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  • Jordan 10:35 AM on January 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    A new year: Where I play Kinect 

    So yes, I played Kinect for the first time last night.  The wife was busy with some golden globe thing (which I screwed up by taping the wrong thing… I’m sorry) so I went over to a friends house and he was gracious enough to let me try out his Kinect he got for Christmas.  Let’s start with the bad shall we?

    The biggest problem with the Kinect is that it’s 2+ years too late coming into this genre.  As Tycho Brahe said (the PA one, not the scientist), “I’ve already played bowling… give me something new.”  Yes, I paraphrased there… so shoot me.  Kinect sports is the game that comes with the apparatus. It includes soccer, bowling, track & field, boxing, ping pong and beach volleyball.  I tried 4 of those 6 with thoughts on them later.

    The second problem I had with it is that the controls are a little clunky.  This was especially evident in the ping pong game where it seemed the ball accelerated towards the player giving little to no time to react.  The player would have to think about how to hit the ball right after the opponent had struck it to determine the best way to strike it.  In congruence with this, there were times when the Kinect did not recognize where my arms were during a dance game.  You have to exaggerate your movements too much for my liking, though it makes it fun watching it as an observer.

    Now for the good things:

    I’ve played a little bit of PlayStation Move at a Best Buy and a lot of the Wii back in the day, and I must say that I’m impressed with the Kinect.  I don’t consider myself an expert by any stretch of the imagination on all things motion controlled, but there are things that you can do with the Kinect that doesn’t seem like it would be possible with motion controls that require (well) controllers.  For example, one of the Kinect games is beach volleyball.  You have the ability to bumb, set, spike and block the ball.  But to spike or block, the player actually has to jump.  There’s no getting around it.  Now, I know the Move has a similar game, but I don’t see how you couldn’t just trick the game because it’s not based off your whole body… just where the controller is.  In Wii Tennis, you only had to flick your wrist to get the ball sailing back over the net.  You actually have to move your body with the Kinect.

    Not having a controller blows my mind.  Just standing in front of the TV and moving my arms about to control everything in the game is an ethereal experience.  I just placed my arms a certain way and the game pauses (no it doesn’t pause randomly).

    Since the Kinect uses a camera, it takes pictures/videos of you playing the games, those videos are hilarious to watch afterwords and adds to the fun/comradery of the whole experience.

    Lastly, and I hope this doesn’t come across as a knock towards the Move or Wii, but playing Dance Central, you would have to move your legs and your arms.  I don’t see how the Move or Wii would force you to do that, if someone has used the Move, please comment below and explain it.

    To give a brief review of each game I played:

    1. Bowling:  Not much to say here.  I think I like the Wii bowling better.  Though it is a nice change from actually having to move all over the place.  More of a relaxing game
    2. Track and Field: 5 minigames in this.  100 m dash, javelin throw, long jump, discus throw and hurdles.  This one got me sweating like mad.  You have to run in place (the higher your knees are the faster you run) and jump a lot.  This one would take a lot of practice to get really good at it.  Also a ton of fun in party games.
    3. Ping Pong:  One of the more irritating games I played.  The controls were too clunky to actually understand what was happening.  It’s probably more fun as a single player game.
    4. Beach Volleyball:  This one is what we started with and was a blast.  Skying for spikes and jumping as high as you can makes you feel like your movement actually determines what your avatar is going to do.
    5. Dance Central:  My legs were sore after this game.  A lot of fun moves to learn, but unless they add DLC, I can see where it would get hella boring.  Great party game nonetheless.

    I thoroughly enjoyed playing around with the Kinect.  I probably wouldn’t buy it at this point, but if I came into a huge sum of money, I could see myself buying it and being glad that I did.  Thankfully, I believe they’ve only scratched the surface for what you can do with the Kinect.  I look forward to more innovations.

    ~Jordan

     
  • td 9:51 AM on December 22, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Happy X-Mas 

    No posts for a week or two while Jordan and I celebrate the holidays with our families.

    Merry Christmas everyone!

     
  • td 2:18 PM on December 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Whorecraft 

    You know those Disney sequels? The ones where they take a perfectly fine movie (Aladdin!) and cash in on the IP by making a few dozen straight to DVD ripoffs? World of Warcraft seems to have adopted this model.

