Greed before Need

Because my greedy and Scrooge-like sister went ahead and did it, I will feel no remorse in schilling for gifts as well.

And yes, I'm so miserly I'm stealing her formatting as well.

As a final note, these are also valid birthday presents.

The Well Dressed Nerd
1. Outrageously Funny - Choko Untld (Wark!)
2. Odd as All Else - Emergency Exit (It's funny, really. Okay, so maybe you need to have been in Japan...)
3. You Know it's True - Life (Twilight Princess rocks your socks)
4. Self-Defense - Shirt of Smiting (You never know when you need to mete out a good smiting)
5. Free Will - RPG (Choose wisely)

If Music is the Food of Love, Maybe this Will Get me a Date
1. A-Muse-zing - Absolution (Oh the pun hurts I know)
2. Nippon, ChaChaCha - Yoshida Brothers (Because their piece from the Wii commercial was so awesome, so get me all three)
3. Weird and All - Straight Outta Lynwood (Because I'm so White and Nerdy)
4. Shinigamiwa Atashiwo Korosu - Bleach (Because the anime kicks butt)

Since when was Pink a Natural Hair Color?
1. IM IN UR MEYTRIKZ, KRASHIN UR CODE - Stand Alone Complex (Because's it's as awesome as the movies)
2. From the, "I never saw THAT coming!" department - Berserk (And you thought Cloud had a big sword)
3. Be Afraid - Paranoia Agent (Same guy who did Perfect Blue = Want)

And so there you have it. I will break the pattern and not list 2 items and then 1 more item, because the 2 items would be things I'd want for myself, and only God can get me a significant other.

This lesson in greed has ended.


I highly recommend going to www.churchsigngenerator.com. It is very diverting, with five different styles to choose from. Each and every sign looks completely authentic, whether you enscribe your favorite Monty Python moments or Burt Ward's best Robin quote.

I, of course, chose to practice my sardonic wit. I played around with a myriad of possibilities, but this one struck me as the most appropriate. I thought about changing "you" to "Jim" or even removing the blank area so I could reference one of my multiple personalities who has long been absent from this blog (Franklin), but ultimately the original had already sunk it's viral mandibles into my cerebrum.



You may or may not be aware of Sony's recent attempt to generate a grassroots campaign for their PSP. The whole thing was ridiculously obvious because the marketing company that was hired was incapable of using 13375p34k properly. That's right, what they generated was a hideous abomination of a hideous abomination.

Below is an analysis of on of the "blog" posts from the offending website. It should become very obvious that A) using ur and luv does not a 1337 g3m4r make and B) I know way too much about 13375p34k, gamers and the internet.

Begin analysis.

You don't need to have spent years on the internet to know that when someone makes common mistakes/shortcuts like luv and ur, they don't do it halfway. You'll never see the following sentence on the internet by someone doing it unintentionally.

Hello everyone, I was just thinking that ur all going to luv my latest blog entry.

This sentence of my creation highlights something everyone who's ever used IRC, read Barrens chat, or hacked the e-mail of a 14 year old knows. People who use ur and luv and similar shortcuts and mispellings will not be using proper punctuation, spelling and grammar. It doesn't happen.

Yet, here is what we have from the website. I will be pointlessly dissecting it.

here's the deal::: i (charlie) have a psp. my friend jeremy does not. but he wants one this year for xmas.

People do not use colons on the internet. That key is the jaded and lost son of the realm of QWERTY. People also make assumptions, assumptions such as their identity being well known. They won't be specifying that they are "charlie", you should already know that. If you don't, you're a noob. Jeremy fails to be derided for not having a PSP. Lastly, no one speaking like this would specify "this year", or type "one" out. Number keys are there 4 a reason.

so we started clowning with sum not-so-subtle hints to j's parents that a psp would be teh perfect gift. we created this site to spread the luv to those like j who want a psp!

No one on the internet can spell subtle, let alone know where to use hyphens. A common thing to notice is the use of larger words here were smaller ones would have sufficed. "started" could be "were" or "did". "created" is two syllabels longer than "made". The last sentence would more improperly be "we maed this site 2 giv luv 4 u who want a psp liek j!"

consider us your own personal psp hype machine, here to help you wage a holiday assault on ur parents, girl, granny, boss -- whoever -- so they know what you really want.

Again with the long words. Very few words over 2 syllabels are in the common lexicon on the internet. "consider", "personal", "holiday", "whoever", all unknown to the internet mind. Again with the hyphens as well. There are no "girl"s on the internet, only "gf"s, and when was the last time we saw "granny"? What kid this supposed age would have a "boss"?

we'll let you know how it works for us. pls return the favor.

more to come,

Anyone who uses ur is not going to type out "you". "you" is four characters too many as it is. Also, the kind of comraderie shown in this last sentiment is completely foreign. This is the internet, not a high tea. There are no favors, there are only noobs and 1337 h4x.

Ironically, this horribly conceived effort at joining the netizens was least among the symptoms of the greater evil. Very quickly enterprising people spent all of five minutes finding the administrative contacts of the website, linking them to a marketing company, and matching up employee pictures to the people on the website. Almost as soon as the website was up the jig was up.

I wasn't originally going to blab about any of this, were it not for Sony's "apology" or "confession" contained below.

Busted. Nailed. Snagged. As many of you have figured out (maybe our speech was a little too funky fresh???), Peter isn't a real hip-hop maven and this site was actually developed by Sony. Guess we were trying to be just a little too clever. From this point forward, we will just stick to making cool products, and use this site to give you nothing but the facts on the PSP.

Sony Computer Entertainment America

I would like to take the opportunity to rail against this.

Firstly, many is a small reckoning. 99% of people aware of the website found out, instantly. The other 1% saw that everyone else had figured it out already and moved on to other things.

Secondly, stop. You weren't cool before, you aren't cool now. Your speech wasn't too funky fresh, in fact I can't think of anyone describing "ur", "luv" and similar shortcuts as such. No, your speech as a baldfaced attempt at pretending to be something you weren't and you failed miserably. Lets look at that again, you failed miserably to mispell words. That just boggles the mind.

Thirdly, it was deathly obvious from that incredible mind-destroying "rap" video that Peter was not, in fact a hip-hop maven. If you survived the video anyway.

Fourthly, a mere cursory look at the webpage immediately screams "marketing". Even Xbox 360 fansites don't plaster system related imagery everywhere like that.

Fifthly, it's not that you were trying to be a little too clever, it's that you A) went out of your way to lie to us and B) failed utterly and completely to fool anyone but yourselves.

Sixthly, your initial product (the webpage) wasn't cool. Making a cool product is a prerequisite to continue making cool products. I can't say I'll continue running away from you screaming at the horror of your creations unless I had already begun my speedy trek in a direction orthogonal to you.

Lastly, it's too late. Who with any sense whatsoever is going to believe anything you say from this point onward? We're supposed to get "just the facts" from a website whose initial point and purpose was an intentional and intricate deception? Snowball's chance on an overclocked CPU.

As an addendum, the worst part of the apology is that they still tried to act cool. When I apologize to someone for a trangression, I do not act as I normally do. My wit, jokes, sarcasm, jolly nature and other attributes are pushed aside because apologies and confessions are serious business. This is especially true when trying to reestablish someone's trust after something as destructive as a lie. Yet Sony, signing as Sony Computer Entertainment America no less, did not cut the crap and continued in part their charade even as they confessed.

I'm of the opinion that whoever is in charge of Sony's PR and marketing needs to be fired, around eight months ago. There hasn't been a single piece of good news generated by Sony's own PR machine starting May 2006 during and after E3. Things that could have been excellent news were lukewarm, and things that might have been only minor issues spiralled uncontrolled into whirlwinds of bad press. This is just another lead pipe on a thoroughly crushed camel.

Sony need to get their PR act together, because ultimately it's going to hurt them severely if they don't. It shouldn't be this hard to market the incumbent.



Firstly, that's something I'm not. However, it's also something the internet is not as well. This is a problem.

I have noted unconciously, until recently, a slow change in the internet. As the years have gone by websites have increased in complexity. Complexity is not in an of itself a problem. It is nice to have a complex setup, such as this blog, which enables users to do things simply. Complexity of that kind is good. It is complexity of a different kind that isn't. Namely, the web page itself.

Years ago web pages were extremely simplistic. There was very rarely anything beyond grey backgrounds, a few paragraphs of text, a hyperlink to the info-mac archinves, and one small 3k image of the person running the webpage. This was ideal for the time as anyone with a 14.4k modem was living in the lap of luxury. Slowly the capabilities of the internet were expanded, and with them webpages grew and blossomed.

Complexity of the function of web pages exploded. Whereas previously very few web pages were anything other than personal web pages or directories of files for download, now we had review sites, shareware developer home pages, news sites and more. It was still primitive, but that didn't last long either. After seperate, dedicated phone lines were no longer required to surf the sea of information, the internet created a huge demand for excellent web designers and pushed forward into the dot com boom/bust.

However, somewhere in that explosion all the good web designers vanished.

Don't believe me? First take a look at Google. In my mind, it is the epitomy of everything a web page should be. It is simple to use and navigate, while at the same time hosting a very deep and vast set of functions. When the web page loads there isn't any confusion as to what's going on. There are no distractions. There is only Google, a few options, a friendly search box and the "Search" and "Lucky" buttons. There are no ads, no special offers, nothing to clutter the page. It is, in short, a very orthogonally designed website.

Now take a look at Amazon. I'm not going to argue that Amazon isn't extremely functional, because it is. The features it attempts to grant the user do their jobs and do them well. Amazon is not the most famous online store for no reason. However, the website can not be said to be simple.

