Sunday, February 26, 2012

Slightly Redder Red: Weekend Update X

1) So far I've been successful in playing vidya besides Skyrim. I'm happy with my life.

2) So, Sony's Playstation branch has been doing this "reality show" on Youtube for about three seasons, where they get a group of people to take place in events to become a game tester for Sony. Hence, "The Tester." But this is the first season featuring an internet celebrity, so this was the only season people have actually given a shit about. For those of you who don't know who was voted to be on the show, internet famous animator Arin "Egoraptor" Hanson was voted in by his fans (I would have voted if I had known this was going on, I've been an Egoraptor fan for about three years, he won by a landslide though so it really wouldn't have made a difference), and he was basically the selling point for this season. "Hey, guys, Egoraptor is going to be on 'The Tester,' he's funny, let's watch it!" And, for the most part, him being cool as a cucumber and not being shouty or annoying like some of the cast was redeeming. He seemed a lot less like he had on a fake personality like some of the contestants seemed to have. However, being real on a "reality TV show" gets you nowhere, and he was kicked off in episode three. Sony should probably expect a massive drop in views.
The premise of the show isn't all that bad, but at times it can get really dumb. They have an annoying model for a judge who always cracks shitty one liners that someone clearly wrote for her, and a slightly less annoying host. They also have Sony celebs like David Jaffe and Nolan North show up, so that's cool I guess (the video of one of the contestant who's name I can't pull off the top of my head running over to North to give him a flying hug is really funny). The best part? Youtuber holdenmcclure's video series "The Tester in a Nutshell," which is an abridged version of The Tester, actually has more views than the tester itself. Goes to show how entertaining the show is.
My tl;dr thoughts about The Tester? It's sub-par. The only reason I had even heard of it in the first place was due to Egoraptor's video about it, and it's in its third season. If you want to follow the show but not give Sony the views, here's a link to holdenmcclure's channel:

4) Tribes: Ascend is great. The best free-to-play online game I've played since... ever. PLAY IT. It requires skill, strategy, teamwork, dedication, and balance, and plus the community is awesome since the CoD Kiddies haven't gotten their hands on it yet. Also, it's so satisfying to cap the flag going 200km/h. What other game has that? Go fast while you still can.

5) So I finally started Dark Souls, and goddamn is this game amazing. I had no idea how good the gameplay and exploration elements were from just hearing Alex and Chazz talk about it, I had to experience it first. The true open world gameplay, the fun combat, the amazing feel of it overall, ranks it as one of my top games of 2011 (you can tell me it's too late to name top games of 2011, but I don't care, screw you). I've put about... a little less than twenty hours into the game, and most of that was spent running around farming Titanite to make Quelagg's Furysword. But, I just downed Dragon Slayer Ornstein and Executioner Smough today, and I killed Smough first, so I got the coolest armor in the goddamn game. Alex was also impressed at me being able to go in and kill Giant Ornstein on my second try, so I'm proud of myself. Albeit, I died to the both of them about eight times. I digress.

6) It is now a universal law that Kingdom Hearts I + II have the greatest intro cutscene of any video game ever made, and will be made (until Square finally releases three). REGARRRRDLESSSS OF WARRRRRRNINGGGGS THE FUTURE DOESN'T SCARE ME AT ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL NOOOOTHINGG'S LIIIIIIIKE BEEEEEEFORE.

7) I'd like to take a minute to talk about the recent events regarding Bioware employee, Senior Writer for Dragon Age II Jennifer Hepler. Or, better known as Hamburger Helper. Reddit has made a lot of attacks against her, mostly just bombing the hell out of her Twitter account, attacking her in a Q&A on the SWTOR forums, and other assorted name calling and insulting her character. Now, I do have issues regarding all the twelve-year-old name calling and the likes, especially from grown men and women making horrid remarks on her reputation as a writer, but I am equally ashamed of Hepler as well, and how she handled the situation.
Yes, the hate directed at Hepler was childish and mundane, and I would go into the events surrounding if not for everyone and their mom knowing about what happened, but so was how Hepler reacted. There's a saying that goes 'Don't feed the trolls," but Hepler fed them plenty. What started as "They're jealous that I have a game industry job and a vagina, while they can't have either one," soon just degraded into "fuck you!", and "no, fuck you!" The calm and professional air which Hepler should have kept to stay above the masses was broken. Simply staying silent against the torrent of insults would have been more professional than calling the age old excuse of "jealousy" and stooping to their childish levels.
But the part that pisses me off the most is when Hepler pulled the misogyny card on the haters. Just because she's a woman with a game industry job means she's getting a ton of hate. No, you're stupid. Every day, gamers make fun of plenty more men with game industry jobs (see Gabe Newell, Todd Howard, Robert Kotick, Notch, etc) then women with industry jobs, but they don't go pulling the sexism cards. In fact, we (yes, I include myself in this collective conscious) have been making fun of folk such as Gabe Newell and Reggie Fills-Aime for years before you surfaced, Miss Hepler, so you have no right to pull the misogyny card just because someone on the internet said you can't write. It's your material we hate, not your genitals. Yes, I'm growing a tad unprofessional as I write this, but that's my rage building up over how even I'm getting mad over this woman. I know I'm getting off topic with the "this is why you suck" speech, but why the hell would you work in the game industry if you hate video games? That's like being a successful sports broadcaster and hating sports. Not knowing anything about video games, and never playing them, actually affects the kind of scripts being written. Tim Schafer mentioned something in an interview about this regarding story in video games, how you have to know what you're writing for if you want to write for it, so I won't go in depth, I'll just recommend you search for the interview.
In closing, I recommend Googling "M.I.T.H."

