Going Back to Where No Man Has Gone Before

Watching my coworker play The Old Republic throughout a six-hour shift really gave me the itch to get back into Star Trek Online. Now that it's gone free-to-play, that productivity-killing decision was all the easier to make. And man! does that game only barely resemble the one I left two Augusts ago. Once I'd installed it yesterday and downloaded the .5 gig patch, in rolled the accolades that come with any long time away from that game. I haven't yet done much more than fly back to Earth Spacedock and take on a few of the missions designed to introduce players to the new mechanics. Until the server comes back up, I'll be reading for my U.S. History course. Once it's back, I'm going to Mars to check out the new cruiser they're giving out to celebrate the game's two-year anniversary. That is actually the thing that got me to check back into the game. And speaking of ships, the game seems to acknowledge that I have other ships (which I do), but I've not yet figured out how to get them back. I apparently have a lot left to learn about the new STO, so either I'm in for some fun times, or I'm going to regret not unsubscribing to Cryptic e-mails sooner.

On an unrelated note, I got a new phone recently - a Windows Phone. I like it. I get achievement points for playing sudoku.

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Versing the World

I randomly watched the Scott Pilgrim quick look one night, which led to me hearing the soundtrack. After looking that up on Amazon, I bought it. That, in turn, led to buying the game itself, which is a fine, if occasionally glitchy, piece of work. Now all six volumes of the series are sitting on my shelf waiting to be read, and I've ordered a Plumtree shirt in order to dress up on Halloween. 
 
Deep end, I have indeed gone off thee.

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This is Madness!

     So I get home earlier today and order a new Xbox to replace the one that broke, and within the next maybe ten minutes I see that Playstation 3's are going to be getting smaller, and for the same price as the 360 I just bought?! Well I've already got the games that need to be played, but I have been thinking lately about getting a PS3. First game I'd get: Flower.

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DJ Ungelvral

     I ordered some Swedish mouth-nightmare for only $4.04 on import and tried it earlier along with a few friends who'd never heard of it. One promptly spit it out, and two others waited a while before discarding theirs. I kept eating it for a bit until realizing that I couldn't take anymore.

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The Only Cure For (Extreme) Fever

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     A few days ago I ordered a new laptop after the one I had sorta crashed and I had to reset it to factory defaults. Needless to say, I lost a lot of my stuff: a couple hundred songs, a few movies, hours of time logged into games, and a sizable collection of wallpapers that I had accrued after hours of lurking /wg/. Well the new one arrived yesterday, and after getting to know my way around Vista and installing all my essential programs (e.g. Firefox, LimeWire, Steam), it seems alright.

      While it is definitely a lot better than the old one (2.1ghz Turion X2, 4gb RAM, Radeon HD 3450), the thing that trumps any other feature is that it came with trial versions of various PopCap games, including Peggle. I had never played Peggle before, though after I saw it I went straight for it and I must say, that game is awesome. I'll save the dramatic, "mine eyes hath been opened" stuff and just say that I subsequently downloaded Peggle Extreme and plan to get the Deluxe package off Steam. Pure wonderment.
    

Games

     As for other games I've been playing, there's a pretty good variety. I ordered Fallout 3 and Persona 4 after graduation several weeks ago, and put a fair amount of time into those. I bought Braid and worked my way through it, although I didn't solve all the worlds. *sigh* One day I turned on my DS and found that my FF Tactics A2 save had disappeared so I started a new one and have since surpassed where I was before. That 2-for-1 Amazon sale prompted me to get Puzzle Fighter HD, which I played through once and do not feel like I ever have to go back to again. I bought Ace Combat 6 not too long ago, and having finished it, still think that AC5 is better (in all fairness, The Unsung War battles with Metal Gear Solid 2 for my favorite game of the last generation). Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault is played whenever I feel like turning on my desktop. One you might not expect is Tekken 5, which I've sort of picked up after frequently visiting the arcade in a mall I've been going to lately. I just randomly picked Marshall Law and have tekken a liking to the game. So yeah, I've been playing some stuff.

Movies

     Star Trek is officially the greatest movie of the year so far.  Bear in mind that I make this statement having never seen an episode of Star Trek and always hated Trekkies, but that movie is just downright sci-fi awesome. Everything about it was just great, from the cast to the pacing. I know I can't speak for true Trek fans out there, but as a newcomer to that universe, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

     Transformers, on the other hand, didn't impress me as much. I just got sick of what I assume is the Michael Bay-ness of it with all the swooping camera and feeling like I'm constantly being reminded "Hey, this stuff is super awesome! Remember how hot this chick is and how cool the transformations look?!" Yeah dude, I get it. Despite these grievances, I did really like the combat and the way I was reminded that Optimus Prime is the badest-assest of them all. Effects and acting are great, but geez if I don't want to punch Sam's mom. At least there was no more dumb Australian chick. but a whole lot of Rainn Wilson!

Etc.

     I got one of those Warriors shirts that Jeff wore at E3 from the Ecko store a while ago, though I'm still waiting for a good time to wear it.

     The two Warcraft flavors of "Mtn" Dew are apparently out so I picked them up at Wal-Mart earlier and am going to taste them sometime soon. If the Horde flavor is original Game Fuel I'll be happy, although they both say Game Fuel on the label then differing types of flavors. That makes me think that Mitten Dew is making this a full-time brand, which I do not like the thought of. Just stick to being what I get whenever I go to Taco Bell and everything will be just fine.



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To DSi, or Not To DSi - Help Me!

     My birthday's coming up in a couple weeks - March 12, to be exact - and the only thing I want is a Nintendo DS Lite. I thought about getting one last year around the same time because I had pretty much quit playing my GBA and felt it was time for a new handheld, but I put it off and must now face the decision of whether or not to wait an extra 3 weeks and get a DSi instead. I'm leaning toward the Lite, but some of the features on the DSi are kinda tempting:

DS Lite                                                                                     DSi
3-inch screen                                                                         3.25-inch screen
GBA backwards compatibility / accessory slot                SD card slot
Microphone; No camera                                                      Microphone; 0.3 mp inside camera / 3.0 mp outside camera
No music player                                                                    AAC music player that I don't need
Nice Cobalt/Black                                                                 Weird Blue OR Black
$130                                                                                        $170

     I know there are more changes being made, but those are the ones that matter to me. Screen size shouldn't be a big concern. I don't necessarily need a music player, although it could be used to free up some storage space on my crappy 1st-gen iPod Nano. Playing GBA games is far from my biggest concern, but neither do I expect to buy too many games from the DSi store, though it is something to look into. The camera and hardware specs are the real determining factors, as I don't have my own camera and 3.0 megapixels is a good deal more than my phone has on it. Some of the image editing tools look neat, too.

     Also, the price. I could buy a whole other game with the $40 saved, if I go for the DS Lite. The games I'm set on are FF Tactics A2, Advance Wars: Days of Ruin ($15 @ Toys R' Us!), and Pokemon Platinum, which I preordered on a whim the other night. I'm still mulling over Chrono Trigger, FFIV and Professor Layton in my mind, and would like something to break myself away from all the strategizing. Any suggestions as to good games would be appreciated. I'm also looking at maybe buying Persona 4 (thanks to Vinny & Jeff) and the complete Cowboy Bebop series.

     So tell me what you guys think. I'm probably gonna stick with the DS Lite, but give me some good reasons as to why I shouldn't. And just give your general opinions on the DSi itself. Cool or no?

    

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My Final Moments of 2008

     The new year is almost here, and I couldn't care less. All it means to me is that a bunch of people are crowded into Times Square and I've only got 5 days left of my Christmas Vacation.  But, I haven't written a blog in a while (not that anyone reads them, or at least truly cares), so I might as well write one now.  Oh, and my take on resolutions: They're a novelty. If you're serious about making changes, you are going to do it anyway, not just because you have to buy a new Gregorian calendar. But whatever yours may be, good luck.

     I finally got Gears of War 2 last Thursday (some special occasion where people gave me stuff. it was cool :P) and I finished it earlier tonight on single-player Hardcore, which really isn't that hard.  I'd say Epic Games lived up to their name on this one. 

It's in better condition than he is
Graphics were cleaner and brighter, and gameplay tweaks made it even more fun to play through.  The story is much more well done in this one, and the mysteries that can be found within it are definitely intriguing, although I didn't quite enjoy the ending as much as I would have liked to (final battle = inventive, but too easy).  It did make me curious to see how the next game will be set up, and anyone who waited through the credits knows who's going to be appearing in the next one. And I wanna know where Dom gets his photos developed - that picture was impeccable and indestructible.

     Other than that, I haven't been doing much with my vacation.  I played through Knights of the Old Republic and watched Cowboy Bebop for about a week while my relatives were visiting.  Chronic staying up late/sleeping in is never as fun as it is appealing.  I attended my friend's belated Christmas dinner they held last Saturday night and ended up procuring a spyware-infected laptop because apparently I'm "good" with computers.  I'm not.  I just learn from friends who know a lot better.  Long story short: After almost ruining the whole thing by perhaps accidentally deleting the wrong file in a virus scan, I came across a restore screen on startup that took everything back to what it should be.  I proceeded to thank God immensely. 

     My Giant Bomb hoodie is too big, and it's preshrunk. :'(  I did order the Brad/Mummy t-shirt along with it, but I let my (same) friend pick either one because I give him the latest bombcasts every once in a while and he loves 'em.  Oh well, guess I'll have to grow some more.  If you guys have any suggestions on what to buy with my Christmas money, state them below.  I wanted CoD: World at War but never got it, and I've been thinking about Ace Combat 6 or Burnout Paradise: The Ultimate Box.  While I'd like to spend, I know I should save.

     Anyway, that's all I can think of. A Belated Merry Christmas to all of you (or Hanukkah, for whom it is applicable) and Happy Another Set of 365 Days That Will Go By Even Faster Than These Ones Did.  Now, that ball actually getting dropped into the crowd in New York City, that's what I'd like to see :D

    
    
    
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X1300...PCI

ATI Logo
        I've been meaning to upgrade my graphics card for a while, and I finally did this past week.  Sadly, my computer is still running on a plain PCI bus; no Express to be found here.  The best it can do is a Radeon X1300/X1550.  I decided to just go w/ the 1300 since pretty much anything short of an HD 2k series is outdated anyway, at least as far as the latest games go.  Here are some of the games or demos which I've used to test its capabilities:

  • Company of Heroes (demo) : I've wanted this for a while, but it wouldn't even show up on my old card, a 9250 (just below min. requirements). Of course, as soon as I am capable of running it, the main game disappears from Steam.  Anyone know why this is?
  • Half-Life 2 Lost Coast: This one ran @ 21 fps before and now it runs at an astounding......wait for it.......28 fps! Not sure wtf is up with that, but it just doesn't like my computer. Fine by me. It was free, and I can delete it anytime I want.
  • Sherlock Holmes Nemesis (demo) : I am a fan of Doyle's great detective, but his latest adventure was just a bit too much to handle. Fear not, for now it runs fine, and looks just as good.
  • Portal: Ran fine before, but now it does better and looks the part as well. The portals swirl like they're supposed to.
  • NFS Most Wanted: There used to be large white portions of cars when I looked at them in the shops; I couldn't tell if they were crazy reflections or graphical inadequacy.  Sadly, while those are no longer a problem, I for some reason can't increase detail and resolution without sacrificing gameplay performance. Whenever I turned them up, things seemed to move slower. No, not laggy, but just slow. Odd - the lower the resolution, the better I drive. Also, my save disappeared, so I had to restart the game.

     So yeah, I should be on my desktop a lot more, and maybe buying some new PC games.  Since the aforementioned Company/Heroes is aforementioned-ly gone from Steam, I went and bought a DVD drive from Newegg to play it from.  I tried it out with the copy of MoH: Pacific Assault my neighbor gave me and it ran it.  Although, that doesn't change the fact that the install code is still lost and I can't play it anyway.  I'm gonna see if one of my more technologically-gifted friends can crack it.

     As far as what I've been playing, not much except for Mercs 2.  I'm at about 94% and trying to get all the shop items before proceeding to the final mission.  I still haven't played with anyone online, but I'd like to (achievements, yum), so if anyone would be so
JSF FTW
kind as to hit me up on XBL, it would be greatly appreciated, though I never have that much time to play consistently.

     I tried the EndWar demo this morning.  It took about 10 minutes and one failed mission before I got a handle on the controls and then really sorta liked it.  I'm glad I didn't go preorder like I was thinking about doing, but I still might pick it up.


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Only a Slight Burning Sensation

   I never wear beanies.  This is probably because I've only ever had one, but I still really don't have any reason to wear one as the winters do not get that cold where I live.  Such being the case, the fact that I preordered Mercs 2 almost solely to get the beanie is somewhat bewildering, though the mag is pretty cool (and shiny!) and the bonus unlockable costume should make the game a bit more interesting, or at least provide some freshness. 

   I say "should" because I forgot about that being part of the package, and when I went to pick it up this morning after waiting 10 minutes for the store to open, I neglected to make sure that the paper w/ the code on it was included.  I later realized the absence of unlock-code-ness and called the store to tell them that I did not get one.  Turns out, they ran out of codes shortly after opening earlier today.  I then mentioned that I was a member of the 7-person group waiting for the noon opening and actually the second to a register.  The manager seemed confused as to why I did not get one, as am I, and I've read on a forum that many retailers completely forget to hand them to those picking up their orders.  Anyway, I'm going back tomorrow to see if he could find one for me. I may just have to get the e-mailed code like everyone who ordered it online.  Why do I want one so bad?  Because Jennifer Mui looks mega-sexy in that black outfit; needless to say I like the poster that comes in the mag.  Although, I'm not sure if that's the one, but if it is, I want it!  

The mighty Tauren
   Oh, and I got the free 10-day WoW trial last week.  I have about 3 days left, and I think I'll get at least a month to continue playing and get my friend a mount and other cool refer-a-friend rewards.  I've got a lvl 12 Tauren Druid on Illidan, so if you're out there, look me up I guess.  The name's Tyrnach.

While typing this, I finished eating some chicken & cheese taquitos that came frozen from the grocery store.  They are pretty good.  As long as something has meat and cheese enclosed in a bread product, it's fine by me.
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