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EarthThatWas Blog

I have arrived

Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to announce that as of today, I am officially part of the internet community. For the first time in my entire online career, I have been called a douche. For those of you in the know, I'm sure you realize what a huge honor this is. A rite of passage, if you will. Yes indeedy: I have arrived.

I woke to find this little gem in my comments section:

"How can you say taco bell isn't food you douche, if you can eat than digest it then it food dumbass"

The funny thing is, I actually kind of like Taco Bell.

I would just like to thank everyone who made this possible.

The truth as I see it, so there

 

I always feel bad after mocking people. Seriously. There's this side of me that finds it irresistibly funny, but then there's this side of me that feels bad after. I wonder what that says about me. Does that make me Meg Ryan in "You've Got Mail?" And how do I know enough about that movie to make that reference? Anyway, here's how I really feel about the folks I mocked in my editorial.

 

Uwe Boll: I honestly don't care one way or the other what this guy does. So he makes crappy movies. So what? I'm in no position to mock him for his choices as I currently own both "Mystery Men" and "UHF" on DVD. Who's the real villain now?

 

Jack Thompson: I actually kind of get where this guy is coming from. I can understand being frustrated at the way things work from time to time, and wanting to find something to blame for school shootings or officers killed in the line of duty. I get that. Sometimes you just really want life to be better than it is, and sometimes you need a target to vent your frustrations on. Sounds a little like why we play video games, doesn't it?

However, I do not agree with his methods. I honestly can't tell if he was genuinely concerned about the state of affairs in America, or if he just wanted attention. Treating the people that you are allegedly trying to help with utter disdain is not a good way to get your message heard. I have zero hatred in my heart for the man, and in truth I'm a little sad that he didn't come to his senses mid-implosion and use his fame to actually create something positive.

 

Bobby Kotick: If the internet is to be believed (and it isn't.....not ever) Bobby is the anti-gamer, who's coming was foretold in the Great Gazoo's "Manifesto and Guide to Practical Mayhem." He hates everyone and everything and wants to make sure that no one ever smiles about anything ever again. Not even kitten farts. WTF?

In all seriousness though, if I'm going to believe everything I read about him, then I might as well give this article some serious thought while I'm at it.

 

 

http://www.oneofswords.com/2010/08/bobby-kotick-those-infamous-comments/comment-page-3/

Kind of puts a different spin on the man, doesn't it? Now, I can't say for sure that it's not just total BS. Perhaps all it is is spin; damage control to get the masses of gamers to stop mailing him chicken genitalia and memes of Snookie. What I can say is this:

While I think a lot of his ideas are a little odd, I don't really have to pay attention to him, do I? As long as Activision doesn't do anything absolutley insane and start charging on a "per button press" basis, I'm perfectly content to just leave him be.

 

RROD: $%^& that guy. Seriously.

 

All Time Villains: The Final Four Updated

The All Time Greatest Villain competition has been interesting to say the least. I suppose that each of us who chose to take part in the process has had our fair share of ups and downs, victories and defeats. Some of you found the choices baffling, others didn't mind all that much. Some of you are just having fun, and others are out for blood. But no matter where you fall in terms of how you view this contest, you all need to realize something:

This contest is in no way fair.

There I said it. It's bunkum, hooey. For a contest about totally fictional characters that inhabit imaginary worlds, there is a surprising lack of credibility to be found. And no, I'm not talking about Joker and Vader being included as options.

What I am talking about here is omissions. Four villains have been left off of this list that should have been there from the start, and their absence completely destroys the validity of the contest. Why? Simple.

The four villains that have been left out would have completely and utterly destroyed anyone or anything they came up against. They are the baddest of the bad, the worst of the worst. Leaving them out is like trying to decide which is the worst sandwich on the face of the planet and refusing to account for the McRibb.