8) Why is "I never asked for this" still funny while "Arrow in the knee" isn't? I saw a t-shirt with an arrow in the knee joke, and I said to my brother "I might as well buy a T-shirt with a picture of someone beating a dead horse with a sledgehammer," but I can laugh all day about Adam Jensen not asking for things. It must be one of nature's mysteries. I feel like the video on the right, however, deserves internet fame. Anyone who let this gem of a line slip through, and how Spike Spiegel's former voice actor was willing to keep a straight face while recording this is beyond me.

In closing, Weekend Update is a fun thing that lets me make a bunch of articles in one entry instead of clouding up the blog with multiple per-day posts. I likey. Also, after about two years of operating out of Steam, I finally caught on about the whole connection between "Valve" and "Steam." Please tell me I'm not the only one....

Friday, February 24, 2012

Slightly Redder Red: NOPE NOPE NOPE







So.... time for me to calm down after almost busting through the window to escape this madness. Frictional Games, the developers of the critically acclaimed PC indie game Amnesia: The Dark Descent, probably the scariest game in recent history, is teaming up with thechineseroom, developers of the equally well received PC indie game Dear Esther.

Amnesia: The Emerging, A Machine For Pigs, or whatever it ends up being called, arrives this fall. Prepare your bodies. Mine wasn't even prepared for the trailers. If you wanna see the other one, search for "Ozymandias.avi".

The SteamWorks: And The Clouds Drifted Apart...

Hey Gang,

So after my last post, which, I know, was a long time ago, I solemnly swore not to post again until Jarvis returned. Well, guess what?

JARVIS ... IS ... BACK!!!!!!!!

And he looks like he was just put together yesterday. He really does look good as new, although I can see some of the battle-scars I gave him so ... sorry, Jarvis!

And since I got Jarvis back, you know what that also means?


So let's get started:

1. SWTOR: I did some PvP on Phobus when I got Jarvis back and manage to buy my tier 1.1 PvP Chest Piece, which is awesome because my other one was terrible. It also looks pretty cool. I haven't had much luck with PvP gear bags; I keep getting Battlemaster tokens instead of the actual gear tokens, so I'm wondering if they took the gear tokens out. I don't think they did though, because there's still a gear token option when you talk to the PvP vendor... /shrug. I also play my Bounty Hunter from time to time, but not too often, because Chazz and I are planning to level them up at some point together. Sadly, Malla, my other Sith Inquisitor, has no recent progress to report. Vulka, my Sith Warrior, reached level 28 earlier this morning, which is awesome. She's finishing up the Bonus Series quest on Tatooine. I'm excited to get her to Act II in her story, and I'll be PvPing with her soon in an attempt to buy her level 40 PvP gear.

2. Alan Wake's American Nightmare: I bought and finished this small 4-5 hour Arcade add-on to Alan Wake on release day (Wednesday). I honestly don't know what's so scary about Alan Wake games, but they creep me out. After I play, I always turn all the lights on in my house. It was extremely good, and from the score IGN gave it, I was planning on it to kinda suck, but in the end was extremely satisfied. Expect a review on that soon. Can't wait for Alan Wake II!

3. Skyrim: I got 3 minutes deeper into Skyrim than I had before, which makes my playing time about ... 10 minutes? Yeah, I know it's pathetic, but it's a game where I need to have the attention span and patience to appreciate the game, which I don't have currently. I'm looking forward to playing more in the spring.

4. Left 4 Dead 2: One of my gaming friends (known as Cassandra GriffinDreamer in Wizard101) recently got L4D2 on PC, so we've been playing that and it's fun. I totally forgot that they released the L4D original campaign a while ago, so I've been trying to complete that since I've never played the first game. I'm also kinda surprised that the Cold Stream campaign or whatever it's called is still in Beta (reminds me of Pottermore and how they're almost 6 months behind on their promised release date). How good am I at L4D? Not bad; I might not always get the most kills, but I usually make it out alive, and I don't usually have friendly fire on my teammates.

5. Wizard101: Ok, I know I said I quit W101, and I meant it ... I did quit. But one of friends on the game, Paige MoonShade, is known for her skill in crafting houses in the game. The houses she constructs are honestly phenomenal. She does a lot of movie and book recreations like Avatar, and also recently completed a pirate themed house. Well, KingsIsle just released word of a new tag game feature for housing coming to the game later this year, so I told her she should do a tag house based on The Hunger Games; she and I both read the books and we both share a huge love for them. She offered to let me come watch her build the house and I simply couldn't resist. So I helped her build the house, and by help, I mean sit there and give her ideas mostly. Since only the owner of the house can place and move furniture, and you can't trade or mail items to other players, I didn't really serve much of a useful purpose. I had an excellent time though!

