Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Rage of Bahamut Review

This is a modified version of a review I left on the iTunes App store for my latest gaming addiction. Yeah, I can still be addicted even though I'm calling the game "total crap" (as you can clearly see below this paragraph, even though you haven't yet begun reading it).

Rage of Bahamut is total crap. The developers call buying a single card for the game at $3.00 a card, a CARD PACK. Three dollars for one card. A card pack. Really?

By these terms, one cow is a "herd" and one bird is a "flock."

Oh, hang on a minute, there's a quiver of cobra on my porch. Must go shoo it away.*

It doesn't end there, to get six cards you must spend $20. Yes, you heard me. And that's because you can't buy the rage medals in anything other than big lots that require spending up. So you want to buy six cards for $15? You have to spend $20 because you can't buy just $15 worth of RAGE MEDALS (said in a Bigfoot Monster Truck racing advertisement voice).

Also, you should feel lucky. You're getting SIX cards for the price of ONE.

In real life if I want to play Magic ze Gathering, I am at least guaranteed a rare or a mythic rare card when I spend $4 for SIXTEEN cards. AND I can sell the cards if I want. Cygames or Mobage doesn't allow this. So you sink hundreds of dollars into building your deck for what? To be told you can't sell your virtual cards that YOU bought with REAL money?

It all comes down to Cygames or Mobage controlling the economy that surrounds the game. It would RUIN them if suddenly it was possible to buy a very rare card for $15 actual dollars on an auction site. Financially, they'd be in the hole. Suddenly the gears that moved forward the Cygames development department, the design and that glorious writing ("You follow the evil wizard into the pawn shop where he sells his wand for a new motorcycle!"), and all that paper and ink to print those fantastic cards . . .

They sell you one card for three bucks and guess what? It ends up being a crap card. Your loss. And if you're lucky and get a good card, you can't sell it for real money because that's against the rules. So keep the card. It's virtual. No care or actual space required. No big deal.

They'll never change it either as long as players continue to pay astronomical real life money for the rip-off card "packs" that don't even come with any sort of rarity guarantee (like Magic). So word of advice: if you're going to play this rigged game, don't spend real money on these virtual cards until things change. Money talks for all of us and you can't sell your cards for real money without potentially having your account banned.

But, well, Cygames will happily take your real money for six crap cards.

Adding insult to injury is the seedy underbelly of prostitution that's cropped up on the required social network app associated with the game. There are loads of people selling pornographic "pics and vids" for in-game cards.

Hello? So I can't spend actual real money on a card from someone other than Cygames/Mobage, but it's OK for a bunch of slutty chicks (whether or not they're real, I have no idea, but it seems plenty of dumb men are willing to fork over cards for the promised goods, judging from the visible-to-everyone conversations) to sell their bodies for cards? This is the equivalent of saying that prostitution is fine, but a money-based market is not.

Essentially the game is fun as long as you don't get frustrated with losing every battle because you don't spend thousands of dollars on "packs" of six cards to find the extremely rare cards that will win for you. But there are real issues that need to be addressed before I can say "this is a five-star" game.

Frankly I'm sick of games that require a continual influx of money for them to remain fun and viable. These games are the Amway, multi-level marketing scams of the modern age and it seems EVERYONE is willing to fall for them. Next to starting a religion (thank you L. Ron Hubbard), designing a game like this is the next best way to get filthy stinking rich. But really, I'd be willing to pay for the card packs if they WERE packs (i.e. the standard 12-16 cards for $4) with a rarity guarantee.

Until then, I won't.

That said (and this is one of the few ways to get decent free cards), if you decide to play after all, add my referral at the end of the tutorial and remember, don't pay real money for crap cards. Take my advice: not worth it. But multiply your chances to get free cards as much as possible such as by providing your referral code to new players.

Yes, it would seem I'm selling out. I admit it. Though I loathe the methodology of the game, I'm an addict. Hi, my name is Nicole. I'm currently addicted to ROB. And hey, by the way, you only get one chance to use the referral code. Using it will give you 50,000 rupees and a rare card, so be sure to do it. My referral code is xao95452.

*It was just one cobra. Oh whoops. Did I misuse a word? My bad. Count your blessings: at least you didn't spend three dollars on my mistake! 

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Rage of Bahamut

I downloaded this game last night and have been confused the usual amount upon beginning to play it. And now I'm slowly getting a grasp on it. Just in time for it to wreak havoc on my goals.

I finished the first draft of "The Blue Hearts of Mars" two days ago, nice job, me. Thank you! And yesterday I began editing it. It's been fun.

Have I done any editing today? No. Because I was figuring out Rage of Bahamut. And so you see how my goals are being slowly dismantled by a fairly innocent-looking game. Here's a picture that will probably blow your mind with it's sheer awesomeness:

Doesn't that make you want to play it? It promises dragons. And...dragons! Lovely, lovely dragons!

But, truly, it's an inane game. And yet, if that's what you're looking for, can you fault it for being inane?


And I was looking for inane.

What you do is you tap the screen when an "enemy" appears and your cards' stats determine whether or not you win. About three enemies appear, and then a treasure box appears. You open the treasure box and get some kind of treasure. A new card. Rupees (very original!). Or a ring or something.

Doesn't it sound amazing?

The best part is the anime-style drawings. The girl figures have the MOST offensive proportions, and they're always coupled with vacuous expressions. The most heinous expression imaginable on a woman or girl. Generally girls. Never, actually, women. Always, always girls. Too young girls.

Illustration of a vacuous expression for the hard-of-understanding. I didn't edit this. Beyonce really 
did achieve this expression all on her own. She must be thinking: "Single, single, 
single ladies....fing on, that's not a word! Ding on ring on it! Sigh. Who cares? I just love unicorns!"*

I still can't figure out why game developers cater to that facet of the market. I suppose because we women just deal with it. We look at a drawing of a stupid, brainless looking schoolgirl with humongous, unrealistic breasts and a vacuous expression on her face and sigh. And move on.

Because most of us aren't on crusades to change the world. And what's the point? This type of media seems to be designed for lonely, sad geeks who will never actually get to touch a pair of breasts like that. Ever. And you know what? That IS really sad.

I hope my sarcasm is detectable there. It's not that sad. There are sadder things in the world. Whether or not some dude gets to fulfill his fantasies isn't that depressing. I mean, I could MAKE it sad by writing a really sad story about it and we'd all indulge the notion that it IS the saddest thing in the world until we realized, wtf? There are truly worse things. And then everyone would deplore me for trivializing true tragedies by making THAT seem like a tragedy.

You know what I mean.

But I do go on. I'm exhausted now. That tangent went on WAY too long.

The truth is, I know I'm going to be sucked into this game more than is healthy. And a part of me really wants that. I went looking for it. And I'm happy to say, "Good riddance Dragonvale and Stardom: The A-list, you are pure crap now. I have Rage to fulfill my iPhone gaming needs. Thanks!"

So if you find this review of Rage, please don't be offended. I've only said what is true. You know it's true. But you don't care, because you're like me (unless you're male and you love the vacuous female character drawings) and you wanted a somewhat inane game that could monopolize your every thought that isn't related to subsisting and taking care of your cats and/or child (you probably don't have a child if you fit the stereotype, right, I mean, who are we kidding?).

And when you find this review, please look me up. My game name is obviously grotepas and my referral code is XAO95452. Please give me rupees and cards and referral bonuses. Now. Do it. DO IT!

*Meh. That was stupid. But I'm leaving it! Maybe it should be I with a vacuous expression! I mean, ME. Be ME with a vacuous expression.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Insanity and Salt Water Taffy

I've been doing this workout program. You might have heard of it. Insanity? Yeah? Heard of it? Great! Then you know what I'm talking about.

But, I've been a fool.

What I did was, I started it and then I was at Macey's, the grocery store, not the huge department store*, and there was this enormous display of salt water taffy. There had to be like forty boxes, which is approximately the population of the Earth in salt water taffy.

I'd seen it a week or so before. And it is my weakness. Cinnamon salt water taffy. Black licorice salt water taffy. Peppermint salt water taffy. Watermelon salt water taffy. Grape salt water taffy. Uh, salt salt water taffy. A1 Sauce salt water taffy. You name it. Any flavor. It is my kryptonite.

But I am no Superman**.  

Well, actually I was, the first week they had it out. And I was really proud of my strength. I resisted. I said, "Hell no. I don't need no salt water taffy. I am woman, hear me roar." Crap like that. You know. Like a Nike commercial.

The next week I thought to myself in an admittedly conniving voice, "You know, the cinnamon salt water taffy won't last. It'll be gone by the time I'm done with Insanity. So . . . hey! I'll buy a supply of salt water taffy and when I'm done with Insanity, and the diet, of course, I'll have an occasional piece of taffy. As a reward. A reward!"

It would totally help me get through the sixty day program.

So I bought a huge bag of salt water taffy.

And I was pretty good for a few days. But then, one night, I thought, "Hey, dessert. A piece of cinnamon salt water taffy. I've been good. A reward. Yes! Just one piece. As a reward."

Stoker saw me getting some and he was like, "Oh, sweet, salt water taffy!" And he got a few pieces. So when I saw him grabbing a handful, I felt it my duty to take two peppermint pieces, two black licorice pieces, and two cinnamon pieces.

Obviously if I didn't do that, the supply would eventually be whittled down to nothing, because now Stoker knew about, and seriously, the minute Stoker knows about anything in the cabinets like that, the trail mix, or the mixed nuts, or the salt water taffy, it all has a tendency to vanish over a week or two. Sometimes three days, depending on how delicious the treat is.

So it went on like that for a while because I'm a creature of habit and it only takes me a day to get into the habit of something, like eating six pieces of salt water taffy at a time. Occasionally one or two more, because my fingers accidentally grabbed hold of the wax-paper ties and I got more than I intended, but why put it back? Why not just eat it too? I mean, I'm looking at it and now it knows the fate that awaits it, why not just get it over with and spare the poor little piece of peppermint salt water taffy?

You know what? I will! Poor little guy (I thought at the time, as I ate two more pieces).

And now the bag is totally gone. I was a trooper. I actually let Stoker have the last two pieces. Mainly because I'd already had six pieces earlier that day. So it wasn't that I was being all generous or anything, even though he smiled and hugged me and cooed over me being such a damn sweetheart that I'd let him have the LAST TWO PIECES OF SALT WATER TAFFY.

I admit it. I still felt pretty good about it.

So the bag was finally empty last Friday or something. I'd been doing Insanity of two weeks. This week I haven't had ANY salt water taffy. And you know what? I'm finally losing weight!

Thanks to Insanity. And no thanks to stupid salt water taffy season***! My weakness. My ONE weakness.

*Imagine my confusion when Macy's--the department store--bought out ZCMI here in Utah . . . "What does a grocery store want with a department store? They can't possibly see each other as competition!" Honestly. I was baffled for a while. And no, I never did watch the Macy's day Thanksgiving parade. My family did not have that tradition.
**I'm actually a woman. But kryptonite goes with SuperMAN and I didn't want to spoil the metaphor by saying, "I am no superwoman." Because that just makes the kryptonite line fall flat. I can't think of any kryptonite-like weaknesses that apply to women, either. Huh. I guess because we just don't have any major flaws. Historically speaking. Oh wait. The apple. Eve. Damn. Ah well. Too late now!
 ***Which coincides with parade season here in Utah . . . it's good for throwing to the crowds as they watch the floats go by. They throw candy here, from the parade floats. They do that everywhere, right? I'm asking, because I don't know. I've never gone to a parade anywhere else. As far as I'm concerned, it's the only reason to go to parades! 

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Book Cover Unveiling! "World in Shadow"

Holy crap. I went a month without posting? Oops!

What have I been doing? Writing!

Pretty excited to unveil the cover of my next novel, World in Shadow. It's a YA sci-fi/adventure. Designed by the talented Ronnell Porter. Release date forthcoming. Stay in touch for a preview before the release.