Song of the Day: Because Everyone Has At Least One

Why not, right? Sorry if I'm encroaching on someone's musical turf by doing this, but something about this song, something I can't quite grasp, has got me addicted.
 

It makes me feel great that I was following the guy in this video, Jack Conte (If you, somehow, haven't seen me mention him before), before he even had 1000 followers. I witnessed the rise of a star as he grew in popularity so quickly and gained followers by the hundreds every day. When he started his collaboration with his girlfriend, Nataly Dawn, named Pomplamoose (They do a lot of covers and original stuff; check them out!), I knew they were going places. They have definitely been getting the attention they deserve, getting upwards of 200,000 views per video and up into the millions. Makes me feel good that they're doing good. :)
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This is not just to get more quest rewards...

Ok, so part of it is. You want to fight about it? The quest system has already got me relatively addicted and appropriately frustrated and there's nothing I can do about it. The other reason for typing this is that it's been like four months since my last blog and that's quite a while. Actually, my last blog was hardly meaningful so I'm not even going to count it. 5 months! 5 months since my last legitimate blog. Unacceptable.

Why, hello there...
   
I suppose this is the part where I talk about what's happened to me during the past 5 MONTHS. Well, it's not really interesting, so fuck that. My life right now is being consumed by last gen games. I'm entangled in Persona 3 on the PS2 and Silent Hill 2 on the PC (Thank god the 360 controller works!). The Silent Hill games are still pretty scary despite their age and I respect that, so I decided to play through them all in a row. I appreciate the fact that there is so much symbolism behind everything that you encounter over the course of the games and how it's all tied to the characters (and them to each other). Persona 3 doesn't really need any sort of summarization. It's got a crazy story and it's fun. That's about it.
The future looks bright for current gen, though. Alan Wake, Red Dead Redemption, and Splinter Cell are so close I can almost taste them! Too bad I can't afford everything that's coming out over the next few months. Ah, well.
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Mobile Gaming - iPod/iPhone Edition

I don't really play that many games on my iPod but there are a few that I pick up when I'm on the bus are walking somewhere (maybe because I don't have a DS). I do find it really interesting to take note of how games have been evolving on the Appstore, though. When the iPod came out, the appstore was full of tower defense games and stick figure crap. 
 

 Gameloft doesn't fool around. Notice the buttons taking up half the screen.

As the months rolled on, though, developers like G ameloft starting popping off games like Assassin's Creed Altair's Chronicles and Gangster West Coast Hustle. Gameloft squeezed as much power out of the iPod as possible for their games. They were playable but they didn't have very good controls as with most games on the iPod, though they were good to play for a few minutes here and there if not only to marvel at the graphics.
 Fucking awesome.
 
Then there were the really great iPod games which, as Jeff correctly pointed out, need no more than one finger tapping on the screen at a time; no need for virtual gamepads and multiple buttons everywhere. Games like Mr.Aahh!!! and Peggle came up and were huge hits. They are what iPod games should be because they are easy to pick up, easy to control, and just relax while playing. 
 
In conclusion, no, I don't really care any more now than I ever did about mobile games but I do like to watch them evolve into these sort of graphics powerhouses instead of fun games. The iPod has got some great potential. It's up to the developers to see that it's more about accessibility than aesthetics.
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Persona 4 followed me to school...

So, in my theology class last Friday something happened that almost made me break out laughing. I was dozing off because we were just learning about some old psychiatrists or something and something very interesting made me come to attention. We started to learn about "The Shadow and the Persona". It was a serious wtf moment. Now, apparently, this is old news, but for those of you who haven't heard (like I hadn't), Carl Jung was a famous psychiatrist who split the mind into three parts: The ego, the personal unconscious, and the collective unconscious. You can read all about his stuff here, but I'm just going to quote the stuff that was read to us in class and probably the only things anyone cares about.

The Shadow

"It is the "dark side" of the ego, and the evil that we are capable of is often stored there. Actually, the shadow is amoral -- neither good nor bad, just like animals. An animal is capable of tender care for its young and vicious killing for food, but it doesn't choose to do either. It just does what it does. It is "innocent." But from our human perspective, the animal world looks rather brutal, inhuman, so the shadow becomes something of a garbage can for the parts of ourselves that we can't quite admit to.

Symbols of the shadow include the snake (as in the garden of Eden), the dragon, monsters, and demons. It often guards the entrance to a cave or a pool of water, which is the collective unconscious. Next time you dream about wrestling with the devil, it may only be yourself you are wrestling with"
 
I was hoping that it would have to do with wrestling girls you know or something but, hey.
 

The Persona

"The persona represents your public image. The word is, obviously, related to the word person and personality, and comes from a Latin word for mask. So the persona is the mask you put on before you show yourself to the outside world. Although it begins as an archetype, by the time we are finished realizing it, it is the part of us most distant from the collective unconscious.

At its best, it is just the "good impression" we all wish to present as we fill the roles society requires of us. But, of course, it can also be the "false impression" we use to manipulate people's opinions and behaviors. And, at its worst, it can be mistaken, even by ourselves, for our true nature: Sometimes we believe we really are what we pretend to be!"
 

 This guy basically invented Persona.

Needless to say I was sitting there trying hard not to yell "OH, SO ITS JUST LIKE IN PERSONA!" Anyway, now those terms are all stuck in my head thanks to Persona and I'm gonna ace the fuck out of the test on Monday. See, senators? Games can be helpful!

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Music Review: Beggars by Thrice

Now, this isn't one of those great deep reviews that Bruce does ( like this one here!), I'm just trying to get as many people as possible to buy this fantastic band's album when it comes to stores.
 
Thrice have made nothing but amazing music ever since they first broke out onto the music scene and their newest album is definitely no exception. Their musical style experienced some major changes since their beginnings culminating in the previous heavily experimental four part album, The Alchemy Index (check it out, too). Beggars is still somewhat experimental (albeit more fine tuned) which shows that the band is ever evolving and making the kind of music that they want to make, but it is also an amalgam of all the best parts of their previous albums making it more accessible.

Every song on the album is expertly crafted by each member of the band with thoughtful lyrics, amazing vocal deliverance, and unending musical talent. The songs range from the alternative-rock and jazz fusion “Doublespeak” to the haunting, eerie tracks like “Circles” and “Wood and Wire” which also capture sadness in a most profound way.

“A dead man walking down the hall,
To meet a mess of wood and wire.
They lead me where men fear to tread—
But towards the thing I most desire.”  
 
- Wood and Wire 


 
 
 
 
 (There's a watermark in this and in the next video :( Bear with me, the songs are worth it and these guys are the only people who uploaded them. Buy the album to get the songs in all their magnificent, un-watermarked glory :D)


While the slow songs are somber and touching, the faster songs on the album really hit hard. Two great examples would be the opening track, “All the World Is Mad” (which you might have downloaded for Guitar Hero: World Tour) and, later in the album, “At the Last” which has one of my favorite outros ever. "All the World Is Mad" has a great frenetic sound with a chorus that will quickly get stuck in your head.
 

 

This album is also Thrice at their greatest musically. Every song flows effortlessly and elegantly even in their more hardcore tracks. It might be worth noting, though, that, while this album is magnificent, it doesn't come close to toppling Thrice's masterpiece: Vheissu (which you should also check out). The album is available now digitally but will be physically released (with 5 bonus tracks!) on September 15. Go get it!

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On music in video games

So, as you all know, Shadow Complex came out recently. It's an amazing game and all but there's something else (and Jeff noticed it too). There isn't really that much music in the game but, when it does happen to play, it fits perfectly. The best example I can think of would be when the water rises in the one part of the complex and when you go underwater, this slow, waltz-like classical piano plays. It's absolutely perfect.

One of the most surreal moments in the game.
Other games have gone the route of preferring silence over looping tracks such as the Half-Life series where music is scarce but it really hits when it does play (I think Dead Space as well, but I can't remember). Of course, there have been games with fantastic music that just plays throughout basically the entire experience (e.g.: the Persona series or Mass Effect).
 
So, my question is this: Do you prefer games that feature looping soundtracks that play throughout the entire game, or games that feature a scarce amount of music but use it to the advantage of evoking some kind of reaction from the player?
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Bloginess is next to godliness

You may only view this blog if you have

HD VISION
 
First, just out of spite, I'm going to steal Bruce's feature: "Song of the Day"
 
It kills me to know that I'll never be this musically talented. There's no way I could post my one favorite song by him (since I love every one of his songs WAY too much) so check out his YouTube channel and if you like Jack Conte you should also check out his girlfriend Nataly Dawn and their collaborative works as Pomplamoose.
 
The thing everyone seems to have been talking about this week is District 9 so... Quick review: I saw it and it was great, but it wasn't movie of the year or the greatest sci-fi movie ever. The main issue I had with it was that there was almost zero character development for any characters and a few underdeveloped plot points. Other than that, it was an interesting film that at least made my friends and I think and speculate about.
 
Finally, Summer is coming to a close for me and classes will start up again meaning less time for everything. To prepare for that, I'm doing as much as possible in these next two weeks. This involves reading Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now followed by Friedrich Nietzsche's Twilight of the Idols (yes, I am that kind of person). I'll also be getting Microsoft's Summer of Arcade deal at some point which will definitely eat up the rest of my Summer. So here's to all of that!
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RvB Recreation and Why I Still Hate Gamestop

First, the good news: Red Vs Blue is getting another reboot in their new series "Recreation". New episodes will show on Mondays on their site.
Trailer time!

  

That's really all I have to say about that besides the fact that I can't wait to see what's in store.

Now, the bad news. Gamestop won't let me pick up my order for Prototype... They said that I would have to come back on another day because they "can't hand out the preorders yet." Why not? I don't know because they wouldn't tell me. I only went to Gamestop because I've got a $25 off giftcard there and they tell me I might have to wait another 2-3 days? Fuck that, I'm going back tomorrow. It's not really a big deal but that pisses me off that they wouldn't hand them out despite all of the cases being right behind them. *Le Sigh*, it gives me some relief knowing that the Rooster Teeth guys like it though.



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Summer Vacation and Anticipation

School is final-fucking-ly over! God. Well, now that I'm on Summer vacation, I will finally have time to myself. How will I spend that time? Reading. First up:


The Road by Cormac McCarthy: Cormac McCarthy was the godlike genius behind the masterpiece novel No Country for Old Men and I hope The Road to be his second best. The story revolves around a father and his son as they struggle to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. It's basically Fallout except it's realistic, full of suspense and sad instead of crazy and fun. So far, I love it (except the Oprah's Book Club branding...) and I can't wait to finish it; it's supposed to be a real tear-jerker :). Only 100 pages left.

Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay: Boiled down to it's basics, this book is about Dexter, a forensic analyst for the Miami-Dade police... and he's also a serial killer. Another serial killer happens to catch his eye and Dexter feels he needs to find him so that he can admire his "art."  The premise should sound interesting enough right off the bat, but if that's not enough, you could watch TV show based off the book. I liked the first season of the Dexter series on TV, so I thought, why not? Of course, I haven't started it yet, so here's hoping it turns out well.

And finally,
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand: I WILL FINISH YOU ONE DAY!!!  I SWEAR IT! I've started this book 3 times, and I just don't have the will to finish it. This picture sums it up completely:

I mean, what I've read is great and all, but I've never passed page 700. I've never had the time to read this, but now, I'm making time. I will finish this book before Summer's end. I WILL!







I've got copies of World War Z and The Zombie Survival Guide coming my way. Both are really great and I think if you haven't read them, you're retarded. There, I said it.

Second order of business, Prototype. I seriously cannot wait for this game. If I were offered this game today on the condition that I would have to kill someone, I wouldn't do it. But I would do something else, like watch S. Darko or play Leisure Suit Larry or something. Just watch this video and maybe you will understand....

Just when you think it can't get any cooler... it gets cooler.
  

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