Something in the Sea
Game Review: BioShock
First Impressions: BioShock
Shock to the System
E3 Wrap and my Wishlist
It's been a month since I've been a paying subscriber to Warhammer Online. So, in return, and in order for them to bolster the number of their players, they gave me six 10-Day trial keys to give away. Warhammer Online is a fun game, especially the player vs. player content, and that's coming from me who prefers a single-player RPG over MMORPG. So, if you're interested in playing the game. Just leave me a comment with your e-mail address (Don't worry, I won't post your e-mail address here) so I can send you a key.
Bonus: The first one to ask for a key will also get a guest pass to play Team Fortress 2.
The Fourth War
First Impressions: Lord of the Rings Online
Besides knowing about Mastodon's latest album, it's been a month since I did my regular routine of tracking down new music. So, in order to catch up, I visited various music websites last Saturday and was met with a flurry of A+ album reviews. Just when I thought that nothing good was out, and that I can save my money, a plethora of excellent music have sprung up this spring. So, instead of saving cash, I actually overspent ordering five full albums over at Amazon.
The CDs that I ordered were Hymn to the Immortal by Mono, Why There are Mountains by Cymbals Eat Guitars, Now We Can See by The Thermals. All of three aforementioned bands and albums are really good. Especially Mono, which is a Japanese post-rock band. However, my favorite is definitely Bromst by Dan Deacon, a genius electronica artists, and Two Suns by Bat for Lashes.
Bat for Lashes
The lineup for Lollapalooza 2009 was finally revealed today, and all I can say about it is: WOW! I know that the festival always had a great list of performers ever since its reincarnation here in Chicago. But this current lineup is the best I've seen. I mean, Tool -my favorite band in the world- is a headliner. Just them alone would make me watch the festival. Then I also got my wish because TV on the Radio and Animal Collective are also included in the lineup. To me, these three bands are already worth the $200.
In addition, Depeche Mode is going to be there too. It's going to be a "Black Celebration" with them around. Then there's Coheed and Cambria, another favorite band of mine (their vocalist is also one of my favorite comic book writer). Two of my newly discovered artists, Dan Deacon and Bats For Lashes, will be there too. Other awesome performers like Fleet Foxes, Santigold, No Age, Of Montreal and Neko Case will be there as well. So it'll be an awesome event.
The event, however, is like a double-edged sword. It makes me really excited because of the great lineup. But it also makes me want to cry because it's so expensive. If I ever go, my expenses will be like $200 Ticket + (Beer + Chicago Sales Tax) + (Food + Chicago Sales Tax) + (Deodorant + Chicago Sales Tax) = Bankruptcy. So, right now, I'm going on a hunger strike until I accrue an amount of $700 by June 5.
Anyways, if you guys are unfamiliar with the bands I've mentioned above, you can listen to the songs of all the artists in the lineup by clicking here.
Pitchfork Festival '09: Artists Lineup
Lollapalooza 2008: Lineup Announced
When Bethesda Softworks acquired the rights of the Fallout game franchise from Interplay, a lot of people from the Fallout community -both fans and some developers- were outraged. But now, in an unexpected move, probably to appease the crowd that were pissed off and to pay homage to the game's original creators, Bethsoft is teaming up with Obsidian Entertainment to develop a new Fallout game, Fallout: New Vegas. Here's some snippet about the announcment:
Bethesda Softworks announced that Obsidian Entertainment is developing a brand-new Fallout game titled Fallout: New Vegas, to release next year on PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.Man, this is probably the best PC RPG news I've heard since BioWare announced Star Wars: Knights of the Republic. Now I'm totally psyched and can't wait to hear more about it. I'm definitely putting all Fallout: New Vegas on my Google Alert. And Bethsoft...they're getting much love from me right now. Much love.
"It's not Fallout Tactics -- it's not Brotherhood Of Steel. It's another Fallout game," said Hines. "It has no impact on what [Bethesda Game Studios game director] Todd Howard and his guys are planning."
A number of Obsidian staff are veterans of Black Isle's original Fallout games. The company's CEO, Feargus Urquhart, was instrumental in founding Black Isle, and served as its director. - Gamasutra
I'm feeling kinda lazy today, and also out of time because of Warhammer Online. So I'm going to write a break-neck speed review here.
8.4 of 10
This issue reminds me a lot of the classic Deadpool books. Everything from his bouts with Taskmaster and to being in love -this time with Yelena Belova, the second Black Widow and leader of the Thunderbolts. So, as usual, there are tons of laughs and wittiness to be had with the theme, as well as gunpowder and explosion. The only thing I didn't like about the book is that the Thunderbolts are acting nuts as much as Deapool.
Uncanny X-Men # 507
7.0 of 10
I've been enjoying the Uncanny X-Men since their move to San Francisco. They're much more down to earth (no space or dimension faring) and are dealing with local problems such as hate groups or taking in refugees. The only thing I don't like about the book is that there are way too many things going on in every issue, spreading each book thin. But what got me excited about this issue, in particular, is the return of Psylocke. Yup, the psychic ninja, the British chick trapped inside a hot Asian body is finally back.
The Walking Dead #60
7.8 of 10
The Walking Dead is always a good balance of action and drama. That's why I like it because it doesn't remain stagnant. In this issue, it's more of action than drama and character study. Rick and their group stumbled upon a zombie herd, the biggest one they've seen. So that made them run...again. So Dale, one of the longest surviving characters in the book and a friend of Rick, is doubting Rick's capability to lead this time. But other than the running around and Dale's character shift, this issue actually got me bored.
8.0 of 10
This issue is the first of the Great Fables Crossover story arc. I'm not pretty sure about what the whole arc is about but, with Jack spilling in the magic beans, the Fables are finally going to meet their makers, the very writers who created them, the Literals. Plus, the fight between Bigby and Beast is one hell of a spectacle.
Secret Warriors #3
9.0 of 10
One thing about this series is that it's consistently strong and, under Johnathan Hickman, I don't see it buckling anytime soon. The young heroes in the book are developing nicely. Especially after they were defeated during their first combat with Gorgon, one of the ruling council of HYDRA. You'd even see Nick Fury in a different shade in this issue, an old veteran who had lost everything. Then there's also the new HYDRA, which is now more menacing and ruthless than ever. This book is definitely one of the best Marvel titles that came out in years. So be sure to pick this one up if you like comics.
Comics Bundle: 03.25.09 Pt. 2
Comics Bundle: 03.25.09 Pt. 1
Comics Bundle: 02.18.09 Pt.2
Comics Bundle: 02.18.09 Pt.1
Comics Bundle: 01.21.09
Electronic gaming is a pretty young entertainment industry. Hence, like the all the entertainment industries that preceded it (rock music, comics, movies), it's misunderstood by many, vilified and considered as a complete waste of time. For the most part, I agree, it is a waste of time. But so's reading books or watching films. It doesn't mean you're productive if you're reading Harry Potter or watching Transformers. It doesn't mean you're cultured if you're reading Anna Karenina or watching Lawrence of Arabia. I know what I said are fighting words. But what I meant is that it's really up to the audience to harvest something out of what they're reading or watching.
So, with that said, you can also harvest something out of gaming as well, and here are some of the things that you can gain out of playing games:
Gaming won't teach you rocket science...not yet, at least. But you can certainly pick up and learn a variety of subjects from gaming.
The biggest example of this is the Aurora Toolset -a kit bundled with the game Neverwinter Nights that allows players to create their own adventures- which was used by various teaching institutions as a learning tool. University of Texas at Austin used the toolset to create a game entitled Rhetorical Peaks, which allows students in freshmen-level rhetoric and writing class to practice their rhetoric skills that they've learned throughout the semester. The Education Arcade, founded by MIT, also used the toolset to teach American History by allowing students to experience the daily social, political and econimic lives of Colonial America through their module Revolution.
