It Was So Much More Than Just the Laughs

I hadn't felt the pain of losing someone to the absolute of death in a long time prior to 2013. I'm lucky enough that it had been several years since I felt tears over the passing of someone I knew.

Earlier this year, one passionate, immensely talented and inspiring journalist was taken from us. Roger Ebert died at age 70. Now, yet another incredibly talented and inspiring journalistic figure has departed at the much more tragic age of 34. I miss Roger Ebert's presence and guidance in my day-to-day life, and I miss Ryan Davis, as he was an even more constant companion, less full of editorials and existential musings, but a lot more full of laughter. He made my life better. Giant Bomb does that.

I owe Ryan a lot more than just the laughs - and those, by themselves, were eternally invaluable and incredible gifts. I owe him, as I do every other member of the Bomb crew, their constant company (always uplifting), and all that resulted from it. Ryan never knew me, but his company and voice were invaluable in the shaping of my knowledge and opinion of this interactive, magical world that is so important to me and that has been with me for just about as long as I can remember. I also owe him all the words, correct pronunciations, and nutty expressions ("hot garbage!") that he injected into my vocabulary. I owe him the nurturing of my knowledge of 80's pop-culture (obscure and otherwise), knowledge that fascinates me and that I absolutely love to have, and might not have been introduced to otherwise. And, by God, I owe him all the laughs that resulted from his unique sense of humor, and that legendary comedic chemistry between him and Jeff. Laughs that brought me up on dark days, and made the good ones even funnier. On a nearly daily basis that man shared with me the gift of laughter. So many fond memories. I can't thank him enough.

Time is the ultimate healer, and eventually we'll all watch these videos and listen to these Bombcasts with nothing but fond remembering, but at the moment it's not easy. In the last 24 hours I was for the first time introduced to the feeling of crying and laughing, uncontrollably, at the exact same time.

I wrote this because I felt moved by the outpour of love by this community, and felt inspired to take part in it. If the whole overwhelming current of affection helps those closer to him, then I'm glad to be part of it, even if my teardrop in that ocean goes unnoticed. As it turns out however, this helped me in some cathartic way as well.

My thoughts and deepest condolences go to his friends and family.

Thank you Ryan Davis, for everything.

6 Comments

Games Bought and Games Beaten in 2013 So Far

It's a pretty good ratio, actually.

Someone recently made a thread in the forums wherein users would make this mathematical game out of their video-game purchases. Each game bought counts as a -1 and each game beaten counts as a +1, with the log stretching as far back into 2013 as each player prefers, and finishing at the end of the year. I thought that would be a pretty good way to keep track of my video-game purchasing habits throughout the year, so I cataloged the games I've bought, played and beaten up until now in 2013. I want to have this list at hand so I can easily edit it, which is why I'm posting it on my blog.

January 2013

Bought (-4)

  • DmC Devil May Cry
  • Dishonored
  • Super Mario 3D Land
  • Spec Ops: The Line

Played

  • Bit.Trip Runner
  • Hotline Miami
  • Metal Gear Solid 3D: Snake Eater
  • Pokémon Black 2
  • Super Mario 3D Land
  • The Walking Dead

Monthly result: -4

February 2013

Bought (-2)

  • Pullblox
  • Proteus

Played

  • Pokémon Black 2
  • Pokémon Dream Radar
  • Pullblox
  • Super Mario 3D Land

Beaten (+3)

  • Pokémon Black 2 (Elite Four)
  • Pokémon Dream Radar
  • Super Mario 3D Land

Monthly result: +1

March 2013

Bought (-2)

  • Luigi's Mansion 2
  • Advance Wars: Dual Strike

Played

  • BioShock Infinite
  • DmC Devil May Cry
  • Proteus
  • Pullblox
  • Luigi's Mansion 2

Beaten (+3)

  • BioShock Infinity
  • DmC Devil May Cry
  • Proteus

Monthly result: +1

April 2013

Bought (-4)

  • HarmoKnight
  • PICROSS e2
  • Injustice: Gods Among Us
  • Poker Night 2

Played

  • HarmoKnight
  • PICROSS e2
  • Luigi's Mansion 2
  • BioShock Infinite
  • Advance Wars: Dual Strike
  • Poker Night 2

Beaten (+1)

  • Luigi's Mansion 2

Monthly result: -3.

**

Current result: -5.

Start the Conversation

A Horror Tale Of Giant Bomb Wiki Editing

Gather 'round kids, and let me tell you a story. Oh, it's a good one.

Part I: Prelude

It all began on a cold winter's eve. Unlike the rustling foliage outside my bedroom, torn asunder by typically loud gusts of wind, I lay warm and snug amidst the mountainous pile of sheets upon my bed, in a damp corner lit only by Giant Bomb's colors beaming out of a half-bright monitor.

I had begun editing this one special wiki page on Giant Bomb, the SimCity page. You all know that game, the new one people couldn't actually play for several days? "But why is that wiki page special Mr. Snail?", I hear you ask. First off all that's rude, shut up while I'm talking - but worry not, for it shall be made clear in time. Aherm.

I spent a few minutes doing some minor edits to it, adding information, removing usage of second-person, the usual. Just your bread and butter of wiki editing. However, when I went to submit this new information, I got this unusual error, one I wasn't getting on any other page on Giant Bomb I had been editing.

"Whoops!", said the website. "Something went wrong".

Part II: Bugs and Errors

I found it rather unusual. Most times, when Giant Bomb claims that "something went wrong", the website also assures me peace of mind by letting me know that "Monkeys have been dispatched". But this time there were no helpful primates in sight. Having seen many wiki bugs of the kind since the new design launched, I shrugged and refreshed the page hoping to see my edits where I put them.

But it was not so! My edits were gone! Gone! How could this be?

Frustrated, I rapidly added the edits again, this time copying them onto my computer's clipboard to make sure I didn't lose any progress. Sadly, the same thing happened again. And again, and again, and again.

Eventually I noticed something rather odd. I was among the top contributors for the page, having racked in over 100 points. How could this be then, if none of my edits had gone through, and if I hadn't received notifications of the website's "robot math" giving me any points at all?

I checked the page's history and it appeared all my submissions had registered, and I had indeed been accordingly attributed points for them. But still my edits weren't showing up! Angrily, I created a thread on the Bug Reporting board about this issue, hoping, in vain, to get some feedback. When I checked my profile, I noticed that one of the edits had showed up in my stream. I clicked the link to the SimCity page, and there they were - my edits. So it seemed that the only problem was a delay of several minutes between the submission of new data and it appearing on the page.

"Alright, I can deal with this", I thought - and carried on editing.

Over the course of several days I added paragraphs of text to that wiki page, moved around images to improve readability, created new sections and sub-sections, generally cleaned it up, added some images, removed others, etc.

Then the incident happened.

Part III: The Incident

By the time the incident came about I had garnered roughly 600 wiki points on this wiki page. The 100 undeserved points I got for submitting the same edits over and over notwithstanding, I had contributed 500-points worth of content to that page. That's quite a bit of work - many hours of work, even.

It had been an unusually warm afternoon for this time of year. The day was nearing an end as the clear blue sky began to darken, and the world faded to dusk. That short-lived twilight in between day and night shrouded my bedroom with some sort of drowsy melancholy - a pale, undefined myst of light - and I was surfing the Giant Bomb. I had been reading about further developments regarding the SimCity post-release brewhaha, and figured I'd extend the "Reception" section in that game's page, and just keep working on it in general. I clicked my way back to what had, at this point, become such a familiar sight.

But it was gone. It was all gone.

My progress had been wiped clean. The page now looked just as it was before I submitted the first edit I described at the beginning of this blog post. All the images I added, all the images I kept but moved, all the inadequate usage of biased language and second-person pronouns I had removed, and, most frustratingly, all the paragraphs of text I had contributed to that page were all gone. The page was again a pitiful sight I remembered from days past.

GONE KIDS. VANISHED. DESAPARECIDO. SWOOSHED AWAY BY SOME UNSEEN INTERNET GHOUL.

At first I staggered. My eyes bolted wide open, and in the same simultaneous emotional burst a few veins in several locations of my body popped. Then, without realizing it, I was convulsively nodding trying to find a way around this situation. Eventually I got a grip, decidedly brought myself to a halt, gathered all the spewing inner-poison of hatred and frustration into one bulging, burning core of loathing in the very middle of my chest, which let out with a loud unabashed "FUCK".

As you've probably figured out by now, I had saved no back-up of the page. Giant Bomb's wiki editing portion of the site had been showing no signs of, you know, fatally not working and I had even been editing several other wiki pages throughout the very same days I had been editing the SimCity one. So why would I? I just wasn't expecting this. There wasn't even a PSA about the wiki not working. And how can I blame the mods/staff? It was just the SimCity page. That's what's so fucking odd. But I'll get to that later.

So there I was: mad, very very mad, furiously and desperately typing a thread into existence, trying to keep a level-headed, cool attitude about the whole thing when I suddenly remembered. Lazarus: Form Recovery.

Part IV: A New Hope

This Firefox add-on/Chrome extension is pretty much a godsend. What it does is that it consistently saves back-ups of forms and texts you type in, even across sessions. I don't use it all that often. I recall making use of it to recover short text I don't really mind retyping - stuff like distractedly closing a tab before I posted a status update or something. So no, I didn't really heavily use the add-on and I guess that's why it didn't instantly come to mind when I became aware of the incident.

So I went to the wiki-page, clicked the "Edit Article" button, right-clicked the text-field and searched the lazarus drop-downs for the text I was trying to recuperate. You see, Lazarus has a limited cache. As you type new texts into new textfields you add to the backlog, and eventually it fills up and tosses out the last one in queue. When I checked the add-on's list of recorded texts, the SimCity article was second from bottom. Jesus Christ. I am saved. It was there. It was second from bottom but it was there.

Since I had been posting in the forums and editing other wikis, and typing elsewhere on the interwebs, I had nearly lost the back-up for the SimCity page's article. Putting a lot of thought into that, or what would have happened if I didn't have that add-on, will probably just make me very nervous. So let's not do that.

Part V: The Curious Case of the SimCity Page

I clicked it and everything was back as I had left it. Images, formatting and everything. A huge sense of relief took over, and I breathed out relaxedly. From that event onward the page worked as any other normal wiki page: you type in the edits, you submit the edits, and they show up (provided you have more than 1000 wiki points). It's as if the page had some bug caught in its virtual cogs that it eventually sputtered out, after undergoing a hard-reset which restored it to the day the bug started happening.

But I mean, what happened? Why was only this page not working? No really. Are you getting this?

THE ONLY PAGE ON THE SITE HAVING CONNECTIVITY ISSUES WAS THE SIMCITY PAGE. IS THIS SOME META-JOKE MADE BY THE INTERNET GODS? WAS EVERYTHING REGARDING THIS GAME ON FIRE DURING THE LAUNCH WEEK?

Like, really, let me walk you through this.

  • I was having connectivity errors with the wiki, and my edits were getting stuck on a queue;
  • I lost a bunch of saved progress out of the blue due to these connectivity issues;
  • At least I was never kicked out of the editor;
  • I wasn't able to replicate this in any other page on the site.

Why did this page break? And how did the page get fixed? Magic? Did the Giant Bomb engineers see my thread in the Bug Reporting board, then did something to fix it but in the process deleted all the edits I had performed on it since that thread was made?

I don't know. And I wish I did.

The End

So kids, remember. Never trust seaserpents. When you go about editing and adding to Giant Bomb, helping this website become a bigger, better and happier home for video-game knowledge ALWAYS SAVE A BACK-UP, because with this new highly-stable version of the website you just never know.

I love Giant Bomb, and always will. Just, Top Men, if you're reading, make the website break less pleeeeeeaase. :(

XOXO,

Snail

I'm publishing this blog post in tandem with another one, which is coming soon and aims to give an in-depth analysis of faults that Giant Bomb gained with its new design, and that shouldn't be here one month after launch. I'd be much appreciated if you checked it out and provided feedback!

6 Comments

I Now Have More Wiki Points Than I Do Forum Posts

It might not be the first time since I joined the site, but it certainly is the first time in years.

I recently got really into wiki editing here on Giant Bomb, with my amount of points (gathered over the course of roughly 4 years) tripling within just a couple of months. When the beta launched I had about 2500 points. Now I have 6571. The page that got that number higher than my forum post count, which sits at 6540 at this moment, was the Azumarill one.

Thought I'd share.

2 Comments

Windows 8 and Surface Are Two Different Platforms in This Trailer

Just yesterday, Jeff put up an article on the beta site where he basically ranted about how flabbergastingly clueless Microsoft's handling of video-games is on its Windows 8 platform. It's a pretty great article.

Available on Windows 8 *and* Surface!

While I tend to be kinder than most regarding Microsoft's, let's say, rocky transition to a touch-based product universe, and even though I really like some of the things they're doing, you really can't disagree with Mr. Gerstmann. Everything, everything about the way games are distributed on the Windows Store is dumb. We all know that their Xbox division is versed at digital distributing, and I (along with 30 other people) can assure you that the Windows Phone marketplace is as navigable as (and frankly, much tidier than) any other smartphone OS app store interface - yet on the Windows 8 Marketplace (dubbed Windows Store) games are hard to find, categories are scarce, the selection of games itself is weird and now that they have for the first time advertised their marketplace on a game trailer, we have confirmation that, yes, even their marketing is dumb.

If I see the logo on the right appear on a game trailer, I'll assume that game is available on the Windows 8 Marketplace.

The image above was taken from the release trailer for 17-Bit's finally-coming-out Skulls of the Shogun, where the Microsoft Surface is listed as a platform of its own. Okay. Why? Why is the Surface, that runs Windows 8, listed as a different platform than Windows 8? If they want to make it clear that the game will be available on the Windows Store then it would have sufficed to stamp the Windows 8 logo on the trailer, as opposed to the standard "PC Software" one. Are they trying to say that this game will also be available for ARM-based tablets? I don't know, because there's a Pro version of the Surface that runs an Intel chip. So I suspect that's what they meant, but frankly, knowing Microsoft, I cannot be sure.

But okay, look, let me level with you for a second. Microsoft did this for a reason. They want to tell people with Surface tablets that this neat little game about undead Japanese warlords will run on their expensive, tragically app-scarce Microsoft-branded slate (let's just assume both Pro and otherwise). But any person who would not have already conjectured that from the absence of the "PC" stamp and the presence of the Windows 8 logo is part of a demographic that will most likely become confused by the showcasing of Windows 8 and Surface as two different products. So this could have been one of those "dumb-to-'us'-yet-understandable-from-the-prism-of-a-larger-demographic" situations... but it's not.

Okay, maybe I got way too much into this. This probably isn't at all important, but it sure as heck is silly and it sure as heck is telling. It's (most likely) just their stupid little way of trying to say that this game runs on both Pro and RT versions of their latest OS. And if the larger marketing movement that englobes this particular instance of misguided advertising wasn't already so convoluted in and of itself, the image below probably wouldn't have tingled my "what the fuck?" glands nearly as much.

It's just that if the Surface name wasn't there, this image would make 120% more sense.

Just look at that. Yes, yes it runs on the Surface. I know. There's the Windows 8 logo before it. I can see it. But good job on making it seem that the Windows 8 OS and the Surface tablets are two mutually exclusive products, that won't confuse anyone.

24 Comments

IllumiRoom Could Make Me Want a Microsoft Console [VIDEO]

DISCLAIMER: While expressing my lack of interest for Microsoft's consoles emphasizes the point I'm trying to make with this thread, I also don't want to start a flame war, so I'll try to keep my explanation as civil and reasonably limited as I possibly can.

**

So I've never been too keen on the Xbox 360.

Even back when it launched, a console that didn't pack in wi-fi, was prone to crashing fatally, and was noisy as heck didn't really do it for me, inexpensive as it might have been. I had grown fond of some Sony titles, but not many Microsoft ones, so I decided to skip it. I didn't hate it, but I felt like the 60GB PS3 was exactly what I wanted.

