Thursday, December 31, 2009
I download a lot of video, to include movies and TV shows. For example, I'm currently watching House, and I've downloaded Seasons 1-5 to watch at my leisure. The downloads are HDTV quality video in an MKV format. I burn these files to DVDs because I want to keep them, and obviously keeping an entire TV show where each episode weighs in at 1.5 GB on my hard drive (regardless of the fact that it's 2 TBs) is not something I want to do.
When I want to watch these episodes, I naturally just play them on my computer with Zoom Player or Windows Media Player. I have a 24" widescreen monitor for both of my computers, so this really isn't that big of a deal. There are a few minor downsides to this, however: First, I have to sit in my computer chair. While this is very comfortable for gaming, I like to stretch out when I'm watching TV, either on my bed or on the couch. Secondly, I have a 46" widescreen TV sitting ten feet away from me not being because I'm too lazy to burn the video files to DVD in a format readable by a DVD player.
I decided to resolve these issues using my old PC. The first thing I did was get an HDMI cable, and ran it from the second monitor port on my computer to my TV. I then established a dual monitor setup in my display settings, and was therefore able to use my TV as a second monitor when I turned the TV on to HDMI1. This meant that I could now play this video files there, and they looked great. Open up the file in media player, drag the player over to the second display, and hit the fullscreen button. Orgasmatic.
Next problem was sound. I'm anal, so the video coming from the TV with the audio coming from my computer doesn't work for me. Since I'm not going to be using that PC for anything else anymore, the solution to that problem was simple. I moved the speakers to my TV.
So last night, I was lying in bed watching episodes of House on my TV. It's a beautiful thing.
Friday, December 25, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
I saw such good reviews for this game, and it surprised me that I never heard anything about it before now. It has been dubbed “the best Diablo rip-off ever”, which of course made me laugh.
In any case, I’ve played very little of Torchlight so far, but it does naturally remind me very much of Diablo. I think the thing I’m enjoying the most are the graphics — the cartoony nature of them just seem to work for it very well.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Now that I’ve finished Borderlands, it’s time to share my two most favorite weapons in the game. In true gunslinger fashion, they are 6–shooters. I really have no idea why, but I always preferred using them over any other type of weapon. I guess it’s the simplicity of them, and the fact that it’s cool to go up against 15 guys with SMGs, taking them all out with only my revolver.
In any case, here they are.
Monday, November 23, 2009
I enjoy when I am able to catch subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) references to other media within the media I am currently enjoying. That holds true for movies, books, and video games. The current case in point is with Borderlands. The game is drenched with subtle references to all kinds of movies, Mad Max not being the least of these. (One of the bosses is called “Mad Mel” — Mad Max and Mel Gibson put together.)
The references to the Dark Tower aren’t lost on me either. The most obvious of these are the fact that one of my talent trees is called “Gunslinger”, and one of the characters in the game is called Roland. Then tonight, I saw this:
I’m not sure if this was an INTENTIONAL reference to the Dark Tower or not. I guess the direct reference would be to Stephen Hawking, but the Turtle reference is used quite a number of times by Stephen King (mostly in the aforementioned series, and in IT).
Thursday, November 19, 2009
A funny thing happened to me on my way to work this morning, in the form of a car wreck. The circumstances and the events are a pretty good story, worth telling I would say. So I’ll tell it.
I had just left home not a few minutes before, and was still driving through my neighborhood. It’s a small town. I was approaching the intersection of 2nd and Morris. Yes, Morris. Yes, there’s a street named after me in my town. (It’s not named after ME personally, of course, but after my family. Imagine the surprise of the claims agent when I told her the accident occurred on a street with the same name as my own.) I stopped at the intersection, because I had a stop sign and that’s what you typically do in that situation. I used only my peripherals to see if anyone was coming, because it was a four-way stop. Everyone has to stop. No one was there, and I continued through.
Then, out of the corner of my eye, I caught sight of a car to my left. And it was MOVIN’, man. Not in a freeway 75 MPH sense, of course. But in a neighborhood where you should be going about 15 MPH on that road, it was traveling. At least 35 MPH, I would say. And not only was this individual speeding towards this intersection, but he was apparently intending on speeding THROUGH this intersection. Without stopping.
Well, I stopped him. With my car. Unintentionally, of course.
He hit me on the driver’s side at the wheel and back door. The force of impact spun my car around 180 degrees, where I skidded to a rest facing the complete opposite way I had been and on the completely opposite side of the road from where I started. Up against the curb. I had been violently parallel parked against my will.
As I was spinning, I caught a parked car out of the corner of my eye (to my left again, as I was spinning counter-clockwise), and I braced myself for a second impact. None came, but I had to have only missed that parked car by mere feet if not inches. After I came to a stop and my common sense and analytical mind took over once again from the instinctual and panicky mind, I began making sure I was still in one piece. The other driver, who I now saw was an older man, was already out of his car, standing in the middle of the road, and screaming at me in a way I didn’t like.
“YOU PULLED OUT IN FRONT OF ME!” He accused, along with saying other things that I cannot quite remember at this time. I was still recovering from what had just happened to me. But I was nearly all back, and I knew I had to fire back at this misinformed son of a bitch right quick. I went to open my door, but it was stuck. Well, the first time it was still locked. (Still not all there, I was.) The second time I had to force my way out a little bit, but it wasn’t too bad.
He continued yelling at me as I was getting out of my car. I turned and faced him, and spoke to him in a voice that wasn’t the frantic yelling of a crazy person (like he was), but of a pissed off individual who just got broadsided by some idiot who didn’t yet realize it was his fault in the first place. Not to mention, I hadn’t even had my caffeine yet. He obviously had no idea who he was messing with.
“Point number one, man, stop fucking yelling at me.” I said in my angry Sab voice, holding one finger up in front of me. “You obviously have no concept of what’s just happened.”
He began yelling something about me pulling out in front of him again, before I cut him off.
“You just ran a stop sign.” I said plainly.
“NO I DIDN’T!” He yelled back.
“Yes, you did. It’s right there.” I said, pointing.
“NO I DIDN’T! WHERE?!”
I kept pointing. Finally he turned around and looked. His face dropped.
“Right.” I said. “Now stop yelling at me.”
“I’m very sorry. God, are you all right?”
Now you ask me if I’m all right after you realize you’re wrong. Nice. (I wanted to say this, but didn’t.)
“I’m fine.” I replied, looking down at myself as if to check for gaping wounds.
At this moment, my brother walks up. He happened to be walking in the opposite direction from where my attacker came from, to breakfast, as this all happened. I was directly in front of his shop. He asked me if I was all right, and then called the cops. I retrieved the man’s insurance card and began taking notes, while the other guy paced about. A cop arrived a few minutes later, and the old guy told the cop clearly, “It’s my fault, I ran the stop sign.” I give him props for that. He’s still an asshole, but I’ll give him that one.
To make a long story a bit shorter, my 2010 Malibu with only 2300 miles on it is now in the shop awaiting the final looks of an estimate. At this time, I do not think it will be totaled. The last I checked, they were up to $8,000 in repairs. I’ll be getting a rental car tomorrow to drive until it is fixed. It’s a bummer that my brand new car got crushed, but it’s only a car and I’m perfectly fine. That’s the important thing.
The fucker made me 30 minutes late for work.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
After over a week of nightly playing, I have finished the game. Though, saying that is a bit of a cop-out, since it would take many, many play-throughs in order to fully experience every possible scenario the game could offer.
The story of the game is pretty textbook when it comes to fantasy: The world is under attack by evil forces called The Darkspawn. You are a Grey Warden, a member of an organization who serve as the world’s guardians, and it’s your job to unify the armies of the land to fight this threat. And naturally, that’s no easy task.
At the head of this Darkspawn is the Archdemon, who must be defeated to end the Blight:
The first small part of the game tells the story of your origin, and this part of the game is completely different depending on which race you chose to play: Human, Elf, or Dwarf. I played through both the Human and Elf origin stories, and they were both brilliant and very well done. From there, you become a Grey Warden and the story opens up a bit. After an epic battle that goes horribly wrong, you are left as one of only two Grey Warden’s left in the land.
The king is dead and it’s blamed on the Warden’s themselves by a power hungry General. It’s a lot of politics that adds a bit of strategical and battle-less flavor to the game. From here, you can approach the next parts of the game in any order you wish, and it involves uniting the armies of Ferelden. You must gain the support of the Elves, the Dwarves, and the Magi.
You will see Tolkien’s influence everywhere you go. The battle near the beginning of the game makes you think Helm’s Deep. The journey to the Dwarven city of Orzammar echoes Moria entirely. But it all has it’s own unique flavor and look about it. And let’s face it, there’s no reason to change perfection when it comes to the lore Tolkien created for us. The most memorable “Tolkien” moment I had in the game was in the underground Dwarven city. My party was fighting on a narrow stone bridge across a gaping chasm. I was talking to myself as that scene played out, saying “You shall not pass!” repeatedly. Heh.
After you gain the support of all the armies, it’s time to depose the traitor who got the king killed and blamed it on you. You can handle this anyway you choose — this game provides some of the most diversive and interesting choices of any RPG I’ve played. My choice was to kill him. He deserved it. The jerk.
It’s then time to fight the Blight itself, and it’s here where the battles become truly epic in nature, and very challenging compared to everything that you’ve faced up to this point. I never had so much trouble in the final quarter of the game as I had throughout the rest of it. I had to think. I had to try different things. And I had to save and reload a LOT. Crowd control saved me so many time, and the ability to “petrify” a target and than shatter it into a million pieces afterwards never, ever got old.
