Category Archives: stupidity

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp — What’s Wrong with the Game Designers?

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp - Bunnie isn't taking your shit
Angry Bunnie

Edit on Saturday, February 17th, 2018: As of version 1.2.0, the quarry help, event creature catching success rates, and, to a degree, animal requests have been addressed. Hoping to see more improvements in the future!


I’m going to assume there’s more than one person involved when it came to designing the user interface and experience. It just boggles my mind that the following was given a pass by the designers and the folks that QC’d the app:

  • Sending Shovelstrike Quarry help requests to each friend individually.
    I literally have to spend 2 – 3 minutes everyday going through my list of 20 or so active players to ask for assistance. Did Nintendo honestly think players were going to just stop at 5 people? Maybe we would if we knew who would reliably send help every single time but as far as I know, that information isn’t shown.
  • No categories for flower trade.
    Some moron on staff decided it was a good idea to just lump everything onto one page and have everyone scroll for an eternity to look for the item they want to trade. To add insult to injury, the focus will jump back to the top of the list after the transaction is done. =____= Here’s what it looks like in action:

  • Constantly needing to re-initiate conversations with animals
    I realize that this is something from the main Animal Crossing games, but in those ones, you rarely had a need to speak to them multiple times in a row. In Pocket Camp, however, you’re trying to fulfill their 3 requests so why in all hell do I have to keep tapping on the animal over and over if I have everything they need? Why not just leave the dialogue topic menu open and let me close it myself if I have to go and get the items needed?
  • Abysmally low success rates of catching butterflies during Rover’s event
    I guess Nintendo made it nigh difficult to catch butterflies in hopes that players would spend leaf tickets (a.k.a premium currency) to get Lloid to catch them. If anyone did, it was most likely the whales and they’ll spend on anything to “win”.

    Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp -- Topaz butterflies from Rover's Crappy Ass Event
    A sight like this was not uncommon.
  • Useless “cutscene” of a Re-Tail delivery
    Unless you have severely short-term memory, you are most likely NOT going to forget what completed item you just tapped on in the Crafting menu so why show your character receiving it? It may just last a few seconds but it’s completely and wholly pointless. I’ve sent in a request to have an option to turn off the scene added. Who knows if it’ll ever happen?
  • The Market Box
    You can only see a preview of the first 4 items, you HAVE to go to the user’s camp to see the rest or buy anything, and you can’t collect all the Bells you made from multiple sales at once. It seems like the people involved in making the Market Box was thinking about the most inconvenient and roundabout way of using the damn thing.

Aside from the above, Nintendo also introduced the whole gardening bit without giving a thought of making life easy for everyone when it came to accessing other players’ gardens and identifying when a friend’s flowers needed watering.

They’ve addressed these two issues in recent updates, and they’ve released a notice not so long ago stating that they’ll be making changes to some things I’ve pointed out above. It continues to amaze me how common sense escapes everyone that’s involved with making Pocket Camp.

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp - Future improvements
Nintendo is too blind to realize what common sense user experience is and needs the community to tell them that.

Something I hope to see is a re-balance on animal requests since I run into situations where all 4 animals would ask for multiples of the same fruit, fish, or bugs.

I get that they want us to make use of the Market Boxes and/or stay in the game/log in a few times over the course of a 3-hour cycle to collect the necessary quantities. But realistically, that probably doesn’t happen often for anyone playing. And along with Boxes being annoying to access, a lot of players simply put in rare items so good luck finding the squids or monarch butterflies all the animals are simultaneously wishing for.

As for fruits, I’d use the fertilizer more often but that would require spending leaf tickets to replenish them so nuts to that.

Incidentally, if you’re finding certain things rubbing you the wrong way in Pocket Camp, be sure to let Nintendo know! You can access the feedback form from the game’s menu under More. Tap Misc. and then Customer Support. From there, choose Feedback. The rest should be self-explanatory.

App Developers, Stop Asking for 5-Star Reviews!!

Back in 2012, I wrote a piece about the dos and don’ts of requesting and writing reviews on both Google Play and App Store. Nothing’s really changed from 5 years ago; people are still writing shitty useless one-word “reviews” and developers still put those prompts for a 5-star rating in their apps.

