Five ways to request a seatbelt extender

seatbelt-extenders-demotivational-poster

Let’s face it; if you are overweight you have to have a sense of humor. Everyday can present a challenge in one way or another and if you cannot smile or laugh it away you will go crazy. One real challenge for overweight individuals is flying. We have all seen reports from airlines about restrictions for overweight passengers. Some airlines are charging people for two seats and even denying them from flying.

For me personally I feared to fly once I got over the 350lb mark. I was scared I would not fit in the seat. I was scared I would be kicked off the plane, but most of all I feared being embarrassed in front of everyone.

When I began losing weight I believed all that fear was behind me, but when I flew to California I discovered I still had more weight to lose before it would be a good fit (pun intended) for me. While I did fit fine in the seat I still needed a seatbelt extended. The flight attendant was very nice and discrete about it which made the experience painless.

Since then I have flown a number of times and I still use an extender mainly because it is much more comfortable. With that I have come up with a few ways to ask for a seatbelt extender.

The Call-ahead reservation

You ever wonder how people get a kosher meal on an airplane, they call ahead. If you call the customer service for your airline you can request ahead of time for them to leave the extender in your seat. Now lately I have been told some airlines no longer do this, but many still do so you will need to call in and ask. This makes it the easiest because you do not have to say anything or draw attention to yourself.

The Walk by Wink and Point

This doesn’t always work, but if you have ever had someone give you the eye or stare a bit too long at you just because you are overweight you will understand. I used this to my advantage on airlines. When boarding the plane I would give the greeting flight attendant a wink and point to my stomach. Most of the time they knew exactly what I meant and they would bring an extender to my seat shortly afterwards.

WARNING: For the men out there this can be kind of dangerous because if the flight attendant is female and you wink a little too hard and point a little too low you could find yourself thrown off the plane charged with sexual harassment charges.

The Whisper Request

This works when heading toward your seat or if you have already sat down. You can whisper to the flight attendant, extender please, and that should be enough to get you one. However, this can also go wrong and the attendant can either not hear you correctly or repeat loudly what you just said. There is also a slight chance he or she might be mad you whispered in his or her ear so be careful people.

The Charade or Wrestling Belt motion

So you sat down and thought the belt would fit, but it didn’t or it’s so tight you feel your lunch contents being pushed back out. In this case you can use the whisper request, just ask normally or try this trick.

Ever watch the WWE or any other wrestling programs? When they want the title belt they will make a hand gesture of a belt near their waste. I have found this works well to signal to the flight attendant that you need an extender. Again, this doesn’t always work, but it is less likely to be mistaken for something else, unless there are wrestlers on the plane.

The captured animal

This is the least used technique I would suggest because it relies way to heavily on the flight attendants sense of compassion. I am not saying they are not smart, helpful, attentive and friendly, but we are all human beings and we all know that everyone can have a bad day at work and miss something.

Pretty much this works the same way as seeing a deer caught in a bear trap would work. You force the belt closed and squirm in pain until the flight attended sees you struggling and brings you an extender.

I personally would not recommend this, but I mention it because it happened to me once. The flight attendant saw how uncomfortable I was and brought me an extender without me asking for it. Obviously this will not always happen. Many times they are busy and will not notice or they don’t want to assume you need one out of fear of embarrassing you. So just keep this one in mind, but don’t really try it unless you are going for a laugh.

Just keep smiling

I wrote this because all these things I have done, but really if you ask for an extender 99% of the time the flight attendant will quietly bring one to you. I have even had some hide it in a pillow or blanket so nobody will see. Most people understand it is not easy to fly even when smaller in size and the flight attendants are sensitive to this. So keep a smile on your face, be polite and keep saying to yourself, it will all soon be over.

What I have Learned

lifes raod

The great thing about life is if you open your mind and are willing to learn you can continue growing forever. Far too often people believe once you reach a certain age that is it, you have learned pretty much all you needed to know and experienced pretty much all there is to experience.

Sometimes you end up learning what you can and cannot do, for better and for worse. Some call it being stuck in your ways, but that usually has a negative tone to it because it implies stubbornness and the unwillingness to compromise.

Then again, the willingness to compromise or to let things go can be something we should all learn to sometimes not do. I use to be the kind of person who could let someone who is completely in the wrong go. In my mind I did not want a confrontation or I felt that because they were wrong sooner or later they would discover this fact and change or be disregarded because they would not change.

But now I find myself unable to let things go. I learned I cannot just stand by and watch someone spout lies, be racist, sexist or homophobic. It is not that I have learned to revel in confrontation, but that I realized that today there are far too many havens for these people, too many like-minded people who can gather together and believe that they have a real place in society.

I learned I cannot bite my tongue when I hear something that is completely false or twisted from the truth to try and fit into someone’s weak argument. I find myself asking people why they are specifically challenging a point or rallying against a cause. I do not just accept that they are against something, I want to know why they are against it. I want to learn the thinking behind it, the reasoning the justification.

I learned I cannot accept ignorance, willful or otherwise. I want to know why someone avoids knowledge, avoids the truth that can easily be accessed. I have to ask why someone would sabotage their own daily life because of a belief. How can we ever find answers when we will not ask the right questions or even worse, remain silent and ask nothing at all?

I learned it is not enough to just speak out on my own. I have to find other’s who feel the same way and then together go out and try to change things. It is not just about words it is about actions, but both have to work together because many need to hear the word go before they can go.

I learned I had to pick a side. I thought it was possible to stay in the middle and pull what I believed was the best from both sides, but there must be definition, there must be a line and it must be clear. It may be harsh, but those who stand on the other side are on the wrong side and through I will do everything I can to bring them over, I will not hesitate to tell them they are wrong.

I learned you fight every day, not only for what you want for yourself, but for what you want for the world. The fight never ends and you continue fighting until you die, that is life. The journey is the fight and it is hard and long, but if you are fighting for the right reasons then at every day’s end you know it was a job well done, a day well spent and you are ready to continue.

I learned you cannot love anyone else until you love yourself. Strength comes from within and only once you help yourself can you help others. The person in the mirror is the person the world sees and if you are not happy with what you see then no one else will be.

I learned emotions and rational thought can coexist. You can have passion with purpose and remain open while sticking to your beliefs. If you never open your mind you cannot receive the gift of knowledge and if you never open your heart you can never receive the gift of love. Both are needed to sustain life, it is the fuel that drives us and we need a constant full tank to continue moving forward towards our goals.

I learned all things end, but there is no expiration date on the effect you can have on others. What you do passes on from person to person, generation to generation. I learned I do not want to be mediocre. Excellent incarnate means giving your best everyday and remembering you only get one shot at this so make it the best you can.

I learned a lot of things, but most important, I learned that I have much more to learn.

Dub Step Fridays: Rebecca Blackstep

rebecca-black-friday-music-video

Who would have ever thought you could make a Rebecca Black song good? Well our Dub Step remixers at Salad UK did. Check out this weeks Dub Step.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MY8gkiF2PCk[/youtube]

Links~
SaladUK’s Channel – http://www.youtube.com/Saladuk
SaladUK’s Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/SaladUK

The Worst PSA Ever

'The Situation' and Bristol Palin Talk Sex

Seriously what could be worse than the Jersey Shores, “The Situation” taking with Bristol Palin about abstinence and protection? I swear it looks as if Bristol wants to jump his bones right that and the situation looks at her like an ATM machine. The only way this prevents sex is if it is playing while you are trying to get busy.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyWKlxNAh30[/youtube]

Resident Evil 4


Resident Evil 4 - PC Review - Gameplay Screenshot

Resident Evil 4 on the Nintendo GameCube is a uniquely sublime game, sporting some excellent eye-candy, an above average plot and moments of sheer horror followed by extended, yet relaxing, periods of violently shooting stuff. It also is an obvious, major even, evolution of the whole Resident Evil series and the first RE game to do away with zombies and go for the rather more nimble possessed peasantvariety of baddies. Oh, and it’s in glorious real-time 3D.

What’s more, RE 4 has also been made available for the mainstream PS2, which, despite the underpowered hardware, got a pretty impressive port, only slightly lacking in the looks department and more than making up for this drawback by offering a few extra gameplay hours. Kudos to Capcom for successfully pushing the PS2 hardware, then.

Resident Evil 4 - PC Review - Gameplay Screenshot

So, what happens when Resident Evil 4, the same president’s daughter saving supernatural survival horror video game that amazed the console crowds, hits the PC? Tragedy, that’s what. Or to be more precise, what happens, is a tragedy of such epic proportions Sophocles might consider producing it, for Capcom has somehow ignored the hardware muscle of the PC, the fact that the mouse is now (for this deceivingly 10 year long decade, at least) considered a pretty standard piece of high-tech equipment, that contemporary gamers like to have a proper save (let alone quicksave) function and that PC gamers aren’t as game-starved as in the very early eighties, and went on to promptly produce the shoddiest Resi 4 port imaginable.

The game, cunningly avoiding to offer mouse control as an option, is virtually unplayable without a gamepad (even though being prompted to press buttons 1, 2, 3 or 4 can still be baffling) as the keyboard-only control method is frankly shocking (WASD to aim?). Even if, and this will be a very ill-conceived if, you do decide to give RE4 a try just to experience the story and visuals, think again.

Resident Evil 4 - PC Review - Gameplay Screenshot

The thing not only plays but looks decidedly shite and doesn’t even bother to provide a way to exit the game without going for the ol’ ctrl-alt-del trick.The graphics themselves are a travesty, which could a) have been easily avoided b) really wouldn’t be so important if they hadn’t removed daylight, night and fog effects in a brilliant attempt to strip away any sense of atmosphere. Then again, instantly disappearing characters have been added, thus succesfuly adding to the hilarity of the whole affair. Obviously anti-aliasing, anisotropic filtering and modern soundcard technology have seemed to evade Capcom‘s attention all together. And still, the bloody thing will eat up almost 5 Gigas of your hard drive. For what? I really can’t imagine. Probably just to irritate you.

Warning, obvious conclusion: Avoid Resident Evil 4 PC like the plague. In fact, given a choice, go for the rotting away to death fetish, and if you really desperately need to play Resident Evil 4 -which you do- you’re better off buying a GameCube and the original version. Or a Wii and waiting a bit. Or, why not, a PS2. Heck, you’ll probably enjoy playing the offending Atari 2600 version of Pac-Man more. Oh, and to remind you… THERE’S NO MOUSE SUPPORT. Tsk, tsk.


Fallen Skies – Sanctuary Part 2

 

Fallen-Skies-–-Sanctuary-Part-2-1

We open at the ranch where the kids are playing soccer together. When Jimmy refuses to pass the ball to Ben, we are once again reminded that some of the resistance is mistrustful of the rescued harnessed children. We are also introduced to one of the children from the camp named Tessa who developed a liking for Hal. Tessa’s father cautions her not to get to close to Hal and this is a hint that most of the people at the ranch know the deal between Terry and the skitters.

Back at the school the resistance members prepare for a possible skitter attack as one of the civilians Sarah, is due to deliver her baby.

Back at the ranch, Mike takes notice of how much food is available and how life seems easier at the sanctuary, but Terry says they remain vigilant and are ready to go at any moment. Later Terry and Tessa’s father check in on Pope who we learned was forced to give up the information on the 2nd Mass and their location. We also learn that Pope was captured when he tried to steal supplies from the sanctuary and stabbed Tessa’s uncle in the process.

Terry leaves Tessa’s father alone with Pope who had loosened his binds. Pope knocks out Tessa’s father but leaves his alive. While making his escape Pope sees two men from the 2nd Mass dead by a tree.

Meanwhile Tom grows impatient waiting to hear from the escort team and heads out to look for them with Dai.

Fallen Skies – Sanctuary Part 2

Back at the Sanctuary, the group sits down for dinner and we learn Terry and Mike were friends from before. Mikes son Ricky begins acting abnormal asking Ben how he could eat “their food.” While cleaning up after dinner, Lourdes finds a backpack and sees it belonged to Eli.

Outside Hal notices most of the guards seem to be patrolling the house and asks Tessa why there are no patrols on the roads to look for skitters. Before the conversation continues, Lourdes interrupts and pulls Hal away to a meeting with Mike.

Lourdes tells Mike and Hal about the backpack and Hal tells them about the lack of patrols for aliens. Mike does not want to mistrust Terry without more proof, but later breaks into the barn and finds Eli’s clothes. Terry discovers Mike and tells him that after nearly being killed by the skitters they were able to work out a plan to trade the children for safety. Mike seems to convince Terry he will be on his side, but later meets up with Lourdes and Hal and leads an escape from the Sanctuary.

During the escape, Hal runs into Tessa and discovers she also knew of the plan. When Hal and the others leave, Tessa calls to her father to stop them. Mike holds them off while the others escape, he says goodbye to his son and as Hal and Ricky run away they hear the shot that kills Mike.

Fallen Skies – Sanctuary Part 2

Tom returns from his patrol and tells Weaver that the map Terry gave them is wrong and that they were unable to find the 3rd Mass or the escorts and children.

The children meanwhile make their way toward the school, but stop at a house to rest. Ben tells Hal he can continue moving and is faster than the others. Jimmy still mistrusts Ben, but Hal tells Ben to go back to the school and warn the others.

Ben spots Terry and the others searching from them, but is not spotted himself. Later Ben finds Tom and Dai who went back on patrol and tells them what happened.

Back at the home, Terry and the others catch up and Hal opens fire on them keeping them at bay. Terry tells the others to kill Hal and the others will surrender. Just before Hal is fired upon, Pope shoots one of the men with a sniper rifle.  The others fire back hitting Pope in the leg. Pope spots Tom who takes Pope’s bullets away and tells Terry that Pope is dead and surrenders.

Tom gives himself up to save Hal and in turn tells Hal and the others to come out. The group is escorted back to the sanctuary, but just as they arrive Terry and the others are captured by Weaver, Ben and the 2nd Mass who were waiting for them.

Terry refusing to go quickly pulls a gun and is shot and killed by Tom. Weaver takes the guns from the others but allows them to leave and tells them if they make any more deals with the skitters he will kill them.

Fallen Skies – Sanctuary Part 2

Back at the school, Sarah delivered a healthy baby girl and Pope recovers from his gunshot wound. Tom offers Pope his job back as cook, but Pope warns Tom he may try to escape again.

Outside the 2nd Mass has a funeral for Mike. As the group morns the loss of Mike, Ricky tells Ben that it is mankind’s nature to kill and that “we” would never kill their own. Clearly, Ricky does not consider himself human and identifies himself as skitter. Ricky looks at Ben signifying that Ben should feel the same way.

Overall a decent end to the two part story. I do wish there was a bit more to the skitter deal, but we did learn that the skitters may have quotas to get work done and to capture kids. This revelation may lead to some kind of defection within the skitters down the line.

There are only two episodes left and it looks as if they will be really good and answer some important questions. See you next week.

Circus Lido

Circus Lido - Gameplay Screenshot

Circus Lido (1991)
By: Unipost Company Limited Genre: Platform / Puzzle Players: 1 Difficulty: Hard
Featured Version: NEC PC Engine / TurboGrafx-16  First Day Score: ??,???
Also Available For: Nothing

I’ve always been a big fan of platform/puzzle games despite not being very good at them, so I’m always happy to discover a new one, and this is a pretty obscure one! I’ve been able to find out very little about it but it appears to be a Japan-only release which could go some way to explaining that. As you probably hadn’t guessed from the somewhat peculiar title, the star of the game is actually a chameleon! Under your control, it’s his job to clear each of the single-screen stages of insects. To do this, he must lick them up with his long, sticky tongue, and then regurgitate them into one of the carnivorous plants that also populate the stages. The insects are of course scattered around the screen in some awkward corners which necessitates our hero clambering around the many platforms. The only problem here is that he can’t jump!

Circus Lido - Gameplay Screenshot
Instead of jumping around the platforms, or even using ladders, our chameleon friend has a more novel approach – he can use his curly tail to pull himself up! He can only do this with certain kinds of platforms though (the smaller, spirally ones), and they are of course cunningly positioned, which is where the puzzle element comes in. Trying to work out how to get to certain parts of the screen can be a real test of the grey matter, even early on. Some of the platforms are moveable too. These are colour-coded and feature a small gap in them at which point the chameleon can climb up. Simply press the relevant button to move the platform left or right so the climbable gap is in the right place. Somewhat surprisingly (though mercifully), you are not burdened by a time limit here, and even more surprisingly, contact with the insects does nothing to our lizard friend. In fact, most of the insects will actively avoid him, but some are able to attack by firing or dropping projectiles. These do kill him, as does straying too close to the hungry canivorous plants that you have to feed the insects to, but the main challenge here lies in working out how to move around the screens.

Circus Lido - Gameplay Screenshot

And therein lies the both the good and bad sides of Circus Lido. It’s a novel approach to the platform/puzzle genre, and has some great, pretty original ideas. The only problem is, it gets too hard, too quickly! I like to play games all the way through before I review them here, but I simply can’t finish this one. In fact, I doubt I can get anywhere near the end of it! This, combined with the game’s obscurity resulting in little online reference material, means I don’t really know a lot about it. I’ve no idea how many stages it has, for example, and there may well be other things I don’t know about the game that might make it easier. For instance, when you eat one of the basic blue insects (I think they’re cockroaches or something), your chameleon can walk faster while it’s in his mouth, so it’s possible that eating the other kinds of insects bestows some sort of special ability upon him too, although my best efforts to test this theory have proved fruitless so far!

Circus Lido - Gameplay Screenshot

With all this in mind, it’s difficult to really know what to make of this game. Technically it’s proficient enough, though hardly pushing the Engine to its limits. The graphics are quite dark for the most part, tidy and nicely detailed, but don’t vary a great deal (as far as I’ve seen, at least), although the standard background style does at one point give way for a garish, multi-coloured one! The music is quite peculiar but catchy and enjoyable, and seems to suit the game well. As far as actually playing the game goes – I enjoyed it a lot… until I got stuck! Our lizardy friend moves rather slowly around the screen (much like a real one would, I suppose), and if you make a wrong move it can (and often does) result in the stage being unwinnable, so you have to give up and start again. Luckily each stage has a password though, so if you run out of lives you at least won’t have to keep starting from the first stage. When I first played this game I really liked it. It’s original, has some interesting ideas, looks and sounds fairly pleasant… It seemed like my sort of game, but it has just proven to be too hard. I’ll keep trying it as it is very addictive, but unless any of you know any tricks I can try here, I’m not sure how much further I’ll get!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOxeQuzMQBs[/youtube]

RKS Score: 6/10

The Walking Dead: Full Season 2 Trailer

The Walking Dead

Finally we get a full season 2 trailer for AMC’s The Walking Dead. This awesome trailer is over four minutes long and recaps some of season one while showing that the land of despair continues in season 2. There’s nothing more to say, sit back and enjoy it then hold your breath until October 16th.

[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipuXgEQarPI[/youtube]

Jim Crow and today’s relevance

segregation drinking fountain

When the topic of race relations comes up, the knee-jerk reaction is to immediately go to slavery. Now while slavery was extremely damaging far too often it is pushed to the side with many seeing it as an event that happened to long ago.

The issue of Jim Crow laws have been studied at length, however, in common discussion it is overlooked as far as its long lasting effects that reach people even today. Jim Crow in American history began in the mid1800’s. During the reconstitution period after the civil war liberated blacks were now protected under the federal law as freemen. As the political structure of the south began to change, along with blacks being harassed and attacked to prevent them from voting, Jim Crow laws were created the segregate blacks from the state population.

Over the next century blacks were prevented from voting by adding poll taxes and literacy tests. Blacks were segregated in schools, places of business and transportation. There were thousands of beatings, lynches and burning of black owned property.  Alongside the normal effects one would endure under these conditions, one topic not talked about is the effect on the creative spirit. Although there were a number of inventions and patents created by blacks during the Jim Crow era, many more were denied and even stolen from African Americans.

The effect of Jim Crows laws should not be looked upon as an excuse for any failings, but as an understanding of the achievement of those who persevered and contributed to America during those times. Those that rose about the hatred and restriction should be an inspiration to us all and we should look back on their stories to motivate the people of today.

Millionaires: Party Like A Millionaire

Millionaires - Party Like A Millionaire

This song claims to be the official slut video, but what we know for sure is it has a ton of dislikes on YouTube. Have a listen and you just might want Rebecca Black back.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsocXXe1KSw[/youtube]

Sword of Mana

Sword of Mana - Game Boy Advance

One of the more interesting games for the GBA is surely Sword of Mana. Supposedly this is the first Seiken Densetsu game in the Mana series but was for some reason renamed to Final Fantasy Adventure in its original release. I’m guessing it was more of a popular name to put into a title to raise sales. Either way, as much as I loved the original, this one is a great improvement over it. Of course, I can’t say I miss the classic gameboy colors but this is a totally different experience altogether. The game is a well done remake that proves yet again how Square kept milking their old games into “remakes” This time around though, they succeeded in a positive note. The game plays like any of the other Mana games(The good ones at least), and delivers a very satisfying gaming experience. You are able to pick from a male or female character which you will name whatever you want(Name advice, Petunia, Resputan).

Sword of Mana - Game Boy Advance

 

So here we go in a new grand adventure, you will probably feel at home with the beat em up style gameplay it brings as well as Mana cards you can use to summon your magical powers. Sadly, this game doesn’t bring a link cable gameplay option which would have made it an incredible experience(Some of you may remember Secret of Mana on the SNES, three players!). You can still connect two GBAs with the games but only for trading purposes, this isn’t Pokemon you know! The game does deliver you with companions who will aid you on your quest but won’t stay long with you, just like the original(Remember that mage that looked like a red mage?). The game also has a very interesting gameplay feature which involves finding items on certain days which is a big plus as it’ll make you play the game for a certain amount of time.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnE3e13z1LA[/youtube]

Overall, like always don’t want to give out too much so you can enjoy and find yourself yet another great gaming experience.

China Couple sells kids to buy video games

china-internet-cafe

This comes from the WTF desk. In China a couple was arrested for trying to sell their children. Why did the couple try to do this? Well, the couple originally met at an internet café and in a very quick time moved in together. The couple got married and had three children. Their first child was left at home so the parents could go to an internet café to play video games.

After the couple was arrested, they claimed they did not know what they were doing was illegal stating:

“We didn’t want to raise them.  We just want to sell them for some money.”

Apparently, the plan was to use the money from selling all three children to buy more games or gaming time at the café.

Sadly, I am sure the story here will be that video games are bad, not that people should use protection and birth control if you rather play video games than raise kids.

Source

Finding myself in the middle of the Duke Nukem Forever outcry

duke-nukem-forever-screencap

If anything has followed the video game industry during it’s 40 year history, it’s been controversy.  There always seems to be someone willing to create it.

Starting with 1977’s Death Race, a game that would supposedly encourage people to run down pedestrians with their cars, up through the 1980s and through Mortal Kombat to the modern day, you can always count on the media to find people to cry out against something in gaming.

Duke Nukem Forever seems to be the hot button issue at the present time, thanks in large part to Fox News.  Following my previous story against their “reporting” on Bulletstorm, many people were encouraging me to poke holes into their latest attack on video gaming early this week.

As I formed plans to do so, I somehow found myself in the middle of it.  In such a case, a person might as well go all the way.

Fox News claims Duke Nukem Forever’s “Capture the Babe Mode” features violence against women.  The reality of the story is that this over-the-top parody of the “Capture the Flag” games featured in titles such as Call of Duty does not feature such material to the extremes that Fox has stirred up.

Yes, a slap on the butt might still be considered controversial and sexist by many, but it’s not described this way by Fox, which would have you believe players are punching women in the face or something.

They also continue on the whole “save the children” routine they like to push.  One part of their original “report” states the following: “The game will be available in stores and online, where customers must click a button stating they are 17 years of age or older — the only barrier to children buying such a game.”

Really?  Where are the parents here, Fox?  Being a father of two myself, I would like to think I would be able to act as a barrier to my children viewing materials that aren’t suited for them.   Seems to be a common theme that Fox News doesn’t feel parents can or should be responsible for knowing what their kids see and do.

Before I could write a full take on how Fox News presented Duke Nukem Forever, I received a telephone call.  It came yesterday afternoon from a reporter from The33 News, the local CW affiliate.  They wanted a “gaming expert” they could talk to about this upcoming game release, and I agreed to the interview.

Please watch the report before reading on by clicking here and then read on.

Duke-Nukem-Forever

The local news story uses the phrase “smacking a woman around for a while” which is clearly only feeding off of Fox’s overblown view of the topic.  They got comments from me in what looks to be an attempt to be a counterpoint from a woman who heads up a Dallas-area rape crisis center.

This was not disclosed to me prior to my interview.  I was under the impression they had spoken to Gearbox Software, the studio producing the game, as well, but the story only featured a shot of the outside of their Plano headquarters and a statement that nobody from the company returned their calls.

I stand by the comments I made that actually made the airwaves.  It is the parent’s responsibility to keep such gaming content out of the hands of their kids, and for those adults who find it offensive, it’s their right to simply avoid playing or purchasing the game.

What bothers me is what they left out.  The story aired the opinions of the Dallas woman calling for a boycott of the game by airing her statement that “behaviors like that are carried out in real life when people become too de-sensitized.”

I made a statement that could have acted as a direct counterpoint to that claim that was not used in the story, as I was asked a question that used that exact wording.

“There are just as many studies that show that people with violent tendencies are drawn to those kinds of games, rather than the games themselves being the cause of violent behavior,” I said to the reporter, “but the media never seems to report on those studies as much as the ones that claim they cause it.”

I suppose my statement proves itself here, as sure enough the story allowed someone to claim the game could/would/can cause a person to act in such a manner while the counterpoint that disagrees with it wasn’t included.

Bottom line, I’ve played video games for 30 years this year.  Not once has any game ever caused me to act out anything within them.  My police record contains nothing more than an unpaid traffic ticket going across my lifetime.  Anyone who would act violently because they played a video game was already the type of person who would act that way regardless, and anyone claiming such a game could trigger such behaviors is misinformed.

My website saw a small bump in traffic since the story aired, mostly locally, and all from search engine searches.  Some have resulted in e-mails from people who take me as “defending the content of the game” or “seeing no problem with violence against women” and other such comments.

Perhaps this is a result of my edited comments, but I assure you that I don’t support nor am defending anything.  I think any man that would strike or abuse a woman is the scum of the earth and something I have zero tolerance to even hear about.  The idea that my statements about a video game could or would possibly mean I have no issue with something like that is insulting.

I simply do not feel that Duke Nukem Forever will or could be the root cause of such behavior.  It’s over-the-top and quite sexist.  I grant that.  I also note that it’s no worse than countless films, television shows and even past video game releases going back to the 1980s.  Search for Leisure Suit Larry or Custer’s Revenge in the same search engines you used to find my website.

The only thing this controversy is sure to do is sell the game, thereby exposing more people to the very content that some are objecting to.  Good job on the boycott, which I’m sure will double the pre-orders of the game.

We live in a world where too many people blame entertainment or other people for the choices that people make.  Duke Nukem Forever is not going to bring out anything in anyone that doesn’t already have it, nor is any other video game.  If the time that’s used coming up with scapegoats was used instead to help stop those people, it would go a lot further.

Anyone wishing to speak with me about the topic can visit my website at www.PatrickScottPatterson.com or e-mail me directly at psp@patrickscottpatterson.com.

Motivational Monday: Random Encounter

Motivational Poster

Hopeful this will bring a few smiles to your face.

Torchwood: Dead of Night

Torchwood-Dead-of-Night-1

The episode opens with a James Bond feel to it as Rex confronts Friedkin in his own home pressuring him to give up the people pulling his strings. Rex is able to get Friedkin’s phone, but as you can guess Friedkin does not know who contacted him, but he does know they have been around for years.

After their escape, Team Torchwood meets up in their temporary hideout, but just before meeting up with them Gwen sees a group matching in the street in the dead of night. These silent, candle-holding people wearing white paper masks with sad frowns on them are known as the Soulless and they believe that by not dying that humanity has lost its soul.

This sets up a theme that humanity is looking for guidance and Oswald Danes appears to be the leader some are looking for. Danes continues making television appearances as more and more people look upon him as part rock star, part cult figure.

Torchwood - Dead of Night

Team Torchwood is slowly coming together as there is a lot of character building in this episode. While there is tension between Jack and Rex, we really get to see the team working together. Esther discovers a warehouse that Team Torchwood ends up investigating and finds a massive stockpile of pain medication from the drug company Phicorp.

It is reiterated again that pain management and medication will become increasingly important since humans no longer die, but can still become sick and feel pain. We also learn more about how humanity reacts to Miracle Day including the crime of attempted murder and murder being no longer valid. Dr. Juarez attends a medical panel where they learn some countries are putting birth control in the water and babies with severe birth defects are still being born.

At the panel, Jilly asks Dr. Juarez to attend a presentation with Phicorp. Later, Jilly asks Danes to meet with Phicorp representatives as well. Learning that Phicorp began developing and stock piling drugs a year before Miracle Day leads Team Torchwood to believe that Phicorp is more involved than they even believed. Rex, using his personal relationship with Dr. Juarez, convinces her to go to the presentation.

Using a contact-like camera device Gwen also goes to the presentation to gather information on Jilly and Phicorp. When Jack sees Danes at the presentation, he goes after him while Dr. Juarez calls Rex allowing them to listen to the presentation.

Torchwood - Dead of Night

The goal of the presentation is to push new legislation that would allow prescription drugs to be sold without one. This would raise the company’s profits tenfold. Meanwhile, Gwen is able to copy information on Jilly’s computer and Jack confronts Oswald.

Danes admits he does not feel sorry for what he has done, and in the end tells him Phicorp wanted him to deliver a message. Jack records the conversation, but Danes has Jack beaten and the recording taken away. At the end of the episode we see Danes on television using all the airtime he is receiving to also push for drugs to be made available without a prescription and for Phicorp to lead that charge.

Overall, a good character building episode that advances the story along. Unfortunately, we do not learn anything about the “triangle” group, but Rex believes he has them on the run when they call the cell phone and he answers.

I doubt Miracle Day is just about Phicorp and drug profits, but this does set up Danes to really take a stronger role in the story. I still want to know who Jilly really is. Is she just a go between or does she really have some power, either way, a good episode and a great series so far.

Yars Revenge

Yars-Revenge-Atari-2600
Backstory on Yar’s:
It’s a simple game, really. A Yar is this giant, flying insect. Its enemy is the Qotile, who hangs out on the right side of the screen. It’s protected by a shield, which can be shot or eaten by the Yar. Once there’s a “hole” in the shield, you can use the Zorlon Cannon, which appears on the left side of the screen, to kill it. There’s also a small, slow-moving missile that can kill you. It follows you relentlessly, like the Terminator. There’s a “neutral zone” in the middle of the screen, which will save you from the missile, but not the Qotile’s main weapon..the deadly “swirl”. The swirl is like a can of Raid. Kills Bugs Dead. At certain intervals, the Qotile will turn different colors and periodically shoot out toward the Yar. A really cool feature (and one you will NEED to use) is that Yar can fly through the top of the screen and “pop” out of the bottom, or vice-versa. The missile or swirl cannot do this.

OBJECTIVE: To reach 1,000,000 points, turning the score back to zero, and getting the revenge for the Yars.

I fire it up, and it still has that cool background music. Sounds a bit like an old refrigerator droning on and on before it dies.
Yar moves around very quick and smoothly, controls are nice.
You get more points for eating the shield than shooting, so I’m going to get in close as much as possible.

BLEEPBLOOP!
ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED 40 G- COOL HAND
(Eat 50 pieces of shield)

After there’s a hole in the shield, you have a couple of options: You can continue eating the shield for more points, or get right to the BIG points. It’s 1000 to shoot the Qotile while he’s sitting there; 2000 to wait until he turns into the swirl; or 6000 points to shoot him while he’s shooting toward you. The risk/reward of shooting him in mid-air is the way I like to go for a big reason: This is the only way to get a “free man”. You will max out with 9 lives, but you’ll need them.
Yars-Revenge-Atari-2600

I’m out of practice a bit, but I opt to eat a little shield, head back towards the left side of the screen, then wait for the swirl to turn red. After the color change, he’ll “swirl” in place for a second or two (2000 points), then attack. I have to time the Zorlon Cannon just right, then move out of the way so I’m not hit by it (Yes, you can kill yourself with your weapon)….AARRRGGHH!!!!! Got me! I am a little out of practice.

BLEEPBLOOP!
ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED 30 G- MAN IN BLACK
(Go Down in a Burning Ring of Fire)

After I get the hang of it, and the timing down, I hit my first flying swirl for 6000 points!

BLEEPBLOOP!
ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED 50 G- JUST LIKE SHOOTING WOMP RATS
(Get your first moving kill)

There’s a lot of repeating until you reach 70,000 points. This is when the shield will turn from orange to blue. Now, the swirl will come at you 3 times more frequently. The missile will continually get faster and more relentless throughout the game, so now you have to use some skill.
I get on a roll and start knocking them out.

BLEEPBLOOP!
ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED 50 G- KESSEL RUNNER
(Destroy 2 swirls in less than 12 seconds)

This continues until I reach 150,000 points. The shield turns gray. The good part about this milestone is the swirl will go back to shooting at you at its normal frequency. The bad news…it now acts as a guiding missile, taking a 90 degree turn toward you.
The strategy here takes quite a bit of skill and hand/eye coordination. I mentioned before about using the top-to-bottom “gateway”. You’ll have to now or you’ll never survive. The idea is to be at the top when swirl shoots, then go through to the bottom. When the swirl turns straight down towards you, fire your cannon to time a direct hit. Don’t forget to move right quickly to avoid the 3-way collision. After I get the pattern down, it becomes fairly easy.
Yars-Revenge-Atari-2600

BLEEPBLOOP!
ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED 100 G- MAVERICK, YOU HAVE THE NEED FOR SPEED
(Reach the quickest level of gameplay)

At the 230,000 point mark, the guiding swirl remains, but the frequency is back up the 3 times normal. It’ll stay that way for the duration of the game.
It feels like I’m going to break my joystick, but I zig and zag this way for a while.
I lose a life on occasion, but after about an hour or so of game time, I finally turn it over.

BLEEPBLOOP!
ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED 200-G YOU ARE THE LAST STARFIGHTER
(Singlehandedly wipeout the entire Qotile fleet)

Nice to see I’ve still got it.

I grade on a 0-2 scale in 5 categories, with a max score of 10.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvjajVf3BEc[/youtube]

GRAPHICS/VISUALS:2
Pretty fantastic, with bright colors and a cool-looking, flying Yar. The explosion after a Qotile hit is a full-screen death-rainbow.

AUDIO/MUSIC:2
Background sounds are ominous. Unique sounds for Yar eating, swirl shooting, and explosions.

CONTROLS:2
Yar moves fluidly and easily with just a simple joystick. 1-button to fire.

FUN FACTOR:2
Off the charts for me personally. Insect vs. alien combat for universe supremacy.

REPLAY VALUE:2
I could pop this game in for a while every day. Even after you’re good enough to turn over the score, the fun factor makes this one of the best 2600 games ever produced.

The Walking Dead Season 2 Teaser Trailer

The Walking Dead

The awesome zombie series from AMC, The Walking Dead is back this October. Check out this teaser for season2!

[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUqDgJcbcwE[/youtube]

Picture of the Day: Ebay Revenge

You’ve seen those commercials where a girl is selling all of her ex’s stuff or tossing it out a window. Well, this is the 21 century way to do it. Here we have an eBay auction for a men’s watch, but read the description and you will really get the whole story.

Ebay POD

Dubstep Fridays: Swagga in the Rain

singing-in-the-rain

We here at Obscure Internet have a thing for Dubstep. For those that do not know it is in a nutshell a video remixed to go with Dubstep dance music. We believe everyone should dance on Fridays so we will be bringing you new ones each week.

This dubstep features Gene Kelly from Singing in the Rain and honestly, it is one of our favorites.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOGi_OxTJ4M[/youtube]

Thanks to Salad UK for the video. All relevant information below is from their YouTube page.

Become a fan!
http://www.facebook.com/SaladUK
Tweet it up!
http://twitter.com/saladuk
Be my friend 😀
http://www.facebook.com/AddSaladUK
Track:
Excision & DatsiK – Swagga
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpAePSP-ni4

Brain Blackout: The war against the Media

cable news

I remember having a discussion with a friend of mine. I was trying to explain to him how Santa Claus was not real. I told him it was impossible for a man to deliver all those presents in one night and had proof that his parents had bought him those Charismas presents. He did not want to hear it, sticking his fingers in his ears he closed his eyes and started repeating; “I’m not listening!”

I was ten and he was six. A reaction like that would look pretty silly as an adult, but the way some people rally against the media and the internet, it isn’t far off. Sure, there is a lot of miss information out there and the truth is our news today is much less true journalism and much more reality television. With that said however, the idea some people have of tuning out news altogether, to me at least, is much more sinister than just avoiding trashy programming.

I like watching programs about slavery times and the period of Jim Crow. For me, I like to see how people reacted in both historically accurate recounts of those times and the social commentary in faction during that time period. A friend once asked me why I watched that stuff all the time, why do I read blogs from people who are clearly racist and hateful. My answer was, I read and I watch so I can learn and understand from all angles. I believe it gives me a better perspective and increases my knowledge on the subject.

Recently the trend for some is to scream at the top of their lungs that the media is bad. There are some out there that would have you tune out to it all. The television is bias, the internet is full of lies and evil, and the books are written by socialists. Pretty much they are asking you to either get all your information from them, because they are the only ones who are telling the truth, or that you remain ignorant and allow others to tell you what you need to know.

As far as I am concerned this is another form of book burning. If you can convince someone that everything they read, watch and listen to is bad, then that will severely limit their sources to educate themselves. What you will be left with is a large portion of American’s who when you try to explain why what they heard from their one source is wrong, they will put their fingers in their ears, closes their eyes and say; “I’m not listening!”

Everyone knows knowledge is power; it is why it was once illegal to teach the slaves. In the past many communities would shun anyone who tried to educate the people and science was nothing but the devils lies. This kept the people closed minded and out of touch which allowed their message to be the only one heard.

There are people out there today who still believe Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attacks. There are people who believe President Obama was not born in America and if you try to educate them and show them proof they have, to them, the perfect defense. “The mass media is full of lies!”

I believe my life has been enriched because I spent a lot of time with different cultures. I learned from different people with different beliefs and ideas. Even when reading the blog of a self-professed racist I can learn something that can be useful. If nothing else, I am exposing myself to different views, which I believe, is an excellent way to educate one’s self.

Unfortunately, with all the progress we have made with technology and the ability to access information and education in seconds, there are some who are turning away because they believe the information out there is false and detrimental to them.

Perhaps life is easier that way. Often it is simpler to not explain your beliefs to others. What you think is right, is right, and no one can tell you otherwise. Just like many of our parents use to say; it is because I said so, or, that is just the way it is.

That is not good enough for me. Yes, there is a lot of misinformation on the internet. There is bias on the television and lies on the radio, but for me to close myself off because of those truths would be detrimental to what I want in life, to learn, to explore and to understand. I refuse to turn off and turn out. I will listen even if I do not agree because I may still learn something. The worst question is the one that is not asked and the best answers are useless if there is no one to hear them.

8 more classic SNK games now available

NeogeoStation_logo

8 more classic SNK games now available

The Playstation store is really upping its classic gaming cred. Available now you can download 8 pre-NEO GEO arcade classics which include:

OZMA WARS
Fight against UFOs, meteors, comets, and dock with the mothership before your energy runs out in SNK’s first arcade game originally released in 1979. Ozma Wars stands out as the second released vertical shooting arcade game, but is also known as the first game with disparate levels!

SASUKE vs COMMANDER
Play as Sasuke, who must protect the Shogun from Ninja in this 1980 classic arcade “gallery shooter”, one of the first games to feature bosses!

VANGUARD
VANGUARD, famous for being one of the first scrolling shooters ever made, was originally released in 1981. Shoot your enemies in all four directions or get an energy pod and ram them in this classic arcade game!

MARVIN’S MAZE
Help Marvin defend his Maze from the terrible Robonoids in this cute and addictive arcade puzzle-action game, originally released in 1983.

HAL 21
As Captain Clain, attack enemies in the air and bomb ground targets on your way to the boss in this classic shooting title originally released in 1985.

ATHENA
Join Athena, Princess of the Kingdom of Victory as she opens the “Forbidden Door” and descends into a world of fantasy in this classic platform arcade game originally released in 1986.

IKARI WARRIORS

As colonel turned mercenary Ralf, use your machine gun, grenades, and jump in tanks to defeat countless foes. Infiltrate the enemy base and complete your mission in this ’80s run-and-gun mega-hit 

GUERRILLA WAR

Enter the jungle and ruined cities of a tropical island to overthrow its tyrannical dictator, and liberate the nation held in his grip. Don’t forget to rescue your captured comrades along the way! Hail the heroes of the Revolution!

All of these titles are only $2.99 on the PlayStation Store.

Nyan Cat

NyanCat

This reminds me of some of those classic 8-bit themes from my early gaming days and mixed with this Gif its just additive as hell. I mean are they brilliant or high or both, either way, this is awesome and makes our list of Best of the Internet.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QH2-TGUlwu4[/youtube]

Gamer Profile: Patrick Scott Patterson

Lode_Runner_(NES)

Name: Patrick Scott Patterson

Company: PatrickScottPatterson.com

Title: Owner, Multimedia personality

Favorite Classic Game: Lode Runner

Quote on why it is your favorite: “It requires quick reaction, higher level thinking and tons of levels.”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukUPa_FmoGY[/youtube]

FUCK YOU, CAPCOM! YOU ROBOT KILLING BASTARDS!


Yeah! That’s the name of this article! FUCK YOU, CAPCOM!

Whoa, whoa, calm down there, buddy! Take a breather and tell us what’s wrong.

You want to know what’s wrong, readers? Are you deaf? Are you daft? Stupid? Or just plain retarded? Didn’t you hear? They are cancelling the Mega Man franchise! The Mega Man franchise! The whole goddamn thing! Do you even-

So what? Mega Man has been dead for awhi-

Look At That GQ Smile

Don’t you say it! Don’t you dare even say that blasphemous shit! Mega Man is as healthy and as vibrant as ever! Mega Man Network seemed to sell well amongst the little ones! Mega Man 9 & 10 were a great homage to the past and beginnings of our rock n’ roll android hero! Mega Man Zero and ZX kept to the hardcore, instant death pitfall, metal crunching insanity of the old Mega Man X style of game play. The Zero series was the most badass installment for the franchise outside of all the stupid ELF shit!

Umar, Mega Man was cool on the NES. Nothing about the franchise is-

Did I say you could speak, smegma breath? Did you even play Marvel VS Capcom 3? Do you watch the tournaments for the game? Do you know who is one of the most badass characters chosen? That’s right. It isn’t Wesker or Arthur! It’s the Maverick-fucking Reploid, Zero! How can you compete against a robot with a plasma gun and a lightsaber? How? You can’t even concoct an answer for that kind of shit! Even EMPs don’t do a thing to him.

I see your point. That does sound pretty darn bad ass!

Thank you! I’m glad we’ve come to an understanding on the travesty set before us!

Looks Like You Won, Wily!

Capcom… what the fuck, man? Why are you doing this shit to me? My daughter is due in a couple of days. How am I going to explain this to her? “Daddy?”, she’s going to ask me, “Why aren’t there any games with super fighting robots? Perhaps ones with androids that thwart the plans of a comically evil mad scientist who time and time again proves he is untrustworthy. Why hasn’t this existed?” After a pause that thickens the air she will look at me baffled. “Daddy? Why are you crying?”

This is like telling me Disney World is closing down. Do you fucking grasp the literal hole you’ve placed in my heart? I went to the doctor and they told me I have a HOLE which shouldn’t be there in my heart! Thanks for handing out my death certificate, you reapers of childhood dreams! Thanks for killing away Mega Man while Sonic the Hedgehog thrives in the festering mounds of shit it has enterprised on.

I can’t handle this insanity, Capcom. I don’t even know what else to tell you!

“Good luck with your future endeavors!” No, I wouldn’t wish you safe tidings on your journey without Mega Man.

“I hope it all turns out well.” We both know this would be a lie pouring out between the gaps of my teeth.

“Please bring back Mega Man!” As much as I despise you right now, as much as my stomach twists in knots, as much as my blood boils in unbridled wrath, I know pleading won’t bring back Mega Man. I’m realistic about this kind of shit. You just don’t care. You’ve lost money and cut your losses. Mega Man isn’t cool right? It’s all about Lost Planets, Ace Attorneys, and Street Fighters. No room in your hearts for an android boy and his dog Rush? It’s fine. You may kill one of the greatest heroes of all time but you’ll never kill off Dr. Wily’s Stage song in Mega Man 2. That sweet harmony will always resonate in my heart and echo within my soul forever!

But seriously, though…

Fuck you!

The New Characters of UMvC3. Wait, Phoenix Wright?

[youtube id=”UPtEQCVRy6Q” width=”633″ height=”356″]

Jumping back onto the subject, why did Capcom choose such a character to add into a fighting game? Is it truly the fanbase? How will he fight? There have been other characters the highly acclaimed game developer morphed into fighters, right?~Lady Death

The New Characters of UMvC3. Wait, Phoenix Wright?

Early this morning, EventHubs revealed much information about “Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3”, a $40 upgrade/downgrade to its predecessor depending on opinion. They mention a “spectator mode” in which players may finally see online matches with others, an improvement of “the game’s balance and online functionality”, and 12 new characters.

Phoenix Wright

The Characters Announced

When at first EventHubs only posted the next 4 heroes or villains, a leak was released of the next 8. It was then an official article was written and posted not long after. The characters include Strider who was also in MvC2, and many other completely new characters to the Marvel vs. Capcom series like Virgil from Devil May Cry 3 and…Nemesis? With Nemesis included there are now 4 characters of the Resident Evil series included in the game. One character in particular surprised me with the leak: Pheonix Wright even after all of the speculation. As a quick summary Wright is a lawyer in the popular “Phoenix Wright” series that eventually moved from the Nintendo DS to the Nintendo Wii. One of his most defining characteristics is this “Objection!” trademark in which he exaggerates his call during court:

Jumping back onto the subject, why did Capcom choose such a character to add into a fighting game? Is it truly the fanbase? How will he fight? There have been other characters the highly acclaimed game developer morphed into fighters, right?

A Note on EventHubs

EventHubs has been accepted as one of the central news stations for the Capcom fighting game scene. The lastest and greatest is posted there.

For your entertainment or possible disappointment, here is the link to the leaked characters:

Ruh Roh, Raggy.

and with the newest trailer of UMvC3 with Strider and the others:

According to speculation, the 13th and 14th characters will be DLC, downloadable content. Oh, also, that they could be Proto Man and Mega Man X from the Megaman series.

DiRT 3

DiRT 3 Review by Honorabili

dirt3

One Sentence Review:
“They could have just released a bunch of DLC tracks for DiRT 2 but this is a more polished game (even if just by a little)”

Overall Score:
8 out of 10

Overview & My History With This Game:
Welcome to the third installment of DiRT. If you’re not familiar with DiRt feel free to read my review of DiRT 1 and DiRT 2. The DiRT series are a highly successful series of racing games based on the rally racing discipline, brought to us by the racing game masters at Codemasters. Like previous DiRT games, it offers both modern and retro rally cars.

Dirt 3 America Fuck Yeah
Dirt 3 America Fuck Yeah

There are different kinds of races such as rally, trailblazer, head 2 head, rally cross, land rush, and gymkhana. Rally is a standard rally race, point to point where you race from the beginning to the end seeing who gets there in the least amount of time, with the help of a navigator. Traiblazer is the same thing except you race super rally cars (700+ HP usually) and have no navigator to tell you where to turn. Head 2 Head usually consists of running on two separate lanes in a closed circuit to see who will get to the finish line first. Rally Cross also involved racing in a closed circuit track, with more open tracks thank head to head, and you are race next to other cars with full contact. Land rush is the same thing except with trucks and buggies. Gymkhana is a stunt discipline which involves doing stuff like making your car jump, do donuts, break obstacles, drift, etc. The current world champion is Ken Block and he is INSANE as seen here:

The game consists of a single player campaign which is rather short and the remainder of the game consists of playing it online in multiplayer matches. Overall, I recommend for you to try the rally, trailblazers, and head 2 head disciplines while playing it online if not you’ll get a bunch of 12 year olds that will do nothing but crash into you if you’re winning, and usually crashing is turned off in the manner that Trackmania does it. This is HIGHLY inaccurate and in real life would result in a disqualification from a race. This is racing, not demolition derby (although that’s fun, there’s other games specifically for that).

Dirt 3 1st place
Dirt 3 1st place

You race both the single player campaign and multiplayer campaign accruing reputation and fame (each mode’s way of saying XP) which unlocks more stuff in the game (mainly teams, not tracks or DLC cars). My beef with the game is that you keep gaining different racing teams and sometimes some cars but you will NEVER be able to unlock the cars and tracks they’re now FORCING you to buy via DLC. That’s really upsetting especially when I found out that I couldn’t get to drive my beloved Lancia Stratos.

Dirt 3 Alpine Renault
Dirt 3 Alpine Renault

I’ll say a good thing about the multiplayer though: it is usually much harder than playing against the computer. It’s fun to talk smack with online players. A lot of Europeans seem to be playing this game as I’m often stuck racing against Germans. =P

Dirt 3 Audi
Dirt 3 Audi

I got DiRT 3 because I had bought an ATI 6870 video card and the game came bundled with it. A DVD did not come with it but instead a code for me to sign up for some AMD promo over at this site which after entering the promo code they provided me with a code that added the game to my Steam account. This seems to be a standard method of distribution these days for bundled games and gifted games, especially since platforms like Steam dominate and soon physical media will be a thing of the past.

Dirt 3 Champion
Dirt 3 Champion

Fun Factor & Replayability:
The variety of cars plus different modes of ranked online playing make this both a fun and very replayable game. The single player mode is rather short and I get the feeling that they are trying to force-feed DLC down our throats (the current trend in gaming).

Dirt 3 Eat My Dust
Dirt 3 Eat My Dust

Fun Factor is definitely high since this game has a TON of historical rally vehicles, which I’d rather play than space age modern rally monsters. My favorite ones are the rally super cars like the Toyota Tundra that were insane machines back then and still today. I give Fun Factor a score of 8 out of 10.

Dirt 3 Fighting For First Place
Dirt 3 Fighting For First Place

Replayability will mainly come in the form of Multiplayer. I have a feeling that eventually if you want to keep playing and having fun you will need to start buying some of the DLC, especially new tracks and cars. The game comes with what I consider to be a very limited selection of tracks. Sure, the reverse of the tracks is available but even DiRT 2 had more tracks. I really don’t like any DLC especially since this game pretty much just came out and they’re already trying to get your money. To me that’s like releasing an incomplete game and then charging people for patches and updates. Replayability gets a score of 7 out of 10.

Dirt 3 Flying High
Dirt 3 Flying High

Difficulty & Difficulty Versatility:
You can now customize the difficulty of the game per race much better than before. This level of scalability lets you set the handicap at which to play and makes the game a lot more enjoyable, especially for both beginners and hardened racing game veterans. I wish they would have made the crashing and damage a LOT more realistic. If it weren’t for that I’d give it nearly a perfect score. Difficulty gets an 8 out of 10 and Difficulty Versatility gets a score of 10 out of 10.

Dirt 3 Ford
Dirt 3 Ford

Value:
I got this game for free so it was an amazing value to me. Rather than say how much it costs, from now on I’ll just say what’s the most I would pay for it. That amount would be $20. I would also say pay more for it if you are a BIG FAN of rally racing and would love to play a game with lots of modern and old rally cars.

Dirt 3 Hyundai PM 580
Dirt 3 Hyundai PM 580

Sound:
The sound effects are realistic, just like in the previous games, maybe slightly better. I give sounds a score of 10 out of 10.

Music:
The music is amazing but again, I guess Codemasters doesn’t read my reviews for all their games: you can only hear it in the menu and never during the racing. That kind of makes the game boring for most people who are not dedicated racing game players. The techno/electronica music is wasted like that. Other than that I give the music a score of 9 out of 10, especially the electronica. Rock music shouldn’t be in a game unless it’s heavy metal or it’s classic rock and the game is about muscle cars.

Check out one of the best songs (South Central – Demons) from the game here:

Stability/Reliability:
This game actually ran really well, even on my machine with a damaged ATI 3870. Even when the video card crashed, the game kept running fine 99% of the time. It never crashed at all, not even while alt tabbing like crazy. I ran the game on a ten dollar video card and even alt-tabbing with this piece of shit, the game never crashed. I give Stability/Reliability a score of 10 out of 10.

Controls:
You can customize them as much as you want so even playing with a keyboard is a breezes. I played DiRT 3 at E3 2011 with different controllers and the game supports a large variety of them. Max score of 10 out of 10 is deserved.

Graphics & Performance:
The game runs like a beast even on my oldest computer, with still really good looking graphics. Before I mentioned that the previous Codemasters games had a problem with some buffering of the game engine, but now that problem is basically gone. I know it wouldn’t happen at all on a brand new computer but this IS Obsolete Gamer and I do test stuff on old machines too. The game was even very playable on a 2005 medium-range gaming PC. I give both the Graphics and Performance a score of 10 out of 10.

Dirt 3 Monaco Victory
Dirt 3 Monaco Victory

Conclusion:
If you’re going to upgrade soon, most video cards out there on sale by ATI (AMD) pretty much all qualify for the DiRT 3 promo so you might as well get a fun racing game for free. If you don’t plan to upgrade, like I said above, try to get it at a discount or simply get it if you’re a racing game junkie. Multiplayer can be challenging especially if you don’t feel like paying for DLC (like me). I will continue to play Codemasters games so long as they keep their DLC in check.

BattleSport

Battlesport - 3DO - Gameplay Screenshot

BattleSport (1995)
By: Cyclone Studios / 3DO  Genre: Future Sports  Players: 1-2  Difficulty: Medium-Hard
Featured Version: 3DO
Also Available For: Saturn, PlayStation, PC

Future sports games have been around a good while now, but it’s a funny genre. It’s bound by practically no rules, unlike most ‘real’ sports games, and so has almost limitless potential. Imagine the possibilities of not only creating a new sport from scratch, but having it use technology that hasn’t even been invented yet! There’s almost nothing that you couldn’t incorporate, realistic or not. So how is it most of them suck ass? There are a few exceptions, of course, such as Speedball 2 (although I never got into it personally) and others, but the genre has few offerings of note. BattleSport, for a short time a 3DO exclusive, was one of the first to try things in 3D, but did it work?

Battlesport - 3DO - Gameplay Screenshot
Well, the intro certainly gets you pumped up for the game! It shows a rendered representation of the final moments of an apparently epic BattleSport match! For BattleSport is a ‘sport’, played over three two-minute periods in a large, self-contained arena. In this arena is a ball, which is where the ‘battle’ part comes in. Each match is contested by two players, both piloting a hovercraft/tank type vehicle equipped with lasers and missiles. Using these armaments, the players must fight for control of the ball which is used to shoot at a floating goal. A successful shot will result in a goal! You can collect a loose ball simply by flying into it. Once you gained possession of it, you’ll have only a few seconds to find the goal and shoot before you ‘fumble’ it. It’s also possible to force an opponent into a fumble before he shoots the ball by shooting him with your lasers/missiles! Of course, they will also try this tactic on you as well!

Battlesport - 3DO - Gameplay Screenshot

Before you start a match, you can select from six different tanks, each of which varies with regards to its armour, speed, firepower, cornering etc. They can also perform small jumps, which are used primarily for avoiding enemy missiles, and they are also equipped with a radar which shows the location of the ball and your opponent. Each tank has an energy meter which is depleted by laser and missile fire. When this happens, the craft will be disabled for five seconds or so giving the aggressor a few precious seconds of peace to grab the ball and line up a decent shot. However, the goal can be found in different places depending on which arena the combat is taking place in. It generally hovers above the ground, but it can be of several different types. The easiest to score in is the standard four-sided goal. Variations include two and one-sided goals, moving goals and spinning goals. Scoring is achieved, simply by shooting the ball into the goal but considering you often have to take your shot while moving or under fire, it can take a lot of skill!

Battlesport - 3DO - Gameplay Screenshot
Selection of the arena you battle in is random during competitive play, but you can choose your own in a ‘quick match’ or two-player match, and there are some fifty to choose from. Some of them take place in the day, some at night, and they come in three sizes (small, medium and large, believe it or not). Each is also home to different obstacles, power-ups, hazards and rewards. Talking of the power-ups, there are a large number available. Some can be found lying around arenas and others can be bought in the equipment store, and they come in many forms. They can include offensive/defensive items such as super missiles, super shielding, double damage, ECM’s (confuses enemy’s targeting system), and heavy lasers. Others can affect the outcome of a match in a different way such as adding a period to the game, goal freeze, ball freeze, ball attract, flight, health restore, invisibility, super speed, and radar jammer.
Battlesport - 3DO - Gameplay Screenshot

If you read through all of that, you’re pretty dedicated to finding out about this game! It is at least a little noteworthy, though, what with being one of the few good games (or one of the few games, for that matter) to appear on the ill-fated 3DO system. Graphically, it’s not the prettiest game on the 3DO and there’s not a lot of variety, but it doesn’t look bad. The sound is pretty good though, with some decent effects and suitably dramatic music, not to mention an ultra-hyped commentator! Like most sports games however, future-based or otherwise, BattleSport is essentially a two-player game. There is a tournament mode but it gets hard really quickly and the computer predictably favours itself, so it can prove pretty frustrating, but I’m sure this was designed as a two-player game anyway. The tanks can prove hard to control at times, but since this is a problem that effects both players equally, it doesn’t detract from the game too much, and it’s very entertaining to play against a friend. It doesn’t really have a lot of competition on the 3DO, admittedly, but if you have one and a friend, give this a go.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bu4YawXvjug[/youtube]

RKS Score: 7/10

Fallen Skies: Sanctuary Part 1

 

Fallen-Skies-Sanctuary-3

With Ben and a group of harnessed children rescued, a new threat emerges. While treating a young child named Eli, Dr. Glass is held at gunpoint and robbed of precious antibiotics by his mother and father who no longer feel the school is safe and needed the medicine to bargain with while on the road. Dr. Glass tries to fight the gunman, but is knocked to the floor.

Tom and Weaver chase down the family and a standoff begins when Lt. Terry Clayton, played by Henry Czerny arrives taking the antibiotics back from the family, but allows them to leave unharmed. Clayton, who is from the 7th Mass resistance group tells Tom and Weaver that the skitters have all but eliminated his group and that the aliens are building additional structures and are looking for child slave labor.

Fallen Skies - Sanctuary

Clayton goes on to tell Tom and Weave that the aliens took the children first and the few remaining resistance members are at a ranch. Clayton believes the skitters are heading for Weaver’s base and suggests that they split their group sending the children to the camp while the others move to a new location.

Back at base camp, we learn that Ben has recovered from the harness removal surgery and can now do over 100 push-ups without breaking a sweat. Ben tells his younger brother Matt that while it may sound weird, the skitters were like family to him and sometimes he misses the feeling. Ben explains that when harnessed the skitters know what you need and want and treated them like family. Hal overhears this and later talks to Dr. Glass worried about the fact that his brother now seems different.

Fallen Skies - Sanctuary

Meanwhile the debate over sending the children to the ranch troubles many of the parents who do not like the idea. Even Tom is not sure it is the right thing do to, but he struggles wondering if he is being selfish. Clayton makes the case that it is safer for the children at the ranch. During this, Dr. Glass meets with Maggie who earlier had given her a gun for protection. Maggie takes Dr. Glass to the woods to practice using it. Jimmy, the 14-year-old fighter, volunteers his services and Weave tells him he can join the overnight security detail.

That night while on security duty a skitter mech attacks. Jimmy escapes into a school, but is soon attacked by a skitter who he tries to fight off. Jimmy is saved by Weaver and later recounts his story to Weave and Dr. Glass. Clayton tells everyone they have to leave now as the skitters will be coming. Tom makes the decision to send the children on with Clayton to the ranch and Hal volunteers to help escort them.

The group arrives at the ranch and Clayton sends everyone to bed telling them he will give them a tour in the morning. That night, Clayton visits Eli who wants to see his parents. Clayton takes Eli into the woods where they meet up with Megan who tells Eli she can take him to his parents. When Eli sees that Megan is harnessed he refuses to go, but is hit by a blast from a skitter mech and knocked unconscious.

Fallen Skies - Sanctuary

Megan asks Clayton how many children are at the ranch and an arrangement is made to deliver more children within two days. Clayton returns to the ranch and brings food to a prisoner telling him that the information he gave him on the children was correct. The prisoner raises his head and we see it is John Pope.

While I personally saw the deception a mile a while I do like the fact that the enemy is coming from all sides. During the episode we also saw that some people did not like the fact that liberated harnessed children were allowed to walk amongst them even calling them “Razor backs”. Now we have a group of people who have seemed to make a deal with the skitters for protection in exchange for children. This opens up a new dynamic that could add some real spice to the series.

Next week is part two of Sanctuary and I must say I am really looking forward to it.

Neo Geo Station: Latest Release

NeogeoStation_logo

SNK Playmore has released two more games from its classic gaming library for the NEO Geo station on Playstation 3. Gamers will be able to play “THE KING OF FIGHTERS ’95” and “BASEBALL STARS 2” as downloadable content.

NEOGEO Station” is a commemorative project that allows players to enjoy the many classic fighting, action, sports and other NEOGEO titles released after 1990, exclusively on the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) systems. The first set of 10 titles, which included “METAL SLUG,” “SAMURAI SHODOWN,” and “THE KING OF FIGHTERS ’94,” were released on December 22, 2010. This time, two new titles have been released for a total of 12 titles.

THE KING OF FIGHTERS ’95

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NRO1bi7ScA[/youtube]

The legendary “SNK Dream Versus Battle” is back with this 2nd installment full of improvements! KOF’95 is the start of the “Orochi Saga,” a new story in which Kyo Kusanagi is the main protagonist. His sworn enemy, Iori Yagami, appears for the first time, so charismatic and stylish that he could overshadow Kyo Kusanagi!

BASEBALL STARS 2

This sports game recreates a powerful arcade-style baseball with over-the-top animations like bench-clearing brawls. With its “Auto Operation Mode” for beginners, magic “Power Bat Mode”, and the “Special Players” introduced by the team’s owner, BASEBALL STARS 2 is full of exciting moments.

Both of these titles are available today for $8.99 on the PS3 and $6.99 on the PSP.

Fan Recorded Avengers Teaser Trailer

The Avengers 2012 Marvel Movie

I am sure like many others including myself you will wish you saw this trailer on a nice big screen in a movie theater instead of a fans camera, but I digress.

