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FernandoDANTE Blog

Braces away

Three years later, I no longer have braces on my teeth. Feels very good. About ******* time, if I may add.

Also, I'm now writing for Antiquiet, which is an awesome music website that you should totally check out:

Cya later, Gamespotters!

How long has it been?

Almost six months, I reckon! Probably the longest I've stayed without updating here. So, here's the deal, no b*******: Last time I posted, I said I'd post here "occasionally". No, not anymore - just too lazy. So, thinking of that, I thought it would be nice to link my twitter account here:

I update it regularly, and would be very pleased to see some of you tracking me over there. I would also like to track you guys.

Anyway, a lot has changed in my life:

-First of all, the last time I posted here, I had a job at the Roads Department of my city, as a Law School intern. In October, I got fired from that job, seeing as there was really no need for me to be there - there were two interns, and almost no work to do, so they cut me. While the pay was good, I wasn't really learning anything there, so it turned out to be a good thing to get fired. The reason I say that is because, 20 days later, I got an intern position at a Law Firm;

-This new job at the Law Firm doesn't pay as well, but I am learning lots of things I wouldn't ever learn inside a ****oom. And that's the main thing to worry about when you are an intern: learning;

-I flunked one subject in College. Out of 160 sophomore students, 60 flunked on said subject;

-I was going to see Nine Inch Nailsin Brazil, but they canceled. Now, Radioheadare playing here in March, and I'm seeing them;

-I am totally hooked on Steam. Playing lots of Left 4 Dead and Team Fortress 2. If you wanna play some time, add me on Steam (username FernandoDANTE), we'll talk;

-I reviewed Bioshock! First review in just over 2 years. Wow, huh?

Cya later, Gamespotters!!!

PS: GameSpot still hasn't fixed the whole problem with the words "****" and "****"? That bug is, what, 3 years old? Way to go. I couldn't even link my review to Bioshock on this post. Just scroll down to the bottom of my profile and check it out.

Birthday Post

I won't even try to apologize for taking so unbelievably long to update here. I said I'd be back soon, but I didn't do that. I know, I've been lazy. But the thing is, I don't have that much of a reason to post here anymore. As you know, I fell out of love with Gamespot after Jeff and Alex left the staff. Also, I started having more of a social life in College, which means I had more people to talk to. This led me to finding out one of the things I loved so much about this place: it was one of the best ways I could talk to people about things going on in my life. Now, I have the chance to do that in person, with many people. Of course I still like you guys, but the urge to write on this blog just isn't there anymore. Yes, I will post occasionally.

So, anyway, here's what's new:

1- I saw Muse live! I went to São Paulo on a bus ride with a bunch of other Muse fans, and it was a fantastic experience. The concert was awesome. Here's a video, and a couple of pics:

2- I had a great birthday today, with one of the best cakes I've had in my life. I got a nice watch from my uncle, and a trip to see Nine Inch Nails in October from my parents.

3- I'm going to see NIN live!!! Here's a sample of what I'll be seeing.

Well, I hope to see you guys soon. I'm not making any promises, but maybe this new look GS just got might be a reason to post here. OR, I could go to blogspot, something like that, and start over. Would you still follow my blog if I did that?

Cya later, Gamespotters!!!

Two Months = Too Much

Wow. I think I'm breaking a record here. My last entry on this blog was posted on February 2, almost two months ago. That's a lot of time without posting. Trust me, I did have a lot of things to post about - but, as usual, couldn't bring myself to actually writing it. I'll fill you in on the big stuff, not going into too much detail:

-First of all, my Summer Vacation was awesome. What I usually enjoy the most about vacation is staying up until (very late), all by myself in my room, doing one of three things: playing games, listening to music, or talking on MSN. The first of those things was made extremely pleasurable by The Orange Box; the second was improved by my iPod; and the third was a very enjoyable experience thanks to a certain friend who would, on several occasions, login around midnight and talk to me til 5AM, never running out of subjects. Overall, I had a fantastic time, and it had a perfect closure...;

-...because Deep Purple played in Curitiba again, on the last Saturday of Summer Vacation. I was at the same hotel, and, as I've told you before, I'm friends with Don Airey, their keyboardist. I'll have to summarize the story, but the concert was fantastic, and I had one of the greatest experiences of my life, just talking to those legendary musicians. The highlight was probably after the concert, back at the hotel: the band went to the bar, and this great Eric Clapton DVD was playing on the TV. It was cool to see how much attention they were paying to the DVD, trying to figure out who all the musicians were (when the credits were rolling, I heard someone saying, "I know that bass player, I played with him before!"). I had a great talk with Don about bands he's played in, and Brazilian artists he's into. I almost felt ashamed that he knew Elis Regina much better than me. Don is just an amazing guy to talk to. Slowly, they started going up to their rooms, and the last ones on the bar were me, mom & dad, and Roger Glover. Roger sat down with us and we had this fantastic, philosophical conversation. I had no idea he was so nice, and so awesome. Sunday morning, Don asked the band to take a picture with the three of us. The whole experience is still kinda unbelievable for me;

-I got a job! My very first job! I work as an intern at the DER (Departamento de Estradas e Rodagens), which I guess I could poorly translate as "Traffic Department". Since I'm a Law student, I have to register the lawsuits that go through the place. It's a nice job. Not too hard;

-I bought Audiosurf, and it was worth every penny. What a wonderfully addictive game! And it feels so good to dethrone people! My username is FernandoDANTE - if you play it, add me to your friends list, will ya?;

-College is doing pretty good. I've got 5 subjects this year (as opposed to the 7 I had last year), and none of them seem to be "useless" (as opposed to two useless subjects I had last year);

-The Black Keys are releasing their new album today, which I've pre-ordered. The Raconteurs released their new album last week, and it rocks. Nine Inch Nails released their new album recently, and it's amazing;

-Juno is a perfect movie. Not the best movie ever, but a perfect movie.

Cya later, Gamespotters!!!

15 Hours = 90 Hours?

So, I finally beat Okami. The word "finally" should be highlighted with as many colorful markers as possible.

It's not just the fact that I started playing this game in 2006, and went through a long hiatus, only to start playing it again this summer. It's the fact that, once I picked it up again, I expected to finish the game in less than a week or so. As it turns out, it took me around 2 weeks of extreme playing, from midnight until around 4, 5 AM, almost every night. When I came back from the beach, I had played the game for 20 hours, and figured it would take another 20 to beat the game, as I recalled some reviewer saying that it would take "over 30 hours to beat Okami". That's because I like to take my time with games.

In case you don't know, Okami is an action/adventure game, and that type of game usually doesn't last very long. Anything over 20 hours is very generous for an action/adventure game. However, Okami proved to be much longer than the 40 hours I expected it to last. The game took me 90 hours to finish it. That's really, really long. Longer than a lot of RPG's I've played in the past.

I have to say, I was quite pleased with the game - and its length. While the game does take around 20 hours to pick up and actually become entertaining, the quest is consistently surprising after that. Based solely on gameplay, sound, and graphics, I'd say Okami is a good game - not great, just good. Once you get past the novelty, it's still amazing, but just not as amazing as you may have expected. Fortunately, those 90 hours turn this otherwise-good adventure into a fantastic, epic journey. Okami earns points by sheer longevity, something you rarely see in games these days. The fact that it just keeps going on, and on, and on is what makes it great. And it's not tiresome like Dragon Quest VIII.

After that long game, I figured it would be nice to play something shorter, more action-oriented. The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay was the way to go. I'm sure you've all heard great things about it, but you have to play this game to find out just how amazingly awesome it is. Some say it's short - I think it's just the right length. Probably took me about 15 hours to beat it, and every one of those hours were just delicious.

So, beating these two games brings me to new conclusions about the longevity of games. I learned that dragging on a good game for a long time can turn it into a great game, as was the case with Okami; while I also found out that not extending an awesome game can work for the best - it's like an album with no filler.

Anyway, onto KOTOR.

Cya later, Gamespotters.

Cya later, Alex!

Alex Navarro, one of GameSpot's best, is no longer working for this website.

He was an awesome writer. What more can I say? Why should I waste your time with my words when you could be watching the action-packed video review for 24: The Game? Better yet, go have a look at Alex Navarro's insight into the process of writing a review (for a really bad game). Also, I bet you haven't seen the Big Rigs video review enough times.

