Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thankful? Or should we say frothing at the mouth?

It's that magical time of year again, that time of the year where hard working folk's like yourself get a few days off of work to relax and think about what you're thankful for with your families. But, instead stores like Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, and Toy R Us have decided that to make things just a little more confusing they should open at 6PM (5PM for Toys R Us) on Thanksgiving for Black Friday. This I believe is the definitive blow to what Thanksgiving has actually become, nothing more than a warm-up to Black Friday. Considering the fact that Christmas will be less than a month away a lot of people will pass up the extra family time to ensure the Christmas Joy.

Unfortunately I am one of them, not necessarily for the same reasons as most people. I do not like the lines, the crowds, and I don't give a shit about saving $200 a TV when I have a perfectly good TV at home. I have a daughter who is 5 and where as previous years we could get away with going cheap and getting a little more (meaning shopping for generic stuff, stuff that is cheap year round.), and she didn't care. But, as the years go by, she has become more conscious and aware of what we give her and where it comes from. I thank god I don't have to be one of the parents dropping $500+ on an Xbox One plus accessories for an ungrateful kid.

But, unfortunately, she is very aware of branding, and she now knows the difference between a knock-off and what she asked for. Before it was vague terms like ponies or doggie, which meant you could get her absolutely anything that fit that description and no complaints. But, now it's Monster High, and Edible Play-Doh, she actually even mentioned Gak. Gak! That weird shit that Nickelodeon made back in the 90's, well apparently it's popular again. How does she know all this (because we do not have cable TV in our house)? She uses my girlfriends Kindle to watch YouTube videos of people talking about all the stuff they have. Now that she has seen all the stuff, she wants all the stuff, and she is dropping names.

Number one on her list is the Monster High High School, it normally retails for around $80, but when I was looking through the sale papers for Black Friday there is was on sale for like $30, that was when I realized I was going to be locked into a struggle with frothing at the mouth mothers and teenage-20 something year old girls over a playset for my 5 year old. You see a lot of the people who have Monster High videos on YouTube aren't even in the age bracket of like 12-13 they are Senior's in High School, they are college students who have latched on to these weird whorish dolls. But, I love my daughter, and for her I will brave the crowds to ensure that she get's what she wants for Christmas.

It's sad that this is what this time of year has become. It's not about being thankful for what you have, because what you have is only good enough until the next thing comes along. The fact that stores will be opening on Thanksgiving in the middle of the day is a testament to this fact. I know a lot of you are simply saying to yourselves if you hate it so much then why go, why not just spend the extra and not deal with it? That answer is simple, I'm not privileged enough to do that. Every time I see a light at the end of the tunnel in terms of finances, something catastrophic happens and I am forced to make decisions. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag hit shelves on October 29th, I had it pre-ordered since it was available for pre-order. I didn't pick it up, I still haven't, my first glimmer of hope to even get it was Black Friday, considering my last new game was Bioshock Infinite I'd say I haven't wasted too much on gaming this year, so I figured, "I'll pick up ACIV and maybe a couple other cheapies while they are on sale and that should be good for the year." The best part was everything was falling in to place to allow me to provide for my daughter and splurge the little bit extra on myself. My girlfriend came into about $300 more than what she was getting before, I was looking at the very least around 18 hours of overtime on my paycheck it finally seemed as though we could do this.

But then we had to unfortunately treat the house and all three of our pets for fleas, which cost a lot more than what we wanted to spend. Considering Black Friday is right at the end of the month, one also has to take into account that bills are coming in and you don't want to push those off, but even with the Flea treatment and bills it seemed we still had plenty of breathing room. Then I got hit with a brick of information that I could barely handle. Turns out my ex-wife pulled a switch-a-roo and just in time for the holidays. Due to being laid off last year I fell behind with my child support payments, so I had been paying my support obligation, plus a little extra to make up for the difference on what I fell behind on.

I'm about to be really honest here, not that I haven't been throughout, but I'm about to be incredibly honest. I have a 7 year old son who lives in another state, I love that boy with all my heart. He was the object of my affection when I got to spend every day, and when things fell apart every other weekend. I fell on hard financial times and was forced to move back in with my parents, who lived states away. I didn't like the thought of not seeing him as much, but I figured we could be civil work something out and I would make the most of the time I did get. I called often and things were fine for awhile, but then things became stressed between my ex-wife and I. I asked when I could have him, she said she didn't want him leaving state lines, I had no money for a lawyer, no resources, and I was forced to just deal with it. I then found that my time talking to my son was being hampered by her constant nagging and complaining so when I called I talked to him for less than a minute. Eventually I stopped calling the stress of it all was overwhelming with all the drastic ways my life was changing. Then she tried to convince me to sign over my rights to allow her boyfriend to adopt my son. I hated her, I was broke, but I didn't do it, eventually I did break down and tell her I would consider it, but her response made me realize I didn't actually want that.

