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Ghost_Face Blog

Getting a copy of Mass Effect 3

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I was one of the few people that missed pre-ordering Mass Effect 3. I had real life things creep up on me and have been preoccupied with school, and the family. By the time I realized that the game was coming out, both Best Buy and Gamestop told me they had stopped taking pre-orders. I didn't think it was a big deal really. There were plenty of games that I didn't pre-order and was able to pick up on release day; I didn't think this would be any different. It was only later that I realized how wrong I was.

I called roughly ten Gamestops in my general area and was informed by all of them that they did not have a copy available. I called four different Best Buys and was told the same thing. I was getting extremely frustrated and disgusted. I stopped by Costco, Sam's Club and Walmart looking for copies with no success. I stopped by the closest Gamestop and asked the clerk for an explanation about the lack of availability. He told me that this was all Electronic Arts decision. The Collector's edition was a limited release. I can perfectly understand them not wanting to press a large number of the games at $80 when there may not be that many purchasing them after release day, but I live in the greater Detroit area and would think that the availability of an extra Collector's edition would be more likely in an area that size.

Finding a copy online was even more daunting. Ebay and Amazon prices were a joke with the lowest price being $125. I wanted the game, but wasn't willing to pay that much of a premium. After two days of constant checking online, I saw that Gamestop had copies available online again. In addition to that, I found a $10 offer code. After paying for next day shipping and using a $5 Gamestop gift card, the total came up to a little less than $81.

Everything worked out in the end, but I don't like this new reality where I have to pre-order a game if I want to purchase it on release day. I doubt Gamestop or Best Buy would purchase an extra copy or two and it seems that other retailers just don't order the Limited editions at all, but I think the lack of availability online is the more troubling.

Merry Christmas

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Hey... I just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Anyone get any good game haul today? I didn't get any games, just the Logitech Harmony One remote.

I'm Bayonetta Bound

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Well, I had put down $10 dollars for Mass Effect 2 and received a fully paid off pre-order receipt slip for Christmas from my wife. Well, that frees up the money I was going to set aside for Mass Effect for Bayonetta. I played the demo and was pleasantly surprised. I like when games come out of the blue and piques my interest.

Tragic Death

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I'm a huge Bengals fan- I bleed stripes- a byproduct of being born and raised in Cincinnati. Today, one of our wide receivers perished after an auto accident that followed after an argument with his fiance. Chris Henry was only 26 years old. It's this fact that depresses me more than anything else. He leaves behind his fiance and three young children. I hope they are okay over this holiday season.

Go Bengals!

I've seen it all now

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GS has this little thing going on called the All-Time Greatest Hero. It's a popularity contest plain and simple. I figured we'd see the normal heavy hitters advance in the bracket style voting structure, but was flabergasted when I pulled up the current brackets to see Master Chief losing to Bub and Bob from Bubble Bobble? Come on! I had to chuckle about that because in what twisted realm of reality do people consider Bub and Bob greater hero's than Master Chief? I know, it's some kind of mad conspiracy.... Is Master Chief that polarizing a character where individuals cannot resist clicking the Vote Now button for any opponent he faces? That's truly sad. :o

A Big State of CON-fusion

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Did anyone watch the town hall meeting with Arlen Specter where the woman claimed that a, "sleeping Giant had been awakened"? She stated she was a Republican and a Conservative that never took a large interest in politics. That's fine. She may have felt compelled to notice what was going on in her country before. That's her right. She also asked Arlen Specter what he was doing to get this country back to what it used to be. Now I don't know what she meant by this, but I guess she believes that some time in the past, this country was better than what it is now. That belief is too subjective to even argue. Did she want this country to be like it was back in the early 1900 when her gender didn't even have the right to vote? What about back in the early 1800 to mid 1800 when I would have been property and the country was going through the worst period of combat losses suffered by Americans? Her question smacked of just another con perpetrated by the Right to impede the Left from doing anything productive.

It's funny, here we are, nine months after Obama was elected President and now the critics have come out of the woodwork like cockroaches when the lights are turned off. One argument I've heard against the Democrat proposals is because of the deficit and the large amounts of spending. Remember the Tea Parties earlier this year? Hey, I'm all for fiscal responsibility; as long as it's motivated on that principal and not some political agenda. Where were all these fiscally responsible individuals when Bush was doubling the deficit? I'll tell you where. Home! Their man was in office and they had no reason to kick up a fuss. From President Washington all the way to President Clinton, the deficit was only built up to five trillion. That's right, FIVE TRILLION! George W. Bush doubled it by himself. If that's not evidence that these wack jobs out there are prostituting their kids in front of the camera for a damn political message, I don't know what's going to do it for you. Some of the arguments I've heard have been flat out lies and down right asinine. One thing they've all been though is a little sad; at least to me. It seems to highlight a huge flaw in humanity. It makes me realize how shortsighted we are. It makes me think of the timeframe after the Fall of the Roman Empire when people were scavaging brick from the aqueducts and coleseum to make their brick hovels. The fools! Imagine me as Charlton Heston at the end of 'Planet of The Apes' screaming.

