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Backlash24 Blog

Something Worth Writing Home About!

Well, I guess this is my version of writing home since well my parents don't really care about what I'm doing as long as I'm on the honour roll at school. Anyway, what is it that I have been up to?

Well in the last ten days I have written a review for Baseball Stars Professional, a review for League Bowling, and a review for Art of Fighting all as a part of the SNK Special on NoobFeed.com.

If you can't tell, I am now a writer over there and have those three reviews up on the site as well as a Feature for the recently announced PSN Awards. As for what is upcoming in the future I currently have a few projects in the works including reviews for both Plants vs. Zombies and Explodemon!

Now I have agreed to keep all my writing exclusive to NoobFeed while I write there so I doubt you'll be seeing anymore reviews from me on Gamespot. I apologize for that, but would just like to say that I am staying on Gamespot since I really do love it here. So no worries on that front.

If you are on NoobFeed then you can feel free to track me. My profile name is Tressilate

You can also find me on these Social Networking Sites, yay!

Twitter: http://twitter.com/JoshMcCaul

Digg: http://digg.com/Tressilate/diggs

N4G: http://n4g.com/user/home/tressilate

GameGrep http://www.gamegrep.com/members/Tressilate/

Reddit: http://www.reddit.com/user/Tressilate/

Gamekicker: http://www.gamekicker.com/users/tressilate

Later Days,
Backlash24.

How About That Local Sports Team

So I have been here and there since my last blog post, but haven't really done much on Gamespot due to the business surrounding the aforementioned election. It's winding down now (results are in, but they are being contested -- it's a huge mess actually), and I'm excited to be back. I have recently updated all five of my reviews (minor updates), and would love for anyone who hasn't checked them out to go my Contributions Page and give any of the five of them a read. I'd specifically request that if you are to look at any one review that you check out my latest one which was written for Custom Robo Battle Revolution on the Nintendo Gamecube.

I have also recently finished DeathSpank on the PS3 (which can be bought through PSN), and I am very excited to finish off that review as it was such an enjoyable game. Additionally in my quest to review all my older titles I have just about finished off one on WWE: Day of Reckoning on the Nintendo Gamecube so stay tuned for both of those.

Speaking of writing -- well I have finally gotten to the next step in my next editorial which involves contacting several individuals so I'm hoping that I begin to receive responses within the next week allowing me to finish off what I am sure will be a great read for anyone interested in reviews.

As for finishing things off well I can think of nothing else other than Resident Evil 5. Whoops.

In other news I finally picked up a post original 150 Pokemon game in buying SoulSilver a few days ago. It's a fabulous pickup that I am very pleased with thus far, and am severely amused by the Pokewalker.

Lastly, I realize that I haven't commented on a lot of your blogs as of late due to my busy schedule, but well I'll be back to doing that and will likely hit up one or two of your most recent blogs over the course of the weekend so yay!

Later Days,
Backlash24.

Whoever Bet 14 Days Was Way Off

I posed a question in a blog back on August 2 2010 when I posted my Pokemon Snap (Wii) review. This question inquired as to when people thought I'd actually get my next review done. A few individuals guessed, but the only answer that remains clear in my mind is that one of my Gamespot friends said it would be 14 days. They were sure of it.

Alas 14 days was wrong as I am now just posting my most recent review. This one is of Custom Robo (GC) and I ask that you give it a read at your leisure. As always I welcome all comments and will be posting it at the GRU soon (have to update the archive first).

To date I have 5 reviews posted:

- Custom Robo (Posted December 31 2010)
- Pokemon Snap (Posted August 2 2010)
- Vancouver 2010 (Posted June 19 2010)
- Prison Break Conspiracy (Posted May 26 2010)
- Katamari Forever (Posted April 16 2010)

Which leads to me to one of my three New Years Resolutions which is to write. I mean I love writing, I enjoy writing -- so well, I probably ought to start doing it again! With that being said, expect reviews to be released much more frequently! I should note that my goal is to write one a month, but I'd like to finish them off a lot more frequently than that considering the huge backlog of completed games I have.

On the writing topic I am working on an exciting blog series regarding reviews (no more "8 Things I Hate About Your Review") so stay tuned for that.

