Friday, December 23, 2005

To All

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Frag for Cancer

I think I may have convinced my workplace to hold an employee Halo 2 tournament as a fundraiser today. As you may remember, I've been trying to get a game going on one of the big-big screens for a while now. Only recently has the concept of making a real event out of it come about. With any luck, Microsoft or Bungie will hook us up with some prizes. It doesn't matter either way, though -- the title of King Geek should be enough motivation to get attendance. Further updates as events warrant.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Let's Get Together

I went to a seminar today in which, among other things, the trainer stated that Generation-X'ers don't like to work in groups because we're all latch-key children who came home to empty houses and played Nintendo. As the only representative of the under-40 crowd in attendance, I decided to hold my tongue. My thoughts on the root causes of the apathy and indolence of Gen-X aside, I have to confess that I was baffled by the Nintendo being cited as an anti-socializer. I don't remember ever playing videogames by myself as a kid. I remember my brothers watching me crawl my way through Final Fantasy, my father spending entire weekends burning every tree and bombing every rock in The Legend of Zelda as we logged his progress, my friends and I mastering the intricacies of Pro Wrestling and RC Pro Am. For my sixteenth birthday my parents bought me a 12-inch TV for my bedroom, so my brothers just watched my run through Lifeforce there instead.

Lies! Lies I say!

Friday, December 2, 2005


If the last post wasn't cloudy enough, check this out.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Except flight

Download this and play it. Especially if you don't play videogames with any regularity. So... chill...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Justin Bailey

When Metroid came out, my father complained that Nintendo had missed a great opportunity for making games educational. He suggested that instead of the apparently random mish-mash of numbers and letters that made up the passwords for the game, they could have set it up so every digit in a long-division problem would need to be entered.

Fast-forward fifteen years, and the Nintendo DS has a brain training "game". As near as I can tell, it's a set of daily exercises that are meant to make sure you use all parts of the gray matter. The story on IGN does a pretty good job of explaining it.

And here's the weird thing: it looks kinda fun.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Xbox360: Hands-on Review

A fraction of second after grabbing the controller, some dude appeared out of nowhere to tell me that he had seen it at CompUSA, and that it was awesome. He didn't leave. A few seconds later, a ten-year-old sidled up, grinning sweetly. I got the distinct feeling that this was a angel-on-one-shoulder-devil-on-the-other situation, but in the place of miniature versions of myself dressed in white and red were two different facets of my gamer id, one a black-wearing, soul-patch-sporting, turbo-geek with no social skills, the other a bespectacled child too shy to speak. I left abruptly.

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Lasers Temple

Seventeen seconds? Seriously?

I know a substantial number of B A Starters have spent altogether too many hours trying to ulock all the cheats in Goldeneye. Dizzying runs done over and over ruined many a sunny summer afternoon for us all, but these guys? Holy shmoley.

Saturday, November 5, 2005

Come on down

Has anyone else noticed that the font used in the much-maligned Grand Theft Auto series is the same as the one used for The Price Is Right?

Looks uncomfortable

I'm all for unusual controllers. This, though, seems a bit much. Not that I can't think of at least one person for whom this would be a great gift.

Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Until they're squeaky clean

So, I've been trying to get the projector-and-laptop guy at work to set up an Xbox night in the auditorium. He keeps telling me to put in an AV request. What am I, some kind of chump? I need to put in a request to use company property for personal entertainment? I go right to the source and I get sent back to the Red-tape Highway? So, I guess I've been put in my place. Once I do finally convince him to take some initiative and make it happen, I'll be sure to remind him who's boss as I repeatedly mop the floors of alien ships with his carcass.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Never happen

Another excellent wedding this weekend.

At the aforementioned wedding, I asked a friend and his girlfriend how their recently purchased Playstation 2 has been working out. I was perfunctorily told that they have been playing Tiger Woods, and then heard a sentence I had never thought I would:

Ashley: "Chris made me a player."

Someone had finally done it. Someone had broken down decades of resistance and convinced his girl to play videogames.

Alex: "Really? That's great! I can't believe it!"
Ashley: "I've got a skort."

Hmm... so, she plays videogames in a skort? (I'm inferring from the horizontal slashing motion she made mid-thigh and the spork-like term that this word is meant to describe an article of clothing that's somehow both a skirt and pair of shorts. Feel free to write in if I'm wrong). Do gamer girls wear skorts? Did these two go to Hot Topic and say "give me everything that geek chicks wear"? Had they taken it that far? In mind appeared a vision of Ashley in a plaid skirt (I still can't figure out what a skort would look like. Something like one hand clapping, I think), black boots, and an anime T-shirt sitting in Chris's living-room mashing buttons.

Alex: "Did he buy you a pink tanktop that says "gamer" or something?
Ashley (befuddled look): "In the game. In Tiger Woods. My player wears a skort."
Alex: "Uh... heh-heh. Who needs a drink?"

