Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Gaming

It's Halloween, and you know what that means: sitting around working on a paper. Also, I'm trying to get on the one-day-only Halo 3 playlist of zombie games. Unfortunately, certain people (I'm looking at you, everyone) is hogging the Internet around here. My connection is awful right now. If you're reading this, you're on the Internet. Get off, and leave some bandwidth for me!

That is, unless you're living near Bungie, and sending the electrons my way. If you're doing that, try to send as many files as you can to the general Minnesota area. I need all the electrons I can get at this point.

Now playing: Paul McCartney - JET
via FoxyTunes

Monday, October 29, 2007

Orange Box Update

Looks like Valve is Updating the Orange Box. This is good news for me, since it claims to reduce bandwidth usage, and I'd been having some lag. I'll report back later if it worked or not.

In the RPG I'm running, someone has a Vulpix Pokemon as sort of a mascot. I did an image search to see what they look like, and OMG, what the hell is wrong with people?
Now playing: Meat Loaf - Objects In the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, October 28, 2007


If you're using Google's de facto OS accessible from anywhere on the Internet (see Google Docs, etc.) you may be interested in using Picasa. It's a program that finds all your pictures and gives you basic photo manipulating tools. Like all Google programs, it makes finding your files so easy you begin to hate Microsoft for being so cumbersome. Also, it coordinates well with the internet. For example, you can find all of the pictures I've taken that are any good at my Picasa site.

Now playing: Queen - Who Wants To Live Forever
via FoxyTunes

Friday, October 26, 2007

Anyone Want an iPod?

I'm thinking about getting an iPod Touch. This means that I need some money, and I won't need my current iPod. It still works fine, and it has literally thousands of songs on it. Does anyone want it? I don't know how much money I'd want for it.

Now playing: Beethoven - Ave Maria
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, October 25, 2007

What the Hell

I'm still plugging through half-life 2. Never have I felt more railroaded in a game. The absurd, impossibly counter-intuitive things you have to do in this game sometimes baffle me. "Hmm... There's a chain-link fence here. I suppose I'll have to look in the nearby buildings and hire Rube Goldberg to set up a device to set up a mechanism to make a small ramp. What do you know, Rube must have already been here! All I have to do is throw this switch!"

To get past an electric fence, you have to throw a nearby switch up in a building. Why is the switch there? Who the hell knows? I tried cutting the cord which was obviously supplying the power, but no. That isn't exactly what you're supposed to do, so you can't do it. To do anything, you have to explore the area around you for a switch. Imagine the "puzzle solving" if it was a text based adventure!

You enter a room. It is lit by...
>Throw switch

You fall through a trapdoor. The nearby...
>Throw switch

A zombie looms above you!
>Shoot Zombie

The boss approaches you and says, "hello...
>Throw switch

You win!

PS. Your gravity gun has infinite batteries, but the damn flashlight only lasts for 15 seconds? Come on!

Now playing: Bedlam - Magic Carpet Ride
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Why Portal is Better Than Half-Life

Although both Half-Life 2 and Portal have similar gameplay, (solve puzzles in a 3-D environment), Portal is vastly superior to its larger brother.


1) Half-Life 2 is a liar. It is dressed up as an action FPS, but it is a series of abstract puzzles occasionally interrupted with shooting brain dead soldiers. Portal plainly calls itself a puzzler, and has depth (both puzzle-wise and plot-wise) beyond most puzzle games.

2) Portal has no boat segment.

3) Portal is funny.

4) While HL2's detailed environments are great for setting the mood, they are positively cruel when the game makes you find some ladder or item to solve the current puzzle. Portal's much simpler look makes solving the puzzle a test of brainpower, not "until you find that ladder in that alcove, there's no where you can go."

5) When you're railroaded in Portal, it's expected. It's a series of aptitude tests. It makes sense that there's only one way to go. In HL2, you're in a vast cityscape, and there's still only one way you can go.

It's a wonder Gordon's foes didn't place a waist-high wall across his path somewhere. Without items to make a little ramp, he'd be unable to scale the barrier slightly higher than his pathetic jump height.

Now playing: Beck - Readymade
via FoxyTunes

The Cake is a Lie

As you can tell from my gamercard, I've been playing The Orange Box. Portal is as good as everyone is saying, if you ask me. My TF2 games have been exceedingly laggy for some reason, so I haven't been able to get much of a feeling for it. Half-Life 2 is just as tedious on the console as it is on the PC.

Now playing: The Rolling Stones - Paint It Black
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Orange Box

I've decided to get this product called the Orange Box. I'm not much of a fan of the Half-Life series, but they are packing a bunch into that box.

I wouldn't have decided to buy it if I hadn't purchased Halo 3. After I got it, I eventually got linked to a review of the game. It's by my new favorite game critic: Yahtzee. His english wit is quite entertaining, and I highly recommend listening to all his reviews, even if you're not concerned about the games. Anyway, his review of the oddly named Orange Box convinced me to pick it up.

Now playing: Barry White - Can't Get Enough of Your Love
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


I have a midterm in less than two hours, and a terrible price to pay for it: I can't play video games for that entire period. I suppose blogging is no more helpful, come to think of it.

I'm taking a class on the Ancient World, and it makes the movie 300 seem absolutely absurd. Leonidas won't shut up about the slave-holding Persians, ignoring the fact that Spartans became such a great warrior race so that they could more effectively oppress the slave class of Sparta.

Now playing: "Weird Al" Yankovic - Don't Download This Song
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I was just gonna say...

If you say, "I was just gunna say" before you say something, you sound rather stupid. Also, you're wasting precious time.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

No Halo 3 News

So... I don't have anything to post about Halo 3 any more. I'm still playing it, but I've got nothing new to say about it.

Saw the latest South Park. I've lost any respect for them I once had. I don't like Bono either, but South Park's version of insulting something is just making up characteristics that the person doesn't have. Way to mock someone you made up, Matt and Trey!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Neat Vid

The new "Theater" feature of Halo 3 allows people to look back at previous games and analyze what happened. Thanks to this new technology, someone has recorded what is possibly the trickiest sniper shot I have ever seen.

Now playing: The Beatles - Got To Get You Into My Life
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Reviewing Halo 3

Reviews of Halo 3, in fact, reviews of all games, have a terrible problem: what do you set as the standard? Once you have a standard, how do you compare another game to it?

Unlike movies, which are hard to rate as it is, video games don't have a "standard" length (about two hours, in movies' case). They don't have to have a story to be good. If you ask me, two games could have no elements in common whatsoever and still both could be good games. (Look at Geometry Wars: no story, no fancy graphics, only one mode of gameplay, still excellent.)

The other problem of rating is whether your rating system should be subtractive or additive.

In a subtractive system, you start with a full score, then deduct points for every problem. Bad graphics? Take away a point. Story idiotic? Another point. Some minor glitch? Maybe the game only loses a tenth of a point. Game breaking glitch? Maybe half the points are lost. This approach rewards conservative games that do only what they can do well. In this system, Geometry Wars would be penalized if it introduced a solo campaign with a story, or a multiplayer mode. The story (for example) wouldn't be very good, and that would become a new flaw.

The additive system rewards going for everything you can stuff in there. The GTA series is clearly pursuing this route. Like Tycho mentioned in Penny Arcade, if you just give them a score for each thing in the game, you'll eventually get up to ten. This doesn't mean the game has no flaws, though.

It's hard to get a rating system along either of these lines that doesn't occasionally deceive people. I suspect that most reviewers have a middle path: they give higher scores to big games, then dock points according to the flaws. Personally, I have a much better system than any of these: I see how much Ron Perlman there is in the game.

Halo 3 Review
Ron Perlman plays an Admiral called "Lord Hood". Appears rarely, although you hear his voice every once in a while, and he's in the end credits.

Halo 3: 2.5 / 5 Ron Perlmans

Now playing: Bob Seger - Old Time Rock & Roll
via FoxyTunes

Friday, October 05, 2007

Free Bungie

Bungie has been freed from Microsoft. Good times, everyone. Now we can return to the Myth series, so long ignored by the world.

Come to think of it, they also made Oni. *Shudder* This might not be a lucky break after all...

Now playing: Johnny Cash - The Legend Of John Henry's Hammer
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Whining, Blogger Style

Lately I've been busy, hence the few posts to the ol' blog.

Anyway, I've settled on this template for the site, drop a line if you think strongly about it one way or another.

Now playing: Lulu - The Man With The Golden Gun
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Honeymoon's Over

Turns out Halo 3's online matchmaking was free only for the opening weekend. Too bad. Looks like it's time to get some LANs going.

Now playing: Bob Dylan - When The Night Comes Falling From The Sky
via FoxyTunes