Dumb Things I Have Done Lately

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I bought 2 boxes of cereal. Then I bought a Wii.

After work today, I went and did a little shopping. Nothing special, just two boxes of cereal at Target (which was something of a face-saving device -- I went in with a vague idea that I needed something, but couldn't come up with anything).

Then, I went down the road to Best Buy, to pick up the DVD box set of Space: Above and Beyond. No problems there. Though I did spend way too much time ultimately deciding not to buy Dark Angel Season 1 for 20 bucks -- it was my way of being thrifty.

Congratulating myself on my self-control, I moved to the videogame console section, with the vague notion of buying a Wiimote so I could be ready to try some of the neat-o Wiimote hacks that Johnny Chung Lee keeps coming up with.

There were two Wii consoles. Just sitting there on the shelf. I was somewhat dumbfounded, but not so much that I didn't have the presence of mind to pick one up as I was making up my mind. (The other one went moments later.)

And there was a mind to be made up. I'm not that big of a gamer -- I can't let myself be, I know it would suck me in. But I ultimately talked myself into it -- if nothing else, I can always give it to my mom. (Hey, it could happen. And she's making headway -- we got her on Skype, so we videochat now.)

So I just stumbled into a Wii.

There's not too much else left to tell. With the perverse feeling that I was getting away with something, I went next door to the Harris-Teeter, where I saw someone speaking truth to power, in the form of a strategically-placed sign on a display of Miller Lite:

If Miller Lite is spring water, I'd hate to see the spring.

The spring water was actually at the bottom of the display, so I like to think it was someone editorializing about American light beers. (I drink my share of Miller Lite, so I'm allowed to say this.)

It also put me in a beer mood -- I picked up a variety 12-pack of Leinenkugels (Sunset Wheat, Berry Weiss, Honey Weiss, and Summer Shandy.)

I tried the Wii for a little bit, too -- it wasn't a shrinkwrapped phone book (in fact, it wasn't even shrinkwrapped), and everything was there (it's the Wii Sports bundle).

I have to say, I'm pretty impressed with the UI, the ease of setup (the Internet config was a breeze), and how effective the Wiimote is for navigating around the screen.

I know all the gamer-types are preoccupied today with the new GTA release. But I'm happy to be on my side of the curve.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Caught Up in the Halo Hype (The Last One Standing)

Up until now, I've managed to avoid most of the hype around Halo 3 (which should be out... right about now). I'm not much of a gamer -- I have an Xbox (Zero60), and I completed the first Halo (though only on Heroic, not on Legendary), but that's it. I don't even have Xbox Live.

Then, last week, I caught this clip of the Halo theme done on Mario Paint:

It started with that. Now, with all the commercials and the hype, I can't get the Halo theme out of my head.

It Gets Better
Then, today, saw this Halo promo short film on the Discovery Web site: Halo: Last One Standing, which is evidently part 3 of a series set right before the events of Halo 3, with effects done by WETA (the SFX company that did Lord of the Rings, not the public broadcaster).

It also evidently kicks seven types of ass.

Just as an example, there's a scene about halfway through, where a Marine gets jumped by a Brute, tries to scramble away and gets pulped by the Brute and his Gravity Hammer. It's chilling and brutal:

Note the blood spot where the unfortunate Marine got Hank Aaroned into the wall. At least he died with his pistol in his hand.

If the Halo movie looks anything like this short, it's going to rock.

However, in the spirit of sucking out the fun of sci-fi by overanalyzing it, I do want to point out two things that don't make sense:

1. Early on, a Marine grabs a Brute Spike Grenade that's sticking into the wall next to him about to explode, and hurls it into the air, blowing up a Covenant Banshee that's streaking by:

The Banshee he's going to frag is off-screen.

It looks really cool, but leaving aside the fact that it's ludicrous (unless he was just trying to get rid of the grenade and simply got improbably lucky), it's way too short of a throw. The grenade, which is about 2/3rds the length of a baseball bat, barely completes a full rotation and doesn't diminish appreciably in the distance before it hits the conveniently-passing Banshee. For the Banshee to be that close, it would have to be a whole lot bigger.

Yes, I know they applied artistic license to fit everything in frame, but you're already having a guy shoot down the equivalent of, say, an A-10 ground-attack jet by chucking a hand grenade at it -- we're already stretching credulity pretty far.

(Now, if you have the Master Chief do it; sure, why not -- he's a cyborg. But you still have to fix the perspective problem.)

2. The apparent plot of the short is that the Marines need to figure out where the Master Chief is going to land by painting him with a laser designator:

According to the dialog, "Search & Rescue teams are awaiting coordinates," and "That's it, we got it; recovery team has his coordinates."

Of course, needing a guy on the ground to paint a re-entry vehicle makes absolutely no sense. To make sure the guy was within visual range, you'd need to put in him the general vicinity of the landing (and if you knew that, you wouldn't need the guy).

And it's re-entering the atmosphere -- it's not something you can hide. Once they spot it on radar/lidar (or just look out the window of that hovering Pelican dropship and follow the smoke trail), they'll know where it's going to land (the guy on the ground wasn't marking it all the way down, so it's not maneuvering -- it's on a ballistic trajectory).

I suppose it could have been explained away as some back-assward way to do IFF interrogation,if they were trying to sneak the Master Chief's re-entry vehicle in among a cloud of decoys, but the dialog and on-screen action don't indicate this (and there's that whole "guy on ground" problem again).

Anyway, this is an awfully long entry for someone who ostensibly isn't interested in the Halo 3 launch, so I'll just say I hope the movie is good, whenever it comes out.

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