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Over 9000

Just how much is a proud man willing to debase himself in order to win an Xbox 360 from Mountain Dew?

  • Start occasionally buying Pepsi at work, even though it sucks? Yes.
  • Plan on replacing the normal household purchase of Coke with Pepsi from 10/2/05 through 10/22/05 (or while supplies last), in order to receive the specially marked sticker worth three codes? Yes.
  • Convince coworkers to give him their bottlecaps? Yes.
  • Ask the Housekeeping folks to glean the caps from the discarded Pepsi products of the workplace? No.
  • Take a bottlecap off of an empty bottle left on top of a trash can in the cafeteria? Yes.
  • Take a bottlecap off of the ground on Elmwood? No.
  • Spot an empty bottle, insist that the car be stopped, jump out and grab the cap? No.
I'm not proud of it, but I'm not hiding anything either.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

8 @ 57@r7

A coworker of mine got a new phone extension --1337. As we all know, this totally pwns.

For those of you not disgustingly geek-assed enough to know what I'm talking about, this is leetspeak (or "13375p34k"), the odd twisting of the English language used by online gamers. I recommend the wikipedia entry on the topic for a good summary of the major points. Anytime you see numbers used instead of letters in the middle of a word, the suffix "-xors" added to a word for no reason, and other such nonsense, back slowly away until you can feel functioning society around you again.

From a linguistic standpoint, leetspeak fascinates me, particularly its prevalence and standardization. How can so many people use the same made-up rules in the same way? I understand why a secretive "language" or code system would be used by girl-phobic basement-dwellers as they bop around pretending to be elves. It's a step above jargon, intentionally meant to conceal and confuse, that only the insiders can interpret or often even recognize. This is geek perfection.

That being said, do not ever use leet in conversation with me. I will smack you, y0u 0v3rc4ff3'n473d w4ck0.

Saturday, September 10, 2005


Not entirely sure why you would buy Zoo Keeper for the NDS, when you can play it for free all over the net, and have been able to for years. And anyway, I thought the DS was only for Nintendogs.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

I may tell you to run

Today, I send you on your way to other parts of the nets.

Here's a story on the Playstation symbols, and what their common meanings are in Japan. Found on digg.

In unrelated news, Peter now has a blog. Enjoy.

And, just in case you were wondering what to do with your mouth tonight, Ginger Altoids are frackin' awesome.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Big Paper

What happens when a videogame fanatic marries an illustrator? Arguments about concept art.

My argument: The person on the left is a girl.
Hers: Nuh-uh.
Mine: Yes-huh.

After a little reading, it would appear that the "nuh-uh" line of reasoning is the correct one. But cut me some slack here -- look at those eyelashes. I'm holding out for the game to see if 'he' ends up being a girl in disguise.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

We're all like this.

As the life-consuming MMORPG's and my efforts to resist them have been on my mind recently (heck, I've only posted once since first talking about it), that's what you're getting today. It's like they're frickin' following me around, waiting to pounce. Here's an excerpt from a recent email from one of my brothers:

"I picked Final Fantasy XI back up again. I dropped it about 7 months ago. Now with a lot of the nwer update the game is great and it helps that I'm not making some of the mistakes I made before. Like bad gil spending and not sticking with a class."

It's always good to hear your brother is learning from his digital mistakes. Wouldn't want him besmirching the family name in the online world. Also, why play a game that's so similar to real life? Spending money poorly and changing careers frequently have repercussions? Doesn't sound like much of a fantasy to me.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Close one

I played a dangerous game yesterday. I discussed Worlds of Warcraft with a friend. Several of my friends and relatives have fallen prey to the Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing genre, spending hours of their time running around in fake worlds with other enthusiasts. My understanding of the gameplay went as follows:

#1 - It's just like a regular videogame, but there all kinds of annoying real-world people running around bugging you.

#2 - You start off and people pick on you because you are new. Then you spend all kinds of time doing boring shit because you need to level up. Once you're at a respectable level, the newcomers ask you for stuff all the time.

#3 - Any time you do too well, the company that maintains the game sends somebody in to slap you around.

#4 - It's expensive, time-consuming, and unforgivably geek-ass.

Now, all of these things may or not be true. Nonetheless, people just love the hell out this Worlds of Warcraft game. So what's the draw? I've heard that the social aspect is fun, that you team up with your friends and do stuff, that there's a great deal of variety of diversions. Still, though... pretending to be a magical elf-warrior? Come on.

So, I quiz a compatriot of mine on the game last night. His answers were satisfactory. Almost too satisfactory.

So, you don't have to fight anybody?
No, man. I don't player-kill. And you can level up by doing quests. Like "bring me some stuff" kind of things.

What do you do?
I'm a tailor. I make armor, bags, and stuff like that. I sell it to people, or give it away.

Are there sports?
Kind of. There are places where you can join a team of capture-the-flag and stuff like that.

This all sounded fine. A lot better than the "go hunting for beasties, raid their dead bodies for currency, spend that currency on better gear, repeat" formula I expected. As he went into detail of how the various races and classes interact, something caught my fading attention: "...different languages..."

Turns out the different races speak different languages, and if your character doesn't speak them, the text the other users type come out as gibberish. As a language-geek, this raised a mighty eyebrow.

Fortunately, there's no way my machine could run the game. Otherwise, I have a real fear that some night I'd end up drunkenly setting up Atharien, the Enchanter Linguist.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Continuing saga

So, I figured out to do with the old NES -- fix it. Now if I could only find my damn games. Basement? Closet? My brothers? College roommate? I know I've got a light gun and a game genie around somewhere too. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Touching is good.

I continue to lay the groundwork for my pending purchase of a Nintendo DS. Today, on yet another trip to Target, I showed Her Worshipfulness Nintendogs, complete with cooing "awwwlookatim" noises, and even she could not resist the cuteness. Everything is going according to plan.

Sunday, August 7, 2005

Bwa ha ha ha haaaaaa...

Recently played Castlevania: Seemphony Of De Naaayt. Fantastic game in which you are the son of Dracula and some human chick and are trying to keep ol' Vlad from returning to life because you like people. There are four different endings, depending on how you beat the game. I took the time to get the fourth ending, and let me tell you, even having removed any "oh my god this is so frickin cheesy" thoughts from my mind, I was disappointed.

You see, in the third ending, the son of Drac tells his boon companions that he's off to kill himself to end the line of Nosferatu forever. In the fourth, it's the same deal, except that one of the said companions runs off after him, apparently under the impression that her amorous intentions would keep him from driving a stake through his heart.

Are you kidding me? If you're going to go through the effort of making a tale of Gothic horror, don't make the ending be about getting the girl. Where's your head at, Konami?

Friday, July 29, 2005

Doing my part

Today I overheard a coworker saying she bought her age-11 son an electric blue Nintendo DS for his birthday, and that he has many systems already. Being the community-minded citizen I am, I strolled over to her desk to strike up a conversation on the topic. After a few lead-in remarks, I asked if she was familiar with the ESRB rating system, and if she checked the ratings before buying games for her kid. She told me she usually made her judgement on the appropriateness of the title based on the picture on the box front.

Not ten minutes later she had full knowledge of the ESRB's rating system, provided by yours truly. My good deed for the day is done -- my coworker is protected; now armed with good information upon which to base purchasing decisions, as opposed to marketing information or her kid's opinion. The child is protected, and will not be exposed to any non-parent-approved content. And most importantly, the game company is protected. No Grand Theft Auto for that kid, and thus no litigation, keeping our game prices low. It is my sincere hope that she tells all her friends about the ESRB, spreading the good word that they don't have to guess anymore.

Videogame companies often cite the ESRB ratings when faced with accusations of creating mindless, violence-hungry zombies out of America's future generations, as well they should. The information is there for the asking, right on the front and back of every box. Clearly the overarching issues is that parents and loved ones just aren't aware.

I would urge all B A Starters to make an effort to distribute information about the ESRB to parents. It's a valuable tool in the effort to regulate America's childrens' exposure to inappropriate media, a great service to our society. Videogames have cost fifty bucks a pop for a long time now, and mainstream society's steady drive towards class action suits against game developers and distributors must be stopped if we want to keep it that way.

For the sake of our wallets, we must act. Talk to your friends to see what their awareness level is. Hold an ESRB awareness drive in your hometown. Get a float in a local parade. Hand out flyers in front of Target and Walmart (with permission, of course). I have set up a cafepress site, where you can purchase a "Save Our Games" bumper sticker -- show your support! It's up to us to make this work.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

I mean, the title alone...

You may have heard a bit about the 'Hot Coffee' scandal surrounding Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Here's a quick summary -- there's a hidden mode in the game (which one must do some hacking to get to) in which your character has sex and the ESRB has pulled the game to replace it's Mature (17+) rating with an Adults Only rating. Stores are pulling it, and NY senator Hillary Clinton called for a Federal Trade Commission investigation.

I agree that if any medium has X-rated content, it should be for adults only. The fact that the mode is not accessible by people without proper tools makes this whole issue a little gray.

Here's an abbreviated list of things I have done in Grand Theft Auto 3 which are worse than having consensual sex:

  • Exceeded the speed limit.
  • Ran a stoplight.
  • Escaped from a prison transfer vehicle.
  • Driven a prostitute to a job.
  • Stolen a car.
  • Stolen a police car.
  • Jacked a car.
  • Jacked a police car.
  • Jacked an ambulance.
  • Jacked a firetruck.
  • Jacked an FBI vehicle.
  • Jacked a tank.
  • Jacked an ice cream truck.
  • Engaged in a street race.
  • Engaged in a high-speed chase.
  • Disposed of a vehicle used for a crime
  • Disposed of a vehicle with a dead body in it.
  • Located 100 stashes of drugs and exchanged them for weapons.
  • Assisted in a bank robbery.
  • Assisted in several murders.
  • Planned and executed several assassinations.
  • Solicited a prostitute, and killed her to get my money back.
  • Started a gang war in order to decrease property values.
  • Engaged in a drive-by shooting.
  • Engaged in a random drive-by shooting.
  • Killed police officers, FBI agents, and military personnel who were firing upon me.
  • Killed police officers who were not firing upon me.
  • Killed non-gang-affiliated civilians in order to attract the attention of law enforcement.
  • Killed the emergency personnel who arrived to care for these civilians.
  • Killed wantonly and without cause using a large variety of weapons, including but limited to my bare hands, a baseball bat, various guns, various incendiary devices, a flame-thrower, and a tank.
Apparently 17-year-olds hacking a program and simulating sex is more deserving of government attention than them simulating any of the acts on the above list.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

This one might drop

Picked up Tiger Woods 2004 this weekend, which has unsurprisingly dominated my life since. Gameplay is pretty much the same as the '03 version, but a big addition was made with character customization. There's the EA Sports Game Face, which ought to be called EA Sports Try To Make Something Look Like You, Get Frustrated And Give Up Face, and a veritable stripmall's-worth of clothes. Now, the clothes serve a purpose in making money via sponsorships, but we all know they're so you can play dress-up. This brings up the age-old issue of the digital avatar. When faced with the requirement to make a character for yourself, what do you do? Make him look like you? Similar to you but cooler? Something funny? Something completely different?

No matter what you do, it's going to be embarrassing, especially when your wife catches you shopping for digital golf duds. You know what she's thinking when that happens? "How is this more interesting than hanging out with me? You'd think he could find the time to... ooh! The salmon one with the stripes! Make me! Make me!"

Thursday, July 14, 2005

He'll save every one of us.

I'm not sure which is scarier: this dude's extensive collection of links to flash games or how many of them I had seen before. This is my favorite so far.

Monday, July 4, 2005

Sing sing sing

In God of War, half the game is getting through a series of trials to prove yourself worthy of receiving the ultimate weapon. From time to time, as you do the impossible again and again, you come across recently deceased warriors who got to a specific point and didn't hit the right switch in time to avoid being skewered (or whatever). How do the gods react to this?

Zeus: Looks like we've got a contender! He made it past the minotaur, figured out the underwater puzzle, survived the spinny blade thing...

Athena: I hope this is the guy. I'm getting tired of putting that rock back on the shoulders of the Atlas statue and rebuilding the stained glass window for every schmuck that makes it past the "endless" desert.

Zeus: Oh, this is the winner. I mean, look at him! You'd think I was his father! As a matter of fact, does he look a little like a swan to you?

Athena: Damn it! He didn't catch that second rope! I told you they were too far apart!

Zeus: Only the one who proves himself worthy can wield...

Athena: Oh, come on! Did you see how fast he figured out the move-the-rocks puzzle? This was the guy, but no... the rope swing has to be at least the length of the mighty Zeus's pinky toe! Only those who can swing the length of the Sky Father's pinky toe deserve the blessing of the gods!

Zeus: Watch it, Athy...

Athena: Or you're going to do what? Chain me to a rock and have a gecko nibble my appendix out for eternity? Who's going to help you outwit that shrewish wife of yours while I'm being punished? Huh? Who? You going to have Hephaestos build a Robo-Zeus to sit in the throne while you're chasing the mortal skirts? Think you can distract Apollo from harassing nymphs long enough to help you? Huh? Do ya?

Zeus: I'll take your owl away.

Athena: Sure you will, tough guy. Sure you will. I'm going to go see if anyone sacrificed anything worth eating. Let me know if anyone passes your test -- I'll be holding my breath.

Saturday, July 2, 2005


When the rest of the world is fixated on actual major, important, and awesome events in real life, you can count on B A Start to bring you back down to fantasy.

Saw a few mentions in a magazine about Okami, an upcoming PS2 title. I'm a sucker for any videogame where the visual style is new, and with its whole looks-like-a-silkscreen-painting thing, this game certainly meets that criteria. No idea how running around as a wolf will work out, but I'll let you know.

Now, you could go to the usual suspects for screenshots, movies, et cetera, but why would you when you can go right to the developer's website? Sure it's in Japanese -- that just makes it cooler!

Friday, July 1, 2005


Not four hours after Sarah points out this story to me, I run across this one. There's only one logical explanation: The Playstation 2 attracts lightning bolts.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Oh man are you guys lucky. You were this close to getting an eyeful of my opinions on last night's premiere of the ABC mini-series Empire, replete with ill-founded statements along the lines of "Octavius wasn't a good-guy" and "but he just killed Pompey" and smattered with my standard list of likes/dislikes. I'll sum it up for you: I liked it, the departures from the history are well-handled and more than understandable, and if Caesar had the people's best interests in mind then I'm Jay-Z.

Fortunately for you, I saw this before I started typing and the following rant ensues: $400 for a Playstation 3? Forget it. We all know I'm mad cheap when it comes to videogames. I don't need a damn media center -- call me crazy, but I buy videogame consoles to play videogames. I don't need online play; I play videogames to get away from jackasses. Why would I add jackassery to my gaming by going online? Yeah, sure the graphics will be great, but just how damn realistic do we want games to be? So, you're going to make assloads of titles about zombies, magic ninjas, aliens and whatnot and tell me how realistic the games are? And I do mean assloads -- several iterations of the number of games an ass can carry. Maybe if I played Madden I'd give a couple shits about how well-rendered the chest-hair of that fat dude with a ramhead painted on his beergut is, but I don't so I don't.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

I hate that turn.

How do you know when you play videogames too much?

I have never watched a NASCAR race. Today I went to a family member's house for dinner and NASCAR was being watched. As I sat to partake, the cars sped around a turn that looked all too familiar. "Hey, I've raced this track. Infineon Raceway, right?" Odd looks, I tell you. My love affair with GT4 strikes again.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Finished Ico

Yorda! Yorda? Yorda?!?! YORDAAAAAAAAAA!


Very much

Do you miss my GT4 pics? I set up a Flickr slideshow for 'em. Your life is now fulfilled.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Even more boring than regular baseball.

Okay. So, the first two innings of a minor league baseball game will be played on the Xbox, and the other seven will be played by the real teams. Local fanboys have been competing at CompUSA (where else?) to be holding the controllers for those first two innings.

#1 - This is lame.

#2 - Here's my favorite part of the story: "The idea for the promotion came from the 6-year-old niece of Bryan Williams, director of community relations for the T-Bones."

How did this go?

"Unkoo Bwyan! You pway game!"

"What's that, honeybunch?"

"You pway game on TV!"

"Yes, that's right. I play games on the TV. Videogames. That's why my brother got to marry your mommy and I still live with mine."

"You pway game wif men outside!"

"Uh huh, I play baseball in real life too. Well, sometimes the guys let me go get the foul balls for them."

"You pway boaf!"

"Yes, honey, I play both."

"You pway boaf! You pway boaf!"

"Wait a minute -- that's a great idea! We can play videogames AND real baseball at the same time! You're a genius Rita-Mae!"

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Take the elevator.

I've been playing Ico, a fantastically good art-piece title for the PS2. It's just as good as Penny Arcade promises. Yesterday, a friend lent me God of War to try on for size. While I have heard that this also is rather awesome and will get to it eventually, I'm not really in the mood to rip the wings off sirens right now. Apparently, I'm more in the mood to be a twelve-year-old oddly-horned boy and wander around an enchanted castle holding the hand of a quiet ghost princess. Weird.

Support your local flash developer.

Need another web game to get addicted to? Swing over here and play Poom!. Brought to you by the UB College Store, apparently.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Your stories are in another castle.

I don't own the 'Cube or the DS, but I keep going back to this site. I think it's because I really like the banner.

In other Nintendo-related news, Link is story of the day on Wikipedia. Surpisingly extensive. I'd have a hard time saying much more about Link than "well, he's got a shield and a sword and dresses like Robin Hood. And he's a pretty good choice in Smash Bros."

Friday, June 17, 2005

It has come to this

Dear Hot Topic -

While I have appreciated your efforts to provide videogame-related clothing to the consumer, you appear to have just slightly missed my particular niche. I am in the market for a style which can best be described as "subversive." I want clothes which advertise the fact that I intensely geeky to those in the know, but appear fairly normal to the rest of society.

Allow me to give an example. I saw in your establishment a T-shirt which read "Halo 2", and another which had the shield/swords/alien skull symbol for the Legendary difficulty setting from Halo and read "Legendary" in small type underneath. The latter of these is getting closer to what I'm talking about. Blatantly stating "I play and enjoy Halo 2" is not as cool. Are you with me?

Here is what I would like to see from you: a series of unassuming polo shirts with corporate logos embroidered on the right breast, but the logos are from the evil corporations from various videogames. For starters, whip a few for Shinra Incorporated, Datadyne, and the Umbrella Corporation.

You see, the market is now flooded with people for whom videogames have been a part of their entire lives, people like myself who are getting a bit old to be dressing like teenagers. Pac-man himself turns 25 this month, a sobering fact. Please keep us in mind in the future. After all, we don't have to ask our parents for money.

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

The Famicom alone!

OK. Looks like the recent rumors circulating about the next Nintendo console -- codenamed Revolution -- will have all previous console releases available for free download is not true. Apparently, some old NES, SNES, and N64 games will be made available for purchase through an online service or some such thing.

Considering the retro-gaming mood I've been in recently, I came dangerously close to losing it when I heard the rumors. I mean, every game for every system? Yowza. Just think of all the Mega Man titles I never got to play! I didn't have a Super Nintendo -- who knows what goodness I missed!

Is it wrong that a large percentage of my childhood memories are 8-bit?

