Saturday, November 26, 2011

SCI-FI FANTASY SATURDAY! YŌKAI EP. 3

SCI-FI FANTASY SATURDAY!

After speaking with my friend Zach, he convinced me to take my recent and ponderous interest with my newest character in his newest Advanced D & D campaign.

I will be posting a first draft of, hopefully, two chapters a week, and I will probably resume The Action Society posts next month. Enjoy and PLEASE comment.



YŌKAI

EPISODE 3: UNCLE
         
   Hideki laughed heartily, “Now tell me that ain’t some of the best booze you’ve ever had, Takezou-san!”
         
   “I am not sure I want to taste it,” Takezou sniffed bowl of brown frothy liquid with a grimace, “It smells like piss.”
          
  “Oh come on, Takezou!” Hideki chirped before draining another bowl.
         
   Takezou, Hideki and Hachiyama sat cross-legged, around a short round table, in the Red Octopus’s restaurant. The table was littered with stacks of bowls, plates and cups, mostly the result of Hachiyama and Hideki gorging themselves, on the coin of the latter, with another seemingly endless feast of bad food and good drink. Takezou had the pleasure of watching his two companions repeat the ritual several times over the week that he had spent in town. The first couple of times he had joined them in the revelry, listening as they told stories about their youth; from stealing food off the plates of samurai to tricking other shysters out of their ill-gotten money. He was not surprised to discover they were both street urchins from a town near the Eight Mountains. He had even been grateful for Hideki’s gracious generosity; the “Lucky Rabbit” going so far as to provide them with a new fitting of clothes, a warm room at the inn, and even taking them to a weapon smith to have their weapons repaired and getting a custom fit of light, but effective armor for him to wear next to they ran into trouble. Yet, a week of drinking, eating and playing games had started to wear on his patience.
           
“What is this foreign stuff called again, Hideki-kun?” Hachiyama asked as he slurped down his bowl with expert gluttony.
           
“Beer, all the way from beyond the Red Sea,” Hideki explained, “The drink of gaijin kings!”

“Foreigners drink this stuff?” Hideki leered at the yellow-brown liquid.
         
   “Mhm,” Hideki rubbed his belly, “You can’t trust your eyes and nose with this stuff, Takezou-san. Ya gotta trust your stomach. A stomach filled with beer leaves you warm and happy.”
          
  Takezou took a sip of the drink and swallowed with a grimace. He set the bowl down and took a swig from his wineskin of water, to rinse out his mouth, before spitting down into an empty bowl with a clearing of his throat. He looked up from the bowl to Hideki, “We need to find out something about that Sato Takeshi.”
           
“Sato Takeshi?” Hideki looked confused.
           
“The Rider in Black, Hideki-kun,” Hachiyama answered, as he set down an emptied bowl.
           
“Right, right, right,” Hideki mocked them, “Why do you need to find out about this Rider in Black guy? He’s not your problem, right? You gave his boys a licking. They won’t bother that village again for at least a season.”
          
  “And if he does bother them again, big deal!” He slammed down his empty bowl with a sigh, “Rural folk like that are what’s wrong with the Empire; too coward and weak. They’re all depended on local samurai for help. It’s against nature. You gotta either learn how to fight or learn how to flee. Living like they do, like shepherd-less sheep being harassed by wolves, that ain’t the way to live; better to be free or dead than live like that!”
          
  Hachiyama frowned at Hideki’s rant, “Little brother, there is a third option, right? You can get someone else to fight for you?”
          
  “Bah!” Hideki clasped his right bicep with his left hand and made a fist, “People that beg real men for help like that’re parasites.”
          
  “And I suppose being a cheating rat is so much better?” Hachiyama grumbled at the red-headed drunk, “Using sorcery isn’t luck.”
        
    “Don’t call me that!” Hideki hissed, cheeks red and hair on end, “You know I hate being call that.”
         
   “And calm down, alright,” Hideki poured Hachiyama another bowl of beer, “Drink up, buddy.” As Hachiyama accepted another drink from their host, Takezou found his patience was on the razor’s edge; sitting around like this was not getting him anywhere. He reached over the table, grabbed Hideki by his collar, and pulled him across the little table so they were face to face.
          
  “Regardless of what you think we gave the villagers are word,” Takezou glared right into those shiny gold eyes, each pupil like a fat droplet of lamp oil, “Isn’t that right, Hachiyama?”
             
“We gave them our word, Hideki-kun,” Hachiyama sighed, “Rule six of the Code. Keep all your promises and-“
        
    “Break no oaths,” Hideki sighed, as if he had heard that rule more than he cared to hear it, 

“Alright, alright. Look, if you would let go of me and compose yourself, I can help you out. Okay, Takezou-san?”
        
    Takezou released Hideki, who sat back, closed his eyes, and pulled his smoking pipe from where it was hooked over one of his rather prodigious ears. He snapped his fingers and the pipe lit. He took a long draught of the pungent smoke before peeking out from under his thick red eyebrows, “Now, you need information, right?”
         
   “Yes for the fiftieth time, yes,” Takezou exclaimed.
      
      “Well, you need to find yourself the yakuza,” Hideki explained, “Though that can be tricky. These guys don’t like to be looked for, especially by outsiders. That and I ain’t exactly on friendly terms with them.”
           
“As they say about high-rollers; they end up rolled up in a quilt at the bottom of the river,” Hideki tapped the side of his nose before continuing, “But I can tell ya what to look for. Just don’t tell them I sent ya.”

“The best gang for information is probably gonna be the gang that operates under the Red Dogs.” He explained, “The Red Dogs are easy enough to find. You just look out for a bunch of guys, loud and swaggering, dressed in all red, and probably got their hair shaved into stupid looking mohawks.”
      
      “Like those guys, Hideki-kun? Hideki-kun?” When Hachiyama and Takezou looked back from the crowd of swaggering guys in red, Hideki was gone, and all that was left was a pile of his clothes. Takezou frowned and was about to inquire what kind of sorcery was that when Hachiyama stood up and shouted, “Excuse me.”
    
       The four yakuza turned and stared at them for a moment. They were all fairly greasy, with their hair shaved on the sides leaving a strip down the middle, and each wearing red prominently in their clothes. They all had several scars on their faces, the youngest one of them looked as if he had just gotten in a fight with a fat knot on the side of his head, and the oldest looking fellow of the bunch had red tattoos covering his forearms. The oldest one even had the gall to carry a sword. Takezou looked up from the sword and into the eyes of the oldest, standing up, placing his hand nonchalantly on the handle of his own blade. The older yakuza seemed to recognize Takezou and spoke up, “What do you want?”
        
    “Information,” Hachiyama said with a rather cold tone, “We need information.”
          
  The yakuza seemed to choose to ignore the giant, probably for fear of showing some sign of being intimidated, so their leader instead continued to speak directly to Takezou.
        
    “You’re the Black Sun swordsman, right?” He asked, “The one who cut down the Lord’s son?”
            Takezou’s looked the man in the eyes and nodded, “Yes.”
        
    The three subordinates of the elder yakuza seemed to take a fuller notice and respect for Takezou. The older yakuza smiled, “Pretty impressive. That kid was a loud mouth. Good riddance,” He spat on the floor, and then gave a little nod before introducing himself, “The name’s Red Gacha of the Red Dogs.”
       
     Takezou seemed a little off-put by the other’s casual approval of the Lord’s son but decided to ignore it, “Nice to make your acquaintance, Gacha-san.”
        
    “Just call me Gacha,” He chuckled, “I don’t deserve none of that san-sama crap. Now, how can we be of assistance, Mister Black Sun?”
          
  Takezou frowned before he explained, “As my companion, Hachiyama was saying, we need information.”
         
   “Oh yeah? What kind of information? A pretty girl’s home address or the lineage of some servant or something?” Gacha chuckled, “We got plenty of information like that lying around but then again you could figure that out from looking at the town register. What the hell kind of information would you need from us low-lifes?”
        
    “Information about a low-life, Gacha-san,” Takezou stressed the last syllable to irritate Gacha’s ear, “Information about a man by the name of Sato Takeshi. A bandit camped out somewhere near the village of Asa-mura; about a week south of here.”
          
  Gacha whispered over his shoulder to his companions before looking back at Takezou with a hungry smile, a single gold tooth gleaning from between his thin lips, “I can say we’ve heard of the guy. Heck, and he ain’t no friend of ours, so it is possible we’d be willing to barter his story, for a price.”
           
“How much?” Takezou asked, without hesitation.
         
   “Whoa! Slow down A little hasty there, hm?” Gacha grinned, “What he do to get under your skin? Kill your family? Steal your girl?”
           
“He insulted my honor and he owes me his life,” Takezou answered matter-o-factly.
          
  “So, you two boys are engaged in the romance of the blades?” Gacha chuckled, “Can’t blame ya. Real nasty piece of work, this guy is, I’d want his head on my mantle if he crossed me.”
          
  “Now, about payment,” Gacha rubbed the knuckle of his left hand, where his pinky finger was notably absent, “It’s question of how much but what. We ain’t so much in the need of money as we are in the need of muscle.”
           
“We are not thugs.” Hachiyama interjected.
         
   “And we ain’t about charity,” Gacha replied, looked up at Hacihyama, and then back down at Takezou, “So, how about it Mr. Black Sun? You and your buddy want this information, right? You scratch the Red Dog’s back and he barks.”
       
     “What would you need us to do?” Takezou asked, relaxing his posture, and sitting back down.
        
    Gacha chuckled, and sat down at an empty, his men standing around the table, posing in a way that they seemed to believe was impressive, as their boss explained, “We got a problem in the Entertainment District. Ya see there have always been two gangs in the District; us Red Dogs and the Blue Roosters.” He picked at his nose with his ring finger before wiping it on his sleeve.
       
     “Then, about a year ago, the Yoshida goons show up and claim to be security. Our gangs can’t even go to war without the Yoshida goons getting involved and arresting half our boys. It’s a shame. They’ve taken half the fun out of being yakuza. We used to rumble with the Roosters at least every other week, if it wasn’t raining,” Gacha sighed nostalgically.
        
    “But that ain’t all. These Yoshida guys say that they’re guards but they’re worse than the crooks they claim to be fightin’, see? They’ve taken control over half the businesses and are buying us out. Heck, the only reason we still got the Red Octopus is because Old Ma who owns the joint was the Chief’s second wife, see?” Gacha took a sip from an unfinished glass left of the table before he said, “We need you to put the fear in them. You’ve got clout and a name. We just need ya to rough up some of their boys and let them know it’s on the, “He paused, “What’s the word Chief said last night, Curly?”
         
   The young gang member spoke up, “Behest?”
          
  “That’s it! You just gotta let them Yoshida goons know you’re working on the behest of the Red Dogs and for them to stay out of our turf. Ya think ya can handle that?”
        
    Takezou sighed, “I suppose, but understand that this is just to get the information. We are not muscle for hire.”
      
      “Of course, of course,” Gacha brushed off the allegation.
          
  “And,” Hachiyama seemed to step out of the periphery with surprising stealth for such a big man, “if we get double crossed or if the information is no good, your boss better have a hundred guys like you ready to back him up.” The giant made sure to lift his hands and crack his fat knuckles, making a sound like the crushing of iron.
          
  “Alright, alright, yeesh.” Gacha shook his head, “We get the picture. You’ll see. The information is good.”
        
    The Red Dogs then took their leave. Hachiyama sat back down for a moment and emptied Hideki’s bottle of beer. He took a long sigh and rubbed his belly, as Takezou looked over at his companion, “You don’t think you went a little overboard with your threats? Maybe you’ve had enough to drink.”
       
     Hachiyama exhaled, looking down at Takezou, his face a little ruddy, “Maybe, maybe.”
       
     Takezou looked over at the pile of clothes that Hideki had left sitting in the chair next to Hachiyama, “Where you reckon the Lucky Rabbit got off to?”
        
    They heard a muffled sound from under the table, “Clothes, please?”
       
     Hachiyama reached down and slid the clothes down to a hand reaching out from under the edge of the table. After a moment, Hideki climbed up with a sigh, “You didn’t have to drink the rest of the beer, brother.”
         
   “Sorry, Hideki-kun,” Hachiyama shrugged.
                      
  “Where did you just go?” Takezou asked, glaring at Hideki suspiciously, “And why did you leave your clothes?”
             
“Ah, right,” Hideki laughed, nervously, “Hachiyama didn’t tell ya about me being a magician, then? I’m a master of parlor tricks and a part-time sorcerer.” He explained, with a playful grin, as he told Takezou, “I saw those Red Dogs walking over and, considering they don’t like my face, I decided to become invisible and take my leave.”
           
“Why did you leave your clothes behind, then?” Takezou inquired.
         
  Hideki chuckled, “Oh that?” He set his pipe back over the crook of his ear, “My Invisibility trick ain’t exactly perfect. I can make myself invisible but not my clothes. I wish I could show you some other time but,” He stood up, “It sounds like you boys have a date with some Yoshida goons.”
            
 “Oh come on, Hideki-kun!” Hachiyama stood up, “You should help us out. You know this city better than either of us.”
          
  Takezou stood up as well, glaring suspiciously at Hideki, “And I bet some of your tricks could come in real handy.”
        
    “Fellas, please,” Hideki shook his head, “I’m clearly a lover, not a fighter. You two should go ahead and make your way over to the docks. Yoshida has a bunch of warehouses there, so all you gotta do is pick one and put the scare into them. Should be easy, right? Then, you just come back here and you can make your way back to Ata-mura with a cart full of rice.”
         
   “Asa-mura,” Takezou corrected.
         
   Hideki bowed, apologetically, “Right. Now, I’ll tell ya what,” He backed up toward the door, “How about I go take my rich self and buy you guys a cart full of rice, my treat. I’ll even pay for the ox. The cart’ll be waiting here when ya get back.”
        
    “Oh, thank you, Hideki-kun,” Hachiyama grinned, “You’ve been so generous.”
           
“Don’t mention it! That’s what friends are for! See you later.” And Hideki slipped out of the door and out of ear shot. Takezou sighed, lead Hachiyama out, and toward the exit of the Red Octopus. As they left the inn, Takezou gave his grinning companion a couple of curious glances before, finally, asking him the question tearing at his insides.
         
   “Hachiyama-san, why do you make that face?” Takezou asked.
         
   Hachiyama stopped and looked down at Takezou, “What face?”
          
  “That face!”Takezou groaned, “That dense, clueless, childish face. That big overly satisfied and stupid grin.”
        
    “Oh,” Hachiyama just smiled wider, “This face?”
         
   “Yes, that face.” Takezou rubbed his chin, “You make it all the time.”
        
    “Well, I suppose I’ve used it as long as I can remember,” Hachiyama replied with a shrug, “Do you really think it looks stupid?”
         
   “Are you serious?” Takezou allowed himself a little laugh, “You look like you are constantly in a dream-like state. Like one of those sweeping monks you see walking around with a broom all the time.”
        
    Hachiyama just chuckled softly in his chest and sighed, “Hm, maybe you’ve got me there,” Hachiyama flashed him a devious smirk, and repeated, “Maybe you’ve got me there.”
        
    Takezou paused as he witnessed another one of those worrying moments he had experienced with Hachiyama. That was a threatening smirk. It was a smirk that told the swordsman that he shouldn’t concern himself with Hachiyama’s stupid smile. He had experienced several moments like this since he started traveling with the giant— moments where a dangerous fury, like the manic fury he exhibited in battle, emerged but most of the time Hachiyama’s presence was more reassuring and friendly than most people he had ever met. It was more than a little puzzling. A scream broke his thoughts and he looked up from the ground.
        
