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thebill1979 Blog

Setting up the bomb.....

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Don't know if anyone reads my blog anymore, as I haven't been active in about 2 years. But if you should happen to be reading, I'm now on Giant Bomb.

If you are there also, or have been thinking of creating an account, add me as a friend.

Click here.

Hope you are all doing well.

-Bill

Insomnia carves out a new blog.

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Howdy folks.

Long time --- no see, as they say.

I have not been on GameSpot a whole lot lately because, well......there is just not much going on in the gaming world that I'm interested in. Tonight, however, I'm strickened with a horrid case of insomnia. So I am here at 1am in the morning writing this blog.

I figured I'd let you in on what I have been doing regarding games. So here we go.

PC

As I've mentioned in a previous blog, I have no aquired a new computer. It's a very powerful HP computer and so far, I'm happy with it. It's got a dual core processor, 4 GB of RAM, a great sound card (for recording my music) and a fairly decent graphics card. I also purchased a snazzy 22 inch widescreen HD monitor to go compliment it. Looks pretty good and performs even better.

I have a Vista upgrade disc sitting here on my desk that I refuse to use until I actually NEED to use it. I've read far too much about it's current bugs and such to bother with it. That, and I don't have anything that requires Vista at the moment. Windows XP will do me just fine for now.

I have yet to play anything worth noting on the new PC. As you know, I'm not into FPS games, and outside of MMORPGs, there just isn't much out there as far as PC games. My girlfriend is enjoying her adventure games on it, so at least someone is making use of the machine's gaming power.

I am a beta tester for The Lord Of The Rings Online. Outside of my short stint on Star Wars Galaxies, this is really my only exposure to the world of online roleplaying. So far, after playing the game for only about an hour or so, I find the game kinda "meh".

 I understand that it's only in beta at the moment and that there is probably a lot of things to be added and ironed out, so I am cutting it a bit of slack. But I can already tell that I will not be purchasing the game. I do wish it a bit of success, but I don't see it rising to the popularity level of World Of Warcraft or even City of Heroes/Villians.

Xbox 360

While I have no real hope or drive to win anything, I have enlisted in Microsoft's achievement contest. I do have a slew of 360 games that still have unearned achievements, but I just don't think I'll have the time or energy to devoted to unlocking all of the needed points to earn myself a prize. And honestly, the prizes that I qualify for aren't at all appealing to me, anyway.

When I play my 360, I mostly mess around on Marvel Ultimate Alliance and Smackdown Vs Raw 2007. I really dig Marvel Ultimate Alliance. While I'm more of a DC Comics guy myself, I still enjoy smashing things with Captain American's shield and upper cutting bad guys straight to hell with The Thing. If DC Comics heroes were featured in a game that mirrored MAA's gameplay, I'd be it's number one fan.

I'm still searching for and reading up on news on the Mass Effect and Alan Wake fronts. Sadly, these are the only 360 games that I'm really interested in playing when they hit the shelves. Fable 2 is also on that list, but who really knows when that is coming out?

DS

Haven't really done much with my Nintendo DS recently. I bought and started Hotel Dusk: Room 215 when it came out but haven't touched it since. It's a decent game from what I've experienced so far. I'll probably start it all over again when I feel up to playing it through.


That's all for me. Think I may be able to get in a few winks before work tomorrow.




Thanks for reading.

The march to 2007.

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Well, it's that time of the year again, I suppose.

Just as we are all getting used to writing one particular date on our checks or school papers, we are thrust upon a new one. This day, New Year's Eve, is the day we are to reflect on our year and examine what we are supposed to change and perhaps marvel at how much we have changed since the year before.

I would like to use this entry to catalog my year; how it started, and how it has ended.

January 1st, 2006

Job: Guitar salesman at Guitar Center in Arlington Heights

Living situation: Apartment in Rolling Meadows with roommate Jim.

Love life: A few flings here and there, but no serious relationship.

Car: 1994 Oldsmobile Acheiva

Lets see how 2006 turned out.......

December 31st, 2006

Job: Salesperson at Century Tile in Itasca

Living situation: Apartment with girlfriend in Buffalo Grove

Love life: Began dating Efthimia a month and a half into 2006

Car: Same old Olds Acheiva

Obviously, there were some highlights during 2006. Here is a list of notable occurances.

* Fired from job at Guitar Center for "using internet during company time in early March of 2006. This isn't the actual  reason I was fired, no matter who tells you. But really, that's a whole other blog entry.

* Met Efthimia in February of 2006. This is, without a doubt, the best and most life changing event of my year.

* Had a bit of a stalker incident from late November of 2005 into early-mid January of 2006. This person has seemingly changed their ways and have moved out of the state. Either way, leaving me nothing to worry about.

* Obtained a sales position at Century Tile in Itasca in November of 2006. Much better than Guitar Center in almost every way.

* Moved out of ghetto apartment in Rolling Meadows and into decent apartment in not at all ghetto Buffalo Grove. Jim and I both moved in with respective girlfriends. Everything is going very smoothly.

It's amazing how fast life changes. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worst. This year, I can definitely say things have changed for the better. And I look forward to seeing how 2007 pans out for me and everyone around me.

Happy 2007 to all. May this year find you healthy, happy, and prosperous. And if it doesn't, well, there is always next year. Besides, we both know you'll still be writing 2006 on your checks.



Thanks for reading.




The gears just aren't turnin' for me......

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I tried, I really did. For four hours, in fact.

It's not that I'm bad at the game. I'm really not. I got the controls down. I'm great at finding cover. I can frag with the best of them. But while I won't use the word hate, I will say that I really don't like Gears Of War.

Shooters are just too shallow for me. I don't find blowing things away with high powered guns fun. I need a deep story. I need to explore and find different ways to do things. All things that just aren't typical in a shooter.

With the exception of Smackdown Vs Raw 2007, I guess I'm just your typical action/adventure gamer. I like collecting items. I  like solving puzzles. And I'm a sucker for an evolving story.

Sadly, I can't return Gears Of War since it's already opened. I can, however, sell it. But I don't want to deal with Ebay and other sites like it. So I'll probably just take advantage of GameStop/EB Games $33 USD trade-in for the game and buy Final Fantasy VII and X. And I think I'll return Civil War to Best Buy and perhaps buy myself a few more DVDs. We shall see.

Ah well. At least I tried, right?



Thanks for reading.

Merry Christmas, movie house!

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For those of you who somehow don't know, the topic line for this blog is a line from "It's A Wonderful Life". Classic movie. American cable stations are playing "A Christmas Story" for 24 hours straight today. And while it's a good movie, it just doesn't beat Jimmy Stuart.

Anyway, I hope you are all having or have had a wonderful Christmas. I am sick as a dog right now (upper respitory infection, me thinks), but I am still in the Christmas spirit......even though I can't taste or smell anything. Then again, not being able to taste food is a good way to avoid those extra holiday pounds.

It's a green Christmas here in Chicago. And honestly, it doesn't really matter to me. We got spanked with a nasty blizzard in the beginning of the month and I've had it with snow in general. And with this cold/whatever this is, I'm happy to have a decent temperature to deal with.

So I bet you're wondering what I got for Christmas, aye? Well, I'll tell ya.

Video Games:
Enchanted Arms (360)
Gears Of War (360)
History Channel Presents: Civil War (360)

Movies:
Evil Dead 1&2
Army Of Darkness
The Haunting
Back To The Future Trilogy
Indiana Jones collection
Top Gun
Old School
The Exorcist collection
and more that aren't coming to mind....

A bulk of those gifts were from my beautiful girlfriend; who has been taking care of me since I've become ill on Thursday/Friday (although I'm not a complete wreck). But I got her some pretty cool stuff. We even each other out pretty well.

Well, that's about it for now. I had planned on just dropping in to say hello and miss you all a Merry Christmas (or whatever it is that you happen to celebrate), but it seems I've gotten carried away.

I'm off to overdose on vitamin C and suck on some Halls.
Take care of yourselves.


Thanks for reading.

It's Time To Pay The Bill

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Oh my. It's been quite a while hasn't it? So long that I almost forgot how to get to the "New Blog Post" screen. Yeesh.

It's been at least three months since my last blog post. "Where have I been", you ask? I've been around. I log onto GameSpot just about every 2-3 days. Some of you may have noticed that I comment in your blogs (when I have time and when I have something to actually say) and that I actually do post in some forums (again, when I have time and actually have something to say). I just haven't blogged. But don't feel like you, my GameSpot friends, are getting the short end of any sort of stick. I haven't posted anything in ANY of my blogs (3 in total). I really just haven't had the time, sadly.

So I'm here to update you on my life and.....well, games. So here we go. Grab some coffee and perhaps some reading glasses. I have no idea how long this entry is going to be.

The Alive By '85 Union
Since my last entry, the Alive By '85 Union has opened for business. Lucky for me, a majority of the officers and recruits have taken great initiative in keeping the union active during my frequent absense.

