Kazona / Member

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Kazona Blog

No, this is not an E3 post

I did originally intend to write an E3 blog related entry with all the things I liked and didn't like about this year's show, but quite frankly, I think that enough people have already written one that pretty much sum up my own experience for this year. So I see no need to create yet another E3 post. Suffice to say that I enjoyed it alot, and I hope to see more like it next year.

What this post is then? Well it's another Giant Bomb blog entry write-up thingie! For I have crossed over to the dark side that goes BOOM! I signed up as soon as they launched, and so far I'm really enjoying the site. I love the whole Wiki approach to it, allowing pretty much anyone with even the slightest knowledge of games to add their two cents to the site. Something which is pretty awesome if you ask me. So I think I'll be spending alot of my time there, putting my knowledge to the test and try to add some stuff. I actually realized how limited my knowledge is when I started editing the Outcast section, which is probably my favorite game ever. Unfortunately I'm still waiting for my submission to be approved or declined.

Now before you all start clinging to my leg screaming, "don't go!" I'm not leaving GS. So ya'll can let go of my leg now (except Jody :P). I do think, however, that the majority of my time will be spent on Giant Bomb, but seeing how little actualy participation in things like forums or blog entries I have here, I doubt anyone will be able to tell the difference, so no need to freak out. If I do make a blog entry, I'll try to post it on both sites, so that those who didn't join Giant Bomb will still be able to bathe in the awesomeness that is me. (Conceited? Me? NAH!)

Well that is all for now! Cheerio! Chip chip! And all that kind of stuff!

P.S My username is the same as it is here

Too much money spent; yet again

I really have a bad habit of spending money that I don't have, and it's gotten me into a tight financial spot on more than one occasion. But man, it's hard not to spend money when you're bored out of your mind and can't think of anything to do. Sure I can train some; I can watch TV; or I can shoot some hoops. But honestly, none of those things can keep me occupied as long as most games and gadgets do, so I end up going to the stores and looking around for "just one game" to buy, and usually I end up coming home with several games and a bunch of junkfood. Yay for the massive gaping hole in my hand!

Here's the funny thing: one of the games I bought isn't even a game that I'm particularly interested in, namely Ninja Gaiden II. I liked the first one to a degree, but I never really got into it, and hence I've never finished it. It's been sitting near my 360 for a while now (on top of it to be precise), but I haven't even so much as popped the disc into the drive to check if it works--which I hope it does. But maybe that's because I've been to engrossed by Condemned 2: Bloodshot. That game is far better than I'd expected it to be. When I bought it I figured it'd be some good brawling game to blow of some steam when I'm stressed; but man, it's far more than that. Heck I like it so much that even though I lost my savegame when I was near the end, instead of putting it away like I normally do, I just started again from scratch. So yea, I can honestly say that I like the game. The combat system took me a while to get used to, and it was harder on normal difficulty than I initinally expected, but once I got the hang of it I couldn't get enough of it. Don't hold your breath for a review, though, because I honestly don't know if or when I'll be writing those again.

Another couple of games I bought include the 3 first Splinter Cell games for a mere 6 euros; Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood for 10 euros; and the collector's edition of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. for 30 euros. That last one is kinda surprising because I've seen the regular copies being sold for that price in just about every store I've been to. So yea, I could say that was a spot of luck. And I really like the tin casing it comes in. It has your usual extras you'd expect from a collector's edition: a bonus dvd; some extra booklets; two special multiplayer maps; and a map. The map, however, is probably something I could've done without as it looks pretty darn cheap and lame.

And last is probably my most joyous purchase of all: a brand new phone! It wasn't really something I was planning on doing, but my old phone which was just over a year old (and hence no warranty) broke and I was forced to get a new one. And well, I'm totally loving it. It's an LG Viewty or otherwise known as LG KU990, and it's one of the nicest phones I've had in a long time. It's got a 5 megapixel camera and video camera; a wide variety of video support with 30fps playback and 120fps recording; a nice little music player; and a decent browser that supports multiple windows. And the whole thing is touch screen to boot, leaving me with a nice big screen. It also has support for youtube, which is pretty neat, but I haven't really made use of that function. Most of my time is spent browsing the mobile web and listening to music. I've also taken a couple of shots with the camera, and while it's obviously not as good as an actual camera, I'm more than satisfied with the picture quality. The image stabilizer is especially a neat little thing as I have trouble holding the dang thing steady when I'm taking pictures.

One bad thing about getting the new phone, however, is that now I'm once again stuck with two contracts. I'd just gotten rid of my T-Mobile contract, and lo and behold, the phone I'd gotten from Orange breaks not long after. And seeing as how it was outside of my warranty period, it'd cost me almost as much as a new phone to get a it repaired. I asked if I could somehow remove my remaining contract period onto a new contract and hence get a new phone, but no dice. And seeing as how I didn't have the money lying around for a new one, my only other choice was to get another contract that allowed me to get a free phone. So voila, I'm back to paying for two contracts again. Oh the irony.

Well I think that'll do for now. I wouldn't blame anyone if they avoided this entry due its lengthy nature, but I didn't see any good reason not to put all of it into one post.

Have a great day!

Quick update: New Gamertag

Just a quick note to those who actually have me on their XBL list: I changed my gamertag from dkazona to Kazonaa. One of my old accounts was Kazona, but I can't access that anymore and well that name is kinda my trademark now, so I decided to go with the extra a and have my xbl name be more in line with the username I use everywhere.

Yep that's all I had to say lol

New; new; and new

Yes my dear friends, I spent far too much money again! I've bought me all kinds of goodies, and I'm gonna be buying some more later. First of all, my most expensive purchase, a brand spanking new video card: the Asus Geforce EN8800 GTS 512MB. Of course I was an idiot, and I forgot to check if my power supply could handle it before I bought it, but thankfully it can so I got off lucky with that one--phew. And I gotta say I'm quite happy with this baby, but in all honesty compared to the 8600 GS I was expecting more of a performance increase than I got. Of course I've only tested a couple of games with it, but I'm kinda dissapointed with the performance in WoW. I've read from alot of people that they can easily pull 100fps, whereas I'm running an average of 70, sometimes 80. So that kinda makes me wonder what kind of monster I'd need to get to that 100fps region. Not that it really matters, because 300 Euros was already over the budget, so I'm not gonna spend a penny more. And I should probably give it another run now that it's overclocked, although it probably won't make much of a difference. And for anyone wondering, no the card isn't bottlenecked by a slow CPU, although I just realized (this very second) that perhaps my power supply just isn't strong enough to juice the card up to full strenght. Hmm.

As for the rest of the things, I bought some cheap but fun games, with the most fun so far being Audiosurf. That game is pure genious, and unless something extremely innovative comes along this year I pretty much already know that this will be what I'm gonna be voting for in the innovation category when it's time for the 2008 awards. Seriously, if you haven't heard about this yet, or if you haven't tried it, go to their website and download the demo. The game is a perfect blend of puzzling, twitch based gaming and kickass music (you can use your own music).

The other two games I've bought are from Xbox Live Arcade: Rez HD, which is as funky and entertaining as everyone made it out to be, so I'm happy I got that; and I got Boom Boom Rocket, something which I never would've done had I seen the review scores first. To be fair, I've only played the two demo stages of that game, and as soon as I bought it I went back to play CoD 4, so I'll reserve my judgement for this game until later, heh.

And if anyone's wondering where those promised reviews are, they're coming, I promise. I just can't say when exactly, and I have a good excuse: I quit taking my anti-depressants because it was messing with my creative spark, but that turned out to be a bad idea so now I'm back on my meds again, and it'll take a little bit before they really start doing their work again. But, I already feel alot better than I did without them, plus I've already jotted down the main notes for two of the games, so I'm pretty confident I'll get to writing some reviews soon.

Well that's all for now. Have a great day, everyone!

Guess who's back!

Yush! I am back! Was without internet for 4 days, but now I'm finally running on my new ISP. And to be honest, so far it sucks hiney. I switched to from XS4ALL to Orange mainly because it saves me 35 bucks a month, and when testing it at my sister's place, the speed was the same. So the decision was eventually made to switch. And to be honest, so far I'm wishing I hadn't. I've just run a little test, and instead of the average 8800kbs I used to get on my old ISP, I now get around 2300. A huge difference if you ask me. I'm hoping that once I get the official modem for it that it'll end up being faster, but I really don't see how it would make up for such a huge difference in speed.

Unfortunately I am stuck with this new ISP for a year before I can switch again. Maybe it'll get better during that time, but so far I'm anything but satisfied. But hey, at least I can keep track of everything going on again, and it looks like I have alot of catching up to do.

Finally got my copy of DMC 4

Yesterday I finally received my copy of DMC 4 in the mail. Several weeks late, but I'm just glad it didn't get lost in the mail. So far I'm liking the game as much as I did when I played the demo, but there is one thing which really irks me. What that is? You'll have to wait for the review to find out ;)

Edit: I totally forgot that I still have a Burnout review to write. Sorry :/

News News News

I'm kinda bored atm, and I have no idea what to post about, so I figured I'd just post some news stories I came accross on the net.

BioWare Returning to KOTOR License at 1UP.com:

Appearantly the much rumored return of Bioware into the world of KOTOR may very well be true after all. However, it also seems that it is not the MMO that's been announced a few months ago, as both games are listed seperately.

