Thursday, May 24, 2012

Incredible moments in video games

By Jeff

I was inspired by a blog post on the Post-Gazette's Web site I saw a few days ago. I'm also a huge sucker for lists and videos games.

So here are the greatest moments I've witnessed in video games over the years. There is no order, as all these moments are friggin' sweet! Oh, and there are some spoilers. But let's be honest, if you haven't played these games you're not that into video games.

  • Resident Evil: Dogs coming through the windows - This was the first, and really the only, terrifying moment I've experienced in video games. In the original Resident Evil, you are walking through a seemingly harmless hallway, when an evil zombie dog jumps through the window and starts chasing you! Holy Shit! You have a gun, but you're still in shock so you just run like hell. But then you turn a corner and another dog jumps through the window in front of you. AHHHH! Obviously, I didn't survive that first encounter. To this day I just bolt through the hallway and don't fight the dogs out of respect.
  • Mega Man X: Level changes - There are countless amazing things Capcom did when Mega Man made the jump from NES to SNES with Mega Man X. But what really stands out is how some boss levels change if you defeat a specific boss. If you conquer Storm Eagle (Hint: use Sting Chameleon!), then Spark Mandrills stage has the remnants of the sky fortress that you took down on Storm Eagle's stage. It changes the lighting of the stage and one of the mini bosses is significantly easier. I didn't even know something like that was possible back then!
  • Super Mario Bros. 3: Whistles - I was about five when I first played this game. I wasn't very good at it. I could handle the first two worlds, but the third one (Water World) killed me. I couldn't even get to the little Koopa ship. But then I learned that there are two whistles to be had in World One, which let me warp over Water World! It was amazing! I could kind of cheat without technically cheating with Game Genie!
  • Mega Man 3: Sliding - Mega Man and Mega Man 2 were great games. They were simple. Run, shoot and jump. Then Mega Man 3 came along. Not only did you have a sidekick robodog (Rush), you could slide under things! It was so simple, but became such an effective maneuver when fighting jumpy bosses. It also inspired the dash in Mega Man  X, which was equally awesome.

  • Twisted Metal 2: Blowing up Eiffel Tower - Twisted Metal 2, like the games above, is one of the greatest of all time. And a big reason is all the destruction you could cause. The ultimate destruction was setting off a remote bomb in the Eiffel Tower and watching the fireworks as it crumbled. To top it off, you could then use the fallen towers to get to the rooftops of Paris. Even if you like the French, you had to love this!

  • Final Fantasy VII: Sephiroth - There were a few specific moments, like the burning of Nibelheim and the assassination of Aeris(th), that I could have placed here. But let's be honest, Sephiroth is the best villain a game has ever seen. He killed anything and didn't care. He thought he was a God. He messed with Cloud's head constantly. He was just pure evil and he stole every scene he was in.  

  • Final Fantasy X: Auron "Choose!" - Holy shit this moment gave me goosebumps. Auron, one of the video game world's biggest bad asses, was fairly silent for most of Final Fantasy X. When he spoke it was with calm, emotionless demeanor. He shared his vital knowledge, kicked ass and was just awesome. But his shining moment was when you meet Lady Yunalesca. This crazy bitch was supposed to be the savior, but she was evil and wanted to sacrifice the summoner and one of her guardians. That's when Auron breaks out of his shell and says "Now! This is it! Now is the time to choose! Die and be free of pain, or live and fight your sorrow! Now is the time to shape your stories! Your fate is in your hands!" It was like the Braveheart speech of video games and really made you want to rip that bitch up!

  • Warcraft II: Dragons - The read the manual, you knew you could get dragons during the Orc campaign. But level after level you were not able to build the needed dragon roost. Then, that last level your narrator declares that the Horde will support you with the strongest weapons at their disposal: Dragons! Woooooo! Look out human scum, I'm gonna burn your asses! I probably took about 8 hours to beat that last level. Because I wanted a fleet of roughly 30 dragons. I needed about five...

  • Uncharted 2: Train sequence - Best sequence I've experienced in gaming. It was like Indiana Jones meets A-Team meets crazy jumping guy from "Casino Royale". AKA: the perfect storm.

  • God of War: First Minotaur/Medusa Kill - God of War set a new standard for games. That standard was gore. You shove the blade of chaos down the throat of a minotaur or twist the head off a medusa and are showered with blood. It's brutal and amazing at the same time. And later, in God of War 3, Kratos would actually be covered in the blood of his enemies for a few seconds after kill. I know I sound sick, but it was awesome.
 Weezer - Starlight

Bob Smizik thinks Pirates offense stinks

By Jeff

There is no denying that the Pittsburgh Pirates have a historically bad offense. Andrew McCutchen is the only one who is consistently producing.

This is such an obvious fact. No one could try to say differently, and from what I read in blogs and Pittsburgh media, no one does try to defend this terrible offense.

Yet Post-Gazette blogger Bob Smizik feels compelled to have at least one blog post a day pointing out that the team can't hit. I think my inconsistent posting the past 5 months or so show that I understand how hard it is to keep a daily blog. It's not that I don't want to write, but I don't want to really half-ass posts.

Smizik doesn't seem to have that approach. Granted, he probably needs to write X amount of posts per week. But come on! regurgitating the same damn post every day comes off as lazy. It's like he is giving us daily updates on how terrible Casey McGehee, Clint Barmes and Pedro Alvarez are doing.

We all get it! One look at the box score can tell you that these players are practically automatic outs. Yet we get posts (I refuse to link to them.) about how the Pirates were stupid to trade Drew Sutton to the Tampa Bay Rays because he had two RBIs in his first game.

Seriously? I mean, he is probably better than Nate McLouth, but I think it's a little early to say that the Pirates were mistaken in dealing an unimpressive minor league player.

There is so much going on in the sports world, do we need a daily post telling us how terrible the Pirates offense is? But then again, I am wasting time talking about Smizik's post... again! Damnit!

Fun - Some Nights

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Meet Lucy

By Jeff

Julianna and I have been talking about getting Yigo, A.K.A. the greatest dog in the world, a playmate for the past few months.

The idea is that Yigo lived with his sister at the animal shelter on Guam, and then lived with my parents' dog for about two years. So we figured he was getting lonely when we went off to work.

We visited several meet and greets at various pet stores in the Philadelphia area, and saw a whole lot of awesome dogs including cute huskies, giant alaskan malamutes and cuddling greyhounds.

There were several dogs we met or saw online that we want to bring home, but they were going quick. Fortunately, we found one and acted before anyone else.

Her name is Lucy. She is the most gentle dog I've ever met since, well, Yigo! She literally gives hugs, where she will jump into your arms and bury her head in your chest.

At first, Yigo was not a big fan. He got very defensive of the dining room, where his food sits. He didn't like her trying to get up on "his" couch or close to any toys (some of which were bought for Lucy). But in less than a week, Yugo has warmed up to Lucy. As long as she stays away from his food, they get along wonderfully.

Now, we weren't too excited when Lucy left the biggest puddle of pee we've ever seen in our bedroom, or dropped a steamer right after she came in. And we were terrified she was going to explode when she refused to relieve herself outdoors for almost two days. But these problems have been fixed now that Lucy is comfortable in our home.

She's awesome and we're very excited to have her as a member of our family. And Yigo is too. He just won't admit it yet!

Stevie Wonder - Higher Ground

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Stupid people are all over the place!

By Jeff

Over the past few months I've noticed a lot of stupid people. Many of them have made me want to write a post, but then I got lazy and came up with a bunch of poor excuses to not post anything. So below is a list of people, inside and outside of the sports world who have done or said some really stupid things that have really annoying me.

Raffi Torres: This guy is a complete joke. He plays a very dangerous game of hockey and doesn't care who he hurts along the way. He was recently suspended 25 games for hitting Marian Hossa in the head. Not only did he hit Hossa in the head, he left his feet to do so and the puck wasn't close to the play. And he doesn't think he did anything wrong. He thinks he was "finishing my check". Bullshit. This excuse is so tired in the NHL. If you have time to stop and not wreck somebody who doesn't have the puck but you go ahead and hit him, you're not finishing your check. You're going out of your way to hit somebody. Torres is a tool that doesn't belong in the NHL.

Flyers fans: All I've heard today is how unfair it is Claude Giroux was suspended for the hit below.

How can you possibly argue this hit does not warrant a suspension? Giroux went out of his way to hit Zubrus in the head. And don't give me that crap about "finishing a check". Look at the play. Zubrus dumped the puck before he got to the blue line, Giroux didn't hit him until they got to the "A" in Advil. I had several coworkers crying about what a bad call it was. And then one went as far to say that Brendan Shanahan suspended Giroux because Shanahan played for the Devils. That would make sense if it wasn't an idiotic statement, especially considering Shanahan played for the Detroit Red Wings for a long time and DIDN'T suspend Shea Weber for bashing Henrik Zetterberg's head into the glass.

Cole Hamels: Let's keep this Philly thing going! So he hits rookie Bryce Harper. Then admits he did it on purpose after the game because he thinks it was "old school" to do so. Harper did nothing in the game or in the series to be thrown at. He didn't showboat after any home runs, show up a pitcher, or anything. He got hit because he is a rookie who has a reputation for being immature. Did I mention he is 19. I don't know what's dumber, Hamels throwing at him and admitting it, or the fact that if he didn't say anything, he wouldn't have been suspended for throwing at a guy. It's kinda weird that honesty is punished.

Chevy Chase: The co-star of "Community" is upset that some of his jokes are being cut on the editing floor. This has led to him leaving angry voicemails on show creator Dan Harmon's cell phone bitching about it. Chase was a big name a long time ago. Until "Community" came along, I can't tell you the last thing he was featured in. And then there are the stories about what a tool his has been throughout his career. Just shut up and realize you're a part of the best show on television, Chevy. And it's not the best show on TV because of you. It's the best show on TV because of the writing.

Rush Limbaugh: OK, I'm late to the party, but it was disgusting hearing him call a Georgetown student a slut because she wants birth control covered. At some point, personal attacks on private people like this need to be punished. I don't understand why that young women doesn't go after Rush for defamation or slander. She is a private citizen. Just because she testified to Congress does not mean make her a public figure open to personal attacks such as this.

But Rush is a very public person, so I am free to say he is an obese moron that gets off on attacking people and creating a divide among American citizens. He fans the flames of fears against healthcare, gays and countless others. So going back to the slut thing, maybe Rush knows more than we do. I mean have you seen the guy? The only way he probably gets any is if he pays for it. I mean, I'm pretty sure that if you can't see your junk, you have to pay someone to find it.

Metta World Peace: Ridiculous name aside, he tries to claim that he didn't mean to elbow James Harden in the head and that Harden is a flopper who puts himself in position to be elbowed on opponents' dunks. Are you kidding me? Peace, or is it World Peace? When do the last name begin? Anyway, Peace wound up the elbow and definitely meant to crush Harden. I can't believe some people like Mike Greenberg were saying they legitimately believed him when he said that it was not intentional.

Skip Bayless: Honestly, I haven't watched him since the whole Jalen Rose thing, but he is still on television so I can guarantee he is saying stupid things for attention.

Willie Nelson - Just Breathe

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Greatest YouTube video ever

By Jeff

I'm a big video game nerd. It's not a secret.

One of the greatest game franchises ever is Mega Man. It started on NES as a side scroller and evolved into a side scroller on SNES, Playstation and Playstation 2. Yeah, they were all awesome.

Anyway, what was so great about these games is there were no tutorials or silly pop-ups telling you what to do when you're stuck, or to trigger an action sequence. You learned quickly by just playing, and the action didn't slow down.

Now, I still enjoy some of these "tell me how to do everything games", like God of War. They can be fun. They just are not very challenging. Mega Man, and other old school games, were difficult though. Just look at Mega Man 9 and 10 for PS3 and X-Box 360. Newer gamers found these 8-bit throw backs as very difficult. It wasn't just a point and shoot and go where the map tells you, or wait until a prompt pops up on the screen.

I've felt this way for a long time, but never knew there was an incredible video that explains exactly how I feel about Mega Man and earlier video games compared to today's games.

It's awesome and I hope you enjoy.