Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 Wallpapers

With the release of a new game comes the release of more wallpapers.  Again, if you have a favorite team, put it in the comments and I'll make a custom wallpaper for you.

Marvel vs Capcom 3 Wallpapers

I whipped up some Marvel vs Capcom 3 wallpapers this morning.  All of them are 1920x1080 resolution.  As an added bonus, if you list your team in the comments, I'll get together a customized wallpaper for you.  Enjoy.

Getting Call of Duty Elite to Work

Call of Duty Elite is the premier service launched in conjunction with Modern Warfare 3 that allows players to track their stats, view and manage videos, enter competitions, etc.  You can use the service for free or pay $50 a year to become a premium member and gain early access to DLC, manage a clan, and more.  Elite in many ways is similiar to Bungie.net or Waypoint for the Halo series.  However, the console app has been plagued with problems since release.  The developer cites an overwhelming demand that has caused many of the outages experienced.

I also have had a difficult time logging into the app on my Xbox 360.  For the first few days, it would say that the servers are full and to try again later.  The past week has presented an endless loop of accepting the EULA.  Last night, I found a way around it.

1.  Head to http://www.callofduty.com/elite

2.  Click the banner that says "Join up for free"

3.  Follow the steps for creating your account and linking your Xbox Live/PSN accounts

Once you've completed all of the steps, you should be able to launch the console app without difficulties.  This is what I had done and as of last night at 12:30, I was still able to launch the app without any problems.


Skyrim is the latest smash hit from Bethesda.  In the first week, the game sold 7 million copies.  It is a serious contender for game of the year among many publications and critics.  Every other site online is covering it and people are only too eager to share their experiences.  It seems that everyone is loving the shit out of this game and I just don't get it.

I see the excitement for Skyrim.  I can feel it while reading the feeds.  It's almost palpable.  It's even greater than the love the community had for Oblivion IV.  I hated Oblivion IV.  It is the only game that I've returned.  To be exact, I played the game for a few hours and desperately tried to like it, but it wasn't in the cards.  From the hideous NPCs to the poor translation of first person medieval warfare and the bland empty world, I hated every moment.
Oh sweet Jesus!  Get me a stick so I can beat this mutant!
This was a game that seemed perfect on the outside.  Ever since I was introduced to the fantasy genre, I've been under its spell.  Neverwinter Nights to Dragon Age: Origins with some Baldur's Gate in between, I can't get enough.  With all the hype around surrounding Oblivion and after reading the reviews and watching trailers, I was convinced I had found the next great fantasy game.  I've never been more disappointed.

I feel conflicted.  I read about all of these people having a great time playing Skyrim.  Be they taunting giants or unleashing all kinds of hell with Dragon Grammar, it looks like a blast.  I want to join them.  I want to go on an epic adventure.  Sadly, I must keep my distance, lest I get burned again.  I must resist the siren's call.  Though, it's hard to do when I see videos like this.

Looks a Lot Like...

Don't deny it.

Xbox Live in October

Another month has gone by and another usage report has landed in my inbox.  Netflix is still the dominating force, but Gears 3 made a valiant attempt.  How did you spend your month?

Aurora Memorial Hospital's Cheeseburger

Place: Aurora Memorial Hospital
Location: Burlington, WI
Burger: Cheeseburger
Ingredients: Lettuce, onion, tomato, American cheese

Hospital food gets a bad rap for being terrible.  Granted, it is all low quality for the sake of being cheap.  But the one thing hospital food is, is consistent.  When I bit down into this burger, it tasted exactly the same as the first burger I made as a cook in the retirement home.  Personally, I don't think the burgers are awful.  They're not great, but they're edible and reliable.  What was particularly tasty and shockingly so was the lettuce, tomato, and onion.  They were fresh and crisp and better than most of the restaurants in the area.  Let that sink in for a moment.  The toppings on a hospital burger are better than those of most restaurants in the surrounding area.

On the Side: Crinkle cut fries

One out of five stars

New Soul Calibur V Wallpapers

With the release of new character art comes new wallpapers.


Go ahead and grab them here.

New Soul Calibur 5 Screenshots Surface

In the latest batch released, we see the familiar faces of Yoshimitsu and Cervantes.  There's also a few shots of the new stages.  

The stages appear to be Ivy's alchemy lab, an underground river, and a ship at sea.  Two of the three are popular stages that have appeared in nearly every game. 

We're also introduced to new characters, Xiba and Aeon.  Xiba seems to be the spiritual successor to Kilik.  If Xiba ends up being the new Kilik, I don't look forward to fighting him 90% of the time online.  Aeon is a new winged version of Lizardman.  Said wings appear to help launch an aerial flame breathing attack.Cervantes is looking rather healthy for an ancient undead pirate.  And Yoshimitsu continues to impress with his imaginative costumes.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

Modern Warfare 3 wraps up a trilogy that has spanned the past four years.  Questions finally get answers.  Buildings blow up.  People die.  Most important of all, I finally take an interest in the series.  No, not really.

As far as story telling, Modern Warfare 3 doesn't fare much better than your standard action movie.  It's a B grade plot with predictable twists and turns.  I'm being dead serious when I say that nothing should come as a shock as the game progresses.  The story moves along at a break-neck speed that sweeps you from New York to London to France and more.  But because you're only shooting Russians (again) in the face, there's not much to tell the settings apart.  I suppose there's the Eiffel Tower, but then that gets blown up.  All in all, it's just lazy story telling.  Most first person shooters are guilt of this these days.  There's a global threat and the only way to stop it is shoot Russians in the face for seven hours.

Graphically, MW3 is the best looking game in the series.  Everything pops and I'm constantly impressed at how sharp everything appears.  That is, until you get close.  There's very little texture to everything beyond your character's arms and their weapon.  Sometimes, when you get close to some objects, they look like PS1 era graphics.  Don't believe me?  On the 360, get close to the fallen statue in the map Arkaden.  Ugly as sin.  Plus, where the hell are my character's legs?  This is unforgivable that in this generation of gaming, most developers won't bother putting legs in.

Gameplay  in MW3 is exactly the same as previous entries.  The idea being, "If it's not broken, don't fix it."  However, there are some features that seem to be missing.  Some innovations from Black Ops that didn't make the cut, like custom emblems.  I'll miss the vulgar emblems that adorned the scoreboard and guns.  Now I'm stuck with a boring cookie cutter emblem and title again.  Wager matches are gone.  Sticks and stones will forever live on in my heart. A third category for equipment?  No.  Why should I have to replace my frag grenades with a claymore?  Don't be a dick CoD.  Let me have both.

MW3 isn't all disappointment.  Now, my lackluster kill streaks don't stop when I die every five seconds.  In fact, they're not even called "Kill Streaks" anymore.  They're called "Point Streaks".  Plant a bomb in Search and Destroy or shoot down a UAV and get a point.  There's also the choice between three packages: Assault, Support, and Specialist.  I switched to the new "Support" package and keep my team up and running with such assist perks as UAV, Counter UAV, Remote Turrets, SAMs, etc.  Assault functions like kill streaks always have.  Specialist rewards you with perks and plays a lot like last few seconds in Black Ops' wager matches throughout your games.

Also thrown in are weapon based perks.  Each weapon levels up individually.  The more you use it, the better it's going to get in terms of perks.  Some examples include: tighter grouping of shots, reduced kick, automatic breath hold when using sights, ability to use two attachments, etc.  It's a nice incentive to stick with one weapon and become proficient.  Plus, it keeps one from wasting perks for a specific weapon like in Modern Warfare 2.

Despite the lack of any significant change or any real innovation, CoD is still digital crack.  It's simply fun to play.  Well, for most people.  I don't see the appeal myself.  I'll play, but only due to the peer pressure of my Xbox Live friend's list.  There's too little innovation to the series to warrant buying it every year.  It's a good game, but it's hard not to be burned out by the annual rehashes.  If you're a fan of the CoD series, you know what you're getting yourself into.  For those new to the series, this is a good place as any to start.

Wheelin' and Dealin' at Gamestop

Times are hard.  The economy is in the crapper.  My bank account laughs at me each time I check it.  There's a ton of great games coming out this Fall, but no money to get all of them.  What's a guy to do?

I took inventory of my collection and trimmed it down.  I took five games that I no longer play and went to Gamestop.  While titles like Batman: Arkham City and Battlefield 3 caught my interest more, I knew that if I wanted to spend any time playing online with my friends, I would have to get Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. So here's the breakdown of what was traded and how much I got.  Bear in mind that I got an extra 10% for having a PowerUp Card and 30% for putting it towards Modern Warfare 3.

Aliens vs Predator - $7.00
DragonBall: Raging Blast - $14.00
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 - $8.40
Madden NFL 2010 - $1.40
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 - $12.60

All told, I got $43.40 for some games that will only collect dust.  Add in the $3.49 I had remaining on the card and I ended up paying $13.82 out of pocket for a new game.  Not too bad.

That Explains It

I'm new to DC Universe Online.  I just started playing last week.  While I love the game, it's prone to disconnects and sometimes it takes up to two hours to get in.  Turns out, I was one out of a million who decided to join the game in the week after it went free to play.

Source - Kotaku

DC Universe Online

I just discovered that DC Universe Online is now free to play.  I also found out that it's really fun to play!  It's like a better looking City of Heroes with some of the most natural controls I've come across in a MMO.  Also, Gotham City is just jaw dropping.

Hanging out near the Gotham coast

What to do?  Where to go?

The villainous Averu.

Batman: Arkham Asylum

Batman.  The goddamned Batman.  For decades, young boys everywhere have wanted to be The Dark Knight.  Many, myself included, strapped towels around their necks and stalked the hallways of their homes.  For just as long, games have also tried to capture the magic of being Batman.  Most have failed terribly.

The only Batman games I remember playing was the 1993 SNES version of Batman Returns and 1995's Batman Forever.  Both fell under the beat-em-up  category and while very enjoyable, didn't capture the magic of being Batman.  There was no detective work, there was no skulking in the shadows, and no general sense of them being Batman games.  Sure, you could play as Batman, but you could swap Batman out with Mike Haggar and not know the difference.  2009 would see a dramatic change.

The game begins with the Joker's capture and escort to Arkham Asylum by Batman himself.  With the help of Harley Quinn, the Joker manages to escape and take control of the asylum.  Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, and Arleen Sorkin reprise their roles as Batman, Joker, and Harley Quinn respectively.  The entire game takes place on Arkham's grounds and revolves around Batman trying to stop the Joker.

Visually speaking, Arkham Asylum is astounding.  The amount of detail is this game is awe inspiring.  From the seams on Batman's suit and the stubble on his face growing as the game progresses to villain memorabilia scattering the buildings in the facility, there's so much to see and take in.  Batman in designed in a realistic way with a functional set of armor instead of the sweats he wears in the comics.  Joker has patches in his suit presumably from the many scuffles he's been in with Batman.  The walls in the buildings seem to bleed a barely controlled insanity.  This is Batman in his natural environment and it just feels so right.

Controlling Batman is also what makes this game so great.  Batman isn't a thug.  He's a detective, a predator that stalks the shadows, and most important of all, he's human.  Batman must stay in the shadows to survive. As the game progresses, guns become more prevalent.  If you get shot more than a handful of times, you will die.  To take down groups of enemies, you must hunt in the shadows and eliminate the armed prisoners one by one.  However, the entire game isn't limited to stalking targets one at a time.  On multiple occasions, Batman will find himself in the midst of a small army.  Here is where the combat truly shines.  Batman moves and flows like water from foe to foe.  The entire fight, if done properly, is like watching water flow back and forth and come crashing down with great force on the heads of these criminals.

Mixed in between the combat, Batman must traverse the Arkham compound.  This is done by using many tools that are unlocked through the game.  From grappling hooks to and explosive gel used to destroy key walls, there's a great deal to uncover.  Spread around are numerous trophies left by the Riddler, interview tapes, and character profiles.  Finding all of them will require dedication, but the rewards are great for those willing to put in the time and effort.  To make things a little easier, Batman can turn on a "detective visions" which allows him to see through walls and see hidden clues.  It's such a useful tool, it would be incredibly easy to play the entire game without turning it off.

The controls for the PC are laid out in an odd way and I found my pinky doing more work that it is used to. There was some cramping and it never felt natural.  I didn't get the chance to play with a controller, so I'm not sure how the controls would translate.

All in all, Arkham Asylum is the first truly great Batman game.  Any fan of the Dark Knight should play this game and even non fans should give it a whirl.  A great game will shine regardless of who the main character is.

