The Dord of Darien

Musings from the Mayor of the Internet

Re: Gordon Edes is a moron

The Dodgers lost to the Cubs today. They now have the exact same record post-Manny-suspension as they did pre-Manny-suspension. So, in conclusion: fuck you, Gordie.

"In the first three games of a four-game series, Los Angeles has managed only three runs."

Yeah, who needs Manny anyhow? Haven’t missed him a bit.

May 30th, 2009 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

Fire Gordon Edes

Where’s Fire Joe Morgan when sportswriters write shit like this? Here’s Gordon Edes writing about how much better the Dodgers are since Manny Ramirez got suspended for doping:

"Since Ramirez was suspended for 50 games on May 10, the Los Angeles Dodgers are 12-5, a .706 winning percentage, even after a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs here Friday afternoon that ended a four-game road winning streak.

Before the suspension, the Dodgers were 22-11, a .667 clip."

Oh, Gordon. Oh, Gordon, Gordon, Gordon. Come on. You have to realise how completely fucking stupid that is. Even you need to be able to see that those records differ by exactly one half game. They are exactly as close as they possibly could be when you consider that 17 isn’t divisible by 3. That would be good data to support the suggestion that the Dodgers haven’t gotten worse since Manny left, but it doesn’t support your weird idea that they’ve gotten better. Oh, and, Gordon? Before you get any ideas: yes, actually, the Dodgers are a worse team without Manny. They’ve just been an insanely lucky worse team, as I was just talking about yesterday, in a post that I see was ostensibly about Andruw Jones.

And, of course, the best part is that "the Dodgers are getting along just fine without Manny Ramirez" headline right above a smaller headling that says "Dodgers lose to Cubs 2-1." Wow, yeah, one run was plenty. They don’t need Manny at all!

May 30th, 2009 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

Andruw Jones Update

Jones is presently hitting .288 / .430 / .562 in his first season out of LA. Last season? .158 / .256 / .249. His OPS is almost twice what it was in 2008. So it looks like it wasn’t you, Andruw — it was the damn Dodgers.

In other news, I really want to say lol @ Dodgers here, but Juan Pierre is presently playing out of his fucking mind. .407 / .470 / .542? Juan Pierre? 1.012 beats his career high OPS by more than .200. And how the shit does one manage a .542 SLG without hitting one single home run? At least I can be content in the fact that his BABIP is an insanely high .434, beating his career average by .115. So he’s just getting phenomenally lucky and he’ll come back down to earth.

He better, anyhow, because Juan Pierre with a 165 OPS+ is completely ridiculous and needs to get out of my reality.

May 29th, 2009 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

Old Skool

I love game download services. Have I ever mentioned that? Whether it’s WiiWare or Steam or whatever. Nothing suits me better than deciding I want to play a new game and then just pressing a button and having it. That’s way better than having to go to the damn store or waiting until it shows up in the mail.

The terrible segue in here, of course, leads to me talking about the new shit I just bought from WiiWare. Like, for instance, Adventure Island: The Beginning. I couldn’t pass that up for eight bucks, could I? Now, don’t ask me what the hell the title means — I have no idea. Is it like the first part of some episodic Adventure Island? Couldn’t be — not enough ruined subway tunnel levels. Maybe it’s "the beginning" as in first in the Adventure Island storyline, but hell if I know; I mean, does Adventure Island have a story? Princess What’s-her-name gets kidnapped by a monster, and Master Higgins has to run really fast to the right and eat a lot of fruit and try to avoid picking up the goddamn skateboard or he’ll die. That’s about it. And I don’t just mean that’s the storyline in this game; I mean that’s the storyline in every Adventure Island game. There’s no dialogue, no goddamn cutscenes, nothing. Just running, jumping, fruit, and that sort of thing. If you’re in to that, you’ll probably like this game; it’s a pretty solid side-scrolling platformer, with some hilariously difficult jumps and dead-easy bosses. It’s short, but it’s also eight bucks. It has like some minigames you can play from the menu, but they all suck. Really, the only meaningful complaint I have with the game is that the last boss has an attack that can kill you instantly but isn’t hit-boxed quite correctly, so until you get used to having to dodge it with a margin, you’ll take a lot of "that didn’t hit me!" deaths.

There is also Bubble Bobble Plus. Holy shit yes. I was completely psyched when I saw that on the list. Then I was completely confused, since it identifies itself as being by Square Enix, but Bubble Bobble is a Taito game. I guess Square Enix was just the North American publisher, though, since the second credit given is Taito. You might think that would make me feel better, but, actually, it makes me feel like a tremendous queer for knowing off the top of my head the company that developed Bubble Bobble.

How lame I am notwithstanding, it’s dead good. The original Bubble Bobble is present, with updated graphics and sound and a few new features, and then on top of that it has a new "Arrange Mode" (no, I don’t know why it’s called that either) that has all-new levels and a four-player mode. I’m in to it, but I always loved Bubble Bobble; I was thinking, though, that I was terrible at Bubble Bobble when I was ten, and I’d probably be way better at thirty. This did not occur. I am still completely terrible at Bubble Bobble. Fucker’s a hundred levels long, and I can just barely muscle my way through, like, level twelve. On easy. It’s a great game, though, and for six bucks everybody should get it. As an added incentive for you to go buy Bubble Bobble Plus, I had noted fan Amy Winehouse record an audio review. Enjoy.

And how the hell did I not notice when they added River City Ransom to the Virtual Console? I found out about that from some dude’s web site and went and bought it immediately, because it’s the best game ever made. Even in 2009 it still kicks ass, and now you don’t even have to write down those bullshit passwords because the Wii will just autosave your progress. That’s a win and a half right there.

May 28th, 2009 Posted by | Games | no comments

Happy AISB Day

Error 423: resource not fnord.

May 23rd, 2009 Posted by | Bullshit | no comments

But can you smell it?

This is too funny. This week’s Freedom Watch includes a call segment with Glenn Jacobs — yes, that Glenn Jacobs — that I just have to tell you about. As I say, it’s a call segment, so he’s not actually present in the studio; normally, the Freedom Watch dudes will have a publicity still of the person during the phone segments, and they’ll show that as the guy is talking. And that’s more or less what they do for Kane, but it’s, you know, a lot of different shots.

It comes out totally surreal. Here’s the dude making all these constitutional arguments and sounding perfectly intelligent and capable, and on the screen is a picture like this.

I’m glad the Freedom Watch dudes have a sense of humour. They need to get Jesse Ventura on there sometime — you seen that dude’s outfit from his ring days? They could get some hella screen grabs from him.

May 21st, 2009 Posted by | Bullshit | one comment

Can the Mets get any funnier?

I mean, sure, that "20 unearned runs in 35 games" thing is pretty good, but it’s hard to beat this.

The Mets: public health scourge of 2009!

May 20th, 2009 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

The DH is for pussies anyhow

Good times: Joe Maddon messed up the lineup card and the Rays had to bat their pitcher today. It’s pretty hilarious that Sonnanstine hit an RBI double, but I gotta say that rule is a little bit wack. Maddon’s lineup card listed both Zobrist and Longoria as 3B. You’d think maybe he could say "oh, yeah, that dude who’s been playing 3B so far is the real 3B. That other guy is the DH. My bad." Apparently that’s not good enough in crazy baseball land, though, and that mistake means they lose their DH.

Eh, no harm, no foul, I suppose. Sonnanstine had a better day at the plate than Longoria did anyhow.

May 17th, 2009 Posted by | Baseball | no comments


You ever see those adds for those phony internet "IQ tests" that say something on the order of "the average IQ on the Arizona Diamondbacks is 126! How do you stack up?" All I’m saying is I’m thinking 126 might be 113 points or so too high for the Florida Marlins.

Can you believe that shit? They’re too afraid of ghosts to sleep alone? What the fuck? I mean, I realise we don’t pay baseball players based on intelligence, but I expect a little bit more brains than that. Or at least a bit more testosterone. Can you imagine what Ty Cobb would have done to a ghost? He’d have spiked that greasy mofo, that’s what. And Pete Rose? Come on. He was Superman. He once single-handedly obliterated Ray Fosse for having the goddamn gall to try to get him out. In an exhibition game.

I’d just like to take this opportunity to perform a few minutes of my court-ordered civil service and point out to the Florida Marlins that there is no such a fucking thing as ghosts. No, Carlos Gomez, ghosts don’t exist even if your iPod did spoooooooookily start vibrating even after you were totally sure you’d turned it off. Your homework for tonight is to come up with just one single explanation for this phenomenon that’s more likely than ghosts. If you don’t do a good job, I’ll have to send you to special education.

May 15th, 2009 Posted by | Baseball, Bullshit | 2 comments

State of the Ceramite

I know you. You’re sitting there asking yourself "damn, I wonder what games Darien’s been playing lately?" Well, because I care, I’ll tell you: Warhammer 40k Dawn of War II and Pokemon Platinum. Don’t you feel enlightened? Now, just to make your life even betterer, I’ll rabbit on about them for a while. You know you love it.

Pokemon Platinum is, so far as I’ve gotten, exactly the game you expect it to be. If you like Pokemon, you’ll like it. If you don’t like Pokemon, this one won’t change your mind. I didn’t play either of the other games in the Diamond and Pearl series (which were, predictably, Pokemon Diamond and Pokemon Pearl), so I’m not gigantically qualified to talk about how it differs from those; as such, I’ll focus on what’s different from the older games. The most prominent difference as near as I can tell is that it supports trading (and battling) online against random people, so you don’t need to have nearby Pokemon-playing friends. That makes it a lot more feasible actually to collect ’em all someday, which is a nice plus. Pretty much every other difference I’ve noticed so far is either cosmetic (better graphics, different scenario, so forth) or gimmicky bullshit (like the totally pointless and stupid "Poketch" that sits on the bottom screen where the goddamn map should be).

There are no major gameplay differences from the Pokemon formula. Catch ’em all, raise ’em all, fight ’em all. That’s about it. There is the two-on-two battle type from Ruby and Sapphire, which isn’t really particularly interesting (except that some moves — rather inexplicably — are AOE). Outside of that, the only noticable difference I’ve spotted so far is that they’ve finally (thankfully) decoupled attack element from attack type — no longer are all water attacks "special" and all grass attacks "regular," which is handy, since Pokemon games traditionally give you a water starter with high regular attack and a grass starter with high special attack.

The worst part of Pokemon hasn’t changed a bit: goddamn critical hits. Pokemon is a game played with very small tolerances, and battles take very few turns, and one critical hit has a tremendous influence on the course of battle. Which is, of course, annoying. And, yes, it is much more annoying when you’ve found a rare Pokemon you’d like to catch and you crit the stupid thing to death.

Dawn of War II is awesome, but it’s really hard to play. I mean, the interface is relatively straightforward, and you’ll pick it up pretty quickly; the on-screen help is just about totally useless, but you probably won’t need it too much. No, the reason Dawn of War II is so hard to play has nothing to do with that, and everything to do with the fact that it relies on the Games For Windows Live service, which is a complete piece of shit and may or may not be functional any given time you try to run the damn game. I’m not even sure why Relic elected to use GFWL, since DOW2 is already a Steam game, and Steam provides all the hachievement and community and matchup functionality from GFWL, plus it actually works. But here we are.

Assuming you can actually play Dawn of War II, you’ll find what is, for my money, the best single-player RTS ever made. Gone are the endless, repetitive resource-gathering and base-building elements; if you’re anything like me — and you know you are — you really enjoy that stuff for, like, a few levels, and then it gets really boring. Well, Dawn of War II has none of that: no grinding, no building, and no strapped-out early game and totally berserk late game. Instead, it takes a few pages out of the RPG playbook, and gives you a set of "heroes" who level up and equip gear. Some of the heroes come equipped with squads, and dead squad-mates are automatically restored at any base or captured… thing. What are those beacon things, anyhow? I don’t really know.

The game owes World of Warcraft a beer for borrowing a lot of its interface elements, I can tell you that. Weapons are all broken out into DPS, stats, and procs. Gear names show up in white, green, or blue, indicating rarity and quality per level. Quite frankly, I appreciate that. It’s not exactly like this is ripping off major parts of WOW’s gameplay, and you know what’s easy to get used to? An interface that duplicates elements of an interface you already know. World of Warcraft has 6.779 billion players, so cribbing its notation is a good way to increase usability for a large portion of your expected player base.

Missions are standard fight-the-mobs stuff like you’d expect from an RTS, but frequently end with bosses; the boss fights remind me of nothing so much as Diablo 3. Now, Darien, you say, Diablo 3 isn’t out yet. You haven’t played it, asshole. Believe it or not, I actually know that, but I have seen the movies Blizzard’s put out, and the DOW2 boss fights really seem rather similar. They’re good for the most part, but they can get rather frustrating when you need to move your mans around in pretty picky ways and they just don’t seem to be cooperating. The game, not having been made by morons, is balanced expecting that to be the case, but it can still get frustrating. You’ll have a few moments where you’re telling your mans "go go go go go go move move move DAMMIT."

If you’re a 40k fan, you’ll have a lot to like here, since it features plenty of 40k staples presented in a really appealing way. The most notable missing element, for my money, is meltaguns; I’ve always been a fan of meltaguns, so I was a little bit bummed that there weren’t any to be found. That’s a pretty minor complaint, though, and lord knows there are enough bolters and flamers and plasma guns and autocannons and thunder hammers and whatever else to keep you occupied. For playable armies, well, you get any 40k army you want as long as it’s Space Marines. You’ll be fighting Orks, Eldar, and Tyranids, and you’ll be supported in a few missions by Imperial Guard.

I hear there’s multiplayer, but that’s not really my bag, so I can’t tell you much about it. I did play a skirmish game against the CPU, though, and I had no idea what the hell was going on; multiplayer plays very differently from single-player, and does have resource gathering and base building. For what it’s worth, multi gives you an army choice: Space Marines, Orks, Tyranids, or Elfs.

In all seriousness, if Games For Windows Live weren’t such a complete piece of shit or maybe had a less awful name (honestly, even "Xbox Live PC" would be better), I’d say Dawn of War II was one of the best games I’ve played in a while. As it stands, well, the game itself is still excellent, but I can’t promise you’ll get to spend as much time playing it as you do trying to get it to work. Which is No Fun.

May 15th, 2009 Posted by | Games | one comment