The Dord of Darien

Musings from the Mayor of the Internet

Don’t worry, I’m on the case

Actually, I’ve already solved the case. No, no; that’s alright — it’s all in a day’s work for a man of my calibre. If you’re interested in the details of the case I’ve just solved, check out my review of Professor Layton and the Curious Village. Where can you find it? In true mystery fashion, I’ve hidden the link somewhere in the following sentence. Are you a bad enough dude to find the link?

June 26th, 2008 Posted by | Games, Meta-meta | one comment

This week in spam: drugs!

So I just got some spam with the subject line "150kg + H = 75kg."

I hope there’s some new bullshit diet drug being called "H" these days. Since recommending the only drug I know of that’s called H as a weight-loss plan is pretty low, even for spam.

June 26th, 2008 Posted by | Bullshit | one comment

What if the playoffs were today? (2008 ch. 1)

So just for kicks, let’s pretend today was the last regular-season game day of the year, and the LDS begins tomorrow. What would happen? Who would win and who would lose, and what oddness would we see in the postseason?

ALDS: Boston Red Sox vs. Chicago White Sox
Details: LAWL GUYS A PAIR OF SOX! The Red Sox are really good at Fenway, and with the best record in the AL, they have the home field advantage. They’re out both Manny and Papi right now, but, on the other hand, the White Sox are one of those teams that seem to be missing all of their star players every game. Since the White Sox don’t seem to be winning the AL Central so much as losing it less quickly than all the other teams, I don’t see much of a fight here.
Winner: BOS in three

ALDS: Los Angeles Angels vs. Tampa Bay Rays
Details: Tampa Bay seems dead-set on proving that baseball doesn’t need any goddamn salary caps after all, and that the draft system is working just fine. It’s almost like they’ve taken advantage of some hundred years (or so) of last-place finishes and built a hell of a team out of all those first picks. The Angels are doing well, but they’re doing it in a fairly soft division; the 2008 Mariners are possibly the worst team of all time, even including class A teams and probably also Little League. The Rays are holding baseball’s third-best record even though they’re in the game’s hardest division and have probably the most ferocious interleague schedule of any team.
Winner: TB in four

NLDS: Chicago Cubs vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Details: As of this writing, the Cubs are the best team in baseball. The Phillies had a rough start, but have been doing very well over the last month or so. If the playoffs started right now, the Cubs would be out their monstrously-expensive leadoff man (Soriano) and the World’s Most Expensive Pitcher (Zambrano), whereas the Phillies are more-or-less at full strength. That should make for a pretty interesting series. Of course, the Cubs would own fase if they’d just call Felix Pie back up.
Winner: CHN in five

NLDS: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. St. Louis Cardinals
Details: The Burds are missing Albert Pujols, but the Diamondbacks are missing anybody who can play baseball. Okay, Dan Haren and Brandon Webb are pretty good, but I’m pretty sure they need at least seven more players or they have to forfeit. I think it’s honestly sort of unfair to let the Diamondbacks into the postseason just because everybody else in the NL West is even worse.
Winner: STL in three

ALCS: Boston Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays
Details: This would be an interesting series. Both teams are utterly dominant at home, and I think that would pretty much determine the winner here.
Winner: BOS in seven

NLCS: Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals
Details: Pujols for Soriano is a fair trade, so neither team is at a huge advantage there. No team’s been better at home this season than the Cubs, and they have home field advantage in this series, so I’m going to cop out and pick the Cubs because, quite frankly, I’m not 100% sure the Cardinals have anything but smoke and mirrors anyhow.
Winner: CHN in five

World Series: Chicago Cubs vs. Boston Red Sox
Details: Wasn’t this supposed to happen five years ago? Hey, better late than never. Both teams are missing two star players, but the Red Sox have done a hell of a job of filling in for theirs. The Cubs have a giant hispanic hole that can’t be filled easily — Carlos Zambrano. Down their ace, I think the Cubs will turn up soft in the end, though I’d say they’re likely to win a few on the way down.
Winner: BOS in six

Potential Spoilers
New York Yankees: It’s never the right time to rule out the Yankees. Baseball’s highest payroll has a habit of biting you in the ass, and, in fact, they’ve won seven in a row as of this writing. They have a lot of holes, and seven-in-a-row has only been enough to move them up to 3.5 games behind Tampa Bay, but they’re too potent to ignore, especially given their propensity for exactly this type of mid-season streaking.

