Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Force

If anything truely catches what I believe life to be, it is the Force. Star Wars tells us all about the force, and how it truely lives within everything. You can call it the Force if you like, or maybe the Lifestream. In the Final Fantasy VII universe, the Lifestream was very much akin to the Force, but the Lifestream was a tangible thing, a river of life embedded in the planet. The Force is so much more than that, it is the all powerful energy that guides us all. It bends and twists the universe, making everything equal and balanced. That's why the Jedi were so adamant about finding the chosen one and bringing balance to the force. A time of true peach and serenty, when everything is equal.

I also love how they do not mourn death. It is a joyous occasion where one becomes one with the Force and enters back into the ever present current of life. The cycle has come full circle.

My rendition on this is that once you enter the Force, your energy and being stay intact, giving your traits to all that it touches. Maybe your energy will be so strong that it becomes another form of life, an old soul some may call it. I especially love how Anakin was immaculatly concieved. Everything happened for a reason at the exact right time. C-3PO and R2-D2 were sent to Tatooine and the Force guided them to Luke. The force sent Luke on the path destiny had chosen for him. Finding Obi-Wan, becoming the hero of the rebel alliance. The same with his father. Being found by Qui-Gon at just the right time. Becoming the chosen one, the hero that would lead the galaxy into a fortold time of peace. The story is just so good, so organic, so perfect. Everything just works, everything flows with everything else.

Damn them shits was good. I just want to rewatch them over and over. I can't wait till the original trilogy is re-released on high-def format with all the deleted scenes and touched up. I want to like them, but they just arn't as compelling as the first three movies. Anakin's story is just so much better, so much grander. Lucas should make more stories about Anakin, even though it will mess up the numbers. Tell the stories between the stories. So much happened with Anakin and Obi-Wan that we never get to see, it's quite a shame. The universe of Star Wars deserves more than six movies, I don't think I could ever be satisfied no matter how many movies they make. There's just so much potential, so much that's left untouched and yet so remarkable.

Although I don't think any Jedi outside the ones we already know would be as compelling. Maybe something on Yoda, Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, but no one else really. They're the only ones who are really great in my book. But like I said, Anakin has the most evolved story.

He was the one who was concieved by the Force, he found love, forbade the Jedi code, yet become the most powerful of them all. He was the best starpilot in the galaxy, a prodigy since he was born. So many struggles he had to overcome, so many hardships that changed his soul and destiny. What if he could have saved his mother and never slayed the Tusken encampment? Would he have killed the Jedi children? It's just such a great story! :)

Here comes another one

I really like the Star Wars universe. The whole idealogy of the people are just perfect. The prequel trilogy more-so than the original. The worlds are just so much more vivid. The atmosphere more serene. The fights are grander in scale and just plain magical. And the force; the force is what makes Star Wars. The chosen one's struggle against himself. The betrayels he faced, the lies he was told, the power he had. Throughout the movies I wanted him to see what he was doing to himself. I wanted him to just fall before Obi-Wan, or anyone for that matter, and repent for the evils he caused. To just submit his will to the light and be rid of the dark side.

Even as Emporer Palpatine was fighting with Mace, I wanted Anakin to just slice off that devil's head. Even after Windu was murdered, he could have stopped at any time. All for the promise to keep his love eternally. I only wish he knew that power was outside the grasp of the dark side. If only he knew Qui-Gon had learned what he was fighting so hard for. The story of Anakin Skywalker is one of the most tragic I've ever heard.

Immaculatly conceived, the chosen one, the one to bring balance to the force. What time of peace could he have brought to the galaxy? He could have had the power he wanted, while staying on the light side. If only he wasn't a scared little boy, if only he wasn't so rash.


I think I'm going to start writing short stories and just go with whatever style suits me when I start. Maybe I'll write a few in a japanese setting, a few in the star wars universe, maybe some from a futuristic landscape and some from an age long past. Each story can be whatever length makes it work. Maybe I'll write a one page story to bring a certain setting to light. Maybe later I'll use that setting to write a longer piece. Just record fragments as they come to me and let them be free no matter what they are. If I copy an entire story from another longer piece, it will be my portrayel of how I perceived it, as well as allowing me to practice my form on a familiar piece. Almost like how we had to write papers for book in high school, only this time I rewrite the story in my own words instead of talking about how the story moved me.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Future Presents

I was just thinking about how I can't wait till we have children and they get to open their christmas presents. Kids are always so happy for christmas especially when they have tons of presents under the tree. But the problem with them getting all these new toys is the fact that they have so many toys already. So I was thinking of having our kids go through their old toys and picking what they won't play with and have them give them to the salvation army or something like that. You'll be getting rid of older toys that they no longer play with, you'll be giving children who have nothing something, even though they're just old toys, and you'll be teaching your children a solid life lesson: to give what you have an excess of and won't use to people less fortunate than yourself. What better way to kill three birds with one stone, it's a win-win-win.

It's kinda like recycling, only with more heart and better turnouts! Instead of giving just your children a happy christmas, you'll be giving many children a happy christmas. Hurray for giving!

Friday, December 21, 2007

My English Final

So for my English 111 final we had to choose a topic and write a one page paper on it. The topics were Describe the Ideal World, Define the Ideal Parent, and Argue in Favor of or Against Final Exams. I chose to describe the ideal world.

When I started to write I imagined a neon-light filled city that towered high above the clouds. Flying cars racing back and forth, transferring happy citizens to and fro. Whenever I imagine such a futuristic city I always imagine the citizens to be devoid of any personality and blankly stare into the night thinking of nothing in particular. I think it may be my exposure to such works as Fahrenheit 451, where individuality was abolished and considered a felony. These worlds are always dark and gray, bleak and cold. But I tried to envision a world full of lush, green foliage and brought that into my second paragraph.

Leading on, my mind wandered. Once I hit the third paragraph my brain was stewing with negativity. This world just couldn't be perfect, it had to have some sort of underlying agenda. Some wicked person to act as the steam that drove the turbines of this happy, little world. That's when the dichotomy started to show in my writing. This evil brought forth a sense of urgency to this society, a reason for them to band together and overcome its onslaught. That's when it was realized that no world can be perfect, for no man is perfect. Everyone has a sense of wickedness about them. And thus that's how I filled my final body paragraph.

Once I reached the end of my paper I couldn't find a suitable way to conclude. I summed up the main parts but it just didn't feel like it had a solid ending. The first version ended on "...this world of infinite dreams can become real in everyone's heart." But that was just too easy. Why should this paper end on a positive note when the last half dealt with the doppelganger of human nature? I struggled a bit to find a suitable end note, and found it when I thought back to my previous paper I handed in. The paper was on the Mars Direct program and how we, as human beings, need to come together and explore the desolate red planet. That's when it hit me - This city of Escape was a planet-city. A city in the scope of HUEG (liek Xbox). And this city was what Earth had to become, because Earth was no more. Earth had become what we feared the most, a dead planet devoid of any sign of life. A planet heated to mind-boggling extremes and baked to a hard crust. All thanks to the mindlessness of humans.

However, I feel this story brings about a sense of hope. For if the society of Escape had learned to deal with their inner demons, they could bring about a time of true peace. And perhaps, one day, we as human beings can bring forth this same time, without sacrificing our planet in the process.

The following is my paper in its entirety:

Escape to Home

The sounds of harmonious cacophony fill the air in the city of Escape. Neon hues fill the skyline and beam forth images of hope and peace. Injustice abolished, giving way to love and dreams. In this world of plenty every man, woman and child are free to truly become what their destiny holds in front of them. Pain and suffering; words unknown to this immaculate society. The ideal world is a world of infinite possibilities, a world where all is sacred.

Inside their homes, the citizens of this planet decorate with a rather unique, yet impossibly familiar decor. The outside follows them in, the inside becomes out and yet everything makes perfect sense. These acolytes are at home in the world that weaned them, entwined in the vines of patience and maturity. The serene vista that is the rain forest, minus the pests of course, becomes a baby's playpen. The denizens here are truly at home in their home, the hospice of everyone's one true mother.

The mother that gives also knows when to take. She can see the future, for she is the future. A being of no words, yet feared for her mighty tone. The hope of all mankind lies solely in her hands and justice is redeemed only by her wrath. The world of Escape knows of its boundaries which lay bluntly in sight, yet ghostly and unseen. This world appreciates the gift of life and would do everything to protect and nourish such a splendid gift. Yet inside all this love there lies one true demon.

For you see, there can be no perfect world. Corruption and lies, deceit and trickery are always on the tip of the serpent's forked tongue. His mother brought him life yet he is so quietly poisoning her very core. This gift of hope imbued in all of us is but a teardrop in a sea of broken dreams that were corrupted by the devil himself. Only after realizing the nature of this horrid beast can Escape become free and pure. Oh, what dichotomy! What a perplexing tale this mother has written! For they must expunge this evil from the land, without becoming evil thyselves.

The ideal world, free of harm and hate. The world of Escape, full of love and kindness. How can a world of perfection become so impure? One foul act can only lead to another and spiral out of control. But if hope is held and kept pure at heart, this world of infinite dreams can become real in everyone's heart. Possibilities abound and perfection holds true all by the grace of this perfect little sphere, floating in a mire of inky darkness. This perfect little world called Escape, the perfect little sister to which all of Earth had to become.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

On EA's franchise system

I long for the day EA will return the Need For Speed franchise to its roots proper. I still feel that Hot Pursuit 2 was the pinnacle game in the franchise. Not that the newer games have been bad, I ADORED Most Wanted, but they just don’t feel like NFS games anymore. The series has gone from driving exotic cars on rural back-roads to tuning import and muscle cars and dragging them in city/track settings. Boy do I miss tearing through tree-lined tracks in a Ferrari being chased by no less than 8 police.

I’ve started to notice a pattern in the franchise however. It seems each game design gets two games to its credit. There have been 2 Hot Pursuit games, 2 games for Underground, 2 based off of Most Wanted, and 1 and 2 being in the same vein. The only exceptions I could really find have been High Stakes, which could be tossed in with the hot pursuit games, and Porsche Unleashed, which is its own entirely. With that in mind I expect we’ll see a ProStreet 2 sometime in 2009. I’m just curious as to what EA wants to do with NFS after this incarnation, especially after seeing what they have planned with Burnout Paradise. It’s Burnout infused with the Most Wanted/Carbon free-roam aspect, which should be undeniably awesome.

However, I just heard from the grapevine that EA plans on releasing a NFS game once a year. They’re supposed to toggle between a sim-like experience and arcade experience every other year. So bearing that, we should see a Hot Pursuit style game next year and another ProStreet in 2009, as I predicted. Let’s see what they have in store for this beloved franchise!

Need for Speed: ProStreet Pt. 1 - The Bad

Tiny faults abound in ProStreet. During drift sessions I often found my car sporting different colored wheels from my normally chrome setup. One instance had me in blue rims the first heat, red the next and gold for the last! You'll oftentimes notice our car has no driver as well. During one cutscene a rival driver pulled up next to me and the car had no driver. Ghost ride the whip!

Another glaring oversight can be found in the sector shootout mode, which is often impossible to beat due to its bad design. The first racer to post a score in any sector gets those points and keeps them for the race. However, when you post a score you only get the points if you beat the previous racer's score, thereby giving the car that starts in the lead an artificial head start.

Lastly, a thing that irked me about ProStreet is its total lack of a quick race option. You can organize a race day to challenge your friends, but the only cars available are your career mode cars and a selection of pre-made bonus cars. Unlike previous incarnations in the NFS franchise, there's no option of building cars outside career mode. So, if like me, you only used a few cars in career and your friend wants to drive something you didn't buy you're out of luck. That is unless you have the cash to modify another car in career mode. This is one NFS my fiance won't be enjoying with me. :(

However, these tiny faults aside, there's much to love about ProStreet. From a huge selection of cars and design possibilities to a varied and satisfying career mode to an awesome soundtrack, this game is made to please.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

This is my PC

Well, this is my first post and I figure, since I'm going to be blogging about games and I do most of my gaming on my PC (at least until I get a Wii after Xmas!!!) I would post my PC specs. I bought this PC in September '07 from I could have saved some cash here and there, but for the price I paid it's a rock solid machine.

Case: 34.99 Logisys Area 51 CS51WSL mid-tower w/ 480 watt PSU
Mobo: 69.99 Biostar NF4UAM2G NVidia nForce4 Ultra
CPU: 169.99 AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ Windsor 3.0GHz Dual-Core
GPU: 114.99 MSI NX8600GT-T2D56E GeForce 8600GT 256MB 128-bit
RAM: 107.00 Corsair XMS2 2GB DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel

HD: 79.99 Seagate Barracuda 320GB 7200 RPM

With a few other odds and ends this rig cost me right around $620, not bad at all for my first build. I'm very happy with it and its performance.

Just for an example I can run Call of Duty 4 at 1280x720 2xAA with med-high settings and get an average of 25-45 FPS depending on the activity. I can run Crysis at 1280x720 2xAA with medium settings and get the same framerate. I was really surprised how well my rig tears apart Crysis.

I'm currently looking at a new widescreen LCD monitor and contemplating a new video card. NVidia released their new 8800GT at a nice 250$ price point. I'll probably hop on that in a year when I need an upgrade. I'll have to get a new mobo then as well, mine only has a single 16x PCI-E. But like I said it suits me fine for now.

Well you can expect me to (hopefully) update at least on a weekly basis. I hope to post my ventures throughout my current games and other information I have to share about my life and my college experiences. So yea, there ya go!