Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Buried: Mass Effect 3 Leviathan DLC

It's possible that BioWare and EA were going for some kind of meta experience with the Leviathan DLC for Mass Effect 3 -- not entirely sure; this the first piece of additional content for Mass Effect 3 I've played -- because it's so difficult to find.

The basic starting point for the Leviathan story is that there's this mysterious Reaper killer something out in deep space. It's up to Shepherd to find it. And it's up to the player to figure out where the hell the story arc is buried.

Granted I haven't played Mass Effect 3 in a while, but I was expecting a flashing light, a big button somewhere that said, "Leviathan, GO!" to kick off the story.


So, I check Shepherd's email. Nothing obvious there. I wandered the Normandy and Citadel expecting a flashing arrow or other obvious indication of a starting point.


What the hell? I went online to track this down. Surely, it can't be that difficult to start playing this thing that people have plunked down money to purchase.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

"Oh, For A Good Night's Sleep" (2000)

(Click the picture so you can read the article.)
Believe it or not, that's me in the picture above (circa 2000).

Twelve years younger... and I actually look more rested than I feel in 2012. I certainly have less hair in total, and the hair that remains is flecked with gray. Plus, I have four more kids. (So does my wife, but she looks far better than I do!)

The "kid" pictured above is still a kid but he just turned 13. Officially a teenager, though he's been eating like one for a couple of years, it's hard to believe that he ever kept us awake all night with his crying!

This is a falsehood.

Even if they're blurred together, I remember a lot of times being kept awake or startled from a deep slumber by plaintive cries.

Friday, September 21, 2012

"Plastic Prices, Batman!"

In doing some research on potential display cases for some of my large collectibles, I approached a local company for a quote on producing a large five-sided box made of clear plastic. Using the dimensions of the largest display box available on Sideshow Collectibles -- see this blog post -- they came back with an astounding price of approximately $500! (More or less, depending on the thickness of the material.)

I describe it as "astounding" because the cases available on Sideshow, which light up by the way, run about $300.

So, basically, it looks like I'll try my hand at building a display case of some sort. I already have a vision in my head as to what it will look like. Now it's just a matter of measuring and cutting, gluing and swearing.

That last item tends to go hand in glove when I attempt DIY projects. What initially begins so simply and easily... well, that's the warning sign that something is about to go completely sideways. I'm a realist when it comes to this. The only thing one can do sometimes is just stammer, throw down a hammer, and fire invective at the walls (which are hopefully thick enough to shield people walking by the house).

And a lot of the time that old nugget from Jurassic Park springs forward.

You were "so preoccupied with whether or not [you] could, that [you] didn't stop to think if [you] should."

DIY enthusiasts take note.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Aloysius Recounts

"When I finally come out of it," Aloysius suddenly stops talking. He swirls the water in his glass then gulps it down. "When I finally come out of it, I have no damn recollection of what happened. Just the last of that third can of Red then I'm stumbling around in an alley somewhere or face down in the middle of a landing strip. Came to in an alley in Hong Kong once, not a shred of information as to how and why."

"Not even a hazy recollection of anything?" Mitchell asked.

"Not ever! No, not a shred!" Aloysius answered. He banged his glass on the table top but the noise was muted against the rolling sand dunes on all sides. "Well, once."

Thursday, September 13, 2012

French Zombies in "The Horde"

I miss going to the video store to rent movies but the advantage of Netflix -- being able to browse movies, watching each one for a few minutes to see if it grabs me -- outweighs that loss. Plus, I've watched some really good films and TV shows that I otherwise wouldn't have. (And it also allowed me to completely avoid some trash.)

One of those non-trash films -- at least in my opinion -- is The Horde. (It's no gem, but it held my attention.)

It's a good zombie flick, especially if you can stand the extreme gore. The biggest problem is that the description of the film obliterates the surprise, the sudden "Oh, we have bigger problems right now!" turn of events that turns the plans of some corrupt cops to kill the drug dealer responsible for the death of one of their own into a scramble for survival.

Their revenge plot isn't going so well when the bad and badder guys come under attack by super strong and fast zombies. These aren't the kind of zombies found in The Walking Dead. These ones are more along the lines of 28 Days Later. And from what the survivors can see from the roof of the apartment building it's pretty much the end of the world. What ensues is survivors alternating turning on each other and working together to escape the building to (hopefully) reach a nearby military base. The end is rather stark and depressing but it wrapped up the way the zombie apocalypse probably should.

I just wish the film description was misleading or omitted any mention of zombies. If the description focused on the revenge aspect of the four corrupt cops, that probably would have been enough. Make the zombies an actual surprise.

The Horde also suffers the same problem as nearly every other zombie film. Though it's set in the "real world" zombie films don't exist. No one automatically says, "Shoot for the head!" There's always this drawn out process of figuring out how walking corpses might be put down. That's just kind of irritating. If I saw a shambling horde of zombies coming down the street right now I'd know to aim for the head.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"For Display Purposes Only"

The bust, I mean, dust is a real challenge with mixed
media statues.
Dust is a problem for just about everyone and everything. Space dust, skin dust, dirt dust, clothing dust, dust dust... dust comes from everywhere and it's murder on things like electronics and lungs (especially if it's asbestos dust). Being a bit of a collector -- action figures and large collectibles mostly -- dust can drive me to distraction because next to heated electronics and my CPU fan nothing collects more dust than my collectibles.

For the plastic and poly resin figures, clean-up is easy. A little warm water and air drying is enough to bring the figure back to it's dust-free state. However, when it comes to mixed media statues (figures that combine plastic, polystone, and, in some cases, fabric) it becomes a real issue.

When I had Morrigan (Darkstalkers) on display I was constantly blowing dust off the leggings until my wife asked me if I wanted to be alone. Currently the issue is present with M. Bison.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Walking Dead Episode 3 Commentary

The Walking Dead (from Telltale) continues to impress with Episode 3. This is the first dozen minutes or so of the episode with some commentary from yours truly. Check the full review right here on The Armchair Emprie - Infinite.

I'm starting to get the hang of this thing -- taking a video then recording commentary over it. This time out I tried messing with the sound a little. Bumping the audio level of the game when appropriate so more of the game's flavour comes through, then dumping it down when I have something, ahem, important to say.

I've gotta say, I'm enjoying it more than I probably should.

Writing is still my first choice, but in an effort to cultivate a cult of personality, I think I'll keep tooling around with these little projects.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Sleeping Dogs

It's quite possible I should not have bought a copy of Sleeping Dogs. (Playing it on 360.) We're coming up on the busy season for new releases and I can tell I won't be finished with the game before the games start flooding in. Which means that if I don't finish it quickly, I'll never get back to it because I'll be constantly assaulted by something new that has be thrashed through as quickly as possible in order to grab a share of the eyeballs looking for a review.

Being interrupted during a game, particularly when the conclusion/climax is within sight, is not the end of the world but it's certainly irritating. There have been a number of times that I've stopped playing a game to play other things and just never got around to going back and finishing a game off to see how the story ends.

I'm trying my utmost to blast through Sleeping Dogs because it's a success story -- I hope it's successful; the Vancouver game development community could do with a "win!" The game, a "continuation" of the True Crime games, was originally "cancelled" by Activision, was then picked up by Square Enix, reworked, and brought it to the masses to quite a bit of acclaim. Whether it pans out as a high seller remains to be seen. So, I wanted to see how it turned out. It wasn't a smooth development for sure, but if I don't finish it soon I'll be out of luck when it comes to actually seeing the credits roll.

Anyone else do this? Buy a game then take too long to finish it, get distracted, and never come back to it?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Some Recent Reviews

I know I don't do enough advertising when it comes to my writing, so this post is a bit of a catch-up for Reviews for New Super Mario Bros. 2 (3DS), Ghost Recon: Future Solider (PC), and The Walking Dead: Long Road Ahead (PC).

New Super Mario Bros. 2 (3DS)
I think it speaks volumes that I'm still fooling around with this during my commute. Coin Rush is revisited at least once a day to "challenge" StreetPass records of random strangers, but there's still one "World" I have yet to open and it's bugging the hell out of me. I know there's a way there -- otherwise why would it be included on the map? -- but I'm trying to stay off Gamefaqs. I'd like to find the secret and I'll bet it's a path so obvious that I'm missing it because it's in plain sight. Also: The game is a re-telling of the film Scarface.