31 December 2014

Dropping an F-Bomb on VG Social Networking

Not a Happy Camper
Everyone and their mother knows I've moved to Australia. And everyone I have met has been very amenable to that.

Like Xbox. When I called them up with my tale of romance, they said "Alright, we'll change the region of your account quicker than you can say "Bob is your mothers Brother."

Things were different in the Marketplace. There was Indie games that developers made games using your Xbox avatar, though they were a little cheap. I didn't have to worry about download codes I got in the US, because I could only use them now.  And when I get back home with Jenny, I can call Xbox again and say "Can you change it back please?"

This Xmas passed, I got a PlayStation 4.  I tore open the wrapping and shat myself as I marvelled at the box.  I had games I wanted, like GTAV, The Last of Us - Remastered, Little Big Planet 3, and The Evil Within.  I was ecstatic!

It wasn't until after hours of begging for permission that I was allowed to run downstairs into the basement lounge room to hook it up and play.  The first game I wanted to play though was GTA for one simple reason: First Person View.  And I was pleasantly entertained.  I still remark how phenomenal such a small thing can change your entire perspective of the game.

But there was one thing I had to do.  And that was load my Playstation Network account.


It wasn't until a couple of hours later, well after giving up and assuming that the PSN was flooded with new PS4 owners doing the same thing on their Xmas morn, that I was told it was Hacked.  Outrageous!  What kind of a mouth breathing fuck knuckle would ruin so many peoples day by hacking that?  The only thing you're promoting is playing offline, which I was going to do anyway!

The repercussions were there though and stuck around like a bad smell for the better part of the week. Xbox bounced back pretty well, but Playstation was down until the end of the weekend.  And I had to figure out my account.

I tried all the usual emails.  Gmail, Hotmail, even Bigpond!  I plugged in password after password to the point of blocking one account, possibly two.  But didn't I feel the horses arse when I found I wasn't even looking at the right email prefix in first place.

I was in though.  I had my entire account: Trophies, Profile Picture, purchase history.  They were all for me to grab and enjoy at my leisure.  And in my hand was the one game I was really excited to play: The Last of Us Remastered.

But it was in the form of a code.  It was a downloadable game, easily redeemable in the Playstation Store.  Just fit in the 12 digits, press X and say "Bob's your mo-"

"This code cannot be redeemed from your country."

"My fuggin wot?"

Oh, right.  I hadn't told them about how long ago I met jenny, how we began talking and continued to do so, and that I had moved across the planet to live with her finally.  That explains it.  Well, easily sorted!

I had the 1800 number in my phone, so I flipped the bugger open (yes, it's a flip phone. So Retro.) and buzzed them.  I was confident in how quickly this would resolve, considering my experience with Xbox.  Heck, I may just give the code to the customer service person and save me the trouble from plugging it into the PS4 again.

It took a half hour but I got through to an Indian Gentleman named Gary.  And he proceeded to tell me that the Region of my account cannot be changed and I must create another account if I want to Purchase or Redeem games from a US Playstation Store.

"I fuggin wot?"

You mean to say that my single account which I have built up over the past four years cannot expand on it's Library?  That I will have to get someone from Australia to purchase redeemable codes and subscriptions because my account cannot accept and American Credit Card?  That any game that I was eager to purchase for said Digital Library that is available on the US Store cannot be obtained?

I don't want another account.  I want my account.  I want to get The Last of Us Remastered on my PS4 using MY PERSONAL ACCOUNT.  That is apparently not the way of Playstation.  It was bad enough that I can't change my Gamer ID to remove the silly prefix I initially added so long ago, but now I have to do international trading to get something so simple as a Subscription.

Fuck you, Playstation Network.  I have to stick to buying Disc games until I can organise such a Ninja.  But I really want to redeem this code.  Can you do that, Muhamm-I mean, Gary?

"No, it cannot be redeemed on this account."

Well Fuck You again.  Now I have to make a new account.  If I download it with one, can the other play it?



"You can use your new account with a wide variety of options, from purchasing Playstation products, to playing online with your friends."


24 December 2014

All i want for Xmas is a TRPG

The more I think about it, the more I want it. The desire for a fantastic TRPG on all platforms, Playstation (3, 4, Vita) and Xbox (360 and One), iPad and Android, even PC, all interconnected as an MMO.

That would be awesome under the setting of Tactics Ogre, my favourite TRPG video of all time, and Episode 7 of a series that started at Episode 5 with Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen.  So in saying that, would I like to play out episodes One through Four?  Hell to the fucking yes.  Release a chapter each year or two, and flesh out each story.  That's an option, if the others aren't just made as normal games.

