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1. Ralph Baer, RIP.
2. New Star Trek
3. GMDX, v6.3, is out. Get your Deus Ex on.
4. Classic arcade, in your browser
5. Destiny: Second Thoughts
6. So... Destiny
7. Diggin' In The Carts
8. A dark day for gaming
9. Goodbye to John Hammond
10. Notes from the Destiny beta
1. Quickie: Impressions June 2014
2. Quickie: Penny Arcade Episode 3
3. Quickie: The Amazing Spider-Man
4. Quickie: Transformers: Fall of Cybertron
5. Quickie: Prototype 2
6. Quickie: Microsoft Kinect
7. Quickie: X-Men Destiny
8. Spider-Man: Edge of Time
9. Quickie: Transformers Dark of the Moon
10. Quickie: Borderlands GOTY
1. Musings 45: Penny Arcade and The Gripping Hand
2. Movie Review: Pacific Rim
3. Movie Review: Wreck-It Ralph
4. Glide Wrapper Repository
5. Movie Review: Winnie The Pooh
6. Musings 44: PC Gaming? Maybe it's on Life Support
7. Video Games Live 2009
8. Movie Review: District 9
9. Musings: Stardock, DRM, and Gamers' Rights
10. Musings: How DRM Hurts PC Gaming
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 Dec 07, 2014 - 04:54 PM - by Michael
Ralph Baer, RIP.
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Personal Stuff/Random News Usually I try to write something when someone passes on. But I really have almost nothing to say for Ralph Baer's passing.

Well, except this.

Thank you.
 

 Dec 05, 2014 - 06:24 PM - by Michael
New Star Trek
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Personal Stuff/Random News For those into fan productions, Star Trek New Voyages / Phase II have their newest episode, "Mind Sifter", up for watching.

This is the first one NOT featuring James Cawley as Captain Kirk.

Episode link: http://www.startreknewvoyages.com/?page_id=5083.

Synopsis: When the crew of the Enterprise is forced to accept the death of Captain Kirk, Spock and McCoy must come to terms with their own grief, but when Spock discovers a plot by the Klingons to send Kirk back in time in order destroy the Federation, it will take all the courage and abilities of the crew of the Enterprise to rescue their beloved Captain in time before he succumbs to the horrific torture of the Mind-Sifter.
 

 Nov 18, 2014 - 09:26 AM - by Michael
GMDX, v6.3, is out. Get your Deus Ex on.
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PC Games/Hardware/Microsoft If you haven't seen it before more, the final version - 6.3 - of one of the most massive game re-works in some time has been released.

Fans of Deus Ex should definitely check out the GMDX mod. AI improvements, gameplay improvements, and a whole heck of a lot of bugfixes as well as changes based on what the developers might have done if they'd had the chance to fix some of the exploits or bugs found over the years.

Not that the original isn't awesome. It says something about a game when the fans love it enough to fix it up like this years later!
 

 Nov 04, 2014 - 08:48 AM - by Michael
Classic arcade, in your browser
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PC Games/Hardware/Microsoft Just... check this out. The Archive.org Arcade.

It's really cool.

And as of this week, it now also includes arcade games. Yet another branch of the ever-expanding Internet Archive, the new Internet Arcade brings over 900 classic arcade cabinets to your browser.

Like the Console Living Room, the Internet Arcade is an effort to archive and present these games through JSMESS, a project to emulate various computer systems through JavaScript. The benefit? The games can run right in your browser and thus don't require any third-party software (like a standalone MAME emulator).
 

 Sep 30, 2014 - 02:09 PM - by Michael
Destiny: Second Thoughts
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Personal Stuff/Random News As I move on playing Destiny, a few thoughts I've compiled.

#1 - I can see why some reviewers panned the game's leveling system. Characters rush fast to level 20 and then the "armor-based leveling system", involving Light Points, turns the game into a maddening slow slog of desperately trying to get either random loot drops (more on that in a minute) or else grinding furiously to get the various currencies to buy higher-powered armor from the vendors. It's a novel concept but not what I necessarily call a FUN concept, and more often than not it's simply infuriating.

#2 - Related: the loot system is bollocks. Pure, unadulterated horse turds. It's so completely broken that Bungie have admitted they need to take it back to formula.

The underlying problem is this:

"They're not even rare socks."

About the third or fourth time after you turn in a set of blue engrams, desperately hoping for better gear, and wind up with a combination of green garbage and stuff you can't use? Yeah, you lose all hope for the loot system in the game.

