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Cheap Ass Games - An Interview with CheapyD

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David Abrams (CheapyD) manages CheapAssGamer.com - a website dedicated to tracking video game sales and prices - from his home in Tokyo, Japan. Tens of thousands of people visit Cheap Ass Gamer each day to share the latest deals available from internet and regional retailers. CheapyD also records his weekly podcast -the CAGcast- over Skype with his friends, Wombat and Shipwreck for thousands of listeners who, not only value their opinion of games, but enjoy listening to the stories they share.

               
After acquiring my history degree in Rochester, New York, I worked for a corporate video conferencing company called ADCOM who set up video conferences between people in different locations. In Canada, a more successful company with the same name sued us out of existence. My employers offered me a job for a formal position, but I quit after my 3 years with them.

I then found a job in commercial real-estate selling office buildings in Manhattan, which no one owned the exclusive rights to. Anyone could sell the office space and I would only receive pay through commission. "I hated it. I was making cold calls all day just bothering people. I'm kind of shy and I just wanted to leave people alone." I quit after a year and with no job lined up.

A cyberpunk void

I continue to look for a game that doesn't quite exist yet. I want a game where I can explore and climb the buildings a cyberpunk city (a dirty and grimy version of science fiction where even the most common man owns advanced technology) and gameplay that won't burden my time spent learning about cybernetic implants or other technology.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution comes closest to that elusive cyberpunk game that I imagine, though its confined hub-worlds and stealth mechanics represent game systems that I usually find more tedious than enjoyable.  Deus Ex's stealth enabled for many great moments when successfully bypassing an entire room of guards or even wandering the lower, dirtier half of Hengsha - a city with an entirely separate and cleaner city floating directly above. I continued to play Deus Ex: Human Revolution for the appearance, fiction and societal issues a technologically distant yet similar world, not for the gameplay itself.

While searching for a game that would offer gameplay and combat not focused on stealth, I came across Syndicate - a linear first-person corridor shooter. Unfortunately, Syndicate did not provide what I specifically looked for. I ignored the narrative and spent far too much time looking at horizon of brightly lit landscapes I would rather explore instead of the white hallways I always found myself it.

Even with the relative newness of game development in the 3D era, I did not expect such small selection within the setting. Why does such a large void exist in cyberpunk themed video games developed in the last decade? I came across a few titles that closely fit the description of an open world game, but most of them (for me at least) come with a sliver of cynicism or developmental issues.

Review: BioShock Infinite - Clear Skies

A utopia, no matter how promising, will always fall. Unlike the first BioShock, in BioShock Infinite you will witness the floating city of Columbia as it descends from the perceived perfection and suffer the same fate as the underwater city of Rapture. The inevitable utopic fall represents one of the many themes throughout the game which all contribute to the believability of a society living in the sky. The gradual development of these themes builds upon the understanding of Columbia's history and current events. Irrational Games' attention to detail and their ability to imagine grand fictional worlds only compliments one of the best told stories in video games.  

Review: Fire Emblem Awakening - A lethal pairing

Do you know which game Marth and Ike belong to? I didn`t, yet I never questioned their existence in Super Smash Brothers. I accepted the fact that they came from a Nintendo franchise without ever stopping to think of which one exactly.

Fire Emblem Awakening made me realize that both Marth and Ike belonged to the Fire Emblem franchise - a franchise with a relatively small audience. Fire Emblem targeted people looking for a challenging grid based strategy game who also didn't fear the consequence of their character's permanent death.

With the inclusion of a Casual mode - which disables permanent death and enables manual saves any at time during battle - Fire Emblem Awakening's accessibility welcomes audiences beyond the punishment seeking community. With new modes introduced, Fire Emblem Awakening can produce a variety of difficulty settings for each player's specific desires, removing the barrier between a frustrating strategy game and an addictive one.

Unpacking the PlayStation 4 reveal

Prior to the unofficial yet predictable unveiling of the PlayStation 4, I expected disappointment. Sony's continued failures did little to convince for anything better. The PlayStation 3 launched for $600 with no software support for two years; the ridiculously expensive PSP Go didn't play PSP UMDs, and the PS Vita barely sees any new game releases. Even outside of the video games market, the last innovative piece of technology Sony produced was the Walkman.

But I was wrong; Sony finally learned something.

Dual Shock 4 - A tentative grasp

About a week before Sony's announcement of the PS4, Destructoid.com posted what looked like a prototype PS4 controller. In the photo, a blue light bar - similar to the Playstation Move - hinted at some type of motion control implementation. No one wants to waggle their controller or shake it furiously; we learned that immediately after the Nintendo Wii's novelty wore off. After hearing the confirmation of Move support, the idea didn't bother me.

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