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Windows 10 Review for Dummies
By Ivory_Soul
Posted on 08/11/15
After all these years, and growing up with Windows 3.1, I have seen an entire evolution of computers and software. Touch screens and large resolutions were a pipe dream just 15 years ago. Now it's the norm. Going from a Packard Bell (yes, before HP) that couldn't run 3D Ultra Mini...


oblivion437 oblivion437's Blog
Leland Yee - Busted!
Posted on Thursday, July 2 2015 @ 17:55:33 PST

Leland Yee, famous for being the version of Jack Thompson with the ability to create law and not merely the rescinded ability to practice it, has pled guilty to racketeering.

The San Jose Mercury News has the scoop.  One could spout off at length about the temptations of power, how tyrants are the worst hypocrites and so on, but what's most salient to me is the sheer scale and audacity of it.  While calling for gun control he smuggled firearms.  While calling for government control on video games for their alleged corrupting influences he himself was living a lifestyle straight out of Grand Theft Auto though at least most of Grand Theft Auto's protagonists wouldn't have been so brazen about it.

There's not much more to say.  A Jimbo Bakker of the left, that one.  Not to be missed nor remembered except as the punch line to a joke which goes something like 'hypocrisy thy name is'.

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The Burst of the Narcissistic Hipster Indie Bubble
Posted on Sunday, June 21 2015 @ 13:57:26 PST

In the 'art-game' feeding frenzy of the post-millenial years one name stood out above Blow, Fish, Cage, and even the Chinese Room for unmitigated egotism, pretention and vacuousness.  Work devoid of original ideas or meaning, work which was all glitz and self-righteous stridence and no actual substance whatsoever.  I speak of Tale of Tales.

Their most recent 'game' was a title called Sunset, which sold something 4,000 copies including the Kickstarter backers.  It's another entry in the vapid walking sim genre so actually talking about it is kind of pointless.  What isn't pointless is mentioning that it's the sort of game with no chance of profitability in the age of Steam's refund policy.  Their announcement post (Github mirror link) was a curious mixture of self-congratulation and misguided excuse.

"In its 12 year existence Tale of Tales has always teetered on the edge of sustainability, combining art grants and commercial revenue to fund our exploration of video games as an expressive medium. We considered it spreading our dependencies. And that was fine, because we assumed this situation to be stable. All we really wanted was the opportunity to create."

Translation: We never once produced a single commercially viable product.  We have no idea how this relates to our current predicament.

"Our desire to reach a wider audience was not motivated by a need for money but by a feeling of moral obligation."

Translation: A moral obligation to pay our creditors.

"The drying up of funding for artistic videogames in Belgium (an issue beyond the scope of this article) did make satisfying this desire more urgent."

Translation: The government stopped handing out free money for things no one wanted.  This meant we had to learn how to do business for once.  We failed.

"No problem, we thought."

Translation: We're screwed.

"Nevertheless, even within Sunset’s carefully constructed context of conventional controls, three-act story and well defined activities, we deeply enjoyed the exploration of themes, the creation of atmosphere, the development of characters, and so on."

Translation: We did the same thing as every time before, but with the additional pretense that it was worth something.

"Abandoning some of our more extreme artistic ambitions actually made work easier and more enjoyable. And that’s when we should have realized that we were on the wrong path.Because whatever we enjoy is never, ever, what the gaming masses enjoy."

Translation: If we created something approximating actual gameplay we thought we would make something idiots would buy on word of paid-for mouth.  But creating compelling gameplay is hard work and we've never gone in for that. We're so special and precious and perfect.  It's everyone else's fault we don't know what we're doing!  Those dirty peasants should have done what their betters in the media that we hired to advance our efforts told them to, bought our not-game in droves and gone back to tending their turnips!

"In the end, we spent more money than we had on the production of Sunset."

Translation: What's book keeping?

"A small group of people clearly deeply appreciates what we do and we curse the economic system that doesn’t allow us to be pleased with that."

Translation: Damn capitalism!  Damn it for not letting us make something practically no one wanted and paying us to do it!  Damn capitalism in its most unregulated form for making this entire industry possible in the first place!

"Being wrong will set you free"

Translation: Last one out turns off the lights and has to explain the situation to our auditors.  Ta!

"We studied successful games and applied our findings to the design of Sunset."

Translation: We learned all the wrong lessons and refuse to admit error.

"We spent a lot of money on a PR company who got us plenty of press, took some work and worries off our shoulders, and found us other marketing opportunities. But it didn’t help sales one bit."

Translation: Hiring a drunken lout like Leigh Alexander to shill for us was not the best idea.  Also the hipster press is nowhere near as relevant as their delusions of grandeur would lead them to believe.

"We even took out an advertisement on Rock, Paper, Shotgun, where we figured the people most interested in Sunset would be gathered."

Translation: We did no research whatsoever on our audience, didn't bother to find out where they went, what other media they consumed, etc.  We went with a very shallow narrative of how advertising and capitalism works and hoped for the best.

"They must all use AdBlock because that had no effect whatsoever."

Translation: It's everyone else's fault!  Not ours!

