Monday, January 17, 2011

Other people and their backlogs.

The idea for this blog has caught on with another Booter* and he's started his own. If you like mine, head on over and take a look at his.

*Fan of the Fear the Boot RPG podcast.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The List, Part 6: TV Serieses

Avatar: The Last Airbender: Books 1, 2, and 3 (cleared): These were recommended to me by more people than anything's been recommended to me in a while. I finally gave the series a shot and instantly understood why. If you've not seen these yourself, give 'em a try.

John Adams: I find the founding of our nation to be a fascinating period of history, and from what I understand, this series is a fantastic one that does justice to that time.

The Equalizer, Season 1: I remember catching various episodes of this on TV when I was home sick as a kid. I've always liked crime thrillers and espionage stuff, and this is a mix of the two.

The Pacific: I really enjoyed Band of Brothers, and from what I understand, this is more of the same, but possibly even better.

The Shield, Season 7: I've seen seasons 1-6, and apparently this ties the story up neatly with a bow. I have to imagine the rest of the Strike Team is coming to a bad end, though.

The Unit, Season 1: I like paramilitary/espionage fiction, and this is purported to be one of the best modern shows of the genre.

The Walking Dead, Season 1: This comes highly recommended by multiple people I share tastes with, but I've been avoiding it based on its bleakness. I'm not sure I really want to deal with zombie survival horror right now, no matter how well executed it is.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cleared: Max Payne

Well, I've swung from one end of the spectrum to the other. Max Payne was awful. The pacing was bad, the Norse symbolism didn't work, and the action scenes were unexciting. Also, apparently body armor does nothing, but if you're the protagonist, it's okay, because a dozen gunshot wounds and severe hypothermia have no effect on you besides making you limp. I actually wish I had just thrown in the towel partway in instead of watching the whole thing. Ugh. Bad, bad, bad.

Addition: Front Mission Evolved

The latest addition to the backlog is Front Mission Evolved, a third-person shooter with both in-mech (wanzer) and on-foot elements. One unit of credit has been subtracted from the PC games balance.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Cleared: The Book of Eli

I can't help but wonder how in the world this movie got made and released. Not because it's bad - it's anything but bad - but because it's so obviously, flagrantly, and unapologetically Christian. I'm loath to spoil it, but I can say that if you're a believer and can put up with some violence and crude language, you'll find a lot to like about this movie. It's fairly obvious that God isn't a mythological figure in this movie. Regardless of your religious or spiritual views, however, this is a very, very good movie. I'd recommend it highly not only to Christians, but action and post-apocalyptic fans. One of the most meaningful films I have seen in a long, long time.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The List, Part 5: Movies

Ack! I'm slacking. No post for several days and The List still isn't complete. Shame on me. Anyway, here's the list of movies:

9: A post-apocalyptic 3D-animated tale about robots produced by Tim Burton and directed by Timur Bekmambetov. Yeah, I don't know what I was thinking; that doesn't sound like a fun movie for a geek at all. Silly me.

28 Weeks Later: I'm not much of a pure horror fan, but I really, really liked 28 Days Later, and this is the sequel.

Alien: I liked Aliens, but never saw the first one. I figure I probably should, so here it is.

Blood: The Last Vampire (cleared): I like martial arts and fantasy elements. Not sure what else to say. It was okay, but nothing great.

Bullitt: I really, really love a good car chase, and this is supposedly one of the classic car chase movies. That made it a shoe-in for the list.

Children of Men: As much as I'm not a fan of pure horror, I do like a good bleak sci-fi movie. From what I understand, this one is pretty well-made, too, so I'll give it a shot.

Daybreakers: As I mentioned earlier, I don't like pure horror. Action horror is another story altogether. This also looks like smart, dystopian action horror. Really, I can't wait to watch this one. Willem Dafoe is just Icing on the cake.