I've thought of other games too.  Borderlands was one, by reincarnating Borderlands Legends into a TRPG, making the game into an opera of sorts and applying new and different classes and characters, maybe even some generics to throw around, then applying the key aspects like Guns and Elements, strange aliens, and the various combinations they can concoct.

What about Clash of Clans?  They have plenty of character but hardly any story.  You raid goblin villages without any repercussions!  Surely you'll have to fight the goblin king at some point.  And if there were more heroes, like an Archmage or a Sorceress, a branching storyline can be made!  Heck, a whole new faction would be great with a story of a rise to power.  And why not, you can do it in TRPG style!  That's my idea of fun!

While I can think about what I want though, there's the fact that there are TRPG's out there that I haven't played.  One of which is the very popular Banner Saga.  It's available on a variety of platforms, one of which is the Playstation 4, and I have that on my Video Game Wishlist, which continues to grow as time passes... but I can only wait until I can get another Xcom expansion to return.

21 December 2014

Not going to get excited

Touching, isn't it? *Ducks*
I feel pessimistic and sad when I see articles getting ecstatic about Nintendo Patenting Gameboy emulation software because there could be a sad demise lurking in the future for all those hopeful hearts.

Nintendo filed it a while ago and were recently approved for the patenting. And with having such an enormous and successful backlog of Gameboy games, it's a very lucrative investment turning them into purchasable downloads.

For years though, people have gotten away with the various third party emulators, downloadable from the internet, freely attainable on any android or windows device, Roms collected like candy from a piƱata.

That's going to change though. Nintendo can now send a cease and desist to whomever freely gives out an emulator. I'm actually surprised they didn't jump on the Rom distributors earlier, actually. But if there aren't any emulators, then what's the point in having the Roms, right?

But this patent, it's getting everyone so excited because they think Nintendo will play along and make their own Emulation App, which I admit would be nice. They could probably get the tablet controls nice and clean, some game pad functionality, Apple TV connectivity. Heck, I would be head over heels if they had the app available for Playstation TV so I could play both Tactics Ogre Games on the same device.

Then again they could, and probably should, just have the entire Gameboy library on for the Wii and DS on their eStore. Cheap too, I wouldn't expect any game to be over $5.

17 December 2014

Borderlands Online

Familiar.  Even in Mandarin.
This little bombshell just dropped and I'm wondering where the hell that came from.  And why from China?  No offence to China 2k, but isn't this is a rather... western game?

My apparent confusion in culture aside, I'm very curious about what this game will be like and how different it would be, so I'm going to run off some questions I would like answered.

How big will the world be?
That's my first big question because this is a step up from the typical Borderlands game.  I considered Borderlands the poor man's MMO, because you didn't have to pay a subscription to play it over the years, and the world was rather large and expansive.  It felt like an MMO, gathering missions and completing them in your own time, and occasionally you would be shooting your way through a series of corridors, and they would always end in a big boss.  So with it being an MMO how big an area would the Borderlands world be expanded out to?

Destiny comes to mind.  What makes it unique is that it's regions are very intertwined.  You can literally drive a circle around the Cosmodrome, though a little squiggly.  I think the only dead end is where that Devil Walker sits, and there's a chance that will expand out into a another region someday.  Will maps be designed similarly?  That a player can explore and end up back where he started?

Will there be a crossover to old locations and characters, or will it be an entirely new environment?
While I can appreciate a tip of the hat to history, and maybe even a cameo appearance from someone like Lilith or Zero, I wouldn't expect them to be available for the player to approach at will.  Especially in the environment of an MMO where there could be dozens of players crowded around her at one time in the Crimson Raiders Headquarters, trying to get a quest from her, or trying to dance with her.

In saying that though, I can appreciate if they decided to move the central focus to a completely different region of Pandora, where a new revolution was starting, or the Crimson Raiders have begun recruiting new Soldiers/Vault Hunters for the field of battle.

Will the players be able to side with a faction?
This is an interesting one.  There has always been a Manufacturer that the player has been fighting against.  Whether it's Bandits, Atlas, Hyperion or Dahl, they are all a faction the player has been shooting at.  So why can't there be the option for players to unite under the same flag of a weapons Manufacturer?  I'm sure a group of Torgue players would look outrageous.

What is this Mobile game thing?
Is it the same shooter on your iPad?  Or is there a minigame you can play using alts to send on secret missions; or a home base you can build up and expand, which you can eventually visit and benefit from?  There's gotta be a purpose to all the money you gain selling all the guns you retrieve, after all.

