the Evil Network

Not necessarily evil, but not necessarily good...

Zoinks! Magazine | Nerdflood

Monday, October 31, 2005

I didn't even post on my birthday...

Posted by Nathaniel at 8:59 AM
So, yesterday was my birthday. I'm now 29, and yet another year closer to death. Whoopee.

I'm also set to take off for Europe today. My flight leaves this afternoon, and I'm filled with some fear and a little hesitation. I'm excited to actually set foot in a European nation, don't get me wrong, but at the same time, I'm missing a few wonderful experiences at home that I won't get back, and that's a little difficult to deal with. But hey, those are the breaks when you work in big business--especially in a global company.

So, needless to say, I won't be posting much within the next two weeks. Yes, I will be gone for a whole two weeks. In my absence, Dac will be running the show. Pay attention to him. But not too much attention. I don't want to come home and find a totalitarian regime taking shape on my network.

In any case, I'll see you all around.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Greg Dean's going Culinary & needs help

Posted by Dacquin at 6:34 AM
ComicsI really don't believe Greg Dean's really a person, but an idea of a life I wish I could have. Being stuck in the basement of your parents seems like being the typical geek, or like being in jail w/ broadband.

Anyway, he's decided he's going to go to Culinary school in San Francisco. I keep thinking, will this guy ever stay in one place his whole life and live like a normal person? Then, I remind myself of my macked out crib in the basement and cry.

I doubt Greg Dean has asked for much from his fans until now. But now, in order to move to San Fran w/ Liz and follow his dream, he's asking for $25 in donations. In return, he will personally send you a Christmas card, hand-written, signed, with a small drawing inside it.

Here's to following your dream!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Online Comic Spotlight: 10K Commotion

Posted by Nathaniel at 10:16 PM
ComicsWe haven't done one of these in a while, so in honor of Dac's recent obsession with DDR, I'm adding the popular US\manga 10K Commotion, by Yukon Makoto. 10K follows the story of 10 kids from different DDR teams all entering a DDR tournament during spring break. It's a fantastic comic, both in art and writing, and even if you aren't a big DDR fan (I've never even set foot on the monstrocity, myself), it is a great read and is amazingly easy on the eyes.

Christian DDR and Mario DDR

Posted by Dacquin at 4:24 PM
I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone. First off, Dance Dance Revolution with Mario is coming out. I don't know if I'll get it or not. I mean, DDR is fun, but adding Mario to the mix seems wrong. Plus, my Cobalt Flux definately won't work on it, so I'd have to use their cheap-o brand.

Then, there's something I definately won't buy. Christian DDR. The first thing I saw was that there's 50 popular contemporary songs. After I finished laughing, I read more of it. It's for PC, and I can only imagine that it'd be a DDR knock-0ff, but I haven't even seen the game yet, so I can't really say.

I'll be back later to talk more about it, but I just wanted to push these games out in the open because of my obsessiveness w/ DDR.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Sudoku Madness

Posted by Dacquin at 5:49 PM
Want to shave a few years off your life? Want to lose that special social aspect of yourself? How about Sudoku?

Man, this game is addictive as all get out. I played it recently at my dad's house while I was on vacation and instantly wanted more and discovered this site. It's very fun and addictive.

The way to play: you'll be give a nine by nine grid with various numbers laid out. Your goal is to get the numbers 1-9 in every row, every column, and in every 3x3 grid without repeated a number. There's the site, have fun. See you in three years.

Dance Dance Revolution Tournament Episode #1

Posted by Dacquin at 4:30 PM
I'm currently practicing for an official DDR tournament that's happening November 5th in Louisville that RedOctane is sponsering (so this time it WILL happen). For anyone who wants to play in a DDR tournament, I'm going to go through some basics throughout the next few days about how to compete in a Dance Dance Revolution tournament. If you don't know about DDR, click the link I have available and read up on it. I'm going to post four requirements and four tips (at least) before the tournament begins about what you, as a player, should consider before challenging people in a tourney. Of course, I haven't yet, but I have a pretty good idea what you should be able to do.


Requirement #1: Get a grade AA on at least one seven footer.

I'm saying this with all due respect, if you want to stand a fighting chance, you want to do very well on every song you play and never miss a step. If you can't get AAs on heavy songs, you might have some trouble going up against seasoned players who could. If you can get at least a AA on one seven footer, that's a good start on your way to competing. Getting AAs on eight or nine footers are much tougher and, while doable, aren't really necessary unless you plan on competing in huge tournaments, then Requirement #1 changes to get a grade AA on at least one nine footer (sad, but true).

Tip #1: Practice songs with that requires a lot of stamina.

Practice is always key and should never be it's own tip, unless tacked along with something else. All ten footers, nine footers, and some eight footers can have a lot of air (double step arrows), chaos steps (arrows that aren't 4th or 8th step arrows), and/or streams (periods where you'll continuously have to step on arrows without a break). Playing these songs repeatedly will help build your stamina.

It took me quite a few months in order to build the stamina to tackle Max 300 (a ten footer) without losing (albiet I got a D, but I beat it). When you play tournaments, you're going to have to take on opponents that can last throughout these songs, and making it only halfway through the song isn't going to cut it. Alongside that, if you win, you're going to still need energy to keep competing. Never quit, unless you feel like you're having a heart attack. Then, that's a good stopping point.


Well, back to playing.

Google Web-based Database System Eminent?

Posted by Nathaniel at 1:45 PM
TechnologyI certainly hope so. I've been using Baseportal for some time now for my online database needs, and while you can upload data to the DB, it won't allow you to query. Here's hoping Google does it right and sets up an easy-to-use, simple-to-maintain DB system with a MySQL backend that you can query against using an ODBC connection.

In any case, more fodder for Google rules the world arguments.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Konsekai: Swordwaltzer Book

Posted by Nathaniel at 6:14 PM
ComicsXero Reynolds is releasing a book of Konsekai: Swordwaltzer art entitled K:S Vol. 0 "Blood and Blade: Sketches from the War". However, instead of collecting the first volume of the online comic he has made popular, this Vol 0 is a collection of sketches from the point of view of one soldier prior to the events of the "War of the True God" occurring in the current storyline. Images such as this and this are tell-tale signs that this is a volume definitely worth owning. Vol 0 is $11, including shipping. Currently only available in the US and Canada.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Schlock Mercenary Joins Blank Label Comics

Posted by Nathaniel at 9:21 AM
ComicsThey love Howard Taylor for his talents at business. And I hear the comic itself is pretty good, too.
Tayler brings a considerable amount of business acumen to the fledgling co-op. He co-founded the independent record company Sanctus Records in 1995, which he sold in 2000. He spent five years as the Product Manager and Product Line Manager for Novell GroupWise, a $100 million per year business.

Evil Moments in Gaming History Ep. 1

Posted by Dacquin at 8:13 AM
I wanted to start a new section called Evil Moments in Gaming History, where I post and talk about different games and then list Evil Moments that are affiliated with it.

What's an evil moment you might ask? Evil moments are parts in video games that are too difficult that no matter what you do, how many continues you waste, it's just too tough. These moments are also parts of storylines in games that make you hate the programmers for having to create them. They can also be entire games that for some reason, God allowed them to exist and breathe life, creating havoc everywhere they go. Just about anything goes.

Today, I want to start with a evil game that everyone has tried. Bubble Bobble. A game that has more than one Evil Moment attached to it.

In Bubble Bobble, you play Bub or Bob, two dinosaurs that can trap enemies with bubbles and then pounce on them to destroy them. Your ladies have been kidnapped and you have to rescue them going through one hundred levels and facing off against the guy who took them. Easy, right?

Evil Moment #1: Level 57. The hardest level in the entire game to which there's no easy cure. All your enemies are on the top of the room and there's no way to reach them except blowing your own bubbles and jumping on them to reach the ceiling. To add salt to the wound, the enemies shoot bolts down out you, guaranteeing that you'll die more than once on your trip to destroying them. It takes plenty of lives and continues to beat it.

Evil Moment #2: Level 99. The crystal ball. Alongside killing the enemies in this level, you NEED to grab the crystal ball in order to get the good ending. It's not easy with enemies blocking the path and having a limited time to grab it. If you don't, restart the game with the password you should have saved for a time like this.

Evil Moment #3: Two players gets you the good ending. This is the only game I know of that in order to get the good ending, you have to have two players. You only have one player? Tough luck buddy, get a friend. The trick to this is easy though, just pause the game, use one of your extra lives to start up Player 2. However, when you get past problem #1 & #2 to get a bad ending, you'll scream obscenities wondering why, or at least I did.

You have an evil moment you'd like to get posted? Email me at and I'll see if your moment is truly evil.

Amplitude review

Posted by Dacquin at 7:58 AM
Being a big fan of music video games, I decided, on a whim, to buy Amplitude, a sequel of Frequency by Harmonix. Popping in the game and being the 'I can play video games without instructions' kind of guy I am, I began the trek of playing probably one of my new favorite video games.

In Amplitude, the goal of the game is to beat all the music levels buy completing songs. Basically, you’ll control a ship that has three targets. In the game level, you’ll have six tracks for six different instruments: synth, drums, bass, etc. Once you complete a track, the track will destroyed temporarily and the music that’s being played on it will be played for a small amount of time while you switch to a different track to finish another track. If you score high enough in the four levels of the arena, you’ll be rewarded with a bonus song to play along with. You can choose among four different difficulties: Mellow, Normal, Brutal, and Insane (which is truly insane).

Now, how do you keep from losing a level? You’ll have tracks of songs that’ll have targets that you’ll have to hit using three buttons (L1, R1, & R2). The more tracks you complete without skipping, the bigger the multiplier you’ll gain, which results in earning more points. If you mess up or skip sections of tracks, your life meter will decrease and you'll lose your multiplier. The only way to regain your life back is by earning points and passing one of three checkpoints throughout the song.

There are a total of twenty-five songs in four difficulties, resulting in one hundred different song sequences you can play, but the fun doesn’t stop there. You can enter remix mode and create your own remixes of songs. Given the instruments used for each song, you can alter them and design your own groove. This created many hours of amusement sitting around creating new beats and rhythms. When you’re completed that task, you can play your creations and see if you’re good enough to handle your own music.

Multiplayer mode seems fun (remember, I have no one around here to multiplayer with). There are two versions of multiplayer: Game and Duel. In the regular Game mode, you and your opponents will play the tracks trying to rack up the most points and whoever scores the most points wins. In Duel mode, it resembles playing a game of Horse. One player will play a beat and the opponent must match it or else they’ll get a letter. The loser is the first person to spell Amplitude. Amplitude also features online gaming featuring both of these modes (but I don't have that capability to do that yet or else I'd test it out).

I’m been playing this game for weeks and it’s still fun and nerve racking (because I’m playing Insane, BECAUSE I AM!!!). It’s very simple, fun, interesting, and has great music attached to this package. The only problem is finding it (I had to look in many Gamestops and EB Games for this). It earns a 9.1/10.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Jack Thompson Pressing Charges Against Penny Arcade

Posted by Nathaniel at 12:42 PM
GamingI just can't get enough of the PA guys and their never-ending battle with the hilarious and possibly legally insane Jack Thompson. Here's a quote from a fax Jack sent to the Seattle Police (note: Game Politics has been Slashdotted, so might not load all too quickly for you):
"As you may know, this incredibly violent Rockstar Games product is actually a 'cop-killing' murder simulator. There are a bunch of computer geeks out there who think that the video game industry has a constitutional right to paint a bullseye on your back and on your officers' backs... That is what this criminal harassment of me by Penny Arcade is all about. They're even selling an 'I Hate Jack Thompson' t-shirt, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. These idiots have been so careless as to post on their web site what they are doing regarding the harassment of me."

"I look forward to working with your fine Police Department to shut this little extortion factory down and/or arrest some of its employees."
Extortion factory? Please, Jack. And you call yourself a lawyer.

Nintendo Partners with McDonalds for WiFi Hotspots

Posted by Nathaniel at 9:28 AM
GamingI'll let the official text speak for itself on this piece of news.
Nintendo of America on Tuesday will announce a groundbreaking partnership with Wi-Fi provider Wayport to make available free Internet access to DS owners at McDonald's restaurants across the nation. Nintendo and Wayport will offer complimentary Wi-Fi hotspots at McDonald's establishments, enabling DS owners to use the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, which launches November 14 in the states, to play online games with or against each other.
OK, no, I won't let the official text speak for itself on this. While I agree that this is a great idea from a marketing standpoint, this will be absolute hell for parents of DS-owning kids. My 3-year-old already screams at us when we pass by McDonald's on the way to healthier eating establishments, I can't imagine what this will be like for the parents of kids who want to stop in for a Happy Meal AND a wifi hotspot for some Poke-battles or whateverthehell those crazy kids are playing these days. Nintendo may soon be making a few hundred thousand mortal enemies. Only time will tell.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Jack Fails, and Gamers Soar

Posted by Nathaniel at 7:08 PM
GamingMan, this whole thing just keeps getting better. Or worse. I suppose it depends on your viewpoint in this situation.

Evidently now that Jack has reneged on his offer, citing the first attempt simply wasn't good enough, the kind boys at Penny Arcade have stepped up to the plate.
You know what, Jack? We're going to be the men you're not. You said that your insulting, illusory ten thousand dollars would go to the charity of Paul Eibeler's choice. We've got a good guess that he'd direct your nonexistant largesse toward The Entertainment Software Association Foundation, a body that has raised over six point seven million dollars over the last eight years. We've just made the donation you never would, and never meant to. Ten thousand dollars' worth. And we made it in your name.
Way to go, guys. You rock greatly.

Read earlier tripe regarding Jack here.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Jack Losing Legitimacy with Industry

Posted by Nathaniel at 10:03 PM
GamingNot that he had much to begin with. Or any. But when the very group with which you purport to have a working alliance not only denies any relationship but also condemns your actions, I think it's a definite sign you may not be headed in the right direction professionally. Quotes here are from a letter from the NIMF, the article is found on Games Industry:
"Your commentary has included extreme hyperbole and your tactics have included personally attacking individuals for whom I have a great deal of respect... Some of the people that you have publicly criticised are not only people of integrity, but are people who have worked to improve the lives of children."

Walsh goes on to note that Thompson has been using his name in correspondence even though they have no formal relationship, creating the impression "That we condone these tactics. We do not.

"The result is that our position and reputation as a research based, non-partisan, solution-focused organisation has been jeopardised.

"Consequently, I ask that you cease using the institute's or my name in any way that would give the impression that we support your efforts." Walsh also requests that Thompson remove the link to the institute's website from his own site.
For those of you unfamiliar with our friend Jack Thompson's escapades, you can find a couple of refreshers here and here.

UPDATE: nevermind. Looks like ol Jack was just kidding.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I'm in the City of Villains Stress Test Beta

Posted by Nathaniel at 11:33 PM
GamingNot that this is especially special or anything of the like. Right now, anyone with a free Fileplanet account can download the test CoV client and get on the 3-day stress test that starts at 3AM PST (Pacific Standard Time, not Please Send Tell) this Friday morning and ends at midnight Sunday.

Keep in mind, this is a stress test beta. They will be testing the loads on the servers, taking stats, and making adjustments for go-live. There will be lag. Not just any kind of annoying lag, but constant, bitter, horrendous laaaaaaaaag. Do not complain, you aren't allowed. I think it's even in the EULA. It will suck, and I can just about guarantee that you will not have fun.

That said, I'll see you in the Rogue Isles this weekend.

Yahoo IM + MSN IM = cahoots?

Posted by Savage Alien at 10:13 PM
InternetWell it's a start. Microsoft and Yahoo announced on Wednesday that starting sometime in the second quarter of 2006 Yahoo! Messenger and MSN Messenger users will be able to "see when friends are online, share IMs and emoticons, easily add new contacts from either service to their Messenger Lists, and more". There's possibly even talk between Microsoft and Time Warner to hook up with some AIM action as well.

Although interesting and useful as it may be, would this not create more "friendly competition" between the IM clients? You could use either the Yahoo or the MSN version [possibly AIM in time as well]. Although, there's always the concern that the officially IM programs are chalk full of useless ads and such. This is just one reason for people to not switch over to something like Trillian which allow you to chat with anyone on almost any IM service. I used to belong to the Trillian crowd, did it for several years. However, that was long ago; in the more recent years I have converted back to MSN Messenger seeing as how I could find practically all my contacts on the one service. Several hacks can make the annoyances go away so I have never bothered to look back.

In the end, Microsoft will no doubt earn points from Yahoo! IM gamers come the release of the XBOX 360 which will have MSN Messenger integration, so now Yahoo! users can chat on the 360 and not feel left.

For more information and background check out this article.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Oh noes! CoH is teh NERFED!!11!1!!! [City of Heroes]

Posted by Nathaniel at 9:11 PM
GamingTwo links here: current discussion thread and original discussion thread (now locked). Everyone cries foul. Many jump ship. No one is being logical. News at 11.

Such is the case when devs mention major sweeping changes to a game's architecture just after releasing major sweeping changes to the game's architecture a couple weeks prior. For those of you who care to know more about the ramifications of this most recent change, I suggest you head over to Eric's place for a very detailed explanation that is helpful for those who aren't currently familiar with the CoH game system. Over at Evil Avatar, I had nicer things to say regarding this recent news, mostly uninspired ramblings. But in retrospect, and reading a few very thoughtful and intelligent posts on the subject, I changed course. I hated the new change being implemented (currently being referred to as "Enhancement Diversification", or ED for short). I was vehemently against it. But now, I've changed course again.

I'm learning to accept change. Bring it on.

Here's why I say that. You see, currently you can put up to 6 enhancement slots on any given power. For your offensive powers, you usually slot about 5 damage enhancements and maybe 1 accuracy. For defensive powers, you slot all 6 with damage resistance. There's plenty of enhancements to choose from, but that's the way most people choose to slot.

One of the things I love about CoH is the fact that I can login and create a unique character. He/she can look however I decide, but beyond that simple fact, there are the powersets. I can select an archetype and then from that selection, there are about 5-9 choices for primary powersets. And once I have that, I can select a secondary powerset from a range of between 4-7 different sets. Each set is (somewhat) unique to each archetype (there are some that cross over, but not many). Beyond the primary and secondary sets, you can also select from pool powersets as you level your character. There are 12 pool powersets with 4 powers in each. Needless to say, there is a lot of variety in the gameplay. Within these sets there are powers that can only have one type of enhancement on them. This makes a system alteration such as ED seem remarkably idiotic.

Now, bear with me here. In the pool powers, there's a power called Hasten. It's a power that, while active, all your other powers recharge more quickly so you can use them again at a much faster rate. Terribly useful. There's also another power called Stamina. That's a pool power that makes it so that using your other powers uses up less juice (actually, it allows you to recover your juice more quickly, but it's about the same effect). Also terribly useful.

Here's the thing: everyone takes Hasten. Everyone takes Stamina. Both powers can only be slotted with one type of enhancement. That makes everyone angry, as it basically means their most important pool powers will now be significantly less useful.

And I think that's the point.

Now, instead of relying on a couple of pool powers that everyone takes, you decide to save the power space and do a better job of slotting and enhancing your existing powers. You may do less damage per turn, you may not recharge as quickly, and you may end up spending a bit more juice in a battle. But that's where the strategy comes in. Now, instead of playing a cookie-cutter build that everyone else is using, you have to figure out for yourself the best way to play your character. For you.

Maybe that's why everyone is in such an uproar about this. Once active, it makes it so that you actually have to think about your character, put some actual thought into your build, and--God forbid--actually pay attention while battling instead of running headlong into a large mob of enemies and feeling pretty good about the fact that your build is basically invincible. That isn't the way to play the game.

I love the thought that I need to actually be careful. I love the thought that I am not indestructible. I love the thought that I am not a juggernaut, because I'm not. And I shouldn't be. And there's a lot of people out there who just can't bear that thought.

Sucks to be them.

/end rant

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

3000 free trials for City of Heroes

Posted by Dacquin at 7:13 PM
GamingDr. Setebos surprisingly hasn't posted this yet. He must be playing City of Heroes as we speak. Anyway, there's a giveaway of 3000 free accounts for City of Heroes. You'll get a free 14 day trial to test drive it. I personally don't play or care for MMORPGs, so naturally I'm a shoe-in to win.

Here's what I mean. If you want to win a contest, you play ones you have no desire to win. I once was in a drawing w/ 9 girls to win a bag of Avon cosmetics because I sold over $100 of product for my club. To their dismay, I won the bag of cosmetics, something I didn't need.

Food for thought.

Edit: I gave the cosmetics to my mother for Mother's Day. I did not use them for personal use. You weirdos.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Claymation Better than Fan Service?

Posted by Nathaniel at 10:18 PM
Movies and TelevisionDoes anyone else find this amusing? Cause I do.

1. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit $16.0/$16.0
2. Flightplan $10.7/$60.9
3. In Her Shoes $10.0/$10.0
4. Two for the Money $8.7/$8.7
5. The Gospel $7.5/$7.5
6. Tim Burton's Corpse Bride $6.5/$42.1
7. Waiting... $6.0/$6.0
8. Serenity $5.3/$18.0
9. A History of Violence $5.0/$16.6
10. Into the Blue $4.8/$13.9
11. The Greatest Game Ever Played $3.9/$8.6
12. Just Like Heaven $3.4/$43.6
I took my 3-year-old son to see Wallace and Gromit this past weekend, and it was truly a treat. We're all big W&G fans, and in addition to that, the short Madagascar penguins movie at the beginning just made the whole thing that much better.

I have a friend who is a huge Joss Whedon fan, and this is really just to piss him off.

Happy Birthday, Dacquin!

Posted by Nathaniel at 8:55 PM
Evil NetworkDac let it slip in an email earlier that today is his birthday. Sucker. I don't know how old the man is, but judging from his nostalgic tastes in gaming, I'm thinking he can probably rent a car in most states by now.

Wish the old man a happy birthday!

PS: I shall take the liberty at this moment to note that MY birthday is a scant 20 days from today. Truly a momentous occasion it shall be as it marks the year prior to my blessed 30th birthday. That grand year--in 20-ought-six--will be a monumentally auspicious event, being that the day upon which I turn 30 shall be none other than the 30th of the month. Spellbinding!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Gaming Nostalgia - Scorched Earth (PC)

Posted by Dacquin at 5:57 AM
GamingOk, now, no matter how new or old a gamer you are, you have to play this game. It's a requirement. Scorched Earth is the inspiration of those lovely Worms game.

Before you complain that you downloaded it and it looks incredibly old, let me tell you something. It is. But, hear me out.

In Scorched Earth, you play as a tank against other tanks (up to ten) on the playing field. They can be your friends playing the tanks or you can just take a chance against the computer. You can purchase power ups before you go into battle (nukes, napalm, shields) and when you enter the gaming field, it's all fun.

Your have to factor some things into your shots. You have to judge your power, consider the wind, and, if you've changed the surface tension, you can bounce the shots off the wall.

It's very simple, very easy to pick up. This is only shareware and for some reason, it still costs $20 to purchase, but it's still good shareware.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Complex Design aids in beating We Love Katamari

Posted by Dacquin at 6:28 AM
GamingFirst off, I played We Love Katamari and it wasn't as good as Katamari Damacy, so I'm not going to bother with a review of it. Basically, the music REALLY stinks, and nothing's changed gamewise except you can play as the cousins. I guess I was expecting something different to really catch me, but nothing did.

Anyway, this guy rigged up a machine to beat We Love Katamari. Just looking at it makes me laugh. It kinda demeans the game as being too simple, but I mean, someone actually constructed this contraption. It's hilarious. There's some interesting video to watch.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Psychonauts Review

Posted by Dacquin at 9:01 PM

Well, that’s my review. Oh, you want reasons? *sigh* You really want reasons? You won’t just buy it because I say so, despite it being the best game I’ve played in a very long time? Fine.

In the game, you play as Rasputin (or Raz), who sneaks into a Psychonauts camp in an attempt to join the Psychonauts, a elite group that uses their psychic power for the good of humanity. After he’s accidentally discovered hiding in some bushes, the instructors of the camp allow him to stay for a few days until his parents come. However, things start to go awry (not that you weren’t expecting that).

First off, there’s so many kids and characters to this story, it’s fun to learn about who everyone is and what they excel at psychicly. There are many places to explore around the campground, but you’ll get to explore into people’s minds to try and solve people’s mental problems in the games. This is where you have to praise a mind like Tim Schafer (who’ the designer of this game). Each mind is uniquely crafted and well designed that doesn’t bring a sense of redundancy in any level that you’ll play.

You’ll gain psychic abilities during the game (through earning badges, this is camp after all) that’ll you’ll have to use to get through certain areas. Many boss battles will require you to use your abilities in order to exploit their weaknesses. Oh, and the boss battles are excellent. I haven’t had battles that haven’t require quick button smashing, but quick thinking and utilization of your psychic abilities to their fullest potential in order to take them out.

During the game, you collect mind fragments, mental cobwebs, and PSI cards that will enhance your abilities. For example, your PSI blast, when upgraded, will hit multiple enemies. Also, after ranking up high enough, your levitation ball will become a wrecking ball that will damage anything it touches.

As far as extras, if you look hard enough, there are a few things in the game that fun to search for. In each level, there are five different pieces of luggage and tags for each of them. When you collect all five, you’ll unlock designer sketches and drawings. There are also vaults in each level, that when you open, you’ll be shown a slideshow about the small portion of the history of that character.

I’m done explaining my decision. Buy it. Now. 9.8/10

Current Writing Project

Posted by Nathaniel at 8:57 PM
Books and LiteratureI've started writing again, and I've posted the first two parts to a superhero-themed short story on my writing projects blog. The project is tentatively titled Rain and Hail, and is currently available linked from the Pencil Network. I'm somewhat serializing this project, posting new parts as they are written (and quite possibly REwriting old parts after writing NEW parts).

Enjoy! And please feel free to let me know what you think.

Dance Dance Revolution Extreme 2

Posted by Dacquin at 8:32 PM
GamingBeing a DDR fan, I was ready to go and buy this game once it came out. I expected to play thirty songs a night so that I could unlock everything in a little over a week. When I popped this game in, I quickly realized this was not the DDR I’ve played. While beginners will have more fun playing this, for the intermediate or expert DDR gamer, it’ll seem a bit tedious.

The game is based around Dance Master mode. In DDR Extreme, the Dance Master mode had one hundred levels of difficult challenges of having to play through songs with different modifiers and passing songs with certain requirements. In DDR Extreme 2, in order for you to gain access to songs, you have to play through Dance Master to unlock them. This wouldn’t be so bad, but for experienced players, that means having to play through the beginner and light areas in order to get to the harder levels. Speaking as a hardcore DDR fan, I was incredibly bored. However, for a beginner, it’ll get them into the groove of DDR.

When you play any songs, whether in Dance Master or playing courses or free play, you’ll earn points for the shops: a new feature in DDR. At these shops, you can purchase anything that you’ve unlocked in Dance Master Mode: songs, costumes for you characters, hints on how to find secrets in Dance Master, etc. While it’s fun to shop, it’s a process of having to earn points that’s tedious, especially if you want the character’s costumes (100,000 points per costume, which is the same as paying for 15 songs and I’d rather have the songs).

There’s about seventy-three great songs in this mix, which should keep you busy a long time. Seasoned players will welcome Sakura, Paranoia Max, and the hardest DDR song in existence, Paranoia Max Survivor. For new players, there are many recognizable songs that should get you into the swing of things. They’ve included Nonstop mode and Endless mode, alongside a new Survival mode and Combo Challenge mode. Survival mode is playing nonstop until you get 4 Goods, while Combo Challenge will end the game if you even get below a Great.

From what I’ve heard about online play (I haven’t gotten to try it yet), you can pick who you play, but you can’t pick the song. I don’t know whose idea in programming that was, but that ruins the fun (especially if you aren’t good enough on the harder songs and you go up against someone who really excels in it).

Well, despite steep prices in the shop, I’ve really grown attached to this version. It’s probably the best DDR to date, in my opinion. 8.2/10

'Halo' Movie Now has Potential

Posted by Nathaniel at 3:42 PM
Movies and TelevisionThose concerned that the upcoming Halo movie was going to fall prey to the same fate as previous video game movies (ie: major suckage), may now have a reason to celebrate. Peter Jackson has been tapped as Executive Producer for 'Halo'.
Bungie's Joseph Staten says, "A few weeks ago we were lucky enough to partner with two tremendous Producers from Universal, Mary Parent and Scott Stuber. In the short time they've been on board, Mary and Scott have joined with Peter Schlessel to accomplish unimaginably wonderful things. Example? They've secured an Executive Producer to help guarantee the creative integrity and technical excellence of the Halo film. ... And that Executive Producer's name is Peter Jackson. ... Yes. The Peter Jackson, Executive Producing the Halo film."
Word is that Jackson is also bringing in his WETA Digital special effects company onto the project as an added fanboy bonus.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Nobody tells me these things

Posted by Dacquin at 6:19 PM
You couldn't tell me there was a Serious Sam 2 demo out there? I had to find this out myself?

Oh, and you might be wondering where the Friday Adventure game review is (that one of you). Well, I'm finishing Psychonauts and then Dance Dance Revolution Extreme 2 came out. So, I've been game hungry lately. Tuesday, I'll have a review of both games, I promise.

We've moved!