My latest obsession is Mad Men as some know already -- I can't seem to shutup about it.

Like many other gamers, I also have a passion for music, television and film. Mad Men, much like The Sopranos (its creator was an executive producer on the latter show), is a blend of television and film -- episodes are 45 minutes and have a very cinematic feel in ways. What I love most about this style is it borrows from the strengths of TV and film and isn't hindered by the major weaknesses of either -- time constraints (film) and pointless plots (TV), so the viewer doesn't have to follow the show. You have to follow Mad Men. You have to watch every episode or you're missing critical pieces of the picture every time.

This is a show for adults. Set in the very early 60s (the culture and style of dress still largely feel 50s), the primary setting is an advertising agency on the infamous Madison Avenue in New York City. But don't be so silly as to think the show is all about advertising. As I've explained to a friend, it's no more about advertising than say, Six Feet Under is about funerals (another great show). In a similar manner, Mad Men doesn't hesitate to dive into each of the characters' personal lives both inside and outside the workplace.

Our main character is Donald Draper, creative director at the agency. Draper is largely responsible for the company's reputation as unique, passionate, and at times wild. While in some ways he is far from respectable in his personal life, Draper is very passionate and creative with his work, and made even me see another side to advertising, one that has merit. I say "even me" because although advertising has done a lot for me personally -- thank you advertising ;) -- I do largely detest it. Regardless, Mad Men has made me realize as with anything in life, it's what you make it.

One of the show's greatest strengths is its character depth. As in real life, things are often not what they seem. Pete Campbell -- one of the account managers -- is presented as despicable at first, and a great source of tension for Draper. Over time we see his character alternate between well intentioned and utterly human, and thoughtless, selfish, and ruthless -- a true internal struggle of duality I've witnessed in many before. Campbell is just one example -- we get to know virtually all of the characters in a similar manner over time, whether they be pure or remorseful or secretive or ambitious or hell, even happy.

I would say the other greatest strength is how the show tells us just enough about a character's actions or struggle then leaves quite a bit to interpretation. This is hard to exemplify without spoiling anything, so I'll just say there will be many times you'll find yourself reflecting on what a particular scene is about for the show and your own life as well.

Above all I would say Mad Men is about the struggle to be good, to have good, and to do good work. It's something I can relate to on all levels, and I recommend it very highly to anyone interested -- I don't want to confirm it quite yet, but I think it is my favourite show. That used to be Six Feet Under, but the godawful ending and the fact none of the characters even really achieved happiness bothered me quite a bit -- there's only so much despair I can take before I wonder what the point is (still an amazing show though).

Anyway, it's on Netflix and a bunch of other places now. Watch it.

mad men tv netflix musingsthoughts tv and shows

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I just finished Dark Messiah Might and Magic last night, so I thought I'd write about my feelings on the game, as I quite enjoyed it.

As a preface, this game received some poor reviews which seems to have led quite a few people to have not played it. After having played it myself, I've come to realize reviews really should be taken with a grain or two of salt -- and also the opinion of a reviewer you're not familiar with should typically just be tossed out the window.

I suppose a lot of the detractions come from whether or not the game is an RPG -- for those that were looking for an RPG and felt it wasn't, they came away disappointed. This brings me to a tangent...I define the game as an RPG (action RPG, specifically), I think because I define RPGs by their elements (sorcery, story, enemies, weapons, items, armor, etc) and less so their mechanics (levels, stats, stat progression, etc). This is why I'm one of the people that firmly thinks of the Zelda and BioShock as RPGs (pick your subgenre as you please), whereas many others do not.



Anyway, the game isn't very deep in terms of mechanics, so if you're looking for that, this isn't for you. But I find it just deep enough to be satisfying. How it works is you have four basic stats (attack, defense, HP, MP) with a couple of substats (critical, stealth), and then a bunch of magic (freeze, inferno, heal, telekinesis, etc. -- BioShock fans will be right at home, here) and misc. skills (poison resistance, lockpicking, archery, adrenaline, etc).

These are all completely customizable by you, based on the amount of skill points you earn by beating sections of the game. Note skill points are completely irrelevant to how many enemies you beat, so you can't just backtrack and destroy them over and over -- extra points can be earned by completing optional tasks, beating optional bosses, finding secrets, etc., however.