Friday, June 3, 2005

Swing your arms

Do me a favor and keep your eyes open for this Beck EP. I tried New World Record, and those pretentious, horn-rimmed minors had nuthin'. Now if this were a for-real serious blog, I'd have done all kinds of research about the EP and would be communicating it to you with wit and aplomb. Unfortunately for you, all I have to say is that it's got four songs from Guero remixed using Nintendo music and it's totally rad. Oh, and give you the Rhapsody link. Make sure you listen to the last one -- it's the best of them.

Also on the retrogaming front, go check this out. Some art exhibit in LA featuring pieces based on old games. My favorite's the Qbert one. A few more pics of it here.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Push 'em.

Now this is some great marketing. Anyone surprised I'm posting about this? What with the name of this blog and everything?

For those of you not pathetically geeky enough to get it, Sony is advertising their upcoming Playstation 3 here with a riff off of their four buttons "Live in your world. Play in ours." campaign. By lopping a few lines off of their well-established set of symbols, they obfuscate them just enough to make even my nerd eye have to look twice before figuring it out. Turn the "e" backwards to get a "3", and you've got one hell of a billboard. Good work, Sony people. Now make a wallpaper with those symbols on it and post it online for me to download. While you're at it, send me some cool swag. You know, something subtle but not so obscure that no one in the world would ever get it. I love you.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The pin is quivering.

I bring you a tale of Tiger Woods. Well, more of an image, really. Some time ago, a college friend came back into town for a few days and swung by the apartment to catch up on some much-needed videogame competition. I introduced him to Tiger Woods PGA Tour for the Xbox, a game which quickly devours the soul of all who play it -- so fun, so addictive. He quickly built a character -- Fish -- and hit the links with vigor. Another friend came by to join in the fun, bringing with him a memory stick with the Alpha and the Omega of TW gameplay: his character, Victor Cracker.

You see, Victor Cracker is to TW what a god is to mortals. When he descends from the realm of the ideal and interferes with the lives of men, he leaves a wake of destruction and lamentation. Tales of the visit last for generations. But, like gold inlaid over silver, Victor Cracker only augments the remarkable skill of his human. The guy's got an unnatural knack for the game, and having a maxed-out character only adds to the point spread.

So, we play a few rounds and Victor Cracker dominates. Everyone is fine, we shake hands and say good night.

The next day, Fish is back. Something is different, though. His hands are as still as stone, and in his eye can be seen a faint gleam. He had come this day to topple Cracker. We call Victor's human avatar and insist he come back for a rematch. At the end of the first round of play, Victor's given name proves to be well-earned.

In the middle of the second and final round, Victor Cracker unsurprisingly makes a magnificent shot, and the commentator responds with a loud "ooooh!". TW has commentators judging your every shot, delivering a large number of phrases such as "should have used the nine-iron here" or "that's straight at it, Billy". The "ooooh" was new, and two of us found it quite funny.

So, the image I present to you is of a lean, hungry man in the zone, possessed by the thought of ending a dynasty, stretched forward and focused on the TV with the steadiness of an eagle diving after its prey, flanked by two grown men who can't stop saying "ooooh! No, no, it was like 'ooooooh!'" and laughing heartily.

Wednesday, May 4, 2005


Tired of "news" about runaway brides? B A Start brings you the important stuff. Looks like Gates let the news out that he's planning to ship the next version of the Xbox this year.

Now, I got the Xbox in the fall of last year. Despite the chorus of wails from the leet community, I had no issues buying the Xbox with the full knowledge of the rumors. As I made small talk with one of my brother's geek friends, he expressed deep concern about the purchase, since the next-next-gen machine was due out "next year". I patted him on the head and told him it would all be okay somehow. He'd see. There are plenty of Xbox titles out there to keep me occupied well into the career of the Xbox 360 (or whatever it ends up being named), but this line of reasoning cannot be followed by a geek. You have two choices -- retrogaming or the latest/greatest. I felt it best to let the topic slide. The black-shirt-with-white-text-wearing squirrel of a man skittered into the other room, presumably to level up his paladin.

Tuesday, May 3, 2005

No one to stop them this time.

I was going pen a small post asking if it was possible for there to be anything geekier than Star Wars Risk, but then I remembered Lego Star Wars: The Video Game. Good gravy. A walk through Target is like visiting the inside of a deranged Lucasarts marketing director's secretest fantasy. I thought the blitz for Episode I was bad -- I refused to believe, couldn't believe that anything could surpass Amidala shampoo. It would appear that I was incorrect. My guess is that they fear the release of Episode III to be their last chance to make a gazillion or two off or Lucas's thirty-year-old vision, despite promises of a couple TV shows in the works.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Revelations was ok

Tonight's entertainments were about going back to things I thought were good and discovering I was mistaken.

First, the movie Goldeneye -- the first Bond movie with Brosnan and the basis of my all-time favorite videogame. This should be good, right? As it turns out, 80's action movie music, unattractive Bond girls, and general cheesiness do not a good film make. I don't think a single good Bond flick has been made post-Connery.

Second, Jedi Academy. In an attempt to temporarily stave off the creeping Star Wars madness, I rented this game for the Xbox today. I loved its predecessor, so my expectations were high. Yikes. The graphics are terrible, I can't stand hearing my character say "hup" every damn time he jumps, and if I walk by one more bad guy while waving my lightsaber all around him without touching him, I refuse to be held responsible for my actions.

On an only slightly related note, I have this to look forward to. Must... keep expectations... low....

And, to wrap up, after years of sitting idly by as I watch the movies and spend disgusting numbers of hours playing the games, my wife has had to listen to the James Bond theme song more than any woman in the world.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Kentucky Fried

Albeit unwittingly, Jess has posted a picture of a chocobo.

I'm a sucker for flash games.

I am 100% fried. Not much to say for now, so go entertain yourself with this. Only entertaining with the sound on.

Monday, April 4, 2005

I'll turn this car around.

Vacation with kids appears to be something entirely different from vacation without them. For me, the big V comes rarely and is usually synonymous with "bender". There is much sitting. With little tykes to contend with, though, vacations sound like just a different flavor of obligation. The relaxing becomes arduous, the pleasant unbearable.

One big difference is the car ride. A friend of mine told me that he took his kids to Brooklyn to visit his family there, and that hooking the Playstation up to the TV screen in his SUV made the ride easy peasy. They only made one stop, if you can imagine.

Now, I'm a proponent of letting the little tykes play video games until the blisters on their fingers pop (Do the kids these days even get blisters, what with the ergonomic controllers popular these days? It's not like their puerile hands need to suffer the square controllers of the NES anymore.), but I don't know if I back the PS2 on the car ride. Learning to keep quiet for the endless hours of a car ride is an important part of the development of the American child. We all remember sitting and staring out the window, making games out of nothing and not pestering the parents. Isn't that a fond memory?

Sunday, March 27, 2005

I've lost him.

Easter is day about sons and fathers, death and rebirth, sin and redemption. What better to discuss than Anakin Skywalker?

I am still fairly regular player of X-Wing Alliance. Nothing has ever come close. Now and then I crawl the nets looking for new mods, ships and whatnot from the geek community. Several months ago I went looking to see if anyone had developed an OPT for Anakin's Jedi starfighter from the Clone Wars cartoons, or at least a Jedi starfighter that I could re-skin. No go. Yesterday I gave it another look, and discovered that a site had popped up and disappeared in the space between my searches, and that this site had devved just what I was looking for. Dagnabit. So, if anyone has the MTD Industries Anakin OPT, let me know.

Sunday, March 13, 2005


I've started a new blog for my GT4 pics.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Before picking up GT4, I asked Her Worshipfulness a rhetorical question: Just who do they think is going to take pictures of their digital cars and share them with people? Her reply: "People like you, Alex. People just like you."

Sunday, March 6, 2005

Speed kills.

Now, you might wonder just where the hell I've been. While my various adventures are not necessarily suited to be etched in the html of webshite, I can tell you that I've been playing Gran Turismo 4 as if I were an automaton programmed to drive and drive alone. If you are even vaguely considering getting it, get your sorry ass out there and get it right now.

Just the other day I found something new. Something awesome. OK, so I got the IB license, opening up more races. In the rally races, the Normal Tsukuba circuit is a single 3-lap race. The prize car is valued at about 100 large. and you can run the race over and over, thus getting the aforementioned prize car over and over. And selling it over and over. Not a bad take of 3.19.109 minutes of race time.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Sat 5:46

Three day weekend, hour 36.

I have a confession to make. Last night, a friend told me about a website which has broadened the concept of those digital pet things. Remember those? Well, here's how the conversation went:

Mike: "So, yeah. You feed 'em and clean 'em and all that.

Alex: "Uh-huh."

Mike: "But they've made a whole world for them, all these different islands."

Alex: "Yeah. Uh-huh."

Mike: "And they can fight each other."

Alex: "Oh, your neopet is going DOWN, BITCH!"

Never mind my deep-seated psychological problems related to competition for now. I went and set myself up a Neopet today. Here's the deal. It's a whole bunch of flash games you play to get points to buy stuff for your pet. Like minesweeper and poker and stuff, but in this loose configuration of locales and with Wuzzle-looking beasties. I guess it's like any MMORPG, but without the monthly charge.

So yeah. I hope nobody finds out.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Fri 6:27

Three day weekend, hour eleven.

Aside from about an hour and a half of eating excellent lunch, enjoying conversation, and answering the blasted phone, all I've done since the last post is play PS2 games.

