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WriterSteve's blog

3:00 AM on 01.31.2012

Oh, cr*p!

I just bought a high-end custom gaming PC!

I'm currently suffering crippling buyers remorse, but I'm sure that will evaporate when The Beast arrives. It's an obscene rig, guys; my dream PC.

Should I have done this?! It's a lot of friggin' money. Screw it, I've always wanted a PC to be proud of an now I have it! It glows, man. Actually glows.

I'll post a pic when it arrives!

I shall now survive the month eating nothing but dust!

WS   read

9:09 AM on 01.16.2012

Battlefield 3: The Big Boys are Being Mean to Me

I've been playing a lot of Battlefield 3 (because my dog didn't eat it) and I've come to the conclusion that all people are hateful bastards. That isn't fair. Most people are hateful bastards and some people (me) are the victims of their spite.

In short, I suck at flying the planes and helicopters because the moment you spawn into either of them, some arsehole comes swooping down and riddles your sweet ride full of bullets before you can lift off the tarmac. I actually got off the ground once, but before I could get used to the controls I had two heat-seeking missiles crammed up my ass and I went hurtling to earth in a flaming ball of inadequacy.

But I do make a damn fine fireball.

These people circle the enemy airfield and blow up any vehicle that has the bare-faced cheek to spawn there. Yes, it's a good tactic to prevent the enemy gaining air superiority, but this is a goddamn game and it's supposed to be fun. Instead, I usually find myself climbing into the AA turrent and attempting to shoot down the sons of bitches, which is pretty much impossible where planes are concerned. So, I spend a ton of time away from the actual action, because I want to inflict some pain on the smug pricks soaring gracefully through the skies.

I once managed to spawn in a helicopter at the start of a match and thought I might finally be able to get a bit of air time going. Instead, I tilted around wildly, shot a building and then crashed into a pylon, killing myself and the two poor souls who climbed in there with me. And all because I can't practice with the bloody things.

Don't get me wrong, the ground warfare is awesome, and I'm no slouch with a sniper rifle, but I'd really like to get up in the sky and start bombing some bitches into a messy crater. I feel like I'm being denied a section of the multiplayer because a bunch of selfish dicks want to level their aircraft without actually having to do any dogfighting.

However, I'm stubborn and I'll keep trying even in the face of impossible odds, but I'm getting real tired of looking at my vehicle stats and seeing a big 'ole zero next to the plane section (I've levelled my chopper stats by riding shotgun).

Maybe I'm just making excuses for my suckiness.


WS   read

6:44 PM on 01.07.2012


Totally watching Labyrinth right now, folks.

In other news, I've been thinking about Final Fantasy VII. I'm one of those guys, unfortunately. One of those annoying dicks who exclaims loudly to anyone who will listen that FF7 is the greatest God-damned game ever God-damned made, Goddamn it, and it must annoy the crap out of everyone. I'm sorry, I can't help it.

Holy shit, I'm drunk. My girlfriend has her friends over and I had to drink heavily to get through it. Do you think people who have never heard of the Final Fantasy series, and see it abbreviated as 'FF', just add their own words in their heads?

When it was released, Frisky Fungus 7 was mind-blowing. Yes, the ingame graphics kind of sucked when you think about it, but the cut scenes made me do a sex wee. Plus, it was friggin' huge and varied and awesome and those three words combined. Hairsome. It was hairsome. But you all know this already, because you all played it.

You'd better have played it, or I'll punch you in the heart.

But I'm not here to talk about Floating Fistpump 7. I'm here to talk about the remake, or rather the impossibility of a remake. For years, pain in the ass Flatlining Frogman fanboys (like me) have been screaming for a HD remake of the game, and for years the developers have been saying, "Seriously, the police are on their way, get off my porch". It used to get me angry, but now I understand why they won't remake it. They can't.

