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Showing posts from 2012
Anyone who keeps a blog or other such similar medium will always have this urge to make a post on New Year's Eve.  I'm not sure why.  Perhaps it's to validate their existence, or to give themselves a feeling of completion for the year.  In any case, here is mine.

Let me start by hoping that everyone has a good 2013.  It's going to be an interesting year, I think, and it's quite likely that we'll be starting it all off with a brand new financial crisis.  I can't WAIT to take a pay cut!  Woo!

Worthless politics aside, I'd rather focus on staying positive for the new year.  So, um...well, the snow is pretty.

Christmas 2012

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Despite how utterly exhausting the holidays tend to be, there's always a part of you that wishes, despite everything, that every day could be like Christmas.  The presents, the happy family times, and best of all, not having any responsibilities whatsoever since all the preparation is finally, finally done.  But then everyone leaves and you stop and think, "Fucking hell, I just want everything back to normal so I can get on with my life!"  
In any case, I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas, and the best for the year 2013.  Provided below are some pictures from my Christmas Day.



I must say that one of the reasons why I'm glad Christmas is over, is because I can now walk around my house without tripping over gifts.


























There's a tradition with holidays.  There's always a picture of Brandon giving the camera the finger.  Go ahead, look for it.  You'll find it.  Also, the funny thing about Christmas this year is that the very next day (today), it seems that…

Why Far Cry 3 is my Game of the Year

A heavy armored pirate steps in front of a wall, placing him out of line-of-sight of his equally heavy armored buddy.  I pop off a silenced shot from my suppressor-equipped sniper rifle, splattering his brains on the wall.  Bonus XP for a headshot goes to me, and his buddy is oblivious to what just happened.  I exhale, smirking deviously.

I'm racing down a dirt road in a jeep, speeding towards a bridge that suddenly pulls up.  It's a drawbridge, and the commandos I'm running from raise it.  I speed up and jump the gap, landing safely  on the other side, only to be accosted by mortars incoming from a nearby truck.  I jump into the back of my jeep and man the turret, riddling the offending truck with bullet holes until it explodes.  I drop back into the driver's seat and continue on my way.

I'm walking through a field of illegal drugs with a flamethrower, lighting every plant up in a brilliant haze of orange fire.  I say to myself, "This is fucking awesome!"…

The Scorchers

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A little over a year ago, id Software released their first new IP in quite a long time.  It was called Rage, and it was a post-apocalyptic shooter utilizing id's new idTech5 graphics engine.  The game received generally mixed to positive reviews when it came out.  One of the main complaints, if I remember correctly, was the technical problems that the game had when it was first released, especially on the PC.  The other most common complaint was that the game seemed like it was trying to be Borderlands and Fallout, and failed to live up to either.  If you recall my posts about Rage back around October 2011, though, you'll remember that I absolutely loved it.  Take that, majority!
Fast forward to this week.  To everyone's surprise, except perhaps the devs at id, new content for Rage was announced after a long period of utter silence.  And that's what I'm going to be talking about today.

I haven't touched Rage since I finished it back near the end of 2011, but I o…
Let's have one of those general, talk about anything posts, shall we?  It's been a little while since I've done a good, old-fashioned ramble.

First of all, let's touch upon MLG (Major League Gaming) for a bit.  I believe it's generally accepted that League of Legends has pretty much surpassed Starcraft 2 as far as popularity and overall influence within the MLG world.  This doesn't really affect me all that much, because I don't play either game at all.  I of course HAVE played both, as I try to play just about every game that I can.  (At least the major releases.)  It does make me feel sort of left out that I don't particularly enjoy either game (for differing reasons), especially when I look at how many people do.  LoL is the most popular video game in the world right now.  It's not often that I don't like a game that a majority of people do.  Even when it comes to Call of Duty games, I'm quite sure that if I were to play the single-player…

Baking 2012!

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Alright, so I mentioned the baking, didn't I?  I should have.  It's been going on for 7 days now.  We took last night off due to it being poker night, of course, but every other night we've been baking away.  Let's have a bit of visualization, then.  


This is Mom and John putting icing on the gingerbread and sugar cookies.  John delved into his artistic side and decorated the gingerbread men (the whole three that he managed to do in two hours) with faces and accessories.  They look brilliant.  No one's allowed to eat his.  They are for display purposes only.



My favorite part about this image is that you can see the icing that he got stuck in his hair.



