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Forums > Contributor Zone > TT: FINALS - THE RESULTS! *insert epic final battle music here*

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Author: jerec
Posted: August 30, 2009 (04:06 PM)
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Mega long comments today.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
SUSKIE @ BOO
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

SUSKIE vs ESPIGA

JEREC: Suskie's review is brief, but it tells me so much in a small space. Control is discussed first, and at great length, but I can completely understand why - this is a Wii game, and control really can make or break a game, especially on this console. Suskie provides a compelling argument, that while the FPS is fairly simple, the controls feel right like it never has before. One of the reasons I don't like these games is due to the control, so I'd be willing to give this game a go. Maybe. This isn't as impressive as some other Suskie reviews I've read, but you know what? It doesn't need to be. The writing is tight, it flows well, and is a really easy read. This is the sort of review I would want to read if I was looking for opinions on this game. It recognises the game's faults, but still tells me why it's still a good game.

Espiga, while your reviews have been good as a whole this tournament, I am a little disappointed that your lineup of reviews seems to be exactly the same as your lineup of reviews you used in the 2007 TT, which I also judged. The fact that I remember your Gurumin review means that it was a memorable review two years ago, which is great. But it also means that I'm reading the same thing again, and it has less impact on me now. I was really hoping you might write a new review for the finals. By the way, I would recommend against using these same reviews again in the next TT. It's great that you can get this far on past glories, but when so many other reviewers are challenging themselves to come up with new material most rounds, I find myself less than impressed. Take your opponent, Suskie, for example. Most of the reviews he's used this tournament were new, and they were very, very good, which is why he kicked ass throughout the season. You already know what I think of your review this round, though if you need a refresher, I can tell you that it is still a very good review, if a little gimmicky, and one that makes the game sound a lot more interesting than it probably is.

Suskie's straightforward review wins over Espiga's repeat gimmick. I like both reviews a lot, but this was a very easy win for me to decide.

LEWIS: Suskie, this is a very solid review that taps nicely into what exactly makes the game work. You don't bother spending much time on its peripheral aspects, which works well. Why bother? If the game's all about the control scheme, then that's the most important thing to cover, and you do so with care and enthusiasm.

You do take the time to talk about why the game possibly wouldn't be as brilliant on another format, which again is a highly worthwhile angle to take. The bland narrative and level design would probably make this entirely unremarkable if played with a controller. But that's not the point, and you execute that judgement with style and confidence.

On the downside, there's little that stands out from a writerly point of view, and while everything is solidly constructed, a little more flair may have been preferable. Still, this is a strong piece.

Espiga, this is a tough one to judge, especially in the finals where one unfair decision could be all that counts. I'm not a fan of this type of review. The informality is fine, but the heavy use of first person to provide an illustrative voice is very tricky to get right. I don't think I'm letting my formality bias stand in the way here when I say this doesn't quite work.

There's nothing inherenly wrong with your approach, but it's one that has to be done bloody well to stand out. Otherwise, it starts to stray towards fan-fic tendencies, which I think is what this review's in danger of doing. Often, it's very good - the bit about talking to a videogame made me smile - but it just reads a little too naively to keep my interested throughout. Sorry. Suskie wins.

SPORTSMAN: What I liked about this Suskie review is that he convinced me - a person who never liked the Wii - that The Conduit is an interesting concept worth checking out that canít be done anywhere else. Wii has a ton of unique games so this shouldnít shock anyone, but I find most of them gimmicky and pointless and wish that they were done on another platform without the controls. However, Suskie convinced me that the Wii really works in its favor and gives you an experience you canít get on any other platform. It was also pretty short, which is good. Maybe another paragraph about the game in action wouldnít have hurt but itís almost always better to be brief than too long.

Espigaís been in a bit of a slump lately but this is one of the best reviews Iíve read from him in this tourney. He doesnít have an argument nearly as strong as Suskieís but he didnít need it. This is the far more passionate piece of the two. The sentence ďEvery part of Parinís world is filled with so much rich detail and humour that you canít help but fall in love with her storyĒ really sums this one up perfectly. He really brought this titleís quirkiness to life and got me into it. It was the longer one of the two but the writing was excellent and the review was fast-paced so I never got bored and didnít realize this was as long as it was until I finished it.

Suskieís review is the more analytical and has the more interesting argument, and Espigaís is the more personal of the two. While Espiga mightíve not has as ambitious of a project and delved as deeply into the mechanics, his approach really made the review interesting. I liked both and this is a very close match though Espiga really stepped it up and wrote the more interesting piece. While Suskieís argument was convincing it overall just wasnít as interesting and none of his observations jumped out at me as somethingspectacular. It definitely convinced me that the game is unique, but didnít really make the game sound awesome. Itís one of those reviews that give me the ďok, coolĒ impression. Still not a bad effort, but unfortunately for Suskie once again he loses a close one to someone who really stepped it up.
WINNER: ESPIGA

TRUE vs WOODHOUSE

JEREC: I've been hearing a lot about Arkham Asylum lately, and True's is the first review I've read for it. There's a fair bit of descriptive stuff, setting up the premise. But it works because it well written and sets the scene perfectly, making me want to know more. I liked reading about how the game taunts you, such as with the Croc battle. Combat is adequately described towards the end of the review, but it definitely seems like the psychological aspect of this game is what True loves most. It makes me want to play the game. I've got the demo downloading on my 360 now. I'm fairly new to Batman, only really getting into it with Batman Begins and Dark Knight, and I usually don't bother with these sorts of games, but True makes it sound so brilliant that I really have to play it. It's a long review, but it never once felt that way because the writing is so sharp, so full of enthusiasm. This is the sort of review I'm expecting to see in the finals, and True delivers.

Woodhouse's review is quite interesting. Disaster Report seems like no game I've played before, and it actually sounds quite fun, until we get to the later part of the review and we hear about the flaws in the game. Woodhouse manages to capture that adrenaline pumping experience of escaping from the sinking island very convincingly, and the paragraph about Karen and Kelly and the companionship stands out as my favourite point in the review. Woodhouse's writing is also good enough that when the flaws are discussed, I actually feel disappointed that the game isn't as great as it could have been. There were a few small goofs in the review, which a proof read will fix, but otherwise, this was an incredibly strong review.

This was a much tougher, and much more impressive match than Suskie vs Espiga (and less one-sided). True and Woodhouse both bring out amazing, final match worthy reviews. Both of these would score above 90 in a standard contest, though True is slightly closer to the 100 mark with his piece, so he gets the win from me.

LEWIS: This is an absolutely brilliant review of an absolutely brilliant game, True. I love how you hold back on the intro for so long -- it's carefully constructed and produces a brilliantly suspenseful atmosphere to the writing. Then, when you finally drop the bombshell on how good the game is, the rest of the review absolutely exudes utter enthusiasm in practically every sentence.

It's the sort of review that demonstrates such an uncompromising love for the game that, even ignoring the hard content entirely, you could tell this game's a great one. It flows sublimely, but never feels too calculated, letting your unconditional admiration for Batman and Rocksteady's work guide the review along.

I guess if I have a criticism it's that you didn't quite tap into the game's problems enough, of which there are a great deal. None that really spoil the game, but they are there. This is only an issue as I've played the game too, though, so it seems unfair to bash for that. A brilliant effort. I hope it serves you well.

This is a fantastic match-up, though, and one that will really stretch my judging ability, as Woodhouse's review is brilliant too. Woodhouse, I love how analytical this is, while never straying into the realms of tedious. You obviously understand exactly what makes the game tick, and you're picking apart each element, examining it, and reporting back to the reader with real style.

My criticism here would be that the introduction isn't as strong as the remainder of the review, and could have done with something to really engage the reader from the start. I'm not sure if it's a review I'd have read in its entirety unless I had to -- but I'm glad I did, because once the opening's out of the way, this is really strong. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to give my vote to True, but this is an incredibly close one. Two excellent reviews.

