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Jbul Blog

Epic Karma Is Epic

Some of you may remember a girl I wrote about last year, with whom our relationship was strained because, and this is the only reason -- her parents didn't like me. That's right... after flying them out here to San Diego (they live in Tuscon, AZ), treating them to dinner (I paid for both), they told Jennifer that they didn't like me, and that they'd be very upset if she continued to date me.

I never mistreated Jennifer, and we had a good relationship while it lasted. I never lied, cheated, or abused her. In fact, it was a very loving relationship. But she was so short sighted, that she let her parents judgements about me (which were unfounded) destroy our relationship.

So that brings me to yesterday, and a phone call I get from a mutual friend. Keep in mind, I haven't spoken to Jennifer in about 9 months.

Turns out, she's dating a man in Las Vegas. She flies out there every weekend on her meager Kindergarten teacher salary to see him. They go out to the Casinos, drink, stay at hotels, generally live it up. They are considered official boyfriend and girlfriend. The last time she went out there (this last weekend), they're drinking at a bar together like they usually do in Las Vegas, and the man falls DEAD instantly from a brain anyurism. That's right, the guy dies in a blink of an eye, right in public. So the police are called, his next of kin is notified, and GET THIS...

TURNS OUT, the guy is married with 4 kids. LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



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Well gee, that's really sad. Turns out, I wasn't such a bad guy afterall, huh? OOOPS! I'm glad this turned out this way, as much as I don't wish an untimely death on anyone, this is a powerful lesson to her, and her dumb sh!t parents that they're horrific judges of character. Good luck Jennifer, and as much as it conflicts me to say it... I f*cking told you so.



The Witcher 2 -- Better Than Mass Effect 3 AND Skyrim?

I'm slowly becoming Johnsteed7, it seems -- that is, a reclusive RPG fanatic (I say that with an immense amount of affection -- I love the guy)!

First the great Mass Effect 3 that while very enjoyable, left a slight taste of disappointment in my mouth in regards to the conclusion. No, I don't think the backlash and petitions regarding the ending were justified -- Bioware wrote their ending, it's their art, and we have no right to ask that it be changed. But I wish it had been different, I really do. Still a brilliant trilogy, no doubt.

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But now for a surprise -- The Witcher 2. The Witcher 2 starts out slowly. You'll die often, fumble with the controls, and struggle with the dense dialogue and narrative. The writing is very novel-esque, and if you've read a great book with characters from a different time period, you'll relate to this adjustment period. W2 doesn't "feel" like anything else you've played (if you're a console gamer like me, that is). The camera rotates very quickly, and Geralt moves faster than feels right. But slowly, things begin to fall into place. You learn why you died, how you can prevent it, and other tools you can use. The main character, Geralt, also comes off as flat, soft-spoken tough guy -- strong, but silent. Then, you begin to gradually realize his personality (through the tremendous voice performance) is deeper and more layered than what first reveals itself. In fact, Geralt's laid-back confidence is the result of his accomplishments -- he's the most revered and feared monster-hunter in the land. He's cold at times, sure, and funny at others, but always focused on results -- whether it be charming a beatiful woman, beheading someone who's betrayed him, or facing down someone who's witholding information from him.

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The game's narrative is rich and highly believable -- the only other game with a universe and lore this convincing that comes to mind, is, ironically, Mass Effect. The characters aren't empty archtypes or squealing ninnies -- they're dark, layered, and flawed, even the most noble of the bunch. I recently ran into a character in a camp that I needed information from, a typical scenario in RPG's. But what made this different was the character himself, and the stories he told. He went on for a good 5 minutes straight, recalling battles, both victories and defeats, in a manner so convincing and captivating that I literally gradually pushed my chair closer to the screen, until I was flooded with a mix of feelings -- sympathy, regret, sadness, happiness. It made me realize this game has made me have genuine affection and admiration for a fictional character -- a rare feat for my extroidinarily gaming tastes.

