HEY, welcome back to GP! You should probably check this thread out here if this is your first time back on the forum since our upgrade. Suffice it to say, some things have changed! CLICK HERE to read more about it, including some new functionality.
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.
Well, rather than sit here and work on any of my three (read: four) papers I will instead try to do the impossible. That is, as I eat my lunch on a Tuesday afternoon—being thankful there was no class today—I will attempt to make sense out of nonsense. I am not the smartest cookie in the pickle-jar, that I admit, but I am seemingly the only one, save for Nintendo fanboys of course, who is confused by the YouTuber outrage against Nintendo. At the very least, I represent the minority.
But where does my problem rest, you ask? Surely, you are saying to yourself, it is even more nonsense to support the stupid practices of a company who carry the thorny baton of consumer destruction passed down from EA (Electronic Arts). But let me stop your strange, possibly disanalogous, imagery there. Yes, Nintendo is in full-blown nonsense mode, but they are not the target of my confusion in this instance. Nor in fact is the group of YouTube cool-kids who band together like they are part of some popular high-school click and say, "No Nintendo, no more!"
So what is the officer, problem?
THE GREED ARGUMENT:
It is the chief argument those YouTubers and their acolytes are putting forth that puzzles me so. (OK, so maybe it is them.) "Nintendo is being greedy. This is very greedy of Nintendo." Does anyone else sense the irony here? There are numerous arguments a person could make against Nintendo here. Let me try one: Nintendo making money off of people showing off/playing their products is like John Deer wanting profits for every lawn some thirteen-year-old cuts during Summer vacation assuming of course that he or she uses a John Deer product (and they'd be stupid not to). Disanalougs again? Or how about part of my paycheck having to go to Subaru because I used their car to get to work and without that car I wouldn't have been able to make money in the first place. OK this seems more disanalgous. At any rate this is wrong. This is unethical. We could have this discussion, we could even turn this discussion into something greater, something more mature. But we're not. I don't care to do it either so I don't blame anyone. In the end, it comes down to complaining. The problem for both parties is this: instead of making enough money that would give Scrooge McDuck a feathery hard-on they are making enough money that would give Scrooge McDuck a feathery hard-on. See what I did there?
And yet, there exists the "greed argument." To my knowledge Nintendo allows certain games to be on display in YouTube videos, but they take 40% of the profit that particular video makes. Rather than "share" the profits with a company one supports and wants to see flourish—especially when they haven't been—YouTubers want all of it. "Nintendo doesn't need the money, this is blatant corporate greed." But here's the thing, do you Mr. Youtube Gamer? You are already making astronomically more than the general world population. And for what? Effectively being a dolt and catering to dolts. You're not contributing to society contra to your belief (so maybe just Capitalism) and in most cases you tarnish the image of a fandom you so proudly wish to defend. Oh, ad-hominem attack; this just got real. Let's be honest you are in this for the money. Say what you will, but you will not convince me otherwise. Does this upset me? Nope. I like money, too.
Are they entitled to it all? Yes, absolutely. Is Nintendo being greedy? I think the problem is with the words we are using, dear Brutus. It is obvious the reason they, Nintendo, want revenue from YouTube videos is because they want to make more money. I guess Nintendo has the understanding that they will make money from YouTube videos and even more when people go and buy their products, but when no one is buying their products because no one is posting Nintendo-based videos the whole thing seems self-defeating. But I digress. If one is going to make the "greed argument" then it only makes sense for that very YouTube Gamer to liken him or herself to Nintendo. You are both businesses and you both want your money. The only way this argument makes sense in the end is if YouTube gaming personalities just admit this. Perhaps the nonsensical nature of this whole situation is two-fold; it is shrouded in quasi-ethical (i.e. distracting) diction and the underlying argument is circular. If someone would come out and say, "Nintendo's policy bothers me because it hurts my revenue," I would understand. If someone would release an estimate of just how much this hurts that revenue I would absolutely be interested. Hint. Hint.
