Monday, July 30, 2012

The Future of PC Gaming

With Windows 8 announced to release on October 26th, PC gaming is about to get a bit of a shake up. I won't say that the changes coming in Windows 8 are going to be terrible for PC gaming, but the idea of Valve reaching out to Linux is giving me hope for the growth of PC 'platforms'. Heck, even Apple is looking at letting other companies connect video game controllers to iOS devices. With these developments and changes I thought it might be the right time to talk about where I see PC gaming going and where I hope it might go. Sadly, these things don't always match up.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Review: The Dark Knight Rises

I will start off by saying that the events in Aurora, Colorado were terrible and my thoughts and prayers go out to those affected, but that's the end of my discussion on that. So, for the review itself: The Dark Knight Rises did not disappoint and is an even tie with the Avengers for my favorite movie this year so far, The Hobbit is still waiting in the wings. By far my favorite of the Batman trilogy, it gives me hope that the upcoming Man of Steel movie won't be as much of a letdown as Superman Returns was. So, read on for more details, with a few spoilers at the end (plenty of warning, don't worry).

Thursday, July 19, 2012

WoW: Mists of Pandaria BETA- Part 2

Dive Bombing Moths!
So with the latest expansion, Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft is adding pet battles. So exciting! Doesn't it look it? Okay, so the pet battles aren't the most action packed addition to the game but they provide a new distraction for high-level players that has been missing for a while. This isn't to say that the pet battles aren't for new players, but the 100 gold price tag to get started is intentional to ensure that new players don't get sucked into what equates to be a mini-game. So, here's some details of how pet battles work and why they're a feature that WoW has needed for sometime.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

WoW: Mists of Pandaria BETA- Part 1

I started playing World of Warcraft back in the summer of 2006 after graduating from high school and starting a minimum wage job, so I could afford the subscription. Believe it or not it was my wife (at that time, my girlfriend) who got me hooked on it, not the other way around. I had played in the beta for it but when it released, I never picked it up. Fast forward 6 years, I've been WoW-free for about a year, and a beta code lands in my lap. Of course, I had to start it up. I had the intention of reminding myself of why I'd stopped playing, laughing at the new Pandaran race. 'Lo and behold, I think I might be hooked again. Here's a couple changes in mechanics and systems that have me interested in the new expansion.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Deep Thoughts: Ideal Beta

A continuation of my post from last time, I give you my ideal beta test. Much like communism, this will look great on paper but not come close to working properly in reality. Just for sake of argument, we'll assume the game that is being tested is an MMO as those tend to be the games which provide beta tests the most often and with a full scope of the game, while most other games are beta tests of multiplayer material. To start, you have to have the right balance of players, ranging from casual players to hardcore 'raiders' and ranging from PvP fiends to PvE carebears, but that's only the start.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Deep Thoughts: I Got a Beta Key!

Getting a beta key used to be one of the coolest things a gamer could get. You were not supposed to tell your friends that you were in the beta, show them all the cool stuff, and definitely not post screenshots and videos online. How much you broke the rules was up to you and how terrified of the NDA you were. (As a note, seriously, they can sue you for breaking the NDA, watch it.) But over the past couple years, beta keys have become more common, being given out in contests, as preorder bonuses, or for just sending a tweet to the company's twitter account. I'll be honest, I go back and forth on whether this change has been for the better or not.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Deep Thoughts: Game Development by Gamers

Perhaps I've been unaware of unique phenomena among the gaming community or perhaps it's just something that's started to show up in the past half decade: Games being developed alongside the people who are going to play them. You can take DayZ for an example. Though it is currently just a mod in alpha testing, Dean 'rocket' Hall, the game's developer, has said that he's interested in turning it into a stand-alone game, not directly tied to ARMA or anything other game as it is currently (source). A game that is not being tested behind closed doors but  is open and available to the public, with an active community testing, commenting, blogging, and making videos about it. Other indie games have done similar, with Minecraft being a very well known example. The most interesting fact of this, at least in my opinion, is  that even already released titles like World of Warcraft are getting  into the idea.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-Man

Today I'm talking about (as the title and video would suggest) The Amazing Spider-Man! As I'm not a huge film buff, other than the fact that I like to watch them, I won't be commenting much on individual shots or cinematography but more on the movie as a whole. To start, I was not looking forward to this movie with any great anticipation like I am with The Dark Knight Rises or The Hobbit, but I was interested in it. That said, this movie exceeded my expectations but there were a couple snags that keeps it out of the running of movies I will buy in the future. It should go without saying that there will be  spoilers after the break, so read at your own risk if you haven't seen it.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Deep Thoughts: Going Completely Digital

Welcome to the 21st century where every bit of media has gone digital. Newspapers are dying off unless they go online, nobody buys the newest CD when you can buy the couple songs that you really like, and digitally distributed video games are becoming more and more common. PC gamers have been aware of this for a long time and it's worked out really well on most occasions, but DRM restrictions on their software have been a thorn in their side. That's not to say there's no upside to it, Steam has led the charge for video game downloads for nearly a decade. This is due, at least in part, to their awesome sales. Many a wallet has been hammered by the Steam Summer Sale, and for good reason. With no physical copies to house and ship, Steam has a much smaller fixed cost on each sale, so even selling products at anywhere from 25% to  75% off can still net them a profit. But with streaming systems, like OnLive and Gaikai, that have no physical media whatsoever and EA, one of the industry's biggest publishers, talking about going 100% digital, this could pose a problem.

Monday, July 2, 2012

D&D: A Learning Experience

So I was talking to my mother, a 5th grade teacher, and prepping for one of the regular D&D games that I play in, when suddenly an old thought hit me. It was something I'd read before in one of the Dragon Magazine (published by Wizards of the Coast, the guys who make D&D): playing D&D with school age kids as a creative and imaginative learning experience. This will be one of my odder posts and I'm curious what you have to say about it but stick to the end before you throw one of the "D&D is the Devil's plaything" tracts at me.