Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Of Oceans and Arcades: a punishment gone too far

This Paul Christoforo/Avenger controller/Penny Arcade/Ocean Marketing business has really left a sour taste in my mouth. Paul Christoforo definitely should not have been the asshole that he was, but this is all too much. He definitely deserved to be fired. Nobody should ever act that way in a professional capacity, especially when that capacity is public relations. It doesn't matter what your excuse is or how much you apologize, his responses to Dave's concerns were inexcusable.

But Mike Krahulik did the wrong thing. He could have gotten Paul fired and banned from PAX all without turning him over to the internet. 'Gabe' holds the key to the cage for a beast which he is not powerful enough to control. He unleashed that monster upon Paul without regard for the consequences and delighted in its wrath. He knows full and well that when the internet--and especially the gaming-oriented internet--gets its sight on a target, they don't focus on it alone. From Paul's pleas to Mike:

"I have not slept yet dealing with all the spam and personal information intrusion as well as my family being smeared on the internet."

"If you can please accept my apology and anything you can do to help if not me my son and wife please do." -Paul Christofolo

A man prostrate before his torturer, given no mercy.

Nemesis may be for retribution,
 but she's ultimately about balance
When the dickwolf controversy was going full tilt, Mike called for a truce because his family had been threatened. He had finally reached his limit. And yet, here we are, somebody else's family is harassed and Mike cares not. It took a day after publicly posting the emails containing those pleas before Mike asked people to leave the family alone. He also doubted their existence in the same sentence. When someone claims that their family is being attacked, you probably shouldn't doubt them. I think there are other situations where you shouldn't doubt someone unless you have very good reason too.

Surprisingly, all this comes from one of the founders of the Child's Play charity, which provides games for children who are in the hospital. You'd think he'd show more concern for the son of the man he attacked, especially considering that he too is a father. It becomes less surprising when you consider that Child's Play wasn't born out of an inherent need to do good, it was born out of a desire to prove that gamers weren't all bad people. I guess he kinda destroyed that idea, huh.

On bullies
"I have a real problem with bullies."

"Someday every bully meets and even bigger bully and maybe that’s me in this case."
-Mike Krahulik

There's a disturbing inconsistency there in that he has no problem with his actions.

Maybe that first statement lies at the core of this. Maybe when Mike sicced the internet upon Paul, he wasn't just attacking a bully. Maybe he was attacking all bullies. Years of pent up rage over being teased as a child and teen let out. Perhaps Mike should consider something when he does this. I know his son is growing up in a time that is more kind to those who'd rather spend their time inside than his father did, but all children are teased. What kind of example does he want to set for his son? Does he want a son who, when teased, responds by beating the teaser over the head with a chair?

The punishment did not fit the crime, and his actions caused innocent people to be dragged into all of this. The worst part, I don't think he gives a shit. If you're wondering which side I'm on, it's neither, they both acted out of line.

Playing with fire
"I will personally burn everything I’ve made to the fucking ground if I think I can catch them in the flames." -Mike Krahulik

But Mike did not make Penny Arcade alone, and the damage he does to it does not only affect him. Fire is dangerous and difficult to control, that's a lesson we've all learned from Avatar: The Last Airbender. What if he did something that did actually ruin Penny Arcade? How many jobs would be lost? How many children would have unemployed parents? How many people have already suffered from the flames he unleashed. One wife and one son so far. How many more?

Reading everything he wrote yesterday and what appeared in the comic today, I lost any respect I had for him. The principal of my high school during my freshman year, Monsignor George Tribou, was often attributed as saying "The measure of a man is how well he controls the animal within." It is here that I think Mike Krahulik truly failed.

-Henry out

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Percy Jackson Review

Percy Jackson and the Olypians is a fun series of books that base themselves around Greek mythology. The premise for the stories is that the Greek gods are real and their society and locations have been following western society as it has moved and are now located in the United States. For example, Olympus is now situated above New York City and is attached to the Empire State Building (floor 600).

The story revolves around a group of children of the gods who spend their summers at Camp Half-Blood, where they are protected and learn to harness their gifts and how to fight monsters. Camp Half-Blood has 12 cabins for each of the major gods who have a throne on Olympus. The gods maintain the laissez-faire attitude they've typically had towards their children, believing that maintaining a distance is better for them.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Thrill Digger: My New Obsession

Mole Mitts by ShadowBoyRyu

It's like this, but different.
Thrill Digger is a minigame included in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. It is a minesweeper-esque game in that there are hazards scattered around a grid and the spots in the grid that don't contain a hazard give a clue as to how many hazards surround that spot on the grid. In minesweeper, there are bombs and numbers. A number tells you how many bombs are in the eight squares around the number. The board starts off with none of the squares revealed. Each click reveals a square's contents. Clicking on a bomb ends the game with a loss. To win the game you must reveal every non-bomb square. Versions of the game allow you to plant a flag on spots to mark them as containing a bomb so you don't make a mistake later.

