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    • Video Game Review: American McGee’s Alice
      After the recent release of “Alice: Madness Returns,” I  picked up a copy. With each copy, console gamers also got a free download of  the original “American McGee’s Alice.” Before playing the new Alice, I had to  go back and beat the original again. While many things were just as I had  remembered, I’m glad […]
    • Video Game Rant: Donkey Kong Country Returns
      One of my favorite games of all time is Donkey Kong Country 1 and 2. When I heard they were making a new one, I was super excited, but also somewhat skeptical. So a few months ago, I picked up a copy of Donkey Kong Country Returns to try out the new game. My fiancee also joined […]
    • Scott Pilgrim Versus the World: Movie Review
       (Warning: some spoilers) When they decided to turn this Canadian comic into a movie, I’m not sure they were aware of what a cult smash hit this would be. Topping the charts for Blu-rays on the first day it was released on home video, it’s also been on several top ten lists. It appeals to […]
    • Good Kitty: WoW Feral Cat DPS Rotation
      ***Note: this information is from before Cataclysm. There have been major changes to the class. See my sources below for more updated information.*** When I rolled Druid on the first character I legitimately got to level 80, I didn’t know what I was getting into. I leveled Feral Cat, and when I hit 80, I realized […]
    • Finding a Job
      This is a digression from my usual topics, but I wanted to share some of my strategies with other unemployed or soon to be unemployed people out there. My job search has been the focus of my free time lately, so I figured it would be the perfect topic for my next post. 1)      Assess […]
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Round 2: Revenge of the Generics

Last post, so long ago I know, I compared some music player computer programs. Today I shall review Open Office, for all those who don’t want to line Bill Gates’ massive pockets by paying for Microsoft Office (seriously, Microsoft is the final boss in Shadow of the Colossus).

Open Office
Open Office has equivalents to all of the Microsoft Office programs, like Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. I’ve used Open Office’s version of Word, called Writer, the most, and it really is just like Word. Some of the buttons are changed around, but they’re both pretty similar word processors.

I do have a complaint- they try to do the same thing that newer versions of Microsoft Office have done, with the .docx file extension. The default file format to save in is an Open Office only format, which you can change, but it’s just annoying that they’re claiming to be different from Microsoft by being a free alternative, but then pulling the same crap that can screw people up. Other than this, there is nothing wrong with finding your freeware at http://www.openoffice.org.

Mac or PC?
I’m going to do this rant-style, because I really don’t have anything good to say about Macs. Those commercials they’ve been playing recently about Mac vs. PC, how Macs are so much better, are oversimplified propaganda, for these reasons.

1) Macs are usually more difficult to use because people are used to PCs. When I use a Mac, it takes me some time to remember which buttons do what I want, and how to access certain things.

2) Right click is possible on Macs, but you have to ENABLE it. Newer Macs have mice with right click buttons, but seriously. What’s the deal with that? It’s like putting on an eye patch because you don’t really need two eyes to see. (Because depth perception? Totally overrated.)

3) Based on personal experience, I have only ever had 1 serious virus on a PC, and have dealt with much crappier Macs even when they were running correctly. I also know several Macs at my work have been screwing up lately. My own PC issues have been significant only because of how long I’ve been using PCs, compared to my limited Mac usage.

4) The claim that PCs have “hundreds of headaches” that Macs don’t seems to be a lie to me. This is just propaganda designed to convince people that they have an alternative to PCs, when Mac really isn’t much better. Both Oss can run most of the same programs, so the stereotype of artists using Macs doesn’t really hold anymore. You don’t have to buy a Mac as soon as you declare an Art major. You can’t play many video games on a Mac either.

5) Okay, I will say one good thing about Macs. At least they give Microsoft some competition. Bill Gates does not have a complete monopoly yet. Sure, he’s got Boardwalk, but Mac has Park Place, so those of us who can barely afford an apartment on Baltic Avenue can still afford a laptop (or a Macbook, for those of you who completely disagree with this entire post).

Lastly, I have not mentioned Linux in this post until this point, mostly because I have never seen a Linux machine that worked. People talk about how great Linux is, yet can’t ever seem to get it to function correctly on their own machines. So until I see something positive about this freeware, I think it’s safe for me to say that sometimes, you do get what you pay for.

Retail Fail

Dvorak Uncensored

I'm not sure how long Flanders could last in retail.

I have had some interesting experiences during my 2 month foray into the world of customer service-oriented retail. In addition to learning about what kind of job is right for me, I have also witnessed the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to the human race.

Dealing with retail means you have to deal with idiots. We sell these Frog-O-Spheres, mini aquariums with water, two frogs, a snail, gravel, and some rocks and bamboo. There are boxes sitting next to the display that hold the frog supplies. Nearly every person who checks out the frogs asks something stupid that could be prevented with a) basic common sense, or b) rational thought. “Are they real frogs?” (“No, they’re mechanical frogs floating around in water.”) “Do they come in the boxes?” (“Of course. We put live aquatic frogs in the box, poke some air holes, and hope they’ll be fine by the time you tourists get home to Ohio.”) And three people so far have tried to tip the tanks over. Two succeeded in making a huge mess and dumping frogs, water, and all on the ground. Pure genius.

You also have to deal with some gender discrimination. I’ve had one guy stare at my chest during a massage chair demonstration, and another stare at my butt as I walked away from helping him, and then shrug (offensive, yes, plus I deserved at least a nod of appreciation). I helped a middle aged gentleman with a French accent who was a little bit too friendly. He told me I had beautiful eyes.

You can learn a lot about human psychology too. There are three types of people, and you can tell in about a minute. Some people want you to leave them alone while they shop, and when greeted, will politely say hello and turn away from you. There are also friendlier customers who will ask you a question about a product, or allow you to show them some neat stuff around the store. They put up with the merchandising approach and all your retail tricks with good humor. Then there are the people who completely ignore you, stare down their noses at you, and are generally rude and obnoxious. They’re better than you, presumably because you’re just a retail jockey, only one step above a fast food worker.

Retail can tell you a lot about people. It’s a test of character to see if you can handle dealing with anyone who walks into your store; it’s not just some cakewalk any highschooler can handle. So the next time you’re shopping at the mall, remember this: other people have to deal with you, no matter if you happen to notice them or not. So when you dump those clothes you just tried on onto the floor, or knock over some display, remember someone else will have to come clean up your mess, which is something they should have taught you in kindergarten.

Rant of the Day: Video Game Inspired Movies

Penny Arcade "I Wanna See STARS"

Penny Arcade "I Wanna See STARS"

Am I the only one who is tired of watching a commercial for an upcoming theater release of some hyped up action movie, and thinking ‘Oh wow, that looks kind of cool, I’d totally go see that,’ only to see the title of the movie is the same as a video game? The excitement turns to horror as yet another terrible video game spin off is unleashed.

Movies completely ruin it for fans and gamers alike. Very few video game movies are successful in any sense of the word; the best you can hope for is Snakes on a Plane-esque B-movie hilarity, or the least amount of butchering as possible of a prized childhood game.

Browsing the interwebs, I found a list of the top ten worst video game movies ever here. The big names are included, from House of the Dead to Tomb Raider, with some lesser known flicks like Wing Commander and Alone in the Dark, to the first and worst VG film, Super Mario Bros. The 90’s did a number on action/fighting and horror video games especially, lowering the prestige of the games just by association with the movie spin offs, but the catastrophes just keep on coming.

I am such a die-hard Resident Evil fan that I cannot even speak the names of the associated movies without a good deal of cringing and angry muttering under my breath. I have come up with numerous ways to denigrate those so-called “R.E.” films, some of which are too filthy to post. Crappy zombie movies abound; why did this one have to take the name of my favorite survival horror games and pretend it was somehow inspired by it?

My main issue with that series is that when they tried to incorporate elements from the game, they failed utterly, taking the worst parts of the game rather than the best, like babysitting middle schoolers (no one liked R.E. 2’s Sherry, why should they feel any better about Angie?). Most of the time the directors simply went off in a completely different direction, making some superhuman heroine beat up on insipid monsters, removing all of the suspense and atmosphere that is one of the hallmarks of the series.

If you want to make a mockery of video games, do it on your terms. Don’t give them the same name, because that implies that people who liked the games will like the movies. Call it a parody of the game, because that’s what it is. Look, I’ll even get them started: House of the Deceased, Super Crapio Bros, or Quiet Hill (hey, this new title also reflects how few monsters were featured in that movie). I for one am not going to support this VG-degrading marketing technique by never paying to see another VG movie again. Now who’s with me?