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The announcement of BioShock 2's delay has definitely pissed me off. It was one of the games that I was dying to get my hands on this holiday. After a recent visit to my local GameStop, I saw this preorder list in a big binder. Pictured above, I discreetly took a picture with my super sweet cell phone that has GameStop listing BioShock 2's release date as January 4th, 2010. So, it is missing the holidays by one and a half weeks. Kind of sucks, but, also made me kind of happy.

Happy, that is, if this date is indeed correct. At least it is not too far away from the holiday season. Just thought I'd share my find in case you guys hadn't already seen or heard about it.

However...I decided to put my unique, one of a kind, web research talents to use. Amazon.com, which is selling it for $3 off if you preorder it (apparently), has a published January 31st release date on their website. I took a picture for your pleasure.



I scampered over to Best Buy's website to see what they believed to be this highly anticipated game's release. They were a little behind, however, and still published a November 3rd, 2009 release date. C'mon guys, get with the program LOL M I RITE?? Here's a picture of their fail:



So, what's it going to be? I'd like to go with GameStop's prediction because it's the earliest! I wonder what makes retailers publish whatever the fuck release date they feel like? Is it wishy-washy-ness from the publisher or what?

This is exactly what I hate about the preorder business. All these retailers want to make money now, so they'll throw up release dates for whatever date they want. I mean, God of War III has been preoderable (from GameStop at least) for a long time, and the release date just keeps getting pushed back.

Just also want to make it noted: All pictures were captured today, July 17th, 2009. Seems a little early to be loosing your hair over a game that won't come out in 6 months lol?

Anyway, I am excited to see who wins the battle. Pretty sure Best Buy already lost. Keep the practice, guys!
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Okay, well, not really. But, in case you did not know, there is a wonderful lady who has taken it upon herself to write books in the Gears of War universe! I stumbled across the first book (pictured on the left) while I was looking for Discworld novels at Borders that I had not yet read (which is a tough feat... I've read pretty much all of them). Having played Gears of War and Gears of War 2 and loving the crap out of both experiences, I had to buy this book. I finished this book four days later because it was [/i]that[/i] good. It was like my Harry Potter experience all over again. A book that just couldn't be put down! And, it offered a pretty awesome insight to the main characters.

If you like to read or if you like the Gears of War universe, pick this shit up! The best part is... there's a second book coming! From author Karen Traviss, the second book will only retail at $15 according to the press release on the official Gears of War website and will be available on July 28th.

The first book is a prequel to the first game, although the very beginning didn't seem to match up. It must have been a prequel to Gears of War 2 because in the book, Fenix has already been broken out of jail and his association with Hoffman is edgy because of what happened. The second book will pick up where Gears of War 2 left off as Fenix and his buddies escort survivors from Jacinto to a safe haven.

I am anxiously awaiting the announcement of Gears of War 3. It has to be coming!
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So, I always hear people bitch about GameStop's stickers on their used games and the shit residue they leave when they unsuccessfully try to peel the buggers off. So, I decided to create a little how-to video to show these kids how to remove these stickers because, to be honest, I am so sick and tired of reading and hearing about how GameStop sucks ass because they put tons of stickers all over their shit. I am mostly sick and tired about the bashing because plenty other retailers do it too.. Play N Trade, for example, uses stickers the size of a pornstar's dick on their games.

So, without further ado, here is the video how-to.



There you have it. Now you know how to remove stickers without using chemicals like Goo Gone and if you are too lazy to do this and still complain, you should be dressed in a cheddar suit and thrown in a pit of rabid rats.








Power in My Hands, part 2 is the continuation of an inFAMOUS fan-fiction short story, viewing an event in Empire city through the eyes of an EMT who viewed himself as morally sound... and still does... for now. Power in My Hands, part I can be viewed here: http://www.destructoid.com/blogs/zgerhard/power-in-my-hands-136161.phtml


In dire circumstances, boys become men. We do things we told ourselves we never would. Then, our dire circumstance arrives and we headstrong individuals stick to our guns. We stick to our guns because the circumstance is not quite dire - only the closest we have come so far. My threshold broke last night.

