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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...

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A Couple News Items
Posted on Thursday, February 18 2016 @ 09:36:32 PST

As reported yesterday by GamesIndustry.biz, Warren Spector has left his academic post to join OtherSide Entertainment full time to work on Underworld Ascendant and System Shock 3.  As mentioned in previous coverage of OtherSide and System Shock 3, sounds of seraphic choirs chanting the Hallelujah chorus from Handel's Messiah are completely coincidental and in no way related whatsoever.  Present author's enthusiasm for these projects has gone from 'moderately excessive' to 'absurdly jubilant' upon hearing the news.

In other news the Khronos group announced on Tuesday that they have officially launched the new Vulkan API which aspires to nothing less than an open-source multiplatform API which will replace OpenGL and Mantle and compete directly with DirectX 12.  As it's not beholden to a particular OS or body of hardware everyone can use it and leading industry hardware vendors have cooperated towards its adoption.  It appears quite promising, so much so that AMD abandoned work on their proprietary Mantle API to support it.

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Bethesda Announces DLC Release Plans
Posted on Tuesday, February 16 2016 @ 09:58:32 PST

Fallout 4 came out 3 months ago with no definite word on when DLC would be coming along, making the season pass rather like buying a pig in a bag.  As of today, February 16, the wall of silence has dropped and three planned DLCs have been announced.  On Bethesda's announcement page we see the three DLC packages slated for releases in March, April, and May.

Automatron, set to release in March, sounds like it takes some cues from Morrowind's Tribunal expansion and Oblivion's Knights of the Nine DLC in that their content is seeded into the base game rather than adding new areas.  Judging by the name the antagonist is probably a woman/evil female sounding AI.  It will be priced at ten dollars.

Wasteland Workshop is Hearthfire 2.0, right down to the price; $5.  Its release is set for April and it's centered around embellishing existing systems rather than anything altogether new.

Far Harbor priced at $25 is set up as a spiritual successor to Point Lookout, Dragonborn and Shivering Isles.  It centers around a separate world space as those did with its own quest lines, factions and content.  It's touted to be the largest expansion area they've ever built and also promises additional equipment.

Further below is a rather curious announcement which I'll reproduce in full to save anyone who doesn't want to the trouble of clicking through to Bethesda:

"Given the expanded DLC plan, the price of the season pass will increase from the current $29.99 to $49.99 USD (£24.99 to £39.99 GBP; $49.95 to $79.95 AUD) on March 1, 2016. However, if you already purchased the season pass for $29.99, nothing changes - you still get everything at no additional cost— the full $60 offering of add-on content for the original price of $29.99."

This is a curious announcement.  On the one hand it's a little strange - why jack up the price now?  Were the yet-unannounced DLC plans held hostage to Fallout 4's sales numbers and since those have come back solid they'll have ground to work on them and justify the increased purchase price?  Whatever the reason there it is.  If anyone wants everything they plan to put out for the game at $30 they must fork it over before any of it is released and before the remaining DLC is announced.  On the other, this is still less sleazy than, say, Borderlands 2's DLC program which has rendered the game a jigsaw puzzle of multiple paywalls and it is still impossible to get all of that game's content with a single purchase.

At the end of the post is a reminder that yes, Virginia, the GECK will come out eventually and they are also working on an update to make Survival Mode a more nuanced option than a higher difficulty setting and are both apparently in testing now.

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Reviewing a Bad Editorial
Posted on Friday, February 12 2016 @ 15:27:51 PST

One thing which continues to mystify me to this day is editorialists, ostensibly knowledgeable about video games and gamer culture, going to bat for Ninja Theory's ill-fated reboot of Devil May Cry.  It's not just that they're openly defending a game inferior to all but one of its predecessors.  It's that they're using the same bad fallacious arguments over and over.  It continues to this day.  Literally.  "DMC: Devil May Cry Deserved Better - Rebooting Fans' Hate", written by one Sean Halliday, was published just today on pixelgate.co.uk.  It's an interesting grab-bag of hoary cliches, knee-jerk publisher defense, and implicitly brings with it the insufferable premise that developers and publishers are entitled to sales, and it is somehow entitled for people to believe they have the right to withhold their hard-earned money from publishers who produce things they don't want.

"When a IP has reached its limits, but still holds potential in other areas, a reboot is the logical answer."

How so?  By what chain of logical reasoning?  Using the word 'logical' without providing the syllogism which justifies the inference means you probably don't know what logic actually is.  Further, at no point in your article do you establish that Devil May Cry 4 was the franchise at 'its limits'.  The game was blatantly, obviously, unfinished and rushed.  The problem was that Capcom wasn't committed, not that they had committed as much as possible on it and had seen diminishing returns.

