Videogame YouTube Channels I Love

So I’ve been getting more involved on YouTube in the past few months. If you’ve stuck around for this blog, you might have already heard. Besides making videos myself, I’ve also been looking around for better channels related to gaming in general. Knowing what I enjoy watching also helps figuring out what exactly I want to do with my channel myself. Also, when you’re making videos, it changes how you look at other channels. Kind of like how you listen to music when you’ve started picking up your first instrument, or seeing the composition of a story or narrative, when you’ve started writing your own stories.

So with that in mind, here’s a list of YouTube channels that I consistently enjoy watching.

Game Sack

Game Sack has perhaps one of the best formulas of any gaming channel. The hosts aren’t your usual YT personalities, just two guys who collect games and enjoy playing them curating a list of titles under a set criteria. No clickbaity toplists. No usual suspects in their lists most of the time. Fresh eyes on the games as they’ll have just recorded the footage for it. With most channels, I’ll know just about every game listed, but Game Sack has actually pushed me in the direction of games right up my alley I hadn’t been previously aware of. They’re also not afraid of moving away from just the big consoles everyone knows everything about already.

Accursed Farms

Ross’s Game Dungeon is a gem. The guy behind the channel is one of the more down to earth and interesting figures, and with his Game Dungeon series, he tends to focus on games most people will have never heard of. Old PC games from the era of shareware and freeware, or even abandonware. Though if the game interests him enough and gives him enough to comment on, he can focus on more well known titles, like the Deus Ex series or Strife. He’s also run a LP/Machinima were essentially played through Half-Life 1 roleplaying the character of Gordon Freeman under the name Freeman’s Mind, which is one of the more interesting LPs.

SovietWomble

Alright, so this is basically a  Twitch stream highlight channel. That said, SovietWomble puts effort into his VoDs, as much as he’ll downplay the work he puts into them as his streams get carried by the Arma clan he’s in. It’s not just Arma the group plays together either, as his main claim to fame were the Counterstrike videos where everything goes horribly wrong, always.

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What a channel name, right? Although he doesn’t upload all that much, what he does put out is memorable. I may have plagiarized a certain phrase for my social media bios from the video linked above. What I’m getting at is that his deep and multilayered character compellingly contextualizes the rest of the experience; making it truly memorable.

ACG

Everyone has that one reviewer, critic, or journalist they trust. Now that doesn’t mean that you completely agree with them at all times, but that you understand their perspective and understand exactly where you stand alongside their critical viewpoints. For me, ACG is that person. I don’t always agree with him on some of the points made in his videos, and there have been times where I considered his rating not in line with mine, but even in those situations the actual content of the videos was informative enough to learn something about the game through it. In fact, he strives to have this kind of relationship with his viewerbase, where he wants people to have opinions and critiques of their own, so long as we’re all understanding of one another’s viewpoints.

One part that especially sets him apart from other reviewers is how much time he’ll spend breaking down a game’s sound design, something that is almost entirely overlooked in most reviews.

Mega64

These guys have been around forever. I remember when YouTube was still a new thing and almost every forum I went to, people kept linking each other Mega64 skits because these idiots ran around in public dressed up as game characters, reenacting parts of the game to see how strangers responded. The past half year or so, they’ve been absolutely on point with their skits. Their podcast is alright too. It’s just nice to see people stick around for so long and still gets attention and do well.

Gggmanlives

Gggmanlives is one of those channels I wish I’d found sooner. An FPS focused game review channel that generally doesn’t care if a game is old or new, he’ll review anything under the sun. Also his love for Doom and WADS for Doom cannot be understated. Yes, this channel makes full review videos for Doom WADS, the dedication is fantastic and refreshing to see amongst channels that don’t dip their toes deeper into Doom than just the new one (which is still stellar, not a knock on it) or Brutal.

There’s more channels that I find entertaining right now, but I might leave those for a later time, when I’ve come across more channels I find entertaining enough to put alongside those. If you have channels that you enjoy, feel free to leave a comment telling me about it. I’m always on the lookout for more gaming channels to look into.

YouTube and stuff

Boy, it’s weird to write here again. It’s been… since July last year?! Christ, that’s a lifetime ago in internet years. Am I fully active and back? Yes, no. Maybe?

Kind of?

I’ve been going back and forth on this whole blogging thing, and with where my focus has been the past year or so, I can’t for sure say that blogging will ever be a main focus for me. The blog will stay up, because I like how it ended up, and the amount of effort I put into it. But my current ambitions don’t lie with this blog at the moment, and I don’t want to be disengeniuous about it. Instead I’ve been focusing on making YouTube videos, which is kind of like writing blogs posts, but with a few more layers of effort put on top of it.

Whenever I make a YouTube video, I make a general outline for it. And my outlines tend to be the size of a blog post that would make it on here. And then the editing starts. Getting the game footage, almost exclusively all my own. Then taking that to a video editor and hacking it to pieces, splicing it together with the audio. Choosing music to go with both the footage and what I’m saying. Then smoothing out the edges.

I can’t say I’m a pro at it, but as I’m doing it, I’m learning and improving on the video making craft.

And best of all? People respond to the videos. They get more views, more comments, more shares, than the blog ever did. And the blog itself was a success. It got really good traffic, and nice response, opened quite a few doors for me in life. But the Youtube channel has been doing better than that in a shorter time, and I feel like this ball will keep rolling over time. Not only that, but I’m enjoying all the extra parts of putting a video together more creatively.

 

It’s not my first outing with video content either. I used to vlog back in the day. Now I’m making videogame videos, not even let’s plays, and I’m enjoying that a lot more than the old stuff I used to do.

So if anyone is still keeping up with this blog and wonders where the hell I’ve gone off to the past year and still cares, now you know. I’m making YT videos. Maybe if I’m really proud of one, like the two posted here, I’ll come here and post about them. I haven’t given up on writing, I still write, but for the most part, I write for myself. Though I did move posts over to Medium to see how they’d do over there and it was fine. Nothing too major, though a network wanted to pick a post up.

That said, I’d like to thank everyone who read my posts over the years. Thank you for the support, and hopefully see you on the video side.

Catching Up On Anime – April 2015

There haven’t been that many posts from me lately, I know. There’s only been one other posts in between these monthly catching up posts, thanks to life getting hectic lately. I moved to a new address, sorted out a bunch of financial stuff, had to do a bunch of paperwork, and set up some other stuff I don’t want to go into detail on right now. There’s also an emerging Path of Exile addiction and a ton of anime I’ve been watching, with most of the focus on two longer shows.

As always, this is just me writing about what I’ve been watching lately, not necessarily what just aired. If you’re curious about what I watched last month, you can read my report here.

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Persona 3 the Movie 2 – Midsummer Knight’s Dream

I’m starting to get the feeling like everyone loves Persona a lot more than I do. Probably because it’s the truth. From a gameplay perspective I don’t get fully drawn into the mixture of visual novel and simplified Shin Megami Tensei game. During the dungeon crawling segments I find myself wanting to go back to the comfort of dialogue options and character exposition, but by the time those roll around I want to get back to the combat. Neither is particularly bad, but I’m just not drawn into the world, the characters, or even the gameplay segments enough to want to keep going.

So you’d think the condensed anime versions would be the perfect relief to still be able to keep up with all the fan gushing about the franchise without coming across as an asshole who hates everything… But they’re not helping either. They’re just making it even clearer that I don’t feel any connection with any of the characters at all.

Stylistically, this movie is fantastic. The darker tones throughout the Dark Hour scenes look amazing and as expected of a Persona product, the music is really good. But without content to really latch onto the presentation just falls flat for me.

Keep in mind that this is probably just me. I tried playing Persona 4 and ended up dropping it in favor of reading JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 4 – Diamond is Unbreakable because they’re the same story, one is just told more enjoyably. I want to enjoy the Persona franchise, but I feel like I’ve played too many diverse JRPGs to be suckered into one that as its most special feat isn’t set in a typical fantasy setting. Until then I’ll wait until The World Ends With You gets the recognition it deserves in movie form.

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Mobile Fighter G Gundam

So you know how last month I said I was wrong about Nichijou and how it was actually amazing after I sat down and properly watched it? Maybe you also remember me not liking G Gundam all that much beyond the hilarious space racism? I was wrong again.

What changed?

G Gundam got even dumber than it already was. There a point where shows are stupid and become unwatchable because of it, and there’s a point where that stupidity reaches a level that it becomes completely okay with it. Actually, there’s several points wrapped around each other and it’s not always easy to hit the mark in terms of the kind of stupidity you want to hit. Generally the one thing that can save a truly stupid series is self-awareness mixed with a sense of earnestness about itself. You want to be aware that your writing is stupid, but you don’t want to detach yourself from the stupidity to safe face either. G Gundam quite earnestly delivers all of its stupidity, love, and anger with the pure hotbloodedness of a good Super Robot series and the further I got into the show, the less I wanted it to ever end.

I owe everyone an apology for comparing Mobile Fighter G Gundam to Gundam Build Fighters Try. For all Try tried to do in terms of building up Super Robot shows, it felt like it tried to detach itself from the franchise and the dumb things going on, taking away from the excitement of all the graphically impressive fighting scenes. In the meantime G Gundam delivers the dumbest emotional flashback with a character forever traumatized because he was held hostage by a clown in the most serious tone it possibly could.

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Zeta Gundam

As of writing, I only have about 10 episodes left of Zeta Gundam to go, so I can’t give a final verdict on it just yet. That said, it’s still the series I first think of when I think Gundam. After a somewhat slow build in the early episodes, Zeta Gundam reaches a point where every scene, every conversation becomes loaded. Not in the Star Wars Episode 1 “There’s so much happening on the screen” sort of way, but from the plot perspective. Multiple aspects of the story move in different directions while characters develop, situations escalate, and backstory is given. A battle doesn’t just have one outcome for one side, multiple groups benefit or take losses from them in more than one meaning, while the individual characters all leave the battlefield with a different mindset than they entered it.

This sort of complexity in writing is rare in anime. Generally writers and directors contend themselves with making one thing and one thing only apparent with each scene. A lot of times this has to do with the original format being manga, and the way a lot of the larger publishers operate with their weekly formats. Having the plot move at a slower pace helps buy time to write later chapters, plus the way they tend to operate on popularity polls, you can’t leave parts of the audience behind by confusing them on morality and character motivations. That’s not to say every anime needs to have this sense of depth, frankly I don’t think most of them even have it in them to deliver on it, but the times a show can actually deliver on this, it’s always appreciated.

The reason I’m going on about the complexity in the writing is because for me, it’s the second time seeing the first half of the series unfold and there were so many things going on with the story that I hadn’t picked up on the first time I saw it. Character motivations are generally things that aren’t put on exposition for the world to see, but is instead hidden within a combination of their dialogue and their actions. You have to figure out for yourself why everyone is doing what they are, since they all move indirectly. Which, for a series focused on war, where it’s hard to fully trust each other, is state that makes absolute sense.

When you think about the way Zeta Gundam is written from that perspective, it starts to make more sense why fans of the series rewatch it every so often and can go on thousand word essays on simple character motivations and lore.

It’s especially nice that, as the series progresses, the viewpoints and philosophies of the characters change. For example, the main character, Kamille starts of as yet another spin of Amuro, but becomes more and more like a soldier as the series goes on. To a point that another character is introduced to show how this same growth could happen negatively through everyone’s least favorite character, Katz Kobayashi.

No seriously, fuck Katz Kobayashi.

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Redline

I don’t want to take up too many words to describe Redline because if you’re looking for a description of what this is, it means you haven’t seen it yet. Which means you should go watch it. In 1080p.

Seriously though, this is the F-Zero anime we never got. Not sure yet? Watch this review of a guy trying to tiptoe around the movie without saying anything concrete about the story. Redline is good. Go watch Redline.

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Patlabor The Movie 1

One of my biggest pet peeves with science fiction novels is that, generally speaking, there are no characters in them. As intriguing the world building, the advanced technology, and the implied changes on society they would have all are, usually the actual cast of characters takes a backseat to all the things it wants you to think about after you’re done reading it. Whenever a big budget movie is made based on an old science fiction novel, they try to emphasize the humanity of the characters more, taking away precious time from the world and social commentary that is supposed to be the focus of the story in a media format that leaves less room for the complexity those stories would require even if they were made the main focus.

I’m bringing this up because Patlabor The Movie feels like what would happen if you leave the focus of a science fiction novel on the technology and commentary instead of the characters, and while the execution of it is near-perfect I don’t think movies are the right format for this. This probably means I’m going to have to watch the TV series instead.

Although Patlabor is technically a mecha anime, it’s closer to a detective drama set in a science fiction narrative. There are mechs, and they are a large focus of the story, but they’re not big flashy war machines. They’re strictly made for utility, because a large mech has more manpower than a large group of people. In a lot of ways, it feels like the next logical step for mecha anime to take after Gundam introduced the world to Real Robots instead of Super Robots.

That said, while Patlabor the Movie has excellent pacing and story, it doesn’t have a cast to really help carry it as a movie. Which is a shame, because I quite enjoyed the setting.

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Initial D: First Stage

I’m generally annoyed by the lack of good romance stories in anime. Sure, nearly every anime has some romance subplot going on, but they’re almost all terribly executed, as if the author was pressured into putting it in there because everyone else is. Initial D managed to annoy me with romance subplots in a completely different manner. While the angles are all written very well and feel like they’re a lot more natural than most anime series, they take up way too much time away from the actual focus of the show.

Any scene that doesn’t involve the AE86 drifting around corners at full speed with Eurobeat music blasting in the background is a scene that shouldn’t exist. Forget that the cars and roads look like Playstation 1-era CG. Forget that everything about this show is utterly absurd and stupid. It’s an AE86 going downhill on a mountain road in the rain at full speed, nailing a drift that when done wrong means instant death on a road that’s open to regular traffic. This isn’t something you want to distract the audience from, but we’re still treated to dating scenes in between every single race. Where most series are satisfied with a beach episode, Initial D manages to sneak in a pool episode besides.

I don’t even like cars, and I still want to go back to them going fast. The races are that hype.

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Usagi Drop

A man in his 30s adopts the illegitimate child his grandfather left behind after nobody in his family wanted to take care of her when he died. He doesn’t know much about raising children, but does whatever he can to give her a good childhood while working full-time and adjusting to life as a parent.

There’s not much to be said here other than how absolutely stellar the writing and execution of Usagi Drop is. I wasn’t sure what to expect going in, but I left the series with one of the more heartwarming tales of parenthood that I seen in a long while. Even though the backstory to Rin’s character is incredibly depressing, Daichi makes up for what she’s lost by sacrificing his old ambitions and lifestyle to give her the future she deserves, only to be rewarded with a more full-filling life and new friends.

Just, you know, pretend the manga doesn’t exist and/or is fanfiction. I do wonder if Rin’s mother was a self-insert by the author. Not only because it’s such a common occurence in anime and manga to have the author insert themselves as another manga artist (Rohan Kishibe in JoJo is very obviously based on Araki himself), but because she was already hinting at a future project while being warned about negative backlash from the fans. That, and she’s so overloaded with negative character types that I almost want the writer to be that person after reading the ending. It’s that bad.

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Arslan Senki

It’s only just started, but the mixture of Yoshiki Tanaka (writer of Legend of the Galactic Heroes) and Hiromu Arakawa (Fullmetal Alchemist) is already delivering. Political ideals, gigantic armies, military plans, huge death tolls, betrayals, and a pacifist master strategist. Although so far the complexity of the series doesn’t match that of Legend of the Galactic Heroes by any means, and I’m curious if that’s inherent of the original book versions, a trait of modern anime, or part of Hiromu Arakawa’s style, I’m still really enjoying the ride so far.

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Punch Line

It’s your typical story. Guy gets an insane power boost if he sees a girl’s panties, but if he sees panties while already powered up he causes a nuclear explosion. Having been expelled from his body a drunk cat with a cat porn addiction tells him to find a book to remove the evil spirit currently in his body. The book is somewhere in his house. Oh, and he’s the only guy there, so he has to somehow avoid getting too excited and causing a nuclear bomb to go off while haunting a house full of attractive girls who think they’re alone in their rooms.

I’m not a big fan of fanservice focused shows and have stopped watching harem anime ages ago, but the absurdity of this show’s concept is enough to draw me in for now.

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Kuroko no Basuke

A flashback arc of when the Generation of Miracles got started. It’s probably going to be a long one too, considering they changed opening themes to reflect the change. It’s interesting to note that this is the first time since the series began that they didn’t use the same band for the new intro. That said, I don’t feel like there’s this much need to show the complete history of the Generation of Miracles right now after we’ve already had frequent flashbacks to the pasts of the characters who became famous under that title.

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JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Stardust Crusaders Part 2 – Egypt Arc

We are so close to Dio’s World I can almost taste it. Almost. I saw a few articles of people complaining that the lack of direct fights is hurting JoJo since the introduction of Stands, and I’d suggest they find more straightforward Dragonball Z style anime to watch instead. The current experimentation in using abilities for things other than fighting are what brought us to the excellence of Part 4. Back when Part 3 was released, this kind of experimentation was groundbreaking, and even today, the absurdity of it is still a breath of fresh air compared to the vast majority of shonen series that has only homogenized as time went on. You’d hope an adaptation of an almost 30 year old manga wouldn’t still be as far ahead of the curve as it is, but here we are. The only recent anime to really have learned from JoJo’s implementation of abilities as something you can explore out of battle in this style seems to be Hunter x Hunter, which actually treated powers a lot more consistently.

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Fate/stay night:  Unlimited Blade Works

I don’t have too much to say about the continuation of UBW so far other than that it feels like a continuation of UBW. Yeah, it’s really good, but everything currently happening just feels like the setup for later events. I trust Ufotable will actually deliver on something with all this buildup unlike Deen though.

Paytality

MKX Paytality

With the recent news about Mortal Kombat X’s microstransactions for simplified Fatality inputs, the internet is in an uproar about being ripped off with terrible anti-consumer DLC practices. I already posted a couple of tweets about my stance on this, but want to go in some further detail for a moment.

First of all, it’s important to note that the Fatality, mostly, is an insult to injury move. It’s what you do when victory has already been secured. A player who can do a fatality in no way has an advantage over other players in a direct sense. Indirectly, it can usually be argued that the player who can perform a Fatality is a player who has a better understanding of the game and has better mastery over it, especially if they can do them consistently, with different characters.

Looking at it that way, we can immediately discard all the jokes about payment comebacks and paid movesets to secure victory. It’s also worth noting that any argument against the complexity of inputs is immediately swept off the table as Fatality moves are intentionally over-complicated so you have extra bragging rights if you pull them off. There is no real gain beyond perhaps a psychological one after making someone suffer the humiliation of being on the receiving end of one. Even then, that’s something that’s only sure to leave a lasting effect in the lowest of capable players, which is what this payment option was created for.

Is the payment option being there scummy? Does is take advantage of incredibly stupid uninformed players who don’t know any better?

Absolutely.

But I don’t even know if that’s something that’s always a bad thing. Anyone paying of Fatality tokens has more money than reason or skill, and is likely to funnel that money in a direction it doesn’t belong. It’s not an insidious payment scheme that forces you to buy things to stay competitive or have an edge over players who didn’t pay for it. The DLC characters are much closer to achieving that sort of negative effect, and even those are mostly just DLC characters because there was probably a lot of money involved in allowing them to be there in the first place as they’re not part of the Mortal Kombat franchise.

Does this ruin everything for the hardcore playerbase that wants to play competitively? Fuck no. If anything, winning with what’s clearly a simplified Fatality input is sure to be seen as something lower than clearly messing up the actual button input. I’d personally suggest the animations for the simplified input be slightly altered from the original so everyone can see the difference between the guy who did the move because he can and the guy who had to pay for his flashy animations just to bring more shame to the players who had to pay for them. It works for games like Team Fortress 2, where bought cosmetics have a note on them saying they can’t be traded, which is often seen as a mark against the player for owning it.

In the end, it’s a form of payment to show off you’re incapable of keeping up with other players. The shame doesn’t belong on the company for allowing this to happen, they saw a way to keep their franchise funded and that’s good. The shame is with anyone who paid for it, even if they don’t immediately think of it that way.

Rest In Peace, Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett

“It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it’s called Life.” – Terry Pratchett, The Last Continent

One of my proudest moments related to writing that I have experience was when I told one of the people at the American Book Center in The Hague that it would be a great idea to put up a list with the reading order somewhere near the bookshelf that was practically exclusive to him at the time. Unless you really plan on reading all of his works, it can be pretty daunting to pick up a Discworld book as they’re all part of miniseries within the larger series, each with their own sense of continuation. I was just making small talk with one of the staff members at the time and was surprised to actually see the reading order guide that’s often shared online taped to the shelf.

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Discworld has always been a series close to my heart. It’s what got me back into enjoying reading in my early twenties. For a year or so, I almost exclusively read his works just because it was as enjoyable to read as there was a lot of it.

If any there has to be any supernatural or religious nonsense in this world and beyond, I hope it’s his vision of Death. I’m sure Death would have made the time to personally come pick him up if it’s so.

Rest in Peace.

We Need A New Word For Games Journalist

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We need a new word.

If anything has been made clear in the last couple of years, it’s that journalism is such a mess that even amongst the so-called journalists the word journalist is no longer appropriate. This isn’t true in all fields of journalism, but within the range of geek/nerd news coverage it’s pretty clear that the group making their living covering and spreading the information neither qualify or even want the ideas presented by the word. Some might be quick to argue that this only goes for the gaming press, especially after the large-scale slandering mess that was GamerGate where a lot of journalists felt the need to act even more childish than the 12-year-olds on Xbox Live they’re so offended by. Looking at the rest of geek coverage, it’s clear the same things are happening there too. All in the name of appeasing the larger audience, self-congratulatory smug, middle class, fat, white guys shame that dominant male audience they’re always writing about that they’re no good and are ruining the industry for the groupthink circlejerk, hoping posting these glib attacking pieces give them enough Nice Guy coins to earn a Pity Fuck from a Manic Pixie Dream Girl.

Now that I’ve pissed off the exact people under fire and the ones all-too happy to protect them, I’m sure to get another round of passive-aggressive “I don’t want to say you’re wrong, but you’re not right” responses from everyone guilty. Go for it, smother me with your passive-aggressive half slaps.

The word journalist is still often used in those circles, usually reserved for a rallying cry upon success to build momentum. During rare moments of pride, even people normally associated with outlets like Gawker have absolutely no problem using the word journalist to describe themselves or their profession. It’s what gets them into special events, let’s them get in contact with valuable sources to break information, gives them access to free goodies in the hopes of positive coverage. Being a journalist comes with perks, as press packages are only available to outlets that, traditionally speaking, are considering journalistic outlets. The moment we get out of that side of journalism and instead move to public perception, quality of coverage, or professionalism, all pretension of journalistic integrity is gone.

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This is when we arrive at the next stop, Enthusiast Press.

This sounds like a much easier role to fill, right? Doesn’t it just give you a mental picture of a bunch of monkeys playfully showing off the contents of a press kit? Their clueless flailing comes across genuine enough to get people excited about the product, even though the product itself doesn’t really have much to do with the excitement. The monkeys aren’t just there to create the hype. They are the hype.

