The Animal Farm

November 28th, 2007

DLC Pricing

I’m seeing a lot of complaints about the Rock Band downloadable content pricing, and I just want to slap these people. Let’s do some simple math.

On iTunes you can purchase a song for about $1. You get, well, a song. That’s DRM controlled, so you won’t be playing it on anything but your PC and your iPod.

In Rock Band, you can purchase a song for about $2. You get a song, three instrument tracks on four difficulty levels, one vocal track, lighting cues, camera cues, and animation cues. You can only play it in Rock Band, but you can play along with it.

That extra dollar seems reasonable to me. You’re getting a whole lot of stuff for that dollar, in fact, so stop whining.

Run for the hills.

November 27th, 2007

JFK

So here’s the shakedown.

I’m busy. Sort of. I have a lot of work to be doing, and I’m naturally pushing it off as much as possible. But that’s no longer feasible. Computer Security is wasting my time; time I need for Neural Nets, in which I have a notoriously hard project and a tricky looking assignment. Fixed Parameter Algorithms is OK. I suspect most of the work for that class is finished, and hopefully my grade won’t be destroyed by the one quiz we had. I’m hoping to find a bit of time to research, but I’ve already canceled my meetings in favor of focusing on Neural Nets.

Still, I’m using some of my time (mostly at night) to play video games. We’ve been, well, rocking Rock Band. The guitar parts are still top notch and put Guitar Hero 3 to shame. I practically favor any song in Rock Band over Guitar Hero 3’s best. The drum parts are hard. Even on the Medium setting I’m finding myself missing notes frequently - for some reason there’s some aspect I’m not getting, because though I think I’m doing OK I miss random notes. I can do some Hard songs, but definitely not all of them. There’s a lot of fun there regardless. I haven’t even touched the microphone.

I ripped into Mass Effect tonight, creating my chiseled war veteran Brian Shepard. The first thing that stands out is the depth of variety and how every possible option is voice acted. After I created my characters, they started out talking about my background. During the first sequence, I was presented with some ten different branching points which each had at least three options (if not more). The game also doesn’t mess around with throwing you into the action. I’m an hour in, and I’m already customizing a ton of my character’s aspects and blasting away (challenging) enemy combatants. So far I’m impressed.

We’ve given a brief glance at Link’s Crossbow Training and Umbrella Chronicles. Link’s Crossbow Training is surprisingly good for its price (free, unless you count the price of the Wii Zapper). Its shelf life is short, but it’s still great fun. Umbrella Chronicles is OK. I’ve only watched Zach play it, and we haven’t played enough to really get a feel for the game, but it seems like your standard rails-based shooter with a few little quirks thrown in.

Alright, it’s time I went to bed. I’ve got a busy two weeks ahead of me.

He was the hyper-charismatic telepathical knight.

November 26th, 2007

Some reviews

Sorry, Brian, I didn’t want to say much about Rock Band until the three of us played it. Now that it has happened, here is my review; Awesome. If you have some friends, get this game. Period.

The Wii Zapper is freaking fun. That is really all it is, but I can’t complain about that. The thing cost $25 and comes with a “free” game called Link’s Crossbow Training.  Considering the Wii Zapper is just a plastic housing to hold the Wii-mote in gun-like fashion, I’d say the game wasn’t free. If you have a Wii, you may as well get the Zapper though.

As an aside, I was one of those that thought the Wii would be sold out until February of last year( a few months after release ) and then be all over stores like any other system. I was wrong and I learned it the hard way when I went to 6 different stores every week on Wed for a very long time to get my Wii. It turns out they still sell out the same day they come into stores. In fact, I’ve only seen a Wii on the shelf twice and both times it was sold before I left electronics. That marks two years of solid selling-out. That is retarded.

I’ll be getting the new collector’s edition Zelda DS lite for Christmas this year. While I pretty much know this is kind of a waste of money, considering I own both a DS lite and Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, if you know me you know I love the Zelda franchise. I love the way it looks. Ricky and Brian seem to disagree, but I think I probably like it because it is Zelda. It was supposed to come out Black Friday and I had planned on waiting in line to get one. But I called Sears on Wednesday and they had them on the shelf early, so I just bought it. It wasn’t a big deal though, the Gamestop here in Morgantown has a few on the shelves. At any rate, I am pumped to open it.

~Zach

November 22nd, 2007

Rock Out

Ahem, Zach, would you kindly post your impressions of Rock Band? I haven’t had a chance to see it yet.

From himself. From the future.

November 11th, 2007

RIP EaChi

Last night I was informed that EA Chicago had shut down, and the moment I got home I scoured the internet for confirmation. True enough, there was an internal memo detailing the closure.

This is really sad. The folks at EA Chicago were some of the coolest people I’ve met, and working there was easily the best job I’ve had. I was really hoping to get back there and do wicked-cool things in the studio with them again. They’re all very talented people, and I’m sure they’ll find employ elsewhere, so hopefully I’ll run into some of them again in the future.

It’s a foot-foot, man.

November 9th, 2007

Twisted Experiments

Comment on this post if you’re reading this (by clicking the “Leave a Comment” button, of course). Don’t be shy. You needn’t put your real name if you’re terrified the police will finally catch on to you. I’d just like to get an idea of who/how many people keep up with the site.

In the meantime, I’m going to go eat some candy.

Is it a pony?!

November 7th, 2007

Believe It!

I picked up Naruto: Rise of a Ninja and Hellgate: London on my birthday as a gift to myself, and I think I’ve won with both games.

Naruto I’ve largely completed, having finished the quest proper and a large portion of the optional sidequests. The gameplay is divided among a few major themes: fighting, exploring, and racing. Fighting is pretty satisfying and similar to other Naruto games. It’s not as deep as fighters like Tekken, but its simplicity leaves a lot of room for fast, frenzied battles. My only real complaint is with the rage moves, which can completely tilt a battle just as it’s about to end, making all your hard work seem worthless. Exploring is one of the areas where Naruto shines. The sandbox village is vast and varied, and the immediately adjoining areas have a lot of fun portions. As you progress, you gain new abilities which allow you to unlock more and more of the maps, until finally you’re running up walls, walking on water, and ninja hopping on rooftops. Again, there’s a bit of a problem - you’re constantly backtracking through the same areas, and sometimes they can get a little stale. The game does a good job of providing branching paths that are revealed when you get new abilities, but it doesn’t quite counteract the amount of times you’ll be asked to visit the same place in the same forest. Racing is also well done. Naruto is constantly challenged to get to a certain location in a short amount of time, either to deliver ramen or beat someone else in a challenge. Once the ninja dash ability is unlocked, these races are fast and intense. It’s almost like a Sonic game just how fast you’ll be moving, and you typically can get through without slowing down if you’re good. Some of the races are interjected by the tree-hopping minigame, which was fun at first but quickly became repetitive. They make losing a long race a chore. But otherwise, the race portion is great.

Visually, Naruto is amazing. The village is absolutely beautiful; one of the most polished sites on the 360. The cel-shading is really well done, and you get the impression that you’re playing the anime. This is compounded by the music, which was taken straight from the anime and is pretty good.

I was never a huge fan of Naruto, but I am a huge fan of the game. I’m really hoping they release a sequel such that I can continue the storyline.

Hellgate: London I’ve just had a chance to bite into today, so I don’t have a whole lot to say. My initial impressions place it firmly at a cross between Diablo, Deus Ex, and World of Warcraft. The action is definitely fun, and it doesn’t require the twitch reflexes that most FPS’s do. The quests so far have been relatively interesting. A few of them involved killing X amount of some monster, a common WoW gimmick, but since I had to go through those monsters anyway it wasn’t a big deal. I’m really hoping Zach will pick it up so we can dive into the multiplayer aspect, and if my or Zach’s laptop can run it it’d be great to get Ricky in on the action.

OK, OK, I think I’m done talking video games now.

You gotta believe!

November 6th, 2007

Cobalt and Calcium

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was pretty happy with the new CoCa CD.  Turns out I was wrong, I love this CD, potentially more so than the others.  Brian is right that none of the songs are as good as Welcome Home or The Crowing taken individually, but as a whole the CD may be my favorite one to date.

I like all of the songs a lot and find myself making up lyrics to them after hearing them far fewer times than normal.  Also, the progression of the story in this one seems much easier to follow.  I get the impression that the first track signifies Claudio’s realization of what he must do and the rest leads to the destruction of the Keywork.  Look it up.

In other news, WoW has been good to me.  Managed to get my entire dungeon set 3 in nearly 1 weekend, which I like.  I’ve also started farming for my epic leatherworking set that I was just recently able to make since I hit max level leatherworking.
Mario Galaxy apparently comes out next week, so I need to go reserve that pronto.  I am pretty pumped about this game, should be a sure-fire winner.

~Zach

“Raise your hands high! Young Brothers and Sisters.”

November 4th, 2007

They Tried to Kill My Wife

I just wasted three hours of my life - and the first hour of my birthday - on American Gangster. It was a boring, boring movie with more shots of people sticking themselves with needles and naked drug processors than any movie should have. Being based on a true story is all good and fine, but you might get just as much entertainment value from adapting my life. Denzel would play me, of course. Russel could play Zach, and Cuba Gooding would fit Ricky perfectly.

I’ve been mulling over the Coheed CD, trying to determine how I feel about it. I definitely don’t like it as much as some of their other CD’s; I don’t think it has the stand-out songs like Welcome Home, Devil in Jersey City, Delirium Trigger, The Crowing, and so on. It’s still a quality CD. The second track, the name of which has escaped me presently, is definitely my favorite, with Gravemakers and Gunslingers coming in at second. The Fall of House Atlantic has an excellent name, but it’s basically just thirty seconds of people chanting, “No, no no no, no no no.”

Automatic music generation is thirsty work.

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