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Gaming News: Black Friday Edition

Hey everyone! It’s November which means it’s almost time for gorging ourselves on Thanksgiving… oh, and that little thing called Black Friday! I’ve found the deals going on this year at Target, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, etc and I’ve laid out the specs for you. Whether you are looking for games or a new console make sure you look here!


Xbox

One X – 1TB – Gold Rush Special Edition Battlefield V – $429.99 at Best Buy

One X – 1TB – $399.99 at Wal-Mart (other bundles $70 off)

One S – 1TB – Minecraft Creators Bundle – $199.99 at Best Buy or Wal-Mart

Controllers – 39.99 at Best Buy and Target – $39 at Wal-Mart

X-Box Live 3 Months – $12.50 at Wal-Mart


Playstation 4

1TB – Marvel’s Spider-Man Console Bundle $199.99 at Best Buy and Wal-Mart

Controllers – $39.99 at Best Buy and Target – $39 at Wal-Mart


Nintendo Switch

Super Mario Kart Deluxe Bundle – $299.99 at Best Buy, Wal-Mart, and Target

Controllers – Starting at $14.99 at Best Buy


Games

Select Games at Best Buy – $19.99, $24.99, and $29.99

Select Games at Target – $15, $25, $29.99, $35

Select Games at Wal-Mart – $12, $17, $25, $35

Red Dead Redemption 2

  • $59 w/exclusive Steelbook at Wal-Mart
  • $59.99 w/collapsible cup at Best Buy

Fallout 76

  • $59 w/exclusive Steelbook at Wal-Mart
  • $59.99 w/Vault boy keychain at Best Buy

Microsoft Store Deals


PC Gaming

HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop – $599.99 at Wal-Mart

  • 8gb memory
  • 1TB storage
  • i5 processor
  • 15.6″ Screen
  • NVIDIA GTX 1050i 4GB Graphics

Numerous deals at Newegg.com – entirely too many to list! Lots of PC’s and laptops with a few hundred off. As well as parts on sale.


I would love to give you more information about PC Gaming, but we all know Steam keeps it’s Autumn/Black Friday Sale pretty well under wraps. It is coming up, so keep an eye out for it! Also, Amazon has their Black Friday under wraps as well, but they already have Pre-Black Friday sales going on, so head over when you get a chance. I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and good shopping on Black Friday (and Cyber Monday)!

P.S. Please be safe! We all know Black Friday has the ability to get out of hand!

Games to Get Excited About – November 2018 Edition

The 2 games I’m most excited about this month are probably not a big surprise. Everyone is excited about the upcoming Fallout 76 and if you are a survival buff like me then you are equally excited for Ark: Extinction. Just in case you aren’t familiar with these, let’s have a chat..


Fallout 76 – November 14, 2019

So if you have ever wanted an apocalyptic game, you probably have heard of the Fallout series. It starts with Fallout 1 that takes place in 2161 and the following games go all the way to 2287 in Fallout 4. Well, this time Bethesda is taking us back in time to 25 years after the bomb drops – in 2102. Only, it’s not just a prequel, it’s also a multi-player game! Fallout 4 takes us to the doors of the bomb shelters opening for the first time after the bombs drop and we can play with our friends in this new/old world that is the largest dynamic world in Fallout history.

You can still play solo (for those who hate people), but if you choose to play multiplayer then there are no characters in the world that aren’t players and this sounds really fun. The price of Fallout 76 is the normal AAA price of $59.99 and up. If you want to see some video on it, check below. I’ll admit that I haven’t played any but Fallout 4, and thanks to a hard drive malfunction.. Not much of that. But, this looks like a ton of fun and I’d recommend it if you have the extra cash.