I've been struggling to get my shit together, trying to eventually find a way to get my son back into my life. She has moved around a lot, failed to give me info, etc., etc. But, then I opened my paycheck and saw that way too much money was missing, I called the lady in charge of payroll and found out it wasn't a mistake, I was paying two child support orders for the same child. Only one was arrears to my ex, and one was current to her mom. I was flabbergasted, how could she simply hand over custody of my kid without anyone asking me. After repeated calls to courts, and child support I got nowhere, Child Support claimed they just get the orders from the courts, the courts said they had no record of anything changing in my case. I eventually heard through the grapevine that she had moved in with her mom, and still had custody. That meant I was paying her double out of every check reducing them to next to nothing. When I realized this I called Child Support, explained the situation and got nowhere, the only response I got was that what her mom does with her payments is her business. What kind of an answer is that? Someone is defrauding you, and the best you can say is "Oh well, we just do what we're told."

So, that response meant that a large chunk of what we thought we were going to get just vanished. The chance of getting more than one game diminished, but I was happy to be able to provide for my daughter and still get at least the game I really really wanted, and then Friday the heat in my car just stopped working. No matter how I turn the dial, whether I pressed in while turning or pulled out nothing worked, it is now Sunday night, the week of Black Friday and I still have no heat. I live in Ohio, in November it is fucking cold, heat is a necessity, especially when you have to transport a child. So, now we are faced with either waiting for it to come back on, or fixing it now and dwindling our Black Friday money down to next to nothing. We will barely cover what we need to get her enough to make going out even worth it.

That is why I do this, because anytime I get even a small amount of extra money something comes a long to mop it up, some inconvenient thing. I'm not trying to make anyone feel bad, but that is why I do it. These deals allow me to provide amazing Christmas' with limited funds, she get's what she wants and we get to feel like we did something great. You won't see me in the lines for the big ticket TV's or the newest hottest Phone, but you will see me in the throngs of the Black Friday madness to put a smile on my daughters face. I won't be walking away from Black Friday with anything for myself, but I'm ok with it.

The Problem I have with all of this is the fact that people like me, who really can't afford to supply Christmas in any other way will have to cut their holiday short to simply make their kids happy. Those kids will never know what had to be done to make that happiness a reality. But, most of all their family will never understand why deals are more important than spending time with the ones you love while you have the time. I know the rest of the world looks at us like a bunch of retards who all just fall in line with what we are told. But most of us were born without a choice, we live the life we can afford to live. But, yes there are those who run out on their loved ones to save a few dollars on shit they don't need, and will replace next year.

I feel bad for the parents, and grandparents who will have to fight with hungry 20 somethings over video games. I read about a dad who wanted to make sure his kid got a PS4 on his birthday so he resorted to spending $800 for a PS4, he got it home to set it up while the kid was at school so he could surprise him, when he got it all hooked up it was just an empty shell. He spent $800 on a case with cords and a controller. That is the nature of people today, all profit and no honesty anymore. Money is the root of all evil, but anybody who tells you that it can't buy happiness has clearly never been poor.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Console Whores

So, remember that thing I said about early adopters? Yeah, that's happening as of now. The Playstation 4 is a little over a week into it's life cycle and the Xbox One is 2 days in. Critically they both have been praised for what the console's bring to the table, Playstation 4 received a little disappointment with it's lackluster line-up of release titles, while the Xbox One didn't deliver fully on Kinect functionality or some of it's other promised services. So, who won?

Well, no one did. They came out pretty even with critics, that's a good thing, well, at least one would think that's good. That means that both consoles are worth your attention, and then all it comes down to is personal preference. But, that's not what it has turned into. The internet has a funny way of getting the voices of a few genuine people who are having an issue's voice heard, while also allowing hundred's more trolls to get through to cloud the actual number of problems. Amazon's review pages for the PS4 and the Xbox One have lit up with people making fake 1-star reviews on both consoles, and subsequently people flaming them for making them.

