The Digital Pre-Order Cake

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So as next-gen console release dates get closer, I had a realization, and have made a change. I was listening to a podcast, remembered that all games are supposed to be available digitally Day One of Console Release. And he reminded the listeners that all digital purchases are tax-free. And so I've canceled all my Amazon pre-order games.

So, I live in Texas. And we have 8.25% sales tax. So a retail game can come out to $64.86. Multiply that by some three or four games near launch, and that's a solid $15 or $20 dollars I could keep in my pocket. Hopefully they have the option where you can pre-load your game a couple of days before the game launch. Battlefield 4 is supposed to be 30 gigs to begin with. So in a year or two, those five extra dollars I'm paying for tax, can pay for some solid smaller download titles. And I could stop having to care about going to the Best Buy and caring about waiting in line or whatever.

And well, yea. The hard drive is only like 500 Gigs. And 30 gig games could add up, mathematically to where you could have maybe 16.67 games or so. But I have an external terabyte hard drive just in case it gets filled up. I have to reformat it again, but that's whatever. So I'll just plug that in and I'll be good to go.

Anyway, I just wanted to throw that out there. I'm going all digital from Day One. Are you?


Ben Kuchera's Ryan Davis Memorial

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The PA Report: You may not have been his friend, but he was yours: saying goodbye to Ryan Davis

Reading that Ryan Davis had passed away felt like being punched in the gut. This is the weird nature of the gaming community; we travel all over the world to see the same 100 or so people everywhere we go. I had only met Ryan Davis a few times, and I'm not sure if he would know me by sight, but he was an ever-present part of the gaming community.

Anyone who says that things like Twitter, and online gaming, and even podcasts or online video are solitary pursuits are full of shit. I'm not sure I've said more than few words to Davis in my entire career, but I invited him into my home over and over and over again. He was a part of my life, and likely a part of yours.

Twitter today was gaming's version of the 21-gun salute. People were sharing stories, and talking about their favorite memories of Davis. He was something of a force of nature, and even before he was taken from us, no one ever had a bad thing to say about him. He loved stupid, fun shit, and he loved it in a pure, all or nothing way. It's amazing how often we lose sight of how much fun games and talking about games is supposed to be, and how our world is so often filled with dour, over-serious discussion of often goofy stuff.

I have never seen so many great people in gaming say so many amazing things about one person. The fact he was 34 only makes that fact more amazing, and also more unbelievable. Ryan Davis should have been immortal. This isn't the sort of thing that happens to someone like him.

When someone who is this loved dies, especially in a world as connected as gaming, we all feel it, and that emotion is spread like a shock wave. Even people who didn't know him, knew him. Have you ever been to a Giant Bomb panel or event, anywhere? Those guys love their fans in a way that's rare in this business, and their fans love them right back. There is nothing else like Giant Bomb in this industry, and no one like Ryan Davis.

I didn't know Ryan Davis that well, but he was such a powerful presence in our collective lives that it's hard to imagine what it's going to be like without him. When we wake up tomorrow there will be a small hole in our lives, and it will be impossible to ignore or forget. That hole won't grow, but neither will it shrink, and it will remind us that a great man once did very silly things to the delight of a great many people.

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Justin McElroy's blog post on Ryan Davis

This is Justin McElroy's blog post on Polygon, on Ryan Davis

Polygon: Remembering Ryan Davis

I think whether they realized it or not, most people who write about video games kind of wanted to be Ryan Davis.

I know I did. Ryan was that rare voice that was able to be brutally critical and frank and funny, and still be well-liked by basically everybody. How could anybody walk the line that well?

I was a fan for years before I started writing about games, and I guess I thought that eventually I'd understand the secret magic he had, I'd find out that it was really two people when the lady was being sawed in half, so maybe the trick wasn't so impressive all along.

This, as it turned out, was not the case.

That didn't stop me from using Ryan as a metric of success, of course. When I saw that he had retweeted something I'd said, it was some of the best validation I ever got. When he had me on the Giant Bombcast that first time, it was the first time I believed I was truly, genuinely, 100 percent successful in my career.