Except when they start flinging shit. To this day, there are still several game journalists angry at the fact BioWare “caved in” on the demands of “entitled pissbaby gamers” who dared to be dissatisfied with the new ending.

Chris Antista, mostly known for his work on the podcast Laser Time these days, is one of those people. Listening to that show in its current form is outright depressing. The same people who would generally prefer to be stamped as “enthusiast press” come together to talk about videogames because that’s what they’ve decided to do with their life. On the outside it sounds like they’re enthusiastic enough about the business to not only work in it, but to also still produce material for it out of appreciation in their free time.

Unfortunately the actual content they bring out paints a picture of people who are clinging onto the one basket they put all their eggs in. Videogames is all they know, and they know it. Comparisons of their own lack of maturity when paired with people their own age is a common thread amongst a lot of episodes. Attacks towards the audience for being “too young to understand”, “entitled”, “pissbabies”, or just outright liking different genres automatically qualifying them for pedophile status, are common. The only games that consistently get positive responses are from the companies the people on the podcast have a working history with. The negativity that tends to be reserved for just about any other company, happening, or event, does not exactly exude enthusiasm.

This isn’t something that’s exclusive to the people at Laser Time. I’m only singling them out because they’re the people I’m most familiar with in terms of their presentation because I used to listen to their podcast a lot until I got tired of the general negativity from most of the crew, Antista and Henry in particular.

I’d like to counterbalance this of negativity and reliance on negative examples with an incredibly good one to spread some needed positivity here and there, so I have to give a shoutout to the Best Friends for showing me what it’s like to listen to a podcast of actual enthusiasts again. We need people like this now more than ever, and not a week goes by that I’m not appreciative of hearing the genuine excitement that new releases can give these guys.

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There’s a huge fucking issue with the enthusiasm people have with video games if a problem people covering the medium have with it is that it’s too gamey. How the fuck is a video game, a GAME you play, too GAMEy? And who in their right mind would consider themselves an enthusiast of videogames if their highest praise for a videogame is that it’s cinematic, like goddamn movie?

If your problem with videogames is that they’re too gamey and your highest praise is the cinematic value of it, for fuck’s sake, go cover movies and leave videogames to people who want a fucking game instead of a sequence of flashy semi-interactive cutscenes.

That leaves us with the third popular descriptor people take when the previous two fail. Blogger. When all claim of professionalism, accountability, or enthusiasm goes right out the window, that’s what we are left with. Bloggers.

You reading this on my WordPress means that I am officially a blogger. I blog. I write things, throw them up on the internet, and people read it. That is what a blog comes down to. Except, you know, I don’t get paid, don’t get access to special events, aren’t allowed at E3, and don’t get cited on Wikipedia.

Because I’m just a lowlife blogger.

Within games media, my voice has a lot less validity and power than that of Ben Kuchera, even though we are both basically just bloggers. Patricia Hernandez is a much more important person within the games media landscape than me, but we are both still bloggers. Neither of these two would consider me a real voice, despite having a respectable amount of subscribers to this blog and a good amount of people following my shitposting on Twitter.

Why?

Because I’m a blogger. Bloggers don’t get to have integrity or believability. Whenever an outcry happens and the big game bloggers give the typical “I’m just a game blogger!” rebuttal, consider the fact they just admitted their absolute lack of worth. Professional blogging is to regular blogging what professional wrestling is to actual wrestling. It’s all a work, but sometimes people work themselves into a shoot. Then you’ve got the no-life marks who don’t know it a work when it a work.

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In that sense, games media are pretty much a group of smarks.

