10.26.2009

Strange new worlds...


This is a blog about Twittering on Facebook.  Wait, what?

Let me start from the beginning.  Everybody keeps telling me to get a Facebook account.  My response is always, "Why? I'm not a social person."  In fact I'm the opposite of social.  I generally dislike people, and will often go as far as to advise them to "kill themselves".

My perception of Facebook is that it's a stupid place where dumb people post useless bullshit to one another that no one cares about, least of all me.  Unfortunately for me, as of this week, I realized I've been doing these very things, just on Twitter and my blog.

Well this week Microsoft selected a group of Xbox Live members to take part in a preview program of their latest dashboard update.  I love beta testing, so I signed up for the preview and got in!  There are some interesting new features.

First of all, they merged the Video Marketplace with the Zune Marketplace and now there is quite a library of content on board.  Of course my Giganews account makes this part of the Xbox dashboard useless to me, but it's still cool for people who want to legitimize their media library.  I'm not one of those people.

The next new feature is Last.fm.  A streaming music service, similar to Pandora on the iPhone, helps you discover new music.  One very interesting thing I found was that there was a whole section dedicated to video game music.  Their library isn't quite up to Gaming FM standards, but it's a start.  Might be something to talk to Olaf and Duckhead about.  There's a Koji Kondo station, and a Minibosses station, and a lot of video game cover songs.  No real concrete organized video game music library to speak of yet.

They also added a Twitter client, which is of great use to me, I Twitter almost every day as most people who come here know.  The interface is very "Xbox-like", but you don't really need much to make Twitter work right so it works well.  Together with my Xbox Messenger Kit (controller mounted mini-keyboard) I'm able to easily post a tweet without having to pick up the iPhone or laptop.

The last and probably biggest new feature is Facebook.  My initial reaction was, well I'll never use that.  But I clicked in to see what it looked like, seemed simple enough, actually very Twitter-like.  You just post something and so does everyone else.  You can also link together your Facebook friends who also have Xbox Live accounts, however can't do much with this particular feature yet as it hasn't quite released to the general public.

Okay fine I'll bite, let's see what happens...  I whipped up an account and immediately linked my Twitter to it.  So nothing really changes, I just post tweets and they automatically cross-post to Facebook.  What I wasn't prepared for is how many people are on Facebook.  On Twitter I have maybe 10 followers?  On Facebook people crawled out of the woodwork like termites!  Within 30 minutes of creating my account and getting a few friends, I was flooded with friend requests.  People see your name on other people's friend lists and start going to town.  Family members I haven't seen or talked to in over 10 years, and friends from early as fifth grade!  I've been very selective who I accept as a friend.  It seems a lot of people just want to have as many friends as possible so they send a request.  Not only do I not have the time to read all this stuff, in some cases I simply don't care what some people are up to.  In other cases I might care, but feel that I don't know the person well enough to allow them access to my daily random thoughts, which are often peppered with quite a bit of foul language.  

There is also definitely something to be said about Twitter's 140 character limit.  If you ask me this is an absolutely necessary limit for some people who don't know when to STFU.  I get like that sometimes, like right now even.  That's why I have a blog.  If you don't agree, close your browser, simple and easy!  There's a lot more people on Facebook than Twitter, so I'm still getting used to people commenting on my posts, that's new, and rarely happened on Twitter.  My words are reaching the masses it seems, but that won't change my style.  In the end, I'm still posting everything from Twitter or here at the Basement, and replying from the Xbox.  So don't expect me to reply to quizzes or accept invitations to whatever.  Save us all the time. Travis gave me a few Facebook pointers, so I think I'm ready for the "Web 2.0 revolution" as Mark called it.

I will say it's nice to be able to keep up with family members and friends who I don't get a chance to see too often.  If I keep my friend list small I don't think Facebook will be too much of a hassle. 

I know, I said I'd never get a Facebook account...

Well, I say a lot of things.

10.16.2009

Gamestop Sucks


Seriously. Anyone who plays video games already knows what a terrible, evil corporation they are, right up there with Disney. I've known for a while myself, but every once in a while something happens to really burn the point into my brain again...

I decided it would be cool to buy a copy of Metroid Prime Trilogy.  I liked the first Metroid Prime on Gamecube, and I own the second one (Gamecube) and the third (Wii), but never played them.  I played the third game briefly and really loved the Wii controls.  I thought it would be fun to re-play the first, and experience the other two with said Wii controls.  I am a known hater on first-person shooting games, but the fact it was Metroid allowed me to get past that shortcoming.  Being able to look, point and shoot at targets with the Wii remote is much easier.  So I packed up all three of the Metroid Prime games and took them to Gamestop, knowing I'd get next to nothing for them, but whatever, I'll gain shelf space and save the trouble of selling them on eBay.  As another bonus I'll have all three games on one Wii disc. 

When I arrived, a young man named Vince spotted my trade-ins and was eager to get them checked in, toward the purchase of whatever game pre-order and game warranty I was there to buy.  I'm like, "I want Metroid Prime Trilogy, no pre-orders, no warranties, no magazine subscriptions please".  He says no problem, that'll be $44.54.  I laugh and say I just traded in three games, how the hell much is Metroid Prime Trilogy?  He says $49.99.  Okay Vince, so you just gave me $5 for three games?  He says no I gave you $8.75, and there's $3.30 in tax.

So using a little math, my wife's area of expertise to be sure, I'm gonna give this a go anyways:

Metroid Prime - Gamecube:  Released 11/2002
Gamestop offered me $1.25
They sell used for $6.99
Gamestop profit made off me - $5.74

Metroid Prime 2: Echoes - Gamecube:  Released 11/2004
Gamestop offered me $2.50
They sell used for $14.99
Gamestop profit made off me - $12.49

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption - Wii:  Released 08/2007
Gamestop offered me $5.00
They sell used for $22.99
Gamestop profit made off me - $17.99

Total Gamestop profit: $36.22

I'm one guy, who visits Gamestop once every four months. There are people who go there once a week to buy and trade.  Knowing it wasn't Vince's fault, I spared him the soapbox speech about how many ways Gamestop is bending over gamers, many of them kids who can't do math, without any Vaseline.  I simply asked for my games back and left.  But really, what's our alternative as American gamers?  Best Buy?  A company whose name should have been changed about ten years ago to their proper moniker "Buy" (sans the "Best"). Again, walking in, I expected to be taken to brown town by the teenager behind the counter, but COME ON! $8.75 for three games?  One of them a Wii game a mere two years old?  I'll take my chances on eBay.  Would someone please come along and open a game store to compete with Gamestop's horrible policies and trade-in "deals".

One of the greatest quotes ever comes from the Penny Arcade comic dated 3/24/03:

"It's only a crime to fuck kids if you're not a multinational corporation."

It's so true.  On the positive side, I did end up getting the game and it's pretty cool they fit all three games on one disc.  In addition the Wii controls do improve the gameplay quite a bit.  I'll play it as soon as I am able to put down Wet for five minutes.