Admitting When I’m Wrong

I’m one of those people who welcome being corrected when I’m wrong. Unfortunately I’m also offended when people try to correct me when I’m right, it’s not a good quality to have.

The most recent thing I’ve been wrong about is Pokemon Go. When it came here to Sweden in July I thought it was a fad, I didn’t take it seriously and I even made fun of people playing it, which I now regret. I still stick by that it’s dangerous though because if you get too much into it even when walking you can hurt yourself or even other people!

Because now my entire family is playing it! My son wanted a go at it and we couldn’t really stop him by saying it’s childish since… well, he’s 6! But after getting him started we realised we needed to learn it and so we started. And now, two weeks later we’re hooked and I like it. Not the game itself, it’s so rudimentary, it’s classic “get people hooked and then make them pay up for the next fix” and not even one little bit creative. But I like the effect it has on us as a family. We go out Pokemon hunting, sometimes just to the nearest city center, sometimes we go to some place that just has plenty of Pokestops. We spent four hours in “Rålambshovsparken” last Friday hunting Pokemons and Pokestops (and looked like complete idiots while doing it!). And we walk – alot! I shit you not if I say we must’ve walked 150 kilometers (that’s be about 94 miles) since we started two weeks ago. And as an added bonus when doing all that walking, except the calorie burn rate, is that we see places and stuff we never knew existed! As an example, we have a school that I pass twice every day to and from work but I’ve ever only seen the front of it. Now I know what the rest of the outside looks like since they placed a “pokemon gym” on the other side of it!

Star Citizen. Again.

So after a few rounds with customer service at Cloud Imperium Games I got the LA County “Department of Consumer and Business Affairs” involved and that’s when my refund request was finally accepted. So I got all my money for all digital purchases and pledges refunded and my accounts closed and within a week the money was safely in my bank account. End of story (until the game comes out, if ever) I thought.

Well it wasn’t. Because the response to my request from their legal counsel was… in lack of better words – horseshit!

The reasons I stated for requesting a refund was
– They changed their terms of service to free them of all accountability to actually deliver anything. That’s an indisputable fact. I was totally fine with my initial Kickstarter pledge going down the drain but that was a small portion of all the money I’ve pledged to the project so far. Chris, the man in charge, stated years ago that they were solid financially and would still be able to deliver a game if funding stopped. It didn’t yet they haven’t.
– The game is nowhere near being complete. The content that has been delivered so far is barely 10% of everything promised and it’s all buggy as hell as it’s still in alpha. That is also a fact. If you forecast based on that it’s gonna take them several years to deliver the rest and then do the polish to go from alpha to a launch-able game.
– They themselves set “estimated dates” for when features are launched and they are constantly missing them. That is also fact.
– They set November 2014 + a 18 months delay (that’d be May 2016) for launch or they would show their financials and explain “wtf happened!?”. It’s now August 2016 and they haven’t launched any part of the game nor taken any accountability for the failure. Those are also facts.

Those were my 4 main reasons. I never mentioned anything of all the other rumors (like their Austin office being shut down) or issues one may have with the project (like the fact that Chris the CEO is married to the marketing director/actor Sandi) that involves anything that isn’t fact or tangible.

So what did the legal counsel say? “Customer’s allegations […] are completely unfounded and based on internet gossip. Oh and he made the allegations to the wrong corporate entity!”. That is just so insulting! Everything I’ve said are facts that can easily be checked by anyone! If they didn’t think it was good enough reasons to give a refund that would have been one thing, but to say that I’m lying and quoting gossip, what the hell is that about!? That pisses me off so much that my initial thought was “crash and burn you assholes!”. But this is so much bigger than that, it’s a million people strong community, a game that is based on some of the most amazing games I’ve played, the most successful crowdfunding campaign ever, the biggest “up yours!” to major game publishers ever and so much of that good stuff that I can’t be so egotistic and want it to fail just because they insult me. But it really pissed me off and I wonder where the line for “slander” is! And also I hate whenever a company makes that stupid remark about “it’s the wrong company” – I ALWAYS go to the people that I actually paid. It doesn’t matter if it’s a game or whatever, I make the claim to the company that charged me!

“Star Citizen”… Never Ending Story

You know I’m a nostalgic, retro kind of person right? And I’m a gamer. So I fondly remember the days of “Wing Commander” I & II, the space fighting but most of all the story and the interaction with the crew. And I very fondly remember “Wing Commander III” with Mark Hamill and Tom Wilson and the rest of the cast. And I very very very fondly remember playing “Wing Commander IV” for days, weeks even months. I really wanted to see every possible way that could go, the “evil ending” and everything in between. I absolutely loved it – not for the space combat but for the story. The dialogue is cheesy and the plot quite simple by today’s standards but still, for a computer game it was awesome!!

