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3361  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Good and Bad TV Series finales on: March 25, 2009, 11:37:18 PM

Quote from: Teggy on March 25, 2009, 09:16:20 PM

I don't understand why people liked the ending of Angel. It left everyone's future (apart from Wesley) in question. I should probably read the comics. Buffy's ending, while a little quick to resolve, at least tied up most loose ends and didn't make you wonder what would become of the main characters.

The ending of Angel was definitely NOT the intended ending for the series.  I think they were pretty much blindsided and had to completely adjust things to make it something of a finale.

Spoiler for Hiden:
I'm reading "After the Fall" now which I believe has a lot of ideas that were intended for Season 6.  Angel becomes human but still fights the fight, Gunn becomes an evil vampire, Wesley becomes a ghost due to Wolfram and Hart, Illyria shifts back and forth between herself and Fred, Spike is a champion, and Connor and Lightning chick both return as a couple as they all battle it out in Hell on Earth.

My favorite series finale was the ST:TNG finale, which actually ended at the poker table with my all-time favorite finale scene where the Captain starts dealing and Deanna says "you were always welcome" then he starts dealing and something like "sky's the limit"...  always brings a tear to my eye even after umpteen viewings.
3362  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Chronicles of Spellborn is out! on: March 25, 2009, 11:30:13 PM
First impressions: game looks and feels good. Character creation gives you a lot of options in terms of costuming and colorization, not as much as CoX series but much more than most other MMOs these days. I was able to create a (hopefully unique) look which I really liked a lot from the getgo. The tutorial is reminiscent of EQ2 and Morrowind where they place you in an instance on a boat and you get to learn the interface at your pace. It feels like a fairly polished single player RPG opening. Combat is kind of different, though they only teach you the very rudimentary portion of it. Involves a lot of mouse action, RMB to target and LMB to attack.

But then, they dump you on the starter island/area. It looks great but the tutorial kind of ends abruptly. You pick up starter quests which are essentially the same as any RPG, fedex and kill X. Unfortunately the map is not as friendly as games we are used to (some might like this) so I found myself running around a lot aimlessly. I found it difficult to find quest goals in general; the map only helps a bit and the radar only shows a quest goal once you are very close.

The Kill X quests would be fine, but the mob populations were scarce (seems to be a bug hopefully) and combat is much more difficult than a conventional MMORPG. Even facing down 1 same level mob took me to the brink of death or got me killed. That said, the combat skill deck system itself (which unless I missed it was never actually explained in the tutorial) is very unique and cool. (This is on top of the skill-based combat Razgon talked about in terms of positioning, aiming, etc). It took a while experimenting but I finally got a sense of how to set it up - basically it involves creating combos or possible combos and mixing in button presses with clicks. Your core combo might be melee actions, so you put the skills in slot 1 of the first and second "decks". During combat, you hit LMB to activate slot 1 of deck 1, and then if you don't change anything, deck 2 appears and you can hit LMB again to hit the second part of the combo. Now something might change in mid-combat, you might want to cast a heal instead, so if you had slotted that in slot 2 of deck 2, you can hit "2" and LMB to cast that instead. Not a great description, sorry, but it definitely makes for more involved combat even at this early stage.

Anyway, game could use some polish, but I do like the combat system so it's kind of a toss up at the moment. I could see some intense duels or PvP using this combat. I just wish the game sucked you in a bit more at the outset.

From day 2:

Played about another hour or so before I went back to WAR. The game world still looks gorgeous, and I really like the combat system more and more. It definitely feels more dynamic and interactive than conventional MMORPGs and even at this early stage I found myself needing many on the fly adjustments while in combat. This is with only 2 "decks" and 3 "slots" on each deck open. It looks like at max you open up 5 (?) decks with 5 slots each, which would probably be pretty insane. In addition, each skill itself seems to have mods or something on them, I didn't bother to look into the details yet. So the game seems to have a fairly intricate character system, with 2 different types of levelling ("Fame" and "PeP") which I believe translates to questing and mob-killing. Sounds good on paper but seems to unfold excruciatingly slowly. This is made worse by the lack of mobs I already mentioned. People in chat seem to suggest skipping the mob kills and just doing regular quests; however unless I am mistaken the main quest line that allows you to leave this area forces you to kill mobs, so you're stuck unless you finish that. At that point I lost my patience and stopped.

Haven't given up completely as it's still in open beta, but things are not looking good. It's a shame because it really seems to have some different ideas and a rather unique combat system.  I will likely try again, hopefully the mob populations for particular quest mobs (young bears) will be enhanced and I can move out to outer areas.
3363  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Battleforge on: March 25, 2009, 11:10:50 PM

Quote from: MonkeyFinger on March 25, 2009, 09:19:55 PM

So... for an old curmudgeon like me who pretty much sticks to single player, is there enough here to make a worthwhile purchase? Or does it really come down to the multi?

