Monday, December 28, 2009

Winter Steam

So Steam is offering great deals on a variety of games that they have available at their store.  This is similar to their Thanksgiving/Black Friday deals that they had some weeks ago.  But this time, it seems their offers are much more interesting than before.  Having already purchased Trine, Braid, and World of Goo at prices which were too good to pass up, they offer those three again at similar or better prices.  Unbelievable!  Yet while those small indie games which I have posted before are great to have, other games are making waves.  Games such as Torchlight, Battlefield 2: Complete Collection, Unreal Deal Pack, and Left 4 Dead 2 are attracting buyers.  For me, though, I have little interest in Torchlight and the Unreal Deal Pack.  Both BF2 and L4D2 are already in my possession so there's no need to get 'em again.  But one game in particular, I have been waiting for a good deal to happen.  I have been waiting since their deals and sales that started with Left 4 Dead.  I have kept an eye out for Burnout Paradise: Ultimate Box for the PC ever since it made its way onto Steam.  Since then, I have waited for a weekend deal to get this game for a great price.  I didn't want to pay full price for it, given its age and how it lacks the Big Surf Island add-on that console players are able to enjoy.  And there are no Steam Achievements to mimic the achievements and trophies offered on the console platform.  But the last bit isn't much of a big deal.

So finally on December 28, 2009, Steam offers the one game that I wanted to play on the PC platform at the price that I was looking for.  And Steam does not disappoint.  At US$7.49, it was at a price that was better than anticipated and expected.  Having already finished most of what's available and to do on the Xbox 360, I just know I'll be having fun again trying to redo some of the things that the game has to offer.  Although some are a bit of a pain, I am willing to tolerate going at it again just because it's going to run smoothly with anti-aliasing turned on.

Who knew that Steam would be doing this to me?  It's almost as though what Steam is offering during these limited run daily deals are nickel-and-diming me because what they offer are truly good games to have and purchase.  Next up, the PC version of Batman: Arkham Asylum should be removed of DRM.  But I won't hold my breath on that.  If it weren't for DRM, I would have purchased the game via Steam.  Oh well.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Mincing in Pain

On June 1st, 2009, I placed a pre-order on Hobby Link Japan for a very expensive PVC figure.  This figure would turn out to be the most expensive figure purchased to date.  I hope that I won't make another expensive purchase like that again for a very long time.

The figure in question is Fate T. Harlaown, an anime character from the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS series.  The figure is manufactured by Alter, a company not new to the business on creating PVC figures.  They are one of the big ones out there, with character figures from K-On!, Ikkitousen, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, and plenty others.  But what set this particular figure apart from the rest?  Size and complexity.  Many figures commonly found today are designed and manufactured with simple hairstyle.  The less detail the figure in question, the quicker the manufacturing process would be, in theory.  You don't create a figurine mold that details as many strand of hair as possible.  It's not economical and it's expensive.  Plus adding such details would exponentially add more delicacy to the figure.

The figure was slated to come out some months ago.  But it never arrived at the store until lately.  And immediately the figure sold out the moment it arrived.  I suppose this is one of the better benefits of pre-ordering something.  I have been waiting for a while.  Sadly, due to a combination of various factors, getting the figure is a very expensive process.  The store handles yen and that means converting it from US dollars.  With the US dollar being at a dismal value, combined with the current state of today's economy, it isn't easy trying to make sure that you have allocated enough cash to make sure it can be shipped out.  And because the size of the figure is larger than anticipated, it gets shipped out via EMS, which expedites the time it takes to deliver the order and increases the overall total.

When the package finally arrived, the package turn out to be quite large.  As soon as I saw the logo off the side of the box, I knew what was inside and I rushed to open the box up to get the item.  The item then sat on my computer chair, which ate up the entire seat width.  The sheer size of the item is almost incomprehensible and nearly indescribable.  Yet as I try to peer inside to inspect the content, I cannot help but feel amazed at the amount of details it has.  I'm at a loss for words just how to describe it.  I knew that the figure looks amazing in pictures.  Yet to see it in person is a whole different story.  I suppose it is similar or the same when it comes to getting Transformers toys from Japan rather than getting it locally.