In closing and to end rather inconclusively since my food is getting cold, don't be a hypocrite. Make better arguments. I leave with some questions: Why is it seemingly acceptable for individuals to be greedy, but not corporations? Maybe I am being a pessimist, but most people are not philanthropists, most people do not care about others. Why is it common to pretend that YouTube personalities that we follow (who are a business) are the exception—do we not want to admit that we ourselves are also no different? I understand that it is 2015. That there is a media craze going on. I understand that being a YouTube Gaming personality is now a full-time job; it is work. People have to get paid. But are they making too much money for doing too little? Most just sit around, play, and talk (read: yell, shout profanity, etc.) and they get paid. They get paid a lot.
Over the last few weeks I have been dying to return to my beloved Shmups and Danmaku (bullet-hell). It is not secret to some folks that I have been longing for the arrival of Galak-Z: The Dimensional on the PS4. Seriously, where is this game? Come on already... anyway! The good news is the PS4 will soon be saturated with other like games so I cannot complain. People often ask, "Joe how do you play those games, man, aren't they hard and stressful?" To which I respond, "How do I play them? One bullet at a time." (Get it? Seriously I said this...)
Now there are certainly a lot of I have not played. Here is looking at you Xbox 360 and PS3. Sigh, one day. Probably not actually. I have also yet to play the eXceed games so if someone wants to gift me some cheap games on Steam... that be great.
What follow is in no order and one game per franchise. I could list more, but I've got stuff to do. What are your favorite shoot-em-ups, bullet-hells, whatever?
Touhou 08: Imperishable Night (PC)
No doubt there are a lot of Tohou games and they all have their own merits. As such choosing one over the other is pretty tough. I binged 7-14 last night and I honestly had the most fun with 08, 10, and 14 respectively. There is really not much to say here. Tohou is the epitome of bullet-hell. They are punishing and I love them for it.
Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Scrambled Valkyrie (SNES)
Just look at that stupid long title! As far as horizontal shoot-em-ups go this is probably one of the most nuanced. You can change your ship into different forms--on the fly (pun!)--each of which has three unique different bullet spreads depending on the amount of power you have collected. Different situations call for different ships and the whole thing is really engaging. Plus the sprites, backgrounds, and the music are all great; the artwork is gorgeous.
Bullet Soul Infinite Burst (Xbox 360)
My heart broke a little when my Xbox 360 broke because I could no longer play this game. I don't want to talk about it... honestly shut up.
Air Date: March 28th
Hibike! Euphonium begins when Kumiko Oumae, a girl who was in the brass band club in junior high school, visits her high school's brass band club as a first year. Kumiko's classmates Hazuki and Sapphire decide to join the club, but Kumiko sees her old classmate Reina there and hesitates. She remembers an incident she had with Reina at a brass band club contest in junior high school.
Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken 2 Sure-me
Air Date: April 3
The anime follows the daily life of an earnest, hardworking office lady named Kaoru and her otaku husband, Hajime, who is totally immersed in a certain huge net bulletin board system.
Air Date: Apri 3
Amami Hibiki is a girl who can see ghosts and other supernatural phenomena in her surroundings. The stories follow her daily life with both her friends and the otherworldly.
Nagato Yuki-chan no Shoushitsu
Air Date: April 4
Nagato Yuki, the shy president of the literature club, has never been very sure of herself around other people. But around Kyon, the only boy in the tiny, three-person club, Yuki finds herself faltering even more than usual. For Kyon, and for her precious club, Yuki must find her confidence and let her true personality shine!
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works 2nd Cour
Air Date: April 5
Fuyuki City—a city surrounded by the ocean and the mountains becomes the setting for an age-old ritual. To realize the mythical Holy Grail, which is said to grant any wish from its possessor, seven masters are given seven heroic spirits chosen by the Grail. These heroic spirits or servants are: Saber, Lancer, Archer, Rider, Caster, Assassin, Berserker. Each master will enter into a contract with their assigned servants and battle the other masters and servants to the death until only one pair remains... This is the "Holy Grail War."
