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12:18 PM on 10.24.2014

Let's Meet Up at the PlayStation Experience!

I just bought tickets to both days of the PlayStation Experience happening in Vegas, if you are a fan of video games, movies, and other fun stuff contact me so we can have a big meetup with others! I'm a local of Vegas so it would be great to meet other Dtoid or just video game fans.

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10:10 PM on 10.18.2014

We Play Terrible Games: Beowulf (PS3)

I decided to buy nine terrible games for five bucks at GameStop and every week force Trevor to pick one of them that he, and I, play through and then determine the game's worth based off of the first fifteen minutes of gameplay. It is inspired by Broken Pixels (1Up) and The Final Bosman's The First Fifteen (GameTrailers)

This week we play Beowulf, based on the movie based on the poem! Box quote from Trevor, "It's like Christmas, if I lived in hell."

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7:28 PM on 10.16.2014

Illustrious Arena Round 1: Resogun

Me and my good friend Trevor have started a new video series where we take each other on in various video games and whoever wins the best 3 out of 5 chooses a punishment for the loser! I have some great ideas on how to torture Trevor if I beat him.



Also we have some out takes from the video of Trevor attempting to introduce the video and get a game actually set up. It's fun to watch us screw up.

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8:44 PM on 10.05.2014

Alien: Isolation Spoof Trailer

I made a humor video for the release of Alien: Isolation. I had this idea while at work, pitched it while half drunk to my best friend and then put it all together today when I realized the game released Tuesday. Enjoy!

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12:24 PM on 09.26.2014

Yellow Journalism and Destiny

I haven't written anything in awhile and wanted to talk about Destiny. Why? Because it seems to be what everyone else is talking about this past month since fall releases don’t pick up until Tuesday with Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor. Also because a good friend of mine sent me a link to a Machinima video by Inside Gaming Daily titled, “Everyone HATES Destiny?” I watched the video and was very much put off by its content, distributed as a form of “news” when it is actually just yellow journalism.

The title itself is sensationalist and misleading. Everyone largely is representative of reviewers, as the text states “reviewers hate Destiny.” The evidence? A 77 score on Metacritic. Now Metacritic itself is a very complicated subject to talk about, and I will a bit later on. For now, using their logic, I go on Metacritic and see that  a 77 is defined as “generally favorable reviews.” So my only assumption is that favorable reviews are the new hate?

Generally Favourable

As I said before, Machinima and Inside Gaming Daily are forms of yellow journalism, which is ““journalism that is based upon sensationalism and crude exaggeration.” All you have to do is scroll through their video feed to see examples of this. They abuse caps lock with words like, BEND, NEW LOCATION, KILLING, WHO’S WINNING, FAILS, GRAPHICS and BIGGEST, in order to create click bait titles worthy of Buzzfeed. This isn’t to say other, actual sites don’t use click bait headlines, but certainly never to the degree used here.

Machinima's Feed

Machinima is not a critical outlet. They are not like GameSpot, IGN, Kotaku or The Escapist. Their main goal is the same as those, profit, but they differ in method. Whereas Machinima produces things for entertainment, you need only look at the innumerable amount of “Top Ten” lists for that, sites such as Kotaku exist to report on gaming news, give out reviews and conduct interviews with developers among their other products.

One point they make in the video is that earlier this year, Kotaku reported on an old contract Activision may have had with Bungie, where if Destiny received a rating of 90 or above on GameRankings they would receive a $2.5 million bonus. Now Kovic and Bruce seem to be insinuating that it is the critics fault that Bungie could be missing out on a very large bonus, although they do note that Bungie is it’s own company still and the contract could and probably has changed. Regardless, this is just an example of a very big problem in the video game business. Publishers holding back money from developers based off of critical reception instead of commercial success.

Kotaku's Article on the Contract

Kotaku has written at length about this problem, as well as Adam Sessler, whom the creators of the videos poke some fun at. Essentially Metacritic is used as a tool by publishers to hold money hostage from the game makers, who now look to game critics as the beings responsible for their bonus pay. Game critics, whose job it is to critique a game, now have it on their mind that they are holding somebody elses job in their hands when they post an opinion about a game. That is a shitty situation and not right. Publishers should instead do their job and let the consumers decide through purchasing the game whether or not a developer deserves a bonus. After all, the businesses behind video games are marking the games for the market, not for the middle aged reviewers working in cubicles.

Metacritic itself is based off of aggregating scores. Aggregate being defined as “a whole formed by combining several (typically disparate) elements.” That disparate part is very important, since it is defined as, “essentially different in kind, not allowing comparison.” The consequence of that fact is twofold.

One, Metacritic takes all reviews, regardless of their scoring scheme and review scale, and puts them all onto a 100 point system which is then somehow assembles them into the metascore. The problem with this, as Sessler has stated before, is that three stars does not equal a 60 out of 100. If the reviewer wanted to use that scale, he or she would have. Different outlets have different meanings behind their scores. The Escapist has their three star rating mean average. Metacritic takes that and converts it into a 60 alongside IGN’s 6, which is defined as recommendable with a lot of “ifs.” These two scores, numerically equal, have different values behind them! You can’t compare them against each other!

Second, and the video creators make this mistake as well, is that games cannot be compared. You see in the video they bring up how Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3, henceforth referred to as simply Naruto, has the same metascore as Destiny. This is an incorrect idea that Metacritic encourages with its scoring system, the idea that a game from one genre can be placed side by side against a different one and be equally compared. A review, where these numbers originate, is critiquing a game for what it is, what it stands as. Destiny, as an MMOFPS, is the subject of the question, “Does it succeed in what it sets out to do, in what it is?” which is to give the player a big social world in which to shoot things, fill an XP bar and gather better equipment. Naruto, as an anime fighting game, is the subject of the same question, but sets out to do something very different: give you a fighting game full of varied characters to beat up alone or with friends. These two games set out to do different things, and may have achieved them in different ways, but you cannot numerically evaluate the value of Naruto compared to Destiny. Just like last year, when Gone Home had to be talked about alongside Grand Theft Auto V which itself was positioned alongside The Last of Us and Bioshock Infinite. All very, very different games but forced to be compared with numbers.

Comparing games is silly

Another subject of the video is the divergence in game reviews and game sales, specifically that despite negative reviews, some games still happen to sell a lot of copies. This has always been a part of any industry however, as Transformers is widely groaned at yet manages to pull in millions of dollars. IGD miscited Call of Duty as an example, stating that reviews have been “declining since Black Ops II. However, there has only been one game since Black Ops II, Ghosts, which sits at a 73 on Metacritic (Xbox 360).

There’s no real point to make here. Just because critics are scoring something low, yet it sells high, doesn’t make what they are doing any less necessary, although it’s really not “necessary” in the first place.

One of the worst points the video makes is that reviewers were forced to play Destiny quickly due to only being given a day before release to publish their review, which therefore makes their experience and review inaccurate. First off, every one of the major gaming sites published a review for Destiny on the day of release, despite starting up their characters on Monday when the Australian servers went active. The Escapist had their review up on Thursday, with four other sites, including giant IGN, not posting a review until over a week after release. These people know their job and know how to do it, so it is a bit insulting that IGD insinuates that they didn’t “put themselves in players perspective” when playing the game.

Kotaku's review came much later

Kovic and Bruce also feel as if the generally favourable reviews mean that they are not allowed to enjoy the game themselves, though this point probably pertains more to internet comments and message boards than the critical reception. If it is indeed based off of internet comments alone, you really shouldn’t care about what a tiny minority of people are shouting out into the vacuum of the internet, as I am doing right now. The comments on the video account for 1.27% of the total viewers, a tiny percentage of those who watched the video. And if it is a cry against the critical reception, they gave the game good scores, and fun is just one factor when considering the merits of a video game. Fun does not equal quality, which is what critics determine, the quality of a piece of media. Movie and music reviews are not based off of the fun factor of watching or listening to them.

You’re yellow journalists, not critics, and the unfortunate truth is that a majority of viewers probably watch IGD and Machinima at large use it as a source of news and take their opinions as informed when in fact they are sensationalists making videos for clicks and not to inform the viewer of all the facts.

In closing, I would like to quote a Rooster Teeth video of Red vs Blue in which they discuss video game reviews.

“Most reviewers offer a numerical scale from one to ten where ten is the highest and one is the lowest. But what do the scores mean? Scores one through six are completely irrelevant because no game ever gets them so that means a game that gets a seven is terrible. Seven is the new zero. Eight is also a terrible game, but a terrible game that probably advertised on the review site. Still very legal. 9.1 is a lousy game as well. 9.2-9.4 are good. 9.5 is great, but there’s nothing above 9.5 except for 10 which is a perfect game and 9.9 which is also a perfect game but the reviewer probably doesn't like the developer because maybe he said something mean to him at a party or something.”