And so, I give you what the final four should have looked like if there were any justice in the universe. Good luck deciding. You're gonna need it.

uwe

Uwe Boll

German filmaker

Why He's Evil: Has unleashed a slew of movies "based" upon video games upon the world. "Based" is in quotes because calling his movies faithful to their source material is like calling Taco Bell "food." Calling them "good" is like punching yourself in the crotch and calling it "progress."

VERSUS

jack

Jack Thompson

Former Lawyer.

Why He's Evil: Led a crusade against violent video games. Convinced that violent games are simply training sims for sociopaths. Told his mom that he'd come by for dinner one night and totally didn't show up or call or anything.

I'm at a loss for who would win this fight. Moving on to our other combatants:

bobby

Bobby Kotick

Supreme Overlord of Activision

Why He's Evil: Wants to take the fun out of making video games. Also, I hear he made a Cancer Gun in his basement. I have no idea what that means but it scares the hell out of me.

VERSUS

rrod

RROD

Former busboy at Denny's

Why He's Evil: Making children (and adults) cry on Christmas morning. Or Mid-June. Or whatever. Hates America. When asked why he does what he does by a six year old, he made that motion with his hands where you pretend like your turning a crank until your middle finger is extended.

And there you have it: four glaring omissions that would have turned this contest on it's head. Ah well. Maybe next year.

Please note, this was supposed to be funny. I don't really consider any of these guys evil, just misguided and possibly eaters of puppies. But not evil. Thanks for reading.

Update: Thanks to bardos-the-3rd for pointing out that I didn't include info on who these guys are. Also, if you're interested in seeing how I really feel about these guys, check out my latest installment. The truth as I see it, so there

And thanks for all of the comments. Seriously. Funny stuff.

Memes be dumb...

...which is why I feel perfectly comfortable making a few of my own. I hope you enjoy.

meme1

meme2

meme3

A little history on the next two: my buddy indecisiverhino and I were talking about the bears in Red Dead Redemption one evening, and he brought up the fact that they seem to teleport in behind you when you're not looking. He then called them "Skybears," on account of the fact that they seem to drop out of the sky. I came up with the idea that they should be memes, and so the following was born:

meme4

meme5

Thanks as always.

Back in My Day....

I recently had the opportunity to sit down and play a few old Genesis games, something I haven't been able to do for years. Well, I suppose you could consider that statement a lie, as I played through Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection a few months back, but this was different.

More than simply popping a disc into my fancy new 360 and waiting to plow through a few titles with my 78 button, ferret powered, space age polymer controller, playing with the original system and with the original controller felt more genuine somehow. Blowing on the cartridge to get the game to work, trying to survive with only (gasp!) three buttons and a d-pad, 16-bit graphics, level codes; the whole experience really brought me back to my more formative years. Good times. There's something about using the genuine article, a connection on a very real level, that a compilation disc for my 360 will never be able to touch.

But enough of the nostalgia angle. Let's get to the games. I'm happy to report that two of the titles I played have held up remarkably well. For being nearly two decades old, I was really surprised to find that the fun factor had diminished very little. First up, and an easy favorite of mine:

boxart

Zombies Ate My Neighbors.

The concept is simple enough: the earth is being attacked by just about every horror and sci-fi movie villain you can think of. Zombies, tiny versions of The Blob, Werewolves, Aliens, and so on. Your goal: survive, and try and rescue as many survivors as possible. In all seriousness, I am fairly certain that a huge chunk of Dead Rising finds its inspiration in this game. A huge variety of weapons (squirt guns, soda grenades, bazookas, dishes, weed wackers, footballs...you get the idea),survivors you have to rescue, even a few of the levels take place in shopping malls. The parallels are kind of surprising, as much as I loved and still love this game, I had never considered the possibility of it being a source of influence on the flashy current gen.

