Nintendo 3ds xl rocks my socks off

Alienware sent my laptop back.  It’s still not working correctly.  Since we had a blizzard over the weekend, I had plenty of chances to test it out.  I am bummed and waiting on a phone call from a case person.  He’s an hour late for our appointment.  This does not bode well…

In the meantime, it’s given me plenty of time to play with the Nintendo 3ds XL Zefflon got me for Christmas.  I am late to the party with this machine.  Really, I avoided it because it seemed like a thing for kids.  We’ve been looking at different options for gaming on days when my body just won’t cooperate, and this is a small machine, light, and it’s just a heck of a lot of fun.

At first, I enjoyed the 3d stuff.  Games render pretty well, and the added perspective is helpful in some games featuring flat landscapes and dungeons.  After about 15 minutes, my eyes can’t take it anymore.  Thankfully, there is a switch on the side to turn everything back to 2d.  I use it.  My eyeballs don’t like 3d land.

The blasted thing is pretty addictive.  I find myself picking it up at the oddest times for a quick run at a something.  We bought 4 games for it.  Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Bravely Default, PersonaQ, and Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. 

I’m in love with Animal Crossing for short bursts of gaming.  Maybe 15 minutes or so at a time.  It’s not an in depth game requiring a ton of thought, but it’s enough to let me lose myself in something else when pain is making me nuts, or I am waiting on a phone call and such.

Bravely Default rocks.  Beautiful.  It’s a JRPG, and plays like one.  Nice story, good gameplay, interesting items and magic.  Battles can be hard enough to make me rethink tactics and back out and try again.  It got great reviews, and I can say they were all right. 

I haven’t really played much of the other two.  I want to finish Bravely Default.  I am hooked on finding out what happens.  Plus, I am restoring a village, and I like sitting around building it.  I have no idea why I find this entertaining, but there you go.

I know I should be carrying my 3ds with me everywhere.  I can get ingame items and help for other games from people I pass who have “StreetPass” turned on.  I’ve made Zefflon take me to Best Buy for no other reason than I can pick up at least 3 or 4 people in there.  I even switched out purses to make sure I had room enough to take it anytime we left the house.  Since we have all the snow outside, I can’t really get out in the chair.  He needs to run to the store today.  I think I will make him carry it in his pocket and see if I can con him into going to Best Buy J

There are several mobile style games.  I am doing Pokémon Shuffle at the moment.  It has micro transactions, but I haven’t bought anything.  I am just patient, and play it 5 or ten minutes at a sitting a couple of times a day.

I can’t recommend it enough.  I wish I had bought one many moons ago, and will pay more attention next time.  This will teach me to relegate something to the kiddie category.

Game On!!!


Gaming for the disabled

Gaming as a female has sometimes been a challenge.  I have at alternating times in my gaming career found being anonymous far more interesting and relaxing than being myself. 

For almost 4 years, about the time DDOcast 2.0 started, I stopped talking in any games. I asked Zeff to stop referring to me as his wife in games.  I stopped interacting on most of my social channels, and those I kept were culled to people I had either met in real life or known a long time.   

There wasn’t one huge event leading up to my burying myself.  I just felt a generalized anxiety when playing with people I didn’t know.  Crass comments, or an over showering of in game items can happen from time to time, but I found once I stopped being “female,” I could just get on with enjoying whatever game I wanted to play.

I also found much of the advice stopped.  I didn’t have to argue about my builds, my weapon choices, or why I was the melee dps character in the group. 

My playing improved as did my confidence as I stopped feeling like I need to be better than everyone in a group in order to prove myself.  I am not sure that is something all female gamers feel, but I do know after experiencing marathon “build” sessions where I was told why what I wanted wouldn’t work at length, I stopped thinking for myself.

When I got sick in 2014, I had no idea some of the old insecurities would crop up.  As my muscles and some of my nerves began to fail, I found conventional gaming very difficult.  My arms get too tired on a conventional keyboard, so I use a laptop on a bed tray and lay a body pillow across my body to hold my arms up.  It helps for a little while, but the days of monster gaming sessions are very much over.

My mouse hand cramps up tons.  It means I can’t be as fast at responding as others.  I feel the difference.  It’s frustrating, and I don’t group with people I don’t know anymore.  I can’t take the chance someone is going to pitch a fit about my less than stellar healing or something.

