October 31, 2009

Great Halloween Video from Screw Attack

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Activision lies about skipping scenes in CoD:MW2

My FPS loving friends and I usually like the Call of Duty series, and Modern Warfare 2 has been on our radar, although we're not getting all hyped up.  We just like games where we can shoot at each other, CoD is one of them.  Laser tag is another, though it's a bit more physical and you can't do it at home as easily.

Then this controversial clip from the game play came out that included the player in the campaign mode being a terrorist and shooting down tons of innocent civilians. I would love to show you the footage I saw but the best I can do is upload the Hard News episode from Screw Attack that had that footage. Activision has been trying their best to take all footage that has leaked out down.

Quite easy to see how this footage is disturbing, and how the video game community did a complete double take. A very vocal group of people were pretty offended that this gameplay was available.

Activision then says "Don't worry guys the scenes are skippable" except in much more diplomatic terms. Okay, so you don't have to mow down civilians. Fantastic, players have options like they should. Hooray!

"Skipping" is apparently a very loose term to Activision. It turns out the ESRB noted that players could choose to either shoot civilians or not in this scene. Never did it say anything about skipping the scene entirely.

Let me get this straight: I get to "skip" being a horrible human being, the same choice I have in day to day life, but I can't "skip" seeing tons of (albeit fictional) innocent people get shot in the open without being able to defend themselves as my compatriots in the story go around shooting anyone standing.

I'm sorry, but come on! I understand if the developers want people to know who they're fighting against in the game, but this is too much! I as a player don't need to see any dramatization of an airport shooting! It makes my skin crawl and is in general very uncomfortable. I'm someone who was raised around the times of the Columbine shooting, the Oklahoma City bombing and 9/11. Just tell me in story what this terrorist group did, and I think I'll be fine killing them off later in game.

Of course, those are personal feelings. But I think that a lot of people feel the same way. No matter how you initially react to it, the scene hits so close to home that you just want to avoid it entirely, which means not playing the campaign mode.

Also, what is fun about that situation anyway? There is no real challenge when it comes to shooting people who can't defend themselves. You want some what of an even match in a game like Call of Duty, where you are proud of yourself when you pick the right gun and you position yourself just right to get a head shot on your enemy. Or hit him square in the nuts if you are hanging out with my friends.

Maybe Call of Duty is trying to set themselves up for a story about moral choices, but to be perfectly honest that is not why I play Call of Duty. I play it so I can pretend to be some awesome guy out on the field killing a bunch of baddies. Or to play the multiplayer with friends and see how long I can last. (Which in reality isn't that long). Call of Duty has never come to mind as a game about moral dilemmas or decisions based on ethics. There are plenty of other games I would play for that experience, like Mass Effect.

All in all, I don't appreciate a company like Activision being a liar about the "skipping" part. Unless the ESRB missed the "skip" button (and I doubt they would've missed it) Call of Duty is definitely going to lose out on sales where players don't want to be the bad guys we worry about in real life. And I'm one of them.

October 27, 2009

Introduce the Right (Funniest) Friends to Your Games.

Sunday was hilarious.

The Boyfriend and one of his friends was visiting me, and The Boyfriend wanted to play Hex Hex. Since the game is more interesting with more than 3 players, I told my friend to join us. For her "protection" I will call her Proptart.

Hex Hex was as fun as anticipated, and then we played some Wii games before finally saying "Okay Proptart, how about some Call of Duty on the Xbox?" Proptart doesn't play a lot of video games so she didn't even know that it was a first person shooter, let alone what that exactly meant. So we just told her to shoot and aim and good luck.

Proptart proceeded to be the entertainment for the evening. I will list some of the funnier things she did.

-Since she didn't know where everyone was, she would shoot to let us know where she was on the map.
-She announced after a while, "If I shoot I can figure out where I am on your compasses!" We all cracked up because we joke about screen-watching all the time.
-Sometimes when she found someone to shoot she would go "BAM BAM! BAM BAM BAM!"
-Since this was her first time with any of these controls, she would try to shoot someone and then totally miss, and then move her joystick all around in hopes it would hit. Her bullets at some times were more like confetti.
-To be perfectly fair, I am not good at FPS's as well, especially on a console. I shoot a lot better on the PC. There was one point where Proptart and I were literally RIGHT IN FRONT OF EACH OTHER and couldn't hit each other for a good 15 seconds. I finally got the kill, but after moving my gun around all around on the groun in front of Proptart.
-Proptart's general exclamations of when she got shot were hilarious. Especially when she would try to shoot back and then miss the person completely even though they were right in her sights.

I say this in all good fun. Proptart had a fun time all around, and I want to introduce her to FPS's on the computer too, since I think she'd pick it up faster. Maybe even get her on some Unreal Tournament too?

So when you know you have a friend who is hilarious and has never played an FPS, have them do it. High quality comedy, I guarantee.

October 22, 2009

Nothing to do with Nerdiness, Everything to do with Justice.

I am embarrassed as an American citizen that this bill is even a debate. Let your senator know that rape is wrong, no matter who's doing it. I'm contacting Dick Durbin as soon as I can.

October 21, 2009

You use a Wii Board for that?

Apparently there is some investigation in the use of Wii Balance Board for screening potential security risks at your airport.  Don't believe me, read it here.

The theory is that if you are guilty, you will shift your weight more often on the board than someone who is not guilty.  Guilty of what you ask?  Well, my dear readers. guilty of planning a terrorist attack or planting a bomb on a commercial airliner, what else?

God forbid that I have to fly when this is being tested in 2011.  Hopefully not in O'Hare, where I fly to and from the most.  Because sometimes I really gotta pee, and that makes me shift back and forth.  Imagine being accused of terrorism because you have a bad bladder.  Or what about when I shift because my feet (which used to be flat but now have high arches... what the hell?) hurt a lot?  Or what if my back hurts and I shift to help alleviate that pain?

In logical standpoint, this seems like such a bad idea.  I keep on thinking of ways it wouldn't work.  Especially if they try to use it on children.  A child standing still?  Only if he's able to sleep standing up.

I really wonder what Nintendo thinks of all this.  I can't imagine Reggie being like "Well that's a logical leap: from consumer pastime to government screen test."

October 19, 2009

Meet my army

This weekend in central IL my friends down there were nice enough to give me a belated birthday gift, which really was a huge bag of various dice.  In that were 16 black d20s that were just asking to be rolled to glory.  Hence, my army, who will defend my table-top RPG honor.

You have to admit, they roll deep.

October 17, 2009

It's all for science

This rare parrot has some interesting ideas of attractiveness.

Well, I don't know if the right thing to feel in that situation is lucky, or shameful.

October 16, 2009

A Fantastic Nerd Weekend

Once again I am taking a great trip in Athens, where I get to be the nerdiest nerd that ever nerded.  It started out great.

I finally got the chance to finish House of Dead: Overkill with my friend Joel.  All I will say is it's definitely mature, and if you don't like cheesy parodies of grind house horror flicks with some sick humor you shouldn't play the game.

I'm glad that in this day an age we are not forgetting the appeal of a good rail shooter.  FPS games are great, but sometimes I just want to point and shoot.

And now I'm watching the Boyfriend play paradise mode of Ghost Squad.  I could shake my head at it but really, what's the harm?

October 14, 2009

Alright, another game I need to get.

Ever since my brother stopped caring about his xbox 360 I've been a little deprived of games I want to play.  I don't have a lot of money for new games and the games that m brother has are now... well unplayable.  But my list of games that I want to play keeps rising, especially when something is as well done as Brutal Legend.

Here's a review that got me thinking of it, although I've been spying on it for a while now.

Brutal Legend does a lot of things good when it comes to video games. First of all, it has a great unique setting. Sci-fi and high fantasy have been used a LOT in video games, and in each there are ones that dominate that market. There are a lot of games that try to work in these niches, and end up failing because the concept could never compare to what's already out there. Isn't it better to make your own niche?

What the team for Brutal Legend did is take an idea (heavy metal world) and take is as far as they can go. And if you look at the review, you can see they did so much with that idea.

But a great concept for a world is not enough. You also need a unique game play experience. And it looks like they did that, interlacing the concept of kicking serious @$$ with real time strategy. I love to micro-mange and I love punching things in the face! It's perfect for me!

And finally, there's humor. There are not a lot of humorous games done well. There are a lot of epic stories, and that's understandable when your market is a bunch of people practicing escapism. But a video game that gives me a good laugh is not as available as I'd like it to be. A lot of them dont' end up rating too well. The last one I remember playing is South Park: The Game, and even it wasn't the best game in the world or that funny if you didn't know the series.

So for all those reasons, I'm adding Brutal Legend to the list of games I need to get. I'll have to put that list up for you guys sometime so we can all compare.

October 13, 2009

Another writing project

I hate to say it readers, but I've been cheating on you.  Writing-wise, that is.

I have a dear friend of mine I've known since junior high who was like me not too long ago--bored and unemployed.  She's kind of like the sister I never had, especially since my mother claims her all the time as her missing daughter.  It's funny, let me tell you.  Any my dear friend and I decided we should do the awesome thing we said we would do years ago.

We should make a web comic.

Now mind you, I don't think I will ever get to some of the same fame as Penny Arcade or Something Positive.  It would be arrogant to say that this is an eventuality.  But my friend wants to practice drawing, and this is a story I've been trying to work on since high school.  In fact it was used as the setting in my D&D campaign in college.  These characters and this story have not left me in about 7 years.  For me, that's a long time.  And I'm very loyal to my stories it seems, so I have to write it sooner or later.

Now that I'm a bit more settled in my new job and I'm finally getting a good pace with this writing stuff, I'm not going to be as absent as I was previously from this blog.  But I'm hoping you all can see how this can benefit you!  You will soon have a new web comic to be entertained by.

It's not going to be a web comic that you readers will be used to.  Its a fantasy setting with political intrigue and religious prophecy.  It's not going to be all fun and games.  It's going to be a real story, with a real ending I know of too.  We'll see how that works out for us.  Also, don't expect it anytime too soon.  There is a lot that the two of us need to work out.

In the meantime, please forgive me!  I'll never cheat on you writing wise again!  I will always come back to you readers!

Also, this means some hilarious posts about my writing process.  I promise.

October 9, 2009

Costume Idea

It's really easy to have a boring costume for Halloween.  And as a nerd I have to think of something super awesome.  There are certain costumes I've would've liked to do, but so far the most fun costume I've done was based on a song.  I was the character Crossed Eyed Mary from the Jethro Tull song.  Although only one out of thirty people actually got it after a while, it was awesome.  I was with someone that was dressed up as Aqualung, so it worked even better that way.

This year I'm doing it solo, and I have to work on Halloween before I go out and party.  So it has to be safe, but I want it to be from a song.  And I think I got it, it'll obviously be a costume but at the same time it'll be appropriate in some way.

I'm going as the chick described in the song Camarillo Brillo.  Other than the rancid poncho, the description in the chorus gives me everything I need.

She had a snake for a pet
And an amulet
And she was breeding a dwarf
But she wasn't done yet
She had a grey green skin
A doll with a pin
I told her she was alright
But I couldn't come in
(I just couldn't come in right then...)

So does anyone know where to get a rancid poncho in Chicago?  Or how to get grey green skin?

If you want to see the get up on Halloween, come see Theatre of Souls on October 31st at my job.  Email me for info.

October 7, 2009

New Job = Busy

Not a lot of time for posting unfortunately... :(

Working on it!  I shall catch up!

October 4, 2009

Hex Hex Next: Play It!

In college I was introduced to a lot of board and card games, a lot of them being even better with the addition of alcohol.  Not that I was a heavy drinker in college, but when you're with the right company Settlers of Catan while enjoying some Chianti (or more likely a Gin and Tonic) is actually a great evening.

One of my favorites was Hex Hex.  The premise of the game is that your in a circle of friends trying to back stab each other so you don't have a hex go off on you.  You can change the hex, pass it around, even double it in opposite directions.  It's easy to pick up as long as you read the cards and know how many hexes are being played around the table.

I had wanted to play it with friends in Chicago for a while but hadn't had a chance to until I found the sequel/expansion at GamePlus.

Hex Hex Next is essentially the same game but with a change in some of the cards.  You have new types of hexes, new types of cards and the same premise.  Last night I finally cracked it open for 6 players (which is the suggested max) to see how it went.

After the learning bit for most people (well myself included because there were new cards) it went very well.  It was still friendly while we targeted people for hexes and certain people became temporary enemies, targeting each other.  It sounds a lot more vicious than it was.  There is also a lot of hilarity that happens due to the nature of the cards, despite the cards not being particularly hilarious.  All in all, great game to play with friends that is relatively easy to pick up.

I would like to see how it mixes with a Hex Hex deck, but then that's a game with over 200 cards.  I'm actually almost afraid to see how many times a hex could be duplicated if the right cards were out.

October 1, 2009


So at my job I got a promotion, to box office manager.  Starts officially next week.  Still doing the stuff I did before on top of those duties.  Woot!

This only means that I may be doing some blog posts from work, or later than usual.  Trust me, it'll be awesome.  :D

In other news, happy October!