It goes without saying however that both consoles were flawed from the start (that early adopter thing, yeah here it is.) 100's of consoles at least on the PS4's side were shipped out bricked from the get-go. Amazon appears to be quite busy trying to take in bricked consoles, and ship out new ones. The Xbox One is seeing similar numbers thank's to a faulty disk drive that is both eating disk's and just causing a lot of problems. These are the problem's these console's will become known for. The Red Ring of Death was the target of everyone who felt the need to just hate the Xbox 360 for no real reason. There are probably thousands of internet meme's featuring the dreaded RROD. I had a 360 that suffered from the RROD, I sent it in, they extended my warranty, fixed it and sent it back with a free month of Gold. After that it was the Open Tray error that became the target of all the 360 hate. Essentially after extended periods of use either the laser or the drive's mechanisms would just give up requiring you to send it in and pay, or replace the drive yourself.

But, while the Sony faithful descended on the Xbox 360's every flaw (it's RROD problems, the Disk Drive problems, the fact that you had to pay for Live in order to play online, it's lack of true HD capabilities, etc.) the PS3 had it's share of issues which anyone with a love for the 360 was forbidden to speak of. Like the infamous hacking of the PSN that shut it down for months. The Playstation Network went down when a group of hackers managed to compromise it giving them access to all PSN users private info (they never confirmed that Credit Card information was a part of it, but one could be sure it was) after Sony finally sealed all the holes in their network they brought it back up with a host of freebies for the inconvenience,  only to find it's website which housed all the same information hacked about a day later. From there is was the Yellow Light of Death and subsequent Disk Drive problems.

So, the reserved gamer might be able to see the both console's have had their fair share of problems, and now with two brand new and super expensive consoles on the market that they are already having their fair share of issues. But the Sony Faithful are already descending on the Xbox Fanboy's and Vice-Versa. Why? Why do we need to put down another person's decision to play on the platform of their choice? Why can't we just be happy with what we have, and not really care about what the other guy is playing on. They are both video game consoles, they are both HD, they both have a Blu-ray drive, they both feature mountains of useless apps for you to share your gaming habits (that no one really cares about but you.) they are both as next gen as you can get. But, yet the flame war is officially in full swing.

Let me dispel some myths for you, allow me to run you down what you get for your money, not what was said way back before the console's came out and no longer applies and is therefore not a valid argument (which is a major thing on interwebs, yes Microsoft had some crazy policies 6 months ago, they don't anymore, yeah neither are backwards compatible (yet) but we all already knew that, and if you didn't you should have educated yourself prior to dropping $400-$500 dollars on one), I'm going to lay it out there in plain terms with no real bias.

The PS4 currently has 17 titles available, 3 are PS4 exclusive titles, 5 are PSN titles, 12 are available on PS3/Xbox 360. The PS4 Features a Blu-ray disc drive, 500GB of internal swappable (meaning you can upgrade it) storage, Sony is currently working on it's cloud capabilities (which should allow for importing licenses for PSN purchases on the PS3), the controller is an updated version of the Dual-Shock 3 controller from PS3, featuring a new touchpad and share button (the share button allows you to share gaming moments at the click of a button.), it's inner workings are almost identical to the Xbox One's but slightly more powerful. Also for the first time it is a requirement to be a PS+ (a previously optional service from Sony which gave subscribers free games, free themes, avatars, timed game trials, and additional cloud storage) member to play games online.

The Xbox One currently has 22 titles available,  9 are exclusive to the Xbox One, 3 are Arcade titles, 12 are available on Xbox 360/PS3. The Xbox One features a Blu-ray disc drive, 500GB on non-swappable internal storage, the Xbox cloud should be up and functional as far as I know. The controller is an updated version of the Xbox 360 controller, it features special tweaks to the triggers for easier use, and when used in tandem with the Kinect when you set it down while watching TV or a Movie it enters a low power state so as to not drain the battery. It's inner workings are almost identical to the PS4 only slightly less powerful. Xbox Live Gold is still required for online play, if you currently have Xbox Live Gold for the 360 it carries over to your Xbox One (currently as a Gold member you only receive access to special sales, and 2 free games per month.)

So, as you can see the Xbox one has slightly more games (doesn't necessarily make them all good games), while the PS4 has slightly more power (doesn't necessarily mean you will ever need it until way into the console's life cycle). But, yet people have found a way to turn this into a war, the console's are nearly identical, but somehow one is better than the other. It's one thing to have an opinion, it's a completely different thing to bash someone else's because it differs from your own. The simple fact that with the Xbox 360 and the PS3 still going strong you have no reason to jump on the next gen boat just yet.

