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smithbubbajones Blog

It's been nice, Gamespot.

I first joined this site six days prior to my 14th birthday. I was in the 9th grade at an all-boys catholic school in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and I was a Ps3 fanboy.

Looking ahead over four years later, I'm 18, I've finished high school and I've made a lot of changes and I've gone through a lot of things, a lot of experiences. I'm also about to complete my first year of college, at a very tiny catholic liberal arts college at the University of British Columbia.

Not only do I find fanboyism something very much like the 14 year old version of myself, but I've had a bit of a falling out with video games in general, which I can more or less attribute to naivety and depression. Every teenager goes through something like that, it's not really a big deal seeing as I got through it.

I've had a lot of fun with Gamespot. I took a liking to writing user reviews (and that Top 100 Community Reviewers emblem is still on my profile today), I had some pretty interesting discussions with people, and I even ran a pretty good Review Union into the ground once I took over. My bad, guys.

I still do enjoy videogames, and I'm starting to get back into them as best I can. That being said, this site really isn't for me anymore, seeing as it's probably time for me to move on, and my interest in what this site offers has certainly shifted in recent years.

I recently got into Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada. It's one of the top undergraduate universities in North America, not to mention one of the toughest universities to get into in Canada (annually a 30-40% acceptance rate). I'm not sure what kind of black magic helped get me accepted, but I'm excited to finally leave Vancouver in August and start a new chapter of my life.

It's truly been wonderful, but growing up happens. I'll see you guys some other time.

PSN: smithbubbajones

Xbox Live: PointManBubs

Do add me, please. I'd love to keep in touch with some of you, if you'd like to.

-Andy.

2011 Game of the Year Nominees

2011, to me, will go down as the most memorable year in the history of gaming. It does not have all that much to do with the titles that were released, however. Rather, this was the year where I faced some harsh questions about my interest in gaming. Growing up really does suck. The compromise I ended up reaching with myself is a beautiful one. I realized if I treat gaming more like a pastime and less like a hobby, I can find more motivation to play games just like I used to, albeit not as frequently.

And these are the five 2011 games which brought me back to life:

I'd name a winner now and write about why each of these games makes me all giddy, but honestly, I need more time to play them. Not just so I can pick a winner, but I'd also rather just play them than write about why I want to play them right now. Check back soon.

What are your favourite games of the year?

It has been 11 months

I can't believe it's been 11 months since my last review! My interest in gaming found all-time lows this past year, but that doesn't mean I've abandoned it altogether. It really has been awhile since I last attempted to write a review, but I decided to make a return. My Top 100 Reviewers icon is still on my profile after such a long hiatus. Cool!

Anyways, here you go.

Remember when I used to be a Ps3 fanboy, like 3 or 4 years ago? I love growing up.

Holy Moses, it's been a long time.

Since my interest in gaming has really dropped off in the last year, I've really been entirely absent from this website, when I used to be so active in the past.

Anyways, it's really been a growing experience for me over the past year and a half. I graduated from that all-boys catholic private school in Vancouver with an 84% average, and a couple of awards (Leadership & English Literature), but I still failed to get into the university I wanted. So, for this year, it's me fourteenth straight year at a catholic school, as I'm attending a small catholic transfer college at the University of British Columbia.

It's truly awful here, in this city. My best friends left for Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Trinity College in Toronto, and McGill University in Montreal, respectively. It's pretty lonely here in Vancouver.

But, I feel like I'm more ambitious than ever. It kinda felt like everything I was working for had fallen apart when I was rejected by Simon Fraser University, but the extra time has really given me room to just think and reflect on what I truly want in my life. If I had gotten into SFU, I'd be there now, but it'd still be rather lonely, rather bleak, and I'd feel like I'd have reached my potential and would just have to grind through for 4 years, in this city that I've lived in my entire life.

After about 3 years of considering all kinds of different post-secondary options, I've finally made the decision that I want to leave Vancouver. So, from this transfer college, I'm applying to Queen's University in Kingston, UNBC in Prince George, British Columbia, Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick, and UBC Okanagan in Kelowna, British Columbia.

Initially, my parents and my friends pointed out that I just want to leave Vancouver because it's lonely here. My counter point is that if I wanted to go somewhere to escape loneliness, why would I be applying to a school in Sackville, New Brunswick?

It's going to be a very interesting year for me. The first month has had its ups and downs. I miss my friends, but the people I've been meeting so far have been ridiculously friendly. The schoolwork doesn't appear as if it'll be too overwhelming, either. I really think that I'll do well enough this year to wind up where I'd like to be next fall.

Also, Batman: Arkham City anybody?

Rats, I don't suppose anybody reads these things anymore.

It certainly has been awhile

I don't believe in anything Freud says. I have never wanted to have sex with my mother. I believe selfless acts are possible. And I believe people can certainly change, as I don't believe in fate or predetermined personalities.

So, I haven't gotten back into videogaming. Go figure. I really thought I'd get back into it. I thought it was just a small speed bump. But you know what? My academic average is at 84% right now. I'm hoping to spend 6 years getting degrees in writing and education, to become a journalist. And these final months of high school are going to count.

No, I haven't abandoned gaming. The Killzone 3 beta blew my doors off. I look forward to playing the full game during the summer. But we just moved houses a week ago, and my Xbox 360 is still packed away, which is proof of how little I consider games right now. I haven't thought about unpacking it. Eventually I will, surely.

But I've also made some pretty great revelations as far as who I associate myself with. It might seem selfish right now, some of the choices I'm making. Dissociating from people I've called my friends for four years. But I choose to look at it positively, that I want to appreciate the friends I have now, very much.

Anyways, I just wanted to blog since I'm at home until about 10pm tonight.

I haven't had a drink in five weeks. Totally proud of myself.

But it's Friday night, soooooooooooooooo yea.

See you guys laterr!!

Well, what do you think?

Don't ask me why exactly, but I need to find a sad song that fits with a theme of "loneliness". It's taken me about a month of thinking and I've narrowed it down to these songs here. So I ask you, which one would you feel fits best with the criteria? I don't care if it doesn't SOUND good, as long as it fits.

Radiohead - Creep (Acoustic)

Snow Patrol - Run

Twenty Eleven!!!

Well, 2010 is over. I can't say it was a great year for me. Too much emotional drama which I won't go into. Being a 16/17 year old halfwhite city kid at an all boys prestigious Catholic preparatory school definitely isn't easy.

But it wasn't a bad year at all! Olympics were in Vancouver and it was unlike anything I've ever experienced, I became best friends with my best friend, God of War III was amazing, I stopped getting bad grades, I got drunk, and here I am. :P

Well, I pray you all have a great year! I know for me, this is going to be the biggest year of my life, like it or not. It's the year I graduate high school. I'm parting ways with my best friends who are all going to different part of Canada and the US come September. That's going to be astronomically difficult, and I don't want to think about it too much right now. I'll just focus on the good times we can have NOW. Speaking of Universities, I've spent the better part of a year thinking it through, and I applied to Simon Fraser University, the University of Victoria, and the University of BC (both Vancouver & Okanagan campuses), all four to major in Writing. Here's hoping for the best!

Hey, if an 80% average doesn't get me into Humanities at one of those four schools, there's something wrong with the world!

If all else fails, Killzone 3 is out in February. That will save the year for me, personally.

Have a good one, guys!

Happy Holidays and Top 10 of 2010

I hope all of you had a great Christmas with your family and friends! I know I did. Typically I haven't been the kind to go out of my way to get gifts for anybody other than my immediate family. But that was then! There's no real better feeling than getting something for a friend and seeing the shock --- from happiness and guilt of not getting you a gift --- on their face. I'm in the camp that enjoys giving more than receiving. That being said, I did end up getting some pretty good swag this year, of course! A purple toque to replace the dark blue one I always wear, a bottle of cologne, two Charles Dickens novels, Fable III, lots of cash, and my personal favourite: a huge bar of white chocolate.

So Christmas may be over as it's the night of the 27th, but that doesn't mean the good times have to end. Well, for several of you working folk, it probably does. But for me, a lower-middle class white unemployed prep school student, I still have a week off. What to do with my life??! How about, play my ten favourite games of the year? Yes, it's that time of year: the end of the year.

2010 was a pretty good year for games as far as quality is concerned. Unfortunately for me, I've had a lot of ridiculousness fill my life this year so I haven't really had as much time or interest in games. But the holiday break has given me the opportunity to get back into the gaming mood. It wasn't difficult to pick ten games, but picking the order proved to be a bit of a task. Which of my three nominees takes top spot for me this year? Final Fantasy XIII, God of War III, or Red Dead Redemption? The suspense MUST be killing you. Either that or you've stopped reading entirely.

10 - Blur (Developed by Bizarre Creations)

Well, what makes Blur so awesome? It's a brilliant concept. Real cars and real locations. Everything else tosses realism out the window in the name of intensity. Although I found the single player to be a little too dry and easy for my tastes, the multiplayer is phenomenal. So addictive, so crazy. Not to mention that I'm a beast and can finish first in just about any event you put me in. 19 other racers on the road, in my rear view mirror. If only there were more people playing online. Blur's good enough for more than 300 people worldwide playing online at once. Hell, it's the only racing game on this list. Give Blur a chance. It might just shock(wave) you.

9 - Fable III (Developed by Lionhead)

Whether or not Fable 3 falls into the RPG category is irrelevant. That bigot Peter Molyneux ran his mout--- Not this time. For what it is, Fable 3 is an incredibly fun and easygoing adventure with so much to do (and this time, it's not bogged down by menus and other boggy...ness). It's everything Fable 2 should have been, and then some.

8 - Splinter Cell: Conviction (Developed by Ubisoft Montreal)

I believe Splinter Cell: Conviction is a top 10 game because you can mark and execute. And it just looks so great while doing so. Instead of being overly critical or tedious of how stealth is done, Ubisoft Montreal introduced a new kind of stealth action. "Action" is the key word. Cool weapons and gadgets that just make you feel so badass, makes clearing a room of tangoes all the more satisfying. Although the story is difficult to follow and the game is a little bit too short, there's more than enough meat on the Conviction bone thanks to some good replay value, not to mention the best co-operative game of the year. Archer and Kestrel are my boys.

7 - Assassin's Creed Brotherhood (Developed by, yet again, Ubisoft Montreal)

Welcome to the Brotherhood. No, it's not Assassin's Creed III. If it were, it'd probably be a lot lower on the list than number 7. However, it's still an excellent addition to the Assassin's Creed series. The jump in quality isn't as astounding from AC2 as I would have hoped. The game isn't as polished as I've come to expect from this series. But, it's still the greatest feeling to climb to the highest point of Rome, or taking out waves of unsuspecting archers. And the multiplayer is surprisingly... awesome. I think I've found my new online game! Not kidding. It's that addictive online.

6 - Mass Effect 2 (Developed by BioWare)

I'd be an idiot not to put Mass Effect 2 somewhere on this list. I'll be the first to admit that I thought we had Game of the Year the MOMENT I put my eyes on this game. And for several months, I believed Mass Effect 2 would be number 1 on this list at the end of the year. But times change. Needless DLC got force-fed our way and it felt like unless I bought this stuff, that I was playing a lesser version of Mass Effect 2. So instead of conforming, I fell out of love.

At least for awhile. When I look back at the year that was, Mass Effect 2 is a game that stays in the back of my mind. Yes, I remember spending 22 hours to finish this game during exam week in January. I remember romancing Tali for some very messed up reasons. I remember how good Mass Effect 2 is, and I can't wait for part 3 next year. While Mass Effect 2 might not be my favourite game this year, it's a no-brainer to have on this list.

5 - Halo: Reach (Developed by Bungie)

This game is the reason that I renewed my Xbox Live Gold membership. Was it worth it? It's number 5 on this list, so yes it was. I still spend a lot of time playing with a friend or two in Multi-Team, or in Firefight, or in Co-op. It's the perfection of the gameplay in this series that most of us have come to enjoy immensely. On top of that, the single player campaign was about a trillion times better than I thought it'd be. Cheers.

4 - Fallout: New Vegas (Developed by Obsidian)

When I first started playing Fallout: New Vegas, I didn't quite know what to expect. One thing I didn't see coming was how impossible it'd be for me to put the controller down. Not even Fallout 3 had that effect on me. I'm not sure what it is. Perhaps it's the bigger sense of isolation, the raised difficulty of the combat, or the change of setting, but what I do know is that Fallout NV is definitely something special. I just wish it weren't so buggy.

3 - Final Fantasy XIII (Developed by Square Enix)

Here we are, 3rd place! Consolation prize? Sure, why not.

Why is Final Fantasy XIII not my Game of the Year? Well, I liked God of War 3 and Red Dead Redemption better.

But, it's 3rd. That's nothing to be upset about, Square. You've crafted a game every bit as good to me as Final Fantasy X was back in 2001. That in itself is a remarkable achievement. I love the characters. I love the combat system. I love the way the game looks. I love the LINEARITY! There aren't many things that I didn't love to death about this game.

I've also figured it's impossible to sway somebody's opinion about it. So, you might not like it, but you don't have to. Fact of the matter is that it's one of my favourite games of 2010. It's certainly the best role playing game.

Take that, you Westerners. Why don't you just marry Bethesda and get it over with?

2 - Red Dead Redemption (Developed by Rockstar San Diego)

Here we are, 2nd place! Consolation prize? Sure, why not.

Why is Red Dead Redemption not my Game of the Year? Well, I liked God of War 3 better.

But, it's 2nd. That's nothing to be upset about, Rockstar.

This game is boss. It's not just Grand Theft Auto in the Wild West. Red Dead Redemption is its own beast. It's definitely the most mature game of the year, and not because of excessive gore or nudity. It's just a sophisticated adventure with a phenomenal cast of characters and overall story-arch. A massive world to explore, tons to do, solid mechanics... THIS is how to do an open world game, people!!! While I felt the multiplayer was initially a wash, the awesome single player was more than enough to make up for it.

Zombies. F*CK YES!

1 - God of War III (Developed by SCE Santa Monica)

God of War 3 is my favourite game this year. As much as I wanted to give it to Mass Effect 2, Final Fantasy XIII, or Red Dead Redemption (trust me, there were times where I'd be positive it'd be one of those three games), my conscience kept telling me to crown God of War 3. And when I think about it deeply, it's the obvious choice as the greatest game of 2010.

It's the end to one of the Playstation brand's defining trilogies. It's the best action adventure game this generation. It's visually impeccable. It's near-flawlessly designed. It's a thrill ride from start to finish.

I tell you, the first 45 minutes of God of War 3 set the bar rather high. There's no real way to explain what's so incredible about fighting the Greek god Poseidon and his water horse while on the back of the Titan Gaia while climbing Mount Olympus. I believe that explains it. And to think that the following seven hours just continually ramps up until a pretty shocking conclusion is god-of-war-send. But that's exactly what God of War III does.

Play and finish God of War 3. It's not a long game, clocking in at about seven to ten hours. But it is something you need to experience. If you don't find violent videogames to be awesome, I think this game can change your mind. It'll put a sadistic and twisted smile on your face, you sick bastard.

Game of the year.