Wednesday, April 27, 2016

When you just can't wait, throw money at it

Patience is a virtue, and impatience is a cash cow. One of these is a saying, the other is a toxic business model. We've all seen the generation of internet-addicted zombies who believe that since information can be obtained in an instant, that reality must work that way too. Well it doesn't. Or at least it didn't used to. For years companies have preyed upon the impatience of the younger generations. Fed upon their lack of financial self control. The generation of "Me, me, me, mine, mine, mine, now, now, now" (Dustin Hoffman, "Hook" 1991).

Smartphone companies pump out new phones twice a year. Not because the technology is better, but because they know people will buy it just to have the "new thing" that much sooner. The worst offender though, is in media entertainment.

You see, where retail companies will offer "new stuff, even earlier!" media companies don't even have to deliver a product. This is where we get into the "early access" problem. How much would you pay to see something first, a few days/weeks/months ahead of the rest of the world. Time is a lucrative business for these companies. We're going to focus on gaming companies, specifically one company. The Coalition and Microsoft. Now I include Microsoft in there as it's really Microsoft who decides the pricing, bundles, deals, etc. But since it's The Coalition's game, we'll just bunch em together.

Now here's the problem. MS/TC recently announced their bundle packages for Gears of War 4. The first is "Gears of War 4: Ultimate Edition." ($100 USD)
"Gears of War 4 Ultimate Edition is your gateway to Early Access for Gears of War 4, allowing you to download and start playing Friday, October 7 – four days before the game’s standard release date."
 First paragraph in on the bundle and we're approached with early access advertising.
"Includes the base game, Season Pass and pre-order bonuses Gears of War: Ultimate Edition Character Pack for use in Gears of War: Ultimate Edition and an exclusive Vintage Del character for use in Gears of War 4 multiplayer modes. Season Pass includes the exclusive Vintage VIP Pack, unlimited map access, early access to an exclusive VIP playlist and six Gear Packs."
And again another reference to early access through this bundle. What's in this VIP playlist?
"an exclusive VIP “Early Access” Playlist that grants a preview to upcoming modes, maps and variants"
So not only are we buying early access to playing the game, but we're also buying early access to test new aspects of the game before they are implemented. Sounds like a kickass bonus, but what is the point of getting to play modes, maps, variants early? Playing certain "new" things early is usually called "play testing", or "quality control." Is the early access meant to be a paying tester? Buy-in in order to give feedback on the new modes and what needs to be changed? Does each early access pass come with a Q&A pack on how you think the modes are?

Let's not forget the rest of the bundle's glory. 2 "Vintage" character skins, a "vintage" gnasher and dropshot skins, "vintage" emblem, and "vintage" bounty card. What is with all the "Vintage" being thrown around? What the hell does "Vintage" even mean? This is the first Gears game in this trilogy, the first time we've seen these characters. What does "Vintage" even do? We also get 6 gear packs "which unlock special character and weapon skins, equipment and abilities, and XP boosting bounties." The packs can be earned through playing, so we get early access to 6 of em. Equipment and abilities? That better be restricted to Horde or the equivalent. And finally, maps. Not all the maps, just 2 maps per month for a year. 24 total. And only in Private matches. These maps will be automatically added in and dropped out randomly in online playlists.

So we get private match maps (2 per month but pay full amount up front), "Vintage" skin stuff, and early access to the game for a weekend, all for $100.

Now, if you don't feel like that's not nearly enough money to spend on a game, don't you worry. They added a statue and a keychain to the deal for the Collector's Edition for $250! What a bargain.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Why Deadpool is the most awesomeness badass in the history of all things of awesomeness badass and why thestatelyharold is a crybaby who can't appreciate how much of an awesome badass Deadpool is

"I read this article and couldn't believe my eyes so I ripped em out, gave em a nice cleaning, and put em back in but the article didn't change. I was tempted to rip out somebody else's eyes and try again but then I saw this adorable bunny that I had to kill. Poor little thing didn't know what hit him but I did cause it was my van. Okay so it wasn't MY van, it was the kid's van down the street and it wasn't a van it was a playground but the bunny is the important thing. All white and red and dead all over. What was this about again? Oh yeah the article.

