Sunday, February 27, 2005

Well I just beat Half Life 2. Just when I was getting to like the new and improved Gravity Gun. The game seamed way too short, but than that may be due to the fact that half the game is not spent jumping around on an alien planet. That is one nice improvement over the first Half-Life. There weren’t any bosses that stood out in my mind. I think that is a the biggest disappointment, considering the first one had some of the most memorable game bosses ever and not to mention some of the most puzzling ways to defeat them. The story left a lot of things unexplained. I think they cut a lot of things out, like the blue ghost alien that they showed in some of the demos. I guess they put most of their energy and time in to creating one of the most realistic physics engines I have ever played. Some of the stuff just blew my mind. But still the game felt too short, but that may be just that empty fealing the end brings about that every Half-Life 1 fan knows all to well…


Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Man, what a lousy four day weekend. The almost non-stop rain was pretty depressing, but I thought that it would mean that I would just get more video game playing in. My brand new G-force 6800GT card just came in the mail, and I want to break it in. First thing to check out is see what the measurable improvements are. 3D Mark03 gave my old water cooled (only way I could keep the damb thing from overheating and stay relatively quite) G-force 4 a score around 1400. The new card runs pretty quite, and does not get overly hot. The drivers even have a temp monitoring software that puts my card @ 60C and will automatically scale back on the processing if the core temp hits 120C. Waite a minute, the only things I remember about Celsius is that water freezes at 0C and water boil at 100C. So let’s see in Fahrenheit that is what, um 140 and 248! That is more than I thought. But I guess that is what it is OK, I haven’t had any problems with it crashing due to overheating. The new 3D Mark score, over 9000.

Half Life 2 looks gorgeous with everything maxed out. Doom 3 looks good too, but I think I will have to scale it back just a bit. It still had a bit of lag, but I think it may be more due to the AMD 2100 instead of the card. I would have played more games, but friends started calling me to help them fix their computers. I like helping my friends, don’t get me wrong, it is just that from that moment forward it was like everything was conspiring against me playing any games for the rest of the week. Hope this weekend turns out better. Some sun shine would be a nice change.


Thursday, February 17, 2005

Oh good god, what have they done now? 'Loonatics'? What the? Are they joining up with the Powerpuff Girls, or Samurai Jack? What is up with the evil eyes? Is Elmer Fud the good guy now? The only thing that would have made me think of making a Road Runner that looked like that, is if I wanted a speed freak RR airbrushed on a black resto-mod Plymouth Road Runner and did not want to worry about getting a copyright lawsuite.

Why can do they have to mess with classics? They rarely do well...


Thursday, February 10, 2005

Flexible Organic Light Emitting Diodes, or FOLEDs Man this sounds realy sweat! A screen you can roll up and put in your pocket! No back light is needed. The screens from The Minority Report may be replacing Plasma screens in the next 5 years. I wonder how much it would cost to cover a wall with this stuff?


Wednesday, February 09, 2005

In a desperate attempt to get back to the hay days of the dot-com boom, Congress is looking into ways to tap into a market that has been virtually non existent until now. What could easily have passed for an acronym for another government department, MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) was virtually unknown, except by geeks and a few computer gamers. It has managed to stay under the radar for years. Now World of Warcraft has done for the world of MMORPG what Napster did for file sharing, made it main stream.

At a press conference Congress woman Ida Needa Job (D- New York) released details on a new tax. “We are working on a new bill to collect income and sales tax on MMORPGs. Last year alone we lost out on 13.4 billion gold due to tax dodging on World of Warcraft.” When pointed out that WoW was only online since December, the congress woman said, “That fact is irrelevant, for I am confident that my staff picked the correct number off the top of their heads. The important thing is that you can rest assured that we will have more money to squander.” When confronted about the fact that many people playing are from other countries that are outside of the government’s power of taxing, she replied, “We are working closely with an international committee to come to a mutual agreement on the issue. If it stumbles into a quagmire, then we will simply level a tariff instead.” When stated that Blizzard is owned by Vivendi Universal, a French company, she insisted that “These transactions are taking place on American soil, and although we have great respect for our French brothers, we are still the US of A and will tax what we want. Surely if the republicans can wage the wrong war at the wrong time without the France’s approval, then we can levy the right tax at the right time without their approval too! No more questions!”

We got a chance to talk to Miss Job. “I first noticed there was something going on when all my aids called in sick on November 23, 2004. After that, I would see them coming in late with blood shot eyes. I started hearing them talk about things they were auctioning off at a place called Iron Forge. I overheard one of them say that they just bought a new staff for 50 silver and didn’t have to pay one copper in tax! After several weeks I gathered that this was some sort of internet auction site. They also talked about a group of merchants in a place called Booty Bay. After an extensive search, I couldn’t find any business licenses for people selling in Booty Bay. I can only assume that they are not collecting and reporting sales tax. I knew then it was my elected duty to the state to write a bill to make sure all this was taxed.”

"The bill only enforces the collection of taxes that are already due," says Bill Duncan, a legislative aide to Rep. Ernest Istook Jr. (R-Oklahoma), a House sponsor.

Leading the pack were California's Democratic senator Diane Feinstein and a handful of other ex-governors. "I love my high-tech companies," Feinstein said, "but the cities and counties are where the people are, and they need police and fire and emergency services."

We asked the Guards of Dark Shire what they thought of Feinstein’s statement, but all they would tell us was directions to the local pub before they went valiantly running off to protect against a raid by a group of Orcs.

One mage told us his concerns on the planed taxes. “Dude, you know how hard it is to like, save money?” FlyingWolf said. “I am always like, running around broke, man. Like, it is a total bummer to I have to pay my personal trainer. Dude, she’s a total knockout. She helps me with this major requirement to like, improve and learn new skills, man. Dude, I like totally loose money trying to enchant junk. I like, take this totally righteous sword and then I like enchant stuff on it, making it like way better, but ya know, like no one can afford my wicked gnarly craftsmanship. Major bummer, man. Dude I like, never come out even and stuff. Then like, there is that wicked 999 gold horses that is like, totally sitting there in this righteous stable, it’s like it’s taunting me man. It taunting me, with its eyes, and its speed, and, and stuff. Dude, how would I pay for the sales tax on that? It just boggles my mind man, because like, I can’t comprehend how my bag will hold more than 999 gold. What would that be man? I’ll tell you what it is man, it’s a major bummer, that’s what it is. See man, that’s just the Man trying to keep you down, man. That’s totally not cool man.”

Other citizens felt that a tax was good way to level the playing field. “We thinks t’ay ought to be a wee more worried a’boot bigger issues, like ‘aven aid feer Warriors, laddy.” Warrior BunnyKrusher commented. “Tis ‘ard being tha only class t’at gets w’acked by tha dreaded fanged bunnies all tha bloody time. I kin ‘ardly step otside witho’t fear’n death. I twas many times I’d be killed by tha giant spider, but perseveres I did n’ now I’s be level 30. The gov’ment could‘a changed all t’is. Ye tax tha hoity toity mages n’ sub’diz tha costs o’ me armor repair, me thinks t’at be wee fair’.”

Many Gnomes that we interviewed thinks that there is a far more serious issue that is starting to show its ugly head. “There is a wide spread hatred against us gnomes.” Mr. MySwordIsBiggerThanMe told use in hushed tones over a pint of ale. “I do just not understand it. I come here all the time, and they always card me. The bar maid even knows me by name, and she still cards me. You don’t see her carding the priests! Whenever I try to join a party, they wouldn’t let me. They always have an excuse like, I am too weak, or they have enough hunters, or something. They just get madder when I point out they have a warrior. I cannot even begin to count the number of clans that have rejected me. I just want to be given a fair chance like everyone… BAAA BAAA” FlyingWolf polymorphed him into a sheep, laughing and taunting him. “Dude, I think you’re like, way bigger as a sheep.” Oddly enough, he was right.

When we asked a Game Master for a statement, he responded. “I get paid to play this game, and you don’t. What do I care?” Then he went riding off into the sunset on his legendary mount.

We could not find a translator that could help use interview any Hoard member.

The IRS assured us that they are working closely with all major MMORPG services to keep track of and report all loot and deductions for W-2s. They are still unsure if they will incorporate the changes to the 1040 or release a new 1040-Gold form. “We are still trying to figure out how to handle people filing jointly because they are married in game and/or in real life. Don’t even ask how that will work if it is to different people, or in more than one game…”


Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Well it is almost that time of year again. I see it in all the stores and ads. Yep, Valentines Day is almost upon us. The scam that was made by all the candy, card, and teddy bear companies. It was innocent enough when I was younger, GI Joe and Muppet Valentine cards, candy hearts, and solid chocolate candy. Now, I am sorry to say, I see it differently. It is now that time of year where all the people that do not have anyone special get that fact rubbed, ground, and mashed into an open wound. It is an exclusive party, and I can only sit outside and look in. The only solace that can be taken is that I do not have to pay $60 for roses that only weeks before went for $12. I know that my life does not depend on me spending hundreds on this stuff; I can get it the next day at discount. I do look forward to the candy hearts; they remind me of Pepto-Bismol. Valentines day, BA-Humbug.


Friday, February 04, 2005

The next generation Eye-toy? When I first heard about the Eye Toy, I thought it was goofy new gimmick that would not work. I guess I was wrong, it was a goofy gimmick that actually worked, and it looks like they are exploring new ways to enhance it.

Game hardware that goes beyond the standard controller has a serious habit of being DOA. Light guns, console mice and keyboards, racing wheels, action mats, and 3D glasses all are plagued with having a small number of titles that support their use.

Why is this? Some of the games just suck. The games that used the SNES mouse royally sucked, where as a lot of Halo fans would give anything to use a mouse. Sometimes the hardware is more frustrating than it is fun. The NES Power Glove was awkward to use and did not read all the movements right, causing many frustrating game deaths. High cost is another problem. The Steel Battalion Controller has got to be the most expensive controller of all times, and it only works on one game. That brings up storage, an issue that everyone has heard their mom nag about more than once. The SNES Super Scope has got to be one of the best light guns ever made, but it was a freaking bazooka with no easy way to store it.

It will be interesting to see how many of the new Eye-Toy ideas make it to the shelf. I welcome and dread some of the new features. Instead of just bouncing around to a beat on the dance games, chicks will be encouraged to shake their grove. The down side is that instead of just trying to bounce around to a beat, white boy will be trying to shake their grove...


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