Wow, it’s been a while since this blog got any use, and with good reason. Pretty much all my writing about games has appeared on The Escapist and GameFront over the past five years, and by the time all that writing was done, this place just didn’t seem important to keep updated. But things have changed pretty massively since August of 2017.

After being laid off from The Escapist at the end of August, I was in the process of searching for a new position when I noticed that a nagging elbow injury from earlier in the summer wasn’t getting any better. After weeks of physical therapy, steroid treatment, and other attempts at repairing the damage, I ended up in a hematology clinic getting blood work done. I was shocked to learn that my joint pain wasn’t caused by an injury. Instead, I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

Treatment started almost immediately, and the next seven months were a whirlwind of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, followed by a bone marrow transplant. Along the way, I lost 85 pounds, most of my muscle tone, and every bit of my hair. Now, in June of 2018, I’m in full remission, and I’m beginning the long process of rebuilding my body, and my life.

I’m looking forward to getting back into talking about video games, even if I don’t end up back as a working critic. I’ll be talking about games here, on an occasional podcast here and there, and anywhere else that will have me. If anything fun comes up, I’ll be sure to let anyone who might be reading this know here.

Wow, it’s been a while since I had a chance to write anything here. Analog Gamers has basically turned into my personal blog, since the majority of my gaming-related words end up over at GameFront these days. Not that I have a ton of writing time there either, but I occasionally slip a piece into the mix.

Anyway, with this site becoming my personal blog, that means you’ll not only be subjected to random nonsense about tabletop and video games, you’ll also get everything else that happens to pop into my head. Let me apologize for that in advance.

I’ll also apologize for the chaotic update frequency. I’m currently in the middle of trying to prep my current house for sale, purchase another house, and manage to move myself and the family. Plus there’s work, Elks business, and anything that pops up along the way. Suffice to say that I sometimes don’t get a chance to update this for a while. I swear, I’ll try to do better once the move happens.

So you’ve been warned. Don’t act surprised later when you’ve seen two or three rambling rants separated by days. I told you it would happen.

Ah, Sony. You just can’t get a break, can you? Just as you’re all primed to have your best year with PS3 ever, you go and let PSN get hacked. Not only that, you let a ton of user data get compromised. You say that you have no evidence that credit card info was taken, and that’s great. I’m looking forward to hearing the details of that in your press conference tomorrow.

So, I guess that just leaves one big unanswered question: whose fault is this mess, anyway? Well, the answer to that one is not so simple, as there’s plenty of blame to toss around.

First, Sony is to blame. Obviously, they could have taken plenty of extra security measures. Now, if you know anything about IT, security, and the web, you know that there is no such thing as a ‘hack-proof’ system. No matter how high you build the wall, there’s always some asshole with a longer ladder or a bigger breaching charge.

Still, Sony apparently had user info stored unencrypted (credit card data was encrypted, according to Sony, just not user details) on the system. Really? That’s the best you’ve got, Sony? I picture some guy at PlayStation headquarters hunched over a keyboard filling an Excel spreadsheet with user info and just shake my head. This is bad, Sony.

You also decided to make a complete investigation of the hack before informing your users what had happened, and that their info might be at risk. Now, this one you need to think about. It’s easy for users to get bent out of shape over this, but there are two things that many people need to consider before they go getting their panties in a bunch.

  1. If Sony believes this was a criminal act (and they obviously do), they are perfectly within their legal rights to withhold the info pending the commencement of a law enforcement investigation. I feel like this is the leg Sony is going to try to stand on in court, but that is nothing more than me guessing at it.
  2. Sony wanted to be damn sure before they announced the severity of the breach. Think of it this way: How mad would you be if Sony had announced that your info may be compromised, and then turned around and said, “Oh, never mind, it’s not.” First, you wouldn’t believe them. The net would be full of posts howling at the “Sony cover-up.” Second, the bad PR would already be out there, and they’d have to fight it just like they are doing now. By investigating it first, they made sure that they were announcing the truth, and made sure that the PR war was necessary.

Now, I’m not defending the amount of time that Sony allowed to lapse between discovering the hack and making the announcement. A week is an inexcusable amount of time, and there’s no excuse for it. THAT is what I’m mad about. Investigate as much as you want, Sony, just don’t take days letting us know the extent of our risk. Had you managed this announcement in the first 24-48 hours of the downtime, you wouldn’t be hurting nearly as bad as you are today. If you can’t determine what’s wrong in that amount of time, you may want to re-examine your IT department.

You see, it doesn’t make sense to get angry about Sony getting hacked. Companies get hacked all the time. Some announce it, some don’t. Some don’t involve user information, and some do. Less than 6 months ago, Kotaku get hacked, and a ton of user info was freely available on the web. Already this year, user details were leaked, although they named a third-party marketing firm as the location of the breach. The government gets hacked, non-profits get hacked, it’s the price of doing business in the online world that we live in today.

Therein lies the second, and far more appropriate place to lay blame: the hackers themselves. There’s plenty of speculation that Anonymous may have been behind the breach, even though the group has denied being involved. However, it’s entirely possible that one or more of the many folks who make up that amorphous group could be responsible without the knowledge of the folks who speak for them. At the moment, no one knows who the culprit was.

What we do know is that a malicious person or persons illegally accessed private data on Sony’s servers, and that’s a crime. Yes, Sony should have secured it better. Yes, they could have hardened their network more. Neither of these things is up for debate. But if you review the facts logically, it’s difficult for me to understand how anyone can point the finger solely at Sony.

I guess what this long-winded diatribe is saying is that while it’s perfectly OK to be pissed off at Sony for their handling of this incident, it’s not OK to give the hackers a free pass. Go ahead, rail at Sony for the shoddy job they did protecting your info. They completely deserve it. Just make sure you save a dose of the same ire for the criminals who perpetrated the act. After all, they’re the ones benefiting from breaking the law.

Note: This post is fairly dated, as the quotes contained herein are old. For whatever reason, this one never made the cut for me. Apparently, my cut here is far easier to make.
Pretty much everyone is already aware that Activision has cancelled the Guitar Hero series. Most of those people should remember that the original Guitar Hero was a collaboration between Red Octane and Harmonix.
Kelly Summer, former CEO of Red Octane, believes that Activision “abused” the Guitar Hero franchise, and that, “there’s no reason why Guitar Hero cannot continue. It’s a great product. My gut tells me there is still a significant market for Guitar Hero.” While I can appreciate the sentiment behind those thoughts, the reality is that Activision only did what should have been done years ago by putting a stake in the heart of Guitar Hero.
When Guitar Hero first released in 2005, it was an instant success. Naturally, a sequel soon followed, and it was the best game in the Guitar Hero series to date. After Guitar Hero II, the future of the series was basically doomed when Activision purchased Red Octane, but opted to pass on Harmonix. Instead, they gave development chores to Neversoft, who had previously only worked on the Tony Hawk series.
Meanwhile, Harmonix was snapped up by MTV Games, and went on to release Rock Band, the game that basically did everything Guitar Hero did, did it better, and let your friends be part of the band. The one-two punch of a new developer and a competitor that was making a much more desirable product sent Guitar Hero reeling, and it never recovered. Activision tried to emulate Rock Band with Guitar Hero: World Tour, but the game was harnessed with a cumbersome interface and a substandard drum peripheral, among other problems.
GH: Warriors of Rock only exacerbated the issue, as it ended up going head to head with what is widely considered the most polished music game ever produced, Rock Band 3. Most of the people who are still playing music games were ready for something new, and Rock Band 3’s Pro Mode was right on the money.
So while I can’t argue with the sentiment that Activision abused the GH series, I can’t support the idea of continuing it. It’s been withering on the vine for quite some time now, and killing it was the only decent thing to do.

I was reading through one of my favorite tabletop RPG blogs today, when I came across this post. Its author, a contributor whose own blog I read regularly, posits that there is a dearth of roleplaying in tabletop RPG’s these days. He attributes this (at least in part) to the trend of publishers focusing heavily on the rules, and little to none on roleplaying.

While this may be true, I think it misses a fundamental point. Dungeons and Dragons never really told anyone how to roleplay. Sure, they provided articles in magazines like Dragon to give some pointers to players, but the responsibility for roleplaying always rested in the same place: the players.

As tabletop gamers, do we really need someone to write a book to tell us how to perform? Does the lack of what we might consider an appropriate mention in the core books preclude us from roleplaying entirely? I submit that it does not.

I have heard many people give voice to this same lament, and to them all I say this: Your roleplaying is up to you, and no one else. If you enjoy roleplaying, as I know many of you obviously do, there is nothing in 3rd or 4th Edition D&D that prevents you from doing it. In fact, your efforts to include roleplaying in your games may very well inspire and teach the next generation of roleplayers.

I am currently running a 4E campaign with two virtually brand new players, and they are quickly picking up the basics of roleplaying from the others in the group. They didn’t have to read it in a core book, or buy a supplement. They simply watched the group having fun roleplaying, and decided that it was something they wanted to do.

With the shift in recent game systems becoming more focused on the rules, it is up to us, the players, to educate the new players in the art of roleplaying, and to show them why it enhances the game so much. This more than anything will guarantee that they continue to roleplay, no matter what campaign they find themselves in.

In short, let Wizards, Paizo, or whoever provide the game. We’ll supply the roleplaying from our own stores.

Recent Posts

Latest tweets

  • Loading tweets...

Created by Site5 WordPress Themes.
Experts in WordPress Hosting.