Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Spookymilk Survivor IX: “Sometimes They Get Tossed Overboard…”

Vote One: Zillah Glory.

Vote Two: Peter Bruzek.

Vote Three: Peter Bruzek.

Vote Four: Peter Bruzek.

Vote Five: Peter Bruzek.

Vote Six: Peter Bruzek. “Poor guy, probably doesn’t even know what’s coming.”

Vote Seven: Peter Bruzek.

Vote Eight: Peter Bruzek. “loose lips don’t always sink ships. Sometimes they get caught and thrown overboard.”

Aw, snap.

Ninth Elimination from Spookymilk Survivor IX: Peter “The Gamehunter” Bruzek

I gambled. Since I don’t want to directly influence anything now that I’m gone, I’ll keep names and specifics out of it. Suffice to say I tried to flip the alliance I was in – not right away, but essentially a week before it would have been off anyway. I divulged too much to the wrong people who flipped me instead. Ah well, no harm in trying, right?

Well, other than being eliminated, anyway.

I saw this coming, mostly due to the sudden loss of contact from everyone. I didn’t know how vast the tide turning would be, or when they found me out, but knew that there wasn’t much way I was going to be seeing next week.

Ah well, like I said, it was a gamble, I lost. Good times, anyway.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Top 50 Video Game Moments: Number 33

I started this list, like all my undercooked endeavors, with good intentions. Two updates a week - on on Monday, one on Friday. Unfortunately, life has been busy lately. For the time being, I'm cutting back to one cycle (a game and a moment) per week. I expect that once October comes around, the need for this will be lessened, and we can go back to the standard twice-a-week rotation. For now, on with your weekly dose of nerdishness.

This week's entry comes to us from Metal Gear Solid 3. It's not truly a spoiler, but if you haven't played the game yet, do that first. You really don't need to play the others to enjoy it - it's chronologically before the other two.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Spookymilk Survivor IX: Matrix

Programming note: For those of you who are anxiously awaiting the next two entries in my video game lists, those will be up (along with an explanation of why this is taking so long lately) this evening. Sorry about the wait.

This week in Spookymilk Survivor…

A collaborative game called “Matrix”. The idea is that a path has been laid out on an 8x8 board (think a chessboard). A player gets three ‘turns’ a day, during which the player emails Spooky with a guess at what the path from point A to point B is. Spooky replies back, informing the player to what point they were correct, and the player determines how best to go from there.

This one’s really sort of impossible to realistically talk about, since the nature of the game is entirely collaborative, and it’s not really in my best interest to discuss the collaborations and comings and goings in this space just yet. I was fairly busy over the weekend, except during the late hours, so all my guesses were being sent in at midnight (except last night, which I was unavailable for). I’m not sure whether that helped or hurt my collaborations, but ultimately, I doubt it matters too much. I feel confident that no one whom I want sticking around is going anywhere, and that’s a win for team Nibbish.

I didn’t get last place… though I’m pretty certain that’s not the point of this challenge. Geoff did get first place, and shared his immunity with Zack. We’ll see how that pans out.

I do like this challenge, I initially would’ve thought that it would be a bear to judge, but with Spooky’s love of knowing the drama and what’s going on, this is the perfect way to determine who’s aligning with who, and what sort of interesting twists he can expect going forward.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Spookymilk Survivor IX: Questionnaire Extraordinaire

Much to Spoons' chagrin, this one is going up a day late, as I spent last night being bad at golf.

Things are getting interesting now. The teams are merged, and all the folks are scurrying to make sure they don't get left without a dance partner. I remain confident that my super secret alliance with DK will pay off big, if that damnable Brooks Maki doesn't ruin everything.

In more challenge-related business, this week, Spooky put up a quiz based on the questionnaire that he had sent out before the season started. The quiz had an absurd forty-six questions. I'm not going to review all of them, because I love you all too much for that. I'll just pick off my answers to a few of them.

1. How many people have had no votes cast against them?
I'm one of four. I think that will probably change this week.

6. Who's the only person to play VII, VIII, and IX?
Me again. I'll extend that streak next time around.

9. Who's survived the most weeks without winning?
I think I've got something like 32? Hopefully I'll disqualify myself for this category.