Anywho: this is still a very amusing (and difficult) game. My only real complaint is that some of the sound effects, namely the "Chucky-esque" villain's battle cry, can be extremely grating. Moving on.

boxart

Sunset Riders

Kind of a side scrolling version of Gunsmoke, Sunset Riders is set up like this: shoot your way through a number of stages collecting cash, power-ups, and extra lives as you go. You can play as one of two characters. Billy, the pistol guy, and Cormano, the shotgun guy. For such an old game, it boasts a surprising amount of variety, including jumping on the backs of stampeding cattle, bonus rounds, and even a battle across a speeding train. Most importantly, this game is still very, very fun. And more than a little challenging.

boxart

Techno Cop

Somehow, I missed this one during my childhood. I am nothing but grateful that I did, as I probably would have grown up to hate video games. Simply put, this is one of the worst video games I have ever played. Like the two I've mentioned before, the concept is simple. You drive down a highway, shooting at cars or trying to run them off the road. During these stretches, a timer is counting down, and once that timer reaches zero, you pull off the road and go try and catch or kill a bad guy on foot. The game switches to a side-scroller, and you are given another timer. If it hits zero before you nab the baddie, he escapes. You then get back in your car, and the process repeats.

It is exactly as boring as it sounds. This game has two things going for it. There's the gore factor, (enemies explode into a gooey mess after they get shot), and there's the fact that it is no longer available to the public. I fairly certain that selling this game to anyone now constitutes a war crime. The developers are still at large.

That's it for the old. Now for the random.

Capcom's Chastity Belt for Men

zombiezombie

Worried about guarding your virginity? Just set this up in your living room. Capcom guarantees it'll make those concerns a thing of the past.

Villains that should have been on the roster but didn't make it:

I don't really care that much, but it's fun to think about who could have replaced Team Rocket.

The Great Mighty Poo (Conker's Bad Fur Day)

Titanic Toddler (Zombies Ate My Neighbors)

Saren (Mass Effect)

Sander Cohen (Bioshock)

RROD (XBOX 360 )

That's it for now. Thanks for reading.

Tapas 10: CE

Howdeney folks! Welcome to the tenth installment of my much hated series. I'm sure a few of you may have noticed that the letters CE appear in the title. Now, in the gaming community, this often stands for "Collector's Edition." Not so here. Here, it stands for "Corporeal Exposition," which is quite simply what happens when non-ghosts talk about stuff. As of this writing, I am a non-ghost, and therefore am qualified to write this blog. There is a good chance many of you are non-ghosts as well. Man, I couldn't be more lame if I was wearing a sweater vest and pumping out ABBA tunes on my boom-box.

In terms of what I'll be discussing, expect more of the usual. In terms of entertainment, I rate this blog somewhere between watching a monkey drink it's own pee (10 out of 10 ) and watching Jesica Alba act (-12). In short, this will be the "Big Rigs" of bloggage.

And speaking of bloggage, I'm sure that in my absence I've missed some stellar installments. For that I do apologize. I don't really want to get into a lot of detail, but suffice to say that I had a few months that really knocked me for a loop. I'll try harder in the days ahead to keep up with everybody. Time to start living again, and that means trying to get involved in things I enjoy. This site is one of those things. Let's get started shall we? Up first:

Music.

Night Train by Keane

Not the best of their albums. While I appreciate the attempt to try a different flavor with each song, too many of the tracks fall flat. It's a real shame, as I am a huge fan of most of their music. A few tracks manage to grab you as you listen, but overall it's hard to recommend the album as a whole. The biggest sin on the album? Destroying a potentially fantastic song by sampling the "Rocky" theme song. 5 out of 10.

Television

The Colony:

I'm still not sure how to feel about this show. On the one hand, it's fascinating to see a group of strangers trying to cope with scarcity and hunger. Watching each individual employ their skills for the good of the group is interesting to say the least, and the colonists get in some pretty serious scrapes with other "survivors." I do have a few problems with the show however. The narrator sounds like he's channeling John Wayne, and one of the colonists spends about 80% of the time with his shirt off in an attempt to show off his"kickin bod". I keep waiting for him to do a keg stand and order some 'za. Apparently, dooshiness will survive the apocalypse.

