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Malik (10/30/06)  

I started off Sunday thinking that I didn't want to see the Seahawk game. Ok...I actually started off Sunday wondering why the pre-game show wasn't on...and then once I realized daylight savings time was doing it's thing, I was thinking about how much the Seattle vs. KC game would be a completely disappointment. However, as much as I didn't want to see the game, I needed was like getting another beer after having 10 drinks earlier in the night; it was going to be good, but I felt compelled to do so.

I definitely wouldn't call it a good quality NFL game. With the level of playing, I wouldn't even call it a good BCS ranked game. I would, however, call it one hell of a fun game to watch; even with Seattle falling just 7 points short. After all, despite having quarterback injuries on both teams, no MVP rusher on the Seattle offense, , absolutely no defensive action on the field, and some confusing calls (and some lack of calls), it was one hell of an old fashioned shootout.

I can now feel a little more confident about seeing Seneca Wallace on the field for the next three or so weeks. I just still have the same feelings I had when the season started; Seattle's defense is nothing short of pathetic compared to what they had last season. Which, on it's own, is pretty pathetic, since Seattle's D was pretty weak last year as well.

Anyway, hopefully the Seattle defense can do something decent for the next couple of weeks, as injuries come to an end for some of Seattle's main offensive players. Maybe the season can be saved...maybe the season won't end with me suffering some horrible breakdown watching Seattle live up to the "Superbowl Curse". Who knows...?

I also got in some more time with Tales of the Abyss this weekend. In fact, I got in a little more time than I would have liked. I enjoy playing that game like few other RPGs, but not when I have to load a save from 2 hours before my most recent...all because of glitches. As a bit of advice, if you have TotA, please listen to this;

Once you get to the point in the game when you're told of a moving source of fonons (magical particles) on the ocean, go there and enter the damned place. Get it so that it will show on on your world map as a dungeon. If you go to it, so that your party discusses the location, but then you don't enter the place, it will vanish forever more. I learned that the very hard way, and I'm glad that I'm at least smart enough to have multiple saves. I looked for the damned location for about two hours and could not find it ever again...until I reloaded an old save.

Anyway, it's this type of glitch that really does turn me off from games. It's more now than ever before that these issues arise, and I hate to think of the next generation starting...when patches can be distributed like candy to fill the hunger of the incomplete games. Blah. Maybe I'm just getting too greedy, but I just feel like games should be better checked for obvious problems (like dungeons vanishing, the fact that one or more titles in TotA are not possible to get in the North American version of the game, some side quests not properly starting due to timing errors, etc).

Anyway, I'm tired and out of it. Between the Seahawk game confusing me with actually being good, and my internal clock being screwed over (to those who live in daylight savings time exempt areas; I envy you...), I am just not able to think too coherently. So, on the note of me being confused, away I go.


Malik (11/1/06)  

Yesterday I was unable to post. I don't just mean I didn't feel like it or felt like I was too busy. I had my eyes dilated, again, and when that happens, I can't focus on anything less than three feet from my face, making using a keyboard or a monitor into an exercise in futility (type something, stand far back to see if it was typed correctly, fix the errors while not seeing them, repeat).

However, I'm back and full of...something...excitement?

The new update for the 360 is out and seems to have a unique side effect when installed on modded 360s. Basically, the new Fall Update will brick modded systems. Interesting approach, assuming Microsoft did this intentionally. Unfortunately, the new update is also bricking some legal 360s...I guess Microsoft can't win everything.

I haven't done the whole update thing, since my 360 is sitting without any love at the moment as Tales of the Abyss has continued to claim my geeking soul. However, I have to say that I'm a bit anxious to do the update. After all, I have a launch 360 that is working perfectly right now. It almost sounds like tempting fate to put on the update that will rarely brick a normal system. So, for now, my 360 will sit, as usual, with no affection from me...and hopefully by the time I update, Microsoft will stealthily update the update so that no legal systems will be bricked.

On the other side of things, Nintendo has sent out a more finalized list of what Wii games will be ready by the end of December. I am actually impressed. Many of the titles may just be mindless ports, but then again there are a lot of solid looking unique titles. Between Zelda, Monkeyball (I have a soft sport for this king of party games), Elebits, and Trauma Center there is definitely going to be some goodness to go around. That is, of course, assuming that Nintendo gets enough Wiis to market and there isn't a massive hardware shortage. I guess this will be Nintendo's only real challenge, since the software side of the launch is looking far better than any past Nintendo console launch (especially versus the GCN and N-64).

However, to make this library seem even more solid, the first list of Virtual Console games has been released as well. Like the other list, this will be the games that will be on the VC by the end of December. All I can say is two little words; "Gunstar" and "Heroes"! BOOYAH!

However, I am especially pleased to see Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine making the rounds this quickly. I have many fond memories of this game. By "fond" I should explain that they are memories of people playing one game with me and then swearing to never play against me again. Nothing like a game that naturally clicked with my thinking process.

Now if only the VC can have some Columns 3, I would be set. In fact, I really hope this game comes along before a year has passed. C3 was to the Genesis what Tetris DS is to the DS. It was the multiplayer puzzle game to end all multiplayer puzzle games. With support for 4 players, back when other puzzle games didn't go beyond 2, C3 was a sweet ride. Not to mention the little extras in the game, like the "poison bricks" and their effects on multiplayer games. I probably spent more time in battles of C3 with my brother than I played any other game in multiplayer until Smash Bros came along.

On a final bit of news, for those who are not too familiar with me, as a geek, Final Fantasy XII is out. I started like that to explain why this wasn't the first bit of news today, and why it didn't included such 1337 speak as "1337", "roxor", "teh uber" or any other crap like that.

I was once a proud Final Fantasy fan (not fanboy, but a solid fan), but then FF8 came along. This game, which may have an interesting plot to some (I found it derivative), had one of the worst battle systems to grace the Playstation. I'm talking about the draw system, the junction system, and the fact that I found thousands of battles before the last dungeon and was still only level 12 when I got to the final boss. I also should add that the idea of bosses not giving gold and experience was pretty damned weak, as well.

I recovered some of my FF love with FFIX (the most under-rated FF game), but that couldn't last forever. Right after Square showed that they still had some talent with both creation of a compelling plot and the use of a fun battle system, FFX came along with the Sphere Grid bull shit and the plot to end all FF plots; an emo "hero" along with an emo "heroin" who both spend as much time feeling sorry for themselves as they do in completing anything useful in the quest to stop an emo's dad. Wow...

It only went further down after FFIX. We had FFXI with it's MMORPG blandness (if any MMO didn't deserve the precious gift of life, it was this rehash of everything that's been done before), and there was FFX-2 with it's dress-up system and story of three rebellious women who are on a quest to find a long dead emo! Yippee...?

So, when FFXII was announced, I was less than excited. However, as I heard more about it, like how it takes place in the land of FFTA (the first portable game with a FF label on it that I honestly hated), how the battle system is now in the spirit of MMORPGs, and that the license board (leveling system) is basically a rehash of the Sphere Grid...well...I'll just say this right now;

Unless something drastic happens, like someone literally forces me to play FFXII, you will not hear anything else about it on this web site. I have seen the light, a few too many times, in that Square Enix is just milking the FF cas cow, and that there are better franchises out there (Grandia, Tales of..., Shadow Hearts, and so on). True, some of these franchises will and have come to a stop, but more new ones will rise from the ground. I think I honestly can be better off just pretending almost anything new from Square Enix never happened (with the exception of Dragon Quest). I also think I'll be far happier this way.


Malik (11/2/06)  

I guess Wal-Mart had some pre-order Wii bundle thing going on. It's amazing to now see bundles selling out in almost no time. Considering the largest reason to pre-order is to ensure a console without going the bundle route, this seems anti-intuitive. Oh well...I guess when the Wii is so desired, this type of thing can make sense...assuming nonsense is a type of sense.

Microsoft has officially recognized the bricking issue from the Fall Update to the 360 dashboard. It's nice to see Microsoft admitting there is something not right in Redmond, Washington. I also, for some reason, imagine that we wouldn't see that type of announcement from Sony without a class action lawsuit.

Anyway, Microsoft is planning on putting out an update to the update in a short amount of time. Meanwhile, they want anyone who's 360 died after being updated to call their tech support line, so that these people can also go through the joy of sitting on Microsoft customer support hold-hell to add some insult to injury. In the end, Microsoft isn't even sure if they will repair or replace 360s that died from the update. I imagine replace will probably be the way that they'll go, just like when they "repair" (read: replace) a defective 360 sent to their repair service.

For Microsoft to repair these bricks, it would just be too much of a hassle. Considering this code is hard written into the 360 after it is installed, it would just be less of a headache for Microsoft to replace defective systems...which usually is the start of a common cycle of having a defective 360 replaced with a refurbished defective system, which is still defective. At least that's the feeling I get from the 360 message boards on most gaming sites.

In the end, I am waiting to use my 360 until after the update is updated. I haven't played the 360 for a couple of weeks, but that will soon end when I complete Tales of the Abyss before the weekend is done (probably tonight even) and I once again need my Arcade fix. I just want to see if my 360 can avoid death and be the first system I have bought with an optical storage drive (CD/DVD/whatever Dreamcast called their disks and whatever GCN called theirs) to never suffer any problems. I know, it's a hopeless battle, but I've never shied away from this type of fight before...and I sure as hell won't start this generation!

