August 18, 2008

You have been decieved!

I went on a quest the other day. A quest to discover the ultimate web browser. It is not Internet Explorer or Firefox. You have been lied to. Despite rave reviews and whatnot for the newest version of Firefox, I have discovered something far superior. After using Firefox for years, I finally got fed up. Its frequent crashing was getting on my last nerver. In despiration I turned to Safari. Safari is nice, but I'm not crazy about the layout and it's a little lacking in the feature department. So, I payed a visit to and looked up their highest rated browsers. Of course Firefox 3 was up there along with Safari, but then I found something rated even higher. It's been around longer than both of those two browsers combined (probably, I dont really know that). I'm talking about the latest version of Opera- 9.5. Opera must be doing something right to go through 9.5 versions. And so I though why not try it. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. Guess what? It's fantastic. I don't know why more people don't use Opera. It has all the features of your favorite browser, but does them better. It's faster and more feature rich, too. Let me give you an example of one of the extras. When you first open Opera it will take you to speed dial. Speed dial is a blank page with nine empty thumbnails. These thumbnails can be edited to take you to your nine favorite websites. This makes things convenient because speed dial opens with a new tab. Say I want to go to Blogger. I just open a new tab and click the speed dial thumb nail. Of course, I could also access Blogger from my favorites menu or the favorites toolbar. Opera also comes with panels. Panels let you browse your bookmarks and organize them, write notes and send them to people, manage your e-mail, view your active downloads, search, access page info, manage windows, view your history, and access widgets that run within your browser or anywhere on your desktop as long as Opera is open. Opera also has extensive customization options. Not only can you completely customize every toolbar and button, but you can customize search engines, and skins as well. That's just a short list of features that Opera has. The best part? Its faster and more stable. I guarentee it does everything your current browser does better and then some. Try it. You'll never go back.

August 17, 2008

The top aspects of the Halo universe to be explored

By now, everyone has probably heard that a new Halo novel, The Cole Protocol, is in the works. The Cole Protocol follows the journey of Spartan Grey Team who was lost in the outer ridges of space around 2550. While that's all fine and dandy (don't get me wrong, I'll take whatever form of Halo fiction I can get) there are some aspects of Halo that induce burning questions that us Halo fans would like to have answered, and I get the feeling the Cole Protocol won't answer them. The following list are aspects of the Halo universe that I think should be fleshed out- things the fans really want to know about. While the story of Spartan Grey Team or reliving the early battle of the Human-Covenant war are nice, they're not necessary and certainly are no Halo 4. That brings me to the first item on the list: the fate of Master Chief.

1. What has become of the Chief?

Everyone and his grandma who has played Halo has a burning desire to find out what exactly becomes of Master Chief. What is that mysterious planet he's floating towards. Does Cortana wake him when she needs him? Does rescue ever arrive? Rumor has it that Bungie is indeed working on Halo 4. Whether it will be a sequel that unveils the fate of Master Chief remains to be seen, however. Two main theories exist as to the fate of Master Chief.
  • He's floating toward some sort of Forerunner world, most likely a shield world. Many believe it is, in fact, the planet Onyx but it cannot be proven one way or another because we don't know how the ending of Halo 3 relates to Ghosts of Onyx time-wise. This one is certainly a possibility, but the Chief's location in space is also unknown. For all we know he could still be outside the galaxy.
  • The end of Halo 3 is the beginning of Marathon. There is no doubt that many similarities exist between Halo and Marathon, but having Halo 3 be a prequel to Marathon is a tad far fetched. This theory has even less proof backing it than the last one except for the clearly visible Marathon logo on the planet's surface (the logo from the cover of Ghosts of Onyx is also visible). The Marathon logo, however, is all over everything.
2. What happened to everyone who was trapped inside Onyx?

Ghosts of Onyx kind of ended with a cliffhanger. Officer Mendez and the remaining Spartans find themselves trapped inside the shield world of Onyx. Then the book ends. I would have preferred a sequel in which we find out their fate than a book about the mysterious Grey Team whom no one cares about.

