Avatar Rights, The Patch that was the Pub , and Lego Batman, Lego Batman!! – Welcome to the column that is happy to report that we are alive and in one piece (not pieces) known as Dare to Play the Game.
I’m still here. Aren’t you glad? Don’t answer that. After a rather rough two weeks, I hope to return to a fairly normal column with fairly normal jokes and fairly normal news which don’t involve me huddled on the floor with my thumb in my mouth and my body in the fetal position. It’s not a pretty picture and I don’t want to repeat it. The impact after Ike is still a big part of Houston and gas supply is a pain in my arse. I’ve filled up my gas tank as little as possible but then I am back home now and work is roughly 55 miles each way. So outside of biking 10 hours a day thru Houston city traffic (yeah, like that even makes sense), I don’t see how I’m supposed to conserve gas. Move closer to civilization as one of my friends puts it. I’ll have you know that most of civilization as they like to call it didn’t have power for a week or more depending on location. We were out of power for 2 ½ days. I might be living in the boonies folks, but it isn’t out in a field somewhere with a couple of guys in overalls speculating over their corn crop if you catch my drift. It is a nice subdivision and gives me a nice peace of mind away from the hustle bustle of the cubicle world. I might move closer, but I don’t plan to be in the thick of things either.
Here is Morgan looking very seductive. I want you to know something Morgan, I’ve been a very bad boy. Week after week, I’ve been posting these pictures and wishing for you and those eyes to look at me in that special way. And now you’ve done it. I’m sorry, I was only trying to
The rights of ‘avatars’ — more to the point, the people who control them and their virtual assets — is an interesting and murky part of legal issues, EULAs, and player-company relations. Court cases have been tried over ‘illegal’ seizing of assets, and with the amount of time (and money) that people pour into their online characters and assets, we can expect to see more and more real-world legal problems related to virtual issues. But are companies on the ball?:
The essential issue recognized by the “Avatar Rights” movement is that players ascribe substantial value to their game characters and virtual assets. The willful denial of this fact, in some sense, has helped enable the growth of gold farming and criminals who target online games.
Because developers don’t consider the value that players put in their virtual “stuff”, customer service is often not responsive to player complaints about lost items. Also, the game systems are not built to easily log, track, remove, and restore these items in case of loss or theft.
In some sense this is ironic, the same game companies that argue vigorously that the virtual items have no value, at the same time are extraordinarily reluctant to restore players characters or virtual items after alleged theft. The argument is typically made that the players are abusing the system by allowing their items to be stolen (or, actually, selling them) and then making a complaint to the game operator.
If the items have no value, then restore them.
Ahh the age old virtual question of is my uber level 70 pally sword of daunting green wrath worth real money because I spent 10 freaking trips to Kara to get it? Yes and no. I would like to think that the hours I have spent in my 4 characters in World of Warcraft translate to some real monetary compensation. I’m not saying I’m going to sell those characters to some noob, but I think my time and effort is worth something. If the people at Blizzard have some kinda weird bug and I lose all my gear and my troll is as naked as the key sequence that birthed him, I would hope that Blizzard would be willing to restore that. But at the same time, nobody besides the individual or people like the individual can truly understand what that character means.
I like WoW, I like it a lot but more often than not, you still get a lot of people that look at you like you swallowed a canary when you mention you play it. It’s hard for them to fathom that there is real value attached to a game. The fact is that it is just a game. So is Warhammer, so is Age of Conan, so are the hundreds of MMO’s out there. Most of us will only play a regular game for a few months, a MMO for a few years. Five, certainly ten years from now I’m pretty sure I won’t be playing WoW. I’ll remember it fondly like so many other games where I created a character, got that character to an awesome level and then found another game to play. I won’t regret the time spent but any real value will probably be forgotten. Suffice to say, there should be a compromise here between active gamers and some support representative on the other end of the phone. There are people who abuse the system, but more often than not there is someone who is thinking of all the time it took them to get that epic 2-handed sword and is not looking forward to going through that ever again.
Fans will receive the most up-to-date player attributes, player tendencies, and unlockable animations
September 22, 2008 – 2K Sports today announced details on Living Rosters, an exciting new innovative online feature for this season’s highly anticipated basketball title, NBA 2K9. Living Rosters will ensure dedicated fans are playing with the most up-to-date and complete basketball experience ever available in the NBA 2K franchise. In addition to delivering constant updates to player ratings and player tendencies, Living Rosters will also offer exclusive access to unlockable animation packages for players in the game.