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1:29 PM on 09.12.2014

You've Been Played Episode 33

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO YOU'VE BEEN PLAYED EPISODE 33

For those of you who don’t know what this is, I, Steven, created a podcast in October of 2013 with my best friend Matt to talk about games. It’s now grown to include my friends who don’t play games much so instead we just talk about dumb stuff happening in our life for shits and giggles. We also do a side podcast where we do talk about games, though no good name has been created yet, suggest some in the comments!

This week the usual four (Elise, Monica, Steven and Trevor) are brought together after a lengthy break to talk about Steven’s first time getting drunk, Chuck Palahniuk’s disturbing short story “Guts”, a “new new” Stephen and other assholes we dislike, Steven poses a hypothetical question about the ethics of sleeping with someone who has slight ties to a friend, there’s a new Gameworks at Town Square, we dish on regrets of our lives, trade tales about a creepy high schooler in Monica’s graduating class, Trevor has a hate-filled twitter follower, Elise gets asked out and we roleplay initiating the conversation with someone of the opposite sex.

If you want to send us questions you can reach us at:

Tumblr ask (anon on): http://illustrious-magic.tumblr.com/ask

Message over twitter: https://twitter.com/No8Axel

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8:42 AM on 09.04.2014

You've Been Played Episode 32




For those of you who donít know what this is, I, Steven, created a podcast in October of 2013 with my best friend Matt to talk about games. Itís now grown to include my friends who donít play games much so instead we just talk about dumb stuff happening in our life for shits and giggles. We also do a side podcast (like this one!) where we do talk about games, though no good name has been created yet, suggest some in the comments!

This week Steven (who is typing this out) is joined by Trevor (good friend who plays guitar) to help run you through the important news of PAX, and Sony's Pre-TGS Conference, of which there was a lot. Stuff such as the New New 3DS which drives Trevor crazy with it's naming, our Persona 5 predictions, and various release dates. Then we discuss Steven playing Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition as well as Gears of War: Judgement, answer a message from our Tumblr, talk about recent "movements" on twitter and some old, but still funny, E3 predictions tweets.

If you are reading this, please contact us!



OR

Stevenís twitter:https://twitter.com/No8Axel


We will love you forever if you send us anything.
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9:46 PM on 08.26.2014

You've Been Played Episode 31



LINK TO†EPISODE 31

For those of you who donít know what this is, I, Steven, created a podcast in October of 2013 with my best friend Matt to talk about games. Itís now grown to include my friends who donít play games much so instead we just talk about dumb stuff happening in our life for shits and giggles. We also do a side podcast where we do talk about games, though no good name has been created yet, suggest some in the comments!

This week Steven (who is typing this out) is joined by Trevor (good friend who plays guitar), Elise (coffee shop girl and free spirit) and Monica (graphic artist) to talk about what constitutes a girl dropping a hint that she likes you, Trevor really doesnít like Mark Driscoll, we learn about the femitheist, Steven had a stereotypical twitter argument, he also brings in something for show and tell, we discuss fighting crime, ask our listeners to please write in, ask animal questions and as always talk about sex and dicks.

If you are reading this, please contact us

Tumblr Ask: http://illustrious-magic.tumblr.com/ask

OR

Stevenís twitter: https://twitter.com/No8Axel

We will love you forever if you send us anything.

OTHER EPISODES   read


6:21 PM on 08.23.2014

My Diablo III: Reaper of Souls: Ultimate Evil Edition Review


Diablo III Reaper of Souls doesnít change the cycle of kill, loot, level up from vanilla Diablo III. Instead it adds some features that help you play the game the way you want to, from an enchantress who lets you reroll a specific stat on a weapon to paragon levels that allow you to increase specific attributes. However, despite having sunk its hooks into millions of people, I still canít find any worthwhile reason to pursue the endless cycle of killing monsters, getting better gear, leveling up and traveling to town. The gameplay is solid, but unless Iím listening to a podcast while playing, I find little reason to continue grinding my Barbarian, Wizard and Crusader to higher levels.



Diablo III has very simple combat. You can have up to six active abilities, which can be modified by runes that add fire damage or cause stun. Each ability slot has multiple choices and there is even an elective mode that allows you to have two abilities from the same folder equipped. You use these abilities, of course, to kill all the various monsters you will come across in the now five acts of what Diablo III can not call a story. Itís so trite and melodramatic that I never cared for it or attempted to delve into the needless audio logs or bestiary guide. Thankfully the enemy variety is kept pretty high and you wonít find yourself sick of one area since the game will shuffle you along to a different color toned setting.