This trailer shows up after the credits for the Captain America: The First Avenger. Make sure you stay after the credits this weekend to see it, but if you need to see it now, here it is.

The Avengers is set to be released in spring/summer of 2012.

The Dark Knight Rises Trailer

the_dark_knight_rises

After a ton of bootleg versions quickly removed by Waner Bros the official teaser trailer for The Dark Knight Rises is out. This is set to be the last movie in the series by director Christopher Nolan and is set to hit theaters in the summer of 2012.

The Dark Knight Rises swill star Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine, the film is scheduled for release on July 20, 2012.

The Last Express

The Last Express
I do know that the precious reader of Gnome’s Lair has been quite aware of my interest (or is that fascination?) with The Last Express. I have after all been constantly mentioning the thing both via Twitter and Facebook, and have also grabbed a digital copy via gog.com, which I promptly installed. But should I review it? I really don’t think so. More than a few excellent reviews and retrospectives for this truly unique, groundbreaking, gorgeous and amazing adventure game are readily available and are way better written than anything I could hope to come up with. That’s why I have chosen to do something I’ve never really done on this blog; namely write a series of posts more or less detailing my experiences through the game.
Here I go now…
Being a traditionalist, I didn’t immediately start playing after downloading and installing the game. Oh no. I read through the manual, watched the mostly spoiler free making-of video and even had a glance at the digital version of the Quick Reference Guide. The manual was unsurprisingly the best part, what with it trying to explain the intricacies of the game’s non-standard interface and features, while wisely providing minimal only information on the plot and some interesting insights to the Orient Express -the setting of The Last Express– itself.
The Last Express
The game itself starts off with an impressive if short intro movie that managed to immediately set the tone and introduce me to the amazing visuals on offer, though intriguingly failed to also introduce me to my apparently Irish avatar and his motives. This lack of knowledge has so far proved an excellent idea, as I slowly get to uncover who I’m guiding (most probably to his doom), discovering his shady -hopefully revolutionary, what with Mr. Robert Cath being Irish a few years before Ireland’s war for independence- past and finding out what it is I’m supposed to be doing. As for the newspaper clipping discovered in my pocket, the same clipping that let me know I was a wanted man, was too vague to enlighten me, but intriguing enough to get me hooked.
The Last Express
The game’s interface, on the other hand, is rather intuitive and more or less straight forward, despite the rather odd way the inventory works. Also, the fact that The Last Express is played in real time and comes complete with an incredibly handy rewind time feature, allows for complete freedom of exploration, true in-game choice and a relaxed pace. There simply is no anxiety for dead ends, which I thought -and still think- is necessary to enjoy such an investigation heavy adventure.
The first few hours are, after all, far from action-packed. As Robert Cath I fought a guy, sneaked around, eavesdropped and enjoyed the excellent French, Serbian, English, African and Russian accents, disposed of a body, got a feel for the train, helped an ageing aristocrat make it through the night, met some surprising characters and even hid in a toilet while waiting for a policeman to leave the train. I particularly enjoyed reading through a 1914 newspaper, that ominously foreshadowed the Great War.
The Last Express
Importantly I also found out that I’d better get the passenger list, some papers and a certain suitcase from the off-limits luggage compartment. Following characters and trying to either chat them up or spy on them proved quite a bit revealing too, whereas climbing in and out of my cabin’s window has not been particularly enlightening though incredibly fun, but, I’ll admit, hardly as elating as breathing the atmosphere of the turbulent and politically tense times before the First World War.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9G3Cbw1Y9UQ[/youtube]
A Russian anarchist arguing with a young lady of a Czarist affiliation, a German capitalist that wants to purchase gold, Serbian patriots that had something to do with my deceased (and inelegantly disposed) comrade and some sort of colonial royalty make for an incredible assortment of characters, that turn the confined space of the train into a vibrant setting as lively as you’d imagine it. Oh yes, I might have not progressed as much as I’d hoped, but I’m definitely enjoying myself.


Super Double Dragon

Super Double Dragon - Super Nintendo Entertainment System
During the late 80s and early 90s you couldn’t go to a video game arcade and not play a beat em up game. These games were so popular that people would spend all their quarters on them just to get past a few levels. The games were challenging but they were also about team work, or being an asshole. I’m sure many of you heard of playing cooperative mode only to have your friend pick up the power up which you needed the most. There weren’t that many good ports of arcade games to consoles due to the difference in hardware and such but there was a game that was purely made for 16-bit beat em up action, that’s where Super Double Dragon comes in.

Super Double Dragon - Super Nintendo Entertainment System

Super Double Dragon is also known as Double Dragon 4 and it’s by far the best Double Dragon game to date. The game’s soundtrack is a joy to listen to and the gameplay is incredible. You feel like you are in control of your guy more than in most other beat em up games. Billy and Jimmy come packed with amazing moves that help you create different ways to defeat the bad guys. Just like the other Double Dragon games, you don’t know how much life bar your opponent has so all that’s left to do is to beat the hell out of him (or her at some times but not in this game) and hope they will vanish after getting their ass kicked.

 

Super Double Dragon - Super Nintendo Entertainment System

The game doesn’t have that many levels but makes up for it with great level design. The places are very atmospheric to their surroundings and make you feel like if you are in that city looking at Billy and Jimmy beat up all these freaks. You’ll be able to use all kinds of weapons including knives, sticks, nun-chucks, and objects. They will become very helpful to defeat those assholes but you should beware of the knife because if it hits you, you are dead! There are different bosses in each level as usual but you never get the feeling they are the boss until they come out of nowhere and start to beat you up. They have no boss song or anything which makes the game look even more real, gotta love going in the streets and beating bad guys up. The police never shows up!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27Ukz-L-MXU[/youtube]

 

All in all, this game is a masterpiece and with added techniques and even the “bulk” mode technique you’ll be able to have a blast. This game is just that much funner with a pal as well. It’s for sure that two heads are better than one.

Google + Circle names you should not use

 Google plus circles

So for those of us using Google + we have begun putting people in specially named circles and the good thing is they do not know what circle they are in. However, there is always a chance that people will find out the circle you put them in and become angry. This may not be an issue if you had them in acquaintance instead of friend, but if you put them in some of these rejected circle names, you might find yourself in trouble.

Minorities

Everyone has a black friend. I myself am many peoples black friend, but when you single people out into their own circle under a label like that, you are going back to the days of two drinking fountains and that is not progress.

Women I have slept with

This could be a plus or a minus. The minus is if you are married or with a girlfriend and you still keep this circle. Do you really want her to cut off your penis and put it in a garbage disposal? The plus is if you ever need to call these women after a trip to the doctor. However, you cannot lie and toss anyone with a pretty face into this circle as it defeats the purpose.

Murder List

You do not video tape your trashing of a house and then post it on YouTube and you do not make a murder list circle on Google + because someone might just end up dead and you will become a Law and Order episode.

Victims

Like the murder list, the police will not take the time to discover that this is the list of people you talked about badly on the internet. With a list like this, you might just end up on To Catch a Predator or Scam artist. You never call out your victims that’s just bush league.

Asshats

Why do you have an asshat circle?

Scorable Girls

This is the same as making a circle called stalking. You really should reconsider adding any pretty girl to this circle because it just makes you seem creepy. However, if this ends up being a viable way to find a quick score let me know.

Not really friends

So you remained acquaintances to this? This is like when the nerdy kid said that you are his best friend and instead of just going with it you had to point out you are not his best friend. Don’t be an asshat!

There are plenty more circle names that should not be out there and you know soon there will be a

Motivational Monday: Cultural Sensitivity

Motivational Poster

Tis an awful day for a Monday.

Torchwood: Rendition

Torchwood-Rendition-5

This week we continue the story of the remaining two Torchwood members being taken to the U.S. The episode begins with Jack and Gwen being forced onto a plane bound for America. Agent Matheson allows Gwen’s husband and child to remain behind much to the distraught of Gwen.

Meanwhile, the now freed Oswald Danes does his first television appearance where he breaks down and cries after seeing one of his victims. Oswald begs for forgiveness, which in the end, splits peoples opinion between those who believe he is remorseful and those who do not. Oswald is approached by Jilly Kitzinger, played by Lauren Ambrose who is working for a PR firm and wants to help Danes get his message out as well as make him money. When Oswald is told he is wanted to appear on the Oprah show he turns her down saying he is doing fine on his own.

Back at the CIA, Agent Drummond speaks to Brain Friedkin, played by Wayne Knight about assisting Agent Matheson after receiving a text that he is on the way back with Torchwood. Friedkin dismisses Drummond and beings research on her. While on the plane Agent Lynne updates Friedkin without letting anyone else know she is doing so. Matheson contacts Dr. Juarez asking for medication in exchange for access to examine Jack.

Torchwood Rendition

Dr. Juarez realizes that medical and trauma protocols would need to be redone after a series of patients come into the ER. Vera realizes pain management and treating the minor injuries is first priorities so they can free up beds. She is also made aware of a panel of doctors meeting to discuss Miracle Day and its effects on the earth and heads to the panel.

Friedkin receives a message on his phone with the word “Remove”, he sends the same message to Lynne on the plane who poisons Jacks drink. Vera arrives at the panel and where the doctors discuss how humans still age and that they are “too alive”. One of the effects of living is the human body will become germ incubators and that over time these germs will become resistant to antibiotics.

Friedkin arranges for Matheson and Drummond to be setup by depositing money into their account and deleting Matheson’s files. Drummond steels a colleague’s pass and escapes the CIA building. On the plane, Jack becomes sick and on Gwen’s pressing gets Matheson to search Lynne and find the poison. As Vera continues at the panel, Matheson calls her asking for help to cure Jack. Together the group is able to counteract the poison on the plane, save Jack and take Lynne into custody.

Torchwood Rendition

Vera is met outside the panel by Jilly who offers her services. When Vera refuses, Jilly tells her of about a large stockpile of drugs that Vera does not have access to but hints that she can help with that. Vera takes Jilly’s card and asks if she has samples of the pain medication from her client (Phycor).

Matheson and the other arrive in the U.S. when he receives a call from Drummond telling him they are being setup and that everyone who comes into contact with Torchwood is being deleted. Drummond realizes Matheson is not alone and tells him to meet her outside the airport. Matheson un-cuffs Gwen and Jack who fight off the other agents including Lynne, who was secretly given handcuff keys, escape outside the airport where they meet up with Vera who gives Matheson the drugs and Drummond who provides an escape vehicle for them.

Torchwood Rendition

This was another good episode moving the story along. I am not sure what to expect out of the Oswald story however. The addition of Jilly the mysterious PR rep could be interesting. We now know the CIA is working to get rid of Torchwood, but the question is who sent the message to Friedkin? Perhaps those who watched the earlier seasons can tell me of the triangle symbol we saw before he received the message means anything.

The Miracle itself proves more and more interesting as we see how different cultures deal with the lack of death. We also continue to learn how not dying could quickly lead to the downfall of civilization itself. I cannot wait for the next episode.

Classic Arcade Game Show Returns With Online Play

StarcadeWhile competition on the classic arcade games of yesterday has seen its fair share of public attention over the past few years, events such as the upcoming Kong-Off in New Jersey will only be another in a long line of head-to-head gameplay.

One such example is Starcade, a game show created during the original 1980s heyday of the video arcade.

Created by JM Production Company, Starcade debuted in 1982 on WTBS and featured gamers of all ages facing off in both question and game play rounds.   The original run of the show ended in 1984 and reruns of the show ran on G4tv from 2002 to 2004.

In the show, contestants would face off first in a question round.   Whoever got the question right would get to choose from the games selected for that episode to play against their opponent for a timed high score.

From now-historcial classics such as Pac-Man, Space Invaders and Dig Dug to lesser known titles that exist in the present day as the rarest of collectibles, such as Major Havoc, Mazer Blazer and others, Starcade featured over 130 different arcade game titles of the day across it’s 139 different episodes.

Donkey Kong, the topic of much discussion these days, was also among the many games played on the show beginning with the 1981 pilot episode.  In the pilot, ChiPs star Larry Wilcox took on and beat the winning gamer from that episode by 300 points in what was the first look at the now-classic game that put Nintendo on the map.

Now, JMPC is set to introduce myStarcade, a virtual online version of the game show.   Using the actual head-to-head matchups and games from the original series, myStarcade will act as both a fun trip down memory lane and a history lesson from the “Golden Age” of the video arcade game.

Players will be able to create profiles and battle for the top ranking on the myStarcade game by competing in other games that appeared in the original show, including the Name the Game Board, where players must quickly identify a screenshot a now-arcade classic.

Virtual prizes given to actual contestants of the original series, including home computers from the era and even a portable record player, can also be won in the online games.

The myStarcade game is currently in testing phase and is set for a launch within the next four to six weeks on the official Starcade website.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jt0ObijBvL4[/youtube]

For more information and to watch full episodes of the classic series, visit www.Starcade.tv.

You can view Scott’s website here.

I’m Becoming A Korean (Gamer)

[youtube id=”8PKR6lx79r4″ width=”633″ height=”356″]

This isn’t a cry for help, as you can see I’m back to work (posting this drivel), but instead it’s me doing the Simpson’s Nelson point and ha-ha to people with families and regular 9-5 jobs that think that playing Dragon Age and beating it over the course of two months is a great gaming experience. ~Honorabili

I’m Becoming A Korean (Gamer)

Basically, for the past month or two my girlfriend has been alien to me so I’ve reverted back to my old girlfriend: MY COMPUTER. This happened shortly right after I got back from my trip from E3 to which she did not get invited to go with! =P Anyways, half a week after I got back AT&T decided to be a bunch of useless fucks and decided to have my internet connection go down for about ten days… this in the middle of my addiction to League of Legends (which was already starting to die) and World of Tanks, which I had just dumped 20 dollars into and had a subscription to which has now expired.

Internet Serious Business
Internet Serious Business

What to do, what to do? Go back to the basics! I pretended it was the 1996 and that I didn’t even have internet gaming (for the most part). My brother and I were going nuts as to what to play, since without internet connection we were cut out (literally) from the virtual world needed to play a modern pvp game (since few companies make hotseat stuff anymore, other than for usually some console games). We both said at the same time “Master of Orion 2, multiplayer, over the LAN”. What a brilliant solution to being stuck in the dark ages. After a little bit of work and installing the IPX network protocol, we got the game to work like a charm over the LAN using DosBox. We even made a CD image of the game which runs better than a full HD install and streams from a hard drive anyways. After a few days we were playing as if we had never stopped playing in the first place. Even when the internet came back on, I went on League of Legends and I thought the level of strategic thought now required to play it was nothing compared to the complexity of a legendary 4X strategy game.

Anyways… after a short while I checked my email and saw they had sent me some free codes for games to play so I logged into my Steam to add and download them. Boy, what a mistake… They were having a huge sale with stuff 90-75-50% off, so I just wasted about 200 dollars on that shit and then started to game non-stop. Like basically, since then days have been a blur. I haven’t posted anything on here in a good while, not since my E3 article which took J.A. Laraque forever to get me to finish it (well after the event had already ended, which was already when nobody cared to read it). I am now awake on some fucked up schedule that lets me play with all the European gamers as well as the Asians! I take power naps, drink about 3-4 cafe con leches (cafe lattes) AND 1-2 Red Bulls a day before I start playing pvp games. I go from Mount & Blade, to Master of Orion 2, to League of Legends (doing my daily XP bonus), to World of Tanks (again with that daily XP bonus bullshit, feels like a job!) to Dirt 3 (I beat it today, so now doing multiplayer races against a lot of Germans) to Fable 3 (which I just destroyed) to Monday Night Combat to AI Wars to … well you get the idea. Gaming nearly 24 hours a day, I barely begin to scratch the surface of even a fraction of all the games I have… On top of that my PC keeps dying more and they keep releasing more cheap (and in my case sometimes free) games.

I bought an ATI 6870 card to replace my dying underclocked ATI 3870 but I only had it for 3 days since I sold it to fix a client’s machine. Now I think I’m going to build a machine that uses the AMD Phenom II X4 980 Black Edition Deneb 3.7GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Desktop Processor but we’ll see since they’re always releasing new ones but I’m pretty sure that will be the winner.

This isn’t a cry for help, as you can see I’m back to work (posting this drivel), but instead it’s me doing the Simpson’s Nelson point and ha-ha to people with families and regular 9-5 jobs that think that playing Dragon Age and beating it over the course of two months is a great gaming experience. (insert rant saying something like “fuck all games with DLC” here) =P I’m starting to get a system down as to when a game will be shorter than a day for me, it pretty much sucks, especially if it doesn’t change as I replay it and it’s currently selling for around 40-50 bucks on Steam or some other distro. (ahem, Fable 3 in this case) I don’t have any children or a wife and yeah sometimes I forget to eat while gaming but even then I’m a fat bastard so it’s not like I’m at risk. ;] I’m Korean for my games but not just for Starcraft or Guild Wars, but all of them!

On a serious note, much during my internet down time I got to read the Master of Orion 2 manual A LOT and it made me really sad that they no longer make 200 page user manuals like that that were actually worth reading and it also made me really sad that Microprose (probably my favorite game company) has been dead for a long time. They sure don’t make them like that anymore! Klackons FTW!

Anyways, I’m out, going to go troll some noobs and work more on my trolling reviews of more games I wasted my money on! Game on!!!

The Assassin’s Creed Series: What’s Next?

Assassin's Creed

What began as an innovation from Ubisoft with Assassin’s Creed in 2007 became an award winning series with over 28 million units sold. Among the awards given to Ubisoft for Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood were IGN’s E3 Best Action Game and the Writer’s Guild Award for Best in Video Game Writing all in 2010! The same year Brotherhood also raked in the Best Action-Adventure game of the Video Game Awards. They even added in a little humor for the character winners of their respective awards: Ezio Award Winner Humor.

So…what now? Revelations! According to an interview of the lead writer, Darby McDevitt on CVG, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations will NOT be the end of the series, because it will not answer all our “burning questions.” It is not mentioned in this interview if Ezio’s story will end, however.

Another interesting article that backs and adds to this claim I came across was one in which the AC: Revelations lead game designer Alexandre Breault said that there is no way creating an annual Assassin’s Creed series could “fatigue the franchise”. He more specifically says that “As long as each iteration is better than the previous one, we believe players will want more of it. They won’t say ‘enough of Assassin’s’ as long as the game is better than the previous one.” More of the interview can be seen on Gamerzines.

As much as I would love to play a successful AC game every year, fans have their doubts including I. A few more comforting quotes I want to get down before I end this article are some by the production manager Jean-Francois Boivin:

“We know what we’re doing, we’ve had a plan for a long time where this license is going to go.”

“Assassin’s Creed 3: new setting, new hero. That’s the way it works.”

“Assassin’s Creed 3 is yet to be officially announced. Don’t be surprised to see it next year.”

I’m extremely excited, but a little worried as well. By the way, these quotes pretty much make the end Ezio’s trilogy a certainty.

In the meantime, enjoy the Assassin’s Creed Revelations E3 trailer that brings this gamer tears to her eyes every time she watches it. This is from Machinima’s youtube page:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wo6Q14vBB1c[/youtube]

Catherine Demo

Catherine covers

I played and completed the demo for Catherine on the 12th. I was extremely impressed because it was graphically stunning, engaging, and original. It has been a while since I have played any kind of game with its originality. It’s rare Atlus ever fails to impress me, and I had high hopes for Catherine, even for the demo. It delivered everything it needed to.

Graphics

The graphics are, of course, in the usual Atlus “3-D anime” form. They are sharp and bright but with a certain theme. The point of the game is for it to be dark and gritty, but the colors chosen contrast each other, making each and every one stand out on its own. The colors seen most are pinks, reds, whites, and blacks.

Gameplay

What I was expecting was a kind of dating simulator that Japan is known all too well for releasing, but if that aspect is imbued in it, I didn’t notice. The demo takes you through what seems to be the introduction of the game, and the first two stages of the puzzles. Yes, there are puzzles. Even on the easy difficulty the demo plays by default, the puzzles are quite challenging and require the player to think on the fly. Also, there is a way you can text the “first” “K”atherine, literally, through Vincent’s phone. The main menu is active and has actual character models.

Story

This is what kept me engaged the most. The story plays out like an old time detective movie, and is about Vincent, a unfortunate man who has nightmares which are in the form of the puzzles. He is escaping what is a gigantic hand of a hysterical woman after him and has to move blocks in and out of his way to continue up. “Katherine” is his current girlfriend who pops one of the largest questions in one’s relationship: “marriage plz?”

Who Should and Should Not Be Playing This

This game is rated mature for a reason and has strong sexual themes with a dash of violence. This is a Japanese game that has anime cut scenes and 3-D graphics, as mentioned, in an anime form. If this is your type of game, I guarantee you will have a blast, even if it’s just a demo.

[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-a69nmiAvSY[/youtube]

Overall

The demo ends with him meeting “Catherine” and a trailer of what is to come in the story. The trailer was even better than what I had played of the game. I have yet to see anything like it, and I can already see why there is so much hype for it. The demo is available on both the 360 and PS3. What are you waiting for? Get to it!