Uncategorized

A Short PSA About Downloading Old Games For Free

I was playing an online game recently where a guy was sharing links to a YouTube video where you could get Counter-Strike, Half-Life, and the original Halo on PC all for free. Of course, anybody with common sense can tell you that’s not a good idea for a multitude of reasons. King among those reasons would be just how fishy the offer sounds. What is purposed is comparable to the cool looking pair of shades at a Dollar Store, with the compromise most likely being a nasty Computer Virus. While that’s bad in and of itself, what’s even worse is the legality of it all.

Now, before I start, I should preface this by saying that I am not an expert when it comes to law. I’ve never studied, nor ever looked into too hard, but I at least know the surface of it — don’t steal things, don’t murder, don’t do drugs, etc. If I screw something up here, please correct me. It shouldn’t take an expert to tell you Piracy falls under the former listing, as it amounts to stealing from whoever created or is responsible for the product you’re downloading. What constitutes piracy is questionable at best. In regards to releases from this year or just a few years ago, it’s absolutely an act of theft. In regards, however, to 10 years ago or even 20-30… well, that depends. It’s considered theft if somebody still owns the rights to whatever is being downloaded and they’re active about that property. As the original Half-Life and Counter-Strike games are still up for sale and are heavily promoted via discounts, it’s a safe bet to say that pirating them can’t fall under the trapping of a legal grey area. As for Halo, that’s an uncertain bet. Microsoft — clearly — is still pursuing the Halo franchise as it’s their main cash cow in the Video Game market and has been for many years. Despite this, I don’t believe the original Halo: Combat Evolved as seen a release on the PC since it’s boxed-copy version in the early 2000s’. Halo 2 did see a similar fate in 2007 (I believe), albeit one chained up to Microsoft’s then-new Games For Windows Live program.  With this in mind, it’s probably not too safe to snatch a copy of it but it probably won’t bite you too hard right now.

This post, of course, is not just about whether or not you should take up this specific offer. All offers that cost either nothing or little-to-nothing almost always have a Catch 22 to make up for their lack of budgeting. In the case of downloading old PC games that have a slim chance of ever being sold again, the catch is that they may not run properly on Modern PCs’, if at all. With catches like these in mind, it’s a good idea to apply common sense to any offer you’re given. If you see a YouTube video offering links to the original Half-Life (or any other similar game) while it’s still being sold, maybe consider the overall legality of it before you pursue that download. Nearing a contrary, if you see a short 3-second video with a robot saying “links in the description” and decide to download it, it’s your fault you got that virus… also, it most likely isn’t legal, to begin with.

I write this warning because I had to talk somebody down from taking the very specific offer. Not everybody can think on their toes on a whim, so I decided to write this if you ever find yourself in a similar circumstance.

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Miscellaneous

Chatting about NakeyJakey’s music

So, you’ve seen some posts about movies on here, and a lot more about Video Games (I actually prefer the former over the latter, ironically enough)… but what about music? For me to say I like music like it’s groundbreaking would be like making the astute observation that the sun is very hot and you shouldn’t touch it. It’s something we all do time to time again but don’t talk about a whole lot. So, here’s a little ditty about a YouTube/Soundcloud artist that doesn’t have a whole lot of tracks out yet.

I think I should point out before all of this that my favorite genre of music is not rap. Yes, I like all types of music (yet another obvious observation), but I listen to rap the least. This doesn’t mean I hate it, however. Rap is interesting to me because it’s a genre that builds off of the fact that it’s loud, proud, typically has more rhymes in it than the stuff they read to you as a child and can be very offensive. If you were to cover a rap song as only a rock song, I don’t think it would quite work as well. Got it? Okay.

NakeyJakey, or Jakey (the name he’s chosen for his music), is a YouTube creator known for goofy tidbits about Video Games. He could be talking about Dark Souls while (literally) in bed, or even talking about nostalgic memories (like PS1 demo discs, a forgotten skateboarding game, and the like). While it would be a major understatement to say that a YouTube persona talking about Video Games is nothing new, it’s the style of Jakey’s work that makes listening to him talk about games all the more intriguing. Oh, and he also makes music.

Jakey currently has 11 tracks on Soundcloud, with 5 on Spotify. I’ll be talking mainly about these 5, although some of his older work on Soundcloud (and even YouTube) is notably impressive. The 5 tracks he has on Spotify are Cafeteria, South Dakota, Saintlike, Medium, and Moby Dick.

The song ‘Cafeteria’ is pretty impressive. Not for its lyrics (which aren’t terrible, but nothing you haven’t heard before), but in particular its instrumental. Jakey has created a pleasant sounding song with an incredibly creative arrangement of sounds at his disposal. The end result is a song that is a great blend of 90s’ sounds with modern day Electronic music. It also helps that Jakey isn’t that bad of a singer, too.

South Dakota is a subtle departure from Cafeteria in the fact that it’s a rap/trap song primarily. The lyrics, again, aren’t the most creative but still manage to be passable. The instrumental, again, is pretty good. It doesn’t have the 90s’ flair of the previous track, but I don’t think that would have worked on this track anyways. As for Jakey’s rapping, it’s audible and appropriately slow for the beat he’s been given. I wouldn’t say this is my favorite of Jakey’s current offerings, but I can hardly say it’s a ‘good’ track – it’s a great track.

My absolute favorite would have to be Saintlike. Here, Jakey mixes the slow nature of Cafeteria with the talented composition of South Dakota. The lyrics here have a very personal vibe to them, with a fair bit of originality to them. My only issue with the lyrics is that they have some references that require an explanation for people who haven’t been following Jakey since Day 1 (the references, in question, relate to his previous username). Despite that, Saintlike is a fantastic track that I’d very easily recommend to fans of electronic music who don’t care if the music they listen to has some F-Bombs.

Medium is the next track. This one is kind of an enigma to me. The lyrics are even more personal than Saintlike, but too much so for me to casually recommend this song to anyone who’s into similar music. The hook, especially, sounds bland if you have no clue what the context overall is. Disregarding the lyrics, the song has all the hallmarks of a Jakey song: decent production and sufficiently-done rapping. This song’s deep and mature themes make it easily one of Jakey’s best, but I can easily understand if it turns a fair amount of people away before they get past the opening.

Moby Dick is the final track here and it ranks up with Saintlike to me for Jakey’s best current track. While it’s a fairly standard song about heartbreak, there’s a notably personal vibe to it that makes it all the more engaging. Moreover, Jakey actually does some pretty good rapping here. It has a bit of its own style (that being, it’s very straightforward), but I personally don’t find anything wrong with it as the bars are pretty well written and flow together nicely. Once again, the production values here are decent and further prove that Jakey is a pretty good producer and whoever masters his tracks does a masterful job at it (awkward pun intended).

In conclusion, Jakey is a pretty good artist. I’m anticipating his next track. If Jakey does make an album, I’ll support it almost instantly. Even if I’m a very cynical person who knows nothing about music criticism (I’m writing this for fun), I can at least say I thoroughly enjoyed the tracks Jakey pumped out from late 2016 to 2017.

Dog bless.

Bitching about something because I can · Movies · Spoilers

(SPOILERS) My Thoughts on ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’

HEY! The title of this post says Spoilers. In case you missed it, this post contains big-time spoilers! Just a heads-up.

Also, I ramble allot in this.

