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11:47 AM on 03.08.2011

Re-introductions are in Order

With PAX East fast approaching, I had a thought that I should hop back on here and re-introduce myself and make a confession.

Confession first.

It turns out, I'm bad at the internet. It's a very one sided relationship that I just don't respect enough. I use the internets for informational purposes, but I have a hard time giving something back. Unless its on twitter. I say lots of useless things on twitter and communicate well there because it's quick and easy. But really, I mean I fall behind in places like here, at Destructoid. I like to make excuses like work is so busy (it is) and things like that. Not that I was ever all that active here in the past... the only thing I did somewhat regularly were those paint-toid drawings. But I'm getting ahead of myself now. Here comes the re-intro...

I'm Greg. I used to go by GAPING MAW here on Dtoid, but then I decided to try to unify my internet ID to just one handle, and I changed it to rivalscho0ls. (It's better this way). I love gaming, technologizing, and music. I work as a QA technician at a place I strongly dislike, and I am taking classes in order to get out of what I'm doing. I graduated from Rutgers University in 2008, got married in June 2009, and just bought a house. We close soon, and I'm excited. I get the entire basement to do with what I want.

So, like many of you, I'll be at PAX East this weekend, and I hope to see those that I met last year and meet some awesome new people. Maybe I'll even get rolled into Nick Chester's food katamari again so I can redeem myself and not be the "quiet, weird dude." (It was intimidating for some reasons!)

Anyway, thanks for being awesome and I'll see you guys this weekend.   read

3:00 PM on 12.29.2009

Paint-toid 130: Dear God Samit Look What You've Done

Here's my interpretation of Podtoid 130, or at least how I felt through much of it. I have nothing more to say here.

Oh, and Samit? Play fucking Portal.   read

4:01 PM on 12.17.2009

Paint-toid 129: You Must Acquit Edition

I have to say, in my short time, that this was my favorite Paint-toid to draw, and my favorite Podtoid too. It did take fucking forever to draw though, but it was well worth it. Here she is:

I tried to cram an awful lot in there, and now my damn wrist is paying for it. Hope you guys like it!   read

1:53 PM on 12.16.2009

Paint-toid 128.5: Not Really Worth It Edition

So, I decided to bang one out for 128.5, and pretty much right after I started, I realized I didn't have much to work with from this particular episode. So, I made a lazy attempt at it, and I didn't even give Nick Chester legs. Hell, I didn't even draw him or Hamza, and I re-used the old Anthony, Samit, and TPL once again. I promise the new one will be all new drawings, but for now, here's this thing I did.

The Brad Nicholson joke was kind of a throw-away line from Jim somewhere in the middle of the podcast, and the Samit one is pretty obvious I think. Myeh. Definitely not my best work.   read

2:42 PM on 12.11.2009

Paint-toid 128 (#2 really)

For my second foray into the world of Paint and Podtoid, I present to you Samit's Italian Friends, with less emphasis on Italians and more emphasis on War Elephants.

This is for njsykora and those who wanted a sequel to last weeks pile of magnificence. I have to say this blows last week's out of the water. However, my question to you guys is this: should this be a weekly thing? I love Podtoid and I have the time at work to get this done, so other than the pain in my wrist I'm up for it.   read

3:53 PM on 12.03.2009

In honor of Podtoid 127, I present to you...

The Salemit Witch Trials starring The Perfect Lifeform (One word thanks to First Lt. Brad Nicholson), Brad Nicholson, and Samwitch Sarkar!

That is all.   read

12:08 PM on 10.28.2009

L4D2 Demo Impressions (360) UPDATED

I'll start off by saying this: I am a huge fan of the original Left 4 Dead. I'll also say this: I generally don't play online either. I'm known to play single player off-line, split screen with my wife, or system linked with 4 buddies. I much prefer playing this game with people in the same room rather than across the internets. I played through this demo twice; once by myself, and once with my wife. With that off my chest, I can tell you it was with a school-girl's giddiness that I climbed up the stairs to my apartment to download the demo for L4D2. 1.6 gigawatts later, I was booting that sumbitch up.

The demo starts with the awesome 3 minute trailer that leaked the other day, which is even more impressive when presented on your television screen. Then the usual ads and the menu screen, whose setup I actually like more than the original's screen. It was much cleaner and more clear. Blah blah blah you don't care so get to the good stuff. The demo is faptastic, and I want more. Now.

The first thing you'll notice starting the game itself is the different feel of the environment - most notably the fact that you're fighting off zombies during the day, a huge difference from the first, or any zombie game for that matter. From the twangy music that made me think of HBO's True Blood, to the extremely loud jet fly over right in the beginning, you really feel that your a part in a very organic, and very dangerous world. The colors pop out at you, and everything just feels alive - including the undead. But, there-in lies the rub. I was just thinking about this, and I realized that in this bright and sunny environment, I really felt no threat. It felt to me like sunshine and lollipops, lalala I'm shooting zombies in N'Orleans, bang-bang. And I'm not saying this is a bad thing, it certainly seems to instill confidence in the player, it's just very different from the dark, bleak environments in the first game where the tension was palpable. Another note - my second playthrough was actually slightly different in the maze section of the park. In the first run, the park was quite simple, move from one area to the next, maybe 3 areas in all. On the second play, it seemed like it was longer, like there were more areas to explore. So that thing they did with the director actually works. Pretty sweet.

