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10081  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / I've figured out why America likes Sudoku so much on: March 27, 2007, 03:22:20 PM
I'm a geek.  I like logic puzzles.  I even have a 4x4 rubik's cube at home that I can solve.  But I never understood how a cold, hard, logic based puzzle like Sudoku could become so insanely popular with the average American.  Every day I see someone doing one on the subway, even carrying around a big book of Sudoku puzzles, while I rarely see someone doing a crossword anymore.

After some time occasionally peeking over the shoulder of some of these subway Sudokuers, it finally hit me why it's all the rage with Joe and Jane American.

They don't have any idea how bad they are at the game.

Almost everybody is just filling in numbers that initially fit, and then filling in more numbers based on those.  They inevitably fill up most of the grid before hitting a dead end and think to themselves, "So close that time!" when in fact 90% of their numbers are completely wrong.  They get the sense that they're pretty good at what they think of as a hard puzzle, and they feel smart and accomplished at how they can so consistently fill up most of the grid.   And once in a blue moon they might--through dumb luck--actually solve a puzzle, which would of course completely reinforce their belief that they have some clue about what they're doing.  Not that there's anything wrong with that, if you're having fun and passing the time, fun is fun.

With that mystery solved, I can move on to the next enigma:  why America is obsessed with wearing Crocs.
10082  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Need Help Choosing RAM For New Build on: March 27, 2007, 01:45:26 PM
I always buy Mushkin more for reliability than for any extra performance.  Not only is it a pain in the ass when memory fails, you end up paying more than the amount you "saved" on the cheaper memory to have it replaced.

Plus, how can you resist having your memory arrive to you magically suspended in the center of a big inflated bubble?  I love their packaging!
10083  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: C&C 3 Impressions on: March 27, 2007, 12:48:24 PM

Quote from: Calvin on March 27, 2007, 12:00:17 PM

8.5 at IGN. odd when they score lower than Gamespot-not that I care. I AM SO IN! Now the issue is whether I will be able to buy it before Friday because of work. I have little time to begin with and unfortunately I get home after all the stores what to do?

Weird review, didn't seem to add up to 8.5.  It seemed like they had praise for everything except for how GDI can build nothing but Mammoth Tanks in the endgame.
10084  Non-Gaming / Forum and Site Feedback / Re: Need Moderator Action ASAP Re: Reefer Madness-Do not view posts NSFW on: March 27, 2007, 04:33:21 AM

Quote from: EngineNo9 on March 27, 2007, 03:53:53 AM

I always just use the "Reporte to moderator" button...does that not get to all of you guys like PMs or what?

"Report to moderator" sends an electronic message to the moderators.

"Reporte to moderator" sends a wax sealed scroll via horse & carriage.
10085  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Forza Motorsport 2's Official Car List on: March 27, 2007, 12:12:34 AM

Quote from: kronovan on March 27, 2007, 12:05:22 AM

The 1974 Lancia Stratos, dang I loved that car in Rally Trophy!   thumbsup

If it doesn't come with the Alitalia paintjob, you can bet I'll be looking to buy a custom designed one from another player in the in-game marketplace.
10086  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Forza Motorsport 2's Official Car List on: March 27, 2007, 12:04:47 AM
It says the list doesn't yet include the "tuner and aftermarket cars", or the "race class cars," but it looks like most of my favorites are already listed.  It's always so hard to spot what's missing from a list like that.

Can't wait for this game!

edit: found a car I'm more excited about
10087  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Transformers - The First Trailer on: March 26, 2007, 11:54:58 PM

Looks like Hugo Weaving was officially chosen over the original Frank Welker for the voice of Megatron.  A bit disappointing as it would've been really neat to again hear the original Optimus voice talking to the original Megatron, but I guess there are worse actors they could've chosen.  Hopefully Weaving will break out of his favorite...slow..dramatic way of talking and stay a bit closer to the original.

I guess I'm glad they at least have the original Optimus voice, but he might almost seem out of place if he's the only one, like if they had one character look and transform like the cartoon style amidst all the new style transformations.
10088  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: What are you buying this week? (3/26) on: March 26, 2007, 08:10:25 PM
Yeah...maybe a bit too much hostility about something so minor?  Is a thread consisting of single sentence posts really that hard to follow when you throw in a related side conversation?
10089  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Puzzle Quest for DS/PSP on: March 26, 2007, 07:16:52 PM
Since it'll be a long while before I try any of the other classes, I'm curious what kinds of combos people are coming up with with their characters.

