Despite the naysayers of the world… The year 2014 has been a vibrant year in video games. Continue reading Games of the Year Picks for 2014 and My Year of Gaming
So I decided to send out the following as an e-mail to Kotaku’s tip line in hopes of someone taking a look into it… Continue reading Plea for Inquiry: PC versions of Blur and Split/Second NOT optimized
Gaming these days can be a touchy topic with some folks… There are those on the camp of “You game on the right machine (PC) or you get the #%*$ out!” and “Consoles are made to game, so less potential for stress and headaches!” I admit that in my younger days, console was the way to go. Buy the machine, buy software and (if needed) extra peripherals… Bam, finisimo! Sadly, my family feared the very idea of me building my own computer. Fact is, I built my first one when I was 17! All because they feared I was inept as a kid and failed to let me explore the vector! I digress… When I did build my first computer… It was a beauty by 2000’s standards. AMD Athlon XP Thunderbird, 1GB of RAM, and a 32mb DDR RAM ATi Radeon VE. The fun part was I got to see the schism in quality of a game from a PC version versus a console. Continue reading Gaming Agnosticism Looms Nigh
Lately I have been debating over 2 cases to upgrade Byakko to… The Cooler Master HAF 932 or a Cooler Master Sniper Black. Cooling is my primary focus as heat dissipation is a primary focus for me as keeping a hot system cool is definitely important. I know I have a Phenom II x4 945 processor upgrade, a Corsair H50 cooling system, a Corsair HX power source, and a Radeon HD 5770 (XXX Edition from XFX) as pending upgrades. Definitely huge upgrades for sure. So keeping cool and functional is definitely vital… Plus I do want to push my gaming to the limits.
The logic bomb of the weekend is the matter of my sister. I have no clue why she thinks I care or am part of the loop with my family… but this weekend she suddenly tells me an aunt of mine died over the weekend and then vanishes. I mean, she’s basically cast me out because I am some sort of loser with no diploma and degree after my name… Which boggles me… Why would a person shoot me dead as an outcast yet then try to socialize to me about matters of a social system I have no shred of care for? It’d be like convicting a person with being a pedophile but a month later telling them to go to a Chuck-e-Cheese and babysit a party full of children. No offense to people who are logically incompetent, but… FOR GODSAKE DECIDE HOW YOU WANT TO OSTRACIZE SOMEONE PROPERLY! I mean, I don’t think it’s hard. You don’t go “I never want to speak to you again, ever!” and then an hour later go “Hey, what up?” It defeats the purpose.
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.)
So I have been inundated by both studying for school in addition to also giving myself sanity diagnostic checks in the form of computer games… It’s been a bit harrowing as I have some personal matters I am dealing with to boot. However, there has been one obsession that I have been diving into: Borderlands
Need proof? How about this?
The game has over 17,750,000 guns over 12 in-game brands… The unique art style and sarcastic humor is grand. I have loved playing the game with my girlfriend and to top it off… My best female friend passed me my early Christmas present of the DLC “The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned” to boot. I have completed my first play-through for both the main game and “The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned” content with Roland at L42 and clocking almost close to 44 hours so far. I know in time that I do plan to get through the second game. Also I can’t wait to help my friends beat their games by helping them out.
C0nc3pt is polishing the Droid review which should be online soon. So those who are savoring it, please be patient as C0nc3pt has been busy with work and other fail problems he deals with at his day gig. I would like to thank him personally for guest writing the review for the blog! As for me… I am gonna continue relaxing and studying away.
This week was the blockbuster release of Modern Warfare 2 for XBOX 360 and PS3 (Tuesday) then Thursday midnight for PC folks via Steam. The game has no doubt made headlines everywhere… From the number of copies sold to even things like the controversial undercover American agent working for the Russian Ultranationalist terrorist killing innocent American civilians in an airport… However, I will admit, the console release is rather good! It does the console features well, for consoles of course… However the PC folks (like me) got ripped off as did the PC player community…
There are threads like this one from the Call of Duty Boards titled: More IW Thievery (Link) If you don’t want to read or see the screens… Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version: IW runs a map-making competition for e-cred for new maps… Apparently community members threw tons of maps, winner announced and e-cred given… Fast-forward to now, community member Zeroy gets MW2 and finds community maps were added and NO credit given to community developers.
