Tag Archives: Kotaku

In the back of my mind

Today is not the same as yesterday. Yes, the same issues are playing still. They will remain an issue for some time to come. Whether we look at Yemen, Iran, Grenfell or the Saudi Consulate at Istanbul, the media has decided to make this a long term event. Some events cannot be resolved easy or quickly, that is merely the stage we find ourselves in and as such I accept that. It was this mindset that was awakened rudely by a thought that I have had for the longest of times. Now, this is pure speculation and perhaps it is all utter BS. I accept that, yet it remains in the back of my mind, it will not delete itself from my thoughts and this morning it woke up again as I read the headline ‘Yes, I ‘cheat’ at video games – it’s half the fun‘.

I respectfully disagree, it just ain’t cricket!

Yet the thought has been there for a while. You see, the latest adult generation is different. It partially grew up with that thought. So as we read the article by Stephanie Munro (at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/oct/19/cheat-video-games-gaming-performance), we get a little more than we bargained for.

The cornerstone here is: ‘some games are worth a bit of cheating‘, we can agree that this is a thought every gamer has had, but I believe it transcends gaming. I believe that game makers have created the shits that audited Tesco (and devaluated it by billions). The people willing to quickly skate around the edges of Market Research to create a story that fits the bill, yet when we dig into the data, when we consider the weighting used, we see another issue. Some of these stories are more often than not, not worth the paper they were printed on. More importantly, the people mentoring these ‘younglings’ making (as a mere example) are achieving linear correlation by plotting two points. Even as they know that straight-line relationships between two variables can be achieved, they sometimes forget to tell them (implying that the newbie should have known) that it takes more than two observations. Yet a mentoring position is not about assumption. Even as reality is not this far-fetched, we see that there is a stage that counts. TU in Norway is one source giving us the most common example of unethical behaviour. It is: ‘Taking shortcuts / shoddy work‘ and it scored 72%, which is huge! I believe that there is a growing group of people relying on making deadlines and the entire issue is found there. It will almost always be on the new kid, getting advice left right and centre and not getting proper mentoring. Even when we see some parts not being violated, in some cases we see extreme examples of weighing data where weight values of well over 25 are achieved, an issue to be sure (when the population was increasingly small and unbalanced).

And here is where the shoe becomes too tight for comfort. You see behind this is the ‘golden rule’: ‘It’s important to realize that what is unethical may not always be illegal‘, it is a dangerous truth as it can at times be both.

Now this reflects back to the gaming article.

The quote: “I wonder whether cheating at video games is really anything to feel bad about. While downloading unverified cheat programs and exposing yourself to malware is not something to encourage, there are wider and greyer areas of game manipulation that deserve consideration“. There it is! The intentional push to consider cheating! We have all taken shortcuts; some are glitches within the game. Some are merely flaws in game design, the other part is exploiting a gaming bug and then there is God mode. God mode goes back to the beginning of gaming. A code that will set damage received to zero, or perhaps usage is now staged to a decrease of nil and the final part where build time and cost are set to zero. These are all stages that give you an immediate upper hand in the game. The codes tend to be there for testing purposes and were in the older days never removed, in some cases they still are not. Yet when we see the application done in Business Intelligence it becomes a different issue altogether, it has impact and it is too dangerous at present.

When we go back to Tesco in 2014, the Guardian gave us two parts. The first was: “what has already come out raises profound questions about how one of Britain’s biggest companies allowed itself to be run questionably – and about the role of its auditor. The making up of the profits figures was not in a report signed off by PwC. That happened in August – three months after PwC had given the supermarket chain’s figures a clean bill of health. Even then, it noted that there was something potentially funny with the numbers, and expressly warned about “the risk of manipulation” – but allowed them to pass anyway“, and the second one was “The audit is a key part of the scaffolding of shareholder capitalism. It is one of the primary ways in which investors, business partners and regulators can tell the true state of the company they are dealing with. If you can’t trust the audited accounts, you can’t really trust anything. This is why the vast bulk of public limited companies – and hospitals and charities – are legally obliged to submit audited accounts. And the vast bulk of those are done by PwC or one of the other Big Four auditing firms“. Now we get back to the gamer side. The bulk of people now becoming CPA have a gaming life. Whether they stay in the console closet is up to them, yet in a healthy life gaming will be part of it. It is a social interaction or perhaps a challenge to be among peers and see if you can Fortnite the hell out of your buddy and Overwatch him/her to death at the same time, nothing wrong with that. Yet we see more and more that the stage of normal gaming no longer suffices and we start relying on glitches and weaknesses, which is not altogether wrong, but when we knowingly have codes that give us 10% more, what then?

