Thoughts of the Cube
When diplomacy and politics go wrong....
I tok this screenshot a few days ago in Halo 3, and so far, I think its my best. It isn't peerfect, so I give it an 8/10 myself. Thank you Bungie for the film feature! I had to resize it a bit so it may look a bit funny.
Is anyone out there good at that sort of thing? I hate having the simple black banner on top. Even if its something simple, as long as its better than that I would greatly appreciate any help....
Also, I tried to think of the most random, off topic image possible to be my blog header.... and that is.... the political cartoon of Preston Brooks' caning of Charles Sumner on the Senate floor in 1856! A sad event, yet so fitting in the world around us.
EDIT: Dannyodwyer made me one, credit goes to him.
I get back to find this.... Did I really report THAT many people? Wow, what a tatle-tale I am..... Nine in a ten minute span.... "Thank you for notifying our moderators"....
EDIT: A tenth came in while making this post..... WTF?
Today I pre-ordered Halo 3. I don't often do this, but after playing the Beta which impressed me, and knowing the time Bungie has put into this game, I took that chance. Now don't disappoint me Bungie!
September 25 cannot come any sooner....
I ask all of you out there to never forget what happened six years ago today. Brave and innocent men and women died for no reason numbering in the thousands. With each passing year, it seems the event is forgotten a bit more. It receives less media coverage in lieu of Brittaney Spears' poor performance, or other trivial matters. This saddens me. I was but a child when the towers came crashing down, and did not fully understand what was going on at the time. But with age comes the loss of such innocence.
This event was an impetus for American National unity, a unity that has all but dissolved today, with liberals and conservatives tearing each other's throats out over a war on the other side of the globe. When I saw Ground Zero in the January after the attack, it was a powerful image, one I will never forget. Wherever you live on this Earth, whether you are from the US, England, Russia, or China, remember the people, even if you dislike the country. Never forget the sacrifice made on this day by those brave souls six years ago today, on 9/11/01.
Can somebody tell me the point of the perpetual war that is that black hole of a forum? Although some may consider it fun, I simply cannot see how. Every thread is either "Halo 3 will flop" or "The Xbox 360 roolz!" I have yet to find a logical argument in support of anything on that forum! The place seems to attract every biased user on this site. I have tried to join the discussion, but most threads are debates between two or three equally as closed-minded users. Sometimes, there is one person that will put a half-way intelligent argument forth, but they are attacked, and cannot hope to put forth an effective counter. Too many people there are set in their ignorant ways; they will not listen. I apologize if you, a regular of that forum, are reading this and feel in some way offended by my words. But even you can agree that the place is out of control. If it wasn't for good ol' CaseyWegner keeping the place half-way orderly, I cannot imagine how crazy that place would be.
Debating over systems is, in its own light, irrelevant. Each console has its own strengths and weaknesses. While people there perpetuate the continuous droll of refutes, rebuffs, and whatnot, Legislators pass laws behind the scenes that few seem to notice. People, especially the System Wars addicts need to wake up. There are things in the gaming world bigger than insulting the nearest "Lemming" that comes your way.
Perhaps I am being unfair. If so, do not hesitate to tell me. I am simply venting a bit of frustration here, and my argument may not be well-proven or supported. And please, do not simply tell me "not to use the forum". That will solve nothing.
Thus ends my poorly-written rant. Discuss if you feel so inclined to.
User editorials seem to be growing more and more common on Gamespot, caused partially by the soapbox and perhaps fastesttruck's Emblem Union. Also, people want to get their opinions out there in the open about gaming and its world, and thus write editorials. The main goal, of any editorial is of course to be well-written and well-received. But for a Gamespot user, there is always a sneaking desire to be featured in the Soapbox. Now I have been featured in it and read many other user's editorials, and can see why they are featured. On the other hand, reading of other people's blogs reveals to me why they are not. This post is all the unsaid criticisms I have been bottling up, and is meant to help, not to criticize. Please, don't take it the wrong way. There are better writers than me out there on the soapbox. I will make an example of nobody in a negative way. In a few cases, I may refer to my editorial, not because I am conceited, but because I feel it is a good example.
This is also posted in the Editorial Union, of which I am an officer.
1. Remember what an Editorial is. - An editorial is an opinion, an opinion about a topic or idea. On this website, it happens to be gaming. Webster's states the definition of an editorial this way: "An article giving the views of the editors or publishers". This is very important. I have seen many editorials that lack this simple aspect, the heart of an editorial. Some are simple declaration of fact. Others are merely fanboyism, which yes contains an opinion, but with such bias, the editorial is difficult to recommend, which leads to my next point.
2. Bias- We all have bias. That is one simple fact that holds true no matter who you are. I, myself, am slightly biased towards Microsoft, and against Sony and Nintendo. I am no fanboy, or "Lemming", but I am biased to a small extent. When writing an editorial, try to be fair. Don't criticize Sony then glorify Microsoft. Microsoft has its problems, and Sony has its. Politics can factor into this as well. Although an editorial is an opinion, try to keep it fair. Obvious bias will only cause arguments and invalidation of the points you are attempting to make.
3. Length- Editorials are not meant to be pages and pages long. Some of you out there write editorials that are so long that people can be turned off (me included). My editorial took up about one and a half pages on Microsoft Word, and definitely got the point across. If you are going to write a very, very long editorial, try to break it into multiple parts. Release it over a few days. Or, simply, make your point without dragging on so long about every little possible detail, only boring those that read the article. Editorials are meant to be medium-length, say fewer than two (On Microsoft Word). Well, perhaps a three page max, but only if you are a captivating writer. Otherwise, is just goes on and on, and readers can be turned-off. If you want to go longer, it is less of an editorial, and more of a "writing" piece. Basically, keep it succinct, but powerful. Difficult indeed, but it is a good skill to practice.
4. Justification- Nothing is worse (well, maybe one thing) than an editorial that makes unverified claims. Some of you out there even make good points, but without some sort of justification of the "trend" you are discussing, or without a game to fit your description, your editorial loses power. Here is a good example of providing verification for your point. In dannyodwyer's recent editorial, he discusses the problems facing deaf and colorblind gamers, and what the industry is doing, or should do about it. To quote an excerpt: (If you have a problem with this Danny, I'll remove it).
"Some games do it better than others. STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl, has incredibly fast subtitles that are almost impossible to read If in combat. Mass Effect's conversation system is cleverly managed by small selections of sentences, but this renders deaf gamers at a huge loss. It's not exactly easy to check If a game is approachable for a deaf person either. The majority of DVD's have details about subtitles on the back of the box, but no such standard exists for games."
Here, he offers an example of two games people have played or are curious about, and mentions how DVDs offer support for the deaf, but games lack that feature. His point is strengthened by this little piece. In my editorial, I use the number of Editor's Choice Awards handed out over the years to strengthen my point of the declining game industry. Without some sort of verification of my point, my argument has no strength. Don't say "I think EA is going down the toilet" without some justificaton. Otherwise it is an unverified claim people will ignore. Simply put: please, justify your point with more than just empty claims.
5. Only Write an Editorial on Something You Care About- I hate to see impassionate editorials. There is no point writing about something you don't care about, that's what school is for . Only write an editorial on something you have strong feelings for. Otherwise, the writing is simply not as effective.
6. For God's Sake, Please Proofread Your Writing- This is the most annoying part of a bad editorial. Countless spelling and grammar errors STRONGLY detract from the message. I know some people write better than others, but please use spell check at least. It isn't foolproof, but it'll catch most of the stuff that's wrong. Grammar is something that is harder. Read your writing out loud, and make sure the sentences sound like you would say them. I have seen so many "It seem that people agreeing with my topic" or something similar that it makes me want to puke. For younger users, this is will be difficult for you. But if you are a college graduate there really is no excuse, even if you were a math major. This is coming from a sixteen-year-old, so please wake up . I do not claim to have perfect grammar, but my sentences are mostly free of little things like that above. Reading your writing out loud, or letting another person read it will help. But please, try your best to write in a correct way, it makes you look more intelligent, even if you are notJ. Also, on Gamespot you can edit your entries after posting them, if you catch something later on.
7. The Final Point (for now...) - Organization- Write your editorial in a way that makes logical sense. Don't jump around, as people will not know what you are talking about. In your mind, jumping around makes sense because the idea and all that go with the idea is in there. But to others, trying to learn about the topic at hand, well, they will get lost. Put your ideas in a logical order. Again, this can be difficult, but having another person read it can help.
Whether you agree or disagree with what I have said here, as I have said before, in my words lay some truth. I am not perfect and do not claim to be, but the pursuit of it is a task undertaken by all. Everyone, including myself, needs improvement in some respect. I hope you can improve your expression by improving your editorials, and f but one person read this and became a better writer, the effort was well-worth it.
Any feedback is appreciated.
In doing my AP US History Summer work, I have come across a question which seems out of place for the level of the course. Now this is in the map question section of my packet. Now don't forget, this class is supposed to simulate a college level course.
What colony was Jamestown located in?
This WAS part of a larger question, but really, after learning about Jamestown in sixth, seventh, ninth, and tenth grade, along with a long chapter on the Jamestown colony, does this question really need asking?
