There was no post last Friday since I was in a bad state of food
poisoning and a complete lack of sleep (food poisoning does not
allow for a good night of sleep).
As for today, things must remain short since I just spent two entire
hours commuting to work. A normally 30 minute commute turned into a
living hell as the standard conditions of a Seattle area commute
struck hard. Despite how Seattle gets plenty of wet driving days (it
doesn't always rain here, but it does more than a fair amount of
days), drivers in this region don't know how to drive on wet roads.
It doesn't make much sense, but when it rains, you just have to hope
the accidents are either on a different roadway than you're using or
that they're minor. Today, it was a semi blocking half of I-5 at
it's busiest stretch in the region. In other words, my commute
turned into an average crawl of 7 MPH (despite the last two miles
being me speeding like a bat out of hell to make up for some lost
To get on to what will probably be a usual nearly weekly occurrence;
Holy f#@$ did they butcher their game against the Cards. It was bad
enough how, for the second game in a row, the Seahawks allowed their
competition to dominate the first half of the game. That was bad. It
was like the Seahawks thought they were in a practice game.
What made it worse was how much Alexander was being used. He was
injured, had a giant club of a cast on his left hand, and he was
obviously taking fewer risks to keep his left wrist secure. That was
bad enough, but then Morris (Alexander's backup) was out, so the
Seahawks refused to drop down on the running game and rely on the
quality of a potentially strong receiving package.
True, Alexander did make a few nice runs, including one TD. However,
he also was not gaining much for his average yards per rush. He was
not in the game, and thus he should not have been in the game.
Especially during the final drive, when things mattered so damned
much, and when he fumbled a standard hand off that resulted in the
game being lost. The teams were tied, and the Seahawks were getting
right up to ideal Josh Brown FG range. However, instead of relying
on Strong (who did some nice rushes) to run the ball, Holmgren and
Hasselbeck had to rely on Alexander.
That was bad enough, but when Holmgren refused to play clock
management on the final Arizona drive (the drive which resulted in
their game winning FG), the Seattle fate was sealed. Instead of
getting the ball back with about a minute left (easy enough to do
with the timeouts Seattle had left), Seattle received the kick off
with exactly 1 second in play. This was a failure, but only from two
simple main aspects;
An injured player was put into too important of a position, and
Holmgren, as usual, forgot how to use defensive time management. The
clock is a precious thing, and the way Holmgren managed it was
abysmal. It was not good that the Seattle team played like ass for
the first half (17 unanswered points from Arizona to kick things
off), but when the momentum shifted, it was time to play with
intelligence...not just some luck and a surge of adrenaline.
If Seattle cannot take down Arizona, then how will the rest of the
season go when we play far more worthy of teams? Tampa Bay is
understandable as a team to beat, but Arizona should be in that same
I am now nearing
the end of my time with Blue Dragon. I'm in the final stretch of
dungeons (it's one dungeon, but in a weird setup that makes it feel
like multiple dungeons). I should be done with all of my goals for
this game in the next day or two...depending on how much time I have
free this evening.
The only thing I
was hoping to do on the game that I just could not accomplish was
killing the two overly powerful optional bosses. I'm talking about
Gold Mecha Robo and Giant Poo Snake King (or whatever their actual
names are). I tried to take on the Poo King and got my ass handed to
me...in the most brutal of fashions.
how easy BD can be as a whole, yet the optional areas, especially
these two unique enemies/bosses, are insanely hard. I think
Sakaguchi and Mistwalker need to take a moment and think about this
for their future games. A game can be pretty easy and be fun, but BD
has been a cake walk compared to just about any other RPG I've
For example, the
last dungeon has a string of boss fights. Each one should prove to
be a great challenge, considering they are required to face the
final challenge and battle of the game. However, last night I fought
the first two of these final mini-bosses, and each one went down
before it had a single opportunity to attack me. Yet, I still cannot
beat a giant snake made of poo that wears a crown.
Anyway, I think
I'm growing beyond the optional uber boss phase of my life. These
were interesting in games like FFVII (the weapons), but they just
don't offer enough to make it worth my while. True, these types of
bosses were usually the ones who'd give you no real important item
and only a chance to brag about beating them (if that was your cup
of tea). However, the problem with these bosses are two-fold.
The first problem
is how they are always so much harder than the final boss of a game.
This means that once you're strong enough to face them, then you'll
be able to sleep walk through the remainder of the game.
The second problem
is that these bosses require a lot of grinding to get ready for
them, but with no real return on that time investment. True, some
exceptions exist (Tales of the Abyss offers a optional boss that is
harder than anything else in the game and will still give some cool
weapons in return), but most just result in either bragging rights,
or in the 360 era, achievement points (which mean even less to me
than bragging rights...which mean nothing as it stands). True, you
could be a completionist and go for every possible fight and item in
a game, but that's just not worth it when the game will just end
soon enough anyway.
Anyway, once I lay
BD to rest, I'll probably return to Metroid Prime 3. At least that's
one plan. However, after playing an epic RPG, I think I may be
better off playing something more action packed and more likely to
appeal to my adrenaline loving side of the brain. In other words, I
may have to finally pick up Stranglehold to get my silly John Woo
and Chow Yun Fat fix...then MP3 could get some of my attention.
First of all for
today, I'm sick as hell. Normally, I can see a sickness coming up on
me. My throat will start to feel funny and that will be my warning
sign to start taking things easy, getting extra rest, and using
Zicam (my favorite unproven method to keep me going). This time I
went from fine to flat out sick in, literally, 45 minutes. So, if
things start to get weird sounding, just account that to the viruses
running crazy in my body.
There's a reason
I don't put much stock in what analysts say. Namely, it usually
goes against all wisdom. For example, when I hear that the 360 will
be a distant last behind the PS3 in 2012, I can't help but think of
a few things.
First of all,
unless Sony really pulls a rabbit out of their asses, there is no
way the PS3 will be able to come back into being a favorite. Sony
has just failed on too many levels to get anywhere important with
the PS3 unless the whole environment changes. However, if you want
to talk about sales for the year 2012, and only for that year, then
there's a good chance the 360 would be in last place since the 360
would have been replaced by the 720 (or whatever Microsoft calls the
XBox 3) by that point. The 360 would have passed it's expected
lifetime by 2 years at this point in time. However, Sony claims the
PS3 will have a ten year life span (not going to happen), so if Sony
holds true to what they say (never happened before), then they will
have the lead over the 360 for that year.
The only true part
of this horrible guessing game is that the DS will be the best
selling game system of all time, as of 2012. That's obvious since
it's the only true system to ever reach all levels of gamers (and
many levels of non-gamers). The Wii will also continue to do well
since it's on track to imitate the DS in the mass appeal category.
Speaking of the
this is what I've expected and hoped for since the Wii was
announced. Yes, Star Wars in all it's interactive glory. Wielding a
lightsaber with one hand and the force in the other...that is what
the Wii can bring that no other console can hope to achieve.
Also, it's no
Smash Brawl is going online. Considering the Wii is online and
that people like fighting games online, this only makes sense. I
don't know how much I'd go for this feature, but it's nice to see.
I'd probably skip the online, even with friends, just because there
is something that almost feels sacred to me about playing a game
like this with friends in the same room. You need to taunt, ask
questions, learn new techniques, and just get you real gaming
experience that can only be found with four people battling it out
in the same location.
To make one last
subject shift, I finished Blue Dragon last night. As for the obvious
question; with over 66 hours of play time (on my final save) and $60
to get in, the game was, for me, well worth the price of admission.
True, it didn't exactly innovate any new ideas for RPGs, and it was
entirely old school, but that's what made it worth my time and
money. If it was a supposedly "innovative" RPG like Square Enix is
now known for, then I doubt I could have had this fun.
I still have only
one major qualm. Without making a Hong Kong gamer tag (to download
their Live Marketplace content for BD), the game has no hard mode or
New Game+. This game doesn't need the New Game+, since I don't see
myself needing another play through anytime soon. But it does need
some challenge. Like I stated yesterday, BD is very easy. How easy?
Easy enough that the final boss of the game went down after making
only one single attack/action, and that action only caused about 10%
damage to each member of the party (with two healers in my group who
can cast spells twice per action, this didn't mean shit).
So, I would like
for BD to have given me a real challenge, but none the less, I still
would recommend this game to anyone who needs a good old school RPG
to remind them of that glorious age of RPGs (SNES through PSX) of
years gone. It's hard to find any reminder of those great lost days,
and this is the only true one I can think of for the current
generation (DQ8 being one of the few for the last generation).
Now to continue
being sick and disorientated. We return you to your regularly
scheduled programming, already in progress.
I am now
officially sicker than I should be to be at work. I mean any type of
work; be it posting or my actual paying job. Sadly, I have no choice
but to work today since I have some deadlines that are, sadly, more
important than anything else I've dealt with at work before. So, to
keep up with these horrible deadlines, I'm still working and trying
to survive one hell of a cold or a medium strength flu.
Since I'm feeling
like shit, I'll focus on something that makes me upset (and anger
usually helps to keep my head clear when I'm miserable). I'm talking
about games that are incredibly popular, but just don't offer enough
to justify their popularity.
On one hand,
Kingdom Hearts. Three more of these games are on their way and
the simple fact, as far as I can see, is that they only really
remain popular for two reasons; people will worship Square Enix for
anything due to what they were once capable of making. I'm talking
about games like the original batch of Final Fantasy games, the
first two Star Ocean games, the Mana games that ended with Legend of
Mana on the PSX, and other franchises that once held so much sway
over setting the bar for RPG quality. Luckily, DQ games have always
held this bar high (although the more I hear of DQ9, I more I become
The other reason
is that there are a lot of emo and goth people who will worship
anything with Cloud, Sephiroth, or Tidus because they represent the
highest levels of emo and goth ideals. Toss in a game world set to
The Nightmare Before Christmas, and you have the goth/emo Square
As for the Kingdom
Hearts games, in their whole, they are a sad attempt at making a
game franchise that takes all of the worst elements of this genre
(action RPG). I tried to like the first KH game, but I was stuck in
a world that had horrible camera control (if you can disagree with
this, it's really a sign of fanboyism), a unfriendly to use menu
system for combat (the d-pad combined with both analogue and the
buttons is not a smooth situation), and a story that was overly emo,
saccharine, and full of so much fluff that you could never tell why
you were expected to keep playing. For anyone who's claimed that a
non-Square game like Blue Dragon (or even Enchanted Arms) has a poor
story, it still beats the crap out of "Where in the Disney World is
The other game
franchise that really gets on my nerves is Halo. I know, between
saying KH sucks and now Halo, there's a wonderful chance I've
angered you, dear reader. I'm sorry to say it, but Halo, the first
game, was the only one to offer anything to write home about. It's
not that it offered a new setting (one man looking like the Doom guy
facing hordes of creepy and nasty looking aliens...sound like Doom
to me). It's not that it offered amazing new weapons (like Half-Life
2 did, with the gravity gun), unless you count the lame as shit
needler. It did not give co-op or deathmatch before anyone else had
the smarts to bring those to a FPS.
The only thing
Halo did was it showed, like how Mario 64 did with 3D platformers,
that a FPS can be found on a console and it can play with a good
level of control...despite lacking a mouse and keyboard. That was
all it really gave us. That was once good enough (and I used to love
Halo...maybe I still do), but there's a point when you have to ask
Did Halo 2 give
more? No. It really did not. It gave us the same game modes (but
with online for the multiplayer...but online and FPS was not
invented by Bungee), the same weapons with only a little fine
tuning, and the same general game world. Yes, there was the
energy/plasma sword, but that was a little too broken in
multiplayer. The only real exceptions were that you could use dual
wielding of small weapons (would've been cool, if the small weapons
did not fail compared to a nice setup of a large assault riffle and
a fist full of grenades). You also had more instances of when the
friendly NPCs would fight along side you...which was not a good
thing. Now that they could take control of vehicles, it just meant
you had to blow up all vehicles you found or kill all of your
friends to insure they did not instant kill you by running you over
(and they did that...a lot).
Halo 2 also
offered a let down for the plot. I doubt any Halo 2 fan could name
someone who enjoyed the incredibly abrupt cliffhanger. I doubt
anyone can get over the Metal Gear Solid 2 style of game design that
left you playing as someone who simply didn't give a f#@$ about.
