DAZ’s sappin’ mah EXPOOL!

ERMAGERD ARGH GODDAMNIT! FERK YU IN DA BUMWHOLE!!

Er… I mean… hi. How are you? 🙂 Don’t worry, that was just me raging at DAZ Studio as per usual. 😛 But because the reason for that has been mentioned about 6000 times before, let’s start somewhere more interesting first. 🙂

Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon

Well, Amazon failed massively and said they weren’t going to have it in stock until after the weekend I’d been planning to play it. I bitchslapped them and cancelled the order (didn’t really bitchslap them but I did IN MY HEAD), and ordered it from ShopTo instead. It cost a tiny bit more but it arrived on release day, so GG to them. 🙂

How is it? Well, I’ll do my best not to throw any major spoilers. 😛 At first, I wasn’t really “feeling” it. The writing and the dialogue was great as usual, but the setting felt a bit wrong. You and your partner are actually children this time around, which felt strange for some reason. The first time my partner appeared, I thought “Oh God, please don’t tell me Chunsoft have made him an irritating little arse this time”, but after playing for a while, I feel like they introduced him in that way for a reason, so that’s okay. 🙂 There are a couple of other things that are still bugging me, though.

First off, the story doesn’t actually go anywhere for ages. Sure, a story is there, but it’s just a series of unrelated events and doesn’t really mean anything. Something happens, the thing is resolved, normality resumes for a while. Every so often, there were hints at this giant, overarching plot, but you never seem to get involved in it. It feels like the writers got stuck in first gear. When you get past a certain point, though, it really starts to open up. When you battle a Legendary Pokémon for the second time, shit gets REAL, with sparkliness and henshin all over the place. 😀 That was one of the few times that battles in Mystery Dungeon games were genuinely exciting.

The excitement probably came from the difficulty… the noticeably increased difficulty. In that battle, the boss loved to use ranged attacks which did a lot of damage, and I was forced to think between almost every turn, adjust tactics, consider item usage and decide on a move. It felt tense, like a true roguelike. 😀 Overall, it feels significantly harder than all its predecessors. That’s both a good thing… but kind of a bad thing as well, because I’ve found that the difficulty curve is totally erratic. Very early on in the game, I accepted a job to beat a Salamence, which had a rating of one star, the lowest possible. When entering the floor where Salamence was, he wiped my team so quickly that I thought I’d made a mistake when picking a mission or something. Oh, no, I hadn’t. His stats were just friggin’ stupid. I could only do single-digit damage to him, even with my strongest moves, and he could one-shot me. I had to resort to dirty evil tricks to beat him. I brought along a wand item which causes an enemy to fall asleep, and kept using it on him every time he woke up, spamming Alliance Attacks while he was asleep. Even that wasn’t enough, so I used a Blast Seed to compensate for my lack of attack power, which is cheap, since it always does 100 damage (quite a lot, especially in the early game). After beating him, I actually had the option of using him on future missions. I checked his level and found out he was Level 50. I wasn’t even Level 20 yet. 😛

You see… instead of recruiting Pokémon by beating them in a dungeon, this time around you “recruit” them when you complete a job that involves them. It treats each Pokémon as an entirely different character, and that’s nice, but the problem with this that they’re not necessarily close to your level, and that massive lack of balance is my biggest gripe with the game so far. If the job involves beating them, and they’re say, Level 50, it’s impossible without using cheap tactics and overpowered items. And then, when you DO win, you have an overpowered team member you can use at any time! And it’s not like all the jobs require you to beat an overpowered enemy, either; one job was just “take me to this Pokémon”, and after completing it, I got the ability to put a high-level Dragonite on my team! I mean, if I really wanted, I could easily make a team consisting of a Level 56 Alakazam, a Level 55 Dragonite and a Level 50 Salamence and steamroll the shit out of everything. But that’d be like playing with God Mode on, and that would make the game pointless! Why does it even let me do that? It’s not fun!

Other than it having basically the worst balance I’ve ever seen in gaming, Super Mystery Dungeon is pretty good so far. Its strong points are the dialogue, the story and the characters as usual, but the actual gameplay is probably better than its ever been thanks to the return of hunger (which now does triple damage, so you can’t even try to ignore it any more) and the introduction of the Looplet/Emera system. Equipment items have all changed to Looplets, which have similar effects to the old equipment items (they can increase Attack, Sp. Attack, Defence, etc.), but Looplets have sockets into which you can place Emeras (basically gems), which have various effects. You can also use Emeras you don’t want/can’t use on party members to increase their stats until the end of the adventure. The Emeras disappear when you leave the dungeon, so you only have the Emeras you find in the dungeon at your disposal. It just makes equipment way more interesting. The dungeon crawling can still be repetitive, so I understand why some may not enjoy it as much, but because it’s more difficult than Gates to Infinity, it revives that sense of tension from Time/Darkness/Sky. It’s difficult to compare it to the other games overall since I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of the story yet, but because it had a slow, almost uninteresting start, I doubt it’ll be better than Explorers of Sky. The writing in that game was unbelievably good. 😀

OH, OH OH, a couple things I forgot to mention. One: the most disappointing, saddest moment of this game so far:

IMAG0613

NOOOOOOOO!! I wanted to spin the V-Wheeeeeeeel!! 😦 Yes, the V-Wave system isn’t in Super Mystery Dungeon, which is a shame, since I quite liked it; it encouraged you to take different team members along all the time. This game tries to encourage that in a… less good way. Basically, at random points, it picks three random team members who become “motivated”, and they gain triple XP from enemies. No Victini or any spinning of wheels or anything. Yawn.

Anyway, second… you know the boss battle theme? Maybe not. 😛 Anyway, it’s been the same melody in every Pokémon Mystery Dungeon game. It sounds like this in Super; it’s quite a “playful” version, which is apt. 😀 Now… unless you’ve reached Chapter 12, the next link is a spoiler… but at a certain point in the game, it gives you the the boss theme as you’d expect, but it’s an alternate version that came pretty much out of nowhere. And it nearly made me explode. I had to reload my save data and redo the boss battle just so I could hear that track again. 😛

Okay, next topic! Well, as we’re on the subject of Pokémon…

Pokémon Omega Ruby

“Wait wait wait wait wait what the fuck who now WHAT?!”

No, I don’t get it either. 😛

I don’t particularly know what it was. Maybe it was my hype from Super Mystery Dungeon. I tend not to get hyped about games any more, so it’s quite special when it happens. Or, maybe it was because of the demo I played. Or maybe it was the constant exposure to Pokémon-related games on the 3DS, because basically every not-actually-free-to-play game Nintendo makes seems to be Pokemon themed. Pokémon Shuffle, Pokémon Picross, Pokémon Rumble World… it’s like Nintendo are using one of the most famous game franchises of all time as a guinea pig for their annoying interest in not-actually-free-to-play mobile gaming, simultaneously promoting the series and ruining it. 😛

Whatever it was, a few weeks before Super Mystery Dungeon came out, I decided to buy Pokémon Omega Ruby.

So… why don’t I get it? Well, my only real interest in the Pokémon franchise has only ever been Mystery Dungeon; a spin-off. I’ve never liked the core Pokémon games. Ever. I had either Red or Blue on a very illegal multicart way back when I had a Game Boy (way back when I was young enough not to know it was illegal :P). Almost everyone else I knew was into Pokémon; the games, and the anime, and the cards… but I got really bored of the game, I hated the shit out of the anime and didn’t really understand the appeal of the cards. I guess that was early evidence of my “fuck the flock; I’m going my own way” nature. 😀

Someone I know had Colosseum on GameCube, and I remember borrowing it for a while. I remember liking the Double Battles but thought the game was even more boring than usual, and it had a stupid difficulty curve, and it had awful production quality. Some number of years later, I played SoulSilver on an emulator, and referred to it in this very blog as “Poké-Way-Too-Tedious-Brain-Numbingly-Boring-And-Repetitive Soul-I-Don’t-Know-WTF-To-Do-Or-Where-To-Go-Next-Silver”, which… basically sums up my experience with the game. 😛 I also played White, and I SWEAR I wrote about it to some degree in this blog but I can’t friggin’ find it at all. I’m pretty sure I said it played exactly the same only it was in Almost-3D and the Pokémon were animated. And by “animated” I mean “they twitched slightly”. 😛

The annoying thing is, I like the Pokémon. Not as much as Digimon, because Digimon tend to be 120% fucking cool, hardcore, unrestrained badasses, like turtles with massive hammers or werewolves that kick your face off or dinosaurs with rocket launchers GIGA CANNONS which turn into bipedal dinosaurs that throw suns at you, but I still like a lot of Pokémon. 😛 I can remember a fair few species and their types, mainly from playing Mystery Dungeon, and I mostly know what types beat what, so by memorising this stuff, I’m obviously interested. If I didn’t give a shite, I wouldn’t have a clue that Flying beats Fighting, Grass beats Water and Dragon beats itself. 😛

So… well, seeing as how I have a 3DS, and because (real) Pokémon games are exclusive to Nintendo systems, I decided to download the *deep breath* Omega Ruby slash Alpha Sapphire Special Demo Version *whew* and give it a chance, even though core Pokémon games have failed to interest me on four previous occasions. 😛 I don’t really understand why, since the demo was basically devoid of content, but there was something about it that made me think “Hmmm, yeah, this is good… I kinda like this”. So I decided on Omega Ruby, and bought a copy. It’s funny… Pokémon’s basically the only game that you need to research which version to buy beforehand, since there are 22 Pokémon that become incredibly difficult to get if you get one version over the other. 😛

Soooooo? Did I do something stupid? No, actually. Somehow, against all odds, it’s made me a fan.

I don’t really understand why, because it’s basically the same shizzle as the previous games. It’s a cockfighting simulation where you play as an evil kid that forces monsters to beat up other monsters to the point of fainting before you capture them in a tiny ball. 😛 Okay, no, without trying to apply the laws of the real world to the Pokémon world (because then the Pokémon world would seem royally messed up), you’re a Pokémon trainer that goes on a journey with Pokémon, catching new ones and raising them (and being nice to them! really!) to challenge Gym Leaders all over the region with the hope of getting all the Gym badges, then beating the piss out of everyone in the Pokémon League and becoming the ultimate winner of everything.

The battle system is the same. Choose a Pokémon, beat your opponent in one move, receive a microscopic amount of experience. 😛 Okay, maybe not, although to be honest that is pretty much what I remember from the Game Boy games, but I imagine I was doing it wrong and battling Pokémon that were too weak. The battle system is fine, although it’s fairly luck-based and memory assists you more than skill. If you know what type beats your opponent, switch to a Pokémon with moves of that type and you’ll win. If you don’t have that kind of Pokémon, switch to one that resists the moves you think your opponent has but ensure you can still do standard damage with your own moves, and you’ll win. 😛 The two biggest differences are the addition of a new type, Fairy, and Mega Evolution… although both of those were actually introduced in Pokémon X & Y. 😛 The Fairy type was added to some existing Pokémon as well as some new ones, and I believe it was introduced to balance the fairly overpowered Dragon type, because ever since Generation II, out of the 17 Pokémon types, Dragon was only offensively weak against Steel and defensively weak against Ice and Dragon, while being offensively strong against Dragon and defensively strong against four other types. So now, Fairy is super-effective against Dragon, and Dragon does shit-all to Fairy. Because of course, fairies are infinitely more powerful than dragons, mmhmm. 😛 As for Mega Evolution, that’s like a dramatic-looking power boost you can trigger for specific Pokémon, but you can only do it if the Pokémon is holding the required Mega Stone, and you can only use Mega Evolution once per battle.

Even though the battle system is mostly the same, the graphics are a lot… lot prettier. The Pokémon are 3D instead of using 2D sprites, with a cel-shaded anime-like art style. They look great; it’s probably the prettiest game I’ve seen on the 3DS. 😀 The animation’s great, too, and so are most of the special effects. All of this makes battles way more interesting to watch. I never got tired of seeing my Torchic use Scratch; watching him run back after attacking was funny and pretty cute. 😀 Unfortunately, the graphics might be too great. The game limits stereoscopic 3D to Single Battles, some cutscenes and a few other areas… and the reason it does this is pretty obvious. The 3DS just can’t handle it. 😛 The framerate in Single Battles with 3D on is just… wow. It chugs like hell at certain camera angles, usually when both Pokémon are visible or during certain attacks. When only one Pokémon is being rendered, it tends to be fine. I don’t know what the poly count of the models are, but I reckon they’re a bit too high for the 3DS, or maybe the post-processing is too expensive. This is even worse when you keep in mind that I have a New 3DS, which has a bit more power than the standard one! You can massively boost the FPS to about 60 simply by turning off stereoscopy, but… then… then everything looks flat. 😛

Exploration is mostly the same; if you walk in tall grass which covers a large amount of the land, you get attacked by monsters at a rate that makes you wonder how anyone gets anywhere without dying. 😛 It’s slightly better now, though… the encounter rate isn’t quite as bad as I remember, plus in most areas you have full analogue movement, so you can sometimes avoid patches of grass when you don’t want to battle by going diagonally (WOW DIAGONALS). Of course, you can still use Repels to stop ’em from jumping you, and you can also sneak to reduce the encounter rate, apparently. Another difference is a feature called DexNav, which puts sneaking to further use. It’s useful normally because it tells you if there are any Pokémon you haven’t caught in the current area. But sometimes the game will randomly pick patches of tall grass and place a Pokémon there, rummaging in the grass, usually with its arse sticking in the air. 😛 When this happens, you can use the DexNav to scan it, which, when you get close enough, gives you a silhouette of the Pokémon and some info about it. Sometimes it generates interesting Pokémon with unusual moves or abilities, or unusually high levels. The more Pokémon of that type you fight, the better the info becomes, eventually even telling you a summary of the generated Pokémon’s potential. If you want to battle that Pokémon, you just sneak over to the patch of tall grass it’s hiding in and make contact with it.

Catching Pokémon is business as usual, too. You hit it until its HP gets low to increase the catch chance. You can also cause status conditions to increase the chance further. When you’re feeling lucky punk, you chuck Poké Balls at it until the Random Number God smiles upon you. Sometimes this is easy and happens in one attempt, other times it’s annoying as fuck. Like recently, when trying to catch some Pokémon quite some distance from the home town. Sheesh, Skarmory was a bugger. 😛 After about 5 attempts I thought “this is weird”, and looked up the catch chance, finding out that the base chance (with the Pokémon at full health and using a standard Poke Ball) is… 3.3%. I decided not to give up, though. Lobbing basically every ball I had at it while trying to keep my team alive was somehow both frustrating and exciting at the same time. I caught it eventually, just when I was getting low on balls. Heheheheh shut up. 😛

Since this is technically a remake, the story is apparently very similar to Ruby/Sapphire’s story. Makes no difference to me because I never played Ruby/Sapphire. 😛 Anyway, the story is incredibly stupid. There are two Super Evil Teams, Team Magma and Team Aqua. Both came out of nowhere, both have seemingly infinite members, both utterly suck at Pokémon battles, and both want to do something retarded that makes no sense and is impossible. Magma wants to expand the land, and Aqua wants to expand the ocean. So both want to do something they think will be of benefit, but they’re blind to the fact that by succeeding, they’ll probably mess up the planet and kill everyone. 😛

Some of the dialogue is funny, but the script is annoying as fuck, as usual. Everything’s decided with Pokémon battles. So if you want to get something back from Team Magma or Team Aqua, who are basically terrorists and extremists, you challenge them to a Pokémon battle. If you win, they’re all like “OHMIGAWD YOU’RE SO STRONG FINE HERE HAVE THIS THING WE REALLY NEEDED TO DO OUR EVIL DEEDS” instead of “lol you won, so what, Falcon Kick, Mongz blacked out”. Especially, it’s really frustrating when the Evil Team Of Terrorists have just acquired The Plot Coupon To End All Plot Coupons right in front of you, and you just let them laugh at you and walk past. ARGHH! STOP THEM WITH A DICK PUNCH FFS!!

And where the fuck are the police?!

Aside from all that, though, it’s actually an interesting game to play. The world is pretty big, and there are quite a lot of things to do other than battles. There are Contest Spectaculars, which kinda work like a battle, but the tactics are different. You’ve basically gotta get as many hearts as possible in five turns while trying to reduce your opponents’ hearts. There’s Pokémon-Amie, too, which lets you play with your Pokémon to a certain extent; you can feed them, pet them and play a few minigames with them. The minigames are weird and feel like they were made in about two days, and the facial recognition is completely dire. The crap facial recognition ruins a somewhat interesting game you can play where your Pokémon asks you to make a certain face. It’s cool until it asks you to make a huge smile or open your mouth wide, because the camera cannot see me doing it. Then it times out and the Pokémon gets all sad and I’m like “hey sorry, but the facial recognition is total bullshit!” and that’s bad because then I’m teaching my Pokémon bad words. 😛 You can also do this thing called Super Training, which lets you increase your Pokémon’s EVs, or “Effort Values”, officially known as “base stats”. The Super Training minigame is really weird and I don’t get it at all; you throw balls at a puppet in a 3D environment and try to get the 3D balls into 2D nets while avoiding balls thrown at you. If you get enough balls into nets… you, er… you win. And your Pokémon’s base stats increase. There’s also a different kind of training where you give them a training bag and have them break it to get various effects, usually more base stats. They hit it once a minute automatically, but waiting for them to break the bag themselves is utterly stupid and pointless because you can get the effects of the bag much, much faster by tapping the bag yourself. It’s nice that they’ve exposed EVs like this and it’s great that you can increase them more easily, but it’s just a really weirdly themed, badly designed minigame that makes me think they ran out of ideas.

But yeah, overall, I’m enjoying it! Wow. Feels weird, suddenly finding out I like something I didn’t like before. 😛 Hell, I even bothered to go into Brighton (and walking around Brighton is one of my top ten most hated things) and go into an actual GAME store for the first time in years to ask for a code for a Mew during the distribution event they were having in February. That felt like it was gonna be the most embarrassing moment of my life until the cashier asked me how many I’d like, to which I responded “er, just the one, I think” in a confused manner. He then mentioned that the current record was ten. That made me feel much better. 😛 I mean, ten? Why? I thought you could only redeem one code of a kind per save file. Unless you’ve got X, Y, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire and have 6 friends who can’t be bothered to go to GAME? 😛 Or maybe they were giving them out to people in other countries who couldn’t participate? Maybe that’s it.

I’ll probably end up getting either Pokémon Sun or Moon when they come out, and if Omega Ruby dries up in the meantime I might even get Pokémon X/Y. Heh… this is mental. I’m actually spending more time playing on the 3DS than on the PC recently. 😛 I now have 3 RPGs to finish, and I bought Mega Man Legacy Collection too. 😀

What’s next…? Ah yes, here comes the thing I was going to talk about originally; a BIG wall of text about a problem that was stupidly hard to debug! 😛

Digital ASS Zone POOdio and the Chronicles of the Corruption of the Extended Memory POOl

I’ve had these really annoying problems with DAZ Studio for some time now. Problems where during a render, DAZ Studio would crash the graphics driver (the effect of which crashes DAZ Studio if a viewport is visible), or problems where I would get a DRIVER_CORRUPTED_EXPOOL bluescreen without warning. Recently, it got to a point where I was absolutely friggin’ sick of it. It was making most renders impossible. I had to know what it was, and I had to fix it, otherwise I would explode in a fit of rage, and doctors tend to say that exploding isn’t good for your health. 😛

It literally took weeks to figure it out. At first, I poked around and did all sorts of shit in an attempt to debug the problem, and quickly came to at least one conclusion. And it was a very funny conclusion.

I was certain that this error wasn’t caused by DAZ Studio. Heheheh, oops! 😛

How did I come to this conclusion? Well… I did a stress test on my CPU for the first time in ages using IntelBurnTest. It’s one of those programs which are designed to hammer the balls out of your CPU by asking it to compute something stupidly complicated. If you can run the test for a prolonged period of time without your PC crashing or the CPU making a mistake, you can consider your CPU and its current overclock stable. I ran IntelBurnTest on my then-current overclock, and it crashed the system in basically the same way as DAZ Studio does. I disabled my overclock and ran it again. It succeeded. Easy! Obviously my overclock was unstable. Case closed. The next day, DAZ Studio crashed the PC again, so I ran IntelBurnTest again, and it, er… it produced an inconsistent result. That basically rang every alarm bell. 😛

I disabled Turbo Boost, an Intel feature which auto-overclocks your processor when it’s being strained. Test failed. I disabled EIST, aka: Intel SpeedStep, another processor feature which dynamically clocks your processor depending on its current load, mainly to save energy. Test failed. Disabled XMP, a feature that lets my memory run at the speed it was designed to run using parameters specified by the memory manufacturer. Test failed. Then, I uninstalled my graphics drivers, both dedicated and integrated, and tried again. Test failed!

It was failing at stock speeds with absolutely no overclocking or underclocking at all, manual or automatic, and even though although Windows was blaming the drivers (and according to reports I got from analysing memory dumps with WinDbg, various programs such as Logitech Gaming Software, TeamViewer and System (lel)), it appeared that they were only messing up because the CPU made a mistake. I didn’t want to believe it, but it was looking like a hardware issue. I was hoping it was just bad cooling, but my temps rarely went above 80C at full load, which, in my previous experience, is totally fine.

But then… I ran the test in Safe Mode. It succeeded. Believing it was a fluke, I ran it in Safe Mode again for an extremely long period of time while I went off and played some Super Mystery Dungeon. I checked on the PC before going to bed and it had passed about 150 times in a row.

I decided to stop it, exit Safe Mode and run the same test overnight. Found out this morning that it had failed on the third test, less than five minutes after I left it to run overnight. I left it to run again in the morning. I checked it while I was at work, and it had failed on the 33rd test.

After all that, I didn’t think it was a hardware issue. It must have been a software issue, either a driver or some other program that runs at startup was somehow messing up the CPU, causing it to mess up the GPU drivers and cause a crash. But what could possibly be messing up the CPU?!

Then I realised there was a vague pattern. In Safe Mode, you don’t have networking unless you ask for it. So, I decided to unplug my Internet connection. I ran the test for a while. It passed. I installed my display drivers again. It passed the test. I then plugged in my network cable, restarted the PC, and started the test again. It failed on the 11th test. I unplugged my network cable, restarted and did a massive test overnight. Checked it this morning. It had friggin’ passed all 200 tests.

WHAAAAT!

That basically told me that the problem could have only been one of two things. It was either my network drivers, or my firewall. I was hoping that it was my firewall, so I disabled the firewall by not letting it run at startup, and did a test. I checked after an hour or so at work… the test wasn’t running, so the PC had clearly crashed. I tried again, and checked at lunch. It hasn’t crashed, but it had failed on the 6th test. This… is not good, because that indicates the problem lies with the network drivers, and I need these network drivers. No driver, no Internets; simple as.

The only obvious thing that came to mind was the possibility that the drivers were faulty or out of date. I mean, I was having strange problems with them during the Windows 10 Tech Preview… and by “strange problems” I mean “they didn’t work at all past a certain build”. 😛 Of course, my deduction could have been way off too, but… no, it couldn’t have been that far off. It had to be something to do with a thing that accesses the Internet, because when I cut my connection to the Internet, the problem didn’t occur.

I went on Killer’s site and got their latest drivers, which had actually been updated just a couple of weeks ago. Through some miracle I actually managed to install them through TeamViewer without losing connection. I then restarted the PC, and ran another IntelBurnTest, firewall still not running. It passed all of the 100 tests I set. I re-enabled my firewall on startup, restarted, and ran the test again, basically expecting it to pass all the tests so I could finally put this shit to rest. It CRASHED THE PC!

“What the fuck” is all I could think of. I was beginning to believe that I was way off, or that this problem was pretty much beyond my comprehension. Maybe the network drivers were fundamentally broken on Windows 10? Maybe the problem was partially caused by the network drivers and partially caused by the firewall? Maybe I’d been led to believe that it was a network issue when it wasn’t? ARGGGH!

I did the test again thinking it was a freak accident that would never happen again, and TeamViewer lost connection after about 5 minutes: crash! Despite previous tests showing that the firewall had made no difference to the stability whether it was on or off, I disabled the firewall, restarted and ran the test again. Of course it still crashed. I decided to uninstall the firewall ENTIRELY, restarted, and tried the test one more time. Yes, it crashed. And oh-so amazingly and conveniently, the PC didn’t restart after that crash.

So, it couldn’t have been the firewall. But just… all of a sudden, for some impossible reason, it had entered this pattern where the CPU wasn’t failing the burn test by producing incorrect results… it was failing by crashing the PC. The ONLY thing it could possibly have been was the network drivers, but why the fuck would some network drivers screw up the CPU to such an extent that would cause it to make a calculation error?!

Because that crash took out the PC seemingly entirely, I didn’t have a way to confirm whether the network drivers really were causing the problem until I got home. When I did get home, it turned out to be an entirely new type of crash; one that locked up everything. I tried the test again and the same thing happened. So the crash had changed styles again… great.

I uninstalled the network drivers. Ran the test again. And against everything I was expecting… it crashed. This basically ruined the days of debugging I’d done. It was as if the times it passed the test were just unbelievable flukes. Even running it in Safe Mode with Networking with the network drivers uninstalled was crashing. Uninstalling my graphics drivers again didn’t help; it didn’t crash the PC, but it still failed the test.

I noticed something else, though. When running an IntelBurnTest using a small amount of memory, say, 1GB, it didn’t fail. That suddenly made me think it was a memory issue, so I decided to run Windows’ memory checker tool thing. Amazingly, it actually found a memory issue. It was totally unhelpful and just said “oh there’s a problem contact the PC manufacturer”. Uh… I built the thing, so technically I’m the PC manufacturer. 😛

But that test finally made me think “shiiit, that’s gotta be it!” I started to shuffle my DIMMs around to test whether there was a problem with one or both of them, or if it was a motherboard problem. After finding out that the memory test failed with both DIMMs in regardless of the slots they were in, I tried putting one DIMM into a specific slot. The memory test failed, so I replaced it with the other DIMM. The memory test was successful. I left that DIMM in and did a huge burn test using the same memory setting as usual.

And it failed. Crashed the PC after about half an hour.

So… to sum up so far. My PC was not overclocked in any way and my CPU never exceeded 85C even at full load. Despite this, and only when the CPU ran at full load, the PC would crash in one of three unique ways when my network cable was plugged in, but when it wasn’t, it never crashed, but uninstalling my network drivers or firewall made no difference, and it didn’t matter whether I was in Safe Mode w/ Networking or not, but it never crashed in basic Safe Mode. There was apparently a memory issue, but when I resolved the memory issue by removing the allegedly faulty DIMM, it made no difference to whether the crash happened or not.

What the fuck. WHAT. THE. FUCK.

I totally lost my patience after this and didn’t bother trying to debug the problem for a few days. It became an annoying weight on my mind, so when I came back to it, I tried a couple of other things. I updated my BIOS and every driver that came with the motherboard. No effect. I re-experimented with my DIMMs and confirmed that one of them was faulty, and removed the one I was absolutely sure was faulty. Still no effect.

I collected my thoughts on the state of my hardware. I assumed it wasn’t a CPU issue, because if it was, the PC would crash all the time, not just at full load. It wasn’t a heat issue because the same test passed all the time in Safe Mode when the CPU was running at the same heat. It wasn’t a memory issue anymore because I’d removed the faulty DIMM, and memory tests were passing all the time with the current working DIMM. It wasn’t a power issue because the stated max power drain of all my components didn’t even come close to 850W. It wasn’t a GPU issue because the GPUs weren’t in use during the CPU test and the crash occurred when the drivers for my GPUs weren’t even installed. It wasn’t a drive issue because this bug had nothing to do with the SSD or hard drive. And although I didn’t have enough info to clear my motherboard of suspicion, I didn’t believe it was that.

Thinking it through, I was 100% convinced it was a software issue, but it definitely wasn’t the GPU drivers. Because I had no clue besides that, I went into yob mode and decided to disable or uninstall all suspect drivers and programs. I’d uninstall a thing, restart the PC and then do the test. So… I uninstalled Virtual Audio Cable, a driver that always felt really intrusive to me. It had no effect on the test result. I went through my startup programs list, disabling them one at a time. No effect, even when they were all disabled.

Then I realised PlayClaw wasn’t in the startup list. That’s because I have it as a task in Task Scheduler instead of a startup program, because it’s really annoying and asks you for admin rights when the PC starts if you have it as a traditional startup program; by setting it in Task Scheduler you can give it admin permission there so it doesn’t bug you. I disabled this task, restarted, and did the test.

The test passed. It was obviously a fluke, so I did it again. And it passed. And again, this time for 10x longer. Passed.

“Fuck off, stop screwing with me” is what I said. I decided to give it the test it would fail without a doubt; rendering my newest scene in DAZ Studio. In that scene, I use the preset lighting supplied with the environment I’m using. It’s pretty, but like the majority of preset things in DAZ Studio, it’s so expensive and idiotic that it takes my PC around 5 hours to render it out at max quality, and because it takes that long, it has never completed successfully. I set it to render overnight.

It succeeded. IT SUCCEEDED.

I’m not gonna show you the render because there’s so much wrong with it (mainly lighting issues, heh, why the hell did I bother with that preset crap), but what the hell… how?! How could PlayClaw, a game recorder, cause this problem? It’s never caused any problems like this when I actually use it! Christ, it’s not even in use when the problem happens! It’s just that the CPU is maxed!

At first, I thought that the problem might not have been PlayClaw alone. I thought it was a combination of PlayClaw and that faulty DIMM I removed, but… well, for fun, I put my faulty DIMM back in and it still hasn’t crashed, even after several successful burn tests and another render. So maybe it was just PlayClaw. But… argh, HOW CAN A GAME RECORDER MESS UP THE CPU?!

I’ll have to see how it goes. But DAZ Studio is working perfectly now! Er… well, no. It was working perfectly the entire time. Well, okay, not perfectly, because DAZ Studio still has a bunch of bugs, but at least it can do what it’s designed to do now. 😛

As for that render, I’ll have it soon enough. As I mentioned, the render time is utterly insane, even on draft quality. But I have a pretty good feeling about it. 😀

RIGHT, that’s enough. That’s definitely enough. 😛 I’ll leave my PC to render this out and hope it doesn’t crash while I faceplant on my bed. NIIIIGHT

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This swan song made my ears bleed.

Call me retarded (I am), but I have… practically a paranoia when it comes to buying games nowadays. 😛 I think it all began with Starbound, a game I decided to back because it looked amazing and the devs really looked like they knew what they were doing. It turned out to be a huge turd, flying wayyyyyyyy past its planned release date and still flying. “Stable” updates are released randomly (once every six months if you’re lucky), and the incompetent devs act like it’s no big deal, probably while rolling around in their money. I haven’t played it since the first patch which completely changed the damage system (the original system was so idiotic I couldn’t comprehend that someone actually thought of it). It’s especially embarrassing and frustrating because I got others to back it with me, so they got screwed as well. I also backed Carmageddon: Reincarnation, which looked really promising but turned out to be quite disappointing. It was funny, but idiotically easy even on hard, and it didn’t really introduce anything new. And then there was the optimization which… well, it sucked. Framerate starts out okay and slowly gets worse as you play. These games (mainly Starbound For The Recycle Bin) put me off Early Access so much that nowadays, I just say “Not Interested” to almost every single game in Early Access. One exception was Crypt of the Necrodancer, which was actually pretty good, but… they kinda ruined it in the last burst towards release. They added some random announcer voiceovers before boss battles and when unlocking characters, and they sounded completely idiotic. That, and the final area wasn’t really that interesting. It feels like they rushed it.

Sounds like I only hate Early Access, but it isn’t just that. There was Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, a game that just… didn’t really move me. The new oxygen mechanic was interesting and it was fun to jump around, boost and butt-stomp in low gravity, but the story made almost no sense, and it just threw so many horrendous jokes and references around. By the end of the game, it felt like they were so desperate to get laughs that it made me think the writers were total morons. 😛 The only reason I had fun with it is because I played it co-op, and although we finished it, we never really wanted to do the second playthrough. Also, there was Shadow Warrior, the new one. It was entertaining for a short while, but… it just completely lacked the charm of the original. That, and the map design was awful; sometimes I could barely figure out where I was supposed to go. Oh, and Bit Trip Runner 2. I picked that up again recently, but I can see why I stopped playing. I was expecting a rhythm game, but it’s not, it’s just… pfft. It’s like they only made it because they somehow got Charles Martinet (who most famously voices Mario and Luigi) to do some voicework for it. He sounds completely out of place, maybe even a bit bored. After hiring him, it feels like they didn’t have enough money left to make something interesting. 😛

But hey, on a positive note, Freedom Planet is the best platformer I’ve played in a hell of a long time. Probably the best platformer I’ve ever played, but that’s a pretty huge claim and I’d need to think long and hard before making it official. 😛

Anyway, now, the actual reason for the post! 😛 Metal Gear Solid V was released a few days ago and, predictably, pretty much everyone says it’s amazing. But thanks to my “paranoia”, I didn’t believe them for a second. I no longer listen to anyone’s opinion, because I’ve realised: there’s no point. Everyone contradicts each other and everyone forgives (or totally overlooks) different problems, usually without mentioning them. I read through the Steam reviews (the 5% of reviews that are actually reviews, not fucking anecdotes or unfunny jokes) and found one positive review said the AI was great. Two minutes later I find a negative review which completely nullifies both reviews’ validity by saying the AI is stupid. Didn’t take long for me to stop looking for other reviews. There’s hype, as well; people who get too excited for a game generally don’t notice how bad it is. I used to get affected like that. I mean, I was so excited for Spore way back, and when it came out, I said it was the greatest game I’d ever played. Lol? No it wasn’t. It was nowhere near. 😛 Most unique, yes, probably. Greatest? No, that crown is still held by Diablo II, and probably always will be.

Still, I’d always liked Metal Gear Solid (not Rising, Jesus Christ fuck no get the hell out). The original is legendary and MGS2 was really good, too. MGS3 wasn’t so great but the remastered version was seriously good, and it was all due to them fixing the biggest problem with the game: the friggin’ camera. 😛 I actually enjoyed Metal Gear Acid but I could understand why others wouldn’t. MGS Peace Walker was the best game on the PSP (just edging out Patapon 3), and I hate the fact I could never play MGS4 because it was on a console I think totally sucked. A pretty damn good history then, eh? Why not give them a shot and just go for it?

Hahahaha! What, you think I’m going to throw away £35 on a game I’ve never played? £35 on a game that offers no demo? No! Fuck that shit. Not these days. I don’t care how good the previous games have been or who developed the game in question, my trust in developers is totally shot nowadays. Take Metal Gear Rising. That hateful game was made by largely the same people that made God Hand, a totally awesome game of the same genre. 😛 I have to try a game before I buy it. Videos, reviews, whatever, nothing helps. The only way to know if I’ll enjoy something is by trying it.

Usually, my first port of call is the game demo. If there isn’t one, if possible, I torrent the game. If I enjoy it, I delete the pirated version and buy a legit copy right away. If I don’t enjoy it, I delete the pirated version and forget all about it. The only person that can possibly lose out is me, by wasting my time. 😛 Sadly, heh… Metal Gear Solid V is protected with an apparently very tricky anti-crack technology, meaning a crack will take quite a while to develop.

So, I’m out of options, right? Well… not really.

Steam now allows refunds within 14 days of purchase for any reason if you buy a game directly through Steam and play it for less than two hours. I was originally planning to avoid buying directly through Steam because for some retarded reason, this specific game costs £11 more. So, my plan was to buy the game through Steam, make absolutely sure I didn’t play it for more than two hours, and refund it immediately afterwards, regardless of whether I liked it or not. If I liked it, I would repurchase it from somewhere else for £11 less. 😛

So, the plan began. It hurt my common sense when I hit the purchase button but I shrugged it off knowing it wasn’t actually going to cost anything. 😛 As the game downloaded, I set up PlayClaw to overlay a timer on top of the game so I knew exactly how much time I had used, and also recorded the game footage with it. I’m going to talk through my experience with some screenshots from the video. 🙂

Note that this spoils pretty much most of the first two hours, so you’ll wanna skip it if you’re planning on buying the game and want to experience it yourself. HERE WE GO, YA SPANNER!

(First time using a WordPress gallery. It kinda sucks as expected, so here’s some instructions. 😛 Click on an image for the full gallery view. You can scroll through the gallery with the arrows. To exit the gallery click the tiny X button in the top-left corner. Why is it in the top left corner? Cuz WordPress sucks. 😛 )

And that’s that. A 65-minute-long cutscene with five instances of deus ex machina, followed by barely enough time to get used to anything. Ten minutes of the cutscene were interesting because they had a point and explained what had happened to Snake. The remaining 55 minutes consisted of Snake running away and repeatedly getting blown up by a firey man. And then, from what little gameplay I managed to experience, it felt watered down and dull. Looking back, it feels as if it was trying to make itself seem really complex when in fact it… wasn’t. I mean, I was going so slowly, trying to be stealthy when I could’ve just… popped them all in the head real quick. The overload of information just made it seem really difficult. But above all else, it didn’t feel like a Metal Gear game. At all. Hideo said that Metal Gear was a game about running away, hiding and avoiding conflict, but in this, I don’t feel like I need to, or even want to. There’s no life and no stamina. Camo Index is gone. You can get serious wounds like in MGS3 but healing them is way easier. All you do is get into cover… ah wait, heh, the cover system’s broken. 😛

Oh, there’s one other thing. It doesn’t really affect the game, but it’s still pretty major. Wanna take a guess at how many lines Snake, Big Boss, the main protagonist of Metal Gear said in those two hours? Three. Three. They were (vaguely) “What happened?”, “Who the hell are you?” and “Afghanistan?”. Not kidding. Oh, and he’s no longer voiced by David Hayter, the one who voiced Snake in every game previously and basically shares Solid Snake’s real name. He’s now voiced by… er… oh, I can’t friggin’ remember. I actually can’t. He’s supposed to be famous, I think. Maybe he’s so famous they couldn’t actually afford more than one line per 40 minutes. 😛

Soooo… would I recommend it? I’d say no, not right now… but… this is the annoying thing. I can’t possibly come to a definite conclusion. This is clearly a huge game, and I don’t think two hours was enough time to fully evaluate it, especially since most of it was a cutscene. Maybe it gets better. Maybe it doesn’t. I don’t know. I can tell you one thing, though: no way is it worth £46. Other games that cost a quarter of that managed to entertain me within the first 15 minutes, yet this failed after two hours. If it takes that long to get going, like hell is it worth £11 more than the standard PC game retail price. You can get it cheaper elsewhere, but keep in mind that if you do, you don’t get the ability to refund it on Steam.

For now, I’m going to forget about it, and just wait patiently for a crack. If one ever does appear, I’ll give it another try to see when, or if, the game hits its stride. And I’ll let you know. 🙂

Of course, you shouldn’t really listen to me. My opinion is probably different to yours. 😛

UPDATE!!

That anti-crack tech bought Konami about a week. MGSV has already been cracked. 😛 Thanks 3DMGAME. Now I can evaluate the game properly before what I consider a major purchase, cuz for some people, £40 is pretty expensive for a game, especially if it has a risk of being dog shit. 😛

I skipped the prologue because there’s currently a problem with the crack where the game simply hangs about 70% of the way through the prologue. Besides, I’ve played it already and it was shit. 😛 I continued from the start of the first chapter, and played through for 4 hours, completing a bunch of missions and a Side Op. So, what do I think now?

…eh. Just… eh.

So yes, it’s an improvement from “I think it’s a bit shit but I’m not sure”. But not really a big improvement. My main gripe is… that it just doesn’t feel like Metal Gear. It just… it doesn’t have that same feel. There’s some tension, but it’s not as strong. You feel powerful, and the only reason I didn’t just start shooting everything is because there’s a 10,000 point bonus if you don’t. And it’s super-serious almost all the time. The only time it isn’t is when you try to shoot Ocelot in the face with tranquilisers or punch your staff members. Oh, and the first time you use the Fulton Recovery device, but I was pretty much used to that because of Peace Walker. I mean, even Metal Gear Solid 3 started with a joke that trolled players who hated Raiden, and you soon started finding plastic frogs that you could shoot (which unlocked a game-breaking item if you shot them all). 😛 Even the characters sound… wrong. Apart from Kaz, he sounds fine, because his voice actor is the same guy. But Snake doesn’t sound anything like Snake, and Ocelot doesn’t sound anything like Ocelot. When they’ve had the same voice in every game I’ve played, and then they suddenly CHANGE… I dunno why, but it kinda breaks the experience a bit.