The union is slowly growing. We have around 30 members at this time and I'm receiving more applications to join everytime I log on. Sadly, most of the people applying are brand new accounts and have left their entire profile blank. Typically, I'll send those prospects a message letting them know I got their application to join and then I'd request some info from them (their date of birth being the most important). If I don't get a response from them in a week, I simply reject their application; citing an attempt to infiltrate the union.

Hopefully, I'll be able to return to more active duty on this site after the holidays and work to make the union what I've envisioned from the start. But so far, so good in my humble opinion.

New Job
Yes. I have a new job. I am now working in the sales division at Century Tile. It's a tile (ceramic, natural stone, glass, marble, etc..) store centralized here in Illinois. So far, I like it. As a newbie, I already have an upper hand in the business since I have over 3 years of sales under my belt and I've been working in the tile industry for over 12 years (and come from a family that's worked in the industry for over 80 years). Logistically, I stand to bring in over $80,000 USD in 2007, not counting bonuses.

With this new job, however, comes some longer hours. In order to make decent money at Century, I must gain a loyal client base. And in order to make good money, I need that loyal client base to consist of wealthy, busy building firms and contrators.

I'm also still co-running DesignCraft remodeling. Only now, I do all of the companies paperwork instead of field work. Ahhh. What we do for a good pay check, aye?

New Computer On The Horizon
When I moved in with my girlfriend, my computer became the office computer for the remodeling firm and her existing computer became our home computer (the same one I'm using now to communicate with you fine folks). However, this computer.......well.....it sucks.

That's the skinny of it, really. It's slow and doesn't do what either of us need it to do. These days, you can only do so much with 512MB of RAM and integrated everything. So it's time to step up and get something bigger, better, and capable.

Since I'm far from a computer genius, I have to go the route of store bought versus home built. However, I can and will go the route of customizable. I looked at Alienware since I've always heard good things about them. But they are far too expensive for what I need. And really, I don't NEED a gaming computer. Most PC games that I'm interested in are playable on the Xbox 360. I need to get on the internet and make music (recording). My girlfriend wants to use the computer for school (Powerpoint, Excel, etc..), websurfing, and those PC adventure games she loves so much.

So we're going with HP this time around. They offer the most bang for the buck, in my opinion. And they've received great reviews across the board. For those of you who are tech savvy, here is what I plan to order after the holidays:

Windows XP Media Center Edition
Intel Core 2 Duo processor E6600 2.4GHz
250GB 7200 rpm SATA 3Gb/s hard drive
LightScribe 16x DVD+/-R/RW and 16x max. DVD-ROM (secondary)
256MB NVIDIA GeForce 7600GT graphics card
Sound Blaster Audigy X-Fi (24-bit Xtreme Fidelity)


We're also getting a 22 inch widescreen monitor.

On The Gaming Front

SmackDown Vs Raw 2007 (360)
As you may recall, I originally chose not to purchase this game. But after a big sale at GameStop, I took the plunge. And for the most part, I'm not sorry I did.

At the core, it's a very well made game. Sure, it's wrestling. Sure, I don't watch wrestling. But I also don't go around a shopping mall killing zombies; yet I enjoy the heck out of Dead Rising. Okay. Bad comparison.

As good as the core gameplay is in SDvsR07, I can't get over some of the oversights made in the programming and overall design. While I can let some collision detection issues and boring in match color commentary slide, there are some things that are just inexcusable.

Why, when I do a running strike to the front of my opponent, do I get this huge **SMACK** sound; but yet when I hit them with the same move from the back, they hit the ground, but with no sound at all? Why does The Undertaker's hair clip all the way through his jacket during his entrance? Why do I walk on air after being knocked down near the left of the casket in the Buried Alive Match? How did Triple H suddenly appear ontop of the ladder after I fell off it when the last time I saw him, he was motionless on floor, outside of the ring (there is no way he's "that damn good")? Why does Hulk Hogan always have that stupid bandana on throughout his match? Why does my 99 rated CAS take 5 minutes to get up after falling from the Cell in a Hell in The Cell match, but yet Mickie James gets up after about a minute? Why did Michael Cole call me Hardcore (Holly) when I am clearly Mr. Perfect? Why is General Manager mode such a completely boring joke of an add-on?

It just seems like they spent so much time working on the extras in this game (the locker room, voice over work, the season mode storylines, the cleavage sweat.....hahaha) that they didn't have time to look over some of the things they left out. The in-match commentary consists of about 12 lines for each commentator which is repeated at least 10 times during a match.

The Xbox Live! feature is decent. It'd be better if the people that played on Live! weren't such whiny, disconnecting crybabies. What's worse is that some folks on Live! expect you to play as if it were some sort of telivised event. Who exactly are we putting on a show for? If you want storylines and 20 momentum shifts during a match, then watch it on TV. Keep it for my ranked matches. If I've got you bloody with 2-3 parts of your body in the red, you better believe I'm going for the pin. Just because I don't use my finisher on you right before I pin you doesn't make me a lamer.

Overall, it's a decent game. It's not the be all, end all of wrestling games. No Mercy still owns that title in my book. But it's fun when you have nothing else to do and just want to beat people up. And I have to admit, it's fun to hear my 14 year old opponent cry through my television when I toss his overpowered John Cena look alike through a table.

No Wii for Mii
Not yet, anyway. I didn't feel like camping out in the Chicago cold just to get my hands on a system that currently only has two games that I'm remotely interested in playing currently available.

I'm not downing Nintendo here or anything, but the hype didn't do much for me. Right now, I have a working NES and a perfectly good illegal emulator running on my computer. While it'd be cool to play those Virtual Console games on my HDTV, I just don't see the point is looking all over the place for a Wii at the moment. Not when the holidays are quickly approaching (I finished all of my Christmas shopping over three weeks ago, by the way). I'd rather see the Wii I'd purchase go to some kid rather than to me. Perhaps it'll keep that kid off of Xbox Live! or a bit. I'll be looking for a Wii after the New Year.

Werewolves of Hyrule
The one con of not owning a Wii at launch was the fact that I had to wait until mid-December to play The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Of course, I had to buy it for Gamecube. Which honestly, I didn't mind at all. Twilight Princess wasn't built from the ground up for the Wii, so I didn't mind not being able to utilize the Wiimote for all of my sword slashing needs.

I'm only about 2 hours into the game so far. What a great game. If I were to score it right now, I'd give it a 9/10. I get the same feeling I had when I first played Ocarina Of Time; and let me tell ya, it's a great feeling. If you've got a Cube, do yourself a favor and pick up this bad boy. It's not to be missed.

To PSP, or not to PSP?
Is that even a question? Well, it is for me.

I'm thinking about picking up a PSP. Mostly for the roleplaying games. I already own an MP3 player. I don't need to watch movies while I'm on the go. I just want games. But it's $200 for the PSP itself. That's a lot of dough for a little handheld system. Especially one with horrible batter life.

I still love my DS, but it seems like there is a shortage of fun games coming out for it. So I'm thinking about taking the plunge shortly after Christmas.

And recommendations? Good games? Good add-ons? Is there a better battery out there? Let me know.



Well, that's about it for now. I hope you've all been doing well.

Take care of yourselves. And......



Thanks for still reading.

Alive By '85 Union (read if you recieved message about becoming charter member)

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Hey guys,

I'm going to make this pretty short.

As you know, I have been wanting to start the Alive By '85 union for quite some time now. However, in order to do so, I had to choose 4 members to be charter members. Today, I made those selections and those of you who recieved those messages stating that you've been selected obviously know who you are.

Now, I know that Stoejer and mjcarrington have already told me that they'd like to accept the invite, so I know that I have two of the 4 charting members required to open the union. But I still need two more.

If you recieved the message asking for you to join as a charter member, GameSpot has already deemed that you are indeed eligable to do so. I am asking you to consider it.

I only need 4 to open the union. If you do not want to stay on as an officer after the union is open, I will not ask you to and you are free to demote yourself to recruit or even resign from the union all together if that's what you wish.

But please, give it some real thought. Afterall, what do you have to lose? You'll be able to start or charter another union 30 days after you help me out here. Thirty days isn't that long at all.

So again, please think about it. I think this union will be a great addition to the GameSpot community. And I need your help to get off the ground.

I will alert you all once the union is up and running.

Thanks for your time and consideration.

Cash or credit card, sir? (((WHAT HAVE I DONE!!!)))

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Hey folks.

So today is the last day of my week vacation. Actually, I was to return to work today, but I figured that things were slow enough to give myself just one more day. It's helps that I co-run the company. So here I am with a new blog.

And here she goes........


Now In Glorious High Definition

My wallet had a bit of a heartattack this past Saturday as I walked out of the Best Buy in ritzy downtown Veron Hills, Illinois. However, my wallet and I did not walk out alone.
A Sony Bravia 40 inch LCD HDTV also walked out with us.

I have never been one to impulse buy. And really, this was no different. Since buying my Xbox 360 last May, I found myself wondering exactly what it was that I was missing by playing my 360 on my 32 inch SDTV. So for the past few weekends, I'd find myself in and out of different television sales outlets looking at prices and soaking in warm high definition glow.

