Thursday, March 31, 2011

My idea (and apologies) for a Header Image

Now, I'm going to preface this with the fact that I am, indeed, not an artist.  I took some graphic design classes and, I mean, I am capable of making things that look nice, but not all the time, and surely not with just a mouse.  But I've had an idea for a possible header image in my head since last night and wanted to share in case anyone wanted to offer a bit of an opinion on the idea (and not my terrible arting skills, yes art is a verb now, I'm making this happen), before I actively start seeking out someone who can make it happen for me, if I can't make it happen myself.

The problem with the idea is that it deals with some pretty significant shadowing, which I am absolutely terrible with, and perspective, which I am also terrible at.  Finding that I could mimic perspective (with flat letters, yay), I can at least make that look somewhat like I want.  Basically, as I kind of showed on the first few letters, I want it to be, like, actual standing letters heading off to the point on the right in the distance.  And the plan is for the light to be coming from the left, or behind the logo, so it casts the shadow (done very lazily with the pencil tool) in front.

I don't want flat black letters, but I didn't know what to make them.  Perhaps the same blue that has been a staple since I've started.  And finally, yet most importantly, I want a moogle hanging over one of the letters, almost like it's climbing up it.  As my nickname/alias/whatever of "Mogs" has always brought about the theory of a moogle to most people.  I like it and I've accepted it, so I want to run with it.

Nothing too busy, nothing too big, just something to get the name broadcast, with the slight accent of the moogle and the shadow.  In my head, it looks pretty nice, I think.  I just wish I could put it down to (digital) paper better.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

State of the Blog Address

So, first off, I'd like to thank everyone who reads this blog.  The, er, five of you that I know do, and anyone else who may stumble upon this at a later date.  It's really appreciated, especially given all the effort I've actually put into it, though, from the looks of it, it might not seem like that much.  And that's what I'm actually bringing up with this, and putting out a little call for opinions on.

I said way back when I started that the layout was just a placeholder, but honestly, I've grown a little attached to it.  That and, well, I'm not sure on just how to re-design/format it without breaking everything.  And I've talked about doing a header image, which I still intend to do.  The only problem with that is that I feel like I should have sort of a logo.  Truthfully, I intended to make one in LBP2, which I might still do at a later point, but that hasn't materialized just yet.  And given that I do quite a bit more than LBP stuff, it might not always be very appropriate!

What I'd like from you, my readers, is just your opinion.  What you might think fits my style in regards to a layout, to a header, to a logo, whether things on my sidebar should be re-ordered, etc.  And just anything else, honestly.  I can't guarantee that if there's something you dislike about my blog, that I'll change it, especially if it's something I myself enjoy, since, well, it's my blog, but if I'm doing something, well, wrong, by all means let me know.  While this is my personal blog, I can't say that I don't want others to read and enjoy it as well, because I do.  This is my opportunity to write things out for others as much as it is for me, so things to help its appeal be more widespread is always a good thing!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dynasty Warriors 7 - YES. THIS IS WHAT I WANTED.

So, I got this today.  I tried thinking of something else to post about tonight, but damnit, I can't because I am entirely too excited to do anything else.  Besides, there's not a lot of news going on now, aside from a few people getting some bad 3DSes, which likely isn't enough to bring about cause for concern in anyone, but for anyone looking for just one more reason against dropping $250 on one, well, there you go.  Also, Free Realms, the PS3's very first free-to-play MMO came out today.  As much as I would like to get in on that (given that I have been known to frequent Home every now and again, just to sate my virtual decorator's urge or whatever), if I'm not going to spend the time to DL a gig of data so I can play Heavy Rain again, I'm not going to spend the same amount of time getting a MMO I'll likely not play too much.

Anyways!  None of that concerns slaughtering chinamen by the thousands, so let's drop those subjects.  Now, I'll have you all know, I own just about every single iteration of the Dynasty Warriors series.  2, 3, 3:XL, 4, 4:XL, 4:E, etc. etc.  I have played them thoroughly (aside from 2, just a little too dated to me.) and enjoyed them immensely.  But never have I been this surprised by any of them.  Let me paint a picture for you.

Up to now in the previous games, the layout of starting a level has been pretty simple.  Select the stage, get to the prep screen, equip your weapons, skills, items, steed, hit go.  It loads your level, and bam, you start. 

This?  Not so much.  Gone is the prep screen, for one; instead anything can be done on the fly.  Finally kill enough dudes for enough skill points to get a new thing?  Buy it.  Pick up a new weapon you want to try out?  Equip it.  Right there, right on the spot.

How missions start (at least in story mode so far) is that it loads and places you in the main camp.  You can walk around, talk to the NPCs (who all have voice acting), buy weapons from the vendor, and finally talk to whomever will start the mission.  Now, for any veteran, you would expect a loading screen at this point.  NOT SO.  Upon talking to the starter guy, the gates open and suddenly, shit has just gotten real.  The mission is -on-.  Dynamically.  It might not sound like a lot, but it's amazing in its effect.

Honestly, everything about the effect, the presentation, has been cranked up a notch.  You enter cutscenes seamlessly and leave them just as easily.  Gone is the black-screen sweep to play a little scene showing off something, somewhere or showing off a new enemy.  It just goes right into them, cinematically almost, now really keeping you into the whole thing.

They've also done some considerable tightening on the story; even though I imagine it will still do the normal splintering of "what really happened" towards the end of the kingdom's modes.  Still, I'm impressed that, instead of referring to Cao Cao as "Cow cow", they have gone with the actual "Tsao Tsao", and etc.  It takes a lot of effort to care about your presentation that much and it really helps getting the player to care about it.  (Of course, this may be the fanatical history nerd talking)

While I haven't put a lot of time into it, my first impression is overwhelmingly positive; I haven't been this excited since picking up Yakuza 4 for the first time, and with any luck, juggling between the two of them will be the best of gaming chores for weeks to come.  So if you've had even a cursory interest in the Dynasty Warriors series to this point, I would strongly implore you to seek out a copy at your preferred pricepoint.  It's a keeper.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Well, this certainly didn't take long.

Really, I figured it would have been a couple weeks before this thing came up, but here it is, right on the very same day, and there's already enough complaints about the 3DS to bring about a formal statement.  Or, rather, the 3D of it giving them headaches.  The machine, as far as I know, is just fine.  I'd never really even thought about it, but I guess this is a real thing, happening to real people.  And big enough of a deal that there's actually parental controls in place that you should set up if you're giving the handheld to someone younger than 6.  (Protip:  Don't do that, regardless.)

I guess they just don't want this to happen.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up in Gaming - March 14 - 27

So, I skipped a week so that this edition of the Wrap-Up could be a little longer, and actually have more than one game in it.  And do I ever have more than one game.  The answer is yes, I have three this week.  Movin' on up.

Still, let's start with The Sly Collection, specifically Sly 3, as we have covered it already.

I've actually had a lot of fun with Sly 3, but I've also had a lot of bad things to come with it.  Specifically, enough glitches to convince me that my PS3 was going to die again.  Now, while I haven't narrowed it down to -just- being Sly 3, as in, I'm still not sure if my PS3 is on its last legs, I've only had problems while playing it.  With all the time I've spent playing Yakuza 4, which I will get to later, I never had one issue, so it has me at a bit of a loss.  Regardless, the worst was a bout of freezing (Froze, I turned it off, back on, froze, turned off and back on, had no audio, went to quit, almost had a crash but turned it off), and I've had a few times where the audio has had a lot of static accompanying it.  The static ends up clearing itself up however, which, at the very least, is nice.

The problems haven't all been technical, though.  Sucker Punch's direct stubbornness to learn how to implement checkpoints properly has been a thorn in my side since the first game, so it's no surprise that it's still around.  And I can't name all the times I've made it to the end of a bossfight (like, one more hit) only to get hit once and killed.  The problems are similar, but the way Sly's bosses are, they don't really bode well for checkpoints.  (Well, aside from the final ones, and a few other exceptions OCTAVIO.)  However, the boss fights are fairly bullshit.

