RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.

Posted on Apr 4th 2014 at 05:28:22 PM by (singlebanana)
Posted under thank you, march 2014, submissions, approvals

Well, another month has gone by here at RFGeneration and it's been another great month of submissions by our members. Submissions for the month totaled 2,085 items, which were comprised of 1,958 game submissions and 127 hardware submissions.

Before I get to the top submitters and approvers for the month, want to take some time to give a very special thank you to one of our busiest, behind-the-scenes members, bickman2k. As most of you know, the site was really struggling under the old server. At the end of this March, the site was moved over to its new server and has been running so much better. Thank you, thank you bickman2k for all of your hard work and dedication to the site. We are all fortunate to have you as part of our team!

I would also like to thank Shadow Kisuragi for his help with the site's transition. Though he asked me to only thank bickman, I'm sure that he put some time into this project as well. From all of us, a sincere thanks guys! Now onto the top submitters and approvers.

Top submitters for the month with over 100 submissions include:

ApolloBoy - 670
Shadow Kisuragi - 206
raffa1985 - 177
Sauza12 - 153
CoinCollector - 146
thegreatska - 115
and for good measure (so close......)  Flee - 97

Top approvers for the month of March were:

Shadow Kisuragi - 586
ApolloBoy - 136
Tynstar - 38

Thanks again to all who submitted and approved this month. Let's work to make April the best month this year.

Posted on Apr 1st 2014 at 11:58:46 AM by (bickman2k)
Posted under Site news, What day is it, No one reads these, April what

So, we just migrated everything over, but we're moving back!

This new server is just too fast. It reminds us on staff about broadband and new technology. Pages loading when you click them? Pshaw. We need to go back to the golden age of the Internet.

Until we make this switch, I'll be artificially throttling the speed on the server so everyone can get used to it again.

Also, after working with theGrue, we're going to dump the Android app and develop only for Palm.

  Palm Generation
RF Generation coming here soon!

We feel that this will take the site back to its roots in classic gaming, when you didn't need "day one patches", "DLC on disc", and "stability updates". Things broke when they did and that's the way we liked it!

As always, be sure to keep it on channel <4-1>...

Posted on Mar 29th 2014 at 12:31:12 AM by (bickman2k)
Posted under Site news, Minor breakage

Site's back on the new server. Will be working on fixing avatar images in the morning.

Please let us know of any issues you run in to.

Posted on Mar 28th 2014 at 04:37:23 PM by (bickman2k)
Posted under Site news, Server change, Download More RAM, Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

The big server move is going to happen beginning tonight. At 6pm Central time, when I get home, I'm going to begin the change so this site is redirected to our new emergency blog. This will let us finish transferring some items as well as pull a fresh DB backup so we can move it all, optimize everything, and bring the site back up on the new server.

Feel free to get your IRC client ready for the down time.

Server: irc.quakenet.org
Room: #rfgeneration

Feel free to stop by and chat with myself and others while this is in the works.

Maybe I'll even start a Google Video Hangout tonight...

Thanks for your patience!

Posted on Mar 21st 2014 at 08:29:55 AM by (singlebanana)
Posted under playthrough, April, 2014, Atari, Activision, 2600, DS, Nintendo, Magical Starsign

This month, the RFGeneration Community Playthrough Group offers you two vastly different gaming options for the retro and modern playthoroughs. If depth, awesome graphics, and portability are your thing, join us on the modern side for the fantastic and adorable.......yes, adorable........RPG Magical Starsign. If camping out in front of the tube, frustrating single-button joysticks, underwhelming graphics, and fierce community competition are you thing join us on the retro side for eight fun and challenging Atari 2600 Activision titles. And if you just love gaming in general, why not join us for both playthroughs by immersing yourself in a great RPG and taking breaks with some frenzied Atari action?

On the modern side we'll be delving into a lesser known RPG for the Nintendo DS. Magical Starsign may seem a little cutesy, and it is, but under that sugar coating is a surprisingly deep science fiction/fantasy adventure. Create your hero/heroine and join his/her group of galactic school of magic classmates as they travel to bizarre, alien worlds in search of their "missing" teacher. The game features a very intricate and challenging combat system and requires heavy use of touch controls, so make sure you have a stylus handy!

Link to Modern Playthrough Thread: http://www.rfgeneration.c...topic=13680.msg195065#new

For the Retro Playthrough this month, enjoy some quick and frantic competition against your fellow RFGeneration members as you play two classic Atari 2600 Activision titles each week. We will be holding high score contests weekly for both games and crown our site's own Atari 2600 Activision Champion at the end of the month. There will even be a prize! Games for this month include: Seaquest, Pitfall!, Stampede, Enduro, Kaboom!, Keystone Kapers, Sky Jinx, and Spider Fighter. Even if you don't own a 2600 (though you should!), Activision anthologies and collections, which include all of these titles, are cheap and available on several different platforms. Members, get ready for some truly ole skool, retro gaming!

Link to Retro Playthrough Thread: http://www.rfgeneration.c...topic=13681.msg195070#new

Posted on Mar 18th 2014 at 07:02:45 AM by (Duke.Togo)
Posted under Collectorcast, Podcast, Duke.Togo, wildbil52, episode 21

Episode 21 discussion thread: http://www.rfgeneration.c...rum/index.php?topic=13677

Get the show at http://www.collectorcast.com
Follow the Collectorcast on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Collectorcast
Like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Collectorcast
On Stitcher (enter Promo Code RFGeneration): http://www.stitcher.com/RFGeneration
On iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/u...collectorcast/id524246060
On YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/DukeTogo74

Both Bil and Duke are on the very edge of babyland, and we wanted to ensure that you received this episode before our big days hit. Unfortunately, to make this happen we had to shorten the episode. No small scores this time around, so we could have time to prep for our impending major scores.

The good news is that we are discussing our retrospective of 2013 in gaming. We tackle the  games that we played in 2013 (regardless of when they were released) including our favorites, suggestions to listeners, and our disappointments. Did your favorites make our list? Maybe some of ours will pique your interest. Whether you agree or disagree, be sure to let us know what we got right (or where you think we went wrong)!

Show Notes
Music: Spartan X 2 (Famicom)
Topic: 4:06
Outro: 3:33:20

Posted on Mar 11th 2014 at 08:10:14 AM by (slackur)
Posted under missed gems, Titanfall, XBox One, Puppeteer, PvZ Garden Warfare, Bravely Default, TxK

As a video game collector, I have to admit I'm somewhat accustomed to picking up a game I'm not necessarily expecting to play.  Oh sure, it usually won't be more than a dollar or two, but I'm guilty of spending (very little) money on games I consider duds such as Bebe's Kids or RapJam Volume One simply because I love the Super Nintendo and collecting for it.  The same goes for many game systems, and even some eclectic oddities that I like to play around on more than play on, such as the CD-I or N-Gage.  When it comes to modern games, the fact that most are more than a few bucks means I don't do the same, and I don't have a desire to grab a (as close as possible to) complete collection like I do for my favorite pre-PlayStation oldies.  While seemingly unrelated, this brings us to:

When Titanfall was shown, I was not star-struck as many in the industry was but I have to admit the ol' Mech-lovin', giant robot-stompin', sci-fi buff in me was piqued.  Interested, but not entranced.  Other announcements such as system exclusivity and an online multiplayer-only design all but killed my immediate interest.  Even the 360 version failed to appeal to me, especially since the 360/PS3 ports of Battlefield 4 felt so watered down from the PS4 port I enjoy.

However, when I found a window to acquire a Titanfall Xbox One bundle by a combination of trading off a stack of broken devices and redundancies in our collection and finally cashing in on all the Gamestop points we've amassed, it just made sense.  Despite not having much interest in the system or library at the moment, it's a game system we don't have, acquired without much of any loss from us, and I know by the time another Halo or Gears of War comes out I'll be much more interested.  And since it's the same price to get the system with a digital copy of Titanfall that it is a normal one, it just makes sense.

And don't get me wrong; I'm sure I'll enjoy the game.  While I've never been an avid Call of Duty multiplayer fan, I enjoy many online shooters like the aforementioned Battlefield and Halo.  And I've liked mechs since the Battletech board game days in my youth.  Perhaps I'll be as charmed as the gaming media once I load it up and indeed have a 'genre-redefining' good time.  I hope so!

But I'm more that fine right now with some excellent games that have perhaps gotten overlooked in the last several months of new system releases and Titanfall hype.  Here's what I've been playing lately (instead of, oh say, writing for RFGen as I should.) Tongue

Bravely Default (3DS)
I can't say the Final Fantasy name brand is dead to me like I've heard others say.  I also can't say I get that old excitement whenever it's name-dropped either.  Seeing as how Bravely Default began development as a Final Fantasy title, released as a new IP, and has been better received critically (and personally) than the last several Final Fantasy games, I sure hope the series continues.  The story is naturally cliche to a fault and I have to say I endure the characters instead of being endeared to them.  But the art is fantastic, the music beautiful, the gameplay fun, and the mechanics interesting.  It's also rather addictive; I haven't carried my 3DS around everywhere this much since Soul Hackers.

Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare (Xbox 360)
This just shouldn't have worked, especially as well as it does.  Essentially a scaled-down Battlefield mod using the Plants Vs Zombies universe, Garden Warfare excels because of a humorous art design, decent and varied balancing, and the prevailing sense of quirkiness that the original PvZ games did so well.  Perfect for those who tire of the gritty combat of modern shooters, Garden Warfare is smart in its focus of pure zany fun; kills are 'Vanquishes' and player deaths aren't even counted on the final tallies.  The cartoony style is well realized and detailed, and the lack of gore and heavy atmosphere makes the whole thing so playful it's hard not to come away smiling.  C'mon, you get unlocks by opening sticker packs!  Unfortunately being an EA game, there's no LAN support and the only bots are in the Horde-mode like Garden Ops mode, but other than that it's about perfect for $30.

TxK (Vita)
If it weren't for the NSFW and completely unnecessary vocal effects during the bonus round (which I think were toned down with the latest patch), this game is the perfect successor to Tempest 2000 and Tempest X3, two of my all-time favorites.

I'm not too far into this yet, but if the rest of it is as magnificent as the first few hours, this game is criminally unknown.  I made the mistake of initially assuming this to be something of a modern Clockwork Knight: Interesting visually, but otherwise an average platformer.

Wow, was I underselling this game.

If we gamers mean it when we say that art, sound design, and originality are of supreme importance in a game, it's criminal that no one talks about this one.  The first few hours I've put into it have shown more attention to detail, fascinating world construction, and inspired design choices than anything since the storied Journey.  This game has, thus far, been quite the diamond in the rough and I intend to give far more attention to it soon.  Here's the trailer, if you forgot about it or never heard of it:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/0GECUR5Wgyc&rel=0" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/0GECUR5Wgyc&rel=0</a>

Whether or not you're expecting Titanfall to soon eat up all your free-time, try giving one of these a shot; aside from possibly Bravely Default, they're likely to disappear under the shadow of higher profile releases, sort of like grunt soldiers under the massive metal feet of a-

Sorry, too easy.

Posted on Mar 5th 2014 at 09:04:48 AM by (Fleach)
Posted under News, RFG Thanks, Submissions, Stats

Two months into the new year and the community never fails to impress. Last month we received a slew of submissions and database edits.

In total we saw an outstanding 2994 submissions which comprised of 2880 game submissions and 114 hardware additions.

You guys also put your cameras and scanners through the works because the database now includes an additional 756 images.

Last month six members broke the 100 mark with their submissions. Monkees19 made 256 database entries and Sauza12 contributed 163 additions. The other four to add over 100 submissions were staff members: ApolloBoy (1383), Shadow Kisuragi (380), Tynstar (153), and CoinCollector (115).

The top 5 image submitters for February were: monkees19 (253), Sauza12 (150), Tynstar (84), Raidou (65), and Sirgin (62).

Great work everyone!

Thanks again for continuing the improve the rapidly growing database and getting involved in this supportive community! Everyone deserve a round of applause!

Posted on Feb 27th 2014 at 01:40:13 PM by (Shadow Kisuragi)
Posted under Performance, Slow Server, WHY HASNT THIS BEEN FIXED YET

Hello all. It's been a while since we've communicated out what we're doing about the server, and people have been asking about it. I thought I'd put up a site post so that everyone's aware of the progress we're making here.

We're staging a brand new, 8GB RAM server that will blow this server out of the water. Unfortunately, the brunt of this work right now is on Bickman, since he's the experienced person in server setup and maintenance on the team.

We ran into a snag with PayPal not being a form of payment for our new provider, but Bickman has ponied up and offered to shoulder the cost for the moment until arrangements are made to make the payments via the site's PayPal account by another method, whether that be a PayPal Debit or another method (he's being reimbursed with funds from the PayPal account, of course).

After clearing that problem, it turns out we can't bulk import the site over like we thought, but Bickman's looking into another method to try in the next couple days. Should that not pan out, we'll be manually moving the site over via FTP. After the site's moved, we still need to optimize the databases and see if the added RAM will be enough to allow us to perform the optimization without crushing the server. That will take a day or two to get the results for. After that, we'll need to lock down the site for a couple days while we move it over to the new server, re-optimize the databases, and verify that nothing's broken.

I feel your pain on the performance issues, believe me. I've been trying to use it at night and dealing with the same problems you're seeing, and it's completely unacceptable. Unfortunately, we just don't have the resources on this server to optimize things away, and I can't stand up a sandbox server to attempt optimizations since it made running the production site even worse.

Thanks for staying with us through all of these problems, which have been going on for 5+ months now. Unfortunately, Bickman and I have been unable to coordinate much of anything on the site the past couple months due to work and personal reasons, but we're now actively standing up the server and addressing the problems. Once we're officially moved over, it will give me the opportunity to investigate and address part of the problem that's leading to our overall performance issues, and I'll actually get to wrap up some of the features that I have planned for the site.

Posted on Feb 22nd 2014 at 10:24:57 AM by (Fleach)
Posted under Community Playthrough, Game, RPG, Adventure, Phantasy Star, The Last of Us

Science continues to run out of control and the altruistic hero returns in March's RF Gen Community Playthroughs.

This month in the Retro Community Playthrough we're going back to the grandfather of Sega consoles, the Sega Master System. Take control of Alis and her band of adventurers to avenge her brother's death at the hands of an evil tyrant in a far off world. In this science fiction adventure you will embark upon a grand quest across the stars in the RPG classic Phantasy Star!

For the Modern Community Playthrough you must test your will against man and beast in The Last of Us, swan song of the PlayStation 3, which changed the relationship between narrative and gameplay. When human nature is pushed to violent and desperate extremes every day is a fight for survival. The ability to endure brutal circumstances will carry you through a journey that is both terrifying and rewarding. Endure and survive against all odds in the March Modern Community Playthrough.

Retro Playthrough Discussion Thread

Modern Playthrough Discussion Thread

Posted on Feb 14th 2014 at 09:07:57 AM by (singlebanana)
Posted under Road Runner, Atari, 2600, VCS, Review

Game:  Road Runner
Genre: Action
Year:  1989
Publisher:  Atari
Developer:  Atari
Designer(s)/Programmer(s):  Bob Polaro
Rarity (according to AtariAge):  6 = Rare Plus
Controls:  Joystick
Number of Players:  1 - 2 (turn-based)
Average Cost:  approx. $10-$20 loose depending on condition
Also Available On:   Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS, Sinclair ZX Spectrum, NES, and Atari arcade cabinet.

Tagline/Description: "Imagine yourself as the Road Runner in a Saturday morning cartoon. You are happily whizzing across the desert, racing along that black ribbon of highway. It's glorious! But the cunning Wile E. Coyote is out there somewhere. So watch out! He is planning to smash you to smithereens. He is also scheming to blast you with his ACME cannon in a very sneaky way."

Continue reading Road Runner

Posted on Feb 13th 2014 at 08:41:58 AM by (slackur)
Posted under The last game we ever get, retro, collecting, playing, I am actually quite excited about next gen games

What will be the last game you ever get?  Many gamers assume that question simply depends on a bit of morbid posturing on when they die, and back up the clock a bit.  But what if it was a conscious decision?  What if, sometime in the future, you as a video game player picked up a game, or received one as a gift, and said definitively, "This is it.  The last game I'll ever add to what I already have." 

Kinda smacks as weird, huh?  And perhaps more monumental than it really should.  Firsts and lasts are generally memorable, and since most gamers assume they will be playing something off and on until they kick the bucket (and most of us are uncomfortable pondering our own end,) we don't normally think about what would be the last video game we will ever own.

But what if it were on purpose?  A decision to stop buying any more games.  Not for financial or practical reasons (though understandable, naturally) but because we have all we'll ever 'need' to play?  Oh sure, it's perhaps easier to ponder for a collector who has more games to play than free time will ever allow, (ahem) but between free-to-play models, Steam sales, compilations, retro digital offerings, and future streaming options, most gamers have easy access to more games than they could ever complete.

And yet, even as many are lukewarm to the new generation of hardware, the assumption is that once prices come down and more games are released, we'll buy-in somewhere.  Many gamers are even choosing now to jump into the 360/PS3 generation for the first time, given that prices are low, libraries are huge, and bugs are known if not resolved.  Gaming is by nature technologically driven; more detailed graphics, longer (in theory) games, more (in theory) intelligent AI, higher player counts, added features, etc.  Not every gamer ascribes to the 'newer is better' mantra, but few would argue against a future that continuously provides more options. 

Yet the constant addition of game machines and games every year provides an embarrassment of riches to gamers who play more than the occasional title.  It has literally become mathematically impossible to play, thoroughly, every new game released in a year, even if money allows it.  Sure, each genre will have slow months and even years.  But the back catalogue in each main (and many sub-) type of game has , with few if any exceptions, eclipsed the ability for a fan to have completely engaged each relevant title, not to mention each game in the genre.

Of course, the industry doesn't bank on a gamer's desire to play absolutely everything for everything.  Its not uncommon to find a video game player who only plays one or two types of games:

The JRPG fan with a little strategy gaming on the side.  The sports and Call of Duty bro.  The $800 rig (not counting the actual PC) racing pro who dabbles in flight games.  The MMO and-what-else-would-I-have-time-for? guru.  The modern whatever's-free-on-tablets -and-phones casual.

When a gamer's scope is very focused (some would indeed say limited) it is easier to justify the constant upscale that the business-end of gaming runs on.  Play out each Call of Duty and map-pack until the next game; hope that next year is more than a roster update and actually addresses legacy issues; upgrade your phone/tab to run the new wave of apps and games.  A steady stream of new content to fit the field.  And if you are more of a general gamer, chances are things aren't much different overall; a constant flow of 'gotta finish x to get to y'.  Sometimes the games aren't even Pokemon.
Thus the consumer service is born.  And all those folks who bought a Wii for Wii Sports, played for awhile, had their fun, and never bought a new game?  Maybe they bug us because it goes against the modern consumerist gaming mentality.  Played the next game, 'beat it,' and then moved it aside for some new hotness.  Are games to be consumed and then tossed aside?  Is this the only way to go about our hobby?

