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3441  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains on: February 26, 2010, 11:19:02 PM
Holy mud bashing!  The "heroes" absolutely trounced and de-moralized our poor villains in the challenge.  I guess as long as it comes down to brute strength/physical force, the heroes will win.  This is kind of sucky as the producers can pretty much control it by their choice of challenge.  Still it was a blast to watch.  I was hoping for some dirtier play by the villains but they barely got to do anything before each one lost.

Not sad to see Randy go, but I don't like that Parvati is being targetted so early.  She's hilarious with her slutty flirting.  There's a couple villain girls I'm not familiar with, I'd sooner dump them first just because they are boring.  In an ideal show, I'd want Boston Rob, Coach, Russell, Parvati and Jerri all going to the merger just for more sparks.
3442  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Official 2010 American Idol Thread on: February 26, 2010, 11:14:18 PM
Last night's results show was hilarious.  The group number was absolute torture to watch.  The girls were OK, but watching the boys sing "I'm liking this American Boy" was just mean-spirited lol.  Some of the guys seemed awkward, others absolutely horrified and not knowing what to do with themselves.  Funny stuff if you like torture.

Results for the girls was a little weird.  They put Katie up with one of the dumpees - are they deliberately trying to mess with people?  Dialidol indicated she was the clear girl #1 and of the 3 I voted for hers was the only busy signal I got.  She seemed genuinely nerve-wracked, maybe the producers were messing with her in particular for some unknown reason.  And then in the second round they had Didi with the eliminated girl.  Now Didi I'm not sure about, was she simply #2 or was she actually near the bottom? Personally she's my favorite, but that really doesn't mean much.  I was disappointed the Landslide chick didn't go, but whatever.  Plenty of fodder this season.

For the boys, absolute hilarity ensued when my boy Tim Urban made it through.  He looked like he wanted to run down and tell Ryan there was a mistake.  He is the Vote for the Worst choice and he's pretty damn cute, I think that was enough to get him through this week.  But next week it's likely people will want to punish him if he still sucks so bad.  I was surprised to see the 70s dude go so quickly, I thought he'd make it to at least the 2nd or 3rd week.  I thought for certain the guy who butchered "Get Here" would have to go - either him or the one who butchered Since You've Been Gone.

If you believe Dialidol, Andrew Garcia and Katie are the 2 front-runners at the moment; that would actually be my guess as well for the finale, with Katie winning. 
3443  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost: The Final Season (spoilers not tagged) on: February 26, 2010, 10:51:52 PM

Quote from: Roguetad on February 26, 2010, 06:47:41 PM

I forgot that those images were just memories of Mr. Eko.  The trapped lifeforce idea was because of the occurance of ghosts.  But I guess we've only seen a couple.

I liked it when Hurley told off the temple boss.  I'm a candidate, go back to your temple.  Essentially, I know who I am, you are dismissed. 

I liked that scene too but it was kind of sad he needed Jacob to guide him to do it.

Speaking of which, what did you all think of Jacob's claim that he had to "handle" each of the different candidates differently?  On the one hand it seemed like a decent explanation, but on the other it felt like a kind of cheap way for the writers to handle inconsistent "rules."
3444  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Ipad vs Netbook/Laptop? on: February 25, 2010, 11:31:31 PM

Quote from: rickfc on February 25, 2010, 08:04:29 PM

It's not a question of will you, won't you or whether it's more convenient in one and not the other. It's a question of can you do it on one platform and not the other.

And I guess that's where we differ fundamentally on the topic, so there's not much more point in debating.  The OP was asking for a comparison between the 2 formats - for me that includes more than the fundamental question of "can you or can't you" or a list of possible features you can get to work - I want a practical measure of whether something is truly useful to me or not.  My best example was many years ago when I bought a cool Smartphone (prior to the release of the iPhone).  At the time, this had all the bells and whistles you could ask for feature-wise: internet browser, music, movies, etc - using whatever version of Windows 7 was out at the time.  The problem is I never used the features over the long haul because they were a pain in the ass to use.  Browsing was a nightmare, music was OK but not intuitive, the overall interface was crappy, etc etc.  The iPhone resolved all those issues and more.  To me having a device capable of even an infinite amount of features is completely worthless if the interface or presentation make it so I don't want to use them. 
3445  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [Official Review] Heavy Rain - PS3 on: February 25, 2010, 07:19:50 PM
I got in about an hour last night and I have to say I really love the core concept, the dramatic feel and the basic engine of the game.  The music is incredibly haunting and the cinematography, attention to detail and environments thus far are top notch.  I wish it could have been done with a little more resolution in the character models (1080p) but that's getting a bit too greedy I think.  The control scheme is a little strange but it doesn't bother me so far.  As reviewers have noted, you really get sucked into the game emotionally even when not much is going on, and I think that's the biggest compliment I could pay the game.

All that said, I do have some minor nits.  I can see why some people might complain that the game feels too much like it's on rails, for lack of a better description.  It can be frustrating to see exactly where the plot is heading and really have no way to alter it significantly.  Maybe this opens up more later in the game but my guess is the story has to resolve/evolve in certain specific ways just to keep moving, in which case it could feel like your "choices" in the game really aren't that meaningful, and you might begin to question whether or not you are actually having any impact on the plot. 

On a similar note, the other complaint I'd have is there seem to be lulls built into the game, which you are expected to do something specific or the game just doesn't advance.  Maybe I'm wrong about this.  But at least twice I can remember last night I was kind of just wandering around with nothing to do but keep checking the clock to see if time was passing.  I guess time passage would be what triggered the next movement of the story?  On the one hand it's kind of nice to just kind of slow down and smell the roses, explore the area, etc.  On the other this is clearly a story/plot driven game, so if no plot movement is occuring I'm not sure what to make of it, or I feel like I am doing something wrong, or more accurately not doing what I'm "supposed to".

