Jun 11, 2013

On why I dislike what the XBox One is doing

The XBone is essentially trying to finally do away with the used game market, and is preventing as much sharing as humanly possible. Gaming has always been a rather prominent part of my life, both personally and socially, but I've also pretty much always been poor. Especially recently. So the used game market and ability to share has played a HUGE part in my life.

Large portions of my gaming history only exist because of the ability to borrow friends' games or trade-in old games to buy other used games. A handful of games that are incredibly important to me, games that I can directly point to and say "This right here is why I am the way I am today," simply would never have existed to me if these practices and policies were around in my childhood. Earthbound is possibly one of the most (if not #1) important pieces of my childhood and development, and the ONLY reason I got to play it at all was because I happened to see it at Blockbuster one day and I got my dad to rent it for me... something that simply isn't possible in Microsoft's new envisioned world. There are boatloads of other games that fit this bill too: Donkey Kong Country 1 and 2, Final Fantasy 4 and 6, Earthworm Jim, Demon's Crest, pretty much the entire Genesis library I've ever played...

And it doesn't stop there. There are countless good games I never had the chance to play as a kid, simply because we never had the money to buy all of these things. So one of my present missions is to go back and gather up as many of these treasures as I can find. Space Channel 5, Silent Hill, Parasite Eve, Baroque, Final Fantasy 9, the entire Resident Evil franchise... All things I never would have had the chance to play without an economy that supported game trading.

There are tons of newer games like this too. For the past few years I simply haven't had the money to be buying even used games. At most I can get the occasional cheap deal on Steam. Bayonetta is one of my favorite games ever, and the only reason I got to play it was because I could borrow it from a friend. Arkham City, most of Twisted Pixel's library, all of the LEGO games... all things I never would have played if I couldn't borrow them from a friend.

Luckily, I grew up in an environment where game trading and sharing is possible. It's a practice that has literally shaped me into what I am today. But if this anti-sharing mindset spreads... what happens then? What happens to the kids like my own young self who don't get to play nearly as much as they could have otherwise? The kids with no friends and a strict "you only get new games on Christmas and your birthday" policy? They're effectively locked out of the system, and I don't like that. I don't like someone telling me that, if things were the way they want them to be, I never would have experienced so many things that impacted my life so, so much. And that's why I don't like what Microsoft is trying to pull.

Feb 18, 2013

Hell's Biggest Pawn Catch: New Orleans

Reality TV is always a touchy subject. It's at the point where a large majority of people recognize that almost none of the multitude of shows out there are completely legit, but there's always the hope that, yes, this is the ONE genuine show. In all the sea of staged auctions and talent shows that go nowhere, THIS is the one bastion of truth.

And people tune in and play into the drama. There's affirmations of personal betterment, changes of careers, rivers of tears from heavyset housewives as little Rhonda gets on stage and dances her little orphan feet off...

When the fad first started, when Survivor Season 1 was in full swing and MTV was rounding up all the horny teenagers they could find... I was fully on board the reality train. I think most all of us were, really. But after a while, stories started to pop up. Theories and allegations that, hey, maybe some of this is staged! Scripted! Maybe fully produced from the start! And did the Bachelor really marry Whatsherface?! Suddenly, reality TV became this swirling mass of controversy, a tornado of broken illusions and thoughts that the genre as a whole was largely done with.

Clearly that's not QUITE the case. We're still watching people ship large, strange item cross country and eat some eldritch concoction called "sketti." But what's different?

Duck Hunt

So it looks like my Twitter boxy thing is broken. And the only replacement I can seem to find is some weird Spanish thing that is ugly and won't even work right anyway. I'll poke at things a bit more, but for now, consider that bird cage empty. Ain't nothing there but a puff of feathers and a sly cat with suspiciously puffy cheeks.