My darling Sophie, you were taken too soon. Fighting your way through hoardes of Hellbeasts who were just too strong.

Yes, I’m talking about my Diablo 3 hardcore Monk named Sophie. One of the features Blizzard boasted about it’s latest dungeon crawller was an finite death mode. Hardcore, as it’s called, allows you to start a brand new character, as if you had just switched on the game for the first time. Your hardcore character doesn’t have access to your chest like your normal characters, nor can they access your accumulated gold. They are created brand-spanking new with a clean slate.

Reflecting on the short 14 levels I had with Sophie, I think I was foolish to have created her. Diablo 3 issues are well known and while I’ve never had major issues with lag (averaging a ping of 200-300ms even while playing with friends in South Korea and the US), the lag I had while playing US servers on Hardcore wasn’t anything to be happy about. I managed to escape by the skin of my teeth dangerous, laggy situations with a smart use of potions and evasive manouvers.

But, we battled on until that faithful day. Trapped in a corner with no Spirit and potions recharging, we couldn’t escape. When you died, my friend Seth wondered why I gasped and cried out, “no!”

I’ll remember our time fondly, while I still mourn your death.

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There’s so much footage coming out for Borderlands 2 these days, it’s making the next 3 months excruciating. You can countdown with me here.

To satisfy your desire, have a HD trailer.

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I’ve been pretty slack on the whole gaming thing of late. I’ve got a very good excuse! I’m overseas at the moment and I’ve only got my laptop and while this was a pretty decent gaming laptop (no, that is NOT an oxymoron) when I bought it almost 4 years ago, the old girl is starting to show her age. Also, I dropped on it on the train on the way to Maastricht and the battery is all broken. In my opinion, that’s a pretty good excuse to buy a new one.

But, I’ve been doing some sneaky, sneaky research. Well, by “research”, I mean “shopping.”, although, the nerdy girl in me showed herself the other day when I was out with my friend doing touristy things. The first store I went into? A Dutch gaming store!

I know that with the exchange rate, everything is a little off but when I do the math, games are cheaper here in Europe than in Australia by at least $10. It’s amazing that Australia is so ripped off by retailers. The excuse for as long as I can remember was, “the Australian dollar is weak against the Euro and Greenback,” but since the European economy and the American economy are doing worse compared to the Australian economy (to the point that the AUD was above parity with the USD for months) that excuse was bunk.

And even now that the Steam Summer Sale has started (My wallet is hiding in a corner, whimpering), the difference in price has become obvious. The Australian government has started an inquiry into how prices on electronic goods (including games) is significantly higher than other places, however, I’m not sure how much good it will do.

(A little off topic: if you want to see the photos from my trip click here)

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The Internet can be an incredible tool. You can use it to connect to people around the world, research your ideas, look up porn or express your ideas; although, the final item isn’t a wise idea in a world full of Anonymous assholes.

I say this as Pop Culture Critic Anita Sarkeesian announces a Kickstarter project to research and analyse the rampant sexism towards women in video games. Now, I’m not one to go on and on about how women are sexualised in games. Actually, I’m generally okay with it (with a few exceptions). I’m aware it’s out there and that some people might be offended but I tend not to read in to too much. (more…)

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This year, since I can’t report from E3 like I’d hoped, I’m in the internet bleachers! For those who don’t know, E3 is a yearly video game conference where developers come together and try to pimp their wares for the next 12 months.

PlayStation brand logo

Since E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) started in 1995, it has become one of the major expo’s for developers of software, hardware and their fans to come together and experience the innovation coming from the biggest names in gaming such as Sony, Microsoft, Ubisoft, EA and others. It’s also a time for smaller, indie developers to meet distributers and fans. Everyone tends to have a wonderful time rubbing shoulders with the industry bigwigs. (more…)

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Bitch, yeah.

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My friend Aimee linked me a blog post with a comment, “I hate feminists.” The reason for this comment? A post on a Game of Thrones blog about the upcoming RPG game based on the series. The author has decided to boycott the game as your only character choices are male.

Once I’d read through the blog and consulted Aimee, we’d come up with this response:

“Really? You’re going to make a big deal out of this!? Considering most of the main characters in the TV series are male, it’s no surprise that the main characters of the video game are also male. Why would you be upset by this? It only goes to show how immature women who play games are as immature as some of our male counterparts.

If you’re going to boycott this, why not boycott every game where you play as a male character only. There are a lot of games out on the market where you can’t choose the sex of your avatar. It’s not oppression or sexism. It’s just a load of code.

If you want to talk about rampant sexism in games, why not talk about how Lara Croft is still a highly sexualised woman or something relevant and quit making mountains out of mole hills.” (more…)

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The GAME saga continues today with the release of Diablo 3 (colour me surprised it didn’t break street date). It’s now well known that the unfortunate souls who pre-ordered Diablo 3 won’t be getting their box of goodies as GAME aren’t honouring pre-orders as they plunge into debt, but the developer Blizzard have come through and made a bad situation a little less bad (and got some wonderful publicity at that.) An announcement on the Diablo 3 forums from Lylirra says

We’re aware that some Australian GAME customers have been left out in the cold on what should be the hottest night of the year — the launch of Diablo III. To help with this situation and get these players into the game as soon as possible, we’ve put the following process in place.

Australian GAME customers with a valid preorder/prepurchase receipt dated before May 15, 2012 can do the following:
1. Purchase the digital version of Diablo III from http://www.diablo3.com now or anytime before May 21, 2012.

2. Download and start playing when the servers go live!

3. Submit your GAME Australia preorder/prepurchase receipt to us before June 30, 2012.

4. Receive a credit from Blizzard, for the amount you paid in advance to GAME Australia for Diablo III. This credit will be applied to the payment method used for the digital purchase.

We’ll post further details here on how to submit your GAME Australia receipt to our customer service team as soon as possible. Stay tuned, and we look forward to seeing you in the Burning Hells!

So there you have it! While it’s unfortunate that GAME can’t honour their customer’s purchases, Blizzard are doing a very nice thing. How often can you say that about a games developer?

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The Australian gaming industry took another blow today with brick-and-mortar store GAME announcing it’s going into administration. Sending emails to their stores and confirming the story with Kotaku, all the speculation about whether the Australian arm of the company would follow its UK brethren who entered administration earlier this year. While it looked good for the brief period between GAME UK’s march store closures and now, it’s clear that we won’t see pretty purple signs in our shopping centres for much longer.

It was good while it lasted.

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Hey guys!

If you follow the Facebook page, you’ll have noticed I’ve been somewhat excited about a competition I’ve entered to go to E3! So there’s two parts to it.

I had to write a 500 word review on an Xbox Live Arcade game from a small pool of games. As there were only 4 games (Trails: Evolution, Bloodforge, Fable: Heroes or Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition), I went through and read a little about each game.

Trails: Evolution didn’t appeal to me at all since it’s a racing game and I’m not that into them. Fable: Heroes looked okay but I don’t like the Fable games much. Minecraft: Xbox 360 edition was what I choose to review until I saw that it wasn’t available for some reason. WTF?

So I went with Bloodforge, a pretty typical hack-and-slash game that’s visually appealing. I only played about an hour of the game before writing my review since I felt I had learnt everything I need to know about the style, controls, storyline and characters. I knocked that out pretty quickly and sent it off to Seth! Seth had a small accident and through no fault of his own couldn’t return an edited version of my review so I did the best I could and edited it myself.

The second part was the harder part. I had to record a 2 minute video of why I should go to E3. I’d recorded that video a dozen times or more before I settled on my submitted work.

The Top 5 are meant to be revealed around May 17th-18th and they it goes to a vote. If I make it till then, I’ll be asking everyone to help me get there. Voting, sharing it with your friends, spamming everyone you know. Bribery won’t be looked down on as long as you vote.

Thanks for all your support!

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