Eorzeaxploration!

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is in Beta Test.  I could write a bunch of stuff here to explain the game or the test, or the reboot, or who the hell Yoshi-P is… instead, I’ll be lazy and make them all links.  This post is for screenshots.

So, you’re all caught up now?  Great.  I took my time this weekend and explored all of the available areas in Phase 3 of the beta test.  There’s a lot of areas blocked off, but here are some of the more impressive areas.

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Castrum Somethingoranother

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Materia Thingy

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The Crystal Tower, maybe?

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Nearby the meteor hole is a bunch of floating land and buldings.

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Lots of them..

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What remains of Iron Lake.  The Kobolds polluted it in the 5-year gap…

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This area reminds me of Pashow Marshlands in FFXI.  It’s probably supposed to…

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Don’t eat my Chocobo…

 

ffxiv_20130628_090133ffxiv_20130629_091506After that adventure, I found some people in Limsa repeatedly doing that annoying Dragoon Jump move.  I decided to play them a song.  For some reason, they all sat down.

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My new friends started walking away…  so I followed.

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ffxiv_20130629_091940Time for Swimwear!

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Nice.  Computer-Generated Bewbs.

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XBOX 720 Rumored to receive additional third input

In preparation for the big Xbox Reveal today, Microsoft has begun to leak new details about the next Xbox, via Twitter.

Twitter 3rd

While initially very vague on the details, and after numerous, “We don’t comment on rumors and speculation” replies, DeadLobby.com was able to get exclusive comments from Don Mattick on what the rumored “Third Input” could mean for gamers everywhere.

With previous models, we were quite shy about allowing for a third input.  It’s a new concept that many people fear.  We decided that to be truly revolutionary, you have to go to the dark places in a gamers mind.  After a few glasses are Chardonnay, we decided to experiment with various inputs and found this third input to be most enjoyable.–Don Mattrick, President

While this is all well and good, he didn’t answer the big questions:

  • What IS the third input?
  • Will it be touch sensitive?
  • Will it be a peripheral device with vibration force feedback?
  •  Will it be hard to plug in the first time?

During our conversation, DeadLobby.com was able to obtain this prototype mock-up on the new model, and how the inputs will work:

third input sketch

input jelly

Each XBOX will come with one tube of Gamer Goo to ease the first few uses of this “Third Input.”

Phil Spencer elaborated a bit on the subject:

I think gamers will agree that the third input is a great addition.  At first, it feels really strange, but gradually becomes much more natural and enjoyable, as long as the second input is not neglected. — Phil Spencer, Corporate Vice President

Stay locked to DeadLobby.com for more on this Third Input and why gamers shouldn’t be afraid of “Rear Touch” after the conference.

Happy Birthday %gamertag%! Love, Microsoft

I want to extend my heartfelt and deepest gratitude to Microsoft.  They truly, truly care about the consumer.  I’m not the first to feel the flowery glowing warmth of their love and appreciation for me, the customer.

OK, fuck the prose, I’ll just get to point:

Microsoft hates youWowzers!  Holy wow thanks! Gee willikers MS, how can you afford to keep this program going!?

Did this come straight out of Bill Gates pocket, or did everyone over at MS chip in for this? More likely, you grabbed a few coins from the “Take a penny” jar at Starbucks.

I won’t even mention (no, I totally will) how my Gamertag is not “%gamertag%.”  At this point, why would you even send me an email?  It’s like handing a homeless guy a ketchup packet.

We think so little of you that we went out of our way to show you our disdain — Microsoft

I have more MS points (80) sitting on my account that can’t be spent on jack.

Actually, I’ve been saving all year to buy 1/8th of “The Situation Abs T-Shirt” for my Avatar, so thanks for the bump!

Sitch abs

For those without a PhD in Xbox Points, here’s some math:

1600 MS Points = $20.00 USD

1 Point = $00.0125 USD.

20 Points = $00.25 USD

For my YEARLY loyalty bonus, Microsoft sent me a fucking quarter.

I can get 1 game of fucking Asteroids at the movie theater while I wait.  I can buy 2 extra BBQ sauce packets at McDonald’s, 5 pulls of the nickle slots, whatever.. you get it.