Eden Log: Ran across it on Netflix, thought it sounded interesting, but haven't had the inclination to actually watch it yet.

Event Horizon: I have a feeling that if I can ever get up the nerve to watch this trippy horror-in-space film, it'll make for a great gaming reference.

From Paris With Love: I love a good full-throttle action movie, and this one looks like it will not disappoint. Travolta's a halfway decent action star, too.

Gran Torino: I love the idea of old man Eastwood cleaning up the neighborhood.

High Noon: A classic western I've been told I really should watch.

Inception (cleared): Again, WOW. A worthy successor to The Matrix.

Live Free or Die Hard:  I liked the other Die Hard movies, and I liked Red. This is a bridge of sorts between the two.

Max Payne: I had fun with the video games, and this movie makes Max out to be some sort of supernatural avenger. Doesn't look like Art, but it should be fun.

Pale Rider: Another classic western that I hear I should watch.

Pan's Labyrinth: A weird, creepy quasi-modern fairytale that I've been told is excellent.

Quantum of Solace: It's the newest Bond flick and I've yet to see it.

RocknRolla: See my entry on "From Paris with Love."

Seraphim Falls: Another cool-looking modern Western with some actors I like.

Smokin' Aces: See my entry on "From Paris with Love."

Taking Chance: A recommendation from a friend in the service.

The Book of Eli: A cool-looking post-apocalyptic adventure movie. Denzel Washington is usually good, too.

The Hurt Locker: I like military films, and this is purported to be one of the best.

The Losers: See my entry on "From Paris with Love."

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: Michael Bay movies are a guilty pleasure of mine. They're often not all that smart, but the fun explodiness makes you not care.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The List, Part 4: Nonfiction Books

Beyond Band of Brothers: Dick Winters is still held up as one of the truly great military officers of WWII and sometimes even of all time. I imagine he's got some interesting things to say!

Citizen Soldiers: I read about half of this (this is a bad habit of mine, if you can't tell....) back in the day and never finished it.

Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto: As I've mentioned before, I'm pretty conservative politically, and I've consumed a good chunk of this in audio format already. I'd like to finish it. Levin is pretty solid on the issues, but he really gets worked up on his show, and I prefer the calmer, more matter-of-fact tone of his book.

Licensed to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror: I find the PMCs working over in warzones to be kind of interesting, and I thought it might be fun to read a book on them.

Life After Death: The Evidence: I recently discovered Dinesh D'Souza, and after listening to some audio clips of him, I've decided to give his books a shot. This is one of them.

On Combat: The "sequel" to On Killing by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, the guy who wrote the "Sheepdog Speech". Given how thought provoking that was to me, I'd like to se what else the man has to say.

On Killing: See above.

The Gift of Fear: Highly recommended out of the blue by a friend.

The Long Walk: It was just recently made into a movie, but I was interested in this book before that ever happened. The book deals with some people who escaped a Soviet gulag and walked all the way to India. That's gotta be a fascinating tale.

The Sociopath Next Door: Another book I started and never finished.

What's so Great About America?: Another Dinesh D'Souza book.

What's so Great About Christianity?: Dinesh D'Souza again.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Cleared: Zombie Driver

So I finished Zombie Driver tonight. The ending was nothing to write home about, but the game itself comes highly recommended, especially if you can get it as cheaply as I did. From unlocking new vehicles and weapons to mowing down a horde of zombies by doing what my wife called "the donuts of death!" it's a very, very entertaining little game. It's also a very, very inexpensive little game. If the idea of running over zombies sounds like any fun to you at all, I'm officially plugging this one. Go get it!

Monday, January 3, 2011

The List, Part 3: Fiction Books

1984: One of the few "classics" out there that appeals to me. I also think it might be useful in RPG setting design.

American Gods:  Comes highly recommended by several of my friends, and the idea seems neat.

Best Served Cold: I like my fantasy gritty and low-magic sometimes, and this seems about as gritty and low-magic as it gets.

Devil's Rose: I like lawmen in fiction, and the idea of an undead ranger hunting down escaped souls from Hell sounds like a fantastic premise.

Fire Warrior: I've read about halfway into this book once upon a time and stopped. The Tau have always been one of my favorite parts of the Warhammer 40k universe, so I'm looking forward to finishing this one.

Good Omens: Another one I read partway into. I lost the book about halfway in and found it again months later. I remember it being extremely entertaining.

Last Shot: A Jack Reacher novel. I've read at least one of these previous, and he's one of my favorite fictional heroes.

Matthias Thulmann: Witch Hunter: A Warhammer universe story with a Solomon Kane-like lead character. It's three novels in one volume; I've already read one of them.

Neuromancer: One of the formative books of the cyberpunk genre, and highly recommended by my wife.

Night Watch: Sergei Lukyanenko's Watch series is some of the most fascinating and original fantasy I've run across in years. I certainly liked the movie, so I'm going to see if I like the book as much.

Nothing to Lose: Another Jack Reacher story, this one about a corrupt small town. Having lived in fairly small towns all my life, it seemed kinda cool.

Temple: The last of Matthew Reilly's books from his pre-trashing Christianity days.

The Eyes of God: The initial book in a fascinating-looking fantasy trilogy by John Marco. Ran across this one at work and thought I'd give it a try.

The Hero of Ages: Probably the first book I'll clear. (In all likelihood, next week.) It's the final volume in Brandon Sanderson's wonderful Mistborn trilogy.

The Ladies of Grace Adieu: Susannah Clarke's second book. A collection of short stories from the world of her first book, the awe-inspiring Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel.

The Last Wish: The literary basis for The Witcher, one of the games on my list.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress: A libertarian rebellion on a Lunar colony and also one of the great classics of science fiction? Yeah, this one was a no-brainer for the list.

The Protector: A strong recommendation from a coworker.

Up in the Air: The movie looks interesting, but I have a feeling the book is deeper.

Whitechapel Gods: Steam fantasy is a weakness of mine.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The List, Part 2. PC Games N-Z

Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer: I think I was one of about eight people who truly loved Neverwinter Nights 2, but I did, dang it. This picks up the story afterward and runs with it to what seem to be some very cool places. I've been put off by the camera controls every time I've tried it, though.

Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir: The "go around trading" premise of this really grabbed me, but those darn camera controls keep getting in the way. I may have to see if I can get a mod that fixes the problem.

Oni: I've had this game since right after it came out, and it's always seemed very cool and slick to me, but I never had sufficient patience to finish it.

Overlord: This cost me all of a $3 on Steam when I bought it, and I got the expansion and sequel included in that price. Also: Terry Pratchett's daughter was involved. How could I pass it up?

Overlord: Raising Hell: The aforementioned expansion pack.

Overlord II: See above.

Planescape: Torment: Another old-school RPG that I've got and have played but never finished.

Prince of Persia: The new one, with the claw gauntlet and female sidekick. The beautiful storybook art drew me to this one.

Prince of Persia: Warrior Within: I've played a certain distance into this game but never finished it. However, it appears to not like my current-gen hardware, so I may let this one go.

Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones: The bladed whip weapon kinda got my attention here. I don't mind the puzzle platforming, but I really like the combat in games like this.

Section 8: The orbital paratrooper thing seemed very cool to me, and it looks like you've got a decent amount of complexity with which to fiddle eventually. As whouldn't come too unexpectedly from a Jagged Alliance 2 fan, I like complexity.

STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl: I've played this almost to the end once and I'd really like to finish it. I loved the grittiness and the bleak, post-apocalyptic Russian setting.

STALKER: Clear Sky: The prequel to Shadow of Chernobyl, and appealing for the same reasons.