When a player starts to heat up and takes his game to the next level on the real courts, new animation packages will unlock for that player in the video game. As the NBA season progresses, so will NBA 2K9, as players will have the ability to pull off new moves never seen before in the video game, adapt their offensive and defensive rotations, and shift starting lineups as they occur. If it happens during the regular NBA season, it will happen in NBA 2K9 thanks to Living Rosters.
When the Living Rosters feature is activated and a gamer signs in online, the game automatically checks for Living Roster updates in order to download the latest real-life player information in a seamless process behind the scenes. Gamers will have an option to either have Living Rosters automatically update their in-game roster information, or they can choose to download new roster data manually.
Once Living Rosters has successfully completed an update, NBA 2K9 fans can then review the different player and gameplay updates from the NBA 2K Insider – a real person working behind the scenes, pouring over the stats and spreadsheets, and who is ultimately responsible for the content and accuracy of the Living Rosters updates. However, the Insider’s job is much more than just crunching numbers – they will interact with the community and listen to roster update suggestions to determine what the fans really want in each update. The NBA 2K Insider’s analysis and commentary will be available in-game and on the 2K Sports website, www.2ksports.com.
One of the advances I always hoped for when it came to sports games was the idea of the roster update. Say I’m playing Madden 09 and my QB gets traded to the Texans (wait that would imply that the Texans actually are interested in having a decent quarterback, oh right this is a what if scenario, never mind). I would want that reflected in the game within a week of its actual occurrence. This takes it actually one-step farther. Let’s move to basketball, say I have a power forward who is averaging a mere 6 points and 5 board per contest. He gets traded to the 76ers and immediately starts averaging 10 points and 10 boards per contest and has gained a smooth cross over dribble move. NBA 2k9 via DLC updates this for us and we are using that character to his fullest by mid-afternoon the next day. This sounds like a fantastic idea. The last NBA game I played was NBA 2k5. I’m not sure this is enough to get me to spend $60 for a basketball game, but it certainly deserves a second look and I am curious to see how the ball bounces. (no one is safe from a good basketball pun)
Fable II Pub Games
The parade of bloviation about the Fable II Pub Games exploit just will not die down. Of course, first Peter Molyneux said that cheaters would be “in for a surprise” if they tried to transfer their ill-gotten wealth to Fable II, once it releases. Then a couple sites spotted something curious in IGN’s Fable II preview, in which Molyneux implied the glitch was actually a deliberate inclusion. Now Lionhead Studios has put out a patch, although someone (above) is claiming that drive maintenance will reactivate the exploit.
First, Molyneux and the “deliberate glitch” idea. The original phrasing of IGN’s sentence about it: “Just be warned. Molyneux has said that the cheat was no accident and that those who used it to earn their money will be in for a surprise.” was rewritten to “Just be warned. Molyneux has said that they are well aware of the cheat and that those who used it to earn their money will be in for a surprise.”
That sounds about right. The idea that this particular glitch would be included is kind of laughable, even if you want to think of it in the choose good/choose evil context of the Fable franchise. Isn’t that a little subtle, anyway? Well, the whole thing’s was patched as of Thursday evening, resetting the leaderboards, so it’s all moot — or is it?
See the annotation in the video above? Someone’s now saying you can continue to use the gold exploit by entering the “perform maintenance on storage devices” code (at the storage device tab in System, highlight a drive, enter Y X X LB RB X X). But it doesn’t really matter for me because I never got above the minimum bet limit in Fortune’s Tower, the game where the gold exploit works.
Disclaimer: Although performing storage device maintenance sounds like an innocent-enough thing to do, I have no idea if this procedure, in combination with whatever’s in the patch, actually does nasty shit to Fable II Pub Games, renders it inoperable, or anything else you don’t want done. In the end, you’re getting cheat tips off a YouTube video, be warned. However, if someone does get it to work, let me know in the comments.
I know, more Pub news. But I find it entertaining. Now we have Peter coming out and saying that the glitch was there all along and you turkeys are in for a big surprise if you used the cheat you thieving bastards. To be honest, I have not used the cheat. I thought about it, many many times while staring at my $4,000 in virtual debt that has slowly been racking up. But I’ve resisted and hopefully the clearing of debt when Fable II ships does not involve the loss of limbs. I however have speculated on a few ways that the actual game could “punish” the user who have exploited the Fortune’s Tower cheat. Enjoy.
1. Your virtual title – for those who played Fable 1, we would walk around town of Bowerstone for example and be called Hero or Ranger or a handful of names. I would find it hilarious if the game started to call you Loser or Cheater. If you wanted a different title you would have to pay an ungodly sum of gold in order for it to go away.
2. Your clothes will appear to be always in the worst shade of pink polka dots and people will point and laugh. I’m not sure how Fable II will work in terms of clothing or armor but I think that if they made the character appear ghastly, people will regret that they used the cheat in the first place. Again, you could pay a high price to have this removed; but the punishment would suffice.
3. Since there seems to be an ample amount of sex in the game (since there are achievements around group orgies for pete’s sake), I would find there would be logic in punishment that when taking quests or talking to key characters in game that they deliberately mention you have a small you know *wink wink nudge nudge*. No man wants to be called on it. A high price could be paid to enlarge that specific body part. Call it Fable Viagra or what not.
4. The last piece of inconvenience would involve the character to read the latest column of “Dare to Play the Game” every time they accepted a quest. New columns could be gathered from DLC or it could be just random columns. Imagine actually having to read my column all the time. (Yes I need the free publicity, or else I become a very sad panda)
Come get some! You have no idea how much I want to be home right now (to be with my sweetie of course! *caugh*). I downloaded this puppy this morning. I didn’t even need a stinking trial on this one. Duke Nukem 3d is the game that single handed made first person shooters fun for the casual and hardcore fans alike. It had awesome levels, engaging music, funtastic weapons (shrink-ray FTW!) and some of the funniest lines in video game history. Enhancements to this bad boy for 360 include 8-player co-op and deathmatch (named “Duke Match” here) which just sounds sick. 8 players on a single level at the same time trying to beat X monster. This has my highest recommendation for XBLA for the year. It looks like it is time to kick some ass and chew bubble gum. And I’m all out of gum.
Mega Man, oh yes. On PSN and WiiWare this week comes Mega Man 9 (don’t worry XBLA owners, Mega Man 9 comes next week). The little blue bomber will show that he still has enough juice in him to destroy the evil robots once again. Capcom has went full out with this one, making it as authentic as can be to its 8-bit roots. The game looks 8-bit, sounds like 8-bit and supposedly even has a few glitches like its 8-bit. The Capcom store is even going to offer like 200 kits with a NES-esque box, cart & a voucher for the game on the system of your choice. Capcom could send it my way, pretty please! Anyhow, the only thing that worries me about this game is the difficulty. The difficulty in the first 8 were ridiculous at times, so if using your Wiimote (or classic controller), be sure not to throw it across your room too hard when you die 5 million times. When I get some more points for the 360, I’ll highly consider giving it a shot as I happen to own both collections (regular and X) for my PS2 and recommend them highly.
Kinda confused on this one. They probably should have held it off a week as Mega Man 9 & Duke are going to overshadow this one to no end. Anyhow, here is the lo-down. This is a puzzle shooter and has up to eight players at the same time. You are guarding the birth of ZeLeLi and trying to free them from the menace of the evil black Shadow Plattchen. You can fight as an astronaut, butterfly, car or football as you take on sharks, cowboys, asteroids or skulls in some crazy fantasy worlds. Did somebody let their 5 year old develop a game? Alright, alright it might be decent with three game modes and more than 300 levels. Perhaps you should try it after the big guns die down, who knows.
Super Dodgeball is still the best dodgeball game out there today (sorry Pirates vs Ninjas). It was created by the same people who did River City Ransom. The interface was simple but the moves were deadly. The tournament mode was quite fun as you had to take on increasingly harder opponents who apparently had skin as tough as steel as it took sometimes 3 times the hits to take them out. The best part though was the playground mode where you were just one person and trying to take out everybody else. All the moves worked and you could play keep away and let the computer take it out other computer AI’s until it was down to just 1 on 1. If you have 500 points to blow this week (after MM9), I highly recommend it.