6. Minecraft: Not much to report, actually, but I have been on my MC server for bits and pieces of a time to work on some things, like my underground railway...

Anyway, hope this pleases everyone! I promise to try and post more often. Also, I hope you liked the Robert Boyd review! See you later!

Peter, The SteamWorks

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Project: Better Dolphin Interview with Robert Boyd of Zeboyd Games!

We at Project: Better Dolphin have a very special post today! We scored our first interview, with Robert Boyd from Zeboyd Games! He answered our many questions about game development, and a few other things. If you don't already know him, look into Cthulhu Saves the World and Breath of Death VII to get a little context into who our very first guest speaker is. Anyway, enjoy!

Q) What parts of designing your games did you most enjoy?
A) Favorite part of designing games is the very beginning when you're
still coming up with the big concepts and not too worried about
actually implementing them.

Q) What parts were the most frustrating or challenging?
A) Bugs. I hate it when I've programmed something that I think should
work and it doesn't and I have no clue what I did wrong and I end up
spending an entire day before I finally figure it out.

Q) Were there any visions you had for any game that ended up getting scrapped for whatever reason?
A) Definitely. For example, in Cthulhu Saves the World, the original plan
for the zombie-filled city was much grander, complete with puzzles,
and a before-and-after setup, but it ended up taking too much time to
create so we made things simpler.

Q) I know you aren't allowed to really talk about Rainslick 3, but how does working in an established franchise differ from your other works?
A) There's more of a need to coordinate things. With our past games, if I
had an idea, I'd talk to my partner and if he liked it and it was
within our means, we'd implement it. With Rainslick, things have to
also get approved by Penny Arcade. Although they are generally
responsive to our ideas, it still takes more time to get ideas
approved than it did before.

Q) What was the experience of becoming a game developer like?
A) There was nothing formal about the process. I decided that I wanted to
make games and then did. I only had a very minimal understanding of
programming but I have an analytic mind so I taught myself through
trial and error and the Internet.

Q) What are the most important things every game developer should know?
A) For Indie Game development, I'd say the most important thing is to
start small and work your way up. It's better to successfully finish a
bunch of smaller projects and improve your skills than it is to try to
do something that's beyond your capabilities and fail.

Q) What books, movies, and other forms of media inspire you the most?
A) Favorite authors - Douglas Adams (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy),
Isaac Asimov (Foundation), and Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn).
Favorite movies - The Fugitive, The Nightmare before Christmas, The
Girl Who Leapt through Time, and Princess Mononoke.
Favorite TV series - Parks & Recreation, Arrested Development, 30
Rock, The Simpsons.
Favorite music groups - Boa (UK), Genki Rockets, Matchbox 20, Foo
Fighters, Kiroro.

Q) What was it like using Cthulhu as a character? How was it similar/different from working with original characters?
A) Wasn't that different from our past games. Although Cthulhu is a
fictional character from someone else's work, the way we used him was
very different than the norm. If anything I looked more at Disgaea &
Okage: Shadow King for inspiration into his personality for our game.

Q) Your games are some of the most humorous I have played. How big of a part do you think humor should play in games, both indie and mainstream developed?
A) I think humor should definitely play a bigger role. If you look at TV
and movies, comedy is very common, but games that are primarily
comedies are almost unheard of in gaming. Many people felt Portal 2
was the best game of 2011 and I think the fact that it was a very
funny game played a big part in that.

Q) What video games have you most enjoyed or been impressed by? What games have disappointed you the most? Why?
A) Outside of turn-based RPGs, some of my favorite games of all time
include Civilization, Resident Evil 4, Dark Souls, and Pac-Man: CE
(and DX). Recent disappointments have included Skyward Sword, Deus Ex:
HR, and Dungeon Defenders.

Q) Are there any features that you think must be included in every game?
A) Difficulty options.

Q) What genres of gaming do you think have the most room to improve?
A) Shmups. They've stagnated for too long; I'd love to see a new innovate
take on the genre.

Q) Looking back on all your development, is there anything you would go about differently?
A) I probably would have slowly ramped up to Cthulhu Saves the World.
Cthulhu Saves the World was such a big jump over what we did in Breath
of Death VII that it ended up taking substantially longer than we
expected to make. If I had to do it again, I would have made a smaller
game between BoDVII and CSTW.

Q) What have been the most defining moments of your development career, both the pitfalls and the successes.
A) The biggest moment in my development career was when I decided to make
Breath of Death VII. Before that, I had done a couple of text-based
games that hadn't sold well. I applied for a job at one of my favorite
video game companies and after two interviews, they eventually decided
to go with someone else. I was discouraged and almost quit game
development entirely. Then I had the idea for Breath of Death VII and
despite the fact that it was much more ambitious than anything I had
done before, I decided to go for it. I talked Bill into teaming up
with me and everything else fell into place.

See more from Zeboyd Games at their site,!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Slightly Redder Red: Mojam

Yet another Humble Bundle has come and gone, and this one has been... sub-par compared to past ones. Although that's excusable, considering each team that made a game had 60 hours to do it. Mojang and friends Oxeye Studios and Wolfire Games put out a poll, and we all voted on what we wanted them to make. It ended up being a real time strategy shoot-em-up with an ancient Egypt steampunk theme. This sounds pretty cool, but it actually turned out kind of mediocre.

