Friday, January 29, 2010

I gotta case of the 3pm Fridays...

I'm sitting here at work, listening to Kings of Leon (the band grows on me daily for some reason, even though the lead singer seems to like sucking lemons). It's Friday, 3:05 pm, and I just want to go home. It happens to me after a long week. It's been a very long week, one where I thought I'd be eyes and ears into space fantasy a la Mass Effect 2. Sadly, I've been out almost every night since I got it, or been busy doing adult responsibility things. Yick. As a result, I am running on fumes and caffeine.

This weekend bodes joy and bliss as I get the pleasure of sitting down with my friends babies and talking games with the dads. :) No sarcasm either, this'll be a hoot. I love kids and can't wait to have my own. It's like growing a gaming buddy. I'm also planning on a fun photoshoot with my cats, should they be so willing to accommodate me. :) Might be hard though... recall that old "herd a bunch of cats" saying...

I wanted to drop a big thanks to the good folks at the Village Mall EB Games. I tried putting my preorder armor code in and it turned out to be used! Sigh... so I brought it back and they gladly gave me a new one and some awesome SWAG from Guitar Hero and Darksiders. You guys rock. Shop there. It's a great experience.

Time for my THIRD coke of the day. See you on the flip side.


Word of the day: Dickhead. Use it with glee on degenerate pricks who insist on backing in to a parking spot with absolutely no skill in doing so.

Learn to park... Dickhead. :P

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ok, a second quick post. No gaming, Personal thoughts on...

Ok, so I think every second word on the radio is "Haiti". Everyone and their dog is throwing off a benefit show or begging for money to help the people of the devastating earthquakes from a while back. If you can sense a little bile bubbling under the surface from me then you are right. While I appreciate the fact that most people want to help, I don't believe all their hearts are in the right place.

Now, before you pull out your wagging fingers and shame on yous, let me set this up for you with a little information.

St. John's has the highest per-capita rate for musicians (with their jobs and sole earning potential listed as musician)in the entire country. On any given day you can go to a pub in town and there'll be someone sitting on a stool singing for their supper. On the streets there are buskers. In the schools there are educated musicians. Their EVERYWHERE here, waiting for Canadian Idol to come back on TV with all their hopes and dreams in the balance.

Now... on the radio it feels and seems like every one of them is trying to raise money for Haiti. How many of these people are doing it out of the goodness of their hearts? I can guarantee you that it is NOT 100%. What is Jo Blo Guitar Man going to be able to do to lure people to a show in a dingy night club on Water Street on a Tuesday night? Tell em he's givin proceeds to Haiti. Suddenly the bleeding hearts are out and instead of 2 people in the bar, he's got 10 there. The bar get's a teenie little more business and the singer gets a kick back from the whole deal.

This is a world where nobody does anything without some sort of ulterior motive, and here in Newfoundland, it's masked with "Newfie Kindness". A few bad apples spoil the bunch.

Now we should all do our part. But we need to know, and let it be known, that it's being done for the right reasons. No... Simon Cowell will NOT go to a dingy bar in downtown St. John's, no matter how many bleeding heart cards you pull. Do it because there is a genuine need for helping these people through a horrific time (see the good people at Spirit of NL, BTW), not because you need a career boost.


Run home blog, Better off Ted

I'm quickly here at the house and wanting to squeek some sort of blog post in. I am still running around in Mass Effect 2, so not much news on the game front. So I figured, let's tell people about one of my favorite shows, Better Off Ted.

Phil and Lem are the best two characters in TV today for chemistry(followed closely by Richard Castle and Kate Beckett). The one offs and one liners these two produce are worthy of Emmy nominees. Ted, the straight man, is a great story teller and easy to follow.His boss Monica and love interest (not sure of name) are great filler cast and do well to play up the main man and his lab rat junkies. Check it out.

Ok, gotta run. See you tomorrow!


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

my poor sick cat that was never sick and... Daduh DAHHH! Mass Effect 2!

Well, for those of you who know me, I have this cat named Waffle that is mutant like big and very friendly. (No, Mr. Mallard, he's not trying to eat you, he just likes you... a lot. Did I tell you we think he's gay? :P) He's about to turn the grand old age of 10 years old and recently he's had a little trouble with sickness, or so we thought.

I've had him to the vet 4 times, had him on meds for a month (which were expensive), had him leave little messy spots on my carpets, and have my germaphobe wife go into near fits over it and near demand me get rid of him. The wonderful veterinary individuals who call themselves "doctors" would look at him, listen to me, and tell me that he has an infection and to give him pills. No tests. Not even a thermometer to check his temperature. Last night I being him to his THIRD vet, and she takes blood and FINALLY tests him. The cat is not sick at all. NOT FUCKING SICK. He has food sensitivities. with more than $500 down the drain during a time where money is disappearing out of my account like it's going out of style because I just bought a house, I find out most of it was spent for nothing and he just has to eat special food. Food that costs 3 times what he was eating normally for nearly his entire cat life. Sigh.

(For those who do have a pet in need, do go see Babette Meister at the Paradise Animal Hospital... she's the one who finally said "lets take blood and deal with the issue". She was INCREDIBLY friendly and took care of my big fat meatball of a cat properly.:P)

So last night, after I get home from the vet and buying special cat food, I finally get to play Mass Effect 2. The game, as you one or two readers out there have noticed, that I've been waiting on for a while. I'm only about 4 hours in, so this is not a review. It's more a "first impressions" thing.

Possible spoilers alert.

The game starts out with something unusual. You die. Rather horrifically actually. Your ship is attacked by an unknown assailant and you die by falling into space, your space suit leaking air, and you burn up on entry into the atmosphere of some strange planet. You are the resurrected by a group you fought in the first game, the Cerberus. You meet the guy behind it, who seemingly has the DUMBEST name ever, the "Illusive Man". WTF.

Anyway, onto gameplay. The shooting portion of the game in the first was a little stiff so they've managed to loosen up the who deal of it in ME2. You now have to watch your ammo as you do not have unlimited bullets. Your HUD is a little different, which isn't better. It's a little hard to follow compared to the first game.

The graphics are far more clean with less breakup and they feel, for lack of a better term, more organic. The faces of the characters just seem to look a little better than the first game. Their movements do seem a little stiff like the first though.

You start by going to an attacked colony called Freedom's Progress to find out why people are disappearing. Then you basically can go wherever to recruit your team. First I went to a gritty, dark space port called Omega. I then went to the Citadel, the main hub in the first game. It's very different this time. I was hoping there'd be SOME similarities to the first game, but there weren't and it was covered up by saying it was "repaired after the attack"... referring to the final battle in ME1.

I could go on, but I'll save some for the next post. So far, I have to admit, I'm a little let down by the game. But I think that this is just because I was expecting more of the same from the first outing, where as this is a game that has vast improvements and in essence, is a different game all together. Once I get more of a handle on how to play properly, I'm sure I'll love it just as much as the first.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mass Effect 2 DAY!

