Archive for May, 2010

Free Portal!

The marketing geniuses at Valve are kicking off their new Steam for Mac bid’ness by giving away one of the coolest games I’ve ever played.

No shit:

http://store.steampowered.com/freeportal/

The game’s free for both PC and Mac users and due to the new “Steam Play” feature, will be playable on BOTH systems if you own it.

Pick it up before May 24!

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Star Wars: The Clone Wars–Renewing My Interest in a Galaxy Far, Far Away…

Clone Wars
I’ve been a bit starved for entertainment lately, so forgive me one last non-gaming related post to get it all out of my system.

During the Dark Days leading up to my graduation, I spent a portion of my dwindling down-time programming my DVR with things that I’d rather be doing. Somehow Star Wars made it onto the list, not because I have any great love for the new timeline–the recent trilogy effectively killed off any good will I’d accumulated during the past 30 years–but because, well, I guess I needed a little hope to get me through some rough times. With the exception of the last ten years, Star Wars has always been there for me. So I thought I’d give it a chance.

I’ve watched four episodes now, and it’s good. I think I know why.

I believe George Lucas was always a little jealous that he didn’t direct Empire and Jedi. I remember back in the mid-90’s hearing him say that he wouldn’t direct any of the new films in the trilogy, except maybe the first, in order to “set the mood,” or something.

Fast forward a decade and the man’s chubby little pawprints are all over the place. I think what it really comes down to is this–George Lucas isn’t a very good director. Don’t get me wrong, the man makes an EXCELLENT producer. Indiana Jones, Willow, the list goes on and on. He’s got vision and he’s got resources. But in my opinion, the four movies he directed sit at the bottom of the “Star Wars–Best of:” list. The best bits of Star Wars didn’t have Lucas at the helm and this, I believe, is why the Cartoon Network series The Clone Wars has managed to succeed.

For the first time in a long while, people with a passion for the series and a WHOLE lot of talent are getting together to make something great.

Take the series’ recent Bounty Hunter plotline:

In Episode 2, we saw Mace Windu pop the noggin’ off Jango Fett. We get a little teaser shot of Boba picking up his father’s helmet which is never rewarded or even mentioned in the final film. Instead, it just points us back to the original trilogy where we hear Boba say about five words and get eaten by a spiky vagina. Sorry, Mr. Lucas, but you dropped the ball.

In Clone Wars, we get to see young Boba Fett ally himself with some of his father’s less scrupulous co-workers in an attempt to assassinate Mace Windu and avenge his father’s death. He’s determined, but he’s still a kid. During the story arch, we get to see the little bastard make some pretty tough decisions which perfectly explain how he became the cold-blooded bounty-hunting bastard we all know him to be.

Holy crap, man. After watching this show, I’ve even started liking Anakin.

That’s because Clone Wars actually takes some time out from all the exposition to shine a spotlight on the characters Lucas neglected (As in, everyone.) I just finished an episode where Yoda and a couple of clone troopers get ambushed while trying to sway a neutral planet to the republic. Whether the planet joins or not is irrelevant, however, and what we’re rewarded with is 30 minutes of Yoda being a sneaky little shit and being totally awesome against impossible odds.

It’s about the characters, man! Lucas was so busy trying to tell this whole epic story that he forgot the point of it all. Anyone else see the episode of the Simpsons where they go see the new Star Wars and it’s like a two hour senate hearing?

It’s funny because it’s true.

Lucas’ vision for the new trilogy was so freaking HUGE that even his main characters were powerless to stand against it. You just sit there and watch them being dragged, kicking and screaming, from one scene to another.

I think I love this show because it’s giving me some closure. Star Wars hasn’t been ruined. There are amazingly talented people out there that still want the series to succeed.

Despite Lucas’ best efforts, Star Wars will live on.

Some Thoughts, Gauntlet Throwing

Taking a break from creating my college exit portfolio to make a quick post. Randee and I agreed we’d throw it back and forth and play blog pong for a while, so I thought I’d get mine out of the way and make room for something much more interesting from him.

I’m hitting it hard this last week. Thursday is the last big hurdle, when I turn all this stuff in and get to breathe a little easier.

I keep telling myself, “Portfolio = Graduation = Moving to Japan = Interesting Gaming Blog.” I’m in the home stretch. All I need to do now is stay awake, get my work done, and wait for Thursday evening.

Speaking of which, I’d like to take this opportunity to propose my first non-gaming related SPLIT SCREEN VERSUS BATTLE to Randee. The challenge–Coffee consumption. I’ll be keeping track of the amount of coffee I drink from now until Thursday night. Randee, since I had a head start, feel free to extend your end date to Saturday, 12 a.m. sharp.

OFFICIAL RULES:

-Coffee must not be decaffeinated

-Progress will be recorded in the comments section of this blog in the form of total number of ounces consumed

-On no account should this challenge end due to hysteria or massive heart palpatations.

-Winner gets the cheapest available product on Steam.

-Refusal to participate results in an immediate loss

Let the twitch-fest BEGIN!

Bionic Commando

I recently started playing Bionic Commando for the Xbox 360 and I can’t believe how much I am enjoying it. This game received some pretty negative reviews when it came out. The combat has a very free form feel to it and you are constantly being given new moves to incorporate into your combos. The achievement system is probably one of the most well implemented I have ever come across. You are issued challenges during the story which call for you to experiment with different ways of taking enemies out. As you complete these challenges you earn a corresponding achievement of the same name. Achievements flow like melted butter as you discover new and more creative ways to kill everything in sight. I also can’t get Half-life 2 out of my head as I play this game. There is something about the desolation and solitude of the environments that really remind me of City 17. I must convince Matt to try this game so I may be talking about it a little more as I continue to plough through.