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3041  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Supreme Commander Impressions/Availability on: May 23, 2007, 03:33:05 PM
I can't speak to the stability of 4 vs. 4 games, but Supreme Commander is *extremely* dependent on the processor speed of the host computer during multiplayer games.  I recently upgraded from a 3.4 ghz Pentium D system to a 2.4 ghz Core 2 Quad system, and the performance improvement in SupCom is *incredible.*

-Autistic Angel
3042  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Supreme Commander Impressions/Availability on: May 22, 2007, 04:39:19 PM
I'm *totally* in!  When are you guys available?

-Autistic Angel
3043  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [HEROES] - Season Finale on: May 22, 2007, 03:32:28 AM
Quote from: Lockdown
I also missed the beginning of part two.  What happened after Hiro crashed to the grasslands?

Spoiler for Hiden:
Hiro stood up and saw that he was being approached by group of samurai garbed in ancient Japanese armor.  They stopped a distance from him, loaded arrows into their bows, and raised them in his direction.

Then, over the hill on the opposite side of Hiro, a lone samurai rides over the hill.  His face is covered, but it's clearly Hiro's father.  Hiro is too far away to realize this, but swears softly to himself over his predicament.

To Be Continued....

-Autistic Angel
3044  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [HEROES] - Season Finale on: May 22, 2007, 02:59:18 AM
Well, if I'd written that final scene....

Spoiler for Hiden:
...Hiro would have teleported in and announced himself.  Sylar would have turned to attack him and Hiro would have blinked out, only to reappear an instant later...with another version of Sylar from the past.  Several months in the past, in fact: the same sad, pathetic watchmaker that the current Sylar has been so desperate to leave behind forever.

Face to face with his miserable, disoriented self, Current Sylar would have let his guard down, and when as he turned away, a *second* Hiro would have stabbed him through the chest.  The first Hiro would vanish (returning Past Sylar to his own time) and return a few moments before he left (as the one doing the stabbing).  *Then* he would have been flung into the distant past by the dying Sylar.

Not only is this a *much* cooler use of Hiro's powers, but they could even have worked in a scene establishing that this momentary encounter with himself -- a much stronger, more confident version of himself -- is one of the things that started Sylar down his dark path to begin with.  The causal loop that accidentally started everything....

-Autistic Angel
3045  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [HEROES] - Season Finale on: May 22, 2007, 02:06:00 AM
So let me get this straight about Sylar:

(severe finale spoiler)

Spoiler for Hiden:
If he hears a sudden gunshot from behind he can turn and stop the bullets in mid-air before they hit him, but when Hiro teleports in and announces himself, Sylar just stands there like a big dope and gets stabbed?  Despite the fact that he saw the comic book and knew Hiro was going to try to stab him?

Yikes, that was *lame!*  thumbsdown

-Autistic Angel
3046  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Best/Worst Voice Acting on: May 21, 2007, 05:16:48 PM
The best voice acting I've heard in a game is in The Longest Journey and its sequel Dreamfall.  Games like these succeed or fail based on the quality of their storytelling, and with the entire narrative driven forward through dialogue, there's a tremendous reliance on the ability of the voice actors to bring their characters to life.  The inhabitants of TLJ consist of a handful of polygons and lack facial expressions or even lip movements, but they're as interesting and as deep as the characters in a Pixar film.

I also really enjoyed the voice acting in Indigo Prophecy (known by its original title Fahrenheit in Europe).  Like Dreamfall, it was less of a game than a movie with some interactive elements, and it overall quality hinges much more on the strength of its cast than it would in a more traditional game.  I think the storyline of Indigo Prophecy really comes off the rails in the final act, but its actors are excellent from start to finish.

-Autistic Angel
3047  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Starcraft 2 confirmed! on: May 20, 2007, 03:09:20 AM
Quote from: Ralph-Wiggum
Quote from: EngineNo9
Quote from: Autistic Angel
There's a moment during the second YouTube video where the presenter makes a big deal about how the Colossus' ability to step up and down a steep cliff makes StarCraft II "look more dynamic." (2:40) It's a nice effect, but compared to a game like Company of Heroes where things actually *are* dynamic -- artillery strikes leave craters where infantry can take cover, crumpled bodies are sent flying by grenade explosions, and destroyed tanks become roadway obstacles -- it's hard to get very excited about Blizzards "Eye Kay" technology.

The "eye kay" technology he spoke of is an inverse kinematics system they use to dynamically animate the colossus on uneven terrain.  It has nothing to do with gameplay dynamics like you are talking about.

I think that's his point.

Yes, it is.  Allegedly working since 2003, Blizzard has successfully created a game engine where units dynamically animate over uneven terrain, and instead of disappearing instantaneously, bits of wreckage will roll downhill for a couple seconds and then disappear.  And it looks good.

When a flak cannon smacks a bomber out of the air in Supreme Commander it spirals down on a dynamic trajectory consistent with its speed and altitude until it hits the ground, its wreckage becoming a permanent fixture on the battlefield until its reclaimed for its valuable resources or destroyed.  The crash also inflicts radial splash damage on nearby objects, diminishing by a square root for every unit of distance from the point of impact.  It's extremely processor intensive, but it looks good *and* impacts game play...and anyone who says otherwise has never faced an opponent who steers their burning Aeon Flying Fortress down into your fusion power plants.

When a satchel charge goes off in Company of Heroes, it has a heavy concussive impact on everything around it: bodies, wreckage, random bits of terrain, *everything* gets knocked around.  This can obliterate enemy cover by destroying several gravestones and a low cement wall they were hiding behind, or it can blow the treads off a tank and create an all new smoldering hulk to block incoming fire.  Again, it looks good *and* affects your strategy.

Now, many people may not like Supreme Commander or Company of Heroes.  Even if they do, that says nothing for how much they'll enjoy StarCraft II.  There's no value to me in trying to change someone else's mind or question their personal preferences.  I'm simply pointing out that while Blizzard has been spending the last 3+ years creating something that *looks* dynamic, other companies have been creating things that *are* dynamic: complex physics-based engines that generate actual emergent game play moments with real affects on the course of the match.

I like the fact that the Protoss Colossus will step up and down cliffs.  It's a nice touch that StarCraft II will be better for having included.  However, if there was a choice between that and Zerg Chunnellers who could deform the terrain in real time, or vehicles that blow up and spray deadly, but salvageable shrapnel over a dynamic radius, you know where my vote would be  nod

-Autistic Angel
3048  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Starcraft 2 confirmed (finally)? on: May 19, 2007, 07:11:30 PM
There's a moment during the second YouTube video where the presenter makes a big deal about how the Colossus' ability to step up and down a steep cliff makes StarCraft II "look more dynamic." (2:40) It's a nice effect, but compared to a game like Company of Heroes where things actually *are* dynamic -- artillery strikes leave craters where infantry can take cover, crumpled bodies are sent flying by grenade explosions, and destroyed tanks become roadway obstacles -- it's hard to get very excited about Blizzards "Eye Kay" technology.

I imagine StarCraft II will be very much like its predecessor: a polished set of perfectly balanced gameplay conventions that bore me to tears, complete with a fantastic storyline, a sharp presentation, and a transparently scripted and omniscient AI which is absolutely no fun to play against.

It's easy for me to see why so many people enjoy games like StarCraft and Command & Conquer, but I feel like other, more innovative RTS games have evolved in much more interesting ways.  I'll probably give SC2 a go (unlike C&C3), but I have a feeling that Supreme Commander and Company of Heroes will continue to hold my interest long after that game is completed and uninstalled.

-Autistic Angel
3049  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: The New Fall TV Season on: May 19, 2007, 02:45:07 AM
Yes: Lost has been renewed for three (and only three) additional seasons, each of which will consist of sixteen episodes (instead of the standard twenty-two), and will run without any repeats.

Quote from: Variety
Now that the end has been announced, Lindelof promised there would be no attempts to extend or continue the "Lost" mythology on air in some other way.

"There will be no extensions or enhancements. That number (48) is absolute," he said. And "once you begin to see where we're going, I think the idea of sequels and spinoffs will completely go away."

-Autistic Angel
3050  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: The New Fall TV Season on: May 18, 2007, 08:22:01 PM
Quote from: Mattc0m
I'm pissed. [Jericho] was like Lost meets 24 in the post-apocalyptic setting. What else could you ask for?

Enough wisdom not to place a brand-new series on an unnecessary three month hiatus, for starters.  Lost is an established and popular series, and even that suffered significantly from its lengthy mid-season break.  Taking a show off the air for three months during its first season would be a death sentence for practically anything....

-Autistic Angel
3051  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: The New Fall TV Season on: May 18, 2007, 08:05:33 PM
I have some serious misgivings about the Grey's Anatomy spinoff, Private Practice.  You might logically assume that anything which would put Kate Walsh on television more frequently would be a good thing, but experience has taught me that spinoffs typically turn out in one of two ways:

1) They fail to transfer over enough talent from their parent show and fail outright, or

2) They transfer over a lot of talent from their parent show, diluting the quality of both productions until one or both fail.

The very best example of spinoff from an existing series that I know of is when Buffy begat Angel, and even then I think most people would agree that for every season where Angel got better, Buffy's quality slumped a little further.

That said, with Amy Brenneman, Taye Diggs, Merrin Dungey, and Tim Daly on board, it sure as hell won't fail for lack of on-screen talent.  If only they could have found room for Alexa Davalos and Nathan Fillion, they could have called the series Refugees From Better Shows.

-Autistic Angel
3052  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: The New Fall TV Season on: May 18, 2007, 07:39:38 PM
Quote from: unbreakable
Hmm... I just say season one of "Prison Break" used over at GameStop.  I should probably grab that before it becomes another series I want to watch but need to watch three or more seasons in order to catch up.

If you decide to watch Prison Break, be prepared to give it at least half a season before you pass judgment.  When I first saw the first couple episodes, I was ready to dismiss it as a rip-off of The Shawshank Redemption that had been stretched out to fill an entire season.

By the mid-point, I realized that it was actually a rip-off of every single prison / conspiracy / Perils of Pauline thing ever produced in any medium.  And, that I really like it.   icon_cool

-Autistic Angel
3053  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: The New Fall TV Season on: May 18, 2007, 06:53:02 PM
Quote from: Laner
Nothing really interests me other than the handful of shows I watch now - Smallville, The Biggest Loser, and, uh... that's about it.

Aren't you sick of Smallville yet?  I thought the first season was *hilarious* and the second season was genuinely very good, but from there the series has slipped into such a rote and formulaic routine, it's hard to believe that they've filled four more *seasons* with the same old stuff.

When Clark Kent was 15, the angst he experienced over being different from everyone else made a lot of sense.  Every teenager feels like an outsider and a freak, so it's easy to imagine that literally arriving from another planet -- as part of a devastating meteor shower, no less - would greatly amplify his awkwardness and uncertainty.

But now Clark's in his early 20's, and those same powers have been used to save hundreds of lives.  Perhaps more tellingly, he's been stripped of his powers on a number of occasions and always found himself worse off for the experience.  So why, after six years, is he still moping around in his parent's barn and whining about the terrible burden of being different?  Why is he still pining away for the same unpleasant, self-involved girl from high school?  Why is he still passively stitting back, struggling against the destiny that others want to force upon him, but never taking responsibility to forge one for himself?

There was a real breaking point this season when Green Arrow suddenly revealed that he'd assembled a team of other superheroes to travel around the world fighting evil.  When a recurring guest star starts talking about things that are way more interesting than anything that's actually happened on the show in a few years, there's a big problem.

By comparison, I think Supernatural is an excellent "Monster of the Week" series with tons of remaining potential.  If they can find a way to embrace the sort of evolving mythos and deep story arcs that made shows like Angel so fantastic, I could envision this series continuing for years to come.

-Autistic Angel
3054  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Marvel Ultimate Alliance character pack on: May 14, 2007, 12:06:04 AM
No, that's his cousin: Dr. Deuce.

-Autistic Angel
3055  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Weekend Playlist 11 May 07 on: May 11, 2007, 06:55:04 PM
I've been a little aimless since finishing off Wind Waker, not having found a single game to occupy the majority of my gaming time.  Instead, I'll probably be splitting my attention between the Company of Heroes campaign, Super Paper Mario, and Supreme Commander.

-Autistic Angel
3056  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Gee, I guess if you're patriotic it's ok to be an anti-game a-hole. on: May 11, 2007, 06:30:56 PM
Yee-freaking-haw: equal time for all, baby!!! headbang

Miami attorney Jack Thompson upped the ante on his controversial crusade against violent videogames this week, alleging in a formal complaint to the Department of Homeland Security that they pose "a dire threat to our national defense."

"Rewarding the player for violently dismembering uniformed America (sic) soldiers seduces our children into supporting violent acts against our military and instructs them on how to carry out acts of terrorism themselves," the grievance continues.

The complaint centers primarily on a 2005 game titled 'The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction' and describes how players are enticed into commiting repeated terrorist attacks against American civilian and military targets.  Special rewards are recieved for successfully slaughtering U.S. soldiers, destroying their tanks and helicopters, and knocking down civilian buildings.

"This is nothing less than a terrorist simulator," Thompson wrote in a prepared statement.  "Anyone with common sense can see how training our children in the ways and means of assaulting U.S. armed forces is the highest form of treason."

The complaint, received Thursday by the office of Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff, has not yet recieved a formal response.  "The concerns brought to our attention by Mr. Thompson are quite grave," said DHS spokeswoman Victoria Benning, "and rest assured that we aggressively pursue all credible threats to our national security."

'Hulk' developer Radical Entertainment flatly rejects Thompson's charge, arguing that the game "clearly takes place in the context of a fictionalized comic book setting."  The press release goes on to say, "Mr. Thompson's allegations are absurd on their face.  We're extremely proud of the quality of our product and the positive reception it received among the gaming community."

Thompson immediately fired back, "The absurdity here is that a company with "Radical" in the name would think we're all stupid enough not to realize the true nature of their anarchist agenda."

A polarizing figure among members of the videogame industry, Thompson has gained notoriety for previous civil lawsuits over videogames like 'Bully,' 'Grand Theft Auto: Vice City,' and 'Manhunt 2'.  He is currently wrapping up a brief speaking tour addressing parent groups on how the Virginia Tech shootings may have been inspired by similar violence found in games.

'The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction' was developed by Radical Entertainment and published by its parent company Vivendi Universal in 2005.  It carries a rating of "T for Teen" by the Electronic Software Ratings Board.

-Autistic Angel
3057  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [360/PS3] Condemned 2 announced on: May 11, 2007, 01:42:41 PM
Some games are tense (Resident Evil 4) and some games are creepy (System Shock 2, Thief), but only Fatal Frame 2 has ever triggered such frequent, vivid, and intense nightmares that I was forced to stop playing.

-Autistic Angel
3058  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Gee, I guess if you're liberal it's ok to be a bigoted a-hole. on: May 10, 2007, 11:11:26 PM
Quote from: Devil
I'm saying my personal views effect the people I elect and they, in turn, would hopefully represent my personal views (if I was in the majority on election day).

I think you're saying that the legislators, themselves, keep their personal views out of the voting, which I would hope!

Am I way off?

I'm not sure I'd want legislators who automatically voted for whatever the majority of their constituents thought they wanted at any given time.  It seems reasonable to me that senators and representatives who devote themselves to learning about specific issues -- foreign policy, healthcare, tort reform -- are going to be in a better position to make an educated decision on the matter.  Sometimes that means defying popular opinion.

I don't expect my legislators to represent my personal views, but rather the best interests of their constituents.  That isn't a small distinction to me -- justice and equal opportunity are often contingent on a society's willingness to uphold the rights of the unpopular minority.

-Autistic Angel
3059  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Gee, I guess if you're liberal it's ok to be a bigoted a-hole. on: May 10, 2007, 05:52:40 PM
I think Al Sharpton's remark was just plain old stupid; it's his refusal to apologize and retract his statement that advances it into the realm of bigotry.  Anyone can make an off-the-cuff quip that comes out in an unintended way, but when Sharpton insists on protecting his pride at the cost of his credibility -- not a new position for him -- there's really no choice but to accept that he meant exactly what he said.

Coming from a presidential candidate, however, Mitt Romney's response was fascinating:

Quote from: Mitt Romney
I can only wonder if there's not bigotry that still remains in America. That's an extraordinary thing for someone to say. I can't imagine what prompted him to say something of that nature. ... It's an extraordinarily bigoted kind of statement."

I love the idea that as recently as a few days ago, a leading Republican presidential candidate apparently believed that bigotry and racism had been totally eradicated from this country, and now he has to totally reassess that position because one bigoted comment was made by one guy.

-Autistic Angel
3060  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [shocking] Spore delayed on: May 09, 2007, 03:12:13 PM
I agree with CeeKay.  As much as I want to play this game, I'd much rather wait until its a finished and polished product!

-Autistic Angel
3061  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Gee, I guess if you're conservative it's ok to be a racist a-hole. on: May 08, 2007, 01:24:31 AM
Quote from: Poleaxe
It seems unrealistic to assume that he referred to the number of books authored by Obama in a derogatory manner, and then praised them in the same sentence. In the following sentences of the paragraph he goes on to talk about Obama's unthreatening tone. The most reasonable explanation is that he is saying that the books are fine oratory (even though they aren't oral at all) but lack the substance that would have disturbed their genial tone.

I believe you'll find that "those stem-winders" Ehrenstein mentions do not refer to the books, but to the stump speeches he mentions earlier in the article.

Quote from: David Ehrenstein
The senator's famously stem-winding stump speeches have been drawing huge crowds to hear him talk of uniting rather than dividing.

When Ehrenstein writes, "Obama's fame right now has little to do with his political record or what he's written in his two (count 'em) books, or even what he's actually said in those stem-winders," he's citing two separate elements of his public persona: first his books, then his speeches.  He's making his point that Obama's popularity has more to do with his style than his substance.  It's an argument I've heard many times since before Obama even declared his candidacy...though Ehrenstein's article is the first one I've read that suggests that whites only *really* like him because he helps assuage their liberal guilt.

-Autistic Angel
3062  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Gee, I guess if you're conservative it's ok to be a racist a-hole. on: May 08, 2007, 01:02:56 AM
Quote from: Andrew Mallon
Quote from: Autistic Angel
Why not go after an actual source of those attitudes?  Because none of them used the phrase "Magic Negro," and the people at The Rush Limbaugh Show desperately wanted to adopt that term as something they could toss around as part of their crypto-racist jargon.  "Hey, don't blame us: we didn't make it up!  We're just repeating something the drive-by media likes to say!"

Can you clarify what you mean by this? From my reading, it sounds as if you are saying that Rush Limbaugh brough the phrase "Magic Negro" into the debate by himself. The first half of Ehrenstein's op-ed piece is about the origins of the "magic negro" stereotype and the headline of the article is "Obama the 'Magic Negro'." It seems strange to criticize Limbaugh for using the phrase when he is actually trying to discredit the "Magic Negro" stereotype (or at least the idea that it appeals to whites).

Rush Limbaugh and Poleaxe defend "Barack The Magic Negro" as a "parody of the far-left attitude that Barack Obama isn't black enough."  The critical flaw with that argument is that the song specifically targets an LA Times op-ed piece which makes the exact opposite point.  From the song lyrics:

Quote from: The Rush Limbaugh Show
Barack, the magic negro
Lives in DC
The LA Times, dey call him dat
'Cause he's not authentic like me

Yeah, da guy from the LA paper
Said he made guilty whites feel good
They'll vote for him and not for me
'Cause he's not from da hood

See, real black men like Snoop Dogg
Or me, a fella con
Have talked the talk, and walked the walk
Not come in late and won

Here's the problem: although Ehrenstein's piece does make the argument that white people only support Barack Obama because his skin color helps assuage liberal white guilt, the section that calls Sharpton and Snoop Dogg "sterling examples of genuine blackness" can *only* be read as a sarcastic response *against* people who have questioned Obama's "racial credentials."

Some people have questioned his racial credentials, but Rush Limbaugh's song writers don't go after any of them.  They aren't even mentioned in the song, ignored in favor of lyrics which deliberately misrepresent Ehrenstein's article.  If they're trying to parody the "Obama Isn't Black Enough" attitude that they claim, why would they ignore the actual proponents of that argument in favor of targeting an article that takes the opposite tact?

This song has nothing to do with parody and everything to do with generating an excuse for Rush Limbaugh to use the phrase "Barack the Magic Negro" on a national stage.  It's an entertaining nickname with a wink-wink racist taint that Limbaugh can incessantly drill into the minds of his legions of dittoheads until the next election, and by pretending that a single LA Times columnist used it question Obama's racial authenticity, they get to claim that they're mocking the drive-by media.   Not, you know, talking about how bring a convict is part of how black people "walk the walk."

Whether or not you like the phrase "Magic Negro" or the archetype it describes, Ehrenstein's article in the the LA Times lays out a clear explanation of what it means and why he thinks it should be applies to Barack Obama's presidential campaign.  I don't hear a single line in Rush Limbaugh's song that could possibly be interpreted as a response to that article, a parody of the ideas it represents, or a rejection of the phrase "Magic Negro."  I hear a poor imitation of Al Sharpton used as a thinly veiled excuse to mischaracterize several lines from an op-ed piece, all to establish a plausible basis for Limbaugh and his listeners to start co-opting some of the more racially charged portions for themselves.

I don't see how Limbaugh could be trying to "discredit the 'Magic Negro' stereotype" when the song he's using for that alleged purpose has nothing to do with the stereotype and somehow reverses the points Ehrenstein was trying to make.

-Autistic Angel
3063  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Gee, I guess if you're conservative it's ok to be a racist a-hole. on: May 07, 2007, 10:24:50 PM
Quote from: Poleaxe
The problem with what you're saying is that Ehrenstein never delivers the second half of your point. He never says: "Hey, that's just the way white america perceives him- he's really a fine example of black America."

Look at this paragraph:

Obama's fame right now has little to do with his political record or what he's written in his two (count 'em) books, or even what he's actually said in those stem-winders. It's the way he's said it that counts the most. It's his manner, which, as presidential hopeful Sen. Joe Biden ham-fistedly reminded us, is "articulate." His tone is always genial, his voice warm and unthreatening, and he hasn't called his opponents names (despite being baited by the media).

Note the bolded phrases- he's not being complimentary here. So even if his point is that white america is projecting, he also seems to be damning Obama for being a receptive target of that projection.

I was not familiar with the definition of a "stem-winding speech", so I looked it up.  Multiple websites seem to agree that it is an adjective "of, relating to, or characterized by rousing oration."  One website notes that a newer sort of usage seems to imply that a speech is too long or overblown, but also points out that this is not the commonly accepted meaning.  I disagree with your assertion that it's used here in a derogatory fashion.

Now look at the paragraph that preceeded the one you quoted:

Quote from: David Ehrenstein
The only mud that momentarily stuck was criticism (white and black alike) concerning Obama's alleged "inauthenticty," as compared to such sterling examples of "genuine" blackness as Al Sharpton and Snoop Dogg. Speaking as an African American whose last name has led to his racial "credentials" being challenged often several times a day I know how pesky this sort of thing can be.

The sarcasm used here in distinguishing Obama's racial "inauthenticity" from the "sterling examples" of "'genuine' blackness" is obvious...except, apparently, to the song writers at The Rush Limbaugh Show who base an entire song on the pretense that it was intended as an earnest criticism of Obama's "racial credentials."

This is why the song does not qualify as a parody: it specifically and repeatedly cites the LA Times op-ed piece as the target of its mockery, grossly mischaracterizing the actual content of the article in the process.  You can scour the internet for examples where Obama's racial credentials actually are called into question, but the fact remains that the song is dishonestly attributes those attitudes where they don't actually exist.

Why not go after an actual source of those attitudes?  Because none of them used the phrase "Magic Negro," and the people at The Rush Limbaugh Show desperately wanted to adopt that term as something they could toss around as part of their crypto-racist jargon.  "Hey, don't blame us: we didn't make it up!  We're just repeating something the drive-by media likes to say!"

-Autistic Angel
3064  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Gee, I guess if you're conservative it's ok to be a racist a-hole. on: May 07, 2007, 08:08:13 PM
Quote from: Poleaxe
Ehrenstein concluded: "Like a comic-book superhero, Obama is there to help, out of the sheer goodness of a heart we need not know or understand. For as with all Magic Negroes, the less real he seems, the more desirable he becomes. If he were real, white America couldn't project all its fantasies of curative black benevolence on him."

Read that second quote again. I've read it before, and have read it again, now. No matter how you slice it Ehrenstein is saying that Obama isn't a real black man.

True...provided that the phrase "Magic Negro" is synonymous with "black man."  It isn't.

Instead, Ehrenstein is literally saying that the less people know about Barack Obama, the more of their own hope and idealism they're able to project into him.  Like the pop culture "Magic Negro" archetype that Ehrenstein defines (the benevolent and quasi-mystical black man with no past, no baggage, no vice, and no limitation to his altruism), he theorizes that Obama's greatest strength is that he *appears* perfect because voters know so little about him, and that as his image inevitably gives way to the truth of a real person with real virtues and real faults, people will have to reassess him as a "real candidate."

In order to argue that Ehrenstein is saying "Obama isn't a real black man", you must first believe that Ehrenstein defines a "real black man" as "a comic-book superhero who helps people out of the goodness of his heart and helps assuage white liberal guilt."  He's actually doing just the opposite, pointing out that Barack Obama belongs in the "real man" category and arguing that white people have mistaken him for a "Magic Negro" because he happens to be black.  He's not arguing that Obama isn't black enough; he's arguing that the fact Obama is black causes white people are willing to propel a black man they know nothing about to superstardom, simply to relieve their white liberal guilt.

-Autistic Angel
3065  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Spiderman III- This Friday! on: May 06, 2007, 10:38:37 PM
There's a particular scene in Spiderman 3 that really epitomizes its worst elements.  This isn't much of a spoiler, but I'll tag it just in case.

Spoiler for Hiden:
An out-of-control construction crane has slammed into the side of a building, and now Gwen Stacy is dangling sixty-two stories above the pavement.  When her father, the police commissioner arrives on the scene and discovers that his daughter is about to fall to her death, the next two sentences out of his mouth are, "What would Gwen be doing here?" and, to Eddie Brock, "Who are you?"

Personally, I would have gone with something like, "Holy shit, my daughter is about to die!  Somebody help her!"

Then Spiderman swings in, rescues Gwen, and...leaves.  I guess the wild crane just resolved itself?  What happened to that guy trapped in the control booth?

This scene has all sorts of problems:

1) The exchange between Commissioner Stacy and Brock plays for laughs and falls flat on its face.  It's horribly timed, makes zero sense given the fact that both characters are intimately familiar with the woman who's about to die, and frankly, wouldn't have been funny under any circumstances.

2) There is no reason for Commissioner Stacy to have been called to the scene of an emerging construction accident.  Actually, there's no reason for his character to have appeared in the movie at all -- his entire role could easily have been summed up with just a couple throw-away lines by other characters.  Yet there he is, a character with no meaningful impact on the plot appearing in a scene that would have flowed much better without him.

3) As I mentioned above, Spiderman really doesn't seem too concerned with the fate of the runaway crane, the operator, or any of the other people in the building.  Wouldn't it have been nice if a cop had at least walked up and said, "Thanks Spidey!  The crane worker found the 'Back Under Control' switch and everything is fine now.  Thank God we had the Commissioner here to-- oops, hold on...that's my radio.  See ya, Spidey!"

Spiderman 3 is lousy with these sorts of problems.  Characters overlook the most sensible conclusions, plot points are mysteriously abandoned partway through, and both elements are needlessly rearranged and squandered throughout the film.  This is a movie that frequently mistakes nonchalance for intensity, cheesiness for poignancy, and most of all, quantity for quality.  I prefer Spiderman 2.

-Autistic Angel
3066  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Hello Dad, I'm in Jail! on: May 05, 2007, 02:23:01 PM
Quote from: Daehawk
I was reading the fines imposed..$1500 was one. To her thats liek a penny is to me. They should raise a fine to compensate for the amount of money one has. A $500 fine to me should be like $500,000 to someone like Paris. How else is it really a punishment to someone like that?

Some countries already do that.

Quote from: BBC News
Anssi Vanjoki, 44, has been ordered to pay a fine of 116,000 euros ($103,600) after being caught breaking the speed limit on his Harley Davidson motorbike in the capital, Helsinki, in October last year.

Police say he was driving at 75 km/h (47 mph) in a 50km/h (31 mph) zone.

In Finland, traffic fines are proportionate to the latest available data on an offender's income.

Unfortunately, here in America, people seem to perceive policies like that as "punishing the rich for making more money."  The reality is that they seek to punish the rich for breaking the law, and recognize the obvious truth that the threat of a $1,500 fine is not the same deterrent to a multi-millionaire as it would be to an average middle class citizen.

-Autistic Angel
3067  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: GC games on the Wii on: May 04, 2007, 10:10:38 PM
Man, I can't believe I forgot about Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door!  What a great game!

-Autistic Angel
3068  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: GC games on the Wii on: May 04, 2007, 08:41:53 PM
I sure have!  I couldn't quite bring myself to spend $40-$50 on games like Battalion Wars or Harvest Moon: Magical Melody, but such games are an absolute steal at their current $10 prices!

-Autistic Angel
3069  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: GC games on the Wii on: May 04, 2007, 06:32:15 PM
I cannot comment on how the GameCube <--> GBA connectivity works since I haven't tried it, but I have played Metroid Prime 2 from start to finish and the last half of Wind Waker on the Wii, and the experience has been absolutely flawless.  It's a perfect example of backwards compatibility done right, allowing players to enjoy all the new games for the Wii while maintaining 100% access to their old GameCube libraries.

If you never owned a GameCube, I couldn't recommend a Wii highly enough.  It's *exactly* like getting both in a single box, and with all the best titles of the last generation down to a paltry $20, you'll gain access to hundreds of hours of premium game time for an incredibly efficient price.

Your tastes may vary, but some of my favorite Gamecube titles included the Metroid Prime games, Viewtiful Joe, Eternal Darkness, Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life, and Resident Evil 4.  And, although I've written at length on the issues I have with with the final third of Zelda: Wind Waker, I think that the majority of the game is good enough to safely recommend to any fan of the series.

-Autistic Angel
3070  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Thinking of selling my Wii on: May 04, 2007, 05:06:15 PM
I've gotten a good amount of use out of my Wii so far.  Granted, some of that has been with games like Metroid Prime 2 and Wind Waker which I simply never played on the GameCube (I *LOVE* backwards compatibility!), but I've also been having a blast with Super Paper Mario and continue to enjoy Wii Sports.  I've even been having fun with FarCry: Vengeance which, having dropped in price to $20, has been worth the money for the hilariously bad dialogue and innovative controls.

Soon, I intend to continue on to Twilight Princess which I still haven't played, and Godfather: Blackhand which I haven't played on any other system yet, and is supposed to be a great amount of fun.  And with other games like Super Smash Brothers: Brawl, Super Mario Galaxy, and Metroid Prime 3 on the horizon, I'm very confident that I'll continue to enjoy the Wii!

-Autistic Angel
3071  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Dry Cleaner Loses Pants, Lawyer Says They're Worth $67 Million on: May 03, 2007, 06:47:26 PM
These are the two points of the story that really stick out the most to me.

Quote from: ABC News
Fort Lincoln neighbors are enjoying what they consider the comedy of it all.

"The whole city is aware of this lawsuit," said Bob King, who represents Fort Lincoln on the Advisory Neighborhood Commissions. "Everybody's laughing about it."

Everybody except the Chungs, who have spent thousands of dollars defending themselves against Pearson's lawsuit.

"It's not humorous, not funny and nobody would have thought that something like this would have happened," Soo Chung told ABC News through an interpreter.

Her husband agreed.

"It's affecting us first of all financially, because of all the lawyers' fees," Jin Chung said. "For two years, we've been paying lawyer fees. We've gotten bad credit as well, and secondly, it's been difficult mentally and physically because of the level of stress."

Later, Soo Chung broke down in tears.

"I would have never thought it would have dragged on this long," she told ABC News. "I don't want to live here anymore. It's been so difficult. I just want to go home, go back to Korea."

Quote from: ABC News
First, Pearson demanded $1,150 for a new suit. Lawyers were hired, legal wrangling ensued and eventually the Chungs offered Pearson $3,000 in compensation.

No dice.

Then they offered him $4,600.

No dice.

Finally, they offered $12,000 for the missing gray trousers with the red and blue stripes.

Pearson said no.

This is not a "frivolous" lawsuit.  This is not entertainment, greed, or stupidity  -- it's raw malevolence.  The only possible reason to press the case to this point is to destroy this dry cleaning business and the family that runs it.  I truly hope that the justice system comes to its senses and hands down a ruling that offers the Chung family full restitution for the *actual* anguish and suffering they've had to endure, as well as severely punishing the plaintiff for carrying out such a petty vendetta.

-Autistic Angel
3072  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [Wii] Super Paper Mario Impressions on: May 03, 2007, 06:19:29 PM
I replaced my Super Paper Mario disc at the store, finished Chapter 4, and then went back into 4-1 to replay the section that had been causing the crash before.  Everything worked perfectly fine with the new disc, so hopefully it'll be smooth sailing from now on!

Thanks for the advice!  icon_cool

-Autistic Angel
3073  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [Wii] Super Paper Mario Impressions on: April 29, 2007, 10:50:24 PM
I seem to have encountered a severe problem in Chapter 4-1 of Super Paper Mario which hard-locks my Wii console, and I'm curious if anyone else has had a similar issue. 

The problem happens on the final section of the chapter: you can see an asteroid in the background with a tiny pipe sticking out of it, and three times now the system has crashed as I shoot the enemies in that area.  My speakers start making a piercing monotone, and the system becomes totally non-responsive -- I can't even shut it off by holding down the power button on the console, so I have to physically unplug it from the wall.  I finally slipped past this point by gliding past without firing a shot and tagging the star to end the level.

I've used my Wii extensively for games like Trauma Center and Wii Sports, and I've spent a *lot* of time playing Metroid Prime 2: Echoes and Zelda: Wind Waker via the backwards compatibility, and this is the very first problem I've had of any kind.  A quick Google search hasn't turned up anyone else with this problem -- has anyone else seen anything similar to this?

-Autistic Angel
3074  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [DS] New, FANTASTIC Phantom Hourglass pics on: April 27, 2007, 08:54:14 PM
Yes, things look a little rougher around the edges -- not surprising considering that this is still an unfinished build -- but it's a rather impressive recreation of the art style found in Wind Waker.  I never thought the screen shots for that game looked any good either, but seeing it in motion was a completely different story.

If the animation is up to the task, this could be a great looking game!

-Autistic Angel
3075  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Weekend Playlist: ATB Sole Parent Weekend Edition 27apr07 on: April 27, 2007, 04:33:28 PM
I expect to be finishing Zelda: Wind Waker this weekend.  I've completed the well-publicized scavenger hunt section and have entered the (presumably) final dungeon of the game.

This game really has been a study in extremes.  The graphics and music are fantastic, the storyline is interesting (though not quite up to the level of the Nintendo 64 Zeldas), and the combat is probably better than at any previous point in the series, but the traveling becomes tedious and the puzzles run the gamut from brilliant to positively infuriating.  Some of them actually seem to employ deliberate misdirection to make the actual solution seem as improbable as possible.

-Autistic Angel
3076  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: DAMN you Fox! DAMN YOU! on: April 27, 2007, 04:20:42 PM
Three days ago, I wrote a mini-review for Drive.  I don't have the whole thing in front of me right now, but I specifically recall the following section:

Quote from: Me
Then I learned that the show was being helmed by Tim Minear.  This immediately told me two things:

1) Drive will be much better than I was expecting, and

2) It will be cancelled within the first six episodes.

There was also a bit in there about how cool it was that Firefly's Richard "Jubal Early" Brooks was playing the cop investigating the disappearance of Alex Tully's wife.

Ah, well....

-Autistic Angel
3077  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Why veto? (political thread) on: April 27, 2007, 03:28:46 AM
Quote from: brettmcd
And if [democrats] had any guts to stand behind what they believe in and ran on, that the war cannot be won and all that, they would cut the funding.    But that would be politically bad to do, so they wont.

This argument reminds me of triple-dog-daring a guy to stick his tongue to a frozen metal pole.  If he does, he's a sucker and a moron.  If he doesn't, he's a coward.  And either way, you get to sit back, free from accountability, and mock him from a comfortable distance.

The republicans in this country bragged up a storm about how they were going to remake the world.  The republicans are the ones who spread a lot of rumors to justify picking a fight with Iraq.  The republicans are the ones who planned, executed, and financed that fight for four years, and the republicans are the ones who bear responsibility for the scandalous failures that have ensued, not to mention the reprehensible treatment of the brave soldiers who successfully accomplished every single mission they were assigned. 

And now, republicans are the ones who are triple-dog-daring democrats into the politically and militarily foolish plan to cut funding for troops on the battlefield.  If they do it, they're anti-American defeatists.  If they don't, they're cowards.  And either way, republicans hope to sit back, mock from a safe distance, and hope to God that everyone forgets the fact that they've presided over five years of failed strategies and false predictions.

Democrats have put forth a plan to end this war within the next year.  They recognize that America cannot use military might to force political stability in the midst of a civil war, so they are backing a last-ditch effort to use a firm timeline to put political pressure on Iraqi leaders to get their act together.  In order to criticize this strategy, republicans would first need to scrounge up enough credibility to explain how their plan -- which only came about after severe losses in the 2006 elections -- will somehow find success where all of their previous attempts have failed.

In other words, if you're the one who's stuck his tongue to a freezing pole, you don't really get to complain about the taste of your rescuer's warm water unless you've got a better idea.

-Autistic Angel
3078  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Why veto? (political thread) on: April 26, 2007, 07:42:37 PM
Quote from: deadzone
The thing that really gets me about all of this is that Bush seems to be clearly defying and going against what is a majority view held by American People about the Iraq War at this point in time.

I don't object to idea of political leaders going against the majority opinion.  Someone who devotes their lives to national defense should logically have a better grasp of how to handle it than the millions of people who focus their lives on mundane office work and raising their families.  The problem in this specific case, however, is that this administration has really exhausted the "We Know Best!" argument by using it to justify failure after failure.

I remember thinking that going to war in Iraq seemed like a really terrible idea at first, but then I watched Colin Powell's formal address to the United Nations chronicling everything the United States knew about Saddam Hussein's WMD programs.  He had vials of anthrax and satellite photographs of mobile chemical weapons labs and information on aluminum tubes which could *only* be used for enriching weapons-grade uranium, and I was convinced.  I was willing to put my faith in their judgment, trusting that they had a rock-solid basis for their intelligence.

Today, we know that every single "irrefutable fact" presented in that address was actually intensely contested by our own intelligence agencies.  Some were pure supposition put together by the Office of Special Plans under the guidance of Douglas Feith.  Others, like the story about the aluminum tubes, were outright lies -- the tubes were wholly unsuited for centrifuging uranium, and everybody with an ounce of nuclear weapons knowledge were saying so at the time.

People sometimes accuse me of being a "Bush hater," as though I consciously decided in advance to dislike him and have just been objecting to his policies ever since.  In fact, it was just the opposite: the Bush administration played the American people for suckers, taking advantage of our belief in the inherent honesty, integrity, and righteousness of our government to gain support for missions of extremely dubious national interest, and then botched those missions at a terrible, terrible cost.  I am not angry about body armor shortages or abysmal medical care for our troops because I just mistrust Bush; I mistrust Bush because I've seen how his behavior has hurt our troops.

Why is there such a standoff over the troop withdrawal deadlines in this funding bill?  Because everyone in both political parties recognize that this war can continue to be waged indefinitely, but the only possible ending is the pullout of American forces and a full-blown Iraqi civil war. 

Congressional democrats see that the war is unwinnable and want to represent the wishes of their constituents by bringing it to an end, but are casting about for a way to do it without allowing the republicans to brand them as "surrender monkeys" who gave up "just as we were about to win!" 

Congressional republicans see that the war in unwinnable and are desperate for a permission slip to bring to an end, but they need to find a way to pin responsibility for the defeat on the newly elected democrats rather than on their own half-decade worth of failed policies.

And President Bush....Bush is just running down the clock.  In a perfect world, he'd bring about the victory he'd envisioned and be hailed as the Great Liberator of the Middle East.  That isn't going to happen, so the best available alternative is to try and maintain the status quo through the end of his presidency and pass the problem off to somebody else.  So long as the defeat comes on someone else's watch, he and his supporters will always be able to maintain that he was a principled defender of liberty whose strong core values refused to give in to political pressure.  It's simply the best potential legacy.

I don't see much "good" vs. "evil" here.  There's no altruism or malice involved; it's really just two sides striking the most pragmatically advantageous positions available to them.  The difference between them is that one of the two sides is solely responsible for the preceding five years of incompetence that brought us into this position.  Ultimately, that makes my choice of who to support a lot easier.

-Autistic Angel
3079  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Wii - Browser, any way of hiding the Toolbar on: April 25, 2007, 06:29:06 PM
I'm writing this on my Nintendo Wii right now!

“You know, with the exception of one deadly and unpredictable midget, this girl is the smallest cargo I've ever had to transport, yet by far the most troublesome.”

-Autistic Angel
3080  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Game sequences that made you curse [minor God of War spoilers] on: April 25, 2007, 06:21:43 AM
I would like to nominate several puzzles in Zelda: Wind Waker.  I know everybody complains about the "Tingle Torture," but I think inane filler takes a distant backseat to some of the downright counter-intuitive puzzles in this game.  Here are some examples:

Spoiler for Hiden:
1) A woman on Windfall Isle fills three text boxes talking about how much she wants Skull Necklaces, so much so that the words "Skull Necklaces" are highlighted in bright orange, yet she does not react when you try to give her one.  Why?  Because the actual collector of the necklaces is some other random townie who mentions them one time in passing -- someone who already got rich selling Skull Necklaces, and would therefore no longer need them.

2) One of the tasks on Windfall is to tag four little kids, one of whom is standing at the very top of a tall tree.  You cannot hit him with your boomerang, grappling hook, bow & arrow, or hook shot.  You cannot dislodge him with an exploding bomb.  If you use the Deku Leaf to float down from the nearest wall and STAND RIGHT NEXT TO HIM, you cannot strike him with your sword or smack him with your hand.  No, the only solution is to perform a roll attack against the base of the tree.  As if that weren't already the least likely solution, it also needs to be lined up *perfectly* or you'll just roll past the trunk of the tree -- I know because I'd already tried it several times before checking a hint guide out of sheer desperation and discovering that it should have worked.

3) The first "traveling merchant" I encountered on Great Fish Island traded me a Sea Flower in exchange for my Town Flower and encouraged me to seek out his friends.  I did, but they refused to trade anything new to me.  It turns out that after receiving the Sea Flower, I was supposed to turn around and trade it right back TO THE SAME MERCHANT for something even better.

I don't know if something was lost in translation during the localization process or if these are just examples of careless game design, but they're certainly not the sort or obtuse, nonsensical solutions I would have expected in a modern Legend of Zelda game.  In fact, considering how clever and logical the dungeon puzzles have been throughout the game, I would not be surprised at all to learn that two entirely separate teams were in charge of developing the different elements of the game.

I've played Zelda II, Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, and Majora's Mask from start to finish without ever resorting to a strategy guide or even accepting a hint from a friend.  Wind Waker may be superior to the majority of other adventure-themed games on the market but given its pedigree, it's hard not to be disappointed with its sloppy non-sequiturs and how easily they might have been avoided.

-Autistic Angel
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