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Everything posted by James

  1.   Me too! (I think we should still have a go...for old time's sake...) :)
  2. Good to see the boards back online. Well done, Petie!
  3. It's been a while, OB.  My life seems to have become busier and busier in the last couple of years.   I'm just over two years into a new relationship (with someone who is a much better fit for me, I must say).  I moved into a new house a year ago (although it's just a rental, I'm saving to buy within a couple of years).  And I got a new car and new job about a year ago, which has been good.  Climbing the corporate ladder definitely takes long hours!  But now I'm in a senior management role for a big organisation here, which is a good place to be.   And... I'll be 31 this year.  Eek.  How time flies!  Slightly more grey hair now than a few years ago, that's for sure.   Aside from that, it's just been about enjoying life.  Some travel here and there, lots of new challenges, and all kinds of interesting projects.   It's good to see that there are still some OBers around. :)
  4. There was apparently a reunion chat at theOtaku.com today - unfortunately I missed out.  I wasn't home all day today.   Did anyone here go to it?  It would be good to do something like that again.
  5.   I'm so sorry to hear about this, chibi. That is just awful.  I hope you are okay. :(
  6.   I am almost hitting that kind of personal record myself!  Never thought I'd see that happen, but here we are.  
  7. I love travel although I still haven't been to many places.   Within Australia, I have been to every state except South Australia (due to change soon I'm sure).  Also haven't been to the Northern Territory, but I'd love to go.    In terms of overseas, I've been to the USA, Canada, Hong Kong and Macau.  In the USA I stayed in New York, and went to D.C., Niagara Falls/Buffalo NY, and Boston (and drove through a bunch of areas).  In Canada I went to Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, and Quebec City.   And then in terms of HK...explored Hong Kong and then went to Macau on the ferry.  But so far I haven't been into "mainland China" proper - that's next on the list!   I really love travel and I can't wait to do it again.  We are thinking of going to Hawaii for New Year's Eve this year, so that should be fun.   Oh and, if anyone comes to Australia (particularly Melbourne) let me know!  I'll show you around and I have a spare bedroom here (although currently unfurnished) that I may be able to offer.
  8. Right now I'm very much focused on [b]Mass Effect 2[/b].  I'm playing through it a (third) time, but this time with female renegade Shepherd imported from the first game.  The second time I played ME2, I didn't actually finish it.   So far, I'm thoroughly enjoying it.  It's still a masterpiece in my view, and it's still one of my all-time favourite games.  Absolutely loving every minute of it, when I get the chance to play it anyway.   Beyond that... I was playing Far Cry 3, but I left the game at my (old) house and need to pick it up.  Damn.   Now and then I play a bit of SimCity 3000 Unlimited (still), and a bit of Civilization V.  I also play a little bit of New Super Mario Bros. U here and there, although I'm up to a ghost house where I'm kind of stuck...
  9. I have become addicted to this show.  I just finished Season 2, and Season 3 is airing here now... but I want to wait until I can watch the whole thing.  By the way, what's with the whole "mid season finale" stuff?  I would like to just get a straightforward season, honestly...   Anyway, now that we are a couple of seasons in, does anybody have a favourite or least favourite character?   My least favourite character is definitely Shane, and I guess the reasons for that are pretty obvious.  At times Rick can bother me, but then again, I guess that anyone with that level of responsibility in such a crisis is never going to be perfect.   I was pleasantly surprised by how much Daryl improved from Season 1, as well.  I think he's one of my favourites.   And then there's Dale, who is apparently quite unpopular...but I really like him.  He's often a breath of fresh air when things go bad (which is frequently) and he has a way of cutting through the crap and being clear about things.  [spoiler]I was very sad when he died though, it just felt cheap...and he's a character I will genuinely miss.[/spoiler]
  10. For some reason I didn't have the Baisik skin selected - now that I've changed back to it, the new structure looks even better!  Well done Petie and co.   My only gripe - very minor - is the sketchy OtakuBoards logo at the top.  I think I may still have the original layered file lying around somewhere, so I can give you a shinier/fresher copy that looks sharp, if you're keen.   The whole site feels a lot tidier now, great stuff.
