Video games and real life

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With the recent rash of gun voilence in the United States and law makers now making it appear that they're interested somewhat in gun legislation once again people are blaming video games on these recent attacks. I disagree with the notion that video games are to blame for this whole hardedly. Instead what some may argue is how voilence is in todays culture. Don't follow that point? Try reading this then. It's by a man named Fareed Zakaria who makes a valid point on this very issue. But I digress and instead lets look at this from a gamers perspective. For years now video games have been blamed or attacked when things beyond the average persons understanding have happened or when a very voilent video game has come onto the market.

There are known cases in which video games have been attacked by the media. While I'm sure some of you out there can probably list more than I can lets just stick with some of the basic ones. Mortal Kombat was attacked when it came out for its use of graphic voilence and the gorryness of its fatality's. Let us also not forget Grand Theft Auto for its content of killing massive numbers of civlians and the games mature subject matter. At the time to gamers on the other hand these games probably seemed pretty damn cool because they were new and different. Something for us to get excited over. Now once again politicans are blaming video games this time for the shooting a local elementary school that killed numerous children. So who got blamed on that? Guns and video games. The reality is in that case on may very well argue that the suspect was clearly a disturbed and mentaly unstable individual that should not have had access to guns in the first place.

Now with those cases in mind fast forward from then to now. Todays video games have wide ranging uses and to some extent game ratings are inforced by some retaliers. On the market today there are video game systems for young children that are used as teaching tools as well as being used by law enforment to help prepair their trainees for actual senarios. To give you an example of a childrens based video game system look up Leapfrog learning system. For some people to say that video games are to blame for tragic events that happen is just plain ignorance of the wide range that the term "video game" now covers.

The problem with people blaming video games is that they fail to see both sides of the argument. On one hand we have people who play games with no ill effects and in fact use games as a form of stress relief at times while others use it to take their minds off of problems that they have etc.....and yet these people are still able to distinguish between fantasy and reality. The problem is that there are people out there that cannot distinguish between these two and assume that because they did it in a video game they should have no problem doing it in real life. These bad apples in the video game pool are much like the bad apples found in the guns pool. The problem is that these bad apples reflect poorly on the rest of us from our respective batch of apples what ever you want to call your fruit or food product that you want to say your from and its the same with anything out there from charities to goverment officals etc....you name it there are some bad apples in there but that doesn't mean that they should spoil it for the rest of us.

Battlefield 3

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Dear fellow gamers

If you purchased a new copy of Battlefield 3 this year you may be disapointed to know that the former offer of a free copy of Battlefield 1943 is unfortunatly no longer in effect. Having attempted to search around the net regarding this as some of you might recall EA originaly decided offer up a redeemable code following the fiasco that occered when they promised a copy of Battlefield 1943 with the purchase of Battlefield 3 at 2011's E3 and ended up failing to deliver and then faced a lawsuit over that. Now 1yr later it appears as though that is no longer in effect. After trying to find the redemption page and doing some digging around the EA site I finaly clicked on Origins live chat and the person there unfortunatly told me that this was the case even after mentioning that it was a new copy.

Just thought I'd let the rest of you out there know about it. Happy gaming. :)

PS3 slim power switch

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I'm not sure if very many of my fellow gamers out here on gamespot know of a certain accesory for the PS3 slim so I'd though I'd share some information on a handy little thing I came accross. I'm sure by now that some of you that either have heard of the PS3 slim or have one are aware that the slim does not have a power switch on the back on the console. Which means that if you want to cut all power to the console you either have to have it on a power bar or a unplug the cord from the back of it. Well back in say late April or early may I came accross a rather unique accessory that I did not know even exsisted. What it is a power switch that goes between the slim's power cord and the place where it plugs in. To give you an idea here's a picture.

switch

Since I came accross it I obtained one online through Ebay and since then have found it to be very handy. While sure it can't beat your standard run of the mill power bar it is useful if you have other things pluged into the power bar and don't want power going to the PS3. Plus if you have children and you don't want them using it like say before they do their homework the switch is handy because it just plugs into the back of the console without the need to modify your PS3's power cord. Hope this information comes in handy.

