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, 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.

10 thoughts on “Items from the Mail Bag – Barrel Scrapings and the Like

  1. Stropp

    Ahhh memories of Larry…The burglar of Ban-ff-ff…

    That still comes on TV now and then, but it seems everytime I get a chance to see it, it’s the same episode with Milton Berle (I think) playing the Indian con-man/thief…



    I received the same Darkfall media release, but haven’t had the chance to really look at it today. As you say, pity it doesn’t come with a ‘media-have-a-look-at-the-game’ key, but oh well.

    Fortunately, I have not put up my likeness on either of my facebook accounts. If The Zuck wants to use my likeness, he’ll have to be satisfied with Nixon-Head-In-A-Jar…

    You’re lucky getting requests for posts, all I seem to get are the yutzes scamming me to do SEO on the site. If I used any of those I’d be sure to be banned from Google.


  2. Pingback: Darkfall Media Alert | Stropp's World

  3. Aufero

    I’m not sure I’d want to be the recipient of the “Most Successful Paid to Free-to-Play Game” award. It reminds me of the trophies they give kindergarteners whose only accomplishment was making it to the bathroom all year without an accident.


  4. bhagpussbhagpuss

    You had to look up the Australian Open to find out it was a tennis tournament? Jim Courier, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi won that particular title pretty much throughout the 1990s and when they stopped they handed the flag to the Williams sisters who won the Women’s title for most of the following decade.

    Does that not make the news over there? All those people are household names in the UK, or were while they were playing at least.

    Oh, and just what IS a sawbuck? And why’s it called that?


  5. mbp

    But Wilhelm .. you have said nothing about my email concerning my aged grandmother who desperately needs a new stove except that we cannot afford shipping fees, which situation is somewhat complicated by the fact that my later father, who was a government official has left a legacy estimated to be in the region of $315M (THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTEEN MILLION) the legitimate earnings of his work as district postal clerk which are rightfully mine but which I cannot spend in my own country due to corrupt draconian rules on foreign currency. Should you choose to contact me about these matters we can also discuss the unclaimed prize in the Timbuktuan annual lottery of $470M (FOUR HUNDRED AND SEVENTY MILLION) in a ticket issued to your name.

    You mention none of this above. Surely there must be some mistake.


  6. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss-Bhagpuss – Tennis is among the many sports I have successfully ignored all my life. I used to only read the sports section when I needed new tires for my car.

    As for a sawbuck, that is an archaic term for a US ten dollar bill.

    There used to be the Roman numeral X in the corners of old bill ten dollar bills, which to a rural nation, looked like an old fashioned sawhorse, or sawbuck, facing the viewer end on. And a dollar was called a buck, for still other reasons, so there was a bit of word play involved.

    A twenty dollar bill was called a double sawbuck, because XX.

    This, of course, made sense in my grandfather’s day. But now the ten dollar bill just says “10” and the modern sawhorse looks like an A or and inverted V from that angle.

    I still don’t know why a five dollar bill was called a “fin.” (Last known popular use of the term was in Ferris Beuller’s Day Off.)

    US currency, especially pre-Civil War, when any bank could and did issue their own, has a long and varied tale.


  7. pkudude99

    From Wikipedia:

    “The $5 bill is sometimes nicknamed a “fin”. The term has Roman roots based on Roman numeral ‘V’ and is remotely related to the English “five”, but it is far less common today than it was in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.”

    Which really just notes that it was called a fin, but not why.

    OTOH, Yahoo answers has this to say: “fin” (also “finnif”) is from “finf,” Yiddish for “five,”

    So I guess that means it’s the Jews’ fault.


  8. SynCaine

    A while back AV sent out media accounts to people. I wonder if that one got filtered, but not this new media one. Or they expanded their media coverage without expanding media access.

    Or just AV trolling like only AV can.


  9. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @pkudude99 – Yahoo answers, where we can vote for what we think is the correct choice!

    Yiddish is akin to German in many ways, and the German for five is “fünf,” so I am going to guess that the Yiddish is pronounced similarly and thus becomes a stretch to get to “fin.” That answer thus strikes me as somebody trying to make pieces fit as opposed to somebody who knows the actual reason. Citation needed and all that.

    But some mystery in our lives isn’t a bad things.


  10. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @mbp – I must have lost your messages while distracted by the offer from another guy to provide me with “cool” infographics on the following topics:

    -Toilet Talk – Cell Phone Use in Bathrooms
    -How to Upcycle Your Cell Phone Parts Into Survival Tools
    -The Role of Mobile Phones in E-Commerce
    -Evolution of Mobile Phones as Marketing Tools
    -Apple vs. The World – Patent Dispute Timeline


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