Air Date: April 5
This story takes place in a future not too far away when androids that look exactly like humans begin to spread across the world. The android production company SA Corp. produced Giftia, a new kind of android that has the most amount of emotion and human-like qualities out of any other model ever seen. However, due to problems in technology, the androids have a service life, and once they pass that, they... Well, it gets pretty bad. For this sake, SA Corp. creates a terminal service in order to retrieve Giftia that have gone past their service life. A new employee at the terminal service named Tsukasa Mizugaki forms a team with the Giftia Isla to retrieve the other androids, but...
Air Date: April 5
A breach between Earth and the netherworlds has opened up over the city of New York, trapping New Yorkers and creatures from other dimensions in an impenetrable bubble. They've lived together for years, in a world of crazy crime sci-fi sensibilities. Now someone is threatening to sever the bubble, and a group of stylish superhumans is working to keep it from happening.
Ghost in the Shell Arise: Alternative Architecture
Air Date: April 5
Air Date: April 9th
Mochizuki General Hospital boasts some of the most well-trained (and well-endowed) nurses in town. But though these ladies spend much of their day battling sickness, their after-hours are spent fighting a very different sort of disease... Under the leadership of the hospital chairman, a handful of staff members and local teenagers form a group of mercenary assassins, targeting the "cancers" of society and excising those individuals before their wickedness spreads.
I have posted this in various status updates, but I am well aware that there are still prizes to be distributed from October. I appreciate everyone's patience on this front and promise to have those out-and-about hopefully by December 5th. I have been incredibly busy with both school and personal projects, life/health, and so forth. Additionally, November was a hard month financially for me--despite working two jobs when I am not in class--and for that reason I ultimately did not have money to spare.
Thank you all who have thus far participated in most, if not all, or even just one, of the contests that have been held.
There is a lot planned for the month of December. Right now we are making arrangements to host a Secret Santa event. Obviously more details will be revealed when the event is posted about within the coming week or so. We are also tinkering about with an Advent Calendar of sorts. Consider this a head's up! Also there stands the chance to be another blog contest--Christmas related of course. The contest won't be held however if there is fewer than five (5) entries.
Contest Prizes: Do to the relatively weak outing on the past few contests, I am going to stick to digital Amazon dollars. If I can be frank, per usual, it is a little disheartening to collect a handful of games and other assorted video game junk, put it in a box, and ship it when the related contest only yielded like... at most, two entries.
Random Prizes: Right now I am also entertaining the idea of randomly selecting GP members to win digital game prizes--for use on Steam, XBL, or PSN. Who knows, maybe even just $2-5 in Amazon bucks. How many members will be selected each month depends on my mood and my wallet. If you are selected or not depends on your activity. While I am tempted to keep the criteria a secret, I might reveal it later on... who knows. Expect this to start mid-December. Am I paying people to be active now? Yes... yes I am. (No one pays me; sad face.)
Game Night Prizes: This is a thing. It is happening. Soon. Get ready.
I am probably going to catch hell for this, but whatever--I'll do with that later. I like to think of GP as a community that shapes itself. As such there are some little details I am going to present vaguely so everyone knows the future holds. Contrary to popular belief, the staff does more than just sit around and abuse power.
New Look!: For a few months now I have been pushing for--and even designed--a new forum skin for GP. It is still being manipulated to make it more "GP-esque," but you can view it here. What are your thoughts on it? It is rough, but I mean whatever. There is also a new forum home/template that Jason is working on. That however, is all you are getting on that. It looks pretty rad right now. When we will see both the new forum skin and home remains in question, but they are on the horizon... for some point. With the coming new year I'd like there to be a new look to GP, but there are a lot of factors to take into account.
Recruitment Campaign: Over the next few months I intend to advertise GP to the best of my ability both at school--posters!--and on various forums and social media that I frequent. I have a friend who runs one of the few radio shows on campus and am going to have him pitch the website every so often. We might get people who join that are not interested in video-games all that much--but say anime or film or anything in general. I expect us all to be warm and welcome to whoever joins.
This leads me to another point. Currently we, the staff, are trying to allocate a particular niche that GP can squeak itself into--in order to stand out among the overabundance of gaming forums. We are not yet sure what this is going to entail--perhaps a greater emphasis on Game Nights; hence the prizes. So you as members might start to see some sub-forms disappear and others added.
There is something else I wanted to say, but I do not remember...
