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12:20 PM on 07.14.2015

Amazon Thinks I Have a Gaming Addiction

I do a lot of horrible gaming related things for your personal amusement. I mostly play horrible celebrity branded mobile phone games, but this time around, I decided to read a book about gaming addiction. This was not what I would call a pleasant experience.

Thank goodness that this is only a “book” in the most general sense, in that there are words in it, and those words are printed on a page, however there are not a lot actual pages to read. I’d say that this more like a pamphlet—a horribly written piece of garbage pamphlet, which will make you dumber if you actually take the time to read it. Also, this is actually an eBook, but now we’re just getting into semantics.

I happened upon this book a couple of weeks ago, when my company decided to send me away again for business. Luckily, the flight this time around was relatively short, so no need to purchase in-flight Internet access or rent Direct TV to keep me occupied. I can just do a little bit of reading and pound miniature bottles of vodka, just like Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack did, when air travel was GLAMOROUS. The only difference being that if I light up a cigarette or slap the “air waitress” on the ass for a job-well-done, the air marshal will crack my skull open with the butt of his Glock.

So with the limited time available to me before my flight, I found a free Wi-Fi hotspot by the gate and went onto Amazon on my iPad to see what I can download cheaply. Since I read a fair amount of gaming and tech related stuff, one of Amazon’s recommendations was Gaming Addiction Cure: How to Overcome Gaming Addiction in 30 Days, by James Henry. Amazon apparently thinks that I have a problem. Luckily enough, the book was free and with time running out, I went ahead with the download. LET’S GET READING!

The book starts off with an introduction from the author, the one and only James Henry. My comments added in ALL CAPs.

“Do you find yourself always playing games even when you have important things to do like hand in a project at work or even spend time with your kids? (I PLAY GAMES TO SPECIFICALLY AVOID THESE THINGS) Has your need to play games taken over your life such that you never even find time to do important things like eating and sleeping? (I FORGO GOING TO THE BATHROOM JUST TO PLAY GAMES, DOES THIS COUNT?) Have you wasted a lot of money buying all kinds of games just to get the thrill and adrenaline rush from playing such games? (YES, BUT NOT AS MUCH AS I WASTED ON HOOKERS AND BLOW) If you relate to any or all of these scenarios, then you definitely have a problem that needs to be addressed. The good thing is that all hope is not lost and with the strategies outlined in this book, you will overcome your gaming addiction and live a normal life. (PRAISE JEEZUS!)"

Like any self-help book, the author has to cover his ass, so there is the requisite legalese.

“The information provided herein is stated to be truthful and consistent, in that any liability, in terms of inattention or otherwise, by any usage or abuse of any policies, processes, or directions contained within is the solitary and utter responsibility of the recipient reader. Under no circumstances will any legal responsibility or blame be held against the publisher for any reparation, damages, or monetary loss due to the information herein, either directly or indirectly. (SO THE HOOKERS AND BLOW COSTS ARE ALL ON ME?)”

The author goes onto explain the different types of games available for those who are reading the book on behalf of a loved one. Nothing ground breaking here. He defines single player games, multiplayer games, eSports, and mobile games. All these game types have something in common however, and that they are all HIGHLY ADDICTIVE!

This is all well and good, but you may be saying to yourself, “Surely, I don’t have a gaming problem.” But you would be wrong. DEAD WRONG!

The author goes onto to state that if you have done one or more of the following listed below, then you are officially a GAMEAHOLIC (TM by Spieler Dad, like just now).

*Being interrupted from your normal life pattern such as having to play at night and shifting to sleeping during the day. (VAMPIRA-GAMING, TM SPIELER DAD)

*If, to a certain extent, you risk or actually lose your job or drop out of school to play a digital game or online competition.

*If you require a bigger fix such as having to play for longer periods to enjoy same level of gaming. (OR DECIDE TO PLAY GAMES WITH NIPPLE CLIPS ON)

*If you experience withdrawal problems such as feeling anxious or irritable when you stop or disconnect from your playmates. (I PERSONALLY SCREAM AT THE DOG)

*Constant cravings i.e. a strong desire to play or go online even when far from gaming facilities. (THANK GOD NO ONE HAS INVENTED A WAY TO PLAY A GAME AWAY FROM THE HOME!?! THEY WOULD MAKE MILLIONS!)

So how does one avoid becoming addicted? The answer to that is that they don’t. Games are designed to be addicted.

“There are various causes of gaming addictions but one of the key reasons is that they are fundamentally designed to be addictive. The designers or creators of games are interested in making profit (BASTARDS!) thus they need to make addictive games to continue enjoying profits. Games are often made to be challenging so that you keep on trying without giving up and once you overcome a particular level, you have another level waiting for you. This is why you will keep on playing and since you cannot beat the game, you will be on a continuous journey of trying to beat the game, which is impossible.” (I CHOKED ON MY OWN SALIVA LAUGHING SO HARD ON THIS)

So, you have decided that you are addicted to gaming. What do you do now? Luckily the author gives you some options on how to do so.