11. How many picked the Beatles?
I picked the Beastie Boys. The way Kelly worded it, it made it some like only Zack was cool enough to do that. Bah.

19. The most fun I ever had:
Was since graduating into real life. I have a loving wife, money to spend, and a house to do with whatever I wants to. Tech school was fun, high school had lots of good times... real life kicks ass.

25. How many people said "what's a musical"?
When I was a kid, I had a kneejerk reaction to musicals. It took a while to get over that. I actually like a few musicals now, I've just never seen any of the ones listed. I know this makes me ridiculous... I'll put them on my queue.

What was your first album?
In 1995, I went to The Mustard Seed and purchased Scott Krippayne's Wild Imagination with my own funds. Contemporary Christian Music at its most generic, but damn if there aren't memories tied up in that bland, awful music.

32. Most embarassing movie: Jonah: A Veggie Tales Movie.
I don't hate this movie, and actually like the concept of Veggie Tales, it's just something that people give me shit about.

Most embarrassing thing: "I would go out golfing in an outfit that consisted of three sizes too big T-Shirt, two sizes too small shorts, and knee-high socks. I pretty much ruled."
If Linds and I would've broken up after 6 months, she would've been worth it for the pure and simple fact that she cared enough about me (and her own self-image) to make me dress like something other than a complete dork (pleated pants! jean shorts! T-Shirts advertising strange made up products!).

41. What place will you get: How many claimed victory?
I don't know why you wouldn't claim victory, but apparently I'm the only one who did??? Is that even possible? I was just playing around, but it seems that six people placed themselves in the top four. That just seems weird to me.

45. Who do you hope wins?: Which smartass named a previous two-time Survivor winner who isn’t playing this season?
I certainly did, and I still believe it. If there's anything I've learned, it's that Brooks Maki will find a way.

The vote ought to be interesting. I'm a little worried.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Top 50 Video Game Moments: Number 34

Today's entry comes from Mass Effect 2. If you haven't played the Mass Effect series (and the second game in particular), you are missing out. The is a bit of a list spoiler, but both games are top ten for me. You really should play these games - but you should not read this spoiler.

Top 50 Video Games: Number 34

Stats of Import

Platform: PC
Absurdly Specific Genre: Monthly Payment: The Game
Difficulty: I don't really know how to answer that. Most of the game's experience was knowing one's role, which I was always terrible at. I'll give it a 7 for the parts that I played.
Beaten: Obviously not possible, but I never even raided that much.

I have a... complicated relationship with this game, but first, a story...

September 2005 was unkind to me. I worked 30 hours a week at a small town computer repair center, but got paid for zero of those hours (for a variety of reasons). Fed up with this, I looked for a new job, finally scoring one at Unicel. To treat myself for my first substantial paycheck in well over a year, I got myself a subscription to World of Warcraft...

The world of Azeroth is an easy one to lose one's self in. Like every MMORPG I've played, it invites exploration to a very defined extent. I essentially said "screw that" and walked wherever I damn pleased. As a level 20, walking in the Deadlands occasionally proved to be treacherous (and a little bit foolish) but hell, I was playing the game the way I wanted to play it.

I died.......a lot.
My new job was fantastic, but unfortunately, it was an evening shift - two to midnight most nights. This is actually the type of shift I'd prefer if I had no other concerns. Sadly, my other concerns were a long-term girlfriend (soon to be fiancee) and a social life on the days that I didn't work. Playing from one in the morning til five was all well and good, but strangely enough, none of my friends were able to play on similar schedules. Roaming the wilds of Azeroth soon turned to just that... walking around aimlessly trying to find a couple quests I could do by myself while I waited for a time when sometime I knew would be online at the same time to finish up what I couldn't do with a pick up group.

I was never particularly good at raid mechanics in World of Warcraft. Since about 70% of the enjoyment of the game is locked up inside those instances where you and a dozen or so of your closest friends take on the depths, this presented a problem. I was never in sync with anyone, because anytime a friend would create an alt and level him alongside me, they would eventually overtake me. I was never driven enough to actually play the game the way it was meant to be played.