I've got my copy, the Uber-geek special edition. Great swag with it, I have 3 sets of armor that are different, right off the bat. The comic and artbook are typical, the steel case is really nice looking. Not bad for the extra 10 bucks though. Will have more on this later! Until then, BACK TO WORK! :D


Monday, January 25, 2010

Gauging how mucha game is REALLY worth

I was out at the flea market last night and it brought to mind a common thought in my head. How much is this game REALLY worth? Sure it has X-amount of dollars price tag on it, but is it really worth that?

There is much to consider when looking at the price of a game. How old the game is, condition of the game, demand for the game, the quality of the title, how foolish the seller of the game is, how much you want to play the game, has it been re-released, what system it's on, etc. So lets start out with how old a game is.

A game's age doesn't necessarily spell it's value out. It can go either way. A vintage, classic title such as Legend of Zelda, Ocarina of Time, holds it's value somewhat because there is always someone who wants to play it. But think about an old game like "Paperboy" and you get something that is nothing short of shovelware. Use it to wedge open your door and you'll get more value for it. New release titles tend to have higher sales values unless it's absolute garbage. If you were to want a new release title, generally it's just as well you buy the title new instead of used, as the savings is generally $5 or less.

Condition plays a huge role in the value of a used game. Why would you buy a game that is scratched up? Why get a game with no case or book? All these things will reflect on you as you try to resell the game yourself after you've used it, and lessen the value of the title to you as well. Take a copy of Gears of War 2. It's holding a nice sales value of $34.99 at most retailers, giving it a $24.99 or less tag used. If you go into the flea market or used shop and pick it up and notice a big scratch down the side. Apparently it doesn't affect gameplay in the least, so it's a safe buy if you just want to get it for yourself. But, if you are going to flip the title after you are done, you'll be stuck with it or have to accept lower value for it because of said scratch. Given that there are so many copies of the game available, why bother getting it at all? If you still want to get this copy, you should easily bargain the $24.99 pricetag down to it's actual value of $14.99. Less $5 for the scratch, less $5 for the abundance of available copies.

New games less than a month or two old are generally in great shape, so you won't get any discount beyond the 5 or 10 dollar discount for used pricing.

Next, let's talk about demand for a game. This generally is something that would be looked at on a case by case basis. In a shop like EB, if there are:

1. Lots of copies available
2. They sit on the shelf for a LONG time
3. A price drop hits

Then generally the demand for the title is very poor. The problem is... EB will not bargain. So, given your little piece of knowledge on demand, you go to the flea market or pawn shop, notice the same title there, and it's been in their games bin almost as long as EB has used the game as a dust collector on their shelves, you can now talk to the guy at the flea market and bargain a title down in price. He may have a $15 price tag on it (say... Tomb Raider Underworld), but that game isn't worth the dirt on your shoe because of demand, age, and quality. So... given that they guy has to make SOME money, and you want to bargain some, that title is worth maybe 10 bucks, see if you can get it for 8.

Quality of a title is something that literally drives the value of a game up to almost double what a title may typically be worth. Great example: Anything Nintendo puts out first party. Think the Marios, the Zeldas, the Donkey Kongs, the Metroids. You can still pay as high as 40 dollars for an old copy of Super MArio 3 on NES depending on demand at any given time. Insane, yes. But you have to think, someone who wants mario 3 really bad WILL be stupid and pay this price tag. Also, quality has the reverse effect for crap games. The price on lower quality games will drop substantially and quickly. A great example of this would be the new Bionic Commando. You can get your hands on this title for as low as $9.99 now adays, and this was only released the past summer. Similar competing titles that were released around then still go for as high as $59.99 used (see: Batman: Arkham Asylum).

Sometimes you'll get lucky in your rounds for games, and find a crazy seller who wants to make a quick buck or has no idea the true value of a title. This generally only happens at flea markets or the occasional pawn shop. A great example for me recently was I got a copy of Wolverine for 360 for 20 bucks at the flea market when there are shops still selling their used copies for as high as $54.99! This is the sort of thing that happens very rarely, and should be jumped on quickly given the chance. Under-valued titles go a long way towards you developing the value of your collection greatly, and help towards trade-3's and trade specials.

Re-releasing of a title can affect values as well. See all the wii-ware, Xbox Live Arcade PSOnline stuff you can get your hands on these days. Mid-ranged quality titles like Super Punch-Out (yes, it IS mid-ranged for those who don't like boxing) or Ready to Rumble are easily attained for as little as $5 through these download services, so why spend the what can be as high as $10 to $20 higher for a title just to have it in cartridge or CD version? This perceived value of having "hard copies" of games is created by vendors playing on nostalgic thoughts of bored people who use nostalgia to fill their boring nights. The only problem with downloaded content is that it has ZERO trade value, as you cannot trade it after the fact, save for selling the whole system it resides on, and this is still not much.

One wildcard element to valuing a game is how much you yourself want to play a given title. I myself want to play Divinity II really badly, even though it's quality is suspect and it's a new release title. For me, given I want to play it so badly, the price I'm willing to pay for it goes up. I'd pay as much as 40 to 50 dollars for something I want to play, because to me it's worth it. I'll enjoy the game. I can lessen the cost of the game with smart trades (see a previous post on the art of trading) but still it'll be more than I'd typically spend.

Different systems have different values for their games. All last gen stuff (PS2, Gamecube, and Xbox) will have lower values and you are better off just buying and keeping titles for these machines. Next-gen stuff (Wii, 360, PS3) all tend to have different "overall" values to their titles. Wii titles trend towards being about $10 cheaper new, $15 cheaper used, than 360 or PS3 titles. Sometimes, PS3 titles can even be a bit more expensive than 360 titles, given the perceived value of bluray over standard DVD.

Like I said, there is much to consider in knowing the perceived value of a game. None of these points stand on their own very often, as it usually is a mish mash of each. If a seller of a game is nuts, and the value of the title is low, but it's in great condition, instead of the real value of the title being $10, this guy might try and get as much as $25 for it. It's all a matter of being smart with your money, and knowing what you want.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

First missed day...

I missed my first day of blogging Friday, but to be quite honest with you, not much happened. I went over to check out the Wall ofShame at Entertainment Centre and got me a couple of games, and missed one gem. I got Afro Samurai and Silent Hill Shattered Dreams, and I missed out on Oblivion: Game of the Year Edition. I had Oblivion in my hands to get, but put it down as I figured that I'd played it relentlessly already (50+ hours), got most of the gamerscore, and hadn't played either of the other two. I find out today that it's a most wanted title, a guaranteed trade 3 title. I would have vonverted a 4 dollar trade title in Infinite Undiscovery for a 23 dollar + trade three title... and I missed out. Shit on me. Oh well, I do have two new titles that I'm actually interested in enough to play (especially Silent Hill) and not in love with enough to care if I need to trade them again. All in all not a bad haul. If anyone were interested enough who was reading this, Rock Band 2 was there as well. Given I have it already, I passed on it. But it's a guaranteed trade 3 title as well, given it's 45 or 50 dollar price tag at EB these days.