I have some trouble hearing now, so I tend to put on headphones and keep the voice chat on them.  My ingame sound comes out of speakers on my alienware.  It’s an ok set-up, and it means I use visual cues much more often than others.

Keyboard shortcuts are a huge pain in the tush.  If one hand is tired, I can use the other in a pinch, but when a game wants me to use both hands and then manipulate the mouse, I find myself frustrated. 

I don’t play a lot of fast paced games anymore.  Fall out 4 works for me on good days because I can pause it almost instantly when muscles cramp or simply refuse to work.  MMORPG’s only work if I am playing with friends. They are pretty forgiving if I have to bow out, or miss a movement.  Pugs are just brutal.  Things I can play solo are best because I can do as I need to do. 

I’ve been poking about looking to see what’s out there for disabled gamers.  The answer is not much.  Depressing, but I am sure there is a limited pool of people gaming with disabilities maybe?  More likely, there are many gamers who become chronically ill or disabled and just stop playing.  The world isn’t very forgiving of those who are different, and gamers can be wonderful people, but they have very high standards. 

I don’t know what my future holds right now.  I do know I have tons of downtime, and I want to be able to game until my arms fall off.  I used to sit in my office at my 9-5 job thinking about all the things I wanted to be at home to do.  As my body has begun to fail me, I can’t do most of them without help, but with the level of technology available, gamers of all kinds should be able to fall into their virtual worlds with ease.

I have many things on my plate.  I don’t think I am going to be able to solve this one myself, but I’d like to highlight the issue from time to time to remind people not everyone comes to their gaming worlds from the same angle. 


What makes you spend money in a game?

I love money.  Most of you will say you love money, but what you really mean is you are a slave to it.  Money ranks high in causing violent emotions responsible for most of our crime.  Money has been called the root of all evil.  Many of you won't admit you are actually afraid of money. 

Virtual economies are the most misunderstood beast in gaming.  Just like we do in real life, we treat our games as a place to buy and sell things.  We want to be the best, have the best, be a hero.  Similar to real life crime, ingame money issues have created an entire industry hellbent on making real life money on ingame crime.  I am still mad hackers stole the shoes off my feet in Everquest 2.   I mean, come on?  My shoes?

Our jaded connection to money drove the changes to online gaming we are trying to survive.  The entire landscape has changed.  I can't think of a AAA game that doesn't have an ingame store?  It's too much of a cash cow.  People will spend real life money on ingame items.  Gamers buy whole characters with epic raid gear on Ebay. They buy ingame currency with real life money from gold farmers.  Oh look, another opportunity to share one of my favorite videos of all time.  8 years, and I still giggle.

My mind has been percolating for the last few months trying to figure out what it is gaming needs.  We've seen a huge change in the business.  Free to Play, or Play to Win depending on your take, made major houses fall to their knees and weep under the whip of gamers who refuse to pay a subscription.  I am not sure a game could launch without a Free to Play option and survive. 

Free to Play hasn't created any great gaming innovations.   If anything, I have watched good games dumb themselves down to the lowest common denominator.  Wildstar  launched promising players hard instances reminiscent of WoW's good ole days.  What players got was a toxic environment where even the best players would rage quit an instance when a lesser player made a mistake the group couldn't recover from.  Less than a year after launch, the game looked like a dusty ghost town.  People don't want to pay to feel inadequate.  Dollars talk, and the slew of subscription cancellations shouted pretty damn loud.  The game relaunched as a Free to Play game a month ago, and was said to have re-balanced dungeon's and raids.  Read "made easier."

What are we willing to pay for?  Looking at what is offered in many ingame stores, I see the same "type" of items over and over again.  I figure they are there for a reason.  People pay for them. Game houses are going to put development dollars to work where they will get more bang for their buck. 

Skill accelerators, mounts, pets, housing items, penalty removers, seasonal/holiday items, bank/bag/storage items.  There are other things in games depending on their genre, but that list covers most of the good stuff.  This is what we will pay for.  Some of the items are there because we want to skip the gates.  I don't want to get a bazillion favor with XXX in order to have more slots in my bank.  I'll just buy them and get it over with.

The bank example points out one of the most important parts of Free to Play.  Long term players are not where the money is made.  The most bang for the buck happens when a new player hits the server and wants to play with the big boys.  They spend the most money in a short burst because they are in a hurry to experience the best part of any game.  The end game. Touted as where all the fun happens.  Most guild's have a heavy concentration on end game, and new players are in a hurry to get there and be included.

This Pandora's box of bad seeds has been a self perpetuated prophecy.  Gaming developers did this to themselves.  Most games get through launch and concentrate almost exclusively on end game.  They want to keep the players they already have spending money on their game, so they cater the content to them.  New gamers want to get to the good stuff as fast as possible.  Rinse.  Repeat.

Some games have even taken this too far.  Star War's Online recently launched their new expansion Knights of the Fallen Empire.  They are offering a new character to players who is automatically level 60.  I cancelled my Swtor subscription.  I worked quite hard to get my character to the max level.  Handing them out to newbies who don't even have the game mechanics figured out yet was too much for me to take.  Does it make sense in a way? It could.  Having a character who can automatically join higher level groups helps immerse a player in the game and keep coming back.  Helps them spend money on items you want them to buy.  I just don't think it's going to make for better players.  One step too far in the Pay to Win column for my liking.

Free to Play hasn't solved the gold farmer issue.  They are still there.  I see bots ingame from time to time.  They wouldn't be working if no one was buying. 

Two factor authentication hasn't solved the hacking issue.  If anything it's made my life miserable every time I get a new phone and forget to switch accounts.  Being locked out of a game when it's your fault is a little humiliating.  I am taking so many precautions I've locked myself out of my own stuff.  I don't think the hackers are having this issue.

Money might be the root of all evil.  Even in our virtual lives we've managed to screw up.  We've made our avatars about stuff.  We need more stuff in order to be better players.  Attaining stuff is why we run around killing squirrels and collecting herbs.  We can't seem to think past consumerism even when we go into a made up world. 

So where do we go from here?

Game On!

Wednesday Movie

I don't normally post this early, but I was checking out my netvibes site...Oh yes netvibes...

I should talk about it.

Netvibes is a virtual web for me. I use it to keep track of my rss feeds which includes other peoples blogs, podcasts and as a news aggregator for cnn, usa today and people *cough cough*.

It's super easy to use. Check it out!

When I come in to work in the morning, it's the first thing I bring up after my work e-mail. I can check out all the gossip, know when a new podcast comes out, have a widget for my weather, make a to-do list for when I get home, sync to my google calendar and know when my friends have put up a new blog.

In other words, it's one stop shopping for the net :)

There are other sites that do this as has one, igoogle and pageflake.

Yahoo's page is a little too busy and it is not all that user friendly yet in my opinion. IGoogle is great. It's just not pretty. What is great about IGoogle is that you can use it and have everything in one spot, your gmail, your word processing and spreadsheet docs stored in one place, google calendar and so on. Of course, people already make widgets which import all this information easily into my netvibes space. I like pretty and netvibes let's me have a pink theme with pink headers and such :)

I may switch to pageflake one of these days. They are moving their site into a social networking type of site which allows you to build a page of your favorties and then post it up to share. I just haven't figured out how the widgets work over there, once I do, I may switch.

Anyways, I was checking out my netvibes when I saw that Jerry over at the DDOcast website had linked in a new video.

Now this is very very funny to me, but I play DDO a lot. I don't know if anyone else is gonna find this funny, but here it is :)


My clothes feel looser today, which is different than I have felt in a while. If I can keep this feeling and let it replace the comfort I find in yummy, fat laden, greasy food then I will make my goal weight. If not, well... I don't want to think about if not.

I need new breakfast ideas though. I had grapenuts with skim milk and a light english muffin for breakfast. Most days I have one packet of Quaker oatmeal. Yesterday I had eggbeater, a Kraft free slice of cheddar on a toasted english muffin. Not quite McDonald's but healthy. Breakfast has never been a meal I like and it gets boring FAST!

I have netflix. I have been watching Supersize Me online at work when my boss isn't looking. OMG... it makes you want to eat healthy. If you haven't already seen it, check it out.

Boss is due in any minute... EKKKKKK!!!