3. The formation of the Covenant

It's been touched upon, but I think it would be very interesting to learn about the formation and rise of the covenant. How exactly did the Prophets come to know about the Halo rings? Why would they start a religion leave their home planet on High Charity and recruit other races? How did the Elites and Prophets come to a compromise? What exactly was the Grunt Rebellion? What did the Taming of the Hunters entail? What is each individual race's motivation for joining the Covenant? Why do the Elites dislike the Brutes so much? Finally, what happened to Drinol and the Sharquoi? These are just some of the questions to be explored.

4. The UNSC

Before the Humans waged war with the Covenant, they waged war against themself. The Interplanetary War between 2160 and 2170 was a result of overpopulation on Earth. This sparked a number of new political movements which, in turn, caused the UN to boost its forces. This all culminated in the Interplanetary War in which the UN fought the Koslovics and the Frieden. The UNSC was formed as a result of this war and Earth was unified under one government. In the wake of the war however, the Earth faced massive overpopulation, famine, and a huge military with no one to fight. Major battles include:
  • The Jovian Moons Campain
  • The Rain Forest Wars
  • Argyre Planitia Campaign
The Humans were forced to expand outside the solar system and the first Shaw-Fujikawa drive was created that allowed for slipspace travel and resulted in the creation of the Outer Colonies.
Finally, I'd like some clarification about the mysterious ORION project that lead to the creation of the Spartans. What ever became of the Spartan I's anyway?

5. The Insurrection

The Insurrection is never really explained at any point or time during any existing Halo fiction. The most we know is that humanity was caught up in a bloody civil war before the Covenant came along and unified it. Along with the rebellions and insurrection of the early 2500s, even less is known about the Inner Colony Wars of the 2400s that had a significant impact on Earth Culture and the UNSC.

6. The Forerunners and their Flood

Just exactly what were the Forerunners and why were they fighting the Flood? For that matter, where did the Flood even come from? I for one, would like to know more about the Forerunners in general and I think this could best be explained through the story of the Forerunner-Flood war in which the Forerunners were, seemingly, wiped out of existence. The most important points of interest are:
  • The Librarian and Didact
  • The creation of the Forerunner installations
  • Mendicant and Offensive Bias
  • Gravemind and the creation of the Flood
In particular, who the Forerunners exactly were and what their relation to Humans is as well as where the flood came from and why they had to be stopped would be good points to touch upon. I believe that a book focusing on The Liberian and Didact during the Forerunner-Flood war with backstory explaining the two species would be the most adequate.

7. The Precursors

The only race more mysterious than the Forerunners. The Precursors were basically the Forerunners' forerunners. They are the only race ever to achieve tier zero on the Forerunners' Technological Achievement Scale. They are "trans-sentient beings having the ability to travel between galaxies and accelerate the evolution of intelligent life."

Have any input? Drop a comment or e-mail, or just rate!

August 14, 2008

Review: Braid

Braid hurts my brain. No, seriously. It's the toughest game I've played since Portal, and Braid is tougher than Portal. In Braid, you play a redheaded young man in a business suit named Tim who is in search of a princess. In each of the six worlds of Braid, you can manipulate time in a different way. Throughout all the world's, however, you are given the ability to rewind time.

At its core, Braid plays like a platformer. You can wizz through the game in no time simply by making your way to the end of each level, but then, you're missing the point. To complete the game fully, you must collect the puzzle pieces scattered around the levels. That's where the brain hurting comes into play. You must use your time-manipulation powers to complete puzzles and collect pieces. Only then can you truly conquer each world.

Dying is not a factor in Braid, because time can be rewound. But the point is not to survive, it is to strain your brain. Each of the six worlds gives you a unique time-control element that you must master if you are to collect all the pieces and complete the puzzle. For example, the first world introduces the concept by simply letting you rewind time. After that, things get challenging and the worlds get progressively harder. In one, time moves in the direction you move. So if you walk to the right time moves forward, but walk to the left and time rewinds. One world creates a duplicate Tim that will preform your future actions once you rewind time, while another lets you create a bubble that slows time down inside it. It's very creative and very challenging.

Not only does Braid play well, but it looks and sounds fantastic. It's the most peaceful game I've ever played. The game looks like a beautiful oil painting and the music is very tranquil. The sound effects when you manipulate time are very well done too.

From top to bottom, Braid is a game worth playing. If you like originality and working your brain, this game if for you. If not, try it anyway, you might like it!

Visuals: 10- It's... just wow.
Gameplay: 10- Original and awesome.
Controls: 10- Simple as can be.
Sound: 10- Fantastic soundtrack and effects.
Replay Value: 7- The game isn't terribly long, but the puzzles will keep you occupied for some time. There is an option for speed runs, and the hidden stars will keep you searching for eons.
Overall: 9/10

August 3, 2008

Review: Geometry Wars 2

I read several reviews of Geometry Wars 2 before I played it. No matter what they said, they were not going to change my mind- I was going to buy this game regardless. It was surprising, however, to see how much negative feedback the game was receiving. So I bought it, and i played it, and now i can only wonder: are we playing the same Geometry Wars 2? Because my version is awesome! To call Super Stardust HD (the PS3's "answer" to Geometry Wars) superior is a joke. Geometry Wars was the game that redefined the old-school shooter genre, and now it has redefined itself.

Things are going to get colorful.

It's been about three years since Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved helped make a name for the Xbox Live Arcade. Since then, the only Geometry Wars action we've gotten was the excellent spin off Galaxies available for the Wii. Retro Evolved 2 is the true sequel to the original and Retro Evolved. To keep things fresh and interesting this time around, there are six game modes and multi-player for up to four people (offline only). I found that each mode is equally fun and challenging in its own way. The six modes include:
  • Deadline: You have three minutes and unlimited lives to achieve the highest score possible. This mode is great for beginners or to hone your skills if you're rusty. Personally, I find this mode the hardest to break the million point mark in, probably due to the fact that your time is limited and geoms seem to be scares. 
  • King: In King, you are given only one life and a series of safe zones to shoot from. These "shields" are the only place where your gun will work and they also degrade over time, forcing you to dash to another shield. In this mode, you'll often find yourself shooting a path from one safe zone to another, then making a mad dash to the next shield while collecting as many geoms as possible. Conveniently, geoms do not disappear in this mode. King is probably the second best of the six modes.
  • Evolved: Evolved is a standard game of Geometry Wars in which you get four lives and three bombs to get the highest score possible. It's basically exactly the same as the original game but with new enemies that make things more frantic. You still get rewarded an extra life and bomb for scoring a certain amount of points. 
  • Pacifism: My favorite new mode is pacifism. You get one life, no bombs, and no guns. Your only enemies are blue diamonds and the only way to defeat them is by using gates. Gates are a new enemy that, in other modes, deflect your shots but can be destroyed by flying through them. The resulting blast will take out nearby enemies and it is the only way to survive in pacifism. Watch out, though, because the ends of the gates will kill you! This mode will have you coming back for more for a long time. 
  • Waves: The game included in PGR4 makes an appearance here. You have one life to survive infinite waves of dart-like enemies that shoot across the screen vertically and horizontally. This is by far the hardest game mode of the six (well, perhaps with the exception of sequence).  
  • Sequence: Sequence has 20 mini-levels that you must clear in 30 seconds each to pass the level. Enemies always spawn in the same formation on that level, so memorizing enemy formations is your ticket to survival here. If the timer runs out, you move to the next level, but you don't pass the previous one. If you die you move forward as well, and extra lives are awarded depending on your score. I often find myself relying heavily on bombs to get by. Geometry Wars addicts will play this mode over and over just to try and get to the end, and after that they'll try and complete it by passing all the levels. 
The six new modes aren't the only new things in Geometry Wars 2. The music and sound has been upgraded and is better than ever, and the visuals are some of the most impressive I've ever seen. Just one look at this game in motion and you'll agree. I was amazed by the quality of the music and sound effects. It seems like a massive amount of effort went into the sound and visual design this time around. There are several new enemies as well which include the previously mentioned gates, pink "double squares" that move very slowly and just generally get in your way, and circle clusters. The so called "clusters" are the deadliest by far. Once you shoot away the blue cluster of circles, you'll find a red and blue sphere underneath that will immediately home in on your ship at lightning speed. As mentioned above, geoms return from Galaxies and are very prominent in Retro Evolved 2. Geoms are little green diamonds that enemies drop when destroyed. When you pick them up, they multiply your score. As a result, you can now get your multiplyer into the thousands. It may seem like its easier to score higher, which it is to some extent, but it's also harder to survive for longer and most of the new modes only give you one life. Because of this, everything feels balanced. On a final note about changes in Retro Evolved 2, there are no longer any weapon upgrades awarded every 10,000 points. I was disappointed at first, but quickly realized they weren't even necessary any more. The new default gun does an adequate job and is somewhat of a spreadshot like one of the weapon upgrades from the previous installments.

