Why I’m not bothered by “HD remakes / re-releases”


The practice of re-releasing games that are only a few years old as an “HD remake” or remaster has rubbed people the wrong way for the last few years. There’s just something about being asked to pay as much as $60 for re-releases of games we’ve already paid for oftentimes in the last three or four years. Sometimes these games are presented as a package, therefore offering a ‘better’ value, such as the Borderlands Collection, Master Chief Collection or Final Fantasy X / X-2.


The practice of re-releasing games dates back as far as 2009, with the release of the God of War Collection on the PS3 (well I suppose you could say it goes back even further, with Super Mario All Stars on the SNES, but I’ll keep it recent). The re-releases really started to pick up steam with the current console generation, and early on during this cycle people started to fatigue of these games since there seemed to be more re-releases than new content being produced.

With all these re-releases seemingly milking more money for the same product, people have been speaking up, announcing their displeasure with the practice often in comment sections and on places like Reddit. I myself have even rolled my eyes at some re-releases (looking at you Deadpool), but at the same time I’ve purchased many of them, and I don’t regret it. I’ve had more fun with the Borderlands collection on the Xbox One, even though I’ve owned both games on the 360 and PC. They simply felt more refined on the current gen console (I wasn’t much of a PC gamer at the time). The Master Chief Collection is still one of my favorite game releases of all time. I love being able to switch between all of Halo games with ease, and appreciate the touched up version of Halo 2. I no longer have a PS2 (I’m not one to keep old consoles lying around), so of course I picked up Final Fantasy X HD when it released on PC, and I think there’s no better way to play it.


Fortunately, you don’t always have to open your wallet again for these re-releases, at least if you’re a PC gamer. Bioshock’s updated version was free for those who already owned it, as was today’s release of Skyrim Special Edition (at least if you already owned the game and its DLC). That’s a nice gesture, as they certainly could have asked that we pay again (and they have if you’re a console gamer. Sorry!).

So I can understand that people have a problem with paying for updated visuals, but I’ve been thinking about it this way. We often have no problem upgrading other forms of media as technology has evolved. How many of us have owned movies on VHS, then DVD, then Blu-ray and then digital (or even UHD Blu-ray)? When we upgrade our technology (be it media players or TV’s) we want to get the best possible version of our media available to us. Now movies aren’t quite priced the same as a game, but how often are you going to watch those movies? Once or twice? So you might pay $15-30 for a few hours of entertainment, versus paying $60 for an HD remake of a game that can offer upwards of 200 hours of shiny “new” entertainment.

If you’re not convinced, there’s no problem holding onto your 360 or PS3 version of Skyrim, but I personally want to play the best available version. Besides, part of me likes to think that these releases help to fund new and exciting projects. Game development is more expensive and time consuming than ever, but game prices haven’t risen in years. That’s part of the reason why so many games have micro-transactions, whether we like it or not. Re-releasing an “old” game with a new coat of paint may just provide a publisher with the confidence that consumers are still interested in their products. Maybe I’m just viewing things from a glass half-full perspective, but I like to remain positive whenever possible.

I’m going to stop rambling on now and go enjoy some Skyrim Special Edition in 4K. Thanks for reading! If you feel I’m flat out wrong, or want to express your opinion, I encourage you to comment!


Recently streamed: Battlefield 1 and Morrowind

Hey there, just sharing a couple of recent Twitch streams I’ve done recently. I’m trying to get back into streaming more often so I can have more video content to share. I don’t yet have a Kinect adapter for my Xbox One S, so the Battlefield stream is gameplay only (I tried running it through my Hauppauge HD PVR 2, but couldn’t get it set up the way I wanted it). The Morrowind stream was sort of a test stream for my future streams, to include the Skyrim Special Edition stream I intend to do tomorrow morning (around 11AM MST). For some reason there’s no game audio in the Morrowind stream, so I still have to iron out the kinks before I stream tomorrow.