Map pack for Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare comin at Gaming-Age.com

Not much to say here, except YAY for new maps!

Metal Gear Solid: Essential Collection confirmed for North America at Gaming-Age.com

Anyone who hasn't played the MGS games yet, and would like the ability to catch up on everything that's been happening before they dive into Metal Gear Solid 4 will now get the chance to do so--as long as you live in North America that is. The package will include the original Metal Gear Solid, the director's cut of Metal Gear Solid 2 and Metal Gear Solid 3. The current release date is set at March 18th and will retail somewhere around @29.99

Hype, the most dangerous game of all

This little editorial of mine was inspired by this topic. In all honesty, I think this is one of my worst articles in terms of writing quality, but if I have to edit it one more time to make it look decent in my own view I'm likely to whack myself with my keyboard a times or two. And seeing as I don't have a spare keyboard, I'd rather not risk breaking it by doing that; so I will just post this little demon and be done with it. Freedom at last!

So let's get straight into it the nitty gritty shall we?

A necessary evil

Development costs for games have rissen exponentially over the last years, and they are still on the rise. According to this article, you shouldn't be surprised if development of a high profile game will cost you upward of $20 million. And that's for development alone! Include the nescesary marketing, and costs will easily rise into the 30 million dollar region. If you read on, you'll find out that with all the costs factored in the publisher would have to sell 830,000 copies of their game to break even. Notice the importance of those words: break even. That means no profit for 3 years worth of work if you sell that many copies. Now if you look at the costs to develop such a high profile game as Halo 3 ($60 million total according to this article), and we come to the conclusion that it would need to sell well over 2 million copies to garner an acceptable profit. Granted, they easily broke that mark, but the at least half those sales were achieved thanks to the high level of hype surrounding it. Imagine if that wasn't the case, then the game would surely be a financial flop, no matter how high the ratings for it may be.

I'm not going to go into what the causes of the increase of development costs are, but suffice to say that there's a lot of pressure on a publisher to sell enough copies to make a profit for both themselves and the developer. So as much as we may despise it at times, hype is a nescesary evil for the industry as a whole to survive and move forward. I think it has even come to a point where the level of hype needed to make a profit on a high profile movie doesn't need to be anywhere near as high as that of a high profile game. Whether that's a good or bad thing is up for debate (and not the point of this editorial), but whichever way you look at it, hype is almost always needed.

It's not always a bad thing

he biggest advantage of garnering enough hype is, of course, the initial rush of people who will do anything to own that game on day of release. Nowhere will you see as many pre-orders for a game as one that has been completely hyped into oblivion. Heck, even some of those that complain about the constant coverage of said games and wish it would just go away are going to be buying the game the moment it comes out. And for a developer that is good, because lots of sales = lots of money. Now if the hype is high enough to excite people, but not so high that it will dissapoint no matter what, then the developer will be sitting on a gold mine because excitment of the game will continue to spread well after its release, resulting in more and more sales--and thus more profit.

For some games the hype surrounding it can create a cult-like status, meaning it'll sell more than enough for the devoper to make a decent profit even if sales encounter a steep decline not long after release. Of course it's always best if the balance is met and the sales numbers of said game stay in the profitable regions well after its initial release. After all, the longer the sales stay in the upper regions, the higher the profit for the developer. Not only that, their exposure will last longer as well, meaning their next game is more likely to garner a good amount of attention and--to some degree--guaranteed sales. So a steady level of hype that doesn't raise expectations too high can vastly improve the future of any given game.

Too much of it can be dangerous

The dangers of having too much buzz surrounding a game is that expectations will almost never be fully met. No matter how good or revolutionary your game may be, when subjected to too much hype, the level of expectation will be at such an alltime high that it will always dissapoint to a degree, if not completely. And when something really dissapoints you, it is hard to see all the good things a game has to offer. Halo 3 is probably the best example of this. Despite the second installment in the series not really doing anything drastically different than the first one, the level of hype created for Halo 3 was so high that there were people who expected the second coming of Jesus in the disquise of a game (sorta speak). When that wasn't the case, and the game turned out to be just a fun shooter, with a few tweaks and new additions here and there, those people were sorely dissapointed. And those are also to be the most likely group of people who are going to be very vocal about their dissapointment. And just like hype can create a high level of excitement amongst gamers, dissapointment by enough of them can equally ruin the game for potential new players. After all, if 95% of the people who played a game say it's fantastic, and only 5% of them say it's overrated, it's going to instill you with a lot of confidence that spending your money on it is a good idea. Whereas having half the community say that a game is pure awesomeness, while the other half says it's incredibly overrated, is definitely going to make you think twice about buying the game. And in some cases probably even three or four times more after that.

