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Showing posts from 2009

Entertainment Hybrid

There was nothing wrong with my old desktop PC, other than the fact that it was a few years old and I wanted better performance for my gaming. Since I wanted to upgrade not just certain aspects, but everything -- video cards, processor, RAM, etc -- it was simply quicker and easier (and cooler) to get a new system. But I still have the old one, and I decided to keep it in use for something other than gaming.

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&…

Merry Christmas

The holiday does not hold as much tradition for me as it once did.  Part of that is simply part of growing up.  The magic disappears and you realize there is no Santa Clause, there are no elves, and that there’s nothing magical about the day at all.  But there is still happiness here, in the form of the time I get to spend with my family, and the general good feelings that come with that.  So yes, Merry Christmas indeed.  Even if it’s not your holiday, I still wish you a Merry one.

No Posts

It's the holidays and I'm busy. Doesn't look like the first half of January is going to be any better either with this project coming up. But the second half of January is looking mighty relaxing...

Torchlight

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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. 






Now playing:Course of Nature - After the Fall

My Favorite Ways To Kill

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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.




Now playing:Chevelle - Jars
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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).


Now playing:Rammstein - Spiel Mit Mir
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 freewa…

Borderlands Video

Here’s a sample of what the game looks like for ya.  Enjoy


Now playing:Tool - Lost Keys (Blame Hofmann)

A beat you can dance to...

I’ve grown quite fond of this song.

Dragon Age

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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.…

Ooh, shiny.

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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.

Now playing:Rise Against - Roadside

No Dante's Inferno for the PC

Fuck you very much, EA.

Avatar

So, who’s looking forward to it?  And am I the only one that thinks it looks like a sci-fi version of Braveheart?  No?  But yeah, it’s James Cameron and I am sure he will impress us.  It’s what he does.
Now playing:Muse - Uprising

New Computer Time

Here's the preliminary specs on the new machine I'm building.

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.
Now playing:The Limousines - Very Busy People (Album Version)
Bleh.

Whrgrbl.

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…
No blogs. Too busy playing Aion.
Reasons why October is my favorite month:

HalloweenIt'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.

Risen Review

It’s boring.
Now playing:Systematic - Deep Colors Bleed

Hey, this isn't FailBlog!

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True, but I have my own fail image to share.  I saw this at Wal-Mart this evening.  I don’t know why I found it surprising…I mean, it’s Wal-Mart.

Now playing:Flogging Molly - The Story So Far
When you're driving a new car, it takes a lot of rain to make it necessary to use those windshield wipers at first, because the rain just beads up and rolls off a new windshield. I was noticing this today as I was driving to work, and it very much looked like warp drive from Star Wars. So I was imagining I was in the Millenium Falcon traveling at the speed of light this morning. It's the little things that keep me entertained. Also, leave it to me to not be pissed that it rained only a few days after getting a new car, like most normal, whiny people would do.
Bloody fucking hell, people, quit clogging my news headlines with how Kate doesn't want Jon at the twins birthday party for more than two hours. Do you people want to know WHY the world is stupid and everyone is uninformed? BECAUSE YOU PUBLISH THIS SHIT THAT NO ONE SHOULD EVEN GIVE A RAT'S ASS ABOUT.

Finally, Something Worth Reporting

I just read what is quite possibly the greatest piece of journalism I have read in decades. This reporter did a study on how different dictionaries define certain sexual words, and the following paragraph is an excerpt of it. This is a nationally published news article.

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 accordi…

The Makings of a Bad Game

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 th…

Work In Progress

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
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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 o…

Saw I-V

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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…

Your Guide to MMOs - Part 2

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
Runescape
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 w…

Writing a PC Game Review

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 …

BlogJet

Woot, offline blogging.
Now playing:Three Days Grace - Bully

Your Guide to MMOs

Chances are, when someone mentions an MMO you're going to think World of Warcraft. And you should, given that WoW is the pole sitter. I have played other MMOs, and WoW does deserve to be there, even though it has its share of problems. What I don't like, however, is how too many people feel that it's the ONLY game of it's kind that is worth playing. That's simply not true. The problem is, of course, that any game of this kind demands a lot of your time and therefore is never really viable to play more than one. This, I think, is why WoW has lasted as long as it has. It's not the gameplay. It's not the story. It's not the graphics. It's because it was the most popular and because most people have time to play only one MMO, it remains the most popular, because we don't have time to play anything else. I have proof in numbers to back up this claim. If you look at any "ratings" or "hype" meters on any gaming websites,…
People are stupid. Don't try and deny that, because in the space of 2 minutes I witnessed some jackass sleeping at a green light and some other jackass driving in reverse down the road (towards me).

