I'm back baby.

My new job is starting to pay off. I feel like I can afford a premium membership again. Ill be back to comment on stories, videos, and posting on the forums.

Look out world. Im back.


I miss my Vita

So those who know me (I'm not a prolific poster, but some people have to know who I am) know I love the Vita. I stand behind it, and its perfect for my lifestyle choice. Sadly my economic situation hasn't been the greatest and I was forced to take my Vita to the pawnshop for a loan. I was hoping to pick it up this week but I don't know if thats gonna happen or not.

I had no point about this blog post. Its just more of letting people know that I've been without my Vita for over a month and I really wish I could be playing it right now.


PreOrder bonuses and Online Passes (or why they are good for us)

Listening to the GiantBombcast recently upset me. The reason of course is they were debating a topic that I couldn't chime in on and so I take the opportunity on here.

The first issue was the complaint of the online pass. This came out during the discussion about the new Batman. Catwoman can only be played if you buy new (and have an online connection).

I can understand why this is a bad idea. Not everyone has online. And I use to sell games for a living and know a lot of gamers are offline (either by choice or otherwise). It sucks to be them. They paid new price and are gonna mis out what's been described as a side story, but one that helps with the overall story.

The part they focused on in the Bombast however, was that GameStop would be printing the codes with the used copies. Of course the obvious explanation should make every gamer happy. Warner Brothers is getting a cut of the used sales (I heard the same thing happened with Moral Kombat, another WB game). That's great news. Not only does WB get money, but people still have the cheaper alternative. Why the big deal?

Because GameStop is evil.

Its not. GameStop is a business. It has a responsibility to its shareholders to make money.

And money is not made off of used.

A brand new game has a $5 mark up. So when you pick up Batman (for example) from any retailer you give $55it to the game companies and $5 to the store (and for where I live, another $5 to the state). That's not much in the grand scheme. Even if a store sold 100 copies in a week, that's $500. Minus employee pay, building rental, shipping costs, and etc. Its not that much anymore.

And that's why video games are located at the back of most stores. Its considered simply a means to get you into the store to buy more.

And GameStop (and now Best Buy) have found a means to make even more money with the used market.

Nothing wrong with that. Im broke. If I go in today for Batman, and GameStop has a used copy and the code comes with it, ill buy it. Im poor, and every dollar I save is a plus.

"Your just saving $5, Shakezula84. Just buy the new one." Screw you. $5 is my lunch today.

So the online passes. Great idea. It encourages people to buy new. At the same time if you buy used it can ensure the companies get compensated somehow at one point. However the poor person like me probably doesn't have internet. Online passes don't matter to much (im using my cellphone and I tether it to my PS3 at night to play games). So if I bought Batman used and no code was provided, I may never play Catwoman. But it is. And whether I use it or not, WB makes money.

I also mentioned reorder bonuses. They are the cheap alternative to marketing. Instead of giving the game cheaper to a store (who wouldn't give a discount to the customer) they provide something to bring people into the store. The only time I have a problem with that is if it never becomes widely available. Its evil if you are forced to buy multiple copies across retailers to assemble the puzzle. Its good business to release it as DLC (even better if it was always gonna be DLC).


Our Digital Future (or How Making These Titles Is Hard)

I've written about digital versions of full retail games before and now almost two years after I've posted that article I come back to it.

Why? Because both Sony and Microsoft are embracing digital releases a lot more then before. Almost every week now a new title hits Xbox Games On Demand service, and every month a new game lands on the Playstation Store (with a one hour trial for Plus users). I still don't think its enough, however Sony has taken an interesting turn on this issue.

Sony has several games that have released day one (or relatively close) that users don't have to wait. And not small titles either. Mass Effect 2 came out as a $60, 12 gig download and now infamous 2 has done the same.

By providing this content quickly I feel helps legitimize the digital version. A user doesn't have to wait. They can make that choice sooner and fulfill their preference. I don't see why more companies don't embrace this idea. This should be the version that makes the most money with no packaging and shipping. No investment needs to be made on the companies part. A copy is "made" whenever a customer downloads instead of making a copy hoping the customer will buy it.

I still think we are a little bit away from this being a total transition. The bandwidth and high speed internet penetration still isn't where it needs to be, but it will be someday


What Should SCEA (or How Hulu Plus Doesn't Work)

So the PlayStation Network is down. Almost a week now. While everyone has been running around screaming why has this happened, I'm more concerned how Sony will make this up to it's users.

Should Sony make this up to us? Short answer is yes. Long answer is they should make it up to some of us at least.

I pay for PlayStation Plus membership. For the past week this investment has been wasted. One of the main reason I even paid for it was Hulu Plus access, which is now wasted too.

We can blame the hackers all we want, but it does boil down to being SCEAs fault. The security system should be better, and it shouldn't take this long to bring back. It seems like Sony is rebuilding the PSN (so I'm sure we may have a firmware update when it's back) because it didn't build a strong enough product from the start.

So what should Sony do? The easiest thing I think they should do (and would be consistent with the industry) is to mark a digital item free on PSN for a week or two. Although I feel that should be limited too, and tied to continued PlayStation Plus membership.


Got a Replacement PlayStation 3 (or How I Lost my Saves)

I had purchased a PS3 the week after they came out. The 60 Gig model. Considering the European release was announced to already be missing some of the backwards compatibility I knew I couldn't wait. I had to get it now before they do the same in America.

I had saved up my money and made the plunge. It was a $600 system and was all mine. I had purchased two games. Resistance and Call of Duty 3 (I had played previous Call of Duty games and liked them, but somehow I had missed the fact this wasn't made by Infinity Ward. I still beat it, but it went right back too the store when I did).

