Thursday, 14 November 2013

Smash Bros NFC

It's been a while since I made a post. New job, busy, blah blah, crappy excuses. I've been writing, which is the weird thing, but most of it's gone in the Day 1 journal app I've been testing out, and none of that gets pushed online. Anyway, I'm hoping I can find a better balance between here and there and get some more thoughts out in the universe. Ok, enough on that, this one's been brewing in my head for a while.

As I've said countless times, I love my Wii U. I use it all the time, and after a bit of a bumpy year, there are some truly great games out for the system, and more on the horizon. The Gamepad is awesome for someone like me! I enjoy spending evenings playing video games and chilling with my girlfriend and our puppy. We have a TV upstairs too, but it's nicer to spend some time together. The Gamepad allows me to play off-TV if she doesn't feel like watching what I'm playing, and if she does feel like watching, or is reading or something, the Gamepad has some other cool features that some games take advantage of, and some don't. And that's fine, as long as the game plays well, I really don't car if a developer shoehorns in some new, exciting way to use the gamepad screen. One thing that has been bugging me, however, is the lack of attention that the NFC reader is getting. I think I've come up with a pretty cool solution for that problem.

Nintendo loves when people get together in the living room and play games. They're all about being in the same physical space, interacting, and having fun with real human beings. Online is improved with Wii U, but Nintendo is still doing it a little differently. Again, that's fine. I'm digging MiiVerse and any game I've played online so far works really well. Back to the living room thing. With Wii, we could upload a handful of our Mii characters to a Wii Remote and take that to a friends house. I think you might see where I'm going with this. The Gamepad is a little (ok, a lot) too big and fragile to start lugging around to a friends house. Plus you can't sync up more than one. Therefore, I think Nintendo should release what I'll call a Mii Coin. This little coin, preferably shaped like a coin from Mario, but really there could be multiple styles from different franchises (a Rupee from Zelda, a Star Fox inspired military badge, a Metroid inspired lightning bolt coin, a pokeball shaped coin, etc), would store not only you Mii's information, but also profile data from compatible games. I'm inspired by the Wii Fit Meter, which is now always attached to my hip, to think of something small and cheap, that would always be on you and easy to take from one friends house to another, keeping your stats and experience wherever you go.

For an example, I thought of Smash Bros for Wii U. Imagine this. You buy your coin alongside the game. It's $10 - $20 to keep in line other NFC toys (Skylanders/Infinity) and not too expensive to if you lose it you're going to lose sleep over it. You go home, pick your favourite character and start learning moves, customizing your controls to the way you like them, and building your stats. Maybe there's a levelling system in this version, that allows you to unlock new features, characters, or costumes depending on your level. That weekend your friend invites you over for a Smash tournament. You start up the game, click Transfer on the home screen, and tap your Mii Coin on the Gamepad's NFC square, transferring your stats, control preferences, etc over to the the Coin instantly, and you're good to go. When you get to your friends house, fire up the game, hit the transfer button, and the game tells each person to tap their Coins (if they have them). After the tournament, simply reverse the process, collect your stats, and sync back up when you get home. When you transfer your stats, your friend also has the option of saving your Mii character to their system, so they'll see you when they're playing Wii Sports HD, etc.

Obviously this example is just scratching the surface of what this thing could be used for. Custom made characters and stages in games could be brought with you anywhere you go. Profiles in FPS games could be transferred over so two people can play online and you don't have to use "Guest 1's" crappy default load outs. It's a simple idea, but it's something that I think would get people excited about going to a friends house to play games, keep their progress and records, and actually use a pretty cool feature that's literally just sitting there under our thumbs.

What do you think? Can you think of any uses for Mii Coins that maybe I missed completely? Dumb idea, cool idea. I want to know!

