Siege Breakers Sessions #5: Where the gamers at?

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We have eSports on television, gamer celebrities, YouTube millionaires, indie developers and a massive website dedicated to streaming video games and yet people are still afraid to call themselves gamers? On this episode we discuss how even though 50% of American’s play video games only 10% consider themselves gamers.

Gamers have changed what a Saturday night looks like and there is even a school that has an esports class, but perhaps we are hesitant to admit we are gamers because of stories like the guy who is suing Bethesda for losing his wife and job due to his Fallout 4 addition.

We may not have a definite answer but we had fun discussing it and we think you will like it to.

Warning: The Siege Breakers Sessions Podcast is NSFW and and contains adult language, seriously if you get easily offended stay out.

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Gamer Profile: Jay Mohr

I loved Donkey Kong Jr. and spent so many rolls of quarters on it. There was also Dig Dug at my local Ihop and I wore that out too. I wasn’t particularly good at Dig Dug but I loved digging and digging and planning on how the rocks would fall and blowing dudes up with my air pump. Donkey Kong Jr. I loved because it had it all for the time. great graphics. Jumping, swinging, timing and a mission to save someone. ~Jay Mohr

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Favorite Classic Games: Donkey Kong Jr. and Dig Dug

Leisure Suit Larry Box Office Bust Jay Mohr Trailer

Jay mohr

Jay Mohr at Blizzcon 2010

 

Make sure to check out Mr. Mohr’s website at: http://www.jaymohr.com/

And follow him on Twitter @jaymohr37

Be sure to check out our other celebrity gamer profiles.

Amrack’s Gamer Profile

Picture of me 1

Hey folks, my name is Amrack, as of now I’m a platinum League of Legends player who is getting back into streaming. But before we get into anything present, let’s go over a little history about my past.

My Name: So my name originated from my youth (like most people). To me a name is like a connection to the past that you can never experience again; it’s a memory of what I once was. When I was little (~8 years old) I use to write crazy RPG adventure books. I used to stay up talking to my brother (because I bunked with him) and role played stories with him so I had more content to write in my chapter books. Though my characters changed from story to story their names remained the same. Names like “Drakis”, “Amrak” (yes, it’s misspelled for a reason), and “Larkins”, to name a few. These were my online names that I gravitated to choose when playing games with my brother.

I took more of a liking to Amrak more than any of the other names I created because, my family wasn’t very religious at the time but my mother use to tell us things like: “what comes around goes around”, meaning if we lied or misbehaved bad karma would come our way. Well, when my siblings and I were younger (some not even born), we used to travel to Newark, NJ to see family (or what is left of my outside relatives) and on these trips we played all sorts of road games. One that really stuck out was when we played the ‘palindrome game’, it didn’t last long but it was a good mind exercise. I don’t recall being able to shout one out, my older brother and sisters always beat me to it. But I did try to make sense of the word ‘karma’ since it comes right back at you (‘back’ being the keyword here, as in ‘BACKwards’). I thought I was clever in thinking: “What is the opposite of karma?” – “Well what is karma backwards?”. The word “Amrak” didn’t mean anything but I liked the ring to it; thus creating a main character in all of my stories.

– I dont know when but i’ll be posting a part 2.

Stream: http://www.twitch.tv/amracklarkins

AND REMEMBER!!!!

Teemo 420

Oh, I got RP for this. Be Jealous! 🙂

Do you have to be a gamer to be in the industry?

Generally my take is you have to really care about the field you focus your life on or you just won’t be the best at it. There is a difference between being good at your job and really loving it to where everything you do is a pursuit of putting out perfection. ~J.A. Laraque

Do you have to be a gamer to be in the industry?

When it comes to jobs people often put them in two categories. One is the job to pay bills and one is the career that you really work towards and care about. Obviously for just a job you can learn what is needed to do well and even excel at it, but for your career do you really have to be “all in” to do it well. More specifically, do you have to be a gamer to work in the gaming industry? Well John Smedley, president of Sony Online Entertainment says, yes, you do.

gaming industry, gamer, john smedley, sony online entertainment, alienware

“In my opinion, people that don’t play games have no business in this business. It should be the gamers-only club, I think. I can’t stand people that don’t know what they’re talking about when it comes to playing these things,” Smedley said in a recent interview.

The responses to that comment have been mixed. Some believe he is right on saying that many of the rehashed and awful games that have come out recently are the result of suits in management positions and not real gamers and people who know the community and the culture. Others had a different view saying that one can be good at their job without taking it home and with responsibilities like family, school and bills one does not always have time to be totally engulfed in their work.

Generally my take is you have to really care about the field you focus your life on or you just won’t be the best at it. There is a difference between being good at your job and really loving it to where everything you do is a pursuit of putting out perfection. I also believe it depends on the job and the community you are creating a product for. It is one thing to work in plastics and not live it 24/7, but in some industries like politics, cars and games, if you only focus on it from 9 to 5 and then walk away there will be something missing.

When I started working at Alienware there was a proud culture of gamers there. I was even asked what games I played in the interview. Now while every position within a company, even a gaming related one, does not need a gamer manning the helm it did create a company culture that really felt like we were creating the best computers for the love of video games. With that said sometimes, and for certain things, you might need an outside view. Perhaps when going into a new market or expanding overseas you might need someone with those specific skills more than a gaming background. However, I believe you still need those gamers right there to make sure the heart of your company stays intact.

Also, the wife and kids excuse is just that. There is a difference between ignoring your responsibilities and giving up everything you used to love because you started a family. Perhaps you do not play games for every waking moment when you are not at work, but it does not mean you do not have time to put in to keep fresh. Sometimes there comes a point where you might have to step aside because of your responsibilities. If you cannot put in the time there will be those that can so you can focus on what you want to, but the point is you made that change.

When it comes to games most of us understand that it can become a part of our lives in one way or another. Many gamers do struggle with dividing life with gaming, but for people in the industry it may be even more important to listen to those of us for who gaming is a major focus. Too many suits see games like fast food and just feed us the same old crap and sadly most of us eat it up. There may be great new games out there, but they do not want to take the chance on something new. This is where we as gamers have the responsibility to let people in the game industry know what we want. Only then will things change and you don’t have to be a gamer to listen to the concerns of one, but it definitely helps.

So what is your take, do you need to be an active gamer to work in the gaming industry?

How Gaming Changed This Girl’s Life

It’s funny how, in the beginning, he thought it was cool dating a girl who liked gaming. He now cautions guys against dating gamer girls! He was just mad that I took over his Playstation for about a whole solid month. Yeah, I know it shouldn’t have been that long, but I’m one of those “gotta get everything” kinda gamers.~Jessi Roman

How Gaming Changed This Girl’s Life

Single moments in history are what make up our lives.  Some moments pass by unnoticed, seemingly meaningless, lost in a neurological card catalog, while others are etched into our memories, never to be forgotten.

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What was it about that day in 2nd grade (no, I’m not going to tell you what year it was!) that stood out in my memory? Santa Claus came to our class. We went up and down the rows, each naming one thing we wanted for Christmas. I was the only one that did not ask for a Nintendo! I asked for a drum set, and I got it… never did become much of a musician. At any rate, this was not the catalyst that began my transformation from the geeky kid that every one made fun of into… well, the geeky gamer girl that everyone made fun of. (Thank God for the sudden acclamation of geek culture!) No, it was not this single moment, framed in time, that changed my life, but for some reason it stuck.

I didn’t get a NES of my very own until several years later. That’s not to say that I didn’t spend hours upon hours of my formative years playing Super Mario Bros. with the boy across the street. But no, I wasn’t a “gamer” back then. I mean, I definitely remember that feeling I got the first time I found out that my Princess was in another castle… -_- and I remember how I swelled with pride when I finally beat 8-4 and found her! I mean, I have some seriously precious gaming memories that even go as far back as Sierra’s “Space Quest: The Sarien Encounter”.

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There was a life-changing gaming experience for me, though. It wasn’t until after I graduated high school. I started dating this guy who had a Playstation. He changed my life forever. Not only did I end up marrying the guy, but he introduced me to Chrono Cross – most epic RPG ever! I had never played a serious RPG before… I mean, does Zelda count? No, I didn’t think so. So being all girly and stuff, I got really sucked in by the art, and the plethora of characters you could pick up. Matter of fact, to this day, a key element in how I rate an RPG is the number of playable characters.

Let’s face it, people, there’s no greater game to have launched me into the world of serious hard-core gaming. I worked a split shift at the JCC, so I had a block of four hours free time in the middle of the day. He gave me the key to his house (and unknowingly, the key to his heart <3… yeah, I’m a sap), and I’d spend those four hours immersed in the tropical archipelago, El Nido.

Chrono Cross

It’s funny how, in the beginning, he thought it was cool dating a girl who liked gaming. He now cautions guys against dating gamer girls! He was just mad that I took over his Playstation for about a whole solid month. Yeah, I know it shouldn’t have been that long, but I’m one of those “gotta get everything” kinda gamers… so I went for every character… played out every possible subplot… even used the strategy guide to make sure I didn’t miss anything. And boy did I get everything! It changed my life. Really. I wonder if I had not spent those hours upon hours hanging out at his house, playing Chrono Cross… I wonder if I still would have won his heart? I’m not going to go so far as to say that gaming got me married… but maybe it did. Maybe it changed my life more than I’ll ever know.

It’s been over ten years now, and we’re still married… and still gaming! I may have gotten better at sharing, and co-op games are more fun now! But to this day, nothing has ever come close to the grand epicness that is Chrono Cross. No other game has made such an impact on my life. Even as I write this now, I’m listening to the OST, and realizing how important it is that I go back for a re-play.

Did a game ever change your life? If so, how? What game was it?

Jessi Roman is a geek, gamer, mom, proudly raising the next generation of nerds! You can read her blog here.

Fake Shadowrun TV Intro

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Too bad this is fake because Shadowrun needs to make a comeback rather than die like it”s doing. Yeah, Microsoft killed it with it”s shitty XBox 360 game and FASA is long gone but a lot of people still play it, especially in Germany.

Some awesome fan of the RPG made this great intro to what would be an ideal Shadowrun television show:

The intro looks perfect and uses clips from Gamer, Judge Dredd, Johnny Mnemonic, Legend of the Fist, Natural City, Total Recall, Hackers, The Sixth Day, Strange Days, The Source Code, Free Jack, Babylon A.D, Tokyo Gore Police, Priest, Terminator Salvation, Sleep Dealer, Black Heaven, Predators, Star Trek the Undiscovered Country, Space Truckers, Hellboy, Repo Men, One Point 0 – Paranoia 1.0- Virus 1.0, Blade Runner, Caver”s Gate. The music they used was Animus Vox by The Glitch Mob.

Other than them making it, what more could you ask for? They”re actually making a Shadowrun MMO and we”ll post whatever we can when we find out more on our gaming website

 

Cataclysm: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

World of Warcraft Cataclysm Logo

Without a doubt, Cataclysm was another home run hit for the power gaming company Blizzard.  Selling a stunning 3.3 million copies (including pre-sales) on the first day and 4.7 million by the end of the first month (including pre-sales) was not as shocking as some seemed to say it was.  The most popular and played MMORPG of all time is going to have extremely high sales figures especially since Blizzard added in pre-sale digital downloads for the first time ever.  The apparent controversy surrounding these numbers is unwarranted.  Pre-sales are part of any game release and Blizzard is fully entitled to count them towards first day sales in my opinion.  And let’s be honest, does it matter? No, over 5 million people have already purchased Cataclysm and that number is sure to grow.  A better question would be, Will Cataclysm peak over 12 million subscriptions like its predecessors? or has the game peaked overall? and how long until it fades into gaming oblivion?  Sorry, that won’t be covered in this article but expect me to tackle the topic in the future.

The Good.

