Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Goggles, they do nothing!



Seriously, do I need to even bring it up?  Guns, lasers, vests, codenames, blacklights, neon, adrenaline, domination, strategy, good vs. evil, ego and *Uncle Rico.

Oh, all though you may have a gun, the laser will not penetrate a ZOmbie's brain or in any way slow it down. Nor will your "flack jacket" protect you in anyway. Shooting a laser tag gun at a ZomBie is just dumb and if you do it, you deserve to have your brainzzzz eaten.

Laser Tag: Not to ZoMbie and probably not to have a girlfriend or boyfriend either.
video

**Uncle Rico

Do ZOmbies watch films about ZomBies???



I watch movies on occasion and that is probably an understatement. I tend to think film and tv productions are are poorly written, lack creativity and our society depends on these distractions too frequently in an attempt to avoid the real issues that require attention. So,  you might already assume I may say that NETFLIX is a catalyst for ZOmbification. Well, in part, you are corrrect. However, due to the use of technology to make information easier, cheaper to access I am in favor of NETFLIX. Not to mention that NETFLIX in some ways reduces the need for brick and mortar businesses which reduces our carbon footprint and abuse of the land. Ha...my side stepping to various soapbox issues makes me laugh only as I begin to see myself as that *old fogey who is displeased with everything.
Yikes, I'm losing it. Sweet, maybe I wont even know that I'm certifiably nuts because I'm certifiably
nuts.  Ignorance is bliss.

So, NETFLIX is a sweet deal. We don't need to drive to the store thereby reducing the amount of gas used and the related carbon emissions. NETFLIX offers a flat monthly rate and unlimited viewing of films. The downside to NETFLIX, not all films are available for streaming, but that is not the fault of NETFLIX, but more so a fault of your own...yes you. Watch more movies, obscure movies and documentaries.  This way NETFLIX will feel the demand and offer more films for immedaite viewing via the net. Stop being so anti-escapist and watch more movies. Force NETFLIX to update their online films. Let's rid the world of plastic DVDs. Do your part and demand video streaming, save the planet one online video at a time...and you wont have to think about it as you do it because your are avoiding real issues. Do something good, while you turn off your brainzzzzz.

NETFLIX, to ZomBie or not to ZOmbie? Well, to use NETFLIX is "not to ZomBie", but once you start watching NETFLIX it becomes "to ZOmbie".  Get it...use your brain, then turn it off and stare wildy with some druel on your chin as a marathon of Hollywood films tantalize your ravenous eyes.

*Click: Old Fogey

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come)"

I recently purchased "Spore Origins" for my i-Phone. Let me say that there is already enough cannibalism and brain chewing going on this game to even consider ZOmbification. I think a ZomBie would be disgusted with the gluttonous approach these single-cellular, amoeba-like creatures take as they roam around in the birth fluid of Earth.

The game is fun, especially for the i-Phone. The graphics are sharp and colorful. Multiple creatures are out to get you as well as be eaten by you.  The i-Phone is in itself the controller.  Tilt to the right, go right, tilt to the left go left, etc. Each level offers new challenges. You can, also, 'morph' the main character's design as you progress through the stages of evolution (If you strongly stand with the "Creationist Theory" this game may actually strike a nerve, considering all living creatures derive from the Spore;  seven days and on the last day we got a break, not in this game!).

The biggest drawback is the repetition of physical environments. Throughout the game the Spore travels through evolutionary stages, I believe 4 steps in each stage. Although, the stages are redecorated with new creatures, colors and challenges, the physical layout is roughly the same. However, considering the game is designed for the i-Phone at a cheap cost of $2.99, I accept it.

The game is a play-periodically-style game.  I pick it up when I'm bored and play an evolutionary step. Then, I put it down for a day or a week. Its fun, but not addicting. The story is minimal and the challenges are not thought provoking. Its just simple fun...a no brainer.

To ZOmbie or Not to ZomBie?  No ZomBies needed here, there is already a brain eating spore doing all the work for the walking dead. Unfortunately, that spore will one mellenia grow up to become a human being and possibly evolve further into a ZoMbie.  So, we'll just wait and see what occurs.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

To Infinity and....Back Again!?



