Hiya folks! By reading my articles, you are directly supporting my passion for gaming and true freedom for humanity - Thank you!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Steam Hits to a Whole New Low

What is this? What's really going on Valve? This is just madness. Maybe my memory has betrayed me but I don't recall ever seeing anything like this ever before on Steam. 75% yeah, that is a pretty frequent number around here. 80%? Maybe... Just maybe. 90%? What the heck? If I didn't have the whole Alan Wake franchise already, I would have gotten those games instantaneously. Too bad Devil May Cry didn't see the same discount today but I still love you Steam!

You have waited years for the price to really drop. Well, today is your day!

This is How You Treat Your All-Stars?

Let's admit it, Nathan Drake from those Uncharted games for the PlayStation 3 is one sexy fucker. When it comes to male game characters, it's hard to compete with Mr. Drake's truly artificial yet perfectly presented combination of handsome face, capable physique, and charming wit. The only good looking male character in a video game that comes close to him would probably be, I don't know... Bayman from the Dead or Alive series? But yeah, Bayman is all looks and no personality but let's save that for a future discussion. What I really want to talk about here is that PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale game, a game that was obviously built with the PS3/Vita cross-buy in mind. Even though I absolutely love the creativity of the battlegrounds found in this game, where they mashed-up elements from two different titles into each set pieces resulting in creamy delicious spectacles and joy, we all know the PS3 is more capable than this. Apparently, you can't have the PS3 version of the game looking super mega hot while the Vita version looking all awkward and nasty. But what does Drake's hotness got anything to do with the discussion? Let me show you:

How do you make a mediocre game palatable? Let the players control this...

Bear in mind that this screenshot is from the first Uncharted game.

Now tell me, is this man below the same guy from the Uncharted series?


Still having a hard time deciding? Let's see the in-game character model then:

Who is this guy? It doesn't even come close to the graphically simpler Drake from the first game!

By now, it should be clear that Sony doesn't care about protecting the image of their supposed "All-Stars" with the representation of Nathan Drake being the most serious offender in this game. I rather just have this game on the PS3 with glorious graphics than getting a free copy for my Vita and having to settle with such visual nastiness. It should also be very clear that this thing that supposed to be Nathan Drake in PlayStation All-Stars is not the real McCoy. How do I know? Well, he didn't make me, uh, feel things... and that he is nothing but an eye-sore! I am going to go wash my eyes now.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Games Played 05/20/2013 - 05/26/2013

- 05/20/2013 -
Bioshock Infinite - PC
God of War: Ascension - PlayStation 3

- 05/21/2013 -
Bioshock Infinite - PC
Eschatos - X-Box 360
League of Legends - PC
Record of Agarest War Zero - X-Box 360

- 05/22/2013 -
Audiosurf - PC
Bioshock Infinite - PC
League of Legends - PC

- 05/23/2013 -
League of Legends - PC
Rift - PC

- 05/24/2013 -
League of Legends - PC
Rift - PC

- 05/25/2013 -
League of Legends - PC
Rift - PC

- 05/26/2013 -
League of Legends - PC
Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge - PlayStation 3
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale - PlayStation 3/Vita
Rift - PC
The Sims 3 - PC


Screenshot of the Week:

It's a sign that I have been spending too much time on this game...
Rift (Personal Computer)

Audiosurf Goes Sky Crazy

I have been playing Audiosurf for the Personal Computer for a long time and it is to me the best way to enjoy listening to my music. I have been playing a lot more of it recently because it's a good way to just chill out and unwind for I have a lot of troubling things happening in my life. Last night, I decided to watch some twitch.tv stream while eating dinner after I had been audio-surfing myself when I found another streamer who was playing the game. Though I wasn't a fan of this streamer's choice of music but it was quite noticeable that the background image surrounding the in-game "race track" was not simply black but a beautiful, atmospheric cloudy sky. I proceeded to ask the streamer the method of accomplishing this feat and I was referred to this thread on the official forum. Notice the date on that discussion. Yes, it was March 19th, 2009. Apparently, I had been in the dark about this for more than 4 years. It is tricky to pull off a nice looking "Skysphere" but I found out that the best thing to do here is is to find a background with a 4096 x 2048 resolution. It's better late than never of course and now that I have found this, my love for this game has increased even more!

Taking my audio-surfing experience to the farthest reaches of the galaxy.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Finally... A Janna Skin!

Janna is one of my favorite champions in League of Legends for the Personal Computer and just like Soraka, it took a long while for the skin thing to happen to her. But  last night, I have finally granted her an alternate look in the game in the way of Hextech Janna. It's probably the most... different skin out there for Janna if you don't count the incredible looking Victorious Janna skin. Since I mostly play the Howling Abyss map these days though, I hardly get to play Janna because the picks are random. Perhaps it's time to get back to Summoner's Rift before I get too rusty to play that standard LoL match.

I don't get the whole Hextech thing in LoL but I don't have a lot of choices here.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Rawr... Raptr?

While I was streaming some Rift Lite gameplay for the Personal Computer last night on my twitch.tv page - I am in the process of getting a character all the way to level 20 to prepare him for the upcoming free-to-play launch of the game - a viewer informed me that I could get the full game and its expansion, Storm Legion, by using Raptr and "playing" the game for a set number of hours. Took a lot of convincing for me to eventually take the plunge for I had never been a fan of Raptr, which is just another gameplay tracking social networking program. I just don't see the validity of what Raptr is trying to promote - it mostly celebrates gameplay hours so if you just leave a game running while you are out on a week long vacation, you'll get to the Elite spot so easily. Still, I love the idea of getting Rift and its expansion for free because having access to these will provide me a larger number of both character and bag slots when the ftp kicks in, not to mention the additional character classes. The little rewards here and there is nice too but they are nothing special... Like the two avatar t-shirts I automatically unlocked when I linked my LIVE account to Raptr. I really don't like that I can't even install the desktop application where I want it to be installed. I will definitely be uninstalling it from my PC once I am done with chasing the Rift rewards but I suppose I will just keep my profile there so that it could feed on my PlayStation 3, Steam, and X-Box 360 activities. I really don't care if it doesn't track my League of Legends hours nor any other games not associated directly with those platforms for I have Origin to do just that since I am curious sometimes about such data. If you are a Raptr user, I am interested to find more acquaintances there so feel free to send a friend invite to AlexWorth. See you there!

Loner Gamer's desktop has recently been invaded by a strange creature named "Raptr".


Update Note: 06/16/2013  - I jumped on Rift today for the first time ever since they rolled out the "free-to-play" patch and I discovered that the game is selling keys to unlock treasure chests as well as potions to release coin caps and other important gameplay functions in the cash shop. Yeah, they did a great job hiding these facts prior to the "FTP" release. I uninstalled the game immediately.

Pretty darn disgusting. Trion Worlds, you have failed!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The X-Box One Announcement is a TV Show

While the PlayStation 4 announcement was a comedy show with the console designer trying his best to convince us that only a new console can bring new gaming experiences, the reveal of the new X-Box One today prioritized the non-gaming entertainment portion of the console. It was all about television and movies and how the console is capable of interacting with your live television. Yes, this console, just like the X-Box 360, doesn't prioritize gaming. It's all about everything else with gaming on the side. The fact that they tackled the non-gaming feature first and during the majority of the reveal is very telling. Oh, and I love how they tried to claim that the X-Box One is the only way you can use Skype on the big screen in the living room. I find it really funny how everyone has forgotten that the Personal Computer can be connected to the big screen. I am so done with these so-called "new generation" consoles. When they finally rolled out the new games coming out for the console, there was really nothing new nor exciting. That Quantum Break trailer was lame. "Visual so real" one of the presenters blurted out. Oh please, I have seen better. As a matter of fact, I just saw something more remarkable last night. This was an opportunity for Microsoft to take a big risk and gain greater rewards with getting into PC gaming via Windows 8 and they failed. There was no mention whether or not the LIVE service would be free on X-Box One but since they are going to have more servers to support the service, I am quite sure that it would be there, perhaps a little more expensive than before. I also have a feeling that they will bundle TV services with it too. Between the PS4 and the X-Box One, I prefer the former. Still, I wouldn't touch the PS4 for a long time to come.