To top this off, they have the audacity to set CONDITIONS to receive my GIANT FUCKING QUARTER.

championTo receive this gift, I must be at Contender status with a Gamerscore of 3,000 or higher.  Oh goody, it’s my lucky day!  After 8 years with this $60/year service, I have around 32,000 Gamerscore (That makes me sad..)

Now let’s get to even more math (and let’s point out of my sad, pathetic existence…)

8 Years of Xbox Live = $480.00

30K+ Gamerscore…..  Well that’s at MINIMUM, 30 games, if I completed every single one to perfection for the entire 1,000 GS per game.  I definitely did not do that, it’s much closer to 40-50 games, but we’ll just stick with the less pathetic number:

30K GS = $1800.00

I can’t even tell how much extra money I have handed over in Add-ons and expansions, but I definitely spent $50 extra for the last 4 years of Call of Duty expansions so…

4 shitty map packs = $200.00

Wow..  so I have handed $2,480 dollars to Microsoft for the privilege of playing their games and playing them online.  This does not account for the 4 systems I’ve purchased, 2 of which we replacements for the 2 that broke and weren’t covered by warranty anymore..

Well thank heavens this money will come rolling back to me now.  I can look forward to a .01% rebate every year!? Not to mention 2% off of 1 purchase every month!

Well, it’s not like Playstation is any better…

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Oh wait, nevermind, they give their members Free games every month, and huge mother fucking discounts (upwards of 50%) on various games every month.

After 8 years of Xbox Live and I can’t wait for PS4.

Call of Duty Eve

That is right!  Better than Christmas and New Year’s combined!  That magical time when everyone you play against will be completely terrible.  When your KDR will have a fresh start.  When no one knows the best camp spots to sit in and every new gun unlock is a mystery, wrapped in an enigma.

What did we do to prepare for Black Ops 2?  We did what we do every year: Play the previous CoD until our thumbs bleed, find the scrubiest lobbies, and make ourselves feel superior by talking poorly about the other players’ mothers and fathers.

“Hey, remember when your parents had that divorce hearing and no one argued for custody? Yeah, that’s because the divorce was all your fault.”

 

It should be noted that “Harry Potter: Book of Spells” is also competing for your video game dollars tomorrow, but somehow it just doesn’t have the same “get drunk and trash talk” allure that Blops 2 has…

“Wow kid, you’re so bad.  Did you really just cast Expelliarmus AGAIN? That’s so Sorcerer’s Stone, n00b!” – No one, ever.

Well, after a particularly rousing dose of trash talking, in the form of only using the RPG-7 in Face-Off, I got a flurry of angry messages from a particularly “sour-in-the-pants” opponent:

Ouch, my feelings.

The rest were salty voice messages shouting profanity that I won’t bother to repeat. (But it would make his mother blush in embarrassment.)  I’m no stranger to hateful messages on Xbox.  In fact, I gauge the previous night’s gaming success on the number of messages I received the next day:

Last night was what you would call a “Raging Success.”

I decided that Mr. Meloz would need a higher-brow response, in the form of a video montage, which I then sent to Basic Meloz (also on his youtube account because he Googled me and found mine, and made sure to let his frustration be known there as well.)

“Oh God, just STOP!” – Basic Meloz after dying to yet-another RPG-7 kill.

Without further ado, my love letter to Basic Meloz in the form of the RPG-7:

OMG, did you see Wonderbook at the Sony Conference!?

–Things that no one is saying this morning.

Sony, why are you pushing the PS Move?  In the absence of ANY real gaming experiences that utilize the Move in a way that makes it a must-have peripheral, you decided to bore the previously VERY excited audience with an interactive storybook for kids.

Watch the full Sony Conference above, via IGN. (Just skip the Wonderbook…)

Even worse, is an interactive Harry Potter book even interesting to kids anymore?  I think you’re a bit too late to this one Sony, especially because the speaker touted working with J.K. Rowling when the title page of “Book of Spells” clearly listed another author, Miranda Goshawk!!

(Miranda Goshawk is a wizard from a hundred years ago, I’m told.)

It’s OK though because this impromptu bathroom break was bookended by an amazing Assasin’s Creed ship battle and gameplay from The Last of Us, the first we’ve seen.  During the ship battle, it’s hard to tell what’s going on the first time through, until you realize that you are steering the ship around an ocean battlefield and firing canons, attempting to board another ship.  It’s pretty interesting, even though it does worry me that the developers are still focusing on new playstyles (Assasin’s Creed Revelations included tiresome RTS-style gameplay) instead of the stabbing and climbing that we all want.

