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Hot Young Chicks

A few months ago, my mother decided that she didn't want to go to the supermarket for eggs anymore, so she ordered 15 chickens online. They were shipped to her from Ohio via the US post office.

Yes, chicken mail is a thing that exists. They come in a nice box and everything.

chicken box


When they're young, they have to be kept under a bright light most of the day so that their fragile chicken bodies don't freeze without heat from a mother hen.

chicken lamp


They can come out and play for short periods, though

It's so tiny!

chicken freedom

chicken roming

When they were old enough and could survive outside without assistance, they were let out into the backyard, where they'll hopefully eat all the ticks, and enjoy sleeping in their new hen house.

The dogs were excited by this.

two dogs

The frogs were less excited.

A frog. Ribbit!

EA Doesn't Want Me As A Customer

This article is everything that's wrong with Electronic Arts. They own a large and diverse group of gaming franchises, but instead of letting each of their games attract the certain kind of audience that the game was designed to appeal to, they want to distort every game they produce until it fits into EA's view of what all video games should be.

This is the company that announced a new Command & Conquer game that would include no single player component whatsoever and was shocked when fans demanded the inclusion of a mode that has been the cornerstone of every previous entry in the series. This is a company that forced microtransactions into Dead Space 3 and didn't understand why the sales of that game didn't meet their lofty expectations. They just don't get it, and every interview I read with an EA exec lately convinces me that they never will.

When a multiplayer mode that no one asked for is announced for Dragon Age III, not because it makes sense for the game, but because the developer's corporate overlords demanded its inclusion, the Dragon Age series will instantly become less appealing to fans. And EA will not understand why. Because to EA, fans that enjoy the "offline experience" don't exist. I spend thousands of dollars on video games a year, but EA's narrow-minded, cookie cutter approach to game development means that one of the largest game publishers in the world will never again create a game that I would want to buy. When people like Peter Moore tell me that the kinds of games I've enjoyed all my life no longer matter, it feels like a slap in the face. But that's okay. I'm sure I'll find other video games to spend my money on.

How I Fell In and Out of Love With the Xbox 360

I really want to rage about Batman: Arkham Origins being soiled with multiplayer, but what would be the point? It's not going to help sales, it's not going to raise review scores, but they're going to keep tacking on multiplayer to games I'm interested in anyway. Me complaining about this for the hundredth time is just pissing in the wind. So I'm going to blog about something else.

Some people have told me that's it's surprising that I seem so interested in the PS4, when my gaming for this generation has mainly been on the Xbox 360. It's logical that I should want to move my profile with all that history over to my next gen console, right? Well, that would certainly be nice, but unfortunately for me Microsoft's consoles just don't have the appeal they used to.

The Xbox 360 was the first console from this generation that I bought and for years afterward it was, in my view, clearly the best console out of the 3. I very quickly got used to the 360 dashboard and was surprised when checking for new downloadable releases and comparing my games with those on my friends list became a daily ritual for me. I found the PS3 dashboard clunky and hard to navigate, and the Wii dashboard didn't have much of interest aside from the ability to download some cool classic games. And even there, the 360 had a more interesting selection than its competition. All the downloadable games that everyone was talking about, like Braid or Super Meat Boy, were either on the 360 exclusively or before the other systems.

Retail releases also favored the 360 early on. I really enjoyed their exclusive series like Halo and Gears of War, and reviews for multiplatorm games always seemed to mention how much buggier the game was on PS3. Sony had some sold exclusives, but they only seemed to come out 2 or 3 times a year. The Wii had sold games, but big budget, narrative heavy games on the 360 just drew me in more.

Then there was the achievement system. From the moment my first achievement popped I was addicted. There's something about watching my gamerscore go up that taps into my old school sensibilities. Points don't really matter in games anymore. But gamerscore helped feed that need for a "high score" that never really left me. And even better, all my friends could see my accomplishments, no matter where they were. Achievements gave me a reason to get more out of my games. I explore levels more thoroughly and use gameplay mechanics I might have otherwise ignored just to get those achievements. Games that I might have blown through on a weekend are now given the time needed for me to appreciate all they have to offer. In previous generations, I didn't much care what system a game was for, but in this gen, being on the Xbox 360 actually made a game more interesting to me.

All this has slowly started to change over the last couple of years. Each new dashboard update for the 360 seems to push video game further into the background so that more room can be taken up by TV and music services that I don't care about, or even worse, more advertisements on a service that I'm already paying a fee for. The addition of DLC achievements has hurt my enjoyment of achievements in general. It's all too common for me to finish a game after collecting 90% of the gamerscore, only to find months later that my completion percentage is down to 40% because they added achievements for a bunch of DLC that I had no interest in buying. More and more of the great indie devs that had given the 360 so many fantastic games have started to complain about how terrible Microsoft was to work with, and while the release of quality XBLA games has became less frequent, the Playstation Network has started to get some really clever and unique games like Journey.

