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28May2009 2100: Pimp

Still can't use my computer while sitting way back on the couch, but:

27May2008 2015: Sonic Again

Almost exactly one year ago (beneath all the Indiana Jones shit) I linked some guys who played through the entire Sonic 2006 debacle. They're back, and doing it to Sonic Unleashed. They and I are surprised at how not-bad the game is so far. Some portions seem almost like a Sonic game, and then some portions make you punch about fifty ghosts in a row.

Bought some fancy furniture and a new computer over the weekend; it's now a race to see which one is awesome in my condo first. I'm going from dorm-standard hand-me-down furniture to comfy leather, and from a 1.8GHz Duron to a 2.66GHz quad-core. They were purchased within hours of each other...I felt sure this would trip Wells Fargo's fraud protection, but nay! A tip to all you Russian mobsters out there, apparently it's open season on my credit card.

[Naldo - No Se Si Tu] brings us a new perspective on R&B rap: what if you couldn't understand the words even without the autotuning? Because if I want to hear robots rapping I can already do that in English.

[Vieux Farka Toure - FaFa] is all about that guitar on the cover. This is a really really slow reggaeish song about something with some prominent lead guitar...that also sounds autotuned. I swear. I didn't think electric guitars could do this. It's not the country steel guitar or distorted rock guitar. In fact, it might be a sitar in this case.

I really expected [Vib Gyor - Fallen] to be in another language. After those other two songs, and with a name like Vib Gyor? Maybe "fallen" is Polish for something. But no, these guys are just a...The Killers! That's what they sound like! It's a slow song that sounds like the Killers.

[The Crystal Method - Drown in the Now] is our video. They went for a true black and white style, more like MadWorld than Sin City. Too bad I don't like Crystal Method. You want more rap today? You got it, because this song is "feat. Matisyahu".

20May2009 1849: Media Extremes

Interesting, that this week gave me concrete visual images for both why video games suck (via Penny Arcade) and why video games rule. That last one, that video...please watch that. It's the latest from awfully swell guy Fumito Ueda, and is rumored to be mockup test footage from over a year ago. The real footage of A Boy and His Griffon will reportedly drop at E3 in the next week or so. It is also the game that will finally sell me a Playstation 3 when no other game could.

On the analog side, I have absolutely devoured the first six volumes of Sandman, a comic series that quite literally goes to eleven. And I am still fighting my way through my apparently ill-advised purchase of the Sookie Stackhouse novels. It's the mental equivalent of eating peas; I purchased/cooked these things, I had damn well better read/eat them. I've finished the first three and it has gone from being an overtly offensive grammar massacre to a dull ache in my thinking parts. I think I can stumble through the rest of them while waiting for the other half of Sandman to arrive.

[Domino Saints - Buenos Dias San Juan] is a Latin rap about... I would guess San Juan. There is nothing to recommend it to an English speaker and I swear I heard "macarena" in the second verse. Obviously it must be purged with cleansing flame, lest the dance plague come again to our shores.

[Justin Moore - Small Town USA] is not fucking around with the country good-ol-boy nostalgia, and I have to respect that a little. He says straight up that people don't like small towns when they're growing up but lots of adults glorify them. I imagine this song is going to get a lot of play everywhere you don't want to live. And small-town Canadians can just shove off.

[Anuhea - Right Love, Wrong Time] brings together funk guitar and piano and somehow manages to make them lesser with her presence. Her oily R&B tune is about finding a scruffy guy and trying to change him to her standards. Definitely not down with that.

[Diane Birch - Rise Up] saves the day! Blues piano and a great vocalist...and I believe that she's trying to charm a straight girl into a one night stand. I wholeheartedly approve.

15May2009 1930: Playing the Game

This time attack of "Chrono Trigger" is a goddamn masterpiece. Chrono Trigger is in quotes because, as is becoming more and more common, the actual game portion is almost non-existent. That's why the new attack is four hours faster. It spends four minutes using an item-duplication glitch to fill up its inventory, and then uses its full inventory to overflow into useful bytes of the save file. At that point it ceases to play Chrono Trigger and begins to play the ROM file directly; it still uses the same controller, but it moves bits and bytes around with impunity, completely deconstructing the natural order.

And then it defeats the last boss by overflowing the boss' health with a healing potion. As the boss collapses, there isn't even a recognizable character on the screen. I got chills.

13May2009 1900: Star Trek absolutely worthwhile. A JJ Abrams reboot of a movie series with some infamous missteps has no right to be this good. The Kobayashi Maru! Although calling it a JJ success may be misleading...I really don't like the choppy action editing or the way he shines lights directly into the camera. I do like the writing and the pacing. And yes, it's light on the Trek-moralizing, but Trek was always heavy on the moralizing in the first place. Netflix has delivered Wrath of Khan this very day, so I get to do a little compare and contrast.

The new badguys still have a ship with way too many moving parts, a terrible design decision carried over from the last terrible installment. Such is my hope for the JJ Trek that I deliberately did not place a comma between "last" and "terrible" in that sentence.

But that is only the beginning of what could be an amazing week. Last night Nucleoid let me borrow his little-used 360, so my Wolverine avatar is now waist-deep in dismembered corpses. As I expected, the game rocks my face whenever I get to pull the hundred-yard-pounce on some poor military chump, and the game falls flat whenever the badguys disappear and I have to haul batteries around or some shit. Get this, game designers: if you make a room where the player has to push blocks around, you have failed. Zelda is somehow still getting away with this shit twenty years later, but in 3D there is no longer any reason for pushing a boulder into a slot. If you created a room that had glue on the floor and a bunch of chain-link fences forcing us to walk a circuitous route at half speed, I hope the backlash would give you third-degree burns on your forum. At its core, that is what block-pushing bullshit is.

Tonight -- indeed, directly after this post -- is Wrath of Khan, of course. If I remember correctly, the next movie is going to be The Voyage Home. It's like I planned this.

Phantom edit before anybody reads this: And Wal-Mart inexplicably has camembert again. It's been years. I'm stocking up.

This weekend I think I'm going to get Morgion over here for some Marvel Ultimate Alliance. If you've been following along you know we loved the hell out of X-Men Legends, and it's a shame I haven't gotten to Ultimate Alliance in over a year. I've played half of the first level a few times with different people, but better games always beckoned. No longer!

[Christian Finnegan - High Five Yourself] is something new for a free single: stand-up comedy. He runs through a few topics in the 5:40 runtime, taking a pass through the well-traveled ground of "men are like this and woman are all like that". Average. And when the intent is comedy, "average" is going to get old quickly.

Do you like No Doubt, but wish you couldn't understand the lyrics? [Los Hollywood - No Te Aguites] has you covered. You should also pick this up if you like CSI, as apparently Grisholm is in the band.

[Parachute - Under Control] brings us our RDA of generic piano pop. Hooray guys, you're finally bland enough for radio play. Can you still look at yourself in the mirror?

[Jesse James - Wanted] invokes the name of an infamous murderer and thief in order to sell her autotuned country shlock. She's pretty good at shaking her butt at the camera but she can do that without furthering the decline of country music.

6May2009 1900: The Worst Game Night Ever

Tuesdays are game nights 'round these parts. Our group has fought through Guild Wars, Burnout Paradise, Left 4 Dead, Skate 2, and numerous smaller challenges. So when one of our number reported that his Xbox was in for repair, we despaired not. There were so many games to choose from! We thought maybe we'd try Free Realms, a game I don't link directly because the site is a Flash abomination.

It took us about ten minutes to conclude that it wasn't quite what we were looking for. With all the emphasis on "scaring" "robgoblins" and "making" stew. My character has the totally awesome kid-safe name of Maximus Beemittens, but I don't think I'll ever see him again.

What followed was something you might see on a terrible Internet sitcom. A game would be suggested ("Guild Wars?") and everybody would shrug over Teamspeak. We're burned out on Guild Wars. Our UT2004 server wasn't running and apparently I had a cloned copy anyway. One of us couldn't find their Starcraft disks. This went on for an hour.

Finally we all decided to say fuck it and play whatever. So I popped in my brand-new copy of Hell Yeah Let's Cut Shit Up. The demo came out last week and I played through it about ten times. Once I went through doing nothing but throwing guys off a cliff. Once I went through doing nothing but the close-up cinematic kills. Your first official act as Wolverine is to punch a guy in the face after falling out of a helicopter. I was more than ready to tear into the rest of the game.

I had barely thrown my third guy off a cliff when the game suddenly froze in place, random digital garbage spewing across half the screen. I looked at the console, and... yeah. Then there was some adult language.

My return is being processed, and I have Plants vs Zombies to fall back on, but goddamn if that wasn't the worst timing.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is as awesome as you would expect. And does the original text make ball jokes?

"If you mean Darcy", cried [Mr. Bingley], "he may go to bed, if he chooses, before it begins -- but as for the ball, it is quite a settled thing; and as soon as the ground has sufficiently hardened and the present increase in unmentionables has passed, I shall send round my cards."
"I should like balls infinitely better," [Miss Bingely] replied, "if they were carried on in a different manner."
"You should like balls infinitely better," said Darcy, "if you knew the first thing about them."

There's obviously a zombie portion, and obviously a Pride and Prejudice portion, but what the hell is that at the end?

[Jon Hopkins - Light Through the Veins] is nine minutes long and needs to be about 75% louder. Even ambient music needs to be heard sometimes. This one takes three minutes to wind up to something audible. I read my daily Arabian Night and there was still three minutes left on the which point it began a three-minute downward slide. The only good thing about this song is it's symmetric.

Oh hey, it's that one band from Rock Band 2. I'm sure true fans would like to cock-punch me for saying that, but [Mastodon - Divinations] doesn't make any more of an impression than their Rock Band did. Heavy metal with a caveman theme.

[Larry Hernandez - El Querendon y Cajetoso] wants you to get your squeezebox on. I'm sorry, is this...Mexican polka?

Boaz's first contribution to [Boaz - No More] is "uh". So is his second. The third is "yeah". It's all downhill from there.