Lastly, I am starting to get really into both the Yu-Gi-Oh and the Magic: The Gathering videogames I own. I use to be huge in collectible card games, and since this resurgence have searched for a union on GS, but came up short. Would anyone be interested in creating a union with me based around collectible card games in videogame form? Leave a comment below!

Happy New Year!
- Backlash24.

Some Holiday Fun: The Ornament Scavenger Hunt

I too have decided to participate in this year's Ornament Scavenger Hunt, and I ought to say that the information I came across was quite interesting. Kudos to JodyR and Gamespot for putting this together.

My entry is listed below:

Clue #1 -- Van Nguyen
Clue #2 -- JodyR
Clue #3 -- Guy Crocker
Clue #4 -- Matthew Gravish
Clue #5 -- Chris Watters
Clue #6 -- Kevin VanOrd
Clue #7 -- Aaron Sampson
Clue #8 -- Alex Sassoon Coby
Clue #9 -- Wernher Goff

Clue #10 -- Jan Heir
Clue #11 -- Randolph Ramsay
Clue #12 -- Andrew Park
Clue #13 -- Mark Walton
Clue #14 -- Justin Calvert
Clue #15 -- Sophia Tong
Clue #16 -- Kurtis Seid
Clue #17 -- Giancarlo Varanini
Clue #18 -- Justin Porter

Clue #19 -- Ryan MacDonald
Clue #20 -- Tyler Winegarner
Clue #21 -- Maxwell McGee
Clue #22 -- James Kozanecki
Clue #23 -- Frank Adams
Clue #24 -- Sarju Shah
Clue #25 -- Shaun McInnis
Clue #26 -- Ricardo Torres
Clue #27 -- Tom Magrino

Clue #28 -- Dan Chiappini
Clue #29 -- Homer Rabara
Clue #30 -- Takeshi Hiraoka
Clue #31 -- Tor Thorsen
Clue #32 -- Jim Maybury
Clue #33 -- Carolyn Petit
Clue #34 -- Tom McShea
Clue #35 -- Dan Mihoerck
Clue #36 -- Jane Douglas

Clue #37 -- Brendan Sinclair
Clue #38 -- Laura Parker

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What about you? Yes, you! My GS friends, are you participating? Either way feel free to leave a comment below!

Later days.

What Do You Mean That Game is Casual?

An Alternative Hypothesis on Games

Now let's make one thing clear the only time in my life I have ever been a PC gamer was between the ages of 18 months and 6-7 years old when I played computer games on DOS. Nevertheless, I have always owned PC games, and have involved myself heavily in playing them. The most noteable of these being Starcraft and Diablo 2 in which I spent countless hours both in-game and out with various gaming Clans (Aftershock, Apocalyptic Harbingers, Imperial Alliance, and a few others). After which I soon branched out into the realm of Day of Defeat requiring me to get a Steam account. I enjoyed entering tournaments, especially in Day of Defeat, and even stumbled across the "Gentlemen from Hell" who across are honestly some of the best people I have ever had the joy of gaming with. Despite all of this, my dedicated console poession and gaming continued through the N64, Gamecube, PS2, Xbox (which I no longer own), Gameboy, DS, PSP (also something I no longer own), and has extended into this generation (I have owned all three major consoles).

It is thus logical that I have never had a gaming PC, and I doubt I will ever have one that has the video-card capabillity to support the game-of-the day. It's not that I hate PC gaming, but I often avoid trying to invest too much into it as I find that a lot of the games I have bought as a child and young teenager are no longer playable on my laptop (I'm looking at you Lego Island). Thus console gaming makes sense to me.

However, as of late I have continually obtained more and more PC games. Just last weekend julianozuca informed me that Magic The Gathering: Duels of Planeswalkers, a game I was planning on getting on the PS3, was half price on Steam. I jumped at that deal and bought the game immediately. I then, a few days later, stumbled across Steam's "Treasure Hunt" which included putting Droplitz and Zombie Driver on sale for $2.50 each. They seemed like solid games, and thus I decided to pick them up. The third string of game purchases is from the wonderful, and generous hands of mufujifi whom I cannot thank enough for gifting me the Humble Indie Bundle #2.

In less than a week I obtained more PC games than I've bought well ... in a long, long time.

Then the Steam Holiday Sale hit yesterday, and after a few hours of scanning through every game on sale I had many decisions to make. I made a wishlist, and purchased several other titles allowing myself to spend over $50 on PC Games ... a sentence I have never had the ability to utter before now. I bought several games including some hard to find ones (Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, Mafia, etc) as well as some great indie titles which were as inexpensive as $0.49 American.

I then spent the better half of my yesterday PC gaming, enjoying an alternative experience from my "regular programming" as I haven't even touched any of the consoles that are sitting idily by. Yet, I still reject any notion that I am a hardcore PC gamer. I don't have a high tech computer, I can barley run WoW or any non-indie game released after 2004 on my laptop, but at the same time I am not a casual gamer. By the very fact that I have an account on this website, that my collection is now over 350 games, and that I have been gaming for 18 years screams that I am in no way, shape or form a casual gamer.

So what am I?

I propose a third reality, an alternative hypothesis of the four-pronged nature that suggests that yes, I, as a console gamer, do differentiate between Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo, but also acknowledge the PC (and MAC for those who have one) as a distinct, and powerful form of gaming. There is no way I could replay some of my favourite games, or accomplish a lot of others things in gaming if it wasn't for the PC and the experience it provides. Thus, there is no longer a singularity, a duality, nor a triality in the gamer mentality,but a four-ality we all ought to embrace.

However, the conclusion that the PC provides a different experience from all other mediums of gaming is not ground-breaking to say the very least. So let me extend this point to the overarching argument of this piece:

There are casual gamers, and there are hardcore gamers. But what about those who enjoy these so called "casual" games? Those who appreciate the wonders of a simple indie game? Well, let me first say that I hate the idea of a "casual" game. I think the definition (based on about 10-15 sources), being games with "simple rules and lack of commitment required in contrast to more complex hardcore games," is a gross appropriation and aborgation of everything gaming stands for, but why?

In breaking it down, we can see that this definition states that a lot of our current games, and most of the older generations of games -- the old school beat 'em ups, and other genres are casual games. They are easy to jump into, don't have save points, and aren't complex whatsoever -- you just beat up the bad guy. Yet, I would wager that many of us, myself included, have put countless hours into them. Furthermore, Arcade games are "casual" by definition, but I honestly believe that for the majority of us over the age of say 19 or 20 have at least a few memories of arcade games that we invested several hours into.

There is thus for me no such thing as a casual game. There are just games with different structures of providing a unique experience.

Now gamers -- they are the ones who can be "hardcore" or "casual," and that differentiation is not made based on the types of games one plays or anything of the sort, but rather how long they play and what they invest into it. If you embrace gaming as a true hobby then you are a hardcore gamer, and if you do it on the side -- just with friends, and don't really consider it as a viable option for something to do on a night in then you're a casual gamer. I'll say it again and again. There is no such thing as a casual game. There are casual gamers, and they are really not that big of a problem for the gaming world.

Thus we should not be investing in a vendetta against casual gamers nor against "casual" games, but rather against bad games, against those with no substance or quality about them.

Later Days,
Backlash24.

8 More Things I Hate About Your Review

As some of you may remember I wrote a blog quite a while back entitled "8 Things I Hate About Your Review" where I noted my distaste with some of the user reviews published on Gamespot. The list was received quite well by those on my friends list, and newcomers alike. The success even went as far it appearing in the May 21 2010 Edition of the Community Report. I'm planning on becoming more of an editorial person (rather than well, not posting blogs), and thought that I should start my journey with this blog.

For those who weren't around to read the original list, or have just forgotten, here it is:

#1 – Poor Taglines.
#2 – Posting the Same Review for Multiple Systems.
#3 – Spelling, Spacing and a Blatant Disregard for Punctuation.
#4 – Overuse of Adjectives (Especially the word epic).
#5 – Extremely Short Reviews (Relative to the subject matter).
#6 – Not Making a Consistent Point.
#7 – Being Too Narrow-Minded (In how you look at a game).
#8 – Being a Pushover (With Scores)

Now before I begin with the new list, let me make a few things clear:

There are some practices of reviewers that I absolutely cannot stand, and they, in my mind, exponentially hurt the quality of the review. Now I have seen a lot of bad user reviews on this website, but thankfully there are exceptions as there are plenty of individuals who put the requisite time and effort into writing a good review. This is not meant to be a commentary on the Gamespot Community (which I thoroughly adore), but rather just to provide some tips about reviews that will hopefully help someone to write a better review. I fully welcome all commentary, critiques and negative feedback so as long as it is put forth in a constructive manner. I do not claim to be an expert, but rather am just an individual who studies English at the University level who simultaneously doubles as a Video Game Review Enthusiast.

I believe that a review is an organized, and logical argument as to why game y should receive score x. Your review is designed to backup your score in an essay-like format as you present multiple arguments of varying importance en route to forming an overall impression of the game. It is subjective, and it should be. Thus it is imperative that writers have an opinion about the game and put in the necessary effort to express it because the quality of the review is not the score you give a game, but rather how well you back it up.

Note: All images are from Gamespot.com and have been edited for obvious reasons. If you recognize some of you work then please contact me and I will remove it immediately.

#1 – It is a Glorious Waste of Time


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There is nothing more maddening than when trying to research a game you come across a wonderfully written, and enjoyable review that provides absolutely no insight to the reader. What's almost as equally upsetting is when you come across a review that has numerous other problems while simultaneously failing to even outline the very basic concept of the game. When editing your review please ask yourself: "Am I saying anything in this part or are these lines just a bunch of flowery nonsense that is not relevant to the game's experience at all?" If it's the latter, then take it out for the sake of your review.

#2 – Repeating Yourself to No End


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Yes, this one is something that all reviewers fall into in a way, but please let me first make a distinction between repetition and repetition to no end before we launch into this issue. If you are trying to prove your argument or are extending a point to provide meaningful commentary and connection to something else then do it (sparingly of course). However, if the repetition is on a something small, irrelevant or is just something that really doesn't need to be said again then please take it out. Conclusions are great for summing things up, and thus you don't need to say something fifteen times.

Now with reviews quantity of text is important in the sense that for the most part an extremely short review isn't all that helpful, but anything you write in your piece must serve a purpose to your reader.

#3 – Digressions


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Reviews are about the game in question, and while it is stylistic choice to place the game chronically in relation to its predecessors (something I engage in) this discussion ought to be limited to the introduction and/or conclusion. There is no need for a grand narrative or anything of the sort to occur in your review as anyone reading it wants to know about the game itself, and doesn't particularly care about all that extra stuff that you may want to intertwine throughout your review for no reason whatsoever.

#4 – Personal Stories


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This one is definitely linked to digressions, but I feel that it belongs as its own separate category for the sheer reason that personal stories seem to have never in the hundreds upon hundreds of user reviews I have read played a meaningful role. I guarantee that anything that it possibly could accomplish in a review could be stated more succinctly and in a more engaging fashion than a personal story.

For example, if you're trying to tell me that your game is enjoyable in groups then explain how the game's mechanics accomplish this. Do not under any circumstances spend fifteen or even one paragraph explaining how your brother came because his girlfriend broke up with him at their favourite pizza shop that was out of pizza so he had to go to the other one across town who forgot to put on the pepperoni in the shape of a checkmark to make him feel better about ruining your controller but that everything was made okay because he played this game in a co-operative situation with the extra controller you keep in your sock drawer. It almost universally will add absolutely nothing of value to your review.

#5 – Bringing Up Other People's Opinions


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This is an issue that is definitely controversial, but I feel that the simple fact is that I am reading your review to get your opinion. I likely am reading multiple reviews and thus will come across varying opinions on the game. Please, just tell me in your review as best you can how the game played out, and what made it so amazing or just completely horrible for you.

Honestly, it is far more effective to just focus on your arguments about the game rather than engaging in some false dialogue with other individuals by including their points in your review. I do not care what your girlfriend, your father, your sister or even your dog thought about this game. If I cared, I'd ask for their opinion, but by clicking on your posted review I am basically asking you to tell me what you thought of the game. So hold up your end of the "review contract" by only posting your opinions on the game itself.

#6 – Smiley Faces, Symbols, and Other Things that Have No Place in Your Review



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Yes, this issue is directly related to "#3 – Spelling, Spacing and a Blatant Disregard for Punctuation" on the original list, but there is much more to it than that. Let me first clarify that I am all for stylistic approaches to writing reviews in that you are welcome to write however you want, but nonetheless including symbols and happy faces, etc just stand, regardless of your choice of format, to detract from the quality of your review. How can I possibly take what you have to say in a serious manner if it is not presented in that way?

#7 – Writing in All Capital Letters


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This issue is quite obviously directly related to the aesthetic view of your piece. Like a disregard for punctuation, spelling, and the inclusion of characters that ought not to be in your review, writing in all capital letters is an instant turnoff. There is no other way to say it beyond the simple fact that any individual who actually reads your review will likely be so offset by your lack of effort in presenting a well formatted piece that they will instantly question the information and conclusions you present rendering your review entirely useless.

#8 – Endings


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In relation to #6 I have a severe problem with a lot of the endings that appear in user reviews. Now the ending is supposed to be a summation of your points, a restatement of your thesis, but when you end with "What are you waiting for?" it just lessens the quality of your review.

The most effective pieces are those that introduce the game, present a coherent argument, and draw a logical conclusion about the game leaving the question, though unasked, in the mind of the reader as to whether or not the game is for them. If you are effective at persuading someone that your game is exactly as you present it then there is no need to push them one way or the other as the decision to buy it or not should be obvious.

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To conclude I would like to thank everyone for reading this , and would like to reinforce that I do not claim to be an expert in any sense of the word, but rather I am just a Review Enthusiast who has some issues with some of the reviews posted here on Gamespot. Feel free to comment either here or via the private messaging system as I'd love to hear from each and every one of you.

Later Days.

A Wild ... Nothing? ... Approaches

It's an odd-feeling as the idea of having nothing to do is fast approaching. I mean yes I'm going to see my family, my girlfriend and all that fun stuff, but with only one exam and a few essays left to write I'm starting to feel that things are finally winding down. And of course, my New Year's Resolution will be BETTER time mangement.

However, that is not something I'll have to do over the next month so well ... this is what you can expect:

- A couple videos I have recorded a long time ago to finally be uploaded.

- A bunch of Gamecube Reviews since I have made it my goal to go back and beat everyone of my 325 Games (apparently), and I am starting with the Gamecube since I have just ordered the last two games to complete that collection. What's next? Well probably PS2 or Gameboy advance since both those collections are nearing completition as well.

- Constant posting on your blogs again. I do it now from time to time, but there are so many of you that I haven't been able to do it everyday and I actually feel bad since ya'll take time out of your day to post on my blog.

- A huge update to the Review Archive at the Gamespot Reviewers Union which is a union all you review writers should check out!

- And Yes Foolz, I will be posting in the Writers' Lounge -- don't worry about that one :P

Of course there are other things to come as well, but ... well ... I'm not going to spoil the surprise! So I'll just end with a huge shoutout to julianozuca who is honestly one of the best guys on here. He made my avatar a while back, always sends me messages just to see what's going on, is always willing to offer advice on indie games and well just this weekend messaged me because he noticed a game I had on my wishlist was on sale at Steam. Befriend him. He's good people (yes, people).

Speaking of Steam. If you have an account comment / message me your username so we can be friends on it!

Anyway, see ya'll Tuesday!

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Edit: Huzzah! If you commented on this, or either of my past two blogs I have now responded to your comment and posted in your most recent blog! Wooooo!

100 Days of Killing

On the first day of killing my true love gave to me 107 Kills!
On the second day of killing my true love gave to me 84 Kills....


For those who think I have finally succumbed to the darkness that lays inside us all please rest assured that I am doing quite well. I just felt the undying urge to let you all know what is going on my life, and felt no better way to do so than by introducing you to my newly achieved goal of acquiring a certain trophy. Yes, one of those.

This particular trophy exists within a game as many do. It's luster is that of a golden statue radiating its fictional awesomeness across an easily forgotten plane. But what you ask is this trophy for, well it is for killing, killing and more killing. Specifically it is for the PSN Game "Tank Battles" and is awarded for blowing up 10 000 enemy tanks.

This thus leaves me to my goal -- 100 days of killing -- in which I seek to (on average) destroy 100 tanks each and every day.. It will not be easy -- in fact it will be a long and adrurous task, but I believe in me for I must.

So as I will say again and again it began on October 11 2010 with 107 Kills, and continued on into October 12th where I registered 84 decimations. Today, October 13, I have destroyed 109 tanks making my 3 day total 300 Kills. Impressive, I know.

Now I never have really cared that much about trophies nor have I heavily sought to get any certain one so actively. So why do this now? Well ... it will sound weird but I am doing it for the sake of self-discipline. If I can force myself to put 20 minutes into something every day for 100 days than it will help me gain a little more self control which I'm sure we all could use a little more of. But why use a video game? Well because blowing things up is fun.


Yes, I just justified playing this. (Image Property of Gamespot)


In other news you can expect a full update of what is going in my life sometime this weekend which really means anytime in the next 2 - 12 weeks :P. Until then I'll post on your blogs as time permits, and well feel free to leave me a comment about what your current gaming mission is.

Later Days
- Backlash24.

Close Only Counts in Horseshoes and Hand Grenades

Essentially when I realised that my reviewing goal of posting one review every two weeks had been decismated by the ever-present "distractions" of school, work, the girlfriend, and gaming itself I made a new promise to myself. This promise was to scale back my ambitious goal to write one review a month, and I did quite well for a while:

- Katamari Forever (PS3) - Posted April 16

- Prison Break: The Conspiracy (PS3) - Posted May 26

- Vancouver 2010: The Official Game of The Winter Olympic Games - Posted June 19

Alas -- I was close to posting a new Review in the Month of July, but have missed it by just two days. I really just didn't like the paragraph structure and have been contemplating the completed version of it for a little while. Yesterday I did some more editing and made it to my liking, and this morning I verfiied that the changes improved the review. Thus, I now present you with my latest review for Pokemon Snap on the Nintendo Wii. That's right, Pokemon Snap :P

Here's a fun fact -- I started writing it on July 9th meaning that it took 23 days for me to finish and post it (Granted I had exams and a ton of stuff keeping me from really doing much on here). Nevertheless, let us see how long the next one takes -- we can start a pool, and make a game of it :P

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In other news I obviously have returned, but am not going to go through the crazy adventure of commenting on all the blogs I have missed (as I have done before), but rather am going to start fresh with the 4 or 5 blogs in my feed, and will continue on from there. If you have a blog that I absolutely must read then feel free to Private Message me and I'll get to it as time allows.

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And thirdly here is a medley of information:

I have to leave for work in 24 minutes. My sister's wedding was beautiful. The grlfriend comes home (finally) on Friday night, and I have a surprise for her birthday (she already got part of her gift, it was a digital picture frame, now she gets the non-boyfriendly gift (ish). I believe that my exams went well. This sentence is an amusing waste of space.
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Additionally I am aware that I have been tagged multiple times, and will be posting that blog within the next week (or two) so stay tuned friends, taggers, and the random individuals who stumble across my blog. And lastly, I do have the winner video almost ready for the Limerick Challenge, and will be posting that within the coming weeks as well. Thank you for your continued patience.

Later Days,
Backlash24.

Time is a Monster That Cannot Be Reasoned With ...

When I first heard the quote: "Time is a Monster that cannot be reasoned with as it responds like a snail to our impatience and races like a gazelle when we can't catch our breath" I took a double take -- err double listen. Few other times in my life has a simple line from a movie struck me as being true. It was remarkable, profound, and yet so simple -- it truley is a beautiful line.

My point? Time is of the essence for the next few weeks as I have multiple exams to write, an essay, my sister's wedding to attend as well as my regular work and school. Needless to say, I just don't have time at the moment, but I will be back. I always come back.

So for the next few weeks I sadly won't be posting on your wonderful blogs, reading many reviews or really doing much out beyond the Gamespot Reviewer's Union and the Writer's Lounge. I do have a review ready to be posted, but I'll probably wait until I return to do so. Never know -- I might have a few minutes at some point to read through it and get it posted on my profile :)

I apologize for any inconvience I may be causing, and well when I get back I'll find a mangeable way to catch up on all I missed.

Later Days,
Backlash24.

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