Real life is boring in comparison: Grand Theft Auto V review (Xbox 360)

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The three musketeers of 2013.

I haven’t beat Grand Theft Auto V yet. I’m not even a third of the way through the game. I’ve been too busy doing other activities that don’t involve missions or advancing the story in any way. I’ve gone golfing, played tennis, flied planes and helicopters, pimped my ride, gone on shooting rampages, outrun cops, received lap dances, and much more.

Most reviews are written after the reviewer has finished the game. This one certainly isn’t and I don’t believe it’s really any less of a review. Why? There’s just so much to do and see that no review of this game is truly a “complete” review. I’ve dabbled in most activities in the game. I’ve done all manners of things in story missions and even optional missions. I’ve done my first big heist, one of several in the game. I haven’t seen the story to its conclusion, but I feel like I’ve played enough of the game to give some strong impressions.

Perhaps I’ll change my mind after finishing the story. In that case, I’ll make another blog post in the future explaining how and why my overall opinion has changed. But for now, let’s look at my thoughts after putting in some serious time with a game bursting with content.

You definitely want to read more, don’t you?


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Can you blame a guy?

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This sums up how I’m feeling right now.

I just got home after purchasing Grand Theft Auto V. I’m beyond excited. I work tonight but I have tomorrow off. So I’ll use what precious little time I have to learn the map and basics, and then I’ll game tomorrow. All. Day. Long.

So what does this mean for the blog? Nothing too new here. If you’ve been following me, you’ll know I’m prone to occasionally not being able to post. Usually once a month. I apologize. This will be my one non-update of the month.

So what does this mean for the rest of the month? I’ll have a review of GTA V up next week. I may not have completed the story (in which case I’ll fully disclose that), but even dozens of hours worth of impressions may be worthy of a review. The week after I’d like to talk about the requirements to being a credible games “journalist” or blogger. What qualities, attributes, or experience must one have to talk about video games, the industry, and the many topics surrounding technology and digital entertainment? I’d like to see what some of the more recognizable games journalists have learned or done to get them where they are today.

That’s it for today! Sorry again for the lack of a real update, but never fear, the rest of September will be full of content. And for those who are also playing GTA V, have fun! I haven’t popped it in the Xbox 360 yet, but I’m sure it will be great.


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Unnecessary topics surrounding video games

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Wow. So many constraints. Definitely click this one to see it in its full glory.

Gaming has changed. It’s no longer about fun gameplay, pretty graphics, or cool characters. It’s an endless series of gender battles, fought by misogynists and feminists. Gaming, and its consumption of life, has become a well-oiled machine.

Gaming has changed.

There’s no need to continue on. You get the point. If you’ve ever played Metal Gear Solid 4, you may recognize that quote. Well, not that exact quote, but something like it. And it fits. An industry built on delivering fun experiences other media couldn’t deliver is now under attack. At least that’s how I feel.

I feel it’s under attack not because a lot of games feel the same or because they cost too much or anything like that. It’s under attack because of things that don’t really relate all that much to gaming in the first place: accurate gender, race, and sexual representation.

While I certainly agree with a lot of things said about these various topics, I still feel it isn’t right. It isn’t right when a review focuses on a game’s representation of its characters more than its actual gameplay mechanics. It isn’t right when a game is hated simply because the protagonist is male or praised simply because the protagonist is female.

It isn’t right when politics and ideologies take precedence over fun.

It’s right when you read more, of course.


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Black Ops 2 Map Packs: Review

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The game is called Black Ops 2 and there’s a lot of black used in this picture to symbolize the types of ops the soldiers are doing. That’s deep.

Every year, it’s the same thing: a new Call of Duty video game and several map packs. Treyarch, the developers of World at WarBlack Ops, and this year’s Black Ops 2 are known for creating four map packs, each with four multiplayer maps and one map for the Zombies mode. This game is no exception. Well, for the most part. With all four map packs now available for the Xbox 360 (PC and PlayStation 3 users will have to wait until later this month for the last pack), it’s time to see how they stack up against each other. As well, I’ll give my opinion on which one provides the best value for money. For those who only want to plonk down $15 for a single pack, this may help you decide which one is most worthy of your money.

Of course you want to read more

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Funniest video game commercials

Fine, I admit, I don’t have a real post today. It’s been a busy week, though I suppose that really isn’t a great excuse. My dog ate my computer. Is that a better one?

Next week I certainly plan on a new real post. I’ll be reviewing all four map packs for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. I’ll break them down and explain what you’re getting in each pack and give it a score out of 10. I’ll also explain which one I think is most worth your money. So if you can only ever get one map pack for Black Ops 2, you’ll most likely want to get the one I’ll be recommending at the end of the review.

