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About
My earilest memory is of playing a PC port of Pac-Man on my dad's computer. My next earliest memory is of playing a PC port of Tetris on my mom's computer. I've been happily and hopelessly into video games and everything to do with them since, and while I have my favorites - pretty much the entire Metroid series (except, you know, that one) - there are very few good games I haven't played and enjoyed.

Now that I've been here for a few months I guess something else should go here, so: I've set upon myself a personal goal to write and post a blog at least once per week. Sometimes, meeting this deadline means that those articles are not up to the standards I would like, and I'll simply shove them away unpublished and try again next week. More rarely, they turn out great, and up they go. Even more rarely, I'll actually feel very satisfied and accomplished, and will get all excited for the loads of attention I won't be receiving. The following blog entries are ones that I believe fit into the latter category, preserved here in order of appearance for my (but quite possibly also your!) amusement and enrichement:

Battlefield 3: On Scale, Freedom, and Wookies
Deus Ex: Human Revolution - David Sarif
Bigger, Longer, also Harder - A Counter-Case for Longer Games
Location: Darkest Africa
How About a Mass Effect 3 Article with No Ending Controversy (Spoiler-free!)
Quest for Blood: How Seeking Ultraviolence Showed Me the Best Side of Videogames

Also, I mantain the monthly Cblog Analytics series, which tallies up a bunch of statistics and presents them in a simple and organized format. The results are always interesting and often surprising - all the math is done on my end, so no matter how number-phobic you might be, it's worth checking out! This year's entries are listed here:

February
March
April
May
June
July
August
Badges
Following (8)  


Good god, Destructoid, were you as swamped as I was last month? Four days late on the Analytics. Four days! Unprecedented!



Oh man, oh man, did you guys see those GAMES last month? No, I'm not kidding -- I saw VIDEO GAMES! So many of them! Looks like August has been elected as the vanguard of 2012's big Fall/Winter release wave, giving us both Sleeping Dogs and Darksiders II on the same day, accompanying big-shot MMOs The Secret World and Guild Wars 2 a short while later. A good thing, too; with July's healthy selection of controversy-bait appearing to have retreated into hopefully lengthy hibernation, Cbloggers needed some cool stuff to write about. And write they did!

This 7th edition of the Analytics sends us past this year's halfway point. I'd be lying my pasty arse off if I said I'd enjoyed counting all these numbers, but it sure is worth it when I see the end result, especially now that the series has been going on long enough for me to start noticing long-term patterns and trends. Thanks to everybody for their continued support; knowing you guys love seeing the numbers as much as I do is the better half of what keeps the stats rolling out month after month, so don't forget to take another look at last month's edition so you can get a clearer picture of what went down in August!

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Remember: If there's something I haven't covered that you want to see next month, post it in the comments!



In total, 404 blogs were posted this month!
-(That's 37 less than last month's count of 441!)
-Still holding at the above-400 now-standard average

The most-blogged day was Sunday the 5th, with 22 blogs!
-(That's 1 less than last month's most-blogged day!)
-Holy inversion, Batman! A large number of blogs written over the big hooplah that was Gaymercon's rapid Kickstarter success happened this day, but even disregarding those entries, this would've been high-activity for any time of the week, much less the historically bone-dry weekends

The least-blogged day was Sunday the 19th, with 2 blogs!
-(That's 4 less than last month's least-blogged day!)
-…And then there was that. Other than a notable lack of things happening, I can't find any pattern or potential correlation regarding what is now the record low blogs-in-a-day since I first started doing the Analytics. Things recovered immediately afterwards, fortunately

On average, there were about 13 blogs a day!
-(That's 1 less than last month's average!)
-A measurable decrease compared to July, but basically on-par with June. Beyond the mysterious drop-off on the 19th, peaks and valleys don't seem to have concentrated on any particular period of time. Looking at the topic breakdown below, this makes sense; Gaymercon caused something of a furor in the early month, Sleeping Dogs & Darksiders 2 drove a lot of fingers to keyboards mid-month, and PAX Prime dominated much of the late month





The flavor of the month was PAX Prime, which was written about 11 times!
-(That's 3 more than last month!)
-Like July, Cblogger's thoughts in August were far more diffused across a variety of topics; no Mass Effect 3 endings or E3 blowouts this go around. Sexism appears to have secured itself a recurring appearance, having latched onto the popular Dtoid consciousness two months ago; however, there doesn't seem to have been a central issue around which such discussion is focused this time, like Tropes vs. Women last month or the Tomb Raider thing from June. Probably need another month or two before I can make any reasonable predictions or inferences on that end

This month's Bloggers Wanted topics prompted 7 blogs to be written!
-(That's 16 less than last month!)
-This month's topic of Conventions is already pretty exclusive compared to previous prompts, and the fact that it didn't show up until halfway through August (cough) didn't do much to help the numbers. You guys running out of ideas up there?

This month's Artists Wanted topic prompted 4 blogs to be posted!
-(That's 8 less than last month!)

About 87% of blogs were varied enough to have less than 5 blogs per topic!
-(That's 1% more than last month!
-Remember: varied discussion of a wide variety of topics can very easily be interpreted as a Good Thing™, as it indicates a huge breadth of interests and viewpoints. Compare it to, say, dozens of terrible copypasta (p)reviews of the same 5 or 6 big-budget AAAs





A total of 2,758 comments were posted on the Cblogs this month!
-(That's 535 less than last month!)

48 blogs received no comments! ;_;
-(That's 14 more than last month!)

The most commented blog was Occam Thoughts: Community, by Occams electric toothbrush, with 49 comments!
-(That's 12 more than last month's most-commented blog!)
-You know what I should do in the future is just bookmark an Occams blog as soon as it pops up, since the man carries attention-magnets big enough to make Disney contemplate patent infringement lawsuits. It'd save me a lot of time recording this stat

On average, there were 89 comments a day!
-(That's 15 less than last month!)
-While overall numbers may come out lower than in July, note how much smaller the spikes and dips are in the graph. Rather than being concentrated mostly around a handful of popular members, comments were (usually) distributed across a much wider spectrum of authors and blogs





In total, the Dtoid community fapped 2064 times!
-(That's 369 more than last month!)
-The sudden increase is more representative of how July's blogging was driven mostly by controversial topics; this time, the repeat of the "oh god the community is DYING I TELL YOU" phase the Cblogs went through in March was the worst it got

56 blogs went through the month fap-free! ;_;
-(That's 31 less than last time!)

The sluttiest blog was also Occam Thoughts: Community, by Occams electric toothbrush, with 45 faps!
-(That's 20 more than last month's sluttiest blog!)

On average, there were 67 faps a day!
-(That's 12 more than last month!)
-If you compare this chart with the blogs written chart up top, you'll notice how closely the peaks and valleys line up. This shows a consistency with August's comments distribution, i.e. a lot more love to a lot more people. Combined with the significant increase in both total faps and average faps-a-day, it's basically a universally positive turnout for community love this month





This month, 52 new members posted their first Cblog! (That's 3 less than last month!) Were they good? Bad? Fun? Long? Short? Will they post again? Did they post 12 more times already? There's only one way to find out! In order of appearance, they are:

hbomb - clustergeek - billyandjulia - N0Gil - JFZeb - worldsanddreams - Kmkin20 - Gamernerd101 - dbluee - Nathan Evrard - myherozero - sneakyg - Kinjiro - bigben4879 - IamZeroKelvin - Svitlana - Vkmies - Jason Bann - LiquidBear - chompers633 - Tiffanie Chiasson - AtTheSpeedOfFetus - Immortal Phoenix - Freddiethesupermouse - 29 Rooks - CheapBossAttack - Shaostyle - tremault - JMandalore - bigdonkey1 - scarritt - Broseidon - fringe figure - BobofMainframe - nanashi - CombustingFetus - jaxx - OhMyApollo - sadisticfreak432 - FaithPills - Forrgotten Soul - dergrimnebulin - Cronomax - SayWord - CubixFails - ChelseaBoy93 - Firelordzero - wintersault - nickstyles - PanaMusica - Stavros StevieGreek Dimou - Kwamouflage

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NOTES:

-Until a better method presents itself, statistics are counted by hand, per-day. Comments and Faps are recorded at the end of the next day, to give the community ample time to read and respond. I also do my best to disregard obvious spam-posts, but I can easily miss one or skip over what's actually just a really shoddy & self-aggrandizing but otherwise legit Cblog. This means that there are likely minor errors and inaccuracies present, but none of them should be significant enough to invalidate anything

-Cblog Recaps and last month's Analytics are not counted, but all other serials (like FNF) are, under the rationale that serials still exist for the purpose of "creating" content under a certain topic or theme, while the Recaps & Analytics merely seek to sort and organize the blogs

-For the flavor of the month, I do not count Bloggers Wanted topics - the statistic is instead recorded separately. A Bloggers Wanted topic that covers another popular, non-BW topic is only filed under the BW statistic

-There is still some inherent subjectivity in deciding what constitutes a "unique topic," so keep that in mind if there seems like there's some obvious category that I've ignored (although feel free to tell me)

-Statistics are not intended to impart any kind of judgment or opinion in and of themselves - If I have any personal thoughts, they are noted below the corresponding statistic
Photo Photo Photo










Hey, kids, want to see a magic trick? Shazam! I've just read your (yes, your!) mind, and now know that at no less but possibly more than one point, you (yes, you!) have had no less but possibly more than one friend, relative, dog, teddy bear, or imaginary companion who does not regularly play video games. Crazy, right? Now how about this: I'll even bet you've tried to talk to one of them about the subject.

Don't pass out yet, folks; I'm just getting started.

It didn't go so well, did it? "What's that word mean?" "Oh, I've never heard of that." "Is that the one with the guns?" "So it's just like Super Mary Brothers?" It's been the same with me, even when the disadvantaged party carries the best of intentions, like when my dad gave up on Mass Effect because he couldn't find the jump button. It's like speaking to somebody in an alien language where the vocabulary changes ten times a year and everything sounds like third-rate mid-80's album titles.

It's not just that non-gamers (and several non-non-gamers) have to reach for a Wiktionary every time an RTS or an RPG or an R-Type or an R4 is mentioned, scratching their heads as they try to organize their 360s and their 1080s and their 8.8s and 599s -- a different sort of "language," one that's a little harder to discretely define, can be found at the source of their hapless confusion, lying in the ambiguous shroud between convention and invention, with an arm stuck in a multi-millennial time-warp and a leg furiously kicking away repeated attempts to translate it into neat and professional-sounding words.



I say "Super Metroid," and you… wait for it… Alakazam! I know that you (probably) are thinking of a big open world, dozens of missile expansions, spin-jumping across pits of lava, squirming in terror before cheering triumphantly in the space of 1.5 minutes, and such. Since this article's being written for a community blog on a gaming website, there'd likely be no confusion and maybe even some agreement were I to throw the terms "level design," "progression mechanic," "platforming gameplay," and "presentation" at those four qualities, but to my dad or your imaginary friend, I might as well be speaking Alpha Centaurian.

What I'd be trying to categorize is the language of video games; their Matrix code; incomprehensible gibberish to an outsider, confusing and contradictory to the insider, vast and ever-changing even to those experienced enough to decipher it. The existence of such a thing is not unique to the medium, of course -- languages and patterns of craft are found in everything from movies and cars to buildings and toilets, but the (relative) youth of gaming means that we've yet to come up with the right "translations" for even a fraction of all those thousands of compositional bits; for the few that exist, we tend to steal what we can (the "camera"), stretch existing definitions to ligament-tearing breadth ("levels"), and coin ugly portmanteaus for the rest ("Metroidvania").

But as difficult as it may be to sit and toss flowery terminology around in high-minded circlejerks, these patterns and hidden consistencies still exist, and only become more visible the more one plays. Hand the average gamer a copy of Left 4 Dead and Revelations 2012 (topicality!) and, even if they may not be able to articulate exactly what the problem is, one of those games is much more likely to find itself tearing up some wild animal's intestines than the other.



Where things get interesting is when this "code" does become visible. Contrary to what most internet forums would tell you, the quality of a game is subjective, relying heavily on frame of reference -- the kid who grows up with the appropriate doses of Doom and Half-Life, with some sides of System Shock, Battlefield, No One Lives Forever, and Halo, is going to approach, say, Soldier of Fortune: Payback (a very very bad game you should not play, for the curious) with a much different mindset than the kid whose entire gaming repertoire consists of McKids and Super Noah's Ark 3D. Not only has Subject A experienced a great number of what would widely be considered "better" games, that range has provided him/her with a bunch of visible patterns -- inventory menus; weapon functions; puzzle types; not necessarily conventions, but enough similarities that he/she can see how the budget Call of Duty clone compares and -- more accurately -- doesn't compare.

This is why so many SRS GAEM CRITCS cream their pants over things like Grand Theft Auto IV and Journey; either those dozens of patterns and (for lack of a better word) devices that pop up in so many different forms are presented or approached with a huge level of depth and variety (Procedural animation! Ultra-detailed worldbuilding!), or they're simply not there, the conspicuously empty space filled by something that can't be easily traced back across a genre clothesline. It's not even necessarily "innovation," to use an overexposed and oft-misapplied word, that draws out the double-digit numbers and angry comments; looking back across an element's history and seeing that every prior example doesn't quite measure up is usually enough -- there aren't many things the first Modern Warfare did that hadn't been done before, but that didn't stop so many of its qualities from shining so brightly.

So, in a really roundabout way, "new things and well-polished things are good and there should be more," then, but I've got to think that all the difficulties I've had defining exactly what I've been trying to write about for the past few paragraphs (count how many times you see "pattern") is the best possible state for the medium to be in. As soon as something becomes categorized and established, it by necessity becomes exclusive and limiting -- defining what something is tends to also define what it is not; and while understanding this Matrix code undoubtedly helps us analyze and appreciate the most well-crafted of video games on a far deeper level than we otherwise could, spend too much time examining it, and you end up tarnishing what makes it so fascinating, turning all the once-likable characters into faux-losophy spewing androids and making people suffer through the most awkward and protracted sex scene since The Room; and at least in that one, you knew whose bare ass you were staring at.
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No, this isn't supposed to be a recurring segment; just a double-meaning meant to lure your angry clicking here instead of to whatever nonsense the analyst-of-the-hour is spewing. Also, this article is as close to spoiler-free as I can get with games this plot-heavy, but, per usual, your standards may differ from mine so don't burn my computer or anything



I can't say I didn't get what I asked for. I'm always preaching about games needing to get mature -- for-real mature, not headshots-and-titties mature -- and then these two titles come along, replete with convincing characters, heady subject matter, and a couple of skull-crushing anvils worth of horrifying moments, ensuring I felt like thirty different kinds of shite by the time I was done with them.

Instant Mood Depressor #1 was Spec Ops: The Line, which, having caught my attention early on, found itself in my mailbox a short couple of weeks after launch day. The one thing I love more than carbon-copy military shooters is deriding carbon-copy military shooters, so a game which is meant to do both at the same time! sounded like the best way to spend the next couple of afternoons. Worst-case, I get to point and laugh (and laugh and laugh) at a cynically vapid attempt to cash in on a trend that's already gotten old; best-case, it's a genuinely affecting and worthwhile exploration of the darkness inherent in blah, etc., you get the point.

Unfortunately, this was the best-case scenario.

Spec Ops is a very hard game to talk about without spoiling, not in the least because its MO is to tie a cardboard mask to its face act like a slightly better-written Battleduty of Warfront for just long enough that the player is suckered in -- leaving their gut wide open for the daddy mother-fourletter-er of all punches. I've built up a strong, strong tolerance to pixelated death and dismemberment; even during the game's marquee turning point (you know what I'm talking about if you've played it), I was actually pumping my fist in the air and cheering at the game, applauding it for having both narrative skill to make the scene necessary and impactful and the nuts to put it out there in full view, rather than tuck it away behind +15 evil points or a "don't-go-here-if-you-want-to-be-offended!" display.


And then there was a major news network controversy

But by the game's end, I was legitimately tired, exasperated, drained, depleted, what have you, fully numbed to how many bullets I was pumping into dozens of American soldiers -- I wasn't disgusted, I wasn't thrilled; I wasn't cringing, I wasn't smiling. Outside of some vague, irrational need to trudge forward, clinging on to the completely idiotic hope that there'd be something at the end that'd make the horrors I'd seen and caused worthwhile, I was emotionally dead. Just like the characters. Just like I was supposed to be. Bravo, Yager.

In a way, Spec Ops seems to have put itself in the worst possible position to be financially successful. Masquerading as another dirty brown cover-palooza, however necessary it may be to facilitate the game's thematic intent, hides the colorfully, beautifully dystopian worldbuilding and merciless story from those who would most appreciate it, while its shaky mechanics and forgettable multiplayer alienate the drooling frat boys who would most benefit from it. With any luck, though, word of mouth (such as the 468 above!) will be enough to dip its combined sales just over the profitable hump -- if you've got $50 to burn, you could even snag a copy! If you take your video games at all seriously (and it's okay if you don't) or are at least sick to goddamn death of how homogenized the shooter genre appears to have become, it's well, well worth it.

What a relief the upcoming Steam summer sale was going to be, thought I! I'd pick up a couple of cutesy indie titles and the Civilization V expansion, and spend the next several days washing away the blood and grime off of my virtual conscience. While waiting for the appropriate price reductions, Telltale's The Walking Dead appeared as a daily discount. I'd heard some nice things, so I checked the usual gamut of professional opinion-havers to be sure and plonked down the $15. Episodic? Oh, cool; I'll knock them out tonight, I thought to myself, a contented smile on my face.


There's no way this could be anything but a bright and uplifting feel-good story, right?

Well, guess what wasn't on my face six hours later. While one game is focused on constant combat and the other deals mostly with interpersonal relationships, I can draw a surprising number of parallels between The Walking Dead and Spec Ops, other than the fact that they both caused my left hand to spontaneously turn into a perpetually-refilling bottle of hard liquor, of course; both of them are heavily character driven stories, placing a smattering of "normal" people into a hellish world and watching with demented glee as they degenerate into violent, irrational sociopaths. Both of them require meaningful decisions from the player, which never impact the story when you want them to and always impact the story when you don't want them to. Both of them are unapologetically dark and violent, focusing on brutality so explicitly and closely that they pass beyond exploitative and land in truly disturbing territory.

There's one thing here that Spec Ops doesn't have, though, and that's a warm heart at its very core. While the latter's objective was to completely erode and weather away every last trace of morality and humanity in its characters -- and, by extension, provide a reflection of the player's role in the average shooter -- The Walking Dead centers around good people trying their best to survive and help those they care about; the horrible things they do in their panicked desperation usually serve to enhance their believability as conflicted human beings, rather than depicting them as broken, remorseless shells.


YOU MEAN LIKE A ZOMB-

It didn't do much to stop me from hating hating hating hating myself and a couple of those characters, though. In a curious irony, I was at my most comfortable during the skill-free action segments, where all I had to do was point vaguely in the direction of a zombie's head and click rapidly -- with the worst possible consequence being a four-second reset, there was nothing to lose beyond self-respect. Life-or-death choices, where I've got no clue what's going on and either side will forever despise me for sticking with the other, though? That's how you create tension in this kind of game: my life may be expendable thanks to my magical wizard respawning powers, but all these squishy NPCs aren't so lucky. Making sure to play with the horribly immersion-breaking "story notifications" turned off (man I'd love to know exactly what people think of me every time I say something to them in real life!), The Walking Dead gave me an experience just as tense and emotionally turbulent as any action-packed murder-fest, leaving me as drained and regret-filled as my tour with Spec Ops.

