Monday, December 28, 2009

Power of 'The Force Unleashed'

Fun fact: part of the reasoning behind my gamertag (F0RCEFL0W) was so I'd look cool playing "Star Wars" games online. Haven't had much of an occasion for that, so I'm left with a cool and mysterious name that implies either "The Force Flows", "Forceful rapping technique", or "Heavy urination/menstruation".

"The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition" was a Christmas present from my brother. It came in a classy tin with two discs and art prints. Real classy stuff. Disc one contains the original game, while disc two holds the bonus levels and downloadable content. This is pretty much everything ever released for TFU for only $30. Impressive... most impressive.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Fresh coat of paint

You'll notice a few changes to the 'ol Game Brain blog. I've got a spiffy new header. Note the x-ray controller inside the skull; it's taken from a real x-ray picture of an Xbox 360 controller. Is there anything the Internet can't do?

Wrecklaimer and I are working on some user-friendly layout and features. I've figured out how to insert a "Read More" link to cut down on super-long posts. Contact information will be more readily accessible. The navigation bar at the top will finally have some more working links.

Long overdue improvements, to be sure. My goal is to attract at least one random Internet person to become a follower of the site. I've run out of friends to bug into doing it. Expect for Mike and Rob, you guys still haven't followed yet! New Years Resolution for the both of you.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Grabbin' Beers

Normally, I try to keep things 'round jere clean and Web-friendly.

Well, not today. You've been warned.

Today, after my final exams, I'm going home. Then, I'm going to take a nap. Then, I'm going to start drinking. Then, I'm going to play some Left 4 Dead 2 'til my thumbs won't move anymore. Then I'm going to get laid.

One of the above comments is false (hint: it involves coitus).

I have a whole case of Miller High Life and a strong desire to feed the needy. With lead. And by needy, I mean uppity zombies in need of an asswhoopin'.

I'll see ya tonight on L4D2 on Xbox Live. If I don't doze off again after drinking...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Last fall column

Sniff. Last post of the semester.

There's an interview I'll be working on over break, so I hope to deliver it in January.

Snow days are perfect for playing video games. Or studying for finals and writing term papers.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Singing Gay Tony's Ballad

With a brand new Xbox 360 at my disposal, I've finally gotten around to playing "GTA IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony," the latest piece of episodic content from Rockstar.

The Red Death Strikes!

Here it is, the second-to-last column before holiday break. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Back in Black

Duh. Duh-nuh-nuh. Duh-nuh-nuh. Bwah- ah, I've lost it. AC/DC did it so much better.

In case you haven't guessed it from my musical onomatopoeia, I'm Back in Black, baby! Xbox 360 Elite For the Win!

Little early X-mas present to myself. After I sell my refurbished Xbox 360 and cash in my NewEgg gift card, I've really only spent $50 on this beauty.

She is guar-an-teed to put out. It says so right here in the paperwork! I sure hope Microsoft fixed the chips in these things. Maybe they made them all sexy-like just to lull us into false security (it's working!)

So what if the controllers don't match? I love her anyway. Speaking of attachment to inanimate objects, we need a name for her. "Black Betty" comes to mind. If you have a better name, write a comment. Or just coo over my newest baby, your choice.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Moving On

Days after the death of my refurbished Xbox 360, Furby, I'm collecting the life insurence policy.

No tears. All business.

OK, so Wrecklaimer and I are entitled to a free, refurbished Xbox 360 under the Red Ring warranty. So we're sending the carcass of Furby out as soon as possible. While we wait, we're going to buy a new one, possibly an Elite.

When we get the refurb (no telling how long that'll take), we'll package it with our old 120gb harddrive and sell it to a friend. The math is: spend $300 on a new console. Sell refurb for $200. Net loss: $100.

I'm still pissed that Microsoft makes such a defective product. However, I do like the Xbox 360 and I already have a ton of games for it. Speaking of which, I'm thinking of throwing in "Batman: Arkham Asylum" with the refurb purchase so the guy has a game to play. Maybe mark up the price by $20?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

All I want for X-Mas... a PlayStation 3, because I am so tired of Microsoft's ticking time bomb of a console.

I just got the Red Rings of Death today. Two days after the warranty on my refurbished console expired.

I will be placing some phone calls... and emails, and letters to Microsoft. If I can't get a new console for free (or one helluva discount on an Elite) I'm gonna "lodge" my complaint up the backside of somebody at Microsoft.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fall Retrospective

The last column of November is up at It's a fall retrospective of the releases and industry news of the past two months.

There are only two columns left in the year. While the column will be around in 2010, it's amazing how fast the fall went. I pains me that I can't do any big, ambitious columns until January; term projects are starting to pile up. Among them are a Web page, a finishing and bindery scrapbook, and several term papers.

