Mid-Week Mid-Boss v2.07

Hey yo. What’s happening everyone? Another fun filled, exciting, captivating week here. Ok, yea, I know it’s not that exciting, and certainly not captivating, but I know I’m having fun!

This weekend was much better than last. The room has been staying cool and I’m staying sane. I ended up rearranging some, and it’s a nice improvement in floor space, but I have a ton of shit stuffed over in one corner that I need to get rid of.

Other than that, it was a pretty normal week and weekend. Played games, read some and just enjoyed myself. With that out of the way, let’s get on with the program.

In The News
More Jack Thompson news! It seems as if the Penny Arcade fans decided to take matters into their own hands, and mailed the Florida Bar Association, and they are supposedly now investigating Jack Thompson’s actions, which may result in something negative to him. Maybe a spanking. Thompson got pissed at this and decided to contact the FBI and is, yet again, accusing Gabe and Tycho of criminal harassment.
God bless Penny Arcade. God bless gamers. You want to know what, Jack? The PA shirt is right. I HATE Jack Thompson. It’s assholes like you who give Americans a bad name. It’s assholes like you that pollute humanity and cause all the problems in the world. You don’t know what real harassment is, you crazy, crazy sad little man. You don’t want to piss off the fans of Penny Arcade. I can’t even imagine what would happen if the site WERE actually shut down by your machinations. Some of those PA fans are just as f*ckin crazy as you are! (Source: Penny Arcade, Game Politics)

Konami is set to release a Castlevania 2-pack, a GBA cart with both Harmony of Dissonance and Aria of Sorrow. It is reportedly scheduled to be released in January, and that’s actually here in America!
Sweet, this is good news. The only question I have is why no Circle of the Moon? It was a lot better than Harmony of Dissonance in my opinion. Still, since there has been no official announcement and it’s just on the Gamestop website, it should be taken with a grain of salt. (Source: Games are Fun, Gamestop)

Square Enix has pushed up the release date of Dragon Quest VIII one week, which means it will be released on the week of 11/15/05, which also means it will be released one week prior to the Xbox 360.
Smart, smart move. After this was announced, I put in my preorder for the game. I was planning on getting it anyway, but I was going to wait for a while. But since it comes out BEFORE the 360, I’ll get it so I’ll have something to do for that week. So that’ll give me a week of Level 5/Squeenix goodness, and then a month or so of crazy 360 play. (Source: 1UP)

As many have probably heard, Microsoft and Walmart have set up some Xbox 360 systems in various Walmart locations which will allow you to play demo versions of several games. Half of the systems didn’t work though, either because they were crappy from the start, or because the Walmart associates weren’t the best people to have to set the systems up. Either way, at this point, ALL of the systems were shut down because the wireless features on the 360 apparently conflicted with the wireless inventory system at Walmart stores. Oops.
This is pretty funny. Even though I AM getting a 360 and all, it’s still funny to see egg on the faces of Microsoft and Walmart. It’d be even funnier if EA were involved in some way, but I guess I’m not that lucky. (Source: Games are Fun, Gamespot)

What I’ve Been Playing
Well, I made it a bit further in my main DS games. I’m progressing pretty nicely in Trauma Center. There are some stages that are pretty annoying (like the “operation” at the medical conference, for example), but it’s still pretty fun for the most part. Castlevania is getting somewhat annoying. Well, the game itself still rocks, but the seals are irritating now. I’m on the final seal, and I’m executing it fine, but it keeps saying I screwed it up. That is my main point of frustration now.

Blitz: The League should have arrived on Saturday, which would have given me the entire weekend to play it, but it didn’t arrive until Monday, so I didn’t play much of anything this weekend. I spent more time reading the latest Wheel of Time novel, called Knife of Dreams. I didn’t even know the title, much less that it was out, until Matt Yeager mentioned it in his Livejournal. So on Friday, I had to run to the eye doctor to pick up my contacts, and ran by Barnes and Noble and picked up Knife of Dreams.

I’m not THAT far into it, but I can say with confidence that this is the best of his books in recent years. Stuff ACTUALLY HAPPENS! I know, I know, it’s a shock, but it’s true. Normally the prologue is the most boring, but this one is actually GOOD! I suppose it better be. He’s only got one more after this.

Xbox Demos
Since Blitz didn’t come in, I had decided to suck it up and just go f*ckin rent it from Blockbuster down the street. I still had money on my gift card I got for my birthday, after all. But the assholes didn’t have it. Well, not for the Xbox. Didn’t bother checking the PS2 section. I mean, I was expecting to get it in several days anyway, which I suppose it’s GOOD they didn’t have it, because I ended up getting the Official Xbox Magazine instead, with a pretty sweet demo disc. Here’s what was on it:

Kingdom Under Fire: Heroes – I didn’t play the original, but I heard it was a disappointment. This one was just blah. They don’t tell you what to do or any buttons or anything, just start you out with a long boring and confusing story with a bunch of different weird sounding names. It was their idea of a load screen. I skipped it when it FINALLY let me. The battles were dumb and boring and SLOOOOOOWWWWW. It just wasn’t fun.

Castlevania: Curse of Darkness – Yet another Castlevania in 3D. This one seems to be much closer to SotN/AoS/DoS than previous ones, which was probably obvious. They realize that people can’t get enough of what some have (derogatorily) called “Castleroid” titles. Personally, I MUCH prefer the Metroid-ish Castlevania games to the older ones. Purists don’t. Then again, I loved Castlevania II much more than 1, 3 or 4. Anyway, this is much, much closer than previous 3D titles have been to capturing the feel of a Castlevania game, but I couldn’t see any maps, and I’m not a big fan of combat based on “kill all the enemies in the room, which opens the door to the next room”. That is certainly outside of the “Castleroid” game-type. I’ll have to play the actual game for real to make a complete judgement though.

Spartan: Total Warrior – A surprisingly fun game. It was all hack-n-slash button mashing, but it was fun stuff. I won’t play the game, but the demo certainly wasn’t boring.

Heroes of the Pacific – I like the menus and stuff, how it had a WWII propaganda style feel. It was kind of cheesy and reminded me a lot of Freedom Force, but it was good stuff still. The combat was pretty cool too. If you’re into Flight Sim type games, you should check this one out. It looks like it might be a winner in that category. A pity the voice acting was pretty damn lame.

Pac-Man World 3 – Wow, it’s Pac-Man in 3D. Woopdie shit.

DDR: Ultramix 3 – Only two songs: Play that Funky Music White Boy and Crazy in Love. The overall theme of the menus (bubbles and stuff) was kinda neat, but other than that, it was DDR. Williams will review the game when it comes out I’m sure.

Karaoke Revolution Party – No mic, so no demo.

Without Warning – Wow, an over the shoulder shooter. Boring. Next.

The rest were just videos. No playable demos.

Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion – Holy shit, this game looks cooler and cooler. Their use of the Havoc Engine looks awesome, and the procedural forests are fantastic. The AI looks phenomenal too. I’m getting REALLY excited about this game. Hopefully I won’t get burned like I was with Halo.

50 Cent: Bulletproof – Ok, so it’s GTA with 50 Cent. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. You think you’re tough, fidy? Confident prediction: people won’t give a shit about this game. He’s claiming this will be the best game for the next 2-3 years, which is when Bulletproof II will be out. Yeaaaaaa. Delusions of grandeur.

Gun – Well, I’m officially NOT getting DOA4 at launch with my 360, and I think I’ll be getting this bad boy instead. Looks sweet, sounds sweet, so hopefully it is.

True Crime: New York City – Well, the first in the series was pretty good, and this one has Christopher Walken, so maybe it’ll be good too.

What I’ve Been Watching: Anime Edition
The anime insanity continues!

For those who haven’t heard of it, Colorful is a single disc collection of 16 short (like 6 minutes long) episodes all dealing with perverted men. Usually it’s about panties. There are a few characters that are in several episodes, like Steve the American exchange student who is obsessed with taking pictures and video of panties, and the two college kids who have a hot teacher and all freak out by the way she enunciates “L” and “R” in English. There is little continuty, but each episode has a sorta theme, like one episode features Steve’s penpal who comes to Japan to visit, and another features a giant schoolgirl that people are obviously happy to see up her skirt.

The story is all fluff of course, and is really silly. The ADR Director and Script Writer is Steven Foster, who is apparently hated by a lot of anime purists, but personally I think he’s a genius. He has a penchant for vulgarity, which is obvious in this show, but he also is very raunchy, which is why the show is so funny. I didn’t watch the sub version, but I don’t think it could be as funny as the dub.

Speaking of which, the dub is excellent. It’s ADV, which means the dub is by Industrial Smoke and Mirrors. Which explains the awesomeness. For anyone unawares, two companies rule over all others when it comes to dubs: the aforementioned ISM, and Animaze/Bang Zoom (two technically different groups that basically employ all the same actors). Since the roles are so small, everyone plays multiple roles, but all are good.

What REALLY shines in the series is the art. It’s very, very stylish, and if it was used with different subject matter, it probably would have been taken much more seriously. The transitions are excellent, and they clearly wanted them to stand out.

Overall, the show is silly and perverted, but pretty harmless. There’s plenty of panties, but there is little to no nudity, yet a lot of swearing. It’s good for a couple of hours of laughs. It’s a pity the behind the scenes type extra was filled with way too much of the actual series and not enough of the actors, otherwise it would have been great. Overall, a really fun show.

Overall Score: B-

What I’ve Been Watching

I rented another live action movie this week.

Shaun of the Dead
I had heard how funny and witty this movie was, and everyone who said that was right. It’s not your standard zombie flick. It’s more of a spoof of the zombie genre, with some touching moments thrown in. The best part is a several minute long shot of Shaun walking out of his house, down the street, into a convenience store, getting a drink from a blood covered freezer door, leaving change on the counter, and walking back to his house (again, all in one shot) all the while oblivious that the area was currently being overrun by zombies.

It’s not the funniest movie in the world, but it’s got some great funny moments. It’s really smart and really well done. My only beef is that some of the British accents are very heavy at times and it’s difficult to understand the lines, but other than that, it’s a great movie.

The cast of this movie was featured on Oprah recently and mom kinda wanted to see it, so we did. There is some great, great acting in this movie, but really shitty writing. The movie is about racism, and how racism is bad, mmkay? But just like Mr. Mackey, that’s about all you get out of it, is that it’s bad. ALL the characters are racist, and on top of that, they’re ALL FUCKING RETARDED. They all do the stupidest f*cking things at the dumbest f*cking times.

At the end of the movie, I got one thing out of it, and it wasn’t that racism is bad, mmkay. It’s that everybody has a bad day once and a while, and that’s ok. It’s ok to almost shoot a child. It’s ok to shoot someone reaching into their pocket. It’s ok to stereotype and be a racist every now and then. It’s ok to f*cking molest a woman if you’re a cop. It’s ok to watch your partner molest a woman and not do anything about it. All of that’s ok. Because what if they’re just having a bad day? Everybody has a bad day. If you end up shooting someone in the head, dumping them out of your car and then burning the evidence, hey, it’s ok. You had a bad day.

THAT’S the f*cking problem I had. People did bad, awful, terrible things and didn’t get punished for it AT ALL. What kind of message is that to send? None of these people ever said they were sorry! Argh. And of course, because Oprah f*cking talked about it, I’m sure the rentals and sales for this movie are going crazy now. Again, this is the stupidest, most hypocritical movie I’ve ever seen with the best acting.

Lost – Easily one of the best episodes of the season. Lots of action, no new questions. No answers really either, but it was still good. The flashbacks were the worst of the year though. It didn’t really develop the characters any. It just served to show that they loved each other, which was totally obvious by how freaked she was by losing the ring. I hope they give us back story on the tail members, because we’ve seen almost everything interesting there is to see with the other survivors.

