Monday, April 16, 2012

Are massive discount sales hurting us, as gamers?

This morning I read JC Fletcher's article on Joystiq regarding comments made by Guillaume Rambourg. Rambourg is the CEO of 'Good Old Games', a digital distrubition service on the 'net, which I'd vaguely heard of but never explored.

Rambourg suggested that massive discounts hurt gamers, because if they were not paying a fair price for a title, the gamer wasn't placing a fair value on that game. I had had similar fleeting thoughts but had never really formed them into an idea.

The scenario certainly isn't lost on me. Off the top of my head I can think of 8 titles that I've purchased at a heavy discount which I haven't even opened. Operation Flashpoint: Red River, Silent Hill: Homecoming, LEGO: Indiana Jones, Front Mission: Evolved, Overlord 2, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2, Crackdown 2 and Damnation. Fable 3 I played for 20 minutes or so, but it might as well be part of this pile. I bought all these titles for under $30, either in second hand bins at EB, or from MightyApe's daily deals and gaming marathons.

Is the reason I haven't played these games, that I don't value them? I hadn't really thought about it, but it probably is. The three games that weigh in against this argument, for me anyway, are Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition, Mass Effect 2, and LEGO: Harry Potter Years 5-7. I bought these three titles at launch for full price and have barely touched them.

I'm one of those people who get home and can't figure out what to play. My library of games is pretty massive, but if I can't make a choice I'll often abandon everything and watch an episode or two of whatever I've acquired that week. It's not because I don't have anything to play.. it's possibly because I'm overwhelmed by choice, or possibly because too many of my games were bought so discounted that I don't value them enough.

It sounds like a bizarre idea.. I certainly don't want these sales to stop.. and I'm slightly affronted at the idea that they are making me a 'bad gamer'.. but I guess the evidence is there.

If you'll excuse me, MightyApe are having a game marathon sale this evening.

What are your thoughts?

Monday, March 19, 2012

If I had a million dollars...

For whatever reason, I got to thinking today, what if I had a million dollars? What would I do with it? I like to think I would be quite sensible with it. I would pay off my student loan, my hire purchase, credit card debt and overdraft, which would come to an even $20k all up at the moment. I would also buy a new tablet, probably a 10" one, and a Samsung Galaxy Nexus, as both my phone and my tab are on the slippery slope to being too slow to be useful.

My computer is getting on for 6 years old now as well. I want to build a media server with some 10 terabytes of space. I want a new gaming rig, separate from that. I want a laptop for mobility's sake. So maybe $10k worth of gadgets and computers.

I want to travel.. I want to see Tuscany and Rome, Turkey, France, Ireland. If I had a million dollars I would take in all these sights at a fairly leisurely pace, and probably in quite a bit of luxury.. I guess I'd be happy to set aside $70k for travel.

I'd buy a house, too.. though I'm not sure where. I love Christchurch, but having enough money to be able to live wherever I wanted.. I'd have to put some serious thought in. It'd be a modern home, sparse and small but easy to heat and enough room to entertain. With a view maybe. Covered in geekery. I don't even know what houses are worth these days, but I guess if I set aside $500k I could find something I liked. Or build one.

And I guess I'd invest the rest.. and live freehold and happy, and surround myself with good people.

It'd definitely bring a few changes.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Dear Amanda

22 February, 2012

Dear Amanda,

One year ago today, is a day marked indelibly in my mind. In the minds and hearts of my country, and on the face of my city. I had tickets to see you at Al's Bar that night. I was excited, Christchurch doesn't get a lot in the way of international performers, ones that I care about anyway, so I was looking forward to it. I got a bit delayed at work around lunchtime and we ended up going for lunch around 12.40pm.

At 12.51pm that day, as I was leaving the bakery with an apple slice and a ham sandwich, we were hit with an earthquake. We'd had one before, and several subsequent aftershocks, but this one was different. At the first lurch, the building next to the bakery began to collapse. Dad, my workmate and I ran from the bakery out onto the road as the wall and ceiling of the bakery smashed into the ground. The two things that stuck with me most vividly, other than the shaking, was the complete lack of sound. It was like a shockwave, had just ... like there was so much sound that my brain couldn't comprehend it. The second thing was the dust. Dad's car was parked over the road from the bakery and it was just covered in dust.

We knew it'd been bad, the damn bakery fell on us, but we didn't really know what the rest of the city was like. After I'd tweeted my bakery photo, though I was relatively new to twitter, one of the next pictures I remember seeing was one you'd retweeted, of the Catherdal spire in the middle of town, crumbled and broken. And the news that you wouldn't be playing at Al's Bar.. which is complete common sense in retrospect, but at the time, nothing logically followed on from anything. Everything had to be spelled out.

The next few days I don't really remember now. We had power back on at home by Friday morning. Even reading through my blogs from the days after, everything just seemed too big.

Fast forward eleven months, and you finally make it to Christchurch =) I wasn't going to make it to your ninja gig in Hagley Park because I had work, but I blew work off and came down. So glad I did. So glad that I could be a part of that experience, with you and Brian and Hera and the crowd. It was just a little bit magical.

At the ninja gig you asked how Christchurch was doing, to a fairly muted response.. but then the next day you got out and saw it yourself. Things are still very, very broken. Local government would like to tell you 'Christchurch is open for business'.. and pockets of it are.. but it's not the Christchurch we knew. You saw the little book repository in a fridge. You saw notes and flowers attached to the hurricane-wire barriers. I'm not sure if you saw the rubble where people had planted wildflowers, and all the colours had sprung up through the rubble of once-were-shops.

That's how I feel Christchurch is. Still buried in a layer of figurative rubble.. but trying so hard to push through, to reach out and touch the sunlight, to move forward from this ridiculous event. But it's so hard. I don't know if collectively we really have strength. I think what we have, as a city, is hope, with a little bit of imagination, compassion, faith and love.

Your gig the night after that blew my mind. There was so much energy, and so much.. love.. not in a soppy way.. just in a real 'you guys have had a shit time, and we're totally here to make you feel better' kind of way. After our first earthquake in September of 2010, Metallica came and played Christchurch. They had a lot of love for us "in our time of need", but that was different.. there had been no deaths in September. It was a shock, and some damage occurred, but not the wholesale destruction of February, and then June, and then December of last year.

So I can honestly say what you shared with us on the 25th of January, was probably one of the best, most important nights of my life.



Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Been a while. I housesit for some friends for a week. It snowed. Quite heavily. The city had a day off work and tried to stay warm. The snow lingered for two or three days after that, but we got warmth back and it melted.

After I finished housesitting, a friend had a party seeing as she had finished her course of chemotherapy to deal with a cancer. We all wore wigs and hats, the band was great, heaps of twitter peeps attended and some school friends came down from Wellington and Wanganui, so it was great to see them all again too.

The weekend just gone, I went up to Wellington and saw all those school friends again. It was really nice to just get away from everything down here.. broken roads, work, little shakes, lack of malls and shops, tired people with tired homes. I love visiting Wellington, I've decided. Well, I love visiting the people there, but the city is quite pretty, too. Especially at night. There is an easy-going-ness to the general public there that has been missing a little from Christchurch since February. I felt like.. smiles were easier to come by. Christchurch is tired.. and it shows on peoples faces.. no matter how well we try to hide it.

I couldn't live there though.. a bit too hilly.. suburbs are disconnected.. the roads confuse me. I like Christchurch for it's flat, sensible layout. I like how decent the bus system is, even through all the disruption. There are too many people, and my job, here, that I could never contemplate anywhere else being 'home'. I lived in Wanganui some 10 years, but it never felt permanent. Christchurch is where my home will always be.. no matter how long it takes her to get back on her feet.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


It's always dangerous to sit down to write a blog without having had any constructive thoughts to it's content, but here we are. I don't want this to become like all my other blogs and lay dormant for months on end.

Last weekend I celebrated my 28th birthday. I had breakfast at my favourite breakfast restaurant with my family and a couple of friends, met a 3 week old baby for the first time, though he was too noisy for me to want to hold, caught up with some good friends who'd come down from Wellington to help me celebrate; especially awesome as they are moving to London in a week, so it will be the last time I see them for ages. Went to Winniebagoes for dinner with 22 family and friends, old and new, which was really nice. Had planned to go drinking afterward but everyone was shattered so we went home by 8pm. I must be getting old!

On Sunday I met up with some friends for brunch around the corner from home, then headed to Armageddon dressed as Tom Baker, the Fourth Doctor! I had jelly babies in my pocket so I was able to offer them to people (as Fourth often did) and everyone seemed to recognize my outfit, which was really cool. Katy had knitted me a scarf to the original pattern (though I was terrible at matching the colours), which really set the ensemble off.

Overall, from the massive number of people who spent time with me over the weekend, the 75+ people from all over the world who wished me a happy birthday on Facebook, or Twitter, or Xbox Live, I just felt a great lift every time I thought about all these people who I meant something to, who meant something to me. From my oldest school friend to my parents to people I had only known for a week. It's just..


Thankyou to everyone, everyone reading this, everyone who has ever made me feel worthy of love and support, thankyou. You make me who I am.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Occhi stanchi

I went to a Tupperware party last night, which doubled as a bit of a house-warming party for the Frompsons. I even bought some Tupperware, basically for freezing and reheating leftovers. I really wasn't planning on buying anything but there you go.

My birthday planning is going well, I will be 28 on the 2nd July, and I am organising breakfast and dinner on the 2nd, and brunch on the 3rd. I love when my birthday falls on a weekend. I also love dining out with friends and family. On the Sunday I plan to go to the Armageddon pop culture expo after brunch, though I don't know how much of an event it will be, having been rescheduled and reorganised from February's earthquake. I invited like 65 people to dinner on the Saturday, at the moment it looks like I could end up with about 20-25? Biggest birthday ever! Even my 21st only had 12 or so people. I didn't plan for a big 21st though, just a quiet evening out.

I broke my pokermanz, I got greedy and cheated to get more masterballs, now my tm case is corrupted. I can start again and make better decisions now though. Like not cheating.

I haven't made any gamerscore progress for a few days, though the last achievement I got was 100G so that should tide me over. I should do things like find all the damn feathers in Assassin's Creed II, the flags in Assassin's Creed, drive a car 750 miles in GRiD, drive a total of 1000 miles in DiRT.. these are all such tedious goals though. Perhaps I'm better off starting fresh with Mass Effect 2, or giving Fallout 3 another chance. I'm in a bit of a gaming funk but it feels more positive than usual, as if I have too much to choose from, rather than no motivation to play.

We had a 5.4 magnitude shake last night at 10.35pm. It was a lurcher rather than a jolt. It's been four months since February's 6.3m. We had more shakes all through the night, everyone was a little bleary-eyed this morning. I think after June 13's shocks, people were subconsciously waiting for something bigger to follow the 5.4, so sleep was almost impossible to come by.

Despite being tired constantly, I feel pretty good about life. I've stopped saving for a little while, just til after my birthday, so I have a bit of extra cash to spend, I'm getting out there and being more social than I'm used to, I think it's all working for me. Life is what you make it, and if you sit around feeling sorry for yourself... it's a pretty crappy life to be giving yourself.

Stay safe.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Silencio bella

Life has been an interesting journey for me lately. Connecting with new people on twitter, going out for drinks with them, it all feels a little alien to me. I spend so little time at my computer anymore. I look back and think of the hundreds of people I used to interact with every day. Over time I think I closed that group down a little, to maybe ten or so who could still impact on my life. I was spreading myself too thinly. From that handful though, people were whittled away until there were about for people I'd even bother turning the computer on for.

The beauty of that small number, is that I know I don't have to talk to them every day. I know that they are there for me if I need them, and they know I am there for them too.

I wonder if I am trying to fill a void, by all this social activity, or am I just trying to be normal? I think I am trying to find out whether this is something I like doing, something I can afford to do. I think I struggle with finding a balance between recluse and overdoing it.

On the other hand, I've set myself a gamerscore goal on my 360 for the first time in ages. I want to get to 81000 by July 31. It's an arbitrary number, but I've been in the 70k region for ages and I want to break out. I basically need 50g per day between now and then, but I think I've done 500 in three days heh.

All of this, I think, is a bit of a distraction from the shakes. The less I have to think about them or anticipate them, the better. I just hope no more buildings fall down around me. If we can avoid that, I think I can make it through anything.