I read somewhere that never before had a mage been created so CORRECTLY, and I know exactly what they mean. My mage was such a powerful badass, but oh so frail. It worked though. I was able to stand afar while my tank ran into battle, throwing devastating spells at my enemies and potent heals at my allies. My favorite spell of all time was the fireball, which blew enemies off their feet and burned them alive as they lay stunned on the ground.
Also, the animation of the Inferno was nothing less than breathtaking, as you can see pictured above. Yes, I created that thing. And there are bad guys burning up inside of it.
The final battle against the Archdemon was both epic and challenging, though surprisingly it wasn’t the most challenging battle of the game. At the end of this battle, I had to make one of the choices that I spent the longest amount of time sitting at my computer thinking about. In the end, I decided to sacrifice myself and deal the final blow to the Archdemon myself. The epilogue at the end of the game, praising my heroics, was very cool, albeit sad.
After finishing the game, I had already decided that this RPG is better than Oblivion, and that is saying so much. There can probably be no greater compliment. The combat system is fantastic — I cannot say enough about it. The ability to switch between RTS and live-action is the greatest part about it, because sometimes I want to execute a battle in real-time, but sometimes I do need to pause and examine the situation before I decide on my course of action. The ability to do either is perfect.
If there weren’t so many other games demanding my attention right now, I would certainly play through it again, just to see the consequences of making different choices throughout my journey — the main one being, of course, what would happen if I decided I didn’t want to die.
I definitely see this game as one I will revisit in due time, and games such as these are horribly few and far between these days.
Monday, November 09, 2009
I love RPGs, because of the vast attention to detail in every little item that you find. Such as this:
That one made me laugh when I saw it. This is from Dragon Age, and I will review it in full once I finish it. That could take awhile, as these RPGs go. But I’m getting there with the limited amount of time that I have to dedicate to it.
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Intel Core i7 975 3.33GHz (8MB Cache) Quad Core Processor
Liquid Cooling system
Dual 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285 SLI video cards
12 GB DDR3 1333MHz Tri Channel memory
2TB RAID 0 hard drives
Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium sound card
I'm going to get a few disc drives, too, probably a 6x Blu-Ray and a standard 24x DVD burner.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
While I wait for YouTube to upload my video, I guess I’ll write a little bit about my experiences in Aion thus far. I’ll say this right off the bat: Taking everything into consideration — Content, Playability, Learning Curve, Graphics, Sound, Combat Mechanics, Community, etc — WoW is superior. That’s coming from someone who really wants this game to be better, because he would enjoy seeing something take WoW down a notch. That’s the only WoW vs. The Other MMO that you will read in this post.
Okay, the video is ready. Now, this is just a little 30 second sample of what the combat looks like from a Templar’s point of view. The Templar is one of two branches of the Warrior class — the other being Gladiator. As you might imagine, the Templar is the tank of the game, while the Gladiator is melee DPS and off-tank. The thing you will probably notice best of all from this sample is that there are a lot of different abilities to choose from while in combat. You will see that I always have a button to press, and this makes grinding just a little more tolerable than having to press the same two buttons over and over again. Mostly everything is cool-down based, though a few of my abilities use mana. The mana cost is next to nothing, however. I have never been below 80% mana after fighting, no longer how long it’s been. Now for the video:
I look forward to playing through a bit more of this game. The goal right now is to hit level 30, so that I can see what the next level of wings looks like and what the dungeons from that point forward look like. I’m still confused to hell why you are locked out of the first dungeon in the game after level 28 and can’t enter another one until level 30. That’s really…stupid. We’ll see how it goes.
Monday, October 12, 2009
- It's close enough to the holiday season (Yay!), but it's not yet the holiday season (Whew!).
- It's not too hot, and it's not too cold (usually).
- All the good computer games come out around this time.
- Grass cutting season is over.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Friday, October 09, 2009
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Monday, October 05, 2009
Thus, you can't fuck someone in the ass with a dildo, according to the current edition of the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, the American Heritage Dictionary, and Webster's New World Dictionary. The whore in Portnoy's Complaint "who fucks the curtain with her bare twat" can't do that, according to American Heritage, Webster's New World, Random House, or Encarta. Lesbians can't fuck each other at all, according to Webster's New World and Encarta (though if they use a strap-on, Encarta becomes OK with it). Fucking a woman's breasts is only possible according to Merriam-Webster. Finger-fucking and fist-fucking are impossible according to Webster's New World, Random House, and American Heritage; Merriam allows it, but only if it's vaginal and not anal. Only the OED, whose entry for the word I edited, defines fuck to encompass sexual acts beyond "sexual intercourse." The new edition of my book The F-Word goes into even more detail about the possibilities.
Golden. Click here for the full article.
Seriously, what the fuck? Am I missing something here?
Either I just installed and played the most horrible construction of a game ever to take up space on my hard drive, or I just decided to start a new game too late in the evening on a Sunday night and really wasn’t in the correct mind-set to play it. Or perhaps WoW really HAS ruined all fantasy-based games for me, and I will never be able to play another one ever again.
Either way, tonight I gave Risen a play test. Do not consider this a proper review of the game, because I’ve only logged about two hours (at the most) into it so far. Hardly enough time to get to know a fantasy-based RPG. That being said, however, what the HELL is this?
First off, the game starts out with you washing up on a island. Gee, I’ve never seen THAT happen before. My biggest complaint is that everything seems so imbalanced. Right from the very first bird I beat to death with a stick, the game actually seems too hard. It doesn’t make sense to me that with the very first thing I meet on the beach, one hit from my tree-branch club takes off only a sliver of its health, yet it hits me once and half my hitpoints are gone. And that never changes. It’s been like that the entire way through the game.
I’m probably just being impatient with the whole thing. We’ll see.
Sunday, October 04, 2009
The new story I’m writing is coming along okay. I took about a week and a half break from it, because I wasn’t getting anywhere. But I opened it up today and did some work on it, and I think I’ve got my direction now. I’m going through what I’ve already written and making improvements to it, as I do several times in the course of writing a story. I’m going to post an excerpt of it here, for those who might be curious about it. Enjoy.
Prologue – The Disenchanted Warrior and The Imprisoned Intellect
Ryder opened his eyes, and then immediately squeezed them tightly shut again. The room was spinning. He had expected that, but he didn’t expect how quickly his stomach would start to perform nauseating back-flips in his gut as a result of the double vision and the feeling as though gravity had ceased to exist, giving the sensation he was about to fall off the planet in a strange reverse tail-spin. He swallowed hard and nearly gagged, slapping a hand over his mouth and then running it down over his chin and neck as the feeling momentarily eased. He had no idea how much he had drank the night before…hell, he didn’t even know if that HAD been the night before. How long had he slept? What day was it again? But of course, he knew what day it was. And no matter how much alcohol he forced into his system last night, he knew he wouldn’t have been able to make himself pass out so hard that he’d sleep the entire day away. No, that just wouldn’t happen. No matter how much he wanted to forget what THIS day stood for, no matter how badly he wanted to just skip it and never think about it again, he knew that a certain part of him (a part he disliked rather strongly) would certainly not let him miss it. It was the day. The day it happened.
He dared to open his eyes again. The room was still spinning, albeit not as quickly as before. He didn’t feel sudden urges to vomit all over himself as he looked around, and that was an improvement. Through the double vision, he could tell he was in his own room, though he had no recollection of coming home or getting into bed. He felt beside him and found he was the only one in bed. He hadn’t brought anyone home, either. This didn’t bother him very much, not as much as it may bother other, more normal and adjusted single twenty-eight year old men. No, he wasn’t troubled by that at all. His thoughts were all on the day, and nothing more. He slid out of bed and stood up, and then immediately fell to one knee. It wasn’t the hangover this time though. His mind was clearing up just fine, and his vision and nausea were steadily improving. But that just meant that he could more clearly think about the day and what it meant. That fucking day. It came faster every year, it seemed. He walked over to his dresser and picked up the only picture frame sitting on its top. He stared at it for a very long time, only staring, breathing slowly with an expressionless face. God, it had been nine years, to the day of course, but still the images were so clear in his mind. So very vivid. It was as though it was happening all over again, right before his eyes.
He had been nineteen years old then. Even though his memories of that day hadn’t faded one bit, as if they refused to age within his mind and stayed cryogenically frozen in his gray matter, nineteen seemed so long ago. Seemed so young. Only six months prior, he had reached that magic age of eighteen. He had become a man, which was immediately followed by the Crusaders Trial. Oh how he had looked forward to the trial. He worked so hard and practiced so much, and his father had been there every step of the way, helped him in any way he could, and had been so very proud of him. Although his father was a very quiet and reserved man, he could see it in those blue eyes. Those clear, sharp blue eyes that looked as though they could see right through you. He looked into them and he saw nothing but joy. And when Ryder had completed the trial without making so much as a single mistake, those eyes were the first thing he saw after he was finished. He’s quite sure that day had been the happiest day of his life. A year later he had nothing but the highest ambitions. When he was nineteen wanted to be the best. He wanted to do it all.
Most importantly, he wanted to keep his father proud.
On that rainy night in the spring of his nineteenth year, he was in his room studying. The subject was archeology. He remembered that very well, and he wondered if that had anything to do with where he would eventually find himself. But, the thought was quickly expelled from his mind. The memory continued on its own accord, playing before his eyes like a movie that couldn’t be paused or stopped. It was late, and he was beginning to nod off at his desk. His candle was burned down nearly all the way, and was flickering as if to warn of its impending demise. He probably dozed off for two minutes, maybe even three, and was jarred back to reality by a dull thud downstairs. He leaned back in his chair and stretched, then stood up and grabbed the empty goblet to his right. He had about another hour of studying to do, so another glass of juice would serve him well. Plus he needed to stretch his legs. The candle created animated shadows on his walls, and he watched them dismissively has he crossed the room towards the door. Lightning flashed outside, but the storm wasn’t close yet. He didn’t hear the low rumble of thunder for another four full seconds. He was at the top of the stairs when it reached his ears.