The game itself is quite linear -- aside from the optional tasks, it's pretty straightforward, though there are sometimes multiple routes to get to your end destination, and towards the end of the game, there are some choices you can make which will influence your weapons and abilities, as well as your ending (there are a few). How this affects your enjoyment of the game depends on your preference, and I suppose what you're in the mood for -- personally I welcomed the break from a huge open world RPG, though I love those to death.

The story is pretty good I think, along with the voice acting, though I understand if some people hate either. It's generic in some ways, but in such a way that I love it for that. This cutscene (one of my favourites of any game, actually) should give you a fair idea:



There are a few awesome twists, and I like that you can choose your ending depending on a few straightforward events -- I can't stand it in games like Silent Hill where you have to play through the entire game this way or that to unlock one of five or ten endings or whatever.

Combat is where the game really shines, at least for the assassin. I played through about 1/4 of the game as a sorcerer, but was really bored by the spells and found them kind of useless. Of course, I didn't get to use the almighty Inferno spell, but if it was anything like Fable where you basically just spammed your way through the game with that one spell, then to heck with that.

I'm not really into the warrior approach in general, so I went with assassin and found that immensely satisfying, particularly when I unlocked the hide in shadows ability or whatever it's called and creeped around everywhere, cutting enemies throats before they even knew I was there.



It's really satisfying to take out an entire room of enemies like this -- check out my previous post to get an idea of what the gameplay is like there.

I should note I played the game on hardcore difficulty, and recommend at least hard mode to anyone playing it -- normal was insanely easy. If you're going to play as an assassin, I would probably recommend hard mode, just for the ghouls you'll encounter -- as they can kill you in one or two hits on hardcore, and they're really annoying to fight as an assassin...I almost threw my keyboard a few times.

So, music and sound effects are quite good, and graphics are amazing, particularly given this is a 2006 game. All in all, I highly recommend it.



A few miscellaneous notes: have at least 2GB of RAM to run this with minimal (or no) problems -- if you have less, you'll have to apply this workaround. I had countless troubles before doing this, and afterwards, not one.

I also recommend checking out the Tweakguide on the game -- even if you're not really into the technical stuff, there's some neat stuff to check out -- on the neat stuff page.

Oh, and if you are interested in picking it up, this site I like has it for cheap -- link.

Now I'm off to play the spiritual prequel Arx Fatalis.

pc musingsthoughts gaming related

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I've been featured in an article by Tom Ohle, VP of PR and Marketing for GOG.com and CD Projekt RED, for his Evolution of PR website, a personal favourite read of mine.

This one focuses on the marred relationship between public relations (PR) people and journalists in the gaming industry, with suggestions on how to fix it. Give it a read.



musingsthoughts neoseeker related gaming related

I saw Tricky live last night, and I have a couple of things to say about it.

First, it's undoubtedly going to be one of the best shows I will ever see. Another artist I'd love to go see every week forever..I would not get tired of it. The man puts off just an incredible *bleep*ing show..just go see him yourself, cause words are useless. Tracks for the new album sounded amazing, too (I like to hear new songs in concert before from a record if at all possible).

Second is this idol worship thing. One of the things which was both amazing and terrible about the show was when he went into the crowd at the end, still singing, eventually leaving through the same door everyone else was. The band kept playing while he was hugging fans, signing autographs, getting pictures taken with people, etc. At first he seemed pretty happy to do this, but by the end overtly uncomfortable and...sad. No one else seemed to notice though..everyone was grinning, crowded around him, asking for autographs, etc.

I'm ashamed to say I took a picture during this commotion. Security had said before we went in cameras were not allowed..not sure if this was on Tricky's request or not, but I decided I would respect it either way and left my camera during the show in my jacket at my seat, before I joined the crowd at the front of the stage. Anyway, grabbed my coat during all this, on my way out, behind him and everyone else..took a picture. I've since deleted it because I feel horrible about being part of the frenzy it was..and based on what, really? The music was amazing -- that was all I needed. I wanted to get a hug from him as that is a personal thing but by the end I was just sad too and said *bleep* it and left instead of waiting around. I could see it easily on his face..I don't understand why everyone else couldn't too and couldn't just leave him be...

I've since read he's uncomfortable with fame, which was rather cathartic to learn. A kindred spirit. I don't need a *bleep*ing picture taken with him.

"Don't be in love with the autograph, just be in love when you scream that song.."

music musingsthoughts

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Haven't updated in awhile as I've been busy reviewing and writing and interviewing and not quite settled in OS land, so I'm just gonna make a couple large posts and hope they keep your attention. If you're not fond of a lot of words, feel free to just look at the shiny pictures.

Soo yes, recently I switched to Windows 7 but had to switch back to XP due to repeated blue screens when gaming. Not cool. Hopefully when the release candidate comes out everything will be gravy. I have a thing for desktop screenshots so here is/was mine (it's on my other HD I upgraded to -- 640GB!):



One of my favourite things about W7 is the Aero Peek feature, which comes in real handy:



You can just hover your mouse over any sub-window and it will preview it for you, without you actually ever clicking on it. So you can just go through like 10 windows if you want and see whats up. Its very fast and efficient! :)

I also like the level of customization that comes built in it with it. Thanks to that, I didn't even have to modify my OS theme, I really quite like it how you see above. :)
Between this and countless other things, especially judging from the Engineering W7 blog, it really seems like Microsoft is paying attention to its users and incorporating as much of their feedback as possible into what will be the final product. For a corporation with as massive a userbase as Microsoft, this is a hugely positive thing, and I commend them wholeheartedly for it.

You may notice the desktop images, if you make a couple clicks to their full size, are rather large..because, yes, I finally just got this baby:



(My desktop is inside the picture of the desktop to really mess you up.)

Keep in mind I upgraded from this 15 inch. The new one is lot bigger than it looks in pictures for some reason. But yeah, I'm up to 22''@1680x1050 resolution. It's a whole different world..I'd probably say it is, on many levels, like watching a movie at home versus the theater..or playing a game too, I suppose. :)
Couldn't be happier with it -- got it on sale too. I'd like to thank Kevin for encouraging me to upgrade. While LCDs of this size do cost a lot, it IS worth what you pay, for sure. Of course you have to shop around and research and stuff..

Oh, and this is what it looks like when I mix Drambuie with work (what did you think was in the mug?):



Not a smart idea!

If you wanna read about game things and sort of a 'behind the scenes' thing on my review for The Path, here is a follow-up. :)

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मुक्ति says:
there are eight expansion packs, six different editions, and four spin off SERIES
including
mother*bleep*ing
the sims: ikea home stuff
i told kevin if i was friends with someone and they bought that one i would stop being friends with them
i was addicted to the first one for a couple months about then that was enough for me
no problem with t he main games
but four pages worth?
thats *bleep*ed up
nobody needs that shit
especially not a *bleep*ing ikea themed sims
jesus christ
i want to puke and die
will wright can *bleep* my *bleep*ing *bleep*

PS: To everyone freaking out about the Sims 3 delay -- get a freakin life!

musingsthoughts neoseeker related gaming related

"And Sessler spoke unto the game publishers, and the game publishers saw that it was good, and lo, the will of Sessler was obeyed."

-Book of Sesslerians*, Chapter 1:1


For those of you that've been around GameGrep the past day or two, you may have noticed this article.

In short, it's probably the best opinion piece-ish thing I've ever seen in my life,so...WATCH IT.

Adam Sessler, as you may know, is one of the hosts of X-Play..I've been following him since the show started..like the creeper I am. Anyway, after seeing this I went traversing the internet and found a couple cool things, one of em being an old G4TV discussion between him, Jack Thompson, and this nice fellow from GameDaily.

Its freaking awesome, but far too short. Especially with them having a web video service thing..they really should've let it go for as long as it needed..would've been very interesting to see.

I'd like to use a couple of quotes here to complement the discussion (first is paraphrased):

What was the name of that video game Hitler used to play? And what were those violent video games he gave to the..entire German republic?
- David Cross

There’s so much comedy on television. Does that cause comedy in the streets?
- Dick Cavett

On top of that I found out there's a whole feed for the Soapbox episode things, so if you're interested, go here

!

playstation 3 musingsthoughts tv and shows gaming related

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I've been avoiding posting here lately due to the censorship going on. Personally I dont think posting a humourous image which happens to contain the word "*bleep*" warrants deletion of the post without explanation, indication of who deleted it, and an option for debate with said person. I was considering not posting here anymore, but thing is, I like to, so I will. So for anything that's censored, I'll post something else with an explanation of the given post.

I was partly inspired to write this due to this huge and terribly heartwarming news (please read if at all interested!):

http://www.examiner.com/x-2044-Atheism-Examiner~y2009m1d31-David-Letterman-shows-originally-pulled-Bill-Hicks-segment-after-15-years

(Link to the peformance for non-American users here. Region locking=lame!).