"Ninja Theory had strong pedigree, their past work suggested they had what it took to reboot one of Capcom’s biggest stars. The fan base didn’t care, they changed Dante…and that was unforgivable."

Ninja Theory is a mobile shovelware maker now.  That's how strong their pedigree is.

"Team Ninja’s accumulation of Dante was simply a sign of the times."

Team Ninja has never worked on any Devil May Cry game in any capacity whatsoever.

"DMC: Devil May Cry was the modernization that not many hardcore fans wanted, but it was certainly needed."

Devil May Cry 4, the disappointing game whose sales figures were the impetus to farm DmC out, outsold DmC.  Let that sink in for a while.  Let it marinade.  DmC went on the market with almost no direct competition in either genre or even general market presence.  The press hyped this thing up.  It was advertised heavily.  The disappointing game Capcom rushed out the door did better for them financially.  Between that and character action/hack-n-slash enthusiasts panning it as shallow, weak, and dumbed-down compared to previous entries in the series (the skill ceiling in DmC ends below the floor of other, better, games like Devil May Cry 3 and Ninja Gaiden Black) there's not really much room for arguing that this was actually 'needed' unless one's goal was to further stain the genre and hopefully kill the franchise.

"Modern society is pretty damn cynical."

Watch any of the following movies from the '70s and tell me that the world is more cynical now:
-Born to Win
-Dirty Harry
-Taxi Driver
-A Clockwork Orange
-The Panic in Needle Park
-Five Easy Pieces
-The Killing of a Chinese Bookie
-Klute
-The Parallax View
-All the President's Men

"People are becoming increasingly jaded with Media spreading lies and corporations peddling unhealthy products."

Rather like an editorialist falsely demeaning consumer reaction to downmarket goods misguidedly peddled on the idea that mid-90s Dark Age comic book antiheroes never went out of style and were never cringe-inducing.

"DMC: Devil May Cry deserved better, not from it’s creator, but from the fans."

What, precisely, did the game 'deserve'?  Since when were sellers of products entitled to sales?  When did that start?  Who started it?

Face it, Capcom screwed up.  They screwed up with Devil May Cry 4 and didn't learn their lesson.  They screwed up again when they hired a studio that can't understand that sociopathy is not cool and never was.  And until they admit that much, they'll probably keep on screwing up.

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October 18, 2005: The Day the Guns Went Quiet
Posted on Tuesday, February 9 2016 @ 19:33:45 PST

    The first person shooter genre has been in commercial and artistic near-freefall for a decade.  They were always a niche genre, even if they tended to draw disproportionate publicity, but now the number of actual releases per ...   read more...

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What Fallout 4 Got Right, and Wrong
Posted on Saturday, January 23 2016 @ 19:39:27 PST

Introduction
Fallout 4 is a mixed bag.  If I were reviewing it I would give it a C, perhaps a C+, and move on.  I never ran out of interest in either a Bethesda title or a Fallout game as quickly as I did Fallout 4 even when Fall...   read more...

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System Shock 3 Teased
Posted on Tuesday, December 8 2015 @ 09:33:19 PST

Otherside Entertainment, a studio currently working on a crowdfunded revival of the Ultima Underworld series, has teased System Shock 3.

http://www.othersidetease.com/strawberry.php

Sounds of cherub choirs singing Handel...   read more...

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Tim Cain Discussing the First Fallout
Posted on Monday, October 26 2015 @ 11:36:43 PST

At GDC 2012 Tim Cain, who played what is inarguably the single most important role in seeing Fallout into existence, gave a lengthy talk about the game's inception and development, followed by a Q&A session.  Watch it here.

...   read more...

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Fallout 4 Gone Gold
Posted on Friday, October 23 2015 @ 11:53:06 PST

Via their twitter feed, Bethesda have announced that Fallout 4 has officially gone gold.  It will be on store shelves/available for digital purchase on November 10.

Earlier Bethesda released the system requirements but the page co...   read more...

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John 'Total Biscuit' Bain Suffers Relapse
Posted on Thursday, October 15 2015 @ 11:05:42 PST

I don't have to introduce Total Biscuit.  You know who he is.  I respect his work but admit I know it half as well as I should like.

In a Twitlonger post today he revealed that his cancer has relapsed and he's been gi...   read more...

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The World Turned Upside Down
Posted on Sunday, October 11 2015 @ 05:08:29 PST

WB is looking to unseat EA as worst publisher in the industry as EA goes out of its way to rebuild the damaged relationship it has with its customers.  Battletech is coming back.  The biggest Kickstarter success is well on its way to become...   read more...

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