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hungfar Blog

A blog 4 years in the making

So this is my first post on Gamespot in almost 4 years. Give me a moment to let that sink in... phew, ok. I, like many others, jumped ship when the now infamous Gerstmann-gate debacle took place and with it the mass exodus of GS personalities we had grown to love. I never held any real ill-will towards GS' staff, as none of it was their fault, but at the same time it just didn't feel like home anymore. Sites like 1UP and, of course, Giant Bomb gave me my internet-gaming-stuff fix just fine so I never really missed GS. Since then even more has changed in the world of games journalism. 1UP has become a sad shell of what it once was and Giant Bomb has flourished. So with today's news of GB's acquisition by CBS I was at first concerned. But when I thought about it, I realized that a lot of time has passed and the jerks responsible for that crap are probably gone. Plus, and this is a big one for me, John Davison is the head honcho. I've followed his work for years and years, back to the old days of EGM, and I have tremendous respect for the man. So I'm actually kind of looking forward to seeing what Giant Bomb's future holds, under his guidance. Godspeed and good luck gentlemen.

Still alive, still unemployed

Haven't blogged in a while (obviously, so I figured it was about time. As the title suggests I haven't been working and I am really starting to feel the pressure. I'm going to have to increase my efforts in the coming week beacuse I really don't have a choice. To be honest I haven't been trying that hard, but my slacking has finally caught up with me. One of my biggest motivators at this point, as pathetic as it may be, is that I have a serious gaming habit to support. There's a ton of stuff coming out in October (Dead Space, Little Big Planet, GH World Tour just to name a few) and I must obtain them.

Since I can't buy any new games I've been attempting to tie up some loose ends. I've finally finished Resistance after a long hiatus. I also beat Gears of War on Insane (finally and after much frystration). The most noteworthy title I've finally finished is Metroid Prime 3, which I completed a full year to the day after putting it down. I also played through Bioshock, Uncharted, and Twilight Princess again somewhat recently. I've also revisited some last gen stuff too, such as Call of Cthulu, the God of War games and Yakuza. Speaking of Yakuza I really want the recently released sequel. Very unique game (to an American anyways) that I recommend to any fan of action-RPG's. If you loved Shenmue by all means try Yakuza, because it's the closest thing us Shenmue fans will ever get to a sequel. I also want to take a moment to pimp Call of Cthulu: Dark Corners of the Earth which, as far as I know, went pretty much unnoticed. It came out toward the end of the original Xbox's life and didn't get much press. Horror and adventure fans should check it out as it's an atmospheric, sometimes intense experience. Plus it's backwards compatable and probably pretty cheap by now. But be warned: it can be damn difficult.

I also rediscovered my love of the Dreamcast recently, thanks in part to the 9th anniversary of the system's release and the ensuing discussions. I went hog wild making Dreamcast game back-ups (fancy term for burned games) and currently have over 80 titles. I'm not one to pirate games (I never have, ever) but since the DC's been dead for six years or so, I don't feel so bad. I've been playing Sonic Adventure and Seaman and loving it. Dreamcast's definitely the best sytem to ever die prematurely. Sad.

Despite my lack of funds, I did manage to obtain one new game: Rock Band 2. Of course I had to sell my soul to Gamestop to do it but sometimes you have to sacrifice things (yeah I'm being a little melodramatic). I like it a lot, but there is one feature I would like to have patched into the game or at least put in future titles. That is the option to remove songs from active rotation once you beat them. Because I'm so damn sick of that f***king AFI song. The tracks from Panic at the Disco and Modest Mouse can also go to hell. It's difficult to articulate exactly how much I hate them so I won't try. But overall I'm pleased with the song selection in the game. One thing I was waiting for in a rhythm game was some straight-up-balls death metal and I finally got my wish in RB2. The band is called Abnormality and it's brutal as hell, and just as insanely difficult as I thought something that heavy and fast would be. But it's a start. Now we need some Black Dahlia Murder and Necrophagist so I can truly injure myself by playing a game. Until next time...

The Dark Knight is overrated (jk)

Just kidding. Actually it's everything you could possibly want out of a Batman or comic-based movie or even movies in general. I know it's being said all over the place but Heath Ledger's Joker is IN-F**KING-CREDIBLE. I'll spare you any description simply because I can't do it any justice in words, so I implore everyone to GO SEE IT. The supporting cast also does a marvelous job but Ledger definitely steals the show and drives home what a loss his death really is, especially for folks who weren't fans of his previously. I have a couple of teeny tiny complaints though. A couple of lines of dialog don't flow quite right, and Christian Bale's death metal singer voice he gives Batman can sound weak and forced at times but I am really just nitpicking here. This is the triumph that critics hailed the first Tim Burton Batman film as being. A comic book movie nominated for Academy Awards? You never know...

