Reselling Goods

This will be the first blog post I type up from my new sectional.  While we have had it since thursday night, life has been pretty crazy and not allowed me much time to just chill out with the laptop and get used to it.  It is definitely comfortable, but I also sit at a much different angle which is taking some getting used to.  Right now I am trying to wake up while recovering from the allergy overload that was last night.

Chain Smokers

My allergies are going haywire because we attended a “welcome to summer” cookout held by some of my wife’s teacher friends.  They have this super peaceful plot of land… but it is what feels like hundreds of miles from civilization.  Okay in reality it is only like 10 miles, but when you are going there you have to drive through a whole lot of nothing.  There are times I think I would enjoy living in the middle of nowhere, but then I realize that I like not having to travel more than a few minutes to get to things.

Hanging out in nature always has serious adverse effects on my sinuses, but overall it was a good time.  I am always conflicted with gatherings.  Leading up to actually going I start to dread having to interact with people, but when I actually get there I warm up and enjoy myself.  I spent most of the night trading quips back and forth with two of the hostesses college aged children.

That was the only really odd thing about the evening.  Overall there were more college kids there than teachers, as I am guessing the cookout was also doubling as the sons birthday party of sorts.  The food was excellent and I have completely gone off my diet for the day.  The madness of Thursday probably made up for it, I am sure I burned a ton of calories as I am pretty sure I climbed upstairs and downstairs a good 50 times.

We purposefully sat up wind of the fire, but due to all the rain the wood was smoking horribly.  As the evening went on, my eyes were burning and my lungs started to feel a bit icky even though I had not actually been in the stream of the smoke at all.  I feel sorry for the people who were on the other end of the fire, because I am sure they were hurting.  All in all though the cookout was enjoyable, but we stayed far later than I had expected.

Reselling Goods

So this is going to get into some pretty controversial territory here, but I am a huge proponent of used game sales.  That said I hate Game Stop with deep seething passion and would do almost anything to see them wiped off the face of the planet.  I refuse to go into the stores anymore, because I just think everything about the company is underhanded.  I would rather wait the two days it takes for me to get an item from Amazon Prime than give them my business.  But I fully support the notion of second hand games.

In fact yesterday over lunch I picked up Blazblue, Casltevania Lords of Shadow, and Halo 3 at a local pawn shop for $7 each.  I buy most of my console games second hand, but I do so through what feels like more equitable places, namely… pawnshops, goodwill, thrift stores, flea markets and a couple of local chains…  Game Xchange and Vintage Stock.  Quite honestly most console titles are just not worth the $60 dollar new price for me, so I wait until I can pick them up in the $8-$15 dollar range.

The industry will cry fowl and complain that they are not getting their cut of the second sale… and I say… yes that is exactly how reselling goods works.  You do not deserve a second dip into the pot of game sales, you got your money the FIRST time the item changed hands.  Buying a used video  game is no different than buying a used car, or used furniture.  You do not see furniture companies getting a cut of the money when someone buys a sofa from a second hand shop, and neither should the game industry.

The issue is fundamentally that players do not want to pay what you are charging for the games.  For whatever reason most gamers do not feel that the games they are playing are worth the full price.  How does the industry fix this?  I really don’t know, but it is unfair to expect players to finance their failure to connect with the consumer and prove the value of their product.  Ultimately the game industry has to place some special value in the new purchase of their titles. 

One of the tactics I am completely fine with is offering bonus features that do not transfer with the disc when resold.  Essentially that you get a few nifty DLC items that are actually meaningful to the players… like extra levels or playable characters…  that do not transfer after the initial unlock.  Then allow players you have purchased your game second hand, to pay $10/$15 to unlock those features as well.  The game industry in no way deserves a cut of selling that physical game disc a second time, however I have no problem with them making a bit of money from the dlc unlocks.

The big thing regardless of the strategy is that these companies need to stop coming across as an evil empire.  Right now it feels like they are plotting nefariously to deprive us of content, so that they can line their pockets.  I realize that this is an attempt at survive, to keep funding the big development budgets that are required to produce AAA titles.  However they need to be honest and transparent about it.  I would care a lot more about the process if they just came out and said, look you get this stuff for free but we have to charge you if you buy the game used so that they can fund the next game.  Consumers do not like feeling like they are being fleeced, and based on the fact that gamers voted EA the worst company ever…  they feel like they are being fleeced.

Wrapping Up

Going to wrap up, I have rattled on about the issue long enough.  I normally don’t engage in controversial titles on the weekend, but because of how busy we have been I just have not really spent much time gaming.  I don’t foresee that changing much this weekend as we have a bunch of other things to do.  We need to move the old sofa out into the junk pile, clean the house, and maybe move my wife out of her classroom today.  All I really want to do is collapse, but I am sure I will soldier on.  I hope you all have a great day and can actually relax a bit and enjoy the weekend.

Real Live Internet

Yesterday was quite the ordeal, but I survived more or less and everything got accomplished that had to.  I completed almost none of my bonus missions, but the main tasks got way more involved that I had originally planned.  There were a lot of ups and downs and the whole thing was a ton more stressful than I realized.  I am guessing that is why both of my posts yesterday were more than a little ranty.

Juggling Sofas

Basically when I got up yesterday morning, I crawled upstairs and blogged as normal… then at roughly 7 am I started in on the various tasks that needed to get accomplished.  I started by picking up each of the rooms that the cable guy would have to visit, and making sure he had a path clear of debris.  The actual sequence of events is a bit hazy at the moment, but I proceeded a long until about 8:30… then took a break to go get a sausage roll from QuikTrip.

I tore down the ferret playpen downstairs, and dumped anything that was cloth in the washing machine.  I removed the water bottle and feed cup from the panels, and folded them completely for the first time since we originally set the pen up years ago.  After cleaning the area and sweeping up the left over food and other “bits”… these are animals after all… I cleared a big swath of the living room floor that would eventually be used as swap space.

Where we left it the previous night is that when the furniture movers called and were on their way I would move the slate table up against the TV and swing the old sofa over towards the wall where the ferret pen was set up, trying to leave a walkway.   All of this sounded fairly reasonable since the schedule was that the cable would be here between 10 and 12 and that the furniture folks would be here between 2 and 4.  I thought I had this all planned out nicely so that we would not run into any issues.

Mister Late meet Mister Punctual

So I don’t want this to come off like I am in bitching in any way, but around 11:30 I got a call from Cox stating that their installer was running behind at a previous location, and that they wanted to make sure that it was okay that he would not likely be there until 12:15.  I said it was fine since I had taken the day off to do multiple things.  Turns out he didn’t actually make it until closer to 1.  Still fine, because I expected the furniture movers would not be here at 2 on the dot.

