The site redesign is irreparably broken, so I don't visit here as much as I'd like to anymore. That said, yesterday's actions by the Gamespot/CBS brass compelled me to go the distance to put down at least some sort of acknowledgement for the people who were sadly cut off.
This was not a wise move, Gamespot. Whatever profit margin you've increased, you've severely decreased in lack of personality, color and maybe also a downsizing of quality versus populist content. At least divisive views generate something more than a "lulz" comment. We need those elbowing words to fall still. You've disappointed a lot of people, Gamespot.
My best to those affected and those left to deal with this, as if it's a normal thing to happen. It's not.
Sigh – It’s not been a great week for me. That’s not important; we’re not here to discuss my emotional state, like a diary. We’re here to discuss video games. It’s something I write about sometimes. I can list things, but again, boasting accomplishments isn’t the focus. I only want to direct you to the news that Square Enix decided to shut down Core Online, a browser service where the company provided free games through advertisement and subscription support. I know this, because I noticed it yesterday.
Doing so, I saw that the service was taken offline quite some time ago, so I wondered why I hadn’t heard that anywhere at all. Not here, not major publications I enjoy following, such as Joystiq, Destructoid and all those fancy names we all know; there hadn’t been as much as a blip. So, I figured I’d do something we editors rarely get time to do and investigate further, contact sources, hear them out on this decision and so on, prior to writing. Reilly Brennan from Square Enix was kind enough to point me towards the support pages they had put up for their users that addressed the cancellation. From there and my other findings, I put up my article on January 16th, as I thought many readers wouldn’t have picked up the news yet. Hell, back when I was plugging the service during Square Enix sales that featured some of Core Online’s titles, I constantly met people who had never heard of it. We’ll call it our hipster club.
One day later, to my surprise, I find that indeed not many had picked up the news yet, as VG247 reported on it. I was right, for once. That’s a check plus for me. Yet, they listed Polygon as the crediting line. Odd as that may be, I didn’t fret, as I’m sure I was going to follow the trail home from there. Polygon, often criticized for their vigorous application of morality in their work, would surely follow through on this with the crediting line as well. It’s in their blood. It’s what they fight the hoard of nearly sociopath gaming crowd to the teeth for. They listed Gone Home as their Game of the Year and we all know what that means. That link takes you back to an article I wrote about the game, by the way, check link sources first, then click.
Thinking I arrived at my destination, I read through Polygon’s article, only to find that they directed their work with thanks to Videogamer. Now, I’m already not the most hopeful person, but I would think they would’ve skipped the runaround and lead straight to where everyone is getting it from. As mentioned, if there’s one publication that vows to be on the level, against all odds, it’s them. Still, since the credit roulette isn’t done, I can’t exactly fault them either, since it’s possible that this is just where they picked up this news. It’s news; it goes around. I also follow numerous publications, but unfortunately can’t keep track of them all. As long as Videogamer has that nod towards my site, GG3, it’s alright. That’s my site, by the way. You probably never heard of it. We’re keeping it hipster. Moving on. It’s a little hurtful at this point, as you should always source the proper peers you got yours from, but it’s not the first time it’s happened. I broke news before. Some are going to be scummy about it, but usually the turnover is at least 50/50. There’s good people and bad people everywhere. Our capsule isn’t different.
By now, we all know where this is headed. Once at Videogamer, a publication that I recently got in my radar through their rightful criticism of Youtube jerk KSIOlajidebt, I found only a direct credit line to Core Online. I should’ve been less naïve to not realize earlier why my article had gotten no traction whatsoever, before going down this rabbit hole. It, however, didn’t make the blow any less crushing. This sucks.
Ok, I understand I’m not the “source,” Square Enix still is. It’s their thing. It would be rather coincidental though that writer David Scammell of Videogamer would’ve suddenly come up with this news out of thin air and that a convenient day after mine. My news was listed on January 16, around 5PM. Videogamer picked up this article at January 17, 11AM. There’s no, “via/thanks GG3” and no, lesser favored, “this blogger reported” line. I don’t like being addressed as a random blogger, but since I don’t have the financial strength to transform a crummy free site into an actual thing, I understand that decision. Again: That has happened before, even for more respected sites I worked for. I’m not that technical about things. If the link's there, it’s there. It isn’t.
