Tuesday, November 30, 2004


In a move guaranteed to win them Gamist of the Year Honors, Konami has released Metal Gear Solid 3, the world's first jungle-stealth-sim/literacy-teaching-software-tool IN THE WORLD.

In Metal Gear Solid 3, you play as Snake, who is not yet solid. The year is The Cold War, and you are dropped behind enemy lines in a jungle OF YOUR OWN MAKING, where you must crawl around and complete a mission the objectives of which I couldn't be buggered to figure out. You essentially run around in a grainy jungle with an ill-defined walkmesh, sneaking up on people and cutting their throats. And by "sneaking up on people and cutting their throats," I mean, "talking on that goddamn earphone radio for twelve hours at a time."

Let me explain to you how awesome this is.


Like the groundbreaking Metal Gear Solid, MGS3 is filled with all the verbose, rambling talking bits that made that game and its sequel drag on like a dog with one leg chasing a meat-wrapped squirrel. You and your X button will have many long, intimate nights of banging ahead of you, so buy the flowers now.

A typical exchange in MGS3:


SNAKE: Yes? Who is it?
MITSUKO-CHAN: Snake, where are you? Can you talk?
SNAKE: Uhm, I'm sorta in the middle of fighting a wee snake so I can eat it, can I get you back?
MITSUKO-CHAN: Why don't you want to talk to me ever?
SNAKE: Uhm, what?
MITSUKO-CHAN: You always blow me off and then never call back!! Waaaah!
SNAKE: Well, I'm busy here, cutting people's throats and smearing black makeup on myself....
MITSUKO-CHAN: Did you know that roses grow in cemetaries?
SNAKE: What does that have to do--
MITSUKO-CHAN: I like popcorn!
SNAKE: I don't get your--
MITSUKO-CHAN: Do you like my dress?! I made it myself!
SNAKE: Uhm, Mitsuk--
MITSUKO-CHAN: Oh, it's the boss.
THE BOSS: Snake?
SNAKE: Yeah?
THE BOSS: I have to tell you, Flaccid Mongoose is your third cousin.
SNAKE: I figured.
THE BOSS: Also, your mission has been destroyed. America is cancelled.
SNAKE: Okay.
THE BOSS: Now, get out there and do her proud!
SNAKE: Okay, Boss, talk to you--
THE BOSS: Oh, Mitsuko wants to say bye. Hang on.
SNAKE: Oh, for crying out--
MITSUKO-CHAN: Snake! Did you see my blog?
SNAKE: No, I--
MITSUKO-CHAN: I put up pictures of Ploopie-chan!
SNAKE: That's great, I--


And you die in real life.

Seriously. Your head explodes out of empathy for Snake, whom you politely imagine blowing his own brains out all over the forest and then smearing himself with them to help his goddamned camo score.

The much-touted snake-eating is just you walking up to an animal, whacking it with your knife, and then watching as it turns into a rotating health power-up. Then you walk over it, eating it by stomping on it with your boot.

Then again, that's entirely based on the crappy demo. Maybe the final game is better. Companies often release purposefully crappy demos just to throw people off the scent of how good the final game will be. Right?

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Game Magazine Cover For Sale!

I received the latest issue of a popular game magazine in the mail yesterday. Out of respect for the remaining good people on the magazine's editorial staff, I won't divulge the publication's name (let's call it "GameCool"), but those who read this blog (all three of you) know what I'm talking about.

When I got the magazine, I glanced at the cover, and I was confused, because the issue seemed to not have a cover. I flipped it over and over, looking for the bright colors and hyperbole that usually mark a game magazine's cover, but I couldn't find it. The issue was in a polybag, even though it was a subscription issue, and I could see the onsert, the booklet often included to add extra value to the newsstand editions. I figured that maybe there were two onserts, and one was mistakenly packed in front of the cover.

When I opened the polybag, I was wrong. The "second onsert" was not mistakenly packed over the cover. It was deliberately GLUED in front of the issue's cover. And it wasn't an onsert. It was a four-page advertising booklet for Call of Duty for Xbox.

What's wrong with that, you ask? Well, not much, except that the ad bypasses long-held industry concerns about magazines "selling" their cover to advertisers (A company pays $X,000 dollars for ads in the issue and the magazine obligingly sticks that company's game on the cover, complete with a shill of a cover feature). I know for a fact that this particular magazine never sold its cover, but this issue is a gray area. The cover is left intact, but this shameless ad is glued over it. In effect, the reader sees a "cover" for Call of Duty and a "cover feature" which is an ad for the game, even before he sees the carefully selected cover image for the actual magazine. This magazine has, essentially, whored out its cover for advertising dollars.

With all due respect to the good people who still work there, especially in the Editorial department, that is complete crap.

Sure, this only seems to occur in the subscription copies, which are already sold no matter what the cover is, but it's not the actual thing that really bothers me. It's that as a game journalist in a former life I fought against this type of corporate prostitution (by "fought against," I mean, "complained about loudly"), and here it is. As sales and marketing creep over the Ad/Edit line in game magazines, these magazines become more and more like advertorial.

The cover of the magazine was superceded with a four-page ad. I had to tear the add off of the issue to get rid of it. I hope whoever sold that ad can retire off that money, because they just sold off one more bit of the integrity of that magazine.

Under this magazine's new management (a CEO change a few months ago), the magazine has gotten thinner. A sister publication (let's call it "GameSlice") that showed great promise months ago has, to no fault of its fantastic editorial staff, become far thinner and with a much greater ad-to-edit ratio. A friend who knows nothing about the inside world of game magazines pointed out that the latest issue of that magazine seemed like it was all ads. That issue is so thin it seems like a brochure. Also, since the change in management, GameSlice has grown in boobie-to-content ratio, which is sad, because the magazine has fantastic editors who write great articles that really comment on gaming in a way that other magazines don't. When you're reading an insightful article about gaming on one page, and on the other page there's a woman in her underwear rubbing an Xbox controller on her ass, it's distracting. And here, the boobies mandate had been silenced in the making of the premiere issue of GameSlice, but now the boobies are back.

Despite the work of some great editors, marketing is taking over the game magazines. Yeah, GameCool can say they didn't sell their cover, but they did. I had to flip through four pages of ads to even get to the damn cover. It's pretty nearly disgusting, and I feel bad for the people who have to work in edit and design for the company that did this. Because you can only fight a bull-headed publisher for so long before you can't fight any more. I know.

I feel your pain, guys, I really do.

Two Out of Three Foster Children in Texas on Psychotropic Medication

Two Out of Three Foster Children in Texas on Psychotropic Medication

There's no joke for this. Buy stock in Ritalin and Zoloft now.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

AWESOME HOW-TO: Fixing a hard drive

Harddisk Tuning with Lego (Hardware)

Monday, November 22, 2004


CNN.com - Poll: Majority gives Bush good job approval mark - Nov 22, 2004

I suck at spelling "existence."

The New York Times > Business > Your Money > Digital Domain: When a Video Game Stops Being Fun

The New York Times > Business > Your Money > Digital Domain: When a Video Game Stops Being Fun

Sums it up.

AWESOME REVIEW: Vampire: the Masquerade - Bloodlines

When was the last time you played a good adventure game? I mean a really good one that made you think and really made you sit and consider for a few minutes what the outcome of your actions will be? When was the last time you were given a quest, an investigation, and had to actually FIGURE OUT WHAT WAS GOING ON?

For me, it was approximately 10pm on Friday, November 19, when I finally intimidated my computer into running Vampire.

On my system, the game sometimes runs fine, and sometimes it's like a slideshow. Whenever it accesses a new line of VO in dialog it skips. Yesterday, for some reason, it got really chuggy (we're talking seconds per frame) when I looked at a particular building in Downtown LA, but quitting and restarting the game fixed it.

But man. The game makes me feel smart, and it makes me feel like I'm doing my own thing, and that, if not for my own personal intelligence, the world of the vampires of LA would be kaput.

I suck at investigation and puzzles. I'm the guy who, when stuck in an adventure game, tries the old "Use everything in my inventory on everything else in my inventory" trick, even though it never works. Ah, so I can't glue the paper clip to the old man's toupee to create a trigger for the magnet-gun I can probably make by combining the battery with the lead pipe? Okay, fine. Off to the FAQ I go.

Many other games, especially Xbox ones, take the opposite approach. You get brain-steaming quests like, "Go to the cabinet on the left, open it (the combination is "hidden" on the side of the cabinet in big spray-painted letters), take the third pentagonal-shaped medallion on the right, and go place it in the appropriate divot on the side of the organ in the basement." The plot giver usually tells you everything you need to know in these, and the biggest leap of logic is figuring out the gaming equivalent of "The square peg goes in the square hole."