So in 2012 when I heard that Chris Roberts is coming back with a “spiritual successor to Wing Commander” I got excited. It couldn’t be called “Wing Commander” since EA owned the rights to it so it was called “Star Citizen”. Or “Squadron 42”.. at first it was a mess what was what but that’s to be expected when a small group of people get together to try to do something great. But this time Chris didn’t want a big publisher telling him what to do. He didn’t want a publisher that demanded the game be released at this date, finished or not. He didn’t want a publisher to tell him to make the game so it can be ported to consoles. He wanted to do the game his way, released when it was ready and for PC only. So they started a crowdfunding campaign that got so much attention their initial web server couldn’t handle it and they had to take to Kickstarter for crowdfunding. I happy bought into it at “Colonel” level which then was $125. That’s quite a lot for a computer game I agree but I thought it was worth it considering how much joy his previous titles had given me. I’d gladly paid that for “Wing Commander IV” any day!
Back then they set the “estimated release” at November 2014 but I’m actually pretty sure that’s because Kickstarter forced them to set an “estimated delivery” date and the max they could set was “2 years from now”. So I actually never expected them to deliver that. As a matter of fact, their “Terms of Service” agreement was even altered in 2013 to give them a 12 (then 18) month delay window.

After the initial crowdfunding campaign they kept promising more and more stuff. Not only had the game gone from being the “spiritual successor of Wing Commander” (a single player game), it was blowing up to be a full MMORPG. And I was fine with that. At first. I was so fine that when they showed off the Retaliator bomber I loved it and dished out $225 for one. And the idea of being information smuggler sounded cool so I dished out money for that too. But then as they continued to get millions of dollars every month I kinda saw it getting out of hand. I fully realise I know very little of what it actually takes to deliver a game and I know it takes a lot of time to make a game. A delay can easily be a year. But when they were promising new features, new ships without actually releasing much I kinda saw the problems of this ever being released. If they take two-three months to get a ship to “flight ready” and they keep coming up with 7-8 new ships every year, how are they ever to get done? If they add new feature to the scope before releasing the basic ones promised during Kickstarter like trading, how are they ever gonna get done? This picture to the right pretty much sums up what I felt all throughout 2015. And during July of 2015 Derek Smart happened. He’s a game maker who has tried to pull off these grand space games for years and never really made it. Which means he knows some of the pitfalls of even trying. He started criticising the “Star Citizen” project – very vocally, bullyuishly, annoyingly, contrived, “deliberately wanting to turn everything into a bad thing” way. And he got very personal against Chris Roberts, his wife and his lawyer (that all co-founded the studio) in a way that was really uncool. But he always stopped right at the border of lying or making shit up. Yes, he twisted everything into a negative thing. And I was right there to point out the actual facts. But the problem of trying to argue with him was the fact that “CIG” (the studio making the game) never managed to prove him wrong. They never managed to shut him up by stepping up to the plate and deliver. Instead, they made his case stronger by coming up with more irrelevant features (plants anyone?), more subscriber flare, more ship-concept sales, more of everything except actual game content. An all this while constantly missing “estimated” release dates that they themselves estimated and set.

Then they went ahead and wrote a new Terms of Service that we have to accept. Which is fine, Blizzard does it all the time. But I actually read those things, it’s a result of working with lawyers for 8 years – I actually read before I sign. And in this Terms of Service they had removed any accountability what so ever, every chance of demanding a refund. It was basically a carté blanche for them to sail away with the $117+ million they had gotten from backers and as long as the company CIG was still “active” and stating the game was still being worked on (without ever actually delivering anything) then we had no rights at all as consumers. I really wasn’t OK with that. So I refused to accept the terms of service. That had the side effect of me not being able to login to the so called “game”.

And what they call “the game” (as it was the last time I checked) consist of
1) running around my hangar looking at the static non functioning ships that have gone from concept to “hangar ready”.
2) Fly around in a very gorgeous but limited space environment fighting against enemy ships without ever feeling like “I’m so into this battle”, it’s rather plain but a totally acceptable test bed for flight mechanics.
3) Run around one planetary landing zone. Think of Orgimmar in World of Warcraft. But about half the size if that. And never being able to go out the gates.
star_citizen_bug4) Run around a station, call the ships I “own” that are “flight ready”, getting on board, flying around trying to repair comm relays, exploring a small little station for clues about corporate evilness
.. and that’s it. And it’s all full of game breaking bugs as you can expect from alpha. But compared to what was promised even in Kickstarter, before they even had $20 million, this simply won’t do. There is no exploration, there is no trading, the space combat is mediocre at best, there are no systems to travel between (so no jump points with that mechanic), there is just this. And that’s at “estimated delivery + 18 months”. And there is nothing to indicate that is about to change, that there is a magic key that once implemented will unlock all the missing features and mechanics.

At the end of last year they came up with a trailer for the single player game “Squadron 42” that promised released in 2016. It was freaking amazing! The “admiral” speech was precisely the classic cliche dialogue I know from “Wing Commander IV” and the visuals, oh man… but there is nothing to make me believe that it will actually happen. The space combat right now is way to limited to be close to what has been promised. The cutscenes may be breathtaking but it all needs a space combat simulation to build on, or I might as well see “Wing Commander The Movie“.

I really do hope I’m wrong and that they do actually release “Squadron 42” this year, or maybe even next year. I really do wish that they actually release the game they’ve promised. But right now I don’t see anything that suggests they will.

So where does that leave me? Since I haven’t accepted the TOS I can’t login to the “game” that I’ve spent well over $600 on (not counting merchandise). I was fine waiting until 2020 to see the game develop into what was promised, I really was. But when I’m banned from the game for simply not accepting the most consumer-hostile terms of service I’ve ever been presented with, that becomes impossible. And since there is very little to support the idea that the game will be done anytime soon I find my only recourse is to demand a refund. Although I fully accept that backing a Kickstarter project can go either way and is a bit of a gamble, when they were successfully funded and kept bringing in millions it goes from a gamble to being a downright fraud. My first attempt was denied. But I’m not giving up. Even though I’m fortunate enough to be able to write these $600 off as a dream that didn’t happen, it doesn’t mean I have to accept it without a fight.

And this is not on Derek Smart – this is on CIG failing to deliver. Piling up the “to-do” list of ships and features to get into the game, wanting to release a perfect and fully featured product, delays and now not taking any responsibility for it in their TOS. And I’m not putting the project in jeopardy by requesting a refund. This is a $117+ million project, my ~$600 of that should be less than a fart in space. Think of this as a customer cancelling a preorder because the game changed too much since I made the preorder – which is exactly what I did with The Division & the new Deus Ex when those publishers changed things. Because no one can honestly say that what CIG are pushing today is what they tried to sell during Kickstarter!

To be continued – unfortunately.

Busy Times

As some of you know there some really shitty stuff going on in my life. If you know you know, if you don’t .. well then you’re not following me on Facebook or Twitter or you would know.

And even though my spontaneous feeling is to share the information and my thoughts on this here website I’m actually going to just say “too personal to discuss here”. Not because it’s too personal for me but rather to other people. And other people in this case is children who are too young to know what it’s about but when growing up may stumble on this and ask wtf this is about. So I’m not going to do that.

Besides this shit there’s alot going on right now. We’re in the last 2 races of the F1 season which turned out way worse than I’d hoped, we’re celebrating my wife and my sisters 27th birthdays and father’s day this Saturday. And there’s ALOT of good computer games coming out now. So it’s full steam ahead all the way until Christmas!!!

But one funny thing we managed to do was go on another 24 hours cruise to just get away from it all and that’s where that funny picture came from – we played Bingo and I won a wopping €50!

Making Sense of Disney Infinity

A few years ago my wife’s nephew was playing Skylanders on his PS3 and all he wanted was Skylanders figures to “unlock” in the game so he could finish it. I bought him a 3 pack figure set once because I can’t say no to kids wanting video games.

Fast forward about 4 years and I saw the trailer for Disney Infinity. And so did my son and he basically said “I have got to get me one of those!!”. I remember it well, it was when we saw the “Minions” movie. And I explained to him that it was pretty expensive, €90 for the “big” PS4 version that they were advertising. So he started saving up money and we started giving him allowance on the premise that we won’t buy any more toys, he has to do that himself now. We had a little setback with Minecraft on the PS4 but now he finally had money to buy it so off we went.

2015-09-19 - Sams första spelköp 2We got to Webhallen, he got to hold the big box himself and we went back home for the unboxing.

I expected a rather quick “here’s the disc, here’s the base, here’s the figure, let’s go!”. But no! First I had to create a Disney account. Then it had a parent check, and then enter the codes from the cards in the box to tie them to the account (you know, so I can’t return it or sell it second hand if I’m not happy with it), and all that has to be done on a PC. I wonder how many parents give up at this stage? Because after that you have to login to that Disney account on your PS4 when booting up the game and then… it started in a weird demo kind of way with testing different characters from different Disney franchises when all we wanted was to play Star Wars!? Aha, the “play set” item has to be on the base too so it knows what game we’re playing? Ok, done, “Twilight of the Republic”, go!

Finally it booted up to the awesome Star Wars theme followed by.. “this character isn’t available in this play set”?! What? Oh, we tried playing as Luke Skywalker in a “Clone Wars”-era game, well if that doesn’t work why tha hell does he, Leia and Boba Fett come in the pack?! Oh, you have to unlock the characters in the playset by finding their “champion coin” in the game (or play set?), not cool at all but ok, YouTube helped me and my son to sort that out. Now let’s test “Rise Against the Empire” play set that we got in this PS4 exclusive collector edition. This is the original triology, Darth Vader era Star Wars I know and love. Aaaaaaand “this character isn’t available in this play set” when we had Anakin on the base? Because ofcourse the champion coins are unique for the play set and you have to unlock Anakin “champion coin” in this playset since he “belongs” in the other playset?! Googled around to find out I had to get to the top of a building to get the “coin” for Anakin?! But this means if you buy a “Rebels” era character like Ezra you have to fin his coins in both play sets?!

But ok, all characters unlock in all games… sorry I mean “play sets”.. and let’s roll. On Monday evening we’d finished both ga… sorry, “play sets”. There was two of them and me and my son had them beat in less than two days? And he did most of the playing and he’s 5! What tha hell, what to do after this? … wait for the next gam… sorry, “play set” with the characters from “Inside Out” which kinda requires that Sam sees the movie to understand.

