Thursday, April 20, 2017

Toxic Comment Sections

I am an avid poster on comment sections on sites like IGN and Destructiod, even Yahoo that I disparage every chance I get. More and more though, I am seeing on websites an increase in modding, and even just not having comment sections anymore at all. The reason they say, is the "toxic comments" that ruin the experience for people. I won't disagree comment sections on any site can have a lot of nonsense in them, a lot of flaming, a lot of trolling, etc. As someone who has spent a lot of time in them however, I wouldn't say this is a majority at all. I would say it's the minority, easily.

I am always surprised when I read comment sections on a controversial topic and scrolling through actively trying to find the reprehensible stuff. Interestingly, more often than not I see more comments "eye rolling" over the "cesspool" of comments they just sifted through, than I actually see bad comments myself. It's almost as if people just assume the comment section is filled with a lot of tripe.

Why do people assume this? Sure, you can always find the occasional racist comment, sexist comments, what have you in most comment sections. But, I have never seen one where the majority was just a bunch of slime, not even 50/50. So, what is it about comment sections that makes them "toxic" to people. Usually, when I get deep into comment sections I have really good conversations, or meme wars, or just joking around having lols with people I'll never meet in real life. Yeah, there's also arguments had, disagreements over things, but normally discussed cordially without the need for moderators to step in and instead of stopping "toxic" comments, instead just take sides and silence people.

I think it has to do with poisoning the well. Sure, there's a lot of good water in there, but a few drops of poison will still kill you. While that's a good comparison to the phenomena of people in general thinking comment sections are toxic, it doesn't reflect how they actually are. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater isn't the answer, but increasingly it seems as though companies running these sites don't want to see it.

It is their right to do it, but to me it makes the site far less interesting and engaging. I get why they do it. It's all a perception thing. They want control of everything, from their message and articles, to how they want you to "feel" about their website when you think about it. Sites don't like it when you disagree with the authors, or question their sources, or point out inaccuracies. These kinds of things makes your site lose credibility. Worse, something out of their control is people who have bad experiences with other users harassing them, or making troll comments to them drives them away from the site. That is out of their control mostly, unless of course they turn the comment sections off.

Again, I'm not an advocate for turning comments off anywhere. I really like being able to strike up a conversation online with anyone, especially people I disagree with. You learn the most talking with people who don't agree with you. You get to learn why they think the way they do, it can reaffirm what you believe if their evidence is sparse, or you can learn something that alters your thinking. Having no comments at all subjects you to one point of view of whatever you are reading or watching. This to me, is archaic. It's how media was consumed in the past. It just gets delivered to you and you absorb it. The internet advanced media in so many ways. One of the biggest ways has been the comment sections, and being able to react to articles with people around the world instantly.

Yeah, there's a ton of terrible people online and even if it were true that "most" people in comment sections are trolls, I'd still take that for the chance I meet someone who can give me a robust back and forth about the merits of 2D Zelda vs 3D Zelda.

My advice is just don't take it seriously, have fun with it, at least while it lasts. I can very well see eventually sites will no longer have comment sections at all. Possibly they'll evolve into only having paid comment sections where subcribers are allowed to discuss things but no one else. This happens quite a bit on Twitch now actually, which I kind of look at as a hyper fast evolved internet space where we can kinda see the future of the rest of the internet maybe.

*This final thought was moderated*

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Pacing Is Important

***Please let it be very clear I'm not advocating for any of this, I'm just annoyed I'm getting older and  have less time on my hands, and am calling it as I see it in the gaming industry.***

As I get older I have less and less time to do things I like. The main thing I like to do is play video games of course, and I notice more and more these days when a game is wasting my time. Usually, it's needless fetch quests to get the thing for the lady to give you the thing for the dude to give me a thing for the shopkeep who with-held the thing I needed to give the sorcerer who would then unlock the seal to the final gate locking away my prized mythical bastard sword, I'm inclined more these days to say fuck all that shit I'm playing the game where I just shoot stuff in the face now.

This is the dilemma I find myself in. I live in a world now where I enjoy a game like Doom with its white-knuckle pacing from start to finish with no lollygagging in between, versus a game like say Metroid Prime 2 Echos which is admittedly a much more cleverly designed game, but one that asks the player to re-traverse all its areas 3 god damn times.

The thing of it is though, is games like Doom are more successful now than they've ever been, and by that I don't mean literally Doom as let's face it original Doom was one of the most successful games of all time and new Doom will never sniff that success (though it exists now in a sea of FPS games so to see how well it did now proves my point). I mean simply games that aren't 40 hour long linear experiences. We used to live in a time where JRPG's ruled the roost in sales. Now a game like Star Ocean is seen as contrived and lauded at for doing nothing for its genre.

I wonder though if it's more that those kinds of games haven't grown up with the target audience that loved them. We're getting older, we don't have as much time. If we're asked to sit through an unskippable cut-scene between two characters we don't like, that's a problem. It's even more a problem when we have to sit through that cut-scene after losing to a boss fight with no save in between said cut-scene and are forced to see it again.

There's a reason cell phone games are doing so well. You play them in bits and snippets and they give you a sense of hollow progression that satisfies, until you start to notice that hollow part and hate yourself later. Modern games need to grow up though. Some have, some haven't still, and it's not a blanket endorsement for console Tetris either. Games like Fallout and GTA still do well and you can pour hundreds of hours into those. But they're no longer the focal point of the masses. Games that get the most attention and most hours are games like League of Legends, Counterstrike, and the most recent hit Overwatch which is simply Counterstrike's addictive loot drops meets the player friendly Team Fortress. All of these games are played in bits and snippets, though usually longer for their addictive qualities. Never though is the player feeling like they've wasted any time by the end as they've had numerous points at which they were rewarded. Sit down with a JRPG by contrast, and it'll take you maybe 2 hours to beat a dungeon, and even by doing that the game doesn't make it entirely clear that you've progressed as tangibly as unlocking that long sought after skin in Overwatch.

A game like Pokemon Go comes out to smashing success and people wonder why. I look at that and go, yep, that's where gaming is going and it makes perfect sense. Conversely, I don't see something like Pokemon Go as what will be the "death" of consoles, I don't actually ever really see that happening. I do however, see a larger chunk of money to be had with something like Pokemon Go. A game where you get bits and snippets of progression simply for walking around in the world that you live in anyway. Absolutely brilliant. And, it might flame out, but likely only to its inevitable competition seeking those millions of Pokemon Go dollars.

What I also see is a game like that shaping how console games are made, and how developers choose to design their games around the player's time. They understand now that people playing their games have less time for them, and they have to accommodate, and they will, and they are. Pokemon Go, Overwatch, these are games that will take up more of the gaming market share as we move on. I also have a bet the Nintendo NX will be doing something similar in that it's going to focus on smaller, bite sized games that have a big financial impact for them, while still making room for massive Zelda games, but it won't be their focus anymore.

*Maybe, we'll see, I can predict as well as the weatherman 2 weeks out lol*

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Steam Controller Review

Many things have been said about the Steam Controller since it's release. Some good, some bad, and some really ugly. That's close to a movie title I think? Anyway, I've been using the Steam Controller for the last week or so for Fallout 4 and messing around with other games just to see what I could get out of it, and so far I'm quite liking it. I think I'll split up this review into the three aforementioned categories what could also be a movie title or cliche'd phrase.

The Good: 

The Steam Controller is incredibly unique. It's goal is to marry PC gamers with their couch. Valve wants to assist with PC gamers and their back problems by allowing them to game from their couch instead of hunched over at a PC. Props to them! If you don't care about your back, or comfort whilst gaming this isn't the controller for you.

Their solution was to add two track pads to the standard controller to act as the mouse. Now, I get the idea...there's basically no way to play a game like, oh...Starcraft on PC from the couch. You need your mouse and keyboard and Valve thought to themselves how do we give the player a way to play this without that? This was how they chose to fix that problem.

Now, I will admit, I haven't tried to use the Steam Controller for a mouse-like point and click type game for two reasons. One, I honestly don't see it working very well for those games in general especially RTS games, and two I rarely like those games anyway. I've effectively been using the controller for games that it does work with, but wasn't precisely intended for, though strangely works the best for anyway I feel.

As stated above I've been playing Fallout 4 mainly, so I'll discuss that. I must say, the controller works fantastically better than I've been reading from other sites in my opinion. I think it helps that Bethesda put out an official setting for the controller for their game, which I have ripped and stolen for other FPS games and I must say it's the perfect way to play these types of games on this controller, with the slight addition of Gyro for aiming.

