Archive for November, 2007

Nov 28
Rocksgiving Posted by Matt

The last few weeks have been an absolute blur with the Lan Party weekend merging into Thanksgiving festivities. The Lan Party was an absolute blast, we had around 20 guys show up, getting as many as 18 people into one game. Team Fortress 2 was the game de jour. We filled in the down spots between long gaming sessions with Guitar Hero 3 on the Wii, Ping Pong, and huge meals provided by our hosts. I am fairly confident that everyone went home having had a great time.

Tuesday after the Lan Party I picked up Rock Band. Its the next iteration of rhythm games building on the success of Guitar Hero. Rock Band adds drums and vocals to the mix allowing you get the “full band” experience. Unfortunately my Xbox was still at the service center so it sat there quietly in the box until the weekend. Thankfully the spirit of Thanksgiving overcame Aaron and he loaned me his Xbox 360 for the weekend. If you liked Guitar Hero at all, then don’t play this game, because it will suck you in and completely take over your like. This is one of the most fun games I’ve ever played. The vibe you get when you and your “band” are rocking out is fantastic. The guitar and bass is almost identical to that in Guitar Hero, its not surprise the new instruments are the most challenging. On Friday Steve, Melissa, KG, and myself played for about seven hours, and we weren’t at all bored. The song list ranges from Nine Inch Nails to Weezer and all the way back to Molly Hatchet and Rolling Stones. Some of the songs are more fun that others, and its definitely easier to sing on the ones that you actually know.

Last night I went back to Guitar Hero 3 to try out the Halo song that was available free on Xbox Live. The first thing I noticed was the differences in difficulty between Rock Band and GH3. Medium on Guitar Hero 3 is on par with hard on Rock Band. Guitar Hero is definitely a much more difficult game on the guitar. I can’t normally play on the hard difficulty on Guitar Hero, but on Rock Band I’m able to beat most songs, it pretty interesting.

Here’s a photo of my band The Acorn Explosion, we’re available for parties and bah mitzvahs. Featuring Aaron Holmes on drums, Steve Slotten on bass, and myself on lead guitar.

Digging around in my Grandma’s attic I found this self portrait my brother did when he was in Jr. High. After a laughing fit that probably lasted 20 minutes, I was able to photograph the proud artist with his work.

First it was William Shatner, now Blizzard has Mr. T as their spokesman. Its not like they need to advertise anyway, with 9 million subscribers the game is by far the most successful computer or video game of all time. This commercial is an instant classic with T touting the virtues of his Night elf Mohawk which to the non-WoWers is not a real class.

That’s our manager! The Smoking Gun has acquired videos of the Tony Larussa drunk driving arrest from last year’s Spring Training. Some pretty funny stuff, especially the part where they wake him up at the stop light, and realize “oh crap, thats LaRussa.”

Possibly the coolest music video you’ll see all week, definitely worth a click.

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Nov 16
Live Coverage of November Lan 2007! Posted by Matt

*****FRIDAY*****

*1:00 PM* We have arrived at Hosscat’s lair, computers in tow. Unfortunately there was a miscommunication and our hosts were waiting for us at Cici’s Pizza. We setup quickly and rush down for the all-you-can eat buffet!

*2:05 PM* We’re back at Lan Central with full bellies and eager to get the first frags of the weekend. The first few folks to arrive are myself, Joe Frescoln, Justin Miller, Tristan Pinkham, and Andrew “Hosscat” Reiter. We loaded up Team Fortress 2 and found a good server to play on. Its game time! The Mountain Dew count is now at 1.

*3:00 PM* Nate just showed up with his computer and a double case of Bud Select. Nate was born without the ability to control the volume of his voice. Time to insert earplugs. Shortly after Nate started setting up, Tristan lost power to his PC. He wasn’t pleased.

*3:29 PM* The internet went down momentarily, forcing a break the action. A perfect chance to check out Guitar Hero 3 on the Wii. Forgoeing any kind of warming, Butch selected the Dragonforce song for us to play head to head with.

*4:03 PM* The internet is back up and running, unfortunately Nate’s car isn’t. We took a small break to move cars to the commuter lot to free up Butch’s driveway. Justin volunteered to move Nate’s beat up Oldsmobile when it stalled pulling onto the highway. It took two guys to push it onto the side of the road, and there it sits, in front of Butch’s house.

*6:18 PM* More people have showed up which include Chris, Butch’s cousin Jake, and Nathan Sanders. We’ve taken a small break from Team Fortress while we wait on more players. Justin and I are playing Kart Rider, while Chris and Jake duel in Ping Pong. A few others are upstairs playing Guitar Hero. The chili is warming in the crock pot and is starting to sound pretty good.

*6:47 PM* More people starting to show. Aaron just pulled in, followed shortly by part 1 of the Branson crew: Jason Wyatt and Jeremy McNeal. The chili is going fast, and my Mountain Dew count has gone up to 2.

*7:30 PM* The rest of the crew has arrived from Branson. Rose, Thomack, Libertini, and Toli. Tempers are starting to flare as there is a reported shortage of Mountain Dew. The original Branson revealed a huge stash of goodies sent here by my mom. Chocolate chip cookies, chips, soda, and potatoes?? The chili is almost gone, and everyone is eagerly setting up their PCs so they can jump into the game.

*9:57 PM* A network outage interrupted a long gaming session which featured a local game of 9 vs 9. Several people are playing Ping Pong, Guitar Hero, and Portal while we try to get things working on our impromptu network.

*****SATURDAY*****

*10:04 AM* Its morning. I’m not exactly sure what time I went to bed, we played Team Fortress late into the night. I’ve been forced to stop counting my Mountain Dew intake due to outside influences, but its somewhere around 7. Hosscat’s chili didn’t sit too well with my stomach. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one. We’re looking or the number of a Priest to come in and exercise the back bathroom after Nate made a morning visit. Speaking of Nate, he scored a ginormous bag of breakfast burritos from McDonalds for our breakfast.

*2:08 PM* After a very intense session of gaming this morning, we’ve taken a break to get food, rest our eyes, and stretch. Several of the older gamers are noticing that sleeping on the floor isn’t as easy as it was at some of the first Lan Parties. The Reiter brothers are injecting seasoning into two mammoth turkeys. That with four boxes of stuffing, a couple boxes of instant mash potatoes, and an enormous pile of rolls will be our annual Thanksgiving lunch.

*6:18 PM* Lots of gaming, Team Fortress 2 seems to be the most popular game of the Lan Party. Not much really going on other than a bunch of geeks staring at their computers.

*****SUNDAY*****

*9:46 AM* Its morning and most people are up. After two nights in a row of sleeping on the floor, I feel like I’ve been in a car crash. Some of the guys are playing Lego Star Wars on the Wii, while others are eagerly awaiting the breakfast casserole. We’re trying to setup a game of Team Fortress now to get that last bit of gaming in before everyone leaves.

*7:24 PM* The Party is over and most people are home or on their way. A special thanks to Katie and Butch for hosting us again. I’m fairly confident everyone went home having had a great time. We were fortunate to have several intense gaming sessions, lots of great food, and nice accommodations.

Here are the pictures I took from this weekend’s event.

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Nov 14
Lan Party Week! Posted by Matt

This week is Lan Party week. Starting on Friday me and 17 of my closest friends will be gaming for 3 straight days! Andrew “Hosscat” Reiter and Katie “Ladycat” Reiter will be our hosts once again in Festus. We will be playing Team Fortress 2, Enemy Territory Quake Wars, and Guitar Hero 3. This will be the 7th consecutive year for our big November Lan party. Last year we held the event in Creve Coeur in the recently abandoned apartment Chris and I were living in. It featured a cameo by the newly released Playstation 3, and one of the worst games of all time, Genji. The Reiter family (including the Alaskan brother) provided a huge pot of chili and a crave case of Whitecastle. Needless to say, towards the end of the weekend it got pretty smelly.

Nintendo fans are getting the shaft! A new controller with the unfortunate name “The Shaft” has just hit the market. This little peripheral is way cooler than that old clunky GameCube controller, and will no doubt improve your Mario Kart skillz.

Nightwish + Lord of the Rings trilogy = one awesome video. Check out this fan made clip which features some of the better moments of Peter Jackson’s trilogy set to the music of Nightwish’s Ghost Love score.