Vampire, on the other hand, is a happy medium. Here's an example that is probably filled with spoilers. You're asked to go look into an outbreak of disease, because it's likely there's a vampire behind it, and if mortals look into the cause of the mysterious outbreak, they might figure out that vampires exist. You're told to look for this one guy, who lives in this apartment building, or to talk to homeless people around town.

You go to the apartment building. You don't know where the guy lives, really. If you're observant and a little smart, you'll check the mailboxes and learn that someone with a similar name (If his name was Sean M., you might see S. Molloy on the box) lives in apartment 4. You can also find this out by hacking the apartment manager's computer, in which case you also learn that this guy has been visiting an upstairs neighbor who, from the personal notes left by the manager, is a bit of a slut. Interesting. Now we know that our contact, who may have mysteriously contracted the disease, has been seeing a slut in the same building. You go up to the apartment, and you find a corpse, but there's a message on the answering machine--it's that slut, thanking the man for a good time. And she seems sincere. Note that the message doesn't mention where she lives, just her name and the passcode to her door. You have to actually go find her apartment number on the manager's comuter. So you go to her apartment, using the passcode in the message, and you look around. You find the woman, who tells you about another woman whom she thought was a bit weird. She tells you the woman's name and where she thinks the woman lives. She then shares her concern for the man, your contact, who is dead two floors down from the same disease this chick has. Wanna lie to her and tell her he's fine? She seems worried that he might not call her again....

In case you can't tell, this is AWESOME. If this had been almost any other upcoming RPG, the quest would have been different. You would have gone to your contact's apartment, found his corpse, and run into the woman on the way out, who would have told you about a mini-boss fight in an apartment nearby.

For some reason, there is a culture of stupid built around upcoming RPGs. Vampire pierces through that by not only giving you compelling dialog choices (Do I side with the bitchy Baroness of Santa Monica or her cute but insane twin sister? Whichever one I don't support is likely to die, and they've both done good and bad things for me in the recent past) but also making you use that god-given gray noodle in your head. What good is putting a puzzle in a game if there's an NPC standing right next to it going, "One of the doors always lies, and the other always tells the truth. The answer is 'The one on the left.'"? Why not just give a "Solve Puzzle" button?

The concern is that the player might give up if it's too hard, and then he might not see the story. Well, Vampire solves that problem by not having one. Well, not really. The difference between Vampire and Morrowind is that Vampire is actually pretty linear, but it seems nonlinear because you can follow several different lines at once. It's more like "Multilinear." You can follow the Prince's plot while you look into the disease and try to track down a guy who escaped the local bounty hunter. You can look into why everyone hates the Thin-bloods even as you look for clues as to the identity of a serial killer who is on the loose. It feels like you're writing your own story, because the game is like life: There is never one single epic storyline going on at one time. Instead, you're following your own agenda, agreeing to the Prince's mission whenever you're ready, and doing things in the meantime like taking out a Russian mafia leader so the local bar owner will include you as a silent partner or trying to find the Tremere Chantry given only an extremely cryptic clue only minutes from beginning the game.

A lot of games have small side-quests branching off of a main storyline: You are the chosen one, setting out from an unassuming village to stop an evil bad guy from ruining the world. There's a twist, and then you keep on going. The story is the incentive, and the twist is there almost because it's expected to be there, like in an M. Night Shyamalan movie. In Vampire, there is twist after twist after twist, and they're all cool and logical, and they're not of the "Oh shit, it turns out my face was my ass THE WHOLE TIME!" variety. They're subtle quirks in character, gentle twists of fate, and good ol' fashioned climactic moments that don't rely on kicking you in the balls with their twistiness just to get you to pay attention. It is so awesome to be part of an unfolding story, rather than just a performer skiing in the wake of an epic tale written by the developers. Because, damnit, as good as some of these RPG stories are, they're never as good as the one I can tell on my own terms. Vampire doesn't let me tell my own tale the way Morrowind was meant to, but it sure does a hell of a good job making me feel in control.

And it makes me feel smart. I feel smart for noticing the mailboxes on the wall, which didn't have some kind of damn glowy effect on them to show me that they're important. I feel smart for finding the Tremere Chantry. I feel smart for following a trail of clues from a man's bail bond reciept to a female vampire whose guilt pangs made her leave her newly Embraced lover before he could figure out what he had become. Damnit, I like to feel smart just as much as I like to feel awesome, which this game also does. Because my Ventrue can make people die by looking at them. That's about as awesome as it gets.

So yeah. Vampire is awesome. It runs like crap on my machine, which is an Athlon 1.34 with 960 or so RAM and a GeForce 4 card, but whatever.

For every letter in the game's title, I give this game an 8. That makes the final rating a 240 or so out of 10.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

TheStar.com - Should Canada indict Bush?

TheStar.com - Should Canada indict Bush?



So, today is the release date for Half-Life 2, the Halo 2 of PC games. The game apparently involves shooting at little scampery aliens that latch onto people antd turn them into zombies, as well as an epic struggle against a giant robot machine of death. Sound familiar? To be fair, Half-Life 2's video demo came out long before Halo 2's ripped it off for its single-player game, so I give the points to Half-Life 2 this time.

Because every man, woman, and child on this earth is getting Half-Life 2 beamed directly into their brains today, there's no need to review it. You will be forced to play this game by your secret masters, and you will like it. Pay no attention to the vile GameSpot and their somewhat honest rating of 92%. A shooter's rating is directly proportional to how long you've know about and been waiting for it, with a factor for how good its prequel was. In this case, 6 years + awesome first game = SERVICE MEANS CITIZENSHIP.

When you play Half-Life 2, your pants will likely burst into flames. Don't blame me when it happens.

Human toll has some arguing for ban on cell phone use at the wheel

Human toll has some arguing for ban on cell phone use at the wheel

I'm just saying....

Monday, November 15, 2004

ABC News: Condoleezza Rice to Be Named Secretary of State

ABC News: Condoleezza Rice to Be Named Secretary of State

I think my face is bleeding.

Oh wait. Those are tears.

Microsoft video game "a damning condemnation of the Bush Administration"

Microsoft video game "a damning condemnation of the Bush Administration"

Before you become concerned, read all the way down to this:

"August Caesar used to declare his ultra-rich opponents "enemies of the state" and seize their fortunes for the treasury. Of course, I am not suggesting that W pursue this course of action against his decadent dissidents...just that Gates, Soros, et al read their history."

Then, see article linked below about how Jesus speaks through the Republicans.

Why does Jesus hate America?

Saturday, November 13, 2004

HALO 2: No, Seriously

Okay, Bungie. I'm on to you.

You may have fooled millions into thinking that you just released the shiniest shit ever to grace the pot, but I know better. You made a pretty good game, but c'mon, admit it: You know this game could have been better.

I'm not going to bash Halo 2, because even though no one will see this, I have to be real and say that I enjoy the game to a certain extent. Some of the scenarios are great, with plenty of wide-open gameplay and action. Just, man, some of the parts of this game are like asking for Transformers for Christmas and getting GoBots instead. It just ain't right.

I know you can do better, because the hype has led me to believe that you're an inhumanly awesome developer, and not just simply brilliant like most others. Because Microsoft's hype engine had everyone thinking this would be the best game ever, you have some responsibility to make sure it rates in the 90th percentile, at least.

It's just not that good, Bungie. It's a 90% at best. Parts of it *cough*Arbiter*cough* drag it down to well below that score.

Your biggest problem is that you truly believe that repetition is good enough. You think that the gamers don't deserve better than the SPOILER. The SPOILER were cool once, Bungie, but now they're annoying little bastards that are ridiculously hard to shoot, not because they're challenging, but because WE'RE USING A GODDAMN ANALOG JOYSTICK.

Your levels are filled with interesting action and things going on, but the levels themselves have roughly the detail of Rise of the Triad. Remember that game? You could dual-wield weapons in that, too. Now I'm supposed to be a member of an advanced race of aliens, and I'm running around in what looks like a shanty-town-gone-metropolis, with cardboard walls and a stupid elevator with holes in the floor so I can fall to my death.

Hey, Bungie. Remember the last time reloading because you fell through a hole in the floor during a firefight was fun? Neither do I.

You shorted the levels, which was cool, because there are usually some good things happening to distract us from how crappy the levels look. You did great things with the vehicles, making them actually fun to use and viable targets of jackitude. Using the human weapons feels great, even if the alien weapons make me feel like I'm shooting toothpaste at the cavity creeps. You present organic areas where gamers can approach problem solving in whatever way they see best. But we were told this game would rock our socks clean off, and all it did in the end was crumple them a bit toward our ankles.

Now, I know there are tons of people who disagree. Some people believe that Halo 2 is the greatest thing since Jesus, because it is the sequel to Halo 1. For the original Halo, you showed us that a mediocre shooter for PC could be the best shooter ever on a console. You innovated, by making the controller work for an FPS. For Halo 2, though, you sat on your arrogant laurels and gave us more of the same, almost literally. You spent years to make an add-on pack.

When Fable didn't live up to its hype, Molyneux came out and apologized, not for failing to deliver, but for making such lofty promises. I don't want such an apology from you (and, indeed, it wasn't needed from Molyneux, either), but Bungie, you're no damn Molyneux. Molyneux has ambition and produced something new and different, if not as new or different as he'd promised. Halo 2 is exactly Halo, and that's good enough for some people, but it's not good enough for us all.

So yeah. You can't fool me, Bungie. I bought your game, but I'm not making love to it.

If you need me, I'll be off playing The Bard's Tale and wondering who in my town will have Vampire: Bloodlines first.

Friday, November 12, 2004


The momentous release of Bungie's Halo 2, foretold in the book of Isaiah, has forced some in the video game community to consider recalibrating the standards of how games are rated.

"The problem," states Tim Driver, Associate Managing Editor of Game Awesome magazine, "is that Halo 2 is touted as the 'Best Game of All Time.' Considering that, reviewers have to keep that in mind as we go forward."

Most reviewing systems can be boiled down to a system of 100 points. Ratings range from 1 to 10, 1 to 5, 1 to 10 with half-points, etc., but they all place the best games at the top and the worst at the bottom. With Halo 2, the best game ever created by the hands of man, this ratings scale is in jeopardy.

"The editor who reviewed Halo 2 for us," says Driver, "originally rated the game at an 85%. Of course, being the best game ever, Halo 2's rating was bumped up to 97.8%, because, well, the best game ever should be at the top of the scale." This created a problem, as, according to Driver, "the scale just wasn't adequate. I Halo 2, the best game ever, is only an 87% according to the perfectly scientific reviewing criteria we've established to serve the readers of Game Awesome, then shouldn't that mean that the highest rating on our scale should be 87%?"

Driver rightly worries that such a move could jeopardize the traditional 100% scale that drives the reviewing industry, and it could create chaos in the streets. Game Awesome's 87% might not correspond directly with the appropriate scales of Game Focus, Game Lucky, or the Japanese Bi-weekly Video Game True Fenky Weekly. Reviewers for each of those magazines had different gut ratings for Halo 2, each of which was altered to the high 98th percentile to avoid just such a recalibration. If one magazine's 87% has to match another's 74%, or another's 89%, then, according to Driver, "we have a disaster that rivals the Centigrade/Fahrenheit debacle. No one knows what temperature it really is, and we think our readers should always know how 'hot' a given game is at a given time."

In the meantime, reviewers continue to give best-game-ever Halo 2 top scores, despite the game's obvious flaws, in a valiant attempt to keep the squishy center on which game reviews are based from breaking up. "The people need to be able to quantify technical and artistic merit on a reliable numeric scale," says Driver. "To expect anything else is ludicrous."

British Army has Sexy Party

News Of the World - Online Edition

Replace every instance of the word "disgusting" with "hot," and it's a lot more accurate.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Yahoo! News - Gonzales to Succeed Ashcroft, Sources Say

Yahoo! News - Gonzales to Succeed Ashcroft, Sources Say

Oh god. Read on:

"He also wrote a controversial February 2002 memo in which Bush claimed the right to waive anti-torture law and international treaties providing protections to prisoners of war. That position drew fire from human rights groups, which said it helped led to the type of abuses uncovered in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal."


mcall.com - Jesus speaks through the Republicans

mcall.com - Jesus speaks through the Republicans

Finally someone had the balls to say it.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Yahoo! News - Ashcroft, Evans Resign From Bush Cabinet

Yahoo! News - Ashcroft, Evans Resign From Bush Cabinet

In other news, Destro rushes to complete law school.

Oak Ridge teacher forms business around flesh-eating beetles, skulls - Tuesday, 11/09/04

Oak Ridge teacher forms business around flesh-eating beetles, skulls - Tuesday, 11/09/04

Believe it or not, this is the coolest article you'll ever see in your entire life. The teacher's name is the best part.

BioWare wins Billboard's Developer of the Year award - Xbox News at GameSpot

BioWare wins Billboard's Developer of the Year award - Xbox News at GameSpot

So awesome.

Monday, November 08, 2004


With Halo 2 coming out tonight at Midnight (Terror level is elevated to AWESOME), I felt it would do us all some good to take a look at how far we've come, now that we're on the verge of the future. Tonight we'll take a wee look back to the year 2004 and explore the world of... Fable.

Remember this game? In Fable, you took the role of a young man whose village is razed by mysterious brigands. Yes, BRIGANDS. These weren't just regular, run-of-the-mill brigands, either. These were FAST BRIGANDS. And they had fire!

As you played the game, you could become anyone you wanted, as long as it was male, had brown hair, and looked a bit lumpy in the extremities. As you grew up, you would wander in a straight line through tiny little areas. And, true to the marketing, every action had a consequence, usually a loading screen.

Remember how you could do whatever you wanted? You could help villagers or kill them, and true to the Actions/Consequences thing, anyone you killed would eventually respawn as if nothing ever happened. Then you could go kill them again. The coolest thing was that you had two ways to become either good or evil: 1) You could go through the game laboriously doing good or evil deeds, watching your morality meter slowly crawl left or right, or 2) You could go to the appropriate temple and drop a bunch of money. Which is a lot like actual church, come to think of it. Damn this was a realistic game.

The NPCs in Fable also reacted to the things you did, calling you "Chicken Chaser" regardless of whether you chased chickens at all, and if you paid money to a specific vendor, the people, wherever they may be in the world, would immediately call you whatever name you paid the vendor for. Consequences! You could also get hair, facial hair, or tattoos, also with consequences: Sometimes your bald character bought the ponytail hairdo, and the consequence was that he suddenly had a big damn ponytail.

There were other consequences, as well. If you tried to play the game without investing in ranged attacks, the consequence was that you couldn't win the game no matter how hard you tried. It really made you think about your choices: "Hrmm. I could continue to put points into melee stuff, but it would ironically gimp me all to hell in the end." Sweet.

Oh, another consequence: The consequence for winning the game was that you got to sit through 24 FREAKING DAYS WORTH OF CREDITS. It's like the entire population of India worked on the game. Which isn't that unlikely, really.

Strangely, Fable came and went without much fanfare; it enjoyed a couple of weeks in the limelight, but then it "petered" out. Get it? I said "petered." Like, Peter Molyneux. Cuz he was the...

Never mind.

I Hang My Head in Shame.

It occurs to me that I wrote a Halo 2 review without using the words, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." I'd like to rectify that, but alas, I fear the damage is done.

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | US ready to put weapons in space

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | US ready to put weapons in space

I can't think of any funny jokes for this one. We're all going down the shitter.

Saturday, November 06, 2004


I've spent a fair amount of time talking to Brian Fargo about The Bard's Tale. Most of these conversations went something like this:

Me: You should make The Bard's Tale funny.
Him: That's a good idea!
Me: Good to hear it. Now keep mowing.

It's hard to tell if he took my suggestion, because sometimes the game seems funny, and sometimes it doesn't. It's like meeting a girl whose right side of the face is like, Monica Bellucci's face, and the left side is Gary Sinese. When she looks one way, she's hot, and when she looks the other way, you throw up just a little in your mouth.

It's sad, because The Bard's Tale has some really awesome stuff in it. It's an attempt at bringing some new stuff to RPGs, which is about as easy as trying to wear a camel like a pair of loafers. Whenever you try to bring something new to RPGs, people get upset. "This game is not D&D, nor does it have a three-digit Roman numeral after its title," they say, between bouts of coughing and breathing through their mouths.

In The Bard's Tale, you play as The Bard, who is a real scumbag and who runs around telling girls to pull down their pants and do him. In between telling girls to have sex with him, The Bard goes out and kills tons of wolves and other things that animate and look almost exactly like wolves. The Bard's life is really made up of two things: Deciding whether he wants to be nice or mean to someone in conversation, or flailing forth in a combo that sends him wandering past whatever it is he's trying to kill.

You can summon party members, which is cool. You get songs that summon characters that range from utterly useless (the light fairy) to freaking ridiculous (the bodyguard). There's nothing cooler than wasting mana and time summoning a giant shield-bearing, mouth-breathing man-child who fails completely at the role of getting hit by arrows for a living. On the other hand, you can eventually summon the Vorpal Rat, which is THE AWESOMEST THING EVER IN GAMES. In you thought Dracula was awesome, you haven't seen anything yet, because the Vorpal Rat is like Dracula's awesomeness times infinity.

Playing The Bard's Tale is like meeting a new friend and ordering a pizza together, and finding out that the new guy likes really bad stuff like shoe leather and grenades on his pizza. Sure, you get to eat the good stuff, but then you're stuck with the bad stuff because that bastard wouldn't eat his half and throwing out pizza is a crime against humanity.

Sometimes the game is really awesome. Like when SPOILER REMOVED. Other times, it seems like it's stretching. Like this:

The bard walks into a room. A RPG cliche happens.

BARD: Oh man. An RPG cliche. Why can't we just do something witty and different and get it over with?


RPG cliche-ness ensues.

A lot of it boils down to, "Look how cliched this part is that is about to happen, even though we know it's really cliched!" Which is all post-modern or something.

Anyway, you should buy The Bard's Tale, because inXile is trying to do something different, and that's worth your support. Just don't tell anyone you bought it, because buying games is just so cliched.

Friday, November 05, 2004


I haven't played Halo 2 yet at all, but I am still going to write a review of it, because it's my website, and shut up.

Video games are there to play. When you go into a video game store, you go there to look at video games and buy them. You don't go there to get jumped and beaten to within an inch of your life by the TWO BLADED AXE OF AWESOMENESS. You just don't expect that.

We all know the truth, so here it is: Halo 2 is so awesome that you don't even need to play it. Now stop reading this review and go into the future so you can buy the game. Why are you still here? Unless you already went to the future, bought the game, and came back to the past in the exact moment that you left. In which case, I apologize.

Most of the time when you play a game, you're playing it because you don't know what's going to happen next. What challenge will ensue? How will the dastardly villain escape? What new ways will you use crates to save the world? Well, Halo 2 removes ANY NEED TO PLAY THE GAME because you already know what will happen. You will be so overcome with awesomeness that you will urinate your brain out of your pee pee.

Halo 2 will have sex with a supermodel and then tell you about it. It will come home and feed your cat while you're at work all night. It will read to you while you're drifting to sleep. It will gently massage your shoulders while you watch TV. And then it will shove its foot right up your ass and make you walk around.

The guns in Halo 2 are so awesome that you can't believe it. You can even carry two guns, and if you're really good you can probably carry like twelve guns at once, and if you can't figure out how to do it, you're a loser.

The best part about Halo 2 is the multiplayer, because sitting on your couch talking outloud while you're playing a game with headphones on is AWESOME and should be destroyed. You can even play this game with no pants on, but it might sterilize you because it's so cool your sperm can't handle it. Your girlfriend will come over, take one look, and perform oral on the TV. If you don't have a girlfriend, it'll be your one hot cousin, which is kinda creepy, but hey... I didn't make the damn game.

Halo 2 will sell your house out from under you and use the money to buy a rocket ship just to blast off and land on you while you're walking to work. It's that awesome.

I feel the taste buds burning off my tongue as I write about it. Halo 2 has already defeated Manchester United. It is the President of the United States. It knows how to count backwards from a million without messing up even once. It shoots staples out of its eyes and can make your pants fly off by looking at you.

Don't even goddamn think about not buying this game. When you got paid last time, they took out money to cover the cost of this game. You are SO LUCKY it only costs like $60, because it's the closest to licking gold you'll ever get.


Yahoo! News - Air Force report calls for $7.5M to study psychic teleportation

Yahoo! News - Air Force report calls for $7.5M to study psychic teleportation

Step one in our ascension to beings of pure energy.


Everyone's favorite Tasmanian Tiger returns to take back the Outback this fall in TY the Tasmanian Tiger 2: Bush Rescue.

