Wednesday, April 26, 2006



It’s a really nice day, don’t know what else to say other than that. It was pretty cool outside when I got out of my room. I’ve been reading V for Vendetta every now and then, and so far it is very awesome, there are parts that aren’t as good as the movie, and there are parts where the graphic novel is better. I’d say it’s one of those fight club things where they just genuinely had a ton of respect when they made it even if they didn’t tote it as a selling point.I bought Heroes of Might and Magic V today online from the Ubisoft store for 64 total after tax, free 2 day shipping. I’ll get it before the game shops down here even think to stock it. I HATE gaming stores down here.

Anywho.. I got the limited edition… comes with Heroes III and IV on the same DVD as the main game, and a soundtrack CD. I love video game soundtracks. I so want the music from the original Myst still, and the Mechwarrior 2 soundtrack is some of the best music ever!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Heroes of Might and Magic V free high quality mini web game

The makers of Heroes V have also made this incredible web based strategy game. It's deep, involving, and it has no turn limit, unlike most other web based games. As if actually making a Heroes of Might and Magic game that really brings back the "one more turn" feel and quality of part I and II, they have gone and done this.

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Friday, April 21, 2006

Pre-Orders are Killing Gaming for Me

Pre-Orders are Killing Gaming for Me

Dreamfall: Longest Journey 2 has been out for the better part of the week now. No EB, Gamestop, or Gamecrazy near me has one for me to buy. No pre-order deal was offered, so I find myself unwilling to trade cash for nothing since I know there's no way the demand is so high that I can't get one for somewhere. Walmart will have it in half a week, but I know that the major game retailers won't ever have it unless it's pre-ordered.What is happening here when the needs of the hardcore gamer are better served by Walmart or Best Buy? It is extremely maddening to be punished for not pre-ordering games for which the demand is not nearly high enough to warrant paying the cash just to know it will be there waiting for me. I would rather buy it online, if they don't have the game I want, when I want it, I will go buy. Here is the part that really stings, the one time in the last several years where there was an actual need to pre-order due to scarcity, the XBOX 360, it wasn't enough to pre-order. No one got them anyway. That is the major flaw in the system, that is what really tears the concept of pre-ordering. It guarantees sales of sub par products prior to review and release, allows companies like Gamestop, EB Games, and Gamecrazy to pocket money with nothing in return at all because of their blackmail practice of not carrying games that are not pre-ordered, and fails to genuinely protect about the sort of actual product shortage that it was initially put in place because of.It is infuriating to be so ill treated by the industry I have invested so much time and money into. It is infuriating not to be able to go and buy the games that I want, games that I have been waiting for. It is infuriating to be left to order my games online when I want them, paying extra to have them shipped to me, and all of this because so many people are so happy to buy games before they come out, more often than not investing in games that are becoming increasingly sub par. Why? Because they get all their sales before the game is released based on the hype of the industry builds, with press refusing to show anything but the good of a game before release.With more and more game sales pressured to be made prior to release and review, accountability falls harder and harder onto previews to give bad impressions to let gamers know what they're getting before both games and gaming press become irrelevant because of a stung consumer base.

Thursday, April 20, 2006



There’s not a lot of people I feel really comfortable talking to right now, I imagine I desire to crawl inside of a tiny shell where no one can talk to me at all in any way shape or fashion. Almost everyone in my life right now has an issue with me that I dread looking them in the eyes, knowing that it’s on their mind and that it is somehow my fault that it’s there. Joe is homeless, and I haven’t been able to do anything about it, Pattie and I broke up, and now she’s doing things like writing to Christ, telling him he never has to talk to her again. Marcia, Tara, and Mike all have this issue with the lease and house going, and that is a large stress in my life. That’s why I’m posting here. I think I’m going to give up my livejournal. That’s where I went for my room mates, I’ll still go there to look at Pattie’s blog, and to read my friends blogs, but for the most part, I don’t want to share with too many people.

I know Pattie will read this. I like that she reads this blog, I like that she knows my thoughts; she’s one of my best friends in the world. Chris might read this too. It seems that yesterday started out okay and then got very sad very fast. Maybe I was wrong in my decision and what I did. I didn’t premeditate it, it just sort of felt like the right thing to do about the issues that were being talked about. My brain is wrapping around itself full of questions and bothersome troubles.

