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7:24 AM on 09.04.2013

Destructoid has a paid Membership!?!?!?

I have been a consisted viewer and reader here at Destructoid for about two years now and when it comes to anything gaming related this is my primary home. Sometime I vacation at Game Trailers or The Escapist but I am always happy to return to the engaging, humors, and sometimes disturbing (Podtoid) content on Destructoid. I must admit that I am not a fan of memberships or subscription based entertainment. I do not play any games that require a monthly fee, have any magazine subscriptions, no Netflix or Hulu, and I certainly have never considered paying monthly to view a website. When I heard that Destructoid was going this route I was a little worried.  

I knew that there would keep a free version with ads but I worried that they would take away some of the content and resources that were free and add it to a list of “features” for a premium account like I see a lot of other companies do. I understand why Destructoid needed to do this and how much it can help them out with the growing number of people using AdBlock. Even though I do not partake in memberships I also do not have a problem with a company such as Destructoid offering them to people, it just makes me a little skeptical of how it will be handled.  

Very few companies handle the realm of monthly paid memberships correctly and truly give their supporters they money’s worth, I am glad to say that Destructoid is one of those companies that did it right. To start off the membership is only $2.99 for a month or $30 for a year (averages $2.50 a month). You could try out this membership for a full 30 days to see if it is something that you like and only be out $2.99 if you feel it is not worth it. Destructoid members will get the usual ad-free environment, discounted merchandise, and early access that you would expect with a membership but wait there’s more! One of the best features of the membership is the automatic contest entry. There is no forgetting to enter every contest because your virtual ticket is already filled out and put in the drawing.

Automatic entry for every contest? Winning!!! Well at least more of a chance to be winning.

This automatic entry is not only for Destructoid but also extends to all ModernMethod sites such as, FlixistTomopop, and Japanator if you have an account with them. In fact, you should have an account with those sites because your membership covers all of them. Another feature that I find interesting is the ability to be able to interact with the Destructoid staff. This looks like it will be much more organized then the previous chat and will offer the ability to talk to staff members and editors during certain live shows.

Here is a layout of the benefits that you get for becoming a member.

Some of the other smaller things you get as a member include being able to customize the background of your account which is a nice touch and the wonderful use of a panic bottom that will conceal the fact you are looking at a videogame website at work by making it look like you were just checking your email, which is brilliant. I can tell that Nero and the rest of the team truly want to make this a positive experience and they really want their fans to enjoy their membership. You can see that they want your feedback and the community to voice their opinions on what they want out of their membership. They have done all that they can do to make sure that the money you put into it is well spent. They have also kept the integrity of the free version of the site by not cutting basic features or making it locked down and trying to force you to upgrade.

when you hit that panic bottom this is what your Bill Lumbergh will be seeing.

This is in fact an upgrade, the free site is still a fully functional and rich in content gaming site. While if you choose to upgrade and become a member then you will get extra content, not content that was held back to make it look like you are getting a deal. For $2.99 a month or $30 a year, you are getting tons of quality content from people that actually want your feedback and your membership covers four different websites. With a money back grantee you owe it to yourself to at least try it out and see if you enjoy the new content. If there is one thing I would complain about it would be there always online DRM policy, how could you let this happen Jim?

I understand that all of this coming from the guy that refuses to get involved in subscription or membership based entertainment seems a little hypocritical, but I went out on a limb and believed in what Destructoid was doing and how they are handling everything. So yea, I became a member and I already am enjoying it. Well done Destructoid.

Is that a little picture of a man spoon feeding another man a milkshake? Yes, yes it is.   read

8:46 PM on 03.12.2013

Is the unofficial "Steam Box" worth $1,000?

The Xi3 Corporation brings us the Piston which is the unofficial “Steam Box”, pre-orders are now available as I am sure most you know, for the all low starting price of $1,000. There are many reasons why I believe spending this much money on a Steam Box is out of the question. We live in a day and age where most people not only have a computer but unusually have more than one, so the attraction to a Steam Box to be used for a gaming console and a computer is probably not what most people would call particle. Although it does ship with Windows and you also have the option to install Linux or even Android software to the device is a nice feature it is nothing that my computer cannot already do.

Let us get the obvious out of the way and say that even if your computer cannot run Steam well or does not have the graphical capabilities to play current games then you can upgrade your PC for a lot less than the starting price there asking for the Piston. I would say even if you build a computer yourself or choose the specs and use a company to build it for you, you can still come out a head with a full on PC that will have more functionality then what the Piston has to offer. Even something as simple as including a CD drive is completely absent on this pricey Piston. I can appreciate what they are trying to do in the way of compact innovation, apparently it is roughly the size of a grapefruit and I like that it uses a SSD (Solid State Drive).

As far as customization goes you can choose the size of that SSD and put your favorite stickers on the Piston because that is the only options. Your almost forced to upgrade to a bigger drive because it only comes with 128GB SSD, this may be okay for people now but in the future I see many people deleting games so they can create room for the new ones. You might think that you can just upgrade if needed but I have not been able to find any information on their website or in any interview stating that you will be able to upgrade the Piston.

Well what about the sweet graphic card they use? Good question. Here’s a fun game to play, go the Xi3 Corporation Website and try to look for information on what graphic card they use and make sure its the one for the Piston and not one of their other fruit shaped devices. After that let me know if I missed anything because I did not see any information about it. Even in the specs they talk about their hardware but the graphic card is not mentioned, this leads me to believe there is nothing to brag about.

As you can see here the specs for the Piston are not bad, but for the $1,000 they are asking for I want to know more. You get a Quad-Core processor, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB SSD or more if you upgrade to other expensive options. No mention of the graphic card here but there not really needed to play video games anyways, right? Oh and how nice, for pre-ordering they will take off $100.

I felt the biggest thing they had going for them was the fact that Valve was on board, apparently now they have decide to back out of any deal with them. This also makes me think, how much is this device really a “Steam Box”? What I see is a tiny, overpriced, possibly none upgradable computer that is sold with the main selling point being it can run Steam, which is something my computer already dose. What do you think? If you had $1,000 would build your own “Steam Box” or invest into Xi3’s Piston?   read

2:56 AM on 12.18.2012

New Computer, Old Games

As someone that has being playing video games since the NES, I have never been much of a PC gaming person. I have spent hours watching friends play many different games but I never really could get into the mouse and keyboard thing. After 20 years of gaming under my belt I have recently (about a year ago) built my own computer and have started playing everything from Diablo III to Assassins Creed III to Black Ops II on my new setup. What I have found to be interesting is the games I have been enjoying the most are not the pretty, modern, I need a expensive graphic card to play type games.

Instead, it has been games like Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, and StarCraft. I know that a part of this brings back memories of my childhood friends playing these games and a feeling of needing to see what I have missed out on all of these years but I also feel that these games are just plain fun. When I ask my friends about these games they get excited to tell me about their experience with their these older games as they can recall all of their stats and boss fights. They even get giddy (at 25 years old) to tell me how great it was to play them but then laugh at me when I ask if they would ever play them again. They say things like “That’s too old to play” and “There are better games out now” I can’t help but think that I am the odd one for enjoying these apparently ancient games.

As of now, Icewind Dale II is my personal favorite PC game. It was originally released on August 27, 2002 developed by Black Isle Studios and published by Interplay Entertainment.

I feel that playing these games is the same as watching an old movie from when you were younger, it may not look that good or have the quality of work put into it by today’s standards but there is still something there that will bring you enjoyment just as it did when you were younger. Either way, I am happy that I can experience the best of both worlds and play games that were designed for a top of the line graphic cards as well as one that were made for Windows 98 and 2000. If there’s anyone out there that can remember any other fun PC games that came out around early 2000 please let me know, I am open to all games types. Below is a full list of classic games I have been playing.

PC games from the days of old:
Baldur's Gate I & II
Icewind Dale I & II
Neverwinter Nights I & II
Diablo I & II
Final Fantasy VIII

I just realized that this looks like I only play RPGs but I will play anything if it’s fun. Would you ever consider going back and playing older games like these? Or will you just keep them a childhood memory?   read

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