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I'm probably about halfway through the game, and it keeps getting better. There's a chance that this refreshingly engrossing and mature RPG could fall apart in the last 1/2, and I really hope it doesn't. It's good to be reminded that there's still rediculous quality out there in corners of the gaming universe where you least expect it.

Big Fat Interview

About f***ing time. I'm the best bartender of all time, and one of the best looking motherf***ers you'll ever meet.

Hold my drink, b*tch!

What's that? Oh, sorry. I was trying to bring my scrotum-less gamer sense of entitlement into other areas of my life.

In grown-up news -- I got a big interview I'm excited about today. Could be huge. I'm very excited, I need a huge change in almost every area of my life (work included), so this could be a very important day. Get down and pray for me guys, I really need this.

-J

I Love Lesbians

Dealing with drunken scrotewanks, listening to gamers whine with a uber-entitled snarkiness, occasionally reading your blogs (when I can), playing the stupid-ass dating game of 2012, being disappointed with Gamespot's arrogance and dissmissive attitude towards their users' contribution to their site, finishing Mass Effect 3, running 15 miles a week, choking someone out in the parking lot of my workplace until he urinated on himself....

This is what I have been up to.

You?

Examining Developer Mistakes

We've all been there -- playing a game we had high hopes for, and enjoying it, when suddenly there comes a point in the game -- whether it be a battle, a sequence, or a series of cinematics that sours our opinion of a game. It kills our buzz and makes us ponder how difficult it must really be to make a thoroughly enjoyable gaming experience. Sometimes, our opinion of the game is never the same. We struggle through the rest of it, and just don't enjoy it as much as we once were. These are critical turning points in gamer experiences, and we're a picky bunch -- especially those of us who've been gaming long enough to have a "been there, done that" attitude about the games we play. In other words, it's harder to impress seasoned gamers.

This happened to me recently playing Prototype, the open-world superhero (or villian) game from Radical that was released in 2009. With Prototype 2 coming out in a few weeks and looking promising, I figured I'd give it a shot, despite some mixed, although generally positive reviews.

The game starts out strong -- a dark, mordibly violent romp that makes you, through the eyes of "everyman" Alex Mercer, feel like a god. You can effortlessly run up walls, jump 50 feet in the air, and glide over Radical's version of New York City with carefree ease. Alex has the ability to transform parts of his body into weapons, through a biological-genetic virus that has infected him. He doesn't know how or why this is happening, he just wants answers. At first, this is very empowering -- turning your limbs into blades and and dismembering military goes (and unfortunate civilians) into chunky pieces of meat on the ground. You feel Alex's frustration and blood-thirsty desire for answers quite frequently and powerfully in the beginning.

There's also a cool (at first) stealth mechanic that allows you to assume the identity of ANYONE you can get your hands on in the gameworld. This helps you hide from military patrols, and in the beginning, even allows you to gain access to places you normally wouldn't through some very basic stealth mechanics. You also gain experience from missions and kills that allow you to become a crazier badass -- jump higher, run faster, turn your fists into giant hammers to crush tanks.

But then, about 1/3 (at least, judging from my Main storyline progress), the game takes a turn. Instead of feeling super-powerful and dangerous, you begin to feel like a cockroach -- scrambling from scores of tanks, apache helicopters, and mutant monsters in order to complete your objectives. The feeling of empowerment fades when you are fighting 15 mutants, 40 zombies, 20 soldiers, 5 tanks, and 7 helicopters ALL AT ONCE, being bounced around the screen like a pinball to complete an objective. From a technical standpoint, all of this action is quite impressive to be taking place on the screen at once, but it ceases to be fun very quickly. The flaws in the games camera also come starkly into view when you're being bounced from one skyscraper to the next by enemy rockets and the viewpoint is spinning around violently. Many times, you don't even know why you died -- you're just dead. Alex also has the ability to "hijack" Tanks and Helicopters to use against his enemies. Again, at first this is alot of fun -- going on rampages and causing Billions of Dollars in damage. This fun is short-lived, however, because in order to hijack a vehicle, you're required to MASH the "Y" button while taking over the vehicle -- and during this process, if you get hit ONCE, you go FLYING across the screen, unable to assume control of the vehicle.

