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DuckTales: Remastered [Online Game Code]
DuckTales: Remastered [Online Game Code]
Price: $14.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Basic Kid's Game with Nostalgia, November 19, 2014
You might appreciate my perspective as I own and have played both Duck Tales (the original NES version) and Duck Tales: Remastered. If not, appreciate someone else's or your own. ;)

1) Duck Tales: Remastered (DT:R) is a very basic game: you can move your character (Scrooge McDuck) in four directions along a two-dimensional plane: up, down, left, and right. You use just two buttons: one to jump and one to attack/pogo with his cane. This is how it was for the original NES version, so don't expect more from a re-mastering.

2) I remember completing the original Duck Tales title back in the day: I received it for my birthday one year, played it alone while all the other kids were outside at my party, completed it in 35 minutes, and returned to the party without anyone noticing that I had slipped out. DT:R will take you about an hour to complete, primarily because of the little cut scenes in between certain events.

3) DT:R is a graphical and musical upgrade to the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) title. The game's developer took images from the original Duck Tales cartoon series which are in higher definition than the original 8-bit models. The background graphics intentionally look like cartoon scenes. Also, the music was upgraded (re-mastered) from the original 8-bit model. The feel of the game is that you are playing the cartoon, which is notable for nostalgia. That is, what was re-mastered in Duck Tales: Remastered were the graphics and the music.

4) For the most part, there are two things you do in DT:R: (A) you pogo-jump on bad guys with Scrooge's cane and (B) collect gems for a score. I estimate that 95% of the game is pogoing on the cane to kill bad guys, open chests, breaking things, and getting to higher locations. The remaining 5% of the game is whacking objects with the cane and moving from left to right.

5) There are cut scenes with voice-over acting from the original cast members of the cartoon series. The value here is almost entirely for nostalgia, though of course developing these elements makes the game more valuable overall when compared to the original NES title (just like the upgraded music and graphics do). Voice-over acting with cut scenes are pretty standard nowadays, even in kid's games, though DT:R is higher quality on this front than in most kid's games - this is the driving factor for the value of Duck Tales: Remastered.

Like all NES titles, the original Duck Tales title is now in the public domain and/or has been emulated to a point where anybody can find it online and play it to their heart's content (for free) and you can make your own comparison. This is a modern version of an older game, which is what we expect from a re-mastering.

What monetary value can we place on DT:R, then? The monetary value of the original Duck Tales is $0 (free). The monetary value of nostalgia (which includes any experience you might also have had with the television cartoon series) is subjective. The monetary value of Duck Tales: Remastered, then, includes both the monetary value of the title itself and the nostalgia value that it can carry.

A comparison of two-dimensional, two-button, side-scrolling, basic kid's games (which Duck Tales is, original or re-mastered) shows that the monetary value nowadays (with decent graphics, music, level elements, voice-overs, and cut scenes) is about $2.50. As a person who watched the television cartoon daily as a kid and as a person who played the original NES version both when it came out and after it had been emulated, I have subjectively placed the monetary value for nostalgia of this title to be about $2.50.

Putting together the fact that simple kid's video games don't really command too much money and the fact that I absolutely love(d) the Duck Tales franchise, I have concluded that the monetary value of Duck Tales: Remastered is somewhere between $2.50 to $5.00 total. This game reminds me of the bargain bin items you'd find at a discount store and then give a couple bucks just to say that you owned it. After all, you will complete this game on your lunch break and will probably only come back to it three or four times in the rest of your life. The only way to drum up excitement for the title is to try and re-live the nostalgia from it or to discover a craving for very simple gameplay. DT:R is not like other more advanced video games where you develop a character and their items, level them up, or have multiple strategies for completing quests and side-quests. DT:R is a basic kid's game that coincides with the cartoon from the past; the only strategy is to pogo-jump on threats (bad guys, spikes, etc.) and collect gems.

To conclude, if Duck Tales nostalgia is somehow worth $30 to you in regards to a video game, then I am sure the developers will appreciate your self-driven hysteria there. I bet they would appreciate it if you thought $15 was enough to satiate your nostalgia hysteria, as is the current offering price. But, realistically, unless you are somehow lost in the nostalgia of things, no basic kid's game based on an old cartoon is monetarily worth more than a few dollars. However, if your preferred genre of video games is "children's," then I suppose you wouldn't mind paying a bit more to get this title, regardless if you experienced the original video game and cartoon or not.

To close, I should point out that I am referring to the PC version of this game, which can only be played on STEAM. STEAM offers sales from time to time, and you could feasibly get Duck Tales: Remastered from STEAM for the $0.99 to $4.99 that I think it is worth. For console gamers, Duck Tales: Remastered is a bargain bin game that you should never pay more than $5 for unless, like I said, your nostalgia hysteria or love for basic children's games has increased the monetary value for you.


Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric: The Use of Reason in Everyday Life
Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric: The Use of Reason in Everyday Life
by Nancy Cavender
Edition: Paperback
Price: $112.11
69 used & new from $74.95

6 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Do Not Recommend for Your Classes, July 30, 2014
Our college has two campuses in our district. The policy is that both campuses must use the same book. As a new guy to my college, this book by Cavender and Kahane was already assigned to the logic class that I would be teaching. So that's how I got to learn about it.

My opinion is that "Logic & Contemporary Rhetoric" is not a book for academia. This text reads like a propaganda piece. While it is jam-packed with examples of what the author is trying to portray (Mr. Kahane passed away, so Ms. Cavender got to update the 12th edition on her own), her portrayals are so biased, prejudiced, lop-sided, and ironically not logical (or contain logical fallacies within them).

One example would be the inclusion of a well-known internet hoax that Ms. Cavender included on pages 18-19. It is the one about the fake "Housekeeping Monthly" magazine from 1955 about "The Good Wife's Guide." Even though Ms. Cavender acknowledges that this is a hoax, her rationale for including this in her book is that "anyone raised in the 1950s will recognize the all-too-familiar worldview it reflects." In other words, she knowingly uses a hoax to support her position because she can't bare to part with it. This is known as the wishful thinking logical fallacy, and it is the opposite of what a logician would do, especially one trying to write a book on learning logic. This is just one example of many.

Another example of Ms. Cavender's propaganda are what I call "sci-gasms." That is, there are people who are utterly infatuated with the "miracles" and "reverence" of "science." Like Ms. Cavender, they go on and on about how "science" takes care of us and explains life for us. What these zealots do not inform us is that they are referring to a very specific kind of scientific preference that can be described as material empiricism. That is, it is the belief that all things in the universe are physical (there are no nonphysical or intangible entities in reality) and that knowledge only comes from experience (as opposed to reason). Utilizing Occam's razor, these material empiricists gratuitously and conveniently remove opposing considerations. The implication becomes obvious: non-theism is the only logical conclusion. What we are left with reads just like propaganda - or better yet, like a religious tract or cult sermon. Ms. Cavender's book here is so lop-sided that the reader can see several instances where she expends great effort to go "over the top" for her version of "science." Examples of this would be her diatribes on evolution theory (there are many), the perfection and sanctity of "science" (these read like prayers, not logic), and her outspoken remarks against "pseudoscience" (those she disagrees with). These are littered throughout the book, and again: you will feel like you are being preached to, not being taught logic whatsoever.

Besides Ms. Cavender's liberal application of pro-"science," unsupported feminism, anti-corporationism, and other unfounded or contradictory views, she makes no attempt to hide the fact that she is an ardent left-winger. This is the one honest aspect of the book. Now, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but Ms. Cavender thinks that (1) providing captions and examples that mock Republicans is funny (you will see a lack of professionalism here in both the writing style and in the contexts) and (2) using Democrats as shining examples are all that we therefore have. You read this and think what I did: "This is fine for entertainment reading, but this is not academic in nature or quality." She takes too many liberties to provide her own worldview and to oppose (sometimes subliminally) other worldviews. Ms. Cavender presents an elitist picture which, like I said, reads like propaganda. That is, like most left-wingers, she will not adequately present the opposition's worldview but then make it look silly, then coerce the reader with the threat of mockery into acceptance of her worldview. Ms. Cavender also seems to think that she is somehow culturally above most people based on how she presents certain things (like poetry, which is similar to her presentation of "science" - in a divinely humanist manner; also in her examples, where she touts other left-wing radicals who present Marxist viewpoints on "wealth and poverty," where Ms. Cavender works not to be a part of the latter but somehow takes on the role as their guardian), and again tries to coerce the reader into thinking that he too can ride on a high horse if he accepts her positions. And all of this would be just fine IF THIS WAS NOT A BOOK ON LOGIC.

If you want to set up an introductory course to teach students about philosophical logic, then I strongly recommend that you avoid Cavender & Kahane's "Logic & Contemporary Rhetoric" at all costs. It is ironically one of the least logic-oriented books you will find on the market - loaded with bias, prejudice, and logical contradictions (from the author!). Your students will be confused. You will have to do what I did and create your own examples so as to remove the bias and prejudice of the author(s). This defeats the whole purpose of using this book, then.

From the instructor's manual, Ms. Cavender says this: "Some theorists in the critical thinking movement argue against a large part of the content of Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric on the grounds that it is not the business of a critical thinking class instructor to present students with any facts other than those directly concerning the nature of cogent reasoning. The merit of this view is that it fits nicely with the desire we all should have to avoid touting our own views concerning moral values and social and political issues. The drawback is that it leaves to students the task of figuring out all sorts of general facts needed in the evaluation of virtually all matters that come up in everyday life..." In summary, Ms. Cavender believes that we are to tell students what to think, not how to think. There is no better summary of my review than what Ms. Cavender says here. Her views are what the communists refer to as "re-education."

The only thing that Cavender & Kahane's book could possibly provide as a "positive," then, would be that it provides such a narrow-minded and bigoted presentation of a particular worldview (the liberal Baby Boomer worldview and that all the others are somehow wrong "just because") is that you can at least easily show students "what not to do." If you were put into the same situation that I was (where you didn't get to choose whether or not to use this text for your class), then that is your best use of this book. And, truly, that is the only real value of "Logic & Contemporary Rhetoric" by Cavender & Kahane: it is a perfect example of how logicians are never, ever to be. (For heaven's sake, authors on logic should not break the rules of logic!) I suppose there is some learning value in that, but this book is a sad embarrassment for the field of philosophy, logic, and academia. Avoid this text at all costs. It is not worth the paper it is printed on. Have your students read a more professional (and logical) book on philosophical logic.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 25, 2014 1:23 PM PST


Might & Magic Heroes VI: Complete Edition [Download]
Might & Magic Heroes VI: Complete Edition [Download]
Price: $29.99

11 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Game of Stalemates and Poaching, July 26, 2013
Overall, Might & Magic VI is a good game that you can have fun with on certain conditions. If those conditions are not met, then this game is a pretty big let-down.

The basic concept with all Might & Magic games is that each player (human or AI) starts off with a town. Everyone grows at roughly the same pace: our creatures generate to roughly the same numbers, especially after about a month or two go by when everyone has built all their creature dwellings in their towns and have acquired control of the dwelling boosters near our towns. This means that it is a pretty even playing field, so the only way to defeat another player is to out-strategize him at this point.

However, throughout the course of the game you can increase your odds of victory by leveling up your character and equipping artifacts. Of course, every player can do that, so once again we have reached a stalemate. After all, anyone can purchase artifacts if they want to, including the AI. So it comes down once again to strategy and sometimes just luck, as damage output and defenses are on a range system for the most part.

So how do you break the stalemate that is inherent in Might & Magic games? There really is only one way: have more towns than the other players so that you can generate more gold and creatures each week. Then, with your larger army, you can have an advantage.

If that sounds simple, dull, and boring, it is. But that is just half of the Might & Magic franchise's value, and I call that half the inherent retardation gene. The other half is the one that I call the inherent fatal gene which makes the game just about worthless to play. As a spoiler to my review here, I will tell you that it is possible to counteract these two destructive HOMM inherent genes. But back to the fatal gene of the HOMM franchise.

Let's say you are just having an absolutely wonderful time playing your Heroes of Might & Magic (HOMM) scenario, as all the mechanics of turn-based strategy games are for folks like us. You are doing everything right: growing your town, building up your creature armies, leveling your character, and the whole nine yards. Now you get that itch... There is more to this game. You want to use that massive army on one of the other players. After all, that is how you win the map: kill everyone! So you go hunting. For discussion purposes, let's just say that you are able to find a player's main hero and are able to fight him. (This does not always happen, as the enemy will run away from you and then teleport back to his hometown if in the rare event you manage to corner him. Sometimes the AI will run around in circles knowing that you can't catch them.) Well, keep in mind that he has been doing the same things as you: building his town, spending his money on his army, and leveling his character. You go to battle. Let's say that you win. That's a pretty good feeling, especially when it is an epic battle that took you a good 20 minutes! After all, if you have a thousand creatures in each stack, and he has a thousand creatures in each stack, there are going to be several rounds of combat! Oh, what fun.

So, victorious, you take the massive XP from that combat, all the vanquished foe's artifacts, and those wonderful feelings. And since the other player pitted his main character against yours (in order to be competitive, he put all his eggs in the same basket just like you did) and you won, there is no one guarding his castle! So you take that easily now for your second town. Oh, man, this is awesome.

Your next step is to begin dividing the booty to your other hero(es) as your main guy can't use all that at once. Oh, man, this is great. And check it out - you are making another 4,000 gold per turn (give or take) just by having that second castle! And look - more creatures are generating! Oh, this is sweet.

Wait a minute...

What is that...?

Apparently the other players noticed that you won a huge battle and that you are now short on your army. After all, in order to win that massive fight, you had to lose a ton of creatures. So much so, in fact, that the other players now have the advantage over you, as they don't just go around trying to fight each other. They just sit back and build up their armies into the thousands while you are out there gallivanting around trying to be heroic. And now look... here comes one of those other players now. See him on your map? Yeah, you never saw him before until just now because you hadn't explored out there yet. (He would have hidden in his castle anyway, in order for you to find him.) Now that he knows your armies are depleted, he is coming for you. What are you going to do about that?

Here's the thing, Einstein: you probably depleted your army a good 75% in that last battle. Assuming it takes that oncoming player, oh... 7 days to come to one of your castles, you will get the benefit of one (and only one) weekly creature generation amount. You think adding a total of about 50-100 creatures is going to get you into a defensible amount when facing off against the oncoming player's main guy, who is carrying all the eggs in his basket?

The answer, my friend, is no. He is going to wipe the walls with your carcass. Your game is just about over. You might as well turn it off now; the fatal gene has been activated. He will take both your towns in the matter of a few turns. It is inevitable. There is nothing you can do. Trying to prolong your fatality is futile. Your game is now over. Congratulations on beating that one guy, though; but yeah, your game is now over.

------------

That was the general description of the HOMM franchise. Every game from HOMM 1-6 is like that, more or less - at least if you are playing against human opponents. Nowadays, the AI is a bit smarter than back in the 1990s, so now they really know when to come after you. After all, that is what we did in the old days: as soon as we learned a player got wiped-out, we headed directly to his defeat site, creamed his vanquisher and took the castle, and then headed for that guy's original castle, thereby accumulating three castles without much hassle. But then HOMM developers decided that the computer AI should be able to do that too. Of course, HOMM 6 is the most disgusting in this regard compared to the others. Let me explain why.

In HOMM 6 - more so than any other in the franchise - the computer AI players will not fight each other or hunt each other down. No, they are not on the same team; they just enjoy peace, apparently. I have seen the AI in action: they recognize that they are at a stalemate with each other, as their armies are roughly the same sizes and their Heroes are essentially the same level and equally equipped. So they just run or sail right passed each other. But they are not dumb: they will teleport immediately back to their castles if they feel threatened. And once the other guy sees that the castle is now occupied with a stalemate force, he just runs away and does something else. Like I said, this AI is pretty smart, eh? In fact, they are so smart that they will run right passed YOU so as to avoid a stalemate fight. Unless the fight is obviously to their advantage, then they will not engage in it. You can engage them if you want to, but remember that it is a virtual stalemate, and you are going to sacrifice the vast majority of your army to win that fight, and afterwards you will be as vulnerable as the day you were born.

Gee, what fun.

Another thing about HOMM 6 that makes it both ultimately retarded and fatally flawed is that the way to make it more fun for the human player/user is to essentially cheat. Now, Ubisoft is a French company, and they are huge on DRM and constant online connections to play their games, which is a whole other topic. However, cheating is basically impossible under that system. So what do I mean? By "cheating," I mean that you will have to use their map editor in order to make yourself a scenario map that you can actually win. You will have to work in "cheats" so that you can have the advantage over these opportunist computer AI players. The best ways to do that are: (1) to make sure you have no shortage of creatures - ever; (2) make sure the AI doesn't get bigger than you - ever; and (3) make sure you get all the sweet combination artifact sets (and not the AI).

Sound boring? It is.

Of course, that would only be boring if you could actually do it. I am talking from the perspective of someone who knows "ti ti" (very little) about computer programming, scripts, graphic settings, and three-dimensional landscaping. And I just made half of those words up right now hoping that a few actually have poignancy to this conversation. Anyway, the map editor for HOMM 6 is probably something a computer scientist could operate effectively. Remember back in the day with HOMM 2-4 how the map editors were pretty dang cool? (In fact, the only reason why I bought those titles was because, like every game purchase back then, I made sure it said "map editor included" on the side of the box. If it didn't say that, then I did not buy it.) If you recall, you had graphical and text indicators to let you know pretty much everything you needed to. You could simply plop things down and tweak them a little bit to fit your scenario's theme, and you could even do elaborate if-then-else event schemes. It was dang cool. A guy like me could do it, even, and I still eat crayons to this day.

HOMM 5 introduced a basically unworkable map editor to guys like me. I finally figured out how to plop things down and tweak them a little bit. However, I still cannot make events happen as I have no clue how to program scripts with C++ code. (I am only assuming that is what that crap is.) Now here is HOMM 6 - forget about it. No graphical cues, few text cues, and basically go eff yourself. It used to be so easy to make your own scenarios in games like HOMM, but now it is just a joke. And since I don't have the money, desire, or brainpower to get a computer science degree (what, with all that calculus and physics and crap I'd have to worry about, as well), that translates to "Sorry, Kevbo - you no make-ah no map in HOMM 6."

So I cannot even "cheat" to give myself the ability to overcome the stalemate that is inherent in the HOMM series, which is decidedly exaggerated here in the HOMM 6 title. If you decide to capture another player's town, you WILL be poached in the after math. There is no way around it. If you want to make a map for yourself where that can't happen, go sit on a bicycle without a seat on it. That way you'll get the same feeling but quicker.

------------

All that said, HOMM 6 has no redeeming qualities. I would point out how cool the leveling system is, or how nice the graphics are, or how nice the music is... but I would just be wasting time. And yeah, Ubisoft even integrated a little "shop" into HOMM 6 so that you can spend more money on things they sell on top of just the game itself. But like I said, any good in this game will be dwarfed by how lame the other stuff is. I suppose your best bet for success would be the following strategy:

1) Get lucky on an early battle and overcome the stalemate feature of HOMM, allowing you to get control over two towns.

2) Get lucky in that the other players don't want to come poach your hiney right here, right now.

3) Use your two towns to save up for yet another massive army. While this might take many game years, it might give you the logarithmic advantage to defeat yet one more opponent and still have enough army left over to at least frighten away the other guy from poaching you.

4) Repeat steps 1-3.

While that might be boring as sweet $#!%, it could work. Or try this one:

1) Fight a guy (because he won't fight you) and somehow defeat enough of his army that he flees from combat.

2) With only a 25% to 50% reduction in your forces (as opposed to the customary 75%+ for a complete kill), you could still pose a threat to the other players and thus not be poached immediately, giving you time to build up quicker.

That, too, is boring as sweet $#!%.

------------

So my advice to you is to stay the hell away from HOMM 6. HOMM 5... maybe for $5-$10 for the complete package. Still got HOMM 4 and/or HOMM 3? Then you are in luck - those are the best titles in the franchise. The sorry part is that they are in no way supported anymore, but you get used to that when dealing with companies like Ubisoft who suck eggs out of chickens before their shells even fully form.

Stay away from Ubisoft; stay away from their products; stay away from HOMM 6. You will waste your cash on an ultimately boring game that you cannot modify yourself. Download someone else's content that you also cannot modify to your liking? Kiss my cream. And if you think the Ubisoft community (their forums) is worth a tickle, don't put yourself through that European mess. Those scrawny atheists still think they won WWII all by themselves with their pitchforks and Red Books.

Out.
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 4, 2014 6:06 AM PST


Snark SN-1 Tuner
Snark SN-1 Tuner
Price: $11.22
79 used & new from $5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars So Far, So Good, April 4, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Snark SN-1 Tuner (Electronics)
Turned out to be better than I thought it would be. The tuners I have owned before were basic and not really reliable. I like that this one is small, legible, and is hands-free once you clamp it onto the headstock. I got mine really cheap, so if you can get for less than $10, I say go for it. It is a good tuner. I've owned mine for about a month now, and it does its job. The metronome feature isn't too bad either, considering it is a hands-free device that you can see easily as you play.


Twizzlers Twists, Strawberry, 4-Pound Containers (Pack of 2)
Twizzlers Twists, Strawberry, 4-Pound Containers (Pack of 2)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What You'd Expect, April 4, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Two packs of 4-lb. Strawberry Twizzlers... The reason why I bought them was the price - I couldn't beat that elsewhere. And they took me over a month to eat all eight pounds of them. When they arrived, they were a bit stuck together, but that did not effect the overall quality. I am hesitant to order chocolate stuff from Amazon due to meltage, but candies like this can be a great deal. I recommend buying food from Amazon.com.


Plethora of Paradox Games [Download]
Plethora of Paradox Games [Download]
Price: $150.85

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Prices Change; Be Careful, January 30, 2013
Judging from the reviews, the price of this downloadable bundle has ranged from $9.51 to $145.87. This means that it is subject to great sale prices, and you should definitely wait for the next one.

I would get this bundle only if it were offered for $9.99 or less. The reason is twofold. (1) Paradox is a really crappy company. They are based in Sweden, and they don't do capitalism like we do in America. Their customer service is pee poor; their online community chokes the chicken (imagine a gaggle of scrawny America-jealous Europeans all spouting off in unison); and their games are not properly supported. Buy American for the sake of a proper customer-based approach to production. (2) Crusader Kings II already has something like four expansion packs out already. Expect more. Paradox will milk its fans until we spend $100 on one stupid game.

My advice is to wait until Crusader Kings II finally hits the complete version for $20. Then look for the bundle that includes it for a total cost of $10. But if you can, just don't support Paradox Interactive. They are a really bad company, despite some of the titles that they have milked the most money from.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 10, 2014 6:00 PM PDT


Crusader Kings II [Download]
Crusader Kings II [Download]
Price: $39.99

15 of 74 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Be Careful with Paradox, January 25, 2013
I have only had bad experiences with Paradox. They all began a few years ago when I bought Europa Universalis III: Complete. Well, the game turned out not to be complete at all, as they released one or two more expansions after the "complete" version. When I went onto their website, Paradox had web forums that were poorly moderated. Worse was that they refused to put a Search function on the forums pages since it "cost too much."

I looked at their website recently and saw that they instituted a search funtion finally, as if that was a big deal or something. But I noticed that Paradox remains a Swedish company that performs some of the worst customer service that you will receive. The arrogance and the talking down to people... I read what some of their moderators and game designers wrote, and at first I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt - maybe they just suck at English. But I read other posts from honest customers who got the same treatment. So there was no way I was going to post anything on there again, and that basically meant that I wanted nothing to do with Paradox.

Besides running their company like a bunch of ingrates, the games that Paradox Interactive releases are intentional cheapshots. What I mean by that is that they are blatantly trying to make money off those who are willing to be less than smart with their money. In other words, Paradox Interactive is exploitive. While they are free to do what they want, what they choose to do is so trashy, if you will. For example, they release a video game that is not complete and has a few bugs. They might patch it once. Then they release an expansion pack for it. The expansion includes things that make you think, "Why didn't they just release this with the original game? Why did they intentionally hold it back?" The reason: they are just trying to milk you. While they are free to do so, it is just a cheap way to do business and makes Paradox look greedy and desperate.

With Crusader Kings II, you can see this trashiness. Check out how many expansions they have and how much DLC is out there. The DLC seems less of a cheapshot, as they are supplemental, while the expansions are blatant attempts to release the game in pieces to see how much money this Swedish company can make off its fans. For example, you might be wondering why spending $40 on a game is a good idea and why spending $80 is not. Well, if you want to be able to play more than 400 years in Crusader Kings II, then you will have to buy $10 expansions here and there. Then you ask yourself, why not just make a game release it? Why put a game together, then take things out in order to formulate an expansion pack?

I would think a logical, reasonable person would deduce two things after having dealt with Paradox Interactive:

1) If you want to give this wreckless Swedish company your money, then wait until the "complete" or "gold" version of the game comes out, where everything is included: base game, expansions, DLC, and whatever else. Never give Paradox Interactive money upfront so that they can continue the bad business practice of exploitation and cheapshots. The power is in your hands to make them do what you want. Don't reward bad behavior.

2) Maybe you were insulted like I was. Maybe you don't like putting up with stupid people on a company's website who are abusive - even employees of the company! Never mind the dweeb Europeans that are jealous of Americans - when the moderators and designers post things that are offensive or just stupid, you realize this is a poorly run company. And maybe you don't tolerate cheapness, such as overt attempts to milk you when you've played their games for years, and then they try to stick it to you. And maybe you don't like false advertising - another cheapshot - such as putting the word "complete" on a non-complete version. And maybe you don't want to play the non-video game games, such as waiting for them to internally fix themselves or to invest money into their community, such as providing better customer support and forums. Instead of putting up with their crap, you instead decide to boycott this bad company.

Whatever the case, when I checked back with Paradox Interactive recently, I saw that they were the same bad company as when I first met them a few years ago. Nothing has changed. And I look at their ridiculously long line of expansions and DLC for this one game, Crusader Kings II, and realize that they want us to spend $80 on a game that is worth between $20 and $30, complete. When will the complete version come out? Will it actually be complete, or will they expand the complete version? Why don't you ask them on their forums page? What if you have problems with bugs and things - should you post on the forums?

I have had enough with this Swedish company, and they will not get my money. Not ever. I made this decision based on the way they do business, which is cheap and often rude. Just a trashy lot. Let them figure it out when their sales diminish. Don't reward stupid behavior.
Comment Comments (22) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 30, 2013 4:10 PM PST


Disciples III Renaissance - PC
Disciples III Renaissance - PC
Offered by Lotsa Electronics
Price: $4.99
22 used & new from $0.97

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Boycott Foreign Game Companies, December 31, 2012
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I have to say, I bought this game a couple years ago, and it looks like I forgot to write a review for it.

Anyway, I saw that it was listed at $4.00 here on Amazon, but I wanted to warn people that it is not worth more than a penny to the American consumers. The reasons are these:

A) Kalypso Media is a German publisher who released this game. They worked with a Russian game developer to put out Disciples III. What we have seen are modifications (mods) that only apply to foreign versions of the game. The American version does not benefit from these. The American, unfortunately, only has one (I repeat: one) scenario that you can play and one (I repeat: one) non-playable campaign on the installation disc. This might shock the heck out of you like it did me, but that is the truth. Modifying the game or getting ahold of playable content are basically implausible and improbable. Possible? I have only read of getting game hacks for the American version which are understood to be illegal, and those only allow for some hacked map editor program which many don't trust. Not worth the effort, especially when you compare the moddability of games you already like.

B) Besides the core aspect of what every strategy game (especially turn-based ones) should have (a way to easily modify our game so we can create our own scenarios, etc.), Disciples III follows in the tradition of the Disciples legacy. I had never heard of the Disciples franchise until I saw a complete version box set of Disciples II at Wal-Mart for $10 back in 2007, I think it was. I spent that $10 just to give it a go, as the box images looked somewhat enticing and reminded me of one of my most favorite games, Heroes of Might & Magic. (Which is developed by Ubisoft, a French company, and has since tanked in terms of customer appeal, especially after its HOMM 6 release). My favorite video game genre is the turn-based strategy role-playing game, so the $10 was easy for me to spend, as I had it. Disicples II was somewhat of a disappointment, and I could see why it was no HOMM and why it was in the Wal-Mart bargain bin. But for $10, I felt okay with that. Disciples III came out in 2010, but I got it for $15 at Amazon in early 2011, I think it was. The graphics and a few game concepts were promising, but it was a total disappointment for the reasons mentioned above. Simply put, I could not figure how the U.S. marketplace allowed this crap product to even be sold here. It was such a rip-off.

C) Besides lacking in almost every single way imaginable, Kalypso (German publisher) and Akella (a Russian game development company) do not provide customer service like we Americans demand. After all, we spend money for things, which includes any service surrounding the product. We expect service! I actually bought Disciples III at the same time I bought Patrician IV, which is another game released by Kalypso. Kalypso has a public forum to post questions and things, but for Disciples III, you can read how Americans are screwed. It is a total joke. We all had similar problems, but there is nothing to appease us whatsoever. I also noticed that some posts or threads were removed. This is similar to the treatment on the Ptrician IV side, though over there they have the Gaming Minds development team (a German bunch) who check the forums to help people out with their game. But sadly, both titles (Disciples II and Patrician IV) were incomplete games sold to everyone that were not fully serviced throughout their lifecycles. It is very frustrating as a consumer to get a poor product, followed by poor service, and then the realization that there will be no recourse.

As a result of my experiences with Kalypso and their two recent games, Disciples III and Patrician IV, I have decided to boycott that German company. However, these experiences also reminded me of the ones I had with Ubisoft (a French company) and Paradox (a Swedish company), as well as the international communities that surround their products. The Europeans really don't run their businesses well, and it seems like they rely mostly on fewer choices being at the center of their livelihoods, similar to how monopolies and oligopolies exist. They seem to take advantage of people who already gave them money or who do not have a lot of options besides simply avoiding the things they like. For example, turn-based strategy role-playing games are probably the hardest find in the world, except maybe in Japan. Nevertheless, these European countries seem to be put-out by consumers demanding things, such as a Search function on the Paradox support site (took them over a year to get that one installed, after trying to defend it for so long), bug and content fixes in Kalypso games, or the lack of proper presentation in Ubisoft games. (Who knew Tribes of the East was a stand-alone, complete version of HOMM 5, for example? Answer: you learn after you buy it.)

So the Europeans seem to want our money, but then they do not back it up. They seem to give a very half-hiney approach to things, surely on the support end. Their games tend to be very intriguing and their marketing seems to do fine. However, once we start discovering issues with their products, they tend to slink away into the shadows and then get defensive (or mean, as in the case of the European communities) if an American needs help. And I am not speaking of just myself here; I speak to the poor American souls who dared to post questions on these European publishers' website forums and then got marauded by European users and their insults. Reading all the excuse-making and insults, well... I guess I was lucky in that I either tended to get no responses to my queries or would be told that nothing would be done to fix the issues that I raised. But for those who were insulted... my advice stands:

Boycott foreign video game companies. Americans pay more and deserve better. We will support those companies that take care of us. If you want our money, then back up your products. If you want to go bankrupt, then keep up with your elitist European ways.

Americans: do not buy Disciples III. You will only be disappointed. I guarantee that.


Galactic Civilizations II Ultimate Edition - PC
Galactic Civilizations II Ultimate Edition - PC
10 used & new from $48.00

10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Game; Don't Buy It Here, December 29, 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Just to be clear, I am not giving 1-star to the game itself. The game is a 5-star game and I recommend that everyone get it. What I rated 1-star was this offering here so that whoever ends up buying this product from 2012 and beyond won't get ripped-off. Simply put, you can buy a downloadable version of this game, which is playable on STEAM, for about $4.50. The only reason why you'd pay the listed price of $120 (new) or $40 (used) is because you want the plastic CD and box that it came in a couple years ago. My advice is to pay the $4.50 for the downloadable version instead.


2K Strategy Super Pack [Download]
2K Strategy Super Pack [Download]

54 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You Have to at This Price., December 27, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I'm not a smart man, but I don't want people knowing that. As a result, when I saw effectively nine (9) games and expansions bundled together for $20 as a download here at Amazon, I had to get them. Not because I like shopping, but because we are talking about games that individually would run you a good $100+, easily.

In this download "super pack" from Amazon.com, you get:

1) The Stronghold Collection. This features Stronghold, Stronghold 2, Stronghold Crusader, Stronghold Legends, and Stronghold Crusader Extreme. This is a real-time strategy (RTS) game franchise that I always wanted but never bought because the price was never right. Even now this collection goes for $20 on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Stronghold-Collection-Online-Game-Code/dp/B0084FHQ1O/ref=dsvbl_item_3 . But the price was right this time, Bob.

2) Civilization IV: The Complete Edition. I was one of those dummies that bought Civ 4, Warlords, and Beyond the Sword as they each came out. I got pretty ticked off at how even ol' Sid Meier and his guys were doing that whole "make them spend $100+ on our one video game, which we will release as incomplete, then expand it to complete it, and thus run up the overall price." I even wrote about it here on Amazon. Nevertheless, I eventually learned what game developers were doing: release an incomplete game over time and then release the complete version once they started on the next in the nomenclature. So my strategy became simple: wait for the complete version to go on sale, no matter how many years it takes me. In this case, though, Civilization IV: Colonization is included with the aforementioned Civ 4 titles, which is a game I had not owned yet. http://www.amazon.com/Sid-Meiers-Civilization-IV-Complete/dp/B0084FHBGY/ref=dsvbl_item_2

3) Civilization V and the Gods & Kings expansion. Now, I would have bought just these two together for $20 any day of the week. However, I would have had to have thought about it. The fact that this new game in the franchise (#5 of 5 - the most recent one) was bundled with other games that I did not have and have wanted, I did not have to think about it. I was waiting for the Complete Edition of Civ 5 when I saw this pop-up on Amazon, and now look at me: I broke my own strategy. I checked to see if there is another expansion in the works for Civ 5 on their website, but I did not see anything. As a result, I felt like I was getting at least a near-complete bargain here, as these are the Game of the Year Edition (which has all known content included in the game, such as the downloadable stuff (DLC)) and the latest expansion pack that I read has a more fuller presentation of the game overall.

For $20, this was a no-brainer for me, and I feel like I look smart to others now that I bought the darn thing. For $20! What a deal. But now to review the other parts of this purchase: downloading from Amazon and working with STEAM.

As I have written elsewhere, I trust Amazon.com completely. I have never been treated in any way but proper from either Amazon or the few third party folks that I have worked with. I have only returned a few items, but each time it was one of the easiest things. Because I could get what I wanted, eventually, and be happy, I lost any fear that might have had in purchasing really anything from/on Amazon.com. I always knew that if things did not work out, Amazon would fix it right and right away. So since I have been seeing these downloadable games going for ridiculously low prices lately, I went in full steam ahead. Which leads to the next part.

STEAM. The only stuff I have read about STEAM is that it seems to rub free persons the wrong way and comes off a bit as culturally rude. The idea behind STEAM, I believe, is that video game companies want to reduce their risks against piracy. STEAM apparently does that for them, so most video games are coming out on STEAM anymore. STEAM requires an online connection in order to register and download the games that you bought like this. This somehow prevents piracy. What does it mean for you and me? From my experience (which began about four weeks ago), we get the same quality of video games for a relatively convenient and easy interaction with a third party known as STEAM. If the game developers are okay with that, and I am okay with that, then it is okay. The little fears that people have tried to instill from STEAM or the cultural infractions they claimed are two things that Amazon's customer service department helped me get over. Now that I have STEAM installed on my two computers and I now have several games in my STEAM Games Library and they all work fine, I just want to tell others that you can rely on STEAM and Amazon to do things right. Be glad that the game developers feel better now. We are all safe in this new environment apparently, and I can safely say that that benefits everyone involved, including the consumer.

Here I was with $20 in my pocket, and because of Amazon's reputation, the low price offered for the quality and quantity I received, STEAM's convenient user interface, and the supposed security and safety that game developers seem to be having through it all, I would have to say that you too can feel safe and sound in this new downloadable environment, even when the price is super-right. I recommend Amazon.com to anybody, and I also encourage you to not worry about STEAM at all. For what I have gotten, STEAM and game developers no longer scare me or piss me off. Now I can give them money, and we can all feel good about that. Finally, the gaming industry seems to be on the right path, and it looks like STEAM is going to get a lot of credit for addressing the market's concerns. So good for them, and of course good for all of us.

To close, I would only recommend this particular downloadable "super pack" bundle to those who do not own more than one of these games. However, really, I would more likely recommend it to those like me who do not own Civ 5 yet. You get the Stronghold stuff and the Civ 4 stuff, but Civ 5 and its expansion pack for $20 is good enough right there, though that price will surely come down before too long. But since I did not own any Stronghold games, Civ 4: Colonization, and Civ 5 and its Gods & Kings expansion, this really was a no-brainer for me. I picked up, essentially, three new games of great quality for a truly good price. But I would also recommend that you buy this downloadable bundle if you would like to put any or all these games (that you might already own) onto the new online format, as opposed to disc format. Being able to access these games while online or offline is fine for me, but the convenience offered in the STEAM user interface is better than holding my discs in a vinyl carrying pouch, finding the one I want, and loading from there. Sure, we are talking about a few seconds of time here, but my point is that I like not worrying about CDs when I don't have to. And the fact that the games run at their intended quality while in online or offline mode just means that I got what I wanted.

Again, I am very glad that STEAM could bridge any gaps that might have existed between frightened game developers looking to avoid piracy and gamers who can benefit from cheaper games as a result. Amazon.com, then, removed any fears from online purchases, and now the video game world seems to be going in a better direction. Good job, STEAM and Amazon.com.
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 25, 2013 1:38 PM PST


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