Occasionally I'll post random thoughts and musings here which are too long, too detailed, or otherwise don't fit in the comments section. Given the length of some of the stuff I've left as a comment, you can well imagine what I consider long.
Do you like words? 'cause I got a lot for you.
Promoted Articles I've written a couple really good pieces which no longer show up on this blog. Check them out below.
Okay, Destructoid. I know that this isn't the weekly topic, and I already made some suggestions a while back. Now that I've had a few weeks to think about the subject, I've got a few new suggestions, ones I don't think I saw mentioned. Feel free to acknowledge or disregard 'em as you like.
First CBlog Moderation
We get what, ten or twenty blogposts a day? Thirty on a really busy day? And maybe a couple times a week one of them will be by someone new and is generally an intro blog? I think it'd be beneficial to the community as a whole if the first blogpost any new member makes is kept private until a moderator of some sort takes a quick peek at it and okays it. I'm not saying we should new censor people who write poorly or create biased blogposts, but a quick check of "Is this new poster throwing pure spam up?" would be beneficial.
I don't think anyone but spammers would be annoyed by it, and frankly it seems pretty easy to implement. If a new user posts a new blog, an email, PM, or some other kind of alert finds its way to the moderator when one goes up, and a quick glance at the blogpost tells the moderator if it's a legitimate post or not. Simple and easy, which is always good.
Time Delays Between Blog Posts for New Users
Again, this is not meant to discriminate, but to keep the spam down to an absolute minimum. Perhaps for the first thirty days of a poster's time here (or two weeks, or three months, or whatever is deemed appropriate), it might be a good idea to limit them to a single blogpost a day (or one every twelve or forty-eight hours or whatever). Most community members stick to the unoffical rule of one a day anyway, but it'd keep the spammers from being able to post a copy and pasted game-related thing and then hit us with ten vacation spam posts.
This way, if the person is a spammer, they'll find themselves unable to do much to actually spam the Cbog readers.
Again, this isn't meant to discriminate. This isn't a suggestion about creating tiers of users, but just a suggestion for a short probation period. "Okay, you've joined, and your first blogpost wasn't blatant spam. Play nice for a X amount of time and you can post a billion C-Blogs in a row if you want."
And hey, if a spammer actually remembers to come back thirty days (or whatever) after posting one legitimate post... Well, anything you put in place to stop spam isn't going to stop them anyway. They're the T-1000 of spam: Nothing will stop them, and they can adapt to anything you throw at them. (Except maybe a pit of molten steel)
Okay, I have seen this one before, but it bears repeating: A lot of websites have adopted a comment model where other users can upvote or downvote a specific comment, and if it recieves enough negative votes compared to positive votes, it gets hidden unless the reader specifically chooses to click on it and view it. We've all seen comments which we'd like to downvote, and it might help the community self-moderate a bit. A fanboy for any of the consoles shows up and is especially aggravating that day? Downvoted until nobody can see it. Someone posts spam to a shady chinese online store? Downvoted until nobody can see it. And so on.
The only problem is that this system does have some room for abuse. I'd suggest either limiting the number of votes in either direction a person can use on other comments in a day, or requiring a LOT of negative voting (like 20 more downvotes than upvotes) before a comment gets hidden. Either one would mitigate a lot of the abuse you might be able to get up to with such a system.
And of course, the ability for mods to remove a person's ability to downvote/upvote a comment. Someone abuses the system repeatedly? They don't get to use it anymore. Simple and easy.
Optional Profanity Filter for Comments available in Account Options[/b]
Okay, this might be tricky, it might not, but I'm sure there are some people who wouldn't mind a profanity filter. Personally, I don't mind profanity one bit. It takes some pretty creative name-calling to get a rise out of me, but other people might not want to see that stuff. The way I see it, you could do this two ways.
One would selectively replace certain words with asterisks, so fucking becomes ****ing, cunt becomes ****, etc. Either that, or if you do the comment voting system, have anything with swear words in it automatically hide like downvoted comments, with a note of "This comment contains profanity, click to show."
I'm not trying to say this community needs to clean up its act. Far from it... I fucking love you guys. But there are people who are probably turned away from the occasional profanity which is in the comments, and I think an option for people to participate while hiding their tender, virgin eyes from words like fuck, shit, or Jim Sterling would be beneficial. (Just kidding, Jim!) Honestly, it could only benefit the site by drawing people here who might otherwise not want to participate, while still catering to those of us who like to comment with "Holy shitballs, that fucking game looks awesome as cunting hell!"
Customizable Main Page
I don't know how technical this would be, but my gut feeling is that the answer is "Very." Still, it's a nice pipe dream.
Okay, so let's say that perhaps a certain, evil company known for jackass moves and bad PR is something you don't really want to read about any longer. Or perhaps you don't want to read previews or watch trailers for upcoming games, prefering to be surprised when you purchase the game instead of finding yourself spoiled.
Basically, you could pick the version of Destructoid you like, ala carte. You're presented with a list of common article types (Preview, Review, News, Game Announcements, Opinion Pieces, etc) and game companies (Activision, Bioware, Square-Enix, etc). Then you pick which ones you want to see on your version of the main page, and maybe even have an Inclusive/Exclusive option. Inclusive would mean that if either one was picked it would show the article (like, picking Reviews or Bioware would show a Bioware game review) and Exclusive would mean that you had to pick both for the page to show the article (like, you'd have to pick both Reviews and Bioware in order to see Reviews of Bioware games). Or something like that.
This actually benefits Destructoid, too, believe it or not. Bandwidth for a website like Destructoid has got to be relatively expensive compared to ad revenue, and anything that cuts it down is a good thing. It could either only load stuff you've chosen not to read if you click on it (like the downvoted comments thing I mentioned before), or it could completely not load it. Either way, the site isn't wasting bandwidth on pictures and text for an article I'm not going to read anyway.
And hey, it also has the benefit that it won't really effect ad revenue. Since the advertisements on the website are loaded everywhere, you're still seeing them every time you click on the stories you'd be normally reading anyway. A lot of websites count on saving things in the margins and pushing enough ads to meet bills while not pushing away too many readers/viewers to remain functional (see The Escapist and how they've done the exact opposite of both), so it might free up some dosh for other things. And there'd always be the option of seeing everything anyway, just in case you want to see if there's something you missed that you normally might not read.
Ninja Theory is the luckiest studio alive. The fact that Tameem Antoniades had the balls to blame consumers for Ninja Theory's woes, woes meaning Ninja Theory is still working instead of expanding, basically says all that needs to be said about his arrogance, and by extension, the arrogance of Ninja Theory.
And really, what set it all in motion was Kung Fu Chaos. The game was a thoroughly mediocre, quirky title on the original Xbox. It's ranked at a 68% on Metacritic, and Ninja Theory was on the verge of collapse thanks to their unspectacular first outing when Jeremy San, perhaps on the tail end of a opium binge after the failures of I-Ninja and Bionicle: The Game, decided to save Ninja Theory and continue funding rather than keep his own studio afloat.
Now, nobody knows what sort of voodoo Ninja Theory cast to pull it off, but they not only managed to convince Andy Serkis to work with them, but they also convinced Sony that their upcoming title was so banging-hot that it not only needed to be licensed as a PS3-exclusive, but that the title deserved, nay, demanded the sort of advertising budget normally reserved for triple-A studios with well-proven backgrounds. Despite the advertising and critical fanfare, it took the studio eight months to break one million copies.
Eight months. For a game which, I swear to Christ, was seeing daily advertisements on TV on top of multiple advertisements on gaming websites and in magazines. It boggles the mind that shit shoved in a DVD case and sold to the masses would take that long to break a million copies with the sort of advertising might which Sony applied to the title.
Now in a perfect world, Ninja Theory would have become a second-party publisher. That would be true if they'd performed well, but as I've shown... Heavenly Sword probably underperformed for the advertising budget alone, let alone whatever the actual game cost to produce. A cost Sony probably had to eat, actually. Either way, if this game was half as successful as Tameem would have us believe, Enslaved would have been a PS3 exclusive.
Speaking of Enslaved... Don't get me wrong: Enslaved was great to watch. Visually speaking, it's a treat. And on top of the great script-writing and the fantastic acting in full display thanks to Andy Serkis and Lindsey Shaw, the game was a bit of a critical darling. However, despite the gobs of praise heaped on the title, they barely escaped the mess with half a million sales across multiple platforms, once again underperforming fantastically.
So at this point, we have...
-One title which nearly bankrupted the studio -One title which should have made them a second-party studio, save for how unimpressive it was -One title which underperformed rather spectacularly compared to the critical reception
For any other studio, any one of those three events would have crippled them completely. There are studios which used to exist which only did one of those things, and that was the end of them.
Bizarre Creations, despite being a fantastic studio with over a dozen hits under their belt, got cut the fuck up and spit the hell out when a single title underperformed, despite over a decade of producing hits. Black Rock likewise got the boot, ironically over the very title which killed Bizarre Creations.
Kaos Studio's latest release Homefront, despite selling over a million copies, caused them to see a flurry of pink slips. Despite releasing a game with some great multiplayer and selling well, the studio was disbanded.
In the face of any one of the failures Ninja Theory has faced, most studios would crumple and be disbanded. Being handed a well-established action series guaranteed to sell millions (plural) of copies by a large publisher is the last thing any studio except Ninja Theory and the horseshoes directly up each and every employee's ass could expect.
"Clearly, the Unreal engine is the future for a fast-paced third-person close combat game."
At this point, I've got to conclude that not only does Tameem Antoniades have a silver tongue, but it's equipped with an auto-fellate setting designed to break fucking gods.
Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against the studio in theory. It's just that the combination of their history and Tameem Antoniades talking about how disappointed he was in consumers in the wake of Enslaved struck me as incredibly fucktarded.
Of course, DmC is going to skate by on sub-par gameplay and the admittedly fantastic storywriting the studio is known for, critically speaking, and the legion of Devil May Cry fans hungry for anything are going to ensure that however the game plays, the sales are going to break into the multi-million.
And, of course, Tameem Antoniades is going to be right there to claim credit for the success of the latest game instead of acknowledging the several tons of horseshoes he's somehow missed lodged directly in his colon.
Now, I'd love to give everyone who participated a prize. Honestly, I would This has been damned fun to run, and I hope even the people walking away with nothing but their memories of this can look back and call it an interesting experience, but right now... Blasto and SuperMonk4Ever each win a copy of Gears of War 3: Epic Edition, as well as Blasto getting an additional prize of a bunch of cool action figures.
So you two, I'll be in contact tonight about sending you some free, awesome shit.
Now it's time for me to hang up my admittedly feather-filled Contestoid hat. At least until the new year. Even without the rush of fall games, this final quarter of the year is financially crippling for me. Three of my best friends have birthdays in the next month, and that doesn't take into account my family members with birthdays... Or Christmas. I have a large, extended family who I'm kinda close with. We're actually a clan, to use the classic term.
You guys think I'm generous with strangers. Man, if you ain't my friend or family, you ain't seen nothin'.
My wallet weeps looking at the next few months and Destructoid, I'm sorry... But my wallet has no room for you for a little while. I'd feel worse, but by the time I'll have shipped this contest's prizes out I'll have dropped what... just shy of a grand on you guys this year?
Don't worry. I'll be back to throwing random people random free shit soon enough. And you bastards have family and friends to give you Christmas gifts anyway. So keep an eye out for more opportunities for me to make you dance for my amusement come the new year.
I stated that the sales numbers for titles on each console which sold more than a million were the following, per Wikipedia:
Total Sales of Exclusive PS3 Titles which broke 1 Million: 38.69 Million Units
Total Sales of Exclusive Xbox 360 Titles which broke 1 Million: 37.9 Million Units
I also posited that with that information in hand, and the general nature of release schedules, you could extrapolate from the currently available data that the PS3 and Xbox 360 sell more or less equal numbers and that saying one side or the other 'wins' at exclusives was childish bickering and nothing more.
Then, while checking the the page in question, I noticed that the Xbox 360 list I used to arrive at the 37.9 Million Units above actually only listed the titles which sold more than three million units. Springing into action, I have corrected that oversight below.