Monday, 16 September 2013

Disney Infinity

Apparently I took half of the summer off of writing. Now that the fall gaming flood is upon us, I figure I should probably get back to it. I'll start with a sort of review of Disney Infinity. I haven't played through all that Infinity offers yet, so this is more along the lines of an in-depth impression, since I have put several hours in to the game.

I'll start off by saying I'm a bit fan of Skylanders. It's a guilty pleasure of mine. I like the simple platforming/action gameplay, I think the character designs are cool, and I think it was such a great idea to make real life toys come to life in the game. I am fully aware the toy thing is a gimmick, but I find Activision really found a way to make it feel less gimmicky. The ability to use your Skylanders figures essentially as you "lives" in the game makes swapping and choosing figures an integral part of the experience. I haven't gone crazy collecting every single figure like some people have, but I have a few and like I said, it's a guilty pleasure when I'm looking for a simple game.

With that out of the way, I wasn't 100% sold on Disney Infinity when it was first announced, and to be honest, even after launch it took me a while to warm up to it. It just felt like a "me too" kind of deal, and I was already happy with Skylanders, so why did I need a new "figure" game? After my girlfriend caught wind of Infinity and realized what it was all about, she was actually the one that talked me in to getting it. I'll get in to the different sets and things in a bit, and I have to say, overall I've been enjoying the game, but it does feel like more of a gimmick than Skylanders does so far. I can say, for the most part, the comparisons between Skylanders and Infinity pretty much start and end with the use of figures. The games are completely different in style, execution, and pretty much every other aspect I can think of.

The problem I'm having with Infinity it is that the toys are only playable in their own sets. The game comes with 3 toys and 3 sets, Monsters U, Pirates, and The Incredibles. Sadly, you can't just go ahead and take Sully or Mr. Incredible in to the Pirates play set and have them sail the seas with Jack Sparrow, so if you want to play multiplayer you're forced to spend another $30-35 on an extra set of characters. Unlike Skylanders, which allows you to swap out characters at will, once you place your figures on the Infinity base and start your game, there's really no reason to move them until you want to play another set. Like I said, I felt like swapping characters in Skylanders helped me feel like having a collection of figures played in to the strategy of the game. With Infinity I'm reminded how useless the figures are most of the time. I'm aware you can save experience on your figures, and bring them to a friends house, so I suppose if I was doing that sort of thing I'd like it better, but my figures stay at home.

The only way Infinity redeems itself with the use of figures is in the Toy Box. In Toy Box, you're basically left to do whatever you want. You can create worlds, games, and pretty much anything your imagination can come up with. You can also download created worlds directly from Disney and other players. In this mode, you can also swap figures when you want, and all the characters can play together from different sets. This mode is really cool, and I haven't even scratched the surface of it to be honest, so I won't talk about it too much more.

Overall, I find Infinity's use of figures a little bit gimmicky, but to be honest I'll be fine with that as long as they keep releasing sets that expand the game without having to buy a new base or main disc. It can be pricey, but it's fun and there's a ton to do. Like I said, the sets are $35 each, and each of them gives you a full game to add to your collection. Each individual set is like picking up a whole new game. The Pirates set is an action adventure game with platforming, wall running, swashbuckling action, AND awesome sea battles. Incredibles is a straight old school beat em up. I love it! Monsters U is more of a stealth prank game, with some really fun and different tasks to achieve. These three packed in games are really like getting three separate games, so the price really seems to be worth it when you factor that in, plus remember the endless possibilities of Toy Box mode. Purchasing the Cars set gives you two characters and an open world racing game for $35. It's not bad at all, and I think I'll keep getting different sets based on some of my favourite movies as long as they keep releasing them.

To close, I think Infinity is a great game. It's a little expensive to get things set up, but once you have the main set and some extra figures for multiplayer, and realize how much there is to do in the game, it really has a great value. Buying extra sets for $35 is cheaper than buying a new game, but feels like one. One final gripe I do have with the game is the use of power disks for in game items and exclusive power ups. I actually don't mind the concept of power disks too much, but they come in blind bags. At $5 for a bag of two, they're not too bad, but buying 4 bags over the past few weeks I've ended up with three duplicates of one disk, and two duplicates of another. I will not buy another blind pack. Screw that, I have other things to spend my hard-earned money on. Open the packs up, let me chose which ones I want, and I'll spend the money, but until then, sorry, I'll deal with the built-in power ups and items. Despite a few kinks, I think Disney Infinity is going to be a fun game and a good value overall, and I think it's going to be a great success. Now just bring on the Marvel sets, shut up, and take my money!

- Mark

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Wii U Problems

I'm going to start this off by saying I absolutely love my Wii U. I don't regret the purchase at all, and I've played some great games on the system so far. I think the Game Pad offers some great new ways to interact with games, and at the very least, being able to play games off screen in the TV is being used is amazing. That being said, I understand why Nintendo is having a crap time selling them. Their latest financial report showed they only sold 160,000 units in the last 3 months. That's bad. They actually sold more Wii systems over that same time period. It's understandable though, for a couple of very simple reasons.

The first, price. The Wii U Deluxe bundle is $350, only has a 32 GB hard drive, and compared to the much more powerful PS4 that's coming in at $400 in a couple of months, it's not a great bargain. Nintendo shot themselves in the foot with the high price of the 3DS, and now people are expecting a similar price drop for the Wii U. I know people that are holding out anticipating a price drop, and I think even dropping the price by $50 could do a lot for Nintendo's public image. $50 cheaper than a much more powerful system doesn't entice many people to buy. $100 cheaper could give the Wii U the same kind of advantage with younger audiences whose parents just want a babysitter for their kids and will go with the cheapest option. The PS4, as it stands now, is worth the $50 for a Bluray player alone. $100 cheaper could also mean core gamers won't have a problem picking it up as a secondary system just for the Nintendo exclusives, which leads in to my next point...

GAMES! Bloody hell I've been making the most out of any Wii U game I've picked up. New games are coming, but not much that will entice people to pick up the game until later in the fall. There are some cool games coming out in the next couple of weeks, and I know I'm excited for Pikmin 3 and Wonderful 101, but I don't think they're system selling games. However, a price drop now could make some people, like the many people I know that are waiting for either a price drop or Super Smash Bros (or both) pick up the system now, just to make sure they get one before the holiday rush, and they'll likely pick up a few games as well, helping software sales and showing third parties that developing for the Wii U isn't a losing battle.

Nintendo has stated before that they sell Wii U at a loss. That's not uncommon for game systems, for anyone that doesn't know, because they eventually bring the costs of technology down and recoup their costs with licensing fees and volume over time. Nintendo isn't used to selling systems at a loss, but they've also said they recoup the cost if they sell one game with the system. Dropping the price a bit will make their loss per system a little worse, but with a lot of great looking games coming out over the next few months, there's little chance they won't be selling 1, 2, or even 3 games per system. They just have to get the system in people's homes. Hell, they could even do a fall promo. Buy and register two games, get $10 eShop credit for free. This kind of thing could not only encourage people to pick up multiple games, but also encourage them to try out the digital games on the eShop or Virtual Console, helping bring indie developers to the systems, or showing off how great older games play on the Game Pad.

I think the Wii U has a lot of potential, and I hate seeing poor sales due to Nintendo being stubborn on a price point that seemed high before the PS4 was announced, and now just seems ridiculous. Learn from the 3DS. It's arguably the best system out there right now, but it had to get past its growing pains, horrid sales, and a massive price drop to get there.

I don't think the Wii U's price needs to drop that much, $50 should work, $100 would be a no-brainer. What do you think? If you haven't picked up a Wii U, what would encourage you to do so, if anything?