If you’re part of the millions who like Call of Duty, then you’ll love next week’s post. And if you’re part of the millions who can’t stand the game series, then you’ll obviously hate next week’s post and you may even plot to kill me. That’s fine. I completely understand

That’s all for today. Wait, no, I forgot the important part. Here’s a YouTube video containing some of my favourite game commercials. It’s not my video, but it’s still enjoyable. Hope this will somewhat tide you over until next week!

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A parent’s guide to buying games

You see this? This isn’t normal. The parents of these kids shouldn’t have let this happen.

We’ve all been there: our parents wouldn’t let us watch a movie because we were “too young” for it. We were told things like, “It’ll make you more violent” or, “You have plenty of time to grow up. Watch it when you’re older.”  We’d stomp and get mad, maybe even throw a tantrum. But no matter what, our parents would stick firm to their beliefs and say we couldn’t watch that movie.

Games are very much the same way. Some games are clearly meant for older players, while others can be enjoyed by just about anybody. Logically, parents would act the same way and shield us from mature games while we’re younger, right?


It seems like too many parents have no idea what kind of games their little angels are playing. Then we have the exact opposite, where some parents are far too strict, thinking their children can only play the most non-violent and kid-friendly games. The point is, most parents can’t parent properly as soon as video games are involved.

I’m going to fix that. Here are some obvious things to help you figure out whether little Jimmy should be playing Super Mario’s Family-Friendly Playground Fun or Grizzled Space Marine Who Shoots Aliens and Swears A Lot. If you’re a parent, this is REQUIRED READING


Filed under Random

Angry Birds: An empire of forced popularity

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Ignoring that chump on the bottom right, all these games are part of the same series.

Asking someone today if they’ve heard the name Angry Birds is like asking someone in the 90s if they’ve heard the name Pokémon. If they say no, they’re likely so far removed from the world or you’re talking to a rock. Angry Birds is huge. There are plenty of games on nearly every device imaginable (just wait until the microwave-compatible version is released), there are toys, toons, and an upcoming movie.

But why? Why is this franchise so popular? I’ve played some of the games and I’ve enjoyed the hell out of them. For a time. Now all I can do is sit here and ask myself why this series that began in December 2009 is still going strong in August 2013 with much more to come. Please tell me you feel the same way


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Lara Croft: Product of sexism?

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You KNEW this image was going to be used again.

I’m making good on my promise from my review of 2013’s Tomb Raider: I’m finally going to give my opinions on why I believe Lara Croft is an excellent female video game character. With so much social justice and feminism hullabaloo suddenly surrounding video games (WHY?! They’re supposed to be fun), it’s hard to look at any female character in a video game without analyzing her as not only a character, but as a representative of an entire gender.

This doesn’t apply to male characters because any “harmful” image of a man in video games is obviously a fantasy that only serves to empower men. With such few female characters present in games, let alone playable in games, game creators will continue to be criticized for the way in which they portray this gender.

Lara Croft was one of the first great female characters who could take on any of her male counterparts in a variety of areas. Even now, she still is. She’s smart, independent, agile, adept at combat, curious, and much more. She isn’t merely a male character in a female body. She’s actually her own person.

So that should be enough to not upset women who both play and analyze video games, right?  Don’t be too sure about that…


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I’m not dead (at least I don’t think so)


This is essentially what I did last week and what I’m doing this week.

I’m still around, don’t worry. I’ve just been very busy and am still busy this week. I’ve been working a lot, which I suppose isn’t fun at all. But then I also went to Saskatchewan for my grandmother’s birthday party and I’m heading to the Glengarry Highland Games this weekend. Pretty stoked to eat haggis and wear a kilt and all that jazz.

I should have a regular blog post up next Tuesday. It’ll finally look into my thoughts on Lara Croft over the years and I’ll touch a bit upon the so-called “sexism” found in video games. After that, who knows what’s next? All I know is I plan on doing regular Tuesday updates starting next Tuesday. Hope to still see some of you guys around then!

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A reboot is born: Tomb Raider review (Xbox 360)

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Lara Croft is reflecting upon how much she’s changed since 1996.

The Tomb Raider franchise had a promising beginning: the first few games delivered on their promises of exploration, careful jumping, fighting dangerous enemies, and unbelievable cup sizes. The games slowly became less successful and soon enough the best Tomb Raider games were called Uncharted. There was an attempt to reboot the franchise in 2006 with Tomb Raider: Legend, which was quite successful, but its sequel, Tomb Raider: Underworld, slowed any momentum the franchised had regained.

Then 2013 happened and Crystal Dynamics, the company responsible for the franchise since Legend, decided to reboot the series yet again. This time, they brought Lara into the modern world and rewrote all of her established history. While still considered a reboot, Legend only changed Lara’s background and still fit into the overall canon. 2013’s Tomb Raider is a brand new start.

This fresh start was necessary for the once-legendary franchise, but will it pave the way to greater adventures or will it seal its own tomb?

I’d like to find out

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