Once again, I will explain why I take issue to the latter:

  • The developer only has one thing in mind: A 5-star or perfect rating means better visibility in search results in the application’s store which ups the chances of it being downloaded. It doesn’t matter if the app is not right at the top of the results. The chances are many users LOOK for 4 or 5-star ones as it gives the impression that it’s a good product.
    .
  • Developers use the bullshit excuse that a 5-star rating will better motivate their team. If you actually valued user feedback, you’d be asking for critiques without tossing in the specific rating suggestion and incentive (or bribe as I like to refer to it as) to review.
    .
  • EVERYONE WANTS FREE STUFF — especially when it’s premium currency so of course most people will bite. Developers know this and they also know that they’ll fall for the following point.
    .
  • Users do what they’re asked to despite how they actually feel about the game.
    Poor user is made to think that the only way to get the gift is by giving the app full stars. :(
    Poor user is made to think that the only way to get the gift is by giving the app full stars. ūüė¶

    PRO TIP: I’m unsure how it is with Android apps but with iOS, you don’t NEED to even rate or write a review to get a gift/bribe. Simply tap on the prompt box and allow the device to automatically switch to the app’s store page. Once there, don’t do anything! Just immediately go back to the app.
    .
    I believe this can also be applied to sharing on Twitter or other social services where you can just cancel the post and still receive the review incentive.

I leave 1-star reviews for companies that practices this sort of shit and call them out. I actually received a reply from one for a game I like playing which stated that players are free to give whatever rating they feel appropriate.

Well, gee. No shit. But as that example screenshot I provided showed, people a) rate 5-stars because they are told to, and b) believe giving a full rating is the only way to get the gift.

I’m not saying developers should outright stop asking for reviews and ratings or giving incentives. I’m only wishing they’d stop being dishonest and deceitful with the review prompts. Users will, in all likelihood, give the full rating and write positive comments if they’re happy with what they’re using. I think that should motivate the team more than all the blind & thoughtless 5-stars.

[Tiny Farm] Add me (to the Power of ‚ąě)

Almost a month ago, users from other Gamevil and Com2uS games decided to throw common sense and etiquette out the door and mindlessly bombard the companies’ message forums known as HIVE clubs with “Add Me” friend requests to fulfill in-game friend invite quotas to¬†obtain special goodies and bonuses.

If you check any of the clubs, you’ll find that they’ve all been infested with these Goodies Hunters. (I brand them as such because sincerely doubt most¬†of them are remotely concerned with actual friendship.)

Tiny Farm HIVE club infested with add me requests
At the Tiny Farm club: Add me. Add me. Add me. Add me. Add me. Add me. Add me. Add me. Add me. Add me. Add me. Add me. Add me. Add me. Add me. Add me.

For Tiny Farm players, it’s rather frustrating since we use the message board to find information about event quests/objectives and also to seek help from others to tame special animals visiting our¬†farms. The barrage of “Add Me”s end up pushing all the questions, informative posts, and taming requests way down the page and due to the club’s ultra archaic and backwatered design, it’s impossible to quickly locate them as¬†it has no search function or a log¬†that lists all of your own posts. In short, you are forced to scroll through the entire slog of¬†useless crap.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel, however! While there exists¬†another fan-run message board, it’s pretty much been abandoned since the creator, johnnysilver, has quit the game a long while back.¬†Now a new unofficial¬†message board has been created in the wake of this mess thanks to frequent club users, Eluzyion and Animal House. You can find it at¬†http://tinyfarmcommunity.freeforums.net/¬†ūüėĬ†At the moment, it is free from obnoxious friend requests and it’ll most likely stay that way since unless spam bots start creating accounts, the forum requires registered users to log in¬†before they¬†can even view it. The whole reason the HIVE clubs were subjected to the abuse is the¬†sheer ease of accessing them in-game and the fact that you don’t need to register again to use them once you have a username or¬†auto-generated account number from the game¬†you logged into.

