B-Radicate 's blog
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My name is Brad. My DToid name and GT are both derived from my nickname, B-rad. Not Radicate the Pokemon. Shame on you.

MechaMonkey says: "I think we have a winner."

*~<Current Favorites>~*

Game(s): Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood - feels far too similar to 2 right now... not sure I'll finish it.

Movie: N/A

TV Show(s): Archer - Watch it.

Book: The Walking Dead vol. 6 - 5 was so good! I can't wait to find time to read this one.

Album(s): N/A

Song: N/A

Story of my life:


PSN: B-Radicate

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So, this week my blog reviews return. This time I tackle everyone's favorite free running hottie and the game everyone loves to hate. Enjoy.

Mirror’s Edge

Mirror’s Edge is game I really wanted to like from the very first time I saw it. I’m a huge sucker for games that try new things or adapt certain mechanics for unconventional means. A first-person action platformer, a genre traditionally reserved for third person games (and arguably rarely done well anymore), is one such type of mechanic/perspective switch that interests me to no end by default. Luckily the game didn’t disappoint me in the grand scheme of things.

The key to ME (fuck yeah I abbreviate shit) working for me was always going to be the controls and the fluidity of the action. I feel the results were sort of mixed. The controls on one hand were as simple as pie to wrap my head around. They became second nature within an hour or so. However, the actual game’s fluidity was archaic at best.

Too bad you can't actually do that.

I do believe part of the reason I had trouble adapting to what the game requires is because we rarely, if ever, have played a game with such open mechanics. You can jump off, run across, boost over, etc. over almost anything in the game. That’s new. Getting my brain to think outside the box in terms of what the game would allow me to do was a big step. I was often stuck places because I didn’t always realize I should even consider some crazy run-jump-swing combo, which is admittedly more my fault than the game’s fault. However, this fell apart after I made the mental leap and did begin to think more acrobatically (so to speak) when I would be slapped in the face with a maneuver that the game would let me do. Wait, I can run up the side of buildings and leap and bound like a gazelle but I can’t jump over that shrub? Or box? Huh? It pretty much made me hope DICE gets another chance to try and marry the controls and play style to a more polished sequel with an even more robust list of moves available.

Oh. Hai.

The story was meh but should have been much longer. The in-game graphics were awesome. The cut scenes wanted to be an Esurance commercial but couldn’t if they tried. I’m not a huge fan of racing games and an even lesser fan of time trials in games, so the “additional” game modes were not very thrilling to me in the slightest. I played a few until I realized I could spend my time better elsewhere.

Quick ass review score: 7/10

Too Human

Too Human is a game I have followed through all of its development announcements and eventual woes. I am a huge fan of ancient mythology, with Egyptian and Norse being my two favorites. Getting a Norse-themed game drenched in futuristic technology was just too much for me to handle. I was steadily a giddy schoolgirl every time a new announcement was made. Then Denis Dyack decided to be a douche and ruin any hope the public had of giving the game a fair shake. I held out on passing judgment until I played the game myself and I’m glad I didn’t buy into the hype because, despite Too Human wasn’t the epic RPG experience Dyack and company claimed, it was a fun hack ‘n slash adventure with some gameplay quirks that were worth looking past.

The control and camera system are the two things people will be torn between loving and hating while playing the game. The attack controls were pretty much all mapped to the right analog stick, which is usually reserved for camera controls (more on that in a minute). The idea was that moving the stick in a direction would let you attack enemies in that direction and it worked pretty effectively. After a few hours I learned that some finesse with holding and flicking the stick allowed for more powerful combos. Laying waste to an entire mob of goblins never got old (although the goblin designs did) and I had fun throughout.

Fuck you.

Speaking of fun, when I played I was REALLY in the mood for a hack ‘n slash game where I could level up and equip crazy weapons and armor and lay waste to goons. TH delivered that experience in spades. I ran around with giant hammers and swords, whippin’ out pistols and laser rifles, slaying countless enemies. The augmentation of weapons and armors could have been more fluid, but I got a hang of it an hour or so in, so it didn’t prove too big of an issue by the end.

The camera really wanted to be cinematic but often failed. For a game that tried to be so epic in scope, you were often fighting in close cramped quarters and the camera took a shit on you in the middle of a battle more often than not, which was sad to say the least. Having to press two buttons to manually move the camera was just not acceptable in the heat of battle.

And how heated the battles got! Often times I would run into a room and simply get slaughtered. Enemies would attack you while down (or standing back up) and barrage you with attacks. There was often no chance at tactical reasoning. A lot has been said of the Valkyrie death animation, so I won’t speak to it, however I will say that I have come to believe that if a game starts you back exactly where you left off after dying it is blatantly telling you the developers KNEW you’d have no chance of making it through certain sections. That reeks of bad mechanics, bad development, or a combination of the two. Games shouldn’t be hard because the game literally won’t let you through a section without dying two or three times. They should be hard because it takes thought on the behalf of the player to navigate the gamescape. Too Human was more the former than the latter, sadly.

If only you could actually wield both at once, maybe they would have given us a traditional control scheme.

The graphics were decent, despite Silicon Knights’ hatred of the Unreal engine. The in-game graphics weren’t stunning but they got the job done. You were often running around with a giant hammer smacking shit in the face. How gorgeous does it need to be (and it was gorgeous artistically speaking)? However, the use of the in-game engine for the cut scenes showed how powerful the engine could be. I was often taken aback by the fidelity of the cut scenes. I drew the conclusion the engine was great for a game… just not this one. The camera would need to be closer to the character to show off the graphics, which TH didn’t do.

Sadly the game’s creators were so assured the game would “change the way we play games” and that it would warrant a number of sequels that they didn’t bother tying the game’s narrative threads together by the end, instead leaving it open to the sequels that at this point will likely never see the light of day. That’s sad because the best part of the whole story was the last series of cut scenes setting up the coming action. Sigh.

Quick ass review score: 6/10

Thanks for reading!

Up next will be Mercenaries 2 and Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction. Stay tuned.

**All images provided by/found via Google Image Search.**
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So, this week takes a slight turn from my other blog reviews, because these two titles are ones that I purchased. Not saying they are more notable because of it, although that may be, I guess all it means is I can play these whenever I want ‘cause they’re on my shelf full-time. I took my time playing them and was in no rush to beat them. Take that as you will.

Left 4 Dead

Alright, so what can I say about L4D that already hasn’t been said? It won Dtoid’s GOTY as well as being near the top of almost every other website and publications’ lists, as well. It’s a phenomenal multiplayer experience and has one of the highest levels of combined replayability and visceral thrills. To sum up how I feel, it has yet to get old.

However, for this review, knowing that I think it’s the best multiplayer game since CoD4, knowing the graphic fidelity isn’t as high as a title such as Gears 2 (and that I don’t care), knowing I think it’s one of the best zombie games to come out… ever, or that I’m not bothered by the “lack of content” some people talk about, I’ve decided to focus on something else entirely. I’m going to focus on the one thing that pisses me off ‘til no end every single time I play the game. It pissed me off when the game was announced and it pissed me off the other night when I played with my old college roommate over Live. No, it’s not the AI Director. It’s the fact that no single enemy in the game is a zombie. Yeah. Not one.

Most needed weapon: Tums.

See, I’m a huge zombie fan. I love zombie movies, books, games, everything. And I’m not a fan because of the recent mainstream revival of interest in zombies. No, I’ve been a huge fan for many years. The best horror stories involve zombies. I’ve read the Zombie Survival Guide and have a plan of escape should they rise while I’m at home or at work. Yeah, I think about it too much.

With that, however, comes the fact that I am a zombie traditionalist. I’m no pre-300 Zack Snyder loving zombie fan. No no no. I’m the slow, dumb, frighteningly eerie zombie fan whose fears arise more from stories of Voodoo culture than anything else. Another summation, zombies don’t run.

While I think L4D is a great “zombie” game, I feel it’s much more akin to recent films like the hinted at Zack Snyder remake of Dawn of the Dead or the 28 series (a set of movies I actually love, but for different reasons). I always have to think of L4D as “infected,” not as zombies (which the game even says they are, which is why I think it’s a copout sometimes for the press to just call them zombies instead of appreciating them for what Valve wants them to be). This helps me get around two huge suspensions of disbelief for me so I can become more engaged in the game as I play.

The first is that within the context of the game there is no explanation of why there are five boss zombies, only five boss zombies, and all of them look exactly alike. Any real zombie looks like the person they once were. While L4D “normal” zombies may, too, they come too fast and frenetically that you pretty much can’t tell. To have multiple people all turn into the same type of boss, though, is odd. I understand it’s for gameplay reasons so you can become accustom to listening for smokers or witches or what have you, but from an objective standpoint, it is just unlikely. I feel Valve missed an opportunity in the campaigns for the survivors to find out what actually occurred over the course of the four campaigns. I think it’d be neat for each campaign to have a small open-ended story piece (perhaps at the end as you escaped in the vehicle) began to hint at what occurred. Then you’d have to put the four puzzle pieces together in your own head and try to fill in the rest. Or maybe some hints in secret places, kind of like “the cake is a lie” from Portal. You know it’d be cool, admit it.

Seriously, who farted?

The other thing I think would have been real neat is the inclusion of melee weapons. I know the general pace of the game is slightly too quick for melee, but everyone gets swamped from time to time. Shove is cool, but shoving with a bat in hand or a crowbar (as a nice homage to Half Life) would be even cooler. Maybe make the melee weapons more powerful when used, as compared to shove. One hit kills with them against normal infected or some such thing. Make them take the place of an extra firearm for balancing sake, I don’t know. I mean, just like Max Brooks states in the Zombie Survival Guide, weapons like machetes and bats don’t run out of ammo.

I’d be willing to play a slower-paced game with a much smaller prevalence of ammunition if it included slower zombies and melee weapons. I think it would go a long way to make the game feel more “authentic.” I know the game’s sold well and all, and Valve has no reason to listen to anything I’ve said, but I still don’t think we’ve seen the best possible zombie game possible (I hated Dead Rising, sorry but shitty gameplay mechanics and controls shouldn’t get overlooked ‘cause you kill undead). I’m waiting for a zombie game that blends the forced perspective of games like Mirror’s Edge and Farcry 2 with open-world survival like Fallout 3 all gift-wrapped in the perfect package. Aren’t you?

Authentic zombie score: 6/10
Quick ass review score: 9/10

Gears of War 2

I was a big fan of the original Gears. I thought it was a great new sci-fi world with a load of backstory possibility. It was a fresh IP that the Xbox needed at a time when the system didn’t really have too many killer apps beyond the Halo franchise. What I didn’t like was the short single player story and the busted ass multiplayer that, coming from a development team like Epic, which is known for smooth online play and fast frenetic games like the Unreal series, just wasn’t acceptable to me. No number of patches or over-priced downloadable map packs (aka one) was enough to hold my interest for more than two months or so.

Luckily, Gears 2 arrived and addressed, at the very least, all of my single player story gripes. The story was deeper, the characters more fleshed out, and the scenery expanded to a degree that was just mind boggling in comparison to the first. On-rails shooter levels, vehicle levels, you name it and Gears 2 delivered. Best of all, it was wrapped around the same stellar pop and shoot mechanics of the first, but which were fleshed out with human (okay, Locust) shields, mobile cover, new weapons, more varied enemies, and overall polish. Let’s just say it was good enough to warrant a co-op play through on Insane from me and my buddy. Great stuff.

No one can argue the game is the graphical king right now.

At first glance, the multiplayer components also received a nice upgrade. With two extra people thrown into the mix and larger more varied levels (on top of the new shield and weapon mechanics mentioned previously), not to mention more gameplay types, the online play felt fresh and worthy of my limited gameplay hours. Unfortunately, after a few weeks I realized the game really wasn’t that much more different than the first, with players eking out glitch strategies that destroyed the experience for everyone that didn’t know how to cheat. After a few patches from Epic that did nothing to address the gripes and actually made finding a game slower for some, the game fell by the wayside for me and I haven’t picked it up since.

Sure, the game was fun for the few weeks that it lasted, but being touted as such a tent pole franchise only to have half the experience gimped by the development team (not to mention the quick release of another insanely-priced DLC map pack from a company that gives more stuff away to PC players than most companies can afford) is both shocking and stupid. To me, Epic just doesn’t “get it” anymore. I truly believe few companies do. The sad part is they’ve developed a fan base that buys their titles and only their titles and plays them ‘til the next release, so $10 for three maps isn’t insane to somebody that buys a single game every two or three years (I literally played with a guy who had only Gears and Gears 2 in his played games list and couldn’t stop talking about how awesome the game was and how it was the best ever… give me a break). For anybody else that wants to enjoy other titles, it’s disheartening and sad. The game shipped with what, twelve new maps? Fifteen if you count the flashbacks? That means the multiplayer levels alone were worth 83% of the original cost of the game? Seriously? That’s just insane to me.

Fuck these things in their alien butts. Seriously.

Until Epic works out a formula wherein they can deliver solid experiences throughout their game packages (meaning multiplayer can’t be gimped for months on end) starting on day one of sales, I’m simply not into buying their titles. There are much better purchases available and games more worth my time and effort. Gears 2 is a fun solid single (or co-op) shooter, but don’t go into the multiplayer thinking you’ll have fun with people crab walking and shooting you through walls, ‘cause you won’t.

PS – For anyone that says they released a patch fixing some issues, do the gene pool a favor and shoot yourself in the head now. It’s called QA/Beta testing. Epic needs to learn what that means before they release their next title.

Single player review score: 9/10
Multiplayer review score: 6/10
Quick ass review score: 7.5/10

Up next will be Mirror's Edge and Too Human.

Thanks for reading!

**All images provided by IGN and Google Image Search.**
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So, a few months ago I started a blog series where I reviewed games I rent from GameFly. Unfortunately, working in the real world sucks and I find myself with little time to blog any more. I prefer to play games rather than write about them. It's why I'll never make a living at this. Oh well.

To catch up, I've reviewed all the games I've played since then and will post them in blocks of two (save for this instance, apparently), to catch up. Last time I wrote about Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and Quantum of Solace and before that was Dark Sector and Saint's Row 2, if you're interested. Without further ado, here it is...

Far Cry 2

I never finished the first Far Cry. I had it on PC and it kept crashing when I entered a certain room halfway through the game and I never bothered reinstalling it. Luckily, Far Cry 2 came out before I ever thought twice and now I have no need to ever go back and play the first. (I guess it also helps the game has NOTHING to do with the first after all the Crytek/Ubisoft legal bullshit that occurred, too.)

Given a different story (totally unrelated to the first, thank god), a host of playable characters (how much they each effect the game is unknown), and a HUGE unnamed African country to explore, Far Cry satiated my FPS hunger for quite some time. Let me repeat the coolest factor: the game world is HUGE. Something akin to 25 square miles or something like that. FUCKING HUGE, alright?

To go along with an entire country to explore, you get a beautiful engine that made me stop in awe multiple times and just enjoy a sunset or drive a Jeep (whose registered vehicles are throughout) alongside some zebras. That engine also allows for you to set fire to most of the scenery, too, something played up in the trailers. Unfortunately, when adding interaction to a game world such as fire, you bring to the forefront of the player’s mind not what you can interact with, but what you can’t, namely everything else. If I can burn a large swath of grasslands with a flamethrower, I’d also like my RPGs to do something to the grass huts, Ubisoft. Thanks. On that note, where were all the predators in the game world? The only animals were zebras, buffalo, goats, and chickens. I guess they wanted to avoid lion or gator poaching, but come on. Is zebra bowling (driving a Jeep into a herd as fast as possible and chasing the runners down) that much better? Didn’t think so. Gimme my lions, damn it.

Straight up breathtaking.

Not much can be said for the multiplayer, it’s an okay CoD knockoff with an interesting upgrade mechanic, but it has a robust level editor that can potentially extend the longevity infinitely. Luckily the single player was a solid 30 hours or more (I didn’t even complete all the side missions and logged over 30 hours) that at points really pulls the heart strings (and at others doesn’t mean a damn thing, quite frankly). For me, I was so engrossed in the world I didn’t mind what I was doing was sick and disgusting morally (essentially playing off both sides of a war, people getting in my way be damned) or that I put a bullet in a friend’s head instead of saving his life. The fact I even had that choice was cool to me (and the forced first-person perspective made it even more engaging).

Speaking of choices, the weapon selection in the game was, in my opinion, spot on. There was a solid mix of assault rifles, sniper rifles, pistols, SMGs, and heavy weapons like machine guns, rocket launchers, grenade launchers, the aforementioned flamethrower, and even a damn mortar. The fact you could “knock over” gun shipments as a side mission and unlock weapons on the black market (conveniently located on an ‘80s-era PC with internet access to said black market and the fastest shipping since DHL) was also a neat idea. Each series of gun had several tiers of guns, from wimpy pistols to Desert Eagles, bolt-action rifles to .50 caliber semi-auto behemoths, buying the guns opened up more options and made you want to play for them, which was nice. Not only could you approach situations from more angles, but you wouldn’t have to rely on enemy weapons, which wore more prone to jamming (!) or breaking entirely (!!!).

Just as beautiful, but in a gun porn kind of way.

The worst part of the game was the respawning enemies at their bases all around the map. You’d knock off an entire camp and if you left the map region and came back it would already be refilled with enemies. Plus, constant patrols and instant-kill battering rams (aka cars) made avoiding fights preferable to engaging in them more often than not, which can kill the vibe of a shooter for some people. I dealt with it and accepted the constant barrage of attack as practice for the next big mission, despite the fact it got on my nerves some times.

All in all, Far Cry 2 is a phenomenal title that truly should be played by any FPS fan or adventure game fan in general. Traversing that much game world is just a neat feeling and really made me get lost in the experience. You should take the time to get lost, too.

Quick ass review score: 9/10

Up next will be Left 4 Dead and Gears 2.

Thanks for reading!
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So, a few months ago I started a blog series where I reviewed games I rent from GameFly. Unfortunately, working in the real world sucks and I find myself with little time to blog any more. I prefer to play games rather than write about them. It's why I'll never make a living at this. Oh well.

To catch up, I've reviewed all the games I've played since then and will post them in blocks of two, to catch up. Last time I wrote about Dark Sector and Saint's Row 2, if you're interested. Without further ado, here they are...

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed

Unleashed had some potential. All the technology that was touted as changing gameplay blah blah blah really made me want to witness it for myself. As a huge Star Wars fan, I also wanted to kick some ass with Jedi Force powers unlike I had ever experienced before. Unfortunately, the game suffered from some horrible design decisions.

For one, the controls SUCKED harder than any game in recent memory (yes, even worse than Overlord). The act of using Force Grab to lift objects was tedious and, in the heat of battle, almost impossible to perform on the intended target. The camera was the single worst I’ve ever seen. And, to top it off, the much-touted technology had no legitimate impact on my gameplay experience. Sure, some shit reacted “like it does in real life” (not like I ever had time to stop and watch it, most of the time that would result in being shot by a cheap enemy), but when I swing a lightsaber at a fucking tree or bush I expect some shit to get cut down. Fuck force fields or armor, Stormtroopers should coat themselves with the plants from half the planets in the universe and they’d be totally immune to a Jedi’s blade of hot death. Plus, “enemies flailing for their lives” really doesn’t matter. In hindsight, I never once saw a single enemy “trying to save themselves” from a Force Grab that looked realistic, let alone one that couldn’t have been a simple canned animation. The technology just didn’t impact my experience in a noticeable manner whatsoever.

Probably the only time the player Force Grabbed the intended target the entire game.

The story was good enough to warrant a play through, despite the fact you sorta kinda mess with the mythos by the end, which, if you’re a hardcore fan (as many players of the game probably are) it only ends up pissing you off anyway. However, on the way there it was compelling enough to wade through the bullshit. Not really the best of compliments.

PS – Fuck Star Destroyers... you'll know it when you see it.

Quick ass review score: 6/10

Bond 007: The Quantum of Solace

Quantum of Solace was not the return to James Bond’s Goldeneye days as many hoped (and as Activision hyped it to be). However, it was the best Bond game I’ve played since Goldeneye (I skipped the third person shooter ones last generation, mind you) and I was pleased I decided to rent it.

The story follows both movies (in a compelling fashion, since the events of Casino Royale are played out via flashback part way through, adding a nice twist to the narrative) and allow you to play all the cool scenes (being drugged in Casino Royale has to be my standout favorite). The weapons were fun and responsive, the QTEs weren’t nearly as bothersome as I feared, nor as plentiful, and the graphics were more than serviceable. The addition of a cover mechanic was also nice, considering the new flicks are supposed to be “realistic” and, let’s face it, taking cover in the midst of firefights is simply… realistic.

That ugly mug is barely worth hiding behind a wall, but at least he can do so, right?!

One thing I noticed was that the multiplayer was a decent knockoff of Call of Duty 4 (the engine it’s built off of), with purchasable upgrades and gadgets and such available and a good mix of levels and modes. One thing that sort of sucked was that at no time in multiplayer did it feel like a Bond game. “Gadgets” are actually Perks from CoD, so instead of having laser watches and grappling hooks like some of the previous EA titles, you get increased sprint distance or reduced damage. Not really what I would consider a “gadget,” but whatever. Also, the servers were mostly British people. Just so you know, in case your Live connection suffers when connecting to people not in the same country as you, which happens.

Quick ass review score: 7.5/10

Up next will be Far Cry 2.

Thanks for reading!
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So, a few months ago I started a blog series where I reviewed games I rent from GameFly. Unfortunately, working in the real world sucks and I find myself with little time to blog any more. I prefer to play games rather than write about them. It's why I'll never make a living at this. Oh well.

To catch up, I've reviewed all the games I've played since then and will post them in blocks of two, to catch up. Without further ado, here they are...

Dark Sector

Some people called Dark Sector a poor man’s Gears of War. Even a poor man’s Resident Evil 4. Well, let me tell you, Dark Sector was one of the biggest surprises I’ve had in the past few years of gaming.

I’ve followed DS since it was first announced way back when as a futuristic spy/action game. I was honestly upset when it was announced it switched to a gritty contemporary shooter, but I was still pleasantly surprised. The graphics were much better than I anticipated with nice effects throughout and no slowdown whatsoever. The controls were tight and featured a cover mechanic I feel was even more intuitive than Gears’, which it is clearly borrowed from. The gameplay was fast enough to never get boring and the glaive was a truly unique weapon that made battles interesting. I also enjoyed the slight bit of weapon customization that was present.


The story was nothing Oscar-worthy, but it held my interest ‘til the end. It also left itself open for a sequel, which I honestly would not be upset with. There could be a lot more done with the characters/world and I look forward to anything that follows, if it ever should see the light of day. The worst part is, as much as I liked the game as it is, I couldn’t help but feel the original space age sci-fi concept would have been way cooler and much more original. Oh well.

Quick ass review score: 8.5/10

Saint’s Row 2

I was a huge fan of the first SR. I accepted it for the GTA3 knockoff it was, but was pleasantly surprised with the little refinements to the gameplay like free aim and side missions that felt worthwhile. The sequel was no different for me.

While the graphics didn’t seem all that improved, the engine was smoother, although it still had issues from time to time (mostly when a ton of shit was blowing up, mind you). The city was pleasantly expanded, the customization was more in depth than ever (my character was a spot on Joker a la Batman the Animated Series with a British accent), and the gameplay was flat out fun, which is much more than even the mighty GTAIV can say for itself. I laughed more playing any given session of SR2 than I ever did throughout all of GTAIV. The game accepted itself as a B-level action flick with crude humor in playable form and played it up to great effect. For that I applaud it.

I swear to god, I looked exactly like him. Suit, trench coat, hat, and all.

The best thing SR2 has going for it is that the side missions. While GTAIV had side missions, they never seemed relevant to anything but my Gamer Score, which is sad. The only reason I sought all the unique jumps was for a few points. SR2, however, ties side missions to everything else in the game. You need respect points to play story missions, which are earned by finishing side missions. However, you also earn in-game rewards such as prolonged sprinting, extra guns, and reduced notoriety (to name a few), along with the almighty GS points. This makes the reward for completing them two-fold. It makes sense in the game, ‘cause they will help me play later missions, PLUS it will make my e-peen larger. It’s a win-win.

Quick ass review score: 9/10

Up next will be The Force Unleashed and Quantum of Solace.

Thanks for reading!
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I know I haven't blogged in a while. It's a fact.

I also know that as a good community member (or any community member for that matter) we're not supposed to write one or two line blogs. It's a fact.

But I also know, and here comes the tricky part, that Hamza got a subtle shout out of sorts on the Questionable Content web comic strip today posted below.

Notice the fifth panel down.