Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Shatterblog!: Gotham City Impostors Beta Impressions

As those of you who follow gaming or Batman closely may know, there is a game coming out this year called Gotham City Impostors. It is a CoD style FPS, but you dress up as the Joker or the Bat. One important note before I begin: I despise Call of Duty. I hate it. Fuck that game.
At first glance, GTI is a CoD clone. It features almost the exact same control scheme, and level up system. There's nothing wrong with that. Borderlands uses CoD controls, and I adore it. However, after playing the tutorial, I began to notice serious differences.
These idiots guide you through the tutorial. They're kinda funny, and the cardboard box is a sweet touch.
They introduce shooting, which is CoDish. LT aims down sight, RT fires. Standard stuff. Next they introduce a "strange" weapon, which is actually just a chargeable grenade launcher. 5 minutes into the demo, I'm hugely unimpressed. However it gets better. Consumables are a little interesting. You have a stick of dynamite, which functions like a grenade. Meh. Boomerang lets you lock on to a handful of targets. YES. I approve of this. Still, CoD vibes are killing me. I'll finish the tutorial and stop playing.
Wait. What? Grappling gun you say? You mean I can grapple all over the map? Even more yes! Every bit as fun in actual practice as theory. Rollerskates, with ramps all over the maps? Charge-up spring shoes? A gliding machine!? All of the yes! Brink's highlight was the parkour system, and while flawed, I loved it thoroughly. This may be better. The most satisfying kill of mine so far was to hit a trampoline, glide onto an updraft, and divebomb some poor fat Jokerz thug.
Which brings me to my next point. Customization is limited in the beta (and to low level characters), but what I've seen has me interested. Different body types have different health amounts, punching power, movement speeds, etc. The first loadout I used was a big fatty with a HMG. I was a walking tank. Then I tried a lighter build, with an assault rifle and a grapple gun. I felt much more mobile, and got a few good kills from high vantage points. Unlike CoD, when you level up you get a weapon unlock. That doesn't mean you get X gun at Y level. You get to choose to unlock 1 gun. I wasted my first unlock on a bow and arrow. It's pretty accurate and powerful, I just apparently suck at it.
The game modes, at least in the beta, are standard. In one you have to capture and hold 3 points, slowly gathering resources until you win. The other is a bit different. First you grab a battery and take it to your machine. Then you defend it. Nothing special here. Suddenly, as you score, all your enemies are demoralized! The opposing team loses all weapons and powerups, left with only the ability to slap! This lasts until the battery runs out, around a minute. You can speed up the process by slapping the machine. Mopping up the slap happy enemies nets big points. Points are awarded just for shooting someone, even if you don't get the kill, making it easier to level up as you first get into the game. There's not much of a learning curve, except where the good points on the map are, how to best use your mobility gadgets, and a bit of an odd grenade throw. Features I haven't experienced include the full character customization, weapon attachments, and the other classes not mentioned above. I only tried out a few guns, which weren't hugely original, but weren't bad. Overall, as a CoD hater, I still really enjoy this game. It feels like a perfect blend of CoD, TF2, and Batman. Quite fun, original but familiar to any FPS or CoD fan, I found it a blast to play. 8.5/10

Slightly Redder Red: iOS Mini Reviews

I'm a bit of a fan of gaming on my iPhone (or iTouch, whatever), and feel like multiple games need reviewing all at once.

1) Rage HD: The game looks downright amazing. It's great looking for an iOS title, and coming off the hype over the graphically impressive Infinity Blade 2 that's saying a lot. I actually dislike first person shooter titles on iOS because of how clunky they are regarding movement and things of the like, and I really appreciate how Rage ditched freedom of motion for quality's sake. The entire game is essentially just moving through different rail shooting segments, and they're damn fine rail shooter segments if I must say. If I had to suggest a control scheme, pick touchpad, it's the one that's the easiest to play as. Overall, 9/10.

2) Atari Greatest Hits: For 10 dollars, you can get 99 classic Atari 2600 and Atari cabinet games, and it's worth every cent. Insanely addictive and amazing, games like Pong, Missile Defense, and Asteroids are getting very high quality releases on the iPhone, which is something I've actually waited for for a while. Money well spent, 8/10. The 8 is mostly due to that the controls are a bit lacking at times, although it isn't game breaking. 

3) Monster Galaxy: The Zodiac Islands: It's a title from Gaia Interactive, and I'm sure most of the internet has heard of Gaia Online, so you should know what you're getting into with this. It's basically a clone of Pokemon, except with a tenth of the depth and a twentieth of the content, which is okay. I can live with that, not all Pokemon clones can be Pokemon. You capture "mogas", which are basically just Pokemon that fucked Digimon and then got drawn by the artists who work on Gaia Online. It's got a candy land type board to progress on, so it's mostly just fight after fight after fight. Again, acceptable for an iOS title of the like. But what I dislike most is that it tries too hard to NOT be different from other iOS titles like Mafia Wars or Gang Wars. There's rechargeable energy used to actually move or fight, and each moga needs to be rested to regain health. I'm not talking Pokemon Center, Nurse Joy rest, I'm talking actual minutes and hours. It tries way too hard to be like Farmville. Overall, 4/10, just due to what seems like, to me, a lack of overall effort to be its own product. If this is what makes money, fine. But look back on how games like Tiny Wings and Cut the Rope changed the game with home innovative they were. Sure, not everyone can be their platform's Portal, but they can at least make an effort.