The cool part about this Humble Bundle was that you could watch the developers put their games together, and it revealed a lot. It looked like Mojang played with Nerf guns a lot instead of actually working, so that leaves me to believe that they slapped an Egyptian theme on a game they previously made. Called Catacomb Grab, there isn't much of a steampunk element to it, either, it's just a game where you run around a temple as a British explorer, firing your bullets in a similar fashion to Binding of Isaac, and you can buy turrets to set up. The turrets are the steampunk part and the real time strategy part (just because Starcraft has turrets doesn't mean putting them in your game it an RTS, Notch. Or should I be addressing Jeb, since you literally did no work, as far as the stream portrayed?). I haven't played the game a lot because it keeps crashing, so I can't give a full analysis, but what I'e played is okay. It feels like I'd find it on Addicting Games, not on the resume on one of the biggest game developers in the last two years.

Wolfire Games's project was actually pretty cool. Called Broadside Express, the name actually fits the title pretty well. Considering Wolfire is two people, I'm impressed with what they did in 60 hours. You're a train, and you have to connect yourself to the two other cars that are lying around, all the while there are scorpions spitting fire and you and another train zipping by firing cannons at you. Hence, the term Broadside Express, since you can return fire in a similar matter. The game is actually harder than it sounds, since you have to back up into the cars to connect them, all the while there's the fire spitting and the cannons firing, it gets hectic. It isn't really a shoot-em-up or an RTS, but it fits the steampunk Egyptian theme better than Mojang's game, and it's a lot more fun to play than Mojang's game. It's in browser, so no download, which is nice considering how simple it is. Mojang should have done the same thing, IMHO, I probably would have had a higher opinion of it if I knew it was an in-browser Java game rather than a downloaded one that my computer detected as "malicious".

Oxeye hasn't even put their game up yet, so I don't know what the hell is going on there. But they're doing a totally different game, I think a dungeon crawling WWII beat em up, so we'll see how that turns out.

Final thoughts are that Mojang is getting worse and worse at being the best new developer, and David from Wolfire is going to be a revolutionary when he finally releases Overgrowth (Google it).

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Slightly Redder Red: Divinity II: The Dragon Knight Saga Review

Instead of having a shitty tenth weekend update, which I want to have lotsa content but I couldn't find enough to write about to make one, you get a game review.

The game is pretty good, too. Divinity II: The Dragon Knight Saga is a very well executed RPG with a better than average story, good gameplay, and the developer and writers' knowledge on how to make an engrossing game that doesn't take itself too seriously.

For starters, the game looks awesome. The landscapes are bright, vibrant, and even your standard early zone forest looks nice. The visuals that take the cake, in my opinion, are the ones of Damien's Realm, the fiery and hellish landscapes matched by flying demons and ominous and deadly soldier and fire spewing towers. They remind me of the planes of Oblivion from Elder Scrolls IV, but a little less confusing to navigate. They're a lot deadlier though, albeit you'll spend most of your time in Damien's Realm as a dragon. I'll be getting to how fun the dragon gameplay is. The zones are very detailed, I can tell a lot of work went into making them. They all have their own little secrets, scripted events, sidequests, and more content than you can shake a stick at. The game saying there's over one hundred hours of content might be a tad of an exaggeration, but there's still a lot to discover in all the towns, cities, forests, valleys, and beaches of DKS. Exploration is actually a very key aspect to the game; at one point in the story I was being sent around an island to find the best helpers I could get to aid me in my mission, and I stumbled upon the next quest in the main storyline before I finished my previous objective. It gives a real DnD vibe how much player exploration is stressed.

The side quests that fill up the land aren't too shabby, either. Each are deliciously different, from stealing pigs from a group of horny soldiers (I know what you're thinking, but the situation is much different than how poorly I phrased that), to sending a breakup message from your combat trainer to her lost love, or to finding a book on a pirate for a maritime secret society. They're all written very well, and the voice acting is spot on to fit the characters. From your average bar wench to your envoy from the largest and most majestic cities, the cast did well.

Where the writing shines, however, is the main storyline. For a game that doesn't take itself seriously at all, it actually has a very original and well written main story. You start the game as a recruit to the Dragon Slayers, an order of knights responsible for keeping the land free of the Dragon Knights, who are mankind's greatest enemy. But, when it comes time to square off with an actual dragon knight, you learn that they are the misunderstood guardians against the ancient evil that threatens to plague the land, and you join their cause. I won't spoil the game too much, but it's now your job to destroy the ancient evil, and it's a pretty well done job at that.

The gameplay also shines. The combat flows nicely and is fast paced, and is also difficult enough to keep you on edge but still having fun. Something I could change, however, is that you don't regain health outside of combat. Well, you do, but at like four health per second. What is it with games and not having your health regenerate outside of combat? It always severely pisses me off, especially now that I started playing Dark Souls. Why is this ever a good idea? I'm getting sidetracked... but anyway, the class system is fun in how it isn't really necessary but still gives overarching bonuses if you spec into it, and the fact that you jump like Shaq is fun too. Don't even get me started on how high you jump. Jumping is kind of made obsolete when you unlock dragon form, but so does ground combat, too. However, dragon form can only be used in Damien's Realm and outside, so it's not completely overpowered.

