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Random Post In The Middle Of The Night

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I like certain types of pictures, so here are some of them that I collected from the web. Since I can't post them using Images under my profile (no link to add pics) then I'll put them here.

Frank Frazetta's Prisoner of the Horned Helmet - several books were written about this character called Gath of Baal, the Death Dealer, and first two books are good, the next two were so-so. I like how the character, axe, armor and horse look bad-a**. In the books, Gath fights with a ferocity that would put other fantasy characters to shame.

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Frank Frazetta cover on Conan the Conqueror book - one of my favorite stories from the original Robert E Howard Conan saga, also called Hour of the Dragon. It's pulp fiction, but it's good fantasy to grow up on.

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Artist? Picture is Elric of Melnibone by Michael Moorcock. - didn't get into this series until in my late teens/early twenties, British fantasy of anti-heroes, of a sword called Stormbringer and the albino prince who wields it.

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Death's End by Ken Kelly - I use the face for my profile image. I like the red background. It speaks alpha male, like the character portrayed in the image is indestructible, even death can't touch him.

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Abstract paintings are fun. I like Escher and Dali. Here are a couple of examples that I can stare at for a while and not get bored.

MC Escher's Lizards

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Salvador Dali's Mae West

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Humor, at least in a sick and twisted sort of way. Not sure of the artists.

Godzilla vs Titanic

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Thank You, Dallas, Good Night!

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The Horror!

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These games are not just for Halloween. They're great for any holiday or any other day of the year. I particularly love these games as they were original at the time I played them and they haven't grown too old as to be uninspired or lame for today. They are not simply horror in the sense of vampires and werewolves, although many of them have their fair share of various monsters,but more importantly they play on atmosphere and the sense of isolation. I listed them alphabetically.

American McGee's Alice – not a survival horror, but certainly a pseudo-psychedelic shooter from a child's story where the protagonist turns killer. Fighting against a giant Mad Hatter (seen below) and the Jabberwock were very memorable, sometimes maddeningly difficult. Check out my review here at http://www.gamespot.com/pc/action/american-mcgees-alice/player_review.html?id=746289&tag=contributions%3Breview15

I don't own Alice: Madness Returns although it seems to be on par with the original based on other reviews.

Condemned: Criminal Origins –is a type ofsurvival horror in that you're limited on ammo so much that you are encouraged to grab anything on hand and use it to bash in your opponent's head. Great horror-type atmosphere, broken-down buildings, cellars and many dirt roads. The crazies in the game tend to get brutishly ugly (seen below). Check out my review at http://www.gamespot.com/pc/adventure/condemned/player_review.html?id=745663&tag=contributions%3Breview17

Condemned: Bloodshot (the sequel to Criminal Origins) is not available for PC so I haven't played it yet. Hoping it gets released to PC before too long.

Clive Barker's Undying – a great supernatural horror set in the 1920's. The hero has some magic abilities and will gain arcane weaponry to use against demons. The opening scene where you check out a mansion (seen below) is a good beginning to a great game. Check out my review at http://www.gamespot.com/pc/action/clive-barkers-undying/player_review.html?id=745463&tag=contributions%3Breview19

Dead Space – a perfect horror shooter set in space. There are many instances of getting attacked as you turn a corner, or can hear one of the necro-morphs crawling behind a wall before it jumps out, or plays possum within a corridor until you get close enough for it to grab at you. A lot of action (as seen below) and a sense of hopelessness that anyone will make it out alive. Highly recommended.

As a side-note, just ordered Dead Space 2 so I haven't playedit yet. Looking forward to it a lot.

Doom/Heretic/Hexen – these are horror-themed shooters before survival horrors existed. I feel that Heretic is the superior game between the three but I have a particular fondness for Hexen, especially when fighting against the floating wizards (seen below). You can find a community dedicated to updating graphics, controls and releasing mods at the Doomsday Engine for all three gamesathttp://dengine.net/

FEAR – didn't find the original or Extraction Point to be all that scary as you fight primarily against other mercenaries (a commonfightis shown below). The antagonist was certainly a killing machine as you come across the bloody mess ofhis handiwork.Some mercenaries would act inhuman,especially the cloaked ones that seemed to speak in tongues. Alma created an atmosphere of horror as well but it was the sense of the main character's isolation that seemed to fit the theme well. There were quite a few concrete corridors to traverse in the first game, so there was some suspense but no matter where you were it was the silence before the storm that kept you on edge.

Painkiller - the originalis a great one, afun shooterwithmany horror-likeatmospheres that depicted the circles of hell using parts of Earth's history. Weapons and the large variety of demons made the gameplay even more fun.The battle withNecrogiant (shown below)was perfect for making first impressions. Battle Out Of Hell (the sequel expansion) was also great, although somewhat shorter than the original. Check out my review athttp://www.gamespot.com/pc/action/painkillergoldedition/player_review.html?id=754821&tag=contributions%3Breview8

Thief - particularly the Dark Projecthad many horror themes, the Bonehoard levelhadmany undead, and throughout the game you had to fightand evade the minions of the Trickster. The steam-punk environment gave a mechanical-type horror feeling, especially with the many traps that can hurt you. A good example is shown below of avictim who had tried tomake it across a room. Check out my review at http://www.gamespot.com/pc/action/thiefgold/player_review.html?id=744462&tag=contributions%3Breview21

Several others worth mentioning here are Resident Evil (better for console, not PC, your zombie survival horror game), Penumbra Collection (recommended by others as I haven't played it yet, a lot of evading monsters), Indigo Prophecy (unique story, not survival horror but bizarre plot and different type of gameplay, play both as the murderer and investigator), Unreal 1 (a sci-fi shooter that later spawned Unreal Tournament, playing an escaped convict trying to survive on an unknown planet that is being overrun by a very war-like race).

Beginning Was Great... In The End Not So Great Afterall

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ARX FATALIS

Started as a fun, unique and challenging RPG. Learned spells and cast them by forming symbols in the air with your hand. The combat was pretty good although the bow damage was kind of lame. Graphics, sound and environment was done well considering that all locations were subterranean. The quests unfolded to tell an interesting story. Near the end, though, combat was too easy (the Ratmen were supposed to be challenging assassin-types butwere easy to sneak up and blast them away with a fireball). The Dwarven level was somewhat of a challenge because you would constantly have to run away from a Giant Lizard (or whatever it was). By the time you arrived at the final level, you were powerful enough to destroy other spell-casters with ease and the final fight took little effort.

In The End: Needed more levels, increased difficulty and an ample supply of monsters.

THE SUFFERING

Pretty cool idea where Hell literally erupts into a prison. The hero/anti-herowould get bloody and at one point would get enraged enough to turn into a death-dealing monstrosity. Fighting demon opponents was fun although it could get frustrating if you needed to keep someone else alive. An interesting aspect throughout the story was how the hero's past would unfold. Whether he saves or leaves several people scattered throughout the game would determine his fate in the end. The disappointing parts were more technical in nature; your allies seemed to easily get killed or would get in the way of your gunfire. Also the game would tend to freeze up often. A lot of the combat seemed to be in small areas (true that a prison should mostly be space-challenged, but outside the prison, the paths and clearings were also limited in space).

In The End: Needed better patches, improved AI (especially for allies) and larger spaces to fight.

HELLGATE LONDON

The idea of wandering London streets filled with demons was a good one. The character could level up with unique powers, and the various character abilities were great. The variety of demons was large enough to keep the replay value high. Graphics, sound and gameplay were outstanding. But a few problems were big enough by themselves to make the game a flop. Big problem #1: variety of maps were lacking, only a few locations were unique. Big problem #2: variety of quests were limited, go find this, go kill that, on occasion go help defend a key location. Big problem #3: normal difficulty was about right for single player but unlocking a higher difficulty made it nearly impossible to play, as demons would respawn without end and game progression would slam to a halt. At this point the character would have progressed somewhere between 20th-25th level when the max was something like 50th, so exploring new abilities wasn't possible.

In The End: Needed more variety in maps and quests. Needed more balanced difficulty without having to play multi-player,and have smooth transitioning to level up so that destroying wave after wave of demons would still be satisfying without having to be killed over and over again.

STALKER - SHADOW OF CHERNOBYL

Loved the game's physics, environment, and story. Major problem, even with patches, were the broken side-quests; such as defend this location, and when completed would pop up again when exiting the area. You could choose to ignore it, more of a nuisance than anything else. The main quests were mostly good although on occasion would come across an advancement problem even after being solved. The ending could come to too quickly if not choosing a couple of branching quests correctly (one being to avoid the Wishmaster), and the best part of the game, and a big chunk of it,(eliminating soldiers while climbing the tiers of Chernobyl) would be missed.

In The End: Fix quest issues, and possibly have branching quests that would give you a few different endings without having to miss a better part of the end game.

MAFIA II

Game story was pretty good and characters were interesting. But as the game progressed, I began wanting some real challenges and wanted the game to stop asking me to drive here and there. Where were the great battles and car-chases like in the first game? Where were my bonus levels? Then the game ended without much of a finale.

In The End: Game needed to be much longer. DLCs should've been for free or a lot cheaper.

30 Games I Haven't Forgotten

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I listed 30 games that affected my gaming future in a positive way. They are not in any particular order although the majority are from C64. See if you know the game images from my distant past, several of them are over 30 years old. Scroll to the bottom of the blog to see the title screens. Some hints are located here -http://www.gamespot.com/users/joelrwhite/about_me- Enjoy!

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Not a huge addict like some I've seen... but an addict nevertheless.

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I'm not really into reading blogs, and I do not own a Facebook or Twitter account (I do have accounts with Tribe and MySpace, but haven't logged back on in a couple of years). I'm also a member of the Motley Fool and do subscribe to a couple of newsletters that I find to be insightful in the financial world. But I don't message anyone, have a blog, or done anything with my personal page. I wasn't interested in participating quite yet until I began reading reviews for PC games at Amazon and comparing them with reviews at Gamespot. I found many reviews to be extremely helpful over the past several years that my game collection began to grow quite a bit. Finally I wanted to review several of these games, possibly to help those that needed some insight as to why a particular game can be great for some, or mediocre for others.

I joined Gamespot a little over a year ago, but have been playing for ten. Slowly I began to add my own reviews, also looking at other reviewer pages to see what they have been doing. Obviously we won't agree on everything, yet I find several reviewers doing a great job staying objective (highlighting good and bad points to the game, going over story, controls, graphics, sound and replay value) versus a few on Amazon, maybe once in a while on Gamespot and other sites, that will give a game a bad review because they didn't receive it from the seller, or that they hate DRM - although giving a game a lower review due to the publisher's making it difficult to install a game is valid. Simply put, I found that the Gamespot community does a better job in rating a game for those who actually played it.

I currently play about 2-3 hours a day, sometimes 6-8 hours on my weekends, or about 36 hours per week. I thought this could be excessive until I realized how many hours some of you are putting in, a few of you easily doubling that. I balance gaming with work and other play with family and martial arts training. I also keep more night-shift type hours so I tend to watch just as many hours with movies. When I do play a game, I tend to take a while, sometimes playing 10 games a year. A couple of the longest ones I played and replayed were Freespace for 3 months, and Morrowind for 4 months. I only feel satisfied with a game (unless it's terrible) and put it away when I have accomplished just about every possible solution, completed every side quest, found every secret and arrived at every alternate ending. And why do I want it all?

I believe that if I had to grab any one item from a house fire, my first instinct would be to save the computer and then go back for all the CDs/DVDs of games in my bookcase. I would probably care less for other electronics or clothing or other valuables.

I submit that I am a gaming addict. I have the gaming community and Gamespot to thank for sharing in our common experiences, and look forward to experiencing more.