review

Farewell, Ouya

I thought about actually titling this piece RIP, Ouya but thought hey, let's save the hyperbole for the body. What's actually happening is that I'm taking my Ouya back to Gamestop and washing my hands of this whole experience. Maybe I'll buy one used later, when the Mad Catz console comes out and they all end up on eBay for a song; by then perhaps there will be a CM port. Unfortunately, the Ouya console is deficient in basically every area.

Micro-review: Fable III

Fable III is a cute little game that tries over and over again to sell you stuff. At the same time it tries to train aspies to interact with their fellow humans by vibrating their genitals (the controller is in your lap, right?) when they say nice things to people. It's filled with bugs and glitches and the camera is retarded. At the end, it tries to sell you some more stuff. Two of five stars. Fable II was better in most ways.

All Rebel Rockers

The new effort from Michael Franti and Spearhead, All Rebel Rockers is their most boring offering yet. Almost entirely lacking the depth of lyrics which has been present in every former album, this is basically a drum & bass album for people who need more music to jump up and down to. If you love Spearhead's lyrics, you should avoid this album like the mass-market plague it is.

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Star Wars: Battlefront II

Being a nominal member of Generation X, I fairly grew up on the Star Wars franchise. I was even young enough to enjoy Ewok Adventures, an abortion which should never have been realized for any purpose. Since those days I have played most or at least around half of the games inspired by the movies, skipping only the obvious lemons and the obligatory crap MMORPG. I adored Tie Fighter and loved Rogue Squadron and even managed to enjoy both Knights of the Old Republic games (even the uninspired sequel.) All this fannishness and a low used price tag led me to Star Wars: Battlefront II. This is the second review I've written for this game; the original claimed that the level design was a bright point. I have since spent many more hours with this game, and learned that there is no bright point. This realization resulted in this second review.

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Belkin F5D7230-4 802.11g AP

There is a pawn shop in Ukiah near my favorite cheap Sushi restaurant which often has interesting goodies; while most of their floor space is given over to antiques and collectibles they have a couple of racks of tools and usually a small selection of electronics as well. Last time I was in there, I picked up one of these access points new in the box for $30 - not an amazing price (right now you can get one NIB from amazon for $25 shipped) but it satisfied my need for instant gratification. I've been stumbling along with only 802.11b for years now (I got my Linksys WAP11 as part of a trade) and I was long past due for an upgrade.

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Need for Speed Underground

Need for Speed Underground is a street racing simulation video game from Electronic Arts for PC, Sony Playstation 2, Microsoft Xbox, and Nintendo Gamecube. It features twenty licensed cars popular in the street racing scene, which can be customized both visually and for performance. Visual modifications improve your reputation multiplier which grants you additional style points; amassing certain amount of style points unlocks new upgrades. The game features drag racing, drifting, circuit racing, and a sprint mode. You can play a guided "underground" mode in which the goal is to become the best-ranked racer in all of these types of driving, play quick races, or play on the internet against others (on PC and Playstation 2 only.) This review focuses on the PC version.

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Memorex MPD8600

The Memorex MPD8600 is a small CD-ROM based audio player which supports MP3, WMA, and CDDA/Red Book CD Audio on CD-ROM, CD-R, and CD-RW media. It also has an FM radio tuner built into it. It has quite good MP3 compatibility, including support for the ID3 tags used to store extended information about MP3 audio files. It has a black body with a silver inset on its face, and tapers slightly from one side to the other. It is a highly compatible and functional CD-based audio player, tolerably simple to use, and has acceptable battery life.

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Crimson Skies

Crimson Skies is a game for PC and Xbox which is based on the classic tabletop game by FASA. This writeup covers the PC version, which was developed by Zipper Interactive and published by Microsoft. The game is a flight "simulator" with arcade-style physics - meaning that it bears little to no resemblance to actually flying an airplane. The planes in question are all prop-driven with WWII-inspired designs, including an assortment of fighter craft with and without turrets, a bomber, and even an autogyro. Each plane handles differently, with variation in lift, speed, and turning ability. Players can design their own planes both inside the single player campaign and also for the "instant action" mode in which you fly scenarios, and for network play. Net play is essentially always LAN play but Microsoft provides a matching service on the MSN Gaming Zone. The Xbox version supports Xbox Live and while (supposedly) using essentially the same engine as the PC game, is laid out quite differently, with a different story, (somewhat) different planes, different missions, and different gameplay.

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Chrono Trigger

Chrono Trigger is an excellent video roleplaying game for the Super NES from the masters of the art, Squaresoft. It features some of the best graphics and sound seen on the platform, especially in this genre. The music is fantastic, in typical Squaresoft style, but outdoes even other Square titles on the SNES. It features a somewhat unique approach to merging combat with the game in that enemies are typically either in plain sight before you reach them, or hiding behind some feature of the terrain - there are no completely random encounters, and the world map is a place of peace. Chrono Trigger is a fairly short game, representing only about 20 hours of gameplay if you play straight through, including all side quests.

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