The Gears’ Tutor

James Caron, also know by his Xbox Live persona as TLR ClouD1, dominated the opposition in Major League Gaming (MLG) while playing the first Gears of War.  Now that the sequel has rolled around, James has expanded his horizons on Xbox Live by teaching others the art of the curb stomp.  Through starting his own Gears tutoring service, he hopes to not only find the “next big talent” in the pro gaming scene, but also help the casual and pro alike improve upon their skills.  While James isn’t rolling in the money from his tutoring service, considering it more as a side project, he has won a “goodly amount of money/prizes/respect” during his MLG career.  However, James sees a bright future for himself but also the industry of game tutoring.  He believes that as the game industry as a whole grows and develops, more people would desire the “opportunity” to not only become better at games but also compete to be the best.

Matthew “Webnet” Moore
The full interview is after the break

Rant Central #14: Leo Laporte, stop talking about gaming, PLEASE!

Disclaimer: Leo Laporte diehards, I realize he’s building the Ultimate Gaming PC, so don’t even bother bringing that up.  That’s beside the point.😉

I don’t mean to disparage anyone, especially when the wolf pack that follows Leo Laporte would be very happy to eat me for lunch, but when it comes to the topic of videogames Leo needs to not even bother. The misinformed sludge that comes out of his mouth every time he tries to speak about games time after time confirms that he’s just plain out of touch.

Continue reading

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed unleashes it’s wrath on Xbox Live

I’m not the biggest Star Wars fan, but I’ve been keeping a watchful eye on the progress of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. I’m dying to execute some chokeholds with the force.

+1 for force beatdowns.

The demo is about 904.62 MB in size.

[Via Major Nelson]

-Michael “Thrills Killa” Pacheco-

A quick word on Too Human

Here’s a few quick words for the Too Human nay-sayers out there. The game is fun! That’s right, it’s fun. And that’s coming from someone who hates the word fun, because it’s usually a cop out word used when no real opinion is going to be offered up or more than likely because it’s way to easy to use the word fun. So what’s this all about? It’s about giving this game a chance.

Too Human does one thing really right and that’s one thing it alt to get right above all else. It makes you feel like a F-ing badass not some of the time, but all of the freaking time. Sliding along the floor toward one group of enemies to give them a beat down only to turn around and do the same to the group behind you, then knock the next group up in the air to air juggle them with your pistols can’t feel any better. Hearing what the “group think” is doing to this game’s reputation is despicable. Sure, it has some faults much the same as every other game ever made. The camera can get unwieldy at times and the menu system for upgrading your skills and equipment can be confusing to say the least. After saying that though, much of it’s faults can easily be over looked as you take Buldar through each environment kicking all kinds of ass.

If anything, it’s nice to know now that I’m not alone. I’m not alone, am I? I had second thoughts about picking this game up on Tuesday so I waited until Wednesday night. If not one day, don’t wait forever, because you’ll be missing out on some great “fun”.

-William “thewilleffect” Bell-

Win Fable 2 Pub Games code

Fable 2 Pub games

Fable 2 Pub games

The Fable 2 Pub Games are out on Xbox Live Arcade and wouldn’t it be nice if you could get in on the action for the low low cost of free (without a pre-order)? Of course it would. Long time Xbox Domain reader Geo is running a contest where you’ll have a chance to win one of two codes he’ll be giving away each day. As of this writing 12 more days are left. Head on over to The World of Geo forums for more details. Registering and posting in the thread each day is all it takes to enter. Good Luck!

-William “thewilleffect” Bell-

The Press Vs. Community (Part 3)

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Blogs: I hate you!

Of course when the term “press” comes up the mention of blogs has the up most certainty of coming up as well. “Blogs are killing us” so many like to say. Where are my lead time’s at? They live in a world where every second could make or break whether or not you have a story up before that next link on some readers favorite/bookmark list. Unfortunately, if your a small outlet chances are you’ll be aped by a much bigger outlet that will hopefully source you, but if you look at the much larger picture you’ll get some traffic swung your way only to have that larger outlet get nearly all of the benefit. Why?

Chances are (most) readers of that other site will never click on that source link provided, in turn only providing more viewers of theirs to click an/or view their ads while they receive most of the love off the back of your content. Don’t get me wrong though, having your content receive recognition from a larger site isn’t a bad thing, but unless you have ads of your own that you’re serving it most likely doesn’t benefit you in anyway beyond a sudden deluge of new and also often “one time” readers. 

So, your a blog

There’s no secret that the word “blog” has some negative connotations that seem to always follow it around like a bad smell. It not only comes from what is considered the competition, but it comes from readers themselves. Ease of use is a wonderful thing in everyday life, but when it comes to content creation it’s the evil little version of yourself sitting on your shoulder telling you a blog can’t be legit only because it’s a blog. Unfortunately for some reason, the format of a site often means more than the content to some, but to say that’s a shame would be doing even that a disservice.

Now, how much sense does it make to be biased against a site only because it uses a blog format? Or, is it that it’s relatively easy to get a generic blog “up and running”? Whatever the case, it can be guaranteed that you’ve seen or heard someone disparaging a site only because it’s a blog. Nevertheless, the exceptions like Joystiq, Kotaku, and Destructoid are to few and far in between. Those three sites are blogs much the same as this site, yet they are considered press with everyone else who’s in the “press club”. So what’s the difference between us and them?

Site’s like 1up have recently switched to a blog news format, so, going along with the connotation above that means 1up’s gaming news coverage is no longer legitimate right? Of course not, so where is the bias coming from? Not to long ago a web designer told me that a blog is not a website. So going along with that (which is complete lunacy), what are blogs? Just as before, until everyone and everything is on a level playing field I’d have to guess I’m not only looking for a monolithic pie in the sky, but will most likely have to accept the sad fact that that pie in the sky will never be reached. EVER!

“Community”

The term “Community” is something I’d like to not care for. We are all in the community whether we are at the top of it or not. What do you think all critics are in the first place? They are ultimately just well informed “Superfan’s” with the ability to coherently convey their thoughts in a manner that’s considered professional. On the other hand, the celebrity culture we live in today decides that for some reason you have to super seed being a normal person to achieve any kind of respect or legitimacy. Given that, ever wonder why so many writers/podcasters at large outlets fail to actually have a conversation with their readers? Calling them all ghost writers wouldn’t be far from the sad state of reality. Speaking to readers is what makes doing this worthwhile sans money or not. Speaking into a pit of nothingness isn’t what I’d call being apart of the community.

Speaking to the choir

Whether your a writer/”blogger”/podcaster chances are you know what I’m getting at here. If your on the outside looking in I know your thinking “Awww, this is just a guy bitching and moaning about how it’s not fair”, and if that’s you you’ll be partially right. If your that same guy/gal that continually says that they don’t trust reviewers who are being paid to do what they do, then what do you say when their counterpart can’t give you the same or if not better content because they are not getting compensation for “what they do”? I’d like to kick ass and take some names as Nintendo’s Reggie Fils-Aime say’s, but at the moment we have no money printing machine to fall back on, yet?

To continue this would be easy, but I doubt anyone would care enough to read it.

-William “thewilleffect” Bell-

The Press Vs. Community (Part 2)

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The Press

Who are we? Are we writers and/or podcasters with much less of a means while at the same time being treated as second class citizens? Sure, the truth never lies, or something like that. If you want to call someone press, then that automatically means that you’ve acquired a Ph.D in writing puns, right? Have you noticed how much the so-called “press” uses this? But of course I’m not excluding myself in this. I’ve done it here and there, but being prolific at it is not what I’d call great writing. “The highly anticipated Gears of War 2 is set to chainsaw it’s way through the competition”. If your looking for a ton of that then you’re ripe for what is called ” the press”.

Then again what is the press anyway? From my experience it’s a collection of writers who have for one way or another been indoctrinated into a league of PR contacts that have become “trusted by not who they are, but by the name attached to them”. If you have 1up, IGN, Gamespot, Edge-Online now, CVG, or such, your automatically ahead of anyone on the inside looking in. If you take anyone considered “community” instead of press and place one of those names along side their name I’ll guarantee if you’re in PR you’ll be looking for those names and not anyone else. If I call you up for some information and I don’t have that “goto name” attached to me chances are you’ll turn me down while one of those other guys will do the same much later and get the “scoop”. Now, you have to see the problem there.

Press R’ US

Transparency is something that should at the very least be seen from everyone and not just 1up as of late. Then again, you know what? There is no such thing as press. Press is a made up word for the have’s and the have not’s. Your either in the club or you’re not. Don’t go thinking that you’ll be treated the same when you haven’t been indoctrinated into the club.

So, what gets you into the club? It’s very simple. Financial backing. If someone with the increasingly less worth greenbacks feels you have value to them they’ll give you financial backing. The 1up Network with Ziff Davis, IGN with Fox, Gamespot with Cnet/CBS, OXM/Edge-Online with Future, Kotaku with Gawker Media, Joystiq with Weblogs,inc/AOL. Sure there are many more, but at the heart of all of these outlets is a budget. Something lots of us are in need of. Who are PR to trust when you have no “real” backing and easily could be just one of those fly by night blogs looking for free games.

PR be damned

Public Relations, who are they? If you don’t already know they’re the gate keepers of information. You want it, they won’t give it to you. It’s sort of like that girl you knew in High School that you wanted, but she wouldn’t give you the time of day. Much like Trina of Gaming Angels said in this recent GTR podcast, the PR musical chairs aren’t helping anyone at all. If you have a big name behind you chances are that’s enough to at least get you in the door. Why can’t we all be treated equally? Now, of course it’s all about return of investment. Tough decisions need to be made. I and hopefully we get that. Then again, looking at the freak of nature that is Destructoid, if they can get luckier than a Leprechaun why should it stop there? Listening to this episode of All Games Interactive (warning, it’s explicit) where Ron Workman speaks about this is a must.

Biting the hand that feeds you is one thing. Unfortunately that same hand is playing both sides while still card counting the hell out of you at the same time. No math genius’ needed here. Their in the driver seat and there’s nothing we’re going to do about it until gaming breaks out of the “in your basement for hours” stereotype it currently still has. General advertisers need to get off of their stupid asses and take notice. If gaming sites can only get advertising by the very products they discuss then a question of integrity is likely to never go away. Jeff Gerstmann comes to mind.

Free Games

If your in this for free games then your in for quite the shock. Free games aren’t going to make you a better writer or a better podcaster, or a better me too man. Yes, “me too man”. A me to man in this case is the person out there who has no soul and would whether say ” Hey, me to can have that content”, as this example of many shows. Who really thinks it’s okay to steal from each other? News is one thing as it’s not outlet specific, but taking original content really? A source link is greatly appreciated for sure, but if your flatout just taking content from other places that’s outright despicable. Stop!

Infighting between different outlets needs to stop! If you have nothing of your own, then why are you here?

Up next is part #3. Blogs versus non blogs. When it’ll be posted depends on if I still have a connection.

-William “thewilleffect” Bell-