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Soulhammer's blog

8:40 AM on 06.17.2008

Seeing Red: Red Colored Teams Win Games, Sports

In a recent article on Yahoo! Games, they mention a study that found that competitive arenas like sports and video games that split teams by color, like Halo 3, have an interesting effect.

"Published in the Cyberpsychology & Behavior journal, the study tracked nearly 1500 matches in the popular first-person game, Unreal Tournament 2004. Like most online first-person shooters -- including industry-leader Halo 3 -- the game splits players into two opposing teams, one red, one blue. There are no functional differences between the two other than hue, leading most to assume that neither team would have any sort of unfair advantage over the other.

Not so fast. Researchers at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark found that the red team won 55% of the matches.

Rather than chalking that up to dumb luck, the scientists behind the study believe it has more to do with the inherent qualities of red as a psychological distractor and a natural signal of male dominance, a thought echoed in a 2005 study linking the color to enhanced performance in real-life sports."
Yahoo! Games.

What do you think? Do you think that being red gives you an advantage? Granted the curve is only 5%, but its interesting none the least.

What about World of Warcraft... For the Horde?

10:56 AM on 06.06.2008

Four 7's and Broken Glass

This has been a crappy week for me so far. It started Tuesday morning when I woke to the realization that someone had decided that they couldn’t afford to be lost another minute and had to resort to smashing in my passenger side window so they could abscond with my portable GPS. If you take a look at the pictures below you will notice that the thief stole the GPS but didn’t steal my satellite radio. Why? I don't know.

Now I know it’s not the smartest thing to leave stuff like that out and visible to the public, it just tempts the people with a mind to steal. I do live in a gated community which may have given me a false sense of security but what’s done is done. What sucks the most is that with my car insurance I have a high deductible, so nothing is going to be covered by my insurance. It is all a total loss for me.

On a positive note, well not really as positive as it is cool and random, I recently purchased Rock Band and after getting a few achievements and realized that my score had hit the Jackpot!!

Anyways, hopefully this weekend will be fun and uneventful as far as thieving goes.

Keep on gaming.

[/Soulhammer]   read

1:48 PM on 06.02.2008

STFU: An Open Letter to Movie Goers. (NVGR)

I should have listened to BlindSideDork.

While what I am about to write about can apply to any move genre, the incident that occurred this weekend happened during a horror movie, which IMO compounds the frustration. Why? Good question. Horror movies are all about sound. A scary movie ceases to be scary once you turn off the sound. So when I watch scary movies, and any movie for that matter, I am silent, with exceptions for laughing during comedies and things like that. What I don’t do, is talk to the screen, ask questions of my fellow viewers or the movie, or laugh during horror movies. So, if a movie is designed to revolve around the sounds of the movie, things become very frustrating when I can’t hear what the hell is going on, simply because you refuse to shut your mouth. Are you simply incapable or being quiet for 2 hours? Seems simple enough to me.

When I watch movies, I try to totally lose myself in the movie, I enjoy it better that way. I don't want to spend 11 bucks and hear a rolling commentary on why you don't like the movie, how you love your lovey-dovey-schmoopie-woopie so much, etc. Amazingly, I actually want to see and hear the movie. Weird, huh?

Let me set the scene:

Its Saturday night, you are hanging with a friend of yours and you both decide to go to the local movie theater to see the new horror flick. You purchase your tickets online so to avoid the lines and in case it may be sold out. You leave to go to the theater, park and go inside. Upon arrival you learn that the movie is indeed sold out, but lucky you, you already have the tickets. You enter the theater, which is full, find some seats and sit down to enjoy the movie.

A few minutes into the movie you realized you are seated in front of a group of teenage girls, who apparently do not understand that you are able to hear everything they say, which happens to be a lot. You try and think of a way to be polite and ask them to keep their voices down and tell them you cant hear the movie with them talking all the time, but after a separate patron of the theater asks them to “Shut the hell up” they just talk more and louder, just to spite the other people.

What is wrong with these people? What can you do?

You have a few options at this point.

1: Ignore them
The worst of all the options cause it doesn’t solve anything.

2: Ask them to be quiet
One of two things will happen, either they will be quiet for a few minutes and eventually get loud again, or they will be immature and start talking louder and possibly even start kicking your chair or throwing popcorn at you. (Worst Case Scenario)

3: Get up and go ask an employee to deal with the disruptive people.
The problem with this is that when you do so, you miss part of the movie you paid ten bucks to see, also once an usher comes to see the problem they have to witness the offense before they do anything, and the people will know what’s up and stop talking while the usher is there to avoid getting thrown out.

All of these options suck. I don’t even understand why people are this way in the first place. What compels you to talk during a movie? I am going to use a few examples from the movie I saw over the weekend, no spoilers I promise.

There is a part during the movie “The Strangers” where there is a knock at the door, a very loud forceful knock. A bang, if you will.

Annoying Person 1: “ OOOO girl don’t you answer that!! No… no… man your stupid.. you don’t do that!!”

