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2010 Winter Olympics [Wednesday Morning Quarterback]
Feb 17th, 2010 by Dan

USA! USA! USA!

The 2010 Winter Olympics are upon us, which means almost nothing to a great portion of the US population, but gets me all riled up about Team USA and Olympic gold. I’m not super big on the vast majority of the sports that are part of either Olympic games, but I am pumped for ice hockey and seeing the US win, so I’m excited anyway.

We kicked off our 2010 Olympic ice hockey campaign this afternoon with a 3-1 victory over Switzerland in what seems like a fairly easy win. Our next opponent is Norway on the 18th followed by Canada on the 21st. I have no idea how good Norway is, but I know we’ve got to look out for Canada. A loss here doesn’t mean too much (unless we lose twice), but Canada will definitely be there to dog us once pool play ends.

In other Olympic news, Canada finally went and earned themselves a gold medal in a self-hosted Olympic games, which is kind of a bummer. I’m a fan of any losing streak and I was seriously pulling for the streak to continue.

Sorry I don’t have all that much to say about the Olympics, but I haven’t seen all that much. I know that we got rocked by Team China in pairs figure skating (and that annoyed me to no end), but I haven’t been keeping tabs too well since then. As of right now we’re not even first in medal count (Germany is ahead with France trailing by one), but I know we’ll turn things around and get ourselves back on top.

Behind [Uncat]
Feb 16th, 2010 by Dan

3.14159 is all I know off the top of my head.

Blame Joker. It's totally not my fault.

I’m a little behind on my Mass Effect 2 review thanks to travel and having to finish that second playthrough. It’ll be up later tonight or Thursday and I might have something for WMQ tomorrow.

New The Oneups Album [Embedded Reporter]
Feb 15th, 2010 by Dan

Video blog update about The Oneups new Super Mario Kart album coming out soon. I love these guys.

Civ IV Update [Game Overview]
Feb 12th, 2010 by Dan

Contrary to what might be expected, I actually don’t pay much attention to news when I’m stuck in the house all week thanks to a snowstorm so this week’s update will just be about my Civ games.

Ethiopia

Perhaps my strongest civilization position comes with my first game as the Ethiopians. Thanks to lucky placement of resources, I’ve got access to copper in this civ, so I spent the last week producing Axemen to try and conquer Charles De Gaulle’s France to the Southwest of Ethiopia. After pumping out and moving four Axemen into French territory, it was finally time to attack Orleans.

I just noticed I'm gonna get myself some gems if I can make this conquest happen!

The long struggle cost me most of my forces, but I was ultimately able to conquer Orleans. I probably should have razed it since it will have resource conflicts with Paris, but I’ll just have to make do with what I’ve got.

De Gaulle is probably shaking in his boots.

I'm coming for you next Paris.

I plan to continue my conquest of France in this game and then focus on building up and expanding a bit. I’m falling behind on cultural technologies and I need to start building up my empire for real conquests down the road.

Khmer

Unfortunately for the Khmer empire, there seems to be a distinct lack of either copper or iron within my borders. Since that’s no way to wage a war, I instead decided to try and expand into some copper with some settlers and live peacefully until then. That was the plan until I noticed that Justinian moved some workers right on to my border. I couldn’t resist such a gamble, so I jumped into his borders and nabbed two free workers. I guess Justinian’s kind of a peace-monger, because he allowed me to sue for peace a few turns later.

There's yet another worker sitting along my borders, but I don't think I'm going to nab him until I'm ready to wage full on war.

Then he moved two more workers on to the border. You can guess what I did then. Again, we sued for peace a few turns later. Now he’s got an archer wandering around my borders and I’m wondering if an attack is imminent, but in the meanwhile, development of my empire is proceeding along rather quickly thanks to the four free workers.

In this game I’ve got some Chariots about to be produced to try and take over Justinian’s forces. Since chariots get a boost against Axemen, I might be able to get a tactical advantage against his technologically superior forces and have a relatively easy conquest.

Portugal

The problem game hasn’t gotten much better. I foolishly struck out against Kublai Khan in a gamble to try and catch him before he had copper-based units (since I certainly don’t have any). All I did was anger the Axemen who brutally murdered my Warriors. With no horses, copper, but maybe iron, this could get ugly since I have no way of really fighting back. Add to that Eric on the other side of my borders and things could get ugly.

The Great Wall is in place to keep the Mongolians out of China just like history intended...but what's Portugal doing there?

I also couldn’t resist stealing a worker from Eric, which he didn’t notice for about five turns. We’ve made peace again since then.

This may be my only successful conquest in this game...

I may be screwed in this game. I’m not quite sure how to proceed now since I haven’t got any real military tech to back me up. I’ve just got to pray that discovering Iron Working will reveal an iron cache somewhere nearby.

The Heroes of Final Fantasy Week 2 [Game Overview]
Feb 11th, 2010 by Dan

One of the first major features on this blog was a Villains of Final Fantasy series that ran for 13 weeks covering the main enemies of every numbered Final Fantasy game from I to XII including X-2. With Final Fantasy XIII launching in the states in just over a month, I figured it’s high time to give some recognition to the teams who are actually responsible for bringing those villains to justice and saving the world. I bring you the Heroes of Final Fantasy.

Week 1 – Final Fantasy I

The first real Final Fantasy story features four main characters in your party of heroes.

Firion

Amano's artwork really is gorgeous. Nomura's got nothing on him.

After witnessing the murder of his adoptive parents by the ruthless Empire, Firion did what any kid in these games would do and headed to join the Wild Rose Rebellion where he was uncharacteristically turned away for being too young. After proving himself to be worthy by slaying some beast or another, Firion and his pals are finally allowed into the Rebellion. Despite being the main character and the party leader, this game is arguably more about Leon in the same way that the Star Wars movies were ultimately about Darth Vader and not Luke.

Maria

I have no idea how the gravity-defying left side of this outfit is supposed to stay on.

Leon’s sister whose parents were also murdered at the start of the game. Throughout the story Maria is teamed up with Guy and Firion searching for Leon and opposing the Empire. Not much else to say beyond that.

Guy/Gus

This guy is kind of pudgy and gross-looking. Makes sense for a guy raised in the wilderness.

With even less backstory than everyone else, Gus is kind of a mystery aside from the fact that he and Firion are close friends. Oh yeah, he can also talk to beavers. No joke.

No, seriously, he can talk to these guys. Makes no sense to me either.

Leon

Would you be able to take Darth Vader seriously if he had a face on his belt buckle? I didn't think so.


Despite spending most of the game as the Dark Knight and opposing the heroes, Leon is technically one of the good guys. When the Emperor is finally killed, Leon steps in to try and take over and he’s only stopped when the forces of hell depose him. Not too shabby.

Coolness:

Despite mostly being Star Wars ripoffs, these guys get points in my book for being cool enough to get invited into the Wild Rose Rebellion, which also has a pretty sweet name. Leon also has a Darth Vader thing going for most of the game, which is trite, but not too bad. Finally, Guy can talk to beavers. That’s worth at least 2 points there.

7/10

Hero Quotient:

Toppling an Empire is pretty big stuff, but that’s nothing compared to fighting said Emperor after he returns from Hell to destroy the world. Plus: what kind of hero team doesn’t talk to beavers? Still, it’s not too much beyond standard fare for these adventuring groups, so they only get average marks here.

6/10

Go Saints! [Wednesday Morning Quarterback]
Feb 10th, 2010 by Dan

Trust me, it was more exciting than the score lets on.

Well I really didn’t care one way or the other, but the New Orleans Saints managed to come back from a 10 point deficit in the second half and put this Super Bowl away. It’s insane to see Peyton Manning play a game that’s short of perfect in any way, but his second half just didn’t stand up to the Saints offense.

