I Am A Dumbass. Here’s Why.

Robert is a great dude so come on over and give him some encouragement. Lord knows we have all hit ruts like this before.. I certainly have! Let’s get a big raid and some encouragement going!

You've Been Hooked!

Where to begin?

It is a question, no, it is the question that has plagued everyone who has ever tried to communicate, from the most brilliant writer to the first caveman who scratched up a perfectly good cave wall with messages that appeared to be insane ramblings to the rest of the tribe.

Speaking of that original set of markings, can you imagine all the information the first writer/artist wanted to convey?

  • “Females are soft and warm. After you bang them over the head with a club? Not so much.”
  • “Fire… good for making dead animal taste better.”
  • “Fire… HOT!”
  • “Beware the Kardashian tribe. Me get bad vibe from them.”

But enough about the distant past, let’s talk about recent events and how they have impacted my present… and the damage they’re going to do to my future.

First of all, I am still currently employed as a bellman. My…

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Meet The GANG: Gaming Death Podcast & EP 100 Party On June 12th 2014! #E32014 #E3Live #E3

Breaking News!

We have live coverage on the @GeekyAntics Twitter and GeekyAntics.net site.  Tonight, June 10th 2014, at around 9pm Eastern (6pm Pacific) we’ll be doing a special E3 show with the Gaming Death Podcast.

E3 - Electronic Entertainment Expo - E3 2014 #E3Live

Big things going on.  Come join the GANG for #E3Live fun.  So far, I’m most enjoying the small studio and indie releases.  I dig what Microsoft is doing with the ID@XBox program.  Any time us little guys have a chance to level the playing field, that is exciting news to me!

Project Spark is particularly intriguing.  This is a sandbox game that actually allows you to create your own games.  Will this be like RPG Maker Ace VX or will it be more akin to Sony’s Little Big Planet?  Competition is heating up and it’s GREAT!

More E3 Coverage Here

Special thanks to the Gaming Death Podcast and GamingDeath.com for keeping us updated on all the latest video game news.  Even if you’re not into gaming, this technology and the game mechanics of it all are worth checking out.  E3 is, after all, a marketer’s wet dream, no?

So, what have you enjoyed of the #E32014 reveals so far?

Meet The GANG: Gaming Death Podcast & EP 100 Party On June 12th 2014! #E32014.

Curse Of Naxxramas June 3rd Release Date? #YOHTAI

The cards are alive with the sound of roars!

Hearthstone is taking the Internet by storm.  Chances are you are not a “gamer” per se but you have played or at least heard of it.  The iPad app has brought Hearthstone to the masses and remains a featured app with a MetaCritic rating of around 88-95 on any given day..  and it’s “just” a card game!

If you have been keeping tabs on Hearthstone, it may be worth noting that the first expansion, Curse Of Naxxramas, may come as soon as June 3rd 2014 (trust me.. June 3rd is a VERY educated “guess”).  This expansion will introduce new cards, fresh game mechanics, and a deep single-player experience perfect for less competitive players.  Regardless of the definitive release date, Naxxramas is gonna be awesome.  Summer 2014 is gonna be the Summer of Hearthstone!

What excites me about this game beyond the marketing opportunities is the fact that this game is truly accessible.  Blizzard knows how to develop games that are fun and easy to learn.  Their properties become staples of geek and even mainstream culture.  Heck, Hearthstone is still new and already tournaments are popping up with hundreds of thousands in prizes! #BlizzCon

Hearthstone follows the same tradition of accessibility and pervasiveness.  It is simple while offering tons of replay value and depth.  The layers of mastery are very satisfying indeed.  Hearthstone is omnipresent.  Do not resist.  Give it a try.

Join us at #YOHTAI – Ye Olde Hearthstone Tavern And Inn!

Ye Olde #Hearthstone Tavern and Inn #YOHTAI Issue No. 3.

Work For Hire: Proper Attribution Vs. Blatant Content Theft

There...  Now It's Mine!

Kids, just because you say it’s yours does not make it so.

There’s a disturbingly large contingent of delusional people that feel that a consultant’s work is automatically “work for hire”.  These are the folks that feel they can buy an image for $5 and maintain exclusive rights or pay a web developer $100 and have a web site that is unique, professional, and functional.  What’s worse is that they assume that ownership of rights of use (think Creative Commons licenses) means full ownership – there’s a world of difference there, kids!

