Non-Flash Links At Bottom Of Page

Malik (9/4/07)

My brain and my body are, for the time being, not on speaking terms. I'm not sure if it's the heavy drinking and karaoke of Sunday for my friend Bastich's birthday or if it's the consumption of a few pounds of pseudo-BBQ (as in, it used the oven instead of the real glorious power of smoke and a real BBQ rig) in one sitting last night. Either way, my brain is refusing to join me in my post today, so apologies for any loss of intelligence (if any was ever present) in my post.

On the bright side of things, this weekend was good fun. On Saturday I scored one of the best things for a home gaming room, and for free. Yes, I'm talking about a fully functioning free air hockey table. It was mainly a right place right time type of thing. One of my parents' neighbors had to move into a smaller house, and they thought of Velveeta and I immediately when they were faced with a bunch of stuff to either toss out or give away. So, an air hockey table and a TV stand (for our previously vacant living room) found their way into my grateful home. Now I just need a night fueled by alcohol to involve the air hockey fun in.

Sunday was a blur. I still don't remember half the night. Between the total exhaustion I felt from going crazy early on with karaoke and the alcohol that would not stop flowing into my waiting mouth, things are a little less than memorable. However, isn't that what makes a birthday party truly memorable. Bastich, if you see this, I'm glad your b-day comes but once a year...since more than that may kill me.

Also, on the karaoke line of thinking, I just have to throw out a sad observation. You can really tell when a metal head (like myself) is getting old when they regret headbanging the next few days as their neck no longer has full ranges or motion or the ability to move without severe pain. I regret headbanging on Sunday, but, at the same time, when you're drinking and belting out the lyrics to One (Metallica), the heat of the moment can get to you like few other things in life. When you, especially, have a metal song with long instrumental segments, there's not much else to do while drunk besides headbang and play some drunken air guitar. So, in the's all good or something.

Last night rounded out my insane weekend of too much indulgence. Velveeta and I held a BBQ for some family. Unfortunately, it cut into my time to play some games (Blue Dragon spent too much time looking at me with sad wanting eyes this weekend), but it gave me some time to indulge in more beer, more food, some more food, a little more food that couldn't logically find room in my stomach (yet it still did, somehow), and then some food to be piled on top of that. Round it all out with watching some Firefly while fighting off a food coma and you have the true makings of a good weekend.

Anyway, I need to find my ability to think, so...yeah.


Malik (9/5/07)

With October and November rapidly approaching, more and more Guitar Hero 3 and Rock Band news is coming along. Well, news, as well as some rather scary sounding rumors.

Unless you are eternally trapped in the 1970's (before Aerosmith went crap-tastic) or you don't know what rock really means, Aerosmith is probably not your favorite band. You may be, like myself, someone who likes an occasional blasting of Walk This Way or some other classic Aerosmith classic. However, in the end, Aerosmith was not anything important to rock when you look at the music scene around them. They were, and forgive me if you're a Aerosmith fan (you poor deluded fool), nothing more than a cheap version of The Rolling Stones.

So, to hear that GH4 may be a tribute to Aerosmith is enough to make me feel like Activision/Neversoft/Red Octane are all heading into the same direction as Neversoft and Activision already headed with the Tony Hawk games. In other words, they are heading into a realm of being familiar and uninspired. To put it more bluntly, GH3 is already standing a good chance of being the last GH game I buy, but this may just be a final nail in Guitar Hero's coffin.

On the news of GH3, another boss character has been announced, and I really couldn't care less. As I keep saying, rock is not about boss fights, unless your idea of rock is Dueling Banjos. If that is the case, then you need to step away from the computer you're reading this on and return to your moonshine and your unique Deliverance lifestyle.

Rock is not about fighting people. Rock is about making kick ass music and having a good time doing it...if it's your career, then it's also about getting as rich as possible while doing it.

On that same note, rock should not be about playing with people you cannot see or socialize with. In other words, the news that the Wii version of GH3 will not have online (which is silly if the other broadband ready consoles get online since the Wii is the easiest online system to take online) is not, as I see it, a bad thing. If anything, I think it's a selling point for the game.

I like the idea of getting my value out of paying for a Live subscription and I like the ability to extend a game's replay value with multiplayer, including online multiplayer. However, there is something about GH and Rock Band that make me think of how you should be in the same room as the other people playing. You should be able to blast out some bad karaoke inspired lyrics side-by-side. You should be able to headbang to your heart's content, side-by-side. You should be able to feel the rock energy in the room. You simply cannot do any of that with a virtual or online friend/boss/competitor/whatever.

Anyway, I will probably still get GH3. I won't get it to enjoy for all time like I did with GH and GH2. I will get it mainly as a hold over until Rock Band comes my way. In other words, it will be there for me to use and toss aside when the main course arrives. GH3 is the appetizer, like how Rock the 80's was, but at least the main course is shortly arriving this time and not just sucking down full price for a game worth nothing more than $20.

When Rock Band comes my way, that is when I'll rock out on a game that will not be put aside for anything. I may slow down with RB to play some of the other games coming along this Fall, but it will always be there at the ready for me. GH3 will probably get little play after I complete each song, except at parties...wait...GH3 is not four player, so I guess it will just sit there for all time after RB gives me some much needed real rock inspired love.

My time is short today since I'm making up for almost three weeks of vacation followed by a three day weekend at my day job today. So, let's just leave the GH/Neversoft bashing here for today and think happy thoughts of Rock Band. By the way, from my friends who played the game at PAX, it sounds even cooler than I previously thought (plus the Harmonix representatives sound like awesome people to hang out with).

On a final different note for today, I just want to say that I f#@$ing hate the f#@$ing idiots at the Washington State DOT.  Maybe it's not all their fault, but they have a responsibility to ensure safe roadways.  Maybe this also falls onto the federal DOT since I'm pissed off to all ends at the state of I-5 through Tukwila Washington.  I will only say one thing; a car should not have it's windshield replaced due to a f$#@ing rock striking the old windshield on a major interstate.  However, that may be a random and excusable offense.  But when a second rock hits that car (this time on a new windshield) for the second f#@$ing time in less than a month and leaves a mother f#@$ing ding on it, that is going too far.  Most of all, this should not keep f$#@ing happening on the same 3/4 mile stretch of interstate.  F#@$ that shit!


Malik (9/6/07)

It looks like it's a new era that is getting ready to dawn on all of the alcohol consumers of the world. Afterall, Dave Karraker (formerly the main PR guy at Sony) is now working for Skyy. I guess this means it will only be a few days before we hear how Skyy is not just the greatest vodka, but also how it will do thousands of things that vodka cannot do. However, it won't be that all vodka is so much better than we previously thought...just Skyy vodka, which has special added functions and features.

On one hand, don't get me wrong. I am not talking bad about Skyy (since their bottle is in my freezer right now) or any particular brand (yet). I'm only saying that Dave Karraker may not be the publicity guy that any company wants. After the hits that Sony has taken in recent months (well, for over a year), I think the executives in that company may be better off isolated until the dust can settle. From a business sense, I would consider most of them as having some sort of business plague that can only be cured with time (and maybe seeing which careers die on their own).

At least this could be a good thing for Sony. As they struggle lately and make some unique moves in determining what console versions to phase out and what prices to avoid, a good shake up is needed. I thought it was going to happen when Kutaragi left Sony earlier this year (and was demoted, in a way, last year). I thought that re-examining the price of the PS3 would do it as well. I thought getting busted by watchdog groups for blatantly racist ads would do it. Now I would assume that changing the person who is handling the PR will do it. I've been wrong before, and with Sony I stand to be wrong again.

While I find the PS3 to be a giant waste of money (especially with the lack of third party support), I do want things to change. Competition breeds good games and products. If Microsoft is remaining unchecked, it cannot spell good things for gamers who want a less motion sensing direction...also, don't get me wrong, because I love the Wii (it's just that the Wii and the 360 are not competitors in the same sense as the PS3 and the 360).

As for my thoughts (above) on bashing companies...I won't say anything in terms of names, since companies hate to see bad publicity about their services and all of that. However, I will say that a certain fant"astic" sounding provider (if you don't get it, think of annoying TV ads) of digital media is really beginning to piss me the f#@$ out of my mind.

For the...who even counts anymore...for the uncountable time in the last few months, the service of this company (let's call them company C) has gone to shit. I even had a service person on the phone last night who reminded me of a few things that make me think digital monopolies are horrible things.

I was first reminded that I was free to leave the service at any time and did not have a contract. Then I was almost assured that all the problems were my own fault. Then I was again reminded that there are millions of customers with the same service who have no problems and I am the only one complaining about faulty equipment on a regular basis. Then, once again, I was informed that I have an option of leaving this company behind.

As a customer of any service, I personally cannot get behind a company with my full support, even if they offer perfect service for a great price (Company C does neither...especially recently), if they make it clear that my business does not mean shit to them. On top of that, with how high of a charge is involved with Company C's services, I now feel like my insanely large bill is being wasted. If I'm not getting quality service, or even quality customer support, then why am I being charged giant amounts for such treatment? I really don't know of any answer besides the obvious; I'm being stupid in remaining loyal.

So, on Saturday, I'm having some of the rented equipment exchanged, for the second time in a month, and will probably put up with this shit for a whopping two or so weeks before another issue hits me...and then I will hopefully, by then, have found a replacement similar service (maybe the, using more false names to not make Company C's identity too obvious, WISH Network or Directly Arriving TV).