I had missed the Xbox360. I had no desire for one, and having dealt with everyones complaints about it I just didn't want to risk it (I eventually got a cheap 360 straight from Microsoft threw their "Retail Expertzone". It was broken out of the box and within a year red ringed).

A year ago I had started playing online with coworkers on Uncharted 2. That was a wonderful two weeks. On the third week the worst thing possible happened. My PS3 shut itself off and never turned on again.

It hurt and I didn't have the money to either fix or replace my ps3.

I had to make do with my 360 (which at this point had been replaced twice and I had broken down and gotten the red one). I won't lie, that wasn't a great time for me gaming wise.

So I finally have a little extra money (a year later. Last month). I take my PS3 to my local Play N Trade and they say they'll give it a go.

Two weeks later I get the call. It's unrepairable.


What am I to do? I had the money to fix it, not replace it. My wife comes up with the idea of putting one on layaway at kmart. I decide that's probably the best plan.

That's when a friend of mine sends me a message from facebook (after seeing my status about my ps3 never working again). He wants me to have his old 40 gig system. For free.


So I now have a PS3 again. I have to start over with my games, but it's back. And now I have a PlayStation Plus account, and once a week I upload my saves into the clouds.


My Opinion On The NGP (or How I Like To Blow My Money)

I know that I am in the minority here, but the NGP is exactly what I want right now.

It's been a dream since I was a child to have the console experience on the go, and I feel the PSP delivered a lot of that, and the DS did not.

People now talk about this new "Portable" experience that's only exsisted since the DS became popular (Nintendogs got people to buy the DS). I enjoy it a little. In the form of a cellphone game I can play for a couple minutes. I don't get that with the PSP.

Or the DS.

What I want from a portable is to live the dream.

I want to poop playing Grand Theft Auto.

I've lived that dream. Now I want to play Fallout while I poop.

Is that wrong?


My Life as a Video Game Tester (Or What the Hell Happened)

So way back in 2004 I was looking for work. I had recently quit my first job out of high school (working part time at a Dollar Store) and took a couple months off. Now my money was getting low. I decided to apply at the place I had wanted to work for but who never called back again.


The results were different and I was hired on as holiday help during the Halo 2 / San Andreas rush. They kept me on and after several years I rode up to Assistant Manager (at the time that was a big deal, but sadly it's something I can never return too for financial reasons).

I had become unsatisfied with the job. I wanted a store of my own and after being told I wouldn't I became restless. A couple years earlier a friend at GameStop quit to become a game tester at Nintendo. I decided now was the time to leave and do another dream.

Get paid to play games

I started testing at Nintendo in 2009. The pay was on par with what I was making before (about $11 an hour) and I got a consistent schedule. 8 to 5 Monday thru Friday. It was a dream come true. Then the unthinkable happened.

I was told no more work was available

This was hard. Testing is a contract job so this was something I had always expected but hoped would never come. The worst part was I was planning and financing my wedding.

After a month of seeking work I found a testing job at Griptonite Games. The owners (Foundation 9 Entertainment) does most of their testing here for all the studios.

This job was a dream

The hours were outside rush hour (10 to 6) and the pay was a little more. I was also able to play a game that I enjoyed as a game then as something I'm working on. It was great. Random BBQs, free soda and snacks, and the keys to the building and access to the company gym.

But that too came to an end

I terminated my contract after a couple months. The project was about over and I had found out Nintendo was hiring again (and F9E did not need any testers for a while). Back to Nintendo I went.

This time it was rough

I now had a little baby to keep me up at night, and I had to get up at 6 am to try and be at work on time. I was late a lot (or simply wasn't able to make it in at all). I did that for a few months until it finally sunk in.

$11 an hour cannot support a family

So I left. I now work at a local drug store chain as an assistant manager. The money is good and so are the benefits. But I always wonder what if. Before accepting the drugstore job I was in talks to test inFamous 2.



New PS3?

So long story short, my PS3 broke earlier this year and I've been out my favorite console. I've been planning on getting it fixed at my local Play 'N Trade (it's a 60 Gig model) but it just hasn't happened yet due to cost (they won't quote repair cost estimates over). I may have the money to get it repaired but the problem is I don't know for sure if it's repairable and the PNP is 30 miles away.

However my wife said that if any deals come up for black Friday I can get one then. The "best" deal I've found is GameStops.

The deal is that they are selling a 160 Gig PS3 with God of War Collection and God of War 3. Why is it a deal? Because I can trade those two towards the purchase bringing down the cost.

I'm just trying to think if I should or not. It's still gonna be about $300 and I don't have most of my PS3 games at home right now (but all my BluRays are in the closet).

I'll probably do it anyways. I just don't like the 360 and I prefer PS3 exclusives over the 360 ones, but I'll be forced to play New Vegas on 360 from now on. Which I guess is okay (the game is awesome). Now I'm just seeing if I have more games to trade sitting around.


It comes out next week!

That's right people. Fallout New Vegas comes out next week and I can't wait. I'm still debating which faction I'll ally with. However in Fallout 2 I always helped the New California Republic (or Vault City, but they are not a faction in NV, and I assume based on one of the endings of Fallout 2 is probably a part of the NCR now).

It bothers me storywise to hear that the NCR and Brotherhood of Steel have been at war since Fallout 2 simply because the BoS feels the NCR shouldn't have such advanced tech (the NCR was founded by Vault 15 using a G.E.C.K). If I run into any BoS in NV, I'm gonna kill them whether I'm siding with the NCR or not.

I wonder if you can become a NCR Ranger in this one.....

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