Honestly, it's really really hard to think the same development studio made these games and inFamous, judging by the boss fights in both sets of games.  I never, ever wanted to snap my controller in half while playing inFamous, but with the Sly series?  It's like every boss is designed to be an exercise in frustration, because on this level that it manages to be, I can't imagine them play-testing it and going, "YEAH THIS IS TOTALLY FUN GUYS".  Especially the one pictured above, the General Tsao fight, part one.

Now, this might be partially because of me and my own opinion.  I absolutely can't stand Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, over-the-top Wire-Fu Bullshit.  Because that's all it is to me.  I can't fathom how something that is done only to look cool, can't even manage to be visually interesting to me, but it doesn't, and I really wish it would die.  Maybe it's because I look at it and go, "Even if I suspend my beliefs here, shit doesn't work like that", and start thinking more about the physics involved than anything.  I mean, there's a difference between someone raising off the ground and flying around all willy-nilly, dumbshit-looking, and someone running to a wall, jumping, kicking off and flying.  I don't know if there's meant to be an implied gracefulness in the former, but it just doesn't work for me.

Anyways, after that, the game took a rather weird turn eventually, and I'm not quite sure what my feelings are on it yet.  Dealing with a pirate themed level leads to appropriating a pirate ship that you actually take around a map, deal with random other ships through ship-to-ship combat, and honestly, it adds a lot.  But it's not quite...fleshed out, properly.  It's a bit hard to steer, combat isn't exactly easy, and while it puts you on a more even footing than hand-to-hand combat (with anyone but Murray), sometimes it also feels like you just don't stand a chance, just because.

I imagine by this time next week, I'll finally have it beaten and can offer my full opinion on it, but so far, it's about even in pros and cons.  I feel like every time I find something neat, it instantly annoys me, or something involved -in- it instantly annoys me, and I can't just enjoy it.  Which, as we can imagine, is a bit of a problem.

And now, for our next game.

My return to Kamurocho, while limited, has been exquisite.  My initial fumblings with Akiyama as a main (one of four) have been ironed out, and I can actually feel like quite a 'Baws' with him.  And the city has never looked better.  With all the new additions of new places you can go into, it's never felt bigger, either; and there's still places I've yet to go, even.  And as far as the environment of the city, it's about the same as always, you get a bit of a quirky feeling, along with the knowledge that it's filled with punk kids with nothing better to do, and Yakuza who think they own the streets.

For some reason, I feel like I'm doing quite a bit in not so much time, though.  The last time I played, I finished one of Akiyama's side-stories only to be told that I had finished all of Akiyama's side-stories.  Confused, I went to the area set up for just this thing, where the Bob twins are (Yakuza running theme) and actually got my reward for it.  Substories complete.  One down, many more things to go.  All of the side-things are made apparent in the Challenges part of the menu, and while there's quite a lot, I have two completed; Akiyama's stories and his training.  All in all, I believe all I have to do (unless there's things that only he can do that I don't remember) is finish out his section.  Which is an odd feeling for a Yakuza game, as I always play them and feel like there's always things to do outside of the obvious.

Still, at the very -most-, that's only a fourth of the game down, and I haven't even finished his section yet.  So there's quite a bit ahead of me.  And I'll be looking forward to all Yakuza 4 has to offer me; two more characters I've never used before, and a return to being the Dragon of Dojima.

Since my last Weekly Wrap-Up, I've picked up Ghost of Sparta, beaten it, beaten it again, and unlocked everything short of things you can only get from Hard and Very Hard modes, as well as dealing with the additional challenges.  There's no added bonus, so I don't see the reason to purposefully frustrate myself with them. >.>;

On the whole, I'm completely satisfied.  Saying it's the best portable God of War game isn't that much of a praise, since there's only one other for it to compete with, and I can't say it's my favorite God of War game, because it is not God of War 2 or 3.  But it really, really is difficult to find anything terribly negative to say about it.  The story was what it needed to be, the combat was stellar, as always, and it provided plenty of moments that you expect from the GoW games;  Epic moments, those moments you can't help but grin or laugh at sadistically (or, watched mortified I imagine), and those moments where the scale is such that you can't help but feel something resembling awe.

Without spoiling too much, I will say that it does manage to offer some surprises, which, well, surprised me, since I hadn't even considered they'd do quite what they did with the final boss, and that managed to excite me with the game, and the series, all over again.  While it looks like there isn't a lot of ground left to cover within it, I wouldn't be adverse to another entry, and regardless of what's next, I look forward to whatever Sony Santa Monica and ReadyAtDawn have in store next, especially with the NGP on the horizon.

That's about it for this week's installment.  I've played a couple of flash games over at Kongregate, but nothing too note-worthy, and these are the games I've spent any amount of time with in these past couple weeks.  So, all in all, it's been a great time.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Beldum - WTF IS This?

I just picked up Heart Gold again after watching some Pokemon Black footage from Kaseius, and didn't quite know what to do.  And then Baoba, the Director of the Safari Zone, gave me a ring and said, "Hey, the areas changed because they've had items in it for so long."  I went, "Oh yeah, I strategically placed things to make rares appear, it's been long enough, so I should capitalize."  So I headed over there.  Unfortunately, I didn't really remember -what- I was supposed to be looking for.  Electabuzz, that's cool.  Misdreavus, I have one already, but I'm looking to make a Mismagius, so I grabbed another, just in case it has a better nature.  Stantler?  PSH.  Stantler is small-time in HG.

So, I'm like, "Where the hell is the rare I was waiting for?"  And then I ran into something that might or might not have been it, I don't quite know.  Yet, it is rare enough for me to tense up.

For the uninitiated, this is Beldum.  Beldum is.....well, I don't know what the hell it is.  I only know what it ends up turning into, which makes it more confusing.  But let's focus on Beldum first.

Beldum is, obviously, a steel pokemon.  Steel pokemon, for the record, suck.  'Oh look at me, I'm somewhat metal and useless and oh god there's fire everywhere even though there's barely any fire pokemon in the game for some reason.'  Sure, they're usually better at being a wall than other pokemon, like Rock types, but outside of a select few, I'm hard-pressed to think of non-legendary/pikachu'd Steel pokemon that are fairly worth a damn, outside of Skarmory.  Which, let's take a detour right quick.

This is Skarmory.  He's a steel bird, alright?  So, basically, he's like a fucking Fighter Jet.  He doesn't even -care- about your bitchass pokemon.  'What, you've got grass?  WELL LET ME JUST MOW THAT SHIT.  Ice?  BLAM, CHISEL BITCH.'  Skarmory will take you down.  Without mercy.  And with lots of painful steel contact from his wings and feet.  Which....will only count as flying type attacks.  But, I mean, just think of that visual.  Would you like to get smacked in the face with a giant metal wing?  I sure wouldn't!

Because that would -hurt-!

Anyways, back to what-the-hell-ever-Beldum-is.  So, your first encounter with Beldum, if you played all the pokemon games in order, would be in Pokemon Ruby or Sapphire where Steve, this guy you've known since the start of the game basically, gives one to you.  Or, rather, he just kind of leaves it in his house with a note for you to take it.  See, because Beldum is such a little ball of suck, even -he- doesn't want it.  So he's like, "Yeah, I'll just pawn it off on this stupid kid, he won't know the difference."  PROBLEM SOLVED.

Except, well, Beldum isn't totally useless. 

For one, it eventually becomes this thing.  This is called Metang.  Why?  I don't know.  I don't even know what it -is-.  I don't think anyone does.  And it's not really clear what it's supposed to be until you get the last evolution of it.

YEAH THAT'S RIGHT.  That bitch-ass Beldum -thing- ends up being a giant metal crab tank.  Oh no, that's perfectly logical.  I hate this thing, for the record.  I hate this -line- of things.  Which is unsurprising, as it came from 3rd Gen, and 3rd Gen didn't bring a lot of positive things to the table.