The dog just came upstairs do join me. He has a miniature space-hopper chew toy, and he's grabbed it by one of the 'ears'. He's shaking it from side to side and it's hitting him in each eye as he does so. It's funny.

Think about it. Even on the PS1, the game was on something like 400 discs. Imagine the storage required to store that same amount of game, but with modern day graphics and sound. Plus, everyone would expect complete voice-acting. It'd have to be stored on some government grade supercomputer and we could all take it in turns to play it. Maybe at an hourly fee.

Gotta pee. Back shortly.

So, sadly, I am forced to come to terms with the fact that I will never see a Fornicating Fruitbat remake. I guess I'll just have to wait and see if FFXIII-2 can make up for the abysmal showing that was FFXIII.

Back to Labyrinth!

WS   read

4:19 AM on 01.06.2012

Predictions: The Next Generation

An article has shown up on x360a announcing a rumour of a possible announcement of the rumoured new Xbox at this Summer's E3, along with the new Playstation and the Wii U.

"If true it will mark the first time in the consumer show's history that three brand new rival consoles will be under the same roof and so directly comparable."

I got me to thinking about what the next gen might offer in terms of improvements, and just how far graphics can really be taken. It's common knowledge that PCs are (and probably always will be) the frontrunners with regards to graphical capabilities, because they are fully customisable. Any console that is released will either match what PCs are capable of at that time, or slightly exceed them, until an inevitable upgrade is released that will allow PC users to once again out-perform the console gamers.

It seems like a losing battle.

Some might argue that console gaming is a much more accessable medium, and comes with the knowledge that any game you purchase will work, because it is specifically designed to do so, whereas a PC game may require additional expense in the form of improved hardware (Crysis being a prime example). But with the rate at which technology is advancing, is a console that remains 'stuck in time' really the way to go? Then again, how much has PC technology improved since the release of the current generation? Is the difference that vast?

This argument really only applies to Microsoft and Sony, given that Nintendo decided to focus on the family-friendly, party-based, hyphen-loving crowd rather than the 'hardcore' gamers. However, it's the 'hardcore' gamers that demand the best, and the best can't be provided when the console is incapable of improvement.

So we arrive at the point. How long will it be until what we consider a console starts becoming a PC? Hardware-wise, there's little difference. The only thing stopping a console from being considered a PC is the box it's sealed in and the restrictions placed upon it by the manufacturers. With every Xbox update, more and more 'apps' are being added that are considered exciting because they're on a console (YouTube etc.), but they're the same websites we've been visiting for years through our PCs and laptops.

I've been a console gamer for 20 years. I've owned PCs and laptops, but I've never been a PC gamer, because, for a long time, it seemed that the expense of purchasing and endlessly upgrading a decent gaming rig outweighed the number of games worth playing. Over time, however, my tastes have become refined enough to know that the games I want to play can be bought on either PC or console, and that with the modding community doing amazing things, PC seems like the better (and more fun) place to be at the moment.

With the next generation of console just around the corner, what can it possibly offer that a PC can't? Don't get me wrong, I'm excited to find out and I hope I'm pleasantly surprised, but I can't shake the feeling that the console as we know it today is a dying breed.

And it may not be a bad thing.

WS   read

4:53 AM on 01.04.2012

Skyrim: A 'Voice in Your Head' Guide


Uh... hello?

I'm your Skyrim guide!

Where are you?

I've inserted myself deep into your brain-hole.


I was gentle.

That's worse somehow.

Just relax and let me ease right in.

Please stop.

I'm here to help you get to grips with Skyrim and all of its many secrets.

Okay, sounds cool. Where do we start?

First we need to start a New Game and create your character. You're going to be looking at this guy for hundreds of hours so make sure you're happy with your choices before continuing.

Okay, done!

That's... what the hell is that? He looks like something dragged out of the bottom of a lake!

He's a Nord!

That guy is not a Nord. He's hideous. His eyes scream for an end that will not come. You've created a monster.

Fine... how's this?

