Obligatory Turkey Day Post

Here’s a joke one of my teachers told us about Thanksgiving.  He had a professor in college who was stationed in England.  Around the time Thanksgiving fell on the calendar, one of the Brits pointed out it was that time of year.  The Brit then told the man they too celebrated Thanksgiving…but theirs was on the 4th of July.

Thanksgiving sucks because I have to visit three homes tomorrow and eat at all of them…or supposed to.  Since I’m not much of an eater, I’ll eat enough at the first house then waste the rest of the day away.  Tomorrow, though, is a time for housecleaning.  I’m expecting guests Friday and need the house looking decent.  Decent enough for three, maybe four, guys to bum around and play games all day.

As for football tomorrow today, I try to watch what I can…but the Lions are horrible and the Seahawks are just bad.  Also, I don’t get the NFL Network.  Still, for predictions…Titans over the Lions, Cowboys over the Seahawks, and Cardinals over the Eagles.

Well, now I have something to give thanks for, thanks for nothing!

How the GameFAQs Character Battle Should Have Went: Final

The GameFAQs character battle concluded yesterday.  Link won…again.  This is the second time he’s won the battle when he’s been in the tournament from the start.  Add another two wins if the post-battle tournaments count (the ones where previous champions were excluded).  Link is also in the finals of my tournament.  Will he win this battle too?  Remember, a character needs to have more than popularity to win…  They also need prestige and have been around long enough to develop a personality.

The rules have changed somewhat for the finals.  Four characters go in, but only one emerges victorious in the finale.

Finals
Link vs. Mario vs. Solid Snake vs. Master Chief


Mario wins!  And why not, he has everything required to win.  He’s been around forever to develop a persona, become incredibly popular and has starred in some impressive, best-selling titles.  No other person has come close to rivaling Mario’s popularity.  Link comes close but he lacks that mainstream appeal that Mario has.  Snake is my personal favorite of the bunch but his games are a love ’em/hate ’em affair.  He’s the most developed of the bunch, though.  And while the Chief is popular, he’s a typical action hero who happens to star in a best-selling franchise.  Halo 3 ends the current story with the Chief so, unless he comes back in the later games, his popularity will be short-lived.  Same with Snake, Metal Gear Solid 4 was his swan song.

Now that the battle is over (both at GameFAQs and here), we can go back to our regular business.  The polls at GameFAQs are back (and it’s worth bookmarking the site just for the polls).  Vote for the best Link here…and that would be CD-I Link!  Why?  Well

Oh, and let the record show I picked the Steelers over the Bengals tonight.

Now, having just met you, I wouldn’t go as far as calling you a cold-hearted bastard…but it wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine.

How the GameFAQs Character Battle Should Have Went: Part V

I’ve been posting this series a day (or two) after the rounds in the GameFAQs tournament are finished.  For example, the semi-finals ended yesterday.  So, today, I’m covering my version of the semi-finals.  The tournament finishes up today, so the last of this series should be posted tomorrow.

Anyway, who were the contestants in the semi-finals for the GameFAQs tournament?  Link, Mario, Samus, Crono, Cloud, Snake, Sephiroth and Kirby.  Looking back through the tournament, it’s a shame to see some characters eliminated while ones that are second-tier (at best) managed to advance this far.  The more I think about it, the more I like my version.

Rules have not changed.  Four characters battle it out.  Two characters move on.  Which two characters advance is determined by my criteria, which mixes popularity, prestiege and longevity.  One can not win with the battle with just one of those assets, a good character needs a healthy mix of them all.

And just for notes, characters highlighted in blue managed to make it this far and advance to the finals of the GameFAQs tournament.

Semi-Final I
Link vs. Mario vs. Samus Aran vs. Pikachu


Samus is the definite weak link here and is, thusly, eliminated.  Samus lacks the mainstream appeal of any of the other three and her decade-long hiatus (Super Smash Bros. cameo excluded) hurts her.  Her elimination is easy but choosing between the other three is difficult.  Without a question, Mario moves on.  If video games had a mascot, Mario would be it.  I remember reading somewhere back in the early-90’s, Mario was more popular than Mickey Mouse among children.  Not only is Mario popular, but his games have been hits.  The only disappointing Mario game that isn’t a spin-off (like Mario Party, Mario Kart, etc.) is Super Mario Sunshine.  That means, he’s been in games for over twenty years and is still kicking ass.

In a contest between Link and Pikachu, the nod goes to Link.  I believe Pikachu is more popular but once the Pokemon fad died down at the turn of the century, where did the electric rodent scamper off too?  Even if the Pokemon games were still selling, Pikachu is now just another face in a crowd of 400+ creatures.  Link, on the other hand, has been a consistent draw for gamers.  Zelda, after twenty years, still sells well…and part of that credit goes to Link.

Semi-Final II
Donkey Kong vs. Solid Snake vs. Master Chief vs. Sonic the Hedgehog


Eliminations were much harder to decide here because each character deserves a trip to the finals.  Ultimately, Donkey Kong was eliminated because he’s become more of a Mario lackey since Microsoft acquired Rare (a premiere Nintendo developer).  Donkey Kong used to star in platformers, but once Rare left a few years ago, he’s starred in some Jungle Beat games.  Not exactly stellar.  Sonic was also eliminated because he’s fallen so far from superstardom.  In the early-90’s, he was up there with Mario in popularity.  Then the Sega Saturn failed and while he rebounded on the Dreamcast with some good games (Sonic Adventure 1 and 2), he hasn’t been the same since Sega stopped producing consoles.  He’s still popular but his prestiege has taken a hit.

On the other hand, Snake and the Chief advance.  Both are popular characters and have the prestiege needed to be a finalist.  Snake’s been around a long time too, but his star power never really emerged until Metal Gear Solid hit the PlayStation back in 1998.  Since then, while his games have been rather infamous (thanks to overly-long cutscenes and insane plots), people pay to play them.  Master Chief made Halo and the Xbox a force to be reckoned with in the last-gen console wars.

The finals of the tournament wrap up today (go vote for Snake!), so this series will be concluded tomorrow…unless there’s another poll with the final two.

Why is that people who can’t take advice always insist on giving it?

How the GameFAQs Character Battle Should Have Went: Part IV

The quarterfinals of the tournament ended yesterday.  The finalists were Link, Zack Fair, Mario, Mega Man X, Samus Aran, Vincent Valentine, Crono, Pikachu, Solid Snake, Weighted Companion Cube, Cloud Strife, Mewtwo, Kirby, Dante, Sephiroth and Sonic the Hedgehog.  Some of these characters don’t belong, obviously.  Compare them to my proposal and see which one is more valid.  And before someone reminds me people voted, popularity power isn’t the best way to determine if something is good or not.  The people have spoken…and they are fucking idiots.

Rules are the same as the previous rounds.  Four characters go in, two advance.  Instead of using popular vote to determine who goes on, we use my criteria.  This criteria consists of character’s prestiege, longevity, with some popularity thrown in for good measure.  One can not win with just one of those assets.

And just for kicks, if a character is highlighted in blue, it means they advanced to the semi-finals in the GameFAQs tournament.

Quarterfinal I
Wario vs. Link vs. Bowser vs. Mario


A no-brainer here.  Link and Mario are flagship Nintendo characters that even non-gamers are familiar with.

Quarterfinal II
Samus Aran vs. Gordon Freeman vs. Ryu (Street Fighter) vs. Pikachu


Pikachu advances because it’s the most popular Pokemon in the history of that franchise.  Like Mario, non-gamers know who Pikachu is.  It was harder to decide who would also advance.  Ryu is out because he might be the face of Street Fighter, but when was the last time fighting games were cool?  Mid-90’s?  Gordon has had two good games (and some follow-up episodes) but so has Samus.  Samus advances, thanks to her longevity.  That, and when you can take 10 years off (rough estimate of the time between Super Metroid and Metroid Prime) from making games and still star in a good series…you deserve to advance.

On a side-note, it’s amazing that Pikachu got voted out in the quarterfinals of the GameFAQs tournament.  Samus Aran and Crono (from Chrono Trigger) have nowhere near the name recognition, but both advanced.  Democracy really sucks when people are complete boobs.

Quarterfinal III
Donkey Kong vs. Solid Snake vs. Yoshi vs. Cloud Strife


Donkey Kong and Snake advance.  Yoshi is popular but after the original Super Mario World, Yoshi has become little more than a Mario supporting character.  Donkey Kong is going the same route, sadly, although he had his own critically-acclaimed series (Donkey Kong Country).  Yoshi was a co-star at best.  Cloud has gotten this far (and always advances in the GameFAQs tournament finals) because he is not an interesting character, but because he stars in a popular game.  If anyone needs proof, just look how far Vincent Valentine got in the GameFAQs battle.  Cloud goes because he is not as iconic as Donkey Kong or as developed as Snake…and no additional sales figures for Final Fantasy VII or spin-off of that game will change that.

Quarterfinal IV
Big Boss vs. Master Chief vs. Sonic the Hedgehog vs. Kratos


Master Chief and Sonic easily advance.  Master Chief has helped Halo sell as well as it did, even though he’s little more than the average bad-ass action hero.  Sonic has been the mascot for Sega since the days of the Genesis.  Big Boss could have usurped the Chief if he had been well-developed prior to Metal Gear Solid 3:  Snake Eater.  Before that, he was nothing more than recurring boss or plot device.  Kratos, while all sorts of awesome, just can’t match up with the Chief or Sonic.

The semi-finals of my take on the tournament will be posted on Wednesday.  The character battle itself will be resolved this week.  If you really want to, you can catch up on the three previous rounds here, here and here.

Straight through the middle
The center of it all
Caught in the middle of your soul

How the GameFAQs Character Battle Should Have Went: Part III

We now return to your regularly-scheduled ranting…

Round 2 (well, 3, but that’s the numbering system they are going by) of the tournament is now completed.  How should it have went?  Let’s see.  Rules are the same as the previous two rounds.  Four contestants enter, two come out victorious.  In the GameFAQs battle, this becomes nothing more than a joke of a popularity contest.  Characters who should rightfully advance to the next round get eliminated by joke characters or characters that have no business advancing move on because of popularity alone, despite the fact they most likely starred in only one game.  Example, Donkey Kong got eliminated in the preliminaries this year but Cloud, the main character of a single Final Fantasy game and later movie star, moves on to the finals every year.

We eliminate the popularity contest and replace it with my criteria, which consists of prestige, longevity and popularity, and we get a more balanced outcome.  One last note, a blue color means that character advanced to the next round in the GameFAQs poll.

Division 1

Wario vs. Link vs. Duke Nukem vs. Altair

Division 2

Luigi vs. Bowser vs. Mario vs. Zelda

Division 3

Samus Aran vs. Ganondorf vs. Gordon Freeman vs. Scorpion

Division 4

Crono vs. Ryu (Street Fighter) vs. Alucard vs. Pikachu

Division 5

Donkey Kong vs. Mega Man vs. Ryu Hayabusa vs. Solid Snake

Division 6

Fox McCloud vs. Yoshi vs. Cloud Strife vs. Mewtwo

Division 7

Big Boss vs. Master Chief vs. Leon Kennedy vs. Dante

Division 8

Sonic the Hedgehog vs. Sub-Zero vs. Kratos vs. Revolver Ocelot

Some commentary:  You can tell my critera has caused the results to differ substantially from the GameFAQs poll.  Division 7, which had Kirby and Dante advancing in the GameFAQs poll, looks different.

As for the results themselves, division 2 was the hardest to narrow down.  Luigi or Zelda could both be substitued over Bowser.  Luigi wasn’t chosen because he is neglected and why the Legend of Zelda is named after Zelda (when you play as Link the entire time) will always baffle me.  I chose not to advance Mega Man because this is his original incarnation, which until the recent release of Mega Man 9, had not had a real game released since the SNES.  I grudgingly chose Cloud over Fox or Mewtwo because Final Fantasy VII is popular and, I bet, has sold more than any Star Fox game.  Mewtwo is pretty prolific, having had his own movie and all, but he’s nowhere near Pikachu’s popularity and thus, does not deserve to move on.

One last thing, I’m picking the Patriots over the Jets for tonight’s game that no one will watch because it’s on the NFL Network.

There was a picture somewhere
It was a picture of you
Behind the smile I seemed to see you for the first time”

Neglected

I’ve been reconciling with something the past few weeks and it’s come to a point recently that it’s just annoying.  I recently voted against a guy because of who he was associated with.  Terrorists, racists, thugs and the sort.  Then I took a step back and looked at who I was associated with.  Certainly not terrorists, racists, thugs or the like…but there were a few people who I wondered “why the hell am I friends with them?”

There are a few reasons for this.  I disagree with them on important issues (politics being the kicker), I find them to be more annoying than anything else, I feel they are hypocrites concerning religion…but the real issue is that they say they are friends, but they don’t ever act like it.  I don’t talk to these people enough to justify a friendship.  Leaving high school is one excuse, but the age of instant communication makes that excuse lame.  It’s odd that I get nudged into getting a Facebook, but after almost two years of using it, there are months where no one will say anything.

Even here, with a static dynasty, I’ve actually had to delete some subscribers because they never bothered to comment or, at least, show me that they’re reading.  I’m in the camp of “not reading = not caring”.  So what if I’m not writing anything interesting?  I thought I was a “great writer”.  Shouldn’t a great writer be able to make the dull a little more exciting?  And that’s no excuse to not drop by and say “hey, how are you?”

I can forgive some people because they are out of state or I’ve met them over the Internet but most people who proclaim to be “my friend” are easily within driving distance.  At the very least, they could pick up a phone and make a call.  Oh wait.  Maybe they no longer have my number, despite the fact its never changed.  I called a girl yesterday to ask if she had taken a class.  Said girl had my number a year ago and used it to get a hold of me.  A year later, she no longer had my number.  In fact, she sent a message after calling her that started off by saying,” Now that I have your number…”  Well, if you were just going to forget about it or delete it from your phonebook, why did I give it to you in the first place?

I guess I’m just feeling neglected, which does not mix well with my already cynical personality.  I’m already living on my own now.  If I’m not going to hear from my so-called friends, why should I stop expecting to?  Maybe I should make like post-World War I America and just retreat into isolation.  I wonder how long it would take my friends to notice?

Perhaps it’s something else entirely that I’m missing.  Perhaps I have impossible standards of friendship that I’m holding people too and should consider revising them…or maybe I’m just delusional.  Who knows…and who cares, right?

Slipping away, just a heartbeat from disaster
Nothing could make me stay, close your eyes and I’ll be gone
Turn the page, yeah, time to start another story
Slipping away, slipping away, time to move along

Wealth Redistrubitionism Executed

A story I’ve been wanting to tell for a while but forget where I first heard it…  Anyway, it’s about wealth redistribution.

On his way to lunch, a man passed a homeless guy who was holding a “Vote Obama – I need the money” sign.  The man chuckles and continues on his way to his favorite local restaurant.  In that same restaurant, his server wore an Obama tie.  The man chuckles again and comes up with an idea to illustrate what exactly “wealth redistribution” is.

When the bill comes, the man decides not to tip the server.  The server is, of course, angry.  He demands to know why he is not being tipped.  The man tells him about Obama’s policy to redistribute wealth.  He points to the homeless man outside, saying he deserves the money more.  The man leaves the server seething.

The man goes outside and gives the tip to the homeless man, who is grateful.  When the man goes home, he realizes something.  The homeless man was grateful for money he did not earn but the server was angry that his money was given away, even though the homeless man needed it more.

The moral of the story?  Communism/Socialism/Wealth redistribution is easier said than accomplished.

If you let yourself go and open your mind
I’ll bet you’d be doing like me
And it ain’t so bad

Keep the Change

People warned about this kind of change…but no one cared or listened.  How long until buyer’s remorse sets in?  Even if it does, it may be too late to matter.

President-elect Barack Hussein Obama has unveiled some new plans at his .gov website.  The fact that he hasn’t even taken office yet and has his own government-affiliated website is unsettling enough, but perusing the site for his plans and ideas is even scarier.  One excerpt that really stood out can be read here (and also here, the .gov site can be unreliable).

Obama’s plan calls for mandatory community service for middle school, high school and college kids.  Middle and high school students get away with 50 hours of mandatory service, college kids get hit with 100 hours per year.  Wow…mandatory community service…  People who think this is a good idea either do not know what community service is or do not know the difference between “service” and “servitude”.

Barack Obama may think the Constitution is a flawed document, but it’s still the law of the land and cornerstone this country is built on.  Perhaps before enacting these policies, he should re-read the Thirteenth Amendment, which says, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime where of the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

Is this the change he was talking about?

One last Obama bashing note for the day.  When asked if he had spoken to any of the former Presidents, he responded with, “all of them , uh…that are living…uh…obviously.”  Sadly, the Obamessiah can not talk to the dead.  Once he realized how stupid that sounded, he made a crack at Nancy Reagen.  Most people won’t get the joke (mainly because its aimed at the wrong First Lady) but that didn’t cross Uh-bama’s mind.  The former first lady is currently recovering from a broken hip…but it’s nice enough to know our President-elect cares enough about her to make a joke at her expense.

Stay classy Barry.  Being “present” won’t be enough come January.

UPDATE:  News travels fast in today’s world and the people running Obama’s site found out that perhaps “mandatory community service” wasn’t the best way to phrase their plan.  The site has since been changed.  Read the full story here.

Your freedom is gone
He’s taken everything you ever had
But if you’re strong, you’ll survive
You’ve got to hold on
Open your eyes!

How the GameFAQs Character Battle Should Have Went: Part II

I’ll end the Barack Obama spiel with an exit quote from this site

“Let’s put politics aside and celebrate this historic milestone. In his famous speech at the Lincoln Memorial 45 years ago, Dr. King said, “I have a dream that one day my children will live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Let us now take pride that Tuesday we Americans proved that neither thing matters anymore.”

*sigh*

Anyway…the first round (err…second, but it’s called the first for some reason) of the GameFAQs character battle has been decided.  Rules are the same as last time.  In the GameFAQs battle, four contestants enter, the two with the most votes move on while the other two.  This turns the character battle into a popularity contest instead of what it should be, a character battle.  In this series, the rules are the same.  Four contestants, two move on, etc…but I am the only one voting.  My criteria for the fight includes popularity, but also the number of appearances in a game, as well as prestiege.  This prevens too many Final Fantasy characters (who typically only appear in one game, although they may cameo in Kingdom Hearts) from dominating the rounds.

One additional note:  Characters highlighted in blue made it to the division finals in the GameFAQs poll (I disqualified two candidates in the first round, so if one contest has only one blue candidate…that’s why).

Division 1

Wario vs. Zack Fair vs. Link vs. Shadow the Hedgehog

Duke Nukem vs. Marth vs. Altair vs. Guybrush Threepwood

Division 2

Liquid Snake vs. Luigi vs. Bowser vs. Phoenix Wright

Mario vs. Zelda vs. Tom Nook vs. MegaMan X

Division 3

Crash Bandicoot vs. Samus Aran vs. Frog vs. Ganondorf

Falco Lombardi vs. Vincent Valentine vs. Gordon Freeman vs. Scorpion

Division 4

Crono vs. Amaterasu vs. Meta Knight vs. Ryu (Street Fighter)

