I don't believe in ghosts and evil spirits. That has been hammered into my psyche at a young age by an incredibly old school father. However, I can't explain the odd phenomena that has been occurring since getting my Xbox One, and in particular the Kinect. There is only one explanation and that is my new console is haunted by an evil spirit and its goal is to make my gaming experience miserable.
My father is the epitome of old school Italian machismo. He grew up in a post World War II Sicily freshly conquered for the umpteenth time throughout its history and in the depths of a crippling recession. He didn't play video games growing up because Al Gore hadn't invented them yet. Their idea of competitive multiplayer was getting into rock and stick fights with the kids from a neighboring town where real blood was spilled and bones were broken. The game was not over until there was a debilitating head injury. That's some old timey old world fun! He was also a pretty decent soccer player in his day where I'm told he played with such reckless abandon that he was continuously nursing injuries. Apparently, he proposed to my mother with a dislocated shoulder.
With the country in a deep recession everyone had to do what they could to help the family get by. Due to this, my dad started working at a very young age. When he was 10-years-old, he started working in construction. Can you imagine a modern 10-year-old doing any type of work let alone construction? Well, that was a different time and a different place. Oh, I failed to mention that when I say construction, my father was building mausoleums and crypts in a cemetery, in Sicily, as a 10-year-old. Not only was my dad old school, but bad-ass.
Growing up with a dad like this has instilled within me a certain amount of skepticism when it came to ghosts as well as other things that go bump in the night. At a very early age, I remember my dad telling me that he knew first hand that when people pass away, they are gone and cannot hurt you anymore and if I wanted to be afraid of something, be afraid of the living, because they are the ones who can hurt you. How awesome is that? Charles "Fucking" Bronson would say something like that in one of his Death Wish movies and then blow some drug lord kingpin kidnapper away with a sawed off shotgun.
My father would know. Apparently, he has seen his fair share of desiccated corpses working in that old Sicilian graveyard. Hell, I believe Sicilians in general are skeptical against ghosts and such, given that in Palermo you can go to an old Capuchin Monk catacomb and see THIS!
Fun for the whole family!
Sleep tight fellas, I'll take first watch.
Notice the corpse holding the sign saying VIETATO FUMARE which means NO SMOKING. Those rascally Capuchin monks and their morbid sense of humor.
I got to see these catacombs first hand and I came away with the a few thoughts. Sicilians have an unhealthy obsession with death, my father is right when it comes to dead people, and I will never look as beef jerky the same way again.
Suffice it to say, I don't believe in ghosts, goblins, zombies or anything supernatural. I love horror movies mainly because how incredibly absurd they are. I don't scare easily, but recently my foundations have been shaken by unexplained phenomena that has been occurring since getting my Xbox One and Kinect.
I believe that my Kinect may have captured some of the misery and negative feelings of all those poor Chinese factory workers who toiled long hours to manufacture these devices. My Kinect has a mind of its own and its beginning to toy with me.
I'm waiting for you to fall asleep.
Sometimes, I'll go into my game room and say "Xbox, On" and nothing will happen. I will then say it louder, and again, nothing. Finally, I will yell it, and it will turn on, but I have startled the dog, causing her to bark and subsequently waking my daughter. The Kinect is a sly and calculating poltergeist apparently.
There was one time, while watching TV through the Xbox One and I said "Xbox, watch BBC America" and it tuned to ABC Family which was airing a rerun of the Gilmore Girls. I shrieked in such abject horror that my neighbor came running over. He was concerned because he said he heard a woman's scream coming from my house.
Of course, these instances both pale in comparison to what I'm going to tell you next. My Kinect loves recording my epic failures and posting them online, even though I never said "Xbox, record that". I didn't even realize it was doing this until a coworker friend came up to me the next day ridiculing me for my videos. Apparently, there's a video of me stepping out of a building in Battlefield 4 multiplayer, getting shot, and in my panic, turning around, running into a wall and getting shot again in the back. This is posted online, for the world to see.
There are also videos of me playing FIFA '14. None of these are of me scoring epic goals, which I assure you, are many, but rather videos of pure ineptitude. There is video of shots going wide or sailing high above an open goal as well as plenty of video of sloppy penalties. None of these are flattering and all of them taken while playing single player.
Also, my Kinect likes to accuse me of having a potty mouth. I'm one more outburst away from getting sacked from Manchester United when I never said one thing aloud during play. I may be thinking it however, so there is only one logical explanation, the Kinect is reading my mind. Next step will be complete possession. This prospect has me terrified.
It is obvious that my options are limited. My only recourse is to write to my church and hopefully they will get permission from Pope Francis to administer an exorcism and release the evil spirits from my Kinect. Maybe Microsoft can send out an exorcism via Xbox Live update?
Did you know the Pope is hardcore?
In the interim, I've been saying my prayers nightly. I'm hesitant to sprinkle my Xbox One and Kinect with Holy Water, which will possibly piss the evil spirits off and definitely void my warranty. Has anyone else experienced this? Can anyone provide any recommendations? Please help me.
I got some news other day that was hard to swallow. The company that I work for, a multinational organization that rakes in billions of dollars a year has hit "tough" times and needs to make "tough" decisions. This is what we were told during a company wide town hall. Long story short, a small percentage our workforce is going to be cut by the end of year. Have a Merry fucking Christmas.
Without getting into too much detail, our main competitor has been kicking our ass. They have out maneuvered us in practically every area and most especially in marketing. Not only has our rival done well in advertising, but their messaging has also been so concise and simple compared to our convoluted and confusing campaigns. They have outsold us, outpaced us, knew what the customer and consumer wanted, and most importantly, they knew what the market didn't yet know what they wanted. In short, they successfully predicted the market. My company's marketers did not. They pretty much shit the bed, now a percentage of my fellow associates (I can very much be one of them) get to wallow in it.
I'm just a cog in the machine at my company. I enjoy my job, and I believe in what I'm doing. So I have a difficult time coming to grips with the fact that my position is in jeopardy because some marketers did a lousy job. It pisses me off to see a product that I helped develop, not sell well because some marketer did not position it properly, muddied up the messaging or advertised it to the wrong consumer. All in all, I got to see the ugly side of marketing first hand.
Let marketing lead this one. What can possibly go wrong?
I can now empathize with how the people working in the trenches at Microsoft's entertainment division must be feeling. I know that Microsoft is a big and burly company, and we like t poke fun at how "corporate" they are, but I'm positive that there are some fine people there, as there are at my company. There are engineers, sales people, schedulers, accountants, project managers, various assistants, artists, etc... Individual contributors who help drive a business. I'm sure there was an army of faceless people who helped to design and develop the Xbox One and every single one of them should be pissed off on how Microsoft's marketing brass bungled the initial messaging.
What can possibly go wrong?
I think we can all agree that the Xbox One is not a horrible console. Fanboys will holler to the high heavens that the PS4 is more powerful, a gamer's console first, and blah blah blah, but come on folks, these two machines are practically the same. The difference between these two systems has nothing to do with specs, but in messaging. Sony learned from their mistakes with the PS3 launch, took a generation to right the ship and nailed it with the PS4. On the other hand, Microsoft failed in positioning the Xbox One. They incorrectly predicted the market and it has been a shit show for them since they announced the new console. Only now has things come back to normalcy, but it is already too late. PS4 has the edge and it will not be easily relinquished. I'm sure the Xbox One won't be a disaster, but it has catching up to do and that is never easy. It has pretty much assured itself the runner up position this generation, unless Sony does something amazingly stupid.
And Sony never does anything that is stupid.
All in all, I would hate to see the Xbox One utterly fail because of poor marketing. An army of Joe Schmoes, many of them like you and me, worked on this machine. I'm sure they will feel proud when they see it on store shelves or an ad for it on TV. They turn to their friends and family and say they had a hand in making that and be happy, up until they come to the realization that some overpaid turd with an MBA ruined it.