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Animal Crossing: New Leaf Review (sort of)

It's so hard to review a game like Animal Crossing: New Leaf. No matter how you describe it, I find it never sounds fun. Not even remotely. I remember first hearing about Animal Crossing back in the Gamecube days and wondering what all the fuss was about. I picked the game up and the next several months were a blur. The real world blended with the town my siblings and I created in the game. Dinner conversations were a mix of real world events and discussing who was moving out of town and how many bells (in-game currency) turnips were going for that day. A few iterations later, the game still has the same hold over the people I find playing it. My girlfriend, who didn't get the hype at all leading up to the game's launch a few weeks ago, reluctantly bought it on launch day with me, and has clocked in around as many hours as I have. We're hooked. We love it. It's already topping the most played list on our 3DS systems. I still don't think I can describe the game in a way that will make any Animal Crossing virgins who might be reading this want to play it. I'll try, briefly, because I so desperately want more towns to go visit. 

For those unfamiliar with the series, you start the game on a train, headed to a village where you're planning on settling down. The game randomly generates villages, and you get to pick one that looks good. It also determines what you will look like through a series of questions presented to you by a cat. When you  arrive in town in this game, there's some sort of mix-up and you become the mayor. You pick a spot for your house, and the characters in your village start explaining things. There's really no guide after that though. You can chose to build up your house, do different projects around the town, talk to other villagers, shop in the stores, etc. The more you do, the more options are presented to you. 

The big hook of the game is that it runs on a real-world clock. That means if it's 4 pm in the real world, it's 4 pm in the game. The villagers go on and things happen even if you're not there. If you let the game go too long, you'll notice weeds and garbage around your town when you get back. You may even find some pesky roaches have moved in to your house. It's a good incentive to check in every day. 

The game can get off to a slow start, for people that don't know the benefits of continuing on with the game. At first you have very limited options on what you can do, but as you build up different stores, locations, landmarks, and projects, the game becomes more rewarding, and collecting and unlocking various things becomes an obsession. It's kind of like The Sims I suppose, which I've also never found to be very appealing on paper, but once you get in to it it becomes almost a second life. 

On the 3DS, the game looks and plays great. Even when visiting other players towns online, the game responds very well and keeps a great framerate. The online features are a welcome additions, and visiting other towns and collecting guest houses via Streetpass is one of my favourite things to do in this new version. 

Overall, I can't say Animal Crossing is a game that's going to be fun to play like a Mario game is. I find it's good in short bursts, which is why I opted for the digital download version. It's always on my system, so when I'm finished playing something else, I can pop open Animal Crossing, check what I want to do for the day, then move on to another thing. I've been very impressed with the sheer amount of things that keep happening in this game, and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a reason to keep their 3DS handy for the foreseeable future.

- Mark

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

E3 Post Presentation Thoughts

The big console makers have had their presentations, E3 is officially off and racing, and us gamers are left to gather our thoughts after receiving a mind-blowing amount of information over a 48 hour period. So... THOUGHTS! 

I've already posted on the Facebook page about my initial impressions from some of the events so far. My overall feeling is... underwhelmed. I was a bit shocked by this feeling, so I went back and read about the announcements and watched some videos of things that transpired over the last couple of days to try to figure out why this E3 just isn't getting my motor running like it has in previous years. There were some great looking games shown. Two new systems are hitting the market this fall. Why am I not jumping up and down like a 4 year old in Disney World? I think the answer is... the Internet. 

The online world, bloggers, news sites, social networks, even MiiVerse. They all contributed to my expectations being set a little too high I think. You can't really hide much these days. Nintendo, a company that used to be great at hiding things, have had to show pretty much every card they have leading up to E3, because they need reasons for people to buy a Wii U, and showing off upcoming games could be one of them. We knew of pretty much every game except Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. We hadn't seen footage up until now of Mario World or Smash Bros, but we knew they were coming. Mario 3D Land was one of the best mobile games I've ever played. I think I need hands on to convince me that a cat suit and shiny graphics are going to live up to, or surpass, the amazing console experience I got from Mario Galaxy. Mega Man in Smash Bros was a huge announcement that I didn't actually expect to see, but with Mega Man games hitting the Virtual Consolea every week, I kind of figured Nintendo and Capcom were up to something, and even had a chat with some people a couple of weeks ago about how likely his inclusion was.