Another holiday season, another exploitative Star Wars release that will rake in billions regardless of its quality. I’m going to be honest here: I’ve never really liked Star Wars. The first ones are alright, but I think they’ve aged a little worse than people are willing to admit they have. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t exactly raised on Star Wars that I’m not a megafan, but I’ve never really felt like these films are masterpieces. This came to me as bright as it could with 2015’s The Force Awakens. It looked good, sounded good, and some of the writing was solid… but I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong with it. When I watched for a second time, I’d come to a realization: I don’t like The Force Awakens very much. It wasn’t that it was more of a rehash than a reboot that killed it for me, it was the fact that Star Wars now felt… corporate. The story felt like it wanted to go somewhere, but as I rewatched the film, I couldn’t help but imagine a whole board of brilliant writers having their unique vision turned down so Disney can pump out 20 more Star Wars movies over the course of the next 20 years. In a way, it felt devoid of the passion that Lucas had put behind the original Trilogy – more than the prequels had. This issue only became more apparent as I watched The Last Jedi in a packed theater last night.

So, what did I think of The Last Jedi? Well, for starters, I liked it far more than I had enjoyed The Force Awakens. Despite reeking of overly corporate decisions, there were moments that wowed more than just me. NOW ONTO WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE ABOUT IT. When Snoke died, the whole audience burst into applause. I didn’t applaud. This surprised me, but only because Snoke is the opposite of a compelling villain. Over the course of 2 movies, all I knew about him was that he isn’t a Jedi, so he’s bad by nature. It looked cool, but it sure didn’t feel cool. What was pretty awesome, however, was when Rey and Kylo Ren kick some ass… only for Kylo to be like “ayy yo I have an obligational contract to be the big bad meanie in the next film, so fuck any of the potentials I might have had as a character in this film k byeeee”. Yeah, that was a little disappointing. Then there’s Luke Skywalker. I didn’t hate his character here, but he underused as a character. His death, also, was far more underwhelming than anything else. He just kind of dies. Apparently, Jedi can commit magical seppuku whenever they feel like it. Why was this never established before? Movie. This is all not to mention the countless plot threads, some of which were not entirely necessary. I am, of course, referring to the moment where Finn has to track down some code breaker. This felt like it just dragged on, with nothing important really happening until the writers gave up on it. Finally, the pacing near the end was way off. I honestly felt like there were 5 different endings within the last 20-30 minutes. The long shot of the ship disappearing would have made for a bad ending, and the writers were smarter than that… but I couldn’t help but feel like it was going to come to a close as the ship left. FINALLY, finally, not all of the logic makes sense. Why does ramming into a giant ship at lightspeed cause all of the smaller ships (which are out of range) to explode? Movie.

With that in mind, there’s a lot to dislike about The Last Jedi. NOW ONTO WHAT I LIKED ABOUT IT. The Last Jedi is standard Star Wars fare. This means the acting is solid, it looks and sounds pleasant, the music is undeniably epic, the CGI is well done, and it has plenty of humor. The action sequences, especially, were well done. The Last Jedi, despite its flaws, is actually quite a fun movie that had me near the edge of my seat on some occasions. My favorite part of The Last Jedi, however, is the acknowledgment that all sides of the conflict are total hypocrites and are all wrong in some glaring way. The scene where the codebreaker showing off all the ships the owner had sold until landing on a Jedi one was very well executed and got to the point. Kylo Ren, despite having an arc that went almost nowhere in this film, actually makes a great point about this near the end. Hell, if anything, Kylo becomes a more interesting villain here than he did in The Force Awakens because of this. One of the cooler things I noticed here, more than I did with The Force Awakens, is the evolution of the Star Wars universe from the O.G. trilogy to the newer films. Like with Blade Runner 2049, the idea to mix old technology with new technology actually gives off a vibe that the universe is alive in a way. That is the only comparison between these 2 movies I’ll ever make.

Yeah, and that’s about it. Again, I didn’t hate it. I did come out of the theater bitching to my friends about the various aspects that didn’t work so well, but I can hardly say I regretted my time with this one. If anything, The Last Jedi has made me happy for all of the unique and risky films that came out this year that a corporation, like Disney, wouldn’t do. Films from this year like Blade Runner 2049, Three Billboards, The Shape of Water, and so on prove that the film industry is still creative and kicking.

Reviews

Review: Minecraft (Nintendo 3DS)

UPDATE (12/20/17): So, apparently I wasn’t aware that Minecraft on the 3DS DOES NOT have multiplayer when I wrote this. Yup. This is why I’m not a games journalist.

I have to be honest here: I’m not a fan of Minecraft. The most I ever remember playing it was back in its Alpha stage because there was something unique about it. It was like a show of fireworks for the deaf – intriguing, but not massive. Nowadays you can’t escape Minecraft. Name any console and it has a Minecraft port, and if it doesn’t then they’re currently working on it. I wouldn’t be surprised if they make a version of Minecraft that uses its controls to teach you how to play the piano. Hell, I have to give kudos to Microsoft for making me dread the name Minecraft itself.

With all of that, it’s no surprise to me that they said “screw it” and ported Minecraft to the 3DS – albeit, the New 3DS only. This is the third time (to my knowledge) that a portable version of Minecraft has been made. The first one was on Smartphones, next on the (sadly fading) PlayStation Vita, and now on Nintendo’s popular, and slowly dying 3D handheld. So, how does it hold up to the other portable versions and console ports?

The answer is a sad and heavy ‘mehhhhh’. Playing Minecraft on the 3DS is like playing Doom 2 with a set of electric drums. It’s a very interesting way of playing Minecraft, but that doesn’t mean I recommend it. Before I can tell you why, however, I do have some positive things to say. The controls aren’t very awkward, although the C-Stick clearly wasn’t made to be used with First Person games. It also somewhat utilizes the touchscreen, but I’ll get into that later. Finally, it’s good to have for LAN play (multiplayer but with your friends/people around you and not 100 random strangers) because it’s on the 3DS. The negatives, however, outweigh all the goodwill of this port.

Minecraft on the 3DS faults in some glaring and alarming areas. First of all, it has an inconsistent framerate. Everything will be fine, but once you start digging it has a VERY noticeable dip. This is especially bad as mining is as essential to Minecraft as water is to humans. It’s also kind of ugly-looking. I know saying that about Minecraft is kind of redundant (it’s not a very pretty game), but the hardware limitations imposed by the 3DS somehow make it look like one of the first versions of the game – which, mind you, was online for free for quite a few years. Speaking of technical limitations, this game hits quite a few of them. To name the most apparent one, the pop-in on this port is the most intense I’ve seen for Minecraft since trying to run it on my mother’s 2007 notebook years ago. For those who don’t have any idea about what pop-in is, it basically means that objects and scenery pop into view seemingly out of nowhere. Yes, Minecraft has always had this as a “feature”, but, again, it’s especially bad on the 3DS.

This basically sums up my thoughts on the 3DS version of Minecraft. It ran like I expected it to, like a 35-year-old car with a dying engine and a set of newer, although not as popular as they used to be, wheels. Everything wrong with this port has to do with the fact that it’s Minecraft running on the freakin’ 3DS. I would act shocked that the much-loathed Vita port is 10 times better, but that would be stretching it too far. It’s ONLY worth a buy if you have friends or family members that will play with you on long car trips. Otherwise, it’s an expectedly unwieldy port that can be played much better elsewhere.

4/10


Things done right: 

  • The Full Minecraft experience on the go!
  • Local Area Network (LAN) is much more accessible on the 3DS and should work well with Minecraft
  • Some clever utilization of the touchscreen

Things done wrong:

  • Even on the New 3DS, technical limitations are very apparent and can make the game not as fun to play
    • This includes pretty insane amounts of pop-in
  • Low framerate, especially when mining
  • One of the ugliest versions of Minecraft

Meh:

  • New 3DS exclusive

 

In general: Buy it only to play with friends. Otherwise, stick with any other version available.