With the recent release of Call of Duty: Ghosts, Activision is sure to have another hit on their hands. It's pretty much a given that they will sell millions of copies and it'll be on top of the charts for weeks to come. Frustratingly enough, why does a game franchise as mediocre and iterative as Call of Duty sell well even when reviews are so average?
Who are you calling mediocre, punk?
Cowen & Company analyst Doug Creutz believes that reviews have little to no impact on a series like Call of Duty. In an interview given to Games Industry International, Creutz believes that the games industry media has become somewhat burnt out on reviewing the series, hence the reason it has drifted into middling review scores territory. Also, because the titles are so iterative, they're hesitant to give it higher review scores.
I find that theory hard to believe. There may be a certain amount of apathy towards a title that comes out yearly, but using this logic, a hypothetical Call of Duty title that is legitimately good, will swing to average because of reviewer apathy? Would a crap Call of Duty game review higher? I don't necessarily think so.
He also reckons that by the time the reviews of the game come out, people have already plunked down cash to pre-order the title. I don't know about you, but I have cancelled pre-orders on poorly reviewed games many times, moving the funds to a different pre-order or just for store credit. Apparently Creutz believes that many gamers do not practice this.
Creutz goes on to compare, the Call of Duty franchise to Madden and rightfully so. He goes on to say that, "...think of CoD as being like EA's Madden NFL, which continues to sell similar unit numbers year in and year out, regardless of reviews; Madden's Metacritic has ranged as low as 78 in recent years."
Madden 25: Exceptionally Average
That seems pretty logical to me, however, Creuz takes it further by saying that Call of Duty's days may be numbered when new franchises like Titanfall and Destiny hit. I agree with this as in my humble opinion, Call of Duty doesn't have much competition today, with the sole exception being EA's Battlefield.
So in the end, competition is a good thing. Who would have thought? All in all, it's not so much that games like Madden and CoD are review proof, it's that your options are severely limited. Want to play a military based FPS, you got either CoD or Battlefield. Want to play an NFL football game? You got Madden and uhhhhhhhhhh, you got my point? Throw in some healthy competition and these games are no longer "review proof".
I do have one question for the community though. Do you pre-order and have you ever cancelled a pre-order due to poor previews or low review score? Let me know in the comments. Is Creutz's assertion valid?
I'm sure many readers are well aware by now that a nude digital representation of Ellen Page is viewable on PS3 exclusive Beyond Two Souls. The images are floating around online and as the case may be, can only be viewed in the game itself on a debug PS3 unit. It's old news to be quite frank, but it looks like it may continue to be a story if Ellen Page decide to follow through on a possible lawsuit against Sony.
Ellen Page in real life not at all naked
Apparently Ellen Page has a strict "No Nudity" policy for any movie that she appears in. Whether this is stated on her contract or if it's a verbal agreement is unknown to me. It is also unknown if this was verbally agreed to or was stated on a contract that she signed with Sony for her appearance on Qunatic Dreams's Beyond: Two Souls. I would imagine that there was some kind of clause since in the non debugged version of the game, you cannot see her nude. Only with a debug unit can a user free up the camera and view the holy of holies.
If Page does decide to sue Sony and developer Quantic Dream, does she have a case? In the non debugged version of the game, you can't see her nude. One could argue that Quantic Dream never intended the user to see her nude. Also, we're talking about a digital version of Page, obviously. It's not her, ahem, "assets" but rather a representation of her. Lastly, and honestly I don't know for a fact, but I doubt that Page modeled in the nude and was scanned (BEST JOB EVER), so one can argue that the body we're seeing belongs to either another model or is just an artist's assumption of what a naked Page would look like. (CREEP!)
Where things get tricky though is why Quantic Dream decided to have a nude model of Page in the game to begin with, especially considering her "no nudity" clause which is apparently common knowledge in Hollywood. Just seems like it's tempting fate to have the model in the game in the first place that, and let's be honest here, WILL be found. Reminds me of Grand Theft Auto San Andreas and the sex mini-game fiasco. Even if it's not the intention of the designers for something to be accessible by the player, you should take it out entirely. There's too many savvy people who will find it.