That's an issue of Borderlands: There's almost no point to money.  You lose some each time you die, but you regain that in the guns you pickup.  And it scales down based on how much money you actually have.  Otherwise, you don't have any incentive to spend it at the vendors.  You don't even need it for special events since there's the rare currency for that.  So why not put it to actual use?  Get some money in the shooter, then go on your Tablet and level up a base of some sort?

What comparisons will you have to other MMO games?
This is what I mean about building up a base.  World of Warcraft just implemented "Garrisons" into their game, where a player has his own customisable base of operations to fight off the Iron Horde, a new enemy faction in the expansion.  While this is only within World of Warcraft itself, why can't there be a Mobile Counterpart?  Have your own Gunshop, where you can after market your rifle parts; get a barracks or something, where you can get other vault hunters to do your bidding; etc etc etc.

Then there's the superfluous skills.  WoW has things like Cooking and Fishing, things like that which can be cool when leveled up and focused on, but ultimately aren't necessary.  Will there be anything like that, where you can make your own guns, conveniently in your Gunshop you made in your base?

Will there be further characters?
This is an Obvious Question.  Four different classes does not a long life make.  Some people like a bit more variety to their game, changing up what toon they want to play as today to refresh their experience; or testing out new skills and abilities to learn their role in a fight; or finding an entirely different story in the game they could travel through.  All very different reasons, and all give enough reason to add more characters.

How deeply will you be able to customise characters, on an RPG level and a on a visual level?
Borderlands visual customisations have always been pretty simple.  First it was just three colours changing details on your character to make them a little more spiffy.  Then they went to extremes and made Character Customisation a collectable thing, picking up patterns and headgear at random and making yourself look awesome or outrageous.  Will BLO continue the tradition of Skins and Heads changing the look of your premade Character, or will you be able to have a uniqueness all of your own?

Then there's the RPG side.  When it came to stats, the game was pretty straight forward.  You didn't have Scores that affected your capabilities, you had Badass Points that gave you percentage bonuses, you had whatever your equipment gave you, and whatever effects your Skill Tree provided.  So will it roll over just the same?  Or will there be a new system in place?  Will we still have Skill Trees?  Will we even have stats on our guns?  And even action skills, will they still remain a thing?

What differences will there be in Equipment and Weapons?
Borderlands has a tradition of having 8 pieces of equipment.  Four Gun Slots, a Class Mod, a Grenade Mod, a Shield, and a Special.  So what changes could be made?  The Special is a miscellaneous item, so it can be whatever is appropriate to the story or region.  But will shields remain as kinetic pushing bubbles?  Will Class Mods and Grenade Mods be the same?  What about weapons?  Will it always be guns, or will Swords and Shields be brought into the mix?

Will there be more Manufacturers in the MMO release, or planned in the future?
This is a big one.  With a new Manufacturer, you get a new style of weapon.  If the series keeps with the Manufacturer distinctions, then they'll have to make a new consistency between the guns and stuff...  It sounds like a hassle, and it very certainly is, but it would be worth it to start playing a little differently with new guns.

14 December 2014

I married a Gal from Kalamazoo five years ago

Having an accent throws people, leaving them gawk at me as they ascertain my speech.
"What are you doing in Kalamazoo?" they say, the taste of a confusion cocktail with a splash of bile.
That drink suddenly rots teeth when they hear the sweet response of "I met a gal from Kalamazoo" and flash the golden band around my finger.

I like it here.  The people are nice and homely, keeping everyone as comfortable as they keep themselves, almost to extremes.
They are curious, making jokes about themselves and quoting films as old as time itself, while enamoured with stories about my home, of wildlife and of culture.
But every morning, I wake up and find my gorgeous wife, sleeping like an angel.
And I always breathe a sigh of relief.  That after five years, I am finally with her.  No more waiting to text her at 8pm.  No more digital kisses.  No more stressing out when I haven't gotten a message from her.
I can finally talk to her. I can touch her. I can kiss her. I can hold her.
I can love her.
For four years, we were apart.  All we wanted was to be together.  And we did it.  Thousands of dollars and close to twelve months, we did the process.  We filed the paperwork. I went through the exams.  I answered the questions.  We both stretched our patience to the very limit.
But I got here.
It was March, and Michigan was still colder than a witches teat.  The plane flew over Chicago in the middle of the day and I just saw homes covered in thin blankets of white snow, streets glistening in the light as the ice froze over and the dark slush piled up to the side.
It was winter like I had never seen it, and in the wrong time of year.
Our wedding was simple, something we both wanted. Family and friends down on the beach on St Paddy Day, something we will recreate one anniversary in Aus, if we're not elbow deep in alcohol already.
If there was one flaw that day, it was the cold.  Icebergs meandered along the beach as the wind pummelled us with what felt like Liquid Nitrogen.
But it all melted when I saw her.  I knew I loved her, but that moment was like I was back at that airport in 2010, seeing her beaming after eight months of wanting to meet, and seeing the exact same beam that made my heart skip a track.
We've had a rocky nine months.  Adjusting to everything, from paying for items at the store, to having a small dog, to avoiding faux pars in conversation.  I've been trying to take notes of how different things are from home, but it doesn't feel very different.  Sure, everyone drives on the wrong side; money is made of paper and is always green; And everyone will ask me or Jenny to translate.