My biggest issue with the show however is the complete lack of firearms. Granted, you can't have much of a reality show if people are firing live ammo at each other (unless of course you're aiming for a Series 7 feel), but if the world as we know it were really to end, those that survived would have easy access to both guns and ammo. I feel like this should have been represented somehow. Paintball guns or freakin laser tag would be better than "we'll just pretend all the guns got destroyed by the Nuclear Flu." I'm not 100% on this, but I'm fairly certain that guns do not posses a respiratory system, and thus have a natural immunity to the flu. 7/10

Top Shot:

This show I absolutely love. Though the series has run it's course, I highly recommend keeping your eyes peeled for next year's installment. The premise is simple: a large group of professional and expert marksmen get together on a ranch and engage in shooting challenges. Two teams compete, with the winners gaining immunity and the losers facing elimination. Elimination becomes a head to head battle after two members of the losing team are chosen, with the shooter who performs the worst going home. In either case, whether you're watching a team challenge or an elimination, prepare to be entertained.

It helps that the majority of the shooters are mature and therefore less prone to spew the normal rhetoric of back-biting crap that you see in other reality shows (it's still there, just not quite as pronounced), but that doesn't really matter under the shadow of the game itself. Imagine a 40 year old man being strapped in a chair that's attached to a zip line. The host says go, and this guy has to pick off targets with a handgun as he flies down the side of a hill. Sounds like fun, no?

On an entertainment level, this show is almost pure monkey pee. 9/10

Gaming:

Mass Effect 2: The Shadow Broker

Am I the only one that's a little disappointed that this character is being handled via DLC? I was really hoping that he'd play a pivotal role in ME3. Who knows? Maybe this will be one of those "he got away" situations, and he'll pop up in part 3 anyway. Here's hoping.

Mafia 2:

I'm sure this will be earth shattering news to each of you, but I think I'm going to leave this one alone for a while. Though I can see the merit behind a focused experience, I just can't see playing a sandbox game without side-quests and diversions. I just don't see the point of being given this big beautiful world and then having nothing to do in it. I'm sure I'll pick it up sometime, but my enthusiasm has waned a bit since I read up on the game.

Greatest Gaming Villain:

How on Earth is The Great Mighty Poo not on this list? It's a tragedy, I tells ya.


That's it for now, folks. Hope ta see ya around. Thanks for reading.

P.S.

One of the good ones from Night Train: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzeRpPSZOjI

The Colony: A little on the gross side: http://www.fancast.com/tv/The-Colony/105113/1555013460/The-Colony---Fuel-Plan/videos

UPDATE: just for the record, I don't find monkeys drinking their own pee funny. Unless they are wearing hats.

To them, they have hair

The following is a review for Kane and Lynch 2 that I discovered on a site called gamekult. As the site is not in English, I had to rely on Microsoft Translator to decipher the page for me. Below you will find an "as-is" translation that has not been altered by me in any way. After all, how do you improve upon perfection?

In the middle of 2000s, when many fans sought merely the Hitman at every meal, Eidos was audacious and told its Io Interactive studio new action game license Kane & Lynch. The initiative ended finally mixed observation at the fun, but profits visibly were great because the Publisher decided to put it in a suite. The opportunity to improve everything which could be in episode 1, or, as it sometimes, everything back to zero and to make lyncher.


The third person shooter from Dad, yes but in duo. That was the first Kane & Lynch in 2007 out of. It is clear that, almost three years later, the formula has not changed. Supposedly designed around of cooperation between the two after heroes and the promise of beautiful shootings to two players as his Army of Two competitor, this game in the third person actually offers a perfectly workable adventure solo. For exception of a small parenthesis Kane commands, it is the unique character of Lynch who is at the heart of this second episode. More or less arranged cars in Shanghai where he even found a roommate, the future of the trigger ex-malade will soon catch up with its old demons in killing "inadvertently" the daughter of a mafia arm rather long. Swearing, but always a little late, that be it should take, the duo sailed then in a tumble to the madness into 11 chapters, all more vulgar and unhealthy to each other.