Oh and to the writer -- its extremely easy to just paint him as an atheist. If you actually pay attention to his material, he's very religious and spiritual. Why does attacking the flaws and evils of one religion make you an atheist?


I'm a huge Bill Hicks fan -- he's definitely my favourite comedian (followed closely by George Carlin, Dave Chappelle, Sarah Silverman and David Cross, in no particular order), partly because I relate to him on a personal level so well. I highly recommend checking him out -- there's some full performances up on Google Video.

In the documentary on his life ("It's Just a Ride"), there are some interview clips with Letterman where he says he would've done things differently in retrospect. He seemed truly heartfelt about it, so this is very good to see. Just wondering why it took so long?

Anyway, here's to freedom of speech and beautiful spirits like Bill Hicks.

musingsthoughts tv and shows neoseeker related

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Commentary: Obama breaks his own rule
  1. Story Highlights
  2. Brown: Obama promises transparency, openness, new rules on lobbying
  3. But Obama wants former lobbyist to be deputy defense secretary
  4. To do that, he's willing to make an exception to his rules, she says
  5. Brown says that just reinforces people's cynicism
At least some things you can rely on...

musingsthoughts

Kevin says:
i can't believe eidos is all bitter about selling 'only' 1.5 million copies of tomb raider underworld
that game looks like the most unoriginal game
it seems like such a flawed mentality to equate a budget directly to a profit margin
the management is really out of touch. they are saying the are now thinking of updating lara crofts image
as if that will somehow make people buy a game that looks so unexciting
मुक्ति says:
well you know they did go through all that trouble to bribe reviewers
they really shouldve been rewarded for their efforts
im so bitter
haha
Kevin says:
what why
'cuz you didn't get a bribe
eidos sent us some pillows modelled after lara croft's breasts
didn't you get one
मुक्ति says:
hahah
man i'd love to get bribed so i could tell them to suck it
thats a good idea actually
would you like to start a business together
hahah
Kevin says:
i'll betcha .50 cents that if we google 'breast pillow' it would be out there
मुक्ति says:
go
Kevin says:
http://www.titpillows.com/?gclid=CPfqrfn1gpgCFRwwawodjE_RDQ
LOl
man . people will buy anything
of course the japanese have something to say on this topic
http://www.wordpress.tokyotimes.org/?p=2978

shakugan no shana flame haze shana signature other musingsthoughts gaming related

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Please keep in mind at all times we live in a boundless time continuum and as such, there are no years, and so no new years. Happy belated winter solstice!!!

musingsthoughts

(via)

SergioThree: there's other fish in the sea, man, she's just a girl
Beatsfromkorea: no dude, that's bullshit.
Beatsfromkorea: Think of it this way. if your precious copy of street fighter third strike broke and i told you "it's ok man, there's other games in the sea. here, play mortal kombat instead" what would you say? you'd be like, "*bleep* that, gimme third strike."
SergioThree: ...
SergioThree: you just reached me on a level that i never thought possible

musingsthoughts gaming related

So I think Im gonna start using http://www.mobygames.com instead of http://www.metacritic.com for reviews. Mainly because MC is corporate as are many of the sites it posts reviews from (in behaviour, if nothing else), whereas MG is run by actual gamers. Yum.

Update: Red tells me we're going to be improving on this feature of our own come the new year. Excitin' times. :)

He also says they're rich snobs kind of so maybe I wont use it. Haha.

musingsthoughts gaming related

quote
Each of our customers has his or her own definition of happiness.
Square Enix provides high-quality content, services, and products to help those customers create their own wonderful, unforgettable experiences, thereby allowing them to discover a happiness all their own.

2. Creativity and Innovation

 To attain and maintain new standards of value, there are questions we must ask ourselves: Is this creative? Is this innovative?
 Mediocre dedication can only result in mediocre achievements. Simply being content with the status quo can only lead to a collapse into oblivion. To prevent this from occurring and to avoid complacency, we must continue asking ourselves the aforementioned questions.

3. Harmony

 Everything in the world interacts to form a massive system. Nothing can stand alone.
 Everything functions with an inevitable accord to reason. It is vital to gain a proper understanding of the constantly changing tides, and to take advantage of these variations instead of struggling against them. We shall continue to work towards harmony and serve as an integral part of this ever-fluctuating system.


mario musingsthoughts gaming related

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*bleep* *bleep* *bleep* *bleep* *bleep* *bleep* *bleep* *bleep* *bleep* *bleep* *bleep* *bleep* *bleep* *bleep* *bleep* *bleep* *bleep* *bleep*

I feel a little better now.


:)

musingsthoughts

Just wanted to say I'm very impressed with the blog content we've been getting around here on the site, especially lately. Some highlights:

- Zeta's current book: the rules of survival

- Stem Cell's informative posts on healthy eating, ethics and advertising, and classic artist portfolios

- the new era's ponderings on life

- RabidChinaGirl's provocative entries, always good for a debate.

- jespromo on murder and soccer

- The Don's story and perspective on family lineage, tragedy, and respect.

(Some of these wouldn't link to the entries in question properly, so I linked to the their main page instead).

And these are just recent ones, really.

So, not to call anyone out for the sake of it or anything, but for people who say our reader's "aren't ready" for explicit posts, that they're juvenile, I say to heck with that. I'm really impressed to see how intelligent you guys really are, and to read all the interesting thoughts here floating about. I strongly feel the blogs are already one of the best features on the site, so props to you folks for helping make it so. :)


musingsthoughts neoseeker related

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http://gamegrep.com/video/16498-reffxiii_new_final_fantasy_xiii_and_versus_xiii_trailers/

RabidChinaGirl says:
it's like Star Wars meets a fashion show
...why is there a woman playing a harp
there's a flying penguin
spotlights
Halo looking guys
...this thing is spitting tongues out
more Halo ish stuff
Star Wars meets Halo
half naked girl?
man?
woman?
guns
she's fighting armored guys half naked
why do the main characters always win despite wearing no armor?
why do all the characters look the same
it's weird
Guild Wars looking stuff
blah blah blah
OMFG they flashed liked 3 faces that looked the same
this is a fantasy based on reality
*what*
...a true figure is still hidden in the sleep
LMAO
this guy looks like Sephiroth in his teenage years
a girl in cute clothes
maybe she'll pull out big guns
and do something cool
oh wait
she's a girl
JUST KIDDING
dude the guys in suits look like men
why can't the mian character?
people wearing hoods
wow that's not overdone
bromances
lmao
मुक्ति says:
i think if you had a conversation with square about these trailers they'd probabaly kill themselves
RabidChinaGirl says:
LMAO
yeah I should work for Square
I wanna be their trailer approver
or their concept approver
मुक्ति says:
be their everything approver
RabidChinaGirl says:
they'd never get anything done
मुक्ति says:
everyone would be fired in ten seconds
RabidChinaGirl says:
their new games would turn int MGS + Halo + Gears
"DOES THIS GUY EVEN HAVE A *bleep*?!"
GIVE THIS WOMAN A *bleep*ING PURPOSE
GIVE HER PAANTS
मुक्ति says:
or just take away the guys pants
RabidChinaGirl says:
to see if he has a *bleep*
मुक्ति says:
:)
RabidChinaGirl says:
please give someone facial hair
I am losing track of who is who
they quoted Shakespeare.
THAT MAKES IT FULL OF COOL
मुक्ति says:
i dunno, then the dudes would look like chicks with facial hair


playstation 3 musingsthoughts gaming related

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PS3 outsells Xbox 720 in five years.

Gobble gobble gobble .

playstation 3 musingsthoughts gaming related

OmegaFury says:
You know, there's probably a way to prove that the earth is round and flat at the same time? like how light is a wave and a particle and probably something else, too

मुक्ति says:
yeah maybe but maybe then you die and brahman encompasses you and you know it to be ultimate truth proof was never possible because all things are relative to all things

(just speculating..)

musingsthoughts



And it goes on like that..:)



Here's a better question: why do 955,646 people care? I'm hesitant about drawing more attention to them, but it's hard to resist posing the idea. Sigh. Here, to compensate:



MUSIC. Remember that old thing?

musingsthoughts

Re: So what does Japan think of Faith from Mirror's Edge?

Lydia says:
oh my God I wanna go over there
and seriously find those people
and kill them
YOU DO NOT DESERVE TO LIVE ON THIS EARTH WITH NORMAL PEOPLE
that would be my words



:)

playstation 3 xbox 360 pc musingsthoughts

Sean Ridgeley

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