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Sociology Survey Results Tony 
Posted by: Tony at 12:19 AM EST on 2/27/2003
File Under: Games

As promised, here is the formal report of the sociology survey regarding violence in realistic online first-person shooters and violence in real life. We received a "100!" for our grade, which surprised me because I personally enjoyed the research presentations of other groups more than our own. Hmmm. It must be our undeniably sexy writing skills. One final thanks to everyone who helped out! We ended up not including the info for those who entered 0 hours (there was not enough of them to perform proper analysis,) so forgive us if you feel left out. =\ To become happier, you may choose to hit someone really hard and then run away to a safe distance and apologize, a la Brockian Ultra-Cricket.

Gotta love free games... Tim 
Posted by: Tim at 4:22 PM EST on 2/25/2003
File Under: Games -> Xbox

Hmmm... This whole posting a webcam picture thing is turning into a pattern for me. Oh well, bask in the glory of free games:

Yes, that's right, I'm now holding three brand new top-tier Xbox games in my hand, which cost me a total of $0. MechAssault, RalliSport Challenge, and Shenmue II, all for free?! How'd I manage that one? Trade secret. ;-) (No, I didn't steal them.)

Anyway, this means a couple of things. One, I'll be glued to my Xbox a LOT in my near future, and two, I'll have some super-keen impressions for you guys as well. (Yes, I said super-keen. Got a problem?) Well, assuming I'll actually get to play them, that is.

You see, I got in a car accident yesterday and don't have the money to cover my insurance deductible. I may be pawning these off on eBay for some cash, instead. Damn. Oh well, maybe I'll manage to figure something out where I can have both my car and my games. But rest assured, the car will be the priority. I'm not that stupid.

Zelda - Welcome Back! Blueblur 
Posted by: Blueblur at 12:10 AM EST on 2/23/2003
File Under: Games

What? You guys thought I was finished? Bah! Hardly ever. Anyway, I'm back to tell everyone about my experience with the return of Miyamoto's precious Zelda.

Well, after reading online that the pre-order campaign was well under way, I decided to head on down to my local GameStop. Sure enough I pre-ordered The Wind Waker and got my Ocarina of Time GC disc. I have to say that I'm very pleased with my free bonus disc.

Unlike many Zelda fans, I'm a bit of a Zelda noob. I did play and finish Ocarina on the N64, but I only gave it one run through and I've never really indulged in the past Zelda games; I've tried them and sadly, they weren't really my cup of tea at the time. Back to the topic, so now I'm currently engulfed in Ocarina of Time and planning on moving onto Master Quest afterwards.

That and as always, I have my PSO cravings to attend to. Not to mention my PSO site. As you can tell, I'm fortunate to be so busy since I won't even have time to obsess over The Wind Waker. Dang, so many games to play and so little time to do so.

Oh, one more thing. Shinobi. It was sweet, challenging, but short. Give me a little more substance and game to work with, Sega!

Sociology survey regarding video game violence... Tony 
Posted by: Tony at 12:01 AM EST on 2/13/2003
File Under: Games

[Update: The surveying process is complete. Now, to compile and report. Thank you to all who filled out the survey and thanks to brother Tim for making the form script thing. I will post a link to a formal report within one week.]
This survey is for my sociology class. My group and I decided to see if there is a correlation between violence in realistic first-person shooters and violence in real life. Please note we are not trying to see if violent videogames cause violence in real life. Thank you for your help! I will post the results within two weeks, so be sure to check back if you are interested.

Sociology Survey

Does violence in realistic online first person shooter games correlate to violence in real life?

