Friday, January 28, 2011

Exciting news! Well, exciting news for me.

So this semester is a very intense reading and writing course load, plus I'm gonna have to come up with topics that I can dig through and poke with a stick.  Women's History is going to be the most challenging mainly because my knowledge is pretty limited (though I think I might focus on women travelers/adventurers/travel writers/journalists).  I'm stoked about African American History (though I have to admit I'm beginning to develop an interest in African history - ex. Slave narratives and cultures in the Caribbean and South America).  English 200 - Literature not so much; not because I don't care about literature'n'stuff but because my interests lay in genre fiction and creative non-fiction.  Ethnobiology is gonna be a blast and in all honesty I'm beginning to think that it's the field I am truly interested in, especially in being able to meld my love of food, history, and cultural studies.  Frankly, except for the science stuff of ethnobio, the topics and possibilities for exploring those topics excites me.

More news to follow.  Hope you fine hooligans have a good and safe weekend.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Reviews pending! Movies! Huzzah! Old and New!

Finally Deathwatch has come to netflix instant download!  A supernatural thriller set in the trenches of World War I.  I'm pretty excited to watch this.  I don't think enough is done with World War I these days, in any form of "entertainment".  Hopefully this movie delivers the goods.

Since one of my movie buddies has never seen Hellraiser or Hellraiser II (my favorite of the two) and we recently watched Candyman and Lord of Illusions I figured it's time for her to watch those two classics.  Now it's going to be the first time I've watched them in maybe about a decade so I figured I'd put together a retro-review.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What's on my mind...possibly a juxtaposition of themes. Discuss.

Game news and reviews! Yay!

Thanks to a fine Christmas gift from BC3 and Mrs. BC3 I was able to download a pile of XBOX Arcade games I had been wanting to play.

ilomilo is a puzzler that is pretty darn cute and bizarre.  The whole premise is navigating ilo to meet milo through a multi-layered/dimensioned series of block puzzles.  Some of the puzzles have been pretty cut and dry and as I've been progressing the puzzles have been (quelle surprise) increasing in difficulty.  ilomilo is definitely worth the 800 MS points, especially if you're looking for something different from FPS or the trudge of sequels.

Costume Quest is an excellent kid's game from Tim Schafer's production company.  Hell, it's an excellent game all around.  Simple enough plot, fun exploring, interesting combat, nice elements of collection and gathering, and a rather touching story about siblings.  My first playthrough took me about eight hours but I accidentally erased my save and have to playthrough again to regain all my unlocked stuff to carry over to the sequel Grubbins on Ice.  I've already downloaded Grubbins but haven't cracked it open yet.  Maybe this weekend.

DeathSpank: Thongs of Virtue A sequel that is Death-ier, spank-ier, and more-ier.  DS:TOV is the same as the first game.  Pretty funny, lots to blow up, clever graphics, gingerbread men to set on fire, leprechauns to throw grenades at, and Thongs to rescue from the clutches of evil.

There's nothing really coming out in February but Homefront comes out March 8th as does Dragon Age 2.  Sadly, I'm not terribly excited about Dragon Age 2.  I still feel a bit pissed about getting burnt by the DLC and Awakenings for Dragon Age. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Capital's war against WikiLeaks - Opinion - Al Jazeera English

Capital's war against WikiLeaks - Opinion - Al Jazeera English

I jokingly say, "You can't stop the signal." but I've been trying to keep up and catch up with Assange's trials and tribulations. I admit that I have never been to the site and in some regards I feel apprehensive about visiting WikiLeaks because I don't want anything negative to go on my permanent record. Again I joke but isn't freedom of information one of the basic tenets (am I using the right word/concept correctly?) of the World Wide Web? I know how naive that statement is and maybe I rely too much on my nostalgic feelings for cyberpunk. However (and I might sound like a conspiracy nut) doesn't the amount of international muscle being brought to bear on Assange mean that he and his site/sources/etc are simply right? Assange isn't the homeless lady on M Street in DC who bore signs declaring that the CIA killed her son or some tinfoil hat wearing nutcase camped out at Roswell, hell there's not even a hint of Alex Jones in what I've been reading about Assange and his site.

As with other topics I need to educate myself further and more extensively but the entire WikiLeaks debacle fascinates and frightens me. While I don't subscribe to NWO Black Helicopter theories I do worry about the concepts of freedom of information (a vague concept at best I am not educated enough to speak further on) on the Net because how am I supposed to educate myself? How am I supposed to answer/address/explore questions and issues I have if I don't have access to information? Nevermind that I am never going to do anything with that knowledge and frankly I'm too self-centered and worried about paying rent and worried about passing Spanish III and most of my internet time is spent pissing away hours on FB apps but for some reason I also deeply worry about being able to find information freely. I worry about logging into or subscribing to certain sites. I worry about writing about certain topics and issues on this site. I might get on my soapbox from time to time and time again but ultimately I don't want a knock on the door from a suit holding my internet history. Or maybe I'm just being narcissistic and paranoid and gutless. Or maybe the nebulous "they" have won, turning my worries into silence.

Kidnapped by Israel, forsaken by Britain | Al Jazeera Blogs

Kidnapped by Israel, forsaken by Britain | Al Jazeera Blogs

I'm going to look into this further because these kinds of actions, by any nation, are deplorable but I need to know why they occurred.

China: A force for peace in Sudan? - Features - Al Jazeera English

China: A force for peace in Sudan? - Features - Al Jazeera English

News from Thursday the 13th:

Sometimes with FB instafeed I forget that once upon a time I used to post all that stuff on HYR.  So here's a scattershot of interesting stuff I found today:

Scientists Find That Squid Beak Is Both Hard And Soft, A Material That Engineers Want To Copy huh huh huh...hard.  Still joking aside, fascinating and I'm a sucker for potential biotech.
2011: The Dark Year Ahead - a piece from Pravda that is pretty grim but certainly worth reading.
My Russian is not very good but I think this headline reads "Fucking Giant Icicles!"  Additionally that Russkie news site has loads of pictures of hot chicks.  Skernik!
 Sharks in the Streets of Brisbane.  If this is true then Australia's floods make Katrina look like a kiddie pool.
Shane Black Brought on to Death Note - the live action version of the crappy anime.  Suck. 
From the geniuses over at a Combos Factory Maintenance Report

UnderwaterTimes | Scientists Find That Squid Beak Is Both Hard And Soft, A Material That Engineers Want To Copy

UnderwaterTimes Scientists Find That Squid Beak Is Both Hard And Soft, A Material That Engineers Want To Copy

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Look! Stuff about games that aren't Red Dead or Fallout!

I recently heard about the PS3 game Demon's Soul and I have to say that I really want to play it.  It sounds like an excellent game that brings back good old fashioned the RPG hates you gameplay.  For me that's part of the appeal because, as I've written before, most games are pretty easy these days - unless they are plagued by crappy mechanics, gameplay, or camera control.  This game apparently dishes out the punishment.  Too bad I don't have a PS3 or the desire to buy one.

On good old XBOX Arcade puzzler ilomilo just was released and I'm excited to play it.  Arcade has some really good little puzzle games that really warrant downloading the demo at least, example: The Misadventures of PB Winterbottom. I'm gonna give it a play ASAP.

A real surprise was Snoopy Flying Ace. It's a dog-fighting game (aerial combat not Michael Vick though I bet Snoopy could beat the shit out of Clifford or Marmaduke) that is surprisingly fun and has some really hectic combat.  I'm looking forward to downloading a full version.

Microbot could be fun or it could be crappy.  I'll let you folks know when I play it.

