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Cthulad Blog

Friends, Family and Gaming

Last night I was driving home, and thinking about what I wanted to do when I have a few days off. Christmas break starts after friday for me from work, and minimally I am only taking 2 extra days off this year for a total of 11 days off. 22nd to the 2nd of January. It's a good amount of time off for family, and spending time with friends.

I got to thinking about friends at this point, and how much I do not relate to them anymore. When I was younger I had a few friends with whom I would do everything with. We were all into the same things, and loved spending hours talking about our hobbies, and bouncing ideas off each other. We were nerds (I still consider myself to be a nerd even now, as my hobbies, and life have not changed any. Just less time.) always talking about Dungeons & Dragons, or the last video game we played. We would talk about the game while playing, or what our thoughts were about games, and what might be out next. What we are looking forward too, or what we did in the game when others were not around.

I could talk about anything, and they would always know what I was talking about. It was a great time, and a great group of people to share experiences with. Even when it was just about D&D, Videogames, or Magic: The Gathering. Looking now it is about 10 years later, I am married, and still see a group of friends, just had a son last year (turns 1 on the 26th this month), and family is all doing great. However I came to a large realization last night. I am very Introverted.

I try my best to share my thoughts, and feelings with my wife, and we know what each other is feeling most of the time, we can communicate, and love each other very much, but she does not share my passion of Nerd things. Sure we play soem games together, and I enjoy what we do, when we can, but I miss the opportunity to share my true passion with her in videogames, or nerd culture. She enjoys going to some conventions, but there are a couple that I leave her at home for. I know that there is nothing for her there, and I am going to nerd up the area as best as I can.

I do not have any friends now that I spend anytime with that I can just sit back, and discuss games, or fiction (movies, books), or even the music I listen too. It was about a month ago when one of my longest friends was back in town, and there were a few of us got together, and met at a local pub sitting, and drinking, and talking. I sat there wondering what I was doing there at all. They all can talk about their work, and lives, and what they are doing. I sit there, and can't relate to a single person at the table anymore. I pretty much just sit at the table, and nod, and laugh when others do. I don't say a word most of the time, I just have nothing to contribute to the conversation anymore.

Working in IT, and being around computers all day, means that I know a little bit about them, but no one wants to hear that I sat in front of my computer, and helped people solve problems, added inventory to the work website, fixed a computer, or whatever else I do all day. I start to relate my day once in a while, but the eyes glaze over almost immediately. It's the same if I start talking about the latest video game I am playing, or book I'm reading. The music is the funniest though. I meet the odd person now, and then, and get asked what I listen too. Or what my favorite band is, and if I don't answer something in the top forty, they give me a clueless look, and ask what kind of music that is. Heavy Metal is not mainstream, and I listen to such a diverse sound, no one knows what I'm talking about.

I have been told (long tiem ago now) that I should take an interest in others hobbies also to diversify myself. I did for a while, but I can not bring myself to start things that I know I can not enjoy. Fishing, hunting, driving $500+ remote cars/trucks. We finished our basement last month, and I have space again for my hobbies, and enjoyment, but I do not want to banish myself there all the time.

Is there anyone else out there in a similar situation as I, or have you moved on to something better, and changed "for the better"?

3D movies

I was looking for a movie to go see this weekend, at a new theater that was opened about 2 months ago. They have 18+ seating theaters you can drink, and get food brought to you at a table. No kids allowed, and I wanted to try this out. Well unless I want to go and see a movie in 3D which I can not stand I probably won't make it into this new theater. There are less, and less movies being released that I want to see, and making them 3D means that I won't be seeing movies.

My problem with 3D is that it really hinders the movie. There always has to be someone throwing something, or stabbing the camera for an effect. All of the movies made for 3D or even had it tacked on do this. (I'm including Avatar in this because there are a few scenes that do this, plus I can't stand that piece of crap) I wanted to see Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, but not in 3D, Spiderman, Prometheus, these are all in 3D at this theater. My other option for non 3D is that Magic Mike movie or whatever the hell that crappy stripper thing just releasing today is. Yeah my wife does not even want to see that terd nugget.

What the hell happened to making movies. Are they all just pure garbage now. Has Hollywood really run out of ideas. I know the answer to that, and it is yes. Stop making 3D garbage, and go back to making movies. It's okay if your movie will open to only 2-3 hundred million for a day without 3D. Probably didn't cost as much to make when it is not in 3D even.

I want true emmersion in a movie, and 3D does not do it for me. I feel it actually takes away from the experience of the film. When you have to wear glasses to see what is going on, and hope it is not a blur (These glasses don't work the same for all people, especially those that have them over their glasses) it really makes me want my money back.

My rant has been brought to you with the letters D (for dumb), A (for Anger), and the number 3 (for how many times I have seen a 3d film, and refuse to ever watch another one.)

E3 after thoughts

So I'm sure everyone, and their dogs will have written one of these after the big E3 that happened this week, but I still wanted to inject my 2 cents into the hoopla. I'm gonna start by saying that it was a good show. There was quite a few things new to me, and many a game introduced, or following made more prominent than others. I don't know if there was any real surprises, but the whole show made me feel a little dull about it.

Some of the games they showed looked so great, but there are just so many more things that really could have made the show something better. Many a game that should be recognized were not, and with so many studios not going, or participating in the E3 hype it seems still a little duller than it ever was. I would have loved more information on GTA V, or something more about Starcraft 2, but I know they will not show up to this trade again, and that's fine by me. I also would have liked a lot more Indie game showings. Sure the booths for Square-Enix, UbiSoft, EA, and so forth are large, and gorgeous, but what about the indies that are there. They seem to get no love.

Oh well, I'm going to move on to the games that made me want them. Dust: An Elysian Tale, and Deadlight. WOW is all that I can say, these are looking so good. The Art for Dust: AET will blow me away, and the gameplay looks to be something that you can really embrace, and have a lot of fun with as it progresses. Deadlight remonds me of Shadow Complex, one of my favorite DLC games, This is one that I will be getting when released, and it will be sitting in my collection for a long time. The art for this is also great, and looks to really bring in a new era for interactivity. Sure you might not be able to interact directly with the back/foreground, but the zombie can, and that's what really intrigues me.

Next I'm going to say that I am looking forward to the South Park game Stick of Truth when released. I don't watch the show much more, but the game looks to be a lot of fun. I say bring that out when it is done, and not before, I want a fully emersive experience into being a South Park toon, and running along side my favorite 4 characters.

The big names for me were Last of Us (winning everything I thought of), Beyond, Dawnguard, Darksiders 2, and Assassin's Creed 3. I'm not going to say too much about these, and the videos speak for themselves, and if you have followed me, and seen what I do, or buy, and rate, well these will be in my library in the first week of release. Oh there was another game that I will be pre-ordering Dishonored, and maybe Borderlands 2. Both will be phenomenal when released later this year. I can't wait for these 2 to come out.

The BBB for Mass Effect

I can not believe that gamers have petitioned the BBB about Mass Effect 3. I think they should come back with this extended ending that will be released in summer, with Shepard giving the middle finger to all of us. I love this game, and all the predecessors. Why are we entitled to a new ending, more explaination, or anything. You don't like it, trade it don't play the game, or shut the f*** up.

EA has a little money, and Bioware has a reputation, now with this controversy they are really getting pulled to the breaking point if you ask me. Involving the BBB in something of this magnitude is just rude towards a loved franchise, and a respected company. I guess these people do not respect the company, and have no love of the franchise anymore. Bioware said they are willing to expand the ending for further closure, but they do not need to do this.

There are unethical business practices, and to me a complaint about a video game, past time activity, is going way over board for a bad business practice. It is also wasting the BBB's time, money, and resources, on such a useless endeavor.