Total Sales of Exclusive PS3 Titles which broke 1 Million: 38.69 Million Units
Total Sales of Exclusive Xbox 360 Titles which broke 1 Million: 51.17 Million Units
Thus, everyone who claims that the Xbox 360 sells more exclusives, rejoice! You were not fully wrong, as DNA619 claimed. You were not even half-wrong, as I'd originally thought. You were completely and totally right! The Xbox 360 sells far more exclusives than the PS3, which means that by comparison, PS3 exclusives DO, in general, do fairly poorly.
While I've got a warehouse job where I'm management, it's a far cry from simply sitting at a desk. The warehouse in which I work is massive, and my duties require me to traverse the length of the place multiple times a day in between bouts of frantic movement or heavy lifting. Needless to say, when I get home the last thing I want to do is move, no matter how cool some of the games which require movement can be. More to the point, I want something that will engage my mind in some manner and prevent it from turning into a pile of sludge, since work, while interesting, isn't always the most stimulating environment.
It's no surprise that I turned to video games as a source of evening-time relaxation. What did surprise me, was learning that my work environment was directly responsible for the sort of games I was playing in the evening.
I first noticed something strange a few weeks ago, when I was playing Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition on pretty much a nightly basis, often three hours a night or more. When I wasn't playing that, I was playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (my brother having loaned out Black Ops) or some other twitch-action game. Something that was really testing my reflexes as well as my ability to think. I considered that strange, given the fact that I've got a Marriage playthrough of Catherine to finish, as well as getting to the end of my first playthrough of Tales of Vesperia.
I'd really like to stress what odd behavior this was for me, in retrospect. I've got a horrible case of ADHD when it comes to video games, since I've got pretty good memory retention when it comes to storylines and gameplay which interest me. Jumping back into a title I haven't played for months (or even years) is like riding a bike, and often I pick up and play like I'd just finished my last session a few hours ago. So generally, unless it's a really, really new, hot title, I'll switch between it and other things over the course of a night, and playing the same thing for more than a week without switching things up is almost unheard of for me.
At the time, I wondered why I didn't want to play any of the thinking gamer's titles in my backlog. At the heart of things, I do consider myself a more cerebral gamer than a twitch gamer. All other things being equal, I'd prefer a game that gives me time to think compared to a game which forces me to react. Even though I count a few series like Devil May Cry and Dead or Alive among my favourites, I generally spend my gaming time working on ways to game the system rather than learning to execute a perfect combo.
It was something that continued to bother me until I picked up Deus Ex: Human Revolution and things became a little more clear.
Now, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a fantastic game. However, unlike the Mass Effect series, the choices one makes are more often a matter of pragmatism and convenience, rather than having any effect on an arbitrary morality bar. The choice of whether or not to kill an enemy is one of the player's choices to make, rather than being a nondecision in between parts of the game where you can make choices. It all feels like Alpha Protocol but done to perfection, actually.
However, I'm afraid to say that any fear Adam Jensen's co-workers might have about him being unable to handle his augmentation would be justified by my schizophrenic playthrough of the campaign thus far. Adam has, with no rhyme or reason, switched from quietly sneaking through an enemy fortification without being seen, to hunting every gang member down with a shotgun surprise, to silently stalking enemies in the pod apartments so he could play with their blood using his extendable knives, to just outright walking into the front door of a place and using a heavy rifle and/or revolver with explosive shells (now called Thunderfucker Mk 2) to mow down everything that moved.
Now, this actually was causing some concern for me, as well. Usually I have the patience for stealth games, and little things like getting caught for the dozenth time and mowed down wouldn't cause me to flip and decide a full frontal assault would be better. Hell, until about three hours through the game, I hadn't killed a single person. Then after a boring day of doing inventory at work, I stalked through the gang territory in the north part of town and hunted down every single gang member with a shotgun. As more and more boring paperwork filled my day, more and more bullets and/or shrapnel filled my enemies at night.
Right now, my Adam Jensen thinks of his recent invisibility augmentation as something to use to get closer to an enemy to kill them, not sneak past them. And he used to be such a quiet, non-lethal boy.