    Hachiyama had guided their path down a back ally and he had stopped to watch a scene unfold. Two men were dragging a girl out of an old shop. The men were dressed in the same armor they had seen on the bushi at the gate. They were Yoshida men. The girl was struggling as she was dragged barefoot into the alley and screaming for help. Before Takezou could react, Hachiyama was already in the path of the two men, and looming over them.
         
   “What the hell do you want, pal?” One of the club-wielding thugs asked Hachiyama, “Can’t you see were in the middle of something here??”
     
       “What did the girl do?” Hachiyama asked, blocking their path with his expansive frame, and stopping them in their tracks. The girl struggled, as one of the thugstried to gag her, and the other kept his attention on their human obstacle.
          
  “It isn’t your business, fatso.” The guard sneered.
        
    Hachiyama placed his right foot back and reached for his club, but before he could swing his tetsubo or the thugs noticed Hachiyama’s hand on the grip, Takezou had stepped between the guard and his companion. Takezou patted Hachiyama’s arm to make him lower his weapon before he did something they might regret.
          
  “Perhaps, it is our business?” Takezou commented and the thug seemed to recognize him.
         
   “Wait! Aren’t you that Black Sun swordsmen?” The Yoshida thug asked with a tone of fear in his throat.
         
   “Yes, the very same swordsmen.” He introduced himself with a small bow before entreating the thug, “Now, my companion, had a question about what business you had with this girl?”
         
   “I, well,” The guard stammered before getting a grip on himself, “This girl owes a debt to Lord Yoshida and we’re here to make sure she pays it.”
         
   “Lord Yoshida?” Takezou raised a brow, surprised by that level of reverence they used to when mentioning their boss before asking, “And how does Lord Yoshida plan to have this debt paid?”
            
 “Look at her,” the other guard pushed the girl forward so Takezou could get a better look at her, “She’s a doll. We’re gonna put her to work in the brothel. A pretty, young whore like this will make us a fortune back in a year. I can’t wait to get a p-”
           
“No.” Hachiyama interrupted the thug.
           
“What business of this is yours?” The other thug demanded.
          
  “She is my niece,” Hachiyama said as matter of factly as if he had just stated that the sky is above them.
         
  The two thugs and Takezou looked up at the giant as he made the ridiculous claim. One the guards laughed nervously, “I don’t really see the resemblance?”
           
“Release the girl,” Hachiyama demanded.
             
“Or what?” The Yoshida thug sneered.
          
  Takezou let out a wince as he saw the thug fold in on himself like an accordion as he was crushed by the devastating blow of Hachiyama’s tetsubo. He quickly rolled out of the way, as the other thug let out a horrified scream, and scrambled back from his dead companion. Takezou grabbed the girl and spun her out of the way into the shop she had been dragged out of before Hachiyama turned his weapon raised to the other thug.
         
   The Yoshida thug screamed for help and begged for mercy. As his companions began pouring into the alley, it was too late for him. Hachiyama had already swatted him aside like an insect with his studded tetsubo club. The other guards stood for a moment in horror as they looked at the devastated bodies of their two comrades. As Hachiyama turned his drunken and furious gaze toward the thugs entering the alley, they let out a battle cry, and charged him with their spears.
         
   Hachiyama must have taken a half-dozen spears to his torso, arms and legs as they stuck him with their weapons. Hachiyama staggered a few of them with a blow from his weapon to the side of their ranks, but he was desperately wounded. As Hachiyama stumbled and nearly fell to one knee, Takezou was upon the remaining thugs with a fury of blows that fell silently on their stunned targets.
          
  Takezou stood over the last living guard, sword to his throat, and spoke softly, “Tell Lord Yoshida that the girl is with The Black Sun swordsman and that he should keep his hands out of the Entertainment District. Understand?”

            The thug nodded, trembling in mortal fear, as he was allowed to scramble to his feet and escape the bloody scene of the alley. Takezou slid his sword back into its sheath and turned to look at Hachiyama. The giant was breathing heavily, leaning against the wall of the shop, as the girl watched them from the doorway of her shop cautiously. Takezou moved to pull one of the spears from Hachiyama’s leg, but the pain and loss of blood was too much. He watched Hachiyama collapse to the ground and shouted to the girl, “Quick! Help me move him before those guards return!”

            Takezou wasn’t sure how he and the girl moved Hachiyama, but they managed to drag him down a couple of alleys and into the front door of some old woman’s hut. The girl explained the woman was a doctor and would be able to help. As Takezou stood there, panting and sweating from the physical effort of moving his companion, he began to feel his sweat soak into his clothes— except it was more than sweat. He looked down and saw a red stain slowly forming on his kimono around a puncture wound to his ribs.

            He stumbled into Hachiyama’s body and collapsed to the floor. Everything went black.
*

LATER THIS WEEK, THE SWORDSMAN'S APPRENTICE

WORD OF THE DAY! 11/26/11



automaton [aw-tom-uh-ton]
noun
1. a mechanical figure or contrivance constructed to act as if by its own motive power; robot.
2. a person or animal that acts in a monotonous, routine manner, without active intelligence.
3. something capable of acting automatically without a motive power.


EX. The automaton "Big Daddy" is a responsible and attentive guardian for children but does not like to share.

Friday, November 25, 2011

WORD OF THE DAY! 11/25/11



machismo [mah-cheez-mo]
noun
1. a strong or exaggerated sense of manliness; an assumptive attitude that virility, courage, strength and entitlement to dominate are attributes of masculinity.
2. a strong belief in the right to dominate.