Four years ago, if somebody told me that this blog will reach a 500 post mark I would definitely laugh at them. It's not easy for me to stick to a productive hobby, or something that is free, and run with it for a long time. But here we are, my blog in its 500th post. That's quite an achievement for myself.
As for my readership, and to the people in my blog roll, thank you. I know you guys probably don't know what I'm talking about 70% of the time. Because my music and books aren't the kind that people usually like. Then, there's also the comics and gaming, which most of you don't do. So thank you for sticking around.
Crack The Skye by Mastodon
8.7 of 10
Buy this album from Amazon
Download this album from Amazon
Mastodon is one of the best metal bands that came out during this decade. I know I’ve mentioned this too many times but I can’t stress it enough. The band’s musicianship has awed me ever since the first time I’ve heard them, four years ago. The magnitude of their style and technicality is just so broad that they’ve managed to produce three amazing albums, each with a different kick, that had out done each other. Now, almost three years since Blood Mountain, Mastodon returns with their fourth studio album, Crack The Skye.
If you listen to Mastodon’s entire oeuvre, from Remission to Blood Mountain, you’ll know that the band is always reshaping their music on every album, trying to one up their previous work with the current. Such is also the case with Crack The Skye. But the change of their music in this album might leave a lot of fans enraged. Because, in Crack The Skye, Mastodon eschewed most of the bells and whistles that made their past albums mind blowing, leaving us with a highly produced record that is a step down from their heavy sound.
I, however, love Crack The Skye. It's true that the screams and growls of vocalist, Troy Sanders, were minimized and replaced with clean, melodic vocals. Even the the complexities of the guitar works from their previous albums were filtered out from this one, leaving us with straight-forward 4-chord riffs. But their new sound -which is comparable to stoner metal bands like The Sword- still displays the band's skill and technicality. The only thing sacrificed in this album -in exchange for a much refined, more radio friendly sound- is their raw power.
To sum it up, Crack The Skye is like Mastodon's "Black Album". It is not as heavy or as complex like their previous albums. It is much more refined but still shows the band's creativity and technicality. While I don't think this album will bring Mastodon success like what the Black Album brought Metallica, I still think, it is accessible enough that the band might earn many new fans (and lose a few of their old ones). So, if you haven't heard Mastodon yet. Then, now is the time to listen to them. If you're an old fan, however, just give it a try. You may still like them.
My request for a week vacation in May have been finally approved. I'm not going anywhere though because I'm saving money for upcoming summer events, a 3rd gen iPod Touch or Zune and an Android G2 Phone. Instead, I'll spend my vacation time doing some home improvement and spring cleaning.
So here's my to do list and schedule:
Knowing myself, however, I'd probably finish about only a half of these things. If not for my Mom asking me to do the fence or the garden set, I'd probably won't do it either. Yes, I'm that lazy. Similar Posts:
My Mom bought a garden set last month. But since the set comes with a tiled-top table, we can't put it out because it still rains a lot, and even snows sometimes. It's not a hard thing to do. It'll probably take me half a day to do it.
- Day 1 - Assemble Garden Set
It's been only a year since we put up our backyard fence but it really looks shitty now. So I'm planning to paint it. I've been looking at some tools that'll help me do it faster. But, unfortunately, since I'm out of dough, I've decided to do it manually. Nothing keeps you humble like manual labor.
- Day 2 and 3 - Fence Painting
Every spring time, I always clean the innards of my computer and free it from dust bunnies. I've missed to clean mine last year so it's probably going to be a handful. Plus, I also got two computers now.
- Day 4 - Computer Clean-up
I've been meaning to put some shelves in our garage, basement and my room for organizing things. But I never got around it. I'm not sure yet if I'm going with a shelf case or just mount some boards into the wall. The former would be more expensive but the latter option will be a time sucker.
