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Miscellany [Uncat]
Mar 19th, 2009 by Dan

Too many different things to talk about!

Cuba’s been eliminated from the WBC by Japan! It kind of bums me out. They’ll play a final seeding match against Korea to decide who plays Team USA and who plays Venezuela.

Lost was great last night. Tune in to see Sawyer absolutely ream Jack at the end of the episode. The reveal of young Ben was kind of obvious, but the best Ben-related moment was the super-startling thump on the head that Sun gave the bug-eyed freak mid-sentence with Lapidus.

I might talk about some RE5 DLC on Saturday, it seems that there’s controversy about the announcement of multiplayer that’s basically in the game, but would cost $5 to unlock. At least it’s better than talking about racism!

I leave you, my loyal readers, with a fun little Domo picture I like to call Xerox Domo:

Xerox Domo

We’re Going To Round 3! [Wednesday Morning Quarterback]
Mar 18th, 2009 by Dan

You’ve probably heard the saying that hindsight is 20/20 on Monday morning, so just imagine how well I can call ’em two days later on Wednesday. That’s right, it’s time for Wednesday Morning Quarterback, your weekly sports round-up.

Tensions were running high last night as Puerto Rico was up on Team USA 5-3 at the bottom of the 9th. Team USA kept their cool and played like a team, advancing runners with steals and sacrifice flies. Team PR withered and started walking US bats, loading the bases and bringing the score up to 5-4 with disasterous cosnequences. David Wright stepped up and hit a fly ball that was not caught, allowing Team USA to plate two and win.

This evening will be the final elimination game for either Japan or Cuba. Winner will go on to play South Korea. I’m not sure who I want to win this one, both teams are really great, but Japan going to the finals allows for a more dramatic win in the finals when they lose. Cuba winning allows a fantastic, relatively unknown squad to prove their mettle. Tune in tonight at 2300 EST to see the outcome or just wait until tomorrow morning.

The Chronicles of the Traveling Domo [Photographic Memory]
Mar 17th, 2009 by Dan

So it’s shameless self-promotion of the highest degree, but I’m really enjoying this photo project I’m working on. For now it’s been a picture a day on my iPhone of Domo-kun in various situations, but the general idea would be for me to take pictures of Domo in various places I visit. For example, had I started the project when I was in South Beach last week, I would have taken a picture of him at the beach. Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the set so far.

Domo Fighter

Shotgun Domo

Outcast Domo

Goomba Domo

Best Buy Domo

Iron Chef Domo

Fire From My Hands [Embedded Reporter]
Mar 16th, 2009 by Dan

Deep from the trenches, it’s time for your Monday video feature: Embedded Reporter.

Ever wonder what Street Fighter IV sounded like before they got the localization down pat? Here’s your answer:

Regigigas, I choose you! [Big N]
Mar 14th, 2009 by Dan

Went to the nearest Toys “R” Us today to finally get my hands on the Regigigas that I mentioned in an earlier blog post. The process was quick and easy and I was only slightly embarrassed to complete it. Probably the funniest part of it was that, since I had two copies of the game, I received double the reward pictured below:

iphone 049

That’s right, I got TWO Pokemon movie posters, TWO Regigigas and his assorted buddies sticker sheets, and TWO $5 coupons for Pokemon games at Toys “R” Us. Too bad I already pre-ordered Platinum at Amazon.com.

For those of you wondering about my Regigigas’ stats, here’s the breakdown:

lvl 100

Ability: Slow Start

Moveset:
Iron Head
Rock Slide
Icy Wind
Crush Grip

iphone 050

The Villains of Final Fantasy Week 10-2 [Game Overview]
Mar 13th, 2009 by Dan

Insert another credit, because it’s time for your weekly video game news and you’ve just hit the Game Overview screen.

With every Final Fantasy game there exists great (and not so great) teams of heroes bent on saving the world from some sort of evil force. While we could take a look at those heroes, let’s instead take a look at the evils that motivate these heroes to do what they do.

It should be noted that this feature will be full of spoilers.

Week 1 – Garland
Week 2 – Emperor Mateus of Palamecia
Week 3 – The Cloud of Darkness
Week 4 – Zeromus
Week 5 – Exdeath
Week 6 – Kefka
Week 7 – Sephiroth
Week 8 – Ultimecia
Week 9 – Necron
Week 10 – Yu Yevon/Jecht/Sin

Last game was the first to bring voice acting to the series, but it also had another important distinction: the first direct sequel. Love it or hate it, the J-Pop fueled, girl power infused Final Fantasy X-2 will always be an important milestone in Final Fantasy history. In fact, one could claim that its success directly led to the Japanese sequel to Final Fantasy IV, creatively titled Final Fantasy IV the After: Tsuki no Kikan and other story continuing side games for Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy XII.

Unfortunately for gamers, FF X-2 was a strange take on Final Fantasy X, with a mission structure and an all-girl cast that just oozed fan service, especially when changing “dress spheres.” It also featured many directly recycled assets from Final Fantasy X, making the game seem like a tired retread of ground already coverred. However, the lame sounding, but fun dress sphere system along with a new Active Time Battle system made for a game that was fun to play, at the very least.

The events of X-2 are set in motion by a sphere containing video that just might be of Tidus. Yuna can’t let this go, so the game’s main questline begins. It turns out that this video is not Tidus, but a dude from the past by the name of Shuyin who Tidus was based on in that whole confusing Zanarkand dream world created by the Fayth. Shuyin had a bit of a problem, he was dating a girl who was a summoner, which wouldn’t be all that bad if his country wasn’t at war and she wasn’t called to the front lines. It gets even worse when she gets captured as a POW and he’s gotta figure out something to do to save her.

Shuyin’s brilliant idea, the Vegnagun, the even more brilliant weapon of the opposing forces designed, for some ingenious reason, to attack indiscriminately, killing friend and foe alike. Turns out this weapon has an even more intelligent weapon attached to it as well, one capable of destorying the entire world. His girlfriend, Lenne, convinces him not to destroy the world and they both get shot.

We get to the present and Shuyin’s possessed some modern dude and he’s trying to destroy Spira with the Vegnagun cause he’s sad. That’s pretty much it.

Evil Rating:

Emo != Evil. Never managed to kill anyone, but rather to get himself and his girlfriend killed.

1/10

Cool Rating:

He looks just like Tidus (-5). He plays Blitzball (-2). He got his girlfriend killed (-3). I can’t go negative (-0)

0/10

Images and Video:

shuyin_artwork

shuyin_and_lenne

Video Game Music [Game Overview]
Mar 12th, 2009 by Dan

Inspired by a Rebel FM podcast, I found myself seeking video game remixes and music again, starting with my absolute favorite track from the Mega Man 2 soundtrack, Flash Man. Having seen a video on Youtube before, I started my search with The Minibosses.

The Minibosses

Ever wonder what your game themes would sound like played by a rock band with real electric guitars instead of synthy squeals? The Minibosses are for you. Their catalog is not large, with only two CDs available right now, but the benefit of their music is that you can get most of it free at their website. I’ve yet to listen to their full CD, but let me be the first to say that their Mega Man 2 medley is fantastic.

Wikipedia provided me with more links from there, one of which pointed me in the direction of a site I’d already been to, OverClocked ReMix.

OverClocked ReMix

I’d been to OCR once before seeking the soundtrack to Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, a project the were commissioned for not long ago that they provide for free on their website. What I discovered was a varied catalog of game music remixes that I wasn’t quite ready to download yet. I’ve since downloaded the rest of their 12 albums and the large torrents of miscellaneous songs, but it will be a while before I’m able to say anything definitive about those. I can say that their Street Fighter album is fantastically done.

Albums:

Relics of the Chozo – Super Metroid – 2003
Kong in Concert – Donkey Kong Country – 2004
Hedgehog Heaven – Sonic the Hedgehog 2 – 2005
Rise of the Star – Kirby’s Adventure – 2005
The Dark Side of Phobos – Doom – 2005
Chrono Symphonic – Chrono Trigger – 2006
Blood on the Asphalt – Super Street Fighter II Turbo – 2006 (Inspiration for the HD Remix album)
Project Chaos – Sonic 3 & Knuckles – 2006
Voices of the Lifestream – Final Fantasy VII – 2007
Thieves of Fate – Radical Dreamers – 2008
Delta-Q-Delta – Doom II: Hell on Earth – 2008
OC ReMix: Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix Official Soundtrack – Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix – 2008
Summoning of Spirits – Tales series – 2009

The Rebel FM podcast and wikipedia also led me to The Megas

The Megas

What if the old Mega Man 2 songs had lyrics and a story weaved in? That’s precisely the ground that The Megas tries to cover. I’ve only heard part of their rendition of Flash Man, but I think the premise is promising and I will try to listen to more.

Which leads me to my final Wiki discovery, The OneUps

The OneUps

There are lots of metal and rock video game music bands out there, but what do you do if you’re not a fan of metal or rock? That’s where The OneUps come in. With two albums jam-packed with jazz covers of video game music, I’m sure that you’ll find a really interesting and cool arrangement of a song you’ve heard many a time before. Standouts for me include Terra from Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger from…Chrono Trigger. Check them out if you get the chance.

That’s all I’ve got for now, but if I run into more cool stuff, I’ll be sure to let you guys know.

World Baseball Classic [Wednesday Morning Quarterback]
Mar 11th, 2009 by Dan

You’ve probably heard the saying that hindsight is 20/20 on Monday morning, so just imagine how well I can call ’em two days later on Wednesday. That’s right, it’s time for Wednesday Morning Quarterback, your weekly sports round-up.

Spring approaches; the season of life, new beginnings, flowers, and, most importantly, baseball! After three years the World Baseball Classic returns to centerstage to attempt to create an event as important to the world as the World Cup. This year’s tournament does not disappoint so far.

Pool A

Strangely, the only pool to complete its games, the Asian Pool A finds itself already decided by today. Last Classic champion Japan and Olympic champion Korea make up the finalists progressing to Round 2 with China and Chinese Taipei falling to the wayside in blowouts. Meanwhile, Japan and Korea split their series, but Japan’s run differential of 14-2 gave them higher seeding in Round 2.

Pool B

A strangely composed pool, B consists of Cuba, Australia, Mexico, and South Africa. Who even knew that Australia and South Africa played baseball? The only dominant force so far is the Cuban team, which placed a dark horse second in the last WBC and has yet to lose either of their games so far. Their final opponent of the pool will be either Mexico or Australia, depending on who wins. Cuba edged a win over Australia already, 5-4, but Mexico’s chances look grim since Australia smashed them 17-7 in Game 2 of the pool.

Pool C

The most important pool’s final game will be played tonight at 1830 as a rematch of sorts between Venezuela and the USA. The last game was won by a margin of 8 in Team USA’s favor, so let’s hope America keeps the dream alive of redeeming themselves after last year’s embarrassing loss to Canada. I wouldn’t quite call them the Redeem Team just yet, but let’s hope they at least make it to the finals.

Pool D

The last pool’s seeding will be decided today strangely between Puerto Rico (not strange yet) and the Netherlands. Puerto Rico makes sense and everyone can accept that, but the Netherlands? Fueled by two bizzarely close victories over the Dominican Republic, the Dutch just can’t be ruled out as contenders. No one could have guessed that this bracket would have turned out this way.

Excitement awaits us all when Round 2 starts this Sunday!

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? [Filmmakers Bleed]
Mar 10th, 2009 by Dan

Like tons of other nerds, I went and saw the Watchmen movie last weekend. It’s a divisive movie, that’s for sure, with half of the internet loving it and half of it hating it. What’s really important though is what I think of it.

SPOILERS

I’m gonna say right off the bat that I enjoyed it and felt it was about as faithful a comic book adaptation as there could have been with a few rare changes that they made, both to the movies detriment and its enhancement. Seriously, if you didn’t turn back at the last spoiler tag, it’s gonna get worse from here on out. Don’t read if you don’t want the entire movie/book spoiled for you. The most prominent of these changes involves Ozymandias’ plot to unite the world. Instead of a giant alien squid killing millions in New York, we have staged attacks in every major world city made to look like Dr. Manhattan did it as a nuclear deterrent. While some feel that the giant squid would have looked ridiculous and detracted from the movie, my friend Lee pointed out, and I agree, that an action by Dr. Manhattan would be viewed as the actions of an American, even though he exiled himself from the planet just prior to the explosions. I’m sure they would have moved past it, but not without some considerable difficulty, since the US would have to account for what it did.

The other big change that I didn’t agree with was the, possibly unintentional, trivializing of the revelation that the Comedian was the father of the Silk Spectre. By removing more of her back story from the movie, Snyder either intentionally or unintentionally made her just a sex symbol in the movie, also a side effect of several sex scenes that were just a wee bit too long and stylized to be as understated as the ones in the book.

Not that strict adherence to the book would have unequivocally improved some of the issues. There were definitely lines in the movie that just fell flat in their delivery just cause of the different medium. Comic prose is not film and the Snyder style in the movie doesn’t allow some of the serious lines to come off as lame or trying too hard. The action scenes are over-emphasized and, as mentioned, the sex scenes go on for too long. Still, there are many bright lights in this movie:

Jeffrey Dean Morgan is amazing as The Comedian. There could not have been a more brilliant portrayal of the damaged, nihilistic, and barbaric hero. He steals almost every scene he’s in, just like the actual Comedian in the book. Also greatly cast were Nite Owl and Rorschach, both looked like they should and acted precisely like they should. Dr. Manhattan’s blue penis made plenty of great appearances as did Silk Spectre II’s rack.

Also amazing and worth noting, the opening montage during the credits.

The movie was definitely hurt by the removal of the meta-fiction materials. In fact, the general shortening of it makes me wonder if the uninitiated are able to grasp all of the nuances that are present in the book. What I don’t know is if the director’s cut that will try to include more of that will be too crowded and long. At two hours, forty-three minutes, the movie definitely is a marathon session to watch. I’ll reserve judgment on that until I get my hands on the blu-ray.

Should you watch it? Experiencing one of the most incredible stories in recent literary history is something everyone should do. See it, read it if your interest is piqued, even if you think you’re unsure about whether or not it’s worth reading. I absolutely love this book and you should still experience it in some form. Alan Moore’s work is just too good.

Left 4 Dead Tips? [Embedded Reporter]
Mar 9th, 2009 by Dan

Deep from the trenches, it’s time for your Monday video feature: Embedded Reporter.

I have no idea why I didn’t post this as last Monday’s ER, but this was definitely my video of February. Enjoy the deep “strategic” insights of Ash Burch:

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