It would had been safer to have the Page model in a virtual bathing suit or just have it devoid of the fancy bits ala Barbie Doll? What about pasties? If I was a designer at Quantic Dream, I would've given her a hairy chest and a dong, as to make those pervs pay for their curiosity with nightmares.
You won't be able to unsee what is seen
In the end, I honestly believe that Ellen Page should just let this go. This story already seemed to be waning before the take down notices and threats of legal action cropped up. I understand that Page may be upset by this, but fighting this muddies up the waters again which will take time to settle down back down again.
However, it may be the case that Page feels violated by this. If so, then I really can't argue against her point. If it were me, or if Page was my daughter, I would be pissed off. Whatever the outcome, I think that developers will have learned a valuable lesson on how they treat in-game models, especially those who are based on real life actors.
I like to fancy myself as an open minded individual. I freely admit that I was not always an open minded person. Matter of fact, I would say that at one time, I was the poster child a very narrow minded individual, shallow individual, who made assumptions from preconceived notions. I was an asshole. Getting older changed how I looked at the world, or so I thought…
I was not as bad as these fucking guys though.
Today, I'm well aware that there are all types of gamers out there. Young and old, male and female, whatever. I think that it's great that the gaming community has become so diverse. It doesn’t has to be all about the 18-35 male demographic. That's why I was so disappointed with myself the other day.
Sitting at work, a co-worker came up to me asking a question about an e-mail that she got. This co-worker is a few years older than me, married, with a 10-year-old daughter. She was all excited because she got an e-mail from Taco Bell saying that she won a PS4 from their $5 Box promotion.
My first reaction was pure unbridled jealousy, then the urge to go to Taco Bell and most like spend the rest of the day in the bathroom in agony. Getting older does that. When I was a teen, I could eat anything I wanted, and not gain a pound or have nary a worry of it messing with my stomach. Today, I just look at a McDonald's hamburger and my bowels explode.
IBS is no laughing matter.
After reading her e-mail, I confirmed that it looked legit to me and congratulated her. We then continued the conversation about the merits of the PS4 and the XboxOne. Turns our that she's quite the gamer herself. She's a Nintendo diehard and huge fan of the Zelda series, which is pretty cool. She also had an Xbox 360 that she used quite a bit, along with her daughter.
However, initially, I was surprised by this as she never mentioned that she was a gamer previously, nor did she look like a gamer. That's when I realized that I'm still a douchey ass. What does a gamer look like today? I'll take a gander into the mirror and I reckon that I don't "look" like a gamer either.
What's most disappointing, is that I'm someone who fervently defends the industry as being more about violent games played by reclusive gamers, and here I am, falling back into the same stereotypes. It made me realize that I still have some work to do. Especially considering that I have a beautiful 1-year-old daughter that has unlimited potential to become anything she wants or take part in any sport or hobby that he wants, within reason of course. I'm still a doting and protective dad, of course, but if my little one wants to become a gamer, I'll have no problem with that. I 'll be her wingman and cover her six.
I was flipping through the channels on the old boob tube this evening when I passed something that caught my eye. It appears that E:60, a sports related newsmagazine program on the ESPN network is doing a history of sports and videogames.
Below is a preview.
I'll be the first to tell you that I am not a big fan of ESPN, but I have watched E:60 in the past and it is a good program that covers the more human interest side of sports rather than the "Durrrr I want more big hits durrrr!" lame ass bullshit that you'll see on a highlight show.
I have set my DVR and I'm curious as to how they approach this. It looks like they've done their homework as Nolan Bushnell appears in the preview, as well as Iron Mike Tyson and a few other random people I've never seen before.
I'm hoping for the best, but ESPN does have a partnership with EA, so it can very well turn into a 60 minute advertisement for EA Sports.
We shall see. The show airs on ESPN on Tuesday, October 15 at 7:00 P.M. EST