Black Dragoon in the Battlefield

I have been in many wars and seen much destruction in my days… Not like these past few months. To go from zealous warrior to a dragoon cast out from his unit for the battalion commander using questionable logic in a battle… It’s taken a toll and made me a jaded soldier on the academic war front. The fight no longer is about meaningless mortal concepts like “family honor”, “respect”, and “face”; it becomes a fight on the matter of personal dignity. The warmness of the soul dies… A casualty of war from fools who heedlessly had no perception of how morale can either produce quality units or make them useless. Break a soldier and he will mutiny the battalion or kill himself, even more if you keep trying to say the unit is only going to repeat his failures of the past. Encourage a unit and let them do battle and you may see the unit grow even stronger. Sadly my “commanding officers” don’t see it this way and only know “motivation” by breaking a person to a mindless slave that is useless when the master leaves or dies.

Sadly I have seen the “quality” unit churned out by the school of de-motivation and slavery. They have no sense of real world logic, rosy-sunglasses syndrome. On top of that they can’t handle the “devastation” of failure and own up to their mistakes! They HAVE to blame others who they feel are intellectually inferior to themselves! When a soldier cannot own up to accidentally killing a comrade, leading the enemy back to the command center, or ruining their own supply pack… They have to learn to go “I messed up but I can put myself to resolve things” instead of being a yellow bellied coward! This logic is essential to learning and evolving past old glories that have given false security to us slacking off. It is much like the mantra of war: “Evolve or DIE“. If you refuse to evolve, take chances, and get hurt… You will ultimately be killing yourself. If you fail, you can just pick up from the ramparts and retry again. If you succeed, you evolve! From failure and success, evolution is still possible.

I guess you could say that I am sadly exhausted of being the mindless slave unit. I am the drone who tasted freedom. To be told that the only way to become “superior” is to put a yoke on my mind and make it lazy, I desire not to have it. I’d rather fight under a banner of heroes who’ve decided to question logic than blindly obey.

The Best 13 Day Holiday Sale Comes to a Close

As some of you dear friends know… This year, my holiday gift giving theme was “The Gift of Game” because of how important games are in my life as a tool to destress out from my life. The games, of course, would be delivered from the digital Santa Claus of the computer gaming scene: Valve Software’s Steam Store. Some of you got deeply serious games like Borderlands, while some of you a silly game of Zombie Bowl-o-Rama. Though… The thing I wasn’t expecting: to be gifted back. It was really a fun thing as my measly collection of The Half-Life Holiday 2005 box, The Orange Box, Left 4 Dead, and a few random games here and there totaling around 30 games… Some how exploded to a grand total (as of this afternoon) to 85 games. Of course, I also facilitated some of the growth by seeing some of the games being on sale for a wild $1 to cheap ones for $15.

Of all my gaming years, I was a “console gamer” as I never could build out a computer gaming rig that could even take the power of games. For that, I paid the price in console games. With console games, it’s rare to find fire sales where a game could be reduced down to almost 90% off. Which in turn meant my money as a student/working-man never went far for my purchases. A couple games for the tune of $80 may only last me barely a month total… When Steam came back in full force with my life back in late May of 2009, it made me proud that Valve took their online product key storage model and added a very worthy and easy to use gaming store. That was about the time I had bought up The Orange Box for PC to get Portal and Team Fortress 2 for the price of $30 (about $6 a game for the package deal). After buying my first ONLINE purchase via Steam, it was just amazing to see that since the inception in 2003 has grown so well polished. It was like the Apple iTunes model but for gaming and with TONS less restrictions. I know some naysayers will bemoan “God, Steam is a TERRIBLE platform!” but at the same time I am also willing to say I have tried some of the other digital store models and they are sub-par and worse with how much the games are locked up. The big advantage with Steam I had noticed once I became more active with buying on Steam was occasionally, they do hold “Mid-Week” and/or “Weekend” deals where games are just blitzed priced to move fast! Probably one of the best moves are the “Free Play” weekends where Steam will pick a game and just declare “Play this all weekend from Friday 11am – Sunday 1pm” (times are in CST) as well as discount the game should you like the free full-version trial.

Then came my first holiday sale on Steam… They started the day before Thanksgiving (US) with a sale that lasted until 11am Black Friday. Then had a sale Black Friday, Saturday, and ended Sunday. During that 5 day sales blitz, some of the games had insane pricing… I managed to snag a few games for an early Christmas delivery for friends of mine, but I lamented that I missed out… Little did I know what Valve was going to drop on us around December 22th. Around 5pm that day (12/22/09), Valve did something I didn’t think was possible, they announced the Steam Holiday sale that would be going on until January 3rd. Thirteen days worth of 24 hour sales and with some standing offers that were good until the end of the sale. Publishers like 2K games, Square-Enix Europe/Former Eidos Interactive, Atari, EA Games, Valve themselves were major players. To also level out the market, indie games (independently made/published games) also got some time to shine from their wonderful values. Sure there were some days I missed out, but… The final round yesterday was great. It was the “encore” sale, 7 of the best 24-hour sales deals would return for one last purchase. However, it makes me sad just knowing I won’t see another big PC gaming sale for a good while.

Thanks Valve for making this a great holiday season for me and my friends. We may have had bleak Christmas holidays, bickered with family, or were just trying to escape for a pleasurable New Years Eve celebration… but your sales for the last 13 days gave some of us something to look forward to when we woke up or got off of work.

(Factoid: As of this moment, per the Steam Calculator with Robin Walker of Valve Software who buys every game on Steam… there are 808 games in the catalog.)

Happy 2010 Dear Readers!

I’d personally like to wish you all a Happy New Year’s Day and pray you all spend it with the one’s you love. I know I had quite the bit of fun at a New Year’s Eve LAN party, especially when my host decided they wanted a new monitor but they were a bit drunk to even consider driving. I linked up my machine with my host’s TV at a fun 1360×768 resolution while they were ecstatic over a huge upgrade from a 1028×768 CRT monitor to a 1600×900 20″ flat screen LCD.

The highlight of my night would have to be the fact that I had almost the entire team of my “gaming guild” (The Creed of the Deadly Artichoke) as well as the founder of Clan Avalanche chatting together in Steam as we were waiting for the New Year to come by. The socializing and interaction of everyone just either gaming, drinking and clinking ethereal beer bottles/champagne glasses together, and plain having fun.

I welcome 2010 with open arms and have faith it will bring good things to me, my friends, and the world.

I plan to have more guest editors and staff editors pushing quality work and hopefully… a new era of this blog.