STALKER: Call of Pripyat: The sequel to Shadow of Chernobyl, and appealing for the same reasons AND because I can't wait to see how they've upgraded the experience with newer tech.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic: So many of my fellow geeks have told me, adamantly, that this is a game I need to play for so long, I've finally capitulated. I bought it, it's on the list!

The Ball: I found with Portal that first-person action puzzlers suit me rather well, so I snagged this. Now if I could just stop falling onto those stupid spikes...

The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind: From what I gather, this is one of the best CRPGs ever made. I've got an old game of the year set with the expansions around here somewhere. May as well add it to the list.

The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion: Since this is basically Fallout 3 with fantasy trappings, it's gotta be at least somewhat enjoyable.

The Scourge Project: I got this as part of a bundle and it looks really cool. Third-person cover shooters can be a blast if well-executed, and the characters are all dripping with personality.

The Void: Got it free with some other stuff I wanted. Weird. I mean really weird. It may not stay on the list too long.

The Witcher: I played into Act II of this a while back and I thought the gritty, realistic fantasy world was something cool and special. It might be time to give it even more of a chance.

UFO: Aftershock: More glorious squad-based, complex strategy. I dual-booted the PC I'm typing this on specifically so I could run it!

UFO: Extraterrestrials: See above, but believe it or not, it's not part of the same series or even from the same developer.

Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines: A unique and different take on the CRPG, this one held my interest for quite a while, but then I lent my copy to a friend who has yet to return it. I'll probably buy it digitally once I'm ready to pick it up again.

Warhammer: Mark of Chaos: I've never been much for Games Workshop's tabletop games, as getting into one costs more than the entire contents of my backlog bought at full price on the day of release and then lots of miniatures painting which I lack the inclination to do, but their IP is great. So I play the PC games based on their stuff. I played a fair way into this one and then had system problems, lost the save game and never got back to it.

Warhammer: Mark of Chaos: Battle March: See above. Expansion pack.

X-Com: Apocalypse: See below.

X-Com: Terror from the Deep: See below.

X-Com: UFO Defense: My failure to play the X-Com series is, as far as I can tell, my greatest failure as a PC gamer. I've heard SO much good stuff about the series that one of these days I'll have to get into it. I have the games but so far the dated graphics and UI have been a barrier. I'll get over that eventually, though, I'm sure. I've done it before.

Zeno Clash: This quirky, trippy first-person beat 'em up got some pretty solid reviews when it first came out, so again spurred by a really good deal, I decided to give it a shot.

Zombie Driver: Every once in a while it's fun to take a break from my more hard-core gaming diet and play a fun little arcade-y game. his scratches that itch nicely.

That's enough blogging for one day, I think. Tomorrow I'll tackle another category of content.

The List, Part 1. PC Games A-M

7.62 High Calibre: Those who know me or have read the earlier posts on this blog know that I'm a HUGE Jagged Alliance 2 fan. I have it currently installed on the system I'm typing this from, in fact. So it should come as little surprise that I frequent the Bear's Pit, a Jagged Alliance 2 community and modding site. 7.62 High Calibre has been mentioned as a spiritual successor to JA2 over there on the forums, and I was able to pick up up pretty cheaply from GamersGate during their holiday sale.

Avernum 6: I've never played the earlier Avernum games, but the series comes highly recommended by enthusiasts of hardcore/old school CRPGs. Since I'm at least on the fringes of that crowd, I decided to give it a try. I tried the demo and decided to purchase the full game, but I haven't done much with it since.

Baldur's Gate with Tales of the Sword Coast: I've got a copy of Baldur's Gate on CD, but I never picked up the expansion, and while I've played it before, I've never finished it. Since it's considered one of the classics of PC gaming and it was only $7 for me to pull it, the expansion, and assorted other goodies from, I went for it.

