Beginning the Odyssey

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Picked up Assassin’s Creed Odyssey via the PSN Holiday Sale last week. I am enjoying what I’ve played so far (Alexios is hilarious). Finished up the Kefalonia quests tonight.

My pal Alexios.

Left my home island tonight. The adventure finally begins with a voyage.

Title screen.

Date Night Idea: Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light

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About a week ago, my wife surprised me with a date night filled with Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. We had a blast figuring out puzzles and blowing away spiders and other creepy crawly things. Our fun came to an end, however, when a summer thunderstorm rolled through. With the power flickering and almost killing the game, we decided to call it a night. So we watched the lightening outside instead!

If you have never heard of this game, picture a co-op puzzle-filled adventure through tombs and other exotic locals. The competitive/cooperative nature of Guardian of Light makes it a great choice for a fun date night. $15 is the price of admission via PSN.

Papo & Yo

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From Minority Media’s site:

Papo & Yo is the story of a young boy, Quico, and his best friend, Monster. Monster is a huge beast with razor-sharp teeth, but that doesn’t scare Quico away from playing with him. That said, Monster does have a very dangerous problem: an addiction to poisonous frogs. The minute he sees one hop by, he’ll scarf it down and fly into a violent, frog-induced rage where no one, including Quico, is safe. And yet, Quico loves his Monster and wants to save him.

Last night I downloaded the demo for Papo & Yo on the PS3. I had read a fair amount about how the game was based on the developer’s abusive childhood, at the hands of an alcoholic father, and I wanted to see how that translated into the game.

While the game featured an interesting aesthetic and puzzles that made me grin, I was bothered by the shoddy controls and poor level design. Not to give anything away but the demo ends on a tense note. I literally found myself wanting to buy the game despite my thoughts on its overall design. After going online and reading some reviews, which sadly turned me away from the game, I decided not to take the abusive journey with Quico.

For some reason, perhaps it was the sparseness of the level design, Papo & Yo reminded me of Ico. Ico was a game that I didn’t necessarily love but appreciated. This reminder then got me thinking about how I had never played Team Ico’s other game, Shadow of the Colossus. So, on a spur of the moment purchase, I bought Shadow of the Colossus off of PSN. Hours later, I was playing the game.

Shadow of the Colossus has a NeverEnding Story feel to it. I love it! Will write more soon.

A Worthless Journey

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Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” What happens though when the journey is beautiful but mundane and the destination turns out to be a complete waste of time?

This past weekend I journeyed through the lands of Journey on the PS3. When all was said and done, I had no clue what had just happened or what I had just played. So, I took to Wikipedia to make sense of my experience. The Wikipedia entry only confirmed my suspicions that not much had just happened. To further illustrate this, the following is a quote from the developer’s web site:

Journey is an interactive parable, an anonymous online adventure to experience a person’s life passage and their intersections with other’s.

I can admit that I thought it was cool to travel across the desert, plunge into the dark depths of despair, and finally rise above a wintry landscape onto the mountaintop of hope. What I disliked about the game was it’s stark simplicity. The interactions with other players, while nice, especially in the dark depths, were pointless. Beyond the amazing stylized graphics and tight game play, the narrative journey of Journey fell short to me. If Journey was a movie, I’d be asking for my $15 back.

PSN Customer Appreciation Program

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All PlayStation Network customers can select two PS3 games from the following list. The games will be available for 30 days shortly after PlayStation Store is restored and can be kept forever.

  • Dead Nation
  • inFAMOUS
  • LittleBigPlanet
  • Super Stardust HD
  • Wipeout HD + Fury

For PSP owners, you will be eligible to download two PSP games from the following list. The games will be available for 30 days shortly after PlayStation Store is restored and can be kept forever.

  • LittleBigPlanet (PSP)
  • ModNation Racers
  • Pursuit Force
  • Killzone Liberation
Full post here.

Sony – Slowest Sinking Ship Ever.

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Dear Sony,

My personal information is running amok on the Internet! I have now received the first piece of SPAM related to your most recent debacle. Luckily, I can actually read and was able to see that you wouldn’t be using an email address like:

nment at soe dot innovyx dot net

This morning I learned, via The Ancient Gaming Noob, that your problems are more widespread than originally believed. Which makes me wonder, what the heck you have been doing? I would think, as a company, that one of your first and foremost priorities would be to secure your customer’s personal data. How could you have allowed for hackers to even obtain access to such things? You’re an electronics giant for the love of Godzilla! Capable of creating such things as the Walkman and the PS3!

It is time to put the big boy pants on Sony. We live in a digital age. Grow up or pass the company name onto someone else more deserving. Your squandering a legacy.

Sincerely,

Bryan

PSN Failure: A Senator Calls for Answers

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United States Senator Richard Blumenthal wrote a nice letter to Sony:

April 26, 2011

Mr. Jack Tretton
President and CEO
Sony Computer Entertainment America
919 East Hillsdale Boulevard
Foster City, CA USA 94404

Dear Mr. Tretton:

I am writing regarding a recent data breach of Sony’s PlayStation Network service.  I am troubled by the failure of Sony to immediately notify affected customers of the breach and to extend adequate financial data security protections.

It has been reported that on April 20, 2011, Sony’s PlayStation Network suffered an “external intrusion” and was subsequently disabled. News reports estimate that 50 million to 75 million consumers – many of them children – access the PlayStation Network for video and entertainment. I understand that the PlayStation Network allows users to store credit card information online to facilitate the purchasing of content such as games and movies through the PlayStation Network. A breach of such a widely used service immediately raises concerns of data privacy, identity theft, and other misuse of sensitive personal and financial data, such as names, email addresses, and credit and debit card information.

When a data breach occurs, it is essential that customers be immediately notified about whether and to what extent their personal and financial information has been compromised. Additionally, PlayStation Network users should be provided with financial data security services, including free access to credit reporting services, for two years, the costs of which should be borne by Sony. Affected individuals should also be provided with sufficient insurance to protect them from the possible financial consequences of identity theft.

I am concerned that PlayStation Network users’ personal and financial information may have been inappropriately accessed by a third party. Compounding this concern is the troubling lack of notification from Sony about the nature of the data breach. Although the breach occurred nearly a week ago, Sony has not notified customers of the intrusion, or provided information that is vital to allowing individuals to protect themselves from identity theft, such as informing users whether their personal or financial information may have been compromised.  Nor has Sony specified how it intends to protect these consumers.

PlayStation Network users deserve more complete information on the data breach, as well as the assurance that their personal and financial information will be securely maintained. I appreciate your prompt response on this important issue.

Sincerely,

/s/

Richard Blumenthal
United States Senate

Source: Richard Blumenthal

PSN Failure

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Dear Sony,

Where do I begin? Ever since purchasing a PS3 last year, I have loved your product. The box says that “it does everything” and the PS3 truly delivers. So here I was, enjoying the blu-ray and AAA games on your console, when suddenly the PlayStation Network goes out. Okay, I can deal with that. What I can’t deal with is finding out, almost a week later, that my personal information “may” have been compromised. By may, I mean my:

  • Name
  • Address (city, state, and zip)
  • Country
  • E-mail address
  • Birthday
  • PSN password and login name

All of the above have been “possibly” stolen from your system? What? You don’t know if whoever it was got my credit card information too? This is not acceptable. One of the first laws of business is to admit your mistakes upfront. This is especially true when it affects your clients and their personal banking information.

As of this morning, I have cancelled my credit card and have another one being reissued. I wish that I could somehow charge you, Sony, for my time and energy spent going about this task that never should have happened. Can you imagine if this had happened with Apple and iTunes?

My PS3 still sits faithfully by my television, waiting to connect to the Internet. While I appreciate the steps you have taken as a company to rectify this error (ie: shutting down the network), I do not appreciate the lack of communication on your part. My faith in Sony as a company has been shaken. Who is to say that this won’t happen again? I love my PS3, but I don’t love it enough to have my identity stolen and sold in some dark virtual alleyway. So what are you going to do, Sony, to regain my trust? I need something. A token that you are working to make sure that something like this never happens again. Ever. You can start by sending me an email telling me what I have read on different news sites. That is the least you can do.

Sincerely,

Bryan