 I suppose what really got to me the most was the awesome picture of me on the front page. The mask really does make the man-iac doesn't it? The second thing was the porn ads on the side of the article. After about 3 or 4 hours I actually read the article and it was even hotter than those ads. Probably need to set a few things straight though other than those LGBT (wtf does "Q" stand for?) people you keep ranting about. First of all I don't have a beard. I can't grow one with my face being all freaky like it is. But wouldn't it be awesome? I can almost feel my imagination taking over about beards...

ugh. Why am I so old in my imagination? That beard isn't sexy at all. I look all Gandalfy. Butt fuck it. I'm not a superhero, girly. I'm Deadpool, the Merc with a Mouth. Merc stands for mercury. Like the planet. Or the weird cool stuff in old thermometers. So I'm definitely not a superhero. I AM super obviously but I don't think superheros kill for money. And I like money.

Also, I am NOT a racist. Most of my victims were Canadians even. I kill people regardless of race, gender, species (some of the people are weirdly shaped and spotted white and black. Make for awesome bbq's though), shoe size, or what they play on their newfangled walkmans. Unless it's Katy Perry. I LOVE Katy Perry. Then they must die so I can own their Katy Perry.
'You shot me down, but I got up,
Already brushing off the blood.'
Good times...

When did the boy scout in blue join Marvel? Cause if he's around my chance at joining the Avengers just tanked harder than Miley's self-respect. You can't beat a superhero at being a superhero when his name literally has SUPER in it. As for Antman, well I haven't seen his movie since he's not relev-ant (see what I did there?) yet. Don't worry, Avengers 3 will be here soon and you can shrink down to the size of Wolverine's pee-pee all you want.... Did I just hear a *SNIKT*?

And did you call my ninjaswords fucking ninjaswords??? They're kittentatas damn it! And you're right I have no superpowers. I have ULTRA-BADASS HEALING FACTOR POWERS! *Breakdance break!*

I will admit to being wrong about making fun of Rosie O'Donnel. We really shouldn't poke fun at such a courageous and highly talented manatee such as herself. Learning to talk is a hard accomplishment and she almost has it down.

Anyways this has been a blast but I gotta go kill a bunch of secret agents at the homeless shelter. Oh one more thing, boycott the movie if you want. I already got paid mothafuckas!"

-As dictated but not read by Wade Wilson to the tied-up author

Monday, January 19, 2015

Elgato Game Capture HD Review

With the entire gaming community consumed by live streams, youtube series, and recorded gameplay, getting drawn into the allure of capture cards is all too easy. Recording and creating videos for friends and fans to enjoy is both exciting and invigorating. But actually using the capture cards can be a jumbled mess for even seasoned vets, not too mention the new kids on the chopping block. Many abandon their attempts due to how difficult things can become. That's where the Elgato Game Capture HD comes in.

The whole system uses a box smaller than a cell phone and requires very little to get started. With one of the most simplistic setups for any technology I've ever seen, I had this running within 5 minutes. Plug cord A into slot A, cord B into slot B, and cord C into your PC, quick download of the software, and you are up and running. The power is generated directly through the USB from your computer so there's no wasted space with a power box. The device captures your content with terrific picture and sound quality. Capturing from 240p to 1080p and anywhere in-between, you can use any range to get exactly the quality you want to present.

The real bonus to this product lies in the software. A large preview window allows you to monitor your gameplay as well as the generated sound volume. You also can control your voice volume over the games audio so if you want to do a Let's Play and prefer the game audio to not overpower your voice. Recording is extremely simple. See that big red button? Push the big red button. Voila, you are now recording. Press again to stop. How simple is that? Another added bonus is the program automatically stores the last 10 minutes of gameplay even if you aren't recording. Miss that epic headshot or crazy killstreak? Simply highlight it, press record, and it's automatically saved to your files.

In the editing section, the cutting and trimming work from other programs has all but been completed for you. There are no complicated steps anymore. Simply cut a section of video that you want to save and delete the rest. Accidentally make a mistake on the deletion? Just click restore the original video and it all comes right back. Shortening a selection is as easy as click and drag. Once you have your selection, sharing it to the world is as easy as clicking the youtube button and within minutes your video is out there for the world to see.

One of the most interesting features is the ability to stream right from your console through the cap card to programs like The setup is extremely easy. Sign-in to your twitch account, click the twitch icon on the capture card interface, and you are immediately streaming live to all of your followers. You will need to fine-tune your settings on the twitch website but that part is relatively simple.

