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Born in 1983, I've been gaming since 3 when I discovered my dad's Atari 2600. Pitfall and Kaboom were my favorite games at the time, though, like so many, I never really made it very far in Pitfall -but I really liked getting eaten by crocs.

Moving forward from there I think my parents knew they couldn't stop me from gaming, so they did their best to fuel my passions by giving me an NES for Christmas in '87. My first games were Mario/Duckhunt (derp) and Dragon Warrior, because no one knew how ridiculous that game would be for a 4 year old to play. Dragons = Cool and that was that. I'd never actually get far in that game, though I always tried.

From there I would go on to collect over 200games for the system, most of which I finished, that I didn't the foresight to keep into my adulthood. God am I sad about that.

After the NES I was lucky to have both a Genesis and an SNES, but only because my cousin was kind (or stupid) enough to give me his Genesis, but I leaned towards the SNES. After that I had a Playstation, PS2 and Gamecube, then an Xbox 360. All during this I had most all of Nintendo's handhelds, and even a Sega Nomad (which I wasn't smart enough to keep into my adulthood either...)

I really would like to find a way to make gaming, one of the only things I've ever stuck with in my life, into a career. Theres few things I'm this passionate about.

My favorites games, ironically, are RPGs, but not for the obvious reason. My cousin (the Genesis fool) is actually to blame for that by letting me barrow Final Fantasy II (IV) for the SNES -the first RPG I've ever finished. I got wrapped up in the story, and thats were I still find myself wrapped up in with games today, and something I feel we've seen wane largely over this generation.

Other then RPGs I really will play anything I can get my hands on. Though, generally I don't touch sports games, generally because I don't care too much for sports, but I will pick up a Hockey game from time to time.

I'm not much of a multiplayer person, mostly because I've been a lonely single player all my life. I'm REALLY timid and really don't like to make myself look like an ass. I'm really hoping to break that, but am finding old habits suck. I've been telling Mr. Andy for over a year now how I want to, and I think he should be sick of seeing it :D

Ironically, I've played and even tested a ton of MMOs for over about 11 years now, and its one of my favorite game styles. A few (WoW, the gone-since-09 MXO) I have years of experience in (have played WoW since before launch, and have just quit -possibly for good), which really goes against my no multiplayer-ness, but I usually enjoy the games where I don't really have to rely on others for much of anything.

Anything else you want to know, hit me up and ask. I know I'm timid with mulitplayer but answering questions about myself has never been something I've ever been shy about doing.
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PSN ID:DauntingAbyss
Steam ID:http://steamcommunity.com/id/BoomingEchoes
Origin ID:DauntingAbyss
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WOW ID:Xihan
WOW Realm:Elune
WOW Armory URL:http://us.battle.net/wow/en/character/elune/Xihan/simple
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Franklin.. Oh Franklin.. If videogame characters were bicycle wheels, you'd be the big, deflated, third one. If this were a big wheel, you'd make a kid cry...

I started to write this in response to the Destructoid community casting call for the same subject, but life and my fickle health made me take more of a detour then I wished, and I missed the boat. But screw it, I'm typing up what I wrote through the week and posting it any way!

There maybe some light GTA V spoilers here.. But, honestly, given we're talking about Franklin, I sort of doubt it'll be anything special. This is going to be ridiculously shorter then my favorite new character post.

Actually, to tell you the truth about this, someone would actually have to pay me to waste any more time on writing about this digital waste of skin. My review of GTA V said about as much (in so little) as could be said about Franklin. In fact.. Screw it.. Since it'd just be a rehash of portions of that review any way, heres what I had to say about Franklin from it.

"Franklin is.. Well.. Basically he's a low rent John Singleton character. He's trying to get out of the hood while trying to get his girlfriend, who doesn't want him, back (Edit note: Who would blame her?). Everyone around him aside from Michael and Trevor tells him he never does anything for them, even though he does everything for them. And that pretty much forces him into the arms of Michael, mostly babysitting Trevor, where he still can't bother to say no and simply walk away from everyone. He really is the weakest of the 3, I can't stress that enough."

"Franklin was basically a waste of space, and I really don't know what that was supposed to say about Franklin.

Nothing Franklin does means a whole lot of anything, and he doesn't add anything but a third person to play as. Remember how I say that things sort of just happen to Michael with little rhyme or reason, that are supposed to better his life? That's pretty much the entirety of Franklin's story. Things landing in his lap, including becoming a hired killer (which bares no weight on him what-so-ever, and feels forced considering he tries to be a -pitiful- voice of reason for everyone else through the game.).



At best he's everyone's Morgan Freeman, driving them all around like Miss Daisy. Even when he takes charge, he's never fully in charge. (Edit note: He even falls asleep while in charge at one point, leaving Trevor and Lamar to have one of my favorite conversations in the game). He was boring, and was portrayed as being as ho-hum as he's played out. He doesn't really add anything to the game except his friend Lamar, who says some really really funny stuff during the course of the game.

In fact, I was just reminded of one character that Franklin claims keeps him and his friend Lamar down a few times, that only shows up maybe twice, only to kill him off later as a way to clean his slate so he can lead his own life (instead of simply walking away from everyone and everything the 50 times he could have). Unless I missed something, there really wasn't a huge reason to go after this guy other then to give Franklin a villain of his own. It's forced, just like the rest of Franklin's part in the game.

He was my least played character and he contributed almost nothing to the game by way of story or gameplay, but the game pretty much tells you at the very end that Franklin is the main character, after hours of evidence otherwise.?"

There is very literally nothing more that I can say about Franklin that I haven't said already. After I drafted out my Lara Croft post, I pretty much could only bring myself write out scant notes about Frankin, and I realized I had written them all before (a usual sign of insanity; doing something over and over thinking you'd get different results). Even in weeks removed hindsight, he's still the most underwhelming character in that game.

Oh, actually, no, I'm wrong.. I'd nominate him for the title of one of the worst characters in gaming of all time. So I guess there's that. Funny thing is how this games already started getting Game Of The Year titles, with him at the proverbial helm.

Guess he really is a good driver.

(2 Things before I go: 

First, I know I'm riding a no-no line having posted this and my Lara Croft post in one night. This week's been tougher then expected and having not making it in time to get them in on the festivities they were meant for certainly of punctuated that. So I'm taking a chance just throwing this up for everyone, like I intended to had I been able to space them out.

And as usual, since C-blog formatting seems to hate me with a white hot passion, I invite you to come over to my blog and read it there if my formatting here took a giant dump: http://geek-forge.blogspot.com/2013/12/my-most-hated-character-of-year-gta-vs.html ;)










I started to write this in response to the Destructoid community casting call for the same subject, but both life and my fickle health made me take more of a detour then I wished, and I missed the boat. But screw it, I'm typing up what I wrote through the week and posting it any way!

This may have some light Tomb Raider(2013) spoilers.

Now I know what you all might be thinking: Lara's been around for 17 years, she's not new.. Or even the best. But in thinking back on what we want out of videogames, especially in the last 2 years, this re-envisioned Lara has it all, and every bit of what makes her up is new:

She's fresh (literally and figuratively, compared to her older iteration).

She looks amazing (graphically and otherwise).

She's innovative (in road less taken approach they took with her)

A story, more about her herself, instead of just gut pounding action (though the action is there)

She's a strong female character that isn't a lifeless flaunting of negative things (in spite of what people wanted to believe prior to release)

And all of this, in spite of certain award nominations, from a game that seems to have gone largely underrated by the gaming community.



The game imagines the jarring start of Lara Croft's journey from college student to hardened explorer, in  a way that gives a much more definitive start then the original Tomb Raider; a game that simply had the voluptuous adventurer being what she was is within little to no context. Now we got to see every we get to experience every grueling step, allowing us to achieve her personal growth with her. And it's a growth that has extended beyond the screen, and into the real world.

The problem's facing new Lara weren't always a part of her journey however, since the community seemed to find a heaping pile of reasons to hate on her, from about the moment we found out about her return.  But rarely have any of these issues been actually about Lara herself, but stigmas people have about her based on very little interaction with the actual game.

Thinking back on it, I'd say the exact point where the negative reactions started was actually at the very beginning, with the first rumblings of the games existence. The announcement got a mixed reaction of optimism and frustration. The new game, and take on the character, would be far better then any game we've seen from the prior series of the same name in past years, but Lara was met with a lot of hate for the idea that she would be waify (yet not overbearingly sexy), fragile, and younger. Thing is, this happened in comments across the internet, but isn't quite as remembered as what happened after, when the game was finally shown at E3.

I don't think Crystal Dynamics could have foreseen the turbulence they were flying into after showing the game at E3. The general feeling I got was awe at the way the game looked, and seeing the new Lara in action, but many took what we saw and earnestly ran with it in the most ridiculous direction imaginable, based on how little we saw of the game: Lara would be brutally raped.



As completely serious the subject matter was, I began to personally call what was going on "Rapegate," just to give it just a little levity, if crudely so; because no one else was apparently going to do that for me, at least not in any comment sections I was looking at. Everyone else was simply too busy claiming it was the only thing going on.

I still really can't believe that people thought, in any capacity, that the developers of this game would openly depict Lara getting brutalized like that by Yamatai Island's inhabitants, especially from out of context footage of her barely being caressed, when cornered by a single dude -who, as we find out, she knees in the junk and becomes her first human kill -never, to my memory, being remotely touched that way again. It just wasn't going to happen, and when we played the game: it didn't.

But this is also the exact moment where I feel like the big time rush of videogame feminism found its ground; on the back of a vulgar display of the mass consciousness thinking the very worst. In one fell swoop Lara went from strong female character; a determined survivor that that could have wiped away the negative stigma of being a big boobed sex symbol of past Lara; immediately into being talked about the better part of the year leading to the games release as being the penultimate sexual assault victim; sight unseen.

And that was it. For months. Lara was going to be raped and no one could convince those vocal about it to believe anything different.

Then the game dropped, and we got to actually play the scenario out.. And there was no rape. In fact, as I mentioned earlier, she kills the only guy who really got the opportunity to get that close in one of the games best "fuck yeah!" moments. All the "hype" was completely overblown.

Yet this also almost immediately started the next phase of "Operation Hate Lara," the: "She's a little too good at killing" phase. An extremely odd turn from being initially perceived as the international poster child for weak abused and battered women.


Gamers had been angsty all along about the fact that new Lara wasn't like past Lara; a person who can just go in and gun up a place, be it against humans, animals or the occasional dinosaur. Here we had been presented a new version of the character that may not have ever handled a gun, or at least not in the same capacity of the her prior. The initial frustration was with the fact that this island full of men would simply trample her.

Then we used her to trample them.. In bulk.. And people got twisted the other way, saying that she couldn't possibly do that.

But this was also the moment where I started to feel she was my favorite character of the year. She wasn't really the mass murdering beast everyone was making her out to be, and had really wanted all along. It wasn't really a case of "She mows them down with shotgun like they were nothing. Rawr, Marcus Fenix!" when it was more along the lines of something like," She's surviving the best she can, under impossible circumstances, and look at the way the kick back effects her."