 

Ark: Extinction – November 6, 2019

So let’s start with the basics. Ark: Extinction is the third DLC for the base game Ark: Survival Evolved; which is a survival game set on an island, on another planet, full of dinosaurs. Be prepared to craft your own clothes, shelter, hunt for food, and survive the carnivores. This new DLC takes us back to where it all began, Earth. It’s hard to tell just how much time has passed because Earth is now a wasteland full of mutants, but it’s obvious this is the future because of the technology – and the new dinosaurs. Not only do we have mutated dinosaurs here, but also technological creatures to worry about. Not to mention, those mutated dinosaurs that have turned corrupted. These will always hunt you down if they see you, plus, they get pack mentality and can raid your base for the element you have gathered.

This new world looks awful and amazing at the same time. There are new gadgets, like drones, that become available. There might even be crafting of your own “pets” if they decide they don’t want us taming the tech creatures. This is going to be the hardest planet to survive on yet, but you can always make it easier by taming yourself a Titan. Yes, a Titan. There are two confirmed so far – the Frost Titan and the Forest Titan; that are tamable! For a peak of what’s to come check below. If you don’t own Ark at all then you have to buy the base game ($49.99) first, but if you have it then Extinction is $45.99 (there is also a bundle).  I would absolutely recommend this game for anyone who likes survivals. I have all the Ark’s and have not been disappointed yet. I mean there are mods upon mods to make the world what you want and even other maps and whole other play styles. Can be great for role-play as well.

 


 

So, if you enjoy survival games or apocalyptic MMO’s then pick these games up this month! You can head over to buy Fallout 76 here or run over here for Ark: Extinction on Steam! Or head to your local game store for a copy! That’s all for this month, time to get looking at what comes out in December! Til then, play what you love!

 


 

 

Are Consoles Chasing Gamers Back to PC?

Are Consoles Chasing Gamers Back to PC?

consoles v pc

Right off the bat I’ll admit I’m a PC gamer. The time came with my Xbox 360, where I realized I hadn’t touched it in 6 months. It sat there beneath my TV gathering dust and cat fur. Eventually, I handed it down to my son. He has a PS4 now, so the old Xbox is again a corpse in the shadows of our basement. I caved in again and now an Xbox One sits beside my PC. It came with 6 games; one of which I gave away to charity, two I’ve actually played (briefly), and the last two have not been touched.

So why am I faithful only to my PC? What has the Xbox One done to earn my ire when I accidentally bump the power button and it turns on? I use a controller with my PC, so I’m not strictly a mouse and keyboard guy. I use headphones for both, they share my monitor, my desk, my computer chair, and my mini-fridge (yes, be jealous). The PC does not have a better location or peripherals.

As society evolves technologically I believe we’re going to become more dependent on the internet and PCs. They have utility. I can write on my PC, the words flowing with ease from fingers to keyboard. I can listen to music, jumping from one streaming service to another all from my browser; all without adding another app. I can practice being socially awkward along with the rest of the web. I can access my email, pay my bills, and shop. Maybe there are apps for all of that on the Xbox, but I wouldn’t know. I’m too busy surfing the web.

Then there is the library. When I’ve upgraded or changed consoles, the games went with them. Even though my PC has changed over the years, I can still play the games I had on the last machine. There’s no need for backwards compatibility. Windows being what it is, I can keep my library and just reinstall the games I love playing when I get new hardware. Perhaps Steam is the culprit then, for that is where much of my time and money has gone in the four years that I’ve owned my current rig. Yes, it’s due for an upgrade soon, but it’s still humming along.

Consoles however…well, there’s no real money to be made in making old titles work with the new system. No remaster, no reboot, no sales growth. There’s quite a few 360 titles available to play on the Xbox One, but it is limited. Mass Effect: Andromeda is coming so you want to relive the original trilogy? Fine, but you better still have your 360 because Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3 won’t work on the Xbox One, and that’s just one example. There are approximately 1174 titles in the Xbox 360 catalog and only 204 of them are backwards compatible. Now we both know no one owns every title, so that matters little, but chances are the one you want to play on your shiny new system isn’t ready yet. You’ll just have to wait until they feel like handing it to you.