I dumped the Reaper's body in the river. I had no limitations. Everyone saw. Nobody cared. I just hope I have made a bigger impact to these peoples' lives. This thug won't even be remembered by his own mother.

The AK-47 that Mr. Light Socket gave me hung over my shoulder. I decided it was a necessity to survive and vowed I would not let the power overcome me. The power, the control of whether a person lives or dies was nothing to take lightly. My patients weren't disturbed by the weapon's presence; I still felt uncomfortable wielding it though.

With my feet dangling off the edge of my gas station's roof, I watched all the citizens buzzing about, wandering with no purpose, like college students, except there was no party down the block.

I pulled out my bottle of water. Clean, drinkable water was almost impossible to find now. I stocked up on as much as I could, taking from the river before the people inevitably soiled it. Now I am no better, though, polluting the river with the scrumptious corpse of a thug. In dire circumstances, you become someone you didn't plan to be. I took a big swig of the luke-warm water. It was refreshing nonetheless. I screwed the cap on, but some how managed to catapult it out of my hands to the ground below. Fuck.

I hung from the roof, letting my legs dangle before dropping. I made it a point not to roll, not sure how my new friend AK-47 would feel about that. Instead, I bounced awkwardly forward and slid an uncomfortable bit on my palms.

"Sweet!" I heard a grizzly voice behind me. An old man, a... passerby, for lack of a better word, grabbed my bottle. I got to my feet as fast as I could.

"That's mine," I said as sternly as possible. I was not very intimidating, however, even as I glared coldly into the old man's blue eyes.

"I found it," the old man replied. "There are no rules anymore."

Attired with my AK-47 apparently did not make me an intimidating image either. With one swift upper torso jolt, I swung the rifle from my back into my hands. The man turned and ran as fast as his run-down body would let him. Empire City had gone so far down the shitter, these crazies would put their life on the life for a drink of water. We really were in the animal kingdom now. He could have just asked, I thought. I would've given him a sip. Instead, I raised my rifle and took careful aim as best as I knew how and rested my finger on the trigger.

One heartbeat later, I lowered my vehicle of judgment. What the hell was I doing? I was an EMT. A medic playing doctor. I wanted to help these people. That was my goal and here I am, ready to pull the trigger and plow a common scavenger to death with bullets. He's just trying to get by like everyone else. Fuck.

"You're a fucking pussy," a witness yelled over. "I would've wasted the fucker," he added and laughed. Questionable people walked the streets night and day, and I was not surprised. Most people in this city would not even hesitate before pulling the trigger. Survival of the fittest was the primary law now. Down on the streets was a questionable place to be for a long period of time. Unless, of course, you wanted to mingle with these questionable people. My rooftop clinic was safe - for the most part. Most peoples' bad ideas vaporized when they spotted the sick and wounded patients resting. The Reapers were the only bastards so far heartless enough to attack it. Still, I carried my new found toy just in case circumstances changed. Anything was possible now. For instance, I can lay waste to this prick calling me a pussy. o, now was not a dire circumstance. Now was a time to show my true character. I help those in need. I let my guard down and walked away from the street punk. I watched him walk away from my rooftop. I wonder if he will live to see tomorrow? No one ever knew.

I had scavenged a pad lock and key from a now defunct hardware store. Most people hit the grocery stores first. I used the lock to secure a box - a box I filled with bottles of water for myself and my patients. I had it all rationed out, but this recent theft had me digging in earlier than I wanted. Taking this water felt wrong. It was for my patients primarily. IT was like tapping into your kid's college fund for that much needed vacation. Still, if I didn't make it, none of these poor bastards would either. Tapping into their... our water supply early was a necessary evil. Damn, I feel important.

I crawled on an empty cot and listened to my patients' coughing and labored breathing. In time, they'd make it okay. I knew that for now. I hugged my AK-47 like a teddy bear. You know, just in case.

It took a while to get used to sleeping outside - especially among my own patients. It would be a while more until I got used to sleeping with a tool of destruction. Didn't even know how many bullets I had left. But, if whoever I pointed it at didn't know either, did it really matter?

Barely fallen asleep, I heard a person climbing up on my roof. It had happened before, but in light of recent events, I got a little nervous and clutched my rifle, pretending to be fully asleep. I listened intently to my intruder's movements - breathing quickly and moving just so. The person made his way over to me faster than I anticipated and clutched my shoulder. To my surprise, that's all he clutched and he shook me while urgently whispering "doctor!"

"Yes?" I asked, fully opening my eyes. I recognized him as a previous patient. A scavenger had broken a few of his fingers and knocked him out cold while stealing a loaf of bread from him. I invited him to come see me any time he needed help. Almost regret that invitation now.

"A man, a man needs help!" He raised his volume and pointed with his crooked fingers. "Just two blocks down!"

I shushed him. "There are sick people here."

"Sorry," he urgently whispered. "Please, come!" It wasn't unusual for people ot request my help late at night - but every time I wanted to tell them they got the wrong guy. Kind of hard to fake being one of the only doctor-capable persons in a five block radius. But, after a few moments of being awake and seeing our desperate surroundings, I got a second wind for I remembered why I did what I did.

I rolled out of my cot, awkwardly managing the AK-47 at my side. "Lead the way," I said.

"Name's Simon," he whispered before taking off. I guess I should've remembered, but keeping a distance from my patients was a priority. I had enough to deal with; I didn't need to make friends with dying men.

The streets were just as dead at night as they were during the day. Garbage littered the streets and the citizens of Empire City were littered among it. It was all right, though, because everyone ignored you. It wasn't like before the blast when every homeless person begged you for anything and wouldn't shut up until you gave them something, anything. No one really had anything to give anymore.

I jogged behind Simon, dodging and hurdling small piles of trash. I could hear the wailing of a man in the distance.

As I got closer, I saw the figure, the wounded man. He was lying on his back clutching his abdomen. Many stabbing victims came across my path and all for the same reason: someone wanted something that didn't belong to them and they wanted it real bad. Problems arose when the other party involved refused to give up the object of interested, most commonly food or water. I was almost in such a situation.

I mentally prepared myself as I hurried down the last block. I saw the man grabbing his gut and assumed an abdominal stab wound. Stop the bleeding - I had old t-shirts neatly ripped into squares. Clean, for the most part. Cleaner than anything I could get a hold of now. Back in the day, that was enough - stop the bleeding and let the surgeon at the hospital worry about removing the weapon and closing the reopened wound. But, hospitals didn't exist here anymore. Had to seal the wound as soon as possible and hope for the best. Some made it, some were unlucky - a disruption in the bowls was especially lethal without the proper resources.

I quickly knelt down by the man upon arriving by his side and immediately recognized him. Thief. Without my water bottle - most likely what put him in this situation. Ironic. At least my AK-47 would have been a quick death. If I could aim.

For the first time in my entire career, I did not want to help. I stared at the old man. A broken bottle protruded from his stomach and he was in a puddle of his own blood. He might make it, but my will to interfere in any way had been sucked out of me.

"My bottle of water was stolen twice, wasn't it?" I sternly asked, my consideration for his life thrown out the window. It was a big bottle of water, and there was no way an old man could walk down the street for a long time without anyone attempting to claim it for their own. Unless he hid it, which, by the looks of it, he did not do. His eyes opened wide and his wails for help diminished. He looked terrified for he recognized me and recognized his mistake; to have stolen from the one man who could help you. You watch your neighbor's back and they watch yours. That was a ground rule of society. As soon as you made the decision to only be out for yourself, we became a part of the animal kingdom. But, like before, I again remembered why I did what I did. Someone had to keep the civility.

I reached for my old t-shirt bandages in my messenger bag and my hand bumped into my rifle. I revisited last night. I remembered how shocked I was to suddenly have this power over human life in the palm of my hands. As I pulled the broken bottle out of the man's abdomen and padded his wound, I pondered the choice I had just made.

Control over whether or not someone lives or dies was no longer new to me. Turns out, I've had such power in my hands for a long time.







zgerhard
5:49 AM on 06.21.2009

I hate Jack Thompson. I hate Cooper Lawrence. I hate dolts who think violent video games skewer kids' perception of reality. That's your job, Mom and Dad. And my favorite part is that everyone and their mothers gets up in arms about violent video games and the images on the video game cover boxes.

Why is it then that I see this upon going to CNN.com to get news? A place I have been getting news since I was a freshman in high school nine years ago.

I saw this heartwarming image...



Kind of reminiscent of the Left 4 Dead cover, isn't it?

Why isn't CNN being attacked for this audacious display of violence just as much as video games are being bashed? At least I have the choice not to purchase a game if I think it looks violent. Going to CNN.com for news... well, I didn't really have a choice. It was just BAM! The bloodied hand of a dying protester in Iran. Awesome.

One of the reasons I am repulsed by this image is because I know this is real. It is similar to when those gunmen attacked in India and the pictures of bloodied train stations were posted on this same news website. My parents did a good job of making me understand the difference between fake and real. I am a pacifist in all regards, I hate guns and weapons and I oppose warfare and all that good junk. However, I love killing bitches in Call of Duty, Counter-Strike, BioShock, Mass Effect, Grand Theft Auto, and such violent "killing machine trainer" video games. You know, because pushing X to reload is incredibly similar to reloading an actual AK-47.

I am just incredibly peeved that parents can relinquish their responsibilities, blame video games, especially when images like this are posted on easily accessible news websites that kids most likely regularly visit for research and info for classes.

Now, I am not that upset at the picture - I could care less - I am not that uptight. It's just the conflict of interest in the censorship. I hate it.

/rant
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So, two Swedes (the only Swedes who have a game show in that over thar country) managed to poke designers of StarCraft 2 with some interesting questions at DreamHack.

As I was listening to this interview (mostly because I am fortunate enough to be fluent in Swedish:P) I was again reminded why I love every game this company develops. It has something to do with the "we won't release the game until its ready" but more... it has to do with their passion to put together an experience to tell a story. The designers reminded the crowd again and again how the multiplayer part of the game was separate from the campaign and that the campaign had almost zero relation to multiplayer: playing the campaign would not prepare you for Battle.net and the campaign even allowed for features and such that would never make its way into multiplayer because they were so intent on creating an experience that could tell a story. And, folks, that's one of the reasons yours truly likes to play videogame: the story.

The heroes that were introduced in WarCraft 3 were an awesome addition to the RTS series. I am saddened, however, to know that they will not introduce this same hero system into StarCraft 2. They actually intentionally avoided it and, according to the interview, did it so to better allow battles of a grand scale and allow multiple battles to take place in a more balanced setting. The designers mentioned that when the hero was involved in a battle in WarCraft 3, the focus was always on the battle with the hero, and the hero pretty much decided the win. They wanted large battles in StarCraft 2 and they wanted multiple battles to take place. With a hero system, this would not happen as the focus would always shift to the battle(s) involved with the hero. I think.

One of the Swede interviewers mentioned that they were disappointed by WarCraft 3's soundtrack because it sounded too synth-like and lacked a melody. Good news on the front: the designers confirmed that StarCraft 2 will have full orchestra recordings for an epic soundtrack. This is pretty sweet. I smell GameStop pre-order bonus!

Blizzard is releasing each race's campaign as a separate game. When this was first announced, people all over were calling shenanigans that Blizzard just wanted to make as much money as possible a la Lords of the Rings trilogy. However, these lead designers explained that when they were initially creating the missions to tell Jim Raynor's story, the missions and the story grew, and it grew so large that there was no way they could pack it all in one game. Now, the multiplayer will be ready to rock upon the first chapter's release for all those hungry for Battle.net, but whether or not changes will be implemented into the multiplayer with each successive chapter is not yet known. The designers claim that they will have to assess the community's response to the first game before they can make any decisions. Good answer!

The beta is "not even quarters" away the designers say, and they added that their goal is to have the game release this year. I am crossing my fingers. This game has been on the to-do list for way too long. Eleven years to be exact.

The full video interview can be seen here: http://www.press2play.tv/Spel/vrldsexklusiv-starcraft-2inter-802.aspx

Yes, there are subtitles!

So, definitely saving up for a new Alienware laptop so that I can play this and Diablo III. Excitement commence!