Work aside, he was one of the warmest, kindest people I ever had the pleasure of meeting. You can't really know anybody's heart, but I honestly think that he liked me, which, much more than validating me as a writer or whatever, made me feel like I was a good person, worthwhile.

You ever get that feeling when you go out on a weekend, say, and you worry that whatever you're doing, you might be missing something better, more epic somewhere else? Being around Ryan had the exact opposite effect. If you were with him, you were at the cool kids table. Something amazing, or at least really, really dumb was going to happen and you knew you'd get to be around for it.

If you can tell me how you replace someone like that, someone who's capable of filling a room with that kind of energy, I'm all ears, because at this precise moment I don't have a solitary clue.

Keep in mind, I could count on one hand the number of times I met Ryan in person, and this is the crater he left on me. I can not fathom the pain that those who knew him so much better than me are going through right now and my heart is with them, for whatever that's worth.

If Ryan was reading this, he would have already busted my chops about how I had managed to make this piece not only maudlin but somehow about myself, and that makes me miss him so much, makes me so bottom-of-my-core sad that I want to throw up.

If there's a better compliment I can pay to the guy than the fact that I even miss him picking on me, I'm not sure what it is.

I've been doing this for years now, and with every word I've written or said, I've become more convinced that it turns out I was right about one thing: The trick was a simple one. The secret to being as good as Ryan Davis was just this: Be Ryan Davis. Not a stunt that me or anybody else can pull off, but I'm honored I got to see it in person.

Farewell, King of the Summerjams, may your enduring legacy, the greatest playlist ever compiled on this blue globe, sing thee to thy rest.

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Arthur Gies' RIP RYAN DAVIS blog

Goodbye, Ryan

One of the last things I ever said to Ryan Davis in person was “this must be the line for assholes.”

I was making my way to a PR check-in on the last day of E3 2013, and he was already waiting at the desk for what was probably one of the last of many appointments that day. As I walked up, I fell into the same pattern I always had with Ryan, which was to fuck with him. I had to — it would be the only chance I ever had in any particular conversation with him to get the upper hand. After that it would always be a back and forth that would inevitably lead to a tacit acknowledgment that he was funnier and that I was totally ok with that. I think that meeting at E3 ended with a handshake and a see you soon. I laughed when I was back in the same spot an hour or so later and Alex Navarro walked up behind me and said “this must be the line for assholes.”

I’m not sure what I have to add to the chorus of notes and well wishes that have been written today in the wake of Ryan’s passing last week, which many of us only heard about this morning. I didn’t know Ryan well, exactly. I saw him a fair few times the last couple of years, because we ended up at a lot of the same events. This industry is full of acquaintances — people you meet that you know at “work,” that you come into frequent enough contact with that you learn their names and maybe cluster with for a few moments during those times, whether out of some kind of defense mechanism or desire to not be “that guy” in the corner, not talking to anyone, desperately staring at your phone, hoping to be given purpose by some stupid piece of busywork.

Ryan was not that. Every time I saw him, we managed to carve out a decent amount of time to bullshit about … whatever. Nothing. Everything. I would ask him how things were at Giant Bomb, he would ask about first Joystiq, then Polygon. We would talk shit, we would bust each other’s balls. Talking to him, I felt genuine warmth and concern and caring and humor in a way I do not get from many people, and reading so many comments today, I was not unique in this regard. Most people, I think, want you to like them. Ryan always seemed to want to make people feel welcome. Even if that meant merciless taunting. Especially via merciless taunting.

Others have pointed out today that Ryan had the ability to make you feel like the most special person on the planet for a brief, wondrous moment via giving you some laser-guided shit. He was a master of poking your ego without really hurting your feelings. and part of that was his willingness to be on the receiving end of that loving abuse. This went beyond the easy cliche of the big party animal desperate for laughs. Ryan knew what to do for the hardest, most important, moment-defining laugh, and he did it constantly.

Maybe he was doing it for himself. I don’t know. It never felt that way. It always felt like he was trying to make everyone’s time better. And hanging out at events, talking, bullshitting, talking shit, it felt like we were friends. I always looked forward to that. I was always thankful that in a sea of mostly dudes who are mostly jaded and mostly antisocial or maybe just awkward, Ryan was always a source of laughter and comfort and joy. And I realize how corny that sounds, but it was true. He was rightfully one of the most well-liked members of our weird extended and often vitriolic family.

I say all of this as someone who saw Ryan a couple dozen times over the course of a little less than three years. I cannot fathom the grief and sadness that those who he was truly close to are experiencing right now. Not his new wife, not his immediate family, and not Patrick, or Brad, or Drew, or Dave, or John, or Jeff, or so many other people whose hearts are broken right now. I’ve had water leaking from my face off and on for most of the day since I found out, and I just cannot wrap my head around that sadness. To all of you that knew Ryan, that loved him, I am so very sorry. I wish I could do more than offer platitudes and my own paltry thoughts on his passing.

To everyone else, to all of my friends and the people in my life, this is a harsh reminder that I don’t say this enough: I love you. Even if we don’t speak often or ever. Even if I never see you. I love you. I would miss you if you were gone, and I have never said it enough. I’m sorry for that too. And Ryan, we only sort of knew each other, via work, via twitter, via the internet. But I’ll miss you too.

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Did any of y'all "grow up" on Chiodos/Circa Survive?

I first got introduced to Chiodos and Circa Survive in high-school. Probably like freshman year. Since then, there have been so many solidly fucking-good collaborations. E.g. The Sounds of Animals Fighting, Saosin, D.R.U.G.S., In Fear and Faith, etc. Each of them have had their ups and downs. And they always seemed to roll in my thoughts/collection time and time again, all these years.

Craig Owens went back to Chiodos last year, and released their sappy-cool video. That new-singer got kicked out or some shit, and fans welcomed back Craig with open arms. I looked now, and their new album is now supposed to be coming out like next year.. Shit, I thought it was supposed to be this year.. And they recently announced that they've signed on to Razor & Tie, rather than Equal Vision. In order to get myself ready, I'm buying All's Well That Ends Well again. 'Just to make sure I have that album, no matter what happens to the new album. I'm buying it digitally this time rather than getting it from the CD, ripping it, and then having it sound sub-par in my ears. And by now its scratched. I have a Xbox Music subscription, but that bitrate is just not the same..

Anywho, I did end up liking Craig's Με την αγάπη (With Love) album. I didn't like Cinematic Sunrise much. I loved Isles and Glaciers stuff. And I seperately loved what he did with Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows. Meanwhile, I hated Chiodos' Illuminaudio a bit much.. It was sounded too Christian-Rockish, I thought.. I just couldn't put my finger on it. And I have seen Circa and Chiodos a couple of times, both at local shows and Vans Warped Tour.

Anyway, do y'all like Chiodos/Circa Survive any? I still think they travel hand-in-hand in conversations. Maybe.

Oh, Circa. Uhm, Juturna is still my favorite to throw on. On Letting Go is fucking fun and fast. And I like what they did with Blue Sky Noise. I didn't like Violent Waves too much. And Appendage was alright; sounds like Juturna a bit. I like Portugal. The Man a bit, here and there. I think Anthony Green had them on one his songs, I guess?. And you might like Tides of Man, if you like Circa.

A Circa story: I went to go see them one Halloween night, and the band was dressed up. Anthony was dressed like a giant baby, and my friend said he touched his shirt. And he said that he smelled like he hadn't bathed in weeks.


I'd rather stay on Xbox with friends, than alone on PS4.

I have a PS3 already.

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Alright. Well I talked with my friend, and it looks like I'm still getting an Xbox ∞ then. I think I'ma get that $300 subscription version, as that one comes with XBL already. They have a 360 model for $100, and a price plan now. I mean if I'm right, the PS4 is still gonna cost more than the X∞ anyway. If the non-subscription version X∞ costs $500, then a PS4 would cost like $550, 600 to 650 up. At $300, I can still get a $70 2 year warranty, and a couple of games like I wanted. [Well, maybe. I mean the subscription version might have to come from a Microsoft Store, rather than Best Buy.]

