There was no
Friday post since I was suffering from an attack of bad sausages. I
was alive, but I was in no mood to look at a monitor any longer than
needed. On the same note, life is giving me a big kick in the
balls (actually, it's many kicks) today, so forgive me if I threw in
a few minor errors. I know what I'm talking about, but I'm in
too bad of a not-giving-a-shit mood to correct when my brain and my
fingers (that do the typing) don't agree.
Putting that aside, I
have to say that this weekend was a great weekend. Actually, it
would be better to say that Sunday was an awesome day. There was
some snow coming down, but not enough to stick and make any
commuting into total hell. Of course that was nothing compared to
what ended right before the snow started to fall...
defeated an opponent in an actual game. It was not a game like with
the Rams, when the Seahawks only won due to a botched snap at the
end of the Rams final drive. It was not a game like last week again
the Eagles, when the only thing that kept the game alive was
Tatupu's amazing skill to be in the right place at the right
time...and with some mighty impressive hands.
up a fight and made only as many idiotic errors as the Seahawks.
Both teams suffered from the same issue (bad long snappers), but
both teams made excellent efforts on the rest of the field.
Right after the
game started, I knew something interesting was about to happen. With
Arizona fighting to keep a playoff run alive and hoping to make the
post-season for the first time since last decade, they had a lot to
play for. On top of that, a win yesterday would ensure that the
Seahawks were, for the fourth time in as many years, the NFC West
champions. Both teams had a lot riding on this game, and it was, to
make it even more fun, the first time in four years that the
Seahawks had a meaningful December game. The NFC West was not
wrapped up heading into December, so there would be plenty of
passion and energy in a game that would truly be played to its
I think the
Seahawks played one excellent game. In their first four drives, the
Seahawks scored. Countless interceptions (five total by the end of
the game...I guess that's not so countless...just the worst ever for
Kurt Warner) were made, sacks were driven in with authority, and the
passing game saw a lot of excellent action from a lot of different
players. In fact, the Seahawks were able to pull off four receiving
touchdowns with four different receivers.
The only sad parts
of the Seahawk's game yesterday was the running and the long
snapping. On one hand, the rushing game looked sad and deflated. Too
many times Alexander was given the ball. Yes...he did have a couple
of first downs and made some excellent rushes. However, if you take
away a couple of impressive runs, Alexander still looks like he did
for the rest of the season; as strong and impressive as a corpse.
Morris did not necessarily look much better, but like with last
week, Alexander still got more time with the ball than Morris.
It is time for
Morris to become the official number one running back for the
'Hawks, and for Alexander to hand off the torch. Morris has youth,
speed, and a lack of injuries. Meanwhile, Alexander has a slower
run, too much to worry about (recovering injuries) to take any
risks, he's getting old (a rusher in his 30's is a retired rusher in
many cases), and he just doesn't have the only thing that could make
him look good again (some defense and cover like he got two years
ago from Hutchinson). If the Seahawks do hope to make an impact in
the post-season, which they are now heading towards, the running
game needs some help.
The other thing
the Seahawks need to work on (as well as the Cards, if they hope to
fight for the number two wild card spot) is the long snapper. Stutz
is a sad mistake. Going into the season, he had a reliable, but
slow, long snapper. However, after he was fired from the Falcons (if
they fire you and you're not a felon, there must be something
wrong...we're not talking about a good team here), the 'Hakws jumped
on Stutz. I had a bad feeling from the start with bringing in
someone who could not be all that impressive (fired from the f#@$ing
Falcons!)...then he proved my feelings right on his first time out
in the Saints game...when he handed the Saints a free TD on a bad
snap intended to be a punt.
The Seahawks are
officially going to the post-season. That much is true. If they work
hard, a first round home game is in their future. If they can
continue to win (which better happen against the Falcons, Panthers,
and the Ravens), they can also enter the playoffs with a nice level
of momentum in their favor. However, they need more than momentum in
their favor...they need to compliment an improving defense and great
passing game (four awesome receivers and an arm like Hasselbeck's
does not bring about any fear in my eyes...except fear in the
opposing defense's eyes) with three things.
First of all, fix
the Morris/Alexander thing. Send Alexander to the bench more,
including at the start of the game (he is only really good once the
other team has been worn down and fatigued), and let Morris shine.
Morris is the more productive rusher this season, and the torch is
ready to be passed.
Stutz the hell out of Seattle. I don't know who the 'Hawks need to
get, but I know who they need to get rid of. Stutz has a huge issue
with being reliable in a tight spot. He's slow (like his predicessor),
he's unreliable, and his aim is something along the lines of what
you'd find on a Pee-Wee team. If anything will ruin a play-off game
in a hurry, I see a repeat of the Saints game (with Stutz handing
over an easy TD on a botched snap) doing it.
needs to give Hasselbeck some protection. Here's a question; how
would you call a defensive play to rattle the opposing QB and to
minimize and offensive gains? Hard to say. You'd need to know more
about who the other team is, who's the opposing coach, how strong is
your defense...the possible questions are nearly endless. How about
I answer one of those; the opposing team is the Seahawks. Now if you
didn't immediately think that you'd call a blitz, then you have not
been watching any Seahawks games...or how the blitz rattles the
rhytm QB that is Hasselbeck and how the O-line cannot guard against
a blitz to save their lives (or maybe their post-season chances).
'Hawks do have a few excellent things working for them. Obviously,
since I've named it a few times already, the arm of Hasselbeck and
the hands of (you have plenty of options on
that one). Secondly, the hard hits of Kerney (who has exploded in
the second half of the season), the careful eyes (and quick hands)
of Tatupu, the ability to be everyone at once of Julian Peterson,
and the other players that make up what is probably the best
Seahawks defense in the last decade.
To wrap things up
for today, I'll make a prediction. Since the post-season is now
assured, I will take a guess at how it will play out. I hate to say
these things, since I imagine saying/writing it will make it
guaranteed to happen. The play-offs will end for Seattle on either a
poor decision to keep Alexander in the game despite him never being
IN the game, Stutz giving away our final attempt to keep the game
alive (and it turning into a TD for the other team), or Holmgren
will kill it all with horrible clock management (which thankfully
has not come into play lately...but only because of how the games
have forced time management out of his hands), especially defensive
I see the 'Hawks
going into the second round...but no further. It will probably be
Green Bay who slays Seattle (after the Seahawks take down the
Vikings in the first round)...which would be perfect since Holgmren
would be laid to rest by his once precious Favre.
I'm still in a
pretty shitty mood today. I think by just going to my day job, I'm
assured to find something to turn any mood into a bad one. It
doesn't help that I could swear that I'm living in the world of
Office Space. Worse yet is that I actually have the nickname of
"Milton" around the institute I work for...as a hint, it's not
because it's close to my real name. It's more about how I'm
constantly being moved into smaller and worse work conditions.
The one part
that's quite funny (I'd laugh if it was happening to someone else)
about this situation is that the "Milton" of my world is actually
the most productive person in the most productive team. My lab puts
out more publications (which is like a big return on an investment
in the world of non-profit science) and is funded by the most grants
of all labs present...this is despite how my lab is the smallest lab
(and the one getting the most screwed). Life is funny...or it would
be if the joke was not constantly on me.
Last night I
finally played some games. I had not played anything since last
Friday (when Dr. Philosophers played a Rock Band gig to prepare for
unlocking the endless set), and needed a gaming fix. I was planning
to play some Mass Effect, since I need to lay that game to rest, but
my brother (who makes up one part, and the bass part in particular,
of Full Metal Hemorrhoids) wanted to get in some Rock Band time. So,
we proceeded to unlock the Hall of Fame gig (which I had already
done with my other band) and then lay it to rest.
Since the songs
were primarily ones that can strike fear in the hearts of the
unprepared, he played out the set on a painful medium setting. We
are both good to go for hard on most songs, but Metallica, Molly
Hatcher, and Deep Purple can still be a problem...not too mention
the dreaded Green Grass and the High Tide. Sadly, with three
troublesome songs on the set list, we were stuck playing in the
painfully slow land of medium. Afterall, we didn't want to lose fans
and we sure as hell did not want to get seven songs through an eight
song set and then have to fail out.
At least we got
through and then could get back to hard. At least we were getting
back to hard when the game stopped giving us fans on hard mode.
