So you think you have it so bad here in the good ol' U.S of A. Well, you are wrong, very wrong. "Oh, poor us. We have to pay $400 for a 40 gig PS3. Boohoo, games cost $60 each, they used to only cost $50 for a new game. We are being ripped off". First off, quit your whining, I'm tired of hearing it. Games are more expensive to make, hence, more expensive to buy. Second, we don't have it as bad as those blokes in Great Britain, or where I am, Germany have it.

I've lived here about a year and a half now. I'll probably be here for a couple of more years. Yesterday I after reading an article on the price of the next gen consoles in merry old England, I decided to see what the good people in Deutschland have to pay for their gaming experience. I can't say I was surprised, I did expected higher prices. I'm just disappointed.

Here's what I found. First, it was hard to find a system that wasn't bundled with one or two (or in the 360's case, 3) games. Granted, the games themselves were quality games, but you had to buy them with the console just to get what you wanted in the first place. (Kinda makes me wonder if these situations are taken in account when the industry compiles it's sales numbers. If you are forced to buy a game you may not want should it count as a sale, or should it not be counted at all?) Second, the prices for the PS3 and the 360 were not much different. The base 40 gig PS3 was 400 euro, no games included. The 360 bundle (no 360s were sold without games) with Halo 3, PES6 and Forza was also 400 euro. Because I couldn't find a single 360 console without a game bundle I had to consider the prices pretty equal. Sure, you get 3 games, but what if you didn't want those games. And yes, some people out there do not want to play Halo. 400 euros, not bad right? Wrong. The euro currently has a higher exchange rate then our almighty dollar. Right now you get about $1.30 for one euro. This figure is not exact (the exchange rate is closer to .68 but using .70 is just easier). That is bad people. What that means is for every 100 euro of price, add 30 to it to get the dollar amount. So, 400 euro equals $520 dollars. And you thought we had it bad.

Games also have inflated prices. The average for a new PS3 or 360 game is between 59-69 euro. That would be about $78-$91 for us. Wii games are 49-59 euro or $65-$78. Still feel like complaining? I sure don't. From what I understand, England has it worse then this. Sucks to be a gamer in Europe doesn't it? Price isn't the only thing that the Old World gets shafted on. Oftentimes, games are released here months after their Japanese or American releases. Why? Transferring the game to the PAL system may be a reason, but is it a valid one? I don't think so.

I'm trying to figure out if the game companies and console makers hate these guys or if it's something else. I've heard a lot of excuses, from it being a smaller market to tariffs and other import taxes. Is it actually the European governments' fault? Is it the console and game makers fault? I really don't care. Just get it fixed people so all gamers can pay a reasonable price to play the games they love.
May I Have Another?

I've had Call Of Duty 4 sitting on my shelf for a while. I was putting off playing it for a few days. I had planned on playing a couple of other games first, but I just couldn't put if off any longer. Why, you ask, would I put off playing a game like COD4? Why didn't I play the game the first day I got it? Am I crazy, or just plain stupid? No, I'm not crazy, and I happen to be as intelligent as the next guy, I think. The reason is simple. I know myself.

Alright, most of you know nothing about me, so I'll let you in on a little secret. Certain games tend to suck me in. Not just any game, just the real special ones. FF VII was one of those games. I put in over 140 hours on that one game. The second time I played it. I played for 70 the first time.

I had a feeling Call Of Duty would be one of those games. It wasn't the actual game that I was worried about. It was the multiplayer. Anyone whose read my stuff before has seen the post I did a while back about my first adventures with multiplayer. The experience wasn't all bad, and I've never been really good at flight games anyway. First person shooters tend to be my thing. COD4 seemed right up my alley, and from everything I've read and heard about this game, I was prepared to be sucked in.

I first put the disc in my PlayStation three days ago. I've had a chance to build up my stats and unlock a few things. My stats aren't that impressive right now, but they're improving. I have a score rank of 736,554, a win rank of 929,362, a kill rank of 624,681, and a accuracy rank of 694,407. Today I managed to advance to 2nd lieutenant and I have unlocked all of the game modes. And just how long did these momentous take to achieve? 16 hours and 23 minutes. That's 16 hours and 23 minutes of actual play time, not counting the time in between matches and in the lobby tweaking my loadout. I have a problem, I know. That's why I was putting it off.

There is only one cure for this affliction of mine, and any kid (or adult, I know there's more then a few closet players out there over the age of 12) that's ever played Pokemon knows what I'm talking about. I have to get them all. By all, I mean all the weapons, perks, accessories, max out my rank, and complete all the challenges. The challenges are by far the most time consuming of all these tasks. First, each weapon in each of the five weapons classes has it's own challenges to unlock extras. Then there are the boot camp challenges. the operations challenges, the killer challenges, the humiliation challenges, and the elite challenges. 16 hours and 23 minutes in and I've only completed 2 of the weapons challenges and almost all of the boot camp challenges. At this rate, I'll be doing this for another month, at least. At least I have a fun addiction.

I don't have an Xbox yet, but this still hasn't prevented me from becoming a PS3 trophy whore. Games like Uncharted, The Darkness, and Folklore have had me hooked due to the collecting and achievements that you can get in those games. Uncharted has the challenges and collecting the treasure. The Darkness has challenges and collecting of papers. Folklore has the challenges and the collecting of the folks themselves. Notice a trend here? Having games with these types of added features really does (at least for me) add to the enjoyment of the game. There is nothing as satisfying as collecting everything there is to get. The only downside is the amount of time required to complete it all. My family definitely doesn't like that. However, I still manage to get out of the house to get some air. A nice long walk on a cool clear winter day is the best. Oh, and work. Of course all this is all secondary to actually completing the game itself. It's just a real nice extra to make the game a little deeper.

I feel bad for my family, I really do. This is just something that when I start, I just have to finish. Many other people have symptoms like mine. Most of the time they revolve around illegal drug use, but still, mines legal. And I only ignore my family for a few hours a day. I don't know if I should get an Xbox now. I may never be seen or heard from again.

If anyone happens to see me on PSN, say hi. I'd be more than happy to swap bullets and grenades with anyone interested.