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Spouse Aggro!

I blog at, write for, run and post all over the net. HOWDY!

Author: beauturkey

Spouse Aggro #90: “Random Good Stuff”

Posted by beauturkey Monday October 26 2009 at 12:30PM
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 Spouse Aggro #90 "Random Good Stuff"

Click here to download or play!


Ah, the coming Winter. Times of chimney smoke, crinkling wrapping paper, late nights with coffee. And gaming, too. Go hang out in a snowy area of your favorite game, go make a virtual snowball and kiss someone with a blast of ice to their arm.

We talk about gaming, True Blood, and Twitter. We have been so busy yapping about so many games, and working on many gaming projects, that we felt like doing a fun show. That's right, a fun show. Tell us what you think!

Write us, or send in a segment. Call the phone line and leave a comment: 972-535-8867


Send emails to spouseaggro at yahoo dot com.

Website found at spouseaggro dot com.

Twitter name: spouseaggro

Skype name: beauturkey


The Turkeys

Games for adults, or games for kids?

Posted by beauturkey Saturday October 24 2009 at 11:59AM
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 Something has happened to me lately, and I am not sure why. I have started to play many of these browser based/low-system requirement/"kids" games more and more lately, to the degree that I played games like Ryzom or Vanguard. I started to wonder if I were having the same kind of fun as I did with the more "serious/adult" titles as I did with the "kiddie" games like Mabinogi, Wizard 101 or Faunasphere.

I am fascinated with how people perceive their gaming. Hell, I am fascinated with how people perceive anything being that life is filled with conflicting examples of something that is "serious" (Star Wars) compared to something that is "for children" (Where the Wild Things Are.) But gaming is such an integral part of my life, as well as the communities surrounding gaming. Actually, I am more into the community aspect of these games than the games themselves a good deal of the time.


So, I just wanted to list some different games and consider why they might be considered a "kids game" or not. I am sure that in the comments I will get conflicting opinions (Star Wars is NOT kids gaming!) about what I write:

1) Star Wars Galaxies: Considered an "adult" game. Why? The graphics, at one time, were considered pretty state-of-the-art. Also, Star Wars is considered "adult" science fiction (I think?) while a movie like, say The Labyrinth, is considered "for kids." In my opinion, the setting of Star Wars is more of a fairy tale than almost anything out there. If you want "adult" science fiction, at least go with Star Trek. That universe is more based in the "science" part than Star Wars. Star Wars is really pretty silly, when you look at the races and main characters. The game had some allure to more "adult" players possibly because of the complexity of some of the systems, and the choices the game provided (and still provides. )

2) Wizard 101: Within one year, Kingsisle gained 5 million players to this game! I can see why, it's a fun game with a surprising depth to it. The story is fun and the action is intense even though it is turn-based. When I visited Kingsisle a while ago, I was so happy to see such talented adults working on such gloriously "childish" things. I watched (and you can see in that video) as animators brought cartoony mounts to life while on the walls hung Fan-Art done by 7 year olds. I know more adults that play this game, although I admit to not exactly corresponding with children on a regular basis. Still, the developers are very aware of their player-base, and it's nice to see everyone having such a good time with the product no matter the ages of the players. What makes it so sticky with adults? I am not sure. The graphics would normally scream "kids game" wouldn't they?

3) World of Warcraft: I am going to wager that this game is played mostly by players over 18. I don't play it, mainly because it is a game with some of the least "to do" out there. In fact, WoW is about as basic as gaming comes, and even the raiding is not more complicated than a good boss fight on a console game. The graphics are actually more childish and cartoony than many F2P games, and the customization is very limited. Why does this game spark such raging passion in it's adult community, then? If it's not that complex, not that deep and not that hard, then why? My guess is that, for most, it is just really really fun. It IS a fun game. Hell, it's a BLAST. The raiding is easy to get into, and the game runs on anything. In a word, it just works. This has attracted many gamers that never would have played before, and with those large numbers you get many more types/different ages of players. Also, the game is popular and has built on it's own popularity. If you have ever downloaded new music to listen to, it more than likely happened because your friend said it was good.

4) Mabinogi: Almost everyone I show this game to thinks it is a kids game, even after seeing how deep the game is. This game has more depth and more things "to do" than pretty much any game out there. I think the graphics turn off many from this game, yet many of them will gladly go right back to WoW which has the graphics of a Cartoon Network show. It's so strange that graphics, or certain styles, can turn off some players because they are just a smidge different than what they normally like.

5) Faunasphere: When asked, the developers told me that the game was played by mostly females between 25-50 years of age. Yet, look at the graphics. It is a flash based cartoony game that allows you to control little animals that destroy pollution with beams of light. The more I play this game, the more I am surprised not only with how much they have achieved with Flash, but by how much the game asks you to do. The other day I was asked to go do (what I thought was) a routine mission, and found myself within a rainy instance fighting a giant monster! It was thrilling! The players of this game probably wouldn't consider this a "kids game" or an "adult" game, and I can see why. This is one of those unique games that floats between genres, play-styles and age ranges.

This blog was fired off by someones comment on one of my blogs. (I can't remember which one.) They said they were in their 40's, and talked about games with "annoying kids." That's strange, being that there is no way to tell someone's age in game, and that there are plenty of jerks from all age ranges. Still, attaching "kids game" to a title can be pretty harmful or can say the wrong thing about the game.

After all, I got news for all of us over 20-something: we are adults. Complaining about kids in an MMO is like complaining about kids at Disney World. Gaming, while not restricted to "young people" only, is something that children do. If your hobby (as mine is) is gaming, then you need to consider it the same kind of hobby as collecting beanie babies, playing dolls or having dirt clod fights. There is nothing "adult" about gaming, minus material that is not suitable for children.

