Wednesday, August 29, 2007

If It Sounds Too Good To Be True...

It probably is. Go, read, come back.

I don't like the sound of them apples, Will. That means it's impossible to ever get a copy of Office 07 or a 360, and nearly impossible to get Vista or a Zune. Damn. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

Now I just have to decide what to spend my existing tickets on. I could either get a shitload of music, or free movie passes. Choices...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Refunds and Free Shit

I finally got my refund from Microsoft in the mail today. They should have added interest, they kept my money so long. Anyway, I got it, and it's getting cashed tomorrow. Jesus H. Christ that was a huge pain in the ass.

Speaking of Microsoft, they've got this casual gaming site where you can earn free shit. A lot of it's worthless crap (like tote bags, t-shirts, hats, mugs, ringtones, emoticons, and movie passes), but there's some good stuff. Most notably, copies of Vista Home Premium and Office 2007, a Zune, and a 360 Pro Bundle with 3 games and a year subscription to Live. The only downside is they all cost a shit-ton of points. It's much more cost effective to just pay cash for that stuff than while away hundreds of hours of your free time.

That is, unless you have a job like mine where there are hours of downtime every day, and management looks the other way on casual gaming. I can play the games during the downtime, and get paid while I earn a free 360. I said I'd never buy another Microsoft product ever again, I didn't say anything about taking one for nothing.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Quite a few things have piled up since I last posted, so here's a rundown of all that shit.

First, I saw Superbad tonight. It was pretty good, laugh out loud funny at spots, and stunned silence at others. Sometimes it was just a, "was that supposed to be funny? Because it wasn't" kind of thing. More than once, I found myself thinking, "Is this what it would be like if Kevin Smith lost his sense of humor and then wrote a movie about what it's like to be in high school?" Don't get me wrong, I don't regret seeing it, but it tried way too hard to be shockingly funny. Regular funny would have been just fine.

On a related note, I thought Judd Apatow had written and/or directed Superbad, but it turns out he just produced it. Makes sense, since I liked the stuff he wrote and directed (Freaks and Geeks, Undeclared, 40 Year Old Virgin) more than I liked Superbad.

BioShock is still awesome. I'm on the 4th level (section? area? whatever) now, and I'm still having a ton of fun. There was a moment where I said to myself, "Holy shit, he just *spoiler* and it's all because of *spoiler*" That doesn't happen a whole lot in games. In fact, I can't remember the last time it happened. Very cool.

I'm growing the beard back. What can I say? I like my beard. It's full this time, too. No shaving (except for my neck, I can't stand hair on my neck), just trimming from time to time. It has the added bonus of taking me from 16 to 25 like that *snaps fingers*

Debt continues to be paid down with extreme prejudice. I should have the credit card free and clear sometime next month, then it's just the "preferred accounts" or whatever the shit that I bought my TV and PS3 with.

Speaking of TV, I got the HD package added to my Dish Network programming. Fucking sweet. Watching football in HD is bliss. There's also a bunch of other all HD channels, like the Kung Fu channel. Good stuff.

I'm currently reading book 4 of The Dresden Files. If you're a fan of sci-fi/fantasy at all, you need to read The Dresden Files.

The next game I'm going to buy is Jam Sessions for DS. Check out this track listing. Blind Melon, Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, Cheap Trick, Jackson 5, James Taylor, Janis Joplin, Johnny Cash, Marvin Gaye, Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix, and Tom Petty. And that's just the pre-loaded songs. Holy shit, that might be the best guitar sim ever. September 11 is going to kick ass. Yeah, I know Metroid Prime 3 comes out next Tuesday, but I really need to play MP2 before I jump into 3.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

BioShock Impressions

After 2 and a half hours of playtime, I smell PC Game of the Year. Granted, not much else of note has come out this year for the PC (excepting a couple of expansions, like the awesome Civ IV: BTS expansion and the likely to be awesome NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer expansion). BioShock is in a category all it's own, though.

Maybe I'm biased because I thought System Shock 2 was such an incredible, creepy, enthralling game. Maybe I'm biased because everything Irrational Games (now 2K Boston and 2K Austalia, and made up of folks from the former Looking Glass Studios) has developed has been pure gold. Maybe the hype got to me. Maybe I can't resist a shooter with a twist. Or maybe BioShock is just that good.

It looks amazing, runs silky smooth on my bad-ass rig, has excellent voice acting and sound, plays great, and makes me want to boot it right back up as soon as I shut it down. I can't ask for more than that in my games, especially when it only cost me 40 bucks at Circuit City.

BioShock: 2007 GotY.

Monday, August 20, 2007


Yes. A million gallons of yes. Plus, there's Fanboys early next year, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall sometime after that. Now if only there were a VM movie...

On a completely unrelated note, tomorrow is BioShock Tuesday. I might have to call in sick on Wednesday, we'll see how it goes.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Madden 08 Quick Hit

I know, I know, I said I wasn't going to bother with Madden. But then I saw it at the video store, and I just couldn't help myself.

The one mode I was really interested in when it was introduced in Madden 07 was Superstar mode. Create a player from scratch, start as a rookie, and work your way into the Hall of Fame. Like most things Madden, it sounds fantastic in theory, but falls apart horribly in execution. Superstar mode in 07 was terrible. For an example of what I'm talking about, I direct you to a couple of posts by the always enjoyable Bill Harris. If you're too lazy to click and read, the influence system sucked ass and the accelerated play for when your superstar isn't on the field was broken.

What's the Superstar mode in 08 like? Well, for starters, the influence system still sucks ass. You still get a popup box after every single play you're involved in showing you how many points you gained or lost. You still gain or lose points on plays you're not directly involved in. Plus, it doesn't have any effect on the game, as far as I can tell. It's just busy work. As for the accelerated play, there isn't any. It's been replaced by a sim system. When your Superstar isn't on the field, you can either sim the next play, or sim until you're on the field. I like simming each play, since then you get to see how broken the sim system is.

I've seen the clock stop after plays when it should have kept running. I've seen the clock keep running after plays when it should have stopped. I've seen teams given a new set of downs when a new quarter began. I've even seen teams score fieldgoals after they'd already used four downs. Let me say that again: I saw a team pass on first down, pass on second down, run on third down, run on fourth down, and then kick a field goal.

Even when plays aren't being simmed, Madden manages to screw things up. My superstar is a rookie cornerback for the Raiders named John Bowie. That is one cool thing 08 allows you to do: play as an actual rookie rather than some create a player. However, despite the fact that the Raiders have two excellent starting corners, Nnamdi Asomugha and Fabian Washington, as well as two good second stringers, Duane Starks and Chris Carr, Bowie gets the starting job. He should be returning punts on special teams, but screw that! Sit down, Asomugha and Washington, John Bowie's on the job. Speaking of returning punts, Bowie does some of that, too. When he can actually keep his hands on the ball, that is. On one kick, I had Bowie field the ball, run through two defenders, get tripped up by the ankles, and drop the ball before he hit the ground. After the other team had recovered the fumble and scored, they kicked off again. Bowie waited for the ball at the goal line, had it bounce off his helmet, and then got to watch as a defender picked it up and scored. Sorry, Madden, even rookies aren't that bad.

All that said, it's still kinda fun. If I was actually on the field the whole time, calling and running offensive and defensive plays, I don't think it would be. Thank goodness I decided to rent it rather than buying it.


I got a package in the mail today. It included these 3 bad boys right here. Actually, it's a damn miracle I even got them at all. 120 bucks worth of merchandise, and the idiot mailman can't even ring the damn doorbell. Just left em on the porch. In the fucking ghetto. Christ.

Anyway, I popped in TMNT for my dinner time viewing, and holy shit. I haven't seen the DVD version to compare, but I don't think it looks that good. Sounded great, too, even with my meager 2.1 setup. I remember reading a review where the rainy rooftop fight between Leo and Raph was described as "jaw-dropping." Indeed.

I'm very happy I decided to get a PS3.

Monday, August 13, 2007

PS3 Impressions

First impression: Damn that's a big, heavy box. Second impression: Damn, that's a big, heavy system. Third impression: Oooh, shiny.

So after I had removed the system from the box and marveled at how shiny it was (seriously, black gloss finish with chrome trim? Very nice touch, Sony), I set to hooking it up. I think I've mentioned this before, but you spend 500 bloody dollars on the gorram thing, and they can't include an HDMI cable? Not even a component cable. No, they stick you with a composite cable. Fantastic. I tried hooking it up to my system selector, but I either did something wrong with the initial setup, or it's just too awesome to accept a composite hookup, so the PS3 didn't work. Luckily, my PC monitor has the necessary connections, so I just plugged it in there for the time being. I ordered an HDMI cable from these fine folks last week, should be arriving any day now.

Since I didn't get any games, I busied myself with some downloaded demos. First up was Motorstorm. Maybe you need HDMI to really experience this game, but what I saw was pretty standard arcade rally racing. Yawn. Nice soundtrack, though. Can't go wrong with Nirvana.

Next, I fired up Resistance: Fall of Man. This game was (and still is, apparently) the PS3's killer app. Seems like a fairly decent shooter. Nothing special from the demo. I'll have to rent it and play it from the beginning, get the story and all that. The demo certainly doesn't make me want to buy the game.

The Darkness piqued my interest the most out of the available demos, so I saved it for last. Pretty good stuff. Definitely going to rent it, although I probably won't buy, since the reviews say it's over in about 10 hours.

I really wanted an actual game, though, so I hit up my local Game Crazy. $54 later, I had a copy of Splinter Cell: Double Agent. I've been a Splinter Cell fan since the first game, so I figured a cold buy of the new edition in the series was a safe bet. The first level kind of pissed me off, but after that I got into the groove. Definitely a worthy purchase.

The only other game out right now that I really want to try out is Rainbow Six Vegas. Being a huge football fan, the temptation to play NCAA and Madden 08 is strong, but I'm going to resist since they're fucking terrible every single year. In the next 6 weeks alone, a veritable storm of titles hit: Warhawk, Lair, Heavenly Sword, Stranglehold, Stuntman Ignition, and skate. I think I'm going to be very glad I got a PS3.

I haven't rented or bought any BD movies, since I don't have the HDMI hookup yet. I think I'm going to start with either 300 or TMNT, though. Amazon's got em both for 24 bucks each, which is only a few dollars more than the DVD versions.

Folding@Home is also extremely cool. People on the interwebs are all freaked out about bricking their boxes with it, but I scoff at them for two reasons. One, the PS3 is not a 360, and two, if this doesn't brick it, nothing will.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Who's got a PS3? I do

It hasn't shipped yet, but I went ahead and jumped on that $350 deal I linked to yesterday. Passing up an offer like that would have been something I'd regret later. Plus, having waited a day, I scored free shipping. Total after taxes and the rebate is $389.99. And 5 free BD movies to boot. I think I'm going to go with Chicken Little, Blazing Saddles, Underworld Evolution, The Italian Job, and Species.

Now I've just gotta find out if there are any games out now worth owning...

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

More Game Comments

Got some more time clocked on GH 80s, and I finally got past What I Like About You. Really not looking forward to playing that song again any time soon. I unlocked the last set of songs, but haven't played any of them yet. It's Guitar Hero, and it's enjoyable, so it's all good.

Not sure what else I can say about Civ 4 that I haven't already said. It rocks the house.

Rented a game for the Wii called Alien Syndrome. Extremely glad I didn't buy it. Crap graphics, crap gameplay, crap story that no one cares about. It's like Diablo except much more monotonous. I thought at least multiplayer would be fun, but it's not. Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance this game ain't. Plus, Dark Alliance was on the PS2, and it looked (and played) a whole hell of a lot better than Alien Syndrome. Sorry, Sega. You can't slap tits on a space marine and expect Samus Aran.

Finally, I spotted this little deal over at Bill Harris' blog. That is damn tempting. I'd have to snag it about a month and a half before I'd initially planned (and about 6 months before I expected to after those initial plans fell through), but it's damn tempting. I'll sleep on it for a few days, but I think I might end up jumping on that.

Friday, August 03, 2007

GTA IV Delayed

Or, one less reason to buy a PS3 this holiday season. The other compelling reason? Why, Rock Band, of course.

I must say, though, looking at the track list so far for GH3 (which hits at least a week before Rock Band, BTW), the sweet sounds of Heart, Scorpions, Kiss, Alice Cooper, The Stones, GnR, ZZ Top, Blue Oyster Cult, Sabbath, Maiden, Tenacious D, and even goddamn Metallica have got me wondering if I even need to play Rock Band before the year is out. Plus, dropping over 700 bucks on myself just isn't in the spirit of the holiday. Gotta give to receive, or something like that.