And lastly, I'm a bit leery of the save system.  I'm hoping/assuming every time I see the little Origami thing in the corner it's saving?  Because otherwise I have no idea if I'm going to have go back and "play" another section like I described above (standing around waiting) - and honestly that would break the immersion into the story for me.
3446  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Ipad vs Netbook/Laptop? on: February 25, 2010, 07:00:30 PM

Quote from: rickfc on February 25, 2010, 04:04:43 PM

Quote from: farley2k on February 25, 2010, 04:00:26 PM

What programs do you folks us?  I am not talking about alt-tabbing.  That is a limitation of the hardware but not of the app store.  I want to play MP3s, I can, I want to watch video I can, I want to play games I can.  I am wondering what people are doing that they can't do on the app store.

Let's say I want to stream Pandora while browsing the net, checking my email or any other task besides watching the Pandora app.  You can't do that with the iPhone (and presumably the iPad).  

I want to watch a show or clip on Hulu.  You just plain cannot do that.

Just two things that I can easily do on my netbook that I cannot do on my iPhone.

I want to read a book but I want to do it in portrait like a normal book.  I rotate the iPad and it's instantly in portrait.  Now I want to watch a movie so I rotate it back to landscape.  Instantly.

While reading, I want to hold the book up close to me in one hand while I'm lying in bed and flip the imaginary pages with my fingers for a more book-like experience.

I want to see the entire New York Times page at a single view in Portrait, then zoom in to a photo with a single touch.  

There's 3 things I can easily do on my iPad that I can't (or more importantly, won't) do on my netbook.  

The thing that I see people missing the most is just how dramatic a change in the size/shape/form-factor, coupled with a full and responsive touch screen interface can potentially be.  Most netbooks weigh 3 pounds or more, that's double the weight of the iPad, and with the open traditional notebook form factory you generally aren't going to want to balance/hold it with one hand while interacting with it using the other.  If you have a reasonably thick pad of paper, or maybe a relatively thin hard-cover book, pick it up for a moment and just try to let your imagination run free for a second.  Imagine the internet is at your fingertips in that pad, all your photos, your videos, your songs, tons of games, email, a library full of books - all there waiting to be accessed from a simple touch.  It's just not the same experience.  The thing with the iPhone (and presumably iPad), is in general it is designed to make most of these most common tasks feel easy and more natural; while you never "needed" these interface changes, you'll inherently *want* to use your device more because of this design.  That's the theory anyway.

Now I know a lot of people don't care about this type of "feeling" at the moment; I admit it is (no pun intended) a very touchy-feely kind of argument.  But my guess is if they actually tried it out and allowed it to become a part of their daily routine, they would quickly adapt to it and never look back.  This is the toughest part about selling the iPad - we can talk about it (specs, features, restrictions, etc) all we want but it's real selling point is when you actually pick it up and just start using it.
3447  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Official 2010 American Idol Thread on: February 25, 2010, 06:46:10 PM

Quote from: Toe on February 25, 2010, 02:09:33 PM

Quote from: rittchard on February 25, 2010, 06:55:45 AM

On a side note, it is certainly interesting how the past 2 years there was a clear shift into favoring re-vamped versions of songs.  From David Cook to Adam Lambert to Kris Allen, all 3 took "risks" (calculated perhaps) by making big changes to songs.  

Well, techncailly they did not make the big changes to most of the those songs. They were doing covers of a cover of the song. I don't think Adam did anything original as a matter of fact, it was all covers that someone else had changed up already. I know most of cook's were also covers of covers (he would even give the artists whose version he was singing props if I recall).

Good point, same with Kris Allen's "Heartless" version (which may just have won him the competition).  Still it seems to be influencing this year's competition already, with people trying to create their own versions (and so far not doing very well) which have ended up sounding almost completely different from the original.  I think you have to be really good to pull this kind of stuff off.  I do believe David Cook's version of "Always Be My Baby" from Mariah Carey was all his own though, and personally I thought that was his best moment of the competition, as it really caught me completely off guard and I still remember it 2 years later.
3448  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Official 2010 American Idol Thread on: February 25, 2010, 06:55:45 AM

Quote from: Crawley on February 24, 2010, 06:44:30 PM

I hate to admit that I don't hate Ellen as much as I thought I would but there's still no need for a 4th judge when they're just going to mimic the others.

I really miss Paula's inane comments and dancing and drunken debauchery.  4 judges feels like too many when they are all for the most part so serious.

So boy's night: ranged from predictable to forgettable to boring to hideous.  Andrew Garcia is still the clear top of the boys but it was a bit of a letdown.  I think expectations for him to wow us were possibly too high, or perhaps he is playing strategically and saving some stuff for later.  On a side note, it is certainly interesting how the past 2 years there was a clear shift into favoring re-vamped versions of songs.  From David Cook to Adam Lambert to Kris Allen, all 3 took "risks" (calculated perhaps) by making big changes to songs.  While I liked how most of these arrangements worked out, so far this year you can already see how contestants may be trying too hard to do this.  Which can be a problem for lesser contestants, who may just not be good at that sort of thing.  Either way it's made for an interesting strategic dilemma - do you take the risk and possibly botch it completely, or sing it straight and risk being called boring and derivative?

Standouts for me: no one really, not in the way that Archie and Cook and Lambert were clear favorites/crowd pleasers from day one.  I have a few personal favorites but mostly for looks and not singing.  My personal favorite is Lee Dewyze, who I think I earlier called a better looking Elliott Yamin.  I was kind of disappointed in his song this week, but shockingly Simon gave him a ton of praise.  I don't see him being a winner though, maybe like Elliott a Top 3 or 4 at best.  I thought Alex Lambert sang very well and I loved his song choice, but as the judges mention he made me very uncomfortable; in fact I think I wasn't watching him most of the time as he was making me nervous lol.  Casey James was pretty good but I think they yapped about his looks a little too much, which may backfire on him in the long run.  Another one I don't see going the distance.  I thought Big Mike was fun but conventional, ditto on the dancing guy.  Good energy but not long range players.  The one guy who sang "Get Here" - I equated to sounding like 2 cats trying to kill each other.  It was absolutely horrible I had to turn the volume way down while he screeched.  The cutie who sang Apologize was terrible but at least he was cute and not loud enough to cause ear damage.  The Asian guy I thought sang well but made a weird song choice.  I think as one of the few viable Asian males he'll have a decent voting block to possibly get him into the Top 12 like Anoop, but he won't get much further (similar to Anoop).  I left out a few of the others (the 70s guys, the twinkie and someone else) - all of them felt like fodder to me but who knows.  

So far this year is not terribly impressive, but that could be a good thing.  The past couple years had such clear and early favorites that it got to be too predictable and boring.  So far this year I don't see a clear favorite, or even a few clear favorites.
3449  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Heavy Rain Impressions [Everything Spoiler Tagged] on: February 24, 2010, 06:43:31 PM
OK I will tag my first impressions with a *gay perspective* warning for those that don't want to read further.

- - -

Unfortunately I only had a very short block of time to play last night.  I ended spending the bulk of it downloading updates and installing and trying to put together the origami thing and failing miserably.  A funny thing happened during all this though.  My partner came home from work and was extremely tried as usual.  I had dinner in the oven cooking so we were waiting on that.  He plopped down on the couch and I was trying to explain the game to him (he generally takes no interest in my gaming).  Out of the blue, he asks "so is this game *gay*?" and I was like wtf are you talking about, but we both had a good laugh about the question, not for any particular reason other than it was so out of the blue because he was so tired.  So finally the game finishes installing (it felt like an eternity) and I get my first couple minutes in the game.  

Spoiler for Hiden:
So what do I see?  A hot guy in his underwear on the bed and I do the opening portion getting him out of bed and walking him around, and we both started busting up as we checked out his package, moved him to the shower and checked out his ass.  I was laughing the whole time and making lewd gestures with the controller, and then I started busting up even more when the game TELLS you to move the controller up and down faster faster faster.  OMG.  My partner turns to me and says "see?  I told you it was gay!"  I only spent about 5 minutes in the game and honestly I already felt like I got my money's worth.

I really like the bizarre control scheme and the motion feels very fluid, the attention to detail is great all around from what I saw.  Definitely a very different type of gaming experience, and I have to give it a thumbs up even based on only 5 minutes.
3450  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost: The Final Season (spoilers not tagged) on: February 24, 2010, 06:35:28 PM
Psycho Claire Rocks!  Jack Bauer eat your heart out!

3451  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Ipad vs Netbook/Laptop? on: February 24, 2010, 06:33:22 PM

Quote from: Freezer-TPF- on February 24, 2010, 03:25:21 PM

The overall problem with the iPad is that 99.5% of the time I would rather have an iPhone/iPod Touch (for portability) or a netbook (for usability).  I only see the iPad being commonly useful for specialized purposes, such as clinicians, other kinds of fieldwork (data collection, inventory), etc.  

I think many people are simply missing the whole point of the iPad, particularly if you think it's only useful for "specialized purposes" - the clear intention of the device is to integrate completely, and seamlessly into your electronic life, eventually becoming as ubiquitous and convenient as a standard appliance.  

Let me give you a perfect example of where the iPad "fits".  This morning I was reading the newspaper and came across an article on Obama's appointment of some new Chinese-American judge.  Something was mentioned about an opinion piece the guy had written before.  My natural impulse was to want to pull that opinion piece up and read it right then and there.  But this is breakfast time - I'm not going to run to my room and grab my netbook, wait 2 minutes for it to boot up, and then try to use the clunky mousepad to navigate the web.  I could theoretically grab my iPhone and do it, but as much as I love the iPhone, when I want to read/relax and possibly eat cereal while surfing, it's not the ideal choice, it's just a bit too small.  Now imagine if on the kitchen table I have an iPad propped up (maybe in a dock) on the table.  I hit the start button, hit the browser, read my article, maybe check the weather while I'm at it - and move on.  Now let's move a few years down the line.  It's very possible there are no more paper newspapers, so I'd be reading the paper directly off the iPad.  It's a bit small for a newspaper but it's still a lot more readable (while eating) than an iPhone.
3452  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Official 2010 American Idol Thread on: February 24, 2010, 06:20:18 PM

Quote from: Toe on February 24, 2010, 03:34:54 AM

Well I thought that was a pretty weak show all around. I was disappointed in my girls Didi and Crystal. Both gave ho-hum performances I thought and picked rather weak songs. Crystal should not have tried to play the harmonica. She has so little time to actually sing, she needs to just cut to the chase and belt it out like I know she can (plus her harmonica playing was pretty weak). Those two should have no problem sailing through though cause there was some really bad performances from the other girls. Siobhan was the surprise of the evening for me. I definitely felt it from her. The judges weren't particularly impressed but I sure was. I thought Lilly Scott and Katelyn Epperly did ok as well. Not sure if they can step it up enough to bring down Didi and Crystal (and now Siobhan).

I still think Andrew Garcia is the one to beat this season though. I bet his performance tomorrow night will be far and away above any of the others (girls or guys).

For once I actually disagreed with the judges on a few of the performances.  I thought Didi was absolutely fantastic - her voice is perfectly suited to that song and I thought she did a bang up job of it live.  Again out of everything I've heard it's the only thing I would run out and buy.  I do agree that for an opening wow factor it probably wasn't a great choice of song though.  And in other bad news for her when I did call in I got in every time, whereas for my girl Katie it was all busy tones.  Speaking of which I also thought she did fine.  I thought she looked cute and sang very well - with proper guidance and song choice I actually think she has a shot of winning the whole thing.  I also didn't hear what the judges heard, I thought she sounded great.  I can see her taking a Katherine McPhee type of role, only younger - which may work to her advantage with the younger girl voters who haven't had someone good to rally behind since Jordin.  Given the current wave of Taylor Swift/Miley and clones popularity, I'd say if I had to pick she would be my favorite to win, or at least be the top female.

For all the talk of the girls being so strong this year, I thought it was pretty weak all in all.  I didn't think any one of them just blew me away and stood out as a clear frontrunner.  Crystal did a good job of the Alanis cover, but as they said it felt simply like an Alanis cover, harmonica included.  Crystal is clearly very talented but she is too non-conformist to win, and you can already see sparks of attitude ("we aren't allowed to sing original material...") that will not bode well longer term.  A lot of the girls chose poor songs or just flat out stunk (the cover of Landslide was excruciating).  The diva girl did a great cover of "Falling" but diva girls have never won AI so even if she is flawless she's at best a number 2 or 3 spot.  Lilly I thought chose too obscure a song IIRC.  The opening girl chose a weird rock song which didn't work for me.  The cover of Wicked Game I thought was interesting but I didn't like the low tone portion at all, it seemed a bit weird to me as well.  The Heart song seemed like it would be good but faltered in the chorus, there was no power to it.  Another bad choice.

Andrew Garcia will be interesting to watch.  I think he is far and above the most talented/original in a David Cook sort of way.  However he is kind of creepy looking so I don't think the tweens are going to rally behind him early on.  Particularly with a lot of throw away cute boys involved in the competition.  He's going to have to stand out really strong and I don't have the sense that he can win the whole thing.
3453  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Ipad vs Netbook/Laptop? on: February 23, 2010, 07:02:29 PM

Quote from: KC on February 23, 2010, 06:24:51 PM

My wife's birthday is coming up in late-March and I was planning to get her a laptop or netbook so that she can surf the net throughout the house via wifi.  She does mostly email, research, streaming videos, and shopping.  She also does light duty word processing, spreadsheets and powerpoints.  At first I though about getting a cheap laptop or netbook, but then thought about getting an Ipad. 

Assuming that she can get over the lack of a physical keyboard, does anyone know whether surfing the internet on an Ipad will be just like doing so on a laptop or netbook?  Will sites load the same as on a computer or is the Ipad intended to surf mobile-friendly sites?  Also, does the Ipad have enough CPU and RAM horsepower for light duty office applications?

I would take a look at the main Apple site and watch the iPad demo video, that will give you a good idea of what browsing should be like on the iPad.  It's intended to be full-featured, full site (aside from Flash), and with Wireless N support so it should be great at home.  The multi-touch interface should be far better than a trackpad on a netbook, given what I know about the iPhone vs the netbooks I've owned.  Compared to a mouse, that may be a more subjective thing.

As for light duty office stuff, that's going to be the tough question.  They are releasing iWork (price not known) for the iPad and it is also demo'd so you can take a look.  Just how practical it will be to do real work on that interface is questionable in my mind.
3454  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: What are you buying this week? (2/22) on: February 23, 2010, 01:02:15 AM
I got Forum-Effected and pre-ordered Heavy Rain, pretty much all based on the forum. 
3455  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Official 2010 American Idol Thread on: February 22, 2010, 10:05:13 PM
Ahhh yes I forgot about Andrew Garcia.  He definitely seems to be the most interesting and talented of the men.  But unfortunately he is not particularly charismatic or attractive.  Sorry! (Simon accent).  He's going to have to be really good early on because otherwise the tween voting blocks may not reward his creativity.  Hopefully he will be one of the cases where sheer talent pushes him forward.

Didi was my waitress favorite and Crystal was the one with the piercing, thanks!
3456  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Official 2010 American Idol Thread on: February 22, 2010, 07:18:25 PM
Anyone have any thoughts on the top 24?

The only 2 that made a really positive impression on me were the waitress (can't remember her name) and the cute girl named Katie (who reminded me of Katie Holmes).  The waitress I thought had a great unique voice and a really emotional delivery that registered with me for some reason.  I just remember both times I heard her sing I thought - I'd buy that.  And she was the only one who left that impression.  There was a cuter blond who I didn't think deserved to make it, and I do remember that girl with the pierced chin who played multiple instruments.  I wish she would take that thing out, it really bugged me.

Of the guys, I wasn't too impressed with anyone.  I thought that Big Mike guy was kind of a gratuitous add on; I would have preferred they keep that last guy they booted (the younger big fat guy).  He was OK but I can't see him winning and I was so sick of his newborn baby footage every 10 minutes (is this a singing competition or a baby farming competition?).  I do remember some cute twinkie that didn't sing great, a dancing guy and another one that looked like a better looking Elliott Yamin.  Oh yeah and the tall blond guy that Kara treated like a male stripper.  Other than that no one left much of an impression.
3457  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: movie - Surrogates with Bruce Willis -sci-fi on: February 22, 2010, 07:11:58 PM

Quote from: EngineNo9 on February 21, 2010, 08:31:58 PM

Yeah, I just watched this today and it had the potential to be a decent sci-fi action thriller, but several things they did made it pretty much suck.

It took me two sittings to watch it.  I fell asleep midway the first time, and almost fell asleep again the second time lol.  Conceptually it was a very cool premise, kind of a mix between Dollhouse, The Matrix, Avatar, Gamer and I Robot.  Basically everyone has an "avatar" which is a robot that you send out into the "real" world through a cyberlink.  You can make it look like an optimized version of yourself, or something completely different.  You can't be physically harmed (at the outset) so you can take risks, live your life to the fullest, etc.  But of course as always something goes awry with the tech and you have a murder, multiple agendas etc etc.  It's such an interesting core concept that it's a shame a better story couldn't have gone along with it.

Unfortunately almost all of the elements became kind of confused and jumbled, and I don't know if it was me falling asleep or what, but the twists seemed a bit confusing.  It felt like one of those sci-fi movies that had a bunch of different people tinkering with the original vision and concept.  Some people wanted more action, some wanted more effects, some wanted more twists, some wanted more emotional content, some wanted to portray a cautionary sci-fi tale.  In the end everyone got their two cents in and mish-mashed the whole thing.
3458  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains on: February 22, 2010, 07:04:01 PM

Quote from: godhugh on February 22, 2010, 04:43:15 AM

There was never anything awesome about Rupert. He was a bastard from the day he arrived on his first season of Survivor.

They did see Russell's season, it was apparently shown them prior to the start of this season.

Wow, surprised to hear that - I thought I read Jeff or someone saying no one had seen Russell play.  Interesting.  Either way I don't see him lasting too long this season, far too many "players" and his arrogance won't play well with that.

Rupert - it's interesting he's a "hero" - if you recall on day one he stole the other tribe's shoes or something like that, and was acting like a crazy pirate.  He's more of a "favorite" than a "hero" but whatever, either way I'm not a big fan.  Also Cirie - I don't recall her ever doing anything "heroic" other than lie and backstab a lot.  But a lot of her commentary is priceless so I'm not complaining.  I also thought she was a lot better at doing the puzzles (not just good but abnormally good), but maybe I'm remembering wrong and confusing her with someone else. 