Really. We did a survey of over a thousand people who thought Tasmanian Tigers were awesome, and they ALL said Ty was the best one.

TY, the wild yet charismatic [gay], boomerang wielding Tasmanian Tiger will lead players through a brilliantly animated new 3D adventure set in the ruggedness and splendor of Australia [where they have all the flat land filled with.. uhm, dirt. Ahh, splendor].

TY the Tasmanian Tiger 2: Bush Rescue picks up where the original popular action platform game left off. The cast of characters from Down Under has grown, and so has the action! [No, really! I remember when the action was *this* high!] Evil Boss Cass has broken out of Currawong Jail and hatched a plan to take over the world with an army of Uber Reptiles. It's up to our boomerang-wielding hero, TY, and his newly formed team of Burramudgee Bush Rescue mates to stop him!

Okay, hang on a sec. Are we really making a game that steals a plot from Chip & Dale? "Let's go, Rescue Rangers--er, 'Rescue... mates!'"

TY the Tasmanian Tiger 2: Bush Rescue offers platform gamers a huge open environment [Take a drink] to explore by foot and vehicle. Gamers can now enjoy more excitement and adventure [NEW! to the game industry, more fun and adventure! This game is empirically 20% more fun!], with more boomerangs, "Mech units" with special powers and abilities, off-road open world action, and a wide variety of gameplay styles [because our main gameplay style was really boring].

Key Features

  • TY is equipped with an arsenal of 21 upgradeable boomerangs, including the Lasharang, Kaboomarang, and Megarang. Not to mention the Awesomearang, the Kookaburrarang, and the Orangurang.

  • Collect precious opals and trade them off in a new monetary system that lets players buy and trade weapons for TY. You can go into any old "Arang" store and buy things like Knife-arangs, Bomberangs, and Really-Cool-Goddamn-Weaponarangs.

  • The game features five different "Mech units" to help TY fight large numbers of enemies and complete mini-missions. With these "Mech units" TY will have the ability to swim under lava; shoot lasers, Blastorangs, water or fire; and much more. Anyone know what this is about? Because man, they lost me with the Mechs and what-not.

  • TY will also be challenged to complete driving and flying missions featuring combat and puzzle solving, with access to helicopters, submarines, and off-road trucks. Hang on, hang on. I just noticed Ty's name is spelled "TY." Apparently TY's parents were members of the great anti-CAPS-LOCK movement in Australia there.

  • Unlockable cart racing mini-games will allow gamers to challenge their friends in seven unique cart racing levels set across different areas of the Outback. DUDE. I have this great idea. Why don't we take our platforming mascot and--get this--put him in a go-kart! We can have him race around and stuff! And after that, we can make some FAST zombies! Hold on everyone, the Innovation Train is leaving the station!

  • Explore the Australian Outback by foot or vehicle in an open world filled with excitement and danger around every corner. The Outback: Now filled with danger! Last time I was there, it was just filled with stuffed koalas and 24-ounce steaks.

  • Interact with a cast of 100+ characters indigenous to the Australian Outback who help TY in his adventures and battles against Boss Cass. We did the research! Every one of these talking, anthropomorphic CGI animals really do live in the Outback.

  • Fight off Boss Cass and his evil Uber Reptile minions in more than 50 missions set in an enormous world that includes Australian deserts, rain forests, billabongs, sunny beaches, and country towns. I have nothing to say about this. All my sarcasm is saved for the next one.... Well, actually, "billabongs."

  • The game features Living Environment Technology (LETS™) to create lush organic environments; streaming level technology for large worlds of uninterrupted gameplay; and realistic cloth simulation. Well, thank the lord the organic environments are lush. And I was on the fence until the "realistic cloth simulation" came up. I'll buy TEN COPIES!!!!!!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

DUDE, this is the House of Awesome!!!!!!

This place is so awesome I can't feel my legs!! OMG, look over there. There's like some kind of thing over there, with words. And up there at the top there's like a title or something, with the words "HOUSE OF AWESOME!!!!!!" in great big letters and some sort of awesome tagline under it! Dude, this is soooooooo sweet.

I bet this thing will be full of stuff soon. Like, I know, game information, but with LASERS and stuff. And needles for fingers. SO COOL. Does it get more awesome?

Sure, but if it does, it'll happen here. In the HOUSE OF AWESOME!!!!!!