Game Review: Age of Empires (Online)

Age of Empires (Online)

Build an empire and conquer the world, or at least  your tiny plot you like to call your world.  This is Age of Empires and it is now online.  It is not quite the massive multiplayer everyone hopes it would be, but it is online [sort of ].  You setup a capital city and build it up and challenge other players online to see who is the best at this sim game.  Age of Empires is an old franchise in the RTS world.  Newer games have tried to steal AoE’s thunder, but they are still going strong.  Real time strategy and age of empires go hand in hand.  However, this is not the AoE you’ve come to know and love.  This is Age of Empires meets … Bambi?

Age of Empires Meets Bambi

I really wanted to like this game, but… in all fairness, something outside of the game makes the game unplayable.  That something is Windows Live.  Yes Microsoft has RUINED a perfectly good game.  You know, it is rare for me to like something.  It is rare for me to find something that isn’t tarnished and or thrown together and hope people just waste their money on it.  I feel it is my duty to tell you every dirty detail about something, in the hopes you’ll do the right thing and save your money.  Had you listend to me, by now, and not purchased any of the games I have reviewed, or movies too, you would have saved over $1,000.00.  That’s a pretty big hunk of pocket change eh?  At $60.00 for a game and $10.00 for a movie, that’s quite a bit of not being entertained rigth?  No, how about having a series of nice evening with someone you love.  That’s priceless, in my book.  Getting to know your kids.  Now that’s free.

ANYWAY, on to the review.

Any game that I have played that REQUIRED Windows Live, I have immediately uninstalled and thrown away.  If not, I have disabled my internet and played the game single player without any Windows Live gamer point updates.  Microsoft just has a horrible system.  Mind you AoE is still testing, but I don’t think Microsoft is going to suddenly NOT support the game and or let them distance themselves from them.  The game is connected through Windows Live and the connection is constantly lost.  In fact, calling my local cable provider I get a nice message saying, “XBOX Live is down nationwide and we have no idea when it will be back up, it is not an issue with our company.”  That message was on 3 days ago.

If you think I am being harsh, let’s compare other games.  Oh, I don’t know, let’s pick another ONLINE game, like World of Warcraft.  I have never had issues with that game.  They may break stuff when they patch the game, but it’s fixed within hours.  Since, I am a programmer myself, I cannot imagine how they break something and then fix it within hours.  They must have about a thousand tiny mice going over the code to find the problems.  Heck I made a website once and forgot a semicolon.  I took all day finding that line of code.

Game Review:

Final Score: 0 [if the game can’t be played, who cares how it looks or plays]

Look: 8/10
Gameplay: 6/10
Learning Curve: 9/10
Story: 5/10
Sound: 8/10
Other: Connection – 0

Look – the graphics are a cross between settlers and warcraft.  They are very very VERY cute.  With the probable 99.999% of the players being male, I can only guess the graphics were made to be cute to attract 6 year old girls to the game.  That being said, world of warcraft, at full graphic settings blows this game away.  It is beyond me why developers keep going backwards in graphics instead of forward.  You can have the cartoony graphics, like world of warcraft, without it looking like something my dead kid brother could have drawn.  The graphics look like dragon quest, the old arcade game.  They are not terrible, they are just … not good.  And, I don’t understand the cuteness of it all.  They have bright colors, like a kindergarten playroom.  And the trees and people all sort of sway in the wind.  And, the deer bounce around like it is a Disney movie.  There is tremendous violence in the game, yet everything is very cute.  This is not something kids should be playing, because of the violence, but then, why is it so cute?  It makes no sense.  The latest age of empires was looking quite realistic.  Imagine my surprise at seeing AoE meets Bambi.

I gave it an 8/10 because, maybe I just don’t get it, but if you like cute graphics, these are definitely cute.  It’s like someone forcing you to watch the moon.  You might not be into the moon, but you can understand that they like the moon.  If you’re a grown man, over the age of 16, you probably will not like the graphics.  If you’re a 6 year old girl, you’ve looooooove the graphics.

So Cute and Cuddley

Gameplay – nothing to right home about.  Everything in the game is left click, right click.  Everything has an internal timer, i.e. ships launching ballista go as fast as their internal clock says.  The actual mechanics of the game are simple.  Learning what things do and how they are applied is an entirely different ball of wax.