The main draw for the controller on this game, or another FPS game in particular is the track pad and Gyro aiming. The track pad acts like a mouse and a joystick at the same time with the setup Bethesda provided. Slight movements on the right pad acts like a mouse with a mild track ball so if you flick it the character will spin. I don't typically use the track ball, but it's there if you are fond of it. What makes it like a joystick though is if you drag your thumb to the edges, any edge, it will start to move like a joystick moved all the way to the ends. This works marvelously well once you get used to it.

Coupled with the gyro aiming, which activates any time your thumb rests on the right track pad (or whatever you want to customize it for) you can get extremely precise aiming. Much better aiming than two sticks I feel. It's as close to a mouse as you can get. If you've ever used a Wii pointer or PS4's gyro typing, it's a lot like that. It feels great, and I'm getting headshots now like a champ after 30 hours of use. I fully feel acclimated to the controller now for FPS type games.

For most other games the controller is perfectly serviceable but it's just like any other controller. For instance, racing games work the same as any other controller, side scrollers same, action games same. I've already wrecked the first boss of Dark Souls with it without any issues. The controller has another slight advantage with the two bumper buttons on the back of the controller allowing you to set things like run to those buttons rather than pushing in the left stick. I've always hated pushing in the left stick so I find this addition to be extremely welcome. Other controllers need to get on board with this. I'm sick of pushing in the left stick!

This is becoming a tangent so I'll sum up a few more quick positive points:

+ Battery life is insanely good. Haven't had to change them yet after about 40 hours
+ You can customize everything to infinity and beyond so if the controller doesn't feel "right" you can tweak it to hell until it does feel right.
+  Strong community making controller templates for most of the popular games
+ Let's you use Big Picture mode the way it was always intended

The Bad: 

There is quite a list I've come up with while using the controller that bugs me. These are all minor annoyances, I'm saving the things I hate for the third category.

- Batteries. I don't like batteries for controllers. As mentioned above the battery life is incredibly good, but I'm still annoyed by this.
- The controller is a touch too big for me. I have incredibly small hands and my left hand does get sore after about 3 or 4 hours which in my 25 years of gaming has never happened before. The shape of the controller is anything but ergonomic.
- You have to learn to use this. That's annoying for most people, but I found the experience to be fun. I will say I'm about 90% acclimated to its quirks now but I don't know the average gamer wants to learn how to game all over again which this controller kind of makes you do.
- The left joystick click requires too much force to click. It's pretty useless because of this. Thankfully the controller  has extra buttons to replace this with.

The other few annoyances I have with the controller is less the controller's fault and more of an oversight on Steam's part. There are a lot of games that just don't function well with Steam Big Picture mode. Either they freeze up, or the UI doesn't function or some other nonsense. Take Crysis Warhead. I love this game so it was one of the first I tried the controller with. Getting it working right was a mind numbing chore however, because Crysis doesn't work with Big Picture mode. Most other games, you can hit the Steam home button and tweak the controller again and again, which you have to do to get things right. Crysis just says NOPE. Hitting the button brings up the Steam UI BEHIND the game. So you can't see what you're doing...Instead you have to close the game and tweak it from there. This is incredibly frustrating but luckily I got it working after much tweaking.

Not only is it a problem getting games that don't like Big Picture mode to work, but getting games that don't allow for Mouse + Controller combos working is a HUGE pain in the ass. Going back to our example of Crysis, or Just Cause 2 even, the game will stop working if you're using a combination of Controller and Mouse settings on your Steam Controller. For instance, do you like Gyro aiming? I know I do. This activates the "mouse" portion of the controller. But do you want to move while aiming? Well that activates the "Joystick" of the controller. In-game, you just can't do both, and if you try, both games just top accepting all your inputs for about 5 seconds while it struggles to figure out what the hell you're doing. Valve knew this would be a problem, so there's a way around it but it's really annoying. You have to assign all the buttons to Keys and your Mouse instead of using the pre-programmed controller inputs most games have. This takes a lot of time and effort as you would imagine.

The other major issue here is games that are NOT Steam games. While you can link games to Steam to work with big picture mode, even Origin games, and it works very well, the big issue you have is you get no community assistance what so ever. You have to fend for yourself on those games. There really should be a way to search games to find controller settings. For instance, I have GTAV, but I have it through Rockstar's site, not Steam. I would love to just search the templates people have made for GTAV for the Steam Controller, but...I can't. I literally have no way to get their templates.