Anyways.  Moral of the story is that I never caught a Beldum.  Or, at least, I didn't tonight.  Goddamn thing wouldn't stay in the ball.  Maybe I'll try again tomorrow.

Music! Guilty Gear Edition

Sorry about the late posts guys.  Between weather and feeling sort of like crap (I do believe I am getting sick again) and a pretty bad sleep schedule (woke up the other day to find there was a spider on me.  Did not go back to sleep, threw me all out of wack), it's just not been my week.  My organization's gone to shit.

Anyways, for tonight, I wanted to discuss the music of a series that I am in no way familiar with.  You see, I'm not a good fighting game person, because I have a temper and am more likely to turn and punch someone for beating me (by using sweep uppercut sweep uppercut, no this is not conditioned at all) than I am to actually enjoy the game.  Still, I've always held something of a sideline interest for the series, and have even considered picking up one of the PSP versions sometime down the road, just to give it a try.

Thanks to a friend from my past, I was introduced to the music of Guilty Gear and for that, I'll probably always be a little indebted to her, if only because the music is just so good.  Starting us off, I'll go ahead and throw down some "Awe of She", which I believe was the first song she gave me.

After going "Oh man, this is pretty righteous", she said, "I know, right?" and we just kind of nerded out about the music for a while.  Eventually, I wanted more, so instead of consulting the youtubes, I went straight to her, and let her offer me a couple more songs to enjoy.

I especially like the semi-classic feeling instruments throughout, as it gives it that extra bit of character on top of being super rockin'.  But the last song, the last song she really introduced me to, especially the version she introduced me to, was my favorite.  And still is, really; I go back to Guilty Gear music every now and then just for the sheer thrill of it.  Because they are just that good at getting you pumped.

So, there's some things to enjoy!  Hopefully anyone who hadn't gotten a chance to experience these before tonight is having that same moment I had those years ago, since that was just really the -best- feeling.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Popcorn On - The Last Samurai

So, what with all of the Spring storms going on lately, I decided it was movie time, since that's basically what I do when there's the possibility of losing power/internet.  Because if my computer or PS3 go out when the power does, they might not come back.  My TV?  Reliable as hell, so I don't even have to worry.  And like 99% of the time, nothing happens anyway.  Anyways, I was looking through my library of movies (that feels smaller and smaller every time I look at it) and decided, "Y'know what, I've been on a Sengoku Era kick lately, let's watch The Last Samurai."

Now.  Anyone who has seen The Last Samurai knows just how I made myself feel like an idiot with that.  Because, in my head, I really thought it was based about 200 years earlier than it actually is in the movie.  For absolutely no reason; I've watched the movie before, nothing is a surprise about it.  I just completely forgot about the trains, weaponry, the war with the Indians as pretty much a major plot point, and all of that.  So instantly, I go, "D'oh." but it's a good movie anyway, so I went ahead and kept with it.

"At least they're all pointing the same way."  Pretty much a direct quote, actually.
So, the premise of the movie, without giving too much away, is that former Captain Nathan Algren, "Hero" of the wars with the Native Americans, took to selling armaments after an incident with his troop to finance his new hobby:  boozing.  Towards the start of the movie, he's approached by one of the only remaining members of his troop with an opportunity to sell arms to Japanese Soldiers training to subdue the remaining Samurai, banded together under one charismatic leader.  The job pays great, he's under the impression that it'll be an easy gig, so he accepts, and quickly enough they're on a boat to Japan.

Shortly after arriving, he finds that the term "Rag-Tag" can't really adequately describe the army that's amassed under the Emperor (or, rather, the Emperor's Mouthpiece) that he has to train, but, still attempts it, given that he's there with a rather upstanding couple of Generals and an old friend.  There's a few scenes that give a good look into the character of Nathan, who's clearly suffering from some issues from his time in the war; always a specific event that's left vague for a good portion of the movie, but still, everything to this point has been a warm-up to the real meat of the movie.

Now, I'm not going to act like you can't see.  This is slightly spoilerific, but come on, Tom Cruise is on the goddamn cover with Samurai Armor.  So it should come as no surprise that through certain circumstances, he's captured by the Samurai he's been hired to fight, and ends up spending a lot of time with them (given that it's Winter, and battle has all but halted under the conditions.).  And also, clearly, he ends up warming up to them and their way of life, their customs, and their understanding of the situation.  This is basically what the movie wants to express.

"So, why haven't we killed each other already?"
When you watch the middle area of the movie, if you're not enjoying it on any level, you are not going to like the movie, because it's clearly the best part of it, since it was clearly the most worked-on portion.  The beginning feels more like backstory, and the ending feels....well, it just falls short.  And even with a half-baked love story buried in it, the middle still ends up being really enjoyable, provided you like seeing a character completely transform his image over the course of a few movie months.  Or if you like seeing Tom Cruise get smacked around with a Bokken.  Because that happens a lot.

I should state here that I'm not necessarily a Tom Cruise fan.  Neither am I someone who dislikes him, it's just that I really couldn't name any movie other than this and Legend (which I bought for my girlfriend a couple years ago and watched it with her) that I've seen, so I can't really comment on his ability.  Oh, Tropic Thunder.  I saw that.  He was pretty great in that, if only because he must have completely lost his mind prior to agreeing to it.  Actually, prior to volunteering for it.  As far as this movie goes, he does pretty well, really well, in fact, but is actually a little outshined for me by the others in the movie itself.

Like a Baws.
I will say, that, for a movie that is sort of based on history, or at least inspired by a real guy, it doesn't feel all that historical.  The speech seems a little too modern, they don't really play up on just how new of a technology the guns used in the movie is (to the point where I really questioned if these things really existed then), and it just feels a little more concerned with giving you it's moral, than teaching you anything from the past.  That's likely more of a peeve of mine than it would be to most, since, well, I am a bit of a history nerd.  Still, it's an enjoyable movie to watch, even if you know how it ends.  And come on, you know how it ends.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Capcom Sure Does Love Some Ports - Resident Evil Revival

So, apparently, Resident Evil 4 and Code Veronica are getting up-ported, as part of possibly the weirdest duo of games to get bundled together yet.  (As far as same series goes.)  Resident Evil 4, which is most often lauded as 'the best one' (It's not), and Code Veronica, which, well, I'd wager that not a lot of people even know about, in the scheme of it.  I'd almost hope that there's something else coming with it, but it's hard telling.  Seriously, though, this is like releasing Super Mario Sunshine with Super Mario Bros. 2.  Sure, they're the same series of games, but really?

Anyways, this would be the point where I say, "Welp, looking forward to it!" but honestly, I'm not sure if I am.  I tried to like RE4, really I did.  But I just couldn't be assed to care for it.  Perhaps if it was a touched up version of the Wii Version (I.E. Move controls), I'd be up for it.  At least a trial.  If I was interested in either of the games, it'd be Code Veronica, since, as we know, I love me some batshit crazy, and Code Veronica has that in spades.  (As opposed to the later RE's brand of flat-out dumb.)

I don't know what all I want to say about RE4 here, since it's a topic that I can eventually get a bit long-winded in, in terms of my dislike for it, and as such, might end up with its own post later on down the road, but suffice to say, the story blows my mind, and not in the good way, the controls were dated years prior to the release (And were awkward enough that it wasn't even a "Haha, oh Capcom, you so silly" thing, it was actually a case of me wondering just how people managed to friggin' play it.) and I just can't put my finger on it, but there's just something that doesn't click with me.

Conversely, Code Veronica is more like every Resident Evil prior to 4 (Likely because it was also prior to 4) and thus, in some form, better than 4.  In my opinion.  And, like I said, I am a fan of batshit crazy stories and without really spoiling anything, Code Veronica has that to spare, not to mention a control scheme that, while still archaic, is archaic in a way that the players have likely already gotten used to it already, so it's not so jarring.  And sure, Steve sucked, but at least he wasn't Leon friggin' Kennedy.

Still.  More Compilations for the compilation gods!

Update:  So, Joystiq reported today that both of these games will be downloadable only in NA.  Until/If that changes like the PoP Collection, I won't be bothering.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Less Short Story - A Note

It's been a while since I've done one of these!  But last night I got off the computer because it was storming (Fuck you, and after the power went out for about half an hour, I felt a little inspired to write something.  Rather, I got something in my head that wouldn't leave me alone unless I wrote it out.  So I figured I would share!  I hope it's a little more, er, compelling than the last installment.


The irony of questioning the allure of the unknown is not lost on me.  Yet it's something we all do sometimes.

There has to be something said for the sheer power that the unknown holds over all of us.  Whether it inspires fear or courage, desire of any kind, desire to learn, to understand, to conquer; the unknown always inspires something.

A man is found dead on the floor of his office.  Nothing is out of the ordinary in his office, says his secretary, aside from a piece of paper ripped down the middle and written on, left askew on his desk.

What did it say?

It's almost as natural as breathing.

How did he die?

Who could have killed him?

The questions fly out rapid-fire.  The unknown is here, and it's powerful.  Its clutches sink in quickly, presenting something to be worked out, to become known.  To become mundane.

A man is with a woman for 10 years, but discovers he doesn't know her as well as he thinks, and it's abundantly clear that she is the same way as him.  Yet instead of investigating his own brand-new unknown, he meets another woman, a greater unknown, and can't help but feel the stronger allure, the stronger pull.


Is it a higher attraction on a physical level?  Is the new woman so much more interesting?

The new woman shares nearly every interest as the man.

Does this make her more of an unknown or less?  Does the knowledge of their interests being so similar mean the man will figure her out as one would a math problem?  Deduce that because they both like this thing and another thing, that she's bound to like a different thing that he likes?  Or will he simply become more interested in how they came to share so many things?

The unknown is powerful indeed.

A woman reads what she interprets as a confession of desire.

A man writes what he knows a woman will interpret as a confession.

As a test.  As a test, a man puts the unknown of a woman's reaction against the unknown of fate, of simple chance.

A man is wracked with guilt when he realizes he doesn't know his wife more than a woman he's known for a week, or, rather that he might know this woman more than his wife.

A man confesses his desire for a woman indirectly, assuming she will acknowledge his want and return it in kind.  After all, if they share all the same interests, they share interest in each other, certainly.

A man, rejected by a woman, married to a wife he doesn't know anymore, is found in his office, dead.  Nothing is out of the ordinary in his office, says his secretary aside from a piece of paper ripped down the middle and written on, left askew on his desk.

What did it say?

"I'm Sorry."


It's actually not all that long and I feel a little guilty for using double-spacing for it, but that's just kind of my style.  I hope it was enjoyable though!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Technology is Weird.

Remember when my Firefox hated Youtube or vice versa?  I do.  Boy, do I ever.

Well, for whatever reason, it's working again.  This is....quite baffling to me.  Nothing has changed whatsoever.  Virus scans haven't found anything new (the only thing it finds, always, are tracking cookies, which, well, don't matter), I haven't changed the way I do things, nothing different has occurred.  And yet, here I am, with a youtube video loaded in another tab, playing this remix that I'm sure I've posted before, but I can't remember what post off-hand.

Not in a channel, just, y'know, normal youtube video.  The paranoid part of my brain is telling me that this is forewarning of terrible things.  Obviously, I have somehow stumbled onto this bit of good fortune that will eventually damn me in some other, more terrible way than having to watch youtube videos in-channel.  Obviously.

And on the topic of weird technology, let's talk about Meteorology.  And by weird technology, I mean technology that is shit.  I go to The Weather Channel's website, check the Hour-by-Hour forecast for my area, nod that there is, apparently, a 10% chance of precipitation in my area until like, 6 AM, and go about my merry way.  And then here, at 11:38 PM, I hear thunder.  Go check again.  Same thing.  Check the map, and there is very clearly precipitation right near my area, and will likely move over me.  And precipitate all over me.  Or something.

It might not, though.  Who knows.  But I know that if it storms here, heads will roll.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

On Themes and Wallpapers

A staple of pretty much every form of technology out there now is the ability to set your own themes or, at the very least, your own wallpaper, to make your device even more yours, to suit your needs, etc.  With the PSP, we've been pretty lucky, as not only have there been -copious- amounts of wallpapers out there since day one (since it's just a simple matter of resizing images), but tools, completely legit ones, are out there for whomever wants to make their own icons to really pull it all together.  Now, it hasn't been acted on in a big way, but still, it's an option.

I really only thought about it the other day when, with the help of a new friend, I went about finding some Holiday themed wallpapers for my PSPs background for me to change every now and again.  Er, when the season requires, rather.  Anyways, thinking on it, after getting a few nice pics, I started thinking ahead, to the NGP, since, well, there is a good chance it will be out this year or early next year.  And that's when I realized something that unsettled me quite a bit more than it should have.

It's going to be quite a bit more difficult with Live Area to do nice wallpapers.  I'm assuming, of course, that you can't hide some of those icons, or at least push them to a lower 'page', which is not only a possibility, but probably the reality.  It's a little disheartening, really; I'm not even sure if we'll be able to customize the background of the NGP, and even if we will, as I said, it will be difficult to get something nice without a little DIY work.  Unless, of course, you don't mind giant circles all over your pictures of kittens, anime scenes, or what have you.  And likely, the buttons are as they always will be, meaning there won't be any real cohesion between the background and icons.  The theme of it all.

It's a bit petty to actually be bothered by, admittedly.  And maybe there will be some way around it, but from where I'm sitting, looking for anything, anything that I may have to watch out for, lest it kill my desire for this lovely piece of machinery, is something that I have to do so that I may compensate for it beforehand.

Still....doing a search for iPhone backgrounds instantly throws one into a sea of them, and we know how many icons those things can have.  Perhaps it won't be such a big deal after all.

Quick Note - DST and Yakuza 4

So, I still haven't gotten used to the new time thanks to Daylight Savings Time.  I mean, yes, sure, I look at the clock and see, "Oh, it's 11" and my rational brain goes, "I should be finishing up a blog post by now." But the rest of my brain is like, "Wait, what, no it's 10, we've still got time.  And besides, I don't even know what to -tell- you, man."

And then I look and it's 12:13 and I go, uh-oh.

I meant to make a post like this the other day, pointing out that I am not completely in sorts as of yet, but I was like, "Bleh, it'll never be a problem."  WELP.  Apologies all around on that and such.  I do have a couple notes to cover, though, to have this post have a bit of substance to it aside from me whinging about time.

I was playing Yakuza 4 earlier, unsurprisingly, and I just had one of the, as I call them, "Yakuza!" moments that I've had in the previous games.  Now, for me, the "Yakuza!" moments boil down to "DEFEAT ABSURDITY WITH NO MERCY" and things that just make you say, "HELL YEAH".  Today's moment was the former.

So, there I was, walking about Kamurocho as Akiyama, minding my own business, looking for a thug to challenge me to a random fight.  And did I ever get a challenge.  This guy, titled, I believe, "Rich Man" challenged me to a fight wearing a money-green, garish, ugly suit with a, no kidding, George Washington hairstyle or wig.  So, okay.  He wants to throw down, I'm not about to turn him down (even if I could).  The fight went pretty quickly, since, well, it was just him vs. me, and I ended it with my newly-upgraded "Essence of Finishing" move. 

(For the best effect, you may want to listen to this song while reading what the move is.  Sure, it's from Yakuza 3, but it's badass)

The move, for the unfamiliar, is where Akiyama football-punts the guy in the face as he is getting up.

The upgraded version of the move, is where Akiyama football-punts the guy in the face as he is getting up, then proceeds to handstand and bring his knee directly down on the guy's face.

