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6:23 PM on 05.06.2010

Vera, where have you gone? Send pix, kthxbai!

One of my best friends, whom I've made the acquaintance of only last week, hasn't contacted me. I've e-mailed her but haven't heard anything. If any of you have seen this person or have a new e-mail address, please let me know. She's even tried reaching me via private message on Dtoid out of desperation.

"Hello My Good Friend,

My name is miss vera.i saw your profile today at ( and i became intrested in you,i will also like to know you the more,and i want you to send an email to my email address so i can give you my picture for you to know whom i am. Here is my email address is ([email protected]) I believe we can move from here! I am waiting for your mail to my email address [email protected] (Remember the distance or colour does not matter but shearing together our feeling and love matters alot in life) please send your email to my email box so that we can go further to know each other more and remain bless thanks."

Is her first name Vera (as I would desperately hope), or is it her last as the "Miss Vera" would have me conclude? I'm holding on to a sliver of hope that her full name might actually be "Vera Vera". You can't tell me that she doesn't sound like the most delightful person in the entire world. One anxious letter, one attempt to establish communication and initiate what has the potential to be a lifelong relationship. I also look forward to doing some of the "shearing together" she mentioned. Maybe a fellow Flock fan?

Please, I'm nearly as desperate as she is. Somebody help me!

Thank you, and remain bless.   read

1:24 PM on 04.13.2010

E for Effort: .detuned needs .retuned

.detuned by .theprodukkt

I'm certainly late on the bandwagon, but finally got around to trying out a couple of PSN titles. I saw .detuned listed and vaguely remembered it being mentioned here awhile back. I'd heard of .theprodukkt before, casually following the demo scene and having been amazed by the .debris demo's visuals done in only 180k as well as .kkrieger - a 96k first-person-shooter:

Yes, that's 96 kilobytes - not megs, or gigs - with graphics rivaling last gen in a filesize about 13% of the size of the original Wolfenstein 3D demo.

It was only $3 for something described as an interactive music experience, allowing users to "Create dynamic artwork in real-time to accompany your XMB music collection." Terms like, "Music visualizer," were thrown around and all of this led me to expect something very different from what I experienced. I figured you'd be able to tweak visuals on-the-fly but that there'd be an automatic visualizer that moves the figures to the music and possibly a record & playback feature allowing one to create a surreal music video that could be played back for friends.

$3 isn't much, but it's enough that these expectations seemed reasonable - particularly given the variety of visualizers available for free for various media players. Sadly, it fell depressingly short. I fired up the demo armed with a couple of tracks I'd happened to copy to my PS3. The available options gave me a choice of watching their pre-made demo or playing around on my own. I watched the demo all the way through and was impressed by how well the motions, morphs and visual effects synced up to the tempo and feel of the included track.

I eagerly jumped into the interactive mode. Since the included track wasn't selectable, I opted for the first track of Moon8 - the 8-bit remake of Dark Side of the Moon. A surreal track for a bizarre landscape. After fiddling with the controls and the application's help screen I unlocked all of the effects and practiced using them to accompany the music. I never managed to get my fingers working fast enough to make anything that looked like it went with the music. My only accomplishment in the end was in managing to creep myself out with surreal visuals and frighteningly distorted and slow versions of The Ataris songs.

If there had been recording options, or even a demo algorithm that vaguely corresponded the effects to your custom tracks it might've been worth the few dollars. As it is, it's useless for anything but a minute or two of amusement. I deleted it that evening and would still have even if I hadn't known I could re-download it. It's so disappointing that something so unique and promising could actually be released on the PSN, yet fail to deliver on any of its promises. At least it earns them an "E" for Effort.   read

2:00 PM on 12.23.2009

It took a PS3 to make my girlfriend hardcore.

I'd seen inklings of hardcore gamery appearing in my girlfriend's repertoire. She played through Phantom Hourglass in a weekend. She was thoroughly addicted to Big Bang Mini (a shoot-em-up lite, disguised as a casual game) for awhile. She's also played both US Professor Layton games to 100% completion (minus the downloadables, for some reason).

The above examples could be labeled casual experiences or, at least, very approachable titles.

We recently bought a PS3, primarily for its capability to play Blu-Rays. Lacking a games library but wanting to screw around with this new tech, she began downloading any demo that sounded vaguely interesting. She ended up trying Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2's demo (mostly because it had the word "Ninja" in it).

She played through the demo thoroughly - both characters' demos, the co-op demo, and on both acolyte and normal difficulty. I though she might take a liking to Devil May Cry 4, but she called it, "Too basic, there aren't enough moves to memorize." She tried the first NG Sigma game demo and said it was much easier and didn't end up being as much fun because of that.

What the hell? Out of nowhere she's gone from a casual Wii Sports, Cooking Mama and Sims 3 gamer into a hardcore badass that's not content unless a move list is several pages long? I actually have the option of buying "Real" games for Christmas for her - ones I'd actually like to play as well.

That might be the best Christmas gift I've ever received.   read

5:36 PM on 09.11.2009

Professor Layton 2 - Great with inklings of disappointment

I completely adored Professor Layton and the Curious Village. Having recently beaten every puzzle (except the download-unlock ones) in Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, I have to say I'm a little disappointed by the experience - I think.

The game is fantastic and the additions and improvements are most welcome. I'm, in particular, a big fan of the memo option available with every puzzle. It means that I haven't got scraps of paper with insane scrawling lying about my apartment.

I breezed through the first 10% or so of the puzzles with no problem before encountering some more difficult ones. After getting through all of them, though, I thought about it and realized that not a single one stumped me for more than an hour (some of the marble-jump ones were a pain). While it's nice to have never felt the need to fling my DS across the room, I miss the immense feeling of satisfaction that came when I finally puzzled out some head-scratcher in the previous game.

If you're reading this and love puzzle games, I heartily recommend picking this one up. If you haven't played the first, I'd even recommend doing them out of sequence. There's very little plot that'll be spoiled or become confusing if you play them out of sequence, and The Diabolical Box is far less frustrating.

I can't conclude this, however, without mentioning how craptastically inane the ending of Box was. Even the Curious Village's ending and plot conceit were more logical and less contrived.   read

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