Archive for the General Category

Defunction

Posted in General on August 31, 2009 by B33

Greetings.

Roughly two years ago and change, I departed upon the journey, if you will, of crafting a journal of the sorts for a variety of reasons, the most prevalent notion being to leave an entity to look back upon to further develop and encompass the general tract of my grasp on the concept of writing.  While I’ve noticed a slight variable of development over the time I’ve spent on this “hobby,” I’ve found the past to be more or less a “notch” that is at a particular point of its lifespan that I feel content to allow it to come to a close. Admittedly, I retained the notion that I could indeed maintain and prolong the lifespan of  this project, however, I often found myself displeased with the general format and content found throughout. My feeble attempts to induce various changes was the equivalent of revamping a structure not sound in nature and destined to collapse.  Regardless, I believe this is the prime opportunity to close this “chapter” and commence an entirely separate project. A particular concept that is far more compatible and satisfying with what I’d like to utilize. Consider this entity the derivation of what will ultimately pass in due time.  I leave this as a defunct “installment” to the sidetracked notions of a path never quite defined in its entirety.

Best regards,

-An odd  individual plagued by nocturnal ramblings.

Continuance

Posted in General on January 2, 2009 by B33

My apologies for the lack of entries, as of lately. I’ve been rather consumed by other interests and tasks that have unfortunately prevented me from writing. I’ll keep this brief and right to the primary concern. No, “Sidetracked” is not ending nor is it going to be abandoned any time soon. Expect various items of interest to emerge in due time. For now, I leave you with the assurance that there is no end in sight.

Always make the audience suffer as much as possible”– Alfred Hitchcock

Down Time

Posted in General on November 22, 2008 by B33

I suppose it goes without saying that I’ve been rather busy, as of lately. While it’d be nice to regularly update this journal, sticking to such a schedule would deter the quality of the said entries and the other various aspects of life I currently have ahead of me. I am nearing the end of the particular semester I’ve been attending to for the past few months. One last essential “cram” to the finish amongst the various other side projects I also tend to linger upon from time to time. Suppose I’ll present a brief of overview of what I’ve been pre-occupying the little free time I have with…

I was able to attend a screening of Zack and Miri Make a Porno on opening day. A full review detailing my thoughts on the film will be published in due time. For now, I will simply say that I was very impressed with the final cut of the feature and look forward to my next viewing of it. As far as gaming is concerned, picked up LittleBigPlanet and Resistance 2 and I am enjoying both titles immensely. I’ve also been playing through Half-Life, as it was marked down substantially in honor of the title’s ten year anniversary. The third Futurama film entitled “Bender’s Game” recently hit store shelves and is fairly enjoyable. Plenty of laughs to be had with a rather engaging setting and plotline. The pacing has been improved, although it’s not without it’s flaws…

With that, I’ll depart with a few exceprts of news circulating around the web. Aint it Cool News recently sat down with Spike Jonze in a rather extensive interview regarding his adaption of the novel “Where the Wild Things Are,” The PlayStation 3 recently hit it’s second year anniversary, The trailer to the final Futurama film entitled “Into the Wild Green Yonder”  has hit the internet, The Ghostbusters are back, The squid is out,  and the end of a hero?

“I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one”– Mark Twain

Halloween Horror Nights 18: Reflections of Fear Bloody Mary Unveiled

Posted in General with tags , , , , , , on August 28, 2008 by B33

For the eighteenth year, Bloody Mary brings forth history’s most terrifying Urban Legends to life at Universal Studios Florida when the sun sets and darkness descends upon guests.

8 Houses: Reflections of Fear, Scary Tales: Once Upon a Nightmare, “Creatures!,” Interstellar Terror, Dead Exposure, Doomsday, The Hallow, and Body Collectors: Collections of the Past.
6 Scarezones: Asylum in Wonderland, Fractured Tales, The Path of the Wicked, The Skoolhouse, American Gothic, and Streets of Blood.
3 Shows: Rocky Horror Picture Show- A Tribute, Brian Brushwood, and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure.

Opening night is September 26. For further information and additional content, direct your browser to www.halloweenhorrornights.com.

Reloading

Posted in General on August 18, 2008 by B33

Lately I’ve been sort of neglecting this journal in favor of working on a side project and coasting for the remainder of my Summer break, which has just ended as of today. Though the recent emergence of a tropical storm has since given a day of school off which will in turn cause regularly schedule days we will normally be absent to now be reinstated. Though I’ll take what I can get, regardless. At any rate, the side project I’ve had some focus upon will be unveiled in due time and I’ll resume my normal routine of posting reviews, thoughts, etc on this journal shortly. I’ve been toying with a few ideas within my mind for a new short story that I’ll get around to writing after I finish a couple other things. There’s yet another project I’d like to tackle, but it’d further add upon my workload and intrude upon my free time; thus I’ve further delayed the project for a indefinite amount of time.

As far as news goes here’s a brief overview; Kevin Smith’s latest film lands an R rating on appeal, Fox wants in on the profits from the film adaption of Watchmen, It’s been a little over 100 years since the first animated film emerged, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was delayed by Warner Bros, the next Futurama film has been dated and the cover art has been released, and it seems that the sky is indeed falling as it appears a newly announced Batman video game will finally have an intriguing concept not grounded in the realm of mediocrity.

On a side note: the stats to this journal have grown at a impressive rate. Perhaps they’ll become even more “impressive” when I actually get around to writing more entries within it. And with that, I’ll end this entry.

“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my ax”-Abraham Lincoln

Impending Outlook

Posted in General with tags , , , , on August 7, 2008 by B33

It’s been quite some time since my last casual post. Lately I’ve been preparing for what lies ahead after the passing of Summer time… And by “preparing” I mean sleeping, watching films, and various other activities that utilize the free time I have for the time being. With all that free time, you’d think I would have updated this journal much more often, but then the thought of my lack of motivation and the actual realization that my free time is diminishing more and more by the day comes to mind and it all seems clear. In terms of my current situation and actions; I’ve been steadily going through all the garbage that has built up these past few years and have nearly sorted though it all in preparation for a future departure (the exact date of this said departure is unknown at this time) of my current location.

The “future” seems to be the main topic of interest as of right now since focusing only upon the past blocks our sight of the present and ultimately what is in store. The future is a particular aspect drilled into our minds at a young age that enforces the concept of a plan. Though the key detail to plans is that their often broken before they can go into full effect (regarding one’s lifespan) or some event or detail changes that forces us to go back to the drawing board and start again. Some choose to give up and coast while others go back to the board and attempt to make up another plan and hope it succeeds. It all rests upon one’s own perspective and will.

Though whether we decide between ambitious ideals or logically sane methods is another aspect many become torn over. A individual who strives to become a famous musician clearly has the odds against them and the likelihood of them ever reaching the realm of stardom is laughable at best. Though the message we try to push upon society is “You are special”, “Don’t let anyone stomp on your dreams”, and “There’s no limit to what you can set your mind to and ultimately succeed at” to name a few. There’s a line between reality and delusions. Becoming a famous musician essentially falls into the bin of delusions because your merely one of the millions of individuals attempting to reach the same point when really it’d take someone with a vast amount of talent which is a rarity in itself. Though becoming a technician for say, a theme park, isn’t really delusional because with the right aspects; you could ultimately achieve that goal if your dedicated enough.

There’s clearly a line present between delusions and reality that is often ignored by the overly optimistic and dismissed as being too pessimistic in an attempt to shelter their minds from the actual truth and ultimately leave what little shreds of hope left behind after the wake of reality sets in. Not to say looking at the bright side of life is a bad thing; just that it’s irrational. Kudos to you if your one of the overly optimistic individuals, but I’d rather be secure in the realm of reality rather than stumbling around with a blindfold wrapped around my face. That’s not say I’m always negative either. If something is genuinely good, then of course I accept it as much. Though if something is bad, I’m not going to go into denial and pretend it’s good. There’s a line between “good” and “bad” and those are the two options granted. Though this way of looking at things in general greatly depends upon the given situation. Negative isn’t necessarily the viewpoint I utilize but more of a derived form of it known as a “cynical” disposition. Which, in itself, is a humorous aspect. If you can look at the humor of things in a cynical manner and coast along life, it’ll be a much more intriguing journey than sulking or being overly sappy (read: optimistic on a sickening level).

In the end. I suppose this boils down upon the future and what exactly lies ahead. I don’t believe there’s a predetermined path we follow (i.e. “destiny”), but more or less a rough outline that results from our everyday actions that affect the general outcome. In other words, the future isn’t set in stone quite simply because it has yet to arrive. We’re ultimately the “masters” our own “destiny” and it’s on this planet we follow the course of time and determine our own timeline. I’ve heard some say “Everything happens for a reason” but I believe this to be too broad and essentially stating a particular aspect that is blatantly evident. Yes, everything has a reason; from the buildings to the insects present on this planet. Everything is of course present for a reason, but whether the particular reason in question is useful or not is ultimately left to the one utilizing it to decide upon on their own. Trial and error, evolution, survival of the fittest all play into the general idea of “design” and why everything has a particular reason for being present. Though there are times where particular aspects are replaced because the time and era ultimately changes and we’re left with better reasoning behind this said action. Essentially, with time becomes a altered perspective that allows us to see the the past from a better angle and ultimately clears up the picture to allow us to improve upon the flaws and create a better vision of the future which is not clearly defined and in the hands of this generation and the following generations.

“If I were given the opportunity to present a gift to the next generation, it would be the ability for each individual to learn to laugh at himself.”– Charles M. Schulz

E3 2008: Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft Press Conferences

Posted in General with tags , , , , , , on July 25, 2008 by B33

E3 is typically the time of the year where most developers and publishers attempt to show the best they have to offer in hopes of wowing the press and gamers alike; or at least it was until the annual convention was reformed and ultimately cut down because of the cost, time, and stress it contrived upon those within the industry. Now we’re left with the remnants that are rather lackluster compared to what the event once was. The highlight of the event is typically the press conferences held by Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo each year which usually gives room for each respective company to unveil games, hardware, and any other surprise up their sleeve (figuratively speaking)… I was not able to attend the event, nor do I think I ever will at the rate the event’s going and the distance between where I reside and the actual Summit takes place. Thus, I sat at the computer and watched the coverage via live streams and gameplay videos courtesy of a couple media sites on the web… Without further elaboration and extensive rambling, I present my thoughts on each press conference and where I stand on each companies outlook in the industry.

Microsoft was the first to kick off the event with their press conference and the recurring trend I saw throughout each conference began here. The overall idea was features with the introduction of a new dashboard, a avatar system (Think Nintendo Mii but reshaped for the 360), Netflix plug-in, Lips (Reminiscent to Sony’s Singstar), and a push on downloadable content within games. As for the games themselves, Microsoft did not unveil anything new at the conference and instead opted to cover already announced and multiplatform titles as well. Resident Evil 5 and Fallout 3 were shown in a playable form and further cemented the notion that this E3 was essentially all sequels to past titles. Games for a younger audience were showcased by Rare that included Banjo & Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts and Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise which further shows just how out of touch Rare has become from their core ever since they were bought out by Microsoft and forced to develop games only on the Xbox hardware. Fable 2 was showcased, which is the successor to a title I originally found intriguing as a concept, but ultimately riddled with gimmicks and time consuming gameplay that does not deliver. Guitar Hero 4 and Rock Band 2 were shown and ultimately hold little interest to myself as the last Guitar Hero (the third installment developed by Neversoft) ultimately felt devoid of originality and the quality from the first two installments of the series while Rock Band is far too elaborate and expensive. Music games laced with rhythm seem to be the new appeal in the casual crowd of gaming and while I did find it enjoyable at first, their welcome has been wore down and there’s ultimately not much more new ground that could be tread upon without feeling repetitive and the equivalent of a rehashed concept. The one bright point of the conference was new footage from Gears of War 2 which looks like it improves upon the sequel and ultimately brings a few interesting things to the table in terms of gameplay tweaks and enemies. The conference ended with what was perceived as a large bombshell as Square-Enix announcing that they’ve indeed gave in (read: sold out) and will be publishing Final Fantasy XIII on the Xbox 360 in North America and Europe. More power to them, I suppose.

Nintendo was the next company to hold their annual press conference which was more or less a self proclaimed smug fest filled with sales charts, gimmicks, and more sales charts. Nintendo seems relatively pleased that coping out to the mainstream crowd has brought them a lot of success with the Wii and the DS has continued to ramp up in sales as well with the dawning of the hardware revision granted to give it a sleek visual outlook (to compete with the PSP). The big hardware reveal was ultimately the “Wii MotionPlus Accessory” add on that essentially increases the motion sensing capabilities and further inflates the gimmick Nintendo is trying to sell to it’s audience. To accompany this “leap” in hardware, Nintendo also showcased “Wii Sports Resort” which is essentially Wii Sports but with a few more mini games and support for the “Wii MotionPlus” add on. Nintendo also showcased “Animal Crossing: City Folk” which reshaped the series with some new features and shoe horned the new add on called the “WiiSpeak” microphone which allows users in the proximity to talk to others across the network. Nintendo also showed some highlights from third party support that essentially appears to be dumbed down graphics and gameplay laced with gimmicks. And Nintendo ended the press conference with “Wii Music” which essentially gives you over 50 instruments to play via your “imagination” and the Wii controller… Nintendo appears to be aiming solely at the casual crowd and has essentially told their hardcore devoted fanbase to piss off. There’s nothing particularly intriguing coming down the pipeline and the press conference did not change anything.

Sony’s press conference took place shortly after the end of Nintendo’s rather lackluster press conference. The beginning recapped the general history of the Playstation brand and eventually led up to Sony launching a new SKU in the Fall that will align Sony and retailers back to a single SKU environment rather than having multiple units on the market. Sony also announced a brand new addition to the Playstation Network that will serve as a branch that sells various films via digital distribution (which was launched later that evening after the conference). More focus on the Networks digitally distributed titles seems to be at a greater focus as Ratchet and Clank: Quest for Booty, PixelJunk Eden, Rag Doll Kung Fu: Fists of Plastic, and Fat Princess were a few of the highlights emerging on the network in due time which ultimately feels like a mixed bag. Resistance 2, LittleBigPlanet, inFamous, and Killzone 2 were showcased in a playable form and God of War III and M.A.G. were two games ultimately unveiled for the first time at the conference. Sales charts and figures were briefly mentioned but ultimately shown with a slight twist. Instead of the usual graphs and numbers, Sony had Media Molecule create a level in LittleBigPlanet solely devoted to providing the various sales figures as the developer played through it. Sony also mentioned it’s MMORPG line up as well with DC Universe Online and The Agency. “Life with Playstation” (think Google Earth) was touched upon and Home’s release date was inevitably pushed back with a public beta promised by years end (which has no backbone to begin with).

The big three’s (Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo) press conferences were ultimately a let down. There were no sudden leaps in hardware or huge surprises that stole the show. Ultimately, features seem to be the key to E3 this year when the focus should be more on the gaming aspect of each console. Sony and Microsoft had a much better showing than Nintendo by far. Yet there was still a overall feeling of mediocrity throughout each conference. It seems the big three are either holding out for future events or there really was not anything in a polished state to showcase(perhaps a little of both). In the end, E3 is not nearly up to the caliber it once was and I doubt we’ll ever see the Media event return to it’s original state due to the many issues surrounding it. The essential take home message is as follows; Nintendo is a sinking ship for hardcore gamers, Microsoft and Sony are implementing features to keep up with one another instead of focusing more upon the games, Third Party Exclusives are essentially dead (with a couple exceptions), Sequels and Remakes appear to be the big selling point at E3 this year, And third party support appears to be quite strong this year in comparison to first party support. Overall, a few bright moments covered in mediocrity and lackluster support.