Before I cut deep into Amazon's web design, I will say that they are hardly the worst website out there. In fact, they are quite probably above average. This does not change my opinion that their website still leaves much to be desired.

When you load the Amazon web page you are immediately assaulted with options and advertisements. In the center of the screen are suggestions of things for you to buy. On either side of the search bar are a penguin and a golden chest screaming to you for a click that you might see what special deals they offer. There are tabs which are not immediately intuitive as to their function. Long lists of categories stream down the left side. Were you to try and assimilate everything on the very first page, it might take you fifteen minutes.

For someone first visiting the site, this can be extremely daunting. Lets say they wanted to find a toy. If they were intent on browsing for one, they're probably going to look confused at the screen for a moment as they try and figure out what is going on. Looking near a common center of attention, the search bar, they find links to deals, new releases, top sellers.... of what? What are these things? This person wants a toy, and if they click on these things thinking they might find one they will only find more confusion.

After some looking, they will probably find the "Browse" menu on the left. Unfortunately, toys are not listed immediately and must be scrolled down to be found. The whole time this is done ads and suggestions take up the other 3/4ths of the page, begging for attention. Just now I scrolled right past the toys, even though I knew exactly where it was, because of the distractions.

Similar insanity continues when you actually click on the toys link, but lets focus on the actual search.

If I search for "Transformers" the actual list of items is repeatedly usurped by sponsored links, and squished by categories, listmania and other oddities on the left. Clicking on a actual item isn't terrible, until you scroll down through the rest of the page and another array of confusing features without much organization presents itself. Thankfully the option to buy is situated in the primary area you first view, although accompanied by options to add it to any number of lists.

To be what I should have been in the first place, terse, the Amazon web page is not simple in the least, especially for someone who has never tried to navigate it before.

I'll repeat myself and say that Amazon is well above average in terms of its design. For all the complexity, it isn't a hideous abomination of web design as several of my college's web portals, a number of lesser online stores, and news sites are. The sheer amount of disorganized and useless clutter that can be found in so small a space as a web browser is staggering.

Web design, I believe, is largely a lost art. Much like Hollywood versus independant film-makers, we can not look to the large businesses to make the best stuff (with rare exceptions). There is an eloquent simplicity and depth to saucylittleone's livejournal, a straight utilitarian forcefulness to the Angry Christian Liberal, and my blog (simple as it is) contains more clutter than I care for.

I'm thinking very seriously about designing my own web page. I have a pretty solid idea for the main index, it's more the functions thereof and what I want to accomplish with it that need to be addressed. I want to avoid the "Lets throw in every last bell and whistle!" approach.

The major things that would be features of this webpage would be video game reviews (in depth, as in more than just a set of ratings and a justification for them but really nitty gritty details), this blog, a forum, and maybe a wiki to store all of the extremely technical and pointless knowledge of video game mechanics I uncover.

One of the chilling factors on this project at the moment is the effort. I'm not sure I'm prepared to spend the time managing, updating and generating content for the site. I also don't know a whole lot about finding web hosting, and the best thing I know for domain registration is whatever I can find via Google. Anyone with more extensive knowledge who might share said knowledge is kindly asked to impart said wisdom in the comments for this post.

In any case, I think I went more technical and less philosophical in this than I meant to. I'm not going to edit it though, because I'm lazy.


The Ballad of Broken Dreams and Forgotten Saves

Hear days of yore that came before all known of history,
and learn you well what fate befell a man of misery.
Of broken dreams I'll sing,
and save's remembering.

A lad too young had soon begun a journey wide and great,
though traveled long and growing strong he knew not his own fate.
A black and dire end,
forsaking kin and friend.

The land was doomed, a darkness loomed with curse and magic grim,
our hero bold would not be told this task was not for him.
He rode against the storm,
though verily twas warned.

Twelve beasts of hell with magic fel he battled through and through,
and each in turn his blade would burn and bring death's calling to.
For days he waged his fight,
An epic tale to write.

The world was saved, our hero bathed in glory and in power,
For weeks and years there were no fears but festivals each hour.
Rejoicing round the earth,
the lad of honor worth.

Alas, the boy too filled with joy neglected to record,
and mem'ry blank, his spirit sank, rivers of tears were poured.
He never saved his game,
only himself to blame.

So listen you and know to do one act as you have fun,
Early and soon, not late of moon, enscribe the deeds you've done.
Or suffer as our lad,
Whose destiny twas sad.



One word: HolyzarquonsingingfishIampsychedbeyondachocolatebunnieslifeexpectancyateaster.

I had some fun with the console last night. Setting it up would have been easier if it wasn't A) 12:30 AM B) terribly exciting and C) mind debilitatingly awesome. It only took half an hour to do, despite my being completely unprepared for any of the extremely simple setup instructions.

In any case, the thing rocks hard. I've barely had an hour's experience with it and I am already extremely happy. I will go straight back to my gamer's paradise box once this post is done.

For your enjoyment I took photos of my experience. Enjoy.


For you? For Wii.

22 hours to go.

For the first time in my life I'll have a video game system at launch. The prospect of one of the most hallowed moments for someone with my hobby is rather exciting, enough that I'm going rather crazy.

I think it's with good reason.

If ever there was a console to be psyched about, at least if you're me, it's the Wii. If you've ever seen me play soccer, play raquetball, play basketball, play badminton or just about anything that involves movement you know I move excessively. I love diving, stretching, and generally looking like a complete idiot.

Many other nerds are oddly self-concious about the whole deal. For a group whose stereotypes usually involve a lack of hygiene or other sense of appearance there have been a fair number of people who are afraid of the Wii because they are afraid of appearing silly.

I like silly.

I will not skip church, my usual awesome after church meal with my grandparents or any other important events over the Wii, but I will lose sleep tommorow night as I bring Twinkies and Hostess Cupcakes to all the neat people who camped out for the system. I have a preorder, so I'm safe in the knowledge that I'll walk home tomorrow with a Wii. I just think after standing perhaps a day or more in line these people would like some sugar.

My nerdy shirts will be my primary weekend garb as I count down the hours, the minutes, and finally press my nose against the glass in jubilant anticipation.

Yes, I am fully aware I have become a walking advertisement for Nintendo. This isn't because I've seen every Wii commercial to be found on youtube. This is quite simply because I can already imagine the insanity that will occur when I show the Wii off to my relatives come Christmas. We will all look so very, very silly.

I part for sweet dreams of insanity by presenting you with what has to be one of the more interesting video game commercials in the history of the industry. I love the background music especially. All for one, and Wii for all.



I'm going to remind you all how important presentation is. If you do a good job, a crappy idea can become reality. If you do a bad job, the following happens.

This is an actual e-mail I received today concerning an FAQ I wrote. My response is included.


> You obviously don't know the characters names, now do you? First of all,
> Shaman King's name isn't "Shaman King", it's Yoh Asakura. And second of
> all, the
> "Crying Girl" you're referring to is called Aya Tojo. Then it's not
> "Kasugi",
> it's spelled "Kazuki". And also, the "Death Note Girl" is called Misa
> Amane.
> And the "Girl from the Ice Cream Series" name is Kagura. And the series
> you're
> referring to is called Gin Tama. And the Police woman's name is Reiko. And
> the
> "Guard Breaking Guy" from Rurouni Kenshin's name is Sanosuke. And it's not
> "Yugioh", it's Yugi Muto. Or Yami Yugi. Whichever comes first.
> Get your facts straight before posting an FAQ.


I appreciate your clarifications but not your attitude.

I highly recommend you do some research on constructive criticism. The difference between "You should consider putting more effort into getting the names of characters and series correct" and "Get your facts straight before posting" is monumental.

Additionally, those are hardly all of the names I was lacking. If you are going to criticize me in this manner you might want to be more complete in your ridicule. "Whichever comes first" doesn't exactly strike me as "getting your facts straight" either.

In closing, there were many ways you could have written your email that would have presented both you and your message better. As it stands, I find that I have no desire to act on any of the information you presented.

In the future, think about how your tone and grammar will affect the reception of your message.


I can't find fault with what he said, save for perhaps "Kazugi". If I remember correctly his name was in Katakana and was most definately a "gi" and not a "ki". His grammar wasn't the best, but he did capitalize and punctuate. However, his attitude was absolutely atrocious. From the get go he let me know that his opinion of my work was complete contempt. This tone was carried by the rest of his email up to the last line, where it reached a climax of condescending character.

I wasn't entirely nice in my response either. Mine sports more of a polite, severe reprimand feel. I stand by my decision to not entirely curb my indignation in that being less forceful might have failed to get my point across. I'm skeptical any manner of response would have an affect, but I did my best regardless.

This is the only negative e-mail I've ever received concerning any work I've posted to the internet. I've received criticisms and suggestions before, but never anything that outright condemned my work. I'm surprised honestly, given the constant lamentations seen on official forums for video games I'd have expected a greater amount of ill-conceived and worded flames.

Maybe I'll get more if I actually get around to making my website.


Artsy people might remember this website. It's been around a while, and years ago I made a couple nifty pictures with it. Today I crafted this during lunch break.

When I return home to my desktop where my other creations are, I'll share them too. For now, enjoy a work spawned by my pining for eastern shores.



During my lunch break and other moments of rest at work today, I attempted to reengage a sagging and otherwise zombie like mind with some math. Math that many of you will find rather boring as it pertains to video game systems. These were posted in response to other inquiring minds in a revelant topic at slashdot.

