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Archive for July, 2008

So yesterday sucked

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

Day three of the migrane continues today, but Day 2 was the worst. Monday was just some shoulder and sinus pain, but yesterday? Oh man, I couldn’t even look out my right eye.

I get home, take a 30-45 minute scalding shower which helped and went to bed at 6pm. I got up at 7 and forced myself to do an interview of the upcoming Nikopol video game. I also downloaded some E3 stuff on my PS3 and oh man, was that a pain. I took another scalding sauna shower to temporarily relieve the pain and went back to sleep at 8:30pm.

I can’t even begin to explain my migrane issues. Normally I have very acute hearing to begin with. I mean I can tell the bunnies apart in pitch blackness just by their chewing noises or hops. With the migrane? It gets jacked up even more to where I could hear India in my TV room purring away with my bedroom door closed and two pillows on my head, or could hear heather and Vlad talking in normal everyday tones when they were outside. It’s awful. I feel bad having to ask the roomies to turn the TV down under these times because I don’t want to be the bitchy roommate, but oh man, it hurts like you wouldn’t believe.

Oddly enough this wasn’t a normal sinus migrane that I get. It’s lasted for three days for two reasons. The first is that I have some huge crazy zit that is under my skin that refuses to come to the surface. Where is it? Right along my sinus cavity so it’s putting crazy pressure on it. Just touching that area hurts. Thankfully it’s gone down a lot today.

The other reason is that it appears my rabbits have broken my box spring. I have a collapsable Select Comfort box spring, which unlike their mattresses is the best I’ve ever found, not to mention easy to store and get into buildings. However, over the 3.75 years I have had rabbits again, they have been nibbling at the underside. Sunday I heard a thunk down there before going to bed and assumed it was just a bunny stomp. Last night I heard it again about 1am and looked under my bed and well, the box spring is broken. the back half of it is about an inch lower than the top half. Whiuch explains my back pains since Sunday. So I ordered a new one this morning which ended up costing $300 and will be here in a week. Of course it’ll be coming when you know…I’m out of town. :-P

So that was my evening. Mostly sleep. Feeling better but my limbar area is killing me this morning and the right side of my head feels like quicksand. Hurrah.

Happy Bastille Day!

Monday, July 14th, 2008

Weekend was busy. Saturday I ran a total of 15 miles, and got heat stroke because of it. :-P

I saw Hellboy 2 Saturday. I went to the 10:30am showing, and it’s only 3.5-4 miles from the house so I jogged there. For a movie that early, I was shocked to see the theatre was half full. The plot was mediocre, but the special effects and cinematography was wonderful. In all, it wasn’t as good as the first movie, but it was still great to see in the theatre on a high-def screen.

Saturday night I went to bed early from the heat stroke.

Sunday I had a nice lunch at Jaleo, a little Spanish tapas place in Crystal City. I wrote my review of the horrible Beijing 2008 game and then I just lounged for the rest of the day.

It’s Bastille Day and I woke up to the following email regarding my “Gourmet Chef” review.

Hello Mr Lucard,

I just finished reading your review about Gourmet Chef on Nintendo DS and I happen to be the CEO of Creative Patterns, the company who wrote this game. You can imagine that I liked the review especially as your site is “die hard gamer” and usually we got bashed by hardcore gamers.

I wanted to write this eMail to you to thank you, I’ve got several people here who worked very hard on this game to achieve this result and now as they are all reading this review I think they all feel warmer inside.

So thank you ! And have a nice bastille day !
Stéphane Becker


Stéphane Becker
CEO
Technical Director

Creative Patterns
17, rue des magasins
67000 Strasbourg (France)

He also gave me his linkedin profile to add. :-)

I’m tempted to write him back and explain that most Americans who use that horrible word of “hardcore” look for three things in their games

1) Boobies
2) guns
3) killing things

so of course a game featuring none of those and praising French food and culture will get the hardcore gamers annoyed. Personally, I feel the vast majority of people who give themselves the Hardcore label really have a second label that befits them instead. “White Trash.”

I learned yesterday I’m going to be doing something for 151 again, which has surprisingly taken off in Japan. I’m not sure if I’ll be going to Japan, or I’ll be jettisoning off to some midway point, but it should be fun.

I’ll be gone next Weds morning to Saturday evening. Yay work!

Now I need to email Joy, Jen, and Kim today, and call Chris and Scott tonight.

Review #198

Sunday, July 13th, 2008

Beijing 2008
Publisher: Sega
Developer:Eurocom Entertainment Software
Genre: Sports
Release Date: 07/08/08

Although I’m not a sports gamer by any stretch of the imagination, I’ve always loved Olympic style collections of mini games. Konami’s Track and Field was an awesome game on the NES, and it’s sequel Track and Field II was superior in every way and remains one of my favorite games of the 8-Bit era. My favorite Olympics type collection was probably World Games by Rare for the NES. It had everything from Caber Tossing to Sumo Wrestling, and even Cliff Diving. Truly an underrated game.

SO I was pretty happy when I learned about Beijing 2008. After all,I don’t think I’ve done a sports collection review in all my years as a reviewer, and I generally enjoy Olympic style video games. There were just three problems.

1) It’s a Sega game. I haven’t been happy with Sega as a publisher for a very long time. They used to be my favorite company and I still treasure my old Sega consoles as my favorite systems, but since Sammy bought them? Well, let’s just say I have TRIED to like their games, but the only one I’ve given a true thumbs up to was the remake of Shining Force for the GBA, and that had to be brought over by Atlus! Not to mention it was over FOUR YEARS AGO.

2) The last Olympics based game Sega put out was Mario vs Sonic, and although it sold exceptionally well, the game was pretty lambasted for being a poorly made game. So Sega already had a bad reputation for Olympics games going in.

3) Eurocom developed the game. Yes, this is the company that made Duke Nukem 64 for GT Interactive, but that’s the only game of “quality” they’ve ever been associated with. Remember Predator: Concrete Jungle? Or their previous Olympics game, Athens 2004 which has an overall rating of 3.8 on Gamerankings? Truly these were some big warning signs?

So did all the omens of ill portent add up to one giant package of suck? Or did Beijing 2008 beat the odds and manage to come out worthy of the gold?
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Two Big Things

Friday, July 11th, 2008

1. Cnn.com linked to DHGF and we’re getting a nice little hit surge

2. FREE SLURPEE DAY!

Review #197

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

Gourmet Chef
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Creative Patterns
Genre: Cooking
Release Date: 06/24/2008

I love cooking. I especially love French cooking. Hiroyuki Sakai was a god to me in college and really inspired me to learn how to truly cook. So I was very happy to hear Ubisoft was bringing Gourmet Chef to America.

Gourmet Chef is a game originally published as Chef in Europe and was put out by 505 Studios and developed by Creative Patterns, which itself is a French developmental studios. So you have a game about French cooking developed by French gamers and published by Ubisoft, the best known French company in gaming?

Of course I said yes to reviewing this, especially as I’ll be tackling the Hell’s Kitchen and Iron Chef games later in the year.

I haven’t been too happy with previous cooking games in the past. All three of the Cookin’ Mama games bored me and I found them to have little to do with cooking. The Sega Saturn’s Kitchen Stadium was a great documentary like bio-piece on the Iron Chef’s, but it wasn’t a video game. In fact the closest I’ve found to a cooking game I found to be merely OKAY was in Star Ocean 2

So how does Gourmet Chef fare? After all, it’s got the pure French pedigree and I adore French developers like Microids and the Ubisoft Paris Raving Rabbids crew. But then, the recent Alone in the Dark for the Wii was made by Eden Studios…

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Holy crap this week has flown by

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

It’s been such a busy crazy week without any real time to catch my breath.

I’ve had Baby for a little more than two years now. She’s such a good little bunny. So playful and hyper and friendly. Her surgery recovery is 100%, although her hair is still growing back and she has a little red cut near her surgery scar and also a stitch hanging out of her. She doesn’t mess with it and she’s her usual self so I’m assuming it’s okay. I watch her every day just to make sure she’s healing well.

Recent purchases include:

All Star Batman & Robin Volume 1 HC. My god is this both awesome and hilarious at once. It’s Frank Miller basically giving a middle finger to everyone who has aped TDKR over the past twenty years. It’s camp ala the Adam West 1960’s Batman, but in the exact opposite way. I love it.

Batman: Gotham Knight. I haven’t watched this yet, but it’s defnitely a Batman week with The Dark Knight hitting theatres next week.

The Definitive Ric Flair Collection. I haven’t even bothered with the documentary. I just watched the matches while working out and editing everyone’s stuff. It’s got the Funk match from GAB 1989, the Sting match from the first Clash and his last match against Shawn, so that alone was worth the $19.99. There are some matches I was happy about (Flair/Von Erich and the last ever Flair/Steamboat Match) but I really wish the Flair/Vader match had been included, or even Flair/Muta from Starrcade 1989.

Look for a Gourmet Chef review tonight and Beijing Olympics around Sunday-Monday. It looks like at this point, Dead Mountaineer’s Hotel or New International Track & Field or even MLB Power Pros will be #200. I’m wondering if I should do a special column ala what I did for my #150th.

Stuff

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

1. There is a black van in the parking lot with the foloowing plate: VANP1RE. I’m scared.

2. They’re finally closing a tax loop that basically allowed companies to have a single office in DE and get out of a ton of tax paying. GOOD.

3. Neat extras places are giving away to get you to travel this summer.

4. Ten awesome US vacation spots without cars. One is near here in MD, while another is here in VA. Yay!

5. Six wine country vacations. One is an hour west of DC. I don’t drink but I like vineyards. Go figure.

Tuesday!

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

Holy crap did a lot of games show up yesterday. SIX! I also have three interviews to do. one with an obscure Welsh adventure game company, and two with Nippon Ichi. So much gaming stuff! So many things to mail!

Pokemon Center sent me Pikachu slippers last night. EVERY ANIMAL IN THE HOUSE IS TERRIFIED OF THEM.

WEIRD Dreams last night that included the following

1) a little male black and white bunny just showed up living with my other two. Just hopping around and playing with the others with no fuss.

2) Daniel from the Karate Kid (A movie I have only seen ONCE) enters UFC and Don Frye and Tank Abbot murdered him. I knew it was a dream because Tank Abbot WINNING?

3) You know those green overhead signs on the Interstate that give exits and such information? Well I had a dream that Vlad, Heather, and I were all driving discussing the “Bloofer Lady” which is an obscure reference to Lucy Westenra in “Dracula” when a light blue sign in Japanese fell right in front of our car and we barely breaked in time. We were also the only people on the interstate.

4) beating the unholy crap out of the guy who sings “Push the little daisies and make them come up”

Not idea what my brain was on last night.

My whole body is in pain today. Well, my right side. My wrist, hip, and shoulder are all killing me. I might take a day off from exercise to see if that herlps.

Next game to review GOURMET CHEF for the DS. I am shocked that it is not only good, but far better than any of the three Cooking Mama games.

Long Weekend!

Monday, July 7th, 2008

I was going to take today off, but I realized I needed to get some stuff done. Besides I can take time off later and add it to my Halloween, Thanksgiving or MSP trips.

Interview with the new Splatterhouse team went live on Diehard GameFAN this morning. I think they were the best interview subjects I’ve had in a long time. Check it out here!

Weekend was long but productive. Friday I got up early with Abby, did about 8-10 miles. I stopped and saw Hancock, which was better than expected. Then they were having a blood drive at the movie theater and I tried but alas, that damned living in England makes me unable to donate. What a silly rule.

Saturday and Sunday were a lot of writing, editing, and hanging out. Fun times, but nothing major happened.

Ventuire Bros. last night was hilarious.

My entire body is crazy stiff today.

I’ve really been focusing on all forms of work too much lately. NTN. Pokemon. Writing. DHGF. As soon as this upcoming conference is in the bag, I’m taking a little break from everything. Just to actually go out, and relax before the next few huge projects.

Review #196

Sunday, July 6th, 2008

City Life Edition 2008
Developer: Monte Cristo Multimedia
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Genre: Simulation
Release Date: 07/15/2008
Buy it Here

City Life 2008 is a Sim City style town building game created by Paradox Interactive. Most gamers probably know them for the Europa Universalis series., but readers of DHGF might also remember them as the publisher of titles like Mount & Blade, Supreme Ruler 2020 and Penumbra: Black Plague.

As you can see from the p/reviews linked above, we here at Diehard GameFAN tend to find their games decent, but nothing truly great. The original City Life was released in Feb of 2007 and received decent ratings in both the US and Europe. As a big fan of Sim City who was disappointed with the last summer’s remake for the DS, I was really looking forward to spending some time with this new alternative. How did it hold up?
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