Sunday, January 31, 2010

Astrology is Bullshit

Repeat after me:

Astrology is Bullshit!

Astrology is Bullshit!

Already knew this? Good, now read this anyways.

Find yourself a bit miffed right now, thinking I'm full of crap? Keep reading.

So, I am going to make the case today that Astrology is nothing than a pile of outdated and laughable ridiculous pseudoscientific fucking bullshit. And I will do this through 3 pathways:

Scientific Evidence

Psychological Evidence


After this is all said and done, my goal is for everyone who reads this to understand that


Man, this feels good already. You have no idea how much I detest this astrology shit. Everytime I get asked ''What's your sign?'' I want to punch through the persons' stomach, pull their liver out, and beat them with it. I especially love how no one ever knows your sign, until you tell them it (well, I used to, to humour them, but now I just tell them it's nonsense, but I digress) and then they either nod and say ''yup'' or get all perky and say ''I knew it.'' Ya, you fucking knew shit, you liar, because if you did, you WOULDN'T HAVE HAD TO ASK ME!!!!.

Like that one time I saw a ''psychic'' who gave me all sorts of vague information about what was going on with the situation between myself and my sister, which was great, save for the fact that I DON'T HAVE A FUCKING SISTER, YOU FUCKING FRADULENT LIAR!!!! YOU WOULD HAVE KNOWN THAT, IF YOU WERE REALLY PSYCHIC!!!! Ever notice how ''psychics'' always have vague answers, general statements, and they have to ask you your birthday and things.....I THOUGHT YOU WERE FUCKING PSYCHIC YOU SHOULD KNOW MY BIRTHDAY!!!! Funny, with the thousands of psychics in the world, not ONE steps forward before a terrorist attack and warns the people. Were were all the psychics before 9/11, HUH? WERE WHERE THEY? TOO MANY CROSSED ENERGY WIRES THAT DAY?

….Okay, sorry, big digression there. Back to the topic at hand (and yes, ''psychics'' are also bullshit; perhaps I'll get to that in another edition).

So, on with the evidence.

Scientific Evidence

Definition of atrology: Astrology is a group of systems, traditions, and beliefs which hold that the relative positions of celestial bodies and related details can provide information about personality, human affairs, and other terrestrial matters.

Well, guess what? It has been scientifically demonstrated that this is bullshit.

I'll attack this in 2 ways:

1)Studies done on the accuracy of astrological predictions
2)The problem with the ''science'' behind the astrology to begin with

Studies done on the accuracy of astrological predictions

''Good news for rational, level-headed Virgoans everywhere: just as you might have predicted, scientists have found astrology to be rubbish, writes Science Correspondent Robert Matthews.''

Its central claim - that our human characteristics are moulded by the influence of the Sun, Moon and planets at the time of our birth - appears to have been debunked once and for all and beyond doubt by the most thorough scientific study ever made into it.

For several decades, researchers tracked more than 2,000 people - most of them born within minutes of each other. According to astrology, the subject should have had very similar traits. Researchers looked at more than 100 different characteristics, including occupation, anxiety levels, marital status, aggressiveness, sociability, IQ levels and ability in art, sport, mathematics and reading - all of which astrologers claim can be gauged from birth charts.

The scientists failed to find any evidence of similarities between the time twins, however. They reported in the current issue of the Journal of Consciousness Studies: The test conditions could hardly have been more conducive to success . . . but the results are uniformly negative.

And that's not all.

The time-twins study is only the start of the bad news for astrologers, however. Dr Dean and Prof Kelly also sought to determine whether stargazers could match a birth chart to the personality profile of a person among a random selection.
They reviewed the evidence from more than 40 studies involving over 700 astrologers, but found the results turned out no better than guesswork.
The success rate did not improve even when astrologers were given all the information they asked for and were confident they had made the right choice.

Dr Dean said the consistency of the findings weighed heavily against astrology.

It has no acceptable mechanism, its principles are invalid and it has failed hundreds of tests, he said. But no hint of these problems will be found in astrology books which, in effect, are exercises in deception.

From wiki:

Studies have repeatedly failed to demonstrate statistically significant relationships between astrological predictions and operationally-defined outcomes. Effect size tests of astrology-based hypotheses conclude that the mean accuracy of astrological predictions is no greater than what is expected by chance.

But there's more

The problem with the ''science'' behind the astrology to begin with

The whole thing is based on the fact that your your zodiac sign supposedly corresponds to the position of the sun relative to constellations, right? Well, check this out:

The positions changed over 2200 years ago.

Let that sink in for a second.

You see, the Earth wobbles around in it's axis in a 25, 800 year long cycle. This phenomena is called precession, and it is the reason why your ''signs'' are completely wrong. Even if this was all true, they'd be off by about a month:

Over the past two-and-a-half millennia, this wobble has caused the intersection point between the celestial equator and the ecliptic to move west along the ecliptic by 36 degrees, or almost exactly one-tenth of the way around. This means that the signs have slipped one-tenth—or almost one whole month—of the way around the sky to the west, relative to the stars beyond. For instance, those born between March 21 and April 19 consider themselves to be Aries. Today, the Sun is no longer within the constellation of Aries during much of that period. From March 11 to April 18, the Sun is actually in the constellation of Pisces!

You will most likely find that once precession is taken into account, your zodiac sign is different. And if you were born between November 29 and December 17, your sign is actually one you never saw in the newspaper: you are an Ophiuchus! The eliptic passes through the constellation of Ophiuchus after Scorpius.

Here is how the ''real'' chart would look:

Capricorn - Jan 20 to Feb 16
Aquarius - Feb 16 to Mar 11
Pisces - Mar 11 to Apr 18
Aries - Apr 18 to May 13
Taurus - May 13 to Jun 21
Gemini - Jun 21 to Jul 20
Cancer - Jul 20 to Aug 10
Leo - Aug 10 to Sep 16
Virgo - Sep 16 to Oct 30
Libra - Oct 30 to Nov 23
Scorpius - Nov 23 to Nov 29
Ophiuchus - Nov 29 to Dec 17
Sagittarius - Dec 17 to Jan 20

Ever heard anyone mention Ophiuchus before?

Ya, me either.

Psychological Evidence

Two psychological concepts can easily explain why people are so convinced of the veracity of astrology: The Forer Effect and Confirmation Bias.

The Forer Effect

The Forer effect refers to the tendency of people to rate sets of statements as highly accurate for them personally even though the statements could apply to many people.

Psychologist Bertram R. Forer (1914-2000) found that people tend to accept vague and general personality descriptions as uniquely applicable to themselves without realizing that the same description could be applied to just about anyone. Consider the following as if it were given to you as an evaluation of your personality:

You have a need for other people to like and admire you, and yet you tend to be critical of yourself. While you have some personality weaknesses you are generally able to compensate for them. You have considerable unused capacity that you have not turned to your advantage. Disciplined and self-controlled on the outside, you tend to be worrisome and insecure on the inside. At times you have serious doubts as to whether you have made the right decision or done the right thing. You prefer a certain amount of change and variety and become dissatisfied when hemmed in by restrictions and limitations. You also pride yourself as an independent thinker; and do not accept others' statements without satisfactory proof. But you have found it unwise to be too frank in revealing yourself to others. At times you are extroverted, affable, and sociable, while at other times you are introverted, wary, and reserved. Some of your aspirations tend to be rather unrealistic.

Forer gave a personality test to his students, ignored their answers, and gave each student the above evaluation. He asked them to evaluate the evaluation from 0 to 5, with 5 meaning the recipient felt the evaluation was an excellent assessment and 4 meaning the assessment was good. The class average evaluation was 4.26. That was in 1948. The test has been repeated hundreds of time with psychology students and the average is still around 4.2 out of 5, or 84% accurate. In short, Forer convinced people he could successfully read their character. His accuracy amazed his subjects, though his personality analysis was taken from a newsstand astrology column and was presented to people without regard to their sun sign.

