StarCraft 2 – Early Impressions [PC]
Jul 29th, 2010 by Dan

Sarah Kerrigan

Sarah Kerrigan, Pre-Queen of Blades

Like everyone else in the world right now, I’m playing StarCraft II, but I’ve been too busy to get too far into it so I’ve only got a few impressions.

– I love the new Adventure Game mission structure. It’s great to have these conversations with members of the crew to flesh out the mythology. When will I get dialog trees? That and a “How appropriate, you fight like a cow” dialog choice are must-haves to me.
– The upgrade and mission structure system is pretty neat too. Since I’ve only just made it to the Hyperion, I don’t know if I’ll have the chance to go back and do merc missions too if I do the benevolent ones first, but time will tell on that one.
– The jukebox covers are great. I love “Suspicious Minds”
– Watch the opening cinematic! Once you’ve played a few missions, watch it again! Hmmmm…
– Why is the subtitle option under Gameplay? Shouldn’t it be under sound?
– Dynamically growing, unlimited group sizes make me so happy!
– I’m already hooked on SC2 achievements. I made it to mission 3 and then restarted the campaign to do them again on hard, not realizing that I’d be able to replay them from the deck of the Hyperion.
– I’ve always felt that WarCraft 3’s story borrowed too heavily from the awesome SC storyline (member of one species/race becomes co-opted by another, betrays his own kind, etc.) so it’s nice to get back to the superior SC mythos. Now all I’ve got to do is, you know, make progress in said story so that I can learn what’s up.

Three missions in and I’m loving it. Can’t wait to get back home and play some more!

Stupid Injuries [Wednesday Morning Quarterback]
Jul 28th, 2010 by Dan

Sliding Back to First

This is actually dangerous. Pies to the face are not.

So last night I went to Nationals Park explicitly to see Strasburg face off against Heyward and the Braves. Mere minutes before his start, they announce that Miguel Batista will make the start instead. This is as thousands of fans were still flowing into the park being duped into thinking the tickets they were buying were still for Strasburg. In this case, it wasn’t a injury whose genesis was stupid, just shoulder inflammation that Strasburg also battled when he pitched for San Diego State, but it was still a huge bummer.

An actual stupid injury came to my favorite Marlins player, Chris Coghlan, when he was celebrating a walk-off hit by Wes Helms. Cogz landed badly on his leg after jumping to shaving cream pie Helms in the face and managed a meniscus tear in his knee. We’re going to end up losing him 6-8 weeks and he may need surgery. Coghlan is a fantastic player and a key part of the Marlins team and this stupid freak accident caused us to lose him. It’s really frustrating.

Matt Garza No-Hits the Detroit Tigers! [WMQ]
Jul 27th, 2010 by Dan

Matt Garza Tampa Bay Rays

Garza makes Rays history!

It took the Rays 2038 games to make it happen, but they finally notched their first no-hitter since the team’s inaugural season in 1998. That’s right, it’s been 2038 games, the team has had three no-hitters completed against them within the past two seasons, and they finally made it happen in a year where no-hits are almost becoming commonplace.

Sportscasters love calling 2010 the “Year of the Pitcher”, despite the fact that the real YotP, 1968, was such a monumental year that the rules had to be changed to favor the batter. No one is threatening to throw a Gibson-esque 1.12, but five no-hitters in one year certainly makes you think. In fact, it’s making everyone think that we’ve finally finished with the steroid problem in baseball and hitters are regressing. Really, the YotP signifies the year that we returned back to pre-steroid baseball and the hitters have yet to catch up.

Back to Garza: his no-hitter was one walk shy of a perfect game against an ailing Tigers team that is missing a few key bats. It was also a no-hitter for both teams for six innings until the Rays broke it way open. After Scherzer loaded up the bases, Matt Joyce belted his second grand slam of the year to push the Rays up 4-0. Carl Crawford later added in an insurance run with his own long blast into center field to bring the Rays up to 5-0 and give Garza extra piece of mind.