Is it possible David Scammell happened upon this idea by mere coincidence? After all, I only returned to Core Online myself after months of absence. It’s a…probability. The article does refer to little enough random links to hide any connection. Debunkers of the Bible argue that the magic coincidence of people in different areas writing about similar stories at the same time is just that; a cosmic roll of chance. It’s pegged as “great minds think alike” or something along those lines.
Still, is it likely that the one in a million chance is the reason? One day after my article is put onto aggregation sites, where it can be picked up? No. It’s not likely at all, certainly not when a random support page isn’t exactly an obvious reference, months after the date. It’s as big of a correlation as that developer from Kumi Games who was just addressed for forming hateful comments in a similar manner through anonymous accounts. Could it be that he’s not the cause of it? Technically, yes, anything is possible without direct, tangible proof, but let’s not kid ourselves. These things don’t just connect nine out of ten dots and then don’t stack up. Credit where it’s due is what we’re aiming for after all. Bad people need to be given their credit too.
“Why didn’t you just ask them to put you in a thank you,” you ask. That’s a fair point and one that crossed my mind prior to this, but I shouldn’t. As the original form, I shouldn’t do anything more to inform people. I already did that. Videogamer should’ve done the right thing in the first place and done that, by their own volition. They shouldn’t do the wrong thing, then have me take additional steps to ask if it would be cool if, instead, they would want to do the right thing. Their inaction shouldn’t cause my action; that’s just not logical.
Now, I know Videogamer, as a whole, can’t be faulted for this. I understand that employing one person isn’t the same as attributing that mentality to an entire organization. We should do a lot less of that and not get people like Adam Orth, the “deal with it” guy, fired for ultimately being right about Xbox One, but in a very lousy way. I am, however, saddened that Videogamer would employ people like David Scammell, who would use this sort of crummy behavior, which would also enable this sort of mentality to spread. He could even be on the up and up for everything else he’s done in his life. He isn’t cool here, though; that’s certain. Not only that, but his position allows his peers to follow his lead and lift things as well.
It’s even worse that, in order to even point this out in any way, I can’t make use of the same visibility as these major publications, therefore just furthering an already unwinnable battle. Instead, I’m forced to use a piggyback off larger sites and just drop it there, in the vain hope someone is actually going to be interested in a random blogger there. I am a blogger here, I can’t discredit that. Something, something trickles downhill. My site/blog just doesn't bare the same credibility and stands no chance against others to brush it off with that in mind. I know this, because this week alone, I discovered that Europe won't have an Xbox 360 of Nascar '14, no one else picked up on and the only thing that's addressed there is that there is one, in the US, so I'm wrong. Deep Silver didn't have any official comment on that, by the way, they replied when I asked. I ask things sometimes.
I could ask for an apology or something from Videogamer and/or David Scammell, if it’s even heard at this point, but I wouldn’t want that. It would be an empty gesture; a free, intangible action that doesn’t change anything to the overarching situation. I don’t need that. The only thing I would “want,” is for this mentality to stop. The only thing I want is people doing the right thing, if it’s not too much to ask; not bound by contract or other restrictive manner, but because they know it to be just, within themselves.
Stop using a higher status to sneak away with credit. Small publications rely on this a great deal and they already don’t get the privileges of a higher tier. It’s incredibly frustrating at the bottom of the totem pole already. Adding to that is just an incredibly low move. In a time where we’re pulling for more integrity again, a simple “thanks, tubby” should be applied more, not less.
Then again, what do I know? I’m just some random blogger, writing about video games, like a diary. Apparently, my writing just isn’t that good.