Then you have this amazing breakdown I found on Amazon from a guy named Nathan Risto
Here is a break down of the differences between Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare and Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2. Take notice that almost everything is a downgrade for a higher price.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Avg Ping: 25-40ms
Console Commands: Yes
Custom Maps: Yes
Number of Players: up to 64
Competitive Mods: Yes
Mod Tools: Yes
Ability to Record: Yes
Kick/Ban Hackers Immediately: Yes
Profiles Saved Online: No
Manually Select Server to Join: Yes
Control Bad Language: Yes
0 ping Advantage for Host: No
Lan Play: Yes
Free Demo: Yes
Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2
Networking: Peer 2 Peer (downgrade)
Avg Ping: 100ms+ (downgrade)
Console Commands: No (downgrade)
Lean: No (downgrade)
Custom Maps: No (downgrade)
Number of Players: up to 18 (downgrade)
Competitive Mods: No (downgrade)
Mod Tools: No (downgrade)
Ability to Record: No (downgrade)
Kick/Ban Hackers Immediately: No (downgrade)
Profiles Saved Online: Yes
Manually Select Server to Join: No (downgrade)
Control Bad Language: No (downgrade)
0 ping Advantage for Host: Yes (downgrade)
Lan Play: Yes
Free Demo: No (downgrade)
Price: $60 (downgrade)
For me as a PC player and part time server admin… Running my own server is quite fun! I can make a private practice ground for my “n00b” friends to piss around and learn game mechanics… Then there’s stuff like being able to manually boot/ban griefers that some admins like to have, which is very important on family servers when you have clowns yelling stuff like “You %@#$!#$% noob! #$%#ing come back and fight me like the little gay bitch you are!!!” and not understanding some parents do not want their children exposed to coarse language like that on a server. The PC community developer tools are no longer available to users and we basically got a glorified console version port with only the options to play with a keyboard and mouse and resolution tweaks.
I for one am disappointed… I do confess, when I have my “realistic combat” thirst come up Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare hit the spot quick. However, I think the invitation that DICE/EA has offered in the form of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 has enticed me. The prospect of a huge battlefield, epic battles not limited to 9 vs 9, and dedicated servers is enough to have me look at it and probably consider it. The pre-order is plenty enticing to boot: 6 load-out perks and and 3 guns! The PS3 beta is LIVE while the PC beta is due in December… The game won’t be out sadly until March 2nd, 2010, but the footage from the PS3 beta looks really good!
To fill the void… I have Dragon Age Origins and Left 4 Dead 2 for the time being…
I got one in my e-mail when I had signed up before the Curse Gaming offer came up so if anyone would like the Beta key, I’d be happy to pass it along… just leave a comment and I’ll get in touch with you.
If some of you have have come to know me, you know that computer games do play a role in my life. They are my outlet away from my daily grind at my office. I know some friends refer to the old saying of “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” which that’s how I feel when I have been put to the grindstone and whittled away from a sanity point of view. The one joy I do get from gaming like any other human is that victory is like a savored drink of sacred wine from a chalice. It’s gratifying and almost a wild blessing to know you have bested that opponent in a friendly game of Unreal Tournament, helped a few friends down an elite boss in World of WarCraft, or even beating a Hard Mode mission with bonus in Guild Wars.
