Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I'm sitting here trying to remember the times when I've been the most scared, and it's difficult to put this into the context of Halloween because real life is scary in a much different way than the whole concept of "Halloween Scary".  In real life, things like mortality, losing a loved one, job security, and stuff like that are all scary things.  They're also not fun to think or talk about, and thus not really conducive to a holiday that, while being about scary things, is also supposed to be fun.  So, I'll keep this light-hearted, in the spirit of the holiday.

I remember when I was a kid, around preteen or some such an age, I would have this thing I would do if I would arrive home at night.  Without going too far off-topic, this would happen quite often due to any number of activities I would do, especially during the summer.  Things like horseshoe leagues/tournaments, or going out after dark to help my Dad water tees and greens at the golf course where he worked.)  When I'd get home, and it'd be completely dark, I would walk around the house in a circle before going inside.  There were no lights around our house at the time, except for one in the driveway, so it would always be utterly dark, which made it scary.

I used to imagine scary things I had watched or read when I did this, which of course made it scarier.  My motivations for doing this was nothing more than wanting to be scared, of course.  That's just what I was like.  One night when I did this, it was shortly after I'd read this book called "Intensity" by Dean Koontz.  It was about this maniac who broke into this house and murdered everyone inside except for one girl, who ended up trapped in the back of his RV.  I was thinking of this book as I walked around the house that night, and I still remember thinking how odd the name of the maniac was:  Edgler Foreman Vess.  Right at that point, my brother jumped out of the bushes to scare the shit out of me.  

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Heist

First, allow me to set the scene for you.  My team is located in the center part of the second floor of the office, occupying six of the cubicles here.  Our seventh team member is sitting a little over on the other side a ways, near the Custom's department.  Bernie and her team are over to the left from us near the windows and in front of the break room.  Got the logistics?  Good.  

Now, since it's Halloween soon, Bernie's team have hung up a plastic Halloween themed sign on one of their walls.  It has a button on it.  When you press the button, you get this incredibly annoying sequence of sound effects:  First, a ghostly "Ooooooooo!", followed by a monstrous growl, and finally a high pitched horror movie scream.

Yesterday, after Danielle, Jeff, and I tired of hearing it, I got out my toolkit and we sneakily removed the batteries.  They didn't notice it until this morning, so I told them where the batteries were (because I, like some men, simply like to watch the world burn).

So, when Danielle got in this morning, they pressed the button much to her chagrin.  "AUGH WHO GAVE THEM THEIR BATTERIES BACK?!"

Then, the two of us conspired a kidnapping.  Or, a signnapping, if you will.  A HEIST, of sorts, on par with the purloining of the Mona Lisa.  We were going to steal the sign!

So I drafted up a ransom note, because any signnapping worth it's crime has a ransom note!  I found a ransom note font on the Internet, and printed it out on the color printer.  (Because it's a fully acceptable waste of company supplies.)

After we finished drafting the note, it was time to "do the job".

I sneaked over to the sign, ducking behind the cubicle as I reached up to lift it from it's hanging place.  And the damned thing went off!   ABORT!  ABORT THE MISSION!  I ran for it, diving back into my own cubicle.  No one noticed.  Whew!  I tried again a few minutes later -- more carefully this time.  I have a picture of this so you can see me in action:

After I got the sign off the wall, I made a run for it and hid it in Ed's office.  (The fucker went off again when I set it down!)  Then, we put the ransom note in the sign's place and went back to acting nonchalant at our desks!  Here's a picture of the ransom note:

Now we're just waiting for them to actually notice it's missing!  

Inception Bullets

I gave those "Inception Bullets" a try in Rage last night -- those are the bullets where the tooltip says, "Bullets within bullets within bullets that all fire at once".  Basically, you load up your pistol and it fires all 6 bullets simultaneously.

It's actually not quite as useful as I thought it would be.  Basically, it turns your pistol into a shotgun, so it's good for close range.  It doesn't quite have as much spread as a shotgun, but it still has some and that sort of means I won't use them.  I like aiming for the headshots.  Also, since you're basically shooting 6 shots at once, you have to reload after every shot.  That's just...annoying actually.

So I'll be sticking with the Fatboy bullets!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Late last night, John and I decided to watch Jurassic Park together.  It's funny, because I got that movie on DVD right when it first came out (so like, what, 16 years ago?), so it's actually the full screen version, because widescreen wasn't mainstream yet.  I found that amusing (and weird!).  Anyway, I started the movie and turned on screenshare via Skype -- John was watching it in bed and I was just sitting at my computer (having cereal).

