a few words on intimidation, over-compensation, and apathy

April 25, 2013


This post might be a little rambly and random; last night the baby had, to put it kindly, an “uneven night’s sleep.”  I keep thinking I’m getting used to his sleeping patterns, but then every other day those patterns change into something totally different, and I get totally derailed.  It’s funny; I used to complain that I didn’t have enough hours in the day to do all the stuff I need to do; but now it feels like each 24-hour day actually lasts for, say, 72 hours, and yet I feel more and more incapacitated.

As always, Steve Martin says it a lot better:

*     *     *     *     *

A few nights ago I attended a small, informal meeting of the NYVCC.  It was a very pleasant evening and I met some super cool people and I might be getting involved in some interesting-sounding future projects, and so this is all wonderful… but to be honest I was just happy that I didn’t totally chicken out and not go.  Social anxiety is still a very real pain in my ass, and even though I’ve gone to great lengths to overcome it (thank you, Ativan!), it’s still a source of frustration and agitation.  Still:  I showed up, which counts as a victory of sorts.

Of course, I should also mention that among the attendees were people who write for sites and outlets that I actually read on a semi-regular basis, and so I found myself engaged in this weird sort of social anxiety dance in which I was  somewhat intimidated by the pedigree of my fellow peers and thus desperately over-compensating by spewing forth opinions that may or may not have been a little half-baked.  It is an exceedingly strange phenomenon to find oneself pontificating about certain issues in front of the very people who provided one with the information in the first place, and so I am glad that I was a little drunk so as to dull the vertigo a bit, even if it loosened my tongue a bit too much.  Maybe next time I’ll remember to eat something first.

 *     *     *     *     *

It came out yesterday that Microsoft will be revealing its new console in less than a month.  Why don’t I care?

I’m not necessarily an Xbox fanboy, but the truth is that at least 80% of my game time this generation was spent on the 360, primarily because that’s where the bulk of my friends were.  And so I figured I’d get a bit more excited about hearing what’s next… but I’m finding myself surprisingly apathetic about what the big reveal will be.

I’m not sure it’s Microsoft’s fault, actually, even if Sony’s made tremendous strides of late in terms of courting and supporting indie developers (which is the very thing that XboxLive used to pride itself on).

I suppose it’s really just me and how my life has changed in the last few weeks.  Having a baby – and the financial repercussions that follow from such an event – means that I’m not sure I’m going to be acquiring both a PS4 and a new Xbox, and if I can only pick one, then I need to pick the one that will offer the most bang for the buck.  (And if we’re being brutally honest here, my choice between the Xbox and the PS4 becomes more or less null and void if the much-rumored Steam Box is actually a real thing and is sold at a reasonable price point.)

And I’m not even sure I know how to define “the most bang for the buck”, either.  I presume that both devices will continue to offer streaming video services, and that the new Xbox will come with a Blu-ray drive.  I also presume that both devices will have some sort of cloud-based storage system, and also that each will have a digital storefront that would allow me to download new games instead of buying discs.

Once again, it comes down to content.  And Sony’s been terrific lately in terms of offering exclusive, high-quality content.  And if the rumors are true and the PS4 is as easy to program for as the PS3 was difficult, then maybe the PS4 version of a multi-console release won’t be the “shitty” one.

But – again – if we’re talking about content, then what’s better than Steam right now?

If I look at my play habits over the last 6 months, I think it’s safe to say I’ve turned into a PC gamer almost exclusively; I’ve barely touched either of my consoles.  The living room of my apartment is too busy a place these days for me to effectively kick everybody out; whereas my PC is in the office, where I don’t bother anyone and nobody bothers me.  My aging PC still runs AAA games quite nicely, and Steam sales make acquiring those AAA games rather affordable.

And you know what else?  I don’t quite care about Xbox Achievements the way I used to, which is a huge psychological burden that I don’t have to worry about anymore.  It’s stupid, right?  And yet I always felt obligated to get big Achievement scores so as to be able to prove (to whom?!) that I was hardcore, or something.  Even if Steam has achievements, I don’t really care – there’s no “score”, and they don’t get all up in my face about it.  I still appreciate how Achievements fundamentally changed the way I play games – in terms of really diving in and exploring certain facets of a game that I might have otherwise overlooked – but I’m not hyper-competitive about the actual number anymore.

