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Welcome Back to the West
By oneshotstop
Posted on 08/01/16
The only thing that stops the dust is the rain. It’s a sweet reprieve, but there is no middle ground. The land is either as dry as the Betty Ford clinic, or as wet as the ocean floor. Everything can be seen from the ridge overlooking Armadillo as John Marston gently bounces along atop...


shandog137 shandog137's Blog
Gotta Catchem All - PS Store Flash Sales
Posted on Monday, April 25 2016 @ 12:21:37 PST

With the whole Playstation Instant Game Collection feeling a lot more like "Indie Game Collection", I had to get a bit more creative to get the most bang for my buck. Sony wants traffic to it's online store and I like cheap tax free games...sounds like a relationship made in [____], hmmm you can fill in the blank. I like Indie games but my bread and butter is typically B - AAA games - I like my visuals and gameplay to feel current gen...even if we are about to enter Gen.5 possibly.

With all that stated, I have been routinely visiting the PS Store in order to catch these flash salesso that I can build back up my library since my relatively recent switch from PS3 - PS4 (less than a year). The  flash sales are not as epic as some of the Steam Sales, yet some of the offerings come pretty damn close. Since I don't have an interest in tracking these sales and giving yall the heads up in advance because that would force me to write more than I would like, I figured I would just provide a brief idea of the types of deals I have received so you can decide for yourself if it is worthwhile to visit the PS Store a bit more often.

Note: I am not a big multiplayer fan with the exception of PvE type games like Mass Effect 3 so it really doesn't bother me much to keep a list of great games I would like to play and then wait until the price is something I can manage.

January 2016
Watch Dogs™ Gold Edition - $20.00
Dragon Age™: Inquisition Deluxe Edition - $14.00
inFAMOUS Second Son - $9.99

February 2016
Battlefield™ Hardline Standard Edition - $13.19
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - $24.99

March 2016 - I didn't get anything because I was playing Fallout - Automotron DLC and Battlefield

April 2016
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition - $7.49
Alien: Isolation - $11.99
Metro Redux - $7.49
Overlord: Fellowship of Evil - $7.04
Killzone™ Shadow Fall - $7.99
Sleeping Dogs™ Definitive Edition - $9.99
Borderlands: The Handsome Collection - $23.99
Wolfenstein: The New Order - $14.99
Dishonored® Definitive Edition - $15.99

In summary, I was looking at an average cost of $14.61 per game with a range of $7.04 - $29.99. The typical initial retail price for these games was approximately $60. Great games on the cheap in my opinion. My two highest priced games were MGSV and Witcher 3 which based on reviews were well worth a $60 purchase so about half off was in my sweet spot. Third on the list was Borderlands which could be viewed as two games at the price of $12 each which also seemed like a pretty good deal. Watchdogs at $20 was probably the only purchase in retrospect that I think I could have waited to drop into the single digits before a purchase but it was one of the first games I purchased for the new system and so I wrote it off as collection starting costs.

One of the most frequent discussions I hear regarding new releases is, "was it worth $60?" and by going this route I feel confident that all the games above are worth the price I paid for the experience, particularly those that cost less than I paid to see Deadpool in 3D at the theater. Great 2 hr movie experience cost me about $14 + popcorn - while I am looking at 80 - 100+ hr experience with the Witcher 3 alone at $24.99.

So to those of you who love to game but don't have an abundance of cash like me, keep an eye out for those sales!

P.S. I usually check for them on Thursdays and Fridays as many of the purchases above were from weekend flash sales I believe.


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Generations of People not Consoles
Posted on Monday, March 21 2016 @ 12:35:47 PST

Jonathan Leak posted the article, “Would you buy an Xbox One or PS4 with upgraded hardware?” on March 21, 2016 in regards to the rumors of possible hardware upgrades to the current generation console offerings. In response to his question, I would say, “not currently”. The thought process to get me to my answer inspired me to write this piece.