Thrill Digger operates slightly differently. There are a couple different classifications of object:
  • Hazards
    • Bombs - When you dig up a bomb, the game ends and you take a heart of damage
    • Rupoors - A black rupee. You lose 20 rupees. These do not end the game.
  • Rupees - These indicate how many bombs surround that square and give you rupees.
    • Green - Indicates there are zero hazards in the surrounding squares and gives you 1 rupee.
    • Blue -  Indicates there are one or two hazards in the surrounding squares and gives you 5 rupees.
    • Red -  Indicates there are three or four hazards in the surrounding squares and gives you 20 rupees.
    • Silver -  Indicates there are five or six hazards in the surrounding squares and gives you 100 rupees.
    • Gold -  Indicates there are seven or eight hazards in the surrounding squares and gives you 300 rupees.
The goal is to collect as many rupees before you hit a bomb. In this game it is very hard to complete a board, and you aren't necessarily supposed to. The reason that it's so hard is because the rupees don't tell you exactly how many hazards surround them. That uncertainty greatly increases the difficulty. If you do manage to complete a board, you're rewarded with a high-quality crafting material. 

There are three difficulties. Beginner costs 30 rupees to play. It is a 4x5 grid with 4 bombs and no rupoors. Intermediate costs 50 rupees and is 6x5 with 4 bombs and 4 rupoors. Expert costs 70 rupees is 8x5 with 8 bombs and 8 rupoors. So a particular play is a win if you dig up more rupees than you put into the game. I personally find intermediate to be the easiest to complete. There's a very good reason for this. Consider this chart.

Summary information for the difficulties

Intermediate is the easiest to complete for me because it has the lowest percentage of bombs. There are more hazards overall, but they're less likely to end the game.

I'm completely in love with this game, even though I really don't like how the game doesn't keep a reminder what was dug up in a particular spot. I can't play intermediate or expert for very long without needing graph paper on which to chart my progress. Despite that, I've played it incessantly.

Oh, and by the way, if you think this is all that I have to say about this super awesome minigame, you're wrong. I have much more to come, including strategies and much much more.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The chicken or the egg and the real question at hand

There is the common question of "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" I hear that it's some sort of philosophical question. If you ever get asked this, I can tell you exactly how to ruin the fun to be had by the asker.

Answer with, "The egg." The chicken is not the first egg-laying animal. There were many other birds and reptiles that came before it, and they layed eggs. So there were clearly eggs before there were chickens.

Your questioner may counter with, "Fine. Which came first, the chicken or the chicken egg?" The proper response to this is, "Define 'chicken egg'." Is a chicken egg and egg that comes from a chicken or is it an egg that produces a chicken. If they come up with a response and actually answer the question, their response directly informs your answer. If they say that a chicken egg comes from a chicken, then the chicken came first. If they say that a chicken egg produces a chicken, then the egg comes first.

I don't really believe the proper response is either though, since those aren't the only two choices. I think we can all say, without doubt, that if an egg both comes from a chicken and produces a chicken then it is a chicken egg. In that case, the chicken must come first. 

But what type of egg comes from something that isn't a chicken and yet produces a chicken? That's the real question.

This has been another entry in Henry's famous "Who gives a fuck?" series. If there is anything that you would never, ever want to read about, just leave a comment below and I'll make sure and spend my time writing about it.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Black Friday 2011: The Quest for the Legend of Zelda

Sarah loves Black Friday. She has fond memories of standing outside a Wal-Mart at ungodly hours in the morning freezing her butt off with her dad and uncle. So when we can, we do Wal-Mart's Black Friday. This year, we mainly had one goal: buy the special edition Skyward Sword. It comes with a Wii Motion Plus Remote and the 25th anniversary edition music CD. All for a reasonable $60. This was especially important since we just had a Wii Remote die on us.

The Black Friday sale started at 10:00 pm Thursday, which really makes it a Black Thursday Night sale, but whatever. We arrived at 8:30 and tried to immediately determine where exactly in the covered videogame racks the game would be. Thanks to some helpful employees I found out exactly where the game would be and began the task of situating myself in the optimal position to grab the game immediately. 

The crowd was still light at this point, but there were a couple people in a single row between me and the game. When the woman in front of me turned to talk to her daughter, I used the opportunity to insinuate myself closer to the rack, placing my leg in a more forward position. Over time, she moved to the left enough that I was able to place myself immediate against the racks. Once there I laid my hand on the tarp as if to say, "This is my spot, and nobody is going to take it from me. No crowd shall create a distance between me and my prize." 

There was still a good hour between that moment and when the clock would strike frenzy. I passed the time by texting Sarah regarding our situation. She initially wanted to get some towels, but they were by the ridiculously cheap sheets and there was no way she could penetrate that crowd so she joined me in the games and DVD section.

Time passed and eventually 10:00 came. The tarps were swiftly removed and my quarry was spotted. I was the second person to grab one of their limited supply. My task was now to escape. The Skyward Sword copies were next to the display that featured games such as Battlefield 3, Madden, and Modern Warfare 3, so the crowd was generally pressing towards me. Escape was a hard fought battle. I pressed against the crowd, away from the shooters and football games towards the aisle. In the process I was squeezed up against all sorts of people. I'm sorry to any ladies which had my groin forced against them. I meant nothing by it, I swear.

In time, with much explaining that I was done and just wanted to escape, I was let out. I passed by a rack of Wii games which had several titles strewn across its top. I got out and called Sarah since I couldn't see her. She had apparently been the one who threw those Wii games on top of the rack to aid the poor mothers forced into this bedlam. She had gone by the DVD section and picked up several seasons of The Big Bang Theory and other shows and we made our way to the checkout. Upon getting there we realized she accidentally got two copies of season 1 and no copy of season 2. She went back to correct the error. 

We paid and were out of the store at 10:13 pm. We essentially kick ass. No wounds suffered. No trampling. No pepper spray burns. It was a pretty good Black Friday experience.