Turns out that our cable was in worse shape than we realize.  The coax we have is a little over 10 years old, and as a result his install call turned quickly into a repair call.  He went above and beyond the call of duty and essentially re-ran cable to all the rooms that already had a pop.  Additionally he did new pops in my office and in the loft… initially we were only going to have it run to the loft, but he said since he was running to one room in a row it was just as easy to run to the other.

This of course took a long time, and as he was starting to wrap up… just getting to the “mess with cable boxes to make them talk” phase I get a call from the furniture movers.  They are running on schedule and will be there shortly after 2.  I went through a mad rush, trying to do a bunch of things at once.  I moved the table in the livingrooom closer to the tv, but still tried to leave the nice guy room to fiddle with our cable box.  I moved swung the couch around and moved it to the wall basically creating an interesting new seating area.

The Missing Tabby

The next task was the corral the cats in the bedroom.  The problem is… I could not find any of them… ANYWHERE.  Apparently the banging and movement of this strange man through our house freaked them all out.  I found a couple of them up under the bed, so I went ahead and shut off the bedroom hoping that the third was also hiding.  I asked the cable guy and he said he saw the tabby run into the bedroom and duck under the bed when he went in there to hook up the cable box.  Fitting the MO of a cat freaked out… I was fairly confident she would still be in there…  but all the while worried that someone had ducked out the door or up into the attic.

The furniture movers arrive and thank us for all the prep work and clearing… because they rarely if ever have a blank space to move the furniture into.  They proceed to bring in all these giant furniture Lego blocks, attempting to set them in the order we had wanted to place them.  After doing so… they linked each one to the next via these weird metal tabs and slots along the base of each unit.  When all was said and done, we had one big piece of furniture cobbled together out of the little blocks.

The funny thing is, that they were so efficient that they were long gone by the time that the cable guy and I were doing the rundown of the new features of our whole home DVR.  I really considered trying to pay them extra to haul the old sofa into the backyard and throw it on the junk pile… but I just could not bring myself to do it.  For whatever reason it felt a little shifty to me, to be offering them money on the side to do something not originally in the game plan.

After the furniture guys had left, and I verified with the cable guy that he would not be needing the front door open for long periods of time… I went ahead and opened back up the bathroom and bedroom.  Sure enough the various cats started making their way out of their temporary cage, but this time they made a beeline upstairs and hid there.  However it did allow me to start breathing again, since I saw each of them as they whizzed by.

The Toner Collection

In all the recent cleaning we have amassed this huge collection of spent toner cartridges.  The two of us greatly prefer the speed and efficiency of laser printers, and as a result we have owned a bunch of different models over the years.  So in cleaning we have accumulated a pile of toner cartridges belonging to four different printers…  only one of which we actually still own.  We traditionally get our toner from Cartridge World, so I was hoping to work out some kind of swap. 

I packed up the house, verified that the cats were still okay and in hiding and went on the mission to unload toner cartridges and drop another small load off at goodwill.  I made it to Cartridge World as it began to rain.  I went inside and talked to the little man for a bit, finding out that unfortunately they were not willing to play ball… and that they considered their program an exchange, and that technically they still own the cartridges…  based on the fact that I had 10 in my car I begged to differ.  I did not want to lug them somewhere else however, so he said they would definitely recycle them… which was good enough for me.

I started on my way to Goodwill, and had gotten to the corner to turn down towards our house when I noticed blue and red flashing lights in my rearview window.  One of my tasks for the day was to renew my expired tag.  However my neighbor who is a tag agent, stopped by as she was heading to work…and chastised me for not just giving my insurance to her and letting her take care of it.  So I was super relieved of not having to weave a trip to the Tag Agency into my already busy day…. but thought nothing about it.

For weeks I have not wanted to drive my jeep on the weekends, because my theory has been that with an expired tag, so long as it was during rush hour… I would not likely get stopped.  But I knew the moment I drove my jeep around town at any period OTHER than rush hour… I would get busted.  Sure enough, today was the first time I had driven my jeep other than rush hour situations… and sure enough I got pulled over and handed a ticket for an expired tag.  The good of it is, that since I really have already renewed my tag at this point… I just have to go down to the court clerk and show proof of my tag.

The bad news is that they work Monday through Friday 9 am to 5 pm.  So getting there will be a juggling act, but the alternative is to wait until June 27th and have to show up in traffic court.  I would rather keep from having to go to court, so I will figure out a way even if it is to take a weirdly offset lunch hour and come deal with it.  Unfortunately I have not been able to hook up with my neighbor again since yesterday…  and I still have no 2014 sticker on my tag.  I am carrying around the tag citation, hoping that if another officer pulls me over they will take pity on the fact that I have already been busted for it once.

Real Live Internet

It is roughly 3:30 when I drop off the load at Goodwill and make it home.  At this point I have not eaten anything since about 8:30 and am ravenous.  So I hit the fridge and cobble together a feast of leftover spanish rice and chicken alfredo.  While I am sure this frustrated my wife, the very first thing I wanted to do is go up to my office and play around with the internet.  While I love all of the changes, this is the one that will impact me the most from this point on.

While those numbers may not look special to some of you, you have to understand that previously on our best day we had 3 meg down and 256 kbits up.  We were constantly stomping all over each other as we tried to use the web.  If my wife was uploading photos to her blog, then my ping in a game went to absolute shit.  If I was patching one of my games, she couldn’t surf the web.  Forget the concept of using netflix AND the web or a game at the same time.  Now we have enough bandwidth to comfortably do multiple things at the same time.

It is amazing how much faster games patch with this new connection.  As a test, I fired up SWTOR… since I had not played it since before the Rise of the Hutts release.  It took about 30 minutes to download the patch, whereas in the past that literally would have been something I had to fire up when I went to bed and let it run all day while I was at work.  I feel like we have just left the dark ages and entered the renaissance.  When I finally filtered downstairs and set my laptop up… the first thing I did was fire up something in netflix, just to see how well it worked.  Sure enough I was able to stream netflix, while patching the secret world and eventually logging in and playing it… all the while maintaining a sub 100 ping.  So much happy about this change.

Wrapping Up

I need to wrap up, since I have almost run out of time.  Basically the long and short is… I am really happy with the internet change.  I am so far happy with the whole home dvr…  just going to take some getting used to and learning where all the buttons are.  I am happy with the new sofa, but it feels extremely weird, and I am going to have to live with it a bit to find the most optimal way to use my laptop.  Last night I was too damned tired and sore to really use anything optimally, as I felt like I was just going through the motions.

We ended up in bed around 9… maybe earlier… because when my wife said she was ready for bed, there was absolutely no hesitation in me joining her.  I am still sore as hell from all the juggling of things, and still more than a little freaked about all the changes.  I do not handle change of any kind very well…  even if it is really good change.  I feel like the cats are in the same boat as me, considering they all seem a little freaked out.  I hope you guys have a great day, and if I can’t say it before then… I hope you have a great memorial day weekend.  May you be able to embrace the change in your life easier than I can.

Open Letter to Neverwinter

Okay today you guys are getting a bonus post, because I am at home waiting on the cable to install internet, and for furniture to be delivered.  I was reading my twitter feed and came across something so absolutely ludicrous that I had to comment about it.

2013-05-23 09_59_20-Twitter _ NeverwinterGame_ .@FightinFins #Neverwinter ...

So this is something I had honestly not realized that apparently Neverwinter claims not to be live yet, and that any mistakes they are making are “necessary changes and improvements” before they go live.  Dear Perfect World, you completely fail at the concept of what is an open beta means.

If you…

  1. Have the servers live 24/7
  2. Have stated that there will be no character wipes from this point out
  3. Are actively taking money hand over fist from customers

Then you have a live game. 

You can call it whatever you like, but you are running a live game.  It is not open beta, it is just half launched.  This whole redefinition of what Alpha and Beta means has stuck in my craw lately.  They have stopped meaning anything at all and just been a way for the marketing department to presell the game and get a steady influx of money from curious gamers.  However launching the game and actively taking money from customers… yet still calling it a beta passes some line that has never been crossed.

Anyways, it is still a decent game, and I still stand by my statement that it is probably the best completely free option.  However Perfect World needs to be honest with its verbiage and quit calling it a beta.  This is in no way an open beta, you just soft launched your game.  All that said, I still have not played it again since that opening weekend.  It just lacks the draw to pull me in and make me care about it.  I wish them the best of luck though, I just want them to be honest.

Xbox None

I am trying my best to wake up and get amped for the day.  This is going to be an extremely busy one.  We are getting our new shiny faster internet, whole home DVR, and the new furniture delivered.  However each one of these is going to involve quite a bit of prep work from me to make happen.  So while I took a day off to accomplish all of this, it will most definitely be a working day off.

Working Vacation

I am working on finishing my coffee at the moment, and I might end up having a second before too much longer.  I need that caffieney goodness to make it through the various sundry things on the radar this morning.  First I need to go to the three rooms they are installing the DVRs in, and pick up the area surrounding the television/cable boxes.  Next I need to prepare my wireless router to accept the new information… disconnect it and move it to the loft where it will be as soon as they run a cable jack out there.

After the cable is installed and I have interwebs again…  I need to start working on prepwork for the furniture movers.  I need to take a load of stuff we gathered up to goodwill, and this load of old printer toner cartridges somewhere.  Most of them are for printers we no longer own.  My hope is to be able to wheel and deal and trade all the resalable cartridges for one new full backup for our current printer.  I have no clue if this will actually work.

Finally when I get home I need to load a metal table that we used beside our current sofa into the back of my jeep, as we are delivering it to someone on Sunday.  This will free up that corner of the room and keep it out of the way of the movers.  Next I need to break down the ferret playpen, and stowe them in their main cage for the day.  Then I will move the current sofa over against the wall the playpen was up against… and finally hopefully…  after locking the cats up in our bedroom…  move in the new sectional.

Then tonight when my wife gets home, we will move the sofa out to the pile in the back yard…  call the Junkman and have them haul it all away.  This is the plan…  but right now it feels completely daunting.  I know I will make it work, but it is going to end up being a pretty stressful day overall.  I hope everything goes smoothly in the process.  My goal is not to disconnect my current internet until everything is really ready to go.

Additionally I have a few “bonus missions” should I be able to do them as well.  We really need to change out the toilet tank apparatus in the upstairs bathroom, because it is taking forever to fill up after flushing.  I also have a shelf unit that my dad made in shop class, that I intend to hang above the media cabinet in the loft to store nifty things like assembled LEGO sets.  But quite honestly… when I was thinking about these things I was not feeling quite as stressed as I am now.  I do not thing this will be a leisurely day by any definition of the word.

Xbox None

 

So I feel like with my recent console resurgence… I would not be a proper blogger if I did not at least talk about the super exciting reveal of the Xbox One.  I am saying super and exciting with as much sarcasm as I can possibly muster… I think I had to go down to the store and buy an extra sarcasm booster to be able to reach these levels properly.  Everyone essentially expected the next generation of console gaming… and what we got instead is “Microsoft TV” in the form of a voice and motion activated media pc.

The big problem I have with the release is that I really do not care about broadcast television, nor do I care about sports in any fashion.  I feel like everything shown in that video was direct marketed at someone other than me…  someone apparently with silly amounts of money to spend on a glorified cable box.  I realize that I am not the key demographic for console gaming… but based on the presentation it seems that neither are gamers.

The funny thing is that I am not extremely surprised.  Right now in my newly christened gaming loft, I have a ps3 and a newer Xbox 360 250 gig model.  While I like playing the games on the Xbox, and I like the controller so much better…  the overall gaming experience is much better on the ps3.  Primarily PlayStation Plus is playing on a completely different level than Xbox Live Gold.  The two are not even comparable…  the plus program gives you an instant collection of 12 games, and then new games added regularly as old ones roll out of the package.  The Xbox gives you the ability to play games online… which the ps3 already had by default.

I doubt I will be getting either console system at launch, but right now I am far more interested in the PlayStation 4 than I am in this voice automated channel switcher.  The biggest breakthrough that they announced is group Skype calls from your living room.  I have to say this is a really cool feature…  that I would never actually use.  I had the concept of video chat, hell simply calling someone on the phone causes more social anxiety to well up in me than I can imagine.  The thought of willfully video chatting with someone is just beyond me.

Additionally… I find it creepy as shit that the Xbox One is essentially a remote surveillance box… that will more than likely cost us $600 to be monitored by.  The fact that the kinect camera is always on, even when the unit is off… waiting for the command to turn it on…  kind of freaks me out a bit.  I seriously wonder how long it will be before someone figures out how to hijack that feed and spy on people.  I am trying not to tiptoe too deeply into tinfoil hat territory… but Microsoft isn’t really known for their digression… especially in the post Bill Gates era.

Anyways long story and a lot of rambling short… this really is not a device for me at this moment.  They debuted a gaming console, but didn’t really talk much about gaming.  It does some interesting things, but I am bored already with broadcast television, and somehow gamifying it is not going to make it suddenly interesting.  I am allergic to watching sports, so the D&D for jocks angle… aka Fantasy Football is not going to do anything for me at all.  As stated above, neither is the video conferencing option…  which I find creepy.  The only killer feature possibly would be to postage stamp my game, and continue playing while my wife watches a show.  However they never actually showed that, and I question if you can minimize the game window instead of a video stream/internet browser.