As you know, Blizzard has been catering to the casual gamer more and more.  Why? Simple, money.  Blizzard does not want to lose clients because they feel the game is too hard or too time consuming.  Just go to through the account cancellation process and you will see many different prompts that seem to ask why you are quitting and many are tailored towards the casual gamer.  Now, I know we are in “The Good” category but let me say that this “casual” policy has both positive and negative effects on the game and it’s players as I will discuss throughout the whole article.

Blizzard wanted to make raiding simpler and thus they have designed everything so that you don’t need a full 25 man raid to compete.  You can gather 9 friends and compete on an equal plain with everyone else in the world.  I personally love this move because it allows you to play with more of your close friends if you so choose.  This reduces the amount of pugs you have to get and usually reduces the severity of the headache you will suffer during a failing raid.  Of course, Blizzard is not naive and to appease the more hardcore gamers, they designed it so you get more loot proportionate to your raid size in 25mans compared to 10mans.  Even though that feels like a “lame” fix, it was probably the best Blizzard could do considering they put 10 and 25 mans on the same pedestal.  Either way, the casual gamers rejoiced in this change and overall, it has had a positive impact.  As for the “pride”  factor between major guilds competing at the top level for world firsts, 25mans still seem to be the cream of the crop but even the best of the best have been switching to 10mans for certain encounters!  All the major content has been completed and here is how it played out among the world’s elite.

Top 10 PvE WoW Guilds

Leveling is finally enjoyable!  You heard me right.  I for one am not a fan of leveling and never have been especially in World of Warcraft but the leveling redesign has even changed my mind.  Don’t get me wrong,  I am not going out and leveling alts for the hell of it but I am also not dreading the boring, monotonous grind that was leveling.  The overhaul to the zones and quests has streamlined the process.  Moreover, the changes to spells have given you diversity at the lower levels.  I did not enjoy spamming just one or two buttons to level as it felt like I could fall asleep while doing it.  Now, it feels like I can actually take some pleasure in leveling.  While this was something that wasn’t necessary to change, it was a very positive overhaul.  Of course, you could say that the change was specifically designed to help the casual gamer level easier, faster and with more joy!  Blizzard is sneakier than you might imagine.

Finally, let us talk about the servers.  They were great.  Illidan, one of the most popular WoW servers, where I leveled to 85 was completely stable.  No major lag spikes, no crashes and no downtime.  Moreover, the servers came up on time.  Blizzard wanted to ensure that Cataclysm was launched without a hitch and they nailed it home.  As for server queues, they were terrible early on but everyone expected that so I don’t need to harp on it very much.

The Bad.

With great power comes great responsibility.  Oh wait, this isn’t Spiderman, its WoW: Cataclysm.  How about…With great homogenization, comes great laziness.  I am definitely not one to favor the complete homogenization of classes that seems to be happening with more and more frequency.  While I like the idea that buffs are being spread around to more classes on paper, I hate it in reality.  I know Blizzard would like 5man and 10man dungeons and raids to have a majority of the game buffs but I think that is a bad idea.  One of the inevitable drawbacks of having less people in a group or raid is the reduction of potential buffs.  Thus, players need to design their groups accordingly.  At the rate Blizzard is going, in two expansions, my 10man is just going to be 10 paladins with every buff in the game dominating every encounter.  Yes, I am laying it on a little thick but it is for good reason.  Let us look at some of the homogenization we have seen with Cataclysm.

First, buffs are being spread around to more classes.  Second,  bloodlust/heroism is now usable by three classes.  Honestly, having bloodlust/heroism on just one class was probably not the greatest idea but I don’t think that bloodlust/heroism is a well-designed mechanic anyway.  I know that it is a great part of Warcraft lore but I think it could have been implemented differently because it has been insanely powerful since it went live.  On a good note, Blizzard did finally decide to remove it from arenas.  Third, it seems that every melee has a spammable interrupt.  Why do I dislike this?  Mainly because the classes that didn’t have them before didn’t have them for a reason and now that they do, they seem overly useful in both PvE and PvP.  Either way, I think that Blizzard could use some of that infinite pool of money they have to diversify the game more instead of homogenize it.  Once again, it all comes back to the positive and negative effects of the “casual” gamer syndrome.

For me, five man dungeons and heroics on my main were extremely simple.  I almost always ran with a pre-made 5man so we just queued up and destroyed whatever we got.  However, this was not the case for many people, especially those trying to gear alts.  First, if you are not a tank or a healer, have fun waiting in a 30minute queue to do one heroic.  Second, if you are a tank or a healer, make sure you abuse the system by selling queue pops all day in trade chat.  While this is now fixed, it was way too late.  Third, how is it that if you solo queue you always seem to get the absolute worst players in the world in your group?  Not only do they have gear that is terrible but they have no idea how to do any of the fights.  I can’t really blame Blizzard on that one but I sure can vent some minor frustration.  Overall, I like the simplicity in the fact that you can just queue from anywhere in the world at anytime, but if you are running solo, there is a strong change that you will just be wasting an hour of your time.

World of Warcraft Dungeon Queue Time

I will keep my dislike of the PvP situation short as I plan on doing a full write-up of it in the near future but it has to be mentioned briefly.  I don’t know if I would say that arenas have hit a low point because I thought they were pretty bad when you could kill someone inside of one GCD in WotLK but they are not prospering by any means.  Of course, you will always have people complaining that their class is too underpowered but when top players are re-rolling because they just know their class it too weak to compete at the top level, then something is probably wrong.  For the first time ever, mages seem to be underpowered unless you like jumping around spamming ice lance all day!  Maybe underpowered isn’t the write word, but they do seem to have a nice big target on their back.  Melee teams seem to run a train on them all day and since all the healers have dispel and frost armor is not nearly as useful as it was, they appear to be in a dire situation.

While I think they might deserve it considering how strong they have been in the past, their situation just highlights the fact that with Blizzard’s homogenized design is leading to negative impacts in PvP.  Now, I don’t think Blizzard cares much about the PvP scene anyway but that doesn’t mean that it should be the way it is now.  I personally think that HP is actually too high in many cases but it may be a result of the new completely underpowered healing debuffs.  I always thought 50% healing reduction was too much but with classes having this much HP, I think 10% is too low.  Blizzard really needs to overhaul the whole PvP system if they ever want to truly fix it.  HPS and self-healing (DK, Ret Pally, etc) are also way to high for my taste.  Anyway, more on this in a future article.  For now, just know that PvP, specifically arenas appear to be in a not so good state.

The Ugly.

I am still not a fan of the games graphics even after this overhaul.  While I know that the original game platform is getting older, it doesn’t change my opinion.  I don’t think the graphics are bad enough to hurt anything in the game but I don’t find them particularly breath taking either.  Will Blizzard create a completely new engine for their cash cow?  Unlikely but they could if they really wanted to.  However, it is more likely that instead of creating a new engine for WoW, they would just put a new project together to start design WoW 2 (if they haven’t already).

Looks like the same game to me.

It also feels like the identity of some of the old servers has been lost.  With all the new players coming in over the years and all the transfers, something about the old nostalgia seems to have faded.  While this is not a result of Cataclysm, I feel that is something that can be mentioned in this section.  If you played vanilla and are still playing today, you probably know what I mean.  It was nice early on when you thought you knew a lot of people and possibly had some clout on the server but now, the game seems to be moving at a pace that removes this.  The best way to put it is to say that the identity of the servers seem to have faded into a blur of inconsequence.

Finally, I will end on another topic that Blizzard has no control over.  The Elitist Jerks (EJ) forums also have a negative impact on the game, specifically, on new players.  When you are in a pug or just see “go to EJ” spammed in trade chat when someone asks a question, you have to get annoyed.  Instead of actually learning something in the game or asking someone who might know, you are directed to a website that tells you how to play and spec your class.  So much for the subtleties that you notice after playing your main for a long time.  So much for actually learning a class and enjoying that process.   Long gone are the days where there was some mystery or secrecy to playing WoW.  To clarify, EJ can work wonders for those who have been playing the game for a long time and understand it’s nuances.  However, if you are new to the game or a class, you skip the basic learning process and just learn the “perfect rotation” instead.  Who cares that you died in fire or didn’t shield or didn’t misdirect or didn’t do 1 of 100 different things that are more useful than just spamming damage.  The sad fact is, WoW has turned into a numbers games on many levels and I understand why it has, but that doesn’t mean I like it.