Want to see a short 1:35 second video of this in effect? It's awesome:

Astrological readings are always vague and present common characteristics.

Think about it. What about the fucking assholes in the world? The serial killers, psychopaths, sociopaths, rude, bitchy, annoying, etc people. Where are their readings? You ever see a reading that said ''You will be a fucking prick today?”' NO! They present ideas that people are likely to agree with, because we all like to think of ourselves as being ''At times you are extroverted, affable, and sociable, while at other times you are introverted, wary, and reserved.''

Confirmation Bias

Confirmation bias is the tendency for people to prefer information that confirms their preconceptions or hypotheses, independently of whether they are true. In the context of ''psychic'' and astrological ''readings,'' this describes the tendency for people to remember and place significance on the ''hits'' and to forget the ''misses.'' It has been demonstrated that people will come out of a ''psychic'' reading which had a success rate of that equal to chance (duh) and state that they thought the reading was 80 or 90% accurate. I have seen video footage of this, and in more than one, people even reported things like ''he knew all about my aunt theresa's illness, and I didn't even mention it'' when in reality, they are on video telling the ''psychic'' ''my aunt is sick.''

So you get people hearing a vague reading applicable to anyone, thinking it's really accurate and specific to them, all because they place significance on the things that seemed right, and downplay the ones that are ''off.'' Then, they tend to report a much higher accuracy after the fact than there really was.


Ah, logic. I love logic. We all should love logic. Astrologers hate logic. Tell me something:

Astrology states that our personalities are determined by celestial positionings at the time of our birth, right? Well then, WHY DO TWINS HAVE DIFFERENT PERSONALITIES? Shouldn't they be exactly the same?

Here's a hint: YES, they should be, and NO THEY ARE FUCKING NOT!

Why, in that video I posted above, did a room full of people with completely varied ''signs'' all agree that the reading they got described them, when they ALL GOT THE SAME MOTHERFUCKING READING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


How many times does science have to disprove bullshit before people let it fucking go?

Another one, as I posted above: What about the fucking assholes in the world? The serial killers, psychopaths, sociopaths, rude, bitchy, annoying, etc people. Where are their readings? You ever see a reading that said ''You will be a fucking prick today?”' NO! They present ideas that people are likely to agree with, because we all like to think of ourselves as being ''At times you are extroverted, affable, and sociable, while at other times you are introverted, wary, and reserved.''

So, again, Think abouuuuuuutttt iiiiittttttt!!:

There are tons of assholes in the world, yet NO READINGS for them? So, what, celestial positiongs only determine the personality of nice people? Assholes get their personalities from, like, what? Genetics? Environment? Give me a break. Our personalities come from the fucking sky, man, we all know that!!!!!

Astrology is absolute fucking horseshit. It's bullshit, it's fake, it's a huge money making industry (seriously, famous astrologers make MILLIONS) that takes advantage of people. Astrologers should be in jail for fraud, not making millions. Same with ''psychics'' but that's for another day.

They are propagating pseudoscientific nonsense that has been discredited since we moved to a heliocentric view of the cosmos. In other words, a few hundred fucking years. They are exploiting people, and if you have ever paid for a ''reading'' you should go demand your money back.

The End

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Friends of mine made this for a college advertising course. It's from the same mind that brought you this:

These dudes are comedic geniuses. When you see them on television, remember, I knew them first!


BANNED: First Internet Ban.

I got banned from gametrailers for 3 days, and then, after basically apologizing for my actions, the ban was extended to a week.


....It was extended for a week after you....apolog-?


Yes indeed. Before I explain how it was extended, here's the offending post (well, there were several, but this was the catalyst):

(Click to expand/zoom in):

So apparently, you can't call people terrorists on gametrailers. Especially Islamic guys who are in the process of defending Islamic extremist views (yes, he defends, escuses and downplays Islamic extremist viewpoints.

Some example of his behaviour, just from today:

(Click to expand/zoom in):

(Click to expand/zoom in):

They get worse. This guy has some real classics, but I can't be arsed to dig for them now. I did have an exchange with him on this same day though, and can give you one example from that particular discussion (if you can call it that).

It was a discussion regarding the so called end of the world in 2012. This fine gentleman posited that:

no human will ever know the end of the world.

To which i replied:

And you know this, how, exactly? What if there were a huge asteroid headed to earth, and we didn't have the means to avoid catastrophe?

He then said this:

if you think humans will know the exact time of the end of the world, then by all means go ahead im not stopping you.

My response:

We'll be able to predict the suns' demise, won't we?


predict=guess thats no good. i originally said no human will ever know the endof time, as in, when is it exactly gonna happen. like i said before, by all means go ahead and keep 'predicting' it.


Predict doesn't have to mean guess. A mathematical prediction is basically fact if it's repeatable and based on solid information. The end of the suns' lifecycle may fall into just such a thing.


you honestly think scientists will know the exact time of the sun's demise? really? seriously, go ahead man im not stopping you lol

To which I responded:

Earth's fate is precarious. As a red giant, the Sun will have a maximum radius beyond the Earth's current orbit, 250 times the present radius of the Sun. However, by the time it is an asymptotic giant branch star, the Sun will have lost roughly 30% of its present mass due to a stellar wind, so the orbits of the planets will move outward. If it were only for this, Earth would probably be spared, but new research suggests that Earth will be swallowed by the Sun owing to tidal interactions.[87] Even if Earth would escape incineration in the Sun, still all its water will be boiled away and most of its atmosphere would escape into space.

You were saying?

The rest is in this pic:

(Click to expand/zoom in): (read the text from top to bottom, it's a quote pyramid and it may look confusing, but just read it as a standard convo, from top to bottom, starting with him saying ''that's only explaining''....

What a fine speciemnt he is. As you can see, you can't converse with this guy, and everytime Islam comes up, he gets extra irrational. Well, I was tired of dealing with him, and he happened to catch me on a rare bad day, and so I screwed with him.

Anyways, so I get a message saying I have been banned for 3 days. No surprise there. I actually expected a permanent ban. I message the moderator, and this is what goes down:

magx01 said: Totally deserved it. I was being a jackass, but truth be told, I need the break.

I'll resume my normal demeanor once reinstated.

ZippingMeteor said: Your ban from 2010-01-29 has been updated for the following reason: So you think they deserved to be called a terrorist. Now the ban's a week.

magx01 said: What? I said I deserved it!

ME, I deserved the ban.

ZippingMeteor said: You said you were telling the truth when you called him a terrorist.

magx01 said: No, I did not. Show me where.

ZippingMeteor said: Ok, I'll admit that the second part was misread but the first isn't clear. You could have meant either user because you didn't put a topic in the sentence.

Not that it matters. You still broke one of the most serious rules on the site multiple times. Breaking that rule has always resulted in a permanent ban on sight. Even if we don't feel a perma is appropriate, a three day ban is far too kind for breaking that rule even once, let alone multiple times. I'm not making the ban any shorter.

magx01 said: I clearly said I was being a jackass.

You increased the length of the ban due to 2 misreadings on your part. I clearly calle dmyself a jackass, said I needed the break anyways, and promised to resume my normal beahviour upon my return.

Nothing in any of that is me saying anything about him. So I message you to admit fault, you misread it, punish me for apologiazing, and now refuse to revert back to the original ban period? That's not fair.

And he replied back reiterating that the ban extension would stay.

How the fuck is that fair? I mean, it's only a week, and complete jackass/asshole that the guy is, me calling him a terrorist would easily have merited a permanent ban, but that's not what they gave me. Extending it after the fact based on his lack of reading comprehension and then not changing it back is not fair in principle. It's most likely a pride thing.

Ah well. All I can say is


Friday, January 29, 2010

Satirical Video: What If God Disappeared?

Predictable, but clever little video depicting a world without 'god.' I got a laugh out of the puppy line.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Borderlands Review

Care to Open Pandora's.....Vault?

[Note] This review is for the xbox 360 version of the game.

Borderlands in the latest game from Gearbox software, the developer known for making FPS games, namely, the Brothers in Arms series. They have always prided themselves on being just a bit different. A bit more cerebral and thoughtful in their approach. They have brought that mentality of innovation and fresh experiences to Borderlands, which is an FPS/RPG hybrid, that finds the player alone on a vast wasteland of a planet known as Pandora.

Pandora is a hostile place. You find yourself there on a quest to locate the oft rumoured Vault, a place steeped in myth and legend that is said to contain unnamed riches. You are not alone in this search, as many other individuals and some greedy corporations have tried over the years to locate the Vault. So far, none have been successful. Does the Vault even exist? This question haunts you on your quest.

Does that sound compelling? Well, I didn't think so either, but it's enough to drive the action forward. The story is definitely not a highlight in this game, and it's shallowness is definitely one of the few flaws. The emphasis in this game is on gameplay. Namely, combat, looting, and leveling up your choice of one of four available characters. So, is the game compelling enough to succeed despite a paper thin story, and other issues?


This game utilizes an intriguing art style that has been described as a moving comic book. It's really quite stunning in motion, despite a few occasional flaws (jagged edges and shadows, and some minor clipping). It features black line borders around characters and objects, and a very vast colour palette. It's a game who's look speaks for itself (which is likely why the developers changed it midway through development. It really helps differentiate it). There is a small issue with the engine, as texture pop in is evident when loading a new area, similar to games like Mass Effect and Gears of War. I'm not sure if this game utilizes a modified Unreal III engine, but I know that engine is known for pop in so it is possible. Overall, despite the few flaws, this is a game that will, if not outright atop you in your tracks, at least have you acknowledge it's proficiency and uniqueness. The look is also complimented by some nice special effects, including fire and explosive effects, lightning, and exploding limbs. It's really quite beautiful to see.


The game's soundtrack is largely forgettable, and the audio mixing seems a bit off, as I have difficulty finding a balance between audible but not overpowering musical accompaniment, and clearly defined sound effects. It works for a while, but the music has moments where it grows either too quiet or too loud, and, at least for me, needed to be occasionally adjusted. Then again, when playing, I always have a wife and baby sleeping nearby, as I play at night, so it definitely may be a player specific concern. The gun sounds are adequate.
Voice work is good, although there isn't very much of it, which brings us to another one of the game's flaws: largely inactive NPC's. Most of them don't have all that much to say to you, which can leave you feeling even more alone than you already did at times (assuming you aren't playing this co-op). I'll expand upon this later.


As stated earlier, this game is an FPS/RPG hybrid. It plays like a very adequate FPS, and the RPG elements fit right in, and do not feel at all tacked on, although NPC interaction and story are on the weaker side, as I mentioned earlier. What is done right on the RPG side of things is the experience/leveling system and the loot system. Essentially what you have here is a Diablo style game that plays like an FPS. There are an incredible number of weapons and different items to be found, most of which are procedurally generated, giving you almost limitless combinations of things. Enemies drop guns, shields, money, health packs, class modifications, and other items when they expire, leading to the infamous loot drop addiction: What cool stuff can I acquire next? Let's kill something to find out! You also obtain things as rewards for completing quests, and also, you'll find items through chests located throughout the world. All of these are staples of the RPG genre. Take that, but play it from a first person perspective and with guns, and you have the basic blueprints for Borderlands.

Ah, loot. Glorious loot!

The game is structured similarly to an MMO, although an MMO it is not. There are several areas in a huge world, separated into different zones (with a load time between each). In each zone, you'll find people waiting to doll out quests to you, both of the main story and side variety. You accept these quests, and then go forth to kill things, hunt items and people down, repair things, etc. Standard fare, and of course, along the way, you fight enemies scattered throughout the environment. Speaking of enemies, there is a good variety. You'll find yourself fighting human bandits, giant spiders, rat like creatures (skags), giant scorpion like enemies, flying bat like creatures called Rakks, huge bosses, and a few others I won't spoil here.

You start the game with an introduction to the four playable heroes. You have the Soldier, the Hunter, the Siren, and the Berserker. Each of the classes is more proficient with certain weapons, although anyone can use any weapon they like, with no penalty. Each class has specific abilities, which can be unlocked via a skill tree (different for each character). Using this skill tree, you can specialize your character, so, for example, as a Soldier, you can spec yourself to be a medic, or a support character. Or you can go Commando style and focus on damage abilities. You can also mix it up, and refreshingly, you can redo the whole build for a small in game fee, so don't be afraid to invest points, you can always redo it later on.

Each character also has a character specific action skill. The Hunter can release a bird of prey, which hunts down enemies, the Soldier can throw down an automatic turret which provides cover as well as shoots enemies (and can be spec'd to heal the player(s) as well as regenerate ammo, the Siren can turn invisible and run very fast. Activating this also damages all enemies in the vicinity. The Berserker goes into Berserk mode, which is a rage mode that makes him damage resistant. In this mode, you can rush enemies and melee the hell out of them.

So, you do the aforementioned quests, and you collect weapons and armor. You build up an super powerful version of your original character, kill countless enemies, and try to find this Fabled Vault. You can do this alone, or you play with up to 3 other players online, or 1 more in splitscreen. Co-op increases the fun exponentially in this game, as playing alone can make you feel bit lonely in the vast wasteland that is Pandora, and the fear-of-public-speaking NPC's don't help this feeling.

If it helps, just picture me in my underwear

Co-op works very well, and it is drop in/drop out, so no need to wait around in lobbies. People can join and leave mid game. The only negative to co-op is that the loot system does not incorporate rules for loot drops. It doesn't randomly allocate things to players, or take turns giving each person something. It doesn't split up or share the loot in any way. It's totally everyone for themselves, which means, if you are playing with the wrong people, someone may hog it all. If you are playing with friends, or decent people, it's easy to share, even after someone picks something up. You can just drop it for them, or even trade. You can also fight over loot if you wish, as there is a duel feature implemented into the game. Just melee someone, and if they melee you back, it's on. The fight leaves one person close to death, but no one dies. You can also go to various arenas located throughout the world to engage in 4 player round based skirmishes.

The developers hyped up the amount of guns in the game, and they weren't being deceitful. It's almost endless. You can get shotguns that shoot rockets, snipers that do lighting damage, assault rifles that set people on fire, rocket launchers that shoot 3 rockets at once, ect etc. Now, of course, there are archetypes that the guns fall into, and more often than not, you'll find yourself dropping, ignoring, or selling the guns you see, as many of them won't be better or as good as something you are already carrying. The guns fall into the following types: Combat Rifles, Pistols, Shotguns, Rockets, Submachine guns, Snipers, and Eridian Weapons. There is a proficiency rating for each, and this is leveled up as you earn experience while using one of the different kinds of guns.

There are these little robots called Claptraps, and they can be located throughout the world. When you find one, you will have to find a nearby repair kit to fix him, and upon doing so, are given a backpack expansion, which adds to your inventory space. By the end, you can carry as many as 42 items/weapons.

The world is very huge, although it is broken up into zones, as said earlier. To traverse the land, you can walk, sprint (you have an infinite sprint and do not need to hold the button down, it can be toggled). You can also approach any of the vehicle spawn locations and order up a car, which can be outfitted with either a rocket launcher or machine gun. You can also change the colour of the vehicle, but that's it for customization. And that there is another flaw in the game.

One great aspect of RPG's is that they often allow you to customize your character's appearance. In Borderlands, this is restricted to colour, just like the vehicles. It's not a pressing issue, but it is one that demonstrates how the game is a bit weaker on the RPG elements than some may like.


So, to sum up, the combat is fast, fluid, visceral (even with the more ''cartoony'' presentation) and fun. Leveling and loot collecting is very addictive. This game is absolutely recommended for anyone who is into both types of gameplay. This game, despite the few flaws, is a fantastic new intellectual property, and, for my money, is one of, if not the game of the year. If the gameplay hooks you, be prepared for countless hours of exploration and looting. Co-op adds to this replay value, as does a new game mode type mode called ''Playthrough 2'' (inventive, I know) which is unlocked after beating the game for the first time. Boderlands is a fantastic game that should not be overlooked.

