Category: Truth Serum

Get the real truth with Truth Serum; an exclusive feature to U360.

Can you trust game reviews?

It’s easy to escape the truth when no one wants to talk about it.  That’s why I introduced this series of articles called Truth Serum.  The truth on a wide range of subjects exist within the words that display on your monitors or mobile phones while reading a Truth Serum article.  What does today’s injection of truth contain?  It is a question that many of you often wonder about and a question that many of you probably know the answer to.

Can I trust game reviews?  Are review scores tainted?  Yes, they are.  There really is no other way to put it than simply saying that yes, what you read has been diluted and tainted in just about every possible way.  How can this happen Deacon?  Well I’ll tell you how these things happen and why it takes a really different kind of mentality to battle against it.

Deny all they will but most of these big media sites fear what support they will lose if they trash on a AAA title or product.  Even if there is a negative review, you’ll notice how it’s not overly negative or the score won’t reflect the negative tone.  It’ll still offer some fancy way to make it appear positive.  This spans across game reviews, tech reviews, mobile reviews etc.  Every reviewer has a fear of “what will they say if I shit on this game” when they review something.  If they tell you that they don’t, then they’re not being honest.  When a company takes interest in your publication and they throw support your way, it’s just natural to develop some kind of mutual ball grabbing if you will.

Read more …

Changing your Windows Live ID is a pain!

Fancy a shot of Truth Serum?  This will not be pretty so tread carefully my friends.

[Update] I’m happy to report that as of July 15 the issue has been taken care of … I am a relieved camper … and I wanted to say thanks to the team at Microsoft for all the help … they truly went above and beyond to correct this issue.]

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Start your gaming history over or suck it up and miss out on certain aspects of Xbox Live.  That’s what it ultimately boils down to if you ever find yourself in the unfortunate position of not having access to your email address and having to change a Windows Live ID on your Xbox 360.  You’ll be told to get a new one and lose whatever history you’ve built up within the gaming community and you’ll be forced to miss out on things that require an accessible WLID like getting blue flames from Bungie.

The way it’s supposed to work is that you simply enter the password on the account and change it.  Simple right?  But what happens when the system won’t recognize any password change that you make?  Well then my friend let me introduce you to hell … nice to burn you.

Most people don’t understand that your email address isn’t just an email address when you use it on the Xbox 360.  For every other service on the internet an email address is just an email address.  However, with Microsoft and its system your email address has to be established as a Windows Live ID.  Why is that necessary?  Only the minds at Microsoft can tell you why you have to transform your regular email address into a Windows Live ID before it’ll work on their network.  A wise basketball player named Sidney Deane once said, “Some muth****s always trying to ice skate uphill”.  In other words, they’re making this harder than what it needs to be.

After your email address has done its own Optimus Prime transformation, it is now stuck for better or worse in Microsoft’s web.  This means that as long as you’re a good little boy or girl and you never lose access to whatever Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail or various other email address you’ve turned into a WLID, you’re okay.  But let’s say for some reason you’ve used an email from a DSL company and that DSL company decides to get rid of that domain.  Let’s just say that you had no choice in the matter and you need to update your WLID now because the email address literally doesn’t exist anymore.  You, my friend, should just prepare to enter a ridiculous fight that may very well put a legal battle in the Supreme Court to shame.

I know the support links and various other recommendations from Xbox and Microsoft would lead you to believe the process is as simple as logging into your console and changing your email address.  But it becomes so much more difficult if you ever have to verify that you own the account.  I’ve personally given Xbox Support the birthday, credit card, secret question answer and my left lung to prove that I am the owner of an account that I’m trying to update the WLID on.  Xbox Support has verified that information.  That would be awesome except for the fact that Xbox Support can’t help me with a WLID problem and instead the WLID team has to ultimately fix my situation.  So you’re saying that Xbox can’t help you with an Xbox problem? Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying.

Mike’s Rage, How Gamers Fail Themselves

Ready for another dose of Truth Serum?  For those of you who aren’t familiar with Truth Serum, it’s a feature on the site that is “in your face” with the hard truth.  Well it may not be an actual truth but it’s one person just airing out his or her truth on any subject.

This is another adrenaline shot of Mike’s Rage for you to digest.  This time he’s setting his sights on me, you and any gamer out there who has failed the industry.

Mike’s Rage “VanQuish lost… How Gamers Fail Themselves”

Hello fellow gamers.  How are you today?  Are we winning???

Well I’m not feeling the winning because I’m right here with you failing like Charlie did with Two and a Half Men.  Oh I know you are feeling a little defensive but it’s ok to let loose and accept the fact that we are all failing with our gaming hobby in one way or another.  So I apologize and ask the gaming Gods to forgive us for thou have sinned against them.  How you ask?  Developers have made refreshing new IPs this generation that have failed in sales due to us failing in our support for them.  Our fail will not only be the developer’s downfall but the downfall of gaming as we once knew it.  Follow me now as I break down The What, The How and The Why of how we have failed and the end result because of it.  

Read more …

Xbox LIVE vs PlayStation Plus

Go ahead and admit it.  You love these versus articles of mine don’t you?  You love how I shed light on all the pointless little arguments that tend to pop up in these so-called “fanboy wars” don’t you?  Well I’m really glad to hear that because I enjoy it when you enjoy something.  Let’s get down to business shall we? 

I’ve always tried telling people that at some point Sony would introduce a subscription model to their PlayStation Network.  I knew that they couldn’t leave all of that potential money on the table especially when their arch rival was laughing all the way to the bank with its own subscription model.  At E3 this year the battle of subscriptions officially began which brings me to today’s fun read…Xbox Live vs. PlayStation Plus.

Which of these subscription plans presents more bang for your buck?  I’ll give you my opinion and I suppose at the end you’ll be giving me yours.  I have a PlayStation 3 console so I can at least give a hand’s on opinion of both networks.  So pay attention because I speaks the gospel son!

Xbox Live Gold vs. PlayStation Plus

Price – This is one of the easiest comparisons because they’re both $49.99 for a one year subscription.  Xbox Live will include an additional family subscription this year that offers 4 GOLD subscriptions for the price of 2 in their Xbox Live Family Gold plan.  PS+ currently has no such plan but I’m only comparing the subscriptions at base anyway so let’s move on.

I’d say here we have a stalemate.

Exclusive content – Xbox Live offers up its Gold members early (and sometimes exlcusive demos). PS+ offers the same thing.

Discounts - Gold members of Xbox Live get the discounts on Xbox LIVE Arcade titles and such.  PS+ offers up the same types of discounts to its members.

Applications – This is where it starts to get interesting.  Xbox Live offers its Gold members access to Netflix, Facebook, Last.fm, Twitter, ESPN3 and soon Hulu Plus.  PlayStation Network users get to use a couple of these things for free already (Netflix and Facebook). 

PS+ currently only offers Hulu Plus during its preview but plans are that it will be available for free to all PS3 owners without subscribing to PS+ so I guess you can say that the only thing it “technically” doesn’t provide is Last.fm, ESPN3 and Twitter.  Considering the PlayStation 3 has internet access, one could argue you can at least get to Twitter.

I guess the subscription preference here would depend on how much you value each of these services.  I would say that Netflix is the one I use more and to be honest it’s integrated much better on Xbox Live.

Xbox Live member perks

- price $49.99
- exclusive demos (Gold members usually get demos early)
- Community integration
- Netflix
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Last.fm
- Hulu Plus
- ESPN3
- Online multiplayer

PlayStation Plus member perks

- price $49.99
- free monthly games (you must be a paying member to keep; if you end your subscription the games go away)
- discounted games
- free trials of top games
- free subscription to Qore
- automatic downloads

Well what does this all mean?  It  means I don’t know what to say.  I prefer Xbox Live because all of my gaming friends are on Xbox Live.  I own a PS3 as well and there just aren’t many of my friends with one so I tend to play on it significantly less.

What say you?

Kinect versus PlayStation Move

Remember that one time when most of you said that the gaming world wasn’t ready for the “motion era”?  Well, a few million Wii’s later and an E3 2010 later, the world better get ready.  With Microsoft’s Kinect and Sony’s PlayStation Move arriving this year, I figured a little versus action was in order to see how they stacked up against each other.

So let’s see which is the better value when you put Kinect vs PlayStation Move.

Price to get your motion on

Kinect – $149.99

At this point the $149.99 price is unconfirmed but there are a wide range of sources and websites that have already taken the lead to list the price to expect.  Microsoft of course is waiting on the PR department to simply send the press release that focuses on the “value” that Kinect brings at that price.  Allow me to paint a picture of that press release for you based on my Truth Serum article about PR.

“At $149.99 we believe that Kinect is the consumer’s choice when it comes to value.  At this single price, you don’t need any additional accessories to enjoy the great line-up of Kinect games.”

I believe it’ll go something like that don’t you?  It’s the only route to take if the price remains the same.  I wonder how these Kinect bundles will turn out.

PlayStation Move – Motion controller ($49.99), Navigation controller ($29.99), Move bundle includes EyeToy camera, Move motion controller, game ($99.99)

Most of the games for PlayStation Move according to Sony will only require the Move controller wand, the camera and nothing else.  You can substitute the little navigation controller with a regular six-axis controller.  That would be awkward with a Move wand in one hand and a controller in the other but it works.

The panic at price comes when you realize that some games will require two Move wands plus the fact that no one games alone these days so you’ll likely have to buy at least one additional Move wand.  Price will be one of Microsoft’s biggest arguments against Sony’s PlayStation Move when trying to sell Kinect.  It’s obvious isn’t it?  If you assume people don’t have a camera already and they don’t want to navigate with a controller, you’re looking at roughly $210 for you and a friend to enjoy a Move title.  You’ll need the bundle plus another Move wand plus two navigation controllers so $99.99+$49.99+$29.99+$29.99.  It gets pretty damn expensive eh?

Better value – Because I’m not an algebra major and because I really don’t care to provide for anyone’s experience but my own, I’ll give the nod to the PlayStation Move.  I could add up Kinect in multiple rooms and end up at $300 so we’ll just do value based on the initial entry point.  You can argue it either way so to prevent any headaches let’s just keep it simple.  If Microsoft is forced to price Kinect at $99.99, then clearly it moves up as the better value.

Top Ten signs you are an uber fanboy

Yup, it’s time to do some soul searching.  There has been a ton of bonk news flying around lately so I thought I’d help those of you who are in denial come to terms with your affliction.  To help, I have comprised my Top Ten signs you are indeed a fanboy.  Kick off your Sunday dress shoes and ask yourself the question no gamer truly wants to answer.  “Am I a fanboy?”

10. When faced with a question about how many hats you own, you include your avatar’s collection in the total.  FANBOY

9. While cleaning out your wallet you find you still have your original LIVE Diamond card because it’s the only plastic that has ever carried your Gamertag etched in it you decide it’s a keeper.  FANBOY

8. If you coordinate your days off to coincide with midnight releases.  FANBOY

7. Telling random people at Best Buy to pass on Sirius because the XBOX 360 can get Last.fm.  FANBOY

6. During the grueling task of blowing up 100 balloons for your child’s birthday, you decide you’re going to get a chievo for 100% completion and then make the “bloop” sound when you actually do it.  FANBOY

5. When picking out items form the store, your selection always hovers around things that are colored Xbox 360 green.  FANBOY

4. At Thanksgiving dinner you tell your aunt you no longer want to be called by your given name instead you want to be referred to by your Gamertag…360Lyfe.  FANBOY

3. Your favorite twitter feed comes from Major Nelson.  FANBOY

2. As you’re strolling your local Walmart electronics section you secretly plot a way to remove the 7-year old kid playing Rock Band so you can bang out a quick 99% accuracy on expert level Green Grass and High Tides.  FANBOY

1. Promptly after wowing the Walmart crowd, you turn to the 7-year old you just removed from the game, hand him the guitar and say “I’d have aced that shit if the controller had been properly calibrated!”  FANBOY

And by the way if you actually do the last two you are not only the world’s largest fanboy but you may have a little psycho mixed in as well.  Seek out help immediately.