Definitely agree with YK it's hard to get a lot of the "storylines" going with this deep of a cast.  I can't wait til it gets closer to merge and beyond, when things should start mixing up a lot more.  I actually am amused by the "new" Coach, particularly with Jerri it's actually kind of a cute coupling.  Neither of them is particularly irritating (yet); I'm almost rooting for them which I never would have imagined I would.
3459  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Din's Curse on: February 22, 2010, 02:06:26 AM
I'm still a bit confused on how a town "concludes."  The first time I played it kind of ended abruptly, I don't recall anything I did in particular that triggered it, aside from having finished all the available quests.  The next time I played I have a 12 level dungeon of which I cleared pretty much all the levels, but new quests now keep spawning (on much lower levels), and a boss mentioned on level 12 never shows.  Maybe it's a bug?  Do I theoretically need to kill all the bosses to end a town scenario?

- - -

Another comment/complaint I have about the game has to do with all the side stuff going on (vendors coming and going, people needing saving,  town attacks, etc).   On the one hand, I absolutely love this conceptually, and it's something I've talked about in the past that I would love to see integrated (with more detail) into MMO worlds to make them feel more "alive."  My problem is that things are so randomized and sporadic (for lack of a better word), it's hard to care about them.  So what sounds great on paper ends up being more of a side distraction.  

Here's a quote from the official forums:

Real choices:

Bonelord has taken Airik hostage and demands a ransom to be paid. In a typical rpg, if you even have the choice of whether or not you pay, either direction is going to end up with you rescuing Airik, either because the choice is phony or you have to use save games when you fail. In our game, you really do have the choice and the choices lead to different outcomes. If you pay off the ransom, you will get Airik back, but Bonelord leaves with your money and is very likely to take another hostage now that he knows he has a sucker. If you refuse, Bonelord will attack and try to kill Airik. Airik is very mortal. If he dies, he really will be dead and you
might be without an important NPC for the rest of this adventure.


Two factions have been at war for a while, but now a representative of each is meeting with one another and trying to broker a truce. In a typical rpg, well neither of these things would probably be possible in the first place. In the remote case that they could, the two would sit in their location forever doing nothing until you killed them. In our game, they will only negotiate for so long. If they finish their meeting, they will declare peace with each other and possibly even declare war on the town now that they have the free time. If you can kill them both while they are still in the meeting though, their respective factions will think they have been betrayed and continue their war. And yes a war between two factions means they will fight and kill each other when they meet in the game.

This kind of stuff sounds awesome on paper, but in the game it's difficult (for me anyway) to register any of it, so I hate to say it's almost wasted within the engine to have these seemingly interesting things going on.  All I see are occasional messages popping up and generally it's because I'm too late to do anything about it.  Generally someone I was supposed to save died and I could really care less; I have no clue to whether there would have been some impact on my game aside from me missing out on some quest xp.  I don't know if the answer is to slow these things down or make them "deeper" or have less of them - I suppose this gets back to the "polish" issue brought up earlier.
3460  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Din's Curse on: February 21, 2010, 06:31:17 AM
I played some more with my Warlock/Archer hybrid.  I can definitely see this being a combo I could really enjoy, as it compares well to some of the Amazon builds I played a lot in D2.  I saved up for the big pet (chaos lord) who I use similar to the Amazon's Valkyrie pet, as a decoy/tank while I slaughter everything around.  One funny thing about him is he'll get stuck trying to destroy rubble from cave-ins.  Funny stuff.

Now I've been experimenting with the different archer skills to see what works the best to complement the tank.  I like the fact you can use money to buy back your skill points to try different things.  What I don't like is that leveling feels slower than I'd like it to, or maybe more accurately skill progression feels too slow, or not as rewarding as I'd like.  As an example, the big pet costs 8 skill points!  So you have to level 4 times before you can get it.  To improve it, you have to level another 4 times.  Now I suppose what you can do is spend your points on other things in the mean time and then buy them back, but that's not necessarily satisfying either.

Another example.  Multi-shot takes 4 points which is not horrible.  But to upgrade it you need another 4 points (I think) and the upgrade apparently does nothing but increase the damage a little.  If leveling were faster, maybe I wouldn't notice, or if the reward for the wait was bigger (more arrows, faster arrows, pretty much anything), maybe it would make more sense.  I suppose this can be fixed via "polish" or balancing, but I don't get the sense that major skill dynamics are going to change.  For instance, in D2 you control the spread of your multishot arrows by the distance your cursor is away from you, a very subtle but cool feature.  The more skill points you invest, the more arrows that come out at once, and you see the improvements for every skill point you spend.  This is something that D2 did extremely well, balancing the importance of every single skill point.  DC could use some of that "polish" too.  The goal should be to make each subsequent level in a skill feel weighty and worth the time/energy it took to get there.  If I have to spend 9 points to improve my pet, there should really be something more than stat improvements on the pet, maybe a new ability or whatnot.  Otherwise reduce the number of skill points so it doesn't feel as worthless.

One cool thing for me; apparently I was playing at 1900x1080; I upped it to 1900x1200 and the game looked drastically better.  Very nice.
3461  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains on: February 19, 2010, 05:50:18 PM

Quote from: iloveplywood on February 19, 2010, 05:32:42 PM

Fun season so far.  Every show with Boston Rob in it I go in to the season wanting to dislike the guy, but I always end up rooting for him.  

Same here, he's pretty hilarious and his drama queen routine was awesome, but tempered with his comment about "crybabyitis."  I think Amber is feeding him too well at home (both literally and figuratively) so he's probably more spoiled than he was in years past.  Loved his leadership in the challenge.

That said, I was still rooting for my heroes.  As soon as the challenge started, I jokingly commented that the heroes were going to build a big lead and then F up the puzzle again.  But of course I was right.  This one they had much less excuse as the puzzle pieces were sitting there in front of them, AND they had a lot more brute strength; they should have been figuring out the placement instead of cheering.  I'm not sure if JT's placement was correct all along, I have a feeling he was screwing it up too, in spite of the "one voice" mantra from James.  Definitely felt bad for Steph as she was one of my past favorites, and James was pretty damn annoying and aggressive toward her.  Still you can't deny that she did hold the dubious record of having all her teammates eliminated in challenges one by one.  That season was crazy.
3462  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost: The Final Season (spoilers not tagged) on: February 18, 2010, 09:30:41 PM

Quote from: jament on February 18, 2010, 09:26:29 PM

What about Locke/Nemesis talking about how he was trapped - yet he can leave with the help of Sawyer - "together"?

So, Nemesis couldn't leave without Jacob's (or his candidate's) help?  Yet Jacob could leave the island and interact with others.  That would seem to indicate that Nemesis and Jacob aren't equals - like the white and dark rocks on the scale in the cave would indicate.  Unless Nemesis also left the island to do his own recruiting.

Maybe as long as the white exists on the island, the dark has to be there also, so Jacob could keep Nemesis there just by refusing to leave.  But with Jacob gone, the dark is free to leave as long as he does so before another "candidate" takes the white's place.  That could be his interest in eliminating all the other candidates.

Fun season so far.

Nemesis could just be lying to Sawyer - it would be cool to see a scenario where both these guys are trying to play each other in a "long con".  He could try to send the candidates off the island one by one by taking them to the Orchid and having them turn the wheel, for instance.

It does seem like Nemesis can't leave the island and that's why he's so bitter, I know some people are theorizing the island is his prison. 
3463  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost: The Final Season (spoilers not tagged) on: February 18, 2010, 09:28:13 PM

Quote from: Ironrod on February 17, 2010, 06:52:46 PM

Quote from: IkeVandergraaf on February 17, 2010, 06:14:52 PM

How did Ben wind up in 2007 LA with Locke?  (Young) Ben was on the island with the Others when the atom bomb went off.  We know that Roger didn't make it onto the sub.

Maybe in the LA alternate reality, the island sank to the ocean floor at some time in the distant past -- it effectively never existed as far as that group of characters is concerned.

It's implied the island sank post-Dharma influence, as you are given a clear view of the Dharma compound (houses and swingset) as well as a Dharma shark swimming by.  I read an interview implying there were "clues" as to when the island sank in the flyby, I don't know if that was what they were referring to.  A later interview I read seemed to indicate the island did indeed sink as a direct result of "Jughead" exploding.  
3464  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / [DS] Ragnarok DS on: February 18, 2010, 12:57:14 AM
I think I might be the only one who picked this up, so I thought I'd start a thread (unless somehow I missed it again with the wonky search).

This game is loosely based on the Ragnarok Online MMO, but seems to play out (at least for the first impressions) as a pretty traditional old school JRPG.  The class system is reminiscent of some of the older FF games, with "jobs" that you can take and then leave, along with an adventurer level independent of your job level.  I don't know if you retain skills you learned or not.  Oddly enough once you hit 30/30 you can reset yourself back to a novice at which point you gain some extra attribute points (I think) but not skills, but are then allowed to level higher in your chosen job class.  I don't understand all the intricacies but it sounds interesting.

Control is pretty much stylus based (I think there are options to play with the buttons but it appears to have been designed with stylus in mind).  I like the main combat system quite a bit, it's oddly simple and fairly relaxing, yet feels fairly action oriented.  You simply tap on a monster to attack it, and you will keep attacking until one of you is dead.  You can click on a skill in your hotbar and then use it by either clicking on yourself (for a heal) or making some sort of motion/gesture depending on the spell on the enemy.  You have 2 party members with decent AI who you can either direct to attack or give general AI to.  Combat pretty much occurs in real time so it feels sort of action-y but not the type where you have to continuously mash on buttons.

There is a "temp save" option which allows you to save anywhere and end the game (presumably it gets erased when you restart); otherwise you have to save at a town.

Apparently there are a number of interesting options in the later game, including playing a MP dungeon with a few friends and creating your own "guild" of adventurers (sounds similar to Suikoden I guess?). 

All in all I am enjoying it thus far but I'm not too deep in.  My only complaint is that you have to find maps in order to get a minimap going, which is bad for people like me who get confused and lost.  Once you have the minimap up it's pretty easy to get around.  Some of the "cutscenes" are a little too long and the humor is a bit weak, but the core gameplay is pretty fun.  Definitely nothing ground breaking or particularly unique, but for some reason I'm finding it more playable than some of the other JRPGs I've tried lately.
3465  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains on: February 18, 2010, 12:46:53 AM

Quote from: PaulBot on February 17, 2010, 11:01:43 PM

Quote from: Jimmy the Fish on February 17, 2010, 09:40:18 PM

I laughed when Randy was telling Boston Rob that it's nearly impossible to make fire from scratch by rubbing wood together and that he should save his strength and not even try. 5 minutes of clever CBS editing later, Rob has a the campfire going and Randy is sitting there looking like a fool. Classic.

That was EXCELLENT! And the other camp took forever WITH flint!!

Poor Rupert, he looked like such a schmuck.  I was surprised they didn't think about dumping him at the first tribal.
3466  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost: The Final Season (spoilers not tagged) on: February 18, 2010, 12:45:45 AM
I thought the little boy was a Jacob manifestation created by the island, similar (maybe) to Jack's dad, Walt, Shannon, etc or other dead ghost images that the island (?) has invoked in the past.  Smokey seemed genuinely scared or at least surprised, which leads me to think it's something bigger than just him or Jacob.  This would then imply there are 3 powers/factions vying for control:  Jacob (good?), Smokey (bad?) and the Island itself.  The Jacob entity protects the island, the Smokey one I have no idea what his agenda is (other than now wanting to leave, possibly in the past he would want to exploit it).  They've referred to "rules" a number of times in the show, but who sets these rules?  It doesn't seem to be Good and Bad, so maybe it's the island itself?