The best part about the game, the part that sets it apart from other RPGs of its kind, is the mind reading. For an amount of XP, you can glimpse into what an NPC is thinking, and I"ll be damned if every time I ever chose to mind control something awesome and beneficial didn't happen. Whether I was finding the location of a mace a demon let a mortal borrow, or simply learning of the blacksmith's affair with the farmer's wife, it all helped me out. The secrets and side quests unlocked by this completely optional feature continue to make life easier, and it almost makes the game.

In closing, it's really fun and something that I urge you to acquire. It's funny, charming, well done, and overall a great game. 8/10.

The SteamWorks: Planning For NYCC

Hey Gang,

So I, once again, don't have much to talk about. In recent news, my PC should arrive any day now. I was thinking of making a list of games I have to play, but then I realized I don't really have many games I have to play. The only games I really haven't played/finished that I own are Skyrim and Halo Combat Evolved. However I decided I'm going to get both American Nightmare (so excited!) and Gotham City Impostors (I wasn't originally going to get it, but Chazz said it was cool and worth giving a look at, so I'll give it a go). I've also been debating on whether I should get an authentic lightsaber or an authentic Portal gun. I'll probably wind up getting both in the next 2 years, but I simply don't know which should come first. Maybe I'll ask in a poll?

Anyway, my main topic today has to do with NYCC, or New York Comic Con. Last October NYCC 2011 was my first ever gamingish convention, and I had an absolute blast with Gabby, Chazz, and JD. In fact, *random trivia*, this blog came about because of our expedition to Comic Con. If you ever get the opportunity to go, you really should. We got to play a bunch of games before they came out including SWTOR, Halo CE, and LoZ: Skyward Sword. I even got to meet a friend of mine for the first time who lives in NYC that I met through gaming.

I even have some pictures to share with you:

Chazz and I with the Lego Chief...

Gabby with the Lego Chief...

The best costume I've ever seen...

Awesome G-Gundam statue...

One of the best moments of my life...

One of the best moments of Chazz's life...

Gabby faces off with Mr. Fabulousssss...

JD looking strange on the train back to the hotel...

So as you can see, I didn't really get into too much cosplay; all I really did was put on a cheap Ravenclaw robe I ordered online for $30. I obviously didn't put much effort into what I was wearing. We had planned for the group of us that was going to dress up as L4D characters, but it feel apart halfway through the summer. This year we decided that we wanted to dress up as Star Wars characters.

Whether the rest of the group will carry it through or not is unknown obviously, and if they don't want to follow through it doesn't bother me at all. However, I really want to go through with this plan for myself. I'm not trying to be any character in particular; just a random Sith ... maybe I'll just say my name is Darth Phobos? Anyway, I've been looking online for a Sith robe, and I came across this one:

For $65 (shipping not included), this looks like a good deal. However, as online shoppers often know, a product that looks good and a product actually being good are two different things. I saw this one cheap Sith robe on Amazon that looked even cooler than this for $30, and people bought it. When a lot of the customers received it, it was garbage. Here was the main selling picture:

Pretty cool right? Looks amazing for $30. But here's what it actually looks like in real life:

Eww... It looks like someone put a bed sheet on this dude that was washed in a pile of crap. Gross...

So yeah, I've been trying to find a good deal on Sith Robes, which hasn't met with much success, with the exception of the first one I shared on the post. The only reason why I'm wary to buy it is because there's really no customer reviews, so it could very well be a trap. If you by chance know of any good deals, sound off in the comments below. The costume also has me leaning toward a lightsaber first instead of the portal gun, and using the hilt (you can unscrew the actual bulb part) as a prop.

Anyway, sorry for taking up all your precious time. I really just wanted to talk about something, so there! I'll see you guys soon!

Peter, The SteamWorks

Friday, February 17, 2012

Shatterblog!: Game List

I decided to completely copy JD's post, and do my own list of games in need of playing. Many of them I have started, but haven't finished for varying reasons *cough SWTOR cough* I won't be providing time estimates because I play each game at its own pace, and can't really predict in advance what the time willl be like.These are in no particular order.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 1&2
Mass Effect 1&2
Uncharted 2&3
The Darkness (sequel eventually)
3D Dot Game Heroes
L.A. Noire
Knights of the Old Republic 1&2
Gears of War 3
Dear Esther
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D
Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword
Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess
I Am Alive
Alan Wake's American Nightmare
Guns of Icarus Online

As I finish the many games I have started, I'll be posting some reviews. Also for my birthday I recieved the SWTOR Razer Naga Epic mouse, which I will be covering for our very first Technology Review in the next week or two!

Trying this out as a way to close posts.
I definitely didn't come up with it.
It's from Cowboy Bebop.
You should watch it.
It's amazing.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Slightly Redder Red: Anti-Skyrim Campaign

I'm taking an extended absence from Skyrim. After 220+ hours, I need a break. But I won't be just sitting around, I made a goal, something to accomplish to make Skyrim more rewarding. If you read WU9.5, I wrote about a list of games I would play before I would allow myself to play Skyrim again. Well, here they are, but I also did some estimation, and calculated how many hours it would take to complete my list.
Without further ado, here it is.