X-Box One: The real way to... watch TV!


Update Note: 12:00pm - Confirmed. LIVE Gold will require a fee on X-Box One.

Why not just give us free 3 months of Gold nsa to celebrate the 360's untimely death?

Monday, May 20, 2013

God of War: Ascension Holy Galaxy

I just started playing God of War: Ascension for the PlayStation 3 and oh my galaxy... So far, this has to be the best looking PS3 game I have ever seen and most definitely without question, one of the best looking games so far in existence. For the first time, I have finally seen what the PS3 hardware is truly capable of producing, with the last two Uncharted games not even close to matching the quality of work seen here. The level of detail on Kratos himself and the environments is just staggering. The sense of scale is quite epic. The horribly PlayStation 2-ish graphics of God of War III is nowhere to be found! Now let's ask ourselves this question: How come no other games on the console look remotely close to this? Because the developers are lazy and they don't care about fully utilizing the hardware no matter how powerful they are, that's why. The PS3 is a crazy, unfathomable beast of a console yet before any more games could be released to look like this ultra sexy Ascension, Sony is jumping ship to the PlayStation 4. The same thing will happen with the PS4 where developers will not harness its full potential so why bother ending the PS3 at all? As much as I am excited to keep playing Ascension, my heart is bleeding deep inside of me. I am so annoyed. Why would Sony allow developers to abandon this wonderful console soon before its potentials can truly be taken advantage of. Why does it have to come to this? The video game world can be such a disgusting place sometimes and I feel somewhat dirty for my participation in it.

The frame rate may be a bit challenged but the overall graphics are impossibly beautiful.
Click play on the video below to see an incredible set piece from my first session with the game.

Games Played 05/13/2013 - 05/19/2013

- 05/13/2013 -
Devil May Cry 4 - PC
Streets of Rage 2 - PC

- 05/14/2013 -
Bio-Hazard Battle - PC
Eschatos - X-Box 360
League of Legends - PC
Proteus - PC
Neverwinter - PC

- 05/15/2013 -
Audiosurf - PC
Bejeweled 3 - PC
Guild Wars 2 - PC
League of Legends - PC

- 05/16/2013 -
Audiosurf - PC
The Cave - PC
DOTA 2 - PC
Guild Wars 2 - PC
Irem Arcade Hits - PC
League of Legends - PC
Silverfall - PC
Silverfall: Earth Awakening - PC
Space Channel 5: Part 2 - PC
Vanguard Princess - PC

- 05/17/2013 -
Guild Wars 2 - PC
Irem Arcade Hits - PC
League of Legends - PC
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings - PC

- 05/18/2013 -
League of Legends - PC
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings - PC

- 05/19/2013 -
Bioshock Infinite - PC
League of Legends - PC


Screenshot of the Week:

To think that many people in the real world live their lives like this.
Bioshock Infinite (Personal Computer)

Just Go Digital Already: Fall of a God

We got another winner here of desperate developers doing their best to shamelessly cut the cost of physical distribution through production shortcuts while still trying to charge expensive prices at launch. And look at that, it's another Sony developed game - God of War: Ascension. And to think that they are still unwilling to go all digital for their upcoming PlayStation 4! I have a feeling that all the PS4 retail games will be packaged just like the Vita retail games: where there's no printed materials to be found inside the game casing at all! Just move on to the next big thing Sony... Just move the heck on.

Manual on the back of the cover! Take that physical game fanatics!

Update Note: 8:40pm - When I popped in the game disc, I found a digital manual accessible from the PS3's Xross Media Bar. Yeah, certainly wishy-washy. if they were so thrilled about the idea of digital manual, why not just skip physical distribution in the first place and aggressively push for the smarter distribution method for the future?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Those Retail Games Are Disappearing

I went to Fry's Electronics today since the spouse offered me game gifts again but once we got there, the selection was quite abysmal. Many recently released titles were nowhere to be found and that includes top titles. The sales representative couldn't explain the shortage - to be honest, I don't think that he cared - but with the recent situation involving Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch for the PlayStation 3, there is certainly something strange happening here. Despite the store's effort in price-matching prices with Internet stores, perhaps they are losing that battle. I normally get my games online and these days with most of them received via the means of digital distributions. I am curious now to know where most people get their retail console games. The few acquaintances I have mostly get theirs from Amazon.com so perhaps this is becoming the norm? Still, GameStop (ewww) is still out there and I bet they always carry the necessary amount of games for their target customers. I did go to a Best Buy several days ago and I do remember clearly that even that store's video game section looked rather sparse. Oh, how I long for the day when these stores sell no physical games... At least that has finally became a reality for Personal Computer games! That's right. It looks like this particular Fry's Electronics no longer have a dedicated PC game section - there used to be 3-4 shelves filled with physical PC games. The only PC games in the entire store that they are selling can be seen in the picture below and I don't think they'll be selling these out any time soon. They might as well give those out to their employees:

The last remaining PC games are crammed up into one small display shelf.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Profile XP Whoring Incoming?

Have you ever wondered what would happen if the X-Box 360 achievement system and the PlayStation 3 trophy level-up system would get together inside a dirty ditch in the dark and do the nasty? Well, it would probably birth a truly diabolical child like... the upcoming "Steam Trading Card" system that is still in its beta phase. I have mentioned in the past that Steam definitely has the best "task unlocker" system in the business because of its ability to pinpoint the percentage of players who own each individual Steam achievements. This new system however may make Steam users as fanatical and crazed as those console achievement/trophy whores. Basically, you will get cards for playing supported games and those cards can then be crafted into game badges. The badges have experience points that will be used to level up your profile. Not only that, the badges can also reward you with cool "marketable items" like profile customization and game discounts. Before you cry "Here comes death to true gaming", Valve ensures that the whole activity would become more meaningful because instead of getting players to whore and abandon one game for the next, from my understanding, the system actually encourages you to keep replaying your games because you can continuously earn cards that way. What was that? A task unlocker system that lengthens your gameplay time instead of shorten the lifespan of your games? That is just brilliant. Unfortunately  I am not a part of this beta yet but I cannot wait to get my invitation email. It's definitely time that Steam improves its achievement system, especially with Electronic Arts starting to trail closely behind them...

On the consoles, the focus is the whoring. Here, it's all about the crafting.


Update Note: 05/16/2013 - I am finally in! I have 3 beta access to give away. Just contact me here or directly on Steam if you would like to receive one.

05/17/2013 - It looks like there is a limit on how many cards will drop per participating games and individually, it is impossible to craft a badge by just playing the game because the limit only allows you to generally get half of what is required. The system encourages trading with the community, as the name implies, so I am a bit disappointed that they just won't allow repeat crafting or card drops. Still, this new feature is just an enhancement to what's already there and adds more value to games that support it.

It's Not a Backlog, It's a Deadline

There is one word that is so overused in plenty of gamers' vocabulary: backlog. Every single time I see or hear this, usually on a YouTube video or some random ramblings in a gaming forum, I cringe. This is probably because I don't see myself getting buried by the games that I own since my perception of having them has nothing to do with how quickly I could "finish" them all but it's all about having access to them whenever I want. However, the more accurate notion involving time restraint when it comes to gaming that I think people have been confusing with this exaggeratedly celebrated concept of "backlogging" is something called "deadline". Now bear in mind that this particular phenomenon is more prominent in console gaming though it could definitely be applied to gaming on the Personal Computer. I will explain the latter first because it is simpler to understand - I don't live forever so I should attempt to play as much as my PC games as I could before I pass way, thus my PC games do have a deadline.

Potentially playable throughout my lifetime.

Things are different for the consoles however because my own personal demise is not the only factor that requires consideration but the mortality of the consoles themselves, especially the more recently released consoles that don't have a good track record whatsoever when it comes to durability. Since console makers do not like the idea of backwards compatibility anymore, there is a tremendous chance that I will not be able to play your old console games anymore if the hardware needed to play them have completely perished from existence. Sure, I am sure that by then I could probably find one at ridiculous price being sold by a private seller someone on the Internet but you know it's going to be a pain to deal with that if the time indeed comes. This is something that I don't have to worry about with my PC games, at least for a much longer time - perhaps even my entire lifetime - before the software compatibility situation may get a bit weird because who knows what the future may bring. As long as I have a PC of some sort, my games will always be accessible for play. Thus, console games do have a deadline when it comes to my access to them and since console makers just love to jump ship before their consoles can be fully untapped, time is definitely running short on the console side of my gaming existence and this does require a bit of commitment and planning. Do I call that a backlog situation? No. It's a deadline situation that requires a careful degree of handling. As for those out there who like to use "backlog" to describe going back to the games you still want to play, please consider only using that term when you are sitting on the toilet for more than half an hour...

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

March 2013 Gaming Analysis

The results shown below are of course based on the combined data from the Daily Game Log which should provide a clear indication of a game's usage frequency. Bear in mind that even if a game is played twice or more during a particular day, it would still register as 1 in the Day Count column below. In a sense, "merits" are given based on how often a particular game can make me play it again throughout the entire period of the  month on a daily basis. A game that makes a gamer play it over and over again or at least spend a lot of time with it... Isn't that what we mostly want from a great game? I don't think it's really fair to count all the way down to the number of hours played since some games only require a short amount of time to properly serve their purposes.

OVERALL BREAKDOWN:


Total Games Played: 60


This Month's Inductees:


Total Inductions: 44

February 2013 Gaming Analysis

The results shown below are of course based on the combined data from the Daily Game Log which should provide a clear indication of a game's usage frequency. Bear in mind that even if a game is played twice or more during a particular day, it would still register as 1 in the Day Count column below. In a sense, "merits" are given based on how often a particular game can make me play it again throughout the entire period of the  month on a daily basis. A game that makes a gamer play it over and over again or at least spend a lot of time with it... Isn't that what we mostly want from a great game? I don't think it's really fair to count all the way down to the number of hours played since some games only require a short amount of time to properly serve their purposes.

OVERALL BREAKDOWN:


Total Games Played: 34


This Month's Inductees:


Total Inductions: 19

Monday, May 13, 2013

Games Played 05/06/2013 - 05/12/2013

- 05/06/2013 -
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance - PlayStation 3

- 05/07/2013 -
League of Legends - PC

- 05/08/2013 -
Guild Wars 2 - PC
League of Legends - PC
SimCity - PC

- 05/09/2013 -
Dynasty Warriors Next - Vita
League of Legends - PC
Pinball FX2 Demo - PC

- 05/10/2013 -
Audiosurf - PC
Dynasty Warriors Next - Vita
League of Legends - PC
SimCity - PC

- 05/11/2013 -
Neverwinter - PC
League of Legends - PC

- 05/12/2013 -
Arcana Heart 3 - PlayStation 3
Audiosurf - PC
League of Legends - PC
Neverwinter - PC
Persona 4 Arena - PlayStation 3
Tomb Raider - PC


Screenshot of the Week:

Ah, another peaceful day in a typical SimCity town... Or is it?
SimCity (Personal Computer)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Book of Spells: The Missing Pages

We all know that all-digital game distribution is the eventual future of video games. I have embraced it for a long time and I just cannot wait until it becomes universal across all platforms. On the Personal Computer, the transition is 99% complete - I can't believe that there are still a small number of developers that still dare sell physical discs for their games on that awesome platform when they have Steam or their own websites to assist with the sales. As for the consoles, it is funny to see all these awkward shortcuts the developers are taking to reduce the cost of physical game distribution instead of just moving ahead with full digital distribution. Like the way that the "instruction manual" is printed inside the case of Wonderbook: Book of Spells for the PlayStation 3 that I just received today:

Why even bother though when the game is going to be packed full of tutorials anyway?

I haven't played the game yet but I really love the design of the large, 12-pages thick Wonderbook. I can appreciate the idea behind the creation of this PlayStation Eye companion piece. It's like the virtual version of those pop-up books but only more interactive and imaginative. It is such a shame however to think that it may not be utilized by other developers outside of this particular title and the upcoming Diggs Nightcrawler. There is so much potential here but I suppose this is what happens when Sony is just itching to jump ship to focus on a new console instead of expanding the life of the already established, utterly underutilized PlayStation 3...

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Origin Achievements - It's Here?!

