Saturday, December 29, 2012

Game Review! Scribblenauts Unlimited


First, I'll apologize for not posting in a while. Okay done. Now for... a review. Let's take a romp down memory lane with my first game review here on ChuckBlog. Take a look.

From January 23, 2011:
My first game review! Some people would have liked me to review something like, COD or Fifa, or Assassin's Creed, but I picked a game I think deserves at leats a cajillion rewards.Super Scribblenauts, a breakthough in gaming. You play as Maxwell, an imaginative chaacter who posseses a magical object, his notepad. In the game, you have to solve puzzles to obtain starites, to win the level. To solve these puzzles, you must think of an object that can help you out, then write it in Maxwell's Notebook. It will then appear, and you can use it! You can even add adjectives, it is incredible! (Or Scribblenautical as my friend Russel would say.) the game itself is for your DS, and will make a great addition! It is one of my favortie games!

VERDICT: FIVE STARS
Yeah man, it's THAT good.

That kinda hurt to read. All thing said, Super Scribblenauts is still one of my favorite games of all time. There is a concept here that simply cannot be overlooked in it's fantasticalness. The ability to summon almost anything with almost any properties within the realm of a game is simply brilliant, and for me, Super Scribblenauts is an almost perfect game.

And now a new page is turned, a new generation is here, and Scribblenauts came as well. I'll tell you, I was more excited about this game than any other launch title on the WiiU when I first saw it. I remember my friends and I eagerly huddling around a tiny screen, watching the Nintendo Press Conference, waiting for news about new titles on this exciting new platform. And then it was there, Scribblenauts on the WiiU. On a home console, in HD! Scribblenauts Unlimited, they called it, and it looked to be the most fantastic thing ever. Not only was there all the original features, but new things like being able to make your own items (WHAT?) and it promised to finally tell the tale of Maxwell's Mysterious Journal! I had been waiting for a concrete plot to explain the doppleganger, Scribblenauts, Starites, and Maxwell for years now! This game promised to cater to my every need. 

And I finally got it! And yet... something was wrong. Something was missing. 

Let's get started with the review portion, eh?

GAMEPLAY: Why not start with plot? You'll see. Scribblenauts has always suffered in the controls department. In fact, that's what keeps Super Scribblenauts from being an absolute perfect game in my book. Scribblenauts Unlimited improved some, and it certainly didn't get any worse. In all, it isn't nearly as clunky as the original, feels quite a bit more streamlined, and doesn't hinder the game in any way. Typing is all the same; where Unlimited makes it's biggest change gameplay wise is with the item editor! And this is the best part of Unlimited. The item editor allows one to take any item, tear it apart, rebuild it in ANY way imaginable, give it it's own traits and directives, and set it free. I've made plenty of awesome things like a gun that shoots kittens that blow up like nuclear warheads, a dragon that works like a priest, and man-spider who plays guitar. You can also set up your own shop and other players can download and rate your creations. It's a neat addition that works really well and adds a lot to Scribblenauts. However, the puzzles in Scribblenauts Unlimited are dumbed down inexcusably. This happened to the point that I was given a puzzle, came up with a creative solution, and seeing that nothing happened typed in a stupidly obvious answer and guess what, it worked!  This is not what Scribblenauts was about! It was about solving devious puzzles that required you to think and use your creativity, not to make you feel good about writing the word "apple" when given the puzzle "He's hungry."

PRESENTATION: And here's another place I was disappointed in Scribblenauts Unlimited. It took everything I've come to expect from a Scribblenauts game and changed it, and it didn't feel right! I have no qualm with change, but Unlimited just doesn't... feel right all the time. It feels like it wants to be something different, and I don't like this. Let me discuss. Traditionally, in a Scribblenauts game, you have a menu to select levels, and a sandbox to experiment in. This is great. Each level has a goal, and once you reach it you find a Starite, what you need to complete the game. If you ever need to test something out without jeopardizing a puzzle, you can save and go to the sandbox, make your own world from scratch. Scribblenauts Unlimited throws this all out the window. Each "level" is a huge map with multiple "objectives" and one or two Starite missions. Instead of navigating a collection of challenges within a group, you must roam around a large map and search for starite shards. These shards are obtained by solving incredibly mind-numbingly simple puzzles on the over world (such as the hungry man one I mentioned, only easier). Some of them are actually creative, and I'm not saying I didn't have fun with some of them, but they didn't feel right. However, the classic levels from Scribblenauts and it's Super Sequel remain. When you find a character with a starite icon the map changes to accommodate a level. By the way, they're all super easy. There's no sandbox in Unlimited, which is also a huge downer. To feel right I have to kill everyone in a stage (which, admittedly, is fun) THEN use it as a sandbox. 

STORY: You know something I liked about Super Scribblenauts? It was simple. There was a lot to see and do, but the story was simple. You're Maxwell, a Scribblenaut. You're job is to find starites using a notebook that lets you summon anything. Along the way you'll have to fight many enemies and solve many problems. But the biggest challenge of all, is yourself. The game ends with a climactic battle against your evil doppleganger on the moon, one of the most epic games ever. Finally, Unlimited would reveal all my questions. How did Maxwell become a Scribblenaut (did it take place between Scribblenauts and Super)? What are the origins of the Doppleganger? What are the starites? Well guess what? Scribblenauts Unlimited decided that the cool story they had been building up to didn't deserve any more explanation, and that we would need something a bit more... watered down. Not as much mystery. Here's the plot in a nutshell: So these two adventurers fall in love and have like a billion kids (forty-two actually). And they give two of their favorite kids (Maxwell and his Sister) two fantastic items: a globe that will take you anywhere on the world, and a notebook that can summon anything (where they got them is anyone's guess). However, Mr. and Mrs. Adventurer fear that their children are becoming spoiled, so they send them away from home (at the age of like fourteen) to brave the world and gain character! So Maxwell and Sister set out to see the world. Almost immediately they are stopped by an old man asking for food (gee, sounds a lot like a puzzle I MENTIONED). Maxwell, who for some reason is a stuck-up jerk who loves to ruin people's lives in this telling of the Scribblenauts story, writes the man a rotten apple. The man gets upset and then casts a curse on Maxwell's sister, causing here to slowly turn into stone. The only way to save her is to gather starites so off he goes. Honestly, I strongly dislike this story. If this is 5th Cell's way of reinventing the Scribblenauts Story, then I am incredibly disappointed. However, the thought occurred to me that Scribblenauts Unlimited could simply be a prequel to the original Scribblenauts, that this is how Maxwell got his start finding Starites before he became a Scribblenaut. In all, the story wouldn't be too bad then. It even tells the tale of the doppleganger's origins (although quite briefly). It's not bad, but it doesn't feel quite right.