I gave it a 6/10 because they are not doing anything new.  There is absolutely no pushing of the envelope by mouseclicking.  I mean, it’s on a computer.

Learning Curve – This is set high, is not a good thing.  While the instructions seem simple in the game, the application of things doesn’t start clicking until you’re nearly finished with the game.  I watched one guy play and when he saw someone else’s city they had an epiphany that he was doing it all wrong.  What’s sad is, there is no way around the steep learning curve.  Nothing hints at what is to be done.  The mechanics are explained to you perfectly, just not the how to and why.

I gave this a 9/10 and this really should not be a part of the grading because it is apples and oranges.

Story – you acheive progress with your home city, which noone can attack, via doing quests, which really are a tutorial to the game.  The quest givers are found in your own city.  As you do the quests you gain experience, which helps you go up levels and go up in historical ages.  There is really nothing more to the story than that.  You may challenge another player, but everything takes place in instance runs.  Your home city is basically only seen by you, or can be viewed by someone else, but that’s about it.  They cannot send troops there.  There is no massive map of the world.  And, should you want to challenge another player, you would simply type in their name and invite them, and the two of you are taken to an instance where you can build a little colony and challenge each other.

I gave this a 5/10 simply because while there is, technically, a story, it is nothing you would even care to mention.

Sound – The background music, the ambiance, the voice overs are all really nice in the game.  They add to the immersion into the game.  The citizens speak in Greek [I assume] and it adds a nice touch to it.  The background music is not annoying, nor is it repetitive.  It is constantly changing and it goes with whatever is on screen.  Fights are accompanied by fight music, etc.

I gave this an 8/10 because the sounds really add another level of depth to the game.  It is unfortunate that other aspects take away form the depth of it.

Other: Connection – As mention above

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Clubbing While Black

Clubbing While Black

I have never felt more alone than when I’m in a crowded room of 200 white people.   I mean I have nothing against white people, they just have something against me.  Now, when I say that, they act all offended that I speak the truth and tell me how open minded they are and how color blind they are.  Let’s explore all the open minded, color blind white people that live in America.  There is nothing worse, in my mind, than me going somewhere spending my money, in a place where people don’t want me.  In fact, I consider it a high sin, to reach into my pocket and support a place with a bunch of bigots walking around me eying me like I’m an escaped convict.

I happen to have money to live in an area where I am virtually surrounded by white people.  I didn’t ask their permission to move in, so it’s not their fault.  I happen to have money to be able to go and get into clubs that white people frequent.  I did not double check with them to see if that was ok, so it’s not their fault.  I happen to have enough money to be able to pay cover charge, and check my coat in, into some pretty popular clubs around the city.  I did not send in a requisition with the white folks, it’s not their fault.

No matter how crowded the club is, I always receive VIP status.  I mean, I must be a VIP.  I have no less than 5 feet of space, no matter where I stand, in the club.  I have no less than an entire radius of empty tables around me at all times, in the club.

However, I must have magical powers or I must be a daywalking vampire.  Why do i say that?  Because when I go up to the bar to get a drink, I am invisible.  I have literally pasted a one hundred dollar bill to my forehead and wore all white and still did not get served.  In fact, I have stood at the bar, sometimes, for 10 minutes waiting to be served, a white person walks up and the bartender rushes to take their order.  So I am a VIP, daywalking, Black vampire.

Speaking of Black, as much as people want to tell me about their best Black friends, they are not talking about my kind of Black.  I am dark chocolate and a pure blood.  They do not know my pain.  They are talking about a half breed Black person.  These half breed Black people get a pass all day long.  Most whites now consider the half breeds to be nothing more than latino or Indians, from India.

Oh, I’m exaggerating?  I went to a club with one of these famous half breed Black guys.  He was two shades darker than a white man with a tan and had funky weird not Black hair.  You know the kind, I’m talking about.  He was also about 21 going on 16. The guy looked like a kid.  Now mind you I’m a solid 31 year old and I look exactly 31 years old, all day, every day.  They did card him.  Barely looked at his ID and waved him on.  Me, the security eyed my card and called the manager over and said my ID was fake.  What’s the difference?  I’m 6’2, 220lbs of pure muscle and am unmistakeably pure blooded African prince.  They asked me to leave.  They did not have to ask twice.  The irony of the situation was that I was going to treat the kid to some drinks and he had no money.  I had about, you guessed it, one hundred dollars in my pocket.  And, I will never go there again.