Lineage 2 Goes Free to Play

Lineage 2 joins City of Heroes as NC Soft's latest free to play MMO.  Unlike City of Heroes, there are no restrictions or different types of accounts.  Lineage 2 is free to play for everyone with unrestricted access.

From Lineage 2's official site:

"Lineage® II: Goddess of Destruction—truly free! Why play a free to play MMO with account or game limitations when you can play Goddess of Destruction truly free? We've added free packs to help you level faster, and a new in-game store loaded with useful items to enhance your play experience.
Lineage® II: Goddess of Destruction becomes truly free later this year. Experience the large-scale castle sieges, clan wars, and head-to-head Olympiad competition that madeLineage II famous. "Truly free" means no separate account types or blocked game content—everyone is treated like a VIP! Other than the in-game store items, all game content (character creation, races, classes, skills, zones, bosses, quests, clans, crafting, warehouse, auction house, chat, mail, forums, customer support, and so on) is absolutely free. And the Goddess of Destruction update offers roughly four times faster game progression and over 400 hours of deep, rich gameplay!
The L2 Store will offer items to supplement your gameplay in the form of XP/SP boosts, potions, buffs, and other consumable supplies, as well as cosmetic items and hunting helpers. In addition, you can purchase packs that accelerate character leveling for a longer period and contain exclusive items not available for individual purchase. But you never have to purchase anything from the L2 Store in order to enjoy the game mechanics or story content of Lineage II. "Truly free" means exactly that: Buy only what you want, or play all the way to level 99 without purchasing anything. It's your choice. Play your way!"

I used to play Lineage 2, but the lack of a community and the grind heavy nature turned me off o the $15 monthly fee.  Now that it is free I imagine I'll be spending more time in the land I never got to know.  However, NC Soft has had free to play games before.  Dungeon Runners and Exteel were two fantastic games that have had their servers shut down due to poor returns.  Hopefully Lineage 2 and City of Heroes can avoid that fate.

Lineage 2 official site

Software, Languages, and Tablets

Let me tell you a story.  An Italian man from half way around the world comes to my shop in Wisconsin.  He had just purchased an iPad from the local Walmart and needs to activate it by connecting it to his iTunes account which was created in Switzerland.

Before this, I had never used an iPad.  To tell the truth, I've never used an iOS device beyond tinkering for a few moments.  But, the idea was simple enough: sign in to his iTunes account and connect the device to activate it.  Then, it would be a simple matter of updating the software to iOS 5.  So, it was set forth and done.

The next day, my foreign friend returns.  His iTunes and other applications are in German.  It turns out that all apps will default to the country that the account is registered in.  Apple's instructions don't cover situations like this.  They say to change the International language in the iPad settings and that should be the end of it.  Such was not the case.  Sure it would change the iPad's language settings to whatever I chose, but apps and iTunes itself remained in German.  There is an option within iTunes, near the bottom on the right.  It's a little flag and clicking it will allow you to change the store's country.  But this still won't change the language.  The language is locked to whatever country the account was registered in.  Since the account was registered in Switzerland, the only supported language for iTunes was German.

With his help, the account was registered to the United States.  The iPad was plugged back in and synced up.  Still, the apps remained locked in German.  It was at this point where I resorted to Google translate and began breaking down the options on the iPad in German.  After awkwardly typing in German for the first time in my life, I was able to log out of the account and sign back in.  Once this was done, the apps and iTunes converted to English.  Needless to say, it was a frustrating affair considering there are no clear cut instructions from Apple and I was not familiar with the device, software, or language.

It was a great learning experience, but another nail in the Apple coffin for me.  "It just works." is something I hear over and over again at Apple keynotes and conferences.  I'm not so sure of that anymore.

The Void

I looked into the void and saw nothing.  I looked into the void and saw everything.  I saw despair and emptiness.  I saw anger with no feeling.  I saw the end of the world and everything it contained.  I looked into the void and saw a great beast full of fury.

The beast looked at me.  The beast saw into me and through me.  The beast looked into me and saw nothing.  The beast saw despair and an anger greater than his own.  The beast saw the lack of feeling.  The beast knew of my disconnection from the world.

I looked into the void and saw myself.  I looked and felt nothing.  In the void, I saw the futility of it all.  In the void, I realized that the world is everything and nothing.  When I walked away, I looked from the void.  In my place, the void spread to the world.