There was a fire burning in the fireplace in the den. He could hear the dry wood cracking. He saw a shadow move across the wall in the hallway, originating from the den, and he assumed his father was still awake possibly reading a book or simply stoking the fire. It didn’t occur to him to find this strange, even though he knew his father always went to bed rather early in the evening and even though he distinctly remembered him saying ‘good night’ to him earlier. But it was a damp night, and it would be best to keep the fire burning until morning. This was all the explanation he needed to give himself. He turned and walked into the den, and was greeted by his father’s striking and penetrating blue eyes. They were open wide in shock. His head was severed through the neck, and was nailed to the wall with a large, rusty spike. Blood oozed from the nail hole, running down his face in two places so that it appeared those eyes were crying blood. There was a puddle of blood on the floor where the head was hanging, and a trail of blood running down the wall. It looked oddly discolored in the firelight, almost orange. And it seemed to glow. But all Ryder saw were those eyes. Those eyes he knew so well. He stared into his fathers eyes aware of little else, even the decapitated body of his father lying only a few feet to his right. The empty goblet slipped from his grasp, hitting the floor with a metallic clang. That clang snapped him out of his trance, and he began to scream.
The screaming didn’t stop until he passed out from shock several moments later.
It’s that time of year — Halloween, I mean — and I like watching horror movies during this time of year. I guess I just like getting into the whole festive mood of the season. Probably the same reason I typically only drink large amounts of alcohol on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. In any case, over the last 24 hours (between Friday night and Saturday night), I watched all of the Saw movies (1, 2, 3, 4, and 5). I haven’t watched any of them in their entirety before, so this was something new for me. I tend to put off watching movies for a long time.
In any case, contrary to the types of movies these are, there are things here to like. First of all, John Jigsaw Kramer is a killer like no other. I user killer in it’s truest sense, no matter what kind of semantics you try to throw into it. I like his style, and I would have the opinion that if none of his subjects died that I would actually like what he does. He does end up teaching some pretty important and valuable lessons in these people’s lives. That is a positive aspect to the stories. Also, the traps are fascinating to watch and try to figure out before you fully understand what is going on. I particularly liked the rooms in the 5th movie, and the irony of it all was very fitting.
It’s strange the mentality these types of movies put you into. While watching each one, I never grew overly attached to any of the characters at any point in time, because I knew about 99% of the time they would either end up dead or end up working with Jigsaw.
I enjoyed watching the transformation these movies went through from the first to the fifth. The first movie is probably the one that stands out the most in terms of being different from all the others. The fancy traps weren’t the gimmick. It channels movies such as Se7en or The Bone Collector. It was probably the best one in regards to a solid story that kept you guessing, kept you entertained, and piqued your interest. The rest aren’t bad, but you can tell more emphasis is put onto the traps and the gore, rather than creating a good suspenseful story.
All in all, I like the fact that these movies have become sort of an annual tradition for Halloween. It’s something to look forward to and adds to the festive mood of the year. I hope they go on for several more years.
Friday, October 02, 2009
First, a list of the most popular existing MMORPG games in the world. This data is probably close to 6–9 months old, but it’s very difficult to gather the numbers in recent-up-to-the-minute format. These are sorted and categorized by the “number of subscribers”, which I tend to agree as being the best indicator of the popularity of an MMO. However, I’m not going to list the number of subscribers because the most “reliable” source I could find was actually in a linear graph form, and I can’t even tell what the numbers are. I can make out the order though, and they make sense to me.
- World of Warcraft
- Lineage/Lineage 2
- Final Fantasy XI
- Dofus (I’ll admit, I’ve never even heard of this game.)
- EVE Online
- Lord of the Rings Online
- Dark Age of Camelot
- Everquest/Everquest 2
- Ultima Online
I also learned that Age of Conan got up to 1 million subscribers in it’s first three months. And then it died. Completely. I guess the game didn’t improve from the time I played it. Sad. I loved the world. Also, I think that perhaps a few new ones are missing that might have made the list. Not sure though, but you get the idea here.
Now, it’s also important to mention that only two of the games in this list are newer than WoW: Dofus and LOTR Online.
And I can’t take it anymore…what the FUCK is Dofus? Let’s just have a google at it and…OH GOD MY EYES! THEY BURN! Okay then. Now I know. Dofus is an interactive cartoon. Now I’m scarred for life. Wonderful.
Moving on. Looking at the list, I agree with the number of subscribers in WoW. I’ve reviewed/seen/played the other games in that list, and it’s my opinion that WoW is certainly the best in terms of just about everything — gameplay, graphics, etc. Most importantly, though, I think it’s the development team that keeps the game where it’s at. The content changes constantly. Not yearly. Not monthly. All the time. Sometimes, I think the game actually moves too fast. But it keeps people interested and it keeps them playing. Obviously.
