RNG is bad game design

I cannot say this enough. It makes me want to grab a rolled news paper (if one could even find one in this day and age) and smack a designer across the nose with it. BAD BAD BAD. STOP DOING THIS OR I AM GOING TO TAKE YOU TO THE POUND.

RANDOM IS NOT GOOD DESIGN. Read that line about 10 times, please.

Why in the happy hello kitty’s name would you ever do something random in a game? It’s a crutch. And some people are under the mistaken belief that it allows for a feeling of “unscripted-ness”. The thing is, random should only ever be used the in the creation process, then the results cherry picked to be added to the game. (Like generating a few thousand faces, then picking the best 10% or so for your NPCs.) Random can also be used on anything that doesn’t matter at all (which of these 5 possible vendor trash items is the guy going to drop? It doesn’t matter, it can be random). But what these designer really want, but are failing to get, is a systemic solution to their problem.

Systems are a great great thing, and used effectively, can *make* a game. But systems are very difficult to set up well as they can lead to cascading issues when interacting with other systems. It also requires designers and programmers to either be the same person, or attached at the hip. But random is something that people seem to assume a good system is. When people played Bioshock 2, every so occasionally they would be attacked by a big sister. People who played the game might assume that these attacks felt “random”. It’s not. It’s a system, designed to interact with other systems. It’s also a bit more complex and scripted than most systems would be, but it is still used in a system fashion.

When I started playing Skyrim, I discovered very quickly that Dragons can and will attack at random times. *yay* /sarcasm

But wait, you might say, that seems like a great idea! It’s fun! It makes the world feel alive and perilous! It makes it feel like you aren’t fighting as ordered by a designer!

If things could be done well, randomly, there would be no designers. But having a designer allows for a crafted, non-frustrating experience. Because a designer can look at the sequence of events and say, this is a terrible spot for pacing and narrative to have an event happen. Let’s move it somewhere else.

Example #1:

In the main quest of Skyrim, at one point, you leave a city with two NPCs in tow. Now, I am playing a mage/thief. As a mage, it is hard for me to fight around NPCs as they like to move in front of me and take damage. As a thief, they are even worse because a single hit with a bow leads to their death. Normally, this isn’t too much of a concern, as they can handle themselves, and I can focus on other targets.

Unless we get attacked by a dragon that is.

So now, not only do I have the worry of an NPC DYING, which they can totally do, but also, I can’t help because we are all targeting the same thing and I might hit one of the numb skulls. And if I do hit one of them, they turn on me, along with every guard in a 100 mile radius.

Yes, this random attack is fun and not at all frustrating. /sarcasm

 

Example #2:

The first time seemed pretty bad huh? Kinda hard to top that level of frustration and difficulty.

Oh, it gets better.

At ANOTHER point in the main quest (notice how BOTH of the incidents take place when actively involved in things REQUIRED to complete the game?) you are told to meet with a guy in a city and he is going to help you sneak into a secured location. COOL. *pulls on my thief hat* Ready. Locked. Loaded.

Only in the middle of this conversation, he goes, oh, by the way, you can’t take any weapons or armor, but you can give them to me, and I will smuggle them in. My response: “I’m sorry what? UH NO. You can have my bow when you pry it from my cold dead fingers.” So here I am, handing over my epic bow of ass kicking, my light armor of super thievery, and my amulet, ring and headband of melting faces to some NPC I TOTALLY DO NOT TRUST. Oh and did I mention, I totally don’t carry a second set of armor? So now, I am naked. Quite literally, my character is walking around in her underwear, and several NPCs comment I need to put some clothes on. Instead of handing me my “Party Clothes” like I expect, he tells me to meet some OTHER NPC at the stable to get my clothes. Oh and she will hold anything else I didn’t hand him. (All that loot I was carrying.) So here I go, walking out of the city to the stables, in the all together, to meet this chick.

Now CLEARLY the developers realized this was a tricky point in the game. Fast travel is disabled. You can’t really go anywhere else, you have to finish this mission first. They KNEW you had just handed over all your equipment, rendering you as useless as you were in the opening cutscene.

I walk out the city gates, thankful it’s only a short sprint to the stables when I hear…

*RAWR*

Look up, oh yes, there it is, a RANDOM DRAGON ATTACK. OH YAY. I have no armor, no weapons, and no health potions. This is gonna be FUN.

Needless to say, it wasn’t. Not even a little bit.

 

The idea may have seemed sound. For a large portion of the game (which is terribly relative considering how much dang game there is) this doesn’t seem to be a big issue.¬† But here, in these two instances, this makes the game blindingly frustrating and annoying.

In either case would I have noticed the lack of a dragon attack during the completion of these quests? The one I can’t do anything because I just handed over my armor? Yeah, I am going to finish that as quickly as possible. The one where I am escorting 2 NPCs? Yeah, that one is a stick with it until you are done too. There is NO LOGICAL reason to not disable random dragon attacks during these times. The player is never *ever* going to notice. Your DESIGN decision is going to actively make the game better.

It could be argued that since they are random, the developers never encountered a dragon during these times. Well, sure that’s possible, but when designing something like this, as a developer, you need to play through the game thinking always, is there ever a time this would be the WORST POSSIBLE THING. It’s just a good idea to consider when implementing a game wide system like this.

Regardless, the random dragon battles don’t make the game feel unscripted or even realistic, but rather they make it feel buggy and broken. Never sacrifice gameplay for realism. Remember, the player won’t notice the dragon not showing up, but they will remember the dragon showing up at the worst possible time, and then write a blog post ranting about it.

Catherine vs Katherine

First off – I didn’t actually *play* Catherine in the strictest sense of the word. Rather I sat and watched my husband play it. I do this quite frequently. I generally have one of two reactions – 1. I determine that I would hate playing the game, stop and consider why other people like it, and then go back to playing WoW; or 2. I watch him play, engrossed, until he does something “wrong” and then I itch to yank the controller away until he is done playing then play it myself so I can do it right.

Demon Souls and Brothers in Arms were part of the first category. Valkyria Chronicles and Persona 4 were  part of the second.

Catherine is the first game that has fallen solidly between the two. The game is a action puzzle game, by Atlus’s Persona team. I was very excited about the game, because I am such a fan of Persona 4. The action portions of the game consist of what is essentially a huge puzzle block tower the player must climb. The “social” portions are of the player and the other characters in the game hanging out at a bar.

Honestly, after watching him play a few stages, I was completely convinced not only would I not want to play this part, but I would be bored to tears. The methods of moving up the tower are unchanged, regardless of the trick blocks, enemies, and boss events that try to break it up. Once you have figured out the general moves, you have figured out the game.

However, the “social” part of the game was utterly fascinating. The surreal encounters, the background characters, the strange effects thrown about, it all added up to an exceptional world that was interesting. I could crawl into the world portrayed and spent hours simply getting to figure out all the weird stuff going on. I do think however that the point of the mysterious murders will be lost on most American players.

*Spoilers*

So the Boss is killing young men who are of the appropriate age and economic status to get married and have kids, but are unwilling to do so because they like their freedom. They want to remain independent and “having fun” as opposed to settling down.

It doesn’t make a ton of sense to American Culture, but in Japan, where a negative birthrate is literally affecting the stability of their culture and society, it would seem completely logical. The Boss is taking out the men who are causing this problem. Essentially saying, “Get with it, or get out of the way.”

*End Spoilers*

The game also does some very interesting things with it’s Order and Chaos meter, in addition to using it to determine the one of 9 possible outcomes. I love that the “canon” of the game changes based on your order/chaos level and responses to questions. It makes me wonder though, if they did a sequel, would they do it like Persona, and ignore the previous entry’s “canon” or chose one to make it the “correct” ending?

While I didn’t play Catherine myself, I do believe it is an interesting game to experience. There is a demo, which should be played, but even so the game stands true with other Atlus games as beautiful, fascinating, relatively fun although possibly grindy to play, with interesting insights into Japanese culture. Though mostly it just made me want to play Persona 4 again, or think about what awesome things they might be doing for Persona 5.

Children in Video Games

To begin, the Article.

Go read it. I’ll wait.

All done? First and foremost – I abhor violence against children. I think people who hurt children should be subjected to all the pain, violence, and abuses they subject on children. I pray for swift retaliatory karma against these people and hope the rest of their lives are miserable, equal to, if not greater than, the pain the child felt during the abuse.

Now, violence against children in video games is a wildly controversial thing. So why does it show up at all?

1. More and more game designers are parents.

Just look at Heavy Rain, Nintendogs, and Mario Galaxy. More game designers that started in this industry as young adults in their 20s are now reaching the age where they have children. Anyone with children will readily admit that it is a radically life changing experience. So logically it makes sense that as these designers have this experience it will reflect in their work. 10 years ago an RPG wouldn’t have considered including having children as something the player can do. Children aren’t adventurous and heroic. But now, as in games like Fable 3, children are becoming a part of the game. Because the game designer parents are able to say “This is an adventure. This is a compelling reason to radically change the way a player plays the game.”

2. The social mores against things in video games are falling, just as they did for other mediums.

Do you remember the brouhaha over Fred and Wilma being shown on TV in bed? It was a huge deal that a cartoon would depict people in a bed together, thus implying sex. Now, it is common to see women in their underwear, sex, and violence on TV. Sex is coming to video game mainstream. So will all the other things like drug use and children. These are the things that define our humanity. Our successes and our failings. That is why they create drama and evoke emotion. Video Games will continue to attempt to elicit emotion from players and drama is a part of that.

3. Why even have kids in the game?

Ask any parent what their worst nightmare is. I am willing to bet most of the answers involve something with their children. The Sims allowed me the joy of having a house full of children, something I will never do in real life (I mean like 6 kids, seriously). The terror that I feel at the idea of having a game where I can gain a child, then possibly lose them… *shudder* The article brings up Bioshock as a violence against children example. However it is notable that in Bioshock they are always Little Sisters, in-human. The NPCs in the game even back this up, saying “Those aren’t little girls anymore.” But when given the option it is always Save vs Harvest. That is an intentional distinction. Despite the fact that the player knows that Harvest will kill the Little Sister, it doesn’t say Kill, it says Harvest. The interesting point is that this is a moral choice presented to the player. And at the end of the game it is revealed that the player is rewarded for choosing the “correct” path of saving the Little Sisters.

In Dead Space 2 (I haven’t played it, I am going off the article) it sounds like the designers needed a small fearsome enemy that was hard to hit, could move fast, and needed to scare the player. As a secondary effect of their story choice they even created the feeling that the player *shouldn’t* be shooting this enemy. Despite the fact that you should. That moment of hesitation can lead to the players death.

It is also worth noting all of the games mentioned are arguably Horror games. The designer’s job is to elicit horror from the player. What could possibly be more horrific and want you to bring down the whole thing than something that harms children? It never occurred to me that Andrew Ryan in Bioshock wasn’t a bad guy. Despite what the designers tried to twist into the story, here is a man willing to exploit children to further his own ends. Once that is made clear, the player no longer feels bad for tearing through this ruined city and destroying it’s people. They allowed their ideals and beliefs to lead them away from the inherent compassion and sense of right. At this point, I no longer wanted to just escape Rapture, I wanted to punch a hole in the wall and allow it to flood. To destroy it completely for the failure to retain it’s humanity.

4. But why have violence against kids in the game?

To evoke the parental emotion and all the messy feelings that come with it. In Heavy Rain I WILLINGLY took a vial of poison, knowing that the probability of it killing my character was high, knowing it was likely a trick by the designer to set me back. But I could chose no other option. I had to save my kid and if this was the hoop the serial killer wanted me to jump through, then by God, I was going to jump through it. My life for my child’s? In a heartbeat. The designers were exceptionally clever with their choices of trials. How far could they push the player to save a child? And push the player they did. It even sparks the thought that while yes, this is a game, would you really do such a thing? If this were real, what would you give up? The designer held up a mirror to the player’s soul and that is definitely going to make people uncomfortable.

5. Games are all about fantasy and being the hero.

Guitar Hero and Rock Band did so well because they MADE THE PLAYER A ROCK STAR. World of Warcraft makes me feel like this powerful and amazing hero that literally saves the world over and over again. Games are about fantasy and being the hero, and what is more heroic than saving a child? The catharsis of saving the child in Heavy Rain is sufficient to have made it a critically acclaimed game despite iffy controls, ambiguous choices, and uncanny valley.

I will admit as a designer, I am uncomfortable with the idea of putting children in harms way in my own games. But that doesn’t mean the question shouldn’t be asked or the situation explored. I am wildly uncomfortable with rape and yet I accept it’s inclusion in Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as a required event to bring me closer to the protagonist, despite her alien responses and behavior. Did Dead Island create the trailer with the express purpose of sparking the discussion to get press? Of course they did. Should they be vilified for doing so? No more than any other game like Call of Duty that does such things to spark discourse and free publicity. After all, movies have been doing this for years already.

Now, take a moment to imagine the Dead Island trailer, which I will admit is marketing at it’s finest. Everyone has a strong emotion about it, despite the fact it doesn’t show one second of gameplay. But imagine if the story the player is stepping into is this family’s story. The player assumes the role of the parents or even the child at various points in the game. The goal of the game is to get them out alive, as all survival horror zombie games are. Through a single short trailer they have given the player all the motive and drive to not only play the game, but play it at their best. To seek, to strive to save this little girl. The trailer shows the worst possible outcome, one the player should stop at nothing to change. That is a powerful emotional response. That is a powerful story over a standard and common game type. Much like movies set themselves up for Oscars, this game appears to be setting itself up for the art and story telling in video games debate. Will it succeed? I can’t wait to find out.

 

Update:

As it turns out, the trailer was in fact, pure marketing hype. It’s a shame, to use something so artistic that could have been the stepping off point for a truly spectacular story. Ah well, back to hacking zombies to bits.

 

You know the single player game is done right?

Once again, an idea from comments on a news post. Some goof ball commented that Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword had been completed, they were just drawing it out to extend the life of the console. Even the Picard-Riker double facepalm isn’t enough to cover that idiocy.

But it reminded me of the time David and I were in Borders, looking for an Iron Man collection. I had just been hired by Sega and was very excited to be working on Iron Man 2: the Video Game. I wanted to read the comic, at least a bit, so I would understand the world and the characters. I couldn’t find it, so when one of the ever so helpful employees walked by and asked if I needed help, I asked if he knew anything about Iron Man and if he did, could he recommend a few of the graphic novels for me.

As it turns out, he didn’t know anything about Iron Man. But he *did* know about Superman and Batman, and began recommending those to me. I interrupted him to point out, I was looking for Iron Man for a very specific reason. I pointed out I wanted to find the ones that covered the time period when Tony Stark was in charge of SHIELD. When he admitted he didn’t know, he asked me why.

Now, I have never been one to keep information to myself, and I quite love the look on people’s faces when they find out I design video games. I am an extrovert, we have no secrets unless they aren’t ours. So I explained to the young man why I was specifically looking for Iron Man stuff. He, as do most people, got very excited and struck up a conversation about video games. One thing lead to another and we got to talking about future games we were looking forward to.

I feel the urge to point out, up to now, David, had been standing silently by, as he always does. He doesn’t like telling people he makes games, and has expressed to me that he doesn’t particularly like when I tell people he makes games. Odd, but generally I respect his introvertedness.

Right as David turns to join the conversation, the Borders Employee says that one of the games he is most looking forward to is Bioshock 2. Of course, David, working on Bioshock 2, immediately clams up. I nod and say I am quite looking forward to Bioshock 2 as well. The guy interrupts me to say, and I will quote as accurately as I can recall:

“You know the single player game is done right? It’s been done. They are just working on the stupid multiplayer. Don’t you just hate when they ruin games by taking time away from the single player to tack on a multiplayer that no one really wants?”

To this day I have no idea how I managed not to laugh in this guys face. Oh, to be fair, he had no *clue* who he was talking to. But surely they know 2k is in the area and they are *likely* to have the employees in the store. I can assure you, not only was the single player not complete at this point, but also the multiplayer, not even being developed by 2k Marin, but rather by Digital Extremes in Canada. Holy wars of the necessity of multiplayer aside, this guy could not have been more wrong. We didn’t say anything, but the very moment we got into our car we both started laughing about it.

After 4 years in this industry, I can honestly say, I can’t imagine a publisher being “done” with a game and *not* shipping it immediately. More than half the time I would say they aren’t done with the game and it gets ripped out of the developers hands and shipped anyway. It’s the great joy of producers to come in and slash features to make sure a game ships on time. And generally the aim of every programmer, designer, and artist to cram as much awesome as possible into the game before then. I am always surprised at how much developers are completely willing to crunch just to get a feature or thing into a game because they truly believe it is going to make it better.

I doubt very seriously that any publisher would *sit* on a game, all done, just to “extend” the life of a console. If anything they would push to release a second game quickly, to extend the life of a console. It is far more correct that games are in fact rarely, if ever “completed” but are instead ripped from their loving womb and shoved into the cold hard world to be broken, criticized, and abandoned, long before they are actually ready to. It’s part of why leads and producers love completion – just make it work type developers so much.

Lego Harry Potter Review

I played Lego Star Wars. I played Lego Star Wars 2. I played Lego Indiana Jones. I played Lego Batman. So is it any wonder I purchased Lego Harry Potter?

The Lego games have always been quirky, enjoyable, and fun. You generally play a contingent of characters, running through a world destroying things that explode in a glorious spray of studs. Video Games, being inherently focused on fantasy fulfillment, commonly have a player fighting endless hordes of enemies, blowing things up, and collecting massive quantities of “valuable” things. But for some reason when the Lego games did this, I thought it was very odd. Most parents buy their kids Legos because they are an “educational” toy that inspires creativity and non-violent play. They aren’t even like standard blocks, where it was always fun to destroy the thing built afterward, as Legos simply don’t fall apart that way.

But I played the games because the gameplay was solid, the cutscenes nothing short of INSPIRED, and the collecting wildly enjoyable.

Harry Potter changes the formula. In the books there aren’t that many battle scenes. This is no action movie. This is kids in class, exploring an insane castle, and playing around with magic and magic items. So the designers cut the “exciting” part of the game in favor of keeping true to source material and in doing so moved closer to the thing parents love most about Legos. Lego HP really focuses on the exploration and problem solving. The puzzles are wide and varied. The “levels” aren’t even that, they are more like segments of time, for the most part you can run around playing through the castle and villages as much as you wish. I put exciting in quotes because most designers consider combat the exciting part of a game. Lego HP proves it is not combat but rather conflict, and the conflict can be against puzzles as opposed to violence against monsters.

I haven’t completed it yet, but I am fairly positive even at this point I feel this is my favorite Lego game. I recommend it to anyone who loves Harry Potter, Legos, and good games.

Alan Wake – Day… Something

So I ranted quite strongly about Alan Wake. And I have not changed my mind. The game is simply too hard in it’s “normal” mode to appeal to novice players.

However, since then, I have seen my husband complete Alan Wake, and even further, gotten the strategy guide to further my own attempts. Knowledge is power, and knowing those four guys are coming up really helps in that I save my flares and shotguns until that point.

I like Alan Wake. It has everything a good game “should” have. An engaging (if not terribly original) story. A hero and characters we as players identify with. Good voice acting with decent writing and good dialog. Great and varied environments. A simple gameplay that is slowly complicated over the course of the game but never gets to the point that it feels like a different game is being played. Wonderful set dressing and side notes about the world and characters. And best of all, “Omg wtf was that? Did you see that? Did I see that? Was that supposed to happen? That was AWESOME.” moments.

Except it is missing one thing. An ending. The game has an ending and quite a stellar one in fact. The opening strains of “Space Oddity” was more than enough to set my heart at ease let me slump back on the couch with a sigh. But then the unthinkable happened. “Alan Wake’s journey in the darkness continues.” As it turns out, in an attempt to get players to hang onto the game, they are putting out DLC this summer to continue the story (and another even later after that). I like DLC, I am a proponent of logical non-greedy DLC. But to so clearly add it to a game that didn’t need it, and in doing so RUIN the ending of a game… I was more than annoyed.

Even if they shipped the game certain they would be creating a sequel, they didn’t need to give the player anymore than “It isn’t a lake, it’s an ocean.” A small breadcrumb that doesn’t break the story or set up the “next week” mentality. This is why we end up with endless numbered sequels and reboots of the same old thing. A game isn’t allowed to just be good and then be done. No we have to milk it for everything it is worth. It isn’t like there aren’t 50 million other horror stories or horror situations we could use this same world, same characters (side ones of course), and same gameplay to explore. No, we have to rehash the story that has already been completed so well.

My favorite part of Alan Wake:

Early in the second chapter Alan is walking down a road alongside a row of cabins, he is looking for a trail to go to a spot to meet the kidnapper. Of course, as an exploration game any good player stops and explores. Inside one of the cabins is a tv set, which switches on when Alan’s flashlight crosses it (as they all do). I had already seen this episode so I turned to explore the cabin while it played as I didn’t want to leave before it was done in case it mattered for the achievement. As I turned something big and dark rushed passed a window. My heart leapt. I gasped and prepared to battle one of the Taken. But as the tv sputtered on, nothing happened. No dark shade came through the door. No creepy voices. No more shadows over the window. So, being the courageous explorer I am, I went outside to explore. Nothing. Nothing around the cabin, inside it, under it, or even on top of it. Nothing. “It must have been a trick of my eyes.” I thought. But always the one to test, I reloaded and made my way back down to the cabin. I double checked the perimeter and then headed inside. Nothing. Flashing the tv I quickly turned back to the window. And the thick shadow washed across it. Once again I ran outside to see nothing. What had it been? What had I seen? What designer in their right MIND would put such a cool little one off so few players would likely NEVER see? Clearly a good one. /salute.

Alan Wake – Day 1

After watching my husband play Alan Wake for an hour or so I decided I definitely wanted to play this game. The deeply dark and wonderfully creepy atmosphere of the game appealed to my love of horror. The gameplay for Alan Wake is very simplistic: 3rd person action, with a flashlight and a gun. It is extremely linear and very scripted with long and elaborate cutscenes, but really all of this fits the story being told. You have stepped into the role of Alan Wake, a horror writer with writer’s block. Until he goes to backwoods creepy town and all hell breaks loose.

It isn’t about splatter gore or stupid teenagers. It is about deeply paranormal and crazy events that twist the player and character’s minds. One of the better design decisions was to have pages and coffee thermoses as collectible items. These are often hidden in out of the way places. So the game promotes exploration in a tense and eerie setting. One of my other favorite additions was the inclusion of hidden chests, the location often marked by yellow paint that only becomes luminescent when the player’s flashlight moves over it.

I dove into the game with relish, quickly catching up tot he point my husband had played and the surpassing him. And then it happened. As a game designer, one would think I would be “good” at games. And I am. But I suck at twitch games. So I generally play on the easy setting and make sure I am over geared and muddle through as best as possible. Unfortunately this method doesn’t work on every game. Especially games without easy settings.

Alan Wake only has a normal setting. First off, bad designer. You are inherently creating a stepping away point. A stepping away point is when a player gets frustrated with your game and stops playing due to frustration, lack of understanding, annoyance, or boredom. Each time the player does this, there is a greater chance they won’t come back. And then they won’t remember your game. When their friends ask them what they have been playing recently, they will say “Nothing good.”

Second Alan Wake has auto saves. I have nothing against auto saving in general, except when design decides that auto saving means if the player loads back up from that point they load with whatever health, ammo, and such they had when it forced the auto save. Why does this bother me so much? It is far too easy to get a bad save. This happened to me in episode 2 of Alan Wake. I am saved, with 16 bullets. And right after the save I get jumped by 4 guys, who take 3-4 bullets each to kill. I have to play perfectly. And I can’t. I tried 3 times. So I walked away from the game and came on here to rant about it.

I don’t think this is a hard problem to solve. Allow players to save when they choose. Allow players to carry more ammo or health. Always have auto saves load the player with max health and ammo. If design is worried about “exploiting” the auto save, have a punishment for loading. Borderlands does this with a money transaction when you die. Good enough for me.

RRoD Part 2

Here, now, almost a month after the dreaded RRoD, our beloved family member is set to return home.

It has taken this long to get used to *not* having the Xbox 360 around. When you get used to doing things a certain why, you develop the habit, then breaking it is shockingly hard to do. We have all done it at some point of other. I can remember being a kid, the power would go out occasionally, and my mother, now unable to play on her computer would say, well I guess I could watch tv.

I did the same thing. Well I don’t feel like playing WoW, I guess I should go play xbox and get a few gamer points. Oh wait.

Now we get our baby back and I am sure the resulting flood of gameplaying will make it feel more than loved.

RRoD Part 2

Here, now, almost a month after the dreaded RRoD, our beloved family member is set to return home.

It has taken this long to get used to *not* having the Xbox 360 around. When you get used to doing things a certain why, you develop the habit, then breaking it is shockingly hard to do. We have all done it at some point of other. I can remember being a kid, the power would go out occasionally, and my mother, now unable to play on her computer would say, well I guess I could watch tv.

I did the same thing. Well I don’t feel like playing WoW, I guess I should go play xbox and get a few gamer points. Oh wait.

Now we get our baby back and I am sure the resulting flood of gameplaying will make it feel more than loved.

RRoD

Do you know anyone who hasn’t had an XBox 360 Red Ring of Death on them?

Until yesterday I did. Then my XBox 360 suddenly showed that pretty crimson light and flashed three segments. Lovely. I posted such on my Facebook and Twitter. Shockingly no one was surprised. In fact most people pointed to when theirs had RRoD. I am a gamer and friends with gamers mostly, so the audience is mostly people who own an XBox 360. And of a rather wide pool of people, with various skus of XBox, no one has a system that *hasn’t* RRoD.

After much research through Google it comes down to most people believing that there is a 30-35% failure rate. Game Informer did a survey and got a 50% failure rate response. Regardless, this is an insanely high failure rate. It makes me wonder, did Microsoft actually do better than the PS3 as far as not losing as much on the console or worse? Seems to me having to replace that many XBoxes would cost quite a bit more.