Option 1 is to go Cold Turkey. For this to work, he recommends that you do the following:

“For this strategy to work, you have to do these steps almost immediately! Right now, delete all your video games from the computer, Smartphone or console. Do away with every sign of it. Do it now, even if it means throwing away those DVDs or disconnecting the Internet. Destruction of all video software and selling of gaming electronics helps a lot to gain immediate recovery. Later, if you feel like downloading or buying new game, you find it harder as you’d have to start from scratch.”

The second option is to slowly wean yourself off gaming. He recommends getting rid of everything except one console and begin limiting the time you spend on gaming. I say go ahead and pick up a Wii U. You’ll give up gaming in a matter of days. ZING!

The author’s last topic of discussion is a touchy one, as he goes into how games can impact children. However, all the tips he provides are very safe and common sense. He doesn’t provide anything groundbreaking.

His first bit of advice to parents is to restrict their children’s playtime to one hour or less in a day and to keep track on the total amount of time their children spend gaming. Again, this is common sense really, but there are stupid people out there who managed to procreate, so I’ll give him this one.

He also suggests that parents should be present for their children. Not sure what he means by this. Perhaps he’s suggesting to not leave them out in the wild where they can be raised by a pack of wolves?

He ends his advice by suggesting that parents should closely monitor their children’s behavior. He goes onto to state that, “…A number of games have been attributed to causing negative attitude on kids, or other aggressive reactions towards ordinary issues. “ The author however doesn’t cite where he got this information. Did he just make that up?

One can assume that he’s referring to the multitude of studies that state that violent games “may” make children more aggressive. Also, he neglects to state that a parent shouldn’t allow a young child to play violent and mature games in the first place. One would think that should be his first point.

To conclude his guide, Mr. Henry wishes me luck on my journey to conquer gaming addiction. I have decided to deny that I even have a problem in the first place. Also, I can quit gaming anytime, thank you very much, SO DON’T JUDGE ME!

The author requests that I go onto Amazon and rate his book, which I can assure I will do no such thing. Going on Amazon and writing a scathing review on this so-called book would be pointless, like tits on a bull.

Yet, something just didn’t seem right about this book. The writing was too shoddy, the book too short, and the advice overly elementary. Also, who is this James Henry person?

Turns out that James Henry is the pen name for James Gurbutt. According to his profile online, he works in publishing, and enjoys windsurfing and long lunches (WHO DOESN’T?!?)

A search online brings up the following image below where he appears be enjoying himself.

I think he's the one in the middle.

In the end, James seems to be a good chap, so I’ll leave him alone, even though I feel he is not qualified to give advice on gaming addiction. However, I cannot recommend reading Gaming Addiction Cure: How to Overcome Gaming Addiction in 30 Days.

When all is said and done, I give Gaming Addiction Cure: How to Overcome Gaming Addiction in 30 Days 1 out of 5 Creepy Dudes in Vests.

If, for whatever reason, you want to read this book for yourself, you can download it from Amazon here.

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9:45 AM on 06.29.2015

Why do we still care about Backwards Compatibility?

E3 2015 has come and gone. The big corporations had their pressers, the unwashed masses got to try out the latest wares, and the Los Angeles area is free of game industry marketing reps and journalists, to concentrate on more important things, like not dying of thirst.

Out of all the big press events, Microsoft won, in my humble opinion, by a nose,  by slightly edging out Sony. So congratulations Microsoft, you win the Spieler Dad’s Sicilian Donkey Cart for Best E3 Presser – 2015!

To all the Sony fanatics out there, put your pitchforks and torches down. Sony had the thing won, up into the very end, when Andrew House starting talking about the Playstation Vue and Spotify of all fucking things. That’s an automatic disqualification.

Also, if Andrew House was to get a PhD, he can be called Dr. House, which would be neat.

Microsoft had shown so many great things at their press event. Plenty of good looking games, cool looking exclusives titles, a new FANCY controller, and HoloLens, to name just a few. However, the thing that got everyone excited the most was the announcement that the Xbox One will now be backwards compatible with the Xbox 360.

Yay?

For reasons that escape me, people deeply about backwards compatibility. On the surface, I can understand why this is a feature that would make sense—games are expensive and it would be nice to continue playing your older titles when a new generation comes around. Personally speaking however, I could care less.  I’ve always been about the new hotness. When a new console is released, I go all in. Sorry last generation, time to take you behind the shed and introduce you to Mr. Shotgun.

I thought we were finally passed the whole backwards compatibility debate. Microsoft released the Xbox One without backwards compatibility while Sony hitched it’s wagon to game streaming, by purchasing Gaikai for $380 million so one can pay through the nose and poorly stream PS3 games on the PS4.

Deep down inside, I can’t help but feel that the Microsoft’s plan to make the Xbox One backwards compatible is an elaborate form of corporate trolling.

...Then we light the bag of shit on fire, ring the doorbell, and run away.

In short, if you bought digital games on the 360, you’ll be able to download them again to your Xbox One, if they’re added to the compatibility list.  The same will apply to disc-based games that are added to the catalog. You just need to insert the disc and download the game. And the best part is that this is all free.

In one fell swoop, Microsoft made Sony’s Playstation Now streaming service look like a $380 million turd. This is quite remarkable, as Microsoft had dug themselves quite the hole after the initial Xbox One launch, but they are slowly starting to pull themselves out.