Lastly, something that bugs me with Fallout 4 is even if I wanted to use a mouse and key I have to unplug the Steam USB dongle because otherwise Fallout 4 will refuse to use anything other than a controller if it's plugged in. This is Fallout's fault mostly, there should be an in-game option to turn the controller off like other games have....but noooooo.

The Ugly: 

While I have mostly positive things to say about the controller, and I feel it's a lot of fun to use, it functionally cannot replicate a mouse and keyboard with the accuracy you're going to need for the games it's trying to put you on your couch for. For instance, I'm loving it with Fallout 4 and I got it set up with many other games as well. But there is a small category of games you wouldn't want to use it with. Not a BIG category mind know...just MULTI-PLAYER games.

That's right, while it's wonderful for a game like Fallout 4 where the AI has the brain the size of a small grain of blue cheese, this just isn't something you're going to want to use against people with 8200 DPI mice against in CS GO. You wouldn't stand any chance what-so-ever. Sure, you MAY be able to get accustomed to this controller enough to make it workable for a game like that, heck you may eventually be pro at it. There are people that compete with Xbox controllers against Mice players after all, even though they are scientifically gimping themselves by using a controller. I already feel more pro at using a Steam Controller for Fallout 4 vs my PS3 controller I normally use on PC. But I'm miles away from being as quick and precise as I am with my Mouse.

And you can absolutely forget about using this controller for Diablo 3, or Starcraft, or even World of Warcraft and especially not League of Legends or Dota 2. So, I've just outlined probably 90% of the current PC gamer player base outside of those Minecraft weirdos. Yes, the most popular games on PC quite frankly, I wouldn't advise you ever attempt to try this controller with. These are mostly point and click games, or competitive games, or with an incredibly high number of commands like WoW. There's just not enough mouse accuracy here or enough buttons in general to make this compete with the mouse players you'll be playing with. Hilarious that Valve would release a controller that likely would never be useful for their most popular game in Dota 2. No one in their right mind would try to use this thing on that game.


I really like the Steam Controller overall. As I've grown used to it I can find the genius in it for some games and it is actually a better choice than a standard controller in some cases. In other cases it's confusingly worse or at worst, entirely unusable for say Dota 2. Which begs the question, were they searching for just a "way" to play computer games from a couch, or a "better" way. Because, sometimes it's better, sometimes it's just not even an option. But the games you'd think it was designed around like games that rely mostly on Mouse movements like a Dota 2 it's just not great at all. The touchpads were meant to replace the Mouse, or so I assumed, but all it really did was replace the second analog stick on a standard controller with any amount of success.

So this controller would be a wonderful improvement if it released on, say a PS4 and games were designed for it. It would be fantastic to use with Battlefield 4 on PS4, but you'd be really gimped if you used it on PC facing Mouse players. There outlines the major issue with the Steam Controller. It innovated the Console controller VERY well, and is a poor imitation of a Mouse and Keyboard on PC. The major problem of course, as should be obvious, is it came out exclusively for PC.

If you are gaming on PC and mainly use a controller for your gaming however, I highly recommend this controller. If you're like me, and this controller clicks with you as fast as it did for me, you will absolutely love the extra buttons, the Gyro mouse-like aiming, the endless customization, and the extra precision offered by the right track pad over the conventional second stick, which for me, never felt right in gaming. This feels right. This feels like a welcome evolution to the conventional controller.

*A cheaper alternative to couch PC gaming though, get a wireless mouse and keyboard with some sort of board or lap-desk which would immediately replace any benefits the Steam Controller provides aside from comfort (as a key and mouse on your lap is less than comfortable).*  

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Star Wars $50 Season Pass! Outrageous!

I'm appalled, absolutely dismayed. This highly anticipated game of 2015 released in November has come out and has the gall to charge us $50 for a season pass! And what does it offer? Well we don't really know exactly. Presumably more maps, most likely. What an atrocity. That's almost the price of the whole game itself! What a terrible display! Gamers won't stand for this, we won't have it!

Curse you Call of Duty Black Ops 3 for your overpriced DLC!


Plot twist, wasn't talking about Star Wars at all. Nope, unlike all the other news outlets like IGN, Gamespot and yes, even Destructoid whining about Star Wars having a $50 season pass, I'm going to instead complain about Call of Duty doing it. Why? ...Uh...well because no one else is apparently. Which is really weird, I mean I guess we're supposed to expect this from Activision but not EA? Did I just write that sentence? lol, yeah even I can't keep a straight face whilst typing that. Were we really taken aback by this? Was this really THAT unexpected? Please, give me a break. These guys gave us BF4 with a $50 season pass, and we DIDN'T expect them to do that with Star Wars Batllefront? Let me try to dumb this down for you guys. Battle is in BOTH titles, but one ends in Field and the other ends in Front.

Ok, that's completely irrelevant but I found it funny anyway so as long as I entertained myself then I did my job.

Not to write a huge diatribe or anything, but I couldn't be more annoyed by all these articles decrying the horrors that is the $50 DLC Star Wars is shilling and still yet no one moans over Call of Duty doing it for the last 7 or so years. Does Activision pay off these media outlets to not complain about it? Honestly, I'd love to know the answer to that.

Frankly, I'd complain about all of them if I had the time or made money doing it like Angry Joe does. I'm sure we'll see his Battlefront review soon and expect there to be a LOT of whining about Battlefront's $50 DLC. What I HOPE though, is we don't see him exclude CoD from this nonsense. Hopefully, he lumps them all together...but I somehow doubt it. Everyone else is treating this game like some kind of trailblazer for $50 season passes, like it's never happened before. It's driving me utterly insane. Again, I don't approve of it either, but I'm also not shocked by it.

Honestly, I'll probably pick up the DLC when it goes for $20 or so if it does for Battlefront what it did for Battlefield 4 which added a TON of stuff for its overpriced season pass. DICE does a really great job of supporting their games after release. So, I'm expecting to see some good stuff from the season pass and the other free stuff they promised to provide the game as time goes on.

Ultimately, my main point here is, the $50 season pass idea is a shitty one, and has been for the last 7 years. To suddenly whine about it now makes me mad because you weren't there when I was whining about it 7 years ago and BECAUSE of your silence back then we STILL have this shit happening today. smug bastards...

*You're also probably the same people that were buying the $50 season passes back then and only now just realized you were being screwed...*

PS - I've not been buying them before not buying them became cool.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Entitled Gamers vs Greedy Developers

There's a bit of upheaval in the video game world lately involving angry fans over how things are priced, and how many people buy things before a game comes out. No better of an example of this can be made than the recent spat Angry Joe has had over the new Warhammer game which seemingly "cut" out the race of Chaos and stuck them in as a pre-order bonus.

Angry Joe, for anyone unaware is completely against sales tactics like this which appear to be anti-consumer on the surface. He is genuinely upset over the state of gaming these days with pre-order bonuses, game bundles that come with skins that are already in the game, and DLC that doesn't feel worth the price in any way. He's fully justified feeling this way as a consumer, though he does go overboard in fanning these flames without having a lot of evidence to support his opinion. Sometimes we do get evidence like in the case of Street Fighter x Tekken, or when DLC areas are discovered in games like Destiny prior to release.

What makes the case of Warhammer so interesting though, is the developers actually responded and provided what I feel to be a very level headed and understandable response. You can read it here. As with everything there are two sides to every story. Consumers confidence in gaming has gone downhill incredibly fast when obvious corporate greedy tactics surface and aren't addressed. But here, we see their side of it and should be able to identify with them on what's going on and put the rage aside.

As we see in their response they outline what kind of funding was received with the game, how pre-ordering is a great thing for development teams and support of any project, and ultimately why the Chaos class was designed to be a DLC / pre-order race. It makes a lot of sense when it's broken down this way, versus how it appears on the surface when fans view it. What fans fail to understand a lot of the time is people making these games are just that, they're people. They are making a product as good as they can make it, overcoming obstacles we'll never know about, and trying to be successful at it. And, yes, sadly "success" does include making a profit. Would Sega invest in their future projects if they go over budget on this, and fail to deliver success? They certainly wouldn't.

I would like to take a moment though to dissect both sides, as I feel there's hyperbole on both ends. Angry Joe rants and rages about anti-consumer policies. This is how he gets views. He regurgitates the fans distaste for seemingly greedy tactics from developers. He can't ever prove what they're doing is greedy unless data miners discover it for him. He never takes each situation uniquely either, simply lumping them all together as one overarching game developer greed...thing. As if all of these developers meet together to discuss ways to suck their consumers dry of all their money. He's a sensationalist, he'll probably not admit it, it's his job though so I don't blame him. But people need to recognize this to have a level headed understanding as to what is really going on.

