Friday, September 30, 2005

Record # of comments!

I can feel the love at last. And Jim, I haven't forgotten about you. Hopefully with my lovely Monster.com job I can catch up on some blog-reading whenever we get a little downtime.

You guys rock.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Things that piss me off: Layer Cake edition

There is a movie called Layer Cake, or as the cover would say, L4yer Cake, which is really sort of stupid. I think Driv(THREE)r proved that point once and for all. Leetspeak has no place in the mainstream. It's like Ebonics; it's a retarded, mutated subset of perfectly valid means of communication, praised wholly by the retarded, mutated subset that adheres to it. Please, go get your own planet.

Believe it or not, that's not what pissed me off today. No no. It was Hollywood's incessant need to have all the important parts of a movie--those menial things like PLOT and DIALOGUE--be DEAD FUCKING QUIET, but when something the production crew apparently found important and exciting comes along, like a guy watering his fucking flowers, the music pipes up so loud it caves your house in. Or if a gun fires, no matter what size or caliber, or even if it has an INTEGRATED SILENCER, it has to blow a speaker.

HOLLYWOOD, PLEASE RECORD YOUR FUCKING MOVIES AT A CONSISTENT VOLUME SO I CAN WATCH THEM WITHOUT WANTING TO KILL EVERYONE IN THE WORLD JUST TO MAKE SURE I GOT EVERY ONE OF THOSE RESPONSIBLE.

Thank you.

And my day was going so well. I got a good lead on a place to stay. I'd be rooming in a big house with five fireplaces, a great parking area and location, and one of the only LEVEL driveways in New England. I stopped by today to inquire, but the people who belong there were out. I came home and reverse looked up the phone number on 411.com, but to no avail. Whoever they are, they appreciate their privacy. I can respect that, being a privacy monger myself. Well, more of a "I can't stand most of you people" monger.

Aside from that, I found that most of the schools here are right next door to one another, making it a great venue for sports and working out in general. I haven't completely solved my hockey needs, but the ample pavement afforded me by the local institutions of education should help me get started.

Then I came home and tinkered with Rogue Spear. Why is it that the best squad-based games in existence as far as I'm concerned are Ghost Recon (PC), the original Rainbow Six (PC), Rogue Spear (PC), and Gunship (PS1), and that involved attack helicopters! Genius! However, for some reason, Rogue Spear has some kind of horrible keyboard delay when I try to play it on this laptop. Never happened on any other computer I've ever owned. However, using UrbanOps.exe seems to circumvent the problem somehow.

I guess that would qualify as another thing that pisses me off: Why do games that are designed to run on hardware vastly eclipsed by whatever I'm running now run like absolute SHIT? Serious Sam has some serious problems running on anything non-3dfx. We're talking about an ATI Radeon here. Why can't it handle that game worth a shit? Why isn't there a version of that succulent magic known as WickedGL made available for more recent video hardware? I still remember that feeling of running Serious Sam on my old desktop machine without WGL and then with it. I almost crapped myself at the difference. Freespace also looks like shit on any non-3dfx card. What gives, niggas?

So in the end, Layer Cake was PROBABLY good and MIGHT be worth seeing, but if your TV doesn't have SmartSound built in, don't bother.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Tonight's essential reading

How to take a dump at work.

This didn't bring up nearly as much porn as I thought it would.

And if you need to know where someone's IP address is geographically located, or you just want to watch a froggy's eyes follow your mouse around the screen, go to InternetFrog.com. We use that at work, and it's super useful for fraudbreaking.

Wow.

Just...wow.

Click here.

Wow.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Impressive insights

If you play games and/or have any gut reactions to the Nintendo Revolution controller, read this. It says a lot of interesting things about genre evolution and decay, as well as pointing out that really every innovation in gaming input--at least on the consoles--was Nintendo's idea first. Let's look at a few:

DDR dancepad - started as Nintendo's Power Pad back in the 1980s

The analog stick - Nintendo did it first on the N64, then Saturn and Dreamcast added their own, but Sony skipped right ahead to having two, a likely response to the C-buttons and their eventual evolution on the GameCube into the analog C-stick.

Triggers - Super Nintendo had them first.