Friday, November 8, 2013

First adopters always get shafted eventually

So, I'm pretty sure we've all had the "Oh, I can't wait for [insert product name here] to come out!!! I'm going to get it day 1!!!! It's going to be the greatest thing ever!!!!" conversation once or twice in our lifespan. But, never has it been more prevalent or down right stupid, than it is today. I'm pretty sure that people who know the history behind anything with an I in front of it's name, or the Red Ring of Death from the Xbox 360, or snipers on top of shopping centers will tell you that being the first one to get something is usually hazardous to your finance's and your pride.

We all tell ourselves that "It's going to be awesome!!!!!!!" and for the most part it usually is pretty awesome, but the first wave of anything is usually broken, bugged, and overpriced. The IPhone is the perfect example of this it dropped in the summer of 2007 with a 4GB model at a price of $500, and an 8GB model which was $600, the IPhone was so popular it completely sold out. But, that fall Apple discontinued the 4GB and made the 8GB $400. Right there is an absolute slap in the face of everyone who stood in atrocious lines, and forked over enough money to do something really awesome with, like do coke off an escorts luscious ass, or buy 500 Mcdoubles, or see a real live cockfight in Tijuana. But instead people bought a piece of technology that literally became obsolete after only 3 months of owning it.

I'm talking about this for a few reasons, one is that in exactly 1 week the PS4 will drop, followed a week later by the Xbox One. The PS4 sold out pretty well immediately, you have to sign up for a list just to be notified when you could possibly put in an order. The Xbox One has also recently sold out. What does this mean for you? Well if you are brave and a little stupid you could go wait out in cold in hopes that 1 person doesn't show to pick up their pre-order. But, why would you want to. The most troubled and turbulent years in a consoles life-cycle are it's first. I bought a 360 at the end of the second year, by the time I did there were about 3-4 different versions all at varying price points. I didn't do enough research and the cheapest option at the time was the Arcade bundle. What I didn't know was that my around $300 dollar purchase of the console and warranty was pretty well crap. My system came with the system it's self, the power brick, an A/V cable, a Wireless controller, a 256MB memory card, and a compilation disc of crappy arcade games. My 2nd controller cost me an additional $60, I bought the GOTY (Game of the Year) edition of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion $30, Gears of War $60, and the complete band bundle of Rock Band $150, with all of that I was up to $300. So, I was officially down $600. When I got home and began playing I found out that if I wanted to even play the additional content that came with Oblivion I would need a Hard Drive, something my system didn't come with, but the slightly more expensive Premium Console did. I went to Wal-Mart and found out that they only had one size of Hard Drive for the 360, a 120GB model that would cost me an additional $120, so, now I was down $720, but, I could finally enjoy my games completely hard wiring my 360 to my modem allowed me to play online and a free month of Xbox Live Gold didn't hurt. A month later I moved, and when I moved I now needed a way to get my 360 and two computers connected to the internet, so I had to they gave me a Wireless Router, well due to the placement of my modem in a different room from my 360, I now found out that in order to play online I would need the Wireless Adapter, so I trudged back to Wal-Mart to find out that a Wireless Adapter went for $100 at the time. So, after only 3 months of having an Xbox 360 I had literally spent $820 to play 3 games.

Sadly only a few years later Microsoft unveiled the Slim Xbox 360, a smaller, sleeker, nicer looking console than mine, with a huge hard drive, and built in WiFi which retails for at this current moment for a mere $250. This is what you have to look forward to, Everyone rushing out to scoop up a brand new console which will have about 30-40 games to choose from in it's first year, will soon find their very expensive new toy probably collecting dust, and riddled with technical issues. Essentially you can pay $500 for an Xbox One which could possibly have more problems than the 360 ever did, and 6 months later someone will probably be able to get a slightly fixed version for about $200 less. It's the way it goes, but it's not just restricted to hardware.

That's a big sticking point for me, I'm a lot less agitated by price drops in the future because my 360 paid for itself in the first month with the amount of time I spent on it and am still spending on it. No, the problem I have is with Publishers of Video Games themselves. At this point it is almost asinine to go out and pre-order a game. A new game costs an average of $60, that price goes up if you buy a more exclusive edition of game like a Collectors Edition or Dev Edition, and it goes down if you buy it on PC or even the WiiU. Now that you have the game you are probably going to end up buying DLC for it, you can buy the DLC separately for anywhere from $5-$15, or you can just pay in advance with a slight discount and get the Season Pass which usually is around $19.99 or if you are a money grubbing fuckhead (Microsoft/343 or Activision) you could be shelling out $30-$50.  So, because it just came out we will take Call of Duty: Ghosts and because it sold really well Borderlands 2, Ghosts costs $60, if you bought each individual DLC pack (on average they release 4) that's an additional $60 because they retail for $14.99 a pop bringing your grand total for the game to $120, or if you bought the season pass $110.  Borderlands 2 when it released was also $60, the season pass was retailed at $30, so that's $90, Gearbox released two additional player classes The Mechromancer and The Psycho onto the Marketplace completely separate from the Season Pass content, each pack would cost you $10 so now you are at $110, $120 if you didn't have the Season Pass but still bought all the content. Call of Duty DLC is rarely ever discounted, and it never drops in price, the DLC for World at War which came out ages ago is still $15 a pop. Unfortunately for those who couldn't wait to get back to Pandora however got screwed, since the initial release of Borderlands 2 on top of the two characters that everyone had to pay a separate amount for, they released yet another pack which is only a measly $3.00, but to make things worse they released the dreaded Game of the Year edition for $60 this includes the game, all 4 content packs from the season pass, and both additional characters.

