Sunday, February 26, 2012

A humorous experience

Again, another story I've kept off the wall since some people may not like this, but it was hilarious and I feel the need to share.

So the other night Michael Gravely came over, and as usual, we went out to get chinese food. While waiting for our meal to get cooked, I started telling him about  something on Logo tv's website, Rupaul's fantasy drag race. Where you choose 3 queens and each week different points are awarded depending on what they do/say in the show. The one who chooses the right queens and gets the most points wins something. I was mentioning the 3 I had chosen, Latrice Royale, Chad Michaels and Sharon Needles. Before I could get into why I chose those three, some guy standing in line for his food pipe in. Saying that Sharon's horrible and he hates her. Sir, do you even know what we're talking about? He actually does, and we have a lively conversation about the show, being careful not to spoil anything for M.G. since he wasn't caught up yet.
The most hilarious part of this experience, is how the man talked. I know I've said some things from the show, but in jest, totally not being serious. This person was throwing out words like the shade of it all, the house down, fishyness, nearly every slang word from the show, he used it like it was commonplace for people to talk like that. It was all I could do to keep from laughing until after we left the restaurant.
And fyi, though you probably don't care, "the house down" is a long spoken out exclamation mark. For when you don't want to get passionate or exclaim anything, but need people to know it is important I guess.

The show and fantasy drag race can be found here,

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Kingdoms of Amalur

So here I am playing a game I was seriously on the rocks about. Kingdoms of Amalur. Why was I so iffy about this? Cause it looked a lot like Fable...and I hate Fable with the fire of a thousand burning suns.
Why do I hate Fable so much? Cause its squandered potential. The games should have been good...but gameplay was bland, combat amounted to "get overpowered spell 1" "spam overpowered spell 1" "win game" Story was blah. Character interactions were horrible. (...Fart? Really? Why is this a valid character interaction when your game isn't a comedy?) I could go on all day.

So then why do I love Kingdoms of Amalur so much? Because this is what Fable would be like, if it didn't suck.

Combat for starters is genuinely fun, and I love all the options it has. Want a spellcaster that can sneak attack people? Go for it. Thief that sneaks up on a group, backstabs one, and proceeds to beat the allies with a warhammer? Got that, too. Find out you don't like a build and wish you didn't do it? You can find the right npc and just reset the appropriate skills and start over.

The story thus far is interesting as well. Nothing terribly fancy, but it works, and I'm enjoying it. NPCs have plenty to say, and the world is very well detailed...which is only to be expected, given who wrote it. There's also a TON to do aside from the main story...oodles and oodles of side quests if you decide, you simply don't wanna advance the main story.
Which brings up how you go about some of those quests. The game also has quite a nice level of detail to them, as well. NPC gives you a quest which will result in you getting a key you need to proceed further? You can, say...kill him and steal the key. Bribe him. Do the quest. Or, if you stole the key from him before you ever got the quest in the first place...all of a sudden, the whole quest line changes a bit to reflect that.

One other thing I find myself enjoying is the game doesn't have a tacked on morality system. Wanna be an evil mofo and kill a town just for kicks? You can do that. Goody two shoes, saving kittens from trees, and the like? Yep, got that, too.
But if on the other hand you wanted to play someone who just got done murdering all the women and children of a city, only to go into the countryside and decide to save the village of Snugglemore from a pack of angry bunnies, because you're just suddenly feeling can do that, too, without some morality system telling you "Sorry, you're a murderer, you can't do nice things."

Of course, it's not all goodness, the game is not without its flaws. One of the big ones being the expressiveness of NPCs, and most notably, your character. NPCs have some expressions...but as a whole, just look kind of uninterested in what they're saying. Your main character of course seems to have no facial expressions at all beyond indifference. I have not yet, gotten into a conversation with an NPC and had my character actually look like he gives a damn about whats being said...even when whats being said is really interesting or important.
The audio can be a lil wonky too during these conversations. For instance, early in the game you come across a fae who'd been beaten, and while talking to the guard, the ENTIRE conversation you hear her moaning in pain...loudly....which is a mite distracting.

The graphics too to some people may be a lil cartoony. I see nothing wrong with it myself, and really, anyone who's ever played a Warcraft it WoW, or the original strategy games (Remember when Warcraft was a fun strategy game?) has seen its like before. It does feel like an odd design choice though.

I could ramble more, but I think this is enough for now. All in all, the games fantastic, and I very highly recommend it.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva

As you've all probably guessed by now, I love a lot of things. Games, franchises, shows, movies, songs....there's a lot of love going around. I love the Layton games. The puzzles, character development, voice acting and amazingly animated cut scenes are fantastic. So when I found out there was a movie, I jumped all over it like.....well, like anything else I jump on quickly.
Sadly I only just got around to watching it now with everything that's been going on, and boy, it's amazing. I recommend this movie to anyone, not just Layton fans. The way the movie starts out, it quickly explains who everyone is and how they connect to each other, with more connections being explained as more people are introduced, so you never get confused or feel like you're missing something important. For people who have played through all the games, it doesn't bore you and some cameos and references are made, as well as a few familiar twists that are to be expected of anything with the Layton name on it.
The story is that a former assistant of Prof. Layton's is a famous opera singer named Janice who has a mystery for him to solve about her dead friend Melina and how it seems she was reborn or granted eternal life in another body. Yet when he goes to talk to Janice after the play, it seems there are bigger things afoot. A masked man appears and tells everyone that they must play a game and solve his puzzles. The last person standing wins eternal life. The people who lose, lose their life. At this point, people start freaking out, but the masked man anticipated this. The theater is actually a ship, which sets sail amid shark infested waters, preventing anyone from leaving. Your choice is play or die.
I'm going to skip past the animation and voice acting since there isn't really anything to say about it, both are as top notch as ever and in the style of the games that came before. Starting with the puzzles. Now this is a movie, so you would think interactive puzzles don't work that way. I'll go into detail on just the first one.
Everyone is still standing or sitting in the theater still, roof open to the night sky when a mysterious booming voice comes out of nowhere

"Ladies and gentlemen, now we are all passengers together on the Crown Petone, it is time for our little puzzle-solving game to begin. The rules are very simple; the winner, meaning the last player left, receives Eternal Life. Let us begin.
Puzzle Number 001: Look around you, ladies and gentlemen. Look for the oldest thing you can see and gather by it. Sounds simple, but there is a catch.When the music stops, your time is up. If you want Eternal Life, then there's no time to lose."
The ship just so happens to be full of artifacts, fossils and other things which are immeasurably old, and we cut to scenes of people choosing different artifacts to stand by in hopes of winning. By now you should have guessed what the answer is, but they give you a bit more time before Layton tells Luke the answer is the stars you can only see in the theater itself.
Rewinding a little bit, I just have to say I couldn't stop laughing when the voice came on and said it was puzzle 001. And he does that for all of the puzzles, I love it!
Moving on to the character development. Nearly all of it is dedicated to Janice, Melina and her father Oswald Whistler and the relationship they each have together. I'm not going into this since it spoils the plot and you should all go see this movie.

Lastly, a few comments I had while watching the movie.
"Why do all the villain's "houses" in Layton games have second forms?"
"....You know Tayron, all of these villains always make so much trouble for Layton, but he STILL helps them out in the end when the plan goes wrong because they were too stupid to look underneath the underneath. Why can't they just ask him for help in the beginning, you know, since he's going to HELP THEM ANYWAY!"

"Wow. This man can play musical instruments, build different mechanical objects, solve way out there puzzles, rock a top hat and is an archaeologist? Why is he still single-oh yeah, his girlfriend blew up, then returned and accidentally crushed his heart into little pieces 10 years later. No wonder he's single."
Hope you enjoyed!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Secret World of Arrietty

If you're reading this blog, you need to go see this movie now. Go to a matinee showing, buy the dvd if it's already out and you're getting to my blog a bit late, but the point is you should totally see this movie.

Okay, fangirlishness aside, this movie is very well done. The animation is fantastic, and though I've only seen it in English so far, the US voice acting is very good.
The movie starts off with young Shawn, voiced by David Henrie, arriving at his aunt's house for some rest and relaxation before he has to go through an operation. He settles in, and the movie turns to what effect his stay has on the Clocks, the borrower family living in the house. The story and characters are well fleshed out with their own desires and dreams. 
Will Arnett, Bridgit Mendler and Moises Arias are great as Pod the father, Arrietty and Spiller, but it's Carol Burnett as the miad Hara, and Amy Poehler as Arrietty's mother Homily, that really steal the show. It really sucks you in, and if it weren't for the beautiful animation on the screen, you'd think it was really happening. That borrowers really do exist.

And now for the bad side. This was the ending song for the original release

It's a beautiful song, I love it, but Disney, again like Ponyo, went with a translated version sung by the main character shown here.

Not the best, and it was kind of a jarring end to the movie as the credits roll. The rating I'd give this is 4.5 out of 5 stars. Could have been a 5, but the ending just doesn't cut it Disney.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Valentine's Day Cards

It's already February and in a short time it will be time for the holiday of love. I've been scouring the net looking for the perfect cards to give to the people in my life. I found a lot of different options and thought up some original ideas for you all to see later.

This card, found here, is awesome. There are a ton of cards online that use the quote from Star Wars, but this takes the cake as it's written in Aurabesh.

This card is also cute, no words needed to declare your love to another. If you do need words, try this one.

Time for a Youtube meme card.

Required Skyrim card, posted as Tayron's submission. Free downloads of Skyrim cards can be found here.
Valentine Card - Mustache a Question Valentine's Card - Anniversary Card
This card speaks for itself.

This one ranks high on my list due to the fact it uses Unown pokemon to spell out the inside message.

Finally this card

Found here, just a cute little spin on the old rhyme.

And now for the list of free downloadable cards.

Disney always has some of the best crafts and printable cards for the little ones in your life, Their list of top 15 Valentine''s cards are found here, and some top crafts here.

A great tutorial for making your own cards on this website. They also have a bunch of pre-made cards you can download, too much awesome for me to pick just one, you should really go see it for yourself.


Fun Nintendo themed cards found here.

A very well done Scooby Doo card here.

The Mary Sue blog has a list of 52 compiled as well, check it out.

And lastly, a checklist of date ideas.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Gaming Break

I was intending to go back over and post all the links to the awesome cute and geeky valentines for sale on Etsy, as well as some you can print out or make yourself. But then Final Fantasy XIII happened. I had intended to play this game some time in the future since Tayron already has it and beat it ages ago, but not now. Then I got the latest issue of Cosmode, and between the fantastic character outfits shown in a feature there for XIII-2 and my friend's enthusiasm for the game and all it's awesomeness, I really wanted to play XIII-2. Tayron won't let me play it without playing through and beating 13. So for I really like it, despite all the negative things people keep throwing around about it. No need to post those negative things in the comments, I have enough of that on my fb page when I made a humorous, offhand comment about how my favorite Zelda and Pokemon games are very linear and direct.

So tomorrow you get links to other people's V-day ideas and fun, and Saturday you get the cards I've thought up.