Deus Ex: Human Revolutions (2nd playthrough)---------20 hours.
Mass Effect 1+2 (third installment preparation)-----------30~ hours.
Bioshock---------------------------------------------------------12~ hours.
Neverwinter Nights---------------------------------------------Undetermined.
Divinity II: The Dragon Knight Saga------------------------5-10~ hours.
Halo 1+2---------------------------------------------------------20~ hours.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent----------------------------------10~ hours.
Assorted First Person Shooters-----------------------------15~ hours.
Bastion-----------------------------------------------------------4~ hours.
Portal 2 (third playthrough)-----------------------------------5~ hours.
DARK SOULS (the list's magnum opus)------------------60~ hours.
Assorted VNs /v/ tells me to play---------------------------15~ hours.
Tribes: Ascend--------------------------------------------------This game is fucking fun. Undetermined.

So.... that's 200~ hours of different vidya before I allow myself to touch Skyrim again.
Wish me luck.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The SteamWorks: Don't Conform to the Cinnamon Challenge

Hey Gang,

So whether you're a pop culture nerd, media junkie, trollmaster, or the everyday working man/woman, you've probably heard of this new fad called "The Cinnamon Challenge". I actually have a decent amount of friends who had never heard of it before, so don't feel out of the loop if this is the first time you're hearing about it. I only heard about it Monday.

So those of you who don't know what it is might be asking, 'Well, what is the Cinnamon Challenge?" Here's the  exact definition given by the site Know Your Meme: "The Cinnamon Challenge is a popular dare game that involves attempting to swallow a tablespoon of cinnamon without vomiting or inhaling the powder. Since the early 2000s, the game has become well known for its extreme difficulty and thousands of videos with people attempting the challenge have been uploaded onto YouTube." Sounds pretty gruesome, right?

Now the trolls, pot-heads, red-necks, and ghettos took hold of this and ... well, I don't even know ran would be an accurate statement. I kid you not, it's been the hottest thing since sliced bread over the past few months. People think it's funny, and in some cases it is. Take GloZell for example.


Now that that's out of the way, this is probably the funniest version of The Cinnamon Challenge I've ever seen, done by user "GloZell" on YouTube:

Ok, so that is pretty funny. That just goes to show you that you should actually see how something's done if someone dares you to do it. In case you couldn't catch on, she was using a ladle instead of tablespoon. When you do the math, that's at least 4 tablespoons, or 4 times what the challenge calls for.

See, the reason why it's physically impossible to swallow the cinnamon immediately is because of how dry it is. Cinnamon is so dry, it doesn't allow you to produce and place enough saliva in your mouth to swallow the whole teaspoon. So basically, it's like trying to swallow cat litter. The coughing spasm is caused afterward by the cinnamon sticking to your throat and cutting off your source of air, so enough cinnamon at once CAN kill you. GloZell's just lucky enough that she can continue to entertain fans again after that blunder of an attempt. She could have very well been hospitalized from that.

By the way, in case you were wondering, there have been people who died from taking The Cinnamon Challenge...

So the bottom line is, don't do it. It's not a challenge, it's a physical fact; you simply cannot swallow cinnamon immediately. If you don't choke on it, you'll become physically ill, unless you have some strange power to produce excess amounts of saliva in which I want nothing to do with you. Don't be an idiot like our friend GloZell there. Use your brains, please. Don't let the same people who put planking and Charlie Sheen into the spotlight misguide you any longer. It's a trap. The ghetto is ALWAYS a trap, and so are red-necks.

So I figured I'd also take the time to update you guys on what's been going on since I haven't posted in a week. Jarvis was actually sent to my house today! It's expected to arrive around Monday or Tuesday, and our reunion will be truly epic. I've also been training my alt Vulka in SWTOR. In case you forget, she's my Sith Marauder. She's level 25 now and is on Tatooine. I've also been playing a lot of Force Unleashed II lately for no apparent reason. I got a purple crystal in the game, so I'm super pumped about that. I finished the Hunger Games series over the past weekend, and was thinking of reviewing the series as a whole, but I'm not sure. The book ended EXACTLY how I wanted it to end! Also, we'll be applying for NYCC (New York Comic Con) Press Passes this year! So we're really excited about that. And oh yeah...

IT'S CHAZZ'S BIRTHDAY TOMORROW!!!!! So make sure to wish him a happy birthday either via twitter or facebook or comment or whatever. Also, make his wish come true and take a few seconds to fill out his shiny poll on the right!

Ok, so I'll see you (and Jarvis) very soon!

Peter, The SteamWorks

Shatterblog!: Poll

So instead of the comment system that clearly hasn't worked, I put up a poll. Tell me what game you want reviewed by me in the next month! I'm sure some of my comrades in writing will also be putting up polls. I want to go on record as saying I did it before it was cool. Kidding. But seriously, it takes like 2 seconds to click and vote. Do it. Click the poll. Release your anger, and together we shall rule the galaxy. If the game you're dying to see reviewed isn't on there, please leave a comment or drop us an email!

