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Monday, December 26, 2016

It's a day after christmas miracle!


My new card is great, it really is slightly better then a 980 TI at half the cost. But for some reason, right before I checked out Nuka World, it straight up murdered the load times in Fallout 4 for me. 30-40 second load times turning into at least a minute and the wastleand itself could be as long as 2! I'd barely put up with that if I'd first started but this was nearly a year after launch.

Mods didn't help, message boards didn't help, and I'd just about given up. As long I had my 1070, Fallout 4 was dead to me. The only thing I hadn't tried was putting it on a solid state drive. Seeing as the cheapest SSD worth a damn was $130, I had a problem. Mainly because just as many people who said that was the silver bullet said nothing had changed.

So on my wishlist it went. If it worked, great! If not, more storage space! Thankfully both were true. I'd go as far to say it runs smoother than ever. So much so that all my games are going on it.

Merry day after Christmas everybody!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The PS2 reunion tour continues:

Christmas presents have cleaned me out, so I'm lucky I haven't touched most of my PS2 gems in almost 9 years. My old collection, with a healthy dose of emulator filters to give em' a new coat of paint, could keep me busy for months. Plus I'm curious how much Persona will have changed once 5 comes out. Though I can't say I'm pleased Atlus has given me this much time to catch up. April?! Seriously? It's been 8 friggin' years already! But I digress, because it's sh**y job story time!

I remember playing this during my landscaping summer job. I've been stuck on a mountain in 20 degree weather during a hail storm. I would have almost rather spent a summer there than at greenscape corporate landscaping. Pruning parking lot trees and 30 ft. tall holly bushes in record breaking heat. I woke up every morning at 4, starving, but dehydrated. I had to fight to keep down my oatmeal while my stomach threw a hissy fit. 5 days a week for 2 1/2 months. I still have lil' scars on my fingers from the holly bushes.

You should see what these f**kers do to leather gloves.

If Persona 4 hadn't been the tireless fount of positivity it is I don't know what I would have done. It's good to be back in Inaba, I just might play through twice.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Anyone wanna see what a gum graft looks like?

Everything tastes a little bit like blood.

"OOOOOOOH...... kayyyyyy." Is something I didn't want to hear my dental surgeon say while pulling length after bloody length of suture out of my mouth. Apparently my teeth are so close together under the gums I threw a consummate professional for a loop. But everything's good now. My gums are grafted and none of my molars will be falling out anytime soon. That's a relief. The Vicodin's not a bad deal either. My point is, I've lost a lot of traffic recently and you know what they say about journalism: If it bleeds it leads.

Last chance to bail. 

I sincerely hope that's not silly putty.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Man in the High Castle Season 1 Review: Is New York Burning?

If there's one thing peak TV has taught me, it's that there is a finite amount of craftsmen in this world capable of making genuinely great shows. MITHC has a lot going for it. A killer premise, solid production value, and a firm grasp on how living under a foreign power would feel. That last part is the hardest nail down and it's worth watching simply because it's about time Americans get a taste of what it's like when the shoe's on the other foot.

 It aims straight at the heart of what would drive someone to commit acts of terror and I'm glad this kind of story landed in the mainstream instead of the indie scene. Though that has it's drawbacks. Serious drawbacks. No one talks about MITHC much because aside from 3 or 4 brilliant episodes, a whole lot of mediocre writing waters it all down.

If you love fedoras, crisp suits, and jackboots this show will make you loose. your. SH*T.

I'm gonna try to coin a phrase here: Law&Order-itis. When a show becomes so plot driven the dialogue becomes laughably bad. Case and point, halfway through the season the main couple has a fight that gets so heated one of them accidentally (acci-f**king-dentally) blurts out that she murdered someone recently. The only reason in the whole goddamn universe someone would say something like that is because the writer couldn't think of a way to move the story forward. Dialogue like that is the canary in the coal mine for bigger plot problems. Such as someone sneaking into an office to steal Intel almost once an episode. One time two office excursions played out simultaneously. If this show wasn't set in a genuinely well realized nightmare of a world I would be much more upset right now. But, Christ, the writers needed to figure out different friggin' things to do with it! 

The opening credits are something else. You really need to see it.
But there is a lot to love. Rufus Sewell's SS captain could have been a goosestepping stereotype, but he is ordinarily and horrifically American. Everyone else doesn't get in the story's way but hardly any characters are fleshed out enough to grab my interest. Though the folks involved in the obligatory Jewish resistance were lovely. The script really came together for those scenes.

