Tuesday, November 26, 2013


The new console war is upon us, and I couldn't care less --- I'm happy with my PC.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Skipping Through GTA V

My enjoyment of GTA IV was often hampered by its lousy checkpoint system. If you've ever played it you know that you have to complete an entire mission to reach a checkpoint. If you fail halfway through, or somewhere near the end, you are taken back not to the start of the mission, but to the person who gave you the mission. This gave me so much grief that I just ended up using a cheat that gave me all weapons, full ammo, full armour, and full health. After that, the game was a breeze. I played through it, and actually managed to reach the end. With GTA V, Rockstar has made a couple of improvements, or changes, if you will, that eliminate the need for cheats and make the game fun through and through.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Saturday Post

Ahhh, Saturday, a time for the good things: a beautiful girl bearing coffee, hugs, and kisses; football (a.k.a, soccer, not that NFL shit); great music on the CD player; and catching up on video games.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Many months back I was excited for the release of SULK's debut album Graceless. Their singles "Flowers", "Wishes", "Sleeping Beauty", "and "Back in Bloom" were excellent. They reminded of the music I grew up with in the late 80s and 90s. Then, I saw them perform at the Purple Turtle in Camden, UK on May 18, 2012, and my hopes for the future of music were bolstered.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Minecraft Treasure

I have been deep into Borderlands 2 and Minecraft since my last post. So I decided to come up for air to show off a couple of cool things: Minecraft-related jewellery.  Click the jump to see them.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Use Lava Responsibly

If you don't, bad things will happen to you. Bad things like this.

I tried to set up a lava pool in the basement, not only as a source of light, but also as a place to burn unwanted items. Unfortunately, I didn't set it deep enough into the floor. So, when I put the lava in it, some embers floated up and set the main, wooden floor ablaze. The fire then spread to the upper floor and finally to the roof.

Initially, I tried to control the fire by covering the lava with cobblestone, but that just caused the lava to spread and did nothing to stop the flames from consuming the floors and the roof.

So, I panicked, and tried to put out the flames by pouring water on them. As you can see, though, I lost control of the water, too, because Minecraft-water doesn't behave like real water. Eventually, I just gave up, and decided to let it burn. Oddly enough, that torrent of water stopped the spread of the lava, and gave me the opportunity to cover it up and put out the fire. However, not before it gobbled up much of the roof and the floor and claimed one of my cats. The poor thing dropped from the upper floor right in front of me, all ablaze and screeching with pain. I had to get out my sword to put it out of its misery. Sure it was only a blocky Minecraft-cat, but it made me feel like a horrible person.

After the disaster, I quit the game in frustration and decided to clean up the mess at a later time, when I had a clear mind. I have done this, and I made some changes to the interior of the house; I'll put up those pictures in another post. Until then, use lava responsibly, and learn how objects and elements behave before you try manipulating them to suit your needs. Otherwise you may end up destroying your house and burning your cats.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Naked in a New World

I started Minecraft.  It was rather daunting being plopped down into a strange world with no weapons, food, instructions, map, or compass. I would have been completely lost and clueless had not watched Minecraft Tutorials: E01 How to Survive Your First Night by Paul Soares Jr. With the knowledge I gleaned from that video I managed to survive 3 nights in a snowy world with plenty of resources around me. Then I died, and lost all of my stuff, after I made the mistake of standing under something I was mining. I respawned, but I couldn't find my place. I desperately searched for it, but with it getting dark, and me with no tools or weapons, I just exited, deleted, and restarted. However, the new world was all sand, dirt, and water; I just could not find any cobblestone, coal, or iron.  Again, it got dark and I had neither weapons nor tools, and no place to hide. 

I didn't relish the thought of evading the mobs until the sun came up. So, I restarted. After a few minutes of wandering I managed to find a decent area in a jungle zone to begin my adventure. I had to move quickly, though, because the sun was setting. So, I gathered some wood, fashioned a pickaxe, and hastily dug out both coal and a hidey-hole to wait out the night.

Night passed, and I emerged to explore my surroundings. Apparently, though, it was much too soon, because a creeper was still in the area, and it came right for me. Fortunately, I was able to escape into my refuge before it exploded. I re-emerged to explore my surroundings, and discovered that some resources were scarce. Sure, there was lots of wood, stone, and dirt, but coal and iron ore were hard to find, as were animals for food and wool.

I eventually found some iron ore, but I still couldn't see any animals around. This was worrisome because my hunger and health were rapidly dropping, and I was tiring of having to wait out the night rather than sleeping through it. Much searching yielded nothing, so I figured I'd just go back to my hole and die.

With my hunger depleted and my health down to half a heart, I sat in my little place and waited for the end to come --- but it didn't. I continued to live, and twitch a little. I was surprised, but relieved, so I ventured farther out into the wild. I searched far and wide and, success of successes, I found some pigs, sheep, and a few chickens. Cold-hearted man that I am, I killed enough sheep for 3 wool and enough pigs for 8 pork. I hurried back to my place, with the brilliant orange sunset at my back

I quickly threw that pork into the furnace to cook. As it did so, I constructed a simple bed out of junglewood planks and wool. A zombie or two pounded on my door to let them in, but I was having none of that. I turned back to the furnace. I collected my pork chops, and gobbled down three of them like an emaciated stray dog. It was with much relief that I watched my hunger and health return to 100%. I stepped towards my bed, pleased with my minor successes, unsettled by my silly failures, and anxious for more adventure.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Internet Fodder

I chose Spec Ops: The Line as my game of the year for 2012 because, amongst other reasons, I saw it as evidence that (mainstream) video games were maturing. Yahtzee agreed in his review of the game, and also chose it as his game of the year in his Top 5 of 2012.

But then Deep Silver announced the Zombie Bait edition of Dead Island: Riptide, the sequel to Dead Island. It was to be made available exclusively to the UK and would include a rather silly and distasteful 30cm-high bikini-clad, torn and bloodied female torso. I say "would have" because since the announcement of the Zombie Bait edition the Internet has been in an uproar and Deep Silver has issued a lame apology for it, leaving its actual release in doubt.

Publishers and studios are always offering up all sorts of crap to sell and promote their games, but this torso statue is shameful and offensive. To some, it's offensive because it's misogynistic and exemplifies the kind of objectification that women face everyday, and that excludes women from games and the games industry. To others, it and the reaction to it is silly, and a matter for satire. It is offensive to me because it makes assumptions about its audience and because it makes video games look like a hobby for kids.

There are some who would argue that it does not necessarily reflect poorly on the industry as a whole, but I disagree with that. You see, the Zombie Bait edition is just the kind of stupidity that the mainstream media and non-gamers like to grab hold of when they need something to blame for society's lastest deviant act. It's the kind of thing that makes games look like a frivolous, childish, time-wasting hobby rather than the expressive, insightful, artistic medium that it can be. And although non-gamers usually have no idea what they're talking about when it comes to games, it gets a little tiresome and difficult defending them against crap like this.

I hope Deep Silver does not release the Zombie Bait edition with the torso statue. Perhaps it could include something just as tasteless, but less objectionable, like a foot, a hand, or even a bloodied melee weapon. Whatever it decides to do, it has certainly managed to create talk about the game, which is, I'm sure, what it intended all along. That, too, is shameful.

Giant Bomb's Patrick Klepek has posted a discussion article on the Zombie Bait issue. It includes opinions on the matter from eight women who are employed in the video game industry. The article itself is great, but if you're looking for some good laughs, check out the comments thread.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Articles You Should Read

A few articles to stir your thoughts.

Patricia Hernandez, Endless War: How Shooting Games Perpetuate War As the New Normal
These mechanics tap into compulsion, sure, but also relay the message that perpetual war is necessary for your development as a subject, and the means through which someone becomes empowered. Here, too, there’s an empty promise: despite how long a player might develop a character, “prestige-ing” means that the process is never-ending. You reach your level cap just to start it over again and again and again.

Declan Skews, Communicating Games: Vilolence, Consequences and Barriers
Communicating the passion, the beauty; the romance of games to non-gamers is a task that can oftentimes seem impossible. How do you explain the draw of sneaking down a corridor, slowly losing your sanity, in Amnesia? What’s so appealing about repeatedly dying and becoming frustrated with Dark Souls? Why bother to learn new and confusing button configurations to play Uncharted, when you could just pop Indiana Jones into the DVD player? How do you explain to someone why it’s fun to massacre wave upon wave of seemingly helpless bad guys?

Real and Virtual Firearms Nurture Marketing Link over at the New York Times online takes a look at the relationship between video game publishers and firearms manufacturers, with a focus on EA's Medal of Honor: Warfighter. Click the link for The McMillan Group in the second paragraph. You'll either be surprised or disgusted by what you see.

Over at Killscreen Joseph Bernstein has a brief article on the massive growth in the gaming industry in China.

Harris O'Malley writes about Male Privilege in video games and so-called nerd culture in Nerds and Male Privilege over at Kotaku.
Y'see, one of the issues of male privilege as it applies to fandom is the instinctive defensive reaction to any criticism that maybe, just maybe, shit's a little fucked up, yo. Nobody wants to acknowledge that a one-sided (and one-dimensional) portrayal of women is the dominant paradigm in gaming; the vast majority of female characters are sexual objects.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

My Games of 2012

It's been a while since I posted anything, but certainly not as long as this guy, a guy whose writing I used to enjoy. I don't really have an excuse for not writing except for some imagined problems and something I could pass off as a mid-life crisis --- yes, I am old ---. So, as I shuffle them off I shall put forth a stronger effort to post more frequently --- starting with today's post.

There were many games that I wanted to play in 2012, but I only got round to playing a few of them. And the few that I did play were largely disappointing. Check them out after the page jump.