Final Fantasy?

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Aliens are much easier to stomach when they are hell-bent on destroying humanity versus just being ghostly cosmic castaways of a meteor.

Nearly 9 years after Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within graced the silver screen, I decided to take a look at the film once more. Originally, I remember enjoying the movie for its graphics/ art design but totally hating on the New Age storyline. So, were we go.

The movie opens with strange dreams, an alien devastation and Steve Buscemi voicing a soldier? Go figure. The voice casting for Final Fantasy is probably what keeps this movie from exploding into the nether right off. Voices such as Alec Baldwin, Ming-Na, and Ving Rhames lend the sci-fi storyline credibility. Well, almost. Turns out the invading aliens are ghosts (SPOILERS! 🙂 ) and that firing the massive Zeus cannon may end up hurting the planet. Our planet? No, the chunk of the alien planet and its spirits…I think. Got that?

For a film that supposedly went through 50 script incarnations (IMDB) and was the flagship for then newly created Square Pictures, I question the oddly spiritual storyline. Sure, the spirits ability to rob humanity of their spirits (thus killing the human in the process) adds some tension to the film. But still, to go on about Gaia and the LOST aliens is just ridiculous considering this movie needed to appeal to an international audience.

The movie ends when the main character, Aki, realizes that she had the final spirit within her all along. GAG! All of the other characters that you have followed through out the film are now dead; all except the good doctor Cid. The movie fades to black after focusing on a bird flying off into the horizon…can anyone tell me what just happened?

I guess we all should have seen this movie coming. Parts of it remind me Final Fantasy 7, especially the end with Gaia and the floating spirits. Just like back in 2001, I cannot believe that I have once again wasted my time watching this movie. With such a rich history and stable of characters, I’m almost sorry that this movie had to be the final fantasy.

CozyQuest News

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JBG has been experiencing a large amount of web traffic searching for information on the iDevice app CozyQuest. Investigating the matter, we have found out the following:

Dear CozyQuest gamers

The old CQ server has suffered a major crash, and a lot of data is estimated to be lost. We are working on restoring this information, and hopefully get things up and running soon.

We have been promised that the data could be restored, but unfortunately, it will take some time.

I have invested in a new server, and have pushed a new copy of CozyQuest to Apple, in which the app is able to log on to the new server.

Hopefully, the game will be back up and running around the 15th. of April. *Fingers crossed*

If you visit the game’s official website as of 5/25/10, you will find this:

Rising from the ashes

There, a new server is set and ready to go.

Now to make a new client, faster and sleeker.

Sometimes it’s better to just let go…or read our review!

Entitlement

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The promise of record heat allows me some comfort in knowing that I’ll be indoors all day. Record heat in May? I’m already worried about how hot this summer is going to be. This morning though the clouds are making every attempt to block out the sun. A bit of morning respite before the onslaught of the day.

Had a good conversation with a friend last week. We talked about the feeling of entitlement college bestows upon graduates. “Finding a job is going to be easy”, administrators and professors tell you throughout your college career. 4 (usually) years of hearing their melodious spiel is enough time to start to believing the lies. Yes, I said lies. The real world, that place outside of the college campus bubble, proves to be harsh for many young graduates. After being unknowingly brainwashed, they suddenly find themselves dumped out into the world with a mountain of debt (unless mom and dad have helped). The jobs that had once been mythically “promised” are no where to be found. The sense of entitlement that has firmly taken root by this point won’t allow the graduates  to simply take a job they could have had in high school. No, those types of jobs just aren’t good enough anymore. “4 years of hard work certainly entitle me to something better”, the newly graduated thinks to themselves. Sadly and perhaps fittingly, this is not the case.

The current economic crisis has turned the business world upside down. Companies are afraid to hire new employees and are instead downsizing/ consolidating normally open positions. The world is tightening its belt. The entitled graduate has a hard time making sense of this economically depressed world. Promises of something better turned out to be lies…for now.

But not all is doom and gloom. Like someone recently held hostage, a bit of deprogramming is needed for the newly minted graduate.

  • Realize that finding a job takes time AND hard work.
  • Realize that obtaining that perfect job with a corner office could take years.
  • Recite daily: “Just because I have a degree doesn’t mean I’m special”

Having a good attitude is probably the most important piece of advice I could ever give someone. Attitude is everything. So, don’t despair recent graduates, time and hard work will soon make all the effort put forth in college worthwhile. If not, there is always the option of fleeing the country to escape the loan bounty hunters.

Vermin of the Trees

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The squirrels outside my office window are many. Organized and cunning beyond belief, they scale mighty trees and leap from branch to branch with utmost abandon. Even on a gloomy day like today, the squirrels seem unfazed. Already I have spotted at least 3 and yet I know that there are more out there exploring the woods.

One of the big problems with having an office with floor to ceiling windows is that sometimes the outside world can prove to be quite a distraction. Maybe distractions are good on a Friday morning; the weekend standing wide open and ready to be filled in.

The Wrath of Christians

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The machine guns blazed with a deafening sound, as a small band of Christians advanced upon Ignition Entertainment. Chanting the video game directors name, Sawaki Takeyasu, the blood thirsty band leveled all who stood in their way.