I finished Mass Effect again tonight and am primed and ready for Mass Effect 2 now. Woot! I have a maxed out character ready for import into the new title. I also managed to crack 1000 gamerscore in the title. I got the last 20 points right at the final battle. I still love that game, and all signs point to a masterful sequel as well. Go Microsoft. (Never thought I'd say that).

Time for a Coke folks, so off I go again. See you again tomorrow!


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Short posts on nights the wife works... Is Republic of Doyle that good? And... NHL 10.

Short post again today, Steph was working tonight so I had to go get her during my blogging hour. I was sitting down watching the latest episode of Republic of Doyle tonight and I have to admit, I'm not that big of a fan.

Republic of Doyle is a show filmed and based in St. John's, NL. The lovely town where I live. The hoorah over it here locally is really to the moon. Everyone loves it, thinks it's the best thing on TV since MASH or somethin. Well, to be honest with you, I've watched every episode so far. It's not BAD... but it really isn't that good either (I'm expecting to be thrown to the wolves for saying that). If it were a show based out of Halifax or Toronto, I'd have stopped watching already. There are some very strong points with the show. Jake and his father, the main actors of the show, have an incredible chemistry that isn't seen on tv very often. "Malkie" the father is a true natural. Jake, played by Allan Hawco, is good as well but would do well to take some notes on delivery from the ol' man. The grandmother of the show, a veteran of Canadian television, Lynda Boyd, is probably the weakest part of the show along with the love interest, Krystin Pellerin, the Constable Leslie Bennett. They both try SO HARD to be Newfoundlanders... but over act terribly and awkwardly. The teenaged niece of Jake Doyle is servicable, for the 5 minutes or so she's on screen each week. The ex wife, played by Rachel Wilson, is great. She doesn't try to slap on a fake Newfie accent and it actually services her role perfectly.

Pretty much EVERY guest star and supporting casting role in the show is badly portrayed. Shawn Majunder was absolutely terrible in episode 1, and the worst part is, HE ACTUALLY IS A NEWFOUNDLANDER!!!

The stories themselves are actually very unique and have some nice twists in them, which is what truly gives hope to the show itself. Between the growing talents and the great plot developments, the show does have a lot of potential.

Now, onto video game stuff. I played my first ever online game of NHL 10 last night. I used the Islanders, and my oposition was a daunting... Team Canada. It was a very close affair, and I came out on top 2-1 with a last minute goal. :D Yay me. Anyway, I played two more games and got smoked each time. I think the skill matcher thing is broken. :P All in all it was a good experience for me, as I typically do not play online. I got a real sense of pride from winning against a real opponent. I'll do it again sometime. :)

Mass Effect 2 is only a few short days away now. OOOOOOOHHHH!!!! :) Back tomorrow!


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Gaming Friends and Memories

Today I thought I'd take a stroll down memory lane. I have a group of guys for whom I've been beating around with for what feels like forever. I'm 34 now, and I met them when I was 18. Back in the day, I used to work at a game shop, Microplay. I had access to basically every system and game known to man at the time (we're talking N64, PS1, Sega Saturn, 3DO era). We've all got great memories of a simpler time. The nights out drinking (under aged or not), the nights partying. But one of my fondest memories, if not THE fondest memory of that time was a Friday night at my friend Steve's in Mt. Pearl. There was 4 of us I believe, maybe with a couple of guys coming and going throughout the night. It was myself, Chris, Steve, and Tim. I had an N64 system taken home from the Microplay rental stock, and somehow we had gotten our hands on some beer. (I think there was some diet root beer in the mix too... volatile stuff) We were playing San Francisco Rush.

Now Steve was a lucky young man. He had the priviledge of having a MONSTER sized tv to plug this thing in. I can't remember exactly how big it was, but it being a memory, and a good one, it was so large you could house homeless people in it. This was before the times of wall mounted flat screens, this was a big assed, 1000 lb. TV set. We were all drinking, and playing Rush, and laughing about how we were "drinking and driving". I won't get into the hairier details of drunkenness or the diet root beer, but you guys involved know what I'm talking about. :P

There are so many ways gaming has touched our lives, not because it was a good game, but because it facilitated great memories. It's not just a "guys" thing. I remember nights where we had the girls in playing "Worms" on Sega Saturn. (I'm lucky enough to have had one of those girls become my sister in law! She's awesome. :P) I remember playing Ace Attorney on DS with my wife on our first date. I remember my brother coming home and we played Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past on Super NES, and Bushido Blade on PS1. I remember living in Mt. Pearl with my other brother playing Desert Strike on PS1. I even remember waaaay back and watching my father playing Tank Command on Atari! The funny thing is, I don't remember what happened in the games. I remember sitting there with my brothers, with my friends, my parents, and having a good time because it was them who I was sitting with, not because of what we were playing.

Here's to fond memories folks. Remember and cherish those times, because there'll never be anything like them again. :)


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Joy That is Gaming on Sick Days

Only a short post today as I'm groggy from a dentist appointment (legalized torture...).

I was off sick today too, what a great day for gaming. Sadly, I ended up working from home for most of it because of a major project. Anyway, la ta da, I played about an hour of Wolverine and about 45 mins of NHL 10. I'm still stuck on trying to learn NHL10's new control scheme... I have been playing it with the classic controls all along. But, doing that means that you can't do the fancy dekes and fun board play properly.

Anyway, off I go again, to watch a little downloaded TV.

Back tomorrow!


Monday, January 18, 2010

Gaming the past 12 months, surprises and disappointments

I am, at my heart, a true gamer. Not a hardcore, not a passive, just right in the middle. I don't go for every achievement point, I don't just pick up a controller because everyone else is doing it. My tendencies lean towards playing lots of different games, playing through story modes, generally one playthrough only (Unless it's Mass Effect:P).

In playing this way, I tend to be surprised by the quality or fun of a title, or disappointed by a game after it's hype had me really pumped to play it. Here's a few titles from the past 12 months of gaming that really either had me going or annoyed the hell out of me.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine. I picked this up just the other night as trade bait at the flea market. I got it for a GREAT price, knowing I'd actually get more in trade than I spent on it. However, I popped it in and aside from the poor decision to near COMPLETELY change the origin story of Wolverine (more the movie's fault than the game), the gameplay is easy and compelling. It's unabashedly violent, which typically isn't my taste, but it serves well here because we finally see a guy who has knives in his hands stab someone. And boy, he stabs someone... ALOT. And with vicious, glorious glee. Not for kids by any means, but great for an adult gamer like myself.

Terminator: Salvation. This game was supposed to lick. I didn't hear a good thing about it. So, when I pop it in and check it out, I find a game that, while not deep, is a fun shooter that literally plays like a movie, with a decent story and some genuinely gripping moments.

Bioshock. One thing that does separate me from my friends when it comes to gaming tastes is that I generally HATE first person shooters. To me, no matter what shape of gun you have, no matter what kind of environment it is, it's still just DOOM in pretty clothes. So, for a game that I should hate to make me play for a solid 25-30 hours, it has to be something special. A wonderfully creepy atmosphere, a well designed and laid out plot, and some amazing visuals make this one to behold.

Spiderman: Web of Shadows.: The art of the sandbox game is hard to truly pull of technically, even on today's gaming machines. The art of being Spider-man truly hadn't been pulled off up to this title. I've been a Spiderman fan since I was in the womb it seems, and I've almost ALWAYS been disappointed by his video game incarnations. (The only truly good one being the Sega Genesis title). This title brings the reigns in, and shows us what Spider-man should be played like. The voice acting, admittedly, was a teenie bit weak, but the game itself, with Venom literally destroying New York on a massive scale, was truly epic.


Blaz Blue:
For what is heralded as the rebirth of 2D fighters, this game really let me down. Difficult and clunky to play, poor translation, and a monster price tag. All things that lead to a big letdown.

Star Ocean- The Last Hope: I played this one right through to the end, where I was certifiably raped by the final boss after I'd been laying the plugs to him for over an hour. The control was fine, the game was servicable. But... BIG big but... the translation was almost ear-bleedingly bad, and that final boss.... boy he turned me from this title.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2: It's almost unfair to say that this was a bad game, as it wasn't. It was just that it was the exact same game as the first one really. The "new" things they added to the game, the fusion attacks, really weren't something to write home about. They changed the story of Civil War from the comics, which was a travesty. All in all, while it was a decent game, it was still a major disappointment for this gamer/ comic book fan.

Magna Carta 2: This game was a PS2 title with a shitty fighting engine and brutal translation (we seeing a trend yet?). The game was ugly. Flat out ugly. The women's boobs were just too big. The guys looked like girls. Without boobs. Thank god I rented this, as I would have cried over the 70 bucks in cash or trade I would have lost to this mess. I still begrumble the 10 bucks I spent on renting the darn thing.

There's still lots of titles that didn't make these lists that while a treat or a bit of a disappointment, weren't to the scale that these were. It's very rarely I get exactly what I was looking for in a title, be it bad or good. If there was one title that I got exactly what I was looking for in the past year, I'd have to say it was Batman: Arkham Asylum. Low and behold, it sits atop many Game of the Year lists, including my own.

See you tomorrow!


Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Art of Game Trading

So today I thought I'd talk a little about game trading. For what seems like a lot of work, it's really not that much at all. Before I start, I'm not some moron who is trying to rip anyone off, to "Get the Man", or anything stupid like that. I just like games and like to pay less for them.O play through EVERY game I buy (in the story mode). I don't nevessarily get all the gamerscore for them, but that's more a hardened gamer task, and I play because I enjoy it, not just for gamerscore.

The best comparison I've come across is to compare your game collection to a hockey team, with each game being a player. Each player has a certain value to the team, much like each game adds a certain dollar figure to the overall value of the collection.

In hockey, an NHL team drafts from a number of different sources. The CHL, USHL, undrafted players, overseas, etc. In game buying (in St. John's anyway) there are a number of different outlets for a game player to buy games. EB Games being the big one, then Microplay, GamesXchange (formerly Microplay), Entertainment Centre (formerly Nintendo World), Traders, Netherworld, the Flea Market, and the always volatile private sale. EB, Microplay, and GamesXchange offer the most quality in games, as they are the major sources of anyone's collection. Traders, Netherworld, and the Flea Market are "surprise" shopping experiences, where you'll never see the same titles on sale twice, but you may find a true value "gem", meaning a game you would typically pay 50 or 60 dollars for at EB or Microplay, but you pay 20 to 30 dollars here. Entertainment Centre can be considered the "waiver draft" of the NHL. Decent but mostly unneed parts to the collection, using it's dubbed "Wall of Shame" crap games as a way to lure customers in. The wall of shame is where you trade a game for 7 bucks and get one off the wall. Sometimes you can find a gem, but generally you don't.

The last of the lot is the big box Future Shops, Walmarts, Staples, Zellers, etc. I typically never buy from them save for a boxing week special. A good example for these was the recent boxing week special at Future shop, which had Gears of War 2, Halo Wars, and Halo 3 all for $14.99!!!! Each one of these would work for trade 3 at EB.(which is described below)

The idea of how getting games at better prices is to keep an eye on Microplay and EB. Each one of them puts on trade specials and game specials every so often and you can take advantage of them. Buy the games low, sell or trade them for higher value. It's simple. Lets take the games I purchase recently. I got Darksiders AND Bayonetta.

Side note: I'll describe trade 3 at EB. It's where a game is valued at 8 dollars or more, you can trade three of said valued games for 1 new release. How it works is that the trade value for each 8 dollar game is upped to $23.33 so you can get the value of a $69.99 game. Nothing fancy.

Anyway, I traded for each of them and didn't pay a penny. I had games in my collection that I had purchased, played through (or hated) and traded again. For Darksiders, I traded: Assassins Creed 2, and Halo Wars. While I did trade for Assassin's Creed 2 for trade 3 (back in the fall, Mass Effect 1, purchased for $14.99, traded for 23.33, Assassin's Creed 1, bought for 14.99, traded for 23.33, and Tales of Vesperia, bought for 19.99, traded for 23.33), I had played through it completely, so it was worthless to the collection now. Halo Wars I purchased for $12.50 on a boxing week special at EB and got it discounted with my EB EDGE card. I traded it for $25. So, Darksiders was $59.99. Take the $12.50 off of the game right off the top because I got $12.50 more for Halo Wars than I had purchased it for. so that drips the price to $47.49. Already discounted. Throw on top the trade values of $25 for halo wars and $40 for Assassins Creed 2, and you get left over money! So I get 20 plus hours out of AC2, about 10 out of Halo Wars, and I get Dark Siders AND credit to go towards a preorder (Which turns out to be Mass Effect 2) and I get some fun gaming time all throughout.

For Bayonetta, I traded Left for Dead ($19.99 traded for $23.33), Fallout 3 (bought for $29.99 and traded for $23.33) andPrince of Persia ($9.99 traded for $23.33). Even though the value of 1 was misbalanced, the other two well outweight the difference and I still got around $10 off of the game. On top of it, I got 50 to 60 plus hours of gaming from Fallout, another 20 plus from Prince of Persia, and Left for Dead I got about 8 to 10. So I got through 3 decent to great games and a new game on top of it.

So in the end, I've moved 5 games out that I was finished with, and picked up two others that will hold high value for some time to come.

How does this compare to a hockey team? you have 5 mid ranged players that you've drafted overtime but are not really helping your team any longer, you see 2 high end players that you want. The team that holds these 2 players wants to "stock it's closets" so to speak, so it's willing to drop the 2 high level players for the mid range players. Viola. Your team now has the two high end players that will help your team for a long time to come.

What's confusing for people is that they see the quantity of games. All they see is 5 games traded for 2. BUT... if you are finished with the games, and they are just collecting dust on your game shelf, why keep em? On top of that, you have to look at quality values. A games value degrade over time. It's like buying a car, it loses value as soon as you leave the lot with it. So, move the games as soon or shortly after you've finished with it, and use them to add more value to your collection again.

