Sunday, November 3, 2013

CONSOLE WARS: Let's Get Some Things Straight

I'm gonna break up the first part of this into things that are facts, opinions backed by "facts," and straight opinions.

The second part is going to be me ranting about all sorts of things.

Let's get started.

FACT: The PS4 is $100 less expensive
FACT: PS4 has more exclusive games to choose from
FACT: BF4 and CoD: Ghosts both run at higher resolutions on PS4
FACT: Both consoles get certain DLCs early for certain games
FACT: PS4 online is $10 cheaper/year
FACT: PS4 hardware is marginally better
FACT: Dualshock 4 has a touchscreen
FACT: XBone has Kinect
FACT: Kinect can recognize who you are
FACT: XBone restricted used games
FACT: PS4 never restricted used games
FACT: Either console may encounter crippling problems post-release

OPINIONATED FACT: XBone had an E3 disaster
OPINIONATED FACT: PS4 exclusive games are better
OPINIONATED FACT: XBone is trying to be more than a game console
OPINIONATED FACT: PS4 focuses on games and gamers

OPINION: Microsoft relies heavily on marketing to recruit casual "gamers"
OPINION: Kinect is very gimmicky
OPINION: Microsoft throws money around to fix problems
OPINION: Sony has morals
OPINION: Microsoft is trying to live up to Sony's standards

A lot has been said about both consoles so far. While PS4 is objectively better, XBone has it's strengths too. Problem is, they're video game consoles. And PS4 is clearly superior in that regard.

Microsoft is trying to make money off of the casual crowd. Sony is marketing their console for gamers. Sony wants gamers that stay up till 4am on Saturday night (technically Sunday morning) exploring Tamriel. They want people who are passionate about what they do. They want people that will say "I'm proud to be a gamer." Sony is looking for people who want a console to play their favorite games on. They don't care about extra features, they want to deliver games, for gamers, in the best possible format.

Microsoft, on the other hand, is marketing towards casuals. They want people who don't play too many video games to delve into the hobby. They want people to say "oh look, I can watch football and Skype on the Call of Duty box now."

Take for example, Kinect. It's a gimmick. I want my video games to be played by controller, thank you very much. I don't care if I can pretend to play a sport by flailing my arms around like someone who isn't very sane. I want to hold a controller. 50 years from now, I want video games to be controller-oriented ordeals. Sure, a simulated interface where I could play BF25 or whatever without holding anything would be nice. But in that case, I'd want to be able to hold a "gun." And no one is anywhere near that point.

Oh wow, I can make Skype calls while watching TV! Wait a second....I don't watch TV. It's a console for video games. I don't give a flying crap if I can stream football over my video game console.

You know why? I'M GOING TO BE PLAYING FREAKING VIDEO GAMES ON IT.

Microsoft is doing a bad thing for the industry. They're blurring the lines in between people like me, and the person that plays CoD for a few hours a week. While that may be great for my social life, it's not so great for the health of the video game industry. They're selling out.

That's why, this holiday season, I'm supporting Sony's efforts to keep gaming for gamers. I don't care if any of my friends are getting the XBone; it's their loss.

Not to mention, I'm quite disappointed at any so called "gamers" who are willing to support Microsoft as of right now. It's kinda sad.

Here's some clever hashtags because why not:

#ps4thewin
#4thegamers
#4>1

Saturday, October 26, 2013

GENERAL: How Correlation =/= Causation (Among Other Things)

This article isn't going to be cheerful, upbeat, and humorous like my others. I'm writing it because rather recently, the insurmountably broad topic of "video game violence" came up in an everyday discussion. I get very passionate to the point of inflammation whenever I discuss this topic. I'm going to keep it very, very short, and I'm trying to be as concise as possible. If you don't agree with my viewpoints, I respect your opinion however I do not endorse it. I'm not citing any sources because I'm using solely knowledge I have up in my head for this. This is an extremely generalized overview.

Whenever there's any tragedy, people tend to point fingers at 3 things: guns, mental illness, and video games/media. While all 3 play roles, their individual impact is very debatable. While video games may be a motivating factor, they can not be a motivating factor without other, more important, issues.

Let's say, for instance, GTA V, the most recent in the controversial line of Grand Theft Auto games. There have already be/en (real life) crimes placing this game as the motivation, or so I've heard. What I do know, is that that game made around 1 billion dollars within the first 3 days of release. That means roughly 16 million copies were sold in 3 days. That means at least 16 million people have played the game, and I have played a friend's copy, so we know at least 16 million and 1 people have played the game. For this sake, let's assume 25 million have played it.

Now, let's assume 5 real life incidents of crime have been blamed on this game. Heck, let's bump that number up to 25. Let's make that 25 real life murders, all committed by people who have played GTA V. While that's a very high estimate, it's for the purpose of demonstrating my point.

Basically, if actual people believe that 25 people (in this case) represent the 25 million who have played the game, I'm considering planetary relocation.

1 out of 1 million does not make the other 999,999 insane murderers.

Guess what? I've played GTA V. If you gave me a gun and told me to murder someone while pointing, yet another, gun at my head, I'm 95% confident I'd shoot myself, instead.

I'd also shoot myself if the majority of the population does indeed believe that 1 out of 1 million makes the other 999,999 insane murderers. The truly saddening factor is when people point fingers.

The world as a whole needs to look at all of the factors in cases like these. Sure, it's easy to point a finger at GTA or CoD or whatever game that particular individual person enjoyed the most, but there are other things involved.

Was that person scarred? Are they the type of person that would go out and kill someone for no reason? Were they mentally unstable? Did they have easy access to a firearm? Should they be allowed around firearms? Did they live in a broken home? Were they bullied at school?

All of these factors need to be taken into consideration. Stories like these should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

The same is true when it comes to parenting. Should a 13-year-old be able to play GTA V? That depends. Are they mature enough? Do they have a history of violence? Do they know it's just a game? Do they have loaded firearms sitting around their house?

I'd let a mature, collected, well-natured, 13-year old boy play GTA V. I wouldn't let the same boy play if he had neglectful parents, liked to kill squirrels with a pellet gun for fun, and had actual firearms in his home.

However, I'm not pointing fingers at mental illness, or firearms.

People that are mentally ill should be put in an environment where they cannot harm themselves or others. For some, it's the nurturing arms of a parent, older sister, or community that cares.

For the unlucky few, it's the padded walls of a correctional facility. The problem therein lies in the nation's mental health system, I believe. I'm not discussing that here.

Same thing with firearms. They're tools; the majority of gun owners have never killed anyone, and merely use those guns for sport/hunting. There's nothing wrong with a gun.

When you put it in the hands of a person who can't handle the insane amounts of responsibility associated with owning a firearm, it's a problem.

Akin to placing a copy of GTA V in the hands of a copy of a mentally unstable, immature person that has access to firearms.

Parents, the label on the box lies. I know plenty of smart, well-to-do 13/14-year olds I'd let play GTA V.

I also know plenty of, not-so-well-to-do people older than 18, whom I wouldn't let play that game.

There's no golden rule to situations like these.

However, people who point the finger at video games during times of injustice, are far worse off mentally then the perpetrators of said crimes.

TO PARENTS: Make sure your child is ready, and can distinguish the difference between fantasy and reality.

TO EDUCATORS: No, video games are not wrong. They're a form of recreation. Make sure to inform parents about the dangers of letting kids play violent video games at too young an age, and remind them, it's their responsibility. Not Gamestop's.

TO THE MEDIA: Handle things on a case-by-case basis. Don't point fingers. And remember that last sentence. Take it to heart.

TO GAMERS: I know you feel victimized. I know how it feels to be part of "the problem. "I know how it feels to have people look at you and say "you're wrong as a person for playing Grand Theft Auto." And I know that deep down, the people who point fingers are nobodies that have nothing better to do than point their fingers and grasp at nothingness. That's what saddens me, that people so pathetic, so pathetic they can't comprehend basic logic or statistics, even exist. And if you do think, for whatever reason, that you are insane, please stop immediately. For the rest of you, mentally sane, successful, responsible individuals:

Game on, brothers.

Monday, October 21, 2013

IvI^IvI MINECRAFT: The Adventure Continues! (and stuff happened!)

Well, I ventured back into my world. After getting some bearings, I was able to continue! And I made progress. I think these will work smoother in picture-caption format from now on, so that's what I'm doing because my voice is the law of the land.

Oh, look. I found more clay! Too bad bricks are ugly as @#%@%#.

What I found after pit mining for another few layers. I have an adventure ahead!

Part of that adventure. I though the double waterfall was really cool.

When I came back up, I found my FIRST EVER spider jockey. It wasn't too hard (loljk it almost killed me).

I redid the house, for the most part.

More of the new and improved house.

Oh, look at what I found!

Yes, I did nudge my way past 2 Endermen. And there was a 3rd to the left. And I stopped here out of sheer tired-idity (also a word now).

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Just Checking In/News/Future Of The Blog/I Like Slashes

I’ve been gone for a whole week and not a single person cares, it’s funny. LAUGH. Why aren’t you laughing?

Oh, wait. You aren't even there.

Anyways, just thought I would check in. I had a busy week, had a few parties/odds and ends to take care of and just wasn’t feeling inspired to write. I’m still kind of in a rut, having been doing nothing but BF4. I’d write a changelist, but I’m way too late to the party. Metaphorical party.

Now, I’m actually getting rid of my 360 and anything associated with it. Well, selling, but getting rid of sounds more dramatic. Anywho, that means the only thing that’s gonna be going down on this site, until I get my very own PS4 late-November to late-Decemberish, is MINECRAFT. That’s right, prepare yourselves for…MINECRAFT MONTH: OR TWO OR MAYBE 3! Even though it’s not a whole month and I’m kinda starting in mid-October and ending whenever.

Don’t worry; I have lots of content to roll out. I started a new version of Techorona City, one of my first ever major projects. I’m going to resurrect and continue the survival world, and I have lots of neat stuff I’m also working on (namely OPERATION: INSANITY). You’ll find out what’s to come as I post it. No spoilers now.

Unfortunately, I’m not Internet famous with mad followers like I was hoping, but I’ve only been doing this for a month, so who knows. If I do become famous (I won’t) then November is going to be the official MINECRAFT MONTH: (witty subtitle here) from now on.

Whatever, I’ll let you resume your lives now. I may post something related to BF4 next, but MINECRAFT MONTH: OR 2 OR MAYBE 3 is coming. Eventually.

And jeez, I’ve been slacking. I need to step it up, my last two posts have been shorter than…I don’t know anything that’s really short that I could make a joke about.

I'll leave you with this picture of Willy Wonka you can caption with your own sarcastic humor!



Tuesday, October 8, 2013

BF4 BETA: Actual First Impressions (I've Calmed Down)

Phew, it’s been a great week. Not only did I start having somewhat of a life, but I’ve also played the ever-loving (expletive of your choice) out of the BF4 beta. I hit max rank on Sunday, and Monday night was my night with the least playtime as of yet: only 5 hours! That whole blurb about me starting to have a life? I exaggerated a tad.

And I can say with utmost certainty: the BF4 beta sucks. Hear me out.

The BETA sucks. At least, solely on the 360 and solely with my worn out controller that won’t let me sprint, move, or aim properly.

RIP my controller and all of the grease on it 2011-2013. And the left stick is stuck in that position, I just picked it up. It can still move but sticks. Wait, no one cares, sorry.

I’ve heard good things about the PC version, and I know for a fact that it has to be better than the buggy piece of garbage us console plebeians are stuck with. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a ton of fun to play, but it’s not up to par.

First of all, I know I said the graphics were bad (and it shouldn’t matter unless they impact actual gameplay), but they impact actual gameplay (ohhhh). When people disappear while I’m shooting at them, when tanks are invisible, and when optics are so blocky you can’t aim with them, that’s a problem.

There’s also a ton of bugs, like people elongating to around twelve feet tall! I’ve also gotten stuck in numerous walls, and elevators are extremely wonky. C4 doesn’t work half the time, and the first aid kit doesn’t give you points (this may be intended, I’m not sure). Sniping is a hot mess, and the way the motion ball is deployed is extremely inconvenient. I could go on but I’m tired.

NOW, let’s make one thing clear: this isn’t really even a representation of the game (If you’re on PC/next gen consoles. Current gen it may be kind of close.). First of all, we all know Micro$oft requires companies to put in betas in for certification months in advance (Sony does too, put down the flaming bows). This isn’t a current build of the game, it’s closer to the alpha version! The gameplay is relatively the same, but the bugs, balance issues, and graphical issues won’t be.

How I'm coping with my realizations.

I’m still pumped for the full game; I’ve had tons of fun with this objectively bad version, now when I’m playing full release on PS4…that’s going to be a whole different story.

That’s the message I’m getting from all of the information I have. Sorry about the short post, I’m all writing-ified out. That’s a word now.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

BF4 BETA: First Impressions

I’m sure a lot of you, that either can’t get on the beta, or can’t play it at all, or maybe even those that have and are looking for someone else’s input,  are curious as to what I think of it. I guess I’m telling you. All of this is based solely off of the 360 version; supposedly the PC version is far more superior (it’s a phrase, get over it). I’m not judging unless I can play it, so I’m only doing the 360 version.

I’ll do the negatives first, followed by the positives at the end. This is a positive “review” for the most part. I am EXTREMELY impressed by what Dice and, to a lesser extent, EA, have brought to the table.

Metaphorical table. If it was an actual table, I would've hoped the Colonel made a visit courtesy of EA. 

All great things have downsides (not KFC. KFC has fantastic sides), and the BF4 beta is no exception. First of all, the way Microsoft and EA rolled it out was sloppy and, I’d say, unprofessional. However, as most large releases run into issues, I’ll cut them some slack. It might’ve been the result of a last minute rush job; if they had planned it out and if Microsoft wasn’t so restrictive it would’ve gone smoother, I’m sure of it.

