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abluescarab Blog

I'm Back. Kind Of.

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Hello, everyone! I'm back again. I come back every few years and stalk my profile and see what's changed about me. Reading all my old blog posts has prompted me to delete most of them because they were the annoying rantings of a 14-year-old girl. Five years later, I'm not as annoying... I hope. I'm still a teenager, but at least I'm not 14 or 15 anymore (possibly the worst years of every person's life on the "I'm an annoyance" scale). Anyway, there's one thing that will probably never change: I will not go to bed at a normal hour. 6AM today, 7AM tomorrow, 5AM the next. Good night (morning) everyone!

GFWL and DRM

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In this post, it's time to rant.


Games for Windows Live

So my first rant: Games for Windows Live.


GFWL isextremelyannoying. I have only ever bought one GFWL: Batman: Arkham Asylum. That game... has given me the most trouble that I have everhad with any game. "Negative delta time"s and "Disconnected from Live"s run rampant and there's not a thing I can do. The game works -- barely. It is at this point that I want to throttleMicrosoft. They have created one of the worstgame environments I have ever experienced. Ever since I installed my new graphics card, my internet connection has been from "Low" to "Very Low". On a normal basis, I used to lose my internet once or twice a day. Now, I lose it anywhere from every few hours to multiple times in an hour. When I'm playing Batman, that problem is accelerated in that I lose my connection every 5-20 minutes.


I blame the fact that I have to be signed into GFWL constantly while playing if I want to be able to save. It's almost as bad as DRM -- but not quite. I'll rant about that in a bit. Anyway, I have despised Microsoft for a long while for creating the most annoying OS known to man -- but this is just too much. I swore that I would never again buy a GFWL, but so many new releases are GWFL, such as Fallout 3, Grand Theft Auto IV, Resident Evil 5, Fable III, F.E.A.R. 2, and Bioshock 2. It's unbelievable what Microsoft is subjecting us to. If I had a choice, I would switch to Ubuntu again.


Digital-Rights Management

DRM is often a thing that not necessarily hinders gameplay, but rather (tries to) ward of the pirating of games. It hasn't accomplished that very well. Especially the kind of DRM that Ubisoft has incorporated into Assassin's Creed 2. The kind of DRM they are using is one that hinders gameplay so significantly that it is worsethan GWFL. It's this: no internet, no game. Period. Oh, you're going to be flying cross-country and would like some entertainment in the air? No AC2 for you! You're in the car with your laptop? Nope! You have a faulty internet connection? Fix it! Finally, you're stationed in a foreign country during a war? What's it matter!


It's sickening. Just sickening. You have a constant, stable, high-speed internet connection to play AC2. You know what's also bad? Your savegames are stored online. No local saves! So if you're somehow able to keep your internet connection up at home, if you go to use your game on some other machine, you can't just drag-and-drop your savegames to the new computer. And we've been over this already... what if the other computer doesn't have internet or has dial-up or something? Ugh.


I have read so many reviews on the DRM. Did you know that there are 124 1-star reviews on Amazon for AC2? Out of 157 reviews, there are 124 1-stars -- all of them that I saw were about the DRM. In every review, in every comment on a review, someone said "I will not purchase from Ubisoft again" or something similar. A message to Ubisoft: is this telling you something yet? Patch that game or you will lose it to pirates simply because of the DRM. I know Ubisoft won't read this -- I'm just so pissed that I'm ready to write them a message they'll never read.


I'm not going to boycott Ubisoft -- they have too many games that I enjoy. But I am going to say this: I am not buying AC2 or anything with DRM from them. If I was that kind of person, I wouldpirate it. But I'm not.

Humble Indie Bundle - 5 Games, Anything You Want to Pay

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The Humble Indie Bundle is an experiment being conducted by Wolfire Games.

You pay what you want for five games. It's simple. Go to the Wolfire HIB page and read all about it. When you're ready to buy, fill out the form at the bottom of the page. Enter the USD (US Dollar) amount you want to pay, then your payment process, and pick how to divide the profit from your purchase. You can select to split evenly, customize, or give all of your purchase to one place. The charity that (if you so choose) receives some of the purchase is Electronic Frontier Foundation, which specializes in internet privacy. After that, just enter your e-mail and select whether you want a giftable code or not. Note that, if you are buying the HIB with a parent and no giftable code, the child should enter their e-mail address in this form. The parent whose e-mail you use to purchase the HIB will receive the receipt by e-mail.

It's only got 3 days and 19 hours left from this post -- grab your games, cheap, and fast!

To All Harry Potter Fans

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TO ALL HARRY POTTER FANS!

My friend has created a website dedicated to Harry Potter! She wanted to get the word out so I figured I would do her a favor!

You can find her website at http://the-dark-death-eaters.webs.com/

Join the Death Eaters, and under the Dark Lord's rule, we will be victorious over Harry Potter and his mudblood friends!

The website includes adventures, photos, forums, and other Harry Potter related things! Please join at http://the-dark-death-eaters.webs.com/ :)

My Trip to Seattle

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Well, I wanted all of my friends and perhaps some other people to read this blog post because I wanted to talk about my day in Seattle. It's not going to be a boring post like you might think, I will add some flair and detailed descriptions of everything :D

First off, I woke up early and left for Seattle with my mom and my friend Grizelda. Our first stop on the list was Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, which you can find their website here. Well, YOCS isn't your ordinary Pier 54 gift shop; it's filled top to bottom, ceiling, floor, shelves, with items you probably can't find anywhere else. YOCS has everything from a family of mermaids to two naturally-preserved American mummies. They also have 7 shrunken heads, and a rare female shrunken torso. Betcha didn't know people shrunk torsos, did ya? I knew, but I never thought I'd see one up close and personal. They also have the smallest shrunken head in the world! They have some other interesting items, like fleas in dresses, a four-legged hen, a freak pig with 8 legs, 3 eyes and 3 mouths, 2 tails, 2 mouths, 2 noses, and 2 ears. You can also find a ton of rare vintage items, like one of few fortune-teller machines made by the American Amusement Company featured in San Pedro, California almost 30 years ago. You can find more oddities and bizarre creatures by going downtown to Pier 54, along Elliot Bay, which is next to Puget Sound.

Our next stop wasn't too interesting, just lunch at Red Robin's... on a dock, floating, swaying, rocking. A seagull landed on the dock post next to us before we had even gotten our food, it was the closest I have ever been to a seagull.

Next, we went to a very interesting shop: Pirate's Plunder. Dedicated completely to pirates, this smallish gift shop has everything from mugs to action figures, books to pirate booty, and a few interesting carvings of pirates. Name anything at all, and you will most likely find it, complete with Jolly Roger, at Pirate's Plunder.

After the shop, we went on a 60-minute narrated ferry tour of Elliot Bay. It's hard to describe, but we learned some interesting facts about the city. The view from the ferry is the ONLY completely clear view of the Space Needle. Did you know that although the Space Needle is incredibly tall, it only has 3 working floors? The bottom floor is a gift shop where you can find practically anything with the name "Seattle" on it. The second floor is a rotating restaurant, that in the space of about one hour, will make a complete 360 degree rotation, giving you the best view of the entire city. The third floor is the actual viewing room, where you can look out the top of the Space Needle over the entire city and Puget Sound. Did you also know that Starbucks and Amazon.com had their origins in Seattle? If the condo from Frasier had been real, with the view it had over the city, it would have been halfway up this huge pole sticking out of the top of Victoria Hill (I think that's the name of it).

After the ferry ride, we had dinner at a place called The Crab Pot (you can find info on it here). The unique thing about this restaurant is that you can order these large combo "plates", with all sorts of seafood (depending on what you get, you can get crab, shrimp, mussels, steamed clams, corn, potatoes, oysters, the works). The reason I put quotation marks around the word "plates" is because THESE "dishes" don't come on plates. They are made then brought to the table. You are given a bib (yes, stupid, but you will not regret having this). Move all your stuff, because here comes the food! The seafood is just dumped on the table in one big pile; I guarantee you, it will be the messiest, the least formal, the most delicious seafood dinner you will ever have. Watch out though, the shrimp heads are kept on, and it can be creepy for some people picking up an innocent piece of seafood and seeing a beady black eye staring back at them.

After our delicious, mouthwatering, incredibly messy meal, we were on our way back to the parking garage before it closed at 10PM. We were standing at an intersection and saw a Seattle native with his girlfriend and two other men. I had to look twice. "Is that who I think it is?" I kept asking myself. Turns out my suspicions were right.

No one wears clothes like that, jewelry like that, or has hair like that except one person. I had stood only a few feet away from the guitar legend, Carlos Santana.

The Death of RuneScape

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Ah, RuneScape, the start of my online gaming campaign, the meeting place of many friends (and enemies) and the beginning of my understanding of MMORPG slang.

It's depressing to log into RuneScape a few months later and see no one online. No one on your friends list, no one you recognize. It's sad to purge your friends' list of the people you never see, the people who you were fond of, not like you would be of someone you know in real life, but in a category of their own.

This is what I felt as I logged onto RuneScape.

It's even my one-year anniversary of joining RuneScape!

World of Warcraft is the object of my obsession now. :P I've been trying to get my boyfriend to buy/download it, but his parents are a bit too strict about what he puts on the computer. They even have the internet rigged to cut out at 10PM.

I don't know why I made this blog post, perhaps just because I was bored or perhaps for a reason unknown. But I'm planning on writing another entry right after I post this one, so "stay tuned"! lol

What to Think About When Buying a Wii (Compared to Other Consoles)

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You should think about these main things (as I mentioned in my previous blog post):

Table of Contents

--------------------

- Portability
- Graphics
- Internet Access
- Prices
- Long-term enjoyment of the console
- If the console is still having games developed and whether it will or will not in a few years' time
- Ease of use
- Overall Rating

Portability

Rating: 6

The portability of the Wii is horrible when compared with other consoles. The Wii is smaller than, say, the PS2 original (not the thin version), but it's got what feels like twenty million cables when it's only really three. There's the cable for the Sensor Bar (which is very fragile), the cable for the wall outlet, and the cables to connect to the TV. Not many, but the cables are all incredibly long, the most noticeable of which is the Sensor Bar! The Wii console itself must be, (estimating) 10" X 2" X 7". Overall, the Wii is a mess of cords and cables and parts.

Graphics

Rating: 7

Some games have their charms, whereas others are not so pretty. Wii-made games (the ones where you use Miis) don't have very good graphics because they're designed to be lightweight minigame packages. Other games, such as Endless Ocean, have really good graphics because they're designed to be lifelike. All in all, the Wii (being a next-gen console) has a good amount of games with good graphics, whereas others will fall flat on their faces.

Internet Access

Rating: 8

The internet isn't free on the Wii, but it's pretty cheap. On the Wii console, there's a channel called the Shop Channel. In the Shop, you can download other channels and games for free or for a certain number of points. You get points by either purchasing them through a credit card or by redeeming a Nintendo Points Card. I don't know where you can get these, but you can probably purchase them from your local video game store. Here's a screenshot:

Wii Shop Channel

Go to "Add Wii Points" and there will be two options, either for a credit card or the points card. 1000 Wii points is $10, and the Wii Internet Channel is 500 points. That means you can browse ANYTHING online for a $5 flat fee, meaning a one-time payment and you keep it forever. Though there has been discussion on making users pay taxes for the internet channel. I would post a link, but I can't find the article any more. Wii internet is powered by Opera.

Prices

Rating: Expensive

Don't look to the Wii for cheap prices. If you're lucky enough to find the console with all the parts for less than $250, you're probably buying a broken or used one. And if you can find a Wii game that's old and less than $40, the same principles apply. You have to pay for nearly EVERYTHING on the Wii, so not only does the Wii itself take a large chunk out of your wallet, with everything to buy afterwards, just bury the money and give the wallet a funeral. Still, it's MUCH cheaper than the PS3 and Xbox 360.

Long-Term Enjoyment

Rating: Guarantee

I can't really answer this one. This is for you to decide, but I know that I have had many enjoyable hours of fun playing on the Wii, even with all of its flaws.

Game Development

Rating: Guarantee

The Wii will probably have games developed for it for many years to come and probably a few years after the Wii sequel, if there is one.

Ease of Use

Rating: 7

The Wii can be hard at times to use; you must be a certain way away from the Sensor Bar at all times, if you don't have a USB Keyboard, you have to type with the Wiimote, and certain glitches such as the Sensor Bar having trouble locating your Wiimote and your Wiimote's pointer suddenly and unexpectedly disappearing or going off-screen. Minor things like these can grow to be a nuisance.

Overall Rating

Rating: 7

The Wii isn't the greatest console out there and it certainly doesn't have the largest amount of games, but the console has pretty high ratings and it has its bugs and glitches just like any other console. So if you want to buy a Wii, buy one; if you don't, then don't. This post was merely a guideline to the ins and outs of the Wii, and it is recommended that you do a bit of further research before you buy any console.

This review is based on my own experiences with the Wii console and you should, in no way, apply them to your feelings of the Wii console or other consoles in general.