But while I indeed had a miserable time with both Spec Ops and The Walking Dead, I loved nearly every minute of them; like any good anything, they appeal to more than just my love of popping heads, drawing out a far wider range of emotions and responses than "F*CK YER!" and "F*CK YERRRR!" That's the line (cough) between "toys" and "entertainment" -- and it's one I hope games will stay on the right side of in the coming future.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to go and soak my head in industrial bleach and unicorn-shaped chocolate.
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Well, that was a much more exciting month! For all of the negativity that seemed to surround it, this year's E3 didn't let us down in the attention-generation department, driving a considerable portion of June's media frenzy. Throw that in with 133 mL of sexism controversies and you've got a blogging-explosion worthy of gaming's most expensive and extravagant spectacle, for better or ill.

Or at least that's what you'd think, but while there was an increase in activity this month, it's a lot lighter than I perceived and expected. Worst-case, this means that March's staff-shift, April's 10-things-about-me, and E3 here are merely masking an overall decline hinted at in May - but I'm more convinced that the Cblogs are simply settling into something of an equilibrium now that there's no bigmajor internal thing going down. Of course, the only way to find out for sure is to check back next month and see how July shapes up - don't forget to refresh your memory on last month's edition as you read these new ones!

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Remember: If there's something I haven't covered that you want to see next month, post it in the comments!



In total, precisely 400 blogs were posted this month!
-(That's 36 more than last month's count of 364!)
-What a nice, round number! Even more interestingly, this surplus is the exact same as the number of E3-related blogs

The most-blogged days were Tuesday the 5th and 26th, both with 20 blogs!
-(That's the exact same as last month's most-blogged day!)

The least-blogged day was Saturday the 16th, with 6 blogs!
-(That's 3 more than last month's least-blogged day!)
-Lowest number of blogs on a mid-month weekend. SHOCKER

On average, there were about 13 blogs a day!
-(That's 1 more than last month's average!)
-All things considered, June was a far more predictable month as far as hard numbers go; a brief surge at the beginning due to E3, low points on the weekends, etc.





The flavor of the month was once again E3, which was written about 36 times!
-(That's 27 more blogs than last month!)
-Note that quite a few other potential topics - Weeyoo Wii U, for example - fell by the wayside, as the number of blogs on such things that weren't centered around E3 didn't make the 5-blog cut. I separated Tomb Raider-related blogs from general sexism-blogs under a similar line of thinking: if it was mostly about the game itself, it goes there; otherwise, it goes in sexism/misogyny

This month's Bloggers Wanted topics prompted 36 blogs to be written!
-(That's 18 more than last month!)
-E3 was the only official topic this month, Dtoid staff! Come on, guys, give us some more stuff to write about in July

About 85% of blogs were varied enough to have less than 5 blogs per topic!
-(That's 2% less than last month!
-Even with topics, it does indeed look like the Cblogs are starting to settle into a comfortable set of numbers. Also, that little "X-is-the-worst" mini-meme made 5 blogs while Dragon's Dogma slipped off the edge with 4? For shame, people





A total of 2,479 comments were posted on the Cblogs this month!
-(That's 77 more than last month!)

28 blogs received no comments! ;_;
-(That's 3 less than last month!)

The most commented blog was I'll see you around, Destructoid., by Samit Sarkar, with 69 comments!
-(That's 30 more than last month's most-commented blog!)
-I feel I should also mention Maurice Tan's departure blog, which barely falls short at 61 comments. Godspeed, gentlemen

On average, there were 83 comments a day!
-(That's 16 more than last month!)





In total, the Dtoid community fapped 1701 times!
-(That's 189 more than last month!)
-Unlike May, you'll notice fewer large "spikes" in faps-per-day; June's totals were mostly driven by infrequent posts from popular community mainstays (as well as the aforementioned staff departure posts) rather than the more even distribution of hot stuff we've seen in previous months

87 blogs went through the month fap-free! ;_;
-(That's 17 more than last time!)
-This is probably the only stat that is "worse" this go around, but that makes sense considering the trend I just mentioned

The sluttiest blog was also I'll see you around, Destructoid., by Samit Sarkar, with 67 faps!
-(That's 30 more than last month's sluttiest blog!)
-I once again feel it prudent to plug Maurice Tan's post, which trails just behind at 65 faps

On average, there were 57 faps a day!
-(That's 6 more than last month!)





This month, 47 new members posted their first Cblog! (That's 6 more than last month!) In order of appearance, they are:

Chonglei Chen - Ficos Gaming Mind - Brian Brennan - McSlaughter - chrisbradshaw - James Crisp - PandaOnIce - Teenydinosaurs - Kramda66 - Solar20XX - - Radox Redux - theinternat - Kent Lundblad - BrittanyG - MacManus - Equipollent - Stephen Blaze - bigboss0110 - AntDaGamer - Cramjomlin - McFlyGold - BossFightTV - kearns87 - Tex Deckard - gaminglife - fzzywarbals - Camiwaits - Megabyte - P45K - mystakin - Falldog - SkintCrayon - ccesarano - Stephen Carlander - otrapendejada - Stealth - RPG Mania - DigestiveGaming - solidturtleman - Ali Sed - Poetaster - seagaia - KazuoTS - PinkRanger - therealdanhill - mullen10 - accurization
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NOTES:

-Until a better method presents itself, statistics are counted by hand, per-day. Comments and Faps are recorded at the end of the next day, to give the community ample time to read and respond. I also do my best to disregard obvious spam-posts, but I can easily miss one or skip over what's actually just a really shoddy & self-aggrandizing but otherwise legit Cblog. This means that there are likely minor errors and inaccuracies present, but none of them should be significant enough to invalidate anything

-Cblog Recaps and last month's Analytics are not counted, but all other serials (like FNF) are, under the rationale that serials still exist for the purpose of "creating" content under a certain topic or theme, while the Recaps & Analytics merely seek to sort and organize the blogs

-For the flavor of the month, I do not count Bloggers Wanted topics - the statistic is instead recorded separately. A Bloggers Wanted topic that covers another popular, non-BW topic is only filed under the BW statistic

-There is still some inherent subjectivity in deciding what constitutes a "unique topic," so keep that in mind if there seems like there's some obvious category that I've ignored (although feel free to tell me)

-Statistics are not intended to impart any kind of judgment or opinion in and of themselves - If I have any personal thoughts, they are noted below the corresponding statistic
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Two violence-related articles in a row? Oh no! Well, at least this one's about nice things; I'll try and find something rainbow-sparkly for next week



During my adolescence, I would constantly preach how videogaming was the current high point of creative potential, combining every layer and facet of human art and multiplying their power by its unique interactive capabilities. I'd go on and on about the subtlety and nuance; the depth and wit; the scope and scale of its greatest landmarks, speaking in tones as excited and passionate as they were awe-struck and reverent.

I'd never admit it then, but I was a lying little shit.

For reasons I'm still unable to fully divine, my mother and father had decided early in my youth that playing Banjo-Kazooie was a thing they would very much like to do, and took it upon themselves to slowly and subtly slide into my apparently-no-longer-impermeable gaming bubble. "Neat," is what I'd thought at the time -- parents who fumble with the controller as if they were trying to pilot a jet and tilt their bodies 60 degrees as they play and bicker over directions like they were on an interstate road trip and secretly look at GameFAQs to try and make me think they'd suddenly discovered how to get to the next world and otherwise fill out the jolly sterility of a gaming stock-photo nearly to the pixel (minus much of the jolliness and sterility) seemed preferable to parents who'd torch anything electric. Family moments were had, memories were inscribed, bonds were bonded, and I got to be the one kicking them off the TV every now and then.

Something went a little wrong, though. After Banjo came Super Mario 64. After that came Banjo-Tooie. Hey, that's fine; three of the best 3D platformers both now and then. Marginally less fun was to be extracted out of Donkey Kong 64, but hardly to the point of alarm. Every now and then we'd play Mario Kart 64, which would lead to lots of flying plastic and pain-threshold noise, reminding us why we don't play Mario Kart 64. But then the cartridge slot found itself occupied by Banjo-Kazooie once again, and thus began a sort of five-year-long time-loop, in which I'd be playing the same four or five games for far longer than was probably healthy.


"A romantic comedy fantasy." Whose fantasy? You know there's somebody

You see, while parents who are at least mildly videogames sure seemed cool, my mother was the kind of person who would have to shoo flies out the window because she couldn't bring herself to swat them, and my father believed the ESRB ratings were literally law. Playing a few platformers had made them just savvy enough that I couldn't gently slide my hand over the bottom-left corner of a game-box and slip even Goldeneye past their protective eyes, but knowledge of little else made them just oblivious enough that they were convinced even a few seconds' exposure to anything more realistic than a bright red bird shitting grenade-eggs would forever 1. scar me for the remainder of my life, placing me into a permanent vegetative state of shock and fear and/or 2. transform me into somebody that'd leave even the hypothetical mutant offspring of Jack Torrance and Mel Gibson shivering in a corner and crying for pappy.

Irony (n.) /ˈaɪ.rə.ni/: This had the precise opposite effect. Shortly after an ill-fated setup where I would have to have Dad enter a password every time I wanted to get on a website, I gained mostly-unrestricted access to The Internet, which led me to quite a bit of gameplay footage of people being shot, smashed, sliced, sautéed, and otherwise massacred in explicitly gory detail. Having been carefully sheltered and shielded from such horrible things my entire life, I found these videos -- and, thus, the games -- as incredibly fascinating and infinitely desirable as they were wholly unattainable.

I found ways to survive. After finally making the case that Star Wars: Dark Forces 3: Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast and its colons wouldn't lead me to cause the immediate murder of every human being in the neighborhood, I scoured (i.e. did a short Google search on) the web for a gore mod. Not finding anything satisfactory led me to pry open the asset archives myself and learn how to re-do particle effects, re-color textures, and re-enable the 14-point-dismemberment system mysteriously present but locked off in the game's code.