Weeks earlier, upon hearing about the game El Shaddai’s development and eventual release, this small band of Christians had threatened the games director with death. For you see, to even utter one of the names of God is punishable by death….err wait. Wouldn’t this be shocking if it were true? Imagine Christians militantly defending the name of God.

The announcement of El Shaddai got me thinking about how the Muslim community would react if the game was titled The Prophet Muhammad. Below is a case study from a recent headline.

Case Study:

Back in the beginning of April, the TV show South Park aired its 200th episode (recap here). The episode, which was all about not angering Muslims by physically depicting the Prophet Muhammad, stirred up anger within the Muslim community. One Muslim group even threatened “violent retribution” against the creators of the show. Meanwhile other religious figures which include Jesus, Buddha, and Krishna were depicted with little outcry from their followers. Comedy Central, fearing a backlash from the Muslim community, ended up heavily editing the episode.

Commit a series of terrorist acts and suddenly entire nations cower before you in fear.

As per my opening to this article, I am not insinuating that Christians should become militaristic and take up arms against those that offend us. That goes against the very person of who Jesus Christ was/ is. What I am trying to say is two things:

  1. Our modern media needs to treat all religious groups equally and with respect. Christ should be treated just as respectfully as Muhammad if not more so — hey, I’m biased!–. To cater/cower to only one religious group shows favoritism. Not only favoritism…but fear.
  2. Video game developers need to be respectful when telling stories/ making statements religious in nature. Take for instance the game Assassin’s Creed. SPOILER ALERT!!! The end of the game reveals that the object you’ve hunted for the entire game is what caused people to believe that Moses parted the Red Sea; that Jesus did miracles. I find such thought to be totally offensive. Furthermore, this makes me think that the developers of Assassin’s Creed believe that Christianity is a sham. Whatever happened to tolerance?

Tolerance: a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions and practices that differ from one’s own.

In closing, the video game El Shaddai will not incite acts of violence on an epic scale. No death threats will be reported due to its development/ launch.  The wrath of the Christians will not be experienced. Consider that cancelled if not non-existent.

Things to think about:

  • Why are Christians openly mocked in media and Muslims feared?
  • What are the developers trying to tell us in their use of names like Enoch and a story about Satan and his fallen angels?
  • What is their worldview?

Maturity

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My fondest video game memories all stem from childhood. Be it sitting in the family room playing the NES with my younger sister or hanging out at a friends house playing Road Rash on the Genesis, video games have always played a part in my life. Fast forward to today, and I often find myself trying to recapture those moments.

In November of last year, my sister flew out to spend some time with my family and I. We mostly just hung out around the house and played with my son. Nothing big. However, we did end up playing Super Mario Brothers 3 on the Wii. Talk about stirring up some memories. By the end of our game time, I had realized a few things:

  • My sister will always be a better Mario Brothers player than I will ever, ever be.
  • Gaming is best when your playing with others.

What was great about revisiting this past time with her, was that no fights broke out. I’m serious. My Mom never had to swoop in and take the controllers away because we wouldn’t share or honor the others next turn.

“You die one more time and I get the next life.”

Age has a way of making one want what has been. Having my sister out and playing Mario 3 though made me realize that those gaming moments haven’t gone away. In fact, they have only gotten better due to age and maturity. One thing that I will never miss is being grounded off the NES due to fighting. Hurray for growing older.

What are your favorite video game memories?

Surf Report – 5/10/10

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Welcome to the Monday edition of the Surf Report.

Woke up this morning to overcast skies and a nice cool breeze. Even though its supposed to be in the high 80’s today, I’m enjoying the cooler weather of the morning.

East Texas has been experiencing record highs lately, which is certainly odd for the month of May. I have been running my air conditioner non-stop — no doubt adding to the destruction of the environment–.

Funny thing happened this weekend, I received an annual letter from the Social Security Administration. Supposedly Social Security funds will be close to depleted by the time I am ready to retire. Correction, people who would have normally received over a $1000 dollars a month will instead receive $700 a month. Guess I need to learn how to eat/ live cheaper. Wonder if my future kids will let my wife and I live with them…

Had a friend get me back into World of Warcraft. I am happy to announce that I have finally made it to Burning Crusade content! Huzzah! Huzzah! What a difference an expansion makes to game play. I love World of Warcraft again. For anyone on the Stormscale server, be sure to look me up (Arclight, Alliance).

Hope everyone is having a great Monday. If your not, go pick up some sort of caffeinated beverage and get to work. Otherwise Tuesday is going to become Monday 2.0.

-Bryan

Communication

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Every first Wednesday of the month, the city tests out their tornado warning system. At about noon, the sirens start to go off for about 5 minutes. As the sirens wail away, I am often reminded of the times when the sirens have been going off due to a real tornado in the area.

As a west coast native, the thought of deadly weather from above was never something that kept me up at night. Earthquakes were the disaster of the day. At best, you’d end up being woken in the middle of the night by a slight jolt. Nothing big. Here in the South, tornadoes are anything but a “slight jolt”.

Back in January, we had a freak outbreak of weather that had a tornado barreling down towards my house. According to the weatherman, who was calling out street names around us, we were “under the gun”. Not hearing anything outside, including the tornado warning system, I questioned the weatherman’s prediction. As he continued to shout, rant, and scream on the television –I wish I was joking but the weatherman was panicked– I decided to step outside and take a look. Probably not the smartest thing but why not.

Still not hearing any sirens, I opened the door to the backyard and looked around. The sky was perfectly calm and everything was still — I later learned that this happens before a tornado…guess the movie Twister didn’t teach me everything–. So I walked back into the house only to hear that the tornado had dissipated right before hitting my neighborhood. Close call I guess.

In retrospect, the behavior of the weatherman was absolutely terrible. Perhaps he was just relaying the information as he saw it, but he was inducing fear and panic as he spoke. There is a way to communicate life-threatening information without causing people to panic.

Communication is hard for many people, including me. (How many times have you assumed that someone was on the same page as you when they weren’t?) However, learning to communicate properly seems to be a life long process. Be it mass communicating with a siren or quieting speaking with a spouse.

Consider this your Public Service Announcement for the day.

Searchlight – 5/5/10

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.: Top Searches for 5/5/10 :.

1. cozyquest itunes – here (link will open iTunes)

2. dungeon hunter ending – Tragic love.

3. cozyquest review – here

4. vanguard saga monthly – via the MMO Cost Breakdown

  • Monthly Subscription Fee – $14.99
  • 3 Months – $41.97
  • 6 Months – $77.94
  • 12 Months -$143.88
  • 24 Months – $199.95
  • Other Notes: This game can also be played under the $29.99 (per month) SOE Station Access subscription. This subscription includes access to: EverQuest, EverQuest 2, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Planetside, Star Wars Galaxies, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, EverQuest Online Adventures, and Free Realms.

5. cozyquest – looks like the current site is down.

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty Coming July 27th

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Don’t know how I missed this yesterday…

The time for galactic warfare is almost at hand. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty will warp into stores throughout the world starting on July 27, and the epic conflict between the protoss, terrans, and zerg will take up right where it left off in StarCraft: Brood War. See the press release for further details, and prepare yourself for battle.

Searchlight – 5/3/10

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.: Top Searches for 5/3/10 :.

1. dungeon hunter ending – Dungeon Hunter was a great time waster. My biggest complaint was that the inventory system seemed needlessly complicated. Otherwise, the ending was satisfying for what little story there was.

2. cozyquest itunes – CozyQuest will forever be a dream unrealized by its creator. Deal with it.

3. auction house external site warcraft – While this feature has yet to be launched, I’m at least interested to see how popular this feature will turn out to be. Will work as we know it be forever altered? Probably not.

4. character slots on asherons call –  One (1)

5. guild wars 2 blog – here

Surf Report – 5/3/10

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Welcome to the Monday edition of the Surf Report.

.: God :

The college ministry, at my church, has been in need of a big jump start for a long time. Currently, two students attend. At one point, the college group at church had a full time pastor dedicated to leading the group and going out onto college campuses and recruiting. The college group was huge at its height…but that was maybe 9-10 years ago.

About two weeks ago we had a speaker at our church talk about what our personal gifts are and how we should be using them in the church. This got me thinking. I really enjoy mentoring others, being an open ear to listen; I also enjoy teaching out of the Bible. So…why not come up with a plan to takeover the current college ministry and infuse it with new life. Having a vague idea about how to do this, I e-mailed a bunch of friends and asked for their opinion. I specifically asked that if they attended a church college group while attending college, what attracted them to said group? Their answers are as follows:

Structure – College students are lectured to all day. Why lecture to them more by preaching for an entire hour? Instead (working with an hour format) dedicate:

  • 10 minutes to announcements/ misc.
  • 20 minutes to a time of worship (rock out!)
  • 30 minutes to a time of teaching (make it partly an open discussion, engage people)

Activities – Schedule numerous low-key activities per month with a big activity scheduled at the end of the semester. Activities could include:

  • Formal dinner – get dressed up and go to someones house for a nice dinner.
  • A night of board games with another class at church
  • Movie night, etc.

Leadership – activity engage/ include others in leading the group through:

  • Planning activities
  • Leading worship, etc.

So I’m still in the process of compiling my thoughts on this possible project. If you have any ideas to bring to the table about your experience in a college ministry or why you attended a college group, comment away.

.: Life :

Confession time, I am a bit of a Disney geek. There is something about the ability to transport people into other worlds that just sparks my imagination. Below is a video of a new water show that Disney is working on in their California Adventure park. Enjoy!

.: Gaming :

At the suggestion of a friend, I dove into Half Life 2 over the weekend. Already I have defeated futuristic helicopters, played fetch with a robotic “dog”, and entered into the darkness that is Ravenholm.

"Dog"

Hopefully the gravity gun renders Ravenholm a walk in the park. Until next time.

That is it for this weeks Surf Report. Make sure to comment below and have a good week!