That is what pisses me off, I bought Borderlands 2, I bought the Season Pass, held out on the additional characters and at $30 less than what I paid everyone else get's all that plus the characters I decided I didn't want to spend $20 on. This is a super common practice in the industry at this point. If you buy a game new and not used, and you buy DLC to further support what you love, then eventually some prick who came to the party late will get everything you have and more for less. Batman: Arkham City had early adopters fuming when it released it's GOTY edition, If you originally bought Arkham City new it was the only way to get the Catwoman portion of the game without forking over $10, add on the Nightwing and Robin bundles and you were $80 in the hole. But the along comes the GOTY Edition for $30 with all of that content plus a brand new pack called Harleyquinn's Revenge. Arkham Asylum did the same with all the extra content PLUS a new 3D option.

I understand why it's done, because once sales begin to drop you need to reel in all those undecided customers. But, why does making a few more bucks off of a game come at shafting your dedicated and loyal consumers? I bought LA Noire brand new, day 1, with the season pass on 360. I loved it beat the living hell out of it, and then they released the Complete Edition, not only did it have way nicer packaging than mine it came with a case that was formerly exclusive to the PS3, but never released it as a download on the Xbox Live Marketplace, meaning that if I wanted to play this one case that I hadn't played, I would need to go out and repurchase the game to get the extra content. That is what they are counting on, that those of us who love a game will literally go out and buy it again just to get a little bit of new content that they should have just given us to begin with.

It's not even that the extra content for most games is that good. Bioshock Infinite has to be one of the best games I played all year, I loved this game, I beat it and then immediately loaded up 1999 mode and did it again. I bought the Season Pass because they promised more story content, on July 30th we were handed the first piece of content. It was called Clash In The Clouds, and it was essentially Bioshock's version of Gears of War's Horde mode, just waves of enemies it was seriously disappointing. Thankfully the next two pieces of DLC will be story related and look amazing, but that first one almost single-handedly made me regret the Season Pass. As Multiplayer and these Horde like modes (Firefight in Halo, Survival/Zombies/Extinction in Call of Duty, Mass Effect 3's Multiplayer) it is sad that most DLC for great single player games are marred by horrible Multiplayer elements. The Last of Us which is arguably one the greatest games on the Playstation 3 even has a tacked on Multiplayer mode in which you must complete a Journey of somewhere around 40 matches while trying to take care of a group of survivor that grows the more you win and diminishes the more you lose. It's first real DLC is masks for Multiplayer, an amazingly emotional single player campaign and you give us masks, well thank you let me file that under my "no thank you" folder.  Tomb Raider also managed to recreate and reinvigorate the series so well I thought of it as my early Game of the Year contender (and then I played Bioshock Infinite and The Last of Us... my opinion changed), but for some reason there it was again tacked on crappy Multiplayer with all DLC being multiplayer maps or upgrades, rather than more optional tombs! Why?! Why did Dead Space 2 need multiplayer, why did the Assassin's Creed franchise need multiplayer, for fuck sake why did Bioshock 2 need multiplayer?!

Unfortunately this is a completionists worst nightmare, and outside of people who somehow actually enjoy the multiplayer they know that with the advent of trophies and achievements that people will play something they hate, and pay extra for it's crappy content, just maintain a 100% completion. They are walking us around by our short hairs and we allow them to. It's absolutely bogus, my wonderful Assassin's Creed III experience was marred by being forced to play multiplayer to finish up my achievements, and then once I finished the multiplayer, the first DLC they released was more multiplayer, with yes, more multiplayer achievements. If all you are going to do is release map packs than don't attach achievements to them, please, don't kill our innocence... pwease for the children.