Personally, I feel the term work for hire is a dirty phrase.  The average client has tight budgets and can’t pay for full ownership and exclusivity yet the expectation is that a consultant or freelancer always offers their services as WFH.  This is simply not true, nor is it fair.  It’s bad business for all parties involved.

So, WTF is “work for hire”?

I’m no lawyer but I’ve dealt with lawyers and legal jargon enough to understand that there are explicit and implicit rules for establishing ownership to intellectual property or content of any sort.  “Work for hire” essentially means you work behind the scenes and maintain no rights.  When I do work as a ghostwriter, I get paid large sums up-front for the right to give up any credit.  This means I can’t make any claims to the work, not even on a resume, unless I keep it anonymous.  Ghostwriting is the exception to the rules stated herein and, unless you sign an NDA or NC contract that stipulates ownership explicitly, the rights to content and end products are shared as far as I’m concerned.  Am I wrong in thinking this?

Consulting is tricky because there are no real standards for billing rates but pretty much every client will try to underpay if they can get away with it.  This is understandable: everyone wants more profits and savings.  The typical assumption is that you do the work, then it’s theirs, and you move on until you’re needed again.  This is what I call “one and done” work – it’s a real grind and rarely worth the effort unless you’re desperate.  These days, I do not bother with work for hire projects because…

  • It rarely leads to referrals or future work (unless maybe I beg).
  • It is not very profitable, nor is it efficient use of time.
  • It pulls me away from things that create long-term value for my brand(s).

I appreciate the fact that everyone is looking for a deal and wants to maximize investments but no one wants to be an indentured servantProject parameters and boundaries must be set to protect all business interests and circumvent any squabbles.  I’m all for giving freebies and value-added services but I’m not going to work for peanuts and neither should you!

…And now for story/rant time with Yogizilla!

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What Winter Storm Pax Has Taught Me

Winter Storm Pax has taken the South by storm (pardon the pun). In Georgia, around 105,000 people were or are still without power. Over half a million people were part of the Southern black-out in Virginia, Albama, and Georgia in total. I am part of the fortunate few that does not have to wait until Saturday (February 15th) or later to have service restored. It’s been quite an experience!


It was scary at first feeling so isolated. Nights were cold and dark. Roads were blocked and there was not much to do. With no Internet access and limited cell phone service (and battery life), it was like a taste of the apocalypse to some. Sure, that may seem extreme but, in our connected culture, never underestimate the effects of isolation and doing things the slow way!

Three whole days of no power has given me plenty of time to reflect on a number of things. Part of me is disappointed power was not restored sooner.  I was caught in the midst of scheduling a bunch of posts and preparing some new shows. We had to cancel HorsePLAY! LIVE last night, which sucks, but we’ll bounce back!

Allow me to share some introspective and personal development tidbits…

Gratitude & Perspective

Like many of the folks in Augusta and the CSRA, I am grateful to have my electricity return.  It was easy to get bitter about being in the dark (quite literally) but when you think about all the engineers, police officers, fire men, and other emergency personnel away from their families for long stretches of time, a fresh perspective dispeled such angst. Some of these folks worked double or triple shifts to bring people back online quickly.

We all have had our own trials and tribulations to deal with during the aftermath of Winter Storm Pax.  Some have had damage to their homes and vehicles, others have had to deal with injuries and death. These realizations are humbling.  I am grateful now, more than ever, for what My family has and less worried about what we lack.

Without this perspective, it would be easy to be cynical or jaded. One could say the diligent efforts of Georgia Power and other companies was purely driven by self-interest; after all, getting customers back online ensures billability. On the flip side, we have already established the diligence and sacrificed required to restore electrical grids throughout the South. Let’s not forget the efforts to clear all the trees and roads.

As a whole, I think many of us focus too much on white whine and first-world problems. We forget how much bigger the world is and how fortunate we really are. Be wary not to develop a sense of entitlement, folks. Every day is truly a blessing!

My thanks go out to those facing the bitter cold and dangers while helping restore order!

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2013 In Review: Never Work.. Do What You LOVE!

