Thursday, June 28, 2012

Shock Humor and Being Offended: My Time with Cards Against Humanity

If all printers were determined not to print anything till they were sure it would offend nobody, there would be very little printed.
-Benjamin Franklin

Typically our blog tries to cover video gaming or related topics but I feel as though one little card game wants me to break this unwritten rule we usually follow. For those that don't know, Cards Against Humanity is similar to Apples to Apples but "for horrible people". Each round, one player asks a question from a Black Card, and everyone else answers with their funniest (or most offensive) White Card. I was finally able to get a deck of these after the product being out of stock on Amazon for many weeks.
I brought out Cards during the tail end of a party at my house as I thought the remaining late-twenty-somethings would get a kick out of it. Four hours later my face and abs hurt from laughing so hard for so long and yet as much fun as we were having I'm not sure I would have wanted my mother in the room. You see the "offensive" nature of Cards goes all the way. When you see a Black Card played that asks, "Why do I hurt all over?" and your options in your hand are "Auschwitz", "The Milkman", "A Zesty Bean Burrito" and others just as bad - you know what kind of experience you're in for. You also discover that your sweet innocent wife has a dark sense of humor you never knew about.

The four hour experience got me thinking about humor and games. So often during first person shooters or action games we start laughing uncontrollably from our own grisly death or that of a friends. While that might seem disconnected from seemingly racist, sexist or misanthropic humor contained in Cards Against Humanity; I believe it's one in the same. Horrible violence occurring on screen and wildly offensive statements and comparisons all make us laugh even as we try to sputter how horrible it was. Some people still will get upset over these types of situations or find the whole ordeal repulsive but I think there's significant evidence to suggest that a good portion of those people are merely displaying behavior they believe society expects of them.

A man getting his head blown off by a shotgun is a horrible and offensive thing and yet The Last of Us demo had people cheering and laughing. People cringe at stories of a man eating another mans face after consuming bath salts and will make jokes about the situation moments later. These terrible things can be joked about because they help us rid ourselves of the negativity and bad feelings we have about the subject matter. Offensive jokes, ala Cards, are able to be enjoyed because no one actually believes any of the things they are saying. The ideas presented are so terrible as to enter the realm of ridiculousness. This subject matter is to be mocked and played with because no one actually feels the way the joke states.

I think this is healthy. Have those over the top violent moments in your video games and make those offensive jokes as horrible as possible. I think Dolly Parton said it best,

I'm not offended by all the dumb blonde jokes because I know I'm not dumb... and I also know that I'm not blonde.
Lighten up people.

Buy Cards Against Humanity

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Diablo 3: Hardcore Tips and Tricks (Part 4 The Finale)

So I've done it.  I've reached level 60 on Hardcore with my Monk.  It took me a total of 54 hours and I got up to the "Lair of the Witch" (Maghda) quest on Hell difficulty.  I ended up grinding the path to Maghda from 58-60 as I felt it was the safest method at that point.  I'll share with you my final set of tips and tricks I used to get to level 60 successfully that I hope will help you archive the same outcome. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Smart Glass

For Microsoft, this year's E3 was all about maintaining the status quo before the introduction of new hardware next year. They did announce one interesting piece of technology this year: Smart Glass. Smart Glass will allow 360 owners to use their tablets and smartphones, regardless of the brand, as a companion/controller for their 360s.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Digital Distribution Competition and it's Effect on the Gaming Market: Part 2

Time for part two of my analysis of digital distribution!  Today's agenda? pricing.  There's a lot going on and the yearly steam summer sale is on the horizon (hide you wallets!). The yearly sale usually involves me spending 20-40 dollars on a bunch of indie games and AAA games that came out a year or two ago which I then proceed to never play.  Origin has gone on record stating you won't see the deep discount sales on their platform like you do on Steam while speaking with during a recent Interview:

Monday, June 18, 2012

Classic Games I Love to Hate: Faxanadu

A few weekends ago, I took a break from my current Diablo 3 obsession to stream (you can subscribe to my Twitch stream here) a few classic games that I've been itching to revisit recently.  I decided to start with Faxanadu which is a notoriously difficult game due to the fact the jumping mechanics and many other aspects of the game are so clunky and broken but was always a game I loved playing as a child.  This got me thinking about other games from my childhood that were some of my favorites but now in retrospect are broken to a point of pure frustration.  In this series of posts, I'll revisit some of my favorite classic games that I played as a child that were so broken, poorly developed or just plain goofy, they would never make it to the shelves today.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Diablo 3: Hardcore Impressions

I died. Let's get that out of the way. I died and it was terrible. I felt like someone else had destroyed something I spent so much time creating and despite telling myself I wouldn't get attached to this character I had spent 19 hours making - I was crushed seeing those words. YOU HAVE DIED. Literally unbelievable. I did not understand what I was reading. And then over the next hour I think I went through the five stages of grief. Perhaps I mean that tongue in cheek. Perhaps I don't. I wasn't mad at the end. Just disappointed. Dying was my fault. I could not blame lag on my death. My level 39 wizard died to teleporting, molten, magic sand wasps and I should have saved my diamond skin for a that moment instead of moments before when I thought it was better to use it in advance just to be careful. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Diablo 3: Hardcore Tips and Tricks (Part 3)

Having reached level 50 on my Monk, I think it's time for more Tips and Tricks action based off of what I've learned fighting my way through Nightmare.  It is truly a horrifying experience knowing that at any moment a group of elite mobs can roll in with some crazy combination of skills to one shot you or attempting an event/boss that was very easy in Normal is now crazy hard in Nightmare.  I've had many near death experiences on my way to 50, hopefully the following will help you avoid some of your own.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Diablo 3: Hardcore Tips and Tricks (Part 2)

This will be a continuation of my previous Diablo 3: Hardcore Tips and Tricks post from last week.  Since my last post, I've trudged through Act 3 to the tail end on my current Hardcore Barbarian "Opie" and it appears I beat the jinx as I'm now 32 and not dead.  In my recent defense of Bastion's Keep, I've come up with some more ways to keep yourself alive while playing Hardcore.

Friday, June 1, 2012