SPORTSMAN: Trueís review really captured the atmosphere of the game. Like last week the intro was sort of generic, and also like last week after the intro the review really took off. True has a very convincing tone and although there were a few grammar hiccups here and there the writing was very engaging and really got me into the game. Iíve also always preferred the darker Batmans and the theme of the game really sounded awesome to me. Great job and setting the tone here, True. The problem I had is it didnít say much about the actual game. Itís good to have fantastic atmosphere and I was more than convinced about that but very little of this review was devoted to actual gameplay. Batman having to rely on stealth and all sounded awesome and I wanted to know more about that. This is what I was really interested in and it was sort of lacking until briefly at the very end.

Woodhouse, on the other hand wrote another killer review. This one actually reminds me of a Leroux/Drella piece from 2004 and Jihadís Gitaroo-man (a favorite of mine). From start to finish this one didnít slow down. Maybe it was a little bit on the long side, but it held my interest the whole way through. The beginning in particular was great, since it really set the tone and the quirkiness worked in its favor. Valid complaints about the game were made, and they were mixed in so well with the review to the point where I didnít feel like I was reading a list and it felt like one continuous argument. Trueís good parts were just as good as the good parts in this review, but Woodhouseís told me a lot more about the actual game and made the gameplayt sound much more appealing so it was the superior one this round.
WINNER: WOODHOUSE

ASCHULTZ vs BOO


JEREC: This ASchultz review was difficult to read in the same way that some of his other reads this tournament have been. But that's his style, and the other two judges seem to enjoy it. I find it tiring, myself. The review is long, and Schultz just fires ideas and descriptions and tells me what I could do (rarely "will do", there seem to be a lot of choices in these games). A lot of it is fairly abstract, but I never really get much of a sense of the overall. Just a lot of little aspects of the game, and it never really meshes well into a cohesive picture in my mind. I get that it's an old RPG, but the various names and things unfortunately don't mean much to me, and the review jumps into all this stuff before I even have a chance to get interested. And you know what? This is perfectly valid reviewing for a game like this - because outside of a tourney, you're really only going to read this if you're already interested in learning about some old games. A long review is more helpful than a short review in this case, as it's less of a review (because who is seriously going to read a review of a game that's 21 years old and think "Oh yes, I must play this now!"). It's a retrospective piece. It can work as a review, but it could also work on a blog, or a feature article in a magazine. It just doesn't work for me personally, and if I didn't have to read it for the tournament, I doubt I would otherwise.

On the other hand, Boo's review is shorter, and much more accessible. The first two thirds of the review talk about how he can't bash the game because it's so interesting. Boo makes a convincing case that Breakdown is an interesting experience, even if the game itself is not good. The experience does sound amusing, thanks to the many features Boo describes, like puking poisoned food into a toilet. The last few paragraphs talk about what the gameplay did wrong. The 7/10 didn't feel out of place, but the whole "Very Good This game does enough things right that for the most part, you'll likely enjoy yourself while playing it. Recommended." did feel out of place. Seems to me that the game got enough things wrong, but was still enjoyable somehow. This is a 2005 review, but Boo seems to be writing on the same level as many of his other submissions this tourney. Was this one given a touch up just recently? Incredibly polished writing, and it left me with a very clear image of the game.

These two reviews are so different, but Boo's is the easier review to follow and it is the more interesting read of the two. It's a review that just works, so Boo gets the win from me.

LEWIS: Aschultz, this is very nearly a brilliant review. Like True's piece in the above match, it's one that drips enthusiasm for the material throughout. The intro's strong and draws me deeply into your review and the world you're describing. It's just such a shame about some of your sentence construction.

There's one in the second paragraph that I had to read four times before I got it. That was the worst one, but there are a few offending phrasings here, ones that are difficult to process and could have been rectified by some simple re-wording. So while this has the potential to be an excellent write-up, there's too much editing required for me to be completely blown away by it.

Boo, yours is an interesting piece that clearly explains what makes the game so fascinating despite its shortcomings. I like the detail you go into, I like your introduction, and I like how effortlessly you seem to understand the game and what it's trying to achieve.

But I like the writing less. There's something a bit clumsy about parts of this. It occasionally feels a bit naive, and seeing that you wrote it four years ago doesn't surprise me at all. Again, this is a really close match-up, as both reviews are excellent yet flawed. I think I'll edge slightly towards Boo here, but both would be awesome if touched-up.

SPORTSMAN: Iím glad Schultz reviewed this game. Itís a title that Iíve always wanted to read about since the Fallouts are supposed to be spiritual successors to it or something. Overall he did a great job with this piece; the subject matter was interesting and he really captured what made the game so great. Iím surprised how ahead of its time this game is. To me this sounds like an early Fallout, and I know this game came way before so props to Schultz for making it sound relevant and interesting today. I mean who wouldíve expected a game with so much depth in the 1980ís? Games today are still getting praised for something Wasteland mastered more than twenty years ago.

I really like this approach Boo took with his review, partially because I tried it a few years back with JSRF and wound up never finishing the review. He did a really good job at making the game sound laughably bad and an equally good job at making the game sound like a great time. Thereís a perfect blend of positive and negatives. I understand that from a technical standpoint the game really screws up, and Iím also convinced that the game is still a bland to play. Itís brief, hits hard, and leaves me with no questions. Most of all the concept sounds appealing to me and the review caught my interest and kept it for the whole time.

This is yet another good matchup and a close round for both reviewers. While Schultzís was well organized, informative, and quite interesting, it never had the same level of intensity as Booís. Schultzís argument was strong, but today many games take on Wastelandís formula. So while it might be revolutionary for its time and still great today, it didnít quite make it sound spectacular to me. I mean I dug the approach and canít think of a better way to tackle, but it overall just isnít as appealing to me.
WINNER: BLUBERRY

RESULTS

TEAM SUSKIE vs TEAM BOO 2-1

SUSKIE vs ESPIGA 2-1
TRUE vs WOODHOUSE 2-1
ASCHULTZ vs BOO 0-3

So there it is, Suskie's team won, even though Boo's team managed more votes. This was actually decided last night when I made my blog post, since I received Lewis' verdicts first, and he and I voted the same way on all 3 matches, which is pretty rare. It would have looked very different to me had I received Sportsman's verdicts first.


I can avoid death by not having a life.


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Author: Halon
Posted: August 30, 2009 (04:39 PM)
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As I said in Zig's blog all of these reviews were great and all three matchups could've easily gone the other way. My picks were all on the spot so I didn't spend all day thinking about it and delay the verdicts anymore.

Also I seemed to vote correctly the most out the three judges throughout so it's good to see that I'm the wildcard judge for once! I actually thought I would be the wildcard from the beginning but Jerec and Lewis opposed each other a lot. :)

Finally a big thanks to everyone who participated. It might've not always seemed like it but I really had a good time judging this and reading so many great reviews that I probably wouldn't have read otherwise or read before.


IF YOU WANT MORE BEATS FOR YOUR BUCK THERE'S NO LUCK.


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Author: bluberry
Posted: August 30, 2009 (05:13 PM)
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congrats to the other team! and thanks to the judges.

Jerec: yeah, it was given a touch-up just now. not a drastic overhaul, though, hence I can see where Lewis is coming from.

and if you hadn't noticed, Espiga has not been to HG since he signed up for the draft, hence all the old material. I have said this to many people, but if there's a next time for me, my first draft pick will make my second draft pick. I clearly can't fucking do it.


Oh no, it's a Goomba!


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Author: Halon
Posted: August 30, 2009 (06:25 PM)
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Interesting, I haven't read that Espiga review before which is probably why I liked it so much. It was one of those cutesy one-time reviews so if I had read it before chances are I would've easily taken Suskie.

Anyways I archived the entire tournament here. You can find it linked to from my archive page, which is located here if you've never seen it before.


IF YOU WANT MORE BEATS FOR YOUR BUCK THERE'S NO LUCK.


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Author: wolfqueen001
Posted: August 30, 2009 (06:48 PM)
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Congrats to the winners and everyone else. I believe Suskie has broken whatever record it was that Felix had cited all those weeks ago.

Sportsman, I think you forgot to archive this despitehowcrapIdidinit. But it's cool you archived TT. As far as I know, that's never been done before. =/


What espiga does in his free time
[Eating EmP's brain] probably isn't a good idea. I mean... He's British, which means his brain's wired for PAL and your eyes are NTSC. - Will


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Author: Suskie
Posted: August 30, 2009 (07:53 PM)
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Awesome. I know Boo's strategy was to guarantee each side a victory and then bet everything on the True vs. Woodhouse match, but I think all three matches wound up being closer than anyone thought they would. I even figured True nailed it as soon as I saw his Arkham Asylum review, but then Woodhouse's was great as well. This is actually the second TT in a row that ended with the winning team scoring 4-5, I'll point out. So thanks to Boo's team for making this tournament end on such an exciting note.

One more final thanks to the judges, who had toughest job of anyone here and consistently delivered in full. Your verdicts were fair and well reasoned. Thanks as well to all of the participants, who were able to make this season as exciting and unpredictable as it was. I hope those of you who were new to TT enjoyed it enough to stick around for next year's.

Finally, I definitely need to thank my two teammates for giving it their all and being so eager to learn, improve, and work hard for their victories. I know they wanted this more than I did and in my book, they've certainly earned it.


You exist because we allow it. And you will end because we demand it.


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Author: aschultz
Posted: August 30, 2009 (08:21 PM)
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Wow...how's that for drama, a 2-1 4-5. Good job to the other team for bringing it. I thought I'd go 1-2 against Bluberry but then I'll take True winning and me going 0-3. Kind of sucks for Bluberry that he had to rely on Espiga's backlog but that backlog was entertaining for me (I'd never read it before) and he and Woodhouse both had some really good reviews this tourney.

Nice job judges too. You guys worked independently and well and came up with different opinions. I think whether you voted for or against me, I got something from each one of you pretty much every round.

Specifics:

Jerec--yeah, it's tough to know what to do when you know your style doesn't match up with a judge. I was listening to what you had to say but it never seemed to fit in. As for who plays old games--well, cheapskates like me with no shelf space who are technical enough to handle emulators. I also feel they often have less rules, and I am too lazy to learn new rules.

Sportsman--yeah, do try Wasteland. It's worth learning Apple emulators. I hadn't realized Wasteland's skill based system had been used that much and I maybe could've mentioned that up front. In fact I should've realized things. Didn't have time to play Fallout to compare it to Wasteland.

Lewis--aaigh, you're right about the clumsiness. Bringing that against someone like Bluberry is living dangerously, especially in the finals when he's bound to bring it even more than usual.

Thanks to my teammates for covering when I lost (like this round,) and being willing to listen to my criticism and to have faith in me despite my limited range in games.

Good job to everyone in the tourney especially those who wrote new reviews or seriously revamped old ones. The experience surpassed my expectations. But I know I'm a bit exhausted now.


My principal said, 'Emo, Emo, Emo.'
I said 'I'm the one in the middle, you lousy drunk!'
-- Emo Phillips


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Author: Felix_Arabia
Posted: August 30, 2009 (08:55 PM)
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Congratulations to the winning team. Your hardware is in the mail. Suskie, I'm sending you a Turbo Duo. True, you get a wired payment for Darkness. Schultz, you get IU paraphernalia.

Again, great TT. Glad to see it turned out well.


I don't have to boost my review resume because I have a real resume.


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Author: wolfqueen001
Posted: August 30, 2009 (09:17 PM)
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Wow. I just read Schultz's review, and I've got to say, you've definitely made a marked improvement from that first review I read from you all that time ago. Well done. That's the spirit of TT right there - self-improvement. Especially significant self-improvement.


What espiga does in his free time
[Eating EmP's brain] probably isn't a good idea. I mean... He's British, which means his brain's wired for PAL and your eyes are NTSC. - Will


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Author: bluberry
Posted: August 30, 2009 (09:28 PM)
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yeah, he's done well. Randxian also.


Oh no, it's a Goomba!


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Author: aschultz
Posted: August 30, 2009 (09:25 PM)
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Thanks, Wolfqueen. I am curious what that first review was? With all the proofreading that got done in the TT, I'm more interested in revisiting old stuff than before.

Sportsman--wow, a lot to read at your site. I noticed you didn't have MotO 2 there yet? Lots of other fun ones though. Wish I'd been around for more of them.

Jerec--I forgot to add, thanks for posting this early. Thanks to all the judges for being quick this round and being good sports about letting us have another day.

EDIT: Oops, I see it now, Wolfqueen. For some reason I saw the link and figured you weren't in MotO2 so you were referring to something else. Apology inserted as edit to avoid bumping this needlessly--I mean, to avoid getting it noticed period.


My principal said, 'Emo, Emo, Emo.'
I said 'I'm the one in the middle, you lousy drunk!'
-- Emo Phillips


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Author: wolfqueen001
Posted: August 30, 2009 (09:43 PM)
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Oh, I don't remember which one it was. I do know that it was one of your first ones that you subbed here, though, when you started becoming active.

And yeah. Randxian must have improved a ton, too. I'll have to read one of his more recent ones to compare. Where'd he go, anyway? I haven't seen him in a while. But maybe I just haven't been paying attention.

Anyway, yeah. I pointed out the MOTO thing already. Heh. I was just more subtle about it. =P Sportsman can't miss it now, though.


What espiga does in his free time
[Eating EmP's brain] probably isn't a good idea. I mean... He's British, which means his brain's wired for PAL and your eyes are NTSC. - Will


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Author: Halon
Posted: August 30, 2009 (11:07 PM)
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Thanks WQ and Schultz, didn't even know that contest existed haha. It's up there now.


IF YOU WANT MORE BEATS FOR YOUR BUCK THERE'S NO LUCK.


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Author: Halon
Posted: August 30, 2009 (11:09 PM)
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By the way if I remember I'll be posting my choices for the awards in my blog sometime tomorrow night.


IF YOU WANT MORE BEATS FOR YOUR BUCK THERE'S NO LUCK.


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Author: True
Posted: August 31, 2009 (12:40 AM)
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Well, I won't go too into depth here because I have a very long, emotional blog planned out for a lot of people that were in this, especially the judges, so look for that either tonight or tomorrow.


If I Offended You, You Needed It.


This message was administratively deleted because it did not adhere to site guidelines, or because a user other than IonVasilake requested its removal.

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Author: True
Posted: August 31, 2009 (01:54 AM)
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You DO NOT ruin my victory party with your lame ass spam!!

UNDERSTAND?!


If I Offended You, You Needed It.


This message was administratively deleted because it did not adhere to site guidelines, or because a user other than ECIM requested its removal.

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Author: True
Posted: August 31, 2009 (02:24 AM)
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Dear ECIM,

Please expect a lot of spam in your email from me telling you how to grow your penis larger while maintaining your credit and searching the web for the best dating site while you play with an uber awesome Nerf gun and get the best deal on wine.

Courtesy of The One, The Only True Baby.


If I Offended You, You Needed It.


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Author: randxian
Posted: August 31, 2009 (07:07 AM)
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Congrats to Suskie, True, and Schultz for taking all the marbles.

Yeah, I'm still around. I'm just being a lazy ass.


I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER?


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