So sadly, in just ONE HOUR of gameplay, Prototype became completely unplayable and disappointing. The game keeps getting more and more hectic, confusing, and cheap (not challenging, there's a difference). It's a god damned shame because this, in the first 4-5 hours, was shaping up to be one of my favorite open-world games ever. Where did Radical go wrong? Was the project too ambitious? They did so much so well, but then they just couldn't keep it all in check and enjoyable.

Here's to hoping they learn from their mistakes and Prototype 2 doesn't suck ass.

Anyone else experienced this combination of HIGH, and then shattering LOWS while playing a game? And what are your thoughts on the matter?

This Generation Bores Me

27 years of full-time videogame playing as a hobby, that's what I can claim as the underlying defense for the claims I'm about to make.

I recently started Mass Effect 3. First off, it's a fantastic piece of work that caps off one of the most remarkable pieces of Science Fiction entertainment in history. The worlds are believable. The aliens are interesting. The starships and tech all have a very strong sense of identity that no other Sci-Fi Universe has ever captured. This includes Star Wars, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, and so forth. The writing is 10x better than any Star Wars movie made in the last 30 years.

So what's the point of all this? Despite playing a masterful conclusion to what may be my favorite game series of all time, I think Mass Effect 3 is hamstrung in many ways by outdated technology. The visuals, while good, hurt my eyes a little. That being said, I think Bioware did a fantastic job on their visual design -- it's just a matter of 7 year old technology. The mind boggles to think of how Mass Effect 3 would've made an impact on real, high end hardware. Now, before you PC gaming nerds start spouting off about how much better the game is on your console, I have two words -- shut the f*** up. Thanks. What you fail to realize is that the game is/was made with console specifications in mind, as are %90 of your PC games. Even John Carmack, the father of PC gaming has said that it's a "waste of time" to develop a PC only game in this current economic climate. Therefor, while your game may display at higher resolutions and run at a higher framerate, it's still basically a console game with a shiny gloss of paint on it to justify your $2000 Personal Computer.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have whiners (SHOCKING, I KNOW!) all over the Internet saying they don't want this generation to end. A few things to all of you who think this --

1) The world doesn't revolve around you.

2) You're a cheap assclown.

3) You are not the "future" of this hobby.

So keep buying your discount games that you didn't buy when you could've supported the company full on at launch -- you're but a flea on the ass of the videogame industry. You don't matter. You can still download your Steam games for $2, 4 years from now while the rest of us are balls-deep in high-end gaming. And you can still keep thinking you're too cool because you don't buy games at full price -- no one cares.

Because many of us, even the many of us who aren't rich (like me) would sell my f***ing soul for new-generation consoles. Sure, certain games like Gears 3 (which had a very rare extra 2 years of graphical polish because of delays) still shine and surprise, but on the overall, all of the games on the horizon bore me.

Even PC gaming would benefit greatly from new consoles, for the resons I mentioned above. Games aren't built on graphics or technology alone, but would Halo: Reach's brilliant AI have been possible on last-gen tech? Would the amazing physics engine of Little BIg Planet 2 been possible on the PS2? Would games as visceral and crazy, and as glorious as Uncharted 2 and God OF War III have been anything but a pipe dream last generation?

I don't need lectures on how technology doesn't make games. Technology is the catalyst for innovation and advancement in this industry, and it always has been. And now it's time we all stop whining about this "generation ending too soon", and know that it'll be there waiting for you when you break open your piggy-bank and decide to join the rest of us.

Female "Friends" And Why I Don't Have Them

I rarely feel the need to explain myself in life (much less on this site), but I feel like many men need a reality check, especially the lonely ones (which is sadly probably a great majority of the men on this site) -- and the ones who so indignantly replied to my last blog with sarcasm or insults. I feel your pain, sport. You're confused, and I feel bad for you. So grab a pen and paper, or read this blog a few times until it burns into your psyche. Alot of you could benefit GREATLY from this blog.

My last blog was a simple reflection on the part of dating where you realize a perfectly nice person just "isn't for you". It happens to women all the time, and you know what happens? They push the man off to the side, gain all of the benefits they'd get from a "relationship" -- a confidante, emotional support, a shoulder to cry on -- without any physical commitment to the man. Meaning, the man doesn't get what he desires most -- sex. So, the woman is happy and content and the man's sexual self-esteem drops, having another woman in his life who doesn't value him as a real man -- a sexual partner -- but rather as a shopping buddy. To her, you're a female with a penis Read that again -- a female with a penis -- One of the gals. Your penis is just a technicality from being a "gossip girl", just like her. Before you know it, you'll both be singing Shania Twain songs together in the car on the freeway.

Reality check -- this is what a female friend views you as -- one of the girls. I was once a lonely, sexless man myself -- it's true. I used to have plenty of women "friends" who'd always come to me with their problems with real men -- men who'd drive them crazy with their unpredictability, and their ability to excite them. These women would salivate at the prospect of these badass guys calling or coming over -- they never knew what they'd do, or when they'd do it. They'd always say (and I'm sure this sounds familiar to alot of you), that "Oh (insert your name here), I wish I could find someone like you", but you'll notice that they don't want anything to do with you, romantically. This is because you are boring -- a friend. You're not exciting. You're a chump. You're the guy she runs to when a real man causes her problems. And this is because you've allowed yourself to be relegated to this role in her life.

Women don't "need" sex. Sorry, they don't. Not like men. They'd much rather have a stable of emotionally available men with whom they don't give their bodies but still have emotional availability from, and do you blame them? Biologically, women need to be choosy about their mates -- a single sexual encounter could result in an 18-year legal commitment.

So why not have female friends? Because, they can't offer a man anything in terms of emotional support or real companiopnship (unless it's a girlfriend, of course). Yes, I said it. Don't pound your head into the keyboard or start calling me a misogynist. But if you do, it's your loss and your massive ignorance.

1) Women don't help you get laid -- A long standing excuse for female/male friendships is that we can help each other "understand" what makes the other side tick, and it can lead to better understanding of different dating and relationship dynamics. Wrong. This couldn't be further from the truth. Since time immemorial, women have been notorious for saying they're attracted to one thing, and then ending up with something completely different. Read that sentence again, it's very important.This is, in some ways a human trait in general, but women embody it far more than men due to their volatile emotional nature. Another basic rule of useful advice is that the "giver" or advice has been in the situation they're giving advice for. So, has a woman ever dealt with another woman in a relationship sense? Does she really know what it's like, or what makes her tick? No, absolutely not. Unless she is a lesbian, of course. In this case, there is an exception. Otherwise, women are absolutely worthless to get advice from in the realm of dating. Stick to close male friends. Their advice and support is invaluable -- they've been there -- they know exactly how to help you.

2) You probably want to f*** her, or she DEFINITELY wants to f*** you -- A widespread theory in relationship psychology states that male/female friendships are only held together by an underlying sexual tension. This meaning that one side wants "more" from the friendship on either a conscious or sub-conscious level than the other. This could be a crush, an infatuation, etc. This is very clear and plain to see when a man has an attractive female friend (like alot of you probably do). You're so quietly desperate to have sex with her that you come off as A WORMY, needy douchebag. Believe it. Othertimes, this effect is much more subtle and neither side is willing to acknowledge it.

