How I Wished Life Was A Video Game (Personal Discussion)

Remember a while back when I talked about Gaming while Adulting?

Hell it was one of the first things I wrote for this blog, not the first thing I’ve ever written but I digress. I talked about how I coped with the responsibilities of adulthood and playing video games. This time around, I want to hit on the subject opposite of what I talked about, the fantasy of what life would be like if video games were reality.

I’ve covered this a couple times, dialogue trees, instructions manuals, etc. but this time, due to the reality I’m dealing with and how much easier things would be. I know, fantasy, escapism, but when life gets hard, about as hard as it’s coming down on me, I just like to imagine things would be a bit better if I lived in a video game style world.

Getting the chance to input a cheat code to spawn a new car, get infinite money, gain super powers, any of these things could make the day to day grind so much easier when life keeps kicking you when you are down. Being in a realm where I could charm my way through situations, where save points exist so if I made a bad decision I could jump back to that save and choose to do another action.

I don’t hold regrets in my life, I dislike some of the bad things I have done in the past, I’ve done some pretty horrible things that I would like to take back, but everything that I’ve done has brought me to the man I am. I had only wished the man I was had planned for a future better so I wouldn’t be scrambling to fix thing. I do wish, however, that life was just a bit more forgiving or at least more enjoyable when stress is hitting you from every angle.

I Know Things Wont Change By Wishing

I just like to imagine how things could be, I know I need to change my situation on my own accord and not wait for the universe to hand something out to me. I just have a hard trying to reach a point of being a responsible adult without losing my sanity, my anxiety has a way of exacerbating everything to the Nth degree. Taking some time to wonder what I would do in a situation if I could play like the Sole Survivor from Fallout 4 keeps me sane and places me in a situation where I can assess my own issues from a more comedic position.

I have improved who I was from years ago, I’ve dragged myself up from a position of just all around crap, and became a better man for it. Problem is things pile up, mistakes are made, and life becomes an all around a pain from time to time. Many of you might understand this, hell I would expect many people I know to understand just how difficult life can be.

I’m not saying I have it the worst, I know people who deserve more support than me, but I also know my situation is the one I have to deal with on a daily basis so it’s the one I unfortunately focus on. I don’t think less of my friends and their plight, heck I wished I could do more to help those around me when they need it. I just know at the moment I could hardly keep my head above water.

Which is why I idly think of the world with video game elements. Hell if I could use cheat codes or access super powers, like super speed, I could save money on using my car and wasting gas, just run back and forth. I could also use it to finish all my daily tasks more effectively where the real world limits me to certain constraints. I could only imagine a good time being had if I decided to misuse a power like that, but in general just looking to imagine life just a tad be easier.

To End the Fantasy

I know, this entry hasn’t been the most informative or interesting to most people, I’ve been having some writers block and was looking to break it by writing my experiences lately and just musing of something more interesting in my life. I know it is sad for an adult my age to be wishing like a child for some sort of video game inspired miracle when I could be working to fix things as a whole, but it’s how I cope. I craft stories, ideas, something to ease the pain while trying to deal with the situation. As a writer, I’ve always found myself writing about reality and twisting it to be better because the world around us is sometimes shit.

I can’t lie and say things will be better as easily as snapping my fingers or rolling a 20 sided dice, but I can at least soften the blow. I like knowing that I’m creative enough to imagine a better world while I try to figure out how to make the one we have the same. I just don’t find comfort in tackling a problem while my body falls apart due to stress. Taking the time to craft some fantasy may not be such a bad thing.

Again sorry, this one may end up being a throwaway personal post, but I needed to express my issues, my wishes, break my writers block, and to keep good to my word about keeping posts up here.

To those that read this, thank you. I just hope it didn’t become mind numbing for you in the end.

-ProdigiousJ

Women In The Nerdspace: The Roles They Play

Women In The Nerdspace: The Roles They Play

To Start, I know I’m going to get a lot of flack for this topic and some of the things I say, and frankly I don’t give a damn. You’ve been warned.

Ever since there have been men, women have existed along beside them. From cavemen and cavewomen, Adam and Eve (if your biblical), and even Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man. The trails we’ve walked, they have followed suit or even blazed their own trails ahead of us. They support us when we need it, can be strong, independent beings in comparison to some of the men I’ve met in my life, and yet one question keeps coming to mind when I think of the state of things.

Why The Hell Do Men Mot Give Women The Respect They Deserve?

Seriously though, why is it so hard to give women credit they deserve when it comes to, well, anything they do? In the workplace, they make less annually than we do, they had to be allowed the right to vote where men just got handed it instantly. Women have worked their assess off to get to the same level as men in many situations, professions, rights, and yet many men still can’t do the decent thing and treat them as equals.

My Opinion: I am all for equality, women deserve to be treated better and in many ways they have us beat. Yeah people, men or women, can judge me, put labels on me because I want to say women are better in many ways and deserve to be respected.

Before I go any further with my personal thoughts, let me go ahead and tell you why I’m willing to dip my toes into internet hate comments water, to talk about the women, in video games mostly but I will rant about equality in general at some point.

Last weekend, Sunday, one of my all time favorite shows, Doctor Who, announced the next person to take the title of The Doctor. To a lot of people’s shock (and whiny hate) the 13th Doctor was announced to be a women. Jodie Whittaker, has a handful of acting credits, the most notable would be her role on Broadchurch, where oddly enough former 10th Doctor David Tennant stars in it as well. We only received a couple minute clip, at that, showing her walking and receiving the TARDIS key, but I can only have high hopes.

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The Rest Of The Internet However

So many man tears were shed, so many man squeals echoed in the Nerdspace as there always male hero was now a women. Because, you know, women can’t be as heroic because… you know… their female… and stuff.

Why? WHY?! Why on Earth or even in the vast Universe we have around our planet do men or even some upset women think a woman playing the Doctor means the show is dying? Such little respect for a woman who has devoted her life to acting, someone who was chosen by show runners, and even many of the former cast, keeping in mind that the 5th Doctor was a bit off when he commented against a Female Doctor, they have spoken IN FAVOR of the change. I can still not wrap my head around why people have such a hard time giving women they deserve, in or out of media.

There was a video that mocked the haters for it, which touched upon the stupidity of Female Ghostbusters and some other jokes about the series. It was so on point, I will embed it below so you all can enjoy in the insanity that is butt hurt fans.

Video Game Women And Their Impact

Since I am in the habit of writing about video games and the beauty and sometimes ignorance I see in them, I figured I tap into the various ladies who have starred in their own series, the success of them, and even the early, demeaning depictions of them as characters.

Since this topic would have me on a tare for at least a couple of hours, I’m going to highlight some of the biggest roles (Top 5) and a handful of demeaning roles/depictions in both the past and the present. If this post gets away from me, it may run longer than Top 5 but hey, icing on the cake for those who find this interesting.

My Top 5 Women Protagonist

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  • 5: The OG female protagonist, to my knowledge, who started the trend of women in gaming, Ms. Pac-Man. Yeah it was just a reskin of Pac-Man, but it was the simple addition of a hair bow, a mole, and lipstick, Ms. showed up on the scene to show “Hey, eating power pellets isn’t just for guys”. Yeah This sounds like a cop out, but being the first women in video games at the time has to count for something. It also shows that stereotypes have been deeply ingrained from the very early days of gaming.

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  • 4: Samus Aran, Bounty Hunter, Part Alien, Part Hero. She was always a silent protagonist, then again nobody knew she was a she. Samus was such a badass, people just thought she was a man because of how awesome she was. When the endings (fair, good, best only) in the original Metroid revealed that the cannon wielding beast was actually a woman, people lost their shit. At the time it was because the developers put her in a skimpy leotard, but over time she became a little less sexualized… ah who am I kidding they still portray her in a skin tight “Zero Suit” but that doesn’t mean she isn’t any less of a positive role model, she goes out, kicks ass, and hunts down Space Pirates.

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  • 3. Fem Shepard is an odd choice I know, because it sounds a bit degrading being called Fem anything, since it means that it isn’t the original, but honestly I can see the two characters as separate beings. While I can’t comment on specific details that the character does, you know being a bad ass in any form and can be the kindest person or the evil warlord type. It’s the voice, Jennifer Hale, who makes this character it’s own person. I don’t associate Male Shep and Fem Shep as just a skin swap, the person portraying the Spectre brings out a whole new perspective. The emotion, the delivery, this brings out this character. As the playthroughs of both male and female are two separate timelines/universes, because I firmly believe Fem Shepard is her own character.

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  • 2. This one is strange to be sure, but just bear with me. You’ll get the pun in just a minute by the way… So, I never am one to keep it just strictly human when it comes to my Top Whatever lists, (keep that in mind for future filler articles). In this case I’m including a chick with attitude, Kazooie from Banjo-Kazooie. Now let the two puns sink in, groan, roll eyes, and get over it. The reason she makes my list is; 1. Not many people know she is a female, and I’m not sure if it was scripted into the games dialogue, at least as far as I know, and doing a search hasn’t turned up too much on how it was revealed just that it was. 2. She is honest, upfront, a bit harsh, and a needed ally to make it through many areas of the game. She is needed, she doesn’t hold back and can hold her own (in most situations). Bird Brain Kazooie gets this spot. And look, one devs didn’t sexualize!

I debated on a few people for this spot because there were plenty of women who fit, but I made my final decision based off one thing: Does her role replicate what happens in real life? It was an easy answer, and you’ll be skeptical at first but hear me out.

  • 1. My number one spot goes to *drum roll*

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Aloy from Horizon: Zero Dawn. Think about this for just one second, especially if you played the game through the first hour or so, you’ll see parallels that show how our society works when it comes to women, to some degree (there are variations of course). Shunned as a baby, her whole life people are told not to talk to her, ignore her, or look down upon her. Not because she was a woman, but because of something story related that I wont reveal. But her whole life she was looked down upon, not thought much of, and even as she grew up and proved herself as a skilled hunter, people still looked down upon her, underestimated her. Most people felt there was no way she could be the person to take down the threat looming ahead, and it isn’t until she worked her ass off and took down some of the biggest robots did people start buying into the idea she was worth making the time of day for. Make sense? See parallels? I at least do and I maybe wrong. But she was portrayed as the underdog and I always love underdog characters. Intelligent, skilled, and the underdog, with some real world parallels, I couldn’t have asked for a more well rounded character. Yes she has her flaws, yes she is too stubborn for her own good, sure she has a temper, but who doesn’t have flaws.

Getting To The (Respawn) Point

The point I was making about this is that women deserve respect, deserve to be treated equally, and these women stood out as video game characters who received that respect. They were given there own game or shared the billing as the Main character not just a supporting character.

While looking up other games that started women as the protagonist I found that stretching back as far as the older PC games, and a big market in japan on the older consoles, all women main characters were super sexualized. Scantly clad, dim, big chests, etc. It’s not surprising, it still happens to this day, in fact the over sexualization of certain women characters made it where I wouldn’t place them on the list. I would have put Jill Valentine as a runner up but she steadily turns from police uniform, a skirt outfit, and then finally a skin tight looking body suit. Her personality has changed over the years too, so slowly kicking her off my top 5.

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I couldn’t have found a better show of Jill’s costume changes. DLC for Revelations 2 (Supposedly)

Before I get the comment about how I feel about scantily clad ladies, I know that is sexy, I’m a guy and to deny it would be just lying to myself. Female characters are designed the way they are because most devs know sex sells and so they embrace it. I’m not blind but I can appreciate beauty, sexy, and all that but I can also know when appreciating the women and what she does, or what she is capable is more important than thinking only of their beauty.

The Whovian Finish

Time to come full circle and wrap this up. The bottom line is, when people, mostly men, degrade women to less they what they are worth, it really, really, pisses me off. I’ve always been one to respect women, some I can joke around with and act like an ass but I never think they are worth any less. Some women don’t live up to the level of respect I hold them to but that’s only because they don’t respect themselves.

To the men out there reading this, if you didn’t gleam anything from this, I understand, I can’t change the world nor your mind, but I can tell you that if you ever disrespect women, I don’t respect you. Period. I know that’s harsh, but I’ve had so many female friends who have been in abusive relationships, both mental and physical, and I can’t stand to watch as the people in their lives treat as less than they are. The toll disrespect takes on a person shows and it’s terrifyingly shocking.

To those upset about the female 13th Doctor, get over it. Watch it or don’t, because in the end the show will go on because the huge following it has will not be diminished by a handful of you left. Plus that just means you really aren’t a fan because one change you hate made you run away, true fandom means standing by your group. Just ask sports fan, the ones who get off and on a team are called bandwagon fans, since they just want to be around when the team plays well. True fans stick around even in the hard times.

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I just made a sports reference and it hurts a little since I have no clue about sports. I’m proud of myself a little.

Final Thoughts:

Respect Women, they are our equals and sometimes they have skills or personalities that are better than ours. To not respect women is to basically just live a life inside a sausage fest, since that’s the only people in which you seem to respect or treat fairly.

Get over women being in a leading role/position. Women have just as much right to be the one who saves the day as any man. It’s going to happen, threatening to leave a franchise because your main character doesn’t have a dong, then maybe you should just find a new hobby.

You disrespect women and I don’t respect you. Sure I’ll have some people who hate me for it but those are the people I might just not care to get along with.

I apologize for the length and maybe the preachiness of it all. I just get ranty and angry when I’m particularly passionate about a specific and like I said at the beginning I could go on for hours about this, but for now I’ll leave you all with this.

Can’t we all just appreciate one another and grow to be a better world. Because you never know when aliens look down and are just like “Wow, no intelligent life here, keep fucking moving.”

-ProdigiousJ

How Pokemon Go Got Me Re Addicted

How Pokemon Go Got Me Re Addicted

The game that flubbed horribly on release has once again sunk its claws into me

While I just platinumed Horizon: Zero Dawn and have a lot to discuss (still considering if I should do a full review or not), I decided to sit down and write my thoughts on the recent changes and the hooks launched from Niantic to drag poor unsuspecting sods back into the walkathon known as Pokemon Go.

Almost a year ago today, the supposed global phenom was released to the world to about as much hype as one game could have when the hype train was set to maximum overdrive. Everybody was going nuts about what this game meant, based off a release trailer and some words from the developer. The fact that the Pokemon Company had put enough faith in a company other than Nintendo was enough to get a lot of people on board. Little did they know that the second they dropped the game, they dropped the damn ball. All the items in the trailer, co-op battles, trading, battling friends/enemies, and distance tracking. All promised, and all missing on release.

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Yeah sure, we got gyms, and some flawed distance tracking which was quickly removed, as was the support from community sites showing pokemon locations were banned, but that’s it. Nothing we were promised was in the initial release, not a fucking thing, which was a major letdown for those expecting great things from Niantic. Granted it became one of the most popular way to get exercise, one of the coolest reasons to get outside and socialize with people from your neighborhood. Old and young players alike began to make the Pokemon phenom just as big as it was in the 90’s, some who had followed from before, while bringing their children and our younger friends into the fold. It managed to get me to go to events in crowded parks just because it involved Pokemon, and I’m one of the most antisocial beings I know.

After a while, the craze died down and you’d see less and less people playing, to the point that many players were the ones who had something to prove (mostly to themselves). It wasn’t too long ago that I quit playing for real and only opened the app to do the 7 day streak for my wife, and just because I felt compelled, my own. I was all but clean of the drug known as Pokemon Go, and then everything changed once the Raid Battles came.

With A Simple Change, Everything Is Different (But Not)

When the Raid Battles were introduced, it changed how the gym system worked and opened a new avenue for catching certain Pokemon at higher levels and getting together with people to take them down. It brought one of the features that were supposed to be set for release, co-op battles making social interaction a higher priority when it comes to tackling some of the bigger raid bosses. As well as changing the Gym setup to make it a little easier on people looking to actually keep a leg up in gym battles, adding a berry mechanic to boosting morale for the pokemon stationed at your Gyms.

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The game made it interesting again, at least made me sit here and start planning stats of my pokemon to make sure I have the strongest of each type. I all but quit messing with CP and appraisal system, and let my evolution stats be what they will, that was until the update dropped just about a week ago. The introduction of Raid Boss Pokemon and the bonuses they offer (Golden Rasp Berries, Rare Candy, etc), has given me some pretty interesting incentives to keep my strongest guys on the field, as always prepping for the rumored Legendary Raids, the Three Legendary Birds or Mewtwo, which they teased in the trailer so long ago.

I’ve only participated in three raids, two solos and one group, and it hasn’t been all that bad. A group of 5 raided against a Rhydon at 4 stars, and we got close to winning when the time cut out. Which was kinda bullshit because we drained it’s health and then the timer, at 3 seconds, kicked us out saying time was up. Rather shitty but it was my first go, so it didn’t matter much. I was hooked after that, the other players telling me stories of ones they soloed and of the high lvl Pokemon they caught. I spent the next day restocking on healing items, I never used them before when I stopped Gym battles, I just needed space for my 600+ Pokeballs and the other assorted balls as well. I also spent that day searching out one and two star raids, only finding one close by, just to test my strongest guys. Turns out I won easily but I couldn’t manage to catch the Quilava with the special pokeballs after winning. This past weekend I ran through another 2 star Raid on a Muk, and managed to thrash it and catch it.

The kicker of the whole update was that nothing else was affected. Gyms received the only update, an aesthetic change (which looks badass) and them hosting the Raid Battles within them. Everything else stayed the same. Maybe the capture rates on some Pokemon changed, but that’s hard for me to really say because I only tried to catch what I didn’t already have registered or I didn’t have the evolve form of. Looking at the game as a whole, you can’t really tell the difference between pre-update to post-update, at least on any truly substantial level, and yet people like me have probably come in droves back to the Pokemon Trainer Simulator.

It’s a bit sad to say I have become a more avid player since the update, but it’d true. Powering up Pokemon, trying to get stronger evolutions, checking appraisal stats, and placing guys back in Gyms, all this has become a regular thing for me again and all because I want park next to some stranger in a parking lot and possibly not talk. But hey, we might catch a Charizard if there is enough of us. For now, I am suckered back in, yet this may give way to another wave of clarity before walking away completely. Or the Legendaries will get announced and I’ll be all to excited.

It really is a toss up at this point.

-ProdigiousJ

My First Experience With D&D: Goblins Screams and Flames

My First Experience With D&D: Goblins Screams and Flames

Tabletop games have never been my strong suit.

I have always wanted to try my hand at Dungeons and Dragons, but as a kid, I was embarrassed what people would think of me. People’s opinions always ruled what I shared with in public, or reached out to others to learn, so I decided asking about learning what was considered “nerdy” was something to keep off my to do list. Little did I know that being nerdy or geeky was awesome and to be celebrated.

Years would pass, and as most people know the habits and insecurities get so embedded in your mind that you can’t truly shake the notion of mockery or scorn by people who you know wouldn’t judge you anyway. It’s safe to say I’ve put off many, many things that culture once didn’t accept that seemed to be especially interesting and just today I started down the probably long path of checking off one of my goals. I started my journey on a D&D campaign.

The Rise of Reedicus Feedicus

Now part of the name is wasn’t exactly my choice, but it was either that or Moun Ton Doo, and besides the lung busting laughter that ensued, I preferred Reedicus Feedicus. Before my best friend and I started working on my stats and background, I pulled up an old video made from character models from the game Summoner acting out a skit written by Rick and Morty’s Dan Harmon. I’ve known about it for years and I’m sure so many other people know it, I just couldn’t help having “I wanna cast magic missile” playing in the background.

Finding out that the father of all rpgs was far different than what I’m used to playing threw me off a bit, I was expecting to play only by the set amount of points to each character and that I would gain more as I leveled up. When told that I was stuck with the amount I have and that I could roll for the stats I would have forever, only skills adding up as you level. So much I knew about tabletop games.

