Archive for June, 2010


Silly Japanese!

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As soon on newspaper headline

“Tiger Woods is out on the course playing new holes.”

Wow.. pushing for advertising much?

My President is a Jedi

My president is a Jedi, your country is invalid.

click image for full size

I grew up in an era where console games where still a new and novelty item that most parents shunned. I had a old classic Nintendo, that I worked and saved for all summer long. It came packaged with Super Mario Bros, and Duck Hunt. I remember playing the SMB console stand up in arcades thinking it was way to hard. I got my Nintendo and again, I still found it way too hard. It took me weeks before I hit the point of mastery. It became this Vulcan mind meld where the controller seemed to disappear from your hand, and you stopped thinking about the fact that you were controlling Mario and you became one with Mario and the reaction was instinctive more than needing to plan it out.

That’s a beautiful thing.

Also in the same Era Games were hard. Really, Really Hard. Anyone who played gauntlet through TopGun, Bart Vrs, The Space Mutant, or Battletoads can contest to what I say. A lot of people complained about the original TMNT, which I Admit was intensive and difficult, but I managed to actually finish that one. I will admit that I spent 3 months on Bart vs, the space mutants and never got through the second level. I think I got TO The second level twice.. maybe? it was brutal. I recently downloaded it again for an emulator thinking that I just sucked. No it’s not me.. it’s really not. The Rom Site that I found game on had a comments section, There were 50+ pages of people complaining that it was way to hard. So knowing what my previous track record was I found the action replay codes and determined that unless I wasn’t making sufficient progress in an hour of play I would not use them. After about 25 minutes I turned it off. Hour be damned, I am not going to bother.

I play through current Console games now and I unbelievable disappointed. Games are so easy compared to what they used to be. Not only that, they are short. Very short. To go through a game in under 10 hours isn’t unexpected in fact it’s welcomed by most of the current gaming community. I am finding more and more that I am a platform gamer, that is what I like. I like MMO’s for the epicness of storyline and consoles for fun. Consoles are much less frustrating then dealing with the Chuck Norris mentality of most games trade/general chat. But I don’t play Console games because they are easier. I play them because of their wide range of originality and just fun. Admittedly after years of denial and rejection I am a Mario fan. I’ve played through most of the Sunshine, and I’m currently (slowly) working my way through Galaxy with every intention of finishing it. More so than that, I am a Nintendo/Sony fan. I do not care for the X-box or its games. I’m not a First person shooter type of guy, I’m a RTS RPG side-scroller action type of guy. Would I prefer it if some games were harder? Eh, They’ve taken care of that by Putting multiple difficulty modes on most games now. I play Metroid 3 on Medium difficulty because it’s just the right amount of Fun, frustration and satisfaction rolled into a near perfect action game. I play Galaxy because it’s simply fun, it challenges my coordination and it has the right amount of difficulty to keep me on my toes. The storyline is a rehashed repeat that has been the same outline for most Mario games; but this is one of those rare cases where less is more. I don’t need top notch graphics, nor do I need to spend $500 every 6 months to upgrade my PC to keep on top of current rising standards to maintain playability for my games either it works on the platform or it doesn’t. The goal in the end is if it’s fun then it’s worth doing.

Save us Turbine Man!

There has been an awful lot of press release info on the Warner Brother Purchase of Turbine inc. The most interesting speculation, has been what new MMO’s Turbine is working on. There has also been a lot of speculation that this MMO is a Harry Potter MMO. There is a lot of Credence to this thought process and it the HP franchise lends itself heavily towards this as a theory. It’s already got a built in story, Houses, classes, factional, plus an element of PVP, and fluff content, plus a great set of villains and plot lines. Truly, after seeing the world that Turbine has done with Lord of the Rings, if anyone could pull off an HP MMO. Turbine could, and they could do it well.

But The more I Thought about this, there were a few things that came to mind.

First. The HP Franchise for WB has been a cash cow. they’ve made money Hand over fist, and it would in a lot of ways Behoove them to keep the cash cow going. But I think this is also a target audience that also likes HP, may not be so Interested in an MMO. The Demographics really just don’t fit well enough to Risk that kind of Venture.

The proper answer didn’t occur to me until just recently when a my brother in law, a fellow geek showed me a new MMO he’s playing and how much he likes it. After some discussion about it’s highlights and what he loves about it. The answer struck me. While yes, This seem cliche and over used it makes a lot of sense.