Now, I do have a more recent list with some of the newer MMOs listed. I’ll list these as honorable mentions:
- Warhammer Online
- City of Heroes / City of Villains
Next, I took a look at a full list of MMOs and found ones released either this year or within the past year. Here is a list of games that potentially could make the top ten list in another six months to a year and are in no particular order:
- Pirates of the Burning Sea
- Age of Conan (I already mentioned this as probably being dead, but it’s relatively new so I’ll list it here.)
- Runes of Magic
- The Chronicles of Spellborn
- Champions Online
And finally, it’s time for the list of MMOs that are not released yet, which I think have the potential for being popular. Again, these are in no particular order.
- DC Universe Online
- Star Trek Online
- Final Fantasy XIV
- The Old Republic
- Guild Wars 2
So there you go, something to chew on for the next few months. One thing that I feel should be taken into consideration, however, is this: Game developers are realizing there’s a really big market out there for MMO games, and you’re going to see more of them than you ever have before. Also, the life-span of your typical MMO is in most cases considerably longer than your average computer game. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ll play through a shooter or an action game once. Maybe twice. Very few have I played over and over. MMOs are different, because they basically never end and you just keep playing them. For these reasons, the market is only going to continue to get more crowded. Because of that, I don’t think you will ever see any one MMO game reach the number of subscribers that WoW has reached. The market will simply be too saturated to allow this.
Now playing: - Winamp *** 3386. Elliott Smith - L.A.
Typically, when I write about a game in this blog, it’s rather simplistic. “THIS GAME ROCKS!” Stuff like that. I’d like to see how good I would be at writing a full-fledged review of a game, the likes of which you would see online at places like GameSpot, or in magazines such as PC Gamer. In order to do that, however, I first need to make a mental list of all the points that I should cover in such a review, so that is what I’m going to do in this post. All of the below points I have construed through reading reviews and doing some research online.
- The first thing I would need to do would be to list the game’s title, developer, genre, and release date. This will accomplish two things: First, it will let the reader immediately know what game they’re reading about. They can then skip over the post if they don’t like the game, or know to keep reading if they’re interested. Secondly, if the reader is interested and wants to try them game out, they have the information they need to do so right at the beginning of the article.
- Next, details on the game play. How does the game play? What is the interface like? How are the controls? How is the screen laid out? How smart is the AI, both friendly and hostile? What’s the inventory system like?
- Describe the plot. How does it start? Describe the antagonists and the protagonists. Can you play on more than one side? What’s the goal?
- Describe the quality of the graphics, sound effects, music, voice acting, and other aesthetic nuances.
- Describe the “saved game” system (auto-save, checkpoint save, etc), the customization features, and the ease of their uses.
- If multi-player exists, focus on that for part of the article for a while too.
Naturally, with good writing comes one important thing: the power of observation. Don’t just say, “The AI sucked.” Say, “The AI sucked because they consistently were stuck running into walls and had other such pathfinding issues. This really hampered my enjoyment of the game play.” That’s much more descriptive and explains your conclusions to your reader. It seems like common sense, but it’s often details that are left out, especially if you don’t have a lot of experience writing to an audience.
So there we go. I just wrote myself a nice little guide on writing a review. I’ll put it to use soon.
The highest rated MMO right now is Lord of the Rings Online. The highest hyped MMO right now (meaning it's still in development) is The Old Republic.
But WoW has 11 million subscribers because that's where everyone's friends are playing.
(Get to the point, PD.)
Okay, okay. The point is, I'm currently working on creating a guide to all the current and upcoming MMO games. I'm doing this because no one else is, and I like knowing what I have to look forward to.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
The truth of the matter is, what "issues" should I be confronting out there in that real world? Let's scan the headlines and see what's on our plate right now: The first headline I see is about Iran. Should I be worried that Iran is going to send a nuclear missing into my backyard? If so, how is worrying about it going to make the situation better? Will it stop that missile from wiping out millions of people? Will it make Iran stop hating Israel? Will it make Iran stop denying the Holocaust ever happened? Will it make Iran stop hating Americans because of our policies? Should I be enlisting in the military so I can be ready to go over there and kill them before they try to kill me?
The next headline is about Sarah Palin writing her memoirs. Wow. Couldn't give less of a crap about that. Regardless, should I be worrying about her possibly running for president? Should I be donating to her competitors to try and prevent this from happening? Will that stop her from running? Will it make her smarter?
Next article: Military crackdown in Guinea. Lots of people dead. Should I be worried? Should I be jumping on the next Red Cross boat to Guinea to do humanitarian services?
We've also got flooding in the Philippines, typhoons in Vietnam, anti-president polls on Facebook, Roman Polanski getting busted in Switzerland, shortages of flu vaccines, a death from a cancer vaccine, incest, sports injuries, and Wolverine stopping his play because of an annoying cell phone.
Lots and lots of things to worry about. Dear me, how can I sit here writing in a blog, playing video games, watching TV, or socializing on Facebook when so much stuff is going on?!
Ok, enough with the melodramatics. Here's my point: There's a big difference between finding an escape, and becoming ignorant to the world because of them. If you know the world has problems (and let's face it, what idiot doesn't realize that?), then it's no one's business how you deal with that. If your thing is to actually get out there and do something about it, then you have at it. If your thing is to sit in bed and eat a half gallon of chocolate ice cream, then damn it, that's okay too. It's the people who engulf themselves so deeply into their distractions until they lose touch with everything else who are the problems. That kind of ignorance leads to stupid decisions fueled by being uninformed, misunderstood, and ignorant.
So yes. I am hiding from the real issues of the world. Damn straight I am.
Case in point: This utterly random post on a relatively random topic is me channeling my frustration about another particular issue of which I have no way of fixing myself. But that doesn't change the fact that I know it's there and how it's affecting me.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
I didn't find it last night, but I did finally find it tonight after going through the playlist one more time. The song is Radiate by Puddle of Mudd.
Friday, September 25, 2009
I remembered a really strange one from two nights ago. Jeff actually reminded me of it, and the trigger was only him mentioning that he also had a strange dream that night. I was walking down the road very close to my own house at the end of the driveway. There were two people walking with me. I know they were friends of mine, but I cannot remember who they were exactly. Soon, a pickup truck came speeding up the road. The driver lost control and hit a tree. A baby flew out of the window of the truck and landed in the grass. The three of us went over and looked down at it, and then I woke up.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
(Better do a right-click, save target as.)
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
But hey, I'm leaving on time today. And I left on-time yesterday. And Monday, too. For now, I've got my head above water on this stupid project, and hopefully I can keep it there.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
I finished a major project for work over the weekend. The request from the customer was unreasonable, because the amount of work they sent us and the timeframe in which they wanted it completed was ridiculous. We didn't make any promises, of course, but that didn't stop my boss from asking me to work on Saturday along with 2 other members of my team. To make a long story short, we got the project done ahead of schedule.
All weekend long I was getting emails from vice-presidents of the company congratulating us and saying how great of a job we did and how we really "turned that account around". That last part pissed me off, because they just don't get it. They don't get it at all. We didn't turn shit around. All we did is ensure the next time this customer makes a request as ridiculous as this one, they are going to expect that we get it done just as quickly as we completed this one.
That's not great customer service. That's stupid, and it's a great way of pissing off your employees.
I voiced my opinion of this to my boss, and his reply was, "I'm right there will ya, and I've already requested bonuses for you and your team."
Sigh. They just don't get it. I don't want to be rewarded. I want my weekend back!
Monday, September 21, 2009
First, let's go over the bad.
Controls -- I'm the kind of guy who likes to set his keybindings on the fly. If I don't like the way I mapped something, I want to change it in game. You can't do that in this game. You have to exit all the way out of the game and start it up again to change any keybinding. That's annnoying.
Camera -- Not a big fan of the "over-the-right-shoulder" view.
Upgrades -- None of them are like, you know, really cool.
And that's really about the only complaints I have about it. The rest is golden. Some highlights:
Kevin Conroy voices Batman, and Mark Hamill voices The Joker. They do the voices in the animated series, which I have seen, so they really do sound like Batman and Joker to me. I recognize the voices, and that's really cool.
There are points in the game where I feel like I'm playing Half-Life, and that is a very big compliment. Crawling through ventilation shafts? I'm so there, and I love any game that reproduces that correctly. I know it's a silly thing to mention and get hung up on, and it's hard to explain exactly why I like a game that makes me crawl through small enclosed spaces. But that's me.
Grappling around is FUN. Waiting for a thug to walk underneath you and then string him up before he even knows what's happening is hilarious, and it's cool to just grapple to a different high vantage point while the remaining thugs come over to investigate what the hell is going on (and then go searching for me so I can continue to pick them off one by one).
The fist fights are great, but I'm still getting the hand of blocking. I have this problem where every time I need to block an attack, I'm in the middle of a combo and can't do it. I haven't lost a fight yet that wasn't a boss fight, so I guess it's really not that bad, but I get annoyed when I am fast enough to react to something, but because my character is already in the middle of doing something else he won't react to me.
The Scarecrow's levels are AWESOME. This is the perfect example of something I did NOT think I would see in this game. These levels are dark, psychotic, and utterly creepy. As they should be, since, you know, it's The Scarecrow. Probably some of my favorite visuals in the game are on those levels. I've seen him twice so far.
