Home State: New York
Currently Residing In: Utah
Birthday: October 13th, 1985 (I'll always secretly consider the NES to have been a week-late birthday present to me from Nintendo.)
I'm a Mass Communication/Journalism graduate from the University of Utah, which I'm starting to question, since it was a tough field to get into even before the economy went down the toilet. I love writing; Not only do I consider it my passion, but I also believe it's an invaluable skill for this socially-connected age in which we live. Writing about video games brings me more joy than I can even describe in words, which is saying a lot, considering.
As far as video games go, I've been a gamer since I was two-and-a-half. I try to play whatever interests me, despite what other people think of those games. I suppose I consider myself to be "obsessed" with gaming, but not in the sense that all I want to do is beat games. I'm fascinated with the industry as a whole, and in some way, shape or form, I'd love to be a part of it professionally someday.
Fatal Frame Series (PS2, Xbox, Wii, 3DS)
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES (PS2)
Metroid Prime Trilogy (Wii)
Dead Space (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3)
Zelda Series (Various Nintendo Platforms)
Dishonored (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
My most prized gaming-related possession: A factory-sealed copy of the original Famicom Disk System Zeruda no Densetsu (The Legend of Zelda).
Mario and I were tight back in the day, yo.
I've had a few articles promoted on the front page... Check them out if you want. (Thanks, Hamza! :D)
For those of you who have read anything I've posted to Destructoid, you'll know that the title of this blog is completely out of character for me. I can't stand Apple, and I'm constantly talking about how much I can't stand going through Steam to play my PC games. So, what's going on? Have I lost my mind? Has Gabe Newell finally won me over?
No. Hell, no. However, something has recently come to my attention that makes me much more willing to deal with Steam. For the past couple weeks, I've been messing with turning my laptop into a Hackintosh -- running Mac on a Windows-based PC instead of the other way around. I got it to work for the most part (there are still bugs I need to work out), and the first thing I tried to do was download a couple Steam games to test them out. I was playing around with them, and I noticed something interesting about the ones I had tried: None of them needed Steam to be running in order to play them. Now, Steam games are occasionally like this, completely DRM-free, as the choice to implement Steam's DRM is up to the developer/publisher; The interesting part about this story, however, is that the games I tried through Mac OS X actually DO require Steam to be running if you play the Windows versions.
A few days ago, I logged into my Steam account and downloaded the Mac version of The Walking Dead, and I backed it up to a thumb drive. Last night, I went up to my old college library, where quite a few powerful Macs are set up for people to use. I plugged in my thumb drive and started playing The Walking Dead, just as if I had downloaded it right then and there. It played beautifully, too, just as well as the Windows version on my own PC, and this was all straight from a flash drive.
I did some research into this amazing discovery, and I came to find out that the Mac version of Steam doesn't contain the CEG component -- the part of Steam that handles all of its DRM. Some games still do require Steam to run somehow, like most games made by Valve themselves, but the vast majority apparently don't. I looked up some more games online, and the new Shadowrun Returns is another example of a game with DRM if you play it through Windows, but DRM-free if you play it through Mac.
From what I can tell, the majority of Mac Steam games are DRM-free, even the big-name ones.
I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm actually considering building some sort of unholy gaming rig just to play Steam games through Mac. I don't even know how to comprehend my own words here, as Apple and Steam are two things I generally really dislike. But it's really amazing to know that there's an official, non-hacked version of Steam out there that's almost -- almost -- as user-friendly as GOG.com. As much as this sickens me, if I'm ever going to get into PC gaming, I think it might just be Mac that makes me do it.
I've said -- more than once -- that one of the main differences between PC gamers and console gamers is that console gamers won't take the same restrictive shit that PC gamers seem to so often be just fine with. Well, if today's news isn't proof of that, then I don't know what is.
As I'm sure everyone is already aware, Microsoft is lifting all of its restrictive DRM from the Xbox One. No longer will you need an Internet connection to play what you paid for. No longer will a retail game be forever stuck to you, with only one transfer being allowed. No longer will you have to worry about playing your games in the future. Microsoft, arguably the biggest titan in the electronics industry, as been moved by the will of their potential customers, and it's a damned beautiful thing.
Microsoft is backpedaling. Everyone can see that, and I don't think they're even trying to hide it. I'm sure Microsoft still WANTS to restrict everyone, and some third-party publishers (*cough*EA*cough*) will probably hate the fact that DRM isn't going to be implemented, at least not on an operating system level. But the fact that the customers (or potential customers, anyway) got Microsoft -- MICRO-FUCKING-SOFT -- to do something like this is an ENORMOUS victory. Whether Microsoft likes it or not, the people with the money have spoken, and the chorus is like music to my ears.
Now, I'm not going to go out and immediately change my PS4 preorder to an Xbox One preorder; I'm still not a fan of how the Xbox One requires a Kinect, making it not only $100 more than the PS4, but also raises privacy concerns (and, if it breaks, the system itself becomes a paperweight). But I'll be paying MUCH closer attention to the console now. I've always liked the 360 more than the PS3, but the PS3's free online play always kept me coming back. That's not going to be an option pretty soon here, so it's all going to come down to exclusives and built-in features that the competition doesn't have. But, no matter what I go with in the future, one thing is certain: Game owners (yes, OWNERS) won a very important battle today.
Now, if only we could get rid of all the DRM in Steam.
It's appropriate that Sony's conference was after Microsoft's, because it seems like EVERYTHING they said and did was tailored specifically to counter everything Microsoft said to piss its former customers off.
No online requirements for retail games AT ALL.
No mention of forced motion controls or cameras watching you.
A cloud-based service that's COMPLETELY optional.
Kingdom Hearts III and Final Fantasy XV.
A HUNDRED DOLLARS LESS than the Xbox One.
PlayStation Plus members get PS4 games at launch.
The only negatives I can think of here are a) the console looks like ass, just like the Xbox One, and b) the fact that Sony's going from free online play to charging. This indeed sucks, and I hate the fact that it happened, but at the very least, PlayStation Plus is a hell of a lot more worth paying for than Xbox LIVE Gold (which will still NOT be free on the Xbox One). At least I won't feel like I'm paying JUST to play online, like I did with the Xbox 360 whenever I had Gold, which wasn't often.
As far as I can tell, the PS4 has the freedom that the Xbox One and Steam don't offer, and it has the power and the usability that the Wii U lacks. It seems like this generation is going to be an EXTREMELY easy choice as far as non-handheld gaming systems go.
It looks like a VCR that will blind you if you look at it too long.
It forces you to pay for a Kinect, something nobody wanted in the first place.
It requires an Internet connection to register a game to your account and start it up. In other words, all the bullshit DRM PC gamers have had to deal with for years, now in console form. (One of the reasons I still play on consoles is because I'm not letting anyone tell me when I can and cannot play my games, so this one alone kills any chance of me buying the system.)
Used games require you to pay Microsoft a fee to play them on a different account than the original one. (This is unacceptable, especially since Microsoft is getting the money for other companies' work.)
Microsoft is obviously more interested in TV interaction than gaming.
So, what do I think of the Xbox One? It's quite simple, actually:
I have a confession to make: As much as I love new technology, I couldn't give any less of a crap about having the latest smartphone. This Blackberry knockoff is the phone I've had for the last five years, and I love it. I don't want anything with a touchscreen, and if I want to play a handheld game, I'll pick up my 3DS. But I've always been intrigued by Android. It's the mobile OS that's been sweeping the industry (and as something that's mostly controlled by Google, it's no surprise), and it intrigues me because of how open of a platform it is. You can seemingly do anything with it, and by rooting an Android device -- hacking it to access the really deep system files -- the possibilities are limitless.
When I heard about the Ouya, the dirt-cheap console that runs Android, I was skeptical. Mobile games were mobile for a reason: Because they couldn't really compete with actual gaming console games. But recently, Android tablets have been getting more and more powerful, and there are some really impressive games available for the platform. The Ouya has been branded by some as a "tablet without a screen," and this suits me just fine -- I'd much rather play my games with buttons that actually exist rather than the virtual equivalents. After sitting down and doing some research, I've gone from skeptical to wanting to preorder an Ouya almost right away, because I believe it's poised to truly become the first 100% open gaming platform we've ever had.
You see that? That's the inside of the Ouya, pulled out of its shell by the guys at Penny Arcade. It's not much to look at, but that's not the reason I'm showing it to you; I want you to see it simply because it's out of it's casing. This is because the Ouya will be held together by simple Phillips head screws, because, according to Ouya creator Julie Uhrman, the console is meant to be cracked wide open on both the software and hardware levels. The company WANTS their customers to get to know their hardware inside and out, and if you want to make any hardware modifications, you're welcome to do so. Seriously, name a single gaming machine other than the Ouya that actually ENCOURAGES hacking the hardware.
Speaking of hardware, the ability to use almost any peripheral out of the box is pretty enticing. The system comes with a controller, but, like regular consoles, controllers will be $50 apiece when they're released separately. It seems like a shame to not be able to use what you already ha-- WAIT. That's right, the PS3's DualShock 3/Sixaxis controllers and even the Xbox 360's wired controller actually work with the Ouya right out of the box. I'm honestly not too surprised about the PS3 controllers working, as pretty much every PC OS has had access to custom drivers for the controllers for years already. (And yes, the PS3's controllers will work with the Ouya both wirelessly and wired.) But the 360's controllers being compatible is nothing short of black magic. Microsoft did everything in its power to take something universal (it IS USB, after all) and lock it down to only work with Windows and the 360 itself, but the Ouya doesn't see this as a problem. Plug the 360 controller in and go to town. Seeing as how this is the controller of choice for most gamers nowadays, the decision to make this work is probably going to be the favorite feature of most customers.
Hardware aside, the biggest draw of the Ouya is its Android operating system. It really turned heads when it was announced that a mobile OS would be used in a plug-it-into-your-TV gaming machine, but I think this was a fantastic idea. I'm going to make a claim here that I don't think many people will like: I don't think the PC is a totally open platform. Sure, you can tweak a ton of stuff and hack to your heart's content, but go find a company that programs for the PC that actually approves of those actions. You think Valve wants people cracking their games, so they can run without the Steam client (you know, the way it SHOULD be)? You think Adobe wants you to get around their online license validation requirements? Hell, even Windows itself requires registration, or it locks itself down, becoming practically useless. People can tell me the PC is an open platform until they're blue in the face, but the consumer/corporation relationship is anything but. With the Ouya, this isn't an issue.
Rooting an Android device isn't hard, but the process varies from device to device. The problem with rooting is that when you do it, you immediately void your device's warranty. Uhrman has actually confirmed that not only will rooting the Ouya NOT void your warranty, but rooting instructions will actually given to the public BY the company itself. The Ouya company is actually ENCOURAGING us to hack the hell out of their system. You want to install apps unavailable in the Ouya store? Plug the system into your PC with the included data cable and sideload as many as you'd like.
That is the single coolest thing I've ever heard in my life.
If you've ever read ANYTHING I've typed on Destructoid, then you're probably aware of how much I hate DRM and being locked down. The Ouya is going to spit in the face of companies that decide consumers shouldn't have any freedom. We're going to be given complete and total control over what we're buying, and we don't have to tiptoe around the hardware manufacturer to do it. This system is going to be the first truly, completely, 100% open platform we've ever been given. The Ouya is going to be literally whatever we want it to be.
While the Ouya isn't going to be anywhere near as powerful as the Wii U, next Xbox and PS4, it isn't going to be a slouch in terms of graphics. nVidia is providing the Ouya with its Tegra 3 graphics processor, which can make even mobile games look amazing. Some games that have been tested on the Ouya are Sonic 4 Episode 2,Dead Trigger and Rayman Jungle Run, and they all look great. For a $99 console, I have absolutely no complaints, and I expect the graphics to improve as the console ages, the way it's supposed to be. With games like Shadowgun confirmed for the Ouya, and, in theory, everything from TegraZone being compatible, the future is looking good.
The attitude of the company making the Ouya, combined with how absolutely unrestricted EVERYTHING about the system is, makes me froth at the mouth to have one. The price is right, the functionality is already there, and the future holds limitless possibilities. The PS4 it ain't, but I honestly don't think it needs to be. June can't get here soon enough.
So, Sony's big PS4 blowout is finally finished, and I've got to say, I've never really felt more lukewarm toward a console release in my life. I don't know if I'm just losing interesting in gaming in general, or if it's the fact that if it's not a Nintendo announcement, then it's usually boring, but I just couldn't get into it. To me, the PS4 seems like literally nothing more than a more powerful PS3, which would usually be fine, but... Why would I want to get something that doesn't do anything new? If graphical power is the only thing to really look forward to, then I honestly couldn't care less. Hell, my favorite console of this past generation (and one of my favorites of all time) was the Wii, so that should tell you how much I really care about photorealism.
The main reason I'm not interested in the PS4 is because of how much the system is going to rely on having a high-speed Internet connection. I have a pretty good connection, but I don't exactly have unlimited bandwidth. Seeing as how ALL backwards compatibility is going to be streamed through the cloud, I've already put that on my list of PS4 features I would literally never use. The problem goes beyond bandwidth, too -- What about the people who can't even get decent Internet connections? Look at the comments in this story. Bandwidth issues, living in countries that don't get good Internet connections, and simply wanting to own the games you purchase -- These are all the same things that I complain about when I hear about 90% of games on the PC. You simply CANNOT go back and play games from the past when something is done in this way, and most of the time, it prevents you from being able to play current games, too. In a sense, I'm almost happy this is seeing the light of day, because maybe people will get angry enough that these horrible restrictions will be done away with even on other platforms. On top of that, just like the DRM that digital content currently has, I'd be willing to bet actual money that these games will all be tied to one account.
Another thing that made me cringe (although, I suppose if it's all optional, then it's not necessarily bad) is how social network-oriented the PS4 is going to be. Hell, the controller even has a "Share" button. I can safely say, without a doubt in my mind, that I don't give two shits whether or not my Facebook friends know what I'm playing every second of the day. Half the time I play my PS3, I'm not even logged into the PlayStation Network as it is. NO ONE CARES what you're playing during the wee hours of the morning. Seriously, no one does. I can't even imagine how many awesome features could have been added to the PS4 if this social networking bull wasn't the main focus of the system. Simple functionality is fine, but wow, Sony is going overboard a bit here. Amazon has even called the PS4 (on Facebook, of all places) the "first social gaming network with meaning." Funny, because I don't see any meaning here.
Anyway, that's my obligatory PS4 post. While the PS4 does indeed seem like the natural evolution of the PS3, I'm perfectly fine with what we already have, and I don't think even half the extras the PS4 will offer will be worth the price of admission. Not only that, but there are far too many restrictions in place here, and since we haven't actually SEEN the console yet, we don't know how much it'll even use physical media or if it'll be mostly digital, which wouldn't surprise me at all at this point. I guess we'll see what the future holds, but I know for a fact that I won't be picking the PS4 up for a long while.