McDonalds Monopoly the Game

monopoly-game-boards

If you are into gambling the various state lotteries might just barely be considered a game if, when we say “game” we mean giving the state money for a ludicrous chance at winning a few bucks, then yeah, game.

Of course your ability to participate in state-sanctioned games of chance sort depends on where you happen to call home. Just for fits and shiggles before we get to the McDonalds portion of this post on games of chance, here ye must live if ye be wantin’ to partake of the Lotto!

So, for state-run Lottery we have 44 states: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan,, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

Then there are three other not-states that ALSO have lotteries, those being the District of Columbia, and two US Territories: Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

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Untitled

Check it out – the last two lines on this game piece are a Second Chance Code and the URL you need to go to to redeem it – and this may be found on pretty much all of the game pieces.  Hitting that URL up and entering each code gives you a chance at the Second Chance Prizes – a whopping $50K drawing chance!

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The states (and territories) listed above have Lotto programs as well as scratch lottery games, but that is not the ONLY such offerings, as in addition to the individual state-run money printing machines known as Lottery there are ALSO some multi-state super-lotteries as well. Those are:

(1) The 2by2 Lottery – Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota.

(2) All or Nothing – Iowa and Minnesota.

(3) Cash4Life – Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia.

(4) Hot Lotto – Delaware, the District of Columbia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, and West Virginia.

(5) Lucky for Life – Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont and, new to this Super-Duper Lottery in 2016 are Colorado, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

(6) MegaHits Video Slots Lotto – Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.

(7) Tri-State Lottery (Megabucks Plus, Pick 3 Day & Night, Pick 4 Day & Night, snd the Fast Play) – Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.


State-lotteries

A spiffy map covering the evolution of the lotto state-by-state courtesy of tuition.io


Now wait, you might have been thinking we are done, but no, there is still more! The following states, in addition to their standard and combined lottery programs, ALSO offer Networked Video Keno Games: Arizona, California, Georgia, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, and Tennessee.

Then there are the states with legal casinos with casino games like Poker, Blackjack, and Slots: Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Washington, and West Virginia, and of course the US Territories of the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.

Then there are the legal race track gambling states (either horse, harness, or dog or a combination of them) which are: Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming, as well as the Territories of Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.

But hey there! We are STILL not done!

You see in addition to all of the LEGAL state-supervised gambling listed above, some of the First Nation (Native American) tribes in the following states ALSO have legal casino gambling on their Reservation Lands.

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming but no Districts or Territories this time. Just saying.

So you might be thinking that the massive lists above would wrap up legal gambling in the good old USA right? Ah, but not so fast. You see in addition to the above legal gambling a much wider and more diverse casino, card, and other sort of gambling takes place in all but Hawaii, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah – and that is CHARITABLE gambling.

That last generally takes the form of specially-licensed “casino” nights for churches, and religions and NGO charities.


scratchgroup

These examples of scratch-off lottery tickets happen to be among the more controversial of lottery offerings – having been widely criticized for feeding into the addiction disability for the OCD sufferers of the planet, and ruining the life of countless families due to what has been said to be a gambling format that is simply too accessible.


Then there are the four states with legal Sports Betting (what is called Book Making) which are Delaware, Montana, Nevada, and Oregon.

So to sum up the stats for LEGAL gambling in the USA by state, district, and territories, they are:

  • Commercial Casinos = 18 States / 3 Territories
  • Charitable Gambling = 46 States / 1 District / 5 Territories
  • Horse/Dog Racing = 25 States / 2 Territories
  • KENO = 7 States
  • Multi-State Lotteries = 33 States / 1 District
  • Native American Casinos = 30 States
  • Sports Betting / Book Making = 4 States
  • State-Run Lotteries = 44 States / 1 District / 2 Territories

Okay thanks for sitting through this lengthy list of legal gambling states and territories along with the associated stats. Why’d we do all that? Check this out: the McDonalds Monopoly Game? Yeah, it is legal in – well – everywhere! Want to know why?

McDonald’s Monopoly would be illegal in almost every state in the USA (and in a lot of other countries for that matter) without its interesting “no purchase necessary” clause.

Via its Facebook and Twitter accounts McDonalds alos offers second-chance well, chances. You see there are codes on all of the game pieces except the instant cash ones that you can enter into the online website for the game for a second chance to win a prize online at http://www.PlayatMcD.com — the prize being a chance to win one of five $50,000 cash prizes.

To win the instant cash you have to have the physical pieces. Which means you have to go buy some food at McDonalds… Or do you? Well as it turns out, no… No you do not!

You can get McDonald’s Monopoly game pieces without purchase (and without calories) by mail. The official McDonald’s Monopoly rules state that you can obtain free game pieces by sending a SASE to:

2016 MONEY MONOPOLY Game at McDonald’s
Game Piece Request
P.O. Box 49248
Strongsville, OH 44149-0248

Using this method will cost you two stamps, and two envelopes for each two game pieces you obtain via the mail method. Of course if you just want to get your game pieces the old fashion way – on food – here are some tips on how to do that as cheap as possible – listed by food item, the number of game pieces that should come on that food item, and the Cost Per Piece (or cpp rounded up) breakdown:

  • 10-Piece Chicken McNuggets (x2 game pieces) $4.49 ($2.25 cpp)
  • 20-Piece Chicken McNuggets (x4 game pieces) $5.00 ($1.25 cpp)
  • Big Mac Sandwich (x2 game pieces) $3.99 ($2.00 cpp)
  • Biscuit Brekkie Sandwich (x2 game pieces) $1.39 (.70 cpp)
  • Egg McMuffin Sandwich (x2 game pieces) $2.79 ($1.40 cpp)
  • Egg White Delight McMuffin (x2 game pieces) $2.69 ($1.35 cpp)
  • Filet-O-Fish Sandwich (x2 game pieces) $3.79 ($1.90 cpp)
  • Hash Browns (x2 game pieces) $1.09 (.55 cpp)
  • Large French Fries (x4 game pieces) $1.89 (.47 cpp)
  • Large (22 oz.) Cold McCafe Drinks (x2 Pieces) $3.39 (1.70 cpp)
  • Medium Fountain Drink (x2 game pieces) $1.29 (.65 cpp)
  • Medium (16 oz.) Cold McCafe Drinks (x2 Pieces) $2.89 ($1.45 cpp)
  • Oatmeal (x2 game pieces) $1.99 ($1.00 cpp)
  • Premium McWrap (x4 Pieces) $3.99 ($1.00 cpp)
  • Sausage McMuffin with Egg* (x2 Pieces) $2.79 ($1.40 cpp)

* Excludes the Sausage McMuffin without Egg version

When we do the math, if you are buying the food to get the pieces then it would be the Large French Fries (x4 game pieces) $1.89 (.47 cpp). So there you have it – the cost of playing McDonald’s Monopoly Game! Now on to the very interesting part – what pieces win, and what you can win!

The Winning Pieces

The following are the winning pieces along with the prize that they are worth – and the odds of getting the rare piece sorted by value of prize:

  • Mediterranean Avenue (#601) $50 Prize (Brown Set) odds are 1 in 578,543
  • Short Line RR (#626) $500 Prize (Railroad Set) Odds are 1 in 2,567,950
  • Vermont Avenue (#604) $1,000 Prize (Light Blue Set) Odds are 1 in 51,359,172.
  • Virginia Avenue (#608) $2,000 Prize (Magenta Set) Odds are 1 in 51,359,172.
  • Tennessee Avenue (#610) $5,000 Prize (Orange Set) Odds are 1 in 102,718,344.
  • Kentucky Avenue (#612) $10,000 Prize (Red Set) Odds are 1 in 102,718,344.
  • Ventnor Avenue (#616) $25,000 Prize (Yellow Set) Odds are 1 in 102,718,344.
  • Pennsylvania Avenue (#620) $50,000 Prize (Green Set) Odds are 1 in 102,718,344.
  • Boardwalk (#622) $1,000,000 Prize (Dark Blue Set) Odds are 1 in 513,591,720.

mcdgamepieces

So why is the 2016 McDonalds Monopoly Game grouped together with state lottery and casino gambling you might very well ask?  Actually the reason is far simpler than it may at first appear: The Odds.  If you look at the odds of winning the top prizes for this game, it turns out you actually may be better off going to the Casinos than playing Monopoly at least with respect to your chances of winning…  But don’t let that stop you – if you don’t play, how can you win?


What are the Prizes?

There are many but the most common will be the Instant Food Prizes – not the cash. Sigh. Here for your edification and excitement are the prizes that we know about:

Instant Win Food Prizes (The odds of winning a food prize are around 1 in 3.9)

  • Frappe or Smoothie
  • McFlurry
  • McGriddles
  • Medium Fries
  • Premium Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Sandwich
  • Quarter Pounder with Cheese

Instant Win Cash Prizes (Odds of winning around 1 in 45,000)

  • $25
  • $50

Collect and Win Prizes (Odds vary by prize amount see list above)

  • $50 Brown Set
  • $500 Railroad Set
  • $1,000 Light Blue Set
  • $2,000 Magenta Set
  • $5,000 Orange Set
  • $10,000 Red Set
  • $25,000 Yellow Set
  • $50,000 Green Set
  • $1,000,000 Dark Blue Set

Well there you go – and hey – this IS a game you know – so it totally deserves coverage here, where we cover games. That said, we think you should think twice about going on that all Large French Fry all the time diet. Heh.

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Tanker Pride

When the simulation strategy game World of Tanks first launched on PC it was a game play experience that for many simmers fell into the easy to take-it-or-leave-it category.  It’s not that it was not unique enough, nor was it a matter of lacking polish – in almost every respect it was – and is – a great game.

That said though, what WoT lacked was a strong sense of accomplishment via play.  Not that it failed to TRY to create that sort of feedback mind you!  I mean look at the immediate feedback and recognition scheme that it uses in the form of medals, ribbons, and performance award!

I just this very second finished a battle.  So let me tell you about it as that will surely illustrate what the game truly has to offer.  Oh, and I should add for the same of clarity and transparency that the round and battle that I just finished?  Yeah, it was on Xbox One.

t17td1

The T-18 Tank Destroyer – a specialized tool whose job was to hunt down and kill other tanks. To that end, they come equipped with a large bore gun and a combination of M48 High Explosive and M66 HEAT (High Explosive Anit-Tank) shells.

Somewhere in Germany there is a town called Himmelsdorf where a battle between two tank units has just wrapped up.  I was on the losing side of what the game classifies as a “Standard” Battle – but even so and as a consequence of my veteran skills, I came out of the battle with my totals in terms of both XP and Funds – on the plus (positive) side.

According to the summary screen even though my unit lost, I rolled away with the following:

  • $5,648 non-premium funds;
  • 442 XP
  • Master Gunner Award Ribbon – Scored at least 5 armor-penetrating hits;
  • Fire for Effect Ribbon – Caused more enemy damage than hit points on my tank;
  • Master Badge III at 50% – Earned more battle XP than 50% of the other players for my type;
  • x1 Critical Hit Ribbon – Damaged an opponent or crew member on an enemy tank;
  • x8 Enemy Damaged – Damage an enemy tank times 8;
  • x2 Tank Destroyed Ribbons – Personally destroyed two enemy tanks.

During the battle, which lasted nearly 15m, I personally destroyed 2 enemy tanks, did a total of 302 pts damage via 8 penetrating shots and assisted in 2 additional fights of which 1 of the tanks I personally “detected” from its concealment.

A closer examination of the results of my shots reveals that over the course of the battle I engaged a total of four (4) individual tanks, doing the following damage:

  1. Fabio BR1’s T16E-X1: 1 Shot for 36 Damage that destroyed the tank;
  2. K0rmil’s T2 Medium: 1 shot for 78 damage and I killed his gunner!
  3. Boysrule123’s T7 Car: 1 shot for 63 damage;
  4. Blindside62287’s T18: 5 shots for 125 damage and I destroyed his tankl.

On the enemy side the collection of tank types and tanks were:

  • G.Pz. Mk. VI (Class II) x1
  • Medium I (Class I) Medium Tank x1
  • Medium II Tank (Class II) x2
  • Pz. Jag. I (Class II) Tank Destroyer x1
  • Pz II (Class II) Light Tank x1
  • T1E6-X1 Light Tank (Class II) x1
  • T-2 Medium (Class II) Medium Tank x2
  • T-7 Car (Class II) Light Tank x1
  • T-18 (Class II) Tank Destroyer x2
  • T-57 (Class II) Artillery x1
  • T-60 Light Tank (Class II) x1
  • UC 2-pdr Tank Destroyer (Class II) X1

On our side (my unit in other words) there was:

  • Cruiser III Light Tank (Class II) x1
  • FT BS Artillery (Class II) x1
  • LTraktor Light Tank (Class I) x1
  • M2 Light Tank (Class II) x1
  • Medium II Medium Tank (Class II) x1
  • Pz. 35t Light Tank (Class II) x1
  • Pz. II Light Tank (Class II) x1
  • Pz. Jag. I Tank Destroyer (Class II) x1
  • T1E6-X1 Light Tank (Class II) x1
  • T-2 Medium Tank (Class II) x2
  • T-18 Tank Destroyer (Class II) x2
  • T-57 Artillery (Class II) x1
  • UC 2-pdr Tank Destroyer (Class II) x1

In the final analysis it seems that our mistake was having too many Light Tanks (we had a total of six to their three) and perhaps some of it was down to the fact that it was uban fighting in a town built into the side of a mountain…

Conclusions?

The Xbox One version of World of Tanks has managed to add something to the experience of playing this excellent tank battle simulator.  It is an element and feel I cannot put my finger on exactly or define, but it is sufficient to make all the difference somehow.

I recommend this game – which is truly Free-to-Download, and Free-2-Play!

NB

For this battle I was at the controls of my trusty T-19 Tank Destroyer whose name is

Halo MCC: Achievements Run Amok

Before we jump right in to the subject of this post I wanted to explore my special feelings for the word “Amok:” which, being one of those special words that sounds very different from how it is written – and how significant it is to expression an idea accurately.

The Word “Amok”

The word first entered popular usage in both English and Spanish in the mid 17th century, and its roots can be found in the original Malay word mengamuk – which is defined as “rushing with great frenzy”.

The origin is significant for a number of reasons, not the least being the general atmosphere for highly educated and verbally articulate members of society at the time.

Perhaps more significant (at least in terms of its strategic use in debate) is the fact that it contains specific emotional and even religious connotations.  It is fair to characterize Amok as being similar to the original meaning of Berserk, the two words sharing a fanatical religious origin.

It certainly helped in increasing the popularity of these strange words and ideas that there  was something in the atmosphere then that was very much like that of the habitual collector – and when we say “habitual collector” we are tactfully saying they horde… That comment requires some explaining…

In the mid-17th century the world was rapidly growing smaller, and not simply because everyone and their brother was outfitting small merchant vessels for exploration and trade, dispatching them to the far flung corners of the earth in the hopes of discovering some very specific goals that were widely believed to exist.

Around 1 in every 5 of these expeditions actually returned, and of the roughly 20% that completed a successful voyage, perhaps 1 in 10 returned with the fortune in goods and spices that their benefactors hoped for.  Dismal odds to be sure!

The European exploration of the Pacific during this era was largely inspired by four obsessions: (1) finding a faster and safer route to India by sailing into the sunset; (2) finding the fastest and most productive routes to the spice-rich islands of the Moluccas.

In addition to those two important considerations, there was (3) finding undiscovered sources for cash crops like cocoa beans (which recently gripped the continent in a vice-like habit of taking in the news – and the newest beverage of the elite – whipped chocolate); and finally (4) locating the route to the vast and as-yet undiscovered massive southern continent that simply MUST exist in the South Pacific waters!

A fifth consideration actually existed – though this one was what we might call a fringe element today, and was not widely embraced by nations or the leaders of city-states, and that is that the origins of social culture and wisdom originated not in Africa, but in the South Pacific!

Specifically it was thought that if an island so small and isolated as Greece might produce learned men such as Thales of Miletus, Aristotle, Pythagoras, and Plato, what might the islands of the South Pacific offer?

Fame and Fortune via Patronage

The consequences of this rapid exploration though mostly unscientific was new opportunities presented to the naturalist and natural scientists of the era – men (and with rare exception a few women) who could go to the New World, spend six months collecting seeds, drawing plants, and classifying them, taking samples back with them to England or one of the more affluent European city-states.

A system of fashionable collectors and patronage existed that basically meant that any natural scientist who managed to defy the odds and get their new collection of notes, seeds, and best of all, live plants — back home — could depend upon widespread support to the extent that certain collectors of botany and keepers of rare plants would fight over who got to purchase that new flower!

Now add to that environment a subset of scholar-patrons whose interest fell in both the preservation AND the inclusion of languages, lore, history, and the like, and you can easily see how all of those language books, history books, and basic travel guides ended up being published.

