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5:50 AM on 01.19.2009

Best Job for a Portable Gamer

The Night Auditor.
Any respectable hotel has an attendant at the desk 24 hours a day, every day of the year. People come from all around the world and you'll see meet some cool people. I personally enjoyed talking about my drinking experiences in town, sending bros to gay bars, assholes to McCoy's (a place where weekly stabbings seem to occur). The real perk of being the Night Auditor position is that it's between 11pm-7am, where a third of a day will go by with maybe a handful of guests in the lobby, if any. So in order to combat boredom and make the hands of the clock accelerate I brought my Dell XPS M1530 gaming laptop to work. I first filled the time up with my novel, The November Plague. Then I got a little tired of writing and took a break to something much more fun.

As the night auditor for the Clarion, I did most of my gaming at work. In the past three months I've finished Dead Space, Hotel Dusk: Room 215, Far Cry 2, Titan Quest: Immortal Throne, and put over 30 hours each into TF2, L4D, Demigod, Civilization Revolution, and Desktop Tower Defense 1.5.

Job Summary:
Easy-peasy: As Luke from the best DS game of 2008 would say. Yes I do mean Professor Layton and the Curious Village. The job requires little to no effort. This job was almost intended for high schoolers, were it not for the late night hours.

Free time: I particularly enjoyed this part of the job and often gloated about it. In the morning, I ride the bus home to look at miserable faces, people who are going to be trapped in an office or store for the next 8 hours. I on the other hand, am free to do as I please. I can actually make a run to the Post Office, pick up a few groceries, head to circuit city to pick up some clearance titles... all without waiting in a single line. That's something I cherish and will miss dearly.

the pay: $9/hr isn't exactly going to be chipping into my retirement fund, but for an employee that's gaming at least 4 hours a night, I don't expect much.

the hours: graveyard shifts will make you lose your goddamned mind. night becomes day, and day becomes night and unless you're exhausted from rocket-jumping all night long, you're not going to be tired at sunrise. This is one of the main reasons I decided to move on to a real job.

Like any job, this one has its ups and downs. The hours are great and suck at the same time. However, I know alot of people are hurting for work right now and as one gamer to another, I strongly encourage you to at least try this graveyard job that seemingly no one wants.   read

3:24 AM on 01.09.2009

Infamous, Beat It With A Stick!

Sucker Punch has earned their rep from the Playstation fanboys for their Sly Cooper series.
I first heard about their new PS3 title, Infamous, in January's EGM (issue #199, RIP 1up). In that article they talked about giving the hero unlimited powers that would fit in a videogame. If you made a character with blades, they should be able to cut through anything in the game. That idea seems impractical and not worth the effort. Giving a player electric powers sounds great, because you can electrocute (almost) anything. Link to interview:

So this all sounds good on paper, but this gameplay footage from PAX 2008 shows what these ideas manifested into:

After reviewing the footage, I had some pretty negative impressions of the game. I began to wonder:

Will it be fun? The combat looked pretty ridiculous. Cole traded blows with the hooded gangbangers getting himself shot over 20 times, tossed a few Terra-Watts of energy at them and while the hoodlums just clumsily fell down for second, got up and shot him again.

Let's Beatem' With A Stick! This may be a nitpick of mine, but what happens to our hero when a streetsmart gangsta rolls up in a rubber suit with a solid wood Louisville slugger in hand? Will Shadow the Hedgehog have to come in saving him, guns-a-blazing? Will our hero be a talented martial artist as well? You might have to run like hell from a gang that actually wises up.

Who Runs Like That? If you've watched the gameplay footage, you might have noticed Cole may have made an evolutionary step by controlling electricity, but he runs like a chimpanzee. Elbows out, legs wide apart, ready to deuce at the sight of a predator to increase his speed. They say people get the shit scared out of them as way of lightening their weight so they can run faster. Maybe our Infamous hero is just living in a nightmare.

No Light in Empire City. A lesson Sucker Punch should have taken from Farcry 2 and other open-ended games like Assassin's Creed, GTAIV, etc. is that the cycle of day is actually a good way to show off your world. The footage only shows dark, street-lit environments. Dead Space's USG Ishimura had more uplifting lighting than this city.

The updated footage from CES 2009 has shown some improvement of the combat, but hasn't shown much of the environment or the character outside of combat. It looks like Infamous has been taking some notes from Farcry 2 and putting the character constantly in battle.


Why A PS3 Exclusive? The game shows no promising use of the six-axis controller or PS3 hardware. Sucker Punch is probably just one of the few remaining puppets with Sony's hand in their ass. I guess it's for the best, the PS3 is hurting for exclusives and the Xbox 360 has plenty of titles to make up for this loss. One of them being:

Prototype Which looks much more fun. Radical Entertainment has already cut their teeth on this genre with Hulk: Ultimate Destruction. The only downside to this one is the Single-player only aspect.

With both Prototype and Infamous limiting the experience to single-player only and shooting for a mid-2009 release this sales would easily favor the title that features a Crackdown Co-op experience.

I think with the improvements from PAX 2008 to CES 2009, it may not be too late to save Empire City and it's infamous hero Cole from being beaten with a bat at launch.

That's our the Infamous hero Cole, relieving himself off the roof of a building.   read

2:19 AM on 01.08.2009

Do Not Want! The Office game on Steam.

I really should be only writing this after I at least play the free demo, but I'm going to say this now


I don't want a show that I cherish to be put in the same game category as Luxor. Don't get me wrong, I loves me some Luxor 2, but The Office does not belong in our consoles or our PCs.

If anyone has tried this game or is up to the challenge let me know. I'm pussing out on this one.


So you think you could survive the zany workplace of NBC's Emmy Award-winning comedy series The Office? Put yourself to the test as you dive into the hilarious environment by maneuvering through the quirky and frenzied fun of The Office game. Play pranks on your rivals to slow them down, earn points by helping out your co-workers, and avoid getting distracted by the office visitors, all while competing to be the best Dunder Mifflin paper salesperson you can!

Key Game Features:

* In-game caricatures of cast favorites
* Season variations at the Scranton office
* Collectible in-game items inspired by the show
* Computer-controlled rival competition
* Humorous pranks

Minimum System Requirements
Windows PC:
Windows Vista/XP/2000
Pentium III 800 MHz Processor
256 MB of RAM
50 MB Free Hard Drive Space
Video Card with 64 MB RAM needed for Hardware Acceleration
DirectX 9.0 or Higher   read

9:37 PM on 12.13.2008

Quit listening to the same crap music! :D

A Beginner’s Guide to Finding New Music Online.

Your first step on your journey begins at a fork in the road:
Looking down a clean path through the forest you’ll see a trail that is well-traveled. This route is through, a site featuring the Music Genome Project. Travelers down this path know the bands that they are into and even have a few songs that they just can’t get enough of. This route will offer you some variation in the form of bards you don’t recognize. If you’re a fan of the tunes then you can praise these artists with a mere thumbs up. O, were that enough to satisfy that obnoxious guitar artist singing outside the bar with the undernourished dog sleeping next to his open guitar case…

If a song annoys you, a thumbs down will ensure you won’t hear it again. A feature I have proven is not available in real life. I really do have it out for those vagrant musicians. The Music Genome Project analyzes your choices and will adjust your radio station accordingly. Recently I found this amazing song on my Eardrum Symphony station:

Asbestoscape – Mono
Clicking on the song brings up a new window discussing its features:

electronica influences
extensive vamping
minor key tonality
a heavy twang in the vocals
a prominent saxophone part
prominent organ
an instrumental arrangement

For the tone deaf and talentless people like myself, most of that means nothing to me. I still appreciate the effort to map out my music tastes. Pandora is very useful when it comes to providing information on songs, artists, and albums on music you stumble upon. I have yet to run to encounter a track that does not have any useful information on it. Pandora’s faults are easy to correct. If a song you like is just overplayed, you have the “Don’t Play this song for a month option”, or if your eardrums were assaulted, you can select “Why was this song selected?” to find the cause for the disruption before you give it the thumbs down.

