Comprehensive Games List

September 20, 2007 by

Here is a list of games I creaeted to track their release dates and critical score.

 http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=p88EANEhiLZqx-KMfn0HgFA&gid=3

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Re: Cleveland, the Cursed City

July 31, 2006 by

Just last week, when Bentley was putting on his Browns jersey to shoot a McDonald’s commercial that was scheduled to air this fall, he had to stop for a full minute and turn away from the crew because his eyes were tearing up at the thought of playing for Cleveland.”

As further evidence of the Cleveland curse I submit this to you:  We sign a local boy/ Ohio State product and probably the best center in the NFL in one LeCharles Bentley to a 6 year 36 million dollar contract (give or take a few million).  Easily our biggest free agent acquisition in years.  So of course what is the first thing that happens?  Training camp opens up and on the first play of the first practice with contact… BAM!! torn PCL, out for season.

Back to the drawing board…

How long until Lebron laces it up again?

Civilization IV

July 10, 2006 by

 civ4.jpgciv42.jpgciv41.jpg

What are we going to do today?

The same thing we do everyday, try to take over the world.

Civilization satisfies the megalomaniac dictator in us all, bringing us the satisfaction of guiding a group of people from the dawn of man to the near future.  Take the helm of the Roman Empire as Julius Caesar or America as George Washington (though it is a little weird having America start in 4000 BC).

Civ is a turn based strategy game.  Meaning that you take a turn, build units, buildings, attack, and such. Then the computer takes a turn.  You allocate money to research and culture (with the proper tech) as well as expenses of maintaining cities and buildings and your standing army.  You can build worker units that can improve the tiles around your city by building farms, cottages, roads, and the like.  It can be a little complicated, though not nearly as much as its predecessor Civ 3 (which had much more micro managing).

I like this version of Civ quite a bit, the interface and rules are much simpler.  There is no pollution that causes junk to show up on tiles like in previous games, cities get a health stat and a unhealthy stat if the unhealthy is greater than the healthy then the city is smelly and people will get pissed.  There are no riots anymore, pissed people just don’t work.  As in Civ 3 each city gets a cultural boarder which tells you which land you control, as your cities grow in culture, their boundaries expand.

There are several ways to win the game its not just all war all the time (though you need some standing army or the ai will attack and overrun you).  Diplomatic is super gay, so I’ll just skip that.  You can build the spaceship like in previous games, first one to blast off to Alpha Centauri wins!  There is the cultural victory where you get three cities to legendary (i.e. an ass load of) culture.  Then there are the two war victories, domination (60% of the land mass is under your cultural boarders) and conquest (you eliminate all other Civs, this is possible because you can choose to destroy a conquered city rather than keeping it).  You can also win by default when time expires (apparently the world will end in 2050). 

I thought the AI was good not great, it still has to cheat to win and does a lot of really dumb things.  The diplomacy is much better as you can actually see why they are pissed at you.  There is a new feature of having religion (no religion is better than any other) which can add a cool dimension to international relations (i.e. kill the infidels).

Some advice if you are playing: Try to learn the hotkeys and shortcuts, it will save you boat loads of time.  Don’t automate the workers, they build too many farms and not enough cottages.  You can automate them later in the game but make sure you have the option to not replace existing improvements.  Don’t expand to quickly, if you build/conquer too many cities too fast you will have too much maintenance cost and your economy will drag thus bringing down your research and other things (wait until you can build court houses and other economic buildings before expanding too much).

Overall, this is a high quality game, simple and elegant.  An epic boardgame in the way that the original Civ was intended.  It is simply one of the best turn based strategy games ever made.  There is something about having your tanks roll over the pitiful musketmen or knights that is extremely satisfying.    I would recommend this game to Civ vets and newbies alike.  It is hopelessly addicting and leaves you wanting just one more turn…

 Civilization 4

rating: 9/10

Samurai Champloo

June 5, 2006 by

 ChamplooChamploo

Some days, some nights

Some live, some die

In the way of the samurai

Samurai Champloo is a great show.  It is artistic in its presentation, has great characters, and is well written.  Yet I find it lacking.  This is one of those shows where you recognize that it is great but are disappointed that it isn't a masterpiece.

Samurai Champloo was created by the same man who created Cowboy Bebop (probably my favorite anime of all time) Shinichiro Watanabe.  It is the story of three people who through an act of serendipity, end up traveling together.  Even when they try to separate they end up back together again.  It is a story about a journey, about how you can't out run your past, and in the end you find redemption.  The main characters are Fuu, a young girl seeking the mysterious sunflower samurai, Mugen, a brash rebellious guy with a unique fighting style, and Jin, a quite introspective samurai.

Like Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo is a mixing of themes.  Cowboy Bebop was a mixing of a sci-fi western with jazz music, Samurai Champloo is a mix of hip-hop and samurai.  It is not a period piece and is at times very unfactual, for example in one episode Americans show up and play baseball with the characters (this show is supposed to be set well before baseball was invented).  The mix of genres works extremely well and adds a degree of artistic flavor to the show.  Symbolism runs rampant throughout the series, with Mugen and Jin representing yin and yang, sunflowers everywhere, crows for death, and other visual metaphors.

Despite the great artistic value it has, for some reason Samurai Champloo just doesn't measure up.  Some of its problem may be its ties to Cowboy Bebop, it almost feels like Watanabe is trying to forcibly recreate the magic he had with that series and admittedly it does work to some extent.  Many people complain about the episodic nature of the show, that there is not enough continuity between episodes.  For some reason the episodic style worked better for Cowboy Bebop, probably because it was sci-fi it felt more reasonable that random things happened.  Plus with them being bounty hunters it was easy to make each episode a new bounty.  In Samurai Champloo the fact that they are on a journey would probably lend itself better to a more continuous feeling episode structure.

Even though it didn't live up to its predecessor, Samurai Champloo is worth watching just for the interesting characters and the awesome fight scenes.  I hope Watanabe will learn from this and make his next work that much better.  Check it out if you get a chance, it would be a pretty good series for someone new to the anime genre or a savvy anime vet.  It does air on Adult Swim with very good voice acting.

Name: Samurai Champloo

Number of episodes: 26

Rating: 7/10

Blogs Away

May 30, 2006 by

My submissions will tell you about things that suck and things that don't suck. My opinion should be your opinion; if you are not convinced by my articles then by sound logic you must be illiterate. It is fitting that I begin by expressing my disdain for blog people (not "bloggers", since the term "blogger" gives credence to these losers who should be shunned like lepers). Yes, I realize that this is technically a blog site, but I am not a hypocrite. Allow me to explain. Blogs are primarily online diaries about boring people. I wouldn't be pretentious enough to assume that anyone wants to read about my boring life, and neither should you. If you have a blog about yourself follow these simple steps:

1. Step away from your keyboard.
2. Sever your internet connection-permanently.
3. Quit being a conceited prick.

Your life is boring. Only few people would be worthy of having true blogs. People that matter. Not you. Emporers, badass martial artists, and leprechauns could have justified blogs because people might want to read about that. Notice I didn't say celebrities. People who want to read about celebrities should sterilize themselves and do the world a favor. I'll probably do an entire article on these low-life bastards at some point because I really hate them. Anyway, blogs are also a good way to get your foot caught in your mouth. It seems like everyday someone gets in trouble for putting content online that should be private. Stupid people. I'm not embarassed about my articles and never will be. Besides if anyone ever gets upset about them, I will summon my strong, gigantic friend and have him crush you. I'm smart enough to realize that I can't take on every crazy douchebag, so I mastered summoning to have the dirty work done for me. One last thing, lest you think I care about whether or not people read this site, you are wrong. If millions of people read it and get a laugh, good. If no one ever visits the site, fine. I won't cry myself to sleep over it, especially since I have other things to cry about, like people who write blogs.

Yakitate!! Japan

May 30, 2006 by

YakitateYakitate1Yakitate2

Considering I have watched about 30 episodes of this anime in two days I probably should write something about this show. 

Yakitate is about a 16 year old boy (aren't they all about young boys with super powers, makes you wonder) named Azuma Kazuma.  When Azuma was about 6 he met a baker who taught him about bread and shared with young Azuma a vision.  A vision of Ja-pan (this is show is full of puns, in Japanese pan means bread), a bread that everyone could identify as Japanese just like they do with French Bread, German Bread, and Italian Bread.  Of course, Azuma isn't just any old small boy with a bread fetish.  He is blessed with the legendary "Solar Hands" which apparently means that his hands are extra warm.  The show claims that this lets him make better bread because it can ferment while he is kneading it rather than letting it sit.

Aside from the Solar Hands, Azuma is also a bread making idiot savant.  He has a sixth sense when it comes to making bread, and knows just what to do with out any formal training.  In fact, because he has no formal training he is apparently better than those that are constricted by "common sense".

So that's the basic premise, young boy has special gift for making bread.  He is given a vision of creating a unique bread for Japan and to do so must apparently battle with other awesome bread makers.  And the manager of his store is a Shaft type character complete with afro and butt-kicking abilities.

The intention of this show is to be a parody on the shonen genre (anime for boys, like Dragonball, Inuyasha, or Kenshin).  As such it is pretty good, it pokes fun at shonen for being melodramatic about mundane tasks.  It is funny with clever characters and inventive plots.  Like I said before it is full of puns, some of which are hard to follow because it is in Japanese.  The reactions that people have to eating the bread is usually the best part.  For example, crab bread made people think they were crabs, French bread made them think they were in France and so on.  There are a lot of episodes, but seeing about half of them I think I can say that this anime is probably a 7/10.  Its worth seeing if you are into anime, but not an anime I would recommend to someone who is not.

Name: Yakitate!! Japan

Number of Episodes: 69

Rating: 8/10

 Edit: I have now seen 67 of the 69 episodes of this series.  It got a lot better as it went along and hit its stride with the Monaco Cup Arc (episodes 27 to 52).   

Cleveland, the cursed city

May 24, 2006 by

Witness

I am still a witness.

I fully admit I have a man crush on LeBron James. I cannot begin to adequately convey the greatness that is King James, the words just simply aren't there.  He may end up being the greatest basketball player in perpetuity throughout the Universe.  The fact that he is only 21 and may get even better may cause reality to breakdown.  During the Cavs run through the NBA playoffs the TV listed his role as 'savior'.  Unless, you are from Cleveland you don't know how true this is.  Our city has been waiting for this man, for the Chosen One King James to rise up and take it to the promised land.  Ours is a sad story, full of tragedy and betrayal, and the hope that one day our sports messiah would arrive and save us.  This is our story…

Cleveland is not a bad place, well it was at one point.  Sure, it snows non-stop and we tend to forget that there is a daystar when the sky is continually overcast.  But the people are honest and hardworking and the downtown area has come along way with Tower City, playhouse square, new stadiums for the Browns, Indians, and Cavs, the Science Center, and the Rock Hall of Fame.  This is a city steeped in sports history, nestled in the cradle of the founding of the three major sports.  But now there is a sense of foreboding doom in the city, especially when it comes to sports.

Cleveland's last major sports championship was 1964, easily the longest such drought of any city with at least 3 of the major sports (and by major sport I mean football, baseball, basketball, and maybe hockey).  But it isn't like our teams have been bad, oh no, that might have been tolerable.  We could have ignored them and just not cared.  No, we have had our hearts broken by the unrelenting bitch that is 2nd place.  Countless times have we been built up, only to have our hearts impaled by a recockulous play or poor performance. 

 Twice the Indians have been to the world series in this time period.  The first they were fairly easily beaten by the Braves.  But the second time we let a new franchise, the Florida Marlins, beat us in 7 games.  A 2-1 lead in the bottom of the 9th with two outs…

But this was nothing new to us.  We'd been down this road before.  There are the names, the Drive, the Fumble, Red Right 88 described how the Browns snatched defeat from the jaws of victory so many times during the 80's.  Then in 1995 an evil vile man named Art Modell made secret plans and moved the team to Baltimore.  This is well documented and too agonizing to get into.  Suffice it to say the people of Cleveland revolted and took back their team name, colors, and history and were promised a new franchise.  What they got was a poorly conceived, unprepared team that is only now turning the corner (maybe).

Then there is the Cavs.  There was the supposed miracle of Richfield, where the Cavs beat the Washington Bullets with a number of last second shots and advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals.  Then there was the brief stint in the late 80's early 90's where they were a pretty good team but ran into the Michael Jordan factor.  Since then they have been terrible and most people forgot their existence.

 Which brings us back to LeBron.  Is it possible that all this bad karma we had received were to be balanced by giving him to us?  Cleveland fans every where rejoiced as if we had won the NBA championship when we won the lottery to draft him.  At every step he has exceeded the enormous hype that surrounded him.  He has put the Cavs back in the hearts and minds of the city of Cleveland.  He has brought hope to a city of despair.  But he could just as easily crush us by leaving for somewhere else.

 This past Cavs season was magical.  The achieved 50 wins (a significant milestone), won a playoff series, and almost knocked off the favorite to win it all the Detroit Pistons.  People are starting to believe again.  Maybe this time we can do it, maybe this time will be different.  Now we have the Michael Jordan factor.  Now is the time when all the stars align and Cleveland will be on top of the sports world.

LeBron has a chance to re-up his contract in July.  If he doesn't that dark cloud hanging over Cleveland won’t be overcast.  But I still believe.

 And I am still a witness.

 Edit:  Since I can't say it any better I would recommend reading this… http://freedarko.blogspot.com/ just look for any of the commentary on LeBron.

And if you want to see how much LeBron means to Cleveland check this out, its hi-larious.

http://mistakesports.blogspot.com/2005_12_01_mistakesports_archive.html

Point-Counterpoint

May 24, 2006 by

Point: All the bureaucracy is starting to piss me off.

By: John Q Public         

Man I am tired of all the red tape in the world today.  If I want to get anything done it takes 5 times as long and takes so much more work.  It is just so unnecessary.  I am amazed that anything ever gets done in this country anymore.  My job has become all paperwork without substance.  I am bogged down at home with tax paperwork and bills.  I can’t stand it anymore.

Counter-Point: Please fill out form 5743A in triplicate and wait 6 to 8 weeks

By: Bureaucrat #47214923         

If you want a statement from my office regarding this subject please visit public affairs and fill out form 4253, then go to the executive office and get the signatures of not less than 3 of the 5 offices there.  Then acquire the… (edited for length)… then fill out form 5743A and I can have my response to you in 6 to 8 weeks.

 

Console Wars Part I

May 24, 2006 by

Console WarsOK, E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) just got finished about a week and a half ago.  I have since been glued to sites such as GameSpot, GameSpy, and IGN.  The reason? Console Wars.  The seventh generation of video game consoles is shaping up to be a heated battle between current market leader Sony, relative newcomer Microsoft, and the old veteran Nintendo.  Apparently, the old dog has some life in it yet, as Nintendo was the clear consensus victor of the E3 2006 battle.  I will endeavor to break down the war as it stands right now.

Sony and Microsoft, with the PS3 and Xbox360 respectively have taken the show "Pimp my Ride" to heart, especially Sony.  These two systems are loaded with super powered processors (IBM is the clear winner here being the maker of both chips) that are more powerful than many PC's on the market.  When you compare the systems they are pretty much the same, with PS3 being just a little more powerful in every category.  I don't know whether that will add up to much, but there it is.  The problem?  Sony has priced the PS3 at $499 for the toned down version and $599 for the better one.  And since getting the $499 one means 40GB less hard drive space plus no wireless internet connection and no HMDI output that pretty much means $599 if you want to get the most out of the PS3 (especially since it may become necessary to have HMDI in order to view Blu-Ray movies at their best).  Sony is trying to pull an electronics coup by including Blu-Ray drives in their system.  Since Sony owns Blu-Ray, if it takes off as the next storage medium Sony will make an incomprehensible amount of money and will probably take over the world.  By force feeding us Blu-Ray Sony can guarantee that a large number of Blu-Ray players are out there.  I don't know how many it would take to be successful, but I am guessing if even half of the number of PS3's get sold as PS2's were then they would be in great shape.  Maybe it would take even less.  (As an aside it would appear at this moment that Blu-Ray is the favorite to win the storage wars, but that is another article).

I actually like Microsoft's approach, they have made a console that is a little less powerful, got it out to the market a year before the competition and did not make the price too high.  Now, the reason they have a lower price is because they do not have an HD-DVD drive included in the system like PS3 does with Blu-Ray.  I expect that when the peripheral drive comes out later this year it will push the price of buying a 360 and the drive to close to what the PS3 is.  They were wise to give the consumers a choice in the matter though, and I think it will pay off dividends for them in the long run.  They will definitely pick up more of the market this time around, the question is how much.

Ultimately, this war will be decided by the games, who has what exclusive killer app for their system, which series will defect and join the other side.  We have already seen some signs of this.  One of the biggest announcements at E3 was that GTA4 would be released on both PS3 and 360 simultaneously.  While San Andreas, the latest game of the series was released for both PS2 and Xbox, PS2 received months in advance.  I don't know how big of a deal this is actually going to be.  The analysts seemed to think it was a big blow to Sony.  Apparently they think that a bunch of people would go buy PS3 just to get GTA4 a couple months ahead of time. I'm not sure I buy into that thinking, but we'll see.  At first I thought that 360 had a better line up of games at E3, but I am not so sure now.  It turns out that Bioshock, the consensus best game of the show and spiritual secret to the classic System Shock 2, is not exclusive to 360 and PC as I had thought, but will in fact be on PS3 as well.  Gears of War (360) is impressive, but I don't think any more so than Assassin's Creed (PS3).  Obviously, 360 will have more a lot more games than PS3 when it comes out, but that is to be expected considering the head start it got.  So here we have Gears of War, Halo 3, ES4: Oblivion, and some other not so big titles vs. Metal Gear Solid 4, FF13, Assassin's Creed, and some others.  I think I'll call that a wash for now.

In the next installment, I'll look at the Wii and then tell you what I'm planning to do for my next gen console.

Yeah team lift blog.

May 23, 2006 by

Now begins the best blog ever.  Reviews, rants, discussion, chaos.  Annnnndddd go.