I've been slowly going through the SXSW Festival's torrent. There's about 1200 tracks in all, and I'm probably keeping about 1 out of every 10 songs for future listening pleasure. I'm on "M" now, and it's becoming a bit of a slog to keep going. Some thoughts:
Nothing pulls me out of a song more than terrible singing.
Most of these singers cannot sing.
Indie bands with a female lead singer all sound exactly the same.
Garage bands from the UK all sound exactly the same.
So I guess Metal has gone the way of growling and screaming, huh?
What the hell are MC Frontalot and MegaRan doing here?
I wish there was more blues.
Would I pay to see a chiptunes band? Nah....
I bet all the Fox Searchlight guys hang out here to build their soundtracks.
Do all these bands sing in the same tunnel to get that echo?
Nope, still don't like rap.
I wish I spoke Spanish. Some of these foreign songs are good!
Why aren't there more party tracks in here? Is it a requirement that bands in SXSW are mopey?
Huh, there is a Rock Band song in here (White Falcon Fuzz by The Mother Hips)
I was at Brauhaus Schmitz on Saturday, watching some soccer and eating some sauerkraut when I looked over and saw my waiter totally doing that move! I honestly never thought I'd see anyone ever do that in real life. Unfortunately, I was too slow with the camera, but he had the exact same expression, just pointing at himself at staring out at space.
So I ditched my old honkin' 57" floor-standing CRT projection TV a few weeks ago. It weighed 200 lbs., and was 4' H x 49" W x 27" deep, in a room not nearly big enough for it. I picked up a 52" Sharp Aquos from Costco, but wasn't terribly happy with the picture quality. So I took it back and got a 46" Sony Bravia, and I LOVE it:
I had to swap out the TV stand with the one in the den to fit the 5 disc DVD changer. Now I just need a Blu-Ray player/PS3 and a Logitech Harmony remote. I also went ahead and got a baby hotness for my wife, since she was rocking an old 27" SD CRT set in the den. Nothing major, but it has touch controls on the bezel, and it's like super cute and stuff. Made her day (even though I spent her money on it):
I'm not sure how I feel about the Quest feature on this site yet. My biggest issue is that I will no doubt have my PM box filled with spam from people who are trying to complete quests that involve number of followers and the like. I had enough of that on Gamespot, thank you. Also, I'm feeling sort of cheesed off that my S-ranks didn't give me the XP that I deserve. Why do I care? I have no idea.
I picked out a new TV today, after my wife finally got fed up with me talking about it. It's a 52" Sharp, which is actually a downsize from my 57" Toshiba. The old TV was taking up too much room, and I wasn't really happy with its performance anymore. The cheap-o Ikea stand will do the job for now. It looks nice and clean, and it matches my DVD towers. Eventually I'll replace it whenever we get a house and some real furniture.
Oh, I also picked up Mega Man 10. I really, really suck at it.
A friend of mine plays Modern Warfare 2 near constantly now. While he's normally a bit of an intense dude, there's something about playing FPS' online that makes him flip a switch. The dude just goes off whenever he loses, especially when it's due to being on a shitty team. I never understood why he got that mad until I got into Street Fighter IV. There's just something about that game that makes me lose it. The primary difference is that it's a solo game, so the only person to be mad at is myself when I lose. Unfortunately, it's usually my controller that takes the brunt of it. I wonder if I prefer one-on-one games rather than teams because I played solo sports growing up?
The Inevitable Survival Horror Moment
I am absolutely loving Dead Space. EA completely nailed what makes survival horror games so compelling. They provide just enough jump scares to keep you focused and cautious, but not so many that you get sick and tired of it. The ultimate key to survival horror is to keep the player on edge, and make his/her brain provide the scares, like "what is around that corner?" or "something's totally going to bust out of that grate." Then when it doesn't your guard is lowered just a little bit, so that something comes barreling through the wall, scaring the shit out of you.
However, there is always a turning point in these games, Dead Space being no exception. Eventually, you have just enough ammo, just enough health kits, just enough armor, and just powerful enough weapons that your character goes from hunted to hunter. There are a few exceptions to this rule, but for the most part, at some point you start to feel that you are more of a badass than the enemies are. Maybe it's just that you know how to take them down quickly and efficiently. Maybe it's because you know how to control your character better. Maybe it's because you have a better understanding of your surroundings. Whatever the reason, the scares go away a bit. After this point, whenever the scary music blasts out and the enemy drops behind you, you simply yell "Fuck You!" when the enemy drops in behind you. You bash them in the skull with your gun, stop in their heads, and move on to face the next pussy monster coming at you.
I got Dead Space for Christmas, and finally got around to popping it into my 360's DVD tray. And HO-LEE SHIT is it good! I can't remember the last time that any game made such a great first impression. Though none of its pieces are terribly novel, every single one of them is well-executed. The game looks simply stunning, controls very well, and perfectly nails the fine balance between Resident Evil-style jump scares and Silent Hill's underlying spookiness. I'm not far into the game yet, but I am enjoying it immensely.
Drunken Rock Band
My GH3 Les Paul started crapping out on me after after about two years of sold service. Costco ran a GH: World Tour bundle deal for $30, so I grabbed one of those a few months ago. Well, the strummer on that guitar already went out, so I had to grab a new guitar. The Micro Centre near me sells the RB2 Strats for $40. It's a bit wonky (I've never used the RB guitars before), but I tried using a pick instead of strumming with my thumb. I'm not that great at it yet, but somehow it does make the game a lot more fun. Also, I was four beers deep when I started playing, which makes anything fun.
I am so happy for the unofficial return of the Endurance Run for the beta of Star Trek Online. My wife and I are big Star Trek fans - she prefers TNG, as anyone should, though I'm also a fan of Voyager and season 3 of Enterprise - though I'm not a fan of MMOs. I've been enjoying what STO has to offer so far, but I can also see the rough edges. If they do wind up doing a 360 port, which I sort of doubt, I may break down and get it eventually.
I started a couple new games of Dragon Age to get through all of the origin stories, and for achievement whoring purposes. Though I didn't really like Dragon Age that much, it was definitely worth going back and seeing all of the background stories. They tie into the overall narrative in what I think were very inventive ways. I also dusted off my copy of Lego Batman to get some easy achievements. I figured I could S-rank it, but it turns out that I simply don't have the patience to actually try.