Tomb Raider Blog: Work in Progress

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I'm enjoying my experience playing Tomb Raider so much that I decided to blog about my experiences so that I will never forget what I love so much about this game/genre. I'll admit right off top the game plays similar to Uncharted, however, I love uncharted, so it does not bother me.

First, my gaming rig is in a state of upgrade right now. In order to play TR, I "had" to upgrade from a Galaxy GTX 470 to a Galaxy GTX 670. Although because of some technical and newegg difficulties , I've had to start with a "rented" GTX 660ti from Best Buy. 670 should be here on Monday.

From the get go, like most PC gamers, I turned up the all the specs and benchtested my rig. Gotta go to the store...

Top 6 Ways to Improve GameSpot

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Hey, I took the survey, this is an easy way to update my forgotten blog.

1. More updated Reviews. If a game comes out and gets a bad score, but has been patched, you kind of have a responsibility to update readers. You do it but you gotta be more consistent.

2. Quicker Reviews. Seems like IGN gets games earlier or something, because they seem to always have their reviews up earlier (I don't watch them though! I wait for ya'll.)

3.I'd like to see a feature on how to overcome common problems (e.g. how to get PS emblems updated on Gamespot or how to trick out you blog with custom headings).

4. Video strategy guides. Sucking at games sucks. It'd be nice if Gamespot could help readers not suck, particularly in FPSs.

5. Comments. I'd like a way to see how many thumbs up and thumbs down my comments get. Either give me a total or allow me to easily get back to my comment.

6. Video review the right games. I want to see brief game play of cool games, and it's entertaining to watch crappy games. Maybe only video review games 8.5 or higher and 3.0 or lower.

Moving to a console

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With the Annual Game of the Year awards upon us, I've been made keenly aware of the games that I don't get to play due to being a staunch PC-Only gamer. Games like Red Dead Revolver, Heavy Rain, God of War 3, Metal Gear Solid, and Uncharted 2 are about enough to push me to purchase a console. The question is which one?

I'm sure you have noticed that all the games that are supposed to be really amazing are PS3 exclusives. This leaves me with a dilemma. How do I play all of these awesome games without breaking the bank? I'm only trying to hold out until a new spattering of great PC games comes around so maybe I could buy an Xbox 360 and only play RDR which is the cheapest option. Or I could buy a PS3 and play all of the aforementioned games. This is clearly the most expensive option—even if I go (gamestop) refurbished which doesn't sound like a great idea.

The third, and most intriguing option, is to rent a PS3 from Rent a Center for $20/week. Play all the aforementioned games and return it as quickly as possible. Then I can be back to my PC in time for March when Dragon Age II, Homefront, Shogun II, and the Witcher 2 come out. What would a true gamer (somewhat on a budget) do?

A Call for Serial Code Uniformity

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Last night, I downloaded NBA 2K11 from Steam for use on my PC. The thoughtful people at Steam incorporated a feature that gives users access to the serial key for online play and allows you to copy the key to the clipboard. Once I attempted to access the game's online features, I was prompted to enter the serial key, so I pressed CNTRL V and nothing happened (which signals that the fine people at Steam and the fine people at 2K Games weren't on the same page). Next, I dutifully entered the serial key (a task as a PC gamer, I've grown accustomed to and actually pretty good at getting right the first time). However, after multiple attempts to enter the code (with caps on, with caps off, changing all 0's to O's, changing all O's to 0's,ensuring the I's were I's and not 1's) I am prepared to say that there needs to be a uniform, standard to serial keys.

I don't know who is responsible for generating serial keys. I don't know whom to contact regarding my complaint, but I do know something as simple as banning the use of 0 and O from serial key use will save lots of time and frustration for PC gamers. Also, a gamer should be able to copy paste a serial key into a form. Finally, you're going to use dashes, they should either be auto or pre-filled. Additionally, (and I don't know much about hacking and pirating) online and more specifically, Steam users should be eternally free from entering serial codes.

Now, if this were a serious gaming issue (freedom of speech or something similar) I'd call for us to come together and rally, petition and make noise, but I realize that this is a rather minor inconvenience of PC gaming. Nevertheless, I think it's an annoyance that is worthy of attention.

As it turns out, after a waste of time visit to the Steam "help" forum, and seriously considering forever playing the game offline, it turns out that the problem was occurring because the dashes on my keyboard are different from the in-game, keyboard dashes. Once I used the in-game dashes the code worked. I love PC gaming, and I will likely continue for years to come, but a standard method of implementing serial keys would go a long way with me.

So I know I'm late, but

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I just ordered Civ IV: Beyond the Sword from Amazon. It's strange that I held off on buying the game for so long (what a year or two) and now that it's on the way I can't wait to play it. I figure I'll get a couple of playthoughs in before Civ V comes out. Still, I'm worried that the new Civ will lose some of its charm based on what they "learned" from Civ Revolution. I'm not sold on the idea of City-States developing that give your civ bonuses. Why would some relatively powerful City-State decide not to grow and why the hell do they want to give you bonuses with all those barbarians out there destroying early improvements. And then you can't stack units. What kinda idea is that? I only see that there will be a severe reduction in the number of cities that are taken. Nevertheless, I digress.