There are two major entries here. One on the profitability of Nintendo versus Sony Computer Entertainment, and another on market share in the new generation (set to really get underway in November with the launches of the Wii and the PlayStation 3).

Enjoy, or ignore.

Going to the actual Nintendo website and looking up their profits through each report from 2001 to 2005 I give you Nintendo's profits.

2005: $816,973,000
2004: $316,134,000
2003: $640,640,000
2002: $800,338,000
2001: $726,339,000

This is pure profit. Sales were often in excess of 4 billion dollars. 2004 is lower in profit due to costs incurred in the development of the DS.

None of this is assumption, this is straight numbers taken from Nintendo's fiscal reports free availible at:
http://www.nintendo.com/corp/annual_report.jsp [nintendo.com]

Going to Sony Computer Entertainment Inc(SCEI)'s page, I could only immediately find the numbers for 2005 and 2004 in yen.

2005: 35.5 billion Yen ($302,333,504 by today's conversion rates)
2004: 57.1 billion Yen ($485,916,092 by today's conversion rates)

SCEI made more than Nintendo in 2004, but Nintendo did far, far better than SCEI in 2005.

There's a point to be made that some income and expenditure for both companies during this period would come from the GBA, DS and PSP. However, I think my original point remains that Nintendo remains competitive even with the low market share of the Gamecube. In fact, in that two year period Nintendo soundly beats SCEI.

Quite simply, Nintendo was more profitable than SCEI this past generation despite the incredible market share the PS2 had.

Japanese Allotment: 80k
American Allotment: 400k

Population of Japan: 127.42 million
Previous Japanese Market Volume: 30.31 million (Dreamcast + Gamecube + PS2 in Japan)
Number of PS3s per person: 1 per 1593
Number of PS3s per gamer: 1 per 379
Potential Market Share at Launch: 0.26% (Allotment / Previous Volume)

Population of America: 300.00 million
Previous American Market Volume: 70.8 million (Xbox + Gamecube + PS2)
Number of PS3s per person: 1 per 750
Number of PS3s per gamer: 1 per 177
Potential Market Share at Launch: 0.56%

Combined Potential Market Share: 0.47% (480k) [5.66% relative Market Share]
Current 360 Market Share: 5.93% (6 million) [70.07% relative Market Share]
Potential Wii Launch Market Share: 1.98% (2 million) [23.59% relative Market Share]

Projected March 07 Market Share: 5.93% (6 million) [27.28% relative Market Share]
360 March 07 Market Share: 9.89% (10 million) [45.46% relative Market Share]
Wii March 07 Market Share: 5.93% (6 million) [27.28% relative Market Share]


I used the official company goals/projections. Unofficially Nintendo may have 6 million availible by January, and Sony may fall short of 6 million in March. It seemed unobjective to factor such things in.

6 million for Nintendo is not bad at all, seeing as how the Xbox 360 has been out for almost a year now and has only recently crossed the 6 million mark. The rate at which they produce new consoles in their projections is quite steady and reasonable.

What concerns me are the PS3 forecasts. If taken in two month segments, Sony is practically calling for their production to double or triple itself twice over (.5 + 1.5 + 4.5 ~ 6). Given their continuing supply problems, I'm not certain of how reasonable their 6 million March 07 projection is. If they can manage to succeed in that goal it will be a good thing for them, but I remain skeptical.



You may know of Earthbound. It was the super quirky and strange RPG for the SNES. Nintendo made a sequel to that for the Gameboy Advance in Japan which has yet to come here, one of the few things Nintendo has done to make me sad.

To advertise for the sequel, Nintendo did something rather odd. They made a game.

That game is Contact.

(Stolen shamelessly from the box)

Things you WON'T find in Contact:

A dull moment. Normalcy. A guy with spikey hair and/or amnesia. Dramatic monologues. The same battles you've been fighting since the 16-bit era.

Things you WILL find in Contact:

Monkeys. Cosmic terrorists. Powerful attack stickers. Fishing. Cooking. Humor. Fun with Nintendo Wi-Fi. Deeper meaning in life.* Costumes that increase your power and make you fun to be around.

*Results may vary.

Firstly, Monkeys people, Monkeys! The game has monkeys, that's a sale right there. Secondly, Osama can eat his heart out, we've got COSMIC terrorists. They wouldn't have flown jets into the twin towers, they would have flown UFOs into Nevada... wait. Thirdly, you can't argue when Dr. Andonuts himself peels the corner in order to say, "Psst! Buy the game- I need your help!"

I haven't played it yet, but given the universally good reviews ('Good' is the lowest rating I've seen for the game. 'Perfect', 'Superb' and 'Great' being far more common) I think it's safe to say I'm going to have a blast.


Summary of recent events in 6 words apiece:

Raijin died, PSU explosion, sad motherboard.

Kevin sick tuesday, stayed home, misery.

Massive earwax, left ear deaf, hydrogen-peroxide.

Lost dictionary, japanese skills alones, nani?

Worked Saturday, all alone, powdered donuts.

Thank you, be here all week.


Massachusetts is Nuts

How do I miss thee? Let me count the ways...

I believe that this link [Link Broken] largely speaks for itself. That will not prevent me from speaking.

Quite simply I am not impressed with the dichotomy of telling kids they should go outside, do fun things with friends, and be social coupled with banning and deterring just about everything that is fun about outside. Swings? Someone could get hurt. Cops and Robbers? Someone might be offended. Education? Someone might start thinking.

Getting hurt is part of the human learning process. We don't learn to avoid the hot (and painful) portions of cookware by watching carefully reinacted, government sanctioned education videos depicting the unfortunate fate of someone "stupid" enough to grab an oven sheet with their bare hands. We learn by burning ourselves and dealing with the painful and inconvenient blisters.

If we aren't allowed to ever fall down, how can we learn brush off the pain, suck it up, and get done what needs doing? This isn't a slippery slope, this is a jump off a cliff.



I’m a min/max gamer. Anyone who ever watched me play Jump SuperStars, Armored Core 3, or any other game with tons of customization know that I work diligently to minimize my weaknesses and maximize my strengths. I do this obsessively, it’s a large draw for me to get the optimum setup. No tweak is too small, no change too minor. Any and everything within the game mechanics is accounted for and utilized.

I am not necessarily the best min/maxer for any given game, but between that and my level of skill I present to my opponents a worthy foe.

Another name for what I do is “twinking”, a term that harkens to Dungeons and Dragons. This term has become ubiquitous in MMORPGs for players who min/max, although other games lack the term (possibly due to a lack of connection to Dungeons and Dragons). Unfortunately, these same MMORPGs are giving twinking a bad name.

Before I delve into that, I’ll explain a key difference. In most games where twinking occurs you are balancing benefits of detriments. Doing X yields Y benefit at the cost of Z. Z may have an in-game monetary element, but generally that is negligible. The true cost of Z is in what you are excluded from doing. Z may prevent a different and desirable X with Y benefit you really want, or it might reduce the effectiveness of another Y, or any other number of undesirables. In these cases, twinking is getting the maximum total of Ys with the minimum effect of Zs. Additionally, an important factor is the individuals preferred playstyle. A player who likes to move fast and strike quickly will shape his customization differently than one who prefers a slower method of combat.

In MMOs Z tends to only (or almost only) encompass in-game monetary costs and time spent. As such, the effects of Y can become quite incredible because they do not have to be balanced against Z. Any other effects of Z are so small they are hardly noticeable. The bonuses of Y can become so overwhelming that playstyle becomes irrelevant. It doesn’t matter if you like slow or fast, durable or deadly, you can get every benefit at no cost. So long one has the most basic of skills, one can be a killing machine.

This second model appeals very greatly to a vast, immature group of players. These players most likely aren’t skilled, but through sheer time and currency can more than compensate for that. While the first model presents twinking as a skill in and of itself, the second presents it as a substitute for skill. The players themselves do not endear themselves to the populace, as they are quick to insult and berate anyone who even tries to have a discussion of the matter. They can be imperceptive to the point where they will cluelessly insult people on their side of debates simply because they are debating.

What is terribly interesting is the similarity in attitude they show to the attitude of cheaters. This interview with a cheater, while childish in it’s own way, is a prime example of the attitudes displayed by the majority of those who twink in the second model.

In the end, what bothers me about the second model is a lack of accomplishment. I don’t get the sense that I’ve accomplished anything worthwhile in being able to smash through people with ease by twinking in the second model, whereas in the first model there is a satisfaction in knowing that my skillful manipulations granted me advantage. For the first model, I’ve had people whose skill in actually playing one of these games was inferior to mine, but more than made up for it in superior twinking skills. Neither of these senses come across in the second model.

The final conclusion is that should I ever make a game with twinking, which is extremely likely, I’ll follow the first model quite vigilantly.


Talk like a Pirate!

Talk like a Pirate day is the 19th, which is also incidentally the release date for Saumrai Warriors on the XBox 360 but I digress. In honor of the holiday, I present you the following educational video so that you won't be found a landlubber.


Talk like a Pirate


Texas = Big

This is my TV. It is a big TV. It was not a cheap TV.

This is really my splurge for the month, or would be if I didn't need to pick up a futon or sofa before my Dad comes to visit. However, Futon goes more under necessity rather than frivolous luxury, which a TV really is. Although one could even call a futon a luxury, but I think you understand.

It's a Sony, 46' 16:9 aspect ratio TV. Rear projection LCD. Capable of 720p and 1080i resolutions. More video hookups than I know what to do with. A very nice TV stand (some assembly required). Basically this should do me for about 20 years, barring it breaking down. I didn't want to skimp on something I was going to have for a long time. It's actually lighter than the 27' CRT I gave away, and doesn't bite into you when you try and grip it. The size does make it a little awkward to carry.