From the Warhammer developer's perspective their response is pretty heavy handed. "Happy gamers" peppered throughout feels like being talked down to. We get it, we're your customers, you don't have to lick our shoes. They outline it's not about making money, but about being able to produce more content in the future. He's right, but he's wording it to appear noble. Quite frankly, yes, they need to make a profit to stay in business. It's like any business. So yes, it is about the money, you don't need to lie about it.

As for what costs what, how many races Sega was able to "fund" them for their game, well sadly we just have to take their word for it. Games cost way more to make than they ever have and the prices for games have stayed stagnate for a very long time. It's no wonder studios have found multitudes of ways to fund their projects. But at the end of the day that's what it has come down to. Either finding ways to support the content they make, or stop making it all together. Obviously, these guys love what they do and want to keep doing it, which is making games. We either have to respect that, or simply don't support it. There's no sense whining or getting angry about it. If suddenly in the next Mario game Yoshi as a power-up cost $10 to unlock, I'd probably stop playing Mario games. Understanding of course, that Nintendo probably needs that funding, I'd prefer they find a different way to achieve that.

And that's where the two roads meet ultimately. Developers have to find ways to fund their games that don't alienate their fanbase. Was creating Chaos Warriors as pseudo pre-order incentive one of those good ways? Seemingly not. In retrospect there just wasn't a great way to convey the message of their finances in with the message they sent to fans by announcing this pre-order "incentive." It just doesn't come off that way. In the developer's mind, it would have been DLC later on, that was the plan, so they felt like this would be a nice bonus for fans who buy early. To consumers, we just can't view it that way because it appears as if you're shilling content you've already completed. Appearances are EVERYTHING in sales.

In conclusion, the Warhammer guys did screw up here and hopefully they've learned they need to be more careful about how a consumer views something versus how they view it. As for consumers though, quit being whiny bitches and try to convey your dislike for something with a bit more integrity. It makes us look bad, and guys like Angry Joe popularize this poor behavior (though admittedly is incredibly entertaining to watch).

*Just chill out*

Sunday, August 30, 2015

There and Back Again - Console and PC gaming

This is my story of starting out as a console gamer, becoming a PC gamer, and going back to being a console gamer. It's a boring, but interesting perspective into the many different ways we can play games and what I ultimately found is my personal favorite way to play them.

Console Gaming Rise and Fall:

As a gamer of the late 80's I grew up during a time when Nintendo exploded out of the shadowy grave of Atari whom nearly took the entire gaming industry with them, I was locked into being a console guy. At the time, I presumed computers were only meant for making spreadsheets or it was a glorified calculator. I didn't get a PC in our house until 1998 and I was just a few short years from high school. My first game on it was some pinball games that I couldn't get to work on it. I abandoned the idea and went back to my N64. Eventually, I came to discover Final Fantasy 7 in the infamous TV spots they had for the game making everyone think the game looked like the greatest looking thing ever. I bought the PC version of the game, again having no idea if the PC I had could run it. Luckily it did, and I was able to play one of the greatest games of all time.

I didn't think much of it though, the novelty of playing a game on a PC. I just figured it was a good way to play games my N64 couldn't play. Fast foward to near the end of the Gamecube era, when nothing was coming out for it, and everyone was enjoying release after release while Nintendo spends a year transitioning to their new console and ignoring their current one as they always do, and I sit twiddling my thumbs trying to get more life out of Smash Brothers and Mario Sunshine.

Having nothing new to play, I started playing around with my new PC, that I bought for college. I heard about a game called Lost Planet, and it looked gorgeous, and I knew Nintendo would never get it on their new system the Wii, because it wasn't capable of running it. I didn't want to buy an Xbox though, at the time I was quite a Nintendo fanboy. I still am, but I'm not against a system anymore because of who makes it. But at the time I was totally that way, I wanted nothing to do with anything Xbox. Then I discovered Lost Planet was out on PC, so I searched to discover how to get it on my PC.

That's when I discovered Steam. My very first purchase on Steam, was Lost Planet. I had no knowledge of PC gaming though, literally none. I tried to run Lost Planet and it would barely launch. After some research, I learned I needed a graphics card. Didn't know anything about those either, so I bought one that was $150 and figured I'd be good. I was good luckily, the game ran great. I also learned how great it felt to do my own handy work on a PC and get things running. Also, I really liked using the mouse to aim and shoot. It felt way better than controllers.

