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jekyll Blog

Xbox One System and Software Plusses and Minuses

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Just a 'quick and dirty' of some thoughts on the system and some software after a few days...

Console itself

  • Plusses: much more quiet than the 360; comes to life from standby in about five seconds; saying "Xbox on" to bring your whole entertainment center to life is awesome; system updates automatically while in standby; Kinect recognizes what you say with great accuracy
  • Minuses: learning when and in what specific order to issue voice commands takes some time (no natural language like Siri); some things can be hard to find (like settings); hand gestures to control things takes a lot of patience

Controller

  • Plusses: feels a bit better in your hand; ridges in the thumbsticks lessen slippage if your fingers get sweaty; improved and enhanced vibration
  • Minuses: no warning if your batteries/battery pack are running low; enclosed headset doesn't detach from controller easily

TV watching via OneGuide and a connected provider box

  • Plusses: saying "Watch CBS" and having it go there is really convenient if you're not near your cable/satellite remote; using the OneGuide to say "What's on BBC America" and having it jump there is really great (saying the name of a show you see elsewhere on the guide and going there is even cooler)
  • Minuses: the voice commands merely generate the same RF frequencies as a remote, and they're entered... very... slowly (changing a channel takes about five seconds as you watch each number pop up on screen); some channels simply flummox the system (you'll never get "Watch WPPX" to work); pass-through HDMI surround sound support is technically beta and takes digging to an obscure part of system settings to enable; Verizon DVR doesn't power-up upon start

Call of Duty: Ghosts

  • Plusses: stunningly gorgeous; controlling Riley the dog is novel, and the multiplayer guard dog killstreak reward can be very helpful; getting Field Orders after an MP kill as an 'on the fly' way to get a bonus is a neat touch
  • Minuses: multiplayer is a huge step back from the near perfection of Black Ops II (ex. level progression is slow, Scavenger is nearly useless again, maps are not amazing and really unfriendly to running a sniper class in free-for-all, only lock-on weapon to take down aircraft is obtainable only via a killstreak, Maniac killstreak stupidly overpowered); both Demolition and Capture the Flag are, at present, not among the multiplayer modes; playing the campaign on Veteran mode is not quite as challenging as early series titles (but you will still curse... a lot)

Need For Speed: Rivals

  • Plusses: just plain, fun, speedy, forgiving pick-up-and-play arcade style racing, whether you're the cop or the racer; can do many minor events against many random cars you see; very friendly to people joining you and mixing your world with that of other instances of the game currently being held
  • Minuses: my god, the music is so terrible; if your Internet connection drops out, you lose a lot of seemingly unrelated functionality; steering feels really sluggish, especially at slower speeds

Forza Motorsport 5

  • Plusses: Simply a work of art from a graphics standpoint; if you want to adjust settings by a mm here or there to try and drop three hundredths of a second from your lap times, you can; a ton of exquisite cars, both modern and classic; the guys from Top Gear, 'nuff said
  • Minuses: you feel like you're a bit handicapped if you're just playing with a controller and not a wheel

Dead Rising 3

  • Plusses: another purely fun game that's easy to play since there's no overly tough combos; zombies are always awesome; killing them with a flaming scythe is even more awesome; constantly running clock provides a good bit of tension; some really great, inventive combo weapons and they last a good while; SmartGlass app on your phone put you more in the action, as in-game texts come to you personally, not just your character
  • Minuses: constantly running clock prevents thorough, careful exploration; collectibles like weapon blueprints are disappointingly spoon-fed via map icons that display them from a good city block away; irritating NPCs abound

If you're only getting one game, get DR3. It's a blast.

Lots of Games... and a new TV

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I've let over two months go by again between entries. Last time I was partly through Resident Evil 6 and pretty much enjoying it. It was a very fun game, but certainly not like you want an RE title to play like. If it weren't an RE title it would've gotten better reviews for sure. Final stats were 775/1000GS.

I think after that was Dishonored. It really was an excellent game. I was a rare one I played through twice, in this case so I could get the never detected, don't kill people but targets, and no power ups achievements. The game really shined then because you really did get to see other ways to do things and routes to take. Certainly worthy of GOTY consideration, at least. (860/1000GS)

Up next was Halo 4. Another great game with a fun and challenging new class of enemy, the Prometheans. Honestly, it was still just another Halo game, though. I don't get as rabid over Master Chief as a lot of other people, and frankly I don't care about Cortana at all. I will say I took to the multiplayer far better than in any other Halo title, but not having standard free-for-all is a major buzzkill. There is the near free-for-all of Regicide, and I also love Oddball, so not all is lost. (740/1000GS)

Then I got my assassination on in Hitman: Absolution. This was a great game. So many ways to do things, often both lethal and non-lethal. They did screw up disguises, in that they were often useless. This game they work that others in your 'costume' can detect you're an imposter, but others can't. If you're in an area with only policemen and that's your only disguise, you can see how it's not much help. Conversely, some levels have only one person with a particular disguise you can 'liberate' them from, and if you can get that you're gold. Still, it makes little sense that henchmen or run-of-the-mill electricians or stir-fry cooks could tell you're in disguise by seeing you from 50' for two seconds. And the sound was great; if you have a surround sound set-up, going into the open air Chinese market is a treat for the ears. (910/1000GS)

Lastly of completed games is the one I wanted the most this holiday season, Far Cry 3. It could have had a better story, and the supernatural/hallucinatory angle I could have done without, but it was still very fun. Lots to explore and taking over compounds never stopped being fun, especially if they had a tiger caged that you could shoot the door off from afar and let the tiger do some of the work for you. Multiplayer was a mess, though. I played a bit Saturday for kicks and it just wouldn't give me xp after my first rank-up. I'd finish and none of my kills or deaths were registered on the leaderboard. Tack on playing one of the co-op missions and having it freeze at the end and screwing me out of my achievement and I'm done. I'm hoping the pre-owned copy of Tale of Graces f I saw is still at the GameStop to trade this in towards. (865/1000GS)

So, I just printed out an achievement list and am ready to start Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. I'm hoping for another fun experience and after I do some multiplayer I'll decide whether to stick with that or Halo 4. I also just started Katamari Forever. It's a lot of repetition from previous games, but it's still so simple and fun (and I got it pre-owned for $15) that you don't care. It's got great re-mixed versions of series songs and still feels very 'Japanesey', in a wholly good way. And it's just beautifully rendered.

Also, I tried the first episode of The Walking Dead after it got GOTY. I don't know that it deserved the award, but I couldn't put it down. I did the whole thing in about two-and-a-half hours yesterday afternoon, and for $5 it's not bad. I'm definitely downloading the next episode today.

Other than that I have a new TV. I was forced into it by my 73" Mitsubishi DLP dying after just four-and-a-half years. It needed a new blub, but after replacing it I noticed a bug to swat off the screen after about two weeks. But it wasn't a bug; it was a dead spot. A little research revealed these DLPs have a common fatal flaw. After replacing the bulb, the mirrors in the light engine fail, one by one. Sure enough, in a few days I had another dead spot. Then another. Then two more. Then another. Even though it was out of warranty, I found out Mitsubishi would still send a replacement part free due the defect being so pervasive, leaving you on the hook for just the labor. But between that and a scratch on my screen (which was now much more prominent with the brightness from the new bulb) I was looking at $500-600 to fix it, likely.

If your TV is dying, there's not much better time than the holidays. HH Gregg had a very highly rated 60" LG plasma for just $900 (on sale from $1,400). For comparison, the 61" Hitachi I got in 2001 was $5,000 and the Mitsubishi I got in early 2008 was about $2700. Soon a 60" TV will be just $500. The LG model on display was one digit different model number and priced higher than the one that was in the paper; the salesman told me it had better motion blur reduction, especially for Blu-ray watching. I still could have opted for the one in the paper, but I went with the one on display. Then at checkout, he manually changed the price to that of the lesser model; it was my first time at HH Gregg, and needless to say I'm very happy with the service.

Anyway, the picture is gorgeous and the slightly smaller size fits better in the living room where I live now. I sit a little closer to the TV here, so it's a little easier to see the whole screen now. It's amazing that it's barely more than an inch thick. The small profile does make my large speakers (which I bought when I got the giant Hitachi that was a massive console on wheels and was as big as a china hutch) look out-of-place, but that's a minor issue. And as it happens, Mitsubishi announced that same week that they were no longer making DLP sets, so who knows how long decent support would have been around for. It also means no one makes projection TVs anymore. It's all LCD, LED, and plasma anymore.

So, that's my entertainment news in a nutshell.

Thanks for reading, everybody!

Blinded by the Light

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So, I wrapped up Silent Hill: Downpour, and it really should have been better. The "Otherworld" wasn't spooky renditions of a level you were already in; instead it transformed and a red light chases you, damaging you if it gets too close while you just run and hope you make the correct turns to escape. And the story never made a ton of sense, with endings that made you out to be good or bad without a ton of reason why except how you reacted in a few situations (with said reactions not even affecting the cutscene).

I've moved on to what was survival horror, but no longer is: Resident Evil... 6. To get one thing out of the way, it's certainly not so bad as to be the 4.5/10 as this site would have you believe. But it's true it doesn't feel that spooky anymore; it's more focused on action (at least in the Leon Kennedy story I've started in). And sadly, like the game I just finished, it's yet another that's so cloaked in darkness that if there's even a single lumen of light in the room you're sitting in, the screen is punitively difficult to see. Just because there's zombies and BOWs doesn't mean the entire game has to take place at night or in dimly lit buildings. I started off from the get-go on the toughest mode, Professional, and it's not so bad. It is very tough, and the quickly moving and leaping enemies do take health off at a heavy pace, but with a mechanism to be revived from near-death, it's manageable.

I've only 'cheated' once, in a boss fight where Leon yells "aim for the dynamite!!" After 20 tries of wondering what the hell he was talking about I checked out a YouTube video to see the TNT barrel is way overhead and not visible when he yells it, requiring you to tilt your head back to aim up. Well, that's a big help, Leon. :roll: I could see the barrels falling during the early stages of the fight (though couldn't really read themsee above gripe), but really I was expecting it to be in the massive creature's mouth or anywhere on my screen that was currently in my field of vision.

Sadly, it's also another game that takes away all control of saving from you, leaving you to pray each time it saves that power stays on, because you'll lose your entire game if it doesn't. So stupid.

Other than that, I'm also trying to get another achievement or two out of Peggle. It's great for a half-hour of quick fun (that rapidly turns into five hours if you don't pay attention).

That's all for today. Have a great weekend, everybody!

Silent Hill: Downpour first impressions

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After a lengthy console break, I'm back into the swing of things. With a fall packed full of games I want (Resident Evil 6, Halo 4, Hitman: Absolution, and Far Cry 3 to name a few), I knew I had a tiny window to fit in a title or two of backlog. I wouled like to have waited until after Daylight Saving Time ended to start the spooky Silent Hill: Downpour, but there won't be any time then.

I'm still in the early stages and haven't even reached the titular town yet. I've done the first major chunk, consisting of getting a tram car to take me closer to town. This involved my first few fights against fairly weak enemies, who seem to kill you quickly or slowly and you can't seem to tell how close to death you may be. Another agitation is the implementation of your characters's voice; it seems to come out the rear surround speakers, leading you to think someone else is talking from in the room.

Worst is the save system. There is none. It auto saves, but only some 'count' as far as if you quit the game, and you're not told which ones they are (other ones just seem to mark progress if you die). I'd just acquired a gun, saw the save icon, so felt safe quitting for the night. When I restarted, I was about an hour back progress-wise. And there's no option to just save when you want, which is inexcusable especially given this failing of the save system. Whoever thinks taking control of saving out of gamers' hands is doing us a favor is wrong.

Other things are done well, like the random clinks, clunks, rattles, and other noises in the background that make you think danger is imminent, even when it's not. And the facial expressions of the few other living people you meet are well done. Also, the combat tutorial is one of the most sadistic, yet imaginative and original, ones I've ever encountered.

Fog effects are also pretty good, to the point that it can be easy to miss big structures in the dank, dark, cloudiness. And there's less of that 'object pop-in' from earlier generation titles in the series.

All-in-all, so far it's a tiny letdown, and I expect more from Konami and the Silent Hill franchise. Maybe getting to town will change that.

That's all for today. Thanks for reading, everybody!

Dunder Miffed

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I broke down and retired from editing The Office. It's just too terrible for me to waste time watching, plus NBC press releases don't list guest stars and the show doesn't list guest roles in the credits, making attributing roles to guests really tough. That Catherine Tate, whom I adore, couldn't save the show proves how bad it is. Toss in the beyond gorgeous Mindy Kaling leaving and it's too much to bear.

Person of Interest made the decision much easier. I'd rather watch that by a long-shot (it might be my favorite network show), and I'm not spending a half-hour of leisure time watching a show off DVR that I no longer enjoy, plus editing.

And if How I Met Your Mother does go ahead and renew for a ninth season, as is rumored, I think I'm done with that, too, editing at minimum and maybe watching. I'm done with fake-outs and misdirections about "The Mother". It's unique among sitcoms in that it has an implied end,and all writing now is to purposefully stay away from the end. It's bad storytelling, and it's just not fun anymore.

In gaming, I caught up on some DS stuff lately, wrapping up both Zelda titles: The Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks. I'm now working on Dragon Quest IX: Sentinel of the Starry Skies.

The only other big news is getting a new car. As I suspected, it ended up being yet another Volvo C70. I loved my 2002 one and felt the dealership had always treated me well, and that went a long way towards beating out the Lexus IS 250 and VW Eos. I considered a handful of other cars, but those were the only three I test drove, mostly due to practicality or distance to the dealership.

I do miss having a true stick shift. I swore a decade ago I'd never go back to automatic, but I never counted on it becoming damn near impossible to get one anymore if it's not a make's bargain model, a traditional pocket rocket/muscle car, ora high-end sports car. (Volvo only offers it on the C30 hatchback) It is at least 'manumatic', so I can slap the lever over from D to having clutchless control between gears like a Dave & Busters racing game, but it's not the same.

Anyway, 8 things I love:

1. Being able to hook up as many as three portable music devices (via Bluetooth, USB, and RCA jack) is awesome.
2. Still hard to believe retractable hardtop is a thing that exists.
3. Rain sensing windshield system is cool.
4. Seats crazy comfortable.
5. The whole 'never need to use a key' is pretty convenient, like living in the not-too-distant future.
6. Having a 12+2 sound system just plain rocks.
7. Xenon lights are great; having the bi-xenons that turn with the steering wheel is amazing.
8. The refresh makes it look 'angrier' than earlier 2nd generation C70s

And 5 things I don't:

1. When hooked up via USB the USB port, can't skip letters when scrolling. Lots of Ace of Base, Aerosmith, Yaz, and Whitesnake getting played.
2. Black dashboard of car versus tan of old makes it really hot.
3. Stalks on steering wheel are essentially hidden from view.
4. BLIS keeps erroneously telling me it "needs service" (a complaint I'd read before purchase)
5. Useless GPS that I'll never use but I had to pay for to get Platinum Trim with the upgraded stereo

That's all for forever. Thanks for reading, everybody!

Peace Out

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I hope we'll all keep Daniel von Bargen in our thoughts today. Known for playingGeorge's lazy boss Mr. Kruger on Seinfeld, he survived an attempted suicide. Apparently he was despondent over an impending surgery to aputate some toes due to diabetes complications, and having already lost one leg he decided a .38 to the temple was the better choice. Very sad.

In better news, I wrapped up Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater in the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection. I guess what struck me most was how some segments of the game were like I'd just played them weeks before, and I could vividly remember strategies and tactics to advance; but others I had no recollections of at all, even parts of some boss battles. Either way, it was still fun this second time through.

Now I'm well into Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker HD. It really is very different, being more broken into bite-sized missions. I have hit a tiny wall, as I'm at the first non-boss battle that I just can't get an S ranking on in a replay. For S rank, you essentially have to not kill anyone (easy with good Mosin Nagant or Mark 22 accuracy), not set off an alert, and complete it reasonably quickly (also usually easy). Setting off alerts is killing me because of hovering drones that seem a bit more unpredictable, so effective usage of chaff grenades is needed. Other than that I'm enjoying it, even though it's a tad low-tech due to it being a port from a PSP title.

As to television, I'm really about ready to quit on The Office. It was just good enough last week, and I'm giving (the suddenly svelte) Catherine Tate a chance to rescue the show. But having taken a liking to Person of Interest, I'm really nearing the point where I'd much rather watch that live and give up on Dunder Mifflin. I'm really about beyond the fear that The Office will ever really be consistently be good again that's kept me from bailing. And if I do bail I'll drop my editorship, too. The one thing that would keep me is if NBC put the show out of its misery by declaring a May series finale.

That's all for today. Thanks for reading, everybody!

Ralph Called

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After a few weeks off where I concentrated on MW3 only, I'm back at Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, still in the early going of MGS3: Snake Eater. I just beat The Pain over the weekend and also 'beat' The End by killing him before the boss fight (which I then reloaded right after so I can get his gun and camo later). I'm still diligently contacting Para-Medic after every new creature I kill or capture to hear her tell me all about them and how they taste. I did decide to forego trying to not kill anyone. While it is a 30GS achievement, it's just too tough to accidentally kill people. A fist fight can so easily lead to an enemy falling to their death, which counts as me killing them. I'd even reloaded after knocking some guys out on a bridge; I walked away and suddenly they were gone, likely vibrated off the side as I continued walking. did it 'count' as a kill? I'm not sure. I would've liked the challenge of seeing if I could do a no-kill run-through, but without an indicator to specifically tell meI'm still on track (like a stat page to tell me how many kills I had) I'm not going to bother.

I also shut off my Raptr achievement posting to Facebook and tried the new achievement share directly from my 360. The first I did is "Ralph Called" for making Snake throw up. I think it's a permanent change for me. It shows the actual achievement tile instead of a game box/logo, and if I earn multiple achievements in a play session I can just pick the one I'm most proud of rather than get some "I earned four achievements" message. Or if none are that impressive I won't share any.

As for MW3, I'm actually onmy fourth prestige, which is one more than I did in MW2. And I'll likely do more. The concept of choosing a new custom loadout or choosing to unlock gear/perks to have available forever makes prestiging much more palatable. Having my MSR, Stinger missles, and theAssassin and Dead Silence perksavailable from the moment custom loadouts unlock at level 4 (instead of waiting hours and hours to get into the 40s or higher) makes all the difference. I'll likely do at least one more to get the ACR assault rifle. As for the new maps, neither are that great. Piazza is almost unplayably stupid, and Liberation is not the snipers' paradise they'd have you believe. If you say snipers will do great, don't arbitrarily block off everything remotely resembling a vantage point.

Personally, I took the train last Friday to go to the Philadelphia Auto Show. Imay replace my car this spring/summer, so this was a good chance to see some of the contenders without going to the showroom, plus it was an excuse to go to the 'big city' for the first time in three years. And I hadn't been to the show in much longer than that. Most manufacturers don't offer up literature like candy anymore, though I did leave with a brochure on Volvo's European Delivery Program.Unfortunately a few models I had my eye on weren't there; the BMW 1 series was absent and Lexus only had a 350 there, but not the 250 that's in my price range. Of course, Saab was not there altogether, though they were still listed in the show program. Not that it really matters since if I do pull the trigger, I doubt it will be anything other than to replace my '02 Volvo C70 with a '12/'13 model. The ownership experience I've had has been so pleasant that it would be tough to take my chances on another company. We'll see.

That's all for today. Thanks for reading, everybody!

Donkeys and Canines and Snakes, Oh My!

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Every so often someone on Jeopardy! gives an accidentallysmutty answer, not thinking about what they're saying. Last night I was watching, and there was a category called "Punch". A clue came up about a hit to the back of theneck being namedfor this animal. And someone rang in and responded with "What is donkey?" Even normally staid Alex Trebek snickered a bit before going to the contestant who correctly responded "What is rabbit?" Within hours the Internet had tons of stories about it, and YouTube is littered with clips of what some sites called the greatest Jeopardy! question ever. And BTW, wikipedia has a fantastic animated GIF on the term's page.

In other news, a jog last week turned a good bit frightening when someone didn't secure their German Shephard well enough as I went by. They were curbside to cross the street, I was close up to the building as far away as possible to avoid any leash entanglements more than anything else,but it just decided to attack. And it really tried to bite me, but it couldn't sink its teeth into my thighsince it didn't turn its head; that it bit straight on gave it nothing to attach to. It It ripped my shorts a bit, my boxers underneath were completely torn, but it didn't break the skin. It just left a nasty welt and bruising the next morning. I yelled some very unkind things to the owner (I believe I called him a"stupid piece of ****") but since I was fine and in the middle of a run, I really just wanted to not break my flow. I probably should've gotten a police officer and insisted the dog be destroyed; that can't have been the first time it was agressive, and if I were a small child it might've been a different outcome.

Gamingwise, I've advanced to the Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater in the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection. I tried a few more of the MGS2 VR Missions, but they just weren't going to be possible; too much luck and bad controls. I just completed the Virtuous Mission and am at the start of the actual Snake Eater mission. I'm trying to not kill anyone to get an achievement, which has involved alot of reloading. It's tougher than it seems, and for a few "do this thing" achievements you have to kill someone. Other times you knock someone out—via punch or tranq dart—and they fall off a cliff or bridge. Otherwise, I do enjoy the movie talks during game saves, but other cutscenes are a bit long.

That's all for today. Thanks for reading, everybody!

Snake T-T-T-Tales

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I've completed the MGS2: Sons of Liberty portion of Metal Gear Solid HD Collection. I forgot just how much cutscene there was between the final two boss battles and ended up skipping most of it; so much for catching up on the mythology. :( I was late for lunch as it was and when it seemed no end was immenent I just started warping through. That's really the series' Achilles' heel; they cram so much down your throat that you just lose interest.

I did try a bunch of the extra VR Missions, and completed about 75% of the Snake ones, but once I got to one that was pretty much in inky blackness I stopped. I'd love to do them all for all available characters as it's an 80GS achievement, but fighting the terrible (by today's standards) controls as well is just too much to bear. I am attempting the five Snake Tales, that take the Big Shell scenario and put slight twists in the plot—as well as take away your radar, which makes for a challenge. I've knocked off two so far and the best advice I have is that if you get wounded at all, let yourself be killed. There seem to be no health-replenishing rationsat the boss fights, so best to save them. I had to fight Fatman with about a quarter-lifebar and no rations, and it really sucked.

As for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, I've prestiged a second time now in online play. I love that you have options for what you get each prestige, as you earn a token that you can use fora customloadout or to unlock an item early (weapon or perk) and have it forever or a few other options. I've had four tokens (two for the prestiges, one as an XMas gift for Elite Founders, and one for having prestiged in MW2 [you can get up to four, one each for MW, WaW, MW2, and BO]), and used them for one extra customloadoutfor hunting 'boosters'and unlocking claymores, Dead Silence, and Assassin. The ability to access higher-level weapons and perks early make prestiging far more palatable.

They also just released the official CoD Elite iPhone app this morning. You can check stats, see your lastten games, and track challenges. But the best is you can edit your customloadouts from there and push them to the game for next time you play. You can be out and about at Starbucks or sitting on the can at home and work on your loadouts. And an Android version is coming soon.

As for TV, the next two Thursdays are pretty exciting. This week 30 Rock, which hadbeen delayed by Tina Fey's pregnancy, finally returns to the schedule. Pairing it next to Parks & Rec puts the network's two best sitcoms next to each other. Unfortunately, it will be at 8:00 now, pitting against The Big Bang Theory, so its struggle to get the viewers it deserves will likely continue. Speaking of BBT, next week it has its 100th episode; it's quite gratifying to see it do so well, as when it started I thought "wow, I really love this, but it's a shame it will be gone by Thanksgiving." I didn't think the 'nerd humor' would play to mainstream America, but I guess you never doubt Chuck Lorre.

That's all for today. Thanks for reading, everybody!

Are You Fat, Ugly, or Slutty?

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So, as the year closes out it's perhaps the worst time for new television. There's just nothing new right now. There's a few decent reruns, and in the past few weeks I've discovered that Comedy Central airs 30 Rock between 7:00–8:00, which is great, even if I only get to see the second one since Jeopardy! airs at 7:00 here.

I have completed The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim after about 190 hours of play time, including arecent four hour play-and-chat session with valdarez. It's a great, engrossinggame, but it's a huge shame that their patches have caused more problems than they fix. Treasure maps are now bugged in that the chests that are supposed to spawn and be found when you obtain the mapsnow do not. And if any of you play, DO NOT SELL THE THIEVE'S GUILD ARMOR. Not having it currently prevents you from getting the prompt to collect your guildmaster armor, which despite being a formality prevents you from the 30GS achievement for wrapping up that questline. Hopefully a future patch will address that, and I am looking forward to the DLC.

I've moved on to Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection. Currently I'm on MGS 2: Sons of Liberty, and have already passed Snake's tanker adventure and am onto Raiden's plant adventure. It's great to hear Otacon's voice again, and dying is never so pleasurable as in an MGS title. I'm not into buying remakes at all, butI made this exception sinceI've never had a PSP and this compilation has that system'sMGS: Peace Walkeron it.

I'm also slowly getting good at Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 online play. I'm far better at using regular assault rifles and machine guns than I've ever been, and I still feel really hamstrung being a traditional sniper and not having replenishing claymores to protect myself with. But I've adapted out of necessity; I'm still a few thousand deaths in the hole K/D-wise, but yesterday got it from 0.566 to 0.585; a decent New Year's weekend could get it past 0.6! :P And if you want to read some gripes about online play, read our own fishdalf's NoobFeed article on Ten Things He Hates About MW3 Multiplayer. And I have my own similar article coming in the next few weeks.

Finally, I found a great site via Kotaku called Fat, Ugly, or Slutty.Three girl games got together and created thiscompilation of the horrific messages guys send to girls after getting beaten by them (or just to be sexist pigs). The gist is that if a girl games, she typically gets branded "fat", "ugly", or "slutty" in hate mail. If you've never gamed online, it's a fairly accurate (¿and horrific?) window into what people you encounter as a gamer.

That's all for today. Have a great 2012, everybody!