I think that after Pattie reads this, she’s going to avoid me for the rest of the day, which is sad because this is my way of telling her that no matter what, I still want to spend the day talking to her. Things change though, and eventually she’s going to stop being comfortable with me, and she’ll stop talking to me, like so many people do, and ultimately move on.

Change is scary. Especially quarters.

I haven’t written in a while. It’s funny how I’ve done the least writing in times when the most has happened. Life has changed dramatically in the past week or so and it’s really emotional for me to talk about. Mike left for NJ on Monday morning and was really busy before that so little was seen of him. Won’t see him very much ever again. Maybe 3 times a year, tops.

Watching a cooking show right now where a guy made ice cream by taking the ingredients and his hand cranked ice cream maker to a glacier and hacking ice right out of the landscape. After he made it he said, “This is a rather complicated way of making ice cream, you can use a machine if you don’t have a hand cranked maker, and certainly if you don’t have a glacier handy you can use it right out of the freezer, but I like it better this way.”

That is funny to me… glacier made ice cream.

Sorry, that just seemed so immediate and wanted to write it before I forgot it before I went on with the heavy stuff.

So, I’m confused. I’m also pretty lonely. Sad is an excellent adjective for parts of how I feel, and incomplete as well. I’m really tired of writing all of this, even though it’s still fairly short and not a complete compilation of my feelings.

I want to write every day again. Maybe that will help me feel better.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

How Diablo Killed the RPG

How Diablo Killed the RPG

About fifteen years ago adventure games were king. The many variety of quests available from Lucasarts and Sierra, among many others, ruled the day. Their detailed stories, animated characters and environments were rich and involving. Adventure games mixed character, and narrative that has rarely been matched by any other genre, as well as a level of character design and originality that drew in audiences and brought them to satisfying conclusions.

Here, now, the stage is set for the largest commercial success of its time, Myst, a record breaking game. Myst is compelling, it has beautiful dreamy styles that are comforting and are accompanied by ambient music that draws players in. Few games were made with so few resources, and so small a team, and more importantly, were of such a remarkable commercial success.

Forays into the adventure game genre began to mimic Myst, along with its divergences that separated it from traditional games. The slow disappearance of the genre followed shortly after. Without the sub par work of startup companies, and the mimicking work they provided, the popularity seemed to dwindle even more. Ultimately the market appeared, falsely, to be unable to support the genre any longer.

In a final step, even the largest and most successful producers of adventure games simply ceased producing them, canceling one at a time, until no more were being made on any level. A few still get made, one every few years, some even okay, but Myst destroyed the adventure game.

Like adventures, RPG games are loaded with difficulties. Branching endings take time to write and program, branching and significant dialog takes real artistic and literary investment and involvement. Creating open ended, yet functional, systems is consuming work that requires background, experience, or licenses. The more options you give the player, the more difficult to make the game, in its entirety.

However, despite these realities, the genre flourished. Companies like Black Isle lead the way with groundbreaking games that pushed the boundaries. Hundreds of companies followed, cloning the successful products. They failed, like they always do, but they drive the market share. At this point, along comes Diablo, a new approach that involved less effort in every conceivable point in development. While maintaining superficial similarities, Diablo offered simplified mechanics, a linear and branchless story with no decision-making or player freedom, as well as simplified dialog.

After that there is only the matter of drawing lines with a crayon. Steady decrease in RPG releases over the years, large numbers of Diablo clones at first, and then a slow following decline when they don’t sell at all due to poor quality and direct relation to a genre so tied to a single game that comparison is inescapable. When the time comes, almost nothing is left but the rare releases over time, entire years passing without so much as a single entry into the genre.

That, folks, is how Diablo killed the RPG.

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Serendipitous

The Serendipitous

“What are you doing here?”
“I don’t know.”
“How did you get here?”
“I found it on accident.”
“You’ll probably die here.”
“I don’t believe that.”
“Why not?”
“Because I’m serendipitous. I suffer from an extreme case of life altering luck.”
“Can you dodge bullets?”
“I believe they dodge me as long as I don’t walk in front of them, but then, maybe they’d still miss if I did.”
“You’re crazy.”
“Don’t believe in luck?”
“Maybe you should.”
“How’s it work?”
“I don’t know, I just believe.”
“What do you believe?”
“I believe that someone has a chance to hit every lucky seven they ever throw for in their entire life, just as much as someone has a chance to crap out on the first throw every time they try. I always throw sevens…I throw them hard… I put my life and belief behind it…”
“That’s impossible.””No, just very, very unlikely.”
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