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8041  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: How much hassle to cross the border into Canada? on: May 30, 2008, 08:38:46 PM

Quote from: Purge on May 30, 2008, 08:23:06 PM

Quote from: Rumpy on May 30, 2008, 08:15:55 PM

Yeah, you need a passport starting this year. Don't forget your passport!

wrong (according to border services)

Correct - you were going to have to have a passport starting this year, but the relaxed rules were extended to June 1, 2009.

Here is the US entry page - basically you will need birth certs for the kids and birth cert plus drivers license for the adults if you don't have passports. Some other combinations are acceptable too.
8042  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: How much hassle to cross the border into Canada? on: May 30, 2008, 08:15:17 PM
I don't have experience crossing from MN, but I have crossed quite a few times at Buffalo, NY and Port Huron, MI.  It really depends on the time of day and the particular crossing.  Some of the Niagara Falls crossings can get really backed up, but I would guess the MN crossings are pretty quiet all the time. We intentionally cross very late at night to avoid any traffic.

You don't need passports, but we bring ours anyway just to make it easier. We also travel with our dog, so we bring her vaccination papers. The easier you make it for the border guys, the better.

The other thing to note is don't try to pull one over on the border patrol if you buy things.  They are looking for people with big ticket items to pay taxes on.  If you buy some small items, just say so (keep receipts, too). It's not worth getting caught, and they will most likely just let you go because it's not worth their time. It's sort of like going through the security at the airport - be nice and do what they say and you'll go right through.
8043  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost finale is tonight! on: May 30, 2008, 04:11:04 PM
OK, a couple things that are bugging me:

1. During the press conference, someone brings up the fact that Aaron being Kate's son makes no sense. They just let that go?

2. Maybe I'm not remembering it right, but I recall the description of the crash that Jack gave during Kate's trial didn't match the description of the crash given at the press conference.  I thought that Jack said that Kate was pulling people from the burning wreckage, where the new story was that they were under water and got out through and emergency door.  Again, I could be remembering wrong.

Also, Jack said that 8 people made it out of the plane.  Who were the other two and what happened to them?
8044  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Domination! on: May 30, 2008, 02:24:07 PM
Couldn't get on last night, although I sneaked on this morning for a few minutes and maxed out my M60.  Hoping to go 1st prestige this weekend, but I don't know if I have enough time.
8045  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: The 360 needs a sleep mode on: May 29, 2008, 06:54:12 PM
That's just the screen saver - the system itself is still on, fans going, etc.  I want to be able to shut the system down with a button so it is using minimal power, and then with another press, return to where I was in a game. DS games also do this when you close the lid.
8046  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: The 360 needs a sleep mode on: May 29, 2008, 05:52:40 PM
Ah, I see. I usually shut the system off if I'm not going to be coming back in the next 10 minutes or so.
8047  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / The 360 needs a sleep mode on: May 29, 2008, 05:48:52 PM
Like the PSP. Does the PS3 have this? On the PSP you can flick the on switch and the system will sleep. Flick it again and you are back right where you left off.  Is this why people set their Live account to "away"? So they don't have to shut the system down?

I will say that what makes COD4 that much better is that it takes just seconds to get into the MP menu.  All the up-front credits (studio names, etc.) are skippable by pressing a button.  More games should be that way.
8048  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: GTA4 Videos on: May 29, 2008, 05:45:18 PM

Quote from: CrayolaSmoker on May 28, 2008, 08:45:24 PM

Wow. Think I'm gonna have to go looking for cars on top of buildings.

I'm thinking they are using the cheat that lets you dial a number and spawn a car.  I've never tried it, but it seems unlikely that R* just left some cars on buildings so people could do stunts.
8049  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Domination! on: May 29, 2008, 05:18:07 PM
That's what is sounds like when you're enjoying yourself? I'd hate to hear what it sounds like when you're not enjoying yourself slywink

Not sure if I can make it on tonight, I'll have to see.

And should I bother with the MP44?
8050  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: I Haven't Played COD4 in 7 Days. Longest Break Evar! on: May 28, 2008, 07:27:57 PM
Played a little Headquarters yesterday for the first time.  It's a lot less of a slaughter-fest than Domination and it's good for XP. Almost to level 50. But Headquarters on Showdown is kind of silly.
8051  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Verbal Flub = Inability to Lead a Nation? Oh the Irony on: May 28, 2008, 11:26:39 AM

Quote from: CSL on May 28, 2008, 03:46:38 AM

Quote from: Teggy on May 28, 2008, 03:13:29 AM

Forget Bush, McCain has made a series of mistakes linking Iran and Al Qaeda in Iraq - it takes a lot of gall to call Obama on something like that.