4) Justin Bieber Dress Up: You know, I was going to try to be funny and make a whole paragraph about how the outfits are beautifully rendered in 1080p resolution, or how many clothes there were and how much they add to the depth, but fuck that. This "game" has none of that. This piece of shit literally makes me want to individually shoot off each of my toes with a pistol. I truly have lost faith in humanity. -10/10. And that's generous. 

I realize that I arranged these in descending order of quality... unintentionally. 

Oh well, don't expect much else this week, I have midterms, which means I'll be spending my afternoons playing Bioshock.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

The SteamWorks: My New Favorite Commercial

Hey Gang,

Not much to report. Just that I got a new favorite commercial... It's the JCP one...

Here's my favorite version of the commercial (warning, quality isn't great)...

Here' another version that I find slightly less funny but has more people being upset...

Credit for the videos goes to the people who uploaded them on YouTube. So yeah... See ya,

Peter, The SteamWorks

Resident Troll: Misfits Season One Review

Hello, it's the girl who never posts. Shh. I understand, you lot missed me. You can tell that I've been watching too much British television and writing too many British characters, because I just said you lot. Speaking of British television, I'm going to review Misfits, season one.

Misfits revolves around a group of delinquents, all of who have ended up doing community service for various reasons. There's Nathan, the overwhelming asshole; Alisha, the pretty, slutty one; Curtis, the nearly Olympic star; Kelly, the violent, slightly insecure one and Simon, the awkward, lonely one. While doing their community service, they get hit by a crazy hailstorm and develop various powers. The group gradually grows together in lei of a tragedy (which I will not spoil for you) and learn to live in a world getting used to their new abilities.

It's a dark dramedy. Nathan provides most of the comic relief, due to the fact that he makes fun of just about everyone, even in the darkest situations. There's a lot of sex and violence, and because of one of the powers, you're never sure if something is really happening, or if it's going to be undone. No, Misfits is not for the innocent, because it will corrupt your little soul, just like most British dramas. It's a little reminiscent of the few episodes of Skins I've seen (couldn't pay attention too much, sorry), with all the emotional turmoil.

There are only six episodes, but it's worth the five hours of your life you'll lose. The characters are crafted very well, and it's all very interesting. You watch Simon chat with shygirl18, wondering who she is. You watch Alisha and Curtis deal with their relationship woes, unable to touch due to Alisha's carnal power. It's very honest, but at the same time, a little out there. The mixture of hilarity and angst is very fine-tuned, and the last episode nearly made me cry, even when I knew what was going to happen. 

Do I recommend it? Yes. Would I watch it a second time? Yes. I'd give it an 8/10. Look for a review of Living Dead Girl sometime later this week. (SEE GUISE. I'M POSTING.)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Slightly Redder Red: Weekend Update 7 [Special Douchebag Edition]

Since I have literally not typed anything for a few weeks, I've felt like an asshole. So, here's another super long weekend article where I fit mini-articles into list format.

1) Dude, seriously, fuck SWTOR. The game was crashing on launch for close to 3 weeks, and then when I was able to play again, the credit card in use got rejected. Which then took another 5 days to go through again. So now I'm 17 levels behind everyone else in the guild and I'm becoming a bit of a dead weight. Makes me feel bad. However, all nighters this weekend (partly from SWTOR and partly from Midterms next week) will more than likely put me back in the saddle.

2) Forget Times New Roman, Ariel is the way to go.

3) 2012 is becoming a bit of a problem for me. There are a lot of MMORPGS being released this year, and I really want to get in on all of them, but if I do, I won't be on top of my game. Yes, I'm getting back into the SWTOR saddle, but later this year Guild Wars 2 drops, and I'm looking to put some time into that. Guild Wars was a huuuuge part of my childhood, and the gigantic overhaul of the entire game that they're putting together will make me nostalgia like a little kid. However, I'm definitely not going to play a Necromancer again. Can you say "Charr Ranger"?
          There's a lot of free MMOs I want to try out, too. Neverwinter, an online DnD game, is coming out in the middle of the year, and looks really good from what I've read around the internet and from what I've read on their website. I was heavily playing DnD Online, the Turbine game (You know, Turbine? They developed LOTRO. I actually would start playing LOTRO again since it's free to play, but I lost my game key.), but it didn't have a lot of staying power. There were a lot of things I liked, but also a lot of things I didn't.
         For starters, the game had a lot of platforming. That's a neat addition to the kind of game it was, but it was really buggy and at times failed. It was horrible to climb all the way up to the top of the room via some sewer pipes, but then fall all the way back down because your character failed to grasp the ledge, even though you blatantly hit at the right spot (by right spot, I mean above the waist). The combat was also a tad lackluster. Kill count and damage were given to whoever landed the killing blow on a mob, not who did a bulk of the damage. A hunter could simply put an arrow at a group of mobs a Paladin had been killing forever, and get the kill and most of the experience without lifting a finger. It was really poorly planned.
        Like I said though, the game did have ups. The characters looked good, and armor of the same type (i.e. two Studded Leather Helmets) had different appearances, so you could have the same armor as someone else but a different look, which provided for a nice diversity. The multi-classing was very DnD like, and the fact that every quest you got was to do a new instance was really engaging and fun. The instances were well designed, too, fit with traps and mobs galore. 
        Overall, decent game, but not decent enough to keep me coming back after two or three months. Hoping Neverwinter is a tad better. I have no doubt Guild Wars 2 will be good, and many of the other MMOs releasing this year, like Blacklight and the possible Fallout MMO, look like they'll do very well content wise.