These days most of my time playing games is spent on the PC, a platform where an incomprehensibly large number of Xbox would-be-exclusives now end up being released. So even though they've produced an altered, more robust, quieter version of the Xbox, most of the truly-exclusive titles that actually made me want to want one are now, at least, about 4 years old - from back when X360 exclusives would stay there. Couple that with the joke that Xbox LIVE has become when compared to rival services, and I am assertively anticipating the PlayStation Orbis will be my next-generation console of choice. Basically, even though I'm aware there are great exclusives to be had, I had passively shrugged off the notion of ever owning a Microsoft console.

Until I saw this.

This is awesome.

While the video is only a proof of concept, it was recorded live, with no added visual effects.

Just try to imagine all the potential behind this technology. Besides the type of gameplay they're showcasing, can't you just picture some weird, art-house, possibly non-eucledian indie title turning your living room into some sort of traumatic acid trip environment? My God, if there's a reasonable amount of "next-generation Xbox" titles that are compatible with this, then all my money. All of it. If this IllumiRoom tech actually gets adopted as a standard for every exclusive - which is very unlikely - then just NNNNNGGGGGHHHHHHH.

That said, this is still prototype technology, so it probably won't be integrated with Microsoft's impending console - not at launch, anyway. Maybe this will end up being some sort of mid-cycle add-on, much like the Kinect was for the 360. In any case, given how extravagant the concept of "living-room-wide projection" sounds, this IllumiRoom business will probably end up being quite pricy if/when it finally comes out, and for that reason probably won't gather a large enough audience to justify mass adoption in video-games. But one can dream.

For more on this topic, check out this article. There isn't a whole lot more info to be had, but might as well give it a read. This is neat as fuck. What do you think?

54 Comments

I have too many games.

You can say I am a compulsive buyer. I fall for every Steam Holiday sale, midweek sale and weekend sale. As a result I have over 20 games on my PC which I haven't yet played. I'm typing this on a MAC, so I can't look at the painfully endless list right now (not sure if I want to), but I'll try to recall as many titles as possible and list them below along with some non-Steam games also for the PC:
 

  • BioShock
  • Braid
  • Indigo Prophecy (that's its proper name, shut up)
  • GTA IV
  • The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena (which includes Escape from Butcher Bay)
  • Medieval II: Total War
  • Psychonauts
  • Borderlands
  • Mass Effect (second playthrough)
  • Mass Effect 2
  • Half Life 2: Episode 2
  • Trine
  • Hitman: Blood Money
  • Fallout 3
  • Sins of a Solar Empire
  • KOTOR
  • Spore
  • Freedom Force
  • Freedom Force vs. the 3rd Reich
  • The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition
 
I'm leaving out a few I can't remember. 
 
So today I sat down to play as much as possible of at least one of those, and the astounding conclusion I reached was that I couldn't play any of the games I had because I couldn't decide which one to play first. I must have spent well over half an hour deciding which game to play (procrastination included). I then decided to play Sins of a Solar Empire, and spent most of the time figuring out how to play it (damn learning curve is steep as hell). The most disturbing part of the whole thing is that what I actually wanted to play was Splinter Cell: Conviction, which I do not own. I'm *this* close to needing professional help.
 
I wish I could sell some of these. Why the hell did I but The Chronicles of Riddick? I don't even want that game.
 
So Giant Bomb, help me out here. Which one of these should I play first 'till the very end? By the way, Mass Effect 2 isn't an option since I need to finish the second playthrough on Mass Effect because that's the save file I want to import, and that is too time consuming considering I have tens of games I want to play.
29 Comments

What the hell happened to Pokémon?

I love this franchise.

I really do.

The first few Pokémon games (from Red/Blue to Ruby/Sapphire) really constitute most part of my childhood. Something like 70% of it I would say. Even today I don't think there is any other RPG, or any other game for that matter, that is quite like it. My favorite title has to be Pokémon Yellow. Why? Because it's Red/Blue (which everyone knows is the best generation) only slightly better.

That being said, even when I was completely under the hypnotizing spell of Ruby/Saphire, the last generation that I played, I felt that there were too many Pokémon.

Don't stop reading now, I know we've all heard this whining. That's not quite the point of this blog post.

When Game Freak gave us Gold/Silver it was pretty darn great because, hey, more Pokémon. When Ruby/Sapphire came out it was, hey, more Pokémon, again. When that other [gem stone]/[gem stone 2] generation, whose name I cannot remember, came out it was simply way too much Pokémon for me to care. So I didn't even get into it. But the recent release of Soul Silver and Heart Gold made me check some of the newest Pokémon there are.