After a tumultuous marketing journey, the Xbox One has announced that it will reverse several of its policies based on digital rights management or DRM. This is a victory for consumers and other end users everywhere, but in no small scale also a victory for Microsoft. There is already backlash and detractors for this event, saying the Xbox One is worse off now and all that. Please, at least savor this news for a day or two. Then you have the full right to throw your hissy fits again, because gamers enjoy being irate no matter what the stance. For now, the battle lies with the massive outcries that started after the next gen consoles reveal. Myself, I contributed to this effort by providing an article summarizing the good points of Xbox One, with the message to #DropDaDRM.
After the news, I quickly recorded some thoughts on all of this, plus several tribulations surrounding Nintendo, since theyve been getting a ton of press lately as well. I was meaning to wrap up some of these tales anyway, so heres a batch of a few, such as Nintendos free-to-play stint, iOS demands and Smash Bros reveals.
I hope you enjoy the video and please feel free to comment on Youtube or here if you have thoughts.
I don't think many can deny that this year's E3 hasn't been great. If there are any, feel free to speak up. Yet, there's always one or two notable industry heads who have to rattle the cages; often needlessly. I'll stick to a statement that analyst Michael Pachter, the man who predicted The Walking Dead couldn't win Game of the Year, has mentioned over the last few days. He stated that the PS Vita will fail, with claims like: "Nobody cares about playing the Vita on a train."
I don't want to dwell too much on that, other than to state that needless negativity on a viable but underrated product can turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy, when muttered repeatedly. So, to turn the tide around, please take a look at the great things the PS Vita is doing at E3 2013. All of the clips below are from games coming to the handheld and all look like pretty cool titles. Hopefully, they will be as entertaining as they appear.
Bioshock Infinite is this years Skyrim: Flawed in just about all design, but completely forgivable due to its overwhelming atmosphere.
Bioshock Infinite is exactly what Spec Ops: The Line wouldve been if its game elements wouldve worked. Instagram filters and chained shooting galleries of a bland shooter that relies mostly on a storyline with an immense twist.
Bioshock Infinite is like the Twilight series, minus the scruples: Its third act becomes as convoluted and incredible as Bella becoming impregnated by a vampire baby that wants to eat her from the womb.
Bioshock Infinite is what Proteus wouldve been if they had forced traditional gameplay elements in it: Simply being present in its universe is more consequential than any other, lesser element of the game.
Bioshock Infinite is Far Cry 3 with opposite priorities: A gorgeous shooter with unnecessary ultra-violence that is accepted because of the overall products excellence.
There are bound to be a few more succinct comparisons to be made in a snappy one-liner. If you have one, feel free to leave a comment!
I periodically will stumble across items that make me do a double take, meaning I check it and then I check it once more for good measure, because the thing I saw is hopefully not the thing I think I just saw. Sadly, sometimes it is. This is the case for a recent Kickstarter project where a seemingly supportive mother wants to help her daughter in a charming sibling rivalry against her older brothers. The mean duo of males has ridiculed the girl, stating that her gender is incapable of producing good games. Still, at just 9 years of age, the girl isnt fazed and with help from mommy dearest, Kickstarter can come to her rescue and send her to RPG Camp, whatever that is, if they can muster the $829.
Its a noble goal and one we all took to heart, because of the low funds, the charming story and the struggle against adversity that puts us all on the cheering squad for the underdog. That all seems fine; except for a few dodgy tactics of manipulation. However, some of the goals had me taken aback. Now, far be it for me to ask why a sub-$1000 project would need high stakes donations; crazier things have happened. Instead, a first thought occurred that some goals seemed rather unrealistic to a child, even as a goal. For instance, how can you deny or ask someone to alter their vision by creating specific, custom NPCs based on backers that have paid the amount? In a regular setting, sure, but this is a 9 year old were asking to play house exactly like we want to. How many times has that ended well in the chronicles of all house playing ever?