I doubt that Microsoft will be able to fully recover though, but it sure is fun watching them try. They also did something that I thought no one would be able to do, and that’s make me excited about backwards compatibility.

The one caveat is that not every title released for the Xbox 360 will be backwards compatible. It’s safe to say that many of the hits will be, but what about the niche titles? What about the crap titles?

Microsoft has stated that they are listening to their consumers and have created a site where people can vote on which titles get added in future updates. Not surprisingly, the list currently shows last gen AAA mainstays, with Red Dead Redemption rising to the top.

That’s why I propose that we have a little fun at Microsoft’s expense. I went ahead and did a little research on what is the worst Xbox 360 title ever released and propose that we all vote to have Ride to Hell: Retribution added to the backwards compatibility list.

Let’s ensure that future generations have the opportunity to play one of the shittiest games ever made. Together, we can do it.  

CLICK HERE TO VOTE

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1:30 PM on 06.02.2015

Sony Makes Money While You Sleep...

They are also probably eating your lunch out of the office fridge, got your girlfriend pregnant, and your mom secretly likes them better than you. They are like a malevolent clown doll that watches you while you sleep. One day, when you least expect it, it will strike when you are most vulnerable. 

Sony, a massive company with a diverse product line competes with other large corporations to become your electronic gadget maker of choice. We all know this as this is nothing new.  

You also may know that Sony has invents and manufactures a lot of technology that goes into various doodads. Some of Sony’s tech even goes into products manufactured by their direct competitors. The Blu-Ray player in the Xbox One for example, ensures that Sony gets a taste of the action for every console that Microsoft sells, just like Don "Black Hand" Fanucci from Godfather II.

He just wants to wet his beak.

This is not ground breaking news, but what I do find amazing is just how much revenue Sony brings in by selling components to its competitors. When the Xbox One was first introduced and it became known that it would sport a Blu-Ray drive, Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter estimated that Microsoft would have to pay Sony $2 to $3 for every Xbox One sold to license the Blu-Ray drive.

Let’s assume that Microsoft pays Sony just $2.00 per console for the Blu-Ray license. Well that would translate $20 million if Microsoft sold 10 million consoles worldwide since launch, as they claimed back in November 2014. $30 million if Microsoft pays closer to the top end. In the end, it’s probably someplace in the middle, so let’s just say Sony made approximately $25 million from Microsoft since the Xbox One was launched, give or take a couple million. That’s nothing to sneeze at. 

Now keep in mind, my math can be completely wrong in terms of how many actually Xbox One consoles were sold. I got my numbers from Wikipedia, which is quoting a Microsoft PR flak, so chances are good that my numbers are completely wrong. At the end of the day, it’s safe to say that Sony making millions off of Xbox One sales. 

Sony is not just taking millions from Microsoft however. They also currently have Apple over a barrel. According to the Wall Street Journal and Fortune, “Sony is trying harder than ever to profit from other companies’ innovations, such as the iPhone 6. Each iPhone 6 contains two Sony-made image sensors and related parts, which generate revenue of as much as $20 per phone for Sony, analysts say. Earlier-generation iPhones had one Sony sensor apiece. The ‘selfie’ craze has strengthened Sony’s grip on the market.” 

Apple sold 10 million iPhone 6 on its weekend. That’s a $200 million payday for Sony and that figure doesn’t include revenue from all other Apple product that may be using Sony technology, like older iPhones and iPads. 

Kaz Hirai, who you may remember as the former of President of Sony Computer Entertainment and is now CEO of Sony stated in an interview with WSJ.com:  

“Whether it’s a device that goes into other manufacturers’ products or sometimes our own, if there’s innovation there… That’s something I get excited about.” 

I imagine that he was tweaking his nipples when he said that. 

Meanwhile, Sony makes its very own smartphones and tablets in the Xperia line, but why even bother when you can just ride on the coat tails of other manufacturers?  

And that is a scary thought for me personally. I’m a fan of Sony and a fan of their Playstation brand—especially the exquisite PS4, but what does Sony have to gain when they can make more money being a supplier of technology to other manufactures and letting them take all the risk? This is not a rhetorical question as I would really like to know.

Kaz Hirai in the WSJ.com interview readily admits that this may lead to a pivot for the company as he goes onto say,

“If we’re talking about the organization and our strategies and where we want the company to be next year, two years from now, three years from now, yes, we’re starting to turn the corner.” 

Will Sony one day decide to bow out completely from the limelight of high stakes consumer electronics? I can’t say for sure, but we have seen stranger things. Who would have thought that Konami would stop making video games to manage health clubs, open up gourmet cup cake shops, and make slot machines full-time? What if Sony, at their E3 presser announces that they are getting out of the consumer electronics business to sell chips and sensors to Apple? I would imagine that the combined fury of gamers everywhere would tear a rift in the universe.

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9:57 AM on 05.19.2015

Sometimes I Hate Being Right 

Know what I hate? That smug look someone gives you when they say, “I told you so.” I should be allowed to slap that look right off someone’s face after saying, “I told you so…” and fear no legal ramifications for assault, because, quite simply, they deserved it.

So it pains me when I write something and it turns out to be incredibly accurate, as if I'm some kind of magical gypsy. A lesser man would get up on his high horse and point out how smart he was, or say something stupidly cliché like “called it,” but I’m not like that and if I did, I would have to kick my own ass. 

 

No—I’m disappointed because what I wrote actually came true and now people are out of work because some rat faced, snaggle toothed, shit bag is horrible at what he does, and yet, gets handsomely rewarded for it monetarily.  

Back in April, I wrote a post on how shitty former Microsoft executive and dad-bod extraordinaire Don Mattrick was leaving Zynga after being there only a short time. You can read it here. His tenure was uneventful and he essentially failed at accomplishing any of the goals he set, and yet, he is going to be paid nearly $15 million dollars to fucking walk away. This is on top of the millions he already earned for doing a shitty job.

I joked on how executives and board members make horrible decisions all the time, and the only people who pay  for those bad decisions are the regular run-of-the-mill associates who simply run the day to day functions of the company—you know, the unimportant crap. 

I propose firing 15% of staff so that we can give ourselves bonuses and buy a SEX JET!

That image and caption is from my post back in April. Many of you thought it was funny. But, do you know what? I was wrong. I SCREAM IT FROM THE MOUNTAIN TOPS! DO YOU HEAR ME!?! I WAS WRONG!!! 

And I’m wrong because it was closer to 18% reduction in staff than 15% to pay for bonuses and a SEX JET. 

For a company of Zynga’s size, an 18% reduction of staff means that 364 people now need to figure out a new way to pay bills and eat.  

Eurogamer.com reached out to Zynga for more information, but were pointed to a statement released by new-old CEO Mark Pincus: 

For our people, we need to create an empowered, entrepreneurial culture that fosters more creativity and innovation. Over the years we've seen that tighter, more nimble teams can drive faster innovation and deliver more player value. As a result, today we announced a cost reduction program to focus, simplify and align us against our most promising opportunities. 

We expect these cost reductions to generate $100m in annualized savings. We are reducing our workforce by 364 people or approximately 18 per cent, decreasing our outside services and reducing our central functions. This was a hard but necessary decision and I believe this plan puts us in the best long term position for success. 

I’m sure former Zynga employees who are lining up for unemployment benefits appreciate those kind words. 

Remember, fuck face Don Mattrick gets paid $15 Million, to just walk away. Meanwhile, $15 Million divided up by 364 employees would give them a salary of $41,208.79 per year. Go ahead and read that again and try not to RAGE PUKE. 

I know that I pick on Mattrick and Zynga a lot, but they deserve to be ridiculed. Zynga is a poorly managed company that produces garbage and Mattrick is like King Midas, but in reverse, in that everything he touches turns into shit. As far as I’m concerned, I’m performing a public service by calling this out. 

And by the way… I told you so. 

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11:03 AM on 05.11.2015

Sharks Can Thank Sega for Their Two Penises

Sega, a company that is responsible for molding me into the gamer I am today has been hit by some hard times. The reasons for this are numerous, but in a nutshell, one can say that Sega has not made a sound decision since 1994; the sole exception being the short lived Sega Dreamcast.

I’ve written a lot on how much of a fan I was of Sega growing up, so it makes me sad to see the company going through such hard times as of late. Things have gotten so bad that for the first time in its history, Sega will not have a booth at E3 2015.

As reported by Game Informer by way of Ars Technica, Sega claims the lack of presence has to do from moving from the long time headquarters in San Francisco to Los Angeles.

“Over the next months, Sega of America will be focusing on the restructure and relocation to Southern California, and we have decided to not attend E3 with our own booth this year… With the majority of our bigger titles launching later in 2015/2016, particularly those from our AAA studios Relic Entertainment, Sports Interactive, and Creative Assembly, we are concentrating our efforts for some of these major announcements after our relocation."

Well that sucks. I always considered Sega of America to be a Northern California company and here they are, going off to LA LA Land, with stars in their eyes, looking to start off on a clean slate, like a naïve and young Axel Rose.

Or Pat Benetar, boob menacing a rat faced pimp in the greatest music video of all time.

Moving to new digs in SoCal aside, Sega has also been in an extreme restructuring mode, shifting away from console and PC development and towards smartphones so bowing out of E3 after attending for twenty years straight is not all that surprising, since they are obviously struggling as a company.

Interestingly enough, one can pinpoint where it went all to shit for Sega and it was at the very first E3 in 1995, exactly 20 years ago. In Los Angeles on May 11, 1995, then Sega of America CEO, Tom Kalinske announced that the upcoming Sega Saturn will cost $399. He also announced that even though they initially stated that the Saturn would be release in September of 1995, Sega had already shipped 30,000 consoles to Toys "R" Us, Babbage's, Electronics Boutique, and Software Etc. for immediate release.

Now, Tom didn’t say that all other retailers not mentioned can go fuck themselves, but that’s how Walmart, Best Buy, and various other retailers took it and returned the favor by dropping Sega from their shelves.

Later that day, Sony Computer Entertainment America president Steve Race took the stage, said "$299", and then walked away. I would have dropped the microphone, but Steve Race has class.

So at the very first E3, in 1995, Sega was cast into a death spiral in which it could never recover. It’s a fall that it’s still experiencing today—a perpetual fall from grace while it fights a Balrog into a precipice.

Personally speaking, I will always have found memories of Sega. My first console was a Master System and my favorite console of all time is the Genesis (aka Mega Drive). From 1984 to 1995 Sega was intertwined in my memories of holidays and birthdays. I had invested countless hours with some of their most memorable characters, like Sonic.

Poor Sonic has been dragged through the dirt for so many years. Sega has never been able to recapture the magic from his early days on the Genesis or even the Sega CD. Sonic holds a special place in my heart however, and it is evident that he is firmly entrenched in the hearts of others as well.

Take the geneticists who discovered the SHH gene. The SHH gene is responsible for creating a protein vital in the development of eyes, limbs, spinal cord, among other things. I’m not a scientist, but the way I understand it, this gene appears to be the reason we have two identical eyes, rather than one large eye like the cyclops of Greek antiquity.

Genetics can be such a dry topic however, so the cheeky geneticists named the protein that SHH gene creates after the fast blue hedgehog as in Sonic the Hedgehog, because why the hell not.

As it turns out, Sonic the Hedgehog is the reason why many sharks, skates, and rays have two penises. Scientists at the University of Florida actually confirmed this, because they apparently really into shark penises.

So they next time you’re watching Shark Week or some other nature show and you see a shark with two cocks swaying in the ocean current, you can go ahead and thank Sonic the Hedgehog for that. In a way, Sega will continue to exist regardless if they succeed as a company, because Sonic the Hedgehog will forever be associated with shark dick, and that is a good thing.

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7:51 AM on 04.30.2015

I Played Paula Deen’s Recipe Quest… So You Don’t Have To

When a “celebrity” releases a mobile game, I begin to feel all warm and gooey, because I have a weakness for horrible mobile games. The prospect of a possible train wreck that is associated with someone famous brings me joy, because I’m a horrible person.

I have played Kim Kardashian Hollywood, which was bad, but surprisingly enjoyable. I also had the honor to play Lindsay Lohan’s The Price of Fame on the iOS, which was so bad, I’m not sure it can even be defined as a game, but rather a horrible psychological experiment and was utterly unenjoyable.

Beta testing Lindsay Lohan’s Price of Fame was literally torture.

Coming off the horrible experience that is Lindsay Lohan’s game, I did not have high hopes for Paula Deen’s Recipe Quest.

Deen, as you may or may not know was a Food Network star, who specialized in southern cooking. Southern cooking in the U.S. does have the stigma of being very rich and unhealthy. Deen does not help break this stereotype as the majority of her recipes are ridiculously unhealthy.

There’s nothing unhealthy about a bacon, egg, cheese, and doughnut sandwich.

Deen’s career path has been on a downward spiral ever since news came out that she’s racist. Even though she fiercely denies being a racist, it doesn’t help your case when you say things like this:

[W]hen asked if she wanted black men to play the role of slaves at a wedding she explained she got the idea from a restaurant her husband and her had dined at saying, “The whole entire waiter staff was middle-aged black men, and they had on beautiful white jackets with a black bow tie.


“I mean, it was really impressive. That restaurant represented a certain era in America…after the Civil War, during the Civil War, before the Civil War…It was not only black men, it was black women…I would say they were slaves.”

HOW QUAINT! That’s a fine dining experience there. No sir, there’s totally nothing racist about that.

Incredibly, Deen just can’t help doing racist things while denying being a racist. Just take the advertisement for her restaurant.

The fuck, Paula?

According to a Deen spokesperson, the image in the ad is not new and has been used on the restaurant’s website for over five years. The spokesperson goes on to say, “…the lady featured in the picture has worked at the restaurant for over 17 years and is like family to the Deens.” (So it’s totally okay to use a racist stereotype from the American South’s antebellum plantation era, because the Deen’s have been doing it for years.)

So when I heard that Paula Deen had released a video game, I simply had to play it. I really did not know what to expect, but a part of me was hoping for it to be highly inappropriate and possibly racist. Maybe Amos & Andy were going to be featured in the game in black-face while singing Camptown Races?

Nothing insensitive in this image, said a Deen spokesperson… probably.

So imagine my disappointment when the game turned out to be puzzle game, in the same vein as Candy Crush. In fact, Paul Deen’s Recipe Quest is so mediocre and safe, I became downright angry when I could not find one solitary example of Paula’s well documented acts racism.

The game starts off with a map that you must navigate. Each point on the map is a recipe in the form of a puzzle. Take the first recipe for example, for Low Country Cookies, which I assume is the opposite of High Country Cookies where the main ingredient is marijuana.

The goal is to unlock three eggs and nine sugar cubes (I think those are sugar cubes). Paula is kind enough to explain while not dropping the “N” word once.

The quicker you beat the puzzle with the least amount moves, the more points you get, while unlocking more recipes.

Of course, like all free-to-play games, you can expect to get nickel and dimed. Failing to unlock a recipe will force you to use coins that you earned while playing to purchase more moves. If you run out of coins, you can start the map over, but you only have so many attempts, before you either have to wait for more chances to unlock or, you can always buy more coins or attempts with real money.

