I refused to pay good money to see Transformers in the theater when
it came out last year. I figured between the obvious trend of my
childhood being raped and pillaged in movie remake of my favorite
childhood experiences and the Michael Bay name, I had nothing good
to get from blowing $10 to see the movie.
However, it's now the latest new movie on HBO, and having HBO on my
cable plan, it only made sense to now give it a shot. Afterall, it's
free to me, so all I'd be paying is the 2:30 running time. I think
that was still paying too much. I could go off (and I did while
watching...thank you DVR for giving me a chance to pause while I
went off on Hunter S. Thompson style rants) about the way the
Transformers were handled in the movie. Instead, I just feel a great
need to point out a few things that really annoyed the shit out of
First off, this movie was a lot like watching a bad cartoon (in
particular, it's like a Hanna Barbara production) from the 1960s or
1970s. You know what type of cartoon I mean. The type that would
have Fred Flintstone randomly teleport between shots, or the color
of Yogi The Bear's tie changing colors in the middle of a shot as
the animator apparently ran out of green ink. Or even like one which
has so convoluted of a plot (like and Yagi The Bear movie length
feature) that could have been solved by ignoring half or more of the
material scripted for the experience.
For example, there are about four or so main plots. There's Shia
LeBeouf getting his first car, the small group of soldiers in the
desert who survive an attack and must get a recording showing an
invisible shield on the Decepticon to military command, the elite
government hackers who are tracing a signal from the Decepticons,
the romantic plot of LeBeouf and his car (or his love interest of
the human variety), and there's Sector 7 (the uber-elite government
agency that knows about Megatron, who was frozen in ice). In the
end, all of the plots were there to get nowhere.
The military plot wasn't needed as the humans never used the
knowledge of invisible shields to tackle the Decepticons...afterall,
it was the Autobots who did all the successful fighting. That's one
plot that can be removed. Even if it was probably the most
interesting plot to have been fully utilized. The single best plot
was Autobots versus Decepticons, but that was never really important
to Michael Bay's twisted take on my childhood.
The other plots all involved finding "the cube". No matter which one
they went with to bring it to the movie for the climax, they all
could have been replaced by the lame LeBeouf love story with Bumble
Bee (his Autobot car). The story of Decepticons trying to find the
glasses that LeBeouf was selling on eBay that held the coordinates
of the cube?...that was solved by a Decepticon's head turning into
LeBeouf's cell phone that followed him when he was captured by
Sector 7 and taken to the cube (in Hoover Dam...of all places). It
all came down to LeBeouf and Bumble Bee being taken to Hoover Dam.
All of it. 75% of the movie was serving the same damned purpose, but
never was needed. Maybe if this time was put to other things, like
Transformers fighting, I could have found something worthwhile to
watch from this damned mutilation of a movie by Bay and company.
Then there were the just nonsensical things. For example, Bumble Bee
drives off and LeBeouf chases on his bike thinking his car was
stolen. This seemed to take place in the morning. Well, by the end
of the events, which appeared to take place over a thirty minute
span (in movie time, not real watching time), the sky is dark and
it's obvious that night is upon us. Did this chase actually take
something like 12 or more hours? Really? Or was this a classic
equivalent to Yogi's tie turning red for a few frames before being
green again? I think it was this. There was even a Decepticon that
vanished at one scene, to never return. Poof! It's gone...?
My favorite, however, is this question I have to ask; do they
really, on Air Force One, keep the president's Ding Dongs (tasty
Hostess snack cake, if you are thinking something perverted with
that word) right next to the mainframe computer that can access all
of the nation's computer systems? So, any stewardess who must get
the president a snack is given total access to the, supposedly, most
important computer terminal in the free world? Wow. Why don't
terrorists just send in some stewardesses to Air Force One to really
f#@$ over the US. Thank goodness that Michael Bay's vision of the
world is nothing close to what the world really is.
Like I said, I could go off about this movie in many more ways (like
how all Decepticons, in robot form, look identical), in a Gonzo
style rant. That's what I did while watching the movie...always with
a drink in hand to ease the pain of wasting my time on this poor
excuse for reliving my childhood memories. Instead I'll just stop
now...before I can't get out of my rant.
