The Animal Farm

September 28th, 2005

The Next Generation

I’ve been passively tracking the Metal Gear Solid series since it resurfaced for the Playstation. I’ve spent some time watching the series grow, and I’ve noticed a general trend in Snake’s evolution. That is, he’s becoming a sixties porno star. I should’ve seen it since he first spoke with his gruff, manly voice in Metal Gear Solid 1. In the second installment, he went even further by sporting a stylish mullet. Now in the fourth installment he’s got a nice thick mustache to complement his persona. I imagine in the fifth installment he’ll be wearing a leisure suit while trippy electronic music plays in the background.

Everyone’s been going crazy talking about the new Nintendo Revolution controller. I’d hate to be the only person who’s not publicly talking like they know anything, so I’ll post my thoughts now. The controller, in my eyes, is a nifty idea. I’m sure there are a lot of cool games that can be made with it, and I’m equally sure that three companies will be making these games. It would make a nifty peripheral. But as a primary controller, it’s lacking. Novelty peripherals like this are just that - novelty. Take the Eye Toy. There’s not a single memorable game for it. And nobody’s making any, either. Why? Because game developers are busy making their own games, and they don’t need someone else’s ‘revolutionary visions’ interfering with their own ideas. The same with the DS - it’s a nice little system, but right now that second screen is being used for pretty maps or an extension of the first screen. I’ve yet to see anything that makes me go, “Oh wow, this changes the way I look at video games,” and I don’t think I’m going to. DDR and Donkey Konga showed us that if developers need a new type of controller, they’ll create one themselves. Now, I know that they’ll be coming out with a more typical type of controller, but I also know I don’t want to spend extra money for it.

I’ve seen the teaser trailer. Quite honestly, I don’t care to flail my arms wildly whenever I want to play a game. I don’t want to have to take breaks because my arms get tired. The idea of sword fighting would be appealing, but realize that the controller is going to shake in response to what happens. You’re not going to get any realistic responses - your ’sword’ won’t jerk to a stop when you hit something, and as a result, the controls will be flakey at best. And fishing? Come on. I can see some nifty platformers, puzzle games, and maybe even a few innovations when the next Mario Kart hits, but otherwise, I’ll venture a prediction that we’re just going to find ourselves using a typical controller when it’s released.

But let’s hope I’m wrong, ‘eh? Let’s hope we’re all controlling Solid Snake with a remote control as he uses bad pickup lines and shows ladies “the guns.”

Infinite ammo.

September 20th, 2005

Realizations

I was looking at my AIM buddy list the other day, and I thought, “Why?” AIM has lost the majority of its appeal to me. There were times when I would hold down five conversations at once, juggling IM windows like a circus actor hopped up on speed. If someone was on, we were talking. Now I look at my buddy list, and there are eleven people on, and I don’t care to speak with any of them. The magic is gone.

And to replace the magic comes my greatest annoyance - the bane of anyone who has ever told anyone else, “Yea, I’m good with computers.” You see, the moment people know you know how to operate a computer, you instantly become a shining beacon. Whenever there’s a problem to be solved, you are the magic computer guy. People will probe you for multiple hours trying to get answers to their problems. They will call you at unspeakable times, burdening you to drive out to the middle of nowhere to perform dark incantations in the hopes that their computer’s power button will shine on once more. ‘Friends’ who would never speak to you otherwise strike up a conversation with the sole purpose of leaching you for information. And it’s especially worse if you are actually competent at programming a computer. Because then you get Computer Science majors (a lot of them) throwing source code at you and shouting, “Fix This!” even though their entire success in their career depends on them knowing how to fix it!

Think I’m exaggerating? I had a complete stranger ask me how to work out a path-finding algorithm today. Two days ago, I had someone insist that I help him with database homework, to the point where he argued with me after I politely told him to sod off. And those are just recent examples. I can’t count how many times I’ve received IMs from people that started out, “Hi Brian. How are you? I have a question.” And then ended two hours later.

This started out as something against AIM, but the phone is just as bad. I’ve half a mind to get rid of both and live my final undergraduate year as a recluse, but too many of these people know where I live, and I know they’re not bashful enough to stay away.

In other news, my new N64 and copy of StarFox came in today. I’m as happy as a clam. I’m going down to the vintage game store and seeing what cool N64 games they have.

No I will not fix your computer.

September 13th, 2005

Workin’ in the Coal Mines

It’s become a running gag the number of job offers I receive in a semester. Last semester, I had five work engagements vying for my attention at one point. This semester, I currently have three part-time jobs, with the potential for switching to another job back at the VEL instead. Dr. Smirnov gave me an offer earlier today which I’ll consider if the position at the VEL falls through. I sort of blush each time I get an offer. Considering I hadn’t worked a single day before college, I find it ironic that now I have to reject jobs. This trend will no doubt be nonexistant when I graduate, but it’s interesting now.

My new N64 and StarFox 64 shipped today. I tingle in anticipation. For those who have never played StarFox, it’s one of the greatest flight games ever released. The SNES and GameCube versions are less than stellar, but the N64 version managed to get everything right. I love it, and it loves me, and we’re going to keep seeing each other, so there.

Nate Dog and Warren G had to regulate.

September 11th, 2005

What to Talk About

I didn’t really care to update tonight, but it’s been nearly a week, and I think something aside from Zach’s adolescent pining should dominate the main page. Oh, and that fool deleted the archives for August 2004. Amazing. Simply amazing.

School got real busy real fast. I’ve spent a good number of moments - somewhere in the tens of thousands - working on prototypes for the graphics project. Right now I have something atkin to StarFox motion above a terrain with a skybox and some water. It’s nothing major, but it impresses me. I was trying to get another plane to chase my main plane, but that plane takes off randomly into space, and I haven’t been able to fix this minor problem yet.

In the heat of the moment, I ordered an N64 and StarFox. I can’t wait until they arrive.

I also played Psychonauts, which is a really interesting game. Christina came over and we tried it out for a little less than a day. The dialogue and concepts are funny, and the gameplay definitely looks promising. If I get a chance to sit down with it and give it more intimate attention, I’m sure I’ll have tons of fun.

I stumbled upon the Serenity comics, which are supposed to bridge the Firefly show and the Serenity movie. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the second volume, which apparently contains events that make issue three make a lot more sense. Regardless, they’re pretty good, and they keep the theme of the show well. I can’t wait until the movie comes out. Only 21 more days.

Doss showed up unannounced this weekend and introduced me to Black Bear. It’s a restaurant which attempts to stuff all manner of food into a burrito. I got something with steak, and it was delicious. Then we returned to my room and bit the heads off FBI agents, which was further delicious.

In a video game.

Of course.

Inbox 3? Well that’s annnoying.

September 6th, 2005

*sigh*

I look at Morgan’s away message, it reads “dinner…class.” I look at my away message, it reads “Class @ 10:00 Work @ 11:30.” What is missing from these away messages? I will tell you, “then seeing my baby!” Why is it missing from these away messages? Because she goes to SVC in Latrobe and I go to WVU in Morgantown. Do I love my college? Yes. Does she like her college? Yes. But that doesn’t matter right now? No. I miss her terribly and I hate this only on the weekends BS. Especially since now I work Saturdays. I am happy I have this new job because it gives me a lot more money then I am used to. However, since I have to work every Saturday, I will only see her Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons when I go home, and when she comes down I will see her all but 10-6 on Saturday of the weekend. The main problem here is the fact that this might not be alternating as in I go home one weekend, she comes down the next, repeat. There are other variables which I don’t have control over and neither does she. This bothers and upsets me because I need to see her every weekend in the least. Though I would prefer to see her every day, all day, always. I thought this weekend-only nonsense would be a lot easier to handle than it is turning out to be. It seems the more weekends that pass and we have to say goodbye again, the harder and harder the next week becomes. Not only because I am waiting for next weekend to just get here, but all the while I am thinking about the past weekend and missing it.

I just had one of the best weekends of my life. Period. That is not a good sigh up there, though. This weekend was amazing because I spent it with the best person in the world, Morgan. I had an awful lot of fun just doing things I would normally do with her. I would say that all day Saturday and Sunday I was the ruler of this universe, and she was my queen. Now she is gone and I feel like a mere peasant in this universe.

I really don’t have much else to say right now.

I love you, Morgan.

~Zach

“Like a plane crash
That never hits the ground.
I’ll fall in love with you
Nose over tail for you.”
Brian
9/27/06
Film Festival
I have until October 30th to write a script and create a movie for the film festival.

It’s on.

Now I just have to come up with a good idea. I mean, I’ve got a start - “drop kick Ricky” - but it’s hardly something to build an entire movie around. Or is it?

Pick a stopping point and start the whole thing over from the beginning.

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