D-pad - a Nintendo creation

Controller design and button layout - pretty much started that on the road to where it is now. The Turbografx-16 controller was almost identical, and Sega just added another button for their Genesis controller.

There were a few fumbles along the way, though. People smirk at the mere mention of the Power Glove, Virtual Boy, R.O.B., and some redundant iterations of the Game Boy. Still, though, this pattern of leading the charge on input invention explains why Nintendo says they're in the hardware business for good. Without keeping tabs on how their users interact with the games, and more or less govern what games arrive on their platform, they wouldn't BE Nintendo anymore. For the first time I see how Nintendo never took its eye off what games ought to be, while Sony and Microsoft want standardization, big quantities of "units sold," and are more interested in "product" than "entertainment" or "games."

Danc, thanks for your insights.

Tomorrow, the real work begins

I dunno how I forgot to mention this before, but I start tomorrow working at Monster.com as an Internet Fraud Prevention Specialist. I've been to the office at Clocktower here in Maynard, MA, and it's a pretty cool place. There's a lot of purple, and big monster statues everywhere, and the dress code seems pretty flexible. I think it's high time I found a job I didn't dread going to every day, don't you?

I'll letcha know how it goes.

Your Daily News

Once again, the Clan de Bush is raping our wallets for petrol and letting his underlings handle it, keeping him neatly within the realm of "plausible deniability" when everything goes to hell. On the other hand, he's screwed up everything else in his life thus far, so maybe leaving sensitive national matters in others' hands isn't such a bad idea.

Next, God really does hate New Orleans.

I don't really care about Madonna getting booed, but it's interesting to see another couple where the woman is older than the man.

I'm having trouble seeing how this isn't insider trading. He knew the price was going to drop because he found out about a quarterly loss before it posted. Isn't that what Martha Stewart did?

This makes sense, but I think New York's law of no handheld phone use while driving should be a national law, frankly. Eliminating them altogether amongst the teen crowd is good in theory, but they'll still find ways to blab. Hm, does anyone besides me remember what it was like to be in schools where NO ONE had cell phones? Back then, it was car stereo manipulation that caused idiot kids to get in car wrecks. I saw one happen right before my eyes.

This interests me a bit.

Part of me--I think it's my gut--hates this thing, but a tiny part of me is still optimistic that they might be able to find a use for it other than nunchucks.

And that's your news. Film at 11.

Playing Columns without really playing

I proved a long time ago that one can play Columns and never lose unless they CHOOSE to. How do you accomplish this feat? Well, youngsters, gather 'round.

It's really not that hard. In fact, it's easier to never lose than it is to actually try to play the game. One day, irritated by how the game speeds up as it progresses, I just started literally building columns up each side of the screen. Then another vertical row inside of that. Upon adding the third inside columns, I noticed that combos were taking out gems automatically. In the event that I got down to the last available column to fill, putting ANYTHING in it would often trigger chain reactions larger than the the mind is capable of achieving through intention. Go ahead, try it. Prove me right.

Strangely enough, it's still fun to play that way. It boggles the mind that playing so carelessly in a game designed around cognitive deliberation can be so easily outsmarted.

Roots

Oh what a night. Every now and then, you really have to dust off the classics and get your hands dirty with the games that really put gaming on the map. Tonight's choices were all from the SNES and Genesis era. Take a gander:

Genesis:
Sonic the Hedgehog 1, 2, and 3
Sonic CD
Lunar (CD)
Splatterhouse 2
Mutant League Football
Columns
Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine (greatest puzzler EVER)
Streets of Rage
Phantasy Star(s)
Shadowrun
Rise of the Dragon (CD)

Super Nintendo:
Space Megaforce
Chrono Trigger
Earthbound
Secret of Evermore/Mana
Ogre Battle
Smash TV
Starfox
Street Fighter II Turbo
Actraiser
Castlevania 4
Super Metroid
Super Turrican (which has noting to do with my tag)
Zombies Ate My Neighbors

Really, if you haven't played most of those, unsubscribe to 1up. Fo' real.

It was such a joyous occasion strolling through those classics, their music, and their gigantic pixels. Sadly, I don't have all my classic consoles with me (just moved...again), but there are "ways" to still play them. That's all I'll tell you, kiddies.