This weapon is basically Viagra for gun enthusiasts
Looking back, this is a pattern well-reflected in my more recent gaming habits. If I had a boring day at work, I'd fill my nights with round after round of playing Ryu versus any comer or matches of Domination. If I had a hectic day at work driving a forklift, I'd come home wanting to figure out the best way to climb a block tower or figure out the best skills and party members to use to get through the enemies in a certain dungeon.
I suppose it makes a certain amount of sense. Spending a day dodging idiot co-workers who don't understand that walking out of the lunchroom or bathroom into the forklift lane without looking is a stupid, stupid idea relies on a certain amount of reflexes for said idiot co-workers to avoid spending time in traction, so whiling away the subsequent night relying on those same tired reflexes might not be the most appealing thing for me. On the flipside of that, spending all day looking at pages and pages of quantities and weights and figuring out how to move them might not make studying the status screen in an RPG as much fun as I'd normally find it.
Regardless of what manner of work my job has inflicted on me to make me tired, it's nice to know there's always a relaxing game suited precisely for my day waiting for me when I get home. God knows there's going to be enough variety in the coming avalanche of games to fill any gamer's need for variety.
Look, at this point, it's spectacle. Unless you're one of the bastards on the leaderboards below, you're not going to win. But hey: You could still take first place for the final contest and totally fuck things up for the guy aiming for second, so that's something to aim for!
Also... There's going to be a lot less comments during the daytime comments and comments in general. While I, in my infinite intelligence, only surfed the internet using proxy-condoms and also did so rarely, and didn't let it effect my work, the same cannot be said of my co-workers. Thus, anything related to fun (like, ANYTHING) is now banned from my work connection.
In theory, I could tether my phone to my computer's net connection, but the network admin, aside from looking good in a tight t-shirt, also ferreted out most of the sneaky shit I could pull. The first thing she looked for on the network block was people looking for cache'd google pages, which tells me she's smarter than a table.
I totally plan on seducing her, so even if I wanted to get around her connections, I wouldn't. Also, the doing work thing when I'm being paid to do work. I should do that.
Now, for this one, I've decided we'll do something a little bit different. Like always, I'm going to come up with a random, painful, or otherwise aggravating task for you, the contestant, to participate in! Or, in this case, five tasks! To win Gears 3 Epic Edition and action figures!
But what's that?
I already pre-ordered Gears of War 3, this contest sucks!
In that case, you're in luck! Should you possess an inferior, regular edition of Gears 3 or a slightly cooler, but not prohibitively awesome edition of Gears 3, I will pay you the cash value of the copy you ordered (if you don't have anyone to give it to because you're nice), because yes, I am that awesome!
Yes, even if you've pre-ordered Gears of War 3, you're going to make out like a damned champion!
For the prize, I'm going to begin by pre-ordering the contest winner a copy of the $150, holycrapexpensive! edition of Gears 3. If the contest winner has already ordered a copy, I will reimburse them for the full cost of it, plus shipping to me, the moment their inferior, not awesome copy is in my hands.
I'm not done. I mentioned action figures, right?
Beyond this already-awesome offer, I will be ordering the winner of the contest any five Gears of War action figures available on sale between $10 and $20.
This is a total prize worth, potentially, $200 to $250 before I buy the contest winner's copy of Gears of War 3 from them. And I'm buying the second-place person an Epic Edition as well!
Also, the second-place entrant ALSO gets a copy of the Gears of War 3: Epic Edition because fuck you Brazilian tax law! This will be my biggest and last contest until after the new year.
Now, I'm not sure exactly what "tasks" I'm going to have each person partake in beyond the first, but I do know two things:
1) The final task has the following point values:
-First Place: 18 Points
-Second Place: 14 Points
-Third Place: 12 Points
-Fourth Place or worse: 8 Points
If you don't participate in a task, you get nothing, so participation, however elementary, could mean the difference between winning and losing!
2) There will be a total of four tasks. The theoretical "best" for this competition is 26 points, but I honestly expect the winner to be ranging in the 10-20 range. But I lie a lot, so whatever.
With all that entails! Congratulations to Blasto for being a physics-defying wizard who has somehow gained first place. Now, based on my arbitrary rules, fight a good battle so that you can at least get second.