13 Reasons Why.. And all it takes is one

28 June, 2017 | Permalink

I think everyone by now should know that I prefer story over mechanics when it comes to games, story over destruction in movies. Don’t get me wrong mechanics and destruction are both amazing but nothing captivates me more than an amazingly told story. I guess that should be obvious? Not really, not everybody enjoys an amazing story, they would rather just be competitive or see things blow up and all those things are the right thing. There is no single one thing to like. Besides Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas as it’s not a story rich game all my other stand out, favourite and highly recommended games are story rich, and serious games. What does that say about me? Spec Ops: The Line was spectacular for a lot of things but what really got me was the terrifying choices I had to make in this third person shooter game, I questioned my own moral, multiple times. The Walking Dead: Season 1 (Video Game), an episodic interactive adventure survival game and all the other games in that series for that matter all had me weak at the knees for many different reasons.

Not only about my decision to the all terrible choices I had, the terrible things that occurred due to what I thought was an excellent decision and what happened regardless of what I did. These are games that either through action or otherwise make you tremble, make you feel things, make you write things to get it off your chest are the types of games that are amazing within this world. I was never big on reading, despite most of my family being enthusiastic readers and I think as I’ve grown older I have grown out of the whole ‘FIND, KILL, SHOOT’ for the most part and need to find something with more substance. I’ll still love me some Call of Duty, League of Legends and my newest obsession, Overwatch but the things that captivate me are story rich.

Where am I going with this? That was all about games, but that theory doesn’t just apply to games it also applies to everything including movies/TV shows. Long story short after finding time, hopping back on Netflix I saw Netflix recommended ‘13 Reasons Why’. I’d heard that there was some controversy surrounding it, that it was all about suicide. I thought I’d give it a shot but I never would have imagined that it would have given me the same sort of feelings as the games I’ve previously mentioned. 13 Reasons Why started out in 2007 as a novel written by Jay Asher. In 2017, it was released on Netflix, a TV show based off the novel. It’s funny, I never knew it was a novel first until after I finished watching the series. I won’t spoil much for you, but here is the synopsis the Internet Movie Database gives, “Follows teenager Clay Jensen, in his quest to uncover the story behind his classmate and crush, Hannah, and her decision to end her life”. I think, the actors were amazing, the story was amazing, the production was amazing.

I will just add a caution that this shouldn’t be watched by just anyone as discussed topics are quite harsh in nature and depicted on screen during certain episodes. I do think that having something like this is great to start discussions that normally would be taboo or brushed under the carpet. Boy it certainly started discussions, I’m just glad that it wasn’t an awful show trying to bring up these discussions as it would just turn into blaming the show for suicides that probably would have occurred anyway (which is ironic considering when you watch it, it’s all about people blaming others to protect themselves) …

… Which did happen anyway. Just one Google search of the shows name and the top results are “TV show 13 reasons why ‘inspired’ suicides of teens”, “Families blame ’13 reasons why’ for 2 teens’ suicides”, and many others. That’s not the discussion that we are meant to be having. Mental health is a serious issue, and whilst most just like me and you just get swept away with our own issues, there are many, many things going a lot worse for others. I’ve always believed suicide is the cowards way out, you hurt those around you more than you hurt yourself and whilst I still believe that, going through high school, having certain situations arise in life and watching something like 13 Reasons Why gives me a pretty good understanding as why some people would want to go that way, the world isn’t a nice place, well it is, but people aren’t... Sometimes.

There will always be good and evil and with the rise of the internet like it has been for over a decade the internet just creates a new way to bully, harass, stalk and many other things to people who are trying to make ends meet like the rest of it. Take one look on 4chan, reddit or even the YouTube comments section, a lot of the times they are toxic. What about when you were in high school and there was a fight online between two people and you either commented, egging the fight on or just sat there with some popcorn and watched. The world isn’t a pretty place but if we all do our bit, and help be a part of a solution, not the problem then I think that could go a long way.