    Welcome to the Cataclysm and let me say, Deathwing sucks at his job. After being “razed” Stormwind has never looked better. Westfall? Oh man, watch out for those little dust storms. And he killed Old Blanchy. Bastard! Badlands? Still bad. Redridge is still red. Ironforge looks just like it did in 2004.

    Apparently Azeroth ages quite well, because it looks exactly the same after six years.

    What did the change? Beyond the usual dumbing down of classes to make them all exactly the same, not much. They did decide to go pants-on-head retarded with the quest system though.

    Rather than stick with the Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King model of “same zone, different starting areas” for horde and alliance, now they make you do the exact same one in the exact same spot. First quest? Loot a clam. Apparently the meat is special because there’s only one fucking clam. Good luck trying to loot The One True Clam because every other mouth-breathing moron who spawned with you is trying to do the same thing.

    Now it gets stupid.

    Before, I would just go do another quest. Screw the clam and its quest to restore balance to the force. I’m going to go kill some boars or something. But no! Now quests are 100% LINEAR! You don’t loot that clammy son of a bitch, you don’t get to quest!

    Add to this that my PvP realm has a massive population imbalance (thanks Wintergrasp!) so the starting zones are completely camped by a few dozen raids of the opposite faction. I got my whole first level by grinding two dungeons over and over.

    Woo.

    Did I mention who the big baddie is right now? Nefarian. You know, the Black Wing Lair guy from 25 levels ago? Yeah he’s the “new content.” Not sure how he managed to grow a new head, considering how many guilds whacked it off for the quest.

    I also just killed Ragnaros. Again.

    So yeah. Very creative Blizz. Appreciate seeing all the same stuff for the 6th year in a row. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with a clam.

     
    • Jordan 2:23 PM on December 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      But… Return of Jafar was a fun sequel…

      And Nefarian? Maybe they couldn’t hire another voice actor so they had to remake the same baddy.

      The whole linear questing sounds like they’re trying to tap into the whole “story line” thing that TOR has going for it. Or have we forgotten how Warcraft essentially stole seige weapons and RvR from Warhammer?

      Wait… he killed Blanchy? It’s ON! I’m gonna go log in and take out the main dude… what’s his name again?

    • Jordan 2:31 PM on December 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Think about the achievements though. +10 Achievement points for looting said clam. You get to see a neon green bar fill up ever so slowly.

      That being said, Popcap and Blizzard have a monopoly on the grind —> goal games. The difference between Farmville and World of Warcraft is it’s legal to buy money on Farmville.

    • td 2:33 PM on December 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      The bright side is it will be hella easy to dump when SWTOR comes out.

      • Jordan 2:36 PM on December 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        So true, I guess we’ll force feed any readers copious amounts of SW:TOR reviews for a year or two after it comes out.

  • Jordan 11:28 AM on December 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Of Morality and Men 

    Of all the things to forget to put into my previous post, this is the worst.  The morality of Dragon Age is an amazingly crafted game that forces the player into difficult choices.  But what makes these choices so great is something that Bioware has struggled to implement for years.

    My first Bioware game was Knights of the Old Republic.  Conforming to the romanticized view of the Jedi order, the player could choose to be either light side or dark side.  No problem with that right?  Except that the choices that determined whether or not you were light side or dark side were white, dark or perhaps a neutral gray option.

    You come across a puppy in your travels.  This puppy looks like it hasn’t eaten for days.  As it looks up at you with mournful eyes, you see the obvious signs of abuse.  What do you do?

    Option 1 – You find food for the puppy and take it to some poor child who has been begging for this exact little dog.  The puppy lives happily ever after. (+ 10 Light Side Points)

    Option 2 – Disgusted by the smell, you recoil and strike the mangy cur with your leather covered foot.  (+10 Dark Side Points)

    Option 3 – You pat the puppy gently and carry on with your journey.  The fate of the world is at stake and cannot be bothered with a small animal. (No Points)

    Now, while these options are obvious depending on the direction your character is leaning (whether Sith or Jedi), there is a problem.  In KotOR, if the player achieved complete lightside, or complete dark side, then they got a +3 bonus to the best attribute that their character needed.  It could be strength, intelligence or charisma.  If you’ve played KotOR, you know that this is the best bonus to any attribute that you will find in the game.  Thus, whether you’re playing light or dark side, you choose to help the puppy out or kick it in order to get the maximum allowed Dark Side Points or Light Side Points for that attribute bonus.  Suddenly, you’re no longer making the decision based around morality, but rather making your decision based on what gives you the best attribute bonus.