N00bs, point and laugh if you will, but if not for these gems, you wouldn't have anything to play nowadays. As I look at those greats, it seems like games were more of an art form 10 or 15 years ago than they are now. Maybe that's what mainstreaming does to properties and media (not "mediums"; pay attention in English class!).

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Yes, we really are this retarded.

Prime01010: holy canoli
matrix2681: DIOS MIO
matrix2681: Actually I can't talk much but I have a little time.
matrix2681: You suck penii.
matrix2681: Ok I'm done.
Prime01010: the end
matrix2681: THE end.
Prime01010: actually, i have nerd news
matrix2681: Ok
matrix2681: The end.
Prime01010: my friends here watch Stargate and Battlestar and all that other stuff you watch. so, i've tried watching it.
matrix2681: And you are hooked.
matrix2681: Welcome aboard semen.
Prime01010: no. the correct answer is, i STILL don't get what you people see in those shows.
matrix2681: That's because you're not a full on nerd.
matrix2681: You're kind of a hybrid like me. But I'm closer to the real thing so I get the shows.
Prime01010: i mean, if MacGyver was still on SG.....
matrix2681: Also having been out for like 10 seasons (as in SG) then yeah you might not know what's going on. You missed a ton of stuff.
Prime01010: i know
Prime01010: like, that Anubis guy
matrix2681: So yeah, I understand
matrix2681: Well for starters, Anubis is now dead.
matrix2681: Would you like to know more?
Prime01010: but this one time, Superman III was on tv and the tv station played it all out of order and shit, and i was like, "que?" but it was cool. it was like "just TRY to figure out what the fudge is going on!!!"
Prime01010: so it was sorta like that
matrix2681: What?
matrix2681: Like they just played the wrong parts or what?
matrix2681: I always thought it was one big show and they had commercials in between or something.
Prime01010: like they started halfway thru, then realized they fucked up, and started it over somewhere near the beginning, but not all of it since they only had a certain size time slot
matrix2681: LOLLzors.
Prime01010: so it was disjointed and weird. but it was like it seemed to have a bunch of backstory and shit that the viewer had to figure out. only it didn't originally. it was a really neat experiment.
Prime01010: and somebody probably got fired for it
matrix2681: Ha classic
matrix2681: I bet if more movies were played like that it would make it more interesteing.
Prime01010: indeed
matrix2681: Like with The Matrix. Man what a mindjob.
Prime01010: OH
Prime01010: d00d
matrix2681: You know how you always watch
matrix2681: NO
matrix2681: MY TURN
Prime01010: have you heard of Indigo Prophecy?
matrix2681: !!!
matrix2681: hang on.
Prime01010: to what
matrix2681: Your cock while I finish my train of thought.
matrix2681: Anywho
matrix2681: You know how when you watch a movie a ton of times you kinda wish something new would happen... well if your brain tries analyzing a flick when it's out of order, hey hey, free new movie.
matrix2681: Ok I'm done. Tell me about Indigo Girls.
matrix2681: This better not be a damb joke either, I got bitches to call.
matrix2681: ;)
Prime01010: it's a game. called Indigo Prophecy. stupid name, but we've been playing it lately and it's frickin sweet. imagine like Se7en, the videogame, only weirder and creepier.
Prime01010: http://www.gamerankings.com/htmlpages2/544598.asp?q=indigo%20prophecy
matrix2681: WHATZORS
Prime01010: you play a guy who committed a murder AND the detectives trying to catch him
Prime01010: it's SO cool
matrix2681: YOU!
matrix2681: PORT IT TO THE PC RIGHT NOW!
Prime01010: it's coming
matrix2681: NO!
matrix2681: DON'T WASTE TIME TALKING
matrix2681: MOVE MOVE MOVE I WANNA SEE SOME HUSSELL
Prime01010: try this:
http://www.gamerankings.com/htmlpages2/926558.asp?q=indigo%20prophecy
Prime01010: actually, it's prolly out already
matrix2681: I was just there already you rootpuncher.
Prime01010: anyway, they do a lot of cool interaction stuff during cutscenes with the controller, making it an interactive element
matrix2681: Stop teasing me with tidbits.
Prime01010: not sure how they'll do that on PC
matrix2681: SHOW ME THE MONEY
matrix2681: They can do it.
Prime01010: $$$
matrix2681: A PC can do anything.
matrix2681: ANYthing.
matrix2681: I know.
Prime01010: i know it CAN, i was wondering HOW
Prime01010: different three-letter word
matrix2681: What do you mean "how"
Prime01010: like....you just have to see it
matrix2681: Ever play Warcraft 3?
Prime01010: no
matrix2681: Well.
Prime01010: imagine stuff like DDR (Dance Dance Revolution), but not gay.
Prime01010: that's what you have to do
matrix2681: The cutscenes in there are interactive because the cutscenes are ACTUALLY happening, as in they construct a 3D area and script all the characters to move around, speak whatever.
Prime01010: press the right things at the right time and one thing happens. screw it up and something else happens entirely
Prime01010: the game has SO many branching parts
matrix2681: Oh holy crap, I'm gonna have to dance my way through the cutscene.
matrix2681: Liquid programming.
matrix2681: Mikey likes.
Prime01010: like when you interrogate someone as the cop. you can ask them lots of different questions, but they lead to different subsequent sets of questions depending
Prime01010: and the voice acting roxorz
matrix2681: What if you shoot them in the fucking face.
Prime01010: you don't
Prime01010: it's not a shooter
Prime01010: at all
matrix2681: Never mind.
Prime01010: it's like an interactive movay, only cooler, like choose your own adventure
Prime01010: and shit
matrix2681: I want to interrogate a guy and right in the middle of it, just haul a massive crossbow out and nail the d00d's face onto the wall.
Prime01010: and you can use the toilets in the bathroom where the murder took place.
matrix2681: And then I want to use the controller to make my guy say "That's how the Deli Ninja rolls, whores."
Prime01010: well, i'm sure someday a game like that will come out
Prime01010: and all one of you will buy it
matrix2681: By the way I'm high on candy corn, excuse the expletives.
Prime01010: fuck that shit, ho
matrix2681: I usually don't say "fucking" at all, but you know.
matrix2681: Candy corn.
Prime01010: LOLLO
Prime01010: WOMENZ CAINT DRIVE
matrix2681: I DUNNA HAFTA JUSTIFY MYSELF TO YOU! APPLES!
matrix2681: HAR hA
matrix2681: That still gets me seriously.
Prime01010: i know
matrix2681: I know I say this every *EVERY* time, but that site is GONE. GONE.
matrix2681: PISSED ME OFF>
Prime01010: what gets me even more is that my girlfriend admits that every time she sees a car do something really stupid, a woman is driving it. that's why she doesn't drive.
Prime01010: which site
matrix2681: This candy corn is cool. Get this: It's called Harvest Mix and it's got BOTH kinds of corn--the yellow and brown ended kind, the pumpkins, and also EARS of corn and stalks of wheat. However they all taste the same but I can placebo my mind into thinking otherwise.
matrix2681: The site was www.jerkfaces.com
Prime01010: YEP, it's gone
matrix2681: I just cheked.
matrix2681: Yeah it's gone I just looked.
Prime01010: i thought Maddox said that
matrix2681: I like typing links in here and then going there. It's like using a town portal scroll or something. Feels like I'm arcane and stuff.
matrix2681: I don't know if he said it or what.
Prime01010: YOU ARE MAGICALZORZ
Prime01010: stop waving your wand at me
matrix2681: That's my weewee
matrix2681: And you said you wanted to see it anyway so stop complaining just because you didn't believe it was bigger than yourzorssorz.
matrix2681: I warned you.
matrix2681: I said to you, "Mark, it's hayooge and you don't want to see it. Many men have asked and tried to comprehend its immense size"
matrix2681: and you were like "They tried and failed?"
matrix2681: and I was like "They tried and died."
Prime01010: you live in the Gayzor Mountains where everyone is gay.
matrix2681: Friends don't let other friends see their Schwanz.
matrix2681: You are going to put this up on the site. This is classic.
matrix2681: From start to finish.
matrix2681: Whenever we get done.
Prime01010: yeah. sure.
matrix2681: Yeah. Whatever.
Prime01010: http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=balls_are_huge
matrix2681: "...so I tossed my nuts at her. BAM"
matrix2681: Man actually I gotta go. I'm working on some math right now. Just wanted to see who all was on.
Prime01010: MATH
matrix2681: So I'm just saying, sorry for not giving you the full workout of blasting you for like 3 hours straight.
Prime01010: my cock > Teh Michael's
matrix2681: I guess it's kind of like blueballs but I wouldn't know since I always finish.
Prime01010: eh, i'll live
matrix2681: Ok
matrix2681: Talk at ya later bro
matrix2681 signed off at 11:10 PM

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Burnout Revenge

Been playing it most of the day. Lots of improvements, but a few things got broken along the way. For example, I think the overall soundtrack isn't as good as that of B3 or even B2. Also, you can't just jump into a single player Road Rage or Traffic Attack from the main menu, which is a horrible oversight since those are by far the most fun parts of the game. Traffic Attack really is a wonderful source of stress relief. How about a free run, no time limit version of it, Crit and EA?

You still can't steer the camera manually while trying to get Aftertouches or during crash mode. That's a big blunder. Also, the cars don't bounce around as much, meaning you have to hit a particular point in many crash venues precisely to get anything good to happen. Crash multipliers and bonus icons are gone, so the overall damage totals are much lower. On the other hand, you can pull off multiple Crashbreakers now, depending on how much damage you cause. Cars have different "levels" of Crashbreaker, too.

Crash venues can be replayed without going back to the front end, much like before, but they somehow didn't bother to include that restart feature at the end of race events. Maybe I don't want to have to sit thru 3 more load times and go all the way back to the front end just to retry that race. Ever consider that, Criterion? Also, in Grand Prix events, you can't restart an individual race; you have to restart ALL the races. Burnout 3 let players restart any race in the GP. It was there; why'd you take it out?

Cosmetically, the game looks better than ever. The cars are so stinkin hot, I'd consider molesting them if I found them in my driveway. The courses look better, have tons of shortcuts and bonus areas, big jumps, and even jumping over cliffs to cut off the opposition. And you can LAND ON the opposition now, too, which is a pretty cool feeling.

Sound effects are much improved, aside from my aforementioned blah feeling regarding much of the soundtrack. I'll say it again: I cannot race to techno, house, or rave music. I race to ROCK. And what's this deal with only being able to turn off certain soundtrack tunes AFTER having played the game for so many hours? This was true in B3 as well. I know you paid for the license to the song and you want to MAKE me listen to it, EA, but that's your problem. Don't twist my arm.

Anyway, the sounds are a lot better. Tons more whooshing and booming and banging. Triggering the boost is like firing a shotgun, both in sight and sound. A loud clap blasts out of the speakers, the screen shakes, and everything in front of you panics. There's a reason that, on the car selection screen, rather than saying "select your car," it says "choose your weapon." :)

There are enough improvements and disappointments so far to keep it tied with Burnout 3 to me in terms of greatness. It's certainly good, better than everything else out there besides its own predecessors, so don't pass it up just cuz I'm nit-picking. More to come...

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Advent Children

Saw Final Fantasy: Advent Children first thing this morning. It was pretty damn good. It manages to outdo movies like the recent Matrix and Star Wars crapfests by being even flashier and ALL computer generated, so you don't notice the actors trying to "look at" and "act with" their fake co-stars. It's a big moment for FF7 fans, but it's still a pretty cool movie for non-fans, I'd wager. Check it out. It kicks the crap out of the last FF movie, which might as well not have been. Maybe it was a tech demo for Advent Children, nothing more. In that light, I can almost forgive it for existing.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Goddamn firewalls

I should have known it was a waste of time to leave my firewall on when using a shitty dial-up connection. Like anybody's going to be able to sneak in through that tiny pipe. Lo and behold, it ended up being said firewall that kept kicking me OFF my shitty dial-up connection. I was about to blame AOL for continuing their reputation of crapulence, and here it ended up being Windows all along. And don't get me started on why AOL crashes my desktop machine every time I try to sign on with it. EVERY TIME! HOLY CRAPATHY!