Tuesday, March 31, 2009


For all you PC gamers or PC users in general be ready for tomorrow’s super virus. It is called Conficker and no one really knows what it will do. Speculation is that it will create a bot that can rent out your info to those who want to send SPAM, steal IDs, or direct you to online scams and phishing sites. If you say to yourself, “Oh I just won’t go on any unsafe pages,” you are in danger!!!! Conficker infects networks so you don’t even need to be on the net just connected to a network where someone else is connected to the web. Obviously Conficker makes any MMORPG a hazard to your PC’s health. I recommend that you turn Wednesday into the new sabbath for your PC and give you computer the day off, but if you feel the need to level up your level 31 paladin then protect yourself. The Norton anti-virus webpage suggested these steps.

  • Run a good security suite 
  • Keep your computer updated with the latest patches. If you don’t know how to do this, have someone help you set your system to update itself.
  • Don’t use “free” security scans that pop up on many web sites. All too often these are fake, using scare tactics to try to get you to purchase their “full” service. In many cases these are actually infecting you while they run. There is reason to believe that the creators of the Conficker worm are associated with some of these fake security products.
  • Turn off the “autorun” feature that will automatically run programs found on memory sticks and other USB devices.
  • Be smart with your passwords. This includes:
  1. Change your passwords periodically
  2. Use complex passwords – no simple names or words, use special characters and numbers
  3. Using a separate, longer password for each site that has sensitive personal information or access to your bank accounts or credit cards. 
For more details on how to protect yourself check out these websites

Be Safe

New Gaming Console Part 1

This month it was announced that Zeebo, a new gaming console, would be hitting the gaming markets later this year. But don’t get too excited for this new piece of tech, it’s not intended to compete against the gaming giants (Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft). In fact, it won’t even be released in the U.S. until next year, if even then. Instead, it’s meant to bring the joy and wonder of gaming to developing countries like Brazil, Russia, and Mexico where video games are scarce.

The Zeebo is constructed out of cellphone like processors making the console cheap to build, but the weak processors make the the graphics look like a slightly upgraded PlayStation 1 game. The Zeebo uses the 3G wireless network to connect to the internet and the owners of the Zeebo can download games via an online “shopping mall” from the comfort of their own homes. The Zeebo connects to a 3G network instead of a broadband connection because most people in these developing countries don’t have access to broadband yet. By making the Zeebo accessible to the larger world market, publishers and developers will be able to create games for about a billion new consumers. Capcom, Com2uS, EA Mobile, Gameloft, Glu, Namco Networks and THQ are just a few of the companies already lined up to develop games for the Zeebo and I am sure there will be many more to come. Since all the games will be downloadable the games will be cheaper to make and ultimately cheaper to buy. Hopefully the experimental Zeebo will be able to survive its market and bring a new dynamic to the gaming industry.[Source]

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Mr. Manhattan vs. Wolverine

Just watch this video about Mr. Manhattan verbally sparing with Wolverine. Who knew toys could be so insightful.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Yay it's St. Patrick's day! A day for terrorizing people who don't wear green and a reason to give the old expression, "It's 5 o'clock somewhere," a break for a day. To commemorate this eventful day day I want to bring Banshee to your attention. He is one of my favorite X-men characters and although this Irish hero is dead (I'm still upset about that) his memory still lives on.

Reasons why Banshee is awesome
  • He could sonic scream
  • He could fly at the speed of sound 
  • His sonic scream could put people into a hypnotic trance, disorient them, nauseate them, or simply render them unconscious. 
  • Could use echo location
  • At full strength his sonic blasts were powerful enough to liquefy or disintegrate targets 

There are a million more reasons why Banshee deserves your love so check out his wikipedia page
Click Here and see how the fighting Irish really do things.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The 300,000 $uperman comic

I'm sure you've heard it too. Action Comics No. 1 issue featuring Superman on the cover was just sold for $317,200 wow thats pretty impressive for comic that was originally priced at 35 cents. John Dolmayan, drummer for System of a Down purchased the comic book in behalf of an undisclosed client. Apparently there are only 100 copies of Action Comics No. 1 floating around the world. I get that the comic is rare and I'm sure it will be amazing in his collection, but we're in the middle of a recession who has 317,200 dollars to spend on a faded comic? I hope someone uses that money for something useful.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Talk Nerdy to Me: Chris McFadden

At the learning and gaming Expo I was given the opportunity to talk to Chris McFadden designer who helped create four Mortal Kombat games and Stranglehold. I got a chance to ask him what it took to make it in the gaming industry and how he was able to leave midway before its collapse.

So Chris my big question is were you apart of that Midway debacle?

Thankfully no, last year we heard rumors that the company was going under, but I didn’t pay much attention, we were Midway’s headquarters for the U.S. So we didn’t think anything would happen to us. When CEOs starting jumping ship I began to worry and started looking for a new job. Luckily I found a job at Vogster Entertainment three months before the company went under. In that respect I’m lucky, but I still had friends working at Midway and its sad to see them unemployed, but thats how the gaming industry works. When a big company goes under or fires a lot of staff the designers who still have ideas and still want to make games form their own companies. Some of the best games I’ve seen cross my desk were from independent developers.

So what is the best way to get into the gaming Industry?

Well there are lots of ways. The gaming industry is pretty huge so they always need people unfortunately this is bad time since lots of peopled are being fired. I think the best way to break in the industry [to be a designer] is to start making levels. The unreal game is the best example. Go use the level editor that is in the game and just start making levels. Its a good way to get use to level design and a lot of companies are using the unreal engine now.

What does a typical day look like to you?

There are two types of days, a regular day were I just work 8 hrs and crunch days were I will work 12-18 hrs. If you ever tell a designer “crunch” there eyes glaze over and become very depressed. I started a game and two weeks into development we had to crunch and it was pretty crazy. With little to no sleep everyone starts to get a little loopy. Let me tell you something someone told me, “The best ideas in games started as joke.” When everyone is sleep deprived they begin making crazy ideas like, “What if we make a chainsaw gun that lets you float and explode yourself whenever you want.” If after a good nights sleep they feel the idea is still pretty awesome they just put it in the game.

How is it working at Vogster Entertainment?

Its good they’ve only made one game and I dare you to find it. I’ve been working there for a couple months and I still can’t get my hands on it.

(Due to time constraints I was only able to ask one more question)

So what projects are you working on?

I can’t really tell you due legal issues and I’m really sorry.

OK so what can you tell me?

Well, I’m working on a game that is basically God of War meets Connan meets lots of blood and guts and it will be available for the PS3 and the X-Box 360 with a a separate game within the universe for the Wii.

Well thanks so much for talking to you Chris, it was nice meeting you.

It was good meeting you and good luck.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

Obviously I’ve been living under a rock if I am now getting around to watching Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. For that one other person who hasn’t seen this internet masterpiece I’ll give a quick recap. Dr. Horrible, played by Neil Patrick Harris A.K.A Doggie Howser, is a wanna be super villain trying to make it big in the business of evil. The three act story that is "The Sing-Along Blog" follows the Doc trying to balance his evil profession with trying to get the girl of his dreams and tying defeat his arch-nemesis Captan Hammer.

My first Impressions

Honestly I don’t know what I was thinking, but I was thrown by the fact that there was singing through the entire movie. Yes the words sing along are in the title, but for some reason I wasn't prepared for it (yeah pretty stupid on my part). I wanted to turn it off after the first 2 minutes, but I’m glad I stuck it out. The Doc’s sing along blog is predictable and extremely campy, but I found myself captivated halfway through the 2nd act. I even liked some of the songs which I was horribly opposed to in first place.

Final Thoughts

I love Hulu (wait, what!) ummmm what I mean to say is thanks to Hulu you can watch all 3 acts rolled into one neat package with limited commercial breaks. If you want to watch it (and I know you do) just Click Here. If you haven’t seen Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog by now here’s your chance to redeem yourself, if you’ve already seen it why not watch it again? (can’t think of reason not to can you)

I’m giving Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog 4
maniacal MWAHAHAHAHAs out of 5

Monday, March 2, 2009

Learning and Gaming Expo

The Learning and Gaming Expo in Park Ridge last Saturday has come and gone and I have to say it was pretty pitiful. It was held in Maine South’s cafeteria with speakers on one side of the room and a sparse collection of games to be played on the other. So was it worth attending?

Where are the Games?

I would have to say yes. The purpose of the Gaming and Learning Expo was to inform people (mostly parents) about the gaming industry and dispel some of negative propaganda of the gaming world. The Expo advertised that there would be games, but I was disappointed (but not surprised) to find that the games they showed off to parents and non-gamers were the super G rated games. The only games to make an appearance at the Expo were DDR, Guitar Hero 2, Rock Band, Mario Kart, Wii fit, and Little Big Planets. Since the Expo was an attempt to show parents how games can be used for the forces of good and not medium for watching people’s heads explode I guess I can be OK with their selection of games. It was weird that they were raffling off games like Stranglehold and Street Fighter 4 to the kiddies as prizes (seems a little counter intuitive to me).

Lets Talk

So what saved the Expo from being a huge failure? The speakers of course. I got to talk to a couple really cool game designers and animators. Michael Henson a professor at DeVry University’s Game and Simulation Program spoke about animation in games. “Animation in gaming is painstakingly slow, you need to be very detail oriented to do this job.” Have no fear you Ritalin addicted junkies, Michel went on to say, “There are many other types of designers such as level designers, character designers, and people who just make sure the shadows look good in a game.” Apparently, level and character designers don’t need to go into the same meticulous detail as an animator does.

Other speakers included Simeon Peebler from Chicago’s Flashpoint Academy who gave a talk on how to get into the gaming industry. No surprise that one of the best ways to break into the industry was to join Flashpoint Academy. I did learn that Flashpoint is rapidly growing and it has just bought one of ABC’s studios in Chicago to house some of their larger projects. Not bad considering Flashpoint Academy came into existed in 2007. Kishna Kumar from Microsoft was a big proponent that video games were very useful in todays society. He talked about how the gaming industry is larger than the music and movie industry and showed what kind of potential games in the future can have on children. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay to listen to his entire talk because I had to get back to work.

Final Thoughts

I don’t know how to judge if this event was successful or not. There weren’t that many people actually at the Expo and I would say that half the people attending were staff and volunteers who were there to set up and take down. The games they had on display were lame, but the speakers they found were top notch. I wish more people had come to the Expo, but overall I guess I’ll give the Learning and Gaming Expo a passing grade. I expect something a little bit bigger next year. Did you hear me Park Ridge?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I’m Broke: A Strategy for Reading Comics Amendment

So I’ve been on hiatus again for which I’m really sorry. Don’t worry I’ll make it up to you, the general public somehow. Right now I need to make an amendment to my I’m Broke: A Strategy for Reading Comics post. As it has already been pointed out I am missing a point

1.5 Piracy. Yes being a thief in the night pays off as long as you don’t get caught. Thanks to the internet you can download scans off some of your favorite comic books for free. Check it out at comicsworld.wordpress.com, but I am not condoning this, stealing is wrong (naughty naughty)
  • Pros- Free comic books that are conveniently on your computer to read
  • Cons- Watch out for that thing called the law, scans on a computer doesn't beat actually having a comic book in your hands, depending on the shape of your computer getting/reading the scans could be a pain