Tag Archives: spending money

Mafia II is all about the money

I understand the concept of money as a motivator. It’s what fuels a majority of life, from food to gas to bills to pleasure. You can buy everything but love with it, if songs are to be trusted. But for me, within the context of videogames, it’s not enough to warrant doing horrible, atrocious acts of violence. I mean, it’s not like real money is being printed out of the Xbox 360′s disc tray; this is digital money to purchase digital things, and while I don’t mind doing miscellaneous tasks like writing fake blog posts or trimming Tara‘s bush in The Sims Social for some Simoleons, stealing cars and murdering those in wrong place at the wrong time for, um, $300 is not what I’d call justifiable. Unfortunately, all Mafia II has as a motivator is money.

Vito Scalleta is a war hero–that’s according to his childhood friend Joe, a crook and crooked man that eventually gets our young leading lad mixed up with the mafia. It starts out innocently enough, with Vito returning from World War II to snow and Christmas songs and the bad news that his sister and mother are still trying to pay off his father’s debt. Vito immediately wants to help, which shows off his good quality, but he’s willing to simply murder men trying to stop him from carjacking their ride, which shows off his videogamey quality.

I’ve only completed chapters one, two, and three so far, having started chapter four at this point. Vito is now tasked with sneaking into an office building and stealing gas stamps, and he’ll be rewarded better if he goes undetected. My kind of mission actually despite all my latest stealth failings with Deus Ex: Human Revolution. However, those first two chapters did not leave me excited about how Vito will grow as a character; basically, at this point, I’m writing him off as yet another Niko; oh hey, look at that, their names are similar too.

In chapter three, after meeting with the man that Vito’s father owes a ton of money, Vito was given the job to move some crates on to the back of a truck. For $10, which, I dunno, in the late 1940s, could probably get you a lot of thingies. Bread, milk, a porno mag. You go up to the crates, press X to pick one up, walk it over to the truck, press X to put it down, and repeat the process all over again. Mundane, but that’s how a lot of grunt work is, and while there were probably something like 4o to 50 crates, I was willing to carry them all back and forth because a job is a job, and I’ve always done whatever job I’ve been given. Vito, however, was not having it, complaining with each crate until he simply refused to carry any more; I was given the false decision to leave when he’d had enough, and with nothing else to do, I had to play into the role of Vito, who was not interested in doing what he dubbed “slave labor” for a measly $10. For shame, man. However, beating the crap out of warehouse employees not willing to chip in for a mandatory haircut collection is more wholesome work, mostly because it pays better. Sigh…

Fantastic tunes on the radio though. More games need this much Dean Martin love. And there’s a great attention to detail here, with the city looking very much alive, just like L.A. Noire. But at least that game had a likable main character, one with a soul, as flawed as it became. Here, with have Vito, who will do anything it takes to make money. Again, these sorts of people do exist, but they aren’t fun to roleplay as there is only one path to follow. Heed the words of Benjamin Franklin: “Money has never made man happy, nor will it, there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more of it one has the more one wants.”

Nintendo 3DS is now priced, dated, and overconfident

Long have we all wanted to know, and now that the day has come, I wish I could un-know all the details about the forthcoming Nintendo 3DS. See, before I learned that Nintendo’s newest piece of future tech was releasing on March 27, 2011 for a disgustingly gross $249.99, I was curious about the system. Genuinely interested in seeing how the glasses-free 3D worked, and whether any of the games were worth pursuing, in 3D, in 2D, in 1D. And now…not so much.

Alas, it comes down to price. No surprise there, as I’m always conscious about spending money and getting what money is worth. Two hundred and fifty bucks is about seventy-five to fifty bucks too much. I was very shocked to see a portable handheld gaming device priced higher than home-based consoles. The new wireless Xbox 360 is, I think, only $199.99 right now. I guess the 3D gimmick was enough to rack on some more dollar signs than needed. Also, analysts are suggesting that 3DS games could retail for $40 to $50. That’s sickening. Heart-breaking. I already feel grumbly enough buying a new Nintendo DS game for $35, believing that to actually be too much.

For the curious, here’s a list of confirmed launch titles:

  • Pilotwings Resort
  • Nintendogs + Cats
  • Steel Driver
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked
  • Super Street Fighter 4 3D Edition
  • Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D
  • Madden NFL Football
  • The Sims 3
  • Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D
  • Lego Star Wars 3: The Clone Wars
  • Ridge Racer 3D
  • Dual Pen Sports
  • Super Monkey Ball 3D
  • Thor: God of Thunder
  • Crush 3D
  • Bust-a-Move Universe
  • Samurai Warriors: Chronicles
  • Dead or Alive Dimensions
  • Asphalt 3D
  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Shadow Wars
  • Combat of Giants: Dinosaurs 3D
  • Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell 3D
  • Rayman 3D
  • Rabbids Travel in Time

Yowza. A lot of pre-existing games with the 3D tacked on the end. Where’s Kid Icarus or that Zelda remake? Nothing there really shouts “launch title” or “killer first-party game,” demanding that this hardware being a must purchase. Least not for me. Maybe the world is full of closet Nintendogs & Cats fanatics, and all of them will buy out every Nintendo 3DS in every store in every state, starting riots and chaos and the end of the world sooner than predicted. We’ll find out in only a matter of weeks, and I’ll be watching very cautiously. I do hope to eat my own words.

Xbox Live prices set to increase real soon

Well, it was bound to happen. Subscription rates for Gold members of Xbox Live are increasing a wee bit, but even a wee bit in this day and age is enough to either make or break someone. Here’s a good table breakdown of what is what (snipped from Press the Buttons):

Like I said, tis only a wee bit of an increase. An extra $0.83 a month if you really add it up. However, as of late, I’ve been paying for my Gold membership on a month-to-month basis, and I don’t even think I used it at all in August so far. Haven’t found any time for online co-op in Borderlands so the only benefits of a Gold ‘ship at this point has been early demos and not using their Facebook/Twitter applications. Yippee? Nopers.

Considering I’m getting married in October and moving apartments in a few weeks, I’m most likely going to axe my Gold ‘ship for the time being. Hey, I might not even have the Internet for a bit. I meant…it’s not worth the money. I haven’t even turned on my Xbox 360 in five days, and the games I most often end up playing lack any kind of online characteristics.

But there’s always pre-bed rounds of UNO. Hmm…

Gift cards, and Microsoft Points, and bears! Oh, my!

I have a love/hate relationship with gift cards. Many people probably find them to be the greatest gift ever in that they can now go out and buy anything. I have the exact opposite problem; with a gift card, I can now go out and buy anything. That anything, in my mind, is really anything, an extremely broad selection that comprises books, movies, games, art supplies, clothes, food, and so on.

That said, I’ve had an Amazon gift card sitting in my desk drawer since last Christmas. You know, that holiday from six months yonder. Yeah, I’m just not good at spending those things, and I guess I was waiting for something to really grab my attention, but it hasn’t yet. So I instead used it to–and here comes the irony–to buy 1600 Microsoft Points (MSP) for Xbox Live. Yes, I used a gift card to essentially buy another gift card. Do you dare ask why?

Well, there’s a special deal going on this week to get Peggle at 50% off, meaning 400 Microsoft Points. This deal is only good for Gold members, which I just currently happen to be. I’ve always been interested in the colorful, bubbly addictive puzzle since I played the trial version, and the deal was too good to pass up.

But now I have a problem. I have 1200 MSP remaining, and just like I had trouble spending my Amazon gift card, I’m struggling to decide what to do with them. I could get three more 400 MSP games, or an 800 MSP and a 400 MSP combo, or I could buy some add-ons to games already in my collection (i.e., Borderlands, GTA IV, Mass Effect). I’m not really interested in wasting the points on TV shows, Avatar items, or silly things like themes and gamerpics. So, any ideas? I heard Braid is pretty good, currently priced at 800 MSP. I guess I could ultimately hold on to them and wait for something else to come out (will LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 have DLC? I doubt it), but then I’m just doing what I’ve always done with these things: procrastinating.

One thing I know is that I most certainly will not be buying the Midnight Show DLC for The Saboteur despite how much fun I’m having with the game. The comment at the end of The First Hour‘s review of the game seals the deal; I’m not playing The Saboteur for the nudity, I’m playing it to blow up Nazis and sabotage the bleep out of enemy headquarters.

But yeah. I need ideas for Xbox Live games. Remember, I have 1200 to spend. Please don’t suggest anything that is solely multiplayer as who knows how long I will keep my Gold account locked in. Thanks in advance! Phooey on you in advance too if you suggest nothing.