Detroit Tigers: The Tigers have a lot of potential they’re not living up to. They’re on the upswing right now, though, and all they need to get seriously hot is for Pudge to find his swing. Of course, as a 36-year-old catcher, Pudge’s swing might be out to pasture for good.

Florida Marlins: You never know with the fucking Fish. They might force their way into the playoffs just to stick it to Tampa Bay.

Milwaukee Brewers: You can be a millionaire… and never pay taxes! You can be a millionaire… and never pay taxes! You say, "Steve, how can I be a millionaire and never pay taxes?" First… get a million dollars. Now… you say, "Steve, what do I say to the tax man when he comes to my door and says, ‘You have never paid taxes’?" Two simple words. Two simple words in the English language: "I forgot!"

Cleveland Indians: You know how they tell you pitching wins championships? I think the Indians took it a bit too seriously. You do in fact need some batters in order to win.

Los Angeles Dodgers: At the moment, they’re losing a bit less rapidly than the Diamondbacks. If that trend continues, it could be the Dodgers getting wiped out in the first round instead of the D-backs.

June 20th, 2008 Posted by | Baseball | 2 comments

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: Baseball Edition

Go ahead and tell me this isn’t the most inappropriate baseball article ever written. I’m not sure yet if that makes it more or less awesome.

June 20th, 2008 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

Great moments in baseball writing

Found this on Yahoo Sports:

The Athletics hit so many homers that manager Bob Geren lost count. “Our offense was our best performance of the year,” Geren said. “We had five homers, five doubles, eight or nine walks.” [emphasis added — ed.]

The person who wrote the first sentence should have made sure to remind the person in charge of pasting in the quote about the "lost count" bit.

June 18th, 2008 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

Baseball: Less inertial than you might expect

It seems as though baseball is finally taking a big step forward into 1990 and adopting instant replay. I personally like the idea of instant replay being used for home runs — since that’s a play that has a significant effect on the game — but I think allowing replay to be used to challenge strike calls would be an absurd lengthening of the game. I agree with Terry Crowley (even though he’s lucky he’s in fuckin’ baseball) that the umpires are generally reliable and do a good job, but, man, those muffed home run calls can swing whole games and sure do make bad press.

June 14th, 2008 Posted by | Baseball | 2 comments

More Metal Gear Madness

Gamespot’s Metal Gear Solid 4 review is up (albeit somewhat late), and, as expected, they gave it a perfect 10. I’ve never one to pass up an opportunity to make fun of Gamespot for being complete dipshits, and I’d like to call them out for declaring that MGS4 is a great game "for anyone who appreciates games that rise above the simple act of pushing a few buttons and pulling a few triggers." Since that’s, like, the description of every video game ever made (okay, we’ll allow for "waving the controller around" and "dragging the stylus across the screen" being the same damn thing), what could that possibly mean? The answer is earlier in the review: "you’ll spend a good half of MGS4 watching cinematics."

It’s no surprise that the halfwits at Gamespot get wet and drippy over any game that’s mainly composed of cutscenes; they’re in the group of malign retardates who are always criticizing games for having too much gameplay and not enough dialogue. It’s also no surprise that they rated MGS4 a perfect 10 considering that, as I write this, the site is covered in ads for it. Let’s not forget what happened to Jeff Gerstmann for daring to have negative comments about a sponsor’s product, after all.

June 14th, 2008 Posted by | Games | no comments

Yeah, man! Solid!

Welcome to release day for Metal Gear Solid 4. Let’s keep this civil. Everybody behave!

Especially you crazy assholes. I don’t get that review at all. Read that thing and tell me if you get what the hell they’re talking about; the game appears to be — even moreso than the previous entries in the series — a long list of cutscenes briefly interrupted by disjointed gameplay elements that aren’t very well introduced and don’t seem consistent. That appears to be what they’re saying, yes? And they rated it 9.5/10. My favourite part, though, is this:

"MGS4’s final judgement won’t – or rather, can’t – be passed today, by knee-jerk critics or fans, but by history. When Hideo Kojima is no longer around to make games of this calibre, then this wilfully rambling, frustratingly piecemeal, lovingly crafted, rallying cry for ‘hardcore’ games, will receive the inspection, and potential reverence, it deserves."

Forgive me for arguing, Drs. Actually-Get-Paid-For-Their-Snotty-Video-Game-Site, but the final judgment both can and will be passed today. And by today I mean today, 12 June 2008, by millions of players who care a lot more about the quality of the game they’re playing right now than they do about the lasting soteriological qualities of Hideo Kojima vis-á-vis the Unwashed Masses who thought Super Mario Galaxy was way the shit more fun than watching "mammoth cutscenes" punctuated by minigames. If, as you say, the dialogue is the best thing about the game (I’ve played games that were basically carried by their dialogue before — hello, Portal, I’m talking to you), and if every good line of dialogue is surrounded, as you say, by "clumsy scripting [and] needless exposition," and if it "could be hours shorter, and be considerably better for it," and if, "by the end, it’s like Hideo Kojima is writing from his deathbed and insisting the notes be published unedited," then what you have there is not a legitimate candidate for "best game of all time." What you have there is a game that should have been great but got completely bogged down by lack of discipline at all levels during the design process.

The most telling line is this: "as MGS’s biggest fans, if we owe the series anything, it’s unburdening it from the weight of expectation and our own hype." You know what? As somebody who has fond memories of playing Metal Gear on the NES, who thought MGS and MGS2 were both good enough for 4/5 ratings, and who thought MGS3 sounded remarkably too tedious ever to bother playing, I don’t owe the series one goddamn thing. I certainly don’t owe the final game a massively high rating just because it finally got released. I personally don’t think I have any obligation to the games themselves; in contrast, I owe my readers some combination of a) the truth and 2) entertaining lies. Also iii) swearing.

But, hey, I haven’t played it. Maybe it really is great, and is just suffering the burden of a reviewer whose review of his favourite game ever still makes you think it sucks. Maybe I’ll check it out sometime. Wal-Mart will sell you an 80GB PS3 with a DS3 and a copy of MGS4 for $499 right now and give you a $100 gift card to use for Doritos and off-brand soda if you want, so now’s not a bad time to jump on the bandwagon and find out for yourself rather than trusting some asshole on the internet.

June 12th, 2008 Posted by | Games | no comments

Raising the stakes on Bigfoot

So some loons are offering a $1 million prize to anybody who can capture a verifiable photograph or video of Bigfoot. Why don’t I think they need to be worried about the million anytime soon? I’m thinking it’ll be at least a month before anybody manages a decent enough fraud to fool their panel and claim the money, by which time a million dollars will be worth about enough to get a turnip. Also, they’re not liable for any injury incurred during a Bigfoot attack, so watch out!

The best thing about this is how boneheaded that article is. This part’s my favourite: "There’s no way to authenticate a Bigfoot photograph by itself; the image is simply a two-dimensional pattern of pixels. To truly prove a Bigfoot exists, you’d need corroborating hard evidence like a body, teeth, or bones." I guess this doofus has heard of Photoshop, but he seems to think it’s impossible to fake hard evidence. Oh, journalists can be so cute when they’re insufferably naïve.

June 6th, 2008 Posted by | Bullshit | 2 comments

Unamerican Activities

So I was talking to this dude at work, right? And we’re talking about — what else? — the old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game. That was all fine and good, but I mentioned that I kind of liked the second Ninja Turtles arcade game better — you know, the one where you travel back in time to fight Shredder because he stole the Statue of Liberty. I was propounding my usual theory on Turtles in Time, which is that it would easily be the greatest video game of all time if only, while you were working your way through history, you had a chance to stop off and kill Hitler. Or maybe if Shredder had pulled Hitler out of the past and built him a robot suit and you had to kill him in the future. The point is, it’s a time-travel video game where you don’t kill Hitler, and that’s frankly completely fucking inexcusable. But what’s even more inexcusable than that is that the guy I work with was all "I dunno about killing Hitler."

So there we are. This dude is a Hitler sympathiser. I quite frankly thought the one thing everybody on Earth agreed on was that, given the opportunity, killing Hitler is your sacred duty, and here I am talking to a guy who says he’s not sure it’s worth it to bother killing Hitler, since he sort of died anyhow.

I’m now taking the opportunity to declare that this web site is staunchly opposed to Hitler. If this web site ever sees Hitler in a café or a train station or a bunker, it will find some way to kill him, probably with shitty CSS or possibly overuse of the <font> tag. I’ve even added a banner to the right side indicating my solidarity with the cause of traveling back in time to kill Hitler. I encourage you all to place the same banner on your web sites because, quite frankly, you don’t want to be mistaken for Hitler sympathisers.

June 6th, 2008 Posted by | Bullshit | no comments