I think John lasted about three quarters of the way through it, or something like that, before he fell asleep.  It was close to midnight-my-time when the movie ended, and I decided to just go to bed.  I left Skype on.

Now, it's common knowledge that John talks in his sleep.  Around 2:30 AM, I get woken up by him saying "NINJAS" really loud into the mic.  Yes, "NINJAS!".  I leaped out of bed, still half-asleep and probably half-dreaming, looking around for my sword so that I could fight the ninjas.  It was frickin' hilarious.  (Yes, I keep a sword by the old fireplace.  It's a WWII Japanese sword.)


Monday, October 24, 2011

Wot I Hear

I don't often post about music for two reasons.

1. It's the common interest most susceptible to hipsterism.
2. You don't care what I'm listening to.

Even so, I decided to share a few songs that have been playing in my ear regularly the last couple of weeks.

Wolf Gang - The King and All of His Men

Kasabian - Days Are Forgotten

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - If I Had a Gun

Friday, October 21, 2011



It's been a while since I've had any at the office, so I was about due.  This is actually quite an amusing story.  I love telling it.

Yesterday afternoon, a lady by the name of Sue came over to my desk.  She's another manager in the office for our Customs department.  I don't know her all that well, but she attends the bi-weekly manager's meeting and we do know each other.  She brought me this weird looking item -- it was (unbeknownst to me at the time) the padding for a bra or something of that nature.  A boob pad.  Whatever.  I thought it was a shoulder pad for a lady's blouse.

I took it over to Melissa's office, who is our HR person.  She laughed when she saw it, saying that she didn't know what it was but that it was just lying on the floor.  I told her what I thought it was, and she said that to her it looked like a skullcap, sort of like the kind of thing the Pope wears.  So naturally, the next logical thing for me to do was to put it on my head.

I said, "Well, this looks like something a Jewish person would wear at their Bar Mitzvah.  Mazel Tov!"

Both Melissa and Danielle found this to be hilarious, mostly because the thing sat on top of my head perfectly.  However, the owner of the thing didn't find it so amusing.  Apparently, she now wants me fired.

Nothing is going to happen to me, but damn if this whole thing wasn't hilarious.  It's kept me entertaining for a day and a half now.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ow My Finger

Playing Rage, and I was inside the tavern.  I noticed a guy sitting at a table doing the thing with the knife where you stab the table between your fingers as fast as you can.  Turns out, it's a mini-game!  I made a video of it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ooh, Scary!

I like making Halloween themed posts, and I've been thinking about what I'd like to do this year.  I've done games before, I've done Friday the 13th kills before.  I don't think I've actually done movies as a whole, though.  So this year I'm going to do something different.  A few years ago, Bravo compiled a list of the top 100 scariest movie moments.  I'm going to take their top 10 and comment on them myself.  Mainly, I'm going to express the reasons why I feel the movie is on the list.  So without further adieu, let's get to it, starting from the bottom:

10. Wait Until Dark 

Wait, what?  I've never heard of this movie.  Well, this is embarrassing, isn't it?  *Goes to Wikipedia*

Okay, so it's a thriller from the 1960's...oh hey, it's directed by Terence Young!  He did some of the earliest Bond movies.  It seems that it made the list due to the ending of the movie, which is apparently quite harrowing.  Seems the heroine is blind, which probably adds to the tension.  Sounds alright, I suppose.  Anyway...moving on.

9. Night of the Living Dead

"They're coming to get you, Barbra!"  Ah, I still remember that line.  So this one is obviously on the list because it's basically the first zombie movie.  Ever.  Needless to say, it's not a happy film.  I can't really pick out any one portion of the film that stands out to me -- the whole damned thing is one big mess, pretty much.  The ending is quite depressing, though, so I suppose I could mention that.  (It's a zombie movie, what do you expect?)

8. Carrie

The ending.  Definitely the ending.  Prom queen gets pig's blood thrown on her and snaps.  On a side note, I'd like to point out that Carrie was Stephen King's first published novel.  The book is excellent.  Read it.  (Hey, I'm a fan.  Sue me.)

7. The Silence of the Lambs

I can think of two scenes that stand out to me.  One, when Hannibal escapes from captivity.  He eats a man's face and wears another as a disguise.  HELLO?!  The other is the end, when Clarice is in a pitch dark basement and the killer is behind her with night vision goggles on, close enough to touch her and she has no idea.

