OddballTECH / Member

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OddballTECH Blog

Contact Me : )

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Hello everyone! I know I haven't been active on GameSpot in a long time. I've left a lot behind, including the Reviewer's Legion Union which I was once leader of. Anyway, I want to keep this short and sweet, so I just wanted to say that if anyone should need to contact me for any reason regarding possible GameSpot projects, article writing for other sites, etc, feel free to contact me by my email at SDFrost1@gmail.com.

And for those of you who remember me from the Reviewer's Legion, feel free to add me as a friend on facebook or youtube. I am pretty active on both of those sites :) I don't expect to be logging onto GameSpot much unless the union system is revamped, so the best way to reach me is through the means outlined above. Hope to hear from some of my old comrades! :)

~OddballTECH

A New Game Idea

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I have this new idea for a game. Tell me what you think about this:

Ok, this would start out as a flash game online. Basically, it is a robot combat game where the robots you fight with are determined by your computer's specifications. For example, if you have an HP computer with a core 2 duo processor and an integrated graphics card, you will have a different robot than someone who is playing on a Dell Xps with a quad core processor and a GE-force 8600. With a system like this set up, people would be able to compete and see who has the best computer specifications. Each piece of hardware in the computer would be scanned, and this would happen using one of the programs in which the user sends a report on their system specs to the program itself. Likewise, each brand and model of hardware would have a corresponding part to be fitted to your own robot.

So, in this game players can battle 1 v 1 in an arena, or they can choose to band together in groups of maybe 10-15 players. These groups would be set up to fight against "bosses," which would be robots formed using the system specs of modern supercomputers, like those at google or the National Security Agency. In order to defeat the boss, you obviously do not have to match the power of the supercomputer, though you porbably would have to have quite a few quality computers.

I envision this game looking something like Castle Crashers in its early stages, but maybe moving onto a 3d style later. It would be called something like "Spec Mech 2009."

Youtubin' It!

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I know that after all this time of inactivity, some of you have probably been wondering where I've been. Well, I have actually been working on improving my guitar playing and singing abilities.I am currently in a band called "Arc Riot," (kind of a temporary name) with a few of my friends from college. But when I am not practicing with them, I am playing songs in front ofmywebcam. If you feel like it, check out my youtube channel (user name DDball). I have uploaded a bunch of cover songs from bands like Modest Mouse, Built to Spill, Kings of Convenience, Bush, Coldplay, The Smiths, The Main Drag, Death Cab for Cutie, Beck, Oasis, Silverchair, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!, etc. So, check it out if you are a fan of any of those bands, or if you just want to hear something new. Leave a comment if you have a youtube account, if you have the time.

My Latest Youtube Vid:

Bush - Glycerine cover

~Reviewer's Legion Update:

On another note, I have been thinking about redesigning the Reviewer's Legion, and appointing new officers. I will send out a telegram if I have a solid plan for it. :)

Stupid Things Customers Say at Work #2

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I answered the phone like this: "Thank you for calling ________, where we now have Pokemon Platinum in stock, this is Sascha how may I help you? The customer responds by saying, "Yeah hi, umm I was wondering if you had any Pokemon Platinums in stock." ...... uhhh, wow.

A customer comes in at 8:59 PM, a minute before we close. He has a giant trade in with him. Since we cannot really refuse a trade-in, we took it. He had so many items that it took 4 transactions to complete. Then, after we had already finished everything, he says "Uh, I wanted cash for the games, and store credit for everything else." Ahhhhhhh! Why?! We had to do the whole thing over again!

A kid walks up to the counter and asks, "Do you have Metal Gear Solid 2: Subsistance?" I ask, "Do you mean Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance, or Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence? They are two different games." The kid says, "I want Metal Gear Solid 3: Substance." I then tell him that there is no such game, and that the two titles I just mentioned were the only ones that are similar. He then says "I looked it up online, and that's what it said." Really kid? I have worked here for 3 years, and have been playing video games since before you were born. I show him the cases, and he points to MGS3: SUBSISTENCE! Yeah, that's right kid! You were wrong. He comes up to buy it, and doesn't have a parent. Ok? Awesome.

Stupid Things Customers Say at Work

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As some of you may know, I work at avideo gamestore. We havesome really awesome customers that come in frequently. However, there are some customers who say things that either make the employees laugh or cringe after the customersleave. Sine this happens so often, I figured I'd make this a regular thing. Each day that I come home from work, I will share with you a funny quote or situation from work. Hope you enjoy!

Saturday March 15th, 2009:

Beware the ides of March! Ok, one thing that really bugs me is people who cannot pronounce things right for the stupidest reasons. We used to have this cable company called Suscom, which was eventually replaced by Comcast. And now, for some odd reason, everyone calls Socom: Us Navy Seals, "Suscom: US Navy Seals." That's adding two extra letters to the word, and it doesn't even make any sense at all. Do people actually read things anymore? Imagine how dumb these people must sound online. "Suscom is such a great game. I play it every night after work." Maybe they were just hoping for a game tat would feature common cable company employees fighting in tactical situations?