Seeing, hearing, and finding references to all of Batman's villains is very cool. Naturally, we have the Joker as the main villain. But I've also seen Croc, The Scarecrow, and Bane. I've heard The Riddler. And I've seen references to Two-Face, Poison Ivy, and Zsasz. And given that I'm only 15-20% through the game, I'm sure there will be much more to come.
Oh, and not having to worry when I fall off a ledge is fantastic. Heh.
Here's some screenshots from the game. Obviously, the graphics are superb as well.
Monday, September 07, 2009
Anyway, enough with the tangent. I could go on and on about that all day. In any case, I watched Halloween and Friday the 13th. Already these movies are at a disadvantage, because you know what's going to happen. They can change the plot from the original all they want, but it all comes down to the same thing no matter how you slice it. (Pun intended.) And that is, it's a guy in a mask chopping people up. That's all it is, and that's all people are going to expect, and that's all you can give them.
The reasons why the originals were so popular and so shocking it because no one really knew what they were getting when they went to see it. It's the unexpected that shocks and scares people, and it's always been that way. It doesn't matter how much more blood you can put on the screen now and not get slapped with an X rating -- that's not scary. Now that we know what we're getting when we sit down to watch this movie, the bite to it is gone. I firmly believe that if you made a slasher film, put people like, say, Kate Winslet and Leonardo DeCaprio in it, advertise it as an R rated romantic comedy, and then cut them into little tiny pieces instead, THAT would be shocking. And probably sell lots of tickets, too.
Saturday, September 05, 2009
In any case, I didn't particularly pick this game up for a good story. I picked it up to kill Nazis like Brad Pitt in Inglorious Basterds. And there are plenty of Nazis to kill. Normal Nazis. Super-powered Nazis. Zombie Nazis. Oh yes. And really, the only complaint I have about the gameplay is that I wish there had been more stealth missions. I'm a fan of those. (Yes, I spent hours and hours playing the Splinter Cell games.) And there were levels such as these in RTCW. I remember my favorite level was one where I had to sneak through a German village with nothing but a silenced pistol and assassinate three high ranking Nazi officials. If I made a mistake, alarms were sounded all over the village and the mission was failed. I would have loved to have a mission such as that in this game, or even a level where it was actually possible to try and stealth through the whole thing. I was hopeful there would be since silencers were upgrade options for more than one of your weapons, but alas, every time I tried to sneak around, dozens of Nazis would magically know where I was and find me, even if I silently shot a Nazi who was miles away from any of his buddies. That was sort of disappointing.
I have no complains about the guns 'o blazing aspect of the game, however. Go figure.
And now, some commentated pictorial highlights:
These guys are fun, since I like mini-bosses where you have to do more than just empty a dozen clips of ammo into them to bring them down. To take down these badasses, you have to shoot the canisters on their back to make them explode. They have a cool death animation, too.
And you get their gun when they die, too. Mmm, disintegrating Nazis.
The level designs are very detailed and good-looking. It's a pleasure walking through them. Most of them are very straight-forward, as well. I only found myself unsure of which way to go about twice during the whole game. (Which you might laugh at, considering the HUGE ASS compass in front of your face at all times.)
This sequence was fun. You rode on the back of a train using a mounted gun, mowing down hundreds of sniffers. "They're coming out of the God damned walls!" (Actually, they were running on the walls, but I like that quote and wanted to use it.)
The Telsa Gun is probably my favorite. I like my Nazis extra-crispy.
This is just another reason to hate Comcast. They only increase your bandwidth when everyone else does too and there might actually be a possibly you would switch to their competitor. Sadly I don't have a competitor to switch too, but that's beside the point. I still hate them.
Thursday, September 03, 2009
A whole hell of a lot happens in this book, so much more than any of the previous ones. It is truly adventure on an epic scale. I'm very envious of how good King is able to write. I'm quite humbled, actually. The first book reminded me of a western. The second, a fleshing out of main characters, albeit quite action packed. This third book is basically Tokien without the boring parts.
There are not many resolutions in this book. Even the very end is a cliffhanger. But many things are set up. One, the quest for the Dark Tower is now happening in full. Next, we see each of the strengths and weaknesses of the four gunslingers. We see what they are good at, and we hear them admit what they are not good at. And the beautiful part of this is just how well they compliment each other. Together, you really get the feeling they could do anything.
Most importantly to the core story, however, we learn exactly what the Dark Tower is and what it represents. Roland explains that the Tower is in the center of the universe. It is a rivet, with six beams holding it in place. These beams are the fabric of space and time itself. Follow a beam, and it will lead you to the Tower.
And so our heroes set out on the Path of the Beam.
The time paradox between Roland and Jake is probably my second favorite part of the book, which naturally ends in Jake's drawing into Roland's world. The best part for me though, of course, was Lud and the rescue of Jake from the Grays. That was the part of the book that kept it clamped in my hands and reading well past the time I wanted to stop.
And in the spirit of Blaine, I will end with a riddle.
This thing is light as a feather, but no man can hold it for long. What is it?
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