I had been playing computer games for a good portion of my life on standard fare gear. Your regular keyboards, your regular mice, and etc. It was an ignorant bliss… I didn’t know better cause most of my life was spent recreationally gaming with personal friends. I, Zero, was rather xenophobic of gaming with people from the “intarwebs” and tried not to stray into that vector from a souring experience in Diablo II. A cheater had used a “Town Kill” trainer to kill me in a town and then happened to loot my corpse for all the elite gear that I slaved my hard hours for…
Recently, gamer equipment has been more and more common place in electronic shops… Names like Fata1ity by Creative and Logitech are probably the more “commercial” of the bunch. However… These commercial solutions were just that: “commercial”. They felt rather generic to me and hell… They were a bit overpriced for what they were. On my search back in August for a gaming mouse to replace my gimped wireless one that had bit the dust… CompUSA had made a campaign in-store to advertise that they were “The Computer Store for Hardcore Gamers”. Naturally, I wanted to check their claims out for myself with needing a new mouse. Their mouse section had more than just your blown over commercial gaming mice, they had some great gems from Razer. I had heard only whispers about the reputation of Razer products, so I was more than intrigued to touch and feel mice that would otherwise be offered typically online. The ergonomics of their mice were superb, but with a limited budget… I had to limit my options. I would choose the Razer Death Adder mouse and pair it with an eXact Mat & eXact Rest pair which to my luck were all on sale for cheaper than online!
I would begin a 2 month trial to see if the “hype” that gaming mice are significantly better than your ordinary computer mice. Before I begin about my trial… Let me iterate some the differences of Razer mice versus some of your ordinary tools…
Razer’s mice address the following flaws with gaming peripherals… Response time, ghosting, and versatility. Razer had noticed with most commercial mice on the market… some go into a “sleep mode” when there’s idle activity. This sleep mode can mean the difference of a headshot or even an escape from a nefarious enemy. With wireless mouse, this sleep is somewhat required to save batteries. Razer produces only wired mice that are “always-on” so there’s never a chance of you running to the predicament of missing that epic kill… Ghosting is one issue most common gamers probably don’t think too much about, but it can be a definite buzz kill. Razer makes their mice with “HyperResponse” buttons at a polling rate of 1,000Hz. That’s really amazing as the clicks almost keep up with some of the most frightening saber dances or bullet ballets in some of the games I have played. Versatility is another hallmark of Razer as these gaming mice allow gamers to do change DPI settings or even flip between different gaming profiles. The profile changing is all thanks to Razers “Synapse Memory” chip giving players up to 5 different profiles to play with.
The eXact Mat is an aluminum mat with 2 sides on it… One is called the XControl side and has a rougher fractal texture while the other is called the XSpeed side. The XControl side is more fine tuned to allow precise movements for activities like playing sniper in a game of CounterStrike: Source for example or a weapon of precision. The XSpeed side is more for being able to make quick movements that would save you fate that would have you dead in a Battleground event for WoW. Combined with the eXact Rest, the wrist is in optimal mousing position and fatigue is minimized.
I had to do “scientific” testing to see if there was consistency with the end results… I would load up a game of Combat Arms for “Headshot” testing and I would use World of Warcraft for any Battlegrounds survival related testing. Here are the “control” benchmarks… The games average about 20 minutes a session.
Mouse: Microsoft Wirelss Notebook Laser Mouse 6000 (1000 DPI)
Mousing Surface: Pressboard wood design desk
Average Headshots per Kill: 4 out of 15
Average Survival in Battlegrounds: 9 deaths
I would do another battery of trials instead with the Death Adder but without the use of my eXactmat and eXactrest…
Mouse: Razer Death Adder (1800 DPI)
Mousing Surface: Pressboard wood design desk
Average Headshots per Kill: 6 out of 15
Average Survival in Battlegrounds: 8 deaths
The final set of tests would add in the eXactmat using the speed or control sides to their appropriate games… that would prove a minor improvement on top of the mouse, no surprise there. With the eXact rest, it would put my wrist at ideal height for mouse movements as well as lessen my gaming fatigue with maintaining correct hand posture.
Mouse: Razer Death Adder (1800 DPI)
Mousing Surface: Razer eXactmat Control and Speed with eXact rest
Average Headshots per Kill: 8 out of 15
Average Survival in Battlegrounds: 7 deaths
To go from 4 headshots and 9 deaths to 8 & 7 is a pretty good reduction! Granted that the battlegrounds instances have some partial factors that are due to keyboard response… The headshots should be shining proof that a good gamer can be handicapped by how good their gear is. With how signifigant my improvements were with the Death Adder, it does have me wonder what will happen should I get Razer’s haloed Lachesis mouse with 4,000 DPI…
Thanks to Razer for producing a great mouse as well as having the passion to show gamers that you can be held back by how good your weapons are.