Can't wait for Beyond the Sword to get here. Looking forward to Civ V.

Games on my radar

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Tomorrow marks the lauch of Mafia II. I played Mafia I back in the day until either a bug or a really difficult part in the game brought the fun to a halt. With Mafia II dropping tomorrow, I've been reminded of the games that I'm looking forward to playing.

he games I'm looking forward to for this school year (in no particular order):

Mafia II (pending 8.5 or higher Gamespot rating)

Fable III

Fallout: New Vegas

Civilization V

Dragon Age II

Mass Effect III

Shogun: Total War (pending Gamespot rating)

Brink (pending Gamespot rating)

Completionist vs. Loving Many Games .

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The days of linear story telling in games are coming to an end. Nowadays gamers must make in-game choices that determine the outcome of the adventure. [Spoiler Alert] In one of the most dramatic decisions in video gaming history, Fallout 3 gives players the option to destroy Megaton or to allow exist. Mass Effect allows you to save the Council of see them destroyed. Mass Effect 2 gives the player the power to join the dark side or fight for what's right. These choices options give the player the power to decide and extend the life span of games, the question is: Does anyone have time to see all of the different outcomes and is it worth it?

In reality, (I suppose this isn't a serious question that deserves pondering but this is my blog and I'll do as I wish) a gamer plays until they are tired of a game and then they move on to the next game no matter how much of the game is or is not complete, but doesn't that make us wasteful. It's like throwing away your vegetables when there's kids in Africa who are still playing Madden 2003.

This decision is easier for gamers with limited financial resources, but for the gamer with a healthy gaming budget, the allure of the newest, highest rated game is irresistible. Who doesn't want to be one of the first to experience the excitement of the new hit? Plus, it's entertainment do it till it's not fun anymore then move on! Though, I wonder if this video game playing "wastefulness" says something about our generation of gamers as people. Generations before us had way crapier forms of entertainment and likely had to stick with that crap for far longer than we do.

On the other hand, the competition in new online games is fierce. If you want to get the most out of and be competitive in the MMO world, you've got to get into the games early and play a lot. There's not much hope for people starting to play Modern Warfare 2, Team Fortress 2, or Battlefield Bad Company 2 now. And if you didn't play the games you'd be missing out, and to any serious gamer this is not an option. This requires serious gamers to forgo exploring every alternative in Dragon Age: Origins in favor of building new skills in Starcraft II.

Although having multiple endings and decision trees to choose from is exciting, it's not nearly as exciting as the first time through a game. Having the option to blow up Megaton or shoot Wrex on Virmire is actually more enthralling than actually doing so because making the decision always leaves you with the feeling of what if. Not that I'd trade the option for choosing for not choosing. I just think that the excitement of choosing for the first time is far more dramatic than whatever result comes from the decision. With that said, I'm still contemplating another play through as a "evil Shepard."

With so many games offering great replay value, it's hard for a gamer to decide whether it's a better use of their time to explore the many achievements, alternate paths, and/or alternate endings or buy the newest title available.

if we didn't want to be wasteful and show appreciation for having such awesome gaming lives, then shouldn't we as gamers all be completion its? After contemplating a few of the factors involved with deciding which the better option, I think, is I prefer a balance (of course). Play games till I've explored almost all of it then work my way onto the newest blockbuster.This option allows you to not feel so bad about those kids in Africa while enjoying the newest video games available.

$19.99 Games

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I consider myself to be as hard core gamer as anyone with a wife and fulltime job can be, but when it comes to paying $50 for a game, I'm not as devoted to the hobby as one might expect. Since my discovery of Steam, I've been browsing the store for good games that might not have been great games. This has led me to a couple of gems at the fair price of $19.99. Last night I downloaded and played the original Bioshock demo. I loved it, so I paid $19.99 for the game and I'm looking forward to playing it.

This is a good and a bad plan. I did the same thing with the original Mass Effect. i played ME1 when it was $19.99, and I loved it. The good part is that I saved a whole bunch of money (that could be spent on my wife). The bad part is that I was hooked and then went out and bought ME2 for full retail price. From the looks of Bioshock, I'll probably finish that and go out and buy Bioshock 2. Hopefully, I'll be able to resist for long enough that it comes down in price.

As for other $19.99 games on my radar (on Steam), I'm looking at Left 4 Dead (sort of), Torchlight (kinda. Okay, I'm really waiting for the Last Remnant to come down and Risen.

The only problem with having an abundance of discounted games available is trying to find time to play them. I wonder if I can find a way to play them while I'm at work...

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