Anyway, my Playstation 2 which is capable of playing DVDs doesn't want to. It's decided that only games are good enough for it. So I'll have to pick up a DVD player eventually.

I'll also need to get some kind of cable soon, Uncle David is threatening to barge in for Monday night football. These Batchelders like to party.


State of the Warcraft address

This is, in effect, my wishlist for things I'd like to see done better in a future massively multiplayer online game, based on the problems I find in Worlf of Warcraft. Realize that these issues are not game crippling (at least not yet), but are things that reduce World of Warcraft from ZOMG PWN to very fun.

1) Massive?

Want: A single, continuous world on which ALL players (at least of a particular country/world region) play together.

There are at least 3 million US players of World of Warcraft, the other (almost) 4 million coming from China and Europe. However, the game isn't just split up by region or by language, but more fundamentally by servers. There are around 100 different servers which, depending on which one you decided upon, limits which other players you'll be with. Once you're on a server, you're stuck there unless you want to pay $25 to move elsewhere.

Being a computer guy, I can understand why this is necessary. Even if we were to assume that only 1 million of US players are on at peak hours, to have a single server/server cluster attempting to handle the massive amount of bandwith and processsing required would be rather enormous and cost prohibitive. It's a shame, but unless Blizzard was willing to pay 10x what they rake in through subscription fees they couldn't afford a single world, not to mention that the world isn't designed to handle that many people in it.

However, because of the current setup there's a problem I've noted. Eventually, servers get "full". When new players attempt to create their first character, a realm is automatically suggested for them. Invariably realms that are new or have low populations are suggested, and occaisionally medium ones. Once a server hits "high" population, players must specifically choose that realm by going against what was recommended. What this means is that there's a point where low level zones are practically deserted as everyone who actively plays on the server has reached max or near max level. This can happen, or show signs of it happening, as quickly as six months.

The reason this bothers me is that I have a large number of characters, spread out over many servers. Some of these characters are low levels on old, high population servers. This means that trying to find other players my level is often difficult. The problem is compounded by the fact that all new players are being directed away from the server, leaving the server to "stagnate".

Now, come the expansion people on all servers will be making new characters to take advantage of the new features/races etc. But that's a temporary solution to a more permanent problem. A problem that won't be fixed in World of Warcraft, but may be fixed in a sequel or competitor's offering.

2. 1337 5k33lz

Want: Pure skill based player versus player content.

I am not the most skilled video game player ever, but I am talented. It's something I egotistically pride myself on, and still enjoy taking an ego bruising now and again for. There are some things that do frustrate me.

You may remember a long time ago a post I made concerning a game called Gate 88, which, while interesting in concept, lent itself to give advantage to whomever won a confrontation. Not a small advantage, a freaking huge one that was completely unrecoverable from. This is not true of World of Warcraft, but there is an issue.

When fighting other players, their equipment is a very large factor. Having 1337 equipment that is hard to get grants a rather large, though not unsurmountable, obstacle to their foes. Evenly skilled players fighting will most often have a result of the player with better gear winning.

Now, were all gear equal and it more a matter of strategically choosing which gear to combine with what style of combat and then skillfully putting the theory into practice, I wouldn't care. If a player has devised a better combination of gear and combat style than my own, they deserve a win. Real life sports are won as a combination of preparation, strategy and skill, not just skill.

However, World of Warcraft sometimes runs into the "idiot with excaliber" scenario, wherein some moron has managed to get incredibly rediculous gear which is completely overpowering in comparison to everyone he's fighting. Without any strategy save "kill" and with the skill of a retarded monkey they plow through the field, successful only because of their equipment.

This is a scenario I have fought, lost to, over come, and everything in between. I like challenges, but I dislike ones where the challenge isn't a matter of skill but is instead a matter of things being unfairly weighted against you.

3. Dynamics

Want: A non static world.

The neatest thing about games like Worms, Scorched Earth and Vigilante 8 is that the world was always changing. When you dropped a bomb somewhere, you left a hole. Buildings crumbled, things blew up, and craters were created. The world was dynamic.

It would be nice if the same could be said of a game like World of Warcraft. I would like to see that my skillful efforts in battle would actually grant some advantage to my side. A days worth of crushing my enemies, seeing them driven before me, and hearing the lamentations of their women nets me nothing save the satisfaction of a job well done. Imagine at Troy, the armies have just errupted out of the horse, Troy lies open before them, the men unprepared and drunk, you are certain of victory. But instead of actually conquering anything you turn around and go home, knowing yours was a job well done. It sort of kills the buzz of conquest when nothing is conquered.

4. Customer service.

This is not to say that World of Warcraft's customer service is bad, but there is one area which I find lacking.

The essence of any community or relationship is communication. I can't claim to be perfect in this regard, but I grow everyday in the recognition that without communication there is hardly anything to call a community or a relationship. More and better communication = good.

Ther are two issues I have found with Blizzard's communication.

The first, and least important, is that it is slow. In game help can take a long time to arrive, and about 2/3rds of the time doesn't arrive while I'm still playing. If you know me, you know that I generally play my games in long stints as opposed to piecemeal. This is obviously an issue, but understandable to an extent because of the large number of players versus the feasible size of a support staff. However, improvement can still be had.

The second is more dire, and relates to the forums. Within those forums we find the people who care and know the most about the game. Very often, issues nestled deep in the players minds and thoughts are brought up. However, it is here that Blizzard's communication completely breaks down. The forum representatives, especially recently, are far more likely to respond to random zaniness in the general forum than they are to address legitimate concerns of the players in the entire breadth of the forums. I've maintained a close watch on the forums since before I left for Japan, and I can't say I'm impressed with what I've seen. In the past month, the number of "blue" posts in threads outside of the General Discussion is near zero. The ratio being 100:1 or more.

I'm not against Blizzard people from participating in the zaniness, but there's a real issue here. People want to be heard, even if the response is "No." When no response is made to issues that many forum people are concerned about, all we're left with is confusion. Is Blizzard working on this? Is this not an issue for them? Do they even care? Intentional or not, a failure to respond is equivalent in the minds of many as ignoring someone or some group. It's not good.

Now, there are all sorts of mitigating circumstances. The forumers don't know what kind of work goes into being a Blizzard representative. We do know they have all sorts of juicy tidbits about upcoming expansion details they can't tell us, and it's likely everything they say that isn't a silly quip or jest has to be carefully examined beforehand as to not let out any information being saved for a press release later. However, it would nice to let people know this kind of thing is going on. Give us a shout saying, "Because a great number of elements of the game are being changed in the expansion, many of which address current concerns and issues, we are not likely to be seen responding to requests made as it might reveal too soon exciting information before we're ready to give out all the details." Players would love that. As it is, in the middle of the Rogue Class review (a time for which communication is paramount) all Blizzard representatives simply vanished from the Rogue forum. I don't think I've seen a "blue" post in there since.

Quite simply, I've done the 9-5 monitor a forum thing. I was addicted to forums for a long time, and I know how long it takes to throw bones to people. Bureaucratic processes or not, there's no excuse for not making an excuse for disappearing altogether. There are plenty of excuses out there, good ones, for not addressing the issues people are bringing up. Give them please.

Thank you if you bothered to read all that. If you didn't, I don't know if you missed much.

Ware da funae goe?

I realize the Franklin, Dr. Weis, and Mr. Smee have all been absent for a long, long time now. The truth of the matter is, they all decided that they wouldn't bother me while I was moving and took it upon themselves to move themselves down here on their own power and initiative as not to inconvenience me.

I suspect that each met with an unpredictable element which gave rise to predictable responses. I have no doubt that Dr. Weis is off researching something he uncovered en route, or may well be hiding in my walls researching me. Franklin is bound to have been mistaken for a terrorist leader, a grass roots politician, or both, and thinks he's giving an elocution on the benefits of proper nail file management to a charity banquet when he's actually supposed to be giving a declaration of rebellion by some random militia hidden near the appalachian trail. Mr. Smee either got lost, nodded off, or is on some grand adventure he will be completely unable to quantify upon arriving.

I can't honestly say you can expect to see any of them in the near future, but maybe once my apartment is neater and less explodey, maybe after I have a sweet TV entertainment center, maybe after they're no longer oblidged to give me homewarming or christmas presents, they'll finally arrive.

In the meantime, don't worry about them. They'll take care of themselves.



I have come to the conclusion there is nothing worth doing on this green earth if it can not be connected to someone else.

Example: If there was no one I knew personally to play video games with, or to later discuss them with, I wouldn't play them. There'd be no point. It wouldn't feel good to beat Legend of Zelda if there was no one to connect that with.

It isn't limited to diversions, this applies to everything. Work, driving, running, swimming, philosophy, theology, music, everything. If there is never a connection, someone that shares or understands whatever it is, there's a deep and consuming sense of futility that gnaws. A cavernous hunger that devours whatever it is and takes from it all semblence of joy and mirth.

I'm currently suffering from a lack of connections. It's probably largely due to the newness of being in Texas, but I'm rather isolated. I have relatives nearby, but they don't "connect" like my friends and siblings did. I love them all so, but they aren't and shouldn't be a replacement for friends and a significant other.

It really comes down to the fact that I'm currently remote and far away from everyone whom I "connect" with. My best friend's in Massachusetts, my brother will be in College in New York, my sister's in Maryland, and my best buddy in college who truly understood me better than anyone else present there (and as well as anyone else for that matter) is a civil servant in Pennsylvania. Even those who, despite not having a full and deep "connect", were important are far away. The isolation is a weight that is hard to bear.

