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Samsung Galaxy S6
I recently picked up the new Galaxy S6, opting for the standard model over the more hyped (and more pricy) S6 Edge.
Thing's I like so far
- Gorgeous AMOLED High Resolution Screen
- Fast and Snappy
- Nice "Premium" Feel
- Super Customizable
- Dual SIM
- Fingerprint Unlock
- Wireless Charging
- Great Camera
Thing's I don't like
- No Removable Battery
- No SD Card
Basically to expand a bit on the above points. The phone packs a lot of punch and feels super high end, an absolutely fantastic device. Of course it does have some negatives but the positives far outweigh them.
The screen is a 1440p resolution screen, which seems like overkill on a phone but looks absolutely fantastic with super rich colours and gorgeous deep blacks. The phone is blazing fast and responsive and can multi task like a BEAST. You can even have two apps open at the same time thanks to it's new split screen feature which opens both apps on the same screen. I've always loved the HTC flagships for their sexy aluminium bodies but the S6 is definitely on the same level with it's brushed gorilla glass faces and aluminium frame, it's truly FEELS premium rather than cheap and plasticy.
My Homescreen! (Full Res Here)
Thanks to the new iteration of Android Lollipop you can customize the phone into oblivion and it's fantastic. It also supports dual SIM so you don't have to swap out your cards when traveling (useful for me so I can put my US and HK phone chips in it.).
The fingerprint unlock SEEMED stupid to me... until I tried it and now I'm a believer. All it takes is a brief touch of the home key and the phone is instantly unlocked, it works flawlessly even if my fingers are sweaty or whatnot.
The wireless charging is also another "gimmick" I didn't really believe in until I tried it.... it's super easy, just plop the phone on the pad and it charges just as fast as if it were plugged in the normal way. Speaking of which this phone charges FAST, I went from 50% to 100% in about 25 minutes.
Would I recommend this phone? Absolutely!
Below are a few screenshots I took with it as well as a video (Though I forgot to set up the video settings to showcase the higher quality settings whoops!).... the camera truly is fantastic. I didn't do any editing to these pictures, these are exactly as they were taken.
- Gorgeous AMOLED High Resolution Screen
I consider myself a reasonable(ish) person, one who“s usually slow to anger unless I“m navigating THOSE FREAKING MEDUSA HEADS in Castlevania. Whenever a company makes a business decision I don“t agree with, I try to look at it objectively and think of the many reasons why it could be a good thing, and why they thought they should go ahead with their plans. Not this time though, as Microsoft has gone and made a baffling decision involving PC gaming that makes me want to throw an Xbox off a balcony into a pile of other broken Xboxes and possibly even switch to Linux while I“m at it. That decision was leaving Steam and Windows 7/8 users in the dust for their upcoming PC game releases.
Someone get me a sledgehammer.
Let“s start with a little background though – we all know and possibly love Steam, right? It“s a great service for buying digital PC games, since you can keep them all in one tidy library instead of having to remember where you bought what game if you need to retrieve a download link again. Sure, there are other services like Origin and GOG Galaxy, but the massive number of available games on Steam absolutely dwarfs the competition, from indies to AAA to everything in between, it“s almost all on Steam. Steam also has a large community that's usually willing to help resolve issues, so you don't have to wait for Valve to take your number. Isn“t it great to have such a wide variety of games new and old, and a thriving community supporting them, all in one easy place?
Apparently Microsoft doesn“t think so, at least, not anymore. Sure, if you have a look right now, you“ll see some Microsoft Studios published games such as Mark of the Ninja and Ori and the Blind Forest. But those are the last ones you“re likely to see with Microsoft“s new outlook, as part of their supposed commitment to delivering the same quality Xbox games to PC gamers. Why is that? Because Microsoft, in all their infinite wisdom, has decided that you had better be using Windows 10 and Windows 10 ONLY if you wanna play their newest games on PC, because they“ll only be available on the Windows 10 Store. Got Windows 7 and wanna play Quantum Break on PC? Tough cookies, sonny, you“d better upgrade that operating system or get yourself an Xbox One.
You didn't want this anyway, right?
So what the hell are they thinking? Locking their PC games to Windows 10 is no different than locking a game to Xbox One specifically, because you still need a specific system just to play the game. They are taking the console-exclusive approach and applying it to what should be a â€œfree systemâ€ of sorts, where any range of machines with varying operating systems and configurations have access to the same games. Who does this benefit besides Microsoft? Absolutely no one, that“s who. It gets their newest OS in more hands so they can make the numbers look good, and having the games exclusive to the Windows Store means more money for Microsoft and no sharing with the likes of Valve. If you“re waiting on me to try and find a way this helps the consumer, you“re gonna be waiting a while. It means not being able to shop around for a good price. It means only having one "official" source of support if something goes wrong. And if you already hate having to use Origin for EA games, it means splitting your PC library up across different services even more. It's not even so much that games aren't available on Steam, though that is annoying. It's that they can't be played if you don't have one specific operating system, despite how almost every developer and publisher besides Microsoft (remember Halo 2's Vista-only compatibility?) optimizes their games for various versions of Windows, and sometimes other OSes like Mac or Linux.
Now, I“ll be fair and note that Windows 10 is technically free to upgrade to, and you can upgrade from Windows 7, 8, or 8.1, so there“s no real reason you can“t actually play the games that will come to Windows 10 Store if you“d like. Therein lies another problem, though – not everyone wants this â€œupgrade.â€ Some people are just fine and happy using an older version of Windows, and see no real reason to switch, even with the promise of being able to play stuff like Killer Instinct or Gears of War Ultimate Edition. Oh, and another problem? Since Windows 10 was developed and released after most currently available games came out and stopped being supported, there are a handful of games with compatibility issues ranging from save files disappearing to DRM not working (which you might notice means you can“t even play the game) to sound issues and more. How is that an upgrade if you“re already an avid PC gamer?
Notice how the light is on the outside of the window. You'll find only darkness within.
I“m willing to admit I“ve always been biased against Microsoft, and this is just another in a long line of missteps that keeps me snuggled in the arms of Sony and Nintendo. It doesn“t help much that I“m quite comfortable using Windows 7 and have no desire to change it if I don“t have to. But I don“t think I“m alone when I say that this new approach to PC gaming is a huge step back from the tried and true method of, you know, distributing PC games across various digital stores and optimizing them for use on different operating systems. It“s a step that only goes one way – in Microsoft“s direction. In their sudden rush to bridge the gap between Xbox and PC gaming, they ended up making them basically the same thing. I suppose no amount of complaining is realistically going to change their new stance on PC gaming though, and that stance boils down to â€œget Windows 10 or get bent.â€
So anyway, there's my rant on how annoying it is that I won't be able to play Killer Instinct without an Xbox One or Windows 10. How do you feel about Microsoft's commitment to only releasing games on Windows 10? Maybe you don't care because you already upgraded to Win10, or maybe you don't care because you don't play PC games. Maybe you're just as annoyed as I am! Whatever the case, let me know how you feel in the comments!
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Certain games suck you in. You get absorbed into the story, the mechanics, the physics, the advanced techniques and tricks. Before you know it, you“re playing one, or a few games and only those games. It may be for certain achievements, or to best opponents, or for a challenge. I admit that fighting games tend to do this for me. I get caught up in the mechanics of how combos work, what is unavoidable, too cheap, too obvious, and learn certain strategies for certain characters. Fighting games are also good in short bursts, if you“re strapped for time.
Then things take a turn in your enjoyment of the game. The game is still fun, but you are always working toward a certain goal. It“s not as fun as it was when you started. Maybe it“s pulling off that combo, or finally getting a win after a losing streak, or looking for that lost item that requires a specific set of items, or choices to be made (to the point that a guide is needed). You look at the trees instead of the forest, so to speak. Your individual goals matter more than the game as a whole does.
Then a new game comes along, and takes your enjoyment back into the forest, the whole picture. All the elements of the game seamlessly weave together, and you find yourself not caring so much about your performance, or the details of the mechanics, and just enjoying the game for what it is: A video game. Entertainment.
And you“re having a blast!
For me, that game was Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. It was like the spirit of the Metal Gear Solid games, but in a new package. A new world to explore, a new story to experience, but with a character and a series I knew. The alert sound was there, but with completely different music. It wasn“t thriller and suspense style music, it was hard rock and metal, which got your blood pumping and told you to fight. The signature alert sound effectively changed meanings in Metal Gear Rising.
I found myself doing my usual habit of playing with the controls and screwing around. I enjoyed it tremendously. After certain battles, especially boss battles, talking to your teammates for over 30 minutes was normal. I loved most of that.
This happened once again with Guacamelee! I will admit that my experience with Guacamelee! was rushed, because I wasn't playing it on my system, but playing through it was pure joy. The mythology, the humor, the luchador motif, the combos, combined with all of the power ups you get, made the game just so much fun. Co-op play sold the game for me.
So that is one main reason I like variety in my games. A chance to explore new worlds, and at times, just get lost in different aspects of games. Every type of game offers its own thing, and sometimes those things, whatever they may be, can take you by surprise.
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The death of MTGox is the greatest thing to happen to cryptocurrencies in a long, long time. You might ask why considering the numerous calls for regulation and unbridled chaos its dissolution has left. The unfortunate reality is that roughly $400 million USD in Bitcoin was lost and isn't coming back. No one except the people responsible at Gox can fix that. As crypto users, however, it's our responsibility to ensure this never happens again by keeping online exchanges accountable, decentralized and transparent. MTGox screwed customers over by withholding withdrawals, leading many to wonder where their money was (and still is, for that matter) and ensuring their was confusion as to what was really happening. Shutting down and reorganizing isn't the answer to fixing the problem.
A core point of BTC, to avoid placing currency in unstable banks, was thrown out the window the moment MTGox became popular. I get that folks wanted to protect their hard-earned scrap, but an online wallet handled by programmers that were way in over their heads wasn't the way to do it. MTGox was a trading card site that somehow became the most popular cryptocurrency exchange on the net. MTGox used outdated security protocols and a shifty proprietary wallet system; there were red flags everywhere. And while Bitcoin industry leaders have recently assured users this will not be repeated, it's ultimately up to us to keep cryptocurrency use alive.
As mentioned before, the first step is doing away with online wallet banking and centralized institutions. We've all seen how that's worked out for physical currencies and Bitcoin users. Banks are not secure; offline wallets are far safer alternatives. While I understand the fear of unreliable hard-drives, the simple solution is to back-up your wallets to various safe locations. An online wallet is an even bigger gamble than the crypto gaming sites. If you're worried about thieves hacking and stealing your coins, encrypt the wallet. It's as simple as that.
The second step is to decentralize the currency system. In other words, every coin on the market needs to divest itself from Bitcoin. Each altcoin has a purpose and use. The value of said coins should not be dependent on Bitcoin. Achieving relative independence can be done through more exchanges that convert cryptos to and from existing world currencies. It will be a challenging process but can ultimately make adoption easier and strengthen the overall health of the market. Bitcoin is important, no doubt, but other coins need not be tied into BTC since they're not being backed by the grand-daddy currency.
The third step is to make widespread adoption a feasible, desirable option. This means opening more markets and businesses to cryptocurrency use. Imagine paying for your coffee with Dogecoin or buying a brew at the local bar with Litecoin. Some entrepeneurs have already taken the initiative and integrated crypto payment systems. We have to take it a step further, however, and solidify cryptos as a viable means of payment. We don't need to back these coins with precious metals or cash, but it's important to stabilize the crypto economy in order to introduce the coins to a larger audience. Paperless payment is the future.
