December 30, 2009

PC Gamers should love Steam right now

First of all, I hope everyone's holidays were friggin' stellar.  I know mine was.  More on nerd loot at a later date.

Have any of you PC game lovers been on Steam recently?  If you don't know what that is, check it out here.  Anyway, from before the holidays through January 3rd they are having some fantastic deals on PC games if you don't mind not having the box to go with the game.  Personally I prefer digital downloads but that's another topic for another day, one that I'm sure The Boyfriend would be more knowledgeable about.

When I say deals, I do mean deals.  And these deals will change every 24 hours so there's no telling what you can get on the cheap when.  For example, over the last week I've observed and/or purchased:

Bioshock for $5
Left 4 Dead for $7.50
Audiosurf for $2.50
All Unreal Tournament Games in a package for $14
Civilization IV for $6.80

I don't want to make the list too long, but you get the point.  If you are jonesing for some good games that for some reason you didn't get over the holidays, check steam.

On that note, I'm going to play on my gaming computer.  :D

December 23, 2009

How I Found Out About the Krampus Last Year

Once again I hope you all aren't visited by that beast. However, I really didn't know about him until last year, after this christmas episode:





If you haven't seen the Venture Bros. before, you can thank me later.  Watch the full special here.

December 16, 2009

My Gaming PC: am I a traitor?.

I've been meaning to post about my new gaming PC, which I named Adonis.  I had a chance to buy all the parts cheap on Newegg, and since the Boyfriend loves to build computers, I got it put together for practically free.

That's part of the reason I've been playing Dragon Age exponentially.  And next Mass Effect!  WOO!

But in some ways, I feel like I am betraying my roots.  I was raised a console gamer.  Started out with a Super NES and I didn't really start getting into it until I got older.  I've always loved video games, but I never really considered myself a "gamer" in that regard.  Sims 2 was really the most hardcore I went.  Everything else I played but never finished.  Spyro, Super Mario 64, Yoshi's Island, Dark Cloud...  Never finished any of them.

I was always around people who loved video games, and I could see why people loved them too.  It wasn't until college I got into games for real.  I got a first generation Nintendo DS and it was awesome.  I played it to escape from my first summer job in the evenings.  Kirby Canvas Curse is the first game I got for myself and actually finished.  Or at least that I can remember.

And from then on I was hooked.  I loved gaming and would play or watch as much as I could.  I made a friend in college that would play JRPGs and I would watch all the time.   Soul Caliber battles were awesome.  And I was seeking out stuff to play.  But it was always on a console.  I didn't even consider PC games.  Partly because my main computer was a mac and partly because I grew up with consoles.

Within a year I've totally converted.  I prefer the input with a keyboard and mouse.  Point and click!  No double joysticks to deal with!  I don't want to operate the camera and the character at the same time like that!  And if you don't like how it looks or operates, you upgrade it yourself!

I think I was officially sold when one of my friends let me try out Prototype on his beast of a laptop.  It was so fluid!  It made perfect sense!  Who knew I could be this good at video games?!

I think that when I knew I needed a gaming PC.  There are a lot of video games these days that revolve around really good stories.  Dragon Age is one of them, but let us not forget other games I wanted to play and never really got around to like BioShock and Fallout 3.  And with Mass Effect I didn't actually play.  Instead I did all the character choices while the Boyfriend was nice enough to do all the shoot.  Well now I can do my own shooting!  WOOT!  And I'll actually hit!  YEAH!

Though... I'm still playing on easy...

Anyway, I don't know if I am actually abandoning what originally brought me to gaming.  I still love my Wii, and the games that are on it.  And console games are a lot more social.  But a lot of the games I want to play are like reading long books.  They have unique stories, and the best way for me to play through without dying all the time is on a PC.  I guess it's just me adapting to the changes in the gaming world.

December 14, 2009

Why I Have Crushes on Fictional Characters

FYI:  This post is spoiler free.  Please keep the comments that way too since I and a good chunk of my readers haven't finished the game.

Alright, in my last post were I apologized for not writing in ages, I admitted something embarrassing.  I'm not sure if all  of you thought it was true, but I know some of you knew it had to be.  And to be honest, I have no problem just saying it out in the middle of the internet.

I have a crush on this guy:


Handsome, no?

Don't worry, I'm not going to be like the girl who dumped her boyfriend because he wasn't like Edward in Twilight.  My expectations are realistic.  I know I'm never getting with this piece of pixelated ass or anyone even close to my expectation of who he really is.  Also, having a boyfriend in real life is a lot healthier.  Sorry, Alistar.

My and my nerd gal pals do this all the time though!  I was writing horrible fan fiction about Chekov from the original Star Trek in junior high!  In fact we all wrote horrible fan fiction about our heart throbs, whether from Star Trek, Pirates of the Carribean, heck even Digimon! Uh, p.s. the digimon is not even me.

But why do us nerd girls even do this?  Why don't we lust over guys that really exist?  I remember it being a lot more normal in jr. high and high school to like an actor, like Josh Hartnett or one of the Backstreet Boys.  But throughout that time I would long for other guys.  There was Checkov, Johnny Depp's Ichabod Crane, John the Savage from when I read Brave New World... list goes on.  And it's not like I didn't have boyfriends all throughout that time.  But I was attracted to all these guys that were not real, and didn't think they'd ever be real.

The question is why would I do this in the first place?  Not like I was ever going to be fully satisfied with these romantics interests, right?

I'll let you in on a secret: these crushes are safe.  S-A-F-E.

Think about it.  All you know about the character is right in front of you.  There are no hidden secrets you need to find out (Dragon age is an exception, but not by much) and it is so much easier to focus on all the positives of that character.  Seriously, right now in game I can just make out with Alistar as much as I want when I am in camp.  And if I was really sick, I could replay all those moments when Alistar says silly bumbling things about being in love with my character. (BTW I'm not that sick)  He's available for everything good you want in a relationship, and barely available for everything bad you have in a relationship.

This is especially true for a lot of my other past crushes.  I had just enough information to be "yeah, this is guy is nice/romantic/endearing/just my type, and I'm sure if we met we'd hit it off"and then just roll with it in my own head.  The guy is never going to approach me, never going to reveal himself to have a secret which I couldn't live with, never going to have to move in with me and split rent and utilities... and he's available to you all the time if your imagination is good enough!  If not, watch the movie/play the game/read the book over and relive all the moments that make you heart go a flutter!

Also, fans who have crushes on characters can easily shape some of the character to fit their romantic liking.  "Uh... sure he likes brunettes.  He does in my head at least!"

In a way this is extremely normal.  Everyone in their head has an idea of who their perfect man/woman would be.  A lot of the time people have a problem projecting their current love interest to be that person, or needs to change to be that person.  In this situation, that projecting doesn't cause fights, misunderstandings, and even break ups.  It's just molding something that already isn't there into your liking.

I have never gone too far with this stuff though.  I have never thought that The Boyfriend should suddenly act like Alistar, or start looking like him.  When I was younger I never though "I should have a boyfriend who is just like John the Savage" or anything remotely like that.  Never even compared my real life crushes to my fictional ones.  That's when it just gets weird.  More than weird.   I have never actively sought that out.  I have known of people who do, and it just ends in tragedy.

I will continue to have my crush on Alistar for a while, I'm sure.  The Boyfriend doesn't feel threatened, since when he's around I shower him in kisses and snuggles.  That's something I'm not doing to my computer monitor.

