Friday, November 17, 2006

Girls Next Door...Made of Plastic

I was just watching some Total Access on the NFL Network, and they had Kendra Wilkinson as a guest. Apparently, she does this show called Girls Next Door, which I've never seen, but that's not the point. The point is that she was smiling and laughing all throughout her segment, but her face was like a mask. The corners of her mouth didn't turn up when she smiled, her eyes didn't wrinkle, there was no movement of her eyebrows; basically, nothing on her face moved but her lips opening and closing.

I'm pretty sure that's not normal. Now, don't get me wrong, I'll be the first to tell you I don't just read Playboy for the articles (although they are damn interesting), but that segment was fucking disturbing. Kendra's a big football fan, but she's also a stupid whore. She's incapable of having an intelligent conversation (it was full of "likes" and "stuffs" and "ya knows"), and she's pumped so full of Botox or whatever the shit it is that she doesn't look like a real person. On top of all that, her laugh is grating. Christ.

On a completely unrelated note, I finished the setlist for GH2 on Hard. Now I'm going back and five-starring Easy and Medium, before I come back to try and five-star Hard.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Guitar Hero 2: GotY

It's official: Guitar Hero 2 is a 12.

Because Guitar Hero was an 11, you see.

I haven't even finished the entire song list yet, and I can tell you that it's a 12. I'm currently sitting at the beginning of set 7 (Furious Fretwork), having just finished Stop by Jane's Addiction. I started on Hard, because I'm a pimp, and have yet to fail a song. Sure, I've 3 starred more than a handful, and been in danger of being booed off a few times, but I've made it through so far.

Set 7, however, is intimidating. I can almost guarantee I'm going to get booed off at least once during the set. But that's ok, because there's a practice mode in GH2. A practice mode that lets you set a slower tempo and/or play specific parts of a song without worrying about impressing a crowd.

That's not the only new addition. There's 3 button chords, there's easier hammerons and pulloffs, there's new characters/guitars/skins/venues, there's an expanded song list and more cohesive career mode, and most importantly, there's new and improved multiplayer modes. There's the cooperative mode that lets one player take lead guitar, and the other take bass or rythym guitar (depending on the song) for simultaneous rocking (with each player able to choose a different difficulty level). There's the face-off mode from last time where the players alternate parts of a song. Finally, there's the pro face-off mode where both players play the whole song, note for note, at the same difficulty level, in order to put those "I'm a better GH player than you are" debates to rest for good.

There's not anything that I can say bad about the game, honestly. It's harder than Guitar Hero, I think. Expert mode on GH1 was pretty hard, I still haven't completed it, actually. But Expert mode in GH2 is insane. I couldn't get booed off on a first set song in GH1 on Expert if I tried. But in GH2, it's hard not to get booed off on the second song. But that's not really bad, it just adds to replayability. If I could pick up GH2 and finish it in a week, that would suck. So I'm glad it's harder. Might it alienate new players? Perhaps. But they should just get GH1 and become a pro before going back to GH2.

In short, Guitar Hero 2 is the Game of the Year. Even if you don't own a PS2, you should buy one, just to play Guitar Hero 1 and 2. While there may have been killer apps/system sellers before, Guitar Hero is the only one that's actually worth buying a whole system just for one game (and its sequel).

Sunday, November 05, 2006

So Awesome

I'm feeling extremely good right now, for a couple of different reasons.

One, RedOctane shipped Guitar Hero 2 on Friday, so if I don't get it tomorrow, I'll get it on Tuesday. That is going to rock the whole entire house. If I can tear myself away from it for long enough, I'm definitely going to throw up impressions and a full review later this week.

I've already played the 4 song demo that was with last month's issue of OPM. I actually payed 10 bucks for a magazine I have no intention of reading, just because it had the demo for GH2 in it, so that tells you how much I'm anticipating the game. The demo has Shout At the Devil by Motley Crue, You Really Got Me covered by Van Halen, Strutter by Kiss, and YYZ by Rush. I've played it both single and co-op, and done both lead guitar and bass/rythym guitar in co-op on all four songs. I like Shout At the Devil and Strutter the best. I would have liked another Van Halen song, really, because You Really Got Me, while good, isn't very Van Halen-y. And YYZ is damn hard.

Some early impressions based on the demo: three note chords are devious. They're a serious curveball at first, and it's going to take some practice to get them down. They're all over the place on Strutter's rythym guitar. It's way easier to do hammer ons and pull offs in GH2. I couldn't do them to save my life in GH1, and would just have to hit the strum bar like a maniac and hope I hit the flurry of notes. Now, though, I can hit it once and do a whole scale of hammer ons and pulls offs up and down the fretboard. Well, not really, but I can see how it would be totally possible with practice. Finally, I like playing the bass with my finger (upstroke strumming) rather than my thumb (downstroke strumming). I wanted to do it two finger style, but the strum bar isn't that responsive, so I just play with my index finger. It's still awesome, though, and really captures the feel of playing bass.

Two, I was offered the position that I had previously written about today. I accepted after hearing what the payrate would be (although I probably would have still accepted even if there was no increase at all over my current rate). Not only will it be full-time (a 40 hour week as opposed to my current 25), I'll be making about $1.50 more an hour. Ultimately, it works out to almost 40 grand a year. That's still not quite the goal I had in mind after college (I was told an Econ degree could net at least 40 grand a year right out of the gate), but I'm almost there, and only 2 and a half years off schedule. Even being conservative as to what the tax rate on a salary like that is, at my current rate of expenditure, I'll be free and clear of all my debt (credit card and student loans) in 12 months. That's some hot shit, right there. Not too many people are free of their 4-year college debt before their 26th birthday. I will be.

Not only that, but once I'm free, I'm never going into debt again. Expensive home electronic or other purchases? If I can't write a check for it, I don't need it. New car? I'm paying for that shit cash. Buying a home? Fuck that, I'm renting instead.

My next goal: get out of Stockton. The home offices are in Oakland. Season tickets for Raider games, here I come.