Better, but he still looks pretty depressed. Whatever, we'll get him a helmet as soon as possible. Cover that face right up. Next up, you need to decide how you're going to play the game. Will you favour the arcane arts? Will you be a fearless warrior weilding a might two-handed warhammer? Or will you go down the path of sneakery and go about just straight stabbin' bitches in the spine? Or you could mix and match, whatever.

Um... can I be a spell-assassin?

You can totally be that. You can totally be a spell-assassin. That's awesome. You're awesome.


I'm loving being inside you more and more. Do you like it? Do you like me inside you?

It's... okay, I suppose. I'm getting used to it.

Yeah, everyone complains at first, but once you lay back and let the muscles relax it starts to get pretty enjoyable.

Wait, what are we talking about now?


Right, it's just that you make it sound a lot like... y'know what? Never mind. Moving on. HOLY SHIT A DRAGON!

I know, right? How awesome is that? You should run though, because it's about to burn you into an ugly little crisp. Because your character is ugly.

I got it. Okay, so I've escaped and now this guy wants me to follow him to a stranger's house.

It's cool, he isn't going to molest you or anything.

You'll forgive me for not believing you, given the circumstances.

Hey, what I'm doing all up in your quivering brain is a beautiful thing. There's this big taboo about it, but I've known some women who have just loved it, man.


Of course, what else would I be talking about?

Nevermind. Look, I've been picking a lot of flowers and stuff. I'm assuming there's a point to it.

Oh, yeah, you can be an Alchemist if you lilke. You can turn those ingredients into potions and either use them in your travels or sell them on for a profit. Skyrim has a fully functioning economy.

I'm impressed.

Thanks, I pride myself on the size and girth of my brain probe.

That isn't remotely what I was talking about. Not even at all.

Oh, it's just that you hadn't mentioned it and I was getting a bit self-concious.

I can't even feel it!

That's just cruel. Why would you say that at a time like this? How am I supposed to perform now?

I'm sorry. This is all very confusing.

You're just a probe-tease. That's what you are.

I didn't mean anything by it. I'm not used to having my brain probed.

Just... keep playing the game.

Okay, so, I'm walking to High Hrothgar now, to meet the Greybeards.

Oh, those guys are okay. Just go along with all their dramatics and you'll learn some Dragon Shouts.

Those sound great.

Yeah, they're pretty sweet. Like the sweet love I'm making to your brain.


Hey... what are you doing?

I'm forcing you out.

No, don't. Stop clenching your mind-sphincter. It'll only make it worse!

Get out!

No, we haven't reached the climax! Of the game!


Fine, but don't come crawling back to me when you realise that you can't live without my tender probing.

You need help.

... I know.


I hope this guide helped you in some way, although I really can't see how it could have. Thanks for reading!   read

5:37 AM on 12.30.2011

Dog + Dark Souls = *expletive deleted*

I rent most of my games. I'm notoriously easy to bore, so I don't like to buy a game if it isn't going to keep me interested until the end. I had Dark Souls through the door yesterday, popped it to one side while I went through the rest of the mail and then found the scattered remnants of the game strewn throughout the lounge about 30 seconds later. So now I have to pay for a ruined game that I didn't even get a chance to play!

I'm told my fury was terrible to behold.

That's not true. I just sighed, shook my head, glanced at Merlin who was looking at me with the sort of epic guilt-face only a dog can achieve, and then blamed it all on my girlfriend for buying a bloody dog in the first place. Then I apologised to my girlfriend for blaming her, took one last look at the mound of plastic that used to be Dark Souls, swept it all away and played Skyrim for a few hours to calm myself.

I'm thinking if I just buy a preowned copy of the game (with a disc in good condition), ask the rental guys to send me a new case and return envelope (Merlin ate those, too) and then send it all back with a picture of myself looking really innocent, they might just fall for it. Plus, it'll mean I can actually play the game before returning it, which was kind of the whole point to begin with, you Goddamn dog!