I know it's not a good idea, but I would announce Mass Effect 4, let it go for a year really get the crowd pumped for the game, and then give a giant finger to everone out there, and cancel the game. Announce that because of the crap that they made about the last game, that a new game will never emerge for Mass Effect. I know I would be disappointed, but I would understand why they did it. Hell my thinking is so out in left field I would praise them for it.

I am very forgiving in my games, and the ones I buy. It might be because of the Atari 2600 I started with, and the games I played through on the NES. These were punishing, and they did not end in some cases, or were the crappiest pieces of turds out there. I still tried, and gave them my best all the way through. Since then I have played, and finished a great deal of games, and am happier in this age that an ending is even established. There is a story line, it needs to end eventually. The ride to get there is what I appreciate more than anything. The choices I made through the game was the ride I chose, and loved. The ending can be anything that the creator of the medium wants it to be. If they through up a picture of Shepard done in the Andy Worhol style, and said in Shepard we trust. He through his life full into the war, and made the hard choices.

I would not like it, but would accept it. I like to interpret games in my own vision as it goes. I chose to save Wrex, kill Kaiden, Cure the Genophage, save the Geth, (I really wanted to annihilate the Quarians at the end of the 3rd game). I'm sure I'm forgetting a lot more, but I was Paragon all the way through every game. Next play will be pure Renegade through them all. Each ending has had it's own conclusion, and the end to a series is the same. An end. Give me a middle finger for this extended ending, and I will laugh, and praise them to the top of the hills.

Family and gaming

So in Decmeber we had a little addition to the family in the form of a son. Gaming has not changed all that much for me, at first it was pretty tough to get time in, but in the last 6 weeks or so it has not been that hard at all. Our son is starting to notice many things, grab, and play with some toys, which is great so far, he gets a lot of attention from his mother all day, and I play with him when I get home, but since they go to bed earlier than I do, it means I can still get a couple of hours in my favorite passtime. It is a bit of a challenge to get everything done in the evening after getting home from work, and still having that time to play, but it is there when you look for it. The only challenge I am having so far is to really get immersed in the games I am playing.

When Skyrim came out, I was pretty involved with the game for a time, but it was fast approaching for my son to be born since then I have tried keeping it a little smaller chunk of game for playtime. I have been playing Kingdoms of Amalur, and now Mass Effect 3, but the immersion just is not there for me right now. I loved Mass Effect 1 and 2, but this thrid one so far has been harder to get into. I think it's because I can't concentrate as heavily this time around. After doing the mission to get the Turian embassador, I got a quest to save a colony of Biotics getting attacked by cerberus. Normally this would have been a cake walk, but for some reason I had to replay 2 different battles at least 10 times each, before finally getting through the mission.

With Kingdoms of Amalur I was getting more immersed with the game, but needed a break from it for a bit. I can only play these games so many times before I need that change of scenery. Sitting for large chunks of KOA would have been fine, but little chunks, here, and there is not recomended. It is too much for small sittings, it feels overwhelming at times when you know you can not complete a certain section, or quest right after obtaining it. Mass Effect 3 so far is getting the same vibe from me, but I'm finding it a nice break up from the hack/slash fest I was just playing.

Last night was the first night that my wife asked me when she would be able to play some of her games. I said just ask, and you shall receive. I don't mind giving up my play time for her. My son and I can sit and watch her play for however long she would like. She is not hardcore, but does enjoy her games when she plays, even if it is not with me. I have no problem watching others play through a game, I used to do this as a kid with my friends at thier houses, so it does not bother me at all.

Everyone was mentioning before my son was born that life changes so drastically, but now with only a few months under my belt, it does not have to change drastically if you do not let it. Manage your life, family, gaming, and money properly, there will always be time to do what you want, when you want. I should mention one other thing. It helps to have Grandparents (of my son) who want to see him all the time, and they live close. It keeps sanity at a high level, if it starts to drop too much, one of them will come by, and provide us an hour or two for recharge. It helps greatly.

