2 quick updates

Since posting this morning’s entry, two things happened.

1.  When I wrote that the week looks quiet on the new release front, it was because I’d totally forgotten that Child of Light is coming out.  Reviews at the larger outlets have been mixed but generally positive.  I’m not sure I can pick it up this week, but I’m definitely looking forward to checking it out at some point soon.

2.  A nice-sounding dude from the third-party vendor that sold me the fraudulent Vita (once again, their name is Tax Free Distributors) called me to personally apologize for the order, to make sure my refund would be expedited as quickly as possible, and also to offer me $20 in Amazon credit if I would rescind my negative feedback on their storefront page.  I am pleased to report that even though I’m short on cash right now, I still possessed enough moral fiber to tell the guy on the phone that a $20 bribe was disgusting and offensive, and that I would do absolutely no such thing.  As my negative review has already been pushed off their storefront page, I’m resorting to twitter and this blog, where I can keep it up as long as I want.

back from the break

Before I get into the vacation recap, I’ve got an update on my Vita situation.  It’s not good, though there is somewhat of a happy ending.

I came back to work this morning and saw what I assumed to be my repaired Vita waiting for me on my office chair.  But when I opened the box, I instead saw a note that said that the Vita could not be serviced because “it is not a North American product.”  I contacted Sony immediately thereafter, and quickly discovered that the Vita’s serial number does not actually exist in their records, and there’s no manufacturing region that it can be traced back to.  So then I looked at the order on Amazon, and saw that it was sold through a company called Tax Free Distributors.  The Sony customer service guy had never heard of them, and Googling their phone number turned up almost nothing usable.  I’m not sure what their deal is – they seem to operate somewhere in Nevada – but they sold me a fraudulent Vita, and I’m really, really pissed.

Amazon is getting me a full refund, which is great – because now I’ll probably wait for the Vita Slim, which is the thing I was hoping to get in the first place.

But the moral of the story is:  if you buy anything on Amazon that goes through that company, use caution.  Side note:  I left a scathing review on their feedback page and I can’t help but notice that a whole bunch of short 5/5 star reviews are going up really quickly, possibly in an effort to push mine off the page.


So, then:  I am back from the first real vacation I’ve had in maybe 3-4 years.  We flew first to Chicago for my great aunt’s 100th birthday and to see my extended family on my mom’s side.  While we were there, my kid took his very first unassisted steps, right in full view of everyone, and we caught it on video.

Then we flew to Naples, Florida, where we spent an absolutely beautiful week with my wife’s parents.  Many more kid firsts:  first time with a babysitter that wasn’t one of our parents (which went just fine), first visit to the ocean (he didn’t like it), first dip in the pool (he loved it), first trip to the zoo (I wasn’t there for this, but he supposedly liked it, even if he conked out towards the end of it).

I should also point out that the thing I was most concerned about – the actual flights themselves – were totally uneventful, as far as the baby was concerned.  He slept through the first two, and while he was a little cranky on the final flight, he did eventually sleep through the back half of that one as well.

It should also go without saying that this was not necessarily a relaxing vacation.  Don’t misunderstand – I loved not being at work, and I loved being out of the dreary NYC weather, and I loved being with my family and (especially) with my kid.  But that’s the rub – when you have a toddler, you can’t really stretch out and relax unless the kid’s asleep.

So, yeah – even if my Vita had been working properly, I probably wouldn’t have used it all that much.  Indeed, I was very nearly entirely game-free the entire vacation.  I did a few levels of Hitman Go on the iPad (which is quite good), and I did a few of the tutorial hands in Hearthstone (which is not grabbing me as much as I’d like, though I didn’t really give it my full attention).  But that’s about it, as far as gaming is concerned.

Did quite a lot of reading, though.  I can highly recommend Max Barry’s “Lexicon”, which I devoured in, like, 2 days.  I also finished The Pioneer Detectives (though it’s pretty short).  I also read through most of “Up Up Down Down Left Write: The Freelance Guide to Video Game Journalism” by Nathan Meunier, which was informative and inspiring (if also a little overly cutesy with pop culture references and is probably geared for someone about 20 years younger than me).  Being that I’m slowly starting to branch out onto other sites, it’s good information to have handy.

We also saw some movies, too, at the absurdly nice Silverspot theater, where the huge leather recliner seats are reserved in advance and where they serve you booze; we saw Captain America (which was awesome) and The Grand Budapest Hotel (which was great, and which keeps growing on me as I continue to think about it).  Also:  I can highly recommend the theater’s Italian Mojito, which was delicious.

I’m back, now, and trying to get into the swing of things, gaming-wise.  Last night I dusted off my PS4 and tried getting back into Trials Fusion – I am now up to the “Hard” difficulty levels and all I’ll say about it is that it’s inspiring me to write a column about frustrating difficulty levels, and why I’m willing to punish myself with Trials while being utterly dismissive about Dark Souls II.  Also did some fooling around with Infamous Second Son‘s new photo mode; I’m not thrilled with the photos I took, but it does seem to be a pretty cool tool.

Mario Golf: World Tour comes out for the 3DS on Friday.  I love video golf in any format, and I loved the DS Mario Golf game, but I’m not thrilled with the reviews that have been trickling out of late, especially as far as the solo campaign is concerned.  Being that I’m somewhat broke for the immediate future, I’m probably going to hold off – or at least I’ll stick with renting it from Gamefly.

Beyond that, it looks like a quiet week, gaming-wise.  I’ve got some columns I need to write up for some other sites, though, so I do need to get caught up on the last week’s worth of RSS feeds…

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