Sunday, December 30, 2007

2007 NFL Playoffs: Wild Card Weekend Predictions

The regular season is over, and the playoff picture is set. Time for my predictions for the first four games next weekend, the Wild Card first round.


6 Washington Redskins at 3 Seattle Seahawks
The Redskins come into Seattle on an emotional high, having won their last four games, and playing for their fallen teammate, Sean Taylor. Seattle dropped two of their last four against a couple of awful teams (Carolina and Atlanta), and has only managed one win all season against a playoff team (Tampa Bay). That is the very definition of an upset waiting to happen.
Redskins win.

5 New York Giants at 4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Giants very nearly handed the Patriots their first loss of the season last week in an otherwise meaningless game for the G-Men. Tampa Bay clinched their division early and dropped the last two games of the season. A wise man might think that the Bucs would be rested and the Giants would suffer a let-down, but I think the Bucs will be rusty and Eli Manning will take out his frustrations on the Bucs banged-up D.
Giants win.

Byes: 1 Dallas Cowboys and 2 Green Bay Packers


5 Jacksonville Jaguars at 4 Pittsburgh Steelers
The Jaguars defeated the Steelers just a few weeks ago in Pittsburgh, when the Steelers still had their running back, Willie Parker. No Willie Parker plus a very good Jaguars team equals trouble for the Pennsylvania boys.
Jaguars win.

6 Tennessee Titans at 3 San Diego Chargers
The Titans fought their way into the playoffs, clinching the last spot with a win over second and third string Colts. After a rocky start, the Chargers finished strong, going into the playoffs on a 6 game winning streak. San Diego has already beaten Tennessee once this season on the road, the situation won't be any different in sunny southern California.
Chargers win.

Byes: 1 New England Patriots and 2 Indianapolis Colts

Check back next week for results and more predictions.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Haul 2007

How was your Christmas? That's good. Mine was awesome. Got to spend time with the family that matters, and got some cool shit to boot. Let's commence with the rundown, in no particular order, shall we?

Rock Band Stratocaster. To facilitate 4 player rocking, which is better than 90% of activities human beings are capable of engaging in.

Sam and Max: Season 1. This is the way episodic content should be done. Plus, it's all about a 6 foot canine shamus and a hyperkinetic rabitty-thing fighting for justice and causing mayhem. What's not to like?

Superman: Doomsday. Bruce Timm kicks ass. So do Adam Baldwin (Supes), James Marsters (Luthor), and Ray Wise (Perry White). While it's not entirely faithful to the Death/Rebirth of Superman comics, it does a hell of a job in 70 minutes. And it has an absolutely laugh out loud moment (if you get the in-joke): "Yeah, like we really needed him to bust up the mechanical spider, right? Lame!"

Darkwing Duck: Volume 2. I am the terror that flaps in the night, I am the fingernail that scrapes the blackboard of your soul. I am Darkwing Duck!

Oakland Raiders 2008 Desk Blotter/Calendar. Shows my support for the Raiders and is functional, too.

Reese's Peanut Butter Trees. Mmmm, chocolate and peanut butter.

Fraggle Rock: Complete Third Season. I am a child of the 80's. Plus, Jim Henson rocks.

Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. Zelda + DS = Win.

Motor Trend 2008 American Muscle Wall Calendar. Because sweet cars are (technically) obtainable, and hot naked models are not.

Invader Zim: The Complete Invasion. Not sure how I missed this when it was on television, but it's made of awesome.

The Dark Crystal: 25th Anniversary Edition. I am a child of the 80's. Plus, Jim Henson rocks.

Heroes: Season 1. Best show on television right now. Which reminds me, I need to pick up a copy of Veronica Mars Season 3.

There you have it. Hope everyone enjoyed their holidays and the accompanying time off work. Peace, bitches!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Midseason Roundup 2007

It's that time again, halfway through this year's television season when pretty much all of the shows take at least a 2 week break for the holidays and come back in the new year ready to go. Except this year, given the writer's strike, most shows are simply done for the season. Some of them may be back next year for a full season run, and others may just stay gone (there are quite a few that need to, seriously).

I'd also like to talk a bit about the midseason replacements that will be picking up some of the strike slack. There are quite a few shows to talk about, so let's get started.

Monday night:

How I Met Your Mother, 7:00 pm, CBS - This show consistently delivers the comedy. Only 11 episodes were completed before the strike, but it should be back next fall.

Prison Break, 8:00 pm, FOX - The convicts took a very early break (only 8 episodes in), but now that the strike has hit, they actually have a decent number of episodes (5) to run through in the new year. Cliffhangers are always painful, and I have the sneaking suspicion that Prison Break is going to end in just that.

Chuck, 8:00 pm, NBC - One of my favorites out of the new crop of shows, Chuck got picked up after the strike began. I can't wait for new episodes.

Heroes, 9:00 pm, NBC - Now that Kristen Bell is a full-fledged cast member, this show has thoroughly cemented its position as the best on television right now (although I still lament the loss of Veronica Mars. Sweet Veronica, we hardly knew ye). Bring on Volume 3!

Journeyman, 10:00 pm, NBC - As much as I tried not to, I have become attached to Journeyman. It's fucking time travel, man, what's not to like? Still no word on if it's been picked up, which doesn't look good. I've got my fingers crossed.

Tuesday night:

Bones, 8:00 pm, FOX - I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I don't normally go for the police procedural/crime drama/forensics investigation shows, but Bones has something the others don't: Angel, err, David Boreanaz. I love the Whedonverse folks, what can I say?

Reaper, 9:00 pm, CW - Wickedly funny, perfectly cast, and well written. How much do you want to bet it doesn't come back after the strike is over? I wish I could be optimistic, but quality television like this doesn't get rewarded nearly as often as it should.

Wednesday night:

Pushing Daisies, 8:00 pm, ABC - What was that I said about quality television not being rewarded? What the hell do I know, because the tale about a magical life-giving (if only for a minute) pie-maker has been picked up. Woot.

Bionic Woman, 9:00 pm, NBC - Shlock. I stopped watching after four episodes, and I don't regret it. Wait, I take that back. I regret watching those four episodes.

Life, 10:00 pm, NBC - I really like this show. I'm wondering how far they can take the whole "Det. Crews trying to find out who framed him for murder and why" angle, but I'm enjoying it for the time being. Plus, Christina Hendricks has made a couple of cameos. Joss Whedon is indeed my master. Full season pick up for teh win!

Thursday night:

My Name Is Earl, 8:00 pm, NBC - I can't say enough good things about Jason Lee. Why he keeps making crap like Underdog and Alvin and the Chipmunks I'll never know. At least I have Earl.

Smallville, 8:00 pm, CW - I'm a glutton for punishment. That's the only reason I can think of why I continue to watch this show. It's got about as much in common with Superman as my left nut. Lex Luthor owns the Daily Planet and cloned his dead brother who was in a relationship with Lois Lane who has a cousin that also works at the Daily Planet and is an object for Clark Kent's misplaced affections, rather than his true love Lana Lang who was married to Lex Luthor? Are you fucking kidding me? This show has hinted at so many potentially great storylines, like the Justice League, Bizarro, Supergirl, Brainiac, and Doomsday, only to piss them all away with nonsense about faked pregnancies, teenage angst, random amnesia, and deus ex machinas. Either give me Superman or give me nothing.

The Office, 9:00 pm, NBC - Comedy gold. Can't wait for it to come back.

Supernatural, 9:00 pm, CW - This show keeps getting better. There are a lot of loose ends that need tying up, it's just a matter of getting the writers back to work.

Friday night:

Moonlight, 8:00 pm, CBS - It's not Angel, but it's not bad. No word yet on a pickup. Fingers crossed.

Next Great American Band, 9:00 pm, FOX - I know, it's the dreaded reality show. To be fair, though, it's one of the least offensive reality shows. There's very little backstage drama, pandering judges, and overall runtime-padding. While I disagree with the final result (Sixwire is a much better band than The Clark Brothers), it was fun to watch. As with all reality shows, I don't doubt it'll be back bigger (and probably much worse) next year.

Other Shows:

Dexter, Showtime - I picked up the first season on DVD, and devoured it. A show where the main character is a serial killer? And we're expected to sympathize with him? I should care about this why? Because it's a incredibly well-crafted show with great acting, terrific writing, and an entirely original premise. Plus, unlike some other shows out there (*cough*The Shield*cough*), it doesn't try and force us to like its monster of a main character. Dexter kills people and is unapologetic, but even he acknowledges that he's a monster. While we do eventually learn more about Dexter's character and why he does what he does, I didn't know any of it going in and that's not why I like the show. It's certainly not for everyone, but if you're not squeamish and enjoy original ideas on television, Dexter is definitely worth your time. Oh yeah, and it's got Julie Benz in it.

Desperate Housewives, ABC - I just can't get into this show. Nathan Fillion is an incredible draw, but even he can't make me like a show about a bunch of whiny, pompous, spoiled bitches in suburbia.

Midseason Replacements:

Lost, ABC - We have to go back. We have to go back to the island. Fuck yeah.

Jericho, CBS - It got canceled, fans said, "Nuts," and now it's back. Woot.

Sarah Connor Chronicles, FOX - Wait, it's Terminator on network television? And it has Summer Glau in it? Sign me up!

New Amsterdam, FOX - New York City homicide detective John Amsterdam was cursed to live forever until he could find his true love. 400 years later and he may have found her.

American Gladiators, NBC - Hulk Hogan, Laila Ali, and a bunch of roided out supermen (and women) laying the smack down on everyday jabronis? Sign me up!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

News and Notes

First up, the required Rock Band discussion. Justin came to town on Sunday, and gave me what is perhaps the best Christmas gift ever: a second Rock Band guitar. It was incredibly timely as well, since the down strum on my existing guitar had started to get spotty. Up strum still worked great, which is just perfect for a bassist. After rocking a bit of two player band world tour mode, we hopped online with me on bass and him on lead guitar. Tons of fun, I must say, since there was some guy (or gal, although the avatar was male) playing expert drums. INSANE.

Given the aforementioned trouble I was having with my initial guitar, I RMA'ed it. I opted for the express delivery, which meant EA shipped out a replacement via two day air, and all I had to do was put the borked guitar in that box and ship it back at no charge to me. The new guitar arrived on Wednesday, which was just in time to get the crew together for some four player action. Holy shit that was awesome. Playing online with other people is great, but when you have four people in the same room rocking the entire house, there's nothing else like it. I can't wait to do it again.

Before we rocked out last night, a bunch of us went to see I Am Legend. I've never read the book of the same name that inspired it and the first two film adaptations, The Last Man On Earth and The Omega Man. I did see The Omega Man, and my primary beef with that film was the savior angle it adopted at the end that seemed completely tacked on and unnecessary. A quick check of Wikipedia reveals that the book pitted Robert Neville, the sole survivor of the apocalypse, against a legion of vampire-like creatures. As Neville hunted the vampires during the day and killed them while they slept, he was unaware that some of them were still human. He eventually learned he was killing still living people along with the undead, and after they attacked and executed him, he became legend as the vampires once were.

I think that's a fantastic premise for a film, but apparently today's movie-going audience is either too stupid or too Jesus happy to accept such a deep and haunting ending like that. Like The Omega Man before it, I Am Legend derails into a sappy, shoe-horned savior ending that had me shaking my head in disgust. Here was a film that had so many elements of the book: viral infection that caused worldwide devastation, vampire-like monsters, feelings of isolation and despair, and a canine companion. It also had Will Smith, who is tremendously entertaining to watch, some great music (Neville has an obsession with Bob Marley), an unexpected twist in the middle followed by an emotional gut-punch (honestly, there might have been tears), and a number of very impressive CG shots of a completely deserted New York City. It had a lot of things going for it, and then tossed it all away to give us hope that if a viral infection ever does wipe out humanity, someone like Robert Neville will be guided by God to find a cure and become the legend who restores civilization. Oi.

I've also been watching a lot of TV, and it's just about time for my mid-season rundown. I'll make a new post about that in the next few days.

Finally, this is hilarious. Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Quick Hit: Manhunt 2 (Wii)

This actually got an AO rating?

Seriously, this game that uses the engine from the PS2 GTA games got the equivalent of an NC-17?

I'm really at a loss as to why. See, I'm one of those (seemingly few) people who bought and played the original Manhunt. Now that was a violent, disturbing fucking game. Voyeuristic, sadistic, twisted, sick, and depraved. It was also fun as hell (until you got to the shooter levels, but I like to pretend those don't exist). But Manhunt 2? Not so good.

I like the Wiimote and nunchuk controls, I really do. They work well, and they represent what's happening on screen. Or at least, I think they do. I can't really tell since I forgot my fucking 3D glasses or whatever the hell this is supposed to be.

You see, that's the "cleaned up" M-rated version of Manhunt 2. Apparently the uncensored version was so graphic, the ESRB had to slap the AO rating on it, effectively banning it from ever being released. Until Rockstar made some edits and the ESRB re-rated it M, of course.

Here's what I don't understand. If something like this got an M rating four years ago, what's the problem now? Is one somehow better (or in this case, worse) than the other? Where is the line drawn? If AO games simply don't get released on consoles, why even bother having the rating? Don't tell me it's for porn or the occasional non-sexual PC game. Movies get released on DVD unrated all the time, couldn't games do the same?

But I'm getting off track. The point is that Manhunt 2 is a pathetic shell of what it could have been. Now, if you'll excuse me, James Earl Cash needs to go crack some skulls.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Anyone Wanna Buy a Copy of GH3 for PS3?

Harmonix made a post today on the official Rock Band forums.

Two weeks ago, Harmonix created a software patch for the Sony PLAYSTATION 3 version of Rock Band that allowed for guitar compatibility and support for third party peripherals, including enabling use of Activision's Guitar Hero III controller with Rock Band. The compatibility patch was submitted, approved and had been scheduled for release by Sony on Tuesday, December 4. Unfortunately, Activision objected to the compatibility patch's release. The patch remains with Sony, but we have been told that it will unfortunately not be released due to Activision's continued objection.

That's awesome, I tell ya. Harmonix did the right thing, and Activision is being a bunch of bitches. So you know what? I'm done with Activision and Guitar Hero. Guitar Hero is dead to me. Long live Rock Band.

Monday, December 10, 2007

That One Game That I Talk About All The Time

I finished up the Medium Drum solo career last week. Extremely fun stuff. For some inexplicable reason, Green Grass and High Tides is stuck at the end of the sixth (I think, could be seventh) set (there are nine sets in total) for the Drum career. So damn hard. Not to mention that it's fucking 10 minutes long, and the last 4 minutes are an extremely fast beat including the kick pedal. That's fucking work, right there. Buy Rock Band, play the drums, get in shape.

Once I got past GGaHT, the rest of Medium was a piece of cake. Enamored with my success, I got the crew together over the weekend to play some 3 player. The Me Too's (a name which they dislike, I'm not sure why, because I love it) rocked the house so hard that I decided to step it up to Hard on the drums. "How hard can it be?" I asked myself. I even picked a not all that difficult song for my first foray (Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden). Holy shit, I got booed off the stage in about 30 seconds. I'll have to give Hard another shot when there aren't two other people depending on me for a solid rhythm.

Oh, one other thing. There's this guy that tried out the drums the first time we got the band together and scoffed at it. You know the type: "Shit, why not just play the real thing? I could hella tear this song up on an actual kit. Look at this piece of shit, it's so gay." He played a couple of songs, did a respectable job, and then left us "kids" to play our "game." Despite completely missing the point of playing a game, he decided to give the drums another shot yesterday. He stepped up the difficulty level, and rocked out. He commented after a particular song, "That was hella fun to play!" and even rejoiced over hitting 98% of the notes on Medium Drums compared to my 96% of the notes on Hard Guitar on another song. That's right, I lead the Church of Rock Band, and there is no choice but to convert.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Rock Band Post #37

From the Rock Band Official Forums:

Available today is a routine update for the PLAYSTATION 3 version of Rock Band that addresses a number of items related to guitar controller compatibility. Should Rock Band owners choose to obtain the update, they will need broadband internet access connected to their PLAYSTATION 3. The update will be downloaded once the game is started.

This posted sometime yesterday (not sure what time, because the timestamping on the forums is completely wrong). There are a number of interesting things about this post, the first of which being the corporate-speak language. So let's address what it actually says.

First, it refers to the patch as a "routine update." Does that mean they plan to regularly update the game? Did they plan to add additional controller functionality all along? Or are they using the word routine in the sense of a code routine? Who knows?

The patch "addresses a number of items related to guitar compatibility." Number of items? Related to guitar compatibility? There's one item "related" to guitar compatibility as far as myself and others are concerned: we want the GH3 Les Paul to work with Rock Band. That's it. If the patch doesn't allow the GH3 Les Paul to work with Rock Band, then it's fucking useless. Period.

You need a broadband internet connection for the PS3 in order to get the patch. I.E. you can't download it on your computer and transfer it on a flash drive. Ok, makes sense. If you have a PS3 and don't have broadband, you need to get your priorities straight.

When the game boots up, you get the patch. There was a day 1 patch, and it worked the same way, so that's fine.

This post went up later that day:

I was told it would go live today. If it doesn't go live today I imagine it will go live soon as there is a patch and it has passed all sorts of certification. It exists, is what I am trying to say.

So, there's a patch, but we don't know when it will be released? Maybe today, maybe Thursday, maybe next week? It's passed all sorts of certification, so that's good. I assume the sorts of certification it passed allows it to be released to all PS3 users, and not just specially selected beta testers or some shit.

Wait, sorry, I'm reading into the post. He says it's passed certification and should go live soon. Ok, perhaps it will be Thursday, since that's when new content hits the Playstation store. Get your patch and downloadable content all at the same time!

One last post made late last night/early this morning:

So as you may have noticed the patch still isn't up and I apologize. We're trying to find out what the holdup is and I'll get back to you when I know. Or better yet the patch will just go up and everyone will be stoked. Sorry about the delay.

Now we have no idea when the patch will go up, or why it's delayed. Why do I get the feeling that either this patch isn't what we've been waiting for, or that it's just a ploy to keep us waiting until they can release standalone guitars so we forget all about it and shell out another 70 bucks?

I honestly don't see what the problem is here. Are we really expected to believe that no one involved with the game, at any level, ever said, "Hey, maybe folks out there are thinking they can use their GH3 Les Paul's on the PS3 with Rock Band, so we should look into that. If we can't make it work, we should let them know. If we can make it work, we might want to wait to release until it's ready." Maybe someone did say that, and it fell on deaf ears, although I can't imagine why, since that's the only way to have a full band on PS3 at this time. It's not like PS3 users haven't had to wait for other titles before.

Rock Band + GH3 Les Paul. Let's get it done.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Battalion Wars 2 (Wii) Impressions and Yet Another RB Note

I've played Battalion Wars 2 for about an hour, and gone through five missions. It's basically a real-time shooter version or the Advance Wars games on GBA and DS. After a quick check of GameFAQs, I discovered that the game only spans 19 missions, which puts the entire game at about 4 hours. That's just a bit shorter than my dick, if you measured my dick in hours.

There's multiplayer that would theoretically pad that runtime, but it's only online, no local multiplayer option. Since I don't know anyone with the game, that's useless. Still, it's been fun for an hour, so we'll see how the other 3 go.

Also, after being stuck at 56 of 58 songs on the Hard guitar career, I finished that off last night. Green Grass and High Tides, the final song on the list, isn't terribly difficult so much as an endurance test (it's about 10 minutes long). The real bitch (for me, anyway) is Flirtin' With Disaster. A good third of the song is a devastating solo. I eventually got it, but I was flirtin' with getting booed off the stage for the last half of the tune.

Now it's time to go back to the drums (on Medium) for another 25 songs or so. Let's hope those rumors of standalone axes being available on 12/18 are true so I can rock the full band sooner rather than later.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Oh, I Almost Forgot To Mention

I made a credit card payment today. My last major one, in fact. You know what that means?

That means no more debt, baby! As of right now, I am completely free and clear of debt. The only use my credit card has now is for monthly recurring charges like my cell phone, Netflix subscription, and the like. Any purchases I make from now on will be made either with cash or my check card.

I thought I might feel different now that I'm out of debt, but I don't. Maybe it just hasn't hit me yet. Maybe looking at my checking account balance at the end of the month and instead of seeing "$42.73," staring at a number like "$1,856.97" will drive the point home.

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (PS3) Review

Uncharted is so short, I didn't even get a chance to toss up some impressions before I finished it. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though, considered how well put together it is, how amazing it looks, and how much fun it is to blow people away around corners without even looking. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Uncharted is one of those games that I started looking forward to way back at some E3 when I first saw a video demo. It looked like the evolution of Tomb Raider: running and gunning, platforming, and puzzle solving in some ancient temple/tomb/lost city in glorious 1080p at 60 fps. And that's exactly what it is. Our hero, Nathan Drake, is a bad-ass with his 9mm pistol and shotgun strapped to his back, while leaping around jungle locales like a monkey and finding lost treasure. He's joined by Elena Fisher, a smart and cocky reporter who can hold her own with a gun, and Victor "Sully" Sullivan, a shady treasure hunter out for one last big score. They're all looking for the treasure of El Dorado, aided by the diary of Nate's ancestor, Sir Francis Drake.

The game plays like most other third person shooters/platformers. Drake can run and jump, climb, deal out savage beatings, fire from the hip, or take aim for more accurate shooting. He can also take cover, and pop out to fire or just fire blindly from safety. At certain points, there are context sensitive button presses, such as turning a crank to open a gate or diving away from falling debris.

Sound, music, and voice acting are all excellent. Firing an AK sounds like it should, the score hits all the right points, and the actors really do a wonderful job. It helps that the cutscenes (which are in-engine) are fantastic, and the facial expressions convey the right emotions.

Which brings me to the way the game looks. I could use a number of different adjectives here, but I think amazing pretty well sums it up. After Assassin's Creed, I didn't think a first-gen PS3 game could look any better, but Uncharted does. There are some minor issues with texture-pop, but nothing major.

Besides the occasional replacement textures, there are a few other issues. The difficulty can be uneven, and there are certain spots of trial and error. If you get stuck, the game will often provide a hint on where or what you're supposed to go or do next, but they come only after wandering around lost for five minutes. Even when you know what you're supposed to do, sometimes it feels like the game is mocking you as you try to do it and fail repeatedly (the endgame is a perfect example of that). When you do fail, you usually don't get set back too far, but it's still an annoyance.

Even with the try, try again sections, the game is almost criminally short. At most, the first run-through takes 8 hours. There are 60 treasures to collect, and a new game mode that's unlocked after beating the initial campaign ("Crushing" difficulty. I did Normal, not Hard, and Crushing sounds downright painful), but I don't really go for that. If you do, I imagine finding all the treasures and doing everything there is to do adds another 8-10 hours.

While I'm glad I rented and didn't buy (if only because it took me 3 days of play to finish the campaign), Uncharted is a very good game. Definitely a solid rental, and maybe a purchase once the price comes down, if you're a completist. There's a lot of polish here, and an entertaining story. It might not be Game of the Year, but Uncharted is worth your time.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Non-Response Response

You're familiar with the term non-denial denial? Well, I just coined a new term (I think). I may also be flogging a thoroughly dead horse, but I don't care. This is my goddamn blog, and if I want to bitch about something, I'm damn well going to. Especially because the alternative is making a post on the "official" Rock Band forums, which is a fucking wasteland of stupidity and fanboyism. So here goes.

Harmonix released (another) official response today regarding the PS3 guitar compatibility issue. Here it is:

Many of you have contacted us about the PS3 edition of Rock Band--from issues with guitar compatibility to frustration that stand-alone guitars and drums for Rock Band have not yet hit stores. Please know that these issues have our full attention. We are listening and we read everything that is posted here on our forums. We are committed to providing the best play experience possible and working hard to ensure that we solve these problems as soon as possible. We promise to keep you updated and, in the meantime, we thank you for your patience.

Let's break this down line by line.

"Many of you have contacted us about the PS3 edition of Rock Band--from issues with guitar compatibility to frustration that stand-alone guitars and drums for Rock Band have not yet hit stores."

There are only two issues that PS3 users are concerned about: guitar compatibility (i.e. the Les Paul working with Rock Band), and stand-alone instruments (most notably the guitar, but I guess if a PS3 user bought the disc-only version of the game, they might only be interested in the drums, and would want to buy them separately). So saying "from issue A to issue B" makes no sense when there's nothing in between issue A and issue B.

"Please know that these issues have our full attention."

Do they really? I would imagine that downloadable content has your full attention right now, given the weekly release schedule through the end of the year. Gotta get those dollars, G.

"We are listening and we read everything that is posted here on our forums."

Bullshit. At most, you skim. As I stated before, the official forums are teeming with idiots, you are not reading every piece of horseshit that dribbles from their mouths.

"We are committed to providing the best play experience possible and working hard to ensure that we solve these problems as soon as possible."

This is the part that most people seem to be having trouble with. It's my opinion that they think this line says, "We will patch Rock Band PS3 to work with the Les Paul and make stand-alone instruments available in time for Christmas." Sorry, assholes, but it doesn't say that. It doesn't say anything like that. By not doing a damn thing about the Les Paul and releasing stand-alone instruments in February 08, they're "solving these problems as soon as possible."

"We promise to keep you updated and, in the meantime, we thank you for your patience."

That's nice. I appreciate the update, and I will continue to have patience. Are you fucking kidding me? This isn't a response. It sets no timeframe, no strategy, no action-plan, and no expected results. It's completely devoid of any substance at all. It boils down to "We know you have complaints, we don't really care, just wait for February to pay us more money for the complete Rock Band experience. Until then, check out the microtransactions. kthxbai."

Jesus Christ almighty, this is ridiculous. This is the kind of shit that makes folks boycott companies, no matter how good the product (or parts of the product) may be.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

More Game Notes

SMG - Still at 44 stars, no progress.

Assassin's Creed - I finished the campaign, and did everything except hunting down all the flags. I have no idea if you got something special for finding all the flags, but frankly I don't care. Collecting a bunch of pointless shit isn't why I play games. I play games to have fun, and Assassin's Creed had that in spades. I probably spent somewhere around 15-20 hours with it, and I was never bored or trying to rush to get through it. I took my time, got frustrated a few times because of seemingly impossible missions, but got through them with skill, not luck (which is required in far too many games, *cough* GTA *cough*), and thoroughly enjoyed nearly every minute.

Not only that, but once it was over (and yes, I even came back after the credits were over to get the last bits of story), I immediately wanted more. Not sure if Ubisoft is already working on a sequel (assuming it sold well enough, which I think it did), but I want it sooner rather than later. A wise man once said that great games overcome their flaws, and Assassin's Creed does just that.

Zack and Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure - At first blush, this is a kiddie game, with annoying anime trappings. Upon further inspection, it's a puzzle/adventure game with some great ideas, excellent use of the Wiimote, and a maddeningly difficult exercise in trial and error. I'm sure I've seen other games with as much unfulfilled promise as Zack and Wiki, but it's certainly the most recent example. Turning enemies into items that you can use to solve puzzles? Brilliant. Point and click adventuring with the Wiimote? Great. Gesturing with the Wiimote to turn keys, saw through logs, ring bells, and shovel snow, all completely intuitively and (for the most part) flawlessly? Fantastic. Dying for no reason, not knowing what the fuck to do with a limited number of items at your disposal, and restarting stages again and again because you made too many errors? Un-fucking-excusable.

Remember what I said about playing games to have fun? Zack and Wiki isn't fun. It's trial and error gameplay at it's best (worst?) with a bunch of bullshit anime conventions piled on for good measure. It could have been truly great, a must own title for the Wii, and maybe even started a new Nintendo flagship series. Instead, it's not even worth a rental, unless you like tearing your hair out.

Oh, and it's a perfect example of why you should never trust reviews. It currently sports an 8.7 among critics over at Metacritic, and an amazing 9.5 among users. I wouldn't wipe my ass with the manual.

Rock Band - I don't think I need to say anything else about Rock Band that I haven't already. If you have a 360 or a PS3 (or later this year, a PS2) and don't own Rock Band, there is something wrong with you.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Musings on Rock Band

3-player Rock Band is so much fun it should be illegal. I can only imagine that 4-player Rock Band must be like the second coming of Christ while eating Oreos and having an orgasm.

More band names:
Right of Way
Future Business Leaders of America (this would require the whole band to be dressed in suits, but with Rock Band's character customization tool, it's totally possible)
Hitler's Handgun

I named the band The Me Too's on Justin's suggestion. I love that name, because it's so perfect for a cover band.

Replacing the stock lyrics with your own made up lyrics is universal. Apparently I'm not the only one who sings "I've seen a million faces, and I've fucked em all" in Wanted Dead or Alive.

I think I might be starting to have trouble with my guitar. Star, excuse me, Overdrive wouldn't deploy during a couple songs last night, and then started working again. Weird. I hear that there's a 60 day warranty for broken instruments, though, so we'll see.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Miscellaneous Notes

Got some things that have piled up over the holiday, so time to get em out.

First, I think I'm done with Thanksgiving. I went over to my uncle's house this year, which ordinarily wouldn't be so bad. He's cool, but everyone else there was awful. My cousins (his daughters) are both idiots: one of them is a recovering drug addict and active alcoholic, the other never shuts her stupid mouth. Their next door neighbors are morons, too. I've known both of them for quite a while, and seen them on numerous occasions, but the guy had no idea who I was, and introduced himself to me. He was drunk, of course. And his wife, Jesus Christ, she's a fucking alcoholic/drug addict/lunatic. She's on medication because she had a nervous breakdown and tried to kill herself, but her preferred method of medicating herself is a bottle of pineapple wine, which she tried her damnedest to get me to try ("It's good, it tastes like Kool-Aid!") and I politely refused. Not to mention that I was just trying to watch the football game, and they were all spouting racist bullshit and ignorant nonsense nonstop. Next time, when they invite me for Thanksgiving dinner, I think I'll be sick.

As far as gaming goes, it's been a nonstop binge of Rock Band and Assassin's Creed. Two-player is great, and I can't wait for Sunday night when we'll get the crew together and do some three-player. We actually got a four piece band together for one song today (me on bass, Justin on drums, and a singer and guitarist somewhere on the intertubes) and it was extremely cool. The online play lets you pick guitar or bass, even if you've just got the one guitar, so that's pretty cool. There's something about drumming that is base, and primal, and fucking rad. At this point, I'm perfectly willing to pay someone somewhere 60 bucks for a second guitar, but they're simply not available.

Finally, I watched Kung Fu Hustle tonight. The trailers were terrible, but after numerous recommendations I gave in. It's...hard to describe. It's a little bit of the old school kung fu flicks, a little bit of the new school wire fu flicks, a little bit of Road Runner cartoon, and a whole lot of WTF. All I can say is that if you have any interest in that at all, give it a rent.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Harmonix's Response

This is why I wasn't cautiously optimistic.

"If a third party game controller is based on open standards, then it should work with Rock Band as well. If certain controllers do not work with Rock Band, questions about those controllers should be directed to the peripheral manufacturer."

Uh huh. While you're passing the buck, all us PS3 owners are stuck with a three piece band until at least February 08, when your sorry asses decide to start selling individual guitars, probably for 70 bucks apiece.

Besides, I call bullshit on that "open standards" line. In fact, look at this quote: "Guitar controllers are like any other standard game controllers--the controller sends a signal back to the game depending on the buttons you push." Your words, Harmonix, not mine.

You know what the GH3 Les Paul does when I'm in Rock Band and I connect it? Rock Band recognizes it as a standard game controller, but not a guitar. You know what that means, Harmonix? That means your game is not based on open standards. If it were, you could play it with any controller, included a standard game controller. Thanks for telling us you're all a bunch of liars and mother fuckers. Now I know why you inked a deal with EA, because that's their modus operandi: sell us a broken/incomplete game and when we complain, point the finger elsewhere. Fuck that, and fuck you.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Rock Band In The House

There are a lot of things I could say about Rock Band right now, but I only want to focus on one. The game is available either as a standalone disc for 60 bucks, or bundled with a guitar, drum kit, and mic for $170. Since the primary focus of Rock Band is to have an entire band, that means you need a second guitar for the bassist. The only way to get said guitar would be to either buy another $170 bundle (which is ridiculous), or use one of the guitars from GH3, assuming it's compatible.

Here's an excerpt from a Q&A session with a Rock Band PR rep a little more than a month ago.

Q: What about the bass? Do we need to buy it separately?
A: The Fender Stratocaster Rock Band guitar will function as both the lead guitar as well as bass. In terms of getting another guitar to play either guitar or bass, consumers can either use another Rock Band guitar or use another guitar controller as Harmonix has an open platform philosophy and their games will be compatible with third-party controllers that conform to the various platform controller standards.

As clarification, here's another one.

Q: For the Ps3 version, the guitar from Guitar Hero III won't be compatible with Rock Band. True?

A: Harmonix has an open platform philosophy and their games will be compatible with third-party controllers that conform to the various platform controller standards.

According to the interwebs, the 360 GH3 guitar and Rock Band work together just fine, no problems. I tried to get my PS3 GH3 controller to play with Rock Band, and guess what happened?

If you said, "It didn't fucking work," you'd be absolutely right.

I'd really like to play the part of the cautiously optimistic person and say that Harmonix is hard at work on a patch right now that will allow the PS3 GH3 controller to be used with Rock Band, but I don't think that's the case. Why should Harmonix bother to make a competitor's product work with theirs? Because that's what they said? Fuck, people say a lot of things. Because that's the only way to play with a full band until at least February of 2008? Fuck, go buy another bundle, it's only 170 bucks. Because a consumer can't return a game once it's been opened? Fuck, quit whining, that helps protect you from the effects of piracy.

I propose they retitle the game: Rock Band*

The asterisk says: "Except for the bassist. Who needs a bassist anyway? They're just guys who aren't good enough to play lead guitar."

Monday, November 19, 2007

Rock Band Band Names

As we all know (or anyone who reads this blog does, anyway), Rock Band hits the streets tomorrow. I still haven't settled on a band name, but these are my top 5, in no particular order.

Defenestration Nation - Defenestration is, by far, my favorite word in the English language. It literally means to throw someone or something through a window.

Gaseous Assassination - Or, in more simple terms, an SBD.

The Freudian Slits - You see what this one does? That's why I like it.

Injured Reserve - A sports term, which I enjoy. This blog's called Unnecessary Roughness, after all.

Broken Lawn Chair - If you've seen Dr. Tran, you know where this one comes from. I thought about Hickory Smoked Horse Buttholes, but that's a bit too in-jokey.

I could always use one of the names from the GH games (Breaking the Girl and Abominable Mailman are definitely two very good names and I like them a lot), but I don't want to repeat myself if I can help it.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Assassin's Creed (PS3) Impressions

No, I'm not done with SMG. I've got something like 44 stars, so only 16 more until I can "finish" the game, and then I can see if I want to go for getting the other 60. Assassin's Creed is just one of those games that I had to check out.

Turns out, it's fucking amazing. Is there some framerate stutter? Sure, but it's really only noticeable when you're looking for it. Is there some pop-in and texture replacement? Yes, but see above. Is the big spoiler surprise story twist really all that important? I think so, and it's damn interesting, and I'm sure as hell not going to ruin it here (I know the game lets you in on the secret not 5 minutes in, but goddammit, I fucking hate spoilers no matter where they are).

The real question is: is it a good game? My answer: Fuck yeah. Free-running around huge cities, scaling walls like Spider-Man, trampling guards while on horseback, and slitting evil sons of bitches throats is as much fun as it sounds. So far I've assassinated only one high-profile target of 9 in the game, so my opinion could change. As of now it's definitely worth the price I paid to rent it.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Gaming Overload

I put in some more time with Super Mario Galaxy. I've played for around 2 hours now, and the only thing I have to complain about is the camera. It's controllable in some spots, not in others, and has screwed me over on more than one occasion. Games have been in 3D for what, a decade? Get the fucking camera under control. That's inexcusable. The rest of the game is incredibly, amazingly, wet-your-pants fantastic, so it all evens out. SMG is pretty much a must own game for the Wii.

Speaking of must own games, is it the 20th yet? Jesus Christ, the closer it gets the longer it seems to take.

Finally, it seems like I've only scratched the surface of kick-ass games this fall/winter, even though my list of conquests isn't short: Civ 4, GH 80s, Bioshock, Jam Sessions, skate, NWN2, GH3, Ratchet and Clank, and Super Mario Galaxy. That still leaves Stranglehold, Metroid Prime 3, Phoenix Wright 3, Jericho, Phantom Hourglass, The Witcher, Manhunt 2, Crysis, Assassin's Creed, Uncharted, Rock Band, and Haze. I think I should get the rental pass thing from Blockbuster, because it'll end up being much cheaper than buying everything on that list. Goddamn.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Toys R Us R Assholes

Toys R Us is running a promotion this week. If you buy Super Mario Galaxy from their brick and mortar store, you get a $25 gift card. Great deal, right? No one ever thinks of buying games from Toys R Us (or at least, I don't), so that's a great way not only to get people in, but to ensure that they come back at least once. The ad circular stated SMG would be available "In Stores Tuesday by 5 pm" even though every other store in town stated they would have SMG by 2 pm on Tuesday. Whatever, what's 3 hours, right?

Since I had today off, I decided to give them a call right after they opened. They may have gotten it in early, and as such, I could play all day. No such luck, the guy told me it would probably be in early afternoon. No worries.

I called back at 12:30, still no dice. This time, a lady told me they would get it "between 1:30 and 5, but probably closer to 5 because it's being delivered by FedEx." When FedEx delivers to me, it's almost always first thing in the morning. But whatever, she must know what she's talking about.

At 3:30, I try again. Still not there. By this time, I could walk into Circuit City or Best Buy or Wal-Mart or any other fucking store on the planet and pick up SMG no problem, and be playing in 20 minutes. I wouldn't have a $25 gift card, though.

By 4:45, I'm going crazy and call back again. This time, a guy answers the phone, "Thank you for calling Toys R Us, we haven't gotten Super Mario Galaxy in yet, this is Bill, how may I help you?" I decide to go down to Circuit City, since they're running a special on games under 20 bucks and I still need to get something for my niece for Christmas.

After finding a couple of games I think she'd like and eyeing the stack of Super Mario Galaxy boxes in the glass case, I call Toys R Us one last time. It's now 5:30. The operator answers and I ask for video games. He says, "Is this about Super Mario Galaxy?" I respond in the affirmative. He says, "We didn't get it in."

So not only was their ad a blatant lie, but they wasted my whole fucking day off when I could have been playing Super Mario Galaxy. Here's the silver lining, or karma, if you will. While the cashier was ringing up my games, he answered a call. His side of the conversation went like this: "Thanks for calling Circuit City, this is the software department. Yep, we've got plenty of them. It's $50." I don't doubt that he was talking to a disgruntled Toys R Us customer asking about Super Mario Galaxy.

Oh, and first impressions of SMG: Novel. Interesting. Tricky camera. Can't wait to play more.

Something That I Don't Understand

There are a lot of things that I don't understand, but here's the latest one. Why is it that when people are talking about bad movies or movies they didn't like, they'll sometimes say that they "fell asleep"? Did they really fall asleep while watching the film? Was it past their bedtime or something? Maybe they're just not getting enough sleep at night. I can honestly say I've never fallen asleep while watching a movie.

Maybe it's a figure of speech, and what they really mean is that it was boring. If that's the case, then why not just say the movie was boring? Why invent a completely bullshit reason for not liking a movie? I don't think that's it, anyway.

I think there are really people out there who get so little sleep at night that they just fall asleep while watching movies. Let's hope they get someone to drive them home. Or professional help. Maybe both.

Monday, November 12, 2007

30 Days of Night

I saw this flick last night, and I enjoyed it. I had never read the source comics, so I totally didn't see the ending coming. Good stuff. The only thing I could have done without was the lady two rows back going, "Ugh!" every time something even remotely violent happened. Seriously, don't go see a horror film if you can't handle it. Besides, it wasn't even that bad until near the end. Then, maybe, yeah, you might want to look away or something. But vampires feeding? People getting their heads taken off off-camera? Don't be such a fucking pansy.

My recommendation: if you like vampires, horror, snow, and/or Josh Hartnett, go see 30 Days of Night.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Old Games < New Games

I went down to GameCrazy today and traded in 29 of my old games and got $95 in store credit. Put that together with the 55 bucks I got from friends for 6 other games I pawned off on them (because they're awesome, thanks, guys!), and I've almost got Rock Band completely paid for. I still need to find out if GameCrazy will take my Xbox (since I no longer have any games for it, it's completely useless to me), but I'll probably be looking at another 20-40 bucks for that.

The only thing that pisses me off is that they wouldn't put down a reservation for me. "The system's taken the maximum reservations we can put in." Bullshit. They're going to get roughly a fuckton of copies. Alls I can say is that they better not pull some EBGameStopware, Etc. shit and tell me they can't sell me a copy the day it comes out because I don't have a reservation. I'll be wicked pissed if that happens.

Quick Hit: Ratchet and Clank Future - Tools of Destruction (PS3)

I rented this game last week, since all the Ratchet and Clank games have been great. Tools of Destruction is no exception. It looks fantastic, plays exactly like you'd expect it to, and is laugh out loud funny.

The only bad thing I have to say about it is that it's relatively short. If you're one of those people that absolutely have to do and unlock everything, it has replay value, but otherwise one and done is 10-15 hours of gameplay. Because of that, I don't think it's worth $60 of your hard-earned money, but it's definitely worth a rental or two (if you can't finish it off in a week, like I did).

That said, it's definitely the most fun I've had with my PS3 so far.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

No, I Don't Want A Strategy Guide

There's a reason I don't patronize EBGameStopware, Etc. anymore. Mostly, it's because of a number of their idiotic corporate polices. When I saw they were running a trade-in special for Rock Band and offering an additional 30% on any trade-in value towards the reservation of the bundle, I knew I had to jump on it.

Oh, how I wish I had never seen that ad.

First off, I recently bought two GH3 bundles (because they aren't selling individual guitars yet, those mother fuckers) for the PS3. This left me with an extra, brand new, never opened copy of GH3. I said to myself, "Hey, I'll just trade this shit in, along with a bunch of my old PS2, Xbox, and Gamecube games I never play anymore or ever will again, get an additional 30% on all of it, and I should be able to get Rock Band on the cheap!" Oh, the naivety boggles.

I call up my local EBGameStopware, Etc. and ask them how much I can get in trade for a copy of GH3 for the PS3. I'm expecting him to say about 30 bucks, because that's reasonable. Hell, they'd turn around and sell it for $55 or so. Since it's still in the wrap, they could technically sell it for $60. Half price is more than reasonable, right? The guy checks in his computer, and responds, "You get $20 for the game." Stunned, I don't even think to ask him about the other games on my list.

About a week passes, and after trying unsuccessfully to offload GH3 on, I decide to give the store another call. I've got a big list of games, but there's 4 stores in my area, so I figure I'll ask each store about a quarter of the games on the list, since the prices would all be the same.

The first store I call into asks me to hold immediately, and promptly hangs up on me. I figure she's new and doesn't understand how the phone works.

At the next store, I say I'm checking on trade values for some PS2 games. The guy says they're swamped right now, and would rather I come down in person if I've got a bunch of games to check values on. I'm not sure how adding to the overall number of customers in the store would somehow make him less busy, but whatever. I move on to the next store.

I try a different tack. This time, I ask about trade values on Xbox games. The guy responds, "We don't give trade-in prices over the phone." I ask why not. "I've gotta check the condition of the games." Excuse me? How about I worry about the condition of the games, and you just give me the fucking quotes? If, when I come down in person after receiving said quotes and you find the condition of my games unsatisfactory, then you can decide not to take them. Jesus Christ, this is like pulling teeth.

Having little hope, I try the last store. When I ask about trade-in values, he asks about how many games I'm checking on. I tell him 5, even though I have a list of about 30. He says, "I'd have to ask you to hold for a while, we've got a line. You could try us back in a half hour, we should be good then." At least he was nice about it, but I didn't call back. Chances are, someone else would answer and tell me I had to come down in person.

Here's the thing: Let's say I decide to come down in person, with a fucking duffel bag full of 30 games. Then what? You're telling me that one of your monkeys are going to run every one of them through the computer, check the condition of each, and give me a quote? It would be much easier and quicker to do it over the phone, so I can decide ahead of time which games I want to bring down and which aren't worth setting on fire, then you can do all the checking you want and give me my money. That's the logical thing to do, that's what makes sense.

Just for kicks, I tried checking at GameCrazy, which is a chain of used game stores attached to some Hollywood Video stores. They were busy too, and I asked the guy about Xbox trade values. He asked me to hold. I waited about 5 minutes, the guy came back and asked which Xbox games I was checking on. I just said Halo and Halo 2, and he gave me the quotes. Easy peasy, chicken cheesy. I'm thinking of skipping EBGameStopware, Etc. completely and just going to GameCrazy. It seems like they've got their shit together.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

New Attorney General

I usually don't talk about politics on this blog because I fucking hate politics and politicians. But I can't let this pass.

Michael Mukasey is the new attorney general of the US. This is the same guy that said he doesn't know enough about waterboarding to determine if it's torture or not. Hey, Mukasey, have you ever heard of the internet? Look it up, asshole.

So the Senate confirmed him by a 53-40 vote. That's a pretty narrow margin. Clearly, there were concerns. They had to "confirm Michael Mukasey as the next attorney general or...leave the Department of Justice without a real leader for the next 14 months." Or at least, that's what Dianne Feinstein of California said. Because it was definitely a black or white decision: confirm this guy or not have any AG! Holy shit! Hey, Dianne, guess who I'm not voting for in the next election? Dumb whores, that's who.

Coming back to the torture discussion, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania apologized for Mukasey, saying, "He felt that he could not make that pronouncement without placing people at risk to be sued or perhaps even criminally prosecuted." Heaven forbid people be sued or criminally prosecuted for FUCKING TORTURING PEOPLE. Has the whole world gone crazy? Am I the only one who gives a shit about what's right and wrong? Torture is torture and if you don't know what is and what isn't torture, you really shouldn't be the goddamn attorney general!

Not only that, but who the hell is this guy? I've never heard of this douchebag. He's a judge, but I've never heard his name mentioned in any high-profile cases. I know! Let's use the internet to look him up!

Ah, there it is. This guy's presided over terrorist trials. That's why he was being considered for the AG job. Because when it comes to terrorism, we have to do what's necessary. Even if that includes torture!

See why I fucking hate politics?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Holy Shit Holy Shit Holy Shit Holy Shit

Holy shit holy shit holy shit holy shit holy shit holy shit!

Wait, not done yet. HOLY SHIT!!!

My comments? It's fucking Joss, and fucking Tim, and fucking Duck Shoot. I only wish it wasn't on Fox. But hey, we're done with baseball, right? Bring that shit on!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

GH3 Update

I was rolling along on Hard mode (because that's the difficulty I play the main campaign mode on the GH games the first time through), when along comes the 7th set. Until that point, no song had really challenged me (except the boss battles, which can be a righteous pain in the ass, but are satisfying to beat), and all the songs were awesome (with the exception of Kool Thing by Sonic Youth, it's just not a very good rock song). But what awaits me in the 7th set?

Before I Forget by Slipknot
Stricken by Disturbed
3's & 7's by Queens of the Stone Age
Knights of Cydonia by Muse

Wow. What a mountain full of suck that is. A terrible song by a fucking awful band that is literally painful to play, a pretty good song by a pretty good band that's a real challenge, a shitty song by a good band, and a bad prog rock song by a bad prog rock band. Can you say brick wall? Because that's what the 7th set is for me.

The Slipknot song is the same hand-crushing, skull-fucking bullshit over and over again for 4 and a half minutes. The Disturbed song I actually beat with a minimum amount of fuss. The Queens of the Stone Age song, despite being shitty, is also impossible to play. And finally, the Muse song lulls you into a false sense of security with long, lilting notes and chords before hitting you with note ladders and triplets for the last 30% of the song.

I've felt like I couldn't beat songs in GH games before, but I really think I'm serious this time. I honestly have no idea how I could ever beat any of those 3 songs. On fucking Hard, no less. I don't even want to think about them on Expert.

And there's a whole other set! The 8th set has Slayer, and Maiden, and Metallica. Great songs, yes, but I can guarantee they'll be harder than the ones in the 7th set. I just don't get how the first 30 songs can be basically a breeze, and then the next 10 are impossible. Color me confused.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

First Impressions: Guitar Hero 3 (PS3)

First off, I don't know why I was worried about GH3. I listened to all the haters for GH80s, and it turned out not to be that bad. Same goes for GH3. Yeah, boss battles aren't that great, but the rest of the game is. Song difficulty seems to be somewhere between GH1 and GH2, and the note charts are still well done. Plus it looks friggin awesome in HD. And the wireless guitar, holy crap. Holy crap, the wireless guitar.

I would like to point out one issue I have, even though this has nothing to do with GH3 as a game in and of itself. While the PS3 will play the PS2 GH games, neither the old guitars or the new wireless guitar are compatible with them. Which means I still have to keep a space in my entertainment center for my PS2, and I still have to keep my PS2 guitars. That makes me very angry.

Back to GH3, I haven't finished the single player career yet, and there's supposedly a co-op career, too. I'll have to wait until I get a second guitar for that. As of now, GH3 gets two goats up. \m/ \m/

On a side note, I thought it would be fun to list my band names (i.e. save game names) I've used for the GH games.

GH1: Breaking the Girl (formerly The G-Men)
GH2: Abominable Mailman
GH80s: Redrum
GH3: Fabricated Cake (because The Cake Is A Lie)

I don't know what my band name for Rock Band will be yet. I've still got 3 weeks to think on it.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Quick Hit: Portal (PC)

Portal is awesome. It's laugh out loud funny, uniquely puzzling, and one of the best games I've played this year (also by far the shortest). It's certainly not worth 50 bucks as part of The Orange Box or 20 by itself, but it's definitely worth the price I paid for it (which is nothing). If you know someone who has The Orange Box or aren't afraid of breaking the law, give Portal a spin. You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Heroes has solidified its place as my current favorite show. Supernatural or Reaper may have been creeping up, but nope, Heroes now stands alone. Why, you ask? Because Kristen Bell was on it. I really hope it's not one and done, but still, it was awesome. Kevin Smith directs an episode later this year, too.


Saturday, October 20, 2007

New Car Shopping

My folks were recently in the market for a new car. Their old car died, so they needed a new one. They asked me for advice, so I went online and did some looking around. I was working under some fairly strict requirements: it had to be a 2002 model or newer with under 40k miles on it and with a sticker price of under $14,000. My dad's not a small man, so it also had to have enough room for him, and at least 2 other people in the car. Fuel economy was important, but not a deal breaker, and it had to be reasonably safe.

Mainly, I found things like the Chevy Impala, the Ford Crown Victoria, the Mercury Grand Marquis, and the Pontiac Grand Prix. I even managed to find a Ford Mustang that met the specs (my dad has some irrational fondness for Fords, and Mustangs in particular). I printed out spec sheets and contacts for all the cars so they would have an easier time at the dealerships. Not only that, but I offered to pay for part of the cost of the car, in case they found a Toyota Camry or a Nissan Altima or a Honda Accord that was a few grand out of their price range.

In the meantime, they had rented a Chrysler PT Cruiser to get around. My mom liked it, and my dad was indifferent towards it. They asked me what I thought of it, and I said, "It's a Chrysler." After asking for clarification, I told them that Chrysler's are notoriously unreliable, and the PT Cruiser in particular is so poor, they should be called POS Cruisers.

So they called me up today to let me know they'd looked around at dealerships in town, and had purchased a brand new car. I asked what it was, and my dad responded, "A PT Cruiser." I asked if he was kidding, and he said no.

My question now is why did I bother looking cars up for them if they weren't going to seriously consider them? Why did they ask my advice if they were going to ignore it? I'm sure as hell not going to help them pay for a piece of shit car that I warned them about, and they'll most likely end up being disappointed with. Jesus Christ, what the fuck.

Monday, October 15, 2007

It's Rant-Disneyworld!

I was reading the Sports Gamer blog today (I'm not going to link to it because I only check it about once a week, and after today, I think I'm done), and I ran across this post by one of the contributors, Dan. Before I start, know that Dan is a New England Patriots fan.

Well Dallas did play tough, right up until the Patriots destroyed them. Heh. Glen was remarking to me how classless the last minute touchdown was, but I think that Bill Simmons set it up right when he said that after cheatgate the Patriots are just giving a big middle finger to the rest of the league.

Let me stop you right there, Dan.

First off, yes, the last minute touchdown was classless. When you have the ball with under four minutes left in the game and you're leading 41-27, there is no reason you should be trying to score a TD. There's stepping on your opponent's neck, and then there's pissing in their mouth.

Second, what the fuck is cheatgate? Are you referring to the incident where the Patriots were using on field video cameras to record their opponent's signals? Because that's not cheatgate. Cheatgate isn't a word, Dan. Watergate is a word. You know Watergate. It's the name of a complex that was broken into back in 1972, and is often used to refer to the entire scandal that eventually led to President Nixon's resignation. All this whatever-gate shit? Not words. Stop using them. You're an idiot, Dan.

And finally, the Patriots aren't giving a middle finger to the league. Stop being such a fucking drama queen, Dan. The Patriots have beaten a bunch of thoroughly mediocre teams and one over-achiever. Get back to me after they've played Indianapolis, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and the NY Giants.

While I certainly see that some people would hate it, I have to say I wanted to see Brady get another passing TD.

A win isn't good enough? To quote Herman Edwards, you play to win the game, Dan.

I want a big middle finger going out to Manning, considering not a Sunday goes by without his 23 commercials.

Right, because Peyton Manning is the root of all evil. Last I checked, all he's done is consistently play well, quietly set records while giving credit to his team, and win a Super Bowl. Success equals endorsements. Simple as that, Dan.

He could be a great guy, but I’m sick of him. He’s right up there with Elway in my book of asshats.

Excuse me? Are we talking about the same John Elway who was drafted by the Baltimore Colts and bitched and whined ("I'd rather play baseball") until he got traded to the Broncos for a song? Are we also talking about the same Peyton Manning who got drafted by the Indianapolis Colts and shut his mouth, put his head down, and has started every game since then in a Colts uniform? We are? Ok, just wanted to make sure, Dan.

Oh, and Dan? Here's a big middle finger from me going out to you. Fuck you, Dan.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

One More Post About Orange Box

Last Wednesday I went to Best Buy after work because I wanted to get NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer. I made my way over to the "Strategy/Role Playing" section of the PC games, and looked for MotB. I found the Diamond edition of NWN, as well as NWN2, but not the expansion. Luckily, there were a couple of store employees chatting in the same aisle with a customer about Orange Box.

I asked one of them if they had gotten Mask of the Betrayer in today.

He greeted me with a blank stare.

"It's the expansion to Neverwinter Nights 2," I said.

He responded, "Did you want Orange Box? We've got Orange Box."

"Um, no, I'm looking for NWN2 Mask of the Betrayer. It's supposed to be out today."

"Hmm, let me check my computer."

So I followed him over to the computer terminal. He looked it up, and said, "Looks like we've got 12 of them, but it says the release date is 10/11." (Wednesday was 10/10)

We walked back over to the PC games, and he asked his co-worker. "Hey, do you have an ad? I need to check the shelf date for a new game."

The co-worker said, "Orange Box? Yeah, it's out today."

He eventually found the ad, read where it said by the little picture of MotB, "In Stores Wednesday by 2 pm," and sold me the game.

I'm not sure if those guys were getting paid extra to push Orange Box, but it sure as hell felt like it. I mean, shit, MotB was supposed to be on the shelf by 2 pm, I was there a little before 6, and apparently no one else had asked for it? Or maybe when they did, the guys said, "Oh yeah, we've got Orange Box," and the customer bought Orange Box instead. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

Friday, October 12, 2007

I Don't Understand Religious People

I was chatting with a coworker today about his son. He was explaining how the boy divvied up his allowance. "10% goes in his college fund, 10% goes in the bank, 10% goes to god, and he does whatever he wants with the other 70%."

10% goes to god? How does that work? Does he take some of his money out in the backyard and burn it? Does he turn it into an origami swan and sail it down the river at dusk? Does he put it under his pillow at night and it magically disappears while he's sleeping? I honestly don't understand how 10% goes to god; that's like saying 10% goes to the Easter Bunny.

Bustin' A Cap

Captain America is coming back next year. No, not Steve Rogers, cause he's dead. The new and improved Cap now comes complete with what looks like a .45. If that means Frank Castle is donning the mask and shield, that's pretty damn cool. If it's someone else (like Bucky, for example), that's pretty damn terrible. I'm certainly intrigued, though.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Wherein Everyone Deepthroats Valve

I wonder how much green Valve had to pay out for the top-notch cock sucking The Orange Box has been getting. Here's a game that takes Half-Life 2 (a great game, granted, but it came out almost 3 years ago. We've seen it. We've played it. We don't need to buy it again), Episode 1 (released a year and a half after HL2, lasted 5 hours and cost twenty bucks), Episode 2 (another year and a half later, 5 more hours, and twenty bucks more on its own), Portal (a ninety minute tech demo), and Team Fortress 2 (the sequel to a HL1 mod, which itself was a revisit of a Quake mod). All this for the low, low price of 50 bucks (60 if your sorry ass buys it for the 360).

Any objective observer can see this compilation for what it is: a shameless, blatant money grab. No game in this package is worth more than 10 bucks individually (some of them aren't worth anything), but combined they're somehow worth 50. Not only that, but the reviews are through the roof. 97 over at Metacritic. This is my favorite quote: "Regardless of whether you enjoy first-person shooters or not, The Orange Box is one title that every gamer must experience. If you buy one game this year, make it The Orange Box." That douchebag gave it a perfect score, and he wasn't the only one.

Do these reviewers even play the games they write about? Or do they throw something together in 5 minutes so they can go back to counting their money?

Friday, October 05, 2007

The Escapist

I'm pretty sure I've never pimped The Escapist before, so it's long overdue. If I have, I'm going to pimp it some more, because it's awesome.

The Escapist should be required Tuesday reading, since it's usually filled with insightful, interesting, and relevant gaming articles. I'm not talking about the type of gaming articles usually found in gaming-centered magazines (you won't find any shit like, "Which is better: Halo 2 or Halo 3 lol" or "How does the Wii compare to the PS3 lolzor" in The Escapist). I'm talking about stuff you actually want to read, and don't end up hating yourself for later because you just wasted twenty minutes of your life that you'll never get back.

Over at the website, you'll also find Tom Chick's weekly column called Shoot Club. Every Thursday, Tom writes up an autobiographical account of his Shoot Club, i.e. a group of gamers (who may or may not be somewhat or entirely fictitious) who get together on a regular basis to do what gamers are wont to do: play games.

Finally, a recent addition to the site is Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw's weekly video review column called Zero Punctuation. Definitely not safe for work, but completely hilarious, Zero Punctuation should not be missed every Wednesday. I laughed. I laughed out loud. There may have even been rolling on the floor involved.

Now go, read, watch, and enjoy. My work here is done.

EDIT: I added an audio version of this post, and one for the "Conversations With Myself" post back on 9/25/07. Just screwing around.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Pushing Daisies

Wednesdays, 8:00 pm, ABC - Pushing Daisies is good. It's damn good, actually. It's unlike just about anything else on television right now. Which I why I think its days are numbered. People don't watch what's new and different. They watch what's old and exactly the same. They watch shit that falls into easily definable categories. "Reality Competition." "Police Procedural Drama." "Forensics Drama." "Medical Drama." Pushing Daisies doesn't fit any of those categories, or any category. It's a show about a guy who can bring dead things back to life with one touch, and kill them with another. If he brings them back for more than a minute, someone else dies instead. It's brightly colored, darkly comedic, and has an English narrator. I really like it, but I don't think it's going to last the season. I can only hope I'm wrong.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


For a long time now, I had been figuring I'd be completely out of debt before the end of 2007. I had once estimated it would be as early as the end of August, and at one point as late as the beginning of December.

So today, when I went online to pay some bills, I decided to revisit those calculations using my current debt amounts. Not only will my debt be completely paid off when I cash my second check in November (on 11/23, the day after Thanksgiving and the official release date of Rock Band, woohoo!), but that money will pay for all the Christmas shopping I plan to do (including the aforementioned Rock Band for myself).

Let me say this: I don't think I've been happier about anything before than that fact right there. Getting rid of my debt is going to be a huge weight off my shoulders, and my only regret is that I didn't work harder at getting it paid off sooner.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

How Much?

Just tell me where to send the check.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Fall TV Season 2007

Premiere week is officially over, so it's time for my postmortem on the new and returning TV shows I'm watching for Fall 2007.

Monday night:

How I Met Your Mother, 7:00 pm, CBS - Good stuff. One of only a handful (actually, 3) half hour comedies I watch, and the only pure sitcom of the bunch, HIMYM is consistently funny, and shows no signs of slowing down or getting complacent. I assume eventually we'll find out how Ted met his wife, but that's not really the point.

Prison Break, 8:00 pm, FOX - While FOX is traditionally a death sentence for new and interesting television, this is one show that squeaked through and took off. Now in its third year, Prison Break went from being about the breakout, to the manhunt, and now to another breakout of a completely different (and much more dangerous) prison, with an updated cast of characters. I'm interested to see how long this one can go without getting stale. For some odd reason, I don't get FOX in HD, so I'm getting this one off the net and watching the next show on the list instead.

Chuck, 8:00 pm, NBC - One of a glut of new shows from NBC, Chuck is about a computer nerd who gets some government secrets stuck in his head and ends up working for the CIA. Sure, it's a ridiculous premise, but the show is good and fun. Plus, it's got Adam Baldwin as an NSA agent (which pretty much works out to Jayne in a suit) and an extremely hot woman as the CIA agent who tracked Chuck down (Yvonne Strzechowski, who I've never heard of). If the marketing blitz is anything to go by, I'd say Chuck will be sticking around for a while.

Heroes, 9:00 pm, NBC - Since VM and Studio 60 got axed last year, Heroes has been elevated to the best show on TV. Not that that's a bad thing (although I'd give anything to have more VM), since it's a great show. There's going to be new heroes, new stories, Kristen Bell does a guest shot, Kevin Smith will be directing an episode, it's going to be fucking awesome. If you're not watching Heroes, you're dead to me.

Journeyman, 10:00 pm, NBC - Although it's been called a "poor man's Quantum Leap," I can't find anything to dislike about Journeyman. It stars Kevin McKidd (of Rome fame) as a time-traveling newspaper reporter in San Francisco. He's also not alone, as he stumbles on his long-thought-dead former fiancee during one of his trips. I'll try not to get too attached to this show, though, since last season NBC (rather unfairly, I think) cut down not one, but two excellent shows in the Monday night 10:00 pm slot.

Tuesday night:

Bones, 8:00 pm, FOX - This is the only other show I watch at the FOX network, and it started right along with Prison Break two years ago. Despite FOX's best attempts to destroy both of them, they've survived and flourished. It's not as good as Angel was, but that's a tall order to fill.

Reaper, 9:00 pm, CW - Directed by Kevin Smith. That's all I needed to tune in. Once I did, I discovered that Reaper is a quality show. Sam turns 21, and finds out his parents sold his soul to the devil before he was even born. Now it's time to pay up, so Satan has Sam collecting escaped souls and returning them to hell. The ordinary-guy-as-devil's-bounty-hunter angle has been done before (with the good but canceled Brimstone), but never as a comedy. Ray Wise is an absolute genius casting choice as the devil, and Tyler Labine as the goofy best friend is hilarious. Given the success of Supernatural on the same network, I'm cautiously optimistic about Reaper's chances.

Wednesday night:

Pushing Daisies, 8:00 pm, ABC - This one hasn't premiered yet, so I'll make a new post once it does. Supposedly, it's the best new show of the fall season. We'll see.

Bionic Woman, 9:00 pm, NBC - I wasn't even born when the original Bionic Woman aired. It was a seventies show, though, about a woman rebuilt with cybernetic parts, so I expect it had quite a bit of cheese. The new Bionic Woman? Heavy on the cheese and the melodrama. So far, I'm decidedly on the fence about this show. As for its prospects, NBC is marketing the shit out of it (Wednesdays should now be called "Bionic Wednesdays"), so unless it gets no viewers, it will most likely be picked up.

Life, 10:00 pm, NBC - I don't normally go for the cop shows, but this one stars Damian Lewis, who was awesome as Major Winters in Band of Brothers. Detective Charlie Crews was behind bars for a murder he didn't commit. Years later, he's exonerated and released, and as part of his settlement, gets his old job back (and a shitload of dough). The pilot is an interesting mix of police procedural drama, fish out of water comedy (Charlie is amazed by cell phones and IMs), and philosophical musings on the meaning of life. Plus, Charlie's LT is played by Robin Weigert, formerly Deadwood's Calamity Jane. Here's hoping Life doesn't end too soon.

Thursday night:

My Name Is Earl, 8:00 pm, NBC - Jason Lee kicks serious ass. Hell, the whole cast on this show is fantastic, and it's by far the best comedy on TV. What else can you ask for?