Joe pointed me towards the latest online viral video. Recently SNL parodied an obscure moment from now canceled The OC. No one would have ever thought twice about that scene until a satire of the moment appeared on Saturday Night Live. Now there are hundreds of take offs of the SNL spoof, my favorite being this Lord of the Rings inspired clip.

Assassin’s Creed came out this week. In this game you play a member of the Assassin guild during the Third Crusade in the late 1100’s. You take on the role of Altair, and inherit his mission to kill all nine of the historical figures that are propagating the crusades. The game features historically accurate parts of Jerusalem and allows for you to free climb, swing, and run around the ancient city. Unfortunately for me, I have no Xbox, which is probably good because KG preordered the Special Edition version of the game for me, for Christmas and I wouldn’t get to play it anyway.

Here’s a cool article on the real life group that Assassin’s Creed bases its game.

Get your Indie fix with this video from Band of Horses.

Holy downloadable content Batman! Harmonix has unveiled the information pertaining to the tracks and albums available for download from Xbox Live. I’ll definitely be getting the Punk pack which features The Clash and The Ramones.  The pricing is slightly more attractive than the Guitar Hero download.  It’ll be interesting to see if the competition keeps the price down low.   Harmonix has promised new content every week after the game is released. I’m a bit skeptical if they can keep up with this ambitious claim, if they do it will be pretty amazing for the fans of the game.

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Nov 08
Have some cake! Posted by Matt

Here’s a great little video inspired by Portal. That cake looks pretty yummy!

I’ve been playing a lot of Half-Life 2 since my Xbox 360 died. The game is probably one of the best single player experiences I’ve ever had. Game designers Valve, have really done an excellent job mixing up the game play. Whether you’re driving an airboat, cruising around in a dune buggy, or shooting aliens with your crossbow, there is a lot of fun to be had in this game.

To rub salt in a fresh wound, Guitar Hero 3 now has two new song packs for download. It wouldn’t be so bad if the bands featured sucked, but one of the packages feature one of my favorite bands, the Foo Fighters. Talk about absolute torture! The other pack features super group Velvet Revolver.

You are not the father! I recently uncovered an entire stash of paternity test revelations. Maury Povich has made a career out of exploiting baby/momma drama in the name of entertainment. Here is one of the funniest video from the collection. This link, its pretty funny too, although it has a longer build up. I love the way the woman just runs out of the studio. Lastly this guy was stunned to find out the black baby didn’t belong to him (comes with tearful “not the father” rejection.)

The trailer for the new Will Ferrell comedy, Semi-Pro is online. Will plays Jackie Moon, the owner, coach, and player for the ABA team the Flint, Michigan Tropics. The movie is set int the late 70’s right before the ABA merged with the NBA. Although this movie borrows several sports cliches, with Ferrell starring in the film, it should make for several good laughs.

Just another sign of the gaining popularity of MMA is, pieces like this from ESPN on legendary coach Pat Miletich. Pat has coached champions like Matt Hughes, Tim Sylvia, Jens Pulver, Jeremy Horn, and many, many more. Here is a short list of Miletich fighters.

Earlier today I dropped off my Xbox 360 at the UPS Store. Micro$oft was kind enough to send me a box to ship it off in and paid for the postage. When I set the box onto the counter the lady at the store said “wow, another one.” She told me that she gets around 10 a week at her store, and she can only imagine how many the other stores are getting. MS claims that there is less than a 5% failure rate, which seems shockingly low. I think what they meant to say was it has a 95% failure rate and a 5% success rate. According to this report, its closer to a 33% failure rate. Talking with the guy from GameStop, he claims they had to stop selling the warranty on Xbox 360s because they were losing so much money.

It looks like the Cohen Brothers are back! The trailer for their new movie No Country For Old Men looks fantastic, and the reviews are starting to come in. NCFOM is currently sitting at a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. The Cohens have directed several of my favorite movies, The Big Lewbowski, Raising Arizona, O’ Brother Where Art Thou, so I’m really excited about this one. Unlike the Wachowski “brothers” one of them isn’t a transvestite, so there’s that.

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Nov 02
It happened! Posted by Matt

Dead 360

One year and one day from the day I got it, my Xbox 360 said peace out!

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