Subscription Fees – Are they Unethical?

Recently I have been pondering over the concept of subscription fees and have been wanting to voice my opinion on them. Of course this is going to be gaming related and as such I will be bringing up the obvious bullshit, however I will also be talking about other subscription models that have popped up in recent years and I will be discussing them as well.

As we all know, subscription models are a means of charging people for time of use as oppose to charging people for a product. As a result, many subscription models are a service, many of which are a necessity for our every day life such as electricity, water and internet.

In recent years however, subscription models have become more popular and more accepted. I personally believe this is dangerous due to the exploitative nature of subscription models. For starters, many subscription payments require people to put their card details onto a website. Now you’re probably wondering how this can be exploitative and while I’m not implying that these companies are robbing people, the intent of the paid subscription model is to gain access to people’s finances more discreetly.

What I mean by this is that subscription services are often unclear as to how they are taking their money off of you. You see, many subscription services have automatic renewal such as Amazon Prime, other subscription services do not such as Twitch subscriptions. Now here’s the juicy part, what is the biggest problem with subscription models? Well it’s not the concept itself, rather it is the intent. Put simply, one of the biggest problems with subscription models is the automatic renewal. Automatic renewal is thought to have been designed around convenience. What it is actually designed to do however is to take money discreetly.

When you put your card details down for a one time payment, you never think about that transaction again. Unfortunately the same goes for subscription payments for some people as they may potentially forget that the transaction ever happened. I know this for a fact as I myself have fallen into this trap. I remember one time looking at my bank statements only to find out that I had been paying for Amazon Prime. Now I had absolutely no idea that I was paying for Amazon Prime for the longest time and if I did know I was paying for it, believe me, I would have taken advantage of it but Amazon Prime had essentially taken a ton of money off of me and I had gotten literally nothing back for it. I had essentially been legally scammed by Amazon.

Now how did this happen you ask? You know when you go to pay for postage and there’s multiple options? Well I accidentally clicked the “free prime postage” option. Now this is a very easy mistake to make as there were two free postage options and they both looked similar so I clicked the first one I saw. Little did I know that I would be signing a contract with Amazon Prime… those sneaky bastards. Now I’m pretty well aware that this was my fault and I accept full responsibility for my fuck ups so don’t think that I am whining about a past experience, I am merely using it as an example to explain to people just how easy it is to fall into the trap and if you fall into it, Amazon are most certainly not going to pull you out of it.

You see, the point that I am trying to make is that the true purpose of the subscription based model is to cause people to fall into the same trap I did. Now I’m not going to presume that everybody uses this model with that intent but I do believe that there are companies that do and as such I cannot stress how dangerous it is for people to accept them in their current state as they can be used as a means of scamming people with subtlety.

Now considering the state of the gaming industry today, the whole concept of subscription models is frightening to me. With so many AAA companies clearly having zero empathy towards the consumer, the concept of the subscription trap is likely one that shows up in board rooms quite often. I’m also certain that this subscription model actually has a direct impact on a game’s design as I have paid subscription fees for games before and every single one of them is coated in filler content. This is what I like to call “psychological engagement”, the means of maintaining people’s engagement by manipulating players into believing that there is a worthwhile reward for overcoming a tedious grind. It is this method of engagement as well as the seemingly harmless aesthetic of the games that cause people to stay subscribed to MMORPG’s.

You see, World Of Warcraft is no different from gambling in terms of how it is presented to players. Like how gambling uses fruit in slot machines, videogames use themes as a means of making players feel unharmed during the exploitation process. When people play World Of Warcraft, they are not drawn in by the rewarding element initially, they are first drawn in by the game’s theme and its aesthetic since it is the very first thing that they see in trailers and when they boot up the game.

Videogames are not predominantly a visual art form and as such, merely having aesthetic appeal is not enough, in marketing however, a strong aesthetic is considered adequate to attracting people’s attention and that’s all that matters in the eyes of publishers. When you consider the fact that the AAA industry puts more money into marketing than they do into development these days, it’s pretty scary to know that psychological engagement is a thing and that games can be sold on just visuals alone. It is this very reason why graphics are the biggest focus in AAA game design today.

As a result, companies that use subscription models can get away with making terrible games so long as they look aesthetically appealing. With that in mind, how does this apply to subscription models themselves? Do you remember the trap that I mentioned earlier? Well the same thing applies here. When you get fed up with a game, what is the first thing you do? You stop playing it. What do you do afterwards? You play/do something else. Do you think about cancelling your subscription? Maybe you do… but not everybody does. If you purchased a game with a one time fee, you can either sell the game or simply never touch the game again. With subscription based games, that isn’t enough, you actually have to cancel your subscription.

Now how does this work with the psychological engagement you ask? Well do you think that grinding is a boring, tedious and monotonous task? If so what is causing you to do these tedious tasks? A fancy new sword is it? Is it possible to question why you are doing such a task? Of course it is. So if you were to question why you are doing it and you couldn’t find an answer, wouldn’t you want to stop playing? Of course you would. Here is the problem, you have invested a lot of hours into this game and you have a lot of nostalgia for it, surely you will go back to it eventually just for a brief moment to look back at all of your accomplishments and see how things are going in the game. Unfortunately however, you terminated your subscription with the game and now you can no longer access it. As such you paid potentially hundreds of dollars for a game that you no longer have access to. How in any way shape or form can you consider this to be ethical!?

Do you now see how problematic subscription based models can be? Subscription based models are essentially a method used to blackmail consumers. This is a huge problem that cannot be ignored and I fear that this model is probably going to be more commonly used in future generation which scares me. Companies will eventually refuse to accept games as a product and will instead treat them as a service. When that time comes, we will no longer have the freedom of choice we have today. It starts with digital only games but eventually subscription models will become the norm, people will become attracted to them and in the long-term this will cause videogames to be primarily subscription based.

You might think I’m crazy for thinking these things but it’s true. With services such as Xbox Game Pass and Playstation Plus in existence, this is starting to become normality and we cannot allow this to happen. Now before I start talking about netflix style game services, I want to make it very clear that I am not against every single subscription service related to game distribution. I am merely against the ones that mislead their customers. Playstation Plus is a perfect example of a subscription based distribution model that misleads their customers. Sony claims that by subscribing to Playstation Plus, you will get free games every month. What they don’t tell you is that if you unsubscribe from Playstation Plus, you will lose access to those games until you re-subscribe. Therefore, claiming that their games are free is a big fat lie, you paid for those games one way or another.

Of course Sony are also notorious for using Playstation Plus as an online paywall which makes it an even worse form of blackmail but even as a subscription based distribution service, it is still unethical. I can’t speak for Xbox game pass but I wouldn’t be surprised if that does the same thing.

Now lets talk about another subscription based model that doesn’t mislead people. Now I know that I have talked about Amazon prime before and how I became a prime member by mistake but the truth is that I actually ended up re-subscribing to them. Why you ask? Because Superhot, a game I desperately needed for a video was offered by Twitch as part of their prime perks. Now despite how annoyed I was at myself for how I accidentally became a prime member before, once I found out how to actually de-activate the automatic renewal, I found a way to game the system. This way I could get a game I wanted for dirt cheap and cancel my subscription immediately so that I not only got the game but also got 1 month of the service with it. The truth is that I got a good deal out of it and once the subscription has ended, I actually got to keep the games I purchased.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not shilling for Amazon Prime, sure I use Amazon Associates with my game reviews but in no other way are they sponsoring me at all. Quite frankly I had heard a lot of bad things about Amazon shortly after I purchased Superhot and as such I can honestly say that Amazon are an awful company and doesn’t deserve our support. However I consider Amazon to be a necessary evil and will continue to use them since aside from my prime situation, I have never had an issue with Amazon as a consumer.

The problem with Amazon is how it treats its employees and I believe that the way they treat their employees is wrong. As a consumer however, I am not going to crusade against Amazon because this doesn’t affect me personally. Call me selfish if you want but I will continue to use the platforms that are most convenient for me and if I will give Amazon anything, they are convenient… even if they are sneaky little bastards with their prime. They also try to sell you credit cards too, the bastards. Put simply, just be careful when using Amazon and you should be fine.

One thing is for certain though, at least Amazon doesn’t blackmail you on the same level Sony and Activision-Blizzard do… unless you care about their netflix style video service in which case… yeah, that’s blackmail but let’s be honest here, the purpose of prime isn’t to distribute videos, the purpose of prime is to cut down postage costs on items you buy as well as all the perks given to you by Twitch prime. Is it worth it? That’s impossible to say. I’d personally tell you not to bother with it but if you can find a way to exploit the model to get something you really need, by all means, go ahead… just be careful.

There is also the Humble Monthly bundle which is $12 a month for a bundle of games including free games you can play immediately. I haven’t tried this bundle yet so I have no comment on it besides the fact that I find it odd how Humble have both regular one time payment bundles and a monthly bundle. Perhaps they think that they can trap people into paying without realizing it but I don’t know. You see, I do not know for certain the intent of game distribution services in general, I only know of the intent of games like World Of Warcraft and certain distribution services.

If anyone has purchased Humble Monthly, fee free to share your experiences with it in the comments. I cannot help but laugh at the possibility of Humble expecting people to subscribe yearly… but who knows? Maybe people do. If you ask me, you’d be foolish to subscribe to Humble Monthly for a year since it is literally a gamble as you do not know what you are getting. Plus who has the time to play all of those games anyways? I can barely cope with 2 games, let alone 6 or more. Ask yourselves this question, is it worth both your time and money to pay for 1 year’s worth of Humble Monthly? Think about that.

In any case, while there may be some certainties related to subscription based models, there are still some uncertainties and as such this topic is still up for discussion, be sure to share your thoughts with me on this as I really do want to know what you guys think about subscription based models.

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Blizzard Are Going To Retcon Warcraft 3’s Story In Warcraft 3 Reforged

No... No No No NO NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

So I read a polygon article today (I don’t make a habit of doing this believe me) about Warcraft 3 Reforged and it is just as I feared, Blizzard are planning on retconning the fuck out of the lore.

Seriously fuck this game, fuck Blizzard and most of all fuck Activision.

I have already talked about how terrible World Of Warcraft’s lore is before and why it is a bad idea to change Warcraft 3’s story to fit in with World Of Warcraft’s dumb retcons.

I could make a long written rant about this but I think it would be better if you watch this video, as it conveys my thoughts better than any written article can:

Warcraft 3: Reforged – My Thoughts

So Warcraft 3: Reforged has just been announced and is to be released in 2019. Considering the fact that I have been a big fan of Warcraft 3, I feel that it is important to talk about this remaster.

Before I talk about Warcraft 3: Reforged, let’s talk about the elephant in the room, Activision. Warcraft 3: Reforged is obviously going to be published by Activision and as a result I will be boycotting the game, I suggest everybody else does the same.

In any case, after taking a look at the remaster, it seems that the top down cinematics are going to be replaced with fully CGI cutscenes which is cool. I will enjoy watching these on Youtube to see those glorious moments once again but better looking.

One thing that does bother me however is that many of the voices aren’t returning as is hinted by Arthas being played by Patrick Seitz like he is in World Of Warcraft. I have nothing against Patrick Seitz, he’s a great voice actor but it does concern me that the Dreadlord’s voice cast will have changed.

tichondrius tells you to do your job

Tichondrius, Varimathras, Balnazzar and Mal’ganis had great voices in the original but in World Of Warcraft they sound a bit too generic for my tastes… except Balnazzar of course. I really hope that Paul Eiding keeps his role as Varimathras and whoever voiced Tichondrius and Mal’ganis keep their roles as well. They could just use the old voice files if they need to. It just won’t be the same without the original voice cast.

Another thing that bothers me is the story itself. So far it seems ok but I am concerned about any potential retcons occurring. I really hope that Blizzard don’t shoehorn their WOW bullshit in this game, it needs to stay pure and true to the original lore or I will be even more pissed off with them than I already am, just leave Warcraft 3 alone Blizzard… please!!!

Anyways with that aside, I want to talk about Battle.net and what the future may hold for it. You see, Warcraft 3 Battle.net has been around for a long time now and this could be the end for it. Just imagine for a moment what could happen to Warcraft 3 Battle.net when Reforged comes out, the servers might actually become deserted, let that sink in for a minute.

I wonder what Reforged Battle.net will be like, will it be yet another anarchists paradise like the original? Or will Blizzard finally add moderation to the game? Regardless one thing is for certain, the elitists will be back, trash talk will happen and it’s going to end badly whatever happens, it’s online gaming for heaven’s sake.

Still, Warcraft 3 Battle.net’s anarchy did come with some benefits, for starters, you didn’t have to worry about being banned for saying anything that would offend someone, you had to be a man and suck it up. There’s no safe zone on Warcraft 3 Battle.net and it should stay that way if you ask me. Moderators are always problematic in both games and forums, give us our goddamn freedom of speech for heaven’s sake. Regardless, even with moderators, the game will still have those annoying elitists that are like “Look at this guy, he’s 10 – 13… hahahaha what a shit noob” and with moderators prowling around, the ability to fight back against these remarks will be removed. I see this as a bad thing.

It’s come to the point where I feel as if nothing good can come out of Blizzard now, even if it is a remake of one of my favorite games of all time, all it serves to do is prove that games aren’t as good as they used to be and they need to compensate by re-releasing older games and tarting them up, welcome to the era of paying for games you played years ago just to play them all over again, why should I buy Warcraft 3 again? I already played it and quite frankly I don’t need to see it get tarted up.

Eventually every game will get a remaster… yes even Valkyrie Profile 2 but what then? What will happen when every single game is remastered? Will they remaster them again? Who knows? Regardless, I can’t wait for this era of remasters to end, not because I don’t want these classics to be immortalized, quite the contrary actually, I want them all to be remastered as fast as possible so that once every single game has been remastered, we can move on to playing games that are new and fresh… oh wait, games like that don’t exist anymore.

Call me cynical if you want (it’s literally what my blog is all about) but I don’t really feel any excitement or anticipation for this game, in fact you could actually say that this announcement has made me feel even more upset about the state of the Warcraft series as it merely serves as a reminder to how the series fell apart to begin with.

As such, Warcraft 3: Reforged’s announcement feels like I’m attending a wake at a funeral that should have happened back in 2008… yes I’m talking about the year Wrath Of The Lich King was released because as much as I despise World Of Warcraft, it wasn’t really all that bad until Wrath Of The Lich King came out. I cannot stress just how much of a love/hate relationship I have for this undying series, it’s ironically no different from Arthas’ descent into madness and that moment the song “Invincible” played at the end of Wrath Of The Lich King, Arthas was already dead the moment he took up frostmorne, just like Warcraft was already dead the moment they released World Of Warcraft and while World Of Warcraft was tame at first, it was a deadly poison that slowly crippled the series like a form of cancer.

The History Of Blizzard

Blizzard essentially walked the same path as the very character they created, Arthas was once a paladin who only wanted to protect his people, much like Blizzard were a team of developers who actually made good quality games but both of them descended into madness. Sure you could argue that Blizzard didn’t murder anybody in the process but they did whatever they legally possibly could to make all of their fans miserable and fuck the consumer in the asshole.

The fact that Blizzard partnered with Activision really speaks for itself to be honest, in the words of Arthas in Warcraft 3, all I have to say to Blizzard Entertainment is: “You are past redemption”.

Warriors Orochi 4’s launch price on PC is an insult. Koei Tecmo are ripping off Musou fans.

So there’s this game I’ve been excited for wanting to try called Warriors Orochi 4. As someone who shows an interest in 3D beat em ups, I cannot simply ignore musou games as the warriors series shaped the 3D beat em ups we know today and as such I want to play more of them to see if I can actually get invested in the genre or not.

Many consider musou games to be cheap, throwaway titles built around catharsis. Sure they can be entertaining to play but they aren’t exactly known for having much depth/flexibility, they’re just games that let you kill hundreds of cannon fodder with flashy attack strings. Put simply, musou games are no different from sports games like Fifa in the sense that once you’ve played one of them, you’ve pretty much played all of them, however there is a bit of nuance that slightly differentiates them and as someone who shows interest in 3D beat em ups, I want to see how the genre has grown.

warriors orochi 4 is a rip off 2

Unfortunately however, Koei Tecmo appears to be a little overconfident with their pricing of Warriors Orochi 4 as they have decided to price the PC version at £49.49… oh but wait, that’s actually a special offer, the base price for Warriors Orochi 4 is a whopping £54.99! Yeah you heard me, they have the audacity to charge the same price of a collectors/deluxe edition for a standard edition game which is insulting to all fans of the series and pretty much everybody who has very little money to spend.

To make matters worse, many people have had salt poured into the wound by having the game run at an abysmal framerate. It appears that people are complaining about the PC port being terrible. When you consider the fact that they have the audacity to charge £54.99 for the game, it’s pretty understandable as to why people are angry about this. Now I understand that the pound has dropped recently and as such, the prices for games are going up (even though the quality is still not up to scratch with the games of sixth generation) and as such, we are forced to accept higher prices as a standard now. However, I have noticed that these prices fluctuate between £45.00, £50.00 and now with the release of Warriors Orochi 4, £55.00… all for standard edition games with no bonuses of any kind.

Warriors orochi 4 is a rip off

Of course this doesn’t stop Koei Tecmo from selling a separate season pass on top of the base game for an additional £24.99 because apparently, paying £54.99 isn’t enough for us to be allowed to purchase a complete game. So if you’re wondering why I named the site Cynical Gaming Blog, it’s because of bullshit like this.

Welcome to modern gaming, where customers end up paying more for less, developers work longer hours for less pay and publishers are practically drowning in money to the point that they claim to need more money in order to resurface… except it just ends up making things worse and now they’re drowning in even more money.

Fuck the gaming industry.

E-Sports were a mistake…

Remember when playing videogames was about having fun and not a contest of ego’s? Those were good times. Unfortunately due to the fact that people are making ludicrous amounts of money playing videogames professionally, videogames are no longer about having fun, they are serious fucking business, you want proof? How about the recent shooting that occurred today at Jacksonville?

You’re probably thinking that I’m crazy for generalizing the entire E-Sports community with this one insane individual… but the fact of the matter is that competitive gaming as a whole has influenced this. Why? Because ever since gaming has rewarded large sums of money, people have taken games more seriously to the point that every single online multiplayer game is filled with toxic gamers, particularly Warcraft 3.

Now it’s one thing to call people names and taunt people and another to go out shooting people but if you think about it, it kind of makes sense how a shooting could occur at such an event considering how toxic gaming has become due to the rise of E-Sports. Even without the violence, E-Sports and all form of online gaming have been known to have heated arguments and conversations. Because of this, many gamers have developed not only a massive ego, but also a hostile temperament.

You can’t play any game online these days without meeting at least 1 hostile individual and who knows what that individual would be capable of if you were playing with them face to face. Considering what happened at Jacksonville, it’s pretty scary to think about the people who we are actually playing with or against in a videogame.

So you’re probably wondering, what actually happened at Jacksonville? Well apparently one person who just happened to lose in the competition decided to shoot one of the competitors, presumably out of spite. This makes perfect sense when you consider the fact that competitive gaming is a battle of ego’s. Even if money was not involved, competitive gaming has always had this problem, it is merely amplified by the fact that money is involved.

My point is that if you have a community that is hostile to one another, you are eventually going to encounter situations like this. It only takes one person to snap before they start getting violent. Now I’m not advocating against videogames in general, rather I am advocating against E-Sports. Videogames do not inherently encourage violence, ego’s on the other hand do. It’s just like getting drunk at a sports bar watching a football and getting into a bar fight just because your team lost and their team won, there really is no difference.

It just saddens me that gaming has this problem as well. I hate what E-Sports has done to gaming and I utterly despise the person who committed the shooting. I hope they rot in hell forever.

I really don’t know what else to say… this is just an absolutely fucking shit day for all gamers, even the innocent competitors. Though I may despise the competitive gaming community, none of them deserve to be shot.

 

If you want the full news article on what happened, here’s the link: https://nypost.com/2018/08/26/multiple-people-killed-in-shooting-at-video-game-tournament/

 

Nintendo want you to pay Ransom before they take your online privileges hostage

I fucking hate this industry

Today for the very first time, Nintendo are giving their customers the option to pay off their ransom in advance for 12 months… only for them to demand more money after that 12 months is up.

Do you know what subscription fees remind me of? Fucking Ganondorf! Every time Link beats his ass, he comes back every single time and Link has to kill him again… only for Ganondorf to come back and rinse and repeat… it’s a never-ending ordeal for the customer to have to pay ransom money to free their online privileges from the hands of these filthy console manufactures.

You know what? These companies are more than just manufacturers now… but what else can we call them? In any case lets change the subject. I’m going to give y’all a little history lesson. Back in the day, there was a wonderful little game called Diablo which came with a free service known as Battle.net. Battle.net is an absolutely wonderful service, just play Warcraft 3 online for a couple of minutes and you’ll see what I mean… oh wait.

Putting Warcraft 3 aside, Battle.net allowed players to connect with people all over the world and play together in a co-operative game of Diablo. As long as you had working internet, you could dive straight in to the wonderful world of online gaming. This was back in 1996 and all I can say is that Diablo is one hell of a game to play with friends, I highly recommend trying it.

Fast forward to the year 2002 and oh no… a console known as the Xbox received its own online service in the form of Xbox Live. Thankfully, the Xbox was pretty shit back in the sixth generation. Everybody was too busy playing all the exclusives on the PS2 to notice this shitty system.

The Xbox is hands down the worst console ever invented… now this may seem like harsh words considering the fact that the Phillips CDI alongside many other shitty consoles existed beforehand but the Xbox is by far the most criminal as is was the first console in history to successfully hold people’s online privileges to ransom. Many had tried to emulate Xbox’s paid subscription service models such as SEGA but none of them succeeded. For some reason, Microsoft were able to not only make a paid subscription service work but they also managed to muster up the balls to give us all the finger, because Microsoft are untouchable, they have a monopoly on Operating systems… mainly because PC gaming isn’t big enough yet… why? Because people keep playing these shitty consoles, that’s why.

I’m not telling you all to kneel before the PC master race, rather I’m telling you all to use common sense. Take a look at how all the bullshit we see in this industry started. Did it start with Activision? Nope, Activision invested in a lot of popular IP’s, yes but they didn’t have the means to exploit people the way they do now. EA? Nope, they may have milked countless sports games but they proved that they were capable of bringing us top quality games in the past such as Hot Wheels Turbo Racing and the Need For Speed series.

So what is the route of all evil you ask? That’s simple. Microsoft. Microsoft are hands down the absolute worst company in the gaming industry… or they would have been had Activision and EA not taken their place.

You see, because of how much leeway we, the consumer have given to these companies, they think that they can get away with robbing us in broad daylight. Just look at Sony for example:

Standard Price Of Kingdom Come Deliverance:

Sony are thieves PROOF 2

Sony Price Of Kingdom Come Deliverance:

Sony are thieves PROOF

That’s £14.00 that Sony have stolen from every single person that has purchased Kingdom Come Deliverance and nobody bats an eye.

Ok so for all you idiots out there who think I’m exaggerating, sure Sony aren’t really thieves but from a moral standpoint you could argue that their actions are almost equivalent to that of thievery.

You could say that Sony are scam artists but that would be an understatement, I believe the term “thieves” better describes Sony in terms of how immoral their actions as a company are.

Now I have played every single Sony console, something I cannot say about the other two leading console manufacturers these days though I made damn well sure I got my PS4 second-hand the moment I heard that Sony were getting their own online paywall, courtesy of the Xbox One’s terrible launch.

You see, if it wasn’t for the terrible launch of the Xbox One, there is no way that Sony would have gotten away with taking people’s online privileges hostage but considering the fact that the Xbox One would only function with an online connection and the fact that it tried to deprive us of our right to deny publishers our money by purchasing second-hand games, Sony’s console was arguably the lesser of the two evils, this gave Sony a chance to do what they would never have gotten away with in seventh gen, taking people’s online privileges hostage at a price that would continue to rise as it grew more and more accepted.

It has come to the point now that we as consumers do not question this bullshit, rather we accept these things as the norm. We might have dealt a massive blow against lootboxes but we still have a lot of unfinished business to take care of. We mustn’t tolerate these online paywalls any longer… but how can we do that? That’s simple. It’s called having principles.

Step 1: Never give Microsoft, Sony or Nintendo any of your money

Step 2: Never encourage others to purchase any of their products unless it’s available second-hand

Step 3: Buy a 1080 TI, an Intel I7 processor, a power supply and a motherboard (be sure to ask an expert on which motherboard/power supply to get because you’ll need them to be compatible with the rest of your PC) and at least 8gb ram.

Step 4: If you don’t already have a HDD or a case for your PC then get one, you can either put it all together yourself or go to your local computer shop and ask them to fit it for you (they love this because they get your money for doing an extremely easy job)

There you go, now you have a good enough PC to play all the games you could ever want up to eighth gen consoles. It may not be cheap at first but in the long-term, it will save you a lot of money and will give you a lot more in return.

Anyways back to the history lesson. After Sony’s success with their online subscription service, Nintendo decided to follow suit as well.

Quite frankly it saddens me to see how pathetic Nintendo have been in recent years, I used to enjoy playing Nintendo games on their consoles a lot but it would seem that they are now a shadow of their former self. Not only are they arrogant enough to believe that they can get away with taking our online privileges ransom but they are also stupid enough to be the last major console manufacturer to actually do it.

Oh how the mighty have fallen… the Nintendo that crushed SEGA back in the console wars during the 90’s would be ashamed at the state they are now, back then, Nintendo were fighters, they were the Bruce Lee of the gaming industry, now they’re a bunch of clowns that forgot to put their makeup on.

Now I know that I declared Nintendo dead a while back… but somebody has brought Nintendo back from the dead. Is this the Lich King? Are the Dreadlords behind all this? Only one thing is for certain. Nintendo need to be put back in their graves and the only way to do this is to stop buying their systems… unless it’s second hand of course.

We need to stop being a bunch of monkeys and start sticking up for our rights, I’m talking to all of you people who continue to support these console manufacturers, stop being a bunch of simpletons and start using your bloody brain or your ignorance will doom us all!

As contemptful as this may sound, these words come from someone who is frustrated at our industry. My enemies are the console manufacturers and the publishers, not the consumer… but if you stand in the way then you’re just another obstacle preventing me, and many other gaming enthusiasts from making progress, just think of how frustrating it is to have to see this bullshit happen without being contested, then you will understand why I am being such an asshole… because sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.

 

Bullshit PSA: Nintendo Is Dead

Sadly, today I am going to break some bad news. Nintendo, the company that brought us the SNES passed away yesterday. We heard that this was due to a self-inflicted wound known as a “Paid Online Subscription Service”.

With Iwata’s passing, Nintendo lost the one thing keeping it from sinking. Now we, the consumer have to put it out of its misery, just like Arthas did in Stratholme.

This entire company must be purged!

That’s right, we have no choice… oh wait, we actually do have a choice. The best way to deal with this what I like to call “undeadtendo”, we must resort to using our wallets to either:

  1. Remain closed

Or

2.  Used to purchase a second-hand console and copy of the new F-Zero if it happens.

Under any circumstances, DO NOT sign up for this paid online service. Let Nintendo die peacefully, if you sign up for this service you will plague the entire world and that can not happen.

If you truly value Nintendo’s heritage and history, boycott this service and boycott any new purchases of Nintendo games.

Thank you for listening.

R.I.P Sataru Iwata

Bullshit PSA: Exist Archive The Other Side Of The Sky

I bet you didn’t see this coming but sadly this shit has to be said. Now remember when I said that I was going to post something nasty towards Aksys Games If I found a speck of paid DLC on the PS Store? That time has come. Aksys Games has made a mockery of the consumer by charging no less than £49.99 for Exist Archive The Other Side Of The Sky and expect them to pay for it.

This is not inflation, this is just flat-out bullshit, where did they pull that extra £10.00 from? Oh I know, right the fuck out of their asses that’s where. They expect us fans to get on our hands and knees and beg for our localization, so much that we have to pay an extra £10.00. Needless to say I did succumb to this and purchased the game seeing as the game already sold poorly in Japan and I didn’t want this shitty business practice to harm tri-Ace so I was conflicted at the time. Plus considering the fact that It was my GOTY and that I had already played it before I bought it for that reason, that reason alone.

However we cannot let this company get away with this bullshit any longer. Though it may sound hypocritical to hear me boycott this company right after purchasing a game from them, you must understand that I went in knowing the value of this game. However my review gave this game a “great” rating, not a “masterpiece” rating, there’s a difference.

As such while the original Japanese release of Exist Archive The Other Side Of The Sky was worth every penny, I cannot personally recommend the localized version of this game right now. While I managed to get what I wanted from the game, I cannot be so sure that others will be able to. As such I am not in the easiest of situations right now. If you want my advice, just purchase the game second-hand simply because it is definitely worth a look. If you want to support the developers, get the Japanese version as well and give one of them to your friends for Xmas or something, don’t do what I did.

Oh and to add more to the bullshit pile and what is quite possibly the biggest offence that Aksys Games have pulled, they had the nerve to charge for DLC that was previously free in the Japanese version of the game. What DLC am I talking about you ask? The freaking new year/reindeer DLC that was free in Japan. All it is a silly reindeer horn decoration on the character’s head and a red nose while the other is basically noughts and crosses on their face.

How dare you expect us to spend real money on that crap, It was fine before since it was free but this is either stupidly careless on the publisher’s part or just downright greedy, I believe the latter. I believe that is enough to keep my eyes on this stupid publisher. While it hasn’t yet reached the levels of Konami, EA or Activision, know that this company is going to receive a place on my blacklist in the near future. Know that I will not kneel for shit that we should be getting for free, know that I will no longer pay £10.00 more for a game which should be priced at £39.99 tops. How the hell can I even consider this an acceptable price?

I have to consider the masses here. Believe me when I said that it took a lot of consideration for me to actually make that purchase… a lot of consideration, that’s why I got the game so late on because that price tag was just plain absurd… however like I mentioned before, I am not completely against price increases in videogames. What bothers me the most is that the company still has the nerve to charge for DLC they shouldn’t be charging for on top of that. Fuck you Aksys Games, I didn’t expect to get Exist Archive localized at all, let alone like this but you have made a mockery out of what localization is supposed to be about. What makes you think that you’re entitled to an extra £10.00 when other companies do not? Please do tell me… oh of course, us consumer peasants are not worth your time.

So do I recommend purchasing Exist Archive? Hell Yes! Do I recommend purchasing Exist Archive brand new? Hell no!  Pick up the Japanese version if you want to support the devs, it’s cheaper and has all the Star Ocean and Valkyrie Profile DLC. Of course if you can’t speak Japanese you might want to hunt around for a second-hand copy of this game online or something. Believe me, I am pissed at myself for buying this game knowing full well that extra £10.00 wouldn’t go to the developers but what did you expect me to do? Star Ocean 5 sold like shit, Exist Archive sold like shit in Japan, I knew that it was something I had to do to keep that company relevant because if this sold like shit, it wouldn’t go down well.

I purchased the game to deliver a message, something I usually try to do when boycotting a game… however this message was a stronger message for me, so I bit the bullet. This doesn’t mean that you have to though, weigh it all up for yourselves before you pick up the game brand new… oh and seek out that second-hand copy if you see it, you can always purchase the next tri-Ace game day 1, let me and the few others who actually bought this game take the bullet and believe me, it will cripple Aksys Games and make them think twice about pulling off something this stupid with a game that barely anybody knows about.

Fuck Aksys Games and praise tri-Ace!!!

 

Issues with Space Engineers Part 1

Ok so here’s a short from me on a game called Space Engineers. In these blogs I am going to talk about the many issues the game has when I notice them. Why am I doing this now? Because every single time I play this game there is something that instantly manages to piss me off and it’s time I made an encyclopedia of all if the issues.

To start with I want to talk about the most recent issue with Space Engineers that I have discovered. Now this could be considered a minor issue but when you consider what this game is going for, it is far from it. The first issue I’m going to talk about is the seams between several objects, most noticeably windows.

buggered-windows

Notice the red warning screen that appears? That shows up when you press the F12 button which just happens to be the steam screenshot button. So now, I have to put up with this every single time I take a screenshot (sure I could press F4 for the in-game screenshot but F12 is so much easier to do), what a fantastic idea developers!!!

Take a look at the image above. Now this was taken on a breathable planet. However do bear in mind that the exact same windows are used in space as well and are supposed to be designed with pressurization in mind… oh the irony.

That’s not all. Small conveyors also have seams in between. What? Are they floating in mid-air or something? I had to change my ship just because of this issue. But wait, there’s more. Another problem is that conveyor blocks aren’t rigid, why is this a problem you ask? Because since it isn’t ridged, there are gaps in all four corners that aren’t phased into other blocks, this would in theory fuck with the pressurization.

All I can say is that for once, the programmers are not to blame. This blame goes to the modeling team. I will be bringing up more issues in the future along with maybe some fixes as well… if that ever happens. Just know that this is only the very start of the problems I have with this game that I really want to enjoy but am struggling to due to these countless issues. See you in part 2.

Videogame consoles need to go… now!

Before I begin this rant, let me begin by saying I have been a console gamer for a sizable portion of my life. I had a lot of fun playing consoles, particularly in the sixth generation of gaming with gems such as the Nintendo Gamecube and the Playstation 2. Those consoles were great, the Gamecube especially being my favorite videogame platform of all time, so much so that I decided to make it into the logo for my website.

I loved playing consoles for a long time and after having invested in a SNES and a N64 I have consoles littered all over the place and it’s kinda difficult to keep everything together. So much so that I had to separate them from my main setup which is the main reason why it has been difficult to write about SNES/N64 games on the site because I have been unable to get screen caps from them due to them being on the other dies of the room to my PC.

The biggest selling point of a console to me has always been its accessibility, its ergonomic focus on design, the ease of setting up local multiplayer and finally the ability to purchase games second-hand to avoid sticking my crotch into the mouths of greedy publishers, something I have taken great pleasure in doing for many years. When you compare these factors to the flexibility of PC gaming, it may appear to be easily outmatched at face value however when you weigh them up, as someone who enjoys playing local multiplayer (particularly Co-Op) and buying second-hand games at a cheaper price without having to worry about DRM and having to forfeit my principles when it comes to purchasing games distributed by greedy publishers, I believed for a long time that console gaming was the real deal.

However like most things in the gaming industry, consoles have moved on and like most things these days, have become a shadow of their former self. It all started in the year 2005 just as the sixth generation was nearing its end and beginning to transition into the seventh generation which began in the year 2007. The console known as the Xbox 360 was manufactured and distributed across the world.

Now I was never an original Xbox player. I saw that the Xbox was lacking a lot of exclusives and that many of its games were PC ports and vice versa. The console never appealed to me and I found that the Gamecube and PS2 overshadowed it in every single way. However with what I presume to be the power of marketing brought by none other than Microsoft or as I like to call, the kingpin of the tech industry. As a result, Microsoft could easily catch up with Sony due to the fact that they already have plenty of money from their previous successes via software distribution. They believed that they could make their mark on the console market and so they did and people bought into it.

I purchased an Xbox 360 mainly because it was the console all my friends were playing on and I purchased Halo 3 which at first wasn’t a game I was excited for but I grew to enjoy it. This is when things started going wrong. First of all an acquaintance of mine offered to set it up (which I didn’t need but he did it anyway). Problem is that in doing so he entered his own details into the console without telling me so essentially I had no access to my account even though it was on a console… but wait, why do I need an account to play videogames on my console? It was never a thing that I expected at the time. Previously I had just put the game in and it played but now I saw this huge menu littering the screen.

At first I was just baffled by just how much needless bull crap this console seemed to want to throw at me but I just wanted to play Halo 3, so I did. Of course I was also given a free trial for Xbox Live so I played online for a bit and had some fun, however I didn’t know all of this because an acquaintance set it up for me. In any case eventually my Xbox Live ran out and realizing that it was a subscription based service I was outraged but I paid the money anyways because back then I was a complete mug.

However over time I grew to hate the Xbox 360, I hated everything about the console, the disk drive wouldn’t work half the time, the red ring of death, the needless subscription fee for online which I never had to deal with on other consoles at the time and the fact that besides a few exclusives like Infinite Undiscovery, many of the games in the seventh generation were either shit or mediocre and Xbox’s exclusives besides Halo and Infinite Undiscovery were just that. Heck Halo itself wasn’t anything special and Infinite Undiscovery is still considered to be one of tri-Ace’s worst games by many and for good reason. However I enjoyed both of these games and they were the only saving grace of that console.

Quite frankly though, the PS3 wasn’t much better, sure it had free online but the fact that there was no removable harddrive was annoying as well as the lack of good games on the system. I played White Knight Chronicles one of the most abysmal JRPG’s I have ever played in my life and besides the Tales games such as Graces and Xillia, there was really nothing for me on that system. It was full of open world action games (which were all inferior to the cross-platform Prototype which I took pleasure in buying second-hand)and silly little hollywood wannabe games like Uncharted which I couldn’t give two shits about.

All that was left was the Wii. Well at least they had the decency to add Gamecube compatibility and as such it is the main reason why I still use my Nintendo Wii today. It’s quite sad to say that I’ve played more Gamecube games on the Wii than actual Wii games. My Wii library is pitiful having a measly 9 games in my library, yes 9 as opposed to my huge collection of 35 Xbox 360 games (well it’s not as huge as most people but it definitely takes up a lot of space on my shelf) and 11 PS3 games (which is only so small because I sold most of them). This is pathetic Nintendo. There was no Kirby (until 2011 which was very late on in the console’s life), no Starfox, no new Pokemon game in the same vein as Colosseum (Battle Revolution was a joke) and most importantly F-Zero.

So needless to say, seventh generation was pretty depressing for me overall and now we are in eight gen. Putting the excitement of Star Ocean and Exist Archive aside (both games I really did enjoy despite their reception amongst critics), the consoles introduced this generation have been complete gutter trash. Basically, take seventh generation consoles and make them worse, that is essentially what eighth generation consoles are, complete and utter horseshit.

It didn’t help that the Xbox One’s launch was a complete disaster and that they forced on a shit load of bullcrap such as always online DRM, digital only gaming and a kinect spying on you 24/7 which you were forced to have kinected (see what I did there) to the console at all times for it to work. Needless to say, fans were in uproar so Microsoft had no choice but to give up on their original plan (temporarily of course) and give them the console the consumer really wanted… except they didn’t, it still has that shitty Xbox Live service that continues to siphon our hard-earned money for seemingly no good reason and it still uses that stupid disk drive and what makes things worse is that it no longer has a removable hard drive which is absolutely ridiculous.

During this Fiasco, Sony took the opportunity to apply their own pay wall to online multiplayer via their Playstation Plus which they only got away with due to Microfoft’s failed Launch of the Xbox One. Needless to say unlike the masses who all went to sony begging with their pants unzipped waiting for their dicks to be sucked (not meaning to offend here but that’s pretty much metaphorically speaking how these companies treat us), I took what I personally believe to be the smart approach and joined the PC master race, a group of individuals I used to hate and still kinda do (even though I completely understand their frustrations).

Then news came in that tri-Ace’s newest titles, Star Ocean 5 and Exist Archive The Other Side Of The Sky came out. Obviously I knew they would be PS4 exclusives because I saw the tri-Ace logo on Sony’s presentation at E3 about the PS4’s exclusive. So I went to my local game store to see if he had a second had PS4. Sadly he didn’t but he offered me an Xbox One instead. I laughed and went to my nearest GAME store, something I usually try to avoid. I walked up to the counter and asked for a PS4.

After waiting for them to get into the back room only to come out with two boxes each with an exclusive game (I think one of them was Little Big Planet 2 included in the bundle) I told them that I wasn’t having any of that crap and asked if they had any pre-owned in stock. Turns out they did, so I paid a bit less for it, got my wallet out and funneled cash into GAME because even though GAME like to charge obscene prices for their games, at least they still sold pre-owned games that I could get on the day without having to wait for the post all the time.

