The Social Hardcore Casual Gamer

Posted in Features and Opinions with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2010 by bxgamer

This generation of gaming has seen some amazing things. Gone are the days of your mom yelling at you because she tripped on your tangled controller wires. Not only is your mom happy that wireless controllers don’t disturb the feng shui of the living room but, chances are, mom, dad, grandpa Bill, and Uncle Jim (who still owes me twenty bucks) are  all playing with the latest motion controller. How about graphics? The first time I saw Gears of Wars for the Xbox 360, I hid under the bed and prayed that Locust wouldn’t devour me and my entreals. That’s how “real” graphics have become, my friends. And that was only at the start of the generation. Games like Heavy Rain and God of War have forever changed the definition of graphics. This generation also brought about digital downloads. You beat the game but want to keep playing? BAM! Here is some downloadable content. The sixty dollar game you bought has more bugs than a NYC hotel? BAM! Here is a patch for it. Crying in your sleep because you miss your favorite childhood game? BAM! Download all the FFVII you want, you sick sick pathetic shell of a human. The biggest change, however,  didn’t happen in the hardware or software of gaming. The biggest change happened in the gamers.

Maybe it was Microsoft’s engaging online community. Maybe it was Nintendo’s casual-friendly controller. Maybe it was the rise of Facebook. Hell, maybe it was some sort of nasty virtual capitalist orgy between the three, but today we have a social gamer market. Forget the “hardcore” players pulling off no scope head shots and level grinding their youth away. Forget the the “casual” gamer family huddled over a Wii and bowling till their hearts’ content. I’m talking about people playing Bejeweled. I’m talking about Farmville, Bumper Stars, Mafia Wars, Lucky Strike Lanes, Scrabble, and  much much more. Social gaming is upon us and it is not going anywhere. Even I, the most baddest and awesomeness gamer in the entire freaking universe (including all parallel universes), went through a Farmville stage. And call me a lame but the only thing more addicting than trying to prestige in COD is getting 300,0000 in Bejeweled in under a minute. I can sleep at night because I know that my guilty pleasures are offset by my manly and all powerful PS3. But what about people who don’t have consoles? My aunt has never touched a video game console controller but she can completely own me in Mahjongg Dimensions on Facebook. My Professor, who doesn’t get the point of Grand Theft Auto, loves playing Bananagrams.

Now I know the idea of social gamers can be scary. Simply put gaming is going (if it already hasn’t) main stream. And we all know what happens when stuff becomes main stream–doom rains from the heavens and people die. But before you and your hd tv hide in a bomb shelter, think about it for a moment, my fellow gamers. Because of this expansion in the industry there are more of us out there than ever before. We don’t have to hide in a dark room while we stuff our face with hotpockets. We can scream loudly and proudly: WE ARE GAMERS. A game is meant to be fun. That’s the only qualification. That’s it! It can be artsy, it can be violent, it can be full of social criticisms or cute pandas, but at the end of the day, all it really has to be is fun. And of course, as we all know, fun is in the eye of the controller holder. So hardcore gamers, don’t hate the casual and social gamers. Casaul gamers, don’t fear or resent the hardcore gamers. Social gamers, don’t you dare think that you are different from other gamers (even if you do have jobs and “exercise”). We are all gamers. Besides, if we don’t end this labeling stuff now, pretty soon we will be calling some gamers “casually hardcore social players” or maybe “social hardcore bicasual players.” Anyway, I’m going to go dungeonn crawl in Persona 3 while I wait for my crops to grow. Don’t judge me. Peace be with you gamers.

Agree or disagree? Let me know.

The Darkside of E3: Part Three Nintendo

Posted in Rants with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 20, 2010 by bxgamer

Where's Darwin when you need him?

Nintendo

Nintendo killed it. They demolished E3. With the announcements of Donkey Kong and the 3DS, Nintendo’s conference was utterly flawless, right? Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong—damn it! My biggest complaint about Nintendo was their lack of originality. Yes I said it. Other than the 3DS and Kirby, I saw nothing new. All the games were reimaginings ( I think that’s a word) of the older games I grew up with. Don’t get me wrong, I’d sell my lung on the black market to play another Zelda, and hearing the nostalgic bongos of Donkey Kong made my heart beat like a school girl, but come on Nintendo. How many times am I going to have to save a princess before I realize that I am playing the exact same thing I played when I was five? Sometimes it feels like nostalgia doesn’t allow the industry to move forward. For example, the 3DS. Here is a piece of technology that can genuinely change the portable gaming experience. Does Nintendo use this potentially historic moment to propel gaming into a new golden age where manna rains from the sky? No! Instead, Nintendo makes Zelda Ocarina of Time in 3D, Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater in 3D, Kid Icarus in 3D. Are you serious? I’ve played all these games already, 20 times! Seeing Link’s ocarina pop out the screen will not change the core experience of the game. Nintendo could have used this moment to launch whole new 3D franchises. Instead, they relied on the same old names. Even Kirby, which I think was the most original game of E3, is just a reimagining of an old character. Don’t worry, I know Nintendo is not completely at fault. After all, they are just giving gamers what they want and there are 38594085409 Halos and 39987650485 Final Fantasies. But maybe, just maybe, gamers sometimes should get what they need and not what they want. What is it that we need? I say some freaking original games and new franchises.

Saving Grace: Nostalgia is just too damn tempting. I’ll play my Donkey Kong and ignore the death of originality as I eat a nice slice of hypocrite pie.

Agree? Disagree? Think I’m an overweight, pretentious, stupid, fanboy, who should die a horrible death? Comment and let me know.

The Darkside of E3: Part Two Sony

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 19, 2010 by bxgamer

Sony

Sony, Sony, Sony. I don’t know whether to laugh at your feeble attempts at regaining supremacy or cheer you on as you valiantly keep pushing forward. It was as if this E3 featured Microsoft and Sony meeting up behind some dark alley and talking about how best they could copy Nintendo. But at least Microsoft and their casual games can say that their hardware is completely different from the Wiimote. But not you Sony. You literally made an upgraded black Wiimote with a ball at the end. C’mon guys! Why, oh why, would you do this? For the love of Kratos, at least try to mask the unoriginality. To make matters worse, the price of the “Move” is ridiculous. Watch as the crowd gets restless when they realize that the two parts of the Move are actually sold separately for different prices (totaling more than 80 bucks). Shake my freaking head Sony. Have you learned nothing? Sony has to realize that casual gamers aren’t stupid gamers. Why play Start the Party and Sports Champions when you can play Wii Sports and Mario Party at a much cheaper cost on the Wii? The causal market won’t care about subtle differences like better graphics and 1:1 movement. To suck in these type of gamers Sony will need an entirely new gimmick. Oh God…who gave Jack Tretton a pair of 3D glasses?

Saving Grace: To Sony’s credit, not all the games looked like Wii-esque casual gaming shovelware. Sorcery looks pretty darn cool. Maybe the Move’s edge can be that it can produce more hardcore gaming experiences than the wiimote and Kinect.  Also, 3D gaming might just catch on.

Agree? Disagree? Think I’m an overweight, pretentious, stupid, fanboy, who should die a horrible death? Comment and let me know. Also, tune in for my next post where I bravely take a virtual dump on Nintendo (as respectfully as I can).

The Dark Side of E3: Part One Microsoft.

Posted in Rants with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 9, 2010 by bxgamer

Okay so the mushy lovey-dovey feelings of E3 have subsided. Now its time that we as gamers take a step back and separate the mushrooms from the koopa troopers.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved E3. It was like Christmas and the Super Bowl made love with all my favorite animes and created a super-saiyan, demon-fox, hero baby. But there were just some things that I couldn’t ignore. So prepare yourselves gamers because I’m about to rant.

Microsoft:

Yes, the technology of Kinect is a step forward in gaming. Yes, controlling your digital media like Tom Cruise in Minority Report is super bad ass to the max. But Kinectimals? Really Microsoft? Really? I wanted to use my hands-free,state-of-the-art, motion controller to pull off double head shots with my fingers while kicking zombie dogs in the face. Instead, I have to pet a freaking tiger. Simply put, Microsoft completely forgot about hardcore gamers this E3. Now before you start yelling about Gears of War and Halo, relax. I’m talking about hardcore games for the Kinect. A lot of what Microsoft showed us were upgraded versions of Wii shovelware. I’m all for appealing to the emerging casual gamer market but for the love of master chief, couldn’t they have shown us at least a couple of games that weren’t  campy, cheesy, bonding experiences for the whole family? Also, I don’t know about anyone else, but that presentation with the little girl playing Kinectimals creeped me the hell out. Instead of introducing the Kinect as a revolution in all things gaming, Microsoft formally introduced us to the biggest gaming gimmick since Nintendo’s Virtual Boy.

Saving Grace: Kinect’s technology has a lot of potential to appeal to both the casual and hardcore gaming market. The first impression was definitely not super badass. But maybe with time, Kinect could really be the way we all game.

Agree? Disagree? Think I’m an overweight, pretentious, stupid, fanboy, who should die a horrible death? Comment and let me know. Also, tune in for my next post where I bravely take a virtual dump on Sony and Nintendo (as respectfully as I can).

Big 3 E3 Wrap Up

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 8, 2010 by bxgamer

If you’ve been following the E3 coverage on sites like IGN and Gamespot, then right now you’re in some public bathroom, on the ground, in a fetal position, foaming at the mouth from over dosing on all of the super bad ass gaming news. Before I too succumb to the bitter sweet emotions of cardiac arrest, I thought I’d wrap up E3. I’ll focus on the big 3: Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo.

Microsoft.

Last year Microsoft captivated gamers by showing us prototypes of project Natal. This year the hardcore gaming king followed up by showcasing the nearly finished and newly renamed Kinect. I don’t know if the name change was a smart move but holy smokes batman, this bad ass piece of equipment makes controllers a thing of the past. With Kinect you can watch movies, play games, listen to music, and talk to your friends all without ever touching a dpad. Microsoft announced that Kinect will have 15 launch titles including Kinectimals, Kinect Sports, Joyride, Kinect Adventures, Your Shape, and Dance Central. In addition to the Kinect games, Microsoft showed us trailers and gameplay footage of Gears of War 3, Fable 3, and Halo Reach. Microsoft will also have timed exclusivity rights to Treyarch’s multi-platform Call of Duty: Black Ops. If that wasn’t enough, the gaming giant showed off Hideo Kojima’s next installment of the Metal Gear franchise Metal Gear Solid: Rising. Although this isn’t an exclusive, it is still a pretty healthy slap in the face to Sony fans. Microsoft capped off their conference by announcing a sleek, sexy, and oh so shiny Xbox Slim.

Sony

Sony, the once noble king of gaming, used this year’s E3 to try to regain it’s kingdom. It went back to its roots and focused on what made it a gaming god in the first place–Games. Games, games, games. Apparently, “exclusive” is Jack Tretton new favorite word. Sony announced PS3 exclusives Infamous 2, Killzone 3, Gran Turismo 5, Little Big Planet 2, Sly Cooper Collection, Final Fantasy XIV, Socom 4, and Twisted Metal. Hold on, hold on let me catch my breath. Jesus Christ, where’s my asthma pump? Okay, I’m good. Sony also announced exclusive content for multi-platform games like Assassins Creed Brotherhood, Medal of Honor, Mafia 2, and Dead Space 2. One of the biggest surprises of the conference was the announcement that, despite Valve’s heavy criticism of the PS3, Portal 2 will be coming to PlayStation alongside other platforms. On the hardware front, in addition to showing off games in 3D, Sony formally introduced us to the Move. The Move is Sony’s answer to Microsoft’s Kinect and Nintendo’s Wiimote. The motion controller will launch with EyePet, Sports Champion, Beat Sketch, High Velocity Bowling, Kung Fu Rider, and Time Crisis Razing Storm. Down the road it will have games like EchochromeThe Fight: Lights Out, Motion Party, TV Super Star, Ape Escape, Sorcery, Tower, The Shoot, and Heroes on the Move. Love them or hate them, a gamer must admit that Sony is trying really really really hard to once again sit on the throne.