3) Women really care about themselves only -- When's the last time a female friend bailed you out of jail at 4 am? When's the last time a female friend had your back in a fight? When's the last time a female friend gave you some ass because it had "been awhile"? Never, that's when. Dumbass. Wake up.

4) Having female friends turns you into an overly sensitive p***y (who other men don't respect or like)-- Yep, plain and simple. Alot of you here REEK of this trait, overtly defending female stupidity at every turn. Nothing beats the kamikaze, crazy spirit of a group of strong-willed male friends in your life. If you hang around women too much, you're likely to start writing bad poetry, wearing sandals, and gaining more female friends (all the while masturbating with your own tears as lubrication when they're not around). It gets you into a social pattern. That pattern? Having women as "friends", not lovers. Wonder why you can't get laid? It's because every attractive woman in your life ends up as your shopping buddy, idiot. Get out of the pattern of female friends, find a good group of men to hang out with, and watch how much more attractive you are to women. Women want a man WHO seems like a man, not a feminized girly-boy who has no confidence around them.

None of this means I don't "like" women. It just means I choose to have women in my life in a capacity of romance -- and I appreciate and love them in that role. I also DO in fact have one close female friend, which I don't think is detrimental to men, as long as they have plenty of male support in their lives. Men can offer things to other men in friendship that are simply unmatched -- lifelong loyalty, dating advice, a swift and logical kick in the ass when you need it -- that female friends can't. All without the desperation. So if you're a guy who values alot of women as friends, I have three words or advice -- grow some balls.

Kittens and sunshine,

-J

Terrible Game Tuesday!

I can't recall two more anticipated games being released on the same day to a hail of critical gunfire as today.

First off, there's Ninja Gaiden 3. And although IGN is about as credible and truthworthy as a crack-w***e in need of a fix, let the fun begin.

SCORE: 3/10

IGN Wrote:

Ninja Gaiden 3 is a gash on the face of the franchise and one of the worst games the action genre has yet suffered...It's a nightmare that's as easy as it is uninteresting, and it abandons what used to work for awful new ideas that don't work together. Under no circumstance should you ever waste your time on this self-indulgent and abysmal wreck.

YES! That's one hefty negative review, here's another, this time from Metacritic User Nandusky (whoever the f*** he/she is doesn't matter)

Nandusky Wrote:

Poorly designed casual trash. This is the Cars 2 of Team Ninja. Ninja Gaiden is terrible without Itagaki, let's hope Nu-Team Ninja doesn't do the same to the Dead or Alive franchise.


Cars 2 of Ninja Gaiden! Good one. Once again, YES! *thrusts hips*

The game (Ninja Gaiden 3) currently rests at a 60/100 on Metacritic. I'm just guessing Team Ninja won't be getting any Metacritic bonuses!

Next up is Resident Evi; Operation Racoon City. You thought Ninja Gaiden 3's reviews were bad? WRONG!

Here's what Joystiq said in a 4/10 review (Yes, LOL 4/10!!!!!)

Joystiq wrote:

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City is everything I hoped it wouldn't be: a mediocre shooter hoping to be bolstered by the Resident Evil name. It takes what is arguably the series' best setting and wastes it, forcing players to plod through generic underground facilities and the occasional, oddly vacant street from one boring encounter to the next.

GamesRadar also wasn't too fond, giving the game a 3/10 and saying:

Not only does Raccoon City not deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Valve's zombie-killing masterpiece [Left 4 Dead], a number of poor design choices, narrative missteps, and technical issues combine to make this one of the worst Resident Evil games to date.

F*** you, Capcom!


Gamer Chick

Sorry, this isn't going to be one of my near-poetic recounts of a dating encounter I've had (Ala Dating in 2012 missing from the title), but rather a series of observations on the notion of potentially sharing my main passion in life with someone with whom I can also bang (Ok, I'll admit, that sentence was poetic).

I met a girl in the gaming section of big retail store a few months ago. She was decent looking, but we really hit it off and talked about games for awhile before I asked her for her number. She had purple hair, luscious lips, and an interesting disposition (somewhere between nasty and sweet). I figured that what might've been missing in pure phsyical attraction might be made up for in that she was a hardcore (and I mean HARDCORE) gamer. It took awhile, but we finally hung out last week (which was only mediocre), and a few days ago we decided to have night were we played some games.

What was the bottom line? It was kinda f***ing boring. I don't play that many games with people, sure, but our time together didn't feel like we were really sharing anything too special.

Before I go any further, realize I had a few years of college in the field of Psychology, and one of the main requirements for attraction are common interests (along with Proximity and Familiarity, for those keeping track). I've never dated a woman who liked games as much as I do (although I've converted a few through exposure), so a part of me is seeking someone with whom so much work isn't required, and maybe we could just let our interests bring us together.

But I'm here to tell you it's a pure fallacy. As I said above, I was bored. Yeah, we made out, and yes, I got her naked (although I didn't take it any further since she seems to already be emotionally attached), but overall the night kinda sucked. Maybe hanging out with someone who loves games so much reminded me of a dude, I don't know.

Maybe I like girly girls who don't have any other hobbies, other than painting their nails and daydreaming about ways to blow my mind in bed.

Maybe I am more interested in bad b***hes who just use me for sex.

Maybe I'm just not nerdy enough to really care if my companion plays games.

Maybe I want someone who is not like me, so I can feel more attracted. But f*** all those notions about "gamer couples", I'll do that s*** when my girl isn't around.

I Speculate That Your Speculation Blows

With the current "generation" of consoles dragging on for an unprecedented amount of time, the information (and rumor) hungry gaming community and media continues to obsess over the possible details of the upcoming consoles.

Will the next Xbox have a tablet controller? Will it be digital media only? Will it have a magical odor creator built in that freshens the air in your room to smell like Unicorn Farts?

The bottom line is, NO ONE F***ING KNOWS. The rumors have gone from A-Z, and every week, the story changes. But really, I don't blame people. The current generation has become a bit boring. Not because of the lack of games -- some of them are still stellar -- but because almost every piece of technology released nowadays makes the 360 and the PS3 look like the antiquated dinosaurs that they are. We live in an era where PC gaming is currently hamstrung by console specs -- developers intelligently won't spend alot of development time or money on titles that can't be released across all platforms.

This means that most games are built, at best, with 7 year-old specifications in mind. I know some people don't want this generation to end, but guess what? You suck. The industry isn't built around people like you -- it's built around early adopters and people with open wallets. Sure, console sales are still strong in some areas (like the 360 Kinect Bundles... *pukes*), but it really is time to move on.

This brings me to my recent purchase of the Playstation Vita, and what is possibly the first true taste of "next-generation" gaming. Let's get this out of the way -- The Vita is amazing. The machine is built from the ground-up with HARDCORE gaming in mind, and the launch lineup is extremely impressive in it's consistency of good to great games. The Vita is pure sex to play, with dual-analog sticks and peerless touchscreen response. The interface is also impressive, with integrated multitasking and party-chat (a first for Sony) built into the microphone functionality of the machine. This means you can party chat with the Vita while playing games, microphone free. But the best part is the screen -- a 5-Inch OLED beauty. It's bright and pretty, and with deceptively high resolution because of the size of the screen -- so much so that going back to playing Current Games games seems like a step-backward. It's a taste of next-generation, and I want more, badly.

It looks like Sony is very serious about catering to the hardcore, while Miscrosoft continues to put out flail-and-fail Kinect games and soggy sequels (Halo 4.. yawn). This makes me wonder about the future generation. Meanwhile, tech-geniuses DICE claim that Miscrosoft needs to have 8 GB of RAM in order for their next machine to be viable and exciting.

Good luck with that one, bro.

What are your thoughts?