Category Archives: Articles

Thoughts on ‘The Interview’ Controversy

the-interviewOn December 25th, not only was the world going to be ready to celebrate Christmas - or to continue celebrating any of a number of other holidays - but several people were also looking forward to the release of Sony Pictures’ comedy The Interview, starring James Franco and Seth Rogan, of which the plot sees a pair of hapless foils sent to interview North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and tasked with the mission of assassinating the dictator by the US government. Continue reading Thoughts on ‘The Interview’ Controversy

Find Your Inner Chakra on Facebook with Yoga Retreat

You see it all the time; people making it “Facebook official”, tens of “Likes” on that new Courage Wolf meme, and being invited to the 2012 Zombie Apocalypse event. Did you accept your invite yet? No? Alright I guess I won’t be seeing you there then— it’s casual.

The wave of Facebook application bars is being raised to the next level though when Finland based social games development studio, Gajatri Studios, formally announced today its debut title, Yoga Retreat. Available to the masses starting August 6th, players will find an avatar in their likeness with which he or she practices and teaches yoga to resort customers in return for virtual currency. Players will learn and unlock genuine yoga techniques in the hatha tradition, all of which can be transferred over to players’ day-to-day lives, as well as items and facilities to create the idyllic tropical wellbeing resort.

The brains behind the operation? Well that would be none other than Gajatri Studios founder Tiina Zilliacus, a certified yoga teacher with over 200 hours of training along with 14 years professional background in games, online and mobile. In an attempt to bring fitness education and gaming in perfect harmony with a social media platform as its base I’m very excited to try this first hand when available.

I suppose my farm in Farmville will soon become a famine, and my mafia in Mafia Wars will disown me, but hey— can they do a Half Lord of the Fishes pose? I think not.

For more information on Yoga Retreat, check out their fan page on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/yogaretreatgame

General Manager of Nintendo Quits

After 20 years of working at Nintendo the former General Manager, David Yarnton quit his job at Nintendo in the UK. He has decided to pursue a career change, said Nintendo. Whether that be in the same industry or not, it is unknown.

The European President of Nintendo, Satoru Shibata, will be working closely with the UK’s senior management team to help run the UK office until a replacement is found to take David Yarnton’s place.

 

The original statement from Nintendo:

“Nintendo of Europe announces with regret that David Yarnton has decided to pursue opportunities for a change of career outside Nintendo and therefore will shortly be leaving the company. David has had a distinguished career of almost 20 years at Nintendo, first as Sales Director of Nintendo Australia and then, since 2003, as General Manager of Nintendo UK. Nintendo wishes him every success in his choice of new career. Mr Shibata, European President of Nintendo, will be working alongside the UK’s senior management team and will be actively involved in the running of the UK office until a replacement is announced.”

LOTRO: Getting Your Monies Worth - Chapter I

Want to know how to get the most Turbine Points out of your money for Lord of the Rings Online? I’m sure you do.

Turbine Points are expensive, especially from the in-game store which honestly feels like a rip off unless your spending more than $60 at a time on points. After seeing the prices there, I set off on an adventure to find the cheapest way to purchase Turbine Points to spend in the in-game store. After surfing through a few websites, I found that going to your local Gamestop or any retailer that carries Game Card’s is the cheapest choice. Here’s some pricing from the in-game store:

  • 600 Points - $7.99
  • 1600 Points - $19.99
  • 3150 Points - $34.99
  • 6300 Points - 59.99
  • 11000 Points - $99.99
  • 23000 Points - $199.99

Here’s some pricing from your local retailers:

  • 1000 Points - $9.99
  • 1600 Points - $19.99

At your local retailer, Turbine Point cards are sold in increments of $10 to $20. The $10 card gives you a whopping 1000 Turbine Points while the $20 card gives you 1600. If you do the math and think about it, your essentially getting ripped off in a sneaky sort of way. After thinking a moment, I thought, why not just purchase two $10 cards and get the extra 400 turbine points that I wouldn’t have gotten if just bought the $20 card.

Value wise and comparing it to the in-game store, this theory only works up to $50. If your buying anything above $50 you will get the best value for your money at the in-game store. If you think about all of this though, it really adds up. If you were to go to the store right now and purchase $50 in $10 point cards your saving yourself $20 by not buying the $20 point cards, not only that but you end up with an extra 2000 Turbine Points that you wouldn’t have gotten if you bought the $20 cards.

You can do a lot with an extra 2000 Turbine Points in the in-game store and even get another 2000 with the $20 you saved from not buying the $20 point cards. Now, with the $50 you spent on $10 point cards, in total you have 9000 Turbine Points. Just as a reminder though, buying points from the in-game store is worth your money if you plan on spending over $60 at a time because for some reason, at that point it starts balancing out.

And since Riders of Rohan is getting ready for release, you may just want to dump your savings into that!

Sony Online Entertainment Names 2012 G.I.R.L Recipient

For five years and running, Sony Online Entertainment along with Scholarships America have joined forces in an effort of establishing young aspiring females into the realm of the video game industry with a focus in game development in design. Appropriately titling the scholarship program Gamers In Real Life (G.I.R.L. for short) Sony announced today that this year’s winner is Quinne Larsen of  Northridge, California.

Larsen, a character animation major at the California Institute of the Arts, was awarded a $10,000 scholarship to use toward her college tuition and other educational expenses. She has also accepted a 10-week paid internship at SOE’s headquarters in San Diego where she will work on one of the company’s many hit titles. With her submission featured in the subject of this post, it’s no surprise that talent of this caliber would not go unnoticed.

“I was over the moon when I learned that I won the G.I.R.L. Scholarship,” said Larsen. “I can’t thank SOE enough for this opportunity and I look forward to furthering my passion and knowledge for video games.”

For all submissions considered, this year’s finalists were asked to provide two original concept pieces inspired by the popular SOE titles PlanetSide2 or EverQuestII. Additionally they were asked to include an essay discussing their views on women in the gaming industry to a panel of judges. With hundreds of submissions sent in, it was Larsen that attracted the eyes of senior vice president of global sales and marketing for Sony Online Entertainment, Laura Navieux:

“We were impressed with the creativity and passion shown in not only Quinne’s entry, but all the finalist entries. Every year we are thrilled to award these scholarships to young, talented students, so that they may continue to have opportunities to shape and bring diversity to our industry.”

For more information on how you can participate in next year’s G.I.R.L. competition and what the scholarship program entails, check out www.girl.soe.com .

Diablo III Sets Records in First 24 Hours of Release

From its inception and development dating back as far as 2001, Blizzard’s Diablo III was indeed a highly anticipated release and 3.5 million folks carried those sentiments in the first 24 hours alone announced today by Blizzard Entertainment. Holding the reigns as the fastest selling PC game ever,  Blizzard CEO and co-founder Mike Morhaime states in an article posted by Gamezone earlier today,

Regarding today’s announcement, we recognize that setting a new launch record is a big achievement. However, we’re especially proud of the gameplay feedback we’ve received from players worldwide. We’re pleased that Diablo 3 has lived up to players’ high expectations, and we’re looking forward to welcoming more players into Sanctuary in the days ahead.

Now before diving any further, please take note that the calculated 3.5 million figure is based solely on copies purchased and pre-ordered. For all of Blizzard’s Annual Pass subscribers that received Diablo III free with the promotion (1.2 million players), that total boosts first day numbers up to 4.7 million players live on launch day and the numbers keep growing.

With any game in the baby stages of launch there’s sure to be latency issues, servers down, slow queue times while logging in, security breaches and D3 has tackled each of those in an orderly and timely manner I’d say. With more features to be integrated in future installments though I think you’ll see a far smoother transition compared to the other famed franchises at Blizzard.

Does the game live up to your hopes and expectations though? Drop us a line in the comments section and let us know what you think.

Sony Announces a Price Cut on the PS3

New releases from the Playstation Network are sure to turn heads and widen eyes in the coming months, but even more new consumers can look forward to enjoying these new titles with a price cut on the PlayStation 3.

Announced yesterday, Sony dropped prices on their 160GB PS3 worldwide from $299 to $249 and the 320GB system will see a reduction from $349 to $299 effective immediately. Now I’m not complaining here about this, but you have to wonder, “Why now?” Director of Hardware Marketing at SCEA, John Koller, simply put it, “We knew the time was right from a market standpoint to drop the price to $249,” he told IGN in a phone interview. “It’s a really good time to make the announcement and we expect a lot of traction.” He continued in saying that the decision for the cut wasn’t immediate, but planned for months and weeks in advance “working closely with retail partners and other departments within Sony.”

It’s no surprise that with this reduction, business competitors such as the Xbox 360 and Wii could see some heated rivalry. With Uncharted 3 and Resistance 3 being just two of the new games expected to drop this Fall, is Sony aiming to steal Nintendo and Microsoft audiences? Well, no. The goal in mind to just to offer shoppers a second console for consdieration. As Koller concluded the interview he stated, “There’s a significant number of Xbox 360 and Wii owners who would like that second console and want to have the opportunity to play these exclusive games and content experiences, and this new price point allows them to do that.”

As a new owner of the Xbox 360, I’ll be honest in saying (speaking only for myself) that I’m not swayed on the price cut to go out to my local retailer and pick up a second console based on the fact that their roster of games aren’t typically what I enjoy playing. But as a consumer, even I can’t deny that this was smart on Sony’s part and sincerely hope that gamers do make the choice to pick up the PS3 if they haven’t already done so. In a recession it’s a decent bargain. Have any thoughts on this? Feel free to leave your input in the comments section below.

MS-DOS is 30 Years Old

Back on July 27th, 1981, Microsoft bought the rights to to the Quick and Dirty Operating System (QDOS) from Seattle Computer Products for $25,000. A year later and for the next 13 years, MS-DOS would be the standard platform on which practically every PC would ship. Even with the release of Windows, MS-DOS was still your operating system and Windows was little more than just a program running over DOS. That all changed in 1995 with the release of Windows 95, the first version of Windows to shuffle DOS into the path that would ultimately lead to Command Prompt. However, for us gamers, MS-DOS still has a special place in our hearts.

I remember my first few computers, both of which operated under a DOS platform. I remember the concept of “point-and-click” being relatively foreign unless I was using my mom’s boss’ Apple at work, but I remembered all of the c:, cd\, dir, dir \p and other nonsense I had to type in just to get a program to run or find a file on the computer. Many a night I would find my favorite game on floppy, stick it in the disk drive, and type my way into gaming. Recently, cleaning out my old room at my mom’s house, I found a collection of old disks, including the 40+ floppies it took for me to store the original Grand Theft Auto. Ah, memories.

Today, MS-DOS is dead. In fact, DOS as an OS has been officially dead since 2000. But the memories still live on. Are you an old-school PC user like me who remembers navigating your way through MS-DOS? I wanna hear your best DOS stories. Sure, this may be a geeky-as-hell topic, but screw it. We’re geeks. We’re nerds. We’re gamers. And if you played games in DOS, you’re probably also old..er. Like me. So leave your thoughts below, I wanna hear ’em!

The Status of Purple

One of the things I’ve been reading a lot lately are comments from gamers who say that they either left World of Warcraft or refuse to play it because of the repetitive grind to obtain epic gear. Whether it’s reputation dailies, daily Heroic dungeons, raiding, PvP, or whatever else, there are complaints. This is one of the more frequent complaints I read, short of perhaps the old “recycled content” argument. But one of the things that catches my attention each time is when people complain that they don’t want to raid but there’s no other way to get the best gear in the game. All I can say to that is…

..why do you need it?

First, the facts. Raiders get the best gear in the game for one reason: to raid. The gear you obtain in one raid will not only let you progress into the NEXT raid but also allow you to clear the current raid much easier and faster. That is the sole purpose behind epic raid-only gear. Does it allow you an easier time in dungeons? Of course, but dungeons - even Heroics - aren’t really that challenging anymore, even if the only gear you ultimately wind up with is a direct result of those Heroic dungeons. Does it allow you to PvP better? Marginally, I suppose. Your core stats will be higher but without Resilience, you might as well be a paper cannon and any respectable PvPer will tear you apart if their gear even comes close to yours.

So why do people want the gear when they aren’t going to raid?

The only reason I can think of is the status. The status of purple, if you will (HE SAID IT!). Fact is, WoW is a community and just like every other community in the world, many people will judge you based on what you wear. If you’re loaded up with epic gear - whether PvP or PvE - others will look on you with a little bit of respect. At the very least, respect for what you’re capable of. If you’re donned in iLevel 378 epics from head to toe, people naturally assume you’re a capable and experienced raider. Others may also assume you’ve got no life in the real world, but those people are (generally) pretty ignorant.

All in all, the hunt for gear is one of several motivations people have for playing this game but some folks are confused that it may be the ONLY motivation. Honestly, it isn’t, and if you have no desire to raid then you don’t need all of the best gear in the game. However, if you really need that shiny purple text, you can still get pretty well geared out without ever stepping foot inside of a raid (or at the very least without ever killing a single raid boss).

A.) Random Dungeons: Since the release of the most recent tier of raid content, it’s become even easier for newly minted level 85 players to get quickly geared out. By using Justice Points which are a reward from repeating the Random Dungeon finder and killing Heroic Dungeon bosses, and Valor Points which you’ll get by doing random Heroic dungeons, you not only have the entire Tier 11 selection of gear available to you but all of the like-level accessories that go along with it.

B.) Crafting: Every crafting profession can produce epic-quality gear not only of the previous tier of content but also the current tier, if you’re willing to spend the money or farm up the mats for yourself.

C.) PvP: Sure, maybe you’re not big on PvP, but it’s a good way to get shiny purples. Running battlegrounds is a good way to earn Honor Points which you can ultimately redeem for a lovely selection of epic-quality PvP gear which, in all honesty, will still serve you better in dungeons and Heroics than your lame ass iLevel 300 blues.

D.) Buy It!: Yes, this goes back to the wealthy, but what better way to demonstrate your contempt for the lesser player than to simply buy your way to power. With all that time spent not-raiding, you’ll be able to do dailies, complete end-game quests, farm mats, or play the Auction House like a sweet golden fiddle until you amass a hoard of precious gold. Why fight for it when you can simply buy your way to epicosity?

These options, and more, are at your disposal if you truly, truly need to be wrapped in velvety purple text. Will you be as powerful as the Great and Mighty Raiders™? No, definitely not, but you know what’s great? You don’t have to be. You know what they say, fame and fortune will only get you so far. Then again, maybe a top guild on your server is selling raid spots, in which case…