EX. Machismo means nothing when you have a Gyarados.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

NERD CULTURE SMACKDOWN! CALL OF DUTY: UNBALANCED WARFARE! Pt. 2

NERD CULTURE SMACKDOWN PRESENTS: 
CALL OF DUTY: UNBALANCED WARFARE


Call of Duty is my favorite FPS series and, in fact, last week I wrote an article about the top 11 reasons I love the COD series. Linked below are the three articles.



But I am also fair. Hell, when you're passionate about a game series, you're going to have gripes with it, and I have more than a few gripes with the Call of Duty series. Before we begin I want to list off the series, from COD 4 on, in order of how much I liked them from 1) being my favorite and 4) being my least favorite.

4. World At War, 3. Modern Warfare 2. Black Ops, and 1. Modern Warfare

And now here are the last six of the Top 11 Things I HATE About COD Multi-Player! Note: I consider myself a video game paladin and my least favorite things in games tend to be exploits and just overpowered weapons. M14 ---> The Paladin's Weapon!

6. SOUND-WHORING!
Modern Warfare 2 is responsible for items 6 and 4. Let that sink in a moment. Now, to be fair, the idea of "sound-whoring" is not exclusive to the Call of Duty series BUT it did actually add a perk to the game that enhanced.

Here is a fun-little definition.

sound-whore [sound-hohr]
verb
1. to use expensive headphones or surround sound speakers to enhance the sound in a video game for an unfair advantage.
noun
2. a video gamer who uses sound to determine his enemies location.

So, basically, sound-whoring is used by COD players to hear the footsteps of another player to determine their location and movement. In MW2, the perk Ninja allowed players to move more silently and Ninja Pro allows players to hear the movements of other with greater ease. Combing ninja pro with Turtle Beach headsets allow players to get an unfair advantage based on their ability to buy a non-standard headset and to train themselves in the "fine art of sound-whoring".

Solution: Never include a perk that allows a player to hear better.

5. DROP-SHOTS!


The ability to manipulate one's control scheme combined with the ability to go from standing to prone created a deadly combination in Call of Duty: Drop-Shots. Here is another cute little definition for your health!

drop-shot [drawp-shawt]
verb
1. to fall prone, in front of an enemy directly in front of you, and shoot them.
noun
2. the act or result of drop-shotting.

Now, the act of going prone in COD is in no way a problem. In fact, it is a viable and sensible action that helps a player get behind cover and snipe with a less vertical profile. Where going prone becomes drop-shotting is when a player uses COD's Tactical button-layout. This lay-out swaps the standard prone button "B" with the standard melee button "Tap Right Thumb-stick. This allows a player to go from standing to prone in a split second.

Few things are more frustrating than going to shoot someone and then seeing them fall from standing to the floor and shoot you. This problem is so bad that, generally, I aim for my enemies center body mass (usually the crotch) so if they go prone I shoot them on the way down.

Solution: Falling to the floor hurts; make a player take damage when they fall prone.


4. QUICK-SCOPES!


Last hyphenated title, I promise. Quick-shots is the other dastardly addition brought to us by MW2, crippled in Black Ops but brought back in full-force in MW3. Quick-Scopes turn Sniper Rifles from specialist long-range weapons to one-shot weapons of mass destruction. The problem here?

quick-scope [kwik-skohp]
verb
1. Video game. to quickly aim down the sights of a sniper rifle, auto-target an enemy, and one-shot kill them. Rinse and Repeat.

You can look down the scope of a sniper rifle faster than any gun in the game, most sniper rifles kill in one shot, and in console shooters guns have "auto-aim", to help compensate for the lack of precision given by a mouse, by having a character gun tilt toward an enemy near where they are aiming. The latter problem is pretty much vital to console shooters.

Solution: Sniper rifles shouldn't have auto-aim or, at the very least, lack auto aim on targets less than 20 feet away.

3. NOOB TUBES!


I'm sure a lot of COD players were expecting to see noob tubes take the top spot because it is one of the oldest complaints about COD. Grenade launchers are a deadly and powerful weapon going back to some of the older game shooters. So what did COD 4 do? Oh, include the grenade launcher as an under barrel attachment with two rounds and thus give players a no-skills, no-frills weapon of mass murder!


noob tube [noob-toob]
noun
1. Any grenade launcher under-barrel attachment in the COD series.
2. A weapon used by the cowardly and cruel, lacking any skill or forethought, and hated by many member of the COD community.

The reason a grenade launcher is so cheap and effective is that it can go over walls and has the same radius as, well, a grenade. Furthermore, just being hit by the ejected grenade can kill someone and with some perks you could have more ammo, find more ammo, or using One-Man-Army just switch classes so that you can have more grendades.

Few things are more frustrating than getting killed from across the map by a grenade launched from under an AK-74 U!

Solution: Limit the attachment to one round, decrease it's accuracy/effectiveness, or just remove it from the game.


2. ONE-HIT MELEE KILLS!?!


One hit melee kills are stupid. Unless you manage to stab someone in the lungs, heart, head, or throat they will almost always require more blows to kill them or, if they do die, it'll be from bleed out/ infection. Hell, there are cases of people being stabbed a dozen times or more and surviving.