Lets take a look of what other franchises and or companies that WB owns. Castle Rock, New Line, Fine Line, Tolkein, DC comics. Granted this is a fraction, but these are the ones that I would declare had some significance. The one that has been over looked is DC comics. DC was purchased by Warner Brothers in 1969 and they’ve put out a handful of mediocre Superman and Batman Films, and they’ve put out a few REALLY good ones. But it’s mostly been an under used IP Franchise That still has a lot of popularity. As Marvel was being purchased by Disney, and the Comic Book fan were in an uproar, WB was giving Feeding Turbine Money to the tune of 80 Million+. And Quietly putting together a new MMO. The WB Purchase went off without a hitch, and people cited that WB had controlling interest in the Tolkien Franchise, and Seeing that it was WB giving money to Turbine the automatic assumption was an HP MMO. Not really thinking, or knowing that DC is owned by WB. It happened long enough ago that most Comic book fans didn’t have the public outlet that we have now. The purchase wasn’t a world wide announcement. I’m willing to wager that Most DC Comic Fans realized that DC is owned (subsidiary) by WB

City Of heros, City Of Villians, Champions online, All have hit a demographic that is kind of exclusive to the hard core comic fan. Champions online Character creation is so extensive that if you were willing to put the time in you can custom create a character that is so accurate to the original it’s almost plagiarism. I first played Champions on my Brother in laws Account, and built a Character that looked so much Samus Aran that you’d mistakenly think that it was. Plus it was fun to play. My In law has this fantasy book in his head that he’s writing. He’s used Champions online to build his characters, he’s tweaked out every detail of how they should look. All of these MMO’s have done very well for both the fan and the non fan.

So when you sit back and look at the larger picture. Turbine has made a very successful MMO based off of a movie and series of books that New Line Cinemas did a fantastic job with. (also part of the WB)

Warner Brothers is seeing Marvel Rake in the cash from their IP’s and are starting to realize that their own DC IP is very under utilized in todays media. WB has announced a series of new Movies leading to a Justice league movie, Marvel is doing an avengers movie. There is some creditably to suggest that WB is after a demographic that is mostly of untouched by most mainstream MMO’s. It’s not far fetched to assume that WB is after a DC MMO to run in Sync with their own Movie franchises.

This is the View from my Front porch after the rain cleared up. This photo does not do justice to what I experienced this morning.

Video Game Characters doing what they do best.

Click for full image.

I was asked to write a guest blog for a friend of mine over at kikastrophe.net. I was honored to comply. I spent a good amount of time considering the audience and what to say. As this was my first measly attempt at spewing meaningful drivel for someone else. As I spoke to laura about this, we discussed a number of topics. One particular one about a goal she has about doing 101 items in 1001 days. It was during that part of the conversation that she became my muse for the post, and the words flowed like water through a fresh spring.

You can see the original post here it’s entitled:The world ends with you

The blizzard effect

I’ve come up with a name for specific situations. I’ve deemed this “The blizzard effect”.

Most gamers and non gamers alike know who, what, and/or at least have heard of World of Warcraft. When WoW First went public, it was ran sacked with hackers, item dups, money dups, 3rd party programs that would level your character and craft *FOR* you. To attempt to control this complete out of control situation, Blizzard introduced a monstrosity into the internet with something they called the Warden client.

The Warden client alone is single handed one of the most invasion programs I’ve ever ran through a de-compiler.

It loads with the launcher, then loads into memory and sits dormant for an unknown amount of time, until something is sent over the TCP/IP line to trigger it and turn it on. It at that point scans your task bar, what you have open, what webpages you have open what programs/processes you have running, if you have your Root directory of your C: open in a window it’ll scan through every folder on your drive looking for anything that might be suggestive that you Hack.

They have security reasons for doing this and it has cut down and eliminated this kind of cheating. It doesn’t change the fact that the Warden client is still scanning your tax records, photos of your family and your private porn collection of your spouse/wife. The client can be disabled using the Sony Rootkit, which if you know how to use it will pull it out of memory. Those instructions are readily available but not easily follow. Most are written obscurely.

The reason why I bring this up is because clever hackers have gotten a hold of it, reverse engineered it, and are using its roots to do exactly what it’s intended to do. Personal invasion, secondary effect. Infect people with Viruses, and probably attempt to steal password, and Credit card Social security numbers. They take screenshots of popular scanners and copy their interface they check your processes to see what’s running, download the proper interface to make you *THINK* that you have a virus and wait for you to click a button so it can install itself on your machine. Most of this really high virus technology, is already programmed into the delivery method via the Warden Client, that blizzard now provides to all hackers free of charge!

Blizzard updates the warden client to keep it from being removed, and Sony releases a new root kit for other reasons, which just happens to also remove the new warden client, and viola, the blizzard effect strikes again now new and improved and even HARDER to get rid of.