Wrapping Up

I need to get up and start moving again.  I have a long list of things to accomplish and a finite time window to do it in.  I hope I survive the day, and this evening I have wonderfully fast internet with a decent ping time.  Additionally I hope I do not die from allergies, as I keep going into massive sneezing fits.  I hope you all have an awesome day, and that you also get accomplished everything on your list.

Sympathy for the Devil

Last night we got a much needed reprieve from the onslaught of tornado spawning super cells.  As a result I tried my best just to chill out and relax.  So much is going on right now relating to the tornado effort in Moore, but other than the links I posted yesterday I am not really going to dwell much on it.  It is still pretty much the only thing we are thinking about, but I just needed to relax last night.

Now I Remember

The other day I was talking about restarting Final Fantasy 13 on a whim, and not really being able to remember why I stopped playing it in the first place.  Last night I continued my journey into the game, and reached a point where now I know exactly why I stopped playing.  Basically FF13 is this super relaxing game, that does most of the work for you by managing your abilities based on what “stance” you are currently in.  This is does a great job of taking the tedium out of a JRPG and letting you just sit back, relax and watch the events unfold before you.

This all goes extremely great until you encounter your first Eidolon fight.  Basically all the gaming vocabulary you have learned to that point becomes completely useless for the encounter.  You have to do one specific gimmick, over and over… and do so with flawless timing or you die.  Basically the Eidolon fight goes against everything you have experienced in the game to that point.  On top of this, usually the gimmick you have to perform is something you would never do in another fight after this one. 

Ultimately the Eidolon fights become these cruel precision mini games, that are forced upon the otherwise very casual experience.  You cannot avoid them, and they usually occur at key times in the storyline that are unavoidable.  The Shiva sisters fight shown above for example occurs after a minion battle and two cut scenes.  So each time you attempt the fight you have to slog through those to get back to the boss fight.  If the numbers over snows head tick down to zero, the fight is over.

I remember the last time I played the game I managed to slog through several of these fights, but ultimately it was one near the end of disc two that got the best of me.  I simply did not care enough about continuing the game to learn whatever pattern needed to executed flawlessly to get through the fight.  I don’t mind the concept of battles like this, I just mind them greatly when they are so drastically in contrast with the super causal gaming experience as a whole.  It feels like the game does exactly zero training to this point in the skills needed to succeed at these egregiously gimmicky fights.

Sympathy for the Devil

After attempting the Shiva sisters a few times, I decided that I needed to retreat into something warm and familiar…  and thanks to the wonders of the PlayStation Network, that happy place was Symphony of the Night.  I am not sure if I can quantify it, but this is as close as I think I will ever find to my perfect game.  It has awesome side scrolling exploration, fun fast paced sword melee combat, the ability to collect gear and level your character up, interesting abilities to unlock, and non-linear progression.  This is literally everything I want in a game wrapped up in one gorgeous package with an amazing hard rock inspired soundtrack.

I think more than anything the soundtrack is what sells the experience for me.  I own an original copy of the Japanese soundtrack that was released, and have listened to it over and over.  For ages this was my defacto coding soundtrack, and was not really replaced until the Tron Legacy soundtrack.  Interestingly enough, Tron Legacy has now been trumped and The Secret World has become my default background music at work.  Everything about this game screams a level of attention to detail that you just don’t see much in games.

I can happily fall back into this game at any time, after playing any other game.  Last night I continued onwards with my game, trying to remember where things were in relation to other things and start gathering up the relics needed to progress further.  I completely surprised myself last night… with my ability to keep from taking damage.  I was going through an area of the castle I remembered, but completely forgot the fact that I was about to get trapped in a room with a shadowy clone of myself.  I only had 15 hit points going into the fight, and somehow managed to make it through defeating the boss with 5 to spare.

My favorite version of the game so far is the PS3 Emulated one.  I just wish that it supported the digital stick, rather than gamepad only for movement.  Someday I will hook back up my Saturn and play the Japanese import version again.  It has the unique features of being able to play as the default Alucard, but also Maria and Richter from the start of the game.  My only problem with the Saturn version is that while it has all these extra features, the controls are nowhere near as responsible as the PSX rendition.  Also when you get a large number of creatures on screen at a time, there is a bit of slowdown and hitching.  This combined with the fact that there was never an english version released…  definitely put the PlayStation version on the top of the heap.

MMO Vacation

Other than the game that must not be named due to a super strict NDA, I have not really been playing a lot of MMOs over the last week or so.  This is really a combination of two factors…  firstly that I now have this awesome apartment like game loft, that I can go up to and chill out in without feeling like I am taking the television from anyone else.  Also thanks to the quirks of acoustics, my wife can be sitting downstairs on the sofa, and we can hold a conversation at normal volume.  So it doesn’t really feel like I am that far away from her when I am playing.

Secondly, and this is the big one…  I wrote awhile back that my ISP is discontinuing residential internet access.  I have a feeling that they have begun throttling users to try and get them to switch faster.  Essentially my ping times have been horrific in any game I play, and this has lead to more than one extremely frustrating death.  This has caused me to completely swear off League of Legends until this has changed, and even in Rift doing daily quests has become annoying with lots of mob warping.

Luckily this will be remedied tomorrow.  I have them scheduled to run a new line to the loft, which will then host the wireless router for the house.  It is a good centralized location, and the limited obstacles will make it prime for internet access from the living room downstairs.  So as of tomorrow I will be going from roughly 4 meg internet to 25 meg, and going from single room dvr to whole house dvr.  I am extremely pumped, and ready for not having to worry about streaming slowing down everything else on the network.  We are starting with 25, but may at a later date bump up to the full 50 meg connection.

I imagine that once this goes in, I will be having a renaissance of online gaming… as I can not only download patches much faster but not have to worry so much about my ping going to shit.  I know this will not be the be all end all cure for bad ping, but it will certainly take a step in the right direction.  Also the ability to watch anything we have recorded on the DVR from the livingroom, loft and bedroom is a huge boon.  There are a ton of shows that I like to watch… that my wife has zero interest in.  I can pop up to the loft and watch the show til my heart is content, while she is watching whatever she wants to watch.

Wrapping Up

On top of the new internet, we will be getting our sectional delivered tomorrow.  So it is going to be a super exciting day, when a lot of realities change around our house.  However, it is also going to mean a super busy night of prep work to get ready for the furniture movers and the cable installer.  Additionally right now I have a cat trying to tell me that I should stop typing and pet her.  So I am going to do just that. I hope you all have awesome days, and that you get accomplished everything you need to.

Too Close Calls

Yet another groggy morning as I try and cobble some words together that make sense.  Pretty much last night was a repeat of the previous night, with us watching the news to see if and when it was time to take shelter.  Not really sure how much I have to say today, but I feel like I have to write something or the experiment chain is broken.  So I am going to push forward and see what comes out anyways.

