Sunday, March 13, 2011

Random Disorganized Stuff

This blog brought to you by people with no lives

          The lapse between my blogs are getting pretty wide now, isn’t it. it’s partly because my xbox is broken and as such I haven’t been playing many new games, and partly because I’ve been sucked into the world of MMOs. MMORPG is an abbreviation for a genre of videogames known as massively multiplayer online role playing game, one of the most famous/infamous of this genre of game is World of Warcraft. Known by everyone, whether you play games or not, World of Warcraft has made a significant impact on the perception of gamers as well as the way MMOs were built. The MMO that I’m currently playing is Lord of the Rings Online, which is doubly nerdy, because it combines two things that nerds enjoy-Videogames and Lord of the Rings. In an MMORPG you start off at level 1, almost powerless, then set off on your journey to gain more power. The world that you play in is populated by other people around the world so being courteous is an important virtue, you don’t want internet hate gangs on you. As you progress the enemies you fight get progressively more powerful, but so do you. The higher in level you get the more skills you have at your disposal, the better equipment you have to raise stats and make you more efficient. Eventually you’ll hit a level cap, the current level limit, and that’s what is referred to as end-game. People who are crazy dedicate hours to farming items so that they can get just one piece of equipment, one of the reasons why WoW has such a negative view.
Imagine this, but with other people
In LoTRO all of this is true, except that the end game is sort of lacking and as such it’s starting to lose grip of me and I’ve gotten back into TF2 (Team Fortress 2) a little. In LoTRO you start off as a normal hero, protecting the boundaries of your respective homeland, (Ered Luin for Dwarves and Elves, Bree-Land for Humans, and Shire for the hobbitses). However fate has called upon you to do more than just protect your homeland, and soon the storyline has you going around all of Eriador to assist the rangers in the protection from the armies of Angmar (I understand how hardcore this sounds). While you do this you also take on quests from various areas so that you can level up and gain more strength. The community of LoTRO is a very nice, friendly, and casual one so there’s not a lot of trolls in the game.
But enough about MMO’s and LoTRO, I’ll probably write a more in depth blog on LoTRO specifically now that I’ve laid out the basis for MMO’s later. In other more relevant news of gaming I recently finished Dead Space 2 at a friend’s house, and damn, it’s a real fine game. The graphics are top notch and the sound effects live up to the standards of the first game. The storyline is great, and serves as a great addition to the world that Visceral Game studios has set up. The satisfaction that you get stomping on the necromorphs is still there, with plenty of jump scares. The atmosphere is once again great, however this is more of an action game now than it is a horror game. Dead Space 2 is probably one of the best ways I could’ve started out the year of 2011 with.
I’m still waiting on getting my xbox fixed to start Brotherhood, but I can’t wait until that happens. Also I can't wait until the Source Code comes out, from the sounds of previews as well as the trailers they've put out it's looking like an impressive film. In terms of music I’ve been going back on some of the older music that I started out with, such as Green Day. Dookie and American Idiot are probably two of my favorite albums and the top two albums for Green Day. American Idiot in particular I can listen to over and over again, it’s a great album. Also since I’m in GSO I’m constantly exposed to classical music, and one song in particular has stuck with me. Here it is, and I hope everyone has a great rest of the week.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Game of the Year 2010 (Yes I know I'm late to the Party)

First off I'd like to mention the fact that I had written this about a month ago, and yet never posted it because I kept juggling my options and was too lazy to find pictures for this. However I'd have to post this sooner or later so here are my Games of the Year 2010.

With 2010 over with, it's time to reflect back on the year and remember all the good times we had. As with all things media there will always be top 10 lists for the year, best of lists and the like. So here's my top 10 for the year. Keep in mind that my main platform is an Xbox 360, and the other exclusive games I only have the time to play when I'm at a friend's house, so it might be a little skewed. Also as a result of my Xbox 360 breaking in early October some games could not be included in this list including; Fallout New Vegas, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (although what little I've played of it it's pretty impressive), Need For Speed Hot Pursuit (and from what I've heard from other people is a really fun game), and Pac-Man Championship Edition DX (which I am buying the moment my 360 gets fixed). Without further ado here's my top games of 2010.

10. Call of Duty Black Ops
Everyone everywhere knows what Call of Duty. Whether or not they know the history behind it or the fact that there are two developers who alternate years is questionable, however most people everywhere know what Call of Duty is. Heck, my friend's dad who doesn't even play videogames asked him if he wanted Black ops. For no reason. Call of Duty Black Ops was like a roller coaster ride, once it started going it was a crazy experience from start to finish, although the ending felt unnecessary. Multiplayer is the same as ever, you either love it or hate it.
9. Rock Band 3
When it comes to music games Rock Band is my go to game. It has a wide variety of songs as well as great continued support from Harmonix. With this new iteration I'm scratching my head at what the genre can offer next. With DLC support, you can get all the songs you need online, and Harmonix has just perfected the music game genre, everything in Rock Band 3 works solidly.
8. Heavy Rain
A game that shot for the stars and missed by only a few feet. Heavy Rain did so many things right and had amazing graphics as well as a pretty amazing story, the gameplay and story got more intense as you went along. One thing that pulled back the game's potential was some of the loose ends that felt unnecessary. The characters felt believable although the voice acting was downright horrible at times. Heavy Rain's innovative gameplay and the movielike feel to it made it one of the most unique experiences of the year. JASON
7. Super Meat Boy
I love this game. The game hates me. It's real cute. It also has lots of charm. Buy it, it's only $15
6. Limbo
The game sets so much atmosphere with just it's black and white colors, as well as the art direction and the sounds (or lack thereof). With lots of puzzles almost on the level of Braid (but not quite) Limbo was a great downloadable game that lagged slightly at the end. Also spiders suck.
5. Civilization 5
Civilization 5 brings a level of friendliness to the series, it's more accessable now for most people to jump in and get adjusted to the mechanics of the games. It still has that just one more turn mentality to it which will keep you up late at night trying to get revenge on Gandhi (who nuked your capitol). It's brought together all the great stuff about the past Civilization games and added a level of approachability to it.
4. God of War III
God of War has always been one of those games that I've enjoyed a lot. With crazy fast action, lots of gore, as well as a good use of the Greek mythology, God of War has always been a blast to play. GoW III brought some of the most intense actions, most satisfying boss fights, and was one of the best looking games this year. Great finish to the God of War series.
3. Halo: Reach
I will admit that I love Halo. With Reach Bungie has perfected the type of game they made, that distinct Halo feel. The campaign is amazing and the multiplayer and forge mode is all that you could ask for. The ending was also great, and Bungie sure sent off Halo with a blast.

2. Red Dead Redemption
Thank you Rockstar for making yet another amazing game. I was hyped beyond reason for this game and yet Rockstar still managed to exceed them. From the amazing characters that you meet from the start of your journey to the end, Red Dead Redemption is a masterpiece work of storytelling. John Marston is a sympathetic character who you can root for, and you can feel the pain in his journey as you follow along. Also the last couple of endings (there are 3 points where it felt like the game was going to end), were simply the most amazing moments of gaming this year. The ending was so satisfying it's hard to put into words, and Red Dead Redemption managed to pull off something not many developers could do. 

1. Mass Effect 2
At first this seemed like the obvious choice, however as I thought about it more it became a very close contest between this and Red Dead Redemption. However my love for Mass Effect 2 cannot be overstated. Although the story isn't as great as the first game the characters were the star of the game. Each character brought with them a unique characteristic and baggage which always made it interesting to go back and talk to them and learn more about their back stories. The loyalty missions were just amazing and the interrupt system is genius in its simplicity and how much more awesome it makes the dialogue sections become. The rich fiction of the Mass Effect universe is expanded and the series has one of the most realized universes out there. Add to this the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC as well as all of the Cerberus Network DLC and you’ve got my Game of the Year 2010.

To close this out I'll send you off with my "favorite" game song of the year.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

     It's been a while again, hasn't it. Thanksgiving's gone and passed and now we're already into December. Unless you've been living under a rock or hate music in general, by now you would've known that Kanye West's new album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, had come out. Whether you love him or hate him, Kanye West is a name familiar to everyone. Known for making highly controversial statements as well as having one of the biggest egos in the planet, Kanye West is known to everyone. Probably his most controversial statement yet was during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, where he publicly on television stated that "President Bush hates black people" or something along those lines. Every week he has some juicy statement for tabloids and the such to suck off of. We can all agree that Kanye West is an asshole, and he openly admits it. Yet you'd be an idiot to think that his ego is not somewhat justified. His music is some of the best of the modern era and his albums are just great. At this point it should be no shock to anyone that his new album follows suit with his others, it's a pretty amazing album.
Kanye you genious
      Kanye West's album have always been very varied, he's constantly experimenting and trying out new things. This album is no different, he's evolved a lot. The guest stars on this album are amazing, as seen in the songs Monster and So Apalled. The flow and the rapping of these songs are amazing and are lighter toned than some of the other songs in the album. Nicki Minaj, one of the guest stars, just kills her lines, and I'm going to look into her some more because she was pretty great here. Jay-Z, who I only like one album from, is also pretty good here and drops some good lines. Even Rick Ross comes in and does a great job doing what he does in "Devil In a New Dress" which surprised the heck out of me. 

      Throughout the entire album you get a sense that Kanye West is self aware and that he knows that he's an asshole and he's embracing his role, giving the Fantasy part of the album. (Warning following line is inappropriate)  “I don’t need your pussy, bitch, I’m on my own dick.” This line from the song Power is perfect, it shows that he understand that the public views him as an asshole and is embracing it, telling all the SNL and South Park and everyone else to just **** off. Throughout the entire album you understand that the public has shaped him into the person he is today, shaped him into the person who during the VMA's stole the mike from Taylor Swift and shocked the USA (although the VMA's are a joke), that it's a role that he plays now and he doesn't care, he enjoys it. I also have to commend Kanye West for making his own music, which already puts him above other artists.

The album is amazing, totally validates his ego
5/5 Get it if you haven’t already.

                                                   34 Freakin Minutes 
         Here’s also a short Harry Potter 7 review, which is another thing that pretty much everyone probably has seen once or twice already. I love the Harry Potter books, but the movies not so much. The movies never seem to capture the right atmosphere and have to skip out on some of the little things that gave the book its charm. Harry Potter 6 in particular was pretty bad, there was no  character development in the movie, which sort of made the climax pretty lame and is probably going to make some things that happens in Part 2 of HP7 anticlimactic. This movie standing on its own was pretty decent. Everyone plays their part well and the music is still pretty good just like the other movies (except HP1). The thing about the movie is that it’s making a movie out of nothing. I understand that they had to split it up into two parts but the entire first half of the actual book is just expository, talking and travelling and setting up for the second half. So trying to make a movie out of it was probably pretty hard to do. There are also some scenes which are completely awful, such as a dance scene which did not appear in the book, when that happened I heard a lot of chuckles coming from the audience. At the end where (SPOILERS) Voldemort enters Dumbledore’s tomb, and it is the most fake awful thing I’ve seen in a while. (END SPOILERS). However there are some great parts to the movie. The sequence where Hermione read the story of the three brothers, the CGI sequence for that was amazing, you could hear my jaw drop to the floor. Also when they infiltrate the Ministry of Magic that part is also good, because there you get the feeling that Harry and crew could get caught at any moment and that this is a desperate thing, something you never got when they were in the wilderness.

                                Trailer for the movie, some of it is probably in part 2
Overall: I’d give this a 3/5, it’s not great, but it’s not bad either. There are some good parts to it but also some bad ones and it’s sort of a slow movie. Also as a personal thing I really liked the part in the book where Harry and Kreacher had to make amends, but I understand why it’s not in the movie since it’s not really important.
          In other news I have been playing a game, Lord of the Rings Online, and I'll write more about it as I get deeper into it. It's basically WoW (World of Warcraft) but with the Lord of the Rings Lore, which I'm a huge fanboy of. This is also the simplified explanation, I'll elaborate more on the finer points in a later blog. The Walking Dead continues to be an amazing show, only one more episode left, the finale of Season 1 is today! Watch it! Also as much as I hated Merle and all the rednecks (sorry if I offend) who showed up in the show, it felt like they were going for lots of stupid stereotypes which I hate, and why I love the comics because they did not follow the stereotypes. Luckily the show did not go in an obvious direction and gave some people some depth, such as Daryl Merle's brother who first seemingly looked like a redneck but was actually given a lot of character throughout the show, he showed lots of different sides. Merle also while seeming like a racist person, it seems that he will have a huge role in the series and quite possibly serve as a main antagonist and a Governer-esque character (The Governer was a villain in the comics). They've also diverged quite a bit from the comics, especially in episode 5 where (spoilers) they found a CDC person alive, trying to find a cure for the zombie outbreak, something that never happened in the actual comics, so it's going to be interesting how they play their cards from here. Another surprising difference is that after Shane’s confrontation with Rick he’s surprisingly still alive, a somewhat big divergence from what happened in the comics. Also Glenn is still an amazing character in both the show and the comics. Also in my area we had our first snow :D.
Oh jeez

Glak Out
(Happy Hanukkah to those who celebrate it) 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Videogame Music

        I’ll start the blog off by reminding everyone that I am in high school and that I am in the symphonic orchestra for it. This is my director’s last year here, and he’s decided to end it with a twist. Recently he went to some music program, and discovered a little thing called Videogames Live. He decided that he liked what he heard and that it was good music and so now the orchestra is going to perform videogames live on stage tomorrow, and when I first heard  what we were doing the nerd side of me had a spasm. It’s been interesting practicing, the parts for videogame music is actually not as simple as I thought it would be. I have more respect for composers and the people who play the music for the game because I realize that it's not that easy anymore. The best part is that most of the music is from older games such as Kingdom Hearts or Advent Rising (which I didn’t like) so it let me reminisce on games that I used to play.

                                Oh Nerds
        The thing I like most about videogame music that sets it apart from most other music is that the music is always setting the tone, no matter how simplistic it is. In Halo, you’re fighting a grand space epic and thus the music in it is sweeping, full of action and build up, and when you’re playing the game it really immerses you in what you’re doing. In Civilization you’re playing different empires throughout different ages, and so the music is very varied and shows that you are the lord, king, president, whatever you choose to be over the game. Mass Effect, which is one of my favorite games, went for a somewhat Star Trek style, clean and futuristic, so the soundtrack has lots of synth and electronic, while the sequel Mass Effect 2 went for a more grand style, with lots of orchestration and big symphonies for the music. In the documentary for Gears of War 2 the composer stated that in some songs he wanted there to be frenzy, chaos, so he had the players do ridiculous things with their instruments. Videogame music is so very well done, even in trailers, and I love the way most games give a grand scale or intense music feel to the atmosphere.

         Not in the game itself, but still an epic trailer
           Conceived by Tommy Tallarico and Jack Wall, Videogames Live was created to perform videogame music to the public. They were attempting to raise awareness on the fact that videogame music was good and how culturally significant videogames are. In this regard it has been successful, as my director though that videogame music was lots of electronic and “bad” music but this has converted him into liking the music. During concerts they have the music live with special light effects as well as videos playing in the background. Sometimes the music will be very retro, featuring music from games like Tetris or Asteroids, and it's a joy for nerds like us to hear it.

                        Tommy Tallarico and Jack Wall
            For our orchestra we are playing the Halo theme, the one with the chanting/humming, Coronation and Baba Yetu from Civilization IV, Bounty Hunter Theme from Advent Rising, and Kingdom Hearts theme from Kingdom Hearts. These are all great songs, my favorites being Baba Yetu, the Halo theme, and the Kingdom Hearts one and the Bounty Hunter theme is somewhat lame while the Coronation is just boring to play. Baba Yetu is very relaxing and a nice thing to listen to, while the Halo theme is very grand and sweeping. The Kingdom Hearts theme is a very fantasy style song, very soaring and full of adventure. We have had multiple people work on this project outside of orchestra, such as the tech crew for the special light effects (which are pretty damn well done) as well as the video people (not sure what class/club they’re in) who did a good job putting the video for music together. Only complaint that I have with their videos is that most of the time it didn’t show what was fun about the games, such as in Civilization they only showed buildings not the leaders or gameplay, or in Halo they used mostly Reach where the song did not even show up in. This is mostly coming from my point of view, which I have to admit might be a little skewed because I hold most of these games very dearly to me and I’ve actually played them which I’m not sure the video crew has. Along with videogames live we’ll be playing a wide variety of music, from American Patrol (a medley of patriotic songs such as Yankee Doodle), Egmont Overture, Merry Wives, and La Traviata. Overall the music is pretty good, and the videogame music made it very fun for me to play this semester. If you go to my school hope I see you there.

                                          I love this song

Glak Out

                          Great Song, Lots of Fantasy Vibe

                      A Classic Song (But no guitar for us sadly)
          (Really simple song, but also really fun to play)
And to end this video portion I'm going to post a bunch of links, because if I embedded all the videos it would be too much. Also I couldn't find Merry Wives because apparently it's in a musical or something so I couldn't find a good recording of it. La Traviata Egmont Overture, the ending is the most fun *Sigh, Advent Rising............ Not bad, but not fun either, although it could be because we have noone singing in the background

Sunday, November 7, 2010


So much has happened in the past 2 weeks, and since I haven’t done any reviews yet, why not just do a blowout review session. I will do one for videogames, tv/comics, and music in that order. First up to face my wrath is the iPhone/iPod Touch game, GameDev Story. This game has in the past couple of weeks captivated the imagination and the focus of many gamers out in the world, including actual developers and reviewers. GameDev Story is basically a sim game in which you are the president of a game company and throughout a period of 20 years develop games or take contracts.
 Even the damn title font is cute!

In GameDev Story you start out as a fresh developer, ready to enter the harsh world of videogames. The first step is hiring your staff, and from helpful tips from a game magazine being your journey. Leveling your staff and training them is essential, because through doing those you can unlock new genres, such as RPG’s. You start off with the ability to develop on the PC, as well as some fairly early consoles. The PC is free to develop on, however its userbase is small therefore it’s only useful for the beginning of the game when you’re starting out. As the game progresses new companies and consoles come out that you can develop for, however you must pay a licensing fee to develop on them, which can be kind of hefty. The best part of the game for me was how the consoles closely mimicked that of their real life counterparts. The Game Kid developed by “Intendro” is pretty successful like its actual counterpart, the Gameboy, so it’s worth developing for. However when Intendro’s other console, the Virtual Kid, you know it’s going to fall flat on its face, because it was a miserable failure in real life. Small things like these add to the game’s charm and depth.
iPhone Screenshot 1

The thing about this game is that there’s a lot of numbers. You never actually control any of these characters, you’re going to be staring at a lot of numbers when you make decisions. Whether it’s to decide who makes the music or how much you’re going to be spending on advertising there’s lots of numbers involved. The game also sometimes ruins your hard work, such as with a blackout or someone releasing a game similar to you, which can really make you RAGE! The graphics in this game fit the style and serve its purpose. The whole twenty years took me about 5 hours to complete on and off, and it has the addictive just one more turn (in this case game) attitude to it, which is great for an iPhone game. After the twenty years is up you can keep on playing but it won’t keep track of your stats, or you can start New Game + which transfers some stats over, such as the level of your genres. Although it was fun and I played through it twice, after about 12 years in the first playthrough it lost a little steam. However for the price of 3.99 you’ll definitely get your money’s worth for sure (If you play lots of videogames).
iPhone Screenshot 2


                GameDev story survived my wrath because of its charm. Fine. Time to totally rip on the new original series by AMC, The Walking Dead. The Walking Dead is based off an ongoing comic series by Image Comics, The Walking Dead (duh). The basic premise of both is that main character Rick Grimes is a cop who get injured in a gunfight, and goes in a coma. When he wakes up in the hospital a few months later he finds the hospital empty and zombies everywhere. He then sets off for Atlanta to find his wife and son. Right off I want to say, that the comics are amazing and is one of my favorites out of everything I’ve read so far, so the show had a lot of expectations to live up to. To my surprise, it not only met them, but exceeded them. The show has a lot going for it. The cast is great, looks like their comic counterparts and they were amazing. It also has amazing producers, Gale Anne Herd (Terminator, Aliens) and Frank Darabont (THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION) directing it. The pilot episode closely follows that of the first few issues of the comics, with a little deviations here and there. The thing I love most about The Walking Dead is that instead of focusing on the zombies and surviving, it’s more about the characters and it shines a light on humanity, about how we would react and in the face of apocalypse, who can we trust. All the scenes were spot on, and the use of sounds and music was phenomenal, the music was there only when needed. For those looking for some good zombie killing, there’s lots of gore to go around in this episode. The only thing that dampens my excitement for the show is that there are only six episodes this season, so there better be another one coming. Darabont did a perfect job capturing the personalities of each character, as well as show the “aloneness” of Rick Grimes, as well as him slowly adapting to this new world. This was a great pilot episode, and all of you better be watching the new episode tonight, this is zombies done right. 5/5
                                            The Trailer to The Walking Dead
                To close this way too long blog I will end with a mini review of Sufjan Stefan’s “The Age of Adz”. I like to keep these shorts because I’m not very good at articulating what makes these albums good and I feel that music is a very subjective thing, probably the most subjective thing in media. Age of Adz is somewhat electronic focused, with lots of noise as well. Apparently Sufjan Stefan had been on a 5 year hiatus, and his previous albums were pretty awesome too, but this is before I started listening to music, so I think that I might pick up his older albums too. This album is very electronic, and seems very experimental. Sometimes it gets to be a little too much; I can’t hear Sufjan’s vocals over all the noise in the songs, such as in “Too Much”. On the whole this album is pretty darn good, although in the middle it falters a little, it loses focus and has a lot of those weird too much going on tracks. The beginning songs and the ending though are pretty strong, and make up for a lot of the other weaknesses in the album. My three favorite tracks in this album were, in no particular order, “Vesuvius”, “Age of Adz”, and “I Walked.” All of his songs are on youtube so go listen…… now! Overall I’d give this album a 4/5, lots of strengths but the middle falters a bit, but I really enjoyed the album. If you don’t like the three that I listed or the 20 something minute epic finale, then this album is not for you, otherwise pick it up.
                                               One of my favorite tracks