As long as a couple of my friends get on Xbox ∞, I should be fine. I have one friend that just likes CoD, and I doubt he would convert to PS4 just cuz. He doesn't do indie games, but he would maybe get on some next-gen co-op Castle Crasher stuff, or whatever they do. I could probably get him on Battlefield again, and I might get a CoD this year or next, this time around. Maybe it'll actually be worth buying. I'm just glad we're on next-gen now with 8GB RAM to play with.

I have maybe two friends who would maybe play Dragon Age III multi-player with me. I just need to convert G1 to spending like a solid $500, but whatevs if she won't. She'll get on whenever. She likes Xbox. G2 will buy an Xbox, fucking whenever. She could barely understand the controller dead-zone that is Borderlands 2, now.

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Its like: If I got a PS4, I won't get people to game Killzone with me. They won't buy it, but maybe I could get some people on Halo, though. I sure hope Black Tusk Studios showcases something good at E3 this year. And shit. I actually wanna buy a Dance Central 4 at some point and lose some weight. Fuck it! Kill me, it seems alright. [I have maybe two friends I could Dance Central with. Maybe it might actually get some proper multiplayer this time. Leaderboards might get upgraded, or whatever. Proper Kinect 2.0 detection]

Yea, shit. Wait until E3. But at least I'll be happy knowing I'll be okay playing with friends no matter what I do. None of my friends are gonna build a gaming PC. Maybe like one. But its not like everyone I know is just gonna get on WoW or TF2. That's just not what they do, and I don't care to get on that just for a PC.


Major Nelson on, "what was said, yesterday."

Well. This isn't news. He's said dick-nothing.

Major Nelson: Official Statement on what was said yesterday

The point is, that Microsoft's official Public Representative has said nothing. Well, I mean exactly:

I wanted to give you the official Microsoft Statement regarding some comments you may have seen yesterday::

"We apologize for the inappropriate comments made by an employee on Twitter yesterday. This person is not a spokesperson for Microsoft, and his personal views do not reflect the customer centric approach we take to our products or how we would communicate directly with our loyal consumers. We are very sorry if this offended anyone, however we have not made any announcements about our product roadmap, and have no further comment on this matter."

As frequent readers of my blog know, the moment we have news about our products I will be sharing all the details I can.

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This is the closest thing we have to a public figure. From what Jeff has said, Don Mattrick is going to EA, whether or not that's true. Joe Belfiore isn't gonna ever be CEO. Ballmer doesn't even have a twitter. And Bill Gates hasn't said anything.

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I've said before, that I'm a little pro-Microsoft. But, I mean I'll admit: If worse comes to worse, come past E3, like by September, I sure hope this has been sort it out. But, I guess I would then give in maybe to a PS4. This is a blog post, so a year from now I might have bought something and I'll know.

Anyway, this time now, there's 613 comments on that official posting. Le Sigh.. ~ The point is that: This DRM, now has me worried. I'm trying just desperately hard, to try and figure out who's pitching this AlwaysOnline thing. Windows has always been this hippie mentality about providing the cheapest-best thing for every human being in the world.

Its like: On one side you have this Always-online thing. (X∞) I don't have a chart. ~ And on the other side (PS4), you have: I don't like the controller design. I don't like Sony (XMB) interface. I don't like the messaging. I don't like the store interface. And if the word on the street is right, a PS4 might cost $430. Xbox ∞ was supposedly designed with a $300 price, "guaranteed," at some point.

The Verge: Xbox 720 document leak reveals $299 console with Kinect 2 for 2013, Kinect Glasses project

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There's now like 9 solid weeks until E3. If you think of this as a creative writing assignment. A red-button creative issue, where a MS Studios CD has shit your bed.. 'Just ruined the whole thing. How do you fix this? The only thing I can think of right now: is if they did a Nintendo Direct style move, featuring Steve Ballmer and Don Mattrick. And have them give a 5 minute speech about why gamers shouldn't worry. And of course cancel any DRM plan from here on out.

