Category Archives: Mail Bag

Free Realms Inspired Family MMO Raises Seven Dollars on First Day

The upside for Wonky Seasons, should they be able to carry this first day momentum, is that is that their Kickstarter campaign is trending to raise a grand total of $109.

WonkyTwoDaytotal

The bad news is that if this trend continues, it will only get them to 0.13% of their $85,000 goal.

Looking pretty happy considering...

Looking pretty happy considering…

Okay, I am being snarky or sarcastic… or maybe both.  Heck, I couldn’t tell you for sure if Free Realms was their inspiration.  This is all they really say on the subject:

Wonky Seasons started because it’s creators saw how the closure of a popular family MMO game affected it’s players. We followed many stories of kids that were heartbroken and the big void the closure of this game created.

While the characters in the logo made me think of the now shut down Free Realms, they could as easily be referring to the dearly departed Toontown Online.  Or it could be some other game.  So take your pick.

I am not bringing this up to be hurtful or to have a joke purely at their expense… though that will probably get them some attention, which they desperately need… but because this sort of thing almost makes me weep for the almost boundless sense of optimism that this sort of project requires and how it is going to get smacked down by the harsh reality of the world of game development in general, and MMO development in particular.

Just last Friday I was bemoaning the fact that the Project: Gorgon Kickstarter campaign seemed unlikely to succeed largely, I felt, because it had little name recognition.  No major media outlet is clamoring for an interview with Eric Heimburg just so he can promote his new Kickstarter.  But Eric Heimburg at least has standing in the MMO game developer community and has worked on actual MMOs that have shipped, are still running, and could be considered successful… not to mention actually having a working alpha version of his game that you can download and try before you decided whether or not to kick in any money.

And with all of that, he only rolled out of the gates on the first day with $4,500 of the $100,000 he is looking to raise to hurry up the production of his game… a game that is already a tangible thing you can play.

In that context, what chance does a team with no standing and no game development experience listed have showing up with no fanfare and looking to build momentum and get the ball rolling after they have already started the clock on their campaign?  It isn’t like they are making something that will capture media attention or is likely to go viral.  Another MMO?  Who needs that?  We’re looking for the next potato salad campaign. (Which, depressingly, brought in more than Eric Heimburg’s first Kickstarter.)

So what do you tell somebody who sends you a note asking you to please do a post about their Kickstarter campaign?  Being one of a dozen or so messages in the blog inbox, I nearly passed over it.  I only looked at it because it was flagged to indicate it was sent from the feedback form on the About page here at TAGN, which meant somebody came here and pasted it in themselves rather than just using an email spam service.  And I only decided to do a post because… seven dollars?

Do you tell them to give up, go home, get a real job?

I don’t know.  I don’t know what they really have.  I don’t know where it may end up.

All I could recommend is that they get themselves a copy of It’s a Long Way to the Top by AC/DC… I am partial to the Jack Black version at the end of School of Rock… and to play that loudly every time life comes around to kick them in the teeth as they try to move this project forward.  If they want to get this done, they’ll be listening to that song a lot.

You can find their Kickstarter page here to read all about the project.

Items from the Mail Bag – In the Material World

Another visit to the mail bag, which for some reason features a lot of actual things.  It also shows that press releases will go out to just about anybody these days.

A Love Letter to DOOM

I am always a fan of people who tackle gaming topics in actual printed book form.  Being over a certain age, getting somebody to publish that sort of thing lends legitimacy to the whole genre, even if it isn’t likely to make any best seller’s list.  So I was interested to see a press release for DOOM: SCARYDARKFAST.

DOOM: SCARYDARKFAST

DOOM: SCARYDARKFAST

According to the press release, this 200 page book covers the creation of DOOM, how it impacted the industry, pushed online multiplayer and modding, and spawned many imitators.  The book jacket quote:

This book is a love letter to DOOM and its various creators, written by a highly educated and devoted scholar and player. The book offers a well-grounded sense of the game and does an excellent job working its way through a range of topics: from the software company to the graphics engine to the story to the sound to the final game.”
—Katherine Whitlock, California State University-Chico

Never having actually played DOOM (I was working on Mac OS at the time, so Bungie’s Marathon kicks off first person shooters for me) and not being a particularly dedicated shooter fan, some of this will no doubt be lost on me, but it is nice to see it getting recorded somewhere.

D-Link Router for Gamers

D-Link sent me a press release for their new router for gamers.

Available in August

Available in August

This one interests me because we have to share a rather small pipe to the internet at our house and the tools available for apportioning out bandwidth seem to be to be rather primitive.  Looking at the we page for the router, it looks like they are headed in the right direction.  And, frankly, things like Quality of Service shouldn’t be rocket science at this point.  I am not going to run out and pre-order one, but I will look for reviews to see if it actually works as described.

FitDesk for the Happy Family

FitDesk is a company that sells equipment that allows you to use your electronics while you exercise.  A noble calling, or at least one with some merit.  I recall a story from a few of years back about a guy who bolted his laptop to a treadmill and spent all his World of Warcraft time walking.  He lost weight and got into shape while raiding.  So I have nothing snarky to say about the idea really, except that the picture they attached to the press release they sent me is a bit… odd.

Happy, happy family!

Just like no family ever

The thought process that lead to this would be interesting to map.  Put dad in the chair.  Have him smiling, happy that his son is getting exercise. Hand him a laptop to show he is tech savvy.  Give him a smiling trophy wife about his son’s age.  Have those two gaze fondly at the son while he plays his game completely undisturbed by this attention.  And no sweating!  We don’t need to remind people that exercise makes they moist and smelly.

Life in the world of advertisements.

LEGO Middle-earth Rolls On

And the people at LEGO continue to send me pictures of their latest and greatest stuff, like this Tower of Orthanc set.

LEGO Saruman

LEGO Saruman

Unfortunately, the age of LEGO seems to be pretty much over at our house.  My daughter is in the pre-teen stage and becomes quickly bored when forced to do things like assembling LEGO kits with dad.  Time marches on.  Now we’re worried about paying for college.

Items from the Mail Bag – Press Releases and Special Offers Edition

Digging into the mail bag, another reminder that I haven’t felt inspired to write about much new of late.

Darkfall: Unholy Wait

Aventurine sent me the press release announcing that Darkfall: Unholy Wars would finally launch on April 16th, after a five month delay.

DFLOGO B-450

Back in September of 2012 they announced that the original Darkfall would shut down on November 15th to make room for Unholy Wars, which was slated to launch on the 20th of the same month.  And then… well… the Aventurine reputation needed to be maintain.  So here we are, seven months after that announcement, and the game should launch next week.

Now, the press release points out that this time was well spent, that much was learned from the beta.  We shall see next week.  Maybe.

Blizzard Remains Steadfast

After running out my seven free days of World of Warcraft, I remained on the fence about whether it would be worthwhile to subscribe or not.  And then, ten days later, I received an email from Blizz with a subject line asking me to resubscribe to the game.

WoWResubNow

I was intrigued.  I wondered if Blizz might sweeten the deal now that they had me thinking about the game.  A special offer might have been enough to tip the balance.

But there was no special offer.  It was just a link to the standard subscription page.  Blizz isn’t at a point right now where it feels the need to anything special to get people to come back.

Twitter Pushes Advertising

Twitter has decided that I am a small business and, as such, I need to advertise on their service.  So I received a whole stream of messages from them offering me a free $50 advance on my advertising.

TwitterAd

I have not taken them up on their offer, having no idea what I would even promote.

Mega Wars IV

Crimson Leaf Games, which recreated the classic CompuServe game Mega Wars III that I poked my nose into ages ago, has taken the idea a step further and created Mega Wars IV which includes a full graphical client done in Microsoft Silverlight.

MegaWars4

Interestingly, Stellar Emperor, the version of the game that ran on GEnie, which I have also covered, went this route in the early 90s, adding on a graphical client and updating the game, thus diverging it from what stated off as its twin, Mega Wars III.

Populist Wish Fulfillment

I keep getting press releases around a film titled Assault on Wall Street.  The synopsis for the picture is:

Jim is an average New Yorker living a peaceful life with a well paying job and a loving family. Suddenly, everything changes when the economy crashes causing Jim to lose his job, home and wife. Filled with anger and rage, Jim snaps and goes to extreme lengths to seek revenge for the life taken from him.

The poster shows the star, Dominic Purcell a pistol in one hand, a combat rifle in the other, with bullet riddled NYPD cars and SWAT teams deploying in the background.

So, yeah, gun violence.  I guess that takes Occupy Wall Street up a notch.  Let’s go kill the 1%!

Given that the only name I recognize in the cast is Eric Roberts, and that they are sending press releases to random gaming blogs, I am going to guess they couldn’t get any funding from those in the 1%.

World of Tanks Rolls On

Wargaming.net is very good about sending out regular press releases.  Two big things they have coming up are the World of Tanks 8.5 update, which includes more German tanks, redone maps, and changes to what non-premium accounts can do.  There is a preview over at The Mittani.

And then there is World of Tanks Blitz.

WoT_Blitz_Logo_800px

This is Wargaming.net’s attempt to bring World of Tanks to mobile platforms.  Featuring 7 vs. 7 battles, I will be interested to see how they translate their Windows shooter to that mobile world.

Items from the Mail Bag – Barrel Scrapings and the Like

Mail bag was going to be a regular monthly feature, but frankly the mail I have been getting on the blog account really hasn’t been living up to the role.  Still, I do get something amusing now and again.  A pity none of it showed up recently, so this is all you get.

Three Kias, One Cup

The Kia Motors Overseas Communications Team ( 해외커뮤니케이션팀) wants me to go connect with their Facebook page so I can play a flash based tennis game featuring players that are, if I understand this correctly, anthropomorphized versions of their cars.  The SoulSorento, and Cerato to be specific.  Except I think that last one is sold as the Forte here in the US.

Totally not ripping off Disney/Pixar

Totally not ripping off Disney/Pixar

All because Kia sponsors some aspect of the Australian Open… which is a tennis tournament.

I had to look that up.

I almost want to go play this, just to see how they get that lumpy Sorento to move its ass around the court.  But a surge of apathy has stayed my hand so far.

Still, don’t let me stop you!  You can find the page on Facebook here.  Just be quick, as the game only runs from January 16th through the 31st.  Of course, they only sent me this note on the 29th, so clearly my participation was not all the important.

Aventurine Fails Again

Aventurine sent me a “Media Alert” to invite me to come and explore the world of Agon, which I am afraid always brings up images of Larry Storch.

A little whackier than this though

A little whackier than this though

Unfortunately for Aventurine, all they actually had for me was a link to a dev diary video about their upcoming (some day) Darkfall: Unholy Wars reboot.

Then they listed out the price of the game ($14.95 if you are a Darkfall Online returning player or $29.95 (25% off) if you are new to this game) like they expected me, a member of the media (who else gets “media alerts” right?), to actually pay for it myself.  This is how you get 2/10 reviews.  (Though I still suspect there was a method to their madness.)

Haven’t we all learned by now that companies can get game journalists to degrade themselves and their profession with a few simple freebies?  Playing it straight is a mug’s game.

The Soda Sipping Inside Joke?

I keep getting press notices about a game called Soda Drinker Pro, but cannot tell if this is just the internet yanking my chain or not.  The quotes sound tongue in cheek.

Soda Drinker Pro is the most advanced soda drinking simulator ever created

While sites like Gamasutra have reprinted the press releases due to contractual obligations.

Mashable has a brief write up, but it still ends up sounding like an internet goof.

I have to think that the only reason I got this was that I have written about soda, and soda experiments, here in the past.

Somebody Sued Facebook

Which probably isn’t news, but the announcement showed up in my email.  It was something about sponsored stories.

Why did I get this notice? This Notice relates to a proposed settlement (“Settlement”) of a class action lawsuit (“Action”) filed against Facebook relating to a particular Facebook feature called “Sponsored Stories.” According to available records, you may be a “Class Member.”

What is the Action about? The Action claims that Facebook unlawfully used the names, profile pictures, photographs, likenesses, and identities of Facebook users in the United States to advertise or sell products and services through Sponsored Stories without obtaining those users’ consent. Facebook denies any wrongdoing and any liability whatsoever. No court or other entity has made any judgment or other determination of any liability.

You can read more about it here.  If Facebook used your likeness without your consent, it could be worth a sawbuck to you.

Meanwhile if the suit succeeds the lawyers will all get paid for the hours they billed and Facebook will have to change their terms of service so that by accepting them you allow Mark Zuckerberg to do whatever he damn well pleases with your likeness.

Oh, Mark, you crazy!

Oh, Mark, you crazy!

So who is going to win here?

Raptr Has a List!

Raptr sent me a list of awards they made up and gave out for 2012 based on their game tracking stats.

  • Most Played New Game – Borderlands 2
  • Most Played Game (Released Anytime) – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
  • Biggest Boost from User-Generated Content – Portal 2
  • Most Played Long-Awaited Sequel – Borderlands 2
  • No Bathroom Break – Borderlands 2
  • Most Played XBLA Game – Minecraft
  • Most Played New IP – Dragon’s Dogma
  • Most Successful Paid to Free-to-Play Game – Star Wars: The Old Republic

Some of those make sense, while others… I am not so sure.  The “Bathroom Break” bit probably relates to a measurement of play sessions, but how did they come up with “Long Awaited Sequel?”  Was Borderlands 2 really that long in showing up?  Relative to what?

Meanwhile, their last category almost always reflects a sentiment of “crap, we’d better mention MMOs!”  They used the same category as 2011, but this time they managed to combine it with an attempt to suck up to EA/BioWare.  Or does somebody think if you were going to mention MMOs that there weren’t other categories or titles you might choose?  “Most played MMO” or  GuildWars 2 certainly springs to my mind.

Anyway, you can read their full post here, which includes some additional details.

The Rest

Finally, I seem to be getting more and more messages asking me if I would like to come write for other sites.  These invites are rather transparent requests to please provide free content for such and such a site to exploit for ad revenue.

It is the sources of these requests that are getting more interesting.  I had one from a web media group from everybody’s favorite Germans, ProSiebenSat.1 and another from a group that purports to run the largest MMO gaming site in China.

All I can think is, “China?”  My Larry Storch jokes are probably too obscure for Cracked.com, how would they possibly play in China.

Anyway, send me something interesting that isn’t about your 99 cent iPhone app and maybe I’ll make fun of it.  As always, contact info is on the About page.

Items from the Mail Bag – Prizes, Discounts, and Volvo

Time for a return to this irregular feature where I pull items from the blog’s email in box and display them for all to see.

I haven’t done this for a bit because most of the blog email has been music industry press releases or people asking me to please review their iOS or Android app.  However, aside from the Pet Shop Boys (and I am sorry for you guys if it has come to sending press releases to the likes of me) I haven’t a clue about any of the musical acts.  And as for iOS and Android apps… well… most of them were unimaginative knock-offs of other games from indie devs and I have a general editorial policy of not posting about such things if I do not have anything nice to say.  Big companies or big names can survive some mocking.

Still, a few items worthy of mention or mockery have shown up, so on to that.

Raptr Gives Me Some Hats in Rift

Raptr is the game time tracking tool I have been using since late 2010. (See me here)  It is a competitor to Xfire and was, in fact, created by some of the same team that originally created Xfire.  My main complaint about Raptr is that they do not display game time stats the way Xfire does, so you cannot do things like Nosy Gamer’s weekly Digital Dozen.

Instead they are trying to be more of a social network.  They want you to interact with your friends there.  They want you to do reviews there.  They want you to blog there.  And the really want you to hook Raptr into your other social networks.

I have done the latter primarily because I have a special crap Twitter feed you should not follow and a Facebook profile you probably shouldn’t be friends with. (Because look what happens.)

And, they offer up special deals, which usually amount to “please come play this game, we’ll give it to you at a steep discount and/or free.”  But once in a while, something I actually want comes up, like hats.  I just got this in email last night.

This was part of a push to get you to connect Raptr to Facebook I guess, but it actually came with a prize I might wear in Rift.  While I can run around with awkward mis-matched armor, I will go out of my way for a good hat.  So I get this next week when Storm Legion goes live.

A hat and goggles!

I am also eligible for a helm that looks like it was inspired by Half-Life 2.

Good for the aspiring cyclops

I think I will just stick with the hat and goggles.  I wonder if they can be dyed?

Meanwhile, if Trion is going to work with Raptr, I wish they would get Rift achievements hooked up into Raptr the way Steam and Blizzard have.  Ah well.

World of Tanks and Veterans Day

Wargaming.net is doing a special for Veterans Day and Remembrance Day.  They have a charity offer for veterans organizations, plus the usual buffs; 5x bonus experience for your first win of the day in each of your tanks and they are giving credit bonuses to a few tanks I do not own. (B1, T-34, M4 Sherman and PzKpfw VI Tiger)  Details here.

And they are giving away 24 hours of Premium service, which enhances your experience and credits earned even further.  The code for this is VETERANSDAY and you can read about how to redeem the code here.