In that moment, I was just shaking my controller in victory and elation, going, "YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS THIS IS WHAT I WANTED".  And all was right in the world.

The second note, which probably won't matter to anyone reading this, is that, apparently, Dynasty Warriors 7 is coming out the 29th, not the 22nd.  Which means more guilt-free Yakuza 4 time for me!  (As in, if I bought DW7 tuesday, it would not get played right away, and thus, I would feel guilty.)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Hype On - NGP News Round-Up

So, there's no denying that NGP news is likely something I can't get enough of, and after a few pretty significant pieces, I wanted to kind of bring them together to catch people up in case they haven't been paying quite as much attention as me, which would not be hard.  So lets kick this off!

Number 1.)  Possibly the most recent bit of news, NGP games will be dual-released.  As in, Physical and Digital releases, same-day.  This is a trend that has started with the PSP fairly recently, and hasn't stuck that well, but for those that have gone that extra little mile to do it, we who appreciate the work involved salute you.  Even if I don't really get into the Digital Sales thing, (I only did once, thanks to a sale) having the option is just wonderful for those who prefer it and, most of all, it ensures that everyone can buy your game.  I've covered it before, but the developers that can release a digital version of their game, yet don't, are out of their goddamn minds.

Or, perhaps they're just waiting on

Number 2.)  There have been talks, ideas thrown about, of PSP games getting NGP re-releases.  Which, obviously will face the problems that one could expect; people groaning that some companies might decide to re-release PSP games in lieu of doing a digital version (Which might be negated by number 1), that the games might have little, if no, extra work put into them (I'd certainly be a little annoyed if the games were pure-and-simple ports), and that they might even be at an 'inflated' (read:  Standard with proper NGP) prices.  I'd hope that any developer that decides to take advantage of this idea, if it comes to fruition, plans for it carefully.  Using the example of Peace Walker, I'd certainly hope there would be dual-stick support at the very least not to mention making use of standards other NGP games will, i.e. possibly using the touch screens, coughtrophiescough, perhaps slightly updated graphics/frame rates.  We'll just have to see how that works out.

Speaking of things we have to wait and see about with anticipation..

Number 3.)  The Price.  Now, this is by no means confirmation, and, in fact might not even be all that reliable, but even the mere notion that Sony could manage to push out a model of the NGP at $250 is nothing short of a fucking miracle and gives me hope.  The $350 Price-tag on the 3G-Enabled model is less enticing, especially considering who knows how 3G will be handled, but done right, it would certainly be worth that extra money.  (As in, no BS plans and a reasonable cap)  Again, it might not turn out this way, but Ubisoft is pretty big and any reason to imagine that I could shell out the same amount of money for a 3DS and receive, instead, an NGP, is reason enough to speak of.

That's the biggest bits of news concerning the device lately, and certainly there will be more to come.  Hopefully with more pictures.  Because I left this one picture-free on the basis that I've shown the best ones so far already.

Flash Games - Tower Defense Edition

Now, I'm not much of a Tower Defense fan.  But I can begrudgingly admit that they're not terrible games, and that the strategies are rather nice.  My problem usually rests in the slight random chances that lie into them, and the feeling that I get that there's sometimes no way to 100% of the time, finish a level perfectly.  It always seems like there's that -one- wave towards the start where you're like "I NEED MORE TOWERS" but you just don't have the gold for it.  And there's really no way you could -have- the gold unless you've found the magical layout that ensures efficiency.

Regardless, they're effective little time-wasters as games, and I would even call some of them fun, but most of them seem mostly there as a challenge than....well, something fun.  Still, I have played a few that I would be able to recommend.  Even if 'tower defense' is sort of a stretched term for one of them.

First up is Cursed Gems: Don't Touch My Stuff, which I just spent the last hour and a half playing when I became aware of the fact that playing some Kongregate games gets you points for your Powered Up Rewards, apparently.  Get a badge, get GameStop points that will likely sit in your account forever because the rewards either suck or are presented at a radical price increase.  But hey, you get Badges and Points!  Win-Win, kind of!

Er, anyways, right the game.  It's pretty much your standard fare, waves launch your towers kill, magic happens.  Where it changes the 'formula' is that it gives you different terrain types on a map, and your three towers can only be built on specific ones, one each.  Your grass lands are your Orc Huts which are basically arrow towers.  Mountainous regions only support.....y'know, I forget.  They fire a continuous stream laser.  And your snowy regions are your Crypts, which fire magical bolts that I don't know what to liken them to.  Homing missiles?  Yeah, let's go with that.

That level of difference adds something to the gameplay, and they add another depth with Magic and, of all things, Trees.  The trees fill up parts of the map that you have to use one of your spells to clear out, if you want to place a tower there.  This is almost universally unnecessary, unless the trees are covering a mana font, which, placing a tower on it will increase your mana recovery.  Or the entire map is covered with trees.  But, as noted, there are some times when it's a necessity.

Of your other two spells, one increases the speed with which your towers fire for a couple volleys, and the other is a Meteor spell that deals big damage to an area.  The former is almost never needed, as the only reason your towers aren't doing the job is because they're not properly condensed/upgraded, and is never something a Meteor can't take care of.  The Meteor also being useful for Goddamn Ninjas and your large, boss characters helps speak for its value.

It quickly starts to feel like they're just throwing entirely too many waves of enemies at you, but proper upgrading and masterful use of both the "Skip to next wave" and "Double-Time" buttons make it go by at a much nicer speed for those who just want to finish the engagements.  And it's practically for those reasons only that I can safely say it's a pretty alright game, since most TD games (at least ones I've played) don't have that and almost always get a little down-timey unless they just really destroy you with the amounts of enemies in waves.

The next game, Desktop TD Pro is actually pretty neat in its presentation and execution both.  Now, I'm not quite sure how it was thought up, but if you start thinking about an ARI Glasses version of the game (considering the Desktop layout) it gets so much neater.  Of course, this is still just played on a computer screen, but, still, it makes you think about these things and these things are pretty cool.  There I go, talking about things that are -not the game-.

Anyways, what I like about the game, aside from the thoughts it gives me, is the fact that it gives you a flat board (Sometimes it puts towers in for you to start) and lets you set your own paths that the enemies have to survive through.  So you always think of the best way to make this winding, painful conga line of death scenario, and the fact that you actually can do it is refreshing, as opposed to other games giving you the routes and you having to place within those confines.

Of course, eventually, they include enemies that completely ignore your confines and fly over the towers, but before then, oh boy, do you feel like you are some sort of tactical genius.  And once again, there is the much appreciated "Next Wave" button.  Maybe it's actually standard fare and I just completely miss it every time?

Now, this next one might be stretching the term a bit, but I still consider it to count:  The Last Stand. Your towers, of course in this, being your fellow survivors that you recruit.  But that might be getting ahead of myself in stating that.  The Last Stand, unsurprisingly, is about the main character's last stand against waves and waves of Zombies.  It plays out like a more hands-on Tower Defense game, you have your barricade line that you have to stop zombies from reaching and, upon failing that, stop them from wrecking it outright.

They come in waves through the night portion of the game, rationalizing the daytime section of the game is you dividing your remaining hours among yourself and any survivors you might have to repair the barricade, look for weapons, and look for other survivors.  The latter two have a chance of losing someone along the way, which will often happen at the -worst possible moment-, but the rewards for searching for weapons are great, as the Pistol outgrows its usefulness....rather quickly.

Enemies upgrade just like any other Tower Defense game; they get faster, and they get hardier.  Both running zombies and zombie dogs are added for the fast requirement, and Swat/Army zombies for the hardier; both require headshots, but the Army zombies also have helmets on, which means faceshots.  And if you don't pick up any survivors to help you blast the undead, you'll likely get overrun.  Even if you get the best weapons, if it's just you, it likely ain't enough.