The Last of Us stole the show, as expected, and looks to be one of the best games of this console generation.  It’s such a huge departure from the Naughty Dog that we know with Uncharted, and really reminded me of Manhunt, only without the creepy pig man and sadistic man masturbating to gruesome murders while whispering in your ear…

It's much creepier when you realize that you're the star of a snuff film...

What struck me most in the gameplay was the enemy AI.  At one point during a gun fight, the player runs out of ammo and you hear the empty click of the gun.  The AI hears this too and reacts to it, running out of cover and charging the player, even shouting that the players is out of bullets.

It remains to be seen how varied this might be with the enemies talking to each other and their reactions to the player, (think Skyrim and how you might murder the next guard that says “I know you!” as you walk by…) but in this one gameplay, we saw a few different interactions.

At another point, the player takes an enemy hostage, and instead of the usual dumb AI that will just shoot their friends, this enemy begs for the player to release his friend, then dives for cover when the gun is turned on him.  It’s moments like this that made the gameplay come to life and feel like a living world instead of a shooting gallery and, combined with the setting, makes this a world I can’t wait to explore.

 

 


Diablo 3 and Call of Duty Map Pack Day? Forget that, I’ve got digging to do in Minecraft.

Too many happenings in the game world in the past few days. Someone who is insanely addicted to Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition cannot be expected to report on all (any) of them.

  • Minecraft has sold over 1 million copies in the first 5 days, and over 400,000 in the first 24 hours, breaking the current single-day sales record for an Xbox Live Arcade title, a record that was just recently broken by Trials Evolution.  It’s all really ****ing good.
  • It’s Map Pack Day!  Elite members will be able to download all four new maps.  If you aren’t an elite member, there are still two maps available for free today.  The downside: They are only for the new game type, Face-Off, which pits players in 1v1 and 2v2 games of TDM and Kill Confirmed.
  • Diablo 3 is out today, which isn’t really news to anyone, but what is news is a game-breaking glitch that is locking out players from the Blizzard Server with no possibility of connecting again until it’s patched, showing the fallibility of making a game that must be online at all times to combat piracy.

Don’t you dare touch that Templar!

The Diablo 3 glitch seems to be relegated to the Demon Hunter class.  At a certain point in the game (which I haven’t played yet) you are given the option to choose between a Rogue ally or a Templar.  If you give the Templar your currently equipped shield, you’ll receive Error 3006 and be locked out of the Diablo servers.

Metacritic fallout…

Speaking of Diablo, what is with the outbreak of 0′s for user reviews on Metacritic?  As of this post there are 339 “reviews” from players and 144 of them are negative.  Here’s the breakdown:

4′s – 7 reviews

3′s – 9 reviews

2′s – 15 reviews

0′s and 1′s – 113 reviews

The majority (all) of these reviews are people using Metacritic as a forum to complain about the DRM (Piracy Protection) or general anti-fanboy hate.

I'll translate for you: "Whaaahhh my blanket is all soggy from these tears and now all I have is a soggy blanket. How am I supposed to wipe up my tears with a soggy blanket?"

Metacritic is for reviews, not to complain about issues you have.  That’s what official forums are for people.  This same “strategy” was used against Mass Effect 3 and Modern Warfare 3 to complain about the ending or just for Battlefield 3 fanboys to “get revenge.”

Even the reviews that sound like actual critiques make absolutely no sense.  The game has been playable for about 12 hours now.  Note that not a single review has been released from ANY publication, because the game is not playable offline and the servers were just turned on today.

What kind of opinion can be formed from playing such a game for such a short amount of time.  I don’t see why Metacritic allows user reviews to be posted so quickly after any game’s release.

I estimate that an hour was spent on downloading the game and getting more redbull from the fridge. Subtract an hour for your Cheetos and Redbull dump. Take away another 2 hours for crafting such a well-thought out opinion and putting it to keyboard, and an hour for a nap.  I wonder what my reviews would look like under these time constraints…

Skyrim: A Quick Review

What the fuck, this game sucks.  I spent the first 40 minutes making some cat-woman character (if I’m gonna stare at an ass, it’s gonna be a half-cat-half-human girls…) and then got lost in some dungeon.  They said there were dragons but I only saw that one in the beginning and then NPCs just. kept. talking.