WS   read

4:35 AM on 12.23.2011

Giving: Anarchy in the UK

Since the company I work for are a bunch of heartless wraiths, I'm being forced to stay on 'til 5:30 to man the phones, while everyone else gets to go home early. Thanks, fuckers.

As such, I'm refusing to do any work, so I'm writing a blog instead.


As Christmas is just around the corner, I thought I'd talk about 'the good old days', when I was a young whippersnapper in the early days of console gaming. I remember it like it was more than twenty years ago. I tore downstairs to see what the Fat Man had left me and pounced upon the largest box in my pile. As my sister daintily removed the paper from one of her gifts, careful not to damage it, I went in there with teeth and claws, snarling like a cornered honey badger, before scuttling under the sofa to bury my prize.

It was a Sega Megadrive. I know, awesome right? (I was a little too young for the NES, but I've owned one since, because come on. You have to have owned a NES!)

Now, my parents weren't all that knowledgable when it came to games, so they'd bought me Michael Jackson's Moonwalker for some reason.

Man, old box art was just awful.

It wasn't a terrible game, just weird, and as a child I wasn't really aware of Michael Jackson or his music. As far as I was concerned, it was a game about a dude who could only communicate by saying 'ow' and thrusting at people (so I was pretty much spot on). In the game, you walked oddly through levels that, now I think about it, were modelled on Michael Jackson's songs. There was a gangster-type setting in a club, a graveyard zombie level etc. and the aim of the game was to rescue a bunch of kidnapped clone-girls, who would shout 'Michael!' when you found them, before being whisked away by Michael's magical flying monkey, Bubbles.

The attacks were pretty flashy. You could kick 'em, punch 'em, throw your hat at 'em, or spin around for 10 seconds and then launch into a full on dance number that none of the enemy could resist joining in with. You'd finish the dance by doing that awesome lean thing Micheal used to do, and then break the spell making everyone fall over dead. I knew his dance moves were hard, but come on.

Oh, and you could turn into a car and fly away. And at the end of the game you morphed into a giant laser-robot. Pretty standard stuff...

Despite the game, that console completely changed my life. Since that fateful day in 199x I have been a gamer. I've been there through every triumphant new console, every appalling failure, every gimmick, accessory and add-on. I've seen it all. I think the new generation of gamers will always take the quality of games we're seeing today for granted. They didn't have to suffer through the years of low-budget drivel that we older gamers did. They didn't have to deal with only having three lives and no save points. They've been given an easy ride.

And when I'm old, and my grandchildren aer plugging their brains directly into Skynet to play Virtual Space Molester VIII, I'll bore the crap out of them with tales just like this one, because it's important to keep history alive!

Merry Christmas, folks.

WS   read

4:20 AM on 12.22.2011

A Belated Introduction

Right, so I've posted three blogs here on Dtoid and haven't formally introduced myself. How rude.

I'm Steve. I'm a gamer, writer, desk-based phone minion and all-round disillusioned twenty-something wearing a permanent look of what the fuck happened to my life? I enjoy long walks in Skyrim and going to the gym (I decided that if I'm going to be a nerd, I might as well be a ripped nerd). I live with my girlfriend and our dog, Merlin, who likes to wake me up by sitting on my chest.

"Dude, personal space!"

I was published a few years ago, which prompted a huge surge of enthusiasm, where I decided to become a writer full-time. That lasted about three weeks and then I just stayed in my shit-awful job that pays well.

I've restarted Skyrim four times and haven't completed it once.

I'm like that...

WS   read

6:52 AM on 12.19.2011

Skyrim (From the NPC's Point of View)

"Mornin', Bob", said Frank.

"Mornin', Frank." said Bob.

With the complex matter of pleasantries out of the way, the two men leaned on their respective farming equipment and examined the surrounding countryside with the practiced eyes of two men who did very little farming and an awful lot of standing around.

"Don't mean to pry into another man's business, but there seems to be a dead giant where some potatos ought to be." said Frank, nodding in the direction of the unmissably large corpse rotting nearby.

"Aye, you'd be right about that, Frank," said Bob, squinting into the distance with some interest, "Found him there this morning. Got no toes on."

"No toes on, you say?" said Frank, raising his eyebrows. "Well, there's a thing."

"Reckon it's one o' them ale creamists."

"That'd be an alchemist, Bob, and you'd be right, sure enough."

"Use 'em in potions and such."

"They surely do."

Bob's squint had become a pained scowl and he leaned a few inches further on his hoe, which made all the difference in the world.

"Forgive an old man his eyes, Frank, but would you reckon that that figure over yonder is that there Dragonborn feller who went and killed that dragon in the watchtower?"

Frank looked across the field until his eyes found their quarry.

"Aye, that's the one. Friend of mine in the pub told me that he saw him stab a bear through the head with a big black sword, that was also on fire if you believe such things."

"I'd believe that, Frank."

"Then he took one of the bear's claws."

"Why only one o' them?"

"I asked the same question, Bob, sure enough. Plenty of claws on a bear, I said, if you want bear claws your best bet is to take all o' them off one bear, not one o' them off lots, I said."

"You'd be right about that, too, Frank."

The two men watched the rapidly approaching figure for a while.

"Likes doing fetch quests, so I'm told," said Frank, scratching himself on the chin. The stubble sounded like a hedgehog being dragged behind a horse.

"Is that right?" asked Bob thoughtfully, "The wife's been nagging me for some Tundra Cotton for a few days. Wants to spin a tunic, she said. Think I could ask him to get it for me?"

"Oh, aye, he'd do that for you, to be sure, but I was talking to this Redguard feller up in the city and he told me that he'd asked the Dragonborn to find his lost sword for him and it took him eight weeks. Said that sometimes he'd see him just standing outside Warmaidens for two days straight."

"Just standing there?"

"Just standing there, as I live and breathe. Can't say as I'm all that surprised though, Bob. I was walking over to Riverwood t'other day and I saw him jumping backwards up a mountain."

"I'd say you'd be pullin' my leg right about now, Frank."

"I wish I was pullin' on that leg o' yours, Bob, I truly do. I wanted to tell him that the path up was just around yon corner, but he don't talk much at the best o' times, I'm told, and I heard that he went and killed everyone in a town in the North, because this lady he was travellin' with got killed by one o' them Ice Wraiths, and I didn't want to talk to 'im if he was still in a bit o' a mood, you see."

"Nasty things those Ice Wraiths."

"Truer words were never spoken, Bob."

"Bad for the potatoes."

"Quite so. How's your boy these days? The adventurer."

"Ah, bad news on that score. Took an arrow in the knee."

Frank winced and shook his head. "Bad business, is that. He'd be a guard now, then?"

"O' course. Stands to reason."

"Lot o' guards becomin' guards because of arrows in the knee these days, I'm noticin'."

"Lot o' arrows flying around these days, is why. Civil war."

"Lot o' arrows in a civil war, right enough. Still seems like a lot o' arrows hitting a lot o' knees though, Bob."

"Best not to ask questions about stuff like that, Frank. Not our place to be askin' questions like that."

At that point, the Dragonborn went hurtling past the farm, breathing heavily. The two men turned slowly to watch him go.

"In a bit of a hurry, I'd say." said Frank

"I'd say so, too."


"Yes, Frank?"

"These questions that it ain't our place to be asking. Would they include me seeing a backwards flying dragon up in the mountains just now?"

"That'd be what's called a perfect example, Frank. A perfect example."

THE END   read

4:00 AM on 12.14.2011

Skyrim: Black Lung by Bethesda

Mining in Skyrim is... pointless, as far as I can tell.