- Day 5 - Shelving
My wireless connection have been terrible from when we moved in this new house. It's because my PC is at end of wall while my router is at the other end. So I'm going to extend the cable and put my router at the middle of the house. I'm also looking at Wireless Repeaters. They're more expensive but it'll save me from the hassle of "wiring".
- Day 6 - Improve Wireless Connection
Probably finish a game or a book.
- Day 7 - Kick Back
Besides playing WAR, the only thing I'm doing as of late is slowly updating my GamerDNA profile. If you don't know what I'm talking about, GamerDNA is a social site designed for gamers. It's kinda like a Facebook, Twitter and Blogger rolled into one, except it targets gamers. It's actually a pretty cool website and there are a lot of gamer-centric features like level advancement. It also connects with Steam, Xfire, Games for Windows LIVE and Xbox LIVE. So every time you play a game that logs you on to one of these services, it automatically updates your profile and let the world know what you're playing.
The site is still in beta but it's looks pretty good already. So if you're a gamer, you better join in now. Then, make friends with me by clicking here.
A Steamy Affair
OnLive: Future of Gaming
A Flash of Armor
Pitchfork Music Festival and Lollapalooza are two of my most anticipated music events that is held here in Chicago ever Summer. But I'll miss out on Lollapalooza again because: (a) I'm working that weekend, and (b) It's too pricey. But it's not written in stone since Lollapalooza haven't announced their lineup yet. So if they come up with an awesome lineup (that includes Animal Collective or TV On The Radio), then I might go and see the event.
As for Pitchfork Music Festival, however, their lineup is pretty decent. Although, if I ever decide to see it, I'll just probably attend the Saturday event. I've been a big fan of The National since I've found out about them four years ago. They're the band that actually drew me into folk rock. I also want to see The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. They're a new band and I'm currently in love with their noise pop music. The venue is not that great though. But, for $35, I think the show is still worth going to.
Wizard World Chicago
Lollapalooza 2008: Lineup Announced
It's unfortunate that most of my entertainment, as of late, is all about wars. I started reading a book entitled The Forever War, last February, and then I followed it by playing games with titles like Dawn of War II and Empire: Total War. Now, the staple game on my PC is also another war, a MMORPG called Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (WAR).
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II
9.0 of 10
Developer: Relic Entertainment
Buy game from Amazon
I'm not that much into RTS (real-time strategy) games. There are a lot of its aspect that I find a bit boring. Accumulating resources, in particular, just gets in the way of jumping right out of the frying pan and into the action. I just find it irksome and uneventful to look for a heavy resource area in the game, secure it and then harvest it, instead of razing my enemies' base with my army. The same case with constructing bases which seems to be more like fillers than an actual game feature. It's a good thing that game developers like Relic Entertainment are reinventing the mechanics of RTS games.
I'm not a big MMORPG fan or a big Star Wars fan. Normally, I don't follow any news related to both items. I am, however, a big BioWare fan. So when they unveiled their newest project, Star Wars: The Old Republic, a MMORPG based on the Star Wars universe, I was so flabbergasted and have been following any news regarding the game since last October.
So far, I'm impressed with BioWare's generosity to us anxious fans. They've been feeding us with snippets about the game's setting and story, teasing us by revealing the classes available in the game one at a time, and they've even teamed up with Dark Horse to give us a web-comic: Threat of Peace.
I really can't wait for this game. But, knowing BioWare's production value, it won't come out any time soon. When it does, however, it'll be so long World of Warcraft. If there's anything that can kill WoW, it's this game. After all, Star Wars is the mother of geekhood.
Direction to Naboo
Game Review: Mass Effect
My Top 10 PC Games
I've been using Steam for almost two months now, and I've been loving the service it provides me ever since. Having said that, that's a huge compliment coming from an old school sentimental gamer like me who still collects game boxes. So why do I love Steam, you say? Well, there are a lot of reasons for that but here are the three I's that matters most: