GB Commmunity Podcast and Game Night

Yes random person whom I don't know, now please get out of my house your scaring me.
Hey everyone, haven't updated the blog in a week so figured I would by now. I'll start off with telling all you guys about some cool things me and fellow GB user MattBodega have had in the works. First off, our GiantBomb community gaming night. Every Friday or sat we set up a time and announce that we are hosting a gaming night. Every week is a new game, by doing this were hoping we can open our user base for this gaming night. Note: This night is completely run by you guys, if there is a game that you want to host that we aren't PM me or Matt and we will announce it alongside what we are hosting that night. The new gaming night is coming up soon and we haven't completely decided what exactly were all playing but we somewhat narrowed it down to Castle Crashers, TF2, or Starcraft. If you guys got any suggestions at all feel free to tell me or Matt and we'll definitely look into it.

On another note me and Matt are hosting a community podcast. You can find our "Test Cast' Episode zero here. This podcast was essentially a little test that was supposed to be 10 minutes that turned into a hour long thing. At the moment there are still some things to fix up, next podcast we'll have more people in it and it'll be more on topic. The point of the podcast is to be more focused on the community. We'll talk about blogs on the site that we find interesting and we'll talk about the forums and talk about topics that interest/disgusts us. Every week we also will have a community guest meaning if you guys want to be on the show pm me or MattBodega and we'll totally try to get you on the show. We've decided that we will put the podcast up every Monday you can find it on my blog and Matt's and we'll announce it on the forums also.

So that's been whats going on hopefully you guys will like our ideas to further do some cool stuff with the GB community and BTW, yes we are sooooo ripping of Destructoid.
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Websites of the Past

Shit...I didn't think this title through very well.
So I found this pretty cool website thanks to Destructoid. The "Wayback Machine"  is a website where you can type in a website address and you can go and check out how the sites looked back in the day. Note: These aren't screen shots either, you actually can click through the site. Its pretty damn cool to look at how crappy sites look compared to today. I Figured it'd be cool to show anyone who hasn't checked this out yet. Its pretty interesting to look at the past and get all nostalgic.
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Tales of a Crappy Gamer: Half-Life 2

So for the first time in 4 years I actually came around to finishing Half-Life 2 and for th

You...uh heard the man.
e most part I really liked it. I know its odd to give one's opinions on a game that has been critically acclaimed for years now but fuck it I'm going to anyway. My overview of the game is that I really liked the second half of the game much more than the first half. Areas like Ravenholm were still amazing but when I had to go through that long vehicle mission I kind of lost the motivation to go through the whole thing. That brings up the topic of Ravenholm, by far I find this the most interesting part of the game. Throughout the entire section I always had this extremely eerie sensation about the place. By looking at the place you can sense that it was once a more lively town and now it is just the remnants of its past.

The second half of the game completely blew me away. First off, taking control of the antlions was a great change of pace. Right when I gained control of them the game started to feel more strategic. I found myself using my antlions to distract enemies while I flank them and other things of that nature. Near the end of the game I got introduced with the powered up gravity gun that proved to be a god danm blast, I could really feel the difference from the old gravity gun that you used throughout the start of the game. Also, I found this game had the greatest ending sequence ever but I wont go into that too much but all I can say is that the G-man has never been so creepy. All in all Half-Life 2 is a lot better than I gave it credit for back in 2004 and I'm really glad I went back to it. I probably and going to go finish episode 1 and 2 now and hopefully it'll be just as good or maybe even better.

Well I leave you readers off with a simple question: What very popular somewhat old games have you guys neglected to beat? What say you Giantbombers?
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Left 4 Dead on ps3, apparently its true.

Ahhh, zombies
(Note: may be slightly old but figured I'd type it up if anyone hasn't really noticed it.)

According to the recent issue of Official Playstation Magazine Left 4 Dead is going to be ported to the Ps3 as well as the Xbox 360. Apparently the port is going to be developed by  EA, whether that is a good thing or bad is still up for question. Hopefully enough Valve and EA have learned from the mistakes and backlash that they got from the ps3 port of the Orange box. Either way this means that everyone will get to enjoy Left 4 Dead. PS3 owners rejoice!

Edit: If you read comments this has been broken to be not true.
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Are Game Reviewers lazy?

Lazy cat, awww cute.
I recently read an article on edge.com about an interview with Joseph Olin who is the president of the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. In this article he mentions how he has a pet peeve for reviewers who neglect to finish games before reviewing them. Joseph uses a comparison with reviewing movies, he says things like"You wouldn't just watch the first reel of a movie and review it."  He uses GTA4 as an example stating, "How can you give a comment about a game like Grand Theft Auto IV, that has 40-plus hours or more of gameplay, if you've only spent 2 1/2 to 3 hours playing it? While, I think alot of reviewers out there can be lazy, I really think the points Joseph used didn't support his arguments very well. Comparing seems wrong for the plain fact that games and movies are different, sure they hold some similar qualities but what makes them what they are is different, what makes them games or movies is different.

It's easy to finish a movie. Movies are  normally shorter than a game and naturally it's a very passive experience. While, he average video game is still longer than a 2 hour movie adding in the face that  it is also an active experience, the whole time you are interacting with the game and in result it can lead you to becoming much more tired of a game. Many times before I have lost motivation to finish a game regardless of how good or bad it was. 

Simply when you play a game your always going to end up having to concentrate in playing the game forcing you to deal with the many different things that make up the game, Most notably the core mechanic. A mechanic in the game that is going to be used throughout the entire game, albeit it may be changed up once and a while, but it will still be the same mechanic. If that mechanic is handled poorly or just isn't really fun at all,naturally, it will be like that for the rest of the game. In a movie the plot can have a twist and change the happenings in the story making it more interesting to watch. Although,being so inconsistent isn't normally a good thing, it can happen more in a story focused piece of entertainment. While in a game a developer isn't going to completely scrap the original gameplay halfway through. In some cases the developer may switch to different characters with different game mechanics, but its rarely the case that you don't see the older mechanic later in the game. Eventually a player can get to a point where he/she knows the game will be like this in the future.

Joseph speaks about how even if you complete the story in GTA it doesn't mean you done. He says "...Would a review of GTA IV in which the writer finished the story but did nothing else be more complete? I don’t personally think so." Although, I understand his reasoning it's still a lot to ask. Going back to my first point, you are actively participating in the game. This, in some way, can cause a lot of mental exhaustion for reviewers who naturally have a deadline. In a way I wouldn't call reviewers lazy because of this.I would say that this is normal for any human. For the most part getting 100% in GTA is extremely hard and its natural for one's motivation to deplete. It's like being forced to do laps around a gym, sure some people can do it but eventually someone is just going to lose energy.  By the time you finish GTA you have done around 64% of the game. The idea is that other 36% is more content yes, but that extra content most of the time uses those same game mechanics you have seen during the entire story, you have already reviewed those parts what's the point if you've already gone through that before?

Really, its just the difference between the mediums. We approach each one in a different manner. Trying to review these two mediums in the exact same way isn't always the best idea because they're different,simple as that. Its unreasonable to ask someone to evaluate them in the same way, yes they are both entertainment, but the way they entertain us is different. You can't review a book the same way you review a movie. In a movie there's different aspects in it that effect the quality. Eg) The quality of the acting and cinematography. All these mediums may have similar aspects to them but they have certain things that are different that define them. Asking someone to evaluate them in the same way can't happen because you are still reviewing different things.I can see where Joseph is coming from but I have to disagree. 
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Weekly Musings: Difficulty in Games

This picture seemed fitting at the time.
Welcome to a little feature I plan on doing every week where I just talk about whats on my mind in the gaming world.

Now most hardcore gamers are no stranger to difficult games. In days of our past that was what games were littered with. Nowadays though things are different games are a lot more easier now. Some gamers will say that we have come to a time where gamers are too pampered now and that games are not as nearly as challenging as before. Now that is true, but is that a bad thing or a good thing? In a way its a bad thing for people who grow bored of the less challenging gameplay but on the other side it can ruin the experience for some.

In most cases for myself I am very interested in keeping my level of immersion high. Most of the time for me it is all about the experience of the stories and the new worlds I can experie
Ahhh my old love.
nce.  In most cases I can ignore a lot of gameplay flaws if the world I'm being immersed in is a good one. That immersion can be destroyed by dying a lot on a certain point. When I begin to focus too much on the gameplay aspect of things I start to lose that suspension of belief and that ends up ruining my experience. So for the most part I always enjoy games that engage me rather than challenge.

So this is my idea, is it really a bad idea for game developers to make the gameplay engaging rather than challenging the player. First off I should explain what I mean. Instead of the developer throwing an extremely hard obstacle in front of you, they give you something where you try it once and fail but then learn how to get past said obstacle. By doing this they prevent the player from getting frustrated but make them feel like they accomplished something by learning how to solve an obstacle. 

In some sense, I find that developing a game that can intuitively engage the player is a lot harder than just throwign insane challenge at them. Anyone can just throw really hard monsters at a person and expect them to die a lot before they get them, but I think it takes work to keep the play immersed while throwing interesting puzzles or challenges that can still make them feel rewarded but still not frustrating them. At this point it really seems unrealistic to demand something liek that without the game turning out more easier than it should be, but I feel it is an interesting idea to have a game that can make a player feel rewarded without frustrating them. But that brings up another theory in mind, what if you need that challenge to feel the reward. Is it impossible to feel any kind of achievement with out it beating you over the head over and over?

Although, I am not saying they can't coexist. I think a game with a crazy difficulty can be fun, I can say I feel danm cool when I can down that hard boss, but whos to say we can't a game with a easier difficulty and it can still be fun. They're are always going to be an extreme on both sides of difficulty. Many deveolpers have tried to please everyone with their difficulty curve but have leaned over to one side more than the other. Either way people are going to have they're preference on difficulty and thats great. At some point we make get to the time where games are able to hit a happy medium in difficulty. I mean who knows what the future stores right?
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My cliche Introduction blog

From the title you can tell what this is about since for a first blog I normally like to do introductions so here it is...roll call!?!

First I guess I should star talking about who I am a 15 year old High school student (yes I am young) who for a very long time now has had a interest in writing.  All my life (short life) I have had an almost unhealthy obsession with video games.  Most of the time video games probably are the only things to do living in a small Canadian town where it snows at least 10 months in a year.

I like a lot of different types of games but for the most part I love Rpgs. Some of my favorite games Have to be FF8, Dragon quest 8, Persona 3, and most of all the MGS series.

For a long time I have been looking for a place to just get involved in a more community focused site. Originally for me that was destructoid but for the most part it was nearly impossible to get very involved in the community due to things being so established already. So then one day I discovered Giantbomb and to my surprise this site has had the most community  support and influence I have seen in a long time.  From this site I have already talked to some cool people and made some friends in IRC. Hopefully what I want to do here is to set myself in the community and contribute something to the site. Beyond that I want to have fun and meet some cool people. Hope everyone really enjoys their ti me here and hope I do too.

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