Skyrim Special Edition is available for pre-load

Skyrim Special Edition Steam

I had known that The Elder Scrolls V: Skryim Special Edition (what a mouthful) would be available for free to PC players, providing that they owned all the DLC, but I didn’t know that I actually did own the DLC. You see, I played Skyrim first on the 360 and apparently acquired it during a Steam sale at some point but never really got around to playing it on PC. I was excited to find that the Special Edition appeared in my Steam library after I got home from work this morning, and it’s downloading now.

I also have to admit, I have never finished Skyrim. I’m not quite sure how far I got, but I’m terrible at completing open world games (speaking of, I have yet to finish Fallout 4). I know I enjoyed playing Skyrim, but I think I got distracted and at some point couldn’t bring myself back around to finish it (same goes for Dragon Age and Witcher 3 unfortunately). With the updated release tomorrow I hope to finally work on completing Skyrim.

Or should I work on finishing Fallout 4 first? So many games, and so little time. I think I’ve enjoyed playing Fallout 4 much more than I enjoyed playing Skyrim, but even with Fallout I got sidetracked by games like Overwatch, Rocket League, Gears 4 and Battlefield. What’s worse is that I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews of Titanfall 2, so now I feel obligated to check that out this weekend as well.

If I do find time for Skyrim, I hope to stream some of my playthrough on Twitch this weekend, so if you’re interested feel free to check that out (I’ll try to post here before I start broadcasting). Otherwise, I hope you have plenty to play this weekend, and I hope you have a great Halloween weekend!

Should I cheat in Dark Souls III?

Dark Souls III came out while I was deployed and I thought it looked exciting as I watched people play it. I had never really played Dark Souls before (I put maybe an hour into the first one before deciding it wasn’t for me), but I decided I would buy Dark Souls III to check out once I got home.

When I finally got around to giving it a try I discovered just how brutally difficult it is, especially for someone who isn’t great at timing in video games in the first place and someone who has little patience to repeat sections of the game trying to perfect my combat skills.

So after putting two hours into the game (and barely scratching the surface, at least an hour of that time was spent trying to beat the “easy” boss at the beginning) it’s sad idle in my Steam collection. I’ve been thinking lately about using Cheat Engine to just power through the game so that I can at least get something out of the $60 I spent on it. I know a lot of Dark Souls purists will probably cringe reading that, and many will claim that the experience will be ruined, but what if I don’t enjoy the experience? Am I less of a gamer if I decided to give myself infinite health and roll through the enemies just to see what it’s all about? Sure at that point the game is broken, but I’d argue that at least I’d be getting something for my money, right?

I don’t think it would have been right to ask for a Steam refund, because I had been warned going in that the game would be difficult. It just turns out that I don’t have the patience to really play the game (I’m too old, and too busy really), so I’m justified in burning through it with Cheat Engine, aren’t I?

I know ultimately it doesn’t matter what anyone else on the internet thinks, but I wonder how many other people out there have had a similar experience to mine. If so, did you still enjoy your time with the game? Is there any way I can achieve a middle ground between essentially just “hitting A to win” (with infinite health) and playing the “correct” way?

What do you think?

Battlefield 1 is one of the most fun games I’ve played this year!

I’ve been having an absolute blast with Battlefield 1 so far. For starters, the intro to the campaign is mind blowing. The production value is amazing, and the way they start things off showing that not everyone is going to survive is incredible. So far I’ve played through the first few sections of the tank campaign and I can’t wait to play the rest! I’ve never played more than two missions of any Battlefield game (except for Bad Company of course) but Battlefield 1 has me begging for more after each mission.

The only thing keeping me from finishing the campaign is the amazing multiplayer. They’ve nailed just about everything with the multiplayer in Battlefield 1. The guns feel amazing to shoot and I love the way they sound. I love the all out chaos of war, with planes flying above, machine guns echoing in the distance and sniper fire flying over my head as I run for cover. I’ve only played a few matches so far, but every single one has been so much fun. I can’t wait to play more!

