1. Notes: 1 / 1 month ago 

    This file is saved as “AC:IV Misery” on my Mac. That’s accurate. [Opinion]

    I’m having a gaming crisis.

    Asking me to name my favorite single title is taboo, but I have five locked answers for my top gaming series. Silent Hill leads with a gold medal, followed closely by Devil May Cry, Dead Space, and Metal Gear. My fifth is slowly starting to be dodged and skipped over because the explanation is too lengthy to accommodate feeling satisfied with my answer while nodding to time constraints. (This, my friends, is what blogs are for.)

    Oh, Assassin’s Creed. How you have succeeded in driving me insane is far more impressive than your two latest titles combined.

    I fell in love with the AC series back when the Ezio trilogy was in its starting stages. The years passed and titles progressed, and I saw my criticisms be addressed through Brotherhood and new concepts added to Revelations. As a huge fan of stealth games, an admirer of titles that can call themselves a “work of art” instead of a “work of code,” and a sucker for deep storylines, AC hit every note in serenading me. The battle techniques were intuitive and unique; Italy’s synchronization panoramas were stunning; Desmond’s story accented the progression instead of being awkward mid-stages (with a slight slip in redundancy through Revelations); and Ezio was relatable in the sense that he was un-relatable. 

    Assassin’s Creed had almost passed Silent Hill on the podium of Top Title. 

    Until Assassin’s Creed III. 

    If you’ve ever wondered why I’m so insistent on my hesitancy towards new titles in long-running series (wait until you see tomorrow’s review,) the reason derives specifically from AC III. Quite simply, I felt betrayed. Ubisoft had built up an amazing world around a character I absolutely fell in love with, and they were turning it all around and closing Desmond’s chapter. At the time, I was okay with it. I saw myself become infatuated with a digitally created world, and I felt the height of my love for the series was enough to withstand the changes they felt were right for the series. I had fallen in love with Italy and Ezio, so I didn’t see why I couldn’t fall in love with the 1700’s and Connor.

    And then I realized that game breaking techniques, distant characters, and fragmented sequences could ruin even the most gorgeous of games. 

    Maybe it’s the halted storylines that are too jarring. We followed Ezio through three titles that explored his entire life. Then we were rushed through Connor’s childhood in one mission and then dropped into young adult. Edward had no establishment except the typical love-lost sympathy pull. There’s no connection and no continuation. You can link ancestors all you want, but pushing us from one character to another is a big no-no as far as immersion goes. 

    I never finished Assassin’s Creed III. I could never bring myself to do it. I tried, I honestly did. And now, I’m sitting in my own Animus watching my own history repeat itself with Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. 

    As far as concept goes, Black Flag had such potential to pull me back in to Assassin’s Creed. Edward’s model seemed (and has proven to be) more relatable than Connor’s while keeping its toes in line with the memory sequence canon. Stealth and thievery are two of my favorite traits in a character build, so there’s not much better than a story revolving around pirates in the seventeenth century. 

    I got about four hours into Black Flag on my 360 when it released in October. The story was tolerable, I connected with Edward more in the opening cut scene than I did with Connor through III, and, c’mon. Pirates. Yet, I found myself quickly losing interest and becoming increasingly irritated with Ubisoft’s pretentious, self-promoting attitude through Abstergo communications. 

    Now that I have a PS4, I’ve decided to give it another chance. One of my biggest draws to the AC II line was the sync vista, so maybe a boost in graphics would help convince me. Unfortunately, it turns out that a wave of game breaking bugs, unresponsive controls, and even deficient touch-pad map navigation can wipe that off the board really fast. 

    I’ve been dragging myself through this game for two nights now. And “dragging” is not an exaggeration. Things that didn’t happen on my 360 version are happening on the PS4. Did you know that Edward once accidentally ran up the side of a tree, slid back down because there was nothing to grab on to, and then the guards were immediately after me? The courier missions also immediately alert the guards, which makes chasing him down exceptionally fun. 