Annoying Person 2: “Who is knocking at the door?”

Annoying Person 3: “It’s the crazy people”

Annoying Person 2: “What crazy people?”

@ AP1: Who is the actress playing the female role? Liv Tyler.. really? Ok well that means its not you so SHUT THE FUCK UP!!. Did you direct or write the movie? No? Ok then SHUT THE FUCK UP!!

@AP2: Do you really think the movie is going to have someone knock on the door and then not explain what the hell is going on? This is the same annoying person who asks “Why did he do that?” Why don’t you watch the god damn movie and you will figure it out, k??

@AP3: STFU, simple, you’re adding fuel to the fire by answering your idiot friends idiot questions, idiot

Also, why do people laugh after something scary happens in horror movies? You see the actor walk to the window, open the shades… BOOOOM there is the crazed maniac with the mask and the movie blasts the scary sounds and the whole theater screams. What happens next.. everyone laughs??? Why? Did something funny just happen that I fucking missed? No. For some reason people need to mask their own fear with laughter and it ruins the fucking mood. Even when things that are not as intense as that, something simple happens, people still laugh? WHY? Here is an example from The Strangers:

Early in the movie there is a knock at the door. The main character, James, goes to the door and answers it. It is like 4 in the morning so it is dark outside. James opens the door, and the porch light is not working, so all he can see is the silhouette of the girl standing at the front door. The next few moments is all silence, the girl at the door just stands there. James asks what she wants, and she says nothing. Eventually after some uncomfortable silence, she speaks in the creepy voice “Is Tamara Home?” The whole dam crowd roars into laughter.. why? That wasn’t funny nor was it meant to be. It was meant to be creepy and strange. You laughing ruins the mood the movie is trying to set so SHUT THE FUCK UP!! K? I can understand laughing at things that fail at its attempt to be scary, but this time wasn’t one of those times. But then again, that is subjective so whatever.

Why can’t the studios just release movies to the public thru ways like Comcast On Demand or PPV or Direct TV at the same time they release them to theaters. Just have the money spent on viewing them at home go to the same place as it would at the theater and problem solved. Maybe movie theaters would go out of business, but after this weekend I wouldn’t care.

I have heard about places in California called Arclight, which is a more high end movie theater with seat reservations and a 21 age limit. Does anyone know if there is anything like that in the DC/VA/MD area?

I should have taken BlindSideDorks advice and not gone to the movies during a night showing on an opening weekend. All this being said, The Stranger was a really good movie, and I think BlindsideDork needs to go rewatch The Descent.

Sorry for the long rant but I have been pissed off since Saturday and felt something needed to be said. For those of you who are polite and mature when you go to the movies, I thank you. To the rest of you, die in a fire. K?

Top 10 Rules of Watching Movies at the Theater:

10. Fill in available seats. If the theater is packed and you know people are gonna be looking for the last few remaining seats, move down and take up the seat between you and people next to you. It may make you feel awkward to be so close to other human contact, but I don’t want to have to sit in a different section from my friends because you have people issues.

9. Turn off your cell phones. Don’t put them on vibrate, because that means that if it rings you plan on answering it. See next rule

8. Don’t text or talk on your phone during movies. Simple.

7. Go to the bathroom before the movie. I don’t want to have to keep getting up so you can walk past me to get to the restroom. Make a pit stop after hitting the concessions. We are all grown enough to be potty trained right?

6. The seat in front of you is not a foot rest. Unless the seat in front of you is unoccupied, don’t rest your feet on them. I don’t care if you think your not moving, you are and if you want to be able to walk back home, I’d put your dam feet down.

5. Don’t bring your baby to the movies. I don’t care if you are going to have to get a baby sitter. The baby is going to get nothing out of watching the movie and it is impossible for a baby to stay quite for 2 hours especially with the loud theater noises

4. Leave the pillow talk where it belongs, in the bedroom. I didn’t just pay $11 bucks to hear you whisper things in your boyfriends’ ear like a two dollar hooker ok?

3. Eat before you come to the movies. I know that theaters offer concessions, and candy and popcorn is fine. What I hate is when someone sits next to me with a 5 course meal of nachos, a hotdog, a pretzel, crunchy candy and a 5 gallon tub of popcorn. I don’t need to hear you eat all that or complain the entire time about how you don’t have enough room to put all your food. This isn’t a restaurant got it?

2. Find a seat and sit down. Don’t stand around by the front of the theater and wait for your friends. Find a seat and get out of my way, you make a better door then a window.

1. Shut the fuck up. Simple. Don’t talk, don’t ask questions, don’t comment on how you wouldn’t be as stupid as the character in the movie, don’t constantly tell the people next to you what just happened as if they weren’t sitting right next to you watching it. Watch the movie and shut up.