There are a few other memorable scenes I should mention, but they're more iconic than truly frightening.  One is, of course, the infamous "Would you fuck me?" scene. where the serial killer tucks his penis between his legs and pretends to be a women.  And the other is the "It puts the lotion in the basket" scene.  These are DISTURBING, which adds to the incredibly creepy atmosphere of the film.

Since I plugged Stephen King's books, I should also mention that this one was based on a novel of the same name by Thomas Harris.  Most of the Hannibal books are good.  "Hannibal" itself is not.  Don't bother with it.  Nor the movie.

6. The Shining

"All work and no play make Jack a dull boy."

The little girls in the long hotel hallways.  I -hate- creepy children.  I mean, kids are creepy to me under normal circumstances.  I don't need them to make the extra effort.  Also, Jack hacking through the door with the axe, though that scene is more iconic than frightening.  "Heeeere's Johnny!"

Also an excellent Stephen King novel I might add.  You may be interested to know that he's penning a sort of sequel to it, entitled "Doctor Sleep".

5. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

I saw this movie when I was too young to understand it, and I will admit that I haven't seen it since.  I remember some things, though.

First of all, I remember that the entire movie drips with this feeling of despair.  It's like it saps all hope from your body and leaves you with a rather low opinion of human beings.  It also left you feeling that even though that one girl survived, it really doesn't matter because she's mentally destroyed anyway.  Bottom line is, you're left sitting there going, "Why am I watching this again?"  Not one of my favorites.  While I am a fan of horror movies, I do not appreciate horror movies that end up being depressing.  I believe the best ones are movies where the ending is rather hopeful.  That is why you will never see a Saw movie in any list I create on my own.  I consider them to be garbage.  And I consider this movie to be garbage.

4. Psycho

I love this movie.  It's just so, so well done.  And it was such a shocking film for its time.  Obviously, the infamous shower scene is what everyone will mention when you bring up this film.  And it's quite good, indeed.  My favorite part is the ending, though, when Marion's sister finds the mummified body of Norman's mother in the basement, and Norman coming up behind her dressed as his mother.

"A boy's best friend is his mother."

Also, "Everyone goes a little crazy sometimes."

3. The Exorcist

This movie is #1 for me, bar none.  To me, it is THE horror movie.  (I'm sort of stealing the thunder of #2 and #1, aren't I?  Well I don't care!)

There are particular reasons why I like this movie.  Remember what I said about endings?  Well, even though the ending of this movie is sad, it's still -good-, and it's still -hopeful-.  I like it.  It's bittersweet and touching.

Next, there's a lot of suggestion.  It's the age old mantra of things that you -don't- see are often scarier than things you -do- see.  With that being said, there's also plenty of things -to- see, which scare the fucking crap out of you. Regan walking bent-over-backwards down the stairs?  WTF is that shit?

And finally, realism.  The science in this movie is very genuine, and they try to use every medical procedure possible to cure Regan before they resort to an exorcism.  And it's detailed to the audience as being painstakingly real.  Don't even bring up the spinal tap scene.  I still cringe when I think about it.

2. Alien

I tend to forget about this movie too often.  I suppose when I think about this franchise, I tend to always think about an action movie rather than a horror or thriller.  It's James Cameron's fault, obviously, for making "Aliens".

But this movie does belong on this list.  It's -one- alien, and you hardly ever see it.  Again -- the power of suggestion.  There's nothing like it.

1. Jaws

Okay, I'll admit -- I don't consider this movie to be scary.  It's a thriller, sure. But it doesn't scare me.  I -love- the film, don't get me wrong.  But it makes me watch it with rapt attention on the edge of my seat, and sometimes laugh (in a good way).  I don't really feel it's appropriate for THIS list.

There are quite a number of movies that could have been on this list instead.  Poltergeist, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Pet Semetary, Hellraiser, The Sixth Sense, The Hills Have Eyes, Cujo, The Amityville Horror...

I could be here all day.  So I'd better stop now.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Yup, They Work

Today is National Drive Like As Asshat Day (#124).  The first incident was simply my confusion at some schmuck in an SUV who apparently thought the passing lane was her own personal driveway.  She confused me, because right when I first ended up behind her, she undertook a car that was going even slower than her.  This car then moved into the normal lane after this, which allowed me to pass it properly, and still leaving me behind this SUV.  A little while later, that same SUV was passed from the slow lane by another car (who had to be going about 100 MPH I think).  It just made me wonder about the thought process of her.  She was a living contradiction.

