sexta-feira, 25 de dezembro de 2009

quinta-feira, 10 de dezembro de 2009

Colin McRae Dirt 2 - gameplay, by me

Come on, be honest, do I play nice or what? :D

quarta-feira, 18 de novembro de 2009

Game's over!

Modern Warfare 2 and Kingdom Hearts, that is. The later was a pain to the very end, but I finally put it behind my back. As I said before to my dear friend and KH lover Junlee, I just never got into it. But now I can get it out of my head and put the game to rest peacefully on the shelf. Guess what I started playing next?

Kingdom Hearts~: Chain of Memories! xD Nope, not joking, I'm playing the next games too, hoping that they improved with each new release. And so far this game doesn't look as long as the first one, so maybe it'll be over fast :D Like I said to a friend the other day, casual gamers play what they like, true hardcore gamers play everything, whether they like it or not!

A far more enjoyable experience, and far shorter, was Modern Warfare 2. It gets better as you progress, and for me it only got really interesting by the end of the 2nd act. The 3rd and final act is just awesome from start to finish. Overall though, although it's better than the first, the impact is just not the same after 2 years with the same basic gameplay and graphics engine. It's a pretty good game, but unless you're serious about the online component, at the current price it's just a rip-off.

sexta-feira, 13 de novembro de 2009

MW2, W7 and KH

Now that's a cryptic title... But allow me to explain:

MW2 - Modern Warfare 2 - Been playing and so far I've mixed feelings about it. It's still CoD, but after so many games that formula just isn't that impressive or appealing anymore. I'm almost at the end and so far I can count the truly memorable moments on one hand, and there were far more "meh" levels. The graphics engine is still the same, only with a couple of tweaks, and the pc version (the one I'm playing) is a rip-off for a couple of reasons. +10€ than a standard pc game, which makes it as expensive as the console versions, and no dedicated servers. On a fucking pc game!!! The online's ruined...

Still a good game, but don't get taken by the hype, it's not that good. Also, the story, specially the beginning, is even more American propaganda than the first game... Seriously, I could live without knowing that "what happens here matters over there" (great excuse to invade every country in the world) and that "you can't give others freedom but the tools to get it themselves" (because god forbid if we don't all live in a merry democracy). To all my American friends, you know I love ya, but sometimes your country can get on my nerves...

W7 - Windows 7 - Finally installed it, after some months of getting accustomed to vista. Thought the transition would be smoother, since everything's in a different partition (both OS's and my data), but it turned out I had to reinstall every piece of software I had. Also I'm still trying to find out how can I relocate my profile to another partition, but despite all that trouble I'm liking it.

KH - Kingdom Hearts - I'm so close to finally beating it!!! Overall I've spent more than 20 fucking hours with this game and all I want right now is to beat it and forget it, but I'm currently stuck in the many battles against Ansem... -.-'

quarta-feira, 4 de novembro de 2009

Left 4 Dead 2 demo is out

Indeed it is. Wanna play it sometime? It's free, so all you need is a decent pc and, of course, an internet connection. Personally I was one of many gamers who felt "betrayed" with the announcement of this game, so early in the lifespan of the first title. It was like the EA approach to games, which I absolutely and utterly despise. Even after playing it I still think this would be well suited for just an expansion pack, not an entirely new game, because it doesn't bring anything entirely new. Just new maps, characters, enemies and weapons. It may sound much, but that's what an expansion pack used to be for, some new stuff but nothing truly extraordinary.

The only redeeming factor about this game is the new melee combat feature + the machete = pure win. Seriously, it's so much fun to go around chooping zombies with this thing, it's crazy! I personally like to run towards a single infected who's also running towards me and slice the fucker. The gore also reached new heights. I first noticed it when I sliced an infected's back open, and noticed I could see an actual cut, not just a flat texture, with the bones shining in the sun through the cut meat. Gross.

domingo, 25 de outubro de 2009


What's that? I laugh, I lose? Challenge...accepted...

quinta-feira, 22 de outubro de 2009

Ghetto literature

For such a busy guy, today I actually had some spare time before lunch, so I gladly took the opportunity to go to the nearest mall to eat and relax a little. Next to the MacD (that's what I started calling McDonald's after watching too many Ali G Show's) is a Bertrand store, one of our biggest book sellers, and ever since I started my course on Editorial Studies I kinda got the habit of going there a lot, even if almost never buy a book (we have a very small market, so they're expensive as fuck).

So, anyway, there I was, being tempted by a 20% discount on Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion (that book has been on my list ever since it came out), which would still make it 16€ (fuck, do they think I'm rich or something? I got university fees to pay), few moments away from finding a recent translation of Sun Tzu's The Art of War (which I actually bought, for 6€ it was a steal), and being annoyed to death by 16 year old's yelling and laughing like they were still 10, when I spotted this guy:

Fuck, I didn't see that coming. Not just the guy alone, but the contrast. On one side you have a bunch of school kids, good looking, well dressed, who look like they can afford all the books they want, and still are just there goofing around, I don't have the slightest clue as to why they entered a book store in the first place, since that was obviously not their place. On the other side you have this guy, probably the closest thing to a real gangsta I've ever seen, dressed like he just came straight outta da hood, and yet there he was, calmly sitting down with a book on his hands, completely focused on what he was reading.

Man, that was a real eye-opener. You definitely can't judge a book by its cover, nor a person by its appearance. Peace out, G's!

quarta-feira, 21 de outubro de 2009

What's up?

Work. That's what's up. I'm quite literally drowning in papers, and presentations, and written reports, basically all the shit you can imagine, and sometimes just catching up with the stuff we're learning is hard enough. That's university for you.

But before all that started I was having some fun with a certain game. Can you guess it, Junlee? Yup, Kingdom Hearts! :P I'm not shitting you, I actually managed to pick up that hallowed game for the 4th time and this time take it serious (which basically involves lots of patience, walkthroughs and cheat codes). I went all the way to the little mermaid world before putting it on (hopefully) temporary hold.

Other than that I've just been messing around with my recently acquired Nintendo DS, mainly playing this:

An absolute must for every retrogamer worth its salt.

Other than that there's nothing special going on, really, and right now I should be making a draft of my report on a publisher so you'll have to excuse me. Here, have a song to make reading this post worthwhile:

terça-feira, 20 de outubro de 2009

You know you have friends...

...when you get this in the mail! :D What could have been a better post to inject some life into this little, almost dead, place of mediocrity? But as I was saying, yesterday, when I came back from a fucking tiring day at uni, I had a little package waiting for me. What could it be? :D At first I thought it was a couple of books I ordered last week (in case you're curious, it's Blood of Elves, by Andrzej Sapkowski, and The Blade Itself, by Joe Abercrombie - see here), but oh boy, was I in for a surprise! I knew it was something special from the moment I read Nuno "Nebacha" Almeida in the address of the package :D

What it was is another present from our dear Father Krishna. Not only did that hallowed presence of the internest bestow upon me that most unique of games that goes by the name of Seaman, but now he also felt the need to hook me up with the most essential of accessories to play said title: the Dreamcast microphone (and not even a life-threatening heart surgery could prevent him).

Just plug that beauty onto your controller, bring your mouth close and enjoy the sheer pleasure...of looking like a jackass talking to a microphone while being verbally abused by a virtual fish with a man's face. Lol.

But that was not all, for there was also a hand-written card. Really, nice touch! And indeed it made me smile :D

But, really, there were still other things in there, namely the somewhat rare Bleemcast cd for Metal Gear Solid (I thought I'd never have one of those!) and Area 51 for the Saturn! Yeay! :D

So, yeah, by now you have given me more presents than Santa Claus in recent years. Thank you so much, man. I really appreciate it :)

terça-feira, 8 de setembro de 2009

It Took The Night To Believe

Here's something to brighten up your day:

(yeah, just a lame excuse for an update)

segunda-feira, 31 de agosto de 2009

Status: Returned

You may recall me talking about a book I wrote. That was hard work, but unfortunately, in the current editorial market, the actual writing is the easy part, for apparently it is much hard to get the fucking thing published, even when it's undeniably better than 90% of the shit we see nowadays at bookstores.

Yeah, by now you can tell I'm pissed. Guess why? I just got my first reply from a publisher:

"Fuck you, take your shit elsewhere, we don't want it"

It was something along those lines, only in a more articulate speech, but that was essentially the message. Shit...

Gotta try again, have another publisher in mind, the guys behind other authors more in the style of my book (unlike the previous publisher which is really into standard, run-of-the-mill, epic fucking boring fantasy). I don't know, maybe they'll be more receptive to the unique flavour of my story.

If that don't work, hell, maybe I'll sell my soul, cut out all the good and unique things about it, the swearing, the sex, the crude violence, the ambiguous morality, turn it into yet another Tolkien rip-off and maybe then I'll fucking get published!

quarta-feira, 12 de agosto de 2009

Xbox me

Woke up at 4:30 am (after going to bed at sometime around 2 am, which gave me some good 2 hours of sleep) with my dog barking furiously at the woodpile. Turns out there was a fucking snake hidden in there, which I found out after going in armed with a flashlight, only to be greeted by a warming hiiiiissssss. Ripped the fucker's head out. Literally. It was fucking big, by the way, the biggest snake I've killed so far. Check it out -> pretty picture

But that's not why I'm writing. I've said this before on the Saturn Junkyard, but in case you don't follow that most esteemed of blogs, I got myself a new rig. A pc, that is. so, with the harddrive of my old one laying there, unused, I decided to give it another fate. Something I've been dying to try out for a while. Ever since I bought and modded my Xbox, actually.

Replacing the hard disc drive.

Nowadays changing a console's harddrive is easy. With the 360 it's basically idiot-proof, and the PS3 is just a little bit trickier. But this? This, my friends, is a man's job. What Microsoft did with the original Xbox to prevent access to the disc was a lock system, whereby the disc only gets accessible when the system's on. That way you can't just take it apart, connect it to the pc and do whatever you want with it (if you recall, that's why I had to connect the xbox to my pc to mod it. While they both were running. And then switch a cable on the fly. Living dangerously, baby!).

But for every door there's a key, and the key to this door just became available the moment I modded the system. It's the eeprom, a digital key unique to each console, that let's you lock and unlock the disc as you wish, and that's the only thing that's absolutely essential when building a new Xbox compatible HDD. You also need C and E partitions, which you can either download from the web with stock values or just backup your own, with softmod already included.

And there I had a problem, which I only found out when everything was already done (which threw me back to the very beginning). You see, the softmod that I use cleverly only lets you access a "virtual" C partition, not the real thing, just in case you fuck it all up. Unfortunately this time I really needed access to the real shit, so I had to download a little extra software for my softmod (had to download through xbins, which in itself is a rather hardcore process, you have to mirc to ftp), go nuts while figuring out exactly what the fuck did I have to do to have access to the c drive and finally ftp it to my pc.

Once that was done the fun part was about to begin. Gather all that shit, build a boot disc, burn it and get ready to actually mod the disc. Connected to my old pc (you shouldn't have any more drives connected when doing this, and I didn't feel like messing with my new pc, something I did enough already installing two dvd drives), I formatted the bitch, rebuilt it, copied all the contents from my old one from the dvd and finally locked it with my eeprom. In the end, there it was, a fully functional 80gb hdd ready to go to my Xbox. Taking it apart was a breeze and actually replacing the discs was easy. Now, after all that shit, I can say I'm a proud owner of an Xbox 1, with approximately 70gb free, ready to be filled to the brim with games, emulators and movies. Yeay! :D

sábado, 11 de julho de 2009

Are you alive???

Optimus Alive! 09, FUCK YEAH!!!

For those of you completely oblivious to what the fuck I'm talking about, I went to the fucking best festival of the year and for the first time in my life I saw Mastodon, Machine Head, Slipknot and Metallica live! And it was fucking awesome!!! Oh my fucking god, I can't believe it, it was fucking incredible!

The Mastodon concert was awesome, although really short. They only played for 40 minutes or so, and since most songs from the new album are pretty big they took a lot of stage time from the older themes. Still, they played Blood and Thunder, which was fucking awesome!

Next came Machine Head. Ok, actually it was Lamb of God, but I didn't see it, it was 8 pm already and I was hungry, so I chose to eat something instead. But, anyway, Machine Head, once again a pretty short concert. I missed Now I Lay Thee Down and some other favourites of mine, but, whatever, it was great. Way better than I expected, actually. They have such a stage presence that, even though I didn't know most of the songs, I was headganging the whole show!

(best footage I could find...)

Next came Slipknot, and it was amazing as usual. They played most of their stuff, what they usually play live, and did it well. The crowd reaction was way better than I expected, because this band is kind of the scapegoat for "true metalheads", who consider them as being posers and a parody of what "real metal" should be. But fuck that shit! Everyone was singing along, and jumping, and screaming, and they were totally into it. Oh, and then there was the Zero Bullshit...

(watch 5-5:30m)

Finally it was Metallica time. A lot of people there went just to see them, and you could feel the excitement in the air. It was fantastic! They played a lot of songs from the newest album, which was good for me because those are some of the songs I know best, and overall it was just an amazing concert. The interaction with the fans was awesome, the pyrotechnics rocked (there were fucking fireworks! And the fire was so hot I could feel the flames on my face!) and...well, what more can I say? Really, I'm running out of adjectives here...

Finally it ended, at 1 am, but the adventure was only starting. I wandered through the precinct, had a beer with a friend and finally left at 2 am because I still had to get back to the Oriente train station to catch a train back to Aveiro. The problem was, there was supposed to be a fucking bus to take us directly to the station, but that didn't happen. So, after god knows how much time of being completely lost, I finally caught a bus to Cais do Sodré, and from there another to the station. When I finally arrived it was already 5 am and I a still had a couple of hours to spend before my train arrived at 7:30.

Waiting for the train...

Sunrise in Lisbon

Then followed a 2:30 hour trip back to Aveiro, only to be left at the station without a ride, so I had to catch another train to my little village of Oliveira do Bairro, and walk home. My feet were hurting so bad... But it was fucking awesome!!! :D

Home, finally!!! *happy face*

domingo, 14 de junho de 2009

Da Weasel in the house

Tomorrow's my first end of semester exam, am I'm going crazy studying all day long. I really needed to chill out, and what better way to do that than going to a Da Weasel concert? That's right, after interrupting my ritual of going to one of their shows at least once a year for the first time in 2008, I started doing it again. It was my 4th show, the 2nd with songs from the last album (which I absolutely despise), and honestly it was better than I thought it would be.

Maybe they realized that, once the dust settles and the novelty effect wears off, their true fans are the older ones, those who followed their career, not these kids that only listen to them because "it's cool", and the old guys like me like the old songs better. So, they cut a bit on the crap from the last cd, returned with a few old favourites, and overall just gave a good show. Like two years ago they had a big-ass screen on the background (3 screens, actually, a main one in the middle and two smaller parallel screens), unlike in previous years when there was just a painted wall, and this time they made better use of it, with some really cool effects that really added to the music.

(video by me, which explains the quality)

The public, on the other hand, was a bit off. There wasn't a lot of people and most were just standing still, like fucking statues or something. Only the front rows were really into it, jumping, and waving hands, and screaming, and shit, and since the place wasn't that crowded I managed to sneak in until I was just 5 meters or so away from the stage. In fact I was so close I almost caught a water bottle thrown by Jay! But, of course, the fucking prick right in front of me had to catch it... Still, it was the closest I ever was to the band, so it was cool. Also, in the end there was the inevitable mosh pit when they played "Tás na boa", which was fucking great to relieve the stress.

(end of the show, again photo taken with my cellphone)

Overall, a great show. And it only cost me one euro! The booth lady was so nice that, instead of charging me and my two friends three euros each (the ticket price), she charged only three euros for the three of us! Fucking win! :D

quinta-feira, 11 de junho de 2009

PS3's rocking again

As many of you probably know, I bought a PS3 on impulse last summer just to play Metal Gear Solid 4. The good thing is, it was the first thing I did on impulse that I didn't regret later. Heck, it was one of the best summers of my life! I'm not a beach lover and the sun burns my skin, so there's nothing better than spending a whole month shut inside, in a cold living room, playing one of the best games of all time.

The bad thing is, the bloody thing was so fucking expensive it left my wallet with a hole so big it took me this whole time to repair, so in the meantime I sure as hell couldn't afford any more games. For a long time I wanted to pick up some cheap early games, like Motorstorm or Lair (I know, I know, but I'm a big dragon fan). The only problem was, I couldn't find them cheap. Then I really wanted to experience that amazing piece of software named Valkyria Chronicles. Except that, at the time, I was piss poor (for a change...). Then it was Killzone 2, but once again my wallet was against me.

All this changed yesterday, in a fortuitous visit to the nearest GAME store. I usually go there just for a kick, to kill some time looking at games, and always leave empty-handed. Not this time, mate! For they had this wonderful title, in used but excellent condition, for the mere price of 15€

It's Uncharted, dawg!!!

So, there you have it, the first game I bought for my PS3. Too bad I still have 2 exams to go before ending the semester, so I can't play it for now. Only played a little bit yesterday to be sure it worked, and OMG, it's all in Portuguese! Voice work and all!!! Sony, you fucking rule!!! :D

quarta-feira, 10 de junho de 2009

Alive and kicking!

Ok, it's about time I bring this god-forsaken place back to life! Gather around, my dear friends, for I'm about to do what I do best: review stuff and tell you about stuff you never thought existed! This time I bring you the tale of an Xbox game. An original Xbox game, not 360. Now, now, what could come out of that little, somewhat ill-fated, predictable little box? We all know the first Xbox was only good for sports games and shooters (HALO!!!111oneoneone). Well, allow me to prove you wrong. You see, although the console performed terribly in Japan, it did manage to have its share of exclusives we, westerners, never saw. Incredible, I know, but it's true! One of such games goes by the name of Metal Wolf Chaos.

Now, pay attention, as what I'm about to write may very well be too much for you to absorb all at once. In this game you take control of the president of the United States of America. Now, go back and read that sentence again. You don't work for him, you don't have to protect him, he's not just a shadowy figure you never see or a just a poser for the cut-scenes. You, the player, take direct control over the most powerful man on earth! (or so they say) (and no, it's not Obama, soz... *sad face*). But wait, there's more! Obviously you're not on foot, otherwise it'd be boring. Oh no, the president obviously deserves a more fitting ride, so you're riding a big-ass power armor, aka=mech, name Metal Wolf!!! Holy fucking Jesus!

But wait, it gets better. Unlike most mechs, the weapons are not directly and permanently attached to its arms, instead it has them stored in those huge containers over the shoulders so you can pick them up as you please. Oh, and yes, they're fucking gigantic versions of real-life weapons.


Gameplay-wise, the game can seem a bit complicated at first, specially since the default controls have inverted aim (you point the analog stick down and the camera goes up) and a lot of the menus are in Japanese. Still, after some experimentation I managed to configure the controls to my liking, and once you get the hang of it, the game actually plays quite well. The main objectives of each mission usually involve destroying key targets, most of the time enemy towers, with the ocasional boss fight against a huge (HUGE!) mechanized enemy. The levels, usually with a urban setting, give you some liberty as to which way to go and wich targets to get first, which is always nice, and along the way you'll encounter a lot of enemy soldiers or tanks that you can either take out of ignore.

Taking them out is usually the best option, unless time is a priority, since it gives you points that you can use to unlock new weapons. Speaking about weapons, they come in every shape and size (well, not size, since they're all huge), from handguns (can you picture that, a robot shooting a handgun?) to machineguns, rocket-launchers or some exotic pieces, like rifles that shoot lighting. Overall the gameplay is fast and fun, although it takes sometime to get used to the weird weapon-changing system (you can carry up to 8 weapons at a time, 4 for each hand, although the bigger weapons need both hands), and this is in part due to the awesome graphics.

The key word is destruction. Almost everything, beside key structural elements like buildings that are part of the level, can be destroyed. Somethings, like trees, containers or cars explode just by ranning it over, and the rest can easily be dispatched with a couple of well-placed rockets. This goes for enemy towers and other buildings, huge neon signs, building facades, etc, etc... and, you know, the bigger they are, the more impressive the resulting explosion is!

Overall this was a good surprise. At first I tried it just out of curiosity, thinking that there was nothing more than an ingenious gimmick and a ridiculous plot, but actually there was. The gameplay is solid and fun, the graphics are amazing, even the soung is good, and I'm talking about the soundtrack, not the cheesy dialogues (although, if you're into that, they're also great...I guess... "I got to do it, Kate!", "But why, Mr. President?" "Why? Because I'm the president...of the United States...of America!!!"). Too bad it's somewhat rare import, and probably fucking expensive nowadays too, so you're better off getting it through...*coughcough*...other means...

Bye, y'all!

quarta-feira, 27 de maio de 2009

2 more weeks...

Just two more fucking weeks till the end of the semester... Hopefully I'll be back to blogging by then, since, well, this place's fucking dead... I'm just so tired...

Been listening to Eminem's new album, Relapse, convinced by both Junlee's and Father K's rather positive opinions, and I got to admit, so far none of the songs really got to me. Which is rather strange, since for the most part the album is pretty dark and somber in tone, and those kind of themes are my favorite from Eminem. Meh, go figure...

So far my favourite is probably Insane, check it out before youtube takes it down:

segunda-feira, 11 de maio de 2009


In case you didn't get it, watch this:

And then this:

quarta-feira, 22 de abril de 2009

All work and no play makes me a dull boy...

There, something pretty to listen to while you read my ramblings...

This shit's killing me. Work, that is. UA is serious business. Really. And then there's my book, which I'm finally about to finish. And I got to do it fast, cause I want to participate in a literary contest, and the registrations end this month. Fuck...

In the meantime, and to keep me entertained while I drive to and from the university, I've been listening to Metallica's latest album, the much hyped Death Magnetic. Guess what, it's bloody brilliant. You all probably know the first single, The Day That Never Comes, already, so here's something different:

Just listen to that riff. Fucking amazing...

domingo, 29 de março de 2009

Mastodon - Crack the Skye

It's out! And I got mine! :D
It's fucking awesome. I need more time to fully enjoy it and the complex nature of the tracks, but so far I can say that it's not really an evolution from their previous works but more of a departure in a new direction. It's more soft and emotional, with less screaming and more melody. I would even go as far as to say it's a more spiritual album. It certainly has a pretty unique vibe to it. Overall it's a pretty good album, even if it kind of disappointed me a little for being so different from Blood Mountain. But, as Fernando Pessoa once said: "primeiro estranha-se, depois entranha-se".

By the way, hopefully I'm gonna see them live in the summer at the Optimus Alive festival, along with Lamb of God, Slipknot, Machine Head and Metallica :D

sábado, 21 de março de 2009

Back from the dead

After about 3 months in the limbo (oh, wait, the church decided to get rid of that) I finally decided to try and bring my beloved 360 back to life. It wasn't an easy task. Fortunately I got the number of a guy who knows how to repair 360's, so I sent mine to him, paid less than what a new game costs nowadays, and got it back good as new. Or so it was supposed. I usually don't have many reasons to complain about the postal service here in Portugal. Except for that one time when a package got lost and only arrived a month later and all beaten up, they're usually reliable. But not this time.

They managed to fuck up the box with my 360 inside so much that they basically put it back in it's original state. Fortunately the guy was kind enough to guide me through the process of re-repairing it, but I was still a pain in the ass. His first guess was that the rubber pads he put on the memory chips were loose, so I had tear the whole console apart until I had only the motherboard in my hands. Guess what, the pads were in place, so that wasn't it. Then he told me to let it on for 20 minutes or so, hoping that the heat would fix something. It did. Or so I thought at first, when the console finally turned on. Guess what, after 15 mins of Sonic Unleashed it froze. Fucking piece of shit...

Not my actual board, I didn't take pictures this time, was too fucking pissed to think of that...

Then, when I was starting to lose any hope of repairing the thing, he told me as a last resort to put some pieces of folded paper on the rubbers to increase the pressure. It would be my last chance, if that didn't work than the fucking console would be completely fubar. But wait, by now you're probably wondering what the hell is this about memory chips and rubbers. You see, Microsoft, in a fucking brilliant design choice, put the four memory chips of the 360 on the downside of the motherboard. Guess what's on the opposite side? The fucking cpu, with all the heat it generates. There you have it, memory chips with gravity pulling them down and heat melting the solder that glues them to the board. I don't think you have to be a genius to realize that sooner or later, with the solder melting, the chips will start to loose contact with the board. And, you know, they're like, necessary for the 360 to work. Dumbasses...

That's why you have to put something under them to prevent them from falling apart. And that's what I did, after fucking tearing the whole console apart. Again. Shit... Anyway, for now it's looking good. With this piece of shit you never know, but after more than a couple of hours playing I'm starting to feel confident. So, I guess I'm oficially back to the scene. Right now I'm trying to finally finish GTA IV (already stuck again, with no missions to take. damn...) and Sonic Unleashed, and I just got the brand new Eat Lead. Looking good so far.

Oh, and of course, RE5 is next ;)

sexta-feira, 20 de março de 2009

Bill Roper Down on Diablo III Art

Shamelessly snatched from Gamespy:

"When Diablo III was announced at the Paris World Wide Invitational event, one of the first reactions from Diablo fans was surprising -- dismay at the new art direction. Fans objected to what they saw as the "World of Warcraft-ization of the franchise via the addition of brighter colors to what had been a dark and gothic landscape. these objectors have a surprising new ally in Bill Roper, one of the original Diablo developers, who is now at Cryptic Studios working on Champions Online.

Speaking to, Roper hedges his words carefully but does say "...they basically took the Diablo universe and then approached it from the Blizzard Irvine stance for the visuals." He also details what he sees as the differences in art style between the Irvine branch of the company and Blizzard North, where Diablo was developed.

As for his own personal opinion, Roper apparently feels that "I didn't look at it and go, oh my God that's horrible. But I looked at it and went, it's not really... to me as a player it just didn't really ring with Diablo."

To which Allen, from Gamespy, comments:

"Nostalgia is the most dangerous drug. As the Diablo III developers have pointed out, a lot of what players remember as "dark and gothic" was just Blizzard North making the best of the limited tools of the time. I've played Diablo III several times now in both Paris and BlizzCon and this all strikes me as a lot of "make it the same but also totally different." With all due respect to Bill Roper, I think this "controversy" is way overblown and will be forgotten on release day."

What it looks like/what it should look like

My comment:

I'm relieved that someone who truly knows and understands the Diablo franchise (after all we're talking about one of the original developers) agrees that, so far, D3 is looking quite different from what we expected. That thought is kind of reassuring, in a way that maybe we're not wrong for thinking that, after all.

About Allen's comment, it immediately made me think if Silent Hill. The fog, a feature so dear to the franchise, started as a way to make the best out of the PS1's limited hardware. That didn't prevent it to become a staple of the series, a key feature in the games' atmosphere and something prevalent throughout the series ever since. I honestly don't see why it should be any different with Diablo's "dark and gothic" look.

Note: I know this is the second time I talk about this matter, which may seem rather irrelevant and/or uninteresting to most of you. I just want to point out that I'm not obsessed with it, this article just caught my curiosity and, since I haven't updated this blog that much lately, thought it would be something relevant to write about.

quarta-feira, 11 de março de 2009

New Mastodon video - Divinations

I know no one will care, but anyway, I just found out that Mastodon have released a new video from their upcoming album Crack the Skye. As always this song's fucking amazing. We're talking about the guys that, back in 2005, were labelled "the future of metal", and they sure deserve the title, because they make music like no other band. The video is, of course, completely WTF, but the song is great. So far this album is looking like a good evolution from Blood Mountain, which in turn was already an overall better album than Leviathan (although it lacked something as epic as Hearts Alive).

Can't wait for March, 24th!

segunda-feira, 2 de março de 2009

A gift from the heavens

There I was, coming back home after a hard day at college (ok, I only had a two hour class, English, but it was still a pain to get up early and drive all the way to Aveiro and back...), when I notice something in front of my door. Nothing less than a big-ass package with my address written all over it (literally, it was written with a marker in giant letters). This could only be one thing: a package from our own dear Simon Early, known in teh interwebs as Father Krishna! Oh boy, was I excited about opening it up! :D

I didn't really know what to expect, although I always thought it would be only one thing. Was I in for a surprise... there was not just one thing inside, nor two, but four!!! Four gifts for me!!! :O

There was a black Dreamcast VMU, which may be something ordinary for most Dreamcast fans, but for me it's a life saver, since I (laugh all you want) only had one! Imagine my pain everytime I had to delete a saved game to make space for another... Now that wont happen again so soon!

Also for the Dreamcast there was a game, but not just any game. We're talking about the revolutionary Seaman! Oddly enough there was no actual game in there, don't know it that was the point or not, but anyway, the game I can easily download and burn. The case and manual on the other hand are more difficult to come up with.

Now, for the Saturn, there were two Japanese treats in there. One was that little hidden gem called Burning Rangers, which I've never played before, despite J saying such good things about it. There final, and most awesome of gifts, was...


*no suspense, since the video above already spoiled it...*

A sealed Japanese copy of Christmas NiGHTS!!! OMFG!!! O_O That's, like, the dream of every Saturn fan to have something like that! OMG! I don't know what to say, Father, thank you so much for everything! You're the man! :D

quinta-feira, 26 de fevereiro de 2009

I beat Resident Evil!

Yup, that's right. That was a game that just kept haunting me, begging for me to play it, to finally understand what other retrogamers say when talking about it, and now I do :) Of course, by now I pretty much had the whole story spoiled, with everyone talking about it and whatnot, but anywa, it was en enjoyable experience. At least with a walkthrough by my side. Yeah, I know, that's kind of cheating, but neither had the time, nor the patience to play it like it was meant to. Even with the guide I got lost at times, with all the rooms, and corridors, and stairs, and shit... Oh, and the fucking inventory was a royal pain in the ass (I played with Chris, which just has 6 slots while Jill, for some reason has 8. WTF? Where does she keep the extra 2 items? Between her boobs or her legs?...).

Anyway, an enjoyable, and pretty atmospheric, experience. Sorry for not writing more, I'm fucking tired right now...

sábado, 21 de fevereiro de 2009

This is madness!




DoDonPachi Daioujou!!!

Ok, by now you're probably wondering what the fuck I'm talking about, so let's put this in context. When my PS2 came back to life a week ago, I kind of went on an import streak, first getting the Soul Eater game and then Dodonpachi Daioujou. As many of you know, donpachi is one of my favourite shmup series, and I'm a huge fan of the first 2 games. Unfortunately I've never played Dodonpachi II, but this one, Daioujou (whichc translates as "peaceful death", a joke at the amount of times we'll die), is considered the true sequel to that game, so I guess I'm not missing anything important.

Released only for arcades and the PS2, this game is considered the hardest game of the series, in fact much harder than the previous games, which I think makes it one of the hardest shmups of all time. Still, it's fun as hell, sine the gameplay remains roughly the same. Sure, now we only have 2 ships instead of 3, and there's a new "hyper" system that lets you get all powered up instead of using a bomb, but any fan of the series should have no problems getting right into the action. Except for the difficulty, of course...

This game is hard, seriously hard, insanely hard at times, with bullets flying literally everywhere, cornering our little ship and making a vulgar player like me use all his bombs to avoid getting pwned. Still, it's a lot of fun, so I alwasy ended up getting back to it. Last night I made my first serious attempt to beat it, and... I did it! Fuck yeah!!! Now I'm a true gamer!!! :D

Seriously, the last stage, and the last boss, are out of this world, but with quick reflexes, scrutinous use of bombs and motivation to not give up just because I was blown 5 times in a row and lost 1 credit in a matter of seconds...I did it!

It felt good :)

domingo, 15 de fevereiro de 2009

Import Review - Soul Eater: Battle Resonance

Don't know if I've said this here, but I'm a big fan of Soul Eater. It's a pretty crazy anime with Meisters and their Weapons (which can take a human form) fighting demons and witches and whatever... No, really, it's actually pretty cool, with a great set of characters and a unique ambience. So much that its popularity is rising and a PS2 game just came out. In Japan, of course. You know how this works, Naruto Shippuden: Narutimate Accel for example came out in Japan in 2007 and is only going to be released in the US next month... (no Euro release date that I know of...)

Maka/Soul vs Death the Kid/Patti/Liz

So, given the current state of the PS2, this one will probably never see the light of day over here, so why not just play the damn Japanese version? That's exactly what I'm doing right now. And I'm enjoying it very much! Unfortunately this is far from being the best anime-based game ever, but it's not a total mess either. What we have here is a traditional beat em up, with 3D graphics and 2D gameplay. You take control of the show's main characters, divided into the Meister/Weapons (Maka/Soul, Black Star/Tsubaki, etc...) and non-Meister (Stein, Blair, Mifune...) categories, but they all pretty much play like the same. There's the weak, medium and strong attacks, the ability to defend and counter and then there's the Soul Gauge.

Stein vs Sid/Nygus

This is basically the usual "special attack bar" seen in most fighters, letting you waste some of its power to do a special attack or waste it all for the über-ultra-pwnzor attack that usually means instant win! This attacks are, of course, taken straight from the anime, and they're really well done. It's always a pleasure to see Soul transform into the uber-schyte :)

BTW, this is just for fans of the series. You might have noticed that I put Stein in the non-meister category up there. That's because he doesn't fight with Spirit, although for some strange reason he uses him for his Soul Resonance attack... :/

Maka/Soul vs Black Star/Tsubaki (taken from the PSP version)

The bad part of the game is that, for purists and the most hardcore, the fighting dystem is not that deep, and then there's also some lack fo main modes. Besides the usual arcade, free battle and versus, there's the main mode, adventure, which plays somewhat like the main mode in Soul Calibur. You basically recreate all the battles from the anime and there's also some special missions with certain conditions (like fighting Sid with only 1/3 of your life bar...fucking impossible!). Of course all the dialog is in Japanese, and it's hard to guess the victory conditions of some battles, but there's already a guide on gamefaqs that as it all covered, so no big problems there.

Overall this is a pretty import-friendly game, and great fan for fans of the anime. If you're one, get it! :D

sábado, 14 de fevereiro de 2009

Escape From City 17 - Part One

Look at what a couple of directors, big fans of Half-Life (obviously!), managed to accomplish on a tight budget.

500 bucks + lots of talent and creativity = Epic Win!!!

quinta-feira, 5 de fevereiro de 2009

Blizzard fun

Those guys over at Blizzard sure have a great sense of humour, for yet again they mock the fans with pictures like this:

If you have no idea of what I'm talking about, it goes something like this. After many, many years of anxious waiting, Blizzard finally announced Diablo 3, the long awaited sequel to the AWESOMENESS that is Diablo 2 (only my favourite game EVAH! Yup, MGS4 and Oblivion come after). This happened last summer (curiously around the time I got my MGS4), and it was supposed to be good news, amirite? Nope. The gameplay looked awesome, no complaints about that. The problem was the graphics. Not only they showed some lack of detail, but the atmosphere was totally off, at least according to some. You see, some bitches complained about the game not being dark enough, for being too colorful for a dark-fantasy setting. OMG, it even had rainbows on it! And guess what?

And I'm one of those bitches.

I don't want no fucking rainbows in my Diablo 3! I want darkness! I want blood! And I want more darkness! By now you're probably wondering if I'm being sarcastic, but I can assure you I'm dead serious. I still think it's going to be a great game, I'll definitely buy it on day one and be hooked to it for months to come, but one thing is certain, so far that doesn't look like the Diablo I was expecting. The developers may say what they want, like "in the lord of the rings there were also green hills along the mountains of mordor", but I don't give a fucking damn about that. I've played Diablo 2 to death, the world of Sanctuary is my second home, and I'm dead sure that there shouldn't be fucking rainbows in it! "WoW gayness" is what this style has been called, and I couldn't agree more. It's like Blizzard totally messed up the settings, merging Warcraft with Diablo, making cartoony characters, pretty scenarios and even throwing some jokes in the middle. Deckard Cain! Making jokes! In my Diablo!!! Can you fucking believe it? What is this world coming to...

[end rant]

sábado, 24 de janeiro de 2009

My nerdiness is getting worse...

Two more trips to the manga store. The first was to get one volume of the most awesome Berserk manga (for the outrageous price of 14 euros). Sadly they just stopped making the anime precisely when the story was picking up, so now I have to continue following it in manga form...

The second trip was for me and my friend Fredy to enter in the ever misteryous world of Magic: The Gathering. Yeah, joke like a kid in the store:

- What? You're going to start now? Lol...
- Yeah, how long have you been playing?
- Since...August...

Yeah, you sure are a pro compared to us...

Anyway, after years of marvelling at the ever intriguing nature of those cards, we finally decided to make the jump, mainly because now, not only can we play with each other, but we can go to said store and play with other folks who go there precisely to play Magic (they have Friday Night Magic tournaments there). Besides, it's always damn fun to socialize with others from our kind. Yeah, contrary to popular belief, gamers and animetards ARE sociable.

About Magic, we only started playing now, so we still kind of suck at it, but for beginners I actually think we're learning pretty fast. Just yesterday me and Fredy played 3 games for the first time and they were actually pretty fun. Ok, except for the second game, I couldn't, for the love of god, manage to get a fucking land in my hand. At least with my deck I could conjure spells with just one land...

terça-feira, 20 de janeiro de 2009

What in the holy name of fucking jesus?!

My good friend Fredy just brought this to my attention. See the picture above? And the one below? Apparently they were found in some guy's Hi5 (fred, who was it, by the way?). They may look ordinary at first glance, but the funny thing is, see that (badly done) skull graffited on the wall? That's my work! In fact, the first graffiti I've done, a kind of experimental work for the big one that came after. The world is indeed a strange place, I would've never have thought that a lot of years after it would be on the web...

domingo, 11 de janeiro de 2009


Because Elvenking is such a fucking awesome band I felt the need to post more of these guys. Since for some reason I need to listen to some music while I type my book (50 pages done, BTW, only 250 more to go!) I went ahead, grabbed their whole discography, and I got to tell you, it's pretty damn good. My favourite album is still Two Tragedy Poets and my least favourite is also still The Scythe (not that it's bad, just not as good as the rest), but the others are pretty good in their own way, too. What you're (hopefully) listening is The Regality Dance, from their first album, Heathenreel, and below you'll find Another Haven, from the second album, Wyrd. Enjoy!

sexta-feira, 9 de janeiro de 2009

I'm oficially an animetard...

Some time ago I heard about a comics and manga shop here in Aveiro called Secção 9, but, busy as I was with my studies, I never got around to search for it (and when I finally did I couldn't for the love of god find the damn thing). Yesterday all that changed. In the company of a friend who happened to know it, we searched the city's darkest alleys looking for that hallowed place, and guess what, we actually did it! Man, that place rocks. Hard! For some time I thought I was in fucking heaven!

That place has everything, from manga, to american comics, to graphic novels and more indie stuff, to action figures and board games! Thankfully I was prepared, with 20 euros in my wallet to spend as I pleased, and I almost spent it all. The first thing I bought was the surprise of the day. You see, once when I was a kid I stumbled upon a graphic novel that was awesome as hell, but as the stupid kid I was, I never memorised the title. Needless to say, I spent the last years searching for the damn thing, but with only a vague description of the content I never went too far.

But yesterday all that changed. Not only the guy there was able to recognize it from my vague descriptions, but he also had it for sale! Fuck yeah! Turns out it was called The Mercenary, and it's as awesome as I remembered it. I bought all the 6 volumes he had.

But I needed something else, something Japanese. I was getting short on money, and didn't have enough for the Berserk manga. A Naruto volume was more affordable, but they didn't have the first volume. Just try to guess what I got...

A fucking Shonen Jump! That's right! This beauty is the american version of the weekly shonen jump, the biggest manga anthology magazine published in Japan, and they had last month's issue! Fuck yeah! Now I'm officially an otaku! And it feels so good... :D

quinta-feira, 8 de janeiro de 2009