When I played in beta, I played exclusively the single player campaign, and it wasn't until late last night that I played my first co-op mission with a friend.  I ended up doing the first mission about 5 different times on the same difficulty level with different deck builds, and each time was fun in different ways.  I've only made it to the 4th (I think) mission and have already got at least 20 hours of game time in (including deck building, upgrades, and losses).  Also for additional challenge you can play the same map on 2 more difficulty levels (advanced and expert).  As I mentioned above, I believe the main single player campaign has 18 missions (not 100% sure on this). 

I'd say there is a ton of playability for a single player presuming you do indeed like the core game - BUT with the caveat that like Guild Wars, you still have to login online to get to the main map interface (which may be a turn off for some players).  The counter point about this though is that, like Guild Wars again, your progress is all tied to your account, so you can bring it with you on different computers or on the road.

You can download the game demo and see how you like it - it's set up in a shareware format, but it gives you a pretty good idea of what to expect.
3364  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Battleforge on: March 25, 2009, 09:07:49 PM
Some of this is repeated from other posts, but I thought I'd put together a more detailed impressions post. Short version: I'm lovin' it!!

Now I should start this off by saying that although I've tried/bought a ton of RTS games over the years, I wouldn't call myself a true fan of the genre, nor would I ever consider myself good at them in general. I just find it hard to resist when a new one comes out with some new twist or a fun license like Warhammer or LoTR. Battleforge adds the Magic: The Gathering (M: TG) twist in that your units/spells are based on "cards" which you can collect and trade a la M:TG. There are four different colors to choose from, and you can create a deck from them any way you choose, from a single color to all 4. Most decks I guess will be 1 or 2 colors for maximum effectiveness.

For any given fight, regardless of how many cards you have access to, you can only bring 20 to a battle. The cards can be anything from standard soldier units to a massive flying dragon that spits fire all over the place, to buff or heal spells, to large defensive towers that themselves cast buff spells. The variation and creativity of all the different units, as well as how they are brilliantly brought to life, are a large part of the game's appeal.

The traditional "resources" in the game are kept relatively simple: one is a tower that generates power/mana and the other is a "monument" of a given color (corresponding to the colors of your card deck). Each card has a casting cost (in power) and a requirement of color orbs (from 1 to 4). So a typical mid-range card might require you "own" 1 red orb and 1 of any other color, and 50 units of power to cast. A high end focused unit might need 4 red orbs and 300 power. There's a clear tradeoff in how you build your deck, and in cases where you don't know what you are going to face tactically, it can be a tough trade between using, say, extra defensive towers vs. extra mobile offensive units vs. offensive or defensive spell casts. There is a ton to choose from even at the outset.

Campaign missions play out as fairly standard RTS fare, with decently aggressive AI even in the early missions. You are generally faced with a mix of offense/defense decisions and splitting your forces effectively. What sets the game apart is that playing the exact same mission/map with a new/different deck can feel entirely different. While you might argue this is just the same as playing with a different race in a different game, I'd say strategically it's quite different because you are the one making all the choices in what units to bring to the table. It definitely feels more personal/special in that regard. Graphics and spell effects are all top notch throughout.

The game itself is pure GAME in terms of providing options. What do I mean? There is a "Forge" area which allows you to experiment with your cards in a completely benign environment. Just drop your card in and face it off against an opponent of your choice to see how it fares. I believe you can cast spells/buffs, etc to see their effects as well. It's an awesome little tool to let you play around and bring your cards to life. From there, you have a very extensive tutorial, and then a series of campaign missions. Campaign missions are either single player, 2 or 4 player cooperative, which you unlock as you move along the world map. I believe the main single player campaign has 18 missions. There's also a 12-player mission which I've heard is really 3 4-player missions running in conjunction somehow (basically it appears the devs have pinned the game's max number of players at 4, presumably due to balancing of the number of units, etc for performance). You can jump into a stranger's open game, or "group" up with friends to tackle a mission together. Each mission can be played in 3 difficulty levels as well. On top of that there is a Sparring area where you can essentially duel with someone with no consequences good or bad. And finally a true PvP arena (1v1 or 2v2) where you can fight it out and win rewards. All of this content can be played either with decks formed from your core collection of all cards, or from "Tome Decks" which are limited to a single Tome purchase of cards, thus dramatically lowering the pool you can choose from and offering a different type of challenge where randomization and luck come into play as much as skill and strategy.

All your game results are captured in the meta-game in a simple but effective journal. This keeps track of xp and gold which you earn during PvE missions as well as points and rewards and win/loss records, etc in PvP battles. All of this is tied to your user avatar. I don't know all the details of the rewards yet. What I have played with is "upgrading" cards. Cards that you've been rewarded after a completed scenario are placed in a separate pool. If you already own the same card, you can choose to upgrade it for a cost of in-game gold. In addition, if you happen to own multiples of the same card, you can simultaneously enhance the card's "volume" (# of usages). So I was able to upgrade my Skeleton Warriors to have higher damage AND 10 uses instead of 5 for the cost of 50gold. Apparently you can use PvP rewards as well to make these types of upgrades.

