Saturday, April 30, 2011

Why Won't They Make These - Competant Pokemon Clones

We all know the games.  The concept is rather simple:  Young kid sets out on a character-building adventure with a trusted pet companion, faces adversity but triumphs through the sheer purity and innocence provided of youth (And/Or Goku Syndrome) and eventually reaches the ultimate triumph.  It's not a hard thing to write, and let's face it:  none of the pokemon games are going to win any writing awards anytime soon.  But honestly, that's not why we play them; we play them for the collecting, for the training, for making the perfect team to match us and take it against the world.

Which, when you look around and see obvious clones of other, popular games, but little more than a dry well for Pokemon clones, it's confusing.  As a Nintendo property, it's guaranteed to print money regardless, but here, Pokemon has established a new level of money-printing for the company.  Two versions of every main game come out, leading silly people like me to, essentially, buy the same game twice, not to mention remakes and the (usually inevitable) 'third version' of an iteration.  We all know companies want a piece of this pie, so it's just up to us to figure why any and all attempts at it went out with the nineties.

It's been a while, and I don't know the actuality of the situation, but growing up, Digimon always just seemed like the "Me too" response to Pokemon.  Sure, it was a little more thought-out, and the story was completely different, but when you boiled it down, you still had little monsters fighting other monsters at the behest of their 'owners'.  So I guess the reason this dropped was because, if my thoughts/opinions mirror the general opinions out there, nobody took it seriously.  Which, actually, is a bit of a shame, but such is how this sort of thing goes.

I'm going to level with you guys here on this.  I have no idea about Monster Rancher.  All I know is that it used to be a thing, I watched the cartoon but don't remember any of it, and I remember friends of mine saying how cool the PSOne version of the game was, because you could get different monsters by putting other games into the console when it asked you to.  Which, uh, I always thought was a really neat concept, but never really followed up on it. 

As far as I can tell, the concept of Monster Rancher is a bit more subdued than Pokemon, focusing more on raising the monsters, almost like livestock, and occasionally battling them.  Of course, as I stated before, I have no idea.  I never played any of the games and like I said, I don't remember the cartoon.  So if I had to say why I think it's not around anymore, I would say, "It kind of is, since a game for it was released last year." but aside from that, I 'unno.  Maybe they didn't want to make more monsters.

I guess the problem anyone has with making a clone of Pokemon is that 1) Everyone's going to know it's a clone and 2) they're going to imagine it's just as, if not more, poorly designed than Pokemon is.

Now, wait a minute, because I know that's a "WTF?" moment right there, since I have claimed love for these games in the past and will continue to do so.  But to say the gameplay doesn't need an overhaul at this point would just be silly, since every game just takes the previous game and improves on it, but never really changes anything.  There's always a clear path from your starting town to the Pokemon League with a bunch of cities in between that you have to beat the gym in before you can go on.  Along the way, you fight members of Team (thing) who are evil stereotypes and eventually beat them because they're clown shoes, end up catching a Legendary Pokemon that may or may not be the equivalent of a God, and challenge the Elite Four which is actually the Elite Five, since there's always a Champion.

Now, I know my primary defense of most games that other people would call repetitive and such is usually "Who cares, it's fun?" or, "When you break any game down, it becomes 'do this, do that, win game'", but Pokemon is a bit different since they....really don't even try to mask the fact that you're doing the same thing, but with different towns and different people.  And for a game series that is guaranteed to do whatever you want it to, profit-wise, seeing such a lack of creativity, or rather an attempt at showing any, is frustrating.  And when a developer refuses to really grow, you have to try and force them to.

The concept is there and easy enough, and while, generally, the last thing you want to do is encourage the theft of an, all-things-considered, interesting idea, this is something that could really do well for someone willing to take the foundation and really open it.  Take the concept of using your monsters to help you get places and make it non-cumbersome.  Take the concept of having 'other things' to do, aside from challenging gyms, and make it a viable option.  Open the freaking map.

Now, I'm not saying we need Morrowind/Oblivion levels of Open-World with monsters scattered about, but you have to make the world make sense in itself.  As far as we can tell, from Pokemon games, the only way you can have a proper Pokemon adventure is by being given a pokemon you can't catch anywhere and a Pokedex by a Scientist who resides in the house a few doors down from yours.  Yet, you stumble across other trainers who have, I guess, somehow managed to bypass this step.  Of course, this means that they're not the main character, but it introduces an element that's never, ever touched on:  Catching Pokemon without actually having Pokemon.  (Aside from Safari Zones which, honestly, suck.)

And that's not the least of the Pokemon World's inconsistencies.  As far as anyone can tell, there's only one way to get to every town, which is normally through grass, over/through fucking mountains and caves, or over an ocean/sea.  Yet, cars exist and drive on roads leading nowhere.  Those areas also usually have some sort of thing that blocks you because you have to have a pokemon that knows a certain move that is the only thing to facilitate you in getting from Point A to Point B, and yet, you stumble upon people who, also, bypass this completely.

And like I said, none of this matters in Pokemon, because the game you get will inevitably be fun like the version before it was (Except Gen three.  Gen three sucked.), because they've dug themselves into a niche that allows them to mix nostalgia with repetition without so much as a complaint from their fanbase.  But I just can't help hoping some day, we'll see something like Pokemon, but without the traditional chains of a Pokemon game, be it from Game Freak or someone else.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Headache and Rambling! (Also some music, kind of.)

My head hurts because the temperature has been up and down all day. Between nearly freezing this morning with the wind blowing like it was, and then warming up later, it just hasn't been all that pleasant of a day, not mentioning that I was out and about as well.  Garage sales won't, er, browse themselves after all.  Which sucks, since that's all I did.  But after having some incredible deals from Yard/Garage sales in the past, I can't just stop going to them.

I know, technically, I should have some sort of statement out there regarding the whole PSN situation, so, well, here it is:  It sucks.  That's about it, really.  It's a big cluster-fuck made of smaller cluster-fucks and it's not going to end well, but it's not going to kill anyone either.  That's about it, really.   I mean, there's a lot of ground to cover concerning it, but I'm neither interested nor willing to do so, as you can easily find the info elsewhere and my opinion isn't exactly an informed or concerned one.  I never attached a credit card to my PSN account, and this isn't the first time a big corporation's database was hacked into and personal information (including, by default, my own) was taken.  And it likely won't be the last time.

Also in the bad ideas category is the fact that I've been listening to Kesha lately, despite not actually liking her.  Mostly because I also don't -dislike- her for some reason.  I guess it's just that she's different sounding, so there's merit in listening, as well as the catchiness of the songs, but the songs aren't genuinely enjoyable, at least not for me.  The song choices for me have been, in no particular order:

(Small windows because they're just lyric videos)

It's just a weird thing.  Like I said, I don't explicitly dislike or like her or the songs, but I can't stop listening to them.  Damn their catchiness!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

I cannot state how much weather and news suck.

I'm sure you guys noticed the lack of post yesterday.  I apologize for that.  I'm sure the news of that big band of storms rocking the, well, east section of the country has spread about, and while I assure you I wasn't in one of the more affected areas (thankfully), it still kept me away, if only because we really should have gotten storms.  Er, well, kind of.  According to every weatherman and newsperson at least.  Sure, everything looked convincing enough, but as northern as I am, everything sort of went south and east of us or north and west of us.

So here is why all of the involved parties suck.  Not only could they not identify this well enough to report it, when they started reporting the (as it turned out, weather that never happened for us) they barely touched on it, and used vagueities to do so.  They didn't do the break-ins for weather alerts, despite basically the entire state being in a Tornado watch for six hours, they didn't keep the news weather-centric for the majority of the broadcast, no, they did the normal news thing with it.

They teased it.