Even if they were to put a half-AO console-thing out, price it $200 and below. And have XBL priced at $3 a month.

$100 is the magic price point where people will buy anything at least once, just to try it.

Or, have 2 Xbox versions. One cheap AO version, priced at $100, w/ a payment plan like T-Mobile. Microsoft already does now with their 360. Or a $300 version with no AO. And $30 XBL points included with every console.

Every day they don't say something, the worse it is. If we don't hear anything by this Friday, we're fucked. Nine weeks is way too far for gamers to wait. Gamers will burn that bed before then. : /


Doom IV Le Sigh?. Maybe, hell yea!.

Kotaku reports this long interesting story about the development Doom IV.

Kotaku: Five Years And Nothing To Show: How Doom 4 Got Off Track

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The point of it is that Doom IV got has now been rebooted once, and is on track for next gen consoles. But, they've got a very long way to go. That the Doom IV project, has had bad management, and communication problems.

Polygon: Doom 4 development reportedly rebooted in late 2011, now set for next-gen consoles

John Carmack got up in front of everyone and said something like, "Doom means two things: demons and shotguns."

Its a very interesting read, and I don't do it justice, so I just won't care to quote much.

But I made sure to make this a blog post because the Doom 1 demo, and Mortal Kombat 1 on floppy, are the things I grew up on. And then Amazon Trail. I only expect the best from Doom IV. And next-gen RAM and blu-ray and such, should create plenty of room to innovate on. I just hope they have enough fucking good, young guns and engineers, to do it justice. : /


Pre-Microsoft Announcement: Thoughts on PS4 Services

I already posted this once, but i kinda wanna preserve this for history, for like a year from now for myself. You know, like when the PS4 launches in exactly one year?

Aegon posted a topic, and discussion is kinda just.. I don't know: Jeff is good. Yea, Jeff is good, I agree. ~ But I wanna think about concrete PS4 stuff.

GameTrailers: Bonus Round: Microsoft's Next Move [03/31/13]

Well does anybody here, actually wanna talk about what they said? Jeff said some pretty interesting things.

Let's say that if, I actually wanted to get a PS4, what TV services and apps will I be able to get? ~ The fact is that I haven't watched real television in like 2 years now. Shows and stuff I could just get online. So, what if I actually wanted ta PlayStation Show Subscription. Will that actually get offered, or is Sony too err-scared to try and beat out Netflix?

The fact is that games don't really make Console-Providers money, but services do. So, if PS4 manages to add a whole of services and content, that might get me to look at it more. All this screen sharing stuff, and near-instant demos; aren't going to get me to use the console any more than I do now. In between the wait time when I'ma play BF4 with my friend, I want to fuck around and go find new things to do.

That's why I want PlayStation Home to come back so badly, because games and such can get a little monotonous.

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New Strokes Album, Comedown Machine: Thoughts

Every time a new 'Strokes comes out, its like an event for me.. I know they're so fucking good, I just can't listen to them much. I cringe very time I hear them, and even more when I hear new stuff. But, I know they're good.

Comedown Machine just came out. And, its pretty fucking good. Its just that: it takes me like a month of listening to it constantly to get used to it. Most of the time, its because its always that damn thought: "It doesn't sound the same, like Room On Fire, did." Do any of you guys do this? With this band or any other? Its a 4/5 for me, just like an album I could think of. I dunno. I guess because I don't really have favorites.

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Every time a new Strokes album comes out.. I feel older. I like new things, but mostly from the bands I already like.. I've been listening to the new Fall Out Boy single, Light Em' Up, over and over again. They're way mature now, I think. And I'm okay with liking 'em when others don't. ~ I'll be honest. I never really dug this whole dubstep thing. I miss the old kistchy rock-pop from the early Ots,' and damn good old techno, like Daft Punk. Justice, I could barely get into. Oh, Chemical Brothers..

Xbox Music: The Strokes: Comedown Machine

Anyway. I guess: how do you like the new Strokes album?