People are stupid.
I read something interesting the other day. It was a little piece going on about how we bury ourselves in a mountain of cars, television, video games, and other materialization in order to hide from the real issues of the world. I paid attention to this because I felt it was speaking to me. And it garnered this attention not simply because I read it and said to myself, "Hey, wait a minute, I play video games so what are you trying to say, buddy?!", but because it made me stop and think about it and wonder, "Okay, *am* I hiding from something?"

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…

Name That Tune

Usually, when I get a song stuck in my head, I know one of three things. I either know the name of the song, I know the band that sings it, or I know at least one piece of the lyrics. Any of these things will allow me to find the song very easily. Sometimes, however, I will have none of these and the task of finding the song becomes quite difficult. Such a case happened to me last night. I basically only knew two words from the song, which were very common words: "Are you". I also knew what the singer sounded like and that I did indeed own the song somewhere. This meant the best way to find the song was to go through my playlist and find all the artists who sound like the singer in my head. This adds up to 4,000 tracks.

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.

What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been

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Strange Dream

I don't remember my dreams very much. I know I dream all the time, but they're usually out of my head as soon as I open my eyes in the morning. Often, if I do remember a dream it is because I see or hear something the next day that triggers a memory of it. For example, this morning I got an email from 1800PETMEDS.com. This reminded me that last night I dreamed I got a new kitten and ordered immunization shots for it.

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…
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Now that I've finished the Story Mode of Batman, I've going back through the whole map trying to solve all the riddles. Not sure I'm going to have the patience for this, though, because it's only been 20 minutes and already I want to punch some bad guys. But I can't, cause they're all gone now that I've beaten the game. Bah. Here's a few shots from the end of the game.









Batman Video

I recorded a little video clip of me doing some fighting in Batman. The combat, especially hand-to-hand combat, is excellent. I made two mistakes in this fight (you'll see I get hit twice). The first time I just wasn't fast enough on the block button. The second time, I hit Batarang by accident. Dur-de-dur. Anyway, enjoy the video.

(Better do a right-click, save target as.)

http://www.pastatdude.com/vids/batman.wmv
So I've got about 15 minutes before I leave work, and I actually have free time. This is something that hasn't happened in, oh, about three months. This project has been royally pissing me off lately, as this past weekend showed. (See previous post.) Yesterday was bad as well, and I must have been wearing my "look at me wrong and die" expression on my face, because my boss was prompted to ask me if I was okay. That then led into the "without you we would have had to layoff 3 people" speech. Uplifting? Okay, maybe a little bit. But it doesn't change the fact that I'm tired, dammit.

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.
I'm often misunderstood, and this is a prime example of such:

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.

T…

Batman: Arkham Asylum

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Right off the bat (bad pun #432) I just want to say that I'm impressed. I was expecting a dumbed down game. I was expecting something for children of about 10 (even though it's rated T for Teen). I guess part of this is because I was force fed utterly stupid and campy Batman movies for most of my childhood. I remember watching the 1960's TV show on FX when I was a pre-teen and thinking it was the most ridiculous thing I'd ever seen in my life. Then Tim Burton came around and he did a fairly good job. The first time. His second one was awful. And then it got campy again. So yeah, I was expecting a campy arcade game. I'm pleasantly surprised.

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…
I watched two remakes this weekend. Actually, it's becoming increasingly difficult to find new movies that AREN'T remakes. Here's an idea for you, Hollywood: Why don't you make The Dark Tower into a film series? Or make a film based on It that is actually good and doesn't have Tim Curry in it? Or even one based on Cell (one of Stephen King's more recent novels). I'm sure he'd sell the rights to you for about $19.

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 w…

More Wolfenstein

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And this post will be more than just pictorial. For starters, this is a solid shooter. Very enjoyable and action packed, and not too short. It's not a heavy-weight though. It's no Half-Life 2. There's no meat to it, I should say, and that's fine because Return to Castle Wolftenstein didn't have too much meat to it either, though it had more than this game has. This game feels very arcade-like. It feels very console-like. Part of this I blame on what I call the "Achievement Insanity Era". Find all the gold achievement! Kill this many Nazis achievement! Blow up this many barrels achievement! Yeah. And suddenly your game has no plot, no story, and is nothing but a bunch of goals to achieve.

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, th…

And why isn't it like that all the time?

I'm downloading a movie right now, and it's clipping along at 1,545 KB/s. I remember about a year or so ago, I would get about 800 KB/s.

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.

The Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands

The introductions are over.

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 repre…

Wolfenstein

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