This is not a bad thing, though. During my visit to Kingsisle, I got to see how glorious it really can be when adults have a little fun and be creative. Also, it is always nice to see adults not worrying so much about what genre their game might fit in. As adults, there is nothing funner than letting go of our adult worries and vices for an evening of playing house or playing adventurer. I would love to see all games weighed on the same level playing field, despite being considered for different age ranges.

Now, before anyone comments, I might be seeing these divisions more because I am deeply involved with many communities. I am sure that my vision might be a little clouded by what I read everyday. And I am not interested in these divisions simply because of some need to break them down. In fact, I am fine with calling certain games "kids games" and considering some games "adult games." I am interested in these divisions because many times the math doesn't add up, there is no one measure (besides adult content) that consistently shows if a game is "for kids" or not. Some of the most popular games in the world, casual games, are played by adults yet are nothing more the on-screen equivalent of a colorful, interactive mobile.

Taking "Where the Wild Things Are" as an example again, isn't it considered one of the most successful "childrens books" ever because of adults that still enjoy it and buy it for their children?


Actually, most players are NOT complaining.

Posted by beauturkey Friday October 23 2009 at 12:27PM
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I have been involved in the gaming community/communities for several years. I have become very familiar with many developers, have become friends with some, and have been able to travel and write for many good people. I am telling you, if there is one hobby/part-time job that will allow you access to it's inner-workings, it's playing MMORPG's. Needless to say, after these years I have a pretty good feel as to what the community, spread throughout hundreds of games, does and feels. I am not claiming to be anything but a good estimator, but I pull from quite a few sources. And let me tell you, game to game to game, the community acts in pretty general ways.

Here are some myths that, if judging only by certain game sites/forums/blogs, spell out doom for the MMO industry. First of all, let me say that a good general rule (one that most community managers know about) is the 1 in 10/ 10 percent rule. That rule says that only about 10 percent of your population visits forums, writes about your game, or gets involved with the community. You will find variations on this rule, but it's usually about the same everywhere. A site like represents that 10 percent, spread throughout many games.


1) A game has failed once it has reached a certain number of players: No, it hasn't. A game has failed when it cannot be played. As long as a server is open, that game is doing more than thousands of games that never got to the point of release. Also, if the game had a several year run and then got down to 10k players, consider the entire history of the game or you are only looking at a small part of the picture.

2) MMORPG's are less innovative than the games of the past: Actually, they are more innovative than ever. If you do not think so, you are only familiar with a few or several larger games. Saying this would be like judging a genre of music based solely on it's most popular artists. I would like to say that Hip Hop, for example, does not innovate. But that would be stupid, considering all the garage-practicing Indie Hip Hop bands that will be the next generation or are busy playing live.

3) MMORPG's are less fun now-a-days: This usually comes from some blogger or podcaster that...get this..does not play those older games anymore and instead plays games that are out now. It might sound cool to call yourself a "vet" (despite MMO's short, short, short history) and to think of the original EQ as the best game ever, but I for one do not want to go back to one hour loading times and bug ridden horror-fests.

4) Loot didn't matter back then, and communities were closer: If you think that a player that spent 2 DAYS raiding after a nice sword was freer with his love and his gold than a player that was able to get his in several hours in a less buggy game, then you either very naive, very naive or very naive. Just because we had to sometimes rely on other players for buffs or transportation does not mean that every time you went up to a player providing a service he or she went: "Hi there! I hope all is well, would you like an absolutely free teleport?" The transaction DID go that way many times, but nice things happen these days as well, I assure you.

5) RMT/Cash Shops/Micro-Transactions have ruined MMORPG's: No, they haven't. It didn't happen in EQ2, WoW, EVE, LotRO, or any other game (almost every single one of them) that has had some form of  "You give me money, I'll give you something extra." Players that say that games have been ruined were fine with RMT when they bought an extra account (RMT) extra character slots (RMT) XP Potions (Cash Shoppery) Server Transfers (RMT) Hairstyle/Name changes (RMT) or that shiny limited edition box-set that gave you (you know what's next) special items in exchange for your real life money.

Here is the truth:

Most players are playing. Most players are not writing blogs, posting on forums or hosting podcasts.

Game are more innovative, trying new things and adding more functionality all the time.

There are more games that run on cheaper systems and need lower system specs then there were in the past.

There are more choices as to how to pay, and for how long, than there ever were.

Connections are faster, and computers (even cheap ones) are faster. This has made for better looking games that can be downloaded within hours, if not minutes.

Communities are larger, so the proportion of bad-talk is larger. Also, you have a more-varied playerbase that didn't grow up on PC's like we did, and are still discovering forums, blogs and podcasts.

In other words, the land of MMORPG's IS all sunshine and rainbows. Things are freaking WONDERFUL. I think well all get burned out once in a while, and we all get a little angry (well, some VERY angry) once in a while. Most of us are very passionate and intelligent people. Nerds are wonderfully tolerant of others, and come in all shapes and sizes. But one glance at how much money MMOs made last year will tell you that we are all pretty happy in this community. So next time you are visiting some popular forum or gaming site, and it seems like every post is a complaint or whine, remember that while those players are writing their complaints, most are simply having fun in a game.

Now, I need to go log in. This writing stuff is taking me away from my game!


I still pretend, but differently.

Posted by beauturkey Friday October 23 2009 at 8:23AM
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I don't draw or paint like I used to. First of all, it hurts more now than it ever did. I used to be able to draw for hours and hours, filling up entire grade school days with pages of monsters and then moving on to more emotional artwork in high-school, to the point that my teachers would not even hand me my work and would glance over my shoulder with the other students to see what I would draw. I was a "gifted" student throughout most of my years in school, in advanced classes where we would learn other languages and would perform creative tasks all day for most of the school week. Remember that show "Head of the Class?" That was my classroom experience, but with art. Always with art.

A drawing I did for a poetry book of mine.

But as I have become a full fledged grown-up, with bills, worries and the staple fear of death that we all share, my art has become too slow of a vehicle for my ideas. I can't work on a piece for days  and  days anymore. My ideas aren't that slow, my thoughts don't wait for the perfect line. So, I started to just take a brush and ink and some bristol board and now will just spit out an image and hope it seems like something good. I might construct it more if it seems cool, but usually I set it down and go on to another drawing, or off to read a book. I try to make a stack of 100 or so pieces of board and can do these quick pieces for quite a while until I have 50 or more.

I really, really miss that time of intense, detailed drawing though. Literally I would just sit there in my room, drawing, drawing drawing. I have a copyright that I filed when I was 12 for a character named Kit Krazy. I filled up my entire bedroom with drawings on standard paper, stapled or taped to the wall.

But I can't do it. I still think creatively, if not more so than I ever have, but my mind just doesn't sit still long enough to allow my body to sit still long enough to do the same.

One of my comic book characters.
One of my comic book characters.

My gaming is the same. I don't just play a game, usually. Usually I am trying to play a character, but not as in role-play. (I have covered this more than a few times on my blog.) I am trying to imagine what I would do if I were that character, or try to imagine his back-story. I try to put my own stamp on the game, or else I am just playing in someone elses world, and in someones elses artwork. But I can't sit still in one game, in one world, for too long. I have to keep looking and keep exploring, discovering new details about my character and adding all these details to the character at the core of all of them, the character of me. I have actually used Second Life as a "world" for my "main" character, where he is fully aware of all the other me's floating around in a billion different worlds. I know, I know, it's kind of a "god" move and not really a good thing to do in role-play, but all my characters are me, I can't help it, they have to be connected somehow.

When I was a kid, I would stop and roam around one single idea or story for hours, days or months. I would explore every nook and cranny of a character or an artwork until I decided to try another. But that is, in a way, boring as Hell to me now. It's not like I wouldn't rather work on grand masterpieces that take me a year to complete, it's just that I don't have the stomach or the one-track mind to do it anymore.

Something I did last year. Took 30 seconds and less strain on my wrists.
Something I did last year. Took 30 seconds and less strain on my wrists.

This is why, I think, free-to-play games have resonated with me so well. I can roam all I want, adding new worlds to the list that my "main" has explored. Just like all my artworks tell of some part of me (or at least of some part of me that existed at the time), all these characters have me stamped somewhere on them. The "main" that is me is composed of a million different character, some not even made yet, and has the collected memories of a million different digital experiences.

I had to be honest with myself and ask if it were simple laziness that has stopped me from sitting still for long to draw or to play games, and there is some small bit of that there. But if you look at the thousands of posts I have made (I have almost 4k on the Vanguard forums alone) or the videos I have made (near 70 at last count) and all the podcasts I have been a part of (over 140 episodes or something?) you will see that laziness is not really it. My physical pain from using my arms too much has the most to do with it, that ache that I get within 30 minutes of playing games with certain controls. As I type this my wrists hurt and will need to be soaked in icewater.

A sketch for a book I wrote when I was 13 or so.
A sketch for a book I wrote when I was 13 or so.

So, I really am pretending, playing or creating just as much, if not more, than when I were younger. I just do it in smaller chunks, dedicated to smaller bits of grand ideas. I slowly build up a character, story or drawing rather than try to push it out within an evening or three. And actually, this feels a little more like real life to me, for my characters to be built up slowly, sometimes very slowly. None of us "succeeds" at anything in life overnight, unless it was handed to us, and it should be no different for my characters.

I'm proud to be a mosaic. I'm proud to put my own creative stamp on my gaming and my life. And I'm happy to say that art will always be there for me, and I am sure I will return to it, stronger than ever, soon enough. For now I just want to explore a little bit at a time.


Am I too old for this much fun?

Posted by beauturkey Monday October 19 2009 at 2:28PM
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 This is a sample of everyday conversation that me and my wife have, this particular one done over text message:

Leala: I want the 7-11 pet

Beau: Find me a 7 11

Leala: You are going to have to do some calling

Beau: K

Leala: Or blockbuster

Leala: They have dragons

Beau: K ill look

(At this point Leala tries to sweeten the deal for me. After 10 years with me she still does this)

Leala: If we get a $20 card I can gift you a broom

At this point I went to a local Blockbuster to get her a Wizard 101 ten dollar gift card, one that gave her a blue dragon pet as well. Luckily, they had them. Once Leala is set on her cash shop item, I might as well give in. This is just a typical day for us, playing games or chatting about them. Reading books or talking about what books we read. We watched "Where the Wild Things Are" yesterday, both of us cried. (Well, I did anyway. I think she did.)



And as I played the games during my 24 hour gaming session yesterday (for charity, the mass of which raised over $140,000) I noticed the games that I had the most "fun" in were: Mabinogi (Dragon fights on hot-air balloons!) Faunasphere (building my 'sphere and going to my first "instance") Wizard 101 (killing Halloween bosses!) Free Realms (soccer RULES) and Fusion Fall (platforming, customization and shooting giant monsters, Tabula Rasa style!)

That's not to say that I didn't have a blast in the other games, but just a different kind of blast.

I mean, playing Ryzom is a different experience than playing Mabinogi, and while both are deep experiences, they are different. Many players I know don't even spare a glance to certain "kids games" like Wizard 101 or Fusion Fall. Many people consider those games to be "kids games" and think that the experience they provide is too basic, or too easy for them to enjoy themselves.

Strange thing is, the older I get, the more silly I feel while playing "adult" games like Vanguard or Ryzom. Now, I am not saying in any way that it IS silly, just that I feel a little I am faking it more?...when I play a game made for "adults."

This is hard to explain, but let's see if I can.

When you play a game like Vanguard, it is an immersive experience, you feel surrounded by the world, you feel that same way you do when you are reading a great book. The music stirs you, you get lost in the "play session." And while I think role-play is the ultimate form of play, I do not mean "pretend" role-play. I mean role-play as in "asking yourself what you would do in that situation." That is different than "pretending that you are someone else in a situation," which can more often than not be the definition of role-play.

When I play like I am totally someone else, instead of myself (not this world myself, but if I was that character myself) I feel sillier. I feel that playing completely as someone else, like acting, inside a videogame brings out the fact that the game-world is not real at all. That's something I don't want to do. What I want to do is remember small details about me, for example my real-life allergies, and place those attributes on my character while keeping them in-line with the rules of the pretend world.

At this point I might have lost you. I hope not.

So, playing in a game that is admittedly "pretend", a game with vibrant colors or with absolute wackiness is still very immersive, and possibly more so, because it speaks directly to my real-life self and directly to my FUN which is at the core of the real-life me. In fact, I think most humans have a fun-loving-child at their core, which would explain all of our imaginations and need for gaming and escaping.

Maybe that's why I solo most of the time in "adult" MMO's like Vanguard or Ryzom. I like to role-play, but ironically I find less role-players in those "adult" games, which drives me crazy. One of the most immserion-breaking gaming sessions come from those that are spent with gripey players that "clock-in" to play, or treat it like a job, screaming in chat or acting as though this game is, literally, a second job for them. The best way to make your group-mates feel silly is to take the game too seriously.

Keep that in mind, and ask yourself why you play. Why DO you spend hours running around virtual landscapes? Is it out of some kind of dedication to your online friends? Is it to show off to other players? Or is it to have fun? I imagine for many players it is a combination of all those things some of the time.

I am finding, like I said, that the most fun I have is when I am making have fun. The immersive qualities come out of the game not because of fancy graphics or amazing loot, they come out of my games because of my interactions with other players and with shrugging, giving everything a try, and by keeping a smile on my face most of the time.

So, go act like a kid. I mean, aren't we all just children pretending to be adults? If you want an immersive experience, or at least a very powerful one, have a really fun experience. To me, that is closer to reality (which is what immersion is supposed to feel like) than almost anything I have come across.


Only 11 more hours to go!

Posted by beauturkey Saturday October 17 2009 at 11:41PM
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The 24 hour gaming session is going great and we have exceeded our goal of raising 1,000 dollars for charity! I'm tired, but I know I will be feeling it tomorrow. Ask me around 9 am.

 This reminds me, though, of how much the gaming community gives. Seriously. If you watch for the data coming from Extra Life after the event, you'll see they raise a great amount of money. It goes to show how powerful of a force gamers are, and what they can achieve when even a small amount of them gets together to do something.

 I would like to thank everyone for donating, and I would like ot tell everyone to watch Extra Life for the official numbers afterward, it will impress you I assure you. 

 Now, get back to gaming!! 




My 24 hour gaming list with times.

Posted by beauturkey Friday October 16 2009 at 6:27PM
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Here are the games I will be playing, and in what order. I am not scheduling things like bio's or walking the dogs, being that those are more unpredictable. I will hopefully be able to stream them all day, though. So you will see the stream and see what game I am playing. I might also keep playing certain games longer, or whatever. I'm open to fun before scheduling. You can watch the stream on, or on Also, you can donate to the cause by going to

1) Faunasphere 9-11 AM Name of Beauturkey

2) Dragonica 11-1pm Name of Beau

3) DDO 1-3PM Name of Beauh Turkey on Khyber

4) Mabinogi 3-5PM Name of Beau on the Mari server

5) The Chronicles of Spellborn 5-7PM Name of Beau on the PvE server

6) Ryzom 7-9PM Name of Beau on the Arispotle Server.

7)Runes of Magic 9-11PM Name of Beaugh on the Govinda USA server

8) Wizard 101 11-1AM Named Cass Lionrunner.

9) Earth Eternal 1-3AM Name is Beau Turkey.

10) Ether Saga Online 3-5AM name of Beau, server 9

11) Fusion Fall 5-7AM name of Tristan Spaceflame

12) Free Realms 7-9AM Name of Beau Realmscaster, server 4.

Wish me luck!


The Immersion Project slows down in 3 different games.

Posted by beauturkey Thursday October 15 2009 at 1:43AM
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OK, OK, I know. Any title with "project" in it can sound really pretentious. I have been toying with changing that title for what, a year and a half now? But still, it's for a good cause. Well, if that cause is to get me to look at games differently than I normally do. Well, I already look at them pretty wackily, of course, but you get the picture.

Since it has been a while since I discussed it, the Immersion Project is a series of rules that I first started using in Vanguard. They governed how fast I leveled (if at all), how many breaks my character had to take, and rules concerning logging out. It really changed the way I play, and I used the Rules so much that they have become second nature to me. When I am first in a game, I set the chat window up or get rid of it (I use only local or realistic chat) and try to look for landmarks that help me find my way around. You would be surprised that even with some of the lesser quest descriptions out there you can still find your mark if you pay attention.


So, I wanted to start thinking about how the rules would work in other games. I have already tried them in these other games, but want to quantify them a bit more.

The Chronicles of Spellborn: This game is begging for role-play and begging for more realistic play. There are no mounts, unless you count the shard-ships in between worlds, so travel is already realistic or harsh enough. There is no "camping" ability, really, but there is  something that is nearly as cool: camps and taverns. I will require my character to "rest" at night, either at an established camp or at a tavern. There are generous day/night cycles in game, but I am a little worried about the amount of time to camp. Over the next few sessions (wow, these words I use for play-time) I will check on the timing. There is food in the game, and many of them have natural timers built in that I can use to set a hunger cycle. There could also be realistic trade, or at least realistic hunting/gathering for money, being that my skinshifter can go places that other characters cannot.

Ryzom: I am playing a new trial account in Ryzom to try out the "newbie" experience from the ground up, and it is working just as good as I thought it would. There are fantastic, realistic mounts in the game, but most long-range travel is hard unless you "teleport." Essentially, once you hit a certain transport node you can travel there again as long as you have a ticket on your character. But traveling to that node in the first place is very dangerous, and usually is done in groups for safety. For now I will look into the day/night cycle on the trial island, and will use camps/taverns in a similar way to Spellborn. Your character has to rest, even if you want to make them play for 6 "days" straight! :)

Mabinogi: I tried this really recently, and it actually works really, really nicely because of all the cool choices Mabi provides. You can chop your own wood and make a campsite, your mount stays with you and can be killed, and food actually has a physical impact on your body. Weather effects the world in real time, and stamina plays a role in lots of ways. Funny thing is, I have found that my "more realistic" form of chat works incredibly well because there is no "main" chat channel that everyone screams in. Also, and this is based on a hunch, but the younger players really just roll with role-playing, being that they already chat in such a fantastical way. Day/night cycles are all there, and travel is rarely done in speedy style. This game, by default, already has so many of my Immersion Rules in mind.

So, yeh, it is a little pretentious to call it a "project," but I guess it is one. This is an attempt to slow me down even more than I slow down now. (I play at the speed of a glacier.) This is also an attempt to show others how many systems, like weather for example, have been built into their MMO that gives their game not only depth, but effects the way their character should be acting in game. Next time a snow storm hits, how would your character react? Would he put on heavier clothing or build a fire? These considerations become a game in themselves, but unlike some have accused me from before, this is not an attempt to "make fun" in games that have none.

This is simply an attempt to appreciate the situation that your character is in in the way your character might appreciate it.

It's like role-play, but it is asking you how you would react in that situation, if you were your character. It's different than saying "I am a winged elf, and I have massive powers.." It's a little more humble than that, it's like saying "I have powers, but I am still cautious..." It's also an attempt to look at death penalties, and how our character might really feel about dying. It's an art project, in some ways, a performance piece for an audience of one.

As I was poking around online tonight, I came across another blogger talking about the fault of games and how they are designed to make us go, as fast as we can, to the end game. Of course, this blogger is just another gamer that has also posted about the end game, raiding, and higher levels more often then not. I think we all know that players like him are not exactly stopping to write a bio for their character; more than likely they are adding up numbers to equal perfect DPS.  More blaming of the game, as thought the developers included not a single piece of immersive detail. This is the recent trend, this blaming of the game for all your gaming ills. I have always known that the greatest cause of boredom is a) repetition and b) overlooking detail. We humans have a great capacity for growing used to sights, and gaming is no different.  There is truly something to be said for training yourself to slow down, to pay attention to details more so that you not only enjoy the journey more, but that you no longer look at the speed in which you progress as a measure of your "success." In fact, you might stop looking for "success," period.

I will gather the details, see how they work out. These games are perfect for this kind of "role-play" so I am excited to put away the "M" key, and to print off more of own.


Oh yeh..Darkfall’s new patch.

Posted by beauturkey Wednesday October 14 2009 at 9:37PM
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In my earlier post about all the great things happening in MMO’s, I KNEW I would forget some great stuff. And I did. One of the awesome announcements was shown to me by Jay Jay the Wonder Biscuit, and it seems that they might be putting in some great wandering PVE mobs in the game!

I liked DF when I played it, but to be honest I got sick of the useless chat and the useless dorks running around all the time. The difference between DF and, let’s say EVE, is that CCP was smart to allow players to avoid PVP altogether. PVP is like anything else, fun for a bit, but not something to do during every gaming session. Ironically, there is nothing more immersion-breaking than PVP, especially the kind in DF (you die, you get up, you die, you get up…a FPS basically) but it is set alongside some great environments and systems. Now if they pull off this expansion and add cool PVE mobs, you could actually find plenty to do in the game besides getting annoyed at 18 year old boys that like Slipknot.

It’s good to see the developers be OK with their status as a niche game, and to see them just go to work. How long has the game been out, and how much have they done to it? Brilliant.

I wish the game lots of luck, and hope it sticks around. At this rate, the game will really shine in a year.


So many new reasons to be so excited about MMO's.

Posted by beauturkey Tuesday October 13 2009 at 8:24PM
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I guess I am kind of a "glass half full" guy. After all, we are talking about video games right? Still, I can totally understand some players getting very angry at their favorite developer or game. I mean, we spend hours upon hours crafting our characters, and even the hardest of the hard-core number-crunching raid-a-holic grows to love their character. When sudden changes ruin what we thought our character was supposed to be, or when games fail at doing things that we wanted them to do, it can make us a little sore.

Perhaps that's why my nomadic play-style works so well for me. I don't grow so attached to just one thing, one world, one game. Ironically, I love and develop my characters more than most players I know, but I think I have developed an acceptance of change as I have in life. In fact, I look at nerfs/class changes/game changes as an opportunity for my character to overcome something.


Having said all that, there are many GOOD changes and new things a'happenin'. I am being totally serious when I say I get giddy hearing about stuff like this. I mean, many of my friends are involved in game-making. Many of the coolest people I know play these games, as well. We have all worked together and built a pretty cool community of Twitterers, bloggers, pod-casters, developers, writers and designers. We should be proud. And it makes me excited to hear of these "indie/underdog" games doing cool things. I want to extend my congrats to those developers that are working their asses off for us, and I would like to tell them that they need to keep their chin up, and that there are plenty of people that appreciate their originality and hard-work. Even the haters do, trust me.

So let's talk about some of the recent movings that have me so excited:

1) DDO F2P doing purdy darn good: A nice lil article talking about DDO's recent success shows that F2P is (like I have always said hehe) a viable option. It is not something that is dirty, a cheat or that contributes to the downfall of games. I am so happy to be seeing this game NOT going away. This is by no means me claiming that the game is massively huge and filled with millions of players, but this is me pointing out that success can mean different things and can scale to different games.

2) Ryzom and ANOTHER new patch:  OK, what the heck? The game is getting patched up more in the last few months in the last 3 years! Gee Whilikers, this is more exciting to see because I have always pulled for this game, and knew that with some development it would not only step into "modern" MMO'ing but would be a game to look at for amazing ideas that other games should try. At this rate, all my dreams might come true for this game. Well, maybe not the one where I get a Gubani mount, but still...

3) Vanguard gets mentoring: Not that many high levels would want to show my noob butt around, but this is cool. I honestly was so scared that VG might start fading fast, especially the worse I saw some of the community become. No one seemed to actually enjoy the game anymore, but that might have been the result of some kind of tunnel vision I had by being too immersed in that community. This is still one of the classiest "real" MMO's out there, still looking good and still feeling HUGE. Good job, guys!

4) Mabinogi gets hot air balloons and MORE content: People that don't understand need to listen up: F2P games often update themselves in faster and BIGGER ways than subscription based games. They have to. If they didn't, you just leave the game and never come back,because  after all you didn't pay anything. And Mabinogi must be one paranoid game, because they update the heck outta' themselves. Hot air balloon dragon fights? Yep. New lands? Check. More skills to add to your 4 billion other fun skills? YESSSSS.

5) I dinged level 20 in The Chronicles of Spellborn: OK, technically this has nothing to do with you. But heck, I wanna' brag. While I wish the game hadn't been forced to go F2P and the original dev team forced to go elsewhere, this is a golden opportunity to play one of the most original titles out there. Take your time, enjoy the lore, meet some people, go exploring. An amazing game, still. I think that around the beginning of next year it will come out as a "true" F2P game with a cash shop element, and there might be a character wipe. Still, PLAY THIS GAME. And if you are one of the dev's that has read this blog before, know that it is my DREAM to interview one of you. Even off the record. Man, I got so many questions! :)

6) Wizard 101 talks mounts: Me and Leala covered the new mounts for a bit ago, but man are they going to be a success. I want to buy 4 of them. No, 18. No, 439. I will buy them all and line them up and name each one and make a parade of awesomeness. Mounts are not really needed, being that travel time is low in the game, but I adore the fact that they will be PURE BRAGGING RIGHTS. Yes, please, may I spend 400 dollars?

7) Earth Eternal goes into open beta! This lil gem of a game runs right out of your browser, or once downloaded can be ran as a stand alone client. Furries? Yeh, but not that way. Only 4 classes, but once you are done customizing your character, you will fight like none other. Great stuff!

There's more good stuff out there, but I really need to cook some supper.

If you have had a recent burn-out, or recently wrote a gripey blog about how MMO's suck, TRY MORE. Take your time, explore. Literally avoid leveling for a while. Role-play. Write a character bio. HAVE FUN. Right now is a time of development in MMO's, and by that I mean community-wide. Developers are learning from us, we are learning from them, communication lines are more open than ever before thanks to Twitter, podcasts and really cool companies like Kingsisle.

This is Christmas come early. The new year will bring so much, I can feel it.

And no, I'm not drunk.


Mabinogi Archery: The Way it Should Be Done.

Posted by beauturkey Monday October 12 2009 at 11:25AM
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My games list is ever-changing, filled right now with 3 closed beta's, about 8 F2P standards and even 2 subscription based games. There are some games that are always on there, and Mabinogi is one of them. Why? I don't know, being that when I tell people that have seen the game, they laugh. But I am telling you, as a blogger and gamer that has read more complaints about the lack of a "sandbox" game and the lack of originality in the MMO world, that Mabinogi has more to offer than most games.

Is it perfect? Of course not.

The biggest block is the look of the game. Nexon'x Min Kim talked about keeping the technological limits small, so that more people could play your game, and keeping your engine light is one way to do that. The engine looks nice, though, it has a real charm once you get used to it. The click-to-move is another. I have seen what click-to-move does to someone that has never given it a chance to grow on them. It creates confusion, then hatred, then mocking.

But give it time, and you see that not only does the game have more "sand-boxy-ness" than any game out there, but they are adding more sand-boxy-ness all the time. They are also expanding the game all the time, and all of it completely free without any velvet rope.


Archery is one of those systems that I am finally getting my grip on. I put it off for a while, instead raising my Smash skill ( a melee hit) and then trying out cooking/crafting and then obsessive pet collecting (100 bucks worth) but now that I am working on my archery, I am glad.

It's not "realistic" really, and I've yet to find a very "realistic" archery system (Darkfall comes close maybe?) but I am not even sure how you could make a realistic archery system. It's better to go for fun, I think. Here is a rough video that I found on YouTube showing some of the basic archery in battle. I will break it down for you after-wards:

1) You activate the ability. With basic abilities, like your basic archery attack, you just click on the mob while having a bow equipped. On fancier abilities you must click the ability button first, then target the animal.

2) Targeting can be tricky to get used to, but the best way to target something is to hold down CTRL. This will put a dotted, flexible line from you to your target. You can see in the video where the player gets the dotted line on the wrong target. You can also just click on the target, too.

3) You pull back the bow and it counts up in percentage. When it gets to 99 percent it will fire automatically, or you can let it go any point. More powerful abilities take longer to build up but can cause much more damage.

4) After you hit, the animal will react. Much of the time, the animal (or human in PVP!) will bend over in pain, fall back, or react the way many of us would react if we just had a piece of wood slammed into us. Then, though, the target will come after you.

5) When you get hit, you react as well. You can have your shots interrupted, you can be knocked back or can get knocked down. Again, Mabinogi represents combat better than most MMOs.

If you read a guide or follow some kind of walk-through, then you might find yourself just following some kind of boring path to higher levels. But, if you do like me and look for appropriate animals to attack through trial and error, you will have a lot of fun "hunting." The combat in Mabinogi is surprisingly deep, you don't just run up to mobs/click on them/hit buttons. You have to make sure that you are using decent abilities, you have to watch your reaction time, and have to consider where you are and what other mobs might pull.

I have heard the Mabinog combat as being described as "slow" or "boring." But it's actually a brilliant combination of speed, paper-rock-scissors, and strategy. The fight can last for a good while, sometimes, and sometimes you will find multiple tactics to work. I hate to say it, but it's a "thinking mans" combat.

I still hold firm in the belief that if Mabinogi looked different, like a LotRO or a Vanguard, that people would claim it was the second coming. But who knows? It's there, it's free, just waiting to be tried. Go for it.


The "AAA' game is a lie.

Posted by beauturkey Wednesday October 7 2009 at 5:15PM
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I have a good friend, Cindy, and she likes Aion. I played with her one night in Beta, and played a few other nights in the beta. Even though it was just beta, and I forgave the few issues, the game just isn't my cup of tea. I have another friend that plays in LotRO every night. While I enjoy the game, it is by far not one of my favorites.

Does this mean that something is wrong with me? Something might be off with my tastes? No, not at all. This means that I am a normal, healthy gamer.

But I hear so much talk about the "AAA" games that for a while I thought that I must be mad to consider some "non-AAA" games better than most "AAA" games. But what does "AAA" mean? To get a definition, I guess I'll get to Google. Good ole' Google.

(Looks for a few minutes. Stops after realizing that there are 5 billion definitions for the word, just like he thought.)


See, many popular words that are thrown around in gaming are defined by the individual. There are general definitions, though. In example, I asked one of my friends to stop using the word "retarded" because it was offensive when he used it to mean "people that suck." Retarded people do not suck just because they are retarded. Retarded people, just like non-retarded people, have different levels of suckage. His general use of the word "retarded" to mean "people that can't play games" was, in a word, stupid. He said he meant the literal meaning of the word, the one that means a "slow person."

If he expects me to believe that, while in the heat of a raid he screams out "...You RETARD!.." that he meant "...You are slow to respond, sir..." then he must think that I am stupid.

It's the same with "AAA". There are literal meanings for it, but in MMORPG's, it is simply referring to the largest games with the most success and the biggest budgets. But, that definition doesn't even fit most games. That fits World of Warcraft. WoW is the largest subscriber-based game out there. While there are many games that make WoW's 11 million players look like chop suey, that's 11 million people paying every month. So, does the profit equal success? ONE type of success, sure. How about critical success? How about a game with more players? Maple Story has somewhere around 10's upon 10's of millions more players than WoW. Would they play if it were not free? I don't know. Would they play it is was not FUN?

So why do people throw around "AAA" for games like LotRO, or for CoH, when there are F2P games not only making more money, but also holding onto to MILLIONS more players than those titles? Yet, those F2P titles are not considered "AAA"? Tell that to Nexon's accountant.

Could "AAA" be referring to the players experience? I think so, in most ways. When people say " was a AAA game.." they probably mean that the experience was more shiny, polished, finished, know, a nice well rounded experience that worked and worked well. Again, it's more opinion that describes more games that are not considered a "AAA" experience.  Also, that's like saying "good art." There is no such thing as "good art." There is just art, but saying that a work is good or bad (do I really need to say this?) depends completely upon the viewer. I will promise you that if I had all the magic power in the world and could magically show you what every single person thought of the greatest works of art in the world, there would be plenty that considered those masterpieces to be total wastes of space. So, who is right?

"AAA" should just be considered a general term, like "cool" or "neat." Just saying those words means " my opinion." It is a given that the person using those words is giving you their side of the story, but since they are talking about something as light as entertainment, they do not need to give you more details.

Bob: "How was that band last night?"

Steve: "They were cool."

Bob: "OK, I'll go check 'em out. What'll it hurt?"

So let's not use "AAA" to mean anything deeper. "AAA" has no literal measure or quantity. It is not talking about budgets or number of players, or even profit alone, so it cannot cover all games out there to it's candle of success. There are games that cost near nothing that make millions, and games that cost millions that are now gone forever. There are games like WoW that have millions of players, yet players like me think that the game is fun but only has the depth of many basic MMOs. My gut feeling is that players use the term "AAA" to describe some kind of hopeful wish, as in "This new game looks "AAA", it will be the WoW Killer" without knowing what a WoW Killer would even look like, play like, or be like; as though being the biggest game out there is somehow the only measure of quality.

Maybe that's it? Maybe "AAA" has become the new term for the burnt out gamer, the player that grows tired of games as soon as the first ding hits. Maybe "AAA" is something they are looking for, a badge they hang on a figment of their imagination? Perhaps it is just a set of three letters, that mean absolutely nothing, unless framed within a very specific conversation, like "biggest player-base" or "most profit"?  Whatever it means, I never use it. I think that it's about as silly as saying "..that guy is retarded for liking bad art."


12 games, 2 hours a piece. For charity!

Posted by beauturkey Wednesday October 7 2009 at 2:39PM
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I had to sit down and decide what games I would be playing for my 24 hours of gaming. In case you didn't see the previous post, we will be helping to raise money for Texas Children's Hospital by participating in the 24 hours of gaming event! If you would like to donate, go here.

So, I decided on playing 12 games for 2 hours a piece. Actually, 2 hours is about what I spend in most games daily, so this would not be that far of a stretch. Also, I wanted to give people a glimpse into my to-and-from play-style. I will be streaming the whole event, either on cam or on screen capture, so you can watch me fall apart slowly. Note to self: no alcohol. That is a sure-fire way to crash early.

So, here's my list. I will be editing the times to allow for downtime, bathroom breaks and maybe for other people joining me:

1) Ryzom

2) Runes of Magic

3) DDO

4) Mabinogi

5) The Chronicles of Spellborn

6) Ether Saga Online

7) Dragonica

8) Wizard 101

9) Earth Eternal (if it's in Open Beta) or zOMG!

10) Faunasphere

11) Fusion Fall

12) Free Realms

So, join up and play along with me. Keep an eye out for an arrangement of times. And if you would like, donate to help the cause! See you then!


Spouse Aggro# 89:"Wizard 101 Wins Why? and GDC Wrap-Up."

Posted by beauturkey Saturday October 3 2009 at 7:40PM
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Spouse Aggro #89

Download/Play here!

(Will open in a new window so that you are not taken away from this wonderful website! ) 

"Wiz 101 Wins Why? and GDC Wrap-up."

Yeh, yeh, we know. It's been a month. But during that month, we got out more articles, reviews and blog posts than we have done before. The audio podcast is just part of the larger picture of Spouse Aggro/Turkey Inc.

We talk for an hour about Wizard 101 and how it might have achieved such success, and talk for a while about the general vibe from GDC. Developers seemed to be in two camps: those that were scared of Blizzard and those that made games that had nothing to do with the standard subscription based model and so were doing very well.

It's something to consider: why do some of these games do it while others fail?

Write us, or send in a segment. Call the phone line and leave a comment:



Send emails to spouseaggro at yahoo dot com.

Website found at spouseaggro dot com.

Twitter name: spouseaggro

Skype name: beauturkey


The Turkeys

I'm taking a stand. Against myself.

Posted by beauturkey Saturday October 3 2009 at 12:28AM
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how-to-get-rid-of-messy-computer-cables The thought occurred to me as I looked through more websites for a new graphics card. I caught a bad case of deja-vu, being that I have been through this process probably 6 or 7 times, each time "upgrading" to a newer, shinier card. Each new upgrade brought the promise of better graphics, but not much else.

If you think about it, that's about all you are getting with a new card: better graphics. More detail. Higher res textures. Better spell effects. And yes, it will take a lot of the pressure off of your CPU. But every year we get a new one, or a new tower. I did start to look at towers, too. Started to add 'em up, getting ready to slam down another grand. Not a process I look forward to.

Not for now, though. I am going to try something, and it makes me feel kinda' good.

I am not going to get a new card for this machine. No more ram, nor a bigger monitor. If I need all that fancy stuff, I will go play on the bigger machine that Leala is always on. In the meanwhile, I am going to see what games will work, what games won't and what games are fun to play on this machine. But first, let me give you the stats to show what I am working with. Bear in mind that my old card was a Gforce 7900. She game me a solid year or two of playing:

AMD Athlon 64, 3500 processor.

2 gigs RAM

160 GB Hard drive

Audigy Sound Card

As for the graphics card now, I went out and plunked down 40 bucks for this Nvidia Geforce 8400. It is basically like an on-board graphics chip that needs no extra power plug-in. It is really just a few steps above a graphics chip, thus the price. So far it runs all my usual games, but the CPU usage has gone WAY up, which is to be expected. The card isn't doing all of the work as it used to: the CPU is pulling more weight.

Luckily, I have been on this browser based games/ indie game kick lately, and loving it. I am seeing how graphics make the game, and finding myself getting lost in games that are 2-D sprite fests as much as I ever did in Vanguard or Ryzom. It seems to me that you can kind of train yourself to expect a certain level of graphical sheen to allow a good time to be had, but as with art or music you can un-train yourself to look past the superficial and to the heart of the game. Is the game-play good? Does it have a cool back-story? Does the community make the game better?

I am concerned about the trend to pump more money into my PC. We have done it constantly over the last 10 years and I'm sick of it. While we can afford it, it just feels clunky, unnecessary, a bloated process of plugging things in, installing things, buying more power or longer cords. All to allow the games to look better, while the best game-play I have found as of late has been found in lower (graphical) quality games.

I don't know, we'll see how it goes. To be honest, I want to just go plunk down 500 bucks and grab a tower with a decent graphics chip. Nowadays the cheap PC's are yesterdays powerhouses. I don't care about seeing every pore on the characters face. I don't need to see every little beam of light. While there is nothing wrong with that pursuit, something I have done myself for years, I am not wanting to do it now.

Ask yourself, seriously, why World of Warcraft or on the not-so-other-hand, Wizard 101, have become successful. Think about it. What did they do that worked? Besides fun game-play, they allowed people to do things together easily and made the game run on as many different systems as possible.  I truly believe that the lower system requirement is the main reason why both games are doing very well. Game-play is second. If you can't run it, then forget it altogether.

So, I will be listing the games that I try very soon. I will clean this machine off a bit, get rid of the Vanguards and EQ2's and save the big machine for those, and see what adventure I can find on this machine.

Sorry, Best Buy. I am going to avoid coming in and spending another thousand dollars with you this year. You had me for the last 10, for a while at least I am going to play with what I got.