This Week’s Playlist

Visiting the other side of the country means I struggle to survive without my DVR. I’ve been trying to keep up with my favorite television shows, but I now have so many that I forget what they are. Here’s what I’ve been watching/playing this week:

Battlestar Galactica – I’ve got 4 episodes left of the entire series. Can’t wait to finish it.

Dexter – Started watching Season 3. Why is this show SO GOOD?!

Psych – Season 4 wrapped up this week. I’m an episode behind, but excited to finish it. What a fun show!

Lost – Don’t get me started talking about this show, or I’ll never stop. Ask me when it’s all over if it was worth it (Hint: It was).

Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks – This game is frustrating beyond belief, but I’ve got to finish it, because hey, it’s a Zelda game. But damn do I have an unfair hatred for trains now.

Elite Beat Agents – Old DS game that I can’t ever put down. The song selection is great, and I just seriously enjoy restarting and playing it through over and over again.

Things I will be playing next week:

Blur Multiplayer – Got me a beta code, can’t wait to try it.

Unnamed Beta – Rest assured, this game is one of the best MMO’s I’ve ever played. I want to talk about it so badly.

Bioshock 2 – Yet again, I got part of the plot spoiled for me, but now I need to keep playing through to learn the rest.

World of Warcraft – The two week break from the game has been nice for me, but I’m excited to get back in and continue gearing up. I think I’m geared up enough to start running some ICC, which should be really cool.

This Week’s Playlist

  • The Orange Box (360) – I already owned HL2, Portal, and TF2 on the PC, but after so many times having to reinstall my OS without an adequate back-up, I’m tired of having to restart my HL2 game. So I got the 360 version, and now I never have to worry about losing my save again. Plus, apparently I’m way better at console FPS’s than PC ones.
  • Warcraft III – Never got the chance to play this when I was younger. Now I’m taking the opportunity to do so. This game sets the stage very well for WoW.
  • World of Warcraft – It finally bit me. I’m becoming slowly addicted. When I’m not playing, sometimes I think about things I want to do later when I have time. Uh oh.
  • Brutal Legend – I really want to continue playing it, but everything else keeps distracting me.
  • Torchlight Demo – I only have the demo, but it never ends! I’m gonna keep going till it stops me, but I’m shocked at the length of the demo so far. And yes, it’s awesome.
  • Champions Online – Well, duh. I’m still working my way through the content, albeit very slowly. This is still my first time naturally leveling from 1-40 (without using dev commands, that is). So even though I’ve seen most of the content at one time or another, I’m trying to experience it for real.

Things I’m watching:

  • Battlestar Galactica – Watched the miniseries this weekend, now it’s time to watch the whole series. Hells yeah.
  • Mad Men (Season 1) – Still not completely hooked, but the show is good, for sure. I watch it casually when I want to imagine myself being disrespectful to women in the 1960’s.
  • Glee – Not having an episode last week was painful.
  • Dollhouse – Why is no one watching this this year? The show is AWESOME!

A Minor Update and a Question

Well, the question first. This isn’t meant to sound snarky at all, but it’s a very serious question. When a big MMO goes about banning gold farmers, does it ever cross their mind the amount of money they’re making off of the farmers? I was reading an article about how farmers for WoW purchase the game, both expansions, and game time cards. Each time they do that, it costs them about $100. That’s $100 for Blizzard. Do they ever worry about the money they’re losing by banning these people? Or, well, I guess they might not be losing anything, since those people will go out and buy more copies, right? Well, I guess that’s my question answered before I even asked it. Sorry you had to listen to that.

In other news, I don’t have much to share at the moment. There’s some interesting stuff going on, but nothing I can share at the moment. I know, secretive stuff, right? Sort of exciting, having secrets and all. I’ll definitely post stuff up here once I can, but it’s all exciting and new! Be excited for me!

Television Update:
Lost is awesome.
Eli Stone is cancelled.
Better Off Ted is sorta funny.
Scrubs will be sorely missed when it is gone.
Castle is very enjoyable.
Dollhouse is FINALLY awesome. Well, last week’s was. Hopefully the trend will continue.
I gave up on Heroes, and Desperate Housewives. I think it’s very stupid that DH is advertising the rest of its season like “One of the Housewives WILL DIE. Who will it be? You’ll never guess!” No, I would never ever imagine it could be the one woman who didn’t renew her contract. Man, I’ll be completely shocked if it turns out to be her.

You know when I’m getting sarcastic that it’s time to sign off. Till we meet again!

Comic Con, the Conclusion

I promised a continued story from the last post, and I apologize for the delay. Last week was pretty busy. But given that I’ve got a week off of school now, I figure I’ve got some time to update on the rest of the Con.

Sunday

So, the last day of the Con we were tired. But we had to push through a few more panels and make sure we saw everything before we could go home. So we took a deep breath, and waded back into the sea of dorkdom. Here are the highlights:

  • Chuck – The creators of Chuck held a panel to talk about the show and where it’s heading, with a special appearance by Yvonne Strahovski (aka Striker), who plays Sarah on the show. They were nice enough to produce a little trailer that showed the rest of the season, as well as answer a few questions about what to look forward to. However, the panel took a dive when they opened the floor up for questions. About every other person stepped forward to ask Yvonne for an autograph. And three of them had the same exact story about how their father didn’t want any television except Chuck and all he wanted was an autograph from her. Someone even made her the honorary grand marshall of the New York Polish Parade or something like that. I mean, come on people. Ask some good questions. Don’t just drool. That’s rude. It really hit rock bottom when two kids stepped up to the mic to ask a question, and then DIDN’T LEAVE. They just stayed at the mic, commenting on what the panel was saying, asking more questions, etc. I wanted to punch their little faces clean off. Yes, I was bitter that the panel wasn’t as good as it could’ve been. Also, Josh Schwartz (one of the creators) told us that his parents were there. I really wanted to meet them, because who ever introduces themselves to the relatives of a creator of a hit show? I thought that would be cool, but I didn’t get to do it.
  • Prototype – Yeah, I know I already mentioned this. But my other friend didn’t get to play on Saturday, so he checked it out on Sunday, and we watched. And we STILL saw things we hadn’t seen when we played. It was STILL FUCKING FANTASTIC. I need to get my hands on this game.
  • Dollhouse – Joss Whedon held his panel on the then upcoming show Dollhouse. The panel was cool, I really admire his work and I loved seeing him in person, and the questions were much better than the Chuck panel’s were. We also got to see the first few minutes of the pilot episode, so that was pretty cool. Plus my friend was wetting his pants over some dude who was there who is in Dollhouse but played someone on BSG as well. Hilo? Tahmoh? Something like that.
  • Jumpgate Evolution – My bestest friend Katie Postma is the CM for this game, so I had to give it a go. I don’t know anything about the Jumpgate Universe, but the game was really easy to jump into. It’s a space game, you pilot a ship, and shoot other ships. It’s not like EVE, because it’s more of a space shooter. Which is cool. I played Freespace when I was younger, and it was awesome. Plus, I hear the game’s THIS CLOSE to beta, and it supports joysticks, which will make the game so much more enjoyable. I’m excited to play!
  • Champions Online – When we first checked this out on Friday, it didn’t seem very fun. I gave it a second go on Sunday, and it still didn’t seem too exciting. DCUO is much more of an action game, and the MMO aspects of Champions didn’t thrill me. I loved the art style, but the play needs some tweaking before I would give it another try. One good thing: Travel powers. Everyone starts with them, from what I could tell, and you can use them whenever. That’s very nice of them. The translation from a pen-and-paper game to a video game has transitioned well, I just don’t know if it’s the game for me. I guess I’ll have to use this beta key I got from them to see 😛

I think that’s about everything. We left the convention exhausted, but I wouldn’t have traded the experience for anything in the world. I also was heading back to the Convention Center the following weekend (yesterday) for the New York Toy Fair. I’ll post on that in a bit.

Comic Con Revisited

I declare my first convention a success! I got to play lots of unpublished games, I met a player of Pirates (the first one to know who I was!), and I met up with a bunch of my friends. It was awesome! Let’s break down the highlights of the weekend:

Friday

Friday the convention opened at 1PM, so we had a half a day. My friend and I were pretty overwhelmed by the whole thing, and we just sort of aimlessly wandered through the convention, taking in the sights and sounds. We met up with a bunch of my industry friends, and I physically met a few people I knew face-to-face for the first time, which was great. We ran into a mob of hundreds of Asian teenagers, staring excitedly up at a glass balcony. Some Japanese guy suddenly walked into that room, the mob went nuts, and we stared blankly at the guy. No idea who he was. Some reporters were nearby reporting on the pandemonium, and we asked them who it was. “I have no idea,” one replied. Journalism at its finest.

The only real thing of note we did on Friday was to see the new Futurama movie, “Into the Wild Green Yonder”. It was hilarious. Enough said about that.

Saturday

Saturday we went to the Gabe and Tycho Q&A panel. They’re funny guys, as I’m sure you’re aware. We also went over to the 38 Studios panel, but as soon as it became clear they weren’t talking about their game, I ditched it for some lunch. We found some of the best games of the show on Saturday, including:

– DC Universe Online – I was not expecting to enjoy this game as much as I did. The game is more action-oriented than any MMO I’ve ever played. You run into battle, you click to shoot at things, you use some super powers. If ever there was an MMO that would translate well to a console, this is it. We actually played the game using a PS3 controller. We were extremely impressed. I also got my favorite swag at the Sony booth, a pen that shines the Bat Signal when you push a button.

Prototype – Our favorite game by far at the convention. Free-roaming in New York City, fighting inspired by parkour (free-running), and controls that flowed extremely well together. I watched my friend Mike play it, and we kept going “WHOA!” every time something cool happened, whether it was running straight up a skyscraper, or picking up a bus and smashing people with it, and then when I got my chance to try it out, we still kept discovering new awesome things about the game. Leap off a building and fly around! Jump up in the air and smash down on a tank. Rip someone’s head off with your sword-arms! We were speechless by the end of the demo. And what made us realize how awesome the game is was when we returned to it on Sunday, and our other friend was trying it out. We then realized we still hadn’t discovered everything. Pick up a bus and start running, and you’ll lower the bus and smash everything in your way. Jump up on a tank and you can hijack it and take control. Pick up a car, toss it at a helicopter and watch as it crashes down onto people. I hope there’s still stuff we haven’t discovered yet, because we definitely want the game when it comes out in June.

    We also tried out some pretty bad games on Saturday, like:

    – Tenchu: Shadow Assassin – Firstly, the game just didn’t look good on the Wii. The controls were very touchy, and while the kill animations were cool (once we slid under a guy, and stabbed him in the crotch), the game itself was too slow and boring. It was like Splinter Cell, minus the fun part.

    – Velvet Assassin – I’ve been hearing that this game is great, so maybe I just didn’t understand the controls, but any game where you’re sneaking around, trying to kill, and then you inject some morphine and suddenly you’re wearing a pretty dress, doesn’t sound like a game I want to play.

    – GTA Chinatown Wars – I was really hoping this game would be good. And it was okay. The driving around the city is cool, but much more arcadey, in that you smash through cars, you spin around easily. They went less for the realism of GTA4, and more for a fun DS experience. I didn’t get to try out any missions, but the game just didn’t pull me.

    – Deadly Creatures – Besides the fact that I’m a squeamish arachnophobe, I couldn’t imagine how a game where you play a spider and scorpion could be good. And from what I watched, I was right. The spider runs around, kills some other spiders, eats some grubs, and then dies. Wow. Thrilling.

      I also got to check out the Up panel, where Pete Docter showed us about 30 minutes worth of clips from the movie. It looks and sounds great, even though it’s not “finished” yet, and it’s definitely got that Pixar charm. Those of you who hated WALL-E, this one is going back to the “typical” Pixar movies, so you should be pretty happy. I didn’t get to go to the Up screening, because they only let in 300 people, and I was number 310 in line. But I didn’t mind so much. At night, we went to the SOE fan party, where we enjoyed delicious food and a Q&A session with the developers. Afterwards, we went to the EA/Mythic party at Dave n’ Busters on 42nd St. They set up Rock Band for us to play, and I’m proud to announce that I saved Paul Barnett after he failed out during a song.

      I’ve got more to talk about, but I’ll continue in another post soon. Enjoy!

      New York Comic Con!

      In a fit of genius, last Friday I suddenly decided, “Hey! I should road trip to NY for Comic Con!” Comic Cons have expanded over the years to include much more than comics (which I have no investment in), and now include television, movies, and video games, so it’s much more relevant to me. Over the weekend, I recruited a friend to join me, and we put together cohesive plans to get to NY, stay at a friend’s, and hang out all weekend. I’m just about as excited for this as I was when I got hired as an intern last year (actually, that happened around this time too, didn’t it?). A bunch of my friends are going to be at the Con, including some I’ve met in real life and some I haven’t, so I’m hoping to do some awesome networking (thanks to some of the tips I’ve learned from Darius Kazemi), and just have a great time. It’s my first actual convention I’m going to for anything, so I’m hoping to get lots of pictures, lots of free stuff, and lots of new friends. Hopefully I can post photos each night to Facebook, so keep an eye on it. Maybe I’ll toss some up here as well.

      Also, here’s some of the fun stuff I’ll be seeing at the convention:

      • Pixar’s premiering the first 50 minutes of their latest movie, Up!
      • Futurama is screening their new movie
      • Champions Online is giving out beta keys
      • Jumpgate Evolution is showing off their game (sidenote: their CM is my favorite. Sorry, Troy Hewitt.)
      • Joss Whedon is having a Dollhouse panel, complete with the first part of their pilot episode
      • LOTS of people in crazy costumes

      Plus, I just learned about Bolt Bus, a new company that provides power outlets and free wifi on the bus ride. I’m not sure how well it’ll actually work, but COOL! More updates from the convention as I have them.

      We Have to Go Back!

      Lost premiered last night. Normally I’d enjoy providing an unbiased review of the show, but at this point, I’m completely swept up in the show. I no longer care whether it’s bad or good. To me, it’s always going to be good, because I want to reach the end. I want to know what it all means. So, here’s my completely biased review of the first two episodes, “Because You Left”, and “The Lie”. Obviously, spoilers abound.

      The show jumped right back in and hit the ground running, as they say. We received a million answers immediately about what happened to the Island, what the new format of the show will be (i.e. jumping through time to show both the Island story and the Oceanic Six), and it also set a few new mysteries, though none seriously compelling. I’d love to know how Faraday ends up working for Dharma, obviously we want to know more about Ms. Hawking, and who those guys are that were threatening Sawyer and Juliet with guns. But at this point, I really am enjoying watching the characters develop and adapt. Currently, I don’t like Jack. I think he’s been given too many opportunities to prove himself worthy as a leader, and he’s failed every time. I don’t know that he’s actually going to receive a happy ending when the series completes. I’m not sure he deserves one. On the other hand, Sawyer has become more likable in my eyes. I know people will claim I’m a traitor, but I’m pushing for Kate to end up with him. It just seems more right to me.

      So we know the Oceanic 6 are going to make it back to the Island by midseason. Sorry if you didn’t know that, but it’s been announced by the producers, so it’s not really a huge secret. The big question is how? Everyone seemed to be coming together fairly quickly off-Island, with the exception of Hurley, who I can only assume will have to be broken out of jail. Or maybe Ana Lucia will save him again. (Sidebar: The line “Libby says hi” was the most adorable line ever. One of my favorite in the series.)

      Overall, I’m really excited for this season, because it has direction. No more writers’ strikes to screw it up, and we now know, as Damon and Carlton put it, that we’re going to start getting more answers than questions in the show. We’ve already passed the halfway point, so it’s time to start wrapping everything up in a slow, yet ultimately awesome way. As long as they don’t save up some huge mystery to the very end, at which point it’ll be a huge letdown, no matter what it is, the show should be successful to the very end. And it deserves it.