On a different note, it was awesome to see Morris playing in the
Seahawks/Vikings game. Maybe I could say that differently; it's so
damned good to not see Alexander on the Seahawks. I think this
season may be pretty good and it should be a fitting farewell for
Lastly, I got in some band time with the new SoaD songs on Rock
Band. All I can say is that BYOB is as hard as I thought. One of the
few songs I've had to skip any thoughts of playing on expert...for
now. It goes up there with Smokin' (Boston), Green Grass, Blackened,
and Ride the Lightning as songs I will have to keep on hard when in
band mode...and definitely have to keep on hard in solo play. Still,
BYOB is one hell of a fun song to play with someone on the mic.
I checked out the
new songs in the Roadrunner Pack for Rock Band. While I am a metal
fan in the world of listening (and to a minor extent in playing
actual guitar), I just don't see myself going for anything in this
pack. For one thing, the songs just don't look fun on expert guitar.
They are fast (sometimes faster than I would almost imagine possible
to strum on a plastic guitar), challenging, and just not that
creative in appearance on expert guitar. To round them out, there is
the one thing I never care for in Rock Band or Guitar Hero; overly
So, while I'd
listen to some of these songs in the real world, I don't see that
leading to me playing them, with enjoyment, on RB. It also makes me
dread RB2 since Megadeth, Dream Theater (the two worst offenders for
challenge and technical solos from yesterdays pack), and Metallica
are all going to bring a damper to the fun of playing.
The other thing I
noticed is that it looks like as DLC is released that the tier
numbers are changing in meaning. For example, BYOB (tier eight
guitar) and the tier seven and eight songs from yesterday are just
pushing well beyond what was expected in any tier eight in the core
RB game (like Enter Sandman, Foreplay/Longtime, Welcome Home, Cherub
Rock). In fact, off of the ratings given to recent DLC songs, I'd
imagine those original tier eight songs would now be classified as
tier six and seven songs.
Anyway, the Fable
Pub Games are supposed to be out today. I'll check them out tonight
since I have my pre-order code for them waiting for me after I post
this. While many people would not expect too much fun and only a
chance to meta-grind for gold ahead of the Fable 2 launch, I have
some high hopes. I really enjoyed the pub games found in Fable, and
I don't see any reason to expect less from Fable 2.
Lastly for today,
I've started something on FFIV DS that I never tried in any past
incarnations of this game; trying to obtain pink tails (used for
obtaining the best armor in the game). I went to the final dungeon
(where you find pink tails), cleared out every map to ensure I got
the rare item augment (doubles the odds of picking up any rare
drop), and went to the room in which you can start farming. I walked
in with 94 sirens (item that will summon a set battle based on where
you use it) in the right place and started fighting. After about 5
hours and 86 sirens, I received exactly zero pink tails. I now know
why I never did this in past FFIV versions. It's time consuming and
would probably lead to insanity without the augments found in this
take on the game.
At least I did
find a rainbow pudding (second most rare item from that battle, and
needed to finish the new DS specific side quest). I guess that's
something. Of course, only finding one rainbow pudding and no pink
tails after 86 battles is not that great of a feeling. I think I'm
at the point in which I'll finish the side quest and then probably
call it a game by killing the final boss. I think the optional
secret armors and weapons found from various tail colors are just
not worth it...even if they do carry over to a new game+.
After playing the
Fable 2 Pub Games, I'm left with a bit of a quandary. What to really
say? There's are three games and so much to say, but I think I can
summarize it all rather nicely; these games are crap.
Maybe I should
step back a bit. It's not that there's a lack of creativity in these
games. It's not that the games are flat out bad. It's actually more
that I have played, and loved, Fable and the little pub games that
were a part of making money (rather slowly) in that game. Fable had
honest pub games. Fable 2 has, what would be more appropriately
titled, casino games.
difference, you may ask. Well, it is a big difference. Pub games are
small games that a few people can play in a pub with nothing more
than what is at the table with them. A pack of card, or even a
couple cards, a coin, maybe use the drinks at the table in some way.
A good example of a pub game would be something like poker, beer
pong, paper football, or any number of these simple types of games
that rely on skill more than they rely on chance.