The first news show I watched (around 10 PM, I believe), it started with a 'quick look at the situation' in which he didn't say what was going where, who should be worried about what, or anything of value.  It wasn't quite the levels of, "IT'S GONNA RAIN!", but it wasn't too much more informative.  And when he ended that with, "We'll bring you back the full forecast after this break" I knew, knew that this was going to be a long night.

I do apologize, but I really, honestly, truly do not give a shit about anything you had to say aside from the weather, News.  I don't care that Donald Trump made himself out to be a complete dumbass and nobody seemed to notice.  I don't care that that Senator who got shot months ago got on a plane to go somewhere.  I really don't care that a camera man got a snowball thrown at him by a woman who starved some horses to death!  For the record:  That is not a surprise attack, you stupid fucks.

And then, when the fucking weatherman finally did come around with the weather report (twenty minutes after saying "After this break!") he was only marginally more informative than the first time for a while before he took a wicked turn into dumb-fuck-ville.

You all know this, but these news stations spend ridiculous amounts of money on these sophisticated weather trackers and forecast machines and etc. etc. etc.  Like, this is not something that you should argue with when you spend this much money on it.  And by prefacing it like that, I'm sure we know where I'm going with this.

So, he does the FutureCast, which shows storms moving off around 11 or so and, well, not returning to my region until like 5 AM or so.  And despite this, he goes, "Now, while it's not in FutureCast, I expect some more storms to pop up in this area" (Note:  The area indicated would have moved right over my location eventually) and then provided absolutely nothing to back it up. 

And guess what?

Yeah.  That's right.  THOSE STORMS NEVER POPPED UP.  (-Some- storms popped up, but not the ones he figured on, and they were just windstorms, honestly.)

I simply cannot fathom all of this.  And I know I'm not ranting about something that nobody doesn't know about; we all know how douchey the news is, and there's nothing that can be done about it, really.  It kind of annoys me that I have to harp on this, because with as known as it is, I feel like I'm writing two pages about how fucking wet water is.  But goddamn if this shit is not infuriating.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Blurgh. Content that is not my Content.

I am pretty much a blob tonight with fingers.  I have absolutely no energy, no drive, nothing.  Partly because I'm just tired, partly because my mind's been doing somersaults because of the PSN stuff that is going down.  Between worrying and trying to not worry, rationalizing and doom-saying, not to mention bullshit with the weather, I have just got nothing.  Aside from, well, other things that I can distract you with.  That are pleasant.

So remember when I told you guys Mortal Kombat: Legacy ruled?  Well, two more episodes have since gone up and my stance remains unchanged.  I'm a little disappointed with Machinima's decision to make a 'censored' version to premiere and then put out the uncensored version the Friday following, as it just seems, well, arbitrary and last-minute, since I am fairly positive the first episode was uncensored.  Oh well.  As before, I will Embed here, but I would seriously suggest you to just watch from the comfort of Youtube proper.  Perhaps full screen with a drink and a small snack.  (Since the second episode is actually part two of the first, and the third is, assumedly, another two-parter.)

So, yeah.  There you go, something neat to settle up with on this most awful of evenings.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Welp, That Tastes Like Egg on my Face.

So, remember that time when I was vehement in my assertion that I didn't think a new Nintendo Console was in-bound (More because of the rumors about the power), but then open to the possibilities the rumors created?  Well, now it's time for us to see about those rumors, since Nintendo wants to make me look like a dick.  (Not really.)
To whom it may concern:

Re: Wii's successor system

Nintendo Co., Ltd. has decided to launch in 2012 a system to succeed Wii, which the company has sold 86.01 million units on a consolidated shipment basis between its launch in 2006 and the end of March 2011.

We will show a playable model of the new system and announce more specifications at the E3 Expo, which will be held June 7-9, 2011, in Los Angeles.

Sales of this new system have not been included in the financial forecasts announced today for the fiscal term ending March 2012.
So, now we know that this is a thing that is happening.  But still, I haven't been proven completely wrong on my assertions, as nothing aside from the codename and the release window has been put out there.  Still, after being so wrong on the very idea that they'd put out a console so close to their new portable, it's hard telling what else I'm wrong about.  But I'm totally prepared to say that I was wrong here, since I'm assuredly excited by the prospects if every rumor is true.

As for why I didn't think they'd release the Next Console so close to the 3DS, that much is obvious, but now that, well, we know it's happening, I'm going to figure the reason why is because of a planned parity between the two things.  Sort of like the GameCube and Game Boy Advance, which were both released in the same year.  As we know, certain games had connectivity things between their portable and console versions (The Harvest Moon games are all that come to mind), not to mention the Multiplayer aspect having Four Swords Adventure and friends with GBAs offered.  (I believe this was with a few other games as well.  I skipped a lot of GameCube and GBA stuff, unfortunately and quick research isn't paying very nice dividends.)

The idea that this new controller for the new console is going to have a screen, motion sensors and, well, buttons, lends itself well to the theory that 3DS units will possibly be able to have the almost exact same function with this new Console, if not something more advanced.  In fact, I'd really put a lot of weight behind the idea that there's going to be a lot of inter-connectivity, which, as far as I'm concerned, is a good thing.  I like it in all the ways it's been done with the PS3/PSP, even though some of them have been, well, fairly minimal, so it's a proven concept as far as I think.

Time will tell, I guess.  E3 can't come fast enough, now.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter! (Sort of.)

So, it was a pretty good Easter.  I now have in my possession some rather tasty candies that I will use to cheer me up from the goddamn mugginess of today, and the usual storms all night.  (Protip:  It's never stormed all night, it just starts, and then stops after I have the computer turned off and unplugged.  Like a dick.)  As such, since I don't have much time until the initial volley of thunder starts flying, I'll make this quick.

These things right here?  These things rule.  I am a man who enjoys a good jelly bean, and though these are not your usual jelly bean, they are still fantastic, if mostly because of how different they are.  Like nerds, they have a hard candy outside, these in particular are ridged, not unlike a basketball, but right below that candy coating is the jelly innards you expect from a jelly bean.  Though I'm never a fan of Green Apple and Watermelon (Why don't people use Lime anymore?  WHY?!), I can easily skip those for the other flavors that are just wonderful.

If I were pressed, I would give these four eggs out of five.  While they are delicious, the inclusion of a bad green flavor brings their grade down, and they are rather sweet, thus preventing you from really wanting more than a couple at a time.

These Sweetart Gummi Bunnies are equally delightful, if only for the fact that I've never come across these in my life.  As you can sort of tell from the picture, they aren't smooth like Gummi Bears or Worms (or sharks, if you're into that sort of thing), but the texture isn't off-putting at all.  From the feel, I almost expected them to have a sour kick to them, as it felt like they had those sour crystals you find on other candies, but, in all honesty, there's not that either, just the general sweet fruit taste you'd expect from any other Gummi product.  Once again, the green is not Lime, which is such a shame.  However the inclusion of Blue Raspberry almost makes up for it.

These get a Three and three quarters Egg out of Five.  While I like some of the flavors more than the Nerd Eggs, the texture really surprised me, as, again, I expected sour and it did not deliver.  (I do enjoy sour things on occasion.)  Granted, that's more of a personal issue than a stab at them themselves, but, as the eggs before them, they are sweeter than I'd imagine and I can't eat more than a couple in a short time.

There are no words.

Five out of five eggs.  Despite the package only having four.  I'm going to go eat one now.

Update!  It was so good, you guys.  So good.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Why Won't They Make These - Conquering Games/Wargames

Now, I know the question is mostly rhetorical, since the answer is clearly that they are so, so very niche.  But to that niche, of which I am a part, they are incredible things that have the ability to hold attention for weeks at a time.  So the distinct lack of them, especially now, is incredibly disappointing.