Talking to God while commuting helps, as does this.


Post-Post Modernism

The more I've observed people my age and teenagerish, the more I've come to the conclusion that ways of thinking are changing. There's a general discontent with how the world is ordered, and it only grows with age.

Post Modernism will be with us for a while yet, but I doubt that it will remain long enough to bother people 50 years from now. By then, it will be defined as a minor bump on the road between the end of the Enlightenment and the beginning of controlled anarchy.

What irks the youth of today are the continuing mixed messages we get. There are two sets of schools of thought competing for our allegience. The first set is made of the much derided relativistic schools. The second set is filled by the empirical schools. Both bombard us with their dogma, and the number of "bites" they are getting is diminishing.

The movement that is ever so subtlely beginning is one that rejects both "there are no absolutes" and "everything is absolute". In many ways it's a "common sense" movement. It goes without saying that there are absolutes and there are grey areas. Ultimately what will preserve Post Modernism for a while is the entrenchment of empiricism in established institutes, but when it has served its purpose in destroying empricism's credibility it will fade.

Right now the movement's in a celluar state, just fertilized and beginning to develop. Exactly what it will look like at birth, adulthood, and seniority are beyond anyone's ability to predict. However, some trends are clear. Young adults are rejecting institutions for their inefficiency and insincerity, yet find that anarchy is inefficient as well. Some bridging of the two will occur, assuming the second coming doesn't happen first.

That's all I can write for now. There's a large thunderstorm and I think it may knock out power just long enough to erase what I've written.


The Matrix Has Me

That's right, I'm back online. Took long enough.

I have stories to tell, and here they are.

1) I moved to Texas. I'm actually living in my own apartment now. It's a nice apartment. Pictures pre-Kevin's stuff cluttering everywhere will be provided later. It's cheap, huge, quality and extremely well positioned. 10-20 minutes to work, 20-30 minutes to relatives, a hop skip and a jump away from groceries. The only thing it's missing is a Mech of some kind for me to drive.

2) I got a car. It's a 2006 Toyota Corolla S. It's on a 4 year lease, with the option to buy, sell, return or trade at the end. I got some good deals and haggled down the payments too. I named it Tyrael. Tyrael kicks butt. Silver exterior, black interior, and sweet.

3) I dinged up my car. My advice to you all, looking at a ninety degree angle to the direction you are travelling is a bad idea. Green lights have a nasty habit of changing colors suddenly. Luckily I was driving slowly, and hit the brakes quickly, and only hit them at 10-15 miles per hour. I suffered only small cosmetic damage. The other car lost a bumper, had three panels bent in and a rear wheel tilted at a funny angle. I had it looked at recently. 1k. Ouch.

4) I just finished my first week of work. I'm in a place called the "Leper Colony" where they send all the techie people who don't have a security clearance yet. There isn't a whole lot to do other than orientation and watching videos about health, safety and ethics. I will have an interesting project coming up, but so far it hasn't be bad.

5) Not 30 minutes ago I finally got internet, having been here over a week. It was supposed to be installed before I arrived, but it wasn't. Then it was supposed to be installed Monday, but it wasn't. Finally, it was installed today after I took matters into my own hands. It's extremely relieving to be reconnected to the Matrix, my memories of the real world wiped clean.

And that's all. Wait, photos.

Apartment: http://www.flickr.com/photos/25706837@N00/sets/72157594225406242/

Car: http://www.flickr.com/photos/25706837@N00/sets/72157594225405687/



I'm at work, so this'll be brief because I have moral objections to counting things like blogging towards hours worked in a day.

Anyway, as of last night I am still without internet at home. I have no clue when I'll have it, but I should know later today because I'll be home from work early enough that the apartment office will still be open.

When I get the intarweb I'll be posting a massive update about stuff that most of you may have already heard, but will still be recorded here for completeness and posterity.

I need my Matrix fix.



All my stuff was just now packed up, placed in a truck, and taken off to places uncharted and/or unknown. It took an hour and a half, three extremely buff and kind spanish-speaking movers, and a lot of standing around and feeling rather unhelpful and awkward.

Dad is probably relishing the reduced strain on the fuses from all the now departed electronics I was sporting.

In any case, to keep my mind off of the partially severed connection to my typical delights, I'll be getting myself a cell phone and probably going to see the new Pirates of the Carribean movie with my best friend. After that I'll fly out on Tuesday to Dallas to make sure the apartment I have on reserve is as awesome as I think it is, buy a car, and set up a bank account. I'll be returning Friday so that I don't miss an important person's birthday party, and then leaving again around Wednesday.

Time is flying by.

A Death in the Family

Recently, a long time member of our household bit the dust. He then sat floating in a semi-yellow pool of unclean water for two days before we realized it.

If you're quiet in life, you will surely pass quietly and probably unnoticed. Newton was very quiet.

For all the perils and mishaps he survived, the grim reaper finally caught up with him. I guess he finally got bored of Iraq and other troubled parts of the world and found the time to slaughter a lonely newt.

Farewell Newton, enjoy the great sewer in the sky.



If you're hearing about this for the first time here, it's a testament to the following:

1) How busy I've been.
2) How bad I really am at informing people.
3) Bear-riding mice wearing a fez.

In short, there is big news. I have a job.

In long, t h e r e i s b i g n e w s. I h a v e j o b.

In sanity, I recently (well, not recently anymore) had a job interview with Raytheon. The peculiar thing about this interview was that it was in Texas, 20 minutes away from where my grandparents and uncle's family live. Stranger still was that Raytheon deemed fit to fly me down there, equip me with a rental car, and pay for my meals. Oddity continued to climb when the rental car I was supposed to have reserved for me wasn't availible, and so I was given a free upgrade to a Monte Carlo LT (if an infinite number of monkeys can write shakespeare, what can an infinite number of horses do?).

Anyway, I interviewed down in Texas. The interview was far less stressful than I imagined it would be. I basically told two guys how awesome I was, an arduous task for me, and then listened to them try and convince me that Raytheon was equally awesome. Then they fingerprinted me and took a urine sample.

Odd, yes?

In any case, I got a job offer the Monday thereafter. I decided to be indecisive as rushing into what would obviously be an excellent experience for me, near to relatives and providing more than enough benefits and salary, would be too obvious. However, a cold, dagger-like wind came from the south every time I attempted to seriously consider turning down the job. I suspect that had I done so, certain southern folk by my mother's maiden name would have come for my head.

So yes, I have a job at Raytheon in Garland, Texas. I'll make gobs of money, have gobs of benefits, and be near gobs of relatives.

I also recently aquired an apartment about five to ten minutes away from work, and twenty from my relatives. $480 a month, 646 sq ft, no fireplace. I was adament about the fireplace. Up until that one I was astonished that every apartment in Texas had a fireplace where a bookshelf, a lamp or a TV would have been perfect. This is Texas folks, and not Texas from the Day After Tomorrow. It's not cold in Texas, ever.

So there you have it. I start work the 31st, I'll probably be down there the preceding Friday.

Part of me will miss being able to goof off all day. The rest of me is won over by te promise of great heaps of money.


Nibbles and Bits

I just got my first response from a job opportunity. A REAL LIVE PERSON sent me an e-mail concerning a job down in Garland, TX with Raytheon! They want to interview me! It'll last three hours! I'm freaking out from both joy and pure terror!

Time to get Dad to help be in shape for the interview.


Wait, the last time I danced... uh oh...


Japan goes Wii

A recent poll from the magazine Famitsu showed staggering changes in how the Japanese view the final contenders in the new generation of consoles. Basically, 23% of their readers thought the PS3 would win the day, while 70% were certain the Wii would "win" (a vaguely defined term if ever there was one).

To better understand that this is more than your average poll, understand that Famitsu is the behemoth of gaming magazines in Japan. Japan is a nation without video game rentals as they are actually outlawed. As such, the gamers of Japan look to magazines to tell them which games are and aren't worth buying. Put two and two together, and you begin to realize that this is akin to the authority National Geographic has on geography.

This same poll also places 88.6% of Famitsu's readers in the category "Thinks PS3 price is too expensive".

There have been other polls which have different things to say about the state of the gaming populace in Japan. However, the level of dedication to gaming in these polls is not reflective of the fervent interest Famitsu readers have. They are the "hardcore" gamers in Japan, which makes the Famitsu poll so disturbing if you're sitting in the Sony camp.

A fundamental piece of knowledge concerning the goals of the three major companies has been their target audiences. Nintendo was going for the casual and not-a-gamer crowds, while Microsoft and Sony duked it out over the hardcore gamers. This was never questioned or refuted, because it is largely true. The only additional information to add is that neither Sony nor Microsoft would begrudge casual gamers buying their systems, and Microsoft is taking some small steps towards courting that crowd as well.

As such, it is shocking that the Famitsu readers are favoring the Wii by such a large margin. They are the "hardcore" that Sony was counting on to carry them this new generation. Yet, 70% of them think that the Wii will win, and nearly 90% are agast at the PS3's price.

Conclude from that what you wiill.


There's been a lot of experience with travesty these past few weeks. Nothing serious really, but I've encountered various levels of it. A series of events have transpired such that I wonder how many sane people are left in the world, and whether I'll be able to find one of the opposite gender suitable for courtship before my mortal coil is sprung.

Anyway, onto the travesties.

1) The Draenei as the new Alliance race in the World of WarCraft expansion:

This is the smallest of the travesties, and in and of itself isn't bad. I'm looking forwards to running around doing the Tunak Tunak Tan dance, which this race features. However, the travesty was the brutal surgery the history of Azeroth went through to make this possible. Surgery is a nice way of saying that they literally had to rip the whole thing to pieces and sew it back together to work.

