Which one to get, PS4, Steam Machine, or Wii U?

I was reading a digital verses physical argument on a popular gaming website that I frequent the other day. Since I am taking some business classes at school I thought I would write up a whole perspective on what I think was not best for the consumer but best for business because what is best for business usually ends up benefiting the consumer down the road anyways. I won’t get into that argument instead I wanted to use that as a lead up into something else entirely, but somewhat related.

 

Recently Nintendo announced they are shutting down the WiFi Connect, the online service that is required to play Nintendo DS and Wii games on the internet. It got me to thinking how often this must happen. Now I am all for having digital copies of my media, I prefer to have everything in one place on one device it’s convenient. What I don’t like is the Cloud, or streaming or digital stores. I don’t buy many movies on iTunes or any of the other services but I do rip my own DVD’s to my hard drive and have them available at the click of a mouse instead of having to shuffle all those discs around. I like having a big collection of DVD cases on the shelf too but there comes a time when its just simpler to put it all on a hard drive and be done with it.

 

The most current gaming console I own in a Playstation 3. Part of that is because Nintendo lost my interest when they came out at E3 and made a big fuss about Wii Fit and forgot that there were real gamers out there buying their machine too. I won’t dig up all the reasons I ended up hating the stupid Wii and getting out of console gaming for nearly five years as a result. Instead I will present my reasons for wanting to get a new gaming system and what each one I am interested in has to offer.

 

I am not going to do the whole bullet point list instead I am just going to tackle this head on. Let me be frank, I am a gamer not a fanboy. I got a Playstation and an N64 on the exact same day and I have been gaming on my PC since the Atari 1200 days. I got a Sega Genesis for my 12th birthday after going through a long period of being an NES kid. That is not to say I don’t have my biases or preferences just that I am not a cheerleader for a company and their product, if it is a good product I buy it if not I move onto something else. So far the PS3 has been a pretty good machine and it inspired me to go back and buy a used PS2 and revisit some games I missed being a GameCube gamer back in the day.

 As always I am not in the position to buy every gaming machine around so I have to decide which one to get first and which one to wait to hit the clearance bin. As much as I grew to despite the Wii it did have a good start and some worth while hits sprinkled around all the crap. Due to that and my long history of Nintendo gaming I always have to put their newest console on my want list even if it falls off sooner or latter.

 

As of right now the Wii U is appealing to me because it does have a few good games, Super Mario 3D World looks amazing, Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze has me replaying all the old DK games, New Super Mario Bros U and New Super Luigi U both look like fun games I could play and unlike most Nintendo fans I haven’t cared for Legend of Zelda in years but Hyrule Warriors has me seriously interested in the franchise again, imaging a Zelda game that keeps the fun parts (the world, the combat, the characters) and removes the boring stuff (the cut scenes you can’t skip, the endless side quests, the running in circles back tracking to every last place just to find that one small detail you missed), and there are two pretty good looking Sonic the Hedgehog games one that is out and one that will be here next year. The problem is that’s pretty much it, besides a few decent Wii games I might pick up for the backwards compatibility, there is nothing else to get excited about on Wii U. I am not interested in another Mario Kart, I liked the SNES one and played a couple others here and there but I was never big fan anyways. I hate Mario sports games (or sports games in general) and so those are not interesting to me. I liked Smash Bros. Melee but the stuff I liked about it has not been carried over to the newer ones so there is no reason to get excited about that. Not to mention I prefer *real* fighting games which despite what the Nintendo faithful claim Smash is *not* a real fighting game. Everything else on Wii U can be found elsewhere or isn’t worth paying what they are asking for. Right now Wii U needs to come down at least $100 bucks before I will consider it and still needs a few more games. I have no interest in Bayonetta 2 as I never liked the first one that much. What does that leave me X? No thanks not interested when I could play the vastly superior Lost Planet games already.

 

What about getting a PS4? Well I am still interested in this machine even though the launch hype has died down some. What makes me interested in the PS4 is simple, despite their difficulties getting PS3 off the ground they still managed to end up having the best games around three console generations in a row. My interest in PS4 isn’t so much what is out now as it is the potential. I know that eventually there will be a new Castlevania game, a new Mortal Kombat, a new Street Fighter, a new Final Fantasy, a new… the list goes on and on of new games that I expect will make their way onto PS4, games that I thoroughly enjoyed on PS3. I also am still somewhat interested in some of the games that have been announced, despite being fewer of them than on Wii U, the few there are at least have me more interested than just reliving the past, again. One thing Sony does best is pushing the envelope and giving gamers *new* experiences mixed with sequels of the games we grew up with. Nintendo is a one trick pony, its all Nostalgia all day long with them. BUT if you actually compare side by side, Playstation has more vintage and classic games than Nintendo. I am not trying to bash Nintendo but go back to NES and all the best franchises not made by Nintendo turn up in new iterations on Sony machines not Nintendo machines. In fact on pure nostalgia Sony beats Nintendo every time, Mario and Donkey Kong is about all Nintendo has for classic franchises still going, Zelda is floating around but that series is such a mess I can’t even pretend to get excited for a new Zelda game anymore. Just a quick browse on the Sony PS4 website I already see plenty of games to really get excited about, not to mention I am still dying to get my hands on Watch Dogs and let’s be honest even if I get a Wii U I won’t be playing that game on that console. While I do like the media features of Playstation to me those are just extras not even a deciding factor for me. Still Sony sold more consoles in three months than Nintendo did in a little over a year, to me that says which one is going to get the support and as a gamer I go where the games are and Wii U is seriously lacking in games right now.

 

Then there is the Steam Machine. Now here is where I am really torn. I want to get a new dedicated gaming console that much is sure, and I am in desperate need to upgrade my severely outdated gaming PC. A Steam Machine kind of sorta kill two birds with one stone. It is both a super powerful gaming PC and a dedicated gaming console. I already have Steam on my PC which I enjoy very much. The library of games is second to none. Now I do still have a PS3 which I will keep getting games for and eventually PS Now once it launches, if it turns out worth getting anyways. Some would say get a gaming console and a PC or just get all of them but as money is an issue I can’t do that. I DO need to get a new PC anyways so that money is not coming out of my gaming fund but if I get a Steam Machine and it satisfies my console needs that is just more money for games and less spent on getting two new machines. Also it has the same advantages as gaming PC’s already enjoy, minus one minor detail but that’s not important to my decision.

 

Before I wrap this up let me say Xbox is not now nor has it ever been an option for me. I don’t play online competitive games and I don’t care for Halo one bit and the best games on Xbox are also on PC, at least with PS4 there are console exclusives with Xbox its pretty much all on PC anyways with a few rare exceptions that aren’t usually compelling enough to me to justify the machine. Since I game on the PC anyways my consoles are usually for the games I can’t get on PC which usually forces me to get Nintendo and PS both. After the mess that was Wii I am reluctant to ever buy a new Nintendo machine ever again. So far I have never been burned with Sony so there is one more reason to remain excited for the latest and greatest gaming machine from Sony.

 

In the end I will likely get a Wii U down the road used and pick up a PS4 either this year for my birthday or for Christmas if not sooner. I am still in the market for a new portable gaming device as well but that is an entirely different article. This is not an evaluation of the gaming market and this is not a what you should buy, this is just my personal views on which gaming device I am considering. I wish I could just buy them all but at a consumer on a limited budget I have to try to be practical. Also as a gamer I can’t just sit back and keep replaying old NES games on my emulators either.

The end of the PC? Steam OS and Tablets destroying Windows.

The short answer is no, the ‘pc’ will be around forever. The longer answer is and the more appropriate question is really, is this the end of Windows PC dominance? There is a prevalent view in the media that the “PC” is being replaced with the Tablet PC. Except PC is just a term that means Personal Computer, to me a Tablet *is* a PC so I don’t even get the whole discussion of the death of the PC. It is like when they stopped making CRT Tube television sets, was that the “end of TV?” of course not. Still I do think the real topic people are trying to get at is they think the Desktop computer is dying or specifically the Windows PC is what they are saying is dying?

 

As avid Windows user I really dread the day when Windows is no more. People hate change which is so true, and think that alone explains why Windows 8 is having a hard time taking off to previous Windows levels. And there is some truth to that I think, there are other reasons some of which I will try to tackle today in this examination of the industry. I also want to take a look at the future of computers and maybe redefining some terms people are misusing. The simple reason why I do not want Windows to go away is because as someone who has been using it for nearly two decades now, I have no desire to abandon all the software I am comfortable with and use regularly to try to find equivalent software on a new OS. I have a Desktop loaded up with Ubuntu Linux and while I personally do enjoy the OS and I like some of the features, I have run into several instances where software I use regularly just doesn’t exist on Linux and I can’t find software that does what I do that is equal. Sure if I spent more time on it I might find more and more useful stuff but the reality is as of right now I use Sony products more than anything, Vegas, DVD Architect, and Acid which are just not available on other systems besides Windows. I always here why don’t I dual boot, well my response is why the hell *WOULD* I? Why would I ever load up Linux over Windows when I can do everything I want in Windows and only certain things in Linux? Is it because I prefer the overly complicated method of installing software? I can understand why computer nerds and geeks like Linux but as a user who just wants things to work with as little hassle as possible, it is not for me. 

 

I don’t spend anymore time explaining why I don’t want Windows to go away I just want to talk about why I think it might be in trouble. First the rise of Tablets, some cite this as a reason why Windows PC’s are doomed. I disagree, here is why. Computers have always existed as a tool for businesses primarily and serious computer users are not giving up their desktops for tablets. Tablets to most advanced users are just toys, and for them they have their merits but not as serious computers. The interface is one reason, some software is just not designed to be used without a proper keyboard and sure tablets have keyboards as optional attachments the thing is they are already expensive who wants to spend an extra fifty bucks or more to get a keyboard their desktop/laptop comes with included in the package? Also if your desktop keyboard dies well they are all basically the exact same as since the 1980’s, all that has changed is the plug and even those are usually still available and if not they do make a converter that is easy to find, I happen to have four myself just for such an occasion. Also they are cheap nothing like replacing a broken blue tooth keyboard like on a tablet.

 

The other issue is the types of users, back in the 80’s and 90’s computers were used by a smaller segment of the population, they didn’t reach mainstream levels until the turn of the century and that was when they became multimedia devices with internet access. Today there is so much to do online it makes sense to have a computer or web enabled device to go online and do all the things people do. Well fifteen years ago you wanted to get online and do Facebook (or Yahoo which was what we had back then) well you had no choice but to own a computer. People discovered that they use parts of the computer and those are the parts they can get on a tablet which is why those customers were only temporary PC users anyways. These user bought a computer at a time when if they wanted to get on Facebook, Netflix, Youtube, Wikipedia, etc, they had no choice. Now if you only need the internet and media aspect you can get all that on your smartphone or your tablet or your gaming device. So those users were naturally going to leave the PC market first chance they got, as they were nearly forced to get a desktop just to do the few things they wanted. Also a tablet is a lot harder to screw up than a desktop because there is little the actual user can do mostly you install apps and browse the web, not much else to do, on a desktop you have memory management, virtual memory, networking, security, formatting, Defragmenting, and the list goes on, it is so easy to break a desktop most people were overwhelmed and I can understand why those users do not want or need a dedicated desktop or even a laptop anymore.

 

So that segment of the market is fading away, but the desktop industry will just go back to pre-boom levels it won’t fade away entirely right? Not so fast, there is another side of the equation, Steam OS. Steam is a dedicated gaming service provided by a company called Valve, which is the most popular gaming service in the world right now. Gaming has always been a segment of the desktop market that has driven more growth than even the business side, gamers or PC gamers, like to customize their hardware, they like to have top of the line video cards for spectacular visual effects, they like high quality monitors for ultra high resolution images, they like to have ergonomic, gaming keyboards and mice, they like to spend money on their machines and that money is what drives the desktop market, business users are cheap they buy a machine and upgrade it once they have no choice and will not replace it until it will cost more to fix it than to replace it, which even then they will be reluctant because they don’t like the extra cost of moving their software and files over as well as learning a new OS which takes time to learn, then to train employees to use, they like things to stay the same which is why businesses are going to stick with Windows for as long as Windows exists period. But what about those gamers? PC gamers are not tempted by the glitter of consoles but there is a segment of PC gamers were game on PC not because they don’t like consoles but because the games are exclusive to PC and are better suited for PC controls. Steam OS and the Steam Machine is potentially set to shake that up.

 

Here is how Steam Machine works, you buy a pre-built gaming computer that is in a living room ready set top box that looks just like a traditional game console, it will have the same features and options to customize and upgrade a PC will have but it will be designed with gaming in mind, why this will attract a certain segment of the PC gaming market is because there are those who are all about performance and Desktop PC’s are bloated with all the other features that Windows requires to run, which is why gamers would love to switch to Linux but the games selection is a limiting factor. Steam Machines will fix two of those issues, first they will be optimized for gaming which means less overhead and more performance out of the box, something that gaming console gamers already enjoy. They can still upgrade their hardware as needed but their OS is tailored to be optimized for gaming, where Windows is optimized for multitasking which is good for business but bad for gaming. The second issue it fixes is the games selection, Steam already has the largest library of video games on PC that gamers can get their hands on. It will basically give them a chance to have a closer experience to a console but keeping the benefits of a PC. Obviously these machines will not appeal to everyone but there is a segment, potentially large, that wants a gaming PC without the hassle of PC gaming. I am one of those gamers who loves PC gaming but I hate gaming on a PC, so I am one segment of that market for sure as Steam DOES have games I want, but nobody likes to play games on a Laptop and my desktop has always been used by me for gaming, which is why I tried Linux in the first place.

 

This will have a side effect on Windows PC gaming, as Steam is it’s own Operating system on these machines it will not be over the top of Windows, on a PC you install Steam on top of Windows and again take a performance hit doing so. This has much appeal to a person such as myself. Also gamers who buy Windows for gaming are a large segment of the Windows PC market, if Steam Machines take off even in modest numbers those are just fewer Windows Users, especially if these users do their media stuff on their Smart devices anyways, like I intend to do. My ideal set up will be PS3/PS4 for console gaming and media usage, and Steam Machine for those PC games I want to play but finally cut out all the hassle that makes PC gaming, at least for me and others like me, a major deterrent. As the Windows market shrinks due to that will it be enough to kill them off? I also think the answer is no.

 

Before Windows 95 desktop PC’s were not the dominant gaming computer platform, the two big ones were DOS and Commodore/Amiga. Commodore was at one time the largest selling computer brand in the world and they were mostly used for gaming more than anything else. Dedicated gaming machines are not new, and non-Microsoft gaming computers are also not new. The market has grown but the tastes have not changed much. I think what will happen is Windows will be reduced back to 90’s levels and Steam will rise up to replace the gap Amiga left in the industry when they went out of business. Sure they sort of tried to make a come back in recent years but their new systems are all playing on nostalgia and are not to be taken too seriously.