To help explain the thought patterns of the era and color-in the personalities and how that all came together try to accept that for these wealthy sorts who considered themselves the patrons to the natural sciences, any triumph for one of the many natural scientists, biologists, linguists, and scholars that THEY supported was widely accepted as reflected glory for THEM.

So you see, when the book was published it did not simply contain a dedication to Mssr. Ronald Smythe-Blunt, Patron, but was credited as published by that patron.  So shared glory was largely the currency of the realm in terms of fame at the time.  Today we have YouTube.

You have to remember that this was a period roughly 75 years BEFORE Carl Linnaeus appeared on the scene and delivered his significant influence on the great value of learning and classifying the discoveries one makes in both the world and natural sciences!  More on that in a moment…

First though, consider this: the Javanese language was virtually unknown in contemporary and learned society outside of the small community of naturalists whose hobby-slash-profession included exploring the mysterious corners of the world, and what was at that time considered to be the last truly great mysteries – the South Pacific Islands.

While very few readers could tell you where the islands upon which these amazing words and ideas might be heard, words like Amok very rapidly entered the lexicon largely due to their colorful nature and a shared desire to be able to speak influentially.  That last bit was very important to the learned and those who thought that they were learned.

Amok Amok Amok!

The early use of the word – and the reason that it so quickly caught on – was as a noun denoting a Malay who was in the grip of a homicidal frenzy and on the attack.  Several very popular (read that commercially successful) exploration adventure books (these were a specific sort of adventure book that were a mixture of non-fiction and fiction, very heavily embellished and, prior to the mid 17th century, largely focused upon the dark continent (Africa).

You could do no better in scoring social points – and particularly among the diverse collection of psuedo intellectuals to be found in coffee and chocolate houses – to win an argument using a real word that was so new your opponent lacked the basic comprehension to know HOW to respond to you when you used it – and so words like “Amok” soon became the .44 Magnum Bullets of the day for personal dueling.

It may help you to understand why this was so powerful a phrase to consider that by its very definition an episode in which the person has run Amok was normally thought to end with the attacker being killed — either by bystanders or by committing suicide – and thus you can see how colorful it stands as a way to paint an adversary as being on the route to a Pyrrhic victory.

So Where is This Taking Us?

When Halo: The Master Chief Collection (hereinafter called Halo: MCC) was announced the fact that it was to include FOUR major game titles under ONE roof was not lost on the gamer community in general, or Halo fans specifically.

It did not take long following the announce for speculation to begin on how the Achievements would be handled.

It was widely accepted that the games would probably get a brand new Achievement scheme, one that combined game play rather than isolating it.  Oh man was that off target!

Not only did the wizards who were creating this new package opt to retain the original Achievements Scheme, they did so with no apologies offered – to the tune of 500 Achievements worth a total of 5000g (!!)

500 @ 5000g

Those two numbers are so large that they deserve some examination.  The first point is there is no way to use the traditional display system on either the Xbox 360 OR the Xbox One to set and display them.  There are simply too many.

As a result of this reality in place of the standard sliding row of Achievements what we received instead was a token sample in that format that, once the player actually moved to examine the remaining 95% of the Achievements was then forced into a PiP window in the form of a narrow column divided into two themes: Locked and Unlocked Achievements.

Okay that is not so bad really, and it is easily managed up to a point, for sure, but once you actually begin to dig into the first game (and most players pretty much started from the beginning) which is Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary (or Halo: CEA) a curious pattern emerged.

The typical player ended up STAYING in HCEA mode far longer than might otherwise be the case, largely as a result and consequence of the Achievements!

Put this another way – most players were loathe to move on from CEA until they had unlocked ALL of the Achievements that they felt they likely COULD unlock, for reasons (we suspect) that have more to do with the ungainly display scheme for Achievements than anything else.

Oddly enough – considering that WE do not play these games strictly for Achievements or adding ‘g’ to our score, we also found ourselves being influenced by precisely THOSE concerns!

So what does that look like?  Typically we mean? Consider that for JUST Halo: CEA there are 91 Achievements worth a total of 855g (those do NOT include the Common ones, of which there are 71 Achievements worth a total of 895g!)

Loitering for Achievements and ‘G’

Using Halo: CEA as our example, the Achievements Scheme for the game is structured as follows:

  • Common Achievements – G that applies to ALL of the games equally / cumulative activities.
  • Story: Level Completion – 10 Achievements worth a total of 100g.
  • Conditional: Par Times – 11 Achievements worth a total of 120g.
  • Conditional: Par Scores – 11 Achievements worth a total of 120g.
  • Conditional: Terminals – 11 Achievements worth a total of 70g.
  • Conditional: Skull Collection – 14 Achievements worth a total of 85g.
  • Conditional: Completion Difficulty Levels – 4 Achievements worth a total of 70g.

The remaining Achievements consist of a collection of conditional events as well as multi-player events that require some rather amazing commitment from the player to fully unlock.

Put it this way – in terms of TIME, the soonest that a player can complete unlocking the entire Achievements for Halo: CEA is around one (1) month (depending on the day of the month you begin) since one of the Achievements can only be unlocked on the 15th of a month.

Notes:

“Common” = Achievements that are shared among ALL of the games.
“Conditional”
= Achievements that require the player to do specific actions for set results.
“Skulls”
= A collection set that consists of Skull Objects that when used perform specific game mods.
“Story”
= Achievements that are unlocked as part of the Story Mode for Single / Multi-player and so cannot be missed.
“Terminals” = A collection set that when used triggers an external news and notification system.

So because of the diversity in the design of the Achievements – and the odd display scheme as well as organization – most players (particularly those who are into neat and orderly game play in terms of Achievements) quickly find that there is no way for it NOT to be messy!

Because of that we find that a lot of players end up opting to stick around in CEA until they have taken the unlocking as far as they reasonably can BEFORE moving on to the next game in the series, Halo 2, where they do precisely the same thing!

Is that strange or what?

Now that you understand that – and we have very well defined both the meaning and the origins for the word “Amok” – can you think of a better and more accurately descriptive word to use for this instance?  Because if you can, I would really sincerely like to know!

The Deed in Practice

Recently a reader emailed me asking if I actually really and genuinely DO the things I write about?  Now as I am a firm believer in full transparency it appears to me that the best way to demonstrate that I do, indeed, do the things I write about, I cordially invite you to verify that which I say!

You can accomplish this UN-style Trust but Verify policy by loading your favored Web Browser and pointing it at any of the following URLs:

You can also log into your Gamertag Account on Xbox Live (http://www.xbox.com/en-US/) then select the following:

  • Log In
  • Click the “Friends” Tab
  • Enter “Recnef” in the Search Box on the Friends Page

You are sincerely invited to “follow” me if you like but please do not send Friend requests (you can follow w/o doing that).  It is NOT that I do not want to be your friend mates, it is simply that I have run out of slots in the Friends Scheme and I cannot accept new friends.

I don’t want you to think I am ignoring your request but there is nothing I can do about it if you do send one.  Just saying.

Note: You will need to select View Xbox One Profile for the details on Halo: MCC…

Not only will you be able to verify my G and Gamerscore, but for most of the above you can see details on the different Achievements including data like the date it was unlocked, what it was worth, and the like.

Happily you can ALSO see my G in other games, and even compare YOUR status to mine if you like.  And how cool is that?

As you will quickly note, I do not speculate, but put into practice that which I write of!

Xbox One Anniversary

Is it possible that the Xbox One is already a year old?!  Wow… That year really raced past right?  Because it sure is a year old!

So, hey… First before I say anything else: Happy Christmas!

Now that that mischief has been managed, the wizards at LIVE – in honor of the Xbox One First Anniversary – send me some statistical information…  I will share that with you below!  But hey, if/when they send you yours, share it with me, umkay?

The Xbox One 1-Year Anniversary Statistics for Recnef

  • Xbox LIVE Member Since: 2008
  • Hours Gaming on LIVE: 1,423
  • Position Among LIVE Membership: Top 5%
  • Xbox One Gamerscore: 7,750
  • Gamerscore Position: Top 5%
  • Achievements Unlocked: 474
  • Achievements Position: Top 1%
  • Total X1 Game Library Played: 12%

For the record mates I should mention that my actual Gamerscore – when we tally up the X1, X360 and Windows = 142,540

A Killing Bonus – Sniper Elite III

While this is mostly for my own amusement and reference if you happen to be playing the video game Sniper Elite III on either Xbox One (that is what I am playing on), Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, or PlayStation 4, then you may find this to be of interest as well!

While each “kill” that you score against the German army results in the award of a specific score, depending upon how well you kill them – or how unique the kill is in terms of the body part hit, and the conditions under which the trigger was pulled – that can (often will) result in the award of bonus points!

The following Bonus Point System has been noted by me, in SE3, so far:

Rifles

    Distance Bonus +10
    Empty Lung +5
    Headshot Bonus +5
    Long Distance Bonus +20
    Multi-Kill +20
    Penetration Bonus +5
    Rifle Kill +20
    Tagged Kill +10

Pistols

    Ghost Kill +10
    Headshot Bonus +5
    Pistol Kill +10
    Silent Kill +5
    Tagged Kill +10

Frustrations of Modern Video Game Tech and other Wandering Thoughts

The world was a very different place in 1990. 

The Australia from whence I came — circa 1991 — No longer exists,

The two seemingly unconnected observations sadden me so profoundly and in so many different ways that I hardly know where to begin. 

It’s not simply a matter of fond and sentimental reflection upon better times — simpler times — or even just a lost national innocence, but then all of those apply…

This may appear to be a rather funny (funny as in “odd” not funny as in “haha”) way to begin a post about the Frustrations of Modern Video Game Tech, but then there you are… 

If you bear with me I promise that this will make a certain sort of sense; though I make not a single promise in the direction or the area of rational thought since this is more a combination of emotions that ebb and flow on a river of lost opportunities.  I am just saying.

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Sometimes the things we carry are ideas or emotions, and sometimes the things we carry are physical things; oddly I find that the intangible often weighs far more and is more pressing upon the soul than the tangible.

An oxymoron is a figure of speech that juxtaposes apparently contradictory elements, with its most common form involving a two-word combination of  adjective–noun; classic examples include barbed and often plunging notions such as Jumbo Shrimp, Living Dead, Mad Wisdom, or my personal favorite, Deafening Silence.

Queen Victoria chose as her Poet Laureate Alfred, Lord Tennyson, who later due to his services to Crown and Country as Poet Laureate later became 1st Baron Tennyson with the agreement and recommendation of Prime Minister John Russell and the word (and Sword) of the Queen…  

While his tenure was one of the longest in the history of the position,it was marked by a string of passable but unexceptional works.  Every so often though (mostly when Tennyson felt events warranted the effort), a truly exceptional work would emerge.

Examples of the latter includes Break, Break, Break, Charge of the Light Brigade, Crossing the Bar, and Tears, Idle Tears.  

In addition to putting some very good words together in a fashion and with a pattern that was catchy, easy to remember, and nicely  expressed the emotions inherent to the story or events –Lord Tennyson enjoyed something like the fame of a modern-day rockstar — in fact it is fair to say that he was the Roger Waters of his day.   I do not flirt with hyperbole when I say that.

When the need was present, the Queen’s Poet Laureate happened to like the oxymoron as a tool of clarity — or not depending on how you look at it and what he wasn’t saying — a fact that can be no better illustrated than by the following line from his piece titled Idylls of the King:

And faith unfaithful kept him falsely true…

Yep, he not only made use of oxymoron, but he used TWO in that single short line!

I feel compelled to reveal something personal before I go on to reveal some things personal: I think in pictures, not in words.

When I think of you, I don’t see your name spelled out in letters inside my head, though I am told that a majority of homo sapiens have just that experience when they “think.” In place of that word instead I see your face, and what is more, I often smell you too.

While thinking in a mixture of pictures and words is very common – it’s estimated that around 65% of the humans presently alive on good old Terra do so – thinking exclusively in pictures (what is officially known as Visual/Spatial Thinking) is not common at all. 

That very uncommon — statistically speaking the estimate is around 4% of the world’s population — thinking process is what you might call a mixed blessing…   The Dutch call the phenomenon beelddenken and you probably will not be surprised to learn that elsewhere the phenomenon is known as Eidetic Memory (AKA photographic memory).

I said it is a mixed blessing because while some of the people who think in pictures like me are pretty much normal, a statistically larger percentage suffer from conditions like Autism and Dyslexia… Happily I don’t but I should probably be thanking God daily for that.

The rarer still phenomenon of eople who think in pictures and also experience (and define) olfactory symbolism as a familiar form of identification is very rare indeed. Of course it could also be the early signs of a brain tumor…  Sigh.

Corrupt Game Saves

Thinking for me is often something like an adventure due to the path that naturally forms to make the process happen – or perhaps to facilitate the thought path would be a more accurate way to express it.

For example this morning I discovered that my Xbox 360 would not load and play the game Splinter Cell: Blacklist.

After a fair bit of diagnostics the culprit turned out to be a corrupt save file — which meant I had to delete my existing save file in order to play the game.  Which meant I lost all of the progress that i had made up to that point.  And it was a lot of progress, believe me!

Confronting that situation caused me to think about previous similar events, which took me back in the movie projector of memory to Oz, then somehow that path branched to oxymoron, then from there to Tennyson, Queen Victoria, and a paper that I read not to recently about beelddenken and the thought that it would be nice if computers — and when I say computers I mean computers as well as video game consoles which, if you think about it, are really just computers you hook to your TV just saying…

Now I wish that my Xbox 360 could be my Huckleberry Friend — but I am afraid that she knows about the relationship that I am having with a new interloper — called Xbox One.  God forbid she learn about another new face in the crowd called PlayStation 4 – but they are kept segregated in different parts of the entertainment center so the chances are slim that they will meet let alone start comparing notes.

Was it Tony Soprano who gave a toast to wives and girlfriends, with the desire that they never meet each other?

The question that bothers me still is this: how can these game companies make such intense and immersive pieces of interactive entertainment, making use of the bleeding edge of the console platforms upon which they are coding for, and still somehow end up creating entropy in the form of games that randomly self-destruct in the form of corrupting their own code?

On the one hand the complexity of these games means that there is certainly potential room for that sort of problem, but on the other well, this IS what they do to create their revenue stream, so wouldn’t you think that this sort of thing would be quickly stomped on and corrected?  Well, if you thought so, then no, sorry, not so much.

Something to think about as I wander through the comics of my thoughts…

Cheers!

C

Installing New Games

Truth in Advertising Laws have been taken too far…

Any games journo who tells you that the free games that they get are no big deal is being an asshat.  While I am one of those writers who firmly believe that it should never be about the free games, I also know that the daily experience of logging into your email in the morning and seeing the mail cart approach your desk in the afternoon is a pretty heady one; you never know what games are going to arrive today, and when you get titles you did not request and so were not expecting, it is a little bit like the feeling you used to get on Christmas morning back when you were still young enough to believe in Santa Clause.

Thursday last was a particularly fruitful game arrival day, as in addition to the four flat packages that arrived in the mail cart, there were half-a-dozen codes in the email box — and even those were something of a surprise by themselves as three of the codes actually resulted in multiple games, but I am getting ahead of myself…

Like a lot of PC users I don’t like to use my computer when something is being installed — the problem with that is that it is hard to tell if Steam is actually installing some part of the game you are adding from that service or it is just downloading, since the entire process is carried out under the guise of “installing” since that is what the window’s title is.  That being the case I find that whenever a Steam game is being added my PC ends up being declared temporarily unusable by the very violent Irish Military Policeman who patrols my noggin.

Yesterday I plugged in the three Steam Codes I received in email, naively thinking that the act of activating three codes would logically lead to three games being installed, right?  No, wrong!  After blithely entering the codes I was thunderstruck by the resulting download and installation monitoring status screen thingy as it revealed the download and installation progress for ELEVEN (11) games!  And a couple of those games were larger than 4GB!

I don’t like being forced into the role of data traffic cop, and because the bandwidth in our office is not a humungous or wide-pipe uber-broadband- onnection,  a user who wants all of the other uses to not hate their very guts takes care to arrange large downloads so that they take place overnight, when nobody needs that bandwidth.  As a result it was not long before a voice could be heard loudly asking: “Who is doing bandwidth intensive tasks?!”

I quickly hit the pause-all button and then assessed the situation on my desktop — and then resumed the download for the smallest item in the list.  As each of the small items completed, I then resumed the download for the next smallest, and etc. until all that was left to be downloaded was a trio of very large games.  Those I left hanging until the close of business, and the last thing that I did before departing for the weekend was to resume all three of those, fully expecting that when I arrive at work on Monday they will all be finished.  I hope.

There is a price to be paid, you see, for all those free games, and I just want you to know that we willingly pay that price for you, so we can review and write about the games for you, the reader.  Oh, and I also want you to be aware that if someone was using the office network over the weekend and my massive download messed with their work, I will be blaming you.