Monday, December 9, 2013

Battle Royal...and why it's such an important movie

Battle Royal touches on a subject that I think will become more and more to the fore front of society. "Logan's Run" could be said to be a kind of inverse of BR. George Lucas's THX1138 is also a part of this world.  The subject that I am talking about is he next social paradigm shift.

Racism, sexism, Fascism, Marxism, basically pick an "ism". The next big "ism" may just be more about age than anything else. This is simply my belief given a number of things.

First off we are looking at the largest generation gap in history....period. The internet is the most important invention since writing and many people have their children explain how to use Internet tech to them.

Second is the perception of older generations currently in office in current government  in regards to the emerging web based technology. They keep trying to pass legislation to place the internet under the same constraints as television.
They don't get it. I am in a mall and no less than seven different things are connected to the internet for business purposes. Five years ago half of these devices did not exist. There are senators on record who can't use some if these things. If you don't know how too buy a Coke using a modern vending machine, how can you pass laws regulating how
I can?

Understanding the world in which we live and creating legislation that matches it has always been the point. When Congress fails to do this then you get a reactionary society like the one portrayed in Battle Royal.

Yeah maybe I am reaching but I simply couldn't shake the thought that this whole thing was precipitated by people not understanding how to confront change.

And the "Fresh Prince" song: "Parents Just Don't Understand", kept playing in my head.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Modern Warfare: Black Ops II A review of story mode...

Consider this an after action report from the battle.  WARNING: Spoilers

Link to the Official Game Site

Basically this game is a 6 out of ten, but don't get me wrong I liked it. At least I liked the idea of a game that is done in FPS style with futuristic weapons and gear. The story was actually pretty good I was interested and I wanted to kill the head bad guy at every turn. I felt conflicted when I had to make certain choices in which characters lived or died as a result of my decisions. The look of the game was great the environments plush and to the standard I expect from any main title FPS.

The Game Play way a lot of fun most of the time. I enjoyed the use of the various weapons, the use of drones. It took me two sessions of non-stop play over a two day period to finish the story mode on the Medium/Normal setting. The battles where intense and towards the end of the game I definitely had that urgent push to finish the game and was all in.

So to list:

  1. Story was interesting enough to hold my attention
  2. Weapons and upgrade where cool. Excited to unlock new gear.
  3. Battles where smooth and I didn't have difficultly playing even though I have mostly only play the HALO series for FPS.
  4. Voice Acting was awesome, seeing people I recognized as actors as characters in the game was amazing. 
  5. I will totally Play the next gen version of this game with very high expectations. 

The part that disappointed me the most about this game was how hard it was to follow what I needed to do next. There are side missions that are unlocked after you complete a mission. Those missions relevance to the main story is not obvious. Even after finishing the game I am not sure if I missed a cut scene or resource or what but that could have been done better. I had hoped that after completing the game I could go back and complete the other mission that where not part of the main story. Alas this could not be done. It seems as though a lot of energy was put into being dramatic and "Awesome" as opposed to being intuitive. It seems like a quality control issue that should have come up in Beta. Easy fix on the next one but kind of lame to have missed.

To List:

  1. Replay ability, very poor. Nobody wants to play the whole game to get to one level.
  2. Maps and Way Points, so many times not knowing where the hell I was supposed to go next. Way points or save points often waaaaay to close to a kill zone.
  3. Also, Special Forces, JSOC, SEALS, JTF 1-7 all have briefings where they have maps. If you go into a hostile area you always always look at all the available intel before hand. In game a quick shot of the the map your about to hit before you get deployed as an option might be cool. Give me choice to look at it or not. Don't make have to hunt for it in the briefing room either!
  4. Showing me weapons I can't use but giving me no clue how to unlock them. Weapon bonus's are great when I know what it takes to get the weapons. When I don't know I am not inclined to not even try because I know that in the past some game developers come up with truly boring-arbitrary-hard-to- figure-out ways of unlocking things.
Rate: 6 out of 10
Not bad but not great either. It's a borrow but probably not a buy the day of release. If you buy it wait till the price goes down. It's a good game that is really close to being a great game but you can totally wait to play it. I borrowed it played it and returned it. By contrast I will buy Battlefield 3 after having borrowed it.
Unless of course you want the PVP options then it's a whole different story. 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Global Internet Saturation, the early stages of the Internets next phase.