The idea as it was presented was that the Draenei were a race who were quite naturally talented with magic. The evil Sargeras offered them power for their allegience, which some of them took greedily while the others fled. These others were chased by their corrupted brethern, who became the Eredar demons of Sargeras' Burning Legion army, and were aided by the Light to evade their pursuers. They eventually settled on Draenor, where after a few millenia of peaceful living were utterly crushed by the Orcs, who were now pawns of the Burning legion. The chaotic, demonic bloodlust of the orcs corrupted many Draenei, mutating their form into the strange and twisted figures seen in WarCraft 3. Most of them look more like the Eredar. These ones crash landed their nethership which they used to escape the orcs after some Blood Elves sabotaged it.

That's jolly good, until several points were sent straight into the heart of this. 1) Sargeras was purportedly disturbed by the existence of demons, including the Eredar, which is partly why he went mad in the first place. 2) Spaceship?

I realize not every game developer can be Bungie and have a supremely anal attitude towards lore, but Blizzard already completely ignored the previously important gender roles of the Night Elves when they made World of WarCraft. It's a travesty what they keep doing to the lore.

2) Halo 2 for PC becomes a Vista exclusive:

If you don't know what Halo 2 is, you don't play video games. If you don't know what Vista is, it's the next version of Windows that Microsoft will find some way of forcing you to upgrade to.

This didn't really bother me until I found more intelligent people than I making the following points.

A) For the cost of upgrading to Vista you can buy an original Xbox and Halo 2 or an Xbox 360 and Halo 3 (when it comes out), depending on what version of Vista you're upgrading to.

B) If Vista was really all that great, it would sell itself and wouldn't need to lean on Bungie for a reason to buy it.

In the end, why does it take so long to port a game to PC when it's been shown time and time again that the Xbox is little more than a PC-in-a-box? Not only that, it's being forced onto an OS no one even has yet.


3) Gunbound:

You may not know of Gunbound, but you may have played many games like it. Worms and Scorched Earth are games which function on similar principles. You have some tank or other object which is horribly beweaponed and lobs shots around an arena at other tanks or objects. Gunbound doesn't deviate here.

One of the unique features of Gunbound was that you had an Avatar. It wasn't just a tank, you had a little person riding it. That person could be decked out in many different outfits, and depending on the server you played on these trappings had bonuses they would grant you. Outfits could be purchased with gold or cash, gold being earned through fighting and cash being legal tender. It was very novel, incredibly cool and overall fun.

After many years of not having access to the game, I finally installed it on Raijin and took it for a spin. The game's as good as ever in the gameplay department, with even a few new tanks since I last played. However, somewhere between then and now travesty struck.

When outfits were purchased before, they were permanent. Your account would be able to sport them unto eternity. Now, the same is true, except the prices are 10x higher to do that. If those Matrix Glasses cost 9000 gold before, they're 60000 gold now for a permanent buy.

Fear not! You can still rent them for a week for 9000 gold... or a month for 18000! It... it just really sucks. There isn't a better way of putting it. Luckily, any items you had before this was done are permanent, so that 27000 Archangel outfit was a real steal. Seriously, imagine if you were paying $2800 to rent that used car for a week. Ugh.

The depths of this travesty know no bounds.

4) PS3 Price:

You knew it had to be here, but the price of this sucker is quite insane. We've been up and down this issue before, but we're likely to see this keep coming up. Sony's PR has done a bang up job of keeping the public grumbling at them over this. I wonder if they're not trying to replicate all the buzz Nintendo got for changing their consoles' name from Revolution to Wii. The difference there is, a Wii by any other name sells just as cheap. Also, the name becomes catchy after a while. The price of the PS3 doesn't grow on you. The more I think about spending $600 for a console, not counting games and extra controllers, the more I grimace. It took a week for Sony apologists to stop sulking in corners and come out to try and defend their beloved PS3. It took 2 minutes to blow their arguments out of the water, 1:52 of which was laughing at the absurdity of their statements.

We've heard the "It's a cheap Blu-Ray" player argument. We've heard the "It's cheap for the power it has" argument. And we've heard straight from Sony the "You'll buy it anyway even without games" argument. These arguments have already been thoroughly rebutted. Honestly, the PS3 is going to be a good system, but come on guys. Seriously, you can come up with better reasons for supporting it than that.

The worst argument yet was that most cutting edge technology is expensive as the early adopters will buy it at any price within reason. Then the prices plummet as it goes mainstream. The idea is that the same is true of the PS3. There are several problems with this argument.

A) The types of cutting edge technology being referred to here are largely technologies where there are multiple competitors making hardware which all does exactly the same thing. Sony TVs, Brand Silly TVs, Panasonic TVs, they all let you hook up VCRs, DVD players and cable to them. Aside from the actual quality of each brand's product, there's little difference. A casual buyer would be just as happy with no brand in particular so long as it worked.

Video game consoles, on the other hand, are extremely focused on brand. There are large, gaping differences between the consoles, and what you buy changes what you can interact with drastically. Imagine if you could only get PBS on a Sony TV, Fox on Brand Silly, and HBO on Panasonic. That's what video game consoles are analogous to. To compare them to technologies like TVs is a severely flawed comparison.

B) Aside from the similar hardware counterpoint, there's the fact that in those competitive hardware fields it's possible to come in late with a good product and enjoy profit. It doesn't matter that there have been TVs for years before, if this new brand does everything the others do it'll sell. That's not to say it's easy to make TVs and whatnot, but there's nothing inherent in the market that makes it impossible for latecomers to succeed so long as they aren't lazy about it.

In the video game industry it's very different. Coming in late is like going to an event at college which offers free food halfway through. Were you expecting food? Sorry, the only things left are the salads no one eats and the deserts that everyone hates. You can't just come in anytime you want and expect things to work just as they would if you came in first. There is food to be had, but it is all scraps.

Now Sony can't be said to be extremely late. They certainly aren't coming in halfway through. However, they're using the same exact strategy for their console they used for the PS2. Overshadow your earliest competitor with far better graphics at E3, charge a lot at launch, use the next generation video format to push consoles. It worked beautifully for the PS2, but Sony is ignoring a great many factors that are vastly different.

i) Sega vs Microsoft

When the PS2 began Sony's second generation of dominion, it was competing against Sega, a financially rocky company that wasn't particularly big. Now that the PS3 is coming, it's fighting another early competitor, but this one is Microsoft. We don't even need to think twice concerning the chance of Microsoft suddenly going bankrupt. It isn't happening this decade.

ii) Sega vs Microsoft Pt 2

Sony amazed us with incredible bonanza's at the E3s prior to the launches of both the Dreamcast and the Xbox 360. However, people believed Sony at the E3 before the Dreamcast. When the one after that came, people were disappointed but there was still a marked difference in graphical prowess between the two systems. It was enough for gamers to feel comfortable with the overhyping Sony had done before, because to an extent they still delivered.

The E3 before the Xbox 360 launched, a similar tactic was used. However, the public took the awesome images with a grain of salt. Only the most zealous of fanboys claimed that all, if any, of the images were not prerendered. Again, the public was ready to forgive that hyping if the system delivered. Unfortunately, this E3 showed that Sony's games looked little different from Microsoft's. The result is a largely dissapointed public, many of whom wondered why they waited, and many others who didn't bother to wonder and just went and bought Xbox 360s.

iii) DVD vs Blu-Ray

DVDs rock. It's hard to refute, although I'm sure my dad could do a good job. They are significantly better than video tapes. They don't wear out as quickly, they give all sorts of options, you can skip ahead with scenes, select specific episodes and largely not have to deal with many of the issues that plagued video tapes. There's a reason why everything's on DVD these days.

Of course, the ill-designed DVD menu is a menace that has come of this, but that is a different travesty for another day.

When the PS2 came onto the scene, there was no question as to the place DVDs would have in the home. People were already buying DVD players and DVDs. Everyone knew they were better, if not necessarily widely circulated yet. While there was some cling to videos that existed, the alure of different language tracks, deleted scenes and director commentary won the day. While some may complain about the cost of buying an entire anime series at only 3 episodes a disc, these are the same people that don't remember that buying cartoons on tape usually involved fewer episodes of lower quality video and audio, and often more expensive per video than we enjoy now per DVD.

The PS3 enjoys no such luxury. It will be one of the first Blu-Ray players on the market, there will be few if any movies on Blu-Ray when it launches, if any in stores. There is not drastic chasm of difference between DVDs and Blu-Ray, like there was for video tapes and DVDs. Most of the public doesn't even know what Blu-Ray is. Ask someone and they'll probably think you're talking about fish.


So I've yet to see the price justified properly. If this trend continues, I may have to beat my Nintendo fanboyism senseless and write a post critical of Nintendo while praising Sony just so that there's something on the internet which successfully does so. I'm actually quite shocked that there haven't been better arguments that the Wii will do poorly, or that Sony will prevail. Whether that's a travesty or not isn't important. What is important is that it's now 1 AM, and I should be asleep, quenching my thirst, or both.


Gloom, not doom.

A lot of people are mad at Sony. Not everyone, some people are just annoyed. There are certainly a great number of indifferent people, and plenty who are still staring dreamily at pictures of the PS3.

Now, Sony's done many things to raise one's ire. They took out the rumble pack from their controller and shamelessly imitated Nintendo. They priced their system at $500-$600. They use a Cel chip which, while powerful, has an architecture that currently gives developers migraines. And most recently, they told us we'd buy it without games.

You can guess that everyone and their twin brother has projected a horrible, firey death for Sony and everyone involved. It doesn't take much to know that angry people write angry things, and that even the best of attempts to think straight when one is livid with rage go awry. As such, reading the comments on /. will lead you to believe that the gamers of the world are ready to swim to Japan and wring Sony's neck in the greatest seaborne invasion since Normandy.

I'm certainly not perfect, and I'm sure I've cast my share of doom at Sony here and there. However, despite continual attempts by Sony's wonderful PR (seriously, who hired them?) to destroy their chances at another successful console Sony will certainly do well. Consider what I have to say.

Nintendo once had a monopoly on the video game market, followed by another near monopoly. The NES and SNES quite simply dominated. Some people had Sega's Genesis, but hands down Nintendo was still king. Today, Nintendo is third in the US, and generally low on market share in general. They've always made profit, but were they to continue to hemorrhage market share they certainly would go out of business.

What went wrong with Nintendo, at least partially, is what's going wrong with Sony now. Namely, hubris. If you look at it historically, no console manufacturer has maintained dominance for more than two generations. Both Atari and Nintendo enjoyed the high life. One collapsed, was consumed, and was spat out as a brand. The other lives on, but many say barely. Sony's at the same juncture as Atari and Nintendo were, and is repeating their mistakes.

I highly doubt Sony is going to follow in Atari's footsteps, if only because Atari's vanity was so great that cartridges were literally bulldozed into landfills. They are more likely to go the way of Nintendo because of the similarities between the two companies. Beyond both being japanese, they both supplanted a previously popular competitor (although the situations were different), and they both released (or will release) the most technologically powerful system, last, in the generation they lost (or will lose) the limelight.

The Nintendo 64 was the best system in terms of graphics, heck, hardware in general. Four built in ports meant easy four player games. It was a dream. It was also built with the attitude, "They'll buy it because we're Nintendo". It was sold with that attitude, and by the time Nintendo had figured out that something was amiss, Sony was laughing all the way to the bank. However, the Nintendo 64 did very well for the very reason they thought it would. It was Nintendo, and so people bought it. However, as good as slightly less than half the market may seem it's a staggering drop from a monopoly.

Sony is probably going to experience something similar. People will definately buy the PS3, lots of them. I'd be surprised if Sony failed to sell at least 50 million PS3s before they're done. However, considering the success of the PS2, selling only that many is a staggering drop in success. If Sony doesn't realize what's happened when they start work on the PS4, they'll be near to where Nintendo is now.

Unfortunately, Sony has many more problems to face than Nintendo did in the same position. Specifically, Nintendo never failed to make a profit on any of its consoles, and also had our favorite Nintendo franchises to carry them along. Sony, on the other hand, is not as straight out profitable as Nintendo. Despite having somewhere between 1/10th and 1/5th the market share Sony has, Nintendo made more money on their Gamecube than Sony made on the PS2. Additionally, Sony's major franchises are actually third party products. Metal Gear Solid and Grand Theft Auto are already taking the first steps to leaving them. What were originally thought to be Sony exclusives turned up elsewhere. Snake will be in Super Smash Brothers: Brawl, and Grand Theft Auto 4 will be on the Xbox 360 with exclusive content. The latest and greatest Final Fantasy has always been on the Sony train since the N64 failed to provide the storage space for those eye dropping computer rendered sequences. While Final Fantasy XIII will be a PS3 exclusive, Nintendo's been reigning on Sony's parade with many of it's own exclusives such as Crystal Chronicles and numerous remakes of the old classic Final Fantasies.

In short, Sony will do well this generation, but is on road to destruction. Sony will not suddenly drop off the map this generation. However, they're going to have to work doubly hard next generation to prevent from falling into that long list of companies that didn't last in the world of video games. I think they can do it, it's up to them to actually do so.


Job Searching

Yeah, it's started again. I've been spending my morning hours searching for jobs. I've discovered some interesting things I need to remember.

-Don't ignore internships. They can be paid, or are at least a better option than venting frustration at the fact that every job and its brother requires at least one year of experience.
-I think I can I think I can...
-There's some idiot, or set of idiots, who doesn't understand basic formatting and somehow still has a job. Therefore, I should be able to get a job.


E3: The Road Ahead

Now the speculation begins.

With just about everything said and done, the time for prognostication has come. I have no claims of seerhood or prophet like predictions. I just have my gut feelings, and here's what they're saying.

Sony's screwed.

This isn't just about price. This is about what Sony showed us this E3. Sony unveiled to us that with an extra year of development, they created a system that doesn't show any better performance quality than the Xbox 360 that costs an extra $200. A system which shamelessly tacked on motion sensors into its controller at the cost of force feedback. A system whose only major exclusive games are Metal Gear Solid 4 and Final Fantasy 13.

That's a brief summary. Depth time.

Coming into this, those of us who pay attention to video games and the companies that make them had expectations of Sony. Their system was given a year longer to develop than Microsoft's, and as such we expected to see a year's worth of improvement over Microsoft's system. Through the course of Sony's press conference, the feeling grew that Sony didn't have it all together. Their conference lacked style, lacked structure, and looked like it lacked preparation. The most interesting parts of the show were third party games. Most importantly, the vast majority of games that were shown did not look any better than what had been out on the Xbox 360 this past Christmas. Sony fanboys and the rest of us alike had been expecting that Sony was going to plaster Microsoft with games so beautiful we would cry, or at least significantly better looking. Because that was not seen, we strained to find other redeeming qualities in the system, and found nothing that set it apart.

Sony revealed a new online service, something Microsoft has had and refined for a few years now. Not to mention that Microsoft's is running right now, with a full feature set while Sony's still resides in the realm of vaporware. Sony showed connectivity between the PSP and PS3, something Nintendo pioneered with their Gameboy Advance and Gamecube (both of which were also far cheaper). Sony showed off their eyetoy, but only left us wondering was it all smoke and mirrors through a lack of details. Lastly, they tried to wow us with their motion sensitive controller, but left us scratching our heads at the removal of the force feedback (and the possible irony of them copying Nintendo after bashing motion detection as a gimmick).

Overall the feeling I got in my gut, as well as from what I read of other people, was that Sony had dissapointed. The price was a kick where it hurts, and the higher price of the full version a shotgun to the face. A lot of people have made the argument that it's a bargain because of the built in blu-ray player. That worked for Sony with the PS2 because we knew that DVDs were the next medium. There were no ifs or buts about it, DVDs were what was next. Now, we have no clue. There's too much uncertainty as to what the next medium will be, or even if as to whether we need it.

Meanwhile, Microsoft showed off their second generation of games for the Xbox 360, not all of which were sports games or first person shooters. Microsoft caught wind somewhere that the hardcore gaming crowd only has so much money to spend, and that the market as a whole will shrink (or in the case of Japan, is shrinking minus what Nintendo has accomplished) if nothing is done to reach out to more people than teens age 14-19, and college students age 20-24. Their efforts are somewhat bungled, and not entirely effective, but will ultimately give them a huge advantage. They will have a good number of games for people who aren't interested in Football 2010 or Gunfirekilldead 2007. Additionally, with their online service connecting PCs and consoles, they've leveraged their OS (again) to propel them through a new market.

Nintendo showed that they've got games, and lots of them. They showed that their new console works, and works well. They showed that they understand what needs to be done in the console industry, and that they know how to do it. Nintendo isn't just reaching out to the greater public, they're building huge bridges while maintaining the beauty of the place they're building bridges from. Nintendo killed any question as to whether they have third party support, and in an industry where franchises are becoming stale and losing the weight they carried, Nintendo still has all their old classics such as Mario, Link and Samus standing strong and fresh as the day they were conceived.

Because of all that, I can't see this generation going Sony's way. Early adopters and some casual gamers who already have a playstation of one form or another will buy the PS3, but aside from holiday frenzy it will hardly sell. Like the PSP, it may start strong at Christmas, but sales will just end there. Meanwhile, disillusioned hardcore gamers will jump ship to the Xbox 360 and to the great series residing there. With a potential price drop to boot, the Xbox 360 will sell at least as much as the PS3 if not more during the holidays and will continue to sell thereafter. In Japan, sales of the Xbox 360 will pick up some but not significantly, while the PS3 will fare better there but not enough to make up for the poor showing in the US. Meanwhile, Nintendo will fare better than either of their "competitors". Through simple elegance, and low price, the Wii will sell like crazy in the US, and will hardly be found in stores in Japan. While there will be contention for the US market, Japan will be soundly won by Nintendo.

Microsoft may turn a small profit halfway through the generation, Nintendo will make money as always, and Sony will lose large gobs of money and accomplish little.

I never thought I'd want to predict Microsoft doing well, but honestly they have an understanding that games need to move away from the current "nerdy guy shoot things crush" mindset. It's nowhere as complete or perfect as Nintendo's, but I'll pick the huge monolithic megacorporation that has some sense of what needs to be done over the one that has been riding on the success of their first console ever since it was successful.

Zombies: Spirit

Being a member of the Messiah College Zombie Defense Squad, which will probably need a new name and strategy seeing as how most of our membership is graduating shortly, I feel it is necessary to discuss important information concerning zombies every now and then.

Today we're discussing what largely only applies in a complete collapse of civilization in the face of rampaging hordes of the undead.

As I was walking around campus recently, which I especially enjoy doing when everyone's gone, I came to a startling realization. Namely, places have "spirit". This is an attribute embued by the presence of people, whether you see them or not. There is a "sense" of life, even if you can't actually see or hear anyone around. When everyone's gone, that too is gone.