One game I really want to play (and can pick up new for $20...well whenever I get $20) is Darkstar One: Broken Alliance.  The game hearkens back to good old fashioned spaceship combat/rpg.  This is one of my favorite genres of all times, one that I feel is sadly under-represented in today's gaming industry.  Apparently the graphics aren't top-notch and the story stumbles at times but to paraphrase Vasquez, I just need to know one thing about my enemies, where they are.  Space combat woo!  Plus I like dusting off chesnuts like, "This ain't like shootin wumprats kid!"

More reviews pending, including news about Homefront and Elder Scrolls V: Return of the Load Screen.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

12/22/10 - 01/05/10 Gamestravaganza (aka The Scourging of the Mojave Wasteland and clobbering of New Austin)

Happy New Year to all you fine Hooligan (and non-Hooligan) readers.  Hope you had a decent holiday season.  Mine was fairly quiet, spent too much time playing Lord of Ages on teh F4c3b00kz, and primarily spent my time whuppin and whompin the living tar out of Fallout: New Vegas and getting truly stuck in with Red Dead Redemption (again).

Fallout: New Vegas is dead.  Long live Fallout: New Vegas!  Except for a few acheivements I did pretty much everything that I could do in that game; all storylines, all NPCs, several different character builds.  Granted I haven't picked up Dead Money - the new DLC - nor will I pick up any of the expansions until they are all released and on sale as the GOTY edition.  One thing I realized this last playthrough was having a stupid brawler character severely limits your options as far as NPC interactions, cracking safes, hacking computers, and pretty much anything (I consider) fun goes.  My brawler, "Punchy", was an alcoholic meathead who was capable of killing a Deathclaw with melee attacks but couldn't think his way out of a urine soaked paper bag.  He was so stupid he couldn't even be nice to NPCs.  Moron.

Red Dead Redemption has been an interesting counterpoint to New Vegas.  Redemption is a superior game in many regards.  I wish the two games could be glommed together like fucking peanut butter and chocolate to make a videogame with Voltron-like powers (add in Borderlands for funzies).  I know I love the Fallout series but in all honesty I think I care more about the story, setting, characters, and role playing factors (i.e. Punchy the boozer) than I do the actual gameplay mechanics, the suck ass load-times, the ability to nerf a character from the get-go, the bugs, the graphics engine is in serious need of a tune-up, lack of a cover system, and third person mode -and third person camera control - is frankly fucking worthless.  I get really tired of wandering in first person mode, I feel like I have blinders on.

RDR is gorgeous, 99% bug free, loading times are scarce, camera control is damn fine, the characters and storyline are better than most Rockstar releases as of late, and that's not mentioning multiplayer (even playing multiplayer in a private match greatly expands gameplay) or the excellent DLC.  What's lacking in RDR is setting and RPG factors/elements.  Why is it that Rockstar seems to refuse to make an honest to goodness RPG?  Additionally what's lacking in RDR is Rockstar's Achilles Heel - character collision detection can sometimes mean the difference between life and death.  Having your character bumbling around in front of a doorway in a Chaplin-esque manner while being shot at can be frustrating (unless you're the one firing then it's hilarious).  What really set RDR  apart from New Vegas is how god damn fun RDR is.  A buddy of mine came over and we set up a LAN and spent the evening blasting, knifing, hootin and hollerin and guffawing like crazy people while playing (additional heavy quoting of Serenity, Firefly, and Deadwood also occured).  It was awesome.  I can't wait for him to get the DLC so we can have tomahawk fights (it's my new favorite weapon).  The fun continues with sidequests and unlockables.  One of the quests was "Blow up a mountain lion with a stick of dynamite."  Much easier said than done.  There's a trick to it that I learned after dying many many times (get the asshole to chase you while cooking the dynamite and hauling ass on horseback - it's all a matter of timing).

Both games are worth playing but in my opinion, for the most bang for your buck pick up RDR.  Vegas can wait until all the DLC are out and the game is sold all in one for thirty bucks.

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