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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Many retailers have arrangements with their suppliers to return any unsold or outdated product to their suppliers for credit.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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11:20 AM on 02.24.2015  

Experiment: I Got Off My Ass and Gamed – For My Health

Does the name Ernest Hemingway ring a bell? It should, he was one of the world’s finest writers. He lived a fascinating life, won a Pulitzer and Nobel, survived two world wars, walked away from not one, but two plane crashes, and was a big game hunter and fisherman. He was the consummate man’s man

His moustache alone could kick your ass.

 Simply put, he was a hard-drinking and hard-living badass who just so happened to be a great writer when he wasn’t kicking ass. He was also known for the interesting manner in which he would write. Simply put, he wrote standing up. He did this due to a injury he suffered in World War I, but found that it had additional benefits as well.

However, Hemingway's habit of working and writing while standing was shared by other remarkable men as well, such as Thomas Jefferson and Winston Churchill. They all believed that standing while working increased productivity by fighting fatigue as well as other distractions.

Windston Churchill

Working on foot has seen an increase in popularity lately. All the hipsters are doing it, but a small part of me can't help to feel like this is a fad that will slowly disappear. Not too long ago, the big thing at the office was sitting on a yoga ball. Quite frankly, sitting on a yoga ball at the office looks ridiculous and is dangerous, especially when I'm around. I have to make a conscience effort not to kick your stupid yoga ball chair out from under you.

Also, ladies, be mindful that sitting on a yoga ball can and will expose your ass. Last place I worked had an open office environment (fuck you Google for making this a thing) and the woman who sat directly across from me sat on a yoga ball. She also liked wearing thongs. You can say that this was a slight distraction. Sure, a giant ball can help build your core strength, but you look like a moron while sitting on one at the office.

Don't worry, we'll just throw that ball out when you're done with it.

Standing however, is so much more convenient than sitting on a ball. Some of the benefits of standing include a lower risk of obesity, jump starting your metabolism, and reducing cardiovascular disease and cancer. Not too shabby.

Yes, some offices and people take the standing and working thing to stupid levels. Case and point, the treadmill desk. I also worked in an office that had one of these. It was hardly ever used, because A) it's stupid, B) It's dangerous, and C) It was always broken. Some people have trouble walking and chewing gum at the same time, and you're going to recommend that they walk and work on an Excel spreadsheet at the same time?

I used to work at gym a long while back. Since I was a morning person, I got the 5:00 AM to 12:00 PM shift. It wasn't as bad as you would think and was pretty easy. People who exercise in the mornings tend to keep to themselves and are pretty low maintenance. The one downside is that really old people also exercise early in the morning and this particular gym had a ton of octogenarians shuffling in at the ass crack of dawn.

One of my responsibilities was giving orientations to new members. Only old people would sign up for the orientations when they joined the gym, because they're really old, it was free, and the last time they exercised it was to Jack LeLanne's TV show. Nautilus equipment and cardio machines were new and terrifying things to them, and a sleep deprived and possibly hungover college kid had the pleasure to show them how to use it.

Jack Lalanne

Many times, I would sit them down on the leg press machine, which was the first exercise on the circuit, tell them what to do, and they would just sit there, smiling and staring at me. "Is the weight too heavy?" I would ask. "No, I don't think so." Grandma would say. "Okay, because you're not pushing the weight out." I would say. "Ohhhhh, I have to push it myself? I thought the machine did that for me!" Granny would reply.

...And no, we don't have jiggle machines, unfortunately.

I shit you not, this was a very common occurrence. That's why I would save the treadmill for last, because they will just stand there when the belt starts moving and simply fall off back. I learned that the hard way my first week of work at the gym. I was terrified and thought some old man broke his hip on my watch. He said that he didn't know that he HAD TO MOVE HIS OWN FUCKING LEGS!

My, boss, who was a great guy saw that I was freaking out while filling out the accident report. He just laughed and said that people fall of the treadmills all the time and I would get used to it.

And it wasn't just old people who fell off the treadmill. Young people, middle aged people, boys and girls of all ages and back grounds fell off the treadmills all the fucking time. Eventually, I learned to enjoy and actually looked forward to people falling off the treadmills, because they never ever got hurt, working at a gym is boring as hell, and I was and still am a horrible person.

My personal favorite is when people would lose their balance, but hang on for dear life, trying to regain their footing, while the belt was going 10 miles per hour. They would hang onto the bar and it looked like they were getting dragged by an out off control stage coach from an old timey western . I had a good laugh then would scream at them to just turn the fucking machine off.

 

All these people who fell off the treadmill had one thing in common, and that is they were all just trying to walk or run on a treadmill. They weren't trying to do anything fancy. Now, I ask you, do you want these same people to use a laptop or a phone while using a complicated piece of exercise equipment? This is a recipe for disaster when simply standing and working is more than adequate.

With that said, I'm not quite ready to spend eight hours a day standing at my desk. I prefer to take a lot of breaks and walk around the office, checking in on the status of things. There are some folks that I work with that have dove right into standing, but I'm not quite there yet. I prefer to ease into it.

Truth of the matter is, I like sitting at my desk. It feels natural and I'm also incredibly lazy. However, I wanted to see what the whole standing craze was about, so I decided to try it out at home, while playing video games.

It's important to point out that this little experiment constituted playing regular video games while standing, not exercise games on the Wii or Xbox Fitness, where Jillian Michaels yells at you and makes you feel horrible and fat.

I can self loathe without your help Jillian.

First game I tried using the standing method was GTA V on the PS4. Things went well for about the first 15 minutes, until my feet started to hurt. Apparently, one of the major problems of standing for long periods of time is that it's hell on your feet. I should've definitely worn a good pair of shoes. The hard wood floor in my game room wasn't helping either. After a half an hour, I was ready for a break and sat down on my couch, where I stayed for the rest of my gaming session. My first attempt of gaming while standing was a failure.

Next night, I was ready to give it another shot. This time, I was wearing sneakers, and was much more motivated. I was able to play much longer before becoming fatigued, clocking in an hour before I was ready for a break. I also found that I was playing much better. I found it easier to weave through the Los Santos traffic without wrecking and combat was much easier. I felt that I had sharper focus which was probably aided with me being closing to my screen. After the break, I played for another 45 minutes, before calling it a night.

On my second night I was able to play much longer, but I was still fatigued. Standing wasn't the main issue, but rather I was already tired after working an entire day. Gaming while standing isn't relaxing, especially after you're already tired after working all day.

 Luckily the next day was Saturday, so I would be able to test out how gaming while standing would work when I was more well rested. This time, I was going to try out a different type of game and see if that made a difference, so I booted up Forza Motorsport 5 on the Xbox One.

This time around, fatigue wasn't an issue, as I was well rested. Again, I found myself being able to focus on the game and was playing very well. I was taking good lines and easily finishing in the top 3. However, a part of me found playing a racing game standing a bit unorthodox. You drive a car while sitting, so you might as well sit while playing a car racing video game, right?