I don’t know how parents believed the show ‘convinced’ or ‘inspired’ their loved ones to go through with it. What that show inspired me to do is start some conversation about the topic. The show doesn’t end on a low indicating that suicide is the way out. It has a carefully crafted ending that gives across the right message for those who either are considering suicide or those who know someone who is. I recommend the show 13 Reasons Why, and by extent it’s source material. Just so you know, you have been warned it’s type of content and I can’t wait for the second season which I didn’t think they’d make, but from a quick search it seems like it is coming in 2018.

Steam Sales of Old

24 June, 2017 | Permalink

Steam's Summer Sale is here again! ♫
Are you ready for a miracle
I first hopped on Valve's Steam train back in early 2010, the start into my venture of going from console gaming to PC gaming. Not quite at the beginning of Steam in 2003, in which I would have been 9 years old! Actually with today's kids and all their accounts and devices that sounds about right to have a steam account at 9, but I never did. Since I created a Steam account, I have purchased 336 games on Steam alone, and that doesn't include games that are only on other services like Uplay or Origin, it also doesn't include PC games prior to Steam.

One of the many reasons behind Valve's success with Steam is that they have amazing sales, in comparison to when Steam was first made to when I started I don't know how the sales were but as soon as I joined up and started throwing money at our Lord and Saviour, Lord GabeN. 50% off, 75% off, and for once I could just downloaded everything, I didn't have 8+ disks to install! (The Sims 1...) Over the last year or so I feel like the Steam sales are going downhill, not as many games on sale, not as good discounts. I could be right, or it could be that I have amassed so many games that I just don't care about anymore games. Either way most recent sales I haven't really paid much attention to them, they have been quite uninspiring. Then comes along the sale that is currently on, and it's pretty good but it feels different, some good deals, but still something is off. After some research I noticed things that made Steam sales unique, and fun and more than just a sale you visit once, get a few things and leave.

I used to have the Steam app on my mobile and when I would go to school I would check the app each 4 hours, as there would be many different types on sales, flash sales, deals of the day (last for 24 hours) and they would transform the entire store into a theme. These days, it looks the same as normal Steam, no flash sales, no deals of the day, whichever price you see is the final price unlike many previous sales where you'd be looking back every so many hours to see if a game that is discounted, has been further discounted. Some people could argue I have no life, but honestly that was half the fun of Steam sales to me. Always checking, the hunt for the best discounts. Another thing that has overtaken Steam is trading cards, gems, profile levels, and special games relating to each sale, slightly differently where you earn cards and packs for spending money. Props to Valve for doing this, they are making so much money from it, but it turns Steam into something I hate, I try to avoid all that nonsense.

I say these bad things but so far in like less than 48 hours of the Steam sale going live I have bought Nidhogg, Quantum Break, Outlast 2, Dishonored, The Jackbox Party Pack 2, Batman: The Telltale Series and Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. Shattered my spending limit which was $0 and took money out of my account I use for food. Luckily I have a lot of food cooked and frozen, enough that will last me until I get paid. All in all, I am incredibly happy (getting some games such as Shadow of Mordor for as little at $3) and honestly, if I work my ass off just to put money in my bank, what is the point of having it in the bank if I don't spend it on things I enjoy and want. I just now have to make sure I start to go through my backlog of games.

If you wish to see what games I own, or add me as a friend a link to my Steam account is below in the website's footer.


15 June, 2017 | Permalink

ScreenPlay is Channel 7 (in Australia) new TV show based on gaming. Earlier this year, Good Game TV on the ABC network was taken down and so was all of the digital content they were producing. The one thing that the ABC left was Good Game: Spawn Point. The adolescent gaming show because they must have believed anyone older wouldn't care about a show that covers gaming, esports, reviews.

I had spent a lot of time watching Good Game and all of its contents when I was younger, as I was getting into gaming, it was a staple of my week. As I got older I tuned out as I stopped watching traditional TV however they eventually started utilising YouTube and other internet sites to reach out and they were gaining tracking from it. I was someone along with many other people who were excited to see Australia do something like this. Unfortunately the ABC thought it was the wrong direction and a few presenters and other staff decided to quit and found a home with Channel 7 in a new show called Screenplay. It would have been nice to see Bajo come along, but we have Hex and Nichboy from the old Good Game and Good Game Pocket who now are going by their real names Steph and Nick.

The lineup of content looks amazing, not only do they have a timeslot on 7mate every Thursday night but they also have content every single day of the week on YouTube, Twitch and Facebook. It's great as I will have more ways to consume new information about what is going on in the gaming world, as well as it's a great Australian representation in the industry which I think otherwise is lacking a bit. It's not unusual for Australia to be out of the times all you have to do is look at our internet infrastructure, the NBN. I am pretty sure most countries in the world actually have better internet than us because the government said, and I quote, “(Australians do not want super-fast broadband and would not use it) even if we offered it for free” which as an Australian citizen I can say right now is complete and utter bullshit. Time those old farts moved out to be honest, they don't understand technology yet they make all the rules up about techology in the country.

Can't wait to get right into ScreenPlay and make it a part of the content I consume.

Dice Rituals

7 June, 2017 | Permalink

I have certainly changed a lot over the years, and whilst change can be good some change isn't. I think the one downfall of my good change over the last few years (to enjoying tabletop and RPG games) is that I now have a dice problem. Right now I only have 70 dice, with a total of 9 sets of Polyhedral RPG dice and that is nothing compared to a lot of people. I am however quickly accumulating more which is funny considering I told myself I would have enough sets for one set for me, and one set for each player and that's all. I have two and a bit sets with me at all times. Each set contains 7 dice.

I have also created a dice jail (pictured above) for when the dice land on low numbers. It's this weird thing that most find crazy but to those who play RPGs it isn't. A snippet from the recent stream by the creators of D&D was made into a video with various D&D influencers talking about their own dice, and superstitions. Check it out. It is interesting.

PS: YES! I do put my dice in jail or give them time out. YES! I want more dice and I am starting to dabble into metal dice. YES! I don't let others touch my playing dice. They are mine. Mine only. YES! I am weird, but you already knew this.

Privacy in the World

3 June, 2017 | Permalink

NOTE: This was originally a facebook post

Just watched Snowden for the first time since it was at the movies in 2016.
I have been following Ed Snowden since the start, and whilst he was an American and it was dealing with with the NSA and CIA and many other American organisations the damage and the level of mistrust and anti-privacy spreads way more than one could even comprehend. Way more than this movie shows. Hacking a school network, running small DDOS attacks to twitch streamers is all we hear about, but that is nothing compared to the world's leaders and what they are capable of. Most people know you shouldn't trust the government, money cuts here and there, promises never fulfilled etc.. However in the digital age, the age of which we currently live in we will never be safe.

Things that Ed leaked may be gone or modified, or maybe they are still up and operational but we, the public are told otherwise. It really doesn't matter, because I promise you, each government around the world have their own tools, and their own way of accessing everything from phone calls, to texts, to an encrypted file on your computer that is hardly ever connected to the internet. It will never stop and if it wasn't for someone as bold and brave as Ed, we'd have no clue that our most basic human rights are being violated!

One thing I learnt growing up really was that life isn't fair, and back then I just thought because I didn't get that DVD I wanted so bad, but now it is much, much more. The only way we can possibly have a chance to regain our freedom and privacy is to be educated, and hold the government responsible for it's obvious misuse of such tools.

Anyone heard of the 'WANNACRY' virus? It made its way through hospitals, businesses, home computers and compressed your entire computer into files, then asked for money in the form of bitcoins or other cryptocurrency in exchange for a key to unlock your files. Not one person who paid, ever got their files back. That virus, came from the NSA, from the government. The virus isn't it's natural form, but the tools got leaked online and hackers/script kiddies got their hands on it and slightly modified it to be able to do this. Now hospitals around the world have no patient data or anything. What a world we live in.

I may sound like one of those crazy alien people who swear they've just seen a UFO, but the sad reality of this world is that all of this is true and unless you want to live like a caveman or the amish then you will be tracked, your data will be collected and you will effectively be spied upon because there is ALWAYS be people who misuse the system, just like there are people who take advantage of others, or like there will always be bullies picking on that kid in school. I am not going to provide links as I have not been actively in recent months keeping up with Snowden, nor do I have the time but you owe it to yourself to do some research. Find Snowden's twitter, read articles, books, anything. Since Snowden came out, there is a lot of information out there, some true, others not but it starts the conversion off. The conversation that needs to be had.