Long time post

So it has been a really long time since I have expressed my thoughts here, and decided today seems like a good day to toss something out there.

Since September I have noticed that there have been a large amount of games coming out that I "Need" to own. I started with Rage, and then it seems that once I picked that up it kind of opened the flood gates for a whole many more to add to my collection. Dead Island, Dead Rising 2: Off the Record, Skyrim, Saints Row 3rd, Corpse Party, Cthulhu Saves the World, Bastion, and I'm sure I just missed a few I also picked up. There has been one problem so far. No time to dedicate to one game, or the feeling of needing to start that new game on the shelf instead of it gathering dust.

Skyrim, and Saints Row 3rd have had equal play over the past 4 weeks, pretty much 10 days dedicated to each one at a time, and then swapped out with the other. Sure I'm over 50% done storywise in Saints Row, but Skyrim will not be there until next year. I don't have the time to dedicate to this game like others seem too, but enjoy the hell out of it when I get to play. Saints has provided that unadulterated sense in me to just cause Chaos at every turn, and have the power to pull off said chaos. Skyrim reings me back in to make me think about my next goal.

There are so many sidequests, and main quests, and just things to do/see in Skyrim I know I will probably end up restarting a new character, and have the dedication for it a second time through. Since the release of this game there has been a write up from somewhere every day about this game. People hate, people love, people just play, and discover something new. I hop into the world, and try my best to make it to my goal without getting sidetracked. Has not happened yet, but a person can dream.

I don't think many people know about Corpse Party seeing as it is a PSP download only game from Atlus, but I have to say it is a nice change from a lot of the games out there. Story heavy, and no combat is a really nice change for the palette. As a horror game goes it is really cool, and a little eerie.

So just to leave this here for futures sake, Kingdoms of Amalure will be the next big purchase, and until then I think I have more than enough to tide me over. I am looking forward to Kingdoms of Amalure, and can't wait to see it in my xbox, and what fun I can can with it.

Me and games

So recently I began playing games a lot more frequently. Maybe it's because there is nothing but total crap on t.v. anymore, or that for some reason I just seem to be able to schedule more time towards them. I also have started to notice that when I like a game it's get played a hell of a lot longer than many more out there. Recently just tracking through Raptr I noticed I have over 100 hours in Rock Band 3, and Fallout: New Vegas. Closing in on 40 hours for Dragon Age 2. Before that my longest played game was Splinter Cell: Conviction at 21 hours. The reason I even had that much time in that game was that my wife played it with me, after I finished it.

Dragon Age 2 will get more time than I probably even wanted to dedicate to it, but so far I have been loving it. I think I need to start rethinking a few things in the game so far in the second act, but I know I will get through it. I failed a fight about 10 times last night before I decided to just abandon it, and gather more supplies/party to tackle it again. I still would have continued to a 100 deaths and enjoy the game. There are so few games out there tha make me even think that I could continue after so many fails. I usually abandon those games, and never return (*cough* Devil May Cry *cough*)

It is a slower year for games so far for me, as I have a backlog of like 20 games from the past 2 years. Some I have not started, and others abandoned. However it may continue to grow if the few more games coming out between now, and August keep my attention as well as Dragon Age 2. L.A. Noire is one game I can't wait to get a hold of, and Deus Ex, then Rage in September, are probably the biggest ones to find their way into my system. Who knows once a demo comes out for Brink it may even make it's way in there. Guess only time will tell as it comes close, and closer for spring to actually start and melt snow. Once that happens it means less gaming as a possibility.