The real problem is that very few weapons (Sniper Rifles, Explosives and Shot Guns) are capable of killing in one blow. It is infuriating when you are shooting someone in the body or face and they lung out and stab you. It is non-sensical. The real reason people hate this one-hit melee kill is because it a panic move people go to and has even been a ridiculously overpowered concept (I'll even admit to running around and stabbing people). Furthermore, the range of melee has over time sporadically increased but this is usually resolved and fixed.

Don't get me wrong. Melee is a viable FPS option but it just needs balance and the solution is incredible easy.

Solution: Make all melee hits take two blows to kill a non-injured enemy and/or the only one-hit melee kill should be when you catch an enemy from behind; other games included "assassinations" or animations of the player having to cut the throat of the other player's character.


1. BOOSTERS, CHEATERS, & HACKERS!

Imagine how easy it is to shoot a red blob!?!

These three species of gamers have caused more strife, frustration and headaches than any broken weapon, overpowered perk, or weak game mechanic could ever produce.

First, we have the boosters, who are players who collaborate to join each other's game, kill each other, and boost their levels. This kind of cheap bull is the reason that Modern Warfare didn't allow party chat! These players commonly use tactical insertions and pre-chosen spots to accomplish their devious goals but they're nothing compared to the next two categories.

Cheaters! This is something that is frustrating in all games but is harder to punish than in, say, boxing, where you have a referee ready to punish an athlete for poor sportsmanship. We can report them but sometimes its nearly impossible. Cheaters use any gaming exploit available; from hiding in walls, hiding in dark graphic errors, using weapon combos to create effects, taking advantage of game errors and just generally trolling other players.

The last species is the most dangerous. If Modders are the Jedi of the gamer world, their Sith counterpart are Hackers, as they both use their computing skills to change games. The only problem? Modders usually mod games to make them funner, creating new maps, game modes and sharing them with the community. Hackers modify multi-player games so that they can win unfairly, frustrate other players, and intentionally mess up the game. Hackers can ruin a game; case in point, Call of Duty 4 on the Xbox 360. It is almost impossible to play the game for very long without ending up in a game where half of the players can see through walls, kill you in one shot, or walk on air!

Solution: Report these three species of gamers to moderators, hunt them down in game and ruin their fun, and, most importantly, don't encourage/take part in this activity.

The biggest problem with any multi-player community are players who ruin the fun for the rest of us. Let your voice be heard in the community, tell the game makers what you don't like, make suggestions, refuse to participate in bull-crap and remind them if game is broken YOU CAN STOP PLAYING IT! FIGHT BACK!

ITS YOUR CALL to DUTY!



WORD OF THE DAY! 11/24/11


asexual [ey-sek-shoo-uhl]
noun
1. Biology. a. having no sex or sexual organs.
                  b. independent of sexual processes
2. free from or unaffected by sexuality.
3. independent from societal concepts of gender.

EX. David Bowie is the asexual Cookie Monster!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

WTF WEDNESDAY! FLASH GAME FILES! #1

 WTF WEDNESDAY PRESENTS:
CAT MARIO or "DON'T TRUST ANYTHING!"

Anyone else think it is weird that Mario spends so much time dressed up as animals? Then again, I'd dress up like a Bumblebee if it allowed me to fly and walk on honey covered walls too. Today's subject is a bit of a pallet cleanser after PETA's dreadful flash game that shall not be named. (CLUE: They kill my favorite animal in it). It's a little game called CAT MARIO.

The name of the game in Cat Mario is don't trust anything. The game is designed to prey on your notions from playing Super Mario Land and does so with dangers at every turn from angry ghosts to blocks that don't break when you bump them with your head! This flash game is delightfully mean and it can provide you with some Demon Souls styled entertainment for FREE.
I LIKE FREE!
Check out the links below:

WATCH THIS GUY PLAY IT HERE!

CAT MARIO- LINK TO DOWNLOAD CAN BE FOUND HERE!


PLAY IT ONLINE!


WORD OF THE DAY! 11/23/11


hogwash [hawg-wosh]
noun
1. refuse given to hogs; swill.
2. anything considered worthless.
3. nonsense, bunk, or hooey.
4. propaganda

PETA [Pee-tah]
noun
1. Acronym. People for the ethical treatment of animals.
2. Domestic terrorists who use propaganda to push their agenda with misinformation, fear, and monetary support from idiotic celebrities and unwary vegans, vegetarians, hippies, etc.

EX. PETA's  use of Mario's image to promote the preservation of tanookis (Japanese raccoon dogs) is disturbing propaganda that is intended to disturb children. The game linked below is disturbing but a slightly amusing rip-off of Robot Unicorn by PETA.


 MARIO KILLS TANOOKI!

Their organization and its message is hogwash.

If you want to help animals donate to your local ASPCA organization, adopt a pet, or find some other local fundraiser. Do not give money or time to a borderline terrorist organization like PETA that kills thousands of animals a year, celebrates arsonists, and wants to corrupt the sensitive by showing offensive images to disturb/make you feel guilty. Animal abuse is very real and should be fought against but the way PETA's tactics and overall message is criminal.

The larger irony can be found in the video below, Mario's response to their vile video game.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

WORD OF THE DAY! 11/22/11


tragical [traj-ik-uhl]
adjective
1. characteristic or suggestive of tragedy; tragic.
2. extremely melancholy, mournful, or pathetic.
3. dreadful, calamitous, disastrous, or fatal.
4. acting in or writing a tragic play.