Resident Evil 6 demo impressions

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Being one the people that got a hold of a copy of Dragon's Dogma with an early access code to the Resident Evil 6 demo I'd thought it best to share some things with the rest of you out there.

Resident Evil 6 defiantly has gotten my attention with this demo for a number of reasons. The graphics appear to be a good step up from Resident Evil 5 and seem like they will pass the look at factor and don't come off as cheap or unfitting of an Resident Evil game. For me the gameplay came across as your run of the mill third person shooter but I defiantly had times in which I was out of ammo and forced to use melee attacks which can be used by pressing the R1 button when your not aiming your gun. To me this makes me think that there will probably be some sort of fear factor that this will bring out in that until you find more ammo for your gun or guns you'll be forced to handle foes carefully. However some may fun themselves better shots than I so this may not be a problem for them. The three characters that you get to play as does lead me to wonder if there will be a sense of level overlap. In that when you play as another character you will play the same area that another one of the characters that you can chose from will be in. From what I saw from one of the trailers it would certainly seem like both Leon and Jake will share an area in a fight against a foe. Now I'm sure some of you are asking yourselves what is the horror factor or is there even one at all or has this become a watered down series with not very many scares to be found in anymore? The answer I'd have to give you at this point is that it probably is too early to tell based on the demo alone as each of the 3 characters only had 1 relatively short level each. I didn't find myself that scared at times except when I ran out of ammo and was forced to use melee attacks which were relatively easy to combo together and simply to me made the game seem more fun for me at least. However one the problem I did find with the demo was that the audio seemed to cut out during large explosions or gun fights. Now this maybe just a problem on my end or because this is just a demo but it is something that some of you may want to warned of if this turns out to be the case in the final game.

Dragon's Dogma thoughts

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Recently I finished off the main story for Dragon's Dogma and I personally found it a rather pleasant surprise coming from Capcom. To elaborate I'll break it down into categories.

Story

The story itself is bare bones and a lot of threads are introduced but unless the corresponding quest is found some of the threads are likely to leave you scratching your head in wonder. For an RPG this isn't very good as in most RPG's threads get introduced and then get tied off over the course of your adventure and its all seamless. This issue in Dragon's Dogma for the most part can be overlooked unless your the type that likes to get the most out of your games in which you'll want to find the quests that relates to certain threads to tie them off and get some closure and not be left scratching your head in wonder. However given this is Capcom's first attempt at this kind of game it is a decent attempt and if granted a sequel it would be something that they could work on and flesh it out more.

Gameplay

On the gameplay front it take a step in a different direction from most RPG's and attempts new and interesting things. For starters there's the pawn system which works like the system found in Demon's Souls and Dark Souls with their messaging system. Capcom took the core idea and dramatically altered it in a completely radical and in such a way that feels original in of itself. The system itself revolves around other players creating their own pawns and allowing other players to use them in the course of their adventure. This idea of using created customized characters as party members while borrowing them from other players is brilliant. Capcom also smartly addressed the pitfall this system might incur by not allowing borrowed pawns from earning experience points while their with another player to prevent a borrowed pawn returning as an overpowered main ally in their fight. Then theirs the class system. Unlike traditional RPG's in which you picked a class and you were stuck with it for the whole game. Capcom decided that once players reach the main town of Gran Sorren they would allow players to change their class if they wanted from 1 of the 3 basic classes they chose at the start of the game to 6 other additional classes. What's more you can also change your main pawn's class if chose to once you reach that point in the game as well. This really adds diversity and opens up numerous possibilities.

Finally we come to the studio factor. Capcom itself is a well established studio and when the name Capcom comes what do you think as in what games do you most assocaite with Capcom? For some the first thing that would come to mind is Resident Evil while for others it maybe Street Fighter or even Mega Man. Capcom itself has built up a reputation for those games and while their games may not have always been good or great they stuck with what they knew best. They've never really made an attempt at making an RPG until Dragon's Dogma and for their first stab at making one they did pretty damn well. If they decide to go full ahead and make a sequel to this game people's expectations for it will be high in that they hope some stuff will be fixed and improved upon from this entry like all sequels. When Capcom first decided to take a stab at making an RPG there were probably some who were like are you sure about this boss or are you serious? Well like Gamespots segment Y U NO MAKE NEW IP? put it. New IP's are risky and that's what Capcom did with this game. They took a gamble and so far it seems to have paid off. Is this the beginning of a new series? Only time will tell until then though I say good on you Capcom. What do you make of Dragon's Dogma?

Old games that could use trophies

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With the recent anoucment that Metal Gear Solid 4 will be getting an update that will add trophies to the game(see info here) I thought it best to take a look back at some games of the past that I personaly think deserve to have this same kind of treatment. So here's a list of the ones I personaly think that could benifit from something like this and why.

1. Valkyria Chronicles

Why? A very unique tactial game with RPG and third person shooter elements that tried something different from other games out there and definatly has its challenges.

2. GRID

Why? Arguably one of the finest road racing games out there hands down.

3. Assassin's Creed

Why? Helped launch what would become a fairly successful franchise.

4. Call of Duty 4

Why? Aside from being the first in what would become something of constant iteration after iteration its still a game that for the most part is easy to find and would give COD players a reason to go back and play it again if only to have a trophy from each game.

5. The Orange Box

Why? Aside from a packaging of 5 games on one disc its also one heck of a bargin.

6. Resistance Fall of Man

Why? A very unique shooter that would go on to help launch a new shooter franchise.

So what's your take? Do think some of the older games deserve this kind of treatment? Which ones do you think could use something in the way of a trophy patch?

Lets play a game

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You have 2 small boxes in front of you with both containing a card. The one on your left will tell you to act like an animal. The one on your right will tell you to do something rather silly. You pick the animal or silly action. Which one do you choose?

Mass Effect 3 extended cut: My take

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Well I finally was able to beat Mass Effect 3 and see some of the new stuff that the extended cut added to the ending of Mass Effect 3 and overall I'd say I'm satisfied with it. For me personally it felt like this stuff should have been included in the original release of Mass Effect 3 as it help put to rest some of the questions and weird oddities that were in the original version to rest. While at the same time answering some of the questions that I had originally when I played through it. For me it help give a better understanding of how the crucible and the VI/holographic child fit into all this and how they entered the equation in the bigger realm of things. At the same time the VI elaborating more on the 3 main choices that are presented helped provide a greater sense of impact of the choices themselves.

Personally based on this DLC this is what the original ending of Mass Effect 3 should have been as it helps end the series on a bigger bang then the original ending did. However at the same time this DLC feels a bit late as Mass Effect 3 has been on the market for at least a good 3 months as off this writing. With that being said though this DLC does make the ending more interesting then it originally was and it is for free download so you can't argue with that.

Final Fantasy 13-2 (spoiler warning)

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THE FOLLOWING PIECE WRITING CONTAINS SPOILERS REGARDING THE ENDING TO FINAL FANTASY 13-2. READ AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION.

So I finaly beat Final Fantasy 13-2 last night and I thought it was ok. With the paradox's resolved you'd think the game would end on a happy note with Sarah returning to where she began her journey from and Noel disapearing as the future had been changed and set right. Well that doesn't happen instead they returned to 500AF with the new Cacoon launching and the future looking bright. That is until Sarah dies and Noel remembering Kias said about the heart of Chaos that beat within him. From there everything goes to s***with Valhala coming into play and having an effect on the current event with itself being revealed almost as to invade the timeline. At the very end I saw Lightning sitting on a thrown in crystal and then it said. To be continued........