Sony and Microsoft, as I've said many times before, are going to keep butting heads about the future of high powered gaming consoles. For me, it's become a little boring. Sure, the games all look amazing, but most of the games shown I had already heard about, read about, seen, etc. Many were current gen games with a coat of shiny polish. New COD, new Battlefield, new "Insert Sports Title here", usual batch of launch title racing games... Is that enough for me to jump on a new bandwagon right away? Do graphics really add anything new to the amazing experiences we've seen on 360 and PS3? Judging by how many technical issues both companies had in their presentations, maybe not. Especially in the case of Xbox One, if my Internet goes down or gets a little choppy, will my game run as smoothly with the cloud there to help? Will Xbox One gain as much traction this gen as it did in the last? I got an Xbox 360 because that's what my friends got. It was cheaper, and had Halo and Gears of War and Live was a great service. With so many restrictions, will people care, or will they move to Sony?

Clearly Sony has the upper hand now, after taking so many public shots at Microsoft, but Halo is a system-seller, and MS was smart to at least show a tease for that. I'll probably hold off on getting those new systems and see how things pan out. I picked up a second hand 360 last gen, and never got a PS3. We'll see how it works out this time.

All of this, the unsurprising games, the lack of enthusiasm for having to shell out $400-500 for a new system, have made this E3 one of the least impressive ones in recent memory for me. Don't get me wrong, I know I'm going to log somewhere around 8 million hours in the new Smash Bros, but I wish Nintendo had pulled a "one more thing" type deal and even just shown a logo for a new Metroid FPS with online multiplayer. I think I'd be excited about Halo if MS didn't piss me off with so many of their used game restrictions, high price, and useless "TV" features. Give me an Xbox One for $400 that doesn't include dumb features I'll never use, and we'll talk. 

Until then, I'll be impatiently awaiting Smash Bros and losing track of time in Animal Crossing: New Leaf. 

- Mark

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Pre-E3 Thoughts

With E3 less than a week away, I want to hear your predictions of what will happen.

Here's a few of mine:

Microsoft and Sony will continue their pissing contest about which console is more geared towards gamers. I've never been a huge Sony fan, but I think their PS4 unveiling was done MUCH better than Xbox One, which was basically just people saying "TV" and "Sports" a bunch of times. Guess what, I just cancelled my cable subscription because there's nothing on TV I can't download, and I don't watch sports. Also, as cool as Kinect seems, simply pressing a button on a remote is much easier than waving my arms like a Power Ranger on meth and screaming at my Xbox to change the channel. Combine that with not being able to play my old Xbox 360 games (my current 360 is making funny noises, I was banking on the new one for an upgrade) and the, in my opinion, non-revolutionary graphics updates, and I think I'll be skipping this next gen for a couple of years unless the price is incredible. That's really all I want from both of these companies. They'll show some shiny new games, talk about how powerful their systems are, fine, whatever, tell me how much it costs so I'll know how long I'll be eating nothing but KD and dog treats so I can afford one.

That brings me to my next bit. Wii U. Nintendo's little engine that so far couldn't. I'll be the first to say, I love my Wii U. I play it almost every day, LOVE that I can go back and play my Wii games (Mario Party 9 and Wii Sports Resort are still weekly regulars at my house) and have been upgrading my Virtual Console library as they come. I play Mega Man X and Super Mario World on the Game Pad pretty much any time the TV is occupied by anything else. I think this E3 could make or break the system though. I really think Nintendo has to come out swinging. Let MS and Sony duke it out over their powerhouses. Nintendo needs to remind people why they play games. Like I said, the graphics updates shown at the One unveiling were decent, but not enough to convince me to shell out for a new system. Wii U has some cool new experiences that people really need to be shown hands on. Nintendo screwed up big time with the Wii U release so far. I was confusing, the name sucks, and the lack of new games was a hard pill to swallow. I already owned half the games that came out on other systems. I'm not going to buy Lego Batman 2 again just so I can see a map on the gamepad. What Nintendo needs from this E3 is to come out with new games that aren't trailing other systems. They don't all have to be new IPs, just as long as they come out at the same time as the 360 and PS3 versions.

