Aside

League brings on the man tears: A Loadout Review

These last two weeks have been so busy I haven’t had time to do much of anything other then work, write a few words, and booze it up.  Always time for booze.  My nice liquid cooled PC master race box, has gone utterly unused.  After a long day while I sit on my couch, with my cat on my shoulder, I just can’t bring my self to take the 20 steps and reach my desk.  Then it takes time to boot the beast up and talk to people to set something up. I guess it’s just supreme laziness, the kind of laziness that stops people from burning time on dumb things and instead literally doing nothing for an hour.

On the couch, I have turned on the TV to catch some of the LCS and every single game makes me want to boot up league and have another go.  I am definitely one of those players that is more negative then anything else, but I’ll have you know I suffer in silence.  It takes maybe 5 losses in a row, trying to just win one game before bed, around 4 in the morning on the sixth game and I can’t seem to catch a break.  In my head, my options come down to 2, pull all my hair out or say something to the top laner pushed up to the enemy tower with no wards and 4 deaths.

For the last two weeks I’ll go as far as to have the computer booted up and league updated.  Then I’ll hover my mouse over the ‘Play’ button and flashes of horrible games will bring me to tears.  Shuttering with sobs, my girlfriend will put a blanket over me and whisper, “It’s ok, take your time.”

At this low point, when I question my very will to game, grassy snipes.  “Come on try Loadout”, I can hear his evil smile.  I am a 100% jaded gamer and don’t fall for the ‘new thing’.  I like to sit and wait for a game to ripen before I decide to spend any time on it.  Free to plays are so rarely worth the time they want that I stay away. A new one, ‘that is totally different’, pops up every 2 months and Grassy eats that crap up.

Fine, it can’t destroy my day like league does, let me give it a shot.  It turned out to be ok. I would give it a solid ‘meh’ and a half.  Didn’t suffer from crazy lag and only required some fighting with the dumb Friends list.  Why, if you are on steam, would you make your own clunky friends list?

Quick review, stages have little to no thought in them. It doesn’t matter so much, since the game modes are what any other came would consider novelties.  With check points bouncing here and there and people spawning everywhere, it’s just not possible to make a balanced map with any kind of depth.  OK, maybe it is, but load out definitely didn’t manage it.  Might not bother casuals, filthy as they are, but the time required to start getting a customized character isn’t worth spending in a game with so little depth.  I could be spending my time on something productive, like trying to get karma on reddit or crying in front of the League play button.

8.537 thumbs out of 5 stars

I was working with someone to create a review channel. As it turns out it’s a crap ton of work making reviews. While I was preparing to create the channel I started to ask questions like, “What is the use of a review” and “What purpose do they serve”. That shot me on a search for anything to do with reviews. I jumped around checking out highly entertaining reviewers like Zero Punctuation down to the less then perfect ones on /r/gamereviews. We all have to start somewhere.

Some of them broke games down by sections: story, gameplay, “graphics”. Most used a grading system, 8/10, five stars. That got me thinking of ways I should grade the games. I tried to come up with a way to take some of the subjectivity from a star rating system. It’s even possible to turn to a pass fail system, “buy or stay away”.

Spent some time with all that bouncing around my mind and was unable to clamp down on anything. What good is having a rating system? It bothered me that after a while I will end up with a list of games and a list of ratings. It then makes sense that it would be possible to use the ratings to compare the games.

One game gets a 5 out of 5 and that one gets a 4 out of 5. Why? Games are just so drastically different from one another, that comparison is impossible. Skyrim and Gone home have completely different goals, what would a comparison between them even mean?

Ok, so if we give limbo a 9 or 10 in aesthetics and we give BioShock infinite the same. Are they as good as another? Is it fair with one having a huge budget? Should the money even matter? How about the time to play through. Journey would also have to be given high marks for aesthetics but that can be beat in like 2 hours.

The system wouldn’t even work when looking at one game at a time. What could I give in story to something like League of legends? There is some lore to it, but a player would have to go out of their way to figure out what’s going on and it wouldn’t change the gameplay.

If the rating can’t be used to compare then it only serves one other purpose, as a summery of opinions, but that’s the whole review. If by the end of the review, the audience is unsure what the reviewer thinks, they are watching zero punctuation and are wondering if he actually liked the game or, the review is missing something significant.

Systems like this serve the reviewer more then anyone else. It simplifies formatting and attempts to remove some of the subjectivity from the review. Which is the conclusion I finally found my way to.

Reviews are more then their end rating. They are there to provide some ones personal tastes. There are a few reviewers of movies and games that I watch. Like Grace from Beyond the trailer. She does a crap ton of movie reviews. I can’t possibly watch as many movies as she does, cause that’s her job. No, I don’t trust her every opinion but I have seen enough of the movies she’s recommended or rejected. I now have an idea where her opinions and mine are relative to each other, which has a lot of value for me.

If you are a reviewer out there. Forget trying to be objective and share your true opinions. Don’t apologize for having a weakness for anything to do with dragons. Say it proudly. That honesty tells more then thousands of words trying to remove yourself from the reviewing equation.

Talking about something that is inherently ambiguous.

The Idea Channel, on YouTube is one I happily subscribe too.  Lately the little man in my head that critically listens to everything that I pay attention to, has been making a fuss at their new videos.  This little man isn’t nice or mean he’s just a builder.  Looking at each idea like a new part to fit in a whole.

The builder touches and considers where this would fit in the structure of my thoughts. If needed, he’ll test it to see how to see if it can fix more then one hole.  So while listening to a lecture, like the amazing one by Brandon Sanderson, he’ll take each idea and see what I can it for and trashing the obvious or redundant.

During the video, “Are MP3s & Vinyl Better then Live?“, he yelled and screamed. These ideas are all caught on one major problem that is never brought up, leaving it lacking the structure to securely fit and cover any hole. The problem of Definitions.

‘Better’ is the real problem in the video and it’s why there is so much of a debate.  Mr. Mike Rugnetta, never even tries,and so just circles around and around, to define ‘better’.

In specific case, if we define better as ‘More accurate representation of the sound produced by the vocalist and/or instrument’ we can make some conclusions.   Vinyl would be out, since it adds sounds and looses quality. A very high bit rate MP3, one that might as well not even be compressed, could have better then a Vinyl. Both MP3’s and Vinyl are altered by sound engineers. So, under this definition live and unplugged would be better.

Problems like this happen all over: “What is better apple or pc?”, “Is it better to have a person play the piano or a robot who recorded a persons movements?”, “Which game is better?”

The ‘better’ isn’t the only ambiguous term: “Is it love or lust?”, “Small businesses are the big job creators.”

I particularly enjoy the last one. Is a small, the mom and pop store down the street worth around $500,000 or Walmart?

It’s not about being right.  Words mean what we want them to.  It’s about being clear.  So audience knows what YOU mean with the words you use.

 

Here’s the video:

Ren Fair and Camping

We Took off during the thanks giving break to camp at the Renaissance Festival at Huston TX.  Not to spoil too much but it was amazing.

It was our second time  attending the festival but our first time camping out there.  That decision was just so right.

The weekend was cool during the day and cold at night.  Well cold for anyone from south Texas   Down here if it drops below 60 degrees everyone breaks out the heavy wool and thermal underwear. 

We are no pro campers and bought just about everything fresh from a camping list I saw online.  So, the fact that they have only port-a-potty’s out there shouldn’t scare anyone away.  It is a but rough not being able to shower correctly, but that’s only half the fun.

The rules out there are simple. If your in a quiet area(for families) bed time is at 10 pm, otherwise just don’t put your tent on the street.  Anywhere else is game.  Oh, and no fires on the ground, accept for the one bonfire area that is built in for everyone to share.

There are a few unwritten rules that you’ll find out from the Reni’s walking around.  A Reni is someone who has been attending the festival long enough to be a pro.  The usually know each other and have secret information shhh…  One of these interesting people informed  me that if you’re unlucky enough to put a camp-up in a place that is traditionally claimed it may turn into an issue.  For the rest of the tricks you’ll just have to walk around and talk to people next year. 🙂

The campsite is a whole other world.  Everyone is just so happy to be there.  Most are super helpful and just wanting to hang out.  Booze everywhere and there is a say’n that the Ren Fair camp area is the safest place to get pass-out-drunk.  I didn’t test this, partly cause I can handle my crap and cause I didn’t bring my whiskey : (

I had the pleasure of watching a true nerd pick up a chick in his element. The conversation, I am not joking, contained Ninja skills, jello shots, naked jinga, and pirates.  It was completely surreal and it worked!

Just warning, this is a crazy nerdy place so be aware.  We are not that easy of people to get along with, they are great people though.  I am a nerd but the depths of the nerdom shocked even me. Ninja pick up lines aside it was one big nerdgasim. This isn’t a complaint, I thought it was awesome.  Just a warning.

Ok so your is campsite set-up and you have met your neighbors.  Time to listen for the cannons which happen around 9:00-9:30 am, they announce the opening of the festival.

Like the campsite, this is yet another world.  Everyone is just as excited and looking around for what fun thing they are going to see or do next.  Costumes and such all over.  Thanksgiving weekend is ‘Celtic Christmas’ so, kilts everywhere.  Each weekend has a different theme.

This place is built into the environment and it’s amazing.  Huge trees are all throughout. The stages are topped with vines growing over nets creating a living canopy of shade over cement seats.  Shops are permanent wood structures that look and feel solid.

Bathrooms are big and literally have someone taking care of them the whole time. That didn’t stop some old man from popping my door latch and seeing more of me than he bargained for. 

Performances happen all over the parks many stages and some even in the streets.  We spent a whole day just going to see them and didn’t catch everything.  If you have never been you have to make it to see, Tartanic, the French guy, and the Mud show.  The others are great too, but those are a must see.

My Shopping tips would have to be, only consider hand made things.  There is so much original work at the festival, there is no reason to buy anything you could just pick up on amazon.  Shops aren’t above padding their inventory with accessories or knives that you’d look at in a different light if you weren’t at the festival.  A cheap knife is a cheap knife, even at the fair.

One thing we didn’t master was eating.  Everything is ugly expensive and cheaply made.  There are some things you are unlikely to find somewhere other then the fair, so I hear, but we didn’t find any, other then mead.

Leaving the fair is the worst part.  The feeling of going back to the normal world.  Walking around Walmart and seeing people without that joy in their face.  It’s no wonder people love the fair so much.  We already started planing for next year.