That wasn't the most exciting part of my morning drive, however.  Right before the exit off the parkway that I take to the office, suddenly everyone slammed on their brakes.  I'm not talking about a little slow-down either -- cars were actually going sideways in order to stop without hitting the cars in front of them.  I saw what was happening with time to spare, but I still had to hit the brakes pretty hard to get stopped.  (I didn't have to swerve, though.)  Actually, I was more concerned about the vehicles -behind- me.  I knew I was getting stopped, but I worried that whoever was behind me wouldn't react quite so well and hit me.  It didn't happen, though.  I still don't know what happened to cause it -- my guess is some asshat on a cell phone wasn't paying attention or some other asshat in a rush switched lanes without looking.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Jobs and Sniping and Driving, Oh My!

I'm sitting here listening to "Anyone's Ghost" by The National as I write this.  I have a new love for this song because I heard it at the beginning of Grey's Anatomy last Thursday.  Hearing songs I love in strange places tends to give me a new appreciation of them.  

As for the topic at hand, I reached a few interesting milestones in Rage this evening.  The first of these was getting a bit of exposure to the secondary quests, which I retrieved from a job board in the middle of Wellspring.  Aside from the "sniping game" quest, where I simply had to sit in one place and snipe bad guys, the rest of the quests sent me into places I've already been to.  I didn't mind that -- the environments are so detailed and well done, having a second look at them was actually quite enjoyable.

I also explored a few new places, with nothing terribly exciting to report there in regards to the environments.  It was a lot of dank sewers, dark buildings, and creepy paths.  I didn't care, though, since I was too busy shooting everything that moved.

More importantly, I finally had my first exposure to both The Authority and The Resistance.  I was given a quest to go down into the water systems of Wellspring to take care of the bandits there who were trying to poison the town's water supply.  After retrieving their canister of poison, I was told to take it to that creepy doctor with the robot on his shoulder.  He then refined it a bit and told me to take it to Elizabeth, a resistance fighter.  Apparently the stuff will be quite useful to the cause.

Elizabeth, in turn, gave me a new quest.  Just a little stroll in the park:  Break into an Authority prison and rescue the leader of the Resistance.  Say what?

So I finally got to meet the Authority, and they're pretty tough bastards.  They wear red suits with forcefield-like armor around them.  Their suits and equipment can be disrupted and disabled with EMP grenades, which I conveniently learned how to craft just before heading over there.  It was pretty cool to be able to totally shut down turret guns, remove their body shields, and generally wreak havoc before shooting them full of holes.  I have a few new weapons now, too, but I'm mostly using my trusty pistol.  I -am- a gunslinger, after all.  Besides, I've got Fat Boy bullets, which sound delicious when fired and pack one hell of a punch.

So that dude is Captain Marshall.  And he's voiced by Steven Blum.  Of course he is.

After busting him out of prison, and helping him escape all guns-o-blazing style, I made my way back to Wellspring to a rather interesting surprise.  The Authority placed a bunch of drones in the town to monitor it, undoubtedly due  to what I'd done at their high security prison.  Whether I like it or not, I'm now part of the Resistance.  And the Authority wants me even more dead than they did before.  Now instead of simply being an Ark survivor, I'm an Ark survivor that just shot and blew up a whole bunch of their boys.  Oops.

Now that the Authority knows about me (I waved to them as I passed by the security cameras), they're going to hunt for my Ark.  I need to go find it, and that's the quest I'm on now.  I'll betcha 10-to-1 that Authority goons are there waiting for me when I arrive.  I'm going to stop by the shopkeeper and pick up some more Fat Boys.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Well Gang, It Looks Like We Have Another Mystery On Our Hands!


Last night was poker night.  I carried Buyo upstairs and put him into the spare bedroom, and I went into the living room for a bit on my laptop to finish off my evening with John.  After he'd gone to bed, I went into the bedroom to check on Buyo.  As I did, I noticed a bunch of glass on the floor.  Naturally, my first thought was that he'd knocked something off a shelf or bookcase.  I looked a bit closer, and realized there really wasn't anything breakable in that particular vicinity...but realized the glass was directly underneath the window.  Oh balls.

I opened the curtain to find a baseball shaped hole in the window, very near the  top of the pane of glass.  My first thought was a bullet.  I looked at the opposing wall and found nothing, though.  Well, -something- had to make the hole, so I started looking around on the floor.  I found a chunk of wood about the size of a golfball, and one side of it looked as though it had been chopped with a machete...or the blade of a lawnmower.

So that's what I surmised happened.  I think the golf course guys mowed our lawn last, so they probably hit a chunk of wood, and the piece I found punched through the window.