Nintendo also needs to show some of their heavy hitters. I think Nintendo can "win" this E3 easily. Here's how:

Reggie comes out on stage. "Welcome to E3. Here's Mario, Smash Bros, Mario Kart, a sneak peak at Zelda, as well as more info on the Wind Waker update. Here's some new stuff from Sega and our third party friends. Oh, and Retro is making a new Metroid game. Here's that too. Peace". Done! Almost... I think a price drop is needed too. There are rumors of the PS4 and One coming in at under $400. If that's true, Nintendo can't hope to compete. If they come in at $500, Nintendo is ok with a $150 price difference. At a $50 price difference, Nintendo is insane if they think people will chose them by comparison. Stop selling an 8 gig unit, release the  Deluxe in white, drop the price to $300 and call it a day. It worked wonders for the 3DS, a system I can't leave the house without, so offer some sort of free VC game deal to "Ambassadors" as you did with the 3DS if you need to, or don't, I'm still happy with my purchase. Either way, Nintendo already has its system in the wild. It has a distinct advantage over the "keeping too many secrets, just tell us the price and the date already" Sony and MS. It's going to be an interesting E3, no matter what.

Just don't bring us another Wii Music and I think we'll be fine.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Downloadable games

I'm a big fan of downloadable media. Years of collecting movies and games have left me with bookshelves full of plastic cases, and I simply don't have room for another giant shelf to store another generation worth of plastic. I've grown used to getting my content through streaming or downloading, thanks largely to Apple's ecosystem. I can download games to my iPhone or iPad, stream movies to my Apple TV, and access my music anywhere, any time. I've used the Nintendo eShop to download a number of titles on my 3DS, and not just download-only games. The last couple of top-tier games I bought, I chose to download rather than get the physical copy in a store. Portable titles, however, seem to be where the convenience hits a turning point for me.

The other night I saw that Ubisoft was having a 30% off sale on the Wii U eShop. "Perfect!" I thought! "This is a perfect chance to get Assassin's Creed 3 on sale, and get some points for my Wii U digital promotion deal". The purchasing of the game was as easy as it could be, but possibly due to other people thinking along the same lines that I was, or maybe due to some other issue, the game hit errors 3 times during the download. I didn't notice these errors right away either. If I had wanted to play this game quickly, it would have been much easier to drive to a store, buy the game, come home, cook a turkey, eat, change in to some post turkey dinner sweat pants, and sit down to play. At the point the downloadable game might have hit its second error message.

What I'm really trying to say is the convenience isn't really there. With mobile titles, the sizes are small enough that I can wait a couple of minutes, grab a drink, and play my game. It's easy. With a console title, like AC3, the size (16 gb in this case) makes it so even on my super fast FibreOp connection, I still have to wait a long time. PS4 seems to have the right idea, claiming you can play while you download, but I'll wait to see this in action before I start singing it's praises.

That's my rant for the day. I love downloading games, hate long wait times, and believe that a better solution needs to be found before people really embrace digital content. What do you think? Do you download now? If so, what are your thoughts, and if not, what would make you consider switching to digital?

Friday, 22 February 2013

Humans 2.0

One of the first things I'd like to talk about in this blog isn't actually related to video games or anything I usually post about. At least not directly. I think one falls more in to the geek category. I'd like to share some thoughts... or more accurately... I'd like to open up some conversation about what it means to be human. I've been thinking for a while now, and asking people at random, about what they think about things like robotic augmentation. I've been reading things about 3D printed hands, limbs, etc. There was an article posted recently about an implant that will let blind people see shapes and light, which I'm sure will rapidly evolve one it gets approval and more funding. These kinds of breakthroughs are absolutely amazing! However, as a gamer and avid sci-fi fan, after the awe of scientific achievement sinks in, my mind immediately goes to fantasy. Games like Deus Ex: Human Revolution show a future where cybernetic body parts are readily available. It's not just for people who need it. Robotic parts can make these characters stronger and faster, so why not get rid of the messy fleshy bits and go with something new and shiny?

Right now, there's really no issue like this. If someone gets an artificial limb or organ, they're still human. They need that to live, or at least increase their quality of life. However, as we saw in the last summer Olympics, for the first time a runner with two artificial legs was able to compete, but only after great debate on whether it was fair or not. I think it's only a short matter of time before this kind of thing becomes a bigger issue.

If an athlete could have more powerful legs, or an artificial heart or lungs that didn't tire, obviously that could give them a giant competitive edge over "normal" people. There are a lot of avenues of discussion I could take this. For now, I want to focus on a specific scenario I have in mind.

Say there is an athlete that upgrades his legs. Following that, his heart, maybe lungs. At which point, if any, does the athlete cease being a human? This kind of question has been a topic of interest for the character Cyborg in DC's new Justice League series. For anyone not familiar with the character, he was a former athlete who's body was gravely injured in an attack, and his scientist father, not able to watch his son die, augmented his body with robotic parts to keep him alive. The big issue in the comic, and something that plagues the character, is the issue of his humanity. Is he still technically alive? If most of his body is robotic, is he still human? In a recent issue he willingly swapped out his one remaining lung, replacing it with a robotic breathing system that would allow him to go underwater to rescue the other heroes. He struggled with this choice, wondering how much further he could change himself and still remain human. As long as he still had his brain intact, he figures that still counts... for now.

Do you think he's right? Is "human" more about our consciousness and our ability to think and communicate and is the essence of that in our minds? As long as we have our minds intact, does the rest of our physical being matter that much? Would you call a war amp any less of a person? At what point does that change if people are changing themselves on purpose? I don't pretend to know the answers to these questions, but I like thinking about it.

I think the ramifications to these kinds of issues will be a major debate in the coming decades. The way technology is progressing, I think it's closer than we may think. I'd like to know your thoughts on this. Leave comments here, or go to the Facebook page and let me know what you think. Would you change or upgrade anything about yourself?

One final thought I'd like to leave you with is this. I can think of a lot of situations where changing out body parts for manufactured ones can save lives. It could be a great breakthrough in extending the life of someone that, given current technology, might not make it. Thinking along these lines though, I have to wonder, if there was ever a time when we hit a level of technology where a human consciousness could be effectively transmitted in to a computer, what would that mean? You would have the same memories, the same feelings, the same thoughts. It would essentially be you. You could even download your mind in to a robotic body that would never grow old, and if it was made to look like you, nobody might know the difference. In that situation, are you still a human? Do you still have rights? Do you have, if you believe in that sort of thing, a soul? Again, I have no idea if there is a clear way to answer this, but I believe in the future these issues will have to be addressed. WIll it happen in my lifetime, who knows, but eventually, I'm sure. This is the kind of weird shit that keeps me awake at night. Sorry if it now causes you to lose some sleep thinking about the possibilities. Again, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Even if you just want to tell me I'm crazy and need more sleep.

New blog!

I've decided to start a more traditional blog, in addition to my Facebook page. I find Facebook is good for posts and things like that, but a proper blog just felt better for longer thoughts. I'll still be posting on Facebook, and we'll see how things balance out. Most of my short thought bursts and news sharing will likely remain on there, and my longer thoughts, posts, and reviews will likely end up here. I hope you'll follow both and tell your friends. Thanks!