Humble Bundles Everywhere

The latest Humble Indie Bundle hit the web today.  I have to admit the the lineup of games looks great, and the inclusion of Super Meat Boy alone is a pretty decent selling point.  But my concern regards the fact that it’s the 4th Humble Indie Bundle, but not the fourth actual Bundle.

Over the past few months in fact, Humble Bundles have been popping up all over the place (well, they’re all at the website, but you get my drift).  Rather than a collection of indie games, they’re usually collections by developers, or even one game (i.e. – the Humble Voxatron Debut).  And now I’m left hoping that the Humble Bundle concept isn’t being subverted.

I love the idea of getting some awareness for indie game developers while helping out charity.  The charity side is what makes it unique as opposed to an indie bundle on Steam or the site Indie Royale.  So if it looks like someone’s using the Humble Bundle just to promote themselves, I’m walking away.  And I’m not trying to accuse anyone of doing that.  I can’t judge what someone’s intentions are.  I’d just hate to see an amazing concept that’s making a difference for others get bogged down in self-promotion.

That’s why I get more excited about the numbered Humble Indie Bundles as opposed to developer bundles.  I suppose everyone’s hearts could be in the wrong place, but it’s easier for me to believe 5-7 developers coming together have the best in mind as opposed to one developer with 3-5 games.  That’s likely an unfair assumption, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s how I feel.

So, feel free to release more single developer or pre-release bundles if you wish.  But more than likely, I’ll be holding onto my money until Humble Indie Bundle 5 comes around.

For now, check out the trailer for the latest Humble Indie Bundle:

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Good Deals and a Bad Turn

The Hollywood Video in our town is closing down.  This means they’re selling off all their inventory.  Unfortunately, I’m a little late to the party on this one, which means what I would consider the good stuff, or at least a majority of what I was looking for, wasn’t there.  However, I was able to find some good deals on some used DVD’s and a game.  Namely, I grabbed a copy of The Bourne Ultimatum, which finished off my Bourne Trilogy DVD collection at home, a copy of Stranger Than Fiction, one of the few movies with Will Ferrell that I enjoyed and didn’t feel uncomfortable through most of, and a copy of Batman Begins for the Gamecube to play on my Wii.  And I grabbed it all for less than $20 after tax.

The game was the first thing to emerge from it’s case when I got home.  That was when the first unfortunate turn occurred.  This one was actually my fault.  I recently picked up a wireless no-name brand Gamecube controller from Wal-Mart so I could have a total of 3 people play Smash Bros. at one time on the Wii.  It’s a lot cheaper than shelling what comes to $60 for a new Wii Remote plus nunchuck.  I figure, “I have the controller already, I can just throw the game in and play,” which is true to an extent.  Unfortunately, even thoug the Wii is equipped with a hard drive, you cannot save Gamecube save-games on the hard drive.  You must have a Gamecube memory card, which I don’t have.  So I can play the game all I want.  I just have to start over every time until I shell out more money.  Which leads from the unfortunate turn to the bad turn.

This afternoon, my no-name wireless Gamecube controller decided to fritz up and stop working.  I could explain how it’s not working, but it would be a waste of virtual paper.  Needless to say, two weeks after purchase, it looks like I’ll have to return it, and I’m not inclined to replace it with another one that will just break.  But as with anything that’s been opened I don’t much think I’ll be getting a refund either.  Next time I guess I’ll learn my lesson and get a Nintendo brand controller with a wire.  I don’t think I can go wrong there.  I hope…

The Price of the Review

I wouldn’t call what I write on this blog professional reviews by any means.  In fact, they’re nowhere close.  I would say they are closer to the rambling opinions of a guy who just likes to be entertained.  I also happen to enjoy reading reviews and recaps of other things.

Sometimes I read a review because I just want a good laugh or to be entertained.  Other times I want an honest opinion of something before I go into it.  But that can cause some problems for me.  You see, I’m a fickle review reader.

One of the worst feelings in the world is to watch a movie or a show after reading a review and wondering “Would I have liked this better if I hadn’t read the review?”  It’s a serious question for me, because at times I’m easily swayed by other’s opinions.  I avoid thinking things through, because it just takes too much work.  Or it seems like something I would agree with anyway.  But perhaps the review says something negative, and suddenly, whether I like it or not, there has been a bad image painted in my head.  It’s stuck in there and some part of what I’m watching, reading, or playing will feel ruined because of that experience.

What makes it worse is if it happens when I’m reading reviews for affirmation.  For example, let’s say I grab a new game for my Wii or PC and I’m absolutely loving it.  I want to see what other people think, partially because I’m interested, but if I’m honest it’s mostly because I want other people to affirm my purchase, telling me I made a good choice.  And somewhere in that reading and research it happens.  Someone points out something they didn’t like.  I probably didn’t notice it before, but suddenly because they pointed it out and didn’t like, it’s glaring.  It’s like a giant pimple on an otherwise immaculate face. (OK, that was a gross simile.)

That is so frustrating.  Because when I think about it, my ultimate goal with the game or the TV show or the movie is to be entertained.  Being forced to think about tough issues can be a great part of that, but at the end, I just want to know that it’s been a worthwhile experience, and when it’s ruined by even one negative point in an otherwise positive review, it bothers me.  There are a couple of things to consider.

First, I probably shouldn’t let it get to me.  I made a decision, and I should be happy with it.  There is nothing I can do about it now.  Second, I could always stop reading reviews.  But that would be disappointing, because for every negative point that might ruin the experience, there are probably ten great points that I would not have noticed were it not for the review.