Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Game Review: Xenos

Xenos is a fun game that's different.

In this game, which has a generic storyline about how you need to fight off an empire ruled by a mad scientist who discovered a new kind of energy called Xenos (surprise!), you control a "battlesuit" (though I look at it and see a super robot) which flies freely through a mazelike environment whilst wielding an energy-based melee weapon of some kind, intent on smashing the "Xenos Generators." (You're the little thing with the bluish aura and the sword.)

Combat is insanely simple: See an enemy? Fly at it, try to avoid any projectiles it fires, and smash into it head on. Whenever you smack into something that can be destroyed by your weapon, your robot automatically swings at it. (Note that this means you need to keep mashing the arrow keys if the thing is a generator and you're just sitting there.) This is actually quite well-animated.

Now, this sounds very simplistic, and if that was all there was, it would be. If you look at the above, you might have trouble picking out the robot. That's because it's got a different weapon (a double-bladed sword thing in the style of Darth Maul's lightsaber) and it's now green instead of blue. (It's right in the middle of that mess of enemies-you can tell because all those pink energy blasts are between it and each enemy, more or less.)

It's a different weapon because there's more than one (you start with two and acquire several more), and the color's changed because of the other central part of the combat system: The more damage you do, the more that large bar that's shaped like three donuts in a row fills up, and the larger and more powerful your phallic object weapon gets. It changes color from blue to green to yellow to orange to red as it increases in power.

Now, here's the tricky part. That energy buildup drains over time (and rather quickly when you're not in battle), and so you need to constantly be fighting, or you'll run out of energy; further, each weapon has a "special" attack that you activate by pressing the space bar which also drains energy.

That double-bladed sword is by far the better and more fun of the two starting weapons, and even gives the better of the two other weapons I've seen (a cool scythe thing) a run for its money. Why? Aside from the fact that it just seems to work better and more smoothly most of the time, especially against large numbers of enemies (which are the norm), its special attack is a boomerang throw.

This is awesome, because you can throw it into a cluster of enemies, who will take lots of damage as it goes through them, and then fly through another cluster of enemies; the weapon will follow you wherever you go, slashing through whatever enemies you happen to pass by as you run around, and keeping your energy charge much higher than the other weapon specials do. (Note that you're more vulnerable when you do this because you don't smash guys you fly into, but you're also more maneuverable, because you slow down when you're slashing through enemies.) There is very little more satisfying than executing this maneuver well.

The addition of aggressive mines (which you can't destroy except by being hit by them or by outmaneuvering them so that they smack into walls, another thing that is very satisfying when you do it well), random energy/health powerups, and barriers that trap you in with enemies who sometimes come in multiple waves add many strategic layers to the game; over time, you'll realize that it's good to save those powerups for when barriers fall (unless you really need some health), that it's better to destroy the generators you can reach first and then fight the enemies, and that you need to choose where you fly carefully to avoid waking up those darned mines.

All these things plus the great graphics add up to a game that's a lot of fun and very engaging.

That said, they also add up to a game that's very hard. Enemies fire their weapons in salvos, which means that you can lose health at frightening rates, going from a full health bar to dead in seconds, especially if you've crashed into a huge mass of them as is so very tempting, and the bosses can spray enough projectiles to make anyone but a bullet hell player flinch (though thankfully, they usually have nice, predictable patterns). It occasionally gets to the point where the levels where you have to deal with the advancing laser beam of doom that crosses the whole screen are relaxing.

It's rare for me to really enjoy a game where that kind of stuff is true, but you know what? I love this game, even if there's a good chance I'll never be able to drive myself to finish it (much less the distinct possibility that I'm actually incapable of finishing it). If you're a gamer who loves fast-paced actiony titles like shooting games, this is probably right up your alley. If you don't love that kind of game, you'll probably still have some fun, but might find yourself running out of patience quickly.

-Signing off.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#65)

641. Lontars. For reasons that aren't especially clear, the Lontars invaded Batorine, homeworld of the Blood Carvers, and nearly wiped them out. (The Old Republic rescued the Blood Carvers, who at the time were a rather primitive species, and in the galaxy's present, more Blood Carvers live in the safety of Coruscant than on their homeworld.)

Shame on you, Lontars, for trying to kill off a group with such an awesome name.

On the other hand, the Lontars have rather amusing cranial structures.

Rating: 2/5. The nebulousness of their motivations raises many questions, but at least they look kind of neat.

642. Lowen. The Lowen are supposedly "near-humans," which often is used to describe a group that can interbreed with humans.

This is... interesting, as the Lowen have fleshy tendrils instead of hair on their heads, and their skin apparently is too big for them and hangs off certain areas on them in big folds.

The picture of one is, despite that, rather pleasant to look at.

Rating: 3/5. I like how they look.

643. Lucents. These ambiguously canonical crystalline and arachnoid lifeforms apparently perceive the Force in a unique fashion that allows them to effortlessly navigate hyperspace; they also have technology that allows them to easily navigate the treacherous region that they call home (said region, incidentally, is definitely canonical). The Lucents offered to sell a bit of this technology to the galaxy at large, but were completely unwilling to do so unless it was guaranteed to be disseminated among the entirety of the rest of the galaxy.

As this was chronologically somewhere between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, doing so would be difficult. However, the individual they met with was able to orchestrate a meeting with multiple parties, the Galactic Empire and the Rebel Alliance obviously primary among them. But who represented the rest of the galaxy? ...A Hutt.

Yeah, that can't have ended well.

Rating: 4/5. The Lucents represent a staple of science fiction, the advanced benevolent aliens who make people jump through hoops in return for some kind of reward. I find it a bit amazing that this is the first time I've noticed a group to be in that category (though the Star Wars galaxy really oughtn't have many of them, being among the most powerful and advanced civilizations in all of fiction). They're also likeable, despite their questionable canonicity.

644. Lucksprites. Lucksprites are among the many weird, supernatural entities that live on Endor. They have tentacles on their heads (despite being elfish creatures) that can be used to essentially "fire" good or bad luck at others.

They are also incredibly hideous.

Rating: 2/5 for the amusement factor.

645. Lugubraa. The Lugubraa are a race that's treated as a legally ownable animal until the age of six months or so, at which point they are rather dimwitted but capable of speech and the like. If a Lugubraa lives to fifty, it becomes a relative genius, and these individuals generally lead the rest of the species.

This does not go into the fact that the Lugubraa have huge lamprey-like mouths, four arms, two of which look disturbingly like... something other than arms, and are obsessed with fresh (i.e. just-killed) meat. These traits led to the Crokes "recruiting" them for their civil war with each other, and the fact that the Lugubraa breed quickly and asexually led to the Crokes being rendered nearly extinct by their own hungry "soldiers."

They're also blind and use echolocation and infrared senses to make their way around.

Rating: 4/5. They're both very disturbing and very interesting.

646. Lurmen, or Mygeetans. The Lurmen are basically lemurs. They apparently are shown to talk with Irish/Scottish accents.

Rating: 3/5. Scots-Irish lemurs? Yeah, sure.

647. Lurrians. The Lurrians look like Ewoks, but aren't. We know this because they're herbivorous, and we all know that Ewoks will eat anything that moves.

They're apparently reclusive, and they're very skilled geneticists/bioengineers, having created various species, and so their services are in high demand offworld even though they're not selling.

Thus, sometimes they get kidnapped and sold into slavery. Nice. (In the Han Solo adventures, Han was unwittingly duped into picking up a shipment of Lurrian slaves; he and they [and Chewbacca] successfully teamed up on the armed guards that boarded the Millennium Falcon to keep Han in line to get out of the mess.)

Rating: 4/5. That's a little high, sure, but I have a reason-it's uncommon to see an alien species who can be confused for another species that isn't the human species.

648. Lutrillians. The Lutrillians apparently are highly nomadic beings, and developed this way to avoid the fearsome predators that inhabit the equatorial tundra they call home on their homeworld. (Yes, equatorial tundra. Apparently, Lutrillia is quite cold and dry.) How fearsome are these predators? Well, apparently they're still a problem even in the present, when most Lutrillians live in mobile cities, and if a mobile city stalls, it will be in serious danger from attacks by these predators. (Incidentally, the predators are known by the rather diminutive names of "nippers" and "chompers.") The Lutrillians enjoyed success in business in the galaxy at large, and were thus lucky enough to have the money to build their mobile cities and keep them running most of the time, however.

Rating: 3/5. They're... kinda ugly.

649. Luyals. Sapient. A species.

Rating: 1/5.

650. Lyra. Named after a constellation.

Rating: 1/5. Huh, I accidentally typed "11/5" at first. That would have been awkward...

-Signing off.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Yet Another Amusing Transformers: Prime Toy Commercial

Like, oh, about two thirds of the eastern United States, I'm currently weathering out a bit of a storm. So here's a quick post.

Two things that make me laugh beyond the obvious content of the advertisement itself, from the TFWiki page for the item being advertised:

1) Optimus Maximus is classed as an "Autobot... thing" in the disambiguation section.

2) The caption for the toy photograph-"Your Optimus is so fat, when he sits down people call it base mode!" Classic.

-Signing off.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Perils of Autocomplete

So let's consider the autocomplete function that various word processors, such as crummy old Microsoft Office and shoddy cell phones have. (More specifically, the terrible, terrible phone that sits in front of me at this moment, staring balefully and mockingly at me.)

Recently I decided to monkey around with the feature. It's hardly as evil as I initially took it to be (I once only entered single letters, because despite loving technology I'm a Luddite when it comes to phones, and I don't get along with them), but neither is it a wonder.

Let's take the word "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious." Now, obviously that's not a real word, and Firefox's spellcheck is hating on me for typing it. (It's also hating on me for typing "spellcheck" and "autocomplete." Ha ha, foolish spellcheck, I'll type those words as often as I want.)

The sequence of numbers one must enter into a phone to achieve this massive word is 787372254372445478439742543624687.

What does the autocomplete on my cell phone give me?

It gives me superbbjiesbiitieyshalienago.

Now the first thing you might notice is that this word does not have the same number of characters as supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. This is because the autocomplete gobbles up characters when it doesn't like them being where they are. If I enter an actual word, sometimes the autocomplete will completely lock down the word, only giving me the option of hitting backspace. Other times, the autocomplete will lock down specific letters and let others be used, even if they make no sense.

I'm amazed that there's as much sensical stuff in there as there is-"superb," "alien," and "ago." Often when I perform this exercise, I just get a set of repeating letters as the autocomplete defies me by just repeating whatever the most commonly used letter from a button is.

-Signing off.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#64)

Note: It is possible that this entry is drawn from the smallest volume of text and pictures that I've ever drawn one of these articles from.

631. Lexlar. Short. Hairy. Hominid.

Tolkeinesque dwarves/hobbits?

Rating: 1/5. The dwarves/hobbits crack is all I've got.

632. Likash. They don't like the ol' Galactic Empire, or so one presumes from the fact that one of their senators thought that the New Republic ought to stomp all over the Imperial Remnant even though there were plausible rumors that Grand Admiral Thrawn, all around best tactician ever, was back and leading the Remnant and thus the Remnant was more dangerous than it had been. (He wasn't, though, so it turned out to be a moot point.)

Rating: 1/5. ...I think this is the first time I've been this harsh to a Zahn book species.

633. Lisst'n. Lisst'n apparently have rather gross and massive molting, to the point where they tend to use machines to manage it.

Despite this, apparently one of them was the "court poet" of all around ancient jerky dictator Xim the Despot.

Rating: 3/5. That's a little high, yeah, but the thought of having to use a device to cleanse yourself of your own skin on a large scale... that's interesting (and disgusting).

634. Lizard warriors. Lizard warriors are basically exactly what they sound like-lizards? Check. Warriors? Check.

They live on Endor and at least occasionally give Ewoks a hard time, making them like the fifteenth or so species of large(r than an Ewok) and aggressive entity to do so. They have bows and arrows and stuff like you'd expect on Endor.

One of their more interesting aspects is that their tails sit on the ground when they're standing, like old-fashioned dinosaur depictions, while they raise them up like newer dinosaur depictions when running. Keep in mind they're from a comic published in 1985, and then think about that a bit.

Also interesting is that at least one group of them was led by an Ewok who wore viking horns and an eyepatch.

Rating: 3/5. I'm pretty sure they're the only lizard people on Endor so far. Considering the vast hordes of multifarious races of all stripes (and at least three kinds of absurdly huge giants, two of which were ice-themed) that exist on Endor, that's kind of amazing.

635. Lizling. Small. Reptilian. Pancake-headed. Have those silly little mustaches, apparently.

Rating: 1/5. No offense intended to small, reptilian, pancake-headed, or have-those-silly-little-mustaches people.

636. Llewebum. Bumpy, with secondary bumps.

Rating: 1/5. Bumps? That's all you have to offer?

637. Locans. Ugly poorly drawn. Apparently blue with black spots. Hulking (but not "out").

Rating: 1/5.

638. Lomabuans. The Lomabuans were close to, but not involved in, many galactic crises and wars and suchlike over the millennia, apparently always being just lucky enough to never actually see any action on their homeworld.

At some point probably not long after the rise of the Galactic Empire, the Empire decided they were seditious, and killed or enslaved their race, to the point where visitors to their planet would have no idea what they looked like. Things don't look too good for them, and their cities are now sinking into one of their world's oceans... somehow.

Rating: 3/5. There's something particularly forlorn and sad about this particular case of extinction, but I can't put my finger on it. I kind of like it, though.

639. Lomins. They're from a planet called Pantaloon Pantolomin, which is kind of amusing; apparently, their star is called Panto (or so one would presume from their home system being named the Panto System).

They apparently share administrative power in their system with other guys who live there, which is really only fair. Apparently, they collectively worked to turn their system into a resort system, though you won't read that in the Lomins' article.

They're amphibious.

Rating: 2/5. Eh, not much to go on.

640. Lonjair. The Lawnchair Lonjair are apparently shy, self-centered, have four turquoise eyes, indigo skin, and a tuft of blue hair.

They first appear in part of the Coruscant Nights trilogy, which I've never read, and, well... I'm sorry, but I can't help but think that it must be a kind of silly steamy romance novel set in the Star Wars galaxy with a name like that.

Rating: 3/5. That's got nothing to do with the above paragraph, they just sound interesting enough based on their description to warrant it.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Trailer Time (Iron Man 3 Edition)

Had a bit of a tough day for blogging today, so here, have an Iron Man 3 trailer.

Yeah, looks pretty good. Wish I'd watched the second one, because the first one was great, possibly my favorite superhero movie ever. (I just haven't gotten around to watching the second one. Or, you know, buying it.)

-Signing off.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Yeah, Cookie Monster Is Growling A Parody Of Some Song

I've never heard the song this is based on. That doesn't keep it from being funny, because you can tell exactly what kind of song it would be if you've ever listened to song parodies versus the originals before.

So, um, yeah.

And I hear it's Weird Al's birthday, so, um, happy birthday, Al. Appropriate. (Also, this is the second time in a row I've mentioned him, by accident.)

-Signing off.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Gangnam Transformers ... Whatever Style

Yeah, I saw this, and pretty much was obligated to post it.

Because Gangnam Style + Transformers = Something I'll Blog About.

I think my favorite of the parallel incongruous moments is the Space Bridge equivalent to the elevator sequence.

I mean, I know this is a bit weird, but the elevator gyration sequence is actually my favorite part of the original crazy video, just because Psy (the musician) is cool as a cucumber while this seeming maniac gyrates and makes crazy faces above him.

Then, we have this, where we have Megatron take the place of Mr. Pelvic Thrust and Shockwave take the place of Psy.

Having G1 Megatron, who has an image of weight and magnificence in the fandom but rarely lives up to that in the cartoon, be the gyrating elevator space bridge maniac is really funny in and of itself, just because the character's pretty much a total dope already. But Shockwave...

In case you are not aware, equating Psy (who is a funny, goofy guy-he wrote the song and as I understand it directed the original Gangnam Style video, which means that he's basically the Korean Weird Al) with Shockwave (who is always serious and at least a little "logical" [Bob Budiansky, the Marvel writer tapped to make character bios, basically designed and wrote him as evil Spock, and yes this is a thing, perhaps the best thing] and at any rate is not a guy who would ever be the life of the party despite being amongst my favorite Transformers of all time) is inherently hilarious.

And if you're having trouble figuring out why Psy = Shockwave is hilarious, I have doubts you in fact have any sense of irony or humor.

-Signing off.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Hooray For Nonsensical Song Titles

Bad me, I was distracted by reading about video games all day. But I found this song, and it's kinda neat, so here.

Despite the title, its actual name is apparently "Daddy Mulk." I don't know how in the heck this makes the least bit of sense. Whatever.

