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PC Gamer Says EVE Online is #12 August 23, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online, World of Warcraft.
Tags: , ,
13 comments

When my wife saw the cover of the September issue of PC Gamer magazine, which I am still getting thanks to the failure of The Official World of Warcraft Magazine (read about that trail of tears), she said she could see a blog post in the making.

She actually reads the blog and knows me better than I imagine.

You see, the cover was taken up with a giant graphic announcing that this issue included PC Gamer’s staff picks for the Top 100 PC Gamed of ALL TIME.

Really, Of All Time

Really, Of All Time

And as any long time reader knows, I love me a good list.  Or a bad list.  Or any sort of arbitrary ranking.

I love when a group decides to pull out some select number of items and declares them the best, most influential, or otherwise notable.  It says so much about the people who make the list, and about myself when I disagree with the choices.

And I always disagree with at least a few of the choices.  Whether it is games that defined the Apple II games or Ten Ton Hammer listing out the Top Ten PvP MMOs, I always find something to complain about.  Such lists are an argument waiting to happen, but in a fun way.  Viewed correctly, such a list at least makes you think and look for the reasoning.

Of course, the first pass through the list was to search for my chosen genre, MMORPGs.  The first thing my wife asked was, “Is World of Warcraft on the list?” followed quickly by, “And what about ‘Jacked up and good to go?’” a reference to the original StarCraft and probably how much I played it back in the day, given that she remembers it more than a decade down the road.

The first MMO on the list was EVE Online in 12th position, which is where the title of this post comes from.

The second was World of Warcraft, close behind in the 15th slot.  Not a bad showing for MMOs in the top 25% of the list I guess.  One fantasy based MMO and one science fiction, which also happen to be, perhaps not accidentally, the two big hold-outs in the subscription versus F2P struggle.

And after that… nothing.  That was it for MMOs.  No EverQuest, no Ultima Online.  The early champions of the genre were left out and nobody else was worthy.

Well, I suppose if you are going to make a list from PC games of ALL TIME and limit it to 100, prime candidates are bound to get left on the cutting room floor.

So I started browsing through the list, checking titles and dates to get something like the flavor of the list, to see if I could spot any sort of trend.

My initial gut reaction was that most of the games on the list were pretty recent in terms of PC games of ALL TIME.  There were some entries from the latter half of the 90s, with a special spot set aside for Doom and Secret of Monkey Island.  But those were the two oldest games on the list, and they stood out because their age.

I compare this to Time Magazine’s attempt at a Top 100 Video Games of All Time list, which wasn’t even limited to the PC, but included consoles and arcade games.  And in that they managed to find room for titles from the 70s and 80s.  But then they left Minecraft off the list.

My first reaction was that the staff was probably much younger than I…  a surprising number of people are these days… and that the prime formative period of their gaming psyche came about in the mid-to-late 90s.  They might never have played Seven Cities of Gold or the original Wasteland.

My second reaction was that perhaps we were working with different definitions.  For me “PC” means personal computer, and it a generalized thing that includes everything in my personal timeline from the Timex Sinclair 1000 to my current 64-bit Win7 box, and quite a few side paths along the way, including a series of Mac OS machines.

But to a lot of people, “PC” probably means Windows box, something that has been reinforced by both Apple and Microsoft in recent history.  So if I read “Top 100 PC Games” as “Top 100 Windows Games,” the list makes a little more sense.  In the timeline of Windows, the less said about things before 1990, the better.

In that context, I suppose the list makes more sense, as Windows games only start coming into their own with Windows 95, which brings us to the late 90s and blah blah blah.

Then again, I could be overthinking this… a common issue for me… and it might be that the team that did the list just thinks newer games are better.  That seemed to be the point of view with Complex Gaming and their Top 50 list, a list which put EVE Online in the #1 spot.  It certainly fits the “complex” side of the equation.

Ah well.