For the most part, buying the lumps of ore, or just buying the smelted ingots, isn't all that expensive and saves hours of trekking around looking for the correct seam for the job. It may just be that my character's speech skill is so high he could talk you into giving him your skin, but I find that money really isn't that hard to come by, and once you're able to make ridonkulously expensive potions, you're basically sorted for the rest of the game. I crafted myself a set of Daedric armour and weapons by simply buying a bunch of hearts and ebony ingots from various alchemists and blacksmiths, and it barely made a mark on my wallet.

That being said, I wouldn't begrudge anyone who did want to do it the hard way. I'm sure the sense of achievement once that armour set was complete would be far higher than anything I experienced, and there's endless enjoyment to be had just exploring the wilds.

For those who are struggling to find the ore they need, and don't want to simply buy the stuff from blacksmiths, there a several places you can go looking. The obvious locations are the mines. There are a lot of them about, and quite a few also come with side quests, where you're required to clear the mine of enemies so the miners can get back to work. One or two might even lead to a Dragon Shout, but I won't spoil the surprise by telling you which ones. Some of the better ore seams are well hidden; up in the mountains or in the middle of nowhere under a bush behind a rock which currently has a giant standing on it, but there are plenty to find if you don't mind hunting around.

For the most part though, my main reason for disliking mining is that the sound of metal hitting rock cuts through me like an enchanted flame sword through mammoth cheese.

Kudos to Bethesda for their convincing sound effects!

*** Mod Update: There's an article over on Skyrim Nexus that explains a new mining mod (PC only of course). Basically, there are two options:

Option 1: Faster Mining - mine the regular amount of ore in a third of the time.
Option 2: Triple Ore - there will be three times the amount of ore in a seam, but you will have to mine it for three times as long.

That information still doesn't make me want to be a miner, but it might interest some people! ***

WS   read

6:58 AM on 12.13.2011

Skyrim: A Letter to my Girlfriend


I can only assume that you do in fact still live with me, because the dog hasn't died of starvation yet. I only know this because he just stole the sock from my foot and is now burying it under a pillow.

I am alive and well in Skyrim, living as a warrior/alchemist in the fine Nordic city of Whiterun. You might be shocked to discover that I have spontaneously changed races and become a lizard-like humanoid known as an Argonian. I can only hope your love for me can see through my hideous new visage to the sensitive homicidal maniac beneath. On that note, if a group of armed guards come looking for me about the 'Great Riverwood Dragon Shout Massacre', please try to explain to them that it was a total accident. I wanted to use Unrelenting Force and accidentally used Storm Call, which frazzled the majority of the town where they stood. If it's any consolation, I feel quite bad about it (because I invested money in those damn businesses and now the owners are all dead). I'm still not paying the fine though.

In my defence, it wouldn't have happened if those mercenaries hadn't shown up threatening to kill me over a trivial robbery three towns over. Once I'd murdered them with the unfathomable power of the skies, it came to light that the hit was taken out by my wife! Oh, I was married by the way. I hope that doesn't effect our relationship too much, it's just that there was an achievement for it. It's okay though, I killed her with an arrow.

During the day, I walk the countryside gathering ingredients for my potions and slaying the local wildlife en masse for their precious pelts. Occasionally I'll enter a long-forgotten crypt and kill all the dead guys inside. They're alive, you see, but not. It's hard to explain to an outsider like yourself, but needless to say I'm only doing it to make the world safer for you and the dog.

I suppose I should own up to having had a companion for some of my travels. A female one. The marriage I mentioned earlier was a sham, but Lydia and I shared a special bond that can only be achieved through hours of exploration and getting stuck in doorways. Sadly, I sacrificed her to a Daedric demoness because I wanted some awesome enchanted Ebony Mail. I would have liked to have ended it on happier terms but, come on, enchanted Ebony Mail!

I'm sorry I haven't been around much lately, but I'm hoping to see as much of Skyrim as I can before coming home.

You should probably pencil me in for sex in about a month.


Steve   read

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