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Drewcifer75's blog

1:44 PM on 04.11.2009

Report From the Front: Sealmageddon '09

So, today over on the Whisperwind server on World of Warcraft, PeTA was supposed to be holding an event to protest the killing of baby seals. Leaving aside the fact that staging an event on a WoW server is not going to help one single baby seal, I thought that it would at least be entertaining to see. So, my fiance' and I decided to create a couple of Horde characters on Whisperwind (since there was no way in hell we were going to pay 25 bucks to transfer our characters, more on that in a bit,), and head over to watch the fun. We logged on about a half hour before the event, and even though our characters were only at level 9, we figured what the hell. Sure, we'd get killed an awful lot, but at least we might get a good laugh out of it. So we hopped on a Zep from Orgrimmar and were on our way.

Right after getting to Vengeance Landing, we realized that it was going to be fun. Immediately, we were invited into the guild Seal Clubbing Club, joined, got in a raid group and were summoned to the location of the event. Just as I expected, it was absolute chaos. People were running all over the area slaughtering Lion seals like there was no tomorrow, making fun of PeTA, and letting loose a storm of emotes about making seal sandwiches.

Early on, we tried to participate in the slaughter, but since we were only level 9, there really wasn't a whole lot that we were able to do. Eventually, it just turned into the two of us running around the area, getting killed a few times, and picking up things off of corpses. The funny thing was that there was only one instance over the hour that I spent there before bailing since all my equipment was red from being repeatedly killed by creatures that were level 68 and up of someone that seemed to be on the side of PeTA. I couldn't see what was going on in all the chaos, but I'm sure that person got griefed like crazy, and probably ended up logging off. Other than that, there was no evidence at all that anyone from PeTA even showed up. My guess is that a few "scouts" probably went on, realized what was going on, saw that there was no way this BRILLIANT event of theirs was going to work, and called it off. Either that, or they now plan on waiting until everyone gets bored waiting for them to show up and THEN have the event. Either way, The Great Canadian Seal Killing Protest is a study in epic fail. But hey, I had some fun, and I ended up looting enough stuff from seal corpses to get my level 9 hunter around 3 and a half gold. So thanks, PeTA for the fun hour!

Seriously, I don't know who over there thought that this was going to be a good idea, but I'm fairly sure that they've never really played an MMO like WoW before. Probably someone in the organization plays, suggested this, and they ran with it without really thinking it through. Of course, I shouldn't be surprised. We are talking about the same group that asked the Pet Shop Boys to change their name to the Rescue Shelter Boys earlier this week. Yeah.

So, for all their talk, it looks like PeTA failed to deliver once again, and the only thing that ended up happening was a bunch of computer generated seals got slaughtered. I'm sure they'll put up some form of self-righteous condemnation of WoW players for this, but oh well. I think I'm strong enough to live with their disapproval. It'll be a struggle, but I'll get by one day at a time. If you weren't there and want to see what happened, I'm sure a bunch of vids of it will show up on YouTube somewhere this week. Just search for peta and seals, and you'll probably be rewarded with a bunch of videos of digital seal slaughter, badly typed emotes, and roaring PeTA mockery.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to make myself a cheese burger. All that laughing has made me very hungry.

Carry on Smartly...   read

6:53 AM on 10.16.2008

Dead Space: Two Hours In...

I picked up a copy of Dead Space yesterday, and it looks like another very worthy entry into the survival-horror genre has arrived. I haven't found it pants-crappingly scary up to this point, but it has definitely been startling. And, to be fair, I was playing when it was still daylight out, or with the lights on. heh. I'm sure pretty much everyone on DToid knows the general story of Dead Space by this point, but if you don't the Reader's Digest Condensed version is: Huge mining ship, the Ishimura, becomes disabled, you and your team fly in to try and fix it, immediately, things start to go pear-shaped, and many many ooky monsters are trying to make you into an ex-person.

Dead Space has a nicely creepy feel to it, and a lot of things contribute to that feel. The Ishimura is basically deserted except for the monsters(called Necromorphs), you, your 2 surviving crew members, and so far, only a couple of the Ishimura's crew that were so psychologically shattered by whatever happened on the ship, that they're just not right. Also, the ship is damaged and decaying, and the fact that there's no one else around really lets you hear what's going on around you. From sparks, crackles, things falling down, to the sound of Necromorphs running through the vents, the sound makes you feel like things could go horribly wrong at any moment, and it often does. The many cramped environments and frequent "oh, that's a bad sound" moments really contribute to the feel and put you on your guard almost constantly.

Like I said, I'm only a couple of hours into the game so far, but I'm definitely digging it. Once you get used to the controls, they're very intuitive. Now, the combat is a little different than what I'm used to. The game talks in its ad copy about "Strategic Dismemberment". It's not just a gimmick, it's necessary to defeat the monsters. You need to blow off limbs to put them down. Unlike most games like this, just pumping them full of bullets won't get the job done. Besides, though the game has been fairly generous with ammo so far, I'm convinced that they'll change that up on me at some point, so the run and gun approach will probably turn out to be a big mistake. Anyway, to illustrate my point, here's a sample of one of the first encounters I had with the Necromorphs.

Me: *WALKING DOWN A HALLWAY* Ok, I know something is going to pop out any second. This is the perfect place for it. *CHECKS WEAPON* Ok, let's do this.
Me: AH!! Ok, time for a dirt nap, Chumley. *LINES UP A HEADSHOT* *BOOM*
Me: Yeah! Suck on that you- wait, he's still coming. Oh, crap. *BOOM* *BLOWS OFF A LEG* There, that oughta do it, now to-
Me: Oh, this does NOT bode well... *BOOM*
Necromorph: *ARM FLIES OFF* Gurrrrgle...
Me: Is it dead? It dropped an item, I guess it's dead. *WALKS FORWARD SLOWLY* Yeah, it's dead. *PICKS UP THE PRECIOUS, PRECIOUS AMMO*
Me: Oh, crap.

Yeah, taking the head off doesn't put them down. I'm not quite sure why two arms flying off is more fatal than a head flying off, but I guess that's why I'm not a Xenobiologist.

The mechanics of the game are extremely well done. There's no HUD at all, but that isn't a bad thing at all. Your health level is displayed as a line of lights on the back of your suit, or RIG. To see how much ammo your weapon has, just raise it, and things like maps, mission objectives and even a guide to your next objective are displayed as holograms floating in front of you. It took a little bit of getting used to, but after about 10 minutes, I didn't miss the HUD at all.

Two hours is often not the best measure of a game, but if the rest keeps up like it's been going, Dead Space is a definite winner that I'll probably replay as much as I've replayed RE4, and I've lost count how many times I've done that. It's fairly straight-forward, tense, and it looks and sounds fantastic. So far, definitely worth the cash. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go turn the engines back on, and it's dark and creepy down there. Good thing I stocked up on fresh boxers. heh.

Carry on Smartly.   read

5:56 AM on 07.15.2008

And lo, there was much wailing, gnashing of teeth, and l33t speak held sway!

Final Fantasy CCCLX?! NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! OMFGWTFBBQ?! SE YUZ IZ FRAKKIN TRAITORS!!!! N0t gunna play yer fukkin game nowz! NEVER EVAR!!!


Sorry about that. Yeah, they dropped a bombshell at E3 alright. I'm sure everyone knows by now that Final Fantasy 13 is going to be coming to the XBox 360 as well as the PS3. This of course set off a Category 5 shit storm on the ol' intertubes. We got the full measure. We got fanboys crying, others saying they're boycotting the game now, 360 zealots throwing chests up and down the forums and indulging in a bit of schadenfreude. Oh, and of course there were dire promises that Sony had better have something EARTH SHATTERING for its press conferrence today, by crikey! Let me pause a moment to let loose my complete and total lack of surprise. *BLINK* *BLINK* Ok, that should be enough.

Yeah, I'm not surprised. Let's face it, console exclusivity is pretty much on its death bed with a mortician hovering in the background and a priest standing by to deliver the last rights. Let's face it, games cost as much to produce as a movie, and developers and publishers need to make that money back if they want to keep on making games. It's going to keep happening in this generation of consoles, and I've got news for you, it's going to happen even more in the next gen, when I'm sure games will be even more expensive to produce. Get used to it, because you're going to see it more and more often. Yeah, there will be a few exclusives here and there, mainly for the Wii and the occasional indie developer, but yeah, we're going to see fewer exclusives.

People on both sides of the XBox360/PS3 Jihad may just want to chill out and let the whole exclusivity thing go because really, why does it even matter? Yes, I'm sure FF13 will look a bit sharper on the PS3, especially on an HD tv because of Blu-Ray, but it will still look great on the 360. Will it be buggy? Maybe, but I doubt it. Square Enix is a pretty hardcore developer, and I'm sure they'll do whatever they can to make sure that the 360 version will run as smoothly as possible. If PS3 prices have dropped by the time it comes out, and it has more games that I want to play, maybe I'll buy a PS3. But aside from that, I'm happy to play the next installment of one of my favorite gaming franchises on my M$ box of joy.

Now, if they'd announced that FF13 was coming ONLY to the 360, then I could understand the outcry. As it is? This is just as stupid as freaking out because Devil May Cry 4 went multi-platform, or Bioshock went to the PS3(yes 360 zealots, you should be quiet too). You're going to get to play the game, and that's really all that should matter. If its absolutely necessary, both sides of the aisle can crow quietly to themselves for different reasons. PS3 zealots can gloat about probably getting the game first, and having it look better, and XBox 360 zealots can take pleasure in the fact that yet another PS3 exclusive bit the dust. And I'm sure Wii fans will be too busy playing Mario Party 3,645 to notice.

Seriously, if a game comes to more than one console, it's not a make or break situation for that console. People are going to buy the console that they want, and in many cases, people are going to eventually buy all the consoles anyway, so why the hell are we all still griping about it?

Basically, I think that everyone should follow one of the popular tenets here on D-Toid: STFUJPG.

Oh wait I forgot, Konami hasn't said that MGS4 will get ported to the 360 yet. Ok, once that happens and THAT shit storm dies down maybe people will STFUJPG. *FINGERS CROSSED*

And that goes for me too.

Carry on Smartly...   read

12:28 PM on 06.25.2008

Might be worth a shot...

So, they've released some new info about the crossover fighter that everyone seems to love to hate, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. It's cool that they're going to include some fatalities and some "brutalities", but not too terribly surprising, as it is a Mortal Kombat game. Hopefully, they'll be a bit more intuitive than Armageddon's Fatality Button-Mash Scavenger hunt. I'll be interested to hear what Boon has to say about the game at Nerd Prom in a month or so, since apparently more about the roster will be revealed. I still think the game would be improved by the inclusion of Lobo and Spider Jerusalem, but I won't hold my breath. Ah well, a man can always hold out hope for some DLC. heh.

I know that a lot of people like to hate this game already. Hell, my first reaction was that there was so much potential for epic fail, but the more I think about it the more I think that it could at least be entertaining. And so far it does look nice, and I'm sure I'll at least rent the thing. Don't know about an actual purchase, but I've spent many a happy hour in the MK universe beating the crap out of friends. Yeah, it's not the best fighting game franchise out there by a long shot, but that's not to say that it's not fun.

Besides, this screenshot just made me chuckle...

What can I say? Sometimes I just like the idea of a Kryptonian eye-blasting a Hell-Spawned Demon-Specter in the face.

Though I still think that Spider Jerusalem's Fatal Intestinal Maelstrom Bowel-Disruptor fatality would be awesome. Of course, that would kill any chance the game has to retain a T rating.

Carry on Smartly.   read

5:54 AM on 06.05.2008

Don't Throw That Party Just Yet...

Today, of course, the gaming sites all over the net are ablaze with the news that Wacky Jacky Thompson walked out of his own hearing yesterday, angered that the judge wouldn't let him read his long-winded, rambling manifesto about why it's so unfair that he's more than likely going to be disbarred for 10 years, and of course, the massive tsunami of schadenfreude over the whole mess threatens to sweep everything before it. However, before you pop the cork on that champagne you were saving for the day that you could cry "Ding, Dong the Witch is dead!" just pause a moment. Let's be honest here, it's really not going to change all that much. Don't get me wrong, I get as annoyed by Jack Thompson as anyone else does. I agree with his main goal of keeping violent content away from young kids. I've got no problem with that whatsoever. However, I have always found the way in which he chooses to go about it completely reprehensible. Do I think he deserves to be disbarred? Yeah, he probably does. Admittedly, I have a very limited knowledge of legal proceedings, but it does seem to me, just looking at things logically that the way Thompson chooses to act is just not the way a responsible litigator should behave. But there's been more than enough talk about that. What I'm saying here is that even if he is disbarred, it's not going to make him magically disappear. Yes, he won't be able to file suits, argue a case, or do many of the things he does now, but he can easily get someone to do it on his behalf. Plus, if you think he's not going to appeal, you're crazy. How successful his appeals will be remains to be seen, but having observed the man's behavior through the media for a few years now, I'm pretty confident that he's going to milk it for all it's worth, still spouting the same kind of thing he's been spouting, he'll just probably do it through another lawyer. And of course, he will still be darkening our TV screens and bookstore shelves. The only real difference will be, as I saw someone say on a Thompson story a couple of months ago that instead of being referred to as a "First Amendment Lawyer", he'll be referred to as a "First Amendment Activist or Expert". Hell, he might even get hired at Fox News as an analyst, because they know he'll get ratings and cause all kinds of attention. It's like the man once said, there's no such thing as bad publicity. Like I said, it's really not going to change much, because as much as the gaming community dislikes the man, there are plenty of people on the other side of the issue that like him and will still want to hear what he has to say and will support his God Given Crusade to stamp out objectionable content in the media. Because we just HAVE to protect the children. Oh dear GOD won't someone PLEASE think of the children?!

Sorry, got a little side-tracked there. Yes, losing his license to practice law will hinder Thompson a little, but it really won't do that much to change things. Sorry to rain on your parade, but he's not just going to roll over and die. He may be misguided, he may behave in incomprehensible or odious ways, he may even be insane, but at the end of the day, he believes that he's right. He believes that what he has to say is important, and he's not going to stop saying it just because he can't be a lawyer anymore. Yes, this is a step in the right direction, but we have to face the cold hard facts that that's all that it is, a step. And even if, by some miracle, he does go away, someone just like him will pop right up to take his place.

So go ahead and celebrate a bit at the karma tornado showing up and stomping on Jack Thompson a bit. But don't forget, this whole thing isn't over yet, not by a long shot.

Carry on Smartly.   read

7:22 PM on 04.18.2008

Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe...

So much potential for fail there. But hey, you never know, it could be worth at least a rental. Provided you're able to play as Spider Jerusalem, complete with bowel disruptor fatality. Or perhaps John Constantine and his Magical Smoke Attack.

They're already done Puzzle Kombat and Motor Kombat, I suppose that this time, we can look forward to jamming out as bobble-headed versions of MK/DC characters in Rokk Kombat. Could work. I hear Batman has a lovely singing voice, and Sub-Zero shreds like NO ONE'S busness.

Carry on smartly...   read

7:42 AM on 04.17.2008

Same Story, Different Cast...

I'm sure that everyone on this site is concerned about the whole issue of using video games as a scapegoat for pretty much everything that goes wrong in America. Kids shooting up schools? Must be Doom's fault. A couple of block-headed jackasses randomly firing Dad's shotgun and hitting the driver of a car? GTA. A horrible massacre at a southern college? That's all down to Counter-Strike, even though the shooter never played it, CT is still to blame since it's a video game and therefore a horrid pit of depravity and violence. Increases in spousal abuse and other forms of domestic violence? Must be Cooking Mama's fault. We've all seen more people railing about the evils of video games than I'm sure we'd care to count. From Jack Thompson on down to that crazy woman that lives on your block who tells you every time you play Postal, God kills a baby seal with a pipe wrench. The sad part of it is that almost this exact thing has happened before, and if human nature is any indication, it will happen again.

I'm getting close to the end of the book The Ten Cent Plague: The Great Comic Book Scare and How it Changed America by David Hajdu. It's an interesting read, but time and time again while reading about something in history I didn't know much about, but am interested in as a geek, I was struck by the parallels to the current flap over games. They had everything then that we have now; hysterical parents and parents' groups, politicians going on a blizzard of law-passing sprees, some of which were later struck down as unconstitutional, constant claims that comics are a leading cause of juvenile delinquency, and the labeling of those that enjoy the medium as either children or idiots. Hell, they even had a media-whoring "expert" that was taken far too seriously by many people who made outrageous arguments that he backed up with pseudo-science, half-truths and scare tactics. Does all this sound familiar? Yeah, I thought so too. Let's just hope that this time, the whole debate doesn't end with the industry backing down and imposing crippling and puritanical self-censorship on its own product, leading to hundreds of people losing their jobs and never being able to work in their chosen field again . I'd like to think that won't happen, but there are times when I have my doubts.

It's been said again and again that those that don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Well, reading The Ten Cent Plague, it's obvious that we haven't learned a goddamn thing. Like I said in the title of this post, it's the same story, it's just a different cast. Movies, Pulp Novels, Comics, Rock and Roll, and now Video Games. How many times are we going to have to through the same bullshit before reality sinks through peoples' terminally thick skulls and we can break the cycle? I don't know, but I'm guessing how ever many more times they can squeeze it in before the end of time itself.

Do I have some amazing secret method to break the cycle? No, I don't. If I did, I'd be out using it, if for nothing else than to try and raise the collective intelligence level of the human race at least a little bit. What I guess I'm saying here is this. Someday, gamers will be parents, executives, perhaps even politicians. When some new form of entertainment comes around that people start claiming is destroying America's youth, don't just go blindly along with the herd. Try and remember the frustration that you're feeling now about how a lot of people didn't give the hobby that you love its fair shake, and didn't bother to learn about it before condemning it. Basically, try and learn from all this. When this cycle starts again, which let's face it, it most likely will, before you attack something your children are doing, educate yourselves about it. Then if you still don't agree with it, then fine. Don't let your kids do it. But at the same time try to remember that there are other parents out there that won't share your opinions on 7D Holographic BlitzRollerBrainBall, or whatever that new hobby is. I doubt it would stop the cycle, but maybe it would lead to it slowing down just a little bit, leaving the way open for future generations to actually do something about the Infinite Loop of idiocy that the human race seems to be caught in. Not likely perhaps but hey, a man can dream, can't he?

Besides, when I take my grandkids to the store in 30 or so years, I'd rather not see the book Digital Depravity: The Great Video Game Debate and How it Changed America One More Time, With Feeling.   read

5:38 AM on 04.16.2008

Ease up on the flame-throwers for a second...

Something I wrote a few years ago, but is sadly just as, if not even more relevant these days.

I've been noticing a disturbing trend among gamers these days: the trend of acting like complete and total jackasses. I'll grant that for the most part this is simply human behavior. People seem to create new and better ways of being assholes to each other every day. However, I'm noticing it a lot more these days among the gaming community, especially the younger gamers. I'm not saying that the problem is just confined to younger gamers, it's not. Gamers of all ages are unfortunately just as prone to this. My point is that it's making all of us look extremely bad, and we should try to knock it off.

A perfect example of what I'm talking about can be found when I was at the game store today. I was browsing around, and someone that was obviously not that experienced came in with a couple of questions. The questions aren't important. The thing that's important is the conduct of the employees. While they were answering the guy's questions - albeit somewhat brusquely - I glanced at them a couple of times and there was a definite expression of contempt on a couple of the employees' faces. As if the questions this guy was asking were a waste of their time. Now, don't get me wrong, most of the time, my tolerance for stupidity can fit into a match box without removing the matches first, but the problem is that the questions that the guy was asking weren't stupid. They were simply the questions of a guy that knew he didn't know the answer and went to the people that he thought could answer them. People that are, oh me, oh my, paid to answer those questions. That's why they call them customer service reps at GameStop. Not L33ts Whose Time We're Totally Wasting, But Who We Have to Make Do Something to Justify a Paycheck. Plus, Customer Service Rep fits better on a name tag. Anyway, the point that I'm making here is that we were ALL noobs once. No one was born with the innate knowledge of how to PWNZ. If you were, then you're obviously some science experiment gone horribly awry. You probably started out life as an attempt to create the perfect soldier, and then one night, one of the lab assistants hacked their XBox into the mainframe to be able to play Halo on the really big screen, and that was all she wrote.

Every single employee in that store was pretty much your stereotypical gamer, I probably don't have to describe them. We all have picture of that guy who's WAY too into his gaming; and that's another problem right there. Yes, stereotypes suck hardcore, but unfortunately that's the way of the world my friends. Yeah, it's fun being a geek and a gamer - hell, I enjoy it on a daily basis - but I do try to rein it in a bit at the appropriate times. Not many of them, but such times do exist, shocking as it may seem. Just think about that concept for a couple of seconds. Go ahead, I'll wait. Imagine that, roll it around in your head a little bit, and really get used to the taste of that bad boy. Okay, you done? Good, I'll continue.

Another big problem I've noticed is the way that people act when they're playing online. I saw the same kind of scenario the other night when I was playing Enemy Territory; someone logged on who'd obviously never played the game before, and he had some questions. I tried to answer what I could, but was hoping that someone else in the game would answer the questions I couldn't. In some respects, this did happen. In other respects, the guy was subjected to profanity that, in real life, would quickly earn you a broken jaw or nose. Also, since he'd now been IDed as a n00b, it was open season. Even some of his supposed teammates started hunting him, killing him no less than seven times before he logged off in frustration, probably never to play the game again. Or maybe he will, only he'll act just like that once he actually gets some skill at the game. I tell you folks, we're screwing ourselves with behavior like this, and it will only end up hurting us in the long run.

As gamers, we've got enough problems with other people without acting like complete jackasses to each other. As bad as stereotypes are, they are sadly rooted in the truth. The point I'm trying to make here is that with most people in general turning up their collective noses in contempt at gamers as a whole, why in the hell are we making it worse by screwing with each other? What's the matter, did the football player in your homeroom make fun of your Linux t-shirt, so now you're taking it out by continually TK-ing the newbie that doesn't know an RPG from a shotgun? If we continue to act this way, we're just going to lend validity to the claims that we're all socially maladjusted freaks who couldn't hold a conversation with a "real" person if our lives depended on it. Yes, not all of us are like that, but it only takes a few cases to prop up the stereotype. If we continue to TK, and treat newbies as second-class citizens then in the end there may not be any more newbies. No, that's not a good thing. Follow the chain of logic here. If there are no more newbies, then eventually, less people will be buying games, what with that pesky aging and death thing. If less people are buying games, software developers will stop making profits. If software developers stop making profits, then they'll start by producing lower-budget, low-quality games, and when those stop selling, they'll stop making games all together and focus their efforts on making some new form of web-browser or spreadsheet program. Yes, I know that I'm exaggerating a bit here, but I'm doing it to try and get you to think a little bit. Even the greenest newbie has something in common with an uber-gamer: he loves to game. However, if he gets insulted, ridiculed and messed with constantly, then he's either going to stop loving it and find a new hobby, or he's going to turn into an asshole himself out of revenge.

So my suggestion is this. The next time that you're playing, and someone that's never played before shows up and asks for help, don't follow the herd and be an asshole. Help him out. Take a few minutes and answer his questions, and maybe even hang out with him and try to keep him from getting killed every 3 seconds. It may be a little frustrating, and it won't get your name up at the top of the kill board, but by doing this, you'll be cool to at least one person, and you may help someone else enjoy himself a little bit more.

Remember folks, we're all gamers, and we all need to stick together. Tearing each other down doesn't do anyone a single speck of good.

Carry on Smartly   read

3:12 PM on 04.15.2008

Stand By for Blasting...

There, now there actually is something in the profile space over there -------->

Next, I'll actually make a post that has something to do with gaming. For serious. But that will have to wait until after I spend some time playing WoW with my fiance'. See?! That's game related!

Maybe some think this stuff belongs in a forum, but you know what, it's my damn blog, and I'll put what I want in here. I may even post all the sheet music to for every Castlevania game ever made if the mood strikes.


Carry on smartly.   read

11:51 AM on 04.15.2008

Introduce Yourself, You Filthy Monkey!

Just what I need, another thing to eat up internet time. Actually, it's not a bad thing considering the fact that I work in an excruciatingly dull job with a lot of down time. But hey, at least I have NET ACCESS!!

I'll put up a profile with all that "Getting to Know You" gibberish in a bit, but for now, this is just so that there's actually something here. Heh.

Carry on Smartly.   read

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