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Blogging from the Beach: Episode One

So, been here a couple days. It's nice. For those who have the means, I highly recommend Sarasota/Siesta Key. Amazing sand (it isn't ever hot) and nice water temperatures. Now, this isn't my first time here, but at the same time there's a lot I didn't get to do last time we were here.

I've only got so much time here, so for now I'll just leave it at I'll try to check in again before my two week visit is up, but don't expect me to do much editing until I get back just because I've only got limited time on (so no writing a bazillion page articles).



On Posts and Vacations

Don't go stealin' all the edits before I get back.

Yup, Leone's out for two weeks as he goes off to Sarasota, FL for a vacation. Hopefully when I get back the point-goblins will have given me back my some-400 missing points.

I'll try to check in every now and then, so feel free to bombard my inbox and, if I can find interwebs, I'll head over to the IRC to harass godhand.



Ten Things I Hate About Community Image Moderation

(Before I continue, I think the community moderation is a great idea, and it works. This is more about the user-base, not the moderation system)

Be careful: This may happen to you.
Be careful: This may happen to you.

After reviewing over 7,000 submissions, there are some nasty trends out there that are starting to drive me crazy.
Ed: In light of starting to go through submissions again, I remembered one point that I failed to have on my list the first time through and it has subsequently been added.

First, let's look at "DA RULES" that are posted at the top of the community moderation, which I believe all would-be image uploaders would do well to read. My personal opinion is that those should be shown to people who bring up the uploader for the first time (or for the first time within their session).

  1. Are too small (be less strict on non-screenshots)
  2. Include a watermark from another site (IGN, Gametrailers...etc)
  3. Are attached to more then one platform. (PC and Xbox 360 both)
  4. Create a new gallery that is not needed or poorly named

If your image has any of those points and you still upload it, then IT IS BAD AND YOU SHOULD FEEL BAD.

And if I see it in the image queue, I will click that "I disapprove of this edit" with the fury of ten thousand suns.

Now then, without further ado:

The Top Eleven Things I Hate About Your Sumission:
  1. Redundant Galleries. If you are uploading an image to a location/concept/character/etc, there is absolutely no need for a gallery with the same name. I would not be going to the "Homer Simpson" gallery looking for pictures of "Sonic the Hedgehog" so Homer doesn't need his own folder.
  2. Wallpaper Galleries. There is Google images for this. I came to look for screenshots, not what you threw together in photoshop for this game.
  3. Ten art galleries for the same game. While I don't always check (and that is a bit of an exaggeration), too many games have more than one art work gallery. You are mincing words if Artwork is different from Concept Art is different from Art. Period. This could be quickly remedied if GB created an "Artwork" Gallery by default.
  4. Illegible text on a PC screenshot. There's really no excuse for this besides laziness. You're at a computer and playing a PC game. For crying out loud, use Paint if you have to.
  5. Watermarks. This is a no-brainer, and yet they're still everywhere. By the way, the single best one I've come across so far is someone who tried to make a "Watermarked" gallery for a game. Don't do that. Ever. Again.
  6. Characters don't need their own galleries (on a game's page). We have character pages for this.
  8. Weapons pages on a shooter. We have object pages for this.
  9. Fanart. No.
  10. Contents of the box images. Box art is not the place for pictures of your instruction manuals (which I believe are a no-no in general) or cartridges.
  11. Out-dated box art. If the game is out there is no reason to upload boxart that still has ESRB's "Rating Pending" stamped on it. Try again, please.
Now then, feel free to upload. Remember though, be smart about it.

I know that by posting this, I am being a gigantic hypocrite because I am probably guilty of at least a couple of those on more than one occasion, but it had to be said.

Red vs. Blue

...and I don't mean the popular web-series.

Let's look at some definitions, shall we?
Devil's Advocate from wikipedia:
"In common parlance, a devil's advocate is someone who takes a position, sometimes one he or she disagrees with, for the sake of argument. This process can be used to test the quality of the original argument and identify weaknesses in its structure."
Devil's Advocate from dictionary.com:
"One who argues against a cause or position, not as a committed opponent but simply for the sake of argument or to determine the validity of the cause or position."

Discussion from dictionary.com:
"An act or instance of discussing; consideration or examination by argument, comment, etc., esp. to explore solutions; informal debate."

Debate from dictionary.com:
  1. A discussion involving opposing points; an argument.
  2. Deliberation; consideration.
  3. A formal contest of argumentation in which two opposing teams defend and attack a given proposition.
Troll from urban dictionary:
"One who purposely and deliberately (that purpose usually being self-amusement) starts an argument in a manner which attacks others on a forum without in any way listening to the arguments proposed by his or her peers. "


Some will content that simply by marking certain words I am already myself doing what I intend to oppose, so take this as you will.

At a glance, an informal assumption between "Devil's Advocate" and "Troll" would lead many to think that a Troll is essentially the internet's version of a Devil's Advocate. Is this really the case? Are you a Troll for always raising the opposite view? No. I did not mark this part of the Troll definition, but those who continue to read will notice that it says "...without in any way listening to the arguments proposed by his or her peers." That is the difference between a Debater and a Troll. If you intend to debate, you must be willing to admit defeat, or at least take acknowledge the opposing view point. To fight fervently for your opinion without ever giving someone else's idea a chance is to be a troll. You don't have to call someone a fanboy; you don't have to overtly attack anyone; all you have to do is fail to give it up.

And failure is key. To not give up and to fail to give up are two entirely different things. Perhaps you still see strength in your argument, or you have found a flaw in your opponent's. Either way, what you are doing is debating, you have not given up because there is still something to contend. If you fail to give up, you are beating the proverbial horse with a large hammer; you are fighting a battle that has ended. And more often than not, you are the fool in the end. No matter how good your argument is in the beginning, all it takes is that one moment where you fail to understand your situation, where you stop debating and start antagonizing and you have become the fool, marked by your peers as something else.

There are very key statements that antagonize, whether intentional or otherwise, and they vary slightly with each and every person. It is only natural to defense yourself when you feel threatened, and this is all too easy to set up over the internet. When are you a debater? When are you the antagonist? The answers are something that you have to learn, not something someone can hand you on a slip of paper. Be aware of how others react to your statements, don't just blindly charge ahead. You need to be able to read your opponent; you are not trying to beat them down; you are not trying to trap them and corner them; you are trying to convince them that your viewpoint, that your argument, is better.

"Discussion" and "Debate" both have their places on the internet, and indeed, GiantBomb would be a great place for debating in these early stages. Many valid points have already been brought up within the confines of what this site is, such as: Is this really a gaming concept? Did so-and-so really come up with this first? Has this really affected gaming at all? Is it unique to gaming?

Or the more prevalent examples, to which there is an entire forum devoted to: What constitutes a release versus a new game? Is there a measurable difference in content that qualifies one or the other? Or is it simply being put in a new box, under a different name?

But is it a good place for debating? Only if people know how to conduct themselves.

This blog isn't to offer opinions on any of those, nor am I one to judge. Instead, this blog is to talk about how you should conduct yourself in a discussion or a debate. It is a fine line we all walk, especially online where we lack the minute intonations and expressions that give our full voice to a statement. Without a doubt, many people can engage in a debate online but the fact remains: you must know when to call it quits; you must know when to say "you're right" or "good point"; you need to know when you have gone from debating to trolling. Even those with the purest of intentions can crawl under that infamous bridge and become that thing which we all loathe.

Shit, I could be trolling all your asses right now, and you haven't even realized it yet. That is the double-edged nature of the internet, ladies and gentlemen. Take it as you will; tread lightly when you wish to back up your statements. And remember: the next time you want to comment on whether "sound" is a key concept of gaming or if that is totally absurd garbage, take a moment to consider everyone else, what they're saying, and most importantly, how they are reacting to you.

