Live boldly.  Love fiercely.  Regret nothing.  There is no promise of tomorrow.  Live fully and without reservation.  Never let your head hit the pillow with the thought "I wish I would have..."

Bing: An Experiment in Search

For the past several weeks, I've been experimenting.  For as long as I can remember, Google has been my go-to search engine.  The only other one that I can remember before that was Ask Jeeves (now reduced to the Ask atrocity) and before that was AOL (needing to go the way of the dodo).  In 2009, Microsoft announced its own search engine, Bing.  Ever since, the engine has been panned by the general public and critics alike.  In my own personal experience, it's looked upon as highly as Windows Vista and Windows 8.  Not ever having had used the engine myself, I thought it was time to give it a go.

First Impressions: Sanctum 2

Over the past few years, I've found myself getting pulled deeper into the tower defense genre.  This is largely thanks to its abundance on the mobile platforms that seemingly everyone has with them.  Throw in some pretty lights like those found in geoDefense and riotous gameplay and I can easily kiss the next half hour goodbye.

Borderlands: A Comparison

With Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel set to be released later this October, publisher 2K Games has offered the previous two installments at ludicrously low rates on Steam.  Currently, both game of the year editions can be had for a paltry total of $17.  This includes both core games and all available DLC.  It's an incredibly good deal for a pair of games that breathed fresh air into the stagnating FPS genre.

Thoughts on Free-to-Play Multiplayer Games

Recently, I was asked for my thoughts on free-to-play multiplayer games.  Not to toot my own horn, but I was rather satisfied with my response.  toot toot

Now, for your first question.  I saved it for last as it is a large question.  I know that the free-to-play market has grown drastically in the past several years.  It appears to have followed the trend of casual games becoming more popular that are also free to play.  One could also argue that it ties into culture as well.  People are always expecting more for less.  Also, with several economic slumps, people tend to cut back on entertainment.  When times are good, a $15 a month subscription isn't terrible, but that’s also a lot of money when it adds up over the years.  Given the choice of a free-to-play game that is close to what is offered with a subscription-based title, people will tend to go with the free option.

But, if it weren't a successful business model, development studios and publishers wouldn't opt for producing free-to-play titles.  More and more games are following the free-to-play model and several have boasted increased revenue as a result of the switch.  While there are still a handful of titles that require an initial purchase or subscription fee, the vast majority are moving to or have moved to the free-to-play model.

What this does is flood the market with all manner of games.  From incredibly well made titles like Path of Exile to the laughably bad like League of Angels, there are a plethora of titles to choose from.  In my past experiences, it depends on the market and target audience.  For the most part, the vast majority are of a low to mediocre quality.  These titles tend to originate from the Asian markets and drunkenly stagger over the line of intellectual theft and outright plagiarism.  That being said, there are some marvelous titles that make it easy to forget those other lackluster releases.

The other concern I have with the rise in free-to-play multiplayer titles is the fragmentation of an audience.  Gamers are always looking for the next big thing.  Couple that with our society’s shrinking attention span and you’ll be inclined to agree that most folks usually play several titles simultaneously.  This can make it hard for a developer to foster a community within their own game.  But it also serves as motivation to continually provide compelling content to players in effort to retain them and boost their own revenue.

That all being said, a game is a game.  They can be terrible or they can be brilliant.  I feel it is the responsibility of the person covering the game to present how it plays and what players can expect in the fairest manner possible.  While I may not personally like a game for aesthetic reasons or a character motivations I don’t agree with, I am only one person.  My job as a writer is to educate my audience.  And in that, I strive to do my absolute best.

Portal Wallpaper

I whipped up a simple Portal wallpaper in all its 1920x1080 glory.  Enjoy.

Release Calendar: August 2014

August 01:
Blackbay Asylum (PC)
Eidolon (PC)
Epigenesis (PC)
Residue: Final Cut (PC)
Z: Steel Soldiers (PC)

August 04:
Guns and Robots (PC)
The Tower: 2015 Edition (PC)

August 05:
Mind: Path to Thalamus (PC)
Rex Rocket (PC)
Table Top Racing (Vita)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (3DS)
The Counting Kingdom (Mac, PC)
The Expendabros (PC)
The Swapper (PS3, PS4, Vita)

August 06:
Akiba's Trip: Undead and Undressed (PS3, Vita)
Back to Bed (Mac, PC)
Battle Islands (PC)
Kingdom Tales 2 (PC)
Cloud Chamber (PC)

August 07:
Frontline: Road to Moscow (PC)
Kingdom Tales 2 (Mac)
Orbital Gear (Mac, PC)

August 08:
Cricket Captain 2014 (PC)
Dungeons: The Eye of Draconus (PC)
GamersGoMakers (PC)
Psichodelya (Mac, PC)
Victory at Sea (Mac, PC)

August 11:
Depression Quest (Mac, PC)
Global Outbreak: Doomsday Edition (PC)

August 12:
Blinding Dark (Mac, PC)
Hohokum (PS4)

August 13:
Surgeon Simulator: Anniversary Edition (PS4)
King's Bounty: Dark Side (PC)

August 18:
Detective Grimoire (PC)
Five Nights at Freddy's (PC)

August 19:
Crimsonland (Vita)
Diablo III: Reapoer of Souls - Ultimate Evil Edition (PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One)
Hotline Miami (PS4)
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare (PS3)
The Last Tinker: City of colors (PS4)
Heroes & Legends: Conquerors of Kolhar (PC)

August 25:
Super Time Force Ultra (PC)

August 26:
Dark Souls II: The Crown of the Old Iron King (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
Infamous: First Light (PS4)
Madden NFL 15: (PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One)
The Evil Within (PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One)

August 27:
Lethal League (PC)
Toast Time (PC)