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Archive for October, 2008

Review #226

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

Strong Bad’s Cool Game For Awesome People Episode III: Baddest of the Bands
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Genre: Adventure
Release Date: 10/27/2008

Another month, another game featuring the cast of Homestar Runner. In August I reviewed Homestar Ruiner and in September, I reviewed Strongbadia the Free. I really enjoyed the first game and the second was a bit of a drop in quality. I was a little hesitant going into Episode 3 because of the decrease in quality and rise in bugs, but I loved the storyline. So did it turn out Strongbadia the Free was just a sophomore slump, or are the Homestar Runner games getting worse each month?
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Review #225

Monday, October 27th, 2008

Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Konami
Genre: Action RPG
Release Date: 10/22/2008

There really hasn’t ever been a bad 2-D Castlevania. Now I can probably say the opposite for the 3-D Castlevanias, but thankfully those are a drop in the bucket that is this series. The climax of the franchise is easily Symphony of the Night, which was the shift of the series from action-platformer to action RPG. Since the game went from console to handheld though, I haven’t been that impressed with the series. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve found all the games since Circle of the Moon on down to be, at worst, above average games. It’s just they haven’t wowed me like SotN or Dracula’s Curse. For me it’s felt like the innovation was gone, and that the series was trying too hard to recapture the magic of SotN rather than try something new or original. When Dracula X Chronicles is the best Castlevania I’ve played in 7 years and it’s a compilation/remake, that’s a bit distressing to me.

So here we are with Order of Ecclesia, the latest for a franchise that spans over two dozen games. You’d think by now that Konami would be out of ideas involving haunted castles and that Dracula would be sick of being resurrected and slain by the latest protagonist du jour. Indeed this appears not to be the case as we return once more to The Land Beyond the Forest.

So does Order of Ecclesia rouse the series out of topor or is it the first CV game to, if you’ll excuse the pun, suck?
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Review #224

Saturday, October 25th, 2008

Eternal Sonata
Publisher: Namco Bandai Games
Developer: Tri-Crescendo
Genre: Action RPG
Release Date: 10/22/2008

When Eternal Sonata came out this time last year for the Xbox 360, it received some nice praise from critics and positive reviews. The game sold decently and now we see a remixed version of the title coming to Sony’s Playstation 3. October 2008 seems to be a good month for 360 castoff’s onto Sony’s third place machine. Both Bioshock and Eternal Sonata came out on the same day and both originally saw success on the 360. I know many PS3 fans were both happy to be finally getting these games and grumbling because the titles weren’t multisystem in the first place. Me? I’m just happy to have both of them with some extra content. Eternal Sonata was the only real game that interested me for the 360 besides Operation Darkness. Now that it’s here on the PS3, I have no real need to pick up a 360 save for a few games off of live that I want like the HD remake of Ikaruga and TMNT: The Arcade Game.

So has my year of waiting for a PS3 port of this JRPG been worth it, or have I instead found myself disappointed after experiencing the likes of Disgaea 3 and Folklore for the PS3?
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Chesterfield, MO and their “Hit a Jew Day.”

Friday, October 24th, 2008

Ron Howard on the 2008 Election

Friday, October 24th, 2008

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

I know I have friends voting for both McCain and Obama, but regardless of your preference you can’t deny it is awesome to see Henry Winkler as the Fonz again and Andy Grifffith playing well, Andy Griffith.

Thanks Opie Cunningham!

Well Shit

Monday, October 20th, 2008

After 12 years my frames finally died. Looks like I’m making an eye appointment for tonight/tomorrow. Now the question is where to go here in Arlington for glasses?

Halloween Costume - Finished!

Monday, October 20th, 2008

Alas, Cobra Commander would have been over $200 to finish so instead I went with something easier and equally cool.

Halloween 2008 = Akuma from Street Fighter. Complete with freaky red wig. Whoo!

Long Post Filled with Life Revelations and Crazy Weekend Shit.

Monday, October 20th, 2008

So it’s Monday morning and my wrist is mostly recovered from this weekedn. it’s still pretty sore and I don’t have full flexability or movement, but it’s a huge improvement from Saturday night/Sunday morning. Really weird weekend in all, so I suppose I should get talking about it.

I got up Saturday morning and drove to Kim’s house in Hanover, PA. It was a 90 minute drive and It was nice to see all the leaves changing. As it was such a scenic drive, the time past quickly. I met up with Kim and parked my car in her backyard and then we drove to the hiking location, but not before Kim nearly drove her car into mine. It would the first of many very close calls that day.

We met up with Michelle, Herb, Sarah, Michelle’s two kids and Kim’s son and proceeded to go on a average length hike up a mountain. It was pretty rocky, so there was a lot of climbing involved. At the top of the mountain there was a bunch of college kids. While we were taking a break and letting the kids have food and water, the college kids asked me to take a picture of them and one of them began flirting with me…until I pointed out I was 31. Whoops.

The way down the mountain ended up being pretty hectic. The kids kept slipping and falling and I kept reaching out and catching them before they did any serious damage and pulling them back to their feet. Do that about a dozen times in an hour and you can start to see the wrist injury beginning. Eventually I was watching the kids and their apparent lack of safety that I myself slipped a bit and landed directly on my right wrist. It didn’t hurt at all until later that night, and it probably didn’t help that ten minutes later, Justin damn near slid down the entire mountain if I hadn’t caught him with that same hand I jammed earlier.

After we got down we ended up doing a side trail up the Appalachain Trail. I didn’t think this was the smartest idea considering the sun sets late in October, no one had night gear, and no one had done this part of the trail. Of course when the “mile” we were walking turned into about three and we still hadn’t reach the AT luxury cabin they wanted to check out and the sun was starting to set, people besides me started to realize this wasn’t the responsible thing to do with kids in tow. Seriously, I chose not to have kids and I’m thinking more about the potential of child injury. What the heck?

After we all get down, Sarah and herb went their own seperate way for the night, mainly because they were child’ed out. The girls the kids, and I went to the Applachian Brewing Company where we had a great meal. My main entree was a pomegranite blueberry chicken and I had these nice thai mango garlic chicken wings. The kids were pretty quiet due to them all having their DS’s and copies of various Pokemon games.

After that it was back to Kim’s house for a while where the kids got to see my newest copy of Platinum and were utterly absorbed in it. Not surprisingly the fact it was in Japanese didn’t even phase them as they could tell what moves they had and everything else. Behold the power of Pokemon.

We finally decided to use that free ice cream cake coupon I’ve had for their Cold Stone since April. Backing up out of her driveway though, something smacked up against the side of my car. No actual damage to the car save for a crack in the coating around my driver’s side rear view mirror. Thatw as time #2 if you’re counting.

After cake, Michelle had to drag her children away from Platinum and then Kim and I hung out for a while until I decided I needed to go home. You can’t really even think of spending the night if the kid is home. At least I can’t. So I gave Kim a hug, said good bye to her tiny wittle bunny Comet who smaller then Baby and is in a very tiny cage that makes me feel bad for him and we called it a night.

While driving home I realized that more then ever, I never ever ever ever ever want to have kids. I don’t think I could handle that 24/7 of watching out for them to keep them from risking life and limb, giving up my free time to cart them everywhere at the expense of things like seeing the world, limiting my food choices while they are in that 10+ year finicky phase, and the smothering. Oh my, the smothering. These kids were all pretty taken with me but there were times when I felt like I was cast into the babysitter/daddy role, which I know wasn’t intentional, but it still creeps me out to have any sort of responsibility for another human being. Bunnies I can handle.

On the way home I kind of came to the revelation that I’m probably never going to settle down again. I’ve tried the living together and the serious commited relationships and the engaged bits and each time, I’ve been happier being single and free than I ever was dating. Sure there will be times after a break where I would be, “Aww, I miss XXX.” or the ultra rare occasions where I get lonely, but I know more then ever I could never be able to stay sane in a situation where I would have to take care of/worry about/protect someone all day every day. Especially with the batshit crazy shit in my life like oh, wacky vampire hunting cults. How could I ever subject someone I love to that whole schebang? “Oh I’m sorry baby. This crazy guy thinks I’m Dracula and here’s a crazy ex stalker of mine and when little Billy turns 15 let’s show him that movie I made in prague. THAT won’t scar him for life.” Of course this also means I’m choosing the creepy option of “dying alone,” but how bad is that when it seems better then the alternative?

The drive home was pretty sane save for the occasional crazy driver out at midnight. Then I got to Arlington. There was this total fuckup behind the wheel swerving through lanes without turn signals, driving in turn lanes and then switching voer at the last second. he nearly caused five accidents in about a minute, driving at least two other cars over the road and nearly hitting me (Time #3 for the day of close calls). I’m sitting there watching them swerve like absolute jackasses, nearly killing people and saying, “Those stupid fuck head. They’re going to kill someon…”

And then I watched them wrap their car around a telephone poll at about 45 miles an hour. I was the first car behind them but due to their driving I had backed up far away from them that i wasn’t in any trouble. It was only seconds but this is how my brain worked

Thought 1: Jesus I hope they’re okay
Thought 2: Well they deserved that after nearly fucking killing you and other people
Thought 3: Why isn’t anyone stopping. They have to be pretty hurt
Thought 4: The same reason you shouldn’t stop. Because everyone else is just glad they fucked themselves up instead of them.
Thought 5: Okay. I have to pull over and help
Thought 6: No you don’t.
Thought 7: Yes I do. That’s what makes me better then them. Otherwise I’m just as big an asshole.

So I pulled my car ahead, turned on the hazards and went to go check them out. I ended up pulling both of them out their totaled car, one of which had a nose that resembled a pancake. Seriously, where the hell did the cartalidge go? A morbid piece of me was hoping to find it in the car. Neither one spoke English save for “No Policia! NO POLICIA!” This to me spoke of three things.

1) Illegal immigrants
2) Very drunk or on something illegal
3) Both 1 & 2

By the time they were out of the car, a family came out of a house near where the accident had happened. This family was also Hisapanic and obviously didn’t know them, but they took them inside. They too told me not to call the police or 911 and thanked me for helping. Then they dragged the two inside and that was it same for the hissing and leaking wreckage on the road next to me.

During this entire event, not a single other car stopped to help or see if they were okay. What the hell is wrong with people around here? I found myself pretty disgusted with humanity in general. Assholes wrecking their car after nearly hurting several others and assholes not bothering to care about injured people. I’m really starting to think that living in DC for a while turns you into a self-absorbed fuckup with little regard for anyone who isn’t exactly like you.

So I drove home, which was only 3 or so miles from this incident, talked to heather and Vlad for a bit, showered, played with the rabbits, and called it a night.

Sunday I found myself to be a bit down. My friend Don thinks it was just the wearing off of nearly a full day of adrenaline surges, but it’s still here this morning so who knows/ Sunday was just me letting my wrist relax, finishing my Dead Space review, and playing with bunnies. I’ve been pretty mopey since Sunday morning though, and I’m not sure why. Could just be it was a sitting at home recovering and writing day compared to the weird shit that happened. Could be a lack of sunlight. Who knows?

That was my weekend. Only 9 days until Halloween vacation! Whooo.

Also, Phillies vs Rays in the World Series. Come on Phillies! Don’t choke for once!

Review #223

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

Dead Space
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Electronic Arts
Genre: Action/Survival-Horror
Release Date: 10/15/2008

I have to admit, Dead Space is a game I have really been waiting for. I’ve enjoyed the downloadable webisodes from the PSStore, I’ve read the comics, and I even managed to get a screener of the anime. All were quite enjoyable and made me really pumped for the game.

I have a thing for the concept of survival horror in space. However, it’s usually very poorly done. Countdown: Vampires? Ick. Dino Crisis 3 Awful. To my recollection this has only been done right twice. The first was the movie Event Horizon, and the second was Echo Night Beyond for the PS2. In both cases, they had their issues, but were for the most part entertaining. ENB stands as the best “monsters in space” game I’ve ever played even though it’s more akin to a Victorian ghost story in mood and theme then the “kill a bunch of monsters dead before the eviscerate you” that Survival-Horror games are known for.

So how did Dead Space turn out? Did it live up to the hype of being the latest and greatest survival-horror game, or is this another example of EA promising a lot and then not being able to deliver?
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What I’ll be doing tomorrow

Friday, October 17th, 2008

Hike
Haunted Mill