In the long run, you WILL spend money. But it's a hobby. It's not stock trading. Get over it. Doing it this way keeps your collection fresh and you in newer games.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Yay, Saturday night Pikmin watching again... still no TV. :(

I shouldn't be too harsh, my wife loves gaming as much as I do. The problem I find with her and me is that I'm willing to watch her game, it's fun to talk about what she plays and how she plays. But, she refuses to watch me play. It's ok to play games to gether that she likes, whether I like them or not. But she will never play anything I like that's two player. So it's a little bit of a standstill sometimes. Like I said, I can't be too harsh. We have different tastes and I respect hers.

Anyway, tonight I was out doing my trading, like I tend to do every so often, and I'm at EB games in Mt. Pearl doing it. Ahead of me is a guy who's there with his 2 kids. He's trading in a PS2 (for those who might not know what that means, that's an OLD gaming system, considered out of date, still good, but not valuable) and trying to get what he can for it. I'll be polite in saying the guy didn't look too well off. (Although I could tell he had his fill of cigarettes for the day... YUCK!!) Anyway, the guy behind the counter was doing his best to be polite even though the guy was getting a little... offensive.

"I spent 130 ucks on this just last year! I bought it here! And you are only offering 15 bucks for it????"
"It's not me sir... I just scan the items and it tells me what I can offer."

There was some play back and forth, but the guy literally can't give any more for this system as it was in hard shape to begin with, all the games were old, scratched up, and worthless, so he sticks to his guns. The guy trading... I won't get into what I thought he was acting like but it certainly wasn't going to get him any more value for his stuff. The thing that was a little unsettling to me was that the kids couldn't have been more that 7 or 8 years old, and I noticed the games he was trading for them were Grand Theft Auto (two or three different ones), Rainbow 6, WWE wrestling... all titles I wouldn't allow a child to play. (Not to mention the M17 rating on most of them).... and he was trying to get Modern Warfare 2 for them!!!!

What's wrong with this picture?

>>low whispering voice...<< >>cough<< >>WHITE TRASH!<<

Anyway, tomorrow we'll talk about the principles of being a good trader. Buy low, trade high, taking advantage of trade deals and trade values offered by most retail outlets. Tonight I traded 3 games I got for next to nothing and got me a copy of Bayonetta. Much the same with Darksiders... I traded 2 crap titles and 1 good title I was finished with for that one. When people learn that the value isn't in the quantity, but the quality of the title, then they will learn the way of the trade.

Come back tomorrow and find out!


Friday, January 15, 2010

OZFM, KROCK, you suck. AND... some NHL10.

Well today I sit here, blogging away on yet another lunch hour trapped in my office (although the trade off is I get to spend the night with my lovely wife, so it's livable.:P) and the guys out from in the production area have on Krock, the local classic rock radio network, and it brought to mind a rant of a buddy of mine which I fully endorse. Newfoundland radio is AWFUL. The worst, most repetitive music you can imagine. Th music itself would be fine on it's own, without the gruesome overplaying from these awful stations. Yes, OZFM and KROCK, I'm looking squarely at you.

I'm going to start by saying that I am a rock n roll fan. I like Def Leppard, Van Halen, Collective Soul, and am a hardened Rock Band/ Guitar Hero player. I believe in the diversity of music, I know country music and pop music/ RnB sells better, and there are fans of these genres. But these stations claim to be "The Rock of the Rock" and "Krock Rocks".They do play rock music but....

Lets start with a shot or two at both radio stations. WHY THE HELL DO WE HEAR THE SAME 50 SONGS OVER AND OVER AGAIN??? What the HELL is wrong with your program managers? Are they paid to turn off your listeners? Are they paid by serius satellite radio to suck so they'll get more subscriptions? How many times do we have to hear the same ACDC songs (Who made Who, Thunderstruck), the same Def Leppard songs (Pour Some Sugar on Me, Hysteria, Animal, Photograph) and Bon Jovi songs (Livin' on a Prayer... I think that's all I hear from them)??? the repetition in your catalogues is absolutely terrible and something that truly needs to be fixed. I agree that these are some of the better tracks from these bands. But these bands HAVE had albums after 1988, with many great, radio friendly songs that will NOT alienate the listeners. Krock is slightly excused from the 1988 comment as they say they are "classic rock" not just rock. But seriously Krock? I've heard "White Room with Black Curtains" and "Crazy Train" 3 times in 3 days at the SAME TIME each day at one point. Seriously. There are a dozen other tracks that get played far too often.

Next, let's talk a little about Colin James and Bryan Adams. WE DO NOT NEED A MULTIPLE DAILY DOSE!!!! While both have done decent to great things in their musical careers, THEY DO NOT DESERVE TO BE BILLED AND PLAYED AS MUCH OR MORE THAN THE LIKES OF THE BEATLES, LED ZEPPLIN, THE ROLLING STONES, and similar large, genre defining bands. I have counted a Colin James song played every day for months. This guy, god bless his soul, is ok. He's released a lot of great music in comparison to the crap released by artists today. I'm sure if KROCK or OZ were to read this and respond, they'd give the "CANCON" canadian content excuse. Here is a list of available Canadian Content that I've come up with... just off the top of my head.

1. Moist
2. Our Lady Peace
3. Crush
4. (I hesitate to say) I Mother Earth
5. Econoline Crush
6. Lee Aaron
7. Platinum Blonde
8. Treble Charger
9. Big Sugar
10. Tea Party
11. Rush

Now, each of these bands has MORE THAN 1 or 2 SONGS. Should you read this, KROCK, OZ... I don't think I need to list off each hit by each band, or even the good tracks on each of their multi-platinum and multi gold selling albums.

Next... let's discuss what is rock and what is not. (This one is more personal tastes... feel free to skip this)

Nirvana is rock.
The Stampeders - Sweet City Woman... (which I've heard across both stations at LEAST 5 times in the past week) is not.

Def Leppard is most certainly rock.
David Wilcox most certainly is not.

Collective Soul, while a little fluffier, is STILL ROCK.
Bon Jovi is rock.
Metallica is ROCK.
Tragically Hip is ROCK.
The Beatles are ROCK.
The Rolling Stones ARE ROCK.

Avril Lavigne is not.

We cannot be totally negative. The on air talent on both stations are fun to listen to and help otherwise laggy, repetitive music. Get with it. Your program managers need to either smarten up or be fired.


OZFM: MONSTROUSLY EPIC FAIL. (This is because you even have a commercial saying you don't play the same 40 songs over and over. You. do.)

Now, for some video gaming. :) I'm making a run at the Stanley Cup in NHL 10 and I get a laugh at how random the game simulator is. I'm an Islanders fan. Yes, they are a "little" better this year, but still... 1st overall? Torching the Devils in the first round 4-0? I love it, but come on. They "may" make the playoffs this year. That's a big maybe. Anyway, I've taken over in the second round against Atlanta.

