The Endless Wars: The Descent

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Shout-outs, love, & the weekend

I have two saved & unfinished posts that never quite made it here Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Shit hit the fan at work, and I've been too exhausted to post at night.

Today, in the tradition of my Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday posts, is just some random updates and musings.

First, thank you so much to everyone that has been supportive in the first week of my book release. I'll admit that I stress waaay too much about sales, but the few books I've sold have meant everything to me, and each and every sale leads to total elation for me. It's been wonderful to pretend like I'm a real writer, but at least I can claim to be a published author.

Speaking of the book, I'm ending the run of the limited first editions next week or so. The second edition will be slightly different in terms of extra (non-story text) content and cover, and the font will be different. The first edition is going away next week, so if you want one, buy it now. There is an unlimited number at this moment, waiting for you to order.

I need to give a HUGE shout-out to Laurance & Physical City for the bad-ass art they've started to churn out for me. They, in one fell swoop, instantly made me regret not contracting them for my book art, though they've got me thinking about a comic book/animated version of my book series. It's ripe for it. You're going to see their art start to populate this page today or this weekend, and I'm only going to bug them for more.

Lemme put it like this: If you don't contract them for all your art or marketing or advertising or attempts at getting laid, you are straight retarded.

I didn't understand what good art could mean for my book promotion until Physical City started sending me concepts.

Please, please give them a look for any and all art needs you may have on a project!

Next, last night, Tony came over to watch the Rams' first preseason game and play Madden NFL 10. I came away from both pretty pleased, overall, though some things bothered me about both.

The Rams need to fix Bulger. Scott Linehan, the greatest coward ever to coach in the NFL, got into Bulger's head during his reign of terror, and a) convinced Bulger that he should stand there and get sacked rather than risk throwing a pass and b) deprived Bulger of any and all passion he's ever had for football.

While Bulger did look better last night than he has in a couple years, he still lets himself get sacked far too easily, and he's obnoxiously gun-shy when it comes to slinging passes.

As for Madden, I dug it. Tony hates it. All of his complaints (persistent year-to-year problems, animation glitches, rubber-band AI) are all legit, and bother me, as well, but not nearly as much. I still think it's a fun game, even though I agree with nearly every point he made.

What's nice about Madden is that I put in work each year to improve my skill in the game, and I get to see that pay off in my actual play. I don't want Madden to fundamentally change. I think the core mechanics work just fine, the game looks a little better each year, the presentation gets a little slicker, and they finally restored every feature the game had 5 years ago (create-a-team, player customization, etc.) that was inexplicably stripped out for so-called next-gen releases.

Now that's what I call progress.

As for Tony's issues, as I said, I agree with them all, though I will also point out that he does this every year. Every late summer, I pick up the new NCAA Football and Madden, and goes absolutely through the fucking roof if one of his receivers dares drop a pass. If he ever has even one fewer point than the person against which he's playing, he will bitch and moan at them until they allow him into their endzone. Only then does the constant stream of negativity and hate slow a bit.

To say that he walks into it with a few pre-existing opinions might be a tad bit of an understatement. Playing next to him, one can't help but wonder if, perhaps, Peter Moore is secretly his father, who met his mother while stationed somewhere during a war, then fled when she disclosed her pregnancy to him, and to this day, Tony has sworn himself to nothing but a devotion to patricide.

While Tony and I share many similarities in terms of tastes, sports games is not one of them (thuogh we do both bemoan the lack of MVP Baseball in our lives). I like practicing, learning systems, and fussing for hours with systems, menus, and strategies. Tony likes to be winning, and cannot enjoy himself if he is not winning. Even then, if he's not winning in the way he originally intended to be, he is upset. And will inform you of his ill feelings. For several hours straight. Until he wins.

To be fair, though, I really don't like the way the AI utterly shatters reality in order to make plays work or not. Players skate around on shoes made of Crisco, they hurtle through the air as though one were partaking in a game of pigkin in the Matrix, and they morph into seemingly impossible poses, all to satisfy the AI's perception of how the game should be going. That is annoying, definitely.

My biggest issue, though, is this exclusivity crap that has ruined video game baseball, utterly, and has kept Madden in a state of perpetual mediocrity during this 'next-gen' era of consoles. EA Football (Madden/NCAA) has no competition, year in and year out, and that has hurt it. Remember how Madden's annual releases were almost holidays, back in the PS2/XBox days? That excitement has been tempered, rather dramatically, I think, and it's because Madden doesn't have to try as hard anymore, and the fans can sense that. I used to be excited to try out the new Madden. Yesterday, I felt more like I was 'very interested.' I hope the NFL shreds that agreement ASAP. I miss having 3-4 options for my pigskin fix each year. The competition was a good thing (see NFL 2k1), and if it ever comes back, I have no doubt EA will still be top dog, though they'll finally be pushed to earn the billing.

Anyway, to close the Madden discussion out, I love the fact that I can translate what I observe @ the Ed and on TV when watching my Rams and implement it in the game. I'm one of the best I've ever seen when it comes to implementing the running game in NCAA/Madden, and that's from seeing how the running game actually works in football, and using that. I used to run for shit in these games, and now, I actually prefer to run.

Madden NFL 10 is a very, very niche title. Any broad appeal this series had went out the window when they fucked their competition outta the game, rather than beating them on the open market. This game is for hardcore NFL fans that either a) know how offenses and defenses in football work, or b) are willing to learn. If you don't fit that narrow description, don't bother.

I like it that way, though. I want my football to be hardcore. I don't want it diluted the way RPG combat has been over the last decade.

Last, what have you cats liked the most from my blogs? Based on what you've read here, or my old 1UP blog before, what would you like me to write about the most?

Thanks for reading, and thanks for your feedback!

Oh, and if you've bought a book, PLEASE go here and add a review once you're done! Thanks so much!


(Oooh, that's some SEXY art from Physical City, huh?!)


  1. I fell out of love with sports games a long time ago. Trying to get back into them has been near impossible. Every year I give Madden a try and come away disappointed each time. Some part of me believes that if the price wasn't so high, I might feel differently.

    I like the the sheer randomness of your blogs. We seem to have a lot in common and you usually talk about something that I find personally interesting, so I don't have any advice more than to keep doing what you're doing.

  2. @Laurance - I totally agree about the price. I would love a world in which Madden were a $20 mod each year, built on the same core game that you already had installed to your console. Each console generation, you buy Madden for $50, get free weekly roster updates, as well as some premuim DLC like stadiums and crazy mods, and then there's an annual roster/gameplay update for $20. There ya go. Thanks for liking my randomness.


  3. Yes, I'm ready for some football, but watching only. I suck at sports games, but mostly because I'm not interested in them. I do love to watch football on TV, though.

    I, too, love the total randomness of your blogs. I have discovered new books, games, TV shows and movies that I probably never would have found otherwise. We seem to have similar tastes in those areas. The SO now asks me if my gamer friend has seen something and how did he like it, so you have more influence than you realize.

  4. Yeah, I'd say Laurance is a certified baddass. As is Peter Moore, though I had no idea he was Tony's father.

    As I don't play Madden at all I guess I have nothing to add there. But! I can say that the things I liked the most out of your 1UP blogs was how you always ripped so many people a new one who deserved it. Emo gets, idiot Republicans, people who would dig up Reagan's body from the grave and fuck him silly... etc. Also, just tales about your life in general. I always enjoyed hearing peoples' personal stories on there (like your encounters with the college kids at the lunch table, national geographic documentary style).

  5. Er, meant to say "emo kids." I often typo get/kid for some reason...?

  6. @Tami - Watching your Patriots get the shit beat outta them is fun. Watching my Rams used to be fun, and now that we don't have a horrible coward for a coach, it'll be fun again. Maybe. I'm thrilled I've been able to share fun media with others. Thanks for the compliments!

    @Cody - I'm amazed that not a single Madden player reads this blog. That is so strange. I'm glad you dig the personal blogs, are those are the most fun to write. I'll try to get back to that. When I have fucking time to post. Argh.