Really Disney? I know you want to make money, I’m not naive but .. really? Not well played Disney, not well played at all. Or to quote the Roberts – “this is bullshit”. You have to make it THIS complicated only to suck as much money out of us as you can? You have gone and totally confused me with “play set”, “power coin” and I haven’t even started with the “power discs” yet and you charge €90 for 2 “play sets” I could’ve played through in less than 3 hours each had I wanted to? That’s really low, the Lego games are atleast challenging and goes on and on! Speaking of which, guess I have to buy the Batman Lego game now that this is already done.

So if you plan to buy Disney Infinity for your kids, get prepared and read up.

Just When I Thought I Was Out …

warlords-of-draenor-1920x1200
… they relase a new expansion that is really, really good! I know, I should and I wanted to quit World of Warcraft a long time ago. It’s a huge time sink and no matter how hard I try I can’t even come close to the level I played at 6-7 years ago! But this expansion is actually really, really good!

They’ve decreased the amount of spells, dropped atleast 2 digits on all item attributes and they’ve made the game much harder to play! When I played as healer I have to work pretty hard to keep the gang alive! And when I’m doing it as DPS I actually have to work hard to keep up the DPS as warlock which used to be easy mode.

And the new content, the new dungeons with some of the encounters (like the one on the train) are pretty awesome! UBRS is back and better than before. The one thing I really don’t like is that we can’t fly in the new zone – and they really do utilize altitude as an obstacle in some zones which is pissing me off riding around for 10 minutes to try to find how to get up a cliff!

So nope, will be a while more before I hang up the wizards hat…

It’s Ok Not To Like GTA

So there’s this huge game-release today. Namely Grand Theft Auto V. Now let me say this first – I haven’t played it. So I can’t say if it’s good or not. But I have played III and IV, both legally purchased. So even though this i V with alot more I’m pretty comfortable in saying that it’s really not my kind of game. I can see how some people can like it, going around being politically incorrect, robbing banks, driving over pedestrians, visit strip clubs and being all “gangsta”. And it may be good story, great music, whatever. And the only real thing I have to clamp down on is that it’s console only. But that’s not what this is about.

What this is about is that the default setting in the gaming world seems to be “it’s GTA so it’s getting 10/10 unless we find something really game-breaking or awful about the game”. And if you dare give it criticism you maybe just have a poll to get you fired – like Carolyn Petit at Gamespot. Or be ready to duck if you only give it a 9/10 like Jim Sterling at Desctructoid that gave it 9/10. What’s wrong that picture?! I mean, just because it’s GTA and let’s you be a gangsta even if you’re as white as they come living at home and all you got is your Xbox, that doesn’t make it the greatest game in the world. I could appreciate the status if it was a revolutionary game that did something that no other game in the world could do, but so far I haven’t seen anything in GTA that no other game has done. If I wanna rob banks I play Pay Day 2. If I wanna go to a strip club … I’ll just go to a strip club! I don’t get the craze at all! I really don’t get any craze at all that, as an observer, seems more like blindness following! I loved Dead Space 1 & 2 and I was psyched about 3 but I didn’t buy it and loved it because it was Dead Space! I loved Deus Ex : Human Revolution, but when “The Fall” came out I was just like “no”. I loved Diablo 1&2, but after playing the beta I was really sceptical and after playing the real game I wanted my money back.

See where I’m going with this? Blinded following is bad. It’s ok to be the one voice in a crowd saying “I’m different”. Usually I’m not that one person. But here I am – saying It’s Ok Not To Like GTA. That’s not a statement that the game is bad, just that it’s ok to have a different opinion. And that’s the good thing about being a Trekker – it’s ok not to like “the original series” from the 60’s, or “the new era” of movies coming out, and that’s totally fine. You don’t have to like it just because you’re a trekker!

That being said – can’t wait for Assassin’s Creed Black Flag. But it’d better be good because so far I’m not that impressed with “Revelations”! (yes, I’ve played through I, II and Brotherhood in less than two months, so far II was by far the best one)

“Star Citizen” & Crowd Funding

Retro-warning!!

Back in the early 90’s when I was but a teenage nerd playing games in my little room on my Amiga I got when I turned 15 and then PC at 18, one of my favorite gaming series was called “Wing Commander“. As a space sim I’d say it was not as good as the X-Wing series but the story was pretty damn good! It was so good that by the time the third one was produced they had actual films – with none other than Mark Hamill as the hero of the story! And the fourth one took it one step further when it launched as DVD and the story became even better!! Then there was Privateer which took up where Elite left off. Anyway, back then space sims where good and had a huge focus on story and a “being there”-feel. Graphics was secondary. And the man behind it all was Chris Roberts.

After being successful with all this he took a break from the game-world and went to Hollywood (and made the underrated and under-budgetted movie “Wing Commander“). But last year he came back and started a crowd funding campaign for a new ambitious space sim called “Star Citizen“. Crowd funding is basically telling people “I wanna do this and this and I need your money to do it, if you give me this much this is what you’ll get” and the people reponds with giving what they feel it’s worth for them, or they don’t and it fails. Well, “Star Citizen” blew all records of crowd funding and reached their goal pretty quickly. After than they launched their website where people could purchase ships and stuff and all the money goes into the development of the game. They are right now almost up to $18.000.000 that people have donated to the project! That’s how much people want this to succeed! There are people that have donated upwards of $1.000 each to this! I’m only at $125 but that will get bigger I think.