You see white people and the half breed Blacks have no idea what it is to be a dark chocolate brother in America.  I’ll repeat that, since most don’t understand it.  A dark chocolate African American is stigmatized by EVERYONE, including by half breed Blacks as well.  With the invasion of Mexicans and other non-white mixes coming into America, the half breed Blacks are written off as simply being non-white.  They have names now for them: Blatino; Mexicoon; Blasian; Puerto Rican; Blussian; Polynegran.  In other words, they’re not Black.  And, they proudly admit they’re Blatino or whatever and will argue with you that they are not Black.  I say more power to them.

But, let’s get back to the club.  I’m sitting in a club the other day and 4 young ladies walk in, all white of course.  They have with them their mother.  And, they are eying me.  No no no no, not eying me to check me out, they are eying me to clutch their purses closer to them and moving as far away from me as they can.  A barfly comes up to me and asks why am I sitting alone and not talking to other people.  I reply, they are not talking to me.  He goes back to his friend / date.  He must have gotten bored with his date or something.

Let’s rewind a bit.  I used to wear designer clothes.  You know the kind, $400 for a shirt, etc.  I go to a club, wearing probably about $2,000 worth of clothes.  I am in the VIP line, because I was in fact on the list.  The doorman stopped me and said I couldn’t come in because my shirt did not have a collar.  Wait, before you get all logical and say, that’s a reasonable request.  I tell him to look at the line of the non-VIP people and how they are letting white guys with shorts and sandals in the club.  He said he didn’t care and I wasn’t getting in.  It just so happened that the person that put me on the list, “the talent” just walked out the door and saw me.  He brushed by the doorman, ignoring him, and grabbed my arm and led me inside personally.  I wasn’t just on the VIP list, I was personally invited.  I was taken to the VIP section, which was quite boring.  I was then asked by all the other VIP people, “why are you up here?”  Yes, they were white people.  I found the lower lesser beings far more interesting than the VIP crowd.  Even when they started having sex on the VIP couches, it was all boring to me.  I left after a long evening and “the talent” came up to see us after his performance.  I never went back.

Normally the “XXX while Black” stories normally end with the police arresting some unsuspecting Black person for no other reason than being Black.  Unfortunately, I have no such stories.  However, after a long time of clubbing, I was told that there used to be several Black clubs in town.  They were very successful, but that each one was shut down by the police for one reason or another.  Hell, any reason will do.  I had gone to one, at one time.  It was very expensive and their dress code was through the roof.  It was no problem for me, because I was used to dressing up to go out.  They not only closed down the club, but they demolished the building.  There is no way that that club did not make untold riches.  Everyone there was Black, from the doorman to the owner.  It had valet parking, the whole nine yards.  Its one mistake?  It was located in a white neighborhood.  I wasn’t there when police came, but I cannot imagine anyone needing to call the police on the place.  It was very high class.  There are a lot of clubs out there that pretend to be high class, simply to scam you out of your money, but this club legitimately had a wine collection and liquor that cost $250 per bottle.  I’m sure you know clubs that will try to charge you $250 for a bottle of liquor or wine, but this club had them.  I just happen to know this because I studied wines and liquors in school.

Everyone talks about Patron as being high end tequila.  Let me clue you in.  Patron is sewage water.  It is literally considered what poor people drink.  However, cross the border into America and slap on a nice ad campaign and any liquor is passed off as high end liquor, tequila or whatever you want sell.  Americans don’t know what’s good quality in liquor or wine.  They want one thing now, go to the club and drink so much liquor they can’t see straight.  Come next weekend, they’ll do it all over again.

Why shouldn’t they go overboard with their drinking?  Everyone tells them that alcohol is terrible and shouldn’t be touched.  So, they are deprived of alcohol and once they have the opportunity, they get wasted out of their mind on liquor and booze.  Let’s through in the puritanical way their raised to feel about how sex is bad and horrible and you have a one two punch of sex and alcohol.

In the mean time, I’ll be in my VIP section observing, sipping on my drink for about an hour, in my land of being completely avoided by everyone in the club, for fear I might … turn into some even Blacker hulk and start raping white women or something crazy, whatever is in their white mind, while they scurry away from me.  It is all so hilarious.