If you are interested in recording as a beginner or as a vet who wants a more streamlined system with amazing quality, this is most definitely the capture card for you.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Diablo III patch adds both loot and bugs galore

After a long period of waiting, Blizzard finally released the massive and highly sought after 2.0.1 update, bringing with it loads of arcane loot to send you scurrying back into the dungeon-infested world. Unfortunately, though we gain a lot of desirable treasures, we are once again plagued with problematic bugs as well.

The patch comes with a large amount of updates which make the game a lot more interesting, but the known list of bugs that come with it vary between the annoying, such as the profile page not showing the correct time played, to the broken, where the multiplayer screen will freeze on the home screen requiring a reboot.

Unfortunately there is no currently known timetable for when these bugs will be fixed.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Twitch (finally) comes to Xbox One

With the announcement that Twitch was coming to the Xbox One shortly ahead of the console's launch, many were expecting it to be there on the day of release. Unfortunately the technology hadn't been fully developed and owners were left dismayed that the feature was never going to be implemented. Now, we have confirmation that it is indeed ready to be distributed next month.

Launching alongside the highly anticipated game, Titanfall, the Twitch live broadcasting service is set to take the gaming world to a whole new level.
"It's complete integration," said Emmett Shear, co-founder and CEO of Twitch. "It's exciting because we've never had the ability to broadcast from a console like this with such a deep level of integration. The concept of being able to join a broadcasters' party is really cool, and it's another step in the direction of interacting more closely with broadcasters."
The difference in time-frame between the PS4 and Xbox One having Twitch-capable streaming has a lot to do with the PS4's version being made by Sony, while Microsoft chose to allow the Twitch development team to create the program themselves. The result shows in the functionality. Xbox One owners will not be limited in the way that PS4 players are, where they can only spectate other PS4 users.

"For us, we thought that was too limiting for what our fans would want," said Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft's VP of marketing and strategy for Xbox. "Our fans really want the full next-gen service, so that's why we decided to take our time, do it right and have it come out in this fashion. This will open up the social aspect of Xbox One in a new way. The community of Twitch is huge, and this allows us to tie into that, and frankly do something that's never been done before on consoles. You'll be able to broadcast to any device and consume anyone's broadcast from any device. It's a console experience unique to the Xbox One."
 The Xbox One Twitch update will hit on March 11th.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Microsoft Vancouver hiring for new Gears of War game

With the announcement of Black Tusk Studios acquiring the rights to develop new Gears of War games, it was all but inevitable that some sort of confirmation of a new game would follow shortly. While not technically an announcement of a new game, not much screams louder about the existence of a new game than job openings. Microsoft Vancouver recently announced these job openings specifically for "Gears of War work."

Senior Level Designer - Black Tusk Studios - Devices & Studios (869063) Job

Community Manager - Black Tusk Studios - Devices & Studios (869049) Job

Lead Online Services Engineer - Black Tusk Studios - Devices & Studios (869034) Job

Gameplay Designer - Black Tusk Studios - Devices & Studios (869064) Job

Gameplay Engineer - Black Tusk Studios - Devices & Studios (869065) Job

Senior Concept Artist - Black Tusk Studios - Devices & Studios (869050) Job

Lead Writer - Devices and Studios - Black Tusk Studios (851206) Job

Senior Online Services Engineer - Devices and Studios - Black Tusk Studios (803735) Job
Senior level designers, lead writers, concept artists... these all jump right off the page almost daring us to get excited about a new game announcement. One thing we can determine though, is if they are looking for these top level players in the field, the game isn't close to being started yet. Hope for even a 2015 launch is slim.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Microsoft purchases rights to "Gears of War" franchise

Announced today, Epic Games, former owner of the Gears of War franchise, has revealed that Microsoft studios has purchased the rights to the series, including former and future titles. Black Tusk Studios in Vancouver, BC will now be heading up the development of future Gears games, and Rod Fergusson, former Director of Production at Epic Games on Gears of War, will join Microsoft and play a key role in the future of this series.

