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Showing posts from December, 2009

Buy fast, regret even faster

When the iPhone was lowered from $599 to $399 a few months after its release it caused a small outrage amongst its early customers. The new price made sure that more people can afford one. But everyone who bought it at the $599 price point felt like he was getting screwed by Apple. And of course quite a few who did have the new technical marvel also had a blog about technology where they could vent their anger.

Imagine walking past two stores. In our first scenario you see a car you've always wanted for $10.000. Then you walk past the next store and you see it priced at $12.000. You're happy, you did the smart thing! In the second scenario you see the car at $9.500. The next store has the car at $8.000. You're mad because you feel like you paid too much for the car. Even though you paid less in the second scenario you're not happy.

So I find it weird to see thee huge discounts on games these days. Here's a few examples:
Dragon Age. I've bought Dragon Age a month…

Steam deals of the week

Steam is having one great Christmas bargain period with tons of games in it. Here's a small list of games you should definitely look out for:
Audiosurf - £1.49. If you like both music and games you should give this game a try. You can pick any song from your music collection and a level will be generated. Then you can go and try to set the all time high score for your favorite songs!
Braid - £1.74. Braid is an indie platform game that will have your brains do some overtime. It's a great looking game filled with clever puzzles.
Eidos Everything package - £35. For one low price you get every Eidos game on steam including the recent topper Batman: Arkham Asylum. It's worth it for that game alone but you also get the excellent Hitman games, the new Tomb Raider games, the two Deus Ex classics, Thief: Deadly shadows and a bunch of lesser games.Evil Genius - £1.39.  Be the horror of all James Bond wannabes. Dig a lair and fill it with heinous traps.Star Wars: Knights of the Old R…

Download Limits: a Dinosaur in Modern Times

Age of Conan is having a new offer for new players. Everyone can now try out their game from level 1 to level 20 for free! There are a few small limitations attached but its a nice way to try out the game. Except for one problem... The client is 20 gb and I have a 25 gb download limit per month.

Today it hit the newslines again: "Belgian download limits are enforcing Telenets and Belgacoms duopoly". Belgium is one of the only countries in West Europe that has to deal with limits. Our Northern neighbors, the Netherlands get unlimited Internet for a fraction of our price. The Internet market over here is divided between two major isps, Belgacom and Telenet. Both players are currently having the majority of Belgian digital television, Internet, telephony and mobile phone networks under their control. And they're both having similar limits and price ranges.

How did this happen? Twelve years ago we decided to get an Internet connection. Back then there was a 10 gb limit a mo…

Pugging gets a whole new meaning

Reviving old content is a great way to keep your player base happily playing with a minimal of developing efforts. In the past WoW has seen the introduction of revamped dungeons such as Naxxramas and Onyxia. And now Blizzard has come up with a new way to extend the lifetime of their old content. The newest patch introduces a "Looking for Group" party across servers. This creates a much bigger player base to choose from when forming a pick up group. And they've added two new emblems for every successful random pug you run. So there are new items to be gained from running the old instances and it's easier to find a group for them.

There's also some real new content in the form of three more instances. Using the LFG tool seemed like a great way to try out these instances and the new LFG method. So I queued up for the first, new dungeon and after ten minutes I could join a group. I was pleasantly surprised to see the option to teleport to the instance. Once upon a ti…

Welcome back

Seeing my World of Warcraft account getting hacked wasn't much fun but it does have one positive side. Since I had to pay €15 to get my deleted items back I decided to log in a few times this month and see what changed. I haven't played WoW since April this year so there's quite a bit of new content to go through. And of course I wanted to say hello again to all the friends I haven't spoken to in months.

As I logged in I was quickly greeted by some of my guild members. Time is never standing still so I wasn't surprised to see that my guild looks nothing like it did half a year ago. Roughly half of the people I enjoyed chatting and playing with had all decided to join a guild that was more to their liking. Only the officer team seems to be relatively intact. The player gap has been filled in with lots of new players but it doesn't feel like the same guild. I had a chat with the old officers and my friends from ancient times. In this short time I even got a few g…

Samorost

I won! As one of the first three to send Lewie Procter a meesage I got a free copy of  Samorost 2. Samorost 2 is the sequel to the original game Samorost that can be played for free at the creators website. Amanita Design, the creators of the game, are currently creating a lot of fuzz with their new game Machinarium so I was curious about this game. I quickly retrieved my steam gift and while the sequel was downloading I went ahead and played through the the original game.

Samorost 1 & 2 are classic point and click adventure games. In the first game you're following a cute little fella (see screenshot) trying to save his planet from being crushed by an astroid. The second game has you chasing aliens who kidnapped his dog! There's evil and then there's kidnapping a dog. So I happily went out to help our protagonist save his dog from the clutches of the evil, blue men.

The first thing that drew my attention is the beautifully drawn art. Every scene is filled with lovely…

The Cove

The Cove



Fourty years ago Richard O'Barry was training dolphins for the tv series Flipper. A great job where he could afford a Porsche a year and let's face it, who doesn't love dolphins?  The last thirty years he's been trying to undo what he started back then.

Before Flipper was on television there were three dolphin shows all over the world. After Flipper the demand for these shows began to skyrocket. And each of these places needs dolphins. Where do all these dolphins come from? Do they just voluntarily swim into their dolphinaria like the shows owners would like us to believe?

This movie answers that very question and it's not a pretty sight. Each year 23.000 dolphins are being slaughtered in Japan. The big money is in catching those cute bottlenose dolphins (yes, the ones who look like Flipper) which sell to shows for thousands of dollars each. Doing tricks for food is all they'll be doing for the rest of their lives. And those who aren't cute enough …

Buying overseas

Five years ago when I wanted a game I would walk to the local shop and buy it. Some research might have gone in it to find the cheapest shop in the neighborhood but I'd always get my game in a ten kilometer radius from my home. With the discovery of the internet and finding out about online shopping things have changed quite drastically. It's suddenly possible to buy items from your neighboring countries without leaving your home. We can buy some items cheapler in other countries and some items are priced cheaper here.

The UK seems to have much cheaper prices for books, dvds and PC games. There are tons of book shops in the UK which causes a lot of competition and therefore cheap prices. And of course the English book market is a lot bigger than the Dutch one which allows for cheaper mass production. Translations of movies and games is often cited to defend the higher prices in the Benelux. Lots of movies that I buy from the UK come with Dutch subtitles however and not even t…

You can leave your hat on

You always think that these things only happen to others. You may even think that they should have used better protection. And then one day you get this mail in your box from your guild leader:

Hi there,

I dont know if this email will arrive, but I will try anyway. I saw that your chars came online today.

They are selling all your gear and equipment and they are not answering on guild chat.

I think you are being hacked.


Suddenly it's not someone else who has been hacked. It's you! So I quickly took a  look in my second mailbox account and yes: someone merged my account to a battle.net account. My account has been frozen for half a year so someone must have hacked it and have reactivated it. Next thing I did was checking my characters and my armory page looked like this:




Kind of them to put on my Christmas hat, it's the season!. Everything that a vendor will accept is sold however. After seeing that picture I  really started to worry. They reactivated my account, how much w…