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Am I Just Getting Older?

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On March 28th, 2013, DICE released roughly 17 minutes of gameplay for the upcoming Battlefield 4. In those 17 minutes we saw a car submerged in water, a lone soldier sneaking in a building with no ammo, and plenty of expected explosions that the franchise has come to be known for. However, there was one thing we didn't see: maturity. I'm not explicitly calling out Battlefield and calling them immature. I love the Battlefield series and Battlefield 3 was one of my favorite games of 2011 and one of my favorite online shooters of all-time. I watched the gameplay of Battlefield 4 that will be released in the fall for current gen consoles (quite a surprise) and it felt to me that all that needed to be shown was the firefights and crumbling buildings. This is perfect for a military shooter, but there's no emphasis on the story. Battlefield 3's story was nothing spectacular, it was actually pretty good for a military shooter, but it was lackluster when compared to other games. What many developers might not notice is that a great and engaging story can fascinate a wider variety of audiences than guns and big explosions. The first scene we witness in the gameplay is four soldiers in a car that's underwater. One of the soldiers is trapped under some parts of the car and the two other soldiers desperately try to free him. The fourth, the player, merely stands and watches. A few moments later, the trapped soldier literally orders the player to shoot out the window so the three can escape, but leaving him behind. Here's where I want to make a point. Yes, we barely know anything about these men other than they're fighting for their country, so it's difficult to say that this scene won't have any emotional affect on us as players when we play the full game. However, showing a character death like this so early makes me worry that DICE doesn't care much at all about their characters. Throughout the whole scene, there was only one soldier who seemed to be protesting from the heart. Where many people would contemplate the decision of shooting out the window, the player character simply aims the gun at the window with a shaky hand and pulls the trigger. The screen then cuts to black to show you what happened before and how the four men got to where they were. Like I stated earlier, most people would debate with themselves over whether or not to shoot out the window. Perhaps if Battlefield 4 took a few notes from Call of Duty: Black Ops II it may have changed this scene. Black Ops II did one thing that not many military first person shooters would do and that's giving the player a choice to make. Upon watching the Battlefield 4 gameplay, I thought about Black Ops II and how a similar decision making choices in Battlefield 4 could enhance the story. Sadly, everything just seemed to be done for you without you ever having to make a decision for yourself. This sounds like the same old story we hear when we play a new FPS. It's no secret that the FPS genre is usually criticized for its poor stories. It's as simple as looking at a globe, pointing to any random country, and saying that the Russians have invaded it and the US must stop them. Now, if I remember back to my middle school days, I was extremely excited for games like Modern Warfare 2. I loved mowing down enemies, causing gigantic explosions, and trying to take on the competition online. However, nowadays these aspects of gaming bore me, as I've seen them all to often. Where I used to be in awe at the big set piece of an FPS, I now yawn. These military FPS games are basically the summer blockbuster: they aren't particularly good, but they're very popular and generate a lot of money. I don't have a problem with Call of Duty, Battlefield, or the FPS genre itself, its the lack of substance that aggravates me. The stories of these games aren't original, but they could be. For example, instead of making the story about taking out Russians in Iran, why not have the story focus on the ideas of war and why it is being fought. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots did something similar to this and it made the story all the more interesting. I would much rather play a military shooter that deals with the consequences of nationalism and religious radicals than nuclear weapons. This may just be because I'm more mature than I was back in the 7th grade and I would like to see my games mature with me. In the past few years, my interest in the power of storytelling has dramatically increased as opposed to my dwindling interest in the set pieces, explosions, and shock value. There were two games that were released in 2012 that really caught my eye, not for the gameplay, but the story. The games were Telltale's The Walking Dead and Ubisoft Montreal's Far Cry 3. The Walking Dead told one of the greatest stories ever in a video game and is one of the big reasons that the industry needs to look at how powerful the pen really is. On the shooter side, Far Cry 3 explored the theme of insanity and how far a person is willing to go to gain something they desire. What made these two games have such strong stories were the strong characters that drove it. Be it the manically insane Vaas or the sweet, moral compass Clementine, the characters found in the two games were interesting and felt as if they were real. If Battlefield 4 were to write their characters the same way and give them deep characteristics and emotions, than the scene of the trapped soldier would be much, much more powerful. There is also a short snippet of a female soldier. I would love to see DICE take that chance and deal with the subject of females in the military and whether they should or shouldn't serve on the front lines. Let's say DICE read this blog and created stronger characters, crafted a better story, and explored the harsh themes of war. Would people be willing to go for it? I remember a conversation I had back in 9th grade with two students. The two guys were saying how they were excited for Modern Warfare 2 and God of War III. I said I was excited for both of those games, but I also mentioned Heavy Rain. The two laughed. "There aren't any guns in that game!" I remember one saying. The presence of guns in a game should not justify its quality. We watch movies that are purely just people talking with no weapon being drawn, no gun being shot, and no person being killed. Why can't we have games that do the same? It's because the general person looks at games being fun and most of them about killing. If a game was released in retail and not downloadable that contained no sort of violence, how many people do you think would buy it? I'd bet not very many. The industry needs to break away from always having violence and concentrate and heavily on its story. Video games create a whole new way of telling stories, creating characters, and experiencing emotions that no other artistic medium on this planet can provide. I would love to see a game that is compared to F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" or Yann Martel's "Life of Pi". Journey did a fantastic job of presenting a beautiful allegory to the player in a way literature or film could never do. What if Battlefield 4 was like Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried" and talk about the burdens of war? Perhaps it would cause media outlets to no longer look down on video games and blame them for tragedies. The stories are out there and the industry needs to tell them in a whole new way to the public. 2013 will no doubt be a huge year for gaming as we'll see the rise of the next gen consoles. Hopefully, we'll also see the rise of storytelling in games. Hopefully, games will start to mature with us and tell adult stories. The newly released Tomb Raider was criticized for almost having a rape scene, but I praise the writers for making that move as it is a mature subject for games (plus it was vital for characterization). Strong storytelling and characters will emerge in the coming years and will hopefully spread out from games like The Walking Dead, Far Cry 3, and BioShock and find homes in games such as Call of Duty and Battlefield. We as a mature audience want to experience mature stories that are thought provoking, not just mindless killing. I'd like M for Mature to mean something more than blood and gore and mean something about us.

Same Old Story

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There's a rumor going around that Chelsea want to sell Fernando Torres. Andre Villas-Boas said that Torres is not for sale. Hmm, if I recall, that's exactly what Dalglish said before Liverpool sold Torres to Chelsea for £50m. Honestly, I would not blame Chelsea for wanting to sell him. The man has only scored 3 goals in 25 appearances. Compared to his teammates Drogba and Sturridge, he's in terrible form. On the other hand, he hardly ever starts a game.

How Torres must feel during every game.

I'm sure this is how Torres feels during every game

Why can't Torres find his form? It seems that ever since the World Cup in South Africa, he's lost his ability to score. He's had a few assists and a very memorable miss against Manchester United in his time at Chelsea. It's also been said that he and Drogba don't see eye to eye. Two distinct players with two different playing ****. With Anelka going over to play in China when the January transfer window opens, Torres may have a chance to shine, though he probably won't.

With Torres

Torres may only be worth £20m. Will Villas-Boas sell?

Torres isn't the only one who has trouble with form. Andy Carroll seems to be failing at proving that he's worth the £35m price tag. With 19 appearances and 4 goals, he seems to be struggling to find his form. However, Dalglish never seems to play him either, usually pairing Suarez with either Kuyt or, the spitfire, Craig Bellamy. Carroll, however, does come on often as a substitute and gets close to scoring, but can't finish.

LFC

Could the Suarez and Carroll strike partnership develop into something the Premiership will fear?

With the January transfer window looming, more interesting stories will continue to develop. Until then, the fate of El Nino will remain unanswered.

Attention All Americans!

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We need YOU to help create The United States of America Union. So far, there are only two people onboard. Myself and brickdoctor, a fellow patriot. What's this union all about you ask? It's about how great America is and good ol' fashioned patriotism. Do it for your country! Let's show those communists, terrorists, and any other enemy America has why we're the greatest country ever!

5 Reasons Why You Should Watch LOST

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 LOST is my favorite show of all time. The stories of the survivors of Oceanic 815 is one of the greatest stories ever told. It changed television forever, and there are plenty of reasons. If you've never watched LOST, you should change that. Here's a list of 10 reasons why you should go back and watch the show from the very beginning.  1. The Characters The characters in LOST are some of the most interesting and believable in any show, or movie, for that matter. Every character has a diverse backstory that eventually leads to how they ended up on Oceanic 815 and on the Island. Each and every character isn't perfect and need to redeem themselves. For instance, Charlie Pace was part of a one hit wonder band called Drive Shaft. During his time with the band, he became addicted to heroin. Jack Shephard, a spinal surgeon, as many issues with his father who died in Sydney. These characters connect with you and you will have feelings towards them. Whether it be joy or hatred, each character will leave a lasting impression onto you. The more you watch, the more you care and if one of your favorite characters dies, you might even cry. LOST was the show that ever made me cry. LOST's incredible characters is just one of the many reasons to tune into this show.  2. The Acting: The acting in LOST is top notch. The actors have won and been nominated for several Emmy awards. They make the characters feel alive and realistic. There are too many great moments to list because of the acting. Two of the most outstanding actors are Terry O'Quinn (John Locke) and Michael Emerson (Benjamin Linus). Both have been nominated for multiple Emmy's, Emerson even winning one. The actors don't make it feel like a show, but a Hollywood blockbuster. Without their talents, the most memorable scenes would've been nothing.  3. These Guys: JJ Abrams, Damon Lindelof, and Carlton Cuse are the masterminds behind LOST. JJ Abrams was the genius who pitched the idea to ABC and got it off the ground. Abrams already had a critically acclaimed drama under his belt (Alias) and was no stranger to creating great story lines. Lindelof and Cuse are the experts behind the writing of the show. They've written the best episodes and have become some of my favorite writers but also some of my least, the latter being cause of their expert ability to end an episode. These three formed the foundation of what LOST was.  4. The Music: LOST has one of the greatest soundtracks I've heard. It's a show that you can recognize by it's music. This is all thanks to composer, Michael Giacchino. Giacchino has worked on many films that people know and love (Up, The Incredibles, Star Trek, to name a few). His scoring of LOST is spectacular and gives the show much more meaning. When his piece "Parting Words" plays at the end of Exodus Pt .1, you can't help but get chills. From character deaths to trekking through the dangerous jungle, Giacchino's score beats more life into the show. He can create an intense moment with low strings, bring tears to your eyes with a piano, keep the show going with a harp playing one note, and finish off a cliffhanger with a brass fall off. His scoring of LOST is just another reason why you should watch it.  5. The Mysteries and Story: This is the top reason for why you should tune into LOST. Yes, I know you've probably heard about all of it's "unanswered" questions but if you watch the show, you'll realize how many things have been answered. Every mystery in this show will anger you and have you coming back for me. So many great mysteries. The numbers, the hatch, the Smoke Monster, the Dharma Initiative, and, yes, the polar bears. The ones I just listed don't even scratch the surface of how many mysteries appear in this show. Trust me, everything does work out in the end. The end is perfect and does leave some open ended questions for you and other LOSTies to discuss for many more years to come. Along with the mysteries, the story is excellent. Season after season you'll be wanting to know more about the Island and the survivors of 815. The show has so many twists in turns, you'll be begging for more. And once it all ends, the more you watch it, the more things you'll notice. Those were five reasons why you should watch LOST. One of the greatest television shows ever created, it touched the hearts of millions of people during it's six year run. And it's still waiting to capture you. So, get LOST.

My First Platinum

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So last night I got my first platinum. Assassin's Creed II. For awhile I only had two more trophies but I was just to lazy to get them. So, since school is over, I decided to buckle down and get the plat. I was missing about 5 feathers in Venice and since I didn't want to run around the whole place in Eagle Vision, I just printed out district maps. The real problem was Tuscany. I was getting really pissed off. I checked each feather location like 10000 times. Went online and watched videos of their locations. It turned out that I was looking at the wrong building the whole time! So, I got the feathers, returned them to the Villa, and watched a glitchy cutscene. I don't like the Auditore cape. Finding 100 feathers just to make you notorious! COME ON! Anyways, I got the "Show Your Colors" trophy and BLING I got the Platinum. WIth one plat under my belt, it seems I have alot of confidence to platinum other games, preferably Uncharted 2 and FALLOUT 3. I will say that I feel pretty awesome.

The End

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The finale of LOST tonight. That is all. I have nothing else to say

Why Can't We All Just Get Along?

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If you're a gamer, there's one term you've heard. Fanboys. They're everywhere, on every system, for every game. They're annoying and will do anything to defend what they love. These people are what make PS3 owners hate the 360 owners. Why? They're both great gaming systems and have a great selection of games. 360 has exclusives and PS3 has exclusives. They share alot of things in common. Let's just get along! Stop the senseless war! I own a PS3. I perfer it over the 360. That doesn't mean I don't hate the 360. Trust me I would love to own one buy I'm not a spoiled little brat who wants every gaming system to show off to their brat friends who will only end up 1-uping (HAHA) them. There are bad things about both systems FACE IT! The 360 breaks down and the PS3 has a cooling problem. Let's just all get along! Back in the old days, everyone had the same systems! They didn't argue about which is better. The PS3 isn't better than the 360 and vice versa. So people, next time you come across a PS3 owner and you own the 360 or you come across a 360 owner and you own a PS3, shake their hand. *results may vary

My PSN ID

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Ok, if any of you want to add me on psn my ID is n33d2skate. Also, i actually want to play a game with you before I go adding people out of the blue