Dodging Twisters

 

Last night was an extremely bad night in Oklahoma, regardless of where you are in the state you were at more than one point last night under a Tornado Watch.  The worst of it hit Moore Oklahoma, which is where the above video comes from.  As I was wrapping up my day at work, I heard the news that Moore was hit… and quite honestly at first I thought people were talking about the 1999 Tornado.  I just could not believe that an EF 5 Tornado could devastate the exact same town, in roughly the same path as before.

Unfortunately it did, and this time the roughly 1 mile wide tornado was on the ground for over 45 minutes.  During this time it destroyed a hospital, two elementary schools…  and while I have not heard it since… when it was happening there was talk about it hitting tinker air force base.  The last death count I heard was 51, and the hardest part of that is that roughly half of those were children from one of the elementary schools.  Loss of life is always tragic, but it just seems even more unfair when it is a child.

The Close Calls

For the most part we made it through the storm fine.  I wrapped up and left work about 4pm to head north to the suburb I live in.  I had just gotten on the highway when I started getting panicked calls from my wife, turns out that a Tornado was crossing the highway roughly 5 miles ahead of where I currently was.  There was really nowhere to get off the road, and I had no sign of the storm… I was coming in behind it, opposite from the direction it was travelling.  I turned on KRMG since they have the best local weather, and by their reports it had already crossed the highway and was further down the road than initially thought.

During this time I also got another phone call from my Mom.  Turns out that my aunt had an accident, fell out of her wheel chair, and was being rushed to the hospital from my home town an hour north of Tulsa.  Based on the weather reports they would be travelling directly through the tornado path.  But by the time I called back to check, they had already travelled out of the danger zone.  In both cases each of us missed the twister by roughly 5 miles…  which is a little too close for comfort.

I made it home safely, and as I waited on my wife to arrive… I went through the sequence of events to prepare the animal cages in the safest spot in our home… our laundry room.  I kept my work clothes on and shoes, just to make sure I was ready in case something happened.  Then we spent the next few hours watching the news as these slow moving behemoths tracked across the map, somehow moving just to the north or just to the east of us.  All the while frightened of the prospect of the store that destroyed Moore heading this way.

The Stress

By the time that super storm that produced the F5 got to this area of the state, it had veered off course and was starting to lose its steam.  By the time it reached Tulsa County it had mostly dissipated but the overall stress and tension never really eases.  You know that there is still a huge trail of storms tracking this way, and that the conditions are right for any one of them to spin up another killer tornado.  Knowing the worst was passed, I went upstairs to the loft and tried to play a game for a bit…  but I really couldn’t enjoy myself.

Instead I ended up going to bed pretty early, of course turning on the news before doing so.  It was another night I dreamed of tornados.  At one point I woke up because the news had cut in, talking about another cell heading our way.  Nothing however came of that, other than causing me to not sleep for a bit.  I act nonchalant about living in Tornado Alley, and most nights are not that bad…  but when you have a night of mega activity it takes its toll.  Sunday night had pretty much absorbed my buffer of cool, and by the time last night rolled around I was left with nothing but frayed nerves.

The Aftermath

Right now I know that our state family in Oklahoma City is going to need a lot of help.  That is one of the truly amazing things about living here, when something goes wrong people come out of the woodwork with support.  It happened with the Joplin Tornado, it happened in 1999 for Moore, and I am sure it will happen again this time around.  While last year was the first time I had ever been directly effected by a Tornado, when one hit my Grandfathers property…  we grow up with this concept so deeply embedded in our psyche.  That nature is dangerous, and that we have to band together when she causes destruction.

If you live in Oklahoma, I am sure there will be local churches or civic groups organizing assistance for the Tornado.  I remember for Joplin, it was a local real estate agent that chartered a freight truck and piled it full of donations of water, diapers, clothing, blankets etc.  I am sure over the next few days, when one of those happens I will be bringing it a jeep load of stuff to help out.  In the meantime, the best way to support tornado relief is almost always the Red Cross.  They are on the front line, and right now have a fleet of vehicles in Oklahoma City ready to launch at daybreak.

For news on how you can help, you can always follow the Oklahoma Red Cross Twitter.  The easiest way to donate money is to text in your donation… $10 at a time, by texting “REDCROSS” to 90999.  I am sure Red Cross will be posting more details on the Oklahoma region homepage as they get them.  I personally will be watching Newson6.com for any information and their sister channel News9.com.  When something like this happens in Oklahoma or the surrounding area, they pool their resources giving them access to two helicopters, and an army of reporters to get the news out.

The Next Thing

Right now I still feel a bit shell shocked from last night.  I could write about games and things like that if I forced it…  but the entire point of this experiment was to be more honest and open.  Right now the only thing on my mind is the outbreak of twisters from the last two nights, and what I can do to help out.  I am sure tomorrow I will return to talking about other things…  but today it just feels wrong to do so.  I need to wrap this up and head into to work.  I am glad we were safe, and my parents narrowly missed one of the Tornadoes.  I hope everyone out there is safe and sound, and has a good day.  Additionally I really hope we do not have a repeat tonight, because my nerves cannot take a third night in a row.  I was able to stay calm and cool during the first night, last night I was stressed beyond reason, and if it happens again tonight… I will likely degrade into a basket case.  Here is hoping we have a glorious day with no more storms.

To Boldly Go

I am extra groggy this morning.  Last night was another episode of that familiar Oklahoma… try and sleep while also listening to the weather forecast because you are under a Tornado Warning.  It is a fun game for a large group of players.  The negative side effect is that you either don’t really sleep deeply at all, or you end up dreaming about a tornado hitting your house.

Twisteropolis

I have to marvel at just how good the weather is here in Oklahoma.  We had been warned about this outbreak of tornados on Friday, and the warnings got steadily more and more dire until yesterday when the show finally began around 5pm.  Additionally it is pretty miraculous that over the course of the evening there were 29 separate tornados and uncountable miles of destruction…  but only one single fatality.  It is just staggering to me that so much destruction could be caused, yet only one life be lost.

Here we live in a culture of constant preparedness for that big tornado, so early in the evening we had prepared our hidey hole, and I was texting people to make sure they were also aware of the imminent danger.  Now like many nights, this ended up much ado about nothing…  but it is because we take it seriously… that there were so few lives lost.  We rolled the dice and lucked out on the path of the twisters, and had the conditions been slightly different they would have hit us for certain. 

The closest tornado spawning super cell passed about 30 minutes to the north of our house.  When that cell was extremely active over the Wellston area, there is footage of it being roughly a mile and a half wide.  Think about that for a moment…  there this is thing destroying literally everything in this mile and a half wide path.  Tornados feel like a giant eraser tool, smudging out everything in its arc.  We fared the night just fine, but this evening is supposed to be worse.  Additionally, todays show is supposed to start at roughly 3pm, just in time for the drive home.