But the main reason why this is so “big” in the gaming world is the crowd funding part of it. Normal games go from being an idea to seeking investors to back it up and the always have investors and publishers dictating terms and conditions and every time they want to invest money into something they have to get an OK for it and launch dates are pretty final. Just look at what happened with Condor, the makers of “Diablo”. They got bought by Blizzard but after a while they didn’t like working there so they broke off to start Flagship Studios. And there they had to push out a game that was far, far from finished (“Hellgate London“). And the company went to hell.

But that’s what I love about this. They have their money (and getting more and more all the time) so they are just pushing on with the development. And they show us sneak peaks at specific stages of development, last week they launched the hangar which shows us our hangar and our ship. Next stage in 5-6 months is a working dog fighting simulation. And so on and so forth until they launch the final game. Another thing that’s great about this is the community is so very involved and energetic about the game. Just check the YouTubes from when Chris demoed the hangar last week in Germany, the crowd went wild!! It’s awesome! And we don’t have to pay for a big campus, middle management, no publishers, no marketing, it goes to the development of the best, most ambitious space sim game ever. I hope. Because crowd funding is a lot about hoping that they deliver what they promise. Like Ouya, as far as I can tell right now it really isn’t delivering what they promised.

But I have faith in Chris Roberts. I don’t think they are going to be able to push everything they want into the game when it launched but pretty sure it’ll be an ongoing development. Stay tuned!!

Assassin’s Creed

One of the few game series I’ve never given a try has been Assassin’s Creed. Not that I had much against it but it looked like it was another massproduced series of games with little story or thought. Man was I wrong and I’m glad I gave it a shot!

That shot came about when I saw the gameplay trailer for the one comming in November. The animation, the graphics, how they’d gotten the movement rights, the seemless of it, it got me interested. And as part of the Steam Summer Sale I bought the entire series and I’m already done with the first one and halfway through the second one. And yeah, it has good graphics, animations etc. And great atmosphere. And also great story and alot of thought went into it, atleast the second one where they are basically redifining the Bible and creationalism. Ofcourse it’s just a game so take it for what it is, but still, a bold move. And I like it when sci-fi (which I’d call it) meets the Bible. The revelation of the Vorlons in “Babylon 5” was pretty awesome too. As is the Adam and Eve movie-clip in “Assassins Creed II”!

Tonight I’m pulling an all nighter to go through the second one and atleast have a little taste of “Brotherhood”. The only bad thing so far is that it’s hard to find any good points to quit. There’s always 2-3 minutes or longer dialogue when you think you’re gonna quit.

Upgraded Image Gallery

I’ve finally upgraded my image gallery and imported it into WordPress with a cool addon. Took me about 3 days of work to get it sorted and adding comments and stuff but it’s been fun going down that memory lane again.

Here are some of my favorite galleries:

As usual the password what the company I work at is know as in Sweden.

Games vs Women

Something that can annoy me sometimes, even make me angry, is when people go out of their way to find something sexist or homophobic or whatever their cause is. People can really ruin something fun like an ad on TV that has humor and BAM! someone shows complete lack of humor and just knocks it down because it made fun of women being portrayed in a special way.

Not that I condone portraying women bad, but there’s this huge space between making something funny in a 30 second ad to having an evil master plan. And sometimes I even feel sorry for those people that can’t look at an image without trying to find something politically wrong with it.

But sometimes there’s the freak occurence when they actually have a point! And I think Feminist Frequency may just have one, even though I think they mistaken in other areas. Who? “Feminist Frequency a video webseries that explores the representations of women in pop culture narratives.” says their website. It’s created by Anita Sarkeesian and they have published two long YouTube videos on the subject of how women are portrayed in video games. Not today, but even back in the 90’s. Video 1 is here and video 2 is here. Waiting for video 3.

When I started watching it I was hoping it would be just another feminist trying to prove there’s an Illuminati conspiracy to portray women as inferior beings. And she partly goes into that territory which I think isn’t really helping their case. I’ve played games for a long long time and I haven’t reflected much on this issue. And had there been a long running plan then they seriously failed, at least with me. Another issue I had with the videos was – “what point was she really trying to make?”. Most of episode 2 is covering how women are portrayed as fragile pieces of porcelain that needs rescue (“Pretty Woman” anyone?), right? And then she goes on with statistics of how many women are victims to spousal abuse? How did a (“women being fragile in computer games”) result in b (“women are being beaten because of how they are portrayed in computer games”)? Or did I miss a step?

I can give her points that there is a real lack of women heros in the gaming business. And when cutting so many games together with the common theme like “your wife dies and you have to save your daughter” then yeah it’s apparently lack of creativity on the writing-side of things. We need more Mass Effects and Diablo 3’s where we can chose the sex of our hero to make this even more of a non issue. Although I have to say she missed Diablo 3 when writing up exampled of “women turned evil so you have to kill them” 🙂

I have for a long time thought that treating something like a non issue is a good way to live. 2 guys wanna get married to each other? Not an issue. But Takei made me rethink that by saying that “if we don’t treat it like an issue we’re sweeping it under the rug and pretend there isn’t violence toward the gay community on a daily basis”. And he’s right of course. And I guess it’s the same here, for me it wasn’t an issue of women being portrayed this way. But if we don’t see the issue it won’t change. And not changing our ways is bad.

