Pfft... I've been loafing around on a blogging break long enough to get my act back together and return to blabbering about entertainment. For obvious reasons the past couple of weeks haven't been exactly rife in gaming but damned if I haven't gotten at least something done. Lately, the PS3 disc tray has been vacated by Far Cry 3, which ended up providing 34 hours of surprisingly enjoyable frolicking around the exotic paradise of Rook Island. That's where Jason Brody, together with his brothers and friends, heads for a bit of adventure vacationing. Sadly, the island is also home for modern pirates into gun, drug, and slave trafficking, and it doesn't take long for the hapless tourists to get snatched as well.
Jason manages to escape, although Vaas, the nutcase leader of the bad guys, wastes his brother in the process. Jason vies for both revenge and rescuing his pals that are still alive but there's only so much one man can do against ruthless opression. Thankfully the native Rakyat tribe of the island is also getting fed up with the villains and they're just looking for a brave warrior to lead their people. Thus, it's time to lock and load, strap on some grenades, get some cool tribal tattoos on the arm, and begin the transformation from a paltry Yankee tourist into a jungle guerrilla warfare expert.
Far Cry 3 is a fairly conventional, yet exemplary entertaining and versatile first person shooter. The massive Rook Island holds so much miscellaneous stuff to collect and accomplish that the actual story missions quickly turn into secondary objectives. As well as assaulting Vaas' strongholds scattered around the island, Jason also thins out the local wildlife, handily working their skins into ever-bigger wallets, gun holsters, ammo belts, and loot satchels. The flora of the island, in turn, is good for a variety of syringes that can be used to restore lost health and, for example, temporarily improve lung capacity or awareness. Ascending rickety radio towers slowly opens up the map of the island and seized enemy camps act as convenient fast travel points across the island.
The game's main forte is naturally freedom. Even if the missions themselves are rarely nothing more than killing a whole lot of antisocial hoodlums with a comprehensive array of weaponry, the way to do it is usually up to the players themselves. Going in guns blazing is always an option but it's far more rewarding to stealthily pick out enemies one by one either with a combat knife up close or with a sniper rifle from afar. As a delightful bonus, captive animals can occasionally be freed to cause a bit more of extra chaos.
The storyline, revolving around thematics of insanity, is essentially simple, unsurprising, and utterly trivial, and the most memorable thing about the game's soundtrack were the sudden pieces of bombastic dubstep strewn here and there. As for everything there is to collect, shoot, or do, there's so much of everything that it eventually turns just boring and repetitious. Despite all this, for those commendable 30-or-so hours Far Cry 3 puts up an excellent treat. Even if it isn't much anything else, it excels in creating an open and atmospheric playground that is fun to fool around for a decent period of time!
That experience was part of the attached, personally most intriguing pile of releases that made their way into the collection these past few weeks. Granted, my turn of the year vow to play through more titles than buy has taken an unexpected hit but if Mr. Life would be kind enough not to fling any more shit my way for awhile and once summer vacation starts, I'm going to try and stage a comeback.
The program for the last complete day was typical for my visits in Japan, i.e. once more into the fountainhead of otaku culture to make full use of what little there was left of my travel budget. For anyone visiting the area, the best places to go for games seem to be on the right side of the main street when approaching from Dotonbori. Pretty much at the entrance to Den Den Town, the Hyper Media Shop Geo and the Media Recycle Shop next to it in particular are treasure troves for used games, and Super Potato, found towards the end of the street wasn't half bad, either. Volks, situated across the street from the first two of the afore-mentioned shops, is a paradise for those into figurines and anime paraphernalia.
Nothing particularly interesting to report about the day. Plenty of shopping, retro gaming, walking around, and calling it a day with one last tasty marine-esque okonomiyaki at Chibo, the place already familiar from day one. The journey was coming to an end and after considerable effort, I even managed to cram everything into my backpack and satchel, even if both of them were nearly bursting at their seams.
Packing was further complicated by a silly Project Diva F accessory set complete with its controller stand, PlayStation 3 skin stickers, and other random junk. I picked up Ryu ga Gotoku 5 as well, just in case Sega wouldn't deem worthwhile to localize it. Okami HD in turn was released on disc in Japan and since there were plenty of rumors that it would also have English text, I decided to risk it. For PSP, a fresh vocaloid game Megpoid the Music#, even if it has received atrocious review scores. Lastly, for the 3DS, Taiko no Tatsujin: Chibi Dragon to Fushigi na Orb and Labyrinth no Kanata, which I drooled over at a year and a half ago. Seems like Konami never bothered to bring it over to the west. The language barrier is sure to pose an insurmountable problem with many of these but I still want to give them a go.
Not getting too old at all! It seems that everything is about the weather and when the depression finally moved elsewhere, replaced by sunshine and clear skies, it was no longer possible to resist the temptation of Den Den Town, Osaka's version of Akihabara. With a fueled up wallet, I set off to challenge the otaku district of the city. For a morning person, having to wait for the stores to open at 11AM or occasionally even at noon would have otherwise been an unbearable wait but time flew by just by scouring the numerous side alleys and enjoying the unabashed moe culture. An impressive metal insect surveyed the district from up high just because.
The morning made unquestionably clear that Den Den Town would feature something for hobbyists of pretty much any field of entertainment. New games, retro games, toys, scale models, figurines, anime, manga, doujin, cosplay, maid cafes, arcades, etc. Ordinary people probably just shake their heads bemusedly but for us incorrigible Japanophiles, this is about the coolest place in all of Osaka. It's not quite as vast, crowded, and over-the-top as Akihabara but it's still criminally easy to lose track of time.
Before shopping, the man had to be fueled up as well. From the edge of the district, I found a pretty decent Thai restaurant that served some mystic starters and a nicely seasoned pork ramen with a nutty aftertaste. They were quite sufficient to provide energy for the sizeable task of rummaging through every game store on the main street, spotting interesting and import-friendly games while making judicious price comparisons. It's almost a blessing that I never learned Japanese, as language proficiency would have made things impossible – there are simply way too many intriguing titles that never see daylight outside Japan. Anyway, patience is a virtue. Even if stores were right next to each other, identical products could easily have a price difference from 100 up to 1,500 yen.
While my funds depleted at an alarming rate, I also paid a visit to the numerous arcades in the area. Delightfully, unlike in Tokyo, taking photos in them wasn't expressly forbidden. Since I settled with empty cabinets and refrained from using flash, I hopefully avoided making an impression of a boorish gaijin. Both Taito and Sega had a couple of multistorey arcades in close vicinity, featuring an excellent selection of games. The biggest and baddest of them seemed slightly too puzzling for a tourist but I sunk several hours into top-notch retro gaming. As an added bonus, many games were set up to provide two credits for 100 yen and if one wanted to have a quick smoke, it was allowed in most floors.
Brawlers and bullet hell shooters numbered in the dozens but music gamers hadn't been forgotten either. Various drum and guitar games, especially when played by the local virtuosos, looked incredibly difficult and surprisingly even a bit of Miku-ing on Project Diva Arcade turned out to be tough! Despite having invested considerable time on the PSP and PS3 games, playing the arcade version resulted in an appallingly shoddy performance and just barely being abely to clear some songs on normal difficulty. Thankfully I had no audience.
It was rather late when I finally and somewhat reluctantly managed to move myself and my purchases elsewhere. My budget was once again in shambles but I still had juice left. The weather was nice and warm, so I returned to the Osaka Bay Area and took a scenic elevator to the 55th floor observatory of Cosmo Tower. It was a snazzy place with peaceful jazz playing on the background and the beautiful lit city extending into the horizon in almost every direction. It's a shame that the room had plenty of led lights reflecting from the windows, so snapping photos was needlessly difficult.
Returning to home base, I circled through America Mura, which seems to be Osaka's answer to Tokyo's Harajuku. It's a district favored by the youth and expats, and a place teeming with fashion stores, bars, and occasional splurges of Americanism so thick and overt that it's almost embarrassing. Cool and exotic for locals, I'm sure, but slightly too familiar and tacky from a Westerner's perspective. The lamp posts modeled as human-like beings were neat, though, and the nightlife felt vibrant.
The last stop of the day was a bit of retro gaming heaven, a video game bar called Space Station, founded by Matt Bloch a couple years back. The main attraction of this quaint, easy-to-miss, extremely charming little place is its selection of consoles. As well as all the current generation hardware, it features all the most notable consoles of the golden past, from NES/Famicom to Dreamcast. There are easily around twenty games for each platform and no table charge whatsoever. Naturally, it's nigh on impossible to find a better place to knock down a few cold ones while enjoying great games!
The bar has been elegantly and appropriately decorated with game cases, controllers, and gaming paraphernalia, and really feels like someone's comfy living room. The newest games can be played on a big screen, lounging on a beanbag chair while the retro arsenal with smaller screens have been fitted on the counter. It's even possible to order in food from the floor below, should one be struck by hunger. Matt was a wonderful, social host all through the evening and engaging in conversations with the other patrons was natural as well. After a bit of Parodius, Kirby, and a few drinks, one extremely happy tourist set off to call an end to a superb day!
The haul of the day was splendid. PS3 got its Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F last month, which was naturally a given while I might have gone a little overboard with Hori's nearly 4lbs arcade controller for the said game. It barely fit into my backpack but I still managed to lug it home! Another oversized item was a nice find as well, namely the special edition of Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus: Shoujotachi no Shoumei for the Vita. Furthermore, a retro-esque Miku shirt and for the PSP, the complete The Idolm@ster: Shiny Festa trilogy; Funky Note, Groovy Tune, and Honey Sound. I foresee my entertainment future involving loads of rhythm gaming.
That's what I'd say, if Kickstarter was a bit more eager to expand its operations outside just United States and England. Still, that doesn't mean all projects would be unattainable forever, as The 31 Days of Zero Suit Samus by Chris Furniss and Ross Rosenberg handily demonstrates. A couple years back, the guys jokingly came up with an idea about a cartoon (or rather, individual scenes) revolving around the heroine of the Metroid series, Samus Aran. Not only did they go through with it, they crowdfunded it into a 56-page hardcover album. It would've been nice to partake in the funding process itself but luckily the end result with all the extras is also available on Fangamer.
The album, a T-shirt, and a bunch of pins arrived today and damn, what a fantastic, hilarious, and endearing package it is! If Metroid rings no bells whatsoever then nevermind but for all of those who know their Nintendo history, this stuff is remixed retro goodness to the second power! Furniss' energetic, eloquent, and egalitarian interpretation of Samus would work even by itself but random cameos by Mario, Link, Pikachu, and many more are the icing on top of a deeply funny cake. If fandom gets better than this, I'll be darned!
Also, Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time coupled with a vacation of a bit over a week means the happiness index in this household is currently at an all-time high.
A lengthy Easter weekend is always welcome and spirits rise in unison with day temperatures steadily climbing above zero Celcius. Exceptionally even gaming is momentarily all about recent titles. HarmoKnight, the fresh new 3DS rhythm game by Game Freak of the Pokémon fame was released just yesterday and despite its hefty price tag and digital nature, I had no qualms finding it a new home on the memory card. In hindsight, I probably shouldn't have, even if it did provide a brief and original moment amidst brisk tunes. The player takes control of a young boy, Tempo, who wields an ancient note-like staff while running and jumping across the world of Harmonia, rhythmically beating the living heck out of mechanic Noizoid nasties that dream of world domination.
HarmoKnight's idea of combining an action platformer with music gaming is pretty shrewd. Tempo advances through automatically scrolling stages that frequently switch between 2D and 3D viewpoints while providing several alternative routes to take. Keeping in rhythm is achieved by well-timed jumps and strikes which require a good balance of sense of rhythm, keen eye, and reflexes. Noizoid boss stages in turn are Simon Says style challenges in which short button sequences have to be repeated accordingly.
The production values of the game are suitably high. It looks good, sounds good, and, most importantly, totally ignores any motion control gimmickry. Two buttons and the four faces of the direction controller – that's the whole game mechanic in all of its beautiful simplicity. There are even more than 50 stages, so all should be well. Unfortunately, HarmoKnight is undermined both by gameplay and length. The hit window of the notes is just slightly too narrow and there are moments when they come in so thick and fast that Tempo's five heart health reserve is ravaged at an alarming rate. By replaying earlier stages, it is possible to challenge any level with up to eight hearts but even that feels occasionally inadequate. None of this is a show-stopper, though, and the mini-adventure of the young hero can be completed in just a bit over three hours.
Some replay value can be found in improving scores, seeking out extras hidden in stages, or tackling them at a faster pace but rhythm games require an immaculate attention to highly-tuned precision and that's something HarmoKnight is lacking somewhat. It's essentially "nice" and I'll probably return to it every now and then but 15 euros for such a little snack is way too much (･_-｡ )
The 60 hours spent on The Wire were, however, one of the best entertainment time investments I've made in a long while! Tight storytelling was in abundance and the fates of several of its central characters truly wrung my heart. Some even in real life; Felicia Pearson, for example, was recruited into the series straight from the streets of Baltimore and she played the role of a seriously scary and callous ghetto gangsta in a brilliant fashion. Sadly, after the series ended, she fell back to her earlier life and as I understand, is currently serving a drug trade conviction in supervised probation (゜-゜)
Although The Wire seems to be regarded as one of the best TV series ever made, that doesn't mean it would be entirely flawless. The game of street made perfect sense but at times it felt like no one in Baltimore is willing to play fair, so to speak. Whether it was the police, politicians, lawyers, teachers, or reporters, nigh on everyone seemed to be involved in some shady business or the other, resulting in needlessly exaggerated drama. The pacing, too, could have been better. Each of the five seasons was built around one of the aforementioned parties in a slightly disposable fashion.
Nevertheless, The Wire is a starkly touching and frequently surprising series that closes its curtains in style and ultimately while it's still winning. As fun as it would have been to follow the life of Baltimore forevermore, it's better this way. Now to find some other gem that has already finished airing – in this gluttonous internet age, the mere thought of having to follow an intriguing story on a weekly basis, let alone trying to survive season breaks is just plain unfathomable (^_^;)
In other news, let's backtrack to last January, when Xbox 360 came back home, aided by a Microsoft moneyback campaign. The basic premise was simple: buy the console and a game, fill in a campaign form, mail it and the receipt to Microsoft, wait a whopping ten weeks, and get a reimbursement of 50 euros straight to your reported bank account. I was a bit sceptical on how such convoluted scheme would work in practice and – lo and behold – of course it doesn't work. It's now closer to 12 weeks since I mailed all the required documents, the reimbursement is nowhere to be seen, and the customer support mostly excels in escalating the issue somewhere else.
At the moment it seems like my issue is being handled somewhere in Ireland where they first claimed that the payment couldn't be processed due to missing bank details (yeah, right) and after delivering them a second time, they claim all is now in order and that I would get my money in 3-4 weeks. I believe it when I see it but this is certainly some bona fide customer bouncing right here. Granted, it's not a big deal but I'm peeved at how a needlessly complicated process to begin with just keeps on getting worse. Bureaucracy FTW (>_<)
Backtracking further, to the last day of last year, I recall making some New Year's resolutions about cutting down on impulse sale purchases. Although restraint carried a surprisingly long way this year, I guess the innate nature of resolutions is that they're to be broken. I blame, in particular, the local department store chains that a couple weeks back wanted so desperately to get rid of their games inventory that it would've been a crime not to take advantage of their deals. If the retail price of two or three games is enough to bolster the collection with twelve, then so be it. I regret nothing (￣^￣)
Arctic air masses, morning temperatures of -15°F, snow, more of the same for as far as the forecasts reach... Utterly crappy Spring, may I change it? Even trying to write anything is so sluggish these days that I'll settle for reminding everyone about the wonderful sale GOG.com is having until the end of this week, offering a pack of five PC/Mac games for considerable discount. Avid gamers on the afore-mentioned platforms might find the selection a bit lacking but I was certainly more than overjoyed to spend mere 19 dollars and walk away with an auspicious fivesome of The Witcher: Enhanced Edition, Legend of Grimrock, Deponia, Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space, and Sam & Max Save the World. I'm still trying to lead a frugal and playthrough heavy year but some deals are just too good to pass.
That's all. Sorry. Carry on.
The year 2013 has most definitely kicked off but any notable releases (aside from a certain special edition) are still very much missing. There's no recourse but to regress like crazy and pay yet another salute to the past. Recent shopping has been all about acquiring perhaps the best PS2 horror trilogy ever. Project Zero, Project Zero II: Crimson Butterfly, and Project Zero 3: The Tormented (sheesh, if you choose Roman numerals, stick with Roman numerals!) represent genuinely creepy atmosphere at its finest. As for the Xbox 360, the couple year long pariah meant missing out on a handful of potential digital XBLA gems. I'm quite certain that the quartet of Fez, Ilomilo, Bastion, and Dust: An Elysian Tail will cover that front more than adequately. Will investigate this weekend.
Evening, all. Entertainment has once again crawled to hibernate. I also had to undergo a bit of mourning after the flimsy power supply (or something) of an external HDD decided to leave this world behind, taking with it a terabyte's worth of fairly inconsequential data. Luckily a brutal post mortem revelead an ordinary drive that could have been handily and elegantly installed into any piece of hardware. I ended up choosing a different path with Fujitech's IDE/SATA-USB thingamajig which – hip hooray – provided a more or less convenient way to access the seemingly lost data.
There are several far more aesthetical ways to handle old hard drives but this one provided me with a chance for a bit of time traveling. For a few PC generations already, I've gotten used to simply dumping old hardware to the nearest recycling center apart from the hard drives. This purchase was a most splendid way to dig out all those ancient IDE drives from the back of the cupboard, plug them in, and visit oneself from at least a decade go. And sure enough, there were the Windows NTs, amusing partitioning strategies, coding projects, anime reviews, essential utilities, almost the time before the internet... The goods!
As far as current generations go, internet will probably track everyone's life from cradle to grave but I'd wager the web can never provide quite the same personal rush as inspecting old hard drives can do!
And so does Alan Wake come to a close in this household as well. It might have been due to the small break of a few days but the auspicious start nevertheless deteriorated into contagious yawning. The Bright Falls battle of light versus dark ended up being more Stephen King than the man himself. Kinda fluent and entertaining, sure, yet awfully bloated and predictable at the same time. Fighting the ferocious Takens quickly grew old and towards the end, I couldn't even be bothered with the collectible novel pages and coffee thermoses strewn about pretty much everywhere. Even the essentially solid suspense turned into awkward camp, mostly thanks to Alan's manager, Barry, who was solely there for comedic sidekick value only. Poltergeists taking control of not just people but local combine harvesters and earthmovers didn't help, either (~_~;)
After an eleven hour long journey, the game case also held a redeemable code for the first of the game's two DLC expansions, The Signal. It turned out to be nothing more but the exact same messy action paired with twice the bullshit of the original game design. Several endless (assumably, at least) enemy waves, overally displeasing chaos, and perhaps two hours worth of content that I couldn't even be arsed to see through. The world of Alan Wake is technically astounding and beautiful, and more often than not, it manages its suspense in a convincing manner. Sadly, everything falls apart with clumsy combat and excessively clichéd, black-and-white storytelling. As said before, Alan Wake might have been far better as an adventure than an action-adventure.
Summary? Quite alright but as with its source, more than past its prime by now.
Good old The Pinball Arcade, in turn, continues to be exactly what is should be. Thanks to decently frequent downloadable content, the number of playable tables has risen to nineteen already. It's still a joy to play, although reservedly so. Whenever you give it a go, you can never be sure how it all pans out until half a dozen rounds. When hunting for high scores just won't click, it simply won't. Period. On a bad day, any chosen table makes no difference whatsoever. The game simply doesn't flow and gutter balls become a frequent eyesore. Then again, on a good day everything is nothing short of rainbows, lollipops, and sunshine!
Either way, inflation has gotten a good, somewhat worrying grip of the game. The last table pack consisted of a single table with an option to pay a little more for pro versions that give access to admire the tables from various perspectives and tinker around with their ROM settings. Sounds neat but in practice, eight euros per table is way too much for continuous support. I think I'll settle with the selection available now. Then again, should it ever include Data East's Hook, which I remember spending many nights in the local gas station with my friend back when we were teenagers, that one could be worth in the range of my left kidney (^_−)
As for the rest of the weekend, I've been busy with new hardware. The Sony Ericsson K810i that I bought back in 2007 used to be a solid camera phone but after half a decade, I'm inclined to think that one of those newfangled smart phones might finally be in order. Easier said than done. The general public seems to favor models with price tags in the 500-600 euro range, enough for my poor self to retreat at least two blocks back from any outlet even selling those. Reading reviews and opinions wasn't much help, either, considering most phone fanatics seem to be even worse and more anal-retentive folk than console fanboys.
Therefore, I happily gave the Internet a finger and used ten minutes to bump into the first phone that would meet my vague and entirely baseless requirements of Wi-Fi, mid-price, medium size, extensibility, decent-ish screen resolution, and Android. Even that last one was solely because I had gotten used to it with my Asus pad. The first phone I came across was Samsung Galaxy S III Mini, which, according to most reviews, is sluggish, overpriced, inferior, and outdated. In other words, it's average. For an average person, that's the best marketing speech there is.
Based on the first couple of days, it seems like an adequate, competent smart phone good for calling, texting, surfing the web, and perhaps some day locating something to play that would be more than just mobile crap trying to make do with just a simple idea. Even if its four inch screen is quite moderate, the phone actually feels rather bulky. Still reasonably manageable single-handedly but perhaps something smaller would've been even better. Oh well, at least Android's latest Jelly Bean operating system, straight out of the box, works like a charm and is fluid and intuitive enough for my personal tastes. Storage space isn't a problem, either. The eight gigabytes of the device itself should be plenty and extending it with a bog standard 16Gb SDHC card hardly broke the bank.
It takes the quite a bit more of everyday life to see whether the purchase was a good one but I'm fairly certain it'll last me the next five years or so. Even the K810i would've continued to serve just fine, hadn't it lacked the means to kill time during those all too common occasions when one has to endure long periods of time listening to something utterly trivial, while the majority of audience has already made the obvious choice of finding refuge in their own, personal mobile heaven. A pad would handle the situation even better but it's always a proactive device whereas a phone serves more as an emergency medi-kit.
Seems like old age truly doesn't game alone. It took me a month to realize, why 360 coming back to the household was such a nice thing. Damn it. Guitar Hero II. Of course. Oh well, off to the cleaning closet to retrieve the first generation plastic X-Plorer guitar controller to check out whether the past few years of fiery love towards Japanese rhythm gaming would've taught anything useful. And lo and behold, whereas playing through all the songs on easy difficulty back in 2007 lasted two days, and honing them to five star performances an entire month, all that now took just two hours and 45 minutes ∑(O_O；)
Since that felt a bit too inadequate to call the game played through, I spent an additional four hours to tame it on its medium difficulty with its added songs and everything. This little nostalgy trip didn't last much longer, though. It also reminded me of why I quit this essentially wonderful series after pretty much this one game, even if Activision still had a jolly good time for years milking it dry and then some, up to the point where even the most ardent fans were probably up to their every imaginable orifice with guitar heroism.
Let's deal with the good first. The selection of 70+ rock songs spanning five decades and consisting of a fine selection of indie songs and iconic classics is, at least in principal, awesome. In practice, at this point of time most of the songs were merely covers but still good enough to make an impression. Even today, sitting comfily in an armchair with a toy guitar in hand, playing through songs made famous by the likes of Deep Purple, Alice Cooper, Kansas, or Nirvana, is something that makes one grin. It's a wonderful amalgam of childish joy, nostalgy, and ostentatious western rock attitude that Japanese rhythm games simply can't deliver.
Still, although the game has rhythm, its pacing is as broken as humanly possible. The easiest difficulty, involving just three of the guitar's five note buttons, is (or rather, was) a surefire way to hook any casual gamer whereas the normal difficulty already, still with just four note buttons in play, ruthlessly begins to separate men from boys while the last two difficulties are solely for born guitar virtuosos or plain masochists. This recipe caters for both the casual and the hardcore crowd but as for all of us Ordinary Olivers residing somewhere in the middle, it's nothing but awkward. The learning curve is so steep that the game loses its charm way too early. It's either easyish or tough but hardly never something in-between, i.e. normal.
As stated before, I haven't banned myself from buying games this year but that activity is still under heavy, conservative scrutiny. Whatever the case, there are still some things that simply cannot be ignored. The awards of this year's second and third bought physical games go to Etrian Odyssey and Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard. Atlus showed remarkable courtesy and decided to re-release these gems that originally saw daylight in 2007 and 2008. The third game, which I reservedly liked very, very much back in 2010-2011, got the same treatment. Ever since that one, I kept a wary eye on these two but as usual, they weren't exactly easy to come by and their prices were relatively high. Now all is well again and as an added bonus, I ended up supporting the original publisher rather than some voracious scalper. Which is nice.
Lastly, here's the clip that has been going around most gaming sites these past couple of days, namely Team Bondi's most wonderful L.A. Noire blooper reel. I might be late but a) lazy and b) hilarious. As far as the uncanny valley goes, realism still has long ways to go but that game managed facial expressions with such precision that failed takes make up for most fascinating and deeply funny entertainment (＾▽＾)