Saturday, October 30, 2010

Vanquish GT Review

Im pretty interested in this game, as its been described on internet forums as Gears of War on Crack. However, the fact that its single player only and doesnt go for more than 6-8 hours has held me back from buying it new. Im considering restarting my gamefly account just for this and a couple of others, like Enslaved and the new Castlevania. If any of you have played this game or its demo, post your thoughts.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Moonbase Alpha Hilarity

People on drugs using the text to voice in MBA, a free game on Steam.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ken Block: Gymkhana Video# 3: The Mind Blower

Ive seen most of the drifting videos on youtube, I have a couple of Japanese D1 Grand Prix DVDs, Ive seen the batshit crazy Arab guys, Ive watched some World Rally championships, but this video still blows the doors off my mind. Ken Block is truly a master of the drift, and an unbelievably sick driver. The drifts he does on the embankment and the 360 spins on the wet tarmac, all at very high speeds while maintaining total control, just cannot be fathomed by my pithy human brain. The rim sparking burnout out at the end of the video is the statement of a motorsport artist, and serves as the icing on the cake to one of the finest videos to grace this blog. The sound in this video is fantastic, make sure you turn the volume all the way up.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Armor Lock Files

A detailed analysis of how the Armor Lock ability works in Halo Reach.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Get to Da Choppa!

Dont forget the Remixes and the Family Guy reference, all pure gold.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Enjoy It While It Lasts

Ive been thinking about this post for a while now, but I wasnt quite sure how to phrase it. In essence, life is short: the time we spend as humans is fleeting. Furthermore, life is hard. If not hard, well its certainly not easy. Theres no win button to fall back on. You just have to grind it out. And often, life really does feel like a grind.

I was talking to a friend and poker colleague the other night about life, and this is the kind of guy who does pretty well for himself. "Why cant I just have a good run of cards forever? Why do I always have to deal with suckouts and bad beats? Why do I have to fill out all this paperwork just to rent an apartment? Why does my phone/computer/car die every 18 months? Why doesnt this girl call me back? Why do I have to deal with idiots everyday of my life? Why is my apartment always a mess? Why arent I living in Vegas?"

In my view, as I told it to him, its two things really. First and foremost, the grass is always greener on the other side. No matter how well you do at your job, no matter how much money you make or how much personal success you achieve, you are always going to want more. Its very difficult to just appreciate what you do have, and very easy to appreciate what you dont have. Many people go through their entire lives this way, looking at the glass half full, looking at the green grass on the other side of the fence. Its easy to do that, and its easy to internalize all that negativity because theres a constant, neverending stream of bullshit you have to deal with on a day to day basis.

This is my second point: the bullshit in life never ends. You are always going to have to deal with something that for whatever reason, you would rather not have to deal with. There is always something. Some crap you have to do or some person you have to see, some place or event you have to goto and when its finally done, you realize there's something else you have to handle. I asked my Dad about it. He told me that while there was a great reduction in bullshit once you retire, it still never ends. So the first thing you have to realize and fully accept is that no, it never ends. You are going to be dealing with annoying things, minor and major ones, for the rest of your life. Life, in essence, is a series of annoyances punctuated by the occasional spell of pure happiness.

Which brings me to my main point: if you constantly focus on the negative aspects of life, the day to day bullshit of our modern existence, its likely that you will start to feel annoyed, hassled, burdened, and unhappy. You must resist this with every single ounce of your being. Its rare that we find ourselves in moments of pure, unadulterated happiness, usually its some moderate gradation of "not totally pissed at the world." When those great moments in your life come, you have to treasure them. In between, try not to focus on the constant negative aspects, and instead on the more minor enjoyable ones. A good meal. A pleasant conversation. A great game or interesting book. It doesnt have to be much. Just enough to draw your focus away from the incessant mundanity of day to day life.

Ive been thinking about this blog post ever since Raphael Nadal won the US Open. It was such a great moment, and being a huge Nadal fan I was overjoyed that Nadal had finally won every major title in pro tennis. He was now entering a conversation for not just one of the best players of his era, but one of the best players of all time. More recently, I was moved watched the performance of Roy Halladay in the National League Division Series, where in his first post-season appearance after 320 regular season starts, he pitched a no hitter - only the second in MLB postseaon history. "Doc Holliday," as he's known around the big leagues, has been one of my favorite players since I saw him dominate the Yankees in 1998 or 1999 at the old Yankee Stadium in The Bronx. Currently hes considered the best pitcher in MLB, a title he has held for roughly 8 years. Watching Halladay throw the no hitter was like watching Picasso paint the Mona Lisa in front of 50,000 screaming fans. It was true artistry, a type of sublime beauty rarely seen in sports.

But what prompted me to finally make this post was when the Nobel Peace Prize was handed out yesterday to Liu Xiaobo, a Chinese dissident whose non-violent struggle to promote human rights in China earned him 11 years in state prison. This is a man who believes so completely in the concept of fundamental human freedoms that he was willing to sacrifice his life for it. His actions, and those of others like him such as the Dalai Lama, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Ghandi, among others, are the pillars upon which we advance our species out of the mudpit of humanity. Being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize is a triumphant victory for Mr. Xiaobo, the people of China, and all citizens of the world. Will China change its humanitarian ways? Will the United States cease to intiate military conflicts throughout the world? Will the Israelis and the Palestinians finally make a truce and declare peace? Probably not overnight, and possibly not anytime soon. However, moments like these can become a turning points in struggles which seem unwinnable. It all begins with an idea, and people who belive so deeply in it that they are willing to sacrifice themselves to achieve it.

Life is short. We are only here on earth for a little while before our molecules and atoms decide to disippate back into the void. What should we do with our time here? When the tasks at hand seem annoying or overwhelming how does one proceed? Why cant we all just be happy all the time? These arent simple questions and there are no easy answers. The short version is that you simply have to focus yourself on the positive aspects of life which make you and those around you happy. Work is a bitch, dealing with your family can be hard, theres never enough free time to do all the things you want to. It never ends. But you can mitigate the hardship, you can reduce the bullshit, by not focusing on it. Get past it as best you can, even though it might not always be pretty. But Im here to tell you all that its worth it. Those few moments in life when everything crystalizes, everything comes together, and all the negative stuff seems a million miles away, those moments are worth it. They are few and far between, and sometimes they might be more subtle than the examples I have given, but they are worth it. Life is short, life certainly isnt easy, but it has moments which make it all worth the effort. Make the most of it, and enjoy it while it lasts.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Minecraft - Fanmade Trailer

So theres this PC game called Minecraft thats not even finished yet, not even into Beta yet, it looks like it runs on an N64, its made by a single guy with limited time and resources, and yet somehow, against all odds, its taking the PC gaming world by storm. A longtime poster on the IGN PC forum called it "the best pure game in over a decade." The game, which costs 10 Euros, sold so many copies on a single day in September that Paypal froze the developer's account, claiming "suspicious activity" and freezing almost $1M in assets and transactions.

The game is best described as a giant Lego set with monsters. It starts out as a building game, then turns into a mix of survival horror and tower defense with a whole bunch of crafting and exploration thrown in. The world is randomly generated each playthrough, the size of which is over 8 times the surface of the earth, and has day and night cycles, with weather planned for the future. The game has multiplayer, but its all still in Alpha, which means it has some bugs and oddities. But already, the game has a legendary reputation. People are calling in sick to work to play it, people are turning away from Starcraft 2, Civ 5 and Reach to play it, people are making entire cities, with roller coasters and river raft rides, people are designing life size algorithmic logic units in it, people are making TNT bombs as tall as skyscrapers and blowing mile deep holes in the blocky, pixelated earth - and crashing the servers for a couple hours with them. There is a rumor its going to come out on Steam eventually, but the price is probably going to go up to $20.