I would like to link to the list so that you could read it yourself, but it appears to be a print edition only feature.  It made for a dramatic cover that no doubt got a few people to pick up a copy.  And I am sure that they would not appreciate it if typed out the list myself.  But I will leave you with their top five games.

  1. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  2. Mass Effect 2
  3. Half-Life 2
  4. Team Fortress 2
  5. Deus Ex

I suppose the first choice isn’t a huge surprise.  They justified it well and frankly liked it for all the right reasons; scope, freedom, mods, replayability.  The next three are probably not very controversial.  I haven’t touched any of the Mass Effect games, but you can hardly be any kind of a gamer and have not heard people going on about them.  I have played through Half-Life 2 and spent a bit of time with Team Fortress 2, but they are not really my thing. (And HL2 plus Garry’s Mod made for one of the best video game based comics ever.)

And then there is Deus Ex, which I really have no recollection of at all.  It was apparently quite a thing and I missed it completely.  But it came out when I was still absorbed with EverQuest the first time around, as well as Diablo II, StarCraft, and a few other games I would consider classics.  We can’t get them all.  There are only so many hours in the day.  Heck, just the other day a co-worker admitted to me that he had never seen The Wizard of Oz.  I am not sure our culture makes sense without having seen that.

Anyway, another list examined.  I await the next one.

20 Games that Defined the Apple II January 3, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Ancient Gaming, entertainment.
Tags: , , ,
11 comments

A little video my friend Scott sent me.

Direct link to video.

The games shown are, in chronological order:

  1. Ultima I
  2. Castle Wolfenstein
  3. Wizardry
  4. Swashbuckler
  5. Choplifter
  6. Lode Runner
  7. Cavern Creatures
  8. King’s Quest
  9. Impossible Mission
  10. Karateka
  11. The Oregon Trail
  12. The Bard’s Tale
  13. Elite
  14. Might and Magic
  15. Pirates!
  16. California Games
  17. Maniac Mansion
  18. Wasteland
  19. Prince of Persia
  20. Battle Chess

Not a bad list.  A lot of the games on it were on multiple systems, so I think they more define computer games in the 1980s rather than the Apple II specifically.  But not bad.  I played most of them.

If I were making the list I would probably strike Battle Chess and California Games from the list, as they came so late in the the cycle.  Prince of Persia is a bit questionable for me as well, as I played it on the Mac much later on.  But Wasteland was the last Apple II game I ever bought, so that plays into it.  What defined Apple II games for me came much earlier in the life of the platform

Instead I would add Aztec and probably Autoduel.  I would also substitute in Epoch (which doesn’t even have a Wikipedia entry) for Elite, Ultima III in for Ultima I (which I think was just a better, more popular game), and probably Seven Cities of Gold for one of the over-represented-on-the-list RPGs.  And I would have a strong desire to get F-15 Strike Eagle in there somewhere.  And Pinball Construction Set.  And Taipan! as well.

There is the problem with making such lists.  I can look at all those Apple II games and pull out quite a few great ones.

And, as a side note, Oregon Trail is one of the games in the video I never played.

At least not on the computer.

Instead, that was a game we played as a teacher driven role playing game when I was in 7th grade.  True to the spirit however, when people refer to playing the video game version it sounds exactly like our role play version.  As young boys, my friends and I all loaded up our wagon with guns and as much ammo as possible and most of us went on to die of dysentery.

Amazon.com Proves I Do Not Play Video Games November 22, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Diablo III, entertainment, Guild Wars 2.
Tags: ,
8 comments

Or that I don’t play new games.  Or good games.

Or at least that I do not buy any new games.

Another list.  Still not done with that theme, not by a long shot.

This time around, The Amazon Games team at Amazon.com has created their Best of 2012 Video Games list.

I am going to copy it here, with the platforms they indicate, just because.

  1. Journey (PS3)
  2. Borderlands 2 (Xbox, PS3, PC)
  3. XCOM: Enemy Unknown (Xbox, PS3, PC)
  4. Dishonored (Xbox, PS3, PC)
  5. Mass Effect 3 (Xbox, PS3, PC)
  6. The Walking Dead (Xbox, PS3, PC)
  7. Halo 4 (Xbox)
  8. Darksiders II (Xbox, PS3, PC)
  9. Hotline Miami (PC)
  10. The Last Story (Wii)
  11. Need for Speed: Most Wanted (Xbox, PS3, PS Vita, PC)
  12. Gravity Rush (PS Vita)
  13. Diablo III (PC)
  14. GuildWars 2 (PC)
  15. Sleeping Dogs (Xbox, PS3, PC)
  16. Zero Escape: Virtues Last Reward (PS Vita, 3DS)
  17. Assassin’s Creed III (Xbox, PS3, PC)
  18. Max Payne 3 (Xbox, PS3, PC)
  19. Lumines: Electronic Symphony (PS Vita)
  20. Call of Duty: Black Ops II (Xbox, PS3, PC)

So, looking up at that list, my first thought is that there are a pile of sequels and remakes up there.

Of course, remakes, reboots, and sequels are the staple of most entertainment industries.  We moan about video games slipping into that mode these days, and movies having been there for a while, but frankly it is the way of things.  Go look up how many movie adaptations there have been of The Wizard of Oz.  Video games just haven’t been around long enough for us to get used to remakes, but even Shakespeare was ripping off plots and retelling old stories 400 some odd years ago, so we had all better get used to it I suppose.  Your grand kids will be playing Wasteland 8 or some such I bet.

After that, I have to admit that I have only played two of the games on the list (Guild Wars 2 and Diablo III), and I only bought one of them (Diablo III), and since I got that one through subscribing to World of Warcraft for a year (annoying pain point unnecessarily referenced just because I hold a grudge), you could make the case that I did not even buy that.

And then, finally, I start to wonder if these are really the best games of 2012.  I probably watch too much Zero Punctuation (for example, Halo 4 review) and play too few such games to be able to make my own determination.

Oh, and it sucks to be the Wii about now, with one game on the list.  But even Nintendo says they have moved on from the Wii, having no more titles in the queue for it.  Screw you, little white box of joy, we’re on to bigger and better things!

So, the usual wrap up.  The list, legitimate ranking or crass attempt to get sales out of the titles with the highest margins?

Top Ten Themes from my iTunes Library November 18, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment.
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2 comments

Apropos of nothing, I was looking for the theme from Doctor Who in my iTunes library, so typed “theme” into the search box.

I have had an iPod and iTunes for quite a while now, having picked one up once they made iTunes available for Windows.  That was something like 9 years ago.  I have collected quite a bit of music since then. (But I have only needed two iPods, my original 3rd generation iPod and a 3rd generation Nano that replaced it.)

Just the search term “theme” brought up 73 results.  And iTunes can sort them by how many times I have listened to them.  So my top ten themes are:

  • Theme of the Universe – EVE Online sound track
  • Firefly Main Theme – From the show Firefly
  • Woke Up This Morning (Soprano’s Theme) – From The Sopranos
  • Doctor Who Theme – The enduring music from Doctor Who
  • Peter Gunn Theme – From the Blues Brothers sound track
  • The Theme from Route 66 – From Route 66
  • Kamp Krusty Theme Song – From The Simpsons
  • For Pete’s Sake (Closing Theme) – From The Monkees
  • The Itchy & Scratcy & Poochie Show Theme – From The Simpsons
  • The James Bond Theme – From like 23 movies, alright?

All told I have 5601 tracks in iTunes, for a total of 13.4 days of play time, end to end.  And that does not include podcasts (919 items, 34 days) or audio books (610 items, 167 days).

The most played track is actually a tie between The Son of Flynn from the TRON: Legacy sound tack and Below the Asteroids from the EVE Online sound track.  The most played theme that doesn’t actually have the word “theme” in it is Greeback Boogie, which is the theme from Suits.

And in all of that, I actually have the Doctor Who theme not once, but twice.  But I apparently only listen to one of them.

Time Magazine Sounds Off On The Best Video Games November 15, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Diablo II, entertainment, EverQuest, World of Warcraft.
Tags: , ,
15 comments

I still love lists, so I am going to keep talking about lists.

Last week we had a rather controversial list of the 50 Best PC Games of All Time.  EVE Online made the top spot there.

This week Time Magazine has a list of the All-TIME 100 Video Games, which includes consoles and arcade machines.

I have to say, it is much easier for me to get behind this list than last week’s list.

Some of the games you have to take in the context of their time, like Pong.

Others are just great regardless of when you set them.

This Castle is Timeless, Dammit!

Of course I had that screen shot sitting around.

Games I can totally support being on the list.

Honestly, there are too many good games on that list for me to call out.

Hunt the Wumpus!  I played freakin’ Hunt the Wumpus back in the day!

Okay, I’ll stop.

There are games on the list that I am not a big fan of.  But the only one I am dubious of is Leisure Suit Larry.  I always felt that people liked the idea of that game much more than they liked the game itself.  I think it is there by legend alone.  But that might just be me.

So how is this list?  Is this a better list than last week’s list?

It almost makes me wish I didn’t cancel my Time subscription last week.  Almost.

Complex Gaming Declares EVE Online Best PC Game of All Time November 9, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Torchlight II, World of Warcraft.
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14 comments

Complex Gaming has a list, and we all love lists!  Well, I love lists.

This list is a list of their Top 50 Best PC Games of All Time.

And their top pick on the list is EVE Online.

Stuff blows up in space!

I cannot imagine that will cause any controversy.

Actually, the whole list is pretty controversial to me and seems pretty heavily weighted towards more recent games.  I would argue about whether Civilization V should be on the list relative to past versions. (I prefer Civ II still, and I know there are Civ IV partisans out there.)  And should both Torchlight AND Torchlight II make the list?  And both StarCraft AND StarCraft II?  Really?

On the MMORPG front, Ultima Online, World of Warcraft, Guild Wars, Star Wars the Old Republic and, of course, EVE Online make the cut.  No EverQuest and no Guild Wars 2 though.

And LEGO Star Wars III but not LEGO Star Wars – The Original Trilogy?  Heresy!

Ah well, such lists are pretty much designed to stir up controversy.  How do you pick 10, 20, or even 50 “bests” out of such a huge body of work without leaving something out?

Maybe I should work on my own list.

Wikio Say I’m Still Number 29 October 7, 2010

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in blog thing, entertainment.
Tags: , , , ,
6 comments

Again this month I was contacted by somebody at Wikio… though somebody different… and asked if I would like to post the early version of the gaming blog rankings.

Last month I was in 29th place.

This month I am still in 29th place.

Let’s hear it for consistency… or constancy… or something.

Anyway, here is the September list.

(Actually, they call it the October list, because they publish it in October, but it is based on data collected in September.  So I find September to be a more accurate description.)

  1. Kotaku
  2. Joystiq
  3. PlayStation.Blog
  4. Destructoid
  5. Siliconera
  6. Game|Life – Wired Blog
  7. GameSetWatch
  8. Massively
  9. Penny-Arcade
  10. IndieGames.com – The Weblog
  11. WOW Insider
  12. GiantBomb’s Site Mashup
  13. GamePolitics.com
  14. The Brainy Gamer
  15. PlayStation LifeStyle
  16. That VideoGame Blog
  17. Broken Toys
  18. Ian Bogost
  19. Jay is Games
  20. Dueling Analogs
  21. PS3 NEWS
  22. Fidgit
  23. Gamezebo
  24. Koku Gamer
  25. Tobold’s MMORPG Blog
  26. GayGamer.net
  27. Cinema Blend Games
  28. Kill Ten Rats
  29. The Ancient Gaming Noob
  30. Virtual Worlds News

Ranking made by Wikio

It looks like it is going to be a pretty static list month after month.

I couldn’t be bothered to actually compare the two lists to see if anybody changed positions.  That would take more effort than I am willing to invest.

