#361 The Second Third eBook Bundle

This spring is a great time for video games players to get some great books to put their reading lists. In March I wrote about Humble Bundle’s third Humble eBook Bundle (Be MOP #353) and today I want to bring to light another eBook Bundle that just recently went live, the Story Bundle’s Video Game Bundle 3.0.

I would bring it up when it went live but my paycheck did not clear until this weekend, which is why I am talking about it now.

I would bring it up when the bundle went live but my paycheck did not clear until this weekend, which is why I am talking about it now.

 

The gaming book titles are behind two paywalls with the purchase of three US dollars you can get the ebook copies of; How to Do Things With Videogames by Ian Bogost, Atari Inc.: Business Is Fun by Marty Goldberg and Curt Vendel, SCROLL: Collection 01-11 by Ray Barnholt, Service Games: The Rise and Fall of Sega by Sam Pettus, Ghosts in the Machine by Lana Polansky and Brendan Keogh, The Gothic Tower & Assorted Interactive Fiction by Ryan Veeder.

 

Its like reading rainbow for nerds 

Its like Reading Rainbow for nerds

 

And -in what I hope to be an internet tradition for other internet bundles websites like this-  if you pay anywhere above $12 you get three more books added to your cart. These are Boss Fight Books #1: EarthBound by Ken Baumann, Minecraft by Daniel Goldberg and Linus Larsson, and The Final Hours of Portal 2 by Geoff Keighley.

I know that you are never to judge a book by it's cover but with a cover like that... I believe there are exceptions to the rules. InstaBuy.

I know that you are never to judge a book by its cover but with a cover like that… I believe there are exceptions to the rules. InstaBuy.

 

And at the checkout you can decide how your money is split between the Authors and the StoryBundle website plus you can also opt to donate 10% of your total to one of the three charities, Mighty Writers, Girls Write Now, or Challenger Center.

In a bit surprising of news I have never heard any of these book titles so I can give any recommendations like I did in the Humble eBook Bundle but I am going to buy it and have it downloaded to my Kindle and smartphone to serve as something to do while waiting in line for the panel talks at this year’s PAX East.


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#360 2048′s evil lure of ‘just one more game’

Last night, after work I meant to crack into some of the new games I have been meaning to get into for this month but I ended up playing a fan made Pokemon version of 2048. Pokemon 2048 is just like a normal game of 2048 but it is much better because it has Pokemon in it. (See Pokemon Snap)

It is just like a normal game of 2048 but it is much better because it has Pokemon in it. (See Pokemon Snap)

2048 is a great game of resource management because the higher scoring tiles will give you more points you don’t use them as much as the low scoring tiles and all the while the higher points take up valuable space which is something you have balance and plan around towards the end of the game.

 

I thought that I would play a quick game of 2048 while checking on my email and various other things I do after work, acting as warm up for my other more complex games.

The problem is that because this game is short, sweet, and based on random number generators I got suckered into reloading after facing the game over screen for ‘just one more game’. Then BAM! I check the time and it ends up being far too late into the night to start the game I was planning on that night.

My apologizes Assassin's Creed, you were just no match the challenge of beating my high-score in a matching tile game

My apologizes Assassin’s Creed, you were just no match the challenge of beating my high-score in a matching tile game. Next time it will be different

 

This is not the first game that robbed a night of and I would to call out the game like, Team Fortress 2, Binding of Isaac, 2048 and I am sure many other titles out there that lures you in with a quick game, and simple controls but it usually ends up sucking out of your play time, a valuable and precious resource now that I have a full-time job and responsibilities like the rest of the adult working force.

I wonder if anyone else out there has the same problem of choosing the simple and quick game as a way to start your dedicated play time and end up playing and replaying the same game into the night. If so leave a comment, I can not be the only one with this problem.

 


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#359 Games from my Backlog for the month of April

Well it is April and just like the the waning and waxing of the moon it is time to choose few more games from my backlog to focus on playing throughout the new month.

Yesterday I spent my April fools day watching and rewatching the long-awaited update to Homestarrunner.com and marathoning through all of the best Homestarrand Strongbad skits, reliving some of my favorite early internet memories.

the new skit even came with unlockable content that you have to click around and wait for after long enough.

the new skit even came with unlockable content that you have to click around and wait for after long enough.

Although I forgot to update the little box on the right hand side of the site, Last month I played Super Mario 3D Land and Serious Sam 3: BFE (Be MOP #346).  I wrote about both of them in March, one in a positive light about how much fun I had with a new Mario game, while and breaking down what exactly I found enjoyable in the game (Be MOP #346). The other post shedding light on a major gaming character flaw of mine when it comes to playing First Person Shooter games that prevented me from playing past the first ten minutes of Serious Sam (Be MOP #352). Spring cleaning is just around the corner and I am going to need to keep an eye out on those special sea sickness prevention bands because I feel like bad that I could not even get out of the tutorial level.

This month I am going back to three games for my month quota, for the AAA title is the first Assassin’s Creed. I picked up this and the sequel on steam ages ago and it was one of the gaming series that I have been wanting to get through since the release of Assassin IV and no time is like the present to get started.

