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Malik (10/18/10)

It was a great weekend for Seattle sports. I mean the Sounders FC got their first goal, in MLS play, against Chivas USA. Then they proceeded to get another one before giving up a single goal late in the game for a win. Yes, it's not a meaningful win, since Sounders FC clinched the playoffs a week earlier. However, it's great for Seattle to keep up their momentum as they get ready for their first playoff game, probably against LA, in Seattle on the 31st. If the momentum can be maintained, this will be a great post-season. While the Sounders don't have the best record, they sure as hell are on the hottest game right now in the MLS.

Too bad the ref was pretty much all over the place with his calls. Then again, with a final meaningless game before the post-season, it's fine to see Montero get pulled on a fifth yellow card before a worthless final MLS season game. Even though the yellow was as appropriate as the Huskies beating a ranked opponent...

It all continued with UW beating a ranked opponent. I'm not sure if UW versus Oregon State was a great game or a bad game. I mean the start of play saw 21 unanswered UW points. Then came 21 unanswered Beavers points. Then came a dull stretch of nothing. Then came a win in double overtime when Oregon State was stupid enough to go for a two point conversion to avoid anymore overtime. However, since the Beavers could not manage any real quality plays on short-must-make-it situations, the two point conversion was basically conceding the game to UW.

However, the true highlight of the weekend was watching the Seahawks in Chicago...making the Bears look like the Seahawks. Seattle started with a definite presence on defense on the running game. It was bad enough that the Bears almost entirely abandoned their running game for the entire day. It's not often you can see Seattle dominate someone's run to this level. Of course, the secondary is not that solid, so this gives a free and open pass attack for the Bears. Or it would if not for the defensive line smacking around Cutler like he was a tackle dummy. So many sacks! Seattle has not taken on anyone on defense like this for a good few years, and to see it happen on the road was amazing.

Of course it only gets better when Hasselbeck was playing his A game. I mean Hasselbeck was like his old form yesterday as he completed pass after pass. It helps that the Seattle running game was brilliant enough to get Chicago in a place where they really couldn't just guess on what side of Seattle's attack they would defend based on which side was the least dominated.

I thought with the addition of Marshawn Lynch that Pete Carroll would either go entirely with Lynch, or go entirely with Forsett. Carroll did the opposite by making a hell of a two headed beast on the rush. Lynch would power through with Robinson blocking for him, and then Forsett would come in a dance around the defense. This gave Seattle, for once, an offensive attack that was beyond all low expectations. In fact, it felt like Seattle was playing three different offensive games. Run and pass? No. Run, bulldoze through the defense, and pass is more like it.

The only thing that Seattle did that was less than amazing was the choice of how they handled a couple of kick/punt scenarios. First they watched one get returned for a touchdown early in the game, only to be saved by a holding call near the Bear's end zone. Then, with only a few minutes left in the game, they go with another one right to the returner...for a quick and easy 89 yard touch down return. The Bears and Seahawks both played conservatively on kicking, and the 'Hawks were mostly conservative on punting (the Bears didn't need to since they owned Golden Tate whenever he tried a return). I mean the returners on these two teams are amazing, with double digit returns for touch downs between the two teams. I just don't see why the ball was ever kicked or punted near a returner the entire game. It's like playing with fire right next to a gas station.

Anyway, this was the first road victory for Seattle since 2007. It was also the first 10AM (for Seattle) game they have played their A game for since 2005...or earlier. Seattle is bad, normally, on the road, and is even worse at 10AM (Pacific). However, this game was a true show of why Pete Carroll has earned the trust of the 12th Man. He and Schneider may have made so many moves with the roster that Seattle could be called an expansion team, but these moves were for the best. Seattle may not be the ultimate team in the NFL (or even close), but they can win in the NFC West. Better yet, they can win next week at home against the Cards, to take full control of their shared 1st place position.


Malik (10/19/10)

I was glad to see yesterday (I've been less than observant lately with this) that Rock Band is getting a six pack of Stone Temple Pilots today. For me it's fitting, since it's about two weeks from today when I play the wacky game of "How Wasted Is Wieland?" It's a strange game. You pay $20+ to see a concert which is either made up of STP or a concert of most of STP with some wacky drugged out zombie muttering into a microphone. Actually, I think that may be backwards in the current day and age. You either see STP or you see STP with a clean and sober frontman who is ready to sound like the singer on the STP studio releases.

Anyway, I decided to kill some time before Fable 3 and Rock Band 3 both release next Tuesday. I couldn't find much on my current budget (free), so I went back to Shadow Complex. I think this is the only game, still, on the 360 Arcade that I can call truly worth the price. I mean Braid, Winterbottom, Limbo, Sonic 4, and a few others are great games, but I'm not sold on their total price. Meanwhile, a year after playing through Shadow Complex, I could go back and enjoy it all from the start (new game+, so I keep my levels and my golden guns) almost like my first time playing. There is just so much goodness in this title.

It's rare when a game can leave me saying something like "I honestly only have a couple of complaints about this game," but Shadow Complex does that. I mean beyond the obvious one (I wish it was longer), my only issues would be that I wish there was a sequel or a spin-off, and that the timing of the end game power-ups felt too close to the end credits. I mean it's great having missiles, the hook-shot, the triple jump, and all that...but it's lame that you face so little left in the game by that point. When you compare this to the obvious similar title of Super Metroid, you see far better spacing of end game weapons on Super Metroid. Instead of being "end game", they are just later powers you obtain.

Anyway, tonight I will finish Shadow Complex for the second time, and then be left with another dose of nothing I want to play between now and next week. Makes one wish Fable 3 had a semi-fun mini-game like Fable 2 did for pre-orders. I wouldn't mind the pub games about now, with or without the exploits.


Malik (10/21/10)

To kill some time between now and next Tuesday (Rock Band 3 and Fable 3), I picked up Super Scriblenauts a couple days ago. I didn't play the first one since it offered two issues I didn't want to face; short game length and touch screen movement controls. Super Scriblenauts handles both issues fairly well with buttons or cross-pad usage for movement (touch screen is still there for those who want it), and the length is a little better than I expected.

If you need a quick pick-up-and-go puzzle game, I fully recommend this title. However, if you need something long lasting for your DS, I would wait for Golden Sun 3 or maybe grab Professor Layton 3 (which I'm still waiting on due to personal funding issues). Still, with most levels offering a reason to replay them (four times total, at least), due to advance mode (beat a completed level three times in a row without reusing words), there is some length to the game.

As someone who didn't play the original, I can't comment on if the game is improved much, but I imagine the use of non-touch movement and adjectives is a good level of improvement as it stands. I can say the game is addictive if you do have a good enough of a vocabulary and somewhat accurate spelling ability (there is a slight spell checker in game that helps). I do have to say the S1 and S2 worlds, which are based more on action than puzzle solving have to be the highlights of this game. While the normal puzzle stages are interesting and fun, the added element of danger and action in the S stages are beyond compare.

Anyway, being incredibly tired and out of sorts, I'll just leave this post here. Sleep deprivation spread over a one month span is not something anyone should experience...and it's something one's brain cannot begin to compensate for.


Malik (10/23/10)

After spending all of last night dealing with Windows 7 failing to epic levels, I will keep things short today. Well, I'll keep things short after I add one of my old observations; Windows 7 upgrade only allows you to install Windows 7 from within Vista or XP. Unlike old upgrade editions of Windows, which allowed you to make a fresh install, but only after you prove ownership of an old version through inserting an install disk...but you can actually fully install from a Windows 7 upgrade edition, but you will fail to activate with your "upgrade" activation code.

While the new method may be less apt to lead to piracy (well, scheming discounted full installs from upgrade disks), it still is bullshit for someone who has to rebuild their system, like I have done twice now with Windows 7. It means installing Vista, which is the slowest pile of crap installation Microsoft ever made (assuming you've misplaced your old XP disk, like I did). Then after a couple of hours, you need to update enough to reach Service Pack 1. Then after another hour or so with SP1, you finally can start the relatively quick Windows 7 install. I say "Windows 7 install" since I cannot upgrade from my version of Vista to Windows 7, and am stuck with making a "custom" install of a full install. So, after wasting about five hours on Vista, I wait 1 hour for a full Windows 7 install.

I swear, if I lose my Windows OS again, I will probably lose it. The saddest part is that my OS died when I was watching a video file on Media Player Classic and the system froze. After resetting the PC, I was left with no Windows 7 and a broken copy of Vista that could not be repaired. All this hell from a simple video file. At least I now have FrontPage and SmartFTP back so I can post.

Anyway, I just want to say that I'm glad to see the first Rock Band 3 designed DLC for Rock Band is coming next week, on the launch day of RB3. Better yet, it's a bad that's long overdue on the game and will take advantage of the keyboards nicely. Yes, The Doors are coming via a greatest hits album. While I'm not the most diehard fan of The Doors (I do love a few of their songs, and am less than impressed by others), they are a band long called for for Rock Band, and it's good to see such an influential group finally making it to virtual instruments.


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