LOTRO – Spend More, Save More

Lord of the Rings Online also has a deal going this weekend which basically amounts to the false economic proposition of “the more you spend, the more you save!”

The offer

If you were planning to buy something expensive, this might be a boon.  However, I cannot see myself spending 3,000 Turbine Points just to save 30% off of something.

EQInterface Prize

The team at EQInterface, which hosts UI mods for EverQuest, along with sibling sites for EverQuest II, Vanguard, and World of Warcraft, was celebrating their 10th anniversary back in… August I think.  They had a trivia contest about the site and I apparently was a winner.  I got a notification about it back in September.  However I still haven’t gotten anything because they are still trying to get in touch with all of the winners.

So I continue to wait, but I still endorse their site for UI stuff.

Crash with Volvo

I keep getting notices from Volvo about their new iOS/Android game called Volvo Transporters.  I suspected it would mostly be an ad for Volvo, but I grabbed it because it had the virtue of being free.

Volvo truck off the rails

And, yes, it is something of an ad for Volvo.  It throws little Volvo factoids at you like how much food in the EU is hauled by Volvo trucks or that if you lined up all the Volvo buses ever made you would be well on your way to simulating the 405 freeway at 5pm on a Friday.

Basically, you drive a truck… a Volvo truck no doubt, but it is too small to see the logo… and have to drive over power ups to transform your truck into the vehicle appropriate for the hazards in the area.  So for fires, you need a fire trucks, garbage requires a garbage truck, piles of muck require a front loader and so on.

Front loader in action

I will say I was happy the game was not one of those tilt-to-steer apps.  I find that the iPad has too much mass to steer smoothly or accurately and so the big reason I think that Sonic the Hedgehog racing game is horrible is because I cannot steer very well.  That and it is such a complete rip-off of Mario Kart games I am surprised that Sonic doesn’t feature a mustache and a little red hat.

That said, it requires a finger swiping action to steer which, combined with the odd “two-thirds off the rear quarter and fluctuating” viewing angle, wasn’t exactly winning me over.  But then again I have big hands with all the agility of a cinder block, so maybe I had best stick with board games like Ticket to Ride on the iPad.  You can see a video of somebody who can actually play the game here.

All in all though, I came out of the game having crashed often and with no additional desire to buy a Volvo.

Which is to say, I would still like an 1800ES.  But that desire goes back a long ways.

Items from the Mail Bag – Absence Makes The Heart Something Something Edition

I started up “Items from the Mail Bag” as a regular feature a while back, and then totally dropped it for the last few months.  This was primarily based on the quality of items showing up.

For example, I already mentioned Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddess once, so the next 9 emails to me on that topic were something of a waste.  I have also already mocked a couple of people who were essentially offering to let me write free content for their ad-driven site under the guise of “giving” me better exposure. Again, some jokes are only funny once.

In addition, I seem to have gotten on the distribution list for some PR group handling album releases for bands I have never heard of.  Of course, I am old, so bands I have never heard of is a pretty large category I suppose.  Still, I was amused to see that the title in the press release for deadmau5 did not, in fact, indicate that there was some sort of mail merge issue.

Do people still use mail merge?  Do they still call it that?  It was a big deal in the 80s, but I am going to guess there is a Web 2.0 term for it now.

Anyway, I think I have accumulated enough interesting/pathetic/amusing notes from my in box that are close enough to the topic of games and gaming that it is time again to share.  So, in reverse chronological order, I give you:

Planes of Merinia MMO – Budget Slightly Less Than SWTOR

Phillip sent me a note asking me to publicize his attempt to fund his MMO project via Kickstarter.  So, there is the link.

Another well mowed 3D landscape

Called Planes of Merinia, it offers… well… this:

In Merinia, you do not choose a class. Instead, you can learn skills, spells, and crafts from multiple classes. You can learn healing, fire magic, and sword master, for example. As you gain levels for your character, you can increase your set of skills. Your skills only level if you use them.

In Merinia, you can construct your own weapons, armor, artifiacts, items, etc. Included in the game is an item editor. Create a vorpal sword, or a golden bag. Whatever you can imagine. Items can have scripts attached to them, allow for animation, actions, and special events.

The game is allegedly 65% complete as is currently slated for a February 2013 release.  The money being raised, $20K, is to get art assets and level (zone?) designer involved.  The whole thing strikes me as a low budget Darkfall, but I am not sure I want to go there.

Master Blaster – The Gun for Your 5D Home Holodeck Thingy

It is a controller that looks like something a space marine should be carrying.

Too awesome to be fully displayed in a single photo I guess

This is an Indiegogo project… which is something like Kickstarter I guess… where you can buy that gun controller thingy to use some sort of very expensive looking full room gaming environment made by a company called izone-3.  And it works with the Wii.

iOS Apps I Haven’t Bothered to Download

I’ve ignored them so you don’t have to… or something.  I don’t think it works like that.  Anyway, they all sent me press release-like messages asking for a mention.

SpaceWiz – Immerse yourself in the wonders of a visual/audio experience like no other! Take the role of viewer AND creator in a galaxy where you reign.

ExQuizit – The world’s biggest quiz. (Can we get a Guinness ruling on that?) The guy spent 18 months writing the questions.  There are 12,000 of them.  Go nuts.

Carpet Ball – See, the AppStore is proving that either all the good names are taken or that people are bad at naming their apps.

Diptic – Create exceptional photo collages that can be shared with friends and family.

No endorsement of these apps should be assumed.

Because I Spend So Much Time Talking About Cables Here…

Megan at Canyon PR has sent me half a dozen messages asking if I would like to review the ACCELL’s DisplayPort to DVI-D Dual Link adapter.

Look, hardware!

It works with 3D, which implies that there is some limitation somewhere.  Or is this like labeling candy that is nothing but sugar “fat free” because it isn’t even as nutritional as fat?  Anyway, I feel better about deleting her messages now.

And Harry Potter Will Solve Our Economic Woes

Harry Potter “the most successful literary and film franchise in history” according to one press release, needs to pile on to its already impressive $7 billion in merchandise sales by throwing two pull-out poster books into the mix.

Potter Poster Books

Now J.K. Rowling will be just that much richer than the queen. (Which I am pretty sure is why Elizabeth looked so grumpy at the opening ceremony of the Olympics.)  I’m not even putting any links in for these two.  Go find them yourselves.

Club Penguin Does… Something

I am not even sure how to parse this headline:

Make Your Mark: Ultimate Jam Follows Massive Success of Marvel Super Hero Takeover Event; Club Penguin’s First Single Tops iTunes Children’s Chart

It is one of those “I know what all those words mean by themselves…” moments.  And the text of the press release just goes on in the same vein.  It could easily be randomly generated for all I can tell.

In summing up what ever they were trying to tell me, it seemed that whatever it was involved 40 million play sessions across 200 countries.

The take away for me is that SWTOR could really use more penguins if it wants to succeed in F2P I guess.

Because It Is Better Than Eating Their Pizza

A PR firm representing Little Caesar’s sent me a link to a video on YouTube.  They want sites to run it on a… commercial basis.  The message literally said that watching the video will make you want to go “Whoooo!”  And it did indeed, though I am not sure I am pronouncing it in the way they expected.  To my mind, their pizza is to “real” pizza what Chef Boyardee is to Italian food in general.

Space Nazis! What Is Not To Love?

As inexplicable as the music press releases, I received a couple of messages alerting that Iron Sky will be playing at select theaters in the US over the summer.  The premise:

In the last moments of World War II, a secret Nazi space program evaded destruction by fleeing to the Dark Side of the Moon. During 70 years of utter secrecy, the Nazis construct a gigantic space fortress with a massive armada of flying saucers.

By this point however, the tour is almost over.  In reading some related information I have to admit I was not aware that Space Nazis represented such a full body of work.

The same company sent me a similar press release about something called Unicorn City, which doesn’t even have a Wikipedia entry, so I remain mostly clueless on the subject.

And that is about it, aside from the co-marketing pitches and one company who noted that the site lacked a forum and offered to set me up with one.  Just what I need.

Items from the Mail Bag – Rainy March Edition

It is that time again!  Time to sort through my mail archives to see what has come my way in the last month that wasn’t worth a post by ought to get a mention, whether for real or comedic value.

Path of Exile Open Beta

In a very timely email, the folks making the Diablo-esque online game Path of Exile, a game about which I have written, have announced that this coming weekend, March 30 through April 1, beta access will be thrown open to everyone.  There is, of course, a FAQ posted with details.

Path of Exile – It is raining there too!

So if you are totally jonesing for a Diablo fix and cannot wait for May 15th to roll around, this might be an opportunity to get some click-action RPG time in.

Badass vs. Robot vs. Roger Ebert

Trexx Robotnyk wanted to let me know about the “truly unique, precious art” that is encompassed by Badass vs. Robot.

I think we call that art style “primitive”

I am not even sure where to go with this, so I’ll just quote the message in full.

A one-man operation. Destined to reshape the world order. Badass vs Robot has been temporarily unleashed to fund future development (episodes 1-3, about 1-5 playing hours, available in a week or so). In its brightest moments, small glimpses here and there, this robotic art project from Sweden sort of reminds me of mass effect 3/starwars/whatever but with heavier guitars and a cheaper price tag. Anyway, if you wanna join the fans around the globe and make this amazing space action robot saga turn into an uncontrollable behemoth on rockets, please buy a copy (you set the price). Note that this is a separate work-in-progress tech/devel funding/sneak peek release with awesome music, learn more at the homepage. And to those that hate this project solely cause it’s a difficult to grasp kinda space-art exhibition (e.g. nude politicians and a laser themed forced sterilization scene), are encouraged to share it with all of their friends. Please note that I’m not looking for investors, truly unique, precious art like this must be completely independent at all costs.

So there you have it.  Nude politicians, the laser themed forced sterilization scene, and Roger Ebert need not apply.

Blacklight: Retribution Open Beta

Back to the open beta scene, Blacklight: Retribution went into open beta… well, a month ago.  But I got the note AFTER I did last month’s mail bag.  See, timing is everything.  B:R is an online first person shooter game, a niche that seems to be growing into very non-niche like proportions.  Anyway, if you are interested, their web site is here.

EON Magazine Joins the Digital Age

Naturally, as soon as I subscribe to the physical magazine again, the folks at MMM finally deliver on their digital aspirations.

A digital edition at last!

For those interested, you can find more details on this at the EON Magazine site.  There is currently a special offer to get people interested.

Unbiased Reviews, For Specific Values of “Unbiased”

Leslie, a business development intern at FindTheBest, wanted to let me know that their site now has video game reviews as part of their engine that… I guess… allows you to find the best.  Per the email:

It allows users to filter by price, console, ESRB rating, and more. All of the information is completely unbiased and certified from sources such as Gamespot, Metacritic, and IGN.

Claiming a lack of bias on their part, I suppose, could be correct.  But when GameSpot, the site where no advertiser gets a bad review (or we’ll fire the reviewer!) is part of your sample, bias is clearly part of the equation.  Garbage in, garbage out as they say.  Anyway, I asked on that and actually got a response.

In the smart ratings algorithm, expert reviews only account for a small portion of a balanced rating system which takes into account things like number of copies sold, other metacritic ratings, as well as others. After doing considerable research we will take this feedback into account and discount GameSpots rating moving forward.

While I appreciate the attempt to quantify things, selling the most units is not always an indication of quality.  The literary works of L. Ron Hubbard and William Shatner spring to mind.  Still, it is nice to see somebody out there trying something new.

Oh, and the highest rated MMORPG on their list; the Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria expansion.  Take that for what it is worth.

Digital Kids Conference – You Need to Know!

Those in charge of the 6th Annual Digital Kids Conference, which despite its name is focused on child safety in the digital world and not the creation of electronic children (which presumably would come with an “off” button, every parents dream on occasion) seem very concerned that I be made aware of the agenda and specific events pertaining to the conference.  Hence the six email in two days things.

Consider me brought up to date, especially on the mobile app safety front.

The unsubscribe link, it does nothing!

Mistborn: Birthright – Not Wheel of Time

Brandon Sanderson, perhaps best known as the writer to pick up and (I desperately hope) finish Robert Jordan’s epically drawn out Wheel of Time saga, is having some of his own work made into a video game. (The Wheel of Time series was also supposed to be made into an MMO. What happened with that?)

Called Mistborn: Birthright, it will take place 100 years before the Mistborn series of books.  A quote from the author:

“As an avid gamer, I’m extremely excited by this opportunity,” said Sanderson. “The chance to write the story for a Mistborn game while working with a team of talented developers is, quite literally, living a dream.”

The game is scheduled to come out in the Fall of 2013.  Such information that there is available is on the game’s web site.