Uncategorized

I can’t make up my mind, sorry

I’m going to come out and be honest: I deleted my previous 2 posts because I cannot make up my mind. As someone who does reviews as a hobby, they did not live up to the standards I set as a hobbyist and refuse to keep either post on my site. Whether you liked them or thought they were meh, I personally hated them with a passion. I might re-visit the subject when I’ve played enough Breath of the Wild and Nier: Automata to make a clear, concise conclusion. For now, I have no plans to discuss either game any further than I have tried to.

Miscellaneous · Movies

Wiener-Dog’s Amazon Page: A case study on how NOT to be a critic

 

Todd Solondz, you might have heard of him. He directed a movie a couple of decades ago called ‘Happiness’, which garnered an NC-17 rating due to its subject matter until it was given a home video release (all of this knowledge is easily accessible through not-so-hard-to-do research). He also directed a few other movies that might not be as messed up as Happiness. I’m not here to rag on him or the people who have more than one good reason for disliking any one or more of his films. What I am here to do, however, is rag on people that only have ONLY one good reason for not liking a specific film of his. Can you guess what that reason is?

DOGS ARE INNOCENT, ANY DARK HUMOR INVOLVING THEM IS AWFUL!!!!

Of course, this isn’t the only thing people have a problem with when it comes to this movie… but those who have been vocal about this one point and almost nothing more are so vocal that any other point is buried under the pile of people who hate this film for this reason alone. I get it, dark humor involving animals (and not humans) clearly isn’t for everyone, but it takes some real convincing to tell yourself that a movie has no redeemable qualities because you can’t handle its twisted sense of humor. What about the cinematography? What about the writing that DOESN’T involve the things you dislike so much? Performances? Music? Lighting? Anything else I’m missing here? Fuck it, dogs are awesome and any actual redeeming factors can go fuck themselves!

*sighs*

It makes sense to me that the Amazon page for this is flooded with one-star reviews, considering Amazon has never been the place for intelligent, quality reviews (the fact that Norm of the North and Nine Lives, two inexcusably bad kids films, have 4 stars – individually – on average – should tip you off to this immediately). The only really really good reviews on there are funny reviews that always get featured on the obligatory Best-of/Worst-of Amazon review(s) videos. To those who have more than one good reason for hating this film, congratulations! You have more dignity than most of the people who wrote 1-star reviews for this film on Amazon. Nevermind that the film has an R-Rating that CLEARLY serves as a warning of the type of content that’s going to be found in this film.

And all of this ties into the point I’m trying to make with this article: REAL criticism is not giving something a score and then vaguely describing why it deserves that score. Even if you have only one reason to hate something, your opinion comes off as agreeable if you take more than just a few short minutes to write a review and then claim your opinion is something that people will look at and say you did a good job of conveying. In short time, the IMDb page for Wiener-Dog gained people who could actually criticize the film without waggling their finger and stating a (sometimes hypocritical, like in this case where dark humor with humans is a-okay, but the same exact gags with animals instead is wrong and cruel) belief that’s meant to be taken as serious criticism. Thankfully, despite its flaws, IMDb doesn’t list this film as one of the worst there are – despite its 5/10 average. Too bad Amazon does, though.

 

Maybe I take this too seriously… scratch that, I wrote an article about internet comments that’s over 600 words long – I DO take this way too seriously. Regardless, I think Weiner-Dog’s Amazon Page (alone) is a great case study on how to not be a critic, even if the people who leave negative reviews on it for only one reason aren’t trying to be a serious critic.

And now I sound silly for writing an article about fucking internet comments…

fucking

INTERNET COMMENTS. Clearly, I’m going to need to be reevaluated after writing this.

For those wondering about the supposed 'hiatus':
I've changed my status to 'I write when I want to write'. The main reason
for the hiatus in the first place is that I'm doing a job for the summer
that makes it so I don't have all the time in the world to write...

but I still have time regardless and I was niave to think
otherwise.