    It’s ruining my experience. It’s ruining everything. It’s like the universe just does not want me to go back to Assassin’s Creed. French history, culture and language is another interest of mine, so Unity is looking pretty appealing. But any recurring themes from III or IV are going to shatter it. 

    Assassin’s Creed is leaning on the Call of Duty complex. Ubisoft has plans for a new AC every year. This year we’re getting two new ones, and a port of Liberations. I’m horribly afraid that this is just going to be a constant loop. I’ll keep trying and giving second, sixth and ninth chances until it runs itself into the ground. Which is an awful thing to watch one of your favorite series do (looking at you, Silent Hill: Book of Memories). 

    I know my love-hate relationship with Ubisoft is far from over. They’ve given me Rayman Legends, Watch_Dogs and the Ezio Trilogy, but they’ve still got a lot to prove. Show some humility and get back to your basics. We’ll be alright, Ubisoft.

    —-
    Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is rated Mature.
    Developed by Ubisoft Montreal.
    Assassin’s Creed: Unity releases on October 28, 2014 in North America.

  2. 8 months ago 

    Phases

    Today, over lunch with a group of co-workers, I was asked a fairly simple question, one which most people would have a fairly simple answer to. The question was honest, asked in sincere curiosity, and my response was animated, eager to delve deeper into the topic in an attempt to find common ground or spark an understanding.

    “Are you a pretty hardcore gamer?”

    Easy: Yes. I am. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I would rather be in a candlelit basement with a copy of Silent Hill 4 and some Mountain Dew than out with other people my age socializing and drinking myself into a stupor. I’ve gone through phases where I’ve tried to cut off gaming. I’ve gone through phases where I’ve lied about the amount time I actually dedicate to gaming to pretend I’m more productive than I really am. But there comes a time where work and play balances out, and you realize that 15 minute breaks at work and the “I’ve coded for two weeks straight, let’s take a break” breaks are so much better with a 3DS.

    I am a hardcore gamer. And I get excited when people ask me about it. The question was spawned after a snarky comment about the XbOne release insanity and my educated answer. I expected it. And you learn how to gauge if your conversation partner will be accepting of your response simply on which words they stress.

    In this case, he was accepting.  Maybe not accepting; ignorant, maybe? I could have told him Mega Bing Bong Blast for the Super Sega 64 was my favorite RTS shooter and he would have smiled and nodded at me, which is perhaps why this single, innocent question has followed me through my entire day.

    In that moment, I had nothing to prove; absolutely nothing. I didn’t have to prove that I know about the DLC for Skyrim, or the symbolism in Bioshock Infinite. I didn’t have to argue about preferring the PS4 simply because I don’t believe a Metal Gear game should be played on a Microsoft product. I didn’t have to quote a cut scene from Borderlands just to prove I’ve played it. If I regret anything from working at GameStop, it’s how jaded I’ve become towards the typical male gamer. It wears off on me outside of work, and it’s hard for me to let the topic go without proving I know my shit.

    My answer started easy enough.

    “Yeah, I am; really hardcore, actually.”

    And then, like I always do, I continued.

    “I like RPGs, and a few shooters; sci-fi, really. I’m not too big on Call of Duty, but I like strategy and horror games.”

    And elaborated more.

    “Actually I really like retro games. I love my current gens, but the Sega Genesis will always have a place in my heart. I don’t think any of the games today have the same raw genius the originals do.”

    And this is where I stopped and poor Rusty lost me to my own thoughts. Where the hell did that come from? I’m not a retro gamer. I can appreciate my origins, sure, and I enjoy playing through MGS2 and Soul Reaver every now and then, but I’m very, very clearly a supporter of the current and upcoming. So why did I say that?