Sure, consoles are more stable than PCs. It’s easier for publishers to put out games for consoles because each generation is pretty standard. There’s never any major snafus with console games, and they don’t suffer hardware malfunctions like PCs.

{/sarcasm} Nope. Never. {/sarcasm}

Consoles are the family cars of gaming, they’re safe and they can entertain the kids. PCs are the sports cars, fun to drive, but dangerous to someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing. I don’t think consoles are driving the gamers away; PCs are just naturally more attractive.

Xbox’s Clubs Feature, the Gender War and Games Media Profits

Xbox’s Clubs Feature, the Gender War and Games Media Profits

TT_NotTheFandom

I originally wasn’t going to write about this new feature, because it didn’t seem like such a big deal.  It’s just another social media type platform for a game system.  In a way it is no different than the clans and guilds that formed around PC games, many of which I’ve been a part of myself.  Generally a clan is a group of people who enjoy the same game, or group of games, get together on Ventrilo or Teamspeak, and chat in their own website forums.  Xbox’s clubs feature is basically that, hosted on the console’s Live platform.  It will let people form their own club, select interests and tags, moderate, chat, share game videos, and basically share their interests with other gamers.  It does also allow you to filter out the clubs you don’t want, avoid the players you want to avoid.

Unfortunately some of the games media have dropped the ball on this, with headlines like “Xbox Live Is Getting A ‘No Trash Talking’ And ‘Females Only’ Mode” from Kotaku were slightly annoying, then I saw Microsoft Wants to Make Xbox Safe for Gamers Who Aren’t White Men” from Bloomberg.  First of all, the ‘modes’ offered by this are far more complex than ‘Females Only’, which screams the opposite of inclusive.  These modes, both LFG and Clubs, will allow gamers to join groups and find games with a wide variety of criteria.  Examples from Microsoft include:

Henshaw used the example of “parents who can only game after 10 pm”, “mic required”, “gender inclusive” and so on, as examples of tags people can attach to their Club, to seek like-minded players.

While I’m not a huge fan of separating the community, I have far less issue with these new features now than I did when I first read some of the games media’s reporting on it.  My first instinct was, that’s what the mute button is for.  I mute people all the time on games I play.  Not the smack talkers, or the people taking jabs at me, but the real jerks, yah I’ll mute them.  That’s not what these features are about though, despite what the major game’s media is making it out to be.

That second headline, from Bloomberg, is what convinced me to write this.  That headline, and the article that follows, is so condescending on many levels.  First, the implication that anyone but white men are somehow less capable of dealing with the jerks online.  Are women and minorities delicate flowers that must be sheltered from mean words online?  This seems to be predicated on the idea that white men are somehow safer?  Like we don’t get harassed, insulted, and verbally abused online?  If Dina Bass did a little research, or was honest with her premise, she’d know that everyone, white men included, get harassed online.  If she doesn’t know this, or isn’t capable of the level of research it takes to find a poll related to her topic, why is she writing for Bloomberg?  If she does know, why did she dismiss it in order to write such a biased article?  In either case the media is simply dropping the ball in reporting these features from Xbox, and perpetuating a gender war in the gaming community that they continue to profit from.

Following that up, the second line of the article from Bloomberg says:

The company is creating safe spaces for people who’ve felt uncomfortable or endured abuse at the hands of other gamers online.

This is not what Microsoft is doing, though it is a result of what is being done.  One result among many.  It’s more honest to say that the company is creating a way for gamers to interact specifically with groups that share their own interests.  They are creating a way for everyone to pick who they want to play with, not just ‘people who’ve felt uncomfortable or endured abuse’, but then again knowing that everyone has felt uncomfortable or endured abuse, maybe Dina is correct without knowing it.