#3 - The final point, honestly, is that there is far less content in the game than there should be. Most of the game's content involves grinding, grinding, grinding, and re-playing missions with "modifiers."

Re-doing the same strikes over and over again.
Re-doing the same storyline missions over and over again.
Re-doing the same repetitive tasks trying to grind for better gear.

Even the community event going through the end of this week - the "Queen's Wrath" event - just re-treads a bunch of storyline missions, sending players off to shoot and kill a horde of named enemies they've killed a hundred times before.

It's wearing thin, quickly.
 

 Sep 11, 2014 - 08:16 AM - by Michael
So... Destiny
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PC Games/Hardware/Microsoft So - Destiny.

Bungie left Microsoft, and left the Halo franchise in Microsoft's hands. They decided to take their existing strengths (developed in the Marathon and Halo days) and make an online-based semi-MMO shooter called Destiny. Basically one part Marathon, one part Halo, with a little Borderlands thrown in.

Only problem: the "always on" requirements are proving tough to sell. There were actually less problems in the free open beta than there are currently trying to play online; disconnects from server are frequent and cause players to lose progress in missions, drop from teams, and generally have a bad time even while their internet connections and Xbox Live / PSN connections, team groups, and voice chat are all rock solid.

In some ways, this illustrates the problem of the "always on" model and why the Borderlands model is probably superior. Your "always on" is subject to the troubles both of server-side processing and connection issues, while a Borderlands model requires much less power to operate and isn't nearly as consumed by the single point of failure issues. As a bonus, I can play Borderlands even when the cable lines are temporarily down; the same can't be said for Destiny.
 

 Sep 09, 2014 - 04:49 PM - by Michael
Diggin' In The Carts
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Personal Stuff/Random News As an aficionado of music of all sorts... this needs to be spread.

Go watch Diggin' In The Carts.. Just do it. You will find your mind enriched and your time rewarded.

There's nothing like some good history, especially video game history.
 

 Aug 28, 2014 - 01:31 PM - by Michael
A dark day for gaming
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Personal Stuff/Random News This is just downright... I have lost the words.

Anita Sarkeesian has gotten death and rape threats before for her critiques of the video gaming industry. But this week, the harassment got so bad that she was driven out of her home.
After releasing her newest web series Feminist Frequency’s “Tropes vs. Women,” which focuses on how women are depicted in pop culture and video games, Sarkeesian has suffered an onslaught of online harassment. Immediately following the series’ latest installment, “Women as Background Decoration (Part 2),” that harassment escalated, causing her to call law enforcement and flee her home:


Those who did this? THEY are the ones who ought to be removed from the gaming community. This is basically what we've gotten for the way that online gaming has allowed to continue - I don't play much online at all, never in the "open queues" of games, especially not when voice chat from the other side is required to be accepted. I learned my lesson with the immature brats playing Halo and Settlers of Catan (seriously, they'd abuse people over a freaking board game) and it's high time that the gaming industry either grew up, or learned that unrestricted, unmoderated "online play" only encourages these trolls.
 

 Aug 25, 2014 - 08:03 AM - by Michael
Goodbye to John Hammond
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Personal Stuff/Random News Richard Attenborough has passed away.

He'll be missed, especially with Jurassic World coming back so soon. If anyone managed to be John Hammond (even though he didn't die in the movie, as in the book), he was the perfect casting.
 

 Aug 11, 2014 - 07:02 PM - by Michael
Notes from the Destiny beta
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Xbox/Xbox Games So there was the Destiny beta a couple weekends ago... I've been letting it sit and digest a bit.

Honestly, my initial reaction is that the game wants to be too much. It wants to be Halo, it wants to be an MMORPG, it wants to be a Co-Op story, it wants to be an epic story... it wants to be a lot. Even with a packed world, so packed they crashed servers on the Xbox360 side and even with dedicated friends joining me, it actually felt quite... alone in the world. Like all the other people playing weren't really playing with me so much as alongside me. When they helped in a fight or two, it was cool; when they ran along right past the fight, it sometimes was annoying... when I was trying to meet kill requirements for some of the procedurally generated missions, it was annoying.

The "special event" drops every now and again? Also cool, but not very meaningful.

The weaponry and special powers? Honestly, if anything, they feel a little bit uninventive. One class gets a ground slam, one a kamehameha type grenade bomb, one a set of nasty gun blasts... the rest of their abilities didn't seem to change or be any different for beans. Maybe it's different at higher levels, but for low level play, one class is as good as - and functionally interchangeable with no change in playstyle required to substitute for - another.

They've got a month left. We'll see if Bungie can make it count.
 


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