Should I play Slender and upload my reaction video?

When this gets a total of 25 votes the decision will be made.

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Brilliant games that should never have sequels

Half-Life 2

Gordon Freeman is one of the greatest protagonists in video game history. He is weak, easily killed, and about as far from a soldier as possible. He is silent, and while he does have a face, his persona is so limited that while we play as Gordon, we put ourselves in the HEV suit. Gordon represents every one of us geeks that want to save the world. When playing Half-Life, we become the hero- we don’t even have to imagine ourselves as some 8ft tall space marine with enhanced genetics. Half-Life 2 was one of the greatest games ever made, and no one will ever be satisfied with how it ended. Half-Life 3 will never be as good as 2. It is possible, but Valve has so many expectations to live up to that anything less than the perfect game would be unacceptable. Half-Life 3 could be the greatest thing to ever happen to this industry, but if it is anything less, it will be compared to Duke Nukem Forever.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

(yes, it already has sequels, consider that proof of how right I am)

Call of Duty 4 was a brilliant game. It took that fluid, fun gameplay from the previous entries in the franchise and mixed in a great story, characters, and incredibly deep multiplayer. We forget just how revolutionary this game was at the time. We bash the new Call of Dutys for being derivative and repetitive, because they are. They took this game and tried to improve on it, to capitalize on it, and to turn the success of the best multiplayer shooter into millions of dollars of revenue a year. This game was brilliant, and its sequels, especially MW2 and MW3, only tarnish its memory

Minecraft

The best creative experience in the history of games, a virtual Lego set with zombies and other terrifying enemies, and low quality graphics that manage to amaze all make Minecraft amazing. It is one of the best selling games of all time, and because of its nature as a downloadable game, it constantly benefits from updates. It is ever improving, and its community is ever growing. Sequels are only good for two things: telling more of the story, and improving on flaws. Minecraft has no story, and its flaws can be fixed by updates. A sequel would only try to improve the graphics and add features that are unnecessary. Minecraft is Minecraft, and we don’t want anything else.

Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception

When I found out that Naughty Dog was working on The Last of Us, I was over the moon. The Uncharted series is one of the best of this generation, let alone on the PS3. Nathan Drake is a brilliant, lovable and realistic protagonist. From a purely technical standpoint, few games stand up to the environments and set pieces of Uncharted, and the story stands out as one of the best in years. While Sony desperately needs an exclusive that will carry them as far as Halo has carried Microsoft, Uncharted is not what they are looking for. It is too story driven, and it has to end. Drake is only human, and too many adventures will break him. The ending of Uncharted 3 was perfect because it was really an ending. Nate and Elena will finally be able to relax (with the occasional skydiving trip to keep Nate from going into adrenaline withdrawal). Sully can retire before his heart gives out, and perhaps play grandfather to Nate’s kids. It’s nothing exciting, but it is an end. Indiana Jones taught us that three is the best number of epic stories for a treasure hunter, and we all wish Drake a happier retirement that Indy. Sony can find another mascot.

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Orbis vs Durango

I’m a self proclaimed Sony fan. I believe that the Playstation 3 is vastly superior to the Xbox 360 for a number of reasons that I really don’t feel like going into. We have seen a lot of rumors about next-gen consoles in the past few months. Some of those rumors are exciting, others, not so much,

It looks like Microsoft will be pushing the Kinect (or whatever the Kinect’s sucessor will be called), along with the gimmicky “Illumiroom.” Microsoft also appears to be pushing its touch-friendly OS, Windows 8, and judging by how much its layout mirrors that of the new Xbox Dashboard, they will be putting something similar in Durango. This, combined with the possibility that it will require an internet connection, makes Durango horribly unappealing. It looks like a gimmick focused machine that is forgetting that many of us just want to sit on the couch, look at our TV, and play a game (even if our internet goes out for a few hours).

We know that the new Xbox is going to be incredibly powerful, but that is to be expected. Maybe this will change once it is formally announced, but I see nothing about it that makes me want it over the new Playstation.

Sony appears to be paying attention to what its customers want. They screwed things up with the PS3, but it looks like they have learned their lesson. They aren’t going to price themselves out of the market like they did in 2011, they have realized that Move is a niche product, and they are (supposedly) adding features that the average player will use. A touch-pad on the controller might be a bit unnecessary, but it could open up some possibilities. What really excites me is the rumor that it will record the last fifteen minutes of gameplay and will feature a share button. We all love to show off, and, as long as saving all of that gameplay is fairly easy, this will be a really popular feature. Developers are even talking about how it is easier to develop for the new Playstation than the new Xbox (I wonder how Bethesda feels about it).

If the two systems are going to come to retail resembling what we have seen so far, it is difficult to see why someone would choose the Durango over the Orbis.

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Machinima and Gamestop

It’s a blog, I’m allowed to rant nonsensically.

What a load in insensitive, ignorant crap. This guy obviously has no real sense of what it is like to actually have to work. He also fails to understand that Gamestop is a company. You know, that thing where a bunch of people work together and try to make a profit? I’ve met some really bad Gamestop employees in my year and a half there, but for the most part, we are a nice bunch of people who try to help our customers. The thing is, in order to keep the business we are a part of alive, we have to piss some people off. Usually this involves not giving a good enough trade value for their games. By “good enough”, I mean, not exactly what they paid for it. They seem to have no grasp of the idea of depreciation. Once you buy the game, play it, and handle it with your filthy fingers, it isn’t worth as much. They also can’t grasp that while they are guaranteed to get something for the game, Gamestop isn’t. Stores have dozens of copies of Call of Duty and sports games from three years ago – games that no one really wants. They just sit there, take up space, and cost the company money. Gamestop offers you money, or other games, for your game that you apparently don’t even want any more (you’re selling it), and if you don’t think you are getting enough for it, stop getting mad and calling us corporate evildoers. Go try to sell that game elsewhere, and when you realize that it isn’t as easy as you thought to sell your used game for exactly what you paid for it two years ago, come back to us and get your ten bucks.

This guy can’t even get through his apology to all the people who will lose their jobs without saying “fuck Gamestop.” He doesn’t just bash a company that does nothing more than try to make a profit (is that evil now? I didn’t get the memo), but he does it in a vulgar and unintelligent way. Machinima, when you fire this guy, I’ll come back to your site. I’m not saying fire him because he is a jerk – people can be jerks. I have no problem with that. Fire him because, if his work is all at this level, he provides no real news value to your site. He claims to be providing entertainment news, but all I see is ignorant, misplaced angst.

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Violent video games

I play a lot of violent games-in fact, looking at my shelf of PS3 and 360 games, 14 out of 15 of my games contain at least “Cartoon Violence.” I have a ten year old brother who plays many of these games, but I also make sure that he avoids the worst of the bunch. Some (California State Senator Leland Yee for example) would say that I have no relevant opinion in this debate. I would agree, but not because of my consumption of violent media. I have no relevant opinion because I am a legal permanent resident, and therefore have no voting power. Nonetheless, I will voice my opinion, in the hope that it will influence others.

Violent games are different from violent movies and music. In the movies and music, and just about any other form of media, the consumer is witnessing the violence. In video games, the consumer is directly causing the violence, and taking joy from it. When I killed Handsome Jack in Borderlands 2, it was personal. I wanted him dead. I wanted to take my pistol’s bayonet and gut him with it. I hate Handsome Jack, and killing him felt good. After killing him I went downstairs, got a bowl of cereal and watched Nickelodeon with my brother. A little while later I hugged him and told him goodnight and that I love him. I went from a deep, satisfying rage to a calm loving feeling in the space of a few minutes. I was able to do this because I have a (somewhat) mature mind, and I am able to separate the game from reality. I understand, not just on a logical level, but instinctively, that the image on my screen is a separate reality from the one in my home. Yes, that image can illicit real emotion from me, but a healthy, adult person can separate those emotions from real life. The issue is not with the games, it is with the players.