The open world setting ruins a lot, though. Enemies are sometimes around where you don’t expect them, and they end up seeing you before you can react. I’d gone through an entire mission without being seen, and made a stylish exit by nicking a car. Felt cool! I was just about to get out of the hotzone and complete the mission totally unseen when I passed by a guard post I barely noticed and got seen, which damaged my mission score and just pissed me off. That’s a problem as well, the rating system. In a game like Geometry Wars 3 where the aim is to get as many points as you can, it’s perfect. I didn’t actually mind it in Peace Walker, mainly because the missions were fairly short, so I never really paid attention to my rating. In MGSV, missions can last about half an hour, so… that’s a large amount of time required to fix a one second sort-of-mistake. Another one was similar: 26 minutes of perfect stealth ruined by a single second where a freak patrol sees me as I was running away on my horse. Bad luck = -11,000 points! Rank B! 26 minutes of wasted time! Too bad! Fuck off…

Escaping enemies is super-easy when it’s a free-roam world as well. Never feels like you’re being chased. And because missions have “mission areas” (and you lose if you move outside the area for too long), it clearly didn’t have to be free-roam. And the open world setting makes you wait for longer as well. Gotta wait for extraction, gotta get far away from the base to finish a mission, gotta wait for supply drops, gotta wait for the chopper to take off… all of this artificially extends the gameplay. There aren’t really any indoor areas, either. And the whole world is just… boring and samey.

I dunno. The whole thing just feels more like Call of Duty or Gears of War, or Battlefield, or some weird amalgamation of the three, not like Metal Gear. I mean, I’d say there’s a lot of gameplay in it. Some rough estimates suggest you’ll probably get about 40 hours out of the main missions, 80 hours if you go for all the mission goals and Side-Ops, and maybe even more if you go on a super-dull collection spree for 100% completion. But will you have enough fun to hit any of those three goals? Sheesh, I dunno. Maybe not. If the game kept up the way it was going, I’d probably end up just doing the main missions and about… half the Side-Ops? Maybe not even that. I mean, the core thing that was bugging me is that this feels like a generic war game with a bit of stealth, not Metal Gear. Hell… no. No, the main problem is that the game is just… average. It’s one of these friggin’ games that is so average that I’d probably have to play about half the game to make a decision. Ace Combat: Assault Horizon, Skate 3, Batman: Arkham Origins, Saints Row IV… all of these were the same deal. Couldn’t decide until the moment the game’s averageness started to bore me.

So, again… would I recommend it? £46, fuck no. £40, no. £35, sort of maybe, if you’re a fanboy? £30, eh, yeah, might be worth that if gameplay videos and stuff make you interested. £25, hmm, yeah, I’d probably pay that. £20, yes, even if it’s just a timekiller you don’t finish, it’s worth that. If it was less than that I’d probably buy it now. Yeah, go ahead, call me cheap, but the game hasn’t moved me yet. I don’t know how long it’ll take before it does. 😛

Oh, by the way, I forgot to mention this: I heard from several sources that the final mission was cut from the game, so the game has no ending. I feel that spending money on an unfinished-yet-released product is like backing an Early Access game, which is why I can’t bring myself to buy it until someone confirms this is a lie. 😛

This console business…

It’s getting pretty boring hearing about it already, y’know. Everyone on Bookface won’t shut the fuck up about these new consoles. My entire feed is plastered with the same thing over and over again. OMG PS4 IS FUCKING COOL SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY THAT XBOX ONE LOL PIECE OF SHIT. Might as well just not look at Facebook for the next 20 weeks, cuz I know exactly what everyone’s going to say. :/

Let’s talk about what I can figure out from the consoles. To start, the Xbox One. It’s like an entertainment system that only just remembered that it should be a games console. First, it’s got Kinect built in, which has shit motion sensing and hugely pointless voice recognition. I don’t know anyone who has Kinect that still uses it. It also has a TV tuner. And I don’t get it. If you have a games console, you have a TV. Most TVs… er… have the ability to receive a TV signal. So why would I plug the aerial into the Xbox? I can’t, anyway, since I don’t have a digibox! My TV has Freeview built-in! 😛

One big issue, though, is this DRM and check-in system that I don’t really understand. You buy the game, but you have to install it to play it, and that game gets registered on your account. Here it gets hazy. If you want to sell your game because you’re done playing through its traditionally modern 3 hour story mode, you might be able to if Microsoft feel like it, but you have to pay a fee… or maybe the person you sell the game to has to pay a fee. Something like that. You also can’t lend the game to your friends, because it’s bound to your account. Don’t have a clue how they’re gonna manage that – maybe the games have product keys or each DVD has an ID number or whatever. So basically, it’s like Steam for consoles.

Sounds pretty gay, but I don’t get what the fuss is about. I don’t know anyone who lends games to their friends any more. And if your friend really does want to play a game they don’t have, there’s normally this thing called a “demo”. Failing that, do what someone I know does on Steam – give them your account password so they can log into your account and play it. What’re Microsoft going to do about that? 😛

The answer is probably this “check-in” system that I really don’t know much about. From what I can gather, you have to keep your console connected to the Internet to play games on it. If you don’t connect to the Internet, you can still play games, but after 24 hours of being disconnected, you can’t play any more until you reconnect. If you’re signed in on a different console, you have to connect every hour. Or something. That sucks.

But then again, does it? Who doesn’t have their console connected to the Internet? Apart from those who don’t have an Internet connection, of course. I haven’t played a game on Xbox Live in years, yet I still keep it connected so I can get updates and shit. What’s the big deal about keeping the new console connected to the Internet? And if we just go back to my idea about letting friends log into your account and play your games… this system won’t entirely stop that. If you unplug your console from the ‘net, and they connect using your account on their console, your friend can play your game uninterrupted. You’ll even be able to play the same game for 24 hours until your console locks you out. But then what do you do? Reconnect, and kick your friend off, then immediately disconnect. The check-in timer is refreshed, and you can keep playing for 24 hours. Duh. 😛

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like the idea. It’s like a crappier, stricter version of Steam, and it basically allows the console to lock you out. It would especially suck if Xbox Live went down. But I don’t see how it ruins the console. Keep it connected and everything’s okay. Who lends games to friends, anyway? That’s so 90’s. If they wanna play your game so much, invite them over. 😛

The biggest issue for me is the price. The 360 was very, very reasonably priced. You can pick up a pre-owned 250GB Xbox 360 for about £120 now, or a brand new one for £200. And that’s great – it blew the PS3 out of the water. People who didn’t have great deal of money could still play the newest games. But the Xbox One? It’s gonna be £429 at launch.

Ouch.

You see, there’s this games console that’s been around for a hell of a long time, called the “PC”. You can do anything on it. You can change it to look how you want it to look, upgrade any part of it, install anything. You can watch TV on it if you get and install an inexpensive tuner card, and it comes with voice recognition if you really want it. And games are generally £10 cheaper. Problem is, it’s very expensive. And that’s why “dedicated” games consoles exist. Because they’re really only designed to do one thing, play games. Sure, it can play DVDs and stuff, but that’s just a side-effect of the DVD drive in the console harnessed by the software. It can stream pictures and videos from your PC, but again, that’s just in the software. This focus is what makes them cheap.

The Xbox One totally misses the point. It’s designed to do more than play games. You can also watch TV on it, and it’s also a crap exercise machine. Adding these things increases the price. Now, the One is almost as expensive as a basic gaming PC. Yet you still can’t do whatever you want on it, you can’t modify it or upgrade it, and games are still £10 more expensive than PC games.

So, what about the PS4? Well, it appears to be much better. It’s a games console, plain and simple. You put a disc in, and you play the game on it. You don’t have to connect to the Internet and “check in”, and if you still live in the 90’s, you can lend your games to your friends just by handing them the disc. That also means you can trade them in to get back some of the money you wasted on it when you’re done playing their likely shitty single player content. There’s no motion sensor, no voice recognition, and no TV tuner. You can also stream Netflix or LoveFilm to it without paying anything extra, if you’re into that sort of thing. However, Sony’s decided to drop one of its advantages over Xbox. On the PS4, to play games online, you’ll need a PlayStation Plus subscription. But, that does come with additional benefits, such as free games and discounts. With Xbox Live Gold, you get discounts on Arcade games, but very rarely.

And the price? It’s actually a lot less than the cost of a launch PS3 – only* £349 (* not really that cheap). This makes it £80 less than the One, probably because it has no pointless extra features. So you can somewhat understand why people are jizzing these fanboyish posts all over my Bookface wall:

“Sony just kill that Microsoft!!! NO DRM, NO AUTH!!”
“I am clapping so much!!”
“Best news!! :D”
“BEST FUCKING NEWS!! Sony JUST GOT ALL THE CHEER!!!!”
“PS4 £349!!! Oh Sony, why you so nice!!”
“Sony has done nothing wrong. Nothing wrong. :)”
“sony, just take my money, take it all”
“pretty much had multiple orgasms”
“£349 for the PS4? Gutted Microsoft, proper been shat upon well and truly.”
“SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY.”
“By the sounds of my facebook everyone is getting ps4 and xbox got shafted with a massive dildo and no one has said they’ll buy it!”
“TAKE THAT XBOX!!! you screwed up big time.”

It’s pretty pathetic.

I’m not a fanboy, and I have no allegiance to any console or any company, unlike some… very strange people. So, which would I have? Well, last time new home consoles were released, I got an Xbox 360 because it was basically half the price of the PS3, and there was no way I’d be able to afford a PS3. This time, if I were to take literally nothing that mattered into consideration, I’d say the PS4. Of course, really, I wouldn’t have either of them.

It’s a bit different when you actually think, though. What’s really getting on my nerves is that people are completely forgetting something… major. These are consoles. They’re completely useless. You don’t buy a console for the console. You buy a console for the games. Despite what people have decided already, what will really decide the console they buy will be the console exclusives. And they’ve barely even been announced.

So, let’s talk about the ones that have been announced. The games, the exclusives, the things that actually matter, unless you’re considering using your One just to get TV on it, or using your PS4 to… act as a doorstop. 😛 If you get an Xbox One, you will have access to several “acclaimed” games: Forza 5, The Witcher 3, Dead Rising 3, Halo 5, the new Killer Instinct, and Metal Gear Solid 5 and Crimson Dragon. Not bad. Apart from The Witcher and Halo, there’re some possibly good games there. Can’t help but wonder why MGS5 is an Xbox exclusive this time, though. It’s like they want to keep it away from poorer people. 😛 UPDATE: Found out  MGS 5 is not an exclusive. The worst thing about game journalists is when they try to do their job. They always fail. 😛 Oh, and almost everyone failed to mention the amazing-looking Crimson Dragon as an exclusive, so I added that, too.

Also available exclusively for the Xbox One are brand new games which, after reading the blurb, I still know almost nothing about them, such as Project Spark (likely some crap game making tool for 8-year-olds), Quantum Break (somehow integrates TV and gaming together, sounds frustratingly stupid), Ryse (sounds catastrophically boring), D4 (cliché story) and Sunset Overdrive (literally clueless about what this is, says it’s made by Insomniac as if it matters). And then you also have total shit like Minecraft: Money Milking Edition 2 and Rabbids Invasion, neither of which should be bought, ever, but they will sell because some people are utterly stupid.

So a pretty good wad of games that you can only play if you buy an Xbox One. Ah, but what exclusives does PS4 have to offer? Well, let’s start with their “acclaimed” games… Final Fantasy XV, Kingdom Hearts III, (UPDATE: KH3 isn’t excl2usive. Go journalists.) Infamous: Second Son, and Killzone. Er… yeah, that’s it. Hm. Oh, and there’re some new titles, Driveclub (I don’t get it), Knack (don’t have a clue what this is supposed to be) and The Order: 1886 (cliché description, sounds lame). But… er… yeah. Pretty empty shelf.

Of course, there are other games, but they’re available for both consoles, and even for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360, so it’s pointless taking them into consideration when you’re choosing the console you should buy. Most people won’t want both consoles, or may only be able to afford one of the two, so you’ve gotta consider you can’t play the exclusives of the console you don’t buy.

And me? I’ve changed my mind – I’d get the Xbox One. No question.

Funny, isn’t it? Yeah, the console is locked down with DRM, you need to connect to the Internet to use it, you can’t trade in games, it’s more expensive and Microsoft is cramming it with useless shit. But who cares? Who really, actually cares? It has infinity% more games that I wouldn’t be able to play if I bought its rival! I mean, there’re three exclusive games on it that I want – Forza 5, Dead Rising 3 and Crimson Dragon. I’m even tempted by Killer Instinct, but that’s just nostalgia talking – I was never good at it, and I don’t really like fighting games any more. As for the PS4, well, despite it being the better, cheaper console and being a companion to my Vita, I don’t want any of the games it’s offering. I’m willing to pay more and put up with DRM for a console I’d actually use more. How does this DRM crap affect me, anyway? Not at all! Unless their servers or my ‘net connection dies, both of which are unlikely, because neither is hosted by Blizzard or EA! 😛

You see, when making a major purchase like a console, I always try to think about how much I’d use it. It’s crazy buying a £400 console if I’m only gonna play on it for about 20 hours. Let’s take games as an example. I like to divide a game’s price by the number of hours I’ve used it, which gives me a “Worthiness Score”. The lower the score, the more it was worth the price. For example, Borderlands 2, including all the DLC and everything, cost me £44.98. I’ve played it for 301 hours so far, so it gets a score of 0.149, which is mighty impressive. Basically, the game cost me about 15p per hour to play. I’ve definitely got my money’s worth. 🙂

So, let’s do this with the consoles. Of course, I can’t know how many hours I’ll play on the consoles, especially since two games rarely have the same worthiness score, and it’s not likely the consoles will count the hours. So instead, I’m going to divide the price of the console by the number of games I want for it. Ideally, I’d like the score to be the same or less than the average price of games for the console, since it’s kinda depressing when the console is worth more than the games I got for it. 😛 So, I’m looking for 40 or less.

Let’s do the Vita, since I’m interested. 😛 Really, I’m looking for 35 or less points for the Vita, since most Vita games are a little bit cheaper than the standard £40. I’ve got 7 games for it, and it cost me about £240 for the console, memory card and starter kit. BUT you’ve gotta consider that 3 of my games are actually arcade games. Combined, I’d say they cost me about the same as a standard boxed Vita game. So, let’s say £240/4 = 60, which isn’t great, but it’s getting there. 😛

(UPDATE: The following are my older calculations based on information from stupid game journalists. Now that I know which games are actually exclusive, see the bottom of the post for my updated scores.)

The Xbox One, then. £429/4 (The exclusives I mentioned earlier, as well as Mirror’s Edge… but then again, do I really want it? I dunno. I’ll just keep it there to be safe.) makes a score of 107.25. Pretty bad. Four more games and it’d be almost worth it. 😛

Now, the PS4. Cheaper, £349, but only divided by 1 (Mirror’s Edge), and oh no! That gives it a score of 349, which, despite being a cheaper console, makes it three times less worth my money than the Xbox One! You see? Consoles are nothing. Games are everything.

Of course, other people’s scores will be different. People might not want Forza. Some people might be Halo fanboys. Some might like Killzone or the massive oxymoron that is Final Fantasy XV. More games will be announced over time, so my score might change as well. But as far as I can tell, most people haven’t even considered the games and just said they’re getting the PS4. What can I say. They’re stupid.

But as I said, I’m not getting either console. Maybe in the far future, when the price, say, halves (or when I get a well-paid job :P), but not any time soon. Why? Well, partly because the Xbox isn’t focused and Microsoft’s pulled a dick move, and partly because the PS4 will most likely have the same crap controller it’s been using for the past 15 years or so. But the main reason? I’ve already got a Perfect Console. The PC. 😛

It holds all my games (which cost less than console games) that I can play whenever I want, whether I’m on the Internet or not (unless it’s a shitty EA game which I don’t play). I can record gameplay videos and waste other people’s time with them without needing to spend loads of cash on equipment. I can watch TV, browse the Internet, do work and write blog posts on it. 😉 I can talk to friends and family on it using a program that costs nothing. I’ve got add-ons like a wireless receiver for Xbox 360 controllers, a webcam and the PC-exclusive mouse. It has 3D capability and can output to up to three monitors so far. It loads things faster and has better graphics. Instead of being capped at 30FPS in games, I can reach 120FPS. And if it starts to fall behind in some way, I can buy an upgrade and install it myself. It also has a Worthiness Score of about 0.0001. You get the idea. 😛 It might be expensive, but it’s literally perfect. Why would I spend money on a console? Apart from playing games I can’t play on the PC because of exclusivity bullshit, I don’t have a friggin’ clue. Anyone wanna convince me? 😛

Y’know, I haven’t mentioned the Wii U yet. So… Wee Poo. Done. 😛

So, let me try encouraging comments and feedback, even though no-one is gonna read this. Even though it’s about very popular, current issues, and people should technically be swarming over it. What console’re you getting, if any, and why? 🙂


UPDATE!!
Just found out, MGS5 is coming to PS4 and Kingdom Hearts III is coming to Xbox One. It’s literally impossible to figure this out because every friggin’ game reporter sucks. 😛

So that means that one of the exclusives I want is no longer an exclusive. Now it’s only 2-0 to Xbox One. 😛

OH, SHIT, WAIT, just found that Crimson Dragon is an Xbox One exclusive. It’s back to
3-0. 😛 I’d better update my personal Worthiness Scores that I gave the consoles:

Xbox One: £429 / 5 = 85.8pts
(Forza 5, Dead Rising 3, Crimson Dragon, Metal Gear Solid 5, Mirror’s Edge)

PS4: £349 / 2 = 174.5pts
(Metal Gear Solid 5, Mirror’s Edge)

X1’s still winning for me.


UPDATE 2!!

Oh look at that. Dead Rising 3 is on the Steam Coming Soon list. But now Sunset Overdrive has some content to show and it looks good. Also, Forza Horizon 2, since I enjoyed the original Horizon mucho.

In addition to that. I actually have no interest in Mirror’s Edge Poo any more. And hell, Kingdom Hearts 2 was good, so let’s add KH3 to both platforms, why not. Oh, Crackdown. Maybe that won’t be shit. Oh! Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare. That looks fun. And Peggle 2 since it’s not on PC because PopCap are sell-outs. And, the XB1 will be available without Kinect… although I’m not sure if Crimson Dragon will work without it. Eh, can always buy it later if needed…

Erm… actually… since when the hell did the XB1 have a price drop WITH Kinect? I got it right here for £370 WITH Kinect and FIFA 14. Er, okay… soooooo:

Xbox One: £369.99 / 9 = 41.11pts
(Forza 5, Forza Horizon 2, Sunset Overdrive, Crackdown, Crimson Dragon, Metal Gear Solid 5, Kingdom Hearts 3, Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare, Peggle 2)

PS4: £349.99 / 2 = 174.99pts
(Metal Gear Solid 5, Kingdom Hearts 3)

Can’t QUITE fathom why everyone was humping the PS4. SERIOUSLY don’t understand. Why. The PS4 has, like, no exclusives. SingStar Ultimate Party yaaaaaaay. It’s a doorstop. And it’s not even that cheap any more… not like it WAS cheap in the first place.

I’m getting tempted by the XB1. SERIOUSLY tempted. The Worthiness Score is almost down to 40. One more game. If one more game that I love is announced for it, I’ll be getting it.

…when I can afford it. Really can’t spare £370 right now. 😛


UPDATE 3!!

ACTUALLY wait wait wait. I’m being totally unfair. Peggle 2 doesn’t cost the same as Metal Gear Solid 5. Nor does Crimson Dragon… er, I think. Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare is less than £40, as well. Together they probably cost £40.

Oh, and No Man’s Sky looks pretty good. Although I don’t believe ANYTHING I see at E3. Because, you know. 90% of what devs show are probably pre-rendered fake gameplay demos. Games in development that look AND play AND perform worse on release are QUITE common nowadays. But anyway it doesn’t affect anything No Man’s Sky is multiplatform.

OH and Little Big Planet 3, PS4 exclusive. Which… might be good. I dunno. Can’t really see it being any different, but I liked LBP PS Vita, so…

Xbox One: £369.99 / 8 = 52.85pts
(Forza 5, Forza Horizon 2, Sunset Overdrive, Crackdown, Metal Gear Solid 5, Kingdom Hearts 3, No Man’s Sky, Crimson Dragon & Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare & Peggle 2)

PS4: £349.99 / 4 = 87.49pts
(Metal Gear Solid 5, Kingdom Hearts 3, No Man’s Sky, Little Big Planet 3)

Wellll now. PS4’s kinda catching up. That’s good. Sort of. Y’see, Forza Horizon 2, Sunset Overdrive and Crimson Dragon are games I REALLY want. Whereas… all the titles on the PS4 (bar MGS5) are games I “kinda” want.

Won’t be getting either any time soon, so there’s still plenty of time for a killer game to come along and save Sony. Y’know what WOULD make me sit up and listen to the PS4? Patapon 4. Lol never mind. The chance of that being released is about equal to a snowball’s chance in hell. And if it WAS, I’d expect it to be on Vita.


UPDATE 4!!

Alrighty! More stuff. Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate is an exclusive. Exclusive to everything I don’t own, ie: not PC or X360. Fussake. Well, I’d get that, since I never actually played all the way through Warriors Orochi 3 (it was a rental).