There have been 9 different versions of the Xbox 360 and the PS3 (yes I am counting HDD size.) and with each one the price has gotten lower, proving the longer you wait the better deal you get. Imagine being one of the people who paid thousands of dollars for one of those consoles on Ebay upon release. That trend is already happening with 3 postings in my local area on Craigslist for PS4's going for around $600-$800. I Say we stop rushing in and allowing tech manufacturers to screw us, and stop pre-ordering games until those of us who do genuinely support this industry get a little fairness thrown our way.

But, I sure am excited to see the headlines next week, this is an exact quote from the Playstation 3 Wikipedia page "
The PlayStation 3 was first released in Japan on November 11, 2006, at 07:00.[6] According to Media Create, 81,639 PS3 systems were sold within 24 hours of its introduction in Japan.[28] Soon after its release in Japan, the PS3 was released in North America on November 17, 2006.[7] Reports of violence surrounded the release of the PS3. A customer was shot,[29] campers were robbed at gunpoint,[30] customers were shot in a drive-by shooting with BB guns,[31] and 60 campers fought over 10 systems.[32]
The console was originally planned for a global release through November, but at the start of September the release in Europe and the rest of the world was delayed until March.[33] With it being a somewhat last-minute delay, some companies had taken deposits for pre-orders, at which Sony informed customers that they were eligible for full refunds or could continue the pre-order.[34] On January 24, 2007, Sony announced that the PlayStation 3 would go on sale on March 23, 2007, in Europe, Australia, the Middle East, Africa and New Zealand.[8][9] The system sold about 600,000 units in its first two days.[35] On March 7, 2007, the 60 GB PlayStation 3 launched in Singapore with a price of S$799.[36] The console was launched in South Korea on June 16, 2007, as a single version equipped with an 80 GB hard drive and IPTV"

That's just absurd, all that over a console, a piece of technology that you could probably build a more powerful computer for cheaper. Let's see if history repeats it's self.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Hey! It's time to drop $60+ again!

I think it's finally happened, maybe, if the people on the various forums I belong to are anything to go by that is. I think people are finally sick of the yearly re-hash of video games that are shoved down our throat. October of 2012 saw the release of Battlefield 3, Batman: Arkham City, and Assassin's Creed III. November saw the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops II. Let's go back to the future kids, don't worry there is plenty of room in my Delorean. October of this year saw the release of Battlefield 4, Batman: Arkham Origins, and Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. Just 2 days ago, in this month of November, of the year of our Dark Lord Satin (yes I intentionally misspelled that) saw the release of Call of Duty: Ghosts. Wait! What?! Yes, I know...Mind BLOWN. It's De-Ja-Vu my friend.

Actually it's not De-Ja-Vu, it's Marketing kids. Game publisher A, puts out a game and it sells millions of copies and praised by fans and critics alike. This causes Game Publisher A to realize that if they slapped a number or new title on it and released it one year later it could possibly sell even more copies than the previous one. So, they do it, they slap a new name or a number on it, put a new coat of paint on it, and tell you it's like nothing you've ever played before. It seems wrong, it feels wrong, but we keep shelling out the $60 plus tax for essentially what could have amounted to DLC (that Downloadable Content for all you unfamiliar with the term DLC.) , and then we bitch and moan about how it's the same thing over and over, but yet, there we are on day 1 shelling out $60 plus tax because while we all have big internet voices, we have a weakness for the familiar.

So, what is the difference between 2012 and 2013? The ratings these games actually received from their fan base. Batman: Arkham City currently holds a 4 and 1/2 star user rating on Amazon across all of the platforms it is available on. Batman: Arkham Origins currently hold a 4 star rating on PS3, a 3 star rating on Xbox 360, and a 3 and a 1/2 star rating on PC. That's not really a drastic drop on the PS3 but it lost a star on PC and a star and a 1/2 on 360. Assassin's Creed IV actually improved on it's rating with it's highest rating on Xbox 360 at 4 and a 1/2 stars. So, if you were just going off those 2 it doesn't seem like the yearly racquet is doing to bad. But, let's look at our other two titles. Battlefield 3 for the base game got straight 4 stars, except on PC where it got a 3. But, the Premium edition ups that to 4 stars on PC and 4 and a 1/2 on both PS3 and 360. Battlefield 4 however only managed a 2 and a 1/2 star rating across all three platforms to go from 4 and 4 and a 1/2 down to 2 1/2 is pretty bad. Call of Duty: Black Ops II received 4 stars on 360 and PS3 and only 3 on the PC. Call of Duty: Ghosts however felt the same drop in love as Battlefield only mustering a 3 across the consoles and a mere 2 on PC.