Yet, by far the one that took me for that double take was the final tier, the $10,000 powerhouse donation. First off, the amount itself is more than 10 times the funds needed for the project in its entirety. Its a bit much. Still, thats not the thing that made it seem odd. Again: Kickstarter can be strange sometimes. No, its the fact that one of those prizes states that her brothers will personally apologize to you, the backer, for something you have no involvement in. Rather than just being plain weird, its the fact that morality is paired with currency that sickened me. I use a strong term, but it has made a tangible knot in my insides when I read it for what it really was: The literal concept of evil washed away with cash, which is in itself a redundancy of any remorse. The act is solely done to spite and the regret is only achieved when enough funds are acquired.
This was a major turning point in the ancient world with the Church and its concept of indulgences. In fact, its how the Church got to be the powerful, currency-backed institution it is today and why several branches started detaching from the known concept. Anyone who had sinned could buy their way back into the gates of heaven. It was indeed so popular that the Church began breaking down indulgences in fraction, so that poorer people could repay their since in payment plans. It was so ingenious that fractions would never complete, as youd buy 1/8 of an indulgence, which would then break off in another, smaller fraction and so on. To end this brief history lesson, it was a major catalyst for historic figure Martin Luther to denounce the Church for its greed and notify it of its sober and humble roots. If you follow organized religion today, the new Pope, Francis, has uttered a similar desire.
RPG Maker: A facilitating tool for game development, out on Steam.
What I dont mention in that history lesson is the revolutionary movements, bloodshed and atrocities that this mentality has brought forth. This is the mentality in that Kickstarter that upset me: the loss of all morality for financial gain, through any means necessary. While the Kickstarter has long since reached its initial mark, I can only hope that it gets shut down for this deplorable action and the many others inside, which will fill the internet shortly.
Today, we collectively failed as a community once more. Even though not every one of us acted poorly, the fact that one side clearly pushed its rhetoric through has made this less of an open place and more of a restricted area: No fun allowed. To give this ongoing lament some context: Today, Deep Silver announced a risqué collector's edition called the Zombie Bait Edition, which prominently displayed a severed and dismembered torso with big breasts and small clothing. Is it tacky? Yes, probably. Is it a reason for a mass outcry? Hardly.
The culprit du jour.
Normally, I'd make this into an official piece, thinking up of a point by point case, argument, solution, future thought and that sort of thing. However, that would require me to go on endlessly about a topic that is out of my hands in this industry already. Instead, the swift rebuttal here serves to prove that this is a personal standpoint, though it has the same basis as most of my op-ed pieces, when I'm not using my education to look outside of my values, which I personally believe are the only rules to live by. For those wondering: I live by The Golden Rule. In short, it's that well-known line that goes "treat others like you yourself would wish to be treated." On that aspect, we treated the Zombie Bait Edition news like we would like to be picked apart by vultures. It's a standpoint I can respect, but not one I can condone.
News outlets were quick to release statements how "offensive," "disgusting," "repulsive," "outrageous" and more of these strong words on how appalling the limited edition was thought to be. Mayhap; I'm not saying such a provocative item won't burn in anyones eyes. I, too, am offended when Halo thinks it's a good idea to provide their promotional features with Doritos chips and Mountain Dew, implying that we're all greasy pigs. However, would I call for a massive outcry for someone offering a bust? No, not really; I'm not mad at art history for doing the same.
This point can be argued until the cows are dead and we're serving their racks in a self-righteous buffet of hypocrisy, but it's where my mind immediately went to. I immediately associated it with a bust, because that's what it is: a bust, which is defined as "the human chest." That seems accurate to me. Dead Island also features dead women in skimpy, tropical outfits and has dismemberment elements. All these things are fitting and no one gave a crap about that when the original came out. No, more so, prior to that, Deep Silver released a clip containing the "magical negro" trope, which was linked to their character Sam B, but doesn't resemble him in the slightest. That is, unless you're a racist and think all black people look alike. More so, that clip is also filled with objectification, but that is fitting, why exactly? Is it that hip-hop makes it okay? Is it because black people use women as toys? No matter how you look at it, it's going to be bad when a clip shows over a dozen shots of body parts with no face, for no reason other than to show it. Again, here no one cared. It's an issue now that Deep Silver rubs it in our faces. We're not being very consistent in how are brainwashing works, but I'll leave that point open to debate.
This shot of headless torsos is completely justifiable because...???...profit.
No, other than your personal stand on whether or not it's offensive, it's how we reacted like infants to it that caught my eye. Even that would normally not faze me too much, since we all know how the gaming community can be. However, this time is different for one particular reason. This frothing of the mouth; the knee-jerk, quick wit with no further thought came from the very crowd that would pretend to be different: It is those that make the sensible, adult remarks on how we need to evolve, accept each other and so on. I don't know about you, but I've never been taught that acceptance needs to be shoved down my throat and if my opinion is wrong I need to be snuffed out. That sounds like the reverse of accepting anyone for their good or lesser ideas and ideals.
How does acceptance work in Riptide's case? It made a provocative piece, so it needed to be shut down. Well, all this media outrage worked, as Deep Silver issued an apology the same day at how appalled they were by their own behavior. It must've struck them by surprise and so it should, because they did nothing out of the ordinary. They marketed their product with cheap attention grabbing, as anyone else in any walk of life does. No, not in our gaming community; we're fighting for equality in here, so there's no room for this.
That last sentence doesn't work. You can't have your cake and eat it too, then sue the baker for making you fat. At some point, this mass hysteria needs to end. Whatever happened to disagreement? "I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it." Isn't that how the enlightened philosophers thought about equality? There doesnt seem to be any defending in massively coming down on Deep Silver. There seems to be only offense. What people are doing by projecting negativity on this campaign is calling for exclusive behavior that will only allow certain things and disqualify others. This is being part of the very problem you're trying to fight. I'll even leave out the fact that publications were quick to publish the provocative item once more with the apology update, because showing a bloody bust is so disgusting that you should do it twice, right? It can't just be updated in the same appalled article, that picture must be drained for all its juicy contents. Again, consistency is lacking.
Perhaps just use your fingers.
However, the lowest of all points today was not even this sad state of affairs; it's that the dogs weren't appeased with the blood on Deep Silvers hands. Instead, it went after their personnel and showed the true nature of what it means to not know what you're angry about. Some of you may know Maurice Tan from his time with Destructoid. He's now an employee of Deep Silver and earlier today tweeted an off color joke about this ordeal. Seeing as I don't want to actively feed the flames of other people's misery, I wont link it and just state what it said; which goes as follows: "It is cut off, so who knows. S(he) might have a cock down there." The response to it was immediately and overwhelmingly negative. Ill post a screenshot here.
Did we notice a pattern here? It has the same irate state of knee-jerk reactions, immediately going for the jugular, in the name of equality. The community had choice words for Maurice, because this was deemed offensive and bigoted. Yet, nothing in the tweet can be pulled any which way on that topic. There is no divide that would suggest a fixed view. Still, the immediate assumption is negative and the reaction is downright hostile. It's bullying in pure form, skewed on the platform of freedom of speech. It's not offensive, but it might be, so lets presume it is. It's these same presumptions that the community should fight, not endorse. That was the straw that broke the camel's back for me. The whole day today I thought I'd elevate myself and not fume like I watched people fume about their delusions. I failed, we all failed. Today was a bad day for gaming. We're not welcome in our own world, so what do we do now?
That's my secret...
It's getting to be exhaustingly late, the day was endless and I still need to edit this post with pictures and such, so excuse the longevity and unfiltered approach of this write-up. Again, I'd like to state that this is my personal reactionary movement and thus doesn't come equipped with the necessary softening filters. It is still based on my belief and my idealism focused on inclusion rather than exclusion. Let me end this rant, the only way the internet knows how:
TL;DR: Judge not lest ye be judged. We didn't fight for equality today, we merely fought equality. Deep Silver shouldn't have had to apologize for endorsing freedom of choice and the fact it did has made our world smaller, not more open. We are all to blame.
The following little irk in our realm of seemingly unimportant issues came to me during a fit of insomnia, where either everything starts to click or is inane drivel. You decide. In any case, it was triggered by events that keep popping back up to us non-native English tongues. In an order to facilitate us, just about any company brings out their Operating System (henceforthOS) in our custom language. Theres nothing wrong with the amicable gesture per se, but its also not completely helpful.
For instance, the current Windows OS that comes packed with any standardpurchasein other countriesare providedin the local language. Thisis doneto addressless technical folks and introduce them to the basic workings of dealing with technology. Again, that part is helpful. Now, the big issue is that its a standard. Well get to that explanation in a second; first I need to needlessly prattle about how I got pushed to the brink. If you dont care to read, skip the following paragraph:
Since my OS is in a different language, other basic programs, such as browsers, feel the need to adapt to that detected language. Obviously, since it may well be the only language I know, they need to immediately certify Im able to understand their product. However, being on the internet, Ill more than probably understand English; I prefer it for the explanation in following paragraph. Yet, for the umpteenth time, once my settingsare clearedfor updates, maintenance and so forth, the browser will revert to my local language, confusing me in its workings. Thissubsequentlygets picked up by other instances. In this case, it wasYoutubethat updated and needed my detailed info, but asked so in a language I wouldnt be ableto functionproperly from a technical standpoint. All the basic technical notions I know, Iwas handedby the predominantly English internet universe. Here lies the core of the issue.
Did you skip the paragraph? No matter, well get down to business: The standard of offering any OS in a custom language is ironically counterintuitive to its purpose. You see, the user accessibility provided in catering to a specific languageis setto lower the bar for others to get into, yet this poses that these users have little to no prior knowledge of the tech. This means that no matter what the term is, its probably going to sound foreign in the way that any of its intended uses are an abstract notion to that person. Therefore, providing the OS in English or the local setting will have very little significant difference, if at all. Yet, this is only tier 1 of the issue. Since were atstatus quoright now, the level needs to go one deeper, as noted in the exemplary form mentioned above.
Trust me, you want to know exactly what you're doing in BIOS.
Seeing as both languages swing unknown terms at you, your best shot at understanding more is to do some research. So much is true for anything in life. If I want to suck less at cooking, I look at some instructional videos and if I feel really bold, Ill simply look up detailed texts on the pros and cons of certain cooking skills. Twenty minutes later, Ill have a microwaved meal set for a god; a lazy god. Where would that research take place, especially on a multimedia device? If youve guessed the internet, then were already one step closer. Yes, the internets first intended use, before itwas wastedon human decadence, was to provide information. You might have read something about that whilst Tweeting and searching for pornography. I know I have, search for info that is.
Did I mention the internet is predominantly in Englishform? Good; we cleared that. Now, it is true that there are also other languages filled with info, but heres where it starts to stutter. There arevirtuallyendless research possibilities in English. Past the standard, overly complexmumbojumbo provided by sites, such as Microsoft help for Windows, there are millions of forums where people can get an explanation fit to their needs. Whatever the issue, theres probably a solution you can find, explained in a simple step to step basis, even with pictures, just a search engine keystroke away. Again, these also exist in other languages, but the amount is immensely different for both. Past the standard, even more foreign help in a custom language, there are a few thousand topics to research, if any at all, dependent on the language.
Given that any which way, you wont know what the original term really means, this original facilitation of providing an OS to your custom needs is now actually hindering you from working. For a detailed instance, I know full well what a Control Panel is and I know how to get my way around, due to extensively going back and forth between helping resources and the words pointed out. I however have 0 notion of what a Configuratiescherm in Dutch really means, nor the underlying words and finding that out isfrequentlyhard. More so, trying to translate is a lost cause, since idiosyncrasies oft slip in translation. Id bemuch betteroff with an English version to teach me the words that might as well be compared with icons, since their meaning are only esoteric for now. I can click the button that says the thing, even if I dont understand it, because theres a detailed explanation stating it works as intended. I dont need a language for that; thats pattern recognition.
Why can't this just be explained in a simple cookies vs rainbows ratio?
While it is true that any OS will probably offer alternatives, that isnt the point. The point is that theadoptedlanguageshould bethe alternative,thereforeliminating much technological illiteracy by providing amuch largerpool of knowledge in English. Yes, language packs are a nice touch, but for Windows at least, these differences are costly, just for a small boost. Its not fair for usersto bepunished for ignorance; theres already plenty that can go wrong by operating something that is a distant notion to you. Now I should leave you and try to figure out how to thoroughly clean any search and browser histories from a Dutch OS; because I looked up too much info, of course.
I love PCs. Even though this setup is now over 6 years old and has been falling apart at the seams for over a year, I still manage to find new things every so often. Whether it's new features I was unaware of, small tweaks I gather from research or even just new capabilities I didn't foresee possible before; I've learned so much by being a PC owner. One could not say the same for consoles or many other appliances, as those usually stay quite similar in experience. I'd like to share my latest trick with you all. It's nothing big, but it amazed me just how something so simple can make a difference.
The last shot of my running workspace, before all broke down at once.
For a year now, I've been getting issues with several USB appliances. Whether they were underperforming or malfunctioning, there was never a consistent reason for the defects. Many times I just thought it'd be a temporary problem with my PC or operating system, but it ultimately seemed to be nothing of the sort. Today, I once more tried to connect an underperforming device to my rig. At first, I just popped in the USB adapter on the front of my case and nothing new happened: It still didn't want to function as expected. This is strange, as the device in question performs fine on other computers.
This time though, I didn't sink down to lethargy. I pressed on and just to see if my USB port wasn't broken (and I know it isn't), I plugged in the same device into the back of my PC case where more USB ports sit. To my surprise, my auxiliary item now appeared to work. I'm writing this several hours later after testing vigorously to see if this was a fluke or not: It isn't. There's a difference between plugging your devices in the front or back port of most computers.
After some research, I found out that some setups have slight differences in power between the front and back, due to a number of factors. I realize I could've researched earlier, but similar queries never came up with anything. But now it seems that there are many similar tales of people with a wide array of similar issues. So let me reiterate this small trick:
TIP: Plug your important USB devices in the back ports of your desktop.
I realize that not everyone will want to hear a boring self-discovery story, so I highlighted this tale's most important phrase to glance over immediately. Now that's educational! Myself, I now use my wireless mouse tablet and my printer as the base for my back ports, as those would require the most power to function properly. Anything else like flash drives and whatnot are too troublesome or too temporary a unit to give importance to. You should find out which USB devices you use most and/or which you'd like to have at optimal performance at all times. Perhaps you enjoy games through a USB headset. Perhaps you record footage with a USB capture card. There are several items that require the highest possible performance to wield the best results. I thought I'd pay it forward and see if anyone else could be helped with this neat quirk I just found out.
Of course, this doesn't apply to just any PC. Even though my PC has the same 2.0 ports in all four slots, not all computers have a difference in power, but it doesn't hurt to find out. Additionally, laptops usually have only a few USB ports that connect to the same areas. But I'm a PC gamer by heart and I need a desktop PC for PC gaming. Nothing else would do.
I hope this simple little trick helps a few out there who have been struggling with their USB devices. If not, feel free to add a few of your own tales in the comment section.
It's been a year since Atlus released their controversial game, Catherine. While only being available in Japan at the time, the story and difficulty level of Catherine gained a lot of attention quickly and a localization effort was made to bring the title to Western audiences. American regions were blessed a few months later, with the US release in July. Now, 12 months after the original, the game is finally available for European audiences. Publisher Deep Silver made the smart move of picking this up and releasing it to the Euro crowd, so let's see how the game pans out after 1 year. Consider this a reevaluation.