If that weren't enough, Geometry Wars 2 has a cherry on top: multiplayer. I finally got a chance to play it and I have to say, it's not what I was expecting. I was used to the co-op modes from Galaxies so I immediately jumped into that, but I quickly found the versus mode to be far more compelling. In versus multiplayer, in order to balance out the gameplay, there are no bombs. Instead, there are random powerups in the form of stars. Run into a star, and a random powerup will activate. Powerups include: bomb, speed up, slow down, freeze, weapon upgrade, and shield. I was hoping powerups would be included in singleplayer but they are extremely well implemented in the competitive modes. Finally, there is a two player co-pilot mode in which one player shoots and the other steers. This is fun for a while, but quickly becomes boring, though I can't quite put my finger on why.

Sometimes I wish that Geometry Wars was made more complex and in depth. Then I realize that I would quickly miss the classic formula. For what it is, Geometry Wars is suburb. It has successfully mastered the retro shooter genre. Perhaps next time the game will itself evolve into something a bit deeper, but as far as simple, classic fun goes, Geometry Wars can't be beat! The leaderboards, both with your friends and the XBL community, as well as the achievements, which are a lot more creative this time around, paired with multiplayer will keep you coming back time and time again. The bottom line is: you want this game, and you'll pay $10 for it. Hell, I know I would. Wait, I already did. If you'll excuse me I'm going to go work on my achievements now.

Visuals: 10- Possibly the most visually stunning game I have ever seen. Detain has increased 150%.
Gameplay: 10- As sharp as ever.
Controls: 10- Simplicity that can't be beat.
Sound: 10- Amazing detail on sound effects. Soundtrack is amazingly catchy.
Replay Value: 9- Lots of stuff to do. If only there was online multiplayer! Next time, perhaps?
Overall: 9.5/ 10

Geometry Wars masters the art of simplicity.

August 1, 2008

Pissing off lil kids is way to much fun

***WOW b/c all the hits I've gotten this post is already outdated, refer to my last page of my comments so it makes sense.****

Hey guys its me doegab again, i just felt like changing my name to muffinman randomly O.o

This is a short post, but I just wanted to say that pissing off little 8th graders is fun as hell, especially since there really not that bright.

Observe my youtube page.

Well it all started out with me being bored and sick at home, so I went on this girls random youtube page and called her an airhead. So far we have three people insulting me.

Idiot number 1- The bubbly airhead: This is your typical high school girl who thinks shes a special snowflake, even though she really isn't. To be honest, I'm not really going to bash her that much because shes just defending herself from the comment I sent her.............even though her comebacks are pathetic and she can't even understand what the hell the term airhead means.

Idiot number 2- Bubbly airheads best friend: She usually curses at me, but lacks any mentality to type complete sentences. It is quite the lol.

Idiot number 3- The brave internet white knight: You know the guy, comes in and tries to act all tough on the internet, yea its pretty funny. He isn't to smart either to be honest, but he is definitely smarter than idiot # 2.

Keep watching my page for more updates on all the hate against me.