Smallville, 8:00 pm, CW - I still find myself questioning why I'm watching this show. It's either because it's like watching a train wreck, or that I somehow would feel ripped off after investing 6 seasons worth of viewing time. Last season showed a little bit of promise, what with the Justice League, a couple of annoying and completely irrelevant characters getting killed off, and Bizarro Supes showing up. The start of this season, however, saw both of those characters brought back to life, the introduction of Supergirl, and a storyline that could have been told in 20 minutes instead of an hour. Smallville is definitely the worst show that I watch. CW is the other network that I don't get in HD, so I get this and Supernatural off the net.

The Office, 9:00 pm, NBC - Hilarious, as usual. Great cast, great stories, hilarious comedy. This and Earl make for a great night of comedy.

Supernatural, 9:00 pm, CW - I think this is the second best show on TV right now. The new season premieres on Thursday. Some have said the second season wasn't as good as good as the first, but I think they've both been excellent. I'm curious to see where they go with season number 3.

Friday night:

Moonlight, 8:00 pm, CBS - A vampire detective operating in L.A. who's involved with a blonde from his past, is tormented by his sire, and strives to do good in a world filled with evil. Sounds quite a bit like Angel, doesn't it? To be fair, Moonlight has only a few things in common with Angel. It's an interesting show, and I hope it gets a fair shot. There hasn't been a decent vampire detective show on the air since Angel, so Moonlight certainly fills that void.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Good Luck Chuck

I went to see Good Luck Chuck last night. Good stuff. Funny. Not quite sure how it only merits a 19 over at Metacritic (that's much lower than the 38 that Balls of Fury got), but like I said before, critics can blow me.

On a related note, a regular price movie ticket is now $9.75. Holy shit. Is it just me, or can anyone else remember when a matinee was like $2.50 and regular price was 5 bucks? It wasn't that long ago.

Friday, September 28, 2007

One Last Thing

Before I go to bed: Dexter is an interesting show. I just watched the pilot, and I'm intrigued. It's darkly (and I do mean darkly) comedic, makes excellent use of voice-over, and has very well developed characters right off the bat. Plus, it's got Julie Benz in it.

Damn. Now there's another show I have to watch.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Hodgity Podgity

A number of things I want to comment on have piled up, so I need to get em out. Rapid quick fire style.

Balls of Fury was hilarious. Totally undeserving of its Metacritic score of like 27. Critics can blow me.

I forgot how incredibly fun multiplayer Smash Bros was. The new Smash Bros game just got elevated to my second most anticipated title of this year (right below Rock Band). What's that? You want to know the rest of my top five anticipated titles? Why, that would be Assassin's Creed, NWN2 Mask of the Betrayer, and GH3.

Not having HD channels when you want to watch them is the worst. I was all set to watch Earl and The Office tonight, but my satellite connection said, "ER-ROR! ER-ROR!" So I called tech support, the dude couldn't fix it over the phone, so the guy's coming out on Saturday to fix my shit. That means I can't check out Moonlight tomorrow night, either. And no, I'm not going to watch it in SD. That defeats the whole purpose of having an HD setup.

So since I couldn't watch TV, I took a little trip down to Best Buy and snagged skate. Awesome sauce! So much fun. The reviews bashed it mainly for being difficult and having a steep learning curve. Right. Isn't that what skating is all about? You gotta bail a whole hell of a lot before you start nailing crazy shit, and even then, you're still gonna eat pavement on a regular basis. Plus, skate's physics system makes every bail look different (and painful), so I don't mind it. Besides, who wouldn't like just screwing around in what's essentially a giant skate park?

Extras is a great show. I finished the first season and immediately put the second season to the top of my queue.

I'm tired of hearing about O.J. Simpson. I was tired of hearing about him 12 fucking years ago.

The same goes for Britney Spears.

He Who Shall Not Be Named is certifiably insane.

That is all.

One More Thing

About Halo 3. Apparently, it causes disc read errors, lockups, and bricked consoles. I have one thing to say to that: Bwahahahahahaha!

Two Things

One, Microsoft is making a big deal about the launch of Halo 3 beating the launches of summer blockbusters like Spider-Man 3. Um, last time I checked, a ticket to Spidey didn't cost 60 bucks. Sorry, MS, you didn't reach more people with Halo 3 than Sony did with Spider-Man 3. You're all idiots.

Two, Valve says they're going to reconsider their episodic content after Half-Life 2 is finished. Hold the phone, Half-Life 2 had episodic content? I'm pretty sure a 3 hour tech demo every 18 months doesn't qualify as "episodic" content.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Conversations with Myself

I said to myself, "Self, tonight we're going to get to bed early. No more of this 1 o'clock shit, nope, no sir."

And myself said, "Like hell we're going to bed early. 1 o'clock it is!"

So I said to myself, "Self, you're an asshole."

Myself responded, "Yes. Yes we are."

Monday, September 24, 2007

I Am Such A Whore

So, after I found out that Nathan Fillion was going to be a recurring cast member, I couldn't help myself. I feel so dirty. I have no willpower.

I watched the recap clip show of Desperate Housewives. As such, I'm now forced to incorporate the show into my regular TV viewing schedule.

Damn you, Cap'n Tightpants! Goddamn you all to hell!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Demo Impressions

Some new demos hit the PSN recently, and I checked them out.

First up, Stuntman Ignition. The first Stuntman game had a great premise, but the execution was terrible. Playing levels over and over again until everything went perfectly is not a recipe for fun. When I heard about the sequel, I was excited because I figured they would fix the problems from the first game. My mistake. It must have taken me a dozen tries to get through the first demo level (the easiest of the three), and my only reward was a poorly cut-together video replay of my run. So not worth it. Stuntman Ignition is in stores now, if you can't help but waste your money.

Next, I played skate. This is EA's answer to the Tony Hawk franchise, which I was more than a little skeptical of. Let's face it, the TH franchise isn't exactly stellar, but EA? EA makes a football game every year that's hopelessly broken. Good thing I don't judge games based on their publisher. Within minutes of starting skate, I was hooked. EA made a very good decision with the Fight Night series by incorporating thumbstick control, and they did something similar with skate. Instead of the TH button mash frenzy, skate uses the thumbsticks and shoulder buttons to pull off all tricks. What's more, is that the crazy shit you can do in skate can be (and probably has been) done by real people in real world settings. skate seems like the perfect game to hop in for 30-45 minutes, screw around, and hop out again. skate hits the streets on 9/25, and I'm positive I'd be more excited about this game than that other notable 9/25 release, even if I had a 360.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Talk Like A Pirate, Be A Pirate

Today was talk like a pirate day, and I didn't even get in a single "Yarrr." Oh well.

Speaking of pirates, here's a suggestion for why piracy exists: because the legal way of doing things is such a huge pain in the ass. Case in point: I decided to redeem a couple of iTunes gift cards tonight. I had one for $15 and one for a "free song."

So I open up iTunes and go to the store. The directions on the back of the card say to:
1: Open iTunes and click Music Store.
2. Click Prepaid Cards.
3. Enter the code shown when requested.
4. Download your songs. Enjoy.

Ok, open iTunes, got it. Click Music, no Music Store. There's iTunes Store, that's close enough. Prepaid Cards, Prepaid Cards...there is no Prepaid Cards. Ok, I'll just put my music in the cart and go from there.

I've got 16 bucks to spend, so I'll buy a whole album and some singles. The first thing I spot is Black Sabbath - The Dio Years. $11.99 for the album of 17 songs. Sweet action. Then I see The Donnas have a new album out, so I grab the title track Bitchin'. Next up is some classic Foo Fighters, Learn to Fly and My Hero. Finally, I grab the new Nickelback single, Rockstar.

That's my 16 bucks, so I go to my cart to check out. My total is $15.95 plus applicable sales tax. I click "Buy Now" and am presented with a pop-up window that says, "Your credit card will be charged for your purchase." Whoa, whoa, whoa, where do I enter my gift code? What the fuck, man?

I back out, and go back to the home page to look around some more. Aha, there we go. "Redeem." Fantastic. I enter my codes, and I'm good to go. My account now shows I have a "1 Song + $15.00" credit. I hit the Buy Now button again. It says my account will be debited, I click Ok. Then it pops up again, and says "Your available credit is not sufficient to cover the cost of your purchase. You will be charged for the remainder." Uh, what? Where exactly did you take math, iTunes? The back of a Cracker Jack box? Whatever, I click Ok. It starts downloading my songs. My account now shows I have a credit of $0.04. Awesome, I can totally do something with $0.04.

Once my songs are downloaded, I double click on the first one to play it. Instead of playing, it pops up a window. This one says, "This computer is not authorized to play this song. Do you want to authorize it?" No, I don't. I want to sit and stare at it. Of course I want to fucking authorize it, I just fucking paid for it and downloaded it, didn't I? Jesus Christ. I click Ok, and it pops up another window. It wants me to log in to my iTunes account. I do, and it pops up yet another window, and says, "This is authorization number 2. You can authorize up to 5 PCs to play this song."

Wait. Back up. Hold on. What? Authorization number 2? What happened to number 1? And what happens when I have to reformat my hard drive? What happens if my computer crashes? What happens when I get a new computer? I eventually lose the music that I paid for, because of your authorization bullshit? Are you fucking kidding me?

And these assholes wonder why sales are falling. They wonder why piracy is running rampant. They can't figure out why people don't want to pay them their hard earned dollars to be treated like fucking criminals. They can't understand why someone would want to download a song off the internet without all the goddamned copy protection and authorization and unlocking bullshit just to listen to some fucking music.

So here's what I say: In honor of Talk Like A Pirate Day, every day from now on, I declare Be A Pirate Day. Show these RIAA fucks where to stick it.