In between those visits, I did my fair share of research. Afterall, there is just too much to look into when going into the HD realm. Not only must you consider DLP, LCD, and plasma screens, but you also have to look at available inputs and possible A/V cable setups. And don't even get me started on contrast ratios and pixels. The nerds on the HD forums had me running in circles with all of the HDMI/DVI vs component and 720p vs 1080i debates. At one point, I considered selling all of my A/V equipment and becoming a monk! It was all too damn confusing.

But after wading through all of the hooplah, I decided that I wanted a LCD over all of the other screens. I knew that I wanted to run my HD cable broadcasts through component cables, and I decided that for now, I would only need up to 1080i for my native resolution. Saturday afternoon was supposed to be just another day of window shopping. Until I saw it.

It's like seeing your very first bike on the showroom floor as a child. You knew that it was time to take off those training wheels and step up with the big boys. And that baby was going to take you there. All of your friends has different bikes. Some had dirt bikes. Some had 10 speeds. Some rode their sister's My Little Pony bike with the pink handlebar grips (you all knew that kid). But this one.......this one would be yours.

And that Sony was mine (See!?!? I don't really hate Sony.). Sure, it didn't have the contrast 5000:1 contrast of that Samsung down there. And it didn't have dual HDMI ports. But I didn't care about that. Cnet and a variety of other sites gave the Sony a 8/10 score overall and the Samsung a 6.5/10. And even that didn't matter to me. The Sony just looked better. It sounded better. And most of all, it just felt better. It had to be mine. And with 18 month of no interest financing and $200 (USD) of immediate in-store rebates, it was mine.

Now, before you ask, I did check with my girlfriend before purchasing this set, because she would have to view it, too. In fact, she was with me when I purchased it. In fact, she was so pleased with the picture that she offered to pay for half of it (within the allowed 18 months, of course).

Setting the television up was a breeze. Perhaps the easiest home theater installation I've ever come across. Since I live in an apartment, wall mounting is not really an option as I do not wish to have my last few days in this apartment spent repairing 6 huge holes in the wall. That, and I refuse to mount anything in an exterior wall without prior knowledge of what's behind the walls. Twelve years of carpentry has taught me that. Fear not, the LCD looks great in my livingroom on it's TV stand. And the 32 inch at was once in it's place fits nicely in our bedroom.

I have to wait until Wednesday for my cable guy to drop off the HD DVR box before I can unleash this baby's full HD power. I can't wait to see House or 24 in widescreen 720p resolution. But, contrary to what most HDTV owners will tell you, standard definition broadcasts, while a bit grainy, look just fine on this set.

I will need an upconverting DVD player, though. Because my current player only outputs at 480p and looks a bit rough. But that will be remedied by this coming weekend as I have already found a great and affordable upconverting DVD player. (For those who would suggest I play my DVDs through my 360: The 360 will not display 1080i or 720p through the HD component cables; only with the VGA cables. And I have never been comfortable using video game consoles for playing DVDs after I lost a PS2 due to overuse.)

So for those of you who have wondered: YES. Everything does look better in HD. It's not all bologna. It's the real deal. Trust me. I was a skeptic once. But now I am a believer. By the time we're in a house, we plan to buy an even bigger HD that will display 1080p for the livingroom and the Sony will come into the bedroom (wall mounted). But for right now, this is where it is at. I can see clearly now, the 4:3 is gone.


Other than that......

I purchased Clubhouse Games for the Nintendo DS about a week ago and I'm going to say that it may be the best DS game I've ever played in terms of fun and replayability. It has over 40 great games (card games, parlor games, etc..) that you can play over WiFi via Friend Codes(haven't done yet) or DS to DS with a friend. Highly recommended.

I can't recommend, however, Rumble Roses XX for the Xbox 360. While the T&A might be nice for some teenage boys, the gameplay and overall presentation quickly turn it ugly. It's so mindnumbingly boring after the first time you win a singles championship that you'll find yourself not even wanting to bother continuing to unlock other charactors. And even after you do, you'll find that those charactors really aren't that great. I got the game for free through a "Buy One Get One Free" used game deal at EB Games.

The first game I bought was Tony Hawk American Wasteland for the Xbox 360. I am a passing fan of the Tony Hawk franchise and missed not having a skating game for the 360. It's a decent game, but far from "next-gen". The graphics are PS2 quality at best and the missions are either boring or horribly frustrating. But free skate is fun. And that's pretty much what I bought it for. Rumble Roses XX was a bit below the games price range, which made it free.

