eXistenZ (Review)


This is a movie that I caught on TV a couple of years ago, and when I saw it on Blockbuster Online, I figured I would add it to my queue. The story-line of the movie is about game developer named Allegra Geller (Jennifer Jason Leigh who made a game for a Game Pod, who has to go on the run with Ted Pikul (Jude Law) because an anti-game terrorist organization is trying to kill her at the testing party of her new game: eXistenZ. The Game Pod is a bit of bio-technology, and you play the game by plugging what looks like an umbilical card into the base of ones spine. When playing the game, the player was completely immersed in the game seeming to leave their own body behind.

The underlying message throughout the whole movie is a warning of where we are going with realism in games, and the danger of virtual reality, and how the characters routinely cannot tell whether they are in the game or in the real world which is really driven home with the last line of the movie. One could think this movie was anti-video game, with it’s clear view of it getting out of control, and harming the environment. However it was shown so poorly and was trying to hard by having the testing of the game take place in a church.

This wasn’t a great movie, and probably would have done better as a Twilight Zone or Outer Limits episode, and that is really what it felt like throughout the whole movie because it was the message that I really liked, but not the presentation.

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Pokemon White Update (1)


First off, I would just like to ask anyone that reads this to post a comment. Even if it’s just “first” or “this is dumb” or “open an english book an learn some grammar”. This isn’t because I need an ego stroke, it’s because I have been getting a spike in views, but they seem to directly correlate with refers from a site that doesn’t really exist. This has me wondering if my views only come from these face refers, or if I really do have viewers, so please, make yourselves known. If you don’t want me to publish the comment, that’s fine, just say so in the comment.

alright, onto the update. these are the pokemon i have caught/recieved:

Starter:

Route 1:

Route 2:

Dreamyard:

Route 3:

Wellspring Cave:

Pinwheel Forrest:

Nacrene City (trade):

Liberty Garden:

Route 4:

Desert Resort:

Maractus Dwebble

Relic Castle:

Nacrene City (Fossil):

Pokemon Gotten Through Evolutions:

Currently in Party:

 

I would like to go further in-depth of what have done so far, but it isn’t as fresh in my memory so it would likely just be listing what happened instead of talking about it…

Man, that took a lot longer then I thought it would, and i really hope the images work out okay. Anywho, I am currently in Nimbasa City, and have yet to defeat the Gym Leader, but I did just beat N after the Ferris wheel, which actually was kinda like an interesting cut-scene before the fight…hmm

Well, seeing as how long that took, i may do these more regularly, possibly with more naration. Mostly this was to bring people up to speed.

Once again, please comment, and I’ll even say this, if you comment, I will look at your blog and comment on yours…I may even subscribe if I like it.

 

Pokemon White & Dragon Age 2: First Impressions.


These games both came out really close together. I was in Gamestop (yes Gamestop haters. I don’t see them ruining the video game industry, and I bought the games new anyway.) on Sunday picking up my copy of Pokemon White, and then back again on Monday for the midnight release of Dragon Age 2. At First I thought that I was going to have to choose between the two, but it seems that my multi-tasking skills have prevailed. I have been able to keep playing both, DA2 while at home and Pokemon while i’m out and a bout. It helps that there is almost nothing to do at work, and when a customer needs help i can just flip it close and the game goes into standby. Playing both and keeping track of what’s going on did worry me at first, but it occurs to me that it’s a lot like reading a book and listening to an audio book, as long as i don’t space time out to much in between each, I still know what’s going on. Now, onto the actual games.

First Pokemon, because that’s the one that I got first. First thing that I really like about this game is that the pokemon center and pokemart are in the same building, it’s one stop now which is really nice. But this does bring me to the bit where after every timeĀ  you get your pokemon healed at the center, the nurse says “hope to see you again.” Essentially, she is saying “please go out and fight pokemon, and they get hurt so you can come back and get them healed.” It’s like a Hospital saying the same thing, which is almost okay, because they’re essentially a business and they want you going to that hospital instead of another one, but when an emergency occurs you’re not going to tell the driver of an ambulance not go to the nearest hospital becuase they overcharge, or the doctors are mean…unless you’re a Scientologist (religious intrigue…?). Same is the case with the centers, you’re not going to go to a different one, you’re going to go to the closest. They look identical and their service is free. Looking at the big picture this may just be left over Japanese manners where they “Thank you come again” is all rolled up in one expression, (Japanese speakers please help me out with this) and in addition with doing the direct translation, they didn’t notice or didn’t bother to change it. Or, in some fun twist to this ramble, they possibly did notice it but it was ingrained with the universe so they decided to keep it that way for nostalgia’s sake “Lalli-Ho” (if you get that reference, it means i did it right and koodo’s)

As for the rest of it, what do you want? It’s a pokemon game. If you like the others, chances are you’ll like this one. Other differences i’ve noticed is that only one of the starters adopts a new type (fire again), you can’t get a flying pokemon until route 3, and the camera moves during battle. now excuse me if that was something they incorporated in other games and i forgot, or it was HG/SS, but i didn’t play those games. There is quite a bit more action going on in the battle, and although it is still disappointing that the pokemon don’t actually say their name when sent out, the movement during combat is entertaining. and not just the camera, the pokemon have a set of movement, including closing their eyes when asleep.

So, right away, pokemon is a good game, and i don’t really expect my opinion of it to change while i continue to play it.

Now, for those just reading this for Dragon Age 2 stuff, stop scrolling here. Fist thing to note, something i just now (yea just now) is that if you look at the cover art, which is the man character and a dragon spreading it’s wings in the background, if you ignore the top half of the dragon, and only look at the bottom of it’s wings, it clearly forms into silhouettes of people. Right then, the actual game. I knew i was going to get this game simply from knowing i liked the first one. I knew i was going to pre-order this game because of how awesome the demo was. Seriously, it’s free, and if you’re even questioning the game, dl it and play it. One of the main annoyances of the first was that it was clearly meant to be played on the PC. Not this one, I mean, yes, it also came out for the PC, but it was obviously made with the fact that most will play it on a console in mind, seeing as the combat is a lot more involved and streamlined. You don’t just tell your character to who to attack and they do it, you have to tell it to do every attack. yes, you still only have access to 6 moves to use at a time, but the way you specialize deems that you will likely only use that many anyway.

As for the dialogue options, they have adopted the radial option that Mass Effect uses for both the conversations and menu screen, but unlike Mass Effect where your decisions are obviously “Good” or “Mean” and effect only your character, how you act in this game still only effects how your party members view you, and it’s not always as obvious as the good or bad, because each of the party members have their own moral compass. It’s also not also a bad thing that they don’t like you, as long as you’re consistent, because they each have certain abilities they gain for being your friend or rival. I just got done with Mass Effect 2, and i really like this radial menu, because you can consider all of your options and the same time. The thing Dragon age adds to it is for a bit of extra help you an image with form in the center of the circle in relation to what sort of response it is. Yes some are more obvious then others, and they’re usually in the same position, but it’s still a nice touch. Another really good addition is that if you have been considering the options for to long and need a refresher of what you’re responding to, the game will help you by putting up what the last line of dialogue was after a short pause.

Once again, first impression and i’m not disappointed. Clearly a great game, and one i will likely play with multiple run-throughs. But before the next time I should really finish the first one, not just to see what happens, but because you can actually upload the save file from the previous game to be what happened. If you haven’t finished, you still can do that, but they fill in the gaps for you if you do. The only really minor complaint i have about this game is that you can only choose your class and gender in the beginning of the game. I liked the option of being another race, but I don’t really miss it. Compared to the rest of the improvements, it’s a small whine along a long list of WOO-HOO!!!s

Pokemon: A Look Back


Pokemon Black/White came out today, and in a spurt of whimsy and nostalgia, I thought I would make a post about my history with Pokemon.

The year was 1998, and i was in junior high. I had been a long time subscriber to Nintendo Power magazine, and over the summer they sent me a video that heralded the coming of an all new game and TV show called Pokemon. A game where you would fight and capture creatures that you would train to fight for you and the fun surprise that if you train them enough, they would evolve into a whole new creature that was a more powerful version. Now, if you have heard anything about pokemon, most of what I just said isn’t news, but it was something new to me and a new concept. Yes, in previous games you could make a party and level up characters, but this was something where there were 150 characters to use, and things to consider like weaknesses, and strengths of each of the classes or types as they were known as in this new game. For me, I obsessed over the game, because in addition to the video (which i watched over and over enough times to memorize the theme song before the anime was actually aired in the US) there was a five part strategy guide that was sent in the issues of Nintendo Power, most of which were released before you could even play the game yet. When the game actually released, I played it all the time, and even got my sister into playing it, once I got a gameboy color, and we could be playing at the same time. I also watched the cartoon (looo0ooong time before I even knew what anime was) all the time, and soon discovered one amusing thing: Ash was a terrible trainer….which in hindsight was probably to encourage the children that weren’t all that good at the game. “Don’t worry kiddo, training pokemon is hard. Even the ‘great’ Ash Ketchum is terrible at it, but do you see him give up? No sirree.” Another thing that the show seemed to spawn was the Pikachu worship. I like electric Pokemon, and Pikachu was the earliest electric that one could get, but I ditched him as soon as I could get my hands on a Jolteon (fave Pokemon btw, because in addition to electric it learned Bug and Fighting moves).

This brings me to Pokemon Yellow, or Pokemon Special Pikachu Edition, which was more modeled after the anime. As a part of the story, one had to start off with Pikachu, and he would follow you around, but don’t you worry, because you still get all of the other starter pokemon from the previous games as a part of the story. This was the first game that really started to incorperate the idea of pokemon happiness. Keep Pikachu happy because it will effect his expression if you bothered to turn around and look at him. I’m not sure if this had any effect in battle, but certain character would notice whether pikachu was happy or not.

Then along came Pokemon gold/silver for the Gameboy Color, and with it the addition of an all new region and 100 new pokemon to capture and because of the also new baby form of many pokemon, there was introduced breeding. This added an extra complication to the game, and because i wasn’t actually interested in catching all the pokemon in the first game, i did a play through of this one, and didn’t really touch it afterwards, and didn’t really bother with the crystal version.

Then on another whole new system: Gameboy Advanced, cane Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire, which I got in my senior year of highschool. Being a senior, i didn’t have the time or dedication to bother with capturing all the legendary pokemon like i had in previous games, but i did play through Sapphire and Enjoyed myself.

After that was college, and me with no money and no job, when Pokemon Leaf Green/Fire Red came out, they passed me by, after all, I had already played and beaten that game. Initially, same was the case with Pearl/Diamond, because i didn’t have the DS needed to play. When i did eventually get a DS, Diamond was one of the first games I got for it. Unfortunately, once again, I wasn’t as dedicated as I once was. I also found it annoying that most the time when i was playing it, it was evening or night time, which meant i was missing out on morning Pokemon. And with the new system more able to connect to other systems via wifi, that was a big part of the game. I have a wireless router, but for some reason my gameboy couldn’t connect, and i didn’t want to fiddle with it to make it so it could….and i think that’s why i never really finished it.

But, with the release of this new system, and a glance at the guide that I got at work before the games release, i felt inspired to pick up the game, and the habit once more. So, with my copy of White, I make my Journey to become a Pokemon Master once more.

Harvest Moon (Part 2…End?)


Well, it occurs to me that although I still do like the idea doing a post along of what I do in Harvest Moon, I doubt I will actually do it any time soon. Why you ask? (and by you I mean the zero subscribers at this point or perhaps the one person that may be interested in reading older posts) Because two really fun games (Dragon Age II and Pokemon Black/White) come out next week, and I doubt I’ll be coming back to Harvest Moon any time soon. So, I’m going to do in this post what a forgot to do in the other: a general description of the game. This will probably be a really short post.

Well, anyone that plays a harvest moon game would know there really isn’t a major story of the game. The thing all of them have in common is Take care of crops a/o animals, befriend villagers, find ways to improve farm. However in the recent Harvest Moon games (I’m noticing) there is something going on in the background. In this one, it’s the collecting of Sun Stones and raising the Sunshine Islands. In this way, you have to actually earn and unlock the various aspects of the game: volcano island is the mine, Mystic Island has the Harvest Goddess, Animal Island has animal friends to make that will do chores for you. There are 100 to collect and some are scattered around randomly on the islands, but most have to be earned by befriending villagers, shipping a certain amount of crops, in general, things one would do anyway just to feel accomplishment, but are encouraged to do to ‘complete’ the game. I really liked this aspect, because things could really become stagnant in the other games, doing the same things over and over again, but this encourages you to do these things with an underlining goal. This also gives a bit of an ‘end’ to the game, but like all but the first-and i think one of the gameboy games-you can play on until eternity.

I will likely come back to this game in the future-likely on a plane ride to Boston I’ll be going on in the summer-and I may post again and I’ll try to make it more entertaining. Thinking back on my last posts, and what i do post, it’s often just an analysis and list of what happens, where as now I am just posting what comes to mind while I type. This will likely prove to be random and possibly confusing, buuut this manner is typically more amusing for both me and the reader, and since i’m likely the only one going to read this in the future, so much the better.

come to think of it (last minute thought here) I also like the idea of going along and posting what i do in Pokemon too…and because my computer is almost never far away while playing, the things i do would likely be more fresh in my mind….sooooo look forward to that…maybe

you may notice i don’t like certainties, i.e. i don’t ever say something definite without adding a likely, maybe, possibly, etc. Why, because I really don’t like being called on my shit. “you said you were going to do *blank*” to which i could reply “nooo, i said i might“. Is this a pathetic cop-out? You bet your ass. Does this make me unreliable, possibly, but when someone asks me to do something and make it clear that it’s important, if I agree to it I almost always come through, and almost always is as definite as a get. Why don’t I just straight say i’m reliable for important stuff? Because I’m forgetful and there is likely a time i haven’t come through, and I don’t like to lie and also, see the first part.

Well, that really came out of nowhere, but it is a peak at who I am and was rambletastic, and not entirely related to Harvest moon….

alright, this is the end of this post…

I mean it…

I’m off…

away…

I go…

bye…

Harvest Moon (Part 1)


The First Harvest Moon game I played was the first Harvest Moon ever, which was on the SNES. It had been a really looong time, so I had to research it a bit to refresh my memory. The main things that I remember, and the reason I only played through it once is that you can only play the game for 2 and a half years before your parents came back, something that was remedied in all other Harvest Moon games I played. Understandably there was less in the first game, only 4 crops, 2 in summer and 2 in spring. The other thing they hadn’t worked out yet was that dime would stop at around midnight. One could clear out their field (and in the first game it was pretty big) in the first night…as long as one didn’t wear themselves out. One final fun thing that happened was that at the end of the game I somehow managed to have 2 kids, a feat not possible in any of the other games.

After This game I did dabble a bit in the gameboy Harvest Moon, but I didn’t really get back into a Harvest Moon kick until Harvest Moon 64 came out. With a a new animal (sheep) and a almost twice as many crops. It also had the fun addition of the Greenhouse. It also added more to do with collecting pictures for your photo album and more additions to your house, including a kitchen to cook things. The other fun aspect that i found out late in the game is that it was important to make friends with the villagers other then the women, because if you did they would get married to each other.

For a while I didn’t play any of the new Harvest Moon games. Mostly because I didn’t have the Systems for it, but recently a friend of mine was talking about it, and decided to grab me some of that again. As such I picked up Rune Factory 3, and Harvest Moon: Sunshine Islands. I played Rune Factory for a little bit, but I wasn’t really getting the Harvest Moon feel from it…mostly just the monster killin’ I can get in any other game. Then I popped in Harvest Moon: Sunshine Islands….I’m not ashamed to say that I’m hooked…aaand because I haven’t posted here for very long, I decided to post about what I do and see how it goes.

Well, the first new thing I noticed was was the Farm Degree, and that one can’t improve your farm equipment just by using them, one has to use something called Wonderfuls to make them better, and also buy a better tool so it is able to upgrade. The first goal was to get lumber for an upgrade to the house to make a kitchen and make my crops worth more. This proved to be difficult because there aren’t that many stumps, and branches don’t show up much either. The better way is to fish up branches which one needs to save up 5k to buy the pole. After the first landmark, I had to start sucking up to the villagers to get them to give up their sunstones. I made the mistake of getting the Link Island just because it was the cheapest, But then I saved up enough to raise Volcano Island, so i could mine up the material i need to get the charms i need to get more stamina….my next goal is to build a chicken coop before winter…since there are no plants i can grow and i can get a better income that way….perhaps not better but more steady.

That’s all for now, we’ll see what else i do, and if i have anything more entertaining to say…

Mass Effect 2


Well, I just beat this game….finally…and so I figured I would write about it. Now, I didn’t stop playing this game because I didn’t like it anymore, it’s because I get distracted very easily. This time it was WoW, then Sims 3 on the PC, then Sims 3 on the console…then I think i played Splatterhouse for a bit, then Dungeon Keeper 2, then a friend of mine got me into League of Legends, which I will still play, but then i was able to rent Two Worlds 2…which i didn’t like, so i finished Mass Effect 2, but it didn’t take me very long because i was near the end anyway.

Enough of that long list of a run-on sentence. I don’t have an X-box, I have a PS3. Many reasons, but on the head of it was that all my co-workers had a PS3, I really wanted a Blu-ray player, and because i didn’t want to pay for internet play. The only thing on the side of X-box for me was some of the games, which didn’t really hold up when most of the good games on the X-box get ported to the PS3, and the others that I really want, I can play on the PC…if i ever get one good enough to support it *cough*.

This brings me to Mass Effect 2. I didn’t play the first one, when I heard that it was coming out on the PS3, I pre-ordered it right away. Turns out it doesn’t matter because after a short intro where the first Normandy gets destroyed, there is an interactive comic that not only explains what happens in the first game, but allows you to make pivotal decisions from the first one. Well, as i played, i discovered that there wasn’t anything much of an impact in your decisions. Yes, each decision i made did show up in the game, but none of them really effected the storyline. Because of this i can’t really compare it to the first, but thanks to the the comic and the Codex, i wasn’t really missing much.

The only things that i didn’t really like, i’ll get out of the way ahead of time. First off, i find it a little annoying that for most games to be popular nowadays, it has to be a shooter. Yes this is a third-person, and the characters had fun powers, but on the basics of elements, it’s a shooter with minor RPG aspects, and a cover shooter at that. I’m not saying i don’t like guns, or shooters even. I do like Call of Duty, and guns can be fun, I’m just annoyed that they come around a lot. I realize it’s the future, but i would have had more fun if melee combat played a bigger role. The other thing that annoyed me was that as an RPG, there wasn’t that much customization when it came to the main character. You are stuck with the abilities and weapons you start with with the only option of adding another weapon around midway through the game, and able to add on a new ability when you become more loyal with one of your crew mates. I didn’t really know what the abilities were from the description, or what I would need in the game (also because i didn’t play the first) so i picked the engineer, and picked up a Sniper Rifle at my first opportunity, making my character a melding of Tali and Legion, which was unfortunate because they were also two of my favorite characters and i didn’t need them on most missions.

Other then that, I really did enjoy this game. The story was great. I have never really played a great sci-fi RPG. No surprise that it reminded me a great deal of KotoR, seeing as it is made by the same people. I also really enjoyed the characters, which was great because just like the KotoR games, they were a big part of the game. Each characters had interesting back-stories, and they all had side-missions that related to them, and they were all important because if you didn’t do them, you wouldn’t get the better ending. The thing that was amusing that the ‘had’ to incorporate to be a current and risque game was to have a love scene with one of your crew mates. For me it was Tali, because she was the more interesting characters, and it made more sense with my character being an engineer they would have more in common. Also, I wanted to see what it was behind her mask…buuuut was disapointed because all you saw was it being taken off, and seeing her pounce on him through it…never getting to see her face. Another fun aspect of the characters was that it bugged me the whole game that i recognized her from something else. It took me until near the end for me to notice that Miranda was voiced by Yvonne Strahovski made famous by the TV show Chuck and was clearly used as a model for the character.

I also enjoyed that despite the fact that like most recent RPs it had a somewhat good/evil part of the story, but it didn’t really effect much, nor was played up as much as in other games. It was never as simple as going either way, your could to both, and they were both accumulated like an experience bar. The higher you were in each aspect, the more conversation options that were given. Another fun addition in this game that wasn’t in others, was that you actually had to pay attention during some of the conversation aspects, because you could randomly interrupt them with a reaction. My first use of this was to punch a reporter in the face that had smeared Shepard in the first game. Bringing up the character’s name reminds me of the fact that in many games where you can name the character yourself, the other character never use your name. You can choose your characters first name, but since the last name is always Shepard, that is what you are called by, and it’s refreshing to have ones character actually referred to.

In general, it had it’s flaws, but It was an enjoyable experience and i don’t at all regret getting it at the full price when it first came out on the PS3. I Do wish it was longer, but i guess that it’s just a tease until Mass Effect 3 comes out. Plus it’s fine because it definitely has it’s replay value.