The Accents of Halo: Reach

My family has a lot of Engrish bouncing around. That is to say, English is not the first language of many relatives on my mother’s side. I grew up in a home with a lots of broken sentences, wrong pronounciations, and heavy accents. I felt that I was pretty good at understanding accents of people “not from around here”. Add to that the fact that I grew up in the south with its “ya’ll’s” and “I ain’t gunna’s” and I deemed myself a master of dialects.

This was until I played Halo: Reach. Bungie has put together a relatively diverse team for Noble Six (I say “relatively” in comparison to games featuring teams of 3 linebacker caucasian guys). This multinational convention of badasses feature a Russian-sounding guy, an Eastern European girl, a large Zangief-looking dude, some guy out da’ ghetto, your character, and an All-American Johnny Quarterback pulled straight off the box of Mass Effect 2 to make sure you don’t get too scared with all the minorities surrounding you.

So, basically Noble Six is comprised of the Planeteers, with your character representing Captain Planet. Or at least that’s how I play it. I suggest you also try playing as Captain Planet–throw a sticky grenade on a Covenant vehicle and scream “LOOKS LIKE YOU WON’T NEED TO DRIVE THAT BANSHEE WHEN YOU’RE ABOUT TO BECOME A GHOST HUR HUR HURRR!”. If you are playing co-op with someone in the room stare at them and scream “THE POWER IS YOURS!” any time they respawn.

What I’m embarassed about is the fact that I can’t understand what anyone on my team is saying during the game. I feel like I’m listening to Russian AM radio anytime Kat is talking. She’s barking out orders with her heavy accent and all I can do is say “that’s nice dear”. With all the assplosions and gunfire and aircraft blasting my ears I just can’t pick up what my worldly team is saying. Thank God they actually display your next objective in bold font on the center of the screen.

Maybe it’s not my fault. Is the static on the radio so realistic that only a E-9 in the Army could decipher the transmissions coming across (I’m not sure if an E-9 is a rank or a gun, it just sounds like something an army dude would say while talking about his 6 months in Korea).

I really thought I was good at this, but apparently I’m just another white guy wishing tech support wasn’t moved to India.

That’s not to say I want my team to look and sound like 5 benchwarmers from Iowa State’s basketball team. I’m grateful that my team is at least as diverse as a Multicultural Club at the community college. Granted, they don’t have a guy in an electric wheelchair (WITH MISSLES AND LASERS OMG) or a hermaphrodite with a heart of gold (I guess Jamie Lee Curtis was too busy with Activia commercials). But honestly I love Noble Six. Considering it’s a game about space marines and aliens they each seem to have unique personalities. Rolling into a new area and hearing people say “Whoa Spartans?!” is a great feeling too. They’re like a Voltron for today except they don’t link together to form a mega-Spartan. I smell spinoff!

They should inspire plenty of new Halo armor (yay!), and probably even some fan fiction (ugh). Master Chief doesn’t have to carry all the weight anymore. Good for him.

Hotels and the Wrath of Dragon…CONNNNNN!

Wow. Friday morning at 7AM hotel rooms were made available for reservation at the Marriott Marquis hotel in Atlanta for next year’s DragonCon (Sept 2-5, 2011). The nerdrage due to webpage failures, calls on hold, and inability to get a room have been the most I’ve seen since the DragonBall Z movie.

Let’s break it down:

-The passkey website that Marriott used for the reservations was down at least 5 minutes before the start time. People that were able to crawl to the final reservation page ran into multiple database failures and “unable to load” pages.

-Phone calls to reserve rooms were hit or miss (or miss, or miss). You either got right in, was put on hold for 15-30 minutes, or told that you were too late. Rumor has it that the calls went up to Canada, so you hopefully got overly apologetic people to tell you that the rooms were sold out (or would they say “oot”).

-The aftermath, or actually the “duringmath”, was insanity. Many of my Facebook friends, of whom I’d say 40% were planning on attending DragonCon 2011, posted stories of failure. People were bouncing ideas off each other and reporting from the field of battle. It’s surprising that the traffic didn’t take Facebook down as well. For the most part, the updates teemed with frustration. With good reason I’d say, as they each got up early, started their attempts at the start time, and all deserve to get a room (because all of my friends are f’ing awesome unlike your friends that suck.)

If Facebook looked like Best Buy on Black Friday, then Twitter was the free KFC grilled chicken fiasco X 20. Look at tags #dragoncon #MarriottFail #passkeysucks for 3 examples of how many people struggled. Here’s a couple choice ones:

doginthewild Here it is, 11 months to #dragoncon 2011 and I’m caught with my pants down and all the hotels sold out. WHAT THE FUCK CHARLES

aeontrin I really tried to get a reservation at the Marriott Marquis for DragonCon 2011, but was no joy after multiple failed attempts

EidolonBird How much do I hate @MarriottIntl and Passkey right now? More than Twitter’s word limit will let me say. #dragoncon 2011 better be worth it.

So now we’ve got the annual shift and swap and double-check going on. Friends try to find friends that were able to hold extra rooms. People immediately jump over to the Hilton then the Hyatt trying to find space, some of them saying “Screw the Marriott the (insert hotel name) is the new place to be!” and others saying “Well this sucks, (insert hotel name) it is…”

What’s the answer to fix this? Usually there’s a college football game going on the same weekend, and this last DragonCon was overrun with jerkwad fans from LSU, home of the LSU FUCKING BASTARDS (their official mascot I’m told.) But the word this year is that the teams weren’t announced yet. So that should have cut down on “those” people. It sounds like mobs of us nerds crammed it to the brim in 15 minutes. So once again, any suggestions? I heard some ideas about only allowing pre-registered attendees reserve rooms first, but won’t that just increase the pre-reg line and still fill up the rooms immediately?

For now it sounds like the answer is still luck and persistence. Hopefully anyone that really wants to go will find a friend or catch a break that will get them where they want to be. Keep checking the Marriott site, call them back throughout the day, and hit up acquaintances that might have lucked out.

Yes, I got a room. But I won’t be dancing naked around the house or spamming Facebook about it because, damn, there’s a lot of upset people and I’m not one to rub it in (I just like to rub it out WOOAAAAAHHHHH).

Oh, and seriously, football fans, GTFO of my DragonCon.

1 Vs. 100 Now None Vs. No One

Sadness, as the official nail in the coffin has been hammered for Xbox Live’s “1 Vs. 100”. A quiz game show you play with 1,000’s of other XBL members, 1 Vs. 100 was an interesting experiment that proved to be quite popular. Signed into your Xbox Live dashboard, you jumped into an arena with up to 100 other players and answer multiple choice questions on everything from films and entertainment to sports.

I was in on the beta of this, and from the first time I played it I thought that Microsoft had finally designed original content that didn’t make the user roll their eyes. This really felt like having one of those bar quiz games at home, except I could get hammered at home and not smell like Marlboro’s and desperation the next morning. Besides the constant annoying Sprint logo (though not nearly as annoying as Hulu ads), there was little that I didn’t like about it. Celebrity guests (Felicia Day is pretty much as cool on XBL as she is in person)? Prizes? (RELEVANT prizes too like Xbox Live Points) No additional fee? Yes please…

So either nothing awesome lasts forever, or maybe they no makey no money. Maybe Microsoft did their typical mismanagement of everything ever. But I’ll miss it. Supposedly the tech they developed here will move on to later greater things. We’ll see…
Check out their final blog here.

Blazblue: Continuum Shift on July 20th

It’s not the title of a pompous adult folk-rock album. Blazblue: Continuum Shift is a follow-up to the cult-ish fighting game from the makers of the Guilty Gear series. The first game had just the right amount of insane attacks, character designs, and things spelled incorrectly to grab the attention of a few of the hardcore/core/nerdrage gamers. It didn’t hurt that the game wasn’t just fancy petticoats with shit fighting either. Blazblue: Calamity Trigger (the original game released last year) was a quality game that was so “oh shi fuk da mainstreem dis is fo reelz” that the first batches were sent out with a DVD of how-to’s and such (although if it were really hardkore it should have come with a Usenet link to a .mkv file but I digress).

Instead of trying to explain the tripping-balls colors, characters, and music (which is a big part of why you should check it out), I’ll just copy/paste a few images and vids real quick from the webs:

and a vid…

So the fact that a lot of screenshots look like 12 layers of bitmaps on top of each other should be enough to convince you that there’s a shit ton of things going on in this game.

Continuum Shift improves on Calamity Trigger by adding more stages, 4 new characters, and a $40 price tag. You’ll notice that it seems to be following Street Fighter IV hand-in-hand by releasing an upgraded version a year later. This game definitely needs more love though because Street Fighter is always going to be hashing out more titles (unless they try 3-D again) while there’s no guarantee of more Blazblue in America. Ask yourself if a niche game like this could have come out 15 years ago… Now ask yourself if what amounts to an upgraded version would come out a year later… exactly. This isn’t a charity case though, because the upgrades involved make this a must-buy for fight-a-holics. Plus I’m sure there’s a greasy army of 250-pounders that have been working on new Blazblue cosplay for the past year. You’ll need to play this game to know why there’s a butter goblin dressed as a gothic vampire with some pink ass thing flying with her.

Only sad note is the ALREADY ANNOUNCED DLC to unlock a character or two. Total bullshit and arguably a bad decision to convince an already small audience to invest additional funds. Thus is the state of nickel and dime gaming. Not reason enough to ignore this game when it is released on July 20th in the US.

Wilted Flowers Bloom… pretentious video hit!

If you like the Goo Goo Dolls or Train, well, first of all your taste in music sucks. But also!!!…you’ll love this video sung by my friend Jay.
Wilted Flowers Bloom is about broken hearts of young lasses and also boobs I guess. Add in some generic shots of crap around my house and you’ve got a hit worthy of VH1’s 2AM block.

MTAC 2010 First Photos!

Hey kids, long time, no update! To try to bring back an audience, here’s some exclusive Middle Tennessee Anime Convention 2010 photos! These are some for Friday!



PS3 does Everything… PS3’s are dead.

…looks like the Playstation Network is down on most non-Slim (read: older model) Playstation 3’s. Except unlike the Xbox Live outages that took out the ability to play or use online download services, this outage is killing the ability to play games. Heavy Rain, the exclusive “must-have” for the first quarter of 2010 is the most high profile zombified game. There’s conflicting info everywhere, but the bottom line is trophy supported games are down and out, and consoles are reverting back to 1999 (where they apparently Quantum Leaped to either hang out with Prince and party or they are stockpiling Pop Tarts for Y2K). Even PS3’s not connected to the internet AND debug units used by developers are going down.

If this gets cleared up within the next day then Sony won’t pick up the “hardware fail flag” that Microsoft has been waving the past couple of years. But I wonder if a fix can be rolled out that will fix all the non-internetz units… The official number is questionable, but how many PS3’s are never connected to the internet? How many are non-broadband? How do they get fixed? Will Sony be shipping out disks to all PS3 owners that call a handy 1-800 number?

These are users that often fall through the cracks. Grandparents that buy a PS3 and keep it over their house for when the kids visit (yes, this happens a lot). Houses with a PS3 in the bedroom and no wireless (i.e. no connection). This could get ugly.

In the meantime, Sony wants people to follow their official Twitter (link) for updates.

Also, awkward irony:

Sony's Twitter dares you to dream

Sony's Twitter dares you to dream