    I didn’t lie. Or, at least, I didn’t mean to. I spoke with passion and an obvious interest on the subject. But I went from answering to saying too much in two sentences. And I didn’t even think about it. I just… spoke. I tried to align myself to a type without really knowing what I was doing. No, I don’t consider myself retro. I love collecting retro systems, and I like Galaga, but that’s about it. I’m very clearly current, but apparently my brain needed to discuss retro. Interestingly enough, it worked. But it wasn’t purely honest.

    There’s truth in the idea that GameStop doesn’t help in the “modesty in gaming” department. But there’s more to this than being scoffed at because of my gender. In nature, I’m a very impressionable person. Why have I been playing Pokémon for a collected 50 hours since I bought it two weeks ago? Because I found a YouTube channel with X and Y Lets Plays and PokeMMO and forgot how much I loved it. Why did I spend an entire week doing nothing but gather materials in Minecraft to build an enormous model of the Starship Enterprise just to never touch the server again? My media kids talked about Minecraft enough to interest me and I became obsessed, until I found a better obsession. And the cycle rages on.

    Now, I’m not saying that my interest in guided only by what other people like or what is recommended to me. There are some things I have a very solid answer to that have never nor will ever change.

    I have a set Top Five: Silent Hill, Devil May Cry, Dead Space, Assassin’s Creed, and Metal Gear Solid. (Kingdom Hearts and Fatal Frame are close runners-up.)
    I love horror games over any other genre.
    The Sega Genesis is my favorite retro system, and Sonic trumps Mario in my book.

    Yes, people find it impressive when I say I have 11 non-handheld systems. Yes, I say it because I know people find it impressive when I say I have 11 systems. However, I do not have 11 systems simply because people would find it impressive.

    The most beautiful and equally as terrible thing about gamers is that we all have different passions in gaming. No one is going to have the same top five, the system war will never end, and because of this, people are able to craft and change their gaming tendencies and time and in any way they want. But for some people, like me, this poses a problem. Not a real life-condemning problem, but one that often makes me wonder if I can really define myself as a certain type of gamer.

    My preferences fluctuate at an unbelievable level. It’s usually spawned by something I watch, hear, or even just remember. Right now I’m hooked on my handhelds. I just want Pokemon, Zelda and 999. Quite possibly, in a week, I’ll be happy to toss aside my Lite and 3DS and pull and all-nighter playing Minecraft or Diablo. Perhaps two days later, I’ll forget I even have Minecraft installed and dedicate my entire life to Platinuming DMC.

    Which will never happen. Because I switch gears too much.

    And when I actually thought about it, I didn’t tell Rusty what kind of gamer I was. I basically listed every single genre. Shooters, RPGs, strategy—what don’t I like? J-readers? I don’t know. I like everything.

    And that’s just it. I like everything, and sometimes I forget how much I like everything. So I spend whatever amount of time rediscovering how much I like a fraction of “everything,” and then move on to the next fraction. I legitimately like everything. Every type of game I can at least appreciate; maybe it’s because I look at video games as an art form, not just lines of code that somehow equate to a lame or fantastic campaign. Maybe my phases are spawned because I try to mentally trick myself that Pokémon games are childish, and I should be working more instead of playing Assassin’s Creed IV.

    And then I relapse like the miserable addict I am. I relapse and IV train a competition-tier Pokémon team. I relapse and start building a multi-player server on Minecraft based on a text-based MUDD I used to play (it’s out of phase, so on temporary pause).

    Maybe my interests fluctuate harshly because I quite simply don’t have time to be addicted to everything at once. I mean, if I always remembered how much I love Pokémon and how fun GTA V was, I’d be even less productive than I already am (which is a scary thought.) And maybe my obsession rushes help me become overdosed fast enough that it makes it easier to move on.

    Perhaps my response to Rusty shouldn’t have been so convoluted. Perhaps I tried too hard to prove myself because it was I who needed the proof. Maybe I need to stop trying to define it and just enjoy the damn games.