Next year is going to be busy for me. I will have a student teacher / teacher assistance job on campus. I am to hold office hours and so forth. I doubt this will affect my activity too much--since I will have my laptop with me, but who knows... it might. I am also directing the play No Exit by Sartre. Additionally I will still be working my other jobs and attending class.. and playing video games.
What this means is that in my absence, I expect everyone to be on their best behavior (activity) and contribute to GP in a meaningful way. There is going to be a lot going on for me outside of GP and for everyone inside GP. Do not think for a second that just because I am away a Game Night will not take place or a contest will not be held, or whatever. Not that anyone would think this, but who knows, you're all a strange bunch. Also if I plan something, say a Game Night, but am not there because of schedule hiccups for example, there is no reason to postpone the event. Do it anyway!
Top 10 Songs of 2013
While 2013 was filled with many obnoxious songs, these are the good ones that that will stick with me. I limited myself to one song per artist--happy listening.
10. Arctic Monkeys - "Knee Socks"
9. Kelley Stoltz - "Double Exposure"
8. Haim - "The Wire"
7. David Bowie - "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)"
6. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Despair"
5. Waxahatchee - "Dixie Cups and Jars"
4. Vampire Weekend - "Step"
3. Paramore - "Last Hope"
2. Dead Weather - "Open Up (That's Enough)"
1. Queens of the Stone Age - "...Like Clockwork"
How to "Work a Pump"
1.) Check if your car needs gas.
2.) Go to a gas station and park next to a pump. For directions on driving and parking, see Google. Be sure that your gas cap is on the same side as the pump!
3.) Pull this button-thingy up.
*If you're paying with cash, skip the next step, go inside, tell the cashier what pump you're on and how much you'd like to spend. Give him or her that amount.*
5.) Slide your card here.
6.) Follow the on-screen prompt. Credit or Debit. Credit is always faster, even if you have a debit card... which I know you don't.
7.) Select "Regular"
8.) Pump. For hands free pumping slide the thing up against the other thing like so.
10.) Wait some more.
11.) Finish, hang the pump back up.
12.) Take your receipt and you're done!
Multiplayer is Dead
The Irony of the Isolated Player
It seems appropriate to begin with what is surely to be the one contention to the proceeding argument. "But Call of Duty," so will say a yet to be named person, "is incredibly popular online." Yes, and the sky is also blue—what is your point? "Well, I play with with hundreds even thousands of people a week, all from across the globe." Yes, yes but are you really? To what extent are you engaging with these other players in both the game itself and the world external to it?
The woe of digital modernity has, in ironic fashion, rendered online-players as isolated others of which are hardly more sentient than the procedural AI sought to be avoided by playing online. The dichotomy between player and BOT has, as a result, become less palpable and indeed more ostensive. The aim of this blog series, which will be composed of parts, is to provide cultural and contextual evidence of this claim in the hope that doing so will encourage change in the coeval multiplayer paradigm.
Over 48 hours ago I spoke with a customer service representative in regards to my broken PS4 controller. He informed me that I would have to pay for shipping on a malfunctioning product because that is, "just how the service works". Frustrated, I continued on with his help and set up an exchange request. I was supposed to receive an email that contained my case number and what not (aka: RMA). This email was to be printed and shipped along with the controller.
I woke up this morning, still with no email. All the more frustrated I went online and chatted with another customer service member. I gave him the case number that was provided for me at the end of my first conversation two days before. It took him about 15 minutes to look it up and return to me. "There's nothing I can do here," he said, "I do not have the authority. You'll have to call customer service and speak with someone over the phone." I asked him if there was a number I could call directly as to avoid phone wait-times--there wasn't.
Thankfully the wait time was minimal. I spoke with someone and after giving him my case number he told me, "It says here a box was sent out to your house. FedEX says they left it on your doorstep." I told him to wait a minute while I checked out front. There it was, the box... completely covered in snow. "Oh wow, this is convenient. No one told me about a box. So do I just put the controller in this box and send it out," I asked. He laughed at how satisfied I was that this was finally going to happen, "Yes. It's that simple. Also I am not sure why anyone told you that you have to pay for shipping as it is covered with the box." I happily thanked him and said goodbye.