Recently watched: Cafe Society

Cafe Society poster

Last night we rented “Cafe Society”, a film written, directed and narrated by Woody Allen. I haven’t seen very many Woody Allen movies, but the ones I have seen I’ve always enjoyed, such as ¬†one of my favorites, “To Rome With Love.”

Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart are great in the film, and seem to have pretty good chemistry throughout. The real star of “Cafe Society”, though, is the environments around the actors. There’s not an incredibly thrilling story to tell, and it certainly doesn’t offer any great conclusion, but I felt like the story that does exist was there mostly to navigate from one environment to another. The great music and all the life in the background really shine from beginning to end, and I never felt bored or disinterested. I know I’m probably not doing a great job of selling the movie, but I think it’ll probably remain underappreciated and overlooked by most people, and that’s sad.


There’s not much more I have to say about the film. I wasn’t blown away, and was never in awe, but it felt good watching it. I’m glad we gave it a chance.

It’s an exciting time for video games

This morning Nintendo posted their NX reveal trailer, offering the first look at their home console / handheld combo due out in March 2017, the Nintendo Switch. Like many have assumed over the last year or so, it’s a tablet that you can hook up to your TV via a dock and play with a controller while at home, and then pop out and attach a controller to while on the go.

It’s a pretty neat looking idea, and if it works as seamlessly as it seems to in the trailer it’ll certainly be an exciting device. They showed off some third party support in the trailer, to include Skyrim and NBA 2k, so hopefully the Switch will continue to get third party support. That will ultimately determine whether or not I buy into the Switch. I’m not the hugest Nintendo fan, I’ve never been too big into Zelda or Mario, but I ended up buying a Wii U last year soon after Super Mario Maker launched. It probably wasn’t my wisest decision, because after the first few weeks the console has done nothing but collect dust. I tried to get into Mario Kart 8, but never had as much fun as I did with local multiplayer on Mario Kart 7.


Battlefield 1 release tomorrow (unless you bought the $80 early adopter edition which allowed you to start playing Tuesday), and I’m pretty excited to check it out. I don’t think I’m going to buy it right away, but I’ll try hard to reserve it at Redbox while I’m at work tonight and pick it up in the morning. As much as I’d love to play it on PC in 4K, most of the people I would ultimately play with only have consoles. We’ll see how much I enjoy playing this weekend before I make any purchasing decisions. The campaign certainly looks great, and I can’t wait to try my hand at the multiplayer.


I’ve been having a great time with Gears of War 4 on PC over the past week, however I’m still very early in the campaign (less than an hour into it). It runs pretty well on my GTX 1060, averaging around 33FPS on high to ultra settings in 4K and it looks great! I’m still getting used to playing it with a mouse and keyboard, and I might actually go back to playing it with an Xbox controller.


I’m also still enjoying Forza Horizon 3, but with so many games coming out recently I’ve found it difficult to put more time into it!

There’s a lot I want to play this weekend, but as usual I’ll probably end up getting very little done. I feel like 2016 is shaping up to be one of the best years for video games in recent memory, and as exciting as that is, it makes it incredibly difficult to play everything with such little free time. Either way, I’m enjoying every minute of it!

I miss the Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Galaxy Note 7

The week the Note 7 was released I paid off my Galaxy S6 and ordered a Note 7 in blue online through AT&T. Most of the phones I’ve owned have been iPhones, but I ended up switching to Samsung with the S5 in order to try something different. The S5 wasn’t a terrible phone, but it was plastic and didn’t feel very great. That’s why I was more excited for the S6, which felt closer to an iPhone than ever. However, eventually the S6 started to slow down and give me issues, and nothing I did could get it working smoothly again. It would freeze often when typing, and apps would crash all the time. I assume it had something to do with a software update, but once I saw the Note 7 I knew that it was time to get rid of the S6.

The day the Note 7 arrived I was blown away. It was the most premium feeling phone I’ve ever held. It had weight to it and felt great in the hand. The screen blew me away, and I loved using it to watch Netflix at the gym. I upgraded to the new Gear VR so that I could use the Note 7 with it, and it did a lot better than my S6 did. It wouldn’t get hot and temporarily stop working like the S6 always did.

When reports first started coming out about the Note 7 catching fire I thought that I would be fine. Sure it was alarming to hear, but the numbers were so low compared to the amount of phones sold that even after the recall was announced I had intended to hold on to my Note 7. It never got hot, no matter how much I used it, so I wasn’t that concerned. Ultimately, however, Samsung pushed out the update to change the battery color to identify “safe” phones, and announced that they intended to use another software update to stunt the battery on recalled Note 7’s so that customers would have little choice but to stop using them. At this point I decided to return to the AT&T store.

The exchange process for my first Note 7 was not a pleasant process. Initially when I took it in to temporarily swap it out for a S7 until they got replacement phones in stock the AT&T employee told me that I’d be better off keeping the Note 7 until the replacement phones came in because it’d be an easier process. Nevermind that phones were continuing to catch fire, he advised me that it would be fine. He told me to come back next week, and that’s what I did.

Once I was notified that replacement Note 7’s were available I went back to the store, waiting behind four other customers, and was eventually helped. However, it turned out that they didn’t have any blue Note 7’s in stock, and that’s the color I was in love with, so they had to call around and find me a store with the blue phone in stock. I then drove across town, and was finally ready to exchange my faulty Note 7. Would this process go smoothly? Not a chance. When they started the exchange they tried to tell me since I didn’t have the box and everything included with the phone they couldn’t exchange it for a new one! It’s not like I expected to be returning the phone when I bought it! I told them that I talked to customer support and they ensured me I could return the phone without the box, and besides it was a safety issue to keep the phone. He didn’t quite believe me, and went into the back to talk to a manager before coming out and continuing the exchange process.


Once the exchange was completed I spent the next few days restoring my phone, logging into all of my apps and accounts, and getting everything set back up how I wanted it. Less than two weeks later and the Note 7 is back in the news, this time with “safe” phones supposedly bursting into flame. Again, initially I planned to wait it out and see what would come, but with each passing day there was another report of an exploding replacement Note 7. At this point Ars Technica put out their article saying not to buy even a replacement Note 7, and advising everyone to return theirs. I called AT&T and was ensured that if I felt unsafe I could return my replacement Note 7, no questions asked.

The second exchange went smoother than the first, but was still painful. I had wanted to switch to an iPhone 7 Plus at this point, mostly out of frustration with Samsung, however no stores around had any in stock. I decided to settle with the S7 Edge as it was closest in screen size to the Note 7, but when I picked up the phone I was really put off by how cheap the S7E felt compared to the premium feel of the Note 7. Still, I had heard many good things about the S7 Edge, and used the price difference in the phone to justify upgraded my Gear S watch to the Gear S2. I really like the S2, especially since it feels less like a spaceship on my wrist and more like a watch.

As the week has gone on I’ve gotten a little more used to the S7 Edge, but I’m still sad that the Note 7 is gone for good. That phone felt so much better to hold, and even if the screen wasn’t that much larger I can definitely tell the difference with the S7E. At this point, I’m not sure what I’ll get for my next phone. I’ve never liked the design of other Android phones, and the Pixel hasn’t impressed me either. If Samsung can revitalize the Note series (probably under a different brand name) I’d be tempted to give it another try, but I don’t think I’d move on to an S8 or 9.

Have I lost faith in Samsung? Not entirely. I love the Gear S2 that I got last week, it feels like a premium product and performs great. We also got a Samsung 4K TV last month that I absolutely love, so I don’t think the Note 7 debacle has damaged their brand as much as the people making memes want to believe. Hopefully Samsung will thoroughly investigate what happened with the Note 7 and be as open with the public as possible during the coming months. As long as they don’t try to hide anything (and I’m aware of the text message suggesting they may have already tried), I think they’ll move on from the Note 7 disaster hurt, but not broken. I would hope they’ll use this experience to continue on more determined to ever and deliver a great series of phones next year.