Video of the Week: JoCo plays Still Alive

To celebrate this week’s release of Portal 2, I thought I would make this week’s video of the week a clip of Joco playing the song for an interview.  It’s an oldie, but a goodie.

 

 

 

 

Jonathan Coulton was the guy who wrote the song that plays during the end credits of Portal.  Right after the game was released, he wrote an amazing blog post about the song, including lyrics and tablatures.

God of War Collection

A little over a year ago, I was playing a game that was already six months old, which was a compilation of games that were years old.  It was the God of War: Collection on PS3.  It was the game I was playing the day my PS3 stopped working.  I never had the cash to get my PS3 fixed, and in fact I still have it laying around…  along with these games.  I recently decided I missed watching things on Blu Ray and picked up a PS3 Slim.  Having only 3 PS3 discs still in my possession, I decided to pop in God of War Collection again.

 

GodofWarCollection

 

I finally sat down and made my way through the first 2 parts of Kratos’ epic journey.  And I have to say: wow.  These games are fun.  They may be frustrating in some points, but as someone who only owned a PS1 for hacking and playing with exploits, and has never owned a PS2, I think there actually might have been a game I missed out on.

 

Being the God of War Collection they provide the buyer with a lot of bonus content on the Blu Ray movie portion of the disc – you can watch a good deal of behind the scenes materials,  During the “making of the game” interviews, they kept saying they wanted the game to be raw, visceral, and down right violent.  While you start to get the feeling of it in God of War, when you start playing God of War II, it really feels like they nailed what they were going for.  The animations are more fluid, the moves are more devastating, and everything simply feels more rewarding.

 

 

The enhanced graphics seen in the God of War Collection, I believe, were not specifically made for the game but rather they used the textures that they used in the FMV cut-scenes in the original games.  Now that they have the hardware, they just slapped that layer on every model and called it a day.  I’m sure there was more to it than that, of course…  but even though it doesn’t come across as a true high-resolution treat, the responsiveness of the game and smooth controls make chaining together a 50+ hit combo surprisingly easy.  And at one point in God of War II, yes, I even accomplished a 500+ hit combo.  Brutal isn’t even the word for it.

 

If you missed out on these titles the same way I had, there’s no better way to pick them up.  You can get both games for twenty bucks on a disc at Amazon, or i f you’re too impatient to wait, you can pay $30 for a code to download the content straight from the PlayStation Network.

 

After spending a few days a week for the last two weeks chugging my way through these campaigns, I can’t wait to get my hands on God of War III– it’s long overdue for me!

Can Wal-Mart save us from Big Oil?

Why isn’t anyone going up to bat for the little guy?  The little guy being you and I, by the way.

 

Everyone is blogging about oil prices this week, but I’m wondering why nobody is looking at it from this angle: the public needs support from larger companies.  It’s not every day when I think a big company should be helping out the general public, but this time I think I can make a case for it.

 

There’s lots of finger pointing going on and everyone is blaming one thing after another for high gas prices.  In 2008, the last time gas topped $4 a gallon in my neck of the woods, everyone said it was out of control and there was nothing they could do about it – but oil companies posted some of the largest prices of any company in the history of anything ever.  And I’m not being hyperbolic.  The latest round of rumors are that American oil production isn’t even operating at 100% right now, there isn’t a gas crisis or a gas shortage: it’s the futures market that is causing the crazy high gas prices.  I don’t care who is to blame, all I know is it hurts.

 

As gas prices approach the $4.00 per gallon mark, the economy can see (in broad terms) a slow down in sales elsewhere, like retail for instance.  We go through a national “belt tightening” every time gas prices get just a tad too high.  You can try to do things like buy gas cards, or even join Sam’s Club, where member-only gas pumps are often five to ten cents cheaper than neighboring gas stations…  but that’s not enough.

 

gaspumps

image credit: m_bartosch.

I think the big chain stores, like the Wal-Marts, the Lowes, Sears, Targets – they need to band together to find something to do about gas prices.  With enough pressure from them, there must be something that the Exxons of the world can do to trim back their excessively high profit margins.  While the consumer may be feeling the pinch now, I believe this could be bad news for the economy in the long run, because I sure will be going out less, doing less, spending less.  That many for my gas tank has to come from somewhere, and I need to get to work.  What I don’t need is to travel the interstates during my time off.  Stay-cation ‘08 is coming back for 2011!

 

Although large chains like Wal-Mart and Target might be able to ride out the storm, other chains that might not have quite as much draw may want to start putting a plan together, because I can certainly get by without visiting my local local RadioShack any time in the next six months, and might have to if I can’t afford the tiny luxuries of wasting money on random cabling and electronics supplies.  They might not be giants, but they’re big enough to get the attention of the oil companies and try to figure out what can be done to keep people like me on the road, instead of in the driveway.