I did notice was that The Koalition, who held the bottom spot last month, was replaced by Virtual World News this month.  My condolences to The Koalition.

Oh, and the GayGamer got in behind Tobold.  I’m sure there is deeper meaning in that.

So what do you think of this list?  Should I continue posting it every month, if I continue to make the top 30?  They only invite you to preview it if you are on the list.

Oh, and WoW Insider changed their name to WoW.com like a year ago.  Get with the times.

Wikio.com Top Video Game Blogs List for August 2010 September 4, 2010

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in blog thing, entertainment.
Tags: , ,
4 comments

Wikio.com (not to be confused with Wikia.com) is… well… a “Social Networking News” site, to quote the masthead.

They appear to be a blog aggregator of some sort ala Digg or the recently departed DailyRadar sites.  Owned by Yahoo at least at some point, Wikio plies the RSS feeds, reports stories, tracks traffic, and allows you to vote on articles.  And they make lists.

If I appear to be uncertain of my topic so far, it is because I had not heard of Wikio.com until this week when I got a note from somebody representing them telling me that my site had made their top blogs list for the month and would I like a sneak preview of the list.  This preview offered on the condition that I publish the list as a post here.

I have a long establish love of lists, so I agreed.

Of course, one of my first questions was, “How are these rankings compiled?”

And the site has an answer for that.  Wikio says:

The position of a blog in the Wikio ranking depends on the number and weight of the incoming links from other blogs. Our algorithm accords a greater value to links from blogs placed higher up in the ranking.

A blog linking another blog is only counted once a month i.e. if blog A links to blog B 10 times in a given month, it is only counted as having linked to that blog once that month. The weight of any link decreases over time. Also, if a blog always links to the same blog, the weight of these links is decreased.

Only links found in RSS feeds are counted. Blogrolls are not taken into account.

Our rankings are updated on a monthly basis and also include Top Blogs for several categories: Technology, Politics, etc. New categories will be added on a regular basis.

So links in posts drive the list, but links from highly ranked sites add more weight.  Simple enough I suppose, at least as long as I don’t have to code it.

Unlike the dearly departed DailyRadar sites, Wikio does not break out video game topics.  DailyRadar had MMO Blips for just MMO related sites, and even WoW Blips for just WoW related posts.  But for Wikio, the video games list is for any video game related site.

And there are a lot of them out there.

So it seemed rather unlikely to me that this site would make any list that limited itself to a number of entries or say, three digits or less.

I did not, however, count on the power of small sample size and incestuous inter-linking!

Enough rambling… most of you have probably skipped past all this anyway… to the list!

  1. Kotaku
  2. Joystiq
  3. PlayStation.Blog
  4. Destructoid
  5. Siliconera
  6. Game|Life – Wired Blog
  7. GameSetWatch
  8. Massively
  9. WOW Insider
  10. IndieGames.com – The Weblog
  11. GamePolitics.com
  12. Penny-Arcade
  13. GiantBomb’s Site Mashup
  14. PlayStation LifeStyle
  15. The Brainy Gamer
  16. That VideoGame Blog
  17. Ian Bogost
  18. Broken Toys
  19. Dueling Analogs
  20. Jay is Games
  21. Fidgit
  22. Gamezebo
  23. Koku Gamer
  24. PS3 NEWS
  25. Kloonigames
  26. Tobold’s MMORPG Blog
  27. Cinema Blend Games
  28. Kill Ten Rats
  29. The Ancient Gaming Noob
  30. The Koalition

Ranking made by Wikio

There we go!  30 sites on the list and I made it to 29!

In your face Koalition!

I am not sure what this list actually means.

There are a few of serious gaming sites, like Kotaku, Joystiq, and GameSetWatch.

There are a couple of bigger commercial MMO focused sites, like Massively and WoW Insider. (They changed their name to WoW.com about a year ago, let’s keep up people!)

There is Penny Arcade, a force unto itself.

There are a couple of million+ page views per year blogs, like Tobold and Broken Toys.