Well, sure, for an entertainment process it works.  And I'd be rather pretentious to claim it 'should' be otherwise.  But what if we stopped buying 'new' games?  What if we looked back and decided, 'you know, I love old platform games.  If I wanted, I could just go back and play all the greats I haven't played in awhile and ones I missed.  Then, I could investigate and find platform games I never tried and played those.'  After that, maybe I'm in an arcade racing game mood.  I could start with the Burnout series, then move to ...'

Basically, almost each genre in gaming now has so many options, it would be feasible to spend our gaming time entrenched in genres we like, playing games already released, and not run out of material.  It begs the question; why do we keep pursuing more new games when we haven't really played everything before?  Especially in these days of PSOne/2 downloads and Nintendo's eShop, backwards compatibility and the relatively inexpensive costs for many older systems and games?  In some ways it would make much more sense; as mentioned in previous articles, these games are going to slowly get harder to find and play, on hardware that is becoming ever more scarce. 

Most gamers who have been through a few generations of hardware have likely played through a bulk of games that interested them and them moved on to the next system.  We often 'beat' a game and then trade it, sell it, or store it, but rarely revisit it.  Does that mean endless games have better value simply because they cannot be considered 'beaten?'  Is Galaga inherently a more valuable video game than Radiant Silvergun?  Or is it better for a game to have visible signposts, completion markers that signal it 'OK' to move on to the next game?

Obviously, there is not going to be a unified correct answer.  I'm not advocating a position, but an examination.  I want to make sure I don't have pre-existing assumptions about the how's and why's.  I don't want to assume I have to buy the new thing because it is the new thing, anymore than I want to close off the future and assume nothing past a certain era is worth my attention.  We can spend some time involved with something, and never remember to stop, look up, identify where we are, and plan to get where we want to be.  As games have transitioned beyond quick-fix, in-and-out experiences and into involving, ever deepening virtual universes, the temptation can be to trudge ahead without pausing to wonder why we play what we play, and question if perhaps there is something better.  A better game, a more enjoyable genre for our tastes, an unquestioned bias that we didn't realize we owned.  A different way to go about things entirely. 

Maybe we are better served widening our experiences, or focusing on favorites.  Maybe a shotgun approach really fits us best.  Maybe we should let games just be games, or perhaps use them as another lens by which we examine ourselves and the world around us.  Maybe I can keep playing games as an excuse to ask more questions.  Or the other way around.


Posted on Feb 6th 2014 at 08:30:00 PM by (Duke.Togo)
Posted under Collectorcast, Podcast, Duke.Togo, singlebanana, wildbil52, episode 20

Episode 20 discussion thread: http://www.rfgeneration.c...rum/index.php?topic=13521

Get the show at http://www.collectorcast.com
Follow the Collectorcast on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Collectorcast
Like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Collectorcast
On Stitcher (enter Promo Code RFGeneration): http://www.stitcher.com/RFGeneration
On iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/u...collectorcast/id524246060
On YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/DukeTogo74

Unfortunately, our co-host Crabby has had to take a sabbatical to keep the fantastic Game Quest running in tip-top shape. We used this opportunity to get everyone's favorite Singlebanna, Rich, onto the show to talk Atari 2600. We talk about our memories of the system, collecting for the VCS, and some of our gaming favorites. Do you have fond memories of the system? Was the 2600 before your time? What should you keep an eye out for when you are shopping? Be sure to leave us comments and let us know!

Show Notes
Music: Golgo 13: Top Secret Episode (NES)
9:57 Atari 2600 Discussion
2:31:54 Small Scores
5:44:34 Outro

Posted on Feb 5th 2014 at 06:40:59 PM by (slackur)
Posted under Playstation Plus, intentionality, Steam

I knew for a long time that PlayStation Plus was a great deal.  At first, it just wasn't a great deal for me. 

Now that I have it, it's still a great deal, but I'm at odds with the way it has steadily changed my gaming habits.

