Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Short Note: For ALX (Le Parkour Video Game!)

EDIT: I realize the formatting of the embedded videos is jacked. Anyone have any idea on how to fix it, beyond using Google Presentations to shrink it (Google Presentations doesn't work on Opera, hence my not using it)? Till I figure out how to fix it, I'll let the post run its course down the page as I post more.

BTW, I dedicate this and my last two posts to ALX, who is off in Honduras helpin the villagers with their water and sanitation needz, and who me and the Little Bitty hope will grow his hair back out in a non-exotic bird fashion.

So without further ado, here is a trailer of Mirror's Edge, which is due late, late 2008, and is confirmed for PC.

(In the tradition of Rock, Paper, Shotgun: Thanks Gametrailers! I'd give you ITB4free!)

ALX, I hope you have access to some flash and high speed internets somewhere. I think this game was maked fuh u.

BTW, for those of you who don't know what Parkour is, peep this vid. Starts a little slow, but stay with it.

Seriously, makes me wanna go workout or summet. BTW, I can do all of that. Yup.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

DAT TRU SH*T (I heart my PSTriplz)

Wee, so this draft has been sitting, waiting to be finished, so before I start, I should apologise for the absence between posts. Somewhere along the line, I got kinda busy with school, since I have a whip cracker behind me pushin me to get A's in my classes (not a bad thing).

SO! What? How did this happen, that I have the most hardcore of gaming consoles in my midst? And why do I love that giant hunk of slick, shiny blackness? Well child, let me tell you a story. It is a story of the ages.

The intitial draw to the machine was my desire to have a high def disc platform to feed to my glorious TV, which had long hungered for either Blu-ray or HD-DVD. I had held out because the two had been fighting it out for a winner ala VHS over Betamax, with no end in sight. That whole fiasco finally ended when a trickle of movie studios who signed up exclusively to put out movies on Blu-ray turned into a deluge. Once it was assured that I was not buying a machine that had a chance of becoming obsolete, there was reason #1 to get one.

There was also the draw of the ROCK BANDS, which I had previously played at Mike's, and is full of pure awesome. I had in the past bought a shoddy, used PS2 just to play Guitar Hero, and I was thinking of following suit with Rock Band. Granted, I had a Wii, and as we are seeing now, Rock Band is coming out for it, but I wanted the benefit of a giant hard drive and a means to download the tracks that the developers promised to release (they now have probably more tracks available online than what came with the game), something the PS3 had.

Lastly, there was an element of impulse buying. At the time when I was mullin over the aforementioned reasons to buy one, Sony was beginning to phase out their 80gb PS3 model, which had the benefit of backwards compatability, that is to say, you could play your old PS2 games on it, which is a feature not present in their vanilla 40gb models. True in fact, while I was waiting on Amazon to deliver the PS3, the 80gb models dried up from stores everywhere. Since there were games that I still wanted to play from the PS2 era (Shadow of the Colossus, God of War, the Fatal Frame series, and others). If I had not ordered the 80gb model, I would have missed out of these titles forever, as I did not plan on replacing the dead PS2 that I have at any point.

It bears mentioning that another 80gb version is in the pipeline that will come with Metal Gear Solid 4, but I do not regret getting my Motorstorm bundle. Don't think I could have waited that long.

Now that I have the PS3, I am finding it a great addition to my entertainment setup. The console has proved to have some pretty decent games, to the point where I own more PS3 games than I do Blu-ray movies. That's not a shot against the films, they look amazing in hi-def. There has been plenty of "wow" moments where the clarity is so apparent that you can't help but to remark on it. The machine also upscales my old, plain DVDs to 1080p, which makes them look even better on my TV. With it, I also have a player that I can send the sound to my reciever via a Toslink optical cable, which means I am for sure now getting that Dolby Digital 5.1 surround, versus the Dolby Pro-Logic simulated surround that I would sometimes get before.

I should mentioned a few things to nip the Xbox360 owners who might want to flame it up. I have no illusions about the PS3. The PSN (the Sony equivalent of Microsoft's Live online component) needs some serious work, as does the Cross Media Bar. It's too bad that I still love my PC and still defer to it for my online gaming needs (I welcome my Valve corporate masters). I do know that these issues have fixes in the pipleline, so I expect these criticisms to be moot at some point in the future. Also, I rather like my house.

In other news, Age of Conan is coming later this month. It could change my gaming habits if it ends up rocking. More on that in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Review: Clive Barker's Jericho (PS3)

I'm going to try something new today. I'm going to try my hand at a review of sorts. As I am not a big fan of scoring in game reviews, I'm going to let my writing do the talking. In my opinion, which is one that is shared by many, scores and grades assigned to games take away from the actual editorial. Where you might have found a game that might be perfectly suited to your tastes from actually reading a review, some immediately stop reading upon seeing a score. SO! Here goes. I'll be reviewing the PS3 version of Clive Barker's Jericho.

First off, general info. Jericho is a first person shooter (FPS), that employs squad-based mechanics smililar to the ones employed in Republic Commando. Throughout the game, you will be able to jump between any of the six people in your squad, each with their own unique supernatural power and gun preference, among them; telekentic sniper, fire wielding chaingunner, katana wielding blood magician, the astroprojector, reality hacker, and the very cool guns-akimbo healer-priest. Throughout the game, you'll make use of each of their abilities and gun preferences, often as determined by level design (telekinesis to remove obstacles, or slow time to break through a fortified enemy position).

Speaking of level design, it is one of the game's major failings, if not the biggest. I cannot, however, totally throw it under the bus. I think anyone who is a fan of even a snippet of Clive Barker's work will enjoy the goryness and goop laden level aesthetics. There are some seriously disturbing sights throughout the game, along with some very impressive vistas (the Colosseum and the temple in the last level come to mind). With all the blood and guts, the game goes for creepiness rather than horror. This is further enforced by the monster encounters, which don't contribute much to the game beyond giving you something to shoot at while you progress through the level and further the story. No fancy reveals, no "boo" moments to make you jump. The typical monster encounter consists of artifical barriers that can only be surpassed by killing of waves of monsters. There isn't a whole lot of variation in the monsters from one level to another either. Still, once I got the hang of the game and found my niche, I enjoyed killing the lot of them (I particularly enjoyed using the katana wielding blood magician), except for those super tough suicide bomber monsters. Note to developers, if you are going to add kamikazee enemies, dont make them so effin hard to kill. Most of the bosses were interesting in some form or fashion, be it for their look or the encounter design. However, some where confusing at first and I remember killing at least one of the bosses and not really understanding how I did it.

This was my first 1080p game on the system, and it totally showed. Everything was nice and crisp, and made me very pleased with my glorious probably-payed-too-much HD-TV. I can't speak a whole lot about the controls, because it is actually the first FPS I've played on my PS3. I will say that I would have much preferred to play the game with a mouse and keyboard. I think the lack of precision that I had changed my way of playing. Had I the ability to be more precise, I might have made more use of some of the abilities that I avoided, such as the telekinetic bullet, which gives you the potential of being able to string several headshots with one bullet. On the gamepad, the best I could pull off was one head shot, if that, before the bullet went astray into a wall due to my inability to control it.

Jericho isn't exactly triple A material, but I enjoyed this game the way I might have enjoyed playing Halo, that is to say, turn your brain off for a while and kill some uglies.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

(Long)Short Note: Late Night PC Repair.

This is actually a longer Short Note, and it has to do with PC hardware. Reader beware.

Note to self, don't start motherboard swaps after midnight.

I got to swapping all my shit to the new mobo, and all was going smoothly until I tried pulling off the CPU heatsink. The damn thing wouldnt come off as easily as expected. A gentle tug still did the trick, but when I looked down into the socket, I had a slight 'OMG' moment. The CPU came attached to the heatsink when I yanked it off! (It's what I get for using the pre-stuck thermal paste that came with the retail box I suppose.) The chip seemed like it was cemented onto the sink, so I figured, "Well, dont wanna deal with having to clean off cemented thermal paste, if the chip came off without having to lift the little socket latch, mebbe it'll go in the same." I went forward, installing the 8800, my two gigs of ram, and left it at that to see if I could just get a post. No dice. So, I took my pocket knife and started cutting at the cement, which turned out to not be as cemented as I thought. The chip popped off with some work, and it was a sticky mess. Luckily, it wiped off easy enough, with some scrubbing with a box of cleanex that I had nearby. After wiping it all off, getting it all over my fingers and on some of the CPU pins and subsequently wiping those off as well, I finally had a decent looking heatsink and CPU that I could reapply a new thermal compound to and mount.
At this point I get to the moral of the story. I've always been one to wipe down the CPU die and contact area on the heatsink with some Isopropyl (sp?) alchohol or nail polish remover, to be sure that the old compound isn't in the little pockets in the metal that are too small for the eye to see. So, where do I get said cleaning liquids? Alchohol? Parent's bathroom, which I would probably awaken if I went looking around for it. Nail polish remover? Same place, as well as my sisters bedroom, who I certainly do not want to wake in the wee hours of the morning. So now I'm stuck. I had to clean up a bit to type this stuff up and put the project on hold. I really dislike leaving my box unfinished like that, but I see no way around it. Worse still, I have plans pretty much for the rest of the week. Maybe on Sunday, I'll be back for another post about how I finally got my box working. It'll be a good day.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Banging (and) Zombies

As I approach a month with a still comatose computer, I find myself seeking other avenues to satiate my need for stimuli that comes from my video game-induced low boredom threshold. I've always been a fan of board games, and have recently taken to attending the boardgaming days at Tim's with more frequency. Previously I had always wanted to attend frequently, but for reasons of laziness on Sunday mornings and being chained to the computer, I hardly ever made it out. Now that I am free of any PC psuedo-obligations, the urge to get out of the house and play me some games has been moving me off of my ass. That and the gaming group are a bunch of crazy mfers.

Here are my two games of the moment, consisting of a zombie board game and a western themed card game.

Last Night On Earth
I'm sure by now you now of my love(loathing) of zombies, which means that I had to play this game by default, and was thoroughly pleased when I found that it wasn't bad at all. Predictably, the premise of the game is survivors versus the hoard of zombies, but the game mixes it up by providing scenarios for you to play, which can vary between the simple "kill zombies" to "keep the zombies from entering the manor". Who plays what varies depending on how many players there are, but there will always be 4 human characters trying to survive up to 14 zombies. Depending on the scenario, it can be very challenging to play as the survivors, but the game is well enough to where it doesn't get boring or discouraging to go against the odds. Each character has their own special attributes, so you can play the game differently each time and try out different strategies. Zombies are slow, cheap, and tough to kill, and it's always fun to see how the wave of zombies shifts around the board depending on what the survivors are doing. The game supports 2 to 6 players, and I find it more fun the lesser number of players there are. It can, however, be just as fun with more, so long as everyone knows what they are doing and keep the game from dragging. In any case, you get to kill zombies. Need I say more?
LNAO @ BGG: for more reviews and photos of the game.

I'll start off by saying that this game just rocks. If you take anything from this little write-up, know that I have this game and you need to ask about playing it. The premise of the game is that a player will be assigned 1 of 4 roles, consisting of: The Sheriff, the Deputy(ies), Outlaws, and the Renegade. Each role has a different winning condition. The Sheriff wins if he survives and kills all of the Outlaws, the Outlaws win by killing the Sheriff. The Deputy wins if the Sheriff wins, and the Renegade wins by being the last man standing. That all sounds well in good, but the reason the game is so fun is that all the identities are kept secret throughout the whole game, save for the Sheriff's. Players are prohibited to say outloud or gesture what role they are to each other, and can only hint by the way they play their cards, so at the beginning of the game, its a real question of who to shoot, because you could potentially be shooting an ally. The actual game itself consists of turns where the player will play their hand, shooting other players, drinking beer, and trying to figure out who is who. Character cards, each with unique attributes, spice of the game and affect strategery. The game plays fairly quickly, even with a lot of players, there isn't too much downtime. It is a great game, and you must play it. Do this now. Let me bang you.
Bang! @ BBG: For more reviews and photos.

In case you are interested, we usually play them on Sundays at the shop (linked above). U can b nerd 2.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Short Note: The sauce is lazy.

Just a quick update at 2 in the A.M. to let everyone know that I've not forgotten my blog, I've only been busy enough that when I do have time, I'm too lazy to flex the old writing muscle. I do have plenty to blog about; amongst the subjects: the first cleaning and firing of my Mosin-Nagant, the status of my PC, new board games, and PS3! That's right, PS3. I r traitorous dog. Or steenky. Toe-may-toe, toe-mah-toe. Stay tuned!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Re: Romney - WTG America

Way to go red! And here I was afraid that you guys weren't thinking all the way straight. The guy who once called himself a gay and abortion rights advocate, then ran on an "I'm the most conservative platform" and tried to get in with the gun totin' good ol' boys, announced that he is suspending his campaign today.

Be it for his "flip-flopping" on issues, or perhaps that the Republican base saw him for what he was, a suit, I'm still proud of them. Honestly, the guy lost me at "the drug companies are not bad guys and are helping people". The argument of free market trade justifying the high cost of pharmaceuticals is usually trotted out here, but let my naivety shine here for a second, aren't there many people out there not getting the drugs because they cannot afford healthcare altogether? I am not an economist by any stretch, but expanding your customer base, via a more affordable (or even free single payer) system, and perhaps lower cost of medicine. It sounds like the industry as a whole is engaging in profiteering, and Romney being a peer of such people worried me a great deal.

Side note: I may have mentioned that I am a fan of the idea of a single payer system. Opponents of such a system usually start calling foul by accusing you of being a socialist (which I wouldn't find at all offensive). I read this over at, who found it on

To that end, here's the first of a two-part series aimed at busting the common myths Americans routinely tell each other about Canadian health care. When the right-wing hysterics drag out these hoary old bogeymen, this time, we need to be armed and ready to blast them into straw. Because, mostly, straw is all they're made of.

1. Canada's health care system is "socialized medicine."
False. In socialized medical systems, the doctors work directly for the state. In Canada (and many other countries with universal care), doctors run their own private practices, just like they do in the US. The only difference is that every doctor deals with one insurer, instead of 150. And that insurer is the provincial government, which is accountable to the legislature and the voters if the quality of coverage is allowed to slide.

The proper term for this is "single-payer insurance." In talking to Americans about it, the better phrase is "Medicare for all."


Back on topic, now we are left with McCain, Huckabee, and Ron Paul. I'll save my thoughts on the three for later, but as it is, I suppose you might say I am pleased with how the GOP race is going.

EDIT: I totally forgot to mention. On his way out, he said:

And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror...

Nice. Equating the election of a Democrat to office with surrendering to terrorists. Typical.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I'm being taken back to the past, to play the awesome games that kick ass.

In case you missed the reference.
I was browsing through the Wii Virtual Console store the other day, clearly not fixing my computer as I should have been (it's still in a coma). I have to admit, they have put up a very decent selection of the old school games that I played on their original platforms. I got the urge to play some F-Zero X (for N64) while browsing, and was just about to buy it when I realised, "Hey, I own this game already, why buy it a second time?" Thus began my quest to find my old consoles and get them in working order again. Turns out, my SNES and N64 were in boxes around the house, both sans their AC adaptors. Boo-urns. A quick browse through Ebay proved fruitful, and both the adaptors arrived in the mail in a few days time. The SNES seems to be in good shape, playing games with the occasional old school NES cartridge blow or cartridge wiggle. The N64 unfortunately powers on but puts out no image or audio signal, so I'm in the market for a cheap used control deck.

I have to mention the moment when I opened the boxes with the games. I must say, I had a decent taste in games in my youth. I'm not going to list them all, but it was more like Christmas morning than the actual gifts under the tree business. There is also something very cool about playing my old pixellated 16bit favourites on my glorious HDTV.

I started playing through Final Fantasy III (or Final Fantasy IV for you nerd purists). I always regretted not beating it, so we'll see if it maintains my interest long enough to do it this time around. I wonder if that depends on whether or not I fix my computer. Mebbe Lonk will browbeat me enough for me to do it this week. Do this now thx.

Oh, I forgot to mention, I was crazy sick this weekend. Missed a day of work and my Monday class as a result. It seemed to be some sort of stomach bug, with nausea and fever as the main symptoms. I think I can say that at the moment, my stomach is probably as empty as it'll ever be. I can haz cheezburger?

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Short Note: I boned my PC.

You may have read on my last post, I think I scrambled my BIOS to the point of it not booting fully, leaving me unable to get into the OS. You would think that I had the hardware skills to install a SATA drive, having built several computers and all. Alas, I am still a nub deep inside. During the process of trying to get XP to recognize the drive properly, I decided to try to flash my BIOS via a Windows based utility, on account of my not thinking I'd ever need an floppy drive again. Somewhere between the start and the finish occured an error, which resulted in what I assume is an imcomplete BIOS program and a comatose computer. Thanks to Lonk for trying, but after several attempts to revive it, it seems that my last resort is to perform a little bit of surgery on the motherboard. My board comes with a Dual BIOS setup, that is to say, it has a main BIOS and a backup BIOS in case something happens to the main. Unfortunately, the backup is not coming forward and taking over, so the plan is to physically remove the chips from the motherboard and swap their positions on the board, thereby allowing me to boot from the backup, and letting me reflash the main to a working condition thereafter. And I'll be able to get back to watching quality films and killing jerks.

I haven't had the time to do it this week on account of homework. I would have to pull out the motherboard from the case to have room to pry the chips out, and if you have ever built a computer, you know how much of a pain in the ass and time consuming that is. Luckily my laptop is still somewhat of a (relative) beast. It'll still run the Source engine at a decent clip with about medium settings, and since Valve games currently reign on the PC, it buys me some time to buy a replacement motherboard in the event that the surgery is unsuccessful.

Non-nerds may now resume reading.
Buy me a PS3. Thx.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I'm sorry John Edwards.

What he said.

It is a sad day. It's proposterous to say that I, personally, had not done enough, but it does carry a sting that announcements of Edwards suspending his candidacy appear the day after I post my own endorsement. I am now left to take a harder look at Obama, see what Hillary does next, and hope that Huckabee and Romney don't win their own tickets.

Good news is that Giuliani has dropped and supports McCain. As much as I'd like for a bad candidate to be setup to take the fall against Clinton or Obama, the chimp in office has me hoping for someone with some qualification, just in case.

Now we'll see what Edwards does next. He's still legally allowed to accept campaing contributions, and he has delegates that he has won in the previous primaries that could go to Obama or Clinton. There is also the possibility of him endorsing or even joining Clinton or Obama's ticket, though I'm not sure how I would feel about that.

In other news, it is an all around crap day. The girlfriend is mad at me (my fault), and I may have boned my BIOS, two days before a LAN party. Let's hope for better fortune in trying to fix those problems.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Tell Your Mom and Your Friends to Vote For Edwards

I've been putting off this post on account of it being some pretty serious subject material, and I'd prefer to have some research behind me on the subject before I put any thoughts in writing. That and I'm a lazy bastard, but you all knew that. But in the interst of giving my readership something to read, I'm going to put down what, admittedly little, I know. For these primaries, it's best for you to sponge everything, no matter how insignificant.

I've become a bit of a die hard John Edwards supporter. As a lefty, of course I'm going to get behind the most populist candidate, and in this race, it's Edwards, bar none. More on that shortly.

One "critiscm" of Edwards, if you can call it that, is the perception that he's already lost. Alright, I'll concede that he hasn't had much success in the first few states, and certainly the media coverage has all but ignored him. In a way, I believe the media is to blame for that false perception. The media thrives on conflict and drama, so when you have stable and steady Edwards on the one hand, they shift all attention to the bickering between Obama and Clinton. To me, I imagine it as a cycle. Give Edwards more coverage, allow him to get his message out, and he'll find more success. I realize that as usual, that is naive of me to hope for, but I truly believe that if people were to look beyond the drama, the glamour, and the tendency to turn these things into two person horse races, that everyone with any kind of populist leanings would be amazed that they hadn't seen it sooner.

I'm not going to go much into specifics about his views on the various issues, mainly because I don't remember specifics. The specifics that I've heard I liked, however, all I need to know is that Edwards has more mandate to call himself a candidate of the people than Obama or Clinton. The fact that he is funding his campaign through Public Campaign Financing is a loud enough gesture alone to tell me that he is anti-corporate and anti-special interest. If elected, the only ones he'll owe favours to is to the public who spent their money to support him. Sure, a cynic might call it a gimick, or suggest that he's taken soft money, but the disadvantage that he has put himself at in an effort to send a message speaks volumes.

Other reasons, he's been good at putting out specific plans out first out of the three, which indicates some balls if you ask me. His policies ere on wresting the power away from the corporations and special interset groups and putting it back in the hands of the people.

What about Obama you ask? Amazing speaker, sounds very sincere, certainly the most charismatic of the three, but I'm still not sure that he speaks to the lefty. He seems to be targetting independents, which makes me wonder about him being a champion of the left. With all the talk of bitaristanship though, that will probably be what gets him elected if he gets on the ticket. He still has to get through that whole Rezko business that I'm sure the media will jump all over in due time. And you guys already know of my thoughs on Hillary, with that shameful tear (shameful in it's insincerity), and seemingly calculated nature. I will admit tho, I have less ire towards her than before.

In conclusion, please, read up on Edwards. Check out his site. He has everything up there, from his stances on the issues to how you can help the campaign, and believe me, now is the time to lend him a hand (I've givin him some cash myself, something I have never done, hell, not even the local PBS station has gotten money from me yet). I wanted to get this out before Super Tuesday (Feb. 5), with the hope that you might find it within you to act. If you know anyone living in one of the Super Tuesday states, or you yourself live in one, spread the word and get out to vote. It is a critical time for Edwards, and we cannot let him die out.

If you haven't registered to vote yet, you are officially a nub.