It turns out that the box was for the PS4 console itself and is not meant for the controller, or any other accessories.
I called back.
"Can I speak to a supervisor, please?"
Keep in mind throughout the whole of this exchange I sound irritated. The following was a little more intense than what is posted, but you'll get the gist.
The woman on the phone asked me what the problem was. I let her know and she transferred me. It should be noted, again, that at this point that I was incredibly annoyed and curious as to why no one around here knew what they were talking about. There was a lot of miscommunication, despite my being perfectly clear. There was also a lot of lying, intentional or not, and I did not know what to believe. The supervisor picks up, he sounded like he didn't want to talk. He didn't give me his name; I should have asked. I explained to him the problem. I also lamented over the fact that I should not have to pay for shipping. "This isn't a debate line, sir."
"I'm not looking to have a debate either, I am just wondering why I have to pay for shipping on a product that was clearly sold to me as defective. I understand that I do not have to pay to ship a console back, but I have to pay to ship a controller? That's weird wouldn't you agree? Why is it so hard for anyone at Sony to do something right? Why did I get a box?"
"Paying to ship defective accessories is company policy, sir."
"Yes, but why? ... "
He raises his voice over mine before I could finish, "Sir that is our policy. Those are the rules."
"So what you're trying to tell me is that you do not even know why you have certain rules in place? I'm asking because I'm curious as I think it is a stupid rule that inconveniences the customer. As a supervisor shouldn't you know why rules exist and other do not?"
"We pay to ship consoles because it is harder to find a box the size of a console than it is a box the size of a controller. We also do not refurbish them, we replace them."
"I'm not asking what the policy is, I am asking why it is the way it is. Also, it's really not hard to find a box the size of a console; I would just ship it in the box my PS4 came in. Don't bullsugar me, I'm asking you why is it company policy--who is it supposed to benefit? It is going to cost like $15-30 to ship this out UPS, you do know that right? At that rate I might as well just go buy a new controller. It would beat waiting around 10 days and it would put more money in Sony's pockets. I'd just like to use the product that I bought, sadly I need a controller to do that. Well kind of anyway."
He grows more upset with me, "Sir that's a decision you have to make.This isn't a debate line."
"O.K I get that. I know. My point is that this isn't a decision I should have to make, nor even think of making. Can you please explain to me why I haven't received my RMA email then? It has been over 48 hours. I was told I would receive it in less then 24. I could have had this shipped out and gotten it sooner. Now I have to wait an extra day because tomorrow is Sunday. Three days have thus been wasted."
"There is no RMA! You don't get an email! It's not a return!"
"I was told I would receive in email if I am not supposed to get an email why would someone tell me that?"
"You don't get an email! Do you want me to process the exchange or not!"
"One always get RMAs sent to an email! RMAs contain information that are to be packaged with a return and or exchanged item. They have important information on how to handle the ret---..."
He cuts me off, "WE DO NOT SEND OUT EMAILS THERE ARE NO RMAS! SIR I AM GOING TO HAVE TO LET YOU GO BECAUSE CLEARLY YOU WANT TO ARGUE WITH ME. THIS IS NOT A DEBATE LINE RULES ARE RULES TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT. GO BUY A NEW CONTROLLER IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO WAIT."
"Wait! What am I supposed to include with the return? What is the return address? Hello... hello?"
He hung up.
I called back, "Hi your supervisor just hung up on me. He didn't give me his name."
"Did you call on the same number?"
"OK. Well what was the problem?"
I crudely explained the problem with the controller as well as the supervisor, "Can you help me?"
"Yes. What is the email? I'll send you an RMA." I calmed down when I heard this, despite still being confused. "You just have to package that with your controller. Yes you have to pay for the controller to be shipped, it sucks, I know but we just replace it. So you're basically just paying for a replacement."
"You know I've never really thought about it. Anyway can I have your email information. Then if you could just stay on the phone with me we can make sure you actually get the email this time."
"OK, I got the email. Now what?"
He explains the process and that it'll take about 7-10 days for me to receive a new controller.