Category: Gaming

A Big Week!

Based on my last post (a week ago) you might think that I’ve been doing nothing but power-leveling on Diablo III instead of posting… And you’d be partially correct. My barbarian, Merritt (named for Roy Merritt the righteous badass “Burning Man” of Damon) is shaping up pretty damn nicely.

However I’ve also been researching the hell out of my escape from New Brunswick. Hopefully I have good news on that front in the next day or so. I’ve also lined up some incredible new projects and partnerships on the professional side of life. I’m not ready to publicly announce anything at the moment, but it’s been a very big week, with very little sleep.

Speaking of sleep, I’m going to try to get a little before starting another crazy day.

Diablo III Cometh

At the strike of 3:00AM Eastern Standard Time, the gates of Hell will once again open, and hoards of demons will emerge. Gamers the world over will sink unfathomable hours into battling the never-ending onslaught of the forces of evil. Diablo III cometh.

A Whole Lot of Nostalgia

It pains me to admit that I’ve been waiting well over a decade for Blizzard to release their successor to Diablo II, or as I like to refer to it, the game that I gave two years of my life. I spent most of my time playing, and thinking about playing Diablo II for two years between the ages of 14 and 16 (right up until I got my license/ meatspace life).

As I’m writing the feelings of bitterness, and angry I’ve harbored at my teenage self for spending so much time playing Diablo II have completely subsided (A minute ago this was going to be a different post). The countless hours I spent playing Diablo II with Jason Lisnak built an incredible friendship that ultimately served as the foundation for both of our careers. We’ve both done reasonably well for ourselves, and I can’t think of a more loyal friend… I believe I own a lot of that friendship to the time we spent in-game. So here’s to you Diablo II. You changed my life you addicting son of a bitch.

Diablo III

I don’t have the time or will to play video games 10 to 12 hours a day anymore. Hell, I have a stack of games that I’d love to play, and haven’t touched… It just keeps growing. So I can safely say that I won’t be playing like I used to, but, 3AM draws near, and I’ve stayed up to greet the successor to the game that changed my life.

I’m going with the wizard class. Send me a message if you’d like to meet up on Battlenet, and dungeon crawl with me. I hear that dungeon-crawling is a good way to make friends. See you in Hell.

Duck Hunt – Ya Dun F*cked Up

At New York Comic Con I met pixel artist Adam “Squarepainter” Shub. He creates incredible 8 and 16 bit paintings inspired by classic video games.

I immediately knew I was going to commission something from him, but I had no idea what I wanted. I was paralyzed by options. After a couple very geeky conversations we settled on something inspired by Duck Hunt. What Adam made exceeded my expectations.

It’s equal parts geeky, funny, and crass, and this pleases me.

It’s hanging in my hall near my front door. Every time I see it, I smile.

Check out all of Adam’s paintings

Why I Don’t Review With Scores or Numbers

All of my product, movie, concert, game and music reviews are written long-form, and never have any numerical rating associated with them.

They almost did. I had this clever idea to have a 5 star scale and have the rating system be glasses. Each pair of glasses would equal a star, and a monocle would equal half a star. However I sacked the idea.

It would have looked better than this.

Why did I change my mind?

Joe Woelfel.

Joe was one of my undergraduate professors, and learning from him was one of those rare life-changing teacher experiences. But I digress.

Why 1 – 5 Scales Suck

His classes were unconventional in a lot of ways, but the most significant example was his strong opposition to generic scale rating systems. This didn’t make him popular in the social sciences because 1 – 5 rating systems are pretty much the standard means for measuring any human experience in psychology, sociology, political science, and communication.

He illustrated this very simply in what turned out to be the most memorable five minutes I had in two decades of school.

Joe began a class by instructing us to take out a piece of paper, and create four 1 – 5 scales on it. Then he asked the following four questions and had us answer on those scales:

  • How big is the Moon?
  • How big is the Sun?
  • How big is a penny?
  • How big is a dime?

The answers were pretty much along these lines:

  • How big is the Moon? – 5
  • How big is the Sun? – 5
  • How big is a penny? – 1
  • How big is a dime? – 1
Or for those who went back and changed their answers:
  • How big is the Moon? – 4
  • How big is the Sun? – 5
  • How big is a penny? – 2
  • How big is a dime? – 1

The problem was immediately apparent to everyone with a pulse. According to this research, students perceptions are that the Moon and Sun are the same size, while pennies and dimes are the same size. The kicker being that the Moon and the Sun are five times larger than pennies and dimes.

His point was that these methods of measurement are meaningless because the ratings have no context, and there’s no opportunity for logical mathematical comparison. So he (and a few others) created a system of measure that was based on comparison. It’s complex, and I’m not going to get into it here.

Why 1 – 100 Scales Suck

So you might be asking yourself, why not use a 1 – 100 scale?

It still has no comparison value, but mostly I don’t know the difference between an 83 and an 84 in terms of quality. Whenever I see ratings like 93, I find myself completely baffled by how someone came up with that number. Sometimes I reach the bottom of a review and see some strange number and I actually laugh as I imagine my eighth grade algebra teacher yelling, “Show your damn work!”

The bottom-line

I don’t know how to boil my complex thoughts about something into an arbitrary number. Plus, if I write a number it devalues all of the rest of the thought and nuance that went into the review.

Read a review, don’t read a review. Numerical rating systems distort reality. I won’t be using them.