I received my PS4 in a blank white box, in this box now lies my long and forgotten Xbox 360 which has been buried within its casket that was formerly my PS4’s blank box. I plugged my PS4 in… or tried to. I realized that It came with a HDMI cable which would not work on my cheap standard definition telivision and as such I was forced to buy a converter from Amazon in order to play on my PS4. Next thing I noticed is that I had no games for the system. I wanted to make sure I got it before Exist Archive released in Japan and as such I got it early. I wrote a blog about it on Destructoid which got a lot of negative reception due to the fact that I was tearing the PS4 (and the Xbox One) to shreds.

So I bought Toukiden Kiwami just to kill some time for a bit. I thought about doing a review of the game but somebody else on Destructoid got there before me so I abstained and moved my focus onto Exist Archive and Star Ocean. Eventually the games came out and I played them and enjoyed them. Afterwards I was left wondering what I should do next so I picked up DOOM reluctantly on PS4 since my PC couldn’t run it only to remember that I couldn’t play it online. So I applied for a trial and played some DOOM multiplayer. Needless to say I was hooked by it for days… until my PS+ ran out then I found out some terrible truths.

You see one of the things Sony offered with their Playstation Plus is free games each month. Naturally I downloaded these free games. One of them was NBA 2K 2016 which was shit but I played a bit for the lulz, the other one being Gone Home which was interesting but I never got around to it since I was playing too much DOOM. Finally some Indie game I can barely remember.

However when my trial ended I tried playing these games only to find out that I could no longer access them. Wait what? Turns out that once your PS+ expires, you can no longer use the games. This is the most misleading thing I have ever seen any console manufacturer do, offer a service promising free games but forgetting to tell us that they only lasted for as long as your Playstation Plus subscription lasted. Heck even Microsoft’s Games with Gold allowed me to keep playing the game after I cancelled my Xbox Live subscription (right after they started their whole bullshit security crap which I couldn’t bypass due to my acquaintance setting it up for me and as such I couldn’t access Xbox Live at all, not even silver.

So my hatred for Sony and Microsoft grew more and more potent. Microsoft have already reached the pinnacle of asshatterry but Sony’s recent scandal involving Fallout 4’s clack of modding capability have moved them ever so closer to Microsoft in regards to how shitty their company is. The silly thing is that there isn’t even any monetary gain involved in this which just makes Sony look like a bunch of fools in comparison to Microsoft who can already smell the big bucks coming their way. Add to this the PS4 Pro fiasco, I don’t know much about it nor do I care but the Xbox Scorpio has also been announced.

Could the most recent console generation be coming to a close already or is this just another one of those throwaway ideas made by Sony and Microsoft get some quick cash from newcomers to their respective platforms? I swear if this is another “walled garden” as Boogie2988 puts it in this video (you should totally watch it since it relates strongly to this topic). We can only hope that it doesn’t come to that, maybe it will be like the so-called “new” 3DS which only had Xenoblade Chronicles as it’s only exclusive. We can only hope that it doesn’t become the next Playstation console otherwise things will be very bad for consumers, very bad indeed.

Then again it could be worse, we could be getting another console like the Xbox One was supposed to be at launch with Always Online DRM and there is still a good chance that they will pull that one out of the hat again in the near future. I haven’t heard much about the Xbox Scorpio but I don’t expect much good will come from it. All I can say is that the future of consoles keeps looking grimmer and grimmer with each coming console generation. Oh and here’s a message from me to all of you console manufacturers. When you create a new console and a new walled garden of games for it, for the love of god do not call it an optional “upgrade” of the previous console. It sickens me to just how much of a lie that is, stop doing that.

Oh and before I forget, the most important message I can give to all of you console manufacturers, enjoy it while it lasts. The market for PC is slowly rising higher and higher and the more accessible PC’s become, the faster you will be brought to your knees begging for us to support you and if you aren’t, you are going to lose relevance in this industry quickly with the exception of your devoted loyalists.

As for all you consumers out there, be sure to keep in mind that if my observations are correct, with the path consoles are trying to take “to be more like PC’s” and with Microsoft’s original Pitch of the Xbox One to be “always online and digital only” alongside the fact that most games on consoles lack local multiplayer, consoles are becoming a harder sell to us now. Don’t be a mug like I was when I purchased my Xbox 360 and signed up for Xbox Live. If you give a single fuck about the future of the gaming industry, hop right onto the PC bandwagon. I’m not saying this to be an elitist, I am saying this to make a point. Consoles are dying out, the only thing that remains is their brand and it’s the only thing keeping them afloat. If you want to move on from a “dying brand” then PC is your only option. I wish I could say otherwise but we really don’t have a choice now, PC is the only way to go now, either that or Mobile gaming and I’m sure no one wants to do that.

Finally to all you console manufacturers out there, if you think for a second that you’re going to compete with PC, you are mistaken. PC’s tech is upgraded so regularly that it’s impossible to compete because PC offers the freedom that your pathetic plastic boxes of shit don’t have. You cannot win against PC. It doesn’t matter what you do really… unless you get rid of your stupid monthly subscription fees and return to the days of the Playstation 2 back when games had local multiplayer as well as online (yes Playstation 2 has online) then you are well and truly fucked from my perspective. You better pray that your loyal fans don’t get fed up with your shit Sony and Microsoft because I’m already gone. You will never hear from me again and if you do, my money won’t be coming your way, it will be going straight to the retailer just so that I can personally slight you for your wrongdoings.

In addition to all of this, let’s not forget the licensing fees which Boogie2988 brought up in his video also bring harm to game developers as well which is more money which could be spend elsewhere such as… um I don’t know… games? This is another problem that consoles have had for a very long time.

So there you have it, I believe consoles need to go and will go. Do you agree or do you still hold onto your consoles? Leave a message here if you agree and I might respond, leave a message here disagreeing and I probably won’t respond because I can’t help you any further. Regardless, my path has been decided, PC all the way for me, consoles can just go and jump off a cliff.

You can also watch Jim Sterling’s video on the topic here, I think he mails it pretty well as always: Video.