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Madartist Blog

I'm Still Alive (too bad the forums aren't)

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Well, I just ordered my computer desk, so it's only a matter of time until I get my own PC and things return to normal.  I feel kind of bad that I haven't been able to post very much, but it seems like everyone's been locked out of GameSpot's forums during the overhaul.  Hopefully the forums and unions will be fixed soon, so I can see what you guys have been up to.  Take care.

(edit) I made a banner for the top of this page you're viewing.  It's not much to look at, but it felt good to use Photoshop for the first time in about 2 months.

Stressin' bout Movin'

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AAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrghhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for letting me get that out right away. So a lot of you guys know by now that I'm moving. Yes, for the record, I was currently 25 years old and living at home with my Dad. Given the nature of this website, I can easily see how stereotypical assumptions might be made; living in parents basement playing video games all day, no social life, etc. Well life is crazy sometimes, and you wind up back at home. My best friend just bought a house, and this is my ticket out.

This sudden independence on myself makes me realize how much crap I need to buy; shampoo, toilet paper, toothpaste, food, and all the other fun things you need to live. I've already paid my rent for the month of September, so I'm kind of on a deadline. It's been kind of stressful, trying to juggle a 40 hours at work each week, and trying to gather up and go through all my stuff to decide what I need to move, and what I need to throw away. I just want to make some sigs and play Nintendogs, but I just don't have the time.

There are going to be many, many great things to come out of this move for me, and only a couple downfalls. By popular demand (who am I kidding, nobody's reading this), I will list them for you.

POSITIVES:

1. No more listening to my Dad and his girlfriend arguing over stupid s**t.

2. I'll have a lot more room to relax (my current bedroom is the size of a closet, my new one is pimp)

3. I just bought a killer 5.1 Dolby Digital home theater system to compliment my widescreen HDTV, so my gaming and movie watching will be better than ever. (note: living at home is a good way to save up money)

4. I'll be getting my own PC, so no more fighting over usage, and it will more competant for my needs (I will finally be able to edit video on my PC, so I can get back into stop-motion animation).

5. The house is between my parents house and my work, making it the perfect location. Seriously, I couldn't ask for a better location, and it's a nice neighborhood to boot.

6. An obvious positive is simply not living with your parents. I'll be more inclined to have people come over and stay a while, if you catch my drift.

NEGATIVES:

1. Ok, I'll be sharing a house with my best friend, his girlfriend, and his girlfriend's twin sisters. STOP-RIGHT-THERE! If you're like every other friend I've told this to, then you're all perverted and thinking the same thing. This basically means a lot of girls, which can be a bad thing when it comes to getting ready for work. You need in the shower, but they're putting on makeup and being women, which can get annoying. We're all going to have to work around each other, so it's going to take some getting used to.

2. MONEY$$, Seriously, living at home has it's benefits. My rent was free, the food was paid for and supplied, and I was able to save my money from all my hard work. That's cool and all, but not as cool as being independent, so it's a good trade.

3. I need a bed! I'm going to sleep on a matress on the floor until I can find the time to shop for a bed. I'm going to get a very nice futon, so I can have people over to watch movies in my room, while sitting comfortably. I need a good futon though, not one where you can feel the metal frame through the matress pad.

4. Adjusting- It's going to be hard to adjust at first, especially since I'm officially moving tomorrow (Wednesday Aug 31), and I have to work at the same time. By officially moving, I mean hauling a matress over, and all my clothes. Everything else has already been moved.

CONCLUSION:

So if you actually bothered to read this, you are a good friend. I wish I could be around more to chat, but I will be soon enough. This was everything I wanted to say in my posts, but didn't want to spam up GameSpot with my Stressin' bout Movin'. Thanks for reading, and I look forward to being back.

Rubber Johnny

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I finally got my hands on a retail copy of Rubber Johnny, a short film by Chris Cunningham. Two things shocked me after recieving it. One, the film is only six minutes long, which kind of surprised me. I was expecting something around a half hour or so. Second, the full film was already available to view all over the internet, which wasn't the case last time I checked. I decided to make a sig that links to the film, to spread word about it. I guess most people will find it disturbing, and now I wonder if I will get reported for linking to it in my sig. Oh well, I'm a huge fan of Chris Cunningham and Aphex Twin, so I'll show my support anyways.

If any of you guys don't get to watch the short film before my sig gets deleted by a moderator (which it hopefully doesn't), just do a Google search for Rubber Johnny, and check the first couple links. They both show the full film in a pretty large window. Sorry if it offends or disturbs anyone. I personally think it's awesome, on a creative and artistic level. Let me know what you guys think.

Beck Concert

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I just saw Beck perform last night at Bill Grahms Civic Auditorium in San Francisco California. It was freakin' awesome, and the sound quality was off the hook.

I walked into the place, and was welcomed with some looping voice of Sylvester Stallone, which made him sound a bit mentally challenged. There was an old gold miner playing the keyboards, a purple gorrilla playing some drum machine sampler, and an old west sherriff rapping and singing. The name of the group was The T.V. Sherriff, and it was pretty freaky, but very good fun.

Then an all girl band called Le Tigre came on, and they weren't bad, but it just wasn't my type of music. Some of their songs had a good dance beat, but it seemed like none of the three girls were actually playing their instruments. They would often walk away from their keyboard and guitar, yet the music just magically kept on playing. Something about that, and the deep feminist overtones were kind of a turn off.

Then Beck came on, and he blew the roof off with medleys which mixed tracks from Mellow Gold, Odelay, and Guero. His backup band was phenomenal, and his performance was top notch. At one point his band took a break while he played some solo acoustic pieces from his album Sea Change. A dinner table was placed on the stage, and the backup band sat down for a meal while Beck played solo. The crazy guy that dances and plays small instrument roles became the waiter, and served the band food while Beck kept on playing. What happened next was the highlight of the entire evening.

As Beck started playing a song, you began to hear some noises that formed a beat. At first I thought it was a drum machine, and I couldn't figure out where the sound was coming from. Right then, the visuals behind Beck changed to a top-down camera view of the dinner table, where his backup band was dining. They were playing the plates and glasses on the table as instruments. They were using their silverware as drum sticks, and altogether, they were making the coolest music that went perfectly with Beck's guitar and vocals. One guy was even running his finger around the rim of a crystal glass, while the other guy was tapping glasses of water with different volumes of liquid in them. This setup, this idea, was the most original performance I have ever seen. I truly had a great time, and I just wanted to share it with you guys. That is, assuming anyone is actually reading this.

Hot Hot Hot

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I don't know about you guys, but I'm not a big fan of the summer heat. My air conditioner is broken at home, and at work, and I've been going through a heatwave lately. For about 13 days in a row it's been over 100 degrees, and I've simply had enough. At home, I can't concentrate long enough to work on any projects, or play any video games. A thermometer in my bedroom read 102 degrees, which is where my entertainment center is, so I haven't been playing any Xbox, Cube, or PS2 lately. I just want to be comfortable, is that too much to ask? I dream of sitting in a nice cool room playing video games on my day off, but dreaming is about as close as I get. I guess I'm just going to have to wait it out, and try to beat the heat as best as I can.

New Journal Banner

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Wow, so I made a new journal banner today. I doubt anyone will ever notice, but if you do, feel free to post something. I haven't written here since November, which is kinda sad, lol.

I wrote in my journal, yay! Madartist rants inside- good reading!

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Well, I doubt anyone is going to read this since I skipped the entire month of October from writing in this journal. Oh well, here it goes.

Work sux. Let me rephrase that: Working in retail sux. I can already sense the tension of the holidays creeping in, along with the stench of aweful Christmas music. I work at a record store, which a lot of people would consider to be a fun job, but during the holidays it's just retail hell. Like trying to help someone's fat grandma dig through five hundred cassette tapes looking for Rod Stewart. Or some soccer mom's kid crying with his face pressed against the glass case, staring at the Gameboy games she won't buy him. Ok, that one kind of hits home :P

Has anyone ever asked you a stupid question? How about 3,000 stupid questions in an eight hour shift? Lately I feel like I'm going insane, and I didn't get to take any time off before the holidays. I'm not looking forward to the crazies, punching each other for the last copy of some stupid Harry Connick Jr. Christmas album. Or the mile-long lines and lack of lunch breaks. I stare consumerism in the eyes, and it scares me to think that this is it. This is Christmas nowadays- last minute shopping, rude people, traffic, trashed stores, phones ringing, registers opening, babies crying, and Halo 2 sitting at home waiting to be played.

Alright, how about cars? They're great when you get your first one, and you finally get to experience freedom. They sukk when you just went to get your car smogged on Monday, and it failed. Then you're at work answering stupid questions, you don't have time to get it fixed, and it's going to cost you more than 3 Nintendo DS's to fix. How about when the paint starts peeling off the roof, and you're alignment is always going out? I hate cars. Basically, you drive to work so you can make money. You use this money to pay for gas and fix your car. You use the car to go to work and make money......rinse and repeat until it all feels like a complete waste. Hooray!

Thanks for listening to me whine. Feel free to post your comments, and enjoy.

HDTV compatible, but where's my widescreen?

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If anyone has a television capable of high definition, chances are it's probably a widescreen. A couple years back, when I was shopping for my WSHDTV, I saw a very small portion of high def sets that kept the 4:3 aspect ratio. So what's my point? Well, it seems that almost every Xbox game supports 480p, some 780i, and only Dragon's Lair supports the 1080i resolution, but most of these games don't support the widescreen format.

Sometimes I feel lucky when I play a game in outstanding resolution, but when circles become wide ovals, and my hero looks squashed and fat, I kind of wish I had a regular tv to play on. Some games like Soul Calibur 2 are equipped to support both screen formats, so everyone can enjoy the game regardless of the television. I wish that every game from here on out supported this feature, and it only makes sense in today's world. You may be like me, just wanting to reap the benefits of your investment. Or maybe you don't have a widescreen tv and you don't care, at least now anyways. But prices are dropping, and widescreen is becoming the format of choice, so you may find yourself owning one in the near future. Even movies that air on prime time television are in 16:9 format nowadays.

I guess what spawned this journal entry, is my anticipation of Halo 2. I'm sure everyone knows whether it supports widescreen, but I don't. I can say that the first Halo looks better on a regular television, since the pistol scope is a wide oval instead of a circle, and the warthog vehicle looks like someone dropped a boulder on it. It's not enough to ruin the great experience of the game, but if you forked out money for a widescreen in today's market, you'd expect the cutting edge of gaming to support it.

Taking time with Fable, and other games for that matter.

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Maybe I just like to stop and smell the roses, or maybe I just don't like to rush through great games. Either way, I find it hard to believe that anyone who finishes Fable in 10-12 hours really absorbed the whole experience. I'm about 8 hours in, and I've only completed around 4 quests. There's a lot of things I could just ignore, if I wanted to blaze through the game, but why would I want to do that? Make no mistakes, I'm not just standing around trying to milk my time with Fable, I'm busy playing and discovering new things. I like to run around Albion and witness the changes that take place after each quest. Basically, if a review says a game is "insert hours" long, just add about 1/3 of that time onto the total, and that's how long it usually takes me.

It seems like every major title garners some gamer/gamers who are bent on finishing a game as quickly as possible, just to post a low game length. Whether this is due to the pressure of releasing a review within a deadline, or testing the possibility of a short game experience, I always keep an open mind about a game's proported length. There are some websites where you can witness great feats of gaming, such as beating a 12 hour game in around 45 minutes. How come the reviews didn't say anything about a 45 minute game experience? It's because most people won't play like that, and if you want to get the most out of a game, I suggest you do the same.

Next Gen Systems: Equal, or is one going to be Revolutionary?

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First off, toss aside any favorism towards any of the three console manufacturers, and let's look at the current state of console technology. It's hard to argue that when dealing with multiplatform titles, the Xbox usually comes in first in the graphics department. Many could argue whether the PS2 or Gamecube has superior graphics, but in my opinion, the Gamecube produces better visuals. If you're like me, then you feel that graphics, while important, are not what makes a good game. I honestly worry about the direction that video games are heading in, in terms of evolving the actual experience. Microsoft and Sony are bent on making super machines, that are not only going to improve graphics and power, but hopefully will become the center of your home entertainment setup. Nintendo feels that games don't need to improve in terms of graphics and power, but rather in terms of gameplay innovations. I have to agree with Nintendo's philosophy to an extent, but I do hope they manage to keep up with the graphics and power as well.

What I can't wait to see, is how the next generation of systems will be compared to each other. Looking at the fierce competition to match each other's launch time, the next batch of consoles should fair better comparatively, in terms of technology. That is, unless Nintendo really has something unique to offer with the Revolution, that the other two systems can't even touch. I'm really excited about the Nintendo DS, but am also worried if the new gameplay will become gimmicky, or truly revolutionary. If it's the ladder, then I will have high hopes for the Revolution.

While I'll surely end up owning all three of the next gen consoles, my eye is on Nintendo. I'm not a fan of online gaming, and I long for something that feels different. I also don't need another dvd player, so I'd rather just have a dedicated game system. I saw pictures of a game, who's name I have forgotten, which is supposed to be a game for the next generation. Aside from some pretty normal-mapping and lighting effects, it looked like an average Metal Gear Solid-Splinter Cell ripoff. If it winds up feeling like a current generation game, with next generation graphics, then I will be disappointed. Somebody needs to start taking risks, and trying to evolve the way we play our games, and Nintendo is the only one who seems interested in putting it's name on the line.

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