Balafrés, covered in blood, and hair during part of their pursuit race literally, Kane and Lynch gentlemen must flee city under thugs small streets, police and even the army balls. Without fearing the immoderation, game thus fulfils its nuts GST, contract with a small grin humor not unpleasant. Valves that rush to figure the two antihero in full shooting game give enough uniqueness, provided by VF by one of the voices of Vin Diesel (also the Dominic Santiago in Gears of War) Thierry Mercier, shields and José Luccioni, the voice of Al Pacino (or Marcus Fenix in this same Gears). Next Visual also, Io Interactive had put the package. Far, far from being a monster technique, the game tries compensate its obvious delay by all kinds of Visual tricks such as tremblotante camera way (but) war reportage, defects of development every 30 seconds and compression artifacts when the player is takes a ball. That one sees a Visual claw, or more likely a cache-misère, is in any case that it remembers once the game finished: ambience and**** Unfortunately, that's about all.

To them, they have hair


Design "ambiancé" in certain environments such as clandestine sewing workshop can save furniture, K & L2 missing terribly surprises and varieties of game situations. Where the first Dead Men episode peinait already put in scene a massacre of civilians, or simply the dual personality of Lynch, perpetual leaking single goal just Dog Days. Except for very brief sequence of shoot on rail behind a heavy machine gun and a civil protection, all game can be summed up in a long shooting spotted of cinematic opening doors. Without real rhythm, and developments, enemies of rooms in halls, a little way to one on derelict beat ' em all, but without adrenaline and skill. With simply "pépère" side of the thing. The Artificial Intelligence takes no risk, no more than the design level, both, and as a result, the game is sinking with monotony for a period of five to six hours, depending on the chosen difficulty (maximum difficulty being strictly aberrant).


In addition to a clear lack of originality on the merits, K & L2 must contend with a poor implementation quality. The game would probably deserved a small rab development to rectify some "time gains" shameful. Lack of lip sync during the incessant whining Lynch, for example, history to avoid him and his pal Kane converse as some ventriloques. More time would perhaps also enabled refine commands whose main feature is still present vagueness both at the level of the character than weapons. Although varied with various flingues, machine guns or snipers, arsenal does not offer a super feeling. The "automatic" referred seems to focus lost balls, but remove it in the options is probably the worst things to do. On the other hand, cover system does not meet the quarter turn, displacements are steep (voluntarily tortured Lynch approach does arrange anything) and no possibility of cooperation was designed between characters. That is why they are two. Ultimately, it is apparent with the impression that all asking to be improved in the first opus best was left as-is, at worst reduced to its simplest expression. The only good point of this episode next novelties is adding a cooperation online, with the split screen mode is saying.

David and Jonathan


Online, the multiplayer resumes the atypical formula of the previous episode. No big surprise waiting on this side, therefore, but as it is about all that remains of the originality of Kane & Lynch, is rather reassuring, some share address around of the concept of "treachery", multi contains three variants up to 12 players. Fragile Alliance mode you can also practise through the arcade, mode solo is a vast burglary in which players are team against police handled by the I.A., with the possibility of betraying his teammates (but obviously to take the risk to be oneself down). Similar is infiltrated COP variant, except that the traitor is appointed in advance, in the back, while that COP mode and thieves the bots enemy disappear in favor of two teams of players face to face. Rather original, this cross is probably not catchy enough to retain most of the players for more than a few weeks. Because of these alambiquées rules the parties can quickly turn to the anything whenever only one participant will not play the game. And as there are finally relatively little to encourage them to play Kane & Lynch 2, it is not won.



4
Low

Way

It is the success that it does not wait and others always expected. Although the first opus of Dead Men had nothing a bomb, the Kane & Lynch claw was possibly the project profile to become, with a few ideas in suffering in episode 1 and a development studio deemed to hold (Io Interactive, Hitman, designer still). Unfortunately, instead of relying on past experience, Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days dark without thinking about the image of its two heroes. Multiplying the tasteless shootings more thirst, title accumulates the GST barbant float handling with more pitfalls. Quite unique in its ****Visual and has a real atmosphere, in spite of its flaws, K & L 2 is finally an umpteenth innocuous action in the third person, set among his peers, and even a proper notch below from the others in terms of achievement. A small mess anyway.

Achievements: Unlocked

Love 'em or hate 'em, pursue them with a devotion bordering on obsession or simply ignore them, one thing is perfectly clear: regardless of how you feel about achievements and trophies, they are here to stay. At least for the run of the current console generation. For a few more years it seems, gamers will find themselves either rolling their eyes or pumping their fists at the sight of points being added to their tallies.

I tend to walk the "love 'em" side of the street. I'm still not sure why, but I love to see my point tally growing. I don't really consider it a competitive issue. I'm not out to race or beat anyone. In fact, I kind of see it the same way I used to see my high score in Pac Man. I just want to see how high I can get my score to go. I'm not really interested in the number one spot; I'm just interested in doing the best that I can.

In my pursuit of a larger score, I've done some really fun things. A few achievements that stand out?

"Targeted Advertising" courtesy of the Orange Box. Sticking a soldier to a billboard with a crossbow bolt and then being given points for it was entertaining to say the least. The "Psychotic Prankster" from Fallout 3 and "The Teaser" from Fable 2 also stand out for the same reason. They were entertaining, and more importantly, they were a creative way to award points to the gamer.

I recently unlocked a new achievement during my time spent with Red Dead Redemption. Like the three listed above, it falls under the "entertaining and creative" categories. It goes by the name of "Dastardly," and for the sake of those who haven't figured this one out yet I won't spoil the surprise. But I will say that it was this achievement that set this blog into motion. It got me thinking about achievements in general, and how that, in spite of my enjoyment of a higher gamerscore, I seldom enjoy the achievements themselves.

The truth is very few of the achievements I have obtained are memorable. In fact, the vast majority of them are rather uninteresting. Worse than that, a large chunk of them also seem to have been cut-and-pasted from the games around them. Kill this number of guys, spend this amount of time online, finish this chapter, etc. From one game to the next, it's all starting to feel the same.

(I'm not saying this practice should stop all together, just that the ideas of how gamerscore and trophies are handed out should be shifted. Back to the point then.)

I feel there are a couple of reasons that so many points or trophies find themselves locked into familiar or uninteresting territory. The first reason being that achievements, in many cases, are limited by the games they are attached to. If the game you are playing is restricted in terms of the number of actions you can take or it forces you through levels in a straight line, then it is reasonable to assume that the achievements associated with that game would be similarly restricted. It's understandable then that the points obtained from one shooter to the next, for example, might be extremely similar. There isn't much that can be done with this particular situation, and so when it comes to the rewards in these types of games we can't expect too much in terms of creativity.

Outside of the more structured games however, there is a great deal of wiggle room when it comes to rewarding the player. RTS's, RPG's, Sandboxes, these are three examples of where developers have the opportunity to hand over points in an unusual or creative fashion. More often than not however, they choose not to, and I believe that this stems from a simple case of wrong thinking, which brings us to reason number two.

The second reason that so many achievements are so bland is that developers seem to think that gamers are all about the points, without any regard to how those points are earned. In other words, it's about the payoff, not the work. I couldn't disagree more. I may be alone here, but in my mind, the best achievements are the ones that give you points for moving outside the norm. It isn't just about the scores, it's about how I earn them as well. I like the action I take to be just as engaging as the reward. And besides, creativity, encouraging players to play in fun or unusual ways, is a powerful tool to help sell your product.

Why? Simple: more creative achievements make for more entertaining games. Clearly, the rewards themselves are not as important as the title they belong to, but I'm just as likely to include a memorable achievement in my discussion of a game as I am a memorable level or boss fight.