All day, about everything.  Don’t even get me started on combat.  I can only do 2 attacks, and I can only find Iron Swords and leather armor.  Plus, everyone sounds like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

1/10

Dark Souls

I died.  I died again.  After I died a third time, I tried to get a refund but the store wouldn’t take it back so I traded it in for $23.

0/10

Mass Effect 3

In this game, you take on the role of some guy named Shepard as he fights something called Reapers.  I’m not sure, I was only half paying attention. I read that the ending sucks.

2/10 (Extra point because you can make the sex with your companions)

I’m just going to go back to DigDigDigging and ChopChopChopping.

 

Do people still play Final Fantasy XIV?

You can find out for free, starting today.

The world of MMORPGs has gotten a tad bit crowded, with every company showing it’s envy of the MMO cash-printing machine, while companies like Blizzard (World of Warcraft) and Nexon (Maple Story) having held a largely untapped market.

Between 2011 and 2012 there are nearly 60 new MMO’s expected to be released in a market that depends on players choosing just one.  Even the unkillable World of Warcraft is feeling cramped, reportedly losing over 1 million subscribers late last year.

Lalafell are ALWAYS creepy.

Among such a harsh climate, it’s no surprise that new MMOs lose the majority of their customers after the first free month is over.  For Final Fantasy XIV, most of their subscribers didn’t last a week due to a rushed release with countless flaws.

No one is safe from the virtual photo-bomb.

The game remained free for 13 months as it built good faith from the players who stayed towards the new producer, Naoki Yoshida, or “Yoshi-P.”  It was going well and I even continued playing as the updates rolled in, providing large strides in the right direction and becoming a completely different game over that first year.

That's right, I soloed that thing.

In a seemingly poor move, the developers decided to start charging a monthly fee in January, announcing that the game would be fully revamped by next year with the release of FFXIV 2.0 (so far every patch had been 1.1,1.2, etc.)  I understand that the game has just been bleeding money for over a year, but they decided to make the choice switch to games like Rift and Star Wars: The Old Republic VERY easy.

Well, it looks like Square Enix feels they have something to show us from the work they’ve been doing over the past four months.

According to the producer, Yoshi-P:

Moving on, to commemorate the release of patch 1.22 as well as the announcement of the Legacy Campaign, we’re pleased to bring you the Welcome Back Campaign!

Upon the release of patch 1.22, an invitation will be extended to holders of inactive accounts to return to Eorzea for ten days, completely free of charge. A great many things have changed since the game first launched, in no small part due to player feedback. By hosting this campaign, we hope that those currently taking a break from Eorzea will be enticed into coming back to see the improvements with their own eyes, as well as experience the never-to-be-repeated drama of the Seventh Umbral Era.

 

By all means, please spread the word to all your friends and encourage them to give FFXIV another look!

All the details can be found here on the Lodestone.  “From May 9 to May 20, former FINAL FANTASY XIV players are invited to experience the vast changes made to Eorzea for free!”

I found a very easy way to make Gil in FFXIV...

Current players should steel themselves for the harsh criticisms that are bound to assault your favorite message board, as many may remember the fallout when the game was released.  Not to worry on the official forums though; due to popular demand in the form “Forum Whining,” returning players will not have access to the Lodestone or the Official Forums.  Still, those community forums will probably be set ablaze.

Remember, don’t feed those trolls.

 

 

Trials Evolution

I assume the “trial” is not smashing your controller.

It’s actually short for “Time Trials,” and the sequel to “Trials HD” from “The Summer of Xbox Live Arcade” in 2010, but it went unnoticed against games like Limbo and Shadow Complex.
When it comes to racing games, my friend Simsclark is a tad obsessive, mainly because none of us are particularly into racing games that don’t involve crashing or go-karts.  He tried and failed to get me to play Trials HD, but he hasn’t given up on Evolution with this latest attempt:

Simsclark

Lou,
I realize I’ve been up your ass to buy Trials Evolution.  To be honest, it was mostly from my experience with Trials HD.  I loved that game, so when I played the demo of Trials Evolution and saw nothing was screwed up, I was giving it my full endorsement.
Now though, after having the game for two weeks, I’m whole-heartedly convinced this is a MUST HAVE for your library.
Of course, it all starts with the simple yet awesome gameplay of the game.  A formula that has been a success for almost thirty years.  Yea, back in 1985 it was called Excitebike, but the concept and gameplay are pretty much the same.  Albeit the graphics, physics, and controls are much improved.
Response:

So I made the purchase.  It’s only $15 and the demo wasn’t bad, but I knew from the reviews it would eventually get hard.  Hard games don’t scare me, like when the waitress claims that the “Super Inferno XXX” wings I just ordered are really spicy (They never are…).  It’s more similar to a less-known game called Motocross Maniacs, which is basically an over-the-top Excite Bike with loops and other ridiculous obstacles:

The general concept of the game is identical.  It’s a 2D racer (but with 3D graphics) where you control the angle of your bike to complete obstacles and get better times.
Simsclark:
One major point, Lou Is Cool: Challenge. You fancy yourself a “hardcore gamer.” Shit, there should be a greater title than that once you start a gaming blog. Well here’s a game that is a pure challenge. Not bogged down by complexity, rules, convoluted controls or any other means to hide behind not doing well. Just you, three simple (analog) controls and the various tracks.
Response:
I’ve never claimed any such title and just thinking about it brings up terrible imagery of “Hardcore Gaming“:

The autoerotic asphyxiation opening scene from The Legend of Neil

Simsclark:

And that’s another thing:  when was the last time you developed a relationship with a track/map? Think about it, yea, you love your new CoD maps, but not the way you have to for a game like Trials.

You like maps in CoD because they are a means to get you kills, or evade the enemy. You don’t live or die by the map, you live or die by your gun. In Trials, you develop a unique and passionate relationship with each map. You’ll curse the landing of a certain jump 100 times, blindingly angry at it, or yourself because you can’t conquer it.

No lag, no rock, paper scissor weapon balancing, no excuses to hide behind..  but on the flip side when you find the perfect line and assemble your golden run, the one that puts you at the top of a track leaderboard, I promise you will be pumping your fist like you’ve never done after a CoD match. And to keep coming back to my original point, this developing a relationship, this new challenge you must conquer, is endless as long as the users keep generating their content.

Response:

Oh yes.  I’ve developed a relationship with the tracks.  A seething hatred that burns so brightly that the game is lucky it’s digital and not on a DVD because I would snap it.  I’ve pumped my fist quite a few times into the arm of my couch to keep from throwing my controller.

Does this look fun, because this is exactly how difficulty looks in Trials: Evolution:

 

The game was fun until suddenly, they flipped a switch and it went straight to annoying.  You learn by doing…. the same thing over and over.  On some levels, after about 163 falls, where I couldn’t even be mad and just laughed at how ridiculous it was:

 

Simsclark:
What catapults this iteration of Trials into the must-have catagory is the game’s most important distinction from its predecessors:
USER-GENERATED CONTENT –  We’re at the two week window and I’m seeing some amazing and stunning tracks already.  The creativity is astounding, from huge painstakingly crafted platforming levels, to complex puzzle levels that will bend your mind as well as your throttle.  And the user-generated thrills just don’t come in the form of timed courses to race on.  I’ve seen “Skill Games” where you use your bike in an Angry Birds mode, Golf were you bail off your bike and try to land in a hole… but most surprising RedLynx gave gamers the ability to make games that have nothing to do with Trials riding at all.  I played a user generated “track” where I was walking around FPS style, or another where I was a ball rolling around a course alla Marble Madness or one that still blows my mind, an awesome recreation of Space Invaders.  The possibilities are endless, the replayablity pretty much infinite… oh and the best part, all this additional content FREE.  (2 map DLC at $10, go fuck yourself!)
Response:
Ok, I’ll admit that there’s a lot of cool tracks that I’ve seen:
Wheatley is in Spaaaaace! on this portal 2 track.
Namely I’ve seen Portal, Terminator, MxC (Most Extreme Elimination Challenge), and Sonic the Hedgehog, complete with authentic 16-Bit soundtrack.

The T1000 is ****ing coming for you dude!

