Technology Tuesday: A Terribly Late Review of Dead Rising

This is a repost of a previously-published review on a now-defunct site.

*****

Tossing an apple and some cabbage in the blender, you mix yourself up a green energizer shake before slamming it in one long pull. Feeling untouchable, you adjust your Mega Man helmet and tee up a golf ball, smashing it off the face of a nearby undead who had been shambling toward you unsteadily before being introduced to Mr. Titleist. Taking no time to admire your shot, you grab a nearby frying pan off the grill and quickly apply it to another zombie’s face. Welcome to Dead Rising. This is not your father’s zombie game, or even your older brother’s.

While Capcom has found plenty of zombified success with its Resident Evil series, Dead Rising takes a strong departure from the established norms in undead destruction. No longer are you placed in the shoes of somebody who knows their way around a little killing. That would be too easy. No, this time you’re Frank West, a freelance photojournalist who, upon hearing about some wild happenings going down in a small town in Colorado, decides to charter himself a helicopter into the center of the fracas. After watching a series of increasingly zombie-like occurrences en-route, Frank still seems to think it’s a good call to pop in for a visit and soon finds himself swimming in a sea of the undead, all looking to bite him in and around his face.

As Frank delves deeper into the mysterious truth behind the zombie outbreak he begins to realize all is not as it seems and that this is no ordinary ho-hum zombie outbreak. Frank also proves, unsurprisingly, to be the only mall survivor competent enough to save pretty much every other mall survivor. Through time you can guide the plucky camera-jockey along his evolution from an awkward man who can barely throw a punch into a zombie-killing machine, wielding a chainsaw expertly while possibly wearing a dress.

The Good: To say that Dead Rising has replay value is somewhat akin to saying Halo was a popular title. Technically you’re right, but it’s a bit of an understatement. The game provides you with a wide array of hand-to-hand finishing moves to but zombies down for the count in style, but where it truly shines is when it comes to what items Frank encounters in the mall that he can then turn into a weapon. In short, pretty-much all of them. While there’s of course the standard fare you’d expect in a game which promises an endless supply of guilt-free (hey, they’re already dead, and they’re monsters) slaughter, namely guns, swords and, most entertainingly, a battle axe to swing in wide deadly circles, the game also features more inventive weapons for Frank to employ. Want to see a zombie stumble around aimlessly — well, more aimlessly than usual? Slap a plastic helmet on one, blinding it. If you want to see how they handle a slick floor (hint: poorly) you need only spread a little cooking oil around and enjoy watching Zombies on Ice. In fact, with many weapons containing multiple methods of attack, you can spend an entire day playing around in the mall without encountering all the many ways to dispose of the formerly-living.

The Bad: Don’t count on having a day’s game play to devote to playing around, at least not if you want to get your story. It’s like Capcom spent all this money designing the world’s most-fun playground, then installed it at a high school where the students schedules don’t account for recess. Seldom over the course of Frank’s three days in mall do you get time to just go wild on the undead population, leaving players with the choice of being a good-little hero and getting the earth-shattering story or running around with a sledgehammer to pop heads. Suffice it to say it makes advancing the plot, despite knowing you’re progressing towards a final goal, still feel a bit like you’re not playing it right. Another problem the strict schedule creates comes with the game’s “unique” save system, which some might describe as mind-blowingly stupid. Dead Rising allots you a grand total of one save space per profile which is automatically overwritten when you save your game. While this is frustrating enough on its own, it reaches a new level when you get to day three and hurry off to a mall bathroom to save your game only to discover, upon picking the controller back up later, that from your lone save point you don’t have time to get where you need to go to continue getting the story, and you’ll have to restart the whole thing if you hope to beat the game. Tough luck, kiddo.

The Ugly: Capcom’s already successful Resident Evil series reached new levels of popularity with Resident Evil 4. After months of careful study, the designers must have come to the conclusion that what everybody loved about the game wasn’t all the zombie killing, it was those exhilarating times you got to escort the inept Ashley, because nearly all side-quests in Dead Rising, as well as several plot-mandatory quests, entail leading one or more survivors through the mall. Repetitive missions are bad enough by themselves, but constantly forcing gamers to put up with escort missions, long established as one of the most frustrating challenges in gaming, is just plain mean.

The Verdict: At the end of the day, the pure fun of Dead Rising’s gameplay is enough to overcome some of its less-desirable quirks. Sure the single save file can grate on your nerves at times, but there’s nothing that says you can’t simply go to town with the mall’s arsenal without saving afterward, and destroying your progress when you feel like a little GTA-caliber mayhem. The game does also attempt to add a little variety into the copious escort missions, changing the number and abilities of the escorted, who will range from able to fend for themselves with weapons to needing to be carried. While Dead Rising may not be a flawless effort, it’s still a unique title that packs plenty of bang for your buck.

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Technology Tuesday: A Look at the Twitter Activity of Lost’s Jacob

The final season of Lost kicks off tonight, with three hours of what-the-fuck-just-happened television. If you think it’s confusing trying to follow it all from home, just think about how hard it’s been on those poor people that are living it. In fact, after a long day dodging polar bears, and running from smoke monsters, sometimes all you really want to do is sit back, relax, and unwind with everybody’s new favorite toy — Twitter.

For those of you not currently into this whole Twitter thing (and you should be, and you should follow and talk to SteelFan714 while you’re at it) I guess it’s my job to let you know that each feed starts with the most recent, and gets older as you go down, so each section reads from the bottom up. Kind of like a facebook news feed. If you don’t know what facebook or Twitter is, honestly, what are you even doing on the internet? Oh right, porn.

Home Page Feed – 9/17/2004

Continue reading

Technology Tuesday: Lights, Camera, Limericks!

A Christmas Story (1983)
Ralphie just had to have that gun,
So his parents caved and got him one,
He ran straight outside,
Damn near shot out his eye,
Turns out rifles just aren’t that fun.

Airplane! (1980)
Oh lordy, what are we to do?
The pilot’s sick; co-pilot too,
Now this washed up clown,
Has to guide the plane down,
Picked the wrong day to stop sniffing glue.

Avatar (2009)
While I meld hair with beasts and take wing,
I’ve been wooing this pretty blue thing,
I finally lay ’er,
Combine at the hair,
Wait, have I been fucking everything? Continue reading

Technology Tuesday: Law & Order – Children’s Programming Unit

DiggThisThat look in my eyes, maybe you’ve seen it before, but I doubt it. Not many can say they have. Not many know people who’ve seen what I’ve seen. Endured what I’ve endured. Yeah, my job is shitty, but it’s gotta be done. I take care of the dregs of society, the scum. I’m not talking your petty crimes, I could care less about your so called “thugs.” My job is to take care of those who are out to seriously fuck. Up. Your. Shit.

I’ve seen a lot of things I’ll never be able to forget, but hey, you don’t get into the CPU expecting it to be easy.

* * * * * * * * * *

NAME: Stu and Didi Pickles
CHARGES: Child Endangerment

Ugh, these two will haunt me to my dying day.  A real pitiful case, and an example of exactly how not to be a parent.

When the reports came in on these two it was almost impossible to believe; no parents can be this bad.

Children riding around on vacuum cleaners, being allowed to wander unsupervised around movie theaters, and worst of all, the inventions, good God the inventions.

Seems that Stu fancied himself quite the inventor, and what’s more he had found himself the perfect guinea pigs: his children and their neighborhood friends.  The shit this man produced, and the danger it presented to those poor kids was a sight to see.

A talking clown which hunted down babies, thirsty for blood.  A motorized car with faulty breaks.  This man was sick and had to be taken care of.

We captured the two on a sting operation.  When the dastardly duo took a trip to see Reptar on Ice we waited for the inevitable.  It took just minutes for the children to be allowed to crawl away, unsupervised and unnoticed by their “parents.”  We moved in fast and secured the two with minimal ado.  I slept well that night.

