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duxup Blog

Shout out to Gamespot

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It is a sad situation but it is good to see Gamespot and Kevin throw down the hammer on SimCity.

It is unfortunate to see a classic franchise left on the shelf for so long and then trashed.

Civilization V

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Civilization V releases in about 24 hours.

I might have taken time off work the next few days.

I might have taken time off work last week too in order to run around the last few days to get odd jobs and chores done around the house.

I might have made sure my son was in daycare the next few days.

Just say'n...

Hello From The Far Side

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I took my leave of Gamespot for an indeterminate time a while back. I'm not a fan of big on-line "I'm leaving" announcements as such a high percentage of them involve petty e-drama and result in folks coming back without explanation, and even worse when they run thru the whole "I'M LEAVING!" all over again. So I bid a small group here goodbye and made my way down the road. I won't go into much details about the reasons but as you can see from the blog below the Mrs. and I had our first child recently and his early arrival and subsequent health struggles have taken their toll on mommy and daddy, probably more so mommy and daddy than the little guy who most of the time is happy as a clam. Even so it has been a wonderful experience, but you set your priorities and of course the little guy is #1.

I do miss spending some time here, chatting with folks, playing games, and watching the game industry develop. Doing any of those things with little time though is quite hard. Most of the big name games just aren't made for a lot of stopping and starting play. Most gaming news is high volume and a very low percentage of it is important. I like the games he makes but I really don't care what cliffyb says about... anything. Some PR dude or executive at Sony has some petty criticism about Microsoft or the other way around? What do I care? None of that has anything to do with me picking up a game pad or sitting at my PC having a good time.

That isn't to say I haven't gotten a little gaming in. If only to decompress for a while I have fired up a few games. I found puzzle quest download-able from numerous services and hopped back into that for a while if only to quit where I've quit every time I played that game ;) More recently I've fired up Sid Meier's Pirates! for some nice sea battles along with a few other games. It has struck me though how much a gap there is between the big games that are awfully time consuming, and the cell phone, facebook, popcap and flash games out there that provide opportunities for quick play. There seems to be a middle ground in depth, availability, and quality that just doesn't exist out there. I could go on about that for a long time.

I did see Civilization V was announced for this fall. I think I'll have to make some time for that while driving around in my Swagger Wagon.

Just to illustrate how difficult it can be to make time for things I've sat down and started writing this three or four times now abandoning it for various reasons and now I smell something from the little jabbering monster rolling around on the living room floor . .. gotta go.

A little duxup

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As noted in my previous blog post Mrs. duxup and I have been expecting a baby. Dude to sudden and unforeseen circumstances we got him several weeks early yesterday. Both Mother and Baby boy are doing just fine.

For the record yes he is already confused about why western RPGs and JRPGs can't somehow meet in the middle when it comes to JRPGs shrill but imaginative nature and western RPGs overly serious, dry and clunky nature, and why both can't seem to discard their elementary level jokes for more adult themes (and not just sex). Come on guys even the baby gets it. Unless he was just confused by that run on sentence...

Thanks for the well wishes everyone ;)

No More Video Games

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Next Exit No Video Games

I'm a bit short on time and I've come to the conclusion that it is time to put down the video games for a while.

Quitting

For me this is not a particularly dramatic decision as it is for some folks out there. Mommy isn't coming to take my 360 away because I forgot to pick my sister up at school. My family hasn't joined a cult that only approves of playing areligious themed UNO game (UNO for the monotheistic folk of course). I haven't developed a Peggle addiction so severe that it is threatening my college grades and/or health. And I haven't lost my job forcing me to sell my video games so I don't have to sell my blood.

Rather my gaming has just been on a slow decline. Somewhere around the time games went to $60 a pop for "premium" titles (premium defined as "when we want more of your money") I started cutting back on buying new titles. The price increase was my cue to take stock in how much I was spending, and evaluate how much I was really getting out of some of those games. After that I started renting more and buying only when I really knew the game was a good deal. That evolved to no buying and just renting three games at a time from Gamefly, two at a time, one at a time. Recently when I realized I hadn't touched the game I last rented three months ago at all I figured it was time to make it official and quit.

It isn't as if I had not even considered playing over the last few months. Often when I retired to my desk at home, I would glance at my game controllers and flip thru my disks, but more often than not it seemed like a hassle to get into any of the games. I'd wonder if I put a couple hours into a new game tonight would I remember it all if I hopped back in a week or more again later? Are the save points close together or am I going to blow 30 minutes doing the same thing over again the next time I pick up the game?

Other times I'd think to myself "Oh man didn't they just release a new map pack or patch for that?" just bothering with picking up all the changes in games that I even knew well seemed a bit of a hassle, let alone jumping into whole new games. It was working for fun and after a long day at work just I wanted some instant fun.

Upon canceling my account Gamefly was nice enough to remind me that despite the fact that they won't refund any of my money for the month of June (that I've already paid for) AND if I don't get that one game back to them ASAP they'll charge me, for June... again. And that leads me to the one other disappointing revelation.

50

It doesn't have to be this way

A combination of the Wii and the various focus that Microsoft and Sony have put on casual gaming always lead me to believe that even if I was squeezed for time I'd still have a place for gaming. To some limited extent I expect this to be true, but not as much as I had hoped. The Wii and my 360 version of Scene It will likely continue to come out for some fun at parties in the duxup home, and when traveling I'll have my DSi with me from time to time. Yet I expected there would be more options than just those.

Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Store seemed like they'd be a great place for some simple arcade games. A place for devs to toss out blasts from the past, some new games, and some revamped games. With the wonders of digital distribution I expected it to be the perfect place to get some easy pickup and play games at a good price. Well the pickup and play is there to some extent, but the value not so much.

Then there are the systems themselves. If for some reason one of my systems died would I throw down the few hundred dollars to have it replaced at this point just for the few well priced XBLA or PlayStation Store games? At this point I likely would not, but it is a bummer because XBLA and the PlayStation Store could really be so much better than they are in terms of price and quality and could keep me hanging on for some occasional gaming for years to come. Instead it seems more like a haystack with a couple needles in it but not enough to justify the bother to dig thru it all of it.

Of course, the obvious way to dig thru the haystack of so-so and overpriced games are the plethora of game sites out there. Yet the focus for every one seems to be the enthusiast dude who they understandably want visiting the site every day, not the guy just looking for a good game to pick up that god forbid may have been released a few months ago. Just looking at the content of those sites and it is preview, preview, preview, screenshots, impressions, developer interview, review, hands on, gaming news, gaming news, gaming news.

I admit I've spent years gobbling up all that information and it was tons of fun to watch the industry grow and evolve, but when squeezed for time I have to admit the most and arguably only useful info for me are the reviews. That is theoretically the one and really the only time these sites get to tell me about the game without some PR dude doing the talking or guiding them thru the experience.

Yet it could be my imagination but the focus of the websites and the usefulness of reviews feel more limited than ever. The review scores in general seem to be almost universally high. Now there are outstanding games out there. I played some of the best games I've played the last year or two. At the same time they're often joined up in the high scoring range by games that frankly don't measure up.

To make things worse reviews these days seem to contain fewer qualifications and more vague commentary than ever. As awesome as a racing game might be, and I like my driving games from time to time, if it is likely to appeal to just the hardcore simulation driving fans that might be worth noting in the review rather than slapping a big score on a game along with some hyperbole. Yet that seems to be more common than ever almost as if reviews are evolving to become as inoffensive as possible to make the fanboys feel oh so comfortable at whatever site issued the reviews. At least I hope it has to do with the fanboys...

baby

None of this is to say that I'm hanging up my thumbs in favor of sitting on the couch and watching TV. There are some other motivating factors. One big factor is that the Mrs. is expecting and is due with our first child this coming December. Rumor has it babies take up a fair amount of time to care for. Now I know there are plenty of gaming dads out there who make it work. However, in my case when faced with work, a photography hobby, a little one, and some other activities something has to give and I've chosen the gaming. As I noted above the industry and even gaming media make that a fairly easy choice.

One day

I do look forward picking up the games again one day. Until that time I'm reminded of all those forum threads where people speculate about what the PlayStation 5 or Xbox 1080 will be like, except the next time I do some serious gaming I'll be there.

See you all on the other side.

roboawesome

I got polled

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I was polled for the presidential race last night. My phone rang and basically I was asked how likely I was going to vote (yes I am) and if I was undecided (not really) and who it would be for and how strongly I felt that I would vote for them.

I feel safe in saying that I guarantee you that 100% of the people in that poll who were polled while playing Call of Duty 4 and executing mad head-shots are voting for Obama.

Just one of those games

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I am not what I would call a great CoD4 player but I play it quite often. I'm happy that most of the time I kill more than I'm killed. Anyway I recently maxed out at level 55 again allowing me the opportunity to go to prestige level 2. I was between games and thought "oh sure let's do that again." So a new domination game fired up and since at level 1 you have to pick one of the premade classes I chose the package with the SAW.

Then I had one of those games where it seemed everyone was just begging to jump into my line of fire. Run down a street and a group of guys pile out in front of me and I'd mow them all down. UAVs, Airstrikes, Helecopters, all kept comming my way. I went 39 (kills) 4 (assists) and 7 (deaths). I captured a pile if flags (thanks to Thee Bob Sagat for picking off some dudes trailing me once) and I leveled up from level one to FOUR (with just 97 points to go to level 5) all before the host ended the game early giving me 383 points total.

I'm a big single player game fan but no game against bots can provide the excitement that a good game like that can provide.

Xbox 360 Failure 2

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After a year of life my 360 died a few months pack. Four months later my 360 has decided that any disk inserted into the drive is "unreadable". Fortunately, I bought MS's extended warranty so I'm still covered. Yay Microsoft...*

*Excessive sarcasm.

How I Roll - A Call of Duty 4 PSA

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I'm not actually sure I roll.. but anyway this is a Call of Duty 4 PSA from yours truly.

FYI music starts up at about the 10 second mark so don't be cranking up the sound right away.

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