THE VERDICT: I'm going to go ahead and say, I like Scribblenauts Unlimited. This is in now way a bad game, it's a great game. If someone who was new to Scribblenauts played it, they might call it near to perfect. But as a fan, this game does not deliver where I wanted it to. The presentation feels wrong, the puzzles are way too easy, and the story is disappointing. However, the game is still Scribblenauts, and contains the innovation. The item editor is just enough to keep me very satisfied with the game, but it falls short of it's predecessors in my own opinion. Now, I know I normally use stars, but I will use a decimal system for this and say that is Super Scribblenauts was a 9.3 in my book, Scribblenauts Unlimited is a solid

8/10

Let me stress again: this is a very good game. It simply lacked the magic of the original titles to me. However, this game is still a complete blast to play. In fact, I'm going to go play it now!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Saint James Marching Band 2012

The Saint James Band begins their Finals Exhibition performance.


     Avid readers of ChuckBlog for the past few years will remember me mentioning my membership in my high-school's band, the Saint James Marching Trojans. You can check out a post on them here for a little bit of background and stuff, or check out the official site here at StjBand.org.

     And so this year's band season has come and gone, and I would be sorely remiss if I did not tell my readers of the band's success in San Antonio Texas at the BOA Alamodome Super-Regional. But first, a little background.

     The Saint James band is... different from most bands you'll find at a BOA (Bands of America) Competition. Bands of America is like the major-league of marching bands (there's also a league for drum-corps, but this is the highest competition a marching band can compete in). Most of the bands you find at a BOA competition (especially one as major as a Super-Regional or say, Grand Nationals) are very, very  good. And they also average to be very big. Do you see that picture up there? Yeah, we're not big.

     The Saint James Band is a 1A band. Every band is categorized into classes based on their size, and we are the smallest declension of this group. This creates very interesting side-effects. I'll tell you straight up that 1A bands do not win BOA competitions. They just... don't. You can argue all you want, but the 4A and 3A bands are the ones that get to finals, not the 1A bands. This is just because of the way that BOA is structured. I could go on a whole tangeant about how I feel it could be done better, but it's set up that it doesn't really matter what you do, it's how well you do it (some bands purchase shows almost identical to their last ones simply to maintain a higher position).

     The Saint James band, however, is not held down by the constraints of being a bigger band. We're able to take risks, experiment, and usually pull it off quite well. So our goal, as a 1A band, is to win our class. And that's exactly what we did! That's right, the Saint James Band pulled off a great victory and got to perform in finals via exhibition (not graded, just for entertainment). Take a look at the results, and if you don't believe me, check here.

    
Class A
1st - Saint James School, AL
2nd - Jackson Academy, MS
3rd - Hidalgo H.S., TX

Outstanding Music Performance - Saint James School, AL & Jackson Academy, MS
Outstanding Visual Performance - Jackson Academy, MS
Outstanding General Effect - Saint James School, AL

     I'll tell you, it's an amazing experience winning our class in BOA. It was also amazing getting to perform with some of the best bands in the country. Winning our class was close, and Jackson Academy did a great job.

Performing in the Alamodome

     Alright, that's enough about the competition and such, why don't I give you some background on our show this year, Charming. I'm going to go ahead and say that I was a little bit uneasy about this year's show, but it's become one of my favorites that we've done. Charming is the story of Cinderella from the prince's point of view. This was a really cool show. If you're ever able to find any footage of it, watch it. You'll be entertained.

     We had a whole bunch of cool songs like "Can't Buy Me Love," "Single Ladies," and "I Will Always Love You." I've heard that we were the only band that got a standing ovation on our day of prelims. I'm very glad that all the work we put into the show payed off in the end, and I'm also ready for some concert band!

Class 1A Champions!



Thursday, October 18, 2012

Updatus II

      It has been far too long since my last post, my loyal readers. Forgive me, please. However, this has to be another "update" post of sorts, so let's get started so I can get back into the swing of things.

      First of all, I am pronouncing Twixt a dead project. Gasp! Scream! Yes, I must have no work ethic, you are all saying. Well actually there's another reason. That reason is Zephyr. Zephyr is a game I'm actually developing currently on the Unity engine, you can check out my dev blog here. I'm working out some bugs in Zephyr, so the next Alpha won't be for a little while.

     I've been playing a lot of games recently, such as the new Pokemon and Dishonored. I'm thinking about writing up a review for one of those titles, so if you have a pick, comment it below.

     I've also been working on my writing. You probably all remember my homework poem (if you're a normal reader). Well, I've been hanging out on this site called StoryWrite.com and writing on there. No, I wasn't payed to say this, but StoryWrite is a great place for fresh authors to showcase their works and get some positive feedback, so get on there! But first you should check out my profile and some of my stories! Click here to do so!

     That's about all for this update! Expect some new game reviews, BGM Anthology, and who knows, maybe some PLATINUM AWARDS!

     ...maybe.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Game Review! SCP-087

     Alright, I need to get off of this horror-game fix or something; this is getting ridiculous. So, I won't do any more scary games after this, I promise. I don't know why I've suddenly become obsessed with the horror genre, but this will probably be my last one so...

     A couple of posts ago I talked about SLENDER, the indie horror sensation that's sweeping the nation! SLENDER is a terrifying game experience, but I've decided to pull up a game that I believe very few people will know about.

     SCP-087 is an experimental horror game developed by someone who is known only as haversine. The game is based off of the SCP Foundation, a website devoted to the documentation of fake scary things. The Foundation is a huge universe, and you can find thousands of entries, but few have such fame as 087. SCP-087 tells the story of a staircase in a university where mysterious things happen. Basically, people who enter 087 hear pleading cries from a child (which is mysteriously absent from the game adaptation), so they descend the staircase. However, the staircase doesn't seem to have an end, and by the time they realize this, they come fact to face with SCP-087-1, the entity who lives in the stairwell. Wanna get the full story? Click here!

     SCP-087 (the game) places you in the shoes of someone who has entered the stairwell. Why? Who cares. You're not getting out of there anyway. The game begins with a bang- literally. The door slams behind you and you are left to your own devices in SCP-087. So what do you do? You go down, of course. I'm going to point out here that, to the common bystander, SCP-087 looks like the most boring, pointless game in the history of humanity. "All you do is go down stairs!" they will say. "That's stupid!" But, it's not. It's really scary.

     The game's real kicker is it's audio. I advise using a plethora of headphones (how that would work, I don't care) when playing, because to get this game's full effect, you need to hear it. As you descend, you will hear breathing. Is it your own breathing? I sure hope not, because if so, you might be Darth Vader. Also, there will be a semi-permeable layer of white noise that increases in volume as you go down. This may not seem like much, but it makes every step sound like 087-1 is getting closer. These aren't all the sounds you'll hear, however, as SCP-087 seems to have an infinite supply of scary noises to throw at you, ever time I play it throws something new at me! There could be a body being thrown down the stairs, or some new moan to hear. It's petrifying.

     Another specific kicker in there is... the shadows. Occasionally, as you descend the stairwell, you'll encounter a shadow that appears and then disappears. At first, you think it could be you; but you're not that tall, and your arms aren't that long... oh crud. The shadows appear at random, and they're terrifying, because, unlike what I'm about to get to, you never see them coming. And this leads me to the final element of horror in this game. SCP-087-1.

     Of course you eventually encounter the... thing that lives in the staircase. But, here's our third kicker, you don't know when you're going to encounter him. Although there seems to be an infinite amount of stairs, 087-1 will spawn on a random (but not too far down, the most we've gotten is 117) floor. And you'll know when you get to him, because you'll see his face (see ex. a).

  
Look very closely, enlarge this if you must. He's there.
      087-1 will simply stand down there and wait for you, because where else are you going to go? He won't chase you, he won't do anything. He'll just wait. And you'll go right on down. Once you get close enough, he'll reach out with his ridiculously creepy hands, grab you, and the application will close. The end? Your screams will probably signify that. You actually can get past 087-1, but it isn't easy. You'll have to jump on the railings and onto the other stairwell, and even then it's possible he'll appear on the next flight. There's no way to beat the game, just a high score to get.

     So... how to rate this? Like I mentioned in my SLENDER review, experimental games can't be held up to a scale, to say, but I do think that I can rate this game based off the amount of fear coursing through my veins as I played it, and that's an

8/10

     SCP-087 is not the scariest game out there, but the scares it delivers are completely terrifying in their subtlety. If you want a drop out of your pants and die scare, try it's sister game, SCP-087-B. You might literally die. However, for the simplicity of this game, it's brilliantly terrifying. I would advise playing. With friends. In the dark. In a closet (shoutout to Will and Joe). 



Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Develop!

     Alright, so it's vary rare that I am to do a post that's this personal, but I thought you would all be interested (I'm probably wrong). As many of you know, or at least should know by now, I am an avid gamer. I love video games, they're such an amazing medium with literally endless possibilities. People have been saying stuff like "one day, movies in the theater will be interactive" for years, but I think it's already here, and it has been for a while. Video games allow someone to enter a story and interact in their own way while still getting the story! That's awesome!

     So other than that, why am I telling you this? Well, here's why. When it comes to thinking about careers, I've always been a little bit... meh. I only had a general idea of what I wanted to do. I enjoy creating things like stories, art, music, all that stuff. But it hit me one day, that I could literally make a career out of making one of the things I love the most: video games!

     So currently, that's where I'd like to go, into the gaming industry. Be it design, coding, whatever! That's where I'd like to be. But this isn't some sappy "look at my life" journal entry here, this is actually a project. I'd like to develop a game sometime very soon. Something very simple, but still very cool. 

     So I have entered the stages of game design. I do not know how long it will take me, I just know that it will take me a while (what am I even saying). Now, I don't know much about game design, but I can tell you this: I'm pretty sure the first stage is conceptualization. And, as an added bonus, I already know what I'm going to make. It's a little something called Twixt.

      No, not the Francis Ford Coppola horror flick that came out last year, the board game! ...still not ringing any bells? Alright, I'll explain. My family has been in possession of Twixt since before I was born. It's an old board game with a simply goal: build a wall to the other side of the board before your opponent. Sounds easy, right? Well, Twixt is actually incredibly deep, and the strategy that goes into it is really amazing, once you see it. Let me show you what it's like.

     That is the Twixt board, a large grid of dots, kinda like that game where you try to make as many squares as possible (I don't know if it has a name). Each player has pegs and bridges that they place down on the board when it's their turn. You start anywhere on the board. On your turn, you place down a peg, if you can connect it to another peg, then you place a bridge down between them. The first one to link their colored line to the other via bridge wins. Now, take a look at what gameplay is like.

     As you can see, you can't connect pegs just up/down and left/right. The bridges are too long. You have to go diagonally to connect the bridges, so it isn't a straight shot game. It's really really deep and really fun.

     I don't know how long it will take me to develop this, and I don't know what my level of success will be, but I do promise you that I will do it. So I guess ChuckBlog is currently doubling as a dev blog for Twixt. Or, I guess it'll need a new name... I dunno, Twixt2? Trixt? Charles's Twixt.

     I dunno.





Thursday, August 23, 2012

Poetry on Poet Trees (what?)

     Now, avid readers of Chuck Blog will probably be scratching their heads and thinking, "Poetry? What is happening? What is becoming of this world? Why must the good die young?!" These are all good questions: and I can probably answer the first one. Myself, being an aspiring young writer/computer engineer love to, well, write. That's why I keep up with this blog, it's a great place for me to write. Well, High School has started, and along with it comes mountains and mountains of homework. Keeping in mind my love of writing, insert into your mind that one of my favorite things to write is poetry. I think poetry is awesome, and writing it not only enhances one's ability and tests the mind, I also find it really really fun. So, without further ado, I present to you Homework, by Charles Painter.

"A long day of work, and more after that.
I’m dirty and groggy, my hair in a mat.
I return to my home, prepare to retire,
But my teachers, it seems, already conspired,
To take up my time, my rest now to shirk.
My afternoon now, taken up by homework!

First comes the English, long papers I dread.
Writing them, researching, I’d rather be dead.
The worksheets go on for infinity and more.
But really it’s grammar I truly deplore.

Latin then strikes, ruthless and craving.
Tedious work, the amount is dismaying.
Learning new words and writing them too,
Translating, contemplating, it is all, eww.

But all of this pales in compare to the king.
The destructor of all, the crusher of dreams.
It towers above, it’s evil is sickening.
Waves of malignancy, constantly emitting.

Math stands too tall, the cream of the crop.
On all my spare time, it threatens to stomp.
Problems and problems and problems galore,
The more I’m assigned, the more I abhor.

But, to tell the truth, it isn’t that bad.
Homework actually, doesn’t make me that mad.
Or the amounts, the problems for later,
Nor translating, grammar, or researching papers.
I suppose, being young, it always seems cruel,
And although, believe me, twill’ never be cool.
It doesn’t take long to get it all done.
Even if it’s not exactly quite 'fun'."

 This work is copyrighted material, any use without proper accreditation will be dealt with to the full extent of the law.

And there you have it, my poem on homework. I hope you enjoyed it, and if you didn't; well, that's okay too. You don't have to, but taking the time to read it and perhaps leaving a brief critique in the comments would be appreciated. So there you have it!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Game Review! SLENDER

     Some games are just plain hard to review. It's hard to hold up these games to a scale, and measure them, because they were not meant to fit a scale, but to be their own thing. There are lots of games like that. You could call Minecraft a game like that. No goal, just what you make it.

     Keeping that in mind, let's jump to a brief tangent. Most of the internet-savvy out there are familiar with the memes of the internet. Viral jokes that are passed all around, they show the interests of a culture spawned on a new frontier. So we all know what I'm going to talk about now. The Slenderman is a mythological creature created for a photoshop contest. He appears as a tall man wearing a suit with incredibly long limbs and no face. According to the legends, the Slenderman picks a victim and stalks him/her until he kills them or they kill themselves. He quickly gained web-wide fame and became the subject of many a creepypasta (short horror stories circulated around the internet). That was about four years ago, and the Slenderman is still going strong. So strong, in fact, that developer Parsec Games made a game about him. Enter: SLENDER.

     From the outside, SLENDER looks like the most basic game. In fact, there doesn't appear to be anything special at all. Don't let that discourage you. Slender is the scariest video game I've ever played, and some would say in existence. What makes the game so scary? Let's dive right in.

     When you boot up Slender, you find yourself in the middle of the woods with nothing but a flashlight. The game then tells you to collect 8 pages. Simple enough, right? What a first time player doesn't know (unless he's researched the game) is that the Slenderman is chasing you. From the moment you collect your first page, the Slenderman is hot on your trail. Stop for too long and he'll catch you. In fact, even time you turn around, he's there. You may not be able to see him at first, but after 2 or 3 pages, you know he's there. If you turn around, you might see him. DO NOT LOOK AT THE SLENDERMAN. This will result in game over. It's best for you to just sprint away. Part of what's scary is, you never see him move. If you turn around and he's there, he'll just stand there. He won't give chase until you can't see him. Another thing that ratchets up the horror is the sound of this game. Unlike games such as Resident Evil or Amnesia: The Dark Descent, where you can hear monsters crawling around in air vents or right behind the wall, the Slenderman makes no noise at all. You don't hear him chasing you, or breathing, you hear nothing but yourself; and what the game throws in there. Each time you get a page something is added to the background. Your heartbeat, a dissonant chord, static, Giygas style music, it's all there, tormenting you. Each tree limb, stick, far off object becomes the Slenderman to you, and it's all your imagination.

     To tell the truth I absolutely despise horror. I hate scary movies, scary books, and for the most part scary games, and I've played a host of scary games but this one takes the cake. The sheer amount of disturbia caused by this game is too much for most people to handle, and I doubt I'll get too much sleep tonight. All that said, SLENDER is... well, great. If I were to rate this game using a measuring stick entitled "How scary you are" then it would get a perfect 10, maybe a 10.1. However, like a mentioned earlier, it's hard to seriously review a game like this so I have to seriously say:

     I have no idea what to rate this game.

     It accomplishes what it wants to perfectly, but looking at it from a game point of view, it seems... I just don't know. I'm not even sure if this is a game, it's more of an experience. So, like my good friends at Toonami did, I give SLENDER a

??? out of 10

     SLENDER is free, and available for Mac and PC. One last word of advice: DO NOT PLAY ALONE. Just... don't do it, man.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Quick Video Skit

     Well I'm back from Alaska (and you never even noticed)! And, I've resumed my vacation part of my vacation. However, there is a slight hitch: summer reading. Usually, I enjoy reading, and I got to read a really cool book called Ender's Game too this summer, but with every good book comes a really bad book. Enter: A Brief History of Medicine. This book is the most boring novel I have ever read. This makes my Science Textbook sound like The Hunger Games! Anyway, I decided to make a tiny little skit about it, so please enjoy. Please.



So there you have it! So, if you enjoy my videos, liking, commenting, and subscribing would be really cool (wow, I sound like a stereotypical you tuber now), and I'll see you next post!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

100th POST SPECTACULAR EXTRAVAGANZA!

     Well, here we go, 100 posts on ChuckBlog.  This blog has transformed from a tiny little experiment to a full out blog that people may actually read and gets about 100 hits per day. Again, I'd like to say thank you to all the readers who check up on this blog from time to time, ready my reviews and rants, and such. You guys are my favorites. So, what would a 100th post spectacular be without a flashback? Are you ready? Because  here comes:

CHUCKBLOG RETROSPECTIVE
     January 8th, 2010. I, a younger Charles, am sitting at home with some family members trying to pick out a movie to watch. Our library is semi-extensive but doesn't offer anything that's not a chick flick or action movie (you can tell a lot about my household from that statement). Since most of my relatives are female, Julie and Julia is picked from our selection, and sets in motion a sequence of events that would shape ChuckBlog.

     I hardly remember the plot of the movie, but what I can recall is that one of the protagonists (I suppose Julie) starts a blog about cooking. On this blog she posts cooking recipes and such, and eventually becomes an internet superstar with people all over the world salivating over her photos of recipes (more or less). After the movie was finished my family suddenly has an idea: "We could start a blog too!"

     Suddenly everyone's for the idea of starting a blog, including me, so they all hop on over to the internet and look up Blogger, knowing some friends who use it. Sure enough, they start a blog. "Jenny's Girls: To Eat and Look Like Nana." It's a weight-loss journal blog where they discuss eating healthy, jogging, gyms, and... oh it makes me bored just thinking about it. Now, Jenny's Girls is no place for a boy like me, no no no, and the blog fever has slapped me in the face as well, so I ask my mom "Hey, maybe I could do this whole blog thing too?" Her immediate answer is "no." It takes some time, but I eventually work my magic and convince her to let me set up a blog on her account, under the condition that she pre-reads everything I post. Trying to find a name for my blog is hard, considering most of them are taken. Charles's Blog: TAKEN. Blog of Charles: TAKEN. ChuckBlog: TAKEN (just wait). Finally, I decide to name the site ChuckBlog and instead of using "chuckblog.blogspot.com" I create my own url: "chucktalksonline.blogspot.com." It's a little obscure and long, but maybe it'll work.

     My first post is entitled "Welcome!" and to this day is one of my greatest shames. Looking back on my posts and how poorly written and crude they are, I feel a bit embarrassed, but to preserve the history of the site, they shall be there forever. The post is very sarcastic, try-hard funny, and stupid. I'm pretty sure when you say "Ahh, whaling rivalries, sweet, restraining order inducing whaling rivalries" you're on the wrong track. After that post, I abandoned ChuckBlog, or more accurately forgot about it. The blog fever was cured instantly by other mediums of entertainment, and ChuckBlog was lost. It would be four months till the next post. The next post was basically me just testing out colors and embedding videos. It was a better post than the last one, but still not great.

     Eventually, more and more posts continued to pop up, and by the end of the year, I had 21 posts under my belt. Not bad, for a little blog that had only about 150 views. Within this time frame of my first year, I had a 20th Post Spectacular, that had a recap of all my posts up to that point. I felt so proud then, I could never imagine getting 10,000 hits or having 100 posts then, it was out of the question crazy.

     It was then that year 2 of ChuckBlog started, and that's when things really got on a roll. In all, there were 65 posts that year, many of them reviews of games, Zelda news (for the 25th anniversary), and my personal thoughts and quibbles. By now, a few people were following ChuckBlog, about 4 if I remember correctly. I just kept posting and posting. I started a YouTube Channel, posted some more, went to eighth grade, posted some more, my blog was the coolest thing I'd ever done on the internet.

     And that leads me up to right now, 99 posts later from "Welcome!" I hope you enjoyed that history lesson, now it's time for the real fun.

THE TOP 10 POSTS OF ALL TIME (currently)
If you ever kept tabs on the "Sellin' Like Hotcakes" tab to the left of the blog, you'd see my top 5 posts of all time. Well, it's time now for me to show you the five runner ups as well, so let's take a big look at my top 10 viewed posts!

10. The Return of Toonami?
When I wrote this post, I was as excited as a little schoolgirl. Toonami, my favorite TV block from my childhood was gaining support, and the internet was on fire about it. I wrote this post to qualm any rumors and give the straight facts, and it would be followed by the "Update: Toonami Returns" post. I can see why this one has so many views.

9. End of an Era (R.I.P. BIONICLE)
BIONICLE was a pillar of my childhood, something I was into more than almost anything else. BIONICLE was constant through my childhood, through the good and bad, it was always there. Not only were the toys versatile, but the story was epic, layered in it's own deep lore and mythology. When BIONICLE was cancelled, I wrote this post to express my sadness. It wasn't always at this spot, it's accumulated views over a long time.

8. Lego Minecraft
Well, when you post about something popular, it'll probably get it's fair share of views. I thought Lego Minecraft was pretty cool when I first saw it, and a blog post would be appropriate since it fit the blog so well. Not too much to this post, just a little bit of gaming news.

7. Well, There Goes my Flatscreen. (Top 10 Wii!)
Looking back on the Wii, I had more fun with that thing than almost any other console (except the PS2, that thing is sacred). I wrote down my top 10 Wii games here, and looking back, I would change a few things, maybe omit and add some, but it's a pretty solid list, and I can understand how it got a good bit of views. For a while, it was number 3 on my top 10, but sank down to seven after some more posts rose to power.

6. Welcome Back! (Sorry!)
There are some times in life where you just go "why?" You ask, "How on earth is this the case?" and you never get an answer. This post was meant to be an apology for me not posting in a while, and a way to kick off the blog again. In fact, half of what that post says isn't even applicable any more! There are no more random pictures, and no more CYBER 3 FORUMS, and yet somehow it ranks #6 on my top ten viewed posts of all time. I don't even know why. I don't even know why.

5. 20th Post Spectacular!
I mentioned my 20th post spectacular over in the retrospective, and although it's a cool post, I don't see how it's part of the top 5. You'd think people would read the stuff that isn't just about this blog, but I guess not. Either way, it's in my top 5 currently, and will probably stay for a while.

4. Movie Review! (Shrek 4)
When a movie's released two years ago, and it's still number 4 on your top 10 most viewed posts, something's going on. I guess a whole bunch of people are still watching Shrek 4, but I have no idea why, or why they need a review for it. This was only my... fourth post, I believe, and ironically enough, it's number 4 on here. The review is actually okay, for my first one. It's certainly better that my Sorcerer's Apprentice review, which was written on a DSi.

3. Raw, Unfiltered Anticipation
ChuckBlog did a lot to celebrate the release of Skyward Sword. This post was written a few days before the game came out in order to release some tension and impatience. I was SO excited about this game it's not even funny, and it lived up to everything I expected it too. This post is kind of funny for me to read, seeing as how all of that anticipation has dissipated into nothingness.

2. Hero Factory 4.0?
Leave it to HERO FACTORY, the bane of my existence, to get me a ton of views (it doesn't any more, considering the sets have come out). Here's the thing, whenever you can scoop up some dirt on unreleased LEGO products, people will search for it. I remember searching for next year's BIONICLE sets on Google all the time, and often being amazed at what I found. During Hero Factory 3.0, people would search for 4.0, and so they found this page. That's why it has so many views.

1. Favorite Disney Characters
"Well, I guess I have to have at least one cheesy post per year..." ~Charles  Painter
How on earth did this post gain 1st place on here? No idea. My stats tell me it comes from people searching for "Chernabog" (who's on the list), and the thing has already gotten 222 views this month alone. Honestly, this post wasn't supposed to be much, but I'm glad that Jose and Chernabog got their moments in the spotlight.

Now come the time to dig a little deeper and show you some posts you never even saw! That's right, THE UNPOSTED POSTS!!!

THE POSTS THAT NEVER SAW THE LIGHT OF DAY
Posts that were never published include titles such as A Red Marker, Calvin and Hobbes, Pandora, BOA (Bands of America), 240? What Happened to One?, How Bored You Be, Radio Show, Moral of the Story, Game Review: Star Fox 64 3D, Official Zelda Timeline, Bit.Trip (ChuckBlog Platinum Award), and (Untitled Post). And now, for the moment you've all been waiting for, you get to read what's completed of my Star Fox 64 3D review!


"I usually don't wait this long to post a review on a video game, but I've been busy. And also, I'm home sick right now and I have nothing else to do. So, ON TO THE REVIEW! It's been a while since I've reviewed a video game, and that's because my purchasing of video gmaes has gone down because my supply of money has also gone down. But, I kept a piggy bank just for Star Fox 64 3D (and I have one for Skyward Sword too) and accumulated enough to get it. So let's take a look. A book look! The 3DS has been remaking some major games recently, the most noticible being Ocarina of Time, Star Fox 64, and Super Street Fighter IV. Star Fox is one of the best entries in this category, not only because of the new graphic design, but of the overall work and pollish put into it. Let's take a look at what makes it so great.

1. REVAMPED AND 3D GRAPHICS

Like any and all 3DS games, it includes the amazing 3D graphics which make it look awesome. Star Fox 64 fits perfectly with this 3D and looks beautiful when played. That's also because of the entirely redone graphics. All of the characters, enemies, and especially the stages (especially especially the water on any given stage) look phenominal, and I would enjoy watching this game be played.

2. CONTROLS

Now, as we all know, the 3DS's cirle pad and the 64's analog stick are simiar, but they function in different ways. Realizing this, Nintendo released two "versions" of Star Fox 64 3D on the cartridge. One is the classic 64 version which presents "the original challenge of Star Fox 64" (meaning it was designed for analog). The other is the 3DS version, which was made for the circle pad, AND motion controls."



So there you go, my unposted posts. Now it's time for another very special occasion, honoring the members of ChuckBlog!

CHUCKBLOG MEMBERS
From humble beginnings, ChuckBlog has had a few members. Now, I proudly have 10 members online, allow me to honor each one of them.

TMcSpanks12
Price
Jedi Black Guy and also Double O Stefan
timothyrussom
Greyson Hammock
Biljana Karapetroska
simon goffin
Donovan Wesner
Drew Pinckard
and ginger, who was there from the start

I send a very special thank you to all you guys for following me this far. I decided you needed a little recognition.

IN CLOSING
So that's all I have for my 100th post spectacular. I'll probably wake up in the middle of the night and say "Dang! Forgot to put this!" but who cares? Thanks for 100 great posts, and stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Game Review! Pokemon Conquest (DS)

     Well, there's sort of this mostly unspoken rule out there that to review a game, you must play the whole thing first. And, before we start up, I have not played through all of Pokemon Conquest (or Pokemon X Nobunga's Ambition in Japan). However, I need you to hear me out on this review because with a turn based strategy JRPG, there's a formula that you stick to, and if that's true for this game, then... well, you'll just have to see.

     To start off, Pokemon Conquest wasn't originally intended to come to America. It was going to be a Japan-only release, but some strings were pulled and some fans said they wanted it and out it came in America. BRIEF STORY TIME! This game's release date was set to June 18, 2012. However, when I set out to purchase my copy on the 18th, all of my local dealerships said the game would not ship until the next day, and wouldn't arrive till 11:30. Why is this? I certainly don't know, but for a game to be released one day and ship the next is... strange. Oh well.

     Alright, you guys didn't come here to hear my conspiracy theories, you came here for a review! So here goes everything! Pokemon Conquest is a combination of two things: the Pokemon games, and the Nobunga's Ambition games. From what I know offhand, Nobunga's ambition is a turn-based strategy RPG where you conquer kingdoms (please correct me if I'm wrong). And, Pokemon is a turn based strategy RPG where you capture tiny magical creatures and have them fight for personal gain! Pokemon Conquest serves as a blending of the two into one game. Can it be done well? The answer is yes. Very yes.

     Gameplay in Conquest is simple on the outside, but hides a very intricate and complex inner working. For those of you who have played Fire Emblem, Conquest is very similar to that. You maneuver troops along a grid and attack enemies that correspond to your position. Tactics and strategy are key, giving you a game that will tax your mind and your morality (you'll see).

     Now, you may be thinking: "So what? All they did was take Nobunga's Ambition and slap Pokemon on it to make more money! Why should I play this pile of jellyfish feces?" and if you are thinking that, you need to slap yourself across the face and drink a gallon of soy sauce because Pokemon are what makes this game so awesome! They didn't just slap the Pokemon label on the game and go home, they added the deep mechanics from Pokemon into the gameplay as well! I.E. type weaknesses/advantages, stats, evolutions, and moves. Now, each Pokemon only knows one move (that changes when they evolve), and that can be a little off-putting to some players. Keep in mind: this game is not meant to be a traditional Pokemon game. It's meant to be a Nobunga game with the added depth of Pokemon. Either way the gameplay is super fun, super addicting, and super rufus (woah, bet you didn't see that one coming).

     As you continue on your journey, you will encounter many battles. One of the coolest things about these battles is that, if you defeat an enemy under certain conditions, you can recruit them to fight for your army! Also, each warrior has a "capacity" stat which shows you how many Pokemon they can "link" with (more on that in a second). You can encounter wild Pokemon and link with them too, so that you have a variety of Pokemon and warriors. Also, there are downloadable "episodes" which allow you to encounter new events and add characters from the main narrative to your army!

     As far as the story goes, Conquest has kept it rather simple so far. You're a kid in charge of a kingdom with an Eevee in a world where select few "warriors" have the ability to wordlessly communicate with Pokemon. Since you rule this kingdom, you're a warlord who needs to recruit warriors for your army so that you can conquer other kingdoms so you can summon a mythical Pokemon, all while trying to defeat Nobunga, who is trying to destroy Ransei (the game's central location, I think).

THE VERDICT

     Pokemon Conquest is possibly the best Pokemon Spin-Off in the history of all time and space, with amazing addictive and intelligent gameplay that offers deep strategizing, a solid story, and cool DLC. All in all, I would give this game a 

FOUR OUT OF FIVE STARS

     Yeah, I know I said I was gonna stop giving games high ratings just because, but this game really earns it. It's worth your time and money, so please give it a try! 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Thank You!

     Okay guys, this may sound a little sappy, but I'd like to thank all of my readers. I've recently passed the 10,000 hit mark on ChuckBlog, and wow, it feels really cool! I'd like to let you know that I am currently working on a 100th post spectacular that will be coming out soon, and perhaps some other surprises, so please stay tuned!

     Again, thank you so much for reading, you've seen how this blog has evolved over the years from my personal ramblings into some better written personal ramblings, and I hope you've enjoyed the ride so far.

     Because there's a lot more to come.

A Blog Shoutout!

     Normally, I don't give shout-outs to people, but I've decided that it would be rude for me not to since my friend MATT YOUNG has started a blog! Matt's in the same band as I, and his blog is entitled "Stuff that catches my eye, news, games, etc." (So, you might have a hard time figuring out what the blog's about). Matt talks about a lot of things such as the economy, gaming, and... pizza. I think. Actually, he probably doesn't talk about pizza, but he might. Where was I?

     Oh, that's right, Matt's Blog! Check it out if you like a variety of interesting topics pertaining to semi-important things (wow, just like mine!).

You can find his blog here! Have fun!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

YOGO, You Only Game Once

Hardly ever do I fall into the fads of things like YOLO (You Only Live Once), however, when my friends and I got together to make a collab gaming channel, we needed a name. We like this one. YOGO is a group effort of my friends Bradley Wascher, Greyson Hammock, and I. We hope it gets popular (somewhat), so here's our introduction video!


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Update: Toonami Returns!

     A few posts ago, (I think only two or so) I talked to you guys about the possible return of Toonami, an action cartoon block that used to run on Cartoon Network. 

Well guess what?

     It's been totally confirmed that Toonami is returning May 26th 2012 (THIS WEEKEND) and is taking over Adult Swim's anime block! Looks like fans can make a difference, and never giving up yielded to sweet sweet fruit! If you wanna check out the announcement tweet click here. Due to the clean nature of the blog I can't write it myself, so just click there if you don't believe me. So what's gonna go down? Allow me to explain. 

TOONAMI SCHEDUAL 

12:00AM- Bleach
12:30AM- TBA (to be announced)
  1:00AM- TBA 
  1:30AM- Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood
  2:00AM- TBA
  2:30AM Cowboy Bebop

     I get this info straight from the Adult Swim Boards, click here if you don't believe me (but by now I hope you would). Anyway, you Toonami Faithful are gonna have to stay up late this Saturday (or at least I am, early sleeper by force) to catch TOM and the gang. The TBA  shows are being saved as secret until Saturday, but I can assume we'll be seeing some DBZ and possibly Gundam in there, but one can only hope. Now, if you're all like "Wah! Why is this only three hours?! That's not enough time! It's on too late!" then you need to slap yourself in the face until you bleed because you have no idea how many strings Adult Swim had to pull to get this to work. Be lucky you got Toonami at all! You asked for it!

     Anyway, I can't wait till midnight next Saturday, it's gonna be EPIC! Until next post, stay gold.



Sunday, May 6, 2012

Movie Review! THE AVENGERS

It has been a while since my last movie review, hope I'm not too rusty! I think my last review was Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2, and I used the expression "left a bad feeling in my mouth." Hopefully this one goes better. It seems to me that I always give everything a relatively high rating, just because... I dunno, I'm afraid to hurt someone's feelings? Well too bad! I'm going to review this movie honestly, not holding anything back, full throttle! And with that said, this is one of the best movies I've seen in a long time.

When it comes to comic books, I always pick MARVEL over DC (no offense, DC. I really like you guys' comics, especially how you published BIONICLE, but I have to pick my favorite). I've been an Avengers fan ever since I read my first Avengers comic. There was nothing cooler than seeing how Iron Man interacted with say, Hulk. These were two of my favorite super heroes, in the same comic book! What could be better? Anyway, I saw an emerging pattern in the last few years, in the MARVEL movies, that is. There were a lot of recurring characters, references, invitations from S.H.I.EL.D. I figured a movie like this was coming. At the end of Captain America, when they showed the trailer, I was happy but skeptical. Could the Avengers be pulled off live-action style? I found out.

The plot of the movie is simple. Loki (Thor villain) is using the Tesseract (object from most of the movies) to summon an army and conquer Earth. Actually, there's a lot more than that, but that's good enough for now at least. It's up to Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye to stop Loki and defend the earth!

The movie does so many things so right. This may not be how you envisioned the Avengers meeting each other, and it felt a little awkward at one moment. This may only be for me, but during the Iron Man/Thor battle when Captain America deflects Thor's hammer, it just sort of stops. It felt weird to me, but it just stops, and it seems like they've all come to some sort of understanding I just couldn't grasp. Maybe it's just me, but that part seemed a little abrupt.

Other than that, there are very few qualms I had with this movie. The characters were all represented very well, except maybe for Hawkeye. I know Hawkeye as a joking, sarcastic, archer. And, albeit he was enslaved by Loki for 60% of the movie, he was very serious and sullen, unlike the Hawkeye I know and love. However, he's still a total boss, maybe even more boss in this movie, so there was some compensation.

Avengers is one of my favorite super-hero movies. It's full of action, humor, and the simple concept of it is just awesome. If you're looking for a good superhero movie, or just a good action movie, this is the movie for you.

4.5 OUT OF 5 STARS

BONUS TIME!
There are a lot of Avengers. A lot of them had to be left out of this movie. If I had to add three, what would they be? Why, I shall answer the question you obviously just asked. Let's go.

#3. WOLVERINE
Hugh Jackman is a boss, and so is Wolverine. When you have this guy on your side, it's hard to lose. Also, a lot more girls would come to the movies. He's Hugh Jackman.


#2 ANT MAN
Ant Man is an overlooked superhero. He commands swarms of ants, can shrink to the size of less than a wasp, and can also grow 20 stories tall. Yeah.


#1 THE BLACK PANTHER
Black Panther is my favorite super hero ever. Why? He's possible the most boss superhero in the history of time. He's "The Most Dangerous Man Alive," and "The Man Without Fear." He wears a suit infused with Vibranium, a metal that can absorb and redirect energy. Think of him as the Batman of Marvel, but cooler.


And that's all! Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy The Avengers!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

My Top Fighting Games!

Don't you just love fighting games? Of course you do! That's why I made a video. Watch it.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Return of Toonami?

I don't know how many of you saw Adult Swim's April Fool's joke last Saturday, but let me sum it up. The re-aired Toonami. For those of you who DON'T KNOW what Toonami is, I'll explain. Toonami was an action block that ran on Cartoon Network. It had Voltron, Dragonball Z, Gundam, Yu Yu Hakasho, Bleach, Naruto, all the good action cartoons! But, it was cancelled, leaving a hole in many of our hearts. So, as a joke, Adult Swim brought it back for one night. Here's what went down for me. I was at home, on my computer when I decided to check my tweets. There was the usual assortment of gaming news, friends' updates, whining and complaining, and then, something caught my eye. A tweet from @adultswim. I didn't follow them, so it was a re-tweet. It said "#toonami." I paused. Wait... no... I sprinted to my TV and turned it on, and behold, Toonami was there. My childhood was there. Check out this video.




Toonami was back! Twitter exploded, #toonami was trending for two days, but then it hit us. This was just an April Fool's joke. Still, we spammed #toonami, and kept it trending. Then came another tweet from Adult Swim.

@adultswim "Want it back? Let us know. #BringBackToonami"

I don't know if they could have predicted it or not, but the tweets came in. You couldn't go 5 seconds without a #bringbacktoonami tweet coming in! Adult Swim monitored and listened. #bringbacktoonami ran for a full day, and just about an hour ago this came in.

@adultswim "#BringBackToonami We've heard you. Thank you for your passion and interest - stay tuned."



It's been confirmed! Toonami's coming back! Don't believe me? Click here. That should dispel any doubts you have. What can we expect? Well, we all hope for DBZ Kai Uncut, or maybe just DBZ. Gundam, Bleach, Naruto, basically most of what I said up there (Sailor Moon too, if only for me to laugh at). It's presumable that Toonami will now be owned by Adult Swim, so it could have more adult content than before. Either way, it'll be nice to have an old friend back, if they don't screw it up.

Thanks for helping to #bringbacktoonami everyone!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

BGM Anthology V

It's that time of the year again, time for another BGM Anthology! This is the fifth installment of BGMA (we'll call it), so here come some doozies!

MINECRAFT: DRY HANDS
This is the second time I've used a song from Minecraft in BGMA, and it's because it love the music from it so much. It sets the mood perfectly. There's ambiance, dissonance, subtlety, beauty. Dry Hands is my favorite though. It's a very moving piece, only piano. It almost feels like a lament of sorts. It stands apart from all the other songs in Minecraft to me.




THE BLUE MARLIN: CAPE CANAVERAL
Who would have thought a fishing game would capture what I think to be the very core essence of an 8bit tune. Bouncy beat, catchy melody, great composition. Cape Canaveral is one of those songs that you just wanna listen to for hours. Or maybe not. Because anything can get annoying in hours. BUT BACK TO THE POINT, Cape Canaveral is one of my favorite retro BGMs of all time, and I'm glad it's in this list.




METAL GEAR SOLID 3, SNAKE EATER: MAIN THEME
The Metal Gear Solid series has always has a knack for releasing excellent games, so the other day I picked up a copy of Snake Eater 3D for my 3DS. I had never played Snake Eater, and I was immediately struck by the title sequence where this song plays. It's a great song, albeit the lyrics can be a bit weird. Snake Eater has such a great story, and this song captures it all up in one big musical BLAM! If you've never played Snake Eater, I'd advise it. Excellent game.


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Zelda Symphony!

Alright, I cannot believe how lucky I am. Last year was the 25th Anniversary of The Legend of Zelda, my favorite game series of all time. There were all sorts of cool events and features, and game releases. But most important of all, would have to be the Zelda Symphony of the Goddess tour, which is happening this year! So, I finally scraped enough money together from working, birthdays, and leftovers, and I bought myself a ticket to the Atlanta showing! If you're going, I'll see you there. It happens in May, so I'll do a whole post about it.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Lego Minecraft

You guys know me, I'm a bit of a LEGO enthusiast. Now that we've got that out of the way, I'd also like to tell you I'm a bit of a MINECRAFT enthusiast. Alright, good. One more quick note before the body of this post: Do you remember my LEGO Zelda post I did? It talked about a site called LEGO CUUSOO, where you could submit ideas to LEGO and try to let them become real sets and themes! It's gaining popularity quickly, and it's the reason you're seeing the image above you. You see, a while back Mojang submitted the idea for a LEGO MINECRAFT theme, seeing as it's a cool idea. They did a blog post about it, and then suddenly... BOOM! 10,000 supporters in about 48 hours. LEGO acknowledged the fan base and said they'd get to work on it, and post an update in 2012. On New Year's Day, It was announced that LEGO approved the project and MINECRAFT would be released in LEGO form. But how would it look? We had to wait a while to find out, but what you see above you is LEGO CUUSOO Product #003, Minecraft Mini World. It's available for pre-order now, so pounce on this opportunity, so they don't run out. The set comes with the materials to build four changeable sets, and a mini buildable creeper and Steve.

How will this sell? Well, from what I can dig up, CUUSOO sells it's products exclusively on it's site, so don't be looking for in your local Toys-R-Us. However, it is possible that they could sell them in official LEGO Store, however, I'm not positive on that either. What I can tell you, is that this is one of the coolest things LEGO's done in a while, and I can't wait to get mine (craft).



Monday, February 6, 2012

Game Review! Dino Run SE

Okay, it's definitely been too long since my last post. To tell the truth I was thinking about just doing another BGM Anthology, but I decided to do a little review for a little game: Dino Run SE. Dino Run SE is an application for Mac, and we'll see if it's good enough for a buy. I usually only review games I like (which is probably the worst idea I've ever had), so I'm going to simply pluck this game out of the blue and review it.

STORYLINE:
Very simple. You are a dinosaur, going about your normal day. Suddenly, a gigantic meteor lands nearby and you have to run for your life to escape extinction. That's about it. This game is not story centered, so there's no reason for me to rant about the lack of story thereof. Sometimes, it's the simpler things that work out the best.

PRESENTATION: I usually do gameplay before this segment, but I decided this needs to come first. Dino Run SE is, as close as I can see, a modern take on Atari gen gaming. Now, let's procure ourselves a grain of salt quickly and delve into what I mean. All the sprites in this game could have been on the Atari. However, the music, animations, and overall quality tips you off that it's a modern game, and it flows easily together, which I love. Also, you can customize your dino with different colors and hats, so everyone is unique. Plus, it's super cool to have a Link dinosaur.

GAMEPLAY: Alright, here we go. Dino Run SE looks like an old-school game, and in a lot of ways plays like an old-school game. And in that I mean the gameplay was less than stellar to me. Your dino has to run from left to right, but he can be unresponsive, and the physics are just weird. I think eating eggs makes you faster, but most of the time I'm annoyed or confused. However, this isn't awful and something tells me they were shooting for that old-school approach anyway. There's a super cool online multiplayer mode, and it's fun to test your skill against other players.

In all, Dino Run SE is a fun game for casual gamers that will bring out some interesting gameplay and has great replay value. The gameplay can be a bit frustrating at times, but it's nothing too bad. It just takes some getting used to.

THREE OUT OF FIVE STARS

And that's not bad. You can pick yourself up a copy for (insert money value here because I forgot). Catch you later!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

POKEDEMIC Update!

Hey everyone! Remember the whole project I talked about a month ago? Well, here's an update, half of the first part! You get the first two chapters of the upcoming "book" POKEDEMIC: A Study on the Impact of Video Games. Now, please keep two things in mind while reading. First, that the chapters you are going to read are introductory, and only serve as foundation for the epidemic I spoke of in the initial post; Second, these are direct ports of notes I took, so it may seem sort of spread out, but it's supposed to. So without hesitation, here's the first two chapters!


POKEDEMIC
A STUDY ON THE IMPACT OF VIDEO GAMES
By Charles Painter







PART 1: HUMBLE BEGINNINGS

In the social ladder of a school, some things are cool, and some things definitely are not. Video games, usually fall on the latter side of the equation, unless they involve what is “cool.” As for those that are not cool, what of the people who play them? Or are at least open about playing them? Where do they fall on the social ladder? 
CHAPTER 1: WHAT IS A GEEK?
What is a geek? Or a nerd for that matter? To be a geek for something simply means to have a passion for. You could be a geek for football, for instance. You keep up with the players, their averages, make educated guesses on who’s going to win the next game, or even what’s going to happen in the game, because you’ve devoted a lot of time to researching (in a way) and learning about football. However, nerd  and geek remain as hurtful slang.
So, why is “nerd” a derogatory term? Webster’s defines nerd as: “an unstylish, unattractive, or socially inept person; especially: one slavishly devoted to intellectual or academic pursuits.” So, to be a nerd means to lack social skills, or to dress in a way unaccepted by the status quo. It’s demeaning nature is expressed in it’s own essence.
But, what about geeks? Webster’s defines geeks as “an enthusiast or expert, especially in a technological field or activity.” It’s like what was stated above, a geek is someone who is passionate about a specific interest or hobby, and devotes themselves to it. The term geek can be used to describe anyone who is passionate about anything.
Geeks, in essence, are not the highest on the social ladder, but a more interesting question is “why?” This goes into the status quo, which silently states that anyone can be a geek and remain accepted, but if they are a geek for something unaccepted, then they too are unaccepted. This leads geeks who fit into the status quo to see themselves not as geeks, but simply as “popular” (a very vague term). However, unlike nerds, all geeks do not lack social skills (however, you can be both a nerd and geek), and therefore can fit into other groups and be accepted, while keeping their geek identity. This process is difficult, and the possibility of achieving it depends on your environment, but it can be done.
CHAPTER 2: VIDEO GAMES
Video games are the world’s most unique form of media, giving the consumer the power to play through the story and game. However, like we discussed in the first chapter, video games fall into the category of “nerdy,” meaning they aren’t accepted in the higher levels of the status quo (especially in teenagers, which is what this study is about). However, as we progress into this study, and what it is truly about, you will find that the opinions of a specific group can be changed from higher up in the group. Now, video games aren’t the most accepted form of media, but they aren’t the worst either. It depends on the game, really. For instance, the “popular” kids play video games like Call of Duty, and that is fine. That video game is associated with guns (cool), violence (cool), action (cool), and other things. But the “geeks” play Pokemon, and that is full of japanese culture (lame), colorful monsters (lame), turn based gameplay (lame), and is designed for a core audience of very young people (lame, and the parenthetical descriptions express the opinion of the “popular”). So, some video games are “cool” while others are “geeky.” There’s a fine line between them; but as stated earlier, anyone can be a Pokemon geek and still be accepted, as long as they can also fit in with the “popular” group.
Like previously discussed, a geek is anyone who has a true passion for something or is an expert in a specific subject. A lot of video games are socially unaccepted, and that’s what some people are geeks about. Considering that these games fall into a “nerdy” category of sorts, they are labelled geeks and then fall into the category. It’s like previously stated, you can be a geek for anything and still be socially accepted, it’s when you’re a geek for something socially unaccepted that you are ostracized, and labelled. 
But this study raises a question too (that will be discussed further in upcoming sections): What if those on the high part of the status quo become geeks for something that is nerdy? Is it’s status raised from nerdy to “cool?” 
Believe it or not, this can happen, and it did too. In fact, the occurance is what inspired me to write this study, to see how something like this could happen.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Stop SOPA and PIPA!

Most of you guys know about SOPA and PIPA, and how today, a giga-ton of websites went dark in protest of this obscenely horrific ad. I hope you guys are doing all you can to stop this bill, but for those who don't know what's going on, please watch this video. TED Talks does it, so you know it'll be good. Sit back and enjoy.




The speaker raises a lot of unique points, such as why the media industry is doing this. But really, what stuck out to me was the harder part of what we have to do. Be prepared, because this is just the beginning. That's scary, but we have to keep moving! There won't be a tomorrow to fight for if we don't fight for it, so call your representative, sign some petitions and STOP SOPA AND PIPA!