      Infinity Blade is the product of Chair Entertainment Group.  The game is specifically designed to be played on the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod, iPad Touch 3 and 4. 
According to the iPhone APP store Infinity Blade (as of 03/09/2011) earns a rating of 5/5 stars from 26476 reviewers. For more information check out Chair entertainment Group: http://infinitybladegame.com. When I first purchased the game about a week ago it cost $1.99. The price is now set at $5.99.  By the way, a couple of blogs back, I wrote about the Nerd Community and their offspring known as Gamers. Its a slippery slope, people! Read my previous blog and save yourself.
      At first, I was unclear as to the meaning of the title, Infinity Blade, but as I progressed through the game I quickly learned. The game is set in a medieval time. The main character is a knight who is seeking vengeance for the murder of his father.   “My name is Ingio Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWXcDZNgOWs&NR=1).
Yes, vigilante justice in the name of a deceased parent, it’s a new concept. I am not so sure if it will hold, but I predict that as time passes, the failure of this concept will lead to new story lines based on one’s revenge for the murder of a significant other. Again, new territory here, so we’ll have to see how it turns out. 
    So, let's get back to my discussion of the title, Infinity Blade. Again, the story takes place in the far off past. A dreary castle stands firm upon wind-swept cliffs under a cold blue sky as the young ‘Force’-filled knight (you) gazes upon it. Within the castle awaits his destiny. 
Upon entering the castle grounds, the vengeful knight battles his way through a gauntlet of fiercely mangled and menacing villains. His ultimate goal is to reach the god-king, slay him and therefore honor his murdered father’s name. Oh, yes, twenty years earlier the god-king put the final kybosh to his  (your) father and he did it without mercy or remorse. He actually sucked out dad’s essence as he plunged his dastardly sword into his battered shell, which made him (the god-king) stronger. Hey, have you ever seen the movie, “HighLander”?  Regardless, it’s tough to be a mortal as the vengeful knight will soon find out.
      After easily defeating the first round of Frankenstein-like ‘evil’ knights, the vengeful knight meets the god-king. At this point it is possible to beat Mr. god-king, only his closest friends call him god-king, which he has none.  Unfortunately, at this stage of the game, young-grasshoppa, the vengeful knight’s skills and strengths are most likely inadequate for the job. So, with a firm understanding of your youthful weaknesses, except with pleasure the piercing pain of the god-kings sword as it is plunged into the knight’s abdomen and in obnoxious shop-vac form sucks the essence from his beleaguered body.
     Good news!  It’s six o’clock in the morning, the radio-alarm sings to life with Sunny and Cher’s “I Got You Babe”. The knight (you) wakes up from a comfortable sleep in a quaint bed & breakfast in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. As he rises, he gets the strange feeling that he’s done this before and he may even look a bit irritated by the second, third and fourth time this occurs. 
     Ultimately, it’s not the same knight each time, but who can tell the difference. The story indicates that it is about 20-some years later and you, the ‘new’ knight, are the son of the previous vengeful knight. Something should be said about familial behavior traits and the debate over nature vs., nurture, but I refuse to digress. So, the vengeful night rises, puts on his armor and walks to the precipice of slaughter. He views the castle from a distance and as his father and his father’s father and his father’s father’s father and still his father’s father’s father’s father aims to avenge his…. father…something like this. “Who gets slaughtered?”, is the question of the new day. At each level the beastly knights of the castle become stronger and faster. The first level was easy and from there each level increases with difficulty. Just like the repeated setting, a player should be able to predict the increasing level of intensity. Good news, if you appreciate mundane predictability, all of the treasures and potions are all in the exact same places…even 20, 40, 60, 80 years later. The castle must have ‘landmark’ status, as physical feature is in exactly the same place at each level.  There is certainly no possible way that this castle will succumb to the wave of gentrification, albeit that it one day be surrounded by condos and strip malls filled with StarBucks, Jamba Juice and an Apple store.
    Infinity Blade is a fun game, but no more exciting than playing Mortal Kombat or old-school Kung-Foo.  The story of vengeance is simple, actually it’s not really a story at all. The designers acted as movie directors and gave you, the knight, your motivation for being. Once you reach the end of the level, successfully or unsuccessfully, you return to the beginning of the game, with the a quick note that it is now 20 years later.  What makes this game stand out, however, are the responsive controls and interactive screen, all of which were designed for the iPhone and its siblings.
    The moves are easy. Swipe up, down, right, left and diagonally with your finger and the sword comes to life. On the bottom of the screen there are three command icons; a shield to press when you want to block with your shield and arrows (left and right corners) to duck left or right. The only issue I have is that occasionally when I attempt to duck right or left I miss the icon and therefore take a serious bludgeoning.  Although, the knight’s opponents become faster at each level, the controls remain effective. Missing the duck icon is probably my finger’s fault and I plan to have a talk with him later. Learning to use the duck right and left buttons is key to survival.  I am currently on level 3 and sword swinging, although important, will not keep me alive no matter how fast I can flick my finger.
    Another great feature on Infinity Blade is the ability to purchase items such as swords, shields, body armor, magical devices, helmets, etc.  Also, Certain items come with certain powers. So, be particular as particular items are not as predictable as they appear.  Again, as each level increases with intensity, the player will need to outfit his or her knight with effective tools. Using the same old materials from level one will just get you killed quicker, so collect some coins and go shopping. Hey, even if you get killed, its nice to die wearing a shiny new suit of armor rather than wearing yesterday’s outdated fashions. Meet your maker with some dignity for Pete’s sake.
    As I have mentioned, I am currently on level 3 of Infinity Blade. I can care less about the story or my ‘motivation’. For me it’s about Ego. A challenge has been presented, I have fighting moves and weapons, now I just need to learn how to use them.  Up to level three I felt pretty good. Now I feel a bit frustrated as I get ‘schooled’, yet I am determined to learn the most effective use of my tools to win. So far, I am getting clobbered while slowly making progress.
    I am pleased that after each unsuccessful battle within the castle’s linear progression, I have the choice to start at the very beginning of the level or re-load the last battle. I am uncertain why someone would want to start at the beginning of the level, considering each level starts at the same place. So, I opt to begin right where I was shredded to pieces. “Thank you, Sir, may I have another?”  Unfortunately, for those with a lack of fortitude and self-confidence, also know as  “quitters”, there is no way to get around the tougher one-on-one battles. You can fight and win, fight and die or just quit.
      There is, however, one option that may support a gamer as he or she attempts to achieve predominance. One can actually buy, with actual cash, ‘gold’ from the app store and then spend that ‘gold’ on pricey weapons and armor. Although, in my mind, I agree with the saying, “The man makes the clothes”.  You can dress your knight up, but you cannot guarantee with new ‘threads’ that he’ll make it to the ‘big dance’. So, spend wisely or simply build up your determination and commit to learning step-by-step.
     Since the game is strictly linear, all you need to do is focus on the fight. There is no chance you will take a wrong turn and be forever lost in the game. The game does not allow for you to accidentally stroll off a cliff and somehow survive in a technological abyss.  In essence, you are a train on rails and there is no getting off track. You simply need to get past the checkpoints in order to move on. You must fight.
    If you are worried about the battles, the designers offer a tutorial as you progress through the first level. You are prompted to swipe a finger here or there, to block with your shield and to duck right or left. A first time player should be able to understand the basic moves easily as he or she dominates level one. But, do not be fooled, after level one you should be ready for some beatings of your own. If one would like to revisit the initial tutorial, an option exists to return to level 1. Also, the designers posted three reviews on YouTube, which demonstrate the use of the game tools.
   