First, I would like to discuss the idea of “console generations”. I think the idea of a console generation may be a tad bit archaic for the current environment. When XB1 and PS4 were initially being released a great deal of discussions were had comparing them to their predecessors, particularly regarding length of relevancy. Many considered the PS2 as having a solid 10yr run and for some that duration was a basis for the term “generation” with regards to consoles. The idea that the hardware needed to be relevant for 7-10yrs (PS3 was out for about 7yrs before the release of PS4) was a good basis for determining average length of a console generation, at the time.

The problem was that the technological environment in 2006 was very different than the environment of 2013 and now less than 3 years into the current gen console cycle Sony and Microsoft are rumored to be considering an upgraded model offering vs a full blown new system. The idea makes sense when you consider consumer demand for “better” technology (as it becomes available) and you have companies such as Google and LG in the mobile space attempting to offer modular cell phone designs to address this demand.

With that said I don’t think that now is the time for Sony and Microsoft to release an upgraded console for many of the reasons outlined in Jonathan’s article such as costs, complexity, market saturation, and optimization. However, I think a tiered offering for “next gen” is likely in the cards. When we look at cell phones, tablets, and laptops all of which are able to run video games we see that they have been performance tiered for numerous years now. The ability to upgrade memory in consoles has been around for quite some time so the trick now, similar to what LG is trying to do with the G5 is to create a consumer friendly (super -super easy) modular upgrade design for performance components of a console. This would increase the useful life of the item and also provide options for consumers that may not be able to purchase the “premium” model out the gate.

Aside from a modular design a tiered performance offering similar to laptops, I-pads, and surface tablets would be in my opinion well received if you limit the variations to maybe 2-3 upon introduction. High end would have similar to an i7, mid i5, and so on. Developers would be asked to create games with i7 (High end) in mind for max settings and minimum settings would be structured around the lowest tier product offering architecture. Since these are consoles they may do away with the depth of PC settings in favor of “firm” developer settings for consistency of experience across consoles offered.

This type of pricing and offering model reflects industry norms for the PC and mobile markets so I don’t think it would be too difficult to pitch as many gamers already purchase from those markets. The key would be simplicity for consumers and cost containment for developers so that we keep base hardware offering at the $300 sweet spot and games at $60.

I think the idea of “console generations” maybe coming to an end. When you define the useful life of a product it creates certain consumer expectations which may conflict with the ability to address current demands in a rapidly changing environment. We want new, we want better, we want it now, and we want is for what “we” are willing to pay for it. To most efficiently address these types of demands you have to create a flexible model and for years now console hardware architecture has been static following release for the most part.

A change is going to come and now it’s just a matter of when…

EDIT: Title changed 3/21/16 - 13:15 PT.

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Battlefield and Call of Duty have a single player campaign…?
Posted on Wednesday, March 2 2016 @ 10:49:37 PST

I hopped on to the Playstation Store last weekend to purchase the Fallout 4 Season Pass before the price increase on March 1, 2016 and ran into a sale that had Battlefield: Hardline (“BFH”) for approximately $14 with a PS+ subscription. How could I pass that up? The fact that I don’t play FPS multiplayer due to an utter lack of skill could be a reason; When I have tried to explain to people in the past that I buy Battlefield, Medal of Honor, and Call of Duty games for the single player they typically give me an odd look before laughing; and Well…see Item 1&2 I recently saw Deadpool in 3D at the movie theatre for about $14 per ticket not including popcorn and it was about 2 hours full of awesome. BFH just needs to give me more than 2 hours of enjoyment and the money spent would be worthwhile in my opinion. This perspective is the foundation of my rationale to purchase games of this type for the single player campaign.

As a working stiff I don’t have enough time or dedication to become even slightly great at FPS multiplayer but as much as people complain about the single player offerings of these titles, they are still a whole lot of fun for the right price point. One of the gripes I hear most often upon release is that the single player is short or tacked on due to the core purchasers of the franchises being focused on the multiplayer. For me that’s okay, because I have yet to play one of these single player experiences for less than 2 hours or pay more than $15, a year after their release for the standard edition.

I love some Fallout 4, Infamous, and Metal Gear Solid single player but I also like to get an idea of how these FPSs are progressing with their annual releases. I have to say, I have been thoroughly enjoying the BFH campaign. It reminds me of a cross between Battlefield/True Crime (PS2)/Splinter cell (diluted). All I keep feeling like is Martin Lawrence in Bad Boys (yup I referenced that). I currently have too many sand box games; Metal Gear Solid: Phantom Pain (Not started), Fallout 4 (Level 70), Dragon Age: Inquisition (just started inquisition), Watch Dogs (beat 1st mission) and so I just wanted something linear, short, and fun.  Hardline’s single player campaign for me has this in spades.

I tag folks in preparation of stealthily entering an area like Splinter Cell, I approach in FPV like a standard Battlefield title, and then I whip out the badge like True Crime and lay the smack down. The realism and grittiness is a welcome change from the over the top, cop antics in True Crime. The ability to play a particular section in full on stealth mode, straight guns blazing, or something in between is really fun because the penalty for any of the paths is marginal. You will max out your badge rating with a few retries fairly early in the campaign depending on how good you become at making arrests. The flow of preparing your approach and orchestrating a series of 10 arrests on a single floor of a building without ever being seen feels highly rewarding for this type of experience.

I didn’t write this as a review but rather as a reminder to the gamers out there that one man’s trash can definitely be another’s treasure. I have no interest in paying $60 or more for one of these franchise titles, as I would probably complain about the length of the single player. Yet, for the price of a movie ticket I just can’t find fault with short, sweet, FPS single-player campaigns.

My hats off to the often under appreciated creators of these single player experiences!

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Re-Masters - Next-Gen Backwards Compatibility?
Posted on Monday, March 30 2015 @ 13:07:45 PST

I am a PS3 owner and someday hope to be a PS4 owner, yet I am not at all dissatisfied with my choice to delay purchase, solely based on the current PS4 library. When I transitioned from a Playstation 1 to a Playstation 2, I was pleasantly surprised t...   read more...

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The perils of the Hype Train…
Posted on Monday, March 9 2015 @ 16:54:14 PST

The recent release of Evolve and The Order 1886 really got me to thinking about the disparity between the perspective of sales-driven publishers and the quality-driven purchases of consumers. The “Hype Train” is nothing ne...   read more...

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You are not the character. A look at This War of Mine.
Posted on Monday, December 1 2014 @ 16:47:16 PST

I have been very excited in anticipation of the release of This War of Mine since the GR preview in June of 2014. The idea of being a regular person trying to survive in a war torn place and a focus on the “experience” vs ...   read more...

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How do you know when to switch? Last-Current-Next Gen
Posted on Monday, November 10 2014 @ 12:59:20 PST

I have been playing Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag and cannot emphasize enough how fun that game is. In discussions with my friends, I called it the “San Andreas” of the series and vehemently hope that they make another entry off th...   read more...

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Ninja Storm Revolution: Initial Thoughts (Not a Review)
Posted on Friday, September 19 2014 @ 17:37:24 PST

Background: I own and have completed every entry in the Ninja Storm series, so there is inherent bias but luckily this isn’t a review. These are just my thoughts on a fun series I chose to pick up after my Dragon Ball Z Budokai ...   read more...

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A Letter to the Big “N"
Posted on Friday, September 12 2014 @ 12:02:24 PST

I have and will continue to have a place in my heart for Nintendo. In fact, my first console was a Super Nintendo. The video game market has changed drastically since the early '90s and it seems like what once was platinum is more...   read more...

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The Microsoft 180: Business as Usual
Posted on Tuesday, July 1 2014 @ 11:58:22 PST

When Microsoft announced its new “Kinect-less” Xbox One offering, the debate over the “Microsoft 180” was reignited. As I read the comments for and against this business move, I couldn’t help but feel that a grea...   read more...

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