  That was a LOT of writing, thanks for reading some of it at least.
                Glak Out.

 Song that played in The Walking Dead Trailer, it's been stuck in my head

Saturday, November 6, 2010

On Captain America and Music Appreciation

    Today I'm going to start off with something that hasn't been talked about much which I said I would, comic books. I recently started, and it's still somewhat embarrassing to admit that I read comics. Nonetheless, I'm a nerd and I get some enjoyment from reading it. I'm going to talk about one comic book that's somewhat stuck with me for a while now, Captain America 611, The Trial of Captain America. This comic is very interesting in its premise as well as in the context of when it's being put out. As most people know, there is a new Marvel movie coming out July 22, 2011 which is Captain America: The First Avenger. It will focus on the origins of Cap, when he was a sick man receiving the Super Soldier Serum, the antagonist being the Red Skull.

                                                      Hi Human Torch....... I mean Cap

      The premise of Captain America 611, is what the title is, The Trial of Captain America. It would take me forever to list the different Captain Americas and their histories. For our purposes there are two current Captain Americas in operation at the moment, those two being Bucky Barnes and Steve Rogers. Steve Rogers is the original Captain America, the one who will be starring in the new film. He currently runs a secret operations team. Bucky Barnes was his sidekick in WWII, and is the current Captain America, he has the iconic costume and shield. They both fought together in WWII, but ended up being separated, Steve being frozen in ice and Bucky being killed. The Russians brought Bucky back to life and turned him into the Winter Soldier, he had no memories and was an assassin for them. He was eventually freed by other superheroes. The Trial of Captain America results from this. A villain of Cap, Baron Zemo, had recently revealed to the public Bucky's dark past and he is now facing a trial for his past actions. 

Who Will Wield the Shield...... something that came out when I didn't read comics
        The thing that has people wondering though, is will Bucky give up the mantle, and Steve Rogers take it back? It seems like a convenient thing for Marvel to do. The new Captain America movie is coming out soon, and everyone knows that when you have a movie that's successful sales for that comic boost, such as when Deadpool appeared in the Wolverine movie. The paragraph above took me almost a month to figure out, it was that complicated for a new reader like me to jump in. By simply putting Steve Rogers, a character you will be familiar with if you watch the movie, into the mantle, then it becomes easier for people to know the character. Therefore many, including myself are thinking that maybe Bucky will die a hero's death and be redeemed, and allow Steve Rogers to become Captain America once again. I also liked the few panels with Steve Rogers talking to Barack Obama, and the art is pretty good.

        I also went to a concert pretty recently for orchestra, where I had to watch the Freshman orchestra play. The concert pretty much solidified some of my theories and brought out nostalgia. It made me realize that I enjoy classical music, but only if I've played it or known it before. Most of the time when I'm forced to go to concerts like these, I'm pretty bored because I don't know the music. However as I've grown older I've grown a little more tolerant of classical music. Knowing the music also helps tremendously. I know the different parts to it and what my orchestra would play it as. So as I listen I compare what different styles or techniques they used, such as maybe they added a forte here or they bring out more of the violins rather than the cellos. It's pretty interesting. The freshman were playing Deerpath, a song that was pretty notorious among my fellow grade members, as we spent laborious amounts of time playing that with our student conductor. It was a real treat listening to it and comparing how  our grade performed next to them. So how many of you like to listen to classical music? Because I still can't say that for sure yet. Also pick up Age of Adz by Sufjan Stevens, it's a pretty good album, although the middle is kind of weak. I'll probably put that along with my GameDev Story review later this week.

(Skip to about 5:11 for the most infamous section, The Hunt)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

       Hello once again people, it's time for an update. If you hadn't read the previous blog and the comment I left on it, sadly I did not make IMEA, but I feel that it was a good experience because throughout practicing I had to take a good look at what I was doing right and wrong with playing music, so I feel that I have grown practicing for the auditions.
       People in my school who play videogames always ask me, what game are you playing? Since the unfortunate death of my Xbox 360 2 weeks ago I have been too lazy to fix it, and so I have been playing the PC/Xbox 360 Team Fortress 2 on the PC. Although you can get it for the Xbox 360, it is highly recommended that you get it for the PC because the amount of support the company Valve gives it as well as the support of the mod community makes the PC version completely different from the 360 version.
        When I answer with this people usually say, "What is that? that sounds like a dumb game," unless they are nerds like me. Well here is the description of the game. Team Fortress 2 is a cartoon styled objective based team shooter. There are 3 types of classes, and 3 of each. For offence, there's the scout, a Boston boy who's very quick but has low health, the psychotic Soldier whose main weapon is the rocket launcher, and the maniacal pyro, who uses a flamethrower. On defence you have the Scottish demoman, sticky bombs are your friends, the Soviet Heavy, wielding a fierce minigun, and the good ol' boy from Texas, the engineer. The last three are the support classes, who more indirectly help out the team, the Australian Sniper, the French Spy, and the German Medic. As you can tell from the descriptions all of the characters have their own unique personality and abilities when used right can help out the team well. An example would be the feared heavy medic combo. Heavies are slow but have a lot of health, making them an easy target, but put a medic who can constantly heal him then he is practically a walking tank.
(Warning following videos have lots of blood)

       Those two videos were just two examples of the crazy personalities of Team Fortress 2, also notice the violence. They have one video for each of the classes except for the Medic and the Pyro, don't know why. There are 5 modes you can play, payload, where you have to push a cart to an objective, one team defends the other is pushing, arena, basically team deathmatch, control points, where there are 5 control points, both teams push foward to capture all 5, king of the hill, there is one point and both teams want to capture it for a set amount of time, and one mode (not sure of the name) where there are 3-5 points which one team must defend and the other must capture. Notice the fact that none of these modes are free for all, meaning that teamwork is a necessity to win a match. The beauty of the game is that certain classes have certain areas where they can work efficiently and the fact that a lot of the classes have good chemistry together and can destroy the other team if used properly.

         I prefer to play as a rotating cast of the Spy, the Engineer, Heavy, Soldier, and Medic, depending on what the situation calls for, although if I have my choice I always go Heavy. The community is a great part of the game it is the community who keep the game relevant and move it forward. It is also a pretty mature community that don't usually spam their mics and aren't 10 year old children who somehow got a hold of the game. It's a great game with lots of personality and something that "casual" gamers don't usually know about. Also this story is a testament to how supportive Valve is to the modding community. Basically now that Valve has updated all 9 classes since the initial launch in 2010, they allowed some people in the community to make a new update and with the newest update gave them 25% of the profit, which was a big $39,000 for just making a couple of new weapons and hats. Crazy, right? This game continues to change and develop, and it is for sure not going to stop soon, showing that PC games still have a lot of steam.
        Like I said before, my 360 is broken and I don't know when I'm going to get it fixed. Does anyone know a good repair shop or an electronics shop? The holiday season this year seems packed with some good releases. I also just got the new Kings of Leon album, "Come Around Sundown" and I gotta say, it's pretty average. It's not a great album for sure, but it's also not a bad album. Something about it felt a little too formulaic, but you have to give the KoL credit for making their albums varied and their pretty impressive playing. Once again, check out Arcade Fire and their albums, if you don't you're missing out on some great music.
       Glak Out