Back in the summer of 2010 when Sony announced PlayStation Plus, the addition of the Instant Game Collection rotation created one of the best deals in gaming, even if it boiled down to a Gamefly-like digital service where someone else picked out the rental games every month.

Since then the catalog has grown for several years, to the point that if one owned Sony platforms and an internet connection, the service could practically provide enough games to last a customer indefinitely.  The longer the subscription, naturally, the more choices and variety in games become available.  By design PlayStation Plus rewards those who have subscribed the longest.  While I appreciated the design and intent, I had little desire to buy-in since I prefer physical copies and played my 360 much more often at the time.

Fast forward a few years, MS's focus on Kinect, and a promotion that allowed me to pick up PS Plus for a free year, and I find myself with every Sony system and a quickly growing backlog of games only visible from a menu.  Given the PS4's requirement of PS Plus for online play, I took advantage of 2013's Black Friday, and let's just say I'll have Plus for... awhile.

Especially compared to the very meager Games with Gold feature added to Live, Plus is still easily one of the best deals in gaming, and at this point it would be silly for me to argue otherwise since I've greatly enjoyed many of the free games and discounts provided, not to mention the online fun on PS4.  However, video games developing into an entertainment service as opposed to an entertainment product still goes against my personal philosophy and Plus is a poster child for such an implementation.

This change is not just rhetorical, much as I would like it to be.  I've found that I now plan my gaming around what is announced for free each month on the service.  It's not always intentional, and of course it could easily be argued that a simple matter of willpower should break this trend.  In fact, many years ago I had to break my habit of playing for Achievements instead of fun, a practice I slowly developed and struggled hard to eventually overcome.  The difference, at least in part, is that Achievements only tied into a virtual scoreboard and not my personal list of desired gaming experiences.  While it was a surprisingly tough mental addiction to break, once I did it was easy to 'play what I want to play' instead of 'play what I bizarrely feel I should play for arbitrary score regardless of if I'm having fun.'

When it comes to Plus, games I would have perhaps desired to play later are front and center, and there is a greater incentive to play them before they get lost in the digital pile, a list that sticks out less than the physical copies of games on our shelves.  I know that I'm far less likely to dig up a game from a digital back-catalog than a game temporarily forgotten on the shelf.  In fact a cursory glance at my 360 XBLA games reminded me that I never completed Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, a game I had once eagerly awaited, excitedly played for a few hours (including a nifty co-op mode) and somehow promptly forgot about.  I'm correcting that now, and shaking my head at how it happened, and I know that exact scenario has played out a number of times.

I could just 'play what I want' but as the back catalog builds and the hard drive space shrinks (especially on PS4) I find myself once again picking and choosing experiences based more on what's on the Instant Game Collection rotation before it disappears.  I tag every game to download so it's not completely gone from my grasp, but I know if I have to search previous downloads to find it, it's even less likely to be played than if it only existed on hard drive.

Having fake cases to display for digital copies of games may seem silly, but now I genuinely understand the idea.  Once it's out of sight, it's out of mind, even for desirable games.

Of course this is all silly.  It's just games on a service, and it's quite a silly complaint to fuss about how there are so many games popping up I want to play that I'm letting many slip through my limited attention.  If that were the only problem, I'd just shrug and move on.

The real problem for me, though, goes back to intentionality.  Back in the glory days of the NES and SNES, my friends and I would pour over every new (pre-internet) gaming magazine.  Each picture of a game we wanted grew our expectations.  Even when a game was released, limited funds meant sometimes those previews and reviews were the extent of our experience with a game for quite some time, and it built up the desire and passion to really get as much out of the experience as possible.  The tempered wait, the lofty expectations, the intentionality of playing games meant that even the poor quality ones were often savored, and the great ones were truly cherished.