4) You might as well call this article "Dungeons and Dragons: MMO Review and Other Lists"

5) I got an IKEA desk! So I no longer have to lie in bed and look upwards at my screen to play vidya games, probably making my minor scoliosis even worse. 

6) I'm almost at two hundred hours on Skyrim! I have ninety hours logged into my Argonian soldier Weetahnah, which makes him my main, which is cool. The other one hundred hours are in my mage, two handed warrior, and assassin, whom I accidentally deleted, so I had to make a new one and start over (not saying doing all of that again WON'T be fun). I actually started playing Morrowind a lot lately, and I gotta say, it's really good. Morrowind is actually ten years old in October of 2013, and was the breakthrough hit of the Elder Scrolls series, I'm beginning to wonder if Bethesda will do something special for it. If gamers are treated to a remake of Morrowind on the creation engine, I might cry. Although that probably ISN'T going to happen, considering how busy the Elder Scrolls team will be with DLC in the next few years.

7) Trainspotting was really good. It was like something my english teacher would make me read. The story was amazing, the acting was superb, and the sheer cohesiveness and how well all the scenes seemed to be the same was absolutely incendiary. Yes, this movie is at least fifteen years old, so it seems improper to review it, but see it. But don't see it if you're squeamish, it's a pretty heavy work.

8) Life post, this has nothing to do with vidya or movies or comics or books: I recently thought I might like to be a teacher. I don't know why, it's just something that appeals to me severely. It's something I would enjoy. I've had too many good teachers who've inspired me in the past, and hey, maybe I'd like to matter to some kid, to kick his ass into being a better person, to maybe be one period the little shit doesn't sleep through. Everyone wants to matter, right? It's not just me? Oh well. Back to studying for Bio.

Thus concludes another thrilling addition to my repertoire of weekend updates. Expect me to contribute a lot more in the future. 

The SteamWorks: The Grey Review

So today, on January 27th, 2012, a new movie called "The Grey" was released in theaters. Chazz and I went to see it since we didn't have school. Now, I know I just released another review only about a day ago, but I figured I'd try something new when reviewing a game, movie, song, or whatever it is that I experience. I want to try to review the experience as close to seeing/hearing it as possible to capture the fresh emotions I was feeling. So today I'm going to talk about the film The Grey.

So I'll try to go through this review without extreme spoilers, since some might just be looking for what other people thought of the movie instead of actually trying to figure out the plot. Basically, its about a group of workers from some oil rig getting on a plane ( I don't know if they're heading from Russia and into the U.S. or from one part of Alaska into the main U.S. body). If you've seen any trailer about this movie you'd know the plane crashes, and the survivors of the crash are left in an Alaskan desert (you know, the snow kind of desert ... yes, they do exist). Liam Neeson, who subtly takes the leader role of this motley crew of survivors, starts rounding up supplies and initiating the basic survival steps when the group realizes there are wolves in the area.

So after deciding what course of action to take, the band of workers take to a forest located nearby in an attempt to not only find help but to move away from the wolves' territory. Keep in mind, this is a thriller movie, so there's going to be a lot of death, loud noises, and scenes that make you jump. If you don't like that sort of thing, this isn't for you. Also, if you don't like Liam Neeson, this movie obviously is not for you. If you are a radical about God or religion, this movie might also not be for you. Throughout the movie, the survivors talk about their views and beliefs on God. At one point, Liam Neeson actually curses out God, and drops a few "f bombs" in while he's demanding divine help. There's also just a lot of profanity in general.

Finally, before I actually talk on my feelings about the movie, I'd like to point out that I read a couple reviews on some other sites before I wrote this, just to see what other people thought. There are a TON of critics out there that completely bashed this movie. Many described it as "unreal" (in the bad way) and "boring". They also talked about how Carnahan, the director of the movie, must have had an extreme animosity toward wolves due to the "feral nature he gives to this elegant and majestic animal of nature". The only point I could find myself to agree with by other critics was on the graphics of the wolves; they weren't exactly great. There were quite a few times where I could tell it was a machine or an animation. I'm not asking them to kill/abuse real wolves (for as my friends will tell you, I'm an animal lover; particularly I love dogs), however with the technology available to us I feel they could have done a bit better.

Honestly, I really enjoyed it. However, in order to enjoy it, you have to keep in mind a few thoughts while watching it to truly enjoy the movie. The first is simple; of course it's unreal. It's a movie. The only movies that actually "try" to be realistic movies are those like Paranormal Activity or Apollo 18, and this was certainly not one of those. I mean, Neeson lands practically unharmed from the crash pretty much lounging in his seat for crying out loud. The movie isn't trying to be real, nor was it ever trying. If you wanna see real surviving, go watch Bear Grylls drink his own piss on Discovery. You must keep in mind how this movie was meant to be symbolic and not visually real, but I'll get to that later.

The next thing you have to keep in mind is the question: "Is a thriller movie for me?" How do you know if a thriller is your genre? You know it's not when you find them boring. Suspense not only requires time, but it needs to be set up accordingly to be at least decently executed. It doesn't just happen in the blink of an eye. You must also keep in mind that this is an action/horror thriller, which is not the same as a mystery thriller. I say horror simply because the same scenario; that is, surviving an air plane crash and facing the elements, could happen to anyone, and it already has. There's no grand scheme or huge riddle to be solved here. And honestly, even if you are a thriller lover, there are going to be some thrillers that you simply don't like; it could be the setting, the characters, the actors, the director, or you could simply just be displeased with the movie. There could be some other factor contributing to your dislike of the film rather than simply the genre.