"No time like the present" eh heh time joke

“No time like the present” eh heh time joke

 

 

For the two token indie games I decided to go with a game that I have heard nothing but good thing around the internet, The Swapper a 2D platformer that centers around using clones of yourself to get through the stage’s puzzles. Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams another 2d platformer that I heard is quite difficult to get through and as my long-standing relationship with Super Meat Boy, They Bleed Pixels, and Cloudberry Kingdom any game that advertise as being a super hard platforming game is almost guaranteed a on spot on my Steam library.

 


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#358 The Official Origin Story of my Steam Account

It is the end of the month of March and with this an important gaming milestone, my third anniversary of joining Steam.

A few months ago I was planning to write this post on the birthday BUT because of a touch of dyslexia I confused the 13 for a 31, which is why I am writing this post now.

A few months ago I was planning to write this post on the birthday BUT because of a touch of dyslexia I confused the 13th for a 31st, which is why I am writing this post now.

 

Since my three years of downloading Valve’s Steam 200+ games collection and hundreds and hundreds of hours of gameplay on record. With the celebration I thought now would be a good time to spin the yarn and tell all of you how I started my adventures through  Steam.

It all started with my first Pax East back in 2o11. At the time my gaming experience was limited to World of Warcraft and just that. It was also the only game I played for years and because of my barebones laptop that I could afford on my early college student’s budget.

But going into this expo for the first time with my mother and younger brother just completed their amazing story with Uber Entertainment and one of our family’s pet chickens. It is a really long and epic read that you can catch it all on my mother’s blog found HERE, HEREHERE, and HERE.

The TLDR version is: It started with my brother asking a game developer for a few gaming keys for some friends who had a series of unfortunate events and it ended with one of our chickens starring in a video game.

 I would like to see anyone else try to top that story.

I would like to see anyone else try to top that story.

 

Well that series of events happened and while I was exploring alone on the expo floor I stumbled upon Uber Entertainment’s booth. dispite knowing nothing about the game Super Monday Night combat, beyond the fact of my brother’s excitement to be a part of it, and being a good older brother I bought a digital key  for the game, and if memory served I bought the deluxe key with an exclusive Penny Arcade inspired Cardboard Tube Samurai skin for the assassin character in the game.

A common practice back in the day. Image from: http://mondaynightcombat.wikia.com/

One of my favorite skins in videogames.
Image from: http://mondaynightcombat.wikia.com/

 

After the everything was done and I was back home I followed the instructions on the card and in order for me to redeem and play this game I needed to download and install the steam client. Granted I did not play much of it because my barebones laptop started to overheat the moment the game asked it to run the game in a frame rate above single digits.

From there it is just history, I want to take this time to say thank you to PAX East, Uber Entertainment, and my little brother for opening of the gateway to a brand new world of PC gaming full of free games, charity driven bundles, and some of the biggest discounts in major AAA game titles I have ever seen.

 

Here's to many more great years of gaming

Here’s to many more years of great gaming

 


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#357 Heroes I want to see in Heroes of the Storm

Blizzard had a busy week, with the launching of their first expansion for Diablo 3, Reaper of Souls. On top of their impressive launch party but Blizzard also announced that Tyrael will be one of the playable heroes in the their newest game Heroes of the Storm.

This is great news because not only are Blizzard taking a leaf out of Nintendo’s book, Building hype for Super Smash Brawl, by announcing segments of their new game in line with a major release of one of their other gaming titles. But it also means I was completely called it two weeks ago when I  exposed Blizzard’s “No game is an Island” marketing plan (Be MOP #350)

Nothing makes a blogger happy than correctly calling out a multi million dollar entertainment company's marketing plan.

Nothing makes a blogger happy than correctly calling out a multi million dollar entertainment company’s marketing plan.

 

I could go into more marketing material but today, this Friday, I want to create a list for some of the Heroes I want to see in the game. Because the best thing about this game than say any of it’s other competition in the A.R.T.S/Moba genre is that Blizzard already has three expansive universe that they could continuously harvest from for years to come.

One (or all of the) Dragon Aspects from World of Warcraft.

These were my favorite characters from the Warcraft universe, they were there from the beginning with the creation of the Well of Eternity and they fought besides the players against Deathwing at the end of Cataclysm.

Plus how cool it would be incorporating powers like time manipulation into the game.

Plus how cool it would be incorporating powers like time manipulation into the game.

Deckard Cain from Diablo

This character has been an established character since the original Diablo and while playing through Diablo 3 for the first time I felt a bit anticlimactic killing him off in the first Act, it would be cool seeing an old fragile man going 1v1 against Diablo himself on the battlefield.

I could totally see him play as a support/specialist

I could totally see him play as a support/specialist

 

A heroes from Blizzard’s still super secret T.I.T.A.N MMO

We know this project is eventually coming and even someone with no background in marketing can tell you that the moment project T.I.T.A.N is announced or hits the beta that Blizzard will be releasing a special HotS hero from that series. We now the game is in the works, it is better just to get it out of the way now.