Thanks for reading.
Soulhammer   read

9:48 AM on 05.02.2008

If You Love it, Change it: EarthBound

When I first read about this months musing, I was excited to have a chance to express how I thought some of my favorite games could be improved. Then after a bit of thinking about the topic I realized that it wasnt going to be as easy as I thought it would be. First, I needed to decide which game I was going to talk about. I wanted to pick a game that I actually loved, not just a great game, but one I have fond memories of, one I spent a significant amount of time playing and enjoying. The first two that immediately came to me where Chrono Trigger and Earthbound, these two masterpieces where the games that defined my childhood gaming experience. I decided that Earthbound was my most loved game, and so I would look long and hard at how I feel it could be improved.

Easier said then done. I started to think Who am I to change someone elses vision? When a game is developed, or any type of art for that matter, the finished product tends to be a culmination of efforts brought together to realize a vision. If I start making demands on how the art should be changed, then what was the point of the vision in the first place? Now, an argument can be made that some games are shitty and fail to realize whatever goal it was that it was striving for, and this is true. But, when you start talking about art that has become an icon of a time, such as Earthbound, you start treading the line of insulting a proven artist, it would be like telling Thomas Edison how to improve the light bulb, with no knowledge or experience in the art.

With that said there are a few things that I believe the creators of Earthbound could have done differently and still achieved the vision that they were hoping for.

1. Weak Family Storyline

One thing that always kind of bugged me about Earthbound was the weak linkage of Nesss family. Ness awakes after a horrific meteor crashes just behind his home. Nesss age (13) isnt revealed until the end of the game, but from how the game is designed and how the characters develop makes you think that Ness and his friends are children, just old enough to be using a yo-yo, ride a bike and carry around a teddy bear. With that being the assumption you are forced to make, you would think that Nesss mother would be more protective of her son and not allow him to wander the hillsides at night right after a strange crash just shook the surrounding land. But all she does is bend to his silent will; I guess because of the look on his face and lets him rush of head first into danger. I guess the game would not have lasted long if she just locked them all inside and you were not able to leave the house the whole game.

The other part of the weak family story line is the absent father. Through the entire game you never meet Nesss father. He is just this benevolent beneficiary that sends you money as a pat on the back for beating up evil dogs and crazed cult members with an affinity for the color blue. Even in the game credits Nesss fathers name is replaced by a telephone. I have read that this is supposed to be a reference to the designers plight in work-centered Japan, but this game is supposed to be a satirical look at American Culture, not Japanese.

How would I fix it?

Make the family a more central part of the stories introduction. I think that Nesss mother should have told Ness to stay inside but he should have snuck out of a window or distracted and snuck out some other way. Also, introduce the father. This game is a story of a kid saving the world from an evil being. Nesss family should have been a driving force in his desire to do so, rather than just doing it because of the demands of a futuristic bee. Maybe Nesss father could have appeared during the ending of the game, after Ness returns home to be with his family.

2. Combat

Like Chrono Trigger, Earthbound does not use the random unseen battle attacks used in games like FF7. Unlike Chrono Trigger though, Earthbound uses a first person perspective for all of its combat. The problem with the way EB used the FP combat was that it was boring yet overly busy at the same time. When a character would attack an enemy or vice versa, the only thing that would happen is the screen would shake, you would hear a noise and a small short animation would show on the screen indicating an attack had been made. This of course was not the case with high level magical attacks though. During all of the battles there would also be this trippy colorful background swirling behind the enemy, maybe to distract the player from the fact that the enemy never moved and was not animated at all.

One other thing that I always found peculiar was the way the world on screen could affect the enemies in the surrounding areas. What I mean is, you could be walking though the hills and forests on your way to rescue Paula from the cultist, and as you walk around the bend, you spot one of those tree enemies that burst into flames once beaten and deals a butt load of damage to your crew. Now you realized that you are low on hamburgers and PP so what are you gonna do? Easy, just turn around and walk away for a bit until the enemy is off screen and then walk back and poof the enemy would no longer be there or would be replaced by some other type of enemy. Now this didnt always happen, but it became a way to navigate hard areas with ease.

How would I fix it?

It is rarely a good thing to compare one game to another, or to say that a game would be better if it were more like game X. But in this case I think EB could have been improved if it had used a combat system more like that used in Chrono Trigger. CT animated all of its battles and attacks. This made the combat in CT much more engaging and entertaining. I would have loved to see ness swing a yo-yo around or Paula smash a snail with a frying pan

I am not sure how I would change the whole random world enemy disappearing act. Maybe the game makes up for it by making all of the enemies run away in fear once you reach a certain level, that way you still have the option to kill things for XP rather than have the area clear of enemies since you killed them on your first trek through the area.

3. Pokey

Ahh Pokey, good ole pig faced brat Pokey. Pokey is the older, yet much more immature son of your next door neighbor. He is one of Nesss friends yet you two dont ever seem to get along. Now, I love Pokeys character, I think he is a great nuisance to drive Ness forward in his quest to destroy Giygas. What I dont like about Pokey is how the game treats him as if he was an adult. Throughout the game you run into Pokey in a number of places. After witnessing the meteor crash and Pokey being useless in combat, you next find him later on as a member and High Priest of the Happy Happyist cult. Then after you prevent the inevitable mass kool-aid suicide you run into Pokey again in Fourside working with his father for Mayor Monotoli. He then steals Mayor Monotolis helicopter when confronted by Ness.