Tuesday March 18th, 2009:

A middle-aged woman walks up to the counter with a purchase. She decides to pay with a credit card. When she is asked to sign the keypad, she says she cannot read it because it is in Spanish. I tell her "Yeah, sometimes our keypad comes up in Spanish randomly. We're working on getting a new one soon." She responds, "Well, you should really get that fixed. I shouldn't have to be reading Spanish, I'm not Spanish. It's a real slap in the face to veterans." Wow! Really? First of all, Spanish is a very prominent language in the United States. Second of all, how hard is it to figure out a credit card key pad? Press the red button to cancel (for credit), or enter the numbers for debit. Spanish doesn't change the colors or numbers on the keypad, and the fact that she even had a problem with it being in Spanish is just racist. Lastly, what veterans would that be a slap in the face to? Are there veterans from the conquistador era that are going to come in the store and complain? Sorry lady, but I think they are long gone, and probably wouldn't even know what a keypad is. Truly amazing!

Thursday March 20th, 2009:

A customer walks into the store, and immediately notices the Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars promo boxes. He points them out to his girlfriend: "Hey look, it's that new GTA game for the DS." The girlfriend replies by saying that she only played Vice City, and it was so confusing that she just hated the game. She said that "the GTAseriesis a disgrace." Now even that made me turn my head, because most people love that GTA series. But it gets even better. The boyfriend, a very square military type, says that he loved Vice City, but then when GTA 4 came out, the series was ruined. These were nearly his exact words: "You know that in Grand Theft Auto 4, you play as a terrorist from Russia. That's why I can't play that game; I could never play as a terrorist!" While the guy was saying this, I didn't say anything back; I didn't even acknowledge to the other employee that what he said was out of place. But as soon as he left, the other employee burst out laughing, and I followed. I mean come on! Niko Belic is not a terrorist just because he is a foreigner. Sure, he causes a lot of havoc in Liberty City, but that's just because his cousin screwed everything up and tricked him into coming to America. And even if he was a terrorist, would that be any better than the things that Tommy Vercetti did in Vice City. Oh, I forgot, he was more American, so its ok. People around here are very racist and stereotypical. Sometimes I cannot believe the things they say.

More people will inevitably say more silly things...there is more to come.

Resident Evil 5 Mini Review

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I plan to write a full length review for Resident Evil 5 sometime soon. But, since I don't really have the time right now, I figured I'd write up a mini review.

Now, I have nearly completed the game on 360, and there are a few things I would like to address. First of all, I hve had a lot of fun with the game. It is definitely entertaining, and provides a variety of environments to fight through. And, although the co-op play takes a bit of getting used to, it can prove to be fun, and even strategic at times. But somehow, despite the immense graphical enhancements and effects, I don't think this game quite lives up to Resident Evil 4.

Undoubtedly, this game had some big shoes to fill. After all, RE4 was the 2006 Game of the Year for many different webstes and publications. Although the graphical enhancements and co-op additions are an obvious improvement for the series, there are some areas in which, in my opinion, RE5 falls short.

Needs Improvement

One such area is the gameplay. Although many people probably appreciate the fact that the controls are very cimilar to RE4, they do feel a bit outdated. I was hoping that they would improve minor aspects of the control scheme. It can be very frustrating when you cannot move while firing. I guess this is how it has been for all of the RE games, but you'd think they'd try to improve it for a truly next-gen experience. And, although the item sharing and hotkey menu is nice, it slows down the gameplay when exchanging items between characters. Sometimes, I wish the game would just pause and let players swap the items without having to worry about being chainsawed from behind. Then again, maybe that's what they were going for.

Another problem with the gameplayare the fighting environments. When I first walked through that little African town at the beginning of the game, I thought they foreshadowed danger very well. It was a really cool environment to see. But, after a while of play, you start exploring many indoor environments. This bugs me because the outdoor environments are so beautiful, and I don't know why they would trap us inside so much.

Another area is the horror aspect of the gameplay. When I first heard that RE5 would take place mostly in the day time, I was a bit skeptical. Then, they talked about how they were going to base it loosely off Black Hawk Down. They said they were going to use various glare and shadow effects to make it look "scarier." I'm playing on a Sharp Aquos in 1080p, and although the graphics are really good, I don't see very many examples of these effects. I guess playing in daylight just isn't very scary, o just not as scary as they made it out to be. I feel likeI'm playing Uncharted: Drakes Fortune, except withcrazed parasite hosting enemies. I will say that the explosions and environmental destruction have greatly improved though.

Last of all are the graphics. I know I said that they were great, and they are. I don't want to be picky, but I thought Chris Redfield could have used more detail. He looks a bit inhuman if you ask me. At times, he looks like Ben Stiller on steroids. His ears are huge, and he is a little disproportionate. Think about it: you are playing this character for the entire game...wouldn't you want him to look a bit better. Also, I know they used motion capture for the mouth movements, but sometimes they are really just "off," as in the vocal audio doesn't match the mouth movements. This happens especially with Chris Redfield, and sometimes it just makes me cringe.

Oh yeah...the puzzles kind of bugged me as well. The puzzle solving in the temple was way to cliche. This isn't Tomb Raider here...this is Resident Evil! The mirror reflection puzzles were really simple, and kind of stupid if you ask me. I feel like the developers said, "Hey, let's just put a puzzle in here for the heck of it." RE4 had some interesting puzzles. RE5 on the other hand, does not. That mirror thing has been done before (Prince of Persia, The Mummy, and maybe even Tomb Raider). And the part with the moving stairs is cliche as well, not to mention pretty unreal. AND...what happened to the obstructing of entrances, defending houses, and things like that. The only time where I got to move a freakin' shelf in front of a window was in the very beginning, and then...gone. I know they're porbably on a strict schedule and everything, but wasn't Leon Kennedy alsostrapped for timein saving the PRESIDENT's DAUGHTER? This feature was either left out, or simply forgotten.

Good Improvements

Despite these few problems I have with the game, I am enjoying it thoroughly. I like the vast array of weaponry available, and it is nice how you get to upgrade your weapons at the end of each chapter. The item swapping system, although a bit sluggish for the more tense gameplay moments, is a good adition to the game. It increases the strategic aspect of the co-op gameplay, because you have to decide who gets what weapon, and what items they have. For example, it is really handy to give one player the sniper, and the other a more close-range weapon, such as a shotgun.

The level of environmental destruction has improved as well. There are a lot more explosions, and many more things are breakable than in RE4. I guess its thanks to the Havok physics engine. The graphics are much more detiled, and the lighting, although not as good as it could have been, was very good.

Another thing I liked was the addition of more melee attacks, such as the straight, the uppercut, the stomp, etc. Its much more fun to have a variety of melee attacks, rather than just the ability to kick zombies everytime they're downed.

The boss battles were pretty good also. They have gotten much bigger, and much shinier too! Ooooo. But seriously, they look great, and are highly detailed as they should be for a next-gen console.

Conclusion

Other than that, everything is very similar to RE4, aside from a few things. This is porbably a good thing considering RE4 was amazing. I just wish that they would have improved the gameplay more, and that they would have focused mre on the game's horror factor. Is Resident Evil 5 good... yes! It is great, yes!! It is fun...definitely! But does it live up to it's predecessor? Well, in my opinion, no... as much as I would like to say yes. In no way am I encouraging anyone not to get this game. I just feel that RE4 was more unique, and had much more memorable gameplay moments. Am I living in past glory? Maybe, but I'm sure the reviews will agree with at least some of the opinions I have for RE5.

See You on Xbox Live?

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I really don't get on Gamespot much anymore. But, my gamertag on Live is Jesters Sceptor if anyone feels like playing online. I am mainly playing COD4 right now. See you there... maybe.

Learning Web Page Design & Java

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This year, I have been taking an AP Java class, and so far its been pretty cool. I have learned how to make Java interfaces like pop-up windows and applets, which can make for some pretty useful programs. We just started learning web page design. I already know a lot of html, but now I can incorporate it with java programs. I'm hoping to make some flash games once we start doing more animation oriented programming. The thing is, I don't really know where to start. I could use the graphical user interface and draw everything, but there must be an easier way. Does anyone know of any good flash game programs that could possibly be of use to me?

Portal...Short But Sweet

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I recently beat Portal on Half-Life 2: Orange Box. Although the game was quite short (about 2 hours), it was a great game. I thought that some of the puzzles were pretty challenging, and I definitely had fun trying out different ways to accomplish tasks. Portal tests your problem solving skills, as well as your common sense, and that is partly why I enjoyed it so much.

One thing that I wasn't expecting was the subtle, but mysterious storyline of the game. You wake up in a white room to the voice of a female instructor who guides you through the levels. "She" gives you plenty of helpful hints, and can be pretty funny at times. But the tide turns when you discover that **************spoilers************** you are basically just a test subject for a new weapon that the company has developed. But don't worry, there's cake at the end! The voice you hear continually mentions the fact that there will be cake and refreshments awaiting you at the end of the course. However, as you go thorough, you may discover secret rooms where, "The cake is not real!" is written several times on the walls, in blood. There is a very mysterious undertone to the game, and I really enjoyed it.

It was kind of disappointing that there was no multiplayer feature as they had mentioned before the release. I also wish that there would have been a map maker, because it would have basically provided infinite replay value. It would have been really cool to have been able to make your own puzzles and share them over Xbox Live. I guess that's for the sequel...or maybe a game expansion/update, although nothing has been said yet.

Half-Life 2: Orange Box really is one of the best values you can find. Half-Life 2, HL2: ep1, HL2: ep2, Portal, and Team Fortress 2 are all included, and are offered at the same price as any other new game. If you haven't played it yet, I suggest you go out and buy it! Even if you already have Half-Life 2, it is still worth it for the 4 other games included in the Orange Box.