I suppose I reserve the right to completely change my opinion once the new Xbox is revealed, and then after E3 rolls around and the actual list of upcoming games comes out – because by the time the new consoles are actually released, I expect my son to have established some more regular sleeping habits, and so I won’t feel so guilty about claiming the living room again.

the obligatory PS4 post

February 21, 2013


Now that the apartment move is over, and my life is relatively settled for the moment (i.e., before the baby’s arrival in early April), I am hopeful to return to a more regular posting schedule.  Indeed, I’d hoped to have some sort of liveblog here regarding last night’s Sony announcements, but, alas, the conference took place during the duration of my commute home from work, and so I didn’t get a chance to check out what had transpired until it was already over.

What did we actually learn last night?  We saw the new controller, we learned about Playstation Cloud (and a little bit of how it will impact backwards-compatibility, though not quite enough for my tastes), we saw surface-level specifications, and we saw some launch window games and a list of third parties who’ll be  supporting the PS4.  We did not see the actual PS4, nor did we get a release date or a price.  (I expect those to be released at E3, for whatever that’s worth.)

assume the PS4 will still be using Blu-Ray discs; I’m not sure that was mentioned anywhere, though I can’t imagine they’d be giving up on that format.

Some people were bummed that there was no new Uncharted game announced, but, I mean, come on – Naughty Dog is still in the last stages of development on The Last of Us, and I’d have to imagine that anything Uncharted-related is way too early to show just yet, especially if Sony wants to show us how powerful the PS4 is.

The Diablo 3 announcement shouldn’t have come as a surprise, though I guess I was still surprised that Blizzard was still bothering with it.   I burned myself out on that game last year, and playing it with a controller isn’t going to make me like it again – especially if I can’t carry over my progress from the PC.

Scooping up Jonathan Blow’s The Witness as a timed exclusive did come as a big surprise, however, and that’s the news that I’m most excited about.  Even if it’s also coming to iOS and PC and, presumably, the next Xbox.

As for the other games that Sony announced – I can’t say I’m particularly excited about any of them.  For one thing, I have to imagine that stuff like Capcom’s Deep Down, Bungie’s Destiny and Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs are also coming to Microsoft’s machine.  And as for Sony’s exclusives, well, I’ve never been that big of a Killzone fan, and I found Infamous 2 to be a bit disappointing.  

That being said, I wasn’t particularly wowed by the PS3 when it came out, either.  But although most of what I play is on the Xbox, I’ve really enjoyed Sony’s exclusive PS3 titles, for the most part – I still think Uncharted 2 is one of the best games of this generation.

Your move, Microsoft.

I guess there is nothing that will get your mind off everything like golf will. I have never been depressed enough to take up the game, but they say you can get so sore at yourself that you forget to hate your enemies. – Will Rogers I am trying to enjoy Tiger Woods ’12, but …

Continue reading

Categories: UncategorizedTags: ,

Before I get started on Tiger ’12, I want to add my voice to the growing chorus that is (a) disappointed by the PSN outage and (b) utterly perplexed by Sony’s total lack of transparency and disclosure regarding the outage. Couple things: Not to keep bringing the console wars into this, but seriously:  you get …

Continue reading

Categories: UncategorizedTags: ,

>The small part of my soul that is not yet tainted by cynicism is somewhat a-flutter this morning, now that I’ve read this official PSBlog post revealing the launch of an ARG for Home. Of course, the problem here is that the most successful and engaging ARGs don’t come right out and tell you that …

Continue reading

Categories: UncategorizedTags: ,

>This post was originally intended to be a mini-rant about Sony’s ass-backwards approach to online interactivity, but then I glanced at my RSS feed and they came out with a press release that suddenly makes the PSP instantly relevant again. So: toh-may-toh, toh-mah-toh. I say: why not write about both? When I bought my Blackberry …

Continue reading

>Again, sorry for the lack of posts lately; I’ve been pretty busy with some music stuff over the last week or so, and there hasn’t been much to play. That will soon change, however. Today I’m announcing a new, hopefully recurring feature called EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN, wherein I (and Gred, if he so …

Continue reading

>This article from MTV Multiplayer explains Sony’s justification of its bizarre and counter-intuitive Killzone 2 promotion, wherein the Killzone 2 demo is being offered 24 days before the game’s release only for people who pre-order the game from Gamestop. MTV’s Stephen Totillo asks the relevant question: Why would Sony do this? Isn’t the practice of …

Continue reading

>If this Gamepolitics article is to be believed, Sony is officially releasing Home tomorrow. Sony previously had been rolling it out in larger and larger numbers, similar to what Microsoft did with the NXE; I somehow got into the beta a few weeks ago. I’ve maybe checked it out once or twice since I initially …

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: