The Dord of Darien

Musings from the Mayor of the Internet

Whip it — into shape!

Have you seen the new trailer for Konami’s new Catstlevania fighting game on the Wii? If not, you really should.

Holy shit does that not look good. Just about everything about it is wrong; the graphics are chunky and odd, a lot of the characters have been reimagined in rather poor ways (I don’t recall Maria Renard being six years old before, and was Simon Belmont always so righteously effin’ metal? No he was not), the dialogue is terrible, and how ’bout that voice acting? I have no idea if it plays well — since you can’t really tell that from a trailer regardless — but what I do see does not bode well.

On the bright side, even though I’m sure there’s a clock tower stage, I have no reason to believe the game contains any medusa heads.

November 30th, 2008 Posted by | Games | no comments

Assume the Stance

On my way to the symphony tonight, the train passed a sign marked "passenger assistance" from which someone had cunningly removed the I. This left a large white sign reading PASSENGER ASS STANCE.

What level do warriors get that at? Since it sounds like the exact right stance for at least one warrior I can think of offhand.

November 30th, 2008 Posted by | World of Warcraft | no comments

What I’m thankful for

Hey hey, it’s Thanksgiving. Did everybody have a good holiday? Did anybody do anything particularly crass or boorish, like dumping a glass of water on somebody else’s dinner?

Thanksgiving, clearly, is for the giving of thanks. If you’d spent as much time studying etymology as I have, you’d have figured that out already, thickie. So let’s all give some thanks.

I’m thankful for video games, baseball, Warhammer 40k, food, and Bigfoot, without which I wouldn’t really ever have anything to say on this dumb blog. I’m thankful for the magical internet and its seemingly endless supply of free jokes and porn. I’m thankful for living in the Frozen North and not some godawful place where it’s still eighty degrees in November. I’m thankful for speech, and guns, and whatever other freedoms we still have. I’m thankful for Thanksgiving with my family always being an evening full of bawdy jokes and swearing, punctuated by way too much food and copious amounts of booze, since quite frankly being quiet and respectful just isn’t our style. Oh, and I’m thankful for Divine Plea. Holy shit does that rock.

November 28th, 2008 Posted by | Bullshit | no comments

What you talkin’ ’bout, Vince?

This interview with Valve’s Doug Lombardi is about a month old, but I only just found it. I apologise for how shitty that web site is; seems like it’s impossible to convince web designers that a billion widgets all over the whole page isn’t easy to use — but, hey, I’m not here to bitch at these dudes for their garbage web site, I’m here to bitch at Doug Lombardi for his crazy moon talk.

The reason I linked to the third page of that interview isn’t that I’m stupid and fucked it up, by the way. It’s because I wanted to call out Lombardi’s first comment on that page. You see that? Where he says "my hunch is that more people finished Ep2 than Ep1… because we got back to the variety of gameplay that was in Half-Life 2." Oh, and farther on down there, where he’s harshing on Episode One because it was "kind of you and Alyx fighting in the city streets the whole time."

Is Doug out at sea here, or am I really the only person in the world who likes consistent games anymore? I mean, hey Doug, that’s exactly why I liked Episode One. It had no fucking boat levels, no fucking car levels, no ridiculous crate-stacking puzzles. It was all shooter. Okay, okay, it had that one dumb bit where you’re in the parking garage pushing cars around, but outside of that, it stays within the shooter framework; the gameplay is varied, just not so wildly as before. I’m serious, is this just me? Am I really the only person who doesn’t like it when I’m infiltrating some Combine dudes and then all of a sudden I have to spend an hour playing driving levels before I can get back to it?

Since, frankly, what I didn’t like about Half-life 2, and what I didn’t like about Episode Two, is that they both kept interrupting the game to make me do some dumb shit I didn’t want to do. Stack crates, boat, car, stack crates, car, crates, seige fight in the goddamn CAR. You see where I’m going with this? Episode One didn’t do that nonsense. So, hey Doug, bite me. The end.

November 22nd, 2008 Posted by | Games | no comments

Open letter to AP sportswriters

Dear baseball mans,

Please stop writing hi-larious joke headlines about how small Dustin Pedroia is. He is considerably bigger than I am. You’ll give me a complex.


November 19th, 2008 Posted by | Baseball | 4 comments

Happy Wottleock day

The day is finally here — Wrath of the Lich King has arrived. My Collector’s Edition hit this afternoon right as I was getting ready for work, so I haven’t had time to play with it yet; I started the install and left. I did rat through the box, though, and I played with all the contents, and some of it’s pretty groovy. I dig the artbook, and the mousepad is keen, albeit useless. I’ve played the card game before and didn’t find it particularly compelling; it’s pretty much a Magic ripoff with an added sheen of complexity and a WoW theme. No doubt I’ll give it another stab now that I have a bunch of new cards.

What’s everybody else think? Have any interesting experiences getting your copy?

November 13th, 2008 Posted by | World of Warcraft | no comments

More Final Fantasy IV

Here’s a quick little game to play:


Hold your hand over this image so that everything below the nose is covered up, and look at it for a minute. Then move your hand so you’re covering everything above the eyes and look at it again. You see what I mean? Without the mustache, he looks like a crazy karate monk. Without the braid, he looks like a tough-as-nails army colonel. With both of them, though, he doesn’t much look like a tough-as-nails karate monk army colonel; instead, he looks like your dad trying out a hip, experimental hairstyle.

Yang aside, one thing that’s getting me about the new Final Fantasy IV is the things that are mechanically different from the old version, but don’t give you any advance warning. Here’s an insiders tip for anyone who remembers the SNES game and means to play this one: Bahamut’s mega flare attack is no longer reflectable. It is entirely possible to find yourself absorbing the thick end of it and then being unable to heal before the next one comes down because all of your characters have goddamn Wall on. I mean, it could happen, in theory. Not that I know anybody that did happen to. Oh, another fun fact: there are no save points in that cave. But, on the bright side, Kain can still solo that fight, so I didn’t suffer too badly for it. Uh, I mean, theoretically.

On the subject of Kain, he’s gotten nerfed a bit (jump seems to take WAY longer to land than it used to, and for some reason they’ve tanked the accuracy on spears, so I tend to have him fight with an axe instead), and all of his dialogue has about fifteen pounds of pointless angst tacked on to it, but he’s still my favourite character. Because he r00lz, obviously. Edge is now way more of a penis than he used to be, though, and I find myself wishing I could jettison him from my party in favour of the Mustache Monk.

Quick fact: yes, there are minigames. Yes, they suck. However, they are completely ancillary to the actual game and you don’t need to play them ever.

November 13th, 2008 Posted by | Games | 6 comments

Art farts

You know what’s excellent? When fancy-nancy people use big words but not necessarily correctly. Just a heads-up, Mr. Arty Man: I do not think "prevaricating" is likely to be the word you want there. First of all, you don’t prevaricate "over" something, you prevaricate about something. But that’s neither here nor there, since what "to prevaricate" actually means is functionally the same as "to lie." I’m not getting the sense that what you’re trying to say here is "he was always lying about how his art should be shown."

Or is it? I mean, it makes no sense. But, hey, you’re an art critic, yeah?

November 11th, 2008 Posted by | Bullshit | one comment

Further nostalgia

What I did get, though, was the DS remake of Final Fantasy IV, mainly because I’d never actually played the full version (since the US release was notoriously neutered), and I was curious about some of the things that had been cut. It plays pretty well, though a lot of the differences are subtler than one would expect; it isn’t just missing skills and visible secret passages. I got the shit handed to me on my way through the Cave of Mist, for example, by all those dumb imps and sword rats; the main difference is that they’re actually fast enough to get actions before Cecil can single-target DPS them all to death. In addition, a lot of mobs that previously did the thick end of not a damn thing now actually have interesting abilities; magic counters, for example, to make AOEing the hell out of every group a bit less of a good idea. Assuming that this version more correctly reflects the original balance, it’s pretty interesting to spot all the ways the game was nerfed, and it definitely seems to have a bit more life to it this way.

A lot of the stuff that was changed for the new version is welcome, also. Trainable, equippable abilities are nice (Auto-Potion FTW), it’s great to have a map, and the text makes a whole lot more sense, even if Cecil is a bit over-the-top with his morose brooding. The translation was redone completely, except for one line. One important line. One very important line. I’m not completely sold on the new character models; they’re good for the most part, but a few characters look… bizarre.

So I’m enjoying it so far. I’m hoping that the this version will be a bit more even and contain fewer massive difficulty spikes; the SNES release wasn’t completely nerfed, and would occasionally just get really really really hard for a little while and then subside again.

November 10th, 2008 Posted by | Games | no comments

Nostalgia Warrior

So I’ve been doing this thing. Every time I go to EB or wherever to browse through games, I pick up the DS remake of Dragon Warrior IV. Then I put it down. Then I pick it up, then I put it down. I just can’t decide if I should get it or not.

Dragon Warrior IV was one of my favourite NES games when I was a kid, and I have a lot of fond memories of playing it. My copy got swiped by a friend many years ago, so it’s been a long time since I’ve played it, and I end up thinking "oh, hey, I should get that." But then I evaluate the game rationally, and I just don’t know that I’d have the patience for it these days.

See, the thing is, when I actually look straight at it and try to remember how it plays, it occurs to me that Dragon Warrior IV was one of the all-time great grinding games. It’s in five chapters, and each chapter starts you with different characters, and all the characters start at level 1. So you immediately buy a damn copper sword or club or whatever and go grind on slimes for a while. Then you’ll go up a few levels and you can grind red slimes or prank gophers instead. Sooner or later you grind high enough to complete your quest, and then it’s back down to level 1, since it’s time for the next chapter. And, lest we forget, chapter 3 ends with the epic grind of, what is it, like twenty thousand gold to buy Talloon a damn storefront?

On the other hand, I remember really enjoying it when I was a kid, and that’ll probably win out eventually.

November 8th, 2008 Posted by | Games | no comments