The problem now is the popular games media has created this environment where everything has to be about gender, and a perfectly benign and inclusive feature (that helps people segregate themselves, yah strange I know) is now tied to this constant gender issue the media is pushing.  It’s creating rifts in the community that don’t need to be there, and isn’t helping heal the ones already here.  It keeps people on one side of the fence or the other, with many caught in the middle just wanting gamers to game.

Like I said, when I first read these headlines I thought they were actually creating a mode that was going to be called ‘females only’.  The misinformation in the media made me not want discuss this because it seemed so asinine that it wasn’t worth my time.  Then I went to Microsoft’s site, read about the feature from the original source, and realized I should have done that first.  It’s a difficult habit to break, to ignore the media and go to the source.  Even as a writer and journalist it’s something I have to consciously do, so I know how easy it is for people to take everything they read in the media as factual.

Yes, there are assholes online.  I run into them on a regular basis when I play FPS games.  It’s nice to be able to mute the ones that get out of hand.  I’m told that the Xbox community can be worse than the PC players, though I personally have no frame of reference.  If people want to be able to separate themselves into smaller cliques based on interest, more power to them.  It’s not going to solve the issue of assholes online, and it won’t make the community better, it will just split us into smaller groups.  I do know for sure, however, that the media is only making things worse and that’s a sad state of things.

We gamers really need to do more ourselves to keep our community growing, getting better.  It’s become more clear over the last few years that the major games media has no interest in actually helping.  Like the news organizations beating the political drums of one side or the other, the games media is only interested in keeping the drama going so we’ll keep on clicking and fighting.  We must stop reading their headlines and believing everything they post.  We have to stop letting them divide us into classes and groups, we’re better than that.  Gaming has always been a great community, and it can keep getting better if we stop paying attention to the drama profiteers who only want to make a buck.

Lifted Chinese Ban on Consoles Leads to Tomahawk F1

As some of you may or may not know, the Chinese government is very well-known for banning the use of various devices and websites within the country. For example, the 2009 Xinjiang riots in Western China sparked the banning of Facebook throughout the country. Because of this, other Chinese specific social media sites, such as QQ and RenRen, have popped up in its place.

Long before the Chinese government ever banned Facebook, however, they banned gaming consoles. In 2000, consoles were outlawed in China for fear that games would have negative effects on Chinese youths. This ban was ineffective, though, as many Chinese citizens were still able to purchase off brand and smuggled gaming consoles, which were being sold openly in many Chinese cities.

Xbox-One-PlayStation-4

In 2014, this ban was lifted with the condition that all gaming consoles must be approved by the appropriate governmental department before hitting the market. Microsoft and Sony both pushed for their consoles to be released in China late 2014 and early 2015, however have gained little momentum among the citizens of the People’s Republic of China.

In an effort to undercut Microsoft and Sony, a Chinese company by the name of Fuse has announced that they will be releasing a console specifically for Chinese gamers. This console, the Tomahawk F1, will run on an Android system and be priced at approximately 899 Yuan, or $140, which is significantly less expensive than either the Xbox One or PlayStation 4.

tomahawk-f1-1068x601

 

It is common in China now-a-days to find “knock offs” of popular western technology at cheaper prices. For example, there are several iPhone rip-offs, including the Oppa 9, and even a Google rip-off, called Goojje. The Tomahawk F1 is along the same lines, a rip-off. While the interface is openly Android, the console itself is designed like the PlayStation 4 while the controller is almost an exact replica of the Xbox One controller.

There is no news as to whether or not Microsoft or Sony will file legal action against Fuse. Given Apple’s recent loss in a high profile trademark infringement case against a Chinese company called Xintong Tiandi, who was using the name “IPHONE” for their line of leather products, there may be no legal action taken at all, as copyright and trademark laws are different in China.

It is Fuze’s plan to have all sorts of games available for the Tomahawk F1, including PC, mobile and AAA games. As of this time, games such as Zheros, Assassin’s Creed, Saint’s Row and more will be available for the Tomahawk F1 upon it’s release.

Happy gaming, China!

Neverwinter Review by Queen of Hell