On the other hand,
a casino game is based on luck and odds. There is very little skill
involved in the majority of casino games and they typically are
based around the simple fact that the odds are never in your favor,
despite being disguised to look like you'll win easily. While poker
and blackjack are easy cross over games between pub and casino
environments, roulette, craps, slots, and that type of game are
entirely based on a casino setting. They require almost no skill
(despite what some obsessive gamblers may claim) and count on you
needing luck...which is a nonexistent variable.
The important fact
in pub games being skilled based is that you will be drinking. So,
the skill level of each player, in theory, goes down with time. This
helps to also make forfeits more interesting. You lose, but you also
have to down a shot. This means you have a little more incentive to
do good next time before all inhibitions are out the window and
you've bet away your home.
So, Fable had some
cool actual pub games. There was an object game that relied on your
memory of what was there one second and what changed when you turned
your back. Entirely skill based, but sometimes "luck" could
compensate for a poor memory. There was also table golf using a
coin. This was all about your skill with selecting the right
trajectory and power to aim a small coin around a table filled with
mugs and whatever else was on hand. Once again, skill trumps luck
any day of the week in that game. I honestly cannot remember any
other Fable pub game off hand, but it doesn't mean there were no
other fun and creative games.
The Fable 2 Pub
Games are entirely luck based. One game is basically slots with a
different (more pyramid) layout of the changing symbols. You can
alter how much you bet per spin and play different machines with
different possible bonuses (extra free spins, more slots total,
different odds, or bonus multipliers that must be used before you
fail on a spin or they are erased). This is probably the most
enjoyable game. Why? Well, if you want to take a gamble, you can
just set up how many chips you'll bet and then button mash while
doing something else (watch a TV show). If you'd win, then you'll
win without needing to look. This, might I add, is also the best
paying game (more than tripled my money in an hour).
The next game is
called Keystone. All it is is a variation of craps (with three dice)
and roulette. You try to place both long standing and single
throw/round bets on what number will be hit next. Just like craps
and roulette, this game requires a lot of babysitting. You need to
keep placing bets over a game that could take you around ten minutes
to complete. Slow and low odds. Not my idea of a good time.
The last game is
possibly a pub game (not a casino game), but it's not exactly skill
based. It's basically Deal or No Deal...but with cards. A small
pyramid is formed from cards. First you have a face down card at the
top, then two cards places below it. All cards after the top are
face up. The next round, you have three cards placed in a row. Then
four. Then five. It goes to seven cards in the final row. You will
get a payout based on the total of the cards shown in the current
row. You can opt out at any time and collect your winnings. However,
you have to keep in mind that you will need around a total score of
15 on the current row to break even. The game will see you lose if
you don't back out at any point and a card from the current row
overlaps an identical number on the previous row. The first time it
happens, the top card (the face down one) will replace the offending
card. Also, if a hero card (four per deck are present) is on the row
with the offending card, then it is saved.
Like a real casino
game, it looks easy enough to win from...but your odds are shit. You
have almost no chance to win anything big and the "skill" one would
perceive is nothing more than blind luck with a bit of a Deal or No
Deal style head rush in excitement. Do you take the small win, or do
you try a little longer and go for the big prize?
At least the games
are all pretty creative (ok, slots is not). However, they just fail
in comparison to games like table golf from Fable. Also, considering
this is a chance to win some money for your Fable 2 character, you
have another problem...the odds are so bad that you may not ever
want to transfer your guy from the Pub Games since he will be broke
and in debt. Supposedly, if you transfer data to Fable 2, debt
To round it all
out, you can play in tournaments...against cheating computer
controlled players. Yes, they do magically know when to stop in the
card game, where to bet on Keystone, and they hit a lot of big
jackpots in slots. You will get some special prizes by just placing
in a tournament (five prizes per game type with five different entry
fees and challenge levels). Some of these items may be unique from
the final level tournaments. There's a ring, a cutlass, and a gun.
But do you really want these items bad enough to kill so much time
on them? I doubt it.
I think I'll keep
playing, but with a twist. I'll primarily play the low level slots
tournament. It has no entry fee, and you can get a few hundred gold
if you finish in first. You'll get as low as 30 gold (I think) for
finishing in fifth place. I can do that game, button mashing, while
watching TV. No loss, and minor odds of winning. I'll take that.
Unfortunately, to unlock higher entry fee tournaments, to get the
good items, you do have to boost your gambler level. The experience
points per gambler level is how much you've wagered outside of
tournaments. So, to see the fifth slot tournament, I may build a
small fortune in the free tournament for slots and then blindly play
the solo slot games.
should sound like one thing...like I'll be treating this more like a
chore than a game. It's because it is more of a chore than a game.
However, with some of the items to be won including, I believe, a
new trick for your dog, I want to give it a little more
effort...even if it's just to teach my dog a back flip.
you got the Pub Games free as a pre-order deal (like I did), then
it's up to you if you want to play or not. It can go either way. I
would personally suggest you just play solitaire on the PC or with
real cards. You'll have more fun. If you are thinking of paying the
$10 for these games...DON'T! It's a rip-off.
Speaking of being
warned...my guess for the Rock Band DLC announcement tomorrow is...
CRAP! A lot
(at least four songs) of MTV inspired crap!
I played the Fable
2 Pub Games a bit more last night. Not so much for the fun of it,
but as a cross between being a little bored (I'm getting burned out
on FFIV and MLB Power Pros 2008) and being determined to give this
game it's full chance.
I still don't like
it. At all. However, I have found some nice tricks to hurry through
obtaining all items and getting as much (or as little) extra gold as
you see fit. Basically it comes down to three strategies.
Fable 2 Pub
Games Guide (Rock Band DLC announcement stuff will be at the bottom
of this post):
First off, don't
be afraid to go into debt. You can clear it all in no time if you're
smart and follow this mini-guide. Just start playing the slots (Spinnerette
or whatever the hell it's called). As new machines are unlocked,
just keep moving to higher stake machines. Always bet the most
possible and keep progressing. This is the quickest way to reach
five stars in gambler rank (and that's needed to get all the rare
items). Your rank experience is exactly the number of chips you've
bet. Winnings don't factor into you level. Neither does what game
you've made the bets on.
Next, you may be
in debt or not. This will be handled in the end of this mini-guide.
However, it's time to start playing the tournaments. Just follow
these strategies to win each one. Remember, you only have to be in
the top five to win the special item...and you cannot win multiple
copies with the same gambler.
Slots: Just pick
one tournament (start on the low level to make a little cash without
going more in debt). Now, mash the A button while you do something
else. You're already at the TV, so if you're not playing on a PC
monitor, change the channel and watch whatever for about five to
seven minutes. When the tournament is done, the progress/results
screen will remain since it requires a hit of B to continue. If you
are in the top five, then move to the next tournament. If not,
repeat that one. Do this for all five levels of slots. You will now
have five unique items under your belt.
On a side note,
since you can't select your bet, this is the most pointless
tournament in the Pub Games. You literally can't do anything to
change the odds or to add any idea of strategy. All you can do is
button mash A and you need to do 100 spins per tournament. This is
why no serious competition exists for slot machines in the real
Keystone #1: There
are two good strategies on this one. Either bet the minimum
possible. Place one outside bet and never place an inside bet. I've
found that nine times out of ten, the fifth place position in
Keystone tournaments is held by someone a fair bit below their
starting gold (the games are rigged for computers in the same way
they are rigged for the real player...nearly everyone loses). If
this sounds too boring and you want a little feeling like you're
awesome, then go to the other strategy...
Keystone #2: Place
maximum on 3 and 18 on the outside. Next, place maximum on all of
the bottom row stuff (3, 18, and the triples) for each inside bet.
Repeat each round. To repeat quickly, the RB will repeat your last
bet (this also works for outside bets to start a game) and the LB
places a maximum bet in a selected space. Now keep progressing the
game. As soon as you win and roll, just go back to strategy #1 (bet
as little as possible outside and nothing inside). You will be first
place when the tournament ends since the odds are so mighty for and
triple roll. As a note, this strategy has a greater chance of seeing
you fail than the first one...but you'll also come in first and feel
special about your "mad skillz".
#1: To not cheat, just bet the minimum and play smart. If the top
card is used, get ready to quit even on a low payout. If you get a
high number (~20+) on the first four rows, take it. If you get
higher on a later row, take it. You will not win much, but you
should make it to the final game/championship table. If not, rinse
and repeat this strategy. If you make it to the final table, then
you will place in the top five and get your unique item. Done.
#2: Let's cheat our asses off. This will also work in the
non-tournament version of Fortune's Tower. Place the minimum bet.