From a developer standpoint, if you create too much hype for a game you're developing, and it dissapoints, people will find your enthusiasm about your next game to be far less believable. A good example of this would be Peter Molyneux and his somewhat ill-fated Fable. The man spoke with such passion about that game, that it was hard not to get excited, even if you weren't interested in Fable to begin with. And despite the small trickles of bad news that surrounded the game at the later stages of development, our anticpiation for it did not wane. And boy, were a lot of people sorely dissapointed when they finally played the game. To such an extent even that for several years afterwards any game with Peter Molyneux's name stamped on it automatically made the lips of many a person twitch. And even now, despite the years that have passed, there are still those of us who look upon Molyneux's next game, Fable 2, with wary eyes, and even a level of dread. And those people aren't going to be rushing out to pre-order the game anytime soon, or even buy it on the day of release. They are more likely going to wait at least a week or two after release before deciding whether to buy the game or not. And some of them will simply never buy the game, no matter how high the average rating for it is, for the sheer reason that the first one was such a big dissapointment.

Should this kind of trend continue on for too long and too often, a developer is doomed to slowly fade away into nothingess, until ultimately forgotten except for that one game that dissapointed everyone so much. It is a fate that has befallen befallen Interplay, for instance, after they released poor copy after poor copy of games carrying the Baldur's Gate name. The first hack-n-slash game with the Baldur's Gate name on it was something we could, for the most part, forgive--and to some extent even enjoy. But by the time the third iteration came around, we were all pretty much fed up with it because they had simply butchered everything that gave the Baldur's Gate name its fame, and had instead opted to release a bunch of games that turned the series into nothing more than a mere shadow of its former self.

Don't just blame the publishers

The high level of hype surrounding a game doesn't always just come from the devoper. Sometimes the real culprit for creating an incredible amount of hype for a given game--and with it, far too high expectations--are the users themselves. A good example for this would be the latest installment in the (in)famous Grand Theft Auto series, GTAIV. While Rockstar has only shown bits and pieces of information and has in fact done very little actual promoting of the game, that didn't stop users from creating threads on forums filled to the brim with hyped up glee, possibly raising people's level of excitement and anticipation higher than it already was. Some of the responses in such threads are clearly over-the-top excited, and indicate that they are getting their hopes up far too much. And while there are no numbers to back it up, it probably won't be too far fetched to say that alot of those who express their anticipation with such extreme enthusiasm are also going to be the ones loudest about their dissapointment if the game fails to live up their expectations.

Unfortunately it's that same loud minority that will make other people think twice about their purchase of the game. In that way it is quite amazing how the very vocal few can affect the opinions of others. And in a way, even those who openly disagree with those few can be responsible for raising the hype bar even higher. After all, a game that is capable of spurring on large topics full of people arguing its qualities must have something to catch their attention. And that in turn will raise the curiosity of others, some of which will be stating their own views on said game without actually knowing anything about it other than what they've read in that very thread moments ago.

For a publisher this has both its advantages and disadvantages. One of the major advantages is the free PR their game can get thanks to forums and the like, especially when said forums include some people who are very vocal about their opinion. Basically the more we 'discuss' a game, the more free advertising the publisher is receiving. And anything free in this world is a good thing! Unless, of course, you have no control over it. As long as the publisher is the sole advertiser of a game they can exert a form of control over how the game is viewed by the outside world. They can even hold in-house surveys to see which advertisements are most likely to induce positive feedback. Once it gets into the hands of the gaming community, however, all bets are off and all a publisher can really do at that point is watch as the community make or break their latest endeavor.

So who's really to blame for all this over-hyping of games? Personally, I'd say that the first place that those who call themselves gamers need to look is themselves. How often haven't we witnessed forums getting cluttered with posts of anticipation about a single game, with people making assumptions left and right based on a few simple screenshots? While there are plenty of publishers with whole PR departments dedicated to making their latest game appear as good as they possibly can manage, it really doesn't hold a candle to the insanity that can ensue on message boards. So is it really the publishers that we should be blaming for a game being over-hyped so much that it is always going to dissapoint in one way or another? Or do we simply need to learn to reign in our emotions a little when something new comes along and just allow the game to speak for itself? We have a saying over here that goes kinda like this: "Change begins with oneself." Perhaps that is true when it comes to hype as well.

Quote of the day!

As read in readers digest, a quote by david Hasselhof about being famous: "you'll always get the best table, but everyone will be watching you eat."

Delays delays delays. BAH!

Sorry people, but as you've guessed already by now, article about hype is delayed. Depression was playing messed up games with my head again. Joy! But I WILL write this thing and have it up before the weekend is over. Even if it means staying up all night!.. Well ok.. not all night.. I'm not that nuts.. But. euh.. yea.. It will be up!
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