My response was a simple wtf? So this leads me to believe that a Final Fantasy 13-3 is in the works. But why even bother doing Final Fantasy 13-2 in the first place then? Final Fantasy 13's ending was befiting it and as I said in a previous blog post fan fiction could have done a better job of picking up where the ending left off instead of them doing this one. Why the hell didn't they do a another Final Fantasy from scratch and try to harness what made the games of the past so succesful? To me it just seems like Square Enix has lost touch with what made the Final Fantasy series so great by making us expect a Final Fantasy 13-3. However I am willing to give them the benfit of the doubt here and hope that they make a proper Final Fantasy game befiting of such a franchise.

Thoughts on Final Fantasy 13-2

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Before I begin I'd like to say that I am a Final Fantasy fan and have played almost all Final Fantasy games released since they appeared on the Playstation 1. To that end I'm slowly trying to beat this new one Final Fantasy 13-2 and am currently on the final Boss section or so I believe. As such there are some things with this newest entry that just don't seem right or don't make this feel like a true Final Fantasy game. So here we go.

Since Final Fantasy 7 and up one might argue that the Final Fantasy games have pushed each respective console and up the bar for console graphics for RPG's and such. Final Fantasy 13-2 shares more in common with Final Fantasy 10-2 graphically which used the game graphics engine as its predecessor Final Fantasy 10 which I personally still hold in high regard as it was the first one on the Playstation 2 and one heck of a great game. That is not to say that this is a bad thing as your still getting the great graphics found in Final Fantasy 13 but the overall package is where things start to get murky and hurt it in the long run.

The Final Fantasy games of the past were known for having a unique world with plenty of side quests that were diverse and had plenty of other things for you to do outside of the main quest whether it be card battles, Blitz ball, special items that you could obtain and so fourth. Lots of diversity there. However in Final Fantasy 13 these side quests were nothing more then simple kill quests that weren't accessible until late in the game. They tried to fix this with a bit more diversity in the side quests but come across as simple fetch/kill quests and while they do reward you with fragments which outside of trophy hunting there is no real drive to keep you searching for them as they aren't really fun in that they don't suck you in.

To complicate things the whole notion of an history crux which ties into the main story feels nothing more then a glamorized version of a level selector which isn't very innovative at all. While the combat system defiantly feels smother then Final Fantasy 13 it is still using the principle of roles and shifting roles in combat only now you can use monsters in your team. While they tried to add more diversity to the gameplay with areas with more people in them they still don't feel like towns at all more like a place where people meet up to gossip and such. In previous in Final Fantasy games they had different shop keepers in different locations each with their own look and what they sold varied location by location but the one in Final Fantasy 13-2 is by far the worst in the series to date. Her selection rarely differs from one place to the next and the her voice is annoying as hell in how she speaks.

Finally we come to the story. Like with all great entries in past Final Fantasy games the story was one of the most defining aspects of any Final Fantasy but sadly the one in Final Fantasy 13-2 just feels flat. The whole principle behind it is tied into the ending of Final Fantasy 13 which I won't spoil but I will say that Lightning is now gone and somehow the time line has been messed with. It might seem like a good idea on paper but the way in which Final Fantasy 13 ended you would think that you there would be no need to do so. After all everything was right in the world and I'm sure fan fiction could have done a better job of taking it from there and setting up a bright and wonderful future for the characters but sadly Square Enix did not. Instead the story feels not very well put together and a bit out there with not very much tying it all together other than Sarah's search for Lightning and her teaming up with the new character known as Noel.

So what went wrong? Well my personal thoughts are that they wanted to address the critisim's of Fina Fantasy 13 in one big sweeping motion. In the process of doing so they decided to go after Final Fantasy 13 instead of starting from scratch and doing a brand new game with a whole new world and such but this has result in numerous other criticisms. As result Square Enix in some ways has had its grip weakened on the RPG genera with new names emerging looking to dethrone the once mighty RPG juggernaut that is Square Enix and they're doing it convincingly.

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