Here's the combo I mentioned earlier for my level 20ish wizard:

Equipped with items that make skulls do extra damage depending on my red mana stores.
Enrage spell running to do the same.
Haste running to do 4 damage each time I get an extra turn.

I wait until there are 4/5 red & green gems in a row
Cast Burn to turn all green into red, with a guaranteed extra turn because of the above.
Cast Flaming Skulls to turn all blue into red, almost certain to spark at least one extra turn, often a whole series of chains giving me max red mana and a whole lot of repeated damage from Haste.
Cast...some orc spell that destroys all the hordes of red on the field, and makes the enemy lose two turns plus another for every 8 red destroyed (usually 3-4 skipped turns for the enemy)
Now I have some leisurely time to clear out all the 4-in-a-row opporunities for the coins, skulls, and XP, with those extra free turns to allow me to do 4-in-a-rows that might take two steps.  My red mana is certainly maxed at this point, meaning I've got an extra 40 to my battle skill helping to trigger more free turns on the skulls.  Each extra turn is another 4 damage done.
I'm left with an almost entirely yellow board, which let's my griffon's Death Dive (1 dmg per yellow on the field) do 18-20 damage.
After clearing out yellow 4-in-a-row opportunities, at this point I sometimes use the orc spell a 2nd time for two free turns, use those 2 turns to again turn any new greens and blues into reds, and then do a slightly wimpier second round of the same sequence.

The biggest weakness is that I need to have a lot of mana stored up beforehand, because after the attack it'll be a while before green or blue will be easy to find.  A "no moves left" mana drain leaves me pretty vulnerable.
10090  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: What are you buying this week? (3/26) on: March 26, 2007, 06:45:56 PM

Quote from: Calvin on March 26, 2007, 06:43:26 PM

Guys, make a new thread, the derail here is out of control!  retard

You're just worried they're going to beat you to the last copy of Hannah Montoya!
10091  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Environmentalism goes local on: March 26, 2007, 06:31:09 PM

Quote from: unbreakable on March 24, 2007, 03:26:39 AM

But realistically, even LITTLE fixes can have big results.  For example, I stopped using disposable cups at work: I brought in a coffee cup and a soup mug.  Right there I cut out at LEAST 400 styrofoam and plastic cups every year.  If you can multiply that by hundreds of thousands of people... you are saving a lot of resources, and thus cutting a lot of pollution.  All because I drink from a ceramic cup.

I'd be interested if someone can find a reliable study posted online as I've only heard this 2nd hand, but I thought that in order to have less impact on the environment you'd have to use a ceramic mug thousands, not hundreds, of times before it becomes more efficient than using and discarding styrofoam or paper cups each time.  If you get a new mug each year at Christmas or on your birthday, the expenditure for manufacturing and washing the mug exceed those for disposable cups, even worse if you use a metal coffee cup.  If you re-use each disposable cup once or twice, it's even more lopsided in favor of disposable.
10092  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [360] Guitar Hero II on: March 26, 2007, 05:50:57 PM

Quote from: Jag on March 26, 2007, 05:46:04 PM

Never played GH before. Just tried GH2 for 360 at Best Buy. Seems fun, but i didn't know what the hell to do. Strum and press the buttons at the same time? I think i hit maybe 5 notes on Sweet Child before i failed each time. I don't know if these games are good for the 'twitch' impaired.

On a real guitar you hold down frets with your left hand while you strum with your right.  In GH you hold down colored buttons with your left while you strum with your right.  Like a real guitar, in GH you can hold the frets down ahead of time and strum when it's time to play them.  You also (except for with chords) can keep lower frets (e.g., the green button) held down while a higher fret needs to be played.

You can do it!
10093  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Airline Recommendations on: March 26, 2007, 04:05:00 PM
I just flew with American for the first time since "the before time."  On my 8 hour leg from Chicago to Honolulu, we weren't given so much as a bag of pretzels.  Around lunchtime me and just about everyone around me broke down and asked for the $8 sandwiches they advertised when we had just taken off.  Nope, no sandwiches left, no wraps, no trail mix.  All they had were $3 cookies.  They do let you have the whole can of soda during the beverage service, so there is some soul left in the company.

JetBlue for me whenever possible.  They at least give you a selection of decent free snacks, they don't charge you for headphones, they've got a bit mroe legroom in the back rows, and of course your personal DirectTV.  Their big downside for me is that their frequent flyer mile program have points that expire in a year, so you have to fly between east and west coast about 4 times a year to cash in, unless you go nuts with their Amex card.
10094  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [Wii] Virtual Console Game for 3/26 on: March 26, 2007, 03:55:58 PM
Not a purchase for me, but I think if Nobunaga's Ambition made it to the VC it'd be a fun trip down memory lane.
10095  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PS3] 75% Back Compat for PS3 in Europe on: March 26, 2007, 02:25:08 PM
The $50/year for Live Gold alone is going to make the 360 a more expensive investment over the life of the consoles for most people. 
10096  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Current state of availability of the Wii? on: March 26, 2007, 02:15:04 PM
In mid-January I thought about making a thread to start a betting pool for when you'd be able to walk into a store and more or less expect to find a Wii on the shelf.  I didn't get around to it by the end of the month, and I figured by then it was already pointless, because surely the date was just a week or two away.  I would've bet on February 15th, or maybe the end of February for a stretch.

I never imagined the winner would've been a bet for April or later.  This is just crazy.

10097  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: What are you buying this week? (3/26) on: March 26, 2007, 01:52:10 PM
Would probably be buying Settlers DS if I hadn't just gotten Puzzle Quest.

Going on "good deal watch" for C&C3.  Looking forward to that FMV cheesiness.
10098  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Puzzle Quest for DS/PSP on: March 26, 2007, 01:45:35 PM
Captures seemed completely impossible when I first saw them, but I've gotten used to them and have some powerful combos with the spells I've learned.

I've had good success taking an experimental approach, starting in prepared to lose my first bunch of tries.  I try to first simplify the field by looking for easy matches that don't bring much else out of alignment.  Once you clear out some of that camouflage, it becomes a lot simpler to figure out the rest.

My griffon mount works very well with my wizard.  I have a series of spells that basically turn every green and blue gem to red, and then destroys all red gems.  Besides the coins, XP, and skulls, that leaves the field with a ton of yellow gems.  The griffon's ability is to do 1 damage for every yellow gem on the field, so it ends up being pretty devastating.

I really don't think the computer is being clairvoyant.  The only "cheating" is that it can instantly spot 4-in-a-row possibilities while you have to search around or wait for the white arrow.
10099  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Puzzle Quest for DS/PSP on: March 25, 2007, 04:35:00 PM

Quote from: TiLT on March 25, 2007, 11:29:31 AM

I'm almost level 16 now  (wizard), and I don't get the impression that the computer is cheating. I pull off almost as many insane combo drops as it does. The computer is very good at judging the odds for drops in the upper rows, something I've started to do myself. I sometimes choose one move over another only because I see there's a chance I'm going to be able to pull off something awesome if the correct gem drops.
This is my experience as well, it seems like I'm "cheating" as much as the computer is with some really long chains.

Are you sure you guys aren't going against the rune holder people in the battles that feel like cheating?  The rune bearer equipment makes it so that combos easily give them max mana, and max mana lets them do 50+ damage in one attack--so with some lucky chains they can easily bring you down in one turn. 
10100  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Top 10 Hardest to Beat Console Games on: March 24, 2007, 07:48:29 PM
Tetris is really hard to beat.
10101  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Best "Trading Card" console game? on: March 24, 2007, 06:26:33 PM
Portable: Yu-Gi-Oh is good, but it's the only CCG I've tried on a portable system.

On the bigger systems: Culdcept, or maybe Phantom Dust.
10102  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [Wii] Nintendo ruins online play (now official) on: March 23, 2007, 08:33:13 PM
When you see this many people defending the friend code system, I think it's clear that the apocalypse has begun.
10103  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: *Warning* Positive PS3 Article Inside - Enter At Your Own Risk on: March 23, 2007, 08:19:07 PM
We're all still going in circles betting on the flop, when is the river going to come along?  What's the next BIG title, Heavenly Sword?
10104  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: I begin my new amp build... on: March 23, 2007, 07:51:55 PM

Quote from: SkyLander on March 23, 2007, 07:31:58 PM

If you finish building that could you sell it for 5000?
People tend to place a bit more value on originals than replicas. smile
10105  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PS3] Motorstorm Downloads - New Tracks, Modes on: March 22, 2007, 07:30:14 PM
Sure looks free to me.  I like free.
10106  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Thinkgeek may have just sold me on this... on: March 22, 2007, 07:29:56 PM
Oh yeah, if you're gonna buy one you've got to get a pair.  They're pretty hardy little buggers, too.  We crashed into each other, the wall, and the floor without effect.  The first casualty was when we had all three helis in the air and the big clumsy Air Hog collided with one of these small ones and took a notch out of it's tail prop.  It was a fun little moment of a "mayday mayday I'm going down!" death spiral.  Luckily it comes with a spare tail propeller.

The Air Hog does have fans to control forward-backward movement, but it's so hard to do you end using all your concentration just to do slow and simple movements.  With the smaller ones, it's just wheeee look'it them go!
10107  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Thinkgeek may have just sold me on this... on: March 22, 2007, 07:07:24 PM
I got that model for Christmas, and my dad got himself a 2nd one so that we could fly them at once.  Coincidentally, my girlfriend's dad bought their family the more expensive Air-Hog version.  Though the Air Hog version is technically more advanced, but I found it harder to control, didn't seem worth the extra money.

The one you linked to, though, woo that's fun stuff.  It's got a clever little mechanism in the main propeller that auto-balances the copter and works perfectly to keep it stable.  There's a trim control that works perfectly to keep it from spinning.  It is lacking a forward-backward steering control (which the Air Hog version has) but this is largely why it's so much easier to control. 

It doesn't mean you're stuck in one place, though.  Once you get used to the basic control, if you stick a small pin or tack in the nose, it will make it have a constant slight forward movement.  With that little modification, we were chasing each other's helicopters in circles around the chandelier, around the christmas tree, landing them on our hands...good fun.

Oh, and the short flight time isn't really an issue.  You plug the copter into the controller to charge it, and it's fully charged in just a minute or two.
10108  Non-Gaming / Trading Forum / Re: DFW Folks - GH1/2 + 2 wired guitars (+ slim PS2 For Sale)! on: March 22, 2007, 06:53:27 PM
You live in a shoe store?
10109  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Top 10 Hardest to Beat Console Games on: March 22, 2007, 06:46:07 PM

Quote from: Destructor on March 22, 2007, 06:41:57 PM

Quote from: wonderpug on March 22, 2007, 05:59:56 PM

I was also going to name those two, along with Legacy of the Wizard.

I owned that game, but never beat it. Never figured out how to, honestly. Talk about no direction at all.

I seem to remember just goofing around with the little family pet monster guy, since he was immune to enemy attacks.

Ooh, that reminded me of another hard game, Fester's Quest.  I didn't know what the hell I was doing with that game.  And every time I upgraded my weapon to max, I would accidentally grab the downgrade pill that brought it back down a level.  Evil game.
10110  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Top 10 Hardest to Beat Console Games on: March 22, 2007, 05:59:56 PM

Quote from: Destructor on March 22, 2007, 05:24:16 PM

They also forgot the original TMNT on the NES. That game was a BITCH towards the end.

And they forgot Blaster Master (NES). Also very unforgiving. And it had limited continues, was a long game, and had no save feature of any kind.

I was also going to name those two, along with Legacy of the Wizard.

The good old NES days put hair on your chest!
10111  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: TMNT on GBA - Turtles Arcade meets River City Ransom? on: March 22, 2007, 05:55:26 PM
This may come as a shocker, but it looks like IGN may have been a bit overly glowing in their review.


OUCH from Gamespot: Most players will run through the game from beginning to end in under an hour. . .most players would be better off skipping this one.

GameSpy is slightly more positive, saying it's a fun enough ride but still just an hour or two long, including the time to read the "dozens of screens of text that open every level and advance the story."

Ah well, looks like I'll be waiting for this to hit the bottom of the bargain bin.
10112  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: All praise the Shat! on: March 22, 2007, 05:45:37 PM

Quote from: Kevin Grey on March 22, 2007, 03:51:26 PM

I thought there was some good humor and character stuff in Star Trek V that made is somewhat enjoyable.  But everything else around it is a mess, especially the visual effects.  What were they thinking? 

Also according to the infallible Wikipedia, they wanted to continue using ILM like the previous films, but ILM was either busy with Back to the Future II & III or with Ghost Busters & Indiana Jones.

What would V hsve been like if it were written by the Wrath of Khan writer and, er, visually effectsified by ILM?  I've never made it without biting, ask Mr. Owl.
10113  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: What the heck is Nintendo thinking? A cook-off Wii game! on: March 22, 2007, 05:39:56 PM

Quote from: Gratch on March 22, 2007, 04:22:50 PM

Quote from: wonderpug on March 22, 2007, 03:43:23 PM

I wonder how much bigger this title would've been if they had found a good way to give it an Iron Chef tie-in.  With a little bit more depth from the competition, it might've been been a good little hit with that branding.

If they ended up with both an Iron Chef and a Bob Ross game, there's no way I could resist getting a Wii.

And then let's put a happy little tempura over there, there he is, now take out your fan brush and, oh look, a happy bowl of udon!
10114  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: All praise the Shat! on: March 22, 2007, 03:49:49 PM
If Wikipedia is to be trusted, stupid goofy stuff like that Uhura bit was put into the film against Shatner's wishes.  He wanted it to be a darker movie, but Paramount made him insert stuff like that to make it more light-hearted the way IV was.
10115  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: What the heck is Nintendo thinking? A cook-off Wii game! on: March 22, 2007, 03:43:23 PM
Good to hear, maybe I'll get this after all when it comes down in price.  Always looking for more to bring the girlfriend into gaming.

I wonder how much bigger this title would've been if they had found a good way to give it an Iron Chef tie-in.  With a little bit more depth from the competition, it might've been been a good little hit with that branding.
10116  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Houses cheaper than cars in Michigan now. on: March 22, 2007, 02:58:34 PM
How long till Trump just buys the whole city for chump change and makes a reality show out of rebuilding the whole area in his name?
10117  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: All praise the Shat! on: March 22, 2007, 02:49:11 PM

Quote from: warning on March 22, 2007, 02:40:25 PM

We just watched the Shat-directed Star Trek V: The Final Frontier this past weekend.  My eyes!  They burn!

Still easier to make it through V than the first movie. :)
10118  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: All praise the Shat! on: March 22, 2007, 02:38:14 PM
Wow, I was just curious how old Leonard Nimoy is, and it turns out he's just 4 days younger than Shatner.  I thought Chekov and Uhura were a lot younger than the rest of the crew, but it turns out they're 70, and 74.  And what the heck, Khan himself is now 86 and doing voices for Kim Possible?
10119  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Puzzle Quest for DS/PSP on: March 22, 2007, 02:30:51 PM

I don't know for sure, but I'd imagine it'd hurt immersion more than gameplay.  You'll just be at a slight disadvantage in those battles where a companion should help you, but since the game is pretty beginner-friendly, at worst you'd probably just have to level up an extra level for a tough fight.

If you can wait a bit, those of us going with the DS version can keep an eye on how much the companions really bring to a fight.
10120  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / TMNT on GBA - Turtles Arcade meets River City Ransom? on: March 22, 2007, 02:24:15 PM
So with the new TMNT movie tie-in games being released on every platform, they all seem to be the typical movie license dreck.  The console versions look like the empty license cash-ins you'd expect, and the DS looks like it's attempting to have a direct port of those 3d rendered versions like the brave little portable it is.

But wait, what's this on the GBA?  It's got hand drawn pixel art, it's 2d, it's a side scrolling beat'em up, it's....River City Ransom?!

Now, I haven't seen the game myself, but from what I've been reading it looks like this GBA TMNT game might be a surprise little gem of retro gaming.  Here're some blurbs from the IGN review:

"TMNT on the Game Boy Advance is one hell of a surprise and an incredibly fun throwback to the old-school Turtles arcade game. For those that love those games, or even Double Dragon-style brawlers in general, don't let this one pass you by."

"But imagine that [Turtles Arcade & Turtles In Time] arcade game idea, with actual depth added to it. That's exactly what TMNT for the GBA is."

"It comes close to being as classic an action game as River City Ransom, if you can believe it."

"It's easily one of the best brawling games I've played in years, and had the designers managed full-fledged multiplayer support I think we could have seen the best Turtles ever. It's damn near close, though. Don't miss it."

You've got combos, destructible environments, environment objects you can throw as weapons, and--here's the River City Ransom part--you use money from fallen enemies to upgrade combos, offense/defense, and buy items.

I haven't seen any reviews besides IGN, so I'm not hopping on the bandwagon just yet, but this has definitely gotten on my radar and I'm eagerly looking for some more reviews and impressions to seal the deal.  At $30, it won't be hard to bite if this really is a modern improved version of the old arcade games.
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