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Archive for January, 2011

Workout Music

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

I get asked by a lot of friends and gamers about my exercise routine, exercise video games, equipment they should invest in and the like. It’s kind of odd because I guess a decade ago I don’t think I’d be known as “the exercise guy.” “Pokemon Guy” maybe…

Anyway, I get asked a lot about what my workout mix is mainly because a lot of my friends find exercising boring. The truth is, so do I. I mean, this is why I prefer to go jogging outside. I get nice weather, scenery, a run by a brook or a lake, and the chance to see wild animals. The gym is just so quiet, sterile and dull. I don’t need anything eminating from a headset out there. However, I can’t go jogging 12 months of the year. Certainly not in Minneapolis, and there are a few months where I can’t here in D.C. (like today with the snow and wind). So that means the treadmill instead of going outside. Again, like everyone else on the planet 30-40 minutes on a treadmill at a speed of 6-8 miles an hour (on average) is boring. Time slows down where you’re doing the same thing over and over again. Sometimes I try to use Librivox books on mp3, but they tend to be too slow to work out to and do nothing to speed up the time my legs are going up and down, up and down. So that’s where the iPod comes into play.

I think I surprise a lot of people who ask what I listen to when I give them my mix. I think do to my outward appearance and monochromatic wardrobe, that my mix is nothing but goth, industrial and metal. That’s about as far from the reality as it gets. A lot of goth music is too slow for me to exercise too, I’m not really an industrial fan and metal is hit or miss with me when it comes to exercise. A little GWAR or LORDI maybe, but that’s not because they are metal, but rather they fit what I need most in workout music - catchy slightly weird shit that makes me smile. I can mouth or sing along with the tracks I listen to, and although they might not all be super fast paced, they do make the time go by rather quickly.

Below is the track list in order (Oddly enough in looking at the music, they are all arranged from shortest to longest song). and why they are on there.

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Review #393

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together
Developer: Quest
Publisher: Square-Enix
Genre: Tactical RPG
Release Date: 02/15/2011

If you’ve been reading me of any amount of time, you know that Quest is one of my favorite development teams of all time. You know that Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis is in my top five SRPG/Tactical RPGs of all time and that I was pretty disheartened by how the team was bought the team and had them abandon the Ogre series in favor of making a Final Fantasy Tactics (which was incredible, but not as good at either TO) and its two less than stellar Advance sequels, Vagrant Story, and Final Fantasy XII, all the while slowly breaking the team up. However, after finally realizing the popularity of the Ogre series on both sides of the pacific, Square got the original team back together, including the creator of the Ogre series, Yasumi Matsuno, who left Square-Enix in 2005. The end result was a remake of the original Tactics Ogre which was originally released in 1995 for the Super Famicon and Sega Saturn systems. This was mainly due to Famitsu readers listing Tactics Ogre as the 7th best game in history in a poll – the highest ranked Square-Enix title on the list, actually surpassing Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy games. This not only woke up Square, but is proof that gamers can actually get publishers to do what they want if they are vocal and large enough (See also - Sam and Max Season 3 for the US version of Playstation Plus.

So here we are – due to sheer fan demand (and a bit of embarrassment for how Quest has been treated by Square since purchasing them), Square-Enix has brought the band back together for a remake of the original game. If you read my original first impressions of the game after a dozen hours with it, you’ll no doubt recall that I was less then enthused about the changed made to the system and that the game was noticeably worse than the original. Now that I’ve beaten all three paths of the game (I still haven’t seen all eight endings though), have I warmed up to the changes…or has the game managed to ensure we won’t be getting a remake of my beloved Knight of Lodis?
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Review #392

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

Venetica
Developer: Deck 13 Entertainment
Publisher: Atari/Rombax Games
Genre: Action RPG
Release Date: 01/11/2010

Last week I gave my first impressions on a very under the radar action RPG from Germany known as Venetica. I was only a few hours in, but I found the game pretty enjoyable up to that point. Now that I’ve logged thirty hours into the game, it’s time to see if my first impressions were on the money, or if this is a game that best served as an example as to why a studio that mainly does point and click adventure games shouldn’t move into a more action oriented genre?
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Review #391

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of Osborne House
Developer: Frogwares
Publisher: THQ
Genre: Puzzle/Adventure
Release Date: 01/04/2011

We tend to be pretty big fans of the independent development company Frogwares here at Diehard GameFAN. They make some fun and out of the box adventure games, most of which are based on the adventures of Sherlock Holmes. We’ve seen the good detective take on a cult of Cthulhu worshipers in The Awakened, Arsene Lupin and even Jack the Ripper thanks to Frogwares. Recently, they’ve been taking the detective out of straight point and click adventure games and putting him into more puzzle based adventure games. First came Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of the Baskervilles for PC and now they’ve released Mystery of Osborne House which is more like a Professor Layton style game than their usual work. Even though I’ve never reviewed one of Frogwares’ Sherlock Holmes games here for the site (I have reviewed their cracktastic Dracula: Origin though), I’ve played through most of them and had fun with them. As such, I decided to order this game (Since THQ wasn’t giving out review copies) in hopes that this would start off a new year of gaming goodness off right.

So is this $29.99 DS title worth your money, or should you go with one of Frogwares’ PC titles instead?

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Adieu 2010, Bonjour 2011

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

2009 ended horribly with Baby getting Gastro-intestinal stasis and nearly dying thanks to her gluttony, so I assumed 2010 would go a lot smoother. In fact it didn’t. In January, Chewie was mistakenly diagonsed with a heart tumour that he didn’t actually have. Then in august, Chewie was diagnosed with a type of cancer you don’t get better from on my 33rd birthday, but since we found the cancer even before it was offically a Stage 1 cancer, the doctors were able to get rid of it after two surgeries (and a lot of money). Subsequent testing has show he is completely cancer free, which considering the type of cancer he had is a true miracle. It was a horrible year for me emotionally in regards to Mr. Biteums, and as he’s getting older I know it’d going to just get worse.

2010 also saw both vacations Guin and I took together marred with some crappiness. Cancun didn’t go as planned and our trip to Salem saw Guin’s 16 year old kitty, Sebastian, die while we were away. Guin’s still really broken up about the loss of her cat and I know I’d be the same way if Chewie or Baby ever passed on.

That’s not to say that all of 2010 was bad. In fact, it was a pretty good year overall. I spent a lot of time with Pokemon and made a lot of money off HeartGold and SoulSilver when it was released in March. I also decided to walk away from Pokemon as an employee once Black and White was released, if only due to Pokemon burnout. Still, it was a great five years with one of my favorite franchises of all time and how many people can say they were outright recruited for something they love?

Other fun things included a live performance of Cinematic Titanic, New Years Eve with WWE Raw guys, My dad came to DC to visit for a week around Labour Day, I got to help my mom move into her new place on Xmas, I saw a lot of great plays,

There was also my month of adopting a nearly dead shelter rabbit named Snowball, who was an adorable little albino bunny that made everyone fall in love with her instantly. Everyone except Baby that is who just wanted to murder her. After a month, it was obvious Snowball would have to go and we found her a loving home with the brother of my friend Bre. I still miss that fluffy white bunny, but the important thing was that she was rescued from the shelter where she had an undiagonsed staff infection and broken brittle teeth. She also had benign tumours when I got her on her ovaries, which I paid to have removed (She wasn’t spayed).

Really, between Baby, Chewie and Snowball, a lot of my disposable income went towards rabbit health bills or going down to visit Guin. As such, it was a pretty lowkey year in terms of adventure and/or excitement. I did get a raise and promotion which is nice. Overall, not the best year as the highs weren’t very high and the lows were god awful. I think 2011 should be a better overall year though.