Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Dollhouse... thus far.

Last night I finally managed to find a working torrent for the latest ep of Joss Whedon's Dollhouse.

For those of you who have been watching the show and quit because you didn't see the plot and premise going anywhere, this is the episode where your patience will be rewarded.

If you've been asking yourself what the show is trying to say, it's pretty much outlined here in a straightforward way. Given that such technology exists, many people will not be able to resist abusing the power to manipulate other people so completely and exactly. One "expert" in the ep even goes so far as to say that if the Dollhouse does exist, we as a species will cease to matter.

That's the premise, but how well is it executed? VERY well! I have to give major credit to Eliza Dushku (Echo/Caroline) for her ability to not only play a mindless doll in a entirely non-mindless way, but to play one or two new characters every episode and make the viewer feel that you've been playing that character for a whole season.

Tahmoh Penikett needs special mention in this ep. I loved him in BSG and I was really excited to see how he did in this outing. It wasn't really until now that I felt his character (FBI Agent Paul Ballard) had anything to offer. Now we know Paul has his own personal issues, isn't alone in his chase and doesn't have the backing of his peers.

Olivia Williams plays Adelle DeWitt, who runs the Dollhouse. I honestly can't tell if I like Adelle or not, but it's an extremely intriguing character and Olivia plays it very well. On the one hand she seems cold and calculating, but on the other she seems to have a heart which she's constantly trying to keep under lock and key for fear of it getting her killed. I'm anxious to see where she goes.

The whole show is about using people, and even the people doing the using are being used themselves. Perhaps in a broader sense, the show is about illusions of reality. People aren't just using and being used, but their purposefully placing illusions on themselves, mostly in order to survive the world they find themselves in.

All-in-all a great show. Slow start, but very much worth the build-up. It's the only show I'm keeping track of now that BSG is done. Since the show is still more-or-less in its infancy, there's little to speak of. The plot is freshly set and thee characters are established and moving. From here it gets interesting.


PS: The BSG full-impressions won't be along until I get the full-series blu-ray set.

Friday, March 20, 2009

BattleStar Galactica and the United Nations

A truly epic event. I felt I should post about it, especially considering in about 6 hours the final episode will be aired.




Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Impressions - Star Ocean: The Last Hope

Sorry about the lack of posts. RL and my other blog have consumed most of my time. I'll try to post here more.

I love JRPGs (Japanese Role-Playing Games). Been dying to get into another one since I finished .hack//G.U. I purchased the latest Star Ocean game for the Xbox360. I've just recently gotten to the second DVD, so I think I've covered enough to get the general idea of where the game is going. I'll cover this in a good vs. bad format.


- Real-time combat. Some of my favorite RPGs are departures from the turn-based format most commonly known from the Final Fantasy series. I have an appreciation for turn-based, but RT just has more kick to it.

- Length. I knew it would be a lengthy affair as the case contained 3 DVDs. This filled me with hope, since I hate short RPGs. I need to be consumed by the epic, and that can't be done properly in short amount of time. That's not a rule, but a pervasive observation.


- The Characters. As bland and cookie-cutter as they get. Not just that, but the script is horrible.

- Way too many cutscenes. I love cutscenes, but they have to be good. MGS4 was good, so it didn't bother me. .hack//G.U. had quite a few and they were awesome. These are long and quite boring.

- Graphical detail. This is a Square Enix game. I've seen what they're capable of and this would have been disappointing 5 years ago. bland designs, no detail and spotty movement. Total lack of commitment to quality. This is probably the most glaring and disappointing part of the game, and since there are so many long cutscenes, the player is subjected to sub-par work constantly.

- Verbose combat system. I like they RT aspect, but there's just too much here. Blindsides and bonus boards and chains and on and on. Less would have been more here.

All in all it seems like a game they put out just to have something on the market. Quantity well over quality, but the market seems to like it. It's not a horrible game and if you like JRPGs then you'll probably enjoy this to some extent.

At least it's something to keep my busy until Final Fantasy XIII comes out.


Monday, March 9, 2009

I Watched the Watchmen.

I bought 9 tickets for the Watchmen movie. Family, friends, etc... I don't expect to be paid back for any of them.

I'd just finished reading the book a week ago and was very skeptical as to if it would translate well to the screen. After all, almost everyone who has touched this film in the past has called it unfilmable before quitting. Early impressions by other geeks and cult experts put my mind at ease to some degree, but I still went in with a critical mind.


You can stop reading now if you want. I'll go on, but I seriously have nothing to say that has not already been said by thousands.

Seriously, on a scale from 1-10, Watchmen scores about an 86.

Other than director Zack Snyder (of 300 fame), there's really nobody in the credits that you'd easily recognize. That said, EVERYBODY puled their weight, right down to the cameos. I love that David Hayter (Solid Snake *squee*) helped wrote the screenplay.

One thing that struck me was the awesome soundtrack. I was not sure what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised. My friend Kurtis and I were singing along to many of the tracks at an almost inaudible level. If they put out a CD I'll buy.

The movie was not perfect however. The ending was changed slightly by switching the alien threat hoax with Dr. Manhattan. I guess it was a smart move to keep things moving and simplify the situation. Still, I was hoping to see all the dead bodies in NYC. My mother was already cringing from all the blood and sex. She's not oblivious to such things, but the blood did turn her off a little.

I thought it was hilarious how many people took REALLY young children to see this. I was shocked by the number of pre-teens. That made the two sex-scenes extra funny. I'm sure one or two kids got the birds and the bees talk that night (side-note! I did a quick tally of how many of my friends ever got that talk, and NONE of them did! I didn't. Does anyone anymore?). People, check the ratings on movies before you give your kids cash to see them. I saw people complaining at customer services because of the level off sex and violence that they were "tricked" into exposing their kids to. Give me a break. I'll rant on this another day.

I see a lot of people asking why Rorschach had to die. The easiest way of answering that is asking yourself if he could have lived. The world changed, and someone like him would have had no place in it. In that regard Dr. Manhattan did him a favour, and I believe Rorschach knew it. I don't think any of them expected Rorschach to be a real threat to the hoax.

Favorite character = Nite Owl. Anyone who know me knows I'd connect with his character instantly. Always the dreamer and the idealist.


Friday, March 6, 2009

Weekend writing... hopefully.

You know I'm dead-on-arrival when I'm writing about mediocre weekend plans. Sorry.

Hope to get a good amount of writing done. I've been handed an opportunity for some good RPing by Roc and I have a little planning to do on that front. Also continuing work on some submissions I plan for ENN.

I need to work on another blog I'm running. Yes I've got another blog. It's a sex blog.

I need to set up Skype on my PC.

I may jump on Live for some mindless fragging if I feel the urge.

I want to see if any of my corpmates are in empire this weekend. Group mission-running is a great way to field-test ship setups.

My lady has taken a pause from learning skills to quickly get herself into a mining barge. AFK mining in Hulm isn't all that AFK if you have to dock every two minutes. Ever seen a barge with two basic miners? You will...

Next week is Apocrypha week! Finally get to find out if my comp will be able to run the premium lite client at all. Here's hoping. At minimum I'll be happy if I can just change my skills until I build my new comp in the fall. I don't want to be paying for a game I can't play. If I can't even do that I may have to take... extreme measures.

I may go see Watchmen this weekend.

Should probably hit the gym Saturday. May end up at Carl's place again playing MGS4.

I'm being forced to take some sort of vacation from my job. They say I need time to decompress after a year. I've decided to take a 4-day weekend at the end of the month. That's the weekend I'm taking my parents to the Toronto Wine and Cheese Show.

Weekend starts tonight with the next episode of Dollhouse and BattleStar Galactica (only 3 eps left!).

I'm expecting a call between now and Wednesday from a Master Corporal Willis regarding recruitment into the 32 Brigade Armoured Recon unit.

Those are the plans. We'll see how it goes.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Mind-Bomb! Issue #3

Since I've discovered Twitter, I've been doing this sort of thing there every morning as I go through my feeds. Check me out @PsycheDiver :)

It's the PS2's 9th birthday today. While some people think the Dreamcast is the best vintage system, I still think the PS2 is superior. The sheer scope of titles to choose from really trumps any system before it. If you want a gaming system on the cheap, this is a great idea.

Microsoft has dropped the subscription price for their Xbox Live Gold service for a limited time to $39.99 for 1 year. It's pure speculation, but I think MS is trying out a lower price point in an effort to find a new permanent price point. I doubt free is an option, but dropping the price is a great idea. There's a huge difference in upkeep costs between Live and PSN.

I love twitch gaming, and Unreal Tournament 3 is a must-buy for me when I get a PS3. The reason I'd rather having it for my PS3 over my 360 is because you can use a mouse/keyboard setup with a PS3 (which is vital in twitch gaming) and my comp can't run UT3 for graphical reasons. This Titan Pack may be delayed, but it still looks awesome.

I've been jumping on and off Fallout 3 lately. I'm in no real rush to finish it. I didn't even know there was a lighting issue, but now that they're fixing it, I'll have to give it a look.

So on March 16 in San Diego, it'll be Sony Online Entertainment Day. Yeah, I'm not sure why this is important either. What I'm wondering is if other cities will run with this idea. There are a lot of profitable studios in Montreal... could a Bioware Day be in our future?

The British Royal Air Force wants gamers to fly their UAVs. If I were a British citizen, I would be jumping on this QUICK. I wonder if the Canadian AF would be open to this idea...


Amazon is entering the used game business.
IMHO, Gamestop might have cause to worry. Amazon does one thing really really well... bulk. The have worldwide coverage and a shipping system that works very well. It's a name a lot of people trust and will use. You can get used games off Gamestop's website, but it's not pushed. There is an instant-gratification element with actually going into a store and grabbing a game right there, but I think a lot of people will be willing to wait if it means better selection at a similar price.

I don't like Leo DiCaprio. I think he's a great actor (I love The Aviator) but for some reason he pisses me off. There are a few actors that do that to me and I'm starting to really ask myself why. Maybe this movie will be the turning point for Leo and I.

One step closer to the Cyberbrain, and possibly a cure for chronic depression in the near future.

Is real life law copying an X-Men story, or is it the other way around? California's Proposition 8 concerning anti-gay-marriage and Proposition X are mirror-images of each other.

Has NASA become a failure? Without knowing the specifics of future plans and funding issues, I can't say for sure. What I will say is that even though NASA may go through some radical transformations in the future, their mandate to explore and experiment must always remain a priority to the government that funds it.

What would the holodeck be like if it was reimagined today? In a word, AWESOME.

Curing blindness with a bionic eye? Yeah, did that.

A lot of people are familiar with the Bacon Explosion. Some off us are even planning on making it this summer. Maybe not-so-amazingly, the guys who came up with the heart-attack-inducting log now have a book deal. Who knows if it'll sell.

Jon Stewart can do epic rants very well, but the great ranters of our society choose those rare topics that really light a fire in the belly of the nation. This is epic.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Worst 911 Usage Ever?

I was going to continue this little group project, but I'd like some more time to brainstorm and to allow for more people to contribute. Maybe I'll make it a Monday thing. Come one people, you can do this!

If you ever had to question if McPuke's food rotted you brain with the same brutal efficiency that it did your bowels, this shit should put that question to bed.

Latreasa Goodman, 27 from Florida called 911 (AN EMERGENCY SERVICE IN CASE YOU DON'T KNOW) three fraking times because her local McDonald's did not have Chicken McNuggets, and could not get her money back. She was offered something else from the menu, but she was steadfast in her steely resolve to die a slow chicken-byproduct-fueled death.

I'd like to focus on one specific point. She called 911 THREE (3) times. Even REAL emergencies don't abuse the system to that extent.




This "women" REALLY wants those nuggets eh?

Now, I'm a happy-go-lucky sorta guy. I let a lot slide in my day as such a skill is critical to the integrity of my sanity, but for the life of me I can't decide whether to laugh or cry or rage concerning this. I want to ask if people are REALLY this flatscan, but I know the answer, and it fills me with a despair that could swallow civilizations.

This is why I'm happy The Darwin Awards exists.

BAH! I need to laugh!


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Moving to the music of EVE (Brainstorm)

After listening to Roc's Bio I started to think how music can lend a lot of flavour to our EVE relationships. Personally I tend to make music videos in my head all the time by linking a song to a person or group or relationship. I thought I'd put some of those ideas out and see if I can get some community brainstorming going.

For instance...

Mynxee = Nancy Sinatra - These Boots Were Made For Walking.

I'm going to come up with a bunch tonight and post them tomorrow. Please contribute any ideas, half-ideas or even requests (like "Do something for the Goons" or "use this song").



Monday, March 2, 2009

Killzone 2 and dmy problem with FPS.

After a good workout and a burger with my friend Carl he told me he managed to rent a copy of Killzone 2, and that I should go over and check it out. It was an offer I could not refuse.

I play a lot of first-person shooter titles. I'm very familiar with the genre and I know what to expect and what to demand. Killzone 2 was not new territory.

Perhaps that is the problem.

Now, it's a great-looking game. The cinematic and production qualities were very high and I genuinely enjoyed the experience until I ran into a glitch. A door-opening NPC character went though a door and it closed before I could follow. I felt I'd gotten the gist of the game and went on to another title.

The fact that I was pleased with the title, yet turned down the opportunity to play longer was a red flag for me. The quality of this game SHOULD have had me playing longer, but I declined. During the long ride home, I think I came up with a reason why.

I play A LOT of FPS games. Perhaps I've reached a saturation point. Killzone 2 was a great game, but there was nothing truly original about it. Perhaps I've come to a point where I need a dash of innovation to go with one of my favorite game genres.

It shouldn't be this way. I should be able to fully appreciate a game like Killzone 2.

Perhaps this is something akin to MMO burnout. If you're inundated with a certain game you could start to crave something else. It's conceivable that such an effect could extend to a whole genre.

Perhaps that's why I like Mass Effect and Gears of War so much. These titles are FPS-like but with key differences that change up the tried-and-true rhythms. Games like Halo, Killzone and Call of Duty are great, but rely on methods that have been used, reused and perhaps overused.

I'm having a similar problem with anime and manga. I can't seem to watch a show that plays on horribly over-used formulas. BUT I still appreciate cheesy mecha shows, shounens like Bleach, etc...

I think I should give Killzone 2 more of my time when I get the opportunity. Not for any sense of dedication to the genre or series. I need to find out if I'm getting picky, bored or jaded. The first one can be a good thing, the second one can be fixed easily, but the third one has me worried since it could keep me from enjoying quality titles.