That's when we decided to take the plunge and try out some of the
more basic songs (Wheezer, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Garbage, etc) on
expert. I have to say that, as a person who always avoided expert
out of fear, that the things I've heard on message boards are quite
The jump from easy
to medium, according to both message boards and personal experience,
is not much of a jump. Well, it is, but it's not too bad when you
make the jump. On the other hand, the jump from medium to hard is
supposed to be (once again, from both board postings and experience)
a great deal more challenging. I heard the hard to expert jump was
not nearly as much of a shock to the player, and it's true. It's not
like expert is easy, and it's not like it's impossible (at least on
songs that lack hardcore Metallica style solos), but it's actually a
good level of fun to make that jump.
hated that your fan limit is so low on lower difficulties. Medium
has you max it out after a couple hours of playing. Hard gives you a
couple days (depending on how much you play in a day). I honestly
wouldn't know what it is on easy (probably only enough to finish a
couple venues). However, the forced limit on fans is great. If it
was not for that cap, I would have never pushed forward with trying
hard and expert. I still need some work (Metallica on hard is still
too much for my hands to take in), but it's great to be making this
type of progress. Harmonix may have initially angered me with the
caps, but I now understand and see what they were doing. I should
learn to never doubt Harmonix on these things.
Also, for the
record, I'm happy to say that I have a band in the top ~2600 bands
on the online leader boards. Full Metal Hemorrhoids is living it up
and rocking out. We're still not at our own personal cap, since he
have quite a few four+ song sets and custom set lists to play that
we can rock out on expert.
Anyway, tonight I
aim to play more of Mass Effect. I'm approaching the final mission
when I stopped playing last. I want to finish this game and get it
over with. The more I play, the more I feel like Bioware has pulled
another Jade Empire. They made a game that was hyped and full of
potential, but there is just nothing to show for this loss of
potential. The game is, as one friend nicknamed it, Mass Repetition.
I am actually still excited about part two, but that's for a good
ME laid forth a
great world and some cool ideas. However, I think a cross between
rushing an unfinished game (like Monolith's take on Bioware's
KOTOR...blame goes to Lucas Arts for KOTOR2, of course) and putting
too little thought in some of the more vital parts of the game.
Especially, you cannot make a short game and then rush in secondary
quests to pad the time to beat the game if you don't put effort in
the secondary missions. Another example is how nothing in the game
has any consequences. Bioware claimed each decision would effect the
world, but it doesn't matter what you do...with the only exception
being that one person on your team will die (and you must decide)
and another person may die if you're not ready to use your silver
tongue to talk them out of it. That's it.
I think the second
game should have potential, but I just hope that Bioware doesn't
assume they made a perfect game the first time around. Enough
fanboys are raving about ME to give Bioware an inflated ego.
However, if Bioware does look at things with a more critical eye,
and accept that the hype machine may have been problematic, maybe
something good will come along to continue the story.
That's my hope at
least. I mean, how many times can Bioware let us down with mediocre
games before they come back to being the KOTOR and Baldur's Gate
making company we once knew them as?
Last night I
finally was able to lay Mass Effect to rest. It took a bit of will
power to force myself through one more stage...which is actually
more like two or three more stages. The final level is basically
three or so levels with several challenges. All of them were pretty
unique and fun to play through, but they only served to remind me
that ME only shines during the main campaign.
If I was to give
ME a full review, which may or may not happen, I would have to give
it one of two scores (out of 10); either around a 6.5 or around a 6.
If you count the
secondary goals, then the game gets a 6. Why? Because the secondary
stuff, while giving a little more story/back-story, is really
repetitive and bland. You continually face the same barren world
that contains a few crashed probes (which you loot for...weapons?),
a few mineral deposits to mine for, and one to three
bases/bunkers/caves, depending on the overall goal of the stage. The
only difference on these worlds is if they are hot, cold, or in
between. The overall effect on the player is minimal (unless you
travel on foot) and all it does is change if there is snow coming
down, plant life, or pools of magma.
Worst of all,
nearly every secondary goal requires you to fight a horde of enemies
in a base/ship/bunker/cave that will have one of about 8 layouts.
So, if you enter a bunker with a certain starting room, you can be
sure of not just where the goal will be, but also where you'll find
the enemies. It is really that bland. The addition of secondary
missions feels as forced and tacked on as humanly possible from a
The 6.5 score
would come from the game if I did not count the forced secondary
goals. In that case, the game does have some fun elements, but it
fails in two general areas.