Also, I wouldn't be surprised that this is only because he's a romance-able character.  Those developers definitely know what their doing.

December 13, 2009

Real Life is the Enemy!

So it's been almost a year a blog, if not an actual year, and I find that my work schedule the past week or so prevented me from doing things I enjoy, including this awesome blog.  Other things being kept from me while I'm being an adult:

-Starting that UA game
-Writing for the comic
-Not falling asleep when my boyfriend visits me.
-My LARP and all the cool friends I've made there
-The Paranoia Game I'm playing on Wave
-Seeing my family when I'm not tired and irritated

So it's not just you guys, it's everything.  The only joy I've consistently gotten the last couple of days is about an hour of Dragon Age each night before going to sleep and dreaming of either the Boyfriend or Alistar from the game.  Don't worry, the Boyfriend automatically wins because he actually exists.  And he built me a computer.  :D

I am trying to aim for posting in this every day with something awesome from now on.  I love writing and I haven't been doing enough of it recently.  That's part of the reason this blog exists.  I'm not going to abandon it merely because my job is giving me double the hours this weekend and next.  I will prevail!

Expect some more awesome soon.

December 4, 2009

Christmas Gift: Stories!

So I figured out the best christmas gift to give to my friends while I am financially... unable to purchase things for everyone I love: a story about them.

I'm not saying my stories are the best, but I do consider myself a good writer.  I can write something interesting and readable (if you discount my first drafts with grammar problems up the wazoo) and people tend to geniunely enjoy what I write.  I'm thinking that's the way to go.

Usually when somebody does a gift that is hand made, it's a bit more useful than a story.  Like a knit sweater or a built spice rack.  I just hope the friends I give these stories to appreciate them.  I'm going to try and cater to their personalities too.

Oh, and if you're a friend of mine reading this, pretend you didn't.

November 30, 2009

WolfCon Report!



What an awesome weekend! I am so glad I went to WolfCon, and I definitely told people that I am planning to go next year.

To be honest, the idea of having a Con after Thanksgiving, when most people will have friday off work, is a fantastic idea.  You start the day early with a board game, card game, or RPG and you don't start there.

It's a small, local con but it's a good one.  First of all, it's run with a ton of enthusiasm.  Everyone wants to have a good time and wants to make sure everyone else has a good time.  Second of all there are a lot of good teachers when it comes to board games.  For example, the Battlestar Galactica board game could easily get confusing and unenjoyable fast considering how complicated the rules could be.  However, it was actually really fun and easy to pick up because I was playing with someone who knew exactly how to explain the rules, and when not to explain too much.  Third, the people who attended were all extremely friendly.

I played a couple of RPGs, a few board games, and even some soccer on Saturday!  Dull moments did not last for long periods of time.  I would suggest coming with a couple of friends so you know you can find a game to try out and play pretty quickly.  It was nice, since the Con was small, to have a mike available to announce events and pick up games.  I got a couple of people to play Settlers of Catan that way, and I found out about a CyberPunk game that way.

I am hoping to help in some way with WolfCon next year, so if you see me post about it a lot in the next year, don't think they're paying me to post.  I'm just helping out people promote an awesome con.

November 25, 2009

My Geek Thanksgiving Family

That's right, this is what my family would be like at Thanksgiving if fandom ruled the universe. This is no way based on how my family is set up, just how I think this would make sense.

My father: Jean-Luc Picard.

Really, who didn't see that coming? Through most of TNG Picard never really wants a family, you have to admit he is good father material. He'd be supportive, he'd always have a story, and maybe I'm biased because Patrick Stewart is bald like my father but that part doesn't hurt either. All that aside, I would love to see Picard carve the turkey as the family gathered around.

My mother: Wynne from Dragon Age

I'm going to be honest guys, this one is hard. I didn't want to get too obvious, which would've been another Star Trek character (or several). After playing more of Dragon Age last night the protective instincts of Wynne made her a strong choice. Also I'm hoping her studies of herbalism make the seasoning on the sweet potatos that much better!

My older brother: Riddick from Pitch Black

Riddick is a great choice because he's the older cooler brother that you know you'll never be as cool as, so either you try to fit in with him or your stop trying. Of course, I don't think I'd try too hard to be as cool as a murderer, but you never know.

My younger sister: Kaylee from Firefly

Cute, spunky and smart, Kaylee is the perfect choice as a younger sister. If you've seen the show you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you don't, imagine if car mechanics were mostly my little pony fans. Yeah, weird mix of cute and mechanically smart.

My cousin I would go on hijinks with: Vyse from Skies of Arcadia

Vyse would be the best cousin to have because he would always find something fun to do. Also, wouldn't it be great to be an air pirate on thanksgiving? At least in pretend when I'm 8 years old in a cardboard box as a boat sense.

My crazy Uncle: Solid Snake

Who doesn't have a crazy uncle talking about conspiracy theories to some degree or another? At least Uncle Snake could confirm these theories with his "to-do" list. I'm sure he'd be the best to carve the turkey too... with an assault rifle.

My Grandpa: Hari Seldon from The Foundation Series.

I know this one is probably coming from left field for some of you. If it is, go read Foundation by Asimov right now. Hari Seldon ends up inventing a science to predict the future of the masses. It's a combination of psychology and statistics called Psychohistory. The wisdom needed to make something like that has to be HUGE. I would listen to him talk while I was eating delicious turkey.

My Grandma: Princess Peach

I understand she is a lot younger than a grandmother is thought to be, but she has a lot of the same qualities of a grandmother. She's sickeningly sweet, ultra feminine, has huge hair and is pretty good with a frying pan from what I see in Super Smash Bros.

And that's my geek family. :D

November 20, 2009

Disturbing scene in CoD:MW2 makes story line sense.

Some of you may remember eons ago (at least it feels like it) when I talked about Activision lying about skipping scenes in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

The Boyfriend got a copy of the game and wanted to show me the first few missions, which include the controversial scene in question. I decided to watch it to see how it plays out.

I'm not going to spoil anything here, but I will say that the reason is exists in the game story-wise is a good one. It not only makes you hate the villain, but it also makes you not underestimate him at the very end. There is a twist that makes that whole scene vital, and also develops the antagonist, both of which are necessary for the plot. I can appreciate the scene for what it's trying to do. Still, not going to buy the game at this point.

There is an option to skip disturbing scenes if you want, and they ask you twice. However, this is at the very beginning of starting your game, so if you don't know that this scene exists you may not know exactly is meant as disturbing. So Activision was right in some sense.

Personally, if I wanted to shoot people, I'd play Gears of War. However I suck at aim and I find it a lot more exhilarating to slash through enemies with a sword. What can I say? It must be my DnD roots.

November 13, 2009

Test and Webcomic update

I got a recording device for my other blog when I conduct more interviews, but I used it as an opportunity to talk about the webcomic I'm working on. Let me know how this works...

zSHARE - webcomic update1.mp3

If anyone knows of a way to upload an audio file without having you all download it, let me know.  I'll be tinkering with this post for a while I think.

UPDATE: I hope this will work!

November 12, 2009

Dragon Age: A theme of betrayal



SPOILERS AHEAD


Well, for a very small portion of the game.


Blame the Boyfriend.  He is an enabler.  I mention I'm really intrigued by Dragon age and BAM his laptop is in my house and I can't stop playing it.  Well, I do for work but dammit, I would play this all day if I had the chance and the right set up.

Like always, I'm drawn into the story. You choose what back story you start with by choosing your race, class, and status in society.  I was a dwarf warrior noble, and I really like the back story that they give you.  I want to play the game again to see how it would be different as a mage (you can't be a dwarf and a mage) and see if I can start out with a fuller group.

Anyway, talking to the Boyfriend about his character's back stories, and then looking at what I've seen of my story so far, betrayal is HUGE.  And this is where the spoiler marking matters so look away those who haven't played and plan to.

No matter what your back story is, you help out at a battle against the Blight (wretched creatures created by the sins of man infecting the lands like a plague) in an abandoned fort called Ostagar.  You're there with your people, the Grey Wardens, to help King Calin's troops.  The Grey Wardens are trained specifically to cast out the Blight.  Your job, along with another Grey Warden Alistar, is to light a beacon for Calin's war aid Loghain to bring troops after Calin and the other Grey Wardens start out killing some darkspawn (creatures of the blight).  So you finally battle a ton of darkspawn that shouldn't have been there in the first place, you light the beacon and you are excited to do your part when...

Loghain pulls his troops back and lets King Calin die.

First of all, you feel stupid for not realizing it would happen.  When I first met Loghain I thought "he's so going to betray me" but then I took it back.  I had already dealt with something similar earlier on in the story (and almost every back story has its own betrayal issues) so I figured it wouldn't happen again.  I was so wrong.  It was like a hard slap to the face.

Second, it prepares you for similar acts on a smaller scale to happen again and again and again.  You have to do actions that you are suspicious of from the get go for the story to move.  And then your suspicions are confirmed!  It's like an abusive relationship!

As the game continues I'm going to see if this theme continues, and how important it is.  Is it also a weapon against the bad guys?

If you know how it ends, don't answer that question!

November 6, 2009

WolfCon and AD&D Character Creation

Some of you readers who also read The 20 Sided Women Project know that I'm going to be involved in Chicago's WolfCon this year, partly for that blog but also because I haven't been to a good con outside of the one at my college in a long time.  I am so ready to roll some dice with some homies.

If you want a taste test for the awesome RPGs that will be there, there will be an AD&D Character Creation Session this Wenesday, Nov. 11th at 6pm at the Great American Bagel at 1248 W. Belmont in Chicago, IL.

I'm usually not guilty of cross posting since my two blogs are for two very different things, but I'm doing it because I love supporting cons that are bound to be awesome and I really want to help out these guys since they're helping out the 20 Sided Women Project.  If you go to the link above you'll see info and such and a way to contact them, and they are always open to suggestions about games, especially if you know a lot of people will come to play.

And on that note, I'm posting the flyer here since it's got all the info you need.  I hope to see some of you there!


November 2, 2009

Magic in a Story: A Balancing Act


I have just finished the first "chapter" of the web comic my friend Proptart and I are going to be doing, and I'm told I can still write.  As long as I can write better than I did in high school, I'm all good with that.  But soon after the next chapter, magic is going to be a big item in the story, and if you want magic to be good, you need to make it logical.

This is hard to do.  First of all, nothing in known physics supports anything that human lore refers to as magic.  Therefore, it is inherently illogical in our world.

However, you can't just put in a fancy spell any time you feel like it's cool and awesome.  I find when that happens in fantasy stories, the reader just stops believing.  It's hard to get immersed when the protagonist can essentially solve every problem with a spell the reader has never heard of before but conveniently works exactly the way the protagonist needs it to.  It's also hard to believe a random collection of handy spells with no clear ties can be learned.  This is the one thing that annoyed me about Dungeons and Dragons: the magic has no real theme to tie it all together.  Sure, there were schools of magic but there was no clear theme of manipulation of something that made the magic really cohesive.  Now that didn't stop me from loving D&D as much as I do.  It was just annoying.

I like magic when there's a main theme to it.  A good game that I know of that works like this is Unknown Armies.  Your character would have a world-view so skewed that you see things most people don't, and hence you manipulate parts of the world with that magic.  There are conditions to keeping that magic but with one's world view so skewed, it's usually easy to keep to those restrictions.  Another game that has a good sense of themes or worlds of magic is World of Darkness' Mage.  Each mage is awakened to the secret ways of bending the world.  They can only affect certain aspects of the world around them, but over time master it very well and make friends that have different specialties.

I feel like this helps a world make more sense.  There has to be some system that works in the world that allows physics bending magic to happen.  Whether you're an Urbanomancer in tune to the city so well you can occasionally have hobos do your bidding, or you have figured out how to talk to the dead while you work at the morgue, a system of bending the rules is easy to get lost into when it comes to story.  So that kind of system I'm hoping to use.

Right now my idea is to use nature as a system.  Of course this would mean using the four elements: earth, wind, fire, air.  But I want to intersperse that with other parts of nature too.  Plant growth is something I think would be good to manipulate, and I have to think of some other natural forces that can be manipulated.  But all of this will be rather limited as well.  On with intense clarity and concentration can one move a substantial amount of earth.  Air is the easiest to manipulate, but it takes years of practice before someone can actually knock someone over with wind, let alone several people.  Fire is so dangerous that usually mages specialize in it and can't make much use of it until a decade of honing their skill.

One thing I think is dangerous to dabble with is the manipulation of things that have free will.  People controlling animals will probably not exist in my world at all.  Any kind of mind magic, or psionics (a dirty word to many D&D lovers) will be of very limited power.  I will say it will exist in my world, but not as a way to manipulate characters with hypnosis or mind control.

I'm hoping I've got the perfect balance of logic and fantasy going on in my magic scheme.  You won't know until I've got the web comic up and running how it's going to take shape, but I hope you readers will think my story is full of epic win.

p.s I got the picture for this blog post here.

October 31, 2009

Great Halloween Video from Screw Attack



Happy Halloween Everyone!

Activision lies about skipping scenes in CoD:MW2

My FPS loving friends and I usually like the Call of Duty series, and Modern Warfare 2 has been on our radar, although we're not getting all hyped up.  We just like games where we can shoot at each other, CoD is one of them.  Laser tag is another, though it's a bit more physical and you can't do it at home as easily.

Then this controversial clip from the game play came out that included the player in the campaign mode being a terrorist and shooting down tons of innocent civilians. I would love to show you the footage I saw but the best I can do is upload the Hard News episode from Screw Attack that had that footage. Activision has been trying their best to take all footage that has leaked out down.



Quite easy to see how this footage is disturbing, and how the video game community did a complete double take. A very vocal group of people were pretty offended that this gameplay was available.

Activision then says "Don't worry guys the scenes are skippable" except in much more diplomatic terms. Okay, so you don't have to mow down civilians. Fantastic, players have options like they should. Hooray!

"Skipping" is apparently a very loose term to Activision. It turns out the ESRB noted that players could choose to either shoot civilians or not in this scene. Never did it say anything about skipping the scene entirely.

Let me get this straight: I get to "skip" being a horrible human being, the same choice I have in day to day life, but I can't "skip" seeing tons of (albeit fictional) innocent people get shot in the open without being able to defend themselves as my compatriots in the story go around shooting anyone standing.

I'm sorry, but come on! I understand if the developers want people to know who they're fighting against in the game, but this is too much! I as a player don't need to see any dramatization of an airport shooting! It makes my skin crawl and is in general very uncomfortable. I'm someone who was raised around the times of the Columbine shooting, the Oklahoma City bombing and 9/11. Just tell me in story what this terrorist group did, and I think I'll be fine killing them off later in game.

