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by Ethos

Lazy Saturdays #07 – Restless Heart Syndrome

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

Hello, citizens of Riddlethos; and welcome to the seventh edition of Lazy Saturdays. As per usual, it is I, Oliver “Riddles” Motok, and I’m here to spice up your dull, dull lives with some links followed by short paragraphs of casual banter. Doesn’t that sound like fun? Well of course it does, the question was rhetorical. Dummy.

Huh lordy. Once again, it’s about as lazy as you an get here in my dilapidated apartment here in Murfreesboro. The blinds are drawn, my desk is an unbelievable mess (seriously, if Ethos didn’t still have my camera in Toronto, I’d take a picture to show you. It’s that epic) and to compliment the scene, I have not Green Day playing, but Of Montreal. Yeah, it’s that  kind of day.

Microsoft wants to shoot lasers into your eyes for the sake of 3Dokay, now that’s just kinda weird. I understand that in order for 3D to work, it has to lose the glasses. But when it comes to images being beamed directly into my eyeballs, I can’t help but feel a tiny bit uncomfortable. The technology is still in prototype stage, though – currently only two people can watch 3D at one time. So, I don’t suppose we’ll be seeing televisions with this technology on wal-mart shelves anytime soon.

Now you can “Like” things wherever you goI think we can all agree that the day Facebook implemented the “like” button was a life-changing day for all of us. No longer were we required to type a semi-coherent comment in order to react to the thoughtful statuses or wall posts of our dear Facebook friends; with the “Like” button, human conversation and communication has been distilled to the absolute, bare essentials of a gut reaction.

Don’t you love the internet?

Immediately, the denizens of Facebook cried out for a “dislike” button. Balance, after all, is everything. Facebook has yet to comply, meaning that for now at least, we are required to actually type “dislike” in the comment box. But, as unfair as that may be, perhaps the new “Like” rubber stamp will make up for it – at least, in part.

All the ease and convenience of Facebook’s “Like” button, in the palm of your hand. Use it anywhere, anytime. Now, if only there was a “dislike” stamp…

Hellz yeah: check out the first Dead Space 2 gameplay trailer – Gawd I can’t wait for this game. E3 2010 is all but here, so the first wave of videos and trailers are beginning to appear on the internets. My favorite one so far? This bloody montage of everyone’s favorite Isaac Clarke dismembering necromorphs. Here’s hoping we see way more of this when the show starts.

Eh? They’re still making Final Fantasy XI expansions? – Apparently the answer to that is “yes.” I had no idea. Stumbled across the name in my RSS feed. It’s called “Vision of Abyssea” or something weird like that. Here’s a piece of artwork from it.

I didn’t feel like removing the IGN watermark. Besides, there’s no bad blood between Riddlethos and IGN as far as I know. What’s a watermark among friends, right?

Anyway. That’s enough from me for now. Solitude + Of Montreal is putting me into an odd, trance-like state. And, it’s time for me to crack open Adobe Premiere and see what makes it tick.

So long for now, darlings!

Lazy Saturdays #03

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

Well, it’s a good thing I never formally accepted 7’s challenge, because I don’t see myself finishing Nocturne this week. I’m frankly not good at gaming binge sessions. I can play for five hours at a time max before I have to take a break and do something else; it doesn’t matter what game it is, or how much I enjoy it.

I am very much enjoying the game, though. And, because of my immaculate awesomeness, I was able to defeat the infamous Matador on my third attempt. He was a tough bugger, yes, but my team was tougher. Just make sure you have a Magatama that nullifies Force. A Demon that does the same can’t hurt either. And finally, make sure you’re awesome. Like I am. (Probably the most difficult part.)

Also, I forgot to mention this in my previous write-up, but I love the fact that the game has no voice acting. Not entirely sure why, but I just find it oddly refreshing to return to the days of reading text. Anyone else feel me on that one?

I’ll be writing a bit more about Nocturne in tomorrow’s Sunday Soapbox, so look forward to it. For now, let’s try to spice up this rainy Saturday with some fun links.

All GameCrazy Stores Being Liquidated – Huh. Sad story. I’ve never been one to hate (too much) on GameStop, but it is kinda disturbing to see its competitors drop off like flies. And GameCrazy actually holds a special place in my heart for one reason: it was the first actual videogame store I ever went in. Growing up, my family made frequent trips to the local Wal-Mart for all our shopping needs. Right next to said Wal-Mart was a Hollywood Video store, where we’d often rent or buy movies. In said Hollywood Video was a GameCrazy  - and I’d visit it frequently. I don’t know if I even knew about GameStop at that time.

Ah well. There’s still Play and Trade for whenever I’m in an anti-GameStop mood.

Roger Ebert Hates 3-D - and frankly, I can’t blame him too much. The link is to a NewsWeek article in which Ebert carefully and elegantly lists nine different reasons why he thinks 3-D movies are bad. I won’t summarize it here, but it’s absolutely worth a read  - the man may not know a videogame from a drinking game, but he certainly knows the film industry.

If you don’t feel like reading the whole thing, at least skip to Ebert’s final point, in which he discusses Hollywood’s tendency to resort to technology whenever they’re in a slump. (Color, 3-D, Widescreen, 3-D again, et cet). The point he makes is that Hollywood is perpetually trying to offer theater experiences that can’t be had at home, and perpetually failing – i.e, HD is now practically standard, widescreen’s been standard for a long time, and 3-D is already on its way to being a home experience. So, how can Hollywood break this vicious cycle? According to Ebert, it’s a technology known as MaxiVision48, which projects at 48 fps, essentially doubling image quality. I’ve never even heard of MaxiVision before, but Ebert seems to swear by it – in his own words:

The result is dramatically better than existing 2-D. In terms of standard measurements used in the industry, it’s 400 percent better. That is not a misprint. Those who haven’t seen it have no idea how good it is. I’ve seen it, and also a system of some years ago, Douglas Trumbull’s Showscan. These systems are so good that the screen functions like a window into three dimensions. If moviegoers could see it, they would simply forget about 3-D.

Strong words. But maybe he’s right?

You Should Check Out the Official Dead Space 2 Site - I’m generally not much for official game websites, but this one’s nice. There’s an audio log to listen to, a memorial for those lost in the “terrorist attack” on the Ishimura, some official artwork, and more.

Man, apparently the rain here is bad. Like, flash flooding bad. Oh well; I’m perfectly safe in my hidey-hole of an apartment.

‘Till tomorrow!

Lazy Saturdays #02

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

Well, once again, we have an extraordinarily lazy Saturday on our hands. Or I do, at least. The rain is pouring, the sky is dark, I’m still unemployed, and I’m getting pretty hungry. I sense Little Caesars in my immediate future.

I got into a car accident last night. Well, sort of. I wasn’t actually driving, and it wasn’t much of an accident. Charlie and I were on our way back from Nashville to Murfreesboro, and we were sideswiped while trying to merge onto the interstate. It may actually have been our fault, too – we’re not 100 percent certain which way the “yield” sign was facing. Regardless, the dude just kept driving and essentially vanished into the night. So… yeah. Technically a hit-and-run, I suppose. People these years, I swear.

Like last week, I figure I’ll throw a few interesting links your way. Alleviate the boringness of your Saturday. And if your Saturday happens to not be boring, just consider it an additional perk.

Digital Foundry Breaks Down 3D Game Development for PS3Maybe you’re one of those people waiting for the 3D gaming era with bated breath. Or, like me, maybe you just aren’t. Regardless of that, if you want more information on the process of creating 3D games, as well as the advantages and drawbacks of the technology within the sphere of gaming, I highly recommend the above read. It probably won’t do much to change your mind on the matter, but if nothing else, it gives ammo to both sides.

What’s most interesting – and disturbing – to me is the sacrifices developers have to make in order to get a game running in 3D. Super Stardust HD, for example, doesn’t run in 1080p when converted to 3D – a bit of a shame, seeing that that’s always been one of the game’s main accolades. Games such as MotorStorm, which already only displayed in 720p, has now been reduced to a sub-HD image. (Thank goodness for the PS3’s upscaling, eh?)

One day, I will write a detailed soapbox concerning my thoughts on 3D. For now, I will merely say this: when you have to sacrifice one cutting-edge technology to make room for another – in this case sacrificing HD for 3D – then it’s clearly too early to attempt bringing the technology to the mainstream. Wait until you don’t have to make such drastic concessions for the sake of what many people few as little more than a gimmick.

Android OS Now Has Over 50,000 Apps AvailableConsidering a Droid OS alternative to Apple’s apparent throttlehold on the smartphone market? Well, this might nudge you even more in that direction. I had no idea there were so many Android apps available, and I’m glad to see that it’s garnered such support.

Happy Fifth Anniversary, YouTubeFive years? It’s that all it’s been? Sheesh. Proof, I suppose, that occasionally time doesn’t fly. I feel like YouTube’s been around as long as the internet. Anyway, hit the link to see the first YouTube video ever uploaded. (SPOILER ALERT: it’s a shockingly pointless 18-second clip of some dude looking at elephants in a zoo.)

Alright. It’s pizza time. And maybe Avatar time, since Charlie bought it. Have to thank him for that – effectively answered my question of whether or not I should purchase it.

Oh, and enjoy the pretty picture.

-Riddles