So, you may ask "If they are technically just slapping a new coat of paint on it, why is there such a difference between last year and this year." Because, if you slap a new coat of paint on a game with flaws, rather than fixing those flaws, you end up with a really pretty but majorly broken piece of crap. The fact that Assassin's Creed managed to actually improve is amazing. I felt let down with the release of Revelations, it was all too different from Brotherhood, not just different they just crammed way too much crap into the game for it to really be enjoyable. I went from learning to recruit assassin's and play multiplayer in Brotherhood, to building bombs, trying to do atrocious tower defense crap, to trying to take over entire sections of land with assassin's I recruited, using a hook blade, trying to tear down scaffolding, and a myriad of other complicated mechanics that just took the fun out of it. Assassin's Creed III however was a breath of fresh air, I was still recruiting assassin's but their purpose felt more useful in III, being able to hunt, play random board games, manage a little colony without any real effort, and learning how to sail the seven seas was really fun, and the story was really good. But, a lot of people complained that the game felt too restrictive, and that the naval combat left a lot to be desired. Ubisoft listened and ACIV is doing really well.

Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty: Black Ops II, suffered from a lot of problems, Battlefield had maybe slightly less, but they were both bug ridden and needed a lot of patching before the games became really, really playable. Unfortunately in CoD's case more time just lead to more cheating and hacking, pretty soon multiplayer wasn't even fun anymore, it was just a bunch of 13 year olds running around with astonishing K/D's (Kill/Death ratio's for those of you not in the know). So, the list of complaints and demands grew from the fans, Activision and EA didn't listen, and they dropped an inferior product into the market that will yet again take months of patching to fix to even make them near playable. Battlefield 4 currently suffers from a long long list of ailments. Everything from game freezing, to the impossibility to find a non-full server, quickmatch is useless, game saves are erased on a regular basis, ammo magically disappears when you reload your gun (Which DICE and EA are both claiming is just a tactical realism thing and not a glitch)and people just in general are really pissed about the $60 they spent on a game that can't hold a torch to BF3. CoD is suffering from it's usual problems, the game is already hacked, and due to the fact that there currently aren't dedicated servers honest players are ending up in hacked rooms where they auto prestige on their first kill and are receiving no assistance from Infinity Ward or Activision. Bullets are one shotting people, there are more campers than a state park, the dog they made such a big deal about is only controllable for like 3 missions, dogs in Multiplayer are way overpowered, UAV's are retardedly complicated to use and not effective, Search & Destroy and CTF are gone, no one can find the pre-order bonus Free Fall map, and the new extinction mode only comes with 1 map.

That is why people are tired of this, that is why companies really need to pay attention to what the community thinks, and they should stop trying to rush these games out the door every year. Out of those 4 games there are only two that I tend to buy really close to release, if not upon release and that's AC and Batman. I didn't get Battlefield 3 until I got my PS3 on July 31st of this year, and I only got it because it was free with my PS+ membership. Black Ops II I got in January of this year. I enjoy playing multiplayer on both games I just don't like the super glitchy start they tend to have upon release. I encountered no bugs, glitches or problems with Batman: Arkham Asylum or Batman: Arkham City, and I played the hell out of them. ACIII was probably the worst of the series when it came to glitches, bugs, and problems, but I really haven't heard anything about IV being too bad.

The problem isn't just with the fact that they keep releasing unfinished games, it's once you buy it, now they are trying to reel you in to spend far more than your initial purchase. Battlefield 4 and ACIV mark the first time in a long time that the games don't come with the arbitrary Online Pass or Uplay Passport. These made buying the games used pointless before, if you bought ACIII or BF3 last year used then you probably had to pay an additional $10 to simply play online, something that is so ludicrous it's baffling. Also with the advent of the Season Pass it's become pretty much a guarantee that your once $60 dollar game has now turned into a $100 game (in the case of CoD). I purchased the Season Pass for ACIII and was happy with the investment. My $20 got me a couple new multiplayer maps, some new multiplayer characters, and a 3 part alternate reality storyline which I really enjoyed. The Season Pass for Black Ops II was a staggering $50 for maps, that's all it got you was maps, usually 3-4 multiplayer maps and 1 zombie map. Originally when Activision released Modern Warfare 3 they introduced a new program with it, that program was dubbed Elite. Elite was essentially a rip-off of the already popular Halo Waypoint, Halo Waypoint tracked stats and achievements across every Halo title you ever played, and not only was it in depth it was free. Elite would cost you $50 a year to provide you with the same kind of stat track and friend comparison that Waypoint did, but included built in Clan systems, the ability to broadcast game footage, alter your load outs when you were away from the game, and you got all DLC for MW3 for free, before anyone else. For those heavily into CoD it was a fair price to pay for all the content included. If you forked over the extra $40 early on the Hardened Edition you got a free year of Elite at a $10 discount and "exclusive" Founder Status on Elite. I beta-tested elite, it had a ton of problems which a lot of us expressed on the forums, and I even threw out suggestions. My friends convinced me to pre-order the Hardened Edition to I could make and manage a Clan, we would all play in the Clan and it would be awesome. Well when I got my copy Elite was having a serious meltdown, Clan support wasn't up and really you couldn't even redeem your Founder Status. It took 3 days for my friends to abandon MW3 and go back to Black Ops, I was kinda pissed. The to further kick me in the nuts for my extra $40 dollars they extended the "exclusive" Founder Status to anyone who signed up in the first 2 months. They also had to give all paying members a month or 2 of free Elite because they couldn't get it to function for that amount of time.