What is your age?
On average, how many hours per day do you play realistic online first person shooters?
Rate your interest in contact sports on a scale from 1 to 10 (10 being very interested, 1 being not interested)
Rate your temper on a scale from 1 to 10 (10 being a very short-temper, 1 being no temper)
How do you think other people would rate your temper on a scale from 1 to 10? (10 being a very short-temper, 1 being no temper)
Rate the aggressiveness of your driving style on a scale from 1 to 10 (10 being very aggressive, 1 being very defensive) If you don't drive, rate how you think you would.
On a scale from 1 to 10, how likely are you to solve personal problems using verbal or physical violence? (10 being all the time, 1 being never)

For the following issues, indicate the strength of your feelings on a scale from 1 to 10 (10 being strongly in favor, 1 being strongly opposed)
Owning weapons for personal protection
Owning weapons for recreation
Corporal punishment
The death penalty

Half-Life for the Dreamcast... It lives! Tim 
Posted by: Tim at 4:13 AM EST on 2/8/2003
File Under: Games

Hey, look! Another webcam picture! Yay! Now, what does this one show?

What's this? Do your eyes deceive you? No! It's none other than Half-Life for the Dreamcast!

Back before the poor old Dreamcast was canned, Half-Life was the one game everybody wanted, but nobody could have. Sierra, in their infinite wisdom, cancelled the release of the game, even though it was 100% complete and ready to be published and sent to stores. Hell, several media outlets had already written reviews of the final game, and Prima even had a strategy guide for the game on store shelves for a short time! Sierra blamed the cancellation of the Dreamcast itself for their decision. Whatever. Why not release it and at least recoup some of the losses you took on developing it? Stupid Sierra.

So, wait... If it wasn't released, then how do I have it? Well, think of it in terms of this SAT-style analogy: Half-Life is to the Dreamcast as Thrill Kill is to the PlayStation. (Man, if they really had analogies like that on the SAT, I would have absolutely killed that test.) In other words, if a publisher is too stupid to release a completely finished and highly sought-after game, someone, somewhere, is going to do just about all they can to get their hands on a copy of it and pirate it for the general masses. That, my fellow Dreamcast lovers, is exactly what happened. Though nobody really knows who leaked it, I don't think anyone would be surprised if it was actually a disgruntled employee who wanted their hard work to see the light of day - after all, it wouldn't be the first time.

Anyway, I've put some time into the game, and I'm pretty impressed with it so far. There are some frame-rate issues here and there, but since this is the Dreamcast, and not the GameCube or Xbox, that's acceptable. Aside from that, the only technical issue I can find with the game is that there are some crazy loading times. Most likely, this would have been minimized with a commercial release - warezed games tend to have unoptomized file structures on the disc, and GD-ROMs naturally have faster loading times than CD-ROMs - but since we wouldn't be playing this game at all if it wasn't a warez copy, there's no complaining. But still, the whole "Play for two minutes, load for 20 seconds, play for three minutes, load for 15 seconds, play for five minutes, load for 30 seconds" thing gets old.

I have to say, playing Half-Life on my Dreamcast makes me wish I hadn't missed out on the game on the PC. Yes, this is my first ever experience with this game, despite the fact that just about everyone else and their mother has played this game, all its mods, gotten tired of it, and moved on by now. Well, here I am trying it out for the first time... But I love it! It has a very Halo-esque feel to it, I must say. Or, rather, Halo seems to have taken after Half-Life, what with the whole suit thing and holographic lady helping you out. (All through the training mode, every time she would say something, I couldn't help but think "Cortana?") Despite the fact that I didn't really care for Halo, there's something about Half-Life that is drawing me. I can't quite put my finger on what it is, but I like it. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that it's technologically inferior and not quite as polished. Call me crazy, but I like when a game's graphics aren't very realistic. In fact, I like the look of a lot of Saturn games more than anything on the PS2, GameCube, or Xbox. Maybe I'm just old fashioned.

Ummm... Reading back over this post, it seems to be a whole lot of me rambling on about nothing. I guess I don't really have anything much to say, other than "HAHA, I HAVE HALF-LIFE FOR THE DREAMCAST, AND YOU (probably) DON'T!"

Oh, and one more thing - I love the fact that the gray-haired scientist looks just like the doctor from MDK2, one of my favorite Dreamcast games ever. That makes me happy.

Wires? I don't need no stinkin' wires... Tim 
Posted by: Tim at 10:43 PM EST on 2/5/2003
File Under: Misc Tech -> Computers

Who is that mysterious man behind that mouse? AND WHY THE HELL DOESN'T THAT MOUSE HAVE A CORD!?!??! OH MY GOD, THE WORLD MUST BE COMING TO AN END!

*clears throat*

Actually, I just got my free wireless keyboard and mouse from Logitech today. For those that missed out, about a week before Christmas, Logitech was having a contest where they were giving away up to 20,000 of the sets. All you had to do was go to their contest page and keep refreshing it until it told you that you had won. Easy enough. So, I loaded up a little script to keep refreshing over and over, and after about 40 minutes with it running in the background and me not really paying much attention, I was a winner!

So yeah, the official name for what I won is the Wireless Navigator Duo, and it usually sells for about $70. Like hell I'd pay that, but hey, whatever. I'm sure a few of you out there might actually be in the market for such a device, though, and can say that this is a quality product.

I've never had a keyboard with the extra buttons for controlling media players (next track/previous track, play, stop, etc.) and now I don't know how I lived without one. I never expected Sonique to be supported so well, since most people use Winamp or (shudder) Windows Media Player, but once I downloaded the keyboard's software update, it worked flawlessly. (Anyone who gets this/has it already should get that update. Without it, using the Media button always crashed stuff.) The keys could be a little more responsive, but they're incredibly quiet, so it's an okay trade-off. The mouse itself is kinda hefty with the batteries and all, but it feels nice, and since it doesn't have that ergonomic curve that Microsoft mice have, it will work equally well for both lefties and righties. Oh, and as a final bonus, everything can be hooked up both via standard PS/2 or USB, meaning it should double well for my PlayStation 2. Cool.

Anyway, if you're the kinda person that would actually be willing to pay lots of money just to get rid of a few cords on their desk, give this setup a look. If it was $30 or $40, I'd probably be all over it, but as it stands, I'm glad I didn't have to pay - but that's just me.

BTW, that mysterious man is none other than me!

The 25th Hour Review Karyn 
Posted by: Karyn at 4:15 PM EST on 2/2/2003
File Under: Movies -> Cinema -> Review

Finally, after long anticipation, I was able to see The 25th hour, and I was definitely NOT disappointed. Directed by Spike Lee and starring Ed Norton of Fight Club fame, I absolutely loved it.

One of the biggest plusses for me is that the plot... well, that there was no plot. The exposition is that Monty (Ed Norton) is going to jail tomorrow: this is his last day. That's it. No dramatic storyline, no rising action or falling action, just a man dealing with his friends, girlfriend, and father before he's gone for 7 years. Sure there are a couple of minor sub-plots, such as the question of who ratted Monty out, but these are treated as minor matters and are almost inconsequential. They're just one more thing that everyone has to deal with, and no real importance is placed on their outcomes. The movie isn't about what happens today, but what will be different tomorrow. One friend sums it up perfectly when he says "It's over." Monty's life is finished once he leaves because when he comes back, nothing will be the same.

Despite the somber last hours of freedom feeling, the movie doesn't become bogged down with emotion. Monty and his friends crack jokes at every opportunity; black humor, to be sure, but funny as all hell. I didn't expect to laugh that much, particularly since most of the jokes revolve around the word 'fuck', but the dialogue is witty and believable.

For me (and this is an opinion that was not shared with the people I went with) one of the crowning scenes in the movie was when Monty goes off on a "Fuck you" rant to every type of person in the whole city of New York. Any kind of person he can think of, he lays out the worst things about them, and the nasty things that everybody thinks but tries to pretend that they don't notice. No one is left out, not even the person he loves, and not even himself because Monty knows that he feels regret only for being caught, not for anything that he's done.

As far as the ending goes... it wasn't really important. The movie wasn't building to a climax, so what happens at the end is no more relevant than what happens 42 minutes from the end. Did I like the ending? No, but I didn't dislike it either. It just didn't do anything for me. I still recommend this movie wholeheartedly. It's funny and insightful, and has well-acted characters who seem like you and me but without all of the pretenses of non-selfishness. Besides, it makes cops look like total pricks, and that always gets points in my book!

Recommended? Hell yes.

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