And then there is me, down there at 29th place, and I have no idea how I crashed the party.

Wikio.com offers the usual ranking badge for your side bar (you can put your URL in to see where you stand), with a supplemental badge if you rank in one of their sub-categories.  For the main badge I am somewhere down around 3,100st place and I do not qualify for the gaming category despite being on the above list.  But the FAQ says that they only update the list once a month.

I’ll have to keep an eye on this site to see what all this really means.  And maybe soon I will qualify for that video games ranking badge.

This Just In: People Love The Following Games December 7, 2009

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Dungeons & Dragons Online, entertainment, EVE Online, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Lord of the Rings Online, Warhammer Online, World of Warcraft.
Tags: ,
14 comments

The start of the year end lists is upon us.

I saw over on Sneaky Hobbits that Turbine’s Lord of the Rings Online was the number one entry MMORPG.COM’s user ratings for 2009.

That, in and of itself, is not controversial in my mind.  LOTRO is a good game built on the hugely popular Middle-earth lore, Turbine has been dedicated to improving the game over time, and it has a loyal user base.

But, of course, the prospect of a list was too much to resist.  I like a good list… and love a bad list even more so some days, so I decided to see where other games fell.

Here are the top 33, which represent all of the games ranked 8.0 or better out of a scale of 1 to 10.

  1. Lord of the Rings Online 8.38
  2. Atlantica Online 8.30
  3. EVE Online 8.29
  4. Fallen Earth 8.28
  5. EverQuest II 8.26
  6. Vanguard: Saga of Heroes 8.25
  7. Guild Wars8.23
  8. Ryzom 8.23
  9. Warhammer Online 8.23
  10. Dark Age of Camelot 8.22
  11. Guild Wars Factions 8.22
  12. Final Fantasy XI 8.22
  13. Guild Wars Nightfall 8.21
  14. Perfect World 8.20
  15. City of Villains 8.20
  16. City of Heroes 8.20
  17. The Chronicles of Spellborn 8.20
  18. Champions Online 8.16
  19. Ultima Online 8.15
  20. Runes of Magic 8.13
  21. Lineage 2 8.09
  22. Requiem: Bloodymare 8.08
  23. Anarchy Online 8.08
  24. EverQuest 8.08
  25. PlanetSide 8.07
  26. Asheron’s Call 8.07
  27. Sword of the New World 8.06
  28. World of Warcraft 8.06
  29. Dungeons & Dragons Online 8.04
  30. Dekaron 8.02
  31. Battleground Europe 8.02
  32. ROSE Online 8.01
  33. Cabal 8.00

That is an… interesting list.

When you consider that the difference we’re talking about here, the gap between a rating of 8.0 and a rating of 8.38, is about the same as the difference between a B and a B-, you can assume that these games are all enjoyed by groups of players who each think about as highly of their game of choice.

These games are all equal to their users in some very abstract sense.

Yes, I know we’re looking at an epic mis-use of statistics with bad, and probably inadequate, samples, self-selecting respondents, no weight given to number of respondents, no range of responses shown, and no indication of the gap, if any, between professional reviews and these player reviews.  So you have to take that in stride when you look at this.

Now when any one of us goes over that list, I’m sure we all see something on there that makes us go, “No way.”

For example, I see Requiem: Bloodymare on that list and frown slightly.  I played the game for a bit and never mentioned it, thinking that was exactly how much coverage it deserved.  But somebody likes it.  Several somebodies in fact, enough to get it an 8.08 score on this list, putting it ever so slightly ahead of World of Warcraft.

I’m probably less surprised by the games that made it to 8.0 or greater than those that did not.  Wizard 101, Pirates of the Burning Sea, and Aion fell just shy of the 8.0 mark, while Darkfall, with an ever vocal community, was way down the list with a score of 7.09.  No doubt a forum post will fix that. (“Go vote for us!” posts are perfectly acceptable in my opinion.)

How about your favorite game?  Did it score above 8.0?