Archive for November, 2012

Mini-Reviews: Vintersorg – Jordpuls/Orkan

Posted in Best / Worst, Music, Reviews with tags on November 30, 2012 by slateman

The last time this happened to me was way back with Blind Guardian’s Imaginations From The Other Side. I’d put the record on and consider it a good album, nothing more. Then, a subsequent spin would leave me much more impressed. This would continue until I absolutely loved the record. The sad thing is; it would reset every time I stopped.

So, while I was a huge fan of Vintersorg’s first three releases, I lost interest when Cosmic Genesis came out. Now, I quite like it, but then I was disappointed. The next two albums were not really my thing and the following one was a step in the right direction. Next would be Jordpuls (Pulse of the Earth) and again, I liked the 2011 version of Vintersorg but I never found myself putting it on. Until now, that is.

Several months after Jordpuls’ successor came out, I went back to this album and have been loving it ever since. I can’t say it hearkens back to the excellence of Ödemarkens Son but it’s new, fresh and phenomenal. Bouncing between the folk influence to the wonderful raspy vocals, I loved hearing his trademark vocal style, catchy riffs and having that familiar Vintersorg sound.

A year after Jordpuls we were treated to Orkan (Hurricane). Again, this took a few months to warm up to, but now, almost half a year later, I cannot stop listening to it!!! It’s got everything Jordpuls did but with catchier riffs, more memorable melodies and choruses. The vocals are powerful, the mix is spectacular and it’s one of those records where when it ends, I want to put it back on again. I cannot find a single weak point on the record. It’s excellent through-and-through.

Now, I’d already talked about Borknagar’s Urd and with it being a bit of a weak year, that may have been my Album Of The Year until I started up with Orkan. If not, Vintersorg himself may be on two of my top albums of the year, something that has never happened before. Ultimately, I’m loving these two Vintersorg records, something my profile can verify! I haven’t listened to this much of the band since 2001. And to think…there are two more records of this planned four-album concept to come!

New Cubes Get! Dayan Zhanchi & C4U 3x3x5

Posted in Cubing on November 30, 2012 by slateman

It’s always so awesome to get new cubes and today’s arrival was no exception. Let’s see what I got!!!

The Dayan Zhanchi is the best cube I’ve ever laid my hands on. I really don’t know why I made the choice to get a stickerless Zhanchi but damn it’s smooth!!! It’ll need a bit of lube and definitely needs tensioning but, like my first Zhanchi, this thing is as smooth as butter. Man, I love cubing!

However, I also picked up a Cube4U 3x3x5. Now, this is a different one, with some curious algorithms but it looks pretty cool. I look forward to solving this one a few times but today was rather hectic (go figure).

All in all, this was a cool new cube purchase and both are exciting additions to Cube Collection. Rock and roll!!!

The Walking Dead: The Game – OMG……

Posted in Best / Worst, Borderlands, Games, Metal Gear Solid, Reviews, The Walking Dead on November 28, 2012 by slateman

After grabbing the first two The Walking Dead: The Game entries via PS+, I was sold. I purchased the next three episodes immediately and Episode 5, the finale, was one of the most anticipated games of the year. So, the night before Thanksgiving, I sat down to play and…..and…..

As the credits rolled so did tears down my cheek. I was floored. I was in awe. The credits finished and the epilogue began, offering little solace for how things ended.

Spoilers, obviously…
After Lee passed out in the streets I still had hope. However, upon waking up and seeing Lee, I knew. His face pale, his eyes yellowing; Lee was going to die. Perhaps we all should have known but I figured cutting his arm off might do the trick. Nope. Here, in that room with Clem, it hit me. Lee was going to die. At that moment, I lost it. I got through the rest of the episode but I didn’t cope with it well. Lee prepared Clementine for the inevitable. I just wanted to hug her. I just wanted to tell her, “I love you, Clem.” As the options came and went, I never got to say it. Lee slumped over with Clem crying, ME crying! It was outrageous.

I’ve played some awesome games and some of those had incredible stories. However, ultimately I don’t know of any game that affected me the way this did. Mouth agape, I was in shock. I hurt. I felt horrible…but there was closure. The Walking Dead was so well-written, I forgot it was a game, I forgot it was fiction. Ben had died, Kenny was likely gone, everyone was gone. Lee had come so far. In thinking about the first four episodes, we’d been through so much. And now it was over. It was over and Lee was dead.