Seeing how it’s been a very busy year for me and I haven’t done much writing on any of my sites (I know, shame on me), I figured I would share my 2013 In Review report with you all along with some advice for startups, freelancers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses alike.  The stats are not by any means stellar unless you consider that I have been posting to this blog about 1-3 times a month whereas in previous years I updated Yomar.me weekly, if not daily (it was quite a grind alongside everything else).  This year, I’ve been testing the waters further with audio and video..  I am enjoying myself much more, even though I love to write.

Interestingly enough, while I have scaled back social media efforts and blogging here, I have been posting more regularly to my Yogizilla-branded Tumblr and DuelPassOnline.com, where I mainly share fun geeky stuff like gaming and anime.  The response has been great, which has shown me that this marketing/business space is rather crowded and I really need to focus more on my roots: gaming and technology..  As well as creative writing.  Expect just that in 2014!

Now for the recap!  The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.  I hear the monkeys are trained properly, thus very little fecal matter has been transferred to the reports.  Good to know – poop is only good in controlled environments or with proper presentation..  Just ask Sony or Apple (sorry, I could not resist).

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,600 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Death Is Kinda Final: A Risk Of Rain Review/Analysis

Risk Of Rain - A Roguelike Game

Risk Of Rain – A Roguelike Game

*** UPDATE:  Giveaway details provided at the end of the post and on my plain-named Google+ profile.  To qualify for the giveaways, follow/subscribe on the Yogizillla Twitch channel and connect on Steam.  I am pretty much Yogizilla everywhere! ***

Maybe I am a bit of a hipster after all but, I have to say, when I see games like this I get excited.  The graphical presentation may not be much to look.  I am sure some see this screenshot and think, “Wow.. That looks like crap.”  They would be mistaken.

What excites me about Risk Of Rain and indie games like it is that some brave developers are taking a simplified approach to game development.  They forego fancy graphics and fluff to provide depth, fresh game mechanics, and high replay value.  Risk Of Rain shines in all regards.

Death Is Kinda Final

Here is a game that takes the permadeath concept and makes it fun.  That’s quite the tall order, too, because dying is kinda final..  People don’t usually come back from death.  That kind of sucks..  And then your corpse starts to rot and smell, which means someone has to deal with that.  That sucks too.

Fortunately, permadeath is a core mechanic here that actually makes this game so [frustratingly] fun.  This game has a very strong element of random to it so every playthrough is unique.  With death being final, gamers feel more urgency in trying to survive and get as far as they can.

Risk Of Rain is not alone in the bold permadeath design decision but it certainly does it well.  Other games worth noting in this space are FTL: Faster Than Light, Hammerwatch, and Rogue Legacy, which all make me a happy gamer.

Borderlands Ain’t Got Nothing On This!

The Borderlands series has often been hailed as being the king of lootfests.  While the drops in Borderlands are all unique, random, and bountiful, Risk Of Rain offers over 100 unique items and each has significant impacts on gameplay.  I found that, even with god-like items, the game was still very challenging and satisfying.  What changed is how I positioned my character and approached challenges.

Sometimes, less is more.  That’s certainly the case here.  The quality and uniqueness of the items satiated my need to build the ultimate hero..

Yes, this playthrough will be it.  I have all the 1337 gear and now I am unstoppable..  Oh, I died again.  @#&$%!

One of the coolest items I found so far was a back-strapped rocket pod that randomly fired off a barrage of homing missiles at nearby enemies.  I also found a magical egg that healed me while I was out of combat (or at least not taking damage).  The latter was not as useful deeper in the game as enemies kept spawning on me..  But it was delicious, nonetheless.

Online Features & A Little Wishful Thinking

Surprisingly, the growing roguelike space does not have very many online entries.  It goes to show that the games are just that fun, I suppose, but it doesn’t matter here because Risk Of Rain supports online multiplayer.

As a budget indie game, I suppose it would be unrealistic to expect online matchmaking.  To join a game, you need a competent host and an IP address to connect to.  Not very user-friendly but, fortunately, I am still a techie at heart.

What I hope to see is more online features like scoreboards and social sharing.  Most of the games doing this just tack it on but, here, I think it would really enhance the experience.  After all, surviving just ten minutes of ROR is epic on it’s own but imagine if you could brag to your friends and tell them you survived an hour or more!

Perfect For Video Game Streaming

Risk Of Rain is by far one of my Top 10 games of choice to stream on Twitch or record Let’s Play type videos on YouTube.  I say this for a number reasons, including…

  • It is not a resource hog so you can stream at HD quality on just about any rig.
  • Since each playthrough is unique, it never gets old.
  • You’ll die lots, do stupid things, and probably cuss lots (people like that).
  • People may pity you and join you for some co-op death parties.

We’re seeing a growing number of procedurally-generated, random-event type games nowadays and I think it’s great.  Not all games should require high replay value to be considered exceptional but, for a frugal spender like myself, that is a HUGE selling point.  I don’t see myself getting tired of Risk Of Rain any time soon.

My hope is that we can help expand the community around this game enough to see significant updates and maybe some online matchmaking.  I’d at least love to see holiday-themed events.  Maybe some lizard men in Santa hats or pumpkinhead scarecrows chasing after you around Halloween.

I have streamed this game a handful of times but it is definitely staying on my playlist for a long time.  I just can’t say enough good things about it.

What Is A Game Really Worth?

Some gaming snobs may say, “Pffft..  What can you really expect from a ten-dollar game?”  Others may feel that it is not worth even that.  Both groups would be dreadfully wrong.  This game is perfect at $10.  I’d venture to say it is a must-buy.

Just look at all the off-the-shelf retail offerings the so-called next-gen consoles are selling now.  Forza 5 is a huge macrotransaction followed by several microtransactions..  And that’s just one of the many games trying to milk consumers in the front and back ends (hmmm, that sounds really bad).

Risk Of Rain breaks this nasty cycle of corporate greed by offering you an experience that is budget-friendly.  More importantly, you can jump right in without worrying about hidden costs, value-removed, or any other crap.  Heck, if and when they do release DLCs, I will be more than happy to support these developers with some of my hard-earned coins.

To me, a game’s price should be a compromise between recuperating your investment as a developer and scaling according to the overall scope.  Games with high replay value and low production value should be priced at entry to mid-range prices.  This game comes in at the low-end but offers a high-end experience, in my humble opinion.  Yes, it’s just that good.

The only thing that limits the game is the lack of gameplay modes and environmental variety.  Hammerwatch has similar issues but compensates with an included level editor and modding kit.  I’d love to see a boss rush mode, more variety in levels, and new monsters added.  Of course, that’s just me knit-picking.  The game is fantastic as it is right now but fresh content never hurts.

If you’re on Steam, get this game..  And add me, Yogizilla.  Do it..  Do it now.

The Simplicity Paradigm Shift..  And Hipsters

I find that developers today, especially the big ones, are too focused on technology and visuals.  That stuff is fine and dandy but, by the time they have invested so much in the game engine and presentation, it feels like the other aspects are just after-thoughts.  The simplicity of games like Risk Of Rain has allowed developers to go deeper with the things that make games really fun.. and replayable.

I am uber excited to see the direction gaming is going in.  We’re seeing more games developed by real gamers.  Developers are making the games they’ve always wanted to play themselves.  They are passionate, engaged, and socially-connected.  It’s awesome and that spirit shows in Risk Of Rain.

The jaded cynist in me used to think that these retro-style games were part laziness, part hipster-pandering..  I was wrong.  This is a turning point in the gaming industry.  We’re going back to the roots.  Good, simple fun.


Sweepstakes/giveaway rules updated 12/30/2013.

Reward UNLOCKED! is my new promotion, where I give away cool stuff for gamers and geeks.  Risk Of Rain will be my first giveaway for this series.  If it goes well, I may give away more copies.  That’s how much I dig this game!

To unlock this reward, follow/subscribe to me on Twitch and connect with me on Steam – I am Yogizilla at both places!  To unlock the reward, share my links with your friends.  Once we hit 100 subscribers, I will pick a random winner from amongst Twitch followers.  I will also be giving away copies of Guns of Icarus Online and Skulls of the Shogun, then we can game and stream together!

Learn more on Yomar Lopez’s (that’s me) Google+ profile or my NEW Yogizilla-branded Tumblr microblog (NSFW/NSFK).  Also, for more gaming-related content and random geeky shenanigans, visit me at DuelPassOnline.com – w00t!