Of course, those are personal feelings. But I think that a lot of people feel the same way. No matter how you initially react to it, the scene hits so close to home that you just want to avoid it entirely, which means not playing the campaign mode.

Also, what is fun about that situation anyway? There is no real challenge when it comes to shooting people who can't defend themselves. You want some what of an even match in a game like Call of Duty, where you are proud of yourself when you pick the right gun and you position yourself just right to get a head shot on your enemy. Or hit him square in the nuts if you are hanging out with my friends.

Maybe Call of Duty is trying to set themselves up for a story about moral choices, but to be perfectly honest that is not why I play Call of Duty. I play it so I can pretend to be some awesome guy out on the field killing a bunch of baddies. Or to play the multiplayer with friends and see how long I can last. (Which in reality isn't that long). Call of Duty has never come to mind as a game about moral dilemmas or decisions based on ethics. There are plenty of other games I would play for that experience, like Mass Effect.

All in all, I don't appreciate a company like Activision being a liar about the "skipping" part. Unless the ESRB missed the "skip" button (and I doubt they would've missed it) Call of Duty is definitely going to lose out on sales where players don't want to be the bad guys we worry about in real life. And I'm one of them.

October 27, 2009

Introduce the Right (Funniest) Friends to Your Games.

Sunday was hilarious.

The Boyfriend and one of his friends was visiting me, and The Boyfriend wanted to play Hex Hex. Since the game is more interesting with more than 3 players, I told my friend to join us. For her "protection" I will call her Proptart.

Hex Hex was as fun as anticipated, and then we played some Wii games before finally saying "Okay Proptart, how about some Call of Duty on the Xbox?" Proptart doesn't play a lot of video games so she didn't even know that it was a first person shooter, let alone what that exactly meant. So we just told her to shoot and aim and good luck.

Proptart proceeded to be the entertainment for the evening. I will list some of the funnier things she did.

-Since she didn't know where everyone was, she would shoot to let us know where she was on the map.
-She announced after a while, "If I shoot I can figure out where I am on your compasses!" We all cracked up because we joke about screen-watching all the time.
-Sometimes when she found someone to shoot she would go "BAM BAM! BAM BAM BAM!"
-Since this was her first time with any of these controls, she would try to shoot someone and then totally miss, and then move her joystick all around in hopes it would hit. Her bullets at some times were more like confetti.
-To be perfectly fair, I am not good at FPS's as well, especially on a console. I shoot a lot better on the PC. There was one point where Proptart and I were literally RIGHT IN FRONT OF EACH OTHER and couldn't hit each other for a good 15 seconds. I finally got the kill, but after moving my gun around all around on the groun in front of Proptart.
-Proptart's general exclamations of when she got shot were hilarious. Especially when she would try to shoot back and then miss the person completely even though they were right in her sights.

I say this in all good fun. Proptart had a fun time all around, and I want to introduce her to FPS's on the computer too, since I think she'd pick it up faster. Maybe even get her on some Unreal Tournament too?

So when you know you have a friend who is hilarious and has never played an FPS, have them do it. High quality comedy, I guarantee.

October 22, 2009

Nothing to do with Nerdiness, Everything to do with Justice.



I am embarrassed as an American citizen that this bill is even a debate. Let your senator know that rape is wrong, no matter who's doing it. I'm contacting Dick Durbin as soon as I can.

October 21, 2009

You use a Wii Board for that?

Apparently there is some investigation in the use of Wii Balance Board for screening potential security risks at your airport.  Don't believe me, read it here.

The theory is that if you are guilty, you will shift your weight more often on the board than someone who is not guilty.  Guilty of what you ask?  Well, my dear readers. guilty of planning a terrorist attack or planting a bomb on a commercial airliner, what else?

God forbid that I have to fly when this is being tested in 2011.  Hopefully not in O'Hare, where I fly to and from the most.  Because sometimes I really gotta pee, and that makes me shift back and forth.  Imagine being accused of terrorism because you have a bad bladder.  Or what about when I shift because my feet (which used to be flat but now have high arches... what the hell?) hurt a lot?  Or what if my back hurts and I shift to help alleviate that pain?

In logical standpoint, this seems like such a bad idea.  I keep on thinking of ways it wouldn't work.  Especially if they try to use it on children.  A child standing still?  Only if he's able to sleep standing up.

I really wonder what Nintendo thinks of all this.  I can't imagine Reggie being like "Well that's a logical leap: from consumer pastime to government screen test."

October 19, 2009

Meet my army



This weekend in central IL my friends down there were nice enough to give me a belated birthday gift, which really was a huge bag of various dice.  In that were 16 black d20s that were just asking to be rolled to glory.  Hence, my army, who will defend my table-top RPG honor.

You have to admit, they roll deep.

October 17, 2009

It's all for science

This rare parrot has some interesting ideas of attractiveness.





Well, I don't know if the right thing to feel in that situation is lucky, or shameful.

October 16, 2009

A Fantastic Nerd Weekend

Once again I am taking a great trip in Athens, where I get to be the nerdiest nerd that ever nerded.  It started out great.

I finally got the chance to finish House of Dead: Overkill with my friend Joel.  All I will say is it's definitely mature, and if you don't like cheesy parodies of grind house horror flicks with some sick humor you shouldn't play the game.

I'm glad that in this day an age we are not forgetting the appeal of a good rail shooter.  FPS games are great, but sometimes I just want to point and shoot.

And now I'm watching the Boyfriend play paradise mode of Ghost Squad.  I could shake my head at it but really, what's the harm?

October 14, 2009

Alright, another game I need to get.

Ever since my brother stopped caring about his xbox 360 I've been a little deprived of games I want to play.  I don't have a lot of money for new games and the games that m brother has are now... well unplayable.  But my list of games that I want to play keeps rising, especially when something is as well done as Brutal Legend.

Here's a review that got me thinking of it, although I've been spying on it for a while now.




Brutal Legend does a lot of things good when it comes to video games. First of all, it has a great unique setting. Sci-fi and high fantasy have been used a LOT in video games, and in each there are ones that dominate that market. There are a lot of games that try to work in these niches, and end up failing because the concept could never compare to what's already out there. Isn't it better to make your own niche?

What the team for Brutal Legend did is take an idea (heavy metal world) and take is as far as they can go. And if you look at the review, you can see they did so much with that idea.

But a great concept for a world is not enough. You also need a unique game play experience. And it looks like they did that, interlacing the concept of kicking serious @$$ with real time strategy. I love to micro-mange and I love punching things in the face! It's perfect for me!

And finally, there's humor. There are not a lot of humorous games done well. There are a lot of epic stories, and that's understandable when your market is a bunch of people practicing escapism. But a video game that gives me a good laugh is not as available as I'd like it to be. A lot of them dont' end up rating too well. The last one I remember playing is South Park: The Game, and even it wasn't the best game in the world or that funny if you didn't know the series.

So for all those reasons, I'm adding Brutal Legend to the list of games I need to get. I'll have to put that list up for you guys sometime so we can all compare.

October 13, 2009

Another writing project

I hate to say it readers, but I've been cheating on you.  Writing-wise, that is.

I have a dear friend of mine I've known since junior high who was like me not too long ago--bored and unemployed.  She's kind of like the sister I never had, especially since my mother claims her all the time as her missing daughter.  It's funny, let me tell you.  Any my dear friend and I decided we should do the awesome thing we said we would do years ago.

