I have been a gamer for most of my life. Starting in the early days of consoles like the Intellivision and Colecovision, I have followed the advancement of games very closely to the modern era. Though I own the current generation of gaming consoles, I am a PC gamer at heart, with 3 steam accounts, one of which is now exceeding 800 games, most of which have been played and a good portion of which have been beaten.

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So, I've started playing a lot of Star Trek Online, again, only to realize one of the reasons why I stopped playing. In some regards, this MMO is fantastic and very well made, but there's one thing about this game that, while it should be cool as hell, just sucks. Personal actions, actions taken outside of your starship, are tedious, poorly thought out, and the idea of the developers to make the game hard was to put lots of overpowered enemies all over the place. Yes, I'm ranting, again.

Right now, I'm playing through the Romulan story arc with the Federation, explaining the detonation of the Hobus star and the destruction of the Romulan homeworld. I have no problem with this in concept, but the way that they've gone about explaining things is...laughably bad. You start out doing minor assistance stuff for the new Romulan Empire as they try to recover from the lost of Romulus. Your first bit of investigation sends you to the Hobus star system to gather data about the incident. When you arrive, you are immediately accosted by a Reman ship that explains that you have permission to do your investigation, but that he doesn't approve.

So you start your investigation, and the very first thing he does is decloak and start attacking. You kick his alien butt, and he threatens to get revenge, never explaining why he attacked when you had permission to be there in the first place. The next part of that mission sends you to the second plan to scan the core. A simple task but the next part gets a bit confusing. It then tells you to scan the shield on the surface of the planet, but doesn't make it very obvious that it's on the next planet unless you are paying attention to the minimap or the fact that the II has changed to a I. Anyway, you get to the next planet and do your scan and the Reman commander pops out of asshole-space again to accost you. You take him down this time and have to make your way down to the planet.

Bad writing aside, this wasn't really much of an issue. The fight wasn't particularly hard, even on advanced difficulty, and it goes relatively quickly (if you are aware of the need to change to the other planet to finish). The shitty part of this mission comes on the next part. Following a trail of clues, you make your way to another planet with a similar shield to the previous on it. This time, you are in a facility hunting down clues. The Romulans here are ridiculously strong and can just about insta-kill you and your crew with a sideways glance. Add to this the fact that you will be lucky if you can get all of your crew from one spot to the next for fights because they get stuck on the scenery constantly. I managed to make it to the boss without dying and now comes the stupid part of the whole personal action thingy with STO; injuries.

Granted, yes, you've just taken a disruptor bolt to the face and your eye may have melted in the process. Most MMOs punish you with reduced stats for a few minutes and then let you go on about your business. Not STO, you suffer injuries, lasting effects that are likely to happen every time you die. To fix it, you've got to go to a sickbay on a space station, which only works for the main character, or you have to carry these regenerators around with you, which only work on certain types of injuries, based on the degree of hurtiness. Run out of regenerators, and you are just going to suffer death after death as your stats continually get worse and worse with each respawn.

The boss for this one is a real pain in the ass, too; not only dealing a freakishly stupid amount of damage, she can pop an invulnerability barrier that you have to take down, and has a crap-ton of hp. On top of this, she's surrounded by high level mooks. The battle was less than pleasant and the difficulty really didn't do anything but leave me bitter about the experience. Sure, I was playing it on a higher difficulty, but that is just ridiculous. I was on the higher difficulty because I was already level 50 when I started a mission designed for players probably in their 20s. I didn't have much difficulty before the boss, but for the boss to ramp up that much, resulting in 8 deaths and 3 injuries I couldn't do anything about due to running out of regenerators for me and my crew, this is just bad design.

I suppose this would bring me to another rant about bad level design. It's become an increasingly common trend in the video game market to make things nigh-impossible for their 'hard' difficulties, rather than simply making things more challenging so that they are still capable of being fun. You shouldn't be required to have perfect reflexes to get through something required for the story....save that shit for side quests that aren't actually required to complete the game, rather than punishing people like me with nerve damage in their hands or other handicaps that they can't do anything about and aren't just the result of being lazy and lethargic.

Anyway...done ranting now....I got it out of my system.... I won't say I'm happy, but at least my brain won't keep going on about how stupid that sort of thing is.