Apparently, it’s impossible to complete the game without purchasing the later stages. This was not a problem for me, but if you’re a completionist, you better be willing to pony up.

All in all, Paula Deen’s Recipe Quest is not a bad game, but It’s not a great game either. If you played Candy Crush you know exactly what to expect. Matter of fact, this game is so similar to Candy Crush, I wouldn’t be surprised if King sues the makers of Paula Deen’s Recipe Quest for copyright infringement.

At the end of the day, Paula Deen’s Recipe Quest is a serviceable title that lacks racial epithets and is actually enjoyable. I give it 3 out of 5 Paul Deens assaulting Ernest Hemingways.

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1:41 PM on 04.23.2015

I'm not posting until...

...the cBlogs are fixed.

 

Thanks!

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2:03 PM on 04.16.2015

The Best Job in the World 

Imagine a job where you get paid millions of dollars in salary, receive millions of dollars in stock options, and receive absurd bonuses, just for doing what you’re supposed to be doing. Now, imagine a job where you get all of what was just previously stated and also get paid millions of dollars to leave if you ROYALLY FUCK UP. 

You may be saying to yourself that no job like that exists, but there is. Play your cards right, work hard, and maybe, just maybe, with a little bit of luck, and ass kissing, you can become a CEO of a major organization.  

Last week, Don Mattrick, former head of Xbox, resigned from his short lived CEO position at Zynga. You may remember Mattrick as the executive, who took the Xbox brand, after riding high after the success of the Xbox 360, and making an ass out of himself by fucking up the launch of the Xbox One in every conceivable way. 

Thank you Google Image Search

Zynga paid a ridiculous amount of money to Mattrick to take on the role of CEO and turn things around for the Facebook game company; known for cutting edge titles like Farmville and Poker, titles loved by grandmothers the world over. 

Zynga’s strategy over the years appears to be that they throw a lot of money out the window at product and personnel that are past their prime.  They paid top dollar for the studios that created Words with Friends and Draw Something at the height of their popularity. As grandmothers and casual gamers went on to other games, Zynga got hosed to the tune of $95 million dollars. 

So why not throw a ton of money at an executive who’s also possibly past his prime by offering Mattrick the following contract (Courtesy of the Wall Street Journal): 

July 2013 – July 2014 (Year 1)

  • $5 million cash signing bonus  
  • $1 million salary  
  • $2 million cash bonus  
  • $11 million in vested stock – Part of a “make-whole” package to compensate Mattrick for the stock he left at Microsoft.  
  • Total: $19 million in cash and stock  

July 2014Spring 2015 (Year 2)

  • $1 million annual salary  
  • $2 million cash bonus – If Mattrick hits performance target (however, he could make as much as 400% his annual salary, or $4 million, if the board deems it appropriate)  
  • $11 million in vested stock – as part of the “make-whole” grant  
  • *He was also eligible, beginning in 2014, for extra grants based on the discretion of the compensation executive committee and how the company performs. These extra grants could be valued as high as $7 million.  
  • Total: $14 million in cash and stock if he hits performance targets. 

Spring 2015Spring 2016 (Year 3)

  • $1 million annual salary  
  • $2 million cash bonus – If he hits performance targets. As noted above, he could make as much as $4 million, if Zynga performs especially well.  
  • $3 million – the remainder of the make-whole grant  
  • $3 million (1.07 million restricted stock units) in inducement grants (he will the remainder of his inducement grants, a total of $2 million, over the next two year)  
  • *As in 2014, he is also eligible for extra grants, valued as high as $7 million.  
  • Total: $9 million in cash and stock if he hits performance targets. 

Of course, he won’t get to collect the $9 million he was due for the final year of his contract since he’s bailing out early. He’s actually going to get closer to $15 million. Go ahead and take a look at the SEC filing here, and try not to puke your guts out in pure anger. 

In the old timey days, vomiting was apparently a spectator sport.

Over the next two years, Zynga will pay Mattrick a severance package of $4 million. In addition to his severance, Mattrick will get his bonus for the days he worked in 2015, which will approximately be $1 million. Lastly, Zynga will vest just over 5.1 million of stock owed to Mattrick, worth $10 million total. Not a bad haul for someone who did a below average job and did not accomplish anything he set out to do when he was hired. 

New/Old Zynga CEO Mark Pincus and former CEO Don Mattrick, standing in what appears to be the barrel of a giant rifle.

I don’t mean to pick on Mattrick here. This is simply how business is done. CEOs and high level executives get golden parachutes all the time. The reason for this can be quite complicated. Yes, being a high level executive can be stressful, but there is a more nefarious reason why executives get such bloated salaries. 

Many corporations have a board of directors that decide who gets hired as CEO and what they will be compensated. Many of these board members are former CEOs and executives themselves. Some may be angling for future CEO positions as well. So it’s in their best interests to be generous. Down the line the roles may very well be reversed, where they are the CEO having to answer to the board.  

I propose firing 15% of staff so that we can give ourselves bonuses and buy a SEX JET!