I waited about 15 years to learn about this game, and what certain video game franchises that toted D&D mechanics had taught me differently than what the game appeared to be. Not that I’m saying I was led astray, but that I what I was expecting and what I got were marginally different things. Taking the time to learn these new old rules takes a toll on someone who apparently knows absolutely nothing about rpgs, even if the differences weren’t all that major, but it does put things into question for me.

Was basic point allotment apart of the game before or was it added in later on in favor for those who didn’t like the “fuckin’ deal with what you roll” mentality? Or did video game and future table top games just adapt because those who were ok with it were tired of hearing those who weren’t complain? I can’t say for certain, though I’m sure the more I research, I’ll find out eventually but for now I’m taking things one dice roll at a time.

Tiefling Rouges Have More Fun

I always struggle in games when it lets me choose classes. I feel this urge building up deep inside of me that screams at me. Sometimes a wild cry of “I would love to shoot a motherfucker from a long ways away”, while another screams “Hell, let me charm my way through life while stealing people’s priceless objects.” So many voices cry out to be heard, to be given a chance to live outside the bounds of our laws, and sometimes our morals. I just love the rush of all the possibilities of games like that but I know, in the end, I can’t choose them all. So I whittle down the most interesting of the characters and what skills I would rather utilize, if I could do so myself.

Not always an easy task, but I end up being a Rouge about 90% of the time, as long as I have sleight of hand, a high charisma stat so I can charm the pants off people or talk myself out of any situation, and the use of a bow is always a must. I’ll take the shadowy path anytime, but I have some standards. Either being Chaotic Good or Neutral keeps me in line with my own moral compass to some regard, I mean Reedicus still steals and usually lies to NPCs but he isn’t cold hearted.

This go round, I decided on Tiefling, for those who don’t know, it’s basically a devil. In my case, after rolling for height and weight, I’m 5’4″ and weigh 125, so not all that intimidating looking. Heck, we even found a profile image for it as if Reedicus drew it. The DM in training, the aforementioned friend, and I spent the next 15 minutes or more just working out simple stats, me asking questions because I had no idea what I was doing or what some of the more unfamiliar aspects of character development were. In the end, I liked how things turned out, even the dice rolls were in my favor for the stats.

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One of my favorite race abilities just so happened to make my character act like a total dick if he wanted to. Making sounds come from pinpoint locations, making my voice booming, making unlocked doors and windows fly open or close at a whim, and even flickering candles. I could just be a total ass while staying in the shadows if I wanted to! As well as one of the, I can’t remember the actual word, but I’ll call it a skill, was to be proficient in an horned instrument just so I could use the horn and the booming voice all in one go if I wanted to. Yeah, I will have fun with this when an actual campaign goes down.

The Mock Battle To End All Mock Battles

To end the day, once Reedicus was brought to life, he wanted to run a mock battle between me, 5 NPC characters in which he created before I arrived, including a Warforged golem named Sir Kills Alot, and 7 goblins. Within the course of 20 minutes, I think I lost track of time between all the laughing and commenting on all the events transpiring within the cave. The battle was simple, but as my first run at it started with me moving the dwarf bard into the line of fire as a meat-shield, and even this didn’t end with him being downed till the last moves of the match ending with him and Goblin #1 impaled on each others swords, the bard trying to shout insults to damage him to no avail.

In other words, the battle was a huge success, only having two of my characters downed and having learned some awesome things about each character class that I never thought was possible. I mean insults damaging people? I never knew bards could be so interesting. I’d never be one, but now I have a newfound respect for the song singers, not that it means I wont make them meat-shields in the future, just that I wont take them for granted if I go against them.

All in all, this experience was great, I can’t believe I waited so long to even try to learn the game. Out of fear of being judge or even the fear of not being as knowledgeable about tabletop games as other people and being judged for it, I stopped myself from enjoying something like this that could breed such humor and imagination. It’s weird discovering things so late in life, because it makes me sound like a child but I’ll live with sounding like a child if I get to enjoy this game as much as I did today.

So I guess a lesson for anyone reading this is, don’t let fear stop you from doing something that could be exciting, or just something you are interested in, just do it! You can’t just hold off on what could be a great experience, doing that just leaves you with “what ifs” while everyone else is off having an awesome time doing what you’re afraid to. Keeping an open mind and not letting the stress bother you enough to halt fun, you live a life half lived.

A lesson I learned a little late in life apparently.

-ProdigiousJ

 

 

COD Syndrome: Destiny Series Heading for Disaster?

COD Syndrome: Destiny Series Heading for Disaster?

We all know that one guy who absolutely swears by the Call Of Duty franchise.

You know the one, goes out every year a new game is released and either buys up all the DLC or Season Passes, or pre-orders the next, next game that comes out a year or more later. The games all have the same formula: World is threatened, major war is happening/about to happen, your are either the best in your field or an criminal (or both) and you must save the world. Re-skin every so often with a different setting and you have the makings of the franchise, yet even with this reuse of this formula, this guy absolutely swears by it and will defend the series to his grave.

You just can’t see why he loves the same thing just wrapped in last years Christmas paper.

Now imagine any other game franchise that does the same, could be any type of game that has more than 2 sequels, and you know for a fact that they at least recycled some of the first game into their latest outing. However, none have lasted so long as Call Of Duty has. 14 main titles in the series, not including expansions and mobile versions. Let that sink in… FOURTEEN. Almost the exact same game has been copied and recopied onto discs with somewhat fresher coats of paint each year, and yet people still shell out the $60 to play it. I understand multiplayer is appealing to most of those buying these games, but that seems a little steep of a price to grab a copy each release cycle.

Yet People Still Eat It Up

Yes, it maybe repetitive as all hell and the stereotypical kids on their talking about banging your mom drive you nuts, but many people with money burning a hole in their pockets grab them like a crack addict needing their fix. The bigger issue I’ve been facing lately is that Destiny, a game I’ve had mixed feelings with for a while now, has seemingly contracted the COD Syndrome.

We knew from the start that Destiny was going to be a project with sequels spreading across a few years with tons of expansions. An MMO but on consoles. Understandable that this game would be the same basic systems with just added content. Withe Destiny 2 being revealed and the gameplay reveal not too long after, it showed us that it was a whole new game… filled with the same exact shtick.

Obviously this isn’t a surprise to anyone, but there is an issue popping up for me but first let me give a back story of my love hate relationship with the Bungie title. I started off playing the beta of Destiny when it was free on PS3. I loved the action, the gunplay, hated the voice acting when it was there, overall it was enjoyable. I then picked up a copy of the full game, with the intent on playing it for many, many hours happily. I was met with bugs that broke the game for me, I was also met with a game that had a puzzle piece story that not only gave you the bare minimum, it also made you go online to read the ‘grimoire cards’ only allowing for certain bits handed to you until you earned more of it by killing multiple enemies over and over again.

It became unbearable. I was drowning in the salt I had for this game because I was fucking pissed. The game was just a basic shooter with not attempts at a story on the development side and a heavy focus on multiplayer. At the time I hated, absolutely fucking detested, multiplayer games. I couldn’t stand when a game was delayed because they wanted to add in multiplayer features because many gamers who loved the matchmaking systems needed to be pleased so they would buy it. Needless to say, I did what I never do with games, and I sold it. Didn’t care what I made for it as long as I didn’t have it.

Flash forward to 2017, around Christmas, I was given the vanilla version of the game by my father-in-law as a gift. I let it sit on my shelf because I had other, ‘more interesting’ games to play than what I hated on the PS3. Having it on the PS4 would change nothing for me. I then beat Mass Effect Andromeda and after lumping in 87 hours into a game, I needed a palate cleanser. I broke down and popped Destiny in and waited for the worst. Coming back years later not only changed my thoughts on the game, but made me fall in love with the bastard. I couldn’t stop playing the matchmaking, I didn’t care that the story was non existent (granted I knew that going in). I enjoyed the hell out of my time with it, until being shunted by the need for expansions and DLC. I felt pang of sorrow as I realized my time ended with it, faced with the tough call between buying the DLC or just reserve copy of Destiny 2, both costing the same amount. Deciding I’d wait to get the second game, I started looking up the reveal and looking at the new gameplay.

I say new, but not a whole lot has changed. Which began to make the wheels turn in my brain. MMO’s like WoW and Guild Wars do expansions, Guild Wars has a sequel game, but in all honesty they always follow the same path. New content is an expansion, not a sequel, I mean have you ever heard of World of Warcraft 2? Didn’t think so.

So it bothers me just a little that the next installment is a sequel when it really doesn’t seem to change the game more than an expansion pack would do. I’m sure the storytelling is going to be about the same if the gunplay and attacks didn’t change all that much. Then why would you replace a game with a sequel, then follow it with probably a whole shit-ton of DLC, then once again a Sequel years down the line?

Maybe I Just Don’t Get It

I mean, MMOs were never really my bag, I liked casually playing WoW and the beginner levels of Guild Wars 2 but the repetitiveness of it all dulled my experience. How can I feel safe knowing that this same idea is going to be part of a massive sequel+DLC pattern till Bungie feels like letting the last entry be the best?

Is there something I’m missing when it comes to games like Destiny?

Is there some multiplayer aspect that drives most players into letting this be a trend that we settle for?

Is this the same for Call of Duty fans, do they just enjoy a slightly tweaked graphical improvement for their online murder sprees?

If anyone has insight into this, please enlighten me as I want to love Destiny enough to feel comfortable buying Destiny 2 and seeing the future through with it. I want to understand how other see this trend, and just feel a sense of calm towards buying sequel after sequel.

-ProdigiousJ

Controller Care: Tips from a Controller Referber

Controller Care: Tips from a Controller Referber

I know officially ‘referber’ isn’t an actual title nor is it an official word

Googling such reveals a bunch of baby care tips and then some guy named Bob Ferber, so for now this is my make shift title and you can all follow along with me.

Useless information aside, my day job consists of refurbishing video game controllers and get them back to gaming ready for the stores. The criteria is sometimes a bit too strict, where other days it’s so lenient that I’m surprised I don’t get any back because specific problem was basically just covered by a band aid. Through my day to day opening and repairing controllers (at the moment, specifically Xbox One), I’ve noticed something about some of you guys out there.

You’re Fucking Nasty (and so is your controller)

Yeah, swearing is a great way to begin this, and I’ll tell you why. Every time my fellow ‘referbers’ open a controller and win the nasty lottery, a single thought crosses our minds. “The fuck did they do with this thing?!” My absolute favorite catchphrase has become “I’m sick of having to clean these nasty ass controllers…” Day in and day out, we come to terms that people, gamers specifically, have nasty habits and or don’t do basic cleaning, which in the end, makes the controllers disgusting inside and out.

Not to say that some of the nastiness is accidental, or just plain negligence against the peripheral, because I’m sure the coke spills are accidental (and if not, you should be punished for your heinous crime) and that staining from what I can only assume is hairspray or cologne/perfume you carelessly sprayed within range of the controller. But some of these entries just seem to nasty to be an accident. I can’t imagine people accidentally painting or texturing any portion of their room or over on their hobby table without making sure everything important is covered. You the essentials, the floor, the furniture, the expensive electronics. However this seems to happen a whole hell of a lot, so much so that I can’t really excuse it.

Ways to Not be Fucking Nasty

The beauty about what I do, which sometimes is hard to see anything beautiful after scrapping away what I assume is dead skin cells or congealed grease, is that I can without a doubt inform others around me and those of you who read this on how maybe, just maybe, you could keep your controllers clean.

clean

The majority of what we see on a given day is just what I mentioned above: Dead Skin cells or grease. Not sure what it really could be, the lab hasn’t finished analyzing it yet since every attempt at extracting a sample fails when on tech gets eaten. The problem is, it’s somewhat obvious when you know where to look and it hurts so much that not a single person cares when they do see it or they just don’t give a fuck since they’re selling it off. The cracks of the controller, the seams that separate the top half of the shell and the bottom, as well as the side panels on the Xbone controllers that hide the screws, all get caked with this alien gunk. It’s clear as day when you just gaze into the seam, in fact I just checked my main PS4 controller and I spotted a tiny bit from lack of proper cleaning.

See I’m just as guilty as some of you guys. The only difference is, the ones we get look like you used it as a scratching post for you palms. It could be years worth of dead skin just left unchecked. It could very well be food crumbs. Heck it could be any known and unknown substance you may ingest or eject in the comfort of your own home. I don’t judge you…. at least until I have to clean your nasty ass controller, then I judge you hardcore.

The Solution:

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Dental Picks. Plain and simple. I saw a set online for just about $4 give or take what shipping you do. That easy, gently run the pick in the seam pretending it’s a X-Wing running the trench on the Deathstar. Nothing more complicated than that.

Oh… Also start washing you hands before gaming, maybe don’t snack on crumby or greasy ass foods when playing. Now I KNOW that’s too much to ask of some people, but it’s the least I could ask of some of you. You never know just how nasty this crap is to clean until you have to repeat it every. single. day. Just be considerate to those others who might have to use your controllers, if you are the sort that likes to upgrade during sales or just for a new color.

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The reason I plead for this is because that tiny bit of gunk can eventually get inside, clump up under buttons, mess with the chips that are set on the motherboard and daughter-board. It gets SUPER gross, it sticks to the plastic like it’s a long lost relative and never comes off without having to scrub every bit with alcohol and degreaser.  And if you can afford a $59.99 game or 10-20 bucks on DLC, then you can spare $4+ to just keep it routinely cleaned. As well as just giving a quick and lite swab of rubbing alcohol. Just saying.

 As for the Rest of YOUR Problems

To be fair, as I admitted above, my controllers aren’t in the sparkling, pristine condition I wished I had to deal with daily. I know shit happens and they get dirty but there are easy ways to avoid replacing a controller because of the messes you make on it stop it from working properly, and prevent ‘referbers’ like me from needing a sanitize bath after a days work.

Listed below are ways you can keep your controller from being a nasty ass controller:

  • DO NOT drink sodas, water, beer, or any liquids near the controller because chances are you WILL knock it over trying to set the controller down, and it WILL spill all over you, your desk, and your controller. Sure you can change clothes and wipe the desk down, but this makes the controller buttons sticky and eventually unresponsive. You also create water damage and the motherboards just end up getting trashed.
  • QUIT Petting your animals with the controllers! I get this sounds ridiculous, but if you saw the amount of foreign animal fur clumped and sticking inside the controllers, you’d assume someone likes to call their dog a “Good Boy” by giving him an Xbox rub down. Maybe store the electronics in a room the animal can’t be in or have a case which stays closed. It’s inevitable that your pet orangutan will want to play Team Deathmatch with his buddy in the Zoo but you can keep it minimized.
  • TREAT your controller as if it was your phone. Would you leave your phone out while the painters sprayed your room that hot pink you always wanted as a kid but could only afford in your 30’s? I wouldn’t, also I hate pink but that’s just about preference. If something is going to be sprayed, slathered, or lightly brushed upon your walls or yourself, please keep in mind you will damage a $50 piece of equipment. You really don’t have the cash to just go trade it in and hope they also have a hot pink controller.
  • STOP mashing the buttons. If they aren’t responding well, first think if you made any of the mistakes above, then realize that it is a hardware problem. The circuit could be damaged, a piece could have broken loose that needs to be re-soldered or the plastic of the bumpers snapped because you already hammer down on them because you have rage during an online match or a gut reaction to seeing another player you need to take down. Mashing it will not make it work better. It will make it worse. Get it looked at before you determine your grip strength just isn’t what it should be.

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  • IF IT’S BROKEN, STOP USING TAPE. Can’t stress that enough. I know a wise sage once said “Duct Tape fixes everything” but this sage didn’t realize the tape leaves residual adhesive gunk. It’s hard as fuck to get off without scratching the controller with a knife or pick. You can’t assume since a part is loose, that taping it will solve your issue. In fact it stands at the same exact point, you just feel better.

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  • DON’T try to paint your controller yourself, unless you have the skills to do so. There are professional custom guys for that. Giving your kid a arts and craft project because either they or you want a sick midnight blue colored case, or you want a pot leaf parade all over your controller. Crayons, wax candles, and permanent marker covered cases have past my bench, and trust me they look like SHIT. If you claim you can paint it with actual paints better than the manufacture, I thought so too when I had the Guitar Hero controller. Yeah if I had a picture, it would go right here and prove just how wrong I was.

And the most important tip

  • If you make a mess of the controller, DON’T just say you’ll get it later. Clean it, wipe it down, do something before it sets in. You know how many face plates I have to scrape because it’s stained with some mystery substance that wont scrub clean? No because you don’t work with controllers like this daily. It’s easy, even if you need to wait for the match to end, once it does, stop, exit the lobby, and get it cleaned. Can’t imagine caked on mess feels great while trying to move the payload in Overwatch.

To Wrap Up

If none of this sinks in, which hopefully all 10 of you who read this will tell 10 friends, who then tell 10 of their friends that I’m a whack job, then maybe I’ll start seeing less of those nasty ass controllers.

It’s like cleaning your room, brushing your teeth, or grooming your pert orangutan. It should be habit, a ritual that proves that you like the things you buy enough to keep shit clean and make it last. My best friend has consoles from the early heyday of gaming and they are in great shape and are clean because he respects his collection. Just realize this: You spent $50 on this piece of technology that let’s you play your game, same goes for you mouse and keyboard, they get dirty too. Do you just budget $50 for every 3 or 4 months to replace the controller? I know you do that every year or two with phones, but why just keep mindlessly throwing away money on controllers when you could just take care of them.

Please, just don’t make me have to handle your nasty ass controller in the future.

-ProdigiousJ

Community In Gaming: The Antisocial View

Community In Gaming: The Antisocial View

I’ve always seen teammates in games as computers, CPUs and nothing else.

Not from the lack of people willing to play with me, or the growing number of people out there who play on games, but because I have a tendency to be antisocial. I may be able to keep a decent, if somewhat snarky, conversation with people in person, unfortunately in the digital stream of things (Video game Chat, Cell Phone calls/text, etc.) I’m as antisocial as they come.

Just something about the people on the other end of the line hearing my voice, or knowing what I sound like when I’m not prepped for social situations is just terrifying. I have always had this issue, it started with phone calls making me anxious. I never even liked to answer phone calls from my grandmother, it scared me that much to just think of talking on the phone. Enter the digital age where we could plug in a headset into a computer or like now days a controller, and instantly be speaking to friends while you play a game. At first, I tried to embrace it because, hell, video games are a huge part of my life, and here I am letting something so much as talking stop me from playing. So I tried a few rounds of Halo 2 with some friends local to me and tried talking that way. At first, it was ok, no real issue other than they had no sense of direction on the map and I was better with what was considered the ‘cheap’ weapons and so they bashed me for it. Soon enough, it turned sour when we lost and they started the usual trash talking towards me since my score under performed.

At the time, my anxiety and antisocial behavior was to such a bad point, I couldn’t even handle what I know as trash talking. I still had that issue till a few years ago before I could emotionally accept that it’s just a thing. No need to stress about, but it was hard for me to distinguish that when panic set in through every thought.

Today, I still have issues doing any real social gaming with friends, so long as it has voice chat, I tend to stray away from it. It’s messed up to keep dodging friends who actually want to play/interact with me when they otherwise can’t, but I have yet to find a perfect way to break past the barrier that both years of habit and anxiety have built. I have met with my best friend while testing the waters in Guild Wars 2, but only because he is someone who I can talk to without much panic (Only a select group of people make that list but it is steadily growing). I can’t say if I’ll ever be over it or even remotely comfortable with voice chat in games or phone calls for that matter, I do know that is something I want to get over.

I’ve always wanted to do podcasting, I’m even in the works of cooking up one now with a friend, but I am afraid that when the time comes, since it is a vocal medium, I’ll push my dreams aside because my panic wont stop till I do. Here’s hoping my future self can find a reasonable answer to this issue. Otherwise, I’m in for one heck of a ride as I get older.

Prodigious Jay