Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

More Pictures

Staind's Seventh Album Takes the Band Back to it's Roots: Amazing!

Over fifteen years have passed since Staind came together and released their first album 'Tormented', which highlighted a heavy style that melded together post-grunge and a lot of anger. With each successful album release, the band's songs shifted towards a more deliberately paced and emotional songs, detailing the changes they have all been through. With the dropping of their seventh album, self titled 'Staind', the band has come full circle and back to their roots to help even out the discography with an explosive release.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Game Design Class First Major Project

So I found it quite interesting that for our first major homework in Intro to Video Game Design, we had to create a board game. So, with my wonderful partner Heidi Haack, we have crafted a resource management card game. Here are a few pictures of the cards we made:

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Video Game History

Today the common conception of what a video game is has grown much different than what it used to be, so here's a few links to help with the history lesson:

History of Controllers:

The Second Video Game Ever:

Tall Oaks Timeline of Game History:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Quirky RPG Giant Ported to Portable Beautifully

I have always been an avid fan of Japanese style RPG's. My first real game obsession was Pokemon, and after that my friend Chris introduced me to the Final Fantasy series. It was a match made in heaven. To this day, there are very few games that can contend with my passion/obsession with Final Fantasy IX, and even fewer that can recreate the joy I feel when ever I pick that game up. I have recently been a huge fan of the genre's shift of focus from major console releases to the portable realm simply because finding the time to set aside and play a vast, tens of hours stealing adventure compared to picking it up on the go and starting from where ever I stopped last (especially on my PSP =] ). So when I heard that Persona 3, one of the most revered RPG's of the PS2 era, was coming to PSP, I was ecstatic to say the least. Persona 3 was one of the few RPG's on the PS2 that I never did get my hands on, and what a treat it has been on PSP.

Comic Book Hero Made For Games: inFamous Rocks!

Open world, sand box style games have never been much fun to me. I've played them all in bits and pieces, from Grand Theft Auto to Assassin's Creed, and though I enjoy them for their quality of freedom, I just never get into them. I recently acquired inFamous through the PlayStation Network Welcome Back program, and ever since acquiring it I delayed even touching it. I would turn on my system, and every time I stared at the game name and moved onto something else. This trend continued until my friend and fellow intern Kreston started raving about the game. So when he came over, I was forced into a corner and booted up the game. From start to finish, I could not put it down. inFamous is your typical sand box game on crack, a modern day Assassin's Creed with it's own slick style and power to make you the player feel like a total bad-ass, most of the time.

Incubus Slows Things Down, But Not in a Good Way

I have been a big Incubus fan for a long time. As a matter of fact, they are coming to Charlotte, where I live, in September and though I will probably be going alone I plan on being there. With that disclaimer, I have to say I am slightly disappointed in their newest work "If Not Now, When?" .

Amping Up the Anger in Feeding the Wolves

10 Years has never been a 'go-to' band for me, despite the fact that I have seen them perform live 3 times now and owning every album in the band's discography. The Cd's they have created before this newest album, 'Feeding the Wolves', were not weaker or worse than this newest release, but have always felt lacking in some way. This 'umph' that was missing from them is finally found in this new release, and it is fantastic.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Seether's Strings Fray Just a Bit With New Release

We all have our go to bands. The bands and CDs we pick up when we are in need of something or, conversely, when we have no idea what mood we are in or what we want to listen to. Seether is one of those bands for me. Ever since "Fine Again", I've been captivated. I've grown with them and it's so much fun being able to watch the band grow alongside me. When I was an angry angst-y teenager, I had Disclaimer/Disclaimer II and Karma and Effect to help me be mad at the world. When my brother died, I had Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces to help me mourn. And now with the release of Holding Onto Strings Better Left to Fray, I have an album to help me move forward.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Man Man Once Again Pulls off Manical Beautifully

Man Man is a fairly unique band. It's hard to describe their sound other than 'melodic noise' because the band uses anything and everything for instruments. I first heard about them in an article in Charlotte's Creative Loafing in an interview piece in which the interviewer asked Honus Honus, the lead singer, what was the most bizarre instrument they had ever used on stage. Honus Honus replied: a frog. That should seriously sum it up. The newest release details this strange and captivating sound in a much more musically appealing while conversely being the darkest lyrical album of the group.

Crimson Gem Saga Keeps JRPG Intact, but is Sadly Bland

It is inevitable for human beings to compare past knowledge and experience to present decisions. In fact, that is how we learn. That is how we, as a species, evolved. So it's not hard to believe that I picked up Crimson Gem Saga because it reminded me of one of my favorite (if not THE favorite) games of all time: Final Fantasy IX. The style is set in a mix between the fantasy of knights and mages while including a little bit of the steam ship style machinery. The battle system was old school RPG with leveling up and abilities and tons of equipment. The graphics were colorful and crisp. And then there was the very cool anime trailer that looked like cut scenes from the game. I was pumped. Unfortunately, not everything is what it seems, and compared with the game I hold on high, Crimson Gem Saga was a huge disappointment.

Metal Gear Solid: The PSX Classic I Missed...Still Amazing 15 Years Later

It's been almost 15 years since the original release of Kojima's masterpiece on the original Playstation. When it was first released, I wasn't much of a gamer, and when I did it was mostly Japanese RPGs like Final Fantasy and Pokemon. Since it's re-release on the Playstation Network, I promised myself I would play it to get a better understanding of the series mythos and to see just how good this game was. Even at a 14 year disadvantage and a technological handicap of the same time period, this game can beat out most modern games without so much as a breaking a sweat. This game is great!

Metal Gear Solid follows Solid Snake as he infiltrates an Alaskan military base where terrorists have taken over. On this same base, the military has not only hidden nuclear warheads, but a mysterious new Metal Gear, a giant bi-pedal mech capable of launching said nuclear warheads anywhere around the globe. The story is well paced and full of intrigue, per Metal Gear Solid style. This is the story that sets the basis for the rest, so it shouldn't be a surprise to hear that it lives up to the series name sake. The characters are all unique and I even felt a twinge of anger when one of the characters is not given a detailed fleshing out like the rest (it's one of the enemies that Snake never fights. That's not a spoiler but when you play you'll know).

Limbo: Further Proof that Games are Art

The video game landscape has changed drastically since its inception not over 30 years ago, and as technology increases in strength and main stream becomes more and more broad, it's amazing to see the amount of independent video game design companies sprouting up left and right today on current consoles, a platform originally intended to strike gold for triple-A console releases. Limbo is a very big example of how powerful these tiny companies can be with limited resources (compared to the larger game companies).

Friday, February 4, 2011

Cage the Elephant: Thank You Happy Birthday

I listen to many groups of rock bands, and I typically have a category I can put every band. Cage the Elephant has always been in my "Weird Music" grouping, and with this second album release it has become more apparent that my grouping is correct. This CD is fantastic, but I can easily see where some people will be turned off.

Perfect Ending to the Angry Trilogy

When the demo for the first God of War ( ) came out, I was in middle school and was an avid Final Fantasy junkie. A friend of mine had just introduced me to Devil May Cry and I decided to pick up the demo for God of War. I couldn't get past battling one Hydra head. I died ten times in five minutes and finally gave up and through the disc (that's right, demo discs) in the trash can. After that I refused to pick up the series. Time passed and God of War II came out as well as the PSP game Chains of Olympus ( ) but I still didn't want to touch them. For Christmas, my dad accidentally bought me the PSP game and in order to not hurt his feelings (he worked really hard to get me some good games that year) I opened the game and popped it in. After that, my eyes were opened.