December 31, 2006

Dead Man's Chest

I saw Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest last night. I've had the dvd at home for about a week from Netflix and I finally got around to watching it.

I enjoyed the first movie (as most people did) and was surprised by how entertaining it was given its source material (as most people were). So, while I wouldn't say I had high hopes for the sequel (didn't think it was necessary), I was looking forward to some more Captain Jack Sparrow and top-of-the-line special effects (I felt the original movie's effects were the most impressive to date).

Wow, a lot of parentheses in that last paragraph.

Overall, the movie was entertaining, although not as good as the original. The story was hard to follow, the first 45 minutes were completely unnecessary and did nothing to move the plot forward and overall it was probably about ½ an hour too long. Actually just remove those first 45 minutes and it would have flowed much better and been a better flick.

But we must remember that these Pirates films are about having fun, and when the film gets going, it is just that: fun.

The cinematography, sets, costumes, audio, effects and acting are all top notch. Everything looks fantastic. Johnny Depp again reprises his role as Captain Jack Sparrow to perfection. Maybe some of the magic is gone, since it is not as new or fresh, but you can't blame Johnny for that.

I'm not going to bother with plot details, but I will say this. The folks at ILM have done it again. They've topped their previous effort and again delivered a special effects tour de force! The main antagonist, the pirate Davy Jones, a half man/half octopus creature is simply the most impressive visual effect ever put on film. Ever. He was created completely out of CG, overlaid over the actor playing him, and it is so convincing it looked like the actor was wearing a prosthetic mask. Only you know it couldn't be a prosthetic because if it was, it was the most convincing, organic looking prosthetic in history. The texture of his skin, his tentacles, the way the lighting would reflect off of him (in either night, rain or sunshine) was absolutely perfect. I can watch the scenes in which Davy Jones are in over and over and not get tired. They did a simply amazing job.

If you haven't seen the film, rent it just for Johnny Depp and Davy Jones. They are both worth the extra long run time, the so-so beginning, and at times convoluted story.

December 26, 2006

Viva Pinata

Best Buy had Viva Pinata on sale for $29.99 this weekend and I decided to pick it. Partly because I wanted to get the game for the girlfriend and partly because I was real curious to try it out myself.

I've spent a good amount of time with it (more than my GF) and I think the game is actually pretty damn good. It starts you off slow enough, introducing new elements as you gain experience and there are plenty of tutorials to teach you almost everything you need to know without the need to read the manual.

Don't let the game's kiddie exterior fool you though, this game is quite challenging and very deep. At times, there are so many things going on it can feel overwhelming. Fights between pinatas, your garden being attacked by sours (the "evil" inhabitants of Pinata Island who want to wreck your garden), sick pinatas, trying to meet requirements to have certain pinatas stay as residents, or having them fall in love so you can mate them, building them homes, watering your plants, it is a lot to juggle.

With practice though the chaos can subside as you get familiar with which pinatas tend to not get along, you hire help to do some of the more mundane tasks like watering plants, collecting produce (from your garden), and warding off sours, and your garden begins to take the shape of a pinata paradise.

I still haven't scratched the surface of the game, as I still have a lot more gaming to do, but I look forward to tending to my garden in hopes of attracting some of the really rare pinata species (man, never thought I'd be saying that).

Technically the game looks very nice, with lush colors and generally great animation. Each pinata type's personality comes through in how they move and react to their environments and the sounds they make are amusing and appropriate. The voice acting for the characters can be a bit annoying, but nothing you cannot overlook. Luckily, none of the pinatas actually speak like they do on the cartoon show, since that would have not gone over too well.

For anyone who might have been on the ropes about the game, especially because of its kiddie appearance, rest assured that the game is deep, challenging and highly addicting. I fact, so far it has been one of the more enjoyable games I have played this year.

December 20, 2006

Rocky Balboa

Last night I went to a screening of Rocky Balboa. I'm a pretty big fan of the original Rocky movie and as a kid I used to watch all the sequels whenever they were on. None could match the original though. When Rocky V came out however, it made a serious dent in an otherwise solid series. Seemed like a terrible way to end it.

So, when I heard that a 6th movie was coming out I was thinking to myself, "Damn it Sylvester, didn't you tarnish this series enough already? You should have stopped with IV!!!"

Well, it turns out that the movie is a lot better than I was expecting. Granted, I wasn't expecting much.

It moves slow in places (especially the first half) and it greatly relies on nostalgia and the viewer's memories of the earlier movies to work properly though. If those were fond memories, it added to the flick. If they were not (or if a viewer hasn't seen the earlier ones) then I do not think the movie is as effective. Since I am a fan, it worked for me. Sylvester's best character has always been Rocky and that trend continues. He plays him perfectly and you can't help but like him. The movie also definitley feels closer to the original than any of its sequels.

My biggest complaint with the flick is the same complaint I have had with every single Rocky film, and that is that the boxing is always so unrealistic. It bothers me that every single punch thrown, lands solidly. How these boxers become world champions with zero defense is beyond me. But that is Hollywood for you.

Overall I give the movie a 7 out of 10.

December 19, 2006

Lag-free Madden?

This weekend Powerpuff and I fired up Madden 2007 to give it another go.
There was a recent update that according to the forums, fixed the
game's absolutely terrible lag when playing across large distances.
I've written on here about the terrible experiences we had in the past
when trying to play Madden. Since we are on opposite sides of the
country, our games would run in slow motion and were completely

So, on Sunday morning we hook up for a quick match before the real NFL
games started. We both had very little hope that EA actually fixed the
issue, but we were both desperate for some decent on-line football

I'll be damned, the game played great!

The lag-fest from before seems to be completely fixed. The game we
played was fast and completely playable. The difference was pretty
significant. I'm surprised EA decided to finally address this problem,
considering the game has been out for a while and its on-line community
has slowed down considerably.

Either way, it looks like Powerpuff and I are going to be doing a lot
more football gaming in the coming weeks. Let the rivalry begin!!!

November 29, 2006

Pet Peeves Vol. I

The other day I was thinking about all of my pet peeves. Those little things that just aggravate me. I have lots of them. I figured I'd share them here, even though they might not be game related. I'll talk about them in instalments, I guess usually after an incident arises that brings one of these to my attention.

So, here is my first Pet Peeve. It is not necessarily the one I feel strongest about, but it is the one I have in mind at the moment.

Bathroom Attendants.

Have you seen these guys (or gals)? Some random stranger inside of the restroom standing by the sink. They turn on the faucet for you, squirt soup on your hands and fetch you some paper towels while you rinse. Then they stand waiting for you to give them a tip for all that "quality" service they just did.

What the hell? Why are these people in here? I can do all this by myself. I like doing all this by myself. I don't like having some person waiting on me hand and foot, especially in the restroom. I don't want to feel pressure to bust out with a dollar bill everytime I have to use the bathroom either.

And lets not forget the "goods and services" they have for your convinience. Cologne, perfume, gum, deodorant, cigarettes, and other assorted items. Why are these things in the bathroom? I do not even know if they are for sale if you can just help yourself, because really, I have never felt the need to even ask, I find it so bizarre.

No disrespect to anyone trying to make a living as a bathroom attendant, as making a living is hard enough, but I wish the position was done away with all-together and you were transferred to bus boy, or hallway attendant, or cashier. Seriously, I like to be left alone when I go to the bathroom. If the reason for them being there is really just to keep an eye on things then I would prefer some bouncer looking fella' to stand by the door - making sure no one is using drugs or defecating on the floor - as long as he minds his own business and leaves me alone.

Oh well . . .

Wow, Superman Returns: The Videogame has been getting absolutely destroyed in the reviews. After the demo, I was actually pretty siked about this game.

I guess I can see this as a positive, as it is one less game I need to play/buy, but the game did have great potential (from the standpoint of the way Superman controlled and the giant Metropolis City that was created). From reading the reviews, EA really dropped that ball and rushed this game out (even with the initial delay). The ground work seems to be there: solid controls, huge city, decent graphics, and you actually feel like Superman, but the gameplay/story department is severely lacking. How can you have a Superman Returns game, which shows the events of the movie in cinematics, but you not once interact with Louis Lane or Lex Luthor? That is just bad, bad design.

I actually hope they release a sequel to this game and spend all their development time building on the solid foundation that was created, and improve the flow of the game, have an actual story, and let Superman do more than fight random robots and dragons.

Oh wait, I am now boycotting EA, so scratch that. I now hope Army of Two is crappy, so I don't feel inclined to buy it :p

November 27, 2006

Long Weekend

Man I love Thanksgiving. It gives us "The four F's". Family, Football, Food and Four-days-off!!

I spent Thanksgiving at my grandmother's house, cooking with my sister, watching football, playing catch and drinking. That is a good day right there.

On Friday I relaxed at home during the day. Powerpuff and I managed some Gears of Wars co-op action and then I went out with some friends for more drinking. That is a good night right there.

On Saturday, I stayed home all day on my couch feeling miserable after two days of drinking. Seriously, the drinking the night before was a bit on the extreme side. After about four glasses of 151 & Coke (before even heading to the club) and then a few shots of Liquid Cocaine and some Dewar's on the rocks, I was out of it. 70% of the night's events are a complete mystery to me, but from what I hear, it was quite the night.

In my extreme misery, I managed to get in a good amount of time with Rainbow Six: Vegas (in between naps and tylenol breaks). The game is great!

Me being the bad-ass that I think I am, I started playing on the "Realistic" difficulty. That is my new thing apparently, I like to start games on the hardest difficulty. Mostly to extend the life of the game, and by experience the harder setting usually provides more enjoyment. But it sure can prove to be frustrating at times.

Since I am not much of a R6 veteran (I played some of part III, but never really finished it) I had a hard time getting into it. Mostly because I was dying constantly and getting used to the game's controls (I still had Gears of War in the head).

Once I started to feel really comfortable with the controls and style of play, I was greatly enjoying myself. Some sections are still incredible tough on Realistic, and it seems like you need to die a few times just to learn how to pass some parts by trial-and-error, but the game is great.

Visually, it is far more impressive than the demo. Granted, the demo level mostly took place in the dark in a constrution zone, so it did not have many opportunities to flex its visual muscles, but the final product looks gorgeous. Vegas is vibrant and alive. The game uses the Unreal III engine and it is refreshing to see just how different the game looks from Gears of War. Usually if a game is using a certain graphics engine, it will share similar visuals (ala Doom III and Prey), but Gears and R6 look absolutely NOTHING alike. This is good news for all future games using Unreal III (and there are plenty of them)

So, Rainbow Six: Vegas is a buy in my book.

In PS2 news, I am now about ½ way through Guitar Hero II on Expert. Man, some songs are a serious work-out for your fingers!!! I need to practice some more because after about four songs I need to take a break.

No CoD3 in a while now. Still not feeling it. Will probably wait until I am done with R6 and tired of GoW.

November 21, 2006

CoD 3

This weekend I managed to get some CoD3 in. Finally. Gears of War still took up a good portion of my time, but now that I have played through it about 3 times, I find I can try other games without thinking about it. Like I said, despite its flaws, it is a lot of fun.

At this point I am having mixed reactions with CoD3. It looks better than CoD2. It basically plays the same (meaning, very good). It still has fantastic atmosphere and sound. Yet I am having a much harder time getting into the game than the previous title. Can it be that less than a year after part 2, it is just too early for another CoD3 title?

Or maybe the whole WWII FPS genre is getting long in the tooth. The Nazi bullets might still be whizzing by my ear and explosions are going off a few feet away . . . but the excitement is gone. It could be a result of playing this game right after Gears. Not sure. I might put it in the back-burner for now, because I really do want to enjoy it.

But that is fine, I actually have too many games at the moment and I hate being overloaded with games. Gears of War, Guitar Hero II, Call of Duty 3, Rainbow 6: Vegas (Out this week). Too many games, not enough time.

I have yet to dive into GoW multiplayer, aside from co-op which is blast. The couple of vs. matches I did play resulted in me and my team getting absolutely destroyed. It was fun, but different from the single-player. It is going to take a good amount of time to learn the maps and tactics necessary to be successful in multiplayer.

Guitar Hero II has been an absolute blast. Playing co-op is the way this game was meant to be played. I'm not sure if I like the song selection as much as the original, but since it has Sweet Child O' Mine I think it wins by default. Hanger 18 is also fantastic. I've beaten the career-mode on Hard and just recently started on Expert. It is harder than part one. In a good way. And the new practice mode looks like it is going to come in handy as I advance through Expert. Some of those solos are just insane.

I'm looking forward to Rainbow Six: Vegas. Reviews have been great and the demo was fun. I have not tried the multiplayer demo though. Well, I did try it once and after I created my character (took a while as I was going through all the options) when I finally got into a game it was incredibly laggy, so I quit and haven't tried again.

I've also played through the Superman Returns demo quite a few times and I like it more and more with each play through. The game is a lot of fun and I cannot get enough of flying around as Supes. It feels great. Once you learn all the controls and learn some of the combat moves, the game is really a lot of fun. Now I think I want to pick this game up too!!! Nooo!! Not only is it another game to add to the list, but I don't want to give EA anymore of my money!!!

What to do, what to do . . .

November 17, 2006

Gears of War

I've played through the game twice, once on Hardcore by myself, and once on Insane with a buddy over Live. Does the game live up to the hype?

I would say so.


Gameplay-wise, Gears does not throw many curve balls at you. You move from firefight to firefight and advance through a level. Its biggest weakness might be that it is fairly linear. Enemies never seem to be just wandering around a level, they mostly come rushing out, or ambush you, or a Locust hole will open up whenever you enter their area. This takes away from the game a bit, since it feels very scripted. Most areas also "close up" after you advance, so you cannot backtrack much. Not that there is any real need to backtrack, but it feels like the world is just closing in around you and you are being ushered through a set path. So while the game is just a series of battles over and over in a set location until you open up the next area, the battles are a ton of fun, thanks to great enemy A.I., fun weapons, and the game's cover system.

While alternate paths are offered periodically, you need to specify which route to take, again, taking away from the organic feel of the game. It would have been better if the paths were just presented to you and you go in the direction you want, instead of actually choosing a side through an on-screen menu.

The game heavily relies on cover and the controls work very well. It takes getting used to at first, especially since the "A" button does just about everything, but once you get the hang of it, it works great. I have had very few issues with the controls once I got over the initial learning curve. Even having the reload button on the right-bumper becomes second nature, though it feels very awkward at first.

Overall, the game might be restrictive and does very little to move the action/shooter genre forward (aside from the cover system), but since it manages to stay fun throughout, I'll give it a pass.


The game's effects are loud and get the job done. Voice work is pretty good, even though the script itself could use some work. The "Brain Dead Tough Guy" hook is layered a little too thick sometimes. The Locusts sound appropriately creepy and scary, and those damn Wretches make a nasty screech that will make the hair on the back of you neck stand at attention. I hate those damn Wretches (they remind me of the Flood only slightly less annoying).

The music is actually what surprised me the most. It is very, very good. I loved the orchestral score and thought is enhanced the mood of the game perfectly. The rap song that plays during the end credits didn't do it for me though. Seemed out of place and annoying. They should have played "Mad World", like they did for the fantastic trailer released before launch.


This is the area that let me down the most. Not the story itself, because I have been reading and following the Gears story for over a year now and I think it is great . . . but the actual story telling is abysmal. Seriously, I do not think Epic could have done a worse job conveying the story to the player. Do you know why? Because they don't convey the story to the player. No story information is given during the game. Sure, some of the characters hint at a back story during gameplay, and if you read the instruction booklet you a whopping paragraph letting you know the events leading up to the start of the game, but other than that, the player is kept completely in the dark.

That is very unfortunate, because the history Epic has created for this world is pretty intriguing. You can get a pretty good prologue from Wikipedia HERE.

If Epic could have done a better job of informing the player what was going on, then it would have helped immerse the player into this detailed world and provided a much better experience. I am very disappointed in Epic for giving such little regard to the game's story.


Alright, this is what everyone is talking about. Everyone knows the age old motto: Graphics are not important, it is all about gameplay. That may be true, but in GoW's case, the graphics are the sole reason for this game's appeal and success. If this game had average to mediocre graphics, nobody would even know about it. Like I said, the gameplay is not revolutionary enough to stand on its own. This game is all about impressive visuals.

And impressive they are. Best looking game of all time? At the moment, it just might be. Best looking console game at least. The overall graphical package is fantastic. The models, environments, lighting, effects, they come together beautifully. There are some scenes that are so drop-dead gorgeous you need to just sit back and stare in awe at your screen. A HDTV really helps too, although I cannot really comment on how the game looks on a SDTV, I'm sure it is still impressive.

There is one scene in Act III which takes place in a HUGE underground cavern surrounded by a lake of Imulsion (the game's clear, luminescent energy source) which is the most impressive thing I have ever seen as a gamer. Absolutely gorgeous.

Another scene takes place in a greenhouse, overrun with plants and weeds, with light streaming in from the glass roof above, again, simply gorgeous. The level that takes place at night, during a huge downpour and everything glistens, again, very impressive. Like I said, best looking console game ever made.

Now that I got all the praise out of the way, time to really dissect the visuals. Like I said, as a total graphical package, no game out there comes close to topping Gears. However, that does not mean it is a perfect visual experience. The biggest weakness I see by far, are the textures. A lot of the textures simply do not hold up on close inspection. Some even at not-so close inspection. If the entire scene is taken in as a whole, it looks phenomenal. But focus on that ruble in the corner, or that wall you're hiding behind and you see some blurry, lower-res texture rear their ugly heads.

There is this one room in the first act which has a refrigerator up against a wall. The textures of the fridge are . . . well, they are just terrible. Absolutely terrible. And not just from up close, from across the room it looks awful. It literally looks like it was taken out of some Xbox 1 game and put in Gears. It looks very out of place, especially with your fantastic looking character model next to it. There are many instances of rubble and debris also looking less than desirable. Now, many games have this problem and it is only because Gears of War's visuals are so damn amazing that it makes this aspect stand out. Other games would probably be happy to have Gear's textures.

Another issue is that when your character changes elevation, like walking onto a sidewalk from the street, he just pops up and it looks extremely jarring. Sort like he did a quick little teleport to elevate himself a few inches off the ground. Now, many of you are probably saying, "Stop whining about these little details, no game is perfect, you suck Tanis!!!", and I hear what you are saying, but anyone that knows me knows that from this generation, this "next" generation, it is the little things that I am looking for. All those little details are what come together and give games that special next gen feel. Watching my teammate standing on a staircase and seeing him basically floating because his posture is that of someone standing on flat ground as opposed to actually standing on steps is something that bothers be. These staples that have part of gaming for so long, is what I feel developers need to focus on getting rid of once and for all. Stuff like floating weapons or items, which Gears also has. The first time I saw the Hammer of Dawn and it was just floating on the ground waiting for me to pick up, I was pretty disappointed.

The game's physics also need some work. From watching the Unreal Engine III's tech demo, I know this engine is capable of some impressive physics. I love the fact that after a foe is dead you can kick his body around. There is ragdoll in effect and that is always fun. But dead bodies have absolutely ZERO weight to them, so you toss them about as if they were inflatable balloons. Sorry, but after I take down a husky Boomer, being able to kick his body around like a beach ball sorta kills the effect that he's some 9 foot tall, 900lb creature wearing armor. Seriously.

Ok, am I done bashing this game? Yes. Regardless of the last few anal retentive paragraphs I just wrote, Gears delivers in being the most gorgeous game on the 360. It is an absolutely blast to play. Online Co-op is fantastic. I've beaten it twice already and even though I have CoD3 waiting for me, I decided to start yet another campaign, because I want to kill more Locusts. I have yet to get into multiplayer matches, so there is plenty of lengevity left.

So, Gears may not re-invent the shooter genre wheel, or change gaming as we know it, but it is a hell of a lot of fun and will be spinning in my 360's drive for a pretty long while.

Bring on the sequel!!

November 14, 2006

Busy November

The crazy (quality) game influx we've had in November has been much more bearable thanks to one factor which I had forgotten about. My birthday.

A couple weeks ago I was tormented by the fact that titles such as Gears of War, Guitar Hero II, CoD3, and Rainbow 6: Vegas were all coming out withing a few weeks of each other. Who can afford that?

Well, my friends and relatives can apparently.

My birthday was last Saturday and everyone knows my favorite gift is Best Buy gift cards. So guess what I got? A whole mess of Best Buy gift cards. Gears of War was already in my posession (I've had it since 11/8/06, will write about it later), so Guitar Hero II, CoD3 and Rainbow 6 are now a go. Maybe even Viva Pinata so my girlfriend can play (Ok, I want to try it out too).

Anyway, I already picked up Guitar Hero II and CoD3 on Sunday thanks to said giftcards, and I have another one waiting for Rainbow 6:Vegas. =)

Thank you family and friends!!

November 08, 2006

Wireless Headset

I picked up the wireless headset for the 360 on Saturday, but unfortunately have not been able to try it out much, aside from a Private Chat with a friend.

The design is sweet. It looks like a high-tech gadget, is very light weight, and is pretty comfortable. My private chat went fine. My friend's voice came through clear (he was using a wireless headset as well) and he had no trouble hearing me.

When I first was trying to set up the chat though, my headset was not working for some reason. I would hear my buddy through my tv speakers and no matter how many times I turned off the headset or tried to sync it with the 360, it would not work. After restarting my 360 completely, it worked fine. I hope that is not a recurring problem (I have not been able to use the headset since then, so I am not sure if it will happen again).

I will definitely be giving the headset a thorough workout with gears of War coming out tomorrow. I'll be doing lots of co-op over Live with that baby. Can't wait.

November 07, 2006


Well, the reviews are out. And they are good.

Teamxbox: 9.6
Gamespot: 9.6
IGN: 9.4
1UP: 10

I have to admit, as much as I have been looking forward to this game and as much as I was hoping it would be great, in the back of my mind I never thought it would be receiving those type of scores. Throughout the game's development, I always had the impression that ultimately what we would be getting is a beautiful game . . . with not much substance. Little more than a tech demo of what the Unreal III engine could do, attached to a repetitive game that would get tiresome about ½ through the campaign.

I am so glad I was wrong. From the looks of it at least, because it does not look like my local Gamestop will be getting the game until tomorrow. Damn.

Today is going to a very, very long day.

November 05, 2006


There is a lot of talk lately about how the Marketplace can potentially ruin gaming. And I have to agree with a lot of it. As a gamer (and consumer) it is not pleasant to see what is going on. Not only did we see the M.S.R.P. of games go from $49.99 to $59.99, but now some Publishers are giving the impression that $60 does not even net us a full, complete game anymore.

I will like to preface all this by saying that I am not against downloadable content that you need to purchase. Not in any way. But it definitely depends on the content. Bethesda seems to be doing a good job with DL content for Oblivion. Sure, they might have stumbled out of the gate with the Horse Armor debacle, but they have since put out quality content that adds game play and extends the life of thier already long game. Using them as an example: cosmetic download that adds no gameplay = rip-off; Added dungeons or quests to extend your enjoyment of the game = purchase.

EA has been in the center of backlash from the gaming community. They just seem to be out to take all our money, instead of pleasing us with quality products. Charging for a PPV "sneak peak" of Madden 2007, charging for classic stadiums, charging for unlockable items in their games (weapon packs & in-game money in The Godfather), charging for strategy videos (after Saints Row released several free tip videos themselves), it all leaves a bad taste in gamers' mouths. Why are we being charged for items we used to get for free? Classic stadiums and alternate uniforms should be included with the original $60 purchase. They have been in the past. It makes us feel like we are getting less for more.

I know all these purchases are optional. If you don't want them, don't buy them right? Every developer says the same thing, "We're currently evaluating micro transactions to determine what gamers want, and what they don't want". But there is a flaw with that reasoning. I'm not refraining from purchasing Classic Stadiums in Madden because I do not want them, I am refraining because I feel they should have been included with the original release in the first place. But if Classic Stadium sales are down, EA will probably just think, "Looks like gamers aren't interested in classic stadiums after all, no need to worry about them in next year's game".

Then there is the whole Lumines Live problem. Many gamers purchased the 1200 point Arcade title thinking they were purchasing the entire game, only to realize that there were certain modes and features that were still locked because they actually needed to purchase a separate pack to unlock them. Now that is just wrong. Seriously, seriously wrong. Microsoft should not allow that to happen.

It seems like Microsoft has no control over what publishers offer up on the marketplace. Their stance has been to let publishers work out the details anyway they want. That needs to stop. If Microsoft does not set up some regulations, things are going to get real ugly, real soon.

Micro transactions initially started as a cool concept, but it seems to be spiraling out of control. Many of these DLs are no longer "micro", since I do not consider $15 a micro transaction. I know it is all about creating additional revenue streams, but these streams seem to be getting very greedy, way too soon. My general rule in deciding on a marketplace purchase is this: If the content should have been included with the original release, then I am not buying it. If it feels like it was left out on purpose to then generate additional revenue, forget it. If it does not extend the life of the game or add any type of signifigant gameplay, I'm not purchasing it. Simple as that.

Hopefully Microsoft is reviewing microtransactions and have a plan on how to keep the marketplace under control. If not, then gaming - an already expensive hobby - is going to require even deeper pockets to enjoy.

November 03, 2006

My Most Wanted

- Gears of War
- Guitar Hero II
- Bioshock
- Mass Effect
- Rainbow Six: Vegas
- Lost Planet
- Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway
- Half-Life 2
- Call of Duty 3

What am I missing?

November 02, 2006


I just got done playing the new Eragon demo that is available on the Marketplace.

Wow. Just Wow.

Hold on, I need one more . . .


I know there are different levels of developers out there. Some are elite. Some are decent. Some have more resources available (bigger budget, etc.), some aren't so lucky. After playing this demo, I am finding it difficult to accept that this game is running on the same system that is running Gears of War.

I feel bad bashing this game, as I am sure that many programmers spent alot of time working on it. And by "many" I mean two and by "alot of time" I mean three days.

Seriously, this game looks and plays absolutely terrible. Every single launch title looks at least twice as good as this game. I'd wager 85% of Xbox One games look better than this. PS2 games look better than this. Xbox Live Arcade titles look better than this. I find it hard to comprehend why they decided to release a demo, since the four people out there who might have been interested are surely going to pass once they get their hands on this demo.

Ok, I am done with the bashing. I just had to get that off my chest, since I was sitting there on my couch, controller in hand, thinking this was some kind of April Fools joke. If I were Microsoft I would find it insulting that they would be trying to release this game on the 360. I wouldn't allow it. The original Xbox can easily, easily run this game in its current state. My guess is that it is using about 5% of the 360's power. It is going to be well worth those $60 huh?

October 27, 2006

Jack Thompson

Ah, good old Jack Thompson. The self proclaimed savior of children from violent video games. If you're a gamer, you know who he is. And chances are, you hate his guts. That is understandable. Jack sure does seem to do his best to get on our bad side. If it was up to him, all games would be in line with Barbie Horse Adventures.

His recent campaign against Bully seems to be blowing up in his face though, since according to reviews, the game is not even close to being the "Columbine Simulator" Jack claims that it is. You are not even a bully in the game, but instead, you protect kids from them. A far cry from what Jack "assumed" the game to be. But, that hasn't stopped him from trying.

It seems Mr. Thompson is having a feud with a local judge here in Miami about this very topic. He's been sending said Judge several angry letters, the latest one being especially entertaining. You can read it HERE courtesy of Kotaku.

He has gone completly off his rocker huh? That is some funny shit.

You know, I'm not completely against Jack and what he is trying to do. Ok, fellow gamers, before you have me lynched and kicked out of the club, hear me out. I agree that young kids should not be playing Grand Theft Auto and the countless other "M" rated titles out there. But Jack is going about it all wrong. Why attack individual game developers? The problem is not that these games are being made (because there are millions of adult gamers that want to play them), the problem is that kids are getting their hands on them.

Jack Thompson and the mainstream media needs to understand that gaming is no longer a kids' medium. All those kids that were there for the birth of videogames have now grown up. And guess what? We're still gaming. It is old news that the majority of gamers fall into the 18-35 age group. Why stop the release of a videogames aimed at a group of individuals more than old enough to handle its contents? Why not try and ban all R rated movies next Jack, I'm sure little kids want to see those too.

No, what Jack is trying to do is censorship, and that my friend, is a big no-no in my book. Every videogame is reviewed by the ESRB and given a rating, just like movies are. If Jack wants to keep GTA away from 6 year old Timmy, then go after stores that do not I.D. before purchase. Go after parents that buy these games for their children, or better yet, use all that energy to create a program to educate parents about these ratings so that maybe they will be a little more aware of what their kids are playing.

Ultimately, I feel it is the parent's job to decide what their kids can and cannot watch/play, not the government. But I have no problem will laws being passed preventing the sales of M rated titles to underage buyers, in the same way a 12 year old it not allowed into a NC-17 rated movie.

