an actual publisher, you can use the power of the internet (not effective). We do not like paying more money for games that are digitally distributed because that model gets rid of various middle mans that otherwise would need to be compensated. We do not like paying for more content for two reason 1) before this year we had always gotten it for free and 2)generally they are overpriced and not worth $10...maybe $5, and certainly not $15 (I'm looking at you Infinity Ward). 
 
What could be argued in the case for making PC GAMERS quit bitching and suffer the same economic model as their console bretheren:
$60 games secures the following: Top payment to the developer, and compensation for dealing with piracy (only if they don't have draconian DRM, I'm looking at you UBISOFT)
$5, maybe $10 for DLC if the company actually needs to make more money to afford their next big product. Otherwise it's just silver lining in their pockets.. 
 
The sentiment:
Most PC GAMERS I would argue are very utilitarian and only do things if they see it as necessary or useful...neither of which can be deduced for a $10 price hike and the rip off that is the pricing model of DLC.
 
To put it in better terms:
PC Gamers, until very recently....always paid $50 per game, or $30 if it was an expansion.
PC Gamers, until very recently....got new content (not new games), for free. (making DLC paid also rips the online community apart, if its an online game)
PC Gamers do not like price hikes or charging for content that is maybe only 20mb big.... 
 
So ask you....what if Giantbomb started charged an initial fee to use their website and then charged you money for "DLC"? How would you feel. Currently you get Giantbomb for free. Currently you get all of their content for free. Do not claim PC GAMERS are entitled...we are consumerist and don't like being ripped off as much as the next guy. Console gamers....just quit bitching at us for bitching...you act like we shouldn't complain because you all are fine with the current economic practices...we aren't, so we are allowed to voice our opinion, however; do not say we're entitled.
 
1) I've never paid for DLC on my PC or XBOX 360.
2) I do not play online games on my XBOX 360 because I think its wrong to charge for that service when the PC AND PS3 do not.
3) I do not play MMOs that charge monthly because I think it's wrong.
 
You either have ideals and live by them or you don't.
We aren't entitled, we're annoyed consumerist.
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Four Games. Two Computers. One Router.

So this is just an update blog. I'm on my Spring Break, a much needed spring break from the university. And I'd just like to detail some things I've been doing.
 

Four Games

 
First! 
I beat S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat. If you are a fan of the series, then be sure to check it out. Or check out my review! 
 
Second! 
I bought Battlefield Bad Company 2, beat the single player and am loving the multiplayer. A lot more fun tan Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, and it has a lot more depth to the leveling system than Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2. So, quick thought, for me it's very unstable. I have no other games that crash like BFBC2. So it needs to be patched, but considering I keep coming back for more, it must be doing something right. Check it out. Or check out my review! 
 
Third!
I recently received Mass Effect 2 as a gift and while I only played two hours worth, it seems to have been lost in the mundane-ness of the first part of 2010. So, without any wasting of your precious time, I just want to say that based off my two hours, I'd heavily recommend this game for anyone looking for a good space-opera or a more refined Mass Effect.  
 
Fourth!
About a month ago I bought and beat Bioshock 2. Some may not like the new story and the stretch in logical thinking it takes for that story to align itself with the previous game, but I suggest ignoring everything you know about the first game. Just play and enjoy Bioshock 2, everyone that liked Bioshock should pick it up, or at least borrow it from a friend. If you're not satisfied with that, check out my review! 
 
*I apologize for my review style, I do quick bullet lists because I know you're just looking for a conclusion and nothing more.
 

Two Computers

Computer One!
The last of my friends have come over to the pc gaming arena. He's keeping his 360 for games like Fable and Mass Effect (we've yet to convince him that it's better on the pc). Anyways, I built a nice AMD based PC with a radeon HD 5870, and I have to say that AND really impressed me. So my recommendation...unless you're a die hard intel fan, you should build an AMD, AM3, quad core system because they often perform just as well as i7 and are cheaper. 
 
*Quick Specs: AMD 965 (3.2ghz) Phenom II X4. 4gb of G.Skill DDR3 1600 RAM. Radeon HD 5870.
 
Computer Two!
My Computer is a different story. I had mounted my heatsink/fan combo in the wrong direction so the cooling was horrid, idle at 45 and load at around 90. So I went about bought some cheap "Thermal Pads" made by Starforce or Startech, anyways, they sucked. Not only were they too thin and not doing the job, my idle actually went up to 55 and topped at around 80. Now, I know what you're thinking, your load went down by 10. Yes it did, however thats only because the actual heatsink/fan was blowing air the correct direction. So, I went out and bought some Cooler Master Thermal paste to go with my Cooler Master Hyper N520 cooler, and now i idle at 35 and top out at around 50. Hows that! 
 
*Quick Specs: Core i7 920, 2.6ghz.. 6gb of OCZ DDR3 1600 RAM. Radeon HD 4870. 
 

One Router

 Ok, so I have a five year old router. The D-Link DGL 4300 (Gamer Lounge). Recently I haven't been able to connect to the internet through it. So i'm getting ready to  borrow an Ethernet cord from some one to see if my shitty Ethernet cord I'm using is busted.  Hopefully a new Ethernet cord will fix my issue, but if not, does anyone have any recommendation for awesome Wireless Routers.
 
*Note: Moden -> Router (using best Ethernet cord). Router -> My PC (using winky-dink, bends and tears Ethernet cord)
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A Satire, read if you want

 

Video Game Industry Musings

Full Disclosure: I am only a denizen of the gaming community, I am not in any way involved with the community other than the fact that I play games and go to websites to get news about the industry.

Our Prospects: Video Gaming, as some may lead you believe, has already started the exodus of its golden age. A lot of us oppose this "fact" and bring counterpoints that we see more innovation now than we did ten years ago. What are our prospects though? In the midst of a recession we see Publishers milking the cow more than once a year and developers being tipped over on a regular day. (Do you appreciate the picture I've just painted?) Anyways, to the naysayers, those that say the video game industry is a huge behemoth currently in the process of digging a grave of redundancy, i say it's not innovation, but refinement. Our industry, like the industrial revolution, is coming up with idea after idea after idea. Sure, sometimes the product is mediocre at best, and other times it's a wonderful romp through something we already love. My point is, our prospects involve refinement rather than innovation. Sure Natal is coming out, Wii is a big deal, and the PS3 has some motion-waggle-thing-a-ma-bob coming out, but those are mere novelties. The industry is refining how games are made, what works, and how to deliver those games. That is our prospect, refinement.

Why can't it be like the good ol' Days: Do you remember when we were nomads? Neither do I, so why go back to that era anyways. Right now, we are the industrial revolution, sure some people will be maimed or mortally wounded in the process, but what will emerge is hopefully some European model. Wouldn't it be great if we became like the surviving English? You know, their country (other than the Asian countries)  is one of the longest surviving empires. Think of it this way, the movie industry is like America...The music industry is like France...the book industry is like Russia, my point is let's be the longest surviving empire. Let's not be corrupt, whiny bitches, or backwards in our ways, let's not be like the good ol' days where we were nomads....eating insects just to get by. Let the video game industry keep moving forward, let it kill "the weakest" and then let it emerge better than before.

Recession and Why I Wrote This: We currently live in a recession and no industry is safe, as we have seen over the past year or so, the video game industry suffers as well. Let publishers try DLC, it may never catch on. Let Activision keep reiterating the same games, eventually even they will get bored of Call of Duty. My point is, this is cyclical. The video game industry isn't dying, nor is the pc gaming industry. It's all evolving, but more specifically refining itself into an efficient beast. We will no longer be the cow, tipped over by the farmer that milks us to much, we will be an emerging industry after this recession, and personally, as a psychology major, I think i could take Robert Bowling's job after the recession. So why did I write this? I was taking a break from studying the Russian language, I have an exam tonight. Also for enjoyment, I hope you all appreciate it and take this as a serious work of satire, as in I have some points to make, but cow tipping and insulting countries is something no American passes up on.

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