STATUS: Detained

* * * * * * * * * *

NAME: Don Rocko
CHARGES: Public Indecency; Public Disorder

As I sit on the eve of my retirement, this is the one I’ll  always regret.  To think I’m punching out while this motherfucker’s still out there repulses me.  Nothing I can do, shit slides off of him like he’s made of Teflon.

It’s not for lack of effort that we find ourselves unable to bring him down, we’ve thrown the book at him, but he has a knack for having opposing witnesses suddenly decide to not testify. Or continue breathing.

We first brought him down in ’98.  Got him on Public Indecency.  Exposing himself to a bunch of school children.  Fucking perv was fond of strolling around in nothing but a collared shirt, not caring who saw his less appropriate parts.

Thought we had him for sure a few years ago.  Led a Goddamned uprising against city hall.  Singing, dancing, the works.  Bighead, our key witness, his fucking house exploded the day he was to testify.  Exploded.

The Don’s arm is long, he runs the streets with the aid of his vicious dog mafia.  He runs the sewers through a childhood friend rumored to be a goldfish.  What I tell you now may upset you, but every dollar you spend in this town is putting money right in Rocko’s pocket.  He owns this town, and any lawman who tells you other wise is full of shit.

STATUS: Free

* * * * * * * * * *

NAME: Doug Funnie, aka. Quailman
CHARGES: Tresspassing; Assault

Ha, Quailman.

What a fucking joke.

This little shit’s problems started when he decided to go crawling through the vents of his local Middle School, tripping balls on this new drug that’s been spreading through our fair city like the HIV at Woodstock.  They call it “doing the Beet.”

Nasty little habit, really fucks with the little twerps brains, makes ’em see things that just ain’t there.

So we found this one in the school gym, and it wasn’t pretty.

A local girl, a one Patty Mayonnaise, was in the corner sobbing profusely.  She’d been the one who called 911.  Funnie was at mid-court standing over a lump on the floor, kicking it repeatedly.

The lump was Roger Klotz, and he was in a bad way.  Funnie had knocked out most of his teeth, as well as re-arranged his face significantly.  His left arm was bent at an unholy angle, and Funnie’s dog had its fangs embedded in the poor sap’s left calf.

Kid claimed he was rescuing the girl from some evil Doctor.  Like I said, tripping balls.

It took three solid pistol-butts to the back-of-the-head to knock Quailman out.

STATUS: At the Betty Ford Clinic

* * * * * * * * * *

NAME: Spongebob Squarepants, aka. the Bikini Bottom Butcher
CHARGES: 1st Degree Murder, 3 counts

There are some bad eggs out there, I think we all know that.

This one’s the worst.

He was always personable.  The real psychos are always people-persons.  One day he just snapped and started killing.  No warning signs; clean record, good friendships.  He just went off the handle.

His friend Pat Star was first to go.  Sick fuck filmed the damn thing and left us the video.

He planned this well; waited until Star had turned in for the night, until he had begun his before-bed snack.  He knew Star would be too distracted to hear him enter, or even notice him in the room.  Until he heard the gun cock of course.

One shot.  Precision.  Efficiency.

Fucked up, but you gotta admire the skill.  Makes you wonder how long he practiced for that very day.

With that taken care of, he sought out his co-worker, a character by the name of Squidward.

It would be an understatement to say that these two had a tense relationship.  Squidward made his reservations about Squarepants known.  Hell, he was the only one who saw the little yellow bastard for what he really was.

Squarepants kicked down the door, and marched Squidward out of the house at gunpoint, until they reached the home of a Ms. Sandy Cheeks, a squirrel who had made her home under the sea.

Squidward was found a week later, tied to Cheeks’ table by his own tentacles.  He was dried and withered like a raisin.

Cheek’s body was never found, though Squarepants left this easy to decipher picture at the scene for us.  There’s another body out there just waiting for us.

As for the sick bastard himself, well we cut out the middleman on this one.  He showed up at his job at the Krusty Krab two days before we found his buddy Squidward, waving his gun with pride.

Too bad he didn’t know the Krusty Krab has a silent alarm.  We tried to talk him down, but well, he drew on us.

STATUS: Deceased following firefight with authorities

* * * * * * * * * *

Well, there you have it, the shit that eats away at my mind every day.  Every fucking second.  I’d never wish this information on my worst enemy, but fuck it, you chose to read on.  Really, all I hope you got from this is

CAT!

CAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT!

THERE’S A CAT OVER THERE!!!!!

GOTTAGETTHECATGOTTAGETTHECATGOTTAGETTHECAT!!!!

Technology Tuesday: Bobby Classics – Adventures in Technology (Part 1)

Another oldie today, as I’m still trying to catch up for some lost writing time owing to the birth of my nephew, Daniel James Miller Jr., last week. This is a post from my senior year of college a few years back, and is the first in a series of tales which are ultimately about my awful cell phone care, though this entry is light on phones.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Generally speaking, I don’t ask for much in life. I would actually be pretty content with my life if I could just go about it without looking like an asshole on a regular basis, because I’m one of those people that cares way too much about what everyone thinks of him. You know the guy I’m talking about. The pathetic little guy who, with the right of way in his favor, will wave three cars in a row on, just so people who will likely not even throw a courtesy hand will think he’s a swell dude. That guy’s me. So yeah, just not looking like an idiot daily would make me extremely happy. Unfortunately for me, I’m Bobby, so that’s just not an option.

Today’s adventure in Bobbydom came as a result of my broken laptop. While the screen on it had been mysteriously red-tinted for a month or two, it still caught me totally off guard when the screen went dead on me. For a smart guy, I’m not that bright. After finding some help on the ol’ interweb, I set about to fixing it today, only to promptly find my progress halted by those little screws with the ungodly small indentations for the screwdriver. Without the aid of a mini-screwdriver I was fucked, and so I took a trek down the road to Shop Rite to pick me up an eye-glasses repair kit. Cost: $1.92 post tax. Now, it bears mentioning that I spent last weekend in Atlantic City for Jim and Dan‘s fights, and when they pay you in AC, they don’t exactly do it in whatever’s convenient for you. They pay you in as few bills as possible. That’s how I found myself standing in the checkout line with two bills in my wallet, a $1 bill and a $50 bill. Continue reading

Technology Tuesday: The 8 Most Badass Villains in Gaming

You would think that being a badass is a given when talking about a true villain. After all, most every villain is bent on some form of world domination and massive genocide, so they clearly have the not giving a crap part down, and at that point you can probably skate by on a few cutting disses and an above average sneer. Sadly, far too many villains prove that being a badass villain isn’t as easy as one would reckon (we’re looking at you, Dr. Wily) and so it’s important we take time to sit down and appreciate the select few who show what being a true badass is all about.

#8. Sephiroth (Final Fantasy 7)

There. Sephiroth is a must have on any Top Anything Villains list that doesn’t want to end with 6,000 comments on how Sephiroth should have been on the list, because oh my God, Sephiroth is so awesome. So here he is, right off the bat. Everyone can breath easy and put away their replica man-sized swords.

He really is quite dreamy.

*Sigh*

Now, I’ve never actually played Final Fantasy VII, but if you’re here reading this, you probably have, so I’m betting the odds are not too good that this field gets filled in to any reader’s preference no matter how well researched it is. So, an executive decision has been made to just kind of wing it.

As you can see, he’s got some pretty long hair, as any good Final Fantasy villain would, which means he probably has to be really badass to have ever ascended to being any kind of genuine threat to anybody. As adored as he is, fan art only seems to make this problem worse.

She is kind of cute, actually.

In the end, Sephiroth’s badass abilities aren’t enough to counteract the comically-oversized nature of protagonist Cloud’s sword, and he is smote verily (I’d have to imagine.) Continue reading