Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Duke is back!

For those still keeping track, the next Duke Nukem game, Duke Nukem Forever, is literally taking forever to get to store shelves. How long is forever? Try a decade. I kid you not.

However, at the recent 3D Realms Christmas party it let "slip" that The Duke ain't dead. At least not yet. The above screen shot was shown. Now, a new "teaser" video has been released.

Stay tuned? Ok... but for how much longer? I'm a big Duke fan, so I'll jump on the bandwagon whenever (if ever) it gets released. But most people probably won't. At least Prey, which also took a decade to make (and which is a 3D Realms game - go figure), turned out pretty damn well. So there is hope.

So do any of you fellow gamers care about this game anymore? Do you even remember Duke Nukem, and if so... will you hop aboard the smart ass one liner bus (that Duke is famous for) when/if it drops?

Monday, December 10, 2007

"If I don't write to empty my mind, I go mad."

That subject title was a quote from Lord Byron, the English poet who lived around the turn of the 19th century.

It's even more appropriate at wintertime, when the cabin fever sets in. At long last winter is upon us here in the Rocky Mountains. Thankfully it's nothing like last year when at this same time we were in the midst of a Nordic freight train of weekly blizzards. So far this year I have yet to shovel a flake of snow. Oh what a difference a year makes!

Which is a good thing since I've been in Hibernation Mode since the middle of October. See, 'bout the fourth quarter of each year (what I call the "beer months": Octobeer, Novembeer, Decembeer), when the leaves have long since abandoned their summer digs and the air has gone from crisp to downright cold, I usually go into hibernation just like a big ole bear. The feeling usually starts sometime in October, before All Hallow's Eve, and tends to last right through to the start of the New Year. Cold weather mixed with good football, endless trays of food and superb seasonal craft beer... ah ya. Good times. This mode is usually associated with less writing, more game playing, and catching up on all the summer movies we missed because it's simply too damn cold outside to do anything else.

Well, I'm still in Hibernation Mode, but things are a lot different this year. First of all it's been 2 months since I lifted a single weight or ran a single lap. Aside from regular vacations, I haven't taken a break from working out like this in forever. Neither has Fran. The great thing about being a a life long Gym Rat though is the knowledge that I'll be back at again (after the first of the year as near as we've figured) and my body (now at the ripe young age of 40, 22 of those years have been spent working out) will thank me for the break.

Secondly, a month ago I was let go by GameDaily due to budget constraints. Granted, I was only a part-time freelancer, but it never feels good to get released from any job. However, I'm not the type of person to sit on my ass bemoaning my poor fate and wishfully hoping for something else to come along. I'm the type who believes that when one door closes, another one opens. And if it doesn't open quick enough for my liking I go kick the @*!#% thing down. So I began pounding on doors hunting down new opportunities.

It worked.

On Friday I started writing for a new start-up website (owned by AOL, and a sister site to the long established and well respected gaming site, Joystiq) dedicated to all things MMOG (Massively Multiplayer Online Games) called Massively.

I've already published two articles, so if you're interested in the MMO City of Heroes (and long time readers of this lil slice o' heaven know of my obsession with this superhero game), check out Drinking it up in the City of Heroes. If you're into Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean than you need to check out the article I wrote about PotC Online (a phenomenally fun free to play MMO by the way) entitled: Yo ho yo ho a Pirate's (of the Caribbean) life for me. This is a lot different than my writing from GameDaily

There's a few other projects and writing gigs I'm trying to line up as well, but these will focus on my other passion: craft beer. Yup, it's a busy time in the ole high country this year! I'll keep ya'll updated as things progress.

Until next time, remember what the legendary Ray Bradbury once said: You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.

Amen, Mr. B.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Mad Man Niko Cometh...

I wasn't a fan of the last GTA mainly because I really didn't care for the whole ghetto "thug life" setting. In fact, it more or less repulsed me to the point where I played the first 30 minutes or so and put the game away... forever.

This iteration of GTA however really gets my blog pumping!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Just Brakes? Try... Just Fakes.

An update on the ongoing "investigation" of the nationwide (supposed) brake repair company that refers to themselves as Just Brakes.

Over the last week I've been doing some research on this nationwide company. If you go to Ripoff Reports and type in Just Brakes in their Company Search field you'll find (as of this writing) 383 reports that are eerily similar. Oddly enough, there were only 377 over the weekend when I checked. Here's their modus operandi: they "lure" you into their green hued service bays with their $100 "special" (replace the pads/shoes on all 4 wheels, machine rotor/drums, pack the bearing, inspect break system) then sock you with all kinds of other things that usually adds up to $600 to $800 (or more) extra bones.

Got to talking with one of our employees and the same thing happened to her. She went there to get the special... when they got there they told her all kinds of things were wrong with her brakes and wanted to charge her $800 to fix it all. She didn't have the full eight bills (and who would?), so she had them do only the back breaks. This was a few months ago. Recently she had one of our other employees (who is very handy with vehicle maintenance since he was a mechanic at one time) do some work on something else and he noticed that they did nothing. As they did with our Jeep. Ironically, her vehicle was also a Jeep.

Bottom line: Just Brakes is a scam company. They lure you in and try to hit you up for things that don't have to be done... and then don't even do what they charge you for! I've submitted a BBB report on these scum bags and tend to follow this down the Yellow Brick Road. Maybe even get a class action suit going since this is OBVIOUSLY not an isolated incident.

I'll keep ya'll updated. Until then, boycott the hell out of Just Brakes. Otherwise, you too might end up... just ripped off.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Gaming Madness

As you may know... I'm a gaming geek. I'm also a beer geek, a Star Wars geek, a comic book geek and a sports geek. As a self proclaimed geek of many types, I absolutely love all these wonderful "studies" and other such carefully crafted "research projects."

Much like the gal I wrote about a few weeks ago who did a "study" on how women are discriminated against at coffee shops. Ya know, the type of studies that are so profound that they have the likes of Da Vinci, Socrates, Plato and Captain Kangroo shaking in their graves.

According to Billy Bob and Bubba Joe (aka L. Rowell Huesmann, of the University of Michigan, and his colleague Brad Bushman)... "Exposure to violent electronic media has a larger effect than all but one other well known threat to public health. The only effect slightly larger than the effect of media violence on aggression is that of cigarette smoking on lung cancer."

They didn't really say that... did they?!?!?! Lung cancer? LUNG CANCER?! Who's paying these schmucks to say this - Jack Thompson?

But it gets better. They prattle off an assortment of "interesting" statistics (which is mathematicians magical version of alchemy) like: children spend an average of three hours watching television each day... more than 60 percent of TV programs contain some violence, including 40 percent showing extreme violence... Video game units are now present in 83 percent of homes with children..

They proceed to blither and blather on about how "The research clearly shows that exposure to virtual violence increases the risk that both children and adults will behave aggressively."

How much time and money did you spend on this lil study of yours?

Do you know what all that tells me? That parents let the TV and the Wii babysit their kids too much. It tells me that the human race will go out of its way to find an excuse for their behavior. It tells me that we all (well, most of us) are chasing the dragon, looking for something to fault other then ourselves. It tells me that our society is going to hell in a finally handcrafted hand basket from Louie Vuitton.

Who's the geek again?