Oh, he also wrote, like, 700 reviews here. If you visit this website often, it's impossible that you haven't seen at least one of Alex's reviews.

And no matter how much I disagree with them (about 95%), the man deserves a lot of credit for his year-end top 50 albums lists - and top 100 for 2007, which is even more impressive.

So, Alexis Alexander Navarro (if that is, indeed, your real name), I wish you the best of luck on future endeavors. While it is very sad that this website is left without yet another of my favorite reviewers, it's not like you're disappearing forever. I'll make sure to follow your blog.

Now, without Greg, Carrie, Jeff, and Alex (and these are just the ones I care about the most), the only reason for me to keep coming back to this website is my blog and the GS community. While I still have belief in this website's editorial team, it's not the same anymore. Sure, I'll still read stuff around here, but I think it won't be half as fun as it was before.

Yes, that's Navarro on my avatar.

Cya later, Gamespotters!!!

Back From The (Old) Bar

After 4 days, I'm back from the Barra Velha beach. It was an ok week, and I'll give you a quick summary of each day:

Friday: We arrived at the apartment before noon. It was a hot, sunny day. After unpacking, we traveled to Laranjeiras, a fairly nearby town with a beach much, much better than the one in Barra Velha - the water is clear and calm. I'm not a big fan of beaches, but I figured that I had to take at least one swim during this trip, so the Laranjeiras water was the one to go for. After that, it was off to the also nearby town of Camboriú. Camboriú is a highly developed city, which caused the beach to become somewhat overpopulated. However, the rest of the city is still great, even if you just want to walk around. Not to mention the beautiful women that pass by. We happened to find this great lobster restaurant, and ordered a shrimp course, which was absolutely fantastic. Never before had I eaten such large shrimp (especially not in such great abundance). I bought The Mars Volta's Frances The Mute at the mall. It was something of an impulse buy, but I don't regret it. Dad got Deep Purple's Fireball. As we headed back to Barra Velha, it started raining. The weather was still very warm, despite all the rain. I spent the night listening to Frances The Mute and some other stuff on my iPod. The night was hot and unpleasant.

Saturday: Now, I'll be completely honest with you: I don't really like Barra Velha as a whole. While the apartment we get to stay at is really nice, the beach and the city don't have that much to offer. As you may remember, the last time I went there, I spent most of the time inside my room, enjoying a combination of Resident Evil 4, the sound of waves outside, and Queens of the Stone Age's Lullabies to Paralyze playing in my head over and over again. It was a really good match, especially at night. While it may sound insane to go to a seaside apartment and spend all the time gaming, it's something I enjoy very much. And the less heat, the better. If you take that into consideration, than this was a most pleasant stay for me, because Saturday was a day filled with rain and very strong wind. I finally got back into Okami and listened to more music on my iPod - thanks to the PS2's USB port, which I used to recharge the iPod.

Sunday: Just about the same as Saturday: lots and lots of wind and rain, I played more Okami, listened to more music. Mom & dad were doing crossword puzzles, and sometimes I joined in. While I was enjoying myself, I was sad because my family wasn't able to properly enjoy the beach, and there was hardly anything else to do. We were having fun together, though. Dad considered leaving a day later in order to get at least one sunny day, but thought the weather just wouldn't get any better, so we started packing.

Monday: The day we left turned out to be the sunniest of all 4 days. Ha! Anyway, we went to a mall in Curitiba. I bought Mark Lanegan's Bubblegum, dad bought Rainbow's Live In Munich 1977 DVD. Now, here's something about me you probably don't know: for me, going to the mall is an exercise in being lonely as ****. Whenever I'm at a mall, whether it's at the movies or just walking around, I always see cute couples, which reminds me that...well...I'm not in a couple. And when there are no couples around, I remind myself that I'm not approaching girls to ask them out. It's not a very pleasant feeling, especially when I go to the mall alone, in some sad attempt to try to prove that I'm ok with not having a girlfriend. Anyway, while I was at the arcade, I saw this very cute redhead walking around all by herself. The time seemed appropriate, so...I invited her to play air hockey. She accepted. We played a nice game, we laughed...damn, she was so beautiful...*ahem*, the match was tied at 4x4. I was playing it easy, but somehow I won. After the game was over, I approached her, and asked something like "so, you wanna play anything else?" She replied with a polite "No. But thanks!", smiled, and walked away. Just like that. Do I feel bad about it? No way! If only because, a few seconds later, I saw her walking around with someone who probably should've been there the whole time. You see, she was now holding hands with her boyfriend.