  11. Wow, I only just saw this.  Shwa, where's that PM?! :P
  12.   I don't think that's quite true - there are things you can do with guns, bombs, etc... that you simply can't do with other objects (e.g. knives).  I think it's an entirely practical question, rather than an ideological one.   One other thing:   [quote=SaiyanPrincessX]Idiot, this kid is/was a freaking idiot. These people who keep doing this are making me SO mad! We are going to lose our rights because of these morons.. There are other ways to deal with your freaking problems![/quote]   He wasn't an idiot - he was apparently mentally ill.  I make this distinction because I think that a lot of people make the mistake of talking in terms of stupidity, or "anger", or "evil" - and none of these descriptions actually tell us about what is really happening (and thus, give us no real idea of how to take preventative steps).   A lot of people are saying that addressing mental health issues must be part of the solution, but right now it really just feels like a lot of idle talk.  I'd love to see some real, earnest steps towards addressing mental health treatment (this has been something of an issue in Australia recently, where the current Labor government has recently taken some very big steps in terms of addressing mental health services generally).  This area often seems to be ignored, to everyone's detriment (not just the sufferer of the illness themselves).   More broadly, it's sad that the debate about prevention often comes down to silly ideological one-liners rather than looking at the question on a practical level.  Unfortunately not everyone is going to like the practical solutions that may be required, but I think the question has to be re-framed as one about balancing rights and responsibilities rather than simply reiterating that a particular "right" trumps other concerns on all occasions.
  13. I think they do believe what they say they believe - if you've ever seen the documentaries involving Louis Theroux, that comes across pretty clearly.  Having said that, I think they are [i]also[/i] looking to "promote" their message as far and wide as possible (as do many religious zealots).   Although they are obviously hateful and highly ignorant, it's worth remembering that they literally number in the dozens; there are hardly any dedicated members of this church any more.  Numerous members left, including the children of some of the more senior members.   So, there's a lot of noise around them, but they are actually literally just a handful of nutters.  Ignoring them and denying them air time is, I think, the best policy.
  14. [font=palatino linotype]I think that better graphics should be taken for granted at this point - what I'd really like to see are a couple of key things:   1) New controller (I loathe the ageing PlayStation controller design, and I think it's about time for Sony to show some innovation and creativity in this area).   2) Big focus on ecosystem (Nintendo did really well with Miiverse on Wii U, and I think Sony could borrow that idea and implement something really fantastic - the idea of "social gaming" that doesn't involve typical Facebook and Twitter connections definitely interests me.  I'd also love to see a more intuitive interface that involves better access to streaming content like TV and movies especially).   Other than that, I can't really think of much else.  A focus on great games is obviously a given...but mostly I think it'd just be good to see great features and genuine creativity in terms of the hardware design.[/font]
  15. [font=palatino linotype]I haven't posted a topic in this forum in [i]forever[/i], so I thought I'd post about a game I just bought yesterday. The game is [b]XCOM: Enemy Unknown[/b] (hereafter just referred to as XCOM), which is essentially a re-imagining of an older title (which I have never actually played, but am now keen to try). This is really my first new Xbox 360 title for a while. I have to admit that XCOM was really not on my radar as far as new games go, but I had read a few reviews of this game over the last week and they really convinced me to give it a try. [center][img]http://timenerdworld.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/xcom-enemy-unknown.jpg?w=600&h=400&crop=1[/img][/center] If you're unfamiliar with XCOM in general, then the best way to describe it is probably to say that it's a bit like Civilization mixed with Final Fantasy Tactics. That is to say, you have a team of units (a squad) and your battles are turn-based. At the same time, you have a home base that you expand and you also have a research tree associated with this (so you can research new upgrades and technologies, which you can then manufacture). Whilst all this is happening, you have to manage the needs of the nations that are funding the XCOM program (e.g. if you neglect, say, China for too long while it is being continuously attacked by aliens, it will eventually withdraw from the program entirely). I've only had a day with this game so far, but I'm finding it to be incredibly addictive. Although turn-based, the action moves pretty quickly. Also, interestingly, I've found that my squad are not simply canon-fodder - or at least, I don't view them that way as I play. Maybe it is because each squad member is individually-designed, or maybe it is because each squad member essentially has a "career" where they continually build up skills and specialities. Either way, losing a squad member (which has real permanency in XCOM) never