This just in from the News Room..

<Lies>    godhand, who is god?
<godhand>    leone_ god?

<Lies>    godhand, what is the meaning of life
<godhand>    it has been meaning of life, and your face is neon blue

The meaning of life includes neon blue faces, and in a more breaking report: I am God.


Tales from the IRC

<godhand>    ugh stupid poland

<Leone_>    godhand dy/dx (x^2)=
<godhand>    godhand: dy/dx (x^2)=2x

For the uninitiated, Godhand is our IRC bot.. and while generally completely incoherent, he manages to surprise every now and then.

That is all.


On Reviews and Scoring

I've got to write this up before I completely forget about it.

I know that some of my reviews are going to get some hate because the fact of the matter, we don't all see eye to eye. Now, I'm one of those people who things assigning a numerical score to a game is rather arbitrary, and I do appreciate the GiantBomb Crew's attempt to list their scale as a scale of recommendation. I mean how silly would it look for someone to be standing the Louvre, declaring the Mona Lisa a 10/10, but then going to St. Peter's Basilica and saying the Pietà is a mere 5/10 because Michelangelo was a prick.

The numerical score I will assign in my reviews will be following that kind of mantra- I'm showing how likely I am to recommend this game to someone else. Also, I try to think on a 10/100 point scale, rather than out of 5 with half points (it just feels like beating around the bush) so if I give a game a 3.5, that's between a 65 and a 75, and so on up and down the scale. 100 would be a game I would run out and buy for someone just so they had a chance to experience it, while a 70 is a game I liked, or enjoyed something about it and may recommend or aid in a decision over. But, being raised in the standard US school systems, to me 70 is merely "average" while 60 is "below average" and 50 or less is bad and that's probably not a good thing, but what can you do? I know the vast majority of any readers I'll get will look at that rating and immediately pass judgement on my review without ever reading it.  That's a fact of the internet, we're all entitled to our damned opinions, so screw you all.

My reviews are more about the text and less about the score and that's where things might get dicey. Take my Assassin's Creed review, anyone who reads that out of the blue will feel like I was tearing the game apart and hated it, but I still said I'd probably help someone decide as to whether or not to buy it, and at the very least tell them to try renting it. Assassin's Creed isn't in my top 10, nor is it a game I will rave over, it was alright, I beat it and that was that. It had problems, but like I said in my review, with some polish, Assassin's Creed 2 will be amazing and I am excited for what is to come. If anything, I hope other developers look at Assassin's Creed and try to do better. AC had some amazing qualities that I'd love to see other games copy. Just imagine a Grand Theft Auto with the sheer number of people in the cities of Assassin's Creed? Liberty City would really feel like New York, not just look like it.

Likewise with Ratchet and Clank, the proportional weight of my Pros/Cons is a little skewed. If I could, I might reorganize my review, but I stand by what I said. I've already commented to the feedback I've gotten on that review, and you can read it for yourself, but the point I'm trying to make out of all of this is I'm trying to write about my experiences with the game in question and perhaps give my reader a little more insight into the game. I can't change your mind, but I can at least tell you what happened to me. It's your choice to listen, and it is your choice to make up your mind.

Shoot, chances are that most people that get infuriated by my reviews won't even take the time to come and read this blog post, so until I get some more friends on this site, this is more for me than anybody else.

Now if you'll excuse me, it's almost 3 AM and I'm worn out. I'll see you all in the morning.


New Blog, Same Old Habits

A new blog to completely and utterly fail to update.

Sadly, that is my MO, so for those expecting daily witty and insightful blogs from me will be horribly, horribly mistaken.

I really don't know what my deal is with blogs- could be we just don't see eye to eye on some metaphysical level, but to cut a long story short, don't be expecting many blog updates- because I won't make them unless I put an egg timer on my desk with "GIANTBOMBBLOG" scribbled on it in sharpie.

I will try to be around to make posts every now and then though, so who knows- maybe I'll get with it one of these days.