The game itself is pretty much the same as NHL 09 with refinements. NHL 09 was the cat's meow, so this game is even better. Great AI, fun to play, and even worth a watch for an onlooker because the presentation and graphics are sooo sharp. The Be a Pro section (which I play) is great, as you play the game almost in an RPG like state, where you gain experience points in 3 categories for playing. You get more if you rock, less if you suck. Simple. You can even play a whole game as a goalie (which is VERY hard, even on casual).

Anyway, that's it for me today. KROCK and OZ, smarten up. For the love of God, smarten up.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

The word of the day is...


"He's a real BELLHEAD".

Classic. Unrefined. 80's. joy. :)



The Power of the Achievement/ Trophy

For those of you who may not know, games on 360 and PS3 reward the gamer with what is called an "achievement" (for 360) or a "Trophy" for PS3 when they play their games and achieve something in particular within the game. For example, to finish Mass Effect on hard you get a "100gs Achievement". Microsoft tabulates the achievements into what is called Gamerscore, the higher the better. These points, in the real world, are worthless. You get nothing but bragging rights from them.

However, the counterpoint is... some people replay their games to get all their points. For instance: as noted in my last post, I've played through Mass Effect a number of times now, and at least one play through simply for achievement points. There's likely as many as 30 to 40 hours of added value and replay value to this game for me simply because of gamerscore. Food for thought.

There is another bonus to gamerscore, in that it's like the carrot leading the horse. I gotta say, Darksiders is generic. It has some neat elements in it and a good story, but it's not a game you "need" to play. As mentioned yesterday, I was getting so bored of it that I hadn't picked it up in days. I play last night for... oh... 45 minutes and got 60 points for killing a boss and getting a secret skill, and suddenly, I want to play again. I want to go home right now and get to the next area and kill and pump up my gamerscore. :D This is the power of the achievement. It saved this game for me and will do the same for others and in the end, make the game more playable for many players.

I check my national ranking on occasionally. The leader is in the hundreds of thousands, so I obviously won't be a number one or even a top 100 player. I have just under 36000 points right now (in our own private little competition, I'm number 3 behind one guy with 43000 or so and another who has just over 36000)... in about 1.6 million users in Canada, I'm ranked 4082. Not bad me thinks.

That's my babble for the day. See you tomorrow and thanks for reading!


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Avatars and Moustaches, positives and minus'

First off today, we'll talk about Avatar. To reiterate from what I said last night, I DO want to try the game after seeing this movie, in the hopes it is as exhilarating an experience as the movie was. Who is Sam Worthington and where the hell did he come from??? First he lands a major role in Terminator Salvation, now the lead in Avatar, and next he's in Clash of the Titans??? Good on him I guess, but he'll regret it when his soul resides in hell for eternity for the deal he made with the devil! :P

Anyway, he did a great job in this film playing the grunt turned hero. If you go into this film looking for a new original story, then you will be disappointed. If you go in looking for an experience, then you will be pleased.It doesn't have cheezy 3D like Journey to the Center of the Earth, which was built around being 3D instead of being a decent movie with 3D added to push it over the top.

Visually the movie was absolutely stunning, with really only Lord of the Rings comparing to such a grand set piece. The world is engaging and accessible, yet still being very alien. In the nights the ground and foliage light up when you touch it, the insects are even cool. (The spinny bug in particular). The floating mountains, the Tree of Souls (yeah, lamo name but cool looking), the home tree, everything. THe robots on the human base were amazing looking, and the digitally animated Avatars and blue people were very believable looking... which is a accomplishment in itself, as most 3d characters in movies still look like 3d animated characters, not co-stars.

James Cameron really has his thumb on the heartbeat of the masses, as he has made himself another major cash cow. It only trails Titanic in overall grosses now (not accounting for inflation mind you) at 1.3 billion to Titanics 1.8. Either way, a movie that was supposed to suck REALLY didn't.

Now, my moustache rant. :P

I gotta say, the moustache in modern male society is almost a rite of passage. The VERY moment most pre-pubescent boys are capable of growing hair on their face, they do it. Who can grow the thickest? Who can grow the longest? It's not uncommon to walk through the mall on a friday night and see more unnecessary facial hair than anywhere else in the world. I grew one, my brothers grew one, it's what you do.

It's when the time to shave comes that makes all the difference in the world.

As you grow up, you become more aware of what people around you are thinking. It's not to say that you should do what others say, not at all. It's just that a woman typically dislikes kissing a hairbrush. Simple. (This from the love of my life, not mindless prattle on my part)

In my travels, you see moustaches on these sorts of people typically:
1. 40 or 50 somethings who haven't let go of the 70's and 80's style yet.
2. Contruction Workers or heavy laborers.
3. Men from outport or rural communities.
4. Tweens.

In all cases, facial hair is unnecessary and unfashionable. WHY? Why have a moustache? Most of them manage to keep it trimmed, so they are concious of it being there. They don't want it to look bad, so they must have some sense of fashion in general (well, some of them)... so why not actually just GET RID OF IT? It looks REDICULOUS.

Now, not all facial hair is bad. A neatly trimmed beard in most cases can look distinguished. But it has to be neat. Not the wierdos in college who think they are "expressing their inner selves" by looking like dirtbags or who haven't let go of their inner teen (an all too common problem).

So what's the deal? Who knows. The 80's have called numerous times. They want their shitty facial hair back.

So, why do I hate trucks? And guys who drive them? Well, I guess it's less trucks and more aggressive drivers that I hate... but it's generally someone in an unnecessarily large truck who is cutting me off and crawling up my ass when I'm driving. I hate it when I pull into a red light, and the truck behind me near blinds me with its headlights because its to fucking close.

It's funny that I typically see some guy with a moustache who is driving the stupid big truck. I wonder why?

It's also bad of me... but I've cheered when I see them pulled over for speeding and running red lights. I guess I'll see these guys in hell, where we will torture each other for all of time. :P

A promised note on Darksiders... I haven't played it in a couple of days... which is bad for me because I will likely hold it as tradebait now... based on my habits in game trading anyway. Sigh... I hope I never buy a game sight unseen ever again. :S


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Avatar: NOT A FAIL

Well, I'm just back from the epically lengthed feature film, Avatar. I found myself exhilarated after I left. It's just before bedtime so I won't get too deep into it until tomorrow's post, but to keep this a gaming blog, let's just say it really made me want to play the game so my Avatar experience could be extended... no matter how much the game may suck.

Tomorrows post: 1. Avatar rocked and why. 2. Why I hate moustaches. 3. Why I hate guys who drive trucks and their trucks in general, and why they all seem to have moustaches. 4. A little more on Darksiders... because it's not just a rant-a-thon about why people won't give the 80's their moustaches back, no matter how nicely they are asked. :P


Mass Effect and Me

I've strayed a little from gaming chats the past couple of days. I haven't played that much and I guess in general my thoughts have strayed as well. Today, I've been reading up on Mass Effect 2 coming out on the 27th and thought I'd discuss it and the original Mass Effect and how it's started to change my tastes in gaming a little.

I first played the original Mass Effect at a buddy's place and for lack of a better term, I hated it. I was looking for more of a Japanese RPG (JRPG) experience like Final Fantasy and was lead to believe it was. I sat down and started up the game, I can barely remember the start aside from saying "isn't that Seth Green?" and jumping down to the planet and start shooting. I said "WTF" and put it down.

A couple of years later, when I finally got my own 360, I wanted a couple of cheap titles to fill up my library (I like variety) and I found it at 14 bucks. So, I grabbed that, Burnout Paradise, and Assassin's Creed, and went on my merry way. I figured it was worth a shot at that cost, and I was well rewarded.

My first playthrough took me 14 hours. While I was a little let down by that, as I was expecting in the vicinity of 35 hours, the experience itself was mind bending. My tastes in gaming had changed somewhat, I was starting to find turn based fighting in RPGs a little stale. I'm still not a big shooter fan, but this game took it to a different place. Mass Effect, at it's very core, is a shooter game. The RPG goodness is created in the atmosphere of the actions and conversations throughout. The atmosphere, almost a Philip K. Dick styled futuristic twist, was brilliant. The choices one made, sometimes very difficult digital life and death decisions, really made me care about what I was doing and how it affected the characters in game. The growth of the characters in game, as well as burgeoning relationships with other characters really put a lot of depth into the title. The resulting achievements and gamerscore didn't hurt either. :P

After I had finished the first time, the title sat on my shelf for easily 8 months collecting dust. I never traded the game (as per my usual habits) because it simply was worthless. Why trade for a toonie? Not likely. So once again, I picked up the title and started through on a fresh playthrough. This time, I actually got nearly 40 hours of time in on it, going through every nook and crannie and finiding every side quest. I then played through a THIRD time, this time not near as long, clocking in around 25 hours, but simply because my level and gear came through to the third playthrough. I also had the DLC for the third as well (neither of which were very long).

Mass Effect is easily my favorite title on 360. I have more good hours logged on it than any other title, and I've played quite a few. Now, Microsoft is presenting us with Mass Effect 2, a darker, even bigger game with the promise of lots of DLC and more in depth gaming. Sigh... this could spell the end of my marriage. :P Not because Steph dislikes me gaming, but because she is a gamer too and we have both the 360 and her Wii plugged to the same TV!!! :P I'm looking forward to the title, but I gotta say, it's a subdued exuberance. What if the changes they make change the game so substantially that I won't like it? The only problem I had with the first title was a few clipping bugs and a little repetition in side quests. Neither of which were deal breakers in the least. I guess we'll have to wait and see. 15 days to go...

Mass Effect is a good example of a title that Achievements and Gamerscore were a benefit to. My third playthrough was completely Gamerscore oriented, as I was going for my biotic skill use achievements and kill achievements. The newest DLC, "Pinnacle Station", was a combat simulator, so it was GREAT for these achievements. Anyone who says gamerscore is meaningless should take note of how many hours gamers put in just to get them, and then they'll see.

Anyway, that's my rant today. I'll be seeing Avatar tonight, so I'll have thoughts on it tomorrow. People who hate spoilers in blogs like this beware... I'll have them in there.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Avatar : FAIL

Avatar did not live up to my expectations, because it was SOLD OUT. So, I piddled my time away with Fog City and furniture shopping. Yay. Got tix for tomorrow though!!!!

Back with more later!


Avatar the movie... will it be good?

Well, will it? We already know the game licked. A generic action 3d from the forces behind all those other shitty movie tie in games. Has there ever really been a good game come from a movie? I can't think of one off hand. Anyway, this is just a quick message and I'll have some avatar thoughts after I get back tonight.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Night, no TV, and the Wife is Playing Pikmin...

Well, I've learned how useful TV is, even in it's lowest form. It's Sunday night, around 10pm and I'm bored to death. I love gaming, as this blog tends to state, but even that doesn't turn my fancy. I want to sit on a couch like a blob of useless human flesh and watch TV. Nothing in particular, just tune out the world and waste away watching TV for an hour or so.

Ok, now that's out of the way, let's talk games. :)

I'm a good ways into Darksiders now and more and more I wish I hadn't picked this up sight unseen. It's not a bad game by any means, it's just... generic. It has basic 3d action platforming traits plus a strong homage to Zelda Ocarina of Time. It's somewhat linear but apparently this works itself out later in the game. The story is fantastic, the visuals are amazing. It's even... dare I say it... challenging. But... I find myself saying "I've done this before" far too often. I'll finish it up and use it for trade bait when that surprise awesome game comes out later in February or March, like it always does. Thank GOD I didn't get my other interest game, Divinity II, which is rating VERY poorly across the boards.

I finished my Guitar Hero customization up Friday (check out my facebook page... it's my profile picture) and I gotta say, it looks awesome. If you want to do the same (I'm sure there's a few of you out there wanting to do this...) it costs as little as $25. Assuming you had a file that was ready or something very basic to scan (like a record cover) it'd be a cheap. Big shout out to Matt over at Fastsigns for doing a stellar job putting it all together.

That's it for me for today. Will post more on Darksiders and the impending doom of my marriage, also known as "Mass Effect 2" in the coming days. :P


Friday, January 8, 2010

Darksiders... a joy or a generic title?

I picked up a copy of the wildly highly held Darksiders this evening. It's not often I'll buy a game without playtesting or doing some serious reading on it first. It gets high ratings all around, and is said to be a combo of Zelda puzzling and God of War killing. It's not so bad so far, I'm about an hour into it and I haven't really seen any "zing" yet, but the same could have been said for Assassin's Creed 2, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The graphics are good and the story is interesting, but so far it's a basic 3d action game.

The first week of back to work after Christmas has passed, and I gotta say, I enjoy a scheduled life. I'm more focused. Christmas week, while it was nice to have a little time off, I felt like I could have wasted away. I'm luckier than others, I have a great job, so that makes it easier. :)

A short post today, it's late. Thanks for reading!


Thursday, January 7, 2010

More gaming from a 30 Something

Well, here we go with post two. There is some meaning to the madness for this rambling sort of thing. I wanted to learn how to speak and write better. I remember back in the days before my beautiful wife saved me from a life of depravity and 30+ dating events at Tol's Timeout Lounge (I still shudder when I think of that possibility) I used to tell people that I liked to write. Now, I did write a book once back in college, but it was crap. But the experience of having written in is what I took the enjoyment from. As you can tell from my first post and what we have so far, I'm not a great writer at ALL and I tend to ramble on a little. Perhaps in posting here daily and with some possible encouraging thoughts from any potential readers, I may get a better grasp on the English language.

Well, back on topic, I like to game and this IS a gaming blog (mostly). Today I started the design for a custom Guitar Hero Guitar decal. I managed to get my hands on a second hand guitar at my local Microplay, but it was covered with those idiotic stickers and it ruined the cleaned, polished look of the actual controller. So, I start to remove them. Of course, they are the CRAPPY stickers that tear and peel and leave white gunk all over the place.

Now before someone writes and says "Use GOO GONE!" let me tell ya, I did. It DID remove much of the gunk left on the guitar, but it also removed the printed finish around where the stickers were left.


So, now my fake plastic guitar looks stupid. SOOOOO.... I decided to make it a Def Leppard Guitar. Phil Collin, lead guitarist of the band, has a Dracula guitar that looks pretty awesome. But, not being able to find a reasonable image for printing, I decided to skip that idea and simply put the cover of "Hysteria" on there. So far, it looks awesome. If I can figure out how to put an image in here, I'll post the finished product.

The Rock Band/ Guitar Hero style of play is something that I tend to enjoy in spurts. For a time we played it EVERY weekend, and now with kids in the mix and significant distance from where we generally play (50 to 60km round trip depending on route) it now is very rare that we play.
I'm currently running the gamut of wanting to play more often than not, so my wife bites the bullet and plays a little with me.

I recently turned... ahem... 30 plus a few years experience, and decided to finally get the who band kit. I got the World Tour Drums with snazzy cymbols already built in, and I gotta say, I really enjoy playing them. They don't sound as... plasticy as the Rock Band Drums. You can actually hear the music over the whacking of the drum pads, which is always a nice feature. :P

Now, let's get off of the Guitar Hero topic and try another one. Bundle gaming. This is defined by a bundle of games that is sold as a compilation and is generally classic gaming of some sort and is passed off as some super value combo pack. We've all seen them. Now with the advent of Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA), they take these little "arcade" games, bundle em together, and sell em off to people who aren't connected to XBLA. The systems were pawned off with some of the crappier ones at launch (who wants to play Ms. Pacman and Uno over Gears of War people???) and now you are seeming the bundles from Popcaps and even Konami. It's alright having the ability to get a disc with a dozen games on it, but can't they put really good games on there instead of one awesome game (ie: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night) and two crap titles that would go with it (Track & Field and some generic shooter). So in the end what you are doing is paying the pricetag for one of them and saying you got value because you got three of them. Blah on that. We all know it's just marketing, but still, imagine how much a disk with three great titles on it would sell? Say, take Castlevania SoN, then add Contra and Super C, and then boom. You got awesome to the power of BOOM.

Ok, time to stop before I ramble on too much. Tomorrow on CD Gaming, learn how to buy and sell games used... and do it for cheaper than anyone else!!!


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Gaming for a 30-something

I'm a gamer who hasn't "quite" made it to my mid-30's, but I AM basically there. I have a number of gaming systems in my house, a 360, a Wii, and a number of classic systems that date back to an old Sega Genesis. I have a circle of gaming friends that range in age from 29 to 37, playing all sorts of systems as well, right down to a Nintendo DS. Each has a very unique vision on what they like and don't, all equally diverse and interesting (and makes for some GREAT conversations too!).

I find that at our age, we have the real ability to play numerous different titles and still appreciate them the way we ALL took Super Mario World and played it too death. This year alone, I've completely played through the single player campaigns in at least a dozen or more titles, and halfway through on two dozen more, and I could still remember that "annoying jump" or "crazy combo" in each and every one of those titles as if it were memorized scripture and I were a devout catholic (heh). Do we appreciate games more at an older age? Or are we just able to take in more information with our more mature brains (even if in physical years only)? Having had this discussion with a few people, mostly my gaming crew, I think it's just we're a little bit older, and able to handle it a bit better. As a child, memories and experiences are so posterized that it seems like EVERYTHING was awesome or crap, with little or nothing in the middle, so we remember our first time playing Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt on Christmas morning (I do, it was very... brown to me, but still AWESOME) and remember it as the most amazing experience in the world, but forget a game like A Boy and His Blob (recent recipient of it's own Wiiware game sequel) even if it was far more technically superior and advanced. Today we would appreciate it better and remember. Then we wouldn't.

Another thing that is a bit different about gaming as an adult in his 30's is the obvious lack of respect for it as an activity. We as 30 somethings now work with many people in their 40's and 50's and in my experience, it tends to be a subject that just isn't acceptable to be spoken of in a serious light by these age groups. Why? I could go through a dozen completely reasonable and politically correct reasons, but I'll distill them all down to one word that seemingly has lost it's lustre in todays "let's not hurt anyone's feelings" environment.


For people who just don't like gaming (there ARE one or two of you out there) you are excused. You've tried it, just wasn't into it, decided to stick your nose back in your book, and were done with it. That's fine. But the people who turn their nose up for the following reasons that they'll never admit to:

1. Do not understand it.
2. Never tried it because you do not understand it.
3. Never tried it for no other reason than to not try it.
4. Never tried it because games are for kids.

Or any reason that may fall under these blankets as they are too similar to mention, the word "ignorant" is for you. Someone might even call it flat out stupid. Gaming is an activity not unlike any other. It's something that requires thought, skill, and time. It's something people will like, whether you admit it or not. Don't kick it till you try it, and don't be afraid to look stupid doing it (have you ever seen someone playing Wii Tennis? Dear God...) because you know what? Looking down your long noses and calling it childish looks even DUMBER. It's no different than someone like me who doesn't like to read. I find it dull. But I've read lots of books so I'm allowed to have an opinion on it. Have you played even 1 game? Or just watched your kid play it and turned your nose up?

We are all allowed to not like things. We are all different, have different tastes. But being ignorant to it, gaming being what we're discussing today (as this is a games blog) is flat out wrong. Don't point your finger and reject. Don't even stay in the room. Leave, and go be an idiot somewhere else.

Next on topic: a fun thing! Let's talk a game that not many people have liked but I grew fond of in the couple of weeks it took me to finish: Terminator: Salvation.

This is a fast paced game that can be considered Gears of War: Lite. It uses very similar controls and visuals, carries the same 3rd person angle, etc. It took me about 4.5 to 5 hours to finish but apparently I'm below the curve on that one (I suck at shooters). I have to say I enjoyed this NOT for the basic shooting aspect of the game, or the same 5 badguys showing up every so often (although if I recall, there weren't THAT many bad dudes in the T-whatever series) but because I felt like I was playing a fast paced movie. There was some variation with levels, a high octane vehicle chase, a level where you were supposed to run rather than shoot, a standard shoot, you know. But I can say I enjoyed it start to finish and had the same sort of satisfaction I had from coming out of a cheesy 80's action movie. It was fun. It wasn't perfect. It occupied me for a few hours, let's move on. :)

Next game: Halo Wars. Another example of a decent game that really needs a mouse and keyboard. Come ON Microsoft, you already have USB ports in your console, GIVE US A MOUSE AND KEYBOARD. Hell, charge twice as much as the standard stuff, people will still buy the shit. (You are getting away with highway robbery with Wireless adaptors, so you know the business model works!)

The game was a laugh. Took about 7 or so hours to complete the campaign (once again, I was below the curve on that one) and there's some muliplayer stuff that I might poke at for the achievements. I can't say it enough though (nor can anyone else apparently) that this game needed the mouse and Keyboard to truly soar.

Anyway, as I ramble on, let's review so I can get back to work.

1. Gaming for 30-somethings is different, acceptable, and a little more involved than when we were kids. Just because people say a game sucks doesn't mean you won't enjoy it. And...

This is my blog so I say so. :D

Not the sharpest tool in the shed but not the dullest either.