The opposite of this, for me, are Steam sales.  I'd be a hypocrite for griping about buying access to dozens (or hundreds) of great indie and big name games for a few bucks apiece.  Yet this complete saturation of immediate gaming breaks down the intentionality of gaming.  In a few short years, these sales have made having a backlog like mine very commonplace.  Sure, a game can be picked and downloaded easily from the digital library list, but how many folks are intentionally savoring each, or even a few, of those games the way we used to before such access was available?   

During the original PlayStation era, I knew a fellow who would rent each game as it was released, play through it as fast as possible, and return it for something he hadn't yet 'beat.'  I hadn't thought much about it until I began asking him about the actual games he played.

"How did you like Vandal Hearts?"
"Vandal Hearts.  You said you finished it last week."
"That the one with the squares?"
"The one with th- What?  Squares?"
"Yeah, didn't you have to move each guy on little squares?"
"...yeah, sort of?  I liked how in the story-"
"Yeah, I don't remember the story.  That was like two games ago."
"Seriously?  You don't even remember when-"
"I remember, like, the cool Mr. T with a gun for an arm.  He was cool."
"Gun for a-... that was Final Fantasy VII!!"
"Was it?  Oh, I remember that one.  It had the bike, right?  I wanted to just stay on the bike.  That was cool."
"I... have to go cry in a corner for awhile now."
"You should totally sell your old Nintendo crap and buy Madden."
"Great.  I'm about to have to cry in the corner of a jail cell."

That's a paraphrase, but the idea is there.  He was the original games-as-service customer.  He played through each game as a notch on a scoreboard, and moved on.  And as much as that's not me, I respect that's just how some folks game.  That's their entertainment, their unwind, their free-time preference. 

This approach does, however, work against the 'games as an art media,' but that's another article.  More to the point, I have no desire to engage in video games this way; I want to intentionally experience individual game creations.  I'm not looking to elevate Bomberman to Shakespeare, but I do want to make sure that when I play a video game I'm not going to look back at the last hour and think, 'that wasn't what I wanted to spend my free time doing.'  And I find that games-as-service models, such as PlayStation Plus, tend to rewrite my gaming time to match its schedule instead of me proactively choosing how to spend my time. 

Will I be able to break myself of this tendency like my Gamerscore pursuit before it?  Or has Plus become a fixture I'll wrap my gaming around until those servers are shut off and I lose every game I never got around to?  Am I trapped in a game providing service the same way monthly paid MMOs 'trap' me into feeling I have to play enough each week to justify the cost? Does it really matter? 

The first step of intentionality is to identify the factors involved, both static and dynamic.  So here's step one, and that answers the last question; any pursuit that improves understanding of the self is a worthwhile venture, especially when video games can be involved. Smiley

Posted on Feb 4th 2014 at 01:28:14 PM by (NES_Rules)
Posted under Site News, RFG Thanks, Thank You, Thanks, 2014, January

Looks like 2014 is already 1/12th over. Despite off and on connection issues, our dedicated members have been hard at work makin' those submissions. In fact, you guys made over 2600 submissions in January. Which is very commendable considering the sporadic outages we've been experiencing. And if those outages have been keeping you away from making submissions and from the site in general, I've got some good news for you. There will be more info once it's all done, but rest assured everything will be lightning fast again by the end of the month.

So who made all those submissions in January? Well, it was mostly ApolloBoy with 757 submissions! ericeskapade had over 400, and HungryMoose and Shadow Kisuragi each had over 200. And of course, there were another 63 members who together made another 1000 submissions. So thanks to all of you who helped out this January, I know it wasn't easy with the downtime and sluggish load times.

As always, I'd like to thank our dedicated submission-approving team that has to deal with all of those submissions every month. Our top approvers in January were Tynstar and Shadow Kisuragi with over 700 and over 400 approvals respectively. Paully3433 also had over 100 approvals in January.

Thanks again everyone, and if you've been putting off those submissions because of our site issues, be assured it will be getting better, but as always, good things take some time, so expect things to get speedier by the end of February, and possibly sooner, depending on how smoothly things go. We're definitely trying to roll out these changes as quickly as we can.

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