First off, your
actions, despite what Bioware claimed, have no consequences. There
is an alien race you can doom to extinction or you could chose to
save. There is a colony you could wipe out or go out of your way to
protect. There is a choice you can make on if you want to kill off
the government or let them survive. No matter what choices you make,
the only effect it will have is on the brief dialogue you share with
your comrades after the mission ends. It will then be forgotten
forever...or, maybe, at least until ME2.
It doesn't even
matter what you say when you speak to your party members. They will
always act the same, with the only exception being if you have a
brief and pointless sex scene with
one of two potential mates. Other than that, you can be as much of a
dick or a nice guy to your team as you want and you'll never have to
look back. Even the paragon/renegade (light side/dark side system)
points don't have to have a specific total (in KOTOR you could not
be light and dark at the same time...in ME you can max out both
"alignments")...so do whatever you feel is right for the moment.
The main thing
that gets a 6.5 from the main quest is that it is damned short. If
you play the secondary goals, then you're playing a forced random
dungeon generator, and if not then you have one really short game
that can be knocked out in five hours.
My favorite part
in this whole game, however, was that the final boss had to be a
rip-off of someone else from popular media. He has a freakish face
(that looks like a mask...like a goblin mask...), rides around
(standing) on a glider/wing, and likes to throw bombs. Yes...the
final boss is the Green Goblin...actually, he's the Grey Goblin. Not
even the final boss could be all that unique.
I still look
forward to ME2, since Bioware did make a cool world for the ME
games. The mythos is set in place, the world is fleshed out to have
some nice history and cultural plots. However, the next game(s) will
need to have a more fleshed out game system. That is to say that ME2
better have a more epic main quest that includes consequences for
major decisions. It's also to say that the secondary goals (side
quests) better have something more than a damned random dungeon feel
to them. Also, the game needs a better inventory system (group all
like weapons/armors together instead of listing them separately)
with more choices to make in how to play your character. Lastly, the
next ME better have team AI that makes your allies try to live
instead of attempting suicide or freezer ever few minutes...maybe
even a special button or command to tell the game that Tali is, once
again, stuck in a rock and needs to respawn...or that Ashley is no
longer following you or "go to" commands.
At least I can now
get back to playing Rock Band with all my attention...and maybe I
can get around to finishing Mario Galaxy. Most of all, I need that
Rock Band time since I'm finally feeling good about the orange fret
I was too damned
busy yesterday to post. In the last few months, my day job has been
undergoing some changes, and sadly this is felt in my daily posts.
In particular, my group (lab) at work is moving to a different
institute, and this makes for some really hectic days as I try to
work on my own projects (that will get me published a few
times...which is always cool), work on what projects need to be
ended in the current institute, and work on planning the move of
equipment and so forth to the new place. Anyway, I will try to keep
this stuff down and away from interrupting daily posts, but I cannot
make any promises.
On to the meat of
this post...in small chunks like a fancy many course meal...
Activision is now
class action lawsuit. It's all about the Wii version of Guitar
Hero 3 being presented in mono, despite having Dolby listed on the
game. I can't blame people for being upset. I played GH3 on the Wii
(when my mom, who bought the game, needed help with the first boss
battle) and the sound problem is noticeable to this audiophile.
lawsuit is frivolous. Why? Because Activision is already working on
free replacements for all people who bought the Wii version. It will
not happen until the early parts of 2008, but it's in the works.
When the judge assigned to this case hears about this correction
being in the works, the case will be dismissed. You cannot sue
someone when they are already working to get the solution, for free,
into the customers' hands...well, you can, but the case will fail.
I, on the other
hand, am waiting for a lawsuit against EA over the faults of the
Rock Band hardware. True, you can get free replacements while under
warrantee. However, what happens in another five weeks when the
first set of warrantees start to expire (60 day warrantee)?
I bring this up
because of two facts. On one hand, some people will not use some of
the instruments much (my drums and mic are only really getting
affection when friends come over to use them...and mainly I play
with the most people at someone else's home with their RB gear), so
the failure might not be seen for a while. On the other hand, I am
one of these annoyed customers.
I had my first RB
guitar fail on the first day I had the game. The down strum started
to double-strum for each down click. I got my replacement quickly
(unlike the vocal people who ended up with free games to compensate
for the excessive time for a replacement to be sent). On the other
hand, I'm now a repeat customer to the replacement plan. Last night
I placed my second order for a new guitar. This time I had the
spring fail for down strums and this makes it impossible to play
anything with constant notes (noticed it on Dead on Arival while
doing the solo hard career).
This is the type
of thing that will eventually either bring a longer warantee period
from EA (like Microsoft did with the 360) or it will result in a
lawsuit that forces a longer warrantee or a free replacement with a
working set of instruments. One way or another, it's only another
five weeks before I think we'll hear something about EA being sued
over this mistake.
The funny part is
that EA probably went with cheaper instruments than they needed to
in order to make a larger profit. However, a good deal of this
profit is probably being eaten via paying UPS for express two day
shipping. Considering the size and weight of the guitar and drums,
express shipping is not a cheap thing.
My advice for any
RB owners is simple; play the living shit out of your controllers.
Make sure they hold up, and as soon as they fail,
for a replacement. Do this before your warrantee fails (remember,
it's 60 days).
At least this is
giving Red Octane (via Activision) some extra love. Red Octane can
make awesome controllers, as seen with their DDR pads, and the
guitars for GH1-3. My two main controllers for Rock Band have been
the GH2 controller (for my bassist/brother) and the RB controller
for myself...but each failure shows me more how to love the (beyond
amazing) GH3 controller. When the individual instruments are out
there for each game, sometime in the next two to three months, I
assure you that I will be picking up another GH3 wireless
controller...unless EA can show that they have fixed their technical
issues. I do enjoy the shape and size of the RB controller, but the
hassles and short life span are simply not worth it.
On a similar note,
but different, I have been trying to play through hard on the RB
solo career. I was not a hard player on any of the Harmonix/Neversoft
rhythm games until a couple weeks ago. However, after being
influenced by a friend to try out hard (good advice), I now will not
play anything else (except expert on a few songs and medium on
Metallica, The Outlaws, and Molly Hatcher). So, I tried the hard
solo game last night and came to a strong realization...Harmonix is
The songs are
broken up into cities/tiers. Supposedly the early tiers/cities are
easier songs and the later ones are harder. For example, In Bloom is
easy and in the first set while Green Grass and the High Tides is in
the last tier (and is hard as a bitch). However, I feel that some
mistakes were made along the way. For example, Highway Star may
require a lot of stamina, but it's a lot easier than Enter
Sandman...however HS is on the final tier while ES is not. On hard,
at least, Ballroom Blitz is a pain in the ass, but it comes long
before Enter Sandman. It seems like some of these placements were
nothing short of backwards in thinking.
On another RB
note, I hope they bring some Avenged Sevenfold to DLC. I thought The
Beast and The Harlot was one of the best songs for GH2. Considering
they have a good drum line, and some fun to sing vocals (yes, I
sometimes sing along to my music while driving...I may look like a
douche, but it's a good stress relief while stuck in Seattle
traffic). Especially, I think Strength of the World, Bat Country,
and almost any other songs on the City of Evil album would be
perfect. Hopefully, since we know Avenged Sevenfold is down with the
GH style games, we may see some in the future.
On a final note
I found this silly. Activision will not allow a patch for Rock
Band (yes, I did not confuse companies) to go on the PS3 version of
RB. The patch would finally allow the GH3 controller to be used with
RB. Why do I find this funny? Well, people have already bought RB.
They will continue to buy RB. With RB controllers having issues, now
is the time for people to look at Activision for their controllers.
All that would
happen if people could use both controllers for RB on the PS3 (like
they already can for the 360) is that Activision may find some extra
hardware sales coming their way. For now, I've known people tempted
to buy GH3 on the 360 just for an extra RB controller. When the
individual GH3 controllers go on sale, which is scheduled to be
before thr RB controllers do the same, then people will jump on the
more reliably built GH controller. This equals bonus sales for
Activision. Sales for hardware that's game specific, even for the
people who did not feel like buying the game that this hardware is
made for. Allowing the GH3 controller to be used on RB will not
boost RB sales by any means...on the other hand, it would boost
Activision's profits. To block this update is not only making
Activision look petty to the gamers, but it's going to potentially
cut into profits.
Anyway, it's time
for Doctor Philosophers (my main band on RB) to play are usual
Friday night gig. Keep on rocking.
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