Alucard vs. Captain Falcon vs. Pikachu vs. Arthas Menethil

Division 5

Donkey Kong vs. Miles “Tails” Prower vs. Captain Olimar vs. Mega Man

Ryu Hayabusa vs. Zero vs. Albert Wesker vs. Solid Snake

Division 6

Fox McCloud vs. Sora vs. Squall Leonhart vs. Yoshi

Cloud Strife vs. Midna vs. Mewtwo vs. Pac-Man

Division 7

Big Boss vs. Kirby vs. Master Chief vs. Raiden

Leon Kennedy vs. Riku (Kingdom Hearts) vs. Dante vs. Ramza Beoulve

Division 8

Magus vs. Sonic the Hedgehog vs. Auron vs. Sub-Zero

Sephiroth vs. Tifa Lockheart vs. Kratos vs. Revolver Ocelot


Some commentary:  Neither Marth nor Duke Nukem deserved to advance to the next round, but I ended up going with Duke.  Altair doesn’t deserve too either, but he has the luck of having crappy competition.  None of them will get past Wario or Link, though.  Choosing Zelda over MegaMan X was difficult but necessary.  MegaMan X is, at best, an update on the original MegaMan whose heydey was the 16-bit era.  Zelda’s role, on the other hand, has increased (not too much, but enough).  Alucard and Captain Falcon was a toss-up.  However, aside from Super Smash Bros. cameos, Captain Falcon hasn’t done all that much.  Alucard, however, is pretty renowned by critics of the Castlevania series.  Ryu Hayabusa was chosen over Zero and Wesker thanks to his star status.  Zero has gone the MegaMan X route of mediocrity and Wesker is too busy working behind the scenes.

Round 3 will be posted next week.

Obama Pledge List

Since I’m on the political kick (I’ve decided I’d rather put up with a lot of crap now so I can tell people “I told you so” later), here’s a list of Obama campaign pledges.  Print it out and whenever Obama fulfills that pledge, cross it out.  If he doesn’t…well…keep it up so you can remind yourself what was promised.

  • Give a tax break to 95% of Americans who work every day and get taxes taken out of their paycheck every week.
  • Eliminate income taxes on Social Security for seniors making under $50,000.
  • Give homeowners and working parents additional tax breaks.
  • No tax increases (not even a dime) on anyone if they make under $250,000 $200,000 $150,000 $120,000.  This includes income taxes, capital gains taxes and payroll taxes.
  • End tax breaks to companies who ship jobs overseas.
  • Give tax breaks to companies that invest in America.
  • Eliminate capital gains taxes for small businesses and start-up companies.
  • Create 2 million new jobs by rebuilding roads, bridges, schools and laying broadband lines across the country.
  • Invest $15 billion a year in renewable energy sources to create 5 million new energy jobs over the next decade.
  • Reopen old factories, old plants, build solar panels and wind turbines.
  • Build a new electricity grid.
  • Build the fuel-efficient cars of tomorrow.
  • Eliminate the oil we import from the Middle-East in 10 years.
  • Lower premiums for those who already have health insurance.
  • People who don’t have health insurance will be able to get the same kind of insurance that members of Congress get.
  • End discrimination by insurance companies to the sick and those who need care the most.
  • Invest in early childhood education.
  • Recruit an army of new teachers.
  • Pay our teachers higher salaries but demand higher standards and more accountability.
  • Guarantee higher education to all young people who commit themselves to national service (whether it is the military, Peace Corps, etc.).
  • Stop spending $10 billion a month in Iraq
  • End the war in Iraq
  • Finish the fight and snuff out al Qaeda and bin Laden.
  • Increase our ground troops and our investments in the military.
  • Invest in 21st century technology so that our troops have the best training and equipment when they deploy into combat and the care and benefits they have earned when they come home.
  • No more homeless veterans.
  • No more fighting for disability payments.

Bonus points if he can heal the planet.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  These are all from a speech in Sarasota, Florida.  He’s made plenty more over the course of the campaign and honestly, few have the time to track down them all.

Remember, these are his promises.  This is what he expects to accomplish.  With expectations this high, his approval ratings can only go one way.  The media will certainly keep his popularity afloat for a little while, but he can’t hide forever.  Estimate:  this time next year (November ’09) will be when the Obama backlash begins…if it doesn’t start sooner.

Speaking of Hope and Change, he’s certainly not doing any of the latter in his adminsitration.  He offered former Clinton crony Rehm Emanuel to be his chief of staff.  Emanuel is, as said, a Clinton crony most famous for telling Republicans “to go fuck themselves.”  Classy, true example of Obama’s brand of “new” politics.  Looks like “change” was just a facade for “status quo”.

One last thing and I’ll shut up until tomorrow:  my brother had to watch both John McCain’s speech and Barack Obama’s.  He was allowed to sleep through McCain’s speech but when Obama came on, the teacher singled him out in front of the entire class…because it was historical…but mostly because she voted for the baby killer.

Washington voters approved an assisted suicide initiatve, but actually half the country voted for assisted suicide last night anyway, so it’s no big loss.