To Boldly Go

We had to do something to take our minds off the impending doom, so we went around noonish to a matinee for Star Trek: Into Darkness.  I have to say I loved every minute of it.  I’ve always been a shirt tail fan of Star Trek, watching whatever series happened to be on the air at the given time.  However I have never really reached the point of ravening fanboy, because I just didn’t buy the “utopian experiment” aspect of the franchise.  Deepspace 9 was my favorite of the series, because they were essentially in a constant state of war and chaos, it felt like it was Star Trek for the Star Wars fan.

J.J. Abrams has taken this very neat and tidy Star Trek universe and messed it up a bit, producing something that is far more enjoyable for me to watch as a whole.  Just like the first one, I loved every single minute of the movie, and cannot wait to see it again.  However as I am sitting there watching the movie, I am getting super excited in the back of my head.  If Abrams can do this for Star Trek, a series I have always felt was a bit too sterile…  it makes me absolutely giddy to think about what he can do to Star Wars.

If you have not seen the film yet, you definitely should.  It was a great rollercoaster ride to go on.  Essentially from the first moments of the film to the last there is nothing but nonstop action.  Additionally it has some truly amazing moments in between that will play on your emotions like a harpsichord.  There are purists that will hate the film, and I have already heard enough negative clamor about it… but it is just plain movie fun.

The Most Inappropriately Named Game Series

With the return of having an Xbox console in my loft, I wanted to play a game on it.  While over the last few days I have played a good deal of my old friend Castle Crashers, I felt like I wanted to play something more substantial.  For whatever reason I never managed to finish Final Fantasy XIII, I just stopped playing it and got out of sync with the storyline… never to return.  I have this love/hate relationship with the series as parts of me are super nostalgic about the Nintendo and super Nintendo era titles… and other parts of me are frustrated with what the series has become overall.

The game as a whole feels extremely rehashed at this point.  Something is causing the world to end, and only your team can stop it… with the help of super unrealistic armor and needlessly intricate weapons.  It will somehow involve god like creatures that you can either summon or will help you in some fashion, and also include insanely unrealistic armor, needlessly intricate weapon designs… and quite possibly take up large amounts of real time to manifest themselves.  The game is just drowning in the same tropes every single time.

The final fantasy trope that just kills me though, is the fact that they give you this one character that they want you to hate.  In FF13 this is Hope… when you use him he is markedly weaker than every single character you have gotten to that point.  He literally has half of the hitpoints of Vanille the character that is introduced to pair with him.  Additionally he wields this goofy boomarang, and seems to do far less damage than Vanille. 

To complete the arc of hatred, he is annoying as shit…  and throws the game into this entire arc of falsetto emotion.  I think we are supposed to feel sorry for him, or identify with him in some way…  but all I see is a kid with goofy hair, crappy weapons, no hit points and no personality.  Final Fantasy as a franchise has a history of setting up completely useless character and intending for us to like them… need I mention Edward the Bard from Final Fantasy IV?

All this bitching aside, I rather enjoyed playing FF13 again last night.  The story is kinda lame, and the characters are overly dramatic…  but I still enjoy it for whatever reason.  I think one of my impediments from enjoying console games in the past is that I always felt rushed when I played one.  Since it was hooked up to our main television, I always felt like I was somehow imposing by playing the game.  Now that I have a television of my own, set up in a gaming area of my own…  I can take as much time to play whatever I like and not have to worry about rushing through the cut scenes to get to the action.  I don’t feel like I have to hurry and get my fill so I can return the television to its intended purpose.

Alucard Again

I find it completely unsurprising that my favorite game right now on the PS3 is the same favorite game I have had ever since first playing it.  Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is that game for me, that is so far ahead of every other game I have played in matter of deep personal enjoyment.  No matter how many times, and on how many different platforms I have access to it… I still return to playing it.  Thanks to the PlayStation network, there is a really great emulated copy of it running inside my PS3.

I had started the game just prior to the whole tornado madness last night, so only made it past the first boss before shutting it down and heading downstairs.  I am sure I will be tag teaming back and forth between this and Final Fantasy 13 for a few weeks.  The funny thing is, that while I can remember large chunks of the game, every time I play it I cannot remember the exact order and locations of items I need to get… so the gameplay never gets stale.  This is for me as close to a perfect game as it gets, and sadly nothing has ever really come close.

Guacamelee! does a really good job of invoking the same feeling.  But for whatever reason I just don’t feel as connected to the Luchador, as I do to Alucard the son of Dracula.  I won’t lie, I love vampires… I always have.  I was a pretty rabid player of Vampire the Masquerade, and did not really get disenfranchised with the genre until the last few years and the whole “vampires are people too” movement.  So the thought of running around in Castlevania as this sword swinging badass that you also played in Castlevania 3… is pretty much the pinnacle of awesome.

I need to hurry up and finish my net top PC so I can also be playing Super Metroid from the loft.  I feel like I am old now, because I would rather play a side scrolling sprite based game, than any of the new shiny 3D titles available for the console.  I think this is ultimately what the process of getting old feels like, mind crushing nostalgia about the things you used to love and still do.  I can remember thinking about consoles like the Gamecube… that no one will feel nostalgic about this…  but sure enough the generation that grew up with Super Smash Brothers is going through the same exact thing.  Oh well I guess we just have to enjoy whatever we can when we can.

Constant Vigilance

I need to wrap up and get on the road.  It looks like we are going to have another beautiful day of thunderstorms ahead of us.  All indications say that today will be far worse and far more likely to hit the Tulsa area.  The thing that freaks me out the most is the fact that the deluge will be hitting as we begin the drive home.  Here is hoping if it ends up looking bad enough, that we can duck out early.  I have so much to do this week, and so many non-work things to try and arrange for.  I hope you all have a great week, and I hope you too can get done all the things you need to do.

XBOX Necromancy

I really overdid it yesterday, and this morning I am paying the price.  I am kind of sitting here in an extended allergy inflamed stupor.  I quite honestly had forgotten about blogging until my wife reminded me to do so.  It is a relatively cheery Sunday morning outside, which is a stark contrast to the stormy night we had last night.  Breakfast is now digesting, and it is time for me to think of something worth writing.

Tales of a Junktown Trader

20130518_140638

Yesterday after milling around a bit and blogging I went upstairs and tore into my office.  It tends to be a catch all for things that need to be removed from the rest of the house.  Generally things migrate there in the form of these miscellaneous boxes of debris that has not really been sorted.  Since previously I had packed up all of my classic consoles in boxes to clear out the loft, I now had tons of these boxes sitting in the way of progress.

