Friday, March 25, 2011

I'm Watching You

First, there will be a post about PAX East 2011, I swear, I just was too tired after I got home to write one. Plus there's the whole post PAX blues thing.

Now, on to today's post...I saw this because Wil Wheaton tweeted it, and it got me thinking about the sci-fi actors/actresses that I will watch in anything just because it's them. So, without all the deep thinking, here's my list (in no particular order):

Amanda Tapping - Love her. She's the only reason I watch Sanctuary (though I am woefully behind on it now due to scheduling conflicts.)

Eliza Dushku - What can I say, she kicks ass.

Felicia Day- Answer: The Guild. Buffy. Dragon Age. Question: What are my favorite things?

Bruce Campbell - How can you not like him? He's...Bruce!

Wil Wheaton - Maybe it's cause I grew up watching him, but I have never seen him in something I didn't like. He's also incredibly nice in person.

Bruce Willis - Totally my favorite action star. 5th Element still rates up there as one of my favorite movies.

Sigourney Weaver - Alien. Need I say more?

Milla Jovovich - I think she doesn't always gets the credit she deserves, because several movies she's been in have not been "up to par," but it's wasn't due to a lack on her part.

Michelle Rodriguez - The female Bruce Willis as far as I'm concerned. She rocks whatever is put in front of her.

Elijah Wood - The only thing almost as epic as the original Star Wars trilogy was the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Though Elijah was a fav of mine before that.

Patrick Stewart - If there was one person in all the world that I would die to meet, it's Patrick.

Claudia Black - She kicked ass in Farscape, and then kicked more ass in Stargate. I love ass-kicking.

Ben Browder - Claudia was good in Farscape, but Ben was awesome. He completely nailed Stargate as well.

Brent Spiner - Most know him as Data, but if you've never seen it, check out Threshold.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Two Worlds II Review

Two Worlds II has not been released in the US yet, but I finished playing the game yesterday. I'm going to talk in depth about the game, specifically what I did and didn't like about it. *SPOILER WARNING!*

The Bad:

You can't customize a character to play (i.e. male or female, mage or warrior.)

There are numerous bugs in the game, but the worst of them had to do with Cassara. On several occasions the voice over did not match the captioning on the screen, and more often than not the captioning went by too quickly to read. It was so badly mismatched and fast at the end of Chapter 3 that I had no clue what I needed to do at the start of Chapter 4.

Cassara is a major character in the storyline of the game, yet your only interactions with her (until the end) are just simple conversations that move you from one chapter to the next. I think she needed to have more of a presence in the game. Similiarly, the story hints at Dar Pha being an important character as well, but you actually interact with her less than any other character in the game. Why is she there? Why does she join you at the end? What is up with this air of mystery around her that is never resolved? I just don't get it.

There were other parts of the story that were never resolved either. The orcs were preparing to attack Gandohar, but you never see that happen. You help to create an army of Verita which is also to attack Gandohar, but you don't see that happen either. The storyline was basically building up to what could have been an epic little battle scene, like you have in Dragon Age at Ostagar, but nothing ever happens.

I felt Chapter 3 was the worst of all of them - it had a nice side story to it, and the plot twist with Gandohar was important when you take the end of the game into consideration, but it just felt really shortchanged. It was nowhere near as long as the first two chapters, and there were very few side quests to take. I saw hints that there were potential quests there that I was never able to get. I think another opportunity was missed with the reunion between Nalia and Aiden. There are all these great little side stories that could have been played up more than they were. It also annoyed me that after the wall came down, you still couldn't use your personal teleport stone.

Surprisingly, I didn't have too many problems with the end of the game. I did run into an issue where I kept getting killed because when trying to escape out of the ballista, I kept ending up in what I can only guess is a mode where you can enter cheat commands (if there are any) or programming commands. I'm not sure which key it was, but it had bad placement.

The Good:

Although you can't customize your initial character, you can customize his attributes going forward, as in most games. In this case though, you have the ability to be not just a mage, warrior or archer, you can be all three! There is even a setting in inventory to quickly switch between armor sets, even during battle. It really came in handy to have built up a variety of skills, especially at the end of the game.

There are a lot of side quests in this game, and the maps are good size. I like to be thorough and play every bit of a game, so I literally spent hours just exploring the maps. I also liked the Savannah and jungle themes. I like that there are islands just for multiplayer mode, and that multiplayer mode is more than just PVP (although I have not yet tried multiplayer.)

The various enemies are difficult, but not impossibly so. One thing I hate with a game is when you are close to the end and you just can't finish it because the enemies or final boss are just too difficult. This is something Two Worlds II does right.

The scenery and graphics in this game are awesome. I loved the details when standing in a meadow of flowers, or standing on a plateau watching a full moon. It was just breathtaking. Swimming was amazing too. I really commend the creators of the game for the level of detail that they have.

With the exception of the problems with Cassara, the voice work was really good, and I also enjoyed the music throughout the game. The story is good, and the ending sets you up for a 3rd game, which I hope they do.

Overall, this game wasn't the fantastic hit for me that Dragon Age was, but it is definitely one of the better games that I have played. It was very enjoyable. Well worth playing.

Check out my gallery of in-game pictures here.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Year

So, my blogging fell by the wayside at the end of last year. I could say I was busy, but really I just didn't feel like blogging. This year, I'm going to start off with a list of things that I would like to do sometime during my lifetime. I suppose you could call it a bucket list, though this wasn't inspired by any movie or book or news story. Without further ado, in no particular order, the list:

1. Take 6 months to a year off work to volunteer places that have been devastated by disasters

2. Return to Okinawa

3. Adopt a child

4. Visit every country in Europe

5. Go to Hawaii

6. Finish tracing the Cully family tree

7. Time travel (yeah ok, not possible I know, but I would loooooove to do it. Not to go back in time to change history - I want to go back to see it, as an observer without being able to affect it. For example, I want to see the pyramids being built. I want to see what Stonehenge was really used for.)

8. See a tornado (from a safe distance of course)

9. Hold a tarantula

10. Settle into a truly gluten lifestyle that doesn't leave me in stomach pain all the time

What would be on your list?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Rallying for W00tstock!

Hi, remember me? Yeah, I know, I'm not very good at this whole blogging regularly thing. This is why I will never be an author. Anyway, this past weekend was crazy busy! (Warning, this post will probably get quite long.) First up, Saturday October 30th and the Rally to Restore Sanity:

My day started quite early...3:45am early. Took the 5am bus to Boston to fly to DC. The airport was pretty busy...with flights to DC. There were 4 flights in my terminal that were all going to DC, and it seemed most people were going for the rally. There were signs and t-shirts with various witty remarks. Everyone was in high spirits, and there was lots of discussion about the rally. I even had a TSA agent tell me that he wished he was going to DC with everyone.

We arrived in DC ahead of schedule, about 10:45am. The rally was supposed to start at 12pm, but I had read that Stewart wouldn't take the stage until 1pm. Plenty of time! Passengers from my plane broke into groups of 4 and 6 to share taxis. Which, it turned out, was a good thing, because the taxi fare was quite expensive! (I need to take a moment to explain that I flew into Dulles airport.) I shared a cab with 3 other people. We joked and laughed and got to know each other as the cab flew down the relatively empty highway. We thought we had it made, but the cabbie explained that the highway was dedicated to airport traffic and that when we got off that highway we would hit traffic. Boy did we ever. We soon came to bumper to bumper traffic, hardly moving, and we were still a good distance from the National Mall.

The cab driver, ever so helpful, told us that he could take us the rest of the way, but that it would cost us three times as much because of the traffic, and that there was a metro station just ahead that he could drop us off at. It sounded perfect, so we went for it. (Incidentally, that cab ride was $50. I don't even want to think what it would have been if we'd gone all the way to the mall.) Upon arriving at the metro station, we were greeted with a large crowd. Turned out the crowd was waiting to purchase tickets for the train. Once you had your tickets, there was no line. It was crazy, but the line was moving in an orderly fashion and the crowed was in good spirits. Again, almost everyone was on their way to the rally. It was about 11:45am when we got to the metro station. About an hour later, we had our tickets and had gone upstairs to the platform. (I just want to note here that there was no metro staff anywhere in sight - no one was directing the lines for tickets, and there was no one on the platform.)

1pm came around and the first train showed up since we arrived at the platform - completely full. There was no room for anyone else. We learned at that time that this had been the situation for the last couple of hours, and people were taking trains back to the beginning of the line and getting on there. We couldn't go forward, so the next train that came along going to the end of the line, we hopped on. The train was moderately crowded, with people trying to get to the rally, and people who had already been and had left. We were told it had gotten very crowded at the mall, and it was impossible to see or hear anything. Still, spirits were pretty high, and everyone was happily chatting about the rally.

Our forward-type motion was short lived however, as the train came to a stop at the very next station. An announcement was made that the metro was suspending all service to Vienna (the end of the line) until further notice, because the crowd there was just too large and they needed to clear congestion at the station. Everyone was told to get off the train. The crowd at this station was 3 times as large as the one at the station we had just left. At this point, there was really no hope of getting to the rally. I decided to just go back to the airport and watch what I could online and on the news from there. My flight was due to leave at 4:50pm.

Now, you might be thinking right about now that it was a pretty big disappointment (and a waste of time and money) to go to DC and not make it to the rally. You'd be wrong. Jon Stewart may not have given a clearly defined agenda for the rally, but I had my own clearly defined agenda. Whether Americans want to admit it or not, the world watches what we do, and they see our newscasts. The America that gets portrayed by a radical few is not the America that I live in every day. This rally was an opportunity to show the world that America isn't as insane as it seems in the media, that we really do know how to get along and work together. The fact that there were an estimated 215,000 people who made it to the rally, and who knows how many more like myself who brought down the transit system and never made it to the rally, is just brilliant, and exactly what I wanted to be a part of. Everyone will have their own take from the rally, and whether it was successful or not, but to me, I think Jon asked America to show the sane are out there in force, and we did.

My only regret is flying into Dulles - never doing that again.

Sunday, October 31st

My weekend ended in Boston with W00tstock, and it couldn't have been a better ending, though it wasn't without its share of frustrations. This was my first W00stock, and although I had seen tweets about it and a few blog posts, I really didn't know what to expect. I just knew I would enjoy it. (If you're not familiar with W00tstock, it was started by Paul and Storm, Wil Wheaton, and Adam Savage and is billed as 3 hours of "geek vaudeville." Wil was not present due to filming conflicts, but was represented by Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy.) Since it was their Halloween show, it was requested that the audience wear costumes. It took me awhile to figure out what my costume would be - I really wanted to dress as a pirate for Paul and Storm's "The Captain's Wife's Lament," but at the same time thought that would be a bit cliche. I knew it would be a geek audience, so I could get away with a geeky costume. I came across Star Trek uniforms online, and the idea came to me - I would combine the captain's uniform from TNG with pirate accessories to make: Pirate Captain! Corny and geeky all in one. That's how I roll.

I left my house at 4pm to get to Boston for the 7pm show. It's a 2 hour drive. I made it to the show with just minutes to spare. I fucking hate driving in Boston. So much so that it bears repeating: I fucking hate driving in Boston. Between the road construction, the bizarre intersections that make no sense, and police barricades for no apparent reason, I was beginning to think I would never make it to the show. (Later I would be unsure I would ever make it out of Boston to get home, but I eventually prevailed, both times.)

The show was absolutely fantastic, more than I could have hoped for. It didn't end after 3 hours...closer to 4.5 hours, but I was cool with that. One of the highlights for me was Grant Imahara. Now, I knew Grant from Mythbusters, but had never googled him to learn about his background. I knew he had an engineering background, and was definitely into robots. He talked about his (promotional) time as C-3PO over the course of 10 years, and what it was like inside the suit. It was a neat behind the scenes look at one of the most iconic robot figures in our culture. And so cool that he wore the suit! My respect level for him definitely went up a few notches after his presentation. (I'm not going to lie...I think Grant is a good looking man and I have to say, he looks even better in person.)

The only thing I was disappointed by is that Adam wasn't on stage for very long - I would have thought that as one of the founders of W00tstock, he would have had more of a presence. Maybe the time had something to do with it, I don't know. Adam, by the way, is exactly how he is on Mythbusters - friendly, zany, a little immature and just awesome. He makes a good wookie too. Going back to the plus side of things, I was introduced to the music of Marian Call and if you have not been introduced yet, go, go now to her website and get introduced. Her use of a typewriter is just magical. That's all I'm saying.

If you get a chance to go to W00tstock, I would highly recommend it.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Geeking Out

With the news of an upcoming W00tstock show in Boston (Halloween night no less!), and the countdown started for next year's PAX East, I'm already starting to geek out. This totally helped:

Geek and Gamer Girls Song - Watch more Funny Videos

Saturday, September 11, 2010

To @GamePolitics

This cannot be said in 140 characters or less, so it's a blog post instead.

I, like @wilw's many followers on Twitter, saw last night's exchange between the two of you. I believe there is a disconnect between what you were looking for, and what the twitterverse gave you. @wilw is not a geek/gamer political figure, per se. He is however, a huge role model and a person of influence in the geek/gamer world. He represents us primarily by BEING one of us. He lives and breathes geekdom. He does not hide that fact. He promotes the normalcy of geeks and gamers in everything he does, from his books to his appearances at conventions and shows like W00tstock. He is obviously not alone in this, but there is a reason why @wilw was made Secretary of Geek Affairs. Big names like @wilw and @feliciaday make the rest of not only feel that it is ok to be geeks, they make us proud to be geeks.

It is unfortunate that your conversation went the way that it did, but truly if you want to follow someone just living the life of a geek, @wilw is the person to follow.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Game Review

I just finished a challenging puzzle game called Machinarium. I really enjoyed World of Goo, but this was even better. The graphics are very uniquely styled, and the soundtrack creates a wonderful ambiance that complements the game perfectly. When you first start the game, you don't really know much of the story, but it unfolds as you go. By the time you get to the end, you just want to cheer for the little robot that you have been following around.

The makers of Machinarium, Amanita Design, are offering the game for just $5 right now. Take advantage of this - it's worth it!