I logged into Electronic Arts' Origin client this morning and after the client updated itself, noticed something different... There's some strange numbers next to my profile. What's this? Achievement points?! The one feature that plenty of people have been asking EA to implement on the Origin service is finally here? After reading the 9.2.1 patch note, I discovered that EA has indeed launched its long-awaited Origin Achievement and even added existing achievements from Battlefield 3, Mass Effect 3, and Dead Space 3 into our profiles. As eye-rolling orgasmic as this may be to achievement whores, this is merely a small step for EA since developers would now need to ensure that they provide the necessary support for Origin Achievements for all their Origin-bound games. It is possible for previous games to receive achievement patches but that would just be a waste of time so it's not going to happen. Still, this is a treat for those who support the platform who just happen to enjoy whoring, I mean, unlocking achievements. I did notice that my ME3 achievements didn't register on my profile and I had to boot the game for some crazy achievement pop-ups to happen, thus correcting the problem. Unlike the silent pop-up in Steam, when you unlock achievements in Origin, you get a cute electronic bopping noise that sounded like something they took from the ME series. I will still get third party games on Steam but this is definitely a step ahead for EA. Now let's add something actually meaningful to those Origin Points shall we? Maybe we can buy games with them?

Because achievement whoring is the way of the world these days.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

New Milestone Celebration

From 2 minutes to... 200! I didn't realize until I updated my records that Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance was my 200th PlayStation 3 game! I played the game a little bit yesterday and I didn't expect it to have a grotesque level of violence. Revengeance is all about cutting people up any way you want and the whole thing can be a bit gory and over the top. But it's all fun and I like it thus far. For a moment, I thought that I would never get my PS3 library to ever hit the 200+ mark, especially with the upcoming premature death of the PS3. 

It's certainly bloody, but will it end up being bloody good?

Monday, May 6, 2013

Games Played 04/29/2013 - 05/05/2013

- 04/29/2013 -
Castle Crashers - PC
Warriors Orochi 3 - PlayStation 3

- 04/30/2013 -
Dynasty Warriors 7: Empires - PlayStation 3
Jetpack Joyride - PC
Warriros Orochi 3 - PlayStation 3

- 05/01/2013 -
Audiosurf - PC
Fez - PC
League of Legends - PC

- 05/02/2013 -
Dynasty Warriors 7: Empires - PlayStation 3
GundeadliGne - PlayStation 3
League of Legends - PC
Mighty Switch Force: Hyper Drive Edition- Wii U
Sin & Punishment: Star Successor - Wii

- 05/03/2013 -
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - PC
League of Legends - PC

- 05/04/2013 -
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - PC
League of Legends - PC

- 05/05/2013 -
Audiosurf - PC
League of Legends - PC
Tomb Raider - PC
Zack Zero - PC


Screenshot of the Week:

This is how I feed my kitty.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Your 2 Minutes Starts... Now!

Oh honey, what cruel game you play. On our way back from Tiburon today, we stopped by Fry's Electronics per the spouse's instruction so that I could pick up a couple of games as gifts. There was a catch though: because the spouse hates being in that store, I was given two minutes to pick up the games that I wanted or the deal is off. I was frantic of course because I find it quite hard to just pick up games quickly. I normally would have to consult my Purchase List and even then, I would have to think about things thoroughly. Well, I didn't want to lose out so I did grab two games quickly and lined up at the cash register just in time. Perhaps I should do this to myself whenever I have troubles making a decision whether or not to get a game. I should give myself two minutes and if I couldn't decide during that time, then I would not allow myself to consider getting that game again for an entire month. It could be dangerous to do that however because I would mostly be leaning towards the acquisition of the games in question... Yes, that would be rather irresponsible, don't you agree?

A great end to an already wonderful day.

No Tibbers in Tiburon

The spouse and I went on a little road trip today since we haven't spent a lot of time doing anything extra special with each other. We took a drive to Tiburon - a neat little coastal town just to the north of San Francisco. I didn't know that this place even existed and both the spouse and I had never been here before. The weather was nice too for it was a bit cloudy and cool, just the way I liked it. We didn't expect much from the visit other than enjoying a little bit of an adventure but the view of the San Francisco Bay was beautiful. The town was dog friendly too so having Yoshi with us ended up being a worthwhile decision. We were going to leave her with a friend but changed our minds this morning because the thought of her not being close to us for the whole day was just a bit too much to bear.

Maybe we'll take you all the way to The City one day Yoshi.

Days like this one reminded me of the life pleasures that can be found outside of gaming. It's great to just spend some time with the person I love where it's all about the two of us (and Yoshi) and nothing else in between. I definitely rather be doing this than having the spouse watching me game and me being distracted at what's happening on the screen. But of course, it is still fun to be surprised by the spouse with the gifts of games on our way back from Tiburon... Oh yeah!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Video Gaming is Moving Too Fast

As someone who has been gaming all of his life, I do find it strange that my feelings towards this upcoming transition from PlayStation 3 to PlayStation 4 or whatever Microsoft may bring to the table for the X-Box - still hoping it's a Windows 8 based thing - is rather uncommon compared to a lot of other gamers. I found quite a number of acquaintances who are rather happy about getting "new consoles" while I see a such thing as another console being abandoned unnecessarily. Apparently, people are not concerned about shelling out cash for a new hardware. I don't have too much of a problem with that in particular since I do love to upgrade my Personal Computer but the difference there is that these newer consoles are not fully-backwards compatible and some will not honor that feature whatsoever. When I spend on new PC hardware, I know I am just extending the life of all the PC games I have but that is not the case when it comes to console gaming. The other thing that came to my mind today was the speed in which new games get the price slash these days, especially for the PC:

That's not too bad and it fits my budget quite well.

There are just so many interesting titles being released at all times and then not too long after their release, you see crazy price drops that make you wonder - is it really worth getting the more expensive games at launch? The ironic thing here is that I used to tell people that they shouldn't feel guilty about getting games at full price if they have the money to burn but my perspective has changed since then. Sure, it's great to support your favorite developers, there is nothing wrong with that but if we adhere to that rule, we would be buying a really small number of games a year. I do know this: I think most developers don't deserve our hard-earned cash, especially those who think that they can only make better games with better hardware... Whoever came up with that equation must have accidentally fell in the bathroom and hit his or her head on a toilet bowl. All that I know is this: if you are like me who tries to get every single game that you are interested in, there is no way that we can catch up to these new game releases. It's just impossible. It's hard to stop pursuing and I am certain that there is nothing wrong in doing so, but I think that we really have to start making some smart choices. I think that price threshold that I have set for myself was a great start and the survival guide I have published is definitely helpful. The next thing for me here is perhaps I need to set an actual number of games that I would get per month. Is that a little bit of a stretch or just a natural progression of things?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

LoL's Graphics: Not So Funny Anymore

When it comes to visual grandeur in multiplayer online battle arena games, it is obvious that DOTA 2 by Valve is the undisputed king, thanks to its incredible art-style, animations, and even champion customization.  This will definitely change in the near future because Riot Games have really been showing us what they can accomplish themselves with the ever continuous upgrades for League of Legends' graphics, both in the champion models and the game environments improvements. I remember how... unflattering this game looks when I played the beta and unfortunately, some of the older champions are still cursed by this ugliness yet Riot is a little slow with introducing replacement models for them. But this recent release of the Howling Abyss map clearly shows that once everything is said and done, LoL will be quite a looker. This map is stunning thanks to the fact that it doesn't feel like it takes place in some generic map. It's a bridge and you can see the icy areas around you and what lies far beneath it. In the map's previous incarnation, the Proving Grounds, all you see outside of the bridge itself is nothing but darkness. Then, with this new map, you get little things like seeing the cold breeze swirling in the air, little ice bunnies littering the area, and environmental destruction that punctuates the flow of the battle. The best thing about this map for me is the towers: how beautifully they crumble when they are attacked, just like the towers in DOTA 2. Keep going Riot, I can already see how wonderful the three lane map, Summoner's Rift, could be thanks to the Howling Abyss, and even the Twisted Treeline remake not too long ago. Hope that eventual change will arrive soon.

A unique, fully realized shopkeeper for each side of the battle? Brilliant.