The Animal Farm

August 31st, 2008

Castle Crashers and Dexter: Season 2

I expected Castle Crashers to be mostly Alien Hominid but a tad different. About the only real similarity they share is the art style and an unnerving difficulty, but Castle Crashers is easily the superior game. Castle Crashers is your standard side-scroller beat em up with some very polished, fast-paced gameplay and a nice quasi-RPG feeling. It’s got some vile, nasty humor in there that I didn’t appreciate, but I’m willing to overlook one disgusting level in light of the very fun multiplayer action. Bri came over and we did some two-player (after becoming frustrated with Mario Kart, which has become nigh impossible), and even she got into it. Now I just need to find some people who want to give online a shot.

Dexter: Season 2 is considerably different than season 1. The most noted difference is the almost lack of killing, which is surprising coming from a show whose main selling point is that its main character is a serial killer. This season focuses mostly on the hunt for our killer as he tries to evade detection while managing relationship problems, dealing with a crazy British fox, and coming to terms with himself… again. Aside from some very high-school pseudo-philosophy, it’s just as good as season 1 if not quite as humorous.

Also picked up Californication on a whim and some basic magic books. I’ve only glanced at the books and watched a few episodes of Californication, but I’m liking what I see on both fronts.

I’m just talking to your husband up there.

August 24th, 2008

Airplanes and car accidents

First off, Morgan got into a car accident on Friday.  She is okay, but the car doesn’t seem to be.  She got hit at an intersection by a drunk driver who decided running a red light was a good move.  She called me while I was in El Paso, TX on business and I really wished I wasn’t.  The drunk driver had a car that’s seemed to have an expired registration as well as possibly no insurance.  We are hoping this is not the case.  The car doesn’t appear to be totaled, but until we can get the insurance thing figured out we are car-less, which kind of sucks.

Secondly, the business trip;  I was asked two Thursdays ago if I could fly out to El Paso, TX on Sunday for a week long stay in the desert.   Seriously, middle of freaking nowhere, about 15 miles on a dirt road INTO the desert.  We had a hotel and everything, but I actually worked in the desert.  They had five trailers with AC that were supposed to be there on Sunday that didn’t arrive and have power until Wednesday.  So we sat in the sun in 94+ degree weather for two days using a little generator for power.  It was still kinda fun though.

God of War: Chains of Olympus was a very fun PSP buy.  My only complaint was that I bought for the 12 hours I would be traveling, 6 there and 6 back, but beat it in the first 6.  Seriously $40 for a game I beat in <6 hours.  Not cool.

 Patapon has still not been beaten, but it is damn fun.

 I am going on a fishing trip in Canada on Sept. 12th.  It will take 10+ hours to drive there, so I will need: New PSP/DS games to tide me over on the drive, and a Cigarette lighter-to-Wall Outlet converter, which I think I can get at Radio Shack or Best Buy.  Viva Pinata DS comes out just before the trip, so that will be bought and will probably tide me over entirely.  I plan on playing that game the way I played the 360 one.

Brian, Bri, Morgan, and I are playing Mario Kart: Wii tonight.  I will tell you how awesome it was later.

~Zach

HOS ROCK BAR

August 23rd, 2008

It’s a Brick Storm

Here are some random thoughts for you to chew on:

L-Word. Show about lesbians. Has to be the worst show in the world, but I can’t stop watching it. Aside from being wildly unrealistic, there’s not a single likable character.

Mario Kart. Finally got a chance to play it for the first time. It’s pretty awesome. I don’t know yet if I like it more or the Gamecube one, but I definitely miss the co-op single player and proper blue spark boosting. I want to get a multiplayer game going soon.

Bionic Commando remake. Wow. The original Nintendo version was pretty stellar, and I think this one is better. Control’s feel a bit wonky sometimes, but otherwise it’s top tier stuff.

Dark Knight. One of the best movies of the year. Straight-up. Easily the best Batman.

My car broke down, finally, and it cost entirely too much to fix it. It’s probably time for a new car.

Drumming. Still tons of fun. I’m getting progressively more complicated, though my originality feels lacking. I might pick up a video or a book or something to help out.

Shake-n-Bake! I helped! Actually, I did most of the shaking and the baking.

Penny Arcade game. Bri came over one night, and when she left, I started playing it and didn’t stop until I beat it. Solid game, overall. Leaves something to be desired comedy-wise: it doesn’t feel very Penny Arcade-ish (there’s virtually no game-related humor), and Hobo Alley might’ve been a bit much.

Japanese Express. Japanese fast food, basically. Still pretty good.

Bought the Mirror Mask script/art book. I wasn’t all too crazy about the movie, but artistically there’s nothing like it.

Trying to get down to Morgantown or DC for a weekend, but Amtrak is very stubborn with its train schedules. I was hoping to leave some Friday night and return Sunday evening, but there’s literally only one train that leaves/returns, and it leaves at around 10 AM. Car’s not reliable enough to make the drive, and I would hate the drive anyway.

I could’ve sworn there was more, but I’ll have to remember it some other time.

Look! An idiot!

August 13th, 2008

Pon pon pata pon

A strategy rhythm  game?  Count me in.

I just picked up Patapon yesterday and have played a little over 2 hours so far.  I have to say I am really enjoying it.  The game combines strategic planning with rhythm.  Basically you have sequences of 4 notes (buttons) you have to hit at a certain tempo.  These sequences give commands like advance, retreat, attack  etc to your army.   This is your only way of controlling your army and in order to do well you will need to consistently give commands.  The strategy comes in with when to give what commands.  You want to be able to attack first, but you have to make sure you’ve advanced enough so your attack hits, otherwise you will alert your enemies to your presence and they may get the first hit.

The game also contains unit creation via collecting different materials and combining them with money.  The resulting patapon’s class determined by which class you wanted to build.  There seems to be some quality of materials going on in order to make stronger patapons as well.

If you own a PSP and haven’t bought this game (I am late on this wagon), do so.  The game only costs ya $20.

~Zach

Pata pata pata pon

August 10th, 2008

Track 1

For your listening pleasure.

This is all while hooking the headphone jack of the drums straight into the mic jack of my computer, since I haven’t found a reasonably priced MIDI solution yet. Not entirely clean. I’m not sold on the bass sound yet, but I have some options there. The bass also sounds jerky occasionally, which I don’t recall while playing. Of course, I semi-fumble a few times, and the beat pattern isn’t remarkable, but I’m happy with it as a first recording. I’m working on some more variations in it and trying to maintain myself for longer play sessions (I invariably start to lose focus the longer I play). I’m also trying to get into gradually more complicated sequences. I expect there will be a version 2 out before week’s end.

Of course, I expect a version with guitar and bass overlaid soon. Get on it, Morgantowners.

Meanwhile, I finally managed to find Mario Kart. Who’s up for some multiplayer fun?

We’re not territorial about that sort of thing, are we?

August 4th, 2008

Slam It

I got myself an electronic drumkit. I’ve wanted to play around with drums for a while now, but I don’t really have the space for a real set and couldn’t justify a $1000+ purchase. Dad told me about the electronic variety, which take up considerably less space and cost a whole lot less. It also doesn’t hurt that I can jack it straight into my computer to record my creations, either using the line-out or a MIDI connection.

I’m not good by any stretch of the imagination. The set came with some example songs that show what drums are being hit as the song plays, and there’s stuff in there I can’t touch yet. But I am carrying some pretty cool beats, considerably more than what I can do with a guitar. So far I’ve found myself wailing for multiple hour stretches, and I’m liking how I’m progressing.

I always wondered if my Rock Band talents would carry over. A little bit (I’m definitely more comfortable with a bass pedal than had I never played), but it’s clearly not the same. Rolls are considerably easier on real drum heads. Conversely, the bass pedal sensitivity is entirely different, and I’m finding that I hit too softly or sometimes fail to hit altogether. The second pedal for the hi-hat is interesting, though right now I use it very sparsely.

As for quality, it’s, well, what you might expect out of a <$500 system. There's a lot of impact noise that can drown out my speakers if the volume's not pretty high, though when I have my headphones on I don't even notice. I haven't tried it with an amp, not owning an amp and all. Rolls are pretty good on the snare and toms, though they can be lacking on the cymbals. The sound is good, and the inclusion of tons of preset kits makes for a lot of variety. I haven't tried the MIDI out, largely because I don't have a decent program to handle it - though I did have the thing acting as a keyboard with one incredibly simple program.

I'm pleased with my purchase. I see this as something I can really get into. Once I get some decent beats going, I'll be sending them to Ricky to put some guitar tracks over. This is the first he's hearing about it, but it's not like I'm asking him or anything.

64 bits!

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