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