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Archive for June, 2008

I HATE MIGRANES

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Oh my god. It’s right where my neck and skull connect and it’s pounding so hard that I can’t hold my head up. It’s looking like I survived a hanging.

I am sooooo not looking forward to driving to Fairfax with a spastic bunny in tow.

Another Monday!

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Man what a busy weekend!

Saturday: I got up early and went on a ten mile run. However, I injured my foot on Thursday to where there was a big icky blister right under my middle toe. So of course I ran anyway and was unconsciously putting right on the outside of the foot. By the time I was done, my little toe was pulped and it’s still in pretty bad shape. That sucked.

I saw Get Smart! On Saturday as well and I really liked it. Mel Brooks helped out with it, so it was similar to the original. Rock stole the show. It’s amazing how much I hated his wrestling character, but I have to admit he’s a great comedic actor. Speaking of great, the Great Khali was a major character in the movie, and like Big Show, he’s hilarious when given the chance. Plus he speaks English decently.

For Venture Bros. fans, please note that Brock Samson has a cameo in the movie. Total markout moment!

Saturday night was a date that was pretty nondescript. She was dull and boring, but the food was good.

Sunday: Got up, wrote a Pokemon article and took a bunch of pictures for it as it’s a very visual piece. Doug will probably love it. I couldn’t run because of the foot but I did work out. I think I’ve nearly beaten D&D tactics because all my guys are 16th level and there was a battle last night where we took out a pack of Liches. 8 lichs vs my six guys and I suffered a single fatality…which didn’t count thanks to the Raise Dead spell. It really is the best tactics game I have played since the original Disgaea in 2003.

Sunday afternoon was a date and it’s probably the best one I have had since moving here. It was meant to be a 30 minute get together and we ending up staying out for 4 hours. She was a lot of fun (and very pretty) and by the time I woke up this morning she had already contacted me for another hang out session, so hey, rock on.

I got home and Heather and Vlad were back from their trip so we talked about our various escapades and watched Venture Bros. which was probably my favorite episode of the season so far.

“Man, we’re going to have to go Nerf on this guy.”

or

“It’s like when you have that dream where you’re being chased bya giant spider but it has your dad’s head for a face and it keeps trying to steal your penis.”

Today Baby goes into get spayed and she’s in the office with me. Female co-workers are all “AWWWW. BUNNY” as she hops around and eats food. She’a very scared of all the new people, but the big thing is going to be leaving her at the vet until Weds. afternoon. Baby’s never been caged before and she’s never been apart from Chewie so I’m sure they’ll both be freaking out.

Review #193

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

Arkanoid
Publisher: Square-Enix
Developer: Taito
Genre: Puzzle
Release Date: 6/18

I hated that Taito became a “Square-Enix company” and the game manual and box repeatedly reminded me of this new reality. Taito, one of the oldest video games companies of all time, with a pedigree of titles like Bubble Bobble, Puzzle Bobble, Space Invaders and more is now a subsidiary or another gaming company that was a merger of two other companies to begin with. My fear was that we would be seeing a burial of Taito titles the same way we haven’t seen a Ogre game since Knight of Lodis thank to Square’s purchase of Quest.. But then, maybe that is a good thing considering the horror that was Bubble Bobble Revolution, the last game actually developed by Taito before the buyout.

However, my fears have been abated. We had a pretty good Bubble Bobble game come out for the DS this year (albeit it not even slightly touched by Square-Enix) and now Square is publishing two Taito remakes for the DS: Space Invaders Extreme and the game we are reviewing today: Arkanoid.

Although I would have preferred Puzzle Bobble 1 & 2 being ported to a DS cart, this makes a lot of sense. Space Invaders is one of the most famous games of all time, somehow with over fifty different versions of the game, it still sells which each new face lift and port. Arkanoid though? That’s a different story.

There’re not a lot of versions of Arkanoid out there, but it is still a popular classic. I remember it was one of my first and favorite NES games and I was super happy to hear a remake of the game with all new puzzles was hitting the DS. Sure Arkanoid is basically a fancy version of Super Breakout which is in turn a sequel to Breakout, but it’s still a great deal of fun. Plus the last time Arkanoid was remade, was over a decade ago for the PSX, and neither of those releases ever left Japan. For many gamers, this will be their first chance at ever touching this title. So a big thumb’s up for taking a chance of Arkanoid Square-Enix and showing us that you’re taking ownership of Taito seriously and giving American gamers a chance to see why they were one of the biggest companies of the Atari and NES generations.

Just please ensure that Bub and Bob do not mean the same hideous fate as the Valkyrie Profile games, okay?

So does Arkanoid hold up after many years of being locked away from North American gamers, or should the title have been left unseen and unheard?
(more…)

The Weekend is Upon Us

Friday, June 20th, 2008

Remember if you go to any EB/Gamestop/Electronics Boutique/Babbages/Software Etc., you’ll be able to get a free Deoxys for your Pokemon Diamond or Pearl cart!

Of course none of the websites for the video game store monopoly are showing it so…head’s up!

Last night’s date was a lemon law. 15 minutes in and I was like “Yeah, lemon law.” Thankfully there was a Farmer’s Market right outside of where we met so I picked up a bunch of Buffalo meat! Hmm. Who knew Farmer’s Market’s went that late? Let’s hope the Saturday and Monday dates are saner.

Arkanoid review will be up tonight or tomorrow. I’ve got a ton of Pokemon articles to write, including one about all the cool stuff Japan gets that we don’t here in the US. Well, everybody but me that is considering the sheer amount of Pokemon Knick-Knacks that have arrived this week. SO MANY CLEFAIRY!

This just showed up in my inbox…

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

So Yesterday Turned Out to Be Interesting…

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

I spent most of the day with Amy. We hit up Ikea, went to storage and basically had a productive work day, even though it didn’t feel like it. We had a lot of fun and got to know each other pretty well so it was neat.

Then she had a tire blow out at 60-65 MPH while we were driving back from Ikea. Oy. Turns out there was a crazy ass giant bolt on the road. The tire just died instantly. Now I’ve changed many a flat tire before so this was no big deal as she had a spare, but it turned into a big deal.

1. It was a Volvo.

2. The Volvo has the weirdest jack I have ever seen. For opening it and attaching it to the car. We spent some time just going “What the fuck?” Everything from how you unfurl it to how it latches onto the car. Utterly weird. It looked like a LeMarchand Configuration.

3. It turns out Volvo’s only have a single spot on them where you can line up the jack unlike most cars which have two. The Volvo is designed to lift both wheels at once with the jack. Again, something I had never known before yesterday. I was looking at the rear of the car for the second and was flabberghasted that it wasn’t there. I found “the one” for the front early on but I was like “Well that’s the wrong wheel. I can’t use that.”

4. Thankfully my boss and her brother in law was nearby and he was a previous Volvo owner so he let us know the little wackiness about fixed a flat on that.

Nice little wackiness for the day.

Afternoon was spent going for a two hour jog, exercising, and then putting together a DVD rack while Doom in HDDVD played for background noise.

Arkanoid arrived yesterday. As much as I HATE Taito being owned by Square-Enix now, I am quite happy that this version of Arknoid features the ability to play BUBBLE BOBBLE ARKANOID and SPACE INVADERS ARKANOID. Sweet.

Tonight I’ve got a date with Veronica around Penn’s Quarter @ 6:30, so it’s a busy rush rush home from work off to downtown DC.

Middle of the Week

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

Okay, Heather and Vlad are out of town for quite some time. This means I have a plethora of cats to look after, a favour they shall surely return when I am off to Salem and Minneapolis, leaving my precious bunnies behind.

I’m up to Act III in D&D Tactics. Oh my god, I can’t believe this game recieved such negative reviews this time last year. it’s honestly the best tactical RPG I’ve played in years and it’s the best D&D to video game experience I’ve ever played. Of course, most of the people who reviewed it weren’t old table top fans. Once I beat it, I’ll have to lend it to Vlad. Bowen - if you have a PSP - GET THIS GAME.

I watched Monty Python’s Meaning of Life for the first time ever last night. I got it for $5 on HD DVD and was like “Why not? I liked the other two films.” Man, was that a steaming pile of mediocrity at best. Even in the “Making of” documentary all the Python members were like “This film isn’t very good.” and they were being serious, not humble or self-effacing.

I finished up an interview with the National Geographic team making National Geographic Panda this morning. If you liked Nintendogs at all, you’re going to love this game.

Square-Enix just sent me Arkanoid to review. That’ll be a fun experience. That’ll be two Square-Enix games this year reviewed by me. Crazy.

Now I’m off to spend the day at Ikea and being hired muscle for the non gaming non Pokemon work that I do. yay!

Deep Discount DVD Sale!

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

It’s that time of year again. I’ve pretty much completed my DVD collection. God knows I’m over 400 and rounding towards 500 so i don’t need anymore.

Here’s what I picked up for $50

Bourdain’s No Resverations Season 1
Bourdain’s No Resverations Season 2
A Nova documentary about nautical equipment called “Lost at Sea”
an HD DVD version of Lucky # Slevin, bringing my Betamax 2.0 collection up to 30 discs
Machine Girl (Looks like a fun kick ass Japanese brutal action movie)

It would’ve been $80 on Amazon.com, so it’s a nice little savings.

My Weird Ethics

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

Well, I wrote my Blast Works reviewing praising that game as my favorite title released in 2008 so far. It’s been doing crazy well on the size, even though I didn’t give it top story status and we had a feature yesterday.

Today Bebito (The head of Diehardgamefan.com’s PR) gets this email:

Hi Bebito,

We read Alex’s review yesterday, and the entire team loved it! We’re extremely excited that you all are enjoying Blast Works, and would like to extend our gratitude for such an amazing review by sending you and Alex each a team-signed Blast Works t-shirt. All we need is your and Alex’s preferred shirt size and shipping address, and we’ll get that out to you right away.

Thanks again for the feedback!

Regards,

Marcus R. Brown
Lead Programmer
Budcat Creations

They’re doing it to be nice. I know they are. But there’s that little voice in my head that says, “Don’t take it. It’s SWAG! IT’S a bribe.”

I know it’s not. I reviewed the game on my own. I purchased it. I reviewed it and scored it before they even knew who I was. The t-shirt is coming POST-review and it’s not an attempt to raise scores because hey, It’s already the highest score I’ve given all year! But I’ve been on such a hollier than thou high horse for six years about being one of the only ethical journalists in the industry then I’ve programmed myself to want to say no to anything more than a review copy of a game.

They’re just being nice guys who liked my work and my first assumption is “OMG! They’re pulling an Activision!”

So in this situation, after talking to Bebs and Mark - it’s not swag. If it had been offered beforehand because they knew that Shooters were my favorite genre, then yes, that little voice in my head would be correct.

Oddly enough the giant foam Professor Layton hat that would be awesome at raves didn’t inspire this inner turmoil, but then I

a) trashed the game
b) A branch of Nintendo and I are pretty much linked until death.

So that’s been my non invoice making/writing/sending part of the day.

Robotech Movie!

Monday, June 16th, 2008

From Newsarama:

More than nine months after Warner Bros. acquired the rights to Robotech, the big-screen adaptation of the anime classic has a new writer: heavy hitter Lawrence Kasdan, who’s responsible for such screenplays as Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

Craig Zahler originally was tapped to pen the adaptation.

So, yeah, Lawrence Kasdan. That’s the good news. Now for the not-so-good news: Akiva Goldsman is coming aboard as a producer, along with Chuck Roven. They join Tobey Maguire and Drew Crevello.

Produced by Harmony Gold USA and Tatsunoko Prods., the 1980s anime aired in the United States as a daily syndicated series. Robotech was adapted from three different mecha series: The Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross, and Genesis Climber Mospeada.

Robotech takes place on a futuristic Earth, where mankind has used technology salvaged from a crashed alien spacecraft to create giant robots — which it then uses to battle alien invaders.

Frank Agrama of Harmony Gold, which holds the rights to Robotech, will serve as an executive producer.