But Jack, seriously, get off your high-horse and stop trying to ban, censor, or in your eyes, clean up gaming. We're a mature industry. Your talk of murder-simulators is beyond ridiculous, as the act of sitting at home pressing some buttons differs greatly from yielding a real gun and pulling a trigger. Those disturbed individuals that have committed heinous acts have not done so because they played Doom, or GTA. They've committed those crimes because they were not mentally stable. You can blame biology or society for that before you point your finger at the videogame industry. From my understanding, youth shootings and violent crimes have been happening way before Pong made its debut.


I beat Double Agent a few days ago. Overall, it was fun. But it didn't really feel like a "next gen" experience. It felt like I completed a prettier version of Chaos Theory. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I could have used a little more. The 2nd half of the game was pretty damn good though.

Overall, I give the game an 8. How does that compare with my other 360 experiences? Lets find out!

I love giving games ratings! Lots of meaningless ratings based on nothing more than my gut feeling!! I'm going to rate all my 360 games and give them an overall score. Why? Because it is loads of fun. Hopefully I can remember all the games I own, since I'm not at home right now to look at my collection.

CoD 2 - 8.5 (This game is just solid. Runs fast, controls perfect)

PDZ - 6.5 (At times, this game screams next gen. Other times, it screams "blah". The controls suck)

Madden 2006 - 4.5 (I've spoken enough about this game)

Fight Night - 7.5 (this could have gotten a much higher score if the career-mode was not complete shit)

GRAW - 8 (Stupid teammate A.I. and its abysmal lobby system keeps this one from getting a 9)

Oblivion - 9 (Maybe the best game on the 360 so far. Definitely the most value for your dollar)

Table Tennis - 7 (Solid game, but severely lacking in modes and options. Gameplay is terrific though)

Kameo - 7.5 (Kameo was fun and gorgeous, even it not terribly memorable)

Condemned - 7.5 (Atmospheric and scary, although the mechanics did get tiresome after awhile)

PGR3 - 8.5 (Beautiful, fast, and fun. If I wouldn't prefer sim racers, this one would have gotten a 9)

NBA 2K7 - ? (Aside from the game's 24/7, I have not played it much. Maybe when the NBA season starts)

Madden 2007 - 7.5 (Big improvement over 2006, but still not where this series needs to be)

And now, for some Arcade titles:

Doom - 8 (It is Doom. It is fun. Imps must die!)

Texas Hold 'Em - 8 (I hear many complaining about this game. Maybe it is because I'm new to poker, but I enjoyed it. Plus, it was free!)

Geometry Wars - 8 (Simple and addicting. Pretty snazzy effects too. Will I ever reach One million points?)

SFII - 7 (The Arcade mode is just way too hard!!! Plus, the 360 pad sucks for this game. Shame.)

Wik - 7 (Strange little game. Fun in shorts burst.)

Smash TV - 6 (Fun with a friend, hard as hell, and ugly like a mo' fo'!)

I just pulled all those scores out of my ass. Give me this same list in a week and I'll probably think up totally different scores on the fly. But not by much. So, Oblivion is my favorite 360 game? Interesting. I didn't even know that. Looks like this excercise served a purpose afterall. I definitely have logged more hours into Oblivion than any other 360 game. Hell, I think I've logged more hours into Oblivion than any other game period. Yet I haven't played it in months and I still have a long way to go to complete it. I really do hope to beat it one day.

Now to decide what to do about November. Guitar Hero II, Gears of War, Rainbow 6: Vegas, CoD3, and F.E.A.R. I can probably pass on F.E.A.R. Depending on the reviews, I can hold off on CoD3. But I do not see anyway of me not getting the other three.

Emergence day cannot get here soon enough.

October 25, 2006


Emergence Day is less than two weeks away and I am getting pretty siked.

The new trailer on the Marketplace is not making the wait any easier. Seriously, this trailer is pretty damn cool and completely against what I figured Microsoft would be doing to promote the game. Excellent work Epic, excellent work.

I really suggest everyone download it and watch it in glorious 720p on their tvs. But, for those that can't, or are too impatient, here it is from Xboxyde: LINK!

October 22, 2006

One more note

Man, Double Agent has some long load times. The game needs to load to the main menu, where you choose between single-player or multiplayer. Once you choose (single player lets say), you go through about a minute of loading, which takes you to the menu for single-player. Then after you choose "new game" or "load", you sit through over a minute more of loading. And then, here is the kicker. After that, you see "Press A to continue", so you assume you'll be starting the level now, so you press A, only now you get some screen that says "loading content" and the game continues to load for another 30 seconds. So what the hell was the previous 1 minute+ load for? Just to load the "Loading content" screen? Annoying.

SC updated impressions

I've played a few more single player levels. Some notes:

- The game has frozen on me several times. It has happened a couple of times after pressing the back button to bring up my wrist computer. It also froze once while viewing the in-game map.

- Because of my freezing problems I have been saving alot more. It has greatly helped to reduce some of the frustration.

- The levels certainly appear to pick up after the first few. There is a level that takes place on a cruise ship in broad daylight and it was fantastic. One of my favorite levels of any SC game. It is a great new dynamic sneaking around in broad daylight. You don't hide in the shadows, but rather have to find actual physical cover. It was alot of fun. And the level was beautiful. Again, it is refreshing to be able to really play through a level and not have it blanketted in complete darkness. Graphically, it was very impressive.

- I'm enjoying the game alot more now. There are still several instances where it is really difficult to figure out where to go to complete your objective though. The level design definitely seem to get better as you advance through the game. So far at least.

- My previous comments about Sam's animations when picking up objects or interacting with the environment, while still valid, might have been too harsh. I have noticed that those transition in Double Agent are far better than they were in previous SC games. They still do not look completely smooth or realistic, but better than they have been in the past.

October 20, 2006

Double Agent

So, I caved in and bought Splinter Cell: Double Agent. I said I wasn't, or at least, that I only would if the reviews were great. Well, the reviews have been good, but we see a significant decline compared to how the last Splinter Cell game, Chaos Theory, was received, a game that earned almost perfect scores all around.

Throughout this game's development I have had my doubts. While I have enjoyed every previous SC game, watching all the gameplay videos of Double Agent did not convince me it was making the significant jump I was hoping for from the SC series. It looked very, very similar to the previous SC titles, recycling almost all of Sam's animations. It did not demand the attention a game like Gears of War does, one that stops you in your tracks and forces you to admire the next gen visuals. The jump also seemed minuscule compared to other Tom Clancy games like Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter and Rainbow 6: Vegas.

Here are my impressions of Double Agent, through the first four levels of the single player game. I haven't touched multiplayer yet.

This game feels instantly familiar to SC vets. The controls are basically the same and the levels progress very similar to previous titles. The first few at least. You stick to shadows and try not to tip off the enemy of your whereabouts. The game gets interesting on your third mission, which plays out like no other Splinter Cell game before it. I'm not going to go into detail about the game's story, since that has been covered in countless previews and in all the reviews of the game, but I will say that the free roaming levels that take place in the JBA headquarters are a lot of fun and a breath of fresh air. I have only played one of them (I read there are about three of them) and my only negative about it is that you have a time limit in which to accomplish your tasks. This does add tension to the level, but, I have a serious problems with time limits in games. I hate them. Unless I am playing a racing game, I do not like being rushed through a level. To be fair, they do seem to give you plenty of time to complete all your objectives, but the fact that there is a limit bothers me.

Aside from that, so far, it has been standard Splinter Cell fare. The game is fun . . . and frustrating, as every SC has been before it. Sometimes it can pretty difficult to figure out exactly what you are supposed to do or go in a particular mission. Throw in a time limit (which I already mentioned I HATE!) and this can lead to some frustrating sections.

In the very first level you need to infiltrate a missile silo and disarm a missile that is set to launch. Once inside the silo you have a limited amount of time to figure out how to get to the missile, which you can see clearly, but need to navigate what feels like a maze of rafters and stairs to get to it. Then, to top it off, once you figure out how to get there, you then have about 60 seconds to escape before the entire place blows up! Tense? Yes, very. But mostly because you have no idea where you are going. The result? You need to play many sections over and over until you figure out what to do. Except that by that time, you've already played that section four times and it is no longer as tense or exciting as it should have been.

This has been the case with every Splinter Cell game. It is not even isolated to SC, it is an issue with the entire stealth genre. It can be very unforgiving and is only compounded by the fact that since you need to be sneaking around all the time, it takes extra long to get somewhere, so if you finally do die and have to do a large section over again, you just lost twenty minutes of gameplay. So you do it over, except now you know where all the enemy locations are so it is nowhere near as tense or fun as it was the first time. One solution is to save often. But that only helps in preventing you from playing long sections over, it still effectively kills a lot of the tension, since you always know if you mess up you can just load your game and try something else. It makes you not really have to think about your actions, since they don't really have consequence. Should you try to sneak past that guard and hack the commuter right behind him? Why not, if you mess up you can just load and try a different route. Like I said, this is not a problem with the Splinter Cell series as much as it is just with the genre. It is unfortunate.

So, what do I like about the game? Like I mentioned, it still plays like SC and that is not necessarily such a bad thing. The game has been fun so far and the story is actually decent and easy to follow this time. The game's trust system is pretty interesting as well, since depending on your actions you can gain or lose trust from both the NSA or the JBA (the terrorist group you are infiltrating). You also have to make some pretty harrowing decisions. Do you shoot the helpless News helicopter pilot in cold blood because the JBA asked you to? Doing so will help you gain their trust and secure your cover . . . but he is a civilian and it goes against your training.

Graphically the game is nice, but like I mentioned, I expected more from the Splinter Cell series. The original SC game on the Xbox was one of the most graphically impressive games for its time. The lighting effects were like no other game before it. Chaos Theory still stands in my opinion as the best looking game of the last generation (well, maybe tied with Resident Evil 4 for the Gamecube). So, needless to say, my expectations for a next gen SC were pretty high.

The graphics basically look like Chaos Theory to the second power. The textures are great. The lighting is great. The environments are great. But they are very familiar at the same time. And the biggest reason why is because of the recycled animation.

It definitely appears that Double Agent is using a heavily modified version of the Chaos Theory engine. Shame. I hate when a developer carries over a last gen engine for a next gen offering. Maybe I am jaded, or expecting too much from this generation, but there are many staples in games that I want to not see anymore. And this does not apply just to Double Agent, but to every next gen game out there. Developers need to re-think certain things and finally address some issues that have been around for far too long, which might seem small and insignificant, but I feel is what separates last generation games from the future of gaming. I do not just want higher poly models, high res textures, and improved lighting. Because all that does not equate to a next gen experience.

What am I talking about? Ok, an example from Double Agent. In this game, as has been the case in all SC games before, when Sam is going to interact with something, be it a door, a switch, a item on the ground, or a body, he "warps" into position to make sure the animation lines up properly. That was fine in the previous games, but I do not want to see it anymore. Developers need to develop a new animation system that will allow your character to seamlessly transition from one position to another without all the sliding on the ground and warping, because it looks ridiculous. No matter how photo-realistic you make the character or environments look, if the animation is not evolving with the rest of it, the game will fail to impress me.

Another gaming staple that I want to see done away with: the way characters walk up and down stairs. I want their damn feet and walking animation to change and I want every step from the character to actually land on a step, and not just have them slowly ascend diagonally as they use their regular walking animation. The little details people, the little details!

I guess I am saying that I think animation has been seriously overlooked so far in this next generation. I think I have had this rant before, and it was not my intention to go into now, but animation in my eyes is way more important than textures or special effects if you want to impress me. Give me a game that looks exactly like Chaos Theory did, only implement a system that blends all animations seamlessly, with no awkward transitions and everything flows with absolute realism and I'll take it over Double Agent's visuals any day.

Ok, I just bashed SC: Double Agent huh? That was not my intention. What I meant to say when I started writing these impressions, is that SC is . . . well, it is a SC game. It looks better than any before it, and plays better than any before it. I just expected more of an evolution in its jump to the 360, instead of the baby steps it seems to have taken.

I want a new engine for the next game ok Ubisoft? It is exclusive to the 360, so build it to take full advantage of the hardware.

Ok, all that after only four levels. I've heard the game really picks up at the end. Now watch I end up completely loving the game and saying it is the best 360 game I have played. :P

I'll post further impressions as I advance through it.


I own three cats. Two boys, who are just over 1 year old, and a little girl who is about 6 months. The boys have outgrown their annoying playful stage. The stage where you cannot move any part of your body or it will get pounced on and attacked. Especially when you are under the covers. The little girl, has not. It is always interesting not knowing when a small cat is going to appear out of nowhere and attack you. It is fun, cute and annoying all at the same time. Anyone who owns cats know how amusing they can be. Each one their own individual, unique character.

Take my cat Coltrane for instance. He's the middle one. He is absolutely hilarious, even though he has no idea he is. He has many quirks, like meowing loudly at you when you enter a room for no reason whatsoever. Or being terrified at any sudden (or not so sudden) movement you might make. But his most amusing trait is the fact that he has no idea how his claws function. You'd figure, as a cat, he'd be fully aware of what to do with his claws. Not Coltrane. He has yet to master the art of retracting his claws once he sinks them into something. It is quite amusing watching him stretch and sink his claws onto the side of our bed . . . then stay stuck there for a minute or two as he tries to walk away, or jump on the bed, but he cannot because his paws are stuck in the mattress. I can watch him all day.

I walked into the room one day and saw him by the window, one of his front paws stuck on the window frame above his head - in a pretty strange angle - and him just sitting there, his arm extended over his head because he couldn't get it out. I don't know how long the poor little guy had been in that position, but it appeared like he just gave up trying to get free and decided to just sit down and wait for assistance. I couldn't stop laughing.

Good old Coltrane. I think I might have some pictures of him "stuck" on our bed. If I find them I'll post them.


This past Saturday I went to Busch Gardens' Howl-O-Scream. Basically their version of Halloween Horror Nights, only not as popular. It was great. For those of you who have gone to Horror Nights countless times, I recommend you mix it up this year or next and go to Howl-O-Scream.

The negative out of my trip (and it is not really a negative) is that I want to go back to the park during the day to see the actual park, since at night you can't get a real feel for it nor experience its normal attractions. The roller-coasters were open, but I paid to experience the haunted houses, not the coasters.

I did ride Shriekra and Kumba and they were fantastic. Now I definitely want to go back and ride the rest of them, since the last time I went to Busch Gardens about 23 years ago, I was a) too young to ride them and b) I don't think they even had ½ of the coasters they have now.

October 18, 2006

Calm before the storm . . .

I had some free time last night (for the first time in about a week) and I was able to sit on my couch with my controller in hand and turn on my 360, knowing that I could play for a good couple of hours (instead of the 20 minute sessions I have been having lately).

So, what to play?

I am still waiting to play my Superbowl match-up against the Redskins in Madden. But I'm in a real Anti-EA mood lately and I don't even want to put the game in my 360.

I put in GRAW and gave it a go. I have a weird thing going on with GRAW right now. I'm obsessed with playing the co-op missions . . . by myself. Without dying. I have only passed one level like this. It is hard. And once I die, after playing stealthily for 20 minutes, I get frustrated and turn it off. Which is what happened last night.

I then played a little PGR3. I already beat it, getting all silver medals, and am now going back to all the previous races and attempting to get gold or platinum medals. This game is a lot of fun, but I have a problem with it. I do not like how you have to choose what medal you are going for before the race. Each medal has a certain goal you have to meet, so why not just have the event play itself out and then depending on your results, you might get a medal, like in Gran Turismo. By having to choose only one medal you are aiming for, if you over achieve in that particular race, it is for nothing, because you don't get rewarded for achieving the next medal's criteria. If you need to finish a lap within 1:10 for a silver and you finish the lap instead in :52 seconds, which lets say is good enough for a platinum, you are screwed. You are getting your silver medal and if you want the platinum you need to "say" you are going for the platinum and do the event again. This is a very cheap way of trying to add replay value to the game. I could have a bunch of gold and even platinum medals right now from my initial play through the game, but I don't because I decided to aim for silver for a lot of the races since I was new to the game. Annoying. It is especially annoying since you don't want to say you are aiming for platinum every time, since those are incredibly tough and with the game's constant load times, trying to finish one perfect lap can be extremely frustrating. I hope PGR4 changes this system.

After PGR3, I looked at my games and I didn't really feel like playing any of them. I've beaten them all, except for Oblivion. Man, I really have to get back into Oblivion. But . . . not feeling it right now.

I played some Doom, but I can only play it in short bursts, so, after 15 minutes I am done. I played a hand of Texas Hold 'Em. Done.

Man, I'm ready for a new game. I still have Loco Roco for the PSP, but I don't really play the PSP at home. Still have Syphon Filter for it as well.

Nope, I need a new game. And believe me, they are coming in November. What is the tally up to? Gears of War, Rainbow Six: Vegas, Guitar Hero II. Those are just my definite "must-haves". Then there are many intriguing alternates. Knowing me, I might just cave in between now and November 7th (GHII) and pick up Splinter Cell: Double Agent. Pretty good review from IGN. Haven't seen any others yet.

October 11, 2006


Last Friday I decided to go to the movies. I hadn't been to the theater since Superman Returns, so my girlfriend and I decided to catch The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. We had enjoyed the previous one (to my surprise).

The movie was bad. Well, I should clarify. It is not so much that it was bad, as that it was the exact same movie as the previous one. Seriously. The same movie. This was supposed to be the origin story of Leatherface (or so I thought) . . . but it is not. It is practically a remake of the remake. A couple of teens are cruising through the wrong part of Texas at the wrong time, crazy Sherif gets involved, they get taken to the house, some chick with tight jeans is the only one that is not captured, a couple gruesome chainsaws kills, jeans-chick ends up at the slaughter house as good old Leatherface chases her down. Movie ends. Same movie. So unoriginal. So predictable.

I'll give it props for its "look" and for its pretty impressive gore. Can't wait to see the unrated director's cut. But on the whole, huge disappointment. We should have gone to see The Departed, I hear it is great.

But while I was in the movie theater, I realized something. I hate going to the movies. That is an odd thing for me to say, because I love film. And I used to love going to the movies. But nowadays, I'll take my couch, my HDTV, surround sound, and Netflix any day.

And I have nothing against the theaters themselves, just the stupid people that go to them. The movies have become a social gathering for friends to go to and hang out instead of watching the movie they just paid $10 to see. The constant talking, idiots screaming out remarks in a pathetic attempt to be funny and feel good about their miserable lives, the sticky floors, the kids crying (in an R rated movie no less), it all adds up to a truly frustrating experience on my end.

When I go to the movies, I go to, well, watch a movie. I get there a minimum of an hour early to get tickets and seats (earlier if it is a major release) and I like to sit down in my chair with plenty of time to spare and just relax. Which brings me to one of my many pet peeves. I purposely get there early because I am very particular about where I sit in the auditorium. I like optimum seating for maxim enjoyment. Do you think I like sitting down 45 minutes early, listening to that dreadful music and reading those boring, repetitive slides? No, I get there early so that I can choose the one seat in the place that I want to sit in for the next couple of hours and take in the movie. So, this past Friday, I am sitting in my seat (and had been for a good ½ hour), the movie is about to start and the auditorium is filling up quickly. Then I get the dreaded tap on the shoulder. "Hehehe, excuse me, but do you think you could move down two seats . . . it's that we have four in our group and since we like to get to the theater 2 minutes before the show is supposed to start, there are only two seats together here, but if you move down two seats we can all sit together."