We have the Healthcare argument going on now. Unfortunately, it's not going good. It's funny, because when I was younger, and not a parent, I could not care less about health insurance. But I've seen my premiums go up and my quality of service drop off. When I'm paying one hundred forty dollars every two weeks for something, I expect it to be a little better than it currently is. It's some out there that claim our system is the best in the world and I'd agree if you suffix that with 'that money can buy.' If you don't have money, you're screwed. Period! A co-worker of mine just had heart surgery to fix a too large vein/artery. His portion that he has to pay is a little more than 10k. He's making payments on that; a hundred dollars a month. At that rate, I'm not sure he's ever going to pay that off. His estate might have to do it. His situation is not unique and that's why I say our system is broken. The argument against socialized medicine is that things get rationed. That bureaucrats are between you and your doctor. Well, guess what. Those things are going on now. I have bureaucrats telling me which doctors I can and cannot see. It's called in network and out of network. While I have the right to go out of network, I cannot afford to go out of network. While this is only implied, the results are the same; I go to doctors that are assigned by bureaucrats. This is the same scare tactic that was used back in the fifties with the same successful results.

Comics I'm currently reading

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I'm a huge comics fan. I've been collecting for a quarter of a century now and don't plan on stopping anytime soon. I'm a huge Avengers fan with my favorite being The Vision. I like what Marvel has done over the last year plus with Civil War and Secret Invasion both at the top of my must read list. Y the Last Man was also one of my most favorite books with the shocking conclusion of events in the last three four issues being one of the saddest I've ever read in comics.

Right now I'm reading Kick-Ass, and The Sword . If you're a fan of comics, you should definitely pick up issue ten of The Sword. Writing like that contained in issue ten will appeal to a wide range of people and shows that this medium has matured so much over the last thirty years.

Putting the hero in Heroes.

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I'm a huge fan of the show Heroes. It's not too hard to see since I've been collecting comics since I was twelve. I just love the ideal of super-powered characters fighting for something. It's also great that another show like this is on prime time television. I can't remember a show like this since Misfits of Science.

Out of the cast of characters, my favorites are Peter and H.R.G. (horned rim glasses). Peter was the catalyst to a lot of the events in the first season of Heroes. H.R.G. was going through a transitional period; starting on the bad side and nearly losing everything he cared for; his family. Hiro is probably my least favorite even though he has a huge fanbase. The reasons that people like him are some of the same reasons I don't. He's a little to the extreme of why I haven't enjoyed this season as much as the first. None of the heroes on the show are acting like heroes.

Hiro is too childish. More so than Micah. I understand his fascination with his powers and being a hero. Hopefully with the realization that his father is dead and that he's not playing a game, he'll grow up a little. I'd rather see the brooding Hiro of the future than the happy go lucky one. His sidekick Ando should be the comedic relief, not Hiro.

Niki was the reason D.L. was killed. I would like to see more grief on her part about that. I guess it's understandable that she isn't acting like a hero because of her schizophrenia. Peter wasn't acting like a hero because of his memory loss. But once he got his memory back, it was really bad taste on his part when he left that woman in the future. She already lost her brother because of Peter, now she's stuck in a plague infested future she doesn't recognize. Talk about destroying a family line. Way to go Peter.

Claire the cheerleader. A teenager in love and mistrustful of her father. Even though she is a teenager, I thought Claire was one of the few people on the show that understood the danger they were in. Some of the stunts she's pulled with Wes were just a little over the top; and with the way her powers work, I think they were very unbelievable. Maybe Claire will be a little bit like Hiro and grow up now.

I'm sure the writers have a destination that they are working towards. I think they may have stumbled a little bit, especially after this statement. I just want to see these people act a little more heroic. I'd also like to see more of the cast interacting with each other like Parkman and Nathan P. It's a large ensemble cast that has little interaction because they're spread out across the globe and country. Maybe then they'll start living up to the name of the show.

Wow, he died!

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In 1996 or 1997 a fellow Marine loaned me a book. I had seen it in the book stores a few times but never purchased it. I don't like spending my money on books with little information on the back as to what the book is about. I've been burned too many times doing that. I read that book and was enthralled. It was one of the best fantasy books I have ever read. I anticipated the release of each book in Rober Jordan's The Wheel of Time series. I followed the series as it went on and on. When it seemed to drone and was a little unfocused. I followed when it could have ended but didn't. Unfortunately, the series will remain unfinished for the immediate future. On Sunday, Robert Jordan passed. I'm sad because he was only 58; older than me, but still too soon to be taken. I'm also sad because his epic series may never see completion.

I equate Robert Jordan's passing to when Gene Rodenberry died and Star Trek was never the same again. I'm sure millions of fans of the series feel the same way. A voice we loved to hear has been silenced. The family, especially his wife have my sincerest condolences. I know this must be a very trying time for her. She had to live through Robert suffering through this rare blood disease.

My Chips are on the 360

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I'm officially putting my chips on the 360 winning this generation of the console race. Some may say it's too early to decide which console is going to win. I'd usually agree with them but there have been too many things that the past generations market leader did wrong and wasted opportunities by the other other competitor to gain significant ground on the 360. I believe the current positions of the three will remain until the end of this generation.

The 2006 holiday season is over. We had two console launches late 2006 and both were widely anticipated by their collective fanbase. The PS3 launched to huge media coverage and hype. Long lines and criminal activity to deprive some of those waiting in line of their console(s) or cash. It was everything we all thought it would be and it wasn't what we thought. The long lines were expected with the number of consoles Sony was initially selling. The anticipation was higher than the PS2 launch and deservedly so; this machine was going to be bigger, better and badder than it's predecessor.

Two things hurt Sony; it started production of the PS3 particularly late and had production problems with crucial components in the console. I agree with every Sony fan and official that says the PS3 would have sold out with any number of units they would have released. The demand was there. Unfortunately Sony screwed themselves and the faithful. Sony actually shipped less than half the consoles they had originally announced. They missed out on the tons of shoppers that would have been caught up in the hype and swirl surrounding a hot item during the shopping season. That opportunity is gone and can't be regained even with the product being available this upcoming shopping season. You're only new once and there is always another product around the corner to take the title of 'the must have' item. Couple this with what some people see as a too high price point for the console and the immediate future doesn't look rosy for Sony's console. The situation is even more bleak when you factor in the limitation the userbase size places on developer sales and profits and you see why some of them may decide to jump ship with their exclusives as a number of them already have. Things could change in Sony's favor, but right now I see that being more of a snowballs chance in the hot place than the definite first place finish line placement so many saw this time last year. Too many things have to happen right for Sony; their competitors also have to stumble, a lot, but no one has stumbled this past year no more than Sony.

Nintendo came from behind to surprise everyone, including myself, in their strong start with the Wii. The console has the buzz, the fanbase and appeal to those that aren't considered gamers. What I think Nintendo has going for them is the ease of use and pick up play for short periods ability. The price is also a consideration; they're fifty dollars cheaper than their closest competitors offering. I have to believe that a parent or someone 'not in the know' would see this as a huge factor; that is if they could actually find the console on store shelves. Nintendo also fell victim to the same under supplying of retail as Sony did. While it was more than the number of units Sony shipped, it still fell well short of demand. They failed to capture a larger lead over Sony than the one they've established, and considering the technological advantage the PS3 has on the Wii, I think this is something they may live to regret further down the road. They also have to watch the non-traditional interface/control scheme. I'm under the impression that the sales of Nintendo's console this past shopping season was the majority of the Nintendo faithful. How much of Nintendo's sales will come from the non-traditional gamer? That's the market they seem to be targeting, and it's a huge segment.

Nintendo has made huge strides to overcome their shortcomings of the pasts. I've think they've changed their image of being a platform uninviting to third party developers; but only slightly. I think it wouldn't take that much for the situation to devolve into the muddle we've had in the past on Nintendo consoles. I also think Nintendo should also utilize the Wii and it's non-standard scheme, interfacing to the best of their abilities. I was skeptical of the DS when it first launched, but look at how that platform has performed in the last two years. Shocking is an understatement in describing the DS's success. One thing I think Nintendo should utilize that they've implemented in a piss poor manner in the past is connectivity. Remember that Nintendo buzzword? I think implementing some form of connectivity between the DS and Wii would benefit both platforms; that's if Nintendo actually did something with it better than the failed attempt of years past. Nintendo's future seems a lot brighter than Sony's. It seems they control their destiny and the impact from anyone else for the immediate future would be minimal.

Of the three consoles on the market, the 360 seems to have the brightest future. Even with blockbuster titles like MGS4 for the PS3, the 360 has too many upcoming bright and anticipated titles to be ignored. Microsoft has made considerable strides in getting third party developers; especially Japanese developers, in bring exclusive and fresh titles to their console. The year head start that Microsoft was claiming during their initial year was disregarded as negligible. Few but the most ardent XBox fanboys believed this lead would do anything to change Microsoft's position in the industry. If anything, I think the years head start may prove to be the single factor that pushes the 360 to hold the first place position. The years head start has enabled the second generation titles on the 360 to outshine the majority of the titles on their competitors consoles.Combine this with the constant improvements and increasing membership on the consoles online network and I honestly believe that the console race is in Microsoft's hands to solidify their position or loose.

I'm going to have to bet on the 360.