Saturday, July 17, 2010

Crude Sexual Euphemism [chat]

LiLo's friends are worried that she won't be able to survive smoke-free jail.

Well, I have something she can smoke.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Mitch McConnell: On Grooves Being Back

Addressing a crowd of mother-fucking idiots, Mitch "Stella" McConnell said this:

"We broke out of the Washington Echo Chamber, and fought the government-driven solutions the Democrats were proposing. In short, you might say we got our groove back."

Ha.

HaHa.

SHUT UP!

Who in the name of Shit-Cock-Hole hell do you fucking think you are, you sexagenarian dolt? What the fucking, who the, what the, WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING referencing a movie from 1998? THE MOVIE IS 12 FUCKING YEARS OLD YOU SENILE SHIT!

What, do you want to talk about how you Don't Wanna Miss A Thing when the Republicans make a Deep Impact in November? You want to call Obama the devil or suggest that his ethnicity renders him a Prince of Egypt? Would you like to articulate how you're watching every move the Democrats make as they follow the exit signs out of office?

Maybe you could discuss your plans to remake the current political climate in which Obama will suck the life out of us while we hold dear to the hope that the truth is out there.

Though, it's true that laughter is the best medicine and you'd give up forever to undermine Obama, we can't go back in time to prevent the Wild Things this congress does to keep the jizz in our hair.

STOP! Just, fucking, for the love of fuck. Just fucking STOP BEING AN IDIOT!

Ok?

You were fucking born in 19-fucking-42. Alright? You're not cool; you're not hip; you're not "with it". You have no idea what "the kids" are doing on their tubal interwebs. So stop fucking, just, just stop, alright? Just fucking stop it.

I can't take this anymore. I can't fucking deal with this shit; I can put up with underhanded political bullshit and obstrictionist jackassery while you attempt to deprive the impoverished masses of their unemployment benefits. I can accept the fact that you hate pelicans and luuuuuurve big business (the kids today say "lurve" instead of "love") and haven't ever fucking lived in the real world or grasped the fundamental rules of existence.

I'm fine with that.

But in the name of Fuck, stop fucking trying to be cool. I can't deal with it. Because you're standing there saying "We got out groove back" and the audience is awkwardly, so fucking awkwardly, laughing at your TWELVE YEAR OLD REFERENCE from a fucking...you didn't even fucking see that movie did you? You don't know how Stella got her groove back, how she lost her groove, what became of her grooveness. You couldn't talk for a straight minute about the attainment and loss of groves! And yet you're going to try to reference that shit?

Who are you?

WHO ARE YOU?!

SHOW ME YOUR GOD DAMNED THUMBS!

Stop fucking over-fucking-reaching. You're not getting the youth vote. The only people under the age of 30 who are voting for you are Bible-humping fuckassedly stupid virgins who think Jesus Pogo-Stick-Riding Christ literally made the world 6,000 years ago. You're not going to get them to swing conservative as a result of your referencing a movie for "the color'ds."

They never saw the movie.
You never saw the movie.

Shut.
The Fuck.
Up.


Just fucking stop being a miserable pissant whose desperate graspings at popular culture land in the late fucking 90s.

Ok?

That's our deal. I'll look the other way when you fuckheadedly ruin the planet. And you stop talking about movies made prior to the last two years.

Because if at any point in the immediate future you ask a crowd of young conservatives "What is Love?"

I'm going to fucking stroke.






Thursday, July 15, 2010

We practice only the Maddest of Sciences up in here.

Behold , for I give unto modern man the newest wonder of the world - The Ceiling Cat!

My God! What have I done!

More Scott Pilgrim

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Force Field Cake Cat

Record of Agarest War

I bought Record of Agarest War with the understanding that it is a Japanese-style SRPG that would, on occasion, slice up some cheesecake. As a representative of the 1% of Americans whose mother/wife/girlfriend/daughter/self does not (or will not have the opportunity to) object to my playing Record of Agarest War, I will not deny that this sort of combination is appealing to me.

Now, upon hearing SRPG + implied softcore, your first thought may be "oh, like Luminous Arc", but no, the advertising made it fairly clear that Agarest War would be much more explicit with its sexually implicit material than that other game. Suprisingly, however, the package on the shelf appeared to be rather innocent. The word "breeding" was used to describe a game feature, sure, but the images were not at all out of the ordinary for an RPG of any description and the damn thing is rated T, which I assume stands for Tame.

So, imagine my surprise when I went to the register and found out that the game I was about to purchase actually came in a much larger box: one covered in much saucier images and containing a couple of extra items. Namely, a mousepad (one of THOSE mousepads) and a pillowcase (one of THOSE pillowcases...well, except that it's only big enough for a smallish pillow). It isn't exactly the sort of thing you would request to have placed in a brown paper bag, but I did suspect that the cashier underwent a sudden change in his opinion of me as a result of this exchange. Perhaps he resented having to explain to me that Agarest War's so-called "Really Naughty Edition" would contain "extras" would cause the snow-white lambs surrounding baby Jesus' manger to blush. I'm really not certain.

At any rate, I was no longer sure what to expect from the game. I walked into the store knowing that consenting female adults would eventually attempt to devour an entire sausage whole, that much was clear. Somehow, though, the extra effort the publisher made to convince me that the disc was meant to be owned by would-be otaku who thirst for cartoon images of girls in compromising situations and who quiver with eagerness at the thought of breeding with them, well, where would that leave me? I can't claim to have such a high level of interest.

Of course, that didn't stop me from buying the game, though it was with a distinct feeling of unease that I loaded the game for the first time. The intro video skipped quickly through some questionable CG and a few shots of the ladies who, I assumed, would soon be spilling food on themselves or falling into vine/tentacle traps. Nothing went too far in the opening and soon I was off on my new game, wondering when it was going to get down to business. You know. Business.

So, imagine my further surprise when the game dumped a bunch of text on me regarding the war of battlement or some garbage where the gathered armies huddled in fear of the kingdom of might and exactly the same crap that would precede any other pretentious fantasy war game. Then, the next 20 hours or so (the game (360 version, anyway) does not keep track of time played) is spent almost exclusively on the battlefield, bashing in the heads of the same dogs and fairies over and over.

The repetition of the battles is really quite alarming. The apparent pattern is that one battle is then followed by about three more battles that are functionally identical to the first. The same enemies in the same numbers will come at you in roughly the same way. The terrain will be the same, their abilities will be the same, and it will be difficult to explain to yourself why it is that you are even playing the game.

Well, there is the cheesecake, but I'll get to that in a bit. I do want to say a bit more about the battle system, first, because it is actually pretty interesting. All actions, including movement, consume AP which are regenerated each turn. Unused AP is carried over to the next turn. I appreciate it when games do this.

It is possible to use each character as an individual to slice away at enemy health but Agarest War is most efficiently played by taking advantage of the link system. I'm sure they have a special name for it that I have completely ignored, but the idea is that each character is able to link with other characters who are standing in certain positions relative to him. This is a lot like Yggdra Union, in which classes and maybe genders each had a pattern of tiles on which any ally standing could share in the attack. In Agarest War, each character's pattern is unique, but the effect is roughly the same: everyone in the link teams up on the same target. Linked allies still consume AP, so it isn't as though they get extra turns. The real benefit of making these team attacks is that each enemy has a sort of shield that is worn down only through successive attacks, and recharges immediately following the end of a combo. Obviously, when six people are taking turns beating a fairy to death, it will be a lot easier if they only have to worry about a shield during the first couple of shots.

There are some other benefits; a linked character will move in to attack range no matter how far away he is, so long as he is linked, it is possible to initiate a linked attack and then not use the initiator in the combo (this is particularly useful when your white mage's turn isn't until much later. If linked to the mage, just use whomever to target the ally, then use her heal spell.) I would prefer if the interface made it easier to actually enact all of the fancy linking and bashing that they expect me to do. It is not always easy to know if the link is still good after moving a character in the chain to attack range and some other problems persist, as well.

And that damned repetition is a real problem. I don't think it would be unreasonable to ask that fully one quarter of the battles be completely removed from the game. Given that it is possible to replay levels after beating them, it seems redundant (and mean) to require the player to forestall real progress so that the same level can be used a few more times.

Fortunately, there is a pretty great system of item creation, leveling, monster capturing, achievements and all sorts of peripheral diversions that I typically enjoy. The item creation is the fairly standard [ITEM A] + [ITEM B] = [ITEM C] routine, though without most of the guesswork that often plagues this idea. New recipes have to be purchased or won in one way or another, but they are always perfectly clear about what is needed. Items that can be converted into other items always tell you what the new item will be. Occasionally there will be one of those mixups where the guy mixing items accidentally made something else, but these are rare and, so far, completely positive.

What of the cheesecake and the breeding? Even if it takes you fifty hours to enter "Agarest War" into Google Image Search, you are probably getting it faster than anyone playing the actual game. It honestly occupies such a minuscule fraction of the game that it hardly bears mentioning. I will say that the breeding aspect, or the finding a girl to marry you aspect as it would more accurately but less provocatively be called, does include some question and answer portions of dialogue that causes the ladies to change how they feel about you depending on what you select. A handy visual aid is provided at all times to let you know how the ladies feel, which is actually kind of a nice touch. Angry means they hate you, blushing means they love you, and three images in between. None of this Star Ocean crap where you don't know until the end of the game that everyone wishes you would die.

My complaint about the breeding is that it could hardly be considered a well-integrated part of the game. Some scripted decisions made by the main character without player input can influence their opinions, bogglingly. There is at least one instance of an entire sequence of the ladies suddenly asking question after question, each answer inflating or deflating their opinions. I would think that in a game that is dominated by fighting redundant battles, creating weapons, and so on would find a way to make that or the conversations about that somehow influence how women feel about your character. Instead, the game ignores them for hours, then pulls everyone aside for a moment, ostensibly in the middle of a conflict on which the fate of the world hangs, so that a blonde dancer can ask you how you feel about women who can cook.

It is baffling. As is the fact that several of the answers didn't have the effect I thought they would. It really just goes to show that I have no idea what these women want or think or even who the hell they are. We hardly talk, really, so maybe I am supposed to read in to their broadly drawn tropes to predict what they want to hear.

Anyway, there is probably a lot more to say about this game. The whole having the game span several generations thing is cool and not exactly an overused RPG convention. I dig. The achievements refer to both the points that Microsoft/Sony insist that you earn and a slew of in-game hurdles that yield some gold and items upon completion.

I have dumped a week and a half or so into Agarest War and, while the prospect of actually finishing the game is a dreadful thing, there is enough that I enjoy to keep me going. Also, you can hit select and the game will play itself. Seriously. Auto battle takes over and they move everyone and attack and everything. The AI is bloodthirsty and a little retarded, meaning that characters wind up dead for what amounts to impressively bad management, but they can get the job done. It really takes the edge off of the careful arrangement and execution of the hundreds of battles this game is threatening to contain.

For being seventy parts SRPG to one part cheesecake, I give Agarest War a level up moan out of a possible spilled melty vanilla ice cream all over her face. If I ever finish it, you'll be the first to know.

Some times I love Bill O'Reilly

1) Bill O'Reilly gets her to a) reject amnesty for illegal immigrants b) endorse amnesty a) reject amnesty and Zombie Reagan

2) Bill-O says "This is frightening me, governor, I'm getting very, very afraid of Mama Grizzlies" This gives Palin in big ol' boner and she runs with it.

Old Spice Channel: Is For Watching

Spend the rest of your life watching this.

Puzzle Quest 2 Review: Saving...

I adored the original Puzzle Quest. The appeal, for me, was that Puzzle Quest knew what it was. It combined the tonic water of a simplistic RPG with the gin of bejeweled to create an intoxicating beverage / game which entertained, occupied one's time, and prevented malaria.

The problem with Puzzle Quest 2 is that adds features to both the RPG and bejeweled components of the game. While the bejeweled enhancements, like enhancements to gin, bring with them flavor and appeal the enhancements to the tonic water RPG leave one wondering, "Why the fuck did you add all of this shit to tonic water?"

We shall begin with the good, as there is not much to cover: The bejeweled battles are pretty much exactly the same as in the first game.

Alright, that's the good news. Now for the bad: This game is stupid and ruins the Puzzle Quest franchise; I want my damn money back.

First off, the updated and "enhanced" RPG components of this game are only enhancements in the sense that fake tits are enhancements. Heft and weight are added, but the heft and weight are a burden rather than a boon. This was the main of the first Puzzle Quest:


It was your basic A-Cup style RPG. One clicked upon locations to automatically wander there by the designated path. If a monster appeared on the path a battle ensued. Simple, to the point, fun.

This is what the new game does:


Puzzle Quest 2 tries to present itself as a C-cup dungeon crawler. Rather than traversing an entire continent one delves into dungeons and sub-levels one screen, one room, at a time. The problem is that rooms are unnecessary and tedious. One enters a room, battles the monsters, and then clicks to navigate to the next room. In a 15 or 20 room dungeon one spends the majority of one's time walking through empty rooms to try to progress to the end of the level. The only thing this adds to the game is time between battles. The rooms and new navigation style are about as exciting and interesting as, say, Tara Reid's boob job; your main thought is, "How could someone fuck them up that bad?"

Another problem with the dungeon crawler style is that the maps are fuck-damn retarded. Nothing is labeled, including the game's "waypoints". One has to memorize waypoint locations, causing a headache when one needs to quickly return to town. Oh, and town? Yeah, it is 9 screens each of which contain one useful NPC. The guy who upgrades your gear is on a different screen than the guy who sells items. Why? Because the developers of Puzzle Quest 2 wanted the game to be a huge fucking pain in the ass.

Speaking of pains in the ass, if you've ever thought to yourself, "This game is pretty fun, but what it really needs is an god-damned annoying auto-save function which activates after I fucking do fucking anything." then Puzzle Quest 2 is the game for you. The game auto-saves after battles, talking to NPCs, loading your inventory screen, loading your quest screen, pissing, and being thrown at the wall in frustration. Whenever you do FUCKING ANYTHING be prepared to count "one one-thousand, two one-thousand" while the game auto-saves, lest you lose the data from that time when you checked your quest log.

To the quest log: In the original game one could click a quest and the location of its objective would sparkle on the main map. This made completing quests simple. In Puzzle Quest 2, clicking on a quest results in nothing. You click the quest, the game stares at you as it prepares to auto-save once you close the quest menu in frustrating.

Two other "enhancements" are a new loot feature and a key feature. Occasionally a boss will drop a chest clicking upon which will start a loot game of bejeweled the pieces of which are bronze, copper, and gold coins. A match of four or five coins will spawn a rare or unique loot piece, which is only useful when matched with 2 other loot pieces of the same kind. This is only a minor inconvenience. The "pain in the ass" part of looting is that every 15 seconds the bottom row is blocked off. If one has two unique loot pieces in the bottom row and can't quite match them to anything in time? Well, fuck you! The pieces are gone once that row is blocked off.

The key feature is the same sort of thing. When confronted with a locked door one must unlock it by matching gems to different designated patterns or by matching a specific quantity of specific gems in a limited number of turns. Does it fit the style of Puzzle Quest? Sort of. Is it fun? No. Is it tedious and a waste of time? Fuck yeah!

The original Puzzle Quest was a delightful blend of RPG and Bejeweled combined in a perfect ratio. Puzzle Quest 2 is a watered down trainwreck of stupid which basically just frustrates the player and ruins the franchise.

Think of it this way:
Puzzle Quest 2 : Puzzle Quest :: Quake 3 : Quake 2

That about sums it up.

In conclusion, I wish I had purchased Monster Hunter, instead.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Scott Pilgrim: "A Look Inside" Trailer



"The whole world changes when he meets Ramona."

Yeah

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I Love the Baxter!



Great theater in Louisville, does lots of midnight showing of older films.
Coming up on Saturday Aug 28.... Serenity!!!!!
Just got back from seeing Batman: Mask of the Phantasm.
Black Dynamite and Hot Fuzz are also on the schedule for the summer.

Sometime I love this town.

Vampires Suck