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Is this thing working? Am I on? Can anyone here me? Is there anyone there?


Not billy goats of course. Greatest Of All Time goats.

Did you know? A game can be really good without absolutist comments like "IT'S THE GREATEST GAME EVER MADE."

I don't think most people know that factoid. I've read quite a bit of banter on the internet lately at people who refuse to acknowledge that GTAV is the GREATEST GAME OF ALL TIME... from those who apparently demand that it is so.

Equally poor is the statement "IT'S THE WORST GAME I'VE EVER PLAYED."

The drama really isn't necessary, you know? It's like a radio show host clamoring for ratings. Rarely is it necessary to go there, but often it's the first tactic for attention.

Plus, people just really want to argue about s***. :roll:

A Re-Write

I guess I wasn't in the mood to write my last blog. BravoOne sparked a few thoughts in what's been happening lately.

I had to give up my big, goofy loveable dog, Mee-Kah. The harmless, giant ball of fluff St. Bernard. Despite having quite a lot of land, it's wooded, hilly and not really fence-able. And my ass-hat neighbors took one look and were scared to death. "Cujo," you know. Vicious rabies-killing dogs, those St. Bernards!

No. They're genetically trained over the last millenium to shelter, protect and rescue humans. But, their big and intimidating to stand next to (at 150+ lbs.)

So my options were to have her on a tie-out (no way), bring her inside (too big), legal battles or risk her getting shot (not financially feasible and not worth getting jailed over- if someone shot my dog I'd definitively say I'd punch their head in), or find her a new, happy home. I opted for the last choice. A rancher with another St. Bernard already, with multiple acres, no neighbors and a fenced-in property.

One might think me irresponsible for getting such a dog without thinking these things through. But really, should one presume that your neighbors will unilaterally call for the head of your dog?

The irony is that these people I live near are uniformly Republican and spout bulls*** about invidivual freedoms being taken away by the "socialists." IRONY.

Sorry. It's upsetting.

On a lighter note, our community of 50,000+ has reached a situation in which their three high schools' pools have outlived their expected lives, and summarily need replaced. It's far too costly to replace each individual pool at each school, so the school corporation decided upon a centrally-located aquatic center for use by all three schools. The catch? They had to gain approval from the school board (and the community).

This quickly became a hot-button topic. The old folks believed the kids didn't need no stinkin' pool. What fer? (Never mind the 300 kids who participate on swim teams, or the 1,000 who take swim classes and life guarding). The swimmers lamented the 40 year-old pools didn't even have the proper length or size to have actual high school meets at. Many people decried the cost. And so on.

Cue the school board meeting. Guess who got picked to stand and present at the school board meeting in favor of the aquatic center by his school? Yup. The track guy. The pole vault coach. That guy with the radio voice, who is smart and quick-witted (apparently).

So, I gave a 6-minute presentation- as did others- in favor of this centrally-located aquatic center, how it would benefit the community (and track team as well, pool training is a staple of cross-training for runners). In front of about a thousand people.

I killed it. Hit a home run. And in the end, the school board voted unanimously to approve the aquatic center. Happy ending. Not saying it was because of me, but hey- at least I didn't hurt the causen

These are the sort of things in my life that have supplanted the ability for me to sit down and even think about picking up a game controller.

Hey, Yo!

It's been a while, my fellow Spotters.

I dip in once in a while, just to see how many people I still DON'T know anymore, to get another reminder how I still DON'T game much anymore, and how I still DON'T like all the "new," things that are going on with the site design and how it's ran.


I see that this season, for the first time, tablets will outsell PC's. (To the disdain of the PC gaming gods who proclaim their over-worthiness upon the lower stooges of the world.) That's sort of interesting. I like my iPad. I use it to take pole vault videos.

Oh, I guess I enjoyed Plants vs Zombies 2, so there's some gaming news. Guess it wasn't "ruined," by EA after all.

So... things are going well. Toni and I went to Colorado for a few weeks; did lots of mountain hiking and trail traversing. Things of that nature. I was going to throw in a picture or two, but the idea that I have to upload them to somewhere else and then transfer them over to this blog, rather than a direct upload into this area RIGHT HERE is asinine. It's 2013, GS. That's just awful. Is it that time consuming? Is it really that difficult? No, it's a principle thing.

I feel right now as thought I'm at that awkward point when you see somebody from high school at the grocery store, and you're trying to sum up what's happened over the last ten years into a few useful or interesting bullet points, and suddenly you spontaneously have amnesia over anything that may have happened in your life. "Me? Uh, I'm good. I... like potatoes. I think? How you?"

My old PS3 finally kicked it. I don't really want to spend to get it fixed, because I'm not gaming, so that seems like it would be money-not-spent-well right now.

Feeling listless and directionless with this writing, which usually flows through my fingers faster than my thoughts, so I suppose it's time to shutdown for now. Briefly considered just clicking X on this whole thing, but eh. It's something, and something's better than cobwebs and dust that I envision my blogging space to be nowadays.

Why Does Free Absolve A Game's Sins? A Non-E3 Blog.

I've been surprised at how contrarian, trollish, and downright viscious people have become over this whole Xbox/PS issue. I wonder if people were really craving a next gen system, or actually craving the vitriol and animosity towards each other to be renewed instead.

But I don't want to talk about that. I want to talk about Marvel Heroes. It's labeled as a MMORPG; but as you can readily play the game by yourself, in a community that doesn't really interact, and it's far more a God of War-style ARPG, it's somewhat of a misnomer. Anyway.

Being the philosphical fellow that I am, I've been thinking a lot about this game for a few reasons.

The first is that it's sort of cool that it's free, and it's a decent game. Invariably people will say that it's a "Diablo," clone... as is the modus operandi for any game- to be constantly compared to some other game. It's just what we do. Some people will detract from games, movies or literature for that. I used to, but not anymore. Because everything has been done in some shape, form or fashion before. If it's enjoyable, what's wrong with a little re-skin of a concept?

But more so I've been thinking about all the problems this game has. Just a slew of problems. Even aside of a major, major issue with it's release, in which they had promised people exclusive access (for lots of money, real money) only to completely fumble the's excessively problematic and buggy.

So what this lead me to ponder is this; [A]t what point does it become...taboo...of sorts to be unhappy with a "free," game? To me, if a game is broken, it's broken. As such, if a game developer produces and promotes a broken game that's required a litany of huge patches already, then they've really messed up, in my opinion As such, I can't give the game much more than about a 6-6.5 score.

This made some people mad I guess. "But dude, it's FREE! It's pretty amazing considering it's totally FREE. How can you complain about a FREE game?"

Yes yes, that's all good and all, and a person shouldn't complain about being given something that's free. Except this game isn't a car when you have none, or a coat to a homeless person, whatever. It's a game. And there are lots of other games out there for me to choose from. And those games are more polished. And you know what? I'd rather pay $10 or even $30 for a game that's not incredibly screwed up. (This is with the awareness that some games which cost quite a bit of money are junk as well, I know this, but that's beside the point.)

If the point of making a game "free,"- and I use that term loosely, as you can certainly purchase in-game items for cash- is to absolve yourself from criticism, as those you've done some sort of noble thing to the gamers of the world, I'm not down with that. You're still going to make money off the game, so you're still responsible for producing a product that's not broken, right?

Or am I just an ass for not being grateful for FREE STUFF?


How I Feel About E3

"Microsoft is confirming today that its upcoming Xbox One console will need to connect to the internet every 24 hours for games to work. "Offline gaming is not possible after these prescribed times until you re-establish a connection," says a statement from the software maker. Microsoft explains that Xbox One accounts can be used on other consoles to access digital libraries, but that an hourly internet check will be required in that particular case. Live TV, Blu-ray, and DVD movies will work without a connection check every 24 hours.

Publishers can set fees for game resales

On the subject of used games, Microsoft says "game publishers can enable you to trade in your games at participating retailers," and that the company "does not charge a platform fee to retailers, publishers, or consumers for enabling transfer of these games." However, publishers can opt in or out of game resales and are free to set up transfer fees with retailers. Games can also be given to friends via their discs. There are no fees associated with the transfer, but you can only pass them to friends who have been on your Xbox list for at least 30 days and each game can only be transfered once. Loaning or renting games won't be available at launch, but Microsoft says it's exploring this as a possibility for the future."


Constantly Re-Assessing (And Repeating Myself)

When I was in college, it was the life: I ran the whole gamut of everything from nerd-dom to party lifestyle. I hung out with "cool guys," until the bar was ready to close eating wings, watching football and finding women. On the flip side, I'd spend night playing Magic: The Gathering or pen and paper RPG's, along with my steady flow of video games in my own down time.

When I was 22 I worked as a disc jockey at a radio station. I was winding down my post-college career, rooming with a childhood buddy and entertaining a litany of girls streaming in and out of our "crib." Seems like the life, right? It was- for a while. Eventually it became stale. Repetitive. Finally, it became annoying. Too much money spent on good times, not enough money going to bills. No thoughts given on the future, only the now (it's really not a good way to live life, don't believe the carpé diem folks).

So, I met somebody older than myself; more mature probably. More stable and settled down. Quickly I figured out "Yeah, this is where I want to be at this point in my life."

Granted, I understand that's not for everybody, but for me at that particular point...I guess it's just what I was ready for.

I'm going to be 36 in a little over a month.

In the last five years, I've drastically redesigned my life once again. The only mainstay throughout those transformations in Who I Am has been a video game (of some sorts). I've engrossed my spare time into teaching the pole vault- my girl is ranked #1 in the state this year- and I've enjoyed it. I weigh 177 lbs. now. I can do 15 pull-ups and I generally feel good about myself.

The only problem I have is that issue with gaming. Is it my re-assessment of life again? Have I grown out of games? Has the gaming industry not lived up to the standards of innovation I'm used to? Was there a golden age that I was privy to in the 80's and 90's that can't possibly be surmounted or even equaled? The sequels? The glass ceiling of ingenuity? My economic stability? Getting old?

Likely a combination of all of those factors in varying degrees. Whatever the case may be, gaming as a form of my own personal entertainment is dying a slow death. I cannot get excited to go into a video game store. I don't get a giddy anticipation over a new release.

The odd thing is, I want the excitement back. I want to be invigorated by the idea of a game. My best memories are there. Sadly, when I sit in front of a television and pick up a controller (or a monitor and keyboard) just doesn't click. Invariably I'd rather just go walk outside or something. Go on a trip somewhere. I don't know.

I cannot figure out if I lost gaming along the way, or if gaming lost me. This is the crux of my problem. As I look back through my backlog of blatherings, I think it's more me than the gaming. Some sort of personality shift. I remember old GS friends saying "Don't worry, it'll come back. We all go through the gaming doldrums."

Well, we're a few years down the road, and it hasn't come back. I'd rather just sit down and bust in an old game from 15 years ago, and that's only to get an injection of feel-good nostalgia.

Crap, I'm just getting old.

Ask Not, What Gaming Can Do For You

...but what you can do for gaming.

Honestly, if you didn't know how that was going to end, you need to put the controller down and read more history books. :roll:

I'm sick. As such, my Constant Readers from years past know that I get full of vitriol and fuller of candor when I am.

Also, I write more. Lucky you? Well, if we're going to ride the "honestly," bus, before I get off it I should probably note that this blog is being written out of request more so than my own personal prompting. A friend of mine (after enduring a furious volley of opinions from my fingers-on-the-keyboard about the PS4 launch) pointed out that I certainly have my fair share of opinions on gaming and should probably be sharing them more to the general public.

I've resisted to this point- this point being he flatly told me to write a blog- largely because I've bemoaned the shift in "what once was," here on Gamespot. A shift that the few, dwindling sufferers of days-gone-by left can attest to and have also lamented upon. I miss so many people here, it becomes a difficult place to return to. The best I can equate it to? Probably returning to the empty house that my wife and I first lived in; a small little place in a bad part of town. But it was OUR FIRST HOUSE. Regardless of the locale and condition, it was OUR FIRST HOUSE. And it hurt to return and see a decrepit little place that looked the worse for wear. Hm. Sort of like this site.

Ok, so what was this not-so-obscure Kennedy inaugural speech reference all about?

Well, it's about Gamespot. And the Playstation 4. And the Xbox Whatever. It's about the perception of gaming in society. It's about why games seem to...suck. It's about this: Everything You've Ever Complained About But Didn't Get Off Your Own Ass To Make Better In Gaming.

I mean, we're a cry-baby group, us gamers. Admit it! We constantly **** about something. PS3 is better. No! 360 is better. No! PC trumps all! Games cost too much! DRM is bulls***! Why are they making Mario for the 9000th time? Why does Sonic talk now and...suck? How many Call of Duty games can they possibly pump out? What's this about used games potentially not being usable? And on...and on...and on... AND ON!

But now let me ask this: For all the constant ****ing we do, how many people stand up and come up with a solution for these problems?

"It's not my job to, Matt. What can I do about Sony releasing a overpriced, crappy PC that is simply sneakily packaged into a console shell and called the "Next Next-Gen?"

Oh...I don't know... Don't buy it? I'm not going to. I'm really not. To be perfectly honest, I'm not impressed at all: tech specs, price range, capabilities. Not. Impressed. So why should I buy that next-next-gen? Because it's NEW? C'mon. You guys were taught when you were children that everything that glitters is not gold. New and shiny is NOT equitable to super-amazing. But you're going to run out and buy it. For too-high a price. With money you might not even have. And why? Because it's NEW. And'll ****.

There's a reason that capitalist corporations are able to exist. Because We The Retarded People will go out and buy crap. It's what we do! We buy crap! And when our house is full of crap, we have a yard sale or list our old crap on Craigslist and Ebay...and then go buy more crap to replace the crap we sold! Who here hasn't bought something, saw it as crap...and turned and sold it on Ebay (where you glowingly described it as anything BUT crap)? Yeah, me too.

Call of Duty. The WiiU. The multitude of other abortions that have come sputtering out of gaming corporations. You run up and snap them up like wolves. More, more MOAAAAAAAAAAAARRRR! And then what? You **** because it sucked. Of course it sucked, because you didn't bother to look, to read, to test,... to demand excellence.

We, as humans, rarely demand excellence in...well...anything in life. We settle for sub-par. Mediocre. Half-assedness. And then we bemoan it. It makes zero sense to me.

It's time to stop complaining, and start doing something about it. If you're not happy with what the new systems are bringing to the table...don't buy them. The fact that a new console hasn't been released in five years is... ahem: THE WAY F***ING WRONG REASON TO GET ONE. Folks, that's a huge monetary commitment to make to something you think is poop. I will not, and refuse to, pay for something I think is poop. Because I don't like poop, so why would I pay big money for poop? That's just logic.

Now, all that said; I've harped mostly on the next-gen systems, but this thought process is certainly applicable to just about every facet of the gaming world: crap sequels, buggy unfinished games, unreasonable costs, privacy infringements, shovelware, blah dee blah dee blah.

Don't settle for less. Expect more. Voice your opinion with your wallets. Don't be a sheep. Introduce a little anarchy. Don't be afraid to rock the boat. Don't be afraid to say "This is NOT ok."

Gaming has been sliding down a slippery slope of copy/paste material that seldom seeks to achieve greatness in quality, and only seeks to achieve a greatness in profit margin.  Don't enable it. Take your Ritalin. Be patient.

Demand excellence. It's the best thing you can do for gaming today.

Profiling Nonsense

What is this crap about "What Gamer Type Are You?"

Profiling doesn't work. Never has, never will. Believe me, I know. I've taken all the psychology courses. Profiling fails.

So why is GS gleefully making a 4-part series about the whole concept?

Now, I look at the comments and see people desperately (or enthusiastically) moulding themselves into particular pigeon holes. I see some people perplexed and upset now, thinking there's something wrong with them because they don't fit nicely into a particular category.

Well, it's not all dramatic I try to make it sound, but I do think it's rather silly.

Besides, they've left out all too many archetypes like the cheater or the I-don't-care guy. The latter is my personal peeve: I have a friend who always says she "wants," to play games with us, then bemoans the whole process the entire time and plays each game half-assed. "This game's boring. I don't get it. (before we've even started) I'm lost. (on level one) I'm hungry. I'm tired. I'm gonna go home soon (after 5 minutes)." That person is the "unfortunately reliable," person; they'll always make the date, but that person is legitimately only there because they were our last resort.

At any rate, the point is simple. We're not penguins. We're humans. Totally different in each of our own individual ways. Stop trying to lump us into cliques, groups and categories. Look at the demographic again, we're not all in Junio High anymore. Nor do we want to be.