As you murder the demons of hell and other monsters, theyíll frequently drop equipment for you to put in your backpack and perhaps equip. Most loot you will find wonít help in a significant way, and is instead there for you to either sell for gold or break down into crafting components. In Reaper of Souls, the blacksmith can now break down common white/grey items which previously would only be gathered to further fill my significant gold accumulation. The enchantress can also transmogrify your gear, so that you have a less eclectic look and instead a fully realized and matching outfit. This transmogrification can take up a large heap of your gold away which I appreciated since nothing previously was setting me back much, making gold a seemingly useless commodity. The jeweler now has even higher gem qualities to craft including a new class, diamond, which is for use against elite enemies and elemental resistance.



Along with those improvements to vendors, Reaper of Souls brings in a new level cap, a new class, paragon leveling, and adventure mode, which is the best feature. Unfortunately adventure mode is locked behind completing Act V, which means you have to trudge through a significant amount of story content. It all culminates in a less than epic boss fight, a lackluster and cliffhanger ending, and a prompt to ďpress X to return to the main menu.Ē It felt like Blizzard wasnít even trying. Adventure mode, however, is a nice reward for dealing with that mediocrity. After completing Act V you are free to travel around the various acts and participate in bounties which range from clearing a dungeon to taking down bosses youíve fought before. Each comes with a nice experience reward and along the way youíll be collecting better loot and leveling up. They are rather short little adventures and can range from five minutes to about fifteen or so depending on your skill and difficulty level, which has also been reworked in Reaper of Souls. Gone is the Hell, Nightmare and Inferno difficulties. Instead you have Normal, Hard, Expert, Master, Torment and then Torment I-VI, each with experience modifiers and stacked elite enemies.



While at first I was glad to be reinvigorated by the wealth of new content in Reaper of Souls, the base Diablo game is essentially the same. You go out, kill monsters, get loot, level up, return to town, repair, craft, sell, then repeat the cycle endlessly. While some people love the satisfaction of that loot grind, I found myself finding it empty. I listened to podcasts while playing and if I ran out of new episodes didnít want to play. I couldnít play unless I was doing something else at the same time because at least then I was getting something significant done. Diablo III doesnít have a world I like and no motivating factor besides seeing a little XP bar fill up and pop with a flash of light. And quite frankly Iím tired of that. RPG elements have now made their way into almost every genre and if a game doesnít offer something more substantial than completing the same tasks and going through the motions Iíve done hundreds of other times before, Iím not going to waste my time on it. Despite really good gameplay, Diablo III: Reaper of Souls felt like a big waste of time.

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4:40 PM on 07.19.2014

You've Been Played Episode 29: Rumjobs and Dashcon


Greetings Dtoid users! I'm Steven Santana and this is a podcast I made with my best friend Matt in October of 2013 since I love podcasts. Since then he's moved off to Yosemite to seek enlightenment, but mostly money, booze and weed. So now I just grab whatever friends I can find and talk about dumb stuff and have a good time. This episode has Trevor Thompson, the only other friend with a big passion for games in general. Elise who binges movies and tv shows and Monica, podcasting for the first time, who is an art major. Also I recently celebrated my 21st birthday so now we can all drink, which helps majorly with having funny conversations. Enjoy!

This week is probably the best episode we have done as we talk about jumping on a new bed, explain the origin of a rumjob, Steven's 21st birthday party and other drinking stories, Trevor's recent funtime trip to Arizona, Steven is a child, Dashcon, dispute Boulder City's relative location, Uncharted being turned into a movie by a crappy comedy director, Trevor is Ryan Scott, nobody knows who that is, Mario has a british accent now, we're offensive and attempt to end the podcast with a story.

You can find the podcast HERE   read


12:18 AM on 07.03.2014

Watch_Dogs as Frankenstein



Watch_Dogs' success can be found in how it takes a ton of gameplay elements straight out of other Ubisoft franchises and just adapts it for its version of Chicago. Watch as I count the number of mechanics Ubisoft transplanted from its other successful games, mostly Assassin's Creed and Far Cry.   read


3:27 PM on 07.02.2014

Games You're Gaming July 2014



There's really not much coming out in July, at least nothing new and exciting. You have some ports and rereleases and... yeah that's about it. So take this time to get through your backlog and (re)watch Evangelion 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance.   read


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