ceases to bring about a genuine emotional sting. The actual gameplay is pretty straightforward, especially if you've played Civilization before. Each squad member has two moves per turn, and it's up to you how you "spend" those moves. You might use one move to get behind an object for cover, and then use the other move to fire at an enemy. Within that context there are numerous speciality skills that can be utilised - one of my favourites is "Overwatch", which basically means that your squad member stands sentry and if an enemy moves within their line of sight, they will automatically fire upon said enemy (without taking up a move). One of my favourite aspects of the game is the fact that the environment itself has a major impact on the a squad member's percentage likelihood to successfully hit an alien target. When you go to fire at a target, you'll see both a percentage chance to strike the target plus a percentage chance to achieve critical damage. These percentages are heavily influenced by things like relative height to the target, distance, and the kind and number of objects between yourself and the target (firing through a glass window is different than trying to fire through a wall, for example). The strategy shifts significantly as you play, both because the environments themselves are highly destructible and because the game gradually introduces new enemies with unique (and horrifying) capabilities. You often feel that the odds are against you, but clever strategy and patience usually gets you through. So far I would say that my biggest issue with the game is probably the actual "base mode" part of it. I love the idea of the high strategy that underpins the core ground missions, but sometimes it feels a bit loose and ambiguous. As the game progresses, you end up managing a ton of aspects of your base and its peripheral activities - personally, this can sometimes feel like too much. And because there are so many interdependencies between your research and what you construct (whether it is facilities or weapons/objects for your squad), I found myself getting a little lost here and there. It can feel like a lot to wade through. Having said that, I'm still really enjoying the game and it's definitely very addictive. I highly recommend it. I haven't yet tried multiplayer and I'm not really sure about the structure of that...but if anyone here has both XCOM and Xbox Live, let me know your GamerTag if I don't have it already. If multiplayer is anywhere near as good as the single player mode, then I'm sure I'll love that too.[/font]
  16. [quote name='Red' timestamp='1350127361' post='712403'] Oh my. I still remember you spreading boldness to me and AJ like some sort of textual disease. Also Dessert Shadow, the tastiest of impersonators. Good to see you here again! [/quote] [font=palatino linotype]Guffaw, old chap.[/font]
  17. James

    Gaming Guild Wars 2

    [font=palatino linotype]I've been playing GW2 a little bit with my sister over the last couple of weeks, and I'm slowly warming to it. The biggest issue I had originally was the controls, and that was primarily because I always used to "click walk" in the original game - that is, I'd point and click rather than using the keyboard, which I felt was sort of cumbersome. Since GW2 forces you to use the keyboard for movement, it felt unintuitive for me initially. I think the reason is that I kind of wanted it to feel like a FPS, or like Max Payne, where you walk with the WASD keys and you look with the mouse. Yeah, you [i]can[/i] do that, but you have to hold down a button... eh. It's not nice. As time has gone by though, I've become a bit more used to the way things work. I use auto-run a lot, and I am finding it easier to move around and interact. I still use the mouse for some actions (for instance, I mapped the #1 attack to a mouse button for ease of use - since I hate using the number keys to attack). A hybrid has worked well for me. I'm also really starting to get used to the general flow of the game, especially around the way that skills work and how they are very different in GW2 as compared to the original game. Right now my primary character is a Necromancer, and there's a lot of correlation with the Necromancers in Guild Wars, but with some interesting changes. Most importantly, I love the fact that you aren't just summoning ever larger groups of minions - each minion "type" has particular capabilities, and you are sort of forced to actively engage them as part of combat, rather than simply having them attack or not attack. I'm finding that really enjoyable, and much more strategic than before. Now that I think about it, it's become second nature, and I think going back to Necromancers in the original Guild Wars would feel pretty dated. The single biggest improvement I'm noticing, though, is how "alive" the world feels. I love the little heart quests, and the dynamic events. I also love that you can build your characters without [i]constantly[/i] fighting - there's simply a broader array of things to do, and you are often increasing your XP without even thinking about it. It works well. I also particularly love that you really don't need to form parties like in the original game. The structure is such that you can just naturally follow crowds - or have crowds follow you - and there's an organic element to this that works incredibly well. There's really not much need to either form parties with other players or NPCs...and I really like that. Even when I play the game with my sister, we can spend time together and then we can kind of go and do separate things and join up again when it's convenient. It just flows so nicely, and it feels incredibly natural and easy. The only thing I'll say is that, while the game runs fairly well on my (now ageing) iMac, I am clearly [i]really[/i] in need of a new computer. I'm sort of waiting for the next iMac to be announced, but it better happen soon... I'm not sure if I can wait that long! This thing is showing its age now.[/font]
  18. [font=palatino linotype]I only watched a few of the events here and there - they were great, but I never really deliberately went looking for them. One thing I will say, though, is that I [i]loved[/i] the opening ceremony for London. Very awesome stuff. I always try to watch the opening and closing ceremonies. I never did this for the Beijing games, although I bought the DVDs (which I have yet to watch, ahem...) Anyway, I'm very keen to see who wins the next bid for the Olympics. My understanding is that it's between Tokyo, Madrid and Istanbul... is that right? Personally, I'd love to see a games in either Tokyo or Istanbul. Madrid... eh. I know Madrid is not Barcelona, but let's face it, Spain had the Olympic Games not so long ago. I think it'd be fascinating to see what Tokyo or Istanbul do. [/font]
  19. [font=palatino linotype]I'm not even sure I can list all of the good memories I have from here. kuja, anyone? ;) I definitely agree about controversial stuff in The Lounge. Some of those debates were a bit painful, but they were also pretty interesting. Seems like such a long time ago. Probably the biggest two things I remember are the awesome RPGs and the once-vibrant gaming community we had here. I remember that E3 used to generate so much discussion and debate...it just felt like a really warm gaming community without all the craziness on other forums. I feel a bit sad about the state of RPGs now - huge kudos to DeLarge for continuing to wave the flag - and I can only say that I helped to contribute to this situation through my inaction, haha. I mean, I lament the lack of RPGs but I haven't started one or participated in one for years. I never thought I'd say it, but I've pretty much moved on from the whole RPG thing I think. These days I have a feeling of nostalgia about them, but really no desire to join them at all. :( As for specific things, there are just too many to mention. All I'll say, for those who remember something about this... I'm as addicted to coffee as ever. And I hope you are too. ;)[/font]
  20. James

    Gaming Guild Wars 2

    [quote name='Desbreko' timestamp='1335555723' post='711621'] [color=#4B0082]Oh, that's right. I think I talked to her about it first, but you ended up getting it before her, or something like that. [b]Edit:[/b] Character name is Kira Namir on the Sorrow's Furnace world. I'm playing a charr thief.[/color] [/quote] [font=palatino linotype]I am on the Sorrow's Furnace world. Just joined in now.[/font]
  21. [font=palatino linotype]I have to agree with the vast majority of what Alex said about Bane. Not only were his motivations questionable as a general rule, but as a character he annoyed me. I am not familiar with Bane from the comics or other mythology, so it's difficult for me to have a clear frame of reference. All I can do is judge Bane based on this film. And on that basis... meh. Bane seems to be advancing a fairly lofty political agenda - at least ostensibly - but in the end, this essentially boils down to little more than a question of doing someone else's dirty work. Maybe I am missing something, but I felt like the air was let out of Bane's proverbial tires close to the end of the film. He was already incredibly generic to begin with, but became painfully so as the movie closed. In terms of characterisation, I agree completely with Alex. Bane's visual representation was, for me, pretty generic and bland. I know that Heath Ledger set a very high bar - and that Joker is probably a fundamentally more interesting character - but Bane was so ridiculously sterile that, for me, I felt like I was continually waiting for his scenes to end. He just didn't strike me as interesting or terribly noteworthy. Also, yes, his face mask... what's up with that? The presence of the mask itself utterly killed the acting, for one thing. He essentially had no varying facial expressions, and it was virtually impossible to see that he was talking, which further limited his potential for expression. Combine that with the weirdly unsatisfying voice (which was understandable only [i]most[/i] of the time, perhaps), and I felt like we were left with a bit of a dud character. In contrast, I genuinely [i]loved[/i] Catwoman. And that, for me, was the film's biggest positive surprise. For me, Michelle Pfieffer as Catwoman is equivalent to Heath Ledger as Joker. In other words, her portrayal was so brilliant and mind-numbingly [i]crazy[/i] that I couldn't imagine the almost-too-soft Anne Hathaway doing justice to the character (and perhaps I was also a bit scarred by that terrible Catwoman spin-off from a few years ago...). In any case, both Hathaway's portrayal as well as the dialogue were pretty spot on for Catwoman I thought. Her character was nuanced and genuinely interesting, funny, sad, and with just a hint of psychopathy and nihilism to round things out. I also really liked her costume - it gave hints while being beautifully grounded in Nolan's "realistic" take. Very well done. Speaking of this, for me... Catwