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Malik (3/29/10)

I'm still enjoying classic nostalgia right now. I mean I'm playing Dragon Quest IV and Final Fantasy IX. The important thing in mentioning this is that I have little on the usual video game side of geek to say. I mean these are old games (10+ years for either one since they were relevant) and not really worthy of saying much about them. Well, you can say they are both games that have held their value over the years quite well.

The only real exception is that DQ4 is a game that is more playable on the DS than the NES original since DQ games on the NES had one of the most awkward control systems and felt like they lacked any smoothness to their controls. If I had to control DQ4 with the only NES era DQ controls, I'd have stopped by now.

Also, FF9 does have one poor element in it. However, it's still present in modern RPGs, but in a different way. Battles load slowly on FF9. They still do in most modern RPGs, but now they load slowly with long animated introductions while FF9 just loaded slowly with eventual enemy pop-in as the visual elements all came into existence.

I can say that I've had my first experience with Heavy Rain. This is a pretty modern PS3 game. I mean it's only about a month old. It is an amazing thing to behold in HD. The visuals remind me of a full on movie most of the time. I'm hoping to borrow the game from my friend soon, since I think it's definitely a game worth experiencing from the little I saw my friend play this weekend. I'm not sure if I'd want to own the game, but for at least one play through, it looks more than worth the time to play.

On a different note, I'm still amazed by the news right now. I mean the obvious and oblivious mindset of most of the media with issues like health care and other general politics. It seems like we're in one of the most opinionated times in history. Either you are for or against something. If you dare to think the middle might be right (for example, if you think any given bill that passes is good in some elements but other parts were neglected), you are branded as evil by both sides. Well, you're branded as "evil" by the right and as someone "so naive that they need to be properly educated before he/she matters" by the left. It's funny...or it would be if it wasn't reality.

With that blind mentality in mind, I am so wishing that the common occurrence of past times of ignorance would become real again. Punk music (or other genres considered "not clean" by the mainstream) has often times come from these type of mindsets in the general populous. As a fan of the most politically motivated genres (1970's punk will always feel like the best music to me just because of the great messages that come through against the mainstream while blasting out some awesome rhythms and riffs), I would love to see a emergence of some new politically centered music.

It happened about 8 years ago after the US declared war on everything foreign under the reign of G.W. I mean that's when System of a Down, to name one band, can out with some really well thought out lyrics that captured what a decently sized part of our society was thinking (see B.Y.O.B.). In the 1970's and 1980's, when political turmoil was going goofy, we had The Clash telling us about Career Opportunities and Spanish Bombs. However, right now, as the economy continues to collapse (one thing neither the left nor right seem to want to fully step up to or talk about is the next round of foreclosures that will be hitting damned hard this year and next year), nothing is really coming out and being said. Instead, the current modern genre that's not supposed to be the mainstream is indy rock, which is anything but out of the mainstream...and anything but saturated with worthwhile messages (unless you consider mainly over glorified love and breakup songs to be worthwhile content).

At least, on one bright note for those who enjoy their music with a dose of reality, it seems a lot of old songs are finding new modern messages. I guess history is cyclical in some ways. I mean just listen to Tehran from The Offspring. I was recorded in the 1990's about events from more than a decade earlier, but seems to have been a perfect fit for the G.W. "Axis of Evil" speeches...while still rocking one hell of a great guitar riff. I'm not sure if Rock The Kasbah ever really stopped being topical, even if the names may have changed.


Malik (3/31/10)

I think it's rare when I feel like a sports opinion writer is someone I can 100% agree with. However, this about sums up my thoughts on the next season for the Seahawks. I think Art Thiel must have been spot on when he brought up the weird draft pick of Andre Hines in 1980. The only explanation for Seattle's recent moves must have been some mistaken identity.

No matter how hard I try, I feel my optimism for the fall slowly slipping with each new Seahawk acquisition. It only got worse when the last big move was for Seattle to go for a Pro-Bowl caliber special teams player (Sean Morey) when they obviously need to worry about almost every other aspect of the team.

On a different subject, I think it's about time that Microsoft looks at some other storage solutions for the 360. I'm glad to see that USB drives will be incorporated in less than a week on the console. However, I can't help but feel a bit uneasy.

This feeling comes from the talk of SanDisk making a branded USB stick "for the 360". I just hate this type of crap since it's a measure that usually price gouges the less aware of consumers. For example, you can buy a digital camera that takes SD cards (by the way, I love the USB drives that take SD cards when thinking of the new 360 functionality, since I have a nice pile of SD cards lying around and one of these UBS to SD adapters cost pretty close to nothing). If you're a smart consumer, you then buy a cheap SD card. If you're not as well in the know, you buy a SD card "for digital cameras". It's the same card, but the "for digital cameras" text somehow adds about 100% to the price. I see the USB drives from SanDisk for the 360 having the same style of markup aimed to bilk naive people out of their money.

Still, it's a nice feature since a 16GB USB drive costs far less than the 20GB HDD for the 360 used to cost when they were sold. Plus, assuming things are handled intelligently, the USB drive should have a smaller portion reserved for system memory. This is definitely better of an option than the 360 designed HDDs that cost way more than market value (when compared to a PC HDD of the same size). Plus, you can have multiple USB drives on the 360, which just makes for more room.

I just don't understand the 16GB limit. It would be awesome if Microsoft allowed a reasonable size to the current technology. However, when you can finally have portable storage that's not the small and overpriced 360 memory card, or sizable storage that doesn't cost way above market value (like the 360 HDD), one can't complain too much. For once Microsoft is actually allowing a reasonable peripheral on their console without it being Microsoft branded or nerfed.


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