We should make a web comic.

Now mind you, I don't think I will ever get to some of the same fame as Penny Arcade or Something Positive.  It would be arrogant to say that this is an eventuality.  But my friend wants to practice drawing, and this is a story I've been trying to work on since high school.  In fact it was used as the setting in my D&D campaign in college.  These characters and this story have not left me in about 7 years.  For me, that's a long time.  And I'm very loyal to my stories it seems, so I have to write it sooner or later.

Now that I'm a bit more settled in my new job and I'm finally getting a good pace with this writing stuff, I'm not going to be as absent as I was previously from this blog.  But I'm hoping you all can see how this can benefit you!  You will soon have a new web comic to be entertained by.

It's not going to be a web comic that you readers will be used to.  Its a fantasy setting with political intrigue and religious prophecy.  It's not going to be all fun and games.  It's going to be a real story, with a real ending I know of too.  We'll see how that works out for us.  Also, don't expect it anytime too soon.  There is a lot that the two of us need to work out.

In the meantime, please forgive me!  I'll never cheat on you writing wise again!  I will always come back to you readers!

Also, this means some hilarious posts about my writing process.  I promise.

October 9, 2009

Costume Idea

It's really easy to have a boring costume for Halloween.  And as a nerd I have to think of something super awesome.  There are certain costumes I've would've liked to do, but so far the most fun costume I've done was based on a song.  I was the character Crossed Eyed Mary from the Jethro Tull song.  Although only one out of thirty people actually got it after a while, it was awesome.  I was with someone that was dressed up as Aqualung, so it worked even better that way.


This year I'm doing it solo, and I have to work on Halloween before I go out and party.  So it has to be safe, but I want it to be from a song.  And I think I got it, it'll obviously be a costume but at the same time it'll be appropriate in some way.


I'm going as the chick described in the song Camarillo Brillo.  Other than the rancid poncho, the description in the chorus gives me everything I need.


She had a snake for a pet
And an amulet
And she was breeding a dwarf
But she wasn't done yet
She had a grey green skin
A doll with a pin
I told her she was alright
But I couldn't come in
(I just couldn't come in right then...)

So does anyone know where to get a rancid poncho in Chicago?  Or how to get grey green skin?

If you want to see the get up on Halloween, come see Theatre of Souls on October 31st at my job.  Email me for info.

October 7, 2009

New Job = Busy

Not a lot of time for posting unfortunately... :(

Working on it!  I shall catch up!

October 4, 2009

Hex Hex Next: Play It!

In college I was introduced to a lot of board and card games, a lot of them being even better with the addition of alcohol.  Not that I was a heavy drinker in college, but when you're with the right company Settlers of Catan while enjoying some Chianti (or more likely a Gin and Tonic) is actually a great evening.

One of my favorites was Hex Hex.  The premise of the game is that your in a circle of friends trying to back stab each other so you don't have a hex go off on you.  You can change the hex, pass it around, even double it in opposite directions.  It's easy to pick up as long as you read the cards and know how many hexes are being played around the table.

I had wanted to play it with friends in Chicago for a while but hadn't had a chance to until I found the sequel/expansion at GamePlus.


Hex Hex Next is essentially the same game but with a change in some of the cards.  You have new types of hexes, new types of cards and the same premise.  Last night I finally cracked it open for 6 players (which is the suggested max) to see how it went.

After the learning bit for most people (well myself included because there were new cards) it went very well.  It was still friendly while we targeted people for hexes and certain people became temporary enemies, targeting each other.  It sounds a lot more vicious than it was.  There is also a lot of hilarity that happens due to the nature of the cards, despite the cards not being particularly hilarious.  All in all, great game to play with friends that is relatively easy to pick up.

I would like to see how it mixes with a Hex Hex deck, but then that's a game with over 200 cards.  I'm actually almost afraid to see how many times a hex could be duplicated if the right cards were out.

October 1, 2009

Promotion!

So at my job I got a promotion, to box office manager.  Starts officially next week.  Still doing the stuff I did before on top of those duties.  Woot!

This only means that I may be doing some blog posts from work, or later than usual.  Trust me, it'll be awesome.  :D

In other news, happy October!

September 28, 2009

This guy knows something we don't.

A friend of mine in law school showed me this link about a man named Dalton Chiscolm.  Seemingly ordinary man (with an unordinary name) filing an extraordinary lawsuit to Bank of America...

for 1.784 sextillon dollars american.

How much is that?  Well it's 1.784 billion, trillion.  If I think I type it out correctly, numerically is looks like this:

1 784 000 000 000 000 000 000

That is a ton of zeros.  This is the kind of number you make up when you a kid and you decide you want to be a bajillionaire, and you have to write out how much money you'll have, so you just put a bunch of zeros at the end of some random number like 1,784.

One of the problems with suing Bank of America for this much is that the world itself only produces 60 trillion in GDP.  There is no physical way (other than printing money and devaluing everything to ridiculous prices) that Bank of America can pay this.

Unless... Bank of America has holding on other worlds across the cosmos.  But how is that possible?

Then I realized that Mr. Chiscolm must know something very dangerous, a dark secret that Bank of America has to hide.  You see, the only way that this is possible is that the CEO of BoA is...


CTHULLU!


RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!  SAVES YOURSELVES!  HE WILL SWALLOW YOUR SOUL!

September 27, 2009

I'm now 23 and I now want CAKE!

I turn 23 today, and since yesterday I spent 14 hours with camarilla people which included LARPing and good food with good company I'm having a quiet birthday Sunday.  A nice dinner with family while me and The Boyfriend continue with Skies of Arcadia.  Totally chill.  I am getting together with friends at home next weekend so that's pretty much when cool stuff will happen.

But for the years that I actually do want a spectacular birthday bonanza, I think I am going to consider some of these cake ideas.  What do you guys think?













Resistance is futile.  Your birthday will be celebrated.










Cakes that I wish I could find included ones for Bioshock, Mass Effect, and the Sims 3.  Has anyone seen one of those?

And if you want a good cake blog, go to cake wrecks.  It's hysterical to see the bad cakes during the week , but on Sundays the blog showcases great work.  And they have a book of wrecks out right now, and they're on tour for it!  Go go go!

September 24, 2009

Meme=Character Inspirations!

A really good friend of mine who's on the trip of a lifetime just thought up a meme idea.  I know you might first be thinking "why are you posting about a meme?"  Well my friend suggested it would be good for RPG or LARP characters too, and it clicked:

This is a fantastic way to figure out a character idea randomly for a game!  This is a great way to make a character that needs some character depth.  Here are the steps, edited to be a little less lj meme and a little more character creation:

1. Figure out your character's  Zodiac and Chinese Horoscope signs, and any attributes that you so choose.

2. From any site you choose, copy and paste the word/phrase lists, positive and negative, that describe your particular signs.

3. Highlight those words/phrases, positive and negative, that describe your character's particular manifestation of his or her zodiac signs.

4. Explain your character in as many or as few of the highlighted words as you so choose. For every positive trait you choose, also choose a negative; for every negative, also choose a positive.

***

I think I may do this with some of my LARP characters. If I do, I will totally post the results on this here blog.

Let me know if you guys use this and if it works for you!

September 22, 2009

Celebrating the Whedons

This post is partly because a good friend of mine just bought the Dr. Horrible Sing A-long Blog DVD.  If you don't know what this is, then you need to go here for your life to be complete.  Trust me.