 

An Innkeeper from World of Warcraft

I want something like an Inn Keeper in Heroes of the Storm, because it would be hilarious to see a game full of powerful heroes and villains to see one normal NPC in the heroes roster and fighting besides aliens, demons and important world leaders.

If they really wanted to connect it to a franchise they could have it be a new Hearthstone character.

If they really wanted to connect it to a franchise they could have it be a new Hearthstone character.

 

Those are just my pick for additional heroes to add to the game, but I want to know what you think, What characters from Blizzards games do you want to see in Heroes of the Storm? Leave a comment down below I would love to hear want other people want from this game.

And Blizzard, if you are reading this, I can not wait to see you at this year’s PAX East.

 

 


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#356 Finally Finding Free Time to watch Free to Play

This weekend I found some time t0 sit down with popcorn and soda  to watch Valve’s recent documentary of the competitive side of Dota 2, Free to Play.

The few bit I will say about the documentary, coming from someone who is not  a film buff at all, is that it was a good film. As someone who had no experience with following the professional circuit of Dota 2 the filmmakers did it’s job of drawing me into the story, keeping up suspense on what will happen next in the tournament, and getting me emotionally invested in the people towards the end.

I do not know what makes a good documentary, but I can recognize a good film when I see one.

I do not know what makes a good documentary, but I can recognize a good film when I see one.

 

While watching it many thoughts several important things stood out at me while watching the film. First I liked the clever use of the document’s title and how Valve implemented the various DLC packs that features the various professional players the documentary focused on throughout the story.

It was also comforting that see the early history esports, how popular the idea of a professional gamer is in the rest of the world, although I understand that the depiction of how beloved esports are in Asia might a bit bias for the sake of the film.

More importantly it looks like this is another step towards validating the idea of professional videogame players to be considered athletes.

I mentioned before that Riot Games has been doing this with their TV segments by inviting those gamer to the commentary decks to deconstruct the previous match fight by fight and showing the behind the scenes segments of everyone’s favorite teams very similar to what Football and Basketball shows are doing. (Be MOP #276)

Just recently League teams and Tournament Coordinators putting money in their own PR YouTube videos but I wonder if this will become a norm to have these are done just to prove that these tournaments are legitimate sport to the rest of the world.

Either way I am glad that products like these videos had enough support to warrant the cost of production and editing for full length features and promotional shorts and I would not be surprised to see these video aired on proper T.V stations, or possibly seeing the birth of a TV channel all about e-sports.

 

I’m still holding out for the creation of an eESPN sister channel.

 

 


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#355 The Sin of Exclusive Content in Multiplatform Games

Watch_Dogs, in preparation for launch, released a video of the exclusive content PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 players will receive with their cop of the game. The video in question can be found HERE and it advertises 60 minutes of non-cosmetic content and gameplay. This is one of greatest sins on the console side of the videogame industry. We are out of the mid to late 90′s console war, there is no need to make content exclusive to one console or another.

I swear I don't have a personal vendetta against this game, it is just brings up a lot of problems I have with the videogame world.

After reading by last post about Watch_Dogs (Be MOP #348) one could claim that I am bias about this game. But I swear I don’t have a personal vendetta against this game, it is just brings up a lot of problems I have with the videogame world.

 

 

I discovered this problem with Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham Asylum PS3 only Joker DLC, it was continued with the launch of Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed IV and peaked with Watch_Dogs. All of these games have content exclusive DLC only for the PlayStation version of those multiplatform games. I was going to write a top ten blog post about the worst videogame sins and this one was going to take the cake  and rightly so because it is holding content back for the highest bidder.

Because I bought this on Steam I will never be able to play as the Joker.

Because I bought this on Steam I will never be able to play as the Joker.

 

I know that back in the day (read as Generation 5 and 6) the specs on the different types of consoles were so different and varied that it made sense to have the few multiplatform games was going be different and varied but when the hardware between the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 is so similar that there is no reason to hold back content for one console or another.

I am not delusional, I know the importance exclusive gaming franchise like Mario, God of War, and Halo are to a console allure but holding back content on a game that comes out for all systems, from WiiU to the PC, is unacceptable.

Another great example of this is the recent Metal Gear V game and  how the game advertised an exclusive Raiden and Deja Vu campaign of  for both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 respectively.

I could see what they were going with paying homage to the classic PlayStation game but it still doesn't excuse it from happening

I could see what they were going with paying homage to the classic PlayStation game but it still doesn’t excuse it from happening

 

These tactics are done for the sake of marketing, it is holding segments of videogame content hostage from the paying consumer. As a big Batman fan, if I wanted the full Batman Arkham Asylum gaming experience I would be forced to buy a PlayStation 3, neglecting my frankly better PC gaming laptop, to play as the clown prince of crime himself. I feel bad for the hardcore Metal Gear fans because if they wanted the entire MGSV experience I would have to buy two current generation consoles and two separate versions of the same game.

Again, what kills me is that this is all and only done for the sake of marketing and favoritism.  After spending a weekend I could think of no good reason to continue this practice, it is done for the sake of greed and greed alone without a second thought for the consumers who did not luck out on getting the one gaming system with all the exclusive DLC. That is why it is one of my most hated sin in the videogame industry.

 


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