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5 Signs that symbolize a failing comedy

1. Excessive Swearing

The use of foul language is provocative because individuals (hopefully) aren't prone to hearing curse words too often. It accentuates the tone of the situation by breaking a social taboo. When comedians begin to curse in excess, they subtly display that they are running out of material to entertain their audiences with. This degrades the original humor of hearing curse words and adds repetition to whatever the comedian is saying. People looking to tell jokes shouldn't be afraid to curse, but they shouldn't be ecstatic about it either.

2. Political humor

In the same way people are implicitly trained to avoid swearing unless necessary, people are often told never to discuss politics and religion in public. This is done because politics and religion are touchy subjects and talking about them is like walking through a minefield. However, when comedians feel they have gained enough of a reputation, often they have a tendency to break away from their style of humor to tell a political message. If not for that reason, they tell a political joke because of the assumption that humor has to come at someone's expense, and it should be a less than popular group of individuals. For whatever reason, a political joke is told at the cost of the focus of the comedian's work.

3. Less attachment to realism

This is primarily applied to cartoonish humor, but it can be done for any form of comedy. A somewhat grounded comedic setting becomes less and less realistic as the writers of the skit have less and less ideas to work with. Becoming Less realistic can take the form of an unrealistic cartoon becoming insipid due to impractical scenarios, or a realistically based cartoon having less plausible situations. It breaks suspension of disbelief and discourages the viewers from investing attention because they can't project themselves into the situation.

4. Increased numbers of cameos and guests

Remember that one guy that was popular? You're going to have to explain to your kids one day why he was the plot for half of the show. Cameos are a desperate grab to keep viewers invested by crossing over fandom boundaries. Shows that have celebrities are generally more popular, but their growth has begun to decline. The only way to keep a show's viewers growing is to offer something different, and cameos fill that void. The problem is that cameos are basically just exploiting the popularity of one person for more views. Using them in excess is resting on a broken staff.

5. Personality changes in major characters

Good characters have arks in movies, shows and skits. They gradually develop, grow and change in a way that makes them feel realistic. A serious problem that arises, however, is when they change in an irrational capacity. If two characters on screen begin to go steady then emotional tension is lost and the producers have to fill the void. So another female character is often made more fetishistic and sexualized to keep the difference. It's necessary for characters to change, but not at the cost of appeal. Making a character who's incompetent become brain-dead is an example of scrapping the creative barrel.

Games I want to see on G.O.G.

The x-com series

The homeworld series

The original MOH series

the Dune series

The first and second Age of Empires

The sims series

The Starfleet command series

Pharoah

Jurrasic Park:Operation Genesis

The first 2 total war games

Total Anihilation

Rise of Nations

The first 2 halo games

Unreal Tournament

black and white

NOLF series

Self-Improvement: Spore

In my short time on Earth I've been grateful to have had the ability to play many, many games. A side-effect to my love of games, or so I think anyway, is that no matter what the game is I almost always find ways to improve on it. I wouldn't call it personal QAing or my dream career, but I've always wanted to make a new review format where instead of giving face-value to a game, I note where it can be improved and how. This will be a hopefully growing series of reviews I like to call "Self-Improvement". By no means is this made to be an insult at the hard work designers the world over put into their games. I just want to offer my constructive criticism.

For the first of this series I've decided to review Spore, by Maxis and published by EA. It's a well known and addictive little game that is not without its faults. With a little polish, some QAing, and the integrations of a few tried-and-true mechanics, Spore can be a great game.

1. Complexity:

It goes without saying that the primary fault with Spore is that it is too simplistic and easy. I'm sure this was done intentionally to encourage sales since an overly complicated game doesn't appeal to EA's primary fanbase. EA is known for providing sports games, casual shooters and not taking too many chances with their products, while Maxis is known for its famous Sims and Sim city series; neither of these businesses have made many complicated games with too many moving parts before. In order to bridge the gap between the creative crowd and the casual crowd, the game's UI and much of the features were made as simple as pointing and clicking.

The problem with this, particularly in the 4x Space stage of the game, is that simple doesn't work with the types of gameplay used to show off the Spore creation and graphics. They wanted to depict the development of a race from its beginning to its peak by using one "Eat N Grow", two RTS styles, an adventure game and a 4x game. Not only does it make the game boring at times with its simplicity, but it also makes the game lose sight of each stage's uniqueness. So how could this be imrpoved? Well, each stage would need some adjustments, and a few would need complete overhauls, but it is doable.

1A. Cellular focus:

The Cell stage speaks for itself. You eat and you grow until you grow big enough to get a pair of legs and go onto land. The creature you control is directed with either a mouse or the traditional WASD keys and the only real thing the player has to do is guide his cell to it's food (meat or plants). There's a strategy to it when facing down more complex cells and you have to hit their weak spots, but for the most part you could just cover your cell with mouths, go get lunch, come back and you'll be ready for the creature stage (hyperbole).

To make matters worse, you aren't given access to all the upgrades off the bat and can just purchase them when you have the DNA, but instead you have to find them. This was probably an endeavor to add variety to the activities you do, but it just frustrated me because I couldn't buy poison when I wanted it and usually I wouldn't have all the upgrades before I moved to the next stage.

The first improvement that should be made is the aforementioned inclusion of all upgrades off the bat, and possibly add a few more upgrades to give the gameplay variety. The second fix would be to tweak the ai of the opposing creatures to give the player more competition; if you have to fight harder to gain your food then there's more challenge. Reducing the amount of food available from each kill or plant would also add scarcity, but the greatest thing you could do to add challenge is to give the deaths in game consequences. This isn't the type of game where death is a learning experience in strategy, like Bioshock, but more a mini-game with simple features that are easier to grasp. Perhaps a loss of experience or DNA or even an extinction mode (lose x cells and you start over) would discourage the amount of chance taking players use. finally, I believe some more landmarks in the sea would give players more direction and help them navigate the sea, as opposed to the endless void that is already there.

B. Creature Feature:

So in the creature stage you go around literally hunting animals to extinction or doing a song and dance for them. The ultimate goal is to befriend or kill enough animals to gain sentience while upgrading your animal with parts you find from bones. There's a suspension of disbelief here that is broken by the fact that an amphibian can become a bird in nothing flat, but that freedom in creation is preferable to being constricted to transitions.

At times this stage can feel like filler; it is almost a gap between being a cell and being a chieftain. You run around, take in the view, run from Giant beasts, mate, and inevitably gain enough sentience to discover fire. The problem is that's all it really is; it is a test mode of the creature creator because it's improbable to change your being into an entirely new creature by the tribal stage, impossible by the civ stage and impractical to do so as a cell. Of course, sometimes this whole game just feels like a test run of this engine and feature. Dark Spore was the evidence that they want to capitalize on this concept as much as possible.

So the creature stage is filler, but that's ok. Filler can still be fun, or even enjoyable, if done right. What is resource gathering in RTS games but filler between battles? The first thing they need to fix though is the stiff repetition. Kill Monster A to get 30 DNA, impress monster B to get 40 DNA, ect. How about some side quests? Better yet, let's ditch the grind and turn this into a tried N true point and click where the creatures you create begin the slow process of tribalism. You find pieces of wood and stones, you begin experimenting with them, you grow and develop. Maybe even borrow some ideas from minecraft and Infamous 2 with the whole customize your world premises; everyone else has. I'm just saying that this stage would be a lot better if it was more engaging than wandering to each nest and killing things until your species decides to move. Just because you're technically a dumb animal here doesn't mean you can't do more complex things. Finally, give other animals in the game more diversity in behavior. Not every animal nests; make some go nomadic, some attack other animals, and even some explore. Yeah this would be hard to pull off in a world where customization rules, but if you can classify an animal by carnivore or herbivore then obviously you can classify them by migratory behaviors, flight, aggressiveness (not just passive or violent) and other characteristics. Even simplistic games like Operation Genesis and tropico have pulled this idea off. Customizing my own creations behaviors would be great because it seems like I bump into them every time I start a new game.

C. Disregard Tribes, Accquire food:

instead of opting for and Age of Empires style game with multiple resources, stages leading up to the modern Era, building freely (in a free game), and and ultimate goal where your species grows beyond stone knives, Spore just opts for you to build your tribe and then cars. It almost feels like something is missing, and I believe that thing is everything between the stone age and information age. Technical limits aside, why wasn't there more strategy? Like the creature stage, it is kill or befriend everything that is on par with your intelligence.

That in itself is a problem because it really does feel like just after you grasp the basics you have already conquered the last rival tribe. I get that there are plenty of save files and they expected you to do this again with other species, but that's really a poor excuse for simplifying an RTS. There's no expansion, no upgrade system besides building more huts and adding clothing to your creatures, no deep strategy on how to 'rule them all'; all there is is food and diplomacy. Food lets you domesticate animals, brings gifts to other tribes, create more villagers, and build buildings.

You can easily get all the food you'll need for the whole game (even if wild animals snack on it now and again) by making the first tribe you face nuetral and then just gathing for a good 20 minutes. Also, save for a zerg rush at the start of the level by enemy tribes, the stages gets easy fast. Just arm every tribal with either an instrument or a weapon, make sure they're fed, then rush the enemy. Stage complete.

The first and most obvious fix is to add one or more resources, which would add depth. You can't make huts without wood, weapons without stone (and eventually iron/oil), ect. This could also add an economy to the game by trading with friendly tribes for what you need. Have one or more tribals set to trade stone for food and ect.

Second, make the map bigger and have the ability to build where you want to. Resource spots like where herds gather and fish domesticate are already there, so making these spot coveted would cause more aggression and have you fighting with tribes over them instead of just burning huts.

Upgrades here aren't optional, and research should be added. An age system like in AOE or Empire Earth combined with smarter AI would give a new victory condition and add more challenge. Maybe make it like civilization where you can win in one of four ways (economics, diplomacy, military, and technology). This could still work because depending on how you play in the game your civ becomes oriented towards one capacity or another. Also, nothing would be more satisfying than watching your species go from stone to bronze to gunpowder. Rivals would be seen as a threat instead of an inconvenience.

The final fixes are minor tweaks. Make hunger take longer to dwindle your tribe, or remove it altogether. Make the maps bigger and the huts defensible without sacrificing available hands. Make weird and interesting occurrences that affect your species more common and interesting (aliens, volcanoes, meteor showers, ect.). ADD A RESTART STAGE BUTTON.

D. One world governments are overated:

With your first city (nation) in tow you spread out to conquer the world and reach the peak of your existence on the homeworld. Now the game shifts into an entirely new RTS, instead of just making the previous stage have a longer and more gradual transition. From stone knives to motor vehicles and boats you wage valliant wars over spice (I think fuel, oil or precious metals would be a more competent investment in war efforts).

The civilizationg stage is easily the most difficult part of the game. You wage wars, trade resources and convert cities to your belief system. Of course, depending on how you played the previous missions you can only really do one of these.Spice and factories in the cities give you the money to fund whatever method you are using to conquer, and your vehicles will bite it by the dozens as you march. This level has some strong parts, as it is the first time the player feels challenged and is the first time you have a real economy.

The problems here are plentiful, unfortunately. However, this must be covered in part two. Hopefully all of my beloved readers found this informative.

I have a wii and girlfriend (and other interesting stuff)

Family bought me a wii for my birthday (about a week before the price drop :P). I haven't had the opportunity to scour the earth for good games for it, but I do have Zelda: Twilight Princess and Wii Sports Resort for it.It is an interesting little system, and it is true what people have been saying for a while; it is a good family console but a bad gamer one.

Also, I have a girlfriend. We used to know each other in my first college and she persuaded me to ask her out. Prayer does work people :). Unfortunately we haven't had as much time to spend together as I'd like for personal reasons. I hope to rectify that soon enough.

I'm almost ready to get my license; something that has been a long time coming. Not much more I can say here; I've been practicing when I can and it has been paying off.

Life's been looking up lately. Sure there have been problems, like my cherished old computer broke; however, there have been blessings, like how my new computer that has been crashing for the first 5 months of its life seems to be working fine now. I've been trying to be more optimistic, and despite being sick for the past few weeks I've never felt better. I've began cycling as a way to bolster my activeness and get into shape. I can't say I'm now a health guru, but I feel better.

How to make a good movie-based game

When most people think of games based on upcoming movie titles they have a preformed idea of a cheap, rushed game that isn't even suitable for eight year olds. That's because most movie games are cheap rush jobs designed to be released for eight year olds. I don't think it's often wondered by gamers if a movie game could be any good. To question the possibility of one being good would be to throw away a long standing joke in the gaming community and might even encourage ignorant producers to make more crap to clutter GameStop's shelves with.

I'm not here to defend movie games. As far as I'm concerned the only people that would want to defend them don't even put enough effort into making them. What I'm here to do is point out a few obvious tips that would help, but by no means guarantee, make a movie game escape the tethers of mediocrity.

Step 1: Ignore the Movie Plot

The few movie games that have been successful did so because they emulated the movies as little as possible. Take 'Butcher Bay' for example. The game itself starts with Riddick dreaming about escaping the worst prison in the galaxy, but then wakes up on the ship of a bounty hunter and is subsequently incarcerated. It didn't follow the premise of either movie. It opted to flesh out the universe instead of condense the movie aspects of it into a game. That first level was impressive because the premise was tailored around a plot that served the needs of a game, not a movie.

Now take Iron Man for an example of a bad game. It tried to fill the premise of Iron man after his capture in the movie. Dedicated to destroying the weapons he helped create, the game takes you through various boring and pointless levels. In them you do the same crap because the designers had nowhere to go. It had to follow the concepts of the movie because it had to be released around the movie. Since there was nothing they could tailor it around, you basically get a boring version of an Afterburner game.

Step 2: Take all the Time you need

Part of what makes so many movie games terrible is because they're rushed. I won't deny that many of these games would suck even if they had till the end of time, but some premises might have been better executed if they were given enough hours and resources. Take GI Joe for instance. A co-op shooter might have been a good premise for the real American heroes if they had time to come up with something better than a rip off of Army men. Maybe instead of gunning down the same stupid enemies they could have designed a 2-d downloadable game that would've taken a bit longer but have been worth the investment. I understand that most of these games are for children, but with a bit of time you could get as much money from adults.

The Warriors was one of my favorite modern beatemups because it made some smart choices. Sure it did some things annoyingly, like the spray paint minigame and the inability to hurt enemies when they were knocked down, but for the most part I liked it. This was in large part because the game was released as homage to the original movie. Since it was developed decades after the movie came out it didn't have to worry about meeting deadlines, and instead of a terrible adventure game the designers tailored a new beatemup style for people to enjoy. Now I won't deny the fact that Rockstar developing the game helped it sell, but even Rockstar couldn't make a good game without the needed time. Speaking of which, onto my next point

Step 3: Get the Right People to make the game

Part of what makes these games terrible is because most of the development staff is pulled together (probably a bunch of college grads) and have little if any experience In the business. The film makers don't want to spring for an expensive development team because they don't feel it's worth the effort. After all, most movie games are just to advertise the movie and get some side money from merchandising. Now let's entertain the idea of skilled developers making these games.

Lucasarts released with the intention of making games derived from a movie. George Lucas, being the business man that he is, knew that Star wars merchandise would sell. However, since he is a businessman, he knew that a moderately quality product would sell better than a bunch of cheap crap. And that fact has been proven time and time again. When gamers see Star Wars games they generally don't have a look of disdain. Heck even the Force unleashed got some level of respect because whether it was considered cheap or good, you still thought being an ultimate warrior was fun. Bout the only star wars games that have been terrible were the ones based purely off the movies and show, such as Double Helix's (also made GI Joe game) Revenge of the Sith.

In order to make sure Riddick was a good game Vin Diesel made his own development company. Vu games has more than 700 titles to its name, so you know it has experience. You don't even have to go and make a new development company to get a good game, just contract with someone who know what they're doing, such as Rockstar (The Warriors), Bioware (KOTOR), lucasarts (Republic Commando), Eidos (Arkham Asylum), or even Activision (Web of Shadows).

Step 4: Keep it Gritty

What I mean by that is that the best way to make a movie game good is to remember your target audience; people who play video games (not necessarily gamers). Now I know from unfortunate experience that kids as young as 8-10 play mature, dark games such as Modern Warfare, Bioshock and Counterstrike. While recent Gameinformer insight did say that E for everyone games sell better, I would argue this (bear with me). The average age of a gamer is 30 years, most games are made for the average gamer, most games are made for maturity in mind, and therefore there is little competition in family-friendly games and that's why that statistic might be a bit premature in conclusion.

Now I'm not saying sell violent games to kids, because I don't want Jack Thompson at my door and politicians twisting my words in 15 years (ha ha haaaaaaaaaaaaaa). What I am saying is that people, regardless of the demographics, opt for mature games. If you want money, remember what you're selling and to who. Heck even Republic Commando figured that out and tried to make the game a bit more tense in theme. If you M rate it, they will buy.

Step 5: Don't be Derivative

Movie games not only fail because they're cheap by budget and time limits, but because they feel cheap by borrowing from other, better games. Terminator and wanted were cheap versions of Gears of War and GTA4 respectively (in the shooting aspects). The Hulk, from what I've seen, seemed to borrow from previous open world games (like older Spiderman games and Prototype). The list can go on. Part of the 'there's no time to come up with a good game' includes 'there's no time to think up new mechanics'

The fact is most good movie games did do something new. There were some neat features in Riddick like a decent stealth mechanic, and while Republic Commando wasn't exactly revolutionary it did enough with the fundamentals to be good. If you are relying on other better games to sell your product then chances are your product wasn't worth selling to begin with, even to eight year olds. Gamers have standards like the rest of society, so should all developers.

Step 6: Build me a game worthy of Mordor

Even if you take the time you need movie games still have to face the problem of emulating a movie if not fleshing out a universe. When faced with these options, always choose fleshing out. I'll tell you what I mean. Lord of the Rings: the Battle for Middle Earth was an rts game that saw the played follow the story from either a good campaign or an evil one. You didn't see the ploy per se, but instead you saw what would happen if the good completely won (Boromir survived, Rohan unscathed, ect) or completely lost (Sauron rebirthed, the fellowship shattered, darkness, ect). It not only utilized the universe, but added a little to it, and while it wasn't a great game (slow-paced Dawn of War) it was still alright for the effort

One of the major problems with games Like Robocop isn't just that they're terrible in every way possible, because they also leave nothing equal to what they take. All those poor Resident evil games released over the years were bad, but they still added something to the universe. Maybe it's just me, but meaningful bad is preferable to pointless bad.

So this is how you make a decent movie game. It doesn't take a bunch of money or the greatest designers. It just takes the time needed, a competent team there for more than being laid off afterwards, and the desire to do more than advertise. I never thought I'd say these words, but I believe in your Hollywood. I believe you can make a good game given the right circumstances. Take this advice if you want to make some real money from your investments.

I've been in the RTS zone

So for the past while I've been occupying my gaming time with a plethora of RTS games in conjunction with a few non-conventional first person games. I'm playing both Empire and napoleon Total war with anticipation of Shogun 2. Shogun total war was, at the time of my playing it, my favorite strategy game to date. As I play both Empire and Napoleon I can't help but make comparisons and draw pros and cons for both. It's obvious that Empire caters to people who care as much about infrastructure as battles, while napoleon focuses on what most people play total war for. In Napoleon I'm playing the Prussian campaign, and I have to say that the auto resolve is even less forgiving than before, particularly if Napoleon himself happens to attack you. The game almost forces you to engage in battles at times, even when the battle seems irrelevant. I like some of the streamlining that Napoleon pulls off, and while I admit that I feel Europe is still thoroughly conquered, there's a certain satisfaction of not having to transition maps to manage distant trade. Empire is still fun but lacks in certain areas all the same. The city battles don't feel like you are marching into a city at times, the units make obvious mistakes and enemy units are easily outsmarted in most occasions.

On the Non Total war side I've been playing Greed Corp, Swords and soldiers and King Arthur. All have unique personalities, but King Arthur's frustration can match its charm at times. I haven't gotten to the point where I can train units and collect taxes from cities, and after much playtime I'm not sure I ever will. Just as your fatigued army conquers a region, a new quest pops up to demand the lives of what few units you have left. It can be brutal, and at times it lacks the finesse of the total war saga. In battles I can't tell if my guys are winning or not until one army has been destroyed, and it is almost impossible to tell if the morale of my men are high as they never rout or waver. If you think the auto resolve in other strategy games is unfair don't play king Arthur. Still, I appreciate the effort the developers went through to make a game that has both large armies and hero units that can cast spells.

I beat Mirror's edge. Simply put, the game needs a better checkpoint system and plot. Get those two problems fixed and mirror's edge 2 should have promise.

I finally got Metro 2033 to work right; it is my kind of atmospheric shooter. It is also the game Alan wake should have been. The game itself is rich and moody, the shooting is solid but limited ammo makes you be precise. Survival is important.

After I finish Swords and soldiers it is onward to finish super meat boy, trine and Supreme commander 2. Where do I find the time to play these games?

The problem with open worlds

Open worlds are among the worst ideas conceivable for video games in the modern era. They almost guaranteed glitches and technical drags, force a player to use a usually inept fast travel or terrible pacing system, normally occupy a lot of space with virtually nothing to do and are, at their worst, impossible to navigate. A poorly done open world quickly goes from 'ooh look at all the stuff to take in' to 'can we get to the mission already?!' in nothing flat. Of course there are exceptions to this rule, but a developer must know what he's doing and what he hopes to achieve in order to make an open world work in any capacity.

Open worlds are not vast, nonlinear games, which include both Mass effects, knights of the old republic, Alan wake or any other game where there's a large setting where locations aren't directly connected. The games carry the illusion of open world and with it the very thing you hope to get out of the concept. The idea of a universe all it's own, a veritable theme park where you can do anything at any time is the idea behind open worlds. Freedom is the end, and when games generate the illusion of freedom they make you feel the same satisfaction you can get when playing a well-made open world game like GTA or Red Dead.

Real open worlds, such as Red Faction Guerilla, the Saboteur, Far Cry 2 and (arguably) Borderlands are what contain the problems of 'absolute freedom' in games. This problem is two-fold. First, there's little to do outside kill everything in the world and complete the missions and (if there are RPG elements) collect things. Freedom to do nothing is hardly freedom. Second, when there is more to do than kill things, or even just different ways of tackling problems in game, you are often unsure of the 'best' way of solving the problem so you just flock to the recommended solution. In Far Cry 2 it would be carrying a rifle and shooting till you run out of ammo or needles. In Red faction it is blowing things up and running away. As I've said before, the boredom has options.

There are exceptions to this fact. IN GTA4, for example, you have a variety of activities to do with the friends you make along the plot of the game, which doesn't ignore the fact you have criminals to assassinate but does serve as great diversion for periods of time. Fallout 3 is a great example of how options can offset the feeling of monotony that can set in after the 20-hour mark.

The problem with these offsets is executing them in an effective matter. Are the side quests salt to your tequila, or are they afterthoughts? Is the ability to stealthily finish missions with shadows and silencers useful, or a tack on to say the game is 'diverse'? The answer is rarely hard to figure out. Linear games can be criticized till kingdom come, but the reason they are emulated so much is because their simplicity and tried and true methods work. The same can't be said for the often shaky open world games.

There are other small things to factor in open world games, such as a currency and merchant system that's too tedious (Red faction guerilla), a lack of diversity in settings (Fallout 3), an abysmal inventory system (Deus Ex), terrible checkpoint and death systems (the Saboteur, prototype, guerilla, Far Cry 2 and X3), balancing competent enemies versus a variety of them (Stalker, Saboteur, Far Cry 2, Guerilla, Titan Quest) and when all else fails trying not to be just a stiff, boring game (Assassins Creed). Again this is not to say the linear games are perfect gems and all developers should make them in this mold, but open worlds games do feature many little (and big) things that can add up in problems until you have a clutter of annoyances. The following list is a list of games I approve for an acceptable if not awesome open world experience:

Bully

GTA4

Red Dead Redemption

Brutal Legend

Wolfstein?

InFamous

Prince of Persia

Fallout (all of them)

Fable (all of them)?

Wow

Just Causes

Again I stress than an OPEN world need be seamless (or its outside be seamless) to qualify, or else it is just a nonlinear game

So I have my business associates

Now thats that's out of the way I've been playing darksiders. It is fun, and since I only played the first god of war and no zelda the derrivative problems don't bother me. Killing angels still do, but they're really more rogue angels if they aren't allowed into minas tirath (erm, heaven: the 'white city'). I played chime and got bored with it in less than an hours time. It's sorta like an easy tetris with elevator music playing every time you make a connection. I bought poker night, which is the second most frustrating game I've played after x-com and almost as fun as x-com. Texas hold em isn't easy, I'm $10k in the red in game. Know when to hold em, and when to fold em.

Despite having a plethora of new games I'm still starved for genuine entertainment. Killzone 2, darksiders and sould calibur all had the same detriment; they are fun but devoid of real meaning. The same could be said for poker night, you play games( or a game) with characters you know and love, but save for the occasional quirk you are basically gambling with bots, bots who always go all in when they have something and fold when they don't.

A few weeks ago I dug out a copy of age of empires 3 to entertain a curiosity that had been brewing for years. The game I expected was not there, there was barely a game there. I expected some semblence of the awesome strategy game that I once played, but AOE 3 was so dissapointing from the get go that I had to resiste the urge to shatter the discs. AOE and Empire Earth both had the same formulas at their core, and both failed to adapt to an very overlooked yet still ever changing genre of games. There comes a point (bomber man, AOE, Sonic, tomb raider, ect.) where the formula people used to love can no longer exist in the market because it was only good due to the limitations of gaming.Crazy taxi may have been fun years ago, but now it would be head-bangingly annoying. Simply put, people demand more. This may be the problem with survival horror games, they simply can't adapt to a market flooded with shooters and action games. God knows recent attempts at reviving the survival horror genre have failed (people don't want to take the chance that limiting characters for dramatic effect might also frustrate players). Hopefully the new tombraider will be great and prove me wrong twice.

In case I don't blog again till after Christmas (which I probably won't) Merry Christmas all 3 people who will read this.

Helgast. Huns and vader. Oh My!

So lately I've been on a total war binge. I played two campaigns in medieval 2 and seven campaigns in the kingdoms expansion (1 tuetonic, 2 britannia, 2 Americas and 2 crusades if you were curious). I also squeezed in a couple of campaigns in Rome: total war as the Scipii house and started an egytptian campaign before I realized I was total war'd out. That's the main fault with addictive games; they're fun but because you can't just stop it is almost inevitable that you will be burned out by them.

Since I felt Europe was thoroughly conquered I decided to take advantage of the steam sale and black friday to expand my library, an endeavor with more misses than hits. I bought 3 games from gamestop: darksiders, soul calibur 4 and Killzone 2. I'm already bored with soul calibur and I have serious moral quandries with darksiders (killing angels, I know it's just a game, but it still bothers me) so Killzone has been my primary game until I can get back to gamestop and get something better. Truth be told I was a bit more JRPG oriented in what I originally wanted. I was hoping to get eternal Sonta and Valkaria Chronicles, two games whos demos I simply can't stop playing, and maybe get persona 4 as well. UNfortunately I think all four games have disappeared from existence as I have been unable to find any of them.

On the PC side of things I bought supreme commander, which I can't play because my old computer is obsolete. I have to bide my time until I can afford a new rig... I knmow I've been saying itfor a while but supreme commander is around the 7th game my computer has been unable to play or play well (Riddick, Bioshock 2, Red Faction: Guerilla, Civ 5, mass effect 2 and mirror's edge). I don't want an ultimate gaming beast, just something that can play the games I buy with my hard-earned money. Since Supreme commander is about the only real game I wanted on the sale (besides audioslave, which I am to believe is a severe money trap) I haven't felt my wallet take a hit. Thank you steam for only putting games that aren't selling well anymore on sale.

On the life side of things I almost have my associates degree. Yay. Next on the agenda of life is to enjoy winter and ready mysel to acuire a bachelors degree. There's still many obstacles left and many things I have to worry about, but progress is progress. My ultimate goal is a masters, something that has a much greater risk but a reward that makes it worth it. I've managed also to get a few more girls to think I'm a creep, so yay. Progress is progress.

don't mean to devaluate 51% of the population, but...

So for the first half of my summer break I spent it like I normally do, feeling terrible about my self and hating my life despite of all I had going for me. I felt typical in the sense that I felt lonely, and empty of companionship. As normal, I wanted a gf, but lacked the means to acquire one.

Last week I bought a poster, for $5. It was the smartest thing I did all summer, perhaps even all year. The poster was of an extremely attractive model dressed in a white bikini while standing in a pool and leaning over a marble floor. She's staring at the viewer with a passionate stare and an almost Mona Lisa grin that one would derive from intense longing or gas. Frankly, given her pose I'd believe either.

Since I put the poster above the wall overlooking my computer monitor I have felt barely any depression. Whenever I begin feeling somewhat lonely or hopeless, all I have to do is look up at this striking model and my sadness recedes like low tide.

The pain I thought that could only be quelled with a relationship with someone, or true love, has now been snuffed out like a flame thanks to a poster. Thanks to a flat representation of beauty.

I no longer see the point in relationships.

I once thought men were willing and dutifully bound to women, to the point where they'd do anything to earn approval of females. This included, but wasn't limited to, expensive gifts, dates and a grand amount of time that could have been devoted to other activities.

Now, where I once thought was a hopeless battle on my nerdy part to win over the heart of any single woman, I just look at this poster. I don't care that I'm single; I don't think I ever will again. For me the end goal was a girl friend, but this poster has given me everything I would have expected to feel from a girlfriend.

So women, I appreciate your time and the effort you put into the human race, but I don't think your services will be required anymore. At least not here.