Thanks for Ruining My Summer, Video Game Industry

Summer is a time of year that I look forward to.  The long days are perfect for spending time outside being active and on hot days I look forward to taking a ride to the beach, or down the shore, as we say in the Jerz.

Of course, the best thing about summer is grilling large amounts of red meat outside then trying to shove as much of as possible into my face while washing it down with a refreshing cold beer.

Because of all the outdoor activities that become available during the summer months, playing video games usually becomes a low priority. It also helps that video game makers avoid releasing video games during the summer months. It’s as if doing so would make them susceptible to bad humors which will give them the plague.

I never understood why publishers don’t release games during the summer months. Students who are in school are either on break or have greatly reduced schedules.  Those who are working can also expect additional time off for holidays, summer Fridays, and folks generally take time off for vacations. For the most part, people have more time in the summer, so one would think that publishers would take advantage of that.

The movie industry certainly takes advantage of this.  Summers are when big blockbusters are released. Big, stupid, action oriented popcorn flicks are a summertime staple as the studios generally save the more serious stuff for the holidays, which makes sense, right?

The gaming industry however, has been stuck in a rut of releasing everything worthwhile in this tiny 4-month window between September and December. Sure, you’ll want to capitalize on holiday gift giving, but all these big releases so close together causes cannibalization among the big budget titles and smaller titles get lost in the shuffle.

You would think that publishers would want to spread out their release calendar a bit. Why not give the consumer a steady stream of titles throughout the year, instead of a glut all at one time? It just makes sense. Who are these amazingly smart executives making the decisions at these big companies anyway?

Okay, that’s not fair, but I can’t help myself.

This year, however, I’ve noticed a shift. There are a decent amount of good games coming out this spring which is going to force me to play throughout the summer.

Uncharted 4, Doom, and Battleborn have already been released and are solid if not exceptional games. However, just over the horizon we have Overwatch coming out in late May, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst in early June, No Man’s Sky in late June, and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided in late August.  All of these games are AAA titles, which is a rarity for the summer months.

Uncharted 4 is an awesome game that his lived up to all the hype and I’m thoroughly enjoying it right now.  Doom, a game in which many thought was going to be pure shit due to a review embargo has actually turned out to be more than decent and warrants a purchase. Not to mention, Doom and especially Overwatch, are solid multiplayer titles that will have long life spans.

Also, all the hype and general high praise for Overwatch during its beta has piqued my interest, and not just because Tracer has a beautiful rear end. I wonder what my good friend Pacino thinks?

Doom and Overwatch alone would have taken up my entire summer, but I had no idea that No Man’s Sky was scheduled for the summer. This title alone appears to be a total time suck just by the nature of this game’s style alone.

It’s actually a good thing that there are no big trips scheduled this summer and we just have “staycations” planned. Of course, my wife can make an executive decision at any time and pile us all into the car for a leisurely 26-hour road trip to god’s waiting room.

My plan is to lock myself into my game room, crank up the air conditioning and draw the blinds. Who knows, I may even take a break every once in a while to stuff grilled meats into my face and drink cold beer outside.

5 Things To Do in Amsterdam Other than Playing Games at Your Hotel

In full disclosure, I have never visited Amsterdam. I came close to going a couple of times, and my wife and I almost honeymooned there, before deciding on going elsewhere. Suffice it to say, going to Amsterdam is on my bucket list.

Before my wife and I decided to stay exclusively in Austria for our honeymoon, we did have a rough itinerary planned for Amsterdam.  There is a lot going on in that bohemian city. So why would anyone decided to hole themselves up in a hotel and play video games when there is so much more worthwhile things to do?

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The folks at the Arcade Hotel, however hope that’s exactly what you would do. To their credit, the place does sound cool and the price for a stay is reasonable with rates starting at about $70 per night. Its location appears to be on the outskirts of the city center in a trendy and hip area where the streets are named for Dutch master painters.

The hotel also appears to be relatively small with only 36 rooms, which is not necessarily a bad thing.  Each room comes with a console and some games. Guests of the hotel can also borrow a handheld if that tickles their fancy or peruse the comic book library. The Arcade Hotel also maintains a fleet of loaner bikes, which is apparently the preferred mode of travel in Amsterdam.

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I certainly don’t want to poo poo this establishment, because it sounds appealing to me personally as a gamer. The problem is that I can’t see myself taking full advantage of this establishment when visiting a city with such an amazing reputation as Amsterdam.

This is sound like your typical Catch-22. Put a hotel like this out in the middle of nowhere, and you will fail because who want to be out in the middle of nowhere.  Put this hotel in an amazing city like Amsterdam, and people don’t take advantage of the amenities because who want to be holed up in a room playing games when they are vacationing.

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I hope that this place succeeds, and who know, maybe one day my wife and I will make it out to Amsterdam and get to stay at this place. We already have a list of things we wanted to see on our Honeymoon, such as:

5. Visit the Anne Frank House

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4. Go on a canal boat tour

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3. Go to various museums

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2. Go to a “Coffee Shop”

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1. Shop at the many open-air markets

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BONUS: Red Light District

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On a side note, my wife and I have this on-going debate that originated when we were considering going to Amsterdam on our honeymoon and I mentioned that we should visit the Red Light district. I believed (AND STILL DO) that a hand job from a lady of the night is fine as long as no kissing is involved. It’s essentially a massage right?  I don’t give her crap when some dude gives her a massage when she and her friends have one their spa days.

She disagreed and says that if I did, she would have our marriage annulled as soon as we got back from our honeymoon. In the end, it was one of the main reasons why she decided we would go to Vienna and Salzburg instead of Amsterdam.

 

Last Minute Gaming Gifts to Give to People You Hate – Holiday 2015

The holidays are here and my wife is spending us into oblivion. I don’t see why we have to buy presents for EVERYONE. Isn’t Christmas supposed to be just for the children?

And no, my wife’s cousins, who are in their late teens and twenties DO NOT fucking count as children anymore. They are in college, or recently graduated and have jobs. If anything, they should be buying my 3 year-old daughter Christmas presents now. The statute of limitations (or something) of buying Christmas presents for them is over. Oh, they made a Christmas list? So did I, and there is only one thing on it, and that is:

“Santa, please don’t let the bank foreclose on my house when my wife spends the mortgage payment on Christmas gifts.”

Christmas has become overly commercialized and tiresome, but if I have to buy a gift, then you better believe that I’m going to buy you something horrible and passive aggressive. With that said, here’s my top five gaming gifts to give to people you hate. Merry fucking Christmas

5. Kinect for Xbox One or the Xbox 360

kinect-xbox-one1For all the impressive technology housed within a Kinect, boy does this thing suck. No one knows how to actually make interesting games for this thing, INCLUDING Microsoft.

The Kinect is actually one of the main contributors to Microsoft losing its lead to Sony when they launched the Xbox One. The act of including a Kinect in the box made the Xbox One $100 more expensive than the PS4. Also, the Xbox One, which is already negligibly inferior graphically to the PS4 was further hampered by the fact that developers were locked out of hardware resources specifically set aside to support Kinect. What dipshit actually thought this was a good idea?

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Oh that’s right. I forgot.

I recently disconnected the Kinect from my Xbox One and sold it off to someone for $50 on a Facebook virtual garage sale. I feel like I took advantage of this person. I feel dirty and ashamed. The only way I could have made this worse is if I followed this guy home, broke into his house and kicked his dog. I used the $50 from this sale to buy a bottle of Scotch and washed away the shame.

4. X360 Special Forces Headset

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The promotional copy for this product states that you will “Communicate with precision and style with the Special Forces Headset for Xbox 360 from CTA Digital. What makes this headset unique is its throat microphone, which is sensitive enough to pick up a whisper yet clear enough for everyone to hear you in the game environment.”

Indeed, nothing is more stylish than a “throat microphone.” All the racist 12-year-olds online, who can’t see you anyway, will be mightily impressed and jealous while they teabag your lifeless body.

I am assuming that this will help the mouth breathers out there, who can’t help exhaling into their microphones. Sometimes when I’m playing online I’m not sure if the heavily breathing person who I’m playing with is a fat Halo fanboy or some creep masturbating to the sound of my voice. Perhaps it’s both?

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The user reviews for this product have not been kind. My favorite is from OgreKing on GameStop.com who writes:

“People have no trouble hearing me, but they can’t understand what im [sic] saying. It sounds like your [sic] talking through a kinect mic. Other than that it works as intended.

So essentially, OgreKing (if that’s your REAL NAME) believes that the X360 Special Forces Headset works like shit, which is exactly what the manufacturer intended.

3. “2 in 1” Comfort Grip for PS4

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This product confuses me on many levels. First of all, I have no idea what this product looks like.  There are no images of it on the GameStop.com website, so I provided a picture of a bear on a bicycle, because I’ve always wanted to and never had a reason to, until now.

Reading the promotional copy does not provide any more insight as to what this product is supposed to do either.

Cut fatigue and keep your controller in great shape. Custom cutouts fit like a glove, No more excuses!
•    Custom textured joystick covers
•    Protect your controller from dust and scratches
•    Precision cutouts for each button, joystick and the D-Pad
•    Non-slip material with ribbed grip for better control & enhanced gaming performance
•    Soft-touch silicone material

The good news is that this product is dirt cheap at just $9.99 (or £5,000,000… probably). The bad news is that this is probably a repurposed sex toy given that it has a “ribbed grip” and “soft-touch silicone.”

2. Toad Wii U Fight Pad Controller

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BECAUSE NO ONE LIKES YOU TOAD!

1. Pyramat Video Game Lounger

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Folks, don’t buy video game furniture for yourself. If you receive video game furniture from a friend or family member, you should question your relationship with them, because they secretly hate you.

Gentlemen, video game furniture are vagina repellents. Girls will leave Back to the Future quality flaming tire marks out of your house if they see this thing in your living room or bedroom.

 

Ladies, honestly it doesn’t matter if you own this thing or not, because guys will pretty much screw anything.

The promotional copy is also hilarious:

“Take your gaming experience to the next level! Reclining in comfort while listening to powerful built-in speakers and a subwoofer you’ll hear and feel your games as never before! Easy to use audio controls and easy access inputs and multiplayer connection allow you to tailor the experience and bring your friends along for the ride! Sturdy construction ensures excellent comfort and a long life!”

First of all, if you own this thing, you will have no friends. Secondly, it’s good that this thing is built “sturdily” because you will be using it a lot, by yourself.

All in all, the Pyramat Video Game Lounger is the best gift to get someone you hate. It’s relatively cheap, takes up a lot of space, and will ruin their sex life. It’s scores the Christmas trifecta in passive aggressive resentment.

Have your own ideas on what gifts to get people you hate. Let me know in the comments.

Have a happy, healthy, and safe Holiday.

Evil Rabbits

Many, many years ago, a bearded Jewish man was crucified in the Middle East. After a week, he came back to life. His modern day followers remember this miracle by celebrating a long-eared woodland rodent.

As a Christian (Roman Catholic actually) this time of year is one of the most important holidays. I actually go to church on this holiday, to celebrate my savior’s death and subsequent resurrection. The only other time I actually go to church is to celebrate my savior’s birth, which is ironic. I never said I was a good Christian.

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As you have probably gathered by now, I’m speaking about Easter (and Christmas), two holidays ruined by commercialism and the greeting card industry. Christmas is about giving gifts, and the baby Jesus takes the back seat to a fat hirsute man in a red suit, which is okay, I suppose, because you get gifts, which is nice.

What I cannot tolerate is an adult Jesus, who died for my sins, playing second fiddle to a furry rodent known for it’s elongated ears and it’s ability to aggressively procreate.

Quite simply, rabbits, and by extension, their larger cousin, the hare, are evil, with no redeeming qualities, with the exception of making exquisite stews.

Even our ancestors knew that rabbits are horrid creatures. Rabbits were showcased quite often in medieval art performing horrible deeds.

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Case and point, did you know that in the Middle Ages giant rabbits carried swords and regularly beheaded people?

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Humans were also forced to fight three-headed beasts for the amusement of our rabbit overlords.

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Apparently, it was not unheard of rabbits chasing people up into the trees, where they would be taken down by crossbow totting hares. Also, fair maidens were frequently kidnapped.

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Humans also could not travel, lest they be accosted by gangs of marauding rabbits and bludgeoned to death.

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Man’s best friend, the humble dog, did fight a brutal war against the rabbits on our behalf. Here, we see an army of dogs lay siege to a rabbit castle.

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However, the rabbits were too strong, and the dog army was cut down and brutally crushed by rabbit archers.

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The rabbits showed complete disregard for modern legal practice. This poor dog was tried in an apparent rabbit tribunal. He will not be judged by a jury of his peers.

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The outcome of the trial was never in doubt.

Why then, do we subjugate our poor children this time of year to the Easter Bunny (if that’s his real name), after all the atrocities that his ancestors performed on mankind? This is unconscionably.

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Rabbits have even infiltrated my beloved video games and I’m disgusted by it. They have no place in video games, unless they are playing the antagonist, which is a rarity.

Take Jazz the Jackrabbit for example. He’s the main character of the game that bares his name. However, in an age when character based platformers were cute and merely hopped on their enemies, Jazz saw fit to use high powered firearms against unarmed tortoises and bumble bees.


Or take the Rabbids from various Ubisoft games.  These rabbits simply cause pure chaos while speaking incomprehensible jibberish. They are obviously high on drugs.


If the Rabbids are not on drugs, then Max, from the Sam & Max series definitely is. I’d say he’s on cocaine or speed, as he’s absolutely manic and has no business solving crimes.  As far as I’m concerned, he’s a criminal himself.

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Lastly, Peppy Hare from Star Fox, I’m onto you. You’re kind elderly mentor act is fooling no one. One day you will betray Fox McCloud, I KNOW IT.

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You may be asking if perhaps I’m being too hard on rabbits?  Their atrocities against man took place many years ago. Should I learn to love and forgive them for their transgressions? Some would say that is what Jesus would want; after all, this holiday is about him.

The answer to that is NO. I am a rabbit racist, and I will never forgive them. As far as I’m concerned, the best place for a rabbit, is in the stew pot, prepared in the agrodolce style, as my Sicilian grandmother used to serve for special occasions.

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Buon appetit and Happy Easter.