There's nothing else like MITHC. Aside from the script problems and the occasional absurd action scene, this vision of America is still haunting. I find myself thinking about it at work and in the car. Not that this specific reality is possible, (Hitler was fighting a war on 3 fronts, the Nazi's did a bang up job defeating themselves) but a fallen America is a hell of a thing to see. I'm not a flag waving, chest pounding, patriot but seeing Americans bow before Japanese secret policeman made me obnoxiously uncomfortable. That's not nothing and I'm willing to forgive several rookie screenwriting mistakes because of it. It's greatest contribution to 2016 was the dire warning that democracy is not guaranteed. That's something we all need to understand.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Shame Curtain

It's... uhhh, Snake Eater. Swear to god.

Far be it from me to call JRPG's "shameful." But just in case you were worried about roommates walking in while you're in the bathroom and then you find them trying to sound out "CUR-AH-E-JA" Final Fantasy 12 had you covered. A black, soundless, screen that just says "PAUSE." What's paused? It could literally be any game ever made. Including ones with such things as baseball and football.

Not that there's anything wrong with liking JRPGs. Hell, I'm taking time out of my weekend* to write about it. But if you really need to hide this firaga lit light under a bushel, Square Enix won't stand in your way.

*Hurray service industry!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Something Familiar

Baltheir hangs out with a lot of young boys in retrospect...
I wasn't an RPG guy back in '06. I'd never really played one. It's only because Okami had sold out* that I even gave Final Fantasy 12 a shot. "This is supposed to be a big frikkin' deal" I thought to myself. "Might as well bow to all those perfect scores" Almost an entire winter break later I emerged a changed gamer. "These things can last 40 goddamned hours?!" I thought. "How was I so blind?"

Coming back to it 10 years later is like sipping a fancy cup of hot chocolate. Too rich to have all the time, but it's nice while it lasts. Also having it on an emulator means I can kick it up to double speed so grinding is no longer a pain. You never forget your first and 12 is long overdue for a second look. Reading old reviews now is hilarious. FF fans were disappointed in the scope of this game? They had no idea what was coming. 12 being easily twice the game 13 or 15 were. At least to me.

Thus begins my PS2 RPG reunion tour. Maybe when I'm done reminiscing I can get my PS4 fixed... but that might be a while.

*ironic isn't it?

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Error ce-36329-3: PS4 not found.


My ol' Ps4 up and died on me yesterday. I'm stuck in a loop where instead of logging me in I get an error message. I've safe moded, I've reinstalled factory settings (which means 33 hours of FFVX saves are gone), and I'm still in the same loop.

I'm not saying FFXV slow roasted my hard drive, but the more forums I read the more it looks like HD failure. Siiiiiiiiigh.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

This unavoidable side quest is brought to you by.....
Jesus Square, how deep in the hole are you?

Cup Noodles; when you're broke and you need a nigh lethal dose of salt to choke back your pangs of mediocrity. Cup Noodles.

Also when you're a major video game publisher in it's twilight years and you need to recoup something, anything, to keep your white elephant feed. Cup Noodles.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

They are remaking the HELL out of Crash Bandicoot.

Like the corners of my miiiiiiiiind...

That... that is a budget. Looks a little rough around some edges but it's early yet. It doesn't even have a release date so I'm sure it'll look less floaty by release. But I don't need much of an excuse to play these again on a ROM let alone with a top to bottom remodeling. You have my attention N. Sane collection... but will you have a good review?

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Things I've done while waiting to play Final Fantasy XV:

See Ignus, while everyone else caks about you keep your eyes on the road. That's why you're my favorite.

When fast travel first came out people wondered if that would hurt the "journey" of Oblivion. Instead everyone went "Oh... no, this is f$%%ing awesome." And hence forth, in most open world games you can go where you want, when you want. Not so in Final XV. You can pop back to your car and the last place you slept. That might sound reasonable, but more often than not I'm stuck out in the wilderness running back to a road for as much as 15 minutes. Not only that, but I have spent what seems like hours driving that car doing nothing while my in game J-pop boy band does nothing. It's like an Escher drawing of a complete waste of my time.

So I endeavored to make it more productive. Here's what I've been doing while I'm trapped in a imaginary car:

-Diced chicken sausages

-Sauteed spinach and mushrooms

-Ate tortellini with chicken sausage and spinach and mushrooms

-Caught up on unassigned sales emails. I lease apartments, you see.

-Resolved a complaint with Wells Fargo's fraud department. They seem real friendly these days....

-Planks. One minute planks.

-Transcendental mediation.  But to be fair I don't think I got very far.

-Asked Prompto to sit the hell down before he flies out of the f%$King car.

-Contemplated eternity

-Dusted a then recently discovered cobweb.

-Microwaved frozen fried rice

-Tried to open the equipment menu, realized the game only lets you use a shop* while you drive, and then screamed some less than courteous things about the baby Jesus.

* I'm pretty sure this is the game designer equivalent of a middle finger.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Arrival Review: We need to talk.

Humanist science fiction, when done right, are some of my most favorite films. Joints like Close Encounters, Silent Runner, and even Contact for the most part celebrate my favorite parts of humanity. They say we're at our best when we solve our problems instead of punching them. That our ingenuity and empathy are what slowly makes this world better.

That is the thesis of this linguistic thriller. Yeah, there's a linguistic thriller out there right now and it's wonderful. It may not last the test of time and it may not win best picture but this movie just made me feel better. That's rare enough as it is.

Amy Adams plays a linguist drawn in by the military to learn the language written by pilots of several alien disks scattered in random places on earth. Each country has their own team with their own disc. Cooperation is easy at first but when progress is slow the super powers begin to think everyone else is holding out on them. Replace giant aliens with a rogue nation and it shows you an agonizingly believable portrait of how the world will most likely end. In silence followed closely by bombs.

The most impressive thing I noticed about the film is it's sense of mood. Every scene whether it's a quiet cottage by a lake or a cramped plastic MASH hospital carries a solemn sense of... well.... doom. This world isn't ending in a loud and fiery war but in a withdrawn, caffeine addled, depression. The fact the first person to speak to the aliens winds up being institutionalized is a nice, almost cthulian, touch.

This entire film is a puzzle and in retrospect there were tons of clues towards the twist 2/3's of the way through that I thought was earned. But your experience may very. I've already had one fight with a friend who thought it was tripe. I liked it! Though whether you buy it or not you can't deny the actual aliens are worth the ticket price. The secrets of their language and motives make for a good story but it's most artful in how answers get doled out. I mean, I thought the whole show was wrapping up only to glance at the time (my phone was on the lowest brightness, I swear!) and realize there was an hour to go.

And don't get me wrong, those 2 hours flew. I was just concerned it was ending too soon. Which I say is a high compliment when a film ends and you're sad it's over. But not Arrival. No, Arrival ends exactly when it has to. Leaving me with a firmer confidence in the best of us. The idea that in the end... maybe we really can "all get along."

He has a line at the end that will be the cheesiest damn thing you've ever heard. Just know that.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Well apparently the new Final Fantasy isn't a disaster at all.

He swallows his own hair a lot, I bet.

I've been cold towards Square Enix for a long time now. Whatever spark they had is long gone and they've descended into late seventies Disney malaise. The last Final Fantasy I played, the second 13 one (Jesus the things I have to say to describe the way they name these games), was nothing. A game in search of a point it never found.

This is at least longer and much better overall than I'd imagined a game that took 10 years to make would be. Games can be in the oven too long and as a rule the clock runs out at 5 years. After that you tend to get stuff like Resident Evil 5. Competent, but soulless. 15 at least has a decent main cast and is scored no lower than a 8 so far.

So after Dishonored 2 bummed me out (Orwellian dictatorships are too close to home right now) this looks like it could pick me up. I can grit my teeth through some anime cheese for a 50 hour grindy jrpg jaunt.  I could use some damn positivity at any rate. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Count

"Kneel before me mortal and weep your greasy tears."

For the past few months I've decided to get real about weight loss. Not that I was much of a chubster, after I got out of college and away from the endless buffet anyway. But I thought I could do better.

Exercise wise I'm about the same. 2 hours of cardio a week, 30 pushups a day. Nothing crazy. It's when I really started caring just how many calories I was eating a day that several things began to dawn on me.

1. I had done a lot of the leg work already drinking skim milk, eating only turkey or chicken, and slowing my alcohol intake to maybe one beer a week.

2. My best friends were traitors. Things like pasta were way more caloric than I wanted to believe and pesto. Dear lord, my beloved pesto managed to cram more than 3,000 calories into a jar barely bigger than my fist. It hurt then and it still hurts now. I might just throw the rest of it out...

3. I'm in the best shape of my life because I did it for me. My love life might be on a downturn but I knew that couldn't be the only reason to stick with my plan. I lost 12 lbs. and kept it off because I choose to live this way. It's also important to note that I'm not depriving myself of anything. I still eat massive bowls of pasta and red sauce at the end of long days. I can still buy a 5th of gin one week, budget my way around it and not need another bottle the next week. In other words I didn't go to war with my pudge. I diplomatically blitzed it into submission.

If this comes off as a humble brag then... ew, I'm sorry you read this. I put this up more for myself. So that if I fall off the wagon I have a carbon copy of a mindset that worked.  

Stay the course big Ned.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

No, you can't have Planet Coaster unitl you finish Dishonored 2.

"But! But! You never let me have any fun!"
I like Dishonored 2. Like, a whole bunch. But I'm just not in the right mood for it. I've been busy, busier than I've probably ever been in my entire life. I need to relax and walking around in a fully realized dictatorship (fantastical or no) is decidedly not helping with my anxiety.

But soon I'll start building a sci fi/western mash up theme park called "Serenity Now." Just after I rescue DH2 from landing on my pile of shame. Then I'll be able to deal. Hopefully. ;)

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Rollercoaster Tycoon is dead, long live Planet Coaster.

Two theme park sims came out this week and the competition wasn't even close. Planet Coaster, made by refugees from Frontier who made the effervescent RT3 13 years ago, has won out handily with steam user reviews and critics alike. Roller Coaster Tycoon World, made by the desiccated corpse of Atari, is apparently every bit the cheap cash grab it appears to be.

Rejoice! The theme park sim has risen from the grave. I'm relived one of them was actually good...

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Holy HELL, the clockwork mansion was worth my money.

There are good setpeices and there are great setpeices. Then there are set pieces that just raise the whole damn bar. There's a bizarre practicality behind a mansion that is literally one giant elevator and I am in love. I'd better save some stuff for the review but yeah, it'd take a huge let down of an ending to take the stars out of my eyes now!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Dishonored 2 has something that should become industry standard.

No save sub-menu or anything! Ye gods...

Bethesda's games have been doing this for a while but we finally have a new convert. Another game that has a two step quicksave! Pause, hold down RT, and poof! quicksave. I love that and I love this game... so far. The dialogue is pretty painful. I mean there sure is a lot more telling than showing and it's a little jarring at times. "I should bring up the minutia of Corvo's background!" No you shouldn't, random guard. Not unless you have a point to make and I'm not gonna hold my breath on that one.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Dishonored 2... so far so great.

Since Steam has already turned on the PC version, I was a bit surprised to see it run so well on my rig as it does. Everything stylistically and mechanically you liked about the first has been retained. Spectacularly so. The haggard faces, the Lovecraftian steam-punkyness, best stealth money can buy, it's all still there. The only complaint I have is in the narrative department, it feels kinda rushed and a couple main actors are less than stellar.

Still having a great time choking guys out, though!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

A non politically motivated video:

Here's a clip from a movie I love. It has absolutely nothing to do with what the current director of the FBI did today. At all.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Crash Bandicoot is now a motor mouthed exposition machine.

You never forget your first and and thus Crash will always have a place in my heart. While it is kinda neat that both Spyro and Crash are in their own animated series together (if I told my 8 year old self this would happen he would flip. His. Sh*t.) it's also... pretty damn awful. It's like he's just reading his own wikipedia page and is steering right towards the sand trap that claimed Sonic 15 years ago. In other words, he's more product than character now. You can see why Naughty Dog severed ties with Universal so quickly.

STILL! That's Mark Mothersbaugh's original theme tinking away in the background and I won't deny that put a big goofy grin on my face.

Hold on, I'm not done...

Ok. Now you can go.

Have you listened to... SPONTANEANATION?

As an amateur podcast guest, please hold your applause until the end of the blog post, I'm also mildly addicted to podcasts. If I'm driving, I'm listening to podcasts and at about 4 hours of driving time a week I've got time to kill. Since the death of my beloved Superego, Paul F. Tompkins has made his own improvised sketch radio show to ease the pain. It's much more informal and under produced which isn't necessarily worse... just different.

It's still funny as hell and I dare you to find a comedian that's this funny just talking to himself. As improv comedy goes you're gonna like some more than others but I'd say the hits outweigh the misses for the most part. Though I'd keep an eye out for any episode with Brandon Johnson or anyone from the Superego crew.

Do have a listen.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Dear God, let this end.

I don't want to brag or anything but I own many plaid over shirts

Because everything will be fine on November 9th! Probably.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Civilization VI is a perfectly average game.

I'm spending an effectively reasonable time with a game that has absolutely no sway/grip/sleeper hold on my free time whatsoever. It's fine. This game is... fine.*

*I'm fibbing. 


Sunday, October 23, 2016

So Civ VI is uh... pretty... good...

I mean I don't HAVE to keep playing. I can stop anytime I want. I just don't want to right now. Ok? Get off my back! Damn.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Baxter RIP: 2012-2016

Look, it was my sister's first.

I lost a close friend today. Baxter, my yoga ball. Due to a surgery I had I can only do crunches with a decent sized pocket of air between me and the ground. I don't have washboard abs or anything, but I like what I've accomplished and I have a giant purple yoga ball to thank for that.

Monday, October 17, 2016

My first weekend in 8 months...

I... can take a road trip! *HACK!* *WEEEEZzzzE*
I've had a terrible work schedule for almost a year. But now, after pretty much bribing a co worker, I have two consecutive days off for the first time in months. Permanently! Or at least... semi-regularly! God, I'm tired.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

I didn't suck at Overwatch for a whole 18 seconds!

I don't know who made this, but thanks!

I say "sh*t" at the beginning because in the 26 hours I've spent with it I've only gotten POTG once. Thanks for the upload, Chance!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Time for a change...

I've recently gotten a job waiting tables that pays... oh, 2.5X  what I'm used to. That's not, "hey I've got more beer money!" It's more "Hey, I can get an apartment twice as big as this rat hole!" So naturally I upgraded my phone and, horror of horrors, my old Jakobs case won't fit. Guess I'll have to find a new o-

There. There it is! That was fast...

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

These Violent Delights...

So it's not the next great big thing... but it's still really good though, right?

Westworld Review: Tin Men and Wire Trees.

I got one question for you, would you want to follow an act like Game of Thrones? No. No you wouldn't. It's the biggest hit in HBO history and one of the most beloved shows of the past decade. If you go into Westworld expecting to be grabbed like Thrones,  you're probably going to be disappointed. You need to dial back your expectations a bit.

The characters aren't as witty, the themes are more heavy handed, and there's a few dull main characters to sit through. In fact, after watching both episodes I had kinda written them off as a "7". An inoffensive but lacking "7". But seeing as I might have been a bit too intoxicated on the first viewing, I watched them both again. It's weird, but I liked the show almost twice as much the second time around.

Even when he's just showing up for a paycheck, he's more compelling than any of us could ever hope to be.

I began to understand character motivations clearer, the script was smarter than I gave it credit for, there's a good mystery swirling behind nearly every main plot line, and then the biggest thing clicked for me: this is all about video games. All of it.

All the engineers talk about are guest choices, interactive plot lines, and the logistics that keep them strung together. This is the first main stream/big budget... anything exclusively about game design. I'm not kidding around, almost half the show is about how the park works. I.E. philosophical discussions of mechanical souls and reworking the "Hosts" dialogue trees for new "narratives." Once I finally wrapped my head around that, my geeky little heart almost burst.

But there's more to it than that and I'm not just talking about the scrumptious vistas, robot shootouts, dust choked saloons, and uh... the scalpings. There's quick visual jokes like hosts breaking when a fly lands on them and the recurring theme of milk. Seriously, milk comes up. Like a lot. Also all the well worn Blade Runner stuff is acted and presented well enough so you won't cringe. I honestly can't tell if  all the Host facial ticks are cgi or not, because some of those misfit robots are so well acted that I could be convinced it's all in the performance. That "meet my maker" scene in particular was a barnstormer.

So yeah, I'm on board for now. Ed Harris is a spectacular Man in Black (and he looks like he's having one hell of a retirement party) Evan Rachel Wood is playing the girl next door at the moment but will probably be a Sonny-esque liberator. She's also great. Jeffrey Wright and Mr. Hopkins are... well at least you know what you're getting with them.

For better or worse, this is the most interesting thing on TV right now. Outside of politics*, anyway.

I'm a "skim" man, myself.



Friday, October 7, 2016

This card... is frustrating.

Ahh, the agony and ecstasy of high end pc gaming. More often than not, your new card will kill with a thousand cuts. While the games run fine (not what I expected but fine) the loading times in fallout 4 have become exhausting. upwards of 1:45 seconds. Tried without mods, off my external HD, complete reinstall, and it's the same loading time. Every time. It's insane, this is supposed to be top of the line! I... I hope their IT gets back to me in a couple days. I'm thinking I'll need to switch it out.

Monday, October 3, 2016

What did I just do?
Only 12 left?! Well now I have to. Right?
Sometimes you just need to treat yourself. Especially after you nail down a job that pays a solid $600 more a month... in the slow season. So yeah, instead of putting the $536 I don't need into a prudent and acceptable savings account... I got a 1070. It was literally twice as good as the one I had and it was going for less than a PS4.

By Christ, I will max out Fallout 4.