'What in the world is a Conquering game?', you might be asking yourself.  A Conquering game, simply put, is just one of those games that takes you and puts you in the role of a Leader (or in some of the more....advanced? games, allow you to take any role) during a war of some sort, or a period of Warring times, and lets you fight to gain control of the land in question.  Given that this is me talking, the obvious first choices here are the Romance of the Three Kingdoms series and the Nobunaga's Ambition series, but you may recognize these types by other game series like Hearts of Iron or, most popularly, the Civilization series.

Wargames seems to be the better term for this, so I'm going to just start using that now.  But the point is, that there are not very many games of this genre, which is in all honesty, a shame, since few games can really replicate the feel you get when you finally topple a neighboring kingdom by hiring his best men out from under him and invading with all the might of a whirlwind, crushing any and all who stand before your troops who have just been waiting for this moment for months that, to you, were mere minutes.  Similarly, there's nothing quite like the feel of seeing one of your top advisors suddenly rebel against you, raise an army and put you to a wall, leaving you scrambling for a way to pull up enough defensive forces and recall enough strategy to stave him off, lest your whole empire falls to him.

A few misconceptions about the genre are fairly inevitable; namely that there's no market for these games anymore and that, if there is, they're only concerned with going against other humans, so clearly, we need to make it more real-time strategy, like Starcraft.  Quite simply, to quote one of those things we all know of:  "If you build it, they will come."  They may not come in droves, or they may, but making these games can't be that expensive, and it's certainly a more interesting way of rounding out your catalog than by making another Team Deathmatch-focused FPS.

While wargames might just be fun to be played with others, that's not their sole duty, and the quicker we throw that out there, the better.  If there's anything that is becoming more and more distressing as games evolve these days, is the notion that a Single-Player-Only Experience is a lacking one, and you'll only get the real money, the real attention, and the real sales by putting out a game with Multi-player.  And since certain genres don't make themselves too welcome to Multi-player, they get phased out, rather than, well, continuing to exist.

Of course, these types of games, specifically if they're turn based (Like most of the RotK games and the NA games are) are fairly multiplayer friendly, which kind of ruins the point, but, well, hush.  What I'm getting at is that these are mainly Single Player experiences since you were never really likely to find a pal to sit down with you and play Romance of the Three Kingdoms VIII by handing off the controller when it was your turn.  And even if you could, you would never actually finish the game, since it just took so long.  Not that that's a bad thing!

Of course, the genre isn't totally dead, which the recent release of the latest installment of the Total War series, Shogun 2 will attest to.  But a yearly release, (As Napoleon:  Total War came out in March or 2010, and Empire:  Total War came in March of 2009 before it) isn't quite enough, and especially so for those of us who don't exactly have the computers necessary to run the Total War series.  (At least, I know that Shogun 2 is a monster of a game.) 

But you don't need to go that intensive to release a game like this.  Especially if you put it where most logical people would; on a portable system.  That my only option for a portable Romance of the Three Kingdoms game is RotK IV:  Wall of Fire as a PSOne Classic blows my mind considering that take on Wargames seems perfect for handhelds.  Of course, looking up Nobunaga's Ambition earlier made it clear that there have been a few DS version of the series; but none of them were localized.  Surprise, surprise.

KOEI, I talk about you a lot more than I should, in more positive lights than I should, especially considering you make games that I really, really want and then never release them over here.  So I'm going to put on my best 'Son, I'm disappoint' face here and then we'll just move on.

Basically, the point I'm trying to establish here is that I want to be able to play a game on my PSP (or even the NGP, when it finally comes out) where I can have the same experiences I had playing Romance of the Three Kingdoms 7, 8 and 10, and Nobunaga's Ambition.  I want to build forces and invade neighboring provinces.  I want to delve in political matters and plan who I'm going to ally with, and who I'm going to inevitably backstab.  I want to focus on where to put my officers to maximize the development of my cities.  Why won't someone make this.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Quick Note - Storms suck, Chrono Trigger DS sucks

So, because it's going to storm, well, all weekend, I just wanted to drop a note here saying that this weekend's posts may be erratic and/or short, since if I get on, it'll likely be to post something quickly, do a few other internet-y things, and then get off to watch movies or play portable games to sustain my bad sleeping habits without the aid of something that I'm worried about shorting out with a storm.

But there is something I wanted to talk about, not at length at this time, but at least as a preamble for a future post.  The second-best version of Chrono Trigger will be on PS3/PSP as a PSOne classic.  Though it's not stated directly, let's look at the obvious.  It was rated by the ESRB for PS3 and PSP, and there's a version of the game in the PSOne bundle, Final Fantasy Chronicles.  Same page now?  Alright.  We're good then.

Now, a lot of people will tell you that the PSOne version of the game is the worst of the three because all it does is introduce a smattering of FMV cutscenes that amount to about five minutes combined, and loading times.  I, however, as a guy that played Chrono Trigger about 30 times on the SNES as a child and several other times since, will tell you that what it introduces is far less damning than what Chrono Trigger DS introduces:  A new, but worse-off script, superfluous 'multiplayer', arbitrary extra dungeons, and a new boss with a new ending dumber than half of Chrono Cross.

Because, well, that's the problem with Chrono Trigger DS.  Squeenix made both games, heard everyone yelling "THIS ISN'T A SEQUEL" and decided, "HEY.  LET'S MAKE SURE NOBODY CAN REFUTE THAT IT'S A SEQUEL." and proceeded to do so in the most ham-fisted way possible.  Obviously the new boss and ending is supposed to, well, provide a bridge between the two games (as well as a couple other things they added, which were also completely unnecessary and terribly executed).  It fails miserably because it creates a paradox in itself, if memory serves, and is just completely and totally stupid.

I hate painting with broad strokes here, which is exactly what I'm doing by saying, "THIS IS STUPID" and then not elaborating, as I am wont to do, but I assure you, this will all be explained in possibly gratuitous detail at some point in the future.  For now, suffice to say that loading times > Stupid, Superfluous and Ham-fisted nonsense.  Not to mention loading times won't likely be all that bad, considering it's a DL.  Anyone played FFIX on PSP?  For an example, I would use that to gauge whether or not it would be a problem.  I haven't, because I wasn't a fan of IX, but, same deal I imagine.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

On Motion Gaming: Waggling with the Best of Them

So, between the new(?) rumors that the new Nintendo console's remote will have touchscreen, motion controls (Which....isn't news?  I mean, the first was talked about and the second is a given.  You're slipping, Joystiq.  Just because Kotaku shot themselves in the gut doesn't mean you can get lazy now.) and the announcement of the Razer Hydra PC Motion Controller with a Portal 2 bundle, the topic of motion controls is fairly fresh in the mindset of the news-minded gamer.

So first off, let's address something that bugged me from the moment I read about the Razer in the headline.  This thing is basically launching with this thing, yet, Portal 2 will not (er, does not yet, but, y'know, won't) support Move.  Come on, Valve, I was massively warming up to you; let's do something about this, yeah?  I want to like you more.  Anyways, that's just a little bit of a side-track.

Motion gaming is a thing.  Clearly, if it's even penetrated the PC market so seamlessly (ignoring all the Kinect hacks from months ago, since, well, I'm talking about controller-based motion gaming) then it's not going anywhere.  Despite the vocal out-cry against it, I imagine the support of Valve will speak volumes for it's place in the market and certainly solidify it as a staple, at least for now.  So now the question isn't "When is Motion Gaming going to die?", but more, "Well, what are we going to do with Motion Gaming now that it's around?"  Which is clearly the rub, here.

Besides some fairly creative uses, (I'm sure there are more, obviously) a fair bit of the actual usages of the respective Motion wands have been for shooting things.  Granted, while it makes it easier and more engrossing (I imagine), feeding the FPS overlords should likely be secondary at this point.  There's plenty of them.  There's going to be plenty more, and that much being given is a little, well, not disappointing or anything, it's just a thing.  Even when you consider, well, like Portal 2, that's still just an FPS game, though you're shooting portals instead of bullets.  (There's obviously more differences, but I'm talking in the context of motion gaming here.)

I'll be the first to admit I was nowhere near a champion of motion gaming when it was up-and-coming (Nor would I say that I am now, but I do see it as a thing that can be good) but after handling it a bit between the Wii and my Playstation Move, I'm more than willing to say that it is a viable platform to deliver something good, despite the stigma attached.  It's just something different.  Not better, not worse, really not even the same thing, hence, different.  I would even imagine the next gen, whenever it may be, will bring more and more to the table as it becomes a more accepted approach.

So, with all the focus on controller-assisted motion gaming, where does that leave Kinect?  Obviously it's not going anywhere, given the sales juggernaut it's been, but many, many would argue that it offers a fun experience (which could be argued is the only point that matters), it might not offer quite the best technical experience just yet.  Broad strokes, rather than detailed touches, if you will.  Which is not a damning statement of it, of course, but to say that it doesn't need to change anything for a future incarnation would be a flat-out lie, unless you simply just don't -want- it to evolve.

Honestly, I'm sure on some level, we all want what Kinect is supposed to be (insert JPEG of Minority Report here), and if it could deliver on that, it'd be accepted far more than it has been.  But it's just not -there- yet, which is sort of a shame, given the actual implementations such a thing could hold, but then again, it just gives us the hope for the future.  Though I'll go out on a limb and say that I just don't believe Kinect or any interface without a direct input (read: buttons) can get to as fine-tuned as necessary for practical gaming usage anytime soon, which is why I envision the next series of Motion Controllers being a hybrid of what we have now.  While they all have some degree of body tracking, Kinect's is by far the best, but for precision would obviously go to Move/Wii.  Having the best of both worlds just seems like a natural next step.

With any luck, we'll start seeing more and more varied usage of the motion gaming as it grows and extends its grip beyond its current borders, to PC, portable devices (touch controls as well), and to say we haven't yet is a lie, but seeing people excited for it for games other than point-and-shoot types would be a nice sight to become more and more common.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A More Overt News-Dump

Alright.  I am not in much of a 'thinking' mood at the moment, but there are a few new things kicking around that should at least be mentioned.  And while this has nothing to do with any of it, here is some music to listen to because it is awesome.

This is from Dynasty Warriors 7, as you might or might not realize right off the bat.  It is pretty righteous.  Now, with that, let us begin the news!

1.)  New God of War for 2012 (Rumor).  Well, first off, this would be awesome.  Most definitely, at least in my view because, as we know, God of War is a series that I extremely enjoy.  Really, really not sure where they'd go with a new game unless they took the easy route, which, hell, I would play and enjoy.  (I imagine that route would go the way of the Norse, though.)  I'd hope they wouldn't take the route some developers do when they've written as far as they want to go and go 'back' for a prequel (though it has worked in the past.  Snake Eater, anyone?) since, well, they've done prequels at this point.  And something like an AU deal would likely not be called "God of War 4".

Honestly, if they take the aforementioned easy route and, as I said, go with the Norse mythos, I'd honestly just hope for a whole new series that is either set in the events leading up to Ragnarok, or during Ragnarok.  (Honestly, it would put the developers hiring multiplayer people in a whole new light.  Would you like to be a part of fucking Ragnarok?  Tell me that wouldn't be a draw to people wary of an online foray.)

2.)  EA's Project $10 Plan for Alice 2? A whole game.  I hadn't really put too much stock into this the first time I read about it, but at the time, I just figured it was a PC only thing and didn't really, well, think about it.  But no, apparently it's for all three platforms.  So even though I have American McGee's Alice around here somewhere for PC; I could have it again on a platform more suited to my gaming at the moment.  With trophies!  Well played, EA.  Well played.

I don't have too much stock into the game, as, like I said, I bought it somewhere and played a bit of it, but I've never been a PC gamer so I didn't do much.  When I say I played a bit of it, I mean like maybe ten minutes.  And though there's an LP out there by one of the LPers whom I watch, I haven't really sat down and checked it out.  I guess I'm just not that much of an Alice person.  Perhaps, with time, that'll change.

3.)  Everything is ruined forever. (Or at least until 2012 now.)  The Last Guardian, and the Ico/Shadow of the Colossus Collection have all been pushed back to some unidentified date.  While this isn't -much- of a surprise, it still stings.  A lot.  Although maybe by the time they actually come out, 3D TVs will be a little more approachable in both design and cost and taking full advantage of the 3D capabilities of the games will be something easier to imagine.  That would be nice, especially considering that we don't know if the 'locked at 30 FPS' thing that was confirmed for SotC is -just- for 3D mode or static, regardless.  Might as well get the most out of it if possible, yeah?

4.)  Home gets another update.


5.)  Minecraft gets to Beta 1.5 (.0_1)  I don't do a lot of Minecraft news because, well, I don't have the game, and everytime I admit that, a little piece of me dies because I want it that bad.  But I can't have it, not yet, and possibly not even before it officially releases alongside Skyrim, but at some point, it will be mine.  But mentioning this new patch seems well enough since I've watched quite a few videos on it lately, and it seems rather endowed with content.  Not so much as previous updates, but, well, I'm not the type to care.  Content is content after all.

With the new update, there is now weather, including the return of snow (though not endless snow as it was in the Alpha's 'Winter Worlds' pre-biomes), and bringing along rain and storms with it.  Storms seem rather...well, strange, in that lightning is actually poised to, well, hit things instead of just being there for the effect.  Internet rumors (that I haven't seen confirmed yet) say that lightning striking a Creeper (for the uninitiated, it's a giant walking cactus looking thing that explodes) makes it into a Super Creeper, which increases the blast radius of its explosion.  Striking other things, I imagine, just makes it die and drop whatever it drops.  (The most notable exception being that if a Pig dies by being struck by lightning, the ham that it drops is cooked)

Powered rails are now in as well, which seem to make designing large-scale minetracks easier, since you don't have to worry about setting up rather gigantic and unwieldy stations for boosters.  It also provides a new use for Gold, which, at this point is fairly useless outside of watches.  Detector rails don't seem equally as useful to me, but then again, I don't have the game, so maybe I'm missing something crucial.

And finally, which is probably the most/least important thing of the update, is that the new types of trees (Birch and Pine) now drop, er, Birch and Pine Saplings.  So you can grow more.  Why this didn't happen initially is beyond me, but hey, now it's a thing.

I believe we are all sufficiently informed of things now.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

PSP Go: Fire-Sale On?

According to a few places (Depending on where you look), the PSP Go has been discontinued.  Often laughed at by, well, everybody for the piss-poor strategy it was put out with (Higher than the norm, unable to play a small percentage of the games, people overlooking the advantages entirely), it did nonetheless win over the hearts of a few people thanks to said advantages.  The on-board, expandable storage, the nicer form factor, and the extra portability, etc. all seemed appealing if you could just overlook the price.

Well, I would imagine that if this is true, and stores are informed that they will no longer be getting boxes of them, they will start doing their best to get rid of them.  Such is the way business works, of course.  So if you don't have one already and would be interested, maybe you want to keep your eyes open.  Who knows what could happen?

For me personally, I've always kind of wanted one, but never could pull the trigger for, well, fairly obvious reasons; lack of money, lack of desire to re-purchase my games, lack of want to delve into the world of Custom Firmware to -not- have to re-buy my games, lack of enjoying purely digital versions of full-retail games, etc. Still, if the price is right, my 1000 could certainly use a little company, since it and the DS don't really get along.  It'd be a neat little addition to my gadget family.

Update!:  Well, it's starting to look more and more official.  Get those deal-goggles on, gents.

Update 2!:  North America's not giving up just yet.  I think I have whiplash.

Monday, April 18, 2011

I'm noticing a trend here.

Mondays pretty much suck.  I never have anything to talk about on them, since I've either done a wrap-up on all my gaming on Sunday, or I've been playing only one or two games, so I haven't even written one of those.  News doesn't really come up.  And unless I get a lucky stream of inspiration, I usually haven't written anything.

So that doesn't leave a whole lot for me to make a post about.  And yet I still try.  Because I want to.  Yet, I don't want to fall into more of a 'theme' than I have already.  I mean, basically, I just have Sundays where I will sometimes do a wrap-up, and that's about all I'm comfortable with, since I don't want to come on, go, "Oh, it's Tuesday, I have to write (something specific), so I might as well get on that."  Because I imagine it'll become too mechanical.  And I like having options before me when I sit down to write. precisely the problem for Mondays, since those options are rarely there.  Still, I imagine I can find something for Mondays, since, well, I have for about four months now.

I was kind of hoping I'd get a response from GameFAQs guy by now, but no such luck.  And I am still a bit scatter-brained from running against the brick wall that was what I did yesterday.  Repeatedly.  So I can put some of the blame on that.  But it's just been like the last few Mondays, I sit and think and my brain just shrugs and goes, "Eh, what do you want from me?"

I'm on a self-imposed black-out for inFamous 2 and Uncharted 3 which both had news come out today for them, as you might have noticed, so I can't really report on that.  But hey, I can supply you at least, in case you're up for that.  And I've pretty much put in all my cents about the Nintendo console whose controller may or may not be a cat with an interactive touch screen for a face, so there's not much of that well I can tap.

And that's about the biggest things going on today, news-wise.  At least, insomuch as I'd be interested.  Then again, Portal 2 has a bit of news for people interested in that.  I'm sure that'll be interesting for most people!

But, yeah, that's about it for me.  Actual content coming tomorrow.

(This post was brought to you by Stealth-Content.)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Oh my God, why did I decide this was a good idea?

Alright.  So, just to let those who haven't played DW7 yet, which is probably most of you, there is a mode called Conquest Mode.

Conquest mode is basically where they take China, divide it up into little coins to represent different battles and cities.  You've got a mish-mash of Legendary Battles, battles for weapons, "Free" battles, etc. etc.  It's good fun, honestly, and obviously beating a level unlocks the ones around it, if any.  There's a reward for unlocking the whole map, of course, which as you can see might be a little time-consuming.

But that's not what I'm interested in.  You see, they've implemented a few wandering figures into the map; depending on your bond with officers, they'll start wondering between cities and you can visit them to pal around a bit, as well as there being the existence of traveling merchants and Scholars (who appear all the time when you unlock all of the cities.)  The scholars, which is a neat touch I must say, ask you questions about the era in fives, and if you manage to get at least four out of five correct in a series, you get a monetary reward.  Which, now that I'm trying to buy up the big bad weapons, is necessary.  (Black Dragon Halberd alone is something like 65,000 gold(!))

Now, I might come off as a semi-expert of the time, but I'm not that good, as, for instance, I didn't really know the name of the officer whose older sister married Yue Ying's father.  Or whose death made Zhuge Liang so distraught that he cried so hard he coughed up blood.  I mean, it's multiple choice, so there's always the chance you'll get lucky, but we want maximum profit here, as there's a trophy and a weapon in it for answering every single question the Scholar's ask.  Which in turn opens a path for another trophy (getting all the weapons), and likely another (acquiring a hefty sum of accumulated gold over the course of the game) and etc.  So it's not like this is a one-and-done thing, it's a vital cog in the machine of getting shit.

Here's all the questions.

I'm going to assume you opened that, noticed how small the scroll bar got, went, "Holy Shit" and closed it.  Or perhaps you read a little and wondered if there was a rhyme or reason to any of that.  The answer is no.  No there is not; the questions appear in random order, which means the order they're in in that document is so disheveled, it might as well be like looking at a Rorschach.  So I went to myself, "There needs to be some order here."

I don't know if it's completely logical, but I always sort of default to Alphabetizing things.  It just seems to be the simplest method of organization.  So, knowing that the questions were ordered in the random order -of- a random order, I decided the best thing to do was have them alphabetical.

....I'm sure you can see where this is going.

You see.....for some reason, I thought it was a bright idea to copy those things, section by section, into a blank document in OpenOffice, open another, and transfer the questions over after ordering them properly.  The easy questions weren't so bad!  Formatted as they are, double-spaced between questions, it took up about eight and a half pages in 10 point font.  Not too bad.  It went by rather quickly, all things considered.

Then I went on to Normal.

This, uh.....this was not wise.  I looked for a picture to properly convey how bad a mistake this was.  I could not find one.

Just to give you an idea of how big a mistake this was;  The normal questions took up 20 pages of an OO document.

Re-read that.  Here.  I will help.

The normal questions took up 20 pages of an OO document.

The normal questions took up 20 pages of an OO document.

The normal questions took up 20 pages of an OO document.

This would be the point in time where I came here and posted the placeholder post that was here a bit ago.  And is gone now.  Now, you may ask, "Why didn't you simply give up?"

And to that, I answer, "I have no fucking clue."  Maybe it's just that my brain was all

or something.

But the fact of the matter is that I did it.  I did it.  Powered through the Normal and finished up Hard and Chaos (which, by the way, combined?  Weren't even 20 pages.) and then sat back, taking in my victory.  When suddenly, a thought came to mind.

"Well, I did it.  But now what?"  It's not like I can submit it anywhere; it's honestly copy-paste work from the original guy's guide (which, to be fair, is word-for-word transcribed from the game), and as a pure text document, it's worthless to me, since, well, you can't read text documents on a PSP (which is what I was using to check the questions in real-time while answering.).  So I did the only sensible thing one could do at this point:  I emailed the FAQ writer and said, "Hey, I, uh, restructured your guide to be easier to read.  Do you want it?" in the hopes that he will say "Why, yes, of course" and take it and incorporate it over the current layout and possibly give me a bit of credit for apparently having some sort of awful OCD.

He hasn't gotten back to me yet, which is understandable, given it's 3 AM and I sent the email off literally before I started this post.  But I will update this with the response.  I'm sure you're all dying to learn what happens next.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

My 100th Post!

Now, I don't intend to make a habit of making these Milestone posts (This will probably be the last until the "It's been 1 Year" post that won't come around til January) but, I mean, it is pretty exciting.  Four months ago, when it was the dawning of the new year, I kept saying that I wanted to do something this year, to actually set a goal and carry it out for a resolution, instead of not even setting one, or setting one that didn't matter and forgetting it.

You know the story by now, but still, every day I come here and post something, it just brings about a nice feeling that I can't really put words to.  And even though I'm not in this to say, "Hey, this is awesome, this is the 50th post, the 100th post, 150th, etc", not acknowledging that, since starting this when I did, I've put out 100, at the very least semi-meaty, content-offering posts wouldn't feel right.  So, maybe I am just bragging, but hey, maybe I'm at liberty to do so, yeah?  >.>

I'm losing my point here, and I am a bit scatter-brained tonight, so I just wanted to say, hey, it's been 100 posts now.  Thanks to everyone who's been reading thus far and will continue to do so, and if you're reading this somewhere down the road, catching up on the old stuff for whatever reason, then hey, thanks for checking this out.  Here's to more milestones!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Follow-Up to the possible New Nintendo Console.

So with my last article, I kind of muddled my ideas on it into the sole theory that it wasn't going to happen, thus making me not even see the possibilities of it.  After as much was pointed out to me, I started thinking on it, and am prepared to think of it as if it were a thing that was happening, even if I still really, really doubt that it's going to happen in the way it's described.  But that'll be the only time (hopefully) that I mention my doubts; from here on out, I'll just go ahead and say what's being said, and give my thoughts on it.