Lastly, you must keep in mind the symbolic nature of this piece. Please, keep an open opinion while watching this piece. The ferocity of the wolves, the morally corrupt "friends", the barren landscape; it's all a metaphor. Now obviously everyone interprets metaphors differently, and I'll attempt to explain to you how I saw the movie. I saw the crash into the wasteland as a metaphor for the support one has in the current world of today. If something happens to you, no one's going to save you; you have to help yourself. I took the aggressive wolves to be the evil in the world, and how society will rip you up and spit you out if you don't try to make something of yourself. I saw the morally corrupt workers as the film saying that you can't trust your friends to protect you and help you all the time; there's going to be times where you need to support yourself.

It's strange, because I was just having a conversation with my mother the other day about God. My point was, when you experience a rough spot in your life and make it out alive, for lack of a better word, why thank God? And to a further extent, why pray? If I just sit in church all day and ask God to help me, will my problems be solved? Or should I thank and be proud of myself for surviving all this way to make it out of the trouble? My mom, obviously a more firm believer in God, held the opinion that God gives you the strength and the willpower to get through those dark times if you pray and ask for help; so, in other words, he'll help you mentally conquer your challenges.

Again, that's just my personal views, and these are not the views of anyone else that writes for Project: Better Dolphin. Please don't be offended if you disagree. This movie, however, discusses the same thing; it shows that you need to support yourself to get out of tough times and rough spots, simply because no one else is going to do that for you.

The only thing I really didn't like about the movie was the humans' brutality toward the wolves. I mean, sure, I can partially understand why they treat them with such disrespect; the wolves are hunting them down and "dehumanizing" them. I understand that it's the natural mindset of humans when something like that happens. However, like I said, I'm an animal lover, and half the time, I didn't know whether to feel bad for the wolves or the survivors. Obviously and inevitably, the gang cooks one of the wolves they kill to eat as food. However, they do a bunch of degrading actions to the body such as stabbing it almost a million times, decapitating it and throwing it "back to the pack", and also the simple derogatory language they use toward it. I was upset, but I honestly wasn't sure for who, and I think that conflicting feeling was meant to be experienced by the audience to not only show one's compassion for human suffering, but also the hate for human corruption.

All in all, I really enjoyed the movie. Regardless of what others say, it had a really deep and meaningful question about life, and the actors preformed phenomenally. While on the surface being a tad bit cliche with the whole, "Oh my god the plane crashed and now we're in the middle of nowhere," type plot, it reaches out to make itself unique by presenting a creative way of presenting the events and asking its audience a deep and moving question. As I said, the wolves could have been a bit better, but overall, it was spectacular.


Peter, The SteamWorks 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Steamworks: The Force Unleashed II Review

Hey Gang,

So for the past week I've been promising you a review, and here it is! Since no one weighed in their opinion, I decided Star Wars was getting a review today. However, I'd like to again inform you that I only played about 2 hours into The Force Unleashed I and decided to move on to Force Unleashed II because the first was simply unplayable for me. So here we go:

First I'd like to talk about the story which causes many debates among several anonymous voices in my head. In all honesty, it wasn't a bad story; it had potenital, and it didn't make me want to stop playing. In fact, it made me kept playing; I wanted to find out more about this "clone" Starkiller. However, it's pretty obvious why the story is the way it is, and it was heavily influenced by business.

It's obvious that this game wasn't planned from the beginning. There was only supposed to be one Force Unleashed. However, since it was a jem in its time, the game generated a fairly large fan base. So what do you do when you make a lot of money? You try to make more, extending the product some the fan-base buys up all the new content. This CAN be successful sometimes, in example the original Star Wars movies. George Lucas never planned any of the other movies other than Episode IV (correct me if I'm wrong?), but when he saw an huge fan base for the movie, he eventually made the rest.

I feel like Havok (the gaming company who produced the games) was rushing to keep their fan base that they had built. They rushed the story and created a 4 hour long game. As I said, I really do like the basic concept of the story arc. It has the potential to be phenomenal.  But there's simply not enough depth incorporated into the roots. The huge story line twist, which is introduced in the beginning of the game, is simply never put to rest, which I feel was Havok saying "Hey guys, if you like this, we'll make more." I traveled two other planets than Kamino, the planet you start on, and I also fought a 2 hour long battle on a star ship. They simply didn't expand enough to benefit the players or even themselves to bring it further.

A huge number of people were also bitter that the dark side ending wasn't canon. Let me explain; as anyone could have guessed, you face Darth Vader as your end-game boss. When you get him into a killing position, you get a choice to make two options; the light side decision or the dark side decision. Obviously, you probably know what the dark side ending was, and that simply has no way of being canon. I chose the light side ending simply because I wanted to see the legitimate ending and because I didn't know what it was. I personally don't see why people are bitter about it; there are a lot of Star Wars video games, TV Shows, and specials (*cough cough Christmas Special*) that are simply not canon, and the argument that you spent all that time to get a non canon ending is illegitimate because A) The game isn't even that long and B) because you have to spend your time doing anything; you chose to take your chance with it.