    “Are you a pretty hardcore gamer?”

    “Yea, I am. Honestly, I’m more hardcore than I can really comprehend.”

  3. Notes: 3505 / 1 year ago  from catalystcatalyst (originally from vvhaler)

    (Source: vvhaler)

  4. 1 year ago 

    PHP, can we just be friends?

    Pardon my absence, friends. I’ve had a long week of robotics, site deadlines and a sickness I can’t seem to kill.

    I’ve got two sites due this week, then hopefully a long overdue Rising and Dead Space 3 review for you guys by Thursday. Just a consequence of an overambitious attitude. Stay tuned.

  5. 1 year ago 

    Gems in… interesting places.

    While on a hunt for a babydoll Revengeance shirt today, I stumbled upon a really old and awfully designed website that had an interesting piece on it.

    TheSnakeSoup.org, apparently. My search for my t-shirt somehow lead me to this site (what the hell, Google) and an article titled “The 10 Dumbest Moments in the Metal Gear series." Now, the article is almost 10 years old, so it’s missing out on some of the absurdity of the newer titles, but it makes some amusing points.

    Here’s a clip.

    #8: “O RLY?”
    Metal Gear Solid

    Not much to explain. People bitch how “dumb” Raiden is — how he asks some dumb questions. I understand their misery — put in the same scenario as Raiden, they probably would have understood everything; that’s why everyone understood the ending of Sons of Liberty so well… oh wait.

    Only a few ever ask why Solid Snake is surprised to see a surveillance camera… IN A GOD DAMN NUCLEAR DISPOSAL FACILITY! After all, who cares if a terrorist once in a while slips in and carries a few nukes out. Hell, he’s helping the disposal job by disposing it in a sick sort of way!

    Solid Snake. The man who took down Outer Heaven and Zanzibar Land, a legend to some blond meterosexuals, is absoluely surprised that there are cameras in a nuclear disposal facility. I can imagine him at a local discount shoe store. Most of them have cameras. “What?! A camera?!”

    Dumb ass. Figures they only sent him so they could make him spread FOX-DIE and kill everyone including himself.

    It’s a bit too extensive to reblog here, but check it out if you can get past the text walls and white lettering on a light gray background. The author is extremely set in his points and accuses reviewers of not knowing what they’re talking about, and that irks me a bit, but its still worth a (skimmed) read.

    ——
    Linked material contains strong language and questionable judgement.

  6. Notes: 9 / 1 year ago 
    "Not much of a superhero after all, huh."
    - Raiden, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
  7. Notes: 5 / 1 year ago 
    I learned young that killing your enemies felt good. Really good. My friends, my family, they helped me forget the devil inside. But who am I kidding? I was born to kill.
    ...
    I guess I needed something to keep The Ripper in check when I was knee-deep in bodies.
    You...
    But you, all this, is a wake up call to what I really believe. What I really am.
    What are you saying?
    I'm saying Jack is back.
  8. 1 year ago 
    To anyone who says my robotics team and their creations aren’t the coolest on the planet — reconsider.FIRST Robotics Team 910 — The Foley Freeze@frc910   __   fb.com/foleyfreeze   __   instagr.am/frc910

    To anyone who says my robotics team and their creations aren’t the coolest on the planet — reconsider.

    FIRST Robotics Team 910 — The Foley Freeze
    @frc910   __   fb.com/foleyfreeze   __   instagr.am/frc910

     
  9. Notes: 3 / 1 year ago 

    PS4 Announcement: “Imagination is the one weapon in the war against reality.”

    Sony, you couldn’t have hosted your new-era announcement event on a less convenient day for me. We just finished bagging up our robot yesterday, I had two meetings and a birthday party to attend, and all I get through your live event are less-than-enthusiastic texts from my GameStop co-workers.

    I’m currently just finishing watching this hyped press release. Here it is, everyone — the PS4. By the way, I love how they opened with the original PS1 chime. Thanks, Sony; us retros appreciate it.

    “The release of the PS4 presents an enormous opportunity to dramatically amplify the game play industry.”

    The system, which never made its visual debut at the event (what the hell, Sony), certainly packs a potentially unnecessary punch. We think we’re looking at Jaguar core, which means the CPU is extremely strong; it’s eight cores heavy, but 1.6GHz weak. It’s very, very power efficient, but being somewhat critiqued by tech nerds for its mediocre quality for a next gen. Then again, how do we balance the price tag?

    In general, the specs are beautiful and, well, decent. Sony officially announced an X86 CPU coupled with an enhanced PC GPU (hopefully a 7850-grade, which is eons beyond current gen), 8 GB of GDDR5 memory, a local storage drive and a secondary piece for downloading. 

    There are some neat additions and innovative concepts that will be built into the PS4 and it’s supporting hardware and OS. The DualShock 4 has increased motion sensors in analog and I guess an updated rumble feature (never knew that was an issue…), plus a bit of redesign to make room for additional features, which I will elaborate on in a moment. Probably the concept I found most intriguing was the PS4’s suspend and resume feature. Instead of completely shutting down the system if you’re leaving for a few hours, the system can fall into a low-power hibernation mode until the user returns, where the system picks up right where it left off in — allegedly — a few seconds. It’s not just the concept itself — it’s Sony’s focus on reducing the system boot time.

    The system times on the PS3 are really, really annoying. Boot up, yeah yeah beautiful sequence, wait a few moments for the UI to launch; left, left, down, X. System needs to update to play my game. Fantastic. Even better, when MGS4 started acting up on me, my reinstall took 10 minutes. Which, for the graphic output, is just a minor complaint, but it’s still the point of it. 

    I don’t really care if Sony can deliver their hope of “game while you download” with their secondary drive. I’m simply happy that they are focusing at least a bit of effort into reducing launch time. Maybe it’s a small improvement, but one I can appreciate.

    —-

    When I write my posts for events like this, E3 or CES, I blog while I’m watching. Typically, it’s presented in a way where I can make my judgment on it while I’m being fed specs and demos. In this case, it was a bit different. The DualShock 4 controller was presented as a lede before they broke down the architecture of it. Its features include a Vita-esque touch pad in the middle vertical, heightening the controller hold a bit; an audio jack; and a share button. Ahem, excuse me — a share button. Yeah. Here are my original thoughts on it before Sony’s elaboration:

    “Share button? Really? I get social media — trust me, I manage far more accounts for clients and organizations than I should be. It took a while to convince me that PS3/Vita syncs were a good idea; the PS4 Facebook game isn’t going to go over well, my friends.”

    But, as Sony usually does, they’ve convinced me otherwise. While the share button is corny and is going to spam up my Facebook wall, it’s very neat for non-13-year-old gamers. Users can export their game play into compressed files to upload to social media (and more than likely their online PSN account, which I expect to handle a bit like Facebook), and even query their friends online to take control of their game to help in a certain area they are struggling in.

    Now that is cool. 

    Of course, social media is going to be very heavily integrated into the PS4. The PSN friend system seems to be going to an Xbox LIVE layout with additional information on the player and will sync with Facebook friends. On that note, can we switch over to a gamerscore too instead of displaying invisible trophies on my wall? That’d be great.

    Still, I can’t help but feel like these additions don’t warrant the next generation. Then again, what would?

    —-

    Of course, what’s a gaming conference without game announcements and their seven-minute minimum game footage? By the way, guys, can you please stop with the extensive game play demos? We get it — your engine is really, really pretty. We’ll watch your trailers another time. Can we get back to our new system, please?

    I’m only kind of joking with that. But anyway, there were several announcements of PS4 exclusives: Guerilla’s Killzone: Shadow Fall, Sucker Punch’s Infamous: Second Son, Capcom’s Deep Down, and a few others. These guys all look beautiful, but I don’t see any reason why they couldn’t be released on PS3.  In fact, most are releasing their titles for both the PS3 and PS4. In that case, what’s the point, almost?

    Most developers are excited for the PS4 because it gives them an excuse to design an updated engine. Developers are able to work with an enhanced 3D depth of field, extensive polygon work, realistic skin shading and adaptive lighting.

    “We are proud to usher in a new era of entertainment,” said Yoshinori Ono for Capcom, who presented a (thankfully semi-short) demo for their Panta Rhei engine, which they refer to as an evolutionary step from their original framework.  By the way, Ono, my dear, thank you for mentioning Devil May Cry.

    Developers are elaborating on being able to convey amazing stories without concerning themselves on whether the system has the horsepower to do so; studios are now unlimited by imagination. Another embarking title that looks absolutely stunning is Bungie’s 10-year endeavor, Destiny, which made its re-reveal tonight following Bungie’s conference last week.

    “How can we take a genre that we know and love, the first person shooter, and turn its on its head? Bungie’s answer is Destiny,” Jason Jones from Bungie said. He followed that by calling the PS4 “great piece of gear.” We’ll see about that.

    The PlayStation Move is also making its miserable return, though with a much brighter light in concept. Alex Evans for developer Media Molecule (known for LittleBigPlanet) calls the PS4 with the Move integration a “creative console,” and their project to create 3D sculptures in realtime looks somewhat promising.

    “The single most powerful, accurate device was right under our noses — the Move controller,” Evans said, elaborating that the sculpting tool allows developers, and users, to stop thinking about pixels and just start creating.

    He continued on to say that their goal is to change “making” in every way, whether it is music, gaming or story telling. Media Molecule provided a demo of, literally, a personally full-model, high-quality developed landscape. This is like, ‘build your own game and levels’ type quality. A bit hesitant on where this is going…

    Anyway, Watchdogs, developed by Ubisoft, looks incredible too. But I’ve been intrigued by this one for a while now. It’s an interesting concept and a Heavy Rain style game play, but it’s going to scare the shit out of everyone. Honestly. You think media blames crime on gaming already? Now the hackers are at risk, too. Can’t wait.

    Let’s end on a bad note. I’m not happy about this one. I’m not a WoWian, but I do love my PC games. I might have had a bit of beef with Blizzard before, but now it’s not funny anymore.

    “Blizzard and Sony have entered a strategic partnership through which we will take over the world.” Chris Metzen of Blizzard Entertainment said, after announcing a port of Diablo III to the PS4 and PS3.

    No, please. You guys, I— c’mon. We know this is a bad idea. Yes, it will be “very very cool,” Metzen, but Diablo isn’t Diablo without my Nostromo and slamming my DeathAdder on the table everytime I lag out in the middle of a fight.

    —- 

    All in all, it was a happy announcement for Sony. GameStop managers and employees are pissed, journalists are watchful, and gamers will never be appeased anyway. Watch for the system at an unofficial but expected ~$400 price tag this holiday season.

    Your move, Microsoft.

    System specs: X86 CPU – Enhanced PC GPU — 8 GB memory on a  GDDR5 card — Local Storage Hard Drive
    Release date: Holiday 2013

  10. Notes: 2 / 1 year ago 
    "Design and aesthetics matter, because form is not secondary to function; form is integral to function. A map cannot function if it remains unread. To truly engage map users requires that we present them with something worth looking at. Something that they will want to spend time studying. Something that acknowledges the human need for beauty. Something that causes the user to think about the map in terms beyond whether or not it simply “works.”"
    - Timothy Wallace, Daniel Huffman — “Atlas of Design”
    via Flowingdata.
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A blog about tech, gaming, and everything related to. Recently expanded to paranormal.

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Kaitlyn Grace Chornoby
Level 23 rogue. Michigan.

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