Unless you're this guy, then nevermind.

Next day being Sunday, I was once again well rested. The wife and kid were also away for the afternoon so I would be able to close out this completely unscientific experiment with minimal distractions.

This time around, I started off with Sunset Overdrive on the Xbox One, a game I have not played previously. Once again, I felt that I was able to focus much better throughout the tutorial and early missions.

 I definitely felt that standing allowed me to block out distractions. While sitting on the couch, even while engrossed in a game, my mind would wander at times. Did I remember to finish that thing at work? Did I leave the stove on? Sure is windy outside... Standing allowed me to block all that stuff out and focus on the game, which is pretty good when you're starting a new title and trying to learn the controls.

Next up was #IDARB, the indie developed sports game mash up. Once again, I haven’t played this game before, so I was able to approach it with laser focus. Once I was comfortable, I jumped into an online match and proceeded to get my assed kicked. However, I did find myself hopping up and down and swaying back and forth like a crazy person. Good thing the wife wasn't around to see this, but the dog sure looked concerned.

Last game for the day would be Titanfall, a title that I have not played for months and was sure to be rusty. I did get schooled quite a bit at first, but after a few games, I found myself finishing in the top 3 regularly, and even leading my team in points in a couple matches. These outcomes were nothing extraordinary, but I did feel that I was able to get back into the swing of things quickly. I would like to believe that playing while standing up helped in this regard.

So, you may asking yourself if I'm now a born again gaming while standing convert? Short answer is no. Standing for extended amount of times is not easy. It's tiring actually. I would be more willing to try out standing all day at work than standing at home while I'm trying to relax. Gaming while standing is almost counterintuitive. Playing a game is supposed to be a relaxing, leisurely experience. I'd rather stand all day at work and then come home and sit on my comfy couch and play a game.

At the end of the day, gaming while standing has it's benefits. Maybe it would be beneficial for competitive gamers as I found being able to focus on the action much easier while standing. You're also burning a handful of calories, which is better than nothing, I suppose. However, if your looking to get healthier, perhaps getting outside for a walk or a run, or god forbid the gym is more worthwhile.

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3:45 PM on 02.10.2015  

Do Not Spend Valentine’s Day at GameStop

I don’t shop at GameStop anymore. With the convenience of digital distribution on both the PS4 and XboxOne, I’m all about downloading games right to my console, without ever having to step foot into a brick and mortar store ever again. It's never been a better time to be a lazy gamer.

This hasn’t stopped me from getting pinged daily by GameStop’s marketing department through e-mails. Sure, I can unsubscribe, but I find them so deliciously horrible, that I actually look forward to reading them. They are not unlike a car wreck in that you try to avoid them, but just can’t help rubbernecking when you pass one.

Case and point, last week I received an e-mail from GameStop with the subject line “Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Bonus Points. Here’s a screen shot:

Love is in the air indeed. GameStop’s idea of romance is apparently giving triple and double points to Pro and Basic members respectively. To get these points, you just need to use the GameStop PowerUp Rewards credit. I’m getting moist just thinking about that. Nothing says romance like drowning in crippling credit card debt.

Maybe this is a good time to point out that the GameStop PowerUp Rewards credit card is a HORRIBLE product.

With all the credit cards out there that offer perks like cash back, miles, and points, why would anyone think that a GameStop credit is a good idea? Here are what GameStop refers to as the benefits to their credit card.

• 15,000 bonus points for PowerUp Rewards Pro Members and 5,000 bonus points for Basic Members (These are crap.)
• Use your card to shop in store or online (All credit cards allow you to do this. This is not a benefit.)
• Choose to pay in full or make monthly payments over time (Again, any credit card allows you to do this, and by the way, you’ll want to pay this baby off in full every month.)
• Exclusive cardholder offers (Currently on the card website, there are no special offers, but they’re coming soon!)
• No annual fee**

Notice the asterisks by no annual fee? Remember when I said that you’ll want to pay off the balance in full every month? Because there’s some legal jargon that GameStop hopes you don’t read. Take a look below:

Minimum monthly payments are required and at no time will the minimum payment due, be less than $25.00. Standard variable APR of 26.99%, based on the Prime Rate. Minimum Interest Charge is $2.00

So let’s get this straight, there’s no annual fee, but if I’m carrying a balance, the minimum payment is $25. Okay, I’ll give you that.

Next point of contention is the APR or interest that they’ll charge, which is a whopping 26.99%. That’s a lot folks. That’s actually ridiculously high. That’s getting ravaged out in the Appalachian by a redneck high.


So romantic….

Most credit cards give an introductory rate of 0% APR ranging from 6 to 12 months. When the introductory APR period ends, the rate then usually goes to 10.99% to 22.99%, depending on your credit history. Not so when it comes to GameStop’s card. Everyone is automatically at 26.99%, regardless of credit history.

Last point, is the minimum interest charge. Regardless of your balance, GameStop is going to charge you $2.00. So, let’s just say that you have a low balance, carried over from the previous month and the interest charged is $1.00, GameStop rounds that shit up to $2.00.

There really are no redeemable factors to the GameStop credit card. Everything about it is built to screw you over. This is the case with many credit cards, but when someone fucks me, I like to get kissed. Other cards have perks that can be used to your advantage if you're smart. Not so for GameStop. GameStop doesn’t believe in foreplay. They are going to lube you up and make you squeal like a piggy.

No blog post of mine is ever complete without a silly list. So I decided to compile a quick top 5 places I’d rather spend Valentine’s than at a GameStop using their shitty credit card.

5. Going Shopping with a 2-year-old

I’m a man, and being a man means that I pride myself in getting in and out of the store as quickly as possible. Armed with a list and a plan, no trip to the store should take longer than 30 minutes. HOWEVER, throw a child into the mix and that all goes out the window. Without fail, there will be temper tantrums, arguments, unplanned purchases (OHHH CEREAL!), and diversions. Still, I’d take this over going to GameStop.

4. Prostate Exams

Full disclosure, I’ve never had my prostate checked. I’ve got many years to go before I have to look forward to getting my balloon knot annually digiblasted by the friendly urologist.

3. Department of Motor Vehicles

Oh the bureaucracy. It’s wonderful. Wait in line, then sit. Wait in another line, then sit. Oops, you got on the wrong line, you’ll need to go to another line. Oh, you’re on the right line, but you filled out the wrong form.

2. Jury Duty

I’ve managed to get out of jury duty every year since I turned 18. That’s a long time. My luck will run out one day and then I’ll have to perform my civic duty. My dream is to be a jury on the court case of a century, like OJ Simpson or the Boston Strangler, some shit like that. With my luck, it will be some guy suing a pharmaceutical company because their boner pills gave him an erection for seven days. Exhibit A, flaccid penis. Exhibit B, erect penis. Exhibit C, post operation penis.