Overall score: 9/10

Jesus Joke (Poor Taste Warning)

Please, if you are Christian or in any way consider yourself a follower of Christ, and will take offense to 'blasphemous' jokes, don't read this one, becuase it's really quite bad. Or, if you do, fine, it's your choice, but I don't want to read any complaints. It was your choice to continue on.

Now, if you're like me, and like jokes in poor taste and have a pretty all encompassing sense of humour (or a crude and juvenile one) read on, as this is pretty damn funny, in that ''OOOOHHHHH MMMMAAAANNN THATS BAAAADDDDD LOLOLOLOL'' kind of way.......

~Second last chance

~Last chance

Okay, here it is:

Jesus Walks into a hotel, tosses three nails on the front desk and says, "Hey, can you put me up for the night?


Ya, I kinda just did, sorry.

When Nonsense Kils

Pseudoscientific nonsense such as Dowsing (see: has been around for ages. It's something that I detest, but never more do I abhor such nonsense as when it actually results in death and bodily harm.

Jim McCormick, based at offices in rural Somerset, UK., has sold $85 million (yes, million) worth of completely fake ''bomb detectors'' to various governments for profit under the guise of offering protection. These ''devices'' are nothing more than glorified dowsing rods, and the ''chips'' inside them were discovered to be useless RFID chips, such as those found on price tags. There were warnings about this fraudster over a decade ago when he was selling these from within the US, mainly coming from the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) but these went ignored.....

Now that people have been killed by bombs not being detected by this stick with fake technology in it, the UK government has finally stepped in.

The large question here is why are governments buying untested technology from a single person making wild, unsubstantiated claims? This has to stop. Police using ''psyhics'' is bad enough, and now this. When our very governing bodies buy into pseudoscientifc bugaboo with nary a discerning glance, we're either dealing with rampant stupididty and gullibility, amazing greed, or both. Either way, we need to WAKE UP.

Read the story and watch the embedded video to get all of the details.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Was Jesus gay?

Now this is something I have not come across in all my years. Some people actually hypothesize that Jesus, assuming he existed (and I am not saying he didn't) may have been gay.

Now, this is of little to no consequence to me, and really, shouldn't be to anybody, but I am interested in this because, seeing the title of this movie, I assumed this to be a joke, and it appears to be at first, but then a few interesting things are mentioned, in a half-joking-but-who-knows sort of way....

Is this idea ever given credence by theologians?

Evolution isn't True?

If you have an issue with Evolutionary Theory, read the text on the following picture (click to zoom in), and answer the question at the bottom of it:

(And by the way, to head off any possible ''it's just a theory!!'' responses, the meaning of the word 'theory' in science is much different than the colloquial usage of the term:

In the sciences, a scientific theory (also called an empirical theory) comprises a collection of concepts, including abstractions of observable phenomena expressed as quantifiable properties, together with rules (called scientific laws) that express relationships between observations of such concepts. A scientific theory is constructed to conform to available empirical data about such observations, and is put forth as a principle or body of principles for explaining a class of phenomena.)

So, which one is it? As it says, if you have a problem with Evolution, you have a problem with one or more of these fourteen points. Which will it be?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My Attempt To Return Vampires to Glory. Pt. 1

It's a sad time to be a fan of vampire lore. They started off so well. From Bram Stoker to Anne Rice, vampires have become entrenched in our consciousness, and for good reason. Terrifying yet alluring, these creatures who roam by night and sleep by day strike both fear and curiosity into those who encounter them.

But now......

Now Hollywood has taken vampires and comepletely ruined them. Vampires to not go to school. They do not engage in teen romaces. The certainly do not glitter in the sunlight!

Vampires should be nasty creatures who can put on a veneer of civility if it suits them. They are essentially undead psychopaths. There have been varying iterations of these creatures throughout the years, sarting with Bram Stoker's vision of a refined gentleman living in a gothic castle who harbored a......nasty little secret, and unfortunately culminating in the affront to the horror genre we see today:

Really, what the hell is that?

My personal idea of what vampires should be is a cross between Stoker's original vision and the nasty, viscious creatures seen in the movie 30 Days of Night:

Now THAT'S a Vampire!

And so, with this in mind, I bring you an excerpt from my entry into last years' 3 Day Novel contest, still in the judging phase. The entry is a short novel, written in 3 days, as per the rules, so it's definitely a bit rough around the edges, but I believe it turned out rather well for a 3 day marathon effort. So, without further ado, I give you an excerpt from Hunter's Bluff, my attempt to return vampires to the state to which they rightfully belong, while at the same time hopefully injecting some new ideas.

(Enjoy, and feel free to offer any criticisms you may have. If this garners enough interest, I'll post more, so let me know if you're interested or not.)

As the shadows grew longer and longer in Hunter's Bluff, and as the night began to take over the day, there grew a certain restlessness. In a cave at the south end of the city, the existence of which was and always had been completely unknown to all humans; the entrance hidden in the underbrush of the forest at the city lines, creatures, centuries old and confined to slumber during the day, began to awaken, slowly, in stages. Muscles began to contract as nerve impulses were sent, readying them for the mobility which was soon to come. Dreams of splendor and feasting were broken up and dissipated, giving rise to a growing consciousness as these creatures, anxious to begin an evening anew, awakened from their slumber. These particular few, however, drew from their slumber as though drunken. Weary, weakened, they rose unsteadily to their feet. Some more so than others, as all were in various stages of starvation. These few, however more fortunate than some of their comrades who now, unbeknownst to them, lay dead on a highway, were much less fortunate than their former kin, who lived a life of spoil and splendor, in parts of the world long left behind, feeding upon humans, drinking their maddeningly tasty, nourishing, rejuvenating blood.

No, these few were confined to this reclusive little town by a master incensed by their audacity. For these few, along with their fallen brethren, had dared to challenge his authority, had even the tenacity to try and overtake him. Their former master, whose very name they dare not speak, for it can burn the tongue it crosses, or so it has been said, had, approximately a year and a half earlier, banished the ungrateful few to a remote area with a limited food supply and left them to their fates.

The group of exiled creatures had totaled eleven. Their numbers had been reduced down to three by this day. Five had, due to starvation once the human and animal food supplies had started to run thin, ventured off, at varying times, to try and locate another town that some had believed existed somewhere nearby. Some among their ranks believed this was nothing but a myth. No one who had ventured out had ever returned. None knew for sure what this meant. One other had died of starvation, and two others had died by turning on another one of their kind and trying to feed, which was fatal for these creatures. They had been cognizant of this fact, but the poisoned blood had proved to be too tempting for these frantic, blood thirsty creatures.

The remaining three creatures, now awakened, were a fearsome looking group, even in their compromised conditions. They were as tall as any human revered for height, and stronger and more agile than any human could ever be, although these attributed had been diminished somewhat, to varying degrees, due to their malnourishment. They had complexions so fair they were almost translucent. As they rose from their slumber, there was a sing song of gnashing teeth. Teeth so sharp they could, and have, cut through bone. Teeth hungry for flesh and palettes quenched only by the taste of blood. Teeth that were sharpened to a point.

They had wispy, jet back hair, and black eyes that struck a deep, all encompassing fear into anyone unfortunate enough to be gazing into them. Their arms were unsettlingly long, and they ended in clawed hands with yellowed, razor sharp nails. They were dressed all in black. They looked identical, save for their differing body weights due starvation. However, although their appearance would lend the impression that there are no differences between them, they still had a hierarchical social order, and this division was based mainly upon intelligence. They all possessed a savage brutality, an unquenchable blood thirst, but some possessed enough intelligence, cunning, and foresight to formulate plans and think ahead, and, when they determined it to be advantageous, they had the ability to exercise restraint. This use of this ability had become more useful, but harder to employ, as their food supply dwindled.