Now for the weapons. I love the melee weapons. They are all pretty satisfying to use, and they aren't at all overpowered. I'd gotten a little worried about that, reading in some places that they were essentially one hit kills, which they are for the most part, but its not like you have a Jesus stick or anything. I tested out a few the frying pan and guitar by wading my way into a horde and swinging away. I wouldn't recommend this tactic, as I lost about half of my health, but I did have a lot of fun doing it. It's just easy to not realize just how much damage I had taken in doing so. As for the guns, I almost felt a little overwhelmed with them due to my unfamiliarity, but the same basic premise is there from the first game. If you like shotguns, just grab the shotgun. Like automatic weapons? Grab the SMG or M16 or whatever. Stick with what you know. It didn't seem like individual statistics were all that important for each weapon, it was pretty basic at its core. Chrome shotgun? Still only has 8 shots and isn't automatic. Look beyond the new skins. I didn't get any of the incendiary ammo from either playthrough, so I can't comment on that. I did get a the bile bomb or whatever its called, but I didn't get a chance to use it because the demo pretty much ended right after I picked it up.

Now, I didn't get the best experience with the new special infected. Like I said earlier, I was playing on normal both times, and my AI partners were just too good for the special infected, with the exception of the Charger, who 3 out of the 4 times he appeared in my second playthrough, grabbed me and smashed me into the ground multiple times before anyone was able to kill him. I do like the Charger though, I can see how he adds to the frantic gameplay. He's not really that tough to take down when he stops moving, but when he gets going watch out. I didn't get touched by the Spitter, but I did get to see her roaming around a bit, as well as the Jockey who grabbed a hold of me for about .2 seconds before getting blasted off. I also liked the Common Uncommon in the level, with their full body armor suits. It makes perfect sense (though how did they get turned with all that armor on?) that there would be zombies running around with something other than regular clothes on, so that's a welcome addition. Also, I liked the redesigns on the old special infected. They're not radically different, but changed enough to keep them fresh. The Hunter still has a hood on though (or was that just me?), with just the sleeves ripped off. It's different, it's good, whatever. Then there's the witch. I actually think that having her walk around is a little bit of a step back. I expected to see her pacing back and forth in a small area, but in the demo she seemed to just keep walking. She's still creepy as all fuck and this is just one scenario, but she didn't seem like as big of a threat as she did in the first game. Also of note, two cracks to the head with a guitar does not a dead witch make.

One thing that I think is good, but I won't be able to decide until the game actually launches is the length of the chapters. They seemed much shorter to me. I can see how people might want shorter chapters for Versus matches, but I might like to seem them a bit longer. I liked the newly styled crescendo moment in the middle of the second chapter, but it seemed to not really do anything after that. It didn't seem like that much of a challenge. Granted, it was Normal, but still. I expected a bit more. Again, I'll just have to wait and see how the final game plays.

I really only have one complaint with the game, and it's fairly minor. The ammo count in the new HUD. It's fucking tiny! Green on slightly darker green is not easy to read by itself, and then you make it a size 7 font and I have to squint on my 37" HD TV. Same goes for the after-chapter stats. Shit is TINY. The first game everything was bold and easy to read, and would have been much preferred to have that cleaned up and used for the sequel.

Still, if that's my only complaint, I'll take it. It most definitely seems that L4D2 will be a worthy sequel, and I can't wait to get my hands on it in November.

EDIT I wanted to add two things to this post: 1. New Characters 2. Demo Download Code

1. The new characters are great. The banter seems cut down a little bit, but they seem to be worthy successors to the original four. Coach fucking rules.

2. Apparently Gamestop gave out some faulty DL codes for the demo, so they sent out a fresh batch to everyone again just in case. My original code worked fine, so here's the new one for you if you're lucky enough to be the first person to read this edit:


If this is illegal to do on the blogs, I apologize and it won't happen again, I'm just trying to spread some love is all.   read

3:40 PM on 10.27.2009

An Introductory Blog Post Seemed Like the Right thing to do...

Helloo C-Blogs! It seems that when many of you join the community, you write introductory blogs, so I figured I'd follow suit here. I'm 23 years old, and I live in New Jersey. I just got married this past June, and it's exactly the same except I think we get some sort of tax breaks or something. I am currently employed full time at a manufacturing company as a Quality Assurance Technician, which basically boils down to me checking the parts we make every once in a while, filling out paperwork, and then sitting on my computer for the rest of the day. This is where Destructoid comes in.

I'd always checked the blogs here and others similar to it every once in a while, but never really with any regularity. I just never spent that much time on the computer, I was always either playing a video game or reading. But since starting this job, I'd discovered I had plenty of time to explore the internets. Now, I'm hopelessly addicted to Dtoid, and I love everyone here. The community is fantastic, and the humor is spot on (at least for me). Eventually I created a username here to comment on some posts, and now I've decided that I've got the time to actually write a blog or two here with the rest of the community.

On to the important thing - gaming. I love playing video games, and I always have. My earliest memory of gaming is Pitfall on the Atari, I have no idea how young I was but I still remember playing it to this day. After the Atari fried itself (it literally caught on fire), the family moved onto an NES, where I remember watching my brother and his friend play Q-Bert and Mario Bros. for hours on end. My obsession grew (maybe a strong word), and over time got the SNES, Genesis, PS1, Dreamcast, PS2, Xbox, Gamecube, PSP, to the current gen (not Next ANYMORE) 360, PS3 and Wii. I primarily use my 360, and only play exclusives for the PS3. I've got a serious backlog of games that I'd love to get to, but I just finished Uncharted 2, and have put Brutal Legend on hold because I caved and gave myself a little taste of Borderlands, and now I don't want to stop playing it. Haven't played online yet, but did some 2 player split screen with a buddy the other day, and that was plenty fun.

Well, it's 5 o'clock, and I get to go home now, so that's that. Thanks for giving this a read!   read

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