Step four is simple: introduce your friends and family to cryptocurrencies. There's been this prevailing notion that cryptos are for the tech elite and geeks. While some technical knowledge is required to mine, the general process can be easily taught in a matter of minutes. All it requires is you to help guide the way and get them thinking in the way of the future. Cryptos shouldn't be made cryptic when we, more than ever, need to bring in new users. If they start with Dogecoin, that's perfectly fine. If they wish to start with Bitcoin, that's fine too. Help your friends find the coin they enjoy and like to use. It's all about founding crypto communities before we get to the Moon (a shibe-ism, if you aren't familiar). Locking out potential adopters makes little sense when cryptos offer so much promise.
Where will the future take cryptocurrency? That's a good question, but the growing market rebound from the MTGox scandal has already shown that we're a resilient lot. No budding currency is going to progress without extreme growing pains. When all is said and done, we've come a long way in providing a glimpse at an alternative payment system not dependent on weakening banks. And even though there are bad eggs, we've made a lot of progress without regulation. What currency can claim to have experienced the same growth cryptos have? We're on the edge of a new digital frontier. It's up to us to keep pushing the boundaries and make this frontier a home.
It is with deep regret that I must announce that Doug Charmin's world record holding Tamagotchi has passed away. Going by the name DORK, the beloved Tamagotchi pet held the world record for longest living digital pet in the Guiness Book of World Records. He was four days old. The death was captured in it's entirety during an interview with DORK's owner for a local news station. The details of the events that transpired can be read below.
What started as a simple fluff interview turned to tragedy today after the digital keychain pet DORK, a Tamagotchi that held the world record for world's oldest living digital creature died in it's owner's arms. The pet's owner Doug was in the middle of explaining to reporters how he kept his pet alive for so long when DORK began to beep at him. Doug ignored the beeps, assuring us that DORK was only trying to get attention.
As the interview went on, the beeps turned to boops and became more urgent in tone. Doug glanced down at his keychain and jumped out of his seat, seemingly startled by what he saw. While our cameras only managed a glimpse at the creature's screen, what we saw was disturbing. DORK had defecated in his feeding area and appeared to be sitting next to what could be described as an empty food bowl.
Doug pulled the screen away from the cameras and began desperately pushing the buttons on his Tamagotchi. We can't say for sure what he was trying to accomplish because he has since stopped accepting interviews on his lawyer's advice, but after he finished pressing buttons, his pet DORK let out one last beep of desperation before he blipped out of existence.
While the results of DORK's autopsy are not yet known, it is believed that his owner Doug will be facing charges for the apparent neglect that his pet DORK had received prior to it's death. The world record will now be passed onto a Mochi currently presiding in Spokane, Washington, but reports are coming in that the nameless Mochi generated from the Monster Rancher 2 disc is also on it's last legs. We'll have the latest information for you as soon as we receive it.
Another year means another series of high level play and huge upsets. Damn, this year's EVO was really hype, boasting the biggest turn out they've ever had! Not to mention some of the most diverse top 8's I've seen in certain games in a long time in terms of player's nationality and character selection. Though, that stuff you can find out about later, let's get down to the nitty gritty with this year's summary of Evolution Championship Series.
Ultra Street Fighter IV The series 7th year at EVO
1st. EG I Momochi, who played as Elena, Evil Ryu, and Ken, from Japan.
2nd. AVM I GamerBee, who played as Adon and Elena, from Taiwan.
3rd. Infiltration, who played as Abel, Akuma, Chun-Li, Decapre, Elena, Evil Ryu, Juri, and Ryu, from South Korea.
Losers finals for me was the highlight of the entire tournament, spanning almost 40 minutes of pure chaos and top level play between two of my favorite players, Infiltration and GamerBee. And while I normally would only post a video of the Grand Finals, I'm just gonna go ahead an leave the entire top 8!
Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 The series 5th year at EVO
1st. BE I KaneBlueRiver, who played as Hulk/Sentinel/Haggar, from Chile.
2nd. RayRay, who played as Magneto/Doctor Doom/Sentinel, from the USA.
3rd. ApologyMan, who played as Firebrand/Doctor Doom/Super-Skrull, from the USA.
Now, as some of you may already know, I'm not the biggest Mahvel fan out there. Though, I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a spectacle to see someone win EVO with a big body team, and using Hulk on point as well! In a game I've expected to always be dominated by top tiers, it was so refreshing to not see a single Vergil or even Zero in the top 3's teams.
Super Smash Bros Melee The series 3rd year at EVO
1st. A I Armada, who played as Fox, and Peach, from Sweden.
2nd. TL I HungryBox, who played as Jigglypuff, from the USA.
3rd. EG I PPMD, who played as Falco, and Marth, from the USA.
Speaking of top tiers, I feel like this is one of the few games that will never be able to break away from its current mold. While fun to watch, Melee is still one of the most cruel and unforgiving games to play on a higher level for simple mess ups. With Smash Wii U surpassing entry numbers, could this be the last year we see Melee as a main stage event?
Mortal Kombat X The series 1st year at EVO
1st. cR I SonicFox, who played as Erron Black (Outlaw), and Kitana (Royal Storm), from the USA.
2nd. PND I A F0xy Grampa, who played as Kung Lao (Buzz Saw, and Tempest), from the UK.
3rd. cR I HoneyBee, who played as D'Vorah (Swarm Queen), from Canada.
While I initially thought MKX might be the game to finally dethrone Street Fighter for hype and entrants, it just didn't live up to the rest of the year. Not to say that these matches weren't hype, but, c'mon. It's SonicFox, this guy is freaking amazing. First he won the ESL Pro League and now he's won EVO.
Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- The series 1st year at EVO.
1st. Ogawa, who used Zato-1, from Japan.
2nd. ODG I Nage, who used Faust, from Japan.
3rd. Woshige, who used Millia, from Japan.
Guilty Gear Xrd is a fun, pretty game to watch with incredibly hype and tense moments. Looking past a few...minor mistakes from the top 8, I'd say it went pretty successfully for the game's first year. Though, moving forward, it's kinda hard to imagine what will be around for next EVO. It seems like every year Arc System Works and Aksys put out a new fighter that takes over the main stage! Let's hope Guilty Gear is here to stay for a bit.
Killer Instinct The series 2nd year at EVO
1st. Rico Suave, who played as Fulgore, Glacius, Omen, Spinal, and Thunder, from the USA.
2nd. Gutter Magic, who played as Thunder, from the USA.
3rd. SleepNS, who played as Kan-Ra, from the USA.
Now, another year has passed and my knowledge of Killer Instinct has remained exactly the same, but that's okay. This years grand finals, and even top 8 in general was incredibly entertaining to watch, especially with the fantastic commentary that made me feel like I knew exactly what was happening at each and every moment.
Tekken 7 The series 1st year at EVO
1st. ORZ I Nobi, who played as Dragunov, from Japan.
2nd. BE I Ao, who played as Alisa, from Japan.
3rd. NJF I Saint, who played as Shaheen, from South Korea.
I'm the biggest Tekken expert around, I do love me some Tekken 3 though... However, when a game hasn't even had a retail release yet and you can pull together a massive tournament like this, I can't help but clap and watch in surprise to the level of play these competitors show. God this game is pretty...
Super Smash Bros Wii U The series 1st year at EVO
1st. ZeRo, who played as Diddy Kong, and Shiek, from Chile.
2nd. LLL I Mr. R, who played as Shiek, from the Netherlands.
3rd. Nairo, who played as Zero Suit Samus, from the USA.
I must say, looking over the top 8, I was quite surprised to see that only half of it contained players from the USA. Glad to see some other countries taking a liking to this game on a competitive level. Though, I'm a little sad to see Shiek and Diddy Kong in grand finals. Melee was already a tiers dominated game that it's kinda disappointing to see it's farther sequel follow in suit. Though, outside of grand finals, there was a good amount of variety.
Persona 4 Arena Ultimax The series 1st year at EVO
1st. KSB I Superboy, who played as Ken Amada w/ Koromaru, from Japan.
2nd. NB I Tahichi, who played as Margaret, and Yukari Takeba, from Japan.
3rd. Hagiwara, who played as Teddie, from Japan.
Before EVO even started this year, I was pretty surprised that Ultimax even took a spot on main stage, and not to be rude, I still am. I figured the game scene was pretty lax and dead ever since Guilty Gear had come out, but watching the grand finals match of a Ken player destroying a Margaret-- Ooh! Man that was hype.
Well there we have it, another year of fighting games and another one to come. Street Fighter V is just on the horizon, a new BlazBlue already fresh with footage, Tekken 7's new retail release, and now a rumored new DLC pack for Mortal Kombat X! Phew, I wonder where we'll be next year, but it'll definitely be bigger than this year.
In case anyone is curious as just to how many people signed up for each tournament, well you can see that here!
- Ultra Street Fighter IV – 2227
- Super Smash Bros. for Wii U – 1926
- Super Smash Bros. Melee – 1869
- Mortal Kombat X – 1162
- Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- – 968
- Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 – 816
- Tekken 7 – 458
- Persona 4 Arena Ultimax – 437
- Killer Instinct – 397
Now, the last thing I'd like to do would be show a video from Maximilian, one of the FGC's most active supporter and contributor. Every year for EVO, he puts together a top 5 moments video, and here is this year's!
Alrighty, that's all! Hope everyone enjoyed EVO this year. Can't wait to see it again~
- Ultra Street Fighter IV – 2227
As the blog title suggests, I'm looking for people interested in a little PS4 multiplayer action. I don't have a super extensive library yet but am interested in getting into multiplayer with the following games:
Assassin's Creed IV
Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition
The Last of Us Remastered
Feel free to add me on PSN if you aren't already on my list.
PSN = kezins
This... er, mini-review is based on the Xbox Live Arcade version of the game.
So, what happens then you mix stealth, killing, tattoos, guns, stylized graphics, more killing, and clashing cultures? You get Mark of the Ninja, of course!
Mark of the Ninja is another Klei Entertainment game, a company well known for their Shank games. This game, however, isn't a brawler but more of a stealth game... you are a ninja, after all! Does this new direction help this new IP, or does Klei's strengths lie elsewhere?
Because I want to ruin my build up, Mark of the Ninja is a great game. This is mainly from the gameplay--it's remarkably well done. This game will throw you in a variety of situations, and give you countless tools to get past them. Will you want to distract the guards by turning out the lights, then sneak up from behind and kill them? Or... are you feeling more merciful, and simply pickpocket the key you need instead of murdering the man with it? Or even kill a guard, then drop his corpse on his friend's head and (understandably) terrify him? You can do all that and more in Mark of the Ninja.
It's what make the game so much fun to play. There's never really a bad solution (even getting detected has its advantages), and figuring out what you like to do isn't a chore, but a rewarding process. However, whenever you get comfortable with your current tactics, the game changes it up, by adding new obstacles and mechanics. In that way Mark of the Ninja keeps it fresh and forces you to try new things... something many games can fail to do. Especially in the later stages, you'll have to think of some creative solutions to get past some of the daunting situations you're put in.
Also, the story is a cut above what most games of this genre offer. It all seems generic and bare-bones at first, but many events happen that subtly let you know that something bigger is going on... and its the subtle changes of tone and the optional scrolls you fin that really pull it all together. You're left with many questions, and some are answered, while others are left to your own imagination. The ending is also very well-done and leaves a powerful impression.
The graphics aren't top-notch, but the graphical style allows Mark of the Ninja to stay mostly dark but yet makes it easy to pick all the details out. You'll easily be able to see what you can climb and grapple on, where the doors and vents are, and pretty much everything else you'll need to know. The graphics may not blow you away, but they are (perhaps more importantly) functional.
So, this isn't a very long review, but I think I got my point across. Mark of the Ninja is awesome. If you're the least bit interested in Klei, stealth games, or ninjas, do yourself a favor and go buy this!
I guess score wise, I'd give it... a 9/10, which is a Fantastic rating! Good going with this one, Klei!
[Note: I played Mark of the Ninja as the May game for the Backloggery Game Club. If you want to see a more detailed (albeit spoiler-filled) report of my playthrough, check here!]
Meet the Podunkers 2 is the return of the much beloved blog series I started many moons ago with the intention to feature members of the community, a sort of gamer spotlight if you will. Hopefully we can make these a regular feature again!
What's the first game you've ever played?
My first ever game - that I can actually remember that is - was Mickey Mouse's Castle of Illusion on the Sega Megadrive. That's the Genesis, for all you American types.
What a game that was; it still holds a special place in my heart to this day. I can remember distinctly playing it on a Christmas morning when I was but a wee munchkin, and never, ever being able to actually finish it.
As an adult one of my produest accomplisments was finally mastering it.
Describe your current gaming setup.
I have my own designated games room in my house. Technically it's the spare guest room, but I've basically taken over it with my gaming stuff.
Inside I have all of my gaming collection - a huge box filled with games stemming back from the PS1 onwards - several cool geek posters and an excellent Sonic made out of felt that my friend made me, a chest of drawers covered in arty ripped comic books, and all of my consoles.
Currently I own a PS3, PS4, 3DS, Wii U, Xbox 360 and still have an old original Xbox, PS2 and Wii kicking about somewhere. I've also got loads of Guitar Hero controllers (I know, retro, right?), headsets and various other stuff that I forget.
I'd say I've got several hundred games in my collection ranging from stuff like the original Crash Bandicoot to the things that released this year.
Name the one game that changed your life, that is, what's the one game that made you into the gamer you are today?
Got to be Final Fantasy 7. This was one of the first gaming experiences that truly blew my mind from the very start.
To this day I can still play through FF7 and love every second of it. Great soundtrack, amazing villain, brilliant characters and everything else all combine together to make one of the best experiences available on any platform.
Funnily enough, this wasn't even my game. My dad, who used to game, bought it for himself to play through. That lasted all of two days and I quickly stole the game for my own purposes *insert best evil laugh here*
This game is also responsible for my love of the JRPG and I'm really hoping FFXV makes amends for XIII.
What is your all-time favourite game EVER?
Again, probably FF7. If it had a direct competitor from the modern era, it would have to be Batman: Arkham City.
I've always loved Batman, so when Rocksteady made one of the best Batman games ever, I was always going to love that too.
I think I've played through it about six times now, and it only came out a couple of years ago.
What's your story? How'd you end up on Game Podunk? What brought about the return?
Our story begins on a snowy Christmas eve. The snow, beautiful and white, whirled outside the windows as a young Dan Curtis stumbled across an advertisement for bloggers on VideogameJournalismJobs.com, followed through the link and began his blogging career.
In all seriousness, that's what happened. Minus the snow and Christmas. I was at university at the time studying for my degree in magazine journalism, and as a side project I wanted to get involved in game writing before I went out into the big bad world of work. At the time GP was one of the only sites out there offering actual money for quality content, so - not quite knowing if I was good enough to fit the bill - I started blogging.
What happened next was pretty unsuspected. My work was promoted to featured status extremely quickly, and I also established a rapore with the current overlord of GP, NashKirb. This then lead eventually to me becoming a GP Editor, taking control over site development, articles and working closely with everyone's favourite lovable GP rogue, Jason Clement.
Unfortunately as my university career was wrapping up at this point I had to consider my next move in life, so - with an extremely heavy heart I might add - I had to leave GP for another site which was promising regular steady payments. That turned out to be a load of rubbish, and after discovering this, I moved on to my own project, ManaTank.com.
When I was looking for a job and had time to work on it everyday, MT went from strength to strength. Then I got one of those job things, the people I worked with made the site into something I didn't like, and I cut ties.
Since then I've been working as a content editor during the day where I write words for a network of websites. I also write on the side for WhatCulture.com, but part of me always wondered what was happening over at GP.
I'd been investigating every so often for a while what was going on at GP, but - on a whim - I decided to just bite the bullet, make a return and see what was going down with everyone here.
I'm happy to see so many familiar faces still kicking around on GP, and have been welcomed back with open arms. In the future I hope to help out around here when I can (and I'm much more experienced now than that fresh-faced idiot who was still at university!).
Be honest, how much did you miss us?
I honestly did miss everyone. When I worked for GP it was one of the most tight-knit working communities I'd been in, where everyone worked extremely hard to make GP the best it can be.
Like I said before, it's great to catch up with some old friends and to see what's happened over my abscence.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Dan Curtis is back! Watch this space to see what happens.
...If Jason will let me help, that is
What did you think of the return of MTP? Who remembers Frosted?
I was looking through the comments section of an article on Kotaku a few days ago. I forget what exactly the article was about, beyond the fact that it was related to E3. There was a quick series of comments in regards to "casual" gamers and whether or not shooters had ever been games for "casual" gamers to use to introduce themselves to games with, and whether or not one of the original posters was hating on casual gamers. The conversation sparked a realisation in me. Now, I'm not going to sit here and claim to be some sort of ultimate authority on games and trends and psychology; I'd say the incredibly laid-back title of this blog belies me any right to claim major authority on those topics. Rather, I'm going to be saying what I personally have realized from that string of comments, and you readers can interpret it however you want. I will say that for me, it was a rather obvious yet eye-opening revelation as to the whole "casualisation-dumbing-down-Candy-Crush" phenomenon the games industry is still going through.
My mom plays the hell out of Candy Crush. She plays it so much, she won't install it on her phone, her reasoning being that she'd never get anything done if the game were always close a hand. She borrows my dad's phone to play the game, and the two of them have admittedly been somewhat obsessed with matching games for many years now. I personally don't understand the appeal, as I sit in front of a PS4 playing Watch_Dogs and Transistor (two games I might build another post about, just a heads up) and Warframe and dozens of other vastly more complex titles. The sort of games considered "hardcore" as opposed to the banal "casual-ness" of Candy Crush and all games on mobile devices. I myself have overcome my disdain of many mobile games (check out Epoch and Epoch 2 for really well-designed cover shooters, of all things) but I remain somewhat derisive of games that seem built to target the lowest level of skill.
But, after that conversation, about how shooters may once have been the casual entry point, I stepped back and realized something about video games as compared to every other form of entertainment.
Video games, lumped together into one giant category of interactive experiences, are perhaps one of the most variably demanding forms of entertainment mankind has ever produced.
Books and movies, for example, require little skill or investment of their users beyond an investment of time, though books do require that pages be turned, and that is even less of a problem with Kindles and PDFs. Those forms of entertainment will, in my opinion, endure more or less forever because of their inherent simplicity. Anyone can theoretically watch a movie, because watching is the only required activity to do so. Reading a book does require one to be literate, but the places of the world where we can compare video games to books in terms of required skills and complexity are not places where general literacy is in catastrophic decline. Not to make light of people who cannot read, I must say. I'm just saying, reading on average requires little beyond knowledge and the ability to somehow have a page moved.
Even most sports games don't require an outstanding level of skill or physical fitness if they are only played recreationally. And the comparison of sports perhaps makes the greatest metaphorical comparison to video games in regards to the barriers to entry.
There's a reason soccer is one of the most popular, most played sports on the planet. It requires at minimum two movable objects and a kick-able sphere. Soccer literally could not be simplified beyond that point and remain soccer. Basketball, likewise, requires nothing beyond a ball and a hoop (the once-hanging-by-a-thread hoop that used to adorn my garage saw literal years of use from all sorts of ballplayers) Baseball, on the other hand, requires a particular type of ball, a bat, a glove, an wide-open field, multiple people, a greater degree of skill. The barrier to entry in baseball is far higher than the barrier of entry to soccer. Even if someone only has a few components of baseball and makes use of them, they remain consciously aware they are not playing actual baseball. Two people throwing a ball back and forth are playing catch. I'm not sure what the proper word is if someone tries to hit a ball on their own with a bat and no other people engaged, and I'm sure not going to try and come up with one here. American Football likewise requires a large group of people and specialized equipment and playing spaces; football actually counts double because both the injury and non-injury possible variants (regular football, flag football) require specialized gear to reduce the risk of injury. Yet all of these sports are still fairly simple in what players are required to do to play them. The point here is that, even if various sports have various requirements for specialized gear, recreational sports in themselves require little skill beyond the ability to hit or throw balls in specific ways.
Now, we reach the point of video games. Of what is required for recreational video game play. It is here that the greatest difference between video games and most other forms of traditional entertainment become apparent. Most games stacked in the court of hardcore experiences demand such abilities of information processing and multitasking, watching several points of interest onscreen while navigating the buttons on increasingly complex and obtusely ostentatious controllers, the average person would be utterly overwhelmed. The first home console game controller for the Atari 2600 had a single joystick and one button. Thirty-or-so years down the line and the two major competing consoles have a minimum of fourteen buttons and two sticks on their controllers. Sixteen, if we count clicking in the sticks as buttons. If we count the touchpad, the PS4 controller has seventeen distinct buttons. Don't even get me started on the implications of motion and voice control in regards to game complexity and ease of use.
My father used to dabble in Halo CE and play cartoonish racing games with me while I was growing up. An assignment for a game design course last year saw me set him down in front of the recently released Darksiders 2 for observation as to how he played and reacted to the game; he was overwhelmed by the demands of the game and while he made it past the intro stage, the level of skill he'd exhibited was, quite frankly, childlike (he frequently failed/died at wall-running and platforming sections, often failing to preform the required moves, and simply spammed the heavy-weapon charge attack, never touching any of the other buttons or even attempting to look into any other means of attack once he got that down. He also never dodged). Getting used to moving the camera took him some time. The level of complexity inherent to the game was well beyond what he was comfortable with. Primary and secondary weapon attacks, dodging, locking on, holding buttons to equip gear and hotkeys, for lack of a better term, on the d-pad for health potions, everything mapped to specific buttons on what is, objectively, a device that is almost on par with home theater system and DVR remotes in terms of complexity of design and ease of use and understandability; quickly understanding these things and making use of them was beyond him. Yet he's often resolutely blazing through various match-three games on his Mac in his spare time in the office. I imagine my mother, who has solely played with games like Candy Crush and Bejeweled, would have been cut to pieces by the first two skeletons.
This is, perhaps, the explanation behind the casual game explosion of recent years. Everyone now has a game-capable device in their pocket, but not everyone can break through the barrier to entry of more classical game types like first-person shooters and RPGs and open-world action games. At least, they don't have the time or the interest to develop the skill required to get into the more traditional franchises and their respective genres. But publishers and developers realized that rather than let an enormous portion of humanity as a market go untapped, they simply ought to shift their focus. Rather than try to force the experiences of PCs and Consoles into smartphones and sell them to people who would normally never play games, they built the gaming equivalents of soccer in terms of requirements and complexity.
All you need to get into Candy Crush is a phone and the ability to recognize when three similar shapes are touching and then tap them. That's a far cry from being able to hold a button to lock on to a frozen magical skeleton winding up to cut your head off, and launching a long, button-press-delayed, multi-weapon combo that leaves him utterly destroyed. It's a far cry from needing to line sights up and fire on a target that is running towards you and shooting you, throwing your aim off with damage-scope-wobble. It's a far cry from having to try and escape the army of cops chasing you after you jacked a car and accidentally ran one over, and you're still getting the grasp of the rules and controls of the game itself, and there's now a possibility you can hack traffic lights and blockers and steam pipes to tie the cops up. It's a far cry from any activity in any major game genre from the last decade or more. It speaks to the growing complexity of video games, where thirty-or-so years ago the most complex games were about shooting blobs of pixels moving down at you, or avoiding four colored ghosts while you tried to eat little dots. Nowadays, we're powering through incredibly realistic depictions of real-world cities, shooting fireballs out of our hands and draining every ounce of neon from Seattle, or hacking one of dozens of traffic lights in Chicago to try and cause a crash that will destroy the car of a target, or getting into a zero-gravity gunfight outside a space station hundreds of miles above the planet. I once considered modern technology from the perspective of my ninety-five year-old grandfather, and I realized that to him, the 2010s must seem like something out of science fiction. Video games are that perspective in microcosm.
Here, in this analysis of complexity barriers, the baseball metaphor pays in spades. My dad could beat the intro stage in Darksiders 2 by spamming the charge attack, but he consciously knew there was a wealth of depth and options he was neglecting, like how throwing a ball back and forth is not baseball; it is catch, and is at times far less enjoyable than baseball proper. Yet if catch is all one is able to play when presented with the game proper, how enjoyable will the experience be? There will come a time in such situations where the knowledge of one's active dismissal of depth and options and complexity for the sake of simple playability will outweigh any enjoyment that might be gleaned, because some people simply don't have the time or interest to acclimate enough to break through the barrier to entry of complexity of modern video games. I'd argue my dad was rapidly approaching that point by the time he beat the intro stage's end boss. Forcing complex products onto people who will be overwhelmed by said complexity, people to whom that complexity is a barrier to entry into the medium as a whole, will not make them embrace the product. It'll ultimately leave them with an unenjoyable experience. Is it not better for all of us to leave the "casuals" to their soccers-of-games, and the "hardcores" to their baseballs-of-games? Ultimately, those are the particular experiences each group of people enjoys the most, and isn't that the point of video games, nay, of entertainment, in the first place?
Publisher: Double Eleven
Platform: PC (reviewed), PS Vita
Release Date: August 26th, 2013 (PC)
EDIT: Hey, there's a 50% off sale as of right now for a week! So....hey, if you're interested now is a great time to buy!
Sometimes, you just want to have a relaxing experience. Pixeljunk Monsters can bring that, or it can deliver the PAIN, straight to your doorstep....or desktop, rather, I suppose. Whatever your preference for difficulty in games, Pixeljunk Monsters, and with its new iteration of sorts being the "Ultimate" edition, may just be the perfect game for you if you enjoy a good tower defense title.
Turning trees into equal-sized structures that fire various projectiles may not sound like exactly the most eco-friendly action to take to defend against hordes of monsters, but whatever, it works! This is a silly game about silly things, and thus you can play however you like. If you want to be the most hardcore defensive expert, you can feel free to do that and ace (or get a "rainbow") every level! Personally I struggled a lot on the base difficulty and considered dropping down to casual.....but I prevailed and got halfway through the second island!
If I had to give any complaints, I would justify that the price (at least, on Steam) is a little too much. $20 for a game that was originally $10 years ago seems a bit odd. The game is fantastic though, and the added content is.....well, decent. You get a new randomized level generator and online co-op which is not too shabby. I had trouble getting into a game but I didn't see very many people playing either, so I'd assume this game is best to play with a friend, either online or sitting next to each other.
The amount of content in the game itself is pretty massive too I might add! With only three islands to play, you may be concerned, but let me rest those concerns aside because this game rips apart your pathetic hope and tosses the remains to the curb. As I said, even on normal difficulty I was being challenged quite a bit to get rainbows, which are needed to progress. The game does let you pick and choose which levels you want to try and tackle, so if you get stuck on a certain few you can just try and do the other available levels. I would estimate that there's easily a good 30+ levels in the game, and with each taking 20-40 minutes to finish the length of one playthrough is fairly long. The medal challenges, which require the player to complete specific levels while clearing certain conditions also help to add a lot to the potential amount of time you may spend on Pixeljunk Monsters Ultimate. These are fun and unique, and really require you to wrack your brain for different ways of clearing an otherwise easy level.
All in all, Pixeljunk Monsters Ultimate is never unfair to the player, and thus in my opinion and thus it's definitely worth a potential buy, for anyone really. Being a fan of tower defense type games helps a bit in me enjoying it, but this isn't hardcore in the slightest unless you make it be, and nor is it easy by any means unless you choose for it to be so. As the game has been out on PSN for years already at a cheaper price, I would say wait until a 50% or more sale to nab this. Even then, if you know you'd love it, this is not a bad choice to pick up at its usual price.
Stop those evil monsters from kidnapping your pixel people, and contribute to global warming today!
I give this game a: 9/10
Wait, what's that about a giveaway? That's right, you can win a copy right here! To be in for a chance to win, tell me what other Pixeljunk game(s) you'd like to see on Steam (hint: Eden is already on it!)! You can enter once per person until this Friday, October 5th when I'll end it sometime in the evening (PST).
It was that night that still haunts to this day. I remember it clearly. I remember her face, her voice, her touch, her eyes, and her presence. She was only a little girl, but yet still haunting and at the same time she was crying. It felt like a curse after she went away. Ever since then I'd get nightmares here and there. It was lonely. The dreams I had were terrifying, dark, sad, cold, and depressing because I was alone. This all happened when I was just a young boy curious to know what the internet has brought to this world.
One night I wanted to discover what chat rooms were like. I've met different kinds of people. Some are good, some are bad, some are creepers, and some just looking to troll. I didn't know how awful human beings can be on the internet. There was one particular letter that I received in a chatroom. At the time I had no idea what chain letters were and I believed anything what was said on the net.
It was past midnight when I received the chain letter, I read through it and was very scared about it. The letter talked about a story of a girl in the early 1900s being kidnapped, tortured, and buried alive by her kidnapper. Her body was never found until many years later her remains were discovered. They the area where she died you can hear her screams and cry late night. The letter then said her ghost would appear tonight in your room to haunt you if you don't send the letter to 10 people in 5 minutes. The problem is though in the chatroom the site doesn't allow you to copy/paste messages and it must be some sort of special coding. I begged the person who sent it to me to help out, but no response. He quietly left the chatroom. I was already past 5 minutes when I was trying to type the whole thing to send to other people to save my life. Few minutes later I told myself this isn't real at all. It's just a joke and troll people. Half of me says it is and half of me says it's true. I stayed up a little longer to make sure the girl didn't appear so I wore my cassette player listening to the radio and laid in bed trying to sleep.
Things were normal throughout the night until about 2-3am. I wasn't sure if I was awake or if I was still dreaming. Everything felt so real and haunting. There was a cold aura around my bed and I can feel her presence above me. My body became paralyzed and still wasn't sure if my eyes were open or not. She was there. Watching me from the ceiling. I can still hear the music on my player and I started to sweat and wanting to cry in fear. My mouth would not open. I wanted to scream so bad for my parents, but I couldn't. I can barely breathe and felt her face coming towards me. It was something out of a horror movie. Her cold pale hands started to touch my body starting from my legs. I can see her smiling with those red haunting eyes. She had a dirty black curly hair, white clothing like a ghost, and her skin is pale white. It was like she resembles the dead girl from movies such as The Grudge and The Ring. I couldn't believe the letter came true.
She slowly floats over my body towards my face. The feeling was just surreal as she kept touching me. My body started to cramp and I can't feel my legs. I fought hard to move, but I just could not. I felt a pain within my legs like a scratch. I was feeling goose bumps as her cold aura surrounded my body. What is she going to do? She was trying to tell me something, but I couldn't hear well. This episode lasted for 30 minutes. My head was spinning fast and I wanted to get out of this nightmare. I have no idea what to do. She's just sitting there staring at me. I felt weaker and weaker as time goes by and there was nothing I can do. She suddenly cried as I struggled. Why was she crying? Did she felt bad about scaring me? I had no idea what was going on. She suddenly disappeared when I broke away the paralyzation. I checked my legs to see if there was a scratch and there it was. It was definitely real.
I got out of my bed and turn on the lights and was filled with sweat. There were tears streaming down my face because I was really scared. I have sensitive feelings that I can easily become hurt from emotions. I opened my door and my cat Louie was sitting outside waiting to come in. I had him sleep on my bed with me for safety and peace.
Ever since that night I still remember every detail of it and remember writing about it in high school. Nobody believed me, but that's ok. It's hard to convince others to believe your story. I felt that a curse was put upon me for some reason. I've had weird nightmares and dreams that have me feeling abandoned and alone. People push me away not being there for me. It's a weird feeling that it could be a sign or something. I do have moments in dreams that feel like Deja vu happening in real life. Maybe the girl possess me in some way. Maybe a miracle to keep others from getting kidnapped or in trouble. I've always brought good things to people I meet. I make them happy and I'm glad I do, but wondered how long it can last. Ah not sure what I'm even talking about. This story just stays in me for a long time. Anyways hope you enjoyed the story. You don't have to believe it or not, but it's true. We all have something that happened in our lives that sticks to our minds. Only yourself can believe the truth or not to not be haunted from it. Who knows? Maybe I'm already dead and just living as a ghost on the internet and protecting you guys.
I really need to start either typing these things in Word or saving my drafts. That said, I am still typing this in the awful on-site editor. Sigh. Let me try this again. It is the end of the semester and that means many things, namely Summer. While Summer also means many things, what it means for GamePodunk is Ciel's to-do list can finally be picked at. As such expect me to once again play an active role in the community and earn my invisible dollars.
I remember posting an update some time ago, but alas I cannot locate it. I know that things around here can get pretty bleak and as such I figured it was high time to post another blog just to keep everyone up-to-date with the goings on of GamePodunk. So what is on GP's plate for the future, then, huh? Well, I am not so certain myself! But what I do know is what I intend to bring to the table. So let us unpack this lunchbox and try to see how long it takes for me to exhaust this stupid food metaphor.
is a nice, instrumental, song to guide you through these slightly intoxicated words.
Now kick off your shoes, sit back, and feast on my words! And cue the obligatory anime .gif already! (People are going to start thinking this is a site for weebs--and they would be correct.)
I have a few interviews lined up. Kind of like a buffet line--OK I was reaching with that one. I hope to have an extensive Realm Reborn interview posted by the end of the month. No, not with Square, but with those who play the game. I have asked numerous people to participate and answer questions about their experience with the game. Not boring questions either (I do not roll like that, you know that). Complete with character photos, too!
I am also looking to continue interviewing up-and-coming gaming personalities. I do not care to interview known personalities. They do not need or quite frankly deserve the publicity. As GP is (still somehow) a growing spud, it only makes sense to help others grow as well.
Expect one more interview this month before the Realm one. I hope I can do about one a month. I have no idea who it is yet. Time will tell. I do not really care to do video/audio interviews for a variety of reasons so please don't ask and just learn to read.
I am currently (and newly) unemployed. That means in order to play games I will have to start reviewing them. Expect more reviews from me in the future. I look forward to doing this more often; less for the games and more for the experience. We have lost some great faces over the last year and I will try my best to fill in the blanks. Wish me luck!
Probably starting sometime by the end of the week I will post-up my gaming library and let everyone vote on a game they want to see me play. I will then play that game via a Let's Play stream on Twitch. Uh, there might be some giveaways of sorts eventually--but not right away. I am sure by the time I get the whole thing posted I will have some incentive to get everyone to watch. Maybe I will turn it into a drinking game since I will be drinking anyway.