This social order had been headed up by their former master, and this had been the arrangement for centuries until the group of eleven had dared plot against him. This order had been broken and the eleven had been banished to Hunter's Bluff, to fend for themselves until eventuality had run its course. Amongst the eleven, there had remained a hierarchical division, and even now, with that broken down to three remaining members, there still existed a for of that hierarchy. The most intelligent of the three, Gideon, was the leader. He stepped forward, fully aroused from his slumber, and called two the other two, Uriah, and Elijah.

“Come.” He beckoned to them, his voice raspy and very deep. Uriah and Elijah, shaking off the last of their sleep, heeded his call.

Elijah was by far the least intelligent of the three, and he mainly operated on instinct, allowing his hunger to dictate his behaviour. If left unchecked, that is. In the situation they had been thrust into, Gideon had to keep control of him, for all their sakes.

Uriah's level of intelligence was much higher than Elijah's, but he did not possess the mental prowess that Gideon did. He lacked much of the foresight, and some of the restraint. He was able to rein in his hunger when needed, but he had been known to slip, especially in the early part of their ordeal, when they had first arrived here at Hunter's Bluff. He had, with Gideon's help, learned to control it, and often times found himself helping to rein in Elijah.

Now, the three of them stood together, awakened, ready to stalk the night in hopes of locating some animals on which to feed. The wildlife supply in and around the town was dwindling, and some nights passed without a single feeding. Animal blood fulfilled their nutritional requirements, but it was human blood that brought ecstasy. Human blood was divine. It had been fifty-seven days since they'd had the opportunity to feed on a human, a fact that escaped none of them. At this moment, facing the possibility of another night gone by with nothing to eat, the idea that there were four humans ripe for consumption would have brought tremendous excitement. However, at least for now, these three hideous, horrifying creatures did not realize they had humans in their midst. And so it was that they stepped out into the night expecting yet another uneventful evening.

NOTE: Here is PART TWO if you are interested in reading more. Thanks, and I hope you enjoyed this.

Monday, January 25, 2010


For a game to be AAA, must it be great in all categories, or can it be a D level game in some respects but absolutely nail an aspect or three that you find particularly important for a certain genre and have the game be AAA?

I ask this because lately I have found myself having to defend myself for considering Bayonetta to be a AAA, 9.5/10 type game. People get so miffed, and proceed to tell me I am crazy, etc. It usually boils down to the narrative, character, music, shit like that, but what I always explain is that for me, a hack n slash game needs 3 things and 3 things only: excellent combat, challenge, and good boss fights.

Competent level design helps, as does adequate pacing, but boss fights, combat and challenge are the most important things to me, at the outright exclusion of the others.

So for me, Bayonetta completely meets and destroys my expectations for a hack n slash game. The combat is sublime, the bosses are incredible, it's decently challenging (although hard could be harder, I'm hoping IC Mode is a lot harder) and the level design is actually spectacular, not just competent.

This is why Ninja Gaiden Black is my favourite game:

AMAZING combat
Hard as fuck (at least at first, and on Master Ninja)
Amazingly balanced
Spectacular AI
Ridiculously good boss designs, save for a few
Good level design with some light adventure elements
Excellent pacing

And yet, all others can see is the bad camera (btw, it is bad, I agree, however, the camera is completely workable once you learn to utilize audio cues, Ryu's tracking abilities, and the Right trigger, but I digress) weak and cliched story, cliched dialogue, paper thin characters, and ''it's too hard!''

I acknowledge all of that (except for the last thing) but it doesn't matter. Not because I am not a discerning gamer, but because I am overwhelmed by how good the rest is, and to me, I ask: who cares about the story and characters? It's a hack n slash game! It's all about the combat!

I might expect more from an RPG, an adventure or a survival horror game, but even then I can excuse certain things.

Am I alone in this, or do you, reader, do this as well? Do you excuse some bad things if the rest is good enough and not let it affect the games status or do you expect ''the total package'' no matter what?

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Book of Eli Review


I think I'm pretty good at game reviews, but I don't really do movie reviews, and I have a lot more knowledge about gaming than I do movies, so don't expect the same quality here as you get in my game reviews. I will keep this a bit on the shorter side, and forgive me if I misuse terminology. I'm not much of a film expert. This is just a layman's impressions of a fairly good (to his understanding) film. Feel free to correct me if need be, but keep the insults to a minimum ;)

Plot Synopsis

The movie follows a man named Eli (played by Denzel Washington) who has been on a journey for 30 years, walking west across America after the apocalypse. He carries with him a book, the very last of its kind, and his goal is simply to reach a destination somewhere west, where the book will be safe.

After the war and the Big Flash, as they call the nuclear event that nearly ended all civilization, Eli was apparently guided by a higher power to the book, which was buried under some rubble, and given the task of protecting the book and taking it to its final destination. Eli guards the book with his life, because he believes that the book is the only hope that humanity has for its future.

Along his way, he encounters ruthless bandits who rape and pillage for both resources and for fun, and eventually, the self appointed laeader of a town, who has been searching for the very book Eli carries with him. This fellow, Carnigie, wishes to utilize this book to subjugate the masses and bring even more power to himself.

In his dealing with these ruffians, Eli displays inhuman fighting ability and survivability/durability. It leaves one wondering whether he is really fighting alone, or does he have some sort of power guiding/helping/protecting him? This isn't really made explicitly clear, although I think it was fairly obvious what the truth was. Either way, we watch him fight for his life, and the safety of the book. Will he make it to his destination? Or will he succumb to the mounting pressure and fail after 30 years of effort?

Review Part

Well, I went into the movie feeling fairly optimistic, but a little apprehensive as well, as I really didn't desire to be subjected to a bunch of pro-religous sentiments, and luckily, that wasn't the case (well, mostly), and my optimism was justifed.

This was a pretty great movie. I loved the way it was shot; some really great camera work was on display. They filmed the action scenes really well, and none of that shaky cam and quick cut bullshit reared its amatuerish, cheap, and ugly head.

The characters had a bit more depth than I would have expected for a movie of this nature, although there was definitely room for improvement in this regard. Another 40 minutes or so and some delving into backstory would have done wonders for the movie, as I was curious to hear more about the ''apocalypse'' and Carnigie's rise to power, if you will, but I could see how many, or even most, people would say it was long enough and woud have been ''too boring'' had they extended it. Perhaps a dvd release will remedy this?

In terms of look, gorgeous. Great use of color. They really nailed that drab, post apocalyptic look you'd expect, and I ironically found myself thinking how beautiful it looked o-0. The first glimpse of water was quite an astonishing moment, as it really drove home the discrepancy between what once was and what now is.

One annoying thing was the product placement. Is this how all new movies are doing it (I don't see too many anymore)? Another thing was it was pretty obvious where they were going with the movie (ie, a bit predictable) although there was one detail revealed near the end that I totally did not pick up on. I don't know why all these movies need a ''twist'' now, but this one was okay.

I'm often disappointed at movies and therefore try to avoid the theater as much as possible but the last 3 movies I have seen have been great. District 9, Avatar (twice) and now the book of Eli.

Anyone else see it? What did you think?

Interviews with Sarah Palin Supporters (Yes, she has some)

Now obviously they edited this for maximum effect, so I am sure that there were some less incriminating comments from people that were edited out............well, then again, we are talking about people who are purchasing Sarah Palin's book, and want her to run for US perhaps not after all. I mean, come on, if you honestly think this woman should be running a country, you probably couldn't put togther a coherent and non facepalm inducing sentence if your life depended on it.

Anyways, here's the video:

Atheism is a Religion? and The Burden of Proof UPDATED

This blog will address 2 claims I see made with respect to atheism:

1) Atheism is (or has become) a religion.

2) It takes as much faith to be an atheist as it does a theist (ie, to not believe in a god requires evidence) aka The burden of proof argument, or the ''You can't prove god doesn't exist'' argument.

These of course aren't posited by all (probably not even most) believers, but they do come up often enough in online (and other) discourse.

However, before I get to the two main points, I would just like to operationally define atheism. It's actually quite simple, as atheism is not a worldvidew; it has no edicts, dogma, or tenets. It is literally and simply the lack of a belief in god(s).

Theism=belief in god(s) (deities)

Add the prefix 'a', which denotes lacking, or being without, to it, and you get:

A-theism, or atheism, the lack of a belief in god(s) (deities)

And that's it.

We can talk about agnosticism (which is not a 3rd option, but that's for another day), antitheism, secular humanism, stron atheism (aka there is no god) aka gnostic atheism, etc etc but do not let these ideas become red herrings in discussion. No matter what the Ray Comforts or the Pat Robertsons of the world tell you, that right there is atheism, and any and all beliefs in addition to this are extraneous (not that they cannot be built upon/from it, they can be, and are). All I have in common with other atheists is my atheism. After that, our ideologies will differ as will anybody else's. I might meet an atheist tomorrow who is socially conservative and thinks religion is a positive influence (aka my total opposite), etc.

Anyways, now that we have that under wraps, let's get to the two claims, shall we?

Claim #1: Atheism is a Religion

Point me to:
1) our church
2) our tenets
3) any atheist pageantry
4) where I pay my tithes

Claim #2: ''You can't prove god doesn't exist'' argument

The burden of proof is on the claimant. Not believing claims is not a claim. The burden of proof is on the theist, not the atheist. The ONLY atheists who must shoulder that burden are the gnostic (aka I know there is no god) atheists. The 99% of us that are rational don't claim knowledge. We lack the belief.
Saying I believe no gods exist is a statement that follows from my examination, and subsequent rejection of, the ''evidence'' for the existence of a god(s). I am not making a positive claim; I do NOT have the burden of proof. How would an atheist prove such a negative?

Russell's Teapot exemplifies this nicely:

If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time. -Bertrand Russell, 1952 (unpublished article for Illustrated magazine)

Another way of looking at it is to ask yourself if you believe in the Loch Ness monster, and then ask yourself if it's up to you to prove it doesn't exist, or up to the people claiming it does to prove it. Remember, the lack of evidence is evidence. Not proof, mind you, not definitive, but certainly evidence.

Theists and atheists are not on equal ground. Saying ''I believe god exists'' is NOT equal to saying ''I believe no gods exist'' in terms of the burden of proof. I believe no gods exist because I have not been convinced otherwise. If no one had proposed a god, you would never say I have to prove this position. Now, because gods have been proposed, we're on equal ground?

No way. As soon as these gods were proposed, the burden of proof was on the ones making said propositions. If they fail to prove this claim is true, the person who continues to disbelieve is not suddenly required to provide evidence to show that this unbelief is justified.

This is why, in court, the crown has to prove the defendant is guilty. The defendant is NOT required to prove their innocence, and neither is the jury. The burden is on those making the claim. Until the person was brought up on charges, they were presumed innocent. As soon as the gulty claim was made, the burden of proof was created, and it rests on those making the claim. If this burden is not met (aka reasonable doubt) the propsoal is rejected aka disbelieved, without any further burden on the disbelievers.

This is allegorical to the atheists. Until a god is posited, I'm an atheist. Once a theist comes by and makes their case, the burden is on them. If, at the end of their presentation, I say ''I find the evidence lacking, I do not believe you,'' they don't get to say ''but you didn't PROVE that he doesn't exist!'' That job is theirs.
Theirs and theirs alone.

Unless of course I retort with "I know there is no god!" In that case, I say, good luck, pal ;)

Our Ideas Regarding Sexuality/The Body/Nudity Are Screwed Up

Warning: this blog contains FOUL LANGUAGE.

Still here? Alright, let's rock.

I just saw this picture of a fashionable, unknown (to me), pretty celebrity:

And it raises the question: In a society where nudity is frowned upon, how does putting a little star over your nipples make it okay to walk around with your tits out? Somehow we have decided that breasts should be covered up, but then have arbitrarily determined that it's only the nipples that are the ''offensive'' part? It's the nipples that somehow make the breast a breast?

If that's true, then why can guys walk around without a shirt? Obviously we aren't really ''offended'' by nipples. So if nipples are okay, and clearly, breast tissue surrounding the nipples is okay (that's why media outlets with no nudity policices allow pics like that) then I have to ask....what the fuck? How does that make any sense? Are female nipples somehow ''offensive''? If females walked around in topless bikinis at the beach, would that cause irreperable harm to those who witenssed it?

I also love how on a webistes with nio nudity policies, or in ''no nudity'' magazines, a good ol' girl who ''won't do nudity'' not only has no problem showing off 99% of her breasts (as long as those nipples are covered), but she will show her ass....oh, but she's wearing a thong. Um, that desn't cover the ass, at all. I can clearly see your ass, honey. So I guess asses aren't nudity......?

Good thing that ass is covered. Otherwise I'd have been offended

The whole thing, like so much else in life, is so arbitrary, and really, fucking stupid. I don't know how it was determined that our bodies are evil/dirty/sinful whatever, but it's ridiculous. It leads to stories like the one where that guy was arrested for making coffee naked in his own house,

because some woman was walking by with her little son and they looked in his window and saw him. OH NOES! A PENIS!! Guess what, sister? YOUR SON HAS A PENIS. Penises are not offensive. They are only shocking because we randomly said they are. If no one made a big deal out of it from the start, there would be no issue. Seeing a penis should not be a traumatic experience.

Funny thing is, she probably wouldn't have batted an eye if they walked by a male dog. Somehow, it's not dog penises that are the problem, just human ones. Unless this nutcase would have tried to get the dog arrested as well, who knows. Fucking soccer moms.

My mother in law exemplifies this. It's natural for babies to touch their genatalia. Well, when my daughter does it, my wife and I don't bat an eye. But my mother in law immediately moves her hand and scolds her (a ten month old baby). I haven't said anything yet, because I haven't seen it (my wife told me about it the other day) but when/if I do see it, I will make a point to nicely tell her that there is nothing wrong with it, and see if she tries to defend her position. I can't see her arguing anything other than ''it's just not nice.'' ''It's not proper for a lady.''

SAYS FUCKING WHO? If we ALL do it, maybe you should just shut up and accept it's normal, rather than punish people for not meeting some false, arbitrarily imposed bullshit standard.

Hardcore vs Casual Gamers

I've seen this pop up on forums over the years, and I have always wanted to adress it. I just read a topic about it online, and thought now would be a good time to tackle the issue.

So, hardcore vs. casual gamers........

As far as I see it, there is no such division. They are merely labels placed upon people by some who feel the need to differentiate themselves and assign some sort of......rating to their skill and devotion to video games. It's stupid. They're freaking video games. GAMES. Do you hear people talking about casual vs. hardcore swimmers? bowlers? card players? stamp collectors? It's a hobby. Some enjoy it and do it more/better than others.

Now, if you INSIST that there must be these labels, I would assume it's pretty obvious. Hardcore gamers are supposed to play a lot, be fairly proficient at most games, follow gaming news, and play only real or traditional games, no mini game, super easy, or family oriented games for the hardcore gamer. The casual gamer plays here and there, doesn't follow all of the goings on in the industry, buys what's popular or easily accesible.

But then the lines blur.

If someone buys Halo 3 because it's popular, and plays it online a few times a week, but isn't very good......are they hardcore or casual? What if they are awesome at it, but only bought it because it was popular and don't play very often? What if they know everything there is to know about Halo, buy all the games, but play seldomly and aren't very good? What if someone buys only casual games but is really, really good at them, and spends lots of time playing them? Are they a hardcore causual gamer?

If you ask me, we're all just humans who spend some part of our lives playing video games rather than doing something more constructive. Or destructive. They probably keep some people from going absolutely nuts and shooting a dozen people!

I say we just enjoy the games and keep the labels out of it.

See you later. I'm off to play something hardcore.

Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved Review

Geometry is Fun Again.

Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved is a game with humble beginnings. The game began as a mini game found in the game Project Gotham Racing 2. Now, expanded and released on the xbox Live arcade service, it has become its own entity, and while modestly priced at $5, provides an experience quite above its meager means.

This is a 2D top down shooter, that is essentially a modernized version of Asteroids, without the warping and with dual stick controls added in. You move the ship with the left analog stick, and fire in the direction you point the right one in. Instead of flying saucers and asteroids, your ship shoots at enemies that take several different geometric shapes, are colored differently, and behave in different ways. There are simple enemies like the blue diamonds that move towards your position in a non aggressive manner, or the purple pinwheels that spin about randomly, not attacking you but causing your demise if you inadvertently make contact with them. There are green squares that hone in on you, and cowardly move away once you turn to fire in their direction. There are also more complicated enemies, like intensely aggressive seekers, ones that split up into smaller pieces when hit, long snakes that slither about and present a challenge due to their movement patterns and near invulnerability, or tiny blue particles that fill up the screen almost faster than you can shoot them.

There are also black holes (well, red holes with the properties of black holes) that appear on the grid once you start to earn enough points. These suck in the nearby enemies and even the grid that forms the background (for a cool visual effect) before exploding into a swarm of enemy shapes. These are supposed to present a challenge to the player, but can also actually be used to your advantage, as it's possible to lure enemies nearby, and shoot them as they are being sucked into the gravitational vortex.

You start the game with three lives and three bombs, and earn more as your score increases. The longer you go without dying, the bigger your score, as there is a multiplayer in effect, which increases the more you destroy the enemy shapes. The game is over when you run out of lives, and in theory, can run indefinitely. There is no real objective other than survival and setting a high score, which is a great throwback to the golden era of gaming, as it is fondly recalled.

The aforementioned bombs are a staple of the genre, and although not revolutionary, they serve you well, clearing the entire screen of enemies at the press of a button. In addition to the bombs, you have your ships main weapon, which has unlimited ammo, but also grows stronger earn points. Once you hit the 10,000 point mark, you get either a spread gun or a super concentrated but powerful machine gun, and the game randomly alternates between the two every 10,000 points.

There are two modes of play in the game. Evolved mode, which is likely where you will spend most of your time, is a remade version of the Geometry Wars from PGR2, with vastly improved graphics and a pulse pounding soundtrack, complimented by some of the coolest sound effects ever heard. The graphics in this mode are often referred to as 'psychedelic' and that seems to be an apt description. The colors pop off the screen, shapes explode into smaller shapes, the screen fills with enemies as the game progresses, and the very background itself is effected b both the black holes, as previously mentioned, and your machine gun fire.

With lights flashing, sparks flying, enemies exploding, and the music pumping, as the screen gets filled up more and more with enemies, shrinking your travel route inch by inch, you'll find yourself intoxicated by the intensity of the experience. This is definitely a twitch game, heavily relying on reflexes and quick decision making. And it all looks beautiful.

The second mode is the Retro mode, and it's an exact port of the game from PGR2. So, it's the evolved mode minus a chunk of the, excitement, although it's novel in its own right as there are a few small gameplay changes to be found. It's the mode you'll try out a few times before inevitably heading back to the evolved mode where you;'ll get, well, the evolved experience.

The game starts off deceptively easy, but the longer you survive, the harder it gets. Survive long enough and you'll see the screen completely filled with enemies, black holes exploding every few seconds, and you'll wonder if you even blinked anytime in the last few minutes. It's really quite a sight to behold, and, at $5, it's a no brainer for shooter fans.

The only real flaws present are the lack of co-op play, and the lack of any real differing gameplay modes.

Gorgeous to look at, beautiful to hear, and intense, challenging, and thrilling to play, this game is excellent. Another mode or two and some co-op play and this game would be hard to beat.

Overall Score: 9/10

Bayonetta Review

Platinum Games Puts on a Level Design and Combat Engine Clinic.

Note: This is a review of the xbox 360 version of the game. There are several significant differences between versions, so, if you are planning on playing the PS3 version, while this review will definitely give you an overview of the game, you should look elsewhere to see what differences you can expect with the PS3 version of the game (although I have read that a patch is imminent which should remedy the issues present in that version).


The story deals with two factions, the Umbra Witches, and the Lumen Sages. These two clans represent darkness (witches) and light (sages). Both clans resided in the fictional European city of Vigrid, and, 500 years before the game takes place, they mysteriously vanished. The titular character, Bayonetta, is a witch who find herself awakened after a 500 year slumber. She finds herself in an unfamiliar place, and no idea who she is.

Oh NOES! Who am I?

The narrative unfolds in the classic amnesia driven mystery (yes, the main plot device is the progression of a character afflicted with amnesia; original, I know) style: the events surrounding the present are shrouded in mystique, and are slowly unveiled to the character, and the player, as the game progresses. It's not unique, it's not original, and it's full of cliche's. The voice actor for the Enzo character is really annoying, although his appearance in the game is fairly brief.

However, the cutscenes are well directed, and they take three different forms: fully animated scenes like one would expect, still shots with dialogue, and a mix of animation and still shots surrounded by a film strip. All three combine to actually make the serviceable but unremarkable plot compelling enough to at least watch it through. At first it seems jarring, and one wonders if perhaps there was a time or budgetary constraint placed on the team, but, over time, it seems to actually work. And the action sequences contained within are very well done.

The dialogue is corny, and the whole thing drips with a self parodying campiness, that, while intentional, might turn some players off., while appealing to others.


Visually, this is a very good looking game, with a great use of colour, and it runs at a brisk place and suffers very little discernible slowdown. Quite a feat, really. I have seen some complaints of screen tearing levied at the game, and while I have not noticed this myself, I thought it prudent to mention it. The environments are varied, detailed, and visually impressive. Character animations are sublime. Enemy designs evoke feelings of both awe and disgust, and the bosses.......they look absolutely incredible as they tower above you, setting such a sense of scale that I often had to stop and just look up in awe. The name of the game here is scale and detail. The special effects are also very noteworthy.
Everything looks both fantastical and believable, and it all compliments the action very, very well, leading one to feel nothing but excitement as they do battle with the games roster of enemies, of which there is no shortage.


The sound effects are great, adding to much the atmosphere and not detracting from the experience in any way. The music, on the other hand, will draw its share of detractors. I for one liked it, as it just seems to fit, even though it is basically the furthest you could ever get from my music of choice (death metal). The music in this game is a combination of ''j-pop,' jazz, and synth. It fits the over the over the top and humorous tone of the game, although I can easily fathom (and understand) people just outright hating it. In that case, mute away and listen to whatever you want.


Forgive me for a second:


Okay, sorry to regress to such childishness, but this game is just absolutely brilliant. For anyone that has played Devil May Cry, or more to the point, Devil May Cry 3 or 4, they know what to expect (for the most part). A fast, smooth, technical combat system with a heavy emphasis on offense, combos, and style. Stringing together ridiculous and stylish combos as you dispatch legions of foes is the name of the game. Essentially, at it's core, it boils down to a simple template:

Y button for punches, B for kicks, X for guns, R for dodge, a jump button, a lock on (which you don't really need, save for making certain moves easier to pull off) and a taunt button. Pretty simple, although it's how you put it all together that makes the game shine. You can mix and match attacks in an utterly ridiculous number of ways. Throw in air juggles, slams, throws, magic attacks, and so called ''torture attacks'' (which I will get to shortly), the ability to have two separate weapon sets equipped (each containing two weapons, one for the hands, and one for the you 4 weapons available at all times) which you can switch between with the L trigger (even mid combo), and you have a quite a lot of depth to play with, if you are so inclined. To exemplify this, I will give you a sample combo:

Whip, pause, whip, jump, afterburner kick, weapon switch, sword slash, sword slash, downward kick, stomp(hold) bomb, jump, weapon switch, whip(hold) (pulls the enemy back into the air), weapon switch, downward sword slash.