I recently picked up this title (as in, yesterday, when it was released on Steam) partially for my significant other, who is a Naruto fan, and partially for myself, as a fan of the games. For the record, let me start off by saying that I feel the manga is only so-so, and that I hate the anime. Let that generate whatever feelings you want going into this, because I have always been a fan of the games.

Namco Bandai and Cyber Connect 2 teamed up to bring a part of the Naruto Shippuden world in this action/adventure title. The game sort of feels like playing any one of the Tales games, but has a few unique elements to it that set it apart. The combat system is very simplified, clearly intended for children to be able to pick up and button mash to be able to make it through the beginning parts of the game and develop the skill of pushing buttons with purpose as they play through it. This works out for adults too because the game has no real tutorial mode, not for how to fight at any rate, and the moves list is very rudimentary.

Combats are smooth, however, due to this lack of complication. You can get out of combos with the substitution technique, which many newer arcade fighters could benefit from some way to get out of a stun lock, but the characters get stuck in combos easily once you start them, so the only way to protect yourself in some situations is that technique. Buttons aren't particularly hard to reach or remember, though it is a little awkward at first. Notably, I have not tried the keyboard controls for the game at this point, only the xbox360 controller I use on my pc. Local multiplayer, of course, is a nice feature. The game appears to support up to 8 controllers, from what I can tell, but I'm not entirely certain on that. I know for certain that it does four controllers, which is useful for the built in tournament system put in the game.

As for the story mode, Bandai delivers, much like they do with the Tales series. If I did have any complaint on this part of the game, it would be that you don't have enough influence over the events like you do in a true rpg. You'll be spending up to a half an hour through some cut-scene sequences, but the scenes are beautifully done and give a lot of consolidated insight into the events that take place throughout the animation series in a much more concise manner. For those of you not wanting to sit through dozens of filler episodes with the characters monologuing or screaming an entire episode as they power up their ultimate attack that will actually go off two or three episodes later, then this is the way you want to experience the Naruto story and world. For the rest of you, I'm sure you have no trouble tracking down the anime episodes to watch through at your leisure.

The ability to explore the world would be more interesting with more to do in the world, but I won't say that the game is bad by the lack of stuff to do. It is, at its core, the same thing that the Naruto anime is...a fight show, and it does it far better than the anime does. While I tend to avoid games from other media like movies and whatnot, this game stands out with masterfully rendered cutscenes that look like they were taken straight out of the animation, but are actually simply redone with the 3D models of the characters in the game. The voice acting for the English side is the same as the US releases, so the performances are at least consistent. If you like that, there you go. For those of you that prefer the Japanese voices, Bandai was awesome enough to leave the original Japanese voice sets in the game, so you can experience it with the higher quality performance of the original voice actors from Japan.

At $40 on steam, the game is pricy, but less expensive than other arcade battlers and comes with a robust cast of characters, costumes, and hours of gameplay. I highly recommend this title to not only fans of the anime, but people who aren't fans of the the series, but like a good fight game. It is well done, and offers a lot that many other games could learn from.

Update: I just tried playing the game online for the first time and had severe problems with being disconnected over and over again. This is something that will need to be fixed, as the game is just about unplayable online right now.

It's rant time again. Today's topic was touched on briefly in one of my earlier blogs, but I was absolutely floored by something that happened today in chat.

We are all taking part in friendly conversation in Groupees chat for the second Doujin bundle and some random twit logs in and, out of the blue, starts bashing the Japanese. We all know that there have been societal concerns with the declining birth rate and things of that sort, but he starts off by ranting about how the government is saying this and that, but these aren't his opinions because someone else said them. He then starts calling the Japanese retarded because of all of this, yet continues to insist that this is not his opinion, but fact, because someone else said it.

If you are presenting fact that no one arounds you cares about, the value of that fact is, in fact, little more than opinion. Knowledge is only beneficial when it is useful. That information has been old news for close to 20 years now, and the Japanese have gotten better about it by and large, with only a small faction of the Otaku population skewing numbers. Most Japanese, however, aren't otaku. They work their asses off and just want to go home and rest in peace, with their families, if they have them.

Without needing to reference the point that he was trying to make, if you are spouting facts to people who don't care, are already aware, and do not share the chosen interpretation of that face, you are trolling. Trolling, no matter how you dice it, is an unfriendly act. It diminishes the value of the community you are taking in and serves no meaningful purpose unless directed at people who are seaking to break apart your community. Even then, it's not friendly, but do what you must to keep your community intact. If you have to drive out some random a**hole, then do so, but try not to offend everyone in the process of doing so.

So, we finally get him to stop talking about the matter and someone mentions not having enough money to buy the current bundle. Thus spun off into a whole new land of a**holery stemming from the same guy trashtalking him about how he shouldn't be in a chat for games if he can't afford to buy them. When it came up that this guy was unemployed for several years, he was immediately branded as a retard by the problematic chatter, despite knowing nothing about him or his situation.

First of all, the purpose of these chat channels is not to show off that you have money. It's to share in common conversation with people with similar interests, whether you have the money to buy the games or not. Secondly, why would you call someone unemployed a retard....losing a job is not a funny thing. It is not an amusing thing. It is not something to be made fun of. It is something that ruins lives and makes things difficult. For all we know, he may not have had any control over situation. He could live in one of the many states where they can fire you for whatever reason they want and not even give you an explanation. Maybe he did something really cool and made his boss look bad. We'll never know, but not only is it insensitive to harp on the point, but it's stupid to do so. We don't know the circumstances of his demise and it's not our business to.

Buying him a bundle, or anything, isn't a sign of supporting laziness. People who aren't employed deserve the right to enjoy themselves to. Not having a job is stressful and can lead to depression. A little kindness can go a long way. He managed to keep a roof over his head, food in his stomach, and a computer and internet running. Perhaps that's all he can afford on whatever limited income he has. Perhaps he's living with his parents or a friend that is helping him out. Whatever the case, he's got things together enough to have those things. Not having extra to buy games is understandable.

When we mentioned that he could get banned for his behaviour in the channel, he suddenly got even more self-righteous, pointing out that he has the right to say what he wants. The argument reached the point that I had to point out that the right to say what you want ceases when it imposes on the rights of the masses to enjoy themselves. If you are causing problems for the people around you, the right of you as an idividual is overshadowed by the rights of the masses that are being violated.

Sadly, this is an almost daily thing. Every community has an unwanted jerk that people wish wasn't there, but most of them manage to keep it in check enough that they are tolerated there. This may not always be the case, so perhaps people should start keeping in mind the feelings of others. When did the internet become devoid of etiquette and the basic treating of people with respect. So what if you'll never see the person on the other end of that chat string....you know that they are a person, and that should be grounds enough to show them respect.

This subject is generating all sorts of conversation (mostly hate) in the Steam communities, so I figured I'd have my rant here and just link it there, rather than having to type this multiple times to respond to the absurd amount of topics on it. There is even a petition out to try and 'force?' Valve to change how Family Sharing works.

So, to kick things off, here's how things currently stand. You authorize another computer (hopefully without giving someone else your account info) and they log in and make a new profile. They download and install the games they want to play, and viola, magic happens. That's not quite right, however. Should the main account holder ever log in, it kicks off the other user, so you can only share with one person at a time, and it's not really sharing because if you log in, they go bye bye. Additionally, Steam has a hard limit on authorizations to other computers set at 10 due to SteamGuard and SG has to be active to make use of this feature.

Right now, this is all in beta and only a thousand people have access to this to try it out, but the complaints have been flying like crazy from the hundreds of thousands of people waiting on this feature to go live or get access to the beta.

In regards to 10 computers...I do.... I could fill up the authorized slots for this feature single-handedly, leaving no room for friends or family to join outside of my household....my wife would be happy...if she didn't already have her own Steam account.

There is some degree of logic in how Steam is attempting to do this, and at the same time, it is, indeed, a terrible idea that really should have been thought out more solidly. Most steam users are fairly casual and only log in an average of 4 hours a day. Additionally, you can't really make use of your steam account while you are at work or school, in most cases, so this leaves hours of dead time with the account not in use.

While you may work 1st shift, say a friend or family member is either too young to work or works a different shift and wants something to do other than sit around all day. The last thing you want is them logging in and mucking up your save files. You'd come home to things like 'I beat the next boss for you, big brother' only to find out they sold all your epic equipment that you weren't high enough level to equip yet in order to buy stuff in level to do it, or worse, your save file has been completely changed and you can't fix it for some reason. (Yes, I've had this happen before)

Giving them their own profile on your account and their own saves will save you from headaches of that sort. When you get home, you boot them off to go watch cartoons or do their homework and go back to shooting random people online, or whatever it is you do with your steam account normally.

For heavy users like the rest of us, this becomes highly inconvenient, however. My brother doesn't live with me, I work from home and really have nothing better to do with my time than play games while idling about, so the sharing in its current format is rather pointless. I already have my account logged in from most of my computers in offline mode so that my wife and/or friends can play together. As a note, multiplayer still works fine for games that don't require cdkey authentication or rely on steam for setting up multiplayer matches and the sort. Additionally, if you aren't logged into whatever 3rd party application is necessary for a game, that other computer can be, even while Steam is offline. Either way, this feature is pointless for people who are already set up like I am.

If you really need multiple copies of a game, you can actually create another account on Steam using a different email. I buy a lot of the game bundles from various websites, and this leads to the inevitability of having multiple copies of the same game. Of course I don't want to waste my money (as little as was spent...ahem) and have a copy of a game dangling out in limbo, so I put it on my other account. Now when a friend comes over and wants to play something but doesn't have a copy, I just sit them on another computer on another account and bam, multiplayer can ensue without worry about anything not working because of the game being on the same account. When sharing goes live, of course these other accounts could be setup for sharing as well.

Some people will argue that I could give these extra copies to other people (which I do for games that I have more than 3 keys for), but that restricts me to only being able to play that game with that one friend. If I have multiple copies myself, I can guarantee a multiplayer experience on a computer that is able to handle it properly to any of my friends that visit. Wow, that was a tangent, but somewhat related.

The current debate is whether or not any of this will serve any purpose other than frustrating the masses. If you have multiple accounts that are decently seeded with games, there shouldn't really be an issue. If you are one of the many people who is rarely home enough to enjoy your relative Steamy-ness, then rejoice that SOMEONE can enjoy it, even if it isn't you. Perhaps they'll find a solution to that puzzle you've been trying to figure out for months...or you can share in your sadness and frustration for being stuck at the same part of the game.

The general masses shouldn't really have a whole lot of ground for complaints, but heavier users like myself with a huge financial investment into Steam will find this very lackluster and disappointing. What's your stake on things? Let me know in the comments section!

It's time for me to rant, again. This time, about reading. Steam has recently launched the beta for their family sharing feature, which is anemic at best, but a step in the right direction, I think. I'm not actually writing about that, though. There have been all sorts of questions about the service that legitmately need to be asked and aren't answered or addressed in the info provided so far or the FAQ. I have been hanging out in the group chat and have even helped a few people with the issues they were having, but some of the questions I have to answer could have simply been answered if they had just read the FAQ and other info that Steam has already provided. More than 80% of the questions I answered had already been answered, really.

Seriously, people, this is why people think Americans are retarded. Read, and you'd have your answers. Too lazy to read? Then why are you wasting more time typing up your complaints about something when you could have read the answers in less time and not looked like a freaking idiot in the process. I'm not kidding on that, either. I read the whole FAQ in a pretty short period of time and only had one or two questions on the matter, but the people who come into chat spend several minutes explaining what they are doing or complaining that it's not working for them and then go into long arguments about what they have to do to get it working, allthewhile, the answeres were just a couple of clicks away and concisely answered already.

What I find even more baffling is the rudeness frequently displayed when you answer someone's question, but it's not the answer that they want to hear. I don't have to answer anyone's questions. I'm not an employee of Valve, or a moderator of any sort on steam, therefore, I have no obligation to deal with anyone on matters of fixing problems and getting things working. If I'm answering a question, it's because I wanted to be nice and help someone out. Next thing I know, I'm getting cursed at, called names, belittled, and everything else nasty and unfriendly because the answers to their questions weren't the ones that they wanted.

Lastly, I was helping out a friend on one of the online chat rp sites I frequent with their computer running slow. I gave him specific instructions on what he needed to do and told him that I couldn't do more without charging him, but I did give him all the steps to do the basics on his own. So he goes quiet for several minutes and I go about my business. Next thing I know, he's messaging me about how he's just messed up his computer and things that it can't be repaired. Then he starts blaming me for it. Of course, I wasn't going to let that stand and asked him what he did and he starts going off into all these things he had done from reading other people's websites and listening to a friend instead of following my instructions and I'm suddenly to blame for his computer not working.

I think I've had it with helping people online. Have you had any idiotic experiences with things of this sort online? Let me know in the comments if you have. I'm curious to hear.

Some of you here will already be aware of this particular game, while others will be completely clueless. I'm talking about Scarlet Blade, hosted in the US by Aeria Games. Rated MA, this game has drawn a lot of negative press for no particular reason. People are so bent out of shape by the casual nudity in the game that they are pretty much ignoring everything else...fairly typical and very prudish.

I play this game, however, and feel that more adults that are actually mature (if you are ranting about nudity in an adults only game, let's face it, you aren't very mature) should be playing. On the surface, this game seems to be all about nudity and sexual innuendo, but there's actually a lot more to it than that.

Your role in the game
First of all, you aren't some imaginary god-like being that is omnipresent in the game that the characters are unaware of. You, the player, fill the role of the commander, telling your character, your Arkana, what to do in a given situation. It's a brilliant way of making the game a bit more deep than it otherwise would be and its fantastic when your Arkana actually starts requesting you fulfil missions for her or engages in a one-sided conversation with you. Unfortunately, that is the only downside to this; you really don't get any interaction options in these discussions with the Arkana. It would be awesome if you could actually make choices in these conversations and it actually have an affect, perhaps on the powers that your Arkana has access to, or the type of equipment she prefers...or just changing the path of the conversation really.

Girls Only!
That's right, the only characters in this that you make are girls. Sadly, the Arkana, likewise, assumes that the person commanding them is also male, but don't let that distract you women from enjoying this game as well. My girlfriend plays, and she loves the game. Besides, who doesn't want to watch a cute butt sexily swaying across the screen all day? Should that not be your thing, you can put the game in first person view, removing the model from the screen and all of her womanly distractions.

This game is actually very well balanced, far better, in fact, than many other MMOs. Your skills support the chosen class of an Arkana well and in PvP battles, you are rewarded for filling that role with lots of exp. Each class has a few types of builds that they can focus on. For instance, my healer I would call a combat medic. My healing skills are maxed out for my level, but my combat skills are significantly high as well, high enough that in a co-op dungeon, my character will regularly top the damage chart. When playing my healer, my ranking in PvP matches goes up much faster when I perform healing on my comrades than when I'm trying to dish out pain with my absurdly high damage for a medic.

Unfortunately, I don't have much to offer in the way of support buffs, but one can't be good at everything. I haven't felt, at any point, that I've made an ineffective character, despite this freedom, with any of my characters. Combat is pretty unforgiving in fighting monsters the same level as you, though combat classes have it easier than support classes.

The Cash Shop
Fortunately, this is not a buy to win MMO, despite being free to play. Things in the cash shop are more often than not simply trinkets and nifty things like costumes and exp boosters. Perhaps the single failing of the cash shop is that it is ludicrously expensive. The legendary lingerie unlocker for the game is $20 by itself. Some costumes cost as much as $50 for a full set. I have one friend in the game who has spent more than $3000, he claims, on cash items, mostly costumes and the like. Even still, there's some really cool stuff in the cash shop if you are willing to pay the price for it.

Things that suck
People complaining that this MA rated game contains mature content are pretty much ruining the game for everyone else. Recently the diminutive and younger-styled Sentinel class got modified so that there are no longer nude models for the character in the US version. Quite frankly, I see this as a slap in the face to every woman in the world who doesn't have huge breasts and is below average height. The sentinel class is not made to appeal to pedos...it's made to appeal to people who like the softer side of cute and sexy and who appreciate petite women. Thanks for ruining it for us.

This is a fantastic game and I think more people should play it. It is well-balanced, rewards you for playing the role of your character, and makes you an active participant of the story. How many other MMOs can claim that?

Seriously people...what is your issue? Sure, Steam keys are cute for games that manage to make it onboard, but is it really that bad of an issue if you don't get them. Sure, you may miss out on your acheivements or badges on Steam, but you already have a working copy of the game. You already bought it in one place. While it's nice for developers to reward their supporters with keys, and it does look good for them to have those kinds of numbers for players on Steam for their game, they aren't obligated to give them to you.

Recently, someone from Rockin' Android was virtually forced to hand out keys for Bunny Must Die: Chelsea and the Seven Demons because of players raging at her about it, when she didn't even have anything to do with that part of the process. All she was doing was trying to keep players and potential buyers informed of the situation, and they proceeded to blame and troll her until they got them. This is a sad day for gamers if the highlight of their day is getting Steam keys for a game that they already own. The devs, you know, could actually use the money from people buying their game outside of a bundle...you know...at full price...which is pretty cheap for that game to start with.

So, my question is: Are keys for Steam really that important when you already have a perfectly working copy of the game that you already legitimately own without DRM? No matter how I slice it, I can't come up with any answer other than 'no' myself. A lot of people who get games on Steam often complain about the Steam client and interface being a sort of DRM to prevent piracy....you already own a copy without DRM...what are you complaining for. Steam acheivements are cute...but that's really all they are. Sure, it gives you bragging rights...but you already own the game. Badges and trading cards for steam? I've only seen people clamour to trading cards so that they can sell them on the market, so, again, largely unimportant. If you are worried about making your money back in Steam trading cards, then perhaps you shouldn't be buying games in the first place. If you are only able to afford these games in a bundle, then why can't you be happy just having a copy of the game, period, even if it isn't on Steam.

Sure, installing games on Steam is easy. A few clicks, a few minuts (or hours on bigger games) and you are ready to go...It's just as easy with Desura.... Is it worth making an employee for a publisher so pitiful that she throws Steam keys at people so they shut up and stop harassing her. No...no, it's not. That's not cool, no matter how you look at it. This is a sad day for gamers, and those of you that complained should be ashamed of yourselves. On the same token, I congratulate everyone on that Steam community thread that genuinely showed support to the company and said that it didn't matter if they got keys or not. Have a little dignity, people.

To see where this ranty blog has stemmed from, read here and prepare to be amazed at 'gamer entitlement' and all associated BS that goes along with it at the expense of this poor, kind woman who was only trying to be nice and keep people informed: Steamcommunity.com

On July 10th of last year...yeah, that's right 2012, I preordered Skullgirls on Origin. I did my conventions as I normally do, running the arcades for them with people asking why I didn't just buy it for the XBox360, among other things, and I told them that EA was promising bonus content that wasn't going to be available on the other consoles. Several months pass, the promised released date is far exceeded with no word from EA on what was going on. Steam, at the time, didn't have anything on the game one way or the other, so my only avenue to acquire the PC version was Origin.

Now, I'm not going to blame EA for the game not coming out on time; that's entirely the studio failing to communicate with..well...anyone, though EA failed to give notification of delays or anything of the sort. So, my game is bought and paid for and I'm anxiously awaiting the release with the expectation that I will get my game without any issues at the time of its release.

Fast forward one year to 2013. I go into my Origin account to see that my game has been removed from my game list. The first thing I do is go to the store to see what it says about the game. If it's been cancelled, I'm going to want my money back. What the hell?: The game's store page has been completely removed.

I, of course, contact Origin and tell them 'Hey, my game is missing. What's going on?' The first thing the help agent...if you can call them that, is tell me that he didn't even know that Skullgirls was getting a release on PC. WTF, mate? After some back and forth, I give him my account number and he assures me that my preorder is still in place, but won't show up in my gamelist anymore. If I want updates on the status of my preorder, I have to contact a help agent through the live chat or wait on a generic email response that won't actually answer anything.

So, I'm like 'Fine. I can deal with the minor inconvenience, so long as I get my game." Release day rolls around and everyone's getting their copy of the game but me. WTF, again. I contact the help agent and he tells me that my game, which was paid for a year ago, has not been paid for. I go through my email and bank which clearly both state that they were, point out that I received my email from EA stating that I owned the game now and even had my serial number emailed to me (which notably is not an EA game code, so I couldn't just put it into the 'redeem code' thing to get my game) and this yahoo is saying that the game is not paid for still. Argument...non-english speaking technician who isn't even trying to listen to what I'm telling him, and I give up. EA has forever lost a customer.

But the story doesn't end there. A week passes, the game finally shows up in my account and I'm left to wonder why until I look at my bank statement and see that one of my accounts is overdrawn, the one I use for buying games, that only has money in it when I'm doing such after an incident with my credit card numbers getting stolen. Looking at the statement to see what happened, EA charged me for a game I had already bought and paid for a year ago so that I could have my copy of the game. No warning, no permission asked. Just bam, next thing I know, I'm hit with an overdraft fee and a game I should have already owned being paid for twice.

Thank you, EA, for not only screwing me over once, but twice on one deal. Your hard work and effort to provide quality service to your customers amounted to a pile of crap and lies and me being double-billed.

So...I'm a nerd, especially when it comes to anime. I've archived terrabytes of the stuff over the past 19 years and have quite the collection. I was recently watching through some of the more recent stuff that I'd downloaded and hadn't had a chance to watch yet and came across this gem. It's not video game related, but this is a blog and I felt like sharing.

To start off with, this is done by the same people who did Aishiteruze Baby, a great anime about a high schooler who gets stuck with a kid and learns about life and responsiblity by raising her as best he can. I'm honestly not all that into shoujo stories like this normally, but I love a good story, and this story was amazing. The drama was well-paced, the characters believable, and the scenario not too far-fetched. I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to watch a very heartwarming and touching story.

As I was saying, this series is made by the same people, but their artwork has improved significantly with age and their storytelling is just as fantastic. I started watching one episode out of curiosity and before I knew it, it was 5:55 in the morning and I was on episode 10.

Sukitte Ii Na Yo is a story about a girl who had been bullied through her childhood and had grown bitter and distant as a high schooler, doing her best to not form relationships with her peers. All that changes when someone unexpected is nice to her in their first encounter, despite her somewhat standoffish demeanour and the rumors about them in school. He falls in love with her in their second encounter when she accidently kicks him down the stairs after his friend tried to flip her skirt.

I was bullied a bit in high school and can relate very well with this series and the characters in it. I recognize the struggles of the characters learning about relationships with people for the first time and the conflicting feelings of wanting to be alone and wanting to be with your friends at the same time. This was my life through most of my high school years, and probably most of my childhood as well. The writer clearly knows a bit about this way of living as well, whether firsthand or witnessing it, bringing the characters to life and easily allowing the viewers to empathize with them and their hardships.

I highly recommend this series to...well, anyone. Good writing doesn't belong to just boys and girls, and while this is definitely a shoujo title, it will call to anyone who had a hard time with their first relationships or high school. Sentai Filmworks has the rights for the US and Crunchyroll is streaming it online, but no official release has been made yet. Torrents can still be found from reputable sites from other fansubbers, as well.

A common complaint amongst many of my friends is that they don't play games because they can't put them on their laptop to take with them. For the longest time, this was a legitimate complaint that held true pretty solidly, but that isn't the case anymore.

I can (and do) play Borderlands on my netbook.... No, I'm not bragging. Netbooks are pretty much bottom of the line. Even the newest netbooks ship with 'behind the times' parts to keep their energy consumption at a minimum. My Asus 1215T ships with an AMD dual-core processor (clocking 1.7GHz), 2GB of DDR2 RAM, and an ATi/AMD HD4250 video card. Though great for watching movies, especially if you are on a lightweight build of Linux, it's far from what most would consider a modern gaming system.

As those of you who have read my previous blogs know, I have 3 steam accounts, and I typically run the third on my netbook. It has such lightweight games as Cave Story, Cogs, and Home on it, but it also has Saints Row the Third, Saints Row 2, Borderlands, and Dead Island on it. Saints Row the Third absolutely will not run on a netbook, at least not on this one (until I upgrade the RAM to 4GB), but, on the other hand, Borderlands and Dead Island can both be played on their lowest graphical settings.

What's the point of playing these games at the bare minimum they have to visually offer? Because I am frequently on the road, and I demand some form of entertainment along the way. Due to seizures, I can't drive, which leaves me shotgun to some very long and very dull roadtrips for the various conventions my fiance and I attend. Who wouldn't want to murder random zombies or monsters on a long trip. The use of a 360 wired controller makes this much more enjoyable, freeing up my hands from the mouse and keyboard and making bumps on poorly maintained interstates much less of a concern.

It doesn't stop there, however. I have a number of older laptops, as well, including a Dell that I generally hate sporting a completely useless Intel 86845 video card that coughs at the mere thought of attempting to do something other than word processing...that is, until I installed Burnout Paradise on it.

Mind you, none of these games run at their full 30 frames per second targets (except Borderlands of the previously mentioned, weirdly enough), but that becomes a lot less important when your other laptops destroy the lighter socket fuse the moment you plug them in. In conclusion, before you just simply announce your computer is a useless paperweight that you needlessly spent $400+ on, perhaps you should give it a shot. You may just be surprised what your computer actually can handle.