 

There is one other thing that could take Windows down and that is Xbox, specifically all the money it is losing Microsoft and if it continues doing so that alone could take the entire business down. I think if Microsoft can get things together and focus on the business segment and let the casual users go they can restructure and rebound. I don’t think Windows will ever be taken down my external forces, it’s just too strong of a brand and with good reason, but internal forces at Microsoft and their lack of focus is what is really damaging the Windows brand more than anything else. I think in the near term Microsoft is going to make some major changes, especially if Steam Machines do take off. Of course those could just be another footnote in gaming history much like the failed 3DO which was a similar attempt at the same type of thing over 20 years ago. I think the market is more fragmented now than ever, even more so than the 80’s when we had Atari, Apple, IBM, and Commodore all as major players. Now we have Microsoft and Apple thats pretty much it, Google has made strides but their Chrome OS is a joke and Android is still only for Tablets and Smartphone so until/unless they ever get a full desktop/laptop version of Android they will not be a major player in that market. However Windows could always continue gaining marketshare in the smart devices area and turn things around that way. My view is that the industry is facing some challenges adapting to these new devices consumers have and this increasingly segmented market.

 

 

I can see Steam Machines taking off simply because as the guy who buys desktops quit often for gaming I am considering one and I now others who are interested as well. I think Steam Machines will take the gaming segment and Tablets and game consoles, smart TVs, etc, will continue to shrink the causal market that will just leave the business market and the tinkerers who generally gravitate towards Linux anyways. I do agree that Microsoft and Windows are facing some challenging times ahead, I try to look at all possible outcomes but as a business student I also know where the market is going and I try to adjust accordingly.

 

 

 

 

The underdog who should not be forgotten

 

        Some people just like to root for the underdog, in sports, life, and in movies especially. I think there is something for watching someone you never expected to even make it win the championship. There are too many examples to get into right now but I think most people can agree it is common enough occurrence that most people are just used to it. There is a flip side to that, there is an equal if not greater desire to watch the weakling get bullied into tears. We have all been there, either been bullied or become the bully. In fact some of us have been on both sides of the stick and it’s never fun. That is one reason why I tend to stick up for those who do not deserve to be kicked while they are down. Sure there are some scumbags we just want to see crawling in their own filth, but then once they get down there we kind of start to feel sorry for them.

 

        That is how I think the internet fandom works, no matter what the side who loses gets the undeserved hate and then everyone just assumes it is okay to pick on them. Like Transformers against the Gobots, nobody ever talks about how the Gobots actually were better toys, no they don’t even talk about the apparent flaws that make the original Transformers cartoon nearly unwatchable to anyone who wasn’t a kid in the 80’s whereas the Gobots cartoon had the same timeless Hanna-Barbara charm kids of all ages and generations keep coming back to. Some people on the internet hold this regard that if a product, property, or company ceased to exist they must have not been worth anything or that if they lost market share they obviously did something wrong, never mind that in a free market even the best ideas sometimes lose out to the lowest common denominator. In the late 1990’s I lived through a time when everybody went from thinking SEGA was the coolest thing ever to happen to video games to re-writing history into this warped reality where they *always* sucked and just somehow got lucky. These same people are currently undergoing a shift from praising the once mighty Nintendo to writing them off as always having been behind the times or having always relied on their franchises despite all those franchises having to start somewhere. Still it bothers me to see so many people needlessly attack anyone especially those who do not deserve it.

 

        Out of all the companies that gets the most hate that I feel is not just undeserved it totally and completely warped by some major flawed logic and re-writing of history to fit the current misconception, and that company is Atari. Why do people especially young people just write Atari off as something from the past that never mattered? Well I am here to point out where they are wrong and set the record straight, no you can not say that if not for Nintendo there wouldn’t even be a Sony Playstation or an Xbox, screw that if there hadn’t been an Atari first there wouldn’t have even been a Nintendo (at that time they were in the brothel business and just starting to branch out into toys.)

 

So here are some key points fanboys on the internet always seem to forget whenever the name Atari gets brought up.

 

 

        Fact number one, Atari INVENTED video games. Shut up yes they did. Nerds will gladly point out some anecdote about some scientist somewhere in a lab or garage or whatever who somehow managed to get a simulation to work on an old radar scope something or other, I did my fact checking and guess what, WHO FRIGGIN CARES it was NOT a commercial product, it was an experiment in a garage that somebody wrote about AFTER the fact as some revisionist history. Atari has the patent on video games, or “interactive TV games” they lost the patent to TIME but they DID invent video games so deal with it.

 

        There is also a myth that the Magnavox Odyssey was the first true video game or this tech demo called “Tennis for Two” or some bull shit like that, Again those were tech demos done by researchers in a LAB. Pong hit arcades the same year as the Odyssey but here is the catch nobody out side of techies and internet nerds EVER knew what the Odyssey was, if you were alive back then you knew PONG PERIOD. Maybe years latter you heard of the Odyssey 2 most people mistakenly remember that as the first one but it was actually years latter. Anyways PONG was a hit in arcades and began the arcade revolution, Magnavox and their tech demo never even made it to major retailers before being lost to time. I am an avid collector of video game and TV technology, I used to own a Beta Max, Laser Disc player, and a CED player (look that one up if you don’t know) among many other obscure TV related tech. I have NEVER seen an Odyssey in the wild, you see them online in auction sites and in museums but nobody ever bought the damn thing so they might as well not even exist. Does that mean Atari deserves all the credit? YES in my book they do. Sure they maybe borrowed ideas from others at the time but here is the reality, so what, their idea took off and launched an entire revolution, those other ideas where just nerds dinking around in a lab for the hell of it. Atari did the smart thing and found a way to turn it into a business which is why you and I even care about video games in the first place, they were successful products in the marketplace that we as consumers purchased for our enjoyment.

 

        Activision, THE number one video game company in the world, you know the guys who make a little game I am sure you all heard of “Call of Duty”, they started *AS* Atari, that is right the company that you know and love USED to be Atari games. Well sort of but there is a story behind it. Atari was like all tech businesses at the time, and mostly today too, they paid their programmers for work produced and then put them on a new project. Some programmers thought they were rock stars and should be paid and given credit like recording artists and a dispute over royalties led them to LEAVE Atari and launch Activision, a 3rd party publisher that existed to program and sell games for Atari’s home console the 2600 VCS. Why did they name their company Activision? Because it comes before Atari in the phone book, that was the way their founder tells it anyways.

 

        Atari also created a side business called Pizza Time Theater, it was this pizza restaurant that also housed the latest and greatest video arcade games for kids to play while they waited for their food. Their mascot was a cartoon rat named Chuck E Cheese and oh by the way they still exist today but they now use that rat as more than a mascot he is their namesake too.

 

        Atari created the first wireless controllers for a video game console way back in the early 80’s for their 2600 game system. I could go on and talk about how programmers from Atari created some of the most successful games of all time but instead I will share one tidbit about Nintendo and leave it at that. Nintendo wanted to get into the budding video game business so they sold some of their games across the ocean to American companies to release on their machines. Their most popular games were Donkey Kong, Mario Bros. and Popeye. They ported these to nearly every home console and computer at the time making them a third party company (so when Nintendo fans say Nintendo will NEVER go third party correct them and say they might not go BACK to being 3rd party instead) anyways Nintendo wanted to get into the hardware business because their arcade games were not selling well, those three listed above were it the rest were all flops nobody remembers, even Nintendo leaves them off their company history page.

 

        Oh so getting back to Atari, Nintendo didn’t know how to make a video game console so they stole Atari’s design and rebranded it the Famicom, imported it back into the US as the NES and the rest is history. They made minor changes to the RAM and added a co-processor for graphics but the internal CPU was the same one found in Atari’s machine from 1976, NES came out a DECADE latter. Okay so that is not enough to defend Atari as this great company but here is one for you, even though they STOPPED making video game consoles in 1997 they made MORE consoles from the 70’s to 90’s than Nintendo has to date. They also made computers and arcade machines for nearly 20 years, Nintendo barely made arcade games for five years before getting CRUSHED in the Arcade arena by Atari and Sega, two companies who remained kings of the Arcade till the very end. (or the decline anyways)

        Atari also took their game consoles online TWO DECADES before Nintendo did. Of course everybody had been doing online a whole decade before Nintendo anyways so that isn’t saying much. Also keep this in mind, even though Nintendo supposedly revived the video game industry after this mythical crash that gets blown out of proportion by internet sites looking to sensationalize a downturn in the economy, anyways the point is despite Nintendo somehow saving or reviving the video game industry people tend to forget Atari survived the crash, they kept making products during and throughout the entire period, Nintendo just came in and took all the credit for basically just taking advantage to a clean market with most competition bankrupt.

 

        I think Nintendo has done some great things for the video game industry and so has Sega, Sony, and well even Apple, but don’t forget that it all started with Atari. Oh by the way Steve Wokzniak the guy who co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs, he was a programmer at Atari before Apple, and he made one of the most memorable Atari 2600 games ever. Anyways not only that but the guy who programmed Mortal Kombat got his start at Atari as did the guy who programmed some of the more popular Sega Genesis games. In fact Atari and Sega are similar in many ways but one of them that is unfair is they both failed to stay in the hardware business. My view is first so what, they made great games who cares where you play them, second actually it is false to say neither still make consoles, although they mostly make flashback consoles based on their old tech, that is more than Nintendo does for their long time fans so lets not forget about that. If you want to play some Atari classics like Asteroids or Missile Command or Centipede, go ahead an Atari Flash Back can be had for a reasonable price at nearly any store. You want to revisit old Nintendo NES games, first shell out the money for their LATEST console as that is the only way to play their old games, they won’t even sell them on Steam, or mobile devices.

 

        Atari was a great company that had some poor management and made some bad decisions (that face it NOBODY could have predicted would be wrong) and well they ended up becoming a relic of the past. Do I think they are the greatest game company ever, no and I greatly exaggerate some of their accomplishments to prove a point not to be taken literally so don’t even bother with comments debunking facts because I don’t care this was an opinion piece the facts don’t mean shit to me. The reality is facts are stupid the truth is Atari made the video game industry and their great games are still available for all to enjoy, Nintendo hordes their old games like some sunken pirate treasure chest or something. Do I hate Nintendo, no but I hate when people shit all over Atari, turn around and praise Nintendo for things they had nothing to do with, and then act like Atari never mattered in the fist place. They have become a relic of the past which is fine they are just a company that failed to stay relevant but at least they DID actually matter and for more than a decade.

 

        I could twist more “facts” if you want but the truth is Atari is great and deserves to be remembered for their accomplishments, and nobody cares about those nerds in their garage tinkering with their doodads, the REAL story is Atari created Pong and that launched the video game revolution that is still evolving to this day. Long live ATARI. Now I am off to play me some good old Asteroids on 2600.

A Netflix experiment

     Ever since I signed up for Netflix streaming I have been really frustrated with their recommendation system, I know I am a pickyperson and hard to please but they make it impossible to find what I like because my tastes are all over the place and just because I watched a season of some anime with subs off to brush up on my Japanese does not mean I am interested in other shows with similar themes. The show was called Black Butler so what do they recommend? Cake Boss, really? That was just the “Top Pick” which made no sense because they should know by now that I HATE reality TV. Anyways since they introduced accounts I have been experimenting and I found a system that I think mostly works but it has a flaw.

 

     I have four accounts out of five, one is my main account that I messed up and will never get fixed, I call it the junk account but I am trying to train it to like comedies and such but not having any luck it keeps bringing up that crap I accidentally clicked on and didn’t stop in time so it still thinks I liked it among other flaws. Seriously it is getting annoying. My other three accounts are mostly trained perfectly to match their intended moods, I have an animation and family account for the cartoons, anime, super hero, and occasional Transformers relapses I might have from time to time. This lets me have an account where I don’t mind it suggesting Hanna Montana as long as it also shows me some X-Men and some good anime from time to time. It also has learned me pretty well and has gotten good at knowing what to recommend and what to hide.

 

     My third account is dedicated strictly to science fiction stuff, that one is harder to train because some science fiction, well most in fact, can also be classified elsewhere like Ghostbusters is also horror and comedy, which gets difficult especially with Event Horizon also being horror and dark so it keeps suggesting off the wall stuff like American Psycho or Hell Raiser IV because it takes place in space apparently. I am making progress but it has a long ways to go. The fourth account is dedicated to horror movies and slasher films and that one can literally read my mind, which is not hard to do because its hard to make a bad horror movie, they are all b movies to begin with. 

 

     That leaves one account open to play with. I have tried action movies but realized that is redundant because most of the ones I would like show up in one of my other accounts, action comedies under my comedy account, sci-fi action in the sci-fi, the super hero stuff under my super hero account and the darker stuff in sometimes in the horror account, so I was never getting anything I didn’t already have elsewhere. I tried a second theme that also did not work out because it wasn’t one I was in the mood for enough to want to see more than occasional movies which also showed up elsewhere. And it quickly devolved into late night comedies anyways. So I tried a new experiment, this was the one I was working on this week, no manipulating the system just being honest and letting it recommend me movies based on viewing habits only. This was going to be hard because I opted NOT to fill out the taste profile period and opted NOT to rate movies I already have seen. Just watch a movie rate it and see what happens. I am hoping that it will just learn my tastes without me trying to interpret their hard to crack vague code words they use in their taste profile. They let you rate individual movies on a five star rating system but you can only rate a TV show as a whole, what if I ONLY liked season one of Heroes? Or what if I only liked seasons 2-7 of Everybody loves Raymond? Or better yet what if I only like certain episodes of a show like Doctor Who where it is very hit and miss? Also Netflix should have a better taste rating system, Never, Sometimes, Often are too narrow. I would not like five options that is too hard to keep track of so I suppose it is the best they could do but I think four could be okay, like Never, Rarely, Sometimes (or occasionally might be better), and Often (or almost always for some)

 

     The rating system is not perfect but I can say it is not too terrible. It isn’t as smart as Pandora is about finding exactly what I am in the mood for but if you take the time to train it just right and don’t over think it, eventually the ratings start to get better. Of course if their BROWSE feature and SEARCH feature were not so broken then it wouldn’t matter as much but as it currently is when you browse it HIDES the stuff it thinks you won’t like already and when you search it can get stupid at times, I searched for Home Improvement and it didn’t even register their is a sitcom by that name it was all reality home building, home repair shows. I searched for King Of the Hill a show I used to watch regularly on Netflix, it took me straight to the page of this movie, it bypassed the normal landing page where it says “not available to stream, here is other stuff you might like” and then show that other movie, nope it just took me right to that movie. I hate that because it used to take you to a search page with similar stuff, so when I typed in Star Trek it brought up ALL their different offerings, instead now it just takes me to the original series page and stays there, what about that 2009 film? It was JUST called Star Trek and that was the one I was looking for, it didn’t even show me it for DVD anymore which it used to do.

 

     So with the search and browse features so broken it is very important to get the taste profile just right otherwise I will never know when they DO finally add that movie or TV show I keep waiting for. I did stumble into the Walking Dead by a recommendation and actually enjoyed it so I know it does work from time to time I just hate how I search for something and it gets so stupid because other titles might have the same or similar name and it doesn’t even try to sell me on the DVD’s anymore, which I guess is a good thing because the DVD side is going downhill anyways.

 

     I will keep trying for now but I am still looking for a replacement. For the money the amount of shows they have alone makes it work it, I added it up it would cost me ten years of Netflix to get all the shows I watch on DVD and that is just what they have right now. I used to be all for owning stuff on DVD but those days are gone, DVD is a waste of space and I am all in to digital only mode now. I went all digital before and then relapsed into physical when Blu Ray came out, which lead me right back to DVD when blu rays became too expensive and their offerings were not worth it and the DVD collections were often better than the Blu Ray sets. Then I realized I was back into an endless cycle of spending all my money on stuff I will never watch, for $8 dollars a month I don’t mind all the piles of crap as long as the few good shows and movies they do have outweigh the cost of buying DVD anyways. Take Psych, that show now has 8 Seasons at roughly $25 a season, used is slightly less but not much. That 70’s Show also had eight Seasons and Doctor Who and Star Trek ALONE make Netflix a STEAL. ONE Season of Doctor Who, 13 Episodes, is usually $60 or more. The Christmas Specials usually run $30 on their own. Netflix doesn’t have anything past season 6 but still that’s a lot of money to get just those six on DVD, plus the classic Doctor Who specials go for a lot more and are much harder to find. ONE Season of Star Trek TNG goes for almost $100 on Blu Ray and the DVD set goes for $75 per season, you can get them slightly cheaper used IF you want the bare bones discs no packaging because Star Trek sets are collectors items so if you just want to watch the show your options are pay a small fortune for the damn discs, pay a smaller fortune for cable to watch them once a week with commercial interruptions or just pay the eight bucks to get them ALL. That price above was JUST for one show. Netflix has Buffy, Angel, all the Star Treks, The Walking Dead, Psych, Bones, Transformers G1 (another collectors nightmare to get on DVD), Doctor Who, Last Man Standing, Melissa and Joey, Everybody Loves Raymond, How I Met Your Mother, Family Guy, and Futurama. Try getting ALL of those for the same price as one YEAR of Netflix I dare you. That alone makes it a bargain Add to that all those obscure but still great horror classics or a whole bunch of really cool but not worth paying for cult sci-fi films and anyone who thinks Netflix is not a good deal is blind.

 

    Will it ever have everything ever released no and sure they lose shows from time to time but they tend to get them back eventually, no different than TBS or other cable channels which also rotate their shows but then bog them down with endless commercials. Now I admit I would be willing to pay more for the service if it allowed them to get more content, especially more shows from the 80’s and 90’s that they are neglecting, but until then I will stick with it and enjoy my endless sea of content for next to nothing while those who can’t see a good deal spend their life savings on DVD’s because somehow that’s supposed to be better? Also Netflix still offers the DVD by mail option for that stuff they don’t stream, so there is always the temptation to just add DVD’s to the plan. My other thought has always been to add Hulu Plus but for now money is tight so I will keep that on reserve.

 

Right now I will conduct my experiment of just watching and rating without filling in the taste profile to see how that works, I will report back my results once I have enough data to make a reasonable conclusion. I tried the totally honest approach with ratings and it didn’t find me anything I DIDN’T already have in my list so that was a bust.

 

The Nerd Rising- or Return of the Geek?

A couple of semesters ago I wrote a paper for English called the nerd rising, where I chronicled how the geeks and nerds were taking over the world. It was a lame assignment that naturally I didn’t take too seriously, but still I did get an A so I must have done something right. Anyways I wanted to re-evaluate some of my conclusions not from the paper itself, it was a home work assignment I really didn’t bother to save. But mostly my own observations that I have noticed since the time I wrote the paper, which was a time I happened to do a lot of research. So here are some of my conclusions.

 

First Geeks are not Nerds.

 

I sort of addressed this in my paper and I am one who is generally offended by the intermixing of the terms, they both began as insults to different classes of people so there is an understandable amount of apprehension when a term is used incorrectly. I feel it is no different than when you call a Korean a Chinaman or an immigrant from South America a Mexican, it is offensive to mix up the cultures. Now everybody knows nerds, jocks, geeks, rednecks, hillbillies, etc are stereotypes and they all have their own cultures. So before I get any further let me just end this with saying I distinguish between nerds and geeks as follows, a nerd is more into math and science, they may or may not be into technology as an extension of that and they are probably attracted to video games, maybe even comic books and the like but they are mostly into science and knowledge. Geeks are often considered wannabe nerds, or they are seen as nerds who are not smart. WRONG, geeks are into technology first and foremost, not so much the knowledge behind the technology but more the applications of it. They are more likely to be into video games as those are technology driven and they tend to be geared towards the tech more than the games themselves. (Gamers are a subset which I will tackle latter) Geeks also are more likely to be into comic books than nerds because geeks are into the superficial sciences and comic books are not very scientifically accurate. They like stories that involve super heroes and giant robots more than anything else but are flexible. There are also comic book fans, they do not have their own word as far as I am concerned but they are not nerds or geeks they are just people who read comic books, a nerd, geek, or gamer may also be into comic books but that again is no different than a redneck who lives for hunting and fishing also being into Football, sports fans are an entirely different breed all their own.

 

So with that said, the paper I wrote focused on how Nerds are taking over the world, and that the power shift has gone from the strongest of society to the smartest, how politicians are now in control where historically it was Lords and Kings (who usually started out as knights or warriors) who ruled. The world has changed so I wanted to highlight that. But then I realized that to the mass society we are all people who enjoy different freedoms at different levels and some of us have interests that are not as widely appreciated as others. Anyways I never identified as a nerd I am just not smart enough and I hate being called a geek because although I am into technology it is not what I live for. I always preferred the term techie but even that is stretching it. My interests lie mainly in politics to some extend, Astronomy and Space exploration mostly Mars and NASA but not too much, computers but more so as video games than as tools or whatever, and of course video games. I have on occasion dabbled into comic books but to be honest they tend to lose my interest rather quickly. So I don’t mind being called a gamer because I do at least from a percentage stand point, game more than anything else. But I also watch a lot of television, mostly sitcoms but some science fiction from time to time, and some dramas if they are good, I like the Walking Dead currently, I used to watch Buffy from time to time, and Bones before it turned into a soap.

 

Recent trends in Hollywood have been to shift their big budget special effects films away from generic save the world blockbusters and more towards the real of comic books and video games, Marvel has especially been successful at turning their comic book characters into a media empire. Still to me this is no different than Star Wars which to many is just a film, or a series of films depending on where you stand on the quality of the series. But it is also a media empire, there are books, comic books, video games, toys, everything else you can think of. At its core Star Wars is still a story, not tied to just a movie. And yes I am a Star WARS fan not so much a Star TREK fan, so there is that.

 

Why am I bringing any of this up? Because there is a new Robocop movie out that I will be watching either tonight or tomorrow depending on how things go, and I am actually looking forward to it even considering how much I really enjoyed the, clearly outdated original despite what some long time fans might tell you. The original does not hold up well at all, it is supposed to take place in the future but is blatantly stuck in the 80’s, so there is that. Hey I was a kid in the 80s too but guess what, that does not automatically make everything from that decade suddenly good just because. Robocop was a violent movie about a robot who killed bad guys, I call BS on all the social commentary because first none of what was predicted to occur did occur, second the movies director might have had that in mind but the AVERAGE move goer never picks up on that crap anyways to the average consumer Night of the Living Dead is a Zombie movie it is NOT making fun or American consumerism, To most American viewers, Robocop is an action movie about a dead guy put into a robot body who goes on a shooting spree splattering bad guys all over the wall nothing more. As long as there is an indestructible robot pretending to be a copy shooting up bad guys then I am okay with this new movie, I do not care if they altered or removed the supposedly social commentary that was NOT blatantly obvious because NOBODY figured it out until years latter on the DVD commentary in the first place. So where do I stand on this issue? For me it is JUST a movie, if you try to make it more than that well you are a nerd, geek, whatever, but if you are just a regular person who just happens to enjoy a mindless action flick with maybe some good special effects to help keep you entertained, they good for you. Like what you like and do not worry about what others think.

 

I have a part two for this that I will write up latter but I also have other topics I want to get to first so I will also talk more about my thoughts on the movie AFTER I actually watch it.

The solution to the Netflix problem- themed Accounts

Recently I re-instated my Netflix account after finally getting things in my life settled down to a point where I could just sit back and watch some stuff. I have had Netflix streaming off and on for a couple of years now and the biggest problem for me was not so much the lack of content but the broken suggestions system, it would recommend me the most useless crap no matter how hard I tried I just could not get it to adjust to my tastes. Then last summer they launched a new account based system where each person can have their own taste preferences and if one person watches say Doctor Who it does not clutter my list up with Downton Abby and other british crap because it labels Doctor Who “british” instead of “sci-fi”. Anyways I finally discovered a solution that works for me, of course this won’t work so much if you have other people on your account like friends or family so this is more for single people or couples without kids.

 

First I signed up for all five accounts, it doesn’t cost anything extra and it saves me a lot of hassle sorting out all my recommendations. Here is how I do it,

 

Primary account, leave this as the catch all account, use it for anything you no matter how random it might be, or set it aside as the “Guest” account if you have company or a cheap ass roommate. The idea is to have one throw away account that Netflix will never get right because you need a place to watch that crap you might like because Scarlett Johanson is in it but don’t want it thinking you like Woody Allen. So this is your junk account do what you want and forget about it.

 

Then set up the other four accounts as follows,

 

Pick four categories you are a BIG fan of and set up each account to be tailored to that specific type of viewing. Try to keep it specific enough that you only watch shows or movies from that style of show or movie no matter what. For instance if you use that as your comedies account do NOT watch anything but comedies, do the whole rating game as if you ONLY like comedies, so tell it always on comedies and never on everything that is not comedies. Then you vote hated it on everything it suggests that is NOT a comedy, now it can be campy sci-fi or those cheesy Army of Darkness movies, its okay as long as it is well known to be more on the laughs. Then rate everything that is comedy, even if you personally hate it, 4 and 5 stars, 3 is the minimum here. Use 3 stars for the stuff you DO hate but if it is comedy make sure it is 3 stars, 4 for the stuff you would normally rate 3 and 5 is well anything you would rate 4 or higher. This will seed your Netflix account with nothing but comedies, sure it will suggest comedies you hate but as you watch movies and shows it will learn your tastes much better. Do this for your next three favorites, say have one for childrens stuff or anime and seed it for that, maybe have one that is devoted only to Westerns and ONLY use it for westerns and rate movies as if you are John Wayne’s biggest fan. This will give you four accounts that will help you find the more obscure stuff without burying you in tons of crap you hate.

 

Remember if something catches your eye that does NOT fit that category you are on, immediately switch to the proper account, after rating it appopriately for that account. To do this, say you are in your Comedies only account but you get a recommendation for Sharknado,  funny film but if you watch it you will be flooded with 2 headed shark attack, Croczilla, and the like. So say you have a campy sci-fi or a monster movies account, rate it as 1 star (hated it) OR not interested in your comedies account, switch over to your Monster movies account and rate it 3 stars right now, re-rated it 4 or 5 ONLY if it was something you really liked, keeping in mind everything in that account that is remotely similar to the stuff you might like is always a 3 and up. So say you like Comedies but HATE Adam Sandler, okay in all your accounts rate Adam Sandler movies 1 star or not interested but in your Comedies account rate it a 3, not that you want more Adam sandler but you MIGHT just get that really goofy spoof movie you never knew the name of to show up some day. This system works much better than just having to remember to search for movies once a month in the hopes they got something new or spending time trying to browse the categories as that never works. Or if you do not want to chance ruining one of your accounts, remember you set back that junk account earlier in those rare moments you might find yourself watching Sharknado but not wanting endless sharkmovie suggestions in all your accounts.

 

My accounts are pretty focused, I have my junk account for all the normal crap but I maintain my favorite sitcoms and comedies and dramas in there too just in case, if I see something interesting I put it in the list and watch it latter.

My second account is set up to be geared towards cartoons and anime, specifically super hero cartoons and anything anime. I also seed it with some sci-fi stuff like Power Rangers and Heroes but keep it mostly for animated and comic book related stuff. So far the recommendations are pretty tight and spot on, I occasionally get a Disney flick, if it is one I like say Lady and the Tramp or Alice in Wonderland, I rate it 3 stars and be on my way, if it is something like Mickey Mouse and the Beanstalk I click 1 star, Be sure to be very careful in these content accounts to rarely use Not interested as it might confuse your distate for Adam Sandler for a hatred of whatever his style of comedy is supposed to be when you like other comedians just not him.

 

My second “content themed” account is general science fiction, this one i try to be strict with, anything that is sci-fi, fantasy or monster movies, if it has aliens, magic, or even radioactive mutants it is ok, but I mostly seed it with robots and space travel, time travel and futuristic stuff. I down vote all anime, cartoons, and anything that is NOT blatantly sci-fi or sci-fi related, I use the anime account for the cartoons so this one I rate all animated stuff as 1 star or 2 stars if it is something I personally really like but don’t want it seeding my account. I try to leave the horror movies, even the sci-fi themed horror movies for another account because while to me Event Horizon is science fiction to Netflix is is a thriller and thinks I like Hellraiser because of the one set in space.

 

My third themed account is just that, horror movies, this is anything that is gory, bloody, and scary. NOT violent stuff like Kill Bill but gory stuff like Human centipede or Saw, etc. I try to keep it very specific and I let it suggest anything meant to send chills down your spine. I especially like the early splatter and slasher films and netflix has a really good selection despite not having the super stars of Jason and Freddy to fill in their ranks at least they have the good stuff like Sleepaway camp or Children of the Corn. I also reserve this one for thrillers but only those that feature actual serial killers and are high on suspense, Hide and Seek is NOT for this account but Silence of the Lambs would be.

The fourth themed account I deleted. I was using it for action films but that became too cumbersome and I tried to narrow it down to martial arts and commando style movies but it kept suggesting me crime thrillers and detective movies, not that those are bad or anything but it was not getting that I liked guns and explosions and asskicking not Sherlock Holmes. I might try to reinstate it and be more focused but I also have to keep in mind what my personal tastes are and remember Terminator is Sci-Fi and Avengers is Comic book and keep those in the right account.

 

Now obviously this is a lot of hard work and most people won’t even bother but if you are like me and it really annoys you to no end that it keeps recommending “Top picks for you” and there is Breakfast at Tiffany’s all because I watched Planet of the Apes and they are both “classics” apparently. I also got tired of telling it how much I HATE westerns but I watched Avengers and all those westerns I gave 1 and 0 stars to suddenly came back because they were somehow related in some alternate reality that Netflix appears to exist in. So there you have it a way to keep your taste profiles organized. Keep in mind if you watch one movie that does not belong your hard work will be for nothing so make sure you keep your junk account nomatter what, even if you mostly seed it with a genre you like. I use my junk account for sitcoms mostly but I also just let it recommend whatever it wants because it just can’t win, one night I watched Hell Raiser one and 2, followed by Thor, followed by Great Outdoors and then down rated every Western they had in their catalog and as soon as I watched Men In Black it thought Tommy Lee Jones was in some western, Will Smith was in Wild Wild West, hey I lied before i really do like westerns and there you go, flood gates opened. It is not for everybody but again if you really do want to use Netflix to discover interesting new movies then it is well worth the effort, I am still waiting for Hackers but it did find me a couple of good alternatives to keep me entertained in the mean time.

Sonic Boom on Wii U

I hate to say this I really do but Sega is forcing me to reconsider buying a Nintendo Wii U. Here me out. When I was a kid I was deep into the whole Sega VS. Nintendo school yard war, in fact I took sides, I picked Sega hands down. It wasn’t that I hated Nintendo it’s just even then like now their consoles were always lacking in certain types of games everybody else was doing right. I loved Sonic from the start and as good as Mario is Nintendo has always been slow to the game, they usually release one or two main Mario games a console generation, Sega on the other hand knows how to keep them Sonic games coming. It also didn’t hurt that I was a HUGE Mortal Kombat fan and we all know the Genesis had the better MK port, for the time anyways. But after Playstation came on the scene things changed, Sony replaced Sega in the realm of hard hitting no holds barred anything goes gaming and Nintendo was left to their niche of family friendly and in some instances kiddie games. As I grew up so did my games, Mega Man was great as a kid but I upgraded to Quake and eventually got into Halo and God of War. I have always had a soft spot for Nintendo and Sega has always been good for me at least so I tend to keep an eye on the two from time to time. Nintendo knows they can’t make the games that can get me to buy their machine, not on their own anyways. So they tasked Sega to step it up and I gotta say I am starting to hate Nintendo for being so friendly to Sega lately.

 

Take a step back, I am a gamer that much is true. Usually I buy any and every game console I always see the merits in any gaming machine, well most I have yet to figure out how Microsoft sold any Xbox let alone millions but that is another topic for another day. What is important is I do not take sides, I got my Playstation and my N64 on the exact same day and I got three games for each, it was a good time to be a gamer as it is now. I picked up my Game Cube before I ever even considered getting a PS2 because Nintendo had secured some great games by Sega up front and those Dreamcast Sonic game were good on Dreamcast but were great on Game Cube, so yeah Sega sold me a Game Cube not Nintendo. Oh well the point is I did get one and I enjoyed some of Nintendos games and a whole bunch of other third party games too. But I hated the Wii let’s get that out up front it was nothing but a Game Cube repackaged with a waggle wand that I despised from day one. I bought one on launch day for one reason only, the Virtual Console was getting classic Nintendo and Sega games. Eventually Sega released all their classics on Steam and PSN so I was able to leave the utterly depressing Wii behind and I never looked back. Sure Sega put out some decent games but on an underpowered non-HD console forced to use a Waggle Wand, no thanks I can pass.

 

Here is the deal Wii U is NOT  a bad console, not in the slightest and this is where I struggle, I do want one, or at least I want to want one. But a gaming machine is only as good as its games, the reason why I am waiting on a PS4 for now. The Wii U has some games that interest me, just not as many as I would like to justify the price. Nintendo has Super Mario 3D World which yes let’s face it I WILL be buying at some point in time, they also have New Super Mario Bros. U which is good because it uses the game Pad and left waggle behind. Then there is the tie in New Luigi U which I am a sucker for a good Luigi game any day, and then there is what… Maybe Dr. Luigi and in a month there will be Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze that looks good but here is my stance, I HATED Wind Waker when it was new, I still hate Pikmin and The Wonderful 101 does look kinda sorta interesting it’s not a system seller for me and the 3rd party crap I already have better versions of on Ps3 anyways and some on my PC so no thanks I can do without a gimped version of Injustice and I have Mas Effect Trilogy so I don’t need the lame ass directors cut of a game I barely play as is. Some would point to Mario Kart and Bayonetta, Smash Bros, and (yuck) yarn yoshi, as potential games to get. I haven’t liked a Mari Kart since Super Circuit and even that was pushing it, Mario Kart was fun for a few hours back in like 1994 or so, it got old quick and I never looked back.

Bayonetta 2 does look interesting, and I did pick up the first on Ps3 so there is that I like the game its actually not bad, but its not a must have game that really needs a sequel. Then there is Smash Bros. as a gamer who is NOT a Nintendo fanboy I can say that as much as I loved Melee on the Game Cube it was basically a gimmick game and I played it only for the trophies, sure Brawl has online and more trophies but so what I got all my Smash Bros. fix in 2004 I don’t need another smash, let me download the Game Cube version and we will talk, until then not interested Smash is not a real fighting game and as a fan of fighting games it just does not do anything for me. Oh and as for that yarn shit, count me out. I AM really excited for Hyrule Warriors though and X has me curious so there you go, the games that are on Wii U that I might or should or could be interested in by Nintendo.

 

Skip ahead and lets look at third party, like I said nothing I can’t get superior versions elsewhere already except the Sega games, which is the point of this post and why Nintendo really does want my money. I love Sonic games, I know Sega does more than Sonic and I tried some of their other offerings, Streets of Rage, Golden Axe, Shinobi, Toe Jam and Earl, Shining Force, Phantasy Star those were all good to great games, but since the Saturn Sega has been on a downward spiral mostly hit and miss more miss than anything. As a gamer I do not pick sides I just like good games and Sonic games are still good for me, I know that they have issues but so do Mario games and people look past Mario’s flaws and put Sonic’s under a microscope for some idiotic reason. So there I am I have seen enough gameplay videos of Lost Levels to know it really has me interested and this new Sonic Boom game also looks to be something to look out for. Not saying these two games suddenly make owning a Wii U a must for me but Sonic is one of my top ten favorite game franchises despite all the hate he gets I still love his games, they do what they do right and who cares if some people don’t get it that means nothing to me obviously they are doing something right if they keep selling enough to keep making them so there is that to consider. Also the worst Sonic game is still better than Mario Sunshine (man I hate that game more than any other game ever made) and at least Sega is willing to try new things with Sonic but they keep the core intact where with Nintendo and Mario you literally never know what you are going to get, I couldn’t get into Galaxy either but again I hated the remote so there is that to consider.

 

So right now Nintendo has five games I am interested in and Sega has two, still not enough to justify the price but seven games is much better than zero games which is where PS4 sits at the moment. PS4 has games in the pipeline I am interested in and I know it will get Mortal Kombat 10, a new Virtua Fighter (Sega’s real reason for still living), and a new Soul Calibur, a new Street Fighter and hopefully a new Tekken, so unless Nintendo can somehow get decent or good ports or exclusives of those franchises I am still leaning towards getting a PS4 at some point, like I said my favorite games are fighting games, especially Mortal Kombat and no MK is a hard sell for me, just ask the stupid Wii that I traded in to buy a USB Hard drive and then got a PS3 with 3 great Mortal Kombat games and never looked back. So that is where I am, if somehow Nintendo can get Sega to throw them a bone from Virtua Fighter or hell even a new Streets of Rage or Eternal Champions, Fighting Vipers, or any other fighting game, then I will consider it but even the Game Cube had great fighting games, Dragon Ball Z Budokai series, Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance, Deception, and Midways Arcade Treasures with MK 2 and 3 arcade ports. It was enough for me, Wii had shit for fighting games and still used the remote anyways and Wii U so far as I know has one Tekken game that is just a port of an old game or something lame like that.

 

Still because of Sega and their two Sonic games I am at least giving Wii U a chance to redeem itself, who knows it might surprise me and pull of a miracle but for now, I am still leaning towards PS4 and I might get a Wii U when they are discounted down to $100 or so. Don’t get me wrong I know how the collector market works so I will snatch up the GAMES first and get the machine when I can justify the price.

Cry for Dawn

Between work, school, and just trying to figure out where I am in my life, I still have too much time to sit around and think about things. I know I could be doing something productive with my life but to be honest I have had enough of that, trying new things and all that. Right now I just want to settle into a steady job and focus on doing my school on the side. In between work and school I will try to continue to work on various side projects but I am planning on slowing things down for a while. Right now the project I am working on though is just trying to keep this blog going before I let it fall apart like all previous blogs. Usually what happens is I lose my focus or I try to find too many topics and then I get distracted. Remember a couple of years ago when all my blogs were talking about Cry for Dawn, nobody even knew who or what Cry For Dawn was and yet I kept trying to get people into the discussion. It wasn’t like I really expected people to understand what Cry For Dawn meant to me or why it was so important or how I even got onto that topic in the first place. Not to mention that I was mostly just trying to get people interested or at least curious about the Dawn character, not so much the Dawn fictional universe. Actually I was really getting into horror comics at that time and I had previously discovered Dawn back in the 90’s so it was one of those things I always kind of wanted to go back to.

 

Every once in a while I do like to go back to something that I might have forgotten about or lost interest in or just moves past. Sometimes I like to leave things in the past but for some reason I want to bring up Cry For Dawn today. It sort of just crept into my head for some unknown reason while I was reading another Nintendo is doomed article on the web. I get so sick of those because let’s face it nobody can predict the future. But there was this one website I frequent who had one topic digress into posting well internet memes that were of the horrible things in life, death, suicide, murder, fears, all those types of things and it reminded me of why I was drawn to Dawn in the first place.

 

I will not write a biography of the Dawn character as anyone reading this has access to Google and can look her up themselves. I wasn’t exactly saddened that the series has been so short over the years, Dawn has never really had much mainstream attention, which is something I kind of relate to in a way, my favorite movies all tend to be less than mainstream anyways, Star Wars aside of course but even that is something of a different topic. So why do I bring this up again? Well mainly because I have it on my mind and I wanted to just talk about it. Not that I am all that into Dawn, it was a comic like so many others that I discovered and then forgot about as life moved on.

 

I do start a new job today and as a part of that I am going to be looking for things to get me through the shift so I just wanted to put some of my thoughts down as a way to keep my head clear. If you are interested in learning more about the Dawn character Google Cry for Dawn or Dawn Comics she is pretty easy so spot.

 

 

The Journey so far

When I sat out to return to college and seek a degree it was one of those moves made out of desperation more than a seriously long hard look at where I was going. Before I ended up returning to college I was still running around trying to figure out what I was doing with my life and what I should be doing with my life. The problem is I was trying to do too much and not focusing on the things that were really important to me. I left Nevada partly because the economy was on the decline, the part time job I had only gave me usually 16 hours a week, and the signs were there that things were not getting better at least for where I was at. Some of my family had returned to Nebraska to start over and in the process I ended up where they were thinking I too would start over. It isn’t so much that once I got here I had no idea what to do is that once I got here there just wasn’t much to do. We moved to a very rural area of the state were lets just say the jobs were beyond scarce and we were forced to try to start up our own businesses each of us. None of us were particularly successful and only one of my sisters husbands was able to land a full time job the rest of us were doing our internet stuff or trying to get some thing going out of nothing. I was working off what I had at the time, I had previously invested a lot of money into video production and editing equipment as part of a website I started with some friends as well as an extension of my music since I wanted to do some music videos also. I had created a Youtube channel and was starting to really enjoy making video projects. For this reason and because I had some experience in computer repair and in web design I started a business doing those things for people, PC repair, making web sites, offering to convert old video tapes to digital files and put them onto DVD, things of that sort. It was a little rough going but I did manage to get a few decent paying jobs and was able to limp along for a brief period, before the money ran out and the market well dried up since there were just not that much demand for what I was offering. I became a member of the local Chamber of Commerce and began attending development meetings and along the way I was hired to do a marketing video for the Chamber focusing on the local businesses and attractions that they would post online to their website, Face Book, Youtube, and show at the movie theater before the shows. Since they were a historic theater and were a non profit that showed movies for much less than others, they had an untapped market of people coming to town to see cheap films they could show case their video to and show off all the other attractions the town had to offer. Truth is the project eventually fell a part due to a lack of cooperation with the local business owners, and a lot of miscommunication on every end, so the project was scrapped and I was left again with nothing to do to make me any money.

This was shortly after the government changed the rules on how to apply for and qualify for student loans and since I had been rejected in the past for one stupid thing or another, I was reluctant to even bother signing up. Turns out it was a good idea as not only was I approved but I did get accepted into the school as a non-traditional student and from there I was in. This was great because it meant I had four years of basically free money to live off and a safe environment to plan my life. I started out right away in the Broadcasting Major because well that was where I was at during that point in my life. I will skip over the part where I went through major changes during school and get right to the end. My last semester, which was my junior year meaning I had completed three years already and was only a year away from finishing up, due to a serious of events I won’t get into I was suspended from the school and kicked out of my apartment.

 

Up to that point I had kept my area of studies in the same general focus, mass communication, mass media. I moved around from Broadcasting to Content Development, Multimedia, Theater, Journalism, Advertising and Public Relations, Computer Science, and even changing to English Major at once point. The theme was the say, I wanted to do something in the mass media field mostly video production or maybe writing, but I was just finalizing my plans. A year ago I made a major change that threw everything into a big mess which ended up leading to my end at the University. Not wanting to give all that up again out of pure desperation I immediately transferred for the next semester into the local community college and began taking classes right away in the area I wanted to be in, except I ran into problems, they wanted me to relocate to a town thirty miles away, then denied me the student loans I was going to need to move and live on, and to top it off I was not able to get a job to supplement my lack of income. So I made a quick change to the plan, I moved my major out of Mass media and into Business Administration, something I had been struggling with for a long time at the University. Why do this? Well partly because I could do business classes online, which is the main reason, but also because I had previously completed an online diploma in business management a few years before so I already had the basic knowledge and being three years into a Bachelors meant transferring to an Associates all my general studies work was already completed and it put me a little closer to graduating. Still I felt like this was not the path I started out on and so I went into a panic and began doing what I always do, making quick changes without doing much thinking, I applied for a full time job at this factory that paid pretty good and decided I would just give up on school and go into that line of work, this proved to be a mistake I couldn’t shake off my conscience so I ended up finding some relief when they offered me a different job for slightly less money but better hours so I could continue to work on school.

 

Needless to say I was still facing other things that were getting in the way of me being able to enjoy or at least accept where I was at and so I went into a real panic, I sold all my belongings, packed up my van and took off for LA. As moms tend to do mine interfered and talked me into stopping off with her brother in Arizona. See the thing was he was just too close to LA for me to not run over and at least check it out so I did just that, and on the way as my money was running out and I was realizing the gravity of the situation I got a phone call from the company I was trying to get on and they offered my a full time position that would pay enough to live and go to school and gave me weekends off so I could still do my studies and things started to look like maybe they would work out after all. With just enough money to get me home I turned the van around and headed back, leaving California behind and that silly dream that somehow I was going to make it out there in the big city. Did I say big city I mean mega city and well let’s just leave it at that, that place was not for me.

 

Still looking back the reason I went into such a major panic was I didn’t want to throw away the last three years of my life and go back to what I was doing with no education no experience and skills that without education and experience weren’t worth much, I was doomed to return to bouncing around from one meaningless job to another. Well After taking a nice vacation/road trip I was able to clear my head and refocus on what is important to me. I am most likely not going to be truly happy with this job, there is no doubt about that. But it is the kind of job unlike most previous jobs that I can see my self sticking with at least for the time being. My intention is to just do this for now, finish up my school, and see where I go from there. I don’t want to make plans too far into the future because one thing I have learned is plans change, they hardly ever go the way you expect them to anyways so it is best to stick with the short term and not worry about the future. So here I am now back on track but a little slightly off from where I was. At least I didn’t throw it all away and I have been keeping up with my school work, the best part of taking online classes is you can do them from any internet connection so far that has been very helpful for me. I am considering what my options are and as I look at the world, the job postings, and attending job fairs, I think that once I complete this degree I will be in a better position to at least look for better jobs than those I have been stuck doing in the past. It isn’t even so much about finding a job I will love as it is finding a job I won’t hate. Now that I at least have one of those, even if it is temporary, it is better than doing what I was doing before. I usually tend to remain optimistic in all things but lately it has been even harder than usual to do so. I think that with my head cleared and my new plans being something I can actually look forward to I am in a better place, even if very little has actually changed. Sometimes you just have to know what you are doing is the right thing for you and right now I can say that at least I am right where I should be right now.