Anyway, let's talk combat; it hasn't evolved much from the previous game, let's just say that. I will tell you that there are less force resistant enemies, which is nice, and the boss fights are a lot easier to beat versus the unbeatable ones in its predecessor. This game makes you use our combos more often, which is nice. I am a sucker for shiny graphics which they use well (again, relative to when it was released. Compared to games today, the graphics are shit, but back then it was outstanding). And who simply doesn't enjoy force grasping the innocent Storm Trooper over in the corner and holding him over a cliff while he screams in fear? It never gets old for me...

So is the game worth the money? If you were paying $49.99 for this baby, then no, it wasn't worth it unless you're a big Force Unleashed fan or a Star Wars fan in general. However, now that it's a few years old, I myself picked up a used metal collectors edition box at my local GameStop for less than $20. If you're simply a gamer in general, I wouldn't consider buying it. However, you don't even need to be a Star Wars fan; if you're even slightly interested in Star Wars, I recommend trying this game out. You don't really need to play the first to understand it, however it's useful to know some of the back-story behind some of the characters to get more from the game... By the way, I just lost the game...

Overall Score: 6.5/10

Peter, The SteamWorks

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Shatterblog!: Review Question

I'm stealing the end of Peter's last post. In an effort to prove to myself and others that I'm not the one generating all the page views, I propose a small bit of interaction between us. I want you to comment on this post the top 5 games you would like to see us review. I will make it my job to make that happen, if possible. We have over 1100 views, so somebody must be reading this nonsense. If you're somehow too shy to comment, you can do it anonymously, or drop one of us an email, or something.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The SteamWorks: Weekly Upate

Hey Gang,

So I'm gonna steal one of J.D,'s classic segments for my own this week as I've been very busy over the past few days. So let's get started!

~ On Friday, I played some Star Wars: The Old Republic with Chazz. I healed for the first time in some hard mode flashpoints (aka instances), and I got my PvE Tier One hat! We also did some PvP; we rocked a game of Hutt Ball (basically capture the flag) and the rest sucked. Oh, and before that, I also played some Lord of the Rings: Conquest, which is a good game to pass time with. I'll try to review that eventually too.

~ On Saturday I did a bunch of boring irl things like tutoring people in Chemistry and hanging out with some friends. Nothing you guys really care about. Gaming didn't really happen much that day, other than possibly some more Conquest.

~ On Sunday, I decided to occupy my time without Jarvis by playing Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. God that game frustrates me so much. Sometimes the puzzles can be really annoying. I'm ashamed to say that I have looked at an online guide more than once, which really embarrasses me. It's a really good game, even though it frustrates me. I also started a diet on Sunday, so there's that.

~ So today I had midterms, but last night I had the worst night. I got sick a little before midnight, but I had to go to school anyway for exams. How dumb is that? Also, exams today we're boring and challenging. Tomorrow I only have math, but I know I'm gonna fail it. I got a bit farther in Skyward Sword, which was nice. I'm just about to go into the Mining Co. in the desert with a weird name. Apparently I'm only like 1/3rd of the way in, which is surprising, because I already have like 15 hours. I also called the computer company to ask if they had gotten Jarvis yet, and they said no, so I'm starting to get a bit worried. I told them to call me when they get him...

So there you have it. I know, it's not a extremely long post, but I decided I'd update you on my life. Also, if you have an opinion, let me know what game I should review on Wednesday; Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II or Lord of the Rings: Conquest. I'll review both sometime within the next month, but if you have a preferred option feel free to shout out your opinion.

Stay Shiny (Oh right, so apparently "Stay Shiny" is a Firefly reference -- by the way, I've never really seen anything Firefly other than the first 20 minutes to Serenity -- anyway, Chazz caught me on it and said something. I must have subconsciously seen Firefly because I constantly make references to the show yet I have no idea what it's about. Anyway, just thought I'd tell you about that, thought it was interesting...),

Peter, The SteamWorks

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Shatterblog!: You all missed it!

Who made a wish? This fucking guy! And if you go on the blog to see, you'll be generating another view! I get 1111 ALL TO MYSELF! Muahahahahahahahaha. Ha Ha. Ha....

The SteamWorks: Pro ACTA

Hey Gang,

So in case you haven't heard, SOPA and PIPA have been delayed due to a huge lack of public support. So great job internet! However, on Saturday a bill called ACTA has surfaced into the public eye. You can read about ACTA at this site.

So what exactly is ACTA? To sum it up, ACTA is an attempt to get foreign countries to start looking at piracy, or the stealing of material and issuing it online for free (and sometimes even for a price),with a serious manner. The only part of this bill that I personally do not like is that it's largely being held as a secret. Other than that, I am a supporter of ACTA, or at least I support what has been released thus far.

The big deal with ACTA is that people are saying that you're violating the privacy of the people. The bill says the government may investigate people who are showing signs of being a pirate. Some are brining up how it is illegal to search one's locker in school, so why should they be able to search our computers? The truth is, with a warrant, they are allowed to search your locker in school, so one could say that with a warrant they could search your computer.

If we're protesting against ACTA due to "invasion of privacy", there are also a few things I want to protest against because they invade my privacy. For example, cell phones and cameras. Did you know, unless you take the battery out of your phone, the government can listen in on any of your conversations via your cell phone, even if it's off? Yet ACTA is more of a privacy concern than this? Did you also know that those cameras on top of stop lights not only give tickets out, but have face recognition technology so the government can track anyone and everyone throughout their day? But I digress...