I Love Borderlands 2 and some other games, but it’s very possible TWD will win Game Of The Year. It was the most incredible gaming journey I’ve ever embarked upon. Perhaps Metal Gear Solid 4 could come close. Nah…while MGS4 was phenomenal, TWD was the most powerful game I’ve ever played.

Two New Cubes On The Way!

Posted in Cubing on November 28, 2012 by slateman

As with my coin collection, the new things I want are starting to get expensive. A gigaminx, an 8×8 or a 9×9, etc…In any event, I’m waiting to get a pair of new cubes in the mail. The first is a 3x3x5, which should prove to be pretty interesting. The other is another Dayan Zhanchi, but this time a stickerless one. I never was too fond of the stickerless design but I figured I’d test it out. These should arrive by Saturday. While the latter is merely another 3×3, I’m excited about the 3x3x5. Just after purchasing it, I saw that Cube 4 U also makes a shape-shifting 3x3x5. Wish I’d known that before!!!

The Walking Dead: The Game – Season Finale!!!

Posted in Games, The Walking Dead on November 20, 2012 by slateman

It’s out and I’ll get around to playing it…sometime. I’ve heard some amazing things and cannot wait to find out how Lee’s adventure ends. I expect this to be emotional. I expect this to be monumental. I’m so psyched to begin this final journey and sincerely hope to add it to the best of 2012 or even best of this generation articles (neither of which I’ve written yet). This should be pretty spectacular. The download will be complete sometime tonight though I probably won’t get to play it for several days.

New Cubing Record: 3×3 – 31.98!!!

Posted in Cubing, Cubing Records on November 19, 2012 by slateman

I’ve been doing well lately. I’ve had average-of-5 runs in the low 40s. Today, another generic 42-second solve and I thought to myself, “This is it…”

The cross was a lucky shot and my second layer just flowed perfectly. My last-layer solve was better-than-average but skipping my last step probably helped me achieve this mind-blowing 31.98 second solve!!! *ahem* HOLY SHIT! Oh Yeah! So psyched right now!!!

Expendables 2: Did I Mention It Was Awesome?

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Movies on November 5, 2012 by slateman

Two snapshots to show off the splendour (read: legendary awesome) of this film. Still can’t believe this whole scene…

Curvy Copter Jumbling Algorithms

Posted in Algorithms, Blog, Cubing on November 5, 2012 by slateman

I solved the Curvy Copter with jumbling today and it just about destroyed my brain. I was so confused. I was swapping pieces everywhere. It was a mess. But, I finished. And I guess I’ll go down that path again sometime soon. When I do, I’d like to have some idea of what to do and where to go. Here are the jumbling algorithms from RedKB’s tutorial. Let’s see if these make any sense when I look back upon them!

Flip LL Middle Edges

Swap FL & RB (Change Top Back triangles)

Top Front Right triangle & RB triangle (top back triangles-same color)
R L JR F R L // F R F R (to cycle 3 triangles (FL/TFR/RB)

Top Left & Front Left triangles
L R J(up-right / back-left) (B?) R L

Thanks to qqwref for the last alg!

4 More Shotokan Swaps!

Posted in Blog, Game Art, Games, Street Fighter, Web Design on November 4, 2012 by slateman

I thought 53 was sufficient but I was mistaken! Going through Marvel Vs. Capcom recently, I noticed I missed a few palette swaps! Since Ken and Gouki are missing from the game, they are represented through Ryu and so there are four additional colors available by switching. My SFZ swaps section now includes these four. Given the stupidity of the gallery in my last post, this shouldn’t really be a surprise. Here are the four new sprites which are added to the ridiculous number of gaming GIFs on my main site.

SFZ2 Art Swaps

Posted in Blog, Game Art, Games, Street Fighter, Web Design on November 4, 2012 by slateman

This was last weekend’s insanity. I love the Zero/Alpha series, it’s no secret SFZ2 is my favorite. I’ve been enjoying doing alternate color galleries (see Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter and Marvel Vs. Capcom) and I figured, “Why not more?”

So, I chose my favorite of the bunch, SFZ2A and grabbed the alternate colors for all the characters. This includes Satsui No Hadou Ryu, Shin Gouki, Chun-Li’s classic outfit, Sakura’s bonus colors and all the SSF2 colors. The result is an absurd 132 captures. Ah well, I love this stuff. Check out the full gallery complete with mouseovers. Enjoy the preview…this is stupid…haha.