Star Wars Battlefront is a maybe. Because Battlefront II was… er… broken. It was unpolished to hell and the single player campaign was impossible. I’m not even kidding, it was ACTUALLY impossible. Oh, and the people who made Battlefield 3 & 4 are doing it so it’ll likely be broken for about 2 years after release and will suck. I hate Battlefield.

The Crew is also a maybe. It depends on whether it’s got fun arcade driving physics or annoying-as-fuck simulation physics. “Annoying-as-fuck” because simulation racer physics pretend to be accurate but are just a load of garbage (see Gran Turismo) and make the game incredibly dull. Oh, and if the game actually works. Unlike Test Drive Unlimited 2.

Drive Club looks good. It’s a PS4 exclusive. However, if I got Drive Club, I would NOT get The Crew, because from what I can tell, they’re the same kind of game, so it’s completely inconsequential in making a decision.

One thing that caught my eye was Scalebound. There’s pretty much no information on it at all yet, but it’s got me interested. Chances are that’s because I’m a complete sucker for dragons. 😛 The description reminds me of Drakan – you come across a dragon and form some sort of bond with them. That plot element is common among games where a dragon is your ally. No idea why. One downside, though – the people making it make Metal Gear Rising: Stupidword. But they were also responsible for Bayonetta and, back when they were Clover Studio, probably the most amazing 3D beat-em-up ever – God Hand. I’m gonna put it on the list. Y’know what’s funniest? It’s an Xbox One exclusive!

Man, I feel bad for the PS4. Sony can never get the decent games. 😛 Anyway, here’s the lineup:

Xbox One: £369.99 / 10 = 36.99pts
(Forza 5, Forza Horizon 2, Sunset Overdrive, Crackdown, Metal Gear Solid 5, Kingdom Hearts 3, No Man’s Sky, Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate, Scalebound, Crimson Dragon & Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare & Peggle 2)

PS4: £349.99 / 5 = 69.99pts
(Metal Gear Solid 5, Kingdom Hearts 3, No Man’s Sky, Little Big Planet 3, Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate)

Ah, PS4 was catching up a little, as well. But then Xbox One just had to pass the threshold. I guess that’s it. There are 12 games available for it which aren’t available on anything I currently have. It doesn’t have to convince me any more. As soon as I can afford it, I’ll be grabbing an Xbox One. 🙂

I don’t see how people can criticise it any more. Sure, Kinect is friggin’ lousy and I hate it. The TV features are a bit dumb, too. But they got rid of that DRM crap, it’s dropped in price, and they’re offering it without Kinect for the same price as a PS4. And you’d have to be mental to buy it without Kinect, because there are no game bundles for a Kinect-less Xbox. I’d pay £40 more for Titanfall and MGS V: Ultrashort Prequel AND a Kinect, no doubt.

I can’t really see any reason to criticize it any more. Can’t speak for the console’s performance or software, although I doubt it’ll struggle to run games developed for it specifically. 😛

But yeah. No more updates for this post now. Unless Sony gets a killer game. I can’t imagine what it could be to make me give up all those X1 exclusives I want, though.


UPDATE 5!!

HA-HA-HA HAAAA DIS-RE-GARD MOST OF THIS!

What scores were we on again? Well, lemme update them:

Xbox One: £369.99 / 8.5 = 43.53pts
(Forza 5, Forza Horizon 2, Sunset Overdrive, Crackdown, Metal Gear Solid 5, Kingdom Hearts 3, No Man’s Sky, Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate, Scalebound, Crimson Dragon & Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare & Peggle 2)

PS4: £349.99 / 5 = 87.25pts
(Metal Gear Solid 5, Kingdom Hearts 3, No Man’s Sky, Little Big Planet 3, Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate)

PvZ Garden Warfare is available on PC already so I really don’t know why I put that there. Maybe the answer is higher up but I dunno. But anyway, Metal Gear Solid 5 has been announced for PC. Loooooool. 😛

Why am I even considering getting a console? For all I know, all these “exclusives”… might not be. 😛 I mean, Dead Rising 3 came to PC. And now MGS5. I don’t expect Forza to come to PC but I bet Sunset Overdrive has a good chance. I mean, it’s a friggin’ fast-paced arcade shooter so do want mouse and keyboard controls plz. And Warriors Orochi? I can see that coming to PC too. I mean, DW8XL:CE did alright on Steam so I’d expect that to do about the same. I think Peggle 2 (or a variation of it) is coming to mobiles, actually, but I’m not sure. But what about Scalebound? That has such little info available that it’s almost painful, but they could be all like “oh, yeah, we’re doing it for PC too, and it’ll run at 120FPS and the graphics will blow your eyes out but only on PC”.

I love how people were like “HAAAA PC IS DEAD CONSOLES ARE GOING TO RULE THE WORLD AND EAT YOUR BABIES” then people went “OHHHH NETBOOKS ARE MAKING PCS COMPLETELY POINTLESS THEY’RE GONNA DIE” and then people started going “WHOOOOAH TABLETS ARE FUCKING AWESOME AND THEY’RE KILLING OFF PCS FASTER THAN YOU DID MY MUM LAST NIGHT” and now everyone’s going “WHOOOLLYYY SHIIIT MOBILE GAMING IS THE BEST KIND OF GAMING AND IT’S KILLING THE FUCK OUT OF CONSOLES AND PCS BUT ESPECIALLY PCS BECAUSE NO-ONE USES A PC NOW BECAUSE TABLETS AND PHONES EXIST AND THEY GET MORE USAGE THAN PCS DO AMONG PEOPLE OUTSIDE WITH NO ACCESS TO A PC AND VARIOUS OTHER BULLSHIT STATISTICS” but PC gamers are like “lol wat” and just keep playing through their library of PC games and emulators with their superior graphics cards and CPUs while talking to friends, minimising to check a wiki and using a controller that suits them. 😛


UPDATE 6!!

Lmfao…

Xbox One: £369.99 / 6.5 = 56.92pts
(Forza 5, Forza Horizon 2, Sunset Overdrive, Crackdown, Kingdom Hearts 3, No Man’s Sky, Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate, Scalebound, Crimson Dragon & Peggle 2)

PS4: £349.99 / 3 = 116.66pts
(Kingdom Hearts 3, No Man’s Sky, Little Big Planet 3, Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate)

No Man’s Sky was never gonna be available for Xbox One. But it’s gonna be available for PC, so PS4 loses it as well. Not like I’m interested anymore anyway because they’ve actively been dodging the question “what do you do in the game?”. Seriously, I’m stunned that barely anyone has noticed. The core Forza series is a simulation racer so I don’t have a friggin’ clue why I put it there. The elusiveness of information on Scalebound combined with an interview that says they’re aiming to “target a wider audience” suggests development is slow, water is being added and no-one knows what it’s supposed to be, so it’s setting off my bomb alert.

I played Driveclub. It missed the list. It’s so. Fucking. Boring. It’s the most generic racer since… since like… Gran Turismore Fun Needed. It has no personality at all. YAY PRETTY GRAPHICS SUPER PAINT FLAKES WHEN YOU ZOOM IN WOWOWOW yeah look a bit further out at the idiotically low-res backdrop which ruins every camera shot and maybe play the game too instead of fapping in camera mode.

It’s been more than a YEAR since release and there’s still barely anything on either console! Even funnier is the fact that the lists haven’t INCREASED in size for months because I keep finding out some games are coming to PC! It’s absolutely friggin’ hilarious!

 


UPDATE 7!!

So my dad bought an Xbox One, probably because he’s having a mid-life crisis. I mean, there’s no other reason. He doesn’t play games, doesn’t have time to play games, can’t really play games very well, and the consoles have no games on them anyway.

Xbox One: £239.99 / 1 = 239.99pts
(Forza Horizon 2, Sunset Overdrive, Crackdown, Kingdom Hearts 3, Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate, Scalebound, Crimson Dragon & Peggle 2)

PS4: £299.99 / 1 = 299.99pts
(Kingdom Hearts 3, Little Big Planet 3, Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate)

Forza Horizon 2 is hella old now so it’s off the list, but Forza Horizon 3 came out, so that’s another point back to Xbox One NO HAHA WAIT, IT’S ON PC although the port is absolutely fucking dire but HEY! It’s on PC! That’s all that matters! And you know what’s funnier? I said “I don’t expect Forza to come to PC” AND IT FUCKING DID, LMFAO!

At this rate, Crackdown is just NEVER going to come out and I don’t really care about it any more because it won’t be as good as Crackdown 1 anyway! Kingdom Hearts 3… pretty much the same thing! At this rate it’s never gonna happen and it’s not going to be as good as KH2, because modern gaming.

Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate isn’t something I’m interested in any more either, because I could EASILY get the non-Ultimate version for Xbox 360 if I REALLY wanted it. Don’t give a damn about Peggle 2 any more and I’ve heard Crimson Dragon isn’t anywhere NEAR as good as Panzer Dragoon, so knock those off too!

And now I’ve saved the best for last! You remember Scalebound, that… uh… game thing? I think it’s an action-RPG? Yeah who cares, IT’S COMING TO PC LMFAO! The ONLY Xbox-exclusive game I was actually interested in any more, boom! Lost! Not an exclusive! Shitty port? Probably! But you can play it on PC and that’s the end of that! Will I buy it? No way in hell unless it has a demo and proves that it isn’t shit! But again who cares! Non-exclusive! No points!

So there you go, if you bought a Xbox One or a PS4, I have no idea why unless it was an Xbox One and you like Halo and Forza Non-Horizon. If it was a PS4, I have no idea why… and full stop. It’s now, hilariously, more expensive and… seriously, what’s ON it? I mean, games you can’t get on something else, that is. Ratchet & Clank’s one, right? And… Little Big Planet 3’s another although that’s pretty old now. Er… Bloodborne, that Dark Souls-like game probably with fake difficulty everywhere? Oh, The Last Guardian, that game everyone’s screaming about even though it’s never looked that good and has been in development hell for ages and therefore will definitely not be good. That’s, er… that’s it, right? Four games. Spend £300 on a console that costs £70 more than the competition for the ability to play… four exclusive games, none of which are like, killer, or anything? Cool, I… guess? I mean we live in an era where people will buy a £700 VR headset to play things that don’t really qualify as games so hey, I shouldn’t be surprised or dumbfounded.

If you haven’t bought either, buy a PC; they cost a little bit more but have 200,000% more games on them. Unless you want to play Halo. In which case… buy a PC and learn to like another shooter, like Battlefield or Overwatch or Call of Duty or Unreal Tournament or Doom or Quake. 😛

Okay, I’m done now. 😛

The Switch Glitch.

My stats page is quite dull. I’ve just added up the figures, and amazingly, at least 75% of my ~11,000 hits have apparently come from searches relating to the Bejeweled games, even though I deleted the main post I made about it. It was about Bejeweled Blitz’s Phoenix Prism, and I deleted it because the only thing I got from it was a dumb comment from some random faggot. No “thanks”, or anything. Besides, I was getting bored of seeing stupid searches such as “what is phoenix prism” and “how to use phoenix prism”, or even “how much does phoenix prism cost”. But funnily enough, deleting the post didn’t stop the terms coming in. Probably because WordPress is shit. 😛

But anyway, onto the reason for this post. 🙂 A friend on Bookface watched a replay I posted recently, where I beat my personal Boost-only record, somehow scoring 853,500 without using a Rare Gem. She noticed I was swapping multiple sets of gems to make better matches, and asked about it. I tried my best to explain it, but it’s difficult without diagrams or pictures. 😉 So, since people only seem to come here attempting to read a deleted article about Bejeweled Blitz, I decided to make this post about the technique I use, even though almost no-one will find it or read it, because that’s typical. 😛

I call it… the Switch Glitch. 😀 It’s sadly more widely known as the Elite Technique, but I can’t actually bring myself to call it that because it’s so lame. It’s like the person who called it that had literally no imagination, or was an elitist (which I’m not BTW, previously mentioned random faggot. :P). Or both, of course. Most likely both. 😛

Anyway, the Switch Glitch is a pretty high-level technique. It’s very tricky to get the hang of (I really couldn’t do it at first), but with practice, you’ll get better, and you’ll eventually start seeing the patterns where you can use it almost as easily as normal patterns. 🙂 I’ll do my best to explain it to ya with the assistance of PICTUREZ. 😉

First, I’d better explain how this trick is possible. This isn’t totally essential, but understanding why it works might help.

The Switch Glitch works by exploiting two gameplay elements. The first one is what I call “match lock”. Have you ever had a situation where you tried making a match while gems were falling, but the gems you switched locked into place before they disappeared, and the gems that fell into position made the match even better? Say, like this:
Switch Glitch 0 - Move Lock
Even though you’ve switched the yellow gems into a set of three, they lock into place, but they don’t disappear until the cascade has finished. That’s match lock. It’s a very nice feature, giving you more than you bargained for every so often. 🙂
As for the second feature… bad moves. Yup, really – we exploit this for the Switch Glitch. 😉 You know when you make a bad move, the gems move, the game gives you a noise, and the gems move back, right? Well, as far as the game is concerned, those gems are “falling” into position. The Switch Glitch is all about making a bad move on purpose, and using this small amount of time to lock extra gems into position.

Alright, that’s the explanation. Now for some examples. I’ll start off with a simple one. 🙂

Creating Flame Gems with the Switch Glitch
Let’s say you have a set of gems like this:
Switch Glitch - Flame Gem (1)
Pretty irritating, huh? You’ve almost got a Flame Gem there. You could just wave it away and match them into a set of 3, but using the Switch Glitch, you actually can make this into a Flame Gem. I’ll walk you through it.

First, you need to make a bad move involving at least one of the gems that are in the correct position. Since we’ll finish with a set of four in the second column, the gems in the correct position are the two red gems in the centre. So, we should make a move like this:
Switch Glitch - Flame Gem (2)
Weird move, right? 😉 You could also switch either of those red gems left or right. Just as long as that switch doesn’t interfere with your remaining switches. All we’re doing is tricking the game into thinking those gems are falling into place, allowing us to lock our next two gems into a set of four. 🙂

Now, this is where it gets really hard. Before those two gems stop moving, you need to make the moves that would result in a set of four being created. So, those moves would be:
Switch Glitch - Flame Gem (3)
The order in which you do the second and third moves doesn’t matter, but you need to complete moves 2 and 3 before all the gems stop moving. This is what makes the Switch Glitch difficult. It also makes it very risky in some situations. If you fumble it, it can just become a series of bad moves, which can end with your speed chain being broken. And that’s never good. 😉

If the diagrams weren’t enough, here’s a little demonstration of this example:

This isn’t the only pattern that works, though! Just as long as the set of gems is two or three moves away from a bigger match, you can do it. Here are a few more examples:

Switch Glitch - Flame Gem (4)Switch Glitch - Flame Gem (5)Switch Glitch - Flame Gem (6)

The moves shown aren’t the only solutions. There are a bunch of ways to tackle each pattern. 🙂 Also, you might think that you could use the pattern below to make a Flame Gem…

Switch Glitch - Flame Gem (7)

Sadly, that won’t work. Even if you’re fast enough to make all four switches, you need to be able to make at least a match of three with the pattern in a single move, otherwise your remaining switches won’t lock the gems into place.

I’m kinda glad that doesn’t work. Otherwise this’d be a game-breaking glitch. 😀

Creating Hypercubes with the Switch Glitch
Now, Flame Gems are nice, but when the opportunity arises, we really should aim higher. Let’s go for some Hypercubes – the things that aren’t actually Hypercubes, but still the saviour of bad boards and brain freeze. 😀

The technique is the same, but the patterns are rarer and a little more difficult to spot. Here’s a classic sight that used to irritate me:
Switch Glitch - Hypercube (1)
Such a pain, isn’t it? 😛 Sure, with some luck on your side, you could turn this into a Hypercube normally, but… you don’t need luck when you’ve got technique. 😉 Quickly switch this set like this:
Switch Glitch - Hypercube (2)
And you’ll have yourself a beautiful Hypercube. It feels good to pull this off, trust me. 🙂

Here’s a demo of this in action:

Again, this isn’t the only pattern that works. Don’t forget that you can actually match more than five in a row for a Hypercube, too! Also, unlike Flame Gems, it’s possible to come across patterns that can be made into Hypercubes in four switches! But… they’re ultra-hard. 😀 Here are a few more three-switch patterns, and a four-switch pattern.

Switch Glitch - Hypercube (3)
There’re actually two ways to create a Hypercube with this pattern. You probably wouldn’t do it the second way, because it’s way harder, but can you find it anyway? 🙂

Switch Glitch - Hypercube (4)Switch Glitch - Hypercube (5)
Use the Switch Glitch to get six in a row, and receive instant praise from The Voice. 😀
Shame it doesn’t make a Supernova Gem like in Bejeweled 3. 😦

Switch Glitch - Hypercube (6)
Four moves needed for this one. It’s very hard to pull off.

Again, there are several ways to tackle each of these patterns – these are just the way I’d do them. Of course, you might find that you’re comfortable doing them in a different order. That’s perfectly fine – whatever you’re happy with. 🙂

Creating Star Gems with the Switch Glitch
While you’re in-game, trying to match quickly, these patterns are probably the hardest to spot and pull off. At first, I broke loads of speed chains trying to figure out a pattern I saw, so don’t worry if you can’t grasp them right away.

Again, the technique is the same – trick the game with a bad move, then lock the gems into place. Here’s a pattern that you can use:
Switch Glitch - Star Gem (1)
This is probably one of the more easily recognisable ones, but it can still be difficult to visualise the moves you need to make. Here they are:
Switch Glitch - Star Gem (2)

Aaaand here’s a demo of this pattern:

There are loads of Star Gem patterns out there. Don’t forget that you can combine the T or L shape with a row of four gems to get a Flame Gem and a Star Gem in one shot. Some rare patterns let you get two Star Gems at once, and it’s even possible to get a Star Gem and a Hypercube at the same time! 😀 Examples of each of these are below:

Switch Glitch - Star Gem (3)
Star Gem Switch Glitch patterns can really throw you in-game. If you can’t figure it out in about a second, don’t worry about it and just switch it normally, before you break your chain. 🙂

Switch Glitch - Star Gem (4)
You might’ve created a Star Gem and Flame Gem in one move before, but you can do it more often with the Switch Glitch!

Switch Glitch - Star Gem (5)
This kind of opportunity doesn’t come up often, but when it does… 😀

Switch Glitch - Star Gem (6)
THE BEST. This pattern creates an L shape, two T shapes and a plus shape simultaneously, which lands you four Star Gems. This kind of thing is really rare, but if you can focus when it comes up, you will be like: 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

Right, that’s about all I can teach you. Putting the Switch Glitch into practice is up to you. 🙂 But, before I finish, here’re a few tips and things to keep in mind. 🙂

  • I can imagine that not everyone can do this. You need to be quick and have good mouse control, otherwise the Switch Glitch is probably going to wreck your scores rather than boost them. If, even after some practice, you find you’re not quick enough, don’t worry about it. Just play as you normally do. You can still set some awesome scores without this trick. 🙂
  • If you’re finding it difficult to switch the gems you want without overshooting them, I’d recommend reducing your mouse sensitivity while you play. Or, if you have a gaming mouse, try reducing your mouse’s DPI setting, or creating a profile with a low DPI if possible. That’s what I do, personally. 🙂
  • Practice. Just start a game with no boosts, and try creating as many special gems with the Switch Glitch as you can. Try getting Keystone rewards while you practice. You’ll get faster, learn new patterns, and earn some extra coins on the side. 😉 Then when you splurge on a Kanga Ruby 3, a million+ score is probably within reach. 😀
  • When you reach the +1000 speed bonus and the Ignition meter starts filling up, gem movement starts getting faster, eventually making it crazy hard to use the Switch Glitch. It’s still possible, but it may be safer to play normally until Blazing Speed ends or you lose your chain. The gems will move more slowly, then. 🙂 Or, you could slow down and drain the Ignition meter. Maybe even break your speed chain on purpose. But I really don’t recommend that. 😉
  • Oh, about Blazing Speed… while that mode’s active, it’s actually impossible to use the Switch Glitch. Even if you do manage to switch fast enough, it simply doesn’t accept it, and causes an explosion as normal. Just play normally during Blazing Speed, and while you can, create tons of EXPLOSIONS! 😀

I think that’s all. Here’s one final demonstration of the Switch Glitch being used in a full game. 🙂

Aye, I fumbled a few times during this –  I’m not a master of the technique or anything. But it does help my scores! 😀

Anyhoo, hopefully this helped. 🙂 If you have any questions, comments or if you think I missed anything or got something wrong, just drop your message in the comments box. I’ll read ’em. 😉