So if you’re tired of how useless the Tiny Farm Club has become, consider joining us at our new home! :3

Actually, It’s About the Ethics of These Mobile Game Companies

This isn’t about issues in journalism. I chose the title because it¬†fits the¬†subject matter of this post. The type of ethics in question, however, is work ethics. I’m mildly miffed that no one else seems to draw attention to the incompetence of Rayark, Inc.¬†in their lack of proofreading text¬†in¬†Implosion – Never Lose Hope, and GCREST with their constant careless updates of CocoPPa Play. I feel strongly about these issues because it makes me wonder why I should support companies (or continue to support in Rayark’s case since¬†I already purchased¬†the game) that half-heartedly¬†work on their games.

Continue reading Actually, It’s About the Ethics of These Mobile Game Companies

To the Point Review for the Movie, Triumph in the Skies (Ť°Ěšłäťõ≤ťúĄ)

Triumph in the Skies promo poster
Triumph in the Skies (Ť°Ěšłäťõ≤ťúĄ)

This is written for the benefit of folks like me who are illiterate to Chinese but can understand conversational Cantonese and watches Chinese movies and TV dramas now and then.

A super brief background of Triumph in the Skies: the Hong Kong TV series that the movie is based off of was about airline pilots, mechanics, and stewardesses and their hardships and interactions with each other. It also gave viewers some insight on pilot training and other technical but interesting aspects of being apart of an airline crew.

Note: There are actually 2 series: one from 2003 and the wildly popular sequel released in 2013. It’s the second series that gave someone the idea that there should be a movie adaptation.

You’d think that, because the movie carries the same title as the serials, as well as featuring some actors from it, it’d have a similar sort of flair.

Nope.

It is 100 minutes of pure, utter shit.

The English synopsis found at the Wikipedia gives you the plot straight-up; it’s a flick that focuses on 3 separate storylines revolving around the relationships of 3 different couples.

This is literally what you get AT FACE VALUE. The 3 tales are NOT a part of an over-arching story. You will sit there, for 100 minutes, watching a disjointed pot-pourri of random shit happening with 6 individuals that get NO character development whatsoever.

The only redeeming value is the gorgeous cinematography featuring various locales in and around England.

Triumph in the Skies would seriously be better off as a slideshow.

Tiny Farm: Fix your inventory, Com2uS!

Edit on September 4th, 2014: Com2uS actually revised the inventory system an update or two ago so¬†this post is¬†no longer relevant. However, I’m keeping it here just¬†to show folks¬†that infinite scrolling¬†is a really terrible design.

Phew. It’s been a while since I wrote up an entry on Tiny Farm. I’m still playing it because I love collecting the super cute animals. I just wish animal certificates weren’t so expensive. I’ve long exhausted the ability to buy them with gold. Have to rely on Bells now. ūüė¶

Anyway, Tiny Farm received a massive overhaul a few weeks ago. Oddly, the ONLY¬†revision the inventory UI received was reduced icon sizes so now¬†each¬†page has 2 lines of items instead of a single one. While that reduces the amount of scrolling one had to endure, it still means A LOT of scrolling for someone like me that has tons¬†of things in storage. Sure, I can sell stuff like¬†fences and rebuy them but why would I? Why should¬†I have to? I’d rather save the money to spend on other things like the unnecessarily¬†expensive lottery draw events.

I recorded the¬†video on my iPad mini with Retina to show how idiotic the inventory¬†design is. In it, you will see that¬†I have to scroll forever to find the freakin’ Yellow Lotus Lantern that was automatically placed in inventory after claiming it from the gift area. I know I zoom past it in the initial scroll-by but it’s just to show that it doesn’t pop up at the end like what other sadistic developers may do with new things you get. At least that would make some sort of sense. This lantern showed up on page 7 or so.

The video was originally longer to show that every single item I have in the gift area is subject to the same random treatment but I decided just showing the lantern was enough.

So what can be done to improve the damnable design? Here are my suggestions:

  • ALL new items/animals you get should appear at the BEGINNING of your inventory.
  • Additional tabs on the side to sort between plants/trees, fences, and decorations just like in the freakin’¬†Store page.
  • Some ability to manually input a search string to look for something.

I wonder if there’s something in the code¬†that’ll make these additions¬†extremely difficult¬†to implement? There’s no reason such logical ideas haven’t found their way into the game yet. It’s been over TWO YEARS since Tiny Farm debuted. Inventories will only get larger over time. >:/

I might fire off a message to Com2uS about this. A few weeks ago, I complained about the simplicity of the Com2uS Hub to them such as the inability to easily locate one’s post¬†and¬†the lack of¬†a search function (for keywords and¬†users) so what’s another complaint? XD They can make pretty looking games but they sure can’t seem to create intuitive user interfaces. The Hub is SO backwater it’s not funny. The way it functions is like a message forum from a few decades ago. 9__9

Theatrhythm iOS: A New Decrescendo for Square Enix

Theatrhythm iOS menu
Theatrhythm iOS menu

After the fiasco with Demons’ Score, Square Enix remains undeterred and decides to, once again, put their hands into consumers’ wallets by publishing yet another freemium title that¬†requires in-app purchases in order to get the most out of it. This time, however, it seems like the IAP model is the same across the board so Japanese players are also subject to the madness.

One main difference with Theatrhythm is that, unlike Demons’ Score, it’s a port of the $30 US 3DS game.¬†I’m not going to go into detail about the changes since you can read about them at Joystiq¬†but¬†I WILL write about the sheer insanity of the pricing scheme.

Squenix graciously includes a whopping total of 2 musical tracks: One-Winged Angel from FFVII and Zanarkand from FFX. If you want more you must pay either $1.99 for individual tracks or $4.99 for 4-song bundles. Note that the store menu for songs includes tunes that are NOT among the bundles so if you want all music from each series, you’re looking at at least $7 US for each one. Multiply by that 13 titiles + 1 FFT track, 1 FFX-2 track, 1 FF: CC track, 2 Advent Children tracks + 1 from Type-0 , and 1 FFXIII-2 and you’re at $98 US.

In contrast, $30 US on 3DS will get you over 70 tracks. Of course, if you factor in the DLC, which cost 99 cents each, it’ll probably be another $50 US. But still, it’s not hard to see that the better deal is on the Nintendo system.

The iOS version also keeps a few of the unlockable 3DS characters out of reach by placing them as IAP with a price tag of $2.99 slapped onto each one.

Here’s a brief overview of what you’ll find at the store.

Note (added 11:08 PM EST):

Here’s the story behind the screenshots: I downloaded the game from the Japanese App Store because I thought it wasn’t available in the Canadian one. I also thought the prices reflected in the in-game shop were the actual localized prices. It turns out that the IAP amounts were simply conversions of the yen prices. I didn’t realize that apps now do this because I’ve purchased things from within Taiko no Tatsujin+ and Puzzle & Dragons before and they always displayed in yen prices.

I might replace the screenshots later.

Songs Р$1.99 $0.99 Each:

Not listing  all 59 of them but tracks like Dancing Mad, which is a normal unlockable tune in the 3DS version, is among the list.

Theatrhythm iOS - Some tracks from the Songs IAP menu
Theatrhythm iOS – Some tracks from the Songs IAP menu

Song Bundles Р$4.99 $2.99 Each:

13 x $4.99
13 x $4.99

FFI Basic Bundle:

Battle, Main Theme, Mt. Gulg, Matoya’s Cave

FFII Basic Bundle:

Battle Theme 1, Battle Theme 2, Main Theme, Tower of the Magi

FFIII Basic Bundle:

Battle 1, Battle 2, Eternal Wind, Crystal Cave

FFIV Basic Bundle:

Battle 1, Battle With The Four Fiends, Main Theme of Final Fantasy IV, Within the Giant

FFV Basic Bundle:

Battle 1, Battle at the Big Bridge, Four hearts, Mambo de Chocobo

FFVI Basic Bundle:

Battle, The Decisive Battle, Terra’s Theme, Searching for Friends

FFVII Basic Bundle:

Let the Battles Begin!, Fight On!, Main Theme of Final Fantasy VII, Cosmo Canyon

FFVIII Basic Bundle:

The Man with the Machine Gun, The Extreme, Blue Fields, Ride On

FFIX Basic Bundle:

Battle 1, The Final Battle, Over the Hill, Dark City Treno

FFX Basic Bundle:

Battle Theme. Fight with Seymour, Mi’hen Highroad, Movement in Green

FFXI Basic Bundle:

Battle Theme, Awakening, Ronfaure, The Sanctuary of Zi’Tah

FFXII Basic Bundle:

Clash of Swords, Esper Battle, Giza Plains, The Dalmasca Estersand

FFXIII Basic Bundle:

Saber’s Edge, Fighting Fate, The Sunleth Waterscape, March of the Dreadnoughts

Characters – $2.99 $1.99 Each:

There are some that you won't find in the 3DS version.
There are some that you won’t find in the 3DS version.

