Ending B

I <3 Chipotle

If you've been around the internet, and especially 4chan, you've probably seen this demotivational poster

Slaughter Demotivational

It may be my morbid sense of humor, or my desire to find out why she's laughing so manically, but this poster made me want to go out and watch this series.

When the Cicadas Cry takes place in Japan over the course of a few days in June of 1983. The main character, Keiichi Maebara, has recently moved from a big city to the tiny town of Hinamizawa and is finally adjusting to life there with the help of his new female friends.

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PS3 Slim Announced!

by Steve Barringer

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

After months of speculation of either a PS3 price drop or slimmed down console Sony finally let the ball drop earlier today. At Gamescon in Cologne, Germany, Sony announced a PS3 slim hitting retailers soon. Before reading any further I should warn that all that is official is the announcement of the PS3 slim and the price. Sony's official website hasn't been updated yet to reflect this new addition to the PS3 family. The new console is priced at $299, $100 cheaper than the current cheapest model. As far as speculation is concerned, the release date could be as early as next week or as late as the first week in September. Most rumors are saying that the slim comes with a 120GB hard drive, 1 dual shock 3 controller, blu-ray player and 1080p support. These are the specs that were found in the Kmart PS3 Slim Page ad on their website, but have since been taken off. No word yet on whether or not the new console is backwards compatible. Kotaku is reporting that the new model is about 1/3rd smaller and lighter than the original model.

I had hopes for this game. High hopes. I spent the majority of the 1st disc hoping the game would get better….but it didn’t. What happened Tri-Ace? You used to be cool.

The plot so far is average at best. The game takes place in the year Space Date 10, or 2075. World War III has made the Earth’s surface uninhabitable, so humanity turns to space looking for planets suitable for colonization. You take control of Edge Maverick, a 19 year old rookie space cadet who is assigned along with his teenage friends to be part of the exploration team. Why Earth is choosing teenagers who’ve barely finished school to explore unknown worlds is beyond me. Maybe the government thinks they’re expendable? In typical RPG fashion, things don’t always go as planned. In mid flight to the first destination, the ships encounter some space anomaly, causing a crash landing on, luckily, the destination planet. As if things weren’t bad enough, monsters which shouldn’t be anywhere near this planet inhabit it, and decide to wreak havoc on the survivors. After combining parts from 3 of the ships to make 1 working ship, Edge is given the task of continuing the mission to explore the galaxy, where more things won’t go as planned. Poor guy can’t seem to catch a break, eh?

The characters themselves aren’t particularly great. Edge himself starts off as a likeable guy, kind and ambitious, but gets painfully more annoying as the game goes on. Edge’s co-pilot, Reimi, takes the role of the weak woman, whose main purpose in the plot seems to be causing trouble for the party by needing to be saved in one way or another. Lymle, who looks like she’s 6 but is apparently 15 according to the manual, is probably the best character so far mainly because she doesn’t take sh*t from anyone and summons a huge Cerberus on anyone who tries to harm her. She does have the annoying habit of saying ‘kay after every sentence. I guess the director wanted her to be more “moe”. I’ve met more characters, but I won’t go into any detail about them, mainly since there’s nothing terribly interesting about them.

Star Ocean 4's Lymle

I'm 15 'kay

The battle system is good for the most part. Battles take place in real-time on a 3D map with up to 4 characters participating. You take control of one character and have the ability to switch who you control just by pressing the left or right bumper. Once you get more than 5 characters you can switch out one character for another. Only characters that participate in battle get experience so remember to switch out often unless you have no intention of using certain characters. The only complaint I have so far is that there seems to be no way to have one character perform an action while controlling another. Say I was controlling Edge but wanted Lymle to cast a spell. I have to switch control over to Lymle in order to do anything. In previous Star Ocean games, it would have been possible to bring up a menu over another character and have them either cast a spell or use an item.

The unique part of Star Ocean 4’s battle system is rush mode. When the little green bar under a character fills up to 100%, they can activate rush mode. In this mode, characters can attack more often and run a little faster. They also can use new moves but I haven’t been able to do so as of yet. The downside is enemies, including bosses have this too. This makes a few of the bosses particularly nasty.

I don’t know if I’ll end up finishing the game. It starts off interesting enough, but so far has mostly followed the formula of “get stuck on planet, escape from planet, repeat”. The battles are fun enough to keep me entertained but I don’t know for how much longer. My advice: play Star Ocean 2 if you haven’t already or if you’re itching for a 360 RPG, get Tales of Vesperia.

My morning began with helping a friend obtain a Wii. Due to work, she could not purchase one of our local Circuit City's Wii's right when the store opened because as Wii all know, Wii's don't last very long on the shelf. While standing in line waiting to buy the Wii, I noticed that they had copies of the latest installment of the popular Mario Kart series, Mario Kart Wii. Ever since I received a copy of Super Mario Kart for Christmas in 1992, I've been hooked. Knowing I would pick this game up eventually and not having bought a video game in quite a while, I decided to pick it up for myself. I've played about 6 Grand Prix's so far and my overall consensus so far is this: It's good. Not ZOMFG THIS GAME IS THE BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD but definitely good. Without further delay, I'll start.

Control Schemes- The first thing you'll notice is that the game comes with a new accessory- The Wii Wheel. Shaped like a steering wheel, it allows you to play Mario Kart Wii as if you were driving a car. The wheel also has a spot in the middle for the Wii Remote to plug in. There is also an enlarged "B" button on the back of the wheel because the back of the wheel covers the Wii Remote's "B" button. The wheel is not required to play the game. You can play it by rotating the Wii Remote like a steering wheel, connecting a nunchuck to a Wii Remote and using it to steer, a Gamecube controller or a Classic controller. So far, I have only played it with the Wii Wheel and Solo Wii Remote. I prefer the Wii Wheel. I feel that the sensitivity of the steering is a bit too high and the wheel helps compensate for this. While using the solo Wii Remote, there were a few times when I tried making a sharp turn and ended up making a 180 instead. While making the same turns with the wheel, I made them with relative ease. The game is still playable with a solo Wii Remote but more enjoyable with the Wii Wheel. Nonetheless, I still find myself occasionally having trouble staying on the road even when using the Wii Wheel.

Drivers- All of the classics are here: Mario, Luigi, Toad, ect. The game starts out by only letting you choose between 12 characters but the more Cups’ you win and the better you do in them, more characters become unlocked. Drivers have their strengths and weaknesses, as does each kart. Some are better at handling while others are faster.

Levels- Mario Kart Wii offers 8 cups to choose from. From what I can gather, 4 of them are comprised of entirely new levels where you'll race through such places as a mall, a ski resort and an abandoned mine. The other 4 are made up of levels from previous Mario Kart games with updated graphics for the Wii.

Game play- The main objective is to still race around throwing stuff at each other and try to collect as many points as possible. Each course is still 3 laps around and contains speed boosters, item boxes and numerous obstacles...stuff any Mario Kart player should be familiar with. I've heard from a few spots on the internets (mostly /v/) that the difficulty has increased since Double Dash. Based on what I know about the game, I have a few theories in hand. The first is one of the most noticeable differences in the game. There are 12 racers competing instead of the usual 8 (OK, Double Dash technically had 16). This means that there are now 4 more opponents racing against you and 4 more opponents eager to dish out whatever they can throw at you, which they will with no hesitation. You thought the blue shells and lightning bolts were annoying in Mario Kart 64 and Double Dash? You'll be sure to encounter more than you'd like to here. Speaking of items, this leads me to my second observation. While in 1st place you'll usually get only 1 of 4 items- 1 green shell, 1 fake item box, 1 banana peel, or 3 banana peels. No mushrooms, triple shells of any kind, or red shells. The practice of diminishing the quality of items with increasing your position is no new idea, but the developers certainly stepped it up a notch in Mario Kart Wii. Fortunately, this applies to the A.I. characters too so once they move their way up into 1st place, they won't stay there for long. My final observation comes from a previous paragraph. While playing with the Wii Wheel or a solo Wii Remote, it is more difficult to control yourself. So while you're busy trying to dodge shells and bananas and other drivers, you're also trying to just stay on the road. Also important to note about the difficulty it that is really starts to show in the 100cc circuit, at least, if you're familiar with Mario Kart. 50cc is still easy.

WiFi- Like Super Smash Brothers Brawl, Mario Kart Wii can also be played online. Only vs. and battle are accessible online. I haven't tried it out yet but I hear lag is minimal.

Toad Brigade- No mention of them. I am hurt. The crazy island people from Super Mario Sunshine are still present in the award ceremony but the Toad Brigade? No mention whatsoever.

Bottom line: I'm glad I bought Mario Kart Wii. It's fun and I want to unlock the other levels and characters. Who knows? Maybe the Toad Brigade will have their own level or their spaceship can be unlocked!

Fey References

by Steve Barringer

Saturday, March 8, 2008

I've been playing Apollo Justice and I have been enjoying it so far. Anyway, I did find a reference to both Maya and Mia, but they don't really stand out or anything. First, Maya. While talking to Eldoon in the Wright Talent Agency, he makes a comment that both Phoenix and his assistant frequented his father's noodle stand. For Mia, if you examine the plant at the office, Trucy says that Phoenix's mentor was very fond of Mr. Charley. Will there be more? I'll just have to keep playing and find out...


by Steve Barringer

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Test Toast


Damn, now I want toast. With butter...and bacon...and some mayo....oh just give me a whole damn sandwich....with a side of fries...and a dr pepper...

I really need to stop thinking about food.