Conclusion

Cataclysm is fun at first but the sheen of a new game is quickly replaced by the same old car smell from before.  What made WoW good in the past is the same that makes WoW good now.  The social atmosphere and friends you make along the way still entrap players.  For many people, the time you log in game is controlled by the social structures: when you do your dailies, when you are raiding, etc.  The bonds of friendship people form which result in teams and guilds being formed push the never ending cycle that is a beast  of game known as World of Warcraft.  If you enjoyed the repetitive cycle that WoW presented in past whether it be through raiding, PvP or any one of the other things Blizzard created, then you will surely find joy in Cataclysm and play it as you had played all the other WoW expansions in the past.  However, if you were looking for something brand new that would make your eyes pop and your pearly white teeth show,  then unfortunately, you will have to keep looking as Cataclysm is simply a new name, not a new face.

Mega Man E-Coffee Mug

Mega Man was a bad ass when I was a kid. He’d go around to different portions of the city to stop Doctor Wily’s nonsense. Shoot a couple of his fellow robots, take their energy and their powers, and then go off and shoot another robot in the face with those powers all while jamming to some of the best NES music. Yeah, Mega Man was a boss. I knew that one day I was going to be a bad ass just like him.

Mega Man Coffee Cup Close-Up
Mega Man Coffee Cup Close-Up

Fast forward 20 years later and I’m out of shape and sitting behind a desk writing about bad ass things. Oh, how far I have fallen from being a robotic boy that shot things in the face with a plasma gun. For awhile I believed there would be no way I could become Mega Man. There would be no hope for me to just taste a sliver of that rock n’ roll robotic lifestyle.

E-Mug Mega Man coffee cup bottom
E-Mug Mega Man coffee cup bottom

Luckily, thanks to the folks at Fan Gamer I can be just like Mega Man at my desk for only $28. They created a Mega Man energy capsule coffee mug. There should be a “Hells yes” coming from each of you, my dear readers. Do you understand the capabilities of having such a mug? I can use it to pour in coffee and place it on a bonus wide coaster. You know else I can use it for? A conversation starter. People will walk into my office and say “Hey, Umar. That’s a pretty awesome coffee mug.” I can reply with a smug nod and then chug down scolding hot coffee to show them how truly awesome I am with this E-Mug. Sure it’ll hurt but my life energy will fill up while drinking out of this mug, obviously. I will truly be that super fighting robot that Mega Man is. Not that I said “is”. He is still relevant, god damnit!

E-Mug Mega Man coffee cup
E-Mug Mega Man coffee cup

Source: The Mega Man Network

Bob-ombs: The Real Threat to America’s Safety?

bobomb
bobomb

Take a good and hard look at that picture, reader.

Since Super Mario Bros. 2, the Bob-omb plague has swept Mario games just like how Beanie Babies swept away the hearts of overweight, unloved women in the 90’s. At first glance, as a child these huggable creatures are adorable with their round cast iron bodies and cute little steps. They parade down towards Mario with an indifferent pace to harm the plumber. How endearing.

BUT LET US TAKE A STEP BACK!

Why does something so cute need a cast iron body? Did you know Mario’s Fire powers don’t hurt them? You want to know why? They are filled with explosives! Yes, they are bombs! But not just any ordinary bombs. Normally, you’d need a remote detonator to set off an explosion or physically be there to light the fuse. Bob-ombs are the future of impersonal terrorism.

“But Umar,” the reader of this article may find themselves saying, “They are just so cute and innocent. Surely they wouldn’t hurt a friend?” And it is right there where your young and liberal mind will get your arms blown off. Bob-ombs aren’t toys. They aren’t Pokemon Cards! They are sentient, living bombs! Their sole purpose in life is to cause murder, death, and ensure the incineration of all bio-organic beings. Do you not see the Nazi inspired design behind the Bob-omb?
1) They Goose-step toward you. If someone greets you with a Goose-step, chances are the encounter isn’t going to be friendly.
2) They patrol areas back and forth just like soldiers.
3) They have a short fuse. This is symbolic because they don’t have the patience to deal with your lesser race bullshit.

Still don’t see how this is true? You still can’t perceive the sinister motives that fuel their mechanical hearts? Just look them in the eyes. Look into those cute cartoon eyes as they lure you in for a hug. Do you know what kind of mind is behind those peepers? A sick sociopathic mind bent on your demise.

Go right ahead. Let him into your heart, into your home, let them sleep on the carpet in your child’s room. I can assure you the moment you touch that Bob-omb, this cute little monstrosity that you fed and picked up their poopies, he will glow an angry red. His glassy eyes will become stern and enraged. A fire will spark not only in his heart but on his fuse and before you know it, you’re gone. All your loved ones will be blown to bits. Your wife and children will be here and there. The dog will have little tidbits against the closet door. And God forbid you survive. What kind of weight will be on your shoulders with the knowledge that you mistakenly trusted this deceitful horror and now your family is gone and you’re are now left to live your life missing appendages? How long will it take before you finally can’t handle the guilt and bite your tongue?

“Umar,” our fair reader may retort, “The pink bob-ombs are nice, though. You can’t discriminate against all of them.” Pink bob-ombs are just the next step in their dastardly evolution. They speak to you, beg you for help, pour out their hearts about the prejudices they face against the other bob-ombs. They deplore you for assistance. They are the good guys, they say.

Really, Pink bob-omb? You’re one of the good guys? Tell me this. Why is it that you bob-ombs glow pink right before detonation? From what I can tell you’re closer to the edge than the black bob-ombs. At least they can keep their cool until provoked or before that bitter moment when they exact their plan. Pink Bob-ombs can’t even keep their oath of silence and become radicals that speak out. No thanks, Pink Bob-ombs. Stay out of America.

Let’s look at the track record of these Bob-ombs. In every single Mario game, they have made it painfully obvious their only true intent is the destruction of a living beating heart. They get involved in Yoshi’s story and even sports based Mario games. And you’d think they’d stop with their vendetta in the Mushroom Kingdom. No, they made their intents international when they appeared in Super Smash Brothers. They’d just randomly pop into a battle and indiscriminately hunt down Link from Hyrule, Charizard from Kanto, and Snake from America! Yes they initiated a global war and have even targeted America on their To-Do list.

Americans, I’m looking at you. Are we going to let this mechanical plague sweep our nation like a renegade brushfire? Are we going to allow our land, our freedom, our loved ones to be abused by these techno-organic racists?

I say no!
I will not give them shelter for their sick and their hungry.
I will not provide them with resources which us Americans harvested on our own.
I will not allow one to move in next door and will not allow my children to play with them.
This is America! Home of the brave, the bold, and the truly living!

Master of Orion

Master of Orion box cover
Master of Orion box cover

Master of Orion 1 (MS-DOS) Review by Honorabili

One Sentence Review:

“The original explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate space mega empire game.”

Overall Score:

10 out of 10

Overview:

This is the grand daddy, 5000 lb gorilla of space empire games. From the now dead Microprose, this is one of those games, among XCOM and Master of Magic and Civilization that made that company a gaming legend.

You take the role of the immortal emperor of one of many emerging races that just discovered the ability to travel to other star systems and begin the competition for colonization, later leading to war, and galaxywide politics as to who will win the war for supremacy or the votes of all nations as the race to unify the galaxy as the leader of a mega empire (ending the game).

The game consists of you taking turns (non-simultaneous) with your rivals, managing your planets’ development, research directions (allows multiple research projects at a time vs 1 in later space empire games, which I think that’s unrealistic), your spy projects (they can sabotage, steal tech, be sleepers), your diplomacy (make alliances, actually never do almost, and trade tech, start trade deals, threaten and demand tribute, end and start wars), and conquer conquer conquer. You can orbitally bombard planets to dust basically or be smart about your killing (because later the weapons can literally scorch all populations out of existence, even one ship) and enslave, I mean welcome the conquered population to your empire.