I am running out of clubs to go to, that won’t act like I have leprosy when I’m paying green cash.

Like I said, it is a high sin to pay hard earned money in a place that is more bigoted than George W Bush and David Duke.

[ This entire aritcle is intended as a comedy sketch on race.  Take it with a grain of salt.  I am certainly not even concerned about race in America. The “xxx while Black series is simply a funny look at the ridiculousness of the country.  Normally it ends with the police shooting someone Black or arresting them for no apparent reason other than they are Black doing “xxxx” at the time, be it shopping, driving, golfing or walking.]

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Lady Gaga Judas Video Leaked (exclusive)

Lady Gaga Judas Video

The long awaited new video of Lady Gaga’s latest song “Judas” was just leaked.  Click below to see.

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Why We Are Poor: Contentrating on Entertainment Instead of Money

Most Working Class Concentrate on Entertainment

Canvasing the landscape of the desolation that is America right now, we see so many people worried about their finances or complaining about their finances, yet they do absolutely nothing about their finances.  Some will say that they ARE doing something about their finances, they are going back to school for retraining or more education.  Here is the secret that noone will tell you: “noone has ever gotten rich by getting any level of education”.  For those that say, they are not concentrating on being rich, take it from me, and let me be the first to tell you, you’re delusional and not intellectually honest with yourself.  A whole lot would be different in your life, if you were worth 2 million in “assets”.  Notice the concentration on the word assets.  Going to get retrained for an education or receive more training, concentrates on one thing: getting a job.  A job does not ever give you assets, and hence does not ever make you rich.  Until you actually start accumulating assets, you will remain a working stiff.  How can I say that people are not concentrating on money or what evidence is there that people are not concentrating on money.

Concentrating on Sports

I’ll Bring Them Death and They Will Love Me for It

Do you honestly think that the owners of a sports team care if they make money at the games their teams are involved in?  No, they made their money in some other fashion.  There is a huge swath of the country, even in this economic depression, that still, unflinchingly watch their sports at the same bat time, same bat channel.  The country is falling apart at the seams and they are steadily watching “the game” and highlights and interviews.

This is nothing new.  Let me give you a really short history lesson.  Rome was in the beginnings of its last breath.  Emperor Commodus did not like actually administering the empire.  The Roman senate came to him with problem after problem, which he never fixed.  People were dying in the empire and the emperor frankly did not care.  Instead of taking care of the problems in the empire he gave administrative power to a friend of his and instead put on economy breaking gladiator games in the grand colosseum.

“Rome is the mob. Conjure magic for them and they’ll be distracted. Take away their freedom and still they’ll roar. The beating heart of Rome is not the marble of the Senate, it’s the sand of the coliseum. I’ll bring them death – and they will love me for it.”  – Gladiator

People were so distracted by the games, that they did not notice that half of the city was in the throws of a plague.  A plague is hard to miss, you say, but miss it they did.  They instead concentrated on the sports arena.

This is exactly what is happening this very day.  Millions of Americans are dying and unemployed, our food is poisoning us, our economy is in shambles, but the other half of the US steadily watches their sports arena.

Concentrating on Enertainment

Not only do people not concentrate on what makes them money, they actually concentrate on the lives of people who have money, entertainers.  Instead of them understanding that the entertainer is there for THEM, they are living their life for the entertainer.  The “fool” was the entertainer in royal courts.  He told jokes, sang songs, danced, played instruments.  The king never asked the “fool” how his day went.  After he stopped dancing and telling jokes, the “fool” went and had his dinner. The lives of entertainers have become what sports is to men, a complete and utter distraction. Gossip soundly replaces the sports arena.

Soap operas remove all thoughts from some people.  They would rather concentrate on the lives of fictional characters, that are obviously there as a distraction, instead of them sitting down and balancing their checkbook.

Concentrating on Church

The worst possible distraction ever invented was the church.  It is hard for people to understand this, but the rich and powerful invented the church to put the masses under spell.  A spell so deep and unshakable, that they would defend it with their lives.  How can you say to someone in this modern day, that believes in some religion, that their religion was invented by man?  How can you say to someone in this modern day, that believes in some religion, that their religion was invented to make them obey the rich and powerful?  That man would fight you with every breath he takes, denying the truth.

God did not invent a religion.  All religions were invented by man.  There is no debate about it.  Then you have to ask, why did man invent religions?  No matter where you look, the rich and powerful are the source of inventing religions and they invariably do it for one purpose and one purpose only: so that you are docile and obey them.

So instead of you concentrating on living your life much more richly, instead you live for church.  There are millions upon millions of  dirt poor people that know everything in the bible, and what their church does, but cannot afford a decent meal, and have never had the prime cuts of any meat from any animal.  There are people starving, without hope of eating, yet they know every bylaw of their religion.

If you believe in the Christian faith, in the bible it says over and over, that you should have life more abundantly.  There are very evil ministers and priests and nuns and bishops that tell you [ against all logic ] that, that statement means you should be a loving person and your reward is “in heaven”, and that statement does not mean you should have more money to buy things that make you live more comfortably, or be able to afford good food, good food that heals you from malnutrition.  There are adults in this country that can quote every verse, paragraph and book of their religion, but do not know their own rental agreemant

Concentrate on Money

Enough of the negative stuff.  You know you concentrate on some rather stupid things, and I do not need to beat you over the head about it.  Admit that you’re dumb and acting like a child and MOVE ON.  Get some balls, admit you’ve been acting silly and grow the hell up.  If you sit complaining about money, when there is so much information out there on how to make nothing BUT money, then you’re a damn fool, in every sense of the word.

You should be concentrating your formative adult life, or even earlier, on what money is, and how to make plenty of it.  Instead of going to college for 5 years, you should instead learn everything you can for 5 years about money.  I am not talking about the theory and history of money, but the practice of making money.

Anyone who concentrates on money for 30 seconds, and does their own research, comes to one startling conclusion IMMEDIATELY: the only way to make money is to own assets.  By definition assets make you money:

A resource with economic value that an individual, corporation or country owns or controls with the expectation that it will provide future benefit.

Investopedia explains Asset
1. Assets are bought to increase the value of a firm or benefit the firm’s operations. You can think of an asset as something that can generate cash flow, regardless of whether it’s a company’s manufacturing equipment or an individual’s rental apartment.

2. In the context of accounting, assets are either current or fixed (non-current). Current means that the asset will be consumed within one year. Generally, this includes things like cash, accounts receivable and inventory. Fixed assets are those that are expected to keep providing benefit for more than one year, such as equipment, buildings and real estate.

So by its very nature an asset GENERATES MONEY.  A job is not an asset.  In a job, you are trading your time to generate money for someone else.  A person or company then pays you a fraction of what you are generating for them, for the time you have given them.  You cannot go away from your job for years, and continually generate money.

Your house is not an asset.  I know the bank tries to tell you your house is an asset, but they are using kindergarten terms to talk to you.  When they talk to other banks and businesses, they do not say the same thing to them.  A house can be an asset, just not your house.  A car can be an asset, just not your car.  An asset has to generate money.  Your house does not generate money, it costs you money.  I don’t care how much you think your house is worth or how much you COULD sell it for, it is not an asset.  Until you actually sell the house, it generates no money.  Also, if you sell that house at a loss, and by loss you have to calculate the value of money when you bought it, versus the value of the dollar when you sold it, it might just be a total loss.

For a house to be an asset, you have to, not live in it, rent it out, and have someone pay you to live in it, i.e. it generates money FOR you.  For a car to be an asset, you have to, not use it normally, and have someone rent it out, in the normal course of driving it, i.e. it generates money FOR you.  A taxicab / limousine is an asset, a Volkswagen bug your son drives, is not.

With that in mind, concentrate on buying a second home to rent out.  Concentrate on starting a business.  A business is the only real asset you can have as an individual.  Having one rental property can be your “business”.  Or, you could go the extra mile and start buying many properties which you turn around and rent out.  Where I live, rent is high and homes are cheap.  It makes no sense to rent, when you can own a home.  And, given that rent is so high, it makes no sense NOT to turn around and buy a couple of houses and rent them out to some poor schmuck.

Owning a business is the fastest and surest way to get actual money in your pocket.  You do not have to lease out a building and hire people to say that you own a business.  Think about what you would do as a business and start from there first.  Would you sell clothes that you bought cheap at market?  You could then turn around and sell it on online as your business.  You do not have to buy a building and go broke.