I downloaded Ultimate Mortal Kombat III for Xbox Live Arcade on Saturday (actually, this was the first thing I did with my Xbox after hooking it up to my new HDTV). All I can say is......I need a move list. Hahaha. I have totally forgotten EVERYTHING. I haven't played a Mortal Kombat game since I owned a Sega Genesis (read: in a long, long time). But it is fun. I thought it funny that after playing the game for only ten minutes I had unlocked 3 achievements. All in all, it's a fun game. It's of arcade difficulty, so if you're thinking that it's going to be the a ride down console arcade adaptation "Easy Street", let this be your wake up call. It's freakin' hard if you don't know what you're doing. I suppose you could say that for all games, but if you go into Mortal Kombat with only a basic knowledge of the move system and maybe even how to pull off a 5 hit combo, prepare to be schooled by the CPU. I won't even touch the multiplayer aspect of the game until I've had some practice with a move list in front of me.

And that's that. Hope you've all been well.



Thanks for reading.




Blowing out the candles.

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Hey folks.

I figured that I'd write a nice long blog entry since I have time today. And why do I have time today? Well, today is the anniversary of my 27th year on this planet (read: my birthday) and I decided to take the day off (with pay, I might add).

My girlfriend decided that she wanted to give me my birthday presents last night because she's a little kid like that. She got me a whole slew of Xbox Marketplace points, some of which I already used.


These Points Are Burning A Hole In My Pocket!
I bought the charactors from Lego Star Wars (the first one) to use in Lego Star Wars II. I was planning on buying the first game because it is backward capatable with the x360, but I thought about it and decided that my backlog of games is already too huge to add another game to it. That, and original Xbox games are kinda buggy when played on the 360.

I also bought Doom and Outpost Kaloki X on Xbox Live Arcade. I bought Doom for pure nostalgia. As I've mentioned before, I'm not a FPS fan by any means. But I cut my teeth in that genre with Doom and thought it'd be cool to play it online with some buddies. And I'm a big fan of business sims, so Outpost Kaloki X fills that void for me on the 360.

I still have over 3,000 points remaining. I think I'm going to save them until I see some more content for The Godfather (EA has promised some content in November).

May The Force Be With You.......Finally.
I have recently unpacked all 345 of my DVDs. I own a little bit of everything, but I do own all of the classics. Be it Bogart movies, cult favorites, recent epics, horror movies, or just your usual suspects (Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, Die Hard, etc..). My girlfriend hasn't seen many of the movies I have now displayed in our living room. And to my surprise, she was very interested in seeing one series of movies in particular.

In her 26 years, she has managed to not see any of the Star Wars films. While I have been aware of this fact since very early on in our relationship, I never forced her to sit down and watch one. I'm not that sort of guy.

Not only did she want to watch them ALL, but she wanted to watch them according to the way they were originally released. She wanted to experience them the same way everyone else in our age group has; episodes IV-VI and then episodes I-III. And that's exactly the way we watched them.

We watched one movie from the series per night for nearly a week. She loved them. I'd go further into what she liked the most, but I'd really rather not spoil the movie for anyone that may be reading this who has yet to see them.

Next, we are moving onto the Nightmare On Elmstreet and Friday The 13th boxsets to help get us in the spirit for this coming Halloween.


You Can't Do That On Television
If you have cable television, you are most likely aware of a channel called G4 (formerly Tech TV). G4 used to be completely dedicated to video games. It was such a cool station when I started watching it back in 2002. But something has happened. Like MTV before it, the station has gone from showing programming that suited it's main purpose to something completely different in order to fill the needs of the "mainstream".

This past weekend I caught one of G4's "mainstream" shows called Attack Of The Show. Now, you'll have to pardon my ignorance, but in the United States, we have this television rating system in place to let parents know what is suitable for their children to view. It's much like the movie ratings with a few exceptions (TV ratings: TVE, TVG, TVPG, TV14, TVR, TVMA). I say "pardon my ignorance" because I'm not sure as to whether or not this system is in place through the globe.

Anyway, Attack of The Show is rated TVPG. However, during the 30 minutes that I watched the program, they covered these topics:

Why Asian Women Are So Loud In Bed
Sex Advice (which included how to perform oral sex and information on sex toys)

They also made several mentions to "boobs and asses" and lots of other sexual innuendo completely unfitting for the "PG" audience to be hearing.

Now, I am not in any shape or form of the Jack Thompson mindset. Freedom of speech is something I hold dear. But I do think that the ratings board really needs to re-think their final judgement when it comes to this show. I don't even think you could give it a "TV14" rating. I'm pretty sure that it may call for a "TVR".

Have any of you folks seen Attack Of The Show? If so, let me know what you think of it's rating. Keep in mind that "The A-Team" also shares a "TVPG" rating.


I Need A Hero
Unless you're blind, you know that NBC has recently debuted a show called "Heroes" about three weeks ago. In case you haven't, check out TV.com and take a look and then come back and read some more.

Okay. Now, I really wanted to like this show. I've been excited about it since I first heard of it back in May. But, try as I may, I really don't like it. The series is plagued by bad acting from several charactors, and some horrible stereotypical super hero cliches that are just too hard to swallow.

They are trying way too hard to develop each of the show's many charactors in a very short amount of time. The end result is a jumpy, boring, poorly directed train wreck that is better suited for the UPN audience. The show did get picked up for a full season, but I don't see it making it into next year's lineup.

Thankfully, I still have House M.D. and 24 to fall back on when I feel like switching on the tube.

Coming Soon To A Union Board Near You
I'm going to make this portion short and to the point.

I aim to open the Alive By '85 Union for business next week since I am going to be on vacation (not going anywhere, just not working for a full week) However, I need the following things:

*Two more founding officers---You don't need to stay on as officers after the union is open if you don't wish to. I only need two more people to get this train moving. Message me if you can help me out in this matter.

*A union banner/picture---Anyone good with Photoshop is welcome to give it a go. Message me if you're interested.

*Members---If you have friends here on GameSpot that were born on or before the year 1985, let them know about the union.

That's pretty much it as far as the union goes.


Mini Q&A
Given the fact that I only have one question to answer and that I may not have the time to dedicate to a full blown Written Q&A Blog, I have decided to answer the one question that I do have here. And here it is:

TheCritic9392 asks.....

What influenced you to become a vegetarian? Your girlfriend? Animal Rights?

It's sort of a long story, but I'll shorten it up a bit.

In 2001, I broke up with my former fiance and moved in with my father, who is battling lupus. Due to his illness, he was forced to go on a special diet that restricted him from eating any and all animal proteins. Since there was never any meat in the house, and because I didn't want to tempt him by bringing it home for myself, I rarely ate meat.

When I moved out the following year, I found that I felt ill when I ate red or white meat. My doctor told me that this was due to my body rejecting meat because I hadn't eaten it much during the prior year. She told me that I could either slowly reintroduce meat into my diet again or simply stop eating it all together.

After thinking about it, I realized that I no longer really liked meat anyway. So I just stopped eating it. I searched through various vegetarian websites and after consulting with my doctor, began taking calcuim and protein supplements in order to replace the nutrients I was no longer getting by not eating meat.

I've been this way for about 3 years now and I feel really good. My girlfriend and the rest of my family still eats meat (they are italian, afterall), but they all respect my decision. Animal rights has nothing to do with it.



And that's it for me. Hope you are all well.



Thanks for reading.






My Big Fat Greek Blog Entry

by on
Hey folks.

WOW! What a busy weekend.

This Saturday I attended my girlfriend's female cousin's wedding. So those of you who don't know, my girlfriend is 100% greek, as is her cousin. So the wedding was in traditional Greek Orthodox style; complete with the long, drawn out wedding ceremony and drunken reception immediately following. I, however, remained sober. Sometimes you just don't feel like hitting the bottle.

It was my first greek wedding and I have to say, having been raised in a Roman Catholic family, that their way of doing things is much more pleasant than the way I am used to. I can feel myself getting on a religious tangent here, so I am going to end it here by simply stating: I had a nice time.

And now, onto the meat and potatoes of this post (just potatoes for me, please. I am a vegetarian, afterall.).


Grunts, Groans, and Gripes

Wii love add-ons.....no we don't
Does anyone remember when you bought a gaming console, you got two contollers, all of the AV cables you needed (in most cases), and perhaps even a free game?

I'm sure you noticed that I used the name Wii in the title of mini-rant, but I assure you, I am not singling Nintendo out here. Every next gen system is guilty of giving the consumer the short end of the stick. However, I expected Nintendo to do a little bit more this time around.

The Wii is supposed to introduce non-gamers to the wonderful world that we here all enjoy. So you would think that it would be immediately accessable to the family right out of the box, right? Well, it isn't with only one controller and nunchuck. In order to play a game with your grandmother, you're going to have to convince granny to go out and drop an additional $60 (in the States) so that she can play.

Obviously, this is just one example. At least the Wii is coming to us at a fraction of the price of the Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony's Playstation 3. And it's actually coming with a free game (Wii Sports). I, for one, would have gladly an extra $25 or so for an extra controller in the box with the console.

