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XBOX ONE - the Quandry

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Well, after briefly reading some of the coverage of the Xbox One, I'm left with more questions than answers.  Unlike many people, I'm not throwing a hissy fit over the possible scenarios.  Rather, I'm just finding myself a little confused and a little reserved in my opinions. I'm curious to see how the proposed features or possible features would affect me.  Most of the big sore spots that everyone seems to be fretting over, really aren't big issues to me.  I dont normally buy used games and I have high speed internet. 

First off, I've never been big on used games.  I hate buying a game that someone else has already had their grimy hands all over.  I guess I've just had some bad experiences with scratched discs, missing manuals, or just plain greasy cases.  Seriously, what the hell do some of you  people do with your games?  Anyways, for whatever reason, I have the collector gene.  I like getting a fresh, unopened game that's in mint condition.  Never found the savings on used games to be all that great.  Gamestop seems to be the biggest reseller of games, but their deals are just plain awful at times.  I'd rather just spend the extra 2 to 4$ and get the game new.  Furthermore, almost every game goes on sale at some point.  The savings you can get from just being observant far outweigh the paltry savings of buying used.   I hardly ever pay full price for any games and can often get new games for 20$ or less.  Now, one aspect of used games is not just buying them for cheaper, but selling them back once you're done.  I can understand why people would fear losing that.  However, once again, this just isnt something I do.  I like to hold onto my games both as a collector and for replay.

Now, I'll be honest.  I have no idea what MS plans to do about used games.  Whether there will actually be a fee for using a used game and who would end up paying that fee.  Would it be the institution that sells you the used game or the player with an activation fee?  Some individual software developers have already been taking their own steps to cut down on the recycling of games, but it would be a significant deal if the console maker themself took measures.  Part of this boils down to the quagmire of intellectual property rights.  What do you really own when you buy a game?  In my opinion, I think if you buy a physical copy of the game, you should have every right to sell that to whomever you want.  However, I suppose an activation fee doesnt prevent that transaction from occurring.  It just makes it less palatable.  But I'll liken this to another practice that occurs in business -airline bag fees.  If just one airline was doing it, they'd lose business.  But if most of them do it, we get stuck with it.  Microsoft certainly can do whatever the hell they want with used games.  But if all their competitors don't charge fees, they're going to look pretty bad.

As for always online, I dont care.  I'm already always online.  Have had high speed interent for years and can't imagine life without it.  This issue is a non-issue for me.  However, from a business standpoint, it seems somewhat perplexing.  Why would you intentionally limit your customer base?  Of the over 70 million xbox 360's sold, I would have to assume that a decent percentage of those people dont have high speed internet.  So why would you create a situation that would instantly eliminate them from your customer base?  I'm not a business major, so maybe they think it would be more profitable to protect againt piracy and other issues.  Maybe they assume that most of their future customers will have high speed internet?  Maybe there's some other aspect I'm just missing.  But honestly, I have no idea why you would limit yourself.

As for Kinnect 2.0 or whatever it is, I'm absolutely clueless on that.  Never got a Kinnect 1.0.  I dont like gimmicky controllers like that or the god awful wii controller.  As long as the Kinnect is a superfluous feature, then I'm ok with it.  Dont mess too much with the regular controller.  That thing works like a charm and has evolved nicely over the last few generations.  It does what I want it to do. I certainly do need more information on whether this kinnect is acting like a spy camera in my living room.  If I'm sitting in my boxers playing games (because let's face it - we all get lazy some mornings), I dont want other players or the MS staff to be viewing my tiger printed underwear.  No offense, but that's just for me and my future wife.  Disclosure is important and they need to clarify this.

Despite all the facetious bellyaching going on, I think most of these things won't be that big of a deal.  In the end, it's going to come down to the games, the price point,  and the service.  Looking back at the last two generations, both the ps2 and the xbox 360 did fairly well despite atrocious hardware issues at launch.  The reason - their large and high quality game libraries.  As for this upcoming generation, I'll do what I always do.  Wait and see. 

Superbowl Sunday

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Wasn't expecting the Ravens to win.  Thought they would get beat bad.  Was a good game until the power went out, then I kind of lost interest.  Pretty good half time show as well.  Probably one of the better ones I've seen.  And champ, Ray Ray got his ring.  Granted he looked awful in most of that game.

Violence and video games - a connection?

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Given recent events, violent video games have been headlining a lot of news stories. Countless pundits have labelled them as a culprit for instilling violence in our youth. Most recently, even the president of the NRA, placed the blame of school shootings squarely on the shoulders of violent video games. Congress appears to be jumping on the bandwagon calling for bans or regulation of these dangerous products. On the other side, countless gamers declare that they have never been unduly influenced by their games. They claim that any such insinuation lacks merit. So which side is right?

Well, if we want to be honest, the best answer is no one knows. There simply isnt enough information to determine whether games contribute to violent behavior. Do they desensitive us to violence? Do they cause us to lose empathy and become more antisocial? It's possible but it's certainly not been proven. As such, most of the critics of violent video games are not basing their opinions on published research. They are going more on public perception or their own thoughts on the subject.

Most of the perpetrators of these mass shootings have been young men, and not suprisingly a lot of young men play video games. Hence, there is a correlation between those who perpetrate violent crime and those who play violent video games. But as we have often heard in these forums, "correlation does not imply causation". There are lots of things that are strongly correlated but have no direct impact on each other. One famous example - shown on freakonomics -, was ice cream and the incidence of polio (pre vaccination days). These two events had an incredibly strong correlation. So much so, that people back in the day thought ice cream caused polio. Both ice cream consumption and the incidence of polio shot up tremendously in the summertime and then dropped signficantly in the winter. But as we know now, polio is caused by a virus not food. When summer came around, kids played with each other and transmitted the virus. Given the hot temperatures, they also ate lots of ice cream. So the two events were correlated but had no cause and effect relationship.

Now this doesn't necessarily get these games off the hook either. They certainly may have deleterious effects on certain young and vulnerable minds. We just dont know. Rather than jump to unwise conclusions, maybe a little research is in order? However, psychiatry and psychology are incredibly complex disciplines. It may take quite a while to get any definitive data on this subject. The human mind is a very hard thing to study because you can't just isolate one variable.

Guild Wars 2 update

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Still going pretty strong in this game. Lacks some end game content as others have noted, but still has plenty to do and strive for. Found a great guild which makes playing the game 10 x better. If anybody needs help or a guild, just PM me and I can send you an invite. Well, as long as you aren't crazy. My guild is composed of people in their 20's, 30's, and even a few people in their 40's. Lot of old WOW players. Good variety and good perspectives.

Definitely like this game. Maybe not as much as the original GW, but this one is still pretty early. GW 1 went through several transitions before its final product, so GW 2 is a work in evolution as well.

Merry Christmas

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Have a good holliday, everyone. Down in Orlando, for the Christmas holiday with family. Lots of fun, but enormous crowds at the resorts. Fastpass rules! Hopefully be back in a few days to fire up some games.

Victory!

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Ran the marathon this morning. Good weather and a good crowd. Was a little nervous because I had to take time off from an injury, but the adrenaline of race day carried me through. Usually people hit the wall around mile 20, but I actually sped up. May have gone out a little too slow, but I'm still happy with the results of my first one. Did 26.2 miles in 3 hours and 36 minutes. Hoping to do another one next year. If I can avoid injury, my goal is to break 3 hrs and 10 minutes which qualifies for Boston. Not sure I can do that, but I felt fine after this one.

Marathon this weekend

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NOt sure how I will do. Had been doing really well in training - got up to the max of 20 miles, but then I developed a tendinitis in my lower leg which sidelined me for 4 of the last 5 weeks. Not sure how fast you get out of shape, but I'm hoping it's takes longer than that. Did a couple of runs this week and my leg was fine. If I stop posting here, you'll know I didnt make it.

Guild Wars 2 - Time Stealer

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Been playing a lot of this game. So far, I like it. In a fairly small guild, so if any of you guys play, send me your character names and I can add them to my ever growing and prestigious list. Always looking for more people to adventure with.

Still on for the marathon

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Had been having some pain in my hip over a few runs, but I did a 17 mile run and an 18 mile run since then. No major problems with those. I figure that if I can do 18 miles, I should be able to do a marathon. Just have to be careful with pacing myself. I still have a couple of big runs left before the race. I think the longest of those is about 20 miles, so we shall see how that one goes. Honestly, it gets a little boring when you run that long. Never done continuous exercise for that long. My 18 miler took me about 2 and 1/2 hours. Can't imagine running for the 3 1/2 to 4 hours it takes to do a marathon. Should be fun . . .

Speaking of bonking

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In honor of the bonk, I have a tale to tell. You can bonk on gamespot, but you can also bonk in real life. Long distance runners and cyclists use the term "bonk" to refer to the phenomena when your body runs out of energy - aka "hitting the wall". Your body primarily gets its fuels from three sources: carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Your brain and muscles prefer to get their energy from the simplest of carbs, glucose. Also known as blood sugar, this is the primary fuel for your body. Unfortunately, your body has limited stores of it which are located in your liver in the form of glycogen.

Your body can also produce energy by burning fats or converting them into ketones, but this process takes time and not every tissue can utilize these forms of energy. However, as many of us have found out, fat stores can be almost limitless. . . .

The last source of energy is protein. Your body can actually break down proteins in various tissues for energy, but this is usually only done in severe cases. Think starvation. Genreally, it's not a good thing for your body to be breaking down its own tissues for energy.

So, back on topic. When you exercise, you generally burn your carbs first. They are a good source of fuel and are quickly and easily converted into energy. Most of us don't excercise long enough to burn through them as they can keep us going for quite a while. However, if you do intense aerobic exercise for 2-3 hours, you may hit a point where you run out of this fuel. BONK! That's basically what happens. People are fine one second, and then suddenly their legs and arms get heavy and weak. They've hit that wall and its almost like their body wants to shut down. Now, the body can still utilize its fat stores for energy, but this process is too slow to keep up with the high metabolic demands of exercise. So you start running out of fuel. Interesting thing is that not only do your muscles fatigue and bonk, but your brain does, too. It needs constant fuel. So if you run out, then your thinking gets messed up. People actually become depressed and demotivated. Not only do they feel like quitting because they are tired, but their brain actually become depressed and they lose motivation to continue.

Interesting stuff. I'm in the process of training for a marathon, so I've been reading up on this. Lots of runners will take special food with them during the race to avoid bonking. They use gatorade instead of water - as gatorade has sugar and calories. Doesnt take much to prevent it, but it can make all the difference.