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< Piro >

"the undefinable headspace"

Thursday - November 29, 2007

[Piro] - 09:01:35 - [link here]

Well, i knew that one of the challenges this week was to see how effectively I could 'go back to work.'  Having a little one to take care of adds a whole 'nother layer of activities and responsibilities to your tasklist, filling it with certain numbers of things that have various levels of priority from "immidately" to "sometime before he turns 21."  Our first two weeks with the new baby really had me worried if i'd ever be able to compartmentalizing any of the Jack-related items, but by Monday I was starting to see some hope that it could be done.  After all, we are hardly the first couple to have kids.  Even comic artists and writers somehow manage it. 

I actually didn't do too badly.  It probably would have been a three comic week if i wasn't dealing with over a month of being behind with all sorts of other things that, well, pay the bills.  Love the little guy, but his timing has been remarkably good at torpedoing our Christmas season at the MegaGear store this year.  The good news is i managed to get most of the new stuff done, photographed, and once i get home later i can set the new stuff live.  Got a new christmas mug design, a new ornament, some other new stuff, the biggest thing being a brand new t-shirt design supporting the Zombie Rangers.  :P  I'll post here later this afternoon when it's ready to go live.

I got a number of emails telling me that when feeding your baby is one of the best times to catch up on anime, and i actually took a little bit of that advice yesterday - i finally watched the first ep yesterday (or was it the day before??) and it put a very big grin on my face.  It's as good and a little better than i expected - it's nice to see some Key characters who are not quite so morbidly emo as they tend to come off sometimes (like i'm anyone to talk).  It's really kind of funny that i have not been watching Clannad as it came out, considering the fact that Kimiko and Lockart and the Sight game are inspired by Clannad and the long wait there was before the game surfaced.  I even had Erika dressed up as a Clannad girl back in 2002.  :)

Ok, gotta run.  I'll be back this afternoon.

< Dom >

"Making the Band"

Tuesday - December 4, 2007

[Dom] - 11:18:54 - [link here]

As you may have guessed from my Thanksgiving SGD, I've spent the last couple weeks engrossed in Rock Band on the Xbox 360. It's blown away all my expectations, and it's taken over almost all gaming in my house. I'm still playing World of Warcraft, of course, but my cousins would kill me if I stopped.

But it's taken over my console gaming to the point where I bought the Guitar Hero 3 bundle, opened it up, put together the guitar, and tossed the game into the Rock Band tub without a second thought. I also bought Mass Effect, and even though by all accounts it's a spectacular game, the only reason I opened the box was to confirm for a friend that it works on Japanese Xbox 360s (it does, by the way).

The funny thing is, I've barely even touched solo tour mode - instead, friends come over during the weekends and we all rock out together, since I live in a house and not an apartment, so complaints from the neighbors are a non-factor. Most of them own the game themselves, and we certainly could play online if we wanted to, but it's such a spectacular group experience that we love getting together for it.

There's so much I could say about this game that has already been said by millions of review sites, so I'll just distill my favorite parts into a few paragraphs.

First, the character editor is something I've desperately wanted in a music game for ages. During our Rock Band sessions, my friends and I spend about a quarter to a third of our time using our hard-earned fake money on costume changes.  It's fun making up a look, then seeing if someone else can either go well with it or contradict it in the most glaring way possible.  As lead singer, my character DeTonica (it's a long story) has changed his image almost nightly, with such laughter-inducing looks as "Bono goes Grunge," "Laharl from Disgaea," and my personal favorite, "Tattooed Freak."  Our lead guitarist, Suberockr, has spent a lot of money trying to make himself look like Two-Face from Batman, and things have only gotten more fun from there.

Second, the game is highly accessible as a party game.  My family wanted to play it at Thanksgiving, where we had two of my nieces on the drums (one of my , another niece on bass, me on lead guitar and my very, very drunk cousin on vocals.  It was a huge blast, and even the dedicated spectators got a great show out of it.  As a matter of fact, I've been asked for a repeat Rock Band engagement at the family year-end party.

And lastly, the support for it is ridiculous.  MTV and EA are putting a huge amount of work into making sure that there's always a reason to go back to rocking, from frequent and reasonably priced song downloads (Roooooooxanne and JUKE! BOX! HEROOOO are now part of the regular rotation in our band) to upcoming options for custom band shirts, posters, and action figures.  I have a feeling that we'll be playing this game for months.

So that's my rant on Rock Band.  Go out and play it!  Or, you know, form a real band, but that requires a little more commitment than "hey, let's play video games on the weekend." 

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