I have been playing video games waaay too much considering how much work I have to do. But that's senioritis for ya.

Buttons Pushed

Last week, the Western Herald ran my column on "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2."

So far, the Web site has had a few insightful responses from readers concerning the controversy of the game. Here are two of the comments.

From Rick:

"Ever since I first heard about this particular mission in MW2, the controversy, and the whole uprising surrounding it, I have felt dead inside.

Upon unwrapping this game, kissing it, and then sticking it into it’s warm PS3 home, I plan on taking in the story line as-is, and enjoying every moment of it. I think it’s more than ludicrous to assume that this game is a bad influence on people who plan these violent games. The parental rating on this game in the US is “Mature.” If parents have such an issue with their children playing it, then don’t buy it, and let your prepubescent morally straight kid cry about it in their room until you are so sick of hearing their bitching that you go out and buy it anyway.

As far as I’ve read, the story line is meant to blow you into perspective, and that it does well. So what, there is a mission that involves killing innocents to prove a point, and further the story line. It’s what I’ve come to love about the COD series; the deep story lines and progression. It would be much different if the entire game was about killing people are airports and other various places. Hell, I guess they could name it Virtual Terrorist. That isn’t the case though. Video games are like books to me. An interactive story. People just need to get over the whole, 'video games have made my child into a terrorist.' Nah, YOU have as parents. If you are letting your kids do what they want, smoke, drink, and otherwise, it’s your fault. Get on to the next big scare that the news will blow out of proportion. Hell, we may even be lucky enough to have another 'Shark Murderer' scare this summer, since the number of shark killings substantially increased a few years ago. Give me a break."

Eric, an Iraq War veteran, writes:

"Very astute review and observations. Being a veteran that has deployed to Iraq, I can support your assertion that one has difficulties telling friend from foe. The enemy will dress as non-combatants and if able to acquire US military uniforms will wear them to confuse us. That is a big danger with the current enemy we fight.

I also think it is good that the developer included a stage where the player plays as the terrorists. Hopefully it will open the eyes of our currently willfully ignorant public about the dangers and the tactics our enemy will use if presented with the opportunity. These terrorists will at some point in the future attack us on our soil again, that is their dream. Their apologists may try to say they misrepresent their shared belief system, by claiming they don’t support attacks and the murder of innocents. But in their belief system the only innocents are those that believe exactly like themselves. Everyone else is a valid target at all times.

If one examines the justifications used by Hamas for firing missiles at Israeli schools and other civilian targets, Hamas says that those children will grow up to be soldiers in the future, so they are legitimate targets today. However Hamas will fire those same missiles from the grounds of their own schools then have the audacity of complaining about Israel attacking the militants right where they stand as they fire the missiles. One can’t have it both ways, unless you’re a member of Hamas."

Thanks for the comments, guys. New comments trickle in all the time, even on older columns, so be sure to check on the Herald's Weekend Scene page to read more.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

8-bit Zombacalypse

By the way, I'm totally willing to cave to peer pressure and buy "Left 4 Dead 2" if enough of my Xbox Live friends are playing.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Apparently, the Second Coming of Christ was this past Tuesday.

Oh, my bad. It was the release of "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2."

I do not plan on purchasing the game. It's because I don't like the game. This opinion, it seems, rates me below terrorist detainees and Nazis on the scumbag spectrum.

"You're the video games guy, right?" random people have asked me. "So you're waiting in line at midnight for 'Call of Warfare 2'?"


"Why not?"

"I don't preorder games," I said, "And I don't care for the 'Call of Duty' series."


"The single player campaign is too short and scripted to warrant multiple playthroughs; replayability is an important factor in my purchases. Second, I don't care for the multiplayer. It's too mainstream and competitive; I prefer more relaxed, cooperative gameplay, like 'Left 4 Dead' and 'Borderlands'."

"You're weird."

Yeah, I guess I am.

Oh, one other reason I won't purchase MW2.

No sweet mustaches.

This week's column

It's a bit misclassified on the Western Herald website right now, but this week's column is up. If you are interested in the reasoning behind my boycott of "Left 4 Dead 2", here's your explanation.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Funny but true

5 Plot Devices That Make Good Video Games Suck |

Thursday, November 5, 2009

New Game Brain deployed

Psyched about "Modern Warfare 2"? Good. Then you should enjoy this week's column.

If you don't read it, the terrorists win. But if we play as the terrorists, don't we want to win?

Confused? Don't be. Just read the column.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Left 4 Don't

Friends, I hated the demo for "Left 4 Dead 2." I hated it so much, in fact, that I am considering not purchasing a retail copy.

However, I encourage you to try the Xbox 360 demo. You will be amazed by the horrible framerate, aghast at the dated graphics, floored by the tacked-on qualities that make "Left 4 Dead 2" an overpriced mod instead of a true sequel.

Chances are you won't find it as offensive as I did. After all, I hated the new "Star Trek" movie while everyone else loved it. So maybe you'll look past L4D2's faults and love it anyway. I'll be left with the bitter realization that my worst fears about a slapped-together sequel may just come true.

Friday, October 30, 2009

There's loot in them thar Borderlands

Attention all Sirens, Soldiers, Hunters, and Berserkers!

F0RCEFL0W (aka "Jasper McKnives", Hunter) is looking for a few greedy men and/or women to embark on quests for fame and fortune on the planet Pandora.

Equitable shares of salvaged technology and money. Kill-stealers need not apply.
All levels and classes accepted. Open to weapon trading; looking for high-powered sniper rifles, SMGs, and pistols (revolvers preferred).

Limited time offer! Real life engagements and soon-to-be-released video games make excursions to Pandora brief and infrequent. Don't miss out on the action! Apply today!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Game Brainsss

This week's Game Brain, now with 50% more brain-related puns!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Blunda from Down Unda!

This week, I'm calling the Censorship Board of Australia out on their BS. Have look here.

I should be careful about pissing off Australia, though. I'm terrible at Jarate and counter-sniping.


OK, so Game Brain is in today's Herald, but wasn't posted online. It's probably the last thing to go in the paper, and my editor forgets to upload it. Never fear! I'll get it posted this evening when I go into work.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Brutal Legend Review

Chicks dig it, dudes envy it--All Hail the Druid Plow!

All in all the campaign alone, though short, would be worth the ticket price for this unique gaming experience. Every aspect of the game is impressive artistically and technically. Brutal Legend offers more than the single player though it offers an exciting multiplayer experience as well. Read the full review at The Venturian.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

New features

Next week's column is done! I threw in as many Australia-related puns as I could.

A big thanks to those that weighed in on last week's column at the Western Herald website. I'm working on getting a better flow between the column and the Herald, so you don't have type as much. Working on a Facebook page too; I've lost interest in Twitter, so don't hold your breath on a feed.

Speaking of feeds, I've neglected RSS. I'll do my best to get that included along with the new buttons I have planned. My web design class has made me more aware of accessibility issues, so I'm trying to do better.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

This Week's Column

Game Brain: the charm of story-driven games

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Think Australian

I'm thinking about doing next week's column today (or at least starting it). One topic I've been wanting to cover is Australia and why they are so ban-happy over there. Their censorship rivals Europe (mainly Germany). Crikey!

So, I need to do a little research about the organizations that are responsible for this red tape. If I word things right (and by right I mean harsh and funny), I'll probably piss off WMU's Australian Student Organization. If one exists. Like I said, research.

Shrimp on the barby!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Game Brain: feeling a little cheap and used?

Game Brain: feeling a little cheap and used?

Friday, October 2, 2009

A-Rab Monay

As if the title "The Ballad of Gay Tony" wasn't inflammatory enough...

I'd be an idiot for expecting GTA to have good taste. I'd also be an idiot for not enjoying this trailer and looking forward to the expansion. It's just too bad that there's bound to be all sorts of negativity about this "racism". But when has GTA ever been about fine, upstanding, law-abiding citizens?

Mobsters, gangstas, European crime lords... it's all fair game. It's also entertainment, so don't take it too seriously.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Game Brain 10/1/2009

Gentlemen (and Ladies)! Behold!

This week's Game Brain! The Herald never got around to posting last week's column, so I'll try to get it uploaded myself later this week. If not, maybe somebody will pirate it out to ya'll.

Piracy is wrong, I do not condone it. I am also a hypocrite. Anyway, enjoy the column!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I've Sold Out

Yes, that's right. I've sold my blog out to Google and AdSense in order to make a quick buck.

However, it's for a good cause. I plan on using the proceeds to pay for a .com URL for Game Brain ( or, etc). I will still be using Blogger for posting and editing, so everything except the address will remain the same.

Please feel free to click the ads if you want to help me out. Just don't spam them, I don't want my license revoked. If you have a website or blog with ads, a little mutual backscratching is in order.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Meet the New Boss

This is what happens when the Conners play "Family Fued"

Something Awful has a Photoshop Phriday this week featuring video game bosses... in all the wrong places. I should post whenever SA has something video game-related, which is quite often.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Game Brainless (Again)

For some reason, today's Weekend Scene has not yet been posted online. Hopefully later today? I'll get the link to my new column posted as soon as it's up.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Back in Black!

A Shadow and certain dark knight seek Asylum on your video game console! The Brain is back, after a slight delay. Head over to the Western Herald to read about two interesting summer releases that occupied plenty of my time.

You'd be crazy not to read this week's Game Brain. Like the Joker, only less homicidal.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Guess who got delayed the other night?

Sorry kids, Game Brain was not featured in this week's Weekend Scene as planned. Rest assured, it will be appearing next Thursday (9-17) in print and online at Herald website. There are plans for revamping the site, so stay tuned for that as well.

I was thinking of doing a Twitter account for Game Brain. But then, how would I tweet when I'm gaming? And who cares?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Greetings from Slacker Complex!

I technically have a lot to post, but I've been too busy enjoying my new PC and "Shadow Complex". I probably should get a few posts up before school starts (Sept. 8). I'll be negotiating for my old jobs as columnist and copy editor for the Western Herald soon. That will probably take up the majority of blogging time this fall, especially with an important semester at school.

Now promises, but I will try to get something new posted up in here. 'Cuz ForceFlow luvs ya.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

That's Gamer

I understand the good intentions behind this ad campaign, but they've gone and shot themselves in the foot. It's similar to telling someone, "Don't say 'gay', retard!"

The term "gamer" carries a lot of negative baggage, though not quite as much as the words associated with LGBTs. Obesity, incompetence, violent behavior and crime... all stigmas that are associated with video games and those that enjoy them.

Yes, the slogan in the ad hits home for a lot of people. There's truth in what they're saying, but not a lot of tact. It takes advantage of a hurtful stereotype to provoke thought about another one.

Ultimately, it's a nearly useless tactic. Those with the brains to actually consider the message are probably not the perpetrators of the slur. Make no mistake, we're talking mostly about young people here. They don't change their behavior overnight because of a thought-provoking poster. In fact, they're more likely to ridicule it on the Internet and go on for pages and pages about it in forums.

The target of this advertising should be parents. Who else shapes the world view and behavior of children so significantly? And while many will still use slurs like "gay" throughout their childhood, one hopes that parental guidance will teach them to abandon this bigotry as they mature.

At the very least, kids will learn to suppress their bigoted outbursts and keep their thoughts to themselves. No one is free of prejudice, myself included. I may view the majority of the 6 billion people on this planet as scum, but it doesn't do me any good to go around pointing it out. After all, there are a lot more of them then there is of me.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Fall 2009 Hots n' Nots

In two weeks time, I'll be back home in Kalamazoo, enjoying a brief vacation before starting my senior year of college. I have some catching up to do video game-wise; I'm behind on two content packs for "Fallout 3" and have been itching to try "Shadow Complex" for XBLA.

There's never enough time for video games in the fall, especially when so many new titles are released within a few months of one another. Whether I can afford the money and time for them or not, here are the titles that I'm psyched for. The others... I should be, but I'm just not feeling it.

1. Perfect Dark (XBLA)

No "remake", "reimagining", none of that bullshit. This is the real deal, albeit with fancy HD graphics and a good framerate. If the new version doesn't support full 8+ player online play (with all the features from the N64 version), I'll be heartbroken. Heartbroken, but I'd still hit that.

2. The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition

It seems I'm even more of a gamer snob than a "Star Wars" fan, because I never picked up TFU last year. The inclusion of new content, an artbook, and lower retail price may finally be enough reason to pick up this mediocre hack n' slash.

Besides, I can't get enough of the Emperor in TFU. He's like Don Corleone and The Pope with telekinetic powers. Of course, the way TFU plays fast and loose with canon always bothered me a little. In this version, you can trounce Boba Fett, Obi-Wan, and Luke, so it's all good. Use your aggressive feelings, boy!

3. Left 4 Dead 2

I'm actually one of those people who were upset by Valve's announcement of a sequel so soon. It sort of stunts the growth of the first game. Which was great, but it sorely needed some additional content. But since it's Valve we're talking about here, there are a few certainties: The release will be delayed, the gameplay will be improved, it will kick ass like all other Valve products. I would rather have seen a new "Half-Life 2" episode (long overdue), but can you blame a developer for cashing in on zombiemania and the popularity of the first game?
1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Like the oft-changed title of this new release, the "Call of Duty" games can't quite seem to decide what they want to be. The franchise has gone from World War II Commando to Wack-a-Mole with Commies and Arabs. While parts of "Call of Duty 4" were awesome (C-130 gunship, flying over "Baghdad"), they were too short. You find a cool gun and only use it for two minutes before getting tossed into some random military scenario. The online multiplayer has always been good, but unless they tighten the narrative a bit and get rid of the limitless bad guys, I'll pass.

2. Halo 3: ODST

Not much here for anyone who isn't an unflinching "Halo" fan. Run around, shoot aliens with underpowered guns while a computer bitches at you. Master Chief was a pussy when it came to feats of super cyborg strength. Where's the appeal in not having a shield? Unless there's some sort of squad-based dynamic, chalk this one up to Microsoft milking the ol' Bungie cash cow.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Down the Dark Path

It may seem strange that I didn't but "The Force Unleashed" last fall. After all, I'm both a gamer and a huge Star Wars fan. But this new DLC may just be the impetus for me to pick up this mediocre hack n' slash adventure.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Who Watches the Watchmen? I did and I Feel Conflicted.

What do I see when I look into his face? A guy who needed more screen time.
Watchmen is for comic fans what Citizen Kane is to movies and Crime and Punishment is to the novel--arguably the highest artistic expression of the genre. As such there's no doubt then that any translation into another media is bound to be a struggle at best and destine to failure at worst. Enter Zack Snyder stylish ultra-modern director extraordinaire with a previously excellent comic adaptation in 300. Snyder faces two over-arching problems one being the breadth of Watchmen and its place in comic book lore. The other is his own directorial style.
The former he has no control over... the later is an entirely different matter all together.

Hop on over to The Venturian for our full review and a look into awkward moments in Transcendent Blue Guy sex.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

No thanks for sharing

Who’s to say what’s right and wrong this day in age? The Internet, for one.

My recent adventures in searching for a new game-capable laptop have been fraught with peril; grainy pictures, agonizing over specs, and useless reviews.

I’ve been lucky to find a few informative reviews, written in complete English by consumers who actually know how to use a laptop. If only every review was as illuminating. Sadly, the majority of reviews on sites like NewEgg are written by buffoons who just love to see themselves type. Or, they actually believe they are doing the community a service.

In all my browsings, I’ve observed several categories of reviewer frequently cropping up. The provided quotations are meant to give you an idea of what these archetypes write. I could have included actual excerpts, but I’m lazy and my examples better illustrate their idiocy.

Beware the review sections of the Internet, good reader, lest ye encounter…

The Noob

For whatever reason, The Noob has never owned a laptop computer before. In fact, they’ve probably never experienced an LCD screen or Windows Vista before. For them, portable computing blows their minds, and any laptop they purchase is the shiznit.

This my FIRST LAPTOP EVER and I couldnt be hapier.It has a webcam an finger reader and can run world of warcraft really good. Def recomend!!!

The Giver

The Giver is a generous soul. Not only did they purchase the laptop for a friend or loved one, they graced the Internet with their useless feedback. No thoughts on quality or craftsmanship, just the uneasy feeling that the recipient uses it for YouTube and Internet porn.

Bought it for my dad for Fathers Day. He luvs the webcam and sending emails so its perfect for him. Got it pretty cheap too :)

The “Professional”

AKA The Mole, because it’s unlikely that IT professionals and engineers would go around endorsing a laptop model. The reviewer is either paid by the manufacturer or a plant by the retailer to sell more units. Notice the glowing testimonial and proper grammar.

I am an IT professional and recently purchased this model. It has excellent capabilities for my work and I recommend it to customers and coworkers all the time. Shipping was quick and it came with a lot of useful software preinstalled.

The Doomsayer

The end is near… if you purchase this laptop. The experience attached to this model was a bad one, personal or based on a friend’s story. Granted, there are some shoddy laptops on the market, but The Doomsayer is probably an excitable youngster that believes everything they hear and lacks perspective.

Please please PLEASE think twice before buying this laptop. My friend has the same model his battery caught fire and the company would not refund. other sites say bad reviews to so look at other ones first. Also battery bad.

The Hapless

This poor bastard got poked in the eye by the hand of fate when they bought this laptop. It probably shipped late, in several pieces, or just didn’t work properly. And they were tortured by tech support for several hours.

My wife purchased this for me and all i can say is yuck! I started it up and it didnt work, so we called tech support. some foreign guy told us stupid crap like turn it on, obvious stuff for an hour. Am sending back in for refund. Better off with my dell and windows xp, screw this.

The Non Sequitur

Have a problem with your laptop not in any way related to hardware or software? Like, say, the Internet? The Non Sequitur does, and they bring The Doomsayer’s zeal to their negative reviews.

I woud not recommend this to a anyone. It started up ok and vista was good but I go on youtube and the video wont load. HELP! If cant fix, sending back in. Anyone else have same problem? My xboxlive tag is n00bslayr1134 wii friend code 1234-5678-9101

The Lover/Hater

These reviewers are two separate entities rolled into one category because they are equally enthusiastic and ultimately contribute little. While every machine has its advantages and disadvantages, these two rivals see the laptop as either good or bad.

OMG this lappy is grate my firend has one just like it. I goe to colledge so its portable and good batt. I wanted a mac but too expensive. This just as good and you can put pictures on screen and share on facebook A+++!!!!
This is a f---ing piece of s--- and nobudy should by it. It gets to hot and runs too slow. My brother has 2.1 ghtrz prossesor and his was cheaper cant play crysis on it like my rig. Only good for internet, but even then realy slow. Just buy pc people look like ideots in public with laptops get iphone instead.

Friday, June 26, 2009

While You Were Out...

Most people grow up and move out of their parents' house. I'm at an awkward stage where I live at home while attending college. This internship of mine, 1,000 miles away from home, is a little taste of that, with one difference.

I don't have my stuff!

My decision not to haul my Xbox 360 down from Michigan to South Carolina has, so far, been proven correct. My apartment came with a standard def TV and road-construction-in-Michigan slow internet.

You may remember all that talk I spouted a few months back about reconnecting with my old Nintendo 64? Turns out the second honeymoon wasn't as great as I'd thought it would be. The new games were either impossibly hard or unappealing after beating them. The only fun that remained was with the favorites. All guns, invincibility, infinite ammo in "Goldeneye 007" is still the way to go. I'm saving up "Perfect Dark" action 'til fall.

There are games on my Xbox 360 that I'd love to have with me here, even if it was just one at a time. Well, maybe just "Fallout 3" and "FarCry 2". Can't include "Left4Dead" in this desert island scenario. I love the whole library, but most of the games have been played to death. But, I still have a little more to wring form F3 and F2. It's killing me that I can't sink my thumbs into "Point Lookout", the newest batch of F3 DLC.

Sadly, my reunions with my beloved possesions will be cut brutally short by another fall semester at college. My senior year, to be exact. Oh, don't worry... I won't be graduating in 2010. Neither will a lot of kids. Western Michigan University's imaging department doesn't want you to have time actually take any of the stupid gen-ed requirements they throw at you. No! That would be too easy! You're in college! You're supposed to be smart!

Yeah? Well, I'm supposed to be paying you to guide me through an educational path to a good career, not play "Let's F%#& Up Your Schedule". I swear, the federal government could learn a lot from college bureaucrats. Anyway, needed to get that off my chest. Safer than ranting about my current situation, which carries a great deal of weight on my future plans, college and beyond.

Point is, baby needs his pacifying. More than I miss my family (I'm sure their visit next week will clear that right up), I miss my stuff, my video games chiefly. That's an unhealthy dependence, isn't it? Valuing your life based on what material goods you have. But what else is there? Why do we have jobs and participate in the economy? Not mearly to just survive; we want more, we want better, and we want it now.

The rednecks down here blow off steam hunting and fishing. My hunting and fishing is a spirited game of "Left 4 Dead", Hunting Survivors and fishing up noobs with the Smoker.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Heralds, they are a-changin'

The Western Herald is one the ideological parents of this blog, the other being Dagoo's Tales of War. From the fall of '09 to this spring, I wrote for the Herald's weekly entertainment section, the Weekend Scene. Guess what the columns were about?

I've also worked at the Herald as an ad designer and copy editor, so I have first-hand experience with these recent events. The Herald's web presence definitely has room to grow, and grow it shall, with the reduction in print publication and a renewed focus on web services.

The Herald is by and for students, and students are the most internet-savvy people out there. While an online division of the paper may seem like a no-brainer this day in age, the website has been around for a while. But the Herald is looking to bring campus news to students through the web, instead of "reprinting" what ran in the paper version.

I, for one, welcome our new webmaster overlords. When fall classes start up again, I hope the Herald still has room for my services (translation: I'll need a job). This new web focus brings up a whole slew of possibilities for a designer such as myself. I work in an industry that balances print and digital media, after all.

While my web design skills are amateurish at best, I'd love to be able to help out Herald make this leap forward. I plan on continuing the print column this fall, so who knows where things will go from there? Getting paid to write Western Herald-exclusive video game web content? Maybe this site and the Herald will merge into some kind of SkyNet of news and entertainment for college students?

Especially this day in age, newspapers are like sharks: they must move forward to survive. It is my firm belief that the Western Herald can and will become a streamlined, vicious apex of predatory evolution...

Crap. Ruined another prefectly good similie.

'Til next time, keep your heads in the Game.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Picture Perfect

It seems the port of "Perfect Dark" to Xbox Live is not without some upgrades. From the look of things so far, I'd say it's more like a re-make. Just look at the high-resolution skins and texturing!

There's no way that's all original "Goldeneye" engine. I'm no programmer, but maybe they just heaped layers of enhancements onto the original game code. I don't see how or why 4J would rebuild her from the ground up.

Maybe it's like the refit of the Enterprise in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. You either build a new ship or go with the old one; instead, they heap on enhancements until only the bones are original. If that's the case with "Perfect Dark", it shows that this will be a quality port, not just an emulation; all the more reason to get excited.

While there haven't been any multiplayer details yet, I still plan on forming a clan just for the hell of it. I do need ideas for names and logos, though. So far, all I have is "dataDyne Hit Squad" for a name and "Darker than You" for the slogan. Wait, "Darker than You" is a pretty cool name. How 'bout "DY357" for short? The numbers give it the model name of PD's revolver. Alright, stream of conciousness blogging for the win! Suggestions still welcome.

Left 4 Dead (Twice)

A sequel to Valve's zombie-apocalyptic co-op shooter from 2008, L4D2 is set in what appears to be in the New Orleans area. If the trailer is any indication, the infected are much more vicious and bloodthirsty. In Left 4 Dead, there wasn't any explicit evidence of them eating people. Here, we clearly see them dripping with blood. And, a few are missing limbs; getting shot in mid-run doesn't seem to phase them as much, either.

Of course, this is all rampant speculation. We can be sure that melee weapons will be included, finally bringing all your zombie fantasies to life. Valve is apparently looking at this November for a release, but c'mon, this is Valve we're talking about. A delay would actually be a good thing, because I'd have more time to enjoy "Perfect Dark" and "Fallout 3" DLC.

Speaking of "Fallout", I just started playing "Fallout", "Fallout 2", and "Fallout: Tactics". Don't see what all the fuss was about when Bethesda converted the franchise to 3D. I'm waiting to be impressed.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Strange Times

Today, Wrecklaimer told me that there were screenshots online of "Left4Dead2" (L4D2, Star Wars jokes abound). Then I saw this Gametrailers video of Microsoft's E3 presentation of... whatever the hell this is:

Has the whole world gone mad? A sequel to a game not even a year old? That isn't something Valve would do! Look at this no-hands thingy for the current Xbox! I've been prancing around like an idiot in front of the TV for years and now, you tell me, I can play video games that way?

Oh, and "Metal Gear Solid" comes to the Xbox 360. Not a port of MGS4, but some new game starring everyone's favorite effeminate action hero, Raiden. Why is it that whenever an MGS game is released outside of the PlayStation, it's crap? Look at MGS2 on the Xbox. Why do we get stuck with second-fiddle robo girlie man?

Like the Black Keys say, strange times are here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Game Not Over, Man?

I would so totally buy a DS just to play this game. Nothing appears to be official yet, so I shouldn't get too excited. After all, the console/PC version of Aliens: Colonial Marines was canned a while back. Hopefully, it's just gone dormant, waiting for the right moment to burst forth...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Control Issues

Both official and off-brand versions of the Nintendo 64 controller just plain suck. Comfort and ergonomics are the most outwardly visible issue. I still can't figure out why there would be three prongs for two hands.

When you actually play games with it, there are two results. Either it's perfectly fine (Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, Super Smash Bros.) or painfully awkward (every other game).

First person shooters have always been... interesting on the N64. Everybody knows and loves Goldeneye and are familiar with the control scheme. By default, all movement with the exception of strafe comes from the analog stick. Looking up or down and strafe are controlled by the C buttons to the right of the analog stick. This is conducive to the run-and-gun gameplay of Goldeneye's multiplayer, but Train God help you if you need to stop and hold the right shoulder button to precision aim.

Perfect Dark uses the same setup, with just a bit more control over weapon select. Other games, such as the Turok series and Quake II, use the C buttons for forward, back, and strafe, while the analog stick aims the camera. After getting used to this scheme, I have found it to be superior to the default Goldeneye style.

True, movement is not as fluid or precise when buttons are used. But the ability to free aim overshadows this disadvantage. To my delight, Goldeneye, Perfect Dark, and Quake can be modified to use this system, complete with inversion. Turning the sensitivity to maximum (if possible) is just as useful for this old schoolery as it is for modern console games.

Now, in Perfect Dark multiplayer, I stand a slightly better chance of getting headshots on those pesky AI bots. However, with both thumbs working in concert for movement, one has to be diverted to hit the A or B buttons to reload or switch weapons. If the rumors of Perfect Dark coming out on Xbox Live Arcade are true, this won't be a problem.

If that ever happens, I will cry tears of joy, just like I did when Metroid music was played at Video Games Live earlier this year. Hey, I'm a sensitive guy. Especially in my thumbs after playing N64.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Turok 2: S*** of Evil

Finally, a chance to relax after a taxing first week at my new job. What's a long holiday weekend without beer, junk food, and video games? Except that a particular video game - Turok 2: Seeds of Evil - spoiled my mood with it's insane difficulty and horrible framerates. But worst of all is the level design. When you need an FAQ to beat every level in the game, the developers screwed up somewhere.