On a final note before I go (too much work to do and not enough time for posting today), I just want to say one thing...and those who missed Lost last night should walk away now if you fear the old spoilers...

Go on...

Lost spoilers are coming...

...and then end when this post ends...

What the f@#$ is going on when they decided to kill Eko. On one hand, the show has almost no minority characters, and most of them who had been regulars on the cast have all been boring and one-dimensional. As it was put on; "That instantly makes "Lost" a little less interesting, since the pretend priest was one of the most creatively complex characters on the island."

I mean we had a character that not only was one of the most fleshed out of all Lost characters, but we also had a character that was always a driving force in one way or another. Whenever the plot would slow down in any way, it seemed like injecting Eko into the story made the show pick up a bit.

More than that, we saw something from the Eko character that is just not seen on American TV...ok, two things. We saw a minority actor playing a minority character who was not a stereotype in any traditional sense. The other thing we saw was a philosophical and complex character that actually put forth some good questions on the nature of good and evil. Since Eko was constantly in a position of killing, yet he was repentant, it showed a nice amount of how one good deed, no matter how the ends or means try to justify the other, can lead towards evil. Then we saw how one can walk from evil, but still take some lessons from the darkness along the way.

However, more than the show losing a good character (unless, as MSNBC says, "But unless resurrection is among the island's many mysterious gifts..."), it lost a good character in one of the lamest ways. Seriously, the "beast" or "darkness" or whatever it's to be dubbed has not been a real force in the show for a whole year...and then it comes back just in time to kill off a cool second tier character (who should have been more important to the plot, in my mind at least, than Locke) that brought the most depth to the show. However, we now get to put up with the couple that were with Eko's group when he died...the couple that will probably be forced on us as the guy constantly whines and moans about everything he does. Sigh...


Malik (11/3/06)  

Last night I thought I was going to finish Tales of the Abyss. However, once I got to the final "point of no return", I decided to finish up a couple of side quests. I didn't realize, until it was too late to stop my compulsion, that this would require facing the option mega-boss that it required in all modern Japanese RPGs.

I have to say, without adding any major spoilers, that this boss really changed my mind about TotA. I figured the game's difficulty was a little skewed. Normal mode is typically a little too easy for it's own good, and hard is just a bitch. Well, even on normal, the optional boss was making quick work of me and my party. It was the first time in TotA that I actually thought I'd witness the game over screen...and I nearly did.

The battle took me about 15 minutes, which is epic for a game which has normal battles ending in 2-15 seconds and boss fights lasting about 2 minutes (if you know what you're doing, but are still a little lax in your playing). That was 15 minutes of playing out my best combos and using items like the world was ending. In fact, that's what almost did me in...just not having enough items. I can out of the battle using about 30 of my HP restoring items and all but 2 of my life bottles (raise dead items). I also came away with one character still dead at the end, and every other active party member with about 10% of their HP.

While I'm usually one who frowns on pointless optional bosses (since most of the strongest optional RPG bosses yield no rewards), this one felt different. For one thing, I got some rewards. In particular, I got the best C. core in the game (items which will boost your stats a little at a level this case, one that boosts all stats by 4). However, the main thing I got was a real feeling of accomplishment. Not only was it an epic battle (that will probably make the final boss fight seem like a cake walk), but it also unlocked the ability to see a few extra story related segments.

Anyway, I aim to lay TotA to rest this weekend...probably tonight (assuming my geeking crew doesn't cut too much into my TotA time tonight). A review will probably, assuming everything goes well, be on it's way in the next week. Also, this will free me up for some major Guitar Hero 2 time when GH2 launches next week.

One last thing before I go. If you've been wanting a bit more news on Smash's successor, there's a new video trailer of SSB Brawl out there. It shows a nice bit of Mario, Link, Kirby, Pikachu, and the five recently announced new characters (Wario, Samus Zero, Metaknight, Pit, and Solid Snake) all in action. Nothing like seeing Snake pull out his big guns. Also, it's been fully revealed (like there was any doubt) that Fox will be that's cheese-fest would ever be gone...

Thanks to Metro Ninja for sending me that link. It made my day, and just makes me a little more anxious for the Wii.

Anyway, not much to really talk about today. It's a great day for anticipation. I'll be watching Borat tomorrow, and next week will see GH2 in my greedy hands. Also, we're getting pretty close to the US debut of the original real FF3...well, original as in it's the upgraded version of the original on a system that was not even logical to think about when the original was released in Japan. I've beaten the game before, but it will be nice to soon have a true translation...even if I have to deal with the hell that is the Mog-net quest.


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