There are different races that each has an advantage, whether a bonus in diplomacy or faster production or research or better combat skills (space or ground combat, which is good for taking over planets) or spying or their people breed like rabbits or some don’t require any terraforming whatsoever (which is a major part of the game, being able to actually claim and live on planets aka breathing is a major technology).

The game is won be either eliminating all rivals or becoming the new emperor of a unified star empire.

This is the game that inspired most future space empire games such as Space Empires, Galactic Civilizations, Sword of the Stars, Sins of a Solar Empire, etc.

Fun Factor:

This game is like crack. If you love micromanagement and having to defend 6 fronts at a time, this is the turn based strategy game for you. Since the game is turn based, you can take your time planning where to attack next or who to try to start a war with (or make them fight each other by making your spies start a fake terrorist attack vs each other). The game makes you feel as though you are using your brain and even to this day, over 15 years of me playing it, I’m always finding out new little secret strategies to deploy. If you’re a war gamer, you will agree that this game has a Fun Factor of 9 out of 10. It’s a game for thinkers.

Difficulty Versatility:

The game has like 5 difficulty settings and it becomes really brutal the higher you go. You can scale the size of the galaxy so that you can play a long or REALLY long game. This sometimes has a harsher effect on how hard it is. Imagine having to fight a fleet of 20 war planets producing full time vs one of 4 planets. It requires you to have the logistical foresight to be able to take on such an onslaught. I give the Difficulty Versality a score of 10 out of 10.

Value:

Well, Microprose is dead and basically so this game is now free. You can get it from sites such as http://www.abandonia.com/ or http://www.homeoftheunderdogs.net/ and run it on DOSBox for free. You can also opt to buy Master of Orion 1 + 2 together for $5.99 from Good Old Games. Since this game is amazing and it’s free or very cheap, the score for Value is maxed out at 10 out of 10.

Replayability:

I’ve been playing it at least 2-3 times a year since the mid 90s. It’s one of those games that is on a permanent list to play each year. Like Civilization, once I start playing this game it’s hard for me to do anything but that for a good 2-4 weeks, each time. Replayability gets a 10 out of 10.

Sound:

I usually have the sound off, but the sounds are okay for an early 90s DOS strategy game. I give the Sound a score of 6 out of 10.

Music:

The music is alright but I usually shut it off and play some classical or epic music in the background. Keeps the game play strong and my concentration on maxing out planets and blowing up enemy fleets. The Music that comes with the game gets a 6 out of 10.

Graphics:

Of course, the graphics are now way dated, but for it’s time they were pretty great for a war game. The weapon beam effects look great for DOS and even the homing missiles look threatening although it’s just a grey arrow almost. Considering the style behind the Microprose games of this time and that it’s a war game, Graphics get a 9 out of 10.

Stability/Reliability:

The game never, ever crashes, itself. Sometimes DOSBox has some issues when you ALT-TAB but that’s a problem with DOSBox, not the game itself. I give Stability/Reliability a score of 10 out of 10.

Controls:

The controls are simply point and click with a few hotkeys integrated. The hotkeys however are not necessarily shown in game and you’d have to read the manual or look them up online. Some are essential like B for scrapping your missile bases in case they are too obsolete or your war front has moved up from that location and you’re wasting resources maintaining them. I give controls a 7 out of 10 because although some are hidden, they do what they’re meant to do properly and keep the game playable.

Performance:

This game will run godlike on any computer, maybe even a mobile phone. Performance instantly gets a 10 out of 10.

My history with this game:

This is actually one of the first PC games I’ve ever bought and it was well worth it as it has given me literally over 1000 hours of gameplay. I played it first on a 486 so you have an idea how much of a place in my gaming history this game has. Because of it’s turn based nature I’ve even played this game while working and that’s very doable so long as you have good multitasking skills and a good memory as to your strategems. I hope you will all start playing this classic even as a new gamer, you will learn new ways to think and that’s always, always rewarding in itself.

Master of Orion manual
Master of Orion manual