All in all, I'd say this game's replayability is off the charts. Just fiddling with cards and combos in the forge could suck up inordinate amounts of time. Not to mention all the different modes of play. The online setup is streamlined in a very clean interface which allows the player to easily pick and choose the type of gameplay, be it a single player mission or a 2 on 2 PvP match. The degree of professionalism in the release is very reminiscent to me of Guild Wars, and it seems like this really has the feel of being the GW of RTS games.

That said, I'm still scratching the surface of the game, so feel free to ask questions or comment. Based on what I've seen so far, this game is very likely to go into my top all-time games, and is certainly already one of my favorite RTS games.
3365  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Battleforge on: March 24, 2009, 10:57:45 PM
WTF?!!?  It was only $40 at Target?  Paid $50 for the stupid download version!  Boooooo!
3366  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: CHUCK IS BACK! Chuck vs. The First Date Spoilers! on: March 24, 2009, 09:02:54 PM

Quote from: Gratch on March 24, 2009, 06:51:26 PM

Don't feel too bad, HIMYM does nothing for me either.

I love the cast on that show, pretty much everyone on it - but every episode I've seen has left me a bit hollow and wishing I was watching a repeat of Friends instead.  That said, the geek show that airs next to it (Big Bang Theory I think it is) I've found hilarious.  Interesting to see the 3 "nerd" shows (Chuck, Reaper and Big Bang) from last season all hanging in there.
3367  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Heroes Season 3 (spoilers for our less fortunate European friends) on: March 24, 2009, 08:59:58 PM
Wow, no comments on Heroes?!?!  Even though I slept through about half the episode (will rewatch), I'd have to say this was easily the best episode of the season, and one of the top eps of the series.  Is it a "blip" in the writing as my friend claims, or a sign of good/better things to come?

Spoiler for Hiden:
The Hiro+baby stuff was OK, I thought the baby was very cute, but Hiro not so much.  Still it's nice to see him get his power back, as well as see Ando in action again. 

Daphne's death sequence was excellently done, great acting from both actors.  I was genuinely touched; I hope they don't marginalize this by having "baby touch and go" rez her.

Speaking of which, I wonder if the baby can restore some of Peter's powers as well...

Ali Larter - awesome effects in her cold-snap "death" sequence.  Was that a wink at the end and what did it mean?  Either way look for her to come back, either as Tracy or the third sister we've already heard about - or even better BOTH!

Return of Micah as (no surprise) Rebel - just OK with this, but he's definitely better/edgier than before.  Hope they have some decent plans for him
3368  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Battleforge on: March 24, 2009, 06:15:13 PM
Game is out today!!!  Anyone picking it up?

I have it pre-ordered from EA store and game downloaded (trapped in demo mode), but no key has been sent.

Edit: key was sent, now I just need to get home to start playin!
3369  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: 24: Season 7 (spoiler tags are certain!) on: March 24, 2009, 06:12:06 PM

Quote from: CeeKay on March 24, 2009, 03:43:38 AM

so we've gone from the first half of the season where everything goes Jacks way to the second half where Jack cannot get a break...

My guess is the bio-crap inhalation will be the impetus to get Kim to visit him before he dies.  Will probably be some deal like he has 6 hours to live - unless he can get the magic antidote that Jon Voigt has kept in his pants.  So he'll get to see Kim one last time before he thinks he is going to die.  But Angelina Jolie will show up at the end and shoot a bullet in a circle that kills her and Jon Voigt and drop the antidote in Jack's dying hands.  Kim will defeat Angelina's mountain lion guardian and feed the antidote to her Dad as the clock winds down!  End of season (don't know if Jack lives or dies).  Beep beep beep.
3370  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: CHUCK IS BACK! Chuck vs. The First Date Spoilers! on: March 24, 2009, 06:04:57 PM
Good ep!!!  A lot of continuing plot advancement on "Orion" (following up from last week), that's all I'll say to not spoil it.  Oh and there's a cool geeky laptop lol.
3371  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: New game - post the first image in your My Pictures folder! on: March 24, 2009, 06:02:55 PM
I can't post mine (inappropriate), but let's just say it looked a lot like that cute hunk in Rubyeye's post - but completely naked  icon_eek
3372  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Joss Whedons Dollhouse starts Friday on: March 23, 2009, 08:47:09 PM
Loved the episode as well, definitely think it lived up to the hype!  Everything from the main plot to the advancement of a new larger story arc to the Faith-esque battle sequences... and of course the Whedonisms like (paraphrasing) "Don't make me throw the Kindle at you."

I also had pretty much the same exact experience that Kevin mentions in his spoiler in terms of my reaction to that part of the plot.  Definitely well played out in the script and direction.

Hopefully the plot developments in this one as well as the general "feel" and direction of the show carry over into the remaining episodes (as both Joss and Eliza have seemed to indicate in interviews).  I'm sure they are already on the bubble in terms of being picked up for more episodes...

3373  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost returns next week! [Spoilers!] on: March 23, 2009, 08:40:08 PM

Quote from: Kevin Grey on March 23, 2009, 08:22:56 PM

Quote from: Teggy on March 23, 2009, 05:52:24 PM

Quote from: Davidbld on March 23, 2009, 12:53:03 AM

I think someones gonna turn the underground wheel again. Unless the scientist Daniel, who was seen working in the Dharma mines (in the 70's) can figure out another way.

Dave

There was an offhand comment made during the episode that Daniel wasn't there anymore. Did I miss something or did they really just throw that in there to be mysterious?

There to be mysterious- I'm sure we'll be finding out what Daniel has been up soon. 

/agreed.  My original thought was he might have took a sub off the island to go work with his mom or something, but that might be awkward.  They still haven't explained that opening sequence mentioned above and when it occured, maybe that has to do with where/when he is now.  And I'm not 100% convinced he won't find some way to save the redhead girl, even after his declarations that you can't change what's already happened. 
3374  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Need show, have money on: March 23, 2009, 08:36:44 PM

Quote from: Razgon on March 23, 2009, 08:23:08 PM


I actually bought the first season of 4400 and we watched the first episode, but..well, didnt really grab us

Taken? Never seen it - oh, and Buffy I've seen everything with, and same as Angel - gotta love those two shows! :-)

I'd seriously give 4400 more of a chance than just the first ep.  When the show first started, they were looking for an identity.  I think there was some desire to make it an X-Files-ish case of the week style show, but eventually the writers were allowed to progress the true story arcs and the show really picks up in the later seasons with a mix of sci-fi heroes plots as well as good character-driven storylines.  Also  some fun/familiar cast members from other sci-fi shows start to show up too, like Rocketman, Summer Glau, and the current Terminator in Sarah Connor Chronicles.
3375  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Knowing on: March 23, 2009, 08:31:02 PM
I really enjoyed the movie - while watching it.  There were some good scary/creepy moments, some excellent effects and good characters/acting.  I'd call it a cross between Final Destination, Deep Impact and The Day the Earth Stood Still (new version).  Unfortunately upon retrospect, the plot of the movie itself doesn't hold up well (as discussed in the spoilers above) which kind of ruins the aftertaste.

Spoiler for Hiden:
I presumed the other ships were all part of the Noah's ark effect.  It's a big ship but most of the size is for fuel for interstellar travel.  The aliens are very light so they can't carry heavy adult humans, so from each zone you get to bring 2 of the cutest kids and a baby animal.  For example, the Chinese get the cute girl from the Olympics and that boy who saved people from the earthquake, along with 2 baby pandas.  Australians send koalas, etc etc. 

But seriously, the whole intrigue of the movie and figuring out the numbers/pattern, etc. is diminished by the finale.  In essence the numbers were completely pointless as it made no difference whether Nic Cage figured it out at all.  The aliens could just have easily zapped the kids away whenever they felt like with no rhyme or reason.  I suppose this allowed the character to gain some closure in his own life but are we really supposed to think the aliens are this sensitive?  Unless the argument is that this is just the way all the events had to turn out in order to bring exactly those 2 kids to that location at the correct time and place.  And that in other parts of the world, a similar series of tests/events had to occur in order to weed out the correct children to preserve the future of humanity.
3376  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Need show, have money on: March 23, 2009, 08:20:25 PM
I'd recommend:

Taken - miniseries (alien abduction based storyline)

The 4400 - 4 (I think) seasons worth, started out as an X-Files type of alien abduction show but evolved into a Heroes-ish type (pre-Heroes)

And of course if you've never seen them, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and/or Angel
3377  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost returns next week! [Spoilers!] on: March 20, 2009, 10:05:31 PM

Quote from: Moliere on March 20, 2009, 07:50:32 PM

I think we can call this the awkward episode. Awkward as in all the characters in 1977 have to walk around like they don't already know each other some of whom have hooked up in the past, I mean future. Anyways, great episode as usual for this season. It seems like Sawyer should have been able to tell the annoying guy to shove it when he came to get Sayeed. Sawyer is the head of Security while this is some lackey at a listening outpost. Is this the first time that Christian as a ghost has interacted with the real world? Usually he just walks around without touching anything. Now he is going as far as taking a picture off the wall and handing it to Sun.

Best line of the episode.
Captain: I thought you said you trusted him?
Sun: I lied.

Totally agree with everything Moliere said.  Lots of awkwardness all around.  I love the look on Kate's (actually more the actress herself) face as they are discussing what the heck to do.  It's like she's thinking, I didn't sign up for this sci-fi BS, how the hell should I know how we get "back to the future"!  Jack looks like he's on drugs, but my guess is he's just playing it cool before going "Jack" on us again next week.  The whole episode was kind of setup and filling in things we'd guessed (like little Ben being there and the plane crash in the future on the second island, where and when were Sayid and Sun, etc), but still filled with some interesting sequences.  I didn't like it as much as the previous 2 eps, but still a good one overall.  Will be interesting to see if they are going to shift to the future or Sun will come back in time to join them. 

The Christian question is good, I believe it's the first time he's seemed so "physical" - though you could argue he interacted with the rocking chair before and has cast creepy shadows.  But still, the first time TWO living characters with no relation to him interact with him as if he's a normal person.  Very intriguing.  Definitely changes the nature of the more hallucigenic kind of presence he has always had in the past with Ben, Locke and Hurley.
3378  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Joss Whedons Dollhouse starts Friday on: March 20, 2009, 05:51:15 PM
Episode SIX tonight, I'm pimpin' it up!!!

The show has had some mixed episodes, most of them on the weak side but a couple have been fun enough.  At the very least you straight guys can see Faith and that other hot chick in a towel or shower scene every week.

Both Eliza Dushku and Joss Whedon have been non-stop pimping episode 6 as the turning point for the series, so I urge everyone to give it one more chance.  This is the first episode written by Joss since the (weak) premiere.  He claims after filming it the entire atmosphere on the set, etc changed for the remaining episodes.  I have no idea why, nothing in the plot description seems to indicate what the big deal is.

Either way, if you like Faith, or Joss, or slutty chicks, please give this show one more chance to suck you in!!!!
3379  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Champions Online (Cryptic's new MMO) on: March 20, 2009, 05:42:16 PM

Quote from: Destructor on March 20, 2009, 02:01:12 PM

Quote from: Blackjack on March 20, 2009, 01:02:42 PM

Emanation Points [i.e., choosing where your powers come from, and what exactly "emanates" them]
And how long will it take before we see the first Champion with all of his ranged powers firing from his groin? biggrin


Man you exposed (no pun intended) my entire hero concept already, boooooo!!!!! 
3380  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Chronicles of Spellborn is out! on: March 19, 2009, 10:32:53 PM
They supposedly released another 30k beta keys today - anyone?
3381  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Weird Vista Problem - extra restart needed on: March 19, 2009, 08:51:02 PM
This has been happening to me on a regular basis lately.  It's happened to me on some previous machines as well and I have no clue why.

Basically on first boot up I seem to get a different profile loaded up, so certain shortcuts are missing, history on websites missing, different desktop picture, etc.  There may be only one other different profile but it actually seems like there are multiple different versions.  If I restart it almost always boots into my main profile.  I am the only user (though there might be a named one for me and an Admin account as well) and neither has a password.  I boot directly to desktop, no choice of user account.

Any suggestions?
3382  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Thinking about buying a new PC on: March 19, 2009, 08:46:32 PM

Quote from: Jag on March 19, 2009, 02:58:58 PM

Jeff, (or anyone else) what do you think about the system I listed above? Thinking about finally getting around to doing some movie editing with it.

I really wanted to wait until the fall and get a system with Win7, but this deal is pretty hot.

Jag, FWIW I tried pricing a comparable system out on Cyberpower and it came up to about $1200 with a 22" monitor and $1300+ with a 24" monitor.  So that pricing definitely looks pretty incredible for Dell.
3383  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: New Watchmen Trailer on: March 19, 2009, 06:24:04 PM

Quote from: tiktokman on March 19, 2009, 04:00:14 PM

Quote from: wonderpug on March 19, 2009, 03:57:19 PM

Quote from: tiktokman on March 19, 2009, 03:45:51 PM

And what's with them referring to themselves as "Watchmen"?

Are you trying to understand some deeper meaning behind the chosen name or just questioning the idea of a superhero team having a name?

If I recall correctly they never referred to themselves as "Watchmen" in the book. It was just a slogan spray painted on the walls. They used some really lame name that I can't remember at the moment, or at least they tried to before it fell apart.

Original team was Minutemen, and the later team was lamer:  Crimebusters!
3384  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Official 2009 American Idol Thread on: March 19, 2009, 06:17:25 PM

Quote from: Toe on March 19, 2009, 05:40:07 PM

Quote from: Zinfan on March 19, 2009, 05:34:14 PM

You are correct, if it was a straight rip off of Dilana (or didn't Kara reference Jeff Buckley last night?) then Adam is very lucky and may have ended up in the bottom 3 had the voters realized it.

I don't think the voters that vote for Adam would have even the slightest clue who those people are. I think the majority of people voting for Adam are clueless tweeny boppers that still don't know he is a homosexual and was a drag queen before idol.

Last year the winner "ripped off" alternate verisions of songs just about every week, sometimes giving them props later, sometimes not (or it was edited out). I don't think many AI voters care about that type of thing.


Agree with Toe on this, I'd say the majority of people actually dialing in are completely clueless to all the "technicalities" and a lot of the internet chatter.  Hopefully most parents keep their 7-12yo girls off the main internet so they aren't exposed to all the horrors. 