What we were asked to see, and  many apparently ignored, was Lara struggling with every aspect of the journey she was thrust into, as told through the animations and sound direction. The game actually goes so far as to make the player look a bit closer at the periphery of the beautifully presented characters and environments we were all clamoring for since we were fed the handful of footage, to see the little idiosyncrasies of the subtle actions, movements and sounds Lara makes all throughout the game; in a way that would cause David Cage to need new a new pair of shorts.



Dislocated shoulders hurt. Jumping for a ledge you can barely catch, hurts. The kickback of a gun can throw you off balance. Killing for the first time, will leave in shock; but having to continue to survive will keep you moving. Running for 5 hours straight is going to wear on you. Those little groans aren't suggestive, they're the reactive calls of a body wracked with pain. And Lara shows evidence of all of this, coming out the other side a tattered mess of nerves and instinct that simply didn't give up when the chips fell so far down Yamatai's darkest crevasses, where hope would be little more then a dream that only normal people can achieve, before overcoming all obstacles to finally save her friends. Lara's story was better told through these intricate subtleties, then it was the story most of the time.

But many unjustly bemoaned her for being, as they saw, a steely eye'd killer, the likes of (insert most protagonists here); but in that they had found exactly what they wanted when they said she was being done all wrong, not being the hardened, often uncaring, warrior they always had in past Lara.. And they still weren't happy with that.

It only proved there just isn't pleasing everyone.

But the various problems seated in peoples perception aren't the only things that make up the new Lara Croft. There's one hell of a soul in there too.

One thing you can always pull out of the prior Tomb Raider games is that Lara was bored sounding and often heartless superwoman, who was simply about shooting her way through everything with relative ease, and never having many problems climbing the walls and flipping over obstacles. Unlikable would be something of an understatement.

The mission always seemed a bullheaded paramount to her her, and anyone (or thing) who got in her way was going to get a bullet for their troubles. Any amount of talk in between is all business. Nearly no allies, but tons of rivals.




New Lara, however, has many more layers of emotional depth, allowing her to be a much more human character then the tempered loner-bot we've always known.

There's new found compassion for people; a whole crew that she not only saw as friends, but as close family, some of which had known her through all her life, and loses to the islands unrelenting cruelty over the course of the game. These situations made for some of the games most gut wrenchingly sad moments I've seen all year. She even seems to care a lot about that shifty asshat of a professor that totally screws everyone over.. Well, at least before he goes just a little too far.

The entire reason Lara pulls her friends to this island is because her best friend, Sam (who I've not mentioned, for the fact that people think Sam and Lara were lesbians, on top of all the other baseless things people thought) wanted to know more about her Japanese heritage. She wasn't looking to become rich to trick out her mansion or grow her collection of unitards. Or to find some artifact before some other character could use it to destroy the world. She just wanted to help a friend get more in touch with herself.

I don't think we'd be able to see that, and believe it, from old Lara.

While old Lara was always implied to being the smartest bean in a lonely field, the new Lara is decidedly more learned, and more gleefully inquisitive, then we've seen a lot of characters be in recent years, outside of puzzle games. Listening to her wonderment when she'd find an artifact became part of the joy of seeking them out.

And, it almost goes without saying, new Lara is a far more determined then old Lara ever was, if only because old Lara never seemed to be frightened by anything she faced, mundane or supernatural, or ever all that worried that she'd come out the other end intact. She was always a little too confident that she'd come out the other side of the tomb.



And all of this mucky muck is why my favorite new character of the year is Lara Croft. Crystal Dynamics took an out of touch, aging, character from a series that had become largely laughable, and made her feel more human then she ever had in her 17 year history; even against the backdrop of a world that had her running around worrying about such ridiculous notions as Oni and mystically powerful Sun Queens. A character that, for me, grew beyond the confines of a game and broke out of conventional confines to became so much more to people then a bunch of pixels; that they couldn't find reason to stop talking about her as if she were a person you could walk up to and shake hands with.

And she's a character that still has room for plenty more growth as the future of the series rolls on, in a journeys that I can't wait to go on with her.

These levels of depth (and heated debate) say a lot for a character, especially when the character finds a way to outpace their own game, even after so many years of being one of the biggest names in gaming.

Big kudos to Lara and the company that made her, for that.

(Since the C-blog formatting often hate me; if the formatting of this post is a little off, I invite you to come over to my blog to check it out:  http://geek-forge.blogspot.com/2013/12/my-favorite-new-character-of-year-lara.html ;)








I got all of this (and then some) for $568:



That's $225 savings, just from a little smart shopping and some pretty simple planning ahead.

The Shopping list:












3 PS4 Games: $179.97








So how'd I manage it?:

Nope, not Black Friday (or Black November.. Since that's how things have been rolling this year...) sales.

The PS4, PSN+ Membership Card and Killzone: Shadowfall (one game of the 3 PS4 games that make up the 179.97) were bundled together for a grand total of $499.99. Thats $10 off what should be a $510 purchase outside the bundle.

The DS4, PS Camera, Power A DS4 Controller Dock and the HDMI Splitter would have come out to be $154.97. "Would," if I didn't manage to get this all for free. How'd I manage that? It's a funny answer considering my console choice:

Bing Rewards Points.

Yep, Microsoft actually paid for a large portion of my Sony-centric purchase because I spend just a little bit of time every day appeasing them and gaining their digital favor.

Seeing as how you can't buy currency to use on Xbox Live any more with the points, since phasing out Microsoft Points, $5 Amazon gift cards are the way to go -and get arguably better games, no matter which system you choose, from it. That's just a better base value.