I remember Vectorman fondly. When I first had a Genesis, I never picked up the game. Somewhere in the early 90’s, I sold all of my genesis games and my genesis so I could buy the Turbo Duo game console. (weird decision I know) I got back my Genesis when I got to college and this was one of the first games I picked up. The graphics were way ahead of its time and the gameplay was actually on par with the first couple of Sonics which is quite the feat. Vectorman is a lowly orbot who wants to clean up all of the toxicity and lands on Earth. There he finds a bunch of other Orbots controlled by Warhead, an evil dictator orbot who wants to get rid of all humans. Vectorman decides to try his hand at defeating Warhead and bring back Earth to be a peaceful world. Its wacky 3d modeling & techno soundtrack made for a pleasurable experience. If you don’t have a Sega Genesis or the Genesis collection for your PS2, you might want to give this one a try.
Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2009
Onimusha: The Essentials
SingStar Pop Vol. 2
Warriors Orochi 2
Dragon Ball Z: Trilogy
Baja: Edge of Control
Brothers in Arms Hell’s Highway
Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2009
Buzz! Quiz TV
Baja: Edge of Control
Brothers in Arms Hell’s Highway
Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2009
Warriors Orochi 2
Sim City Creator
Wario Land: Shake It!
Samba de Amigo
Pitfall: The Big Adventure
Lost in Blue: Shipwrecked
Brothers in Arms: Double Time
Margot’s Word Brain
Ultimate Shooting Collection
Brain Quest Grades 3&4
My Little Pony Pinkie Pie’s Party
Nancy Drew: The Hidden Staircase
Kirby Super Star Ultra
Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure
Margot’s Word Brain
My Sat Coach
Shaun the Sheep
Hi! HamTaro Ham-Ham Challenge
Brain Quest Grades 5 & 6
Right now, my girlfriend is playing Lego Batman. I am not. I am sad. I bought it for her yesterday and gave it to her this morning as a surprise. She was very happy to say the least. To be honest though, there isn’t much else coming out this week. Sure there are tons of titles (including almost 20 for the DS), but look at what we have. A Brothers in Arms game, a hunting game (ooooh dangerous animals, trying killing a real one you loser!), and Babysitting Mania (strange fantasies enter my mind from my youth, sorry). It’s nice to see on the DS this week that Disgaea and Rhapsody got remakes. Rhapsody was a fantastic game for the PS1, it had a lot of very peaceful & wonderful music. The gameplay wasn’t bad either. However, in this sea of shovelware this week, there isn’t much unless you need to study. Brain Quest for grades 3-6 along with a SAT coach might just be enough to get you that higher learning degree you were always looking for. Remember kids, education is key. That’s why I got through 5 years of drinking, sex education & the theory behind why video games are the awesome. Also explains why I am stuck writing this column now. Thank you North Texas!
WoW time. 53/29/20/14. Sarah & me did resume our gameplaying this week. I found myself mostly playing with my dwarf priest (Talloween) which is why he is at level 20 now. I have him questing in the area of Auberdine and actually finding it to be an easier experience than my first time with my priest around this level. It’s not that he has a crazy amount of better gear (maybe a few better enchants), the area just seems to be better suited for my character. Leifrick (29 Blood Elf Hunter) is still doing the PVP thing. He has 27 marks of honor for both Arathi Basin and the same amount for Warsong Gulch. My initial goal was 30 in each, so I should have this by the weekend. Then I’ll make the journey to Hammerfall and the Barrens to pick up my items of choice. After that, I’ll either make the jump to 30 and get my mount or perhaps PVP a little more. We shall see. The other two, Lan (53 Troll Rogue) & Magkick (14 Blood Elf Mage) are kinda sitting. I mean sure Lan ran Shadowfang Keep last night but he’s not actively doing anything right this second. The only time I log into Magkick right now is if I need to make a shirt (Tailoring) or advance his Leatherworking a little more with mats from Leifrick. I keep thinking how nice it will be to get Leifrick to 30 and get him mobile. My rogue’s greatest & quickest progress (besides the first ten levels) was from 40 to 50 because of his travelling speed. It makes a world of difference and I really do like my Hunter. So have fun kiddoes, I hope you enjoyed the column this week and I hope you join us next time. Take care!
Kedrix of Aldrianian
(*The Forgotten One*)