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Archive for September, 2007

So…

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

Hey! I won tickets to the Spice Girls in Las Vegas. Anyone want to come with?

Tickets only. You’d have to do airfare.

Edit: Alan appears to have claimed one!

Review #143

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

Dance Dance Revolution: Hottest Party Mix (Wii)
Tagline: DDR makes its first appearance on the Wii!

Dance Dance Revolution: Hottest Party Mix
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Konami
Genre: Bemani
Date Release; 09/26/2007

You know, I have to admit I’ve never been a big fan of DDR. This is partly because I exercise a lot in real life and go clubbing regularly, so it seemed silly to play a video game that combines two things I do regularly already. After all, gaming was an escape, not a second rate version of what I do in my daily life. If I wanted that kind of experience from a console, I’d play Shenmue. That and I just felt silly playing it in the arcade.

Somewhere along the line, though I started to have fun with it. Not to the level, and certainly not the skill, of the bemani zealots like old IP’er Alex Williams, but enough that I would play it on occasion and enjoy it. Oddly enough he enjoyment came from reviewing games. Since I’m pretty much pegged as an RPG/Shooter/2-D fighter gamer, it was nice to step out of my box with dance games like Pump It Up and DDR Ultramix 3. Now that the other Alex is gone, it falls to me to review the newest version of this game for the Wii. I chose this over DDR Supernova 2 for the PS2 mainly to see how it would interact with the Wiimote and the like. I was a bit worried about the music selection for this game, and SN2 has one of my favorite songs of all time (Faster Kill Pussycat), but I’ll go for innovation over a single song anyday. That and Supernova too got panned by most of my friends who really like DDR.

So, how is the umpteenth entry into the DDR series? Does the added gameplay make DDR even better, or are you glad you can have the option to play “Classic” style? Is it worth the $70 price tag, or are you going to have to wait until Guitar Hero III to see if there’s a good rhythm game for Nintendo’s current console?

Let’s Review

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Hmmm

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

There’s nothing like getting ready for bed at 2:30am and you notice there is a voice mail on your cell from about two hours ago left by a drunk friend back in MN where the message consists of them telling you that they feel ye olde L word for you and wish you hadn’t left.

Go Team Venture?

Great Weekend

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

Friday was awesome. I had two great interviews with companies I’d have fun working for if the EA thing somehow falls through. I also got to recommend Jon Widro’s new company, Fyrebug (Check it out in my blog roll) to the staff of Mount Vernon who wanted to know if they could make a simple video game based on George Washington.

Friday night was Submerge. Heather, Vlad, Michelle and I all left here about 8 pm and got the Roxy set up for what turned out to be a crazy awesome goth night. It’s a small venue, a fraction of the size of the places in MN I would occasionally attend, and for a first night with only 2 weeks of promotion, we had a turn out of 100 people. Some points it was shoulder to should goth. Big thanks to DJ Warring, Vlad, Heather, Dana, Jay, and Michelle for making the first club night pretty damn kick ass.

I got to play bouncer and gatekeeper throughout the night, denying more than 1 person with a fake ID and actually getting to throw someone out. That person Ithrew out then took a swing at Andrew, one of the patrons and I damn near dropped the cash box and speared the guy for that. Other than that a a weird bit of feedback from a mike that turned itself on 45 minutes into the night, it went pretty smoothly.

Two things I learned

1) It is impossible to get change in that part of DC. People just won’t do it. Vlad and I hit 5-6 places to get change as everyone was paying in $20’s and we had a five dollar cover charge. Finally, I had to go into a gay bar to get change. Me. In a gay bar. in Cyber fetish shit and leather pants. The bartender made me change, but only after asking for my phone number and hitting on me. Only me, right?

2) People love movies at their club. We played Dagon and at one point over a dozen people were just standing watching the HDTV with the movie on. Next time, Vlad and I talked about breaking out the silent Call of Cthulhu film.

In all this was easily the best goth night I’ve seen since I’ve moved here. Better than Bound, Chronos, or Midnight. Best night I’ve seen in DC since Alchemy at Nation, although I do hear that a little piece of Philly is prepping DC for a quite entertaining Saturday night…

I went to bed about 4am and got up at 10 because at 11am, I had to go to several Toys R Us in the area to take pictrues and talk to people attending Manaphy day. Go to Toys R Us until 3 pm and get a Manaphy for Pokemon Diamond or Pearl. No excuse not to go if you have the games!

Now I’m off to play some DDR for the WII.

Not cool. Not cool at all

Friday, September 28th, 2007

Poor bunnies.

MASSAPEQUA PARK, New York (AP) — Animal rights activists are hopping mad because they can’t find the wascals who’ve been dumping domestic wabbits all over the place.

Long Island can be a dangerous place for wandering rabbits, experts say.

People have been dropping the furry creatures on roadways, in parks and near school grounds on Long Island’s South Shore with increasing regularity in recent months, animal control experts said.

Earlier this month, a man was seen dumping 20 rabbits in a box at a train station and driving away, said Nancy Schreiber, a Long Island Rabbit Rescue Group volunteer.

“It sounds like someone is raising rabbits and trying to get out of the business,” said Gerry McBride, who handles criminal complaints for the Nassau County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The SPCA is trying to figure out who is responsible for dumping the cuddly critters, and the Rabbit Rescue Group is offering a $5,000 reward.

The rabbits often can’t fend for themselves in the wild and end up starving to death or being killed by raccoons or diseases.

Many of the rabbits found by the rescue group have been infested with fleas or ticks. They’ve been treated, fed, cleaned and put up for adoption.

Real Zombies in Columbia!

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2007/09/26/ntm.zombie.drug.cnn

Cakelove thoughts

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

Cakelove opened in Shirlington yesterday. After coming hope from work, I walked over and picked up a six pack of cupcakes. They were:

Lemon buttercream on a chocolate cupcake
Lemon buttercream on a vanilla cupcake
Lime buttercream on a vanilla cupcake
Lime buttercream on a chocolate cupcake
Raspberry buttercream on a vanilla cupcake
peanut butter buttercream on a chocolate cupcake.

$3 a cupcake or $18 for a half dozen. $32 for a baker’s dozen. It might seem a little bit expensive at first, but then you have to remember Cakelove is owned and operated by Warren Brown, star of the Food Network’s show Sugar Rush. When you’re a TV show host and a celebrity chef, you can charge a little more than your average bakery. In the end though, it’s all about the taste.

Heather, Vlad, and I each tried a cupcake and I also had two samples from the store: Vanilla on Vanilla and Raspberry on Chocolate. My personal cupcake was Lemon on chocolate. I have to admit the cupcakes were quite good. The cake was moist and light, yet very filling. It wasn’t rich like a ganache, but I defintely couldn’t eat two in a row. Too much sugar and fat for me.

The icing though was a bit of an issue with me. I felt Cakelove relies far too much on pushing the icing over the actual cupcake itself. This is generally where I feel most bakers go wrong. Let the cake sell itself and have the icing as an accent. Yet, Cakelove does a dozen types of icing, but only two types of cupcakes. That to me is the wrong direction and generally wouldn’t sell me on a baked good. The icing was nicely flavored. The lemon wasn’t overpowering, and there was a bit of the rind on the top of the cupcake to signify what flavor you were eating. Still in the end, I’d have rather had more cake flavor and less icing. Vlad too is not an icing fan, but he enjoyed the complimentary flavors of the icing/cake more than I did. It was a good cupcake all around with no real complaints from me other than what I feel the focus should be and perhaps less icing lfavors and more experiementing with cake flavors.

I really wanted to purchase an eclair or brownie, but at the time all they had were cakes and cupcakes.

Late on we tried what they call a “Crunchy Foot.” A crunchy foot is a mini pound cake is as they describe it, “Super flavorful mini-pound cakes with slightly crunchy edges.” I have to disagree here. I was actually quite dissapointed with the crunchy foot. I love pound cake, seeing that strawberry shortcake is easily my favorite of all cakes, and I actually found the cake to be bland and the crunchy edges were offputting with the tesxture of the rest of the cake. Instead of standing out, the textures just didn’t blend well to my liking.

I realize this review is coming off a bit negative, but its not meant to be. I defintely enjoyed the cupcake and it could just be the crunchy foot wasn’t up to my personal preference for pound cake (Or that I had too much sugar. I’m not a sweets person to begin with). I’m still very interested in sampling their cakes, eclairs, brownies, and the item they call a “Buzz ball.” However, it was the first day and about 4:30-5pm in the afternoon which explains the more limited selection.

If you’re looking for a gourmet cupcake or slice of cake, Cakelove is right up your alley. I’m more a fruit-based sugar than processed sugar person myself, so if given the preference I’ll go for pie over cake most times. Still, Cakelove is only a short walk from my house and I’m sure I’ll be back to sample their wares again.

6/10 for a light first impression based on one full cupcake, two samples of other cupcakes, and a Crunchy Foot.

Nearly the weekend

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

Busy day yesterday. I finished editing and laying out the DEED Digest and the Quarterly Communicator. Today I finish up Public Power Weekly. Busy busy.

10 more auctions ended, netting me another $110 or so. Not bad.

Went looking for little tiny boxes to mail the heroclix guys out to their new owners, but I didn’t find any at Target. I’m thinking a Staples or an Office Max or a UPS store/Kinkos. Any ideas gang?

Finished my Growlanser review, which you can now read on Insidepulse.com or here. For some reason the LJ RSS feed garbled that post and so I apologize (although it should be LJ who has to apologize once again) for it fucking up friend’s lists. Oddly it shows up just fine in the other 6 or so RSS feeds out there of my blog. Yet another reason to jettison LJ I suppose. Next review is to be DDR Hottest Party for the Wii. LIGHTSTICK RAVE BABY!

Tomorrow I have two interviews that have the potential to be quite nice positions in their own right. Monday is still the big interview I’ve been dealing with for over a month. Nervous but confident.

Tomorrow is Submerge. Michelle and I will be working door for Vlad. Come on out if you’re in the DC Metro area. Speaking of clubs, I don’t think I’m up for Chronos. Three weeks in a row I won’t be going. First was due to new job stuff, second was miscommunication and this week? It’s the stupid evil clown night. On one hand it’s nice to have a theme night. On the other, this is only a half step above having a furrie night or “Come as your favorite anime character” night. I’d have more fun hanging out with Michelle or working on my next review. All this EA stuff has really made me helped light a fire in my belly passion-wise for the industry again. I mean, I referenced nearly a dozen games in my G:HoW review. That’s been a while.

ME/ME2 wants me to write a couple columns.articles for their next issue. Not sure what on. Cakelove just opened in Shrlington yesterday so I’ll end up doing a review of that in here today. Maybe I can modify that for publication.

Quick reminder that if you want a Manaphy and a $5 coupon from Toys R Us, come out to any Toys R Us Saturday for a Pokemon Day!

Review #142

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007


Growlanser: Heritage of War
Publisher: Atlus USA
Developer: Atlus Japan
Genre: RTS
Release Date: 9/19/2007

Bit of a meander here folks. First a bit of trivia. The actual name of Growlanser: Heritage of War in Japan in Growlanser Generations. However, that name was used by Working Designs when they published Growlanser II and III together as a compilation. This meant Atlus had to rename the game for its North American release.

Another interesting fact: Growlanser Generations was the last game ever published by Working Designs before the went under. In a strange bit of homage to the sometimes lamented publisher that brought over Dragon Force and the Lunar series, Atlus USA has packaged this fifth installment of Growlanser with a ton of extra crap ranging from a key chain to a CD soundtrack. Very nice and Atlus has been doing this sort of thing for a while now, going back to Digital Devil Saga and its controller armour.

One last little fact before we get into this real time strategy series (And yes, it’s not an RPG people. It’s not turn-based. It’s not an action RPG. Growlanser has always had far more in common with Warcraft, Goblin Commander, or Dragon Force than Dungeons and Dragons or Final Fantasy): Only II, III, and V in the Growlanser series has ever hit the West. I and IV still have yet to be ported.

There, I’ve cut my original three page essay about Atlus USA following in the footsteps of Working Designs and the irony of that considering Atlus Japan made the series in the first place down to three paragraphs. God bless my newfound ability to be brief and concise. On with the show.

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Happy Birthday Spike!

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

You’re crazy old today!