Slightly Redder Red: Weekend Update 9.5

Okay, the last update was bullshit, so I decided to do something actual to redeem myself for feeling like an ass.

1) Star Wars: The Old Republic has lost its luster. I'm sorry. I'm considering unsubscribing my account. I don't know. I'm really conflicted over this. I thought the game was great the month or so after launch, but as time wore on, I just started seeing little flaws here and there, and then I thought the game was bad, and then I thought "I'll give it another chance," and then I realized I don't want to play it anymore. Lost its luster. Maybe because, in a nutshell, I was expecting something different, but after a month I summed up that SWTOR was just World of Warcraft and every other MMORPG released after Everquest, except with lightsabers and voiced dialogue. Om the subject of the voice acting, I actually remember some times when I played the game I would press mute during cut scenes because I thought it was so overbearing and dramatic. Vette, I'm looking at you.
Anyway, consider this my possible resignation from SWTOR. Possible. We'll see how I feel about it tomorrow when I log on to give it a go.
So, how 'bout them Guild Wars 2s?
EDIT: My resignation is actually final. I wrote this before I made my final decision. 

2) The Steam Workshop's cornerstone feature, automatically updating the modder's content into the player's game, is actually a serious bitch. There's also no separate versions of a mod I can download, unlike on Nexus, and sometimes a modder makes HUUUUUGE changes to a mod without being able to tell his subscribers first, causing mass confusion. I'm now only using Steam Workshop for mods exclusive to there, like Fall of the Space Core or a couple other minor fixes.

3) For anyone looking for a depressing soundtrack to listen to, I have found the perfect one. I'm a pretty big fan of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and I love John Frusciante's playing, so when I found his solo albums, I thought they were great. And then I discovered the album he created in his apartment while he was completely out of his mind on heroin. Niandra Ladies and Usually Just a T-Shirt is just his voice and guitar tracks layered over one another, and let me tell you, it is goddamn depressing to listen to. Listening to the album in its entirety makes me want to off myself.  I can literally feel how fucked up John was when he was recording this, and it makes me feel low. Keep in mind, this album was considered so bad by most major stores that they rejected selling it, but if you'll give it a chance for what it is (the musical ravings of a tortured man on heroin), then you'll love it.

4) I consider the /v/GAs a success. They were funny, well put together, and I'm thoroughly looking forward to next year. Also hoping next year Valve doesn't take home every goddamn award they're nominated for. Also, Deus Ex totally should have gotten the Hyperbole Award. Dead Island's trailer was only so big because it shocked everyone who wasn't used to violence in mainstream media. The game was okay. Deux Ex, however, had an amazing cinematic trailer that actually had something to do with the game. The game was superb. If not, Dark Souls should have gotten the award. I could write an entire article about how things I wanted to happen didn't happen, but that's a given with any award ceremony I watch. If you didn't catch the 2011 Portal 2 Awards, you might be shit out of luck, because they got taken down off of YouTube because YouTube doesn't allow footage of internet celebrities sticking their dicks in blowup dolls and PS3s. Although, if you don't mind having them on your hard drive, you can download them off MegaUpl- I MEAN MEDIAFIRE. 

5) I refused to watch the Adele Awards 2012 on Sunday. No regrets, except for having the knowledge that King is Dead didn't get album of the year. Seriously, 21 and 19 both sucked, Adele is terrible, end of story, video games.

6) I love Crossed. And I hate Homestuck. But holy hell, I just found Crossed and it is the hypest shit ever. If you're looking for an extremely heavy read, this is it. The absolute point of no return is right fucking here.

7) Taking an extended absence from Skyrim until I finish a list of games I made up in Geometry on Monday. Will I make it? Probably not, considering I put Dark Souls on the list. Posting the list on Thursday. Wish me luck.

8) Why the absolute fuck am I not doing my bio lab?

Peace out, all.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Shatterblog!: Valentines Day!

So, I hate Valentine's Day. I. Fucking. Hate it. And don't give me the "Bitter cuz you're single" garbage. I'm not this year, and I hate it just as much. I'll still do the cards and candy thing, because I'm not gonna be a douche, but I just think it's a dumb holiday. I will now post my rant from last year.

For one, it is an over commercialized Hallmark holiday. It continues to exist because it boosts sales in candies, diamonds, flowers, cards, condoms, and probably rope, bullets, and sleeping pills. As a big money maker, Valentine's Day encourages foolish spending by putting pressure on you to be a good significant other. Which brings me to my next point. Valentine's Day puts unfair pressure on people, primarily guys.Girls simply tend to take Valentine's Day more seriously. If you disappoint a girl on Valentine's Day, you'll hear about it for months at best, and will get dumped at worst. So guys sweat and worry about being a good guy on Valentine's Day, and if they're a good guy all year round, then they have to be amazing on Valentine's Day or they have failed. Perfectly happy couples break up just because a guy didn't meet his girl's expectations on one day, even if he surpasses them every other day of the year. It also puts pressure on people by establishing being in a relationship as "normal" and being single as "wrong and sad" which has a lot of consequences. Besides Christmas, Valentine's Day inspires the most suicides of any holiday. Being dumped on Valentine's Day is common, as if one person is no longer really committed to the other, a day of romance sounds like a pain in the ass. Thus, they dump their now boring other, who feels crushed by the fact that their day of romance won't happen. Because they feel rejected, and on top of that, "abnormal", they go home and eat their gun, or take a dive off a bookcase with a noose around their neck, or take enough sleeping pills to get their eight hours...and then some. Valentine's Day causes undue spending of money, pressure to please your significant other, pressure to HAVE a significant other, and often attempted/successful suicides. Why would we celebrate that?