    Currently, Infinity Blade is a solitary game.  The designers have stated that updates will allow multi-player settings, but for now you’re on your own, ‘Han Solo’. I hope that when the multi-layer version is available players can battle each other. However, this would change the game into a typical fighting game, just dressed up differently than the many others that exist. The key difference, of course, will be that I will be able to invite a friend for a lunch-break-butt-kicking conducted via my iPhone.
    Although, the game is played in isolation,  players’ scores can be recorded for sharing using another APP called “Game Center”. If you cannot beat your friend in hand-to-hand combat, you can at least brag about your high scores. Also, within Infinity Blade you can keep track of your achievements, such as winning streaks, quickest cut-downs, etc. 
    The graphics, although repeated, are amazing. The designers created a beautiful, virtual medieval world. The dynamic images could easily be sets from Lord of the Rings.  The details in the work are excellent, although, most escape me as I am getting butchered. I am amazed at how far technology has come, when I do get a chance to pan around the screen; so much detail, so much interaction, great responsiveness and all on an iPhone. 
    Should you buy Infinity Blade?  If it is priced at $1.99, then you certainly should. As previously mentioned the cost has risen to $5.99. If you are a true “gamer”, then buy Infinity Game. I believe you will be amazed at the technological developments. If you are a novice gamer and easily put off by video game challenges and are unaware of the technological advancements in gaming systems, then buy Plant Vs. Zombies
   Speaking of ZOmbies, the question remains. To ZomBie or Not to ZOmbie?  I believe this is a trick question.  To recognize the technological achievements demonstrated within Infinity Blade would be characteristic of someone with a heart beat and a full functioning brain. However, the 'bells and whistles' of Infinity Blade may have the power to permanently captivate and thus turn a regular gamer into a GAmzie (Half Gamer, half ZOmbie). So, the answer is not to ZomBie, but with Caution! 

Resources:

Infinity Blade Video Review

Monday, March 7, 2011

Just A Small Town Girl, Living in A Lonely World. She took the Midnight Train Goin' Anywhere...

  WHY? Becaues You Can!           WHY? Because You Want To!                     WHY? Why Not?               

    

Its pretty apparent why so many love the Karaoke.  Actually, if you look at these three pictures (left, above and right) it might not be so apparent, but nonetheless, people like singing with Karaoke even if they can't really sing.
Why pink spandex or underwear over black-tigerstriped leggings? Because you have a microphone in-hand and Karaoke backing you up 100% even if the rest of the world is not. When Karaoke starts everything else just fades away and most listeners hope that you will, too.

Karaoke a great way to use technology to hone your vocal and stage skills. Its a lot cheaper than actually paying for formal singing lessons, although you would probably be better off with a straight forward suggestion from your voice teacher that you should find another dream to follow. But, what the Hell, you only get to go around in life once, so if singing is your passion, then do it big and do it with Karaoke.  If children cry, if ears bleed, if dogs howel, if hearts explode so be it because You are all that counts and if others have to suffer while you rock out, then that is what they must do.

Hey, if the nation's public school system offered music programs, the pain and suffering might stop. American Idol would no longer have the outtakes of want-to-be rockstars-who-aren't and quality Karaoke singers wouldn't be limited to Hawaii.  Let's go USA, Karaoke should not be limited to bars and Karaoke huts, it should be mandated in our public school classrooms. When people are educated properly longevity increases, but when unskilled 'singers' take the stage mental illness spreads like a caucaphony of musical notes emanating from the unskilled mouth of the Karaoke Killer.

To ZOmbie or Not to ZomBie?  Well although not mentioned or demonstrated in any ZOmbie film or novel, bad Karaoke singing is actually a great method of detering a ZoMbie onsluaght. If you can capture a ZOmbie and do not want to get blood and brains on your cloths from smashing in its head, get a horrible singer to tear up some tunes with a Karaoke machine. The result will be a massive hemorrhage in the brain of the Zombie. Yes, singing Karaoke will kill ZOmbies as well as your friendships.
Karaoke...Not to ZoMbie.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!

*Red Alarm Lights blink to life.

*Deep, Echoing Sirens pound against the eardrum.

*A Computerized Woman's Voice calmly repeats,

"NERD ALERT"   "NERD ALERT"    "NERD ALERT"    "NERD ALERT"    "NERD ALERT"


 The Nerds have had their revenge.  The fight for equality, which gained strength in the 80's has come to an outright measurable victory for the Nerd Community. Today, many are self-proclaimed, proud-to-be "Nerds", but one sub-group of the 80's movement stands firm, yet disturbingly so,  in the hierarchy of the Nerd Community. Gamers.

What brought this group to the forefront of the awkward, introverted and sometimes a-sexual revolution? Video Games, microchips, fantasy, floppy disks and above all Braaaainz! We have to admit, as far as tech is concerned, the Nerds rule the world! Bill Gates, Steve Jobs,  Marc Zuckerberg, and  Larry Page, just to name a few, are within the collective leadership of this global power and we owe them Big Time! Just as James Brown is the godfather of Soul music, so too are Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney the godfathers of gaming; Atari, the first effective offensive in the war against mainstream normalcy.

Cell phones (smart or dumb), ATM cards,  FaceBook, Google, YouTube, Pandora, XBOX, WII, E-Mail, Solar Power, Hybrids, GPS and many other tech devices are the 'calling cards' of the once taunted and abused community. Wherever humanity thrives "Nerd Tracks" can be found.

Once driven into hiding and pushed to the brink of extinction the Nerd has become a mainstream player demanding respect and acceptance.  No longer are 'grundies', 'noogies' and locker imprisonments accepted as an appropriate social greeting for "Nerds". 





Gamers, the offspring of the 80's hard-drive-soddering, binary-code-writing Nerds, now represent the largest proportion of the Nerd population.  Whether one has an actual gaming system, a PC or a smart phone doesn't matter. Gamers, highly or lightly active, come in many shapes, ages and sizes and have access to games at anytime during the day. World of WarCraft or  Words With Friends, if you play a tech game multiple times during the week and avoid other tasks such as work responsibilities, eating, bathroom breaks, sex, sleeping and talking to 'friends', then you are becoming a Gamer Nerd.
When you play, the Nerds win.

Well, based on results, the Nerds have already won and have fully taken over.  Look to the picture on the left, you're there somewhere, or you soon will be.

Don't panic!  Most of you will only morph slightly. In essence, you will become a 'volunteer' or a 'part-time' gamer, occasionally staring at your screen and forgetting to feed your 8 month old child. Only when one becomes a 'full-time' gamer aka addict will an intervention be necessary. However, be certain that if you become a "full-timer",  MTV will be there to document your family's enduring battle to save you from fusing to the couch and living a life of sexual solitaire where you're addicted to games with attractive avatars who fill your every fantasy. The young man in the center of the photo above is an a-sexual, "full-time" gamer.  The cape, wide eyes and lack of attention to the woman on the couch are strong indicators. However, his Avatar 'girlfriend' is named Zanadou and although she repeats the same statements as he repeatedly plays the game, he relishes in each and every word.  

To better help one recognize the signs and symptoms of a "full-time" gamer watch the following videos.
"MTV True Life: I'm a Gamer".

It is clear, at least for me, why so many minds fall to the pleasures of gaming. Introverts have found a medium in which to express themselves and bond to others. No longer are they limited to face-to-face interactions over an actual Dungeons and Dragons board game, which forces them to speak to actual people. They now have the opportunity to live their lives through a second identity of an avatar. They can become who they always wanted to be, such as a 14 foot tall, blue, jungle warrior with curves named Natasha.

Many gamers who were once chastised for their lack of physical skill and coordination are now as agile and competent as any pro-basketball player, NASCAR driver, medieval night or MMA fighter. Gamers can compete in multiple arenas such as sports, martial arts, dance and so on with exceptional accuracy and success. Dreams...and revenge do come to fruition as long as you shut your doors, own a monitor and can coordinate your eyes and hands. Who needs the Marines when you have military-gamers manning drones from thousands of miles away. Hooorah! Payton Manning, BJ Pen, Danica Patrick, your days are numbered. Once the Nerd Community can create actual AI in a physical avatar the revolution will be complete.

 Others fall into gaming addiction because it allows them to avoid or further resist their actual responsibilities. Who needs good hygiene? Why do I want to spend hours trying to figure out and support my significant other?  Call my parents...do I know them? Work? Whatever!  Gamers are escapists.  Esthetic pleasures are a waste of time. A t.v., electricity, some games, a seat of some type and another gamer to put food in your mouth and to change your bed pan once in awhile is all you require.

Just because you think you are at the "volunteer" gamers status, don't allow yourself to maintain a false sense of security. No one every picked up a beer or a crack pipe and hoped to become an addict. The Nerd Community, in its desire to overrun the world recognizes the strategic value of a slow, progressive movement. Too fast and people will start to recognize what is actually occurring. Its like the old adage,

"If you drop a frog in a pot of boiling water with an XBOX 360, it will of course frantically try to clamber out. But if you place it gently in a pot of tepid water and turn on Plants Vs. Zombies, it will float there quite placidly enjoying the multiple pea shooters and dancing Elvis Zombies. As the water gradually heats up, the frog will sink into a tranquil stupor, exactly like one of us in a hot bath, and before long, with a smile on its face, it will unresistingly allow itself to be boiled to death." wikipedia

 So, if you find yourself walking along a busy street, unaware of the world passing you by while mesmerized by a friendly game of Angry Birds, Beware!   Beware if you began to play "Words With Friends" against one other person, but now you realize you have five or more games going on at once. If you have played "FarmVille" and now consider yourself a farmer who needs others to water your cyber crop, Beware! If you find that your social arena is FaceBook and that your only wall posts are from yourself, Beware!  You are standing on a slippery slope with a beer in one hand and a crack pipe in the other.  

Articles for addicts or those concerned: 

To ZOmbie or Not to ZomBie?  
Its a slippery slope for certain.  As much as I like video games and see the potential in our technological devices, and as much as I like laughing at the seriousness gamers maintain while playing 'games', I also recognize the symptoms of ZOmbification.  However, GAmbies (Gamer ZOmbies) are not after Braaainz. Caution must be taken however, although GAmbies do not want to eat your braaaainz, they do want to play videeeeeo gaaaames. So, if you in anyway interrupt them, they are likely to crush your brain with the game controller; that is of course if their bodies have not atrophied and they can still get off the couch.  



Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I Love Lamp

                                           "Goat Boy" played by Jim Breuer on SNL

    Humans are fascinating animals.  Yes, I am calling you an animal, Animal! Consider it a friendly reminder. Although, we are animals we maintain a significant strength far above the rest of the creatures in the animal kingdom, the ability to think deeply and live beyond the simple 'flight and fight' experience; we are not bound to basic instincts alone.

    Homo-sapiens, with all of our mental capacity, still suffer from various 'program' glitches.  Imagine that each of us is run by a computer aka the brain.  Most of us appear to run smoothly, with slight re-tooling from time to time.  Others have mainframe freeze-ups and require complete overhauls. And the rest fall somewhere in between with slow hard drives, defunct memory storage and unresponsive keys on the keyboard. Its simple if you think of it that way. Where am I going with this....I am not certain, but in short you are a computer and I hope your programs are working with integrity, otherwise you might be insane and not even know it.

So, the crux of this blog is to point out the insanity that is the human mind.  Insert a mother's gasp here_____________.     

Years back I saw a television commercial for Ikea, the Norwegian owned furniture/home accessory store. Ikea.  If you are on a budget Ikea offers a lot of goods, just accept the fact that anything you purchase will last for a year or two only; even less if you accidentally add water. My apologies, I've gone off on a tangent.
 
  Ikea created a commercial to manipulate the viewers' emotions and create business. Nothing new here. However, the commercial was an indicator of just how inept we are at using our minds to logically process information.




    The commercial is captivating because it plays on our emotions and therefore renders our logic useless.  Spock would not stand for this, although he would not be surprised that humans resonated with a discarded lamp. Completely illogical, although humanly predictable.  If you don't know who Spock is, then "Go in Peace and Prosper" while you search the name on Google. 
 
    The "skinny": use technology to personify everything.  Create an emotional story about anything unemotional and therefore captivate an audience. Add some humor, some music, an accent and an insult and your audience will remember the experience.

   Ikea Lamp Commercial: To ZOmbie or Not to ZomBie?  If you use the techniques employed in the commercial to captivate an audience you are definitely not a ZOmbie. However, if you are in the audience you just may be a ZomBie.  If you still are unsure where you sit, if you watched the commercial and then staggered off to buy a new lamp, then you are most certainly a ZomBie, ZOmbie!

                                         None the less you are crazy because you're human!
                                                              Film: "Anchor Man"