How unfortunate.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Never underestimate the power of stupid people on the internet.  Give them an idea (a usually false or misconstrued one at that) and they will dig their claws into it and never let it go so long as they draw breath.  It happens every single day across any media, for any topic, in any corner of the world.  For me, I see this kind of thing on the topic of gaming more often than anywhere else, since I read a lot of gaming articles.  It sometimes makes me fall into the same trap -- I tend to start thinking that the gaming community is filled with a bunch of idiots.  

But then I remember the truth.  The entire PLANET is filled with a bunch of idiots.

In any case, I present you with my most recent example of human stupidity:

I was perusing the PC Gamer forums this morning, and there were two articles regarding Mass Effect 3.  The first one was explaining how ME3 will have over 40,000 lines of dialogue, which is nearly as much as ME1 and ME2 combined.  That's pretty damned cool, and it shows that Bioware are putting a lot of effort into making sure that ME3 has a rich and detailed story when we play through the single-player campaign.  It looks like they really want to make this (supposed) last installment of the series be a real grand finale.  Really cool stuff.

The next article contained a couple of screenshots of the newly-announced multiplayer aspect of the game.  It looks like salarians will be a playable race, which is pretty damned cool.  As I tend to do with articles on PC Gamer, I scrolled down to take a quick glance at the comments.  (I think I do this because I am an optimist, and I truly believe that one day, someone will make a comment that is a positive statement.  It hasn't happened yet.)

The one comment that stood out to me was some twit complaining that he doesn't want multi-player in his ME games and that adding such a feature will do nothing but dilute the single-player story and make it weaker, shorter, and less enjoyable.

He posted this comment in an article that was two mouse scrolls away from another article stating that ME3 will have as much dialogue as both previous games combined, showcasing Bioware's efforts to make the story as good as it can possibly be.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


I hate IRLRNG.  That's the "in real life random number generator".  It's the term I've coined to describe the reason for things going to shit.  It just seemed like today was a hugely bad sequence of IRLRNG.  I went into the office early to be on a customer call at 7:00 AM.  (I got in around 6:30-ish.)  As a result, I skipped breakfast until after the call was over, and was therefore starving.  I knew that Jeff had told us yesterday that he was bringing in rice crispy treats, so I waited around until about 9:15 AM since I figured I'd just have one of those for breakfast.  I couldn't wait any longer, so I went out and got something to eat.  Jeff pulled into the parking lot as I got back.  That figures.

That was only the start of things, naturally.  The main annoyance occurred near the end of the day.  Since I'd gotten in early, obviously I could leave early.  I planned on leaving for the day at 3:15 PM.  So of course, I had to attend a meeting at 3:00 PM.   That figures.  After that was over, I went back to my desk, checked in with everyone, and got ready to leave.  As I was standing at Danielle's desk, my boss came by and told me that he needed to see Jeff and I in his office.  BLARGH.

So, in the end, I ended up leaving the office a full NINE MINUTES earlier than I normally would have.  Go me!

That was of course nullified by the fact that I had to stop at the eye doctor's office after work and pick up my new glasses.  As a final tally, I think I got home exactly 27 seconds later than I normally would have.

I hate IRLRNG sometimes.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Non-Rage Post

It was bound to happen eventually...

It's funny story time.

Several years ago, before my company was acquired by Descartes, our phone system was supplied by a company called Siemens.  Remember that.  It's important.

We had our bi-weekly manager's meeting today, which are rather entertaining.  It pretty much gives us the opportunity to bitch and complain about our employees and our bosses without worrying about offending anyone, because all us managers know each other and are friends.  The topics tend to spiral well out of control, as was the case today.

We're migrating to a new e-mail server.  As such, our IT department is slowly migrating each individual employee from the old domain to the new one.  It's no big deal -- mine was migrated last week without any problems.  Well, apparently, today someone nearly lost all of the data on their computer when the migration was done to their system.  This, naturally, cause a rant by our boss Ed, who couldn't understand (rightfully so) how switching -EMAIL SERVERS- could cause the data on someone's hard drive to be lost.  (IT did end up getting it back.  It was a weird situation.)

Anyway, this led into other complaints about our company's IT -- to include shitty network performance, slow response times, and finally, the current phone system.  We were talking about how dialing into a conference line was sometimes hit or miss with this system, and that it can get very frustrating.  Just today, Ed had to perform a software demo to a potential customer using his Blackberry's speaker phone, instead of his office phone, because the office phone couldn't dial into the conference line for some unknown reason.  And needless to say, the speaker phone on a Blackberry leaves much to be desired in terms of audio quality.

After Ed had finished explaining the phone problems, Bernie shook her head and said, "Siemen was good."

I'm not sure anyone else caught it at first.  I instinctively snickered, which caused everyone else to realize what she'd just said.  Then there was this domino effect of facepalms all around the table, followed by much laughter.  After which I said, "Of course, Bernie.  But we were talking about the phone system."

It should be noted that it would have sounded a whole less funny if she'd actually pronounced the name of the company -correctly-.  (Siemens)

A little while later, she sends an e-mail to Danielle and I with a link to the company's website, saying, "Check out what else Siemens makes!"  It turns out they also make some kind of orbiter nuclear camera.

So I replied with, "A phone company that also makes those?  That's a little hard to swallow."

Yes, I am the master of cheap puns.

I have one word for you:

Bash TV

I was going  to do some of the car races in Rage this evening, but I was in the mood to shoot stuff.  Lucky for me, there's a quest for that!  (See what I did there?)  

There's this weird TV game show host out in the Wasteland who runs this channel called "Bash TV".  I had to go to him in order to get him to sponsor me for a car race -- it was the only way to progress further on that particular quest line.  In return for the sponsorship, I had to appear on his television show.  And apparently he would pay me to do so.


The object of the game show was to survive as they throw waves and waves of mutants at me.


I pretty much explain everything else in the video.  Feel free to watch and have a chuckle at my inability to be good at games.  Obviously I recommend clicking it to open it up in a new window.  It is in HD, and will probably look great fullscreened.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Stop messing with me, id!

This will pretty much summarize my time with Rage this evening.  You can imagine that this is my internal dialogue as I'm playing:

"I'm really surprised that id have moved away from their typical content of demons and intense gore of their other games.  I suppose they've decided it was time to grow up a bit, or maybe they're...WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT THING AND WHY DOESN'T IT HAVE A FACE?!"

Yeah.  I suppose you could say that, as the term goes, shit got real.  I can tell when a game has me on edge, because I start gripping the mouse really hard and I'm leaned forward in my chair.  I start tilting my head at my monitor when I turn corners, as if that will actually help me peek around to see if anything is there.  And, of course, I start dodging the projectiles in real life.

Also, the game is messing with me.  The bastards are being really clever.  There was this one ammo cache room that I found -- had to grind the lock to get to it.  It had a bunch of ammo and some odds and ends that I could either vendor for cash, or use to craft some items.  There was this one box of something sitting on the table, and it was labeled "Pinkies".  I figured it was just some type of miscellaneous food, maybe similar to "Twinkies".  When I picked it up, suddenly I heard the loud growl of a Pinky Demon.  I've played enough Doom to instantly recognize the sound, and I swung my camera around looking for the damned thing on instinct.  It wasn't there, of course.  Well played, id.  Well played.

Another cool thing I came across tonight was this guy:

That little robot on the Doctor's shoulder had me so entertained during the dialogue sequences.  It would nod, shake it's head, and it just had -so- much personality.  I was really impressed with the animations.  Also, beforehand, I had to place my sample of feltrite on this table.  These two robotic arms came down to pick it up.  The one on my right grabbed and made off with it, and the one on the left drooped a bit, as if sad, and went off to pout.  It was so expressive, and it makes me sad, because I know hardly anyone else will appreciate what went into doing that.  It adds so much personality to the game.  It's one of those things that most people wouldn't even focus on, but they would notice it if it wasn't there.

Oh, and I found a boss that was about the size of a skyscraper.

He was the "Let-Us-Introduce-You-To-The-Rocket-Launcher" boss.  I had to dodge huge chunks of rock that he was throwing at me.  That he was ripping off of the side of a nearby skyscraper.  It was epic.

Then...suddenly I was in Doom:

That's a hospital.  I had to go there to upgrade my self-defibrillator.  It was horrifying.

Needless to say, I'm quite enjoying myself.  The story is moving forward a bit now -- it seems that the Authority that I've heard about really do not like anything from the "old world".  That, naturally, goes to include me.  So if they find me,  they'll undoubtedly want to kill me.  From that Doctor, I also learned that there is a resistance formed to try and fight the Authority.  Obviously I'll be meeting them at some point, and I'm quite looking forward to that.  I also look forward to having a run-in with the Authority, simply so I can see if that song is true:  I fought the law and the law won.  

