Sunday, May 31, 2009

Infinite Undiscovery Completed for the First Time

After hours of work, I made it to the final dungeon, and took out the last few bosses, to complete Infinite Undiscovery for the first time. This is only the second JRPG on the 360 I've been able to play through all the way to the end of the story. Enchanted Arms would be the other.

I found the ending of IU to be very satisfying, and the last dungeon was a decent challenge. I nearly wiped out on the last boss twice, but I beat him without reading the guide's suggestions, which makes me happy.

Now, I've beginning the post-game achievement mop-up. I loaded older save files, netting the "On the Run" achievement on the first try, then I loaded up another save and earned "The Tide of Battle" on my 2nd try. With those older achievements now out of the way, I've been working on grinding up the IC levels of my party members, so I can craft many of the items I'm missing for the "Compulsive" achievement. I also need their crafting levels up to learn all songs, spells, and abilities, and obtain the achievements for crafting some ultimate items. I can get up to 939 in this playthrough before working on Hard.

I'm a long way from done with IU, but at least on the next to plays I can focus on the parts of the game I like, and not bother with the terrible sidequests anymore. IC grinding, unfortunately, will remain necessary to get the items needed to beat the game's ultimate boss. My gamerscore won't be going up very fast for a while, as I'm alternating between this and Sacred 2, which are both 100+ hour projects, and completions to be proud of.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Surgeon General's Warning: Sacred 2 Leads to ADDICTION

The Office of the Surgeon General, under the direction of the Surgeon General, oversees the operations of the 6,000-member Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service and provides support for the Surgeon General in the accomplishment of his other duties. The Office is part of the Office of Public Health and Science in the Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The Surgeon General serves as America's chief health educator by providing Americans the best scientific information available on how to improve their health and reduce the risk of illness and injury. The acting Surgeon General is Rear Admiral Steven K. Galson, M.D., M.P.H. RADM Galson is also serving as the Acting Assistant Secretary for Health.

Earlier today, the Surgeon General issued the following statement on a videogame titled Sacred 2, recently released for the Xbox 360 and PS3 after its initial launch on PC, and developed by Ascaron Entertainment:

Sacred 2, developed by Ascaron Entertainment, is a fantasy roleplaying game in which players kill swarms of enemies to gain new in-game items to make their characters more powerful. The game is said to have well over 100 hours of content, and enormous replay value.

Clinical studies have show that games of this type work on a scheme of classical conditioning. Players are rewarded early and often as the game begins, with characters advancing significantly in the first few hours, and constantly finding better items. As the hours stretch on, advancement takes longer and longer, and more powerful items are harder to come by. Players are lured into a cycle of needing to play longer and longer to feel they've made any progress, and thus begins a vicious cycle of excessive play and addiction.

Concerned parents or players worried about the possibility of addiction are advised to look for the following symptoms of addiction:

Psychological Symptoms of Video Game Addiction

  • Having a sense of well-being or euphoria while at the computer/console
  • Inability to stop the activity
  • Craving more and more time at the computer/console
  • Neglect of family and friends
  • Feeling empty, depressed, irritable when not at the computer/console
  • Lying to employers and family about activities
  • Problems with school or job

Physical Symptoms of Video Game Addiction

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome Dry eyes
  • Migraine headaches
  • Back aches
  • Eating irregularities, such as skipping meals
  • Failure to attend to personal hygiene
  • Sleep disturbances, change in sleep pattern
Those who may be suffering from behavior consistent with game addiction are encouraged to reduce their time plaing games dramatically, and seek clinical help. A help line has been opened emergency assistance. That number is 1-800-738-2737.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Meaningful & Most Wanted 1000s

Sometimes I wonder if completing games doesn't seem that impressive any more. I'm not talking about what others think of your completed game total, I mean what you think of your own game total. Is each completed game a small source of pride, or just another brick in the wall? This is likely to vary from person to person, and from game to game. I doubt anyone takes pride in Avatar, but do completions still be like an accomplishment to the people who have many of them?

I have 47 absolute completions; 36 retail, 11 arcade (I consider an absolute completion all achievements, including all DLC. Completed games with missing DLC points are a different category for me). As I continue to work on more challenging games that I know will be highly satisfying to accomplish, I thought I'd take a look back at my 47 completions to see which ones I'm particularly happy about.

Meaningful Completions:

uzzle Quest - It was a very time-intensive 250, which I worked on over a long time. It was a fun game, and a challenge to get some of the last achievements.

Prey - Sure, it isn't a very hard 1000, but it felt surprisingly good to get. Prey's gravity-defying action was intense and memorable. Not too many shooters can claim to be truly memorable on a console flooded with them.

Oblivion - Bethesda's massive fantasy game was my first regular 1000, and one of the games that turned me on to achievements.

Warriors Orochi 2 - The grinding demon that took me MONTHS to complete, and is proof to myself that I have the willpower to suffer through anything if I want something badly enough. Sure, I could have learned this lesson in a way that would have benefited society or led to more personal growth, but then I wouldn't be an achievement junkie =P

Condenmed 2: Bloodshot - Fantastic game that seems to have an unfairly deserved bad reputation. I earned the majority of the online points w/o boosting. Monolith deserves an award for making the scariest game I've ever played.

Dead Space - Snagging a pre-release copy for review, I was one of the first to get to play Dead Space, and I consider my review of it one of the best I've done to date. This was a fun sci-fi game, and feels good to have on the board.

Dirt - I'm terrible at racing games... this is the only racing game I've 1ked (I think it's the only racing game I've played, even), so it feels good to have it completed. I really enjoyed it, even though I'm bad at racing games.

Mass Effect - I had to do nearly 5 plays to get everything. Mass Effect was spectacular, but it got old after repeated plays. Dedication paid off for the 1050. Here's to hoping that DLC Bioware keeps teasing about actually sees the light of day.

47 completions... and only 8 really stand out to me as games that feel like accomplishments. This shows me that I need to get to tacking up more games I can be proud of.

Most Wanted Completions

What do I really want to get completions in? Here's a list. Note that I may not have played every game shown here yet.

1. EDF 2017 - Fun game, and very challenging 1k
2. Fallout 3 - I'm in no hurry since there is more DLC coming, I just want to make sure I get it eventually.
3. Blue Dragon - A very hard RPG 1000, and I want to keep proving my RPG skills. I have some, honest!
4. Lost Odyssey - Because this game deserves to be played to 1100.
5. Infinite Undiscovery
6. Star Ocean
7. Tales of Vesperia
8. Last Remnant - seeing a theme here? I hunger for RPG completions! Hopefully I can add a few before Final Fantasy XIII comes out.
9. Sacred 2 - This game is videogame crack so I'm sure it'll happen with time.

Upcoming most wanted:
10. Aliens vs. Predator - I know, this game won't be out for a while, but I'm going to be all over this game when it arrives.
1: Batman: Arkham Asaylum - I've loved Batman since I was a kid. I can't wait to play this game!
12. Bioshock 2: Please no MP achievements...
13. Final Fantasy XIII - It'll be brutal to 1k, I'm sure, but you know I want to do it.

On a side note, besides FFXIII, are there any upcoming JRPGs? I'm afraid if I really get into this RPG mode, I'll exhaust every option and have nothing to look forward to. I'm not worried about Western RPGs, since Mass Effect and Alpha Protocol are on the horizon, at the least. Anyone know?

In other news: I'm going in tomorrow to interview for a Customer Relations position. No, that's not a job in the game industry. No, I probably won't be writing. But in this economy, I'd be foolish to turn down a job with good benefits, and a salary that would allow me to move out and be independent. I can work at this job to sock away cash for a transition elsewhere. Who knows? Perhaps I'll love it, and do what I can to start climbing the corporate ladder. We'll see how that goes. I'm hoping for the best, and that's what I'll be up to tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Infinite Undiscovery Commentary

Lately (as in for the vast majority of Memorial Day weekend) I've been playing through Infinite Undiscovery as part of J-Quest, my long-term goal of doing much better at completing RPGs, in particular those from Japan (hence the J). My friend DarkTharen has also been playing the game recently, and recently sent me a PM on x360a about it, which I'm reposting here so I can respond to it (hope he doesn't mind ^-^)

Dark writes: Thrawn,

I saw last night you were playing Infinite Undiscovery. With that I decided to check out your blog today and I know what you mean by diving into a game and going until your fingers bleed.

Anyways, how do you like IU? How far have you gotten? Getting that cheevo for freeing those prisoners is very difficult. You basicly have to run without fighting anyone. Even then it is very close. (Note: I missed this achievement because I was not aware there is a time limit. Will have to retry on Hard) This RPG is actually pretty easy to get the full 1k. It just takes time because you have to play through it 3 times. Hit me up when you get a chance!

Well, after spending most of my weekend playing it, I can tell I'm ahead of you, as I have several story-related achievements you don't yet. I completed Disc 1 a few days ago (did it in 10:30 or so, and I wasn't trying to speed run at all), and I'm now a healthy distance into disc 2 (21 hours total playtime approximately at this point). Are you using the strategy guide to aid you with the game? (I do this for all J-RPGs) If so, I'm at page 154 in the walkthrough. If not, I'll just say I'm off to a place called Dias, since I don't want to spoil anything.

Once we've both finished the game, I'd like to talk about it with you some time, either over party chats or messages. It's not often I have a friend who is playing the same (relatively) niche game that I am at the same time.

Once I hit Port Zala, I hit the Item Creation system hard, earning a bunch of the crafting achievements, and used a money-making tip from the achievement guide to make and sell a bunch of Bronze Plate Greaves to sell for cash. Using that fortune (while reading a book, I crafted my way to over 400,000 Fol profits), I took advantage of the vouchers I downloaded from the Marketplace to buy a lot of crafting materials I really shouldn't have been able to get at that point in the game. I was able to pimp out Capell and Edward with some seriously impressive weapons and armor. As a matter of fact, Capell has the 2nd best sword possible without going through the post-story dungeon. It's made life much easier LOL.

The game has some great attributes, OK attributes, and annoyances. I don't want to write a review here, but here's a highlight of my thoughts:

Awesome! The game's combat system and exploration. I love fighting enemies in real time out in an open field. It reminds me in some ways of combat in MMOs. In both games, enemies are confronted in real time, and you're taking allies with you, as you would a group in an MMO. Both Infinite Undiscovery and MMOs have item creation systems. IU, however, has a tighter storyline, an ending, achievements, and no annoying loot stealers =P

Meh... The storyline. Leonid feels like one hell of a flat bad-guy. He just doesn't interest me at all. I only recently found out why he wants the moon chained to the planet... why wait so far into the game to give us some motivation for the villain? The game feels choked with secondary characters. While I guess it's good to have numerous gameplay options available, they're not as developed as I'd like, though the essential characters have been growing on me as time passes. Still, this is no Final Fantasy X or Lost Odyssey in the characters department.

Boo! The sidequests are incredibly boring, consisting mostly of running errands for people, and rarely is the game's awesome combat system involved in any of them. Why do I want to run back and forth talking to a bunch of unimportant NPCs for items I'll almost never end up using? Oh, the "Compulsive" achievement... that's why. Side quests really could have been something if more of them involved combat, or sending player back to old areas to defeat new monsters, perhaps even some optional bosses... but there isn't any of that here. If you're going for everything, these interludes between combat and story advancement can feel like a chore. Dungeons could have been a bit bigger too. Hopefully some larger ones are coming. I find myself going out into the wilds sometimes just to have a taste of the combat again after too much side-questing.

Despite the few complaints, I'm really enjoying IU. It's been a great time. I would like to get the Compulsive achievement over with so I can just focus on the parts of the game I like and not bother with the dumb sidequests anymore. I will absolutely be going for 999 in this game... ask me later about Infinity mode...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

RPG Mania in Full Swing

I seem to be a gamer with polar attitudes, shifting from completely not wanting to play something for a while, to tearing into it like a starving canine on a T-bone steak. The new obsession is RPGs. I've always loved the genre, but the time consuming nature of the genre, and the fact that most of them rely of save points spread out too far apart for casual play, has made the genre ill-equipped for play on the chaotic schedule of a college student. Therefore, I've virtually avoided JRPGs for most of the last year. Now that I've graduated and have a little too much time on my hands while I job search, my schedule is open and flexible enough to allow me to dig into RPGs more easily.

I've been trying to advance my 2nd play of Eternal Sonata, but that first Dolce fight is seriously hard, and level grinding hasn't helped much. I'm taking some time away from it, then I'll check a guide, and do some more level grinding if necessary. I really hate being bottlenecked by one brutal boss. I've been stuck on this boss off and on for months now...

I've been spending most of my play time playing Infinite Undiscovery, which is better than I had expected it to be. I like the battle system, though I'm not as good at this type of system as I am the traditional turn systems used by Mystwalker. I'm taking the majority of the weekend off from job hunting duties and spending it making all the progress I can here. I missed one achievement for rescuing prisoners because I didn't realize there was a time limit for it, but since I need 3 plays for the full 1k anyway, it should be easy enough to get when I play on Hard.

Although he probably doesn't read this, I want to extend a public thanks to jukkakahn for his spreadsheet checklist for the "Compulsive" achievement (available in the x360a forums). It's absolutely brilliant, super helpful, and clearly took a lot of time and effort to make. It really makes hunting this achievement so much easier, so thanks! I'll be sending him a more direct thanks later.

Though I probably won't get it until the middle of next week, I'm almost foaming at the mouth to play Sacred 2. I've heard it has some issues, but this style of dungeon-diving RPG is virtually missing on the 360 (except for the arcade game Arkadian Warriors), and I'm jonesing for a fix on this type of game. Even if it turns out to be mediocre, I'm looking forward to it. Sabre has it, so I might be able to play some with him, and possibly coerce my brother into getting it too.

So, those three RPGs have my immediate focus. Once I'm finished with one of those, I'l like to restart Lost Odyssey. I know I've missed things that would cost me a total of 100 points, so rather than finishing the story and playing through a second time, I'd rather just start over, since I've forgotten a lot of the game's story, anyway.

On the job-hunting front, I've applied for a news editor position at a small local newspaper in Wisconsin. I've followed the rabbit holes to find out who owns IGN (Fox) and Gamespot (CBS) and bookmerked the pages on where to apply for those sites. Neither is currently hiring, but on I'm planning on putting my resume up there anyway. I'll also be sending a prospecting letter and resume to Ziff Davis (owners of 1up, EGM) at the end of the weekend, and I'm looking into headhunters to help this whole job searching along. I'll also be applying to a few government jobs next week. As you can see, I've been busy, and hopefully some of these avenues will develop into something good. I'm also waiting back from Webb to see if he knows anything that could be helpful in my search. At the very least I can say I'm getting a little more comfortable with the job-hunting process each day, though it's terribly boring. I can't wait to have a job and a regular routine LOL =P

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Velvet Assassin 4 Sale, Sacred 2 incoming

I've been busy scouring the internet all day for information on writing jobs in the game industry, and the picture doesn't look great. Getting a writing job in the industry fresh from college is going to be very, very hard, but I will continue to try (of course I'm also pursuing more realistic entry-level options).

I just wanted to pop in and say that Velvet Assassin is on sale on EBAY, starting at $20. I figure Gamestop would give me about that right now, but I'm hoping for more. The game is pretty new. You can find the auction HERE.

EDIT: The Velvet Assassin review has been posted as well, and can be read HERE

...and I lied earlier. Your donations to the Nate Gillick Gaming Fund would be going towards Sacred 2, which I just got off of for $41. I love me a good dungeon diving hack-'n-slash RPG, and the Xbox 360 has virtually none of them (except Arkadian Warriors). I also know it takes quite a while to 1k, which in my current situation is a plus.

I'm removing Fallout 3 from the Four, as I re-completed the Broken Steel quest line, and got those achievements again. I'm not going to chase level 30 right now. Instead, I'll let it come naturally with the new DLC that will be coming.

1. Eternal Sonata
2. Banjo-Tooie
3. Dynasty Warriors Gundam
4. Sacred 2: Fallen Angel

Sacred is going right into the four because I'll probably be reviewing it for x360a, as well.

Tomorrow I'm planning on seeing Terminator, and I'll try to have a more substancial blog post up. Right now I need a break from the internet =P

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The New Gears Achievements Make Me Cry...

...because now it looks like I WILL have to hunt down level 50 again to get all the Dark Corners points... and I was SO CLOSE to level 50 when I lost everything! Just thinking about that game makes me ill right now, so I'm not going to talk about Gears anymore...

Instead, I thought I'd make a quick post highlighting my extensive back catalogue. After I'm done posting here, I'll be writing up the Velvet Assassin review, then getting cracking on researching work in the game industry, to see where I may have any hope of breaking in. Gotta start with the jobs you want most, then spread the sights out, right?

If I post Velvet Assassin on EBAY today, I'll include the link in tomorrow's post. Your bids will be going toward the purchase of Batman: Arkham Asylum =)

So, while I may not be raking in the cash at the moment, I have PLENTY to play. Let's look at the candidates, shall we?

* Haven't finished single player content/story mode yet.
** Have yet to even play!

Lego Batman**
The Orange Box* (finish Episodes 1 and 2)
Warhammer Battlematch* (groan...)
Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts*
GTA 4*
EDF 2017
Eternal Sonata
Lego Star Wars II
Lego Star Wars: TCS**
Blue Dragon* (looking forward to playing Mystwalker's games again)
Losy Odyssey*
C & C 3*
Viva Pinata
Just Cause*
Dark Sector*
Soul Calibur 4
Deadliest Catch**
The Incredible Hulk**
Endwar** (double groan... I can't get voice commands to work for whatever reason)
Dynasty Warriors 6
Onechanbara (such a bad game!!!)
Dead Rising*
Spectral Force 3* (need that SRPG action!)
99 Nights**
Sega Superstars Tennis*
Assassins Creed*
The Darkness*
Infinite Undiscovery**

As you can see, I already have the next several months of gaming laid out for me, without ever having to spend a penny...

Monday, May 18, 2009

...And so it Begins...

Sorry about the long delay between posts. It turns out finals weeks was NOT the time to try a special topic series. So many things came up, and my computer was so gimpy, that I just didn't have the time for it. I'm now officially a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, so the homework load is gone, I've moved back home, and now exist in limbo until I find a job... good times!

I'll have grad pictures up in a few days, and will also post any job updates here (some of you care ^-^). I also plan on resuming the Special Topics once I'm a little more adjusted to my new routine.

On the gaming front, I met a horrible fate with Gears 2. All my achievement progress went up in smoke. My level 44 rank went back to 1, costing me 400,000XP, and 9k kills on Seriously 2.0. I have absolutely no desire to play that game anymore. The 175 points I'm missing just aren't worth the effort. I'll be back for the Dark Corners DLC achievements, but that's probably it. I have enough other games to play.

To boost my spirits after having more than 48 hours of playtime vanish, I played through and completed Penny Arcade Episode 2, which was hilarious like Episode 1, though I felt the ending was somewhat weak. Is there ever going to be an Episode 3? I've heard nothing of it... I'll have to look that up sometime.

I've also managed to finish the Velvet Assassin campaign with 820 total achievement points, and I have no desire to go back for the remaining 180, as that would likely take me 2-3 more plays. No thanks. It was mostly fun, but replay value is near 0 here. I hit my 750 standard, so I'll call it a day. The review is forthcoming, and I'll have my copy of this game posted on EBAY soon, if anyone wants it. You could own a (tiny) piece of x360a history! lol.

After recovering my tag, I should now be able to get credit for the Broken Steel achievements, so I loaded up an older Fallout 3 save and have started that over... I love Fallout 3, but I didn't want to replay BS so soon. Oh well. I have a huge desire to rip into some RPGs, so I figured I'd start with the one I have closest to completion.

Now that I'm at a period of calm, I'll be better able to honor the Rule of Four. I've finished some of the games in it, and I'm gradually bringing games I punted out before they hit 75% back into the list. I'm currently stripping GoW2 of the +1 title, and I just don't want to start that over. In its place I'm naming Army of Two, as a co-op side-project with my brother. You may also see me online helping him with RE5. (It's SO NICE to have my Wingman back from Spain)


1. Fallout 3
2. Dynasty Warriors Gundam
3. Eternal Sonata
4. Banjo-Tooie
+1. Army of Two

Awating their return:
1. Monsters vs. Aliens
2. Perfect Dark Zero

I went to Gamestop and picked up Infinite Undiscovery, as I feel I'll be ripping into RPGs this summer (I need time-consuming games right now). That's the last game I'll be buying for quite a while, as I need to get through my considerable back-catalogue (and avoid spending money while I have no income). I figure I can still buy some games, but the money to buy any new ones needs to come from the sale of old ones (so bid high when I post Velvet Assassin, OK? ^-^)

That'll do it for today. I should be pretty regular with posting from now on.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Superhumans in the Real World, Part I: A God Among Mortals

Well, I got my computer up and running long enough to load up my Jurassic Park document… to find the whole thing (all 3 single-spaced pages) had been corrupted to nothing but question marks, so I have to start it all over. So, that is getting delayed until next Monday, as I just don’t want to rewrite everything so soon. In the meantime, I’ll soldier on with part 1 of 3 in the Superhumans series.

Superhumans in the Real World, Part I: A God Among Mortals

Everybody loves superheroes. Characters with more-than-human powers dominate comic books, video games, TV, and summer blockbusters. We can’t get enough of them. If you’re a normal person (or at least slightly cool), you’ve had at least one conversation with someone along the lines of, “If you could have one superpower, what would it be?”

I’m no comic/superhero historian by any stretch, but it seems to be that superheroes used to be super with no strings attached. They were heroes in their stories, and the worries of real life never graced the page. In recent times, reality has inserted itself into superhero mythologies, and more stories are trying to establish what it would be like to be a superhero for real. Several movies do some things right, but I’ve never seen a movie, read a book, or anything else that I think hits the nail on the head for what superhuman life would be like, and I want to turn my knowledge of heroes and my sociological imagination on the issue.

Today, I’m working on the assumption that our superhuman is the only one of his kind. Absolutely nobody else is known to have any kind of powers. Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to do things absolutely nobody else can? In reality, the answer is nothing could be worse. Forget fantasies of being cool, powerful, and well respected; I believe it’s far more likely you’ll be public enemy number one.

People fear what they don’t understand. One person out of all of humanity suddenly manifesting superpowers is a big question mark. The average person, if they find out about the superhuman, won’t know what they are capable of, and may be likely to exaggerate the threat they represent. As word spreads, exaggerations are likely to spread too. Ever played the telephone game? The more people a message gets spread to, the more the message gets distorted, virtually every time. If this superhuman has become noticed by the media, can you expect them to accurately report the details of what this person is capable of? Unlikely. “Eyewitness accounts” and fear-mongering are more likely than a factual, academic discussion of the superhuman’s powers. By the time these processes work to their conclusions, a person who could only read minds with that person’s permission would be feared for invading people’s minds and forcing them to do things. A kid with mild pyrokinesis would be labeled the “Human Inferno” and be the first suspect for any suspected arson.

Making snap judgments and treating stereotypes as fact are behaviors found across human history, and it wouldn’t take long for a set of assumptions about the superhuman to become cultural facts. Cultural facts are beliefs/assumptions that members of a culture by and large hold to be absolute facts, even if objective observations prove these assumptions false. I would argue, “America is the Best Country on Earth” is a cultural fact. Though it can be proved that other countries do numerous things better than we do (health care, education, standard of living, and more), how many Americans don’t think this is the best country on Earth? Another example of a cultural fact would be WWII era Japan, where the Emperor was the direct descendent of Amaterasu, the sun kami, and there was no doubting it. There’s little one superhuman could do to defend against a sea of popular belief about what they’re capable of. I’m sure most of you have heard someone espouse a racial/religious stereotype and talk about how they acted because of that “fact” sometime in your lives, and that’s just what people would be doing here.

So, prepare to be feared and misunderstood. Prepare to have public opinion of you shift forty times a day. Be prepared to be called a savior or anti-Christ by religious extremists. And, if you should ever lose control of your powers or even once use them in anger, be prepared to be a social pariah, and public enemy number one. Ever seen the movie Hancock? The level of animosity shown to him in that movie, the media reactions, and the fickleness of public opinion all seem pretty much in line with my expectations.

Those who don’t fear you will want to use you. The scientific and medical communities are likely to be fascinated by this development, and want to study you, with (or maybe without) your permission. As we’ve seen in numerous movies, the military would probably want to see the military effectiveness of your powers, and if they could be duplicated. The government has considered themselves above the law and disregarded human rights before, so if I was the superhuman, I would not feel safe from someone trying to take me in “for science,” especially if the general public is wary of me.

Another problem I could foresee is the threat of blackmail from gangs or larger criminal enterprises. You may be superhuman, but your friends and family aren’t. Do you think you could stop a determined group of people from kidnapping and torturing your friends and family to coerce you into doing work for them? Will law enforcement help? Would you try to break them out? Do what they ask?

Oh yes, my expectations for the life on the One And Only superhuman are quite dark. If you want to know if you’d have the constitution to live in society and the only one of your kind like this, find a group of people who hate you for what you are, and spend as much time as you can with them. If you’re black, hang out with a KKK group; if you’re Jewish, find a group of anti-Semites to hang out with. Homosexual? There are a lot of Christian Right groups to go to where you can bask in ignorance and hate. If you can endure this, you would do alright as a superhuman.

So, what’s my best advice to anyone who should suddenly wake up with superpowers? Tell nobody. Show nobody. Keep it your secret, and be ready to remove yourself from society and live the life of a nomad/hermit if social currents should turn against you.

TOMORROW: Part II: The New Minority – What would society look like if there are enough superhumans to form their own distinct minority group?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Pop Culture Week Delayed by A Day

This isn't what I wanted my 100th blog post to be about (sad face). Unfortunately, my computer is having issues and spazzing out (I think it's problems with the internal fan), making extremely loud and annoying noises whenever I boot it up. So, I'm typing from a different computer now.

"Jurassic Park 4 Conceptualized" was about 2/3 of the way complete when my computer started tweaking again (I saved it, thankfully), and I don't want to boot it up long enough to save the file to an external source right now. It's a rather long entry, but Jurassic Park fans will find it quite interesting (I'm hoping). So, everything has been pushed back a day. If my computer is still spazzy tomorrow, I'll start writing my 3-part series on Superhumans in the Real World on another computer, and post the Jurassic Park piece after those are done.

While I'm here, I'll say that I got a 95% on that 10-page religions paper that was driving me nuts last week. I work well under pressure, what can I say?

In gaming news I hit level 41 in Gears 2, thanks to a good amount of play over the weekend. I'm almost done with Monsters vs. Aliens, with only the 500,000 DNA and all Gold-medal achievements left. I can't wait to have that game done and up on EBAY.

Velvet Assassin and DW Gundam should show up today, so I'm temporarily modifying the Four to be:

1. Velvet Assassin
2. DW Gundam
3. Banjo-Tooie
4. Monsters vs. Aliens

+1 Gears of War 2 (now and forever...)

This week I start going nuts on resume writing and job hunting (that starts tomorrow, today is the last of misc. school-related work). I have just one more final on Friday, and then the college career is over! The next few months are going to be strange...

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Korn, Cogs, and Mutants

I finally handed in that mondo paper on Buddhism and its relationship to the Chinese government over the last 100 years... I finished the grammar/typo edit and printed it with a whopping 5 minutes to spare. That's either luck or knowing exactly how long it'll take you to write something... I'll let you decide.

I went with friends to see Xmen Origins: Wolverine, and I must say, it's not as bad as the reviews I've read make it out to be (they utterly shredded it). That said, it's still not very good. I'm not going to write a movie review here, as I really don't know how to write a good movie review, but will say that the script is terrible (any writer can see that). I haven't seen such a generic and predictable movie in years, full of extraneous characters who are there for the sake of being there, and villains whose motivations are very poorly established. This really is the worst of the Xmen movies, by a good margin. Unless you're a die-hard fan, play the game instead (Pants' upcoming review is pretty positive), or just rent it on DVD later.

After watching the movie and hanging out with friends for a while, I spent my evening playing some Gears. It was a relatively poor night of play overall, but I hit level 39, and I'm about 10,000 XP shy of 40. I'll probably be on playing that a lot today, and maybe a little Monsters vs. Aliens, as I really want that game done and out of my sight at this point. I've rediscovered how nice it is to play online with custom soundtracks. I've gotten in the (possibly) bad habit of not using my mic when I'm playing with randoms, as they are either in their own parties, or turn out to be incredibly stupid people that I have not interest in talking to. So, I spend the night playing Gears and listening to Korn, who I haven't heard in ages. Gaming it up and rocking out was a great frustration reducer. While I'm now done with college classes forever (only finals week remains) I've still got a fair share of irritations, which will be listed here as I knock them out (I've got the list and I'll be going Terminator on them through the summer, at the least).

Today is another deserved day of relaxation, I think. Besides getting the red-tape portion of my English Capstone finally done, I'm not doing any work today. Sunday, I have to study from my Religion final at 8am on Monday (2nd worst final time ever, after Friday night),and get started on the revision to my second short story.

Pop Culture week will roll out as planned, so look for some fun posts starting Monday.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Rule of Four Works... When I Want it to.

Been a slow week for blog writing, as I'm still trying to sweat out a 10 page religion paper (due tomorrow... have 4~ish pages).

Broken Steel review posted on x360a yesterday. Check it out! It's also linked on the right.

Anyone want a copy of Condemned 2? My auction for it on EBAY ends in 6 hours, and I have only one bit for a lousy $0.99. I'd have done better whoring it to GameStop at this point. Bid on it! Please? LINK

So far, the Rule of Four has been working great, but at the moment I'm at a sticky point on what it is / what I should be doing with it right now.

The current Four:

1. Perfect Dark Zero
2. Banjo-Tooie
3. Monsters vs. Aliens
4. Fallout 3
4. Velvet Assassin
4. Dynasty Warriors Gundam

Yes, I know I have 3 #4s there. That's the problem. I played Fallout 3 for Broken Steel, but I don't want to stop, and I'm not level 30 yet. I have Velvet Assassin coming for Review, so I HAVE to play that, and would probably do well to play it a bunch and then EBAY it while it's still really new. Dynasty Warriors Gundam is coming from Gamefly, and I've been looking to go back and complete that one for a while now. It's only at 75/1000, so cleaning it up will be very good for Operation Jedi.

For numbers 1-3. Banjo-Tooie is the only one I've wanted to play lately. M vs. A is there for clean-up, so I can EBAY that while it's still averaging $20 a disc. I've modified the Rule of Four so I can take a game out at 750 (retail) or 150 (arcade) as 75% is my standard of completion, not 100%.

I think what I'm going to do is make the current Four as follows:

1. Fallout 3
2. Velvet Assassin
3. DW Gundam
4. Banjo-Tooie

This will get me through my latest review and Gamefly. I'm going to cancel my Gamefly at the end of the month, so I can turn my attention fully to my too-large back catalogue, so I might as well get everything I can from it now. GF will return after I've finished most of that stash. Monsters vs. Aliens and PDZ will be put back in the 4 when Velvet Assassin and Gundam get finished. Yes, this is kind of cheating on my self-goal, but I want to have fun, and in a month, GF will be gone, I won't be busy with papers, and it'll be easier to actually stick to this goal.

Now to get back to that paper. Anyone want to write a 10-page paper on Buddhism and its relationship with the Chinese government over the last 100 years, so that I don't have to? Anybody? I didn't think so...

Monday, May 4, 2009

Warriors Orochi 2, Condemned 2 for sale!

I'm putting up two of my games on Ebay, both are slightly scratched, but play just fine. The auctions start at $0.99, and run until May 7th @ 5pm CST. US buyers only, please. Will reduce shipping if one person buys both games.

Warriors Orochi 2

Condemned 2

Who wants 'em? =P

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Pop Culture Special Topic Week Begins 5/11

I spent the weekend out of town chilling with friends, and over the course of the long car ride and random conversations with friends, I've come up with a week's worth of special topics that I think will be interesting to write/read about. Since I have a major paper to write this week, I can't do these posts now, so the next week will be more general gaming posts. During finals week, when I only have two tests, I'll have much more available time, even though I'll be doing job-hunting related tasks as well. This is just a sneak peak at what's in store.

Note: It's called "Pop Culture Week" because I couldn't think of a better unifying name...

Jurassic Park IV Conceptualized: I'll be outlining how I would write the script for a Jurassic Park IV, which would hopefully redeem the series after the poorly written 3rd movie. The fact that the script writers for III didn't even try to mine the source material depresses me. All the foundations for a good 4th movie exist, if you look in the right places.
Superhumans in the Real World, Part I: A God Among Mortals: The first in a three-part series where I use my sociology skills and knowledge of pop culture superheroes to ponder what would actually happen if someone became superhuman. This post considers what would happen if a superhuman was the only one of their kind.

Part II: The New Minority: The series continues to speculate on the treatment of superhumans if they were a small, but noticable, minority group.

Part III: Living in a Superhuman World: The most speculative of the superhuman posts, I consider the possibility of an X-men like universe where ordinary people without powers are the minority.

Non-Gaming Girls and Soul Calibur 4: A post about my non-gaming female friends watching me and a friend play Soul Cal. 4. I don't mean to come across as sexist, so the comments here are not generalized to all women... just my (periodically) irritating female friends. What they care about in the game and what the rest of us care about are not the same...

Hope the above looks interesting! That series will kick of May 11th. Until then, enjoy gaming-related posts, as usual.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Month in Review: April 09

As the last full month of my college career, it was a wild month... and by wild, I mean busy as all hell. The next two weeks will be similar, then things will cool down a little, while I get epicly serious about finding a job... the only friends of mine graduating who have had any success finding jobs are my friends in the nursing program... so THAT should be fun...

I simply couldn't resist, and had to pull an April fool's prank, hoping to convince people I had been hacked, and several people fell for it. Don't worry folks, I won't play that joke twice.

In April, I finally completed my research on MMOs and presented it at student research day, where it received a pretty positive reception. The GSL ended, and I've therefore changed up how I approach playing games, introducing Operation Excellence and J-Quest, which I haven't really worked much on yet, but I hope to in the not-so-distant future. (Well, lvl 100 in Gears 2 would be a part of Operation Excellence, I guess, as is everything I can get from PDZ). In a further effort to find a way to maintain my interest in games all the way to the end, and hopefully complete more of them overall, I developed the rule of four, which seems to be working well so far, but it's much too soon to say if it'll work over the long run. I had one unfortunate misunderstanding with someone that led me to believe I should spell out why I decline most XBL friend requests. Last, but not least, I hit the 100k milestone on the dot which means I beat Ducky Dan in our race by about 16,000 points. What a crazy, crazy month.

Reviews Written:

esident Evil 5 Versus Mode
Monsters vs. Aliens

Blog Special Topics:
ouse Rules Horde Variants

Games Completed
y Horse and Me 2 (I know... I know...)
The Maw (250)
Silent Hill Homecoming
Penny Arcade Episode 1

Gamerscore Progression:
April Start Score: 93,215
April End Score: 100,120
Change: 6,905

I'm not posting Operation Jedi numbers... because right now, I just don't want to know. Let's just say that I need almost 24,000 points without ever playing a new game to hit the goal. Yikes! Operation Jedi is clearly a long-term goal... and I need to lay off the GSLs or it'll never happen.