Press A to select that low bet. Now remember how LB raises to the
maximum bet? Well, as soon as you select the lowest bet with A,
start hitting LB. You will be charged the lowest bet from your
chips, but you will get paid according to the highest bet possible.
You now only need a tiny number to make money on a round. If you're
not number one at the end of a tournament, then you have to be
either greedy or an idiot. This is also good if you're an
achievement whore and you want the one for placing first in a
tournament (assuming Keystone #2 didn't do it for you).
Now comes a
special question; do you want the game (Fable 2, not the Pub Games)
not feeling broken when you start or does massive money not bother
you? If you didn't use the tower cheat method, all of the stuff
you've earned was fairly rewarded and you have earned it. However,
if you used the cheat, you have some ill gotten tournament winning
money. If this bothers you, or the thought of a broken Fable 2
economy bothers you, then play fortunes tower (single play) and bet
the highest and you'll get rid of your false money.
Now if you want to
erase a debt (getting five start level can put you in a mighty
debt), or you want to start Fable 2 as a millionaire, it's time to
play Fortune's Tower. Just play single games of it using the cheat
method. Do this until your debt is gone (if you want to start Fable
2 without debt but with the special items). Afterall, those items
were won fairly...as long as you didn't cheat. If you want to become
a broken gold hoarder, then cheat at the good old tower and slowly
unlock higher paying games. Eventually you'll unlock the 150/1500
game and this will net you a shit ton of gold in no time. Also, this
will get you enough points to unlock the final bit of art (the
second to last art is unlocked at your five star rating, but the
final takes a bit longer to get).
To get the final
achievements with points (one is zero point and requires Fable 2),
you just need to do a few things. You probably got the 1000 in a
spin on slots by leveling up. If not, play the slots a lot. You will
need to play a lot of games of Keystone and Fortune's Tower to open
all the tables (tables have game dependant experience points). In
the process, try to go crazy on your playing with the tower to get a
jackpot situation. If you make it safely to the final row alive, you
get an achievement. For Keystone, just keep playing to unlock new
tables. Eventually you should, in theory, get a jackpot. It requires
a 3 or a 18 on the first roll of a game. If you get it, then you
should have the last luck based achievement.
I found some of
this info on various message boards (hard to pinpoint who discovered
the cheat since a few dozen people seem to be claiming credit for
it), and the no/low betting methods were entirely derived by my own
observations...and frustrations. I discovered and learned this stuff
with on goal in mind. I don't aim to be rich in Fable 2 (although I
have won a lot, and honestly, from slots) without earning it. I just
wanted to unique items (especially the more amusing ones like the
dog trick, the hair style and tattoo, and the game from the second
level of slots). That's it. I couldn't care less about starting rich
or achievement points, but I just want to have access to all items
concept art stuff does look pretty cool.
Rock Band DLC, it's Duran Duran (Rio and Girls on Film), Devo
(Through Being Cool and Girl U Want), and The Janitors (Get Your
Rock On). All are masters, with the Devo stuff being new recordings
that, if memory serves me right, were redone to make the synth solos
into guitar solos.
I was right on
saying it would be at least four songs...and partially right on the
crap factor. I like Devo, and can enjoy Duran Duran on occasion, but
the song choices could have been better. Since The Janitors is from
the American Mall soundtrack, it can go either way...but I'd bet on
bad (especially being from a failed MTV made for TV movie). Of
course, Vesuvius proved me wrong, but it was also a free download
and not a $1 one. All the other songs are $2 each.
I just wish it was
some of the more enjoyable songs from Devo and Duran Duran. Maybe
some Whip It, Love Without Anger, Hungry Like The Wolf...oh well. I
can't complain too much since it's better than the rumored Slipknot
pack. Still, I get the feeling that Harmonix is holding back on us
to release some major stuff when Rock Band 2 is released. At least,
if that hunch is true, there's only a few more weeks of crap.
I just wonder,
with about four to six songs per week how Harmonix is going to reach
their promised 500 songs by the end of the year. We'll be around 255
next week, and with around 104 from Rock Band 2 (counting the bonus
20 free DLC tracks), they will have a lot of work to do for the rest
of the year to hit 500. Maybe as much work as around an album a
month and six song packs every week without an album.
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