I didn’t have much invested in the game, but my friend Kim is originally from New Orleans and she was in the state for a wedding rooting for them, so I had to join her in rooting for (luckily) the winning team. Of course, I missed out on being able to talk about the game with the guys around the cooler thanks to this ridiculous snow, but that’s a story for another day.

We’re at less than a month before baseball spring training starts in both leagues. I can barely contain my excitement, but, until then, I’ve been following the Capitals who are on a huge win streak somewhere in the neighborhood of 16 games or so. It’s great because I’ve got coworkers who are penguins fans and I get to tease them every time the Caps win and the Pens lose. I’ll even get to joke about the Pens losing to the Caps, assuming I’m ever able to get back into work after all this snow…

So Much Snow [Uncat]
Feb 9th, 2010 by Dan

WHY?!

What if Wes Anderson Directed Spider-Man? [Embedded Reporter]
Feb 8th, 2010 by Dan

As a fan of Anderson’s work, this is a perfect parody.

ROBOT ICHIRO! FIRES A LASER! [WMQ]
Feb 5th, 2010 by Dan

This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen, yet I can’t stop watching. Wow…

Sonic 4 Episode 1 and Civ IV Progress [Game Overview]
Feb 5th, 2010 by Dan

In news that you never thought you’d ever hear again, a new Sonic sidescroller for the home consoles is set to hit this summer!

After countless missteps by Sega, it seems like they’ve finally listened to the fans and decided to release a sidescrolling Sonic game. Insane. Will it be any good? God help Sega if it isn’t. It will finally prove that the franchise should stay dead, but if the revival is successful, we could have a lot of fun headed our way soon.

Civ IV Game Progress

Progress has been somewhat hampered by busy schedules, weather, and partying, but we’ve started to move along in our respective Civ games and things should start to get busy soon. In the first game we started, Eric named me Zara Yaqob, a default name, and I was randomly selected to be the Ethiopians. I don’t have a lot of experience with these guys, but their Unique Unit (UU) and Building (UB) both come in the early game, so I’d better hope I find some opponents quick so that I can start attacking as soon as possible. I intelligently built a worker in this game first, so I’ll be able to start chopping down forests to speed up the production of my settler and start claiming some resources.

I may have the lowest score now...

The little bit of exploration I’ve done shows that this is a very strange map type. It’s a flat world with no wraparound, so the leftmost border is it. Since I’m so close to it, this might be hell on my logistics if I try to wage a battle of any kind, but if I have plenty of opponents between me and the other edge of the world, I might just do ok.

My second game has me as the Khmer empire. If you observe closely, you can see the black outline of a city from the Holy Roman Empire (which was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire) crowding my borders.

That bastard Justinian is gonna have to die...

Unfortunately for me, the Khmer’s UU doesn’t come until closer to the Middle Ages where it replaces War Elephants. That’s not to say that I won’t immediately try to conquer Justinian if I get the chance. Taking an extra city is just the boost I need to get a strong head start on Eric.

The third game has me playing as the Portuguese, Eric’s nemesis in his last major single player game. A civ definitely geared toward the middle to late game with its naval UU and Custom House UB, I’d actually be more than happy not to encounter too many AI before I have a chance to build up. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t see things my way.

Lisbon!

I’ve met both the Persians and the Mongolians…great. At least I’m dealing with Kublai instead of Genghis, but that means that I’ve got two Civs with strong early-game UUs nearby. I’ve located the Mongolians, but I’m going to have to act fast to claim territory and conquer at least one of these guys if I want to stand a chance.

I see you Mongolia!

Also note that my score is way less in this game thanks to me taking an extra turn to optimize the location for Lisbon. We shall see what that extra turn of production will cost me. Should I get that settler out quickly enough, I can start to optimize my economy for war and make short work of at least one of these enemies. If I don’t, there’s no guarantee that Eric won’t come steamrolling in and conquer the three of us.

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