Also, holy cheese-I blink and Gangnam Style goes from about eighth-most-popular video on YouTube to fourth.

-Signing off.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

(Terrible) Game Review: Big Fish

Big Fish is a terrible game.

There's nothing wrong with the premise; I love Fishy, for instance, which is a very similar game in terms of the basics, with classic gameplay and concepts.

Big Fish tries to mess with the formula. It gives you missions. The mission in the above? Protect the little red fish, which are your "babies."

If you touch your babies, you eat them. (And the controls are junk.)


So my recommendation on this game is... play Fishy instead. There you get to be an ecosystem-wrecking eldritch abomination instead of eating your own babies by accident because your fish is difficult to control.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Ridiculous Yet Awesome

Behold: The silliest snowplow known to man.

The first thing I thought of was the TV Tropes article Multi Track Drifting. (If you look at the page image, you probably can guess why.)

Of course, the vehicle doesn't seem to be doing any serious plowing...

-Signing off.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#63)

621. Latarzian. Latarzians aren't canonical because the only known individual was from a cancelled story, but there's nothing about them to distinguish them from humans (in fact, there's just plain nothing about them besides the fact that the only known individual went by two different funny names, M'kyas Love and Grandyl Grieve).

Rating: 1/5. It would have been N/A, but those names are funny.

622. Leffingites. Leffingites are ugly and their home planet, Almak, has apples on it.

This led to a dish from their planet being called all-Almakian apple pie.

Supposedly, Almak was just a random assemblage of syllables, but "all-Almakian" sounds suspiciously like "all-American," so I have to wonder a bit if it's a reference to things being "American as apple pie."

Rating: 2/5. Pie.

623. Lekuans. Apparently, they're tall, gray-skinned humanoids with high-pitched voices. One of them, Osuno Whett, was a nasty spy who orchestrated the conquest by the Empire of a primitive solar system (and set it up so that a harmless droid would be blamed for it) and then went on to harass Lando Calrissian and work for a Sorcerer of Tund during the Lando Calrissian Adventures.

Rating: 2/5. I mean, we know too little about them, but I liked those stories, so... As long as they don't stereotypically become spies, I'll probably be cool with whatever people come up with for them, assuming anybody ever does come up with anything.

624. Lellish. The Lellish made a lot of money for themselves by advertising the possibility of hunting big, dangerous game on their homeworld, and then charging rather sizable fees for the opportunity to do so.

I would assume that they also charged fees for the various services they rendered, fees for permits to use appropriate weapons, rented out or sold appropriate weapons, charged a fine for use of inappropriate weapons (which would be any weapons that they hadn't sold you), didn't let weapons through customs (meaning you'd have to sell them back to the dealers at half price at best), charged offworlders different rates for food and lodging, and don't get me started on the wait lists...

Rating: 3/5. It's noted that their advertising for hunting targeted wealthy people (specifically "public servants," which under the Galactic Empire meant high-ranking government officials), which makes all that less stupid than it might sound. Presumably, the game that they allowed to be hunted, the ketrann, wasn't endangered.

625. Lemmers. Small, sapient humanoids.

Rating: 1/5. Insignificant, irrelevant humanoids.

626. Lepi, or Lepus Carnivorus. They're huge green rabbit guys. They're omnivorous, and some even claim to be entirely carnivorous.

Basically everything about them is based on rabbits, except they're large, eat meat, and are green. That's awfully gutsy.

Rating: 3/5, because it's funny.

627. Leresai. The Leresai have a very strict code of vengeance comparable to the Code of Hammurabi, in that equal measures are demanded in response to any crime or loss, even accidental ones. If they don't get equal reparations, they feel entitled to make their retribution themselves, but tenfold.

This obviously can cause problems during a crisis, and totally did during the ol' Caamas document crisis, a thing that's been mentioned way too often in this series for me to try to link it (well, okay, here). When two Leresai died on Bothawui during a riot in the middle of the crisis, Leresen justice required that the Bothans hand over two of their own who could be considered culpable for execution; when they didn't, the Leresai destroyed a small Bothan space station, and sabotaged New Republic ships that would have interfered, seeing the sabotage as an honorable practice because it kept innocent neutral lives out of harm's way.

Apparently, they have melodious voices, and presumably claws and horns, as the guiding principle of their legal code is "claw for claw, horn for horn, life for life."

Rating: 3/5. That rather primitive (by our standards) legal code is obviously great for drama during a crisis.

628. Letaki. Letaki are supposedly four-eyed even though the only illustration of one shows two eyes. They're apparently fully amphibious, have tentacles which are supposed to be useful manipulators even though the ones in the picture are useless stubs, and have sharp beaks. They apparently have a reputation for gutting their prey/meals.

Some Letaki display great skill for music because they're really good at using all of their tentacles at the same time with great coordination to play multiple instruments. Bith look down upon them snootily, however, because Bith have more sensitive ears and thus a better sense for music and stuff. On the other hand, apparently at least one Letaki had a voice that ranged across eleven "sectaves," whatever the heck that means.

Rating: 3/5. I mean, they're obviously rather defined by music at this point, but that's still interesting.

629. Lethagoes. Lethagoes are human/Kalai hybrids. (Apparently, somebody did get something from them.) This makes the Kalai rather creepy, because apparently, these hybrids are often born with their human parents never having met Kalai. Wat.

Rating: Creepy 3/5.

630. Leviathans. Leviathans (of Arrakan) are ambiguously canonical inhabitants of an ambiguously canonical ocean world which is also inhabited by the (ambiguously canonical) dolphin-like Duors. They are essentially one-eyed giant squid, which has nothing to do with the term "leviathan." (Incidentally, in the Star Wars galaxy, two of the several things called "leviathan" are Sithspawn monsters that devour lifeforce from anything that gets too close; that makes it rather ironic that there's a luxury liner from some story or another called Leviathan.)

Duors believe one of the Leviathans created them. This individual was at least a thousand years old, so apparently these Leviathans are pretty long-lived.

Rating: 3/5. I like the sound of one-eyed giant squid who are apparently mysterious enough and impressive enough that some group sees a single individual of their race as their mythological creator.

-Signing off.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Star Wars Anime (Ought To Happen)

I say this because I have proof:

Note that the (fan) creator of the piece said this was an unfinished work in progress, and the poster is the one who added the sound effects and music. My sister heard that the creator was calling it a work in progress that needed finishing and got kinda mad and called him a jerk for having such high standards and making other people feel bad.

-Signing off.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Game Review: Comet Buster/Blaster

Comet Buster Blaster is an obvious Asteroids clone-type game that has some potential, but largely falls short.

Things start to seem off pretty early. The title of the game given on its Armor Games page is "Comet Buster," but when you look at the game itself, its internal name is "Comet Blaster."

Things get even spottier in its "tutorial" screen.

You're supposed to mouse over things to get information on them, but 1) the areas which you're supposed to mouse over are vaguely defined, and 2) as seen above, some of the information is... shoddily entered into the box. (The power-ups, in case you're interested, are "nuke," "extra health," "full health," "shoot faster," and "invulnerable.")

The tutorial explains that you can change the color of your "bullets" to match particular enemies and that you get extra points by killing enemies with the matched bullets. An interesting feature of the game is that your cursor tells you how much life you have, although it wasn't really very intuitive or helpful.

However, I wasn't really interested enough in these tactics to pay them much mind; instead, I just figured out (by accident) that there's a simple tactic that makes you almost invincible. Here it is:

It's just like the old final boss of the second Legend of Zelda game-if you're in a corner, you can't lose.

In fact, I had a twitchy middle finger while I was playing, and it kept hitting the right mouse button, which opened menus and disrupted my aim... and I only died once when that happened, despite often taking a minute or more to straighten out the situation and there being enemies who chase you.

The only reason I eventually reached the final screen was because I got bored and started flying in crazy circles.

So I played for over twenty minutes just by sitting in the corner and shooting out.

On the positive side, the control scheme is the nice arrow keys to maneuver, mouse to aim system that I like so well, and it's got great music. It's so great, I'd suggest just letting the game go to the game over screen and listening to it while doing things in another tab or window.

I'm doing that now, in fact.

So I can strongly recommend the music (which sadly doesn't seem to exist outside of the game anywhere), anyway.

-Signing off.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Possibly the Most Current and Popular Thing Ever To Appear On This Blog

I always seem to be the last one on the bandwagon. So HERE WE ARE: Gangnam Style, the most popular video on YouTube that I've actually watched. (I did check.)

WARNING: On the off chance you haven't watched this... this video is weird. But not in a bad way, more in a mesmeric, magnetic way.

I have a new policy: I'm not going to watch YouTube videos that are more popular than Gangnam Style. Of course, that restricts me from watching only eight videos at the moment, none of which I'd ever be interested in anyway...

-Signing off.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Microwave Love: Bacon, Sausage, Baked Potatoes, and Popped Corn

Today, we're going to talk about, well, bacon, sausage, baked potatoes, and "popped corn."

The advice we get on bacon:

I should note at this point that the little cooking times that the booklet lists probably won't work for your microwave; I'm certainly not going to try them. Every microwave cooks a little differently.

Anyway, I think it's funny how the diagram suggests that you stack towel on bacon on towel on bacon on towel on bacon on towel on bacon on towel on bacon paper plate. Must be awfully hungry for some bacon, because by my mental calculations that'd probably involve about ten or twelve pieces of bacon (by the rate my family consumes bacon, that'd feed three or four people at least).

Also, it sounds utterly disgusting. Microwaves can't crisp things, so that's an awful lot of flaccid fat.

And finally, it looks kind of like our good buddy the lightning bolt of microwave cooking is covering the bacon with a blanket instead of putting a paper towel on it. And whatever is holding the bacon is levitating.

Now for sausages:


1. Notice how much that sausage is enjoying being cut? It's a masochisausage.

2. ...Are you allowed to show sausages cuddling with each other? PUT THAT PAPER TOWEL DOWN BEFORE WE END UP WITH AN R RATING, GUYS!

3. Have you ever used a spatula to flip a sausage (or other item) you're cooking (EDIT: with a microwave, I mean) into the air like that? Neither have I.

4. And now there's a lightning bolt with a yellow toque.

They're multiplying.

Baked potatoes:

1. Is that or is that not the most embarrassed potato ever?

2. Equating having microwave radiation suffusing your body and boiling your internal fluids with tanning at the beach? Sure, give people stupid, dangerous ideas that'll be referenced in Weird Al songs decades later.

3. So that thoroughly dead potato has been resurrected so that it can do the work of wrapping itself in foil so it'll still be hot enough to eat in half an hour? Somebody's getting their necromancy license revoked.

4. Have you ever seen potatoes that look like that stuff on the plate the lightning bolt is holding? It looks more like somebody used a highlighter on a pile of sugar cubes.

5. ...Why is an army of sweet potatoes and yams marching around? It just kind of defies analysis.

Popped corn:

1. Despite my mocking, of course, popcorn is a staple of pre-packaged microwave cooking. Obviously, with the lightning bolts putting it in paper bags, that wasn't really a thing yet.

2. Butter can not burn. If you mean "butter can't burn from cooking it with a microwave," you're right; if you mean "it's impossible to set butter on fire," I'm pretty sure you're wrong.

3. Obviously, they hadn't yet perfected the technique or something. Every time I've ever popped popcorn in a microwave, you're not supposed to pop things more than once. Unless that's a scam to make you buy more popcorn?

4. The salt and butter are levitating. This is the second time in this set that something's been levitating rather than being moved into place by lightning bolts, and it hasn't happened previously. A new trend?

5. The Marshie voice I mentioned last time returns in my head to note that the "kernals" are hot. (Said voice also read all the individual titles.)

Join me next time when I talk about poaching.

Eggs, you guys.

-Signing off.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#62)

(EDIT: Whoops, forgot to put in the links.)

611. Lafrarians. The Lafrarians are inhabitants of Lafra, the same homeworld as the Lafrans. In other words, the Lafrans are an indexing/spelling error of some kind or another, especially since the Lafrarians have the same description: "Avian humanoid." Apparently, it just means people with aquiline noses (...wait a minute) and little skin-flaps on their arms (...what?) and feathers on their heads that are effectively indistinguishable from hair ( Okay, apparently that last one is effectively a special hairdo or something some of them liked. Their only major distinction is that they have superior flight-oriented instincts.

Rating: 2/5, if only for the audacity of the stupid human avian thing.

612. Lahag Erli. opposed to the Lahag Laet. (They conquered some worlds and made a lot of pretty architecture or something.)

Rating: 2/5. Okay, okay, that was a pretty terrible pun, but it just suggested itself.

613. Lahsbee/Huhks. The Lahsbee are peaceful somewhat Ewok-like beings (to the point where their original design was changed by request because the then-upcoming Ewoks were too similar) who, upon reaching adulthood, become the huge, violent Huhks. The Lahsbee and Huhks live separately from each other.

Not how that works, but oh well.

Supposedly, they're related to the Dazouri, who hulk out on a temporary basis rather than when they reach adulthood.

Rating: 3/5. Eh, it's an interesting concept, even if they have to clutter things up with the silly "Oh, well they're related to these other slightly similar (albeit only in a superficial way) guys!" silliness.

614. Lakran. They have torso plates and large hands. They might be "insectile." Some of them were hired as mercenaries by some dude. Oh, and the singular of their name is "Lakra."

Rating: 1/5. Very nondescript.

615. Lamproids, or Florn Lamproids. Lamproids are critters with huge tusky teeth and no apparent jaws (i.e. they actually resemble agnathans such as lampreys-good on you, people who named the species!). If you remember a freaky-looking puppet from the cantina scene, you might be thinking of the Lamproid puppet, which apparently had a feature excluded from the movie for messiness and possibly inappropriateness. (Look yourself if you're interested.) The full design was actually only created recently, and apparently the body of a Lamproid is something like a six-legged lizard with a very long neck and tail.

They're smart, ferocious, and cunning, and despite being primitive and lacking hands, have spread across the galaxy, either as citizens or as an invasive species that just happens to be sapient. At least some of them are telepathic and can get the unsuspecting to do things for them. The one in the cantina had just fallen in love with a wolfman who had walked in. (I am not making this up.) Apparently, some enthusiasts hunt them as game because they're dangerous.

Rating: 5/5. The Lamproids are rather underused, I think. I think the thing I like best is that they're very alien, but not in a stupid way ("Oh, I will do some crazy stuff and then just say it's because I'm an alien! Heh!").

616. Langhesi. The Langhesi (whose name was significantly misspelled at least once in the article) apparently were reasonably well known at one point for their technology, which involved modifying living things for various purposes (similarly to the biotechnology of species like the Charon and the Yuuzhan Vong). Some other guys thought that was horrible because it was against their religion (the other guys' religion, not the Langhesi religion) and decided to conquer their planet and enslave them, presumably to punish or reeducate them. A Langhesi mass migration ended up at the planet Zonama Sekot, where they provided the living planet with many of its defensive mechanisms and its hyperdrive.

Rating: 3/5. ...It strikes me as a bit odd that Zonama Sekot, which is the child of the home planet of the Yuuzhan Vong (LOL SPOILERS FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVEN'T READ THAT NASTY STORYLINE) should need others to build it biotechnology, but I suppose, thinking about it, that it might not have all the information it needed to do that by itself, because it could be that the Yuuzhan Vong had shaped those abilities into the organisms from Sekot's parent, and they weren't inherent in the organisms.

617. Langoonans. The Langoonans were once one of the well-favored slave races of the Hutts (i.e. they were treated well), but when they rebelled and failed, the Hutts retaliated by slaughtering them and depriving them of all technology. A tiny population is permitted to scrape by so that the Hutts can hunt and eat them for fun.

Rating: 3/5. BRRR, those Hutts.

618. Lankorians. Ambiguously canonical. Heads shaped like sugarloaves.

Rating: 1/5. I didn't need to see that.

619. Lannik. Do you remember the parade and stuff at the end of Episode I? There was a shortish pinkish guy standing next to Yoda who had long ears.

He was a Lannik.

Note that, easy as it might be to take away the impression that he was related to Yoda, Yoda is not a Lannik; Yoda is a member of a species with no official name of its own at this point, so it's just called "Yoda's species."

Anyway, Lannik have a reputation for hotheadedness and bellicoseness, and are also known for keeping cool heads in combat... Wait.

Apparently, first contact with the Lannik by human and Duros explorers went poorly, leading to civil war between the Lannik, outside criminal syndicates getting a strong foothold on the planet, and the Galactic Republic having to do a big intervention which didn't accomplish much. They aren't seen often in space by the time of the Galactic Empire, though apparently they were more commonly seen before that.

Rating: 3/5. There are some interesting elements, but it's a bit dopey that they're so similar in appearance (in an admittedly technically superficial way) to Yoda's species.

620. Lasat. The Lasat are based on repurposed artwork for a character from a very early draft of the first Star Wars film who was an old alien Jedi general named Han Solo. (The early drafts seem very weird with the context of the films themselves.) Technically, the character design led to the creation of Chewbacca, and so as a joke, larger Lasat males may be mistaken for Wookiees.

Lasat apparently are primitives who aren't members of the wider galactic society, but sometimes were abducted from their homes by slavers. As Lasat culture reveres guile and cunning in its heroes, and such traits were encouraged amongst themselves (they preferred using traps over other forms of hunting), their servitude apparently rarely lasted. It was often apparently ended, incidentally, with home-made explosives that the Lasat made. Obviously, slavers needed to learn to keep the Lasat out of the cleaning cupboards.

One Lasat was named Puggles Trodd, and was a bounty hunter.

Rating: 4/5. Why? Explosives, and the interesting trivia around their creation. (I actually think a big alien Jedi would have served the original movies very well, especially since "Han Solo" spoke English, if I recall, and a lot of misconceptions about Wookiees seem to come from the fact that they can't talk.)

-Signing off.

Monday, October 8, 2012

I Wouldn't Want To Ride That: Moon Unit Edition

In the vein of this older post, I've decided that every now and again I'll mock vehicles designed by people who are, well, in need of learning how to design vehicles.

I present you Mattel's "Uni-Tread and Space Bubble."

Do you see how bad that poor guy in the Bubble is getting rocked around? Granted, a full-scale version would probably have better balance through weighting, but still...

Also, I wouldn't ride in a vehicle that only separated me from hard vacuum with a plastic bubble, but maybe that's just me...

-Signing off.

Friday, October 5, 2012

(Not Very Much Like) Power Rangers Theme Dubstep

Y'know, I love Power Rangers, and I'm pretty cool with dubstep. But...

...that kinda falls flat, because calling it "Power Rangers Dubstep" would imply that it might have a sound related to Power Rangers. This isn't bad as dubstep goes, but it's kinda bland.

-Signing off.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

(Surprisingly Old) POP CULTURE STORM

This clip is rather famous/infamous among anime fans for being one of the first productions of a group who would later go on to form Gainax (famous for Gurren Lagann and some other stuff, most notably the super-grim [and in my own opinion, kinda gross for reasons unrelated to sexual content] Evangelion). This was a totally amateur production that they more or less made in their homes for a convention. It is also the nerdiest thing I've seen in ages. (Well, actually, I've seen nerdier recently, but it's related to this and comes later. Yes, I'll go into it.)

I totally lost it when the Star Destroyer, Martian flying machines, and TIE Fighters showed up, and I hadn't been doing too well before that. (And I mean that in the positive sense.)

What really gets me is that I recognize almost everything that got referenced specifically. (Ultraman's Science Patrol, Starship Troopers [the armored suit that chases the little girl is actually the official Japanese design for the powered suit, but it actually made its animation debut here], that ugly monster is probably another Ultraman reference, the signal the suit gives when it gets wrecked looks generically familiar, then comes Godzilla, Ultraman villain Baltan seijin, King Ghidorah, Gamera, a "maser tank," the aforementioned Star Destroyer, Martian flying machines from the old War of the Worlds film, TIE Fighters, a Gundam that mysteriously transforms into the Ideon, the, erm, Atragon/it has some other name too, if I recall, I'm pretty sure that's a Tolmekian airship, the Space Battleship Yamato, and the Starship Enterprise. I promise I did not Google or use other reference materials at all for the entire time I was working on this post.)

If you're wondering what the heck is with the spaceship shaped like a vegetable at the end, this was created for a convention called "Daicon," and there's a type of radish called a "daikon" radish. Or something like that. (That's the closest you're getting to actual logic.)

-Signing off.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

What?! The Goblin's Out Sick?

I don't really enjoy this particular old ad as much as I enjoy the Rhox ad, but it's a pretty close second.

The funny part of this particular ad in retrospect? The card that the orgg monster represents is designed to come across as cowardly, as a drawback for it being bigger than it should be for its cost. (It still wouldn't have had any trouble with a Raging Goblin or Bob From Accounting, though.)

-Signing off.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Talking About Spider-Man, But The Clip Features The Flash (Sorta)

Why it doesn't bother me in Spider-Man 2 that the general public doesn't learn Spidey's secret identity:

Why would you automatically know who some superhero was on sight, unless said individual was independently famous?

-Signing off.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#61)

601. Kurtzen. The Kurtzen are the natives of a planet named Bakura. (NOTE: I feel obligated to point out that the book which featured the planet was published in 1994, quite some time before a character named Bakura from some show or another that I've occasionally talked about would become known in the United States.) They only make up about five percent of the planet's population, though, because humans colonized it and pretty much took over. The Kurtzen found themselves put in a "reserve," which was created on an entire continent. (The article says something about the continent being "created as" a reserve, which is insane, although on the other hand probably not being beyond the technical capabilities of a civilization that can generate millions of times the momentary energy output of a star [which is what one would need to explode a planet as violently as the Death Star explodes planets].)

The thing is, though, that the Kurtzen are actually pretty grateful to the human colonists, because said colonists gave them use of their medical technology, and this was the only way for them to overcome a degenerative genetic disease which apparently killed a lot of them, to the point where even after they received this medical assistance it would be unusual for more than two children in a nuclear family to reach adulthood. So, yeah, I'd be grateful in that position, too.

They mostly look kinda human, but without hair and with the sort of top-of-the-head fakey alien skin bald caps ridging that you'd see on Star Trek. They're also apparently "pale," which means little without an additional descriptive term.

Rating: 3/5. Honestly, I like it when this kind of interaction turns out more happily than it does in almost anything (are most people even capable of writing happy for this kind of thing?).

602. Kushibans. The Kushibans are sapient bunny rabbit/squirrels with fluffy fur.

...Kushiban... Cushy bun... I C WUT U DID THAR.

Ahem. Anyway, they're covered in fur that changes colors with their moods, which is actually called mood fur. Mood fur: A phrase I honestly never needed to hear in my life. Apparently it's white when they're at peace.

Most Kushibans have bodies that are only about a foot and a half long (i.e. not much bigger than housecats), but one Kushiban who happened to be a Jedi Master was about three feet long.

They apparently aren't really members of the galactic community, and slightly pride themselves on living as a "simple civilization" with a "complex and peaceful society." ...Guys, those things are a bit contradictory. They apparently harvested a silk-like substance from plants and wove it into their own shed fur to make fabric, which is rather interesting.

They're primarily quadrupedal, but their front feet are plenty dextrous. They also use fire to scare off their enemies (them being a primitive society, that basically appears to mean dinosaurs, though the only detail is "three-meter long beasts").

The previously mentioned Jedi Master was one of the many victims of the Yuuzhan Vong storyline, and while I've razzed on a lot of the Star Wars children's books, I don't think killing off kidstuff characters for the sake of being edgy because the adult fans won't usually complain is nice at all.

Rating: 3/5. Eh, pretty average.

603. Kwa. The Kwa were one of the great powers of the ancient days of the galaxy. Rubbing elbows with the Gree of old, the Celestials, and the Infinite Empire, the Kwa were no slouches in the "making awesomely huge and insanely dangerous hand-me-down artifacts" department, making portal devices that could teleport stuff anywhere in the universe and, if misused, wipe out a sizable chunk of the galaxy. (I had long thought nothing like this had really shown up in Star Wars; turns out those lovable Gree made similar devices, though apparently without the "constantly threatening the very fabric of reality" bit.) Eventually, they got wiped out by the Infinite Empire, but not before genetically engineering monstrous giant worms to kill and eat anybody who tried to get at their gate devices. Their homeworld would become known as Dathomir ages later, and would come to be famous for its rancors and Force witches.

Rating: 4/5. But wait, there's more-

604. Kwi. The Kwi are a bunch of great big ol' blue dinosaurs. They're fairly harmless (other than a variation from a video game which spat poison and was predatory) and are good runners; the inhabitants of Dathomir aren't really aware of their intelligence because they can't speak, but they apparently are mildly telepathic and are vaguely aware of the great history of the planet, because they're the distant, distant descendants of the few Kwa survivors from the era of the Infinite Empire.

Oh, didn't I mention that the Kwa were basically big blue dinohumanoids?

Rating: 4/5. The rating above and this rating are the same because both parts take the other into account. Ancient super-advanced dinosaur civilization whose modern descendants are regular ol' dinosaurs = awesome.

605. Ky'lessans. Ky'lessans apparently are oily-skinned reptilians. One (the only one known, actually) was known as Snake-Eyes, and claimed to be friends with a woman named Scarlet Bloodhawk. Yes, a couple of G.I. Joe character names hanging out together for no apparent reason.

That individual, and perhaps the species as a whole, speaks with a rather bad lisp. Said individual also was an Imperial informant.

Rating: 1/5. I'll just note that most real-world reptiles have cool, dry skin, and also that associating lisps with reptilians is extremely unoriginal (and another thing seen in G.I. Joe, oddly enough).

606. Kynachi. On their native planet, Kynachi hair is gold in color, but elsewhere they usually have silver hair, because their hair color is affected by diet.

That's the only thing worth noting, as otherwise they're basically humans.

Rating: 2/5. One single interesting detail. The rest is pretty much literally nothing.

607. Kyuzo. Apparently, the Kyuzo are named after a character from the film The Seven Samurai, because the episode where the first known member of the species was introduced contains many references to that film.

At least some Kyuzo dress in a way reminiscent of feudal Japan and are really good at jumping.

Rating: 2/5. Most of what we know about them is connected to one individual.

608. Laboi. The Laboi are predatory mammalian serpents, a phrase that really ought to be applicable to more fictional species than it is. They place little value on the lives of other beings, and apparently have a reputation in the galaxy at large as eaters of sapient beings. They can be rather large, growing to a maximum of either eighteen or thirty feet (sources can't agree), and hunt an elephant-sized reptile which is also a predator of them when it can manage it (thus, they clearly don't mind living a dangerous sort of lifestyle).

They have a hard time in galactic society, what with not having those important things we call "hands" and the fact that people don't like being eaten, but nonetheless managed to build up enough of a power base that some of them competed with the Hutts (whose territory their home planet is fairly close to) in criminal activities.

Apparently, they grow even in adulthood, and small females give birth to only one infant (called a worm-yes, really) while older females might give birth to as many as twenty worms at once. Apparently, female Laboi sometimes possess telekinesis, which they often use for artistic expression of themselves (an activity that many Laboi apparently take part in-the society also apparently has many philosophers). Laboi also have color-changing fur that protects them from heat by being white in the day, while taking on bright camoflage colors at night.

Rating: 5/5. They're complex, interesting, and different.

609. Laerdocians. Apparently, at least one Laerdocian has a weird accent which puts a "j" in with the "th" sound.

Rating: 1/5. Yeah, that's... At least it's different, but it's a non-thing. Sheesh.

610. Lafrans. Apparently, the Lafrans are humanoid avians, whatever that means.

Rating: 1/5. While the phrase is somewhat interesting, it also doesn't mean very much.

-Signing off.