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Paranoid Emdroid

I got a message on BlogCatalog from a fellow blogger, Paranoid Emdroid.  Her blog is about games, from a girl’s perspective.  It’s pretty good, and a great perspective, so I wanted to write a short post about it tadalafil generique.  Go, check out her blog.  I added a link to it on the left.

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iMac Woes

I love my 24-inch iMac (2.8 GHz Intel Core 2 duo), but it sure hates me. When I bought it in December of 2007, it was because I wanted a new gaming machine (I have Windows Vista installed on it, too, which is maybe why it hates me). And for the most part, it has been good to me.

Last week it was in the shop for repairs, after problems with the optical drive (would not usually read discs) and more serious video problems (notably, it would permanently stall during World of Warcraft).  They replaced the optical drive successfully, but the new video card did not solve that problem.  So after testing for software problems, the great tech over at Simutek (a local Apple-authorized store) replaced the logic board.  He also fixed my replacement optical drive, which had the inverse problem of not ejecting discs.

iMac 24" 2.8 GHz

Well, World of Warcraft is running much smoother.  But not completely smooth.  While playing in Howling Fjord (I bought Wrath of the Lich King to celebrate the iMac repairs) with my good friend Craig last night, I experienced two total freeze-ups.  I believe these are video crashes because I can still voice-chat to warn people that I have to restart the computer (the old-fashioned way, holding the power button).

Now, between the new video card and logic board, they have replaced half of the hardware!  So I don’t know what the deal is.  I deleted and re-installed World of Warcraft to rule out any problems with my installation of it (though, notably, I copied the installation to my rusty old G4 laptop to play on that while the iMac was damaged, and it worked on there).  I haven’t had a chance to try out the new install yet other than a quick ride through Shattrath.  But I did notice I was getting a framerate of 50FPS instead of 15.  Maybe it was a combination hardware-software problem?  (I know the tech verified that the video did crash, without playing World of Warcraft.)

I don’t want to take the computer back in…  I want to do more work on this website, and all my image editing software is on here.  But at least it’s all covered under warranty (always buy AppleCare with a new Mac, it does pay off).

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Repo! The Genetic Opera

Repo! The Genetic Opera is truly the definition of ridiculous.  Anthony Stewart Head (from Buffy), Alexa Vega (Spy Kids), Sarah Brightman (Phantom of the Opera), Paul Sorvino (Mira’s father) and Paris Hilton (tabloids) star in this futuristic musical where repo men take back replacement organs from people who can’t pay.

I’m not sure how better to state this.  It’s a horror/slasher musical.  Bill Moseley sings while slashing up an employee.  Anthony Stewart Head puts his hand inside a debtor and moves his mouth like a hand puppet.  Sarah Brightman plays a beautiful, creepy blind singer.  The film’s highlight is truly when Sarah Brightman and Alexa Vega sing “Chase the Morning”.  It’s entrancing.

 

Blind Mag (Sarah Brightman)

Blind Mag (Sarah Brightman)

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Put the Force Back on its Leash

Finished Star Wars: the Force Unleashed on Friday.  I guess I thought it was going somewhere bigger than this.  Let me start with the non-spoiler comments, and then I’ll get into the details behind spoiler tags.

I need to return for a second to the complaint I had about cutscenes last time.  Worse than just the jarring effect of switching between engine-rendered and pre-rendered graphics, is when your pre-rendered cutscene does not represent your character.  Why would you let a player customize his character (costume, lightsaber color) if your cutscene doesn’t reflect that?  Neither the costume changes, nor the lightsaber customization have any real effect (although they claim the lightsaber crystals boost certain traits, it’s not apparent).  But they let you do it because, well, it’s Star Wars, and who doesn’t want their lightsaber to match their earrings?

Seriously, though.  Either color-change your pre-rendered cutscenes or don’t let me change my lightsaber color.  Or, you know, just use your game engine and dodge the whole problem.

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Loading Unleashed

Post 2 on Star Wars: the Force Unleashed.  I want to emphasize my earlier post in saying that this game is much better than its demo.  In general, I’m going to continue to praise it, but with three notable gripes:

1. Loading screens are too often.  They’re not too long, at least the first twenty times.  But they just get annoying.  I have a couple problems with them.  The first is that the menus have loading screens.  When you pause, you get the main menu quickly.  But every sub-menu has a loading screen.  Done in the sub-menu?  There’s a loading screen back to the main menu.  If you die right after a save point?  Loading screen.  Die-and-reload doesn’t need a loading screen, I don’t care what you say.  It’s the same area.  The game assets are already in memory.  They should be able to put things back in their original positions quickly, but they don’t.  They reload the area.

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The Force Unleashed, Better Than Expected

When I played the Star Wars: The Force Unleashed demo, back when it was released for free, I was completely unimpressed.  Now that I’ve rented the full game and played through the first couple of missions, I think the problem is that they wrote a bad demo.  See, games like this need time to get you accustomed to the controls and abilities.  That’s one of the reasons console RPGs make you unlock abilities slowly – it’s hard to teach you to use all of them at once.

The game opens with you playing Vader and massacring wookiees on Kashyyyk.  Vader is a powerful former Jedi and a master of the Force, so the intro is basically just fan-service.  I’m okay with that.  In fact, plenty of games have opened with a fully-powered character and then switched you to a n00b once the intro is over.  And honestly, who doesn’t want to play as Lord Vader?

The protagonist of the game is Starkiller (played by Sam Witwer, from Smallville and Battlestar Galactica).  The character is well-rendered and shows good emotion – about like watching Witwer act on TV.  The same character appeared in Soul Calibur IV.  Clever cross-marketing.

I’m still at the beginning of the game, but I’m hopeful.  The controls are a little clunky (but nothing like Too Human).  Still, it’s also no Knights of the Old Republic.  Of course, that’s a hard game to top.

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The Maw in Review

I know I just reviewed The Maw last week.  Now I’ve played the whole game and gotten most of the achievements, and thought it was time to give a final weigh-in.

Let’s not wince words: this game is amazing.

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Sims 3 Delayed Until June

The highly-anticipated sequel The Sims 3 (website) has been delayed.  As recently as yesterday, they were announcing a February 20 release date.  Now it’s June 2.  And a look at their press release reveals the reason: They want more time to market it.  I’m thinking they didn’t get as many pre-orders as they anticipated. It’s called a recession.  Nobody is pre-ordering anything.

This is the same shit Warner Bros. pulled with Harry Potter 6.  Delaying a game, or movie, to market more may make sense to them, but it doesn’t do much for consumer confidence.  But the sad part is, I’ll still be waiting for my copy of The Sims 3 to show up on launch day.  However, I am going to boycott Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.  The big movie studios get away with too much.  When they finally release the movie, I’m just going to read the book again.

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Bad Controls Ruin Too Human

Too Human (website), the new action/adventure/rpg from Silicon Knights, is a visually stunning game.  Too bad that doesn’t count for anything with actual humans.  I mean, no matter how shiny a game is (Prince of Persia), it still needs other things.  What’s Too Human missing?  How about controls.

Let me make one thing clear: the right stick is only to be used for moving the camera.  It’s not for making your character stop running to swing his swords.  I’m serious.

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First Impressions of The Maw

The Maw (website) is an unusually impressive new 3D game on the Xbox Live Arcade.  It has all the feel of a late-1990s big studio 3D platforming game (Banjo-Kazooie, Spyro), and graphics that are well beyond its price at $10.  The Maw also delivers a shocking amount of fun for so simple a game.  In fact, I don’t usually buy full games on the Xbox Live Arcade.  I usually play demos and then delete them.  Not Maw.

The Maw is about a goofy little alien and his hungry, hungry pet.  Each stage is a sort of level puzzle, where you hunt down Yums and other delicious creatures.  When Maw becomes big enough, you’ve beat the level.

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Epic Spoon is a blog about video games, from guys who like to play video games. The opinions expressed on Epic Spoon are those of the authors of the blog, and in no way represent the opinion of the Internet. Read each author's profile to get a better idea of his intentions on this blog, what type of games he likes to play, and who he is. If you like what we have to say, bookmark us or our RSS feed. If there's something you've got to say, or something you want to ask, you can find our e-mail addresses in our profiles.