Then the forced feelings of them trying to make the game have some
pseudo-religious and philosophical message in the plot was just not
Truth be told, by
the time Halo 2 was up and running, there were a good few dozen FPS
on the PC that would simply make Halo 2 look like it was a few years
too old to be new. Between Half-Life 2 and Battlefield 1942, a PC
gamer was covered for FPS for both single and multiplayer modes.
So, with Halo 3 on
the horizon, I'm simply not excited or all that interested. I bought
Halo 2 when it first launched. I was excited, and found more of the
same Halo that I liked...but by then the original just was feeling
stale to me. I do like the idea of four player co-op (since co-op is
something more FPS and other genres need to find room for). However,
Halo 2 left me not caring about how the plot ends (since H2 was so
abrupt and insulting in it's plot), the pickups/items don't matter
(I've seen them in plenty of FPS games before), and because of the
long term hype that Microsoft has been pumping out, as well as the
news media, I really feel tired of the game
before it's even really out.
When you consider
what else is new and/or coming out soon to the US gaming market, I
can't care about this game anymore. We have Guitar Hero 3 (the least
of the new games), Rock Band, Valve's Orange Box (especially Portal
and Team Fortress 2), Smash Brawl, Mario Galaxy, Beautiful Katamari,
and even the impressive Metroid Prime 3 (a sequel that did deliver
something new and improved)...I could go on for quite a while. It's
a good season for games, and a re-hashed FPS is not going to be even
near the top of my list. I may pickup Halo 3 (if Velveeta is
interested in co-op, since it's so hard to find a game she'll play
through with me), but it's not going to be an urgent purchase for
starting to feel a bit more like my normal self. It's about time
after feeling like complete crap since the second part of Tuesday. I
still don't feel awesome, by any means, but I do feel like I'm able
to think and play games again.
I think that's
probably the worst part of being sick. It's almost impossible to do
anything beyond sit or lie on a couch and watch really dumb movies
and bad TV shows. When you're so sick as to not have any thinking
ability, it's really hard to keep yourself entertained. You have to
rely on cable movies that are bad enough to not require any
thinking, but good enough to not make you feel more sick.
In other words,
being sick is the ideal time to recognize the rare occasion to enjoy
a Jerry Bruckheimer film. They always have a good steady amount of
pointless action, a plot that simple enough to be enjoyed by those
who cannot think clearly (making them into good drinking films as
well), and the plot never tries to put on too preachy of a message.
So, I spent three
hours last night enjoying (surprisingly I did enjoy) National
Treasure. It's one think to have a bad Bruckheimer film, but it's
even better when you have Nicolas Cage in the mix.
I never watched
the movie before, since I like to avoid giving my money to anything
Bruckheimer does, since it's like paying for a package that's full
of air, but when it's free on USA and your mind is right (or sick),
then it's perfect. I know I would've hated the movie under different
circumstances, but for what it's worth, it was a fun movie last
Anyway, now that
Blue Dragon is no longer taking up my time, I'm looking for another
game to devote some time to. I know, Halo 3 is coming soon. Like I
said yesterday, I really don't want to think about Halo 3 right now,
unless I can get Velveeta to play it in co-op. Otherwise, the game
would simply be a waste of my money.
So, I'm thinking
about picking up Stranglehold soon. Considering how much time the
demo took from me, I should be well rewarded with this game. Also,
it should be quick enough to beat before Beautiful Katamari comes
along next month. Unfortunately, it might be a little too short to
get me through the entire time until Katamari comes back into my
It's times like
these that make we want to replay an old classic. Unfortunately, I
may not have enough time for anything that's calling out to me right
now. Xenogears would be way too much of a time kill, and FF3 (I've
been meaning to replay the DS game for a while now) might be in the
same classification. I guess I could get ready for Katamari to
return with some old Katamari titles. I think what I'm saying is
this; I don't know what I'm going to be playing, or if I'll even
find something good to kill some time, so my posts for the next
couple of weeks may be even more random than usual.
At least with
feeling better, I should be good to go for (the poorly named)
Endfest Super Sweet 16 tomorrow. I've been looking forward to
this concert for the last month and a half, and I would have hated
having to pass it by because of sickness. It'd be one thing to miss
some of these groups in a solo concert, but to miss Satellite Party
(who are rumored to be playing some classic Jane's Addiction), The
Smashing Pumpkins, and (especially) Social D in one day...and with
the cost of the tickets...
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