At some point soon, hopefully Thursday… I need to call the cable company to get them to install cable to both my office and the loft.  This is part of the greater scheme of switching off of DSL and onto 50 meg cable.  Thursday is when we get the new sectional delivered for the downstairs, and since I will have to be there anyways it would be nice to get it all over in one day.  With this time table in mind I knew I realistically had to get my office in order this weekend.

Essentially I sorted through the boxes, tossed anything that was essentially unusable junk, donated anything that would be valuable to someone, and kept anything I really needed.  The end results was the above picture… essentially a jeep load full of stuff going to goodwill.  There are roughly 9 boxes of stuff, 2 partial cpus, a HP LaserJet printer and a floor lamp.  This was the culmination of 3 1/2 hours of hardcore cleaning.

XBOX Necromancy

The hardest part was trying to make sure I did not junk up my game loft too badly.  After all the cleaning was finished I set forth trying to resurrect my Xbox 360 so it could join the ps3 in the loft.  Basically my Xbox unit is old enough that it is no longer covered by Microsoft for the Red Ring of Death fix.  As a result I was basically left with the options of trying to perform rocket surgery on it, or one of the various homebrew “fixes” that have circulated around the internet.

The most notorious method is the towel trick, but I was really wanting to avoid that as I could totally picture my office going up in flames as the towels caught on fire.  So the first homebrew method I tried was the “Better than towel trick” method.  It made sense enough, so I doctored some qtips and proceeded to block the fans.  However after 30 minutes… my unit had still not flipped to the 2 lights shown in the video.  So the better than… method had failed me massively.

 

Next I tried this truly insane Rube Goldberg method… it has 15 steps… none of which are explained clearly.  However oddly enough I was able to get my unit to respond as expected until about halfway through the maneuver.  Firstly it took me a bit to figure out that they were calling the reset button… the panic button.  Once that was determined the method just became technically difficult and far less mind boggling.  Of course, as expected it didn’t actually do anything at all, except make my power button look like a red strobe light.

 

Finally I decided what the hell… I would try the towel trick.  This is the most famous of the towel trick videos, but there are literally hundreds of them.  Basically the idea is to wrap your xbox in a towel, force it to overheat… and this somehow resets whatever warning sensor has been flipped.  I wrapped my xbox up tightly, and powered it on.  I let it set for 45 minutes, and then after cooling down… it still did nothing at all.  So I started doing some research… and it turns out that once again conventional wisdom is wrong.

Conventional Wisdom Wrong Again

Essentially the two red rings of death is the only error that actually means your unit has overheated.  The three ring message I was seeing ultimately means “General Hardware Error”… which could literally be almost anything wrong.  Basically in easiest terms my Xbox is screwed, and not likely to come back.  I would have to take my unit into a repair place, and the cost of repair would be completely variable based on what was actually wrong… and ultimately I would still be left with an ancient xbox with only a 20 gig harddrive.

I did some looking around at local used game shops, and they wanted roughly 330 for a used 250 gig newer style xbox.  My wife suggested that we look around at some pawn shops, and at the very first one I found a good deal on a 250 gig matte black finish newer style xbox.  We went ahead and paid the extra 20 bucks for a 6 month warranty… as a just in case.  I got it set up last night, and started redownloading things… and at this point I am almost back to where I was before.

I am super happy that now I have both a working PS3 and XBox up in the game loft.  The next step will be to tackle getting the nettop set up and the emulators running.  But that is a job that can wait for another day.  I still have not decided if I will be going with windows based XBox Media Center or the Ubuntu based variety.  The windows based gives me a bit more freedom to do other things, but the Ubuntu version seems more shake and bake and might take less time to configure.

Snap Crackle and Pop

I am really not sure how much will get accomplished today.  Right now when I move I make a snap, crackle and pop sound… which is not amazingly good.  I maybe over did it, since I hauled a load of boxes to goodwill, and another load of cardboard boxes to the recycling center by myself.  I could have gotten help with both had I waited, but I wanted the upstairs to be finished… and the clutter, bags of trash and empty boxes were just making it look like a complete and total mess.  We realistically need to do a few things downstairs to prep for thursday, but I am not sure how much of that will happen.  I hope you all have a great day out there, and that you keep from creaking and moaning like I apparently am right now.

Account Based Currencies

Yesterday I spent more money than I ever have before in my life on a single purchase.  I am not counting automobiles… since those end up drug out over the course of years… and same goes with my house.  We purchased a new leather sectional and it will be delivered on Thursday.  This is pretty much the culmination of our whole “trying to make the house awesome” thing.  The awesome thing is that thanks to having a really cool saleswoman, she called us when we could get free delivery and a 5% discount.

Declutteration

So pretty much today is going to involve cleaning out my closet in my office.  It has 15 years worth of accumulated debris, and most of it needs to either be trashed or donated.  Essentially this is important because I need to clear my office of all the consoles I packed up while clearing out the loft.  Most of the crap in my closet is left over tech junk that I have either cycled out of, or not used in long enough that it no longer matters.  Going to start making piles of, this is something I should donate to charity and this is something I should just pitch.

My ultimate hope is to clear the closet enough to be able to pack my consoles neatly in there, and maybe get the cable installer scheduled for Thursday as well.  That way I can batch up all the annoying waiting around the house for an installer on the same day.  Ultimately this would be the last step keeping me from switching to cable internet.  Of all the improvements, this is the big one for me.  We have been on 4 meg DSL for years… and bumping up to 50 meg cable is going to be massive for me and my sanity.

Eyecandy

Apparently there is an Elder Scrolls Online poster contest going on.  A friend of mine linked me this and I thought it was so amazing that I had to share.  Also I am looking for nifty things to share since I am still very much unable to share what I am doing over this weekend.  You can hop over to Elder Scrolls Online page to check out the contest information…  but the prizes seem pretty great.

First prize wins…

  • One Medium Wacom Intuos5 Tablet.
  • One The Elder Scrolls Online poster signed by the development team.
  • One canvas print of the Alliance Battle Concept Art.
  • Winning poster will be printed and signed by the Game Director, Art Director, and Concept team and mailed to the winner.
  • Poster will be prominently displayed at ZeniMax Online Studios and in ZeniMax Customer Support offices.
  • Poster will be featured in the ZeniMax booth at a future convention.
  • One The Elder Scrolls Online limited stein.
  • One The Elder Scrolls Online t-shirt.

This is from the Tumblr and appears to be one of the entries.  I think it is going to be extremely hard to beat, but I highly suggest anyone with the skill to give it a shot!

Account Based Currencies

I prefer Septims _bf274cc7ed9f1d5876b5b4f50421dd30

Keeping with the Elder Scrolls eyecandy theme…  I found this nifty rendering of a Septim coin.  Yesterday I was playing with the Rift Mobile app, and after getting hundreds of planarite that are completely useless to my main for the thousandth time… it got me to thinking how frustrating it is that currency in general is not account bound.  So I threw out this tweet “I am of the opinion, that regardless of game… all tokens and currencies should be accrued at an account level, not character level”.  It had several favorites, and a retweet…  but it got me to thinking about how much better MMOs would feel if this were the case.