Still being the Nintendo fanboy I was though, I tried my best to get through my gaming needs with the Wii and would use the PC sparingly for games I couldn't get on the Wii. It wasn't long until I learned Nintendo didn't care about a gamer like me anymore, and was busy making casual games with crappy waggle. I defended it, tried to work with it, forced myself to like it. But something in me knew I wasn't happy. I even bought a Playstation 3 when it came out. Buying the Playstation 3, and having a Wii at the time I did, was what drove me away from console gaming to PC. Neither console had any killer games on them for quite a while, what felt like an eternity. I got very impatient.

Emergence of a PC Gamer: 

 Then Crysis became all the rage. A game to end all games in terms of sheer beauty and action and only PC gamers would be getting it. I obsessed over how I would play it, what did I need, etc. I wanted to spend as little as possible, and did everything I could to limp my cheap computer along giving it new graphics cards, and a new processor, more ram etc.

I learned a lot about PC's trying to get Crysis to run. I finally did, and I was rewarded with a really good FPS game. I also now had a PC that was on par with a PS3 and Xbox 360. The 360 was getting a lot of great games the PS3 either wasn't getting or was getting sub-par horrible ports. From Bioshock to Oblivion, I started collecting games on PC. I discovered modding, old RPG's I never heard about, and the infamous Steam Sale. The value of PC gaming was compiling, and I was drawn in. I still bought console games, but I was ready to actually build a fully fledged gaming PC and pour some real money into it.

I built a great gaming PC. It was more powerful than current gen systems, I could mod games, the load times were superb, the system didn't update every time I wanted to play since it did that stuff in the background. The interface of Steam was just so perfect. I started to notice PS3 games ran jittery or would lag making me start to concern myself with frame rates. Playing on PC these same games ran smoothly, like Fallout 3 and Far Cry 2. Developers were seemingly making games barely able to run on the consoles they were developing them for, but the PC could with ease. It became apparent to me putting forth the effort on PC gaming rewarded me with the gaming experience developers were intending on their games.I started buying games on PC first before considering consoles.

It was a magical time. I got the better versions of games like Dragon Age, Metro 2033, I got PC exclusives like Civilization 4 and Diablo 3. Apart from console exclusives I got all I needed out of my PC. Load times, modding, mouse control, all digital games no need to change discs (yes I'm lazy), cheap game sales, etc etc. I felt like the future of gaming was PC.

Driven Out of Paradise: 

Jump to today and PC gaming is in shambles. Negative after negative of being a PC gamer rears its ugly head. From having to maintain expensive parts, to rampant online cheating, to baron online games, and the most egregious non-functional PC ports.

Starting with expensive parts, I've never been a good judge of being able to future proof. I'm too cheap I guess. I kept buying graphics cards that were just good enough. Then a new game would come out that I could barely run, and force me to buy a new card. This has happened about 4 or 5 times, and it's REALLY expensive to keep making those mistakes.

Baron online games is another good place to show the cracks of PC gaming. The PC gaming community is small, and I didn't expect it to be as small as it actually is. Today, if you're not CSGo, League of Legends, Hearthstone, Star Craft etc, the tip of the iceberg of games on PC, then you're going to struggle finding games to play with others online. Battlefield Hardline was when I first noticed this problem. The game died in less than a month. $60 completely down the drain, you literally cannot find a game online to play on PC for that game now. I had this happen with Street Fighter x Tekken also. And believe it or not, it happened with Call of Duty AW on PC too. You can find games, but only TDM and it takes a long time, sometimes there are no games.

After finding no games in SFxT, I popped in my copy on PS3 and there's an abundance of people still playing it. It's then I realized I really shouldn't buy multi-player games on PC unless they cater to the PC crowd who seems to like free to play type games, MMO's, or games that if you put thousands of hours into you can unlock hats and shit. The PC crowd is just too small, and too picky. They'll hold onto their 15 year old Counter Strikes and 10 year old World of Warcraft and not embrace new games like console gamers do. They are just not the crowd I can relate to. I can't play a game more than 50 hours anymore it feels like before I move on to another game.