I think these will still exist. I dunno. It was no secret I was pretty bothered with the showing at most of them. I will have to revamp some things. There will probably be more Twitter-based giveaways and less forum-based activities. But take this with a grain of salt. I would rather have less "Do X, Get Y" and have people come join us on Game Nights for cool prizes. Which leads me to my next point. I've got a Destiny expansion pass bundle-thing I am looking to get rid of. Hint, hint.
We already play a lot of Smash and Mario Kart. We did play a lot of CS:GO too. Well hopefully soon people that participate will stand a chance to win a prize or two! I also want to add more games to those we frequent. Not sure what these prizes are. I will make a post in the future asking everyone to post their gaming library. I will then sift through everything and figure out what games most of us have in common. Cause I have nothing better to do with my time.
Idea: Prizes = Amiibos. You kids eat those things up. It only makes sense to win an Amiibo while playing Smash.
There are some other minor things I want to adjust, like... still get us a new and darker skin. I'm trying people, I'm trying! Jason is a hard man to please.
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Theater Rooms are awesome, lets be real about it. Who doesn't want to watch movies or game on a giant screen from the comfort of their own home?
But they're too expensive...
$1265 - That's how much it cost for me to build my theater room. For a comparison, the 60" 1080p Sony in my living room cost $1050, plus another 150-200 for the sound bar so that I could actually hear my TV. So my living room setup is closer to $1200-1250. It's not insignificant, but it is totally doable.
The theater room amount also includes seating, if you have already have furniture, knock off $450. BOOM! Theater room for $815.
I'm going to take you through the steps I took in creating my own little theater room and hopefully provide you with some good tips in creating one yourself.
Step 1: Measure & Plan, Plan & Measure
This is the most important step in the entire process. Break out your measuring tape and figure out your room. You're going to want the length, width and height of the room.
Are you going to mount the screen? If so Wall or Ceiling? You're going to want to find a stud finder and measure out the studs on the wall or the joists in the ceiling. In my case, the joists in my ceiling weren't spaced standard widths apart, which made a ceiling mount for a 120" screen a difficult prospect. Ultimately I decided to go with a free standing screen. High quality, simple set up, no mounting required. You can also paint a wall with specially designed screen paint.
How big of a screen do you want? There are many formats for calculating "throw" which is the size screen that can be projected based on a projectors location. You can look up the formulas and calculate what the "ideal" is. ProjectorCentral.com has a built in calculator on it, where you can choose your projector and it gives you all the calculations. Below are the results for my particular projector. For most, a 100" screen will be more than sufficient, I however am a crazy person and wanted that 120".
So for a 116" screen, it is recommended to sit 12' back. I will say there is some leeway to this. Base it on what is comfortable to you. This could be a little closer or even further back. If you can buy the projector first and project on a blank wall to test screen sizes and what you are comfortable with, I HIGHLY recommend it. Doing this will help prevent buyer's remorse from either wasting money buying a screen that is too large for you to use all of the viewable area or a screen that is smaller than what your room is actually capable of.
Step 2: Finding Your Projector
Projectors range from pretty cheap to expensive. You're typically going to notice 5 resolutions: XGA, SXGA, WXGA, HD720 and HD1080. Right away, you're going to want to eliminate the first 2 resolutions. XGA and SXGA just do not have the picture quality you're going to want. WXGA is the best of those 3 options and some of the projectors even have 16:9 modes to give you a resolution pretty close to 720P. That said, the minimum I really recommend is 720p.
What you purchase is likely going to come down to cost. This is my first attempt at a theater room and I wanted to spend close to as little as possible to get a decent room together. Also if things didn't work out, I'd have less buyer remorse. So I decided on 720p as my resolution. You'll see that 720p projectors price points start at $500+. However, there is a way to get them cheaper. As far as other settings go, I would just make sure the projector you choose has built in image correction tools, will help you to get the best looking image after mounting.
I chose to go with a manufacturer refurbished Epson 730HD. This decision saved me $150 off the cost of the projector, bringing the total to $350. When buying refurbished products, pay attention to who did the refurb. Since it was done by the manufacturer, it also came with a 2 year warranty, a nice piece of mind for buying a refurbished product.
Step 3: Finding a Screen
So by now you've decided how you're going to mount the screen: ceiling, wall, floor or paint. I will say this, if you are painting, take special care to cover any imperfections in the wall you are painting first, you WILL notice these imperfections with a projected image and they can be quite distracting. Screen paint is also pretty expensive, you likely won't save that much money over just buying a screen.
Going back to step 1, you've measured what your optimum screen size should be, or you got your projector early and have sized it out to what you'd like. Similar to how TV's are, as the size goes up, you are going to pay more; as the quality goes up, you know you are going to have to pay more; the more features there are... you get the point.
I'm still new to this, so I do not really have screen preferences. I advise you, like any other product, to read several reviews from several sources (good, bad, middle of the road). I chose to go with the 120" Yardmaster 2 by Elite Screens, 4 1/2 Stars on amazon with 151 reviews $180, seemed like a good place to start. It was also freestanding, something that was a need for me.
Step 4: The Sound
My projector came with a single Mono speaker in it, not really the best in terms of a theater room. Your selection of sound options is pretty much limitless. It really boils down to how much you want to spend and how much work you want to put into how you mount all of the speakers.
Again, I was keeping this a budget build, so I opted to go with a sound bar. I chose an open box Samsung 400 series. By going open box I saved about $100-150, paying only around $260 for it. This set up included the Sound bar, a wireless sub and wireless rear satellite speakers. And for $260 it sounds fantastic.
The most important feature, is the HDMI pass through. It's important to take a look at your projector before investing in the sound system. My projector in particular has NO audio out. So I had to make sure I had a solution that pass the sound through separately from the video. The HDMI pass through allows to cut down on extra cabling, especially when you have multiple input needs.
Step 5: Mounting
By this point you've decided how you're going to mount everything. While some room setups don't allow for it, it is best to try to center the projector and screen. There should be those tools to help straighten the image if you're a little bit off, but do your best. Most screens come ready to be mounted right into the wall or ceiling, just get the hardware and get it into the joist/studs. The projector can be ceiling mounted, placed on a high shelf or on a table. I recommend ceiling or shelf mounting, it can be pretty frustrating to reconfigure the screen if your projector gets moved. Again, go by reviews on anything you're going to be purchasing. I paid maybe $25 for my mount, had solid reviews and does the trick.
IF YOU CEILING MOUNT MAKE SURE YOU HAVE IT INTO A JOIST! Last thing you want is this falling out of the drywall and right onto your head.
Step 6: Seating
Whatever you choose here is up to you. Most important thing is that you're comfortable. We ended up purchasing a couple "Theater Recliners" from Walmart for $150 each. For the price you can't really beat them. Comfortable, have a nice recline, in 3 weeks I've fallen asleep in one of them at least twice.
-Projector lamps: the lamp in a projector won't last as long as a TV, so it will need to be replaced every 1-2 years. You can find both refurbed and compatible lamps to save money on this. Just be prepared, this WILL happen eventually.
- HDMI switch: Can buy these pretty cheap on Amazon, way better than getting up to switch HDMI every time you want to change inputs
- TV Stand: Depending on how low your screen hangs, you might not have a lot of room for a stand to keep all of your consoles/video equipment. The LACK TV stand from Ikea is on $50, low to the ground and has a lot of room because of its length. I'll be picking one up during my next trip to Ikea.
- Blackout Curtains: Is your theater room anywhere other than the basement? You're gonna want these. Walmart sells these cheap Eclipse blackout curtains for $10 a panel. Put these up in the room and you're good to watch any time of day.
- Hide the cables: Do your best, you can pick up an outlet cover/wall chase from Home Depot for under $10.
- Make it your own: Add art to the walls, throw a popcorn machine in there, whatever you want. It's your theater/gaming room, throw your own custom flair on it
Eventually I will replace the projector with something 1080p and get a proper sound system installed, but right now I couldn't be happier with how this room came out. It's easily my favorite room in the house.
Hello and welcome to yet another new blog series I've decided to start up. Inside The Box will focus on packaging and extras that come with various "editions" of games, though I won't limit myself to just games. Anything nerdy is fair game on this blog!
For this entry I went with a limited edition console, the Wind Waker Wii U!
**Note: This is NOT a review of the game, only the packaging**
Nintendo Wii U Deluxe - Wind Waker HD Limited Edition
Release Date - September 20, 2013
Manufacturer - Nintendo
Platform(s) - Wii U
Price - $299.99
Price Paid - $279.99 (Newegg)
Retailer/Region Exclusive - US Only - Gamestop/Newegg Only
- Packaged in Zelda Themed Wii U Box
- Wind Waker HD Downloadable Game Voucher
- Hyrule Historia Digital Copy Voucher
- Black and Gold Embossed Wii U System (32GB Deluxe)
-Standard Wii U Deluxe Components (HDMI, Power, Stand etc)
My first venture into next-gen territory, and it's the Wii U! But not just any Wii U, the Wind Waker Limited Edition console! This is a limited run Wii U that's essentially a black Wii U Deluxe with gold embossing. It released on September 20, 2013 in the US.
Has a Zelda themed Wii U package, which is nothing special really, but nevertheless increased the excitement when opening the box.
This package comes with the system itself, all the usual assorted components etc, but this specific version also comes with downloadable vouchers for Wind Waker HD and Hyrule Historia on Wii U.
I can't deny that I'm a bit disappointed that the copy of Wind Waker was a voucher and not a physical copy, especially since it'll take up a huge chunk of the default system memory. Hyrule Historia I originally passed on so it's nice to have a digital version as an added bonus, I don't particularly mind that being digital since I had passed on the physical originally anyway.
For the price I paid for it, I am quite happy. I've been wanting a Wii U for a while now but the right price and deal hadn't come along just yet. This particular bundle was perfect, it was under $300 (10% off coupon from Newegg helped!) and even came with a game to boot! If you've been wanting a Wii U and love Zelda, then I'd suggest you pick this bundle up soon because I doubt it'll last long!
Pictures of the system!
The Tablet, it's so nice!
Presentation - 8/10
Price/Value - 9/10
Extras - 8/10
Score - 8 / 10 *
*Score rounded to nearest increment of .5
What did you think of this type of review? Are any of you considering a Wii U?
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The PlayStation 4 launched in November 2013 and Sony has yet to provide a lengthened charging cord option for PS4 owners. With the Dualshock 4's seemingly shorter battery life (due mainly to the light bar on top of the controller) gamers are looking for charging solutions.
Many of the third party options offered via Amazon have poorly fitting plugs, break easily and short-out often. This is reflected in review scores with most hovering between 2 and 3 stars. With third party options so undependable and no first party option other than the short cable included with the PS4, many owners have felt helpless...
Dreamgear has released a high-quality, 10 foot charging cord for the Dualshock 4. After seeing the surprisingly high reviews on Amazon, I decided to give it a shot. After about a month of use I can say without a doubt that Dreamgear has delivered with this product.
Dreamgear's Charge and Play 10 ft long Charge Cable provides gamers with a longer alternative to the cable Sony packs in with all PS4s. At 10 feet, the cord allows PlayStation 4 owners to charge their controller while they play as opposed to using Sony's cable which doesn't reach out far from the console. Both ends of the cord fit snugly into their respective ports allowing for constant charging.
This is by far the best third party option out there and since there is no first party option, there is no debate. The Dreamgear Charge and Play is a steal at $9.99 too. If the shortened battery life of the Dualshock 4 is frustrating you, invest in this cable. You won't regret it!
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Publisher: Square Enix
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Release Date: July 3, 2012 (out now)
ESRB: E10+ for Everyone 10 and older
The Final Fantasy series has not only graced us with memorable characters and stories, but also breathtakingly beautiful music. Terra“s Theme, To Zanarkand, Aerith“s Theme, and The Man with the Machine Gun are just few of many. So, why not make a Final Fantasy rhythm game? And that“s just what Square-Enix did when they brought out Theatrhythm Final Fantasy. It doesn“t disappoint at all, either.
Right off the bat, Theatrhythm asserts itself as a creative and unique sort of rhythm game. Not only will you be tapping and sliding your stylus to Final Fantasy tunes, but you“ll also be leveling up characters, honing their stats and abilities, and collecting items and collectables. In a broad sense, it“s an RPG/rhythm-game hybrid.
There are three modes for you to play in: series, challenge, and Chaos Shrine. Series mode allows you to play five songs from a Final Fantasy title in a row. Challenge mode lets you choose a single song to play through. Both series and challenge modes have three difficulty settings: basic, expert, and ultimate. Basic is pretty, wellâ€¦ basic. Those familiar with rhythm games will have absolutely no problem perfecting all the songs in this mode. Expert is a lot more challenging than basic, but ultimate is where the real fun is. It“s so fast-paced and will get your adrenaline pumping. You have to be a real rhythm game master in order to 100% all the songs on ultimate – or get all critical on each song, if you want to push it up a notch. The only annoying thing is that expert and ultimate modes are not available from the start.
The third mode, Chaos Shrine, is where you“ll be spending a lot of your time if you“re interested in farming for rare items and shards (which are needed to unlock new characters). With Chaos Shrine, you receive â€œDark Notesâ€, which consist of two songs. Every single Dark Note is randomly generated, so the amount of possible combinations for songs, scores, difficulty, bosses, and items is practically endless. The main problem I have with Chaos Shrine, however, is that there are only 20 songs (out of 70 or so that Theatrhythm has) that it uses. So, I hope you like hearing Fight with Seymour, Eternal Wind, and Mambo de Chocobo over and over again. Regardless, the random generation within Dark Notes still makes Chaos Shrine fun.
The selection of songs chosen to be included in the base game of Theatrhythm is pretty nice. Most of the classics you know and love are in there ready to be played countless times. Of course, some of your favorites are probably missing and were made into DLC instead. Each song is only a dollar, but if you wanted all the ones currently availableâ€¦ it would be a little over $40 altogether. It“s a pretty steep price, but diehard Final Fantasy fans have had no trouble paying the money for all those songs. I“ve not bought any yet myself, but if I did have 40 bucks magically appear in my wallet right now, there might be a small chance I would put that towards some eShop cards to buy some sweet Theatrhythm tracks. And hey, with how much I“ve fallen in love with the game, it would be totally worth it.
I also really enjoyed the wide variety of characters that are available to use. Not only are there 13 at your disposal right at the very beginning, but there“s another 13+ to unlock as you gather more shards throughout your playthrough. And they“re all so cute in Theatrhythm“s art style! Though I won“t spoil who you can get, I am somewhat disappointed Fran, Balthier, or Rikku weren“t implemented as playable characters. And as much as I dislike paid DLC, I would totally buy more characters to use in the game.
I briefly mentioned that Theatrhythm has collectables. The main one is an album to collect cards in (called CollectaCards). There are 81 unique CollectaCards, however, if you want a 100% complete album, you“ll need 10 of each. When you collect four of one card, it will turn into a holofoil. And with seven of one card, it will turn into a super shiny platinum. Thankfully, you get plenty of CollectaCards throughout the game whenever you finish a song (especially in Chaos Shrine), so the feat of completing your album isn“t as difficult as it sounds.
There are also unlockable videos to watch in theatre mode and songs to listen to in the music player. That“s self-explanatory, though. The last mode in the museum is records. Records includes your total play time, total number of chains, character usage, and so on. There are also trophies for you to achieve. There are 64 total trophies, and some are quite difficult, so those are sure to keep any completionist busy for a while.
There“s so much to keep you occupied and entertained in Theatrhythm that you“ll be playing for hours on end. The replayability is sky-high! Not to mention it“s perfect for playing in short bursts. Theatrhythm was one of the most delightful gaming experiences of the year for me, and still is, since I“m aiming to unlock and achieve as much as I can. The game has also helped me rekindle a love for Final Fantasy. Now I want to go and play the games I haven“t touched or finished, like Final Fantasy IX and Final Fantasy VI (oh, if only I had the time!).
I“m sure I“ve made my point now about how much I love Theatrhythm. It“s a 100% must buy for any other Final Fantasy fans out there. And even if you don“t enjoy playing the main games in the series, but adore the music and you“re a fan of rhythm games, get it anyway! You“ll love it, I promise.
+ Mash-up of rhythm game and RPG aspects is unique, refreshing, and extraordinarily fun
+ More than 70 classic Final Fantasy songs to play, with over 40 to buy as DLC
+ Over 13 Final Fantasy characters to unlock, as well as other collectables
+ The chibi art style is adorable
- Expert and ultimate modes for songs not available from the start
- Chaos Shrine only uses 20 of Theatrhythm“s playable songs
Theatrhythm Final Fantasy is a dream come true for Final Fantasy fans and rhythm game enthusiasts. If you“re either or both, there“s absolutely no reason not to pick this game up.
BioShock Infinite (PS3)
Developed by Irrational Games
Published by 2K Games
Released March 26, 2013
Review Written April 12, 2014
For years I had been closely eyeing this title since its 2010 reveal from Irrational Games. As a fan of the original BioShock and its sequel, I anticipated an amazing rollercoaster that would possibly trump the original BioShock. With Irrational Games and Ken Levine regaining the creative reigns for BioShock Infinite, will this title bring the same magic displayed in the city of Rapture or should the floating city of Columbia just drift into oblivion like a meandering balloon? In short, yes BioShock Infinite captures similar values from the original BioShock but in itself is an entirely different experience.
Although my timing for finally getting around to this game is fairly horrible in light of the recent news of Irrational Games being shutdown and dispersed, I“m glad I finally took the time to experience what I had been fawning over for years. BioShock Infinite is a great game in my opinion and in the twenty-three hours it took me to complete the campaign I enjoyed it to its entirety. Though the game can be completed in less than fifteen hours, I spent many moments gazing about the environments or searching for secrets strewn within the levels out of habit. As opposed to the dark beauty that was Rapture, the floating city of Columbia explodes with wonderfully bright colored hues. The floating city just looks so clean and vivid.
BioShock Infinite utilizes a range of bright color schemes throughout each of the levels, and similar to the original Bioshock the structured tonality matches the transpiring situations. To add to this, the talking NPC“s and soft musical tones make this floating isle feel realistic, like I“m watching an adventure film about a lively civilization in the sky. Though with beauty comes an underlying horror as I would find myself witnessing screen tearing during certain climactic parts of the game. At first it was distracting but it completely disappears from annoyance as its appearances were minimal.
Story-wise, in BioShock Infinite you take on the role of Booker DeWitt who has been tasked with finding a girl named Elizabeth to erase all of his gambling debts in the year 1912. Very much different from BioShock“s Jack, Booker actually has dialogue and interacts with the locals of Columbia. Not being a muted puppet controlled by the player, Booker has personality. Elizabeth also has a great personality and easily meshes with Booker creating an entertaining ride to the viewers.
I“m Commander False Shepard, and this is my favorite tattoo on my body.
BioShock Infinite dabbles in previously viewed ideals of choice but mixing it with American history, quantum physics, and ideals of destiny. More of a science fictional action-adventure than its horror focused predecessors, BioShock Infinite“s story resembles that of a Hollywood blockbuster. I found myself glued to my seat enjoying what developments were thrown at me and often anticipated what twists and turns were to come. Even though the ending left my head spinning and required me to replay the campaign a second time to grasp what was unfolded, I thoroughly enjoyed the story within BioShock Infinite.
The gameplay is what ties the story and the visuals all together, and the BioShock formula still hasn“t really changed since the previous games. I“m not complaining though as I enjoyed the numerous shootouts throughout the game and believe the style worked with how the story flowed. I“ve heard a few mention they didn“t feel that the firefights didn“t fit within the game, but I believe it fit perfectly with Columbia“s very own Civil War brewing. These firefights were made more interesting when a robotic replica of an American Founding Father walks towards you with a gatling gun. There“s nothing like that surprise factor that leaves you open for attack as you try to configure what the hell is actually going on, and I“m talking about you robotic Abe Lincoln.
Whoa! The Be Sharps reunited to perform their hit, â€œBaby On Boardâ€.
As the gameplay formula hasn“t changed, the controls are still as smooth as the previous BioShocks. The only differing mechanics are the skylines and having Elizabeth tagging along. The skylines act as a fancy transition between locals while mixing in strategic combat. I often found myself riding the lines to investigate possible secret areas or to get a quick jump on unsuspecting enemies. The other change was having a sidekick along for the long journey. I actually feared a little that the game would end up being one long escort mission with Elizabeth constantly getting in the way or getting killed. This isn“t the case as Elizabeth can“t be injured by enemies and will actually hide during firefights. She even plays the role of helper throughout each area by throwing items your way that she“s found. Set in the same way that Ellie was mechanically just Joel“s shadow in The Last of Us, Elizabeth is there for the fight but doesn“t interfere with the flow of it.
Although the game is damn near perfect in my book I still longed for one feature that was available in the first BioShock, hacking minigames. For some strange reason I loved the hacking minigames in the previous installments, and in BioShock Infinite they are missing. All of the locks are either opened via a keycode or through Elizabeth“s amazing lock picking skills that could quite possibly put Jill â€œThe Master of Lock Pickingâ€ Valentine to shame. Although it was missing from the game, it is quite possible Irrational Games deemed it unnecessary or something that would ruin the current flow of the adventure.
In conclusion, even though Bioshock Infinite strays away from the former“s horror focused design, the science fictional action is a welcome sight. The cast of characters all play a prominent role and will be easily remembered in days past. Easily noted, the Lutice twins and their banter similar to that of a 1940“s comedic duo will always come to mind when looking back at what could be the final BioShock game. So in turn, if you enjoyed the previous BioShock games or enjoy FPS games that have an interesting story to follow, then BioShock Infinite is definitely a game you should buy. So wipe away the debt, bring them the girlâ€¦
Review Written by Solid-Alchemist
If you enjoyed this review and would like to check out some other opinion pieces, come on over to The Time Heist. Any critique's or recommendations are welcome!
Chances are that if you“re reading this post then you self identify as a â€œgameré. As gamers, we are happy to announce our adoration for the video game medium and share our interest (or obsession) with others. As a collective whole, we routinely raise massive amounts of money for charities through the likes of Child“s Play, indie bundles, and through donating to marathon game streams. There“s a lot of good that our community does for each other - but that“s not the image is projected to the world.
Instead, gamers have been seen as man-children if they are male or just plain weird if they are female. Young gamers of either gender have often been picked on as geeks/dorks/dweebs/nerds or whatever else people saw fit to call those who took an interest in technological entertainment. While that type of bullying isn“t warranted, there are views of the gaming community which are based in some amount of fact. Negative connotations such as gamers being rude, elitist, or downright hateful are certainly not true of everyone, but there are definitely bad seeds who speak loudly enough to make this seem the case.
How can we in the gaming community improve our image? Truth be told, it“s a hard mission considering the medium has been around for a few decades now, giving ample time for â€œoutsidersé to formulate opinions. Interestingly, less people are truly considered outside the medium these days given the ample access to gaming media through phones, tablets, and websites. Still, they tend to view â€œgamersé as something else and, to be fair, gamers tend to have the same view of these â€œcasualé players.
