Thursday, March 31, 2011

Need for Speed: Shift 2

Good gracious... where do I begin?
This game fucking sucks.

Some years back, EA, the inventor and owner to the rights of the Need for Speed franchise, announced that the series would take a turn towards simulation, after being something like "Fast and Furious: The Game" for like 5 years.
The result of such statement was Need for Speed: Shift, and it was not really a simulator. It was a game that rewarded you for things like shoving cars off the road. For this review it shall be called Shift 1, to not mix them up with the newest offering of the series: NFS: Shift 2. The name is fitting, because you can just think about it as "shit too".

Shit Too was overly hyped in the past year as the new benchmark for all racing simulators out there. It was being designed with a big budget, all the driving physics would be 100% real, aided by professional racing drivers, engineers, car designers, team managers, mechanics, the Queen of England and even the Pope.
Well folks, it's a huge disappointment. Seriously bad.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I heart you

We all know the heart is an organ that has something or other to do about pumping blood. But what really is it, how does it work and how to keep it healthy?

It is indeed a muscular organ located near the center of our chest, a tad bit to the left, that contracts rhythmically to send blood all over our blood vessels. It beats independently from orders from the guys above, the brain, keeping a steady rhythm unless instructed to accelerate it or decrease it.

As any other muscle in our body it needs training and conditioning in order to keep healthy. Every once in a while it should be forced from it's resting beats per minute to a more active one.
In average, males will have something like 60 to 80 beats per minute, and females a little higher than that.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I'm such a veteran

So, my blog is one week old!
Well that's actually a lie, it was a week old yesterday, but I was lazy. In fact, the feeling has not abandoned me, so today we shall celebrate by having a completely uncreative post of things I like.

First of all I'd like to say that I'm thrilled by the sudden acceptance this blog had, it surpassed every expectation I had and I'd like to thank everyone who followed, commented, and took me into the community, specially those who've been telling me I'm a good writer despite me knowing they only do so to be nice... you people, you.

Secondly I want to give a heads up to fellow blogger Dootzkie who posted this amazing video in his blog.
It's the first part out of seven, out of a movie called Baraka. It's an unusual movie to say the least; unlike your regular movie it has no story to speak of, no actors, no lines. It is a documentary shot in the most varied parts of the world that takes you in an emotional rollercoaster which should not be missed. If you read the comments in the youtube page it's not hard to see that it's nothing short of spectacular, for some, life changing.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The world wears top hats

Well it's another day, another morning, and as I sit here with my cup of tea and watch the stock markets fluctuate after huge falls the past weeks because of the Japanese disaster - I begin to wonder if our financial system works at all.

It's well known that recessions and booms follow each other but some way we always manage to not see them coming. How is this possible? How are we always not prepared for the next crisis and every single time the middle class gets taxed and stressed, the lower class gains a few new members, but the upper class is still up there sipping their cocktails in the country club not giving a fuck?

Lately I've been thinking the whole world is like a big game of Monopoly where countries keep playing and playing. Sometimes, inevitably, one of them runs out of money, and the others have to lend it some cash to keep playing - cos, you know, when you lose in Monopoly you just walk away from the table, but you can't ask a country to just go away and stop playing.

If we assume that the riches of the world are more or less constant then we will always have countries which are producing a little more and others that are spending a little more. There has to be a balance, somehow. So how is it that countries all over the globe take turns every couple of decades and fall into economic disrepair? No, wait, how is it that at any given time there's a region of the world dipping into the gutter?

 I honestly feel like the whole system is broken. It defies a number of logics and I think even economists have a hard time understanding it sometimes. But every time I bring this up to someone, they tell me "well it's all we've got, can you come up with something better?" and I honestly can't. But I have hope that there are a lot of much smarter people than me out there figuring shit out and they'll come up with something.

Keeping my fingers so crossed they'll have to pry them open with a crowbar.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Where speed lives

I don't follow many sports - in fact you may say I don't follow any - but the one I do follow, I do so religiously. To prove my statement you should have seen where I was at 6:40 in the morning today: getting ready to watch the first race of the new year calendar. That's right, it's a racing sport. And they use engines, so it's a motorsport, but not just any. The mother of all motorsports: Formula One.

I'm not entirely sure how acquainted any of you is to F1 so, assuming you aren't at all, here's a little intro.
Formula One is a team motorsport with the simple goal of getting to the finish line first. Pretty simple huh? Well it isn't.
The cars have to respect a certain amount of building rules - that is, a Formula - regarding size of the car, weight, engine size and displacement, etc. These design rules are strict enough so cars follow a similar format, but not so strict as to make all of the cars equal. There is still some ground for designers and engineers to fiddle around and try to find performance advantages, and that is what the team vs. team struggle is pretty much.
As it couldn't be any other way, the drivers are a key element to the racing. There are tens or hundreds of thousands racing drivers in the whole world; only 24 will be racing any given weekend in F1. You have to be that good (in theory).

Mainly what distinguishes F1 apart from other racing series is the brutality, the sheer performance of these cars. They are the engineering peak of what can be done inside a racing circuit. They are specialists of acceleration: positive forward acceleration, getting from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in under 2 seconds, reaching 300 km/h (186 mph) in less than 9. Deceleration, that is, braking, is so extreme that it generates 4 or 5 Gs of force in the drivers' bodies: their lungs hit their ribcage and they exhale involuntarily.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Fortune cookies all around

Being a lexicographer must be one of the hardest jobs on Earth. Defining words by just using other words can be very tricky sometimes. While there are definitions that are obviously easy, let's say 'Table', others not so much.

It is often forgotten that (dictionaries) are artificial repositories, put together well after the languages they define. The roots of language are irrational and of a magical nature.
Jorge Luís Borges

It's a tall order to try and explain things like pain, modesty, pride. How do you explain to someone who's been blind all his life what 'red' or 'dark' is?

However I'm going to steer a bit away (just a bit) from definitions.
I've been thinking about the concept of luck. Before reading on, I'd like you to stop and try to define luck.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Shogun 2: Total War

Ok so I could either blog about the fall of the current government and how deep in shit we're gonna be for the following 5 years or so, or I could make a small first impressions review of Shogun 2. It didn't take me long to decide.

As many (read: none) of you know, I like strategy games and have been playing them ever since I remember owning a computer. The earliest memory I have of a strategy game was downloading the first Age of Empires demo. It couldn't have been larger than a couple dozen megabytes, but back then with my 56k connection... well let's say nobody made calls at home for several hours.
I played and replayed that demo and the strategy bug bit me. Soon after, while on vacation, I begged my parents to purchase me the full game (Gold edition, with the Rise of Rome expansion, wow!) and finally they did. I was the only kid ever to want the vacations at the beach to end, just so I could rush home and play it.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Just a disclaimer

I've always been an opinionated guy and this blog will show a bit of that.
I wanted to make clear from the get go that some foul language might be used here and there and viewer discretion is advised; if you feel offended by something I said, you have two options: the comment section below, or simply not checking out my blog any more; but from what I've seen, most of you won't have any problems with this. A little swearing never killed anyone.

In any case, I will try to keep it decent, but there are things that just drive me out of my mind and I tend to be a little hot headed when I write about things. Specially those that are pissing me off.


Ads in videos.

I just watched a 20 minute video on a site that shall remain unnamed. I got an ad at the beginning... fine, I can understand you need a little revenue to cover the high costs of hosting streaming video.
At exactly 10 minutes in, the same friggen' ad comes on again!
Listen, webpage, and you too, Scion, I'm not gonna buy that car just because you showed me the same thing twice. I got it the first time, alright? If I was interested, I would have clicked on it!
If it wasn't enough seeing the same ad twice, it turns out it's 30 seconds long. And to add insult to injury, it's about a brand of car that's not even sold in my country!
After waiting out for the wonderful people to be so satisfied with their new vehicle to go away, I get the same god damned commercial for a third time once the video was over. At least this time I could just cast a "fuck off my screen" level 2 spell by pressing Alt-F4.

Don't we have advertisement oversaturation everywhere already? Do we really need more of them in videos? And if we do, do they need to be 30 seconds long?
I think something short and concise would work so much better. "This video brought to you by _______". That way I would feel like I'm actually supporting the author of the video, but mostly it wouldn't piss me the hell off making me hate whichever brand was advertised.

Leave your thoughts.
(but don't tell me to get ad-block.)

First Post (how imaginative)

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This is just partial truth, everything is in the eye of the beholder, everything is subjective: how much fun a game is, how entertaining a movie was, how engaging of a book is that last best seller...

So that's what this personal blog is going to be about. My impressions, thoughts, opinions on what's what, from my very biased point of view; agreeing or not is in the eye of other beholders out there.

For now, it's this introductory post. I unfortunately have too much free time so the first true post should not be a long wait.

Onwards to the cyberspace.