Social Media has only emerged with the proliferation of the internet. Which is of course in it's first real generation. What I mean by that is that both the technology, and the culture of social media have only been around really since the early 2000's. Social media is a term that will not be around in another 15 years the way it is today. The example of why this is true is the phrase "www",or "world wide web". It's on the front of every email I send and every page I look at on the internet. Yet, how often do you hear anyone in daily speech use this phrase. The language that we use to describe our Internet based experiences evolve as the environment in which the Internet evolves. The Internet is still in it's Larva stages. Egg(Computers), Larva, the Pupae, finally Adult. For those of you who don't remember biology, this is the same as the life cycle of an (insect, example) Ladybug. The reason I am using this example is that our current state of Internet technology and culture is developing in a way that is akin to a larva in that it is constantly growing, consuming, and growing.

Until global saturation of the internet is reached a definitive idea of what the Internet is and will move towards being cannot truly even begin to be discussed without the constant threat of being "outgrown" or "obsolete". An infant human child puts on weight at an very high rate to facilitate it's growth. Just like the Internet is expanding at a very high rate. Internet technology is expanding at a very high rate.

A caterpillar is a creature that has a very flexible skin and is on close examination kind of mushy to the touch. The mushy growth stage that the Internet is in is comparable. The pupa stage, the next thing to happen, the future. This is the stage where the Internet has a form, it's still growing and changing but there are things that give it shape and more of a base identity. It's not just a growing tube of mush moving down the stick of time. Now we see  inside the chrysalis, the edges of the more defined legs, we can see more of how the Internet will move and grow.

To step out of the analogy for a minute, to be clear. Global saturation of an Internet signal is a major defining parameter of the Internet. It could be said that saturation is the beginning of the pupae stage. To be able to be in any part of the world and have internet access with any mobile device. So basically your smart phone an Internet signal on Everest, the Gobi desert, and Easter Island. Make no mistake this will happen. The time is the only part of the equation that seems uncertain. It's inevitable.

Eventually the caterpillar forms a cocoon and changes into an adult. The insect analogy can only go so far, in that insects eventually die in the adult stage and many don't get much bigger. Arachnids especially, giant spiders molt and grow their whole life and are a better example at this point.  At the risk of grossing people out I will stop there. The main thing is to convey the very primal "early" stage of the life of the Internet that we are witness too. This is a beginning, so keep in mind that saturation is only one defining parameter of the the Internet. There will be others. When I figure those out I will share them. For now, contemplating Saturation is enough.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Microsoft Spying on Gamers, and Charging Money!!?

An article from Kotaku outlines some interesting things that have leaked about the new Microsoft gaming consul code named "Durango" like that Dodge Durango, or the animated movie "Durango". Either way it's a working title and hopefully they don't use it in real life.

The new xbox consul is supposedly going to have blu-ray(about time) and have all sorts of intuitive motion features in the controllers. Also able to connect with mobile devices in a given area and probably for a fee perform a lobotomy and fly a spaceship.  All great things, the article says that the new Kinect will be able to tell if your happy, or angry or-wait, wtf? Yeah I didn't believe it either, so here is the article (kotaku - Durango) read it and be afraid very afraid. The best part of this new Kinect is not the facial recognition tech, or how many people the Kinect can read in a room. The best part is the part where Microsoft is considering charging people based on how many bodies are in a room. Again, what the every-loving-foook.

If Microsoft initiates some system with xbox live or whatever that charges people for playing games, and people who are simply in the room watching people play games. Well, not only will I never buy anything related to xbox ever. I would have serious issues with how much information xbox has about my person. How is this new "Mandatory" Kinect device any different than the full body scanners in airports. Oh wait! TSA does not charge you a fee for how many of your friends watch you walk through the scanner!

The best part of this article is how the writer is super concerned with letting the readers know how cool it is that he has a "Secret Source". It's like he's got "Deep $#@&" on speed dial and he has all of the awesome secrets from Sony and Microsoft. Great! Now we are gonna get charged up the arse for a feature that a ton of people in the responses to the article where less that happy about. Way to pay f'n attention.


Yeah, so maybe am to pissed about this, maybe it will be less than what it seams, maybe it will make sense. Too bad none of this is covered in the article, to bad who ever wrote this only gives a shite about specs that are likely to change a ton before the release. Oh wait, I am sure that "Deep Dish" will keep Kotaku totally in the loop. That, and their other "Reliable sources".  Which of course begs the question; why not just relay the reliable sources info?

The facial recognition stuff is kind of scary also. I guess it's just a matter of time till google+, and facebook have you log in with you face through your tv.....I am so sorry "Party Member" George Orwell just told me to shut the 1984 up.

Kotaku interesting article, but fail on paying attention to important shit.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Facebook VS Google+ [Part 1]

Facebook has been on the financial news almost everyday. The story is constantly being recycled and it seems that every move that is made is being watched and analysed by industry experts. CNBC had Facebook in at least 3x different shows on one day, each show saying basically the same thing. The next day I watched Bloomberg and it was almost the same thing. I went on to web-sites and it was the same thing.

These guys have no idea what is happening.

