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UncleLev Blog

Enjoying MGS4 little bit by little bit

Well, I'd be lying if I said I hate the game, cause I do not. My earlier post was a realistic view of how I was seeing it, and I still stand by it, but I am glad to say that I have at least been, slowly but surely, coming to appreciate some of it's more subtle qualities.

I'm still not wowed, but I'm at least feeling like it wasn't a complete waste of time or money.

I'm currently somewhere in South America, and have a feeling I'll be finishing up Act II pretty soon. I expect to have the game completed within the weekend. I may end up giving it another play through before I write my review. Sometimes, when I feel my overall opinion about a really hyped and major title is much lower than expected, I like to give it another run in the hope that I find more positive qualities in it to give it a better overview. I guess, only time will tell if that happens.

It's a pretty good game, but if it's the savior for the PS3 everyone has been talking about, then I don't see the PS3 as having that bright of a future if this is as far as the potential can go.

Then again, everyone has their own opinion. This is mine, and I respect those who think differently. I only wish people would put a little more thought and objectivity into reviewing. Not everything is a 1 or a 10.

I am completely astounded at the number of positive ratings for MGS4

I don't think I could possibly be more disappointed with MGS4. What really blows my mind is how so many people are carelessly throwing around these 10s, without having much to back it up with. I currently own a combined total of around 100 different games on the 360, PS3 and Wii, and I just can't see what is so special about MGS4. I am left to wonder if all these scores are merely given by fanboys, or by people who's exposure to a wide range of games is grossly limited in scope.

Without a doubt, I'd have to say that this is probably the most unjustifyably hyped games of the year. There isn't a single aspect of it that I would say is exceptionally well done - it's mediocrity on every level.

I notice how quickly the fan boys jump ahead with leaving the solid 10 reviews, but as the time the game has been out increases, the contradictory reviews seem to trickle in. All along, Gamespot cowardly waits to see what everyone else (and every other mainstream press critic) thinks before they give their verdict.

Had this game been released under any other name, it would have been shredded to pieces. But once again, the users have proved how easy it is for the hype machine to process a title into a sugar-coated fabrication.

I'm glad to see there are others out there who have enough courage to accurately and more realistically judge the game, in light of the mass number of people who seem to only see games as 10s and 1s.

My GTA 4 review posted

Please hold your stones until you have read the whole thing.

I know it's long (like most of my other reviews), but I try to cover nearly everything that I thought about when playing it.


Did I mention that reviews are one's personal opinion?

*runs for cover*

PS: reading my reviews on my personal site (as linked above) is always recommended, because Gamespot is a huge fan of censorship. A couple words had to be changed in my review when posting it here, so if you want to read the uncensored version of my reviews always check my home page.

PPS: Damn I'm glad I canceled my total access subscription here just days ago. I am really beginning to hate how little freedom you have on this site.

Perfect Moves - Wii Fit dancing/aerobics game

I got "Perfect Moves" today, during my "Wii Fit workout". That is, on the dancing game (the harder of the two), I got perfect for every single move and earned a perfect score! :)

It only took my 17 days (LOL)...

Here's a photograph I took if you don't believe me!;)


The PC Gaming Alliance is a scam

You know things are getting worse when companies devise clever schemes to reap the benefits of tax-free marketing campaigns. The recently founded "non-profit" organization, PC Gaming Alliance, is a perfect example of just this. While on the outside it's purpose may come off as a welcome idea to the average, good-hearted gamer, the underlying truth of the matter may be far different than that.

First of all, what does it mean to be a non-profit organization. In technical terms it is when an organization does not seek to reap profits, and it's income is lesser than, or equal to, it's necessary finances needed in order to sustain itself. Obviously, there is a lot more to it than just that, and there are also numerous factors which serve as major beneficial incentives. For example, non-profit organizations have the opportunity to attain tax-exempt status. Another major advantage is that donations given to such an organization are often tax-refundable, and can be written off as charitable expenses.

So now, keeping this all in mind, what is the PC Gaming Alliance all about then? According to the organization's web site, the "PC Gaming Alliance (PCGA) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to drive worldwide growth of PC gaming". In other words, it's a "non-profit" organization who's purpose is to revitalize a sluggish market, thereby increasing growth in the PC hardware and software markets. Naive gamers might be conned into believing the organization is there to benefit them, yet how exactly this would be achieved remains unclear. Sociologically speaking, the organization has no direct benefit to society, and in no way constitutes an organization who's purpose is the people. On the other hand, there are a considerable number of groups who stand to directly benefit from such an structure, and those would just so happen to include share holders in corporations that produce software and hardware that PC gamers use. Microsoft, Intel, AMD, Dell, and Nvdia are several companies which would, no doubt, greatly benefit from resurrected PC gaming "growth".

Then, who exactly is behind the PC Gaming Alliance? You probably already are aware of this, but sure enough it's the same companies; Microsoft, Intel, AMD, Dell, and Nvidia. That's not just a coincidence that the companies who have the most to gain from such a campaign are also the same companies behind the so-called non-profit organization.

So it seems companies are not only getting more and more clever, but that they are constantly using the systems in place to their advantage. Sure, you could easily argue that the PCGA is truly a non-profit organization since it won't actually profit itself. However, you'd have to be completely blind to ignore the fact that those who will benefit the most from the organization are also those who founded the organization itself.

Is this the beginning of the end, or is this possibly the "same old" to a greater degree? In any event, it seems as though if you play your cards right you can get away with free advertisement to boost your revenue. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that what's good for the PCGA is good for the companies behind it. Because donors to non-profit organizations can write off their contributions, in a sense it would mean that these same corporations can get away with free marketing by using a puppet organization to do their bidding. Because of the nature of how non-profit organizations are treated through the legal system, it could, and may, mean that other companies can easily jump on the bandwagon. Heck, if your business's sales are slumping, slap together a dummy organization that's purpose is to promote your industry, and voila: free marketing.

Excuse this jaded and skeptical gamer if my take on the whole situation doesn't sit too well with you, but the very idea of what appears to be going on doesn't sit very well with me. I love games, and I love the people who make them and make them possible. But that doesn't mean that I will treat those who's business's revolve around them with any sort of immunity. The PCGA appears to be nothing more than a highly decorated scam. By sugar-coating a concept gamers can eagerly eat up and embrace, most of us ignore the possibility that it isn't even setup for us. While it may be true that the PCGA will operate as a non-profit organization, all of the companies behind it will clearly profit directly as a result. I don't know about you, but that sounds to me to be a lot more like a well-planned charade than anything else. If it's only a matter of time before the PCGA's unquestionable, incentive for the gamers of the world becomes apparent, then maybe my doubts can be assuaged. Until then, I think it's best if we remain skeptical by calling their bluff.

Monster Madness review posted

Holy guacamole!

I never expected to have taken this long at getting a new review out, let alone the one for Monster Madness.

It's finally out of the way, so I don't have to think about that p.o.s. game anymore. I originally posted it last night on my personal site (levlive.com) and will continue to post all my reviews there before anywhere else (for anyone interested).

As for now, I hope I will finish off my review on Nights this weekend. I think I am two pages into it now, and my reviews tend to be between 5-7 pages, so that makes me roughly 2/3 done.

Then I have to take care of the one for Call of Juarez, and another for Turok. Man, I have way too much to do.

Finally decided to get my own personal blog

I just recently was cleaning up my code in order to get my portal system I'm using for taintedthoughts.com into a portable package that can be used elsewhere. With that said, I decided to use my own system over something like wordpress, because... well, it's just nicer using something you created.

I will keep my blog up to date with my daily life, full length game reviews, rants, discussions about programming, scripting and technology, and so forth. I'd appreciate if you checked it out once in a while. ;)


And the lord said, "let there be blasphemy"

And it was so:

I've finished and posted my Mass Effect review. It took me ages because I really wanted to be true to how I felt about it while still accurately discussing the problems I feel it contains.

If it's any consolation to any Mass Effect fanboys, I also thought Halo 3, Gears of War and several other AAA titles were overrated.

The idea behind this review system is to give everyone a voice, and this is my voice - something that isn't heard much due to the commercial conditioning we are all endure.

Fairly disappointed in how gamespot represents itself

First of all, I found it quite frustrating that a thread I had created yesterday in "ask the mods" was already locked, when I had more to say. I had written up a long followup response and upon submitting it learned that the mods apparently are only interested in getting what they think across and not giving you the opportunity to provide a follow up.

For shame.

I work in tech support, and know first hand that if we ever tried to get away with that we would have some of the angriest clients on our back. I think it should only be common courtesy to allow a party that initiated a conversation an appropriate amount of time to followup to a discussion before it is hastily locked. This seems to imply a striking urge to disregard any further questions or comments we should have on the matter.

Above anything else, I am mostly disappointed to see how many gamespot moderators seem to intimidate and demean members by undermining their intelligence. I have gotten this vibe not only in a couple of my own threads but seen even clearer examples of it in other "ask the mods" threads. I am shocked to see how individuals of such a respectable stature talk to users. I've seen several cases where grumpy and innapropriate users mouth off towards the moderatos (unjustifyably in some cases), but none the less it is my feeling that the authoriative figures ought to remain dignant and never stoop to such levels.

There were a few comments in the latest response I received which I felt were quite close-minded and demeaning. One of which refered to the overal situation as "simple really", yet oddly enough had described a situation which I need not meet. I was given a nice explaination of what "censor bypassing" was and apparently my message didn't get through. My quarrel is over how bypassing is interpretted - is it an intention and deliberate action, or is it an occurance (which can be labored to include typos, coincidences and quoting). Apparently, even my opinion seemed to have been disregarded as "incorrect", while I would argue that every opinion is a legitimate and valid one.

There was another comment in which I had questioned why the censoring system is not improved to be more effecient to catch malevolent uses of the words $tyle and cl@ass. I was told the answer should be fairly obvious and that the reason was simply there is lots to do. My initial thought and response was going to be: but I would assume that ensuring the comfort and user-friendliness of the end-user would be one of the top priorities. Apparently, it isn't. Apparently, neither is respecting legitimate and valid questions to the point that the individual posing them is not undermined.

I am not sure what it is about Gamespot that made me want to become active here. I was a paying member at IGN for more than a year before I signed up here, even though I'd gone to both sites for just as long. There must be some aspect of the interface here which I find to be more friendly to use, considering I've probably only made two blog posts in my entire stay at IGN and not a single forum post. Here, I find myself being drawn to be more active for reasons I cannot quite point my finger on. One thing I am certain of though is that Gamespot has not only one of the most vague and restrictive agreements I've ever encountered, but a nice dedicated staff of moderators who seem to make it their mission to make problems out of issues which otherwise may not have even been an issue to anyone else. I understand that rules are made for a reason (though they should be clearly defined), but it is my understanding they are there to protect the peace, not prevent it.

Ubuntu again

I never thought I'd dump openSuse to go back to Ubuntu, but fate has really slapped me on the face once again.

I heard nothing but good things about openSuse 10.3, so I decided to upgrade from 10.2. It was supposed to be much faster - it was.

But there was a major problem... For the life of me, I couldn't get the nvidia driver installed, so it felt useless. I even tried compiling from source and sadly I couldn't rebuild the kernel module because openSuse comes with a weird variation of the kernel, which didn't match the kernel source I had...

grrrr... what a nightmare. After a day of saying "f- this crap", I tried Fedora 8 to see how that come along. Surprise surprise, it's still as buggy as Windows. So, I went to Ubuntu, after virtually swearing I was through with ubuntu/kubuntu.

I gotta say, I am glad I went back. I am now running Ubuntu gutsy 7.10 and I'm loving it. Not only did nvidia install almost on its own, everything else has worked perfectly. I even got compiz running again and it is more stable than ever.

All you windows users out there - you have no idea how much better linux is. :D

compiz on ubuntu

I hope to have my Mass Effect review finished by the end of the day. :D

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