EX. "I dunno if its magical or tragical, chief. I just know that a horde of unicorns has helped get rid of another troubled case at Piedmont Middle School and the world is just a tad more fantastic fer it." Officer Mustache took a long suck on his cigar as he looked over the impaled body of Jimmy Packer, "Who's the gay-wad now?" He laughed, as he turned and left the murder unit to deal with the body.

MIXED BAG. MORE SKYRIM JOKES!


Monday, November 21, 2011

MUSICAL MONDAY! COMPLETE HISTORY OF THE SOVIET UNION, ARRANGED TO THE MELODY OF TETRIS!



Tetris is a game I have had a history with for as long as I can remember. Some of my earliest memories are of me sitting in the back of a car playing Tetris 2, all in glorious green and black pixelation, on my Dad's Gameboy. One of the keys to a great puzzle game and the reason Tetris stands out from the countless clones that came after the title is the music.

The Tetris song is actually based on a 19th Century folk song called  Korobeiniki or Peddlers. The song is set against the backdrop of poem of the same name by Nikolay Nekrasov and is filled with imagery of peasant craftsmen working on their task at hands. In the foreground, is the blooming and beautiful (yet, ultimately tragic) romance of two lovers.

So, why did I decide to share this iteration of the song? Well, because it gives a neat little summary of Russian history from Lenin to today. Enjoy the quirky humor and wordplay of this amusing song by Pig With The Face of a Boy.

WEEKLY ROUND-UP! 11/14-11/20 2011

WEEKLY ROUND-UP:
SKYRIM WEEK!




There are two kinds of gamers right now: gamers playing Skyrim and well, can't really call ya a gamer if ya ain't playing what may very well be the best game of the year (in a year of 10/10 titles!) Problem?



Anybody else agree with me that the gaming industry would be better off it they released about a fifth of their holiday titles in the summer? I would've done terrible things for a new Zelda to play over the summer months. Alas, I must backlog Skyward Sword until Christmas, along with Arkham City.



I had been itching to do a Musical Monday article on A Song for Ulvaak pretty much since I started this blog. I just needed the right occasion and the weekend after Skyrim came out just seemed so worth it. This awesome song is based on an ode from Patton Oswalt's book Zombie Spaceship Wasteland. Check it out!


Most immersive game I've ever played outside of D & D? Nuff said.




Oh yeah! And a new COD came out last week. MW3 is the fifth title I have purchased in five consecutive years in the COD franchise and I have to say it ranks above WaW and MW2 for me. If I wasn't so wrapped up in Skyrim this week, and my friends weren't so busy, I would be tearing some seriously multi-player time in this title. The thing is I love COD BUT this week, starting with an article posted yesterday, I am giving the series a fair shake by denouncing my top 11 nitpicks with the multiplayer. Check it out!

My friend SAKKET/pugfarts did this awesome Skyrim comic and I just had to share it with you guys. I've always admired his art style and still keep a couple drawings he made for me tucked away for a smile. And as someone who has been calling the game "Skrim" I am happy to see that he has such a similar responsible. Skirm indeed.

1. SCI-FI FANTASY FRIDAY! YŌKAI EP. 2 GAMBLING 
"YŌKAI" is a Japanese-styled Edo Period piece focused on big action, Japanese mythology, and folkloric. Read the tale of three companions, a swordsman, a sorceror and a giant, who are more than they seem, as they fight the oppressors and fight for the oppressed, in a land of terrible beauty and contrast.Enjoy the completed first draft of Episode 2: Gambling.
 

WORD OF THE DAY! 11/21/11


preta [preh-tah]/gaki [gah-kee]
noun
1. Asian folklore. a type of ghost, depicted in Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, and Jain texts, that undergoes a suffering by hunger or thirst; usually considered to have been a greedy or gluttonous person in their lives.
2. ghoulish beings who gobble up food and unwary mortals; hunger ghosts.

EX. I heard a cackle in the wind and stepped out onto my balcony. From the second floor I could see them, the gaki, pale as ghosts, with a hundred little fangs filling their smiling maws, as they pointed and laughed at me, slapping their claws against their swollen guts. I quickly went back inside and closed the door, "They weren't looking at me. They weren't looking at me!"

Sunday, November 20, 2011

NERD CULTURE SMACKDOWN! CALL OF DUTY: UNBALANCED WARFARE! Pt.1

NERD CULTURE SMACKDOWN PRESENTS: 
CALL OF DUTY: UNBALANCED WARFARE


Call of Duty is my favorite FPS series and, in fact, last week I wrote an article about the top 11 reasons I love the COD series. Linked below are the two articles.



But I am also fair. Hell, when you're passionate about a game series, you're going to have gripes with it, and I have more than a few gripes with the Call of Duty series. Before we begin I want to list off the series, from COD 4 on, in order of how much I liked them from 1) being my favorite and 4) being my least favorite.

4. World At War, 3. Modern Warfare 2. Black Ops, and 1. Modern Warfare

And now here are the first five of the Top 11 Things I HATE About COD Multi-Player! Note: I consider myself a video game paladin and my least favorite things in games tend to be exploits and just overpowered weapons. M14 ---> The Paladin's Weapon!

11. The TKO: The Nuke


Kill streaks were, in my opinion, one of the most interesting and fun ideas that COD 4 brought to the table (among the other ideas that helped change the FPS landscape) and the concept has evolved from game to game since. Originally, the Killstreaks were very balanced. UAV, Airstrike, and Helicopter, were simply and balanced. In Modern Warfare 2, they added the option of customizing your killstreaks which allowed everyone to receive lots of different kinds of visceral satisfaction from simply helping the team out with radar surveillance to riding in the back of a helicopter with a chaingun.

One of the killstreaks introduced was the Nuke. The Nuke takes my Top 11 spot because it encourages players to lone wolf it and play for the big killstreak instead of helping their team. Their teammates could be getting their ass kicked, while he sits in a sweet spot sniping. Then his team instantly wins. Sure, you could argue that if a single player gets 25 kills (it takes 75 kills to win a match of Team Death Match) would probably win anyway; hence why is is at 11.

But I ask you to imagine a scenario where one team is at 6000 kills and the other 5800. When a nuke happens, when the teams are that close, it is a frustrating moment for almost everyone except for the nuker (who is to victorious to care). Remember: Tactical Nukes Have NEVER Won a War.



Solution: Make the Nuke a viable action to mercy kill a match where one team has 50 more kills than the other team or, simpler, remove it.

10. HAPPY F***ing EASTER! : RESPAWNS



This one is kind of a mixed complaint. There are two ways that spawns can go wrong: spawn kills and random spawns.

The latter problem is usually not that big of a deal, especially on a large map, and the game usually does a fair job of trying to get you in a reasonable spot. But sometimes, the game drops you in just behind or just in front of enemies. The result? Either you get an extremely unfair kill or you get shot before you even  have a chance to defend yourself/evaluate the situation.

Now, as for spawn killing? COD is not the worst game, in my opinion, when it comes to spawn killing (that probably goes to Battefield with its big open maps, spawn sights and sniper rifles or Gears of War with its generally crappy map design) BUT it does happen, it is annoying, and even ridiculous. A big part of COD is grenades and knives and in Black Ops the art of tossing these objects across the map and killing enemies before they even get within a mile of you was perfected and while impressive, it is really annoying and really unfair.


Solution: Reprogram spawning so that players don't spawn near their enemies.


9. ALL DOGS CAN GO TO HELL! : ATTACK DOGS


I am sure we have all heard so many stories about fending off attack dogs from veterans and we all know that dogs can kill in one bite, right? Or maybe dogs were never common enough or threatening enough to mention as viable means of warfare. Dogs are for sniffing out for enemies, finding bombs, and patrol. Call of Duty would beg to differ.

Starting with World at War, Attack Dogs were introduced as a multi-player killstreak and zombie mode (probably inspired by the dog attack moment from COD 4) but quickly became something that to this day I find ridiculous. In WaW, the dogs were so effect, they were the highest killstreak! When the killstreak is used, a horde of dogs invade the map, and kill the enemies of the player who summoned them. They can be killed but can kill in ONE HIT! Furthermore, they glitch and kill through walls, attack in twos and threes, and on certain maps have and are the most effective killstreak.

The other major reason I hate attack dogs? I don't like having to kill dogs in a video game. A couple times in the campaign is enough but making me do it dozens of times is disturbing.

Solution: Make the dogs have to get to hits to kill a player or remove them.


8. SUPER GUN: OVERPOWERED WEAPONS


In every Call of Duty, as far as I can remember, there have been guns that were just superior in every title. Nothing is more frustrating than getting killed by the same weapon over and over and, when you complain about it, everyone tells you to quit whining and get with the program. I find this kind of thought to be lazy and cheap; hence why I almost always set rules for myself about which guns not to use, but in some of the titles it is hard to tell.

Luckily, starting with MW 2, but especially in Black Ops, thanks to the game extensive statistics it is easy to determine which guns are overpowered. For example, in Black Ops, I refused to use the Galil (an LMG that acts like an Assault Rifle), the AK-47 (the fastest gun in the game), and my least favorite gun in the title the Famas (faster than an Assault Rifle but more accurate than an SMG).

Some people will probably call me out on this complaint but I don't care. There should be a counter to every gun in these titles. Otherwise, we should all run around shooting each other with the same gun, on the same map, all the time. UGH!

Solution: More testing before releasing a game with quality control, listen to complaints from the community, and try to make guns have weaknesses and strengths.

7. EXPLETIVE! : THE COMMUNITY PROBLEM!



Once again, Call of Duty doesn't necessarily have the rudest community in FPS (some of the stuff I heard in Gears still surprise me) and it really is a problem in pretty much any community (at least COD fans don't go out of their way to harass Battlefield fans), but I think the crap hit the fan with Black Ops.


I had experienced swears and full on trolling in COD before, but this was less common because, hey, most COD players play in a party and chat with their friends (one of the reasons I love XBOX LIVE), and yet, in Black Ops, the rude people found a way to ruin everything again. How? Black Ops had highly customizable playercards, basically player emblems you could put on your weapons, and while some people used this to create art and interesting designs, others had to make their player cards speak for their foul minds. From female anatomy that would make your eyes bleed to animal sex, the images I had to see in those playercards was more offensive than anything I have ever heard over the mic.

Yet, just being rude and mean are as bothersome as foulness. I am always impressed by female gamers who put up with a hail of bull from the mouths of male players who almost always ask, "Are you a real girl?"


Solution: Well, this is one is really up to the players. Just because you're practically anonymous doesn't give you the right to be a total butt-hole.


NOTE: PT. 2 will be posted on Tues. or Thurs.

INNOVATION? THAT'S NOT COST EFFECTIVE!!!