Why did Microsoft purchase the “Gears of War” franchise?
Phil Spencer: It all comes back to our commitment to Xbox fans. The “Gears of War” franchise has a very strong, passionate and valued fan base on Xbox. Over twenty-two million units have been sold across all “Gears of War” titles worldwide, grossing over $1B dollars (US). This franchise, and these fans, are part of the soul of Xbox. By acquiring this franchise, Microsoft Studios will continue to offer them more of their favorite games and entertainment experiences from the “Gears of War” universe. 
Why did Epic Games agree to this acquisition?
Hanno Lemke: Epic has been a tremendous partner to work with, and it has been a privilege for Microsoft to be Epic’s publishing partner and work together to achieve the phenomenal success of the “Gears of War” games.  Epic remains great partners and good friends of Microsoft Studios.  In fact we will collaborate closely with Epic to ensure the inclusion of the Unreal Engine technology into the “Gears of War” franchise going forward remains consistent with the high quality fans have come to expect from the franchise.
When can we expect to hear more about the plans for the “Gears of War” franchise?
Hanno Lemke: We hope to be able to share more news about “Gears of War” later this year.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Casualized use of "Rape" as slang: Why it needs to stop (Community Editiorial)

There's not a single night of gaming, or day on twitter, or hour of online browsing where I do not come across the casualized use of the term "rape." I'm not sure when or where this horrid trend started, but it has been going on for years. This habitual use is concentrated very highly in the online gaming world, especially in shooter genres, and this is especially troubling for the future of gaming community.

Saying "get raped" at the end of a match does not make you sound cool. Laughing about saying it does not make you look badass. However, it's become such an accepted phrase by so many people, that no one is willing to speak up and shut that person down. The online world is filled with so much anonymity that people feel no remorse for what they say or how they act. 99% of these people would not use this term around a woman standing right next to them, and nearly the same number would not use it next to a male friend either. The fact that they are not held accountable for their actions makes them feel untouchable, and the worst of a person's character bubbles to the surface. Which begs the question, how depraved has our community become that they can use this term as casually as talking about the weather?

Rape is not a laughing matter. It's not a term that should be tossed around lightly. Rape is an act that transcends what people know about being a victim. To fully understand rape would require you to be put in that same position which the vast majority of the world would never wish you to be in. It's an act that brutalizes the victim, causing years of mental anguish and possibly physical distress as well. Many victims come away with permanent scarring, bruising, damage to tendons or bone, and some victims never come away from the emotional trauma. Victims commit suicide everyday after suffering through the pain and trauma for years. This is not limited to women. Both sexes experience these violations, with a large amount of cases never getting reported due to feelings of shame and guilt. Some never walk away from the experience at all. Murders are a common aftereffect as the rapists don't wish to be caught. In some countries, the victims themselves are the ones who are punished through torture and public executions for bringing "shame" to the families. Lives are forcefully violated and destroyed, before they are ended in one of the worst ways to ever leave this world.

To hear the term said with conviction degrades everything a community should stand for. Wishing harm and horror to be forced upon someone is despicable. The casualized use of this term extends beyond gaming to even a regular conversation, with the entire meaning being perverted to suit the user's need at the time. Please, save our community and save our society from going down this path. Stop using this word.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

"Titanfall" gets customized Xbox One controller

What's better than controlling gigantic mechs while simultaneously slaughtering your enemies using it's massive arsenal? Doing it in style. Titanfall is already being hailed as one of the greatest titles to be released in 2014, now Respawn, the game's creator, has upped the ante. Joel Emslie, Lead Artist at Respawn Entertainment, stated the goal was “to create a controller that feels as if it is a piece of military spec hardware transported from the universe of Titanfall and into players hands.”

Modeled after one of the mech's in-game weapons, this beauty just shouts "Badassery", and with the same cost of a standard Xbox One controller, it's a very easy choice to make for your second (or third) controller.

The controller will launch alongside Titanfall, March 11th, 2014.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Sega attempts to redeem "Aliens" franchise with new Survival-horror game

With the internet still debating about whether Aliens: Colonial Marines was a hit or flop, it's very surprising that Sega, publisher of Aliens: CM, would attempt another Aliens game so soon. Taken on by a new developer, Creative Assembly, this newest addition to the franchise seems geared towards the original James Cameron view of the Aliens storyline, focusing more on the horror rather than the action.
"Fifteen years after the events of Alien, Ellen Ripley’s daughter, Amanda enters a desperate battle for survival, on a mission to unravel the truth behind her mother's disappearance. As Amanda, you will navigate through an increasingly volatile world as you find yourself confronted on all sides by a panicked, desperate population and an unpredictable, ruthless Alien."
Where a lot of previous Alien games have gone wrong is in the adrenaline-pumped action sequences. The atmosphere of the films are not a result of bulky space marines suiting up and hunting Xenos. It's about surviving against all odds and praying to whatever god you believe in that you don't wake up with a larva trying to burst out of your chest.

Hopefully Sega can redeem their last flop in regards to this franchise. Many gamers would be thrilled to have a decent Aliens game for once.