It's a strange combination to have a duality of part social simulator and part puzzle game, but at least it's original and Catherine makes it work. The story, mainly followed in the daytime social cycle, stars a man named Vincent and his crisis with commitment issues. During the day, he juggles his love life and talks with his friends, hangs at the bar and sends texts; while of course drinking heavily. As protagonists go, Vincent seems some of the least likeable characters, with his questionable, pubescent behavior and low-level morals. But in the end it's the player's choice whether to steer the course of Freedom or Order in a choice-based meter. Answering questions and texts will affect how Vincent feels about things and this will in turn shape the story progression.
At night, Vincent's troubles manifest themselves in nightmares that create the puzzle portion of the game. In his dream state, he must manipulate a set of different blocks in order overcome his adversity and climb towards freedom. This isn't a leisurely stroll though, as the floor gives way underneath him and he might even be chased by actual demons that brandish a deadly arsenal. Throughout levels, there are ways to slow down and rest up on platforms where he can converse with sheep that seem to be in the same predicament. But at the end of levels, he'll need to go into a confessional and the nightmare will start all over again. There is no rest for the wicked.
Just death-defying nightmares, that's all, Catherine baby.
Catherine doesn't deceive the audience; the game is primarily about the story and the simple block puzzles are a mere framing device for the allegories needed within. But that doesn't mean that Vincent can simply push a few cubes around and call it a day; on the contrary. The challenge level, set in 3 degrees, is quite steep and will require both swift wit and a good perception in order to overcome the tricky combinations. Luckily, the resting platforms during each level offer some help to learn new techniques and a way to purchase some helpful items that can be used in the trials. Yet, even with the helping hand, the game will feel more frustrating than rewarding and can even feel needlessly unfair during select times. The reward will come from wanting to know what happens next in the life of Vincent, which once again separates the importance of gameplay and story.
This game is an atmosphere. Its unique social aspect and choice element gets offset by lengthy cutscenes and conversations in either full anime animation or design. The difference between heavy cel-shaded, 3D designs and painted stills creates a visual appeal that makes characters and interest points pop out from the screen. In addition, the smooth textures and animations further enhance the anime styIe that transitions throughout the game. Catherine also expertly spreads touches of music at key points, which vary from updated cIassical music or jazzy tunes where best applicable. Lastly, the voice cast is tremendous and doesn't hold any punches in conversations. These energetic youths talk like youth does; curse words and all. Anything story-related in this story is nearly flawless, even if the order and freedom division might seem arbitrary at some points; it serves its purpose in the end. However, the non-playable parts can become a bit lengthy for those eager to progress with the game and even skipping chapters during replays, for additional endings, can take some time.
Gameplay also suffers from a few additional quirks, such as some control issues that will occasionally make Vincent slip up in his non-apologetic environment. Additionally, whenever he falls behind blocks, the view gets obscured, which can get truly aggravating in these already tense situations. Luckily, suspense, urgency and a clever use of space usually overtakes any indiscretion. The drive to overcome obstacles and progress in the story will serve as the main motivation, even after plentiful rage quitting. It's that small voice in the back of the head, wondering what happened next, which will propel players to turn on the console once more and check out what Vincent is up to.
In the end, players will want to finish the game, because Catherine bogards additional content in the form of a very entertaining competitive feature. It's a shame players are forced into this decision, because the two player mode does create many additional hours of gameplay competition with a friend, even in its limited state. In this mode, players go head to head in order to reach the top first or destroy the opponent sheep in best out of 3 matches. In a similar way, more content is taken hostage in the form of loose challenges that players can unlock, but only by getting the difficult golden ratings in the story. The game does thrive on the challenge, but showing at least an increment of leniency would've benefited it at this particular point.
Catherine isn't a game for just anyone, as its gameplay is rough, limited and the story is the main focus. Still, a brilliant execution to an equally marvelous concept creates a game unique in its kind, with rousing puzzles and compelling interaction that urge players to go on. Determined players get rewarded in the end with a grand finale and additional gameplay content, but most of all, with the satisfaction of having persisted. This is an experience unlike anything else available at this time and the craftsmanship of Atlus makes it a satisfying venture worthy of any person wanting to play it through. Also, it's pretty damned sexy.