Monday, October 25, 2010

Why Halloween Grinches Irritate Me

 Yes, it's not a post about a movie, video game, book, comic, or giant robots. It's about one of my favorite celebrations Halloween and the fact that there are Halloween grinches who just want to ruin a good time that's for the kids one day out of the year. I guess there are some people who don't know what it means to just let it go and have a good time.
 I recently read a lovely little piece about the calories in Halloween candy that popped up on my AOL news feed. I was curious and after reading amused. It listed how awful all that candy is for you especially when it's in the fun size packaging because you eat more of it and how many calories and sugar that are in each and every one. There were two reasons I was amused by this informative editorial. One reason was the lady who wrote it referred to the candy as, "evil Halloween candy" and the fact that she was stating the obvious with the whole idea of, "Candy is bad for you! It has fat, calories, and sugar!" Please, that's like telling someone, "Hey did you know grass is green?"
 While I understand that it was meant to be helpful for the people that are trying to consciously watch what they eat, this article seemed to give me the impression that this woman not only hated candy, she hated food and seemed to have this attitude that no one in the entire world can control themselves around candy, therefore it's evil and must be dealt with and listed the biggest candy offenders along with all the calories, sugar, and fat, information. Here's the thing. In the article, she states, "This is why you should rethink giving candy to the kids and come up with something else." Wow, really?
 So, because you have an obvious problem with controlling yourself around the "evil candy", then that means no one else can have any or have any fun at all including the kids. This is one day out of the year that kids get to dress up, have a good time with their friends and families, and just cut loose for a bit. Halloween grinches who think and act like they are entitled to dictate things like what people eat including OTHER people's children during a day that's just supposed to be fun for them, really need to sit down and mind their own business. Here, I'll repeat that in case you missed it. SIT DOWN AND MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS.
 It's wonderful that you're so concerned about being healthy, but sometimes you just have to let it go and just enjoy your life. The bottom line is this day is mainly for the kids and it's one day out of the year, so how does it affect you personally? Also, contrary to what you believe, not every parent is a complete drooling moron. There are great parents out there, who know that you have to set boundaries for your children, that you have to ration out the candy one piece at a time, otherwise they'll eat it all at once because that's what kids do. They make rash decisions, throw caution to the wind, and live in the moment, not worried about fat and sugar at all.  Children are incredibly resilient.  That's why the good parents know that and know that they have to be the responsible ones, setting those rules and limits for their kids, and teaching them about having things in moderation.
 So "Evil Halloween Candy" ladies and gentlemen everywhere, how about you just let the kids enjoy their day of creative costumes, candy, and fun? They deserve to have fun and enjoy being kids. Let their parents worry about it, because that's their job, not yours.
 Hope everyone has a fun, happy, and safe Halloween!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Book Review: Unseen Academicals

 I recently finished reading Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett, the latest book in the Discworld series. The wizards at Unseen University discover a law that states that they must participate in city football games (soccer), but the catch is they can't use any magic.  The assistant candle dribbler, Mr. Nutt is brought in to coach this humorous seemingly hopeless team of over the hill wizards. Mr. Nutt is a little odd and seems to be a goblin, but he can't really remember himself. He befriends his candle dribbler boss Trevor Likely whose father was a famous footballer and they strike up an unlikely, but endearing friendship.
 I loved this book. The friendship between Mr. Nutt and Trevor makes you smile and even laugh at certain points in the story. Terry Pratchett introduces some new characters like Juliette, Trevor's love interest and assistant cook and Glenda, her supervisor who warns her all the time about men and their ways. There are even cameo appearances by old favorites like Rincewind, the librarian, DEATH, the watch, and even Lord Vetinari.
 The pacing starts off a little slow, but it finds its groove and we are told a great story about football, the fans, and the players. We are also shown how wonderful it is when you have friends and loved ones, that see the good in you and because they believe in you, it brings out the best in you. There are also the funny jokes, wit, and social commentary that comes with a Discworld book, overall making it quite an enjoyable read.
 If you haven't read Unseen Academicals yet and you are a Discworld fan, I suggest you do. It's a great story and you will find yourself chuckling at various moments.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Dear Square Enix

It is pretty clear that you have dropped the ball and are not the amazing game giant you once were. While I love the Final Fantasy series, it's pretty obvious you just don't give a damn about your consumer audience anymore and only care about making as much money as possible, even if the product isn't up to par. I wanted to love Final Fantasy 13 desperately, but I need more than pretty graphics and a great musical  soundtrack from a video game. It shouldn't take twenty gaming hours for a game to get good, linear dungeon crawling or not. When the writing is so vague, you aren't even sure what the story is or even what is going on with the main characters, that's a huge problem. It's as if you basically crapped on a piece of paper, signed it, and acted like it was priceless because your name was on it. There's only one thing to do when your dog poops on the rug, rub their nose in it and tell them how bad they are. This should have been done with you when you pulled this stunt with Final Fantasy 13 and instead of blaming yourselves for things like a class action law suit, you pointed fingers at others. So you defied all reason and gave us Final Fantasy 14.
 Where does one even begin with this latest piece of shit? Come on, you know deep in your gut, that this latest offering is in fact, a piece of dog poop. While there are in fact stunning graphics, the battle system is more forgiving than Final Fantasy 11, and the music is amazing, there are so many flaws. One glaring flaw is that the game not only lags often, there are very slow loading times along with a client that causes the game to crash a lot.  Then there is the factor that the game itself doesn't put forth much effort to be accessible, which is a double edged sword. On the one hand, it does encourage players to experiment, but on the other it's not really newbie friendly for beginners in the game. Finally, we have the completely ridiculous factor of several Final Fantasy 14 accounts being hacked when the game hasn't even been out that long. Quite a few of my friends have had this happen to them and frankly, I couldn't believe it. Really? It's that easy to hack into your game? That sounds like a very serious issue especially considering how your customer support is handling these complaints. One of my friends has been treated very badly by customer support and they have pretty much given him the run around about verifying his identity. This happened on YOUR watch and it should not have happened, but once again instead of taking responsibility for your actions, you blame someone else.
 It's just sad that you have lost your way and fallen from grace as RPG giants and have now become sad, pathetic, money grubbing jerks. I'm not even sure if Final Fantasy Versus XIII is going to redeem you or be yet another disappointment in your current line up of letdowns. It's one thing to be burnt out on something, but it's another to knowingly try to sell a product that is not up to snuff. You need to get that gaming spirit back, but I fear it's too late and you're just another cog in a giant soulless corporate machine.
 I know I will get a lot of flack for this latest blog entry, but I don't care because this needs to be said. Just because you are one of the video game giants, does not mean you are infallible. I want to believe in you, but I find that I am extremely disappointed in your current performance. It's up to you, Square-Enix to prove to us why we should give you any more money for services that are in all honesty, sub-par.

Friday, October 1, 2010

God Of War 3 My Guilty Pleasure

 I finished God Of War 3 tonight and I have to say this was my guilty pleasure. Not only did I love the story, but I loved all the brutally filled action sequences such as decapitating centaurs or smashing stone statues with giant hammers. There is also the love of mythology and enjoying the presence of various characters from said myths throughout the game as well as gods.  I also liked that there was a little more character development with the hero Kratos and the idea of redemption and hope.
 The game play is pretty tight and the same as the previous two games, with a few odd camera angles here and there, but over all the controls handle very well. There are even some new weapons to add to the artillery with some very interesting tweaks on the old ones making for a fun siege on the gods. There are bonus items that are unlocked once you beat the game and some fun costumes.
 I will be playing through God Of War 3 again just for those bonuses and to check them out. If you haven't played the game yet, I suggest you do especially if you like an action game with a lot of punch.