But at its heart, this is home.  Jenny is my home.  And I am glad I am finally there.

10 December 2014

My own personal Multi Game Pileup

I've seen a backlog of games as long as my leg, thanks to Scotty.  He's a very dedicated purchaser of games that pique his interest.  Needless to say, he has a wide range of interests.

But I never thought I would have a backlog of games myself.  Sure, I have games that I have bought for the occasional time I'm feeling the mood, like Quake II or Endless Space.  And there are games I just own for the sake of owning, like Commander Keen.

But then there are games that I really want to play.  And given the discount, or enough incentive and motivation, I would snatch that up quick smart.  Like Fallout 3 that I picked up the other day for $5.  Or The Orange Box that I picked up for $5.  Or the numerous games that I have gotten for free over the last month.

It's starting to get a little out of hand, and I think I'm going to have to start a Schedule on what games I'm to play before it gets out of hand.

I know there are those who scoff at me, for my relative handful of games that I've left unplayed or unfinished.  Like I said, Scott has a pile as long as my leg.  Probably longer since I last saw him.  Lets hope I won't let it get that out of hand, and before I get more games.

Current List as it Stands

  • The Orange Box (Half Life 2, Episode 1, Episode 2)
  • Borderlands the Pre-Sequel
  • Fallout 3
  • Hitman
  • Tales from the Borderlands
  • Metro 2033
  • Final Fantasy Tactics
List for Achievement Completion
  • Borderlands 2
  • Xcom Enemy Within

03 December 2014

"Complete 10000 steps in 3 hours"

... Addiing this to Xmas List
Jenny got a Fitbit for her birthday, and she has been sporting the little pink wristband ever since. It's a cool device that tracks her activities throughout the day. Then she adds onto the app on her phone what stuff it can't track, like food and sleep. It's pretty impressive.

I don't have a fitbit. The closest think I have is Raptr, which tracks how much time I have in Video games. Which, in a way, can be a little embarrassing *Cough* Six-Hundred-Hours-On-Borderlands-2 *cough*

I started playing Fallout 3. I've tried a couple of times before to start it, and for one reason or another I just didn't get into it. Just couldn't, no reason why. Sometimes thinking that every little thing will change the entire future intimidates me into wanting to watch out for all the minuscule things that I do from start to finish.

But I've started again. Pushing through whatever consequences there are. I've already unintentionally killed off the Sheriff of Megaton, and I wonder if I could've stopped that sleazy guy wanting to blow up Megaton before he shot him. Now, for the most part, I'm exploring the world and learning how the game works.

For example, I knew there was a repair feature, but I didn't understand how it worked until one day I saw that I had two 10mm Pistols and could repair one using the other... but that was after I had sold a good 3 pistols to Moira. I really need to find somewhere to store shit.

It's pretty phenomenal how open the world is. I've played for a few hours and I've explored a portion of it, sneaking my way from landmark to landmark, dodging certain wildlife and Super Mutants with Miniguns (Mother Fuggin Bastards hiding in Bus Wrecks on the side of the road.)

Borderlands is open world. It's got area to it that's impressive. But you don't spend long periods of time looking for wildlife before you reach another landmark. You spend only moments before you have another fight on your hands. And I'm excluding driving in that example too. It's good because it's designed that way so that mission flow is fluid and not tedious to reach.

Then I thought about the 100-something-ish hours I've done in Skyrim.  Skyrim is a big game, the area it covers takes hours to cross from one side to the other (note: may not be multiple hours).  And I couldn't help but think about how much walking I've done in that.  Dungeons; towards new towns or landmarks; heck, even just wandering around town doing fetch quests.  Thousands upon thousands of steps.

If only I had a fitbit for my Video games.  And that it physically transferred to me.  That's every unhealthy nerds dream.