It's going to be more powerful than the PS3/360; significantly so.  Alright then.  I guess that means Nintendo's going to try this whole HD thing right, then?  Perhaps it means they'll pack in enough power to ensure that games run, at minimum, 720p, instead of being scaled up to that in most cases.  That would certainly be impressive, and I imagine the power to actually do that consistently, without cutting corners, would have to require a machine that is, in fact, significantly more powerful than the HD-Consoles of this gen.  I would certainly hope by the time this thing is getting sold, they'll pack in HDMI cables, though; having to buy them overpriced from a store, or super-cheap online is wearing a bit thin.

I do have to wonder what this means for the Wii Backwards Compatibility, which will assuredly be in it and has been reported to be in, though.  Perhaps a smoothing option, ala PS3's PS2/PSOne emulation?  So that the older games that may have not been designed to be absolute visual treats actually stand a chance of looking like anything but pre-PS2 awfulness.  Which, unfortunately, some developers let their Wii games look like that.  For that matter, though, I wonder if GameCube compatibility will still be in; theoretically, it might not be that difficult, but I'm not sure how difficult the GC emulation on the Wii is, nor how difficult Wii Emulation on this new console will be.

The new console's controller has a touch screen.  Wait.  Okay, wait.  Waaaaaaiiiiiiiit.

I'm not the only one who went here, right?  Right?

Of course, it's not the same thing; not even especially close as the VMU doesn't really have a touch screen.  But with Nintendo's Wii Remotes already possessing the ability to carry a save about to take to a friend's house or somesuch, having a level of interactivity with the new controller is just the very next step.  I mean, it's not like the idea of something happening within the controller hasn't been attempted yet, even.

Granted, once again, not exactly the same idea, but close enough.  Just take this and put it to the new controller and you have a neat little time-waster at the very least.

I can't deny that the picture gaming journalists are painting in regards to this new console isn't tempting, because it is; as long as this new thing would be as Nintendo-Strong as everything else they've released, I wouldn't mind buying one fairly early on, if just to catch up on some of the Wii games I've skipped out on for lack of the need to get my own Wii to off-set the lack of time I can spend with the Wii that's already in the house.  I mean, I own Madworld and Animal Crossing for Wii; I do have a sort of vested interest in the console.  It's just that playing a Wii at midnight and later hours of the night isn't appealing to me.  Once again, we'll just have to wait until E3 to see what, if anything, is delivered!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

E3 Rumor Time already?

Apparently!  Now, I usually peruse Joystiq for my game news since I don't expect them to print stories that immediately invoke a reaction of, "What, no, that's dumb, stop being dumb", yet, I still had that moment today.  A story appeared earlier today claiming Nintendo's next console will be announced at E3, more powerful than the PS3/360, which, I mean, is dumb.  Flat-out dumb for more than a few reasons, unless Nintendo is really, really trying to not be themselves right now.

Now, first off, while I am likely not the person you go to for, well, anything Nintendo, seeing as I've outright said quite a few times in this blog that I'm just not enthralled with a lot of stuff Ninty puts out, save for a few select things that start with P and end with okemon, but that doesn't mean I'm completely ignorant of how they do things.  Mostly because how they do things, when you look at it completely objectively, is pretty much what everyone aspires to do, re: business-y things.

So when I say this is dumb, I'm sure a few of you are already agreeing, because, well, this is not what Nintendo do.  (Intentionally spelled that way.)  This is not the way they operate.

Now, reason number one is entirely because of the 'selling point' of 'significantly more powerful than the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.'  See, because, Nintendo doesn't do moar power.  Even now with the release of the 3DS, it's quite a leap from the DS, sure, but from the PSP?  Not that much.  And that's fine.  Nintendo prides themselves on keeping power requirements low and working within the restraints that causes.  So to say that they're suddenly going to release a console (sometime after announcing it at E3, which, I'll get to next) that is not only more powerful, but significantly so, is just completely outside of the bounds.

Completely thinking in the spectrum of power, I imagine the only way Nintendo could release something 'significantly more powerful' than the PS3/360, would be to follow the Loss-Leader strategy, which, say it with me now, Nintendo does not do.  Once again, let us refer to the 3DS, which might only cost around $100 to make.  The DSi, hell, the DS line, as far as I know, was the same way.  Just as the Wii was.  So unless Nintendo is going to go super-crazy and announce this supposed next Console for upwards of $400 or so, this is not going to work.

Reason number two, on why this is dumb is because of the way Nintendo likes to release things.  They don't like to do the thing some other companies do, and go, 'Horror game. Planned Trilogy. 2013.' drop the mic, and walk off.  They go, '3DS.  Early Next year.  Now let's look at all these games on it.' and play around with it for an hour to make game journalists salivate.  My point is, they do a quick turn-around, so to suggest they've been sitting on this to release it in their own time constraints of 'soon' is ridiculous, which would lead us to think they're going to announce it at E3 for TBA or late 2012/early 2013.  If you see the pattern, you know what goes here.

Just speaking about it in the terms of the 3DS not even existing makes it seem very un-Nintendo-like, but to think they'll release it, again in their Nintendo time, as we are guessing since this is Nintendo, which would put it this close to the release of the 3DS is insanity of the highest caliber.  Nintendo doesn't create this kind of confusing market for their customers, as far as I know. One could argue that releasing the 3DS only a few months after the DSi XL might refute that, but this isn't the same thing, clearly.  And the DSi XL came out a full year following the DSi proper.

So let's ignore reality and create a fantasy-land where this rumor is all true and follow the Nintendo time-line.  We'll imagine that they announce this new console at E3.  When are they supposed to release it?  Anything before February 26th of 2012 in Japan is less than a full year following the 3DS release (For reference, the difference between the DS and the Wii was exactly two years) and March isn't the time to release a new console.  Which means they push it back to, what, September?  So this is a year and a half in advance.  More powerful than the PS3/360, and ridiculously priced accordingly.

Dumb.  Dumb.  This is DUMB.

Now, I'm not saying all this because I like Nintendo or anything.  I mean, I am giving them a lot of credit here, so don't get any ideas.  (Happy, Haplo?)  But absolutely nothing about this rumor follows Nintendo-logic.  So either the rumor is flawed and wrong, or Nintendo has gone mad with power.  I, for one, do not see a repeat of the N64 years happening so quickly, which makes me once again re-iterate:  This rumor is dumb.

It wouldn't be the first time I've been wrong, I guess, but it would certainly be the most confusing time.  We'll just have to see what E3 brings.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wait, there was going to be a Way of the Samurai Online?

Apparently. Not anymore, though.

So, it was announced alllllll the way back in 2005, so yeah, no surprise I hadn't heard about it.  Still, that's a bit of a downer.  Even though it was apparently(?) just going to be for 360, the idea would have been neat enough to work around.  I guess, as Siliconera pointed out, the development wasn't a complete waste, since some online bits were eventually added into WotS 4 that were likely based in WotSO's creation and mechanics.

I wanted to find the trailer for WotSO, under the impression that there was one, but no such luck.  Oh well, just imagine a dozen samurai running around in silly clothes jumping on each other and stabbing peasants.  There you go.  Oh, and put some Japanese words in there, talking about how many people you can team up with and quest about with.  Hell, since it's a dream now, make up an American trailer too.

And while you're at it, dream about a localization date for Way of the Samurai 4.  Since, well, that might actually happen.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Mortal Kombat: Legacy is pretty awesome so far you guys.

So, I'm sure we all remember a while ago when a trailer for a Live Action MK movie went out, which was later revealed to be a pitch someone made by calling in a few favors to all involved to create.  Or something.  Anyways, the point is, it was pretty goddamn good.  I'm not sure if it was intended to be called "Mortal Kombat:  Rebirth" or not, and honestly searching for the goddamn thing proved to be too frustrating for me to care at the moment, but the point is, it was really neat and if you haven't seen it by now, you should watch it.  Especially before watching the following.