Now the Smokey announcement that our Losties are the remaining candidates for Jacob/Island protector I thought was fascinating.  Let's just presume he's not lying.  So that really leaves only a few peeps left to do it.  My guess would be one of the Big 3 (Jack, Kate or Sawyer) - though I don't recall seeing Kate's name mentioned.  Anyway, either of the 3 I could see sacrificing themselves for redemption and for love.  The only one that seems to have more of a "relationship" with the island though is Jack, so I would tend to lean toward Jack sacrificing himself in the finale allowing Kate and Sawyer to be together.  The man of science transforms into the ultimate man of faith, protector of the island - in fact you might say the entire series is just events leading him to this "destiny."

3467  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Diablo III on: February 16, 2010, 11:46:17 PM
This game looks so wonderful it makes me want to cry.  Did they pretty much say already there was no chance of release this year?
3468  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Din's Curse on: February 16, 2010, 11:42:10 PM
To me the 2 games are different enough that it almost doesn't make sense to compare them and say one is "better" or worse.  But I guess if we are talking about choosing between the 2, again I'd have to emphasize the feel of the games.  Diablo 2 had (at the time) an almost unique feel to it, the way the game controlled, the responsiveness to what you were doing control wise to what you saw and heard on-screen, that I believe to this day is still pretty much unparalleled.  Every character build you chose, assuming you put enough time into it, really had a unique feel to it.  I still remember the very very different experience and feel of a static field sorc vs fast-multi-shot-machine gun Amazon vs. a crazy lightning javelin zon vs. the Trapassin I designed.  Each one had a distinct feel to it while playing, when you swapped a skill and hit right button it just felt like you were there.  The closest games to capture that feel (for me) have been TQ and TL, and in a 3D extension, HGL.  So from that aspect, if you are a purist D2 fan in love with that interface-to-screen/sound dynamic, I believe Torchlight is the more suitable game.  In terms of overall gameplay, creating builds and alts, creating a more dynamic world, etc. - Din's Curse is hands down the more "complete" game, as others have described sort of a 2.5D Rogue-like.

One thing about TL that I don't think was mentioned - the mod community has really done some nice stuff (cool new classes and such) so that's helped to increase the playability.  Also this may just be me being weird (particularly since this goes against my normal play style for any other type of game), but I found playing the game in Hardcore Difficult completely changed the enjoyability of the game for me.  Somehow the edge of every single choice, every purchase, every drop, every skill and attribute point, possibly meaning survival or end of character, really created a unique perspective and play style (as well as a completely separate "economy" for all my HC characters).  I'm not sure I would enjoy a mode like this in Din's Curse where the random factors (like cave ins) may dominate your survival chance.
3469  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [Trailer] Law Abiding Citizen on: February 16, 2010, 11:16:39 PM
Just saw this on Blu-Ray last night.  I enjoyed it for the most part but of course I am a big Gerard Butler fan so that may influence my opinion.  I guess even though I knew approx where the movie had to go, it was tough to have to change my frame of my mind to root against him (which I was never really able to do) so that kind of took me out of the last part of the movie.  It's almost like the later Elm Street movies where you are basically rooting for Freddy to eliminate more annoying fodder characters.  Still I found it an interesting story with enough plot dynamics to keep me entertained.  I can see though that a lot of people might not like it as much as I did, and I do wish he had got to go Leonidas on the bad guys and kick them down a well while shouting "This is Philadelphia!!!"

Spoiler for Hiden:
I was going to characterize this movie as Saw meets Prison Break but I didn't want to ruin the surprise in any shape or form without a spoiler alert.  EngineNo9's comment is pretty funny as he pretty much spoils the whole "twist" with his guess.  In addition it's also kind of problematic for me that he was so awesome at setting all this survelliance up yet he had almost no security for his main base of operations and had no clue that Chief O Brien and Jamie had been there?  I suppose you could say he was overconfident and arrogant and never thought he could be caught, or that he ultiamtely wanted to be caught/stopped if it meant he could change the system by changing Jamie.  There are definitely some plot holes and discontinuities but I like the basic premise, plotline and the conflicts within the characters.  I'm not sure if you were supposed to assume Gerard had gone bonkers or was just unquenchable in his desire for revenge.  
3470  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Iphone/Ipod Touch Question on: February 16, 2010, 11:05:11 PM
There's a pretty decent interface that allows you to choose exactly which apps you sync to each device (on the same iTunes acct).  iTunes software will keep track of which ones you sync independently based on the name/identity of the device, so be sure to name them appropriately for your own organization, e.g.  KCphone and WifeyTouch   icon_razz
3471  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Wanderers - "Group-centric" MMORPG experiment (EQ2 Rebirth!) BEGINS! on: February 16, 2010, 11:00:44 PM
I don't want to jinx us but thus far the "experiment" has gone as good or better than I had ever expected and it's been a really nice change from the disappointment of rapid guild death in some recent releases.

We are heading into our 8th week since beginning, and still have a steady 15-20ish membership (I think).  Everyone has been great about sticking to the level limits (perhaps at times a bit begrudgingly) but I believe this has created a much more cohesive group all in all.  

In retrospect, although some other games were considered, I think EQ2 was actually the perfect (and perhaps only feeasible) choice for the long run.  Because of the AA leveling and deep crafting system, it's given the hardcore players with more time something to work on while players with less time try to keep up with the main level pace.  We have pretty much not needed to use the Mentor system, but having that as an option makes the game even more accessible for grouping purposes.  

This has been great for me personally as I don't feel that internally imposed pressure to "keep up with the Jones" or forced to login every day - I can play only once or twice a week and still hold my own level wise.  At the same time, the players who like putting in a lot of hours seem to have plenty to do content-wise (I hope) so I think everyone compromises a bit but for the most part is happy.

Here's hoping we can keep it going!
3472  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [movies] James Cameron's Avatar on: February 16, 2010, 10:07:26 PM

Quote from: Rowdy on February 16, 2010, 08:45:40 PM

Quote from: The Grue on February 16, 2010, 01:25:59 AM

My 5 year-old girl loved it.  There wasn't anything in it to give her nightmares, really. 

Except the frightening creatures chasing characters through the forest?  The brutal, intense razing of an entire village, complete with parents and children fleeing and watching loved ones be killed?  The loud, intense battle sequences where major characters are killed and multiple on screen deaths?  The cussing and threats of hardened military men?  Or the close up, vicious impalement of the main bad guy in the climax of the movie?

To say nothing of the emotional and motivational implications of all these actions, most of which probably aren't understood by a 5 year old?

As a father of a 8, 6 and newborn, I would never in a million years think my kids would be ready to handle something like Avatar.  I'm sure you love your daughter very much, but exposing young kids to that kind of thing can have repercussions on her fragile psyche that might not even manifest until later.  Kids simply aren't equipped to deal with that kind of imagery, particularly in a movie designed to be as immersive as Avatar.  She might not have anything like blatent nightmares, or at least not that she tells you about, but that doesn't mean that she goes unaffected.

This is getting on a touchy but interesting subject (child rearing and choices parents make for what their kids should or should not be allowed to be exposed to).  I have no kids myself but I've often wondered about some of the things my sister does with her kids.  The 2 older girls have mostly been sheltered and as kids were too scared to see a majority of movies (they were afraid of the theater itself) but the younger boy (just turned 5) is kind of a little maniac and loves anything with fighting in it, and has been watching fairly intense stuff for quite a while.  He grew up watching the Avatar cartoon (Airbender) as well as TMNT and other fighting material.  He's watched the X-Men movies a bunch of times and I just got him the Transformers movies; he's pretty much obsessed with anything having to do with superheroes (Marvel in particular).  If there's no action he gets bored and starts running around himself.

I don't have much of a point to make except to say it's fairly clear that different children have different tolerance levels and personalities, and obviously different parents have different philosophies on how to handle their kids.  I used to "preview" movies to try to tell my sister if I thought they were OK for my nephew, but apparently I was way over-conservative for what he likes to watch.  My parents used to take me to see Chinese martial arts movies as a kid and those were pretty brutal (lots of head chopping, etc).  Now what kind of psychological effects this will have long term I really don't know, but I do think it's an interesting topic.
3473  Gaming / Portable Gaming & Apps / Re: iPhone/iTouch app and game thread on: February 16, 2010, 09:59:51 PM
On the bright side, Plants vs Zombies is awesome on the iPhone!  I've never actually played the original so I don't know how it compares, but I'm loving it so far on this format.
3474  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Let's talk Iphone on: February 16, 2010, 07:26:43 PM
Just an FYI, AT&T finally allowed Slingplayer Mobile to work through the 3G network and the new App for it was released yesterday.  Works incredibly well, assuming you have a really good 3G connection.  Oddly enough, it works far better here at work than it did at home. 

Down side is the price is still at $30.
3475  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Din's Curse on: February 16, 2010, 07:08:39 PM

Quote from: Harkonis on February 16, 2010, 06:24:52 PM

I agree, I think Torchlight looks better, but I have had more fun with Din's in pretty much every gameplay way.

If they could have somehow melded these 2 games together (all the gameplay from Din with the look and feel of Torchlight), I think I'd be set until Diablo 3 came out smile
3476  Gaming / Portable Gaming & Apps / Re: iPhone/iTouch app and game thread on: February 16, 2010, 01:11:34 AM
Some nice updates for iPhone/Touch fans:

Plants vs. Zombies just released - I never played the original but it seemed like everyone loved it.

Street Fighter IV looks like it's getting a nice port:

And Final Fantasy port is looking like it's coming along very well:
3477  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: PSP why? on: February 16, 2010, 12:59:20 AM
OK so maybe it's a bit exaggerated but there are definitely some good quality iPhone games which rival the portable consoles (DS and PSP) in terms of gameplay and hours of gameplay.  Underworlds, Inotia 2, Zenonia, Dungeon Hunter are some top notch ARPGs.  Dungeon Hunter in particular compares very well to the ARPGs I played on the PSP (Untold Legends, Dungeon Siege).  Blades of Fury is a very solid fighter with graphics that (at least from memory) rival the PSP and are certainly better than the DS.  I know there are a number of car racing/driving games that look pretty top notch.  

I actually prefer the smaller/simpler games on the iPhone myself, as they fit the jump in and out playstyle for me better.  But if you go looking there are definitely some pretty high quality games available now.  That's something I think would have helped me enjoy the PSP a lot more, game systems that I could jump in and out of easily with limited load times.  This is more of a personal thing for me, though, as I tend to look at "portable gaming" differently than "on the go gaming".  

In other news, Plants vs. Zombies just released on iPhone smile

Edit:  They just announced Street Fighter IV coming to the iPhone.  Also take a look at GT Racing for some top notch graphics.
3478  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Kevin Smith booted off a flight for being too fat on: February 15, 2010, 11:05:04 PM
I think this must just be free publicity for Cop Out (releasing Feb 26) - which I had absolutely no idea Kevin Smith was directing.
3479  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Windows Phone 7 Series on: February 15, 2010, 11:00:43 PM

Quote from: gellar on February 15, 2010, 10:47:56 PM

Quote from: rittchard on February 15, 2010, 10:44:54 PM

Quote from: gellar on February 15, 2010, 10:34:39 PM

Damn that's sexy.

Pretty slick from what I watched, but isn't it a bit sad that it's taken them nearly 3 years to catch up to Apple? 

Still, it should finally put some pressure on Apple to take the iPhone OS to the next level. 

Catch up?  Honestly right now this is just videos and promise but this is considerably better than the iPhone OS from a functional standpoint.

However you're right that they've lost the market.  This is just MS attempt trying to remain relevant, which they need to do.  And it's a damn fine attempt - it just won't retake the market they've already lost.  It's MP3 players, Search Engines, and Web Email all over again.

I meant "catch up" in terms of finally showing a mobile OS that will attract attention rather than just another version of the clunktastic Windows Mobile OS.

I definitely hope Apple will steal some of the functionality ideas, particularly for organizing Apps.
3480  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Windows Phone 7 Series on: February 15, 2010, 10:44:54 PM

Quote from: gellar on February 15, 2010, 10:34:39 PM

Damn that's sexy.

Pretty slick from what I watched, but isn't it a bit sad that it's taken them nearly 3 years to catch up to Apple? 

Still, it should finally put some pressure on Apple to take the iPhone OS to the next level. 
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