All these problems only look to get worse with Microsoft's next console. MS has made no secret of their focus on TV and sports for the Xbone. I can't imagine what the new dashboard will look like, or how much crap that I don't care about they'll force me to wade through in order to get to the video game content. In yet another misguided attempt to keep gamers from trading in their games, the Xbone will allow devs to add on achievements to their games on top of what they already have weeks after the game has been released. So if I buy a game on release day and finish it a week later I'm going to to replay the whole game months later to get all the new achievements. No thanks. The PS4 has some great indie titles already announced, while Microsoft has seemed to just stop caring about indies. And Sony has seemed to learn from their mistakes with the PS3, making to PS4 easier to develop for, so hopefully multiplatform games should be equal on both systems.

So that's why I'm now so anti-Xbone and pro-PS4. A few years ago I would have thought it'd be a no-brainer to buy the next MS console, but Microsoft has bungled so much recently the 360 might be the only MS console I ever own. For the next generation I want a device focused on video games. That's not something MS seems prepared to give me.

My Xbox Live Gold membership expires in the summer of 2014. I likely won't be renewing it. If any of you want to play Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara with me, your time is running out! ;)

Thoughts On the Next Generation

I have spent more time playing video games during the past seven years than I have during any other console generation, and I've lived through them all. The industry's increased focus on story telling has gotten me interested in more kinds of games than in the past, and achievements have kept me playing those games for longer. I've played video games since I was a kid, but this was the generation that video games became my primary source of entertainment. With that in mind, it would make sense that I'd be enthusiastic about the future of gaming, but the more I'm seeing from this next generation, the more I'm thinking that gaming won't be as big a part of my life over the next few years as it has been during the past few.

The Wii U has been out for almost a year and there isn't a single game currently available for the system that interests me. It may be the very first Nintendo console I never own. It was great to see the Xbone back away from its DRM policies recently, but they're still forcing me to pay for a Kinect device that I have no interest in owning and filling their dashboard with non-gaming services that I will never care about. The PS4 is by far the most appealing to me of the three, but even though there are plenty of smaller, downloadable titles on the way that I'm interested in, it's AAA titles that sell systems, and the ones I've see so far do nothing for me.

I was very interested to see what Bungie and Respawn had in the works, but was disappointed when both announced multiplayer centered, MMO-style games. Ubisoft's new IP Watch Dogs looked promising at first, but now I'm hearing about how it's going to "blur the line" between multiplayer and single player by letting people come into your game. No thanks. Assassin's Creed IV might be good, but do we really need a sixth AC game in seven years? The only games that seems like they're trying to appeal to me are indies, and if that's the case I might as well just game on my PC.

Can any of you give me reason to be interested in the next generation? Because I'm having trouble coming up with one on my own.

This might be a blessing a disguise. A couple of years with no new titles to buy would certainly help me put a dent in my backlog.



This, of course, does not include downloadable games.

I'm thinking of starting Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood next. I enjoyed the first two games, so I feel like I'm invested enough to experience how Ubisoft ruined the series forever by introducing multiplayer in the next installment. Unless you guys have better suggestion?

New Swag!

When Synthia was nice enough to offer some random swag, I didn't hesitate to take her up on it. I didn't know exactly what I would be sent, but who can turn down free stuff, right?

Imagine my surprise when I got this... thing.... in the mail.


Shell on chair


Was it something from Super Mario Bros? If it was, I didn't recognize it. Checking the side of the shell gave me the answer.




I've never played League of Legends, so I'll likely never know what that thing actually is supposed to be. But that really didn't matter after I discovered it wasn't just a toy... it was a hat!


It's a hat!


Needless to say, this is now my favorite article of clothing. Thanks Synthia!

RIP Ryan Davis

It was announced today that former Gamespot editor and Giant Bomb co-founder Ryan Davis passed away last week. He was 34, my age. This is the kind of thing that makes me think long and hard about what I've done with my life.

I've been coming to this site long enough to remember when Gamespot first started to produced video content. In the years since I must have spent hundreds of hours listening to Davis discuss video games. I can't recall a single instance where he didn't seem thrilled to be doing what he was doing. He always seemed to be smiling or telling some joke no matter what was being discussed. With so much of the gaming press focusing on the business side of things these days, Davis was always there to remind us that games are supposed to be fun.