But this makes for an interesting dynamic.  Without the drag queen and boy kissing, Adam would likely be a Finals contender if not a possible pick to win it all.  The question is how long they intend to insulate him and what they may or may not be able to do.  A lot of this depends on the producers and how they choose to "handle" it.  I'm going to presume the combo of his creepiness and gayosity will take him out around the Final 4.  In which case is there anyone there right now to give Gokey a run for it?  Gokey is kind of in the middle of the 2 Davids last year.  He's a clear favorite of the judges, has great vocal talent, but is seeming kind of complacent (a la David A) already.  Aside from his dead wife and great singing, does anything else jump out about him?  Archie had this problem last year when he became the one to beat too early on.  And then the producers turned on him in the midgame when they thought they could create Daughtry 2.0 out of Cook (apparently not). 

So which of these yahoos this year have a chance to beat him?  I'm really not sure at this point.  I don't think any of the girls have it in them and most of the guys I see as fodder (Anoop, Sarver, Kris, Fake JT, Scott).  Which still brings me back to Adam, who I hate but still think is the most interesting of the contestants, at least in a Cook-ish sort of way (whether it's changing things up or stealing others' more obscure versions).
3385  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Official 2009 American Idol Thread on: March 19, 2009, 06:00:40 PM

Quote from: Zinfan on March 19, 2009, 05:38:31 PM

I've heard this before, If two singers want to use a very popular song then they draw for selection order.  Makes you wonder if there is a very limited number of song choices for them to use.  Perhaps Eye Mac is actually getting the high numbers but since he can't read the slip of paper the others are like "Awwww dude you pulled #6 out of the hat again!"

LMAO Zinfan, I love that!!!!  But yeah, this has been mentioned a few times in the past when 2 people want the same song.  I remember David A saying something about it last year in particular.  I don't think it's extremely limited song choices, but I do think the lists are more confined than we might think due to licensing, etc.  Which is why they made a big fuss when Kelly Clarkson and then recently Carrie Underwood opened their "catalog".

- - -

So onto last night!  Nice surprise, bye bye Pinky!!!  Not that I hated her but it broke my Final 5 prediction, and I was clearly way off on Blindy.  It just makes the show more interesting/unpredictable for me now.  So you guys were right about Sarver, he is likely the next to go.  I thought he had a bigger hick fanbase but I guess not.  I like it when they tell you the bottom 3 so you can get a better sense of voting blocks, etc.  I wish they had told us the top 3 too, but oh well. 

One thing they haven't really explained about the new rule: if they use the immunity idol and 2 people get eliminated the next week, how is the order determined?  Do they combine the vote totals or is it strictly based on that week's results?  I wonder if that was part of the reason they chose not to use it last night.  Since Top 10 is a huge deal due to the tour, if they used it and Sarver got kicked the next week, I could see some people getting even more pissed at the lame new rule (which seems to be universally panned AFAIK).

Next week:  MOTOWN, woowoo!  Free ride for Little Short Round!!!!
3386  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: iPhone 3.0 Finally. on: March 18, 2009, 11:23:29 PM

Quote from: ravenvii on March 18, 2009, 11:13:32 PM

Quote from: Knightshade Dragon on March 18, 2009, 10:11:59 PM

That's just horseshit.  Pardon my French here, but I already HAVE MMS working on my Gen 1 iPhone.  They are just being pricks to try to get me to buy a 3G phone.  Classic Apple nonsense....

It's basically half-bullshit. Yes the first iPhone is certainly capable of it, but it has to be done differently due to it using an EDGE network, not 3G. Apple could do it, but they didn't feel like it, and since your two year contract is going to be up before the 3.0 software is released, they figured it's time you upgrade, more money for them.

Just be glad you're even getting software updates at all, most other companies aren't that nice (or if they do, they make it a pain in the ass to upgrade).

Yeah I'm not sure when wanting people to spend more money on new upgrades and products made a company a "prick" - isn't that the whole American way?  icon_razz  Not to mention when you are talking tech - I shudder to think how many times I've upgraded a graphics card for a new GPU or featureset...
3387  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Champions Online (Cryptic's new MMO) on: March 18, 2009, 09:53:28 PM
It's pretty hard to imagine they are so desperate for beta testers to resort to such a tactic, particularly when there are people like me desperate to playtest the game sitting here without an invite.  If they had invited every single person who signed up and still needed more for some reason, maybe...
3388  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: New Watchmen Trailer on: March 18, 2009, 09:46:39 PM
I saw the movie opening weekend, and purposely avoided reading the comic book until after (I'm in the middle of it right now).  I definitely enjoyed the movie and genuinely want to watch it again after finishing the book.  The movie as a stand alone felt very heavy to me (for lack of a better word) considering it is/was a comic book move.  Kind of like Sin City in the art/presentation, but even weightier and grittier, dark.  It was difficult to get attached to the characters, even the standouts like Rorschach and Dr. M but I found the overall story intriguing and the ending had enough meat in it to keep it on my mind for days after.

Reading the book now, I can really see some of the problems with bringing this to the big screen.  It is definitely a faithful adaptation thus far, but perhaps too much so.  The series is episodic, and each episode is told not only from different perspectives, but using different storytelling methods.  So one issue is Rorschach's journal, another is Rorshach talking to his psychiatrist, another is from Dr. M's perspective bouncing force back and forth in time.  It's comparable in some ways to Lost, where each week you have a different character focus, sometimes with flashbackd or flash forwards or whatever to best drive the story forward.  This is very cool while reading the series, but makes for some difficult storytelling for a movie in terms of providing a consistent narrative.  I really think it would be better served as a cable TV series, where each episode could be fully fleshed out in a particular story-telling method. 

Still, I think the movie was about as well done as you could hope in compressing all this material into < 3 hours and providing a powerful experience.
3389  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: IGN reviews Suikoden : Tierkreis - 8.8 on: March 18, 2009, 09:17:38 PM

Quote from: farley2k on March 18, 2009, 09:07:35 PM

Anyone going to pick it up?  I am torn.  I want to but I know that I don't really have the game time to actually play it.



Ditto here.  I loved the original, but that was a long long time ago and my patience level has decreased.  Still I can hear it calling me...  Is it actually out in stores today?
3390  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Suikoden Tierkreis: OhMyGodWhyAreYouTalkingSoFast?!! on: March 18, 2009, 09:16:37 PM
Is this:

http://www.gemaga.com/2009/03/16/amazing-sexual-innuendo

part of the dialog?
3391  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Official 2009 American Idol Thread on: March 18, 2009, 08:40:10 PM
I hate pimping other websites all the time, but this guy's American Idol reviews are just so damn funny:

http://votefortheworst.com/blogs/professor_chan/20090318/grand_ole_opry_night_it_left_me_confused_and_kind_happy
3392  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Mortal Online Beta Signup on: March 18, 2009, 08:24:12 PM
Another new MMORPG - sandbox style

May be worth a look for SB, DF, UO fans...

www.mortalonline.com
3393  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Horse armor coming to an iPhone/iTouch near you on: March 18, 2009, 08:12:54 PM

Quote from: Jeff on March 18, 2009, 01:09:25 AM

Hopefully word of mouth will crush this kind of crap. Vote with your wallet.

So far, my iphone/touch purchases have all been top-notch, and I've felt great about the pricing and value. But if this kind of thing starts, word will get out, and it should be squashed.

Totally agreed.  I'm not sure why anyone should jump to the conclusion that this will necessarily turn into an evil nickel and dime strategy.  I'm sure some devs will try, but with the abundance of great "normal" $0.99 to $4.99 titles out there, it will be pretty difficult to make it work.  Where I see the benefit for this system is specifically for things like Kindle for iPhone, where presently you are forced to come out of the app to purchase books, etc.  Game-wise, I could see something like a collecting card based / MTG - style game succeeding with this.  If I had any programming ability at all, that's what I'd be working on.  Make a F2P multiplayer card based strategy game like MTG to reel the customers in, then sell booster packs, etc. for profit.
3394  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Thinking about buying a new PC on: March 18, 2009, 05:45:10 PM
I've bought my last few from Cyberpower, it's really hard to do much better in terms of bang for the buck.  If you price things out piecemeal on Newegg, it's generally pretty close.  They will screw you on a couple items like RAM and maybe hard drive, but other than that you get very fair pricing.  Still, as you said, reviews have been mixed as to overall performance/reliability.  Personally I can't say much because I've been responsible for the problems I've had with my Cyberpower purchases.  I'm trying to not touch/upgrade my latest purchase as long as possible lol. 
3395  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Official 2009 American Idol Thread on: March 18, 2009, 05:38:12 PM

Quote from: Geezer on March 18, 2009, 03:38:29 PM

Sorry doods.  She's just not good.  Her range is nonexistent, and her presence is uncomfortable.  She's also nowhere near as hot as Alexis.  She seems like a nice enough girl, but she, Sarver and the blind dude are leagues below everyone else in pure ability.

Have to disagree on Megan, but agree on Sarver and Blindy.  I think it's just a matter of personal taste.  Her sound, voice and singing style is incredibly distinctive.  You may not like it but it's not a sign of weak ability (curious do you like Duffy/Adele/Amy Winehouse retro chicks?).  If anything, I think her ability to exude her own presence stands at or near the very top of this year's crowd.  Where Adam is over the top and Gokey is an awesome singer and Lil Rounds is... Lil, none of them have defined themselves as an artist the way she has.  I have a sense of what the others might release as a record, but with Megan I can pretty much hear the "vibe" of the single already.  She's niche, but if you like that niche she is awesome (sort of like Darkfall lol).  Unfortunately like other niche things, she won't appeal to a broader audience.  And I say all this without being blinded by her boobs, I honestly think she sounds great - as I said, I support this with my purchases on iTunes.
3396  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Champions Online (Cryptic's new MMO) on: March 18, 2009, 05:26:50 PM

Quote from: CeeKay on February 12, 2009, 02:06:43 AM

the more I see the more appealing DC Online looks.....