The massive majority of people who play violent games are able to separate the game from reality, but there are some who can’t. For the most part they are young children, but in some cases they are adults with mental health problems. The children are, for the most part, protected from these games by their parents and the stringent regulations of the ESRB and video game retailers. There are, of course, exceptions. I have seen parents buy Saints Row: The Third for a five year old. It is a decision that is undoubtedly unhealthy for the child, but if a parent is that apathetic towards the games their children play, then violent games are the least of that child’s problems. The problem becomes much more serious when adults who experience no restrictions when buying games like Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto cannot separate the game from reality. In those situations, we have to ask: Is the solution a more stringent regulation of the entire video game industry, or would an attempt to improve our mental health care system be better?

Would regulating the video game industry even prevent those situations? What regulations would be imposed? A tax on violent games? That would only anger everyone who plays the games. A legally mandated age requirement? That would not only fail to solve the issue at hand, but it would be redundant. The ESRB already regulates the industry based on age. A ban on violent games? That would solve the issue, but at the expense of a massive industry that pushed the boundaries of technology, entertains millions, and is incredibly stubborn. Prohibition didn’t work on alcohol, and it won’t with violent games either.

The only viable solution is to look at our mental health care system. We need to do what we can to help those who need it, rather than blaming video games. I won’t claim that shooting virtual representations of strangers over the internet is a glamorous hobby, or that it is productive. What I will say is that it is fun, and harmless to the vast majority of us that enjoy it. It sickens me that video games have been scapegoated the way they have, not because I believe video games should be regarded as literature, but because by blaming games, we are overlooking our real problems-real problems that are far harder to deal with. Telling parents that we need to ban games because they corrupt their children with sex and violence is easy. When good parents hear that, they instinctively protect their children. Telling a nation that we are allowing some of our citizens, often those that need the most help, to fend for themselves is hard. Especially when those citizens, as a result of the mental illness that went unnoticed or untreated, walk into a school and kill small children.

We need to be raising awareness about mental health and trying to help those who really need it, not playing the blame game.

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Playstation 4 announcement?

I might be jumping the gun here, but after what just got posted here, I think that Sony might have just done something brilliant. Earlier this month, Sony CEO, Kazuo Hirai said that Sony would wait and let Microsoft announce their system first. Their reasoning was that they did not want to allow Microsoft to adjust their console after viewing the features of the new Playstation. Many, myself included, thought that this was a futile effort. We know that both systems are close to, if not finished already, so the likelihood of change is minimal at most. After seeing all the Facebook and Twitter posts about “See the future”, and the video that obviously teases a major announcement about the Playstation coming on February 20th.

Hirai bluffed. Sony knows that their failure to launch timely killed their sales, especially in the U.S. Hirai’s comment was an attempt to lull Microsoft into complacency. He wanted them to take their time, and now Sony is going to swoop in, raise a ton of PS3 hype before Microsoft has anything prepared. Sony is playing dirty, doing everything they can to put as much of the spotlight as they can on themselves. If the announcement in 3 weeks really is the new Playstation (What else could it be?), then Sony will be the first to announce. Knowing Sony, it will be a more powerful system than the new Xbox, and if they learned their lesson they will release by September, and for less than $400. If Sony is really lucky, this rumor will be true.

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Oh Rockstar, silly Rockstar.

I had to go around my store today and cover up about a dozen “SPRING 2013″s with “September 17th”s. Bioshock has done it, Splinter Cell has done it, but Rockstar, you are not allowed to push your games back. It has been far too long since a Grand Theft Auto game, and people were growing impatient even before Gamestop started to take pre-orders. Now that you have filled stores all across the country with posters that say “Spring 2013”, the anticipation has only been raised. I will be fine, I have so many other games coming out between now and September, but there are dozens of customers of my store alone who are looking forward to nothing but GTAV. You have just royally pissed them all off.

The worst part about it is, you will not suffer financially for this at all. You will have hundreds of angry bloggers, get swarmed by e-mail complaints, and maybe receive a nasty phone call or two. I will also get a ton of flak for your idiotic choice, seeing as how I will be the one to break this news to many of your customers. But despite all of our anger at you, we will purchase your product, we will play it to death, and we will love it (or else).

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