The real kick in the teeth is, most of the add-ons are nearly essential to enjoy the consoles and are almost always immediately available upon system launch. Microsoft had their wireless adaptor ready to ship with the system but held back a bit before releasing it just to make a few extra bucks. And who knows what the PS3 will hold back on the masses (or lack there of) when it launches in November.

As one who can afford all three systems, this doesn't anger me so much. But just the fact that they CAN give the consumers what they need, but don't, angers me a bit. And that's my piece on that.

I Can See You! Oh......Gross.
I decided to play some Uno on Xbox Live on Friday and the experience nearly caused me to lose my lunch.

As many of you x360 owners know, the Xbox Live Vision Camera has hit the shelves recently. And while I think it's great that this new piece of technology is out and marvel at what the camera owners can now use it for (in game face transfer, movement control, personalized GT pics, etc..), I believe that some should really be mindful of their surroundings and what the are wearing before turning that sucker on and subjecting the community to the horror that is their visage.

In one game, I was playing with a 20-something year old camera user. He was slightly overweight, had some balding going on (nothing wrong with either of those features), was wearing a basketball jersey and some very loose gym shorts.

He apparently doesn't take losing at Uno too well, as his body language told all too well. And here is where I was nearly horrified into a coma. Remember those loose gym shorts I mentioned? Well, lets just say that another part of him wanted to tell us all how unfair it was that he recieved a Wild Draw Four, and "it" came out to yell at us all.

As per my usual luck, no one in the game had a microphone enabled (nor did I) to tell him that another "member" had entered the game. So I was forced to just quit. I then marked the accidental flasher as "Prefer to Not Play. EVER" and went on to a different game.

Trust me, I'm very comfortable with my sexuality and have no problem with the human body, but I honestly didn't want my leisure video game time suddenly interupted by spontanious amatuer adult entertainment.

I have no idea if I can disable the camera feeds from being shown while I'm in game, but you can bet I'm going to figure something out soon.

Hoocked On Fonix Werkeded 4 Me!
I remember the days when bad spelling on the internet was just a result of not paying attention in school. But now it seems that it's just an "in-crowd" trend.

The words "teh" and "pwn" seriously need to come to an end. They were cute for a while........who am I kidding? No they weren't. Not in the slightest. They both were (and I fact checked this) typos that someone got out to the masses and make us all just a bit more stupid for viewing them.

Friends and zombies agree: The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Waste (but not to taste)


New WWE Demo Shows Me No Mercy

I must admit that I have not been a professional wrestling fan since the glory days of Hulk Hogan, Randy "Macho Man" Savage, and Jake "The Snake" Roberts. However, I did enjoy playing a few wrestling games since those days, and I most enjoyed (and still own) THQ's WWF No Mercy for the Nintendo 64.

After reading all of the great things my friend NeoJedi (Denis, if you're nasty) had to say about the upcoming x360 title, Smackdown vs Raw 2007, I had to give the recently released demo a shot. All I have to say is: If it ain't broke, don't break it.

I realize that this is the next gen and that THQ has drastically changed the control forumal for the wrestling game genre since No Mercy, but I really do miss the simplistic nature of No Mercy's controls when playing the one allowed match in SDvsR07 (or however you wish to abbreviate it). I understand that analog stick controling is all the rage these days on the x360 (and other platforms), but couldn't it be a bit more forgiving?

You only have a split second chance to do a move reversal (of which you are prompted to do on the screen....if you have Spidey vision and can actually catch the command message) which immediately causes you to go into a fit of button mashing not seen in a video game since the days of Super Smash TV.

Attempting to postion and execute a simple suplex was like performing advanced heart surgery due to the highly sensitve controls and even if you did manage to position your opponent for the suplex, 9 times out of 10, he reverse it and smash you into bits before finally performing his finishing move.

I really wanted to like this game. I really did. I read that it is destined to be the No Mercy thunder stealer, but I personally would rather go back to my N64 than shell out $60 in November just to frustrate myself. Then again, perhaps the demo's difficulty was set higher than I would have liked. I'm not sure of this as I could not see what the difficulty was set at in the options menu.

I will definitely rent this title before completely writing it off. But for right now, I'm going to eliminate this game from the Royal Rumble of games I plan to purchase this holiday season.


I had planned to give an in depth report/review on The Godfather (x360) in this entry, but I realize that I have gone on a little too long as it is. Perhaps that it better saved for a future entry.

So that's all she wrote for me. Hope you are all well.




Thanks for reading.