There are 25 in total so far.  iOS exclusive characters include:

  • Celes from FFVI
  • Tifa from FFVII
  • Rinoa from FFVIII
  • Garnet from FFIX
  • Auron from FFX
  • Balthier from FFXII
  • Hope from FFXIII
  • Serah from FFXIII-2
  • Ramza from Final Fantasy Tactics
  • Cosmos from FF series

Since the game is stupid unstable on my iPod touch 4G, I can’t even play any stages. However, even if I could, I’d be stuck playing Zanarkand forever since aside from avoiding One-Winged Angel like a plague, I wouldn’t bother spending any money to get more tracks. After all, it’ll only encourage Square Enix to continue with their idiotic gouging on this platform.

Edit at 10:35 PM EST:

Square Enix lowered the prices for all categories? Now singles cost $0.99, Bundles are $2.99, and Characters are $1.99. So the new total will be $147.03:

Singles: $58.41

Bundles: $38.87

Characters: $49.75

I do wonder about something though — when I originally got the game, it was off the Japanese App Store because I thought it wasn’t out in the Canadian one. Could it be that the yen prices were auto-converted to Canadian because a single is ¬•170 which is like $1.99 Canadian. However, the bundles are¬†¬•450 which comes out to $5.28 Canadian. (Conversions are done with http://xe.com/). I suppose Apple’s got its own conversion thing going. Weirdness.

Oh well, the zany overall price still remains but it’s no longer near the $250 mark. ūüėõ

Toys R Us needs to learn what a confirmation e-mail is

I purchased a lovely red and black 3DS XL on Black Friday from the Toys R Us Canada Website. Then, in my infinite wisdom, I decided that I was too impatient and went out on Saturday morning to get it directly from the brick and mortar store. I figure, since I can return the one I got from online once it arrives, things should be fine, right? (I’ll be out the shipping costs but that’s besides the point. :E)

So after receiving the package yesterday, I got all the paperwork together and headed to the store this morning.

Here’s what you’re supposed to bring as noted in the shipping e-mail and on the packing slip as well:

Easy Returns: You can return an item in any of our store locations across Canada or return directly to our warehouse. Simply follow the steps below for instructions on our return process:

Visit a Toys‚ÄúR‚ÄĚUs/Babies‚ÄúR‚ÄĚUs Store

      1. Please pack the product in its original packaging.
      2. Bring a copy of your packing slip.
      3. Bring a copy of your confirmation email.

I brought all of this but was denied a refund back onto my MasterCard. Why? Because the confirmation e-mail I brought wasn’t the one they needed. It was¬†supposed to show the credit card number on it.

I thought for a bit and wondered if I missed an e-mail because the order confirmation one sure didn’t have anything about what card I used or the card number.

Anyway, in my infinite wisdom again and since a line was forming, I opted for the store credit. So now, I am out $200 on my credit card. I suppose I could use all of that for Christmas shopping but I never meant my budget to be that high this year. ūüėõ

Once I got back home, I doubled checked every damn e-mail I got from Toys R Us. NOTHING had a credit card number on it.

Hell, here it is. Sorry for the size but it was the only way to show it on a single page. (It can be enlarged a bit if it’s clicked on though.):

toysrusconfemail

Then I decided to log into my account at the Toys R Us Website.

THERE IT WAS. This is what they’re looking for:

Hey, Toys R Us, this Webpage doesn't count as a fucking confirmation E-MAIL.
Hey, Toys R Us, this doesn’t count as a fucking confirmation E-MAIL.

Under Payment Method, it shows the card + last 4 digits. But as the caption reads, THIS IS NOT A CONFIRMATION E-MAIL. It’s a fucking order status on the fucking WEBSITE. If you want people to bring this, you should explicitly state so.

What’s even MORE hilarious is that their¬†Returns & Warranty page under their Help section¬†says the same thing as the information at the bottom of the shipping e-mail but with the added note in the parentheses:

Returning to a Toys”R”Us/Babies”R”Us Store¬†
To avoid paying shipping to return the item you can bring your purchase to the nearest Toys”R”Us/Babies”R”Us Store. Please bring the following items with you:

a. Packing slip
b. Confirmation email (This is used to confirm original method of payment)
c. Please pack the product in its original packaging

I didn’t check this earlier but if I did, I may have been scratching my head and wondering how they could confirm my method of payment without ¬†it being listed and I would have did more investigation. But hey, maybe they could check via order number or something? Who am I to argue what’s written there?

However, the point still stands that they’re looking for a bloody confirmation e-mail. And why the fuck the payment info isn’t listed in the order confirmation in the first place is beyond me. Maybe it is in the US?

At any rate, I shot off a letter of complaint to them and requested to have my store credit reversed and put back on my MasterCard. Yeah, you can argue that it should be common sense to show something that indicated how the purchased was paid but I followed their instructions to the T and it shouldn’t be my responsibility to hunt down missing information for their convenience. I thought all they would have needed was an order number to verify in the system or something. Well, they wanted the confirmation e-mail and they fucking got it.
toysrusragetrans
Edit: Since I requested that they change the wording in the return policy regarding the term “confirmation e-mail”, here’s a screencapped version of the instructions in case it’s changed at some point.

Edit #2: This is gold. Customer service has reading comprehension issues.

Here’s the message I sent via the “Contact Us” form as quoted by the service agent that replied a few hours after I sent:

Letter of complaint to Toys R Us

Here is the reply. Note that utterly unhelpful it is. On top of that, it’s clear that they just use generic replies:

Reply from Toys R Us customer service

Thanks for completely ignoring my issue. Gonna reply to it soon.

The Exodus at Kairospot

Kairospot regulars may notice that a few staff members no longer hold any sort of staff-related titles or even have profile pages anymore. It’s because we’ve been banned; all of us (I’m nunuu) , including innocent new recruits that were brought in recently to man the Gamerspot (Kairospot’s sister site) YouTube channel. They didn’t even know what was happening and were removed from their positions even before they started.

Edit on Oct 28: I’ve been notified by Prohibit that the YouTube staffers weren’t banned. There was a misunderstanding/misinterpretation on the part of the parties involved.

Here’s the low-down:

All I Want Is Your Money

The ban-fest came about after former writer/moderator, Loopy Kay, outed the questionable ethics and behaviour of the founder, Prohibit. You may lend some compassion to someone if he told you that donations meant for the message forum were used to pay bills and other life necessities. After all, a sob story about losing one’s job and needing money to sustain a living for a short while might pull on some heartstrings.

However, how would you feel if you discovered that all donation money went to his personal PayPal account and that he never had the intention to tell the community about how the money was being used? And that an apology and admittance to forum subscribers only happened due to pressure from staff? Moreover, how would you feel if you discovered that the money that you handed over out of goodwill with the expectation that it will be used toward expanding and improving a website and community that you enjoy was used for other things like, say, luxuries?? No, I don’t have proof of this myself but fellow staff have put the pieces together. I mean, when you’re strapped for cash and suddenly start praising the hell out of a new electronic gadget you bought, something’s not right.

As a donator myself, I expected the money to go where it was meant to go and if it didn’t, then I believe that even a short message explaining that the funds would be used to for personal reasons and such would have been warranted. (Hell, I covered the cost to have¬†an enhanced search engine to be implemented. It never happened.) Unfortunately, the attitude regarding this matter boiled down to “it’s my site, I can do whatever I want with the money.” In short, your donations were being used as someone’s supplementary income.

I’ll Just Sit Back & Relax While You Do All The Work

While this impacted subscribers, staff endured another type of mismanagement; Prohibit disappeared without prior notice for an extended period of time. No one knew why or what happened. Kairospot co-founder, Steve10, also went MIA for a bit as well but did check in briefly to explain that he was absent due to health reasons and work. While DaveNg88 and I were administrators, our hands were tied. We lacked certain editing permissions, weren’t fully accustomed to the forum software, Xenforo, to look into registration issues potential new members were reporting via Kairospot Facebook page, and couldn’t implement anything without first consulting with him. It was essentially being at a workplace without a manager for weeks on end.

Kairospot was self-sustaining since it was mostly a message forum. There were a few technical hiccups which were dealt with by fellow staff member and Xenforo expert, Forsaken. Gamerspot, on the other hand, was meant to be an actual, full-fledged website with content spanning from new game coverage to reviews to opinion pieces on the game industry and gamers. In the absence of management, Dave went above and beyond his role as admin at Gamerspot and got all writers into a publishing schedule which saw the site active with a continual stream of new articles throughout the summer. Sadly, this was shortlived.

I Give You Empty Promises

When Prohibit and Steve returned, things seemed to be back on track but it was not long after that staff came to know about the embezzlement issue mentioned earlier in this post. At this point, we began to doubt Prohibit’s position as our, for a lack of a better word, manager. As it turns out, he was looking to rely on Forsaken and the admins to essentially shoulder¬†his role. The fact of the matter was that no one ever agreed to this nor was such expectations ever mentioned. We all signed on to help out the site NOT to run it and call all the shots.

Prohibit took our concerns lightly and when Forsaken confronted him about his behaviour during a Skype conversation, he even went as far as to state that if we didn’t like what was happening, we were free to leave since we were all easily replaceable.¬†After a short while though, he backpeddled and profusely apologized for not fulfilling his duties and for being inaccessible for matters regarding his sites. Prohibit promised to change, swearing that there would be more transparency on decision making and that he would become more involved with both Kairospot and Gamerspot. For a while, he really did seem to make the effort to uphold the promises by becoming more active, setting up a staff directory with contact information among other things, and a group PayPal account accessible by all administrators. But the cycle began again as he soon fell back into the habit of not doing anything.

About a couple of weeks later, the ball dropped again.

Someone’s Paying Me Big Bucks. Sweet.

Kairospot broadened its horizons to cover more than just Kairosoft. It fact, it became a second home to up-and-coming mobile developer Epic Devs. The developer had their own subforum and released two exclusive tech demos of Epic Pirates Story for the community to try out. Kairospot goers warmly welcomed Epic Devs and they soon became a household name.

However, about a week ago, the subforum disappeared. Staff were unaware of the reason and couldn’t properly answer inquiries from members; we were just as in the dark as they were. Once again, Prohibit took it upon himself to do something without giving any notice or explanation. The obvious mentality here is “it’s my site, I can do whatever I want with it”. To put this in perspective: can you imagine working in an environment where management spontaneously changes things like moving stock, changing floor layouts, or even policies without telling employees? Imagine the impact this would have when interacting with customers.

On a personal note, I never knew that we changed from a simple donation system to a subscription model until a member complained about it. My initial reply stated that we didn’t have one. But I thought it was kind of odd that someone would mistaken the option to donate however much he wanted as a monthly recurring charge for a fixed amount. So I checked the donation page and saw something that was implemented out of the blue. Needless to say, I quickly edited my before a reply to it could be made. I am certain that you can see how foolish my original reply would have made me, an administrator of the site, look. But I digress. Back to the issue with Epic Devs.

I’m Just Going to Wait Things Out

It was uncovered that the developer had been paying Prohibit to have a section on the forum. That, in itself, isn’t a shocker since paying to get more exposure and publicity is common practice for companies. However, due to a small set back on the developer side, Prohibit was notified that the funds weren’t readily available this month. He then promptly removed the subforum without compromise and contacted them afterwards. No amount of grace period or compassion was given.

Prohibit disappeared again for a few days following the incident. And this was the last straw; the patience of staff members finally took its toll. We gave Prohibit the benefit of the doubt and expected transparency and discussions regarding the sites that we helped build and manage. But, once again, things happened behind our backs.

I’m Going to Ban The People That Made Kairospot What It Is Today

Every "We" should be changed to "I"
Yes, all your contributions and efforts will be noticed and then used for his own nefarious means.

This was when Loopy engaged in whistleblowing and revealed what was happening behind the scenes to all members of Kairospot. They deserved to know that they were being exploited, that all Prohibit cared about was making a community that he could profit from. (Prohibit would fervently defend his claim that Kairospot and Gamerspot weren’t making him any money. However, let me remind you that any denomination of money given to his PayPal account, and even ad revenue, were pocketed. It may not have been every penny but a fair bit of it never went back into either website.) Most of all, they deserved to know that the Kairospot founder was incapable of handling responsibility and didn’t understand the meaning of team work.

Of course, like in a real workplace, leaking the truth will get one fired. In our case, we were all demoted and kicked off of both the ‘Spots.

Our Future Beyond the ‘Spot Network

Talk about creating a new gaming community was discussed between staff during Prohibit’s absence, and it was never kept a secret from him either. We stuck with Kairospot and Gamerspot because we all decided to give him a second chance to see if he could really stand by his word. ¬†But most of all, we loved the community. It’s unfortunate that things fell through.

We have since moved onto greener pastures. You can find us over at our new home, AdeptGamer. It’s not meant to be a rival of Prohibit’s work since it was mainly started as a place where we could stay together and continue talking and writing about a hobby that we all love and enjoy. We promise to continue providing the warm and friendly environment that people have become used to at Kairospot as well as awesome articles, guides, and multimedia for your viewing pleasure. There may not be too much there as of this writing since we’re just kicking off the site but I can assure you that it will not stagnate like Gamerspot. We have dedicated founders who are literally in the business of making and hosting websites and talented staff that’s really motivated.¬†Please drop by and have a look~! ¬†^____^

Additional Reading

This is Loopy’s original post which was preserved by a former Kairospot member: http://adeptgamer.com/forum/index.php?posts/113

The post was deleted a few hours after it went up at Kairospot. It paints a more darker picture than what I wrote. I just didn’t feel it necessary to list the nitty gritty details to get my point across although I can vouch that what Loopy has outlined was true. We had a lot of projects planned but none of them ever took off since Prohibit was always more interested in refining website designs rather than looking into their content and anything else related to them like proper site promotions (especially for Gamerspot) or merchandise. We actually had a pretty fun T-shirt design contest a long while back. I THINK we selected a winning design but it didn’t matter in the end since making T-shirts went on the back burner.

What was really sad was that some of the projects were meant to be perks for donators. Instead, all they got were sparkling usernames, special icons denoting their status, and the ability to edit their title. There was probably more (other than access to Game Dev Story 2) but they were probably just forum options.

$40 iOS Game from Square Enix? You Better Believe It.

I realize this isn’t new news but I figure I’d play my part and spread the word because, frankly, this is quite disgusting.

————

SE has been known for its zany pricing which has been loving dubbed as “Square (Enix) Tax” by various iOS gamers. A lot of times, people could see that a port of a PSP or Nintendo DS game, while still running close to $20 US, is relatively cheaper than buying the game to play on the parent system. And then there are those that will also defend the pricing scheme of critically acclaimed titles like the Chaos Rings series that are made specifically for the mobile platform. These particular fans will tell you that the quality of the games justify the premium prices.

Finally, you get something like Demons’ Score, a $7 US rhythm action game with a whopping $35+ worth of in-app purchases. You may think that it’s just for virtual currency and silly little aesthetic changes but NOPE. These IAP are content-based; that is, unless you want to play the same two music tracks ad infinitum, be prepared to donate your life savings to Square.

Strangely enough, Japan is not affected by this madness. While the title is sold at a higher price from the get-go, all content is already included. Simply put, for roughly $20 US, you get the entire game. To drive home the point, you can see the pricing comparison with screenshots at¬†http://www.pocketgamer.co.uk/r/iPhone/Demons’+Score/news.asp?c=45198

The revelation of the price discrepancy obviously isn’t going over very well with gamers around the world. However, I¬†came across a post over the forums at The Escapist¬†that suggests that it’s plausible SE considered the chance that Demons’ Score¬†wouldn’t really be something the international market would eat up with a $20 price tag. Now, if there really was some sort of market research that was done to determine the possible behaviour and reaction of international rhythm gaming fans, Square Enix fans, and iOS gamers to the title, then why didn’t they just convert the $7 game to a free Lite version or at least reduce the price?¬†(The obvious answer is that they wanted to make some sweet profit from the “trial” version. Kind of sickening.)

Honestly, I’m down with people defending the prices of ports and some of Square’s other premium priced games, but I can’t imagine anyone approving them for gouging users like this.