The problems with things like that are why people should feel less and less inclined to buy this garbage, and support Publishers who will nickel and dime you over every little thing. Battlefield 3 sold 5 Million copies in it's first weekend which if everyone bought a standard copy equals out to $300,000,000 in revenue for EA, Black Ops II has sold 10.72 Million world wide which equals out to over $600,000,000 in it's first year on shelves. Battlefield 4's sales figures haven't been released yet, and Activision isn't being tight lipped on the possibility of Ghosts making around $1 billion.  So, if you were looking for a reason as to why we are subjected to these iterations of last years latest and greatest year after year, the proof is in the figures. But, maybe, just maybe, with the low ratings of this years offerings people will maybe use restraint next year when the next CoD or BF come out. If that happens I think maybe EA and Activision will get the picture and maybe spend some time trying to fix their broken games instead of pawning them off on us.

An Introduction to the Introduction

What is there really to say in an introduction. I could talk about myself and all of my lack of amazing accomplishments, but that would bore you tears, I promise it would. So, instead I will tell you a little bit about what can be expected from this blog. This blog will be an all inclusive glimpse inside my mind and my thoughts on various aspects of all things I find important. You, well you will read it, why? Because you can't help yourself, that's why. I will talk about Video Games, the Video Game Industry, Movies, Music, Life, Love, and Sexual Perversion.

But, I guess I probably could tell you a little about me, you would like that wouldn't you? Of course you would! Why, because I am amazing ( Can you feel the sarcasm reader? Can you feel it coursing through your body like a lifetime of bad decision making? It feels good doesn't it? It feels right, because it is right.) and you want a little glimpse into the amazing that is sure to come, sure as hellfire my friend. I'm 28 years old/youngish, I live in a small community of mainly mouth breathers, this was caused by years of inbreeding, and living under a vast expanse of power lines that only broke for the smoldering mountains of burning tires. It's quaint, quiet, and for the most part I don't feel like stabbing everyone in sight. I live in this settlement with my FiancĂ©e of 4 wonderfully chaotic rollercoaster years. She is but a light at the end of weird tunnel, and I am but a traveler through that tunnel cursing about how the tunnel has knocked out the reception of my favorite popular music station. Together we have a small child whom and must nurture and  feed the fruits of knowledge, and together we hope to not screw her up completely.

I started gaming when I was old enough to properly hold a rectangle controller and make a funny honest Italian plumber with a '70's porn 'stache trip on mushrooms, beat up innocent indigent wildlife, and save a princess from a giant fire breathing half T-Rex, half-turtle. This is why I have many insights that the Call of Duty brainwashed new generation of gamer lacks, I've watched this industry thrive and I've watched it push out enough turds to build a compost heap worthy of a Hippie's wet dream. I will talk about a variety of topics dealing with games, everything from my rage, to my love, to wondering if the girl that just entered the Multiplayer session is as hot as she sounds, or is she really like a Walrus beached on a twin sized bed.

I will also talk about Movies and TV, I am quite fond of those and I partake in the enjoyment of them often. Therefore, I have feelings about them, feelings I will share with you. I also will wax philosophic about life and love, in my mere 28 years of existence I have found that there are many who need my teachings, so desperately they suck at the teat of my knowledge. You will receive that knowledge Free of Charge, but with a small nominal involuntary fee. So, if this hasn't turned your brain to mush, the continue on fellow traveler we will experience the road of life together through the typed word, and a monitor, and a vast expense of wired wireless networks that are monitored by your friendly neighborhood NSA office.

Your new best friend