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Archive for April, 2008

Last Day of April!

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

I’ve been reading the early reviews of Iron Man. I’m surprised at the universal thumbs up for the movie from both comic fans and non comic fans alike. When I hear critics that have never read a Tony Stark comic saying “I can’t imagine a better action movie this summer, and that includes Indy 4,” that’s some high level of praise. I think I might go see the sneak peek tomorrow at the nearby theatre.

So…I know I have this ability to not necessarily bolt from certain potential couplings, but defnitely the ability to turn my attaction to someone on and off like a light switch making it easier for me to go from “Hey, She’s a hottie” to “Not getting any” super easy.

Today was one of those days, and this is a nice little example of the vast array of dealbreakers that are probably only important to myself.

So there’s this girl I know. We flirt. She’s cute. She thinks I’m cute. She likes to play with my hair. But for certain reasons it stays just friends in order to prevent any complications. Until today.

Today on my way to work by sheer coincidence, I end up driving right behind her. At first I was like “Hey! That’s cute.” Then I watched her drive. Her last minute brake slamming, non turn signal using, coming to a complete stop in the middle of an intersection to make a turn using ass. And just like that it went from a “happy pants feeling” to a “droopy pants feeling.”

Am I the only one where weird little pet peeves like that can totally quell an attraction?

No real plans for the weekend yet. I was thinking about finally doing the Harper’s Ferry hike.

Idea taken from Pleroma

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

Summer movies I’m seeing:

MAY:

2nd: Iron Man, Son of Rambow.

9th: Speed Racer (For Jack!), Frontiers

23rd: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

JUNE:

20th: Get Smart

JULY:

4th: Hancock

11th: Hellboy II

18th: The Dark Knight

AUGUST:

1st: The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

15th: Tropic Thunder

11 films this summer. Not bad. AFter that thought, there is nothing coming out for many months.

Really Interesting Article

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

9 Forbidden foods. Why the government bans them and maybe why they shouldn’t. Interesting and fun article.

FREE FOIS GRAS!

Holy crap it’s been a while

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

Okay, so let’s cover the past few days

Friday:
A usual workday followed up by some wacky bunny antics. All the designer bunny toys came in. By the time of this writing only three of the seven remain intact and a third is halfway shredded. Mr. Biteums loved this thing designed especially for destructive bunnies. But he loved it so much it was gone in 48 hours. Meanwhile, baby adores her “Ball with a bell in it.” Which has awakened me a few times since she recieved it with 3am ringings like a cup against Attica prison bars.

Saturday:

I hiked 15 miles on Saturday with a break for an 11am showing of Harold and Kumar 2. It was decent, but nowhere as good as the first and certainly nowhere as good as Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Still, I liked the Cyclops and the return of Ol’ NPH.

The rest of Saturday was chruning out reviews before driving 73 miles into Marylard for the Baniff Film Festival. A friend and I went up and it was…okay. A little too granola-y for my tastes, but it wasn’t something one seems very often so I appreciated it. Then it was a 90 minute drive home at midnight followed by cheap and tawdry acts that made me glad Heather and Vlad were far from home.

Sunday

Pretty laid back: Exercise, writing, and playing with the bunnies. It was super rainy out and the temp dropped 20 degrees so I stayed inside to prevent my sinuses from collapsing.

Monday
I got up at 6am for an all day training session in Tyson’s Corner that I didn’t get out of until 4:30pm. Holy christ. LONG day. The speaker was good, if a bit weird, and informative, but I can barely sit still for an hour, much less nine. Total cabin fever. I only had about 4-5 hours of sleep in me, so I came home and napped, woke up, played with the rabbits, had dinner with H&V and watched How I Met Your Mother.

Busy busy past few days. Thankfully I have no games to review until May 9th, so I’m enjoying my break.

Review #180

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

Rondo of Swords
Publisher: Atlus USA
Developer:Success
Genre: Tactical RPG
Release Date: 4/15/08

I have to admit, I’ve yet to play a quality Tactical RPG on the DS. The last one I had the misfortune to review was nearly a year ago in Hoshigami: Running Blue Remix. What a stinker that was. So when I heard about Rondo of Swords (Rondo is a musical term that which generally means that the comes back to the original motif. For example the original Rondo period of the Baroque time was ABACADA. See how it comes back to A each time? Congrats, you’ve just learned something new and wacky when you’re supposed to be learning about video games), I was pretty excited. Atlus has a pretty solid track record for publishing quality Tactical RPG’s in the US. Without them we wouldn’t have received the Shining Force remake, nor Disgaea

What also excited me was that the game promised a completely new way of doing tactical RPG’s. The grid system still remains, which is a staple of the genre, but instead of going up to a person and then attacking, or attacking then moving, you character can attack multiple opponents and get allied support by moving through already occupied squares. Now truthfully, anyone with even the slightest knowledge of hand to hand combat can tell you that this would get you killed pretty quickly in real life. Moving through enemy occupied spaces like this also tends to get you heavily penalized in table top RPG’s, as well as some video game RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons Tactics. But so what, right? It’s a video game filled with beat people and magical powers. I think if we can accept a new form of gameplay for a genre that hasn’t really had any significant changes occur to it in a long time.

So does Rondo of Swords give this genre a much needed boost of innovation, or does the DS continue it’s track record of only having poor to mediocre tactical RPG’s?
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Review #179

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

Battle of the Bands
Publisher: THQ
Developer: Planet Moon Studios
Genre: Rhythm/Music
Release Date: 4/22/2008

When I first heard of Battle of the Bands, I knew I had to try it. It sounded so completely insane. A bunch of bands fighting to the death using covers of some truly horrible songs to duke it out?

Battle of the Bands seemed to be in the same vein as Rayman Raving Rabbids and I-Ninja where the game is as much a comedy affair as they are fun to play. I did have a few worries about the game though.

A) THQ was publishing it (I still haven’t forgiven them for Wrestlemania XXI)
B) Planet Moon Studios, makers of Giants: Citizen Kabuto and Infected had never done any music rhythm type game before
C) How they were going to make a music based band game work without the instrument style controllers.

The latter was the biggest worry, as Guitar Hero and Rock Band all have specialized instrument controllers as well as a song list that is 3-4 times what Battle of the Bands promised. Still the Rock Band parody in Raving Rabbids 2 was exceptionally funs and worked very well despite only using the Wii and Numchuk controller setup.

In the end, my morbid curiosity to see “Mama Said Knock You Out” performed by a marching band or yee haw country band won out over my reservations for paying $49.99 for a title that had a high potentially for being awful.

So how was it?
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Well this story caught my eye this morning…

Friday, April 25th, 2008

Penis theft panic hits city…
Thu Apr 24, 2008 9:47am EDT

KINSHASA (Reuters) - Police in Congo have arrested 13 suspected sorcerers accused of using black magic to steal or shrink men’s penises after a wave of panic and attempted lynchings triggered by the alleged witchcraft.

Reports of so-called penis snatching are not uncommon in West Africa, where belief in traditional religions and witchcraft remains widespread, and where ritual killings to obtain blood or body parts still occur.

Rumors of penis theft began circulating last week in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo’s sprawling capital of some 8 million inhabitants. They quickly dominated radio call-in shows, with listeners advised to beware of fellow passengers in communal taxis wearing gold rings.

Purported victims, 14 of whom were also detained by police, claimed that sorcerers simply touched them to make their genitals shrink or disappear, in what some residents said was an attempt to extort cash with the promise of a cure.

“You just have to be accused of that, and people come after you. We’ve had a number of attempted lynchings. … You see them covered in marks after being beaten,” Kinshasa’s police chief, Jean-Dieudonne Oleko, told Reuters on Tuesday.

Police arrested the accused sorcerers and their victims in an effort to avoid the sort of bloodshed seen in Ghana a decade ago, when 12 suspected penis snatchers were beaten to death by angry mobs. The 27 men have since been released.

“I’m tempted to say it’s one huge joke,” Oleko said.

“But when you try to tell the victims that their penises are still there, they tell you that it’s become tiny or that they’ve become impotent. To that I tell them, ‘How do you know if you haven’t gone home and tried it’,” he said.

Some Kinshasa residents accuse a separatist sect from nearby Bas-Congo province of being behind the witchcraft in revenge for a recent government crackdown on its members.

“It’s real. Just yesterday here, there was a man who was a victim. We saw. What was left was tiny,” said 29-year-old Alain Kalala, who sells phone credits near a Kinshasa police station.

http://www.reuters.com/article/oddlyEnoughNews/idUSN2319603620080424?feedType=RSS&feedName=oddlyEnoughNews&rpc=69

Review #178

Friday, April 25th, 2008

Persona 3: FES
Publisher: Atlus USA
Developer: Atlus of Japan
Genre: Turn Based RPG
Release Date: 4/23/2008

I’m a huge fan of the Persona series. I have spent way too much time analyzing and writing about Be Your True Mind, Innocent Sin, and Eternal Punishment. The latter two tied as the # game in my Top 30 RPG Countdown. Persona is up there with Pokemon and Sakura Taisen as my favorite franchises.

So it might surprise you to learn that I was not that happy with Persona 3 when I first imported it back in 2006. Part of it was the loss of everyone on the dev side that really made the previously Persona games so awesome. Part of it was the different direction the series took. Part of it was the lack of continuity with the previous 3 Persona games. Part of it was that the whole concept behind Persona’s was massively dumbed down. Part of it was the neutering of Igor and the new Mary Sue character in Elizabeth. Part of it was that only the main character could change Persona, again completely missing the point of Personas in the previous games. Part of it was that the story and music was a noticeable step down in quality from the earlier games. Part of it that the game had turned into a quasi Fushigi Dungeon instead of better flowing and more natural game. And so on and so forth. I could go on for pages with what I took issue with. But I won’t.

Around August of 2008, when the US copy of Persona 3 came out, I found I had changed my opinion on the game. The problem wasn’t that Persona 3 was a disappointing game, or even that it was a bad game. The problem was that I was ” Phantasy Star 3‘ing” Persona 3. Like PS3, Persona 3 is actually a very good game with some excellent innovations and new concepts that it brought to the table. It’s just when you look at the game with an eye for continuity to what came before it, it falls apart. I was trying to fit P3 in with the previous games in the same way people had bitched and moaned that the PS2 Devil Summoner had nothing to do with the Sega Saturn Devil Summoner or Soul Hackers. So while everyone else was playing Persona 3 for the first time, I was playing FES and doing my best to not say “Well P2IS did THIS.” And you know what? I had fun with it. A lot of fun with it. It wasn’t as “OMG BESTEST GAME EVAR!” ala Innocent Sin , Eternal Punishment and Valkyrie Profile, but it WAS good enough to be runner up for not only RPG of the year, but runner up for GAME of the year by us here at Diehard Gamefan.

Now we’ve got FES here in the US. For $29.99, you’re getting the full Persona 3 game with not only new items, but an additional RPG half the length of the original featuring the cast and crew. So new stuff AND an entirely new adventure for half the cost of the original? Seems like a no-brainer, right?
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LOST tonight!

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

Whooo!

Thursday

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

Busy day at work, busy day after work as I have three reviews to write in the next week. Thankfully once April ends, my workload falls dramatically.

Battle of the Bands is a lot of fun. Moreso than Guitar Hero 3. Solid controls. funny graphics, and it’s utterly batshit insane. It’s the Raving Rabbids of the music playing genre.

Trip up to Maryland this weekend for the Baniff Festival I won tickets to a few weeks ago. Should be interesting. Yay road trip. Boo gas prices. Analiese won’t be joining me for this. Alas. I think Kim will be though. I’ll have to double check on that.

Over at DHGF reviews for Summer Games: Paradise Island and Europa Universalis: Rome are up. I know, I never heard of either games before until they were sent to us myself. I think poor Adam and Lee would have liked to remained ignorant on their existence.

Weather in VA is so beautiful right now. It hit 80 again yesterday. After 4 years of MN weather, I’m just not used to that, but I am loving the summer running.

Started a new book last night called “Do Travel Writers Go To Hell.” It’s an interesting look at the bullshit and chicanery that goes into writing travel guides. Yes, I know. Most people read fiction. I read Non fiction. NEEEEERRRRRD.