That Iran and Al Qaeda were working together in Iraq?

Correct - there is actually video where Joe Lieberman has to whisper in his ear during a press conference to correct him.
8052  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Verbal Flub = Inability to Lead a Nation? Oh the Irony on: May 28, 2008, 03:13:29 AM
Forget Bush, McCain has made a series of mistakes linking Iran and Al Qaeda in Iraq - it takes a lot of gall to call Obama on something like that.
8053  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Pac-Man...the movie?!? on: May 27, 2008, 06:26:20 PM
Someone posted a concept Pac-Man movie on here or OO some time ago.  It's probably on youtube.  Can't remember the plot exactly, but I think a guy winds up getting some kind of powers and his suit involves a yellow motorcycle helmet.  He gets chased by ghosts, etc.  It was turned into sci-fi action.

edit: here
8054  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Official GTA4 impressions thread on: May 27, 2008, 05:06:58 PM
So I was having some thoughts about the plot, and why I think it kind of fell flat in the end.

Spoiler for Hiden:
Shortly after Niko gets off the boat, we find out that he has come for a purpose - to find someone.  Later, we find out why he wants to find that person, and the plot thickens. Everything that he does, every crime, is done to bide his time and get the resources and information to find his target. He gets one lead, and we got excited, and it turns out to be a dead end.  And finally, when he finds Darko, the mission isn't a mission at all. It's a choice, and one that may or may not have consequences. I let him live - does anything different happen if you kill him? Maybe get negative Roman points? Not exactly a big deal if that's the case.

After "That Special Someone", the story is kind of lost, looking for a way to end. The Dmitiri/Pegorino choice seems more like an epilogue than an ending. For me, the "deal" ending worked a little better, because Niko obviously cares about his cousin and would likely have been distraught after his death and out for revenge.

The "revenge" ending, which I did first, didn't work as well, primarily because I think they did a really poor job of building up the Kate/Niko relationship. For one, the chemistry between the two of them didn't really work. Kate would complain to Niko about the work he would do and he would often snap back. They didn't have flirty conversations - they were often confrontational. Even when you would call up Kate she'd say, "you, I thought you'd be dead by now!"  But not in a playful way, in a hostile way. The best you got was this weird awkward pause when they'd say goodnight after a date, and that may  have just been a glitch in the game. Yet, somewhere along the line, Niko starts talking like he wants to settle down with Kate.  Also, when Niko calls Kate to tell her that he is making a choice, she basically gives him permission to go after and kill Dmitri, which doesn't make sense - she doesn't want Niko to do crime at all. I just didn't buy it, and didn't buy his reaction to her death.

I do think it's interesting that people refer to "deal" as the "good" ending - I guess Niko winds up with a bunch of money and a girlfriend, but is what happened "good".  Is there something out there that says Rockstar considers "deal" the true ending?
8055  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: I Bought My First Ever Bruce Springsteen Album on: May 27, 2008, 03:44:48 AM
I haven't bought any Springsteen since Tunnel of Love, but Born to Run is an absolute classic. Thunder Road is one of the best songs EVER.
8056  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: I Haven't Played COD4 in 7 Days. Longest Break Evar! on: May 27, 2008, 03:37:57 AM
I swear, I think Infinity Ward put in a patch this weekend that broke my guns. ATB witnessed some of my worst performances ever.  Funny thing was that as soon as ATB left, I went 19-5 with a heli on Crash. But that's because I can camp like crazy on Crash - I either go in the blue building and pick people off or the building directly across. If I am forced to move around and engage enemies on the move I have just been useless.

8057  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Gears of War - "casual" or "hardcore" for first time through? on: May 26, 2008, 05:39:53 PM
I re-started on casual.  It seems a lot easier than hardcore, almost too easy, but I'm sure I'll appreciate it later on.  I am through Act 1.
8058  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Gears of War - "casual" or "hardcore" for first time through? on: May 25, 2008, 07:52:35 PM

Quote from: papasmurff on May 25, 2008, 07:20:02 PM

I played through on casual first and it was pretty easy.  The amount of damage the bad guys take on hardcore is alot....I mean a whole clip per target.

From what I understand the way around this is to go for headshots, no?
8059  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Gears of War - "casual" or "hardcore" for first time through? on: May 25, 2008, 07:12:03 PM
How accurate are the difficulty descriptions?  The descriptions in-game make it sound like "casual" is easy and "hardcore" is for people who have played a few shooters, but I played the training on "hardcore" and died a bunch of times.  Is it just a matter of getting comfortable with the cover system, or is "hardcore" actually hard?
8060  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Official GTA4 impressions thread on: May 25, 2008, 06:28:43 PM
OK, finally finished.  84% complete, clock said 64 hours, but I did both endings, and with reloads that probably puts me close to 70 hours. Some of the final missions were pretty impressive, with some cool scripted events (although you have to be in the right place at the right time to see them). The game was not perfect, but something this huge and detailed, you can't help but be impressed by the whole package. I'll probably come back to it at some point to grab some more achievements, and to do multiplayer, but for single player, my time in Liberty City has ended for the time being.  Keeping me in that long was a big feat - I'm sure that this was by far the most time I have ever spend on single player for a particular game.
8061  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Weekend Playlist: Memorial Day Edition on: May 23, 2008, 04:45:59 PM
Tonight, Burnout Paradise with old college friends, any other time will probably be reserved for GTA IV, which I'm hoping to tie up before the end of the long weekend (14 missions left and some achievements I'd like to complete).  Saturday is reserved for 1st wedding anniversary stuff (even though Tuesday is the actual day).
8062  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Good Movies No One Has Ever Heard Of... on: May 23, 2008, 03:26:17 AM
Hm. I don't think these qualify as "no one has ever heard of", but certainly lesser known and some of my favorites:

Zero Effect - Bill Pullman as Daryl Zero, an incredibly neurotic and eccentric yet genius private detective, with Ben Stiller as his partner. There is a mystery involved, but it is really about the characters.

Swimming With Sharks - a little more well known, Kevin Spacey is the worlds worst boss and Frank Whaley is his subordinate that reaches his breaking point.

The Sweet Hereafter - Atom Egoyan's fantastic adaptation of the Russell Banks novel about a community that undergoes an emotional crisis when many of the children are killed in a schoolbus accident.

A couple by love/hate directors

Lone Star - either you like John Sayles or you don't. His movies are very gently paced, but I think this one is incredibly compelling.  A great character study as well as a look at Mexico-Texas relations.

The Secret of Roan Inish - another Sayles movie, although this is an adaptation so not exactly like his other work. A great family film.

Trust - sometimes this is my all-time favorite movie. A sort-of love story by Hal Hartley, who can definitely be an acquired taste.

8063  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Official GTA4 impressions thread on: May 23, 2008, 02:37:33 AM

Quote from: Roscoe on May 22, 2008, 10:57:25 PM

Damn, I've run into one of those "unbeatable" missions, "Catch The Wave", where you drive a truck to Charge Island and...
Spoiler for Hiden:
...and I keep getting Phil Bell killed because I hang back and snipe, or get myself killed if I rush forward with Bell. Damn.

I didn't have too much trouble with that one.

Spoiler for Hiden:
I shot out the window of the truck to quickly kill the one or two guys who were rushing the truck.  Then I got out of the truck and moved to the left of the warehouse opening, got into cover, and started taking as many guys out as I could.  When Bell moved up a bit farther, I went into the warehouse and killed more guys, taking some cover when I could.  There is health left of the middle on the end of a pile of something if you need it.  After you get halfway through the warehouse you've gotten through the worst of it.  There's another twist, but I'll let you discover that on your own smile

Just finished "Flatline". That was a pain until I finally figured out what they wanted you to do.
8064  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Getting Past The Invulnerability/Too Much Money Problem in Game on: May 22, 2008, 08:14:24 PM

Quote from: ATB on May 22, 2008, 07:15:16 PM

So I'm playing Mass Effect (so far it's a solid B title), but it has two common problems that many games also have.

The first:

Ridah mentioned it somewhere, as has Ike and probably others, that at a certain point, you're basically an invulnerable tank and that you really face no opposition because your weapons are uber and your guns are uber and the enemies are basically the same (though maybe with a few more hit points).

It adds to the sense of relief that not every battle is gonna be a scrap, but it also takes away from the enjoyment IMO because you know barely any battle is going to be one.

See, I don't mind this.  There's nothing I hate more than extended boss battles that I wind up having to play multiple times. The way I play every Ratchet and Clank game is to level up my armor, guns and gadgets so high that when it's time to face the final boss, I can do it in like 5 shots.  Yay me!

I think a well designed game allows you to get super strong and super rich so you can easily progress, but doesn't require you to do so if you want to be challenged.  Hence you are perfectly able to do a 3 heart run in Zelda, or you can find every piece of heart and fairy bottle there is and be close to indestructible by the time you face Ganon (at least in the 3D ones).
8065  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: So my son asks me, "How is Obama doing, dad?" on: May 22, 2008, 04:41:05 PM

Quote from: Freezer-TPF- on May 22, 2008, 04:37:24 PM

Quote from: Hamsterball_Z on May 22, 2008, 08:25:53 AM

It was The Decemberists that did the free concert before Obama came on.  [link]

Sweet.  Obama should totally rock the 19th-century sea pirate demographic.

Superchunk played an Obama rally in North Carolina.  That is how I know he is awesome.
8066  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Chronicles of Narnia: Caspian on: May 22, 2008, 04:38:56 PM
Just to add a little dissent, I quite enjoyed it.  I thought it was faster paced than the first one.  Not sure why you thought it was more overtly religious than the first, as "...Wardrobe" was basically about Aslan as Jesus and this one was much lighter on that imagery. It's not without it's flaws - Caspian in particular had some horribly delivered lines, especially with the strange Spanish accent they chose to go with.  The other thing I also couldn't shake was the similarity between the final battle and the battles from the Lord of the Rings films.

I suppose it also matters how much you care about the original material.  Large chunks of the book are dropped out entirely, and other things added in, including an entire battle (although a very entertaining one) and some personal conflict and romance between charaters. Caspian was also much older than I ever pictured him and older than I think he is supposed to be (the actor is 27 even). Personally, I don't have much invested in the books, I have only used them as entertainment on our Boston-Michigan drives.

I think it is worth seeing on a big screen for the visuals, as well.

8067  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Boeing Firing High-Energy Tactical Laser... on: May 22, 2008, 04:14:34 PM
Not exactly sure how this thing works (range, rate of fire, energy consumption, power source, etc.), but as simple as they make it sound it would seem you could put this thing on a few satellites and take out a country's tanks, planes, trucks, whatever without ever engaging them in battle.
8068  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Reaper (spoilers) on: May 22, 2008, 02:59:57 PM

Quote from: CeeKay on May 22, 2008, 02:49:21 PM

'I do some scouting for the Yankees.'

that had me ROFL'ing.

Wait, is there an episode after the one with the "the leak"?  I thought that was the season finale.  Oops.
8069  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Reaper (spoilers) on: May 21, 2008, 08:30:30 PM
If the devil is Sam's dad, there are definitely a lot of questions to answer, such as, how did he end up with his current family, and if he is not actually his "dad"'s offspring, what does the contract actually say?

I'm also wondering what they are going to do with his ex-girlfriend? The devil said she was not his daughter, but he lies all the time, and she certainly appeared to have supernatural about her.  It would mean that Sam had sex with his sister, though. The actress is going to be on 90210 next season, I wonder if they are going to just pretend that never happened? I hope not, as that would be pretty bad storytelling.
8070  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Official GTA4 impressions thread on: May 21, 2008, 04:32:15 PM
Another fun moment during "Dust-off"

Spoiler for Hiden:
When you take the helicopter and an enemy runs out and grabs on to the skids.  That guy hung on for quite a while before he fell off quite a ways up over the water.  Kind of curious how they worked the timing on that.  I took off kind of slow because I saw him and wanted to see what he would do.  I wonder if you can get off before he reaches you.
8071  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: OK... What.The.F(radio edit). on: May 21, 2008, 02:51:03 PM
People actually use the word "harpy"?
8072  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Official GTA4 impressions thread on: May 21, 2008, 02:47:06 PM

Quote from: Roscoe on May 21, 2008, 02:38:47 PM

I got an email from Brucie saying in effect there's a new series of races available to me. So between those and going after the bad guys in Alderney and Broker/Dukes/Bohan there's still plenty to do besides the mainline missions.

There also at least 2 sets of side missions that you haven't unlocked yet.

Beat "Truck Hustle" last night (among others) - what a great mission. Currently at 50 hours and I still have about 20 story missions to go.

Also had something strange happen last night during a mission.  I can't remember exactly which one it was, but it was basically a straight forward "go to this place and wipe everyone out" mission. When I got to the last guy, he had dropped his gun and was holding his hands out, and the arrows above his head were flashing blue and red. However, when I walked over to him, he didn't do anything.  I tried putting my gun away but nothing happened. Finally,  I had to gun him down to end the mission. Not sure what was going on there.
8073  Non-Gaming / Steals and Deals / Re: Amazon Gold Box Video Game Deal Day on: May 21, 2008, 02:10:57 PM
Looks like they are all music games - the next one might be Rock Band ("Dude, we're getting the band back together" is the clue), then probably stuff like SingStar or Karaoke Revolution.
8074  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: I Haven't Played COD4 in 7 Days. Longest Break Evar! on: May 21, 2008, 01:55:56 PM
I figure I've got another weekend until I have GTA IV SP done (I'm at 50 hours now) then I need to give COD4 some attention. We'll see how long it takes to shake the rust off.
8075  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Banjo Kazooie 3 shots, Viva Pinata 2 coming on: May 21, 2008, 02:00:54 AM
Here's the quote, from here:

How far was the game through development before you came up with the idea of creating vehicles?
The idea of the vehicles came before it was a Banjo game. The whole core idea of the player building vehicles from components was from the very start and it wasn't very long before we thought this'd make a good Banjo game.

8076  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Banjo Kazooie 3 shots, Viva Pinata 2 coming on: May 21, 2008, 01:35:05 AM
Word is that this was not a BK game originally, but an idea for constructing vehicles that they forced BK to.  That's too bad, because I've always wanted to play the original BK games (never had an N64) and thought this would give me a taste. The first time I saw the pics and videos I thought "Gummi Ship", and that is most definitely not a good thing.  I'll keep watching to see the reviews, but I'm not as excited anymore.
8077  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Official GTA4 impressions thread on: May 20, 2008, 09:36:48 PM

Quote from: Caine on May 20, 2008, 09:13:40 PM

with the negative buzz around the tunnel of death mission, i was almost certain to hit a road block with it like i did with snow job.  i got very lucky though and beat it first try.  the first cop car got in a bender with the noose vehicles and all of the other first responders went down the wrong tunnel so my center point didn't reset.  by the time more cops showed up on the map, i was able to escape the circle and duck down an alley.  i lost the heat after that and the rest of the mission went fine.

I actually accidentally blind-fired my RPG in that mission.  I didn't realize that I wasn't pulling the left trigger and let it go.  Luckily, the cop car was about 50 feet away so I didn't need to aim real well.  It was pretty funny to see Niko casually reaching around the side of the truck and squeezing off a rocket while looking the other way.
8078  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Official GTA4 impressions thread on: May 20, 2008, 03:54:54 PM

Quote from: Kevin Grey on May 20, 2008, 03:15:10 PM

Carmen's has *never* worked for me, inside or outside of missions.

Same for me, so I dumped her, because if it's not going to work during a mission, it's really useless, because outside of a mission, you can simply stop and get a hot dog, or if you are near a hospital, there is always free health somewhere on the grounds.  If there is some restriction on when and how many times you can use a perk, then that should be spelled out to you on screen, at least once!

I'm not going for 100%, simply because I don't have the patience to scour the city for pigeons, and if it's going to take a guide to make it go quicker, I hardly see the point. However, I am curious what affect the dating has on getting 100%.  Do you have to simply date all the girls?  Do you have to gain all the perks at least once? Do you have to buy one of every clothes item in the game?
8079  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: GTA4 Hints and Tips? on: May 19, 2008, 07:48:41 PM
I forgot about something interesting that I ran across yesterday.  If you are on the internet and you go to the LCPD page, there is a link to the LPCD database at the bottom. There's no spoilers I don't think, but a police record for every "badguy" character in the game, as well as a few who you wouldn't necessarily expect to find in there.
8080  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Super Mario Galaxy impressions on: May 19, 2008, 06:56:59 PM

Quote from: Zaxxon on May 19, 2008, 06:30:37 PM

Quote from: Teggy on May 19, 2008, 06:02:46 PM

Quote from: Eel Snave on May 19, 2008, 05:12:31 PM

I don't really have any incentive to get more stars.  I have 63.  Is there anything that I unlock if I get beyond that number besides bigger testicles?

Well, you miss the whole rest of the story! Even though you have already rescued Princess Peach and beaten Bowser, he somehow manages to capture her again and you are forced to beat him again. Yet it seems an awful lot like deja vu.  It's all very deep and nuanced.

Yeah, the fact that Toad's letter from Peach doesn't change one bit after you rescue Peach (namely, that she's still captured and sending 1-ups from her cell) struck me as odd.  Nintendo doesn't generally let such obvious and easily-addressed oddities through QA. 

I would guess they would suggest that at the point you beat Bowser for the first time, you are zapped back into some kind of alternate timeline where you have yet to beat Bowser and there's even more stuff to do.  But it would have made much more sense to just let you play the extra levels and trigger a minor cutscene and credits when you got to 120.  Having to go back and beat Bowser was kind of dumb.
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