Playstation 4 vs. Xbox One

Not sure how many of you are into the “console war” of Nintendo Wii vs. Sony Playstation vs. Microsoft Xbox? I’ve never been a major fan of consoles really but back in 2000 I bought a PS2 and basically only played Tekken and Grand Tourismo on it, that was it.

Then I bought the PS3 when it came out. That, the PS3 version of “Civilization” and an exercise bike made me lose about 30 pounds! And I’ve watched bluray on it and used it as the primary media player with the use of PMS. But I’ve never been really big on console games. Racing games makes sense but I prefer games with keyboard and mouse. And I’ve never really seen a big enough reason to buy an Xbox 360. I missed out on Halo unfortunately and the entire Xbox Media Center thing and being able to download games and play them on a modified Xbox. But as I’ve said, never been heavily into console games. But it’s not that I’m a huge Playstation fanboy (I can easily crack down on it, like how it’s not nativaly able to play MKV files even though it’s suppose to be DivX compliant!), it’s just that I’ve simply not gotten around to it.

Well now that both are coming out with new consoles I’m ofcourse thinking which one to buy first. And I’ve gotta say it’s looking alot like it’s gonna be Playstation again. Not that I was blown away by their pretty mediocre reveal or the games or anything like that. But because they aren’t conceded enough to think they can change how I have my entertainment setup at home in my living room which Microsoft thinks they can, but I can already tell them “no”.

Xbox One is supposed to be the “one” box to rule them all and make me throw everything else away in my living room. Well it doesn’t have speaker outputs so I’ll still need the amplifier. And unless the plan to release one specifically for Viasat in Sweden I’m still gonna need my satellite reciever with a build in HD to record stuff so there’s that. And there’s no way they are going to support MKV playback over my network at home so I’m still going to need a HTPC computer. So no, it’s “just another box”. I can see how they want me to connect my satellite box to the Xbox input so I can watch TV through my Xbox to minimize the screen and browse the web and read my e-mail on the side. ‘Cause today it’s terrible inconvenient to do that from my phone in my couch, right? .. And the EA Sports partnership? … not really! Had it been a FIA partnership then yay but focusing on NFL, really? Yeah, it’s big there but not anywhere else. What more was there? Halo TV series? Yeah, am I going to buy an Xbox to watch a TV show, that’s more than likely going to be on YouTube or downloadable somewhere else. And the size of the thing? And it comes with an 500 gig drive which by todays standard is pretty lame – and you can’t even upgrade it, something Playstation have not only supported but actually encouraged to prolong the life of their consoles! But yeah, I can buy a USB drive and hook it up (which I can do just as well with a PS4) and I’ve got one more device that I wasn’t suppose to have.

I’m not going to go into the “online” and “killing of used games market” because neither of those are actually a problem – FOR ME!

If I had any input on the development of the new Xbox here’s my list of things to do that would make me go “YAY!”:

– Multiple HDMI inputs. This would be a great solution so people won’t need to switch channels on their TV or amplifier (if you connect your HDMI inputs to the amplifier and then to the TV). That would be huge!

– Replaceable HD

– Full Xbox Media Center support over LAN.

– Stop focusing on partnerships that offer stuff only a small percentage of consumers want !

With those four things I’d easily buy an Xbox over a Playstation. Because the Playstation doesn’t have HDMI in at all. Or any sort of “play media over network” thing that works well. And the only partnerships I know of are all games-related. With the one exception for DivX.

Or I may end up buying neither until 2 years in when they are half the price…

 

 

Could’ve Been Better

So how was that weekend you wonder?
To start off, meeting up with my trekking buddies for a beer and burger, great! Always a pleasure. Then came the movie… well I don’t know why I still bother going to the movies actually. First I had to pay extra for the 3d glasses! They should also have offered earplugs because the sound was way too loud. And not “I can hear this through concrete walls”-loud because that I can enjoy. This was loud as in sharp hurting my tinnitus-ear, so I spent half the movie covering an ear. And who needs an AC when you have a thousand people watching a movie when we can make them sweat?! Why do I bother!?

Afterwards I went home (which took longer than it should) and spent a few hours playing computer games until I was tired enough to fall asleep. And I thought I’d be enjoying lying in bed and just not do nothing without having a son yelling at me to get up. But I didn’t, got up at 8 again and watched some TV, movies, Formula 1 and whatnot and playing games, just like I planned. What wasn’t a part of the plan was a phone call telling me that an acquaintance passed away during the night. He’s a guy I met every month at our Star Trek gatherings, a really nice and all around righteous dude. So that pretty much ended that day on a downer. On Sunday it was back to the same stuff and the F1 race from Barcelona with another Ferrari win! And by now the family was back home so it was back to normal life again.

So yeah, it could’ve been better, definitely. But it was still pretty good!

Upcoming Weekend of Awesomeness

As usual I hate to get my hopes and expectations up. Because it almost always leads to disappointment. But this time I can’t help it!

To start with, today is what’s called a “squeeze-day” in Sweden, which isn’t as cuddly as it sounds. It means it’s a workday between two non-workdays. And there’s the tradition that “squeeze-day” is a very unproductive day of slacking since most offices have a skeleton crew, including this one. So today will be a very slow day at work with no meetings and lots of labbing with Sharepoint 2013!

And you know I love my wife and son, right? But they’ll be away for the weekend, which means it’s just me me me. And the new Star Trek movie premiers tonight. Although I’ve already seen it but not in the full glory of 3D! And there’s an F1 race this weekend, Spain nonetheless which means Alonso will try extra hard. And I’ve got my Ben & Jerry’s in the freezer and Red Bulls in the fridge. And Diablo 3 just received a small overhaul. So yeah, I hate to get my hopes up but this weekend has a lot of ingredients to be a weekend of awesomeness!

“I’m Here For You” .. ?? Really, Isaac??

Oh how the mighty have fallen. In this case Isaac Clarke. You know, our beloved “engineer gone killing machine on rampage to hell and back that ended him institutionalization with a few nervous breakdowns before he destroyed an entire colony” in Dead Space 1 and 2. And it’s all summoned up in that one quote – “I’m Here For You”. What tha hell is that about, Visceral!?

A bit of warning – this will contain spoilers…

The Dead Space story, game wise, begins with Isaac Clarke being an engineer on a little ship sent to find a big ass planetcracker space ship where his girlfriend happens to work. And it all goes “Alien”-esque from there and he, mostly using a really cool and by now iconic weapon, the plasma cutter. He goes around that ship trying to fix things and majorly killing necromorphs like it aint a thing, stomping dead bodies and mutilating things like he just had breakfast. Sure, all the time he’s hoping to find his girlfriend safe and sound but hell no, cause she’s dead already having committed suicide to become one of those necromorphs he’s probably stomped to pieces! And he goes down to the planet, reaks havoc and kills the boss and rides into the sunset in his little ship with his girlfriend playing tricks in his mind.
And that’s just in the first one! In the second one he wakes up in a mental institution with a guy killed in a very bloody way a few inches from his face and he escapes, picks up a plasma cutter and goes on a rampage throughout the colony killing necromorphs and stomping things like it’s almost time for lunch. He finds this Ellen Ripley-like character that get’s her eye removed with a screwdriver by a mental “friend” of Isaacs that he later shoves that bloodied screwdriver through his cranium, but not before killing more people and even “babies turned kamikaze-bombs” and he even deliberately unleashes a horde of necromorphs on a bunch of GI Joes just doing their job and then he has his arm pierced by a harpoon before he turns the harpoon rifle on the man in charge and shoots one through his head in a very graphic way. Then he has another meltdown and destroys the “whetever that was” by killing his dead girlfriend 3-4 times and then sits down to await his death. But the previously mentioned one eyed chick returns to save the day and they ride into the sunset together.

Never during all of this has there been anything romantic going on on screen or in dialogue. Because this is a bloody and messy horror game and the hero has been to hell a back and had nervous breakdowns and done some horrible things in the quest to try to do what’s right and just end this nightmare. But now in the third installment all of a sudden “he’s a lover, not a fighter”!? What tha hell, how did that happen? How does a person go through all of this crap to end up in a romance threesome – and give a shit? The Isaac I played would either not have given a shit by now but this Isaac have apparently watched “Beverly Hills 90210” and says shit like “I’m here for you” between stomping dead necromorphs and climbing up exploding walls!

Most of the game was “ok”. Actually up until you come to the planet it’s actually quite good but once you land there and this entire romantical nonsense comes up it all goes downhill and in the end it leaves me with a bad echo in my head saying “I’m here for you” and that’s just messed up. And I won’t be buying the DLC to get more of that shit thrown at me! Why couldn’t he be more like Adam “stone cold” Jensen?! No matter what the story threw at him, his parent’s not being his parent’s, his girlfriend being dead, not being dead, ooops works for the bad guy, they even dragged his dog into the story and the guy just don’t give a shit, and in the end (and particularly the 3 endings!) are still the deepest most poetic endings I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching!

This Is What Drives Piracy

So this week is a week I was looking forward to. The release of Dead Space 3! I absolutely loved the first one and liked the second one, so I’ve really been waiting for the third one. And the trailers for it hasn’t disappointed. But now it all has a bit of a bitter taste thanks to the publisher EA and Visceral Games for sticking with EA!

If you wind back the clock to pre-World of Warcraft and most of the games I played wasn’t legally acquired. Not something to brag about but something changed with WOW but probably more because of the evolution of Steam – a great way to buy your games and download them digitally to your hard drive over the web. It was a lot more convenient than going to the store, buying a physical CD/DVD and installing it. Not to mention when you felt like playing it again you had to find the CD and hope it still worked. With steam you just download it again and play. My Steam library has more games than can be displayed on the page so I’ve been using that a lot. I actually bought the first two Dead Spaces through Steam.

Then EA decided to start their own. I don’t remember what the first one was called but I bought Command and Conquer and it wasn’t as good as Steam. Then they decided to ramp it up and started Origin which is their own Steam platform and the only way for EA games to be digitally retailed (at least in EU). And I’ve bought the Battlefields, Syndicate and even bought Dead Space 2 again since it was that good. But I can’t say I like it. Things like them defaulting the install dir to C: (which nowadays is pretty small when most gamers have SSD drives as C:), and it’s not cheaper to buy them there. Actually it’s cheaper to buy codes off web-stores that you then claim in Origin to get the game. I did that with Battlefield Premium and it saved me $20. It’s why I jokingly call it O(verpriced)rigin. But now they’ve taken it one step further with the launch of Dead Space 3!

I preordered it around Christmas cause I had some money over and it now finally showed up in my library. But guess what? It’s not playable until February 7th! Why is that a big deal? Cause it’s a EU thing – my friends in the states are already playing it!!! And there is no possible practical reason to delay it – it’s not like they are gonna translate it or make it less violent for our censorship or anything. There’s no reason to delay it for 2 days for us! It pissed me off! But here’s the kicker – it’s available on Torrent sites! So if I wanted to I could’ve played the game yesterday, albeit illegally obtained.

And now I ask the suits that are making the Origin decisions this one simple question – give me ONE good reason why I shouldn’t download it from Torrent and play it now? Because of your idiotic no-refund rules I can’t get my money back so my money will still be yours so don’t dare play the “support the developers of great games!” card. Just give me a reason why I should use your service over downloading it through torrent? Anyone? How about “to enjoy the multiplayer”? To hell with multiplayer, I play Dead Space because of that “one man against the universe and winning” feel so multiplayer is directly negatated. Anything else?

This is what drives piracy – poor executive decisions. And whom does it hurt? Your customers and your developers. Because there is no way in hell I’m going to enjoy Dead Space 3 now because of this idiotic thing that forces me to the world of Torrents to play I game I purchased! That’s who, but what do you care – it’s the bottom line that counts isn’t it? Maybe if you would play by the rules and offer refunds or the ability to second-hand sell my digital games, your bottom line would take a hit. But I promise you I will never buy a game through Origin again – this was the last straw!

Updated: I gave it a try and talked to a EA advisor through their support and ask for a refund. It went as expected, if you’re expecting corporate greed and customer service incompetence at understand the issue that is.

Diablo Time!

A week ago Blizzard finally released “Diablo 3”!! If you wind back the clock to 2001 I actually took 2 weeks off from work to play “Diablo II – Lord of Destruction” so you can imagine how much I’ve been looking forward to this game! The biggest difference though isn’t in the game itself, rather that I’m a husband, father and homeowner now. That doesn’t give me much time for playing computer games! Fortunately for me I have the best wife in the world and she’s given me a lot of time to play in the past week because she knows how much I’ve been looking forward to the game and love gaming, so although she doesn’t like it when I go into my crypt, boot up the computer and put on my headphones she still respects it.

But the game is just so addictive and the “just a little more” and “I just wanna try this as a different class” feelings are all over the place so no matter how much time my wife gives me it’s never gonna be enough for me to do all the things I want to do in the game. But I’ll survive. After all, at the end of the day it’s her that I wanna fall asleep with and wake up next to.

Oh, and the game kicks ass! .. too bad Blizzard is screwing it up so hard with all these server issues, which you kinda saw coming when they said “no offline mode”.

RETRO ALL YEAR

You know I’m huge on retro, right? I’m a sucker for 80’s references and “the good old days”. So this year is looking to be quite extraordinary!

First we have the blu-ray release of “Star Trek The Next Generation”. Then we have tons of video-game remakes coming this year – Leisure Suit Larry, X-Com and Syndicate, all of which I played like mad “back in the day”. So I’ll get my share of retro this year 🙂

WTB DIABLO 3 BETA ACCOUNT PLX! :)

I’m actually thinking about buying some random Diablo 3 beta account out there but everytime I’m hit with the thought of “really?? pay money that you have a thousand different things to spend it on than a beta for a computer game” and I give up on it. Only to look into it again the day after!

Actually the only thing stopping me is really the risk of being ripped off, like I almost was when I sold my old Warcraft account. Not so much the money but the idea of getting ripped off so easily online when your better judgement is saying “no”.

But I still wanna play Diablo more than a kid wants to open his presents on Christmas morning!!!

DEUS EX

Been busy the past week. “Deus Ex : Human Revolution” was released last friday and I gave it shot and got stuck right away. And man is it deep!! The gameplay was really good and the story is really good but when I finally got to the end there are four different endings to it and they are all unique views and opinions on the old question of ethics and technology. The story centeres around “augmentation” which is basically either enhancements to a human or replacing an entire limb. The technology can ofcourse be used for good and for evil and in the game you run across them both. And then the speeches in the four different endings, it’s like they are arguing against themselves. One ending is very “pro-tech/pro-capitalism”, one very “pro-tech but controlled”, one very anti-tech and let anarchy rule and the last one “let the people decide for themselves”. I loved it! And the replayability of the game is also great, gone through it 3 times now and still discovered different things!