Passwords

My account for Final Fantasy XI got hacked last week. My character was transferred to another server and all my stuff was looted. For more on that, check here. Anyways, on to topic.

So those events got me thinking I should do more for online security. I already used a randomly generated password for FFXI, which didn't do me much good but that doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. So I went around today changing the passwords for my various online accounts so that they are all different and randomly generated. At first I was making them as long as possible, usually around 64 characters. This gave the password a possible five septentrigintillion combinations. I quickly realized this wasn't wise. I'm not talking about the hassle of typing that in every time you visit a site. No, there's something much worse.

All but 2 websites I visit do not mention any limitations on what you can have for a password. Well all the ones I tried, if you gave it a password longer than it supported, then it would take it... but cut it off where ever its password length limit is. So for example, if you change your password to:

9uspeSufAdefrAthAyUwrataCrAdreY9KEwrAdafrususWestaxeZuhuDuzeyuwr

And the site only supports up to 16 characters for the password, then your password ends up being this:

9uspeSufAdefrAt

But there's no error message, no warning, and so you won't know anything is wrong until you go to log in next time. At this point you're not going to be able to log in and will have to guess at which point the site decided to cut off your password. It annoyed the hell out of me when I first started working on it, so I just made sites that didn't specify password length to 12 (which was too long for one of them). Oh, and just for laughs... the two sites that specified password length were Capital One and EVE Online. Capital One wanted my password to be between 8 and 15 characters, EVE wanted it between 6 and 64. NICE!

Games as Art

A lot of places like to bring up the idea of games as an art form. I definitely agree that it is possible, but I was thinking about it and I think there's a serious flaw with the way they are categorized. When I hear something described as being a art I see that as something that is able to express and convey emotions.

Yahtzee over at The Escapist mentioned in a recent review that the point of a game is to have fun, to which I fully agree. Games also like to tell you a story and some try harder than others. I think the problem is that a lot of games handle these two separately. If I think of games that I have a strong emotional attachment to most of them have very little to do with gameplay and more to do with the story. In all honesty you could just sit me down in front all the cutscenes from Xenogears and I'd be perfectly happy to never touch the controller.Now I'm not saying I didn't like playing Xenogears, but that's not what left the lasting impression on me. Is it a game? Yes, but that has nothing to do with the emotional attachment I have to it.

I think a perfect example of art in games would be Ico. The story to the game is very subtle, there are only a handful of times throughout the game with cutscenes. Few of those have dialogue and most of the dialogue is intentionally in a language you can't understand. The emotion of this game comes from actually playing it and the story is simply there to tie it all together. If you were to just sit back and watch the story play out, it really nothing special. But while playing it and interacting with the characters there are moments that effect me just as much as Xenogears does.

I think it will be quite a while before more games are able to find the right balance that Ico did. The goal is and always will be to entertain us whether it be through gameplay or story. I just wanted to clarify what I think makes a game a work of art.

Sixaxis on Vista x64




I was finally able to get my PS3 controller working on my laptop! A quick search on google and you'll see a lot of people have been trying to do it but failed cause there's no drivers out there for Windows 64-bit. Anyways, I'm gonna keep quiet on how I did it for now and see how much additional traffic I get.

Lesser of Two a Evils

I do not like GameStop. Working there for 2 years has a lot to do with it. Granted I enjoyed my time there but that was because of the people I worked with. The management team I worked under for most of my employment also did a good job a shielding me and fellow co-workers from the company's evil ways.

My issue with them is that they, as a company, do not care about their employees. They are paid minimum wage, given no benefits, and have to put up with the horrors of retail. The company is also aware of how many young adults would kill to work in the place and because of this I don't see the entry level jobs as being a secure one. On top of abusing their employees I believe they are hurting the game industry. Their used game system is good for gamers by allowing them to trade-in unwanted games and purchase new ones. This same system steals money directly from the industry they are suppose to be supporting by removing them from the process. If you buy a used game, your money goes straight to GameStop and goes no further. In my opinion you might as well have pirated the game since you've done nothing to support it.

So over the last few years I've done my best to boycott GameStop and have been fairly successful. With my former employer, CompUSA, out of business I now do most of my game purchases from WalMart. The problem that has come to mind though is that WalMart shares some of the business practices that make me dislike GameStop so much. They might not sell used games but their size as the largest retail store in America has given them great influence on the products they sell. Things like that horrible indestructible packaging on all the accessories are WalMart's doing. A game's cover art has also been known to have been changed to appease WalMart.

I don't think either of them are good companies. As someone looking for a job I would never want to work for either one of them. As a consumer I currently choose to shop at WalMart because I view them to be the lesser of two evils. A bigger influence on this would be they are 3 blocks away from which makes it easy for me to reach. I really much rather give my business to BestBuy or one of the local retailers like Toys n' Joys, but both are far enough away to make them inconvenient. Online is always an option I could consider but because I'm in Hawaii there's no way I can get games that way nearly as fast as a local retailer.

I brought this up because of the upcoming Metal Gear Solid 4 release, which I plan on picking up from WalMart at midnight. I felt a bit conflicted about giving WalMart more business after realizing they aren't too far off from GameStop. In my opinion, though, they are the lesser of two evils when it comes to hurting the game industry. Anyone care the share their opinions on the morality of game retailers?

The End

So this is my last week at CompUSA. Its really boring so I'm gonna blog from my phone about the last week of work.