Shifting your view from this narrow path you’ll see an open plain, a less traveled road that offers little cover, but clear enough that you can see all the wandering artists aimlessly walking in the plains of, an interactive webRadio. On this path, music is represented by two axis’, Dark <-> Positive & Calm <-> Energetic. The true carefree spirit can select all genres and eras of music to enjoy.

Musicovery is a very aesthetically-pleasing website that offers the mood and theme-based approach to finding new music. In this meadow you can see the drum circles, jam sessions, concerts, studio-recordings, orchestras in color coordinated clothing. Not into the Gospel sounds of the 1970s? Avoid the folks in purple shirts sporting terrible hairdos. Into new age Rap, apparently they’re all part of the Bloods. As are the Electro groups, I had my suspicions about Fatboy Slim. These color-coded “Universes” provide a web of music that is ever changing and can be quickly manipulated by clicking on song you want.
Imagine being able to create themed parties that you control by dissing on the bands you don’t like, breaking their hearts and giving props to the others with a less than three, adding them to your favorites. Finding the mood monotonous? Call in for backup bands from different “Universes”. What party couldn’t use more Funk from artists like Jamiroquai?

Musicovery has several features that make it a versatile music station. The aforementioned mood system is helpful, but if you find yourself not getting the results you’re looking for, create an account, favorite the songs you enjoy and adjust the amount of fresh results the site will offer. Shifting it all the way to the heart will play the songs you like. It has a scale that goes like this: songs -> artists -> universe -> play hits -> Discovery.

After a few hours down your path you may have even crossed your paths. You may get tired of the vast openness of the Musicovery plains and decide to head into the woods with Bjork and the Postal Service at your side. Your journey isn’t over, you’ve found some songs, but have you found the artists you were searching for? The last step in your voyage is a narrow pass to ever-growing library of, with a potential shortcut that will be discussed later.

In Songza search for your artist and you’ll find more of their songs and possibly videos. You can listen to anything anyone has uploaded. Consider it the YouTube of music. This site is incredible versatile, it’s a nice break from Pandora and Musicovery because you can play the song you want to hear and even skip to a part of it. C’mon Tool did you have to make the best part of “Rosetta Stoned” near the end of an 11 minute long song? Explore the bands you’re after, visit their website or MySpace page. You’ll sometimes find that the songs you enjoy the most sound nothing like the rest of artist’s music. Sample their tracks a bit more if you’re hesitant to make the splurge on their CD or your HDD space.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief guide, there are many more features to these sites worth mentioning, but it would be easier for you to start the journey yourself rather than me writing it out for you. Honestly would really care to know that, is available on specific Nokia phones? Didn’t think so.   read

3:49 AM on 11.27.2008

Castle Crashers Patch? Let The Behemoth become Harpied!

My first blog is going out on Thanksgiving. It really has nothing to do with the holiday, but a little something to do with legendary bird creatures and a large chicken. A very large chicken. Some may even say a Behemoth of a chicken. Again, not a Thanksgiving story. I want to start off my blog with this picture:

It's a cute picture, I like how they made that they call it Award Winning before the game was actually released, obviously the hype did half the work for this game. Did you happen to catch the date mentioned above? August 27th, wasn't that exactly 3 months ago? Notice in that same picture it has the words, "Online or Offline" with an arrow pointing towards 4-Player? I'm going to get into that, but I'm warning you again, not a Thanksgiving story. That's the third time I've warned you.

