11.13.2009

The Idiot Box

Well, people have been asking, so here's my reviews for what's on TV.

First of all, I watch maybe five shows compared to my wife's three hundred or so, and you may not care about what I'm watching. But it's my blog so BACK OFF. Plus if I did review her shows they'd all be negative reviews. Ah, let's do it for laughs anyways eh?  I love a good Mystery Science Theater style review...

CSI: Miami. This is one that I frequently see Sarah enjoying. The show might actually be good if not for the bizarre directorial style, I'm specifically referring to the camerawork. Seriously, watch this show sometime, and count how many times the camera quickly zooms in or away on people for no reason, or quickly juts to the right or left, or finds the cameraman seemingly afraid to get close to the characters, hiding behind glass or a plant, or slowly creeping out from behind a car. It's irritating to watch. Add this to the fact that every time they refer to a cause of death, they jut you out of the action with a fast moving CGI image, as if your stupid American imagination couldn't possibly comprehend what the medical examiner was just talking about. And the montages... AHH! Whenever it's time to solve the case, this ridiculous music starts blaring loudly as your 16x9 screen is split into no less than 15 little squares showing you what all of the characters are doing to get to the bottom of the murder AT THE SAME TIME, for two straight minutes. CSI, just tell a story, stop trying to create trends.

This next show I'm not going to give a title, I'm just going to call it, "Interchangeable show where people compete in front of three judges, one of whom is a stuffy Brit who is very critical". You've seen them all, and Sarah watches them all, Idol, Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, America's Got Talent, there's about 50 more. But they all follow the same formula: "...And here are your judges...! The nice one! The crazy, loud bitch! And the stuffy Brit who's not afraid to speak his mind! Crowd: Booo!" Ah Jesus... And you know, just to piss me off, they end one, and then another is on in the fall, and then that ends, and another one starts the following week during the summer, it's a never ending cycle of recycled TV. I do tend to watch the early ones to see the really bad people and laugh, but that's really all the attention I have to spare.

Survivor.  Or as I like to call it, "20 Idiots get flown to another country and we film them." There's no actual "surviving" involved here.  Where's the wild animal attacks?  Where's the natives chasing them down with spears and sacrificing them to their gods one by one?  Even this one follows a formula now.  There's the hot chick, the old chick, the old man, the Asian, the douchebag from New York who thinks he's awesome, the farmer who we're all pulling for cause he's so dang sweet.  The black guy, the feisty black girl who won't be disrespected, and the gay guy who walks around naked.  I'd rather pound my balls flat with a hammer than watch this crap week after week.

She also watches House, Law and Order SVU, and Monk, Can't really say too much bad about those shows, just not my kinda shows. I even like Monk a little, but there are some shows we actually watch together, these are the five or so I mentioned earlier. So here's what I'm watching:

Smallville. This show is actually making itself a little comeback. It's sucked since season three. They're on season 9 right now. In season seven the original producers left, leaving the main writing staff in charge and if you ask me the show's been great since those two assholes left. Season 8 was fantastic except for the finale, where they pulled a "Heroes", more on that later. But Season 9 has been pretty decent so far as well. They're finally getting Clark on track to becoming Superman, about time if you ask me. They're getting him involved with a lot of his allies who will eventually become the Justice League, Aquaman, The Flash, Green Arrow, Martian Manhunter, and Black Canary. They're even hinting to him being able to fly by the end of the season. They're talking about a season 10 already, I'd welcome it if it stays on this track. Season 8 was all about Doomsday, the character who killed Superman in the comics back in the 90's, and he's already tangled with a lot of his other big villains, Brainiac, Metallo, Toyman, and of course Lex Luthor. A lot less use of Kryptonite going on, and solid story arcs, not that villain of the week garbage they've been doing for years. If you check it out, watch seasons 1, 2, 8 and 9. The rest are junk.

Heroes. It was amazing in its first season, and then they fumbled the ball in the last episode big time. The finale was a huge disappointment, and the season had built so strongly to it. The show never recovered, season two was a horrible failure, and was made 12 episodes short by the writer's strike. Season three was a weird experiment with introducing characters to see if they worked, and when they didn't, they were never seen or heard from again, and a lot of stories that had nothing to do with the story arc for the season, very weak. I was close to giving up on this one, which is rare for me, I'll usually go down with a sinking ship. However, season four has come around and is shaping up to be great again. This one is very much like season one, a great story arc, building up to something big, I just fear we'll get a repeat, where the finale can't live up to the anticipation. Season four is about a bunch of carnival freaks, all with special abilities who are clearly evil but their motives haven't been fully revealed yet. All we know is that they're trying to replenish their numbers by recruiting the heroes we know, Hiro, Claire and Peter. Their leader, Samuel is played by the creepy guy from Prison Break. He maintains his creepy level in Heroes as well. Now unfortunately, it looks like he's recruited Sylar, which can't be good. We'll see!

Doctor Who. This show is just a joy to watch. The intentional campiness in its villains, and its "end of the universe" storylines make this show so much fun. There's rarely a bad episode here, and each season gets better and better. The Doctor was played by Christopher Eccleston in season one, but he "died and regenerated" into David Tennant for season two. I was mad when this happened, because by the end of season one I'd really come to like Eccleston's Doctor. But it turned out that I'd like David Tennant's Doctor even more. Tennant has been the Doctor for three seasons now, and in my mind, he's "The Doctor". Unfortunately his final three episodes air by Christmas Day, and he's leaving the show as well. The new guy replacing him is newcomer Matt Smith. I really think I'm going to have a hard time accepting Smith, Tennant is just awesome as the Doctor, but I said the same thing the first time around, so I'm willing to give Smith a shot. Sarah is not so optimistic, and has said she's going to stop watching. Hmmm...

V. As an 80's kid, I watched the original V miniseries created by Kenneth Johnson, as well as V The Final Battle, NOT created by Kenneth Johnson. I even watched the not quite as good and short-lived "V The Series". I guess you could say I'm a fan. So I decided to give the new one a fair spin despite my shaken faith in Hollywood to create anything decent. I like it so far. Morena Baccarin plays Anna, the leader of the visitors, and I'll watch any show with any member of Firefly (the best show ever) in it. I'm just so relieved they didn't follow the "disaster movie" formula. Here is the disaster movie formula: We spend the first two hours watching the boring, mundane lives of the people who are going to be affected by the coming disaster we were shown in the trailers, then another two hours watching all their reactions to the disaster, then something finally happens during the last hour, but I'm already asleep. It was okay when the first V did it, cause it was the first. It came before Independence Day and Armageddon and all the other disaster flicks that follow this formula. However this new V has the visitors showing up in the first 10 minutes of the first episode, bravo! THEN we start to meet the characters and see where they all fit in to the puzzle. Nice execution so far, and the visitors motives remain mysterious. Are they here to eat the humans again, or...? We'll see! If it lasts. In typical Hollywood fashion I've already heard there's turmoil behind the scenes, stories are hastily being rewritten, as the show is no doubt being "noted" to death by the "non-writers" who are throwing their money at the show. God I hate Hollywood and the Nielsen system. But that's a rant for another day.

Animated. I'm still watching a lot of animation, right now it's the Seth MacFarlane Triforce of Family Guy, American Dad and now The Cleveland Show. American Dad has really improved from it's first season. They've gotten away from the political humor and focus more on the characters. Roger is hilarious, and Stan has become far more likeable. Family Guy is Family Guy, I don't think it'll ever change. It's hit and miss, but still worth watching. I'm anxiously anticipating the second Family Guy Star Wars spoof coming next month. I was surprised by the Cleveland Show, I didn't think I'd get much out of it. The first few episodes were okay, but it's starting to find it's stride now and making me laugh. Cleveland became a cable guy which I of course identify with as well, so I'll keep watching. I'm also still on board with South Park, they're showing new episodes right now, And they've been mostly good ones, I still can't believe they're on season 13. They still have yet to top season 8 which debuted with "Good Times with Weapons" and never stopped. I'd say overall season 13 is better than 12 though.

I'm a little bummed though, Robot Chicken just ended season 4. As with every Robot Chicken season finale, the characters all died and they were canceled, but I'm sure they'll be back again. I'm also lacking an action cartoon outlet as my beloved Justice League is over for good, ending 15 years of DC universe for me, starting with Batman the Animated series, continuing with Superman the Animated Series and then Batman Beyond, and finishing strong with Justice League, the greatest American action cartoon ever. Oh well, hopefully something will come along, I've been disgusted with Cartoon Network for about five years now, they completely suck. Even Adult Swim is garbage now except for Robot Chicken.

Sigh. Anyway, that's what I'm watching.

10.26.2009

Strange new worlds...


This is a blog about Twittering on Facebook.  Wait, what?

Let me start from the beginning.  Everybody keeps telling me to get a Facebook account.  My response is always, "Why? I'm not a social person."  In fact I'm the opposite of social.  I generally dislike people, and will often go as far as to advise them to "kill themselves".

My perception of Facebook is that it's a stupid place where dumb people post useless bullshit to one another that no one cares about, least of all me.  Unfortunately for me, as of this week, I realized I've been doing these very things, just on Twitter and my blog.

Well this week Microsoft selected a group of Xbox Live members to take part in a preview program of their latest dashboard update.  I love beta testing, so I signed up for the preview and got in!  There are some interesting new features.

First of all, they merged the Video Marketplace with the Zune Marketplace and now there is quite a library of content on board.  Of course my Giganews account makes this part of the Xbox dashboard useless to me, but it's still cool for people who want to legitimize their media library.  I'm not one of those people.

The next new feature is Last.fm.  A streaming music service, similar to Pandora on the iPhone, helps you discover new music.  One very interesting thing I found was that there was a whole section dedicated to video game music.  Their library isn't quite up to Gaming FM standards, but it's a start.  Might be something to talk to Olaf and Duckhead about.  There's a Koji Kondo station, and a Minibosses station, and a lot of video game cover songs.  No real concrete organized video game music library to speak of yet.

They also added a Twitter client, which is of great use to me, I Twitter almost every day as most people who come here know.  The interface is very "Xbox-like", but you don't really need much to make Twitter work right so it works well.  Together with my Xbox Messenger Kit (controller mounted mini-keyboard) I'm able to easily post a tweet without having to pick up the iPhone or laptop.

The last and probably biggest new feature is Facebook.  My initial reaction was, well I'll never use that.  But I clicked in to see what it looked like, seemed simple enough, actually very Twitter-like.  You just post something and so does everyone else.  You can also link together your Facebook friends who also have Xbox Live accounts, however can't do much with this particular feature yet as it hasn't quite released to the general public.

Okay fine I'll bite, let's see what happens...  I whipped up an account and immediately linked my Twitter to it.  So nothing really changes, I just post tweets and they automatically cross-post to Facebook.  What I wasn't prepared for is how many people are on Facebook.  On Twitter I have maybe 10 followers?  On Facebook people crawled out of the woodwork like termites!  Within 30 minutes of creating my account and getting a few friends, I was flooded with friend requests.  People see your name on other people's friend lists and start going to town.  Family members I haven't seen or talked to in over 10 years, and friends from early as fifth grade!  I've been very selective who I accept as a friend.  It seems a lot of people just want to have as many friends as possible so they send a request.  Not only do I not have the time to read all this stuff, in some cases I simply don't care what some people are up to.  In other cases I might care, but feel that I don't know the person well enough to allow them access to my daily random thoughts, which are often peppered with quite a bit of foul language.  

There is also definitely something to be said about Twitter's 140 character limit.  If you ask me this is an absolutely necessary limit for some people who don't know when to STFU.  I get like that sometimes, like right now even.  That's why I have a blog.  If you don't agree, close your browser, simple and easy!  There's a lot more people on Facebook than Twitter, so I'm still getting used to people commenting on my posts, that's new, and rarely happened on Twitter.  My words are reaching the masses it seems, but that won't change my style.  In the end, I'm still posting everything from Twitter or here at the Basement, and replying from the Xbox.  So don't expect me to reply to quizzes or accept invitations to whatever.  Save us all the time. Travis gave me a few Facebook pointers, so I think I'm ready for the "Web 2.0 revolution" as Mark called it.

I will say it's nice to be able to keep up with family members and friends who I don't get a chance to see too often.  If I keep my friend list small I don't think Facebook will be too much of a hassle. 

I know, I said I'd never get a Facebook account...

Well, I say a lot of things.

10.16.2009

Gamestop Sucks


Seriously. Anyone who plays video games already knows what a terrible, evil corporation they are, right up there with Disney. I've known for a while myself, but every once in a while something happens to really burn the point into my brain again...

I decided it would be cool to buy a copy of Metroid Prime Trilogy.  I liked the first Metroid Prime on Gamecube, and I own the second one (Gamecube) and the third (Wii), but never played them.  I played the third game briefly and really loved the Wii controls.  I thought it would be fun to re-play the first, and experience the other two with said Wii controls.  I am a known hater on first-person shooting games, but the fact it was Metroid allowed me to get past that shortcoming.  Being able to look, point and shoot at targets with the Wii remote is much easier.  So I packed up all three of the Metroid Prime games and took them to Gamestop, knowing I'd get next to nothing for them, but whatever, I'll gain shelf space and save the trouble of selling them on eBay.  As another bonus I'll have all three games on one Wii disc. 

When I arrived, a young man named Vince spotted my trade-ins and was eager to get them checked in, toward the purchase of whatever game pre-order and game warranty I was there to buy.  I'm like, "I want Metroid Prime Trilogy, no pre-orders, no warranties, no magazine subscriptions please".  He says no problem, that'll be $44.54.  I laugh and say I just traded in three games, how the hell much is Metroid Prime Trilogy?  He says $49.99.  Okay Vince, so you just gave me $5 for three games?  He says no I gave you $8.75, and there's $3.30 in tax.

So using a little math, my wife's area of expertise to be sure, I'm gonna give this a go anyways:

Metroid Prime - Gamecube:  Released 11/2002
Gamestop offered me $1.25
They sell used for $6.99
Gamestop profit made off me - $5.74

Metroid Prime 2: Echoes - Gamecube:  Released 11/2004
Gamestop offered me $2.50
They sell used for $14.99
Gamestop profit made off me - $12.49

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption - Wii:  Released 08/2007
Gamestop offered me $5.00
They sell used for $22.99
Gamestop profit made off me - $17.99

Total Gamestop profit: $36.22

I'm one guy, who visits Gamestop once every four months. There are people who go there once a week to buy and trade.  Knowing it wasn't Vince's fault, I spared him the soapbox speech about how many ways Gamestop is bending over gamers, many of them kids who can't do math, without any Vaseline.  I simply asked for my games back and left.  But really, what's our alternative as American gamers?  Best Buy?  A company whose name should have been changed about ten years ago to their proper moniker "Buy" (sans the "Best"). Again, walking in, I expected to be taken to brown town by the teenager behind the counter, but COME ON! $8.75 for three games?  One of them a Wii game a mere two years old?  I'll take my chances on eBay.  Would someone please come along and open a game store to compete with Gamestop's horrible policies and trade-in "deals".

One of the greatest quotes ever comes from the Penny Arcade comic dated 3/24/03:

"It's only a crime to fuck kids if you're not a multinational corporation."

It's so true.  On the positive side, I did end up getting the game and it's pretty cool they fit all three games on one disc.  In addition the Wii controls do improve the gameplay quite a bit.  I'll play it as soon as I am able to put down Wet for five minutes.

9.18.2009

RiffTrax Live encore! Mark your calendar!


On Thursday, October 8th @ 7:30PM, There will be a rebroadcast of the RiffTrax Live show that was streamed live from Nashville, TN to theaters nationwide back in August. Apparently it did so well, that word spread so they're showing it again. So it won't technically be live, but I thought it was so good the first time, I'm now telling you to go see it the second time around.

I'll be catching it at the Cinemark @ Seven Bridges in Woodridge, but here's a list of theaters for the whole country, find one close by and bring the family, it's a good time for all.  It's hosted by Veronica Belmont, the host of Tekzilla on Revision3 and Qore on the PlayStation Network, with musical guest Jonathan Coulton, composer of the legendary ending theme from Portal, "Still Alive", and commercial intermissions by Rich “Lowtax” Kyanka of Something Awful. Some funny songs, some funny commercials, and making fun of one of the worst movies of all time, Ed Wood's "masterpiece" Plan 9 From Outer Space. What could be better?  Plus it's the stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000 LIVE! Sort of...

Anyway, I hope you'll join me in Woodridge, or at least go check it out at your local theater and spread the word!  The more people see it, the higher the chances there'll be another one in the future.  Admission is ten bucks.  You can preorder tickets, but Sarah and I had no problem getting them an hour before the show, but the place did fill up quick by the time it started.  So now you know, go tell your boss you need that night off.

9.12.2009

"It stinks!"

Well, I was home a few days with a stomach bug.  And by stomach bug I mean catastrophic shutdown of my entire digestive system.  Doc says I'll be ok, so while I recover, I decided to update the website.  I get tired of the same old thing after a while ya know, and I decided to change things up.  So I just changed the template in Blogger, obviously the colors are different but overall layout is the same.  I wanted one that maintained the layout I'm used to, but provided a more toned down color scheme.  So here it is.  Among other changes:
  • New main logo and other graphics to fit the new color scheme of course.  I experimented in Photoshop with a couple other video game related logos, but ultimately decided I love the simplicity of the Metal Gear Solid logo.
  • Twitter updates can now be refreshed without refreshing the whole page by clicking the Twitter logo.  This grew out of the fact that the twitter updates occasionally don't appear on the page if Twitter.com takes too long to respond.  This fixes the problem with some fancy iframe trickery.
  •  Easier to subscribe via RSS, took out the confusing RSS feeder provided by Blogger and made my own much simpler one and placed it at the top of the sidebar.
  • iPhone Safari users auto redirected to http://mobile.radd.tv.  Windows Internet Explorer users are directed to switch to Firefox so I don't have to fix their computers later.
  • Jump breaks added to older posts.  Reduces clutter on the main page.  Simply click the "read more" link at the bottom of older articles.  Number of posts per page reduced from five to three.  A lot less scrolling now.
  • Ads removed, page loads much faster now.
  • Font changed from Trebuchet to Arial/Helvetica.  Easier to read, font color changed from dark grey to black.
  • Radd Radio and Radd TV are back up and running, I never got around to reloading them after upgrading to Windows Server 2003 R2.   Eventually I will put new or additional content in there as well.
In the end, does anyone but me really care?  Definitely not, but it's good to keep my web and graphics skills in tune.  You never know where the next opportunity will come from.  Anyways it's fun.  And it beats having some lame Facebook page.  Why share your web space with other people?  They'll just tell you you're wrong and push their crazy vegan values on you.  People suck and should kill themselves.  Get a blog!  Anyways that's it, just wanted to point out the already obvious update to Radd's Basement.

"What do you think?"

9.01.2009

Oh, hi photo of the month...

Okay so this one may need some explanation...

There's this movie floating around out there, possibly the worst movie ever made. It's hard to say what the worst movie is, just as it's tough to say what the best movie is. It's all a matter of opinion right? I mean, one could consider Transformers one of the worst movies ever made, or one of the best. For me it's the former as most people know.

But there are some pure classic bad movies, Plan 9 from Outer Space, Manos: The Hands of Fate, Lawnmower Man 2... I certainly don't think only old movies are bad, as I stated before, Transformers. Some movies you can think are good at first then realize they're bad, like I did with Superman Returns. But regarding this particular movie I want to talk about today there is no question, no matter of opinion involved, it's scientific fact: IT SUCKS.

I'm speaking of course of The Room. Made in 2003, this one is pure bad movie poetry. It's poorly written, poorly acted, poorly filmed, and the dialogue is quotably terrible. There are so many jokes to be made about this movie, and so many lines stay in your head and keep you laughing long after it's over. It's that bad. So bad, it's good. To provide further proof, the movie has developed a cult following similar to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. There are midnight screenings of The Room, where fans of it's awfulness gather, some dressed as the characters in the movie, and brandishing props used in the movie to throw at the screen during key scenes.


It's hard to describe the movie really, it's better seen than heard about. First glance of the movie poster, the title of the movie, and the hideous face on the cover, one might assume it's a horror film. It's not. That fine fellow pictured is The Room's main character, and coincidentally, the writer, director and producer of the film. A man named Tommy Wiseau with a strange lumpy build and some sort of indeterminate possibly European accent, who decided that he'd be good at making movies and starring in them. Movies with sex scenes. Would you want to see that man in a sex scene? You will. I've made it my goal to show this movie to everyone I know. I will not suffer alone.

To make the suffering easier, I actually discovered the phenomenon that is The Room through Mike Nelson's RiffTrax website. If you don't know, RiffTrax is run by the guys who used to star in Mystery Science Theater 3000 (Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett), and make a living making fun of movies. My kind of guys. If you don't know what Mystery Science Theater 3000 is, look I can't walk you through pop culture history, use Google or Wikipedia. My mom of all people turned me on to MST3K many years ago, and I followed it to it's end, and then followed the writers/stars to rifftrax.com, and have a library of 100+ movies they've made fun of over the years.


Back to Tommy Wiseau, while the man is clearly not a good filmmaker, he's a genius businessman. Once he realized the movie was getting such a terrible reception, he began to market it as a "black comedy", and states he always meant it to be that way. He began to organize the screenings himself, and appears at many of them to sell "The Room" paraphernalia, t-shirts, DVD's, etc. He even appeared at San Diego Comicon at a "The Room" booth.

In short, this movie will change your life. You will have so many new quotes to walk around saying to people (certainly a new way to greet people), and you'll be compelled to make those who don't get the quotes to watch it and share in your suffering. It will compel you to begin searching Google to find out why and how this movie came into existence and who was involved, and what they had to say about it. I HIGHLY recommend watching the movie with RiffTrax commentary as I did. To watch it on its own is painful, I know this from experience. I wouldn't dare attend one of the screenings without the protection of the RiffTrax guys. I still have a number of people yet to show this movie to, your time is coming.


Speaking of, Sarah and I went to the RiffTrax Live show recently, it was excellent (not the one in Nashville, but the live webcast to Showplace 14 in New Lenox)! There is going to be an encore showing, I'll let you guys know when I find out more, you should check it out. They chose to make fun of Plan 9 From Outer Space for the live show, there was a short before the movie, musical guest Jonathon Coulton, and a few funny spoof commercials.

If you simply can't wait, or need to have your own copy, I invite those of you with a password to my FTP server to experience the joy and terror that is, THE ROOM. Password required. If you download, stop by and donate to RiffTrax. My copy has the RiffTrax commentary as well as the original audio track. Watch at your peril. As Mike Nelson has stated, RiffTrax normally shies away from movies with nudity, but they could not pass this one up to make fun of. The nudity is limited to a few scenes, in which Mike, Kevin and Bill use the time to make some fun skits with their friend Disembaudio to take attention away from the hideous action on the screen.

Well I'm going to stop because all this typing is TEARING ME APART!

8.31.2009

What are you, some kind of comedian?

Apparently he is.  Andy that is.  A comedian.  Okay this is why I'm NOT a comedian, I'm not funny.

But my pal-in-brother-in-law Andy is funny, so funny in fact that he's hitting the scene in L.A. and doing stand up comedy.  He even has his own channel on YouTube!

Check him out and spread the word, pretty good so far!







8.01.2009

In memory of a cool guy…

I Twittered last week about the passing of Andy Baran, a.k.a. Cyberboy a.k.a. Buttboy… However we knew him, he left an impression on us all.

For those who don’t know him, Andy was a fellow EGM staffer who was taken by Pancreatic cancer. I knew Andy for only about a year in person, but occasionally followed his writings in EGM and online.

He was originally hired on the video game help line adjacent the EGM offices, and longed to be one of the editors alongside the rest of us. As I remember it, he tried very hard to ingratiate himself to us and the higher-ups by doing us favors and various errands and odd jobs. Around the office, he became known as Buttboy because he was always up our asses. Even Steve Harris called him that if I’m not mistaken. His hard work eventually paid off as he was finally hired on as an assistant editor. At first, he wrote reviews of games as Ed Semrad, but eventually worked his way up to writing reviews under the more PC for the magazine title “Cyberboy”. Again, this is how I remember it. His hard work continued to pay off for him and he continued to move up and up in the EGM ranks and stayed on for the ride till the end, when Ziff threw everyone out.

As I mentioned I only knew him for a short time, but it was enough time for him to leave an impression on me. He was a unique guy to say the least, and I found myself surprisingly affected by the news of his passing. I had mentioned to my wife earlier this week how my thoughts kept dwelling on him. I hadn’t actually talked to him in 15 years, this was strange. Usually when you hear someone you used to know died, you’re like “Oh wow that sucks”. But back then at EGM it was like a family. We were all brothers, and Ed was our dad. Steve was I guess the landlord, or crazy uncle. Andy was our little brother who we wouldn’t let play with us till he got older.

I literally just got back from the memorial service that was held for Andy. He left behind a wife, and it was moving to hear her, his father and brother and various friends and family talk about him. It made me wish I’d made the time to get in contact with Andy over the years and reconnect. Of that I’m regretful. A lot of the old EGM crew was there and it was awesome to see and talk with everyone again. Mike Vallas shared a particularly funny story about Andy’s new Mitsubishi 3000 GT, and how it helped Andy eventually meet his wife.

In addition to Vallas, Martin Alessi and his son Nathan, Ken “Sushi-X” Williams, Trickman Terry Minnich, Mike Riley, and of course I attended along with Danyon Carpenter. A lot of other former EGM staffers were in attendance, many of whom were there after my tenure at Sendai, but I’d heard of them, and they’d heard of me through word of mouth. It was just a great pleasure to talk with everyone again; it was unfortunate it had to be under those circumstances. But hopefully Andy would’ve been happy to have reunited us all again. We were there long after the time the room was scheduled to be used, so we eventually moved into the hallway, then the lobby to continue our reminiscence of Andy and to reconnect with one another.

A few of his co-workers from Office Max were in attendance as well, to share stories that reminded us the kind of guy Andy was. A lot of the same pranks were pulled at that job as well it seemed. Mark Sarnecki (Duckhead) recently reminded me how Andy left a bottle of “Toilet Duck” on his desk at Sendai, and how Mark would drive Andy’s car to lunch because Andy was afraid to when he first started driving. I was also reminded by Mike Vallas how Andy would only make right turns. Just a lot of eccentricities that made Andy who he was and why someone like me who hadn’t seen him in 15 years could be so moved by his passing.

Since we were all together, we wanted to be sure to capture the moment with our iPhones. Mike Vallas even graced us with his famous "dude from Guile's stage" impression, as you can see, it's an uncanny resemblance.


7.23.2009

The triumphant return of EGM...


http://www.egmnow.com/
That link says it all. Electronic Gaming Monthly is returning, in the hands of it's original creator no less!

I talked awhile back about EGM going out of print, as you may recall. Now it seems Steve Harris has taken action to buy back and revive the magazine in its print form. A bit of gaming history, Steve was the original creator and owner of Sendai Media Group, and Editor-in-Chief of EGM (and my former boss). He sold the company to Ziff-Davis, who continued the magazine for a number of years, and eventually gave it an online presence, 1-Up.com. 1-Up was then purchased by Hearst Communications as of this year, and the first act of the new corporate overlords was to cease production on EGM's printed form.

This is why I install Satellite TV. I don't fit into the corporate world, where decisions are based solely on the acquisition of wealth. I understand the term "good for business" and I've had plenty of exposure at many companies, including EGM. Even got a taste when I was involved with Gaming FM. You have to make decisions outside your normal character for the good of the business. I don't like to make those decisions. That's why I'm no longer a businessman, and why I didn't make it at EGM. I don't believe you should have to stand on the shoulders of your employees, or shut down production on a magazine with a 20 year history to be successful, do you? Maybe you do... That's why I install Satellite TV.

Steve Harris was one of those people that made me feel the way I do about corporate America. He was one of those bosses that sat on a black leather throne in an office with a gold plaque that read "God-Emperor of Sendai" and made himself completely inaccessible, even a bit scary to a 17-19 year-old employee like myself. He eventually fired me for reasons I won't get into here, but it was one of the best life-lessons I could ever learn. When I started Gaming FM, I believe I acted with friendship and respect toward my co-founders and we were consistently successful for a long time as a team. It's a lesson that can't be taught through words, you have to live it. I did.

I will say this. Although Steve and I had differences, I had and continue to have respect for him as a gamer and creator of EGM. The magazine under his leadership always had the best design, the most current news, and was always at the cutting edge in every way. By far the finest gaming magazine in existence. I'm absolutely thrilled to hear that he's bringing back EGM and taking the helm. I said before, I don't think there's a place for printed media alongside the internet. However, I know that Steve is a smart fellow, and it sounds to me like he's maybe going with a weekly format? Possibly as a companion for the website. Sounds like an interesting idea and I will be watching and waiting as this project takes form. I haven't cared about EGM since Steve left, but hearing this news really gave me a feeling of nostalgia. It's just plain cool.

7.21.2009

It's a tradition every year…

I hate G4. Up to recently, I kept the station on my programming grid so I could tune in once a year and DVR the E3 press conferences. Then I would skip all of the games I don’t care about and commentary by the G4 hosts, turning three different 3-hour press conferences into about an hour of information television for me.

This year however, I did my own Dish Network installation, purchased AT&T DSL, and dumped Comcast in the river where they belong. As a consequence, I lost G4 (is that really a consequence?) Anyway, I began to download the press conferences from Giganews, but soon realized that they’d all been made available as downloadable content on their respective systems! God bless modern technology! So I was able to watch the Nintendo press conference on my Wii, The Sony press conference on my PS3, in HD! And I’m sure the Microsoft conference was available on Xbox 360, but I refuse to wade through the sea of content to find it via that horrible screen flipping interface, so I did end up downloading the Microsoft conference via Giganews.

And as is my tradition every year, I started with Nintendo, and waited eagerly for Reggie Fils-Aime (I challenge you to properly pronounce his name), president of Nintendo America to wow me. At first, I wasn’t wowed. In fact, the press conference started with a re-hash of a bunch of stuff from last year’s E3 that had failed to reach the shelves on time, most notably, Wii Motion Plus (again), and Wii Sports Resort (again). Looks like a lot of fun! WHEN DO I GET TO PLAY IT? Then Reggie cleared the way for Satoru Iwata, the Japanese Nintendo President. He showed me the Wii Vitality Sensor. A new peripheral that you connect to your finger so the Wii can monitor your vitals. Presumably this would have an application in exercise games, or perhaps a high speed action game could monitor your heart rate to know when you’re pumped up and alter its difficulty level. Iwata-san had no in-game applications to show, only the device itself. So far, still not impressed.

Then Reggie came back out and assaulted me with some content I actually cared about. The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks for DS. In the cartoony Wind Waker style, this time Link rides a train instead of sailing the seas. Could be interesting.



Then he busted out New Super Mario Bros. for Wii. It’s a brand new, 2D side scrolling Super Mario Bros. game. A lot like the DS version, this one adds a twist. Four player simultaneous co-op. WOW! Now that’s pretty neat. Playing Super Mario Bros with someone else on the screen with you could be fun. Can’t wait to see it. Nintendo hasn’t released two major Mario games on the same platform since the NES days so this news was surprising as they had already released Super Mario Galaxy on Wii last year.



But Reggie wasn’t done kicking my ass yet, as he proceeded to bust out the granddaddy of the show for me, Super Mario Galaxy 2. That’s right, TWO major Mario releases this year. I’m a fan if you couldn’t tell. Mario games have always been fun and challenging for me, I love platformers. And Super Mario Galaxy ranks among my top 10 of ALL TIME. I think it’s that good, and very innovative.

Now that Reggie had me on the ropes he decided to give me a final swift kick in the face by showing me a secret project Nintendo has been working on with Team Ninja, the folks behind Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive (and Dead or Alive Extreme Beach Volleyball… YEAHHHH!). It begins in space and looks a bit mature for a Wii game. The main character seems to be a familiar blonde haired girl… Could she be…? Yep it was Samus, Nintendo and Team Ninja are making a new Metroid game. It’s called Metroid: Other M, and seems to be in the traditional Metroid style, THIRD person! Finally. I’m just not a fan of first person shooters. The Metroid Prime series was okay, but would’ve been so much better as third person titles. I finally get the modern Metroid game I’ve wished for. It seems to reveal more of Samus’ past and looks amazing. I don’t know much more than that because I passed out from excitement.

Overall I think my feelings about the Nintendo conference were summed up well by Gabe and Tycho on Penny Arcade:


And then we get to the other two... Sony and Microsoft. Who both had "Wii-rip off" accessories to show off. Everyone wants to jump on the motion bandwagon. Microsoft seems a lot further along with their Project Natal. A Wii-Sensor Bar add on for the Xbox, that you set on top of your TV, except it's called Project Natal instead of Wii Sensor bar. I'm interested to see what my TV rig is gonna look like with all these sensor bar add-ons for every system. It's starting to get a little crowded up there.

Sony's Jack Tretton, (who looks and sounds he's on the verge of a nervous breakdown every year) showed the PSP Go, a new PlayStation Portable without a UMD drive and a bit smaller with a cell phone like slide to reveal the D-pad and buttons. Jack also revealed that Sony was in the early stages of THEIR motion add on for PS3, that would be even better than Microsoft or Nintendo's... *Yawn* We'll see.

The highlight of the Microsoft and Sony shows were of course the appearance of Hideo Kojima with two new Metal Gear Games. TWO! The first, he appeared at the Sony booth with Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker for PSP. Takes place after Metal Gear Solid 3 and Portable Ops in the 1970's. More Big Boss stuff, pretty cool!



Kojima-san then appeared at the Microsoft booth with an early trailer for Metal Gear Solid: Rising. Seems to star Raiden. We shall see!



As for my current gaming endeavors, right now I'm playing Ghostbusters for PS3. All of the original actors voice their respective characters in the game, Including Bill Murray as Peter Venkman, Dan Aykroyd as Ray Stantz, Harold Ramis as Egon Spengler, Ernie Hudson as Winston Zeddemore, Annie Potts as Janine Melnitz and William Atherton returns as Walter Peck. The game's story and dialogue was also written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. Pretty good so far!

I've also become addicted to Portal on Olaf's recommendation. I normally hate first person games, but this is a puzzler rather than a shooter, so I'm enjoying it. If you've played it, then I'm sure you know by now... The cake is a lie. Play this game. The ending theme is well worth the effort. Makes me want to get Gaming FM going again just to broadcast it. I won't spoil it for you. It's a short game and it's fun.

And yes, I'm STILL playing Burnout Paradise. The best driving game ever. The Big Surf Island add-on just came out, and man it's just a blast!

That's all for this year... See you next!

7.06.2009

Work, sleep, work...

If you’ve sent me an e-mail, instant message or txt recently and haven’t gotten a response, I apologize. If you haven’t heard from me in months, I apologize. My new job keeps me busy and tired. I also blame the iPhone. Now instead of having a designated time to sit down in front of a computer, I get all of my messages instantaneously on my phone, which is always with me. Problem is, when I receive them I’m usually in a crawlspace, attic, or hanging precariously on a rooftop and can’t answer. Rest assured, I got your message, made a mental note to reply later, then forgot or was too tired. Needless to say the transition of my 35 year old out of shape body from behind a desk to out in the field has not been easy. I enjoy the work itself, but often find myself exhausted. It’s getting easier as time goes on, but that’s why I’ve been something of a ghost lately. The van which I was assigned by my office lost its brakes yesterday, which affords me a day off to finally write down a few things. Don’t worry, only a few people were killed when I lost the brakes (BTW, special thanks to Koop for picking me up!)

Some interesting things have happened since Star Trek came out (my last update), I bought the Ghostbusters video game which I love, I became a fan of Portal, E3 came and went, and I found out EGM is making a triumphant return under new management, or rather, OLD management might be the proper term. I’ll talk about all these things in the coming days. Until then, yes I’m alive and well, just adjusting to this new job…

5.12.2009

Why I hated (and loved) Star Trek

Everyone knows when it comes to Star Trek; I am by far the biggest authority and fan among the circle of people I know. I’ve seen each episode of each of the five series and all of the movies. I know Star Trek, its history, its planets, its people and its culture. That being said, I obviously have some pretty major things to say about a new Star Trek movie. So without delay, here it is… You’ve been hitting my website hourly to see it. I’ve finally compiled my thoughts on the new Star Trek movie. It’s less of a review than it is just random rants and musings. But be warned… If you haven’t seen the movie, I will ruin it for you. Here is the customary and required by internet law…

*SPOILER ALERT!*

If you’re still reading this, you’ve already seen the movie or don’t care if it’s ruined for you. Here we go.

4.30.2009

I know someone famous!

Congratulations to the new Mayor of Lockport IL by a vote of 1523-1520, Dev Trivedi! Wait a minute, I don't know anything about politics, and I haven't lived in Lockport for years, why should I care about this? Well as it turns out, Dev's son Dilip (affectionately known as Phil) is one of my best friends. We met through our Moms, who worked together at K-Mart so many years ago. We built and maintained Gaming FM and traveled the country together (well we went to E3). The Trivedi's have been like a second family to me and Sarah, who went to school with Dilip.



Anyways, if you ask me, Dev is what Lockport needs. Oh, so you think my opinion is biased? Well I watched Channel 6 when I lived in Lockport, and laughed as all of the city council members rushed through the day's agenda in an effort to get home to eat chips and watch Wheel. Not Dev, he was that one voice who was always saying, "Let's take a closer look at this issue and examine it". With a collective sigh, the other council members would re-examine the issue. He'll work hard and he's a genuinely nice guy who will have you over for a holiday BBQ. Dev takes office on May 6th.

That's my political commentary for the year.

4.20.2009

I watched Dragon Ball Kai!

I found a download (in 720p no less) of Dragon Ball Kai subtitled! As of this writing I've watched the first two available episodes, and WOW!

First of all the subtitler, (a person or group by the name of safetydance) did an amazing job. Damn good for a fansub. The rips are in HD, and look amazing. This animation is 20 years old, yet it looks brand new.

For the voice acting, the living voice actors re-recorded their lines, however, for deceased voice actors, they found actors that sound quite similar, like for Muten-Roshi. You can tell it's different, but not by much.

Sound effects are re-recorded and in stereo, they sound top notch. The new music is different, but still fitting, much better than the horrible U.S. track that was added. I'll be interested to see if they keep vocal tracks in key scenes (Gohan's exploding anger against Cell comes to mind).

The increased pacing is definitely evident, thing are already speeding along. The editing is done well, I'd eventually like to sit down and do a side-by-side comparison to see exactly what was removed.

Another really nice thing that they do is introduce flashbacks, as Dragon Ball Kai doesn't assume you've seen the original Dragon Ball, as Dragon Ball Z did. For instance, the first episode begins with a flashback of Goku's father Bardock battling Freeza. This is footage taken from the Dragon Ball Z TV Special. The beginning of the second episode has Goku sensing Piccolo has returned, and shows footage taken from the original Dragon Ball of their final battle. Again, a nice flashback to establish the background of the characters and set the scene.

Overall, I'm really happy with this refresh of the series, it makes me excited to watch it all over again. I'll look forward to firing up the PS3 and watching them each week for the next couple years... It's also a great way to introduce yourself to the series if you've never seen it (hint: Koop and Kevin).

Here's the refreshed opening song for Dragon Ball Kai:



4.18.2009

I don't wanna grow up...

I had to fix my refrigerator last week.

There was water leaking into the fridge, and I had to keep soaking it up with towels for weeks. I eventually realized that there's a drain above in the freezer that allows condensation flow to a drip tray at the bottom of the fridge. That was frozen over and the ice was overflowing and melting into the fridge. After pouring about a gallon of hot water into my freezer I eventually melted the clog, and it's not leaking anymore. Sarah says I'm handy. The reality is I just refuse to pay some repairman $200 to tell me to leave it off overnight. Then I'm out $200 and all my meat. I need my meat. And ice cream. The hot water method took about an hour and saved the meat. And the ice cream...

Whatever happened to the days when things broke and my old man fixed them? I don't wanna grow up.

Then a couple months ago, you know, in the middle of the winter, my furnace stopped working. Now I'd had problems with the flame sensor before. The flame sensor is this little rod that tells the furnace that the flame is on, and that your house is not filling with natural gas. Pretty important part I'd say. So this thing gets dirty over time and can't detect the flame anymore and the furnace shuts down. So when it went off a couple months ago, I figured the flame sensor needed a good scrubbing with a steel wool pad per usual. Nope. Tried it again and nothing. I happened to notice the pilot igniter filament wasn't glowing. That's the thing that glows and ignites the gas. It had a big crack in it. I guess over time that thing wears out! It's only five years old but whatever. Again, I refused to call a repairman, so I scoured the internet and found the correct filament for my furnace. Problem solved. Or so I thought. It would take three days to ship. Well no problem, being a genius (or an idiot), I grabbed the old charcoal grill lighter rod. Every time I heard the furnace kick on for those three days, I'd run downstairs to the basement with just enough time to grab the charcoal lighter and stick it into the burners. Worked every time. The igniter arrived and now I enjoy the modern convenience of automatic heat.

I planted tulips in my front yard last month. This is what happens when you grow up. Let this be a lesson to you. Live in your mom's basement forever...

4.16.2009

ROBOTECH!

After a 12 year hiatus, Kevin's Blaxe's Forces Robotech RPG campaign is on its way back!

Some background here, as you may or may not know, Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles was released in 2006, a full length feature which continued the long abandoned story of Robotech. This re-sparked my interest in Robotech, and apparently many others because a new RPG sourcebook was released, just for The Shadow Chronicles.

When I got back in touch with Kevin, I asked if he'd seen the new movie. When he answered no, I made him watch it, in much the same manner as he made me watch the original Robotech series all those years ago. Within a week, he'd gotten the sourcebooks and was hard at work on a new RPG campaign in the Shadow Chronicles timeline.

In the meantime, I began work on a repository for all things related to our Robotech games, past and present. The result is The Blaxe's Forces Player Website, hosted here at radd.tv (on my quad-core server). As I mentioned in a previous update I was scanning the original Blaxe's Forces Player Newsletters to PDF. This project has come along nicely, I only have two issues left to scan. All of the completed issues have a permanent home at http://robotech.radd.tv/, with more to come.

Finally, Kevin, Patt and myself are in the process of producing a BRAND NEW issue of the Blaxe's Forces Player Newsletter. We'll keep you posted on the newsletter's progress at the Blaxe's Forces website, as well as Kevin's new Robotech campaign.

4.14.2009

Where am I?

For those who don't know, I left U.S. Cellular recently to take a job at a company called Futurevision. They contract out jobs from Dish Network to do satellite installations and maintenance, and home theater installs. So I am a cable guy. More specifically a satellite guy. I'm really diggin' it so far, I've been traveling around with another more experienced installer and helping out. He's been showing me the ropes as we travel across Chicagoland. In the past two weeks I've been in the most immaculate and spotless homes, to the most dirty, cat piss, stank-ass, laundry on the floor homes around. I had an early day today which has been my first opportunity in a while to update. After the past four years spent behind a desk, I'm absolutely loving being outside, stompin' through mud, hangin on rooftops and crawling through crawlspaces and attics. Soon I'll get my own truck and equipment and I'll be unleashed on the world. God help you all.

3.27.2009

Dragon Ball Kai

Everyone knows how much I love Dragon Ball... So I just stumbled on this piece of news, Toei Animation has remastered Dragon Ball Z for its 20th Anniversary. The new version of the series is called Dragon Ball Kai and will premiere on Fuji TV in Japan on April 5th at 9:30am. This isn't just a simple remaster of the original episodes in HD, the voice acting has been re-recorded by all of the original (living) voice actors. In addition, the music and sound effects are being re-recorded, the and the visual effects have been updated. Also, the opening and ending animation and theme songs are being completely replaced with new content (I'll miss Cha-La Head Cha-La).

Probably the most shocking bit of news is that the episodes have been edited down to remove all filler content so that it moves at a much faster pace, more closely following Akira Toriyama's original version from the comic. How much filler is being removed? The episode number is being reduced from 291 to 100!! This news doesn't bother me much, even as a fan I recognize that Dragon Ball had some pacing issues, I've heard the show referred to as Drag-On Ball many times, so this could be a good thing.

I'm pretty excited to see how these are going to look and sound, I've heard rumors that fan subtitlers are standing by to catch and release these as they air. If I get my hands on them, you'll find out here.

Another quick bit of unrelated Dragon Ball news, a brand new episode of Dragon Ball Z was released at the Jump Super Anime Tour in Japan not too long ago. It's the first "new" Dragon Ball animation to appear in 12 years. It takes place during the Majin Boo saga, and is titled Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return. Here's more info and a download link (password required). Below is a trailer for Dragon Ball Kai.



3.17.2009

Yes Rick, only a dream...

If you didn't do tabletop RPG with me in high school, you probably won't appreciate this. But going back to 1988-1992, our days and nights were dominated by a little thing called Robotech. I blame my friend Kevin for my many fond memories of blowing each other up with barrages of missiles in a mental realm. It was something he'd been doing for a while with a small group of people, and he wanted to get me on board as soon as possible. So I first had to be initiated into the cult by watching six videotapes full of the entire Robotech anime series. After that, I was assigned a character who I named Radd which is a handle that I've stuck with to this day. I had the fortune of moving up the ranks quickly in "Blaxe's Forces" because all I cared about back then were video games and Robotech and all I did for those years was play and play and boost my character's level (in between Kevin's many groundings by his mother, A.K.A. the troll). So in the course of this foolishness, Kevin decided to chronicle our misadventures in a newsletter. There were no computers back then, so all graphic design and art direction was handled alone by Kevin, his typewriter and the copy machine at Lockport Library. The Blaxe's Forces Player Newsletters spanned many incarnations, and was eventually joined by many other writers and contributors, including Kevin's brother Patt who added his unique wit and wisdom to the final three issues.

I'm in the process of scanning each and every page and converting these to PDF at the moment. A project I abandoned a while back, but now that I'm back in regular contact with Kevin and Jim after losing track of them for a while, I've been inspired to return to the project. So without further delay, here is Issue #1 of Blaxes Forces Player Newsletter. I believe this one came out November 1989, but correct me if I'm wrong Kevin...

I'll post the others as I complete their PDF conversions.

3.07.2009

More Street Fighter IV

I just picked up the Street Fighter IV Original Soundtrack. I like it. It's fitting for the material, with a 50/50 mix of old-school remix and original content. It's playing right now on Radd Radio (right sidebar) or download via FTP (password required). Both English and Japanese versions of the title track are present on the two disc set, Disc 1 has all the original content and Disc 2 contains all of the individual character themes.

Capcom also released this really nice FREE downloadable SFIV Training Manual.

As if that weren't enough, the first pieces of SFIV downloadable content are starting to trickle onto Xbox Live and PlayStation Network in the form of five alternate costume packs. Nice to see them finally wearing something new after nearly 20 years. Here's a few of my favorites:

Battle damaged Ryu. He doesn't mess around.

Haggar: "Oh, My clothes!"

Sakura wearing Ryu's outfit. She's in high school.

"Now if you'll 'scuse me, I have to feed Tiger."

Ken in American martial arts outfit. What a sellout.

Battle damaged M. Bison... or Vega, I forget.

Jean-Claude Van Damme is Charlie Nash... Er, Guile.

For those weren't sure Fei Long was an homage to Bruce Lee.

Chun-ster Formalwear

Now that I've had time to really play it a while and absorb it I've decided it's not Street Fighter II. But I guess in order to make a sequel they feel they have to progress it. I personally have no use for things like alpha counters, chain combos, parries, air-blocking, dashing or rolls. Street Fighter II had just the basics, none of the technical BS. You had to actually PLAY and BE GOOD to work your way out of certain game exploits, but it was possible with good timing. I think the addition of extra offensive or defensive techniques dumbs down the core of what Street Fighter II was. A true test of hand-eye coordination. Throws were the most technical thing you could do in Street Fighter II, and I will forever compare every thing that comes after... to Street Fighter II, because in my mind that game is the standard by which all should be judged. Not everyone agrees with me on that, and that's okay. It's my favorite, and apparently always will be.

What upsets me a little is that Capcom kept saying "we're taking out all of that technical stuff" and Street Fighter IV is gonna go back to the roots and be more like II. I've mentioned before the game is much slower than SF2 already. Already we're seeing it dumbed down just like everything so "everyone" can enjoy it (ahem Mario Kart Wii). But then I find EX Moves, Super Armor and Focus attacks. Now you can't even be hit by an attack! That's right, someone comes in, all you have to do is hold Strong and Forward and you get Super Armor. Problem is, you're stuck in that animation until it's over, but fear not, double tap and you're out of the animation and can attack your crumple stunned opponent with an Ultra Combo, not too technical at all, right? There's another problem, Ultra Combos... WAY too easy to do. The strategy now becomes go ahead and beat the tar out of me for the first 20 seconds of the match so I can get my revenge meter up. Then I'll win the match with two quarter circles and all three punch buttons. I don't understand the logic of Street Fighter IV's development; either make it like SF2 or don't, don't go halfway. I'm left hoping Street Fighter IV Turbo comes out so I can speed it up and defeat my opponents before they have a chance to even whip out any of this technical crap. It's just tough to go from playing SF2 Turbo SNES on 8 speed stars to the modern day of nerfing.

I will say this for Street Fighter IV. I still like it and I'm compelled to continue getting better at it and even learning the technical aspects of it. It's just that good of a game. I wasn't interested in playing Street Fighter III at all until third Strike, and even then I gave it my "Ok, not bad" label. Street Fighter Zero was enjoyable, I actually played Street Fighter Zero 2 quite a bit, but already the technical aspects were beginning to creep in. But Street Fighter IV sounds good, it's nice to look at, and I like all of the characters, even the new ones, especially El Fuerte. Focus Attacks and slowness aside, it's still fun, and I think downloadable content will make it even better. Think about it, instead of buying the same game three to five times, Capcom could release Street Fighter IV Champion Edition as a downloadable add-on. They could speed it up, add characters and moves, take things like Focus Attacks out, you never know! An option to disable the Focus Attacks and Ultra Combos would be nice. Play it "with honor" (we're not gonna throw right?). Or I could stop complaining and actually learn this stuff. Also an option to turn off the yelling narrator would be nice. "WHICH OF THESE FIGHTERS WILL COME OUT ON TOP? THIS IS GONNA BE ONE HELL OF A MATCH!" Yeah we know narrator dude, SHUT UP already! Go back to SFZ3 and Capcom vs. SNK 2 where you belong!

I'll continue to learn and maybe someday you'll read a blog about how I love Focus Attacks. But for now, I'll play it like Street Fighter II, and occasionally dabble in the new aspects and see where I end up. Until then:


3.03.2009

Part 2: The iPhone is the greatest invention in the history of civilization.

In our last episode, I was convinced by a shady phone salesman to make a horrible financial decision.

As it turns out though, it wasn't so horrible a decision because the iPhone is the greatest invention in the history of mankind. Although Koop is quick to point out that the iPhone was created by aliens, not man. He's probably right, but just like I assist Google in their takeover of the world for the sake of my own convenience, I'm also willing to assist aliens in their takeover as well. Again, for my own convenience.

What's so great about this iPhone? Well, this is a screen capture I took from my own phone. As you can see there are a bunch of Icons floating around. Let me explain how awesome this is. The iPhone is an appointment book (Calendar), a camera (Snapture), a video recorder (Cycorder), and an alarm clock with world clocks, now I know what time it is at John's house (Clock). It syncs your contacts with your computer (Contacts), you can view Google Maps and Google Earth with assisted GPS and turn by turn directions. Using the GPS, you can find whatever is around you, like gas stations, hospitals, movie theaters or even Apple Stores (AroundMe). Built in Yellow Pages and Accuweather that dynamically updates based on your location in the GPS. Not enough? Download new apps in the store, or even new music for your iPod, which is built in. Did I mention that? Yeah, built in 16GB iPod. I can update my Twitter, chat with my many, many friends on AIM or ICQ, (okay I have 4 friends, maybe 5). Oh also a full featured web browser (Safari) is built in, pretty pimp right? That's only page 1, lets swipe to page 2...

On page 2, I can get the showtimes and trailers for the closest theaters to me (again, theough the GPS), I can browse tonight's TV listings on Comcast, find out where there's some free Wi-Fi in the immediate area, check on my eBay auctions, track packages through FedEx, and query Wikipedia at the touch of a button. RDP allows me to connect to my server desktop. If Radd's Basement ever has a problem, I can correct it no matter where I am. There's also a wealth of media available if my 16GB of space ever should fill up. SHOUTcast is the internet radio network that served Gaming FM for years. Pandora allows you to type in an artist and it will play selections from that artist plus randomly select similar artists and play their songs. Shazam will listen to a song through the iPhone mic and identify the title for you. It's like black magic. Heard it on the radio but never knew who it was? Never again. Orb and TVersity give me access to all the media on my server, music and video. I can watch Star Trek in the doctor's office now. I can also tune in to the latest episode of I suck at Soul Calibur thanks to the YouTube app. I can type quick notes, or make complex calculations like Olaf does.

You'd think that would be enough stuff to do on the go. But I'm not satisifed... Let's go to page 3: Here I can look at the memory and status of the iPhone and free up memory if I need to (iStat). I can leave myself an audio note or record what's going on in the room (iTalk). I can make a phone call with an altered voice and caller ID just like a spy... should that need ever arise (SpoofApp), or I can light up a dark room (Flashlight). I have a bubble level at my side whenever I need to straighten a shelf on the fly (Carpenter), and I know what and when my Xbox 360 friends are playing without turning on my system (Inside Xbox). I can watch a soothing Aquarium, or listen to some WhiteNoise, like ocean waves or a fireplace to help me sleep. I can play an Ocarina, literally, I can play a damn Ocarina on my iPhone, just like Link. Except he doesn't use an iPhone. I can detect whether people are humans or Cylons, I can pretend ti kill people with a Lightsaber, I can mark the spot where I parked my car at the mall and be led back to it with GPS when I'm done, or I can play Pac-Man, Tetris, or Frogger. It's got a nice 320x480 screen, and those iPhone owners with a keen eye will notice some other upgrades I've made to it ;)

You know what else? I can CALL PEOPLE with it. Yeah that's right. Now if you don't think the iPhone is the greatest invention in the history of the universe, even better than sliced bread and the wheel, then just stick with your regular old phone that just calls people and does nothing else except sit there and keep papers from blowing away and hold doors open. As for me, I'm stickin with my iPhone. This concludes today's lesson.