Gamers are actually getting pushed into that frame of mind and the industry as a whole loves it as the person willing to take every legal shortcut is a revenue asset, yet is it a long term solution and what happens when the border of legality was a grey area altogether? Consider the impact of Tesco, the most visible case in the last decade. And that is when we get to the 2017 New York Times (3 years after the event). Here we see: “The regulator said that finding did not suggest that any of Tesco’s directors “knew, or could reasonably be expected to have known, that the information in the August trading statement was false or misleading.” It did note, however, that there was knowledge at a sufficiently high level below the board as to the false and misleading nature of the trading statement to constitute market abuse under British law.” That is now the ball game. The two points ‘could reasonably be expected to have known‘, in opposition of ‘there was knowledge at a sufficiently high level below the board as to the false and misleading nature‘. So someone got a massive raise, someone got an overwhelming promotion and no one went to prison. This is what I would call an orchestrated cheat. When we look at PwC and we see: Tyco, Tesco, Taylor Bean & Whitaker, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi and MF Global. All stages that are massive and all stages where in the end it is merely about the fine, the pressure for using ‘cheats’ is increasing and it seems that the gaming industry is banking on this. What is more appealing when an almost impossible task is achieved by someone who should not have been able to make it to level 2?

This is where Stephanie gives us the gem: “In the world of competitive sport, the line between a so-called clean win and one in which the performance of an athlete has been chemically enhanced is blurred – but we leave it up to governing bodies to decide what’s acceptable and what’s not. This leads us into the moral quandary of whether something being legal makes it acceptable“.

It is the moral quandary that is the switch, which is no longer an on and off switch, but a level that goes from 100 to zero. A lever that is pushed again and again a staged setting with online and single player achievements where we learn to do what it takes to get all the achievements, yet to keep a much more high profile stage to make us seemingly clean players.

So when we see a Battlefield example: “John is on the extreme end of a spectrum, because his tactics are so lethal, so outside of what the game’s creators intended, so far beyond what rival players can defend against and, oh yeah, he paid some hackers to have them. John pays to be able to kill your character instantly in Battlefield. He’s surely crossed some line, though it’s anyone’s guess just where that line must be” (source: Kotaku), we see the issue that is the stage on all this. This now directly reflects Apple and their mobile battery game. a conviction with a 10 million euro fine, whilst the payout makes crime a joke. The article (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/10/25/crime-as-a-business-model/) where in ‘Crime as a business model‘ we see: “Apple required the sale of 16,000 phones just to break even on that fine“, against “the means to sell 123 million iPhones through what the court is seen as deceptive conduct gets a fine that amounts to 16,000 units. A fine received that represents a mere 0.013% of their cost of doing business” and we see not only the progression of what should be regarded as unethical conduct, governments are actually encouraging it by giving fines that were a joke on a scale that is a mere 1% of what was done here.

So whilst we see: “For some of us, the idea of using a walkthrough is anathema, to others it is a means of bringing us back to a point where we can have fun. I’ll admit that I never completed the Ocarina of Time. It was too hard and I got bored. I’m sorry, Princess Zelda, I abandoned you“, we ignore that Ocarina of time is one of the best designed and most overwhelming puzzle journeys ever seen (I never got to 100%), the exclusivity of getting there is merely brushed on and the cheaters are given a pass. That is actually beyond the point where those with a gaming guide are not really cheaters, they merely walk the journey to get to the 100%. Apart from Ocarina of Time, there is Metroid Prime. A game I worshipped almost forever, I ended up only getting 98%, which is an achievement I was proud of (I never found all the missiles). And I played it a few times, loving that journey again and again. Yet the BI industry is merely hiring those with a 100% score and they had no interest how the player got there and that is actually the sad and worrying part in all this. Wall Street does not care how the revenue was achieved as long as it is and that is a much more dangerous setting in the upcoming future. To get the required numbers some analyst proclaimed no matter what. And when it is revealed in some scandal and the media is all over it, it is the mere ‘could reasonably not have been expected to have known‘ is what keeps the board members out of their well-deserved Rikers Island excursion (3-5 years). This sad evolution is not merely the creation of another Star Chamber, an old reference to a tribunal abolished in 1641, where we saw the king in council exercising criminal jurisdiction. It was inquisitorial, and torture is believed to have been used, with no accountability in any way shape or form. It is an upgraded system, evolved from those settings that allows corporations to do whatever they need to appease Wall Street and other financial centers, to exceed analyst expectations, whilst we see that these findings are increasingly becoming more and more unrealistic because that is what the market needs.

In all this holding these analysts and their formula’s up to scrutiny and accountability in the long run will not happen, making the need for these players to find the people who are willing, not to bend the rules, but to cheat their way across, increasingly more and more important to corporations and as such, the danger is that we get into a world where cheating is not half the fun, it is merely the only way to keep ahead of the curve and avoid being classified as no longer relevant.

When did we sign up for those values in our lives?

 

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Game of Pawns

Most people have heard of the Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin’s masterpiece filmed and shown by HBO. Its final season will come in 2019 and the air is filled with teasers, speculated spoilers and optional fan made false trailers. Yet have you heard of the game of pawns? This goes directly towards the entire Australian Encryption Bill. I spoke about it 2 days ago in ‘Clueless to the end‘, where we are introduced to the misrepresented views of Peter Dutton. On how he plays the system on getting the FAANG group to help him a little, which is exactly what the FAANG group is unwilling to do. In addition to what I wrote there is the voice of Paul Brookes, chair of Internet Australia. He gave us: “it is important for law enforcement to find ways to improve their capabilities for intercepting criminal activities through the communications sectors, “they must not do so via hastily enacted legislation which fails to consider the legitimate concerns and advice of global technology experts, and carries the very clear risk of creating more problems than it solves”“, in this Paul is right and the issue is growing on other settings too. In the last three days we have been made privy to: ‘Hackers stole millions of Facebook users’ highly sensitive data — and the FBI has asked it not to say who might be behind it‘. Optionally because they cannot unsubstantiated blame Russia again, yet in the much larger setting it seems that they do not have a clue. In addition, we see evolving today: ‘PS4 Users Are Claiming That Malicious Messages Are Breaking Their Consoles‘. The last one seemingly has a solution as reported by Kotaku: “It does seem that the exploit is purely text-based, so changing your PlayStation messenger privacy settings should prevent it from happening. You can do that by going to Account Management in your console Settings, heading to the Privacy Settings submenu, and changing Messaging settings to “Friends Only” or “No One,” meaning that only your pre-selected friends or no one at all can message you“. Two attacks, the second one without knowing the extent of the attack in a setting that could not have been prevented by the encryption bill, the fact that the authorities have been grasping in the dark gives a very clear view on how short the authorities are on the ability to stop these events. All the BS short-sighted attempts to access data whilst the entire communication system is flawed beyond belief shows just how clueless the governmental players have become.

So as this week is likely to be about: “It appears to be the worst hack in Facebook’s 14-year history“, many will all go into the blame game against Cambridge Analytical, ye the foundation is that the internet was always flawed, and again we see a setting where the failing of non-repudiation is at the core of certain events. A setting where ““access tokens” – essentially digital keys that give them full access to compromised users’ accounts“, done through hacks into vulnerabilities into a setting of ‘authentication’, where the optional ‘non-repudiation’ might have optionally prevented it. That basic flaw has been around for over a decade and the tech companies are unwilling to fix it, because it makes them accountable in several additional ways.

Non-Repudiation

In a setting where you and you alone could have done certain things, is stage against the setting of someone with the claimed authority has staged the deletion of all you created. That is the stage we are in and the damage is increasing. As more and more vulnerabilities are brought to light, the lack of actions are beyond belief.

The NPR reported something interesting that the initial sources did not give me. They give us: “the hack exploited three separate bugs in Facebook’s code. No passwords were compromised, but the hackers were able to gain “access tokens” that let them use accounts as though they were logged in as another person“, as far as I can speculate, non-Repudiation might not have allowed that, making non-repudiation a much larger priority for social media than ever before. The fact that the data captures are getting larger makes the change also a lot more important. If the value of Facebook is data, keeping that secure should be their first priority, the Encryption bill would also be a void part if non-repudiation becomes an actual part of our lives. The dire need of Common Cyber Sense is seen everywhere and we need to give less consideration to people who cannot keep their Common Cyber Sense.

You see, the issue is becoming a lot more important. The fact that these accounts are now sold on the dark web, with the by-line: “If sold individually at these prices, the value of the stolen data on the black market would be somewhere between $150m and $600m“, we are certain that this will get a lot worse before there is any improvement. It is my personal view that actively seeking a non-repudiation setting will hasten that process of making your data more secure.

It is in addition the setting that the Dream Market offers, which by the way is useless. The Chinese vendor offering the data, could in the end merely be an expelled student from any US university living in Dublin, there is at present no way to tell who Chernobyl 2550 actually is.

Finding and exploiting three bugs in Facebook gets you optionally half a billion, the governments are that far behind and there is no indication that they will catch up any day soon. When going back to the Facebook setting, we also saw “Facebook said third-party apps and Facebook apps like WhatsApp and Instagram were unaffected by the breach“, yet another source gives us: ‘WhatsApp Bug Allowed Hackers To Hack Your Account With Just A Video Call’ (at https://www.valuewalk.com/2018/10/whatsapp-bug-video-call-fixed/) implying that Facebook users are in a lot more peril then shown from the different media. We are given: “A security researcher at Google’s Project Zero discovered a strange bug in WhatsApp that allowed hackers to take control of the app if they just knew your phone number. All they had to do was placing you a video call and getting you to answer it. Though the WhatsApp bug was disclosed only on Tuesday, Google researcher Natalie Silvanovich had discovered and reported it to the Facebook-owned company back in August“. So even as it seems that Facebook is not giving us ‘faulty’ information; the mere fact on the existence of the flaw as seen with: “She disclosed the WhatsApp bug to the public only after the company fixed it via a software update. Silvanovich wrote in a bug report that heap corruption could occur when the WhatsApp app “receives a malformed RTP packet.” The bug affects only the Android and iOS versions of WhatsApp because they use the Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP) for video calling” is showing a dangerous setting where a number of failings within this year alone gives rise to the flaws in security and proper testing of apps and the stage of security is failing faster than we should be comfortable with.

So even as CBS News was all about hacking elections last week, giving us: “These cyber-attackers are driven by a variety of motivations, says Andrea Little Limbago, the chief social scientist at data security firm Endgame. “As long as attackers find it in their best interests or find the motivation to want to have some sort of effect … they’re going to think about what they could do with that access,” she says. “Especially China, Russia, and Iran.”“, the failing we see that there is a flaw in the system, it is not merely on pointing at the wrong players, it is about the flawed setting that some systems were breached in the first place. The larger setting is not the hack, it is access and the need for non-repudiation is growing at an alarming rate, in a setting where none of the players are ready to accept non-repudiation, we see a faulty authentication approach and that is the cost of doing business. So when you consider it a sign of the times, consider that I personally witnessed a bug that Whatsapp showed over 27 years ago, when a financial package on DEC VAX/VMS has something called Ross Systems. An intentional illegal action would crash your terminal program and leave any user in the VAX/VMS system with supervisor rights, with total access to every file on the server and every drive. Would it be nice if certain lessons were learned over a quarter of a century?

That is the issue sand the opposition of those who want to push out new features as soon as possible and that danger will only increase in a 5G setting, so when your mobile becomes your personal data server and someone does get access to all your credit card and health data, you only have yourself to blame, good luck trying to sue the technology companies on that. Actually that is exactly what Google is facing with class actions against both the Pixel and Pixel 2 at present. Should they lose these, then the ante goes up, because any case involving flawed data security, when flagged as inappropriately dealt with could cost Google a lot more than they are bargaining for, and it is not just Google, Apple, and Facebook will be in equal settings of discomfort.

If only they had properly looked at the issues, instead of seeking the limelight with a new fab. In the end, are we mere pawns to them, to be exploited and under secured for their short terms needs of clicks and sales pitches? What happens when it falls? They will still get their golden handshakes and a life without complications for decades, what are we left with when our value in data is sold on?

We are merely pawns in a game and no one wants the throne, they merely want to be the second fiddle and walk away overly rich (or own the Iron Bank), we enabled this, and we get to live with the fallout that comes next, all because non-repudiation was too hard for these players.

 

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After the E3

I tend to not take Kotaku as a source (not for any negative reason), yet they have been hammering the nail on the head, even as they did not say it.  Their part ‘the losers’ starts with an image of the Xbox with the text ‘I witnessed the most powerful console ever‘, yes, hiding behind a technical detail whilst there is no proper space to store it is always a bad idea and I was happy to call the Microsoft presence literally a ‘waste of space‘ in my previous E3 article, so far I stand by it. Consider that the most powerful console has only 50% of storage space compared to a MacBook pro, which cannot do that level of gaming. Consider (taken Seagate 2.5″ drives as an example). The shift from 1TB to 2TB is $30, the shift from 2TB to 3TB is an additional $60. I do acknowledge that the 3TB drive is 8mm thicker, yet the dimensions of the 1TB and 2TB are identical, so twice the size for a mere $30 more, this is what makes the Xbox a joke. Sony might do the same, yet with Sony, you get the run on how to change it and there are good guides to show how to replace the hard drive. Plenty of gamers shelled out the additional $120 to get the space, with Microsoft it is not an option.

Now for the hardware, the Switch showed what fun was like and it has the games and more coming to keep us all happy. Both Sony and Microsoft failed us a little there. Now Sony was more about games, which is good and they just released the PS4pro, so this is not an issue, whilst the way they did it shows long term commitment, which is what gamers like. Now we see a changing market with any PS4 next to a Nintendo switch and it is a good day for gaming. Another visible event is that some of the better Xbox One exclusives are now making their way to Sony, so whilst the Sony exclusives grow, the Xbox exclusives list is starting to shrink. In addition, although not confirmed, the consoles Sony vs Microsoft was at 2:1 in 2015, some sources now give this a 6:1 setting. The PS4 has gone through the roof, with sales now surpassing 60 million consoles, meaning that they have surpassed the PS3 and could surpass the PS2 sales by 2018. I think it is a stretch, but part of me hopes so. Part of me can go towards Steve Ballmer with an ‘I told you so‘ state of mind. The weird think is that neither Mattrick nor Ballmer are stupid, they are decently intelligent and the conclusions I got to did not take a rocket scientist, which beckons who is drawing their marching orders and why are they on some track to force people to push data towards the Azure cloud? Why endanger your console market in this way?

By the way, pretty much NONE of the E3 attending press took a decent look at that, even the Guardian avoided the storage issue, which is a question for another day.

The only questionable part in it was the Bethesda Creation club. I think that it is not just about making money. The developer gets a share (as I understood it), so those with really good mods could stand to make $1-2 per quality mod. Now, I am not much of a mod fan, but there are a few really good ones and I would not begrudge the maker those $2 if need be. It would in addition up the ante for mod creators to become even better, which is not a bad thing. Finally, in some respects, a game like Fallout 3 (PC) went from awesome to beyond legendary, just because of some mods. Now, it might not be for all and that is fair enough, yet if your perception of a 90% game becomes a 98% game through the additional $2-$4 because of 1-2 mods, is that such a bad thing? It is up to the gamer to decide that, but I believe that there is some validity in the option. The validity is for them to come with it and for us to embrace those professional mods, or to ignore them. It should not impact the foundation (the original game) you bought.

In the end Nintendo did what it always does, it did something different, which is why I did not care about the WiiU and the failure I personally see it to be, from those ashes came the Switch and it rocks, going to the edge can get you big failures and massive hits, and the Switch could become their greatest hit yet, good for Nintendo! Yet, in fairness, there are media that really do not agree with me and that is fine. International Business Times was all but creating a shrine in the honour of the Xbox One X. The BBC is on my team when it comes to the Nintendo. They raised the issue that mattered for Nintendo; can the 100M units of Wii be equalled? I believe so! Now the Wii was backward compatible with the GameCube, which was my reason for getting it on day one, beyond that the Wii was a nice machine, yet it lacked a decent array of games. They let me down a little there. The Switch is already surpassing the game titles in the first year, compared to Wii 3 years, so they have that in the bag. Nintendo has in equal measure a few new IP options which can really make the Switch a phenomenal success. So from those points of view, the option of surpassing the 100M consoles seems like an easy mark. Even if the economy does not take a turn for the better, choosing between a Switch at $450 without 4K beats the Xbox One X at $500 with 4K gaming by close to 300%. So by the end of 2018 the console offset ‘Sony:Nintendo:Microsoft’ could end up being ‘13:9:2’. This would show Microsoft on how they truly bet on the wrong marketing horses. So I admit, it is a speculative prediction, yet the sales numbers are not that far off and my expected Nintendo growth is not unrealistic. Now, in the off season, the Switch is adding roughly a million users per month. I expect that the European summer, the upcoming games and upcoming festivity days could set it to a total of 10 million by the end of the year. If the economy kicks off a little stronger, it could go to 12 million, which means that in one year the Switch will equal the total Xbox One systems in the field. As more games come to switch, the added active users will fuel growth even stronger. Good games and word of mouth tends to do that, don’t take my word for it, and just look at the PS2 and PS4.

Yet, what more can we expect with the E3 behind us? Both the critics and people gave Super Mario Odyssey best of show, which fuels growth even more and it won by a substantial margin. Assassins Creed Origin did not win on any console or PC, they all had a different winner which was nice to see. Super Mario Odyssey also became best platformer, which is not really that big a surprise and again There was no win for Assassins Creed, which when we consider the stages of completion of the different games not too bad a negative. Again Nintendo got the best title for Strategy game. In this case ‘Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle‘, so as the laurels are handed to Nintendo in several ways. IGN wasn’t the only one with a voice, Gamesradar saw another part my way, they to just announced Ubisoft as the winner of 2017. It was a fair call and two brand new IP’s definitely boosts the score for Ubisoft. Gamesradar also shows one element the others did not, the lack of Indie developers. In regards to the PlayStation and the fact that this month Elite Dangerous will make it to PS4 is actually a big thing, it is one of the three top space games and now on PS4. The second is the remastered RPG original System Shock. Nightdrive Studios has enhanced a true original and so far has been able to capture the original suspense that System Shock brought us. The third one is unconfirmed from sources not that reliable, yet if true, Unknown Worlds with their open world RPG Subnautica will make waves. I reckon that the last two might bring additional hype to the Switch if they ever adapt those two for Switch. Games radar concurs; Nintendo is a winner, Xbox a loser. It is a harsh world for Microsoft and they might want to seriously consider in 2017 what their intent truly is, but as stated now the 4K and ‘strongest console ever‘ marketing gets them some media, yet in the end they poisoned their own customer base.

I think in the end it was a great E3, partially because Ubisoft and Nintendo amazed me with actual new stuff, which is what gets any gamer to the station ;-). I feel less negative about Bethesda than some of the ‘professional’ critics. Not sure why so negative as Bethesda delivered plenty, just some of their focus is VR, which might make them the legendary winner next year. In addition their new power puncher Prey was released a month before the E3, so there is that to consider. Finally there are more DLC’s coming for those games many love, so overall, we should not be too grumpy towards Bethesda.

So as the dust settles, we now get to wait another year for the next presentation of marketed hype by all the players. I for one will be very interested to see my own projection of Nintendo upcoming future. They have 5 optional new IP’s at their back and call and if they get 3 up and running, the run for Switch will grow more than even I predict which would be nice too. In the end, I am happy that the Nintendo message ‘it is about fun‘ that got through stronger than the need for 4K, which gives hope for gamers all over the world. For me personally, the moment it is a financial option, the Switch come in, perhaps a trade for my Xbox? I do hope that Nintendo will give us Pikmin, and Metroid Prime one and two, because those are the games I miss, and I will happily buy them again for the Switch, good gaming is just that, more good!

 

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Bashing the Sky

Like many other people, I have been really looking forward to No Man’s Sky. Like many others I was blown away what the E3 of 2014 brought. Like many, I kept my eye on a daily base on when the game would be released and when the IGN August special started, like many I felt that the game was almost upon us. This was just my interpretation and perception. So as no release date was known, I joined some to feel a little uncertain, a little worried because it was bad business practice. When something this wanted is out there, you might not be able to keep anyone in the loop, but to leave everyone in the dark is not good practice, which I voiced to Sean Murray as well. Now, I do not agree with some that ‘release dates need to be known immediately‘, yet the approach of Quarter, or even the initial news that a 2015 release was unlikely would have been fine. In the end I want a really good game and I am willing to wait, I feel that many gamers are on my side here, we do not mind waiting, we just want to know (in the roughest way) when a game is coming. I would have been very accepting long ago that if a Q2 2016 was given, it would have set my mind at ease. Even though not many are like that, the true gamer is.

As we waited we saw that even the Christian sites were luring people to their places with innuendo articles on the release date of this game, does that not beat all? A Christian site relying on a video game for web traffic, that part remains hilarious for a long time to come.

Yet there are a few more sides we must consider. The hype Sean caused as he went from show to show might seem good, but in the end it is a dangerous escalation because the negative cloud of the internet is now hitting them as well as us gamers. It hits you and me! First off there is Forbes, it is the article form Paul Tassi (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2015/10/28/will-no-mans-sky-end-up-being-the-next-spore/), which is a problem. The quotes that bother me are: “the footage shown is literally exactly like everything we’ve seen from the game since December 2013” and “And after all this time, I still don’t really understand how this game will play, and despite a slew of media appearances, the creators haven’t been able to explain that properly“. Now, important is that he is not lying. I think that the game is founded on a base to grow, but it is early days. Even as the planets are now adhering to a mathematical foundation, there are many other elements to consider. Yes, we have seen it all but is that not the point? What we see is supposed to wet the apatite, not give away the game in full.

So it is likely that the game will have a much larger evolving part to play in exploration, in economy, in growth and in evolution. Let’s not forget that reaching the centre of the universe is no small feat. I am trying to do that right now in Elite Dangerous (to get the achievement), a game where I currently cannot land on any planet surface and it is still a massive trip to undertake. Still in this No Mans Sky shows itself to be a high resolution version of Minecraft so there is no given that we are set to no less than building our own domicile on a planet of choice. If these planets are life sized then any planet could take a lifetime (which amounts to 7 weeks in Minecraft time). So this game is already showing more gaming promise than the last two Tombraider games, (including the upcoming title Rise of the Graved Robber) and considering that the second is merely more of the same. So Rise of the Tombraider could be ‘More repetition of something you finished in 10 hours the last time around‘, which is not a marketable title, but a realistic one. So when we see in Forbes the message “the game is starting to wear out its welcome“, we have to consider the source here. The same firm that stated the title “Credit Default Swaps Are Good for You” is now judging games? So for Americans, how did Credit Default Swaps play out? Perhaps we need to take another look at the media here. Going on innuendo and instead of dropping the subject on getting hammered again and again on a deadline, in there Sean Murray might have been wrong to enable the ‘media beast’ to the smallest extent by going all out in visibility, but it was a choice and it was his to make. The true gamer will wait for the final product when it is ready.

So as we now see many press releases on spouting negativity whilst inserting ‘If this latest rumour is true‘ we should realise that none of this can be trusted. Especially, as they rely on the emotional end “Look up at the stars and despair in the comments section below“, which is just an invitation for the ranting masses, but where is the truth?

In my view, I do not care, Hello Games have given an estimated release of June 2016 and that is fine with me. This month there is Fallout 4 and I still have my empire growing in Elite Dangerous, after all that there will be space for No Mans Sky in 2016 too. Part of me hopes that there will be a playable beta that can allow us to explore one system in solo mode. It might give good feedback to the people at Hello Games too, which is something they might consider for next year February/March. Such a step will give a threshold to some to see the game. And let’s not forget that this still gives credibility to the rumour that No Mans Sky will be a Sony Morpheus launch title. If so than the gamers could be in for a massive treat! Does this debunk value for a game that is in development or does that show that No Mans Sky is truly a new generation of gaming?

It is too soon to tell and I am willing to wait to see if Hello Games goes that direction, which is more than we can say for Forbes, Push, Kotaku and several others ‘reviewers’. Although Kotaku had an interesting quote “So I’m going to play Spore now, years after the hype has dissipated and the game has been all but forgotten. I’ve installed it on my Windows PC. I will be back to tell you if it’s any good. And what if, separated by a decade from expectations that no game could possibly fulfil, it is?” Which gives me the ammunition I needed. You see, if you were controlled by ‘hype’ you should not have gone into the games reviewing business. the part ‘I will be back to tell you if it’s any good’ gives me the indication that this writer never did his job, now if he is trying to be funny than the joke is on him, because writing towards the hype is the most stupid of all actions, hype is merely an unrealistic perception of what might be, it would be his job to give the goods, what can the player expect when they buy this game. To give a fair and balanced review is in the interest of the producer and the gamer.

I believe that No Mans Sky can be the product we are still waiting for and I will let Hello Games get on with it. My advice to you is to ignore the news on this game as much as you can you get until May 2016, because it will be tainted with emotions and it does not show what we are in for, so basically our times will be wasted, time that can be spend on many other games (especially getting your Diablo Dream team in Hardcore mode). Other games that were there before No Mans Sky and games that will be released after No Mans Sky. The true gamer will play many games and he/she will desire only a few, in my case will No Mans Sky be placed in a slot of ‘play regularly forever’ next to Minecraft, Fallout and Diablo 3? I cannot tell yet, but I truly hope to learn that when the game gets released, it will set the bar of games really high, because I the game makers need a reset of values, a value line both EA and Ubisoft have relied on remaining under for a little too long. I do not rely on hype and I do not wish to create it; I merely await its arrival and hope for the experience to be truly awesome. What if that is not the case? Does that matter? In that case there will be something else to play, which is the reality of the life of a gamer, so let’s leave Hello Games (as well as Sean Murray) alone and let them finish the game for us. If the delay bothers you than consider that a Billion plus company like Ubisoft needed 9 months and in the end was unable to deliver the Watchdogs we deserved, so let’s see if Sean and his keyboard minions can put Ubisoft to shame, which might up the level of games for all gamers around.

Have a great weekend and never stop gaming!

 

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Evolving our lives!

This article is not for the faint of heart. This is not for the people who think that life is all sunny and joy. So if you are any of these people, then read not on and return when my next story comes online.

You see, in my mental world I am about to pick up an axe, I sneak upon the man who has no idea what is about to happen. I sneak, slowly into the den, the door was open this warm September and he likely hoped for the breeze to cool him down. Suddenly he feel one hot gush of water over his chest, he looks down, it is not water. It is the hot blood gushing from his skull, the blood that rains is his, he cannot shout out, blood is everywhere, he falls on the rug with a ‘thump’, he is no more! I hear the voice from the kitchen ‘what was that dear! Are you alright?‘ I hear the footsteps, she is not walking fast. I move to the left into the shadows, I see her silhouette, she seems to see the blood and that what was left of her husband. I had already placed the hunting knife in my left hand; it slices through her throat in less than a second. She goes down on her knees, looking at me, not having any idea why she is getting hurt. She had died before her head hit the ground.

I get the knife and the axe and roll them in linen. I grab the bottle from the bag and place the knife and the axe within the canvas bag with linen coating. I add ammonia to mask the scent of the blood, in case a police dog gets near. I look at my feet; they are covered in lamb coated overshoes. My overall is thin but sturdy. I take out the billy club. I slowly walk to the staircase; I hear the sounds of gunfire from a video game. I sneak up slowly and see that the door of the room is ajar. A boy sites with his back to me, it is time to put on my ski mask. I slowly sneak in and observe the equipment and I hit him hard to the side of the head and quickly turn the sound up by a lot. Not hard enough to kill him, that is not my goal. He is reeling at the edge of losing consciousness; I slap his face hard with an open hand. The leather glove makes the sound more intense. I pull him up and hit him in the gut with enough strength; he buckles over gasping for air. He looks up in sheer terror. I gag him with duct tape and cuff his wrists at the back, I drag him downstairs.

I place the cable ties on his thumbs and index fingers as close to the Opponens Pollicis as possible. He looks at the bodies of his parents, he is now truly afraid. I look at him and say “Zoe Quinn and Phil Fish did not care for your harassment!” I put the mask on his face; the nails will slowly but not fatally bite into his face. Last I tighten cable ties as much as possible. Within the hour, amputation will be the only option left to him. His life will never ever be about gaming of harassing again! I walk away with the bag in my hand, not giving the little troll a second look. Within the hour all evidence that I ever existed will be gone, so will I and he will only know fear until his dying day!

This is just a story! This is nothing more than a rant of frustration, dressed in the cloth of a short story, dealing with my frustration like Percy Bysshe Shelley, Stephen King or Virginia Woolf. Although I tend to take the high road, this time it is Slate who has the high moral ground (at http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/bitwise/2014/08/zoe_quinn_harassment_a_letter_to_a_young_male_gamer.html), it is an excellent article by David Auerbach about more than just a gaming scandal. I am all about gaming; I have always been all about gaming. The fact that more and more women are entering this field is filling me with joy. Yes, for now this market is all about the man, but consider that over time, we have seen women leading in artistic fields. We have given our souls to Diablo, Minecraft, Oblivion, Fallout and a league of other games. Would it not be great if we get another wave of amazing games? For now Tombraider has sold itself short. The game is nowhere near the first two which broke the mould of good gaming. We saw the rise and fall of Origin, Rare and several others, all bringing us great games. Now women come and I hope we see a host of amazing games to follow. So when I see such hate and harassment from men (99.4233% sure that the harassers are not women) it just pisses me off. The fact that these people are not hunted into extinction gets to me to some degree. I did not get the hate people showed because Caroline Criado-Perez successfully championed for Jane Austen to be the new figure on the ten pound note. For the same reason I do not get the fact that Zoe Quinn is persecuted either. The idea to bring the awareness of depression is a great idea; I wish I had thought of it. It had several review, our own Tim Biggs of the Sydney Morning Herald wrote “Tim Biggs, writing for the Sydney Morning Herald, also stressed the lack of fun in the game, and went on to say that the game was ‘a testing and, at times, a boring experience to go through.’ However, he praised the game’s execution, and acknowledged its importance as a tool for raising awareness of depression and for helping its sufferers“.

OK, not the greatest review for a game, but who remembers Superman for the Nintendo 64? I still consider it the very worst game I ever beheld for reviewing!