And here are some finished products.  You can tell which ones I did (where I simply sprinkled the chocolate bits onto the cookies)  and the ones John did (where they actually have proper faces).



Sugar cookies with white icing and colored sugar.



Before the icing and sugar.  The one gingerbread cookie in the corner was le…
Far Cry 3 has quickly become my favorite game of the year.  I'm getting so much more out of it than I expected, and I'm surprised by how well it has done many things that have been in countless number of games.  For example, I wasn't expecting the game to give me a huge dose of nostalgia, reminding me of old school Lucasarts computer games such as Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine.  I also wasn't expecting to start making comparisons to Tomb Raider and Assassin's Creed.  But I have.

The island is so much bigger than I expected, and I am amazed by how much there really is to explore. Obviously, the environments do not change all the much -- you are on the same island the whole time, after all -- but the island looks so GOOD that you really don't care that it's all a tropical landscape.  Besides, who doesn't want to live in the jungle?  Seriously.

The thing that has surprised me the most are the part of the story dealing with the subtle supernatural …
It's always nice when you go into a new game with a certain expectation, and those expectations are immediately exceeded.  I feel that lately, the game industry has become rather predictable in a lot of ways, and not just in the fact that there are so, so many sequels to existing IPs these days.  With the gaming media becoming so fast paced, it's quite easy to find out just about everything about a game near-instantaneously, due to how rabid the journalists are to be the first with their review.

Far Cry 3 has ended up being a rather unique situation that I probably won't see again for a very long time.  I saw a few advanced reviews of the game, but I really didn't pay much attention to them.  I saw they were very positive, and that prompted me to preorder the game about a week ago.  But aside from that, I didn't know that much about it.  In addition to that, I wasn't particularly a fan of Far Cry 1 or Far Cry 2.  So, going into this game, I really didn't ha…
Balls.

A Milestone

This is my one thousandth blog post.

To mark the occasion, I went back and looked at the very first post I made.  Good lord, why the hell did I think dark red font colors in comic sans was a good idea?  Amazingly, that was over seven years ago now.  What is even more amazing is that seven years sounds like such a long time, until I see that it was 2005.  Wait, what?  2005 was just yesterday!  What the fuck!  And don't get me started on the face that 1992 was twenty years ago.  I don't even want to think about that.  What the fuck!  And it's been over ten years since the first Lord of the Rings movie came out.  What the fuck!

In any case, seven years and one thousand blog posts later, and I still don't have that zombie MMO.  We're getting closer!  The War Z might actually be it.  I'm keeping an eye on that one.  But I really don't have any room to complain with games like The Walking Dead already in existence.  I finished the final episode last night.  It wa…
Patch 5.1 for WoW was released yesterday.  Or Tuesday, if you're playing on the North American/Oceanic servers.  With it comes the start of the Horde versus Alliance campaign in Pandaria, which equates to the main storyline of the whole expansion.  A lot of people dissed this idea, saying that it was stupid to have that be the main focus of an entire expansion.  After all, every expansion has had a main villain!  Oh...wait!  The original game didn't.  How silly of me.  Wouldn't it be ironic if I was one of those people who complained that the game was better in vanilla and also criticized the lack of a main villain to focus the story upon?  I'm sure there's no one out there silly enough to do that.

In any case, the patch adds main quests, daily quests, and scenarios with which to tell an on-going story detailing the clashes between the Horde and the Alliance as they both land in the Pandaria.  I've done very little of it so far, of course, since it was only day …

Serious Boss is Serious

Since I've reached bit of a content plateau within Borderlands 2, and since the WoW servers went down early for Patch 5.1's release, I opted to play through the Serious Sam 3 DLC, Jewel of the Nile.  No, not the movie.  Though, if you have seen that movie, you earn a special place among my list of friends.  Actually, no, that's not enough.  Let's see...oh, I got it!  If you've seen Jewel of the Nile -and- you've played Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine, THEN you earn a special place among my list of friends.  

ANYWAY.

So the DLC itself was pretty fun.  It's three new levels added on to the game, taking place somewhere in the middle of the main campaign.  It's more of the same, as it damn well should be:  There are a lot of bad guys, and you shoot them.  Or blow them up.  Or shoot them while they're blowing up.  It's a hell of a lot of fun.  One of my favorite bad guys from the first game is back, too, so I was pretty happy about that.  Also,…

Neglect

Actually, it hasn't been quite as long as I thought since my last post.  But it's been long enough for me to still prefer to draw attention to it.  It's not that I haven't had much to say recently, but more that I haven't had the desire nor the time to say it.  At least, not here.  And the time excuse is fickle.  I could certainly find the time, I'm sure, just like I find the time to do the things that I want to do.  I find the time to read every night before I go to bed.  I find the time to play video games even though I'm an adult with a demanding job and responsibilities to take care of at home.  So, it's definitely about 80% desire and 20% time.  Though, more accurately, it's probably 82.62% to 17.38%.  Plus or minus 3%.

That changed a few days ago.  Obviously.  Else I wouldn't be sitting here writing something right now, would I?  The inspiration first came from another blogger -- Tim Buckley, the artist for CTRL+ALT+DEL.  If you have never…
Now that the election is over, I would like to have a bit of optimism that the American government is actually going to make some progress in many of the pressing issues that are currently at hand.  These issues include, but are certainly not limited to, the approaching fiscal cliff, the economy in general, immigration, education, human rights, and the environment.  I think it would be a wonderful thing if the first thing that congress did after this election was sit down, and quickly and efficiently write up a good solution to the fiscal cliff problem before the end of the year.  Do I think it could be that easy?  Sure it could.  Do I think it will be that easy?  Sadly, no.  Despite all the inspirational speeches, and despite both parties stating that they know the people don't want bickering politics but instead just want to get things done...despite all of that, I know that there's going to be bickering, there's going to be fighting, and once again either nothing is goi…
That went well.
Ah, election day.  I'll be heading to the polls after work.  I get a certain amount of satisfaction out of voting in a presidential election, because of where I live.  This area here is quite a conservative majority, and a vast number of people here are Republican.  So it feels really good to vote Democrat and buck their standards.  Ah, democracy.

For the last month, driving to and from work, all I see are pro-Romney signs.  So yeah -- voting today is going to be incredibly gratifying.  They can stick their propaganda up their well-pressed asses.
Something strange happened this morning.  I was driving to work, humming along to The Shins, and I noticed something.  It wasn't raining.  I looked up, and lo and behold, I could see blue sky.  So let it be known that on the sixth day after Hurricane Sandy's arrival, the sun shined upon Western Pennsylvania.

Happy Halloween!

Most Trick or Treating around here has been postponed until Saturday, but I'm keeping festive by reading articles about unique costumes and decorations.  Halloween was always something I preferred to observe rather than participate in, anyway.

Besides that, the election is more terrifying than any monster.
I have't floated away yet, nor felt the need to build an ark for that matter, in case you were curious about that.  Fortunately, I'm on the very fringes of this massive storm, and I'm only feeling the affects by the bit of water that's currently seeping into my basement where the wall meets the floor.  It's one of the risks of living underground.  One that I gladly accept for relative safety from a zombie and/or nuclear apocalypse.  And before you start going on about how a basement isn't sufficient protection against a nuclear apocalypse, your logic isn't needed here.  Go troll a gaming or political blog or something and rid me of your rubbish opinions.

It started raining here on Saturday, and it hasn't let up since, giving us now four solid days of steady precipitation.  It's not a downpour, otherwise there would most certainly be flooding around here.  It's basically switching between a steady drizzle and a light rain, enough to make everythin…
How easy is it to write something that's scary?  That was the question I asked myself this morning as I was driving to work.  In the spirit of Halloween, let's find out!

A faint, electrical thrum sounded in the driveway as a shadow lurched against the wall.  The figure tripped the motion-sensitive light affixed to the wall near the garage door, which spread a crisp, yellow light upon the darkened pavement.  A few moments later, the light clicked back off, once again plunging the surrounding area into an inky darkness.  The scraping sound of several dry leaves rose up above the sighing of the brisk wind as the dead vegetation circled in place near an empty flower box.  All else was quiet in a gloom not even helped by moonlight, as the sky was covered by thick, grey clouds.