For developers who understand the importance of word of mouth, take note. Gamers talk to each other about achievements they've earned, and while no particular unlockable will ever be enough to sell a game on its own, it certainly adds to the appeal of your title when point-hounds get together and speak about how much fun this achievement was or how that trophy was a blast to obtain.

Now, I could be completely off base with this entire argument. Maybe it isn't the restrictions of the game or the idea that gamers just don't care how they get their score that govern the dolling out of points. Maybe the developers just don't care. Maybe they're too busy constructing the games to give the little things like achievements much thought.

However, achievements and trophies are part of gaming now, and a lot of us out there want to enjoy them. Why not approach them with the same passion and creativity that we see in the rest of the game? Gamers have a better time upping their counts, and in turn are more likely to speak about a product in a favorable light. And with that game, everybody wins.

Tapas 9: Back in the Saddle

Hello all. Miss me?

"Who the hell are you?" is the proper response.

It's been an odd couple of months to say the least, but I suppose it's time to dust myself off and get back to one of the things I enjoy: boring the crap out of people with pointless speculation and aimless rambling. It's good to be back.

A special thanks to those of you who took the time to notice my absence. It really means a lot.

Alright. Let's get this show on the road.

Dungeons, Dragons and DLC

Though johnsteed7beat me to the punch on this one (curses! foiled again!), I just thought I'd put my two cents in on the topic. If you haven't discovered this yet, the treatment of DLC in Dragon Age: Origins is….discouraging….to say the least. Just to bring you up to speed:

There is a character placed in the game for the sole purpose of selling you the "Warden's Keep" download. You'll find him relatively early, and the conversation you'll have with him goes something like this: he asks you to help him, and then the following dialogue option pops up

"(Download New Content) Give me a minute, and I'll help you."

As johnsteed7 stated, after selecting this option you are then booted to the main menu so you can buy the content.

Now, this isn't a huge deal. It's not going to give me cancer or steal my car. But for me, one of the most crucial aspects of an RPG, what separates the ho-hum from the great, is how deeply I can lose myself in both the world and the story as I'm playing the game. This encounter put me right back on my couch.

Again, nothing earth shattering. It's just a shame. It shows a lack of respect for the gamer, and a lack of respect for the story. It also concerns me. As time goes by, am I going to be treated to more characters that do the same thing? As new content becomes available, will this world slowly fill with micro-peddlers? Will I eventually see an entire shop placed in town just to sell me crap that should be kept in the main menu and out of the game?

And what does all of this mean for Mass Effect? Will we see the same crap pop up there as well? I sure as hell hope not.

Now, on the subject of Bioware's culpability, I'm more inclined to place the blame on EA. Why? Well, if memory serves, they did the same thing in the original Godfather game. If I remember correctly, you could meet NPCs that would sell you in-game items for real-world currency.

Sigh.

Other Stuff

---Tried Afro Samurai a few months back. Just couldn't get into it. Though the visuals are amazing, it was just a little too dull for my taste. I've never been a huge fan of hack-n-slashers, so I guess that's what I get for trying to break out of my mold. That'll teach me.

---Borderlands is a mindless good time. The story, if you can call it that, is one of the most anemic in years, but if you're looking to run around blasting things this is your game.

---Can you really call your boycott a success if you disband before the product hits store shelves so that you can run out and buy it?

---How 'bout them Texans? I've been a fan for years. I have a thing for underdogs. Though the 105 penalty yards didn't help, I can't believe they missed out on overtime because of a blown field goal. Ah well. I dig the Colts too, so I guess it was win-win.

---Staph infections are not fun. I had an in-grown fingernail that got infected.Fortunately, antibiotics knocked it right out.

---Staphylococcus finds it's origins in the Greek word for "a bunch of grapes." Thank you, medicinenet!

---My dog is blind. He bumps into walls.

Wow. I think I am officially out of ideas. Thanks as always for reading. Hope everyone is doing well out there.