But what about those other 2 games. I mean, we've got Killzone accounted for, but what about Assassin's Creed IV and Lego Marvel Super Heroes? Well, because Amazon does as Amazon does do, I got one of those games free, because having Killzone pre-ordered opened me up to get buy one, get one, on another 2 games. 2 already well reviewed games for the price of 1? Yes please!




Well what about that splitter and the Cat6, did you really need them?

For me, the short answer is yes.

The long of it is that our TV has 3 HDMI ports; 2 in the back, 1 on the side. We have a DVD player that upscales to HD and our 360 taking up the two back ports. The side port goes unused because.. Who really likes having growths poking out of the side of their TV? This isn't a prison yard, we don't like things shanked in the side. I much rather do it like a rogue, from the back. It would drive me nuts to have the wire sticking out of the side, it'll just catch my eye every time I look at the TV (which is pretty much all night). If this will stave off my personal OCD frustration, it'll be well worth the $10. Now the 360 and the DVD player can share a port while the PS4 will sit pretty in it's own.

Subsequently, we've been having some wi-fi issues in the house lately, and have had certain.. Problems.. In the past with the 360/XBL that have been nothing but frustrating. So I decided to wire the console this time around for both faster downloads and to keep one more device off our wi-fi signal. Now if the wi-fi goes down like it has been lately, I'll be able to keep playing (because it's only been the signal, I think the transmitter is dying on our router).

I also couldn't go without a 50ft cord, but if I could, I would have saved a few dollars. In fact, I have a few 25ft cords I tried to use, but couldn't get them to reach. They go up in 5ft increments til you hit 30ft, then it jumps up to 50ft.

I could have also have gotten a coupler and connected two of the 25ft cords I have together, for around $2, but I couldn't find one locally, and buying one from the internet would have run me around the same price (after shipping) as the Cat6. And I feared that I'd lose bandwidth in the coupler.

I could have also just went with Cat5e, it would have been a buck or two cheaper as well, and a lot of people will tell me that it's not a huge difference; I knew this going in, but sacrificed the pocket change any way. Figured why not, even for a marginal speed boost. I've noticed things have been downloading super fast on the PS4, and I'd like to think there is some extra boost coming from the cord.

So I didn't see why I should waste 2 cords and a coupler, for the same price, and lose speed/data when I could buy 1 cord and gain a little more.

Economics.

All of Monoprice's cords are high quality (I've also used their HDMI cables for years, they're awesome) and just as importantly: whole sale prices. A cord like this, at this length, from a retail store would have run me over $35, for no extra gains. Why waste the money? Even with their lack of free shipping options (which to be fair the cord got to me in 2 days, which was helpful since I didn't know the cords I had wouldn't reach -because I suck with a tape measure), this cord still came at a small fraction of the price I could have paid.

Over all else, spending around $20 to make sure I'm not going to be super frustrated when I'm already holding my breath waiting for anything to happen to the PS4 (because: early adopter blues) just makes sense to me from a piece of mind standpoint. Sometimes that's more valuable then saving a little extra. In a way, it's saving in the long term.

Most people could, and will, leave things like this off and save even more. The first rule of saving is: If you don't need it, don't buy it!



The Experience:

Almost all of this has had free shipping. Because I'm buying right from Amazon on nearly every purchase, the only exception was the HDMI splitter, being the only thing I'm getting on Amazon from a secondary source.  All my orders were approved for Super Saver Shipping. Yeah, this means I'll have to wait 5-8 days, but I'm patient, and usually Amazon and UPS only manage to take 3 days to do the job. I could have paid out the ass to have it either day 1 or a day or two later, but why do that when plenty of people will be slamming the servers first thing, trying to get the day 1 update? Waiting a few days will actually save me some more frustration, and sometimes that's currency in and of itself. And I've already mentioned the small, but not game breaking, fee for Monoprice's shipping.

As far as pre-ordering everything, that went smoothly all things considered. I didn't pre-order the console first thing, because I was originally going to wait a year, but I had the money put aside for it already and it was burning a hole in my side, so when I got an email from Amazon saying they had some pre-orders for the bundle I wanted open, I swooped in immediately.

As far as waiting actually goes, I will warn people that pre-ordering a launch console from Amazon was a... Interesting experience... It wasn't really Amazon's fault, but from a matter of personal perception, it was frustrating in a "wait, why am I waiting again?" sort of way.

The system with Killzone was supposed to get to me this past Friday (November 22) and no where was I warned that they'd ship it next day. I had picked Super Saver, I had no reason to believe I didn't have to wait. However, the package came the next day. Meanwhile, everything else I had pre-ordered was still around a week away.

To compound the insanity, Amazon didn't acknowledge having (or getting) the Power A Controller Dock till the day of its release, the same day as the PS4's release, where it almost immediately sold out. Somehow however, this got here before everything other then the PS4.

From there Amazon had sold out of Lego Marvel Superheroes, and I was told I would have to wait. Okay, that's fine, I have other things to play. However, somehow it still got shipped and received faster then all the other items (Assassin's Creed IV, the DS4 Controller and the PS Camera), which came almost a full two days later.

Given I didn't really want to set up the console just to tear it out again to plug in the Camera or the Cat6 when they came, I decided it best to just wait for opening and set up till everything got to me and make it 1 project instead of 3. After running the Cat6 through my house to the set up, the rest of the set up as easy peasy. Had everything gotten to me when I thought it would be (AKA:When I was told), this wouldn't have been an issue at all -I was ready to wait- but getting the PS4 a full week before I figured I would, cascaded into anxiety and frustration (frustration mostly from having a console just sitting there that I didn't know if I'd have to send back or get fixed, but didn't want to manhandle multiple times to get fully set up) that I'm pretty possessive I couldn't possibly be the only person who would have felt like this.