Inside his bedroom not far off from the garage, Seth opened his eyes.  He was only partially aware that he was awake.  It was so dark in the room that he wasn't even sure he had his eyes open.  He blinked …
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Since we've now established that Dishonored is quite good, I can now talk about the game without worrying about being critical.  The game has its faults as any game does, but they are easily over looked.  And to be honest, this game is such an under-appreciated genre  that I feel it demands my attention.  I also realize that the game is not for everyone, and that some people may be hesitant to try it out.  As such, perhaps my thoughts on the minute details will help sway them.  We'll see.  
The first thing I would like to discuss is the game world itself, to include it's immersion, art style, sound design, and how your character fits into the world.  This is the first thing that came to mind when I want to talk about the positives aspects of game, and this is because it's the most prevalent to me.  When I sit here and think about this game, I think about how wonderful, albeit dark and sinister, a world the devs have created.  Sinister is SUCH a good word to describe it.…
I have played Dishonored in the amount of three digits of minutes, and am fully prepared to present you with words placed in coherent sentences so that you may learn what I think.  I'm also prepared to do so while deftly spoiling nothing at all about the story.  You're welcome.  In case you've been living under a rock for the past six months or so, Dishonored is a stealth-based assassination game set in a steampunk-ish Victorian Era city.  That's all I need to tell you about the story.

Let's start with the thing that I always start with when I talk about a game:  How's it look?  The answer is great, and the only complaint I have about the graphics is that the human characters do not look very good.  Everything else is fantastic.  I do look forward to the day when human beings are rendered within a computer game in a way that is realistic, especially the FACES.  Until then, though, it's not too difficult to overlook such things.  If you're wondering what…
Borderlands 2 pissed me off tonight, so I picked up the Hearthfire DLC for Skyrim.  I needed something relaxing, and it seemed like just the thing.  I'm quite enjoying it, and I'll explain a few reasons why.  It may seem odd for a Skyrim player who plays it on the PC enjoying such a piece of DLC, since everything Hearthfire offers can be done better with the Steam Workshop.  The first reason is that I just never took the time to learn how to use the Steam Workshop nor the modification tools for Skyrim.  It's not my thing, plus I don't have that kind of time.  (I've got games to PLAY, man!)  The second is that fiddling around with the mod tools feels like I'm creating something of my own, and not doing something in the game.  That right there is exactly what draws people to the workshop -- John included.  Creativity, imagination, making something of your own.  I don't particularly need that.  I'd rather just do something in the game, something that has a…
At the office, Erik has this thing he does when something comes into our "publishing request e-mail inbox".  Basically, this inbox is where customers send us work requests.  We all have access to it within our work e-mail.  Anytime the box lightly up, indicating a new message, Erik tends to say in a high pitched voice, "What's in the booooox?"

This is, of course, from the movie Seven, where at the end Brad Pitt's character asks Morgan Freeman the same question (several times).

Last night, I was playing Borderlands 2, and I picked up an optional quest.  It was an echo device of this bounty hunter who was off to kill some kind of monster named Henry.  The bounty hunter was recording the message for his mother, saying he had her mother's day present with him.  There are then lots of screams and sounds of ripping flesh as Henry apparently eats the man.  The quest was to go retrieve the mother's day present.  The quest text read, "WHAT'S IN THE …

Borderlands 2

Borderlands was one of those sleeper hits when it came out.  It wasn't good enough to win many Editor's Choice awards, but it was a solid game that a lot of people played, including myself.  I think the game grew in popularity with the longer it was out.  It was a new IP, after all, and such things have trouble getting started in these tough economic times.  Happily, it worked out for Gearbox and now we have Borderlands 2.

I've logged about 10 hours into the game so far, and for the most part it's pretty much the same game as the original.  So, basically, if you loved the first one you'll love this one.  If you didn't, then don't bother.  There are some differences however.  A few of these, I think, actually hurt the game.

First off, the "Revolver" gun type has been eliminated.  In the first game, there was both Pistol and Revolver weapon types.  Pistols were the rapid fire but low damage type of handgun, while the revolvers were the slow firing b…
You never know where you'll end up on the Internet.  Sometimes, I google things at random, with the intent of just relieving a few minutes of boredom rather than for the purpose of finding information.  Such was the case this morning.  I was browsing Steam and looking at all the games that have come out in the past week or so, and also being surprised at just how many people are playing Torchlight 2 right this moment.  (Over 30,000 if you're curious.)  This led me to start thinking about what I would want to say about these new games when I get around to writing about them, which then led me into thinking that I should have some kind of catchphrase for those kinds of posts.  I tried it once before in the past, and made up some ridiculous acronym.  I used it once or twice, and that was about it.  So this morning, I googled the phrase "What I Think".  (It was an attempt to find something similar to RPS' "Wot I Think" posts.)

I didn't really find anyth…