Y, pause, Y, A, A,B, L, Y, Y, B, back-forward B(hold), A, L, Y(hold), L, Y.

This may sound complicated to the uninitiated, but it's not as hard as it may seem, and it can get a whole lot more complex with practice. The beauty of it though, is that it's up to you how complicated you want to make it. If you're content with just spamming attacks, then okay, as long as your defense is adequate, you can get through just fine, albeit not as stylishly. If you're the type of gamer though, who must explore the nuances of a combat engine, this game is for you. Already there are some remarkable combo videos out there, and they will just get better and better as time goes on. There is a rating system in place, similar to that in the aforementioned Devil May Cry, which grades you based on your combo usage and damage avoidance. Also, every single possible facet of the controls works perfectly.

An interesting mechanic present in this game is the usage of Bayonetta's hair to dish out pain. So called Wicked Weave attacks are combo finishers that deal out large and cool looking damage, and they are done with her hair.

Finshing attacks on bosses also utilize this mechanic, in incredibly ridiculous and inventive ways, which need to be seen to be believed.

In terms of defense, the options here a bit more limited that something like Ninja Gaiden, for example, as the focus is much more on offense here. Your best ally is the dodge button, and, if executed at the last moment before an imminent attack hits, you will activate 'witch time', which is essentially bullet time, as we now all know it. In this mode, the enemies slow down, representing a heightened sense of awareness for Bayonetta, meaning you have extra time to dish out the pain while the enemies remain mostly defenseless. It also leads to some jaw dropping moments as you really see some awesome maneuvers executed in glorious slow motion.

Also on the defensive end of things is the ability to negate any damage taken if you execute a dodge or a directional press at exactly the time you take the damage. This ability is unlocked via a magic ability and also an accessory. Both of these require fairly precise timing, and as such, are much less reliable than the ever useful dodge maneuver. This ability requires some practice to use, but will become very, very useful, once learned.

There are many other abilities to be unlocked via the games currency system, which takes the form of rings that look exactly like those found in the Sonic games. You can unlock many different moves, accessories that increase or add abilities, items, weapons, and costumes. There is much to be unlocked and learned throughout the game, and it will require multiple playthroughs to experience them all. In fact, the game seems to encourage replay, as there are 2 unlockable difficulties (Hard and Infinite Climax Mode, which does away with witch time) and a survival mode called The Lost Chapter (similar to the Bloody Palace mode in DMC), in addition to the aforementioned weapons, items, techniques, and accessories. In fact, one of the weapons requires the player to play through 100 Chapters of the game to unlock it. There are also online enabled leaderboards available to add to the replay value.

The weapons available include a standard katana, a whip, claw attachments for your hands and feet, various guns, including pistols, shotguns and rocket launcher boots, ice skates (yes, you read that correctly) and a couple of others I have not as of yet unlocked, but know about. I will not spoil those here. Suffice it to say, there are several weapons available, all with differing movesets.

The problem is, they aren't given to you in a linear progression throughout the story, which means you can end up beating the game while only possessing three weapons and some different guns. That's a bit of a letdown, as this game screams for more and moire inventive weapons. It's a great feeling to unlock a new and vastly different weapon every few chapters, something that, for example, Ninja Gaiden excels at.

The enemy AI is predictable in the sense that they almost always telegraph their attacks, and they usually don't gang up on you or work in concert. A few enemies break this last rule, but most stick to the typical hang back while one or two attack rule. I am not sure, however, how enemy behaviour changes in the higher difficulties.

The boss fights, as stated earlier in this review, are very memorable, due to their design and scale, as well as really numerous.

There are MANY boss fights in this game, and, true to genre convention, many of them repeat throughout the game. Some will find this tedious, others will relish the chance to fight these memorable bosses again. I was in the latter camp. If boss fights are truly enjoyable, then I am all for repeat appearances. Luckily for this game, all of the bosses are fun to fight. Not all fit the huge scale requirement, and in fact, a couple of the most memorable take place against enemies of a similar size and evenly matched in ability. These result in some fast and furious battles against equally agile opponents that can leave one breathing heavily when completed. They are reminiscent of the truly thrilling and remarkable doppelganger fights present in Ninja Gaiden Black, and while not quite up to par with those, come pretty close to their greatness. One of these fights, in fact, brings me to a novel mechanic int his game.

Bayonetta employs a mechanic called Witch Walk, which essentially allows her to walk on walls and ceilings. This is put to liberal use during two of those excellent boss fights, as well as during a few platforming segments. The platforming in this game, while not hugely present throughout, does consist of a decent chunk of the games time, and is all done very well. The excellent control holds up well in these sections, although the camera, in a few instances, can present a small, but not nearly gamebreaking problem. This is common in most 3D games, and, like many others, enclosed spaces can present a small problem. These instances are fortunately few and far between, so it's not really a detriment to the experience.

The witch walk and other gravity and perspective tricks are utilized to build some truly remarkable set pieces, which I will not spoil here. Suffice it to say, there was not one section of the game that was poorly designed, although there are 2 or 3 moments that involve vehicles and flight that may cause some disagreement, although these are not prominently featured, and not in any way broken. They just may not seem to fit with the rest of the game. Overall, the game continually ups the ante, and you will find yourself thrilled by the design ingenuity, scale, and style.

Another new mechanic present are the torture attacks. These are gruesome finishing moves hat can be executed by building up the magic gauge via combos, and then pressing Y and B when prompted. These are very impressive and exciting finishing moves, and they serve to add another layer to the wow factor.

There are a few simple ''puzzles'' found within the game, but they are not prominently featured,a nd there's nothing particularly great about them. There's also nothing particularly annoying about them either, something that I cannot say for the Devil May Cry games.

The load screens in this game are actually noteworthy, as they allow you to practice the combat, and, if you press the back button, you can remain in this mode for as long as you wish. There are button prompts that show you the combinations available, and how many times you have executed each one.

In terms of challenge, I can't comment too much on this, as I only just beat Normal, and have yet to begin Hard mode, although I plan to start tonight or tomorrow, and hopefully will have that and Infinite Climax mode bested within a week or two. I have read that Hard is quite the challenge, which is good to hear, as many times Hard is not all that much more difficult than Normal, and one must wait until they get to the next step up to truly feel challenged. Infinite Climax is supposed to be very, very hard, so I look forward to that.

I'll see you on Infinite Climax mode

Normal mode was challenging, but not overtly so. I'd say that, compared to the hack n slash genre's difficulty beast, Ninja Gaiden, this game was a step down in terms of challenge. Opinions will differ, but if Ninja Gaiden's Normal mode is a 10, this game's Normal mode is a 6 or a 7. It was fine, but t could have been a bit harder. I think genre veterans will find it about the same, although people new to the genre may find themselves scratching their heads at times, as there are a few instances where the game will give you a taste of what it can really do. I was bested at a few of these moments as well, and definitely saw the continue screen a bunch of times throughout the game. This can, and will, be remedied with more practice and familiarity.

I did not play Easy or Very Easy, and likely never will, so I cannot comment on those difficulties. The aforementioned new players will likely find themselves starting here and working their way up, and that's a good thing, as it allows a wider audience to enjoy the game, something that Ninja Gaiden stubbornly (and almost proudly) fails at doing.

I am anxious to see how Infinite Climax mode compares to the now legendary Master Ninja mode from Ninja Gaiden.


This game is all about style and combat depth, and it succeeds at both. The level design is fantastic. Not once was there ever a section of the game that was so annoying I wished I could have skipped it. I haven't played many games for which I could make the same claim.

I'm that damn good

As I stated earlier, there is not one single annoying or badly designed area present in this game, and that is truly one of its understated qualities that will likely go unnoticed due to the combat, but deserves just as much kudos. This game also changed my perception on huge, towering boss fights: they need not be underwhelming or limiting in terms of the combat.

This game is an absolute no brainer for hack n slash fans, and a must rent for everyone even remotely interested.

Overall Score: 9.5/10