To me, ACTA makes perfect sense; if someone had a crystal methane lab in their garage, do you think the government's going to say, "Aww shoot, we need to give this guy his privacy."? Hell no. They're going to break into his house and shut down his lab because it's against the law to distribute crystal meth. There are certain issues that the government is presented with that require taking away people's rights for the good of the public. For example, when Abe Lincoln took away habeas corpus, which basically meant he could arrest people without any real evidence of a crime. He used this to collect anyone who posed a threat to the Union during the civil war, and while it was a questionable maneuver, it dramatically helped the Union win the civil war. You must also remember that downloading a pirated CD or movie online is the same thing as walking into Walmart and stealing it yourself (which is illegal, by the way).

My case in point: I support ACTA, or at least the parts that have been released thus far. It's an effective way to stop pirating online without shutting down sites like YouTube, FaceBook, Twitter, and other popular sites. It's not really going to effect those who don't pirate things. The only real reason someone has to protest against this bill is the simple fact that it will reduce the amount of pirated content on the web.

Stay Shiny,

Peter, The SteamWorks

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The SteamWorks: Working My Way Out of My Drought

Hey Gang,

Wow... it's been a long time since I've even used blogger.... It feels so ... so strange...

Anyway, can you believe I'm back, ACTUALLY bringing you guys some content?! Yeah, sorry about not doing that for a while... there were some big releases for me such as a W101 major content patch back in early November, and SWTOR coming out late December. I've been so addicted to Star Wars, I've barely had time for anything else.

As Chazz said in his last depressing post, yes ... my month-old desktop, Jarvis, is (momentarily) dead . For some reason my graphics card (a HD Radeon 6870) was overheating (I suspect a defective fan; at idle, I was at 70 Celsisus, and in game it'd top 105 Celesius, which every person who knows about computers knows it's  very bad news. So of course it was shutting my PC down. What that means for people who don't quite know: I could boil eggs on my graphics card.). THEN, shortly after I find out this is happening, I accidentally "strained" Jarvis's wires connecting the side panel case fan to the PC and they ripped off. Poor Jarvis was writhing with pain. THEN, shortly after that, there was a mini explosion in my PC and long story short my computer wouldn't start. I thoroughly examined all the pieces inside, though, and I'm lead to believe that I somehow managed to pop a fuse in the power supply. So that led to an emotional break-down, which lead to me calling www.ibuypower.com, the place I bought the computer from, and asking them what the warranty covers (their customer service, by the way, is excellent, helpful, and very nice... that doesn't happen today). The story ends with me shipping out Jarvis to California on the past Tuesday (Damn the post office for closing down on MLK Day!). I suspect Jarvis should be repaired and home by the beginning of February, but I guess time will only tell...

So this led to some good news and bad news. The good news is, since my shitty laptop (which, by the way, is nameless, because I don't like it...) can't run SWTOR efficiently and since I quit W101 when SWTOR came out, I now have an absurd amount of free time on my hands! The bad news is... a lot of the screen shots of SWTOR that I took to post are on Jarvis. So I'm going to try to post more often now, because I feel bad about leaving this blog in a drought, even if no one reads it (if someone does, please correct us; we were thinking of writing our website down on rolls of public toilet paper...).

SO, since this is me officially coming back from my "break", I'll spend this post simply covering the different accomplishments I've made!
I should mention that this is not my toon...


- My main character in Star Wars: The Old Republic is a Human Sith Inquisitor (specialized in Sorcery). My name is Phobus (no, not like Darth Phobos, another character in the Star Wars Universe. Phobus as in the Greek word for fear). My legacy title is Dunamos (Greek for "power"). I decided to make Dark Side choices with this character. I, along with Chazz and J.D, play on Belgoth's Beacon server, and we are all extremely proud members of the guild < Calamitous Intent >. I serve as a healer.

- My trained skills are Slicing, Artifice, and Archaeology, however I only really participate in Slicing (skill maxed at 400). The other two just don't seem to be worth it to me, at least not for now. Slicing's nice though, because its free money. I've heard that your crafting changes in usefulness at end game, however, so we'll see where the galaxy takes me.

Face it, he's just so adorable... I want a plushie!
- I beat my main story around January 10th, 2012 late at night, earning myself the title Darth Nox in the main story and Darth Phobus in the regular game, which gave me many aneurysms full of excitement.

- I made level 50 on Saturday, January 14th, 2012 at around 6:30 in the morning.

- I've decided that my two favorite Sith Inquisitor comapnions are Khem Val and Xalex (my all time favorite has to be Blizz).

- I've been doing daily and weekly quests to get some PvP gear, and so far I have both my implants, my boots, and my offhand. Don't even mention Illum dailies/weeklies to me... I might cry and throw something at you *cough Chazz cough*.

- I have 7 low level alts with the names as follows (List is as of 1/19/12):

a. Atlis (Level 7 Miralukan Jedi Knight; Male)
b. Hemera (Level 7 Human Republic Smuggler; Female)
c. Phobos (Level 1 Sith Pureblood Warrior; Male)
d. Tavot (Level 5 Zabrak Imperial Bounty Hunter; Male)
e. Malla (Level 2 Twi'lek Sith Inquisitor; Female)
f. Vulka (Level 10 Zabrak Sith Marauder; Female)
g. Hesita (Level 2 Miriallan Jedi Consular; Female)

I suspect Vulka, Tavot, or Phobos to be my next 50, so we'll see if that goes as planned. Chazz and I were taking up Bounty Hunters, but our buddy Eric picked up the game and our warriors are around the same level (mine obviously being Vulka; she's a bit behind though). I plan to hopefully catch up to them, but depending on what time Jarvis is back up and running, that has a chance of not happening. Also, when Chazz's girlfriend Carrol Anne picks up the game, I'm rolling Phobos with that group; so it really all depends on when she picks the game up.

Darth Malgus looking cool and Sith...
That's pretty much it for SWTOR news. It's really hard to review an MMO, because it takes such a long time to experience EVERY feature of the game, and chances are no one truly has. I might try to review it some day, but if I do, it's going to be more of a review of my sole course of the game. The thing that's great about MMOs is that (almost) everyone is different, and that's amplified by many levels in Star Wars. If you're debating on whether to get the game or whether the subscription is worth it or not, I'd say get it. If you're not sure if you'll like an MMO, go out and try Xbox Live and see how you like it; the concept is very similar, and if you enjoy playing with other people online, you might have a future in MMO gaming. I also understand that the subscription price is a bit ... well, pricey. I personally think the 6 month plan price should be the price of a year subscription, but obviously BioWare honestly doesn't give a damn about what I think. I recommend the 3 month plan, which is what I have. If you don't like teaming up with people, I'd like to assure you that almost all the main quests in your story line are designed to be solo-able. I think there was maybe two or three quests, including side quests, in the whole game up to 50 where I needed back-up. I would suggest getting a group of three other friends if you currently have none playing to start out with you; you can make your own guild, and from a personal standpoint the game is more enjoyable with friends, especially end-game play.

Aside from SWTOR, I haven't focused myself on anything enough that it deserves its own topic, SO:

2. Misc:

- I decided to step away from Wizard101 for a loooong time, and possibly forever. I'm sure I'll wind up coming back at some point, but the game just doesn't interest me right now.

StarKiller looking awesome. His lightsabers are just awesome...
- Over Christmas Break, I picked up Star Wars: Force Unleashed I & II (actually got a good condition used collector's box of II for less than $20). After deciding myself that Force Unleashed I was way too shitty for me to play, I decided to move on to II. Just in case you were curious, what you heard was right; the story was pretty bare. I played through the entire game in less than a day. There are some really cool features though, and sometime in the next two weeks (possibly tomorrow) I'll upload a review to the site, so you can check out everything I had to say about it.

- I started my own MineCraft Server! Woot!

- I'm changing my twitter over to @PVenuti from @LukeGoldHorn for obvious reasons.

He's watching you, Mr. Government...
- This SOPA and PIPA crap has really been pissing me off lately, but Anonymous is officially my hero. By the way, if this blog gets shut down due to SOPA and PIPA, I'm blaming it on the Russian Communists ... sorry Russia, but we don't need a nuclear internet. I like mine American and cancer free. 'Nough said.

So that's pretty much all I have for today. Please don't forget to subscribe and comment, if there's anyone there actually reading this (we have 1,000+ page views; we can't just be making that ourselves, you know). Spread the word if you can. Also, ideas on how to get our blog out in the public would be much appreciated! Remember: If you're a hipster, this site's for you!

May the Gamer Watch Over You,

Peter, The SteamWorks

(No? Maybe I'll try a different signature; I feel like my Maker reference was dumb)

Shatterblog!: Content Draught

So we basically haven't posted anything in literally one week. I apologize for that to anyone who actually reads our shit. Pete's computer Jarvis is dead at the moment, Gabby never posts anything, I have no idea what JD even does, and I spend all my free time on SWTOR. It's amazing by the way. I plan to start playing other games and attempting reviews, but, y'know.... Star Wars. If there's anything you'd like to see happen on the site, please comment to let us know!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Slightly Redder Red: Skyrim Sadness

As I crawl towards hour 150, I took my Argonian soldier Weetanah out of retirement. This was surprisingly more emotional to me than it should have been for anyone else.

But, do to a chain of events involving me never doing anything in Windhelm and avoiding solving a serial killer quest, I can't get Hjerim, the biggest house in Vanilla Skyrim (I say Vanilla because there's bound to be mansions [also, vanilla Skyrim. LIKE VANILLA SKY. HAHAHAHAHAHA]). Damn. I really wanted that house. Oh well, I can settle for just squatting in the Gray District.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Slightly Redder Red: Weekend Update 6 [Special Makeup Edition]

Yeah, so I kind of haven't contributed in the last week or two, which is REALLY rare for me, and I feel bad about it, so this is a special long list of things that mattered to me recently.

1) So, uh, happy 2012! Already have some pretty good New Years firsts; first movie I saw this year was Mystic River, which was pretty awesome, and the first game was (of course) Skyrim. But damn, 2012 look like it's gonna be pretty good. Mass Effect 3 drops in a few months, Assassin's Creed 3 is going to happen, Mists Of Pandaria is going to make me glad I dropped World of Warcraft from the list of games I play, and The Dark Knight Rises goes into the theaters. Looking great. And a new Tarentino movie!!... at the end of the year. Fuckkkk.

2) I have a responsibility to play The Old Republic and be good at it so I can benefit those around me via participation, but I'm so distracted. Skyrim is now at hour one hundred thirty-two, so I'm still putting a lot of time into that. I actually tried role playing as a Daedra hating mage, but it took one Daedra with promise of stashed booty to bring me to the dark side. Seriously, though, one hundred thirty-two hours. Hours. That's pretty... I don't know. I didn't know I could dedicate myself to something for such a large amount of time before now.

3) Other games taking my time that SWTOR should be taking: Neverwinter Nights. After interneting around like an asshat trying to get it to work via google search, I just tried to explore solutions and found out how to run this dated thing in about five minutes. Ingenuity! But really, barely into the first chapter and I'm hooked already, although I do wish I could get the multiplayer to work. Alas, multiplayer or not, the dwarf Paladin Gwirin Fauxhammer is content to wander Neverwinter solo. Well, solo as in just me. There's henchmen and junk, of course. If I can get an LAN going with my brother, that might work.
      Deus Ex: Human Revolutions is also eating a fair share of my time. I'm at about... sisteenish hours into the game. I ragequitted because a boss was too hard last time I played (it's the chick with the sidehawk), so I'm not exactly sure on what chapter I'm on or how much I've got left. Although if I'm two thirds of the way through in about sisteen hours, nice. Rather excellent pacing on the dev's part.
      Infamous 2 is once again getting beaten. Hard mode on a good playthrough, and then easy evil playthrough. This is all achievement whoring, and just a chance to play this gem again. My second favorite game this year.

4) After playing through Resistance 3, I kind of have a second opinion on it. I know before I may have said things along the lines of "Oh, it's so great to see the resolution and blah blah," but after playing the game, I'm not sure it was needed. I'm not calling R3 a bad game in any way, no sir, but I think it would have been fine to drop it after Resistance 2's fantastic ending. R3 felt redundant, I guess I'm trying to say. Nobody needed the fine little happy ending, after the two terribly sad endings of its predecessors. R3 felt like it didn't belong, in a way, it was completely detached from the original story line so that it felt tacked on. Yes, there were elements from the previous games' story present, such as the power tower and Dr. Malikov, but it truly felt detached.
     Tl;dr, Resistance 3  is not a bad game, but in conjunction with it's previous installments, it feels redundant and trite story wise. If Insomniac had left off at Resistance 2 and left the world to wonder what happens next, with the savior of mankind dead and the Chimeran warship lighting up like a nuclear bomb, it could have been one of the greatest two game IPs out there (excluding seperate handheld releases).

5) With Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time coming out soon, and with the HD remake of the original Sly Cooper trilogy in stores, I think it's time for an HD remake that would make everyone happy: the Jak and Daxter games (excluding that terrible fourth one). Precursor Legacy, Jak 2, and Jak 3 would be absolutely amazing to play in HD. I know I'm not the only human who wants this to happen desperately.

6) Once again, a great gaming community has up and died due to being overrun by faggotry. Who? Killing Floor. I really, really, really like Killing Floor, and it's one of my favorite games right now, but since it was on sale for close to two dollars over Christmas there's been an extreme migration of high voiced, whiny preteens that yell into their laptop mics for more money. Also, for those of you whiny preteens reading this who don't have a laptop mic and have to type, TYPE PROPER ENGLISH. HOLY SHIT. I CANNOT STAND FOR SUCH IGNORANT BUTCHERING OF THE LANGUAGE SPOKEN PROPERLY BY EVERYONE ELSE. Oh, and stop playing a marksman. You suck at it. I hate joining a game as a level five marksman and seeing four level zeroes stacking up at a corner, all of them wielding lever action rifles, and putting shots into the wall right above the heads of the horzine you're supposed to be capping. IF YOU CAN'T AIM, BE A GODDAMN SUPPORT SPECIALIST, SHOTGUN SHELLS ARE ADDRESSED TO EVERYONE WITHIN FOUR FEET OF YOUR BARREL. Fuck, man. Although when the situation I described above happens, which has a number of times, and I come in and start blowing heads in half like a boss motherfucker, and the kids start squealing that I'm stealing their kills, the immense satisfaction is practically orgasmic.

7) Super Meat Boy is really hard.

8) While I was writing this, I popped onto Bickabebia for a picture of Jak, and I saw that they ARE making an HD remake of the original Jak and Daxter trilogy, and it's being released this year. YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSDAGSDFAYSDAHsgndyabgdsafdsaydsd.

9) Ready for a completely shameless and sponsor-less plug? Games of Gold dot com. Spend your money there. All these amazing classic games for the costing of amazingly low amounts of money makes for happy times. Yes, there are some new games on there, but the best feature is the classics like Baldur's Gate II and the original Fallout games. So many classic RPGs, so little time. And to think the only place I could find these games was on Pirate Bay! Now I can play them without feeling guilty.

And that concludes it. A really, really long ass list. Tell your friends!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Shatterblog!: 2012

So, guys. Guess what. It's 2012 now. I haven't posted since last year! (Yes, I am the person who at 12:01 went "I haven't eaten, showered, brushed my teeth, used the bathroom, etc etc since LAST YEAR!") Now that I got that out of the way, I want to apologize for the lack of content. As you (all 1 of you) may have noticed, we are all being very lazy. Star Wars: The Old Republic has dropped mine and JD's productivity, as well as Peter's, although he rarely posts anyway. Gabby just rarely posts. SWTOR has done nothing to her. I would really like to see some more comments and follows to show that someone is reading the stuff we write. Anyway, happy new year, or whatever. See you starside.