1. College/University Registrar Office

Does anyone who works at a school registrar have any empathy? Do they take joy in making me jump through hoops and making me miserable? Is anything ever good enough to placate them? Yes, I understand that add/drop has ended, but I gave you the form for the class that I want to add, I have a letter from the professor saying that it’s okay. I gave you a letter from the dean saying that is okay. I cut off my pinky finger and presented it to you in an elaborate ceremony in accordance to yakuza tradition.

But I forgot to sign the ADD/DROP forms with the blood of an Incan virgin. FUCK!

As always, I’d love to hear from the community on what your thoughts are. What are some horrible places you would rather be on Valentine’s Day than in a GameStop using their piece of shit credit card?

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12:27 PM on 01.30.2015  

GamerGate Goes Mainstream on Law & Order: SVU

Do people still use the term “Jump the Shark?” If they do, do they even know what it means? Do they know the history behind the term? I’m big on history, especially pop culture history. Let me enlighten you.

The phrase originated from a scene on the TV series Happy Days, when the Fonze, a greaser tough who happens to be friends with a bunch of squares, goes water skiing in LA and jumps a confined shark, proving once and for all how manly and cool he is. He also did this while wearing swim trunks and his trademark leather jacket. Many believe that this was the point where the show had surpassed its apex, and now was on a steady decline. Simply put, jumping the shark means it’s all downhill from here.

I’m not saying that Law & Order: SVU is jumping the shark by having an episode based on GamerGate. Law & Order has been on a steady decline since Baby’s father from Dirty Dancing passed away. I’m saying that GamerGate is jumping the shark because a shitty crime show watched by your grandmother is now hopping on the bandwagon.


Rest in peace, Baby's Dad.

Did you know that OG gangster rapper Ice-T is on the show? I saw him a few years back in New York City, just walking down the street with the some blonde woman who was not unattractive. They were lost and bickering on how to get to some cross street. OGs DON’T ASK FOR DIRECTIONS!

Ice-T posing in front of what he believes to be Times Square.

Know who else is not unattractive? Mariska Hargitay, who is also on the show.


Hot in that she'll bring orange slices to her son’s soccer game kind of way.

Mariska Hargitay is also the daughter of late great Hollywood icon and bombshell Jayne Mansfield. That’s some major pedigree in hotness there.

Getting back on point, Law & Order has a history of taking recent headlines and crimes and regurgitating them out into their episodes and video games have been a topic on the show before. Case and point, the 2005 episode, simply titled “Game.” Major kudos on the creativity of the writers on coming up with that title.

In this episode, the detectives find that a violent homicide is very similar to a scene in a popular video game called NtenCity. Say it out load and it sounds like intensity. CLEVER WRITERS. The game in the show also has a striking resemblance to GTAIII, big surprise!

Using crack detective work, they are able to arrest a teenage couple who claim to be unable to distinguish fantasy from reality, therefore it was all the video game’s fault, or some shit like that. After reading a bunch of recaps and watching some scenes online from this particular episode, I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that the writers of this show have no idea how video games actually work.

So, Law & Order is dipping its toes again in the game bashing pool. I can’t wait to see how far off the mark they are when it airs. I’m speculating on what the title of this episode will be. I reckon GameGhazi. Also, which actresses will play Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn? I have some suggestions.


Kim Kardashian IS, Anita Sarkeesian!


...And special guest star, Dame Helen Mirran, as Zoe Quinn.

What do you all think about this? I think the show is going to be an utter disaster and miss the mark completely, but this is a show for people who are really old (live in Boca Raton, Florida old) and they don’t know shit about Gamergate to begin with.

Lastly, if any of you can think of better actresses to play Miss Sarkessian and Miss Quinn than my selections, let me know in the comments. I’m am incredibly interested and terrified at the same time to see what the community comes up with.

 

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12:51 PM on 01.22.2015  

What Happened to the Good Old Snow Level?

It’s cold outside. When I say it’s cold outside, I really do mean its freeze your face off, toes turning blue, testes shriveling up inside of you, kind of cold. It’s not pleasant. For my friends in the southern hemisphere basking in the warmth right now, you can get stuffed.

The first month of winter can be a pleasant experience. You get to break out the heavy coat, warm hat, and mittens. Stylish? You bet! However, once January begins to wind down and February’s cold embrace takes hold, I’m sick of winter, ready for it to come to an end and spring to return.

I remember being younger and not being affected by the cold as much. I’d go out into the elements without a heavy coat and be totally fine. I was young and stupid and everyone knows that people under the age of 25 know everything.

There’s this kid that takes mass transit in the morning with me. I don’t know him personally, but what I do know is that he likes to act tough out in the cold. In the wee hours of the morning as we wait for the train, he’ll just show up on the platform in his corporate casual uniform consisting of just a button down dress shirt and slacks. No coat, hat, and gloves for him.

One day he did this when it was 6° F outside. I think he may have shit for brains, so I tried to enlighten him. I asked him if he owned a coat and he said that he didn’t need one. I then asked him if he was cold and he said that the cold didn’t bother him. Oh, he’s a TOUGH GUY. But, the cold was bothering him as he was shifting his weight back and forth from foot to foot and was huffing and puffing, like he was doing a pee pee dance. I left it at that. I was not going to get through to him. I may be getting older, but I’m not ready to start lecturing kids on the virtues of wool hats and gloves.

This winter has got me thinking about some classic gaming chestnuts that seem to have pushed aside, in particular the snow and ice levels of previous generations’ platformers. You just don’t see many snow and ice levels anymore, certainly not in the same way as they used to be. Now, snowy levels are just for the visual impact. Ohh, look at me, I’m on a snow level. I can see my breath. My character leaves footprints in the snow. SO FANCY!

It seems like every platformer of my youth was required to have certain levels incorporated in order to be published. It’s like all the executives huddled into a board room and built a check list. Does it have a water level? Does it have a fire level? Does it have an ice level? If it doesn’t have all of these then they send it back.

I don't care if it's Tetris, put in a snow level.

Quite frankly, as I have gotten older, I would prefer to avoid winter. I’m not quite ready to say fuck it and move to Florida, because let’s be honest with each other, Florida sucks. So I decided to take a trip down memory lane and recall my top 5 snow and ice levels while huddled in my man cave by a roaring fire while shaking my fist at Old Man Winter.

5. SSX

Okay, so this is cheating because the entire game is just one large snow level, but what a nice snow level it is.

When I purchased my Playstation 2 on launch day, I picked up two games to go along with it. One game was Madden, because at the time I was a complete tool, and the other was SSX.

All I knew at the time about SSX was that it was a snowboarding game and it was graphically impressive. Once I loaded up the game however, I was awestruck on how visually impressive this game actually was. To go along with all the eye candy, SSX was also tremendously fun to play. It became the title that I would pop into my PS2 to show off what it was capable of to both my gamer and non-gamer friends.

4. Super Mario Brothers 2 – World 4

This game is not really a Super Mario Brothers game, that much is known. It was a cruel joke from Nintendo of Japan on all us stupid westerners. However, my friends and I played it over and over again none the less.

3. Sonic the Hedgehog 3 – Ice Cap Zone

As a huge Sega fan, I have a dirty little secret, I did not care for Sonic 2 or Sonic 3. I adored the first game, but its sequels didn’t capture the same magic for me.

With that said, the Ice Cap Zone in Sonic 3 was a blast to play. Great music paired with Sonic on a snow board. What’s not to like?

2. Super Mario 64 – Cool, Cool Mountain

Arguably speaking, Super Mario 64 was the first 3D platformer that got things right. Everything about the game was solid and many have tried to emulate it with various levels of success. With that said, it has one of the more memorable snow levels in my humble opinion.

First off, you get to rescue a baby penguin and return him to his mother, which is ADORABLE! Also, Mario gets to race down a giant ice slide on his ass, which is more fun than it sounds.

1. Shadows of the Empire – Battle of Hoth

As a fan of the Star Wars films and as a fan of the book Shadows of the Empire by Steve Perry, I was very excited to play this game on my newly acquired Nintendo 64. It was released four months after the launch of the Nintendo 64 and I was aching to play something other than Mario 64 and Pilotwings 64.

To say that Shadows of the Empire the game was a disappointment is an understatement. The best part of the game was the first level, which was the battle of Hoth. Every hardcore Star Wars fan’s wet dream was to pilot a snow speeder taking down Imperial AT-ATs. Shadows of the Empire did not disappoint in this respect. It’s just that the rest of the game was a steaming turd. I found myself just playing the first chapter over and over again.

Bonus: Wave Race 64 – Glacier Coast

Is it just me or is this list Nintendo heavy? Seems like Nintendo makes the best snow and ice levels, no?

Wave Race 64, a fun Jet Ski game that takes place for the most part in tropical climes. The last and arguably hardest course took place in frigid waters. Can Jet Skis even operate in arctic waters? Wont the racers get hypothermia? Who cares, it’s a video game! You’re on a Jet Ski doing jumps off ice ramps and dodging glaciers.

Hope you enjoyed my short list of my favorite classic ice and snow levels. Would like to hear what some of your favorite ice stages are. Let me know in the comments.

 

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1:36 PM on 01.09.2015  

Top 5 Ways Destructoid Should Ring in the End of the World

Earlier in the week, a video leaked of what CNN, the cable news enterprise, would broadcast as the world as we know it crumbled around us. People flocked to the web to see what Ted Turner and his pederast moustache would air during civilization’s final moments.

When the Cable News Network launched 34 years ago, its founder Ted Turner, made a solemn promise stating that “Barring satellite problems, we won't be signing off until the world ends.”

In anticipation of this, he had a final video prepared that would usher in the end of days. Turner went on to say, “We'll be on, and we will cover the end of the world, live, and that will be our last event. We'll play the National Anthem only one time, on the first of June and when the end of the world comes, we'll play 'Nearer My God To Thee' before we sign off.”

Many thought this was just the ramblings of a crazy rich person with way too much time and money on his hands. Well, those who thought that way were wrong. An end of days video was created, and put on standby titled TURNER DOOMSDAY VIDEO. The last living CNN employee would air the video, most likely right before being attacked and eaten by zombies.

Only one word can be used to describe this doomsday video. That word is LAME. Do you hear me Ted Turner? I SCREAM IT FROM THE MOUNTAIN TOPS!


LAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAME!

I don’t know about you, but when the end is nigh I would want to air the most metal and “meta” video possible. This is going to be broadcast out into space, eventually reaching the Mon Calimarians in some far off galaxy and I don’t want to leave the impression that we were a bunch of panty waists.

IT'S A TRAP! Oh, never mind, just a lame video.

The final broadcast is an important statement. It’s the same reason that your mother wants you to wear clean underwear when you go out. God forbid you get in some serious accident; the condition of your underwear will leave a lasting impression on the paramedics or even worse, the mortician. Your mom didn’t want someone cutting away the clothes from your lifeless body to find filthy underwear. If this CNN video is ever to broadcast, it would be an intergalactic shit skid mark on the underwear of humanity. NOT THE IMPRESSION I WANT TO LEAVE.

So, without further ado, I give you 5 SUPERIOR doomsday videos that I recommend Destructoid should post in the event of an apocalypse.

5. Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath

This is the song that I want blaring in the back ground when the world ends. It’s perfectly suited for the occasion, especially if we encounter a biblical end of days.

Just a bit of background of this song’s dark pedigree, here’s a quote from Black Sabbath’s bassist Geezer Butler on what inspired the lyrics:

“I'd been raised a Catholic so I totally believed in the Devil. There was a weekly magazine called Man, Myth and Magic that I started reading which was all about Satan and stuff. That and books by Aleister Crowley and Denis Wheatley, especially The Devil Rides Out...I'd moved into this flat I'd painted black with inverted crosses everywhere. Ozzy gave me this 16th Century book about magic that he'd stolen from somewhere. I put it in the airing cupboard because I wasn't sure about it. Later that night I woke up and saw this black shadow at the end of the bed. It was a horrible presence that frightened the life out of me! I ran to the airing cupboard to throw the book out, but the book had disappeared. After that I gave up all that stuff. It scared me shitless.”

4. Scanners Head Explosion

One of my favorite all time scenes. Just 11 seconds long and yet, it's the perfect analogy for the situation... Probably. Any far off civilization that receives this video would think that we had some actual telekinetic superpowers and would be scared shitless of us.

3. Ric Flair Going Nuts

A million years from now, when the Lizard People of Alpha Centuri receive this video of Ric Flair, they will know that mankind was badass. WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

I wonder what they would think of him. Maybe they’ll assume he was our ruler? That would be sweet! WOOOOOOOOOOO!

2. Slayer – Reign in Blood

Just listening to this makes me want to run through a fucking brick wall. What better way for humankind to make an exit than having this shit blasting out at an eleven when the sky starts falling. No marching bands for me thank you very much. When I sign off for the last time, I want it to be to the sounds thundering drums, rumbling bass, and mind-blowing guitar riffs.

1. Rocky & Apollo Creed Training Montage

Nothing represents the human spirit better than a top notch training montage. Rocky III is by far the pinnacle of training montages, many films have tried to imitate it, but none have come close to duplicating it. Every eighties movie had a montage and some of them are done very well, like in Karate Kid, or even Rocky IV, and yet, they all fall short to Rocky III.

Also, Rocky and Apollo training together is not in any way homoerotic.

So there it is, my Top 5 ways I think Destructoid should usher in the end of the world. Think you can do better? Of course you can, so let’s hear it in the comments section.

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10:53 AM on 01.05.2015  

Man Shot – Grand Theft Auto May Not Be Responsible

Whenever there’s a shooting in the headlines, I wait for the inevitable. Will Grand Theft Auto be mentioned as a possible factor? It’s practically a standard for mainstream journalism today. Any article regarding a shooting must contain an anecdote on Grand Theft Auto, or it simply will not go to print, right?