All in all, what we here have is a good ol’ boy network of executives scratching each other’s backs. They don’t burn bridges lest they risk a possible golden parachute for themselves in the future. It’s simply a game of musical chairs; the only difference is that everyone wins. CORRECTION: The executives and board members win. If you’re a drone and the CEO fucks up, you’ll have to sign up for unemployment benefits. 

...and soup kitchens.

So Mattrick has simply played the game and won. He can now ride off into Canadian sunset, home of Mounties, maple syrup, Tim Horton’s, and hockey teams that will ultimately lose to the New York Rangers in the NHL playoffs. 

So Kudos to you Mr. Mattrick. You have won the game of life. You have made an extraordinary amount money for doing what turns out to be a mediocre job. I salute you. 

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12:57 PM on 03.30.2015

Evil Rabbits

Many, many years ago, a bearded Jewish man was crucified in the Middle East. After a week, he came back to life. His modern day followers remember this miracle by celebrating a long-eared woodland rodent.

As a Christian (Roman Catholic actually) this time of year is one of the most important holidays. I actually go to church on this holiday, to celebrate my savior’s death and subsequent resurrection. The only other time I actually go to church is to celebrate my savior’s birth, which is ironic. I never said I was a good Christian.

As you have probably gathered by now, I’m speaking about Easter (and Christmas), two holidays ruined by commercialism and the greeting card industry. Christmas is about giving gifts, and the baby Jesus takes the back seat to a fat hirsute man in a red suit, which is okay, I suppose, because you get gifts, which is nice.

What I cannot tolerate is an adult Jesus, who died for my sins, playing second fiddle to a furry rodent known for it’s elongated ears and it’s ability to aggressively procreate.

Quite simply, rabbits, and by extension, their larger cousin, the hare, are evil, with no redeeming qualities, with the exception of making exquisite stews.

Even our ancestors knew that rabbits are horrid creatures. Rabbits were showcased quite often in medieval art performing horrible deeds.

Case and point, did you know that in the Middle Ages giant rabbits carried swords and regularly beheaded people?

Humans were also forced to fight three-headed beasts for the amusement of our rabbit overlords.

Apparently, it was not unheard of rabbits chasing people up into the trees, where they would be taken down by crossbow totting hares. Also, fair maidens were frequently kidnapped.

Humans also could not travel, lest they be accosted by gangs of marauding rabbits and bludgeoned to death.

Man’s best friend, the humble dog, did fight a brutal war against the rabbits on our behalf. Here, we see an army of dogs lay siege to a rabbit castle.

However, the rabbits were too strong, and the dog army was cut down and brutally crushed by rabbit archers.

The rabbits showed complete disregard for modern legal practice. This poor dog was tried in an apparent rabbit tribunal. He will not be judged by a jury of his peers.

The outcome of the trial was never in doubt.

Why then, do we subjugate our poor children this time of year to the Easter Bunny (if that’s his real name), after all the atrocities that his ancestors performed on mankind? This is unconscionably.

Rabbits have even infiltrated my beloved video games and I’m disgusted by it. They have no place in video games, unless they are playing the antagonist, which is a rarity.

Take Jazz the Jackrabbit for example. He’s the main character of the game that bares his name. However, in an age when character based platformers were cute and merely hopped on their enemies, Jazz saw fit to use high powered firearms against unarmed tortoises and bumble bees.

 

Or take the Rabbids from various Ubisoft games.  These rabbits simply cause pure chaos while speaking incomprehensible jibberish. They are obviously high on drugs.

 

If the Rabbids are not on drugs, then Max, from the Sam & Max series definitely is. I’d say he’s on cocaine or speed, as he’s absolutely manic and has no business solving crimes.  As far as I’m concerned, he’s a criminal himself.

Lastly, Peppy Hare from Star Fox, I’m onto you. You’re kind elderly mentor act is fooling no one. One day you will betray Fox McCloud, I KNOW IT.

You may be asking if perhaps I’m being too hard on rabbits?  Their atrocities against man took place many years ago. Should I learn to love and forgive them for their transgressions? Some would say that is what Jesus would want; after all, this holiday is about him.

The answer to that is NO. I am a rabbit racist, and I will never forgive them. As far as I’m concerned, the best place for a rabbit, is in the stew pot, prepared in the agrodolce style, as my Sicilian grandmother used to serve for special occasions.

 Buon appetit and Happy Easter.

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10:32 AM on 03.17.2015

Why Retailers Damage and Throw Away Good Product

Early this week, a YouTube video posted in February of an intrepid dumpster diver went viral, and started making the rounds at various gaming and tech related websites.  This individual braved possible attack from rabid raccoons, crack foxes, Oscar the Grouch, and ornery hobos to point out, in his own words, that GameStop is “greedy and cheap.”

 

I hate to say this, but I can tell you that GameStop is greedy and cheap without diving into a dumpster and risk coming down with consumption by breathing in bad humors or other old timey ailments.

Welp, my job is done here.

However, GameStop is not alone in destroying perfectly good items and tossing them in the garbage. The sad truth is that retailers do this all the time and the reason they do is simple, it’s about their bottom line.

Many retailers have arrangements with their suppliers to return any unsold or outdated product to their suppliers for credit. Retailers take a risk when they purchase goods from suppliers. Sometimes new product does not resonate with consumers and it sells poorly. To mitigate this risk, suppliers will agree to take back unsold goods.

This happens a lot with clothing, electronics, and even food products. If the stuff does not sell, stores just pack that shit up and send it back.

However, packaging and shipping stuff can be expensive. When the shipping of goods becomes cost prohibitive, suppliers just ask the stores how much product they have left over, so that they can credit them, and then the stores destroy it and simply throw it away.

In a previous job, I had the opportunity to actually see the back rooms of various Walmart stores. It’s what you would expect and really nothing special. There were plenty of shelves and pallets holding various goods. There was machinery for recycling, crushing cardboard, etc… A portal to hell where sinners and underperforming sales associates were cast into.

Uhh, I'm just look for a pallet of Rice Crispies.

Sometimes I saw dedicated machines that destroyed clothing that was not worth sending back to the supplier. I would imagine that every Walmart has this equipment.

When I worked at a clothing retailer back in my college days, one of the tasks of the people in the back room was to destroy clothing that has been marked down multiple times and still did not sell.

Doing some research online, I also found that this is the case as well at other retailers like Best Buy and Staples. If electronics did not sell, power cords and USB cables were cut and the goods would simply be tossed into the trash.

All in all, GameStop is in good company here. All retailers are horrible and would rather destroy and toss perfectly good product than donate it.

The reason retailers do this is very complex. Yes, profit and their bottom line is a big component, but if you want to learn more, I would recommend checking out this article

What I find interesting is that GameStop also deals in the second hand market. Why destroy used product since you cannot send it back to the original supplier?

I believe, and I may be wrong (almost definitely), that again, it’s simply cheaper to destroy the goods than to give it away or send it to a GameStop warehouse to be refurbished.

This sounds horrible, but these corporations are in business to make a profit and not for making charitable donations. Yes, many give some stuff away to charity and they get a tax write-off and more importantly, free publicity.

I can’t really blame them. In a perfect world, of course they should donate everything that does not sell. But we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in a complex and often flawed world, where right and wrong is easily blurred. One can make the argument for both sides and it would be impossible to say which was right and which was wrong.

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11:31 AM on 03.03.2015

Former 38 Studios Founder Exposes Twitter Trolls

You can mess with the man, but don’t mess with his family. A couple of Twitter trolls learned that the hard way after posting some vile tweets directed at former Red Sox pitcher and 38 Studios founder, Curt Schilling and his daughter.

Earlier in the week, Schilling went on Twitter to congratulate his daughter on her acceptance to college, where she will also be a pitcher on the school’s softball team. It did not take long for the replies to turn from congratulations and will wishes to vulgar and highly sexual threats. Schilling posted some examples on his blog:

Common sense normally dictates that you ignore the trolls. Responding to them only feeds the flames and gives the instigators a sense of satisfaction that they indeed got under your skin. Schilling however, went full DAD MODE on the trolls.

Just like Liam Neeson in Taken, Schilling has a very specific set of skills, he’s also a celebrity, with a lot of contacts, and money troubles aside from the failed venture into video game development, does still wield some influence. It did not take long for Schilling to find out who these clowns were and post their details on his personal blog, as seen below:

“The Sports Guru"? Ya he's a DJ named Adam Nagel (DJ is a bit strong since he's on the air for 1 hour a week) on Brookdale Student Radio at Brookdale Community College. How do you think that place feels about this stud representing their school? You don't think this isn't going to be a nice compilation that will show up every single time this idiot is googled the rest of his life? What happens when a potential woman he's after googles and reads this?”
“The other clown? He's VP of the Theta Xi fraternity at Montclair State University. I gotta believe if Theta Xi is cool with a VP of one of their chapters acting like this I'd prefer to have no one I know in it. Also, does anyone attending Montclair State University have a student handbook? If so can you pass it along because I am pretty sure there are about 90 violations in this idiots tweets.”

After this was posted on Schilling’s personal blog, the Twitter accounts @Nagels_Bagels and @primetime227 were both deleted.

Turns out “Hollywood” was actually employee of the New York Yankees ticket office before schilling lowered the boom. He was quickly fired, as per Jason Zillo, Yankees director of communications, told NJ.com: "We have zero tolerance for anything like this."

As for the Sports Guru, Brookdale Community College released a statement on their Facebook account stating that he was suspended.

Schilling defends his actions by stating “…there are repercussions to your actions in the real world.” I'd like to think that he said this in a Liam Neeson accent.

Perhaps the Sports Guru and Hollywood have learned a lesson, and that lesson is, don’t mess with Curt Schilling.

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7:33 AM on 02.28.2015

Let's Remember Leonard Nimoy, by Giving Microsoft Money

I'm sure many of you have already heard that the venerable Leonard Nimoy passed away yesterday. It is certainly sad, but luckily for his fans, his long career has left us with no shortage of ways to remember and celebrate him.

Microsoft apparently agrees with this assessment, and after only a few hours after Nimoy's death was announced, Xbox Video was updated with a page of of his television shows and films.

You stay classy Microsoft.

 

 

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