Will I know if getting this will be worth every penny spent?  Time will have to pass by for me to find out.  But for now, the wallet cries and minces in pain.  It'll take a very long time for that to recover.  For the time being, it shall sit unopen and will accompany my other sealed items that I have tucked away, such as my hand-picked selection of Binal-Tech Transformers, T.H.S.-02 Convoy, T.H.S.-02b Black Convoy, Galaxy Force GX-03 Sound Blaster, and Masterpiece Megatron.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Still Hate It

Black Friday, I still hate it.  The one single day out of the entire year that people have to shop on and the retailers advertise on, you'd think they would at least spread their intended sale across several days, rather than squeezing it all into one single shopping day.

I still cannot get over the memory of an outing one year.  This lady had a PS2 and some games in the shopping cart.  Yet I know that advertisement all too well.  The deal has been posted before, albeit with different games.  Yet that idiot chose that day, of all the days in the world, to buy that gaming system when it's been similarly offered before.

Did I have anything to get during that day?  Not really.  Online distribution store Steam was holding several deals throughout the Thanksgiving holiday weekend to spur online purchases.  I chose to wait things out a bit to see if they dare to compete aggressively against some of the other retailers out there.  Specifically, a deal for Left 4 Dead 2.  Quite a while ago, I managed to pick up Left 4 Dead for US$25.  At the time, the regular price was $50 so getting it for half off was a good buy.  It didn't get any better than that, at least for that time.  Amazon then posted their Left 4 Dead 2 offer: $30.  Dell and GameStop offered the same, which makes buying from either stores virtually indifferent.  Amazon's deal was considered better, if you factor out the time it takes for them to ship the game out and have it delivered.  For where I live, there is no tax applied to the purchase and shipping is free courtesy of Amazon's $25 minimum limit.  But $30 isn't the price I was aiming for.  It's a good price but I was holding out to see what Valve and Steam would do over the weekend.  And like I expected, to spur the holiday spending spree, they offered Left 4 Dead 2 for a day at a special price.  Except, the price they offered was a complete let-down.  Instead of beating the competition in price, their Left 4 Dead 2 special was dead cold.  The price was over $35 and the savings was very dismal.  So my next step is to get it from GameStop, locally.

Getting the game locally saves me the trouble of having to wait for them to deliver the game.  So I picked out a store and went there.  Oddly enough, it was the last copy they had.  Funny, I seem to be having a string of bad luck with GameStop lately.  Twice now the game I get happens to be the last in their stock.  Bleh.  But Left 4 Dead 2 was purchased for 30 and I made sure that everything was included.  Actually, the only major concern is the key is unused and in the case.  I could care less about the install disc since I can always download the game from Steam itself once the game is registered to my account.  Ah, the advantage of having Steam...

Saturday's Steam sale was posted.  Within it, Trine for half off.  Having tried the demo, it was one of the few games that I wanted to get but opted out of paying full price for it.  At $10, it's hard to beat.  I bought World of Goo for $5 and it's worth every penny.  Playing Trine was a blast.  It's a great platformer that I am sure I will spend quite a lot of time on.

Sunday's Steam sale was posted.  And Steam strikes again, now offering TrackMania United Forever for half off at $20.  That's another game that I have been itching to get but not willing to pay full price for it.  Having played tons of Nations Forever, getting United Forever was worth it.  Getting it for less than $20 would have been much better but half of its regular price is the limit of how much I am willing to spend on it.

So when Monday came, Steam posted its final sales.  Unfortunately, none of the titles listed were of any interests for me.  To be honest, I had hopes they would offer Burnout Paradise for half.  But I guess I can live with that for a little while longer.

I still hate Black Friday.  It should not come to just one single day just to get people spending.  It would have been a lot better for me, as a laid-back consumer, had they spread the sale item over the course of the week or on certain days.  At least it would have been a lot less traffic and a lot less people crowded around.  People camping since Tuesday and Wednesday just to be the first in line?  C'mon, that's the most retarded thing I have ever heard.

For me, I've done all the personal shopping that I wanted.  Part of them were acquired prior to Black Friday and the deals, while early, were very good at the time it was posted.  It's a shame that people would bother to wake up at 1AM to 2AM just to arrive at a store that is opening at 3AM.  It's idiotic and it's lame.  A lot of people already have some form of access to some of these posted deals.  Yet if they are able to find it online early and plan out their shopping, why couldn't they just get their items early rather than Friday?  There were plenty of deals ranging from pots and pans to HDTVs to gaming consoles to PCs and PC parts.  All of them can be had at prices that rivals or beats what retailers offer.  Plus you don't have to wait in line and deal with morons.