No big deal, nothing terribly bad seeing as it was mostly a matter of impatience, and I chalk up  Amazon's end to having 2 consoles launching in 2 weeks, and then following that up with hardcore holiday shopping, but it's something people should know going into pre-ordering a console, I guess.



The End Game:

On top of the savings above, Sony's packaged a $10 PSN credit into all PS4 boxes, meaning extra savings. And we already have Vitas in the house, meaning, since we don't have PSN+ already, free games for those over the term of our tenure, as well. And I also have enough Gamestop points saved up to get a off $20 coupon, that I didn't even have to redeem points for yet -more savings waiting in the wings.

I also know people will also say, "Well, you could have saved more money not getting any of the crappy launch titles." Well.. Whatever, I'm not going to tell you what to like and not like, but I don't see a problem with the launch line-up, and really never have. I can't really help that people don't see things they want here, and those things they do will come eventually -I saved enough money for Infamous: Second Son, Watch_Dogs, and some. I may even pick up Knack with some of that money I saved; that game seems to be the stuff fond memories are made of.

Overall, the most important thing to remember is to shop where you want to and where you're most comfortable -which is especially important to remember during the holiday season.

Just because I had this experience doing what I did, doesn't mean someone couldn't have played Gamestop's trade in offers and points system to get them good deals. Or played Target for the 5% off they give on everything, for having their credit card (which I had thought about using myself, since we have one). Or Sony's credit card offering a $100 credit after your first purchase. Or Best Buy for their rewards program (which hates me and thinks I live in Florida, when I don't). This is just a long form note to tell people that there are a lot savings out there day 1 and beyond, and with a little work and planning, you could also reap those rewards too. If this inspires even one person to try to dig a little deeper, and save just a few extra dollars, then I'll be extremely happy.

So, did any of you guys and gals pull some shenanigans to get your next gen experience for less? If so don't Bogart it! Go head and share the information wealth with us! I'm always looking for new ways to save, and so should everyone else. Knowledge, and the sharing of it, really is power in our hobby.

My impressions of the PS4 and the other things in this post are coming soon.

(P.S. It does occurs to me that this comes off as an advertisement for Amazon, Microsoft, and Monoprice. Trust me, it's not. None of these people know me aside from the money I've handed them over the years.

Also, if your having trouble viewing this, I invite you to head over to my blog at http://geek-forge.blogspot.com/2013/11/how-i-paid-only-568-for-my-793-next-gen.html and check it out there. C-Blogs give me formatting headaches)








(Note: If this isn't showing up very well for you, I invite you to check it out on my blog. 

http://geek-forge.blogspot.com/2013/11/zombie-survival-kit-thank-you-wrapped.html

PS: I may be changing my blogs name when I get the time in the next few days, I'll try to remember to come here and change the link above to reflect that)

Zombie Survival Kit
Copyright (c) 2013, Maybe 2014 (if it survives) Geek Forge, Blog, All Rights Reserved
Zombie Survival Kit is a registered trademark of Big Fish Games and Destructoid.com
Revision not 3/Serial Number 8679309

Your friends and family are dead, you are on the run form a horde of zombies. You're also really hungry.



You are in an open wood. You came from the east, but not Japan, bro. There are snarling man sounds to behind you and to the west. A river to the north, sun obscured woods to the south what do you do?

>Go North

You'll fall in and drown in 2 inches of water. You can't swim, remember dummy?

>Go West

Really? Didn't I tell you about snarling man sounds?

>Damn God

That's real mature.

>Go South

The setting sun obscures your vision just enough that you don't see the ridge in front of you. You fall down. Go boom.

You get up, hoping no zombies heard your fall. Your now wearing a funny hat of freshly fallen leaves. Very autumn chic. If the world hadn't just ended a few days ago, you'd be all the rage.



You've found yourself on the precipice of a neighborhood. Idealistic once, now it's mostly burned out husks and hopefully fully dead bodies strown on lawns. I wouldn't check those if I were you.

Cars that obviously won't start anymore block your path to the east and west. It's not like you can drive any way, with physics like these.

A lone house with attached garage seems invitingly untouched by the ravages of the current, non-economic, apocalypse. What bad could possibly go wrong?

Your stomach growls.

>Check Door

Be more specific.

>Check Front Door

Tightly Locked. Possibly blocked from the inside.

I'll ask again, what bad could possibly go wrong?

>Check Garage Door

Unless you have the opener in your butt, this thing isn't going to budge. Does feel weakly constructed though.

>Slam Door

The door was even weaker then I thought.

You crash through it like the Kool-aid Man. OHHHHHH YEEEEEEAH!

Behind you the garage roof caves in, blocking your path behind you. Like life, you have a knack for not being able to turn back. There is a door to the west.




>Check door

Locked, but doesn't seem blocked. There are no screws or hinges on this side. The owners must have thought the garage door would hold. Boy we taught them.

>Shout

Shout, let it all out. These are the things I can do without --cause there isn't any response.

>Look Around

There is a bunch of stuff here, would take days to go through. This isn't that type of game.

Immediately around you are some loose tools and the usual assortment of jars with random things.

>Look At Tools

There's a shovel, a hoe (get your mind out of the gutter), a screw driver.

>Take Screwdriver

(Screw driver pick with words: for when things get screwy)

>Check Door

Still a door

>Use Screwdriver

Told you there were no exposed screws. But if you must: You try to pry the door with the screwdriver. The screwdriver breaks.

You now owe the owners $2.75. Time to raise your debt ceiling.

> Check Jars

You dump some jars over and get repulsed by the amount of belly button lint these people kept. Enough to start a new human. There are some screws and some paperclips though.

>Take Paperclips

(Paper clip picture with words: No clipping bugs here)

>Check Door

Do I need to say it again?

>Pick Lock




You didn't know you had the skills of a seasoned thief, but with a little doing you use the paperclips and screwdriver to pop the lock.

You are the master of unlocking!




You are in a pretty nice kitchen directly off of a living room area. Not your style, but who's stupid enough to be picky these days?



>Check Cabinets

All empty. Though neat, someone must have left in a hurry.

>Check Drawers

Mostly empty. Who takes their silverware with them?

There is a pair of scissors here though.

You hear a deep African American voice in your head, telling you to, "keep that hair short."

Pretty weird, huh Zach?

>Take Scissors

(Scissor's pic with: Cut. It. Out.)

> Look around

Not much else here. Comfy living room nearby.

>Go To Living Room.



Another nice room, still not your style, unless your a grandma; then it's the tits.

You see pictures of a family here. At closer inspection you decide those are the pictures that came with the frame, unless the owners had 5 families.

How lonely.

Anyway, nothing out of the ordinary, unless you count the bloody box on the table in the corner.

>Bloody Box

It's not nice to cuss, even if it's in classy British slang

>Inspect Bloody Box

(Box Picture: Is it just strawberry sauce?)




The box appears to be a package that have been post marked shortly before the fall of man.

Box reads: "Zombie Survival Kit"

Odd. The owners seem to have taken every other important item, including silverware, but not this.

Maybe the blood scared them away? Silly germaphobes.

>Open Box

Taped as tight as a tiger. These people didn't even look inside. I guess they do say curiosity killed the cat.

>Use Scissors

The box, made of cardboard, lets out an odd, chest like, creak. Your surprised you aren't met with twinkly music too.




We don't have the budget for all these images. Inside the box is: $100 gift card; Spam; A Nerf Gun; A Swiss Army Knife w/ 8gb USB; Dogtags, Carabiner; Hand Wipes; Flashlight; Multipurpose Glow Stick; Camouflage Netting.

>Take All

Way to be greedy.

Your Stomach Growls.

>Eat Spam

That sounds nice, doesn't it? But Gordon Ramsey would probably tell you that Spam alone will not do. Or that your a donkey.

He's way harsh Ty.

>Look around

Not much other then an empty box and some nick knacks. There is a door to a bathroom nearby though.

>Look Bathroom



Nice bathroom. Strangely you like it better then the rest of your house. You must have been an Italian plumber in a past life.

There is something catching your eye, poking out from inside the bathtub.

>Check Bathtub

Well doesn't that beat all. It's a pineapple.

You think you should trust bathtub pineapple, Zach? It could make you go blind.

>Take Pineapple

Like the Brady Bunch, you can now go Hawaiian.

You hear an odd thumping.

Your stomach growls. And before you ask, that isn't the source of the thumping, Iron Man.

>Eat Spam

You're not a barbarian. Unless you are; what class did you pick again?

Either way, you need a kitchen for this.

>Go Kitchen

Well?

>Eat Spam

This stuff, especially pineapples, doesn't cut itself

>Use Pocket Knife




Handy.

Thump thump thump

>Eat Spam

Now you know why they eat it this way. That was good.

Thump thump thump

>Look Living Room

There is a shadow moving around the living room.

>Use Camo Net

There's not enough ficus' in here to warrant a forest, aside from the funny leaf hat your still wearing. If this was covered with Hummel Figures, you'd be set.

>Use Nerf Gun

You hit it. Nice shot kid, but don't get cocky.

Most things are impervious to foam darts. Try again.

> Use LED Flashlight

You stop the shadow from moving erratically.

But now it's coming right for you.

What now Mr. Bright Ideas? (Get it? Because: Puns)

>Throw Cash Card

What a waste of money. You plainly see this guy can't be bought.

The Shadow lurches towards you and you realize it isn't the Slender Man - he apparently hasn't arrived at all- but a much more sinister being.. One with much better hair.. And there's nothing you can do to stop him now.




AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Cough.. Gasp.. Wheeze.. Cough)



Thank-you for try-ing to play with GLaDOS to-day. We will-not cont-in-ue be-cause you-are-no-fun. There is cake in the lob-bee. Have-a-nice-day.

Seriously though. Thank you to Big Fish Games and Destructoid for my contest prize. You guys are awesome.

The $100 gift card should be the thing that makes me happiest (and trust me, it makes me happy) about winning this contest, but honestly it's the Swiss Army Knife w/ USB drive that I love the most. It appears to be high quality and it's something I'll actually carry around and use.

I've also never had Spam before, but always wanted to try it; so what better time then now, right? I figure if there are whole diners and such in Hawaii devoted to the stuff.

If you haven't already, go buy Zombie Zombie Zombie (or Zombie X3) from Big Fish Games now. Seriously, don't even think about it. Just go.. GO NOW!!










Last night Markus "Notch" Persson, creator of Minecraft, appeared on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, and, generally this is a win for the videogame world in it's own cheeky way.

Notch wasn't really there to plug his game, or the big convention that was just held for the game, or his company, or show a new game off, or even talk about the biography that's been written about him and the making of that game. None of that. He certainly wasn't there to defend the medium from it's attackers. He was sort of just there to talk, refreshingly, about.. Stuff. And really different when it comes to the videogame world, but not wholly unusual for the sandbox world Craig Ferguson's created for himself.

This is a show, an oddity on network television in every way, that features a gay skeleton robot sidekick and a not-horse named after a real one, hosted by an extremely funny man who throws candy to his audience when he isn't throwing another real log onto his fake fire. Or asking people if they want to play the mouth organ (a harmonica, get your mind out of the gutter). Or asking guests to take his kangaroo testicles to the top of Mount Everest. Or goes on a week long guerrilla style episode filming in France, where they often walked the streets with Craig dressed up as Michael Caine, sipping a martini in a space suit, talking about his sexual prowess.

But it's also a show that's won the man a Peabody Award in 2009 for a gripping interview with Desmond Tutu, while every night ripping up the questions and throwing them out his fake window, choosing to do a more free form version of what everyone else is. The immigrant experience of doing things your own way, he once said. A way we've all got to respect, being gamers, especially when we're talking to the creator of probably the biggest "do it your own way" game of in our lifetime.

But during part of the lighthearted talk with Notch, something happened that I'm sure only a gamer would really call bad, even if the rest of the world wasn't exactly paying attention between Perrson's shy awkwardness and his claiming to be the Swedish janitor, there to tell Craig the studio smells because it's burning down, just like Ferguson thought at the top of the show. During the interview, Craig said:

"What about the gaming world? Because every time I look at it -I looked it up on the internet and stuff, and it seems like there's quite a lot of bitchiness in your world.

Like quite a lot of people, like, 'I hate him, he created Minecraft. How dare he.. Not.. be.. me!'

Is that a really bitchy world, you think?"

To this, Markus replied in a way that, to me, felt like he didn't know exactly how to field the question, or was at least just a continuation of his ongoing nervousness for being there, by saying:

"Yeah, a little bit, I don't know why but.. I'm a gamer too and it's very emotional; the games we play and we get very protective of them.

I don't know why we do that, because people don't do that with music or movies."


Diplomatic, doesn't call anyone out, and even puts himself right there next to us, instead of trying to distance himself from the pack. But he sort of says why this happens without really scraping the surface. If he were possibly more prepared for the question, he would have dug deeper into what it means to us; or gone on a tangent about how games have been traditionally competitive things, so gamers are inherently more competitive then other people. But, honestly, I think he handled the question just fine given the subject matter of the rest of the interview. This also really isn't me trying to call out Notch for how well he did fielding a tough, probably unanswerable, question from a man that just got done commenting on Kat Dennings breasts.

Putting aside all the already messed up people who kill people and get the world to blame our favorite medium for their idea to do it, we've really hit rock bottom when a Swedish man can't talk to Scott-turned-America about a game where you build worlds, where little true violence is committed and you make your own fun, and can't manage to get a third of the way into their allotted time together without having the universal jerkiness of the overall game playing community come up.

Now, I know Craig mentioned it in a harmless way, and this isn't an attack on the question he posed to Notch. It's a good question. But the exposure, however small for a show on so late, that's often jokingly admitted to being taped in a dungeon, paints us in a harsh light, even compared to the usual slandering we get from the likes of major news outlets. However, those guys usually have a direct reason for saying, "well, Someone who plays games did something bad," no matter how overblown they make it out to be. But to have a late night host who was only trying to research his guest a little find that sort of blanket behavior, and then feel it pertinent enough to include it somewhat seriously, offhand, amongst his mostly irrelevant interview that featured watching Notch eating chocolate Euros, cuts pretty deep.

Usually, we have Conan O'brien being a straight forward Clueless Gamer, sort or opening up the idea that, yeah, you really don't need to know what your doing to play a videogame. Allowing a sense of all inclusiveness to our beloved, often venomously guarded, hobby.

Or we have Jimmy Fallon incredulously jumping around like a primate in heat because he and his guest are playing the new Halo before everyone else. Basically being a 15 minute long advertisement.

But neither Conan or Jimmy seem to have sat down and asked a videogame maker, not about their game or console, but about the community they make the games for. Or why the community acts the way they do; with little to no agenda other then simply being curious about what the hell is happening with us.

So while this exchange was happening last night, my knee jerk statement to myself was: "God, thats embarrassing." Because, frankly, that's how I feel. Lately I've been feeling it a lot. I'm truly embarrassed for all of us.

A guy who paints himself a lovable jerk, who actively tells people not to applaud him or his jokes, no matter how hard it is not to, just called the community I run in, basically, a bunch of bitchy babies. And he did it without having to inflect any negativity on it at all. It was just simple fact to him.

Sure, he followed it up by saying Hollywood was full of assholes, but it seemed akin to a situation where he sort of had to save face a little in front of his obviously nervous guest, who did nothing to be accosted by such a question. Talking about Hollywood felt more like shooting another person to make up for the fact that you shot someone you didn't mean to.

And it isn't like Craig meant to do this to us. It isn't like he was looking to ask a hard hitting question that was meant to rattle the cages of our hidden world. But it happened any way because its so ridiculously plain to see, and it's way more on us for giving him the opportunity to ever ask that question, then it is on him for having asked it.


I mean, we can't even leave the writers we love, who stress themselves out to bring us our news as a way to pay their own bills, alone. We treat them like they're in some ivory tower spitting on us, like we perceive the big corporations doing; so often forgetting just how much like us they are while trying to scrape along in this world, trying to do what they have fun doing.

Or how the sites those people write for, that go out of our way to make us feel at home in, get trashed for trying to be different, or change with the times.

We can't voice a simple, happy, comment about how we've won, or got a good deal on, a game without a ton of people piling on within seconds to rip away that happiness and replace it with bile and venom in the form of: "Well, that game is shit, that system is shit, you just wasted your time!"

