It's been a crazy week
for me. It's like all of the good things in life wanted to hit me
simultaneously. It's not a bad thing, but I feel just overwhelmed by
so much awesome at once. I mean I had a Microsoft Play
Test/Usability Study last week, saw Rise Against play in my hometown
of Kent, WA, had a weekend of nothing but sun and warmth, and got to
spend a fair amount of time finally getting into Darksiders.
As for the Microsoft
thing, it's all NDA (non-disclosure agreement) from head to toe.
However, the one part that's not under NDA is that I finally got in
a usability test for the first time in a couple years. This is one
of those things that make living around the Microsoft headquarters a
great thing. You basically play a game that is usually in
development, drink a bunch of soda, and get some free gifts
(gratuity items) in exchange for your time. So, for three and a half
hours of testing a game and filling out some surveys, I was able to
go home with a MS point card, an Amazon gift card, and the three
pack of Trials, Limbo, and 'Splosion Man. Not a bad deal and really
reminds me of why I love having Microsoft only 25-30 minutes away
from my home.
I would go into how
awesome it was to see Rise Against for a second time in about a
year, but either you like their music or you don't. The one thing I
can really say is that sound crews at concerts have a very important
job. It's never as obvious as to how crucial these people are until
they royally mess up the levels and cause too much distortion and
reverb by cranking the sound beyond what the venue and the equipment
can handle. Still, Rise Against sounded pretty good...but the two
opening bands (whose names are not worth repeating) sounded like
pure crap as the bass drums and vocal levels were turned all the way
to 12. Cranking it up to 11 makes it louder and better. Cranking it
up to 12 just makes it loud and lame.
I also got a nice dose
of reality with the concert. Being in the pit is a good way to
remember you age. I am convinced the pit adds about 15 years to your
life for the night. I was easily feeling like I was in my late 40's
by the time the night ended. At least the pain and the reminder of
my mortality were worth it.
As for Darksiders...I
plan to talk about this game for some time. However, I'm still early
(approaching the first boss fight after about 6 hours of playing). I
can say that this game is what I think we'd see if God of War and
Zelda had a child with all of the best attributes of each parent.
You have the great narrative structure and exploration of a Zelda
title, but with combat that really applies the concepts of combos
and the fast response needed from a GoW game. Then it picks up some
habits from it's other relative; Demon Souls. I don't mean it is
hard...I mean it has an atmosphere that is dark and amazing. Put
those together...and you have pure awesome. I still can't believe I
let this game go under my radar for so long when this is exactly the
type of game I've always wanted (and just didn't know it existed).
Today is the start of
the final dose of NFL fun until the end of the summer is rolling
around. Today is the time when the 2011 season really comes to an
end with the redemption of failure coming in from the draft.
Honestly, the draft is only exciting to people who are likely to
over analyze the stats of players instead of how a team comes
together. I mean there is nothing overly exciting, and it is
definitely not as amazing as the start of free agency, but I cannot
help it. I, just like many others who just shouldn't, love the
draft. It's the culmination of two of my loves in one package;
college football and the NFL.
I will not get
into too many details about what the 'Hawks need. Really, assuming
Matt Flynn is as good as he looked in his two games, the Seahawks
are on their ways up. The defense is pretty solid (lacking maybe one
starting linebacker now that Hawthorne is with the Titans, and a
solid pass rusher or two on the line) with one of the best
secondaries I've ever seen in Seattle. The offense will be great if
Flynn is solid and if the O-line can hold together (even with
injuries, 2011 saw a great line with second string guys). The
receiving corp is solid, and will be amazing if Rice and Mike
Williams can both stay healthy. The Seahawks are honestly in a good
spot and will probably take a pass rusher in the first round and a
linebacker in the second. Beyond that, it's all frosting on the
A few predictions,
however, need to be said. It's obvious that Luck is going in the #1
pick to the Colts, RG3 is going to the 'Skins in the #2 spot, and
Tannehill will be a Dolphin with the #8 pick. The predictions I have
are a little more from my love of the NCAA side of the game.
First off, the big
names from my favorite teams (UW all the way, but I do like the
style of the UO Ducks and the Boise State Mustangs) will all be
Chris Polk (who is
probably the best damned rusher to come out of UW) will not go until
the fourth round or later. He will get picked, and he will be an
amazing surprise for his team when the starting runner goes down for
a game, or even for a down. Polk will be a surprise with his speed
and his ability to just keep pushing through holes. In fact, I'd
love to see him as the small threat when Lynch is not on the field
for a down in a 'Hawks game. Speed, small size, and brute force make
him a nasty little surprise. I'd say, if anything, Polk will go in
the fifth round.
will also be a great addition for a team who needs an backup in the
running game. He did at Oregon what Polk did at UW, but even more
impressively. Oregon only got the the championship game two years
ago due to his ability to force a ground game out of nothing. When
you add in his toughness (I don't mean how he dislocated his elbow,
but rather how quickly he would come back from such a blow), he will
give a hell of a lot of effort when it's needed. However, I see
James going about the time Polk goes. In fact, I think the two will
be a bit of a toss-up for a GM to pick and whichever goes frist, you
can be assured the other is the next back picked.
My favorite in the
draft, however, is Kellen Moore. I've said this since several months
back; Moore will be a beast of a QB in the NFL. The talk of size
being an issue (he's 6'0") is just wrong. Moore will play solidly
despite his size, not "he'll play as well as he could for being so
tiny." Moore has the best win record of any college QB...ever. He
took his team far every damned year. Moore will be a solid QB in the
NFL who will probably start as a third stringer. I can see it now;
Moore will not play a single down in 2012 and will only get a couple
quarters of pre-season. However, when he finally gets his shot in a
game, he will amaze. I feel the same way about Moore as I did about
Andy Dalton last year (another QB who was considered not worthy of a
high pick in the draft and would have been the rookie of the year if
not for Cam Newton). I followed both of them in college and could
see amazing things brewing under the surface. I wanted the 'Hawks to
take Dalton last year, and look how things turned out for the
Bengals (who had one bad team until a rookie under-rated QB and a
rookie receiver came in together).
This year, the
'Hawks have Flynn, the impossible to get rid of T-Jack in 2nd, and
Portis in 3rd (I still think Portis should be able to show why he
deserves to be 1st or 2nd in the pre-season), so Moore is not
needed. However, a team like the Broncos, the 49ers, or Arizona
would all be smart to take a gamble on Moore. They all could use a
solid back-up (actually Arizona needs a whole new approach since
Kolb and Skelton are just not what a wise GM would want to be
fielding in this league) and that will be Moore...until he wins the
starting spot the same way Vick took the Eagles or Skelton showed
some minor value in Arizona.
In the end, I see
Moore falling to the 4th round and being ignored for the next year.
Only an injury in the teams starter will give him a shot of playing.
As a fan of his style, I just don't want to see him go to Green Bay,
the Saints, or the Panthers. When a starting QB is one of those who
just seems above the chance of injury, I'd hate to see Moore sit
forever. Actually, the best for Moore would be to go to the Browns,
since we all know damned well that they need a QB...and Colt McCoy
is not the real McCoy.
I always seem to forget
the fun of the NFL Draft when Pete Carroll and John Schneider are in
there. Most draft "experts" also seem to forget. Carroll and
Schneider both have that amazing ability to pick someone no one
would expect any team to take in the first round. So, with that in
mind, the first round pick for Seattle, at number 15 in the draft,
is Bruce Irvin. I don't know who this guy is, but I figure I'll just
put my trust in the hands of Carroll and Schneider. They are
building a stronger team each season, and 2012 is looking like the
year for the 12th Man to come out strong.
Anyway, I finally
got more time with Darksiders and faced Tiamat (the first boss).
Man, Darksiders has the Dark Souls idea down pretty solidly with
making big bosses that look entirely too intimidating. Not to
mention how strong these bosses can be. Luckily, it's easy to dodge
Tiamat's main attack (fireballs), but they sure do cause a nice
chunk of damage with each hit. It you ever stop being on the
defensive side of things and go all out on offense, the battle can
end pretty damned quickly.
I don't have much
else to say today since my life is getting pretty chaotic (but in
all the right ways). When things go bad at work or home, you may be
given time to wallow in the depression of failure, but when things
go too right, it's amazing how you can be running like a mad man
with no hope of a chance to relax and enjoy it all. That's me right
now; too much good and no time to enjoy the fruits of the awesome.