It was an ok trip. Well...sorta. I'm finally beating Okami, I got a couple of great CD's, and I reaffirmed the fact that I have a supernatural ability to find girls who already have boyfriends - only I'll be the last one to notice it.

Cya later, Gamespotters!!!

The Old Bar

I just wanted to tell you that my family & I are going to the beach tomorrow - Barra Velha, to be more specific -, and we'll be staying there for the weekend; Monday, we spend the day in Curitiba. You probably wouldn't even notice, since it's just a few days, but this means I won't be posting any comments on your blogs until Tuesday.

On a side note, I recently beat Half-Life 2: Episode One. It was fantastic, and some portions of it arguably surpass Half-Life 2. Too bad it's so short. Anyway, I started playing Episode 2, but it was running very slow on my PC. I guess my 512 MB of RAM don't hold up that well with the most recent games. Time to get an extra 1 GB?

(If you wanna know what the title of this entry is about, read the Barra Velha article).

Cya later, Gamespotters!!!

Orange is the Color

So, I got my GeForce 6800 XT last Thursday, and I've been playing The Orange Box ever since.

Am I the only one who thinks this is one of the greatest deals in the history of gaming? I could see Valve easily releasing all the new content (Episode Two, Team Fortress 2, Portal) and asking 50 bucks for it - but no, they decided to include Half-Life 2 and Episode One!!! Does it get any better than this?

Anyway, I beat Half-Life 2 after 4 days of some rather extreme gaming. I can hardly express just how amazing of a game it is. It's like a really long, really excellent sci-fi movie that you get to play instead of watch. I also beat Portal in one sitting (took me about 4 hours). Next up are Episodes One & Two. My Internet connection can't handle Team Fortress 2 properly.

Cya later, Gamespotters!!!

A Short Retrospective

Don't worry, I shall post no self-indulgent, excessively long retrospective this year.

I just wanna say that 2007 was fantastic. My freshman year at Law School was a very pleasant surprise. I met some awesome people, made new friends, and had a great time. I look forward to the next 4 years of College.

Unfortunately, I didn't spend much time gaming throughout 2007. Early this year, while I was still on vacation, I did play a good amount of Guitar Hero I & II, and an obscene amount of Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. Later, I played the game that I consider to be Game of The Year, God of War II. Ok, so I haven't played current-gen games in 2007...but that doesn't take away from the fact that God of War II is a masterpiece, one of the greatest games ever released for the PS2. The other "big" game I played on my PS2 was Guitar Hero III, which was ok - superb tracklist, but too hard. Once I got my new PC, I started playing old games that were on my backlog. Those games were: Freedom Fighters, System Shock 2, Star Wars Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Knight, Half-Life (and its two expansions), and Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne. All of them were fantastic.

As for music, I'm very glad I saw Roger Waters playing The Dark Side of the Moon, and I think the album of the year one of these three: Queens of the Stone Age's Era Vulgaris, Nine Inch Nails' Year Zero, and Radiohead's In Rainbows. I can't bring myself to rank them, sorry. Oh, and The White Stripes' Icky Thump was very good as well...but I didn't like it as much as those other three albums. I also became further addicted to Muse. And I recently discovered just how good The Smashing Pumpkins were.

Movies? Well, nothing too special this year, but Beowulf was a lot of fun, Superbad was really funny, The Bourne Ultimatum felt like the best one in the series, Flags of our Fathers was dazzling, and Tropa de Elite is probably the best Brazilian movie I've ever seen. I know I'm forgetting something here...

Anyway, this was a good game here at Gamespot, mostly thanks to you guys, my great friends. Thank you very much for your friendship, I appreciate it very dearly. If it weren't for you, I would've left after all the crap that happened to this site in 2007 (mostly the stupid score system and Jeff being fired). It's been almost 4 years since I joined this site (3 years since I started blogging) and I don't plan on leaving anytime soon.

I wish you a fantastic 2008. May you have a wonderful year with health, happiness, success, and all that is good.

Cya later, Gamespotters!!!