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Malik (9/14/09)

The greatest time of year is now fully upon us. I'm talking about the NFL regular season. Yes, the post-season is also good, but there's nothing like the long road up to the regular season coming to an end.

It doesn't hurt that the Seahawks are looking pretty damned good. Ok...they started a little pathetic as "Crazy Feet" Hasselbeck was in full force to start the game yesterday. Once he settled down (after two interceptions being thrown into some incredibly stupid and dangerous situations, like a double covered Burleson in the endzone) in the second quarter, the game really started.

I think the pairing of Hasselbeck with Nate "The Great" Burleson is going to be about one of the best QB to receiver pairings the Seahawks have ever seen. I still cannot believe how many passes were thrown to Burleson, and how well Hasselbeck could thread the needle to get him the ball. I also can't believe how strongly Mora is using the passing game after the last few seasons of Holmgren's "we'll keep running, because it has to work eventually" game plan.

In fact, I cannot think of any player that didn't amaze me, or at least not draw my rage. Carlson is an amazing tight end, Hasselbeck is back in his old form as QB, Houshmandzedah and Burleson are a great pair of receivers (so different from Holmgren's era of always pushing three to four receivers each passing play and not knowing what to do with his players), our offensive line was holding back the forces from destroying the QB, the defense was powerful against anything the Rams could throw at them, and Mora showed some of the innovation I was hoping for with the trick play he had for Seneca Wallace. This is a team that is back from a season of pain and shame and is ready to pull off some great things.

Of course this is all from a single game against the Rams. I mean it was not the Seahawks alone that kept the Rams from scoring. I mean they did plenty of damage on themselves and will, once again, be the worst team in the NFC West this year. Plus, next week will be a better judge of how Seattle is doing this season with them playing against the 49ers...who may not be a solid opponent, but are more game ready than St Louis could ever hope to be.

On a final note, I just want to say that the game left me most happy with one thing above all else; the refs were actually making damned good calls and being intelligent with their actions a good deal of the time. I mean when they saw the 12th man on the blocking team when the Rams blocked a punt and made a TD out of it...I'd normally expect the refs to not catch that. With less than two minutes left in the half, I'd have expected that to go unnoticed since Mora couldn't use a challenge. Maybe this will be a good season all around...even for the refs...for once in a long time.


Malik (9/15/09)

I'm aiming to get a few Rock Band DLC tracks today. I'll, at the very least, get the new Tenacious D tracks and No Time (The Guess Who). Beyond that, it's up in the air. I'd like to save some money since I've been burning money lately like it's the end of days.

I would, in fact, skip all the DLC this week, but I need a break from The After Years. I've been playing the final chapter and I just need a break from the constant flow of "dungeon -> boss(es) -> dungeon -> boss(es), etc." It's just too much of the same. For a game that started with so much plot being involved, the final chapter sure evolved into a mess of tedium. I'm not giving up, yet, but I would have loved some towns, plot, and other things beyond a short cut scene between massive boss fights. Anything extra would have been awesome.

The other thing, going back to how I started this post, I need to worry about money in regards to is that the new PS3 Katamari game (Katamari Forever) is coming out in a week. I think this game is a must have considering my obsession in the past over the previous three Katamari games. I just hope it works out better than the mess that was the 360 Katamari with it's DLC needed for everything enjoyable. Assuming DLC is not a forced part of the game to get it's total value, I should be happy. I mean the demo is pretty fun and interesting...even if it feels like the controls have issues (in particular with the R3+L3 180 degree turn not registering all the time).

Now I just need to find the cash for this game after blowing so much money lately (Professor Layton 2, Beatles, vacation, other vacation related expenses, more vacation expenses).


Malik (9/16/09)

I ended up downloading four songs last night for Rock Band. I got both Guess Who and both Tenacious D tracks. I was going to skip Hand Me Down World (The Guess Who), but since I had about 200 Microsoft points left over, it felt right to download this final track.

I can't say too much about these tracks. I mean Tenacious D is fronted by two guitar players who are known for some powerful and technical playing. So, it should be no surprise to say both of these tracks are pretty brutal on guitar. Rock Your Socks is pretty simple, however, compared to the other two Tenacious D tracks found on the game now. That's not saying too much, however, since there's still a lot of fast playing and tricky chord shifts going on.

Tribute, on the other hand, is a hammer-on nightmare (or playground...depends on your feels about hammer-ons). The only real challenge, however, is in the final solo that almost ends the track. That's where you'll come across some bursts of stuff that comes from the Green Grass and High Tides play book. Still, it's nothing out of the realm of a fairly solid expert guitar player...but some overdrive may be called in for some of this to make it less of a session in torture and more of a fun time.

The Guess Who tracks are nothing insane or simple. They are good middle level songs on guitar, with a blend of some fast parts and some weird chord changes. These, however, are songs for fans of The Guess Who. So, to myself, these are awesome tracks. No Time is a song that I've always wanted in Rock Band, so I would call No Time the one definite "must buy" track of the week for myself.

On a final Rock Band idea for today, I think the tiering on The Beatles is completely f#@$ed up. I played some last night with my mom on expert. We'd play with me on the higher tiered of guitar or bass, and her on the lower. It didn't take long to see that a maximum difficulty bass song usually fails to compare to a lower tiered guitar song. I wish these could have been handled better, since I hate replaying a song repeatedly while someone struggles due to a tiering system being misrepresented.

This doesn't even mention the fact that most of the maximum tier guitar songs seem easier than an almost maximum tier guitar song.


Malik (9/18/09)

I was running short on anything worth saying for yesterday. It's been a hectic week of working when I should be at home, and other not-so-fun stuff.

On the other end of things (fun stuff), it looks like Katamari Forever is coming out earlier than expected. It was due to come out next Tuesday, but assuming I don't leave Gamestop angry, the phone call I got from them last night says to pick up my copy today. That's definitely a great way to start a weekend. I just hope this is not a game like the 360 Katamari...which means DLC and paying are not two terms needed for full enjoyment.

I think my weekend will probably see me beating this game before Sunday is done. At least if I can tear myself away from football long enough. When you have a season that looks so good (just check out highlights of last weekend to see how awesome this season is shaping up to be for so many teams...especially check the Adrian Peterson run of doom), it will not be easy to avoid the NFL. Add in how important the Seahawks game will be this week, and how it's a statement of how the NFC West should shape up to be as #1 Seattle faces #1 San Francisco face each other.

I think with Katamari and NFL, it will be hard to think about much else. I don't see myself playing much of The After Years for a while. It doesn't help that the games final chapter is nothing more than one massive dungeon. I loved the lack of fighting and heavy doses of plot in the first part of the game. When it ends with just two giant dungeons, it's hard to remain enthusiastic. If I wanted a pure dungeon crawler, I have plenty of better options that don't involve watching a lack of plot with some really cool potential plot related scenarios. It's like having Dante's Divine Comedy turned into some bland action game. Oh...wait...I guess that's the future of gaming. All plot needs to be erased and replaced with non-stop action that tarnishes the original material and how it could be an awesome storytelling engine.

On a final note, Rock Band DLC is pretty blah for me next week. Yes...more Pearl Jam. I mean this should make them the most overly used band in Rock Band after Backspacer is released. I mean two whole albums, some bonus live songs...what next...Pearl Jam is just too ingrained into Rock Band and it needs to stop about now. Even if I liked Pearl Jam, I'd still be annoyed with their over-proliferation into the game. I mean I do love the music of the Foo Fighters, but if another Foo Fighters album or pack came to Rock Band, I'd be pretty damned annoyed...while I still would download it.


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