20Aug 07To the surprise of some, and to the disappointment of others, the Xbox 360 has had another strong game added to its lineup. To those of you who haven't seen yet (though I can't image why), check out the Bioshock review, and how you have to expand the screen to see all the "merits", like how you have to to see all the demerits for Hour of Victory. I've still yet to play the demo to completion, but the game does look like it deserves its score. Check it out!
Oh boy! Well, I don't care much for it.... but hey, it means the real thing is coming up. Also yesterday the Patriot's subs lost to the subs of Tampa Bay.... such a disgrace *sniff*. Naw, but the pre-season can set a tone for the rest of the season, so c'mon Patriots, pick up the pace, even if just a little.
Bonds breaking Hank Aaron's coveted mark of 755 home runs is a sad day for the sport. There is proof that Bonds did cheat, like a growth spurt in his 30s.... hmm.... but whether or not he did cheat, he now holds the record, love him or hate him (more likely).
And on one final note, Tiger Woods is currently winning the PGA Championship, and I support him in the fullest. Barely missing a 62 on the last putt, Woods nearly set a record score for a major, and it is a shame to see that he was unable to sink the putt.
The article titled "A Thought on the Quality of Games and The Reason Bad Games Keep on Comin" is below this, if that is what you were expecting to find.
Seeing as my article has dropped off the main page and that a few days have passed, I feel I should write a short response based on the comments people gave and to clarify a few other things. First of all, I apologize if I wasn't to attentive in the matter of responding to comments and criticisms, but the day after I wrote the article (one that I did not expect to make the soapbox in the first place) I had my wisdom teeth removed and have been on strong pain medication that has made my thoughts less than clear. Therefore, I am making this post the response I never gave.
I noticed that some people did not approve of my using the drop off of Editors Choice awards on Gamespot over the years as the appropriate means to prove my point. I realized that this proof would not be perfect while I was writing the article. I had to find evidence, and that was the only real concrete information that was readily available to support my claim. Unless there is something I have been missing, I know of no source to attain say, average scores, or something that could show people what I meant other than just a suggested trend, which most people seemed to notice anyway. As I said, it was only a "small" measure of proof, the best I could do at two in the morning the day before a small surgery on my mouth. And yes, I did overlook the fact that there are many high-profile releases coming out at the end of this year, so my estimate of 16 Editor's choice awards may have been a tad low, but I still have my doubts regardless.
I am also glad to see that so many people agreed with me and that I was not alone in my observations in a trend of declining quality in the game market. There were confessions and lamentations from some who fell for the very tricks of the new industry I stated in my article, the tricks which caused some people to purchase Hour of Victory or some other low-quality game. I applaud you for your honesty and hope that through either the experience of playing the game or perhaps (though less likely) my article you will become the skeptical gamer that I preached.
I also noticed some people say that my article is targeting the wrong audience, as Gamespot users are more likely to read reviews before purchasing games, and that ignorant parents (as some said) are the real issue. I consider my parents to be better than I am; more experienced and wiser than I will be for many years. But in the context of the gaming industry, along with a majority of parents out there (the minority being the parents who gamed in the past and may still today), they are as ignorant as can be expected based on their lack of experience. My brother asks for them for Star Wars Battlefront II from the local Blockbuster, and they return with Star Wars Republic Commando because the game said "Star Wars" on it. I do not blame them for this, as my parents grew up before the gaming industry really even started, and honestly do not much care for it. To them, Star Wars means Star Wars, and the differences that seem so obvious to us are mere subtleties to them. I believe StrikerGold puts it the best:
"This is how games like Hour of Victory get sold: A little Tommy, without the means, tells their parents, grandparents, who ever, that they want Call of Duty for the XBox. "Its a WWII game" they say. This sticks in the mind of the non-gamer relative for only a little bit. They go to the store, or online and are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of games. And lets be fair, LOTS of games have derivative names, bizarre names to the American eye like Katamari Damacy, or suffer from sequel-itis. Befuddled, they pick up Hour of Victory, which sounds a lot like Call of Duty by this point. Its a WWII game even! The store clerk, if uncaring or unscrupulous, or just wanting to unload the merch, simply rings it up without saying anything, and a craptacular game is sold. And Midway giggles with evil glee. Just because it sounds similar to all the other, better WWII shooters."