Now on a positive note, nerdy Star Wars Valentine's that make me laugh 'til I hurt!

Also one that isn't Star Wars but makes me happy anyway.

Resident Troll: Beware the Internet 2



Freedom of speech is great, really. I love it. I'm a writer and often drift into disturbing material. Still... some things scare me.

Like Salad Fingers.

I was introduced to it by a friend, and holyfuckingshit what is this? It's about some green dude who has salad for fingers and oh my god so disturbing. Even Chazz doesn't scare me this much. As you go on, the episodes get progressively worse, as if the creator just knows how to emit a reaction. Salad Fingers is a lonely (man? person? thing?) and he likes when the red water flows from his fingertips. There are mentions of a great war and... I don't even.

Really, you cannot understand the horror. You can find the first episode here. It's weird, and you have been warned.

Brief update on me, game wise: I finally purchased Reach. On the last boss battle of Skyward Sword. Moving this month. Have been writing a lot. Also saw Breaking Dawn. Peter is a baby, the birth scene wasn't even that bad. Now I will return to my hole.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Slightly Redder Red: Weekend Update 9

This is also a special edition of Weekend Update, in which I write nothing. It's really just to fill a void.

Oh, by the way, the Vidya Gaem Awards are on later, so I'll be watching those. Ummm... no list tonight. Nothing listworthy to write about. Although I did settle on Deus Ex: Human Revolutions being the close second to Skyrim for Game of the Year 2011.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The SteamWorks: Personal Update 2/8/12

Hey Gang,

So as I promised, I'd be updating you today on some interesting things that have been going on in my crazy life.

~ As I said in my last review, I finally brought myself to read The Hunger Games. In fact, at around 5:50 this evening, I finished the sequel, Catching Fire. In the past few days, these books have brought me so much joy. I love them. No. Those aren't the words. I feel more than love for them. I simply cannot get enough. I'm anxious to start the last book, however I can't actually go out and get the book until Friday, and my library currently has all our copies checked out, so I'm forced to wait. I'm not quite sure if I'll review Catching Fire and Mockingjay though, simply because I'd have the same things to say as I did with the first book. I can't give people a background simply because it would spoil the story. Maybe I'll review the series as a whole...

~ As a result of completely dying over The Hunger Games Trilogy, a few friends of mine decided we were going to try to go to the midnight premier of The Hunger Games movie. I'm so excited!

~Video game wise, I haven't been up to much. After I finished Skyward Sword, there was really nothing else for me to play. In fact, the simple idea of SWTOR kinda bores me now, having been away from it so long, which kinda makes me shudder, although I have been playing at Chazz's house on his gaming laptop when I visit his house. I've been trying desperately to get my purple lightsaber, but every time I get a PvP Gear Bag I only receive Centurion Commendations, which are not really of use to me. I was going to attempt to get the PvE version, but that requires raiding. which I cannot do for several reasons other than Jarvis being absent. So for now I just have a pink lightsaber, and the Emperor has crowned me Breast Cancer Awareness Man.

~ I had a really good weekend last week. On Friday, I went to Washington D.C. to visit the Holocaust Museum there, among other things, and I had a great time. On Saturday morning, as you guys know, I went to see Chronicle which was phenomenal, and then hung out at Chazz's until Sunday afternoon playing SWTOR and watching a plethora of movies.

~ I think I'm going to pick up writing again. Not that I ever dropped it. See, when I'm reading, I'm more inspired to write something of my own versus when I'm not. And I'm not talking like blog writing; I'm talking about fictional novel writing. We'll see where that takes me. I'm kinda afraid to because I'm scared I'll subconsciously copy The Hunger Games. Ironically, I tend to write in a setting that's extremely similar to the book I'm into. This also happened when I read Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and yes, even Twilight.

~ All I can say is I'm lucky my life is not on that computer Jarvis. The computer is slowly encroaching being gone for a complete month, and I expect it to be out more. When I called more than a week ago, the company said they got the computer and it should be ready to be shipped out by late that week or early this week. Well guess what? I called today, concerned about the status of the computer, and the company said they were still testing it, and they gave me the same expected shipping time as last week. So as I said, its a miracle I don't need it for a job or something. Honestly, I'll be surprised if I see the poor hunk of metal I've managed to destroy again.

~ I also made my class schedule today for my Senior year. It's pretty easy, only two AP courses (A.P. Lit and A.P. Stats), and the rest are really just electives like Business, Computer Graphics, etc. My career doesn't require another Science, so I didn't take one. The same goes for History.

I think that's pretty much all I have to cover. Without my computer, my life's been pretty much reading The Hunger Games, and sadly they too will come to a close before my computer gets back to me. So yeah... Hope you guys actually enjoyed this!

Peter, The SteamWorks