The first thing I'd like to address is the the Behemoth Development Blog, it's latest post 11/09/2008:
Sun, 09 Nov 2008
Cool beans and gravy! I can finally get those adorable little figures I wanted for Castle Crashers. Alas, why wouldn't I want to spend $25 to remind myself of how blindly I fell in love with a game that was so aesthetically pleasing that it even made me look past its minor glitches. I even wanted to forgive it after bringing my hard drive over to a friend's house to help me finish the game. Only to find that my (k)night would be ruined (pun alert!).

I loved Castle Crashers, once. It was the only Xbox 360 title my girlfriend actually enjoyed playing. Yes, she even hates both Geometry Wars titles. Why I still date her is another story for another time...

Maybe I could send Behemoth that $25 and instead of giving me one figurine they could send me a nice pink prolapsed colon as a reminder of how hard they fucked over their fanbase.

That's not all that's in the Behemoth blog, there's been multiple entries that gloat over their success, negate their shortcomings, and display the merit of their fanboys. In their defense, they have reason to gloat, Castle Crashers sold 78,545 (non-refundable) units in 3 days, beating all XBLA records. Sauce: your own ass wipe of a blog.

I spent some time in the Behemoth forums, specifically browsing the Technical Issues threads and realize there is quite a laundry list of complaints about this game. Most of the more prominent posts have been deleted and a majority of the users are defending the Castle Crasher bugs and blunders, pointing the finger at Microsoft for not releasing the patch. I'm not sure they understand the fact that Microsoft did not release a defective game, Behemoth did. Those fingers belong up the asses of a company that first showcased their game at Comic-Con 2006. It's 2008 and the shit is still broke. Were I in the position of releasing the CC patch, I'd be very skeptical of anything Tom Fulp had a hand in. His definition of a finished product is far different from that of Jonathan Blow's Braid, who received some of the worst scrutiny I've heard for a 1200 MS point game. Braid actually worked, incredibly well I might add.

How does a Beat-Em-Up this late in development have worse features than Gauntlet Live? Let's go over the Castle Crashers game modes:

All You Can Quaff? I'm a fan of pushing buttons, but do I want an entire game mode dedicated to quickly mashing one? No thanks.

Arena? That sounds awesome, I'd love to kick someone else's ass (namely, yours Fulp) with my (formerly level 38) Gray Knight! Oh wait, this asshole is in the air and hitting me, it's not stopping! Wait, seriously! WTF is going on? Why can't I stop this air combo bullshit??? I'll have to pass on this mode as well. What's left?

Co-op? Aw man, this is just what this game really needs to separate it from the mob of smash em' ups. I spent some time leveling my Gray Knight up. I'll see what my buddy is up to. Hey this is fun, I like this. Minus that part about my character getting frozen in the Thief's Forest. Oh wait, where'd all my character data go? My guy is back to level 1, my Animal Orbs are all gone, my weapons are not in the frog. How did PETA not throw a Gatorade tub full of cat piss on you for that?

Being Harpied isn't a common expression. I actually made it up, because sometimes the expression "I hate you" just doesn't convey what I'm trying to say.

In Classic Greek Mythology the Harpy:
1. a ravenous, filthy monster having a woman's head and a bird's body.
These creatures would be displayed carrying men off to torture and rape them. Now, this part about having a bird's body is interesting, because birds do not have vaginas, they have cloacas, one hole for all purposes. Now imagine being raped by that hole. May it happen to you every time someone loses their data as a result of your inadequate testing and shitty programming.
And for your gloating let's get Pyramid Head to join in on the fun! Everyone likes him, except the intestines of Behemoth development team.

I had hoped to have a live demonstration of what a Harpy could do to your staff members, but there were some setbacks in my investment with a certain German Genetic-Engineering company. Instead, I give you an original picture of mine from Nürnberg, Germany.

Behemoth, if I had the skills of Mike Krahulik or even your own Dan Paladin I would have dedicated this entire post to a drawing, depicting each of your staff members being drug off by these Harpies into the nest, their talons ripping your flesh as you are forced to endure the most disease-ridden, disgusting sex you could afford to live through.

Castle Crashers, my nomination for Fail of the Year.   read

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