Pictured: The ideal way to play World of Warcraft
I eventually began to feel trapped by the Unicel job as well, stuck in a shift that precluded spending any meaningful time with my fiancee, as well as destroying what little social life I had to begin with. I found a new job, and with the end of the Unicel era came the end of the World of Warcraft era. A couple of friends mentioned that now that I worked "real people" hours, I could actually play the game alongside them. I declined - I felt that I had gotten out of the game what I wanted. 

World of Warcraft is a game that confounds me where this list is concerned. On the one hand, this is the one game on either list that I can guarantee I'll never play again. Life has moved on, and while I still play quite a lot of video games, I just don't have the time to commit to something like it. On the other hand, even though I never even scratched the surface of the game proper (there are loads of raids that I never darkened the doors of), a lot of the experiences I had while playing are indelible. The first time I walked into any of the major cities (esspecially Ironforge), the first time I saw the pirate ship in the Deadmines, the hours I spent playing in the PvP arenas. All of it merits the game a spot on the list - even if sometimes it felt like I spent more time killing boars than I did interacting with the world at large.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Spookymilk Survivor IX: What Was That You Asked?

Another "team" challenge this week (the necessity of the quote marks will be apparent soon enough). This week, the challenge was for each team to ask a question which would logically (or comedicly) result in the given answer.

I'll give my team's answer (if I have one, it'll be in bold) with the judge's remarks in italics.

1. It was the culmination of years of research.
- “Let me get this straight, you spent $12 million dollars of taxpayer money, and all you came up with is the prototype for an inflatable knife rack?”
- How’d you figure out that your wife was cheating on you?

There had to be something funnier than an inflatable knife rack, but it's been a busy week, so that's what I came up with.

2. We tossed the evidence in the San Francisco harbor.
- “We’re dead if the police find those buoys, where did you get rid of them?”
K: Oh, that’s some fine dope humor right there. (UJ)
- Once you realized that no one was going to notice Jay Leno was murdered, what did you do?

Ah, dumb criminals... Buoys float! Now the cops will find your drugs for sure!

3 I know they use a gecko and a caveman, but this new one is ridiculous.
- What is with these Republican presidential candidates?
K: I didn’t really expect any of these, but this made me laugh out loud. (UJ)
- What did the alien say about the newest recipes his shipmate had just come up with?

Mine was "How exactly do the Hendersons incorporate the Stay-Puft Marshmallow into their sexual role playing?". So... yeah. No victories to be had there.

4. We changed the name because people were coming in expecting it to be a law firm.
- Why did you change the name of the bait shop from “Suckers, Leeches, Worms, and More”?
K: Lawyers are easy targets, but this one still hits the mark. (UJ)
- Didn’t you used to advertise a drink named “Ambulance Chaser”?”?

Mine was almost exactly the same as Rachel's, only hers was much better.

5. I guess some people would call that big.
- Representative Bachmann, we have compiled a list of reasons Americans shouldn’t vote for you. When folded just right, it barely fits into the Metrodome.
K: Dang, this one just barely beats the Hanks one. I tend to pass over politics in this game, but these are solid so far, yesiree. (UJ)
- What Michael Bay said the first time he saw the video of the atomic bomb tests.
B: The last one is clever…but it doesn’t really work with the tone of the answer. Otherwise, we are shooting the politics, penis, and Michael Bay barrel fishes. I guess I’m not sick of the latter, yet. (UJ)

Mine was something about a football-field sized gumball.... What was that all about? Luckily my teammates were much better.

6. I would say “chartreuse” is a more polite descriptor.
- Rep. Bachmann, we heard you get guidance for your political actions from God and, um, a little green Martian named Zarton?
K: Never mind the politics thing I said, ‘cause I’m all over this. Even if Bachmann wasn’t the patsy for this joke, the joke would be awesome. (UJ)
- You remember that time that you got drunk at the sushi place and ended up puking and shitting out the same vile lime-green fluid at once?

Mine was bad - something about a dress. I was hoping that the others would come up with something better. They did - almost by default.

7. Puppies.

- Rep. Bachmann, what do you like in your omelet?
K: Argh, Bachmann again (but again, the joke is awesome with any politician or person of ill repute). Real close on Casey Anthony, too, you sick fucks. (UJ)
- “Hillbilly Barbeque, you say? Sounds interesting… what kind of meat do you use?”

Mine is dumb.

8. I know it’s in his style, but I’m not sure Dr. Seuss would have written that.

- “I have to admit, I’m pretty intrigued by this lost Geisel work, “The Bat in the Twat”
- Have you seen the script for “There’s a Wocket in My Pocket”?

Mine is dumb, part 2.

9. Okay, I guess it does make sense that their mascot is a tampon.
- I heard Michele Bachmann donated a million dollars to her alma mater.
- “What sick bastard names the school’s girls’ equestrian team the “Red Riders”?
B: I like all of these, even the Bachmann one. I’m tempted to go for the corn maze for originality, but it just doesn’t make much sense to me. I mean, how could a corn maze have only one way in? And should it be news that a tampon can only go in one way? I don’t know. I had a bad day. (UJ)

Okay, I like Rachel's and mine for this one.

10. A hundred-thousand nurses, and no end in sight.
- “How did your computer system get so incredibly screwed up overnight?”
K: Poor nurses. Poor, stupid, sexy nurses. (UJ)
B: Ooo, nice dig with the Halloween joke. But the first one made me laugh, so there you go. (UJ)
- What wears scrubs, is bossy and just won’t let you die in peace?

I had a lousy day at work, so this one gets ripped from the headlines for me. I actually didn't think it was that good, and didn't vote for it. The others did, and both judges did.

11. Wow, those kids can make a game out of anything!
- “Wait, so all they do is run around and try to tap each other on the shoulder?”
- Have you heard about “icing”?

Both 'Tag' and 'Icing' are really weird when you think about it. Different kinds of weird, but still....

12. Oh, I just figured that sound was popcorn popping.
- I can almost hear the collective IQ of Iowan GOP voters dropping.
- How did you not notice that my girlfriend’s cat was in the microwave!?!
K: I imagine our subject is stoned here. (UJ)

Oh, Lord, mine was bad for this one.

13. That wasn’t a very smart investment.
- Do you think I can get my campaign contribution back from Pawlenty?
K: Okay, I rag on Republicans as much as anyone, but did anyone see that quick exit coming? How did he fall so far so fast? Poor dope. Anyway, the Madoff one was good at first glance until I couldn’t figure out a reason for the person to ask that question. (UJ)
B: I can’t believe I’m voting for a political entry, but this one doesn’t take sides and I’m guessing those same words were spoken this week by several people. (UJ)
- “Oh, God… why did I spend my life savings on vintage amputee pornography?”

My first draft had 14 of the 16 answers involving pornography. I really have no idea why. Of the porn-related answers, I thought this was the funniest. I was apparently alone in that idea.

14. I suppose that’s the hazard of having a giant baby in your field.
-”The filming of “Honey I Blew Up the Kid” went awry when the infant started devouring the miniature actors…”
B: Still don’t care for scat humor, and the third one could be a winner in our Bantam Bulwyr competition. So…I guess the first one. (UJ)
- When that thirty-foot high infant takes a shit, who’s gonna wanna buy my corn?

Next time you think you've got the world figured out, close your eyes and think... Honey, I Blew Up the Kid is a real movie. It was released in theatres. It grossed nearly $60 million in the US.

15. I suppose that’s the benefit of having a giant baby in your field.
- Every time John Boehner cries, he polls better among Tea Partiers. (I guess 14 and 15 are interchangeable.)
- Oh, fuck, the virus escaped and the zombie mutants are coming! Who are we going to throw out there to distract them while we escape?
K: Oh, now that’s dark. Why does the fact that the baby is a giant make it okay to me? I don’t understand that. (UJ)

I love that Rachel left the "14 and15 are interchangeable" self-comment in there.

16. That’s the worst thing that could happen at a live performance.
- “Did you hear that Scott Stapp showed up sober at the recent Creed concert?”
K: Shudder. By the way, I’m surprised that all these were music-based. I was totally banking on theater jokes. (UJ)
- Did you see The Black-Eyed Peas and Slash at the Superbowl halftime show?

I had a friend who saw the Creed concert where Stapp was blitzed out of his gourd. He was pissed - I just figured it that if he was too drunk to sing "With Arms Wide Open", that was about the only way to salvage a Creed show.

So... We ended up tying, so we won't know until tomorrow how this will all turn out. Either way doesn't really bother me, because...

...we only had three members of Ugly Juanita who contributed. Truly unfortunate. We could have kicked some ass with wider scope, but Bret, Rachel, and I fought off the filthy horde as best we could.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

We Apologize For the Inconvenience

Life has caught up to me over the past couple of weeks, and my once-sizable cache of pre-written list entries dried up. Rather than half-ass it, I'm going to put this on hold until Friday, at which time everything will commence as normal.

In the meantime, in commemoration of Delmon Young's exit from the Twins. I give you... this.......again.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Spookymilk Survivor IX: Grab Bag

Another week, another Spookymilk Survivor entry!

This week’s challenge was the grab bag challenge. Essentially 5 or 6 challenges from last week’s Create-a-Challenge were made available to us, with some fun scoring rules and a lot of chances for immunity.

I took the leftovers, which meant I picked up “Publicity Stunt”. The idea of this one is as follows: you’re a minor celebrity with a failing business, come up with a (legal) publicity stunt to boost your business’ popularity.

Here’s my entry.

The life cycle of the viral campaign has become synonymous with a mayfly’s. It can barely be created before it is detected and subsequently rejected. Therefore, we must be clever. My restaurant is failing, but even the simplest bump in customer base could be my salvation. The answer is simple, give the believers something to believe, and almost as importantly, give the cynics something to disprove…

We will record a series of commercials. They will appear to be nothing but ordinary advertisements, but we will inlay a hidden frequency – just barely audible, but nothing so obviously as to merit attention. Two weeks after the commercials initially air, I will have a ‘friend’ air a couple of YouTube videos detailing a sinister plot about ghostly messages in our restaurant, citing the barely resonating frequency in our advertisements as proof. Shortly thereafter, two or three more contacts will make various diaries regarding strange experiences that have occurred in the restaurant (fake deaths, paranormal activities…… ghost stories, really). A viral campaign will be born.

Cynics will decry the existence of any paranormal effects, but in doing so they will play directly into my hand. Human nature will not allow a ghost story to be ignored until it is disproved. Believers in the area will flock for a chance to prove to themselves that their faith is not in vain. Cynics will flock to prove that theirs isn’t, either.

And Spooky’s comments…

While this one lacks the verve of the previous one, it’s still incredibly effective. Exploiting a belief in ghosts is a smarmy, incredibly bright thing to do. “Human nature will not allow a ghost story to be ignored until it is disproved.” Ain’t it the truth? It’s incredible to me what people will believe. 4

I had been wikiwalking not too long ago, and I stumbled upon The Blair Witch Project and the massive boost that Burkittsville got from people trying to find the “real” truth about the Blair Witch. Besides which, viral marketing campaigns have always interested me, simply because they’re so temperamental. Some absolutely explode to the point where they are unstoppable even if proven to be fraudulent, and some are branded fakes almost immediately and shunned like the plague (hi, Starbucks!). I feel like I could’ve written out the whole thing in a more interesting manner, but what can ya do?

Actually, I was kind of thinking that creating a couple of YouTube videos (created as if they were the advertisements in question), and maybe a forwarded email or two, analyzing and overanalyzing the videos and show screengrabs and the like, would’ve been a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I only had a couple of free hours to simply write up what the challenge actually called for, and work and real life got in the way. I still do think that “viral marketing scam” would be a great challenge – Kelly, get on this!

Ugly Juanita kicked some ass this week, but it was rendered moot, because one of Spy Tag’s members had to take herself out because of real life.

Coincidentally, Colin knocked it out of the park with his take on my “That One Guy” challenge with his "hipster who thinks he’s not a hipster”. I wanted to punch that guy, and he doesn’t even exist.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Top 50 Video Game Moments: Number 35

Moment #35 comes from Halo. It's really not a spoiler at this point unless you know nothing about the series. Besides, if you haven't played it at this point, you've probably already made a conscious decision not to, haven't you?

Top 50 Video Games: Number 35

Mario had precision, Sonic had flash and speed, but there was never an old-school platformer series that had as much scenery porn as Donkey Kong Country. Every background just looked beautifully intricate.

See what I mean?
The peripherals were all there - The graphics, the music, the wildly varied enemies (particularly the bosses). The level design had lots of fun quirks (though I'm not sure exactly how 'fun' the quirk in the 'Stop n Go Station' was). It was easy to miss the fact that the actual platforming element of the game was nowhere near as polished as the rest of the game. The hit detection was horrific (which everyone chalked up to the faux-3D elements of the game), resulting in massive frustration later in the game when precise jumps were required everywhere.

Despite a couple of glaring flaws, Donkey Kong Country was a very enjoyable game. I've replayed it a lot over the years, and each time a different part of the game makes me smile and overlook everything else.

One of my favorite parts of the game, after you beat it, you get to see the names of all the little rodents you've been stomping into the ground for the last dozen hours

Other Notable Games in the Series: Strangely enough, even though I loved the first DKC, I never played the second or third games in the series. I've heard they're great and that I'm missing out, so I'll have to hunt them down. I also haven't played the new Donkey Kong Country Returns that came out on the Wii last year, but I heard that was pretty excellent, too.

Donkey Kong 64 isn't really in the series proper, but I suppose it counts. It wouldn't be on the list, anyway, because I really disliked it.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Top 50 Video Game Moments: Number 36

Today's moment comes from the criminally underrated game Frequency. If you h aven't played the game, you're missing out. I know I say that all the time, but seriously, this one was great.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Top 50 Video Games: Number 36

Stats of Import

Platform: Playstation 2
Absurdly Specific Genre: Building a more psychopathic criminal: the game
Difficulty: Beating up an old lady to steal money off of her corpse? 1... Driving a car close (but not too close) to another car, then taking on 10 armed thugs armed with a machine gun and a crappy targeting system? Something like a 7.
Beaten: No. Did anyone? I didn't think that was the point.

When my friend Matt brought this game over in December 2001, we were already excited. We'd played the first two games in the series, and the idea of playing a 3D version seemed like a slam dunk. It was.

The cliche criticism of the series is that no one ever actually plays through the missions. They just get lost in all of the random things you can do until they just lose interest. I never understand the criticism. It's all true, of course, as I've never known a person to actually beat one of the games (except Branny with San Andreas), but I don't know that I've seen a series where a player could sink so much time into doing nothing, and still come away feeling like they had enjoyed themselves.

I cannot even begin to figure out how many hours I just sat parked in a car in a garage or park listening to the radio.

That night Matt brought it over, we played for about 5 minutes before we discovered jumps. We literally spent the rest of the night finding jumps and driving over them while listening to Double Clef (the classical music radio station). Not a wasted moment in the bunch.

For best results, use "O mio babbino caro", by Gianni Schicchi. I suppose RISE FM works, too.
The missions themselves were largely hit-or-miss, which the series seems to have gotten better at as things have gone on. Racing missions are always a pain, because it's not what GTA is good at. The aforementioned targeting system has improved drastically with later entries, and the maps have gone from what seemed huge at the time (Liberty City seemed limitless in the beginning) to almost overwhelming (I really did feel like I needed a map to play GTA 4). GTA 3, though, was the one time the series gelled for me in the way it was meant to, where the game's world truly felt like the "sandbox" experience that I could lose myself in.

You also hit pedestrians with baseball bats, so that was cool, too.

Other Notable Games in the Series: The first one is fun. GTA 2 probably would've fallen in the low 40's (the top-down, even less linear games were a lot of fun. Vice City is actually right on the same level as 3, and only loses because of basic nostalgia. I hear that San Andreas is fun, and I own it, but I've not even taken it out of the packaging.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Spookymilk Survivor IX: Create-a-Challenge

Good evening, fellow Spookymilk fans and general readers of this blog. Another Thursday is here, and you know what that means. Tomorrow has two more video game list entries, that’s true. More to the point, it means that a little over half of the contestants in Spookymilk Survivor IX got to see what Spooky thought of their entries!

This week was the famous ‘Create-a-Challenge’. I have sucked at thes ein the past. Last season’s submission was a fictional book report that was impossible to take seriously. In season 7, I proposed a thoroughly impossible challenge that would have been hell both to properly write and score.

This time around, I tried to keep it a little more grounded.

You know that one guy at the party who you simply cannot stand to be near? He thinks that the music is too mainstream, or that guy who doesn’t think you really, truly understand the symbolism in the end of Fight Club? Maybe it’s just the guy that talks about his collection of toy tractors for thirty minutes. Whoever they may be, It’s time to walk a mile in their shoes… those bothersome, exasperating shoes.

The name of the challenge is “That One Guy”, and the point is to write up a one-sided conversation in which you are as annoying and obnoxious as possible. Talk about how other just don’t ‘get’ your collection of silk scarves, whatever. Just make Kelly hate you within a couple of paragraphs, and you’re golden.

The word limit is 300, after all, that one guy always gets under your skin within about 30 seconds, anyway. Scoring is on the forced curve, because what’s more loathsome and irritating than having to give or good score to someone who doesn’t deserve it (or conversely not being able to give a good score to someone who does)?

Straightforward enough, and I think I presented my idea a lot better than I have in the past few, let’s see what our judge thought.

I love it. I mean, I’m sure reading them would tire me the hell out, but I love it all the same. I’d just have to be careful how many people were left when I ran it. 3

The top score was 4, so I’ll take it. I’ll be forthright, I have disliked this challenge in the past, mostly because I can never come up with anything. This time, inspiration struck when I was out with a friend of mine, and we briefly bumped into a mutual acquaintance. This person was exactly who I described above. After that, I embellished a bit and added pizzazz. I don’t know how easy it would be to make this work, but it’s at least better than either of the other two that I’ve done.

UJ brought the nonsubs again this week - two of them – and are thus tasked with eliminating one of our own. The choice seems relatively straightforward, but I guess we’ll see. Next time, Spy Tag… best be keeping eyes in the backs of your heads.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Top 50 Video Game Moments: Number 37

Today's favorite moment isn't really a moment, it's more of a feature. It's definitely not a spoiler, it's the most widely-advertised thing in the game. The game is Assassin's Creed, and I'm sure you've already determined what this entry is...

Top 50 Video Games: Number 37

Stats of Import

Platform: Sega Genesis
Absurdly Specific Genre: Hedgehogs Running Fast
Difficulty: 4, ramping up to 6 in the end.
Beaten: Yes. A couple of times

The Sonic the Hedgehog series epitomizes "style over substance". Take out the loop-de-loops, the crazy S-Curves, and insane speed tubes that seem to be everywhere in the first game, and you've got... a decent, but short platformer.

The second game is where everything came into focus. There's still parts that feel flashy without anything to be flashy about, but there's so much more depth. There's alternate paths everywhere, interesting enemies, and actual full level design, rather than just a bunch of speed zones tenuously connected by some minor platforming.

There are also those weird/useless mechs that Robotnik loves so much.

As I mentioned elsewhere, the game is actually pretty easy (right up until the end), but that never bothered me. The world that Sonic 2 inhabits is just fun to be a part of. It was easily the most beautiful game I had ever seen when it first came out, and the years have actually been pretty kind to its graphics.

In addition to everything else, the versus multiplayer was a lot of fun , and this was one of the first games that my brother and I played against each other. They only had four stages, but we played those four stages dozens upon dozens of times. Co-op was alright, too (having another player controlling Tails was a huge help in defeating bosses and cleaning up on the special stages).

CPU-controlled Tails, on the other hand...
It's a little sad to me (and a lot of other people) that the Sonic series took such a nosedive after this installment. Sonic 3 was fun, and the Sonic Adventure games on the Dreamcast were supposedly pretty good, but the flagship platforming series never reached this high water mark. With Sonic 4 making the move back to 2D platforming suggests that this is known universally. I think that in the end, Sonic 2 was something special, and I doubt anything Sonic-related will ever top it.

Other Notable Sonic Games: The original Sonic the Hedgehog game would likely have fallen just off of this list. It's really short, and pretty easy in general, plus the lack of spin-dash really sucks when you just know you're supposed to have it. Sonic 3 was flashy and cool, but for some reason I can't quite put my finger on, it left me cold.

The 2006 X-Box 360 game, also called Sonic the Hedgehog, is - bar-none - the worst game I've ever played. Maybe after this list is over, I'll make a 'bottom ten' and go into further depth about why it's so awful, but for today's purposes, just know... there is none worse. It makes Superman 64 look playable.