He'll be missed.

Thoughts On the Xbox Reveal

They're calling it the Xbox One. So does that mean it's supposed to be some sort of prequel to the original Xbox?

I'll be forced to buy a Kinect that I have no interest in using if I want the new Xbox. Great.

Am I seriously supposed to be excited about the ability to watch TV on my TV?

For the small portion of the show devoted to video games, they announced that we'll be able to play Forza and Call of Duty on the Xbox One. Whoopty freaking doo.

If that's the best Microsoft can do to get me interested in their next console, I'll be playing all my next gen games on a PS4.

How To Be a Good Tourist

In honor of Wavey_Gravey visiting New York this week, I've decided to share some tips for anyone thinking of taking a vacation here. Enjoy!

- While exploring the city, you may encounter someone offering free hugs. The offer may sound tempting, but be aware that the person giving you the hug will in fact demand payment afterward. Also, after getting your hug, it's probably a good idea to take a very thorough shower when you return to your hotel.

- There are plenty of landmarks in New York that you'll want to take pictures of. Remember to spend as much time as possible taking your picture. That way, all the people waiting for the flash to go off on your camera will lose patience and walk in front of you just as you take your photo. Its a great way to get lots of picture of people's heads!

- The Empire State Building is a popular tourist destination. When traveling to the Empire State Building, be sure and get right in front of it before asking a random passer by where the Empire State Building is. Seeing a New Yorker sigh and point upward is a priceless tourist experience.

- If you get a phone call while walking through New York, don't bother moving off to the corner of some building before taking your call. Instead, stop and take your call right in the middle of the sidewalk. This will help keep all the people walking behind you on their toes. It will also give people a nice obstacle to maneuver around, livening up their journey.

- Manhattan is a big place, and it can be hard to know your way around. If you're on 32nd street and want to know where 35th street is, feel free to ask a random passer by for assistance. Be sure and act astonished when told it's 3 blocks away.

- Even if English isn't your first language, you may find yourself talking to some New Yorkers you've just met in English. If you're with some friends from your native country, feel free to stop speaking English in the middle of this conversation and talk to your friends in your native language, as if the New Yorkers you were just speaking with aren't there any more. We find that endearing.

- There are plenty of great stores in New York, so why not buy a video game while youre here? The people behind you in line will enjoy listening to the clerk ask you if you're going to take this game out of the country, and then explain what region locking is.

- The subway is a great way to get around New York, but don't be in a hurry to get to the subway platform. Instead, stop for no apparent reason right in front of the steps to the platform. Watching people try and squeeze through the narrow passageway you've created in order to avoid being late for work is an experience every tourist should enjoy.

- While riding the subway, be sure and blast any music you may like at full volume, so the whole car can hear it. After all, keeping that music to yourself would be rude.

I hope this helps any potential NYC tourists out there

You Know What I Hate? People

I'm walking out of a Gamestop when a young guy several yards away sees me, points to the bag I'm holding, and shouts "Alright!". My years of dealing with the crazy people of New York city have taught me not to antagonize total strangers, so I flash him a false smile and quicken my pace to the parking lot.

That's when the guy changes course and starts walking toward me. I would not be escaping that easily.

"What did you buy?" my new friend asks, as he gets closer.

I suppress a groan. "Bioshock"

This information excites the guy. "Bioshock 2?" he asks, a big grin on his face.

"Yeah", I cautiously reply

"Can I play with you?"


"Why not?" The guy was obviously hurt by my response. I decide to choose my next words carefully.

"Because it doesn't have a multiplayer mode"

"Can I see it?"

Unsure where this request was leading, I took my copy of Bioshock Infinite out of the bag and held it up so that he could see the cover. This disappointed my new friend.

"Oh. That's the new one. I thought you had Bioshock 2"

I keep forgetting that game exists. I never bought it, ironically because of its multiplayer mode.

"Sorry, I don't have that one"

"Oh, okay". The guy hangs his head and starts walking toward the Gamestop. I take that as my cue to get the hell out of there.

I'm closing in on my car when the guy calls out to me.

"Hey! Do you play Resident Evil?!"

"Nope! Sorry"

The guy turned back toward Gamestop. I practically dove into my car.

Now that I was safe, I couldn't help but pity this mystery guy. Here was someone who obviously likes to play video games, but just couldn't fathom enjoying a game without playing with another person. He was so desperate to find a companion to enjoy his gaming with, he was willing to approach a random stranger he met in a parking lot, just on the hope that this person would be willing to play with him. This was the kind of gamer the industry's recent focus on multiplayer in everything has produced.

Before starting my car, I shed a single tear for the future of gaming.