"We worked hard on presenting a gentler Tale of Tales to the public. Which basically meant that Michaël was forbidden to talk in public and Auriea often just smiled at the camera, parroting words whispered in her ears by communication coaches. Didn’t make a difference."

Translation: The few people who actually cared about our work hadn't quite forgotten what utter fools we'd made of ourselves.

"So now we are free. We don’t have to take advice from anybody anymore."

Translation: We're flat broke and our business is ruined.

Sadly this is as close to humility as they will ever get.  The people who wrote this don't do humble.  There's enough irrelevant has-beens and primadonnas out there already so if they really are on their way good for the industry.  Maybe Clifford the Liar can join them.

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A Feast of Crow Part I: Fallout 4
Posted on Friday, June 19 2015 @ 15:45:45 PST

A Feast of Crow

    So I've made some ostentatious claims about Fallout's development over the past few years here on GR.  In the "Why Has Bethesda not Made an Announcement?" piece I presented several possible theses, only one of which is confirmed, another two still possible and the rest are all wrong.  To sum it up, the reason they didn't announce it sooner was they want short PR cycles as they're cheaper.  Skyrim did Call of Duty numbers, before Call of Duty's numbers started to flag, so they're fast reaching a point where they don't need long pre-release info drips to stir up little campfires of interest out in the wilderness.  The game was never apparently in any kind of significant development trouble so whatever Ferret Baudoin's role is for the project it's not significant enough to cause them harm.  The 'possible' items include the semi-confirmed engine overhaul/improvement (which had nothing to do with the actual timing of the announcement so while true it's actually nugatory) and the cross-gen support.  The 'Sandra Reed' claims have been all-but-completely falsified so I admit I was almost certainly wrong.
    A bit of Google digging found an old list of predictions:
-Bethesda will not announce it for some time yet, spring at the very earliest
This turned out to be true.
-The game will be more than two years off when the announcement date comes
False.  It's coming less than six months after announcement.
-The game will be borderline unplayable at launch
-The plot, themes, continuity and writing will be an example of the flip side of the infinite monkeys theorem
-If DLC addresses the problems, it will only address the most obvious and glaring ones, leaving deeper ones unaddressed, as in Fallout 3.
-In the long run PC users will get the best game
Confirmed already - the Fallout 4 GECK will come for the PC, mods may be ported to the XBOne (the PS4 is an open question as of now) but the best way to use them/optimize usage will always be on a platform where the end user has the requisite degree of control and consoles will never be it.
-Bethesda will build atop F3 and Skyrim, not New Vegas, and the game will be worse for it
Technically unconformed but all signs sadly point to it.
-Obsidian in general, or New Vegas developers in particular, will in no way be involved and the game will be worse for it
Not confirmed but very likely.
-Pete Hines will lie about it
He hasn't yet.
-Todd Howard will lie about it even more
He already has.

So I made ten predictions in the list.  Of them, some are still indeterminate but of the rest only one was false.

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The Witcher 3 Patch 1.06 Out Now
Posted on Monday, June 15 2015 @ 18:32:31 PST

The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt has seen the release of a new patch, 1.06.  It contains five bug fixes listed below.  For GoG users the new patch is a cumulative 1.02-1.06 patch instead of the smaller individual patches released until 1.05.&nb...   read more...

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Obsidian Entertainment Cofounder Departs
Posted on Tuesday, June 9 2015 @ 10:04:00 PST

On June 9, at 7:08 AM Chris Avellone announced his departure from Obsidian via his Twitter account.  The departure comes suddenly and is unexpected.  His writing was instrumental in lifting Obsidian's games above their technically troub...   read more...

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I Shouldn't, But I Will
Posted on Thursday, June 4 2015 @ 13:37:34 PST

Music: Kid Charlemagne - Cover by Kyle Bronsdon

One can complain about one's least favorite news outlets for good reason.  The New York Times still hasn't repudiated Walter Duranty, The Washington Post hasn't done anyt...   read more...

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I'm not Looking Forward to Fallout 4
Posted on Tuesday, June 2 2015 @ 13:01:39 PST

So Fallout 4 was sorta announced. I'm honestly not looking forward to it.  On the one hand more Fallout.  On the other it's almost certain to be more Bethesda Fallout.  Fallout 3 was, for what it was, a competently executed if ...   read more...

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The Age of Mutual Bottlenecks or: The Downgrade Story
Posted on Thursday, May 21 2015 @ 03:04:53 PST

    In all the talk of graphical downgrades no one seems much preoccupied with 'why?'.  Why build something and then proceed to tear it down, piece by piece, in the hope that ever more diminished expectatio...   read more...

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Old Before Their Time
Posted on Monday, April 13 2015 @ 13:49:44 PST

Bloodborne's apparently successful launch (see note below) has yielded two interesting points, for me.  One is that it's being hailed as the PS4's savior (see note below) and the other is that it seems to have serious...   read more...

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A Look Into the Shady World of Stolen Content Scam Apps
Posted on Sunday, April 12 2015 @ 09:38:19 PST

In the world of game advice there are basically two models - free and premium.  Premium usually comes in the form of paid advice consultation, subscription services or (increasingly obsolete) print guides.  Free comes in the form of wikis a...   read more...

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