Sadly, in my area, at least, and in a vast majority of homes across the nation, there is a monopoly with the service type that Company C uses. Congress has done little to tackle this issue, and when there were once some choices in a region, there are now only a few companies around the nation and almost zero competition. Without competition (going somewhat back to the PS3 and 360 thing above), services and prices remain unchecked. Customers have only two options; use the only option out there, or go with nothing. Unfortunately, I enjoy the type of service Company C offers (just not their level of service or price for a poor level of performance), so I have a few options that don't really give me much of a real choice.

Blah. I'm pissed off and I really wish Congress would get of their lazy asses and tackle something important for consumers (and digital media is becoming a very key part of many lives in their constituencies) and it would be a far better thing to face (ignoring the lobbyists from this industry in the process) than to have constant votes on things that will never pass due to democrats and republicans trying to have some lame pissing match about which party can overturn the most issues in a year to show who has the biggest balls.

Congress, here's a you do these pissing matches, it just shows both sides have the same sized balls. That would be, both sides have an equally large lack of balls and are out of touch with reality.


Malik (9/7/07)

If you weren't able to tell from my quite bitchy and random of posts this week, I'm not having the best of times lately. It's not like the world is ending, but stresses are piling up with my job and Comcast is not helping things. I mean, when I'm stressed at work, the last thing I need is to lose the ability to enjoy my downtime at home. I pay for certain things to help my evenings become more fun, and that could be PC parts, games, consoles, or even my digital subscriptions (cable TV and internet). So, when I'm stressed, I tend to go off a bit.

Anyway, it's now Friday, which means some freedom is upon me. It also means that I can count on two things; having to wait for Comcast tomorrow to send out the second technician in about two and a half weeks (which could be worse...usually Comcast field technicians are pretty cool people to chat with while they get the job done) and that I will have some major time to play games, drink some beer, and grill some vittles.

I'd like to get back to Metroid Prime 3, since I haven't touched the Wii since Blue Dragon was first in my hands. However, I think that's a long shot. I'd also like to get Stranglehold, since John Woo and Chow Yun Fat are awesome. That will not be happening. Why?

The game that keeps being put down as boring, uninventive, and bland is going to continue to claim my free time. Blue Dragon is just too damned good to put down. However, the truth of the matter is that BD is only an awesome game if you are of the type who could go back to a SNES era RPG and have fun with it. In other words, if you're a person who awaits new Dragon Quest games because of their ability to offer old school RPG fun, then BD is a great game for you. If you hate DQ games and look forward to the latest Final Fantasy, Shin Megami Tensei, or Elder Scrolls game, then this is a bad game for you and there is no way you'd enjoy it. It is, simply put, a niche game. It's not for the mass appeal factor that FF took on with FFVII (and all later games besides FFIX). BD is only really for old school fans.

So, with that said, I'm now on the second DVD of the three in the game. I'm also at the point when the game is actually starting to offer side quests (as opposed to just exploring places early and trying to fight too difficult of enemies). Last night, for example, I started the first real side quest of the game, and it was a blast to play. It was also long. It took about three to four hours to get nearly done (that's when dinner was ready and gaming any more would have resulted in Velveeta kicking my addicted ass).

Now that I'm far enough into the game to have side quests and the full complement of five party members, I'm really digging this game. It's a great example of so many mechanics that have gone away over the years. These elements are the type that have left RPGs for all the wrong reasons. We did not necessarily lose turn based combat because it was bad, as much as we lost it because it didn't have mass appeal. The same can be said for the BD style of job selections, searching everything for minor rewards (which is option as long as you do care about finding "nothing"...which is a fun side quest in BD), or many other of the complained about elements. Chibi characters? They are simply for a more niche of audiences.

The only thing missing from BD that slightly annoys me is that you don't fight humans. I may be the only one to notice this, but all of your foes are either monsters, machines, or demi-humans (like the race of giants). You don't fight human bandits, human pirates, human ninja, or anything else that would be a standard enemy in older RPGs. It's nothing major, but it's a weird thing to have omitted. Even Chrono Trigger (from many of the same minds as BD) had you fight some humans from time to time (Dalton, for example). BD has no human enemies, thus far into the game.

Anyway, I aim to spend some time tonight with BD and my DVR...since Comcast will change out my box, once again, I will lose all of the recordings that the box has not decided to randomly delete and I need to see as much of my History and History International shows as possible before they leave me again.


For Those Who Don't Have Flash Plug-Ins...

Rested XP    News    Reviews    Videos    Features    Forums    Archives    Search This Site    Links    Contact Us    Disclaimer

Non-Flash Links At Bottom Of Page