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Investing 101: Traling Stop Limit Order

Trailing Stop Limit Order

A trailing stop limit order is designed to allow an investor to specify a limit on the maximum possible loss, without setting a limit on the maximum possible gain.  This order type works the same way as the trailing stop, only instead of a market order being sent to the exchange, a limit order will be sent to the exchange. With this order, you will be able to stipulate the worst price you are willing to accept for a fill. There is no guarantee that you will be filled, though, as the price may gap through your limit price.

  • A SELL trailing stop limit moves with the market price, and continually recalculates the stop trigger price at a fixed amount below the market price, based on the user-defined “trailing” amount. The limit order price is also continually recalculated based on the limit offset. As the market price rises, both the stop price and the limit price rise by the trail amount and limit offset respectively, but if the stock price falls, the stop price remains unchanged, and when the stop price is hit a limit order is submitted at the last calculated limit price.
  • A “Buy” trailing stop limit order is the mirror image of a sell trailing stop limit, and is generally used in falling markets.
  • The main difference is that for Trailing Stop Limit Order, when the Stop Price is passed, the order will be converted into a Limit Order, whereas for Trailing Stop Order, it’ll convert into a Market Order.
  • As a result, Trailing Stop Limit Order carries a big risk, as the order may never get filled if the market price is worse than the Limit Price. As a result, the position can continue falling with no more protection for the position. This makes Trailing Stop Limit Order a very insecure stop loss method, particularly for the extremely volatile stocks that often experience a gap up or gap down in prices.  Due to this risk, using Trailing Stop Limit Order to protect a position is not advisable. 

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    Investing 101: Trailing Stop Order

    Trailing Stop Order

    A trailing stop order is a type of a stop loss order. Under the latter, you set a price level, which if reached turns the stop loss order into a market order and requires your broker to sell the particular stock immediately. The selling of the stocks is executed at the best price currently available. Once placed, the order will adjust in price based on your settings that you set upon initiation of the trade.  It can be set in terms of actual dollars or set in percentages.  A Trailing Stop “Limit” order works the same way as a Stop “Loss” order except that once the order is triggered, it becomes a “Limit order” at a price that you specify instead of a market order.  There are “Trailing Stop” orders to help manage risk when buying stocks (going long), as well as when shorting stocks. When protecting your positions when buying stocks, they are sometimes called “Sell Trailing Stop” orders, and when helping protect any short positions you have, they are sometimes called “Buy Trailing Stop” orders.

    The reason it’s so important to set a trailing stop order below support is that positions moving downward tend to bounce upward (reverse course) at or near their support levels. They may later begin to move downward again, break through support, and continue to move even lower.  A clear break below support is dictated by where a position closes, not by intra-day swings. Alternatively, after bouncing off support, a position may continue to move upward, never returning to the support level at all. For purposes of setting a trailing stop order, it doesn’t make sense to set a trailing stop order right at support because the position is almost certain to bounce up from that point, possibly reversing course. If you set your trailing stop order below support, it probably won’t be triggered unless the position has broken support and will continue downward.

    A few points about trailing stop orders:

    • Stop order that continually adjusts the stop price based on changes in the market price.
    • A trailing stop to sell raises the stop price as the market price increases, but does not lower the stop price when the market price decreases.
    • A trailing stop to buy lowers the stop price as the market price decreases, but does not increase the stop price as the market price increases.
    • In both cases, the stop “trails” the market price.
    • When the stop price is reached, the order becomes a market order.
    • The same risk of market orders applies to trailing stop orders.

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    Investing 101: Stop Limit Order

    Stop Limit Order

    As per the SEC definition: A stop-limit order is an order to buy or sell a stock that combines the features of a stop order and a limit order.  Once the stop price is reached, a stop-limit order becomes a limit order that will be executed at a specified price (or better).  The benefit of a stop-limit order is that the investor can control the price at which the order can be executed.

    A few points about stop limit orders:

    • The stop price for buy orders is placed above the current market price.
    • The stop price for sell orders is placed below the current market price.
    • The stop price does not need to be the same as the limit price.
    • The trade is not guaranteed to be executed if the stock/commodity does not reach the stop price. 
    • The investor has much greater precision in executing the trade.

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