If you hate it so much I'm sure there are other people who would LOVE to try the beta.   icon_wink

In other news, they released a bunch of new screenies today which look sweet!

http://www.champions-online.com/screenshots
3397  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Official 2009 American Idol Thread on: March 18, 2009, 06:07:55 AM
Verrrrrry interesting night.  You never know what horrific sounds may arise from country night, but this one turned out to be full of surprises.  Based solely on this night, I might dump some of the favorites and move some of the fodder up.  The judges seemed particularly excessive in their praise to some of the non-faves, as if they were trying to even up the voting a bit so it's not as one sided as it might seem.  Hmmmm.

Sarver - same beefy cuteness, same oddball vocals.  Hard to hate him, but also hard to love him.  Country week definitely worked in his favor, and with no other real country contestant to rally behind, he should lock in his core voters and move to the next round

Allison - bleh, I can barely remember her performance.  She's cool for a 16yo, but I'm just not a fan.  I thought the song choice was poor and she isn't attractive enough to get away with it.  If it were based on this performance alone, I'd dump her this week.

Kris - sooooooo dreamy.  I actually thought the song and performance bordered on boring.  I was shocked Simon didn't call that but instead heaped him with praise.  Something seemed off about it.  Still, he is adorable and the singing was heartfelt.  I think he should be OK, particularly with the judges' praise and girl/gay vote.

Lil Rounds - I thought the first half of her singing was horribly boring, and the second was just good enough to be acceptable.  Overall I thought it was a stinker and based on this week I would consider dumping her.  Should be able to ride her voting block though.

Flaming Fruity - Oh.  My.  God.  Kind of similar impressions to YK, though not as favorable for me.  The absolute horridness was actually compelling in a bizarre way.  Still, I think he will scare middle America away eventually, it's just a matter of time.  Would be awesome if it were this week and the judges forced to play their immunity idol.

Blindy - bleh on the song choice, I'd say he might be vulnerable based on the night and others stepping it up.  Wonder if judges would save him if he were on the bottom.  It might be a good time for him to go actually.  He may have a strong enough core fanbase to keep him going though.

Gokey - first half of the song was boring but when he turned it on in the second part of the song, it was awesome.  Still the one to beat, though showed some weakness tonight.

Pinky - OK rendition of her song but just seemed off to me.  Another one who if she wasn't an early favorite I could see being in the bottom 3 or even going.

Anoop - may just have saved himself with a heartfelt, well sung vocal.  Lot of judges praise should aid him as well.

My girl Megan - you either love her or hate her by now, what I love is she has her unique style as an artist and it's well defined.  I could see her landing a hit with a song like Duffy's Mercy or Adele's Chasing Pavements.  Oddly enough she's the only one whose songs I bought on iTunes, I just love the sound of her voice.  Judges were nice to her, she looked gorgeous (are her boobs huge or was it my imagination?), and she got extra sympathy votes for the flu (which seemed a bit unfair for the judges to interject).  I would have thought she'd be the one to go, but she had a lot of upside tonight.  Not to mention she still has the VFW crowd.

Matt - judges love him, me not so much.  Decent song and vocal but he doesn't do it for me.  If I want a soulful white boy I'll pick my cutie Kris.  I thought he was vulnerable but he got the last place slot and judges' praise which should keep him in it.

After seeing the performanes, I'll go out on a limb and change my guess to Blindy for elimination tomorrow.  And some good drama as to whether or not to use the idol.  Worst case scenario: my beloved Megan and Kris in the bottom 2, and Megan goes.
3398  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: iPhone 3.0 Finally. on: March 17, 2009, 10:56:11 PM

Quote from: gellar on March 17, 2009, 10:48:42 PM

Quote from: Belhazamar on March 17, 2009, 10:22:10 PM

I wonder if AT&T will allow an upgrade option for us 2.0ers.  Didn't they do that last time?

Looks cool.

This is a SW update, not a new device.  The upgrade should be free, unless its an iPod touch.

gellar

Free for iPhoners, $9.95 for Touchers.
3399  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: 24: Season 7 (spoiler tags are certain!) on: March 17, 2009, 09:50:23 PM

Quote from: Jimmy the Fish on March 17, 2009, 07:38:08 PM

24 lesson of the day:

You must have a level 6 clearance to decrypt a Blowfish 146 encryption scheme. Without a level 6 clearance, you end up standing around looking like a clueless douche.

Poor Janeane Garofolo, what the heck is she doing in this show!!

I love that it only takes a minute to decrypt the encryption, which apparently required only the use of a simple password.  I guess no one wanted to document this so that others might also be able to decrypt it.  I suppose that's what the whole level 6 clearance is about.
3400  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: iPhone 3.0 Finally. on: March 17, 2009, 09:46:34 PM

Quote from: Geezer on March 17, 2009, 09:28:45 PM

So when is this update supposed to be available?

Summer time for the masses!

Developer's beta version I think is available now or soon...
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