The graphics are also extremely poor. They look worse than CoD4, in my opinion. This is NOT A BAD THING. Firstly, they don’t have the HD texture install that BF3 had, so they are probably on par with BF3 without the HD install. I wouldn’t happen to know firsthand. Also, the game runs smoothly and the gameplay itself is fine. That’s what matters. Let’s also not forget that this is 10 year old hardware without the HD install as opposed to brand-new hardware with it. If you’re getting a PS4/XBone (lol@Xbone) it shouldn’t matter and do not think the graphics are going to be like this.

They also switched the controls around, and they work so much better than BF3. However, they take some time to get used to, and you’ll find yourself pulling up Battlelog instead of spotting, often getting you killed. Trust me, it happens a lot.

The Back button did the rustling. Riiiiiight here.

Speaking of Battlelog, the app/computer version works fine (I’m running the Android version of the app) for most things. Class changing actually works as advertised and is actually really handy to have. I remembered I forgot to put the red dot on the SCAR today; on the bus ride home, I made sure all my classes were good to go, and when I booted up the game, they matched what I put in to the app. The emblem editor doesn’t work, missions don’t either, and the stat tracking is super wonky as of right now, but I’m confident it can be ironed out.

Some animations are glitchy, the servers can be a pain to join, joining a game with friends is harder than ever, and the hit detection can have some issues as well. All of this is to be expected, in my opinion. But let’s not forget that BF3 took several patches to fix, so I think these issues might as well.

Now, on to the good. This is going to take a while; I’ll try to be brief.

The classes were overhauled almost completely and feel much better. The balance is very good, and medic is no longer the god class. Support got hammered fairly well, with lame guns and a very, very bad XM25 semi-auto launcher, but is still a necessity. Defibs got the needed nerf, but I think they went too far on the revive time, cutting it down to around 5 seconds before you die for good. Recon got a buff and engineer stayed the same, and overall, all of the classes seem fair/equal. I applaud Dice for doing a (mostly) good job on this.

The skyscraper falling is epic even after the 50th time, and it actually changes the entire map. In addition to moving the flag, you can’t see past ~100 meters after it falls due to dust. It works really well. People also don’t tend to knock it down as soon as the game starts, and no one person has the ability to knock it down without dying/resupplying.

Seriously. This is awesome. More so than Mountain Dew. More so than even I am.

The map itself is very, very well designed, and is fair to both sides. The chokepoints can lead to some very, very epic showdowns between 6 people on each side. It’s a blast.

Just look at it. UHHHHGGHH

Little birds also got revamped, and they are super fun to fly. The miniguns are hard to use against infantry, but in the hands of a skilled pilot they are godly.

Stingers also were nerfed from ICBM to what they should actually do. What’s not to love?

Customization is very robust and in-depth, and the amount of options makes no two people alike. The guns are balanced enough for you to use what you please without being at a significant disadvantage. I was very impressed with all of the options they laid out, even just for the beta.

Vehicles have a good, solid feel and are just as powerful as they should be. I think tanks could use a slight buff, but other than that, everything is in order.

The swimming/water overhaul also feels fresh and is a good addition. Swimming is no longer a massive hindrance to your game, and I swim across the middle very often to avoid fire/move around the map. It works very well. 

This game also produces so many “Battlefield moments.” For example, there were 2 enemies capturing the B flag after the skyscraper went down. My friend Brian (Big Hermy M (cookie if you know what certain daedra that is a reference to)) and I swam up behind them, underneath the water. They turned away and we surfaced behind them, and, let’s say, got ourselves 2 very nice pairs of dog tags.

When you’re being held down at A, and all of a sudden, you see a tank and 4 guys come up over the bridge, you know it’s about to go down. And it went down. Even when you get smoked 469 to 0 this game is fun. Even when your teammates have no idea what they’re doing it’s fun. Some of the people on my team have been about as useful as rocks, and it is still a blast to play 2 or 3 v 12.

I’m trying to unlock everything, and it takes a while, and can be frustrating, but all of the guns so far have been at least decent.  

Phew….that took a while. Overall, I’m very impressed by what Dice has put out, and with some polishing (and next gen tech) this game is shaping up to be fantastic. I’m going to continue having fun in the beta, and it’s been the only thing I’ve played since Tuesday. It’ll be even more fun once all of the non-Premium CoD players come over and can taste the wrath of all of the stuff I’ve unlocked.


I’m done writing now, I’ll let you go and play it for yourself!

Monday, September 30, 2013

BATTLEFIELD 4: It's less than 1 day away!

I can't wait. That's really the only thing I can say. After having so much fun with BF3, 4 is just going to be the best thing ever. All it is is bigger and better, they didn't gimp anything. I know it's only the beta, but I'm downloading it and playing it as soon as I can tomorrow. I'm actually waking up early, that's how much I care. It's just....uhhhhhhhhh.

I'm personally most excited for the amount of new weapons, vehicles, and customization options. I just...can't wait.

Here's to the BF4 beta, and all it entails.