So there are a few Tower Defense games that I've enjoyed, or at least can recommend to people who enjoy the genre.  Certainly those of us reigned into it by PixelJunk Monsters need another outlet here and there, one that doesn't have the goddamn spiders of PJM, at least.

Goddamn Spiders.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Kids do not like Yakuza 4, apparently.

At least, not when you can play Sly 3:  Honor Among Thieves.

I did manage to get my hands on a copy of Yakuza 4, today, thankfully, and the first thing I did when I got home was pull it out of the case and just as I was about to put the disk in the PS3, my three-year-old nephew, who I help babysit, came out, as he often does, wanting to watch me play a game.  Standing there, frozen for a moment, he looked up at me and said, "Are you going to play a game?"  to which I answered, "Y...yes, I am, but you probably sho-"  "Are you going to play Sly Cooper?"

Oh no.

", I wasn't planning on i-"  "I WANT YOU TO PLAY SLY COOPER!"


So that's the story of how I spent all day playing Sly 3 instead of Yakuza 4.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011



I'm looking for Yakuza 4 to one-up Yakuza 3 in this department.  We shall see.

Monday, March 14, 2011


So, some of you may know from my posts on the PA Forums, or because I've told you, but up until the other day, all my Playstation 3 gaming had been done with the Sixaxis Controller that came with the PS3 I bought waaaay back in January of 2008.  It's been with me through a lot of good times, and a lot of bad, and it's not like it's...y'know, going anywhere, but it'll definitely see a lot less use.

This is my controller, named Sechs.  (Get it?)  Sechs has seen better days. you can see.  He has a lot more, aherm, Battle Scars, but they wouldn't really turn out well in pictures, so you'll just have to picture it with a little help from me.

Now, the primary issue I had with Sechs, was that, and you can even see it in the second picture there, that the left stick floats.  That is to say, it's not really anchored to anything, so it doesn't move correctly.  Not to say that sticks are supposed to be, well, stiff, but they're supposed to center themselves, if that makes sense.  And the sticks on Sechs do not.  They also squeaked a bit from their excessive use, which when I was playing online could actually be heard over my headset, apparently!

And the obvious second issue is a rather recent one, thanks to Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus.  Well, it had been cracked long before when Sechs received the biggest portion of his 'definition' thanks to the Challenges of the Gods in God of War 1 (also the collection.  Somehow I get the impression that I don't need to play PS2 games anymore), but the piece had stayed firm until a section in Sly that I don't even remember.  Probably the last chapter of the game, since that was by far the worst section.

Also an issue is that, well, you know how you have the 1 2 3 4 area on top to show you what 'port' your controller is 'plugged' into?  And how there's little bits of clear plastic to light up from the lights beneath?  Yeah....those came out long ago when I nearly twisted Sechs in half from the Challenges.  And the 2 light just plain doesn't work.  Before that piece broke off of the bottom, it was also kind of off-center and not really connected properly.

This is my shiny new Dualshock 3.  I'm not sure what to name it, and I realize naming inanimate objects is more than a little silly, but it's something I tend to do, and I probably won't stop anytime soon.  I love the extra weight of it, the color, and that, hey, Rumble is back.  How I ever missed it.  I swear, when I started playing around with Tumble (the demo) using my Move Wand, and it rumbled, I nearly dropped it.  Since, I mean, it has been quite some time since I had a rumble controller!  (Well, the Wiimote, but I've barely messed about with that)

It feels -right- to finally have a DS3.  I mean, I put it off as long as possible since the controller's $50 or so, but it was getting a little closer to the area where it was a necessity and not just an upgrade.  Sechs made more than one game a little more difficult than it needed to be to play (Dead Space being the prime example), but I admit I'm a bit sentimental (which is also more than a little silly) so I didn't want to look at it as a replacement process; just picking up an extra controller, which, well, I did!  I have two controllers now, which works out pretty nicely.  I don't usually have company, but now if I do, I'll be able to share!

Anyways, that's about enough rambling.  I just wanted to make a post about Sechs, my loyal, uh, controller, who has served me faithfully for three years.  Rock on, Sechs.  Even though you can't rumble.

UPDATE:  My Dualshock's name is now "Char".  That is all.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Weekly Wrap-up in Gaming - March 7 - 13

So, I wasn't exactly true to my word from last week.  I said I'd have Sly 2 and 3 done this week, and ultimately, I just wasn't able to do that, because Sly 2 was, well, rather lengthy in comparison to the original.  So lengthy that I didn't even get to finish it until the other day, wherein I immediately began Sly 3 and began to see why some people didn't like it/care for it.  But we'll get to that one in a bit, now is Sly 2 Talk time, since I've beaten it.

While I am a firm believer in saying that there is no such thing as "too much of a good thing", I liked Sly 2, but felt it went on a little too long.  Or, rather, that there was a little too much reusing going on.  The first time it happened, it really made sense, and it was actually a little interesting to end up going against the same set of foes a second time in a different location.  Unfortunately, Sucker Punch must have thought that as well, because that's what the rest of the game turned into.  Which, some places it worked; I liked the set of foes that came with Jean Bison and the settings they were in.  I couldn't stand Prague though.  Neither time.  Well, I don't think the second was still Prague, but saying the boss is a bit of a spoiler, even though the trophy list spoils, well, every game.

By the end of things, I came to loathe playing as Bentley as well, since hacking games were inevitable and, well, Sucker Punch doesn't make stick-shooters for a reason.  (The reason is that, if the Hacking Mini-games are any indication, they are not very good at it.)  Also, I guess they really wanted to push the idea that Bentley attracts danger (Which, well, plays a key point in the ending) since his jobs always seemed a little more perilous, or at least put you in situations where one hit was too much.  (Bad Juju Bomb, Crypt Battery) (I'm noticing that all my complaints are really in play during the two Prague sections.  Hrm.)  "The Murray" was always pretty cool, though.  Except for the Tank-sequences.  Screw the Tank-sequences.

There's not a lot I can say about the ending without being too spoilery, so.....I'm going to be a bit spoilery.  Sooo, ahem, SPOILERS BEYOND:



Well, Clockwerk is probably my least favorite boss sequence of anything that I can think of, and Clock-la isn't much better.  In fact, it's pretty much the same fight; stupid shooter section with horrible controls that goes on far too long, followed by a bullshit-platforming sequence.  At least, I think that's how the Clock-la sequence went.  I know both of those were there, and I'm pretty sure in that order, but I'm not 100% positive I remember it right.

The story kind of falls flat towards the end, as well.  Oh boy, Neyla's a double-agent, let's all act surprised!  In Prague, she only kept yelling, "NO THAT EYE IS MINE IT'S MINE IT'S MINE" and all, like she was interested in collecting it for more than evidence.  The surprise bitch-turn was a little unexpected; I certainly didn't imagine she'd just up and kill Arpeggio like she did, but, well, it happened, and was pretty much the high-point of the end-game aside from the Sly parts of the ending itself.  I really got to enjoy the relationship between Carmelita and Sly and liked how it worked out, even though I would have liked to see her introduced to the gang proper.  In fact, that's what I figured would happen in the third game, certainly not what ends up happening.



So, all-in-all, I really did like Sly 2, certainly more than the first game, but I wish they could have paced it out a little better or made it seem like it was a little more than a game-padding thing.  Maybe switch around two of the sections so you go up against one boss, then the next.  Or something.  And a slightly better ending wouldn't have been too much to ask for.

I've not made it too far into Sly 3, much like I hadn't gotten too far into Sly 2 last weekend, so there's not a lot I -can- say about it.  Something I would like to say is, Dear God, Sucker Punch do a better job of locking down Voice-Actors.  Everytime I listen to Carmelita I just want her to not exist anymore.  And "The Murray"s VA is clearly not the old one, yet is trying to voice him exactly like he was.  It does not work out.  I'm pretty sure Sly and Bentley are the only two returning VAs, which is really just a shame.  I grew to enjoy Sly 2's voicework on the whole, so to be put into basically the same game where it's all different is a little off-putting.