    Mass Effect (both 1 and 2) changed this around slightly.  While you still get a bonus for having a full Paragon/Renegade bar, those two are not exclusive.  Instead of having opposites, you have two different paths for the same outcome.  Instead of good vs. evil, you have Dirty Harry (or John McClane) vs.  Superman.  Both are doing good deeds, but they have their own method to their madness.  While this is infinitely better than the “either good or bad” characters that pop up KotOR, it still leaves the player with the need to maintain their path for the attributes awarded.

    Then we come to Dragon Age.  For the first time playing a game, I had to make morality choices based, instead of what I thought they wanted me to choose, on what I thought was right.  In this game, there was no wrong or right answer.  I can’t count the number of times in this game that I had to stop and think about how my replies would affect everything.  A slight example of this is when you finally make it into the Alienage (the place where they keep elves in the capital city).  A beggar comes up to you and asks for some food.  Righteously, I chose to give up 10 silver (I had over 10,000 silver at this point) and merrily went on my way.  As a quest turned me in that direction again, I came across the beggar again.  But this time he had 4 friends with him.  He told me that they were all veterans of some war and needed money for food.  Grumpily, I gave them another 10 silver to split amongst themselves.  I was a little irritated, even though I could afford it, and went off questing again.  About 15 minutes later, I pass by the beggar again, and wouldn’t you know, he has 30 people surrounding him.  I’m greeted (though I tried to avoid him) with resounding cheers and told that all these people need to eat as well.  It would amount to about 100-200 silver.  While I could still afford it, I told them no.  Funnily enough, they didn’t get mad.  I didn’t see a bolt of lightning come out of heaven and smite me for my “wickedness”.  The world went on much as it had before, and I was sitting there stunned that I was allowed to be different than completely altruistic without penalty.

    But they aren’t all like this, about halfway through the game, I met my first completely difficult decision (SPOILER ALERT).  TD, you can keep reading, I know you’ve gotten here already.  When I went to go get help from one of the Arl’s (in our world it would be a Duke or something) I found out that he was sick.  Worse than that, zombies were charging out of his castle besieging the local village.  After beating back the zombie horde, I got into the castle where I discovered that the Child of the Arl was possessed.  To cut a long story short, after discussing it with everyone, it was decided that there were two options.  I could kill the child (thus giving the demon no place to reside) and village would be saved.  Or, I could use the mother’s life essence (killing her to fuel the magic required to send the demon back into the Fade).  I could also let it be, and allow the demon to continue ruling the arldom.  After spending nearly 20 minutes trying to decide between the two killing options, I opted for killing the mother.  I thought it would be the lesser of two evils, and within minutes, we had banished the demon.  Later in the game, I heal the Arl and the first thing he says when he wakes up is, “Where is my wife?”  I suddenly realized for all my attempt at doing good deeds, I had still caused grief.

    Dragon Age is one of the darkest games I’ve played.  It forces the player to use his own morals to make the choices in the game, instead of some arbitrary “Don’t steal shit” rule.  You are allowed to do nearly anything and everything.  The only gauge is that some of your companions might have stronger morals than you and disapprove when you go and beat a beggars face in (not that I tried).  But even this is easily rectified by the giving of gifts.

    ~Dooj

     
    • td 11:46 AM on December 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      What I find especially amazing is this system actually has more consequences to your gameplay than “be good and get a +3.” Because they aren’t black and white, you also have little idea as to what those consequences will be.

      • Jordan 12:48 PM on December 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        I’ve also found out while playing as my elf (even though it’s still early) that my choices are far different and I still have no idea what’s gonna happen.

  • Jordan 2:45 PM on December 13, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Dragon Age: Origins – Wow… Just Wow… 

    I spent the last 3 weeks playing this game and while I can’t give any spoilers because SOMEONE hasn’t finished the game, I can say that this is the best game I’ve played since Knights of the Old Republic.  It’s very impressive that every game that I have played from Bioware that has come out, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed.  Kotor, NWN, Jade Empire, the Mass Effect series and now Dragon Age.  Similar to how if I see a director’s name on a movie, I know I’m going to watch it.  If I see Bioware’s logo pop up as the game is loading, it’s 99% likely that I’m about to be taken for the ride of my life.