Does any of this seem odd to anyone else? What kind of people would choose a 13 year old kid, (I am assuming 13 by Nesss age, but whether or not he is exactly 13 is irrelevant, he is a young teenager as far as you know) to be the High Priest of their cult? What kind of teenage kid knows how to fly a helicopter? Did he jack into the Matrix or something? Later Pokey becomes the right hand of Giygas himself. Now maybe Giygas was the one making it possible for Pokey to do the things he was doing, but why would a super evil being like Giygas who intends on destroying the galaxy choose a child to be his aid?

How would I fix it?

I am not sure there is a lot that can be done about the way the Pokey character was designed without changing the whole storyline of EB. Pokey does say that Giygas was leading him the whole time and that he only serves the strong and able, but if that was true, why once Giygas is destroyed would he flee? If Giygas was controlling Pokey why would the control not break once Giygas is no more? Maybe it is his lust for power, maybe its explained in Mother 3, I dont know. I just think the whole 13 year old in control of all these powerful things on an escalating scale, from a cult to the right hand of evil, isnt very understandable. Then again neither is another bunch of teenage kids with psychic powers visiting magical sanctuaries in order to defeat a super evil, but I digress. Maybe make pokey older than the rest of the kids in EB with contempt towards them because they refuse to hang out with him or let him in their club. That would seem to make more sense to me.

This is the longest post I think I have made to date on Destructoid. With all of the things being said above, let it be known that I think Earthbound is a great game that has and continues to offer players and different yet amazing RPG experience.

Dam Tease!!

What are your thoughts?   read

8:52 AM on 04.30.2008

Four Things about GTA 4 Part 1 of 4

Usually I try to avoid posting something about a game like GTA 4 just after release because everyone and their dog does the same and the chance of mine being worth reading or even noticed is slim, like finding a needle in a haystack. But I find that this game is worth the attempt and time spent to post my thoughts.

1. Cops are a pain in the ass

I have played and beaten all of the GTA titles except for San Andreas. I hated the constant micro-managing; ie working out, changing clothes to match gang colors, shit like that. But in all the other games the cops seemed to be kinda pushovers. No matter what wanted level I got, I was always able to find a way to escape, I could bust through the road blocks if I needed to, evade the helicopters yada yada. While I was playing yesterday I got the cops on me for fun and got my wanted level to 5 stars I think. The chase was on, I kept having to switch cars because the cops would shoot out the tires, and once when I got on a bridge the feds setup impenetrable roadblocks on both sides. I was like Wow, they are really hard ass in this game

2. Brucie is awesome!!

One of Romans friends names is Brucie, a juiced up meathead. His character is the coolest in the game to me so far, aside from Nikko. His constant roid rage and anger are a constant form of entertainment for me. Its hilarious when he tries to push up on Nikko and look tough and Nikko always knocks him down a peg or two.

3. Mini-games are fun

I know I said that I hate the micro-managing shit from San Andreas, but the difference between SA and IVs mini-games is that IVs mini-games are optional and just there for fun. The pool game is a lot of fun, and darts is pretty easy. I cant wait to see what else the game has is store.

4. Nikko doesnt wear a seatbelt

There I as hurtling down the street in the nice car I just hotwired off the street corner, trying to outrun the fuzz. I am weaving in and out of traffic, peeling around corners and running over pedestrians. Then out of no where comes this cop heading right for me in an unplanned game of chicken. I try to swerve out of the way but he slides his patrol car right into my front end and I go flying head first out of the windshield and over the patrol car. The first time it happened I actually jumped out of my seat and yelled out SHIT!!!

Stay tuned for more GTA 4 info.


9:11 AM on 04.16.2008

My Week in Gaming

When as many cool things happen as they did with me these past few days, I feel the need to share my experiences with others. I was debating on how to list them, whether it be ranked by coolness or in chronological order. Eventually I decided to throw order aside and just go with what comes to mind first.

Over the weekend I had a friend come over who has been helping me Co-Op thru Halo 3 Legendary. We only had the very last level left to do so we decided to knock it out between killing terrorists in R6V and G.R.A.W. Took about 40 minutes to complete the last level for us but I got some cool SSs, one of which is below.

Upon completing the final level on legendary I was awarded the achievement for doing so, which brought my gamerscore above 7k. =) The icing on the cake was that the achievement for beating the game on legendary was the last achievement I needed in order to get 1000/1000. This is the first game I have gotten all 1000/1000 points, which also unlocked the cool Katana armor that you can see below on my character.

Ive been playing Halo 3 MP more recently, maybe just to show off the sword, but after taking a break from it since like last November I am a little rusty and seem to get killed a lot more often now then I did back then; I blame the sword for drawing to much attention yeah thats it.