I've come a long way since then

While I may have been driven by nothing but juvenile bloodthirst, I had discovered what would become one of my most valuable hobbies: game modding. Other than simply playing the dick out of everything I could get my four-inch hands on, nothing has expanded and enhanced my knowledge of and appreciation for what goes into a videogame more than tearing apart its innards and reassembling its organs and entrails into a digital Frankenstein tailored to my unique desires -- yes, sticking "g_saberRealisticCombat 1" into an autoexec.cfg so I can chop heads off at first, but later transitioning into wholly new effects and weapons. Downloading SDKs and trying to improve the blood FX has since become something of a ritual to which I subject every moddable PC game I buy, taking on less prurient goals if I end up liking the toolset.

Haphazardly patchworking extra murder into my PC games wasn't going to cut it forever, though, and before long, I'd set my sights on acquiring a game box stamped with that elusive "M." The game inside said box? Half-Life 2. Why? Whatever title I chose needed to meet certain criteria:

1. The game must have a downloadable demo I can use to present my case.
2 The game must be M-rated, because that's the whole goddamn point.
3. The game must be very well-received by critics, because that lends considerable legitimacy to my position.
4. The game must be on PC, because any other gaming system besides the GameCube is a blood-spewing deathbox in my parents' eyes.
5. The game's demo must contain sufficient quantities of nonviolent content to make it appear as harmless as possible.
6. The game itself, however, must also contain sufficient quantities of horribly gruesome death, since that's the other goddamn point.

Split between the lengthy opening and the zombie-infested Ravenholm chapter, Half-Life 2's demo fit the bill as if I'd constructed the list around it rather than the other way around. Once I'd confirmed that tearing walking corpses in half by launching sawblades at them satiated my bloodlust well enough -- for that was all I really cared about -- I brought my mother (who was always the more malleable one) to the monitor and began to carefully examine the game's introduction, piecing together how each little stroke and brilliant touch subtly but masterfully intertwined, constructing a vaguely Orwellian future-imperfect which used a harsh clash of…

Starting to sound like something a little more than an excuse to get at some dismemberment?


Who cares about best-in-class worldbuilding when there're ZOMBIES TO KILL

The effort was a success, and I'd sent Dr. Breen crashing down the reactor within 48 hours. With no known homicides appearing in the following months, the hardest barrier was now shattered, and a pattern began to emerge: I'd comb through websites and old Game Informer issues looking for the cream-of-the-M-rated-crop, explain what made each game so great, and watch my collection slowly grow. Here's Deus Ex, in which the player is capable of and rewarded for not taking a single life, highlighting its open-ended and player-driven nature; this one's Bioshock, whose setting and characters are so instantly compelling and engrossing; check out Halo, which couples its breathtaking vistas with a fun, pulpy sci-fi plot; Grand Theft Auto IV isn't cool because you can shoot up prostitutes, but rather because a ludicrous amount of detail is poured into every square inch of architecture, meshing with unprecedented depth in procedural character behavior and a Tarantino-like flair in its wickedly sharp dialogue.

Almost completely unintentionally, I had attuned myself to what makes some of the medium's most beloved works so well-regarded and widely praised; it happened slowly, and, for a time, unconsciously, but my adolescent hard-on for extravagant violence had guided me, crotch-first, directly toward gaming's finest examples. Over several years, my faux-snobbery gradually morphed into honest-to-goodness for-real snobbery, slowly but surely molding my talents, interests, and personality to be thirty times more videogames than I'd have ever thought.

Would I have developed such an ardent and, at times, blind love for our little hobby had my upbringing been a little more lax on age restrictions? Would I still be churning out 1500-word articles about the subject if I'd been able to drill into dino heads in Turok 2 during my formative years? Probably. Would I care as much about its making? About what it can do as much as what it already does? Would I still want to tear apart and examine the nuts and bolts of nearly every game I buy? Probably not; so, for that, thanks, Mom and Dad. Your well-meaning overprotectiveness ended up failing in just the right way, driving me in however roundabout a manner to end up looking for and appreciating mature experiences in the sense of true maturity: not fountains of blood and geysers of curse words, but subtlety and nuance; depth and wit; scope, scale, and the willingness to push things farther and farther in the search for more compelling, meaningful, and plain-ol' fun experiences -- for real this time.
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I'm almost wanting to wait until tomorrow so Maurice Tan's goodbye blog doesn't get buried beneath the pudgy, mouthbreathing, bespectacled, zit-ridden exercise in self-gratification that is the Analytics, but the stats must go on! Don't hurt me, guys



Welcome back. Although two of the year's big juggernauts - Diablo III and Max Payne 3, namely - found their way into gamers' sweaty, eager palms this month, May was a more subdued month for the Cblogs, with no major controversy or community phenomenon sparking off the surges of Dtoider activity we've seen buzzing about on occasion. That's not to say things were dry, of course - and with E3 preparing to present to the world its glitzy, deodorant-caked arse in less than 48 hours, we'll almost certainly have some interesting numbers to look at in another 30 days.

Last month's organization seems to have been the way to go, so no changes this time around. And, of course, before you start gobbling up these delicious statistics, don't forget to treat yourself to an appetizer and check out last month's edition.

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Remember: If there's something I haven't covered that you want to see next month, post it in the comments!



In total, 364 blogs were posted this month!
-(That's 136 less than last month's count of 500!)
-Again, it's been somewhat of a dry month, and without any major fad like last month's 10-things-about-me (which continued to trail into May!), the decline is not as astounding as it may seem

The most-blogged day was Wednesday the 30th, with 20 blogs!
-(That's 22 less than last month's most-blogged day!)
-I can't find any specific thing that led this day to come out on top; considering the next highest was only two less at 18, it's probably just a favorable rotation of Mars or etc.

The least-blogged days were Saturday the 5th and 19th, both with 3 blogs!
-(That's 2 less than last month's least-blogged day!)
-Saturday glides down from on high and ends Sunday's killing low-activity spree. Fun while it lasted, but it's still a weekend, fitting in with the general trend

On average, there were about 12 blogs a day!
-(That's 5 less than last month's average!)
-While it's a definite drop from April, the overall trend this month held surprisingly steady, with each low dip countered by a high peak and vice versa. The mild increase denoted by the trendline is primarily due to the recent ignition of the E3 train - brace yourselves for the spectacular wreck next month





The flavor of the month was E3, which was written about 9 times!
-(That's 65 less blogs than last month!)
-The difference here has more to do with how f*cking huge 10-things was than how few strong topics there were in May, although this is 2012's weakest flavor so far

This month's Bloggers Wanted topics prompted 18 blogs to be written!
-(That's 24 less than last month!)
-Specifically:
Collaboration - 1 (trailing from last month)
Hype - 17

About 87% of blogs were varied enough to have less than 5 blogs per topic!
-(That's 16% more than last month!)
-With only one Bloggers Wanted topic really existing for May, the drop is understandable; I'm honestly surprised Diablo III didn't attract more attention, but I guess anybody who cared about it enough to write about it was too busy playing or trying to play





A total of 2,092 comments were posted on the Cblogs this month!
-(That's 1494 less than last month!)
-More evidence of how 10-things blew such a massive crater in April's numbers that any chance of a nearly-as-competent follow-up act was virtually vaporized

31 blogs received no comments! ;_;
-(That's 19 less than last month!)
-Well, at least that's an improvement

The most commented blog was So frustrating!, by Elsa, with 39 comments!
-(That's 5 less than last month's most-commented blog!)
-Technically, this is tied with Andy's Diablo III… thing (see the faps section below), but I'm pretending it isn't out of spite WHAT'RE YA GONNA DO ABOUT IT BROSKI

On average, there were 67 comments a day!
-(That's 53 less than last month!)
-No big "thing" that happened on the 4th - just a lot of popular blogs/bloggers, boosted by it being FNF time





In total, the Dtoid community fapped 1512 times!
-(That's 1478 less than last month!)
-I'm sure you can come up with dozens of better jokes about this than I can

70 blogs went through the month fap-free! ;_;
-(That's 21 less than last time!)
-On the other hand it's getting really hard to restrain myself

The sluttiest blog was Review: Diablo III, by Mr Andy Dixon, with 37 faps!
-(That's 17 less than last month's sluttiest blog!)
-You kids are just sucking up to the bossman, aren't you; what a bunch of
(not jealous not jealous not jealous)

On average, there were 49 faps a day!
-(That's 51 less than last month!)





This month, 41 new members posted their first Cblog! (That's 15 less than last month!) In order of appearance, they are:

Blart Dick - Hanif Hackley - JosieScoresby - Kelly Raila - Chris Cris - grataxe - L3ED - Jonathan Johei Oyama - jackdan594 - siegarettes - stubbleman - lilmoefow - Dukes Largest Nukem - Admiralsombrero - shaxam1029 - Mr Van Carpels - Atary77 - Zhukov - Scield - Paddy Murphy - FatTroll - Bonder - Chi - ipaqi - David M Rosensteel - Corpral Hicks - jbro08 - ModernCreed - The Gameslinger - Ocelot - Buff Orpington - Frans Van Carpels - Siete KeKe - Fuhjem - Doggerel - Brock Delebreau - Watshealing - DotEater - Nicky Austin - PippinForLife - jkgeis

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NOTES:

-Until a better method presents itself, statistics are counted by hand, per-day. Comments and Faps are recorded at the end of the next day, to give the community ample time to read and respond. I also do my best to disregard obvious spam-posts, but I can easily miss one or skip over what's actually just a really shoddy & self-aggrandizing but otherwise legit Cblog. This means that there are likely minor errors and inaccuracies present, but none of them should be significant enough to invalidate anything

-Cblog Recaps and last month's Analytics are not counted, but all other serials (like FNF) are, under the rationale that serials still exist for the purpose of "creating" content under a certain topic or theme, while the Recaps & Analytics merely seek to sort and organize the blogs

-For the flavor of the month, I do not count Bloggers Wanted topics - the statistic is instead recorded separately. A Bloggers Wanted topic that covers another popular, non-BW topic is only filed under the BW statistic

-There is still some inherent subjectivity in deciding what constitutes a "unique topic," so keep that in mind if there seems like there's some obvious category that I've ignored (although feel free to tell me)

-Statistics are not intended to impart any kind of judgment or opinion in and of themselves - If I have any personal thoughts, they are noted below the corresponding statistic
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