And people: What. The. Fuck.

Seriously. There is a Pokémon called Abomasnow.

And I thought Bidoof was bad. What the fuck is this?!

Number 442. Wait... FOUR HUNDRED FORTY TWO?!

Honestly, one element I think fascinated us all was the creativity of the team that created Pokémon. Even the names were great. Who didn't think Squirtle, or Charizard looked awesome? And you know, I could actually understand the concept of a fire lizard and a water squirrel/turtle, but I cannot understand what this thing above is. I cannot figure it out.

What the heck is it?!

  • Is it Jell-o mixed with Flubber on top of a rock?
  • Is it a blood sample taken from Frankenstein? It looks purple plasma with green cells in it.
  • Is it a really messed up flower arrangement?
  • Is it what happens to Nidorans♂ when they die?

Also:

  • What is that purple thing?
  • Why is it having a seizure?
  • What is it standing on?
  • If it is a ghost type Pokémon, why does it need to stand on a something?
  • If it is a ghost, how can it stand on a something?!
  • Why does it look like it was taken from an Acid Trip?
  • Why does it have a blue brother?
  • Why does this color pattern still remind me of the two Nidorans?

The Pokémon team has obviously been deprived of all creativity they ever had. It seems as if they have been replaced by... I don't even know who or what can be so uncreative. Seriously, how many times are they going to use that color scheme. Do they expect us to have forgotten about the two Nidorans? It's been done before, make up something new.

Phew.

Ranting is exhaustive. So having said all that: I recently began playing Pokémon Yellow. On a Gameboy color. And it's really fun. I hadn't had this much fun with a videogame in a long time, this is also one of the most addictive videogames I've ever played. Additionally, the nostalgic feeling is amazing. The first 150 are the best Pokémon, with the best names, best design, and well, Lickitung.

So yeah. Play that game. Even if it's on an emulator. It's amazing.

XOXO,

SNAIL.

54 Comments

My new avatar is awesome.

First time I change Avatar in over an year. 
 
It is so awesome I had to make a blog post about it. 
 
I kept the yellow by the way. Because yellow fucking rules. You need more yellow in your life. Everyone does.

Thanks to Gigaman for making me this new avatar!

6 Comments

Hello world!

 Never been much of a blogger.
I'll admit that much. But since people here at Giant Bomb seem to miss me (I know, I'm kinda surprised too), and since more and more old timers have either left the site or been victims of our beloved nazi mods, I decided to make a blog explaining my absence.
 
Fear not, Giant Bomb, I am still among you, and I do not plan to part with you any time soon. I, like many of you, am a Giant Bomb aficionado. I have been around even before what is entitled by the community as "Day One", the day when the site was launched as an actual website, rather than just a blog page. I created this account on August 1st 2008, and since, have posted many, many posts on the forums on a daily basis, watched thousands of videos, read hundreds of news articles, and read every review Giant Bomb submits (which unfortunately are only some decades). But, in the beginning of August, I began my biggest hiatus ever as a Giant Bomb user. I was amazed at how long I could survive without posting on the Giant Bomb forums, and I don't think I would have survived without the amazing Giant Bomb app.
 
So why did I start this hiatus? Do not think for a second this hiatus was intentional. Oh, heavens no. Two letters.
 

I.B.

 
For those of you who don't know the International Baccalaureate is a very, very hard diploma to get, that requires a lot of work. I began this hiatus due to Summer vacay, actually, and its subsequent travels and trips around the world.  It all began when I went to New York City for little more than just a week, then, upon my return to Portugal, I hit Algarve and stayed there for another two weeks and  a half. When I come back school starts. The IB starts... and you know the rest of it.
 
I have very little spare time, and you must understand that the activity that first comes to my mind is not "LOLOLOL!!!1!one! TURN ON TEH INTERNETZ AND POST ON GBBBBB!". Not anymore at least.
 
So basically, you will be seeing a lot less of Snail around the boards.
That's all I had to say.

xoxoxoxo,
shnail.
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