Heavy Nova

(Yeah, I’m in it)

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Live Streaming

Yesterday I had the startlingly fun opportunity to watch a friend of mine, Bryce, live stream a game as he was playing it. This was not something I thought that I would enjoy. I like playing video games, sure, obviously, but what would I get out of sitting at my computer watching somebody else play them?

It’s not so much about the video game, in the end. Sure, seeing what Portal 2 (the game that was being played) looked like, finally, was pretty fun. As I’ve not gotten a chance to complete the first one yet, I haven’t picked up the second one. I haven’t even really thought about it. So getting that chance did do a couple things – deciding that I will get it eventually and showing me that I will have fun with it as well.

Bryce was playing multiplayer against another friend of mine, Ali. She was being piped in over the phone. Which was an interesting addition. The beauty of technology.

And I did, I had a really good time watching the two of them. There was a little chat bar on the side where questions could be asked or there could just be general interaction with Bryce and the other people watching.

What I really enjoyed was the commentary from Bryce and Ali. Watching them play the game, more than watching the game itself. I don’t know if this would work with just anybody, either. Bryce has a special magic all his own, as does Ali. Putting them together was pretty hilarious.

If you would like to experience Bryce and his live stream, they can be found at http://www.livestream.com/thergbcolor . You can find Bryce at YouTube as well at http://www.youtube.com/thergbcolor .

Mogworld

I can say it – I’m actually pleasantly surprised at how fun and entertaining this book was. I was highly amused the whole time I was reading it. I really enjoyed the book, and hope that he writes more in the future.

It may sound unfair that I should say that, I do, after all, enjoy his reviews of games. I have so enjoyed his game reviews in the past that I’ve been able to overlook if I agree with him or not and just watch them for what they are. And I don’t always agree with what he has to say, of course. Nobody always agrees with somebody unless they’re a complete nutjob.

But just because he does a good job at those doesn’t mean he’s got what it takes to write a book. I don’t think that just because I enjoy writing that these reviews I do are actually viable for money. I do them because I want to talk about the things I interact with, not because I want it to be my job. I think I’d actually hate to review things because I had to.

People who can’t and shouldn’t write are getting a lot more book deals these days. That chick from The Hills got two. Should she be writing? No. Will people buy her shit? Yes. Because they’ve seen her face on TV.

I got a copy of Mogworld at PAX and sort of put it off because I was unsure if I wanted to taint his game reviews with disappointment in his book. I shouldn’t have worried. Because he’s not some twat who got famous doing something else so they gave him a book deal to make cash off of him. He’s really quite talented. I’m very pleased to be wrong in my waiting.

The type of book that Mogworld is is the type that only comes from a writer that really knows their characters. Some writers just push things out for the sake of getting shit done, and some take time to really evolve what they’re writing about.

Not to mention that it was really funny. I literally laughed out loud a couple of times. That’s not an easy task to accomplish. Not that I’m a humorless bitch, but I generally keep quiet while reading. Comes from spending many hours in libraries as a youth, I think.

Sorry to say, anybody who doesn’t have it already is going to have to wait for a second printing. But when that happens, I suggest reading it as soon as you can. Don’t put it off like I did. Because you’re missing out.

Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day

Despite Sean Patrick Flanery looking as if he was wearing a wax mask of his own face most of the time, and occasionally a melting wax mask of his own face, I really enjoyed this movie.

It was going to be a toss up, I knew. Either it would be good, or it wouldn’t. As it always is when it comes to things you’ve been waiting forever for. I can’t even remember how long this has been in the works exactly. I just know it’s been years. I’ve haunted the Boondock Saints website for a really long time, waiting on the edge of my seat for any sign that this might go through. Then I sort of stopped checking for a couple months and all of a sudden BOOM, there it is, being released.

I put off watching it for a really long time. I almost bought it the minute it came out, almost. But I kept thinking to myself – what if it sucks? What if I hate it? If I buy it, and then I hate it, I’m going to cry. If I just don’t watch it, I don’t ever have to know that I hate it, and the dream can live on forever.

Then Netflix had to go and put it on streaming. I still put it off.

I sort of wish I hadn’t now. Of course, that’s because I liked it. The small superstitious part of me deep inside (okay, maybe not so deep) says that if I’d watched it any earlier, it would have turned out bad. Yes yes, my rational brain is quite aware that that’s not how things work. Sometimes, though, my rational brain loses. There’s nothing to be done about it.

I was very glad to see them carry on with the boys’ black humor. And as much as I didn’t like the new sidekick at the start, he grew on me. By the end, I was rooting for him just as much as I was Connor and Murphy.

Now that I’ve seen the film, I will be buying it as soon as possible.

The Movie To Lull Your Enemies With

There’s this movie that I have in my VHS collection and I don’t like to admit it’s there, but it is. I only have it on VHS because it was a quarter, and I’m pretty sure that nobody is going to bring it to DVD, ever. Not that I’d buy it.

I saw this film for the first time when I was young. I remember having flashes of a black eyed man killing a man who looked exactly like him for a really long time. It was one of those movies that your adult mind believes you probably just made it up because it’s so ridiculously absurd that it couldn’t possibly be real, and nobody but you has seen it anyway. Because NOBODY knows what the hell you’re talking about when you try to describe it. (I had this same issue with The Brave Little Toaster)

When I saw the VHS, it all hit me suddenly. I remembered everything about the movie from that long ago day. Except, of course, where I saw it.

I’m not going to tell you to watch it, because you shouldn’t. It’s a bad movie filled with really bad 80’s cheese and a whole lot of 80’s hair. I can’t say that any part of this movie is good. The whole premise is a badly made amalgum of Lord Of The Rings and space.

I watch it myself only when desperate. When my sleeping medications are in full effect, yet I can’t sleep. When the nights have blurred into weeks, and I just need to shut down. This movie has the uncanny ability to bore me to tears and unconsciousness nearly every time. (Note, I do have to have taken the sleeping pills, or have been up for several days for this tactic to work. Otherwise, I’m just watching a really shitty movie) There’s something special in the way it’s set up, I think. The right blend of soft focus and a hero who smiles at times when he shouldn’t. Complete with a heroine in a billowy white dress running around a seashell-like castle interior while a power hungry “beast” mocks and chases her.

There, I’ve given away the whole plot.

Oh wait. I have to add that the two main characters have arranged to be married so they can become king and queen and help to unite two warring countries. And there’s a cyclops.

I’m pretty sure that this movie was a curse on it’s actors, because not many of them came out as a recognizable and working product of the film industry. One happens to be Liam Neeson. And yes, there will come a day when I will meet Mr Neeson and hand over my copy of Krull to be signed. I hope that he’s aware of what he’s put out into the universe.

Even the mystical weapon in this movie is ridiculous. There’s no way it would function in any way other than cutting off your own hand if you looked at … well, anything. The Glave, it’s called. They talk about it through the entire film like it’s going to save everything, and I suppose it does. But all I can think of when I see it is “Maybe the kings of old kept it hidden so nobody else would lose a finger”.

But, it’s a dead technology…

In 1992 there was this neato little thing that came out called the Minidisc. Special little players. Special little recordable disks. Everything a technophile might want in a new toy to play with.

Well, I never got one. I can’t say for sure why. Either it was too expensive back then, or something else caught my attention and I needed to have that more. Note that this is during a time when I have to rely on my parents to get me the gadgets I want because I’ve got no income except from babysitting (not even an allowance!) and five bucks an hour doesn’t really add up very quickly.

Let’s cut here to recently. It’s been well over ten years since this magical device was on the shelves of our electronics stores. I am an adult now. I have my own money source. And I no longer need the permission of anybody else to buy the things that I want. Even if they are completely rediculous. An acquaintance of mine informs a group of people on a forum that he’s going to sell or just plain give away a bunch of his old stuff. I note on the list that there’s a minidisc player in there, along with blank discs and a charger.

So I wait like two weeks, stalking the thread, mildly curious as to why nobody’s snatched up that player. It’s only 20 bucks for all of it, I feel I should make that quite clear. It’s not expensive. Oh, yes. It’s a dead technology. Now we’ve got CDs and MP3 players that will hold thousands of hours of music on them, plus videos and whatever the hell else we want to put on them.

The minidisc is – quite bluntly – the retarded cousin of the cd player.

Every once in a while, two things come out. In this case, minidisc and cd. They battle over the populace, each denouncing the other for it’s various faults, and touting it’s own prowess in the music world. But there can only be one. We saw BetaMax go down, we saw LaserDisc flounder and die. It’s not only the truth of history, but also Darwin’s theory of evolution. The fittest one wins. For minidisc? It was the CD. A simple, easy thing that people flocked to, leaving the poor little minidisc in the wakes of it’s glory.

So I finally decide that I’m going to buy this thing. Why the hell not, right? 20 bucks, and it’s something that I used to want really badly. Maybe it’s hearkening back to my younger years. Wanting to remember easier times. Maybe it’s nostalgia. I’m also admittedly lying to myself and saying that I could use it in more “dangerous” or “risky” situations that I don’t want to bring my Zune into. The truth of that that’s held down in the dank depths of my mind is that I likely won’t take it any further than my front door. But shhh. That’s not what’s important.

Cue to two days later. A package comes in the mail. Ho! It is my recent purchase!
A lovely box of deleted disks with a few fresh ones mixed in. The player itself. A Gameboy Color charger that amusingly works for this contraption.

Of course the first thing I do is to search the disks for something on them. One of them does contain some music. It sounds pretty freaking good considering how old this thing is. I figure out how to delete not only individual songs, but also the whole disk. (This was on purpose) I’m pretty amused by the whole thing, and then it comes time to explore the machine more completely.

Ridiculous Point Number One: This thing actually runs on a single regular battery. Oh, I know. This is how it all used to work. You don’t have to tell me. I’m old enough to remember a time before Duracel figured out how to create rechargeable AAs. Back in the stone age where when our tape decks started to run out of juice, everything would start to sound as if it were coming to you from under water. It’s just surprising, that’s all. I don’t think I’ve seen any electronic device with a normal battery case in like five years.

Yes, console controllers do come with them, but there’s that option for the rechargeables, isn’t there? There is. And what do we all do? We go buy the rechargeable pack, because we know in our hearts that using regular batteries is borderline retarded.

Luckily, the thing works if you plug in the A/C adapter. I seriously thought I was plugging it in to recharge a dead cell, not because the thing wasn’t actually holding a BATTERY at all.

Ridiculous Point Number Two: A few minutes of prodding and exploring shows me that there’s no real way to connect this thing to my computer. Everything is on USB these days. And even if it’s not, it’s got some kind of link cable to connect it to your PC and do whatever it is you have to do. But this?

I think I’m missing a cable, maybe. So I send a PM to the seller asking just how on earth I’m supposed to get music onto these blank disks that I’ve got.

Do you know what he tells me? Do you? You have to record the audio onto the discs like you used to do with tapes. Are you all too young to remember that process? You had to play the tape you wanted to record, and hit the record button on the device that you’re recording to. Manually controlling the two items, and making sure that you’ve got it all synced up perfectly, lest there be dead air on your tape. All while, I might add, having to actually listen to the length of the song, because it had to be playing for the second device to record.

whut

So I’m laughing. I’m laughing my ass off. This is so fucking absurd that I can’t help it. I have lived through so many changes in this world, seen so much progress, that I can’t even fathom not just clicking on something and dragging it over to the destination device and have it just instantly be copied there.

Ridiculous Point Number Three: So this is where our determined heroine goes searching over the vast plains of the Interwebnetlands to obtain for herself the magical cord which will connect her computer to her new and slightly creationally deformed device.

Imagine her amazement to discover that she got her minidisc at an astounding price. That these things are still going on Amazon for 50 dollars or more used. USED. That is, out of the box, played with, taken around the world. USED.

Imagine her amazement at the fact that these silly little things are in incredibly high demand, even now! People are still buying and trading these devices like they’re brand new!

Imagine how her mouth hangs agape and her eyes widen to impossible dinner plates as she explores further and further, finding out that somehow, somehow, this product has survived the depths of obscurity and thrives!

No, they’re not making new ones. Nothing is new. Everything is old. And everything is very expensive.

I’m completely dumbfounded here. Before tonight I never would have imagined that this thing still had followers in the world. Actual followers. True believers, if you will. Loyalists. I thought that I wouldn’t find a cord that would work because it’s so dead and gone that it just wouldn’t exist. Now I realize my problem is not that, but finding a frigging cord that I can afford.

As it stands currently, without said cord, my player is rendered a mighty shiny brick, and I suppose I could use the blank disks as pointy Frisbees. But that’s all it’s doing. Not that I mind. The more I discover in this lake of absurdity, the funnier it gets. I have honestly been laughing for hours. Sitting all by myself, looking at this whatnot, laughing. The neighbors might think I’ve gone insane.

Will I ever find a way to make this thing viable for myself? I don’t know. Right now, I’m not worried about it.

I have dived into the pool of the minidisc, and find myself floundering, not because it’s a dead technology, but because it’s a dead technology that’s somehow still alive!

It’s a fucking ZOMBIE TECHNOLOGY.

Brutal Legend

Been a while since I wrote about a game, isn’t it? It’s also been a while since I last had the attention span to do so. I was struggling with the two newest games I have – Overlord 2 and The Godfather 2, and I didn’t know why. Then it dawned on me one day. I needed something that didn’t take a lot of strategy, something I could get lost in for hours without realizing it, and something that would be incredibly fun to play.

Not that either of those games is boring. But there’s a certain amount of thinking that you’ve got to do in both of them in order to advance the game. All I wanted was a game that I could fart around on if I wanted to, and progress the game through when I wanted to, all without having to use too much of my brain.

Somebody suggested to me that I try Brutal Legend, and I have to say that it’s exactly what I was looking for. There are some moments when you have to think about what you’ve got to do, but it’s not the bulk of the game. Plus I can ride around in the car or on animals and just… do that. Or look for the artifacts. All while listening to heavy metal.

Oh, and Jack Black.

The art is beautiful, and the colors are vivid. I love looking at this game. I also love how some people’s hands are way too big for their bodies.

I think I’m about 40% through at this point, so I can’t talk too much about the rest of the game, but so far what I’ve seen, I really like. And on my first night playing, I played for 6 hours. It’s exactly what I needed.