In order to maintain one's own spirit, one must cultivate a small area to house it. A small room with some trappings of normal life, a larger one if you have a few friends. Without this one can become somewhat depressed, or otherwise in low spirits.

In the case of a zombie infestation, a "sense" of death is apparent. The constant presence of the undead dims the atmosphere, and makes the maintanence of spirit supremely important. Just as the lives of everyone around us boost us without our knowing or caring, the presence of the undead are a severe weight upon the soul that will quickly drive the unattendant to madness.

Too many of us foolishly believe that we would be immune to the trauma that a world of the undead brings, or even just a small outbreak. But the subliminal effects break through defenses. The only recourse is to have a method of rejuvenation that heals faster than the situation harms.

So the next time a zombie outbreak occurs, remember well the importance of one's spirits.


E3: Microsoft Press Conference

If there's one thing Sony lacked, it was style. Nintendo had style and clear goals, Microsoft has style and clear goals. While Nintendo was obviously out to prove they have games for everyone, and a concept that works well, Microsoft is out to prove they have the games and the add-ons.

However, if Peter Moore is the "Zen Master of Gaming", I'm the "Hermitic Tibetan Monk of Supernatural Gaming Principle".

I have to hand it to Microsoft, they aren't giving up on the Japanese market. It's important that they are, because they can never oust Sony or Nintendo from contention if they can't sell well in Japan. However, I remain skeptical of their ability to make much of a beachhead there with the Xbox 360.

I get the feeling that Microsoft is honestly aware of what needs to happen in the industry. They may not know exactly how to do it, or aren't willing to go as far as Nintendo, but the feeling is there that they know that the gamer base must be broadened.

However, I also very much dislike the micropayment trend. While I appreciate additional content, the precedent that games like Oblivion are setting disturbs me. I don't like the idea of spending $5 for what amounts to one character model. I'll spend $5 for 4-6 new maps in a FPS, because that's an entire map worth of new content. Halo 2 had that right, but while I like what Halo 2 did, I must sigh sadly as it is has paved the way for the exploitation of it's own brilliance.

As nice a marketing stunt as tattooing your arms is, I think Peter Moore should have consulted with his wife first, assuming he's married.

I'm skeptical of Windows Vista being the best video game operating system ever, simply because it'll tax my CPU and GPU harder than XP does. Unless Microsoft has finally done something to alleviate the huge morass like problems their OS has, I don't think the "magic" of DirectX 10 will help much. Being a computer science person, I'd like to know the details on how Windows Vista is "built" for video games. Who knows Microsoft, you might impress me enough that I'll buy it because I want it, as opposed to because I have to get it in order to keep getting the software I need.

I need to get better aquainted with the original Shadowrun, so I can understand what exactly was going on with the new one.

I think Alan Wake is a terrible name for a game.

One critique I currently have for Microsoft's conference is that Peter Moore talks too much. While the other conferences featured a central "host" figure, Peter Moore had far too much face time, and really has a voice that grows more annoying the more he talks.

OMG! t3h 3v1l! Oh wait, the nineties ended 6 years ago. Sorry Bill.

Bill, while the integration is nice, the presentation there was pretty boring. Save, of course, for the brief screens of Shadowrun.

Ending the conference with the Halo 3 trailer was oh so classy.


E3: Nintendo Press Conference

As opposed to Sony's, this was viewed live. As such, it will be written while it goes on. Should be interesting, ne?

Reggie asked some very good questions right off the bat.

1) Do you know anyone who has never read a book, watched TV, or seen a movie?
2) How can be considered a mass media form if we know people who haven't played video games?

Even deeper is the notion that video games can't be considered art until the first question becomes "Do you know anyone who has never read a book, watched TV, seen a movie, or played a video game?"

"We'll explain later." - The quote which currently defines the conference. Name, price, release date, everything will be explained later apparently.

Mascotville! Featuring Mario, Link, Samus and even Sonic. No one cares about you Rayman. Oooooo, Final Fantasy. Ooo, Link will be there on launch day! Noice.

So far, Nintendo's done a good job of getting me excited. A good thing for the beginning of a conference.

There's a speaker in the freaking controller. Way to make Sony feel stupid for trying to copy them. Not to mention that Sony apparently sacrificed the rumble feature for their mimicry. Dang, the nunchuck addon also has motion sensing. A techie's dream methinks.

Okay Nintendo, stop showing us 90% of what you're already shown us in gameplay videos. It's annoying, and it's going to ruin an otherwise really fun conference. Seriously, don't make them so short either. Unless you blow us away with later long videos or demonstrations, this is going to sour things significantly.

If Super Smash Bros. isn't among the 27 games on the show floor tomorrow, I'll be a sad, sad man.

Now it's blahdiddyblah time concerning the DS. I want more Wii!

I wish I could have typed that guy's speech goof fast enough, but I didn't. It was hilarious.

Thank you Nintendo for saying how much you SELL as opposed to how much you SHIP. Sony bugs me every time they do that. It's like they have to hide something, really bothers me.

Take him off the stage! He's a hack! He can't make a speech to save his life! It's not SuDOko, but SUDOKU. No stresses!

Not sure what to think of a 3D Final Fantasy 3. Crap, now I HAVE to beat Windwaker before I can play the DS Zelda. And good grief Nintendo, think of the children! Your games look so deliciously good, they will have no allowence left to spend on snacks or bully protection! My DS "greed list" is already too huge!

Satoru Iwata FTW.

NOOOO! Lost connection = bad! I wanted to see which of the three obviously meganerds won the chance to be the first gamer to use the new controller! Travesty! The irony of how Reggie had just mentioned all the people watching online is not lost on me.

Me = Refreshmonkeying

Well, it appears that I must wait until later to finish this. In about 45 minutes the conference will end and the on demand stream will go up. Hopefully then I can complete my thoughts and impressions.

EDIT: Here we go!

Of course, it just had to be that I only missed ten minutes of the conference.

Scott Dyer or whoever he is has just proven to the world how much of a nerd he is. All of us sub-nerds are now envious.

Satoru Iwata obviously can't play tennis.

Dang, that was anti-climatic.

Oh well.

E3: Sony Press Conference

Don't be confused, this and coming E3 segments will not necessarily be separate rants about the methods and madnesses of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. While I may eventually use what foresight I have to predict the outcome of the next console war, these entries are more likely to just encapsulate whatever struck me the hardest about what I've seen.

In this case, why do 90% of video games (excluding sports) involve guns, swords, cars, or a combination thereof?

I am reminded of the friend of my host family from Japan, who emplored me that I might make video games that were so violent. In fact, I think I can finally see what he sees. He is a parent, and thus is concerned for his children. I am soon to be a part of the real world, which puts me one step closer to having children. Thus, I have become far more aware of parental concerns, although nowhere near the level a real parent would have.

In any case, while I enjoy games that involve violence in one form or another, I also enjoy games that don't. Katamari Damancy, Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan!, and others come to mind. Thus it pains me that they are so maligned in the industry. I don't want the abolishment of violent games, but it would be nice if there was something other than them to play.

The world doesn't need another First Person Shooter. While I may not have much choice if I find a job with a video game company, I know now that if I ever get creative control I will forge ahead on the hard path of innovation and non-violence. Not because I am a pacifist, but because I want there to be video games my children can play (while they WILL play outside, I don't want to lock them out of the house).

I can only hope I see better promise from Microsoft and Nintendo.

There were some technowhatsits that piqued my interest. The connection between the PSP and PS3 interested me, as did the use of the eyetoy to analyze cards and create monsters from them. Unfortunately, those techie things weren't given much attention or detail. The person feature and mannerism capturing doohickey was interesting, but boring.

However, I will comment that Sony are copycatting hacks. Regardless of how well the PS3 controller does the job, which from looking at the conference it was hard to tell as half of it wasn't even shown from the feed I had, Nintendo came first. As far as I can tell it's limited to tilting mechanics, with a little bit of throwing it around. It looked like there was some lag between the controller and the demo, but again it's hard to tell. Hell, it's entirely possible the demo was staged, but that's jumping to conclusions. In any case, the whole thing reeks of "me too" mentality, with Sony copying Nintendo so that if and when the Nintendo console is highly successful they can ride on Nintendo's coattails. An all around grr to Sony.

Lastly, watching HD stuff in a low-res video stream isn't impressive.


At the End of the Tour...

...when the roads disappear.

I just finished my last final, probably ever. While the future remains uncertain, the certainty of this being the last final I ever take (at least at Messiah) is very weird. Very very weird.

There are all sorts of great feelings I should be having, some of which I am, some of which I'm not. I've certainly done a good job on the two finals I took today, and I've certainly done a good job on my Senior Project. There's now very little for me to do the next week but sit around, make fun of my roommates, play video games, and I suppose do important stuff like graduate next Saturday, pack up, and look for jobs.

I received my replacement CD-ROM drive external enclosure, so those single player PC games I had been without are now back into circulation, just in time for the Messiah network to go wonkers so I can't play World of Warcraft. Odd timing that one.

Speaking of World of Warcraft, my sociology paper on the subject got a 50/50. In fact, my professor had a nice discussion with me concerning the paper before the final. He really, really enjoyed it and even found it useful. Apparently his sister and daughter are dealing with boyfriends who are hopelessly addicted to the game. His description of their "junkie" like tendencies reminds me how thankful I am to have developed the will to control my urges to do nothing but play video games.

In any case, as tempting as it is to sit around and play video games, I think my time would be better spent socializing with my friends and preventing them from studying for their finals in the limited time I have remaining here.

I think I'll do that right away.