It feels like in general the long range endgame for all MMOs is to convince its players to roll more characters, and get more deeply involved in the experience.  The problem that you run into is when you are working on your alts, but end up being needed by your friends and guild on one of your mains instead.  I can remember how frustrating it was for me playing World of Warcraft, watching tokens sit unused on Belghast when I would love to have them on my other characters.

The game experience would be so much better overall if you knew regardless of what character you were playing, you were working towards whatever goals you have.  I know personally, I would mind tanking that same instance for the 300th time a lot less if I knew that the shiny baubles I was acquiring were capable of going towards the character I was really wanting to gear.  The problem with alting when you play a core role, is that it will always be in need.

I know that my opinion doesn’t really matter much, but it feels like a much more solid design… a longer range thought process.  Right now the challenge with MMOs seems to be trying to get players to keep playing your game for the long haul.  Doing anything to keep your players invested in more than just their first character seems like it is the best possible way to accomplish this. 

This is one of the things I miss most from the era of non-binding gear.  I could run a dungeon in Everquest, healing it on my cleric that was extremely needed… but be getting gear for my ranger or shadowknight.  This made the experience more exciting, and less of a hassle.  I realize we will never see an era of non-disposable gear… that is something long gone that will never likely come back.  However if I could at least accrue tokens and currencies… I could benefit my alts when doing a favor to friends.

Its Cleaning Time!

Yeah I am not really exclamation excited… but it needs to get done.  Time for me to get off here and head upstairs to work on my office.  I hope you all have a great weekend, and that you do something far more exciting than mine is going to shape up to be.

Responsible Adult Time

Today is going to shape up to be a stressful one.  My boss overdid it coming back from surgery, and will be out of the office today.  As a result I will be acting as his proxy, attending whatever meetings he would have had to attend.  The beginning of these is having to lead an 8:30 meeting… so I really have to watch the time this morning as I blog.  Once again I am under an NDA as stated last night, so there is not much I can say about what happened last night,  save for as to say that it was an awesome evening.

Instant Ports

Over the years in EQ2 travel has gone from something that took large amounts of real time, to something that mostly involves knowing which travel networks connect in which zones.  For example I tend to use Enchanted Lands as a switching station, since the Druid Ring, Wizard Spire and Travel bells are all very close to each other.  I find traversing zones extremely quick, and so long as you have a base idea of what travel options are available in zones near where you are going you can get there in a matter of a few ports.

Apparently however this was not easy enough.  Based on an article I read yesterday, it looks like they will be offering the ability to teleport to one of the travel network destinations from anywhere in the world for an outlay of station cash.  This will likely replace the portable travel bells that already exist on the station cash store.  The portable travel bells were nice for emergency situations, and this will likely fill the same bill.

I feel like however, this is a change mostly for players without a guild large enough to host the various travel network vendors.  Between my port to home city and port to guild hall, it feels like I always have an option to get back to the travel network rapidly.  What it also does is make it so that players no longer need to memorize the directory of “connecting flights” that get you from one travel network to another.  There are times I cannot remember just which network goes to this expansion zone or that. 

Ultimately it will be interesting to see just how much station cash it costs to port like this.  I am completely fine with new conveniences, so long as they do not remove the existing networks.  Travel after many years arrived at a point where it made quite a bit of sense and that you could pretty much avoid all the boats entirely.  I don’t ever want to return to a time when intra-zone travel is a real-world time sink.

Exploration and Crafting

 

Yesterday Zenimax released a pretty cool video for the Elder Scrolls Online covering the gathering, crafting and exploration systems.  The fact that you can loot the barrels on the docks for crafting materials seems cool, but the highlight of the video is that they get close to what looks like a Nirnroot… and it makes the Nirnroot sound.  There were so many times I would be wandering across Skyrim, and I hear that sound. and immediately go into find the root mode.  The fact that they have carried that sound effect over… gives me hope that all the other little nuanced things will be there as well.

I am happy to see a lockpicking system in the game as well.  Even though it looks like the Oblivion system, which I was absolutely horrible at…  it is awesome to see it.  I am more aligned to the easy mode lock picking of Skyrim and the Fallout games.  I love chests in games, and even more so I am excited that they may be difficult to find.  I hated that in WoW chests were just thrown out in the middle of nowhere, in places that made no sense to have one.  The chest showing up in the hollowed tree in the video seems about right.  I am all about games rewarding exploration.

Spam Mail Personified

 

I saw this video and thought it was pretty amazing…  especially when it gets to the point of the fake virus/speed software that takes over your machine.  I have had to rebuild our neighbors laptop at least five times because they managed to get that stupid faux virus malware.  I remember one time my mom called me, after being 3 screens deep into an obvious phishing site… because it finally sounded strange to her.  I told her that if she had already clicked submit a few times, it was all over but the crying.  Maybe this will go viral enough to reach our parents and neighbors…  one can only hope.

Luchador Power!

I mentioned this the other day, but I am massively hooked on the game Guacamelee!, the exclamation point is part of the name… that is just how awesome it is.  Essentially at its core is a Metroid/Castlevania game with Mexican Luchador flair.  This is one of the newer cross buy titles, in that you get it both on PS3 and your Vita.  Up until this point I really had zero interest in a Vita.  Don’t get me wrong I like my PSP, but I rooted it and turned it into a portable emulation machine, since that was a far more compelling use than the games actually were.

Also of note… Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is my favorite game of all time.  The fact that I could be playing Guacamelee! on a portable device has done more to make me lust after the Vita goodness than anything has to this point.  Additionally my little inner circle of friends has been going on and on about Persona 4 Golden…  I will admit I am also curious about that madness. 

Now I will begin my search through craigslist for a used unit…  because I just cannot ever bring myself to pay full price for a new console when there are so many used ones out there in need of good homes.  They totally need to make gaming adoption commercials… with Sarah McLachlan shaming us for even existing and not giving all our money to all the consoles.  I have 3 rescue cats and 3 rescue ferrets… and still I cannot bear to watch those commercials…  just think what it will do for gaming consoles.

Responsible Adult Time

So I need to wrap up this madcap episode of “Bel finds shit to talk about that doesn’t break and NDA!!!”.  Just think you are going to get several more of these since I am under NDA until at least Monday.  I need to go finish getting ready, gather some breakfast, and arrive at the office with enough time to print all the things and mentally prepare myself for the super important meeting.  There are days I hate being a responsible adult, but there comes a time when you are actually though of as a leader in your organization…  which scares me.  I hope you all have a great day…  one that doesn’t involve you being responsible!!!