Regardless, it may be useful to draw from these similarities to help lessen the bias people have against gamers. Some people seem apt to rush to the conclusion that gamers must be anti-social. But what if you were to turn that perception on its head by speaking out to the enjoyment of social or casual video games? If a non-gamer were to realize their gaming intake also counts as games it might make them wonder. Many who play smartphone or Facebook games may not consider their entertainment as games, but it is definitely game-like.
One of the biggest misconceptions of gamers is simply that we are a bunch of weirdos who have no ability to socialize or otherwise have a life. Sure, we may be more excited to spend a free night powering through a game rather than getting drunk, but all in all, it seems like the wiser choice. Is there a way to change this idea in people“s heads without forcing yourself to conform to stereotypical means of celebration?
Well, maybe a little. Instead of immediately pulling out a handheld console and playing away during work or school breaks, why not try being social with others? Funnily, you may see that many of the non-gamers are the truly unsocial ones as they immediately focus all attention on smartphones or tablets. By simply extending a very simple social call to another human being you are appearing even more â€œnormalé as they may be embarrassed by their technological dependence. Sure, still enjoy games in public, but let others know you can discuss things other than them too. Speaking about other geeky pursuits such as comics, anime, and certain TV shows might just do the trick considering they're in vogue.
What of the idea that gamers are mean-spirited, childish, or downright bigoted? This is one idea that has been spread due to news and social media and far extends the reaches of our community. And in some ways, even us ourselves are probably willing to agree with it. There“s no denying that many voices from within the community spout truly vile things to one another - and for more reason than simple trash talking.
While it is not possible to stop some people from being cruel, it is possible to keep them from getting a pedestal from which to spout their vitriol. With most multiplayer video games having mute functions, make sure to mute annoying players (or voice chat entirely, if possible) when non-gaming relatives or friends are around. Truly, even we shouldn“t lend an ear to ridiculous hate speech. Instead of letting players get away with awful things in game try reporting them so they quit that behavior or at least are known to be avoided. As for journalists, make sure to not give a spotlight to these people which could then be carried on to general new sites.
There are people out there who embody and confirm the stereotypes that some hold as to gamers and gaming culture. However, many more of us are intelligent individuals who are smart enough to not be completely awful, overindulgent beings. As long as we are a good group of folks then others will eventually come to see us as just another group of passionate fans, just like movie or TV show fans. As gaming furthers growth into new markets it will only help â€œnormalizeé views toward gamers as well.
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Attack on Game Podunk
So a couple months ago I created a parody version of Attack on Titan as a birthday video for royzoga, it's full of inside jokes and people that no one other than the people in it would understand. So I decided to rework it and start anew, this time focusing on GP and it's members since Attack on Titan is watched by quite a few people here. I have no set criteria on how I structure the show, so I may parody an entire episode or use a few pieces of several as one episode. Either way, I hope to have them come out quickly and regularly. I hope you enjoy, and be sure to leave comments, feedback and any other suggestions you might have!
Youtube (Probably Blocked)
WAS IT WORTH THE WAIT?
May 4th was the Atlanta Regional for AGOT the Card Games. This was my first official Joust touranment and it went really well.
Joust just means we play 1 v 1.
They have another format called Melee in which you can play 3-6 players and it is a free for all.
The deck I chose to play on that day was House Greyjoy. My theme was Winter/Choke. The point of my deck was to make it winter with the white raven card and choke my opponent out of their economy. In the game, you need gold to summon characters to attack. So my goal was to reduce their gold, hand size, location abilities thus choking them out of their resources.
Agenda: Kings of Winter
Restricted: Kings of Winter
Rise of the Kraken
A Time for Ravens
Take Them By Surprise
Loyalty Money Can Buy
The Winds of Winter
2x Asha Greyjoy (WLL)
1x Alannys Greyjoy (ODG)
1x The Reader
1x Maester Wendamyr
1x Maester Murenmure
1x Maester Kerwin
1x Baelor Blacktyde
1x Balon Greyjoy (KotS)
1x The Sparr
1x Wex Pyke
1x Dagmer Cleftjaw
2x Newly Made Lord
2x Kingsmoot Hopeful
2x Carrion Bird
3x Distinguished Boatswain
3x Wintertime Marauders
1x Sea Raiders
3x Ice Fisherman
2x The Finger Dance
3x Winter Reserves
3x Risen from the Sea
1x Longship Black Wind
3x The Iron Mines
3x The Iron Cliffs
2x Scouting Vessel
2x Longship Iron Victory
1x Aeron“s Chambers
1x River Blockade
1x Street of Steel
1x Flea Bottom
2x Bloody Keep
1x Street of Sisters
1x River Row
1x High Ground
3x Burned and Pillaged
2x White Raven
The regional attracted 20 players. A bit less than half of us were from the area, with most of the rest coming from Tennessee and Florida. Greyjoy was the most played house, with six players. Only one Baratheon, also TLV, though otherwise the houses were pretty evenly represented:
6 Greyjoy, 5 Stark, 3 Lannister, 3 Targaryen, 2 Martell, 1 Baratheon.
Game 1: vs. Shane, Greyjoy (House of Dream / Longship Iron Victory). Results: Loss
This didn't start off well when my friend quickly told me that I had to face Shane who is a very good player. I knew this was a bad matchup for me from the get go when I saw him flip over the House Greyjoy card. I made some bad plays and didn't really optimize my turn correctly. I was able to make it winter but just could not overcome his ship characters. I also valar one turn to late and that pretty much gave him the game. I should have done it earlier when he had less saves and clear out his board. Instead I gave him a chance to get more saves onto the field and then valar wasn't as effective. Valar is where you kill everything on the board. He also got really lucky with his draws. He drew 5 out of the 6 cancels he ran in that deck and cancelled pretty much all my marshalling or important plays. It was an uphill battle soon and I just couldn't get pass him. I learned a few things from this match though.
Game 2: vs. ????, Stark (No Agenda / Kindly Man). Results: Win.
I never caught his name. Before we even started I was told this guy is another good player. So much for beginner's luck. Why am I facing so many good players already? This guy loss his first match and his friend goes "I think you'll go 4-1." Funny because that meant his friend took me as an auto win for the guy. It actually started off really well for me and he wasn't giving me much problem. One thing though was that making it winter helped him a lot. His restricted card is called Meera Reed. She is a beast. She can blank 2 cards if it is winter and only 1 card when it isn't. So me making it winter helped him blank to of my cards each turn. But somehow I withstand that and just pretty much took it to him and won the game. My winter resevers were big in helping me win. He misplayed as well. He could have blanked my winter reserve and discarded it but he didn't realize he could do that.
Game 3: vs. Steven, Baratheon (The Long Voyage / Knight of Flower). Results: Win
This was the type of deck that one worlds last year. So I was a little worried when I had to face it. Of course his first turn he summon two of the three best character he had and went to work on me. But I managed to have an excellent marshal to go toe to toe with him. We went back and forth and pretty much I had the upper hand the entire match. I was able to put him into a bad situation every turn thus making him have to make tough decision on what to do to maximize his chances. Soon he had to valar and I was able to save 3 of my big characters. It turns out that when he valar he did not kill his guys which he should have. So both his Knight of Flowers and Mellisandre stayed on the field and somehow won him the game. After the match, I thought about the match and realized he cheated by accident. So I called him over and asked him how come both Mellisandre and Knight of Flowers didn't die from that valar and he soon realized his mistake. So we went to the coordinator and had the result changed to my win.
Game 4: vs. Jonathan, Targaryen (Knights of Hollow Hill / Burn). Results: Win.
I think this game hurt him a lot when he played KOTHH. It doesn't let you have a set up turn so he was behind me in that from the start. Plus with me making it winter he couldn't really get his resources going. My wintertime marauders went to work and got rid of his land that help his deck work. From there it was a quick game. Early on I also was able to cancel his hatchling feast with my finger dance. The hatchling feast would have been able to decrease my guys strenght thus rendering them useless. By canceling that I was able to continue with my attack and take out his guys. He was never able to recover much to summon many characters onto the field. Maybe one or two a turn and that wasn't able to stop me.
Game 5: vs. Tyler, Martell (No Agenda / Quentin Martell). Results: Win.
To be honest I got lucky on this match. First turn we both play Take them by surprise. So the downside to this plot is that if you do not win initiative you lose your entire hand. Well both of us played the same exact plot meaning we got the same starting initiative. So it came down to a coin flip to see who would lose their entire hand and I called "dargon" for the coin flip. It landed on dragon and he had to discard his entire starting hand. But somehow he still managed to intrigue my hand for 3 cards making me down to 0 cards as well. But that was a mistake. That activated my agenda "Kings of Winter." This agenda say that when my opponent have equal to or more cards than my hand, I get to discard one card from their hand at random after the draw phase. Well we both draw 2 cards during the draw phase and so we have a total of 2 cards each. Meaning I get to discard one of his cards. Of course luck would have it, I managed to pull the better card he had both time and making sure he had 0 chance of winning. That was my quickest win of the day taking only 3 turn.
Cut to top 8. 4th seed with record of 4-1.
Game 6: vs. Nick, Greyjoy (The Long Voyage / Fury of the Kraken). Results: Loss.
Another Greyjoy matchup for me and I knew this won't be easy. This guy went 3-2 during our preliminary putting him at the 5th seed to have the 4-5 matchup with me. I never was able to get my winter going to choke his resources. He got such a great starting hand. I also had a hunch that he had Fury of the Kraken (his restricted card) first turn as his plot. I should have gone with take them by surprise to win initiative and went first. I decided to use A time for raven to get my white raven to make it winter. He had a great marshalling and brought out a bunch of dudes before I could make it winter. He also brought out a couple of carrion bird that can get rid of my white raven. I never had a chance from the get go after making that mistake. He pretty much just summon more dudes every turn and took it to me. Of course I had to have another Greyjoy matchup in the knockout rounds when it mattered. Oh did I mention he ended up winning the tournament?
My friends that came with me didn't make to the knockout round so we left after I loss. I saw they posted that I ended up 5th place after the tournament ended. So one spot from making it to top 4 and having a shot at ranking top 3 and getting a granite house greyjoy card as a prize.
Overall I had a lot of fun with my deck. The tournament was awesome with great turnout. I really want to try more tournament and see if I can do as well as my first time in this one.
I think if I was to use this deck again I would definitely change the plot blockade up. It can help me when I'm winning but when I'm losing it doens't really do much for me. I probably would add in another high ground to stand my army. Add in 3x Seasick to have the ability to cancel more triggered effects.
Prizes I got:
Deck Mat for making it to top 8
Valar Morghulis plot card for losing in top 8
Front and Back of Regional edition House cards - first 16 players that signed in got these because they didn't have enough for everyone.
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If you believe Steven Spielberg then controllers are always getting in the way and Kinect is the only way to fully immerse yourself in a game. Now then, let's segue into reality for a moment and talk about when controls are too complex for their own good and ruin the enjoyment of games.
To use a recent example of controls annoying me, I played Mass Effect 3 recently on the PC and it had multiple commands bound to the one button and gave me no way to change it. Look I understand there are only so much buttons on a controller, but the keyboard is covered in buttons, so you should be able to let me assign these commands as I please. Having sprint, take cover and roll all on the one button is just a pain in the ass. This has been a problem with PC games (mostly PC ports) for eons, just let me change these damn buttons so that when I want to take cover I don't end up rolling against a wall like a bloody idiot.
All the buttons you could ever need, and then another 20 for good measure.
Another problem I have ran into with a few games (again mostly on PC) is really poor control layouts. I want controlling a game to feel like second nature, to be able to focus on what's going on in the game and not have to keep looking at my controller/keyboard trying to figure out how to do something. A big offender of this was ARMA 2, as someone who has played his fair share of shooters; this game confused the hell out of me. I think I spent more time reformatting all the controls than actually playing the game, I swear it is like someone vomited out the control scheme and they just ran with it.
If we wanted to boil this down to its most basic form then, controls get in the way when they aren't intuitive, it is pretty much that simple. When the controls don't make sense or they frustrate you then they are getting in the way and ruining your enjoyment of the game.
So what about motion controls? Right, if we let all those moans die down so I can talk, then I will say that motion controls have a lot of problems with them, the main one being that they don't really work. Motion controls have failed to dominate this generation (apart from the Wii I guess) both the Move and Kinect have been left to die (but they might make a comeback next generation). So can motion controls
become a better way to control a game? The main problem I see is in the whole motion part of motion controls, for starters gamers are really lazy and also moving around isn't easier than just pushing a button, so they would get in the way. I don't want to write motion controls off entirely, as they can work sometimes, but for the majority of gaming I feel that they would be less effective than a simple button based controller.
Having to push 0 to aim? No wonder those ARMA devs were arrested
So when do controllers get in the way? When you are really angry at a game and you want to throw something, then they end up lodged into a nearby wall. Seriously though, the majority of games have decent controls and I feel like for the most part it isn't an issue, but sometimes the control layout makes no sense or can't be changed to your preference (left-handed gamers for example) then it gets in the way and decreases your enjoyment of the game. That of course is the one thing a game should never do, because games are supposed to be all about enjoyment and when you get in the way of that, you have failed your job. Bloody game developers.
It's understandable when hardcore gamers take a look at the mobile gaming market and dismiss it as a breeding ground for casual games. After all, games such as "Angry Birds" and "Candy Crush Saga" rule the gaming charts on Android and iOS platforms. However, first impressions don't count for everything. Technological advances with the Nvidia Tegra and Qualcomm Snapdragon boards continue to drive mobile gaming forward. 64-Bit Madness
It's never been done before, but Apple has made the leap into 64-bit mobile processing with the iPhone 5s. CNET reports the 64-bit processor is joined by an upgrade of the iOS operating system — also 64-bit based.
The main advantage of a 64-bit processor is the ability to process more data at a time, along with higher amounts of memory. The short-term impact is closer to a buzzword than a significant improvement, but once games start taking advantage of the extra capacity, mobile games are going to leap forward. Android Consoles
Android games — on your television? No, no one wants you to hook up your smartphone with an HDMI cable to your TV. Instead, you use an Android console such as Gamestick or Ouya to get the same effect.
Ouya was the first Android console, raising more than $8 million in support through Kickstarter. It acts as an entertainment system with access to all of the games on Google Play. While the games aren't meant to go toe to toe with current generation titles, having access to games on the big screen lets you enjoy them in a way your small smartphone screen simply cannot provide. IGN reports its current favorite Android console is the Gamestick. Second Screen
You probably already check your instant messages and texts through your smartphone while you're playing a video game. What if your smartphone was an essential part of the gaming experience? If you download "Battlefield 4," the latest version of this squad-based military first-person shooter, you get the ability to use a tablet for commander features. It's the perfect venue for a full-scale battle map, and the touch-screen interface allows you to place drops and artillery with ease. The Games
All the technology in the world means nothing if you aren't going to have the games to back it up. Video game history is littered with gaming consoles that were superior with technology but never delivered on third-party game promises. Both iOS and Android gaming selections are rife with casual games, but that doesn't mean truly incredible experiences aren't available on mobile phones. They're just harder to find.
The "Infinity Blade" series is one that really exemplifies what's possible on the smartphone. This RPG series would look right at home on the PSP or DS, and as game developers get comfortable with 64-bit architecture, the games will continue to advance in complexity, graphics and gameplay.
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It's been one year. On March 19, 2014, I had officially been working at the same place for a whole year. That place, which many of you entertainment buffs out there might actually know, whether from our physical stores or our website, is Hastings Entertainment. A lot has happened in my one year at Hastings. So much so that I felt like sharing my journey with you...
It all began when I moved into my parents' new place to get my life back in order after some crap with the last house of residence (something about rent, bills, people moving out, yadda yadda yadda). This was in August of 2012. I enjoyed having freetime, and I was finally able to do stuff on Game Podunk, but I needed a way to make an income. And while GP paid me at the time, it wasn't quite enough to make a living. So I applied, applied, and applied some more.
March came, and I didn't have a job yet. I remembered my sister telling me about this place called Hastings that she really likes shopping at. She told me about it months earlier of course, and while I knew of the place, the only time I entered the store was to sell a few games, movies, and books. But this was an entertainment store. It sells games and isn't a GameStop or a Walmart. This was the perfect place for me to work, I thought. So I applied.
It didn't take very long to get the call to come in for an interview. I entered the store at around 9 AM one Saturday morning with some black slacks, a dress shirt, a tie, and a pair of dress shoes probably. I met the store manager, who greeted me, asked me to take a seat, and began firing at me with questions. It was your typical interview - me telling her about myself and her telling me how they do things there - and I eventually was out the door and on my way to take a drug test. I was in as soon as the results came through.
Me, the New Guy
I was hired as a "Customer Service Associate," or "CSA" for short, and I was a little nervous on my first day, as this was my first real retail job, with the only retail experience I had being at the tiny market portion of the fast food/ice cream/grocery place I worked at prior. Of course, as I would later learn, most people are nervous when they first start working there.
And as I also learned, it gets easier. Inevitably, I got the hang of things; checking customers out at my register became a cinch, checking in rentals became a quick and easy task, and everything else from answering phone calls and paging other employees to making announcements and cleaning my area became a breeze.
Not everything became a breeze, however. There were certain goals we who worked at the front counter had to try and meet, and I was very much an amateur at all of them. Adding emails to customer accounts, signing up new members, and upselling our featured candy seemed simple enough, but I rarely met my goals for either of them.
Then there were reservations (like reserving games), which no customer ever did. And finally, there was this magazine subscription program where we offer to customers three subscriptions free for two months when prompted to. I got some numbers, but rarely met my goals.
And when it came to hours, I got the short end of the stick, working no more than probably 10-12 hours a week at first. It began to irritate me, but I figured I could at least write as much as I could for Game Podunk to pay for a few games here and there, as well as the occasional review copy. I began receiving more hours eventually, but it was no doubt not enough for someone to live off of if they lived on their own.
I Done Messed Up
But then there were mistakes made, some big, some small, and I would no doubt learn from them. The first time I got written up, I don't remember what it was for, but it was merely a verbal warning and wouldn't hurt me in any way. Just a learning experience, you know?
But then I got the real deal. When I got my first written warning, it was due to my drawer being over. And it wasn't just a few bucks, it was a whopping $20. It was then that I began questioning whether or not I should be working there and feared I may get fired before long.
But it only got worse. My second nonverbal write-up was for something I was not expecting at all. One day, soon after I began my shift, there was a paper we had to read and sign. It was about how we were not allowed to accept checks for gift cards.
AND GUESS WHAT I DID! That same shift, I was scammed. Two women had approached me with handfuls of Foot Locker gift cards. To make a long and embarrassing and I WANNA DIE story short, I accepted checks for gift cards that potentially lost the company over $1000 (I never really found out if the checks went through or not). Go me. And since this was the kind of job with a "three strikes, you're out!" type thing, I had one left until I was out.
It Got Better from There
But over the next few months, it got better, and I never got a single written warning since. My salesman skills became more refined, allowing me to do better at hitting my goals every day that I worked. I got more hours because I worked hard and was actually willing to go the extra mile.
When someone called in, I usually was the one who was called to fill that shift. When I was already working a shift and the person who came in after me called in, I agreed to stay and work a double. And when I got, erm, a bit intoxicated when my twin bro came to visit and hang out, I would agree to come in when called in early, even though I had about two hours of sleep and a hangover.
Then there was the thing with the magazine subscriptions (which we call "synapse"). Of all the goals I was able to reach, I became something of a synapse master. The normal goal is usually three, basically meaning you only had to get one person to get three. One day, I got 27. That same week, I had over 70, putting our store at #1 in the area. Coworkers began to have more respect for me and my growth as a salesman (I like to think, anyway). It may seem silly (because it kinda is), but synapse is important to the company. Plus, we get $0.25 for every one, so that's cool.
Me, the Heroic Manager
For all my hard work, willingness, and synapse numbers, something interesting happened. You see, after Summer had ended, we were down two managers, or if you want to be technical, we were down two "Counter Team Leaders." One had left to tend to her daughter after her babysitter sat on her couldn't help out anymore, and the other got a teaching job after graduating from college earlier in the year. Both had been replaced by new hires, but they wouldn't last.
One of these new CTLs left for a reason I never quite figured out (the jist is that she called the SM crying, and next thing you know, she's gone). The other just plain sucked at her job and requested to be demoted to a CSA. I must thank her for that. Shortly after she stepped down, I was called into the backroom to speak with the SM. I was offered a promotion. I accepted. From then on, I was a CTL, or if you want to be basic, a manager at Hastings.
A lot happened over just a few months, and I no doubt improved during my time there. I wasn't the only one who thought that, as was made most apparent during a meeting we had one Saturday morning. The meeting was, for the most part, about how we'd be handling ourselves during the holidays, as well as ways we can improve. But then we got to something I had never heard of - a title given only to a select few known as the "Hastings Hero." There were two awarded that title. I was one of them. You can check out the award itself RIGHT HERE.
The following few months weren't all that interesting. I saw new faces come and go, experienced my first holiday season, and occasionally had to deal with...the more unique customers. Overall, though, my first year at Hastings has been quite interesting, and after getting bumped up to full-time just in time for my anniversary, I can't help but wonder what my second year will have in store...
I left off having just beaten the first gym leader in the game, Viola, who was a bit of bug/photography freak. I hurried along route 4, stopping only to smell the flowers and pick up the stray items in the hedge mazes, okay, I might have taken out a few trainers on rollerskates as well. But they were asking for it!
Upon entering Lumiose City I was immediately impressed. Now THIS was a real city. The ever-changing camera angles were a bit off putting at first though. As instructed by Selina and Dexio both of whom I had just recently met, I made my first stop in Professor Sycamores lab. He's definitely a lot more serious about his research that the other regions professors, HIS lab's got THREE floors. Suck it Oak.
Sycamore decides to challenge me to a battle. ME. What a silly professor. My Fennekin took out his Bulbasaur in one hit, my Pichu did the same with his Squirtle and finally my Helioptile downed his Charmander with a couple of mud slaps. No casualties on my side. Realizing he had been sorely defeated Sycamore offered me a choice of his three pokemon in tribute. I chose Charmander of course, because CHARIZARD X.
Charizard X is badass, he's finally Fire/Dragon type!
On my way out of the lab I bumped into Lysandre, a quaint fellow who reminded me a bit of Rider from Fate / Zero. I wonder what kind of person he'll turn out to be....
I stopped by the Pokemon PR Video center to shoot a quick PR video for myself, not quite sure what the point of all that was but hey, whatever.
I went to the Cafe my friends told me to meet them at and what do I find? Lysandre creepin' on some girl. Keeps mentioning eternal youth... What a weirdo. Totally not the villain of the game.
I decide to take a rest before continuing my journey onwards.
Current Party: Hisoka (Fennekin) lvl15, Bisky (Fletchling) lvl15, Torchic lvl16, Helioptile lvl16,Haku (Charmander) lvl10, ãƒ”ãƒãƒ¦ãƒ¼ (Pichu) lvl13