As to what should be done about this, there is no answer. Most parents that I know at least would care little if their purchase helped to fund the release of poor quality movie-based or other less-than-quality titles out in the market. Bad games will continue to be unloaded and sold to whomever will purchase them, which is a long line, and the market will continue to decline. Perhaps, over time, the market will rebound as some have suggested. But for now, we at least in my opinion, are stuck in a downturn that might not go away for a while. Yes, there are many high-profile releases at the end of this year, but bear in mind even companies like Ubisoft can make mistakes. Also, to whoever reads this, I may edit this entry in upcoming days as my mind clears out, as even now I am still mentally foggy because of all the pain medication, but I am taking less and less as the days go on, so this entry may change at least a little. Any questions or comments are welcome, though I expect few. Thank you for reading,
With so many games being released nowadays the average person can assume that some games will be good, while others bad. I, the "average gamer" often look through Gamespot and check out the reviews of the not so good games that are released, and wonder, how WERE these released? One example of this is Spyglass Board Games, an Xbox Live Arcade game that was scored as a 5 on Gamespot. The game was given the demerit for being "stripped", feeling almost unfinished. I tried this game and must agree. The game can be simply stated as one word: mediocre (as the score states). While another could argue that is my opinion that this game is poor, with a broader view, it is easy to find a game on the recently reviewed list that receives a terrible score, like Deal or No Deal on the DS. The question I pose is: how and why are such games released, and why do they keep getting released?
As a small measure of proof, I counted the number of games receiving the Gamespot "Editor's Choice Award" for each year after 2002, the first year of the last PS2, Xbox, and Gamecube generation. The results are telling. The list goes: 2002-41 2004-37 2005-41 2006-21. And now, two-thirds of the way through 2007, there are only 11, setting a pace for about 16. Why the sudden drop off of "A" quality games in 2006? I know that a new bar was set with the next generation of game systems, but that same could be said about 2002. There is a problem here, and it lies in a few places, but mainly lies in us, the consumer, who will willingly buy games such as Hour of Victory.
Why do we purchase bad games? Let's take a look at Hour of Victory. The game trailers promote this game as being powered by the "Unreal 3 Engine" and how you can play as a soldier who has some great destiny, along with various explosions and shooting, but very little actual game play footage. Hell, the trailer makes the game look pretty damn cool. In reality, this game is a candidate for worst game of the year. I have seen my friend play this game. He purchased it solely on the trailers, in which they show you only what they want you to see. There was no "destiny" involved. The game was laughably easy and played almost identically no matter which of the three heroes you play as. Many, many people blindly purchased this game, not knowing the extent of their blunder until it was too late. So why do we buy games like this?
To answer another question, games like that are released because we will buy them. We will blindly throw our hard-earned $60 at the trailer which only shows us what they want the consumer to see. I think it is easy to assume based on the quality of this game that it was done cheaply and cannot have been too terribly expensive to create. If enough people purchase this game, based on blind hope, the game will turn a profit, making the venture worthwhile. This is why the quality of games is declining. As the market expands, there are more consumers. More consumers mean that more people will purchase games, so it is now easier to turn a profit on a game that otherwise would fail a few years ago. When the market was smaller, quality was much more important, as a sub-par game would never make it out of the red. Now, with the larger market, quality has taken a back seat to speed. Speed of production means less expenses, and then the larger market will procure enough copies so that the company profits, thus the decline in game quality.
We as gamers need to draw a line in the sand. We must not surrender our hard earned money based on blind faith that a trailer truly represents a game. We must refuse to buy games like Hour of victory and Spyglass Board Games and force developers to improve what they release out into the market. If gamers, casual and hardcore alike, do not waste time with sub-par games perhaps developers will be forced into producing higher-quality games. Though I am but a lowly teenager, I see the change in the industry and feel that this is a problem. We cannot let the general quality slide any further. If we do, I fear that games will keep getting a little worse, and a little worse, until so much is taken away that the industry will decline and fade out. I plea, be careful with your money, don't trust game videos or trailers, wait to read the reviews, and above all, be a skeptic. The fate of the game industry lies in your hands..... what will you do with it?
Perhaps I am being extreme, but any person can look at the number of 9+/10 rated games I showed above and see a trend. When this new generation hit, in 2006, something was lost. That point cannot be denied. I scroll down through Gamespot's review list ans see more 4-5/10 games than I ever had before. Where would the industry be without companies like Nintendo, Ubisoft, Bethesda, Bungie, and Square Enix, the companies that produced many high-caliber games? EA has taken advantage of their near-monopoly in the (American) football game, as Madden titles don't have the quality they used to, the '06 version on the Xbox 360 didn't even include the ability to challenge a play. So take my argument for what it is. Don't simply think that some teenager is demanding that you can't buy the games that you want to purchase. Whether you agree or disagree with my statement, in my words there lays some truth. I don't know who will read this, but whoever does, have an open mind, and please, be skeptical, and do not throw out blind faith in matters that you can control.