The problem with difficulty extends to this content as well. The game is hard.  I thought I would just play it casually, and not stress over my times and rankings.  I did this for a while until I hit a wall.  See you can’t just beat a level and be content with Bronze.
No, if you want to progress, the game requires a certain number of medals to get to the next set of tracks.  Bronze is 1, Silver is 2, and Gold is 3, which means you reach a point where you MUST care about times and scores to progress, and play the same section of a track over and over until you smash something.
In my frustration, I figured I would just go play the user-created tracks, but even THESE have requirements.  The Terminator 2 track requires that you unlocked the particular bike if you wish to race it, as do many others.  Why they wouldn’t just let the player use the required bike is silly to me.
Even worse, the people who are amazing at creating tracks are also the players who are amazing at the game, meaning MOST tracks are harder than the ones I’m avoiding. To make it worse, you can only rate a track if you’ve beaten it, meaning only those Trials Masocists can rate them and since they love cutting themselves while they play, the hardest tracks are the highest rated.
Simsclark:
Now that I’m done stroking my **** over user-generated content, I feel like I’m not going to do Multiplayer justice.  First off, as before, every single player track you play, there will be a ghost replay of your friend running in tandem with you.
So async competition: I’m a huge fan. Layer on top of that, real time multiplayer either on Live or Locally.  “SuperCross” tracks are 4 lanes wide, and you can get some serious fun, yet challenging races with friends.  And yes, all user generated content can be used in multiplayer in one way or another.
Response:
Whoa there buddy, there’s kids around.  I tried the multiplayer and I found it took long to find a game, searching for 2 to 5 minutes sometimes.  After the race, that lasted less time than it took to find, you are dumped you right back out to search again.  It’s definitely not the best system I’ve ever used.
Oh, coming back to user generated content.  Remember what your favorite part of Forza was?  It wasn’t racing if you ask me!   Did you sell that game back you dick?!?  We barely scratched the surface of car soccer.
If I’m not mistaken, it was personalizing your cars from your garage.  Well, here’s your chance to pretty much PERSONALIZE a game.  The editor in Trials is, as reported by RedLynx, EVERYTHING they used to make the game.  (I’m sure it was a bit easier with a keyboard and mouse) But nevertheless its a full blown editor.  Just to illustrate how robust it is, there is a two and a half hour tutorial on YouTube explain all the aspects of the  editor.  And like I said, you don’t just have to make a race track, you can make whatever the hell you want.  Or nothing at all, and just download the already hundreds of tracks and games our online brethren have already offered the community.
My favorite part of Forza was making phallic paint jobs and car soccer.  NONE of that is here.

They knew what this car looked like when they designed it...

The game, both single and multi, takes a certain mindset.  A perfectionist mindset.  Almost as anal of a mindset as a Street Fighter 4 player, memorizing every move, counter, and super.  The track editor is very complex but it’s also overwhelming.
I’m actually reminded quite a bit about LittleBigPlanet’s creative tools and how user-friendly they are, and now I want to just go play that.  See what you did?
Simsclark:
It’s just $15 to be part of something much bigger than some XBLA game.
In the end, it’s not a bad game and it was fun for a while, until it became irritatingly hard.  The difficulty is a pretty hefty entry barrier for the casual player that I would have rather seen done differently.  Difficulty in Trials stops progression, and instead of giving the players a positive reason to get better, they are punished for not being good enough.
I’ve had too many moments like the video above, repeating the same tiny section over and over, and for me those parts of the game spoiled the otherwise fun aspects of Trials.
I’m not regretful of the purchase but I can’t see myself playing it again, save for the occasional peek at the user-created tracks.

“Used Games” doesn’t have to be a dirty word

Or words… You choose your grammar adventure.

The debate has come up in countless forums.  Click on ANY story related to the next generation of consoles and you will find numerous comments on the “Used Game” debate. Among the rumors for the next-gen consoles, there has been everything from the Xbox 720 not having a disk-drive, to consoles not supporting used games at all.

The war on used games has been around for a while in the form of the Online Pass, where new copies of a game come with a one-time-use code to unlock features in the game, usually multiplayer.  Anyone who buys the game used can usually buy the pass for $10, making renting or buying used a less-than-favorable option.

It’s undeniable that developers should be paid for their work, but eliminating used games is not the answer.

Used games, in my opinion, open gamers up to genres and series that they wouldn’t have taken a risk on at full price. If the game is good that customer is more likely to make a new purchase in that series.

This goes for mid-tier and indie developers even more so.  Without a used market, people wouldn’t take risks on unknown games or developers and would stick with the established big name sequels.  Instead of exploring games outside their comfort zone they will grab something with Mario on the cover. That’s because the used game market has something many neglect to address: A Return Policy.