A Smark is one who claims to have “inside information” on the Wrestling Industry, even though the majority of them are most likely filled with false rumors posted by other “Smarks”. An extremely stupid nick name created by those particular fans. Tend to be extremely negative on what the majority seem to favor. At times extremely hypocritical, and have an annoying “know it all” type of attitude. (The type of men women tend to dump, and make fun of behind their backs ;P) Also tends to spend more time on message boards, and on chat rooms than focusing on more important issues.
A Wrestling Smark is an extremely silly nick name to describe a Pro Wrestling fan whom acknowledges that Pro Wrestling is scripted as opposed to the “Mark”. “Smarks” tend to spread more false Pro Wrestling rumors all over the internet more than anyone else.
Despite what “Smarks” claim they know on a Pro Wrestling business, they can only know if and only if they are on the road or work in their corporate headquarters. And there is very little chance that they do.
I propose that we rebrand “Games Journalism” to “Gaming Smarks.” And until the day they finally manage to turn the meaning around into something positive in the minds and hearts of audiences out there, this branding sticks to remind us of how much they have failed at their work.

How To Make A Mess On Steam: A Steam Machine Story

Gabe Dollars

A few years ago, when the idea of the so-called Steam Box came up, I remember being quite enthusiastic about the idea. A lot of console gamers had always been looking to make the jump towards PC gaming, but the intricacies of having to learn a complete system before even making a purchase was too daunting. Realizing this, Valve proposed a gaming system of their own in response to the growing demand of a streamlined PC gaming experience. The disappointment in the direction Windows 8 was heading helping them push for an operating system of their own, the Steam OS. The stars were aligning for Valve, nothing could possibly go wrong, right?

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Somewhere along the way, people both grew impatient and worried about both the concept of the Steam OS and system. A new OS meant a smaller available library to start off with. There was still the problem of the controller, and no amount of screenshots of that thing are going to help fix that. Just look at the response the Wii U’s gamepad got mostly from people who never touched one in their life? And what could you possibly charge for a niche system in a market quite literally overflowing with systems already to a point of even the major players doing abysmally compared to the years past?

Despite all of this I remained a supporter of the newly rebranded Steam Machine. Sure, it wasn’t for everyone. It wasn’t even really for me. But not everything needs to be for everyone and too many people get a kneejerk reaction to things not being directly aimed at them.

Disregarding my own lack of interest in the product itself, there’s still a constant demand for accessible and easy to understand gaming rigs. Videos and lists with build suggestions keep popping up everywhere because people need help stepping in. An actual product aimed at bridging the gap for new users is always welcome.

Today Valve put up a store page for the Steam Machine, alongside a sale for some of the games available on Steam OS.

If you told me last week I’d be able to bring back this title format and would use it against Valve themselves I’d call you crazy. Yet here we are, and we’re just going to have to deal with it. Steam fucked up.

Hard.

I mean, christ. How do you fuck up so badly that Alienware of all brands has one of the cheapest systems available? Alienware, the neutered overpriced Dell brand offering a dualcore PC for 480 dollars. That’s a system only marginally better than a PC I got for free as a throwaway thing that wasn’t worth selling anymore. It’s about as good as the shitty laptop I own that’s got me lucked into cheap indie games. Systems of this tier would generally set you back about 100 dollars, 50 if you buy it second-hand. But they’re selling it for nearly 500 dollars because… Alienware and Valve are brand names.

Systems like these aren’t removing the barrier of entry for newcomers to PC systems. They’re a new barrier in and of itself. Looking at them, I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone, certainly not at the price point that they’re being offered at. Even if you don’t know what you’re doing, a regular pre-built system would be a better option. And I still wouldn’t even recommend those.

In case you’re one of those people absolutely confused about what any of the specs mean, how this comes into play, what things generally are worth in straight monetary terms, I’d considering looking up a Steam Machine, go to their specifications, and comparing them to similar components using, say, Logical Increments. LI generally has a good grip on what components within their recommended builds are worth, complete with links to some of the competitive vendors offering them, even in your region.

Look at the world of different in pricing between the Steam Machines with similar parts and the price range of the system on Logical Increments.

It should be about half the price.

Even if you don’t know what you’re doing in terms of PCs and you’re looking into PC gaming, I’d still recommend you build your own system after doing some research. Take some responsibility for your purchase. Once you’ve got a good system running, you’ll feel all the better for it. And it’ll likely still cost you less than half the money of a Steam Machine, even if you pay people to assemble the parts for you.