What is this nonsence?

This is my blog, it is about me, my life, and my interests, i hope to use it to hone my writing skills, and to have fun.

5/1/09

Burnout Paradise

Here is my final for Pocasting: A video review of Burnout Paradise for the X-Box 360, PS3, and PC



video

3/20/09

Downloadable Content

This is the first project for school, a short piece about the effects of Downloadable Content on Gaming

video

3/8/09

Phish @ Hampton Coliseum March 6th, Impressions

As i listen to the show again(my ears are still ringing with bliss from being there), i realize I might have possibly seen the best Phish show to date, i know there are many to choose from, but the pure energy that was inside "The Mothership" that night was amazing(well..in retrospect the 2nd and 3rd night will probably be better, this was like a "warming up" gig for them in a way). From wandering around the parking lot running into people selling goods, to standing in line talking with people about where me and my buddy were from, our jouney here,etc, etc, everything was positive. Actually, let me rewind a bit, as me and my friend first got into Virginia, we decided to stop at a rest stop to stretch, while eating some snacks and walking back to the car, a figure in the distance pulled off his sunglasses and approched us. We had very nice disscussion, talked about where we were from, him pointing out my Steelers hat and figuring correctly we were from Pittsburgh, setting an omen for the day/night, "GO STEELERS", "CHAMPS!",or simply "Nice Hat", with a coy grin was a sound i heard a lot.

But, back to the show, everyone was extremely phriendly and it was by far the most positive concert experiences i have had in my life. We stood in line at the gates for an hour and a half, waiting for the doors to open, talking to people, and buying beverages off of people walking by( 2 rum and cokes for 5 bucks, cant beat that!). I met a lot of entertaining people that i wish i could see more often, There were even people there from Japan...well..thats what the first show in 4 years will do, people flocked from across the country(and the globe) to take in this momentous occasion, and momentous it was.

The Setlist was amazing, i couldn't have asked for much more, Fluffhead, Divided Sky, Chalk Dust Torture, I Didn't Know(complete with Vacuum solo YAAAY!!), Oh-Kee-Pa Ceremony, Stash, Farmhouse, and thats just a few selections from the first set. By the 3rd song in i was dripping in sweat from dancing, but i couldn't help but keep going. By half-way through the first set, it felt like the collective energy of the band and crowd combined would blow the lid off of the Hampton Coliseum. Not one person was sitting in their seat, everyone was dancing and enjoying the great music. I was lucky was able to be so close to the stage, i was about "5 rows" of people back from the front for the first set, and for the 2nd i managed to weasel my way up 2 more "rows". Seeing the expression on their faces while they were playing was amazing, they loved every second of it, as did the crowd. Trey was absorbed and Lip-Synching along with his guitar(as usual), Mike bobbing his head, Page plinking away melodically on the keys, and Fish going crazy on the skins. The First set clocked in around 2 hours and 10 miniutes(my math may be a bit off).

The Intermission was a godsend, i needed to use the restroom and i needed to sit down, my legs and feet were killing me from all the dancing. I used this chance to grab some water for me and my buddy, and to buy a T-Shirt. We bought our water and sat down on the floor waiting for our chance to meld back into the crowd and prepare for the 2nd set. What a set it was, Tweezer, Theme From The Bottom, First Tube, Harry(HOOD!),Waste,and the Quintessential Phan Favorite, You Enjoy Myself. The Crowd goes crazy when Trey makes a minor flub and has to start over, stating "we're starting this song again..
.....and this time, it's not going to be like the last time we started the song again".

Before i discuss the encore, let me talk about the the stage and arena set up. The stage was set-up old school style, with the drum set on the right(from the crowd), Mike and Trey center stage, and Page set up to the left. I was standing on the Page side, and was happy to cheer out every time the spotlight went on him. Lining the cieling of the Coliseum were many various-sized white balloons that had lights shone on them.


But now onto the Encore. for starters they came out with an acapella song, "Grind" off of Undermind, one of my sleeper favorite Phish tunes, I love the acapella stuff. Then They played "Bouncing Around The Room", and this is where the magic truly happened. At the 1 minute 20 second mark the bigger ballons drop from the cieling, and begin Bouncing Around the crowd. One slowly makes its way to the front, helped by the crowd(of course) wanting the guys to get in on the action, i'm sure. I watched this Balloon float slowly through the air to the stage, right at Page. The balloon floats gently to him, and (at the 2:08 mark on the recording, you can hear the piano stop [Phish is letting people download these shows for free for a limited time at livephish.com, all you need to do is sign up]) Page attempts to push the Balloon back to the crowd, but due to its large size all he can do is spin it perpetually above his head like a treadmill. Until it bursts, and the crowd goes nuts.

All in all, this was an amazing experience, hopefully one i can enjoy again sometime, the 6 hour drive both ways wasn't too bad, and the concert was well worth it. Now i just have to get tickets to the Pittsburgh show.

1/16/09

This semester

This semester in my Pocasting class i will be using this blog as the hosting site for my school work, so enjoy a few podcasts, and if i can get the money, and enjoy it, it may be something i do reguarly.

11/26/08

Mortal Kombat Vs. The DC Universe

The Mortal Kombat series started going downhill around the time of MK3, ever since then the franchise became bogged down with stances and complicated movesets. But, I am happy to announce that MK vs. DC Universe is a return to the 2D style control and feel of the old MK games. Done away are weapon stances and crappy characters.

The story is pretty good for an MK game, it is fairly intriguing and helps to explain the mash-up, as well as why the MK characters are able to injure people like Superman. The story also helps to explain why any DC characters(besides the villains) would be fighting each other. Due to either a lightning bolt from Raiden or a blast of Heat Vision from Superman, to a teleportation device, a rift opens in time-space and causes “Dcland” and “Mkland” to collide. The combatants are effected by something called “Kombat Rage” which causes them to blindly fight anyone in front of them, leading to some interesting face-offs in the story mode such as, Flash Vs. Batman. The way the story mode is put together is very cool too, at the beginning you pick which side you want to play on, and you see the story from that perspective. Also, the story is set up in chapters, where in each chapter you play as a certain character. This is a very nice move, as it allows you to get acclimated to every character in the game, although some characters will feel weak and be hard to use(damn you Wonder Woman!!!! I had to play your fights 1 million times).


The Graphics are very good, the DC characters are true to their comic form, and the models are as realistic as “Ice Ninja” “Lightning God” and “Overly Muscular Superhero” can look. The Levels are good, ranging from Raiden's Temple to Wonder Womans home island. Also, there is a point in the story mode where the places begin merging to become weird “line down the center” mash-ups.


The move sets are generally the same as the older MK2 style games, all of your favorites return, Sub-Zero's ice teleport, Raiden's fly across the screen, humorously called “The Superman”, and Scorpions famous “GET OVER HERE!!”. On the DC side, a lot of the characters take moves from MK characters not in the game, Lex Luthor's robot suit effectively makes him Sektor, and Joker's bomb moves make him like Cyrax. With that being said, the DC characters moves don't feel shoehorned, and they match really well with the rest of the characters moves.


This game adds in 2 new in-fight mini-games that are kind of hard to explain without text, so I will try to explain them as effectively as possible. The first is “Test Your Might” mode. On some of the levels, there are walls you can knock the opponent against, triggering a game where you are running your opponent through layers of walls, and you mash buttons to either increase or decrease the amount of damage done by the attack. The 2nd is “Free-Fall Kombat”, on other levels you can knock the other combatant off the edge and onto another platform. During this free-fall you hit buttons to attack or to try and reverse the attack.


Overall this is a very good fighting game, The DC characters and levels don't feel shoe-horned into the game, and it is a product of very high quality. Although, DC wanted this game to be rated T-for-Teen so the violence isn't as extreme as other MK games, it gets me excited for the next “Real” MK game. This fighting engine is solid enough for it to be made into the next MK game, If Midway can last that long. Now for my verdict, much like my last review it is going to be split. Everyone should play this game, DC fans should rent it and see if they like it, MK fans should buy it. Fans of fighting games in general should rent it at least. This is a strong fighter, with very good “pick-up-and-play” you don't need to be a crazy frame counter to play the game and be effective.

11/23/08

NCAA Basketball 09

As well as just general blogging i plan to do some video game reviews, so my first one will be NCAA Basketball 09.  With the departure of 2K from the sports realm, we are once again left with one sports game in a sporting realm. In college basketball its EA's NCAA Basketball 09.  They managed to improve on many of the issues of the past.  This game uses the NBA Live engine this time around, which improves many things, character models, and ball physics mostly.  The animations look smooth, and the graphics look great.  All 328 Devision I teams are represented and MOST of the arenas look like good representations of their real-life counterparts.  I found the game's version of the Peterson Events Center looked a little akward, but most of the other venues look pretty close.

(Generic UCLA player is guarded by generic Oregon player.)

The player models look amazing, even on a standard-def TV, the graphics are great. My only issue, is the generic models, they are good(for people who are new to NCAA or college basketball in general) but since its against NCAA rules, real college players are not in the game. Can we just start paying college players please, so we can get real players in the game, and real jerseys on the shelves?

Now to the atmosphere, if there is one thing this game gets down well, its the atmosphere of a college game. The crowd chants and waves arms to try and get the away team to miss free-throws. When a game gets out of hand, the crowd starts chanting "WARM UP THE BUS!". All the mascots are in the game, up to their usual mascot antics.

This leads me to the sound, the sound is pretty good, but as with most sports games, the announcers get very repetitive, very fast. I love Dick Vitale, but his announcing doesn't seem like him, he doesn't talk about how awesome Pitt is like he does in real life.
ITS AWESOME, BABY!


The game adds a feature called "game tempo" which is a meter that pops up at the bottom of the screen, with 2 areas on it that represent the tempo that each team likes to play at, my team Pitt, is a balanced team, which means they are adept at playing a fast game or a slow game. I have switched them to be a "Half-Court" game which means they take it slow, using a lot of the shot clock, and getting high-percentage shots. When you play in your tempo, you get a slightly higher chance to make hard shots, and when your not in your tempo is a little harder to make low-percentage shots.

Overall this is a very good game, a major improvement on the last few NCAA games. But, this is the hard part, I always have trouble recommending sports games to people because its hard to tell someone to buy a game that you know will have improvements next year. I would say that if you REALLLLY need to buy a college basketball game, you should buy it, otherwise rent it and see what improvements they make next season.



11/22/08

Giantbomb.com

This is my first blog post, and I dont really know what to type about at this point in time.  So my first post will be about one of my favorite websites, Giant Bomb.  Giant Bomb is a website ran by Jeff Gerstmann, Ryan Davis, and a few othe ex-Gamespot editors.  Obviously this game is about Videogames, but along with the editoral writing(reviews, news posts, etc.), there is a great gaming wiki-style encyclopedia. The encyclopedia contains everything from Hamburgers to Halo, anything that is even vaguely connected to Videogames.  Also the website is very entertaining, their weekly Giantbomb-Cast is very funny, and delivers lots of video game news weekly, for the low, low price of NOTHING.  In addition to the Bombcast they post many funny videos, one of my favorites is their preview of Age Of Booty which i wil insert here.

            


so anyone that happens to read this, GOTO GIANTBOMB NOW..please?