Hi. I'm Mike. This isn't updated often.

Month: September 2008 (page 1 of 2)

Who Are You?

I did a similar thing over on Twitter a couple weeks ago, and I think I only got one response :P.

I know there are people out there that are reading this, and a few of you have already commented on a few blog posts. Just out of curiosity, though, who are you? How’d you get here?

No, seriously. I really want to know. If you’re reading this, consider yourself obligated to comment and tell me! Even if you think I know who you are and know that you’re reading, respond anyway. It’ll feed my internet popularity ego.

Which really isn’t something I need, but whatever :P.

More “Rock Band” DLC Problems…?

So this morning I tried to download another one of those songs that I’ve been dying for and drowning in anticipation for: “Under the Bridge” by a certain band with Chili Peppers that may or may not be Red Hot.

Note that I’m not really the biggest RHCP fan in the world. In fact, I don’t really like them that much at all. Especially over the last few albums, I feel that it’s VERY much turned into a monotonous string of the same music over and over. Does that say something for Anthony’s getting clean? I dunno. But that’s not really what I’m here to talk about.

Under the Bridge” is one of those new-classic-rock songs, having been one of the most played songs of the early 1990s… and quite frankly, being amazing. I was still a kid/teen in the early 1990s, and so I have the same rememberings and fascination with the song that, perhaps, songs from bands like The Who and such are for an older generation.

Needless to say, I hopped right on Xbox LIVE this morning to grab the song. It’s not like I was going to have any time to play it before work, but it’s the principle of the matter… I like knowing it’s sitting there already on my hard drive, ready to play when I eventually get home (have a meeting with the DJ for our wedding after work today, so my playing is getting delayed even further :P).

Clicked to download. 1%. Ran off to cook breakfast. Came back. 1%. Raised an eyebrow. Sound effect and notice that it failed to keep a connection and I would have to re-download. Huh. Tried again. Same end result. Signed off and back on. All other internets working. Tried again. Same end result.

Here’s hoping we don’t have another Moving Pictures-style “technical difficulties” issue, and it’s all resolved by the time I get home tonight…

Anyone else have any issues? How about you PS3 rockers?

I don’t know what to title this. “E-mail and parents”…?

So for the last many years, I occasionally receive spam specifically geared towards a car enthusiast. Nothing strange here, but keep reading.

Let it be known that my dad owned a Corvette for a while, and thought he was the super-awesome car guy. He got rid of it a few years ago, mostly because he didn’t really have a whole lot of time to actually enjoy it besides pumping money into it to keep it clean and shiny.

I’ve told him time and time again that it’s not OK to use my e-mail address to sign up for extra entries on sweepstakes, mailing lists for coupons at the local car supply stores, etc. I understand that he really wants to win those things, but it’s not NOT a big deal ‘cuz pressing “DELETE” on the keyboard wears a little thin after a while (spam filters are only so good, blah blah blah). It’s certainly slowed down lately, but I occasionally get one that reminds me that he’s still doing this stuff.

Today I received an offer for a complimentary car inspection from a dealership down the street from him in Richmond, Virginia (note that I live in New Jersey). This clearly says to me that he’s still using my e-mail address to sign up for things.

What does this mean? What does it say? He’s the type of person who types full URLs into the search bar, and also didn’t understand why it wasn’t OK for me to “just put in a little higher bid” on one of his eBay auctions to force the other guy to bid more. It’s not like he’s a bad guy, or anything (though he would be extremely defensive if I called him on it, again). So what is it? Are we just so in tune with the internet and its associated culture that we don’t even know how to explain these concepts and best-practices? Are they that foreign to people? Or are some people just inherently inconsiderate, regardless of the context?

New Games This Week

This is a question mostly aimed at Andrew… but you all are free to reply, as well :P.

Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood (DS) and Silent Hill: Homecoming (PS3/360) are both out this week. Are you picking up either of them? What’s your interest level in them? I know you were aprehensive about the new Silent Hill after watching some previews of it.

Psyched for “King of Fighters XII”

The art style of Street Fighter IV is definitely something to write home about, but all of us above the age of 20 were still halfway sad to see the (numbered part of the) series finally abandon its 2D roots (yes, I understand Arika and the EX series exist, and as much as I enjoyed it, it’s still an off-shoot… that can be a story for another time).

Holy Hell, SNK/Playmore is totally keeping 2D alive with &%#$ing STYLE.

King of Fighters XII

The King of Fighters XII is looking to totally blow the socks off of us 2D-fighter fans. Game Trailers has the latest preview video up for viewing, and it’s sexy as Hell. This game is going to be an amazing complement to have alongside all of the 3D fighters we either already have (Soul Calibur IV) or are coming soon (Street Fighter IV).

My history with the KoF series is a little all over the place. I was very casual about it up until around 1998, and then got incredibly hardcore with it (well, “hardcore” for me). After 2000, though, the games all started bleeding together for me… not to mention the bosses got slightly ridiculous both in style and cheapness (seriously, Goenitz… bite me). ’99 was probably my favorite game in the series thus far. I know a lot of the seriously-hardcore fans have a problem with the striker system, but the specific characters that were in the game, the backgrounds, and the music (oh god, the awesome music!) are what really sell the game for me. I also dipped into the Maximum Impact series, and thoroughly enjoyed 2006 / Maximum Impact 2 despite its transition into quasi-3D.

There’s not much of a point to this entry other than to check in with you all and see what your hype level is for the upcoming fighters… and specifically, KoF. Who’s really digging the updated style for the series? Who’s picking up the American release of ’98 Ultimate Match on LIVE Arcade, and/or already picked it up on PS2?

I’ve got some more SNK love coming for you soon with some talk about a game I finally picked up for myself on Neo-Geo Pocket Color…

Games We’re Finally Playing: Final Fantasy VI

OK, so technically Jeff has already played it (and you heard all about it back on episode two). However, I had never actually played beyond the first five minutes (I thought a full hour, but no, not even…) of Final Fantasy VI, considered by many to be the pinnacle of the series. I’ve had Anthology (PS1) since it came out, and I’ve had Advance (GBA) since it came out… but… never played…

This post is actually two-fold in purpose. The first is like the title says; I started playing the game. However, in order to be playing this game, I had to do one other thing.

I dropped the Pokemon habit.

That’s right, I’m done (again… for now). Despite putting the majority of time these days into Pearl, just the fact that Pearl was in Slot 1 and FireRed was in Slot 2 was enough to keep me from playing anything else on-the-go. Once I started up my new job and had an hour lunch to go off and do whatever I wanted, I was all about starting up a new game.

Final Fantasy VI

I decided to make that game Final Fantasy VI, and I’ve been quite enjoying it. That’s not to say that I’m falling all over myself with how amazing it is, but it’s totally perfect for what I need it to be right now. The distance between save points is always just right for a lunch break (something III on DS did amazingly well, might I add). The characters are quirky and hilarious. The music is… well, I haven’t really hit anything yet that’s flooring me, to be honest (yes, I’m playing with headphones so I don’t miss anything). I also understand that the GBA audio isn’t quite up to the level of the SNES, but it has nothing to do with the audio quality; I’m talking strictly composition and arrangement.

I’m just under seven hours into the game, and I just did my second round of split-up-the-team and fight-lots-of-oncoming-soldiers, concluding with Kefka at the end (that shouldn’t be all that spoilerific, I think).

So while I’m enjoying it, there’s nothing knocking my socks off just yet. I know I still need to wait for the inevitable “world beyond the world” realization, and something about an opera scene…

I’m quite petrified of Pokemon: Platinum coming out in the US, because I’m kinda enjoying playing other games for a change…

360 Woes: Update #5 (Final…?)

So my 360 is finally back. Insert huzzah upon huzzah here.

They tried delivering it on Tuesday to the future-in-laws’ place, but no-one was home, so right back on the truck for the next day it went. Thankfully, someone was going to be home all day the following day, and it was indeed scheduled for re-delivery the next day… so I basically refreshed the tracking page all day to make sure it got there on time. Of course, just like the last package I tracked, it didn’t show up as being delivered until half an hour after the fact… long enough for me to get an e-mail confirmation from “home” saying it was there before UPS could :P.

Opening up the box it came in (which was identical to what it went back for repairs in), there’s not a whole lot to speak of. System’s in there, papers in there, card for a month of Xbox LIVE, etc.

I didn’t do my analysis as well as I should have. I’m basically blind. I wanted to know if the system was a replacement unit or if they actually repaired it. If I actually read the papers that came with it, I would have immediately seen that it was indeed a replacement unit. The instructions also give you the process on how to “re-license” all of your Xbox LIVE downloads (more on that in a second).

What should have tipped me off was an entirely new console serial number. Of course, that’s not something you immediately look for… Or is it…?

I’m not quite sure what this says about the problem I had (initially detailed back here). Does the problem go so deep that they’d rather just give me a whole new system? I guess so. I really think someone should make a site all about the green splotchies problem. I wish I had the initiative to do so. You, over there. Yeah, you. Get right on that.

I couldn’t just crack open Rock Band 2 and play, though. Nooooo, sir. Since it was a whole new system, and Xbox LIVE content is tied to the hardware (in addition to the gamer-card/name), what you have to do is re-license the content for the new hardware. This means you go to your “Download History” and click “Redownload”… on every single last one. Every. Single. Last. One. OK, so you don’t have to do it on demos if you don’t really want those anymore, but for things like actual XBLA games and add-on content that you would like to be able to access either offline or by other users (gamer-cards/names) on the console, you absolutely have to do it.

For material that’s sitting there on the hard-drive, it doesn’t actually re-download it. What it appears to do is check and see if that content’s there, and if it is indeed there, just re-apply the new license to it (the download will hit 1% and then just be done, regardless of the file size). If there has been an update to said content (for example, I think one of the Police songs/packs I had downloaded had a fix applied to it), it actually will indeed re-download the whole thing again (presumably replacing it on the hard-drive, rather than downloading a duplicate).

So I basically went through that process for all my Rock Band downloads (which is… uhh… a lot), and then all my XBLA games (which aren’t a lot, but enough to be obnoxious).

I then moved on to doing the whole Rock Band export thingie from the first game, which lets you play all (well, 55 of the 58) songs from the first game right in the second game. That took a while, so I ironed some shirts for work while it did its thing.

Then I downloaded a whole bunch of songs I’ve missed in the meantime, which ate up some more time (still ironed shirts).

By the time I was ready to finally use my (new) system, it was 10:30 pm, and I had to get my rear end to bed for work the next day. Played through “Hands Down” on expert guitar one time through, mostly just to say “nyah-nyah!” to the console.

So the big guy is back. I wonder if I’ll ever actually get back to DragonBall Z: Burst Limit, or if it’s just a lost cause. If I’m going to play a fighting game, I’m going to pop Soul Calibur IV over in the PS3. Regardless, it’s wonderful to have it home.

Hopefully it won’t die one week after my one-year warranty, again, with a problem Microsoft refuses to publicly acknowledge and fess up to. Grar.

DRM-Free Is The Way To Be

This has nothing to do with Spore. Sorry.

One of the funnest (see what I did there? It’s topical!) things that Meri and I do after AWA is create some kind of “mix-tape” (well, an MP3 playlist that may or may not be burned to CD for my line-in-less car audio system) of our favorite songs-from-AMVs over the last year.

I’m not going to lie and say I don’t just grab a song or two from friends when they’re the ones that have done the videos (Hell, half the time they’ve sent me the song long ago, anyway). This isn’t going to be any kind of general defense or offense one way or the other on file sharing, though.

However, at the same time, I’m not going to not try and legally pick up some music every so often. I think it’s pretty important. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy on the inside. I guess it’s as much for me as it is for the artists. Regardless, my point is that the Amazon MP3 service is awesome and you should use it. Right now. Here are the couple songs I grabbed last night:

Asobi Seksu – “Walk On The Moon” (from Koop’s/Jay’s video “Twilight“) – 99 cents
DJ Spoke – “Watch Them Fall Down” (from Xavier’s/Nostromo’s video “Auriga“) – 88 cents

What was really interesting to me was that the first place I looked was still the iTunes Store. For whatever reason, that’s still where I go first. However, I absolutely will not purchase any music from there, these days, unless it’s iTunes Plus (DRM-free and higher bitrate… I think it’s 192 kbps AAC, as opposed to the standard 128 kbps AAC). The compression is better and more efficient with the AAC, so if I can get that version DRM-free, it still makes sense to me to get that above the MP3.

Sounds like the new Android phones are going to have the Amazon service built-in. Oooooh… it’s on, now.

What about you guys? Best source for music? Preferred format? I know you’ve got some thoughts, Mr. Campbell :P.

Direct Visit or RSS Reader?

I suppose this is something I could get answers to if I felt like looking at and analyzing some server logs, but comments are much more interesting.

For this blog (as well as vgconvos, and perhaps any other blogs you read)… are you directly visiting the website, or are you reading it in some type of RSS reader (be it Google Reader, an e-mail client, or something else)? Why? Does it affect whether or not you’ll come leave a comment on a blog?

Low-Price Hilarity

I could have sworn I posted about this game and its price(s) previously on the blog. I even took pictures of it. Guess I never did anything with them. Regardless, as you can see in the below picture, that’s three red stickers placed over each other, indicating a clearance price-drop each time.

10 Bucks at Target

Yes, that’s right. Kane & Lynch: Dead Men, the apparent cause of Gerstmanngate, is down to a hilarious $9.98 on clearance at Target.

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