Friday, October 07, 2011

Driving and Gambling

Blowing up a bandit's car in Rage is surprisingly satisfying!  It's like a mini-nuclear explosion, only without the huge loss of life and consequential fallout.  Win/win, I say!  It's all tied together quite nicely with the rest of the game, too, in that you don't feel like the driving sequences were just tacked onto the game.  There are quests linked to taking out bandits in-between settlements, the garage links to the settlement attached to it and the wasteland, and you can get upgrades for your vehicles by winning races on tracks within the settlements.  And, of course, you have to drive through the wasteland to get from place to place.  It all flows quite nicely.  

In addition to some new screenshots, I made a short video to show the in-game  gambling system that you can use to make some extra cash.  This is the fourth way I've found to make money, with the other three being winning races, selling junk, and completing quests.  There's a whole lot more to this game than I originally expected, and I'm quite pleased with that!

Thursday, October 06, 2011


I hate people.  I especially hate ignorant people.   

Today, I was sitting at my desk working, minding my own business.  The Wookie comes waddling over.  I always try ignoring it, but it tends to linger until I acknowledge its existence.  I won't extend this particular part of the post any longer than I have to, so I'll just say that it knows I'm a gamer and asked  me about Rage.  It then proceeded to complain about the graphics, stating that they look six years old.  

Urge.  To.  Murder.  Near.  Critical.  Mass.  

I can only surmise it's playing Rage on a console.  HEY I THINK I FOUND YOUR PROBLEM.  GET A PROPER GAMING MACHINE YOU TWIT.  

Moving on.  *Deep breaths.*

The shot above is from one of the lairs of the bandits.  As I said the other day, there's not really much of a story right now.  You have the good survivors (the people giving you quests), and you have the bad survivors (bandits and muties).  You kill the bad survivors and you help the good survivors.  That's about it.  But, like I said before, I wasn't expecting a long and involved story from id.  It's not what they do.  

That's a cool looking statue.  And yes, I'm just dropping random screenshots into this post.  Deal with it.  Alright, so, I do have two complaints so far.   One actually is about the graphics.  As I stated, I never had any of the very serious graphics issues that a lot of people reported.  However, I can catch things rendering in the game out of the corner of my eye, especially if I turn around really fast.  What I found myself doing on occasion was purposefully spinning my camera really fast in order to try and catch it.  That tells me two things:  One, that the issue isn't that bad if I actually have to TRY and get it to happen.  And two, that it exists and it's enough to make me notice it, otherwise I wouldn't be trying to make it happen.  In other words, it's not a game breaker but it's something that I hope they will eventually fix.  It'd be a shame for such a fantastic graphics engine to keep such a stupid problem.

The other issue I have is that it seems the lip-syncing is just a few seconds off.  This baffles me, because I had the same exact problem with Deus Ex.  I'm starting to think that it's -my- problem.  I can't possible imagine two big name game developers (Eidos and id) letting the same exact sort of problem slip through their QA.  I'll have a look online at some point and see what all I can find about it.  But, again, it's a problem that I don't notice unless I look for it, and in this case it's me leaning forward putting my nose nearly up to my computer monitor to look at the lips.  So once again, not a game breaker, but if fixed it's something that would drive the game closer to perfection.

Aside from wishing the game had Wookies in it (so I could shoot them), I don't have anything else to complain about right now.  I have a hunch that the story is going to open up very soon.  I just reached a third settlement of good survivors, and it's much bigger than the previous two.  This one actually has a mayor.  (He's fat, has a nice office, and talks like a true politician.)  I honestly thought I took a screenshot of him, but I can't find it now.  Instead, have a picture of a SCARY MUTIE!

And right now, I can't think of anything else to say at the moment as I'm left wondering why I'm not playing the game RIGHT THIS SECOND.  So I'll leave you with a screenshot of that third settlement I mentioned, and head into the game for some more quality entertainment.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

First Impressions: Rage

I've come to the conclusion that id Software exists solely to make games for me to play.  Forget for a moment that I grew up playing their games.  (I still remember begging my Mom to give me the original Doom discs before Christmas so I could play the game every single day of my Christmas vacation.)  It's just that they make a shooter that contains all the stuff that I expect to find, and none of the utter crap that makes me want to punch baby unicorns.  

It's a simple recipe:  Cool weapons to shoot, bad guys to kill, and gorgeous visuals to look at.  Quick saves (not checkpoints), and no limit on the amount of weapons you can carry.  These are all the things I demand to be in my shooter. I get annoyed when I have to, for example, redo an entire level because I died two feet from the next "checkpoint".  I get annoyed when I have to drop one weapon (with tons of ammo for it) so that I can pick up a new one.  id has never let me down when it comes to these very simple mechanics.

Now...enter Rage.  This is interesting, because I realize this game is not going to win any awards with critics.  And do you know why?  Because it's not DIFFERENT.  Apparently, some time in 2003 or 2004, the definition of "different" changed in the dictionaries of all gamers to mean "better".  It's a grip I have, and getting into it would be horribly off-topic, so I'll just leave that there and perhaps discuss it at another time.  The point is, this game is going to get probably 8/10 on average.  It might even be lower, because apparently people are having texture issues which is making the game near unplayable for them.  (I have not had these issues at all.  The game runs beautifully on my system.)

That being said, I'll try not to gush like a fanboy about to lapse into a sugar-induced coma when I talk about the game.  No promises, though.

Alright, first some background.  This is the first game that is using id's new Tech 5 graphics engine, and it's breathtaking.  Back when Doom 3 was released, which was the first game to utilize the id Tech 4 engine, I was also blown away, but also did notice a few things that bothered me.  Mostly, human beings (even when they weren't zombies), freaked me the hell out!  They just didn't look good.  That's changed here, along with...well everything else.  A screenshot isn't going to show you exactly what I mean, but it be a good start.

It's so much more impressive  when it's in motion, of course, and you can pan around all you want.  It's just so -damned- good.  And it doesn't stop at the landscapes either -- the game just all around, entirely, looks fantastic.

Now for the twist.  I mean, it's id Software.  You're expecting a shooter, and this -is- a shooter for all intents and purposes.  But it's a...departure...from an -id- shooter.  The formula they use hasn't really changed since the original Wolfenstein 3D.  You can argue semantics all you want about that, but it really hasn't.  They make shooters.   Period.  And since the day different became good, id Software has sort of lost clout with the gaming community because they didn't evolve.

When I heard about some of the different things that were going to be in this game -- vehicles, RP elements, crafting -- I was worried.  I thought the last great beacon of light in my shooter world had gone out.  "Oh no!", I despaired.  "What will I do now?"  Obviously, my concern was that id Software would go in the direction of say, Activision, with their COD crap.  Or worse, abandon certain mechanics that I mentioned above because all the mainstream shooters seem to do it.  (Even Dead Space, which is a brilliant series, is GUILTY of this.  Checkpoints and weapon limitations.  WHY?)

So in loading up the game, I was filled with cautious optimism.  Then I was in awe when I saw the graphics.  Then back to cautious optimism once that shock wore off.  To make a long story short:  I LOVE YOU id SOFTWARE!  HAVE MY BABBIES!

Yes, I just gave you a screenshot of the sky.  Because it's gorgeous.  Stop complaining.

Okay, so I mentioned that this game wouldn't win any awards -- and that's because it doesn't do anything tremendously different.  I'll stop beating that dead horse now, but I do have a point here.  That is, just like Blizzard is doing with Diablo 3, id Software is doing with Rage.  They're taking what works and perfecting it.

So, here's a few things that ARE different:  For starters, you basically always have a free "life".  You have a self-defibrillator, which is basically a neat little mini-game that you play when you "die".  It basically brings you back from the dead and zaps anything near you.  Very cool.  It's sort of like Borderlands' "Second Wind" mechanic where you can bring yourself back from death.  Just with a few very important differences.

Also, the crafting system is unique in that it's probably the most simplistic system I've seen.  That is not a complaint, either.  I love it.  The thing I hate about crafting in most games is that either the materials aren't something you would find in your normal travels, or the items you can make are pretty damned useless to you.  Neither of these is true in Rage.  And, you don't have a bunch of items clogging up your inventory, either.  The materials are very streamlined and there aren't many of them to hog bag space.

Mostly everything else has been done before, and mostly, id has done it just as good, or better.  The vehicles are very much like Borderlands.  Rage's vehicles are infinitely easier to control, however.

The gunplay is very smooth, too, exactly as what I'd expect from id.  Also, something both John and I noticed, was that the AI is quite entertaining.  They will limp into cover if you manage to hit them before they're able to properly dive out of sight.  They also say some pretty entertaining things.  Best one so far was one of them yelling, "Fucking ow!" after I shot him in the face.

There's really not much of a story right now, which also doesn't surprise me for an id game.  Basically, the world got fucked by an asteroid and this is the result.  Simple.  And without any further rambling by me, here are some lovely screenshots:

Oh right, this shot.  Look how cool the quests are presented to you.  I really like this:

And a few more random ones:

I'll have more to say as I play more of the game.  And more screenshots, too, of course.  But so far, it's an excellent gaming experience!


Holy smokes.  The last post I wrote for this blog was on October 18, 2017.  Through the little more than  two years since, this blog has be...