October 16, 2009

All the Music Games Give Unto Me

I recently took notice of a trend concerning my music appreciation. Because of certain games, I have taken notice of or purchased music concerning those games.

Consider this, I would never have heard Gary Jules cover of Tears for Fears' Mad World if it were not for this Gears of War commercial. Jonathan Coulton would still be a mystery to me if it wasn't for his brilliant Still Alive at the end of Portal. I've also been introduced to others with included soundtracks from Beyond Good & Evil, the Orange Box set of games, and Mirror's Edge, which featured the same song (also titled Still Alive) mixed seven different ways.

I actually went out of my way to listen to the soundtracks from a few other games too. The soundtrack for GTA IV, Halo 3, and especially Halo 2. The second featured a few artists such as Breaking Benjamin, Hoobastank, and four compositions from Incubus. Plus I liked the games. I also purchased Jami Sieber's Hidden Sky album based only on hearing the music from 2008's Braid.

Some other interesting ventures bridging the gap between music & games also made their way to my playlist. You might smile at Weezer - The 8-bit Album's classic sound and familiar melodies of original nerdrock. On the flipside, there's The Ocarina of Rhyme; it's that Zelda game plus rap and not too bad overall.

All this and I haven't even listed all the music I've bought in Rock Band which lead me to purchasing a band's album. I already knew some bands before, like Disturbed's Indestructible and Avenged Sevenfold's self-titled album. But I got some other music based solely on what I heard in the game. The artists and albums include Lacuna Coil's Karmacode, The Material's Tomorrow, Paramore's Riot!, Bullet For My Valentine's Scream, Aim, Fire, and my most recent find, Tickle Me Pink's Madeline.

Harmonix makes mad cash from me and others like me...

-- "Dude, I service society by rocking, OK? I'm out there on the front lines liberating people with my music!"

October 13, 2009

Eye Spy With Mine Little Eye

Much like a recent break from the blogosphere, I have recently traveled back into my once-and-always love of photography. It feels great to again be exploring and capturing some of the wonders on "God's green earth." There's not much else to say, but it seemed to be worth saying since it feels so right.

I even named my camera. It's Weblaine.

-- "Without you, today's emotions would be the scurf of yesterday's."

October 11, 2009

Actual Excitement at a Race Track? Quaint!

It still seems surreal, but I found myself at the Anderson Speedway. I'm not into Nascar or watching the Indy 500, but it turned out to be a surprising treat.

I thought I was heading to a demolition derby at first, but my dreams of automobilic destruction were quickly dashed amongst the non-wreckage of the "figure 8" raceway. You may not get excited by that thought, but you should! The cars were zooming through the intersection in the middle and barely slowing down, even with opponents approaching. Picture your old, electric toy car raceway but without one of the tracks overpassing the other. It was intense.

And the final couple of races we saw yielded a couple of surprises too. The lead driver for one was pushed out of his lead by the 2nd place driver, so he rammed the back end of the other and almost tussled with fisticuffs shortly after. But the final race we witnessed top it all as cars, trucks, and vans all rolled onto the field with trailers towing boats, snowmobiles, and even a camper. It was pure mayhem as the trailers whipped around each turn inevitably toppling over or exploding into debris.

What a surprisingly fantastic time aside from the toe-curling cold.

-- "Well be careful, man. Be careful. Wear shoes in the house. Safety. Safety first, then teamwork."

October 10, 2009

I'm Gonna Play Just Cause 2 Just 'Cause

I never played nor even heard of Just Cause for Xbox, but the upcoming sequel, aptly titled Just Cause 2, looks impressive. I meant to write about this first phenomenal video walkthrough awhile ago, but the release of this new video documentary really fanned the flames of my passion for this upcoming property.

I love for open-world games of late (see GTA IV, Prototype, and yet another romp through virtual New York City coming soon). And this one looks like it'll execute some interesting new tweaks, including all-important locomotion maneuvers with that sweet hookshot & stunt-chute combo! Not having played much of the original, it reminds me of what I hoped for in the original Far Cry, strictly considering the jungle atmosphere seen in the E3 demo.

If only the main character didn't look so...meh. It doesn't help that he's a constant hypocrisy as he kills, maims, and destroys whilst donning a massive, silver cross around his neck.

-- "Welcome...to the Fraternity. This gun you're holding belonged to your father; he could conduct a symphony orchestra with it."

October 09, 2009

The Nitty Bloody Gritty with the Half-Dollar Man

I recently rented 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand. I'm glad I only rented it.

It's not a horrible game, but it is definitely laughable. Seriously, I laughed out loud the first time I took a Hummer vehicle over a ramp only to have it explode. I giggled with glee as I pounded the taunt button only to hear the title character spew nonsensical curses at his enemies. And I chortled as he continued his massacre through the Middle East all for a priceless, bejeweled skull. Did I mention he was already strapped with grenades and pistol clips during his concert?

Nothing really makes sense during this absurd romp through foreign lands, but I don't care. The game is fun. It's not amazing, but it's adequately fantastic. It feels like just another 3rd-person shooter that satisfies with on-rails mechanics, loads of points for almost any action, and ludicrous, blown out of proportion gun-play & mayhem.

And if you like 50 Cent's music, the musical score is great...because it's just his tracks playing over & over & over in the background. Just don't expect much and you'll turn the game back into [insert rental store of choice] appeased.

-- "Time to nut up or shut up!"

October 06, 2009

Batman's No Longer At Home Washing His Tights

It seems to be old news already. And if it isn't yet, please rectify that and purchase Batman: Arkham Asylum immediately. If all the hyperbole from other sites hasn't persuaded you yet, I doubt you've read anything about this game.

The first things you notice as you saunter through the asylum are the beautiful environment, the varied animations (the guards have different swaggers!), and the on-point voice acting. I'll admit most of my comics knowledge comes from their cartoons. So it was fantastic to hear Batman, the Joker, and Harley Quinn reprising their animated series roles.

Then you are thrown amongst the convicts and experiencing the fluidity of Batman's near-superhuman combat prowess. It didn't surprise me to find it started as a rhythm-action game instead. The flow of the combat translates well into the predator sections where you can use a form of quick stealth to knock out baddies using Batman's signature tricks of his unique trade (my favorites being sonic batarangs and ledge takedowns). The possibilities make for some fun mistakes...usually involving explosive gel.

Take away Batman from this game, and it is still amazing. Who would've thought a game based on such a well-known super hero would ever be considered for game of the year, because it will be. And if you'd like to hear a more encompassing discussion, I highly recommend the latest episode of Out of the Game with Shawn Elliot, Jeff Green, Robert Ashley, and N'Gai Croal. However, I actually think collecting all of the Riddler trophies was worth it for more than the achievement.

-- "Where does he get those wonderful toys?"