Facebook is spending really close to there margins, but making revenue in terms of Ad/Sense optimization. They have a social network comfortably over 1 Billion strong, and blah, blah, blah. Don't worry I'll put in the link so you can read it. It's just one since they all say the same thing. No one saying anything strong for or against, everybody saying general "Safe" stuff.

Well I am gonna say it: Facebook, wake up or G+ is gonna kick your ass!

The bottom line is Facebook to the consumer looks almost identical to Myspace just before Myspace had 3 catastrophic issue's all at once. No one at Myspace saw those issue's because social networking was barely in our vocabulary. CEO,COO, CFO at Facebook all know better. At least they should.

"Facebook has maximized it's Ad/Sense", in English this means that they have put a ton of spam on the site and it feels really congested at times. Also FB is a great place to play free games, and that has now turned for the worse. It has for the most part been when you play a game over a social network it's free but you can't do anything really fun unless you log in everyday and/or pay money. So we all got used to that, we now it's to the point where you can barely get ANYTHING done in some of these games without tons of pop up spam, and adds. If click on just about anything it takes to a window to use your Pay Pal or credit card. Which smacks of "greedy-shady-company". Guess what, Myspace did the same thing when they got into trouble, and we the people 1.4+/- billion of us left.

Paying for games on-line via digital download is the future, don't get me wrong. It's done a lot now and is just going to grow to be a set standard. BUT! There is a way to do this and a way not to do this. Planetside 2 is a game that is doing it right. Matt Higby is the creative director for Planetside 2 and he was on a podcast where he explained the right approach to this gaming mode. He basically said the free users act as content creators for the paying user. The things you pay for don't move you up as much as they give you options. So two players of equal skill if one is paying and the other a free customer can still be very competitive for each other in that environment.

Now here is the tuff part. Google, Google has been adding more and more and more options to there G+ product. Now with the exception of Twitter I can do everything I need to do from my Chrome window G+ account. I don't notice any spam, and it is there but very minor by comparison. The real thing is the network, it's not on G+ yet. A billion people is still a billion people. So Facebook is still the top dog, but they could be a dying sick dog by the end of the year if they don't start trying to actually compete with G+. You can't just say "I'm hiring between 3k and 4k new staff and we are gonna come up with some stuff" which is me paraphrasing poorly, Mark Zuckerberg. I want to hear him(Mark) say, "We see the direction that G+ and Yahoo(Y2) are going and we can do it better!", "BRING IT ON!". That is what I want to hear from him, that makes me feel like he knows what is going on in the market and is in the trenches. Instead what I see is that sad image of the IPO launch where he looks tired and in way over his head. Every time I log-in to FB, I get reminded of Myspace. I am just waiting for the day when no-body is on.

It's not over FB can pull a save and stay in the game, but I caution that Google ADDED social media, they where a great stock before that. Now they are just going to get steadily stronger. No matter what FB is gonna loose a % of there current customer base, for no other reason than that for business G+ is just easier and it doesn't feel like it's made for a 15yr old. (Yeah Myspace had that problem also)

Ok so a FB breakdown.

  • Too much Spam
  • Gamification done poorly
  • Does not seem to be a serious competitor
  • Making Myspaces mistakes
  • The CEO does not inspire confidence, I wanna believe.

My prediction  Facebook does too little to late. They don't fall apart like Myspace did but G+ takes a huge chunk of the customer base away and the stock moves slow. 

The article is from Bloomberg

Defining "Gamer"

So I was listening to a gamer pod cast today The Indoor Kids #81 on Nerdist [], and part way through the podcast I had to stop to take a phone call. Before starting it up again I took a glance at the comments and became very interested in the comments left by other listeners. I'll post a direct link at the end of the this post. Normally I listen to a podcast and write a review at the end but the best part of this podcast was for sure in the comments. Not so much a fan of the 46 seconds of intro music and people rambling on for minutes before introducing themselves. But I digress.

 [I am currently putting together review criteria for what works for me in G.T.E.iN style podcasts. So to be clear, my personal criteria for how I decide whether a podcast works for me or not. ]

To sum up what the issue, the podcasters where attempting to define the word "Gamer". Some people got upset with their definition some didn't care some where upset that the podcast spent so much time talking about it. Below is my response which promted this post.

Gamer is a culture, and just like any culture their exist within the culture individual’s take on that given culture. The fact that it is more and more obscure the definition of the word “gamer” goes to prove this. Gamer is not what you call a person like “Geek” or “Nerd”. Gamer is a way of life that has as broad a definition as hunting, soccer, socialite, criminal, Nascar, Musician and so on. In the current collective conscious what is is to be a gamer is being redefined and growing beyond what any of us can accurately imagine or predict. What ever it ends up being the solid definition of the culture, part of that definition will be synonymous with change. Their are many types of musicians, a singer is not excluded from being a musician because they don’t use an object to create music. Just like a person who plays Warhammer 40k is part of the same culture as people who run guilds on World Of Warcraft or Big Team Battle on Halo 4. All are “Gamers’ just different parts of the culture.

This issue of definition seems to be popping up all over the place, forums, blogs, message boards, podcasts, even on G4 once or twice. Whether we like or not, a culture that is related to artists, scientists and entertainers has sprung up and is growing at a pace that is very difficult for the current social conscious to measure let alone define. As a small part of this movement I am endeavoring to understand and bring to you the reader as much of the experience as I can. I do not make any about the phrase
"Gamer" or  claims of origin and ownership. I can only claim observation and participation. What ever the type of  "Gamer" you are, however you define your part of the culture I hope that the revolution and the possibility of Golden Age of the Gamer is exciting to you as it is me. I can hardly wait to see what is next. Game More.

The exact conversation

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Pointless Podcast #10 my review of the show

Hosted by Kevin Pereira with Special Guest "Drama" from Rob&Big, and the Creative Director for Planet Side 2 Matt Higby.

The show started off great Kevin and Drama got into a conversation about Drama's rise from an assistant to a guy who pulled up to the Death Squad studio in a new Lamborghini. Drama got into it, he talked about initially feeling crushed when he went to Rob and asked for help, and Rob basically said "go do it" which meant on your own. Drama thanked Rob for doing that because it forced him to learn the things that he needed to learn to make the company happen and are the skills he uses time and time again in all of his business ventures.

Kevin towards the end of the interview brought out a pocket humidifier for smoking. It's the PAX vaporizer, and if you want to know more type that into Google. I am not a huge vape guy so can't speak too much about it. I only mentioned it because Kevin gave it such an high praise.

They took a break and then came back to talk to Matt Higby.

Before Kevin went into the interview with Matt. Kevin got into some NRA gun control stuff and the chat went ape shit. Kevin I think was trying to share the experience of being at a gun show at the same time that the Obama made his announcement about assault weapons. I can imagine it was an intense and frightening experience no matter what side of the issue your on. Some people are just nuts, and then a room full of weapons doesn't help that. It doesn't matter that most people in that room are sane, just the 20-30 "Gun Nuts" are a little intimidating. I have been to one years ago and it was for Military Academy purposes so I had my squad with me. A little different but the same crazy people where there.

Kevin tried to diffuse it with talk of porn star's with the Producer Brian. Brian also co-hosts Joe Rogan's show. Not sure how much that worked since the religion, left v.right comments flooded the chat. It dried up pretty quick with only comments hear and there as soon as Matt joined the show.

Then Kevin got into Plant Side 2 with Higby and I gotta say it sounds amazing. I am gonna link the episode at the bottom of the blog, if your just interested in that part skip to like the last hour and enjoy!

Planet Side 2 is a mmofps[Massive Multiplayer Online First Person Shooter] that takes you into battles on the larges HALO map you've ever imagined with 10x the PVP. Which is all it is PVP. Also you can use Mech, Tank, Helo's, there is bullet drop, and so on.

I have not as of yet been able to play PS2 but it's free to join and not a game that will be one of the typical on-line deals that if you want to level you have to pay. It's pretty even across the board, at least according to Kevin and Matt. Several people in the chat downloaded the game and started playing before the show was over.

The only downside to the game is the learning curve. The game is hard, it actually requires thought and player  immersion. Be willing to invest into learning the game and dying a lot, or find a friend who is into it and have them walk you around. Both Kevin and Matt recommended finding a friend as it makes it easier too get up to speed.

They have suggested getting a team Death Squad together and Matt will bring his team and having a mini-tourney. Both Matt and Kevin give there gamer tags so if you wanna play with them you gotta watch the show and write 'em down. Kevin mentioned to each of his guests trying to work something out with the podcast to hook up the people that joined in with free gear(Drama) and in game goodies/upgraded profile(Matt Higbe).

I had a lot of fun watching and participating in the pod-cast some minor trollish behavior but not bad. The time the show was on and where it actually was happening was hard to find and Kevin did not post it till the day of, kinda the last minute. Hopefully it will be better scheduled and posted on the Pointless Forum in the future. That it, hope you found this useful. Don't forget to add my blog and leave a comment.

Kevin Pereria
(all his info links from here, obviously)

Drama's Clothing Line

Matt Higbe

Pointless Podcast Forum
(tons of content check it out)
Pointless Podcast #10 is not up yet(as of my post) but you can find it under the Shows drop down tab Pointless will be the one that will lead you where you need to go.

Here it is the direct link to the page. See you in the drop zone