That’s not even the best part. No, the best part is that my brother, Dave, WAS THERE! He goes to Rays games every so often after work and, thanks to scheduling issues, he decided to go a day early to last night’s game instead of going tomorrow. Dave’s not the biggest baseball fan (at one point he had to ask his co-worker if no-hitters were rare), but he was super lucky to get to see one of baseball’s greatest pitching achievements and Rays history last night. I’m so happy/jealous for/of him!

Dave Posing By a Long Sword

That's right...this guy got to see the no-hitter while I've never seen one.

Congratulations to Matt Garza on a game well pitched.

The Wonderful World of TANG [Embedded Reporter]
Jul 26th, 2010 by Dan

Last year Ryan Davis of Giant Bomb debuted a video feature in which he watched every game-to-movie adaptation and reviewed it in video form, usually highlighting ridiculous scenes and how bad the movie actually was. I’m pretty sure that all the Uwe Boll addled his brain, but he’s nonetheless come back to This Ain’t No Game (TANG) with a twist. This time he’s also covering movies that were inspired by video games. The rejuvenated feature began with TRON two weeks ago and WarGames last week and I’m definitely enjoying its return.

Dead Rising 2, New Challengers for SSFIV?, and Liara’s Return [Game Overview]
Jul 23rd, 2010 by Dan

Dead Rising 2 is coming. It’s on the cusp of releasing this summer and I can’t wait. While the official date has been pushed back to late September, those interested in getting their zombie killing on will be able to pick up Dead Rising 2: Case Zero next month. Case Zero is meant to bridge the five-year story gap between the events of Dead Rising 1 and 2 and introduce us to our new guy, Chuck Green. It’ll be tough getting used to Chuck after the iconic Frank West (who’s covered wars, you know), but if the game is anywhere near as good as Dead Rising, I think we’ve got a good thing on our hands here.


After being coy about not wanting to release a Super Street Fighter IV arcade cabinet in Japan, Capcom wisely gave up the guise and announced that it would see an arcade release. What they didn’t initially tell us was that there would be two new characters thrown in the mix.

What this means for console owners, I’m not sure, but all the same, I’m starting to get hyped about getting two new fighters.

Liara Returns!

Mass Effect 2 was lacking one thing for me: Liara T’Soni fighting alongside Commander Shepard. It was like the game just wanted to tease me by showing me a new, fierce, Benezia-like Liara, but didn’t want to follow through and let me actually take her fight to the Shadow Broker with her.

Lucky for me, Bioware is looking to remedy that with their next set of ME2 DLC, Lair of the Shadow Broker. I’ll finally get to kick some ass with Liara on my side. Hopefully they put in flags pertaining to the main character’s relationship with Liara in ME1 as well. Time will tell…

Mayer Hawthorne [Feedback]
Jul 22nd, 2010 by Dan

Many apologies to Tumblr followers who have already heard this song, but I kind of have a thing for long cut videos and hot chicks in bikinis. This song has convinced me to buy his album and this video captures the perfect old time summer song qualities of the single. I love it.

Mayer Hawthorne brings an old Motown sound to the present in a package that I’m sure is surprising to those who have only heard his voice. I’ll have more to say as I finish listening to A Strange Arrangement

The End is Nigh [Wednesday Morning Quarterback]
Jul 21st, 2010 by Dan

Ian's Wedding and 4th of July 184

We’ve hit the point of the season where teams are starting to know whether or not they’re gonna make it. Teams like the Marlins, Nationals, and Mariners have to realize by now that the playoffs aren’t in their futures, but other teams, like the Rangers and Padres are realizing that they’re in this thing.

What this means:

– Texas has taken on Cliff Lee.

– The Padres will not trade Adrian Gonzalez.

– Washington can rest Strasburg without worrying too much

– Florida should think about dealing Cantu or Uggla

– Tampa Bay needs to think about creative ways to bolster their lineup because New York will supplement theirs with cold hard cash

I realistically expect the Rays to either take the AL East or get in via the Wild Card. Beyond that, I think the Braves and Yankees are locks for the postseason, but those are the only three whose futures I feel good about predicting.

I’ll need to do a mid-season report soon, so expect that next week-ish.

Dragon Quest IX and Inception [GO/FB]
Jul 20th, 2010 by Dan

Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies - Nintendo World Store launch pictures slime

What a weekend!

It started with a craving to see Inception on an IMAX screen and was filled with slime and questing. Some quick words on both.


I don’t think it has quite enough to supplant The Dark Knight as my favorite Nolan film, but it’s certainly up there with his best work. The less you know about Inception, the better. Seriously. I’ll have something more substantial up later, but for now I want to stay relatively spoiler free. All I’ll say is that Tom Hardy is now definitely on my radar, Ellen Page did precisely what I love in her movies without being a pretentious-seeming teen like in Juno, Joseph Gordon-Levitt was fantastic and hilarious in a role much better than in (500) Days of Summer, DiCaprio continues to impress with his post-Titanic roles, Marion Cotillard has, like Tom Hardy, become one of my new favorites, and Ken Watanabe was also fantastic, if unintelligible, in the movie. Special mention to Dileep Rao for bringing humor and eccentricity to an otherwise tiny role. His tiny quirks made Yusef a funny character to witness.

The movie plot is brilliant and the concept is so meta that it makes me love it even more. You should definitely see this in theaters, it will wow you, especially if you know next to nothing going in.

Dragon Quest IX

It doesn’t have the stronger narrative ties of V because the characters are supposed to be ciphers, but I don’t think that Horii has sacrificed much in the way of his storytelling ability. The quests and experiences seem relatively trite to the uninitiated, but the thing about DQ games is that there is skillful storytelling in even the most basic of stories. I can see the emotion and the attention to detail that remains and I love the puns introduced by the localization team. So far so good, just gotta find more time to play it.

In the meanwhile, enjoy a nice bit of Dragon Quest cosplay.

Cute Dragon Quest cosplay

Not Quite ER, But Still Persona [Embedded Reporter]
Jul 19th, 2010 by Dan

Jeff Gerstmann and Vinny Caravella venture back into the world of Persona, not to start a new Endurance Run, but to give a taste of what the PSP Persona 3 remake is like.

Boycotting Bad People [FB/BT/WMQ]
Jul 16th, 2010 by Dan

Voici mon chouchou : Mel Gibson.

Just last week it happened again. A high-profile celebrity revealed what a dirtbag he was in the most public way possible and it brings up the same question it always does. Am I supporting his/her ideologies by supporting their art? Am I a bad person by proxy?

Back around when The Passion of the Christ was released, Mel Gibson’s previous scandal arose out of him blaming Jewish people for all the woes of the world. Most everyone dismissed it as loony, drunk talk and his career wasn’t ruined, but I found myself cooled toward the actor and I started trying to avoid Mel Gibson’s work. When Apocalyptico came out, I purposely avoided it on principle.

Now Gibson is in the news again for racism, homophobia, and domestic violence and I’ve found myself repeating my vows to not consume his media. With Mel Gibson it’s easy. I have no real desire to watch his movies, old or new, so it’s kind of an empty decision of mine. It’s so empty that it actually forced me to confront the relationship I had with other “bad people” and the inconsistencies with how I’ve dealt with them.

The most prominent of these would be the author of one of my favorite book series, Orson Scott Card. In OSC’s case, I ignore his homophobia and strict, right-wing tendencies because I love his work and rationalize that it’s ok to enjoy his art without enjoying him. In other words, I’m a giant hypocrite.

It puts me in a tricky situation. Do I refuse to watch Roman Polanski movies because he raped a thirteen-year-old? I dislike Barry Bonds because he used steroids and he’s an all-around asshole, but shouldn’t I also give Hanley Ramirez a harder time for also being an asshole whose insufferable actions have embarrassed my team and caused them to lose a game here or there?

What do you readers think? Do any of you boycott people for one thing, but don’t boycott other similarly bad people? Is there a sliding scale of morality and acceptance?

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