Thursday, September 29, 2011

Here's my Money, Now Where's the Rest of my Game?

In a recent interview Witcher 2 developer Adam Badowski told Rock, Paper, Shotgun that he didn't like to see "gamers treated like dairy cows."  What he's talking about is DLC, and to an extent, I kind of agree with him.

I'm not against DLC at all.  I think it's a great way to add something new to a game and get people back into it.  But Badowski is talking about studios that are, to keep with the cow metaphor, milking every dollar out of their fans to the point where sometimes players are having to pay around $80 to get the full game.

Not always a bad thing. For example, Fallout 3 released four new missions after the game had been on shelves for a while, allowing characters to reach higher levels, explore new areas on and above the Capital Wastelands, and giving players a reason to jump back on a game they probably already devoted way too many hours too.  But the added material was new, something developed after the release of the initial game, the genuine article.

On the other hand there's L.A.Noire.  I loved L.A. Noire, but before the game even came out it was common knowledge that some cases, for whatever reason, had been cut from initial release and would not be on any of the three disks that came with the game.  That was in May.  Not long after that I checked on Live and there were 4 new missions to do, none of which, of course, were free to download.  Now there is a "Complete" version of L.A. Noire coming out this November.  That's six months later.  See, this is where we have a problem...cutting material out of a game so you can sell it to me later is just grimy.

Don't even get me started on Marvel v. Capcom 3 vs. Ultimate Marvel v. Capcom 3.  While I didn't purchase MvC3, I would be pretty upset if I had.

But I guess what it comes down too is DLC, at least in my eyes, was supposed to be a way to add a new aspect of a game that may have already been played out otherwise.  More and more, however, it seems DLC is being used by studios as a way to drain you of your hard earned cash, holding back on giving you what should be included in the initial release in order to drain you of more of your hard earned cash later.  To me, that's a misuse of DLC.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Just a Thought on Bullying

I don't know if this is true.  It's just a theory.

In high school I saw first hand the difference a good principal and leader can make.  My first year at the school I got a 97 average the first quarter.  The second quarter I was walking down the hall and the principal said hi to the kids who were in trouble all the time and had no idea who I was.  For three years I watched as students would be sent to the office only to be sent back to the classroom.  Nothing got better.

My sophomore year Br. Paul Beaudin became principal.  Now when students were sent to the office they had a good chance of being sent home, sometimes for good.  It was a private school and Br. Paul had the luxury of expelling troublemakers.  I saw a lot of kids who had been trouble in the past turn themselves around.  The whole school was better for it.

But it got me thinking about schools where the principal doesn't have that luxury.  Where did the troublemakers go?  On top of that I heard stories about parents defending their kids bad behavior, and from an outsiders perspective, it seemed as if the public schools in the area were edging more and more towards a climate in which teachers were afraid to discipline students for fear of being disciplined themselves.  Eventually, it wouldn't be worth it, and the inmates, as the saying goes, would be running the prison.

Granted I come from Schenctady school district, and not too far from that is Albany, a school that  counts stabbings the way other schools count missed homework assignments, so my perspective of the public school system is a bit skewed.

Now there is a national outcry to stop bullying.  Has bullying gotten worse in the past few years?  I don't know, I'm not in school, but I do know this, at least when I was a kid I got to go home at the end of the day and what I didn't have to see was a bunch of nasty comments on my Facebook page.  Not everyone today has that luxury.

But that isn't really the point.  I don't think Facebook is to blame.  So who is?  Well, I already said it: The inmates are running the show.  Teachers aren't just supposed to discipline students, they are supposed to protect them, but the two often go hand in hand.  How is a teacher supposed to protect one student when he or she can't discipline another?

You want to stop bullying, or at least reduce it because kids are kids and some bullying is going to happen, but if you want to stop serious bullying then the schools need to stop pandering to the bad kids and even more so the bad parents and give the teachers back their power.  Administrations need to step up or things are never going to get better.

But like I said, just a theory.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Just a Reminder About Gears 3

My game is pre-ordered, my batteries charged, and my lancer polished...Gears of War 3 comes out tomorrow.  G4 gave it a 5/5 and Game Informer gave it a 9.5/10, saying it was the best of the series.

I will be doing a review of the game once it's actually here, but thought it would be nice to remind everyone of the big event.

And I get to post the Dust to Dust video, which, like all Gears promos, is awesome.  The song, by the way, is Into Dust by Mazzy Star.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

How Does This Guy Have a Job

There are 14 million unemployed people in the United States right now.  Why isn't Tom Coughlin one of them?

I thought for sure, if the Giant's organization had any self respect, that Coughlin would have been out of a job after that loss against the Eagle's last year in which they gave up 28 points in around 7 minutes to blow a huge lead in one of the most embarrassing losses in NFL history.  During the game the camera flashed to the sideline to reveal a coach being ignored by his players, ignored by his assistant coaches, looking utterly confused, lost, and hopeless.  "That just about sums up Coughlin as a coach," I thought to myself at that time.

The Giants, needing to win one more game to make the playoffs, sadly limped out of the season, playing like a team trying to make it home in time for dinner.  The Packers, the team the Giants would have kept out of the playoffs had they achieved a single victory in the closing weeks, went on to win the Superbowl.

"The pathetic way in which the Giants ended their season guarantees Coughlin won't be around next season," I told myself time and time again, hopeful the Giants would find a new coach, a new energy, a new life.

But no, as the season rolled near, Coughlin was still at the helm.  And today, the Giant's opening game of the season against the Redskins, saw the same old skipper driving the same old boat into the same old rocks.  The Giants looked pathetic, plagued by interceptions, blocked punts, and hanging heads, in their 28-14 loss.

From the looks of things it's going to be a long season.  14 million people in this country without a job.  Tom Coughlin is not one of them.  If you ever wanted proof life wasn't fair...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

We Have Nothing to Fear But Everything...

Here is a link to a segment on FOX News (are they still calling it that?) about how video games are promoting a left wing agenda by teaching kids not to pollute, and using fear to do so.  A few comments:

1) If not polluting and making environmentally sound choices is a left wing only platform, maybe the right should reconsider the stance they take on the matter.

2) One of the points the gentleman speaking repeatedly makes is that the game uses fear to scare kids into making environmentally sound choices.  The irony in this, villainizing the game people for using fear while at the same time using fear by telling viewers that games are propaganda used by the left to brainwash you child into... i don't know, not amazing.  Hello pot, meet kettle.

But this segment reminded me of something that has been on my mind lately.  Roosevelt told us "We have nothing to fear but fear itself."  Today the message coming from our leaders is, "Be afraid, be very afraid..."  Of what?  Everything.

Now I'm not saying that there wasn't fear mongering and propaganda in Roosevelt's day, lord knows there was, but it seems like it would be a nice thing to have a voice at the top telling the nation that we would get through the hard times, if we keep our heads down and work hard we would get through this.

I say it seems like a it would be a nice thing because I don't hear that voice today.  Who is the leader at the top telling us we'll pull through?  Today we have reactionary pandering to what ever sensational story happens to be filling the gap between real news (Speechgate, really?).

Today our leaders seem like reactionary cowards, and I wonder, how many great leaders throughout history have been cowards?

Be afraid, be very afraid...or don't.