You can't ask any questions, or for any clarifications, without being mauled like the stupidest kid on the short bus. Or how simply answering a question posed by your favorite site about which console your getting next, can cause an irrational fear of thousands of anonymous, meaningless, downvotes.

And that's all just pertaining to things that happen on a website about videogames, or possibly one persons harmless view of gaming, and not even hardly about the videogames themselves. All Ferguson needed to do to get a face full of how we act is simply look at just about any article, on any site, to find even a fraction of this same behavior running rampant all over it, before he ever saw a single word about a videogame uttered; and thats very well what could have happened. It's akin to shitting where you eat, and then telling guests you barely know, but you want to like you, that that's tonight's meal plan, then to "deal with it, because that's the way it's always going to be."

If Craig had pointed to real gaming issues, something like Microsoft's DRM announcements, and how people attack them in the name of consumer advocacy, then yeah, it could be somewhat passed off in small doses; because the man understands people going after things because of what they believe in being right: He often comments on the American spirit as being his main reason for naturalizing himself to our country.

But his wide eyed bewilderment on why we treat each other so badly is an indication that there is no spirit in what we do, there is no just cause, just a lot of people bitching about, basically, shit that largely won't matter in 4 months time, if it even matters the second after they've submitted their comment. We drag this whole industry down before the corporate leaders get up in the morning and decide to do it for us. We really can't blame them for beating each other up, when we've already started the beatings early.

And all in all, I'm happy it was Markus at the receiving end of this question, and not some other developer-turned-personality.

I hate to bark up these trees, but I also hate to imagine the response he'd get if he had asked someone like Cliffy B, Randy Pitchford, or (I'm really going to regret mentioning this one) Phil Fish, because all of them have had their own ridiculous times in the spotlight, perpetuating the same negativity thats been slung at them by slinging it right back in spades and acting like it's alright because we do it. Or as I call it: The Ouroboros of Negativity.

Sure, some people simply have their breaking points, but there's also plenty of unwarranted egos to think about, which, frankly, some of them would be lying if they said they didn't have. I can just imagine the sour looks and harsh tones that would be taken with Craig, at the perceived action taken against their beloved city-state -if only because they're in front of a camera when it happened.

Notch really did do good to paint not paint us all as self contained warlords, and kept it going light.


Even though I know this will all inevitably end up torn to bits under the weight of hypocrisy; under the guise of bitching about bitching is still bitching; I truly hope having someone outside our world come into it and take the time to say, without an agenda or their own misguided rage, "Good lord, it's a mess in here," is enough for us to clean up our space a little bit.

Even though I'm stretching muscles I probably shouldn't be, I'm trying to be uncharacteristically optimistic that, being the dawn of a new generation, we'll begin to look at our behavior during this last one and decide to make a conscious change; at least so more, less forgiving, media personalities don't try to vicariously grab on to what Craig haphazardly threw out there, and try to really burn us down, giving us a mess of real reasons to be upset with ourselves. Because if its easy enough for him to see, lord knows how others must be seeing us, and our actions are half a step away from being featured on a very true story about online bullying.

But till then, yeah, I'm a little embarrassed that a guy who just sang a song in drag with gay skeleton robot, just shamed us all without really much of a thought about it. Without even meaning to. Somethings got to give, and if there's ever a good time for change, it'd be right now.









Not the lines for next gen consoles... Maybe...


So the next generation of console gaming is about a month away, give or take a few days, and a sudden question popped into my head after peeling my ass out of bed today: Since the next gen is like the New Years of gaming, what's my next gen resolution?

Honestly, the answer to that came just as easy as the question, really in the next thought: Really do what I've been saying for years and actually play multiplayer games.

I'm a pretty active member of a great community that has a night (really multiple) put aside where we can get together and game. I also say just about every month how I'm going to get my head out of the sand and try to join in... Then I don't, make some excuses and then repeat the transgressions.

Even now, with GTA Online being a thing, I can't even bring myself to start it up and do that damn starter race everyone's been complaining about. I'm a hermit on an island in a sea of social butterflies. Or better yet, I'm the island. And that island is really a turtle.


Me in a nu.. I mean turtle shell...


Getting over this is going to take doing, I realize. Really, it's going to take an entire change in the way I think, without prescriptions.. Or a lobotomy.. I'm going to need to get over my fear of sounding like ass over a mic, because I hate the way I sound on answering machines. Or any possibility that my skill really doesn't live up to that of others. I'm going to definitely have to get over the thought of people bitching each other out endlessly by anyone for little to no reason. You'd figure I'd be over things like this, having been a steady raider in WoW for years, but, if anything, WoW instilled these things in me early on, before the utter randomness of console multiplayer existed. And I've just never sought out other people when it came to gaming; talked about it with tons of people, but never really looked to play much with them; even when I played MMOs like WoW (and others, list is horribly long for someone as closed in as I am).

But I'm really hoping the idea of being just as fresh into things like everyone else, after having bought expensive hardware I'm going to want to make the most of, is going to help push me through the threshold. I may need some friends to pull me through.

There is a few other, loose, resolutions that aren't as important to me as the one above, or may possibly be even more impossible to do then my main resolution, as if that was even possible. Like I'm going to try not to get hung up on finishing a game to the point where I stop playing the game I'm trying to finish (another long standing psychological block), specially if I'm going to make full time reviewing a real thing.

Or, how I want to stop buying games in such a way where I'm going to make my backlog even more impossible to tackle. We'll see how that goes.

So, there's the question: What's your Next Gen resolution? Why and, maybe, how do you think you'll achieve it?