    Dragon Age begins in the typical Dungeons and Dragons fantasy setting.  The world feels eerily familiar especially having played some Neverwinter Nights.  Your story begins with the possibility of a blight (which is when the Darkspawn take over the world) and you are a part of the only thing that can stop the Blight, the Grey Wardens.  Since Bioware’s claim to fame is their story, I shall leave you at that because I don’t want to give anything away that you might have enjoyed otherwise.

    For the longest time, Bioware has focused on their story at the detriment of their graphics. While Kotor and NWN didn’t have bad graphics, they were behind in that department for a long time.  This isn’t supposed to be a slam, it was a business decision.  Recently though, with the Mass Effect series and now Bioware, their graphics have taken off.  When I was walking across the bridge at Ostagar, I spent 5 minutes just looking around.  The background, the ravine 1000 feet below where I was standing just looked so impressive.  I’m glad that Bioware has decided to bring their graphics to a more realistic approach.  To do this without detriment to anything else is impressive.

    Typical Bioware gameplay.  The allowance for spacebar to pause the game (I played the PC version) is a huge strategic boon and allows for a fight to change at a moment’s notice.  I did notice that the actions of each character runs much smoother than it ever did in Kotor, and it makes the player feel like he’s actually a part of the fight.  The best part about the game play is that it allowed for a 3rd person, Kotor style AND if you zoomed out, it would turn into NWN/Baldur’s Gate looking from the top style.  Fantastic idea, because it allowed for even more of a squad based strategy.  The implementation of tactics also helped.  Essentially they are a series of if/then statements.  For instance, if ally falls below 50% health then cast heal on said ally.  There are thousands of combinations, and this allows you to play only 1 character while your computer companions act out your orders.  Again, it allows for seamless fighting.

    As the great Yahtzee said, “Bioware doesn’t get credit for story anymore.”  I have to admit that since Bioware has been so exceptional on the story front for so long, we sometimes take their stories for granted.  However, this game’s story sucked me in from the moment it started.  I was amazed that I could get so immersed in the story.  The greatest praise that I can give is this:

    Bioware has around 6 endings in the game.  I’m not positive on that, but it seems about right.  I got one of them with my human noble that I just finished the game with.  I could easily take that noble, and go back about 1 hour to choose a completely different ending, but I feel like it would be disrespectful to my character to do this.  I feel like his story is already told, and I should let it be.  You don’t try and convince Frodo to stay after you’ve finished reading the Lord of the Rings, no matter how happy or sad it made you.  Bioware wrote an interactive novel, and who am I to change it?

    I’m planning on playing through this game again, with an elf rogue, a dwarven warrior and then a human or elf mage.  I want to see how the game changes with those characters.  In fact, I started up a second game on Saturday (2 days after I finished the first game) and was an elf rogue.  30 minutes in and I already have a hatred for humans.  They raped my damn cousin!  No human is trustworthy!  They must all BURN!!!!!!

    In short, this definitely was my favorite game I played all year.  Even more so than Mass Effect 2 (another Bioware game… go figure).  I’m also even more excited for Star Wars: the Old Republic now.  Previously, I was worried for how it would play with companions and story.  Now, I can begin to see how it could all work together and it makes me supremely excited.  In review, go buy this game.  You’re doing yourself a disservice by not playing it.  If you had a friend who watched movies, this would be the Gone with the Wind.  A bookreader? Lord of the Rings.  It’s a huge step in the right direction for video games.  A graphically-pleasing, story-driven, well-oiled engine of a game.

    ~Jordan

     
  • Jordan 11:32 AM on December 6, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Blur: Where words cannot express this game 

    Blugh…

     

     

     

    But seriously.  I played this game for an evening.  and it was not very good.  But I’m sure I’ll have to explain why.  This game is like a poorly done Need for Speed or Gran Turismo.  Obviously, if you know what kinds of games those are, you know that it is a racing game.  But Blur attempts to be a racing game with the added dynamic of picking up different weapons and shooting the other cars with these weapons.  If this sounds familiar, it’s because both Mario Kart and Death Race have implemented this to varying success.

    Blur starts out without telling you any of the controls.  I got pushed into a race in last place with nothing but a “3… 2… 1…” to prep myself for the race.  I finished last, of course (but that’s not what makes this game infuriating).  What makes this game infuriating is the lack of information.  I have no idea what’s going on most of the time.

    Because the developers are trying to make a realistic racing game.  Realistic racing games mean that the background just blurs by giving the “realistic” feeling of going too fast to see.

    Cause we know cars go this fast

    What this huge increase in speed also requires is that you can’t turn on a dime.  It’s a simple law of physics, but then they have impossible turns without letting you know which button is the brake.  I ended up crashing into the guard rail (which must have been made out of the strongest material ever not to break in SUCH A REALISTIC GAME).

    Since they allow you to pick up weapons to attack other racers, you would assume that these weapons would do something.  You would be wrong.  There are only two weapons that actually allow you to gain ground on someone.  A mine, and a missile.  I’m pretty sure that there are 7 weapons in the game.  The others are: shield, boost, repair, bullets and lightning.  No, this isn’t the awesome lightning like in Mario Kart.  As best as I could tell, it was an EMP mine thing.  But I never saw it hit anyone and I never hit on, so I don’t know what the hell it did.  The repair kit is used to heal your car if you’ve been hit by too many missiles and bullets.  If you lose all your health, you blow up… But I’m not sure what happens… I think you just continue after 2 or 3 seconds.  But it takes so much to die that I don’t even know why they have it in there.

    I’ve already talked long enough about this game.  It’s horrible and crappy.  And I guess there are is one word to describe this game: SHIT!

     
    • td 11:41 AM on December 6, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Yet it probably has better AI than Grand Turismo 5. . .

    • Ryan Rust 12:18 PM on December 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      You forgot Streets of SimCity! that game had cars with guns…

      and, after playing it with Forrest the other day, i can see how the single player could be very frustrating. i think that Blur would be more of a game to play multiplayer. while still frustrating, at least there is somebody else in the same boat…

      • Jordan 2:24 PM on December 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Oh man… Streets of Sim City was one of the most underrated games of all time. So much fun to run around one of your own made up cities…

        And Ryan… that’s the reason people still play WoW. Because you have someone to waddle through the quagmire with you.

        • Ryan Rust 3:27 AM on December 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply

          I loved Streets of Sim City. i had some good times with that game.

          I can see that. I haven’t played WoW in a few years now, but from what i hear, it’s becoming increasingly stupid. the main difference between Blur and WoW is that Blur has a one-time fee. While you adults with cushy desk jobs might be able to afford $30/month, us poor college students have tutuiton to pay! =)

  • Jordan 11:05 AM on November 29, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Messing around 

    Sorry about the lack of a real game to review.  I have been playing 2 games recently, but I already have plans for both of them.

    The first is Civilization 4.  Now, I know that TD doesn’t like it that much, but I haven’t gotten lost in a game like I did with Civ 4 for ages.  I sat down to play it with a few friends of mine using the built in “Play By Email” option.  That’s what happens when you email the saved game to different people you’re playing against.  Anyways, I sat down to play it last Saturday (before Thanksgiving) and said, “I can play 1 turn…”  7 hours later, my wife gets home and I haven’t done any chores…  I got all the chores done, but it’s been months since a game took hold of me like that.  Also, this is the menu song for Civ 4.  An amazing rendition of the Lord’s Prayer in Swahili:

    I’ll have more stuff to say about this game when I’m done playing with my friends.  I want to make a scenario walkthrough and try to explain all my moves with maybe some help from the other competitors.  It’ll be fun I promise.

    The other game I’m working on is Dragon Age.  I’m extremely impressed with this game.  I love how Bioware takes a similar setting, but still does so well in drawing you into the story.  I find myself wanting to read that extra chapter even though it all has a familiar feel to it.  I have played enough Bioware games to know how they are going with a story, but in every game they do such a good job with that first chapter that I’m just grateful to be playing through the story.  If all games had a backstory like this one did, Popcap would be going out of business.

    I promise to review a game next week.  I have a few that I’m looking into.  Until then!

    ~Jordan

     
  • Jordan 12:56 PM on November 22, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Kirby’s Epic Yarn: Where Nintendo flexed its muscles 

    Not much I can say about this game.  I finished the story part, but they have a few decorating “quests” which I have no wish to complete.

    The game plays out like one of those old fabric storybooks you had when you were a kid.  You (Kirby) start out by getting sucked into Yin Yarn’s sock while a baritone narrator explains the circumstances.  You end up being made of yarn without the typical Kirby suction attack and have to fight your way through yarn baddies to restore volume to the universe.  In congruence with Nintendo’s recent decision to make games easier and more like popcap, Kirby can’t die.  If you die, you lose half your beads (like coins but they don’t give you 1ups) and get carried back to the most recent safe spot.  While this seems like it would make the game unnecessarily easy, it works out very well and there’s still a challenge to it.

    Another aspect of the game is the co-op part.  Your friend can join in the quest for volume as Prince Fluff and together you fight the evil yarn monster.  Both fortunately and unfortunately, there is collision in this game.  Which means that you can push your partner off a ledge or even pick him/her off the ledge that way.  This makes for both frustrating times and insanely fun times.  Nintendo has done it again with publishing a game that threatens to tear apart the fabric of marriage if you play with your spouse.

    As for the platforming mechanics, there’s really not much to say about it.  Nintendo is so far above everything else that it’s almost impossible to compare.  Recently everyone has been raving about Super Meat Boy and how amazing it is, but Nintendo has been making these types of games for 25 years and it clearly shows in their level designs.  Not to mention there are girls out there whose laugh sounds like Mario swimming.    Not since Super Mario Bros. 3 have I played a more well designed platformer.  That being said, Super Mario World is still their crowning achievement.

     

    ~Jordan

     
  • Jordan 9:57 AM on November 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    The Shadows of Amn Chronicles 

    I woke up to being tortured by someone.  He seemed to revel in my pain as my compatriots looked on.  No word of encouragement wafted from those lips, though you would think a cleric would be helpful to have in a situation like that.  Of course, being that this guy is obviously very powerful (lightning was dancing down my spine) perhaps the cleric has a high wisdom score and elects to remain quiet.  My other companion is some sort of magic user.  I never trusted wizards, but this one seems especially given to casting Melf’s acid arrow into my back as soon as I’m done unlocking a chest for him.

    My torturer continues to toy with my nerve endings until some sort of clay golem thing popped into the room.  He mentioned something about how something something got into the fortress.  I know that’s a lot of somethings, but I was delirious.  Having liquid electricity coursing your veins will do that too you.  When my captor finally left to check on things, I blissfully fell into a deep pain-induced sleep.

    Suddenly I was woken up by some female. “Jar Nod!  Jar Nod!  I’m your sister!!”  I didn’t remember having a sister, but I chose to amuse this crazy chick in front of me.  She started prattling on about how evil the guy who kidnapped me is (as if I didn’t already know) and how we have untapped potential.  While she was talking about it, that sounded really cool, but looking back on it, I feel like she was trying to come onto me.  Who uses that language?  Untapped potential, sounds like a sexual innuendo to me.  But she opened my door so I gleefully stepped out.

    My party members started clamoring for attention as soon as I got out of my cage.  None of this “Are you ok?” shit, instead it was “Open up our damn door” as they poured themselves another shot of Evan Williams (where the hell did they get alcohol and how come I have none).  I head over and open up their cages (I mean who wants such crabby people, but they’re the only people who haven’t attacked me yet, so I figure I should be nice to them).  Then I start trying to talk to other prisoners.  “HEY!  OPEN UP OUR CAGE!” They yell.  We haven’t even been properly introduced and they’re staggering around in a drunken stupor yelling at me to do something I already did.  Eventually they stumble out and we carry on our way as a big happy dysfunctional party.  Little did I know it would get even worse when I talked to the half-naked dude with a hamster.

    “Who am I?”, you might ask.  I’m Jar Nod.  I am either a thief or I pretend to be one.  I don’t know how I was kidnapped, but looking around this place, I don’t think I was stealing anything.  There isn’t anything here but cages and the drunk cleric and sorcerer.  Looks kinda damp and musky.  Not really my kinda place.

    ~Jar Nod (day 1)

     
    • td 10:00 AM on November 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to Amn, Mother******

    • Beta_grumm 10:01 AM on November 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      She “opened your door…” *snicker… snicker….
      I should be at class.

    • HReizarf 10:26 AM on November 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Clay Golem? I thought that was a spawn of the great and might Poo.

      • Jordan 10:27 AM on November 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        I AM THE GREAT MIGHTY POO! AND I’M GOING TO THROW MY SHIT AT YOU!

  • Jordan 12:18 PM on November 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    of Kobe and Call of Duty: Black Ops 

    It’s not often that two of my favorite hobbies/interests meet, especially in the public eye.  Usually, it’s because people find out how much Tim Duncan loves D&D or that Nate Robinson plays Halo 3 with some regular dudes and shouts out to them during the game.  But recently, we had a “scandal” where celebrities were depicted firing real weapons and… nevermind, I’ll just show you the commercial:

    Now, the problem isn’t that Jimmie Kimmel is in the spot (though some people have complained about that), it’s not that there is a young woman shooting a shotgun, it’s that Kobe freaking Bryant is in the spot.  And the fact that he is SMILING while shooting a nice looking gun.

    Let’s look at what the sports world is saying about this:

    “He was smiling while holding an assault rifle in combat while we have troops overseas at this moment doing the same thing for real in combat. It’s completely out of bounds for Kobe Bryant, who I thought had completely rehabilitated his image after Eagle, Colo., but even the great Kobe Bryant is not that, so to speak, bulletproof.”

    h/t Ball Don’t Lie

    Let me say first that I greatly appreciate what our soldiers are doing on foreign soil.  I have immense respect for nearly everyone who joined the military.  But until a soldier comes out and says, “I’m offended that they depicted violence as entertainment”, we should probably leave it alone.  The only people that are offended by this are the people who never were in the military to begin with.  Why not interview someone in that scenario before putting words into all our armed forces cumulative mouths?

    Of course, none of this would be a scandal if there wasn’t some pathos involved:

    “This is exactly what we’re trying to fight,” Walker says. “I’m looking at a 14-year-old boy right now who got shot in the head, and then I see Kobe get on TV looking like a damned fool, holding an assault weapon and wearing the same stuff the kids are wearing when they kill somebody. The look on his face — all smiling and happy. This is the attitude we’re trying to get away from. It’s OK for him, though, because he’s never had to worry about going home to the ghetto. That ain’t his world.”

    h/t espn.go.com

    I still feel like most people are missing the focus of the ad.  Almost to the point that I doubt any of them play any FPS games at all.  Yes!  It’s a game, but it’s about escaping from the world around you to be the soldier.  To be upset that someone got killed and another person depicted violence in a tv commercial with the tag line “There is a soldier in all of us” is overreacting.

    Are we going to ask celebrities to not be in movies?  Where was this backlash when Saving Private Ryan came out on video?  Why wasn’t everyone upset when Quinton Jackson played Baracus in the new A-Team which featured 4 guys gleefully blowing things up?  As much as I hate Kobe Bryant, I get the feeling that people are picking on him and I feel dirty trying to exonerate him.  If it comes to a head and the NBA commissioner requests that Bryant no longer appear in any ads or requires the ad to delete Bryant from it, I hope that he requires Space Jam to be burned as well.  We shouldn’t be showing Michael Jordan beating up aliens because we all know how many kids get bullied every day.  Someone think of the children!

    ~Jordan

     
    • td 12:29 PM on November 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Wanna know something awesome? I had no idea that was Kobe Bryant.

    • Jordan 12:33 PM on November 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Damn reply button

    • HReizarf 12:36 PM on November 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I don’t get the fixation on a certain person in the commercial or what it has to do with the ghetto, but I can understand people having a problem with the commercial. It is depicting people using real guns to shoot other people or their friends for fun without a clear connection to the game. I don’t think it’s fair to compare it to a movie.

      • Jordan 12:41 PM on November 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        It has stuff to do with the ghetto because Kobe is black.

        As for the other problem, you see people in movies have fun shooting other people all the time. There’s no outcry against them. Instead, we’re showing how people act in the game without the medium of the game in the way. The overreactive backlash that has been prevalent in the media is just sickening. I can’t tell if it’s a holier than thou attitude or just ignorance.

        If this commercial got pulled by micro$oft back in the day, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNuRQmvykwk, then activision probably should not have published this one. But the arguments people are making for why Kobe shouldn’t have been in the commercial are stupid.

        • HReizarf 12:53 PM on November 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply

          Racist! :P

          They are both ignorant and have a holier than thou attitude. It’s perfectly sensible to have an aversion to the commercial, and they may have gotten that feeling. Instead of attempting to understand the problem with it, they drag out an old line and pick a target to demonize. They do it because it makes them feel good.

          This is a common theme among all big media and those who wish to be big media (see: racist teabaggers). Everyone wants to be in the “In Crowd”.

      • Jordan 12:41 PM on November 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Sorry that didn’t come across in my post.

      • Jordan 3:53 PM on November 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        For instance, any action adventure shows people smiling while shooting. Bad Boys 2 comes to mind.

    • td 3:48 PM on November 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I find it hilarious ;P I want to see them do Super Mario now.

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