Lastly, non-functional PC ports has been the last straw. Two series specifically caused the straw to be the last one...that broke the camel's back? Anyway...Assassin's Creed and Batman are two game series I bought exclusively on PC from the get go. They looked great, they ran even better. Then Unity and Arkham Knight came out...I'm not sure I even need to go into the gory details of those suffice it to say Arkham Knight is still not available to purchase anymore after being taken away for how broken it was on PC and no one could run Unity properly even if they had a $4,000 PC. I've been lucky enough to not have bought any of these broken messes of PC port games because reviews come out fast and hard on Steam warning me of them. Mortal Kombat, Watchdogs are two other notable PC port debacles, as was Dark Souls and Final Fantasy 13 (both have mercifully been fixed).

I shudder to think how Mad Max will run or Metal Gear Solid V. I can only presume they'll be awful on PC, the track record in the past year has been appalling, and I can't with confidence buy any of these games on PC like I can on PS4. In many of these instances, the core development team has nothing to do with these PC ports. They are hiring contractors to port these games to PC, and on the cheap because the return on PC isn't as good as console. They are treating PC gamers like a dog and throwing them table scraps. It has made me give up on treating PC as my first choice for new games.


So, as I sit here reflecting on gaming in general I find myself disappointed. The potential of PC gaming is so high, the heights of which console gaming wishes it could do, and it's being ignored because there's no money in it versus making a game on PC where you can sell digital hats, or digital cards. I understand it, that doesn't mean I have to like it, so I return to my roots, back to console gaming where making a buggy mess of a bad game is punished with reduced sales and angry people on twitter and your sales suffers because of it. They're just not as afraid of when that happens on PC because they don't need as many sales to make it profitable.

If PC gaming keeps going this way, the progress made will quickly contract. Steam was growing at a very fast pace, but this kind of behavior from developers will ruin PC gaming further than it already is. To wrap this article up in a nice little bow as I pretend to be a good writer, this is what Atari went through. They released a deluge of buggy, non-functioning, or complete garbage games that drove players away and stopped trusting that their $50 would amount to anything more than buying a plastic paperweight thus culminating into the video game crash that Nintendo eventually swooped in to fix. It was also the very reason they had what was called the Nintendo seal of quality badge on their boxes, to ensure customers they were buying a quality game.

This isn't the road you want to go down PC developers, you're going to lose us.

*That picture is us leaving...not literally on a ship mind you...figuratively speaking...thought I'd explain that...seemed important...yeeeeeaaahh....*

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Yahoo Game News...Just Stop It...Please!

Dear Yahoo,

Please stop trying to inform me on gaming news, you are terrible at it, you've always been terrible at it. I have used this blog on several occasions to point out how awful you are at delivering game news. You used to write your own articles with crappy sources, wrong information, and even worse opinions, but these days all you do is repost other gaming sites, or sites that have something to do with gaming. I actually applauded you when you stopped trying to write your own articles, you figured out that you didn't understand gaming in the slightest. You used to repost from decent sites like IGN and Gamespot. But lately....what happened? Did your repost robot break? It is reposting from sites like Vox and Gamefaqs!

It doesn't surprise me that you don't know Gamefaqs isn't a gaming news site, but what's worse is your robot is reposting message boards...yes that's right MESSAGE boards. The one you see above was written by some random nutter on the internet (much like myself) who declares his passionate hate for Indie games littering the PS4 store. It is an uninspired opinion at best, and at worst not entirely thought out either. It surely didn't deserve a front page on Yahoo's website. But if that's what Yahoo finds compelling for gaming news...far be it for me to judge.

And Vox? Really? You need to stop reposting Vox stuff. All Vox is that I've seen, is a website that absolutely hates white people and America, and anything capitalist or remotely right wing. I am about as liberal as you can get, but to these guys I probably sound like Rick Santorum. Still, they have absolutely ZERO insight into gaming culture or gaming news. They write click-bait articles designed to point out how atrociously "unprogressive" the gaming industry is by wagging their finger at random things in games, and getting offended by anything and everything they can attempt to spin to sound offended. I'm picturing a guy working for Vox who has the unfortunate task of writing this tripe googling video game images to learn about a game and then trying his damnedest to loop in a way to be offended to have an article in before lunch.

I think this is where you and I need to part ways Yahoo gaming. Before I used to be able to make fun of your articles, you're just a robot reposting things. It's not funny anymore, it's like making fun of an answering machine.

*PS - Feel free to repost this Yahoo*