Nintendo

Nintendo is a lot like the third Hokage–old, wise, and mad crazy super powerful. Nintendo practically created gaming and has been around for generations. Because of this, gamers sometimes underestimate the old timer. But just when you think the Mario ship has sailed, BOOM, Nintendo drop kicks you in the throat. This E3 was no different. Nintendo announced that it will bring back childhood favorites like Zelda, Metroid, and Kirby. But that’s not all ladies and gents. Let me paint the picture. The lights dimmed, the audience fell silent, and in the distance kongos and drums started beating. Can you see it? DONKEY KONG! Yes, Donkey Kong. Side scrolling, barrel bursting, banana collecting insanity will be coming to a living room near you. But STILL even Donkey Kong wasn’t the biggest announcement of the conference. During this years E3Nintendo introduced the world to the 3DS, a portable system that shows video games in 3D without gamers having to wear glasses. Launch titles include remakes of classics like Zelda Ocarina of Time, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater, Kid Icarus, and much more. I can’t wait to try out one of those things. The 3DS was hands down the biggest announcement of E3. Oh and I forgot…GOLDENEYE!!!

Before I rest my weary head and dream of all the glorious games to come, I will end this article with a quote from Kevin Butler’s epic E3 speech:

“Though we may pledge fanboy allegiances to different flags, deep down inside we all serve one master. One king. And his name is GAMING!”

Sony’s Super Fail

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2010 by bxgamer

Shit is going down. Ladies and gentlemen, shit is going down. I have just received news that PS3s across the nation are getting an “8001050F” error message. News articles and gaming forums report that this error causes Playstation owners to be unable to sign into their PSN accounts. Another odd symptom of this unknown Sony bug is that the Playstation’s internal clock is reset to December 31st 1999. But my fellow gamers, that is only the tip of the 8-bit iceberg.

WARNING: The following information is not suitable for hardcore gamers or pregnant women. Those with weak stomachs please stop reading now. Anyone recently playing an RPG, DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT CONTINUE READING. Look at this link instead. Reader discretion is advised.

Some gamers report losing trophies already previously won. Other gamers are reporting that they cannot access their DLC. There have even been reports of entire saved games being deleted. Furthermore, some games will not start because of the PS3’s failure to sync with the PSN trophy information. Even games that do not have online multiplayer are reported to be affected by the error. This includes the recently released and critically acclaimed game, Heavy Rain.  Sony has released statements through twitter, saying it is looking into the problem. Sony has also informed the public that slim PS3s do not seem to be affected. For more information check out IGN’s article on the issue, linked here. Here is also a link to Sony’s twitter account.

It’s a freaking war zone out there gamers. Not since Sega announced it would stop making consoles has a flamewar so massive erupted. A quick glance at any comments section or forum about the issue shows that Microsoft and Nintendo fanboys are completely and utterly teabagging Sony owners. I’m talking about some raw shit ladies and gents. I’m talking about no pants, no underwear, haven’t showered for three days, raw, uncut, uncensored, rated X, super, uber, legendary teabagging. I don’t blame Xbox fanboys. They get slapped in the face everyday with cruel reminders of RROD. But I also won’t jump the gun and completely denounce Sony just yet. Logically speaking, a billion dollar corporation like Sony should be able to fix this. I want to take this time to remind gamers who are at the brink of suicide that things could be a lot worse. With this weekend’s tragic and devastating earthquake in Chile, lamenting on some lost games seems so trivial. Although losing trophies, DLC, and saved data is very annoying, it is by no means a tragedy. Still, if I go home and find out my recently earned GTA 4 trophies are gone, I’m kicking someone in the nuts. In the mean time, if you by chance find yourself in a gruesome flamewar, check out my article on how to defend yourself, linked here. I will update on Sony’s progress as it becomes available to me.

Update: Issue has been resolved. Apparently, the bug fixed itself. More information can be found here.

Update: No word on what will happen to lost trophies.

Update: Here are some great Sony getting teabagged moments:

It only does nothing

How to fix 8001050F error.

Flame On

Posted in Features and Opinions with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 25, 2010 by bxgamer

To combat the recent increase in flamewars, politicians and parents have advocated abstinence from flaming. But this conservative view just isn’t practical. Instead of pretending that gamers will ignore their natural urges, we need to educate the masses so that when flaming takes place, it’s done the right way. Lord knows the consequences of unprotected flaming. That is why I have created a list of the top five best ways for fanboys and girls to flame.

#5 Spout out exclusives that show off why your console is better.

You’ve all been there. You watch a trailer on Youtube for one of the sickest, craziest, coolest games of all time. The graphics and the gameplay are super badass to the max. There’s only one problem. The game isn’t available for your system. WAIT! Don’t just close your web browser and curse the gaming gods for being so unfair; there is something you can do. Find a comment that praises the game for its obvious awesomeness, then spitefully name every single exclusive you can think of until the harsh pain of envy is a distant memory and you feel better about your miserable and lonely life. Here’s an example:

Xbox owner: Wow Splinter Cell Conviction looks great. I think I might pick this up.

PS3 fanboy: Yeah well we have Heavy Rain, God of War, Final Fantasy, Infamous, Metal Gear Solid, Ratchet and Clank, Yakuza, etc… So I don’t even care that it didn’t come out for the ps3.

Always end your list with “etc” to give the illusion that there are more exclusives than mentioned. Also, remember that comparing apples and oranges is always effective.

#4 Go to the numbers

Suddenly, your opponent spouts out his/her own list of exclusives, with his/her own “etc” and his/her own illogical comparisons. You’re screwed! Fear not my gaming brothers and sisters, there is still hope. Simply go to the numbers. Look up the most recent NPD video game sales statistics. Then, throw those stats in your opponents face. For example:

Xbox Fanboy: Mass Effect 2 sold 572k in the month of January. Uncharted isn’t even in the top 10. Take your exclusives shove it up your ass you punk n00b bitch.

Remember, it’s not enough that your console’s games are selling more. Pointing out that your opponent’s games aren’t selling at all is the icing on the cake.

#3 Those graphics suck

Sometimes your best flamewar happens in discussions about multiplatform games. For instance, take the critically acclaimed Grand Theft Auto 4.  The exact same game is available on the both the Xbox and the PS3. You can’t bash the exact same game just because it’s on a another system, right? That would defy all logic and common sense, right? WRONG. By simply covering your ears and shouting ” those graphics suck” repeatedly, you can win a critical battle in the flamewar. Here’s an example:

Xbox owner: They really upgraded the graphics from the previous GTAs…

PS3 fanboy: OMG it looks like shit for the Xbox. Those graphics suck. HAHAHA you xbots should get a PS3.

Notice that a gross exaggeration of the slight difference in graphics is the key to implementing this strategy. On a side note, for all the Wii gamers out there, remember you can always just say “graphics don’t matter, it’s all about the gameplay.”

#2 Bring up hardware issues.

So the number of exclusives are the same, both consoles are selling, and the developers of the multiplatform games have just been quoted as saying that both versions are identical in every way. What do you do now? Simple. You frantically attack the console with overgeneralizations about known hardware issues. It might look a little something like this:

Xbox owner: I’m so glad they made an Xbox with larger hard drive space.

PS3 Fanboy: It won’t matter when your shitbox RRODs. At least the PS3 doesn’t have a 33% failure rate. Sony FTW!!!

For gamers who own different consoles, making fun of the Wii’s lack of HD or the PS3’s horrible online component is just as effective.

#1 Your mother is a dirty whore.

Oh no! You’re on the losing side of a flamewar. The game or console you are defending completely and utterly sucks. What do you do?  There’s only one option. Showcasing the epitome of fanboyism, you take the discussion to a whole new level. Forget the games and consoles. Most importantly, forget decency and politeness. Verbally attack your opponent’s mother. Sure you don’t know her or her circumstances.  But who cares? This is a flamewar for christ’s sake. Losing this will surely make you the biggest failure in the history of man. The “your mother is a dirty whore” tactic is complex and requires precision and skill. If done properly, it goes a little something like this:

Xbox fanboy: We have better exclusives, our console has sold more games, and our graphics are better. The Xbox is clearly superior.

PS3 fanboy: Shut up! Your mother is a dirty whore!

Nice! With that, victory is yours. You’re claim is so outlandish, so irrelevant, so rude, that there is absolutely nothing any one can ever say as a rebuttal. Unless of course, your opponent decides to mention your mother. For information on how to strategically combat such a response, please refer to the article entitled, “Ranting Idiots and the Utter Pointlessness of Flamewars.