I would like to take a brief moment to talk about the Mini-games packed into the Collection.

They suck.

And now I would like to take a less-brief moment to talk about the Mini-games packed into the Collection.  The ones I'm talking about, of course, are the extra ones they made(?) specifically for the collection, that people thought would require Playstation Move to play.  They do not, but Move does make them much better.  And one of those things that I noticed that really made me happy was that, after calibration, it'd set you up with a color, and then when you picked a character, the Ball would change to that characters color.  Blue for Sly, Green for Bentley, Pink for "The Murray", and Yellow for Carmelita. Little touches like that just make things a little neat.  Much neater than the games themselves.  They take about a minute to complete each, and you'll likely get both trophies per game on your first try, or definitely your second.  There's eight; four for just playing the games, and four for getting scores specifically over a certain amount.

They really don't do anything and feel like something you could throw together in flash in an afternoon.  A shooting gallery, a different shooting gallery, an RC copter race and....I forget.  I think another shooting gallery.  It really really gives the impression of an afterthought which is genuinely unfortunate, as I was hoping for something neat to come from Sucker Punch in regards to Move.  Doesn't really give me a lot of extra hope for inFamous 2 in that regard at least.

Anyways, beyond that, my PSP has been neglected once again, as I only played a little bit of Valkyria Chronicles 2 this week, once again simply grinding.  Though I did attempt one of the two final missions, started driving my tank, had it killed by interception fire from the bullshit boss character and went, "NOPE".  I'm really hesitant to say whether I'll ever bother to truly finish the story, which bothers me a lot actually.  Because I know I don't want to deal with that and whatever abomination the final mission throws my way.  Oh well, it was a great game while it lasted.

And again, no flash games this week, so I suppose that's it for this edition!  I might do a different post next Sunday if my gaming week is as uneventful as just playing basically one game again.  Or I might try playing more games!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Misadventures in Bargain-Shopping: Dragon Age: Origins: Ultimate Edition: Colons

So, as some of you might know, down here in the States, Dragon Age: Ultimate Edition on Consoles was 50% off.  Which is a pretty sweet deal and all.  The only thing that's a shame is that the K-mart in my area is...well, first off, it's not -in- my area, it's a 40-minute drive away.  It is also in a less-than-safe location, and the store is in fairly massive disrepair and unmaintained.  It is, for all intents and purposes, a Shithole.

But I loves me some deals, so I was thinking "If only there were another store that I could buy the game for that price in."  And then I thought, "Hrm, who does Price-Matching?  Oh!  Best Buy does price-matching!  And I just happen to have Best Buy funbux right here!"  So, that was it, then.  Best Buy is only slightly less of a terrible drive than K-Mart, and as I said, I had currency that needed to go there.  I called ahead and asked about their Price-Matching, and he said as long as it was a local competitor's ad, it would be gravy.  This is a key fact.

So.  I went there, grabbed DA:O:UE:C and a shiny, shiny new Dualshock 3 controller (Red~), went to the customer service desk and presented the ad.  And....suddenly the guy picks up the phone and calls K-Mart to inquire whether K-Mart had it in stock.  Was.....he going to tell me to go there if I wanted that price?  What, what the hell was this.  After finding out that they apparently did not have it in stock (Mind you, this is today.  I saw 3 copies of the game in K-Mart's shelves -yesterday-.), he went on to explain to me that if the competitor doesn't have the item in stock, then Best Buy won't honor the price.

I was dumb-founded.  "But I was just there.", I explained.  "They had it!"  "Well, the person I talked to said they don't, so there's nothing I can do."  After telling me this, he went, "Do, want me to keep this, then?"  And I assured him with a notable amount of snark that I was not going to buy it, so that would be the wisest course, yes.  Burned and seething, I took solace in the fact that with just the controller, since my gift cards would cover that and then some, they would not actually be getting any of my money.  Actually, at first, I almost refused to go through with my purchase of the controller on principle, but realized there wasn't much of a moral victory in refusing to use store credit.

Something really bothered me about what he said, though, and it didn't really click until I was almost home.  "She said they only had the regular version.", he said.  "Wait a minute.  The Regular Version?  Of what?  There's no other Origins/Awakening pack-i-Oh balls.  Dragon Age 2."


So when I got home, I called K-Mart and spoke with the lovely-sounding Erin after about, uh, 20 minutes of being on hold, and after convincing her that she was looking for the wrong game, she looked where I instructed her and said, "Oh, no you're right, I've got a copy right here."  Damnit!  She had mentioned that someone else had called about it earlier and this was the point where I explained the circumstances, which, I must say, did nothing short of mortify her.  I could tell that she felt really, genuinely bad about being an unwitting cog in the machine of Stupid that kept me from getting my Dragon-Slaying simulator.

And with another call to Best Buy, they informed me that, since I had been right three hours prior, I was definitely deserving of the game....provided I went all the way back there right that minute and bought it.  "I...really can't get out again today," I explained.  "Best Buy is a terrible drive from here and, in all honesty, it was your screw-up."  Of course, I was speaking to the same Customer Service rep that I had spoken to on the phone the first time and in the store.  Of course I was.  "Well....let me talk to my manager and see if the deal could be extended."  After a few more minutes of holding, he informed me that, nope, that was the deal.  I waste gas that apparently becomes more precious by the second, time, and patience that I simply don't have, to pick up a game I could have had three hours prior because Timmy McFucknugget couldn't be assed to get an assurance on the status of K-Mart's stock.

"Well, I might be in, but if not, then the lost sale is kind of your fault, y'know."  "Have a nice day Sir."

And that is the story of how I almost got Dragon Age:  Origins:  Ultimate Edition.




Friday, March 11, 2011

Spring Disclaimer

So I kind of touched on it in my "I hate Spring" post (I still do, btw) but a big problem with Spring is that the weather is super-unpredictable and tends to muck up my internet time.  I'm on a wired connection on my PC and we had a little issue a couple years back with having a thunderstorm actually fry the computer's modem.  (Granted, this was the Dial-Up days, but still)  So I kind of impulsively take the computer down and offline whenever it's going to storm, leaving me without a computorial (it's a word now) outlet.

Eventually, I'm hoping to have a laptop to ease that problem and make updating this Blog a bit easier, but that's one of those future plans that may or may not occur in a timely manner.  If it's completely unplugged, wireless, I'll be less concerned since, hey if the power goes out, then I just have a non-internet connected laptop.  Big whoop.

Anyways, the whole point of me making this is to say that I may be forced to skip posting a few nights through the spring season when my free time ends up being taken over by "Do other things during a storm" time.  So those of you used to seeing a new post every day, if you don't see one in the near-ish future, now you know why.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Quick Note - Getting Better, Still Rambly

So, I'm finally feeling less dead-like.  Which is good.  I'm not feeling 100% yet, of course and likely won't since it's cooling down just to warm up again later which will likely kill me again, but for now, I'm pretty alright.  Only mildly stuffed up, my throat doesn't hurt, and sneezing doesn't cause my muscles to rip apart from themselves anymore.  This is called progress, and is quite nice.

The other night, I had the bright idea of actually making a backloggery for, y'know, the backlog that I actually have and is quite problematic.  Unfortunately, it seems that they're not taking new registrations currently because they're amidst a site change and the guy running it has run into health problems.  Rather unfortunate, but I guess I don't need it.  After all, I can just meter out my games here for roughly the same effect.

I did manage to make it to the final (at least, I think it is) chapter of Sly 2, but I'll save my verdict for when I actually finish it.  Hopefully I get enough into Sly 3 that I can at least post impressions of that Sunday, but no guarantees.  After Sly 3, it's a bit of a mystery to me what I'll do, since I have far too many games.  I was considering Saint's Row 2, even though I really despise having a gimped version of a game, The Saboteur, since hey more platformer-ish goodness, or finishing up The Lost and Damned so I can finally work on The Ballad of Gay Tony.  But then I remembered my birthday pick-up of Bladestorm, and now I don't even know what to think.  Probably going Sabotuer, TLAD/TBGT, SR2, Bladestorm is the most logical course of action since, I'll be going through rather similar games and then get to put myself into the Hundred Years War without worrying about getting too used to the gameplay and not knowing how to get back to the open-world-y feel.

Of course, in a complete shift in gears I have, as I said, been getting back into Dungeons and Dragons lately, picking my old 3.5 books up and giving them a look over.  Giving me the urge again to 'create', which makes me feel like I should just be playing LBP2 again, which I might still do at odd intervals.  Maybe for my own funsies, I'll make something in D&D (a town, dungeon, whatever layout) and remake it in LBP2 as close as can be to try and get me really into feeling those new tools.  It's an idea, at least.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

White Knight Chronicles on PSP! Europe.

Today, Joystiq and Europe's PS Blog let it out that White Knight Chronicles Episode Portable: Dogma Wars (Renamed White Knight Chronicles:  Origins) is being released on PSP later when that other game, White Knight Chronicles 2 is being put out, I guess.  (No really, I'm super stoked for both games, it's just that I was expecting WKC2, not WKC:O.)  The release date is kind of hazy still, from the comments in the blog post, they guy just said "Sometime in May", which....isn't a full year after the first, right?  *Checks Wiki*  Nope!  July is WKC2's original release month, so hey, I guess Level-5 is stepping their game up some!

No word on a US release just yet, but, well, if there's anything that we NA-people know, it's that there's nothing PAL can have that we can't.  (I'm kidding, of course, since this happens a lot, but still, we should really expect both games over here.)

From what I've played on White Knight Chronicles, making a PSP version just seemed like a perfect idea, so knowing that I will more than likely be able to get it for my PSP which just.....gets so much love, is good news indeed.  So, to commemorate this, here's some music!

I actually prefer the instrumental, but the Japanese opening version really really grew on me eventually.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I hate Spring.

It's not even Spring yet.  But it's close.  And I hate Spring.  I hate Spring so much.  I have allergies.  I have phobias to everything with more legs than me.  Also less legs than me.  I get overheated easily which gives me migraine headaches.  Where I live, Spring doesn't know whether it wants to be hot or not so hot, which means shitty weather.

Spring is pretty much the worst, is what I'm getting at.  I sat here for an hour trying to think of what to blog about, scouring Joystiq for some interesting news (but found nothing I really could make a post about here, or wanted to at least), thought about things going on (friends have been getting back into D&D, giving me the itch to get back in, despite it meaning I will simply build characters and never play a campaign) and really came up with nothing.  Aside from how miserable I am already because my sinuses are getting ready for Spring.

I sneezed so hard earlier my back hurt.  Like, literally.  I sneezed and thought I threw out my back because there was a sudden, sharp, hot pain in my upper back that lingered for about a full minute afterward.  The other day, I bit my tongue during a sneeze and it still is kind of tender.  I have had all sorts of things I dare not speak of here because they are gross and having to deal with my sinuses.

So, y'know, there we go.  I hate doing a post that is concentrated negativity, but it might be therapeutic for me.  Because I really, really, really hate Spring, you see.

Monday, March 7, 2011

This is me doing a sick post.

So, an hour ago, I thought it was 8 o'clock.  Those who see the timestamp will know that this post was made during the 11-ish time range.  So you will know that when it was 10 o'clock, I thought it was 8.

I also thought it was Tuesday.  It is Monday.

My mind is just not with me right now.  So, to compensate for the lack of a nice, happy post, here is a nice, happy J-Pop song.

For those who might have missed it, this is the song that I identified was the one that I heard the last five or so seconds to in my PSP Internet Radio post.  That I have also updated with this song.  But you know what, it's a cool song.  Somehow.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up in Gaming - Feb. 28-March 6

I've teased it and teased it enough so now I may as well finally reveal the games I've played this week.

I guess it really wasn't a giant surprise, I mean, I only showed a picture of all the games I need to play a couple weeks ago (a week ago?  Whichever), which included The Sly Collection, I started talking about an older game (Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus) which inspired this big comparison between old-school and new-school design (and then pretty much focused on platformers), and if anyone checked, I got the Platinum trophy for the first game.  But, yeah, for anyone surprised, then, well, awesome.

So, what really, really inspired the comparison is the design of Sly 1 and all the frustration that it gave me.  Because really, the only thing I didn't really like about the game was the straight-forward platformer bits of it with, oftentimes, almost inanely designed levels.  "Oh, hey, I started and I can see the key, like, ten feet from me, up on a ledge that I can't jump to.  Guess I have to run around for twenty minutes to get on the -one single path- that will lead me to it."  Also Sucker Punch's apparently complete lack of any idea on how checkpoints work.  I can't -tell- you how many boss fights I had to do over and over again because I got so close to winning and then died instantly because, oh, hey, "ONE HIT ONE KILL" gameplay.  (Sure, yeah, charms, but those aren't always a guarantee.) 

Now, while there's nothing wrong with straight-up platforming all day erry day, it's really not what I expected given the tone of the game.  Having a character be an apparently really slick, sneaky thief go through single-path platforming levels that go right through the paths of enemies that you will always, always have to dispatch just doesn't -fit-.  It got me thinking, "Is this what they he always does?  Just leaves a path of unconscious mooks in his wake?  Why is he so fragile then?" and it just really destroyed a lot of the tone that it tried so very hard to create.

What I really did not like whatsoever, however, were the mini-games to get some of the keys every level.  They all sucked.  Oh boy, let's race this stupid van against these other cars that are generally faster anyway because I'm driving a van, but I can also get nitro for some reason to go faster.  And the Covering Fire missions.  My God, the Covering Fire missions.  I can't tell you how many times I shot Murray out of general frustration because he would get to the end and get hit by something stray.  Honestly, they did a lot to try and make the teammates as annoying as possible; with Murray being generally useless, trotting about and cowering in fear at the drop of a hat, and Bentley telling me EVERY TIME to Press O in front of a vault to enter the code, and then chattering and wasting precious seconds by being 'clever'.

Still, for everything I found to dislike about the game, I can't help but really truly understand why people want Sly 4.  I haven't even made it through 2 and 3 yet, but bet on anything that by next weekend, I will have.  And what will keep me coming back is the charm and concept that the game is based on.  (Y'see?  That's where that part of the theory came from.)  I mean, the game is light-hearted and fun, not overly funny, but easy to offer moments to grin about, and there's an underlying suaveness to Sly, regardless of how many times he uses brute force to end his problems instead of charm and wit.  Basically, the vibe I got was one of Lupin III, but everybody's an animal (And let's stay far, far away from that half of the subject.)

So, unsurprisingly, immediately after beating Sly 1, I started up on Sly 2, and immediately was hit with that feeling that you only get when a sequel does everything you wanted the original to do. (Or, at least, most of it.)

The first thing I noticed was, hey, a Health Gauge!  This is a massive improvement already!  And the second thing I noticed was, oh, hey, there's not one single path to go on anymore!  Of course, then I immediately realized that, for whatever reasons, I don't have all of my abilities from last game (Especially and including the near-completely arbitrary last vault treasure that I couldn't get until -after- I beat the game for an equally arbitrary reason) which was kind of a downer.

I'm only into Chapter 4 of Sly 2, but I will say that it's a lot more enjoyable than the first, at least for me.  The open-ish world areas of it with a more mission-based structure (That clearly spawned inFamous' own structure) is infinitely more agreeable to me than going into a level, running and jumping along a path and getting a key seven times to fight a boss that could be any one of several gimmicks.  Really, the sheer variety of the game does a world of good and puts something a little more palatable to a concept I really enjoyed.

That's about it for this week, honestly.  I ended up only grinding a bit on VC2 on the PSP front, and I actually haven't been on Kongregate at all this week.  But still, that's my gaming wrap-up for the week!