That’s why I was so surprised to come upon an article in my news feed from before the holidays regarding a shooting in Wyoming that made no mention of Grand Theft Auto. Obviously, this is sloppy journalism and even sloppier editing. This article should never have been published without the compulsory mention of Grand Theft Auto. I went ahead and rewrote the original Associated Press article so that Grand Theft Auto was referenced, hereby restoring balance to the universe.

SHERIDAN, Wyo. — On December 9, Richard L. Fipps and three others were in a remote area when their vehicle became stuck. Fipps and two of his companions got out of the vehicle to survey the situation. Fipps, who was standing beside his truck told the third inhabitant, who remained in the vehicle to move from the front seat to the back. The third inhabitant, who just so happens to be a dog, discharged a loaded rifle which was lying in the back seat of Fipps’ vehicle.

Johnson County Sheriff Steve Kozisek says the bullet struck Fipps in the arm. The injury was not life-threatening. Fipps was treated in a hospital in Billings, Montana and released.

The Johnson County Police department has retained the canine for questioning. When asked if he plays any violent video games, he simply barked and then licked himself.

Police inspected Fipps’ home, looking for a possible motive. No violent video games like Grand Theft Auto were found. Detectives believe that even if violent games were present, it would be difficult for a dog to actually play them, given that dogs have no opposable thumbs. Investigators however, are not ruling out whether Grand Theft Auto was a factor in this shooting until they are satisfied that they have exhausted all possible leads. One of these leads include a squirrel, which at this time remains anonymous for his protection.

During a press conference, reporters asked Sheriff Kozisek whether this was a waste of public resources, and simply a case of a redneck improperly storing a dangerous loaded weapon in his truck. Kozisek, responded that his department takes shootings very seriously and will not rest until they find a way to link this case to violent video games.

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9:08 AM on 12.30.2014  

Easy Money for Gaming – a Poor Gamer’s Guide for the New Year

The holidays are almost over and it’s now time to recover. I have a horrible hangover, which is to be expected, and my checkbook is bruised and battered after a month of acquiring gifts, in the name of the baby Jesus and whoever my Jewish friends give gifts in the name of during Hanukah. Moses? Pretty sure it’s Moses.

Some of you may be in decent shape though after a season of conspicuous consumption. I realize that many people on this site skew younger. You probably did well this holiday. I imagine that you came away with a lot of game related gifts and envelops full of cash. Many of you may not realize the pressures a married man with children and a large extended family goes through this joyous time of year. If that is the case, FUCK YOU, YOU LITTLE RABSCALLION N’ER DO WELLS! I hope you get kidnapped by a pack of angry bonobos with unconventional sexual fetishes.


He's thinking that you sure do have a pretty mouth.

Hey man, remember that time, way back, when I said I wanted you to get kidnapped by bonobos who may or may not have put you in a ball gag and smeared Crisco all over you? I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that. I was hung-over, and trying to figure out a way to pay the mortgage after my wife spent all our money, buying gifts.

The sad truth is that getting older, settling down with that special someone, and starting a family is expensive and let’s face it, our pastime of choice is not cheap. Even when you try to be frugal, whether its buying used games, waiting for sales, or giving Cleveland steamers to sailors and long shore men on the docks for quick cash, video games are expensive.

Hey Sailors! You looking for a good time?

There is good news however, and it does not include providing sexual favors to seamen and dockworkers with unconventional sexual desires. There is a lot of ways to score easy money with out becoming a member of the world’s oldest profession.

If you know the right places to look, have some patience, and don’t mind taking a few minutes out of the day, you can rack up a decent amount of money for gaming.

What I’m going to share with you is tried and tested by yours truly for the past eight years. During that time, I’ve been able to purchase new consoles, Apple laptops, and plenty software and a significant amount of games to boot.

I realize that previous paragraph makes me sound like something you’d hear from some coked out sleaze ball in a bad infomercial during the wee hours of the morning. I feel all dirty just typing it. Yes, it sounds too good to be true, but this shit actually works, as long as you put in a modicum of effort and set a goal for yourself. Think of it like an RPG, where you have to grind it out, killing rats for days straight until you can level up.

So, in no particular order, here are some ways that you can earn quick and easy cash, without having to put in much work.

The Humble Coin Jar

This is by the far the simplest way to earn cash. Many of you may already be doing this, but do you have an actual goal your trying to reach by saving all your coins? When I first started saving all my coins in a large gallon jug back in college, I can honestly say I did not. It was for a rainy day and would be pillaged frequently for weed and booze.


My dealer was not pleased in getting paid in rolled up coins.

Then, just prior to the Xbox 360 release, I decided to use my coins to help pay for it. I had a five-gallon water jug that was just over half full. I planned a weekend to count it all out and roll my coins. No Coinstar machines for me thank you very much. I’m not going to give up 10% of my haul to BIG COIN COUNTING MACHINE COMPANY. Take your 10% cut and shove it up your ass.

Nowadays, many banks have coin counting machines that are free to use for their customers, which is great, because counting coins sucks. There are people who say that coin counting is soothing. These people need professional help.

After counting everything out and trading in my old Xbox and games, I had more than enough money in coins and credit to pay for a brand new Xbox 360, an extra controller, charging kits, a couple of games, as well as a some of other accessories.

Unfortunately, I had to wait a couple more months to get my Xbox 360, as my GameStop took too many pre-orders that they could not fulfill, but that’s a different story.

From that point on, my coin jug was meant solely for the purchasing of consoles. Given how long the previous generation of consoles lasted, by the time the Xbox One and PS4 was released, I had enough to money in coins, store credit from trading in my Xbox 360 and PS3, and funds amassed by the other means that I share later on below, to cover the purchase of both an Xbox One and PS4, games and accessories, and a brand new MacBook Pro, because I DESERVE IT GODDANMIT!

Now, I know that sounds like a lot, but keep in mind that I have been saving for years up to this point, but as you can see, it was totally worth it.

On a side note, when saving my coins, I actually have two jugs, one for pennies and another for everything else. I like to keep my coins segregated because I’M A COIN RACIST. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing a jug full of silvery coins without red cents diluting the mix. One day, after I’ve accumulated a decent amount and I’m ready to cash them in, I’m going to pour them into the bathtub and rub them against my naked body, like a perverted Scrooge McDuck.

Game the Bing Search Rewards System

I just recently started doing this. Bing, Microsoft’s answer to Google, has a rewards system for those who use the search engine. Microsoft is desperately trying to make a dent into Google’s search supremacy, so they’ve resorted to bribing people into using their search engine. I have no problem with this.

To get in on the action, you have to first create a Bing account and you’ll get points just for doing so. When you’re logged in, whenever you search on your PC, you get points. You’re capped at 15 points a day when you search on a PC. You can supplement the PC search cap though, by doing mobile searches, but this is also capped at 10 points per day. Making Bing your home page and setting it as your default search engine will also net you easy points.

Bing also provides daily search recommendations. Click on those and you can score up to 5 additional points per day. All in all, you can score 30 points per day by just taking several minutes to randomly search for bullshit on Bing. I do this first thing in the morning as soon as I get into the office. This is good, because I’m able to get it out of the way before the day even starts and people think that I’m so devoted to my job that I put my nose to the grindstone the minute I get it. It’s just part of my daily morning routine now.

It doesn’t end there though. Sometimes Microsoft runs promotions where you can earn double points over the weekend or on holidays, netting you 60 points or more a day. You also get bonuses for amassing milestones for total searches since creating an account.

If you refer a friend, you can earn an easy 100 points if they use start using Bing and perform a certain amount of searches. You can take advantage of this, by referring friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, parents, spouses, hobos, anyone really. Then go on their computers and run a few random searches until you hit the milestone and boom, you got some easy points.

Finally, when you achieve Gold status after amassing 700 total points since creating an account, you get a 10% discount from the Bing store where you use the points you accumulated.

The Bing store has a lot of crap on there. Many of the items are actually Bing related merchandise and sweepstakes, where you can use points to enter your name to try and win, for example, an Xbox One, computers, vacations, and various other things. These are bullshit, so don’t even bother with these. These offers are there to keep you from using your points on more worthwhile, albeit more expensive things.

More importantly, the Bing Store also has gift cards, for Xbox points, the Microsoft Store, and Amazon, just to name a few. $5 gift cards range anywhere between 400 to 500 points, but it only takes a couple weeks to amass enough points in order to buy them and less if you’re creative.

All in all, Bing is not a bad search engine to begin with, so I actually don’t mind using it. However, if you’re a diehard AskJeeves user, is it really going to kill you to take five minutes out of your day to perform some random searches on Bing to score an easy gift card? Probably not, so go ahead and help Microsoft pad their numbers so they look competitive against Google. Yes, you may be whoring yourself out, but it’s not like you’re giving blumpkins to truckers in rest stop bathrooms off the interstate.

Very romantic

Download EasyShift

This is also a new addition to my easy money repertoire. EasyShift is an app that you can download to your smart phone, so this one is for iPhone and Android users. EasyShift has partnerships with consumer goods companies where they provide customer reviews to their partners.

Using the app is simple. It uses your geolocation to term determine your, uh, location, and then it will display on a map various stores and restaurants that you can go to and complete what they call shifts.

Shifts are easy to do. For example, there may be a shift at the local bar for Samuel Adam’s beer. You sign up for the shift and head over to the bar, where you’ll be tasked with taking pictures of the beer taps, signage, and advertisements. You may have to answer a short survey, but they are always brief.

Another example of a shift may be going to the pharmacy and taking a picture of their candy section or a particular display, then answering a short survey. This is all done through the app and is super easy and you also don’t have to buy anything, which is good, since we’ve already determined that we’re poor.

Completing shifts nets you $5 to $10 bucks, for a few minutes of work. The funds then get deposited to your PayPal account. I especially like EasyShift because they pay out in actual cash, not gift cards or points.

The only downside to EasyShift is that you’re limited to what’s available in your location. If you live in a rural area, there is not going to be a lot of shifts available and driving out to a store and using up gas defeats the purpose. However, if you live or work in a big town or city, there can be a good amount of shifts available. You have to act quickly though. Shifts are limited and sometimes they just need a few people to sign up for them. Once they got enough participants, the shift closes.

Since I work in New York City, if I have some free time during lunch, I’ll check to see if there are any shifts around my office. I’ll then just walk on over during my lunch break and sign up for them. On a good day, I can make $30 bucks during lunch. And since shifts take only a few minutes, I still have plenty of time to eat my lunch. Getting out of the office, taking a walk, and getting some fresh air is an added bonus.

After work, I’ll also check to see if there are any shifts on the way home. I’ll then make a stop or two and do some shifts. Since it’s on the way, I’m not spending anything extra on gas.

Again, you’re limited to your location and whether other individuals beat you to a shift, but we’re talking easy money here, and it’s cash, so you can use it on anything.

Take Surveys

I’ve been taking surveys online for nearly eight years now. I was lucky in that I found a decent company that has a good rewards system for survey takers. You should be wary in that there are a lot of shady survey companies who promise you a ton of money and perks that will leave you disappointed.

These fly-by-night survey companies are kind of like the fliers you get on the Las Vegas strip for houses of ill repute promising you a rendezvous with a supermodel quality lady. In the end, you’ll find yourself naked in the desert after all your possessions are stolen, and may have contracted gonorrhea from a prostitute who may or may not have been a man. Do yourself a favor and stay away from these companies, promising quick bucks taking surveys as it’s almost always a scam and you will be bombarded with spam and robocalls.

In my opinion, the best survey and market research company is eRewards. I’ve been using them for years and have never felt like I was being taken advantage of by them. There are many other market research companies out there, but eRewards works best for me.

eRewards is different from other survey companies in that they don’t accept everyone who signs up. They are looking for specific demographics. So even if you do decide to sign up with them, there’s a chance that they may say thanks, but no thanks. I find that since they are not allowing just anyone to sign up with them, they are able to provide better perks.

Many of the more reputable market research companies will ask you for your background and how many surveys you’re willing to take per week. I try to take as much as possible. Some weeks I may be bombarded with survey requests, but other weeks I may get none. It all depends on whether your demographics match the study they are performing.

One of the perks to eRewards is that you always get some credit when taking their surveys. Let’s say that you start a survey that they sent to you. They’ll tell you that it may take up to 20 minutes to complete it in its entirety, and when you complete the survey, you’ll get $6.25 in credit, which is pretty good. You start taking the survey, answer a few questions and you may be cut-off. There are many reasons that this can happen. Maybe you don’t fit the demographic? Perhaps they already reached their limit of respondents in your demographic? If that’s the case, then no problem, because you will still receive partial credit just for attempting to take a survey. Not too shabby for just a few seconds of clicking off boxes.

Some of the longer surveys that you qualify for can be tedious, but you’re getting paid a lot more for taking them, so what the heck and it’s not hard work. I actually find some of the surveys they send pretty interesting and at times entertaining. Some companies put a lot of effort to make their surveys as interactive as possible, which is an added bonus.

Once you have amassed enough credit from taking surveys, you can cash them in the marketplace. Again, it all depends on which market research company you sign up for, but eRewards does have a partnership with GameStop. So after a short time and a few minutes a day, you can cash in your credit for $25 GameStop gift card. Not too shabby.

Sign Up for Media Research Programs

This is by far the easiest out of all the ways to make some easy money for gaming, but with the one caveat that you’re giving up some of your privacy.

Some of you may be aware of companies like Nielsen and Arbitron. Essentially, these companies want to know what you’re watching on the television or listening to on the radio. They then take that information and sell it to the networks, so they know how shitty their programming is.


A show about a talking horse. Someone see if that has been done before.

Many of these companies require you to either hook up some hardware to your cable box or carry a meter device that looks similar to a pager.

For those of you who are too young to know what a pager is, it’s what drug dealers carried around in the 80’s and 90’s to let them know when they had a buyer. All the cool kids had a pager. I wanted a pager, but my parents refused to get me one since they had a negative connation. Only doctors and drug dealers carried pagers, and no one was going to mistake me for being a child prodigy physician like Doogie Howser.


Prodigy drug dealing doctor.

These media research companies don’t like it when you tell people that you’re taking part in their programs. They make this very clear not to disclose this information to anyone when you sign up. I can say, without a shadow of a doubt that I am currently not part of any of these of these media research programs. OKAY!

With that out of the way, media research companies will pay you, in actual cash, $30 to $50 every month just to be in their program. If you have more than two people in their household, many times they will double that.

I have a good friend (NOT ME) that signed up with one of these programs. The company sent over two meters, one for him and his wife. These meters are smart. They shut down when they stay stationary for awhile and don’t think that one person can carry around both of them, as the media research company will know, which is creepy as fuck.

After awhile, my friend’s wife refused to wear the meter. My friend did not know what was so difficult as he would just put the thing in his pocket during the day and at night put it on its base to recharge and transmit data. His wife however, would forget the meter at home, or forget to charge it, or leave it in her purse where it would shut off. She had enough when the media research company began to call her to remind her to wear her meter. This was the last straw for her as she simply refused to carry the device anymore.

This put my friend in a bit of a pickle. He was no longer getting the credit of having two active meters in his home. That’s when he came up with a brilliant idea after watching the movie Police Academy 3, where Zed and Sweetchuck tie flashlights to the guard dog’s collars so that their superiors think that they were doing their nightly rounds. The video below is in German, but it makes the scene so much better.


Police Academy has taught me everything to know about life.

Just like in the movie my buddy just attached the meter to his dog’s collar. He then notified the media research company that his wife was now a full time stay-at-home mom, which they had no problem with.

So my pal and his four legged friend make $60 to $100 a month, which they can use towards anything. Every once in a while, my friend’s wife tries to finagle her half of the payment, but he reminds her that she had her opportunity to take part and gave up any entitlements to the dog, who kindly gives him her portion every month for snausages, belly rubs, and praise.


WHO’S A GOOD GIRL? WHO’S A GOOD GIRL? YOU’RE A GOOD GIRL

One may call this gaming the system and unethical, but my pal will disagree with you whole heartedly. He sees this as providing a service to an unrecognized demographic of canine television viewing habits that the media research companies have been ignoring for years.


What about a show about talking dogs? Someone see if that has been done before.

The strategies provided above are proven means to earn easy cash for whatever your heart desires. I found them useful for my personal gaming fund, but you can use them on practically anything, booze, toys, sensual massages, WHATEVER. As long as you’re willing to put in some effort, there are many companies that will compensate you for your opinions and socking away loose change can add up over time.

So give it a try and also let me know what are some your strategies for saving money for games in the comments below - the more questionable and unethical the better.

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2:04 PM on 12.23.2014  

Top 5 Christmas Movies – With Explosions and Sexy Time

Christmas is my favorite holiday. What’s not to like about Christmas? You get presents, stuff your face with holiday cookies, can be drunk all the time, and get time off from work and school to play video games and watch movies.

 The baby Jesus wants you to be drunk.

Really, there’s no reason to not love Christmas, unless you’re Jewish, which means you celebrate Hanukah, which is pretty sweet. I have a Jewish coworker and she tells me that they celebrate Jewish Christmas, which means they go out to eat Chinese food and then go to the movies on Christmas day.  That’s not a bad tradeoff.

 Merry Christmas Gentiles!

Speaking of movies, there’s certainly no shortage of Christmas movies.  The Dustin Thomas put together a pretty solid list of Christmas movies. You can check out his post here. Wanting to contribute to the discussion, I put together my own list of Christmas movies, but with my own spin, of course.

I went ahead and looked for some awesome movies that just so happen to be Christmassy, with less “Peace on Earth” and more explosions and SEXY TIME! Christmas movies can be dull and way too warm and fuzzy. The Holidays are stressful, sometimes you need to blow off some steam by watching things go boom, people getting kicked in the face, and some full frontal nudity.

So sit back and relax, enjoy a cup of eggnog and watch someone get punched in the face, all in the name of the baby Jesus.

  1. Batman Returns

 

This is the last Batman starring Michael Keaton and directed by Tim Burton. Burton’s vision for Batman was bleak but injected with some dark humor which is a good combination for the caped crusader. Both Batman and Batman Returns were decent films and I’m fond of them, but the former is superior in my opinion. Joel Schumacher then took over the series and proceeded to shit all over it.

 

Gotham City during Christmas time is an interesting backdrop. Keaton is solid as Batman, Michelle Pfeiffer is damn sexy as Catwoman, and Danny DeVito as Penguin was over-the-top and entertaining. Let’s not forget about Christopher Walken. Anything with Walken gets a 0.5 extra in my book.

 

 

  1. Lethal Weapon

 

The first Lethal Weapon was by far the best of in the series, taking place in Los Angeles, California during Christmas time. Mel Gibson, a crazy person playing the role of a crazy person is excellent casting. Danny “I’m getting to old for this shit” Glover pairs amazingly well with Gibson. Gibson and Glover pretty much created the dynamic of mismatched buddy cop movie in Lethal Weapon.

Mel Gibson being Mel Gibson

Lethal Weapon has no shortage of explosions, shootouts, car chases, as well as funny dialogue between Gibson and Glover. Also GARY FUCKING BUSEY! Again, bonus points for Busey. Wrap all of these things together and you got yourself a solid Christmas movie.

 

 

  1. Die Hard

 

Many folks have made the argument that Die Hard is the perfect action movie. I’m in that camp. Do you know that Die Hard was initially pitched as a sequel to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Commando, a fine action film in its own right? Schwarzenegger turned the film down. The movie was then shopped around a bit, before settling on Bruce Willis, who was not known for being an action hero at the time, but rather his comedic roles in television series like Moonlighting.

Taking place on Christmas Eve, NYPD detective McLane goes off to LA to try and patch things up with his wife when things go all to hell, thanks to a preppy, pre Hogwarts Professor Snape and his merry band of eastern European terrorists.

 

Die Hard is pretty much the standard for action movies where the hero goes against all odds to save the day. Funny one-liners are in abundance, including my favorite, “Now I have a machine gun. HO HO HO.”

 

 

  1. Trading Places

 

Starring a young Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy, fresh from Saturday Night Live, Trading Places is one of my favorite comedies. Taking place during the holidays in Philadelphia, it’s a hilarious fish out of water / prince and a pauper comedy. Also, let’s not forget that a young and nubile Jamie Lee Curtis is also in the film and she’s not shy when it comes to showing off her assets.

There are so many classic lines in this movie. Aykroyd and Murphy has some real chemistry together. This is a must watch whenever I catch it on TV.

 

 

  1. Gremlins

 

Gremlins has some solid pedigree. Touted at its release as a horror comedy, it was executive produced by Steven Spielberg and written by Chris Columbus, who would go onto to direct some solid movies himself, including another Christmas classic, Home Alone.

Gremlins was heavily marketed in the 80’s. Kids went crazy for the cute and cuddly Gizmo. I recall seeing Gizmo toys everywhere. However, the movie is not what I would call kid friendly.  There’s some seriously scary and dark shit in this movie. Gremlins, along with another Spielberg movie, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom led the way for the MPAA having to create the PG-13 rating as these movies were not certainly not PG, but not quite R.

 This certainly will not give children nightmares.

By far, the creepiest and darkest scene in the movie is when Kate, played by the not unattractive Phoebe Cates, recalls the tale of her father’s untimely death during Christmas. View at your own risk.

 

Phoebe Cates, who’s responsible for causing so many erections in Fast Times at Ridgemont High is also responsible for telling the most depressing story of all time, making it impossible to get an erection, hereby bringing balance to the universe. If you watched the video above, I’m sorry for making you all depressed. Just watch the video below and all will be right again.

 

There you have it, my personal list of favorite unconventional Christmas movies where things go BOOM and some sexy time for good measure. Go ahead and check these out during the holidays. You will not be disappointed.

Did I miss any? Of course I have. This list is only my personal top five.  Go ahead and let me know what some of your favorite unconventional Christmas movies are in the comments.

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10:34 AM on 12.20.2014  

GAME REVIEW: I Played Lindsay Lohan’s The Price of Fame… So you don’t have to

Back in July, I played and reviewed the iOS game Kim Kardashian’s Hollywood. At the time, I believed that this was by far the shallowest and most atrocious example of celebrity video game garbage I have ever played. I was wrong. DO YOU HEAR ME? I WAS WROOOOOOOOOONG!

I WAS WROOOOOONG!

Kim Kardashian’s: Hollywood is a masterpiece when compared to Lindsay Lohan’s the Price of Fame. At least the developers at Glu Games Inc. put a modicum of effort into Kardashian’s game.  Lindsay must’ve paid Space Inch, the developers of her game, in drugs and booze (Lohan’s currency of choice actually) as this is the only way to explain how this abomination came to be.

Here's the down payment.

Once starting the game, you will notice quotes from various people lamenting the price one pays for fame. Some of these people I’ve heard of, but others I have no clue and I’m too lazy to look them up in Google, because honestly, who gives a shit.

The quotes all have a similar theme. In essence, they all lament that fame is not what it’s all cracked up to be. BULLSHIT! I’m so sorry to hear that Julie Roberts has a case of the frownies because her life is so damn hard. According to Julia, you don’t want to be rich and famous like her. It’s a lot of responsibility. It’s a lot of pressure. NOW OUT OF MY WAY PEASANT AND BUY MY FUCKING MOVIES!

Much like Kardashian’s game, The Price of Frame starts off by having you create your own celebutard. As always, my goal was to create something truly hideous. Again, there are apparently no hideous people in Lohan’s world, much like Kardashian’s, but there are freaks. Oh so many freaks. In the end, I was satisfied with the character I created.

Max Douchey: Hipster Pimp

Now, onto the game play. Did I say game play? Sorry, force of habit. This game actually doesn’t have any type of game play, unless your idea of fun is vigorously swiping your screen over and over again. Essentially, a fan appears on your screen, you swipe up, launching them into the sky, they then apparently plummet to their deaths as a new fan appears. This is how you gain fans. The faster you swipe, the more fans you get, the more fans you get, the more money you earn, and more useless crap unlocks so that you can purchase it, hence getting more fans and more money.

Lindsay laughs maniacally as her fans plummet to their deaths.

BEWARE: Playing this game in public will cause strangers to stare at you.  Frantically swiping a phone is not how a normal person uses said phone. The monotony of such a game mechanic makes you look like a tool. I felt like a monkey at a zoo maniacally masturbating while people gawked at me.

Me at Applebee's

There are ways that you can increase how many fans you get per swipe or even let the game earn you fans without doing anything, because apparently this game can be too physically taxing on the gamer. I believe that this was the developer’s attempt to add some depth… poorly.

“Publicity Investments,” such as handing out fliers, starting a Twitter feud with another celebrity, or faking your own death can be purchased once you amass enough fans. Then you can sit back and watch the fans roll in while doing lines of coke off a toilet seat in a public bathroom, JUST LIKE LINDSAY!

You can also get more fans per swipe by taking part in “Conspicuous Consumption.” Just like a real celebutard, you can purchase expensive and useless crap like coconut water, get ass implants (one cheek at a time, obviously), buy a pet elephant, or slaughter the aforementioned elephant and make an ivory pen out of its tusks.  This is a really classy game.

Lastly, once you’ve built enough of a fan base, you can build your entourage, so that you earn fans even when the app is closed, because really, you need as many reasons as possible NOT to play this game. Go ahead and befriend frat dudes, glee club kids, a Saudi prince, or a bag of puppies to earn fans while you’re at a luxe detox facility in Malibu, because they’re going to confiscate your phone anyway. Sadly, you cannot beat said bag of puppies with a led pipe to gain even more fans. The developers obviously did not think this entirely through.

No game of this ilk would be complete without micro transactions and there is no shortage of that here. You can pay $0.99 to double your fan base, or $1.99 get 3.2 million fans instantly. Also, just like Lindsay Lohan herself, there can be instances where you get into a wee bit of trouble. You can bite the bullet and lose some fans, or you can pay $0.99 for a legal defense.

Micro transactions are not the only way to monetize gamers in Lindsay Lohan’s: The Price of Fame. I hope you like being bombarded with ads, because there’s no shortage of that either. After playing for a certain amount of time you’ll get asked to download Caesar’s Casino. Not interested? No problem, they’ll prompt you again in five minutes just in case you’ve had a change of heart.

Even the New York Times advertises on the game, which is just sad. I know that the Times is struggling, but I didn’t realize they were that deep into the shit.

Is that coke? LINDSAY WANTS TO KNOW IF THAT'S COKE!

Also, I hope you like shows on Fox, because you’ll be seeing this lot.

This is still a thing?

Some ads however, are more tolerable than others.

Let’s talk about some of the fans you can unlock, none of which are based on insensitive stereotypes.

Totally not a gay man.

Totally not a racial stereotype.

Oprah Winfrey?

And then there’s this unfortunate dog with what appears to be a flaccid uncircumcised penis.

I really can’t recommend this game. If you must play a celebrity based game, you’re better off with Kim Kardashian’s: Hollywood. (Can’t believe I actually said that).

I give this game 1.0 Lohan’s falling onto a cactus out of 5.

Now, let’s hope LiLo doesn’t read Destructoid or she’s going to sue my ass.

PS: Lindsay, please don't sue me. I still think you're hot. I hope you get your shit together and make comeback.

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