Saturday, October 27, 2007

WTF Moments in Halo 3

So apparently, Bungie is making the infamous Recon Armor permutation available to a few "lucky" individuals outside of the Bungie studios. You see, Halo 3 offers you the ability to uniquely customize your appearance in the game. By changing your helmet, shoulders, and body armor of your space suit, you can hopefully distinguish yourself from the other 50 million Master Chiefs running around online. One such customization is the rare (previously Bungie only) Recon Helmet armor type that displays a flaming particle effect around your skull (which I've heard still persists even when you pick up the invisibility powerup). Naturally, this makes you a bigger target than a fat guy at a comedy club, but I guess exclusivity has its benefits.

So how might you obtain this honor, you say? Well, experience something that's both depressingly unfair to you, and yet hilarious to everyone else on the Internet..

Explosion + Cone = WTF!?!

Sniper Rifle + Real Time Physics = WTF?!?

And here's one more that's worth checking out..

Plasma Grenade + Blind Luck = FTW!

And thus, we finally understand the awe and beauty that is the Saved Film. Never again will you be able to dispute an unfair kill with your friends and/or loved ones. The Saved Film has spoken and it never lies (or so Bungie would have us believe). And although I have yet to experience a WTF moment myself, such as the ones above, you can bet I'll have that replay saved, edited, and posted on YouTube if I ever do.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Guitar Hero III vs Rock Band

Update (10/27): This just in from IGN's latest playtest session.. So as of right now, the Les Paul Guitar Hero 3 controller apparently DOES work on RB. However, on the flip side, the Fender Strat Rock Band guitar DOES NOT work on GH3. My guess is that this was an intentional, lockout move on Activision/Red Octane's part. It makes business sense that they'd allow their controller to work with other games, yet not vice-versa. But underhanded moves like this are rarely accepted by the gaming industry with open arms. I really hope this comes back to bite them in the ass. Karma, karma, karma..

I was gonna write a diplomatic bit about how Guitar Hero III and Rock Band are both equally good, but with the recent news circulating, Guitar Hero III has lost my vote entirely. If you're somewhat confused right now, I'll try to straighten things out for you.

In the beginning, the rock gods known as Harmonix, developed the Guitar Hero games and Red Octane published the ridiculously popular series for them. After making a retarded amount of money from the sequel, Red Octane was acquired by Activision and they went on to create the next Guitar Hero sequel, GHIII. Meanwhile, Harmonix partnered up with MTV and began work on the multi-instrument follow-up game, Rock Band. This month, the stage is set for both of these guitar games to come out, and go head-to-head "Battle of the Bands" style.

Now both games have their strengths and weaknesses. Guitar Hero III is really all about a great guitar experience with a top-notch song set. Rock Band is promising to deliver a much broader experience with the extra inclusion of the drums and microphone. I had thought (actually everyone on the Internets had thought) that either guitar controller would work with either game. But apparently, Activision and Red Octane are keeping the Guitar Hero III peripheral in a more proprietary state. In contrast, Harmonix has stated that they are abiding by the open standards set forth by Sony and Microsoft (you know, for all those other guitar games out there).

In other words, Activision and Red Octane are a bunch of greedy, money grubbing bastards that wanna force people to choose between one game or the other. Fuck you Red Octane. Fuck you Activision. Fuck you Neversoft for letting your publishers force us consumers into that decision. It's bad enough a guitar game costs over $100 now, but to have to buy two separate bundles containing plastic guitar controllers is nothing less than a travesty. A travesty that must be avenged! The bizarre part of this convoluted mess, is that EA, Rock Band's publisher, seems more likely to pull this kind of crap on us. Well, if there's already a Rock Band 2 out nine months from now, you can be sure I'll be back bitching and moaning about the situation again.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Office - Local Ad

Wow, a lot of great moments tonight, but it was the ending really lifted this episode up into the stratosphere for me. I've been waiting all season long for that one act of Michael Scott brilliance, where he manages to redeem himself despite his constant failures. From the moment I heard that Chariots of Fire song, I had a smile on my face and I'm anxious to see that "Great Scott Production" again on YouTube.

I also loved the whole Dwight playing Second Life thing. I totally bought that he would make his character would fly around the world like some creepy Heroes side character. And I'm glad they included Jim's jab at the sorry excuse for an online community. Guess the WoW reference has already been done already. I still like the concept of an office playing Call of Duty as a team-building exercise better though.
Dwight: Second Life is not a game. It is a multi-user, virtual environment. It doesn’t have points or scores, it doesn’t have winners or losers.
Jim: Oh it has losers.
Man, Daryl and crew can really sing one heck of a jingle. You've got Andy rocking the a capella harmony, Kevin adding his wedding singer vocals, Creed lending his musical talents, and Kelly in there for good measure. Almost as good as the teleconferenced serenade of "Take a chance on me" to Angela a few episodes back. As the guys at the That's What She Said podcast say, whatever they're paying Ed Helms, it's not enough.

I had planned on writing more, but really those are the only things that stuck out in my mind from my first viewing. But like other great shows out there (Lost, Simpsons, Futurama), The Office is one that really benefits from repeat viewings. Those subtle, unspoken jokes are ones that make this show one of the best on TV.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Things I've Learned From Kid Nation

Every new season of TV shows begins kind of like a new sports season. You start out with some fresh new blood, and that group slowly whittles down to only the best and brightest. Some shows barely make it through the season and usually find themselves on the chopping blocks come next Spring. Some turn out to be break-out hit sensations that go on to last 10 solid seasons, ending in a "better-late-than-never" sliver screen treatment. Well, rounding out my list of new shows this year that I'm keeping an eye on (along with NBC comedy/drama--or cramedy--Chuck) is the controversial new CBS reality show, Kid Nation.

Now, I know a "Survivor" type show when I see one, and this is definitely not one of them. Sure, it may look like "Survivor with braces", but trust me, there is so much more here than artificially engineered friction among the kid-aged contestants town residents and competitive mini-games physical challenge events. These kids are trying to recreate a better society through their own means and that's no easy task, if you ask me.

So here it is. The list of things I've learned from watching Kid Nation:

- Kids cry. A lot. Judging from the footage, you'd think they're always playing that Bambi's Mom death scene every time they point a camera at these kids. To be fair, I also frequently cried at times when I was younger. But that was because clowns are evil. Also, that Greg guy can be really hurtful sometimes.. Fuck him. That's right, he's on TV now, so I can say whatever I want about him and it's perfectly fine. Like criticizing that YouTube Britney sympathizer chick.

- People who do volunteer work will always do their work more willingly than those that are required to do that type of work. Like when the lower class kids are forced to do their jobs, it feels to them like a bunch of chores to them. But when the upper class team pitches in, they're making a difference for the community. Therefore, if you want to get a bunch of work done, just tell them it's volunteer work for a good cause. That way, they feel good about themselves and you get the job done at little to no cost.

- The kick-ball method of picking teams is the best way to divide people into groups. Like a fantasy-basketball draft ritual, the best people are picked first, leaving the real losers of the bunch to be picked by a random number generator. Oddly enough, these seemingly random divisions usually spawn a healthy amount of rivalry. Which explains why in multiplayer First-Person Shooter games, the people on the red team are usually bitter enemies of the people on the blue team, and vice-versa.

- "Deal with it!" is just about the most effective thing you can shout at people to get things done. In fact, simply yelling out "Quiet!" at the top of your lungs can solve practically any dispute. I think the folks in the Middle East could really learn a thing or two about diplomacy from these brave young souls. Settling their differences, despite the difference in color of their designated teams' neckerchiefs. Just think, someday these kids will be the ones running this country when we're on life support in some hospital. Who am I kidding? Old people run this country, and by that time, it won't matter too much to us who's running what.

- Incentives will only push a person so far, but it's what's in your heart that really determines a person's motivations. Take for example, the $20,000 ($10,000 after taxes) gold star prize that is awarded each episode. Based on the show's current recipients of this honor, it's really more about doing what's right, not about the positive reinforcement that's being shoved down their throats to get them to do shit. It's just like that "Leave Britney Alone" chick, who I hear is getting her own show of some kind. She's doing it because that's what she believes in, no matter how backwards and twisted that may be. Wait a minute.. That's not a chick, that's a dude? No way.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Browser Issues

So apparently, my blog has a slight problem with Internet Explorer.. Try it out (don't hold your breath though). And by "slight", I mean it doesn't fucking work. At least it hasn't worked for me on 3 of the PCs I've tested so far (all using IE 6.0, of course). I'll research the problem, but I just don't get it. It's Blogspot for crying out loud, not some crazy Web 2.0 shit I pieced together from scratch. I don't even know if it's a individual blog post that's violating the whole deal or if it's a template issue, but I guess figuring that out would be a good place to start.

So far, the page seems to load just fine using both Firefox (ver and Opera (ver 9.23). I've yet to try out Safari, but I don't have a Mac so I'm gonna need some help on that one. I know having any type of website (I suposed your Myspace page is a "tyep" of website..) means you should check for browser compatibility, but I guess I just forgot about IE. But it's still the mass market choice out there (more like default choice), so it's still important to cover all your bases.

It's just that IE seems to be the worst offender out there. I can't even go to Google without getting some kind of debug error, which is just sad. It really goes to show how continually adapting an existing system can be a burden over time. Every once in a while, you have to stop iterating on the same old ideas and leap forward to keep up with the changing times. Sure, you'll face security hurdles initially and people may not be willing to quickly adopt the new ways, but change is good, and that extra robustness really pays off in the long run. Especially when your web browser is bombarding you with a million dialog boxes complaining about run time errors.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

RSS Backlog

Well, since we're still without internet at the new apartment (actually there's one computer that I'm using to "borrow" wifi from a very generous neighbor.. thanks, btw, whoever you are). But yeah, for the most part, it's been hard to keep up with my podcasts and various RSS feeds. I don't know why, but if I fall behind in checking my email or if the articles in my RSS feed reader start piling up, I can't just let them be. It really bothers me to leave them unread. But things are getting so bad that I may need to do the unthinkable.. "Select all and mark as read" (a travesty, I know). The last time I had to do this was when I went on vacation, and believe me when I tell you it was a difficult few mouse clicks.

Usually I can get by with just listening to my weekly list of podcasts (since they usually do a good job of covering the major stuff), but it still bugs me--maybe I do have a problem. The news tid bits are like my marijuana and Google Reader is like my bong. Each time a feed is updated, it's like taking another tiny hit of digital bliss (no hits for Jesus?). Just like a smoker trying to quit, I think I should maybe try to cut back, trimming my RSS feeds down to only the utterly necessary. If only there was a way to filter out the good stuff, saving my eyes the trouble of sifting through a never ending scroll page, but sadly, that alien technology is still very far off. For now, the best way to stay updated is to cram in as many feeds as possible and click, click, click.

How's Your iPhone?

So I just heard about the bricking iPhone fiasco on TWIT this past week. To those of you who fought the good fight against AT&T, I'm sorry for your loss. But good news, I heard there might be a class action lawsuit in the works. I wonder if this is coming as a result of pressure from Apple's business partners. Certainly, Apple knows they're not winning many popularity votes with this kind of recent behavior.

Let's just hope they make good on this in the near future. I suppose the true Apple loyalists out there have already made the telco switch. For everyone else.. Be careful what you put in your iPhone, or risk turning it into a $599 $399 paperweight. But sexy paperweight nonetheless!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Weeky Radar - Week of Oct 1st, 2007

This Week in Gaming
10/1 The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (DS)
10/2 NBA 2K8 (PS2/PS3/PSP/Xbo360/Wii)
10/2 Project Gotham Racing 4 (Xbox360)
10/2 Enemy Territory: Quake Wars (PC)

This Week in Movies
10/5 The Heartbreak Kid (Ben Stiller)

This Week in TV (All times in PST)
10/1 Chuck - Chuck Versus the Helicopter (NBC 8pm)
10/1 Heroes - Lizards (NBC 9pm)
10/3 Bionic Woman - Paradise Lost (NBC 9pm)
10/4 My Name is Earl - The Gangs of Camden County (NBC 8pm)
10/4 #8 Kentucky at #11 South Carolina (ESPN 4:30pm)
10/4 Grey's Anatomy - Love/Addiction (ABC 9pm)
10/4 The Office - Dunder Mufflin Infinity (NBC 9pm)
10/6 #1 LSU at #9 Florida (CBS 5pm)
10/6 Notre Dame at UCLA (ABC 5pm)
10/6 Stanford at #2 USC (TBD 4pm)
10/7 Family Guy - Believe It or Not, Joe's Walking on Air (FOX 9pm)