Turok 2 has gorgeous graphics and tons of cool guns. But when the bullets/plasma/explody arrows start flying, the framerate drops are blinding. Things are better if you disable the high res mode, going sans-expansion pak. With the expansion pak, T2 looks like it comes close to a PC resolution.

Maybe I'll just stick to my favorite N64 games this summer; Perfect Dark, Goldeneye, Battle for Naboo. Quake was ok, Quake II was crap, Turok fun for a while. I reserve the stinkiest of stinkeyes, however, for Super Mario 64. What's not to love about sending a short, tubby Italian plumber to his death? Not worth my time, or the $3 I paid for it.

Ocarina of Time, Daddy's back, baby! It's been too long...

Sunday, May 17, 2009


...And now he's here to fuck us!

This leaked footage of Valve's next installment in the "Meet the Team" series is one of the longest, goriest, most vulgar to date... which makes it the best.

Friday, May 15, 2009

FYI It's Sniper and Spy (Updates)!

I don't have the time or energy for a write-up on this. My internet connection at my new apartment is terrible, I'm tired, and pigs will fly when Valve gets the TF2 Xbox 360 update.

But, in case you've missed it, there's some good stuff coming out for the PC. Behold!

Wave goodbye yer freetime, PC wankers.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Super Smash Fortress

Why? Why do you combine two of my favorite games and tease me like that? It's like Master Hand is playing with my heartstrings. Kudos to the creator, you just caused widespread nergasms on the Internet.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Pefect Dark on XBLA Confirmed?

Please Note: The source site is considered reliable with possible connections to Rare. Do not take this to mean that this news is 100% confirmed.

According to a post on Rare-Extreme, Rare has confirmed the long-standing rumor that they are working on the classic N64 shooter, Perfect Dark. This is really only question of when, after their release of Banjo Kazooie and its sequel, Banjo Tooie. Rare would be unwise to not release one of the greatest shooters of all time on XBLA. The very thought of playing this game with usable control sticks (let's be honest, the N64 controller was never user-friendly) will make it all the more enjoyable.
Here's the low-down from the post found here:
There have been plenty rumors about Perfect Dark coming soon for XBLA... well... we can confirm that Perfect Dark is indeed on it's way to XBLA. This is not a rumor, it's coming! Not just that, there is a very large announcement coming from Rare soon (ahem in line with E3). We last heard that it wasn't known if they would go ahead and make this announcement but as time progressed, it looks as though it's all systems go. Expect a major surprise from Rare this June.
More major surprises? Yeah... just get me Perfect Dark on XBLA, and then we'll see if I still care Rare's other announcements.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Now you see it...

Through a technical oversight, the spiffy new-ish graphics that were added to the site were not visible to the rest of the world. Now all ya'll can see it. I'd like to say I'm a magician, but I'm really just bad at teh internets. You should find your visits to the site much cooler and bluer. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Survivor’s Guide to Etiquette, Part I

If Miss Manners became an Infected in Left 4 Dead, she would no doubt teach you some etiquette before gnawing your face off. Every online game has basic behavioral guidelines to ensure a fun, fair experience for everyone. However, Left 4 Dead has a few more nuances due to its close-knit, team-based gameplay. Here are ten essential rules (no particular order of importance) that every Survivor should keep in mind the next time he or she goes zombie hunting with their posse.

1. Sit Reps: Frequently tell your team what your status is. Are you lagging behind with common Infected slowing you down? Your team should know so they can slow down and lend a hand. Getting Smoked or Pounced during a Boomer-induced horde may not be evident to your blinded teammates, so speak up.

2. Don’t Go it Alone: Whether you’re looking for goodies or just sprinting ahead, do not go anywhere without at least one other Survivor. You can bet that your teammates will be pissed when you get attacked when you’re all alone and it takes them a minute to get to you.

3. All at Once unto the Breach: Changes in landscape like ledges, holes, and ladders should always be traversed by everyone at the same time. The last person to jump down may get incapacitated, and the team will be helpless to save him or her.

4. Fire in the Hole: Coordinate with your team who has what type of grenade and when they should use it. Always declare your intent to use the weapon before throwing it: this prevents two grenades going out at the same time.

5. Unfriendly Fire: Practice begets discipline. Discipline begets accuracy. Accuracy begets not grazing your teammates with buckshot. Friendly fire will happen, but you can reduce it by making every shot count. Pay and spray only works in particularly heavy hordes and if there’s a Boss Infected right in front of you.

If you get into a heavy horde firefight, get you back up against a wall and move as little as possible. Wandering around in front of your teammates is likely to get you shot. In real life, you don’t dash in front of someone with a loaded gun and finger on the trigger. Keep your lines of fire open and your teammates in good health.

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