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Title: Just saw Avatar (in 3D no less)
Posted: December 21, 2009 (03:38 AM)
First off, I really liked the film. But my enjoyment comes with some baggage.
For one thing, it's sad that such a high concept has to be given such a Hollywood treatment. There are so many places to go with the concept of putting ourselves into alien bodies and experiencing alien cultures first hand and the film has this sense like it wanted to let the audience know it was aware of those things so it touches on them briefly before charging ahead with the usual "humans versus aliens" science fiction battle plot.
I also am upset by some of the racial imagery associated with the film. The aliens draw direct parellels to native americans. Or, I should say, a White Man's understanding of Native Americans. That's the biggest problem with the film, in my opinion. It has a message of befriend nature and the native Americans were right, but as usual, White writers and directors (in this case James Cameron on both fronts) miss the whole point. Being in touch with nature isn't some mystical thing that's exciting and filled with graphic splendor. It's hard work and requires a loss of our comforts and our inflated visions of who we are as a species. Similarly, the Native Americans weren't magical shamans who respected nature because they could talk to it and feel its pain. It was common sense. Shit in your own backyard and you'll have to clean it up someday. Cut down all the trees and you may have a house today, but tomorrow your children won't be able to eat. When you kill an animal, try to end its pain quickly because it's not pleasant to watch anything die in pain. Cats play with their food. Humans have the ability to choose not to do that. That's part of what makes us special. These are common sense things but White people can't seem to ever call it for what it is. They always have to disconnect it with fantastical terms and mystical trappings.
"Oh please," some folk might say. "You can't do anything these days without offending someone." Offending someone isn't the real issue, though. I mean, we took these people's land and murdered their kinfolk. We're kind've past offense. At this point, it's about education. Continuing to propagate a Native American stereotype as being "Tribal" or connecting issues of environment to mysticism isn't particularly an ill-intentioned decision. In fact, in Avatar's case I would say it was well-intentioned. Nonetheless, it's an uneducated decision and that can be dangerous.
Other than that, the film is beautiful, well-acted, and is pushing forward new ways of filming that are going to reshape the industry... at least for those who have the millions of dollars to utilize the techniques. It's also highly reminiscent of Ferngully. There's one scene in particular where I was waiting for Tim Curry to make a cameo appearance and start singing about "slime beneath me..."
Title: Next piece of Chrono Break out
Posted: December 16, 2009 (12:49 PM)
For those of you here who keep up with my dark take on the Chrono series, the next part is finally out:
Title: Great article on Survival Horror
Posted: December 13, 2009 (11:20 PM)
Great covering of the history:
Title: Next purchase? Need advice.
Posted: December 13, 2009 (11:26 AM)
I'm looking to pick up one of the following this month:
Assassin's Creed 2
Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2
All three have received high reviews, both here and from my friends. There are a few things I was trying to clear up about each game, though...
Assassin's Creed 2: has the story improved since the original? What about those ungodly twenty minute "cutscenes" before each mission? I hear a lot about missions being better, but are they more varied? I'm not looking for Grand Theft Auto: Rennaisance. I want something a little more visceral and a little more immersive than that.
Dragon Age: I hear it's nothing like "the second coming of Baldur's Gate" that it was advertised as. My question is, is it better than KOTOR? I was not a big fan of KOTOR. I'm looking for a game that's less linear than KOTOR was and involves either less long conversations or better written conversations.
Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2: I don't need another multi-player game. I've heard the single player mode is outstanding in the truest sense of the word; that is, it's a unique experience in the FPS genre. How enduring is it?
In the meantime, the rest of this month will probably be spent on Fatal Frame, which I intend to use as my "F" in the alphabetolympics.
Title: Call of Duty 4: beating the Chernobyl mission on Hardened and Veteran
Posted: December 12, 2009 (02:19 AM)
Everyone has trouble with this one, but I finally figured out a sure-fire way to beat it. Obviously, for those who have played the game, the part I am referring to is the bit where you have to wait for a chopper to land at the Ferris Wheel while being rushed by an inordinate amount of troops.
The first part of this is laying the traps. Believe it or not, this is less crucial than you might think, at least with this strategy. The claymores can be placed wherever, but it's best to spread them out so they don't activate each other. A generally good strategy is to place them in the large field where the soldiers first enter, or by the vehicles to give an extra explosion when they go.
The C4 is much more important. This has to be placed BEHIND the Ferris wheel, in a line stretching from the Ferris Wheel platform all the way over to where Macmillan is sitting. Don't ask me why just yet. Just trust me.
Now, there are three little ticket booths in this area. If you are pointing towards where the enemies come from, there is one on the left of the ferris wheel, one a little off center (it's bigger than the others), and one on the right, very close to the ferris wheel and between the wheel and the bumper car platform.
This is the one you'll want to head to.
Enter the booth. You'll notice it has a little counter by the window. Lay prone. In this position you should be able to get underneath this counter. Now turn around and face the open doorway. Crawl forward a little bit, but not too much. You shouldn't be able to get into a crouch (hitting the crouch button will come up with a message saying you can't stand here).
Why this particular set up? From here you are protected against enemy soldiers. Chances are, they won't even come into the booth, but even if they do, they'll just stand at the entrance stupidly and prove a nice target for your gun (I highly advise you using the AK47 or another automatic weapon for this, the rifle is just too slow).
The other benefit is that grenades, for the most part, can't harm you here. Oh sure, you're going to see a ton of those grenade signs pop up, but as long as you remain under the ledge and inside the booth, they can't actually hit you.
The one exception to this is if a grenade lands inside the booth. The only place this can happen is directly in front of the door, which is why you need to keep facing it and why you needed to move forward a bit when this whole thing started. If a grenade lands inside the booth, you have to instantly push forward and hit the grenade button to throw it out of the door. If you don't, you will be killed by the explosion. It requires good aim to do this quickly, but the doorway makes a fairly large target, so it shouldn't be too much of a problem. It helps to turn the game's brightness up a bit so that you can distinguish when a grenade lands inside the booth and move towards it until the throwback command appears. It also helps if you move around a bit in small circles while inside the booth. This is because part of the game's accuracy for the troops is based on whether you are moving or not. Their grenades will be less accurate if you keep up a semblance of movement.
So begins the strategy of "watch for grenades and toss them back." It's nerve-racking, but quite simple and you don't have to worry about guards shooting you to pieces while you do it. The only thing that can cause you considerable trouble is the occasional flashbang that lands in the booth. If you see a flashbang, first of all DONT TRY TO THROW IT BACK. Believe me, you'll have this knee jerk reaction, but you can't throw back flashbangs. Instead you'll toss your own grenade and blow yourself up. What you need to do if you see a flashbang is instantly target the open doorway and pay careful attention to your screen until the vision returns to normal. If, during this time, you get the opportunity to throw-back a grenade, you want to be pointed at the open doorway.
And so the time will pass. Enemy choppers will drop more troops and Macmillan will yell a lot, but you just need to stay focused on looking for stray grenades. Keep your vision focused on the area in front of the door, inside the booth. Don't worry about anything outside the booth, the booth's walls protect you. Also don't worry about grenades landing behind or to your side. It doesn't happen.
Eventually the friendly chopper will arrive in a blaze of glory. However! Do not run out! You will be shot to pieces and blown to bits. Also, you've got to go get MacMillan before you can board the chopper (imagine my frustration in figuring this one out). In the meantime, the chopper is saying you only have a half minute or so before it has to take off again. So how we do this?
First, wait a couple seconds for the grenade signs to die down. Then inch towards the door. Most likely there are enemies lining the ferris wheel. Good thing you rigged it, and the path to Macmillan, with C4. Blow it now and immediately take off running up the hill behind the Ferris Wheel and towards MacMillan. Dogs and enemies are probably coming behind you, but ignore them and focus on grabbing MacMillan. Once you have him, head down the hill and towards the chopper. Generally about this time, the dogs and enemies halt and start focusing on the NPC allies surrounding the chopper, giving you a chance to get on board and end this god-awful mission.
In summary: ticket booths kick ass.
Title: Game that looks most improved on HDTV?
Posted: December 08, 2009 (10:16 AM)
Believe it or not, it's Mirror's Edge. I mean, all my games and even my screensavers look better, but Mirror's Edge shows the most noticeable improvement thus far.
Title: I'm back... and better equipped
Posted: December 07, 2009 (09:13 PM)
I announce my return to Honest Gamer's group of talented writers, today. I also come with my first HDTV, a very fine Vizio 32''. My love triangle is complete.
Goddamit, even the PS3 update bar looks better than all of my games did on SD.
You shall be hearing from me shortly.
Title: The usual end-of-year list
Posted: November 14, 2009 (09:11 AM)
Getting to be that time of the year when I'm far too busy to play games and am thus missing some interesting titles I'll have to list out here so I don't ignore them after the crazed finals rush.
The list is shorter this year than in previous years. I no longer have the money, time, or willpower to pick up and try every game that looked interesting. Many was the game I had mild interest in that hasn't made this list (Brutal Legends being a perfect example).
Dragon Age Origins
Braid (finally out on PS3)
Modern Warfare 2 is a tentative entry. I'm not in much of a shooter mood right now but by all accounts it's a game that shouldn't be missed.
Demon Souls I'm afraid to pick up. I think to really enjoy it I'd have to have a hell of a lot more time in my day to devote to it.
They've also finally set a release date for FFXIII, so it looks like I'll have to have my HDTV by March.
I'm thinking of selling my DS and all the games for it. Granted, there are some good games in my collection (a couple Castlevania games) but the collection is mostly remakes of final fantasy games. And sadly I'm discovering that the SNES era and before, while great in my memory, kind've doesn't hold up when revisited today with a few minor exceptions (Startropics and the original Mario games come to mind).
Actually, the main reason I haven't sold the DS yet is because it's ability to play Advance games gives me access to a rather tremendous backlog that even my previous statement has difficulty dampening. And it doesn't take up much space, either.
Then again, that's what I thought about the Wii... sigh...
Title: Farewell for a time
Posted: November 11, 2009 (12:57 AM)
This week's ROTW will be the last time you guys will hear from me for about three or four weeks. In light of my ever increasingly-insane workload I will be needing to take a break from anything not film or school related until the end of the term.
My PS3 has been turned off, my TV has been put into storage, and my PSP will be getting sent off to Sony for warranty replacement. For the next couple of weeks, I am gameless. I think it's the only way I'll finish my thesis.
I'll see you all on the other side. Wish me luck.
Title: You never know when it's going to hit you
Posted: November 04, 2009 (12:58 AM)
I was flirting with this girl at a party a couple weeks ago and we kind've hit it off. No sex, no make outs, no exchange of phone numbers, just a very pleasant evening of flirting until she had to leave to not be hung over for work in the morning. More on that in a minute. A little aside first.
There was also a transvestite at the party and we flirted something major, too. Cause, you know... I'm bi... and I like to flirt. Anyways, we're really hitting it off when one of our friends comes up, slaps this trannie on the back and exclaims, "So, Alan. You've met Jonathan. This guy (pointing to me) is the one who sucked you off at last year's party."
Alan looked at me... "that was you?"
I looked at him... "that... oh that was you."
Then we didn't speak for the rest of the night.
Anyways, it was a pretty hilarious incident and one which I'll probably always get a laugh from. I didn't really think much more about the beautiful girl I'd flirted with. After all, nothing had come of it.
Then tonight I found out that, Sunday, she had been run over by a car and killed.
Now I'm not one to get affected by death, at least not in the past. I've had friends who have killed themselves, relatives die... it's just never affected me heavily. I see it as the natural end of life. Until tonight.
Somehow, this girl who had come into my life for a couple hours and had been little more than a friendly smile during drunken attempts at conversation (hard to talk over blaring metal)... somehow her death had broken my heart and crushed my soul.
You never know when death is going to affect you. That, and some wrongful accusations made by a classmate that I'm a hateful racist, have had me silently crying all night.
All I can think of is her face. The tears are not coming out, but I wish they would.
I'm not looking for pity or anything. It's just a moment I thought had to be recorded.
Title: ... seriously?
Posted: November 02, 2009 (11:24 PM)
Myst doesn't have a positive review to its name on this site? That's... not right. Myst is one of the most original games of all time. Aside from shaping the adventure genre for years to come, it also was the first major game to feature mostly ambient music integrated with the natural sounds of the environment, a style that would pave the way for adventure gaming soundtracks. Not to mention the fact that it told a story that you come into the middle of and never really find out the whole of... again, a heavy influence on later adventure works.
And you know what... it may look a little dated today... but it still works. I'm gonna write a review. I'm gonna do it.
Title: For EmP... happy halloween
Posted: October 30, 2009 (08:30 PM)
Together with Xenosaga, this is Square Enix's most convoluted plot line... which puts it high in the running for most convoluted plot of all time. Despite EmP's suspicions, I didn't actually like Chrono Cross. I have to admit to getting choked up quite often during it, but that was an effect of the beautiful music, not because anything interesting was actually happening on screen.
Title: Some more three sentence reviews
Posted: October 29, 2009 (01:25 PM)
I'm almost done with my Chinatown Wars review, but I needed a quick break. So more quickies!
Wearing a trench coat and sunglasses, you fight the confusing plot lines of the Illuminati. It's nice to play as a character who can fit a rocket launcher under that coat. Better yet, they explain WHY he can fit a rocket launcher under his coat.
Deus Ex Invisible War
The reason this game got bad press: less trench coat. Less rocket launcher. Less explanation.
Programming at its best. If using C++ involved the slaying of monsters for exp and loot, then I'd probably be a programmer today. I certainly spent enough time at the game to build one myself.
God of War II
There's, like, two locations in this entire game. Just goes to show that no matter how violent and cool your main character is, dungeon crawls are boring. Kratos' prize for traversing the dungeon is a huge fat woman.
Title: Casting Call for Population 2
Posted: October 27, 2009 (05:55 PM)
Don't know if anyone knows anyone living in Portland, OR, but if you do... my next movie is going to start filming soon.
Moon Tribe Studios presents another casting call for a short film shooting late February 19th – 28th, 2010 entitled, “Population 2,” a futuristic dark drama about loss and the inability to move on.
Hired actors will receive credit and experience on a serious production set and on a film that is going to be making the festival rounds as well as seeing limited theatre release.
Moontribe Studios is highly supportive of the independent film making scene in Portland and there is a large chance that more acting work may follow.
Please read closely:
WHERE: TBD (You will be contacted if chosen with the location)
DATE/TIME: Monday November 9, 1pm to 6pm and Tuesday
November 10th, 1pm to 5pm. The slots are at 15 minute intervals starting at the time mentioned. Email your prefered time slot when you apply.
There will be CALLBACKS in January.
We are casting for two roles. Male and Female who look 25-35. Must be 18 or over. Actor must be able to commit to the entire week of production although the shooting may not require the entire week. These roles are very emotionally demanding however previous acting experience is not required. If you think you have the ability to pull off such a role, we encourage you to audition.
Name: Citizen 1
Gender: male OR female
Character: A former disgruntled corporate employee of a manufacturer for survival housing, equipment and war material. Once married to Citizen 2. Now surviving alone in a post-apocalyptic environment. Citizen 1 struggles with obsessive compulsiveness and control issues. He/she is an emotional wreck but is good at hiding this fact from him/herself.
Name: Citizen 2
Gender: male OR female (opposite of ROLE 1)
Character: Once married to Citizen 1. Also an employee of the corporation. Citizen 2 has dealt with Citizen 1’s issues to the point that they have taken on a somewhat abused persona. He/she is not used to asserting him/herself, though the circumstances will soon force a confrontation.
When apocalypse looms, a couple is forced to examine their relationship. Should they continue to live on against the odds or should they go the way of humanity and fade into oblivion. What happens if they don’t agree on their course of action? The film is a dramatic study of both the preamble and the results of such a confrontation set against a Steam Punk background.
Moon Tribe Studios has been producing films since 2005, although the experience of the producers goes back as far as 20 years. With the success of our production “The Bobbsey Twins Go to Hell” in 2006, we’re planning a repeat performance with our new production, “Population 2”.
For more information about Moon Tribe Studios and our other work, go to:
HOW TO APPLY:
Please send your headshot and resume to:
Write “Pop2 Auditions” in the subject line. Don’t forget to include your 15 minute time slot.
Title: Die in Obscurity
Posted: October 27, 2009 (01:12 PM)
My latest review is one I hope Overdrive will read because it's for the same game... different system.
Title: Epic Fail
Posted: October 27, 2009 (12:29 AM)
Title: Games I've been meaning to review summed up in three sentences
Posted: October 26, 2009 (10:56 PM)
Because two isn't challenging enough.
I don't trust American Voice Acting, which is okay because Heavenly Sword lets you play it in French. It also features the best crowd scenes of any game. Shame it features some of the worst boss fights.
The story plays like a collection of “what is this Final Fantasy character going to whine about?” For some of the characters this works fine, namely Tidus and Squall. Then you get to kill them.
I really enjoyed watching To Kill a Mockingbird. Definitely one of the finest films to have ever been made. Then I remembered I had a terrible game to beat.
By far the best acting I've ever seen in a video game. The gunplay isn't quite as good as it could be. At times I think I would actually like the game better if it were just a movie with multi-player attached as a side option.
Not as good as Uncharted 2. In fact, the only reason I really want to go back and play it again is because I'm playing through Uncharted 2 and I miss Sully. Sully is awesome.
Persona games would be a hell of a lot better if they didn't force you to run through mindless dungeons power grinding. And the power grinding would be a lot better if it wasn't set to Japanese Pop. So you'd basically be left with a dating sim where you play as a creepy kid who has seizures.
A choose your own adventure where every choice leads to the same damn page. This format is combined with a dating sim where you are rewarded for wooing a girl with getting to see her room (and nothing else) and a big ol' dungeon that has 100 floors of exactly the same room over and over. It's no wonder it took me a year and a half to beat the thing.
Batman Arkham Asylum
For being a game centered around some of the best villains to grace the pages of comic books, the boss fights sure do suck in Batman Arkham Asylum. Also, once you get the three-at-once batarangs, the game becomes completely unfair. Then again, it wouldn't feel like Batman if he wasn't invincible.
It's a game based around a character who gets mentioned twice in the entire course of FF7. A large part of the plot revolves around an advertisement for a play that you see out of the corner of your eye in one scene in FF7. The combat revolves around hitting the same button a thousand times and maybe leveling if you're lucky enough to win a lottery.
One day people will realize how boring this game is. Fallout 3 is a lot like going to the same movie over and over again. It's not a very good movie, but it's got Liam Neeson in it.
Title: Obscure II: The Aftermath
Posted: October 24, 2009 (11:57 PM)
If any staff are around and have the time, this one's been sitting in the production room all last night and all today. I don't want to come off as pushy, because that's not my intent. I'm just trying to get reviews turned around as quick as possible to best benefit the site.
Title: FF7 is popular
Posted: October 23, 2009 (12:28 PM)
I just wanted to point out that the FF7 review has gained 168 views in a day, passing some reviews that have been up for months.
I'm telling you... it's a good one to have on your resume.
Title: The day that Nintendo releases the Earthbound trilogy...
Posted: October 17, 2009 (12:39 PM)
... is the day I start playing Nintendo games again. Hell, I'd probably REBUY a Wii exclusively for the purpose of playing such a release, though it would rip out a large chunk of my...
Title: Another list that doesn't suck
Posted: October 16, 2009 (12:02 AM)
It feels somewhat hypocritical to post with jubilation a top 100 list I enjoyed right after I denounced personal lists in a previous blog post.
HOWEVER. This list rocks.
I desire to briefly explain myself. First of all, it's a list of NES games. That makes it so irrelevant that I can enjoy it without having a personal investment beyond the occasional "yeah... that was a good game."
Secondly, it acknowledges its biases right from the start. It's not trying to be the definitive list of 100 best NES games. It's just a list that these guys made out of the love of their nostalgia. There's a whole section on what their biases are. The personal nature of the list makes it engaging. This isn't IGN talking like God. It's a couple of gamers talking like kids about games they loved. This is the kind of conversation I've always wanted to have with someone on their porch while nursing a beer.
Finally, it's pretty funny, if only to see the differing personalities of the judges.
Anyways, I recommend it. It makes a nice nostalgic entertaining read.
Title: Uncharted 2
Posted: October 14, 2009 (02:50 PM)
Really fucking good. I already knew multiplayer rocked, but the single player is amazing. I've never seen video game characters ACT. Not just voice acting, I mean full body reactions. This is pretty stellar.
Whether you like action movies, shooters, heist stories, or intense multiplayer action, Uncharted 2 is the game for you. It is the quintesential action game that will set the tone for every third person shooter to follow it. It is one that belongs in everyone’s collection.
Title: Short review of Paranormal Activity
Posted: October 12, 2009 (12:40 AM)
Really very creepy. Definitely the best horror film I've seen in a long time. Maybe since, like, the Exorcist.
Title: IGN's Top 100 Games (2007)
Posted: October 11, 2009 (01:26 AM)
I think this was the last time IGN did a top 100 game list, though I could be wrong. I somehow missed this first time around, 2 years ago, and just found it today.
I always find these lists interesting. I have to say that this is not a bad one. In fact, I would go so far as to say it's the best 100 list I've seen. Very unbiased and there's few games on here that didn't shape my gaming history of that of someone I know. People can argue about the order all they want, of course, though I don't think anyone can argue with the top 2 choices. They really deserve it.
EDIT: Just found out they did one in 2008 and it sucked. Of course it did. You can't do one of these more than once a decade. That's just stupid.
Title: Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 sitting in the inbox
Posted: October 10, 2009 (09:33 PM)
For those of you with access to the production room, if a staff member wants to give the final once-over to Ultimate Alliance 2, I can get it posted.
I've been paying attention all Summer to all the feedback I got on my reviews and I think this is possibly the first time it's all come together in a neat little package.
Hopefully I'm not kidding myself, but I think it's a fine review.