Don't trust me?  Well fine, here's one of the fantastic songs from this musical.  Watch it as a sneak peek, and then watch the entire thing.





I actually watched this over a year ago and fell in love with it. It's hard not to.  It's a fantastic cast, a great sound track and it's really well written.  That's what you expect from something produced by Joss Whedon.  But the great thing to find out was that it was somewhat a family affair.

Joss brought in his two brothers Zach and Jed.  Zach helped with writing the script, bringing a lot of dry humor to the whole thing.  Jed helped with the lyrics and with the music.  And if I mention music, I shouldn't forget that Joss brought in his friend Maurissa Tancharoen to help with that as well.  This family team helped produce one of the best free webisode series out there!

I just find it very cool when family members jive together well enough to make something of creative genius.  Not every family can do that.

And for those of you who have seen Dr. Horrible already, please go back and listen to the commentary, that is completely sung.  That's right, it's Commentary: The Musical.  With great song including "I'm better than Neil" by Nathan Fillon.  That's always a favorite.

What are you waiting for, see it now!

September 19, 2009

YARR! Talk Lik'a Pirate Day it be.

Me land lovin' self ain't talk enough lik'a pirate t'day.  Although these sea fairin' theives be the terrorists of their day, I be appreciatin' them t'day. So t'day's post be in pirate speak.  Yarr!

If ye be annoyed by this here post, walk the plank!

If ye like 'umor involving pirates, ye should be readin' Savage Chickens.  Th' artist is a pirate lover 'imself, and a great captain to his... ship on the seas of web comics!  Arr!

Here be a comic t'appreciate.



If ye seek more of pirates and savage chickens, look no further than here.

I wish ye all smooth sailin' fer the rest of yer evenin' and calm seas the rest of yer weekend.  Arr!

September 16, 2009

Wait, they're making what a movie?

They're going to make Neuromancer into a movie?  And I didn't know?!?!?!

I LOVE that book and I didn't even finish it.  High school homework and activities got in the way of leisurely reading.  But the Gibson is a fantastic writer and I think everyone should read something of his, especially considering he is the father of the cyber punk genre.  That's right, without Gibson, there would be no Tron!  Or anything close to the awesome hacker stories... that don't happen enough.

The movie doesn't come out until 2011, and for once I will go out of my way to read the book to see if the movie is a good translation.  I just love Neuromancer that much.

Also, clicking that link shows off some great artwork for the movies.

September 14, 2009

I totally LARP now.

This Saturday I did something I thought I would never do before... and I liked it.

I LARPed.

For those of you unaware, LARP stands for Live Action Role Play.  For those of you that are aware, you may understand why when I first heard of this past time, I was skeptical.  In high school my standard image of someone who LARPs, a LARPer, is someone who does live-action Dungeons and Dragons in the woods with boffer weapons and ren faire costumes.  This not only gets costly, but awkward if you do it in a state park where hikers and campers see you pretending to be something you're not.  But this isn't what turned me off.  What turned me off from it back then was the stereotypical LARPer idea of someone trying really hard to escape their loserdom in real life by pretending to be an 18th level barbarian in the woods.  Later on I heard about the stereotype of goth kids being vampires in the woods too, which in some ways was even creepier.  Anyway, secondhand knowledge of what LARPing supposedly was turned me off from it.  I never pursued it.

I went to college and there wasn't much LARPing going on over there either, even though some alums of my sci-fi/fantasy group used to.  Anyway, meeting cool people like you do, I met a LARPer and she was (to my surprise at the time) a normal well adjusted young woman.  I will say I found out she LARPed after we became friends and when she told me about it, I could see myself doing it.  However, once again she LARPed in the middle of the woods in costume.  I didn't and still don't have the money to get the kind of costume I'd love to wear at an event like that, even though I'm sure as a first timer I would be forgiven.  Also, I'm not as interested in role-playing a person from the past, just not my thing.  But at least I learned LARPing is not fully of weird people... at least people not too much weirder than I already am.

When I was told there would be an event by a new found friend of mine last Saturday of Mage, I jumped to the opportunity.  Not the biggest fan of White Wolf's system, it's ability to help make a fantastic setting for present day fantasy games can not be ignored.  I tried to play in Mage before but general college busy-ness got in the way. I already had a character concept in mind so I was excited to try it out.

I have to say it was really fun, although it's one of the things that's a little more fun reflecting on it afterwards.  My character can be a bit of a prude and although she doesn't want to seem she's on a moral high ground, she really is, so that made some character interaction very interesting.  If you're wondering, my character is a Texan assistant funeral director up who works and lives in the north side right now.  She is a perky former cheerleader who is Christian and well read.  She has a thick accent (grew up about 30 miles away from Corpus Christi) and came from a family where here dad was a dermatologist and her mom stayed at home and stayed active in the PTA.  She has a younger brother, is in her mid twenties and isn't breaking out as a wild child like her mother was afraid she would.

Anyway, the game was fun and interesting, and there are definitely a lot of interesting characters out there other than my own.  I am definitely sticking to the Mage game, definitely going to join the Changeling game, and I am on the fence about joining Vampire but we'll see what happens.  I like pretending to be other people (hence some of my RPG love) and I love hanging around cool nerdy people, so I approve.

If you're interested to see what the White Wolf LARPing community is all about, check out the Camarilla fan page here.  If you're in the U.S. you can even try the 6 months free trial to see if it's for you.  I totally encourage it!

September 11, 2009

This Current Vampire Trend Needs to Stop

Argh!  Okay, so apparently there's now going to be a series called The Vampire Diaries. And it's showing an evolution of vampire lore that I'm starting to despise.  There are two things to this evolution that I really hate, and I hope you all can see my point.  So ThingIHate #1:

They are in friggin' sunlight!


Why should this matter?  Well, part of the thing about Vampires is that they technically are invulnerable during the night.  They are these powerful beings that have incredible strength, captivating charisma, and eternal youth.  Why wouldn't everyone sign up to be a vampire then?  Because you will NEVER see the sun again.  The sun and you are no longer on speaking terms, and because of your choice to become a monster with all these advantages, the checks and balances of nature make sunlight your kryptonite.

Part of this shows how separated a vampire's state of being is to a human.  People generally love sunlight, and need it for life.  Without it there would be no ecosystem for our plants.  Sunlight also reveals everything as it is.  There's a safety in it.  Being in the middle of a grassy field in high noon is one of the safest feelings people have.  Humans need the sun.  Vampires, on the other hand, needed to be cloaked in mystery and deception to get the nourishment that they need.  You can't just saunter up to somebody and say "Hey?  Can I nibble on your wrist I'm pretty thirsty."  Vampires need to convince a person that despite the darkness, despite the lack of revealing sunlight, that the potential victim certainly is safe.  Vampires can't truly reveal who they are, because what they are is so unnatural and such an assault to human morality, that no society could ever 1) let them exist or 2) keep them safe from those who felt it was necessary to kill them.  This is why vampires are creatures of the night.  

Getting rid of the deadly sunlight allergy, as one could put it, makes vampires way too powerful to not already take over the world.  Seriously.  Vampire armies would be all around us, hunt humans and farming them for their sustenance.  It also shows that there is no punishment for eternal beauty and power, which would mean everyone would want to be a vampire, and no vampire would ever really lose touch with his humanity.  Well, other than being 600 years old and thinking that the stuff I worry about at age 22 is extremely petty.  