If I buy a game from Gamestop used, I can return it for any reason within 7 days.  If I buy Catherine new and hate it, it’s another piece of plastic for my game shelf.

A more important concern is game pricing.  I hate defending Gamestop, but when it comes to competitive pricing based on supply and demand, their used games follow this.  The digital marketplace follows none of these basic economic principles, mainly because the supply is unlimited.

Hell, Shadowrun is still $29.99 on “Games On Demand” even though it came out years ago (and the developer went under shortly after) and can be purchased for $3.91 brand new on Amazon, or $1.76 used.


How long will Limbo sit on the market for $15?  It’s been 2 years.  If this was a physical disc, many more people would have played this game because Gamestop would be selling it used for $5.  Just take a look at the digital download section of the Xbox and PS3.  They rarely mark down their games, save for the occasional sale.
Wouldn’t it be a better solution to give a percentage of used game sales to the developers?

I sent this question to Podcast Beyond!’s Colin Moriarty and team in response to The Used Games Debate. Well it seems that I’m not alone in this thinking:

EKGaming.com has promised to share used game profits with publishers and developers.  Unlike other outlets that keep 100% of used games sale, EKGaming will give 10% of used game sales to the publisher, in addition to selling used games for 20% – 30% lower than brick-and-mortar stores.  In a press release, the retailer said:

[The] increase in dev costs is steering them in directions that don’t necessarily jive with gamers, causing them to take less risks on new and potentially exciting IP’s or game mechanics and sticking with tried and true properties that are more of a guarantee.

We want to share our used game revenue with them so they can continue investing in new gaming experiences without worrying about the negative effects used games could be having on their operation(s).

In addition to all this, they even advertise a higher trade-in credit than their competitors:

Recent Trade Credit Given – EKG vs. Corner Store:

Dead Space 2 – $12 vs. $7.5 Corner Store

SOCOM4 – $9 vs. $4.50 Corner Store

COD:MW2 – $10 vs. $6 Corner Store

COD:BO – $22 vs. $15 Corner Store

Batman: Arkham City – $27 vs. $17 Corner Store

Street Fighter x Tekken - $33 vs. $22 Corner Store

It shocks me is that publishers have ALLOWED their products to be re-sold without getting a profit share.  That just seems like terrible business sense, and I’m happy to see a company giving to the studios that keep them in business instead of persuading customers to buy used to steal from them.

“You know, we have that game used, if you want to save $2.99 and give Gamestop 100% of that money…” — Every Gamestop Employee Ever

Without used games, many gamers would have never played Dead Rising, Homefront, Viva Pinata, Katamari, Disgaea and many more.  If this model doesn’t work and become adopted by other stores, used games WILL become a fond memory.

And say goodbye to unique and inspired gaming experiences because anything that isn’t Call of Duty will be deemed too risky.

It’s Stoner-Bashing Time

That’s right.  4:20.  The “greatest” time to play an online video game where you are forced to interact with 14-17-year-olds who have full access to a microphone and their mom’s stereo system to make sure YOU know what their favorite rapper sounds like.

Even better, it landed on a Friday, which means NO SCHOOL tomorrow, which means there’s no chance of avoiding them later by going on after their bedtime.  Magically, EVERYONE is a pothead on this day, and they are proud to show off their love of all things both “sticky” and/or “icky”

Interestingly, the Call of Duty community has decided today is the best day to organize a “Call of Duty Blackout” in protest to… uh… I don’t know.

On the 20th of April 2012, Modern Warfare 3 will be the victim of an organised consumer backlash. The “MW3: Blackout movement” is encouraging players not to play Modern Warfare 3 on the above date in an attempt to get Activision and Infinity Ward to take head of their grievances and problems with the game. — CallOfDutyMapPacks.com

Yeah, good choice.  Choose not only a day that every little wanna-be pothead kid will want to play, but also a Double XP weekend.  It’s obviously working:

On the plus side, the lure of potentially high opponents is too irresistible to deny.  As I type this, all I can do is dream about all the potential “scrub lobbies” I could be in with my incredibly goofy “pot-related” gamer card.

Or maybe I’ll play Diablo 3? Starting today and throughout the weekend the beta has been opened to the public for stress tests.  Most importantly, now is the time to see if your computer can handle it before you drop $60 only to find out you need a new graphics card.

It’s Stoner-Bashing Time!