Baldur's Gate II with Throne of Bhaal: I have finished Baldur's Gate II and almost finished the expansion, but not quite. Unlike the first game, I may just use my old install media, provided I can find it and the relevant CD keys. If not, well, there's always

Battlefield Bad Company 2 (cleared): As I mentioned in my "cleared" post, I'd never tried a AAA military FPS before. It was cheap, so I did.

Beyond Divinity: The idea of what amounts to a paladin and a blackguard (D&D 3.x reference) chained at the soul and forced to work together is really fascinating to me as a plot device. Now if I could ever find my way out of the initial prison area, I might get some real enjoyment out of this one.

Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay: I liked the movies and it surprised me by coming free with Dark Athena.

Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena: I liked the movies and have heard this is a kind of cool and distinctive FPS. Once again, I was tempted by a bargain.

Company of Heroes: WWII, while a bit overdone, makes a fantastic playground for video games, and this one also has a lot in common with the Dawn of War series, which I have really, really enjoyed. I've had this forever, but never dug into it that much.

Darksiders: This one caused me some console envy when I saw advertising for it. The game just looked like a TON of fun. Now I've gotten it very cheap and I can attest that it is indeed a ton of fun, though a bit arbitrarily difficult at times. Still, I want to stick this one out to the end; I have a feeling the story's only going to get more entertaining.

Dead Space: I remember when the reviews went around of this one hearing that it was a lot of fun, and it's something a little different, too, so I decided to give it a shot.

Disciples III: Renaissance: I've enjoyed Disciples I and II immensely, and I expect this will be no different.

Divinity II: Ego Draconis: This has got to be one of the most wide-open RPGs I've ever come across as far as player capabilities, and it's got me intrigued for that reason. My in-laws were nice enough to give it to me for Christmas this year, too.

Drakensang: The Dark Eye: This is another hardcore RPG that gets bandied around a bit on the net. I picked it up cheap last year and haven't really done much with it, so I thought I'd give it a whirl.

Fallout: New Vegas (cleared): I enjoyed Fallout 3 so much this was a no-brainer. 

Fallout Tactics: This is the only Fallout game ever released for the PC that I haven't finished. That needs to be rectified!

F.E.A.R.: A coworker recommended this one to me very highly.

Gears of War: Since the series has been so popular on the consoles, I thought I'd see what all the fuss is about. My problem so far is that the graphics are beyond muddy. Everything is SUCH a uniform shade of grey-brown that it's hard to see enemies. I keep getting whacked in a VERY early part of the game, even on the lowest difficulty setting. I have a feeling if I can ever get the hang of it, it'll be fun, though.

Grotesque Tactics: Evil Heroes: Another cheap one from the Steam sale, this looks funny and clever.

Hinterland: The idea of creating the town your heroes come from is a pretty novel idea for a fantasy RPG. I think that core concept hooked me more than anything else.

Iron Grip: Warlord: While I may eventually "finish" this one, it's primarily designed with multiplayer in mind. What I will say, though is that it's an AMAZING little game. The combination of FPS and RTS elements are pretty original, and the game play itself is very tight.

Jade Empire: It's a Bioware RPG. That's enough to recommend it. The martial arts styles make for a fun twist on the usual RPG loot collecting, too.

King's Bounty: The Legend I snagged the complete proverbial set (The Legend, Armored Princess, and Crossworlds) and since I've heard such good things, I've decided to give it a shot. 

King's Bounty: Armored Princess/Crossworlds: See above.

Metro 2033: The new Crysis, apparently. Metro 2033 is definitely a pretty game, but it's also a gritty, post-apocalyptic survival shooter with some RPG elements, which is very cool.

The current state of the backlog.

Okay, I think I'm done gorging myself on holiday sales. Time to clean stuff up and reorganize it a bit. The next few posts will be the new, full list, complete with, for the first time on this blog, what made me interested in the list entry/why it's on the backlog. Expect some LONG posts! I'm also going to use the lists on the sides of the blog as the "official" list and not bother editing a list post every time I clear something.

Cleared: Inception