That brings me to ThingIHate #2...

They hang out and fall in love with high school students?!?!?!?!


This is incredibly unbelievable in my opinion. I don't get it at all.  Let's think about this: Say I am a 128 years old with the body of a 22 year old.  I haven't aged since I was 22.  My mind hasn't deteriorated either.  We can even say I've been able to survive daylight.  Also to survive I need to continuously commit acts of assault and/or homicide.  I'm essentially someone who's been murdering for over 100 years, haven't gotten prosecuted for it, and have had to stay on the run to make sure no town got used to me.  I also have been able to acquire all the experiences and wisdom for someone my age without having to suffer physically for it.

Do you really think I'd be able to relate to a 17 year old enough to fall in love with him?  

Why would a guy with all the experiences and troubles of a centuries old vampire fall in love with the incredibly naive junior in high school girl who's troubles are probably considered far more trivial when compared to having to kill people to survive and making sure no one knows you're immortal?

This makes as much sense as those marriages that happen between men and women who have much more than a decade between them.  The experiences that either one have had are probably so vastly different that there's no way one could want the same thing in life as the other.  Sometimes that's not true, but usually in successful couples you see two people who are at the same stage in life and will be moving along around the same pace.  How is that even possible to achieve if the age difference is at least 100 years?

I'm not saying that it's not impossible for an immortal to fall in love with a mortal.  I'm saying it's probably not going to happen between an immortal and a teenager.

This is part of the reason why the character Claudia from Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire was so intriguing.  Claudia was made a vampire when she was a little girl, and kept that body.  Her brain continued to age with wisdom that surpassed her looks, and she began to resent it.  She was no longer a little girl, but was easily perceived as one.  In her mind she understood about sexuality, deception, philosophy, and all those other things adults ponder about, but she would never look like the adult woman she really was inside.

The character flaws that need to be inherited to be a vampire are part of the reason vampires are followed in numerous cultures across time.  There is a price for everything including eternity, and the idea is that vampires have to pay that price every single day of their lives.  Stripping that price away to make some teenage love story full of angst and danger takes away what made the myth so strong in the first place.  

So do I have a problem with shows that have vampires in them?  Of course not.  I mean, not that I was a Buffy fan, but I did watch some of it and those conflicts made the show interesting.  And yes, vampires can definitely be sexy.  But the Vampire Diaries shows a disturbing trend in the lore, wear suddenly all you need to be perfect is to be a vampire.  Vampires need to be seemingly perfect, but incredibly flawed, like a dystopia of the soul.  That's what makes them worth caring about as characters.

September 10, 2009

I'm Part-Time Employed!

I got this great theatre internship with a theatre in my community.  It's an internship they're hoping to make into a part-time job, so I'm hopeful that I can keep it and see what happens.  SQUEE!

Still won't be making a ton of money.  But that's not what's important.  What's important is that I think I'm starting out with a job that I like.  Also, the 20 Sided Women Project is off to a great start, so I'm hoping this great luck in life streak continues.  

Also, if enough of you guys joins, I'm thinking... T-SHIRTS!  I don't know, I think it's too soon right now, but I wold love to get a logo or two for some T-Shirts.  :D  Look for them in the future.

September 8, 2009

Fear of Girls: Hilarious

I don't want to perpetuate any kind of stereotype, especially amongst my fellow gamers, but this video is still hilarious in many respects.



Thank GOD I have yet to meet gamers like this. I don't know how I would respond.

September 7, 2009

Shiny, pretty, and sickly.

If you want to see a beautiful sculpture of a virus, go here.  There are eight of them!

And happy Labor Day!  I hope most of you are staying home and enjoying some rest by either cuddling up to a sci-fi book or warming up your gaming console.  Me, I'm going to get together with the Boyfriend and our other friend and we're going to play some video games.  Some RTSs for sure.

Oh!  Discovery!  Just because something in a game annoys the heck out of you, doesn't mean it's a flaw in the design.  Example: Command and Conquer 3 requires to guide your armies away from the tiberium crystals you mine.  Yes, your army should be smart enough to avoid the crystals on their own, but part of your strategy is guiding them in the right areas.  Having that happen does NOT mean that the game designers should know people are smarter than that.  It's not about if the army is smart enough, it's about if you are.

And my quick link post has now turned into a rant.  Again, Happy Labor Day!

September 4, 2009

The Sexbox: the key to humanity's downfall.

Alright, I know that adult toys are fine and dandy, but god dammit, there's now a console that only plays Adult Only rated games.  And it's called the Sexbox.

Jeez, talk about a horrible pun.  Also, it's a little to easy to see what kind of market they're trying to go for.

I  don't understand how one could make that medium the right kind of interactive that you'd need to fully enjoy the experience.  Then again, do I want to know?  I probably don't.

Also, I think this is probably something more geared toward men, but I could see the console selling well to women too.  The theory is that women are more stimulated by fantasies then by visual aids.  Maybe this can help the fantasy be realized.

Alright, I've discussed this topic enough.  Not like I would ever buy anything called the Sexbox anyway.  They could've at least thought of a better pun!

September 2, 2009

A song about rarities



This kind of pertains to my latest blog, but I thought you guys here would enjoy it more.

I'm tempted to enter every gaming store with a shirt that says "Warning, I have two x chromosomes. Do not be alarmed."

Tetris made me smarter!

A study showed that adolescent girls playing Tetris for a three month period or more had brain matter growth and increased efficiency.  

When I was an adolescent girl I played Tetris.

Obviously that means video games have made me smarter.  

I will now force Tetris on my children so that they grow up to be evil geniuses!  YES!  

Okay no it doesn't work like that.  But that is awesome to find out.  If I had time I would see if there were the same results for adults since their brains are more developed, but alas I am busy doing other things.

Like getting ready for a job fair and an interview tomorrow. WOOT!  Things are looking up in the income department.  I should say the future income department.

September 1, 2009

Announcement!

Please give a big welcome to THE 20 SIDED WOMEN PROJECT.

Visit it here!

Yes, this is the big announcement!  I am starting a new blog hoping to showcase women in the role playing game community.  Where will this lead?  I don't know, but I'm hoping some place fun.

For the project I now have a AIM screenname: d20sapphire.  Also If any of you know of any leads to help with this project, anyone who you think has a good say about it, please let me know!  I'm going to start with people in my area.  I've joined the RPGchicago group on meetup.com, and hoping to meet people that way.  In fact there's a meetup today I'm going to!  

So wish me luck!  I'll still be posting a lot of my normal stuff here.  

August 31, 2009

Stop Being Greedy Video Game Business!

Will the video game industry listen to me?  Nah, I doubt it.  

Some of you may be aware that in the video game industry a war is going on between the developers, publishers and designers of video games and the used game sellers.  Apparently a lot of people in the game-making business think that they should make profit off of used video game sales.

Um, excuse me?

This is the system they want to implement, and I will try to explain this with an example...

A game development team, let's call them Team Every Penny or TEP, makes a video game called Awesome Ninja Ducks.  They develop it and then distribute it to game sellers across the country, including Best Buy, Toy's R Us, Target and other similar stores.  These stores buy each copy of Awesome Ninja ducks for 55 bucks.  They can't mark up the game too much if they want customers like me to buy the game, so in stores Awesome Ninja Ducks is priced around 60 bucks.  In this process, TEP has earned 55 bucks per unit sold so far.