Son of a . . . .

If there is one thing I hate, it is moving from my seat (which I came early for) because some dumbasses in a large group show up late and want to sit together. Oh, you want to sit together? Then get to the fucking theater ½ an hour earlier! If not, get used to sitting apart!

Sorry, I had to get that off my chest. Just one of the many, many . . . many reason, why I just can't stand going to the theater. And none of them have to do with the outrageous prices. I'll deal with the high costs (hey, these movies nowadays cost a pretty penny to make). No, all my reasons have to do with humanity's stupidities and my inability to deal with them. Man I hate people.

Ok, rant over. Don't go see The Texans Chains Massacre: The Beginning.

October 03, 2006


- Another week, another crappy, pathetic performance by the Dolphins. After barely defeating the Titans (and really, we didn't beat that Titans, the Titans beat themselves) the Texans looked great against us. 17-15.

Man, we're really, really bad.

Our offensive line is abysmal. I'm not blaming Culpepper for the offense's lack of productivity, he is doing all he can to prevent getting absolutely killed back there. 21 sacks in four games. That is one bad offensive line. Really bad.

It seems like none of our players are stepping up and making key plays. Plays that will lift this team out of mediocrity. Wes Welker is our only shining light right now. Give that boy a raise.

- I'm really enjoying Doom. Once I got used to the mechanics again, the game has been a blast. Pure nostalgia. Don't know how much someone who never played the original will feel about the game though.

- A week ago my profile from Madden deleted itself. It just decided to reset to 0 and all my settings and sliders were erased. I was extremely pissed off, as I was pretty happy with the way the game was playing with my sliders (aside from the interception problem I was having, but it was getting better with constant tweaks).

So I've had to basically start from scratch, trying to find my slider settings again. It has been a real drag because I am about to play the Super Bowl in my franchise (Dolphins/Redskins) and I do not want to play it until I am certain I find the sliders I had before. Because of this, Madden has been put on hold.

- After reading the glowing review of NBA 2K7 on Operation Sports, seeing all of the positive forum posts, the extremely impressive gameplay vids at Gametrailers, as well as it getting a high recommendation from my buddy Sroz39, I caved in and purchased.

Now, anyone that knows me knows that basketball is not one of my preferred sports. I know very little about basketball and I only watch it when the Heat make the playoffs. And even then it is only on occasion. Yes, I'm one of those bandwagon fans. The last thing I expected myself to do was go out and actually purchase an NBA game.

Sure enough, I am enjoying the game. I do not know what I am doing half the time, but slowly but surely it is starting to sink in. I played a match online with one of my friends and the game played flawlessly. More evidence that EA just doesn't know what the hell they are doing when it comes to online play.

I have yet to start an "Association" yet, 2K's version of a franchise. I have spent most of my time practicing in the practice mode and playing the game's 24/7 mode, in which you create a player and take him up the ranks of street courts to earn enough rep to play with big NBA stars. It is a cool mode in concept, but it is extremely flawed, shallow and poorly executed.

You have to sit through countless cinmatics of your two chump friends giving you advise, encouragement, or ridicule after every match you play. These terrible scenes cannot be skipped (why, I have no idea) and they repeat themselves way too often. Once you create you character (which was pretty fun, with lots of customizable options for appearance), you do not have a way to go back and edit his appearance or accessories. I do not want to change my facial features, but letting me edit the equipment I am wearing, getting a new tattoo or even changing my hair style would have been great. You also cannot see any of your player's attributes, you don't really "improve" or advance other than learning a few new moves from some top players every now and then, and you cannot even see any of your career stats. Again, like I said, the mode comes off as very shallow and half-assed. There is lots of potential here for a different type of Career/Create-a-player mode, but it felt like this mode got very little attention. The cinematics for example look right of the Xbox version, and look terrible. This mode has a very EA feel to it. Meaning, great ideal, terrible execution.

But, the biggest problem I have with this mode is that for some inexcusable reason you cannot change the camera angle when you are playing the game. I do not like the default camera, but you are stuck using it in this mode. Again, why they left that option out is beyond me. With this mode's many faults, I am surprised that it is where I have spent the bulk of my time, and I have played maybe only 4 or 5 actual games in Quick Game mode. I think it is because it at least is a decent mode to get used to the controls with some opposition, since practice mode only features your offense on the court.

Graphically the game is extremely polished. The presentation while playing a game is top-notch, with great replays and decent commentary. The game's animation is fantastic, with extremely fluid and realistic movements. Practically all NBA players have their signature shooting animations, which is a fantastic feature, but probably wasted on me since I wouldn't know what ½ of these players shoot like in real life. If they can do this for100+ players, I see no reason why Madden shouldn't be implementing actual QB animations for every single starting QB in 2008. Yeah right, I should hold my breath.

Anyway, the game is fun and at least has given me some interest in b-ball, to the point where I might actually watch a few regular season Heat games this year. And I'm sure I'll begin to appreciate the game even more as I pick up more of the sports' nuances.

- I also am still playing PGR3. This game is a blast. My new obsession is buying cars to fill up my garages. The game's "garage" system is absolutely fantastic. So much so that I wish every single racing game would copy it. You get a virtual garage that you can walk through and see your cars. I should say, you get virtual garages, since as you fill them up, you open up bigger ones. Few games can show off the 360's power better than a walk through one of your virtual garages. They look absolutely fantastic. The lighting, motion blur, water effects (yes, there is water), are stunning. And the car models are absolutely pristine!!! I could spend 20 minutes just walking around each of my garages, admiring my beautiful, expensive cars, and snapping pictures of them.

Oh, and the racing portion of the game is very, very good as well. :P

- I've had my ups and downs with Gears of War. Sometimes I can't wait for it to come out, the next minute I am convinced it will be nothing more than a tech demo for the Unreal III engine and the game will be extremely shallow. Right now I am at my "can't wait for it to come out" mood after watching several high-quality gameplay videos from X06. The game is looking very impressive indeed and I just cannot wait to see what it looks like on my HDTV running at 720p.

I have my fingers crossed for this one (I already have it pre-ordered, so it better be good)

September 28, 2006

Marketplace Overload

There has been a lot of activity on the Marketplace lately thanks to X06. I love it. Here are my impressions on the items I have downloaded:


Lego Star Wars II - This was fun. I enjoyed the first one. This one is more of the same, only set in the original trilogy universe. That is a plus in my book. Good demo, although not as much fun if you are playing by yourself.

F.E.A.R. - This is the same demo that appeared in the OXM a month ago. It is entertaining. The weapon fire feels great and the slow-mo action is very cool. Some freaky moments in there too. Graphically it is not as impressive as I would have liked, but it was just a demo, hopefully the final product is more polished visually.


Battle Stations Midway - Some WWII Fighter Pilot game I have never heard of before. Looked blah.

Import Tuner Challenge - Another one of those racing games. Looked absolutely terrible. They showed an in-car view that looked laughable compared to PRG3's stunning cockpit view.

Eragon - Some fantasy/adventure game that looks right out of the LotRs universe. Again, it looked absolutely terrible. Are all these games running on the same system that has Gears of War, GRAW and PGR3? Because they look like they are running on a regular Xbox. Completely underwhelming.

The Darkness - The trailer is ok, but I want to see gameplay already. This game is high on my list of games to watch, but show us some gameplay!!!

Forza 2 Physics & Damage Trailer - Wow, this game is going to be fantastic!!

Shrek 3 - Meh. Again, this game does not show off the 360 in any positive way.

Kane & Lynch: Dead Men - Looks interesting storywise. The verdict is still out. Entertaining trailer though.

Halo Wars - Holy freakin' hell this was bad-ass!!! An army of Spartans?! Oh hellz yes, can I have some more!!!

Rainbow Six Vegas - This game needs to come out already. I want it. I am a little concerned with the frame-rate however based on this trailer. I hope it is smooth. The Vegas Strip looks phenomenal.

Lost Odyssey - The marketplace demo is cool. Very good CG. I saw the extended portion from the Microsoft X06 press conference though, where you actually get to see the game being played, and I was completely disappointed. Typical RPG circa 1985. The turn based battle system looked archaic and boring. Oh well.

Splinter Cell: Double Agent - This game is still not wowing me the way I would like. It looks like the last SC game with better graphics. The animation appears completely reused from last gen, which is a major bummer.

Assassin's Creed - From what I can tell the Marketplace trailer is made up of footage from the live demo that was played at the press conference. Very impressive stuff. This game looks great right now.

Blue Dragon - Pretty long trailer for this very Japanese RPG. You know what? I though it was great. Silly me. It is mostly CG and showed zero gameplay, but I was completely entertained. I liked it.

Bioshock - I'm salivating for this game, especially after finally seeing it in action. This trailer is not gameplay however, but it is still very, very cool and atmospheric. This game cannot come out soon enough.

Marvel Ultimate Online - CG trailer just showing you different Marvel characters. As an ex-comic book junkie, this trailer was awesome to watch. The CG character models looks very nice. Very detailed.

COD3 - Real-time trailer, although it does not show gameplay. Was a little boring at the beginning, but it picked up the pace by the end. Looks like physics come into play in this one, with some destructible environments. Pretty cool trailer overall.

Viva Pinata - This game looks gorgeous in still pictures, but if they can't get that frame-rate smoothed out, I don't know . . .

I believe that is all I've downloaded so far. I hope there is more goodies in the near future.

Oh, I purchased Doom for Live Arcade. The game looks decent enough considering how old it is. It runs silky smooth and very fast and it controls great with the 360 pad. I look forward to strolling down memory lane with it. Hopefully Powerpuff gets it so we can try it co-op.

September 26, 2006

Gaming notes

A few gaming notes from the last week:

- I finished Condemned: Criminal Origins. It was a fun game. It got a little repetitive towards the end, since the basic formula didn't change, but the fantastic atmosphere kept it entertaining. I wasn't very fond of the last level or so. Things got a little weird and they remove the two tools you relied on the most throughout the game, your flashlight and your taser. Seemed like a cheap way to make those levels harder/scarier. But overall, I enjoyed it.

- Powerpuff and I managed to do a bit of gaming this weekend together over Live. First up, Madden 2007.

We played a couple matches a little while back and we had experienced a bit of lag, but it was somewhat playable. This past Saturday when we tried a rematch, the game was so laggy we had to quit after 1 quarter. And I don't even know how we managed to play an entire quarter. Seriously, it was that bad. The game was running is slow motion.

Why EA cannot get a football game to work over Live with a west coast vs. east coast user is beyond me. There are not that many variables at play here. It is two people and voice chat. I can play Halo 2 with fifteen other players from all over the world, with rockets launchers, wrecking absolute havoc, and that game will run smoother on an old Xbox than Madden 2007 runs on a 360. That boggles my mind.

And this is ALL EA's fault, because every other game I have played online has been fine. CoD2 was spotty for a second there, but the patch fixed it. This has been going on with EA for years now. This needs to be resolved. This is the "next-generation". EA is the largest game publisher in the world and Madden is their premier title. This should be a non-issue.

- With Madden unplayable, we moved on to GRAW. We hadn't played it in a while and Powerpuff still had some of the co-op achievements to unlock. We managed to get him one, and that was about it. Man, Wharf is a bitch to complete with just two people. It is actually pretty hard no matter how many players you have, but with only two (and with no respawns, since that is the only way to unlock the achievement), it is hella hard. We must have played it 10 times, trying different tactics each time. We got close sometimes, but no dice.

Don't worry Powerpuff, you'll get those achievements if it is the last thing we do! I'll get the clan together and we'll try again soon.

- After dying in Warf for the 10th straight time, it was time for a change. But what to play? Eureka! Project Gotham Racing 3!

I bought PGR3 about 2 weeks ago through Circuit City, which had it on sale for $19.99. I know Powerpuff has had it since launch, but he hadn't really delved into it. I myself had played it sporadically since I purchased it, but I was too busy with Condemned to really give it a go.


I gotta say, both Powerpuff and I were extremely impressed with the polish this game shows. Graphically, it is a knock-out! Silky smooth frame-rate, amazingly detailed tracks, gorgeous car models, and the best damn in-car view ever created for a game.

But best of all, the online portion of the game is both fun and runs flawlessly. And this was a launch game.

Take that EA!

We played various matches against CPU controlled opponents. It was a blast. I have a new found affliction with PGR3 (as was evident by both Powerpuff and I continuing our solo careers in the game for the rest of the weekend.

For any 360 owner who has not tried it and have even a slight interest in racing games, I give it my full endorsement.

It is also one of the games that makes the best use of Live that I have seen. Not only can you play a solo career, but you can play an on-line career as well. You can take photos and upload them. You can watch Gotham TV, which shows the best players in the world competing (great for learning some helpful tactics), you can access countless leader boards and view clips of how each player achieved that position, you can go to the Friends channel and watch people from your friends list racing, the list goes on and on. Very, very impressive stuff.

I only wish I would have discovered this game at the peak of its popularity, as most players have moved on to something else and the online portions of the game are not as active as they once were. Oh well, there is always Forza 2.

September 13, 2006

Man, it is dark in here

After playing nothing but Madden for two and a half weeks (with the occasional Texas Hold'em mixed in) I realized I was needing longer breaks between Madden games. Instead of playing back-to-back-to-back franchise games, I needed to play something else in between.

So I look through my games for something to play. I am still nowhere close to beating Oblivion, but Oblivion is a weird game where once I put it down, it really takes me a while to pick up again. Once I do however, I am fully hooked all over again . . . but I'm not feeling Oblivion right now.

Table Tennis? I still have plenty of characters and venues to unlock . . . but, nope, not feeling it.

Looks like I am done with all my games. Off to Best Buy.

I pick up Loco Roco for the PSP. I played the demo many, many times and I loved it. I've been eagerly anticipating this game's release. But, a portable game is not going to satisfy my fix. If it would I could just continue Syphon Filter (which I am . . . slowly. Good game). No, what I need is a 360 game. I need high definition graphics and 5.1 sound. But what to get? No recent 360 release has caught my eye. Saint's Row? Nope. Dead Rising? The demo was fun and I've heard great things . . . but I hear it is badly in need of a patch (and that it fries people's 360), so no. Prey? Yes . . . and no. Not yet.

Then I see it. Condemned: Criminal Origins. Of all the launch games that I have not played, this is the one I had the most interest in. And it is on sale too! 50% off!! SOLD!

Here are my impressions so far:

- First, I have to say, I've realized that I am a first-person shooter fanatic. I love FPS's. Ok, granted, Condemned is far from being a first-person "shooter", but I just love games played from a first-person perspective. Some find them disorienting, or boring, but I've realized that I love 'em.

- The game's opening credits are very cool. They are a blatant rip-off of the opening of Se7en, but it sets the mood for the game very well and is well produced. Very atmospheric.

- The graphics so far have been fantastic. Very dark, very gritty. Great lighting. Looks like you'll be spending all your time walking around in dark areas with your flashlight. I wonder why they even have a button to turn your flashlight on and off since it never runs out of battery (thank God) and I have yet to be in an area when I've thought, "Gee, there is more than enough light here, I can turn my flashlight off. Nope, that sucker has been on the whole time.

- Like I mentioned earlier, this is far from a first person shooter. It feels more like a first-person Silent Hill game. If you do find a fire-arm (revolver, pistol, or shotgun) the only ammo available is what is currently in the weapon. Once it runs out, it is time to find something else. This is cool, since it is unrealistic to just have ammo scattered through all these real-world locations, but I wish you would be able to take the ammo from a current weapon and transfer it to another of the same kind. For example, I came across a section where I had a shotgun with only two rounds left (max of 5 available). I found another shotgun left behind by an enemy I killed. That shotgun had three rounds left. I sure would have liked to take those three rounds out of his weapon and add them to mine (would have been realistic), but unfortunately, you can't do that. I had to just exchange weapons. Oh well.

- Speaking of weapons, this game is all about melee combat. While fire-arms are hard to come by, melee weapons are a dime a dozen. You can use many environmental objects, such a pipes, 2x4's (with rusty nails no less!), crowbars, shovels, sledgehammers, conduits, fire axes, even signs! The list goes on and on. Each weapon deals different damage, has a different speed and block rating, and a different range. Plenty of variation here.

- Combat is visceral and extremely violent. After all, bludgeoning someone to death with a pipe or slapping them across the face with a sledgehammer is not for the squeamish. Blocking an attack actually requires timing, you can't just hold down the block button, so that adds an extra layer to the combat. Enemies also show some intelligence. They don't just run at you all the time, but will sometimes actually run at you, attack, then run and hide. They'll even exchange their weapon for a better one if they find one. My biggest complaint with the combat so far is that the distance that an enemy can hit you from appears to be off. Even when you look like you are a safe distance out of range of their melee attack, they might still hit you. It makes combat feel a little less precise than I would have liked it, but once you get used to that aspect of it, you learn to adjust.

- The sound in the game is fantastic. Voice acting is good and the 5.1 audio creates a really intense and scary environment. You'll hear creaks and groans coming from all over. Excellent audio!

- One cool aspect about the game is that your character has various forensic tools he can use to gather clues. These all look great and are fun to use, except that the game practically kills this by holding your hand through the whole process. You can only use your forensic tools when the game tells you to use them and they even choose the one you need to use. So, while they are fun to use, you're not really doing any "detective" work after all. If this could have been implemented better, it would have been absolutely fantastic.

- This game is scary!!! Like I said, it is a very dark game (bother literally and figuratively). Mix in the gritty graphics with the previously mentioned audio, and this game will have you on the edge of your seat the entire time.

So far I'm probably halfway through the game. Much like Kameo (another launch game I played recently for the first time) I am really enjoying it. This was another game (again, like Kameo) that was criticized for being too short. Since I am mixing my play time with Condemned, Madden, and some Loco Roco, I think the length of the game is going to fine by me. I've mentioned a few times how I don't have as much time to play before like I used to, so these 10 hour games can last me a week or two (when before I used to be done with them in two days).

I hope to give final impressions when I am done with the game . . . but I've said that about lots of games and never followed through, so, we'll see. =)

So far, I recommend anyone with a 360 and who likes scary games ala Silent Hill to give Condemed a try.

September 08, 2006

Steelers 28, Dolphins 17

Well, it being the day after a tough Dolphins loss I am in my predictable sour mood today. I hate these losses more than blowouts, because when you have the lead with 6 minutes left to go you really start to think the game is in the bag. Or at least that your chances are pretty good.

Talk about a total breakdown late in the game.

Up 17-14 with 6 minutes left in the 4th against the Super Bowl champs, on their turf, in front of a national audience. Man, that was a good feeling. Less than one minute later, I felt like someone slugged me in the gut. I was looking like poor Booker did walking to the sideline after his injury. Dazed and confused.

I wasn't going into this game totally convinced we would emerge victorious. Sure, the news that Roethlisberger was out added a little fuel to the fire, but the Steelers' defense is no joke, so I knew it was not going to be a walk in the park. Both teams looked pretty mediocre early on. Our running game was non-existent. Hell, aside from Wes Welker, our entire offense was non-existent. Give Wes a damn game ball, because he was always the spark when the Dolphins needed one. Whether on special teams or making a big catch, Wes was the man early on.

The turning point in the game obviously was the 87 yard TD by Pittsburgh's TE. I don't even know the guy's name. Maybe I should learn it since he just had the longest touchdown reception by a tight end in three freakin' decades. Is it just me, or do all these crazy records seem to be set against the Dolphins? But everyone knows that wasn't a TD pass. He stepped out at the one yardline, and the play would have been overturned, except that Nick Saban's throwing arm makes Chad Pennington's look like a cannon. I mean, really coach, you might want to throw the flag like you mean it next time, ok? Especially late in the 4th when the play in question gives the other team the lead!

And why is it that every time a back-up, rookie, or 3rd string QB starts against the Dolphins, he looks like Marino in his heyday? I mean, is that just me too?! Charlie Batch with 3 tds and no interceptions? Of course, he's playing the Dolphins, I should have expected it.

Culpepper had his highs and lows. He had some terrible off-target passes, but then he had some true gems like that beautiful 31 yard floater he threw to Welker. His two late interceptions were the nails in the coffin though.

I'll tell you one player that really impressed me. Willie Parker. Man, this kid is going to have a huge year. He was ellusive, fast, and never gave up on a play. If it was a one-on-one tackle situation, he was going to get away. Too bad he plays for the Steelers.

Overall, I shouldn't be too hard on the Dolphins. They were 6 minutes away from beating the World Champions on their turf. I didn't really expected them to win, I just hoped they would, and they almost made it happen. It is only the first game of the season. We will get better. There are some positives to take from this game.

But man . . . it still hurts.

September 06, 2006

Miscellaneous ramblings

- I remembered and picked up the extended 2 year warranty for the 360 last week. My original warranty was renewed when I sent my 360 in for repair in May and I made a mental note to extend that to two years before it expired. I've heard too many horror stories (and been through one myself) to let it slip. Besides, $60 for two years buys more than just coverage for my 360, it buys piece of mind that every time I put a new game into it I don't have to worry that it is the last time I will see it working (been hearing crazy tales of Dead Rising messing up people's units).

- I was messing around with my 360's settings the other day and I began to wonder just how many people buy all these Themes and Picture packs that are out there. I've bought one theme (Halo 3) and haven't even considered buying a picture pack. I tend to alternate my theme from Halo 3 to the Glass theme, as those are the only two I have liked so far. I just don't see myself spending points on pictures or themes. Maybe I would if you get to preview them before you buy it. I hate the fact that you can only see a tiny picture of what the theme/picture pack looks like before you make a purchase. There should be a "Preview" option that lets you actually apply it and see what it looks like for about 30 seconds or something. If you had that option, I might consider making more purchases.

- Another thing that I have zero interest in are different face plates. They don't attract me at all. Maybe I'm in the minority here, but spending $20 for a different "look" to the front of my system is a waste of money. But if you enjoy that sort of thing, that's cool. It is great that you at least have the option I guess.

- I'm getting antsy for some reason to raise my gamerscore over 5000. I'm not a gamerscore "whore" or anything, and usually don't pay it no mind, but it has been in the 4000's for so long now, I just want to see the damn "5" on there. Maybe I'll try to rent King Kong and get a really easy 1000 points. :p

- Games I'm playing now are obviously Madden, and I still try to sneak in some Texas Hold'em. I'm really enjoying it and hope to get the courage to try it on Live soon. I wonder if you can play an arranged match with just a few friends and have the rest be controlled by the cpu? I doubt it, but it would be great to set up a match with Powerpuff just for fun and play a little poker.

- I fired up Wik last night and played it for about 10 minutes. Fun game overall. I hope to beat it sometime in the next five years, since I seem to only be able to take it in in 10 minute intervals.

- I will achieve 1,000,000 points in Geometry Wars one day. One day. Really.

- While writing that last sentence I almost wrote Colony Wars instead of Geometry Wars. Man, I wish they would release a new Colony Wars game for the 360. The original PSOne games were fan-fucking-tastic!!! And the creme-of-the-crop as far as console space-combat games go.

Who needs HDMI anyway right?

I think Sony is quickly running out of feet to shoot themselves in.

According to reports, the ultra pricey $600 version of the PS3 (the only one with HDMI support) will be shipping . . . without the actual HDMI cable.

So lets see. Sony's big hook is that the PS3 is the first "true" HD gaming system, it supports 1080p resolution, blah-blah-blah. So what do they do? First, they only include HDMI support in the more expensive version of their console (required for 1080p) and they don't even include the HDMI cable with that system in the first place.



Yesterday I was surfing through Wikipedia, just thinking up random topics and looking them up. Man, I love this site. Somehow I decided to look up "Dragonlance" (surfing this site is like surfing through IMDB, one thing leads to another, next thing you know you've spent 20 minutes on there)

Now, for those of you not familiar with Dragonlance, it is a series of fantasty novels that are part of the TSR/ (now Wizards of the Coast) Dungeons and Dragons series of RPGs. There are novels, D&D campaign sets, comic books, even videogames (although very crappy ones at that) based on the Dragonlance series. Pretty popular among us fantasty fans, but at the same time obscure to those not in our "club".

I am a HUGE Dragonlance fan. My user name of "Tanis" is taken right out of the novels. I have read over 20 books based on this world. I've played the AD&D campaign in high school with friends (yes, I was a D&D geek, and proud of it). I read my first DL novel at the age of 13 and have been hooked ever since. The first book in the series, "Dragons of Autumn Twilight" is the first full legnth novel I remember reading and to this day is my favorite book of all time. I have read it five times.

During all this time, my ultimate dream has been to see a full-length Dragonlance movie on the screen. Many movie rumors have come and gone, all just being a big tease. I've directed this movie in my head many times. I've contemplated writing the sript (just for shits and giggles). In the perfect scenario, I would be given 300 million dollars by some crazy movie studio and told to go ahead and create this Draginlance movie. Yep, a whopping 300 million is what it would have taken for this movie to be made the way I want it, because in order for it to be done right, no expense could be spared. I want top of the line effects, prostetics, sets, I want to film as much as I can on location, and it was going to be a 3 hour epic. Ah yes, it would have been great, but I knew it was never going to get done.

But then I got the Lord of the Rings trilogy and my appetite for a polished, high-quality fantasty epic was quenched. Or was it? Actually, seeing Peter Jackson's masterpiece on the big screen only made my longing for a Dragonlance movie worse. Dragonlance shares many similarities to LotRs, and like all fantasty works, owes its very creation to J.R.R. Tolkien's opus. Without The Hobbit, there would be no Dungeons and Dragons. Being the rabid DL fan that I am, I would have gladly traded Frodo and his adventures to see Tanis and his companions up on that screen instead, and their quest to stop the Dark Queen from taking over Krynn.

But I digress. So, I come upon Wikipedia's entry on Dragonlance . . . and what do I see? Not only are there plans to make a Dragonlance movie, but it has already been cast, has a director, and is in pre-production!

Holy hell how did I miss that?!

After my initial jubilation, I take a step back and looked at the situation. The film is not my 300 million dollar blockbuster, it is an animated film based on the first novel. Now, this is actually not a bad thing. I always said if the film could not have a huge budget, I would much rather have it be animated. I definitely would not want something like the Dungeons and Dragons movie as a result of trying too much with limited resources.

So, animated is good . . . but what kind of animation? From what I read it will use a mix of 2D and 3D effects. That sounds great . . . but how big is the budget? Keifer Sutherland has been cast as the voice of Raistlin . . . that could work. Is it going to look like a quality production, or some cheap straight to video cartoon? What's the rating? It has to be PG-13 right? It is not going to be 70 minutes long is it? That is not enough time to cover the plot!

See? That's my problem. I love Dragonlance too much to see it get massacred on the big screen. I'm dying for this movie to be made, yet dreading it at the same time. I have a clear vision in my head of what these characters and world looks like, how will I react when the director's vision doesn't match my own? Is any Dragonlance movie better than none at all?

Too early to tell at this point, but I have my eye on this. It could be one of the best movie going experiences of my life (remember, huge fan here) or the worse. I'm hoping for the former.

September 05, 2006

Steve Irwin

This weekend we drove up to St. Augustine to spend the long weekend. Nice place. A bit touristy though, taking away from its history, but that is to be expected.

Anyway, Monday morning we stop at a McDonald's for some breakfast before driving back and I heard on the news that Steve Irwin had died, from a freakish sting ray attack.


I was shocked. I was a huge Steve Irwin fan many years back. Me and my buddy would love watching this guy's show. He was funny, entertaining, and above all very passionate about what he was doing. He really did love his profession and the animals he spent his entire life studying and protecting.

I stopped watching Steve when he became so popular that everybody was talking about him. I tend to do that. I was a huge Emeril fan before he blew up and started doing his live tv show. I used to like him when he had his solo show, The Essence of Emeril, with no studio audience and was not showboating as much. Whenever an obscure band I like begins to get played on every radio station, I tend to loose interest. So, when Steve Irwin starred in his own movie, I decided to move on.

Being a diver, the news that he was killed by a sting ray was hard to understand. I've been around many sting rays and never felt in any sort of danger. But really, you shouldn't, because they are not dangerous creatures. Steve's situation was a horrible, horrible accident. A one in a million situation.

At least he went doing what he loved. In all honesty, I always figured it would have been a crocodile or a poisonous snake that would have done Steve in (not that I really gave the subject much thought mind you).

I am sure Steve inspired a whole generation of future nature conservationists and brought greater awareness to that which he dedicated his entire life to.

Steve, you will be missed.