Also over the weekend I decided I was gonna go reserve GTA 4 at my local game store. Along with my decision to go pre-order, I also decided to trade in one of my rarely played games and put the credit towards my reservation. Which game got traded in towards the purchase of GTA4?

Lost Odyssey.

Yeah I know. I am the first one to admit when I am wrong. I know I made a post about my first impressions for LO. Let me explain my decision to part ways with LO. First let me say that I never actually beat the game, which is horrible I know. After purchasing LO I couldnt turn it off, I burned thru 3 discs and loved every minute of it. But then eventually I started playing other games with a friend on XBL and when I went back to try and play LO, it felt like a chore. I cant really explain it any better than that, I couldnt bring myself to start playing it again. Anyone else every have this happen with a game??

Anyways, while I was shopping that day I also finally was able to find a copy of Professor Layton and the Curious Village. So I got it, and let me tell you, for as annoying as having to solve a puzzle just to take a piss can get, I cant seem to put the game down. I find myself constantly saying, ok ill solve this puzzle then do something else, then 10 puzzles later I am still at it.

Lets see, anything else? Oh! After watching the Zero Punctuation Review of Zach and Wiki, or Wank and Sticky as Yahtzee put it, and hearing how he thought Roberta Williams adventure games like Kings Quest were shit, I decided to try out some of the other adventure games of ole that other people rave about. First one on my list is Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle, by Lucas arts, which oddly makes like every other adventure game I got over the weekend to go back and play. So far the game is loads of fun, quirky characters and subdued humor are all things I enjoy in games so I look forward to playing more.

So the past week has been pretty cool as far as gaming goes, hopefully I will enjoy the weeks to come.

Thoughts? Comments?

1:18 PM on 04.04.2008

My Horrorfind Weekend. Picture Overload (NVGR)

This last weekend a friend and I took a trip to the University of Maryland to see the Horrorfind Weekend Convention. Basically what it was, was a convention with a whole bunch of classic horror movie memorabilia and celebrities from classic horror movies.

The convention wasnt really big or anything but it did have a group of celebrities that I had seen in movies, and I am a big horror movie fan so I thought it would be fun to go.

Among the celebrities in attendance were:

George Romero Director of Night of the Living Dead and Creepshow
PJ Soles Actress from Halloween, Carrie and The Devils Rejects
Cerina Vincent Cabin Fever and Not Another Teen Movie
Tony Todd Candyman and Final Destination

After my friend and I arrive we first visit the memorabilia room. This was full of movie props like a dead baby fetus used in a horror movie. There were also a lot of action figures and collectibles. The weird thing was that there was an abundance of indie horror porn for sale too, like cheesy porn movies masked with a horror theme, which I found quite hilarious.

After that we visited the theater where they were showing another indie horror movie produced by two guys who had won some sort of film festival award. We didnt get to watch much since the celebrity rooms were gonna close at a certain time so we headed there to rub elbows with the stars haha.

The first person I went to see, who also had the longest line and a whole room to himself was George Romero. While we were waiting in line George got up and took a quick bathroom break, and while he was gone I said probably the lamest joke I have ever uttered I guess he had to drop the zombies off at the pool, but it made the whole line roar in laughter. Go figure. There was this one guy at the front of the line, who to me seemed like the last person in the world who would have a headshot of himself for promotional purposes, yet while he was talking to George he pulled one out with his resume printed on the back and gave it to him and promoted his website as well. It was pretty funny.

Anyways, I finally get up and get my autograph. George Romero is freaking tall. Ok Im 62 and he was taller than me, to give you an idea. But he was very nice and really conversational. Seemed like a really good guy.

After than we went to the other main celebrity room to get the other autographs that I had come to get.

First was Cerina Vincent. In a word... HOT. My friend couldnt even come close to her table in fear of being caught drooling or starring at her chest. She also seemed very cool and very grounded. I even learned that she used to be a Power Ranger during the seasons where they were in space or something.

The next stop was to see PJ Soles. PJ was probably the coolest of all the celebrities there. She has been doing horror for a long time, from Halloween to Carrie and even a small part in The Devils Rejects. She was so cool she even signed my DVD I brought three different places. After we left the celebrity rooms and they closed she even walked around with my friend and I and checked out the other rooms. Very cool experience.

My last stop on the way out was at the ticket counter where they were selling autographed pictures of celebrities from conventions the years past. The one I really wanted to get was the one of Felissa Rose Esposito.

For those of you who dont know who that is, she was the one who played the young version of Angela in Sleepaway Camp.

For those of you who do know what I am talking about, the below image still gives you the jibblies.

Interesting fact for Sleepaway Camp fans, if you look at Felissaa IMDB page you will see that she is currently working on a NEW Sleepaway Camp movie. Fuck Yeah!!

All in all I had a blast and got some cool collectibles/autographs to go with it.

There is another weekend coming up in Baltimore on Aug 10th.   read

9:38 AM on 04.04.2008

Gamings Guilty Pleasures: Cheat Codes

Hello my name is Chris, and I am a cheater. You know they say it is supposed to be a relief once you admit something like that but I dont feel any better.

Let me clarify the above confession. There are two different types of cheating.

1. Exploiting an unintended game mechanic or situation in order to give you an unfair advantage over the game or other players. Examples: Wall hacking in World of Warcraft Pvp, Controller Manipulation in Halo 3.

2. Using implemented cheat codes to make a game easier or enjoy it in a different way. Examples: GTA Vice City Tank code, the Konami Command.

Now like I said before I am a cheater but I am the latter type of cheater. I use cheat codes. Using cheat codes is a guilty pleasure of mine and many others I am sure. I do not engage in or condone the first type of cheating.

I do have one rule when it comes to using cheat codes though. I will not use cheat codes till after I have beaten a game completely without using them. I do this so I know I am able to beat the game on my own, and then I will go back and play it more and enjoy it with every gun or unlimited life, just for shits and giggles.

The game I think I have used cheat codes on the most was Grand Theft Auto Vice City. That game has so much potential as far as replay-ability goes and adding in cheat codes just makes it exponentially better. You could spawn in any vehicle you want, get all the guns in the game, replenish your health, shake the cops and even blow up all the cars in the city with just a few clicks on the controller.

A group of friends and I used to have this running contest going with GTA. We would take turns with the character, completely load him up with every weapon and as much ammo as we wanted and then unleash him on the city. The rule was you couldnt use the code to loose the cops. The goal was in inflict as much destruction as possible and stay alive as long as you could with the cops and the FBI chasing you down. Some of the battles and getaways got pretty intense.

I have always wondered about cheat codes. How do people find out about them, how do people discover what precise combination of buttons will achieve a specific result. I am sure that some game developers leak out information, but some times they are discovered by gamers and it always shocks me how fast they can figure it out. And a lot of cheat codes are complex, you know they are not simple up up down down left right left right a b a b codes of ole.

Speaking of the old codes of the past, I am sure everyone know the infamous Konami code.

This code has appeared in more Konami games than I care to list, but some of the more popular ones were:

The Gradius Series
Contra Series
Castlevania Series
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Series
Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3

It has even appeared in non Konami games such as Half Life 2 and Ratchet and Clank.

References to the code have appeared in other contexts; the web comic Real Life has used the Konami code; Penny Arcade sells a t-shirt that features the code; while social news aggregation website allowed users to type the full Konami code into the site to expand and display all comments on a page. In music, the song Anyone Else But You by The Moldy Peaches featured in the movie Juno contains a reference to the code. There is a band called "Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start" who released an album named "Worst Band Name Ever" in 2007. Finally, the alternative metal band Deftones released a song named "U,U,D,D,L,R,L,R,A,B,Select,Start" on the 2006 album Saturday Night Wrist - however, this reference to the code transposes the A and B commands.

Along with inputted codes there are also unlock-able cheats, cheats that become activate-able once complete certain tasks in a game. An example of this is Golden Eye 007 for the N64. Allowing players to unlock cheats rather than inputting them gives a different challenge to the game. One of the best codes in 007 is unlocked once you beat the second level in a very very short amount of time. I remember attempting this so many times but the code was worth it. I love playing this game with big heads, paintball mode and all guns. Even though I have beaten the game, I still enjoy the fun in using the cheats.

A lot of people have very strong opinions when it comes to using cheat codes. Personally I think they add a lot of variety and entertainment to games as long as they are used correctly. If I was to go and buy GTA IV when it comes out and use cheat codes for the very beginning, and beat the game that way, I would feel like I cheated myself out of experiencing the game the way it was meant to be played. That is why I always beat a game first without any codes before I use them, that way I experience the game the way it was meant to be played, then I get to experience it the way I want it to be played. Its entertaining, and that is what gaming is all about.

What are your opinions on cheat codes?   read

11:42 AM on 03.21.2008

Condemned 2 Afterthoughts and A New Header... also Robots

Check out my new blog header. I made a web signature similar to it a long time ago and never used it for anything, so I thought I should change it up and use it here. What do you think?

I have a few quick things I want to talk about concerning Condemned 2, now that I have beaten the game.


I didnt get a chance to talk about multiplayer in my First Impressions blog since I had yet to play it. Since then I have been hitting up the multiplayer scene and have enjoyed it for the most part. Rather than describe the different modes and what they offer, since most people who care would know that by now, Ill just give my opinion on it. Condemned 2 multiplayer is a nice change up from your everyday FPS frag fest type of multiplayer. You dont spend a lot of time jumping around and firing guns or lobbing grenades at your opponents. You actually spend your time in close hand to hand combat, attacking and blocking. Of the four multiplayer modes, Crime Scene and Bum Rush are my favorites. I like the idea of having to search for decapitated heads in ice chests while at the same time being hunted by influenced maniacs bent on my death. Playing the influenced is fun too.. laying the evidence in a dark corner and then hiding myself so the SCU wont find me, then when they show up to find the box I pop out of the shadows and beat them down with an axe or sledgehammer. Communication and teamwork play a big role in winning C2 multiplayer.



the videos are from youtube, the voice is not me

A few things that I dont like about the multiplayer are the hosting methods and melee range. Do most multiplayer games have the player themselves host the deathmatch games? Numerous times I was in the middle of a bum rush or crime scene game and the host would drop out or whatever and the whole game would end. It leaves the stability of the multiplayer on the shoulders of the person hosting the game. Not a good idea as far as I know.

The melee range seems a little off to me to. Often I will be running around trying to swing whatever weapon I may be holding at the bum next to me trying to kill him, only to miss for no reason other than apparently being 2 inches away is too far for an axe to go, oh ho but it wouldnt be too far for the other guys fists to move and kill my assoh no. Maybe its lag or whatever, but it just seems off to me.


I do not understand some peoples problem with linear games. I personally do not think that linearity is anything bad. Condemned 2 uses its linearity and gameplay to its advantage. Though C2 is linear, it does have its share of alternate paths that lead to dead ends. No big deal right? Well when you add in the fact that you cant save whenever you want and the idea that enemies can pop out of anywhere at anytime.. it makes you think twice about heading down any hallway. It also uses its world action events to confuse the player as well. Sometimes you will get lost and end up backtracking trying to find the way out of whatever rundown building you happen to be in, only to realized that you have to climb thru an easily missed hole in the ceiling or something like that. Some people think that C2s use of these WAE are stupid and pointless. In my opinion they are very well used, since they confuse the player, which I would think is the idea of the designer since this is a survival horror game, and makes you scared to retrace your steps in fear of more enemies.

So what the game is linear, so is a maze, that doesnt make it easy.

FPS Mode:

The greatest idea for survival horror games!! I played C2 thru the first time on hard, and had the brightness setting pretty low so the game was very unsettling and scary to me, I jumped numerous times after enemies would burst thru walls or pass thru a slimy membrane into my dimension. After finally beating down all of people in my way I am awarded the ability to go back thru the game, this time, packing heat. As long as you beat the final level with a gold rating, and get unlimited ammo. This is letting me go back thru all the levels that scared me and let me feeling like I barely made it thru with my skin intact, and just destroy all the bums that gave me such a problem the first time around. Think of it this way...

First Playthru Man this part is so fucking hard, I am outnumbered like 4 to 1 and have nothing but my fists to defend myself, Ive died like 40 times on this one part (Actually happened to me)

FPS Mode Playthru Oh I remember this part, those 4 guys are about to yep here they come BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM. Done. Bitches.

Oh, and like the blog header says... Robots!!


9:26 AM on 03.13.2008

Condemned 2 First Impressions

Melee. Forensics. Hobos. A winning combination.

I initially played the original Condemned game after hearing it mentioned in a Zero Punctuation review. I had a blast beating crazies to death with random weapons of opportunity while desperately trying to preserve my own sanity.

Since I read about Condemned 2 coming out a while back, I have seen very little, if any, advertisements for it. The only way for me to find things about the game was to look it up directly myself. I saw no commercials, no ads on webpages, even the store I bought the game from yesterday had not a single piece of material showcasing Condemned 2s release. Why? Is Sega and Monolith just counting on the old fans of the original to hype the game by word of mouth? I found the whole thing very odd.

Anyways on to the game.

You return to Condemned 2 in the role of ex SCU agent Ethan Thomas, wallowing in squalor after being suspended 11 months prior from his last derelict trip into hobo town assumedly due to your drinking or the fact that you left one too many bodies last time. Apparently your old friend Vanhorn has gotten himself into a pickle and the SCU comes to you to help them figure out what is going on. I wont go too much into plot as to spoil the story for anyone.

The original Condemned faced a lot of criticism for its bland first person combat and boring forensic gameplay and it seems, so far, that the developers took all of the complaints to heart and drastically improved in many areas.


The combat in C2 is the same first person. melee dominated, bum fight that is was in the first game with a few new tricks up its sleeve. One thing I always disliked in the first Condemned was the blocking technique, you could lift your weapon for a second to defend an incoming attack, but if you did it to soon your arms would apparently get too heavy to hold up and you would lower your block. I understood the idea behind the mechanic, but it was unrealistic and became a nuisance to me. C2 fixes this problem by offering two options, Block and Parry. Like the original, if you lift your arms to defend yourself in time with an attack you will parry the attack and send the bum recoiling open for a counter attack. The addition of Block allows you to keep your hands up as long as you want but it wont recoil the attacker. I think that Stamina comes into play later in the game which will affect how long you can block though.