disgusted with humanity (especially idiot GS users)

Hi folks. Firstly, if you're reading this, thanks. Secondly, if you're reading this that means you're tracking me, which I appreciate and want you to know that in no way is this directed at any of you. I appreciate a degree of level-headed-ness in a gamer, which is why I tend to track people who don't show obvious signs of fanboy-ism. Which brings me to my point. Usually when I read an article I end up glancing at the first handful of user comments and lately have been getting f**king FURIOUS at the rampant ignorance and hypocrisy. It only gets worse when one ventures into the forums, which I don't do unless I'm totally desperate for a piece of info. Of course this phenomenon isn't exclusive to GameSpot. I also frequent 1UP and Gametrailers and it's the same trolling **** looking to poop all over someone who disagrees with them. The inspiration for this blog, however, is thanks to GS and it's awesome community. My b*tching won't really help but it helps me to vent to a group that will most likely agree. GS user DouglasBuffone recently posted a blog with some similar sentiments and I totally see where he's coming from. Hell of it all is, it's not remotely wothwhile to fire back at these people. Trying to communicate on some normal level with the unwashed masses can be extremely trying and sometimes flat-out impossible. So I fight the urge to post a comment calling people on their **** because at that point I'd be no better than these fools. I'm already not the biggest fan of humanity so I usually take people's opinions with a humongous grain of salt. But when your most loved hobby is plagued by legions of deluded morons, it becomes personal. And it kind of pains me that there's nothing I can do to stop this madness. I've always been aware of fanboys and their ridiculous ways of rationalizing their beliefs, but it wan't until this hardware generation that I truly understood the depths that these people sink to. So to wrap this rambling mess of a blog, simply put - I YEARN FOR THE TASTE OF FANBOY BLOOD. I'm probably heading to my local Gamestop tomorrow and am thinking about hanging out a while, profiling a fanboy (console preference is inconsequential) and beating the sh*t out of them. I'll let you guys know how that goes (and maybe give some impressions of Guitar Hero: Aerosmith).

It really has been too long

In my teens and early twenties I was way into playing guitar. I was well on my way to being pretty good I thought, but somewhere just lost interest. That is I lose interest until I see a live show or hear something that really inspires me. But soon enough I get distracted again, usually by video games. Games have probably been THE biggest thing to steal my time from playing guitar. There are other factors too but games are a big part of it. But a couple of days ago I finally cleared all the crap off of my amp and tuned up my axe and jammed on some Opeth tunes. To the extent that my fingers hurt like they did when I first started playing. It felt good. Now here's where things get a bit wacky. I was using my 360 to play the music I was playing along to and when the song (Harvest in case you were wondering) was over I went to back out of the menu and I attempted to press a button on the neck of the guitar. Whoa. That is not cool. Funny, yes. Cool, NO. So I intend to to atone for this by getting a bunch of guitar stuff, like new strings, picks and a capo. I just bought a drum set recently (yea I know) so I might get some drum stuff too. I'm just kind of bugged out that I've slacked for so long and I'm trying to get back into music because, lets face it, gaming isn't the most constructive pastime. Not that I'm going to quit gaming anytime soon.

Thanks Rockstar!

I have to thank the fine folks at Rockstar who chose the music for GTA4. For what, you may ask? For helping me to fully discover that reggaeton is the WORST THING TO EVER BE MISTAKEN FOR MUSIC. Prior to playing GTA4 I believed that dancehall was the worst "music" ever conceived. But I was mistaken. So a big "thanks guys" to Rockstar for the clearing that up.

The obligatory GTA4 OMG blog

We're all playing it so I'll keep obvious stuff to a minimum. Simply put, Grand Theft Auto 4 is one of the best games I've ever played and I knew this within the first hour. I've got about 25 hours in it and at times I'm just overwhelmed by how much stuff I can do in Liberty City. And I want to do it ALL. I've been staying up into the wee hours every day and even when I turn it off I still want to be playing it. It has easily topped Vice City as my series favorite. Two quick things about my experiences thus far: The most recent crazy thing that happened to me occured while I was attempting to fly under all the bridges for the achievement. I was right in front of the last one when a heli-tour copter crashed into me at full speed, knocking off the tail section of my copter. I spun out of control for a few moments when I bailed out, hoping to hit the water below but I got smacked by a blade and was flung to my gruesome death... holy sh*t. The second thing is that just moments ago I heard something during a dialog exchange between Nico and Kate which blew my mind. It was waaay heavy and the most serious thing I've ever heard in a game. It was also delivered perfectly which just sold even more. However I have the feeling that things are going to get waaaaay more screwed up before it's over. Needless to say, I really like this game.

Rock 'n Rage 'n Roll

I know it's been said before but I realized something today I've been trying to ignore about Guitar Hero III. It's really f*cking hard! Let me preface this rant by saying that I am the best player I know, not that it really means anything. This is only amongst my circle of friends, some of whom aren't bad. Basically I'm just trying to say that I don't suck at Guitar Hero, nor am I the best but I consider myself an "expert level" player. So having said all that, am I really just making excuses when I call it bad game design when I can fail a song at 0% completion? You folks who have played GHIII know what song I'm talking about. Yes, I've been to YouTube and yes I know people can beast this song, but what sense does it make to intentionally make something so fiendishly difficult, to the extent that a large section of longtime GH players can't even approach it. I played through the first GH, GHII for both PS2 AND X360 and GH80's without even thinking of smashing my controller, yet GHIII has managed to inspire me to completely destroy the Les Paul and, just moments ago, damage my Explorer?

I have lost it and smashed controllers on several occasions throughout the years. Here's the breakdown:

3 Super Nintendo controllers, 1 NES controller, 1 PS1 controller, 2 PS2 controllers, and 2 Xbox controllers have payed the ultimate price. A Wii and a PS3 controller have also come dangerously close to premature death. In my defense the red button on the GHIII Les Paul controller wasn't working right and caused me to fail the final battle against Lou on expert after having failed many times prior to that, then I snapped. What's my point? My point is that Neversoft forgot about one very crucial thing when making GHIII. To make it more about having fun rather than just being able to show off. Showing off can be fun, believe me I know, but it's not what makes Guitar Hero so awesome. While I'm at it, let me vent my disgust at the battle mode introduced in GHIII. I've only played this mode during the career when it was required and I played it against someone online once so I could get the achievement but deep down I loathe it. Versus a human, it blows because a song can potentially be over before ever hearing a chorus or reaching the next verse. As far as the boss battles, I didn't hate them until I got to Lou. After failing many times I realized that it's entirely random as to whether you can win, because if Lou gets certain powerups it becomes impossible to win. Double notes is the most bullsh*t thing to taint the Guitar Hero series. The one thing that is superior about GHIII over the other games is the song selection. It's better than what ships on the Rock Band disc as well.

Guitar Hero III's DLC has been pretty disappointing as well. The freebies (Dream On, the Halo theme) were nice but No Doubt? Cuz their guitar work is so freakin' great, right? Gimme a break. Rock Band, to be frank, poops all over GHIII as far as DLC goes. Not to say that all of RB's DLC has been awesome (Oasis, Grateful Dead, bad covers) but the variety and overall quality of it has been superior. However I've felt since day one that Rock Band needs good DLC because, frankly, there's a lot of **** in Rock Band. Stuff that's not fun to play on any "instrument" ***coughGarbageHolecough***.

At this point I don't know how much longer I'll be into these types of games. The formula is pretty much set and Activision seems poised to run the Guitar Hero franchise into the ground. I really don't know what else can be done with this type of gameplay. Chances are that as long as the songs are good and the essence of the series (the "fun" I mentioned) is maintained I'll probably stick with it and so will countless others. But Guitar Hero III was a bit of a mis-step and in my opinion Guitar Hero: Aerosmith is also a mis-step. I am glad that other artists will be in the game but overall I think band-specific installments are a bad idea. Genre -specific expansions are, however, a good idea as long as the price is right (GH 80's is great example of how to do this the wrong way).What Rock Band is doing with the track packs is the way to go if that's what people want. The Boston track pack is a good example. At this stage, pretty much all of Boston's first record is there. And of course artist packs like the Metallica one that cover a couple different albums is also a great way to do things. I wrote this because of my doubt about the future of these franchises that I love. I have the feeling that in as little as a few years the rhythm genre will all but gone. And we'll have EA and especially Activision to blame.

Life in general

So I've been unemployed for a little under a month and a half, and so far have been enjoying all this free time to the absolute fullest. All I do is sleep, smoke, and play games. I've got money coming in from unemployment so I'm not broke and can still buy games, although I did slow down a bit. I even traded some stuff in, which I told myself I'd never do again (because of consistently get ripped off by EB/Gamestop, in case you were wondering). I've picked up DMC4, God of War PSP, Bully SE, Smash Bros. Brawl, Lost: Via Domus over the last month and today I picked up Condemned 2. Thanks to all this time I've had my gamerscore has gone up considerably. Achievement whores take note - Lost: Via Domus offers some of the easiest points ever. Yeah, about Lost... I kinda became obsessed with the show for a while. I watched a whole season in a day and a half. I'm feeling better now though. So I've moved on to the show Firefly, which grew on me LOTS. The first episode was ok, but by the third I was hooked. I know, I'm way LTTP on this one but better late than never. So that's it. Staring at a screen has been my sole leisure activity for a month but I assure you it's been awesome.

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