Now, yes, I did embed it here, but you'd likely be better served by watching it here instead, since you'll get a better experience, almost assuredly.

I'm sure you can tell by the title, but I quite enjoyed this.  I think it was a bit too heavy on the slow-motion, and in terms of real, meaty content, I'm not sure 10 minute chunks will be able to satisfy as fully as one would hope.  Still, I watched it earlier and then immediately watched it again, grinning all the while.  And the fact that I'm talking about it now, at Episode One, rather than patiently waiting for a few to craft a carefully thought out opinion on it speaks of the excitement involved.

This is basically just me showing you the bright spot of my day, since it's actually been a pretty rough day.  I have energy, though!  So I imagine my lethargy is finally passing a bit.  Or, perhaps just because I flew into a hulk rage at looking up that first trailer/pitch/thing, I'm feeling alright.  Still, I just wanted to put that out there to quell any possible worries.  Anyways.  Go, enjoy Mortal Kombat at its best in years.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Rainy Mondays Suck.

But I guess it could have been worse, given the fact that it was supposed to storm all day.  Severely.  Which I had made preparations for.  Thanks, Meteorologists.  Keep doing what you're doing.  I would say that is why I'm not prepared to do an actual post tonight, but that would be a little false.  Half-false.  It's merely exacerbating the problem. 

As we know, I had to do an "I'm tired, so here is me rambling" post about Dragons Friday (Which, I -wanted- to do a post about Dragons anyway, and perhaps will do another, better one at some point, because I mean, Dragons.) and, well, I've been tired ever since.  I get energy at the oddest times, but overall, I've just been "Bleh" lately.  Which might sound like cause for concern, but I highly doubt it; I've had a lot of stress lately that I think is just starting to catch up with me, not to mention it's Spring, and Spring sucks.

So, honestly, I just do not have content currently.  I mean, I could talk about how I powered through Wei's story on Dynasty Warriors 7 today, but I want to save most RotK stuff for that series of posts that I honestly swear I will start at one point soon.  The big hurdle with that has been the presentation.  There are a lot of important figures to bring up, and I don't know how to detail them.  Do I go, "something something Liu Bei.

"Liu Bei, by the way, was a descendant of the Liu family which has direct ties to the Han Empire" etc. etc., Just describe what seems important at the time and let you remember while they keep getting mentioned over and over again?  Describe only events and battles in the main posts, then make special posts on a separate day dedicated solely to explaining the main players?

The other hurdle is that I haven't actually finished Luo Guanzhong's "Romance of the Three Kingdoms", which is mostly what people consider as the history of it.  Which is silly, since the very first section involves the three Zhang's making it rain blood with sorcery.  But, whatever, I would like to read that and brush up on my actual knowledge before or during the series so it'll be fresh and I can describe events as clearly as I can while making it (hopefully) entertaining.  Which introduces yet another hurdle; Do I present the Romanticised version with foot notes saying "Here's what actually happened here"?  Do a post about the Novel version of events, collect a few of them and make a post about the actuality of those events?

Potentially, I'm over-thinking it, I understand that.  But I have a great deal of respect for history, and I want to treat it, and you the readers, with the respect and knowledge that can come with it.  I'm obviously not really a teacher on anything, but I do like to share my knowledge with others in the best way possible.  I'm sure I'll figure out a way about it; I mean, I'll have to.  Still, suggestions might be helpful!

Speaking of suggestions!  Does anyone know a reliable site with screen-caps of a lot of movies?  Finding screens of movies for my "Popcorn On" articles are a bitch to get.  Because IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes don't allow linking to their pictures.  Assholes.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Popcorn On - The Bone Collector

So I watched this earlier when there was a distinct lack of much else to do, since the heat has really started to move in and I'm loathe to turn on my PS3 until I get some real cooling going on in my room.  I'd remembered seeing this before and having a strong feeling towards the ending, but I didn't know what it was, so I decided, "Hey, Denzel Washington and Ed O'Neill.  I can watch this."  And honestly, I could.  You'll notice I neglected to mention Angelina Jolie, which was intentional as I don't normally care for her, but she did a rather good job, as did most of the cast.  Even Queen Latifa, somehow.

As a quick run-down of the plot, Angelina's character, Amelia Donaghy, is your run-of-the-mill street cop with a transfer to youth services on the way, when she answers a call about a distressed child near some old train tracks.  Heading over, she realizes quickly that it's a crime scene and steps in, going above and beyond the call of duty by flagging down a train to prevent it from running over evidence.  (Which is stupid, btw, trains don't stop that fast.)  Evidence being in the form of three seemingly unrelated things set down in a pile on a track.

With a little forensic-ing, (which leads us to Denzel Washington's character, Lincoln Rhyme) it quickly becomes apparent that the crime scene was staged.  (Let's all act surprised here.)  The crime scene, by the way, since I didn't mention it, was a man shot in the head and buried in the gravel of the site around the tracks except for his hand.  Impressed with Amelia's actions, as a former CSI/forensics cop (now a severely crippled person), he asks her to work directly with him on the case, since they realize there's another victim and the clues the killer had left were leading them to the other victim.  Obviously, I'm not going to spoil it, but this is something that repeats itself through the movie.  It -is- a crime-thriller, after all.

The movie draws you in rather easily with the on-going chase of this killer, as well as building a relationship between Amelia/Lincoln that works, despite the protege angle being rather cliche.  (No, I'm not using accented e's, you can't make me.)  And Amelia's character grows rather rapidly, yet not too unbelievably which is pretty interesting to watch.  And as I said, most of the acting, aside from perhaps one or two characters, was good to me, though I have admittedly low standards (well, most of the time) so YMMV in that department.

As I reached the ending, I remembered what strong feeling I had towards it:  disappointment.  Without spoiling anything directly, (as in, if you're interested, you might still want to skip this paragraph) it does build towards a reveal, but of course, it's not the actual reveal, and the actual reveal is one of those moments where it feels like they pulled it out of a hat just to make sure you were 'surprised'.  It's wholly unfulfilling, though the scene directly after is enjoyable enough to watch.  And after that point, it drops off completely with an ending completely outside of the mood of the film.

Still, everything directly before that part was compelling enough and I don't feel I wasted an afternoon watching it.  Would it have been better spent watching, perhaps, Se7en, Silence of the Lambs or another top-tier Crime-Thriller that I can't think of at the moment?  Almost surely.  But there's no reason to not watch this movie if you're given the opportunity, is what I'm getting at here.  Unless you just plain don't like the actors involved.  Or Crime-Thrillers.  Can I stop saying Crime-Thriller now?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

My Pokemons, let me show you them.

Well, not exactly, as I don't really have them yet, but I wanted to nerd out about Pokemon tonight (without using the accented e, because I'll be goddamned if I'm going to memorize the code for that and hit it everytime I type Pokemon.) and I figured the best thing to do, rather than another "Beldum" type article, would be to show off my teams, or, rather, my planned teams and to go over the process involved in picking them.  (Protip:  Most of them are picked because they rock in some form.)  As I haven't gotten Black or White yet, everything is just in the Diamond/Pearl/Platinum/Heart Gold/Soul Silver area.

Now, my ultimate 'dream' for my Pokemon situation is to have two teams:  An Electric Team and an Ice Team.  Sure, having a mono-themed team is pretty much not the norm outside of if you're a Gym Leader (which, hey, people do that, I guess), but I really like Electric and Ice types, and I liked enough of both that I can't just make a single team with both of them.  Dunno if I'll do both of them in this post, but we'll see.  Definitely, at least, I'll do my Electric team here.

First and foremost, we have a Raichu.  Why?  Because Raichu is a goddamn boss, alright?  Now, I admit, I got my first Raichu allllll the way back in the beforetimes with Red, because, hey it was all new, Pikachu was the hotness, and I didn't care about whether or not my Pikachu didn't want to evolve or not, because I wanted it to.  So I did, and he had Thunderbolt, Thundershock, Quick Attack, and Pay Day because this Raichu knew how to make it rain.  (Oddly enough, Pokemon Stadium later informed me that my Raichu was a female.)

Ever since, I've always mained a Raichu.  No matter what game, my first goal was always, "Obtain Pikachu, Evolve to Raichu."  Sure, it wasn't always easy, but it was always the most important thing.  And it always paid off, in varying degrees because, as I said, Raichu is a goddamn boss.  In Diamond, I found that you could teach it Grass Knot which, for the uninitiated, deals 'more damage to heavier foes'.  Because I guess it makes them trip and bigger they are, harder they fall, etc. etc.  How you trip an Onyx is beyond me, but regardless, it ruled.  That Raichu (named Kaminari for, literally, Lightning God) was nearly indestructible and didn't afraid of anything.

Now, I don't really have this one yet, because I'm thinking about just making Kaminari take a spin with CornerGirl, my resident Ditto in the Daycare Center to send the eventual egg off to my HG game, where I'm actually forming the teams because HG/SS are way cooler and more convenient than D/P.  Not sure about Platinum, but probably.  That way, not only is it straight-descended from the bossest goddamn Raichu I've ever had, but it'll likely come with Grass Knot, maybe.  I don't know how egg moves work.

Next up, we have Ampharos.  Now, I'll be the first to admit, I wasn't a fan of Ampharos, simply because every Pokemon person I knew was a power snob, so they just looked at the straight numbers, and always tried to tell me how Ampharos was better than Raichu.  And I wasn't having that shit, alright?  Do not slander my Raichu, because my Raichu is better, regardless.  Because it's mine.  But then on my Heart Gold playthrough, I caught a Mareep because of the distinct lack of being able to catch a Pikachu for a long while.  I was bummed about that, but went, "Well, I can get -an- electric type at least." and when I caught Mareep, I had the brilliant idea to name it "RobotDream", which is freaking awesome.  (You should get this.)

And as I fought along with it, I grew to like the little guy.  He ended up being super righteous as well, and earned his spot into my Electric team by simply being my Electric go-to in Heart Gold.  Also it is pretty powerful, after all, so it's not like I'm begrudgingly accepting it; it's going to kick some ass for me, so it's plenty welcome round these parts.  By these parts, I mean, you know, my DS cart.

Next guy basically doesn't need any introduction.  This is Luxray, and yes, he is indeed a badass mouse-wolf.  Somehow.  I don't even know, but, y'know, whatever.  The point is, this dude is a bad dude and will not let you forget it.  His purpose is doubly important in the team; Electric pokemon are sort of more favored to Special Attack, but Luxray is more physical and with Bite/Crunch, he's able to flex that in the face of things that might be a little more susceptible to that.

I think I had one of these in my Diamond game the first playthrough and ended up naming it Sonic, because it's got the Sonic spikes going on and is also of the rodent family somewhat.  Sure, given the coloring, Shadow might have been a little more appropriate, but you know what?  Shadow sucks.  He has a shit(tier) game series (were there more than one?) than Sonic, has to be extreme all the time without really looking made for it, and in general suffers from Waluigi syndrome.  (Being made to be a clear foil to a character for no other reason than, well, they needed one.)  But the point is, Sonic is awesome, and so was my Luxray.

Next is the badass Rotom.  Now, it doesn't look like it, but trust me, this thing rocks.  Not only is it only psuedo-legendary (and thus, usually not banned from stuff, I think.  Also, it can breed.), it's an Electric Ghost.  Just wrap your mind around that for a moment.  Here, let me help you with a mental image.  Picture a ghost for a minute.  Got it?  Good.  Now electrify it.  There's Rotom.  Something that, when you think about it in those terms, could really, really wreck your day.

Now, the cool thing about Rotom is that, actually, it's only usually Electric-Ghost.  Being that it is able to possess inanimate objects for a sort of Poltergeist situation, it can change its subtype depending on what it possesses.  Now, this is just in Platinum, which I don't have, so I don't know the intricacies about it, but it can possess an oven, refrigerator, washing machine, rotary fan, or a lawn mower to be Fire, Ice, Water, Flying, or Grass as a subtype to Electric.  Now, I know you're like, "What, but that doesn't-"  And let me stop you there.

It's pokemon, I ain't gotta explain shit.

This one isn't certain.  Electrivire looks like a beast.  I mean, just look at that.  But I never really liked Electabuzz, and to get Vire, you have to evolve one of those by trading it with an item you only have one of (I think), so you've pretty much got one shot with this.  Knowing that drives me crazy, because I know I'll figure out all this nonsense to get it to be the best, EV train it, and end up evolving it at the wrong level or picking something completely awful for it or something.  And that would suck.  So I'm not sure if I want that sort of hassle or not.

But man, just look at him.

Finally, which is in the same 'not sure if want' category with Electrivire is Magnezone.  Which, I mean, look at it, is basically a flying, electric UFO.  With magnets.  Which, as we know, work miracles.  Or are magic.  Or...something.

I'm pretty sure it's easier to get one of these; you just have to level up a Magneton in a specific area (if memory serves correctly) which means it's not as one-and-done as Electrivire, but it still would take a lot of time and effort to do, and when you consider that 1) Magnemite/Magneton aren't even all that good and 2) It's a steel pokemon that isn't Skarmory, I'm not sure if it's something that would fit my style.

Maybe I'll take a look at the electric types again and try to pick some others out, but for now, that looks like the top picks so far.  As in, s'far as candidates for my Electric team go.  I've briefly considered a few other options but haven't really looked into them too much.  And more or less, none of this team is assembled properly, so it's a far-off dream.  But it's a dream nonetheless.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Really Tired

So, I am pretty tired.  Like, so tired that it transcends 'pretty' and goes into 'really' territory, as noted by the title.  But, and as I always say when I have these sorts of situations, I want to put out some content at the very least.  So I thought, "Hey, I can probably grab a few news bits for gaming things and write on them for a bit."  And then I looked for news and realized, "Oh, there's....nothing I really care about.  So nothing I would write about."

So, fuck it, let's talk about Dragons.

Dragons are pretty cool, guys.  As pretty much the universal standard for setting any scenario as a whimsical, fantasy setting, they have also been everywhere.  Which isn't a bad thing at all; honestly it's deserved that dragons are everywhere since they rock.  Sometimes out-loud.  And with all sorts of other fantasy-level icons entering more 'modern' settings (Werewolves, Vampires, Wizards), Dragons have managed to stay just where they are, despite likely shitty movies, which is pretty impressive given Hollywood's apparent need to uproot anything and everything to 'change your thoughts' on it and put things out of their 'nature'.  Because it makes for 'interesting' 'story-telling'. Air quotes.

To be honest, I've been thinking about Dragons ever since Monday, when I did the write-up about Hoard and realized that I seem to be drawn to games with Dragon themes.  Yakuza, Drakengard, Phantasy Star Online etc., and I wondered why that is.  Briefly.  Before coming to the conclusion that Dragons are just that awesome.

Really, just looking at dragons, they're giant winged lizards that breathe fire, smash things, can shapeshift and cast other forms of magic, and are almost guaranteed to be older and smarter than you, no matter what.  Well, sort of 50-50 on that last one, depending on what sort of reference you're taking your dragons from, as some things depict them as the described, where others simply have them as any other beast of the world, but with a fondness for riches.  One that still lacks real explanation aside from ones different writers try to attach to the pre-known idea.

Now, my challenge to you, my readers, is to name me a beast more awesome than a dragon.  I submit that it will be a difficult task, to say the least, but give it a shot anyway.  It's not like if you pick something cooler, it'll make dragons any less cool, after all.