You see, something in my head changed today. A little backstory - I have become more and more voracious for new titles, since when I get a game I either play it all the way through or stop when the fun-to-difficulty ratio swings too far to the right. This leaves me with a stack of games that I have had enough of. Every once in a while I go back and mess around a bit, but for the most part they're as useful to me as used Kleenex brand facial tissues. One of the titles that was set aside for difficulty issues is Gran Turismo 3. I pulled it back out a few days ago, and today I found that I could get past the parts that gave me trouble before. So now, with these newfound racing skills, I was unable to stop. The trophies and prize cars kept rolling in, and before I knew it, it was 6.

Now I go drink.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

What's your name?

Monday, February 7, 2005

A far, far better Super Bowl

Let me tell you, my friends, the tale of two Super Bowls. I was invited to two events this year, and split my time between them.

The first took place on a remote island. I walked into the garage and was greeted by two dogs and two very large men. I had interrupted their game of Madden 2000 for the N64, but they didn't seem to mind. I put my beer in the snow out back. Inside, chicken wing dip and tacitos (sp?) were warming for our delight. We set up the table to play a drinking game they had made up a few weeks prior, which mainly involves the throwing of dice and the shouting of rude names. This was a grand time.

Back to the city for Super Bowl event number two. A walk up to the finished attic revealed three men dressed in black and seated in front of a very large TV, staring in silence. A table to the side had homemade guacamole and gourmet cheese to eat. The men drank cola, or mixed drinks. We watched the game, mainly making fun of the commentators, until about the end of the third quarter, at which point someone put a motion on the floor to break up the uncomfortable silence and change the entertainment to the Xbox. For the remainder of the night we shot the hell out of each other with great success. This, also, was a grand time.

And there you have it. A short trip down the highway between the two ends of the earth.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Cataclysmic Indeed

Went to install an old favorite, Homeworld: Cataclysm, on the new machine yesterday. It didn't work. I swore loudly. Downloaded a patch. It worked.

If you never played any of the HW series and are a fan of spaceships, you must give this game or any of the others in the series a try. First game to have 3D space strategy. The controls are surprisingly easy, the design is cool, and I do love the downtempo music. So go check out the demo, at the very least.

HW2 Downloads Page

HW:C Demo Page

Sunday, January 16, 2005

So similar, and yet...

Watched a whole football game yesterday. Went to a friend's house with the intent of watching a football game, watched said football game, enjoyed the aforementioned football game.

My friend became embarrassed several times after screaming at the television quite loudly. I told him not to worry about it, that he had no reason to be embarrassed, that it's his place after all, etc.

Still he felt shame, until this commercial for the highly-anticipated Gran Turismo 4 for the PS2 came on, at which I point I began screaming at the television. A look of surprise and barely-concealed bemusement came over his face as he politely asked about the upcoming title.

After that, the TV began to whimper in anticipation of the no-holds-barred tongue-lashing it was going to receive for the next three quarters. The TV was last seen rocking itself to sleep in a corner, telling itself everything would be alright.

Friday, January 14, 2005

I was so close.

A clutch of my amigos (all of whom write for webshite, I believe) have

been sucked into a black vortex known as World of Warcraft. I do not

play Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Games for a variety of

reasons, nor do I have any interest in high fantasy games, or mayhaps

I might have joined them. Fortunately for my sanity and carpal

tunnel, I did not.

I tried to explain MMORPG's to Her Worship the other day. It went

along these lines:

A: So, it's a videogame, but it's not linear or plot-driven. You walk

around and do whatever.

HW: And you can do whatever you want?

A: Just about. If you do anything too nuts, an admin shows up as a

god and smacks you around a bit.

HW: Yeah, yeah. But you can just wander around in the world?

A: If you want. Usually there's some kind of over-arching plot, but you can...

HW: Like Pern?

At this point, our hero starts to get grandiose ideas of getting Her

Worshipfullness into MMORPGs, of needing to buy a gaming rig to handle

the games, one of those hot Alienware PCs, and we'd spend nights

together in the gameroom, me on the Xbox, her on the ALX. And it

would be joyous.

A: Sure. So you would be a merchant or a dragonrider or whatever you

want. Just existing in the Pern universe.

HW: Can you imagine the time it must have taken to program all that?

Every person in every town?

A: Well, the people are other players.

HW: What?

A: Yeah, you know. People from all over, just like you, playing the game.

HW: Well, fuck that.

Saturday, January 8, 2005

Unlabored Flawlessness

I have forgotten all in life that is not Ninja Gaiden. I will permit it to pass over me and through me, and when it is gone, all that is left wil be me. Until then, though, I am an automaton built for Gaiden and Gaiden only.

Like the original, good but hard. Once you figure out that they want you to use specific attacks, it gets a little easier. Not too heavy on the jumping puzzles, which is nice. A big enough world for exploration. And you're a goddamn ninja.

Thursday, January 6, 2005

Everyone knows your name.

Sorry 'bout the dearth of posts recently. Been playing way. too. much. Ninja Gaiden. It's horribly embarrassing to even bring up the title. I mean, playing videogames is geeky enough, but play games with ninjas? Geez. If you need me, I'll be getting my lunch money stolen.