Category Archives: Shaggy Writes
Today is January 17th. Yesterday was the first time I picked up my Xbox controller and played a game on a ‘video game console’ since Dec 27th. So that’s 20 days of Xbox neglect.
What happened that day? My gaming world, as I knew it, CHANGED!
A while back I posted an article asking the question, “Did I miss PC gaming?” The answer to that? No. Because I’m ALL. CAUGHT. UP!
The timing of my new tower purchase couldn’t have been more perfect. Sure, boxing day sales are going on in the city, but that’s not the sale I was interested in.
STEAM’s HOLIDAY SALE!
If you’d been following my twitter during that period, you would have been hearing me singing the praises of Steam, in just how it makes so much more sense than Xbox live (or PSN for the matter).
Hundreds of big budget and indie games right at your fingertips, the ability to buy and gift games to others, and discounted 4 packs for co-op games.
All this coming to me at once with the ridiculousness of Steam’s Holiday sale?
I was buying titles for fractions of the price. Just about everything I could want was under 5 bucks. Heck, most of my purchases were under $3.
Overall I must have spent around 50 big ones. That’s even cheep for a brand new console title. And what did I get for a cool 50? 29 games!
TWENTY-NINE, full quality and enjoyable titles for 50 bucks (technically it was 33 games, but I gifted away 3 of my Dungeon Defenders, and a copy of Left 4 Dead)
Even if we divided that number cold and said each game was about 5 or 6 bucks, that’s still phenomenal. I purchased titles like Star Wars: Empires at War, Jamestown, Serious Sam HD, Rock of Ages, Puzzle Agent, The Binding of Isaac, Zombie Drive, and more.
On top of this? Friends were gifting me games. I got both Left 4 Dead 1 & 2, Bastion and Super Meat Boy. What more could a meat boy want?
Now money aside, the other great thing is the RANGE of games I had access to now. Racing games and first person shooters are fairly typical console affair, but now I’m playing puzzle games like the Chu Chu Rocket-gone-cubism RUSH, and the truly bizarre 1st person falling simulator AaAaAA!!! – A Reckless Disregard for Gravity; titles I would never have played on XBLA (don’t even know if they’re available there to be honest).
And Jamestown? I don’t even like the ‘space shooter’ genre, but man, 4 players? Mouse/keyboard/game pad options, all on one screen? DONE!
Alright, so that’s a bunch of pros for Steam. I guess you wanna hear some cons?
Well, ‘NONE AT ALL’ is what I would love to say, but there are things to consider. Firstly, bandwidth.
In the first week of my new month of Internet, I’d already used up my 60gb limit (thanks Rogers… dicks). Downloading these titles with their fancy graphics and plentiful sound files isn’t a small task.
I’ve always maintained computers were for work first and fun second. That was mainly because computers were never the ultimate ‘fun’ solution to me, what with the N64 in the other room ready for another round of Smash Bros.
But now… the computer has out-funned my game system. The hell? How am I ever going to get any work done when at any second, a buddy’s icon can pop up and ask “Dungeon Defenders?” (which is a REALLY addictive co-op game, I gotta say).
Finally, something in Steam’s own loss.
Having the sale as my first experience of purchasing PC games online, I can never go back to full priced titles. It’s like when I found out Honest Ed’s in Toronto was selling Jones Soda for $1.
WHY would I EVER pay $1.49 (or more) again at any other convince store?
… well, when Boarderlands 2 comes out in a 4-pack, we’ll see what I do. Gotta buckle somewhere, right?
Anyway, my closing comment: if you wanna gift me anything on Steam, just look for “Shaggy Shan”, I’m pretty sure I’ll be happy to take anything you got. ‘Cause I wanna play, EVERYTHING
When I was younger, there were a few things I believed regarding the Rules & Laws we were told.
I’m not even sure HOW this one came up in class. It was kindergarden (preschool), and we we’re all told, ‘NO STANDING ON YOUR DESK’.
Simple enough, it’s just not safe I suppose. And being a young law abiding kid, I followed this rule to a tee.
SO, when my TEACHER of all people was standing on a desk to fix a light bulb or something, I brought the law down on her SO fast, with all the fury of a 5 year old, yelling “HEY! GET OFF THE DESK!”
I got in trouble… I suppose classroom rules don’t apply to teachers. (didn’t even appreciate I was trying to save her life… whatever)
We all saw the ads on tv. MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) showing the outcome of drinking and driving. It was pretty much a catch phrase of it’s time. “Don’t drink and drive.”
So WHEN we went to a McDonalds Drive-through, and my dad had the AUDACITY to sip his Cocacola, WHILE driving…
I was shocked.
Sure, I could call-out my teacher for breaking the law, by my own flesh and blood father?
I didn’t speak a word for the rest of the ride. I just wondered how long it would take before the police found us. We we’re outlaws now.
I had no I idea what alcohol actually was as a kid. Though from the cartoons, it did look fun.
So there you have it, fairly logical childhood beliefs on rules and laws.
And if you guys have any misinformed childhood Rules and Laws beliefs, I’d like to hear them in the comments below.
… A ROBOT PILOT!
Well, at least it feels like it.
This is the first time, in my years of living downtown, that I’ve fully embraced the bicycle as my primary means of transportation. In the past I’ve bought subway metro passes ($120 a month), I’ve bought subway tokens ($2.75 – $3.00 each), by golly, I’ve even walked, BUT NO MORE!
I, am a cyclist.
Ok, onto the ‘robot pilot’ part.
But hey, one can dream. Now, you know how in those mech games, you’re constantly upgrading your mech? New armour, guns, thrusters? Well today, I just made my first upgrade. SAFETY LIGHTS!
Now on initial observation, this may all seem quite… pedestrian (is that the right word?) Nothing too exciting about adding a light, or a bell to a bike that just happens to fold up and fit in your closet, right?
For as any good giant robot pilot would say about upgrades… “why stop at blinking lights?”
… now you’re getting it.
When I was younger, there were a few things I believed regarding the weather.
a) kids are always told not to be outside in a lightning storm, or they’ll get struck by lightning
b) it (often) rains during lightning storms
c) showers involve falling water (just like rain)
Conclusion: If you take a shower during a lightning storm, you will get struck by lightning… in the bathroom… via the shower head.
That is a TERRIFYING notion! I stuck to my guns and avoided showering at these times for my safety.
However, what shattered this belief was: Honestly? I don’t think my childhood theory has been disproven yet.
a) In the winter, there is snow
b) In the spring, there isn’t snow.
c) … where the hell ELSE would it go?
Conclusion: When spring comes around, the snow on the ground (and anything caught in it) magically floats upwards into the sky.
What added to this theory was, before one winter, I forgot one of my TMNT KRANG robot arms in the back year. It snowed. The snow went away. The arm was gone.
However, what shattered this belief was: Bill Nye the Science Guy
Check these fats beats, and learn ur science!
I know it’s about rain, but evaporation/condensation/precipitation still applies (It’s actually interesting how I wasn’t too far from the truth).
So there you have it, fairly logical beliefs of how the weather worked.
And if you guys have any misinformed childhood meteorological beliefs, I’d like to hear them in the comments below.
When I was younger, there were a few things I believed when watching movies.
a) Superman can fly
b) no one else can fly
c) Superman has a cape
d) no one else has a cape
Conclusion: When wearing his magic red cape, Clark Kent can fly as Superman, and as such, SUPERMAN’S CAPE IS WHAT ALLOWS HIM TO FLY.
Fortunately I didn’t extend this logic to “CAPES allow EVERYONE to fly”, as I probably would have jumped over the 2nd floor bannister wearing a towel to prove that point.
However, what shattered this belief was: when General Zod and his crew showed up and were flying all-about WITHOUT the need of a cape. Them also being from Krypton, it just wouldn’t make sense that Clark would need a cape while Zod didn’t.
What a dick.
a) Obi Wan states that the lightsaber is the weapon of a Jedi
b) in Star Wars: A New Hope, only Jedi are seen using lightsabers (Obi Wan, Luke, Vader)
c) Jedi have a connection to ‘The Force’ which no one else does
Conclusion: The Force is required to generate the power of a lightsaber, and as such, ONLY Jedi can use lightsabers.
Sound logic from a 8-year-old me, right?
However, what shattered this belief was: HAN SOLO YOU ASSHOLE!
In The Empire Strikes Back, when Luke is dying out in the snow, Han grabs Luke’s lightsaber, lights up that bad boy, and goes to town on the dead Tauntaun like it was any tool in an outdoors-man’s camping kit. Kinda ruined the mystique of the lightsaber for me as a kid, like, why is it so special if ANYONE can use it?
So there you have it, fairly logical beliefs of how things that don’t exist work, only to be disproved by other characters in the non-existing universe itself.
And if you guys have any childhood movie beliefs, I’d like to here them in the comments below.
It’s 3 in the morning, do you know where your sleep is?
… ’cause I sure don’t know where’s mine. So here’s some thoughts instead:
I’ve never really been a PC gamer.
Many of my friends can regal us with great tales of Mech Warrior battles, or Tie Fighter strategies, but me? Nope. Console all the way, baby. NES to now.
Firstly, I grew up with a Mac. I believe it was a Centris 650, or, 68040 something, running… Mac OS 7? I was neither a computer smart nor adventurous kid at all. If the damn thing worked, that was good enough for me. I never attempted to crack open a computer and learn about things like RAM or graphic drives; at the rate we we’re going, it just didn’t seem necessary.
The notion of running Mac OS 8 one day was exciting, but it didn’t work out to well for us, as the printer stopped taking orders, so my dad changed us back to 7.
As far as computer entertainment went, my sister and I had the Kids Pix art program to mess around with, and a bevy of Lucas Arts adventure titles that we’d play so often, we could practically quote the whole game, alternative dialogs and all (if “It’s the door to Trixy’s trailer” means anything to you, you know what I’m talking about).
The most visually advanced game we ever owned would have to have been Rebel Assault II, the live action arcady Star Wars game (tell you more about that some other time… damn Mynocks).
It would be years before a Windows based computer came into our household. One day, my dad decided he needed a PC for his job, and we saw the opportunity to FINALLY play more recent Lucas Arts adventure games, like Monkey Island 3, 4, and Grim Fandango. No point in trying to see if this IBM laptop could handle shooters and such, the video game consoles we’re handling that just fine, from Goldeneye, to Halo.
But now, after all these years of just using PCs for point and click adventures, I finally feel I’ve been missing out on something. Not necessarily the PC exclusive games/genres, for there are plenty console games I have yet to try and probably never will and have accepted this fact; but more of the customability of PC games.
See, I was a huge fan of customization in games; from the simplest aspects of changing a character’s name in RPGs, to creating new wrestlers, designing stickers for cars or building maps for first person shooters. It seemed such a novelty in games, and it was. On the console that is.
But on the PC, people had been modding games since they we’re released. Going into the code and changing textures, and weapon abilities, and sounds. People we’re creating their own armies in RTS titles. Hell, the closest I got to doing anything like that was changing the sounds the WarCraft 2 characters made when they were killed to burps and farts (it was the height of hilarity at the time).
And now, here I am. In an era where people claim PC gaming is dying, and yet I still see so much potential for experiences I’ve yet to have. I want to command massive armies with a left click, I want the precision of the mouse for the coveted head shot, I want to feel I can do more with a game than just playing it; CHANGING it. I want what people are so eager to preserve in this console focused industry.
But first, I gotta crack this PC open, and learn about RAM and graphics drives… cause this thing runs Portal like shit.
While eating a burrito, I came to the following conclusion.
We, right this very second, are in the best moment of gaming history.
Over the past year, there have been some articles and postings from gaming journalists and developers attempting to be profound by stating that gaming as of now is the worst it’s ever been, or that it’s on the decline, or sucks balls, or isn’t like the old days, etc, blah-to-the-blibbidy-blah.
Now here’s the thing. Sure, if you expect every new game release to feel as ground breaking and important as the nostalgia you have for the side scrollers in the NES era, or when games first went into the 3rd dimension in the PSone/N64 days, when it was all new and fresh, OF COURSE it seems to you things are unimportant and suck right about now.
But I’m not even here to talk about the quality of today’s new games that may or may not displease you, because you know what? All those old games that defined our industry? THEY STILL EXIST!
That’s right. There is NOTHING stopping you from going out and playing older titles.
No new game coming out this week that interests you? Head on over to the local used games shop and there’s HUNDREDS of PS2 games I’m sure you haven’t tried yet.
Kinect, Wii and Move gimmicks not doing it for you? Download an emulator or Steam and play something you haven’t heard of.
Beat the 4th instalment of a series? Go back and try the first few if you have yet to, and see how it progressed to the latest sequel.
The point I’m making is: the only possible time we can actually be in the WORST gaming era is when every game stops existing. Other than that happening, every year that goes by is an amalgamation of new titles, NOT the removal of old ones.
Every Greatest Hit, every Player’s Choice, and every Platinum title is still out there waiting for you. Every bar setter and surpasser, best seller and unappreciated gem; every game made worth mentioning STILL exists!
So if so many great games exist at one time, how can we possible be in the worst era of gaming? And you know what? Tomorrow is going to be an even better day for games.
Now shut up and go find them.
I finally got around to finish reading the Axe Cop trade released by Dark Horse last night, and man, I’m glad I did. It is seriously the funniest comic I’ve ever read.
My reason for saying so? Sure, I’ve laughed ’til I cried at least once in the duration of reading a comedy series like Cromartie Highschool, Sam & Max, or Excel Saga … but doing so every 5 pages? Unheard of.
Do yourself a favour, READ AXE COP. It hurts so good.
I don’t often see movies more than once in theatres, let alone, more than once in the span of a week… but Tangled is awesome.
Alright, let’s blast through this:
In the animated Disney film tradition, a classic fairy tale having something to do with farmers stealing cabbage from a witch who then says they owe her a daughter has been adapted to a much more enjoyable romanticized tale (though that being said, there should have been a cabbage reference in there somewhere).
I won’t talk of the story too much, for you should see it yourself, but in brief, Rapunzel was kidnapped as a baby for her magic hair (all explained) and kept in a high tower by an old woman so no one could have the youth giving powers. All these years, she has never been allowed to leave the tower, and so, with her birthday the next day, she finally decides it’s time to go with the help of a thief, Flynn Ryder.
In watching it, I’m most reminiscent of The Little Mermaid, especially the parts where Ariel is given a tour of Prince Eric’s kingdom, but to be fair, the theme of a female lead wanting to go “out there” or “wanting more” is pretty common in Disney films.
Jasmine of Aladdin, Belle of Beauty and the Beast, Mulan of … Mulan, they all wanted something else than their lot in life gave them (or parental figure would allow them). But it doesn’t feel cookie cutter, for the characters are so enjoyable to go along the journey with.
Great cast of characters. The most interesting I find is the Mother/old woman. For as much as she’s hundreds of years old now and is obsessed with the hair’s regeneration/youth giving attributes, you can’t help but feel that a tiny bit of her still cares for Rapunzel as her “adopted daughter”. Yes, she has to be the classic Disney villain in the end which is kinda sad, but every time you see them hug, it’s just so enduring. Manipulative, yes, but enduring all the same.
The Animal Friend
This was the part I was most worried about. Historically, any character that spends a chunk of a film alone needs something/someone to talk to so they don’t a) say nothing throughout those portions of the film, and b) don’t talk to themselves all day long.
This can be seen done well, way back in Wizard of Oz with Toto.
It can also be seen done shit, as in Anastasia with that irritating bat.
Fortunately, the chameleon friend Pascal doesn’t overplay his part, and is damn funny in all the scenes it needs to be.
The Disney Horse
Disney films have had a solid history of horse characters.
From Sleeping Beauty to Mulan, Disney animators can’t seem to screw up a horse.
And Maximus, of Tangled, is the most over the top yet. In fact, it’s arguable that he’s actually one of the most intelligent characters in the film. In any case, his first encounter with Ryder is phenomenal.
Some of the songs didn’t catch me right away. David and I have had discussions on the “modern musical” like Wicked where songs don’t follow the traditional Verse, chorus, verse, chorus pattern, and are all verse. This tends to be the case (or at leasts feels like it) with Rapunzel’s songs about “when will life begin”, so it will take me a few more listens before they grow dear to my heart like many other Disney songs. In regards to more traditional songs, I was sucked right in to the mother’s “Mother Knows Best” and the bar’s “I’ve Got a Dream”.
Animation & Character Design
This, I would have to say is the films strongest suit. The character animation in this film is nothing short of PERFECT. Most notable in how Rapunzel carries herself. The little neck tilts when she talks, the lip bite when mumbling, the eye work when she tears up, and of course, the hair.
For years, hair has been the biggest pain in the ass for computer animators, and here we have a film that is engulfed in hair. Big props to whoever designed that engine.
Man, my eyes watered up, like three times in this film. *sniff*
Recently someone shared this video with me, a mini doc on the Ubisoft Toronto Studios. Check it out.
Now, back to the title of this post. THE NERF FIGHTS!
The MOMENT I’LL KNOW I’ve made it to my dream job, is when I’m in a place where a Nerf Battle can break out with little to no warning.
I have yet to be in such environment… though I did work in a place where a guy damn near suplexed another employee. That was interesting.