California law

I figure I might as well get this off my chest. Everyone is arguing the california law that wants to be passed. Some for, some against. I live in Canada, and it affects me indirectly. However I just thought I should express my opinion in how I understand the passing of this law will affect all of us.
I guess first off I want to say it will hurt the industry, maybe not right away, but the industry will see a larger drop in sales. How you might ask. Well if the law passes it makes it illegal to sell a game to an underage person for what the game is rated. This is not law, but it is best practice, or at least should be now. There is a bigger change that most people miss when they read what the changes are when the law passes. This is what will affect all of us.
They want the stores out there for example: WALMART, TARGET, GAMESTOP, or BEST BUY to have a room for selling the games. It equates to a porn store basically. If you sell material over the age of 17, or 18, Mature rated, you need the material covered, or closed off. This means that thes big stores need to build a room, or close off a small part of the store so they can sell Mature rated games, possibly Teen, and up.
This will hurt sales after day one, if there is no launch special. Midnight opening for a game could still work without having you go into the "backroom" if you restrict it to anyone over the age of 18 allowed in the store after midnight for the launch. After that you have to go to the covered, or closed room to get your games. This makes people feel a little uncomfortable, having to go into, or request a mature game from behind a black sceen to purchase. Like it's a "Dirty" deal. Porn is what this really equates too. Gamestop can not have any commercials for the big Mature games coming out, all you will see is the Everyone games being advertised in the front window. Thsi law also wants to make it illegal to advertise openly the new mature rated game coming out to the public on the street or in the store.
Now granted the majority of people purchasing the games are over 18, but the parents that are still uneducated will never step foot in the video game area, if it blacked out, a room off to the side, or anything to that effect, as it would "Set a bad example" to the kids. Walmart, Target, Best Buy, and Gamestop may stop carrying the games, or will have to conform to this law in the 6 states they want it passed in. If it's in these 6 states, as a chainwide, and world wide store, it will pass for all stores. They will implement what they "Feel" is best, and implement the change to all stores.
In no way is this exactly what can happen, but I have read the proposal through twice, and this is what they want if passed. It may happen it may not. I for one do not want to have to walk into a almost "Porn" like shop for the next Halo, Killzone, or Resident Evil game.
This is my opinion upon how I undertand the proposed law. Please take a minute, and discuss.

Generalizing the numbers of reviews (Metacritic)

This last weekend I was looking for something to flip through, and came across an old favorite of printed material. I then found out that it's the first new issue in almost a year, the EGM magazine is back again. Funny I never noticed how it left. So I started to flip through, I read almost every page, and came across a really well written editorial. They began talking about Metacritic, and sites that compile scores, and grades for games, and other entertainment. I had never been on Metacritic before, and I needed to check out this site, and see why it is the "Site to go to". I have heard about it extensively, but never considered it as I only hear negative things. After 10 minutes flipping through some of the games, and movies, I had to leave. I now understand why most people go there and look at the numbers only.

First thing I see is a list of the last 5 games or so, that have been reviewed. I click on Red Dead Redemption, and it shows green 95. Well why would I really move anywhere else then past that shiny number. It matters not if it was yellow, or red either, it just draws your attention right away. I started to scroll through as I am in a minority and always want to read the review of a game, and not just see the number. So after going through the whole list I want to see how they get to this number. This is the worst explanation I have ever seen without providing you any information.

The short version, and the long version are exactly the same. They take what ever is given from the critics, and convert it into a number out of 100. I'm still trying to figure out how a 5 star, or grade of B+ is converted. There is no math equation given, (but it is there in the long version as a warning) to stop anyone from questioning their conversion. They mention that some reviews are taken into higher consideration than others. Well that's great, but who are they? Scrolling through the reviews with each site providing their "Converted" score does not show what they gave. You have to go into the sites, and see what they actually gave the game. This is not a problem for someone who wants to be informed before deciding, but those out there that are looking for the "Best" game will look at numbers only.

Back when I was at school with letter grades, I never actually understood how they came across the number equivalent of the grade. If you receive an "A+" should that not be 100% through the assignments, and tests. An "A" would be the equivalent of 95% to 99% and so forth, with "F" being a 0%. This is not the case however, an "F" is 0-49%. I do not know if this the math equation is actually used, but it seems like it should be. Now Metacritic using this system, anyone providing letter grades will bring down the "Overall" score of any game, whether they are higher regard, or not. Average games considered by all reviewers are between a 6-8, 60%-80%, "C" -"B+". This however is not the case, you notice that Metacritic provides a "C" grade as a 60%, and that is considered below average score. They use 70% or higher as average.

In my opinion I think all scores should be removed, and replaced, by well thought out reviews. Metacritic could beheld in higher regard if they based their scores on the written word, (Not the numbers of words used either) by the reviewers, and not a score assigned. They are one of the sites to go to when bonuses are handed out for a highly regarded game, however it is not calculated equally. Imagine what it would be like if you based your purchase, or pass on an actual written review then a grade or number next to the game title. That would truly make people think.

I would love to hear any opinions, and if Metacritic is used as much as they say they are or not.

Remebering the old days

I was thinking last night for some reason about Final Fantasy games. Then I remembered the first time I played Final Fantasy II (4 in proper order). The first one came at christmas back when it was released, and I played that religiously from the time it was released till the Super nintendo arrived in my house. I even recalled the time I was up at 3am (2 hours before my paper route) so that I could complete the Ice Cave, and get the airship. Man that was a great day, I was so excited about finishing it for the first time, and none in my party died, I had a huge burst of adrenaline that lasted all day long.

So one day I was sitting in my gym class (Junior high) and a friend of mine starts talking about FFII of for the SNES. I make the slight hint of wanting to check it out, and he invites me over. After school I go to his house, and he hands me the controller, and says go for it. Man I lit up like a school girl with a crush. I had that controller in hand for the next 6 hours. After that it was about a month of not spending a single dime, from my paper route, and saving for that SNES. (Lots of tips back in those days) It was another 2 weeks before I got the game (Satisfied with Super Mario World for with the system for the time being, and a copy was not to be found in the game store I frequented back then) Once plugged in, I think I missed 2 days of school, from being over tired, and "Sick" finished it after about a week playing, and promplty started a new game. Went through this time slower, and looked for all of the equipment I could find.

As time went on FFIII came out, and I didn't get it right away either, (once again hard to find back then) one of my friends had a full week of school off, and was almost expelled for missing time, (Played the game straight) but finished it, and passed it along. That was a another phenomanol game. As time went on I heard about FFVII being developed for the Playstation. No clue when North America would get a copy, but I went out and bought a PS right away. This was a great system, but at the time I was still playing my SNES mostly.

So finally FFVII hits, and I have a copy in my hands the day it does. I think I was "Sick" that day. Man who can forget the first time Cloud appeared, on that train. This game received the second most attention of any Final Fantasy game (the SNES FFIII received the most) The first time I made it to the Chocobo races, I hated it, but when I could return I wanted all the coloured chocobos I could create, and find. That Gold chocobo was a pain to get, but soon as I did, the Island you needed him for *SPOILER* was promplty entered, and Knights of the Round was mine. Funny how I finished the game without them the first time. I went into the depths for Sephiroth without this summons, and had a nice challenge. Then reloaded after finishing, and began doing the races, and what ever I was missing. The second time I leveled Mimic, to the top, and Knights to a second level (Did not have the patience for the 3rd) Went to Sephiroth again, and summoned with mimic. Just wanted to see the Overkill I could cause. I never watched it, but started it, and went made a sandwich, and then came back down to the 3rd summon happening, which I then did it all again. That was the best!

Lets see, I since have always picked up any FF games released, on the day they come out. Bad or good, and have pretty much enjoyed them all the way through with the exception of FFVIII. It felt like such a chore, and never actually enjoyed it at all. The only FF I have never played was FFXI, just never was interested in getting into a game that was out in Japan for about a year before localization, and trying to compete with all the high level groups. Maybe FFIV will get a chance this time out, if they release at the same time as Japan.

So now I think it's time to pay Kafka back once again. He deserves it the most I think, and I just want to see the Chainsaw animation from Edgar. That was the best the first time I saw it. :D

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