Ghost Whisperer – This definitely wasn’t the best episode. It had its moments, but for the most part, it was pretty blah. The Peter Pan allegory was too obvious. I picked it out the second she walked in the meet Rat. And I think JLH tried to act again. Yucky.

Threshold – A great, great episode. It had a double bait and switch, but you had to expect both of them. The killing of a team member meant that it had to be the one that people were least likely to miss (prediction: they do the same thing with Lost in 3 weeks…Sawyer will NOT die…you heard it here first). And Data didn’t intentionally give out secrets. Dude wants to become human! Cut him a little slack, Sin City Booby Chick! Nerdy Dude and the Dwarf had a nice touching moment, and Nerdy Dude popped a cap! Good stuff.

Sunday, Monday
NFL Football – Ugh, what a frustrating football weekend. I was happy that the Eagles won, but I didn’t get to see it so I didn’t know how well they played. Likewise with the Dolphins game. The Chiefs are too good though. Sabin has a lot of work ahead of him getting this team “good”. It’s aggravating that they were able to beat two good teams and lose all other games. And the Cowboys game just irritated the f*ck out of me. They were ahead, had a chance to win, and blow it, then give the ball away and lose like that. Argh. On a side note, you really gotta feel for the Saints. They get screwed game after game after game. It’s pretty funny though how for the first couple of weeks, they were “America’s Team”. Now they’re just the shitty Saints again.

My Name Is Earl – Bah, f*ckin repeat of the first episode. Thanks for letting me know. I wasted 30 minutes of watching the Biggest Loser (if I wanted to see fat people, I’d look in a mirror!) before finding out. And the Office wasn’t even on this week. Dammit. Fuck you NBC.

This is not the video game design essay you’re looking for. Move along.
Well, somebody else had the idea to write an essay on video game design. Except they call theirs a thesis. And it’s full of crap. HERE IT IS.

It’s over 400 pages in PDF format. Most of that is graphs and a table of contents and stuff. The actual guts is about 100 pages long. And really, I think this guy just wanted an excuse to play games. It’s obvious he’s a fan of Starcraft and Warcraft III, and probably Unreal Tournament. He knows very little about anything else. He couldn’t even name an RPG in his examples, and in his FPS examples, he called Quake a single player game (insinuating it had no multiplayer elements) and Halo a “massively-multiplayer” game.

I admit, I didn’t read his whole paper because it’s all theory about a utopian game engine that can be used to create any game, be it a 2D RTS or a 3D FPS. He hasn’t ever seen the inside of a game company and he doesn’t know how the different departments interrelate. He got basically all of his information from a single book (which he fully admits doesn’t talk about game architecture much) and then gives ways he thinks are better.

I certainly hope he didn’t get a good grade because most of what he was talking about was either wrong or based in a world that doesn’t exist.

Lucard is a slacker and reposts an essay on the curse of King Tut. It’s all good. Heel Lucard is a sight to behold.

I’m gonna pimp Basilo and Duran because I don’t really care what SuvivorJoMomma says and I only read recaps of good shows. Ooooohh, diss!

O’Reilly isn’t as excited about the 360 as I am. He is more excited about the Revolution, as is most of the gaming public. I don’t understand this. Everybody keeps saying “it’s all about the games, man!” and Nintendo goes and announced a controller, with a distinct lack of actual games (just a bunch of demos) and people freak out and go all googoo. I’m holding my excitement until they release some real game infos!

I was gonna give a pimp to Brendan Campbell, because he reviewed Mallrats, but then he went and gave the shit known as Titanic a f*cking 10. Hello! A 10 means “perfect”. Titanic is SHIT. That’s pretty far away from perfect. So Sutton gets Campbell’s pimp.

Kaye is back with a long ass column, and pictures of Arcee boobies! Kaye, my man, please do more stuff on Alternators!

That’s it, I’m outta here. I’ll be back next week with more of the same. Seeya!