I decide to buy Awesome Ninja Ducks.  I pay 60 bucks for it, giving the Target I bought it from a mere 5 dollar profit.  Remember, they had to pay 55 bucks to put that game on their shelves.  I play the game for a month, but after a while I've beaten it twice and I'm not as into it anymore.  I don't want it to waste space on the shelf, so I decide to sell it back.  Let's say I go to Gamestop for this purpose.

Here's where it gets tricky.  I sell it back to Gamestop for only 15, but they sell it for 35 bucks to some guy named Doug.  I make back 15 bucks for selling my game, and Gamestop will sell my used copy of Awesome Ninja Duck for a $20 profit from some guy named Doug.  TEP will expect a kickback from Gamestop for selling a used game that they helped create, oh let's just say 25%.  So really, because TEP wants to continuously get paid for the game they produced every time it's sold, they'll get 5 bucks from Gamestop when they sell the used version of Awesome Ninja Ducks, giving Gamestop only 15 bucks profit.

/example

Can you see a problem with this?  The game Awesome Ninja Ducks exchanged ownership at least four times in this scenario: 

 TEP-->Target-->Me-->Gamestop-->Some guy named Doug

TEP have every right to sell the physical copy of Awesome Ninja buck for profit when they give it to Target, but why in the world would they have any reason to get money from Gamestop when TEP doesn't even own the game anymore?  Gamestop owns the game now, not TEP, so TEP has no right to the profits.  Unless of course they want to act like the mob and "protect" Gamestop from "dangerous people", which of course is super illegal.

A lot of people in the industry don't see it that way.  They still see the game as their property when Gamestop sells it, so why shouldn't they get a kickback?  Recently David Jaffe, developer of God of War and Twisted Metal, has gotten into some hot water for not only argue a point I find extremely flawed, but not arguing his point well.  In response to people sending him tons of logic, he has seemed to shut himself away from the internet.  Way to show 'em, Jaffe.  He and a couple others are making the industry look horrible by not only making them look greedy, but ignorant and stubborn as well.

The problem is that a lot of the property that publishers/developers/designers complain of owning and hence wanting profit from is not the physical ownership of a game disk and case, like me buying a copy of Awesome Ninja Ducks.  They're talking more about the intellectual property that they have created, i.e. the characters, story line, setting, engine, etc.  But that doesn't work the same way that selling the physical game does.  You essentially are getting paid for letting the company use the idea in the game that they will produce.  The people at TEP get paid for their ideas and the development of them, they are not getting paid for the disks that they don't physically produce.  So no, TEP doesn't own those disks as they travel from hand to hand.  As soon as TEP sells those disks to stores like Target, they no longer own the disks.

TEP, however, can still make a profit on the ideas.  If another company, lets say Break In Games or BIG, has a lot of money and would like the rights to use the content for Awesome Ninja Ducks for the sequel, TEP can sell those rights for big profit.  And companies do that all the time.  Does it mean that BIG will make Awesome Ninja Ducks 2 a better game?  Hell no.  It does mean that the first selling of the original Awesome Ninja Ducks is not the only way TEP can make a profit.

In conclusion, the video game industry needs to get over itself and realize they have no power over the used game market.

August 28, 2009

Blogs I don't get: The Snuggie Sutra

There is a part of me that wishes I thought of The Snuggie Sutra first, but when you take a gander at it you just kind of have to wonder what this person was thinking.  It's not as beautiful as I think it could be.

Okay, I take that back.  I don't think this concept could ever be quite beautiful.

Edit: Forgot to say thanks to my friend Liz for showing this to me.  Well, maybe not thanks but still, she guided me to it!

August 27, 2009

Tip to Writers: Watch Blake 7

Have you seen Blake 7?  No?  Well why not?  It's one of the best sci-fi shows that british television has produced.  Not because of any hi-tech science facts or special effects, but because it was a good old human drama.  

Premise (if you want to watch from the beginning, know that there will be some spoilers after the first paragraph)

The show starts out with Blake being told that he once lead an entire revolution, and he was just recently brainwashed to apologize for all his rebellious acts and then brainwashed again to not remember any of it, including the apology.  He sneaks off to a meeting, and once being overloaded with this information, catches some here.  He comes back to see everyone in the rebel meeting killed, and he's caught and tried as the murdered and traitor.  He's sent to prison on a ship with a bunch of other convicts, and on course a strange space ship is discovered.  Blake and 6 others are ordered to explore the ship, which welcomes them and helps them escape.  Hence, Blake's 7!  Crazy adventures across the universe ensue.

As time goes on, the team of people change and after a point some of the team starts to die off.  And then the producers take a big risk.  They kill off Blake.  That's right, the  guy who the show is named after gets killed!  And a new leader takes hold...
and he is an asshole.

This is Avon.  Avon is one of the original members of Blake's 7.  He's one arrogant, devious, conniving bastard, but he's also smart.  Blake keeps him around for the cunning advice, although you never really know who Avon is rooting for, other than himself.  He's a great example of someone who in the D&D universe is labeled as True Neutral.  He'll stick together if it's in his benefit, but once his needs are calling loud enough he'll skip out.  He was a wild card that you had to worry about.  And then to top it off he was the captain of the ship!

THIS is what makes great TV.  A character who is skilled and flawed at the same time.  The crew ends up depending on Avon even when he clearly tries to abandon them from time to time.  He's super secretive about what he does, keeping everyone--especially the viewer--on their toes.  

This is why reality TV is gaining speed.  It's because writers are having a hard time making the complex characters that keep us watching, so instead they use psychology to set up regular people to have complex reactions.  Writers, step it up!  Give us some Avons!  Give us somebody who we can empathize with even though he's a dick!  Give us a conflicted woman who isn't conflicted between work and popping babies!  There's more to being a woman than that!  Give me some humanity!

August 26, 2009

... and then I quit. But there's an exciting announcement!

I quit that job after realizing what I was doing for that job...

I essentially look through a phone book and hope to find people willing to talk to me about the company's services in the hopes of getting an appointment.

And since it was 100% commission sales, I wasn't getting paid for any of the time I was looking. Not getting paid for any outside research. In fact there was no suggestion whatsoever for outside research, which I think was kind of bad on the company's part. They didn't really help their workers get an edge.

I'm now in the job market again. I've cut what little losses I have with that job and I'm back in full force looking for something amazing. This will also give me time to figure out what my new blog is going to be.

What new blog?

Well my fellow readers, I think I'm ready for some friendly investigative journalism of the nerdy kind. I will announce my new project...

September 1st, 2009

Until then you get to quake in your boots to guess what it's about.

Now back to square one.  Le sigh.

August 23, 2009

Employed!

While I was on vacation I became employed by a sales company, and this ain't being no avon lady. Still going to involve a lot of meeting new people all around Chicago, and a lot of hard work.

I'll still be blogging, and I'm still working up the courage to start the next side project in my life, but hey! I have an income now! Hooray!

My first investment will be clothes for work, but my next investment will be a gaming computer made by The Boyfriend. Yep, I know my priorities.

August 18, 2009

Starcraft II Trailer worth watching!

I am PSYCHED for Starcraft II and I love this new trailer that's out.  WOOT!



I love RTSs and I am getting better at them. I outlasted the Boyfriend in a three way battle! I was so proud. And then our friend Kdogg slaughter me. But It's okay, I'm still learning.

I have to get back into to the campaign mode for Starcraft and the expansion. And I plan to die... a LOT. Thank God it's a fictional game.