AFK Getting Married

Tomorrow is the big day! As you might expect there will be some downtime here while I’m on my honeymoon. I’ll be back and posting on March 30!

In the meantime, feel free to post here about any gaming news or cool things I miss!

See you on the other side!

AT&T U-verse Questions – HELP!

My fiancée and I are moving stuff into our new place, debating which TV to buy, waiting for the bed to be delivered, trying to find decent furniture, and then we realized one important thing: We should probably get internet. Before I jump to the point of this post I want to give a little preface.

When choosing this place we did so based on a huge list of criteria ranging from our budget to its location, etc., etc. Everything is truly amazing except for the fact that the only internet provider we can get is AT&T U-verse. What a total drag. I hate being victim to a monopoly, but supposedly the developers gave TWC time to come in but they were late so they closed up the ground and said no more running lines.

Our apartment complex was built just under a year ago. AT&T U-verse ran fiber lines directly to each unit during construction. U-verse has a dedicated rep for our complex that supposedly gives pretty good deals to rival what AT&T will sell you on their website. So I got the guy’s number and gave him a call.

I got on the phone and cut right to the chase: I want the best internet you got and I want a little bit of TV too. So he put together a package that comes in at $76/month +California taxes (that price includes their hidden fees and modem leasing, yada yada) and a guarantee that our prices do not go up each year due to the special deal we got through our complex. Yep, that’s cheaper than their online prices (I’d be paying 86 for the same package and slowest internet). I choked when he told me how fast the connection was: 18mbps. Excuse me, say what? I currently have 100mbps from TWC. The rep told me “Yeah but this is Fiber running straight to your unit. It’s better.” I asked, “Why?” He said, “because it has more bandwidth and on TWC you have lots of people sharing the same line and that slows you down.” I replied, “Speedtests showed me getting 100mbps-125mbps at all times. I didn’t feel slow. I downloaded any time of day at 10 megabytes to 13 megabytes a second.” He replied again about it being consistent and great.

Having no choice, we’re going to have our setup occur on March 30th. My question to you all is whether or not this guy is giving me a load of crap. I see 18mbps and I think I’m about to go back to the stone age. I want to watch my Netflix in super HD and not have any buffering issues, and I want to do it while playing online games with great ping. Am I going to be okay? Speak comfort to me, friends!

In Search of the Perfect TV

I’m getting married in 8 days! We’ve spent the last week moving stuff into our new place and one of the last remaining issues to solve is quite an important one: The TV! Right now we do not have a TV — at all. We love to watch movies and play video games, so a TV is kinda required. I need your help and expertise!

Here are the details of my hunt so far.

  • Budget: $650 (I MIGHT squeeze that to $700 but that’s really pushing it.)
  • TV has to fit on this tv stand/entertainment stand (20.2 inches x 15.75 inches x 47.25 inches)
  • We sit roughly 6-7 feet away straight on
  • I have Amazon Prime, live 2 minutes from Best Buy/Walmart/Target, etc.
  • I don’t need Smart features

I clearly can’t afford the best TV out there, but I think I can get something nice. I could just buy the biggest TV I can find in my range with the best reviews on Amazon, but I want my money to go the furthest it can (so I need your help!). Doing research, I see the popular opinion points to Samsung as the top dog for quality if you can get a TV with a panel actually made by Samsung. How big of a difference is Samsung compared to something like LG or Vizio? How much of a difference is 50″ compared to 48″ in terms of a true experience at 6 feet away? Am I really okay just going for the biggest TV I can get in my budget regardless of manufacturer and features?

Here’s my current top find in terms of quality: Samsung UN48H6350 48-Inch. The feedback I’m getting on this one is that it’s not big enough, has Smart features I don’t need, etc., and that I could get bigger TV for the price. All true. The LG Electronics 55LB5900 55-Inch is awesome but the feet length are beyond the size of my TV stand. My biggest issue is finding a bigger tv (in my budget) that will fit my space.

Your opinions on brands to go with or avoid, what size you recommend for my space, and overall suggestions on how I can stretch my budget are appreciated.

GDC: Building a Better Mousetrap

The news coming out of GDC is weird.

the-game

The future is now! OOOooOooOoo

Nvidia announced a ‘smart tv’ -esque box that is pretty much an Amazon Fire TV, or a Roku, or a weaker version of every console and tv product their hardware supports. You can use Netflix and play Android games, or some other games at just over Xbox 360 specs. Yay? Thanks for joining the party? I don’t get it.

Sony, AMD, and whoever else announced more VR gimmicks. I didn’t want to wear the 3D glasses while watching TV. I certainly don’t want to wear the headgear or gadgets they’ve concocted. It’s the next Kinect, and I will happily pass on yet more hardware that will never be adopted by the software companies.

Steam announced a couple of things. First, Steam Link. It’s a $50 box that lets you stream your PC content to your TV. You know, like an HDMI cable…  Then there’s Source 2 which could be neat, but I’m pretty sure somehow it’ll be used to hype their Steam “Home entertainment” push and troll people into thinking Half-Life 3.

Next up is ex-SWTOR Lead Designer Damion Schubert preaching about F2P being the future. Because his work on SWTOR was so good he’s now taken to motivational speaking and being the white knight defender of people who spend lots in cash shops. Apparently calling them whales is offensive, as Damion says, “These people are very important, and we can start by treating them with some fucking respect.” Call them what you want, they are still the textbook definition of a whale. Call them royalty for all I care. They still spend extravagantly and are textbook ‘whales.’ Calling them a ‘Patron’ like Schubert wants is misleading. All of us who spend money on games, in any model, are patrons. Let’s call a spade a spade and a whale a whale. The entire talk was full of logical leaps, make believe what-ifs (like saying if BF5 went F2P and succeeded that CoD would have to follow…) and manipulation.

If you found something decent from GDC please share.

It’s Not A Pipe Dream

The gaming industry is so bizarre. I’m looking at news articles this morning and chuckling to myself at everything I see. Peter Molyneux has lied about Godus (to the utter shock of no one) and already moved on to his next game about social media and emotions. Valve apparently forgot that in a voting system people tend to do whatever it takes to get those votes. All around us are Kickstarters, early-access titles, and paid alpha/beta tests.

We’re inundated with false promises, half-baked ideas, and incomplete projects. Every day a new ploy to manipulate how people pay for games is being concocted. What happened to saying you’re going to make a game, making it, then selling it? The industry went from selling complete games to giving them away for free, and now they sell ideas for games that might be in the future. Seriously, what the flippin flyin friar tuck is going on?

I’ve said it a dozen times, but I’ll say it again: I’m willing to pay money for video games. I like my video games to be what was promised, finished, and playable. Why is this exchange of value — such an elementary and fundamental concept — so lost to us?

I can afford to pay more than 99 cents for a game. I’m willing to pay $59.99 + tax.  I don’t want to buy experience boosts or items in a cash shop. I’m willing to spend time killing monsters, exploring the world, and actually playing the game. I don’t need extravagant never-been-done-before ideas to get excited about a MMO. I’ll happily take what was done 15 years ago in a simple game like Ultima Online, or EverQuest, Dark Age of Camelot, or Star Wars Galaxies. I’m even willing to pay $15/month for continued support and development of the game. I’ll even buy bigger expansions and pay full-retail.

Again, I know I’ve said all of that before. Yet every day we slide a little more. Every month there’s a new early-access or F2P debacle. I’m trying hard to vote with my wallet here. I can’t think of a single time I spent money in a F2P cash shop. I’ve resisted buying early-access games I really want because I don’t want to support that model. I just hope we can somehow see a return to the days when people want good games and developers make good games and both sides are happy. Pipe dream? I really, really don’t think it is.