Another new addition is the use of combos in your melee combat. Using combos increases the amount of damage you do exponentially depending on the combo you do. There are also chain combos which you can use once you fill up your combo meter. When you unleash a chain combo, the game slows down and throws some quick time events at you that you have to follow in order to complete the devastating combo. Along with combos is the cool addition of environmental finishing moves. Unlike the original, where if you got a crazed bum to his knees you were presented with 4 choices on how to execute him, C2 offers a new twist. If you get a domicile challenged nut job to his knees you are able to put the fucker in a chokehold and once you do this then you are presented with a myriad of options on how to end the poor bastards life. Options include slamming the persons head thru a TV, throwing him over a guardrail over an overpass, or drowning his ass in a toilet.

I have read that guns play a bigger part in C2, and there is also an option to play in an un-lockable FPS Mode from the start menu, so I guess Ill have to see what happens with that. This is the first time I have played a game on Hard difficulty the first play thru, and at some points it takes me many attempts to pass a certain area, but it is always fun.


Vast improvements have been made to the forensics gameplay in C2. Instead of the hand-holding type of work you did in the original, C2 deepens the aspect of crime scene investigation and has it affect gameplay as well, or at least level score. In C2 when you come upon a crime scene that needs investigating you will be given a certain task to complete, Identifying a Body for example. You will then be given a certain number of clues you must locate in order to solve the given task. Depending on which clues you choose to use and how you interpret each clue will affect your forensic score for each crime scene which in turn affects your level score and rating.

One thing I dont quite understand as of yet is the use of these sonic emitters. They dont seem to have any basis in the game other than the protagonist telling you to destroy them because they are arbitrarily bad. Perhaps it is an artificial way to lengthen gameplay or add achievement points, I will have to wait and see.

Graphics and Gameplay:

Does it make one a sissy to be scared by a game? Well then call me Sissy Laroue because this game scares the crap outta me. The designers do this thing every once in a while where you will enter an area and see a bum or grease monster from Return of the Living Dead run past you or towards an area you cant reach yet. This to me is genius, it puts me in the state of always going. Shit I know something is here fuck where is it shit shit shit!! There is a part early in the game where you are chasing Vanhorn down in order to figure out what the hell is going on, you end up in this room that is covered in this black tar, grease shit and you cant see shit since the game is already dark to begin with. The graphics are definitely a step up from the first game, while some of the object models appear to be straight ports from the first game, I cant help but feel dirty after only playing the game for a few minutes. The graphics are much grittier and dirtier, and the realism is much better in C2.

Quick time events seem to play a crucial role in C2. Aside from combat there are these times where you have an opportunity to respond verbally to a given situation. There is a time during the second mission where you get separated from the SCU swat guys you are teamed up with and one guy makes a comment over the radio that Hell be fine, he lives in this filth, and if you respond in time, you make the comment Fucking Dick. These quick time events may or may not play a crucial role in the outcome of the situations, I dont know yet since I have yet to miss a response. They do though affect your level score which in turn effects the upgrades you get after each level, whether it be brass knuckles or a flak vest.

The level design can get a little confusing at times and I have found myself backtracking on accident a few times already and this is mainly due to the darkness and shitty flashlight, just be thankful the enemies dont respawn in areas like this.

So far this game is exactly what I had hoped it to be, a scary.. dirty bum brawl with some CSI thrown in for puzzle fans. It takes all things that were great in the first game and makes them better while also fixing the things that were hindering the original.

I have yet to try out multiplayer so I cant comment on that as of yet.   read

1:47 PM on 03.12.2008

Newest Digital Art: Halo 3

It has been a while since I have had an opportunity, or a inspiration to do any digital art. I have been bored at work this week and decided to work a little on my lighting skills.

I know Halo 3 is old news but I played it with a friend over the weekend and came up with the idea for the art below while playing it.

Below is the Master Chief using a plasma grenade as an improvised light source. The chief render is from and the background is from

Done in Photoshop CS3.

This is my first real attempt at manual lighting.

A full view of the piece can be seen Here

These are the original images used.

Comments are appreciated.   read

12:59 PM on 03.12.2008

My Gaming Setup

I have seen so many other posts of people showing off how their gaming area is set up I thought I would share mine.

I recently bought a brand new couch, and it is super comfortable and great for lounging and gaming.


This is my living room.

This is my setup. In the picture you see:

Halo 3 Xbox 360
Nintendo DS Lite
Nintendo 64
Playstation 2
Assorted Controllers
Xbox 360 Games
N64 Games
DVD/VCR Player

This is my current library of 360 games, minus one or two. I got my 360 way after everyone else, I got it when Halo 3 came out, hence the Halo 3 system. I am not a super huge Halo 3 fanboy, but I do like the way it looks.


Lost Odyssey
Lost: Via Domus
MOH Airborne
The Godfather (Borrowed and doesnt play)
Guitar Hero 3
Mass Effect
Blitz: The League
Halo 3

Not sure of all the N64 games I have, but I know that for some reason I have two copies of both 007 and Zelda: Ocarina of Time. I also have Super Smash Brother, Madden, Conkers Bad Fur Day... and others.

My PS2 games are not shown, though I have like 80, they are at a friends house since I am trying to sell them.


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