So, why is there such an overwhelming hate for these women. This all was brought to light because someone speaking out for them (Phil Fish). I did not play his game either, but the movies and the views give an interesting and original game play. So, it does not look like anything Ubi-Soft releases, but consider that ‘their’ Prince of Persia released in the 80’s (Broderbund released it) had no great graphics either, now it is a billion dollar company, we all have to start small.

So what about Zoe Quinn?

Well, the accusation is that she slept with a reporter to get a better review, but that is not entirely correct either. She got harassed shortly after the release and before her ‘ex-boyfriend’ made his claims. So what is it about this particular group of losers who feel so threatened about women in the gaming industry? They must be losers, because if they were not, then they would have their own brands of success, but that seems not to be the case. I think that if anonymous is the idealist it claims to be, then they would stand up for these women and publish the names and addresses of all of these bullies, you see, trolling is all fine, as long as we all know who you are, they become liable. It should stop two issues with one group all at once. But are the allegations true? Actually, does that matter? Perhaps a journalist got ‘lucky’, perhaps not. The real question is, is it a good game?

Yet, the issue does matter, you see, her ex, who is ‘hiding’ on his blog and accuses her of acts. Hiding the fact that the relationship was a bust and she did not stand still, she created something! Motherboard quotes “he accuses Quinn of sleeping with various prominent figures in the video game industry, including a writer at Kotaku“, so basically she knew a few guys, is that criminal? the information motherboard gave (at http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/zoe-quinn-slut-shaming-the-feminist-conspiracy-and-depression-quest) “Gamers have been complaining about corruption in video game journalism for years now” is not new, look at Gamespot and the massive amount of additional visibility that Ubi-Soft enjoys as a sponsor should raise more than just a few flags. But how far does this corruption go? And it is alleged corruption, the question remains, is it really corruption? I started reviewing games in 1988. I got the games, I wrote the articles and I got paid for the published articles. In addition I got to keep the games. I had to pay for the consoles myself (except for 2) and the chief editor kept the Atari Lynx for himself, an act which was slightly irritating, but not the greatest of issues. I went to the ECTS (the UK edition of the E3) a few times, which I paid for myself and deducted it from my taxes. So where is the corruption? I gave an honest review of the game and sometimes if the game was bad I did not bother writing a review for the simple reason that I only got up to 5 pages per issue, why spend it on a bad game, whilst a good game is so much more fun to review. I also tried to steer away from the ‘big titles’ at times; I did not jump onto Command & Conquer in 1995, like everyone else but choose Wing Commander 4, Tekken 2 and Rayman instead. My ex hated Rayman (the end of level laughter), I never regretted my decision. Everyone wrote about Command & Conquer, I showed them different games. The question still remains, why hate Quinn?

Is it because her ex-boyfriend turned out to be a loser? let’s be clear about this, if he was in a relationship and she did cheat on him, he should be angry and walk away, I do not care, it is her life and her choice and if so he is free to walk away and perhaps be angry for a little while, yet he is the only one with the smallest degree to be angry, the other hundreds have absolutely no valid cause for such trolling and harassing behaviour. Consider that we start trolling all the cheaters, the man too! Spam mail would drop to 0%, there would be no bandwidth left for spam mails, which might be a new novel idea to get rid of spam messages.

This is all so stupid, because in the end, the real gamers want to know if the game is any good. In her case, does it matter? Her game was to bring forward awareness of depression, if that works, what could be better? Even if the game is not the greatest one, it is likely to be a whole lot better than Superman on the Nintendo 64. In the end, I hope groups like Anonymous actually do something to help these victims instead of some political agenda, I wonder how ‘loud’ the troll feels when everyone in the street knows their name and where they live, more even if their mommies and daddies realise what losers they are. It is an interesting form of justice!

To some degree I miss reviewing games, I have seen so many classics be born and evolve. I saw underdogs like Broderbund rise and fall, I’ve seen how new generations love the originality of Loderunner, as much as I did when it got released on the CBM-64 and I saw the giant Elite, move from system to system, only to see the concept evolve into Privateer. Later we see part of the original game on tables and PDA’s, now Elite is back in a state of the art version that is to be released this year, still showing the original logo that was on the box of the CBM-64. Yet, the sandbox part, the travels and another side of the foundations of Elite will be seen in 2015, as we explore the galaxy in ‘No Man’s Sky’, in ways the original designer could never imagine (he only had 48Kb to write the program). As my life is drawing closer to an end, I see that timeless games will continue, bringing joy to a new generation and to generations after that, after I am gone. If the world for us as gamers is to move forward then this cannot be only about the man, women should pick up this torch and bring new options and new levels of gaming. In the end it will be a win-win for all gamers.

When we look at long term playing we have seen the big titles, and we all have other thoughts on what makes the great game, but there is also unison, it seems that the bulk all loves Diablo, even since the original release in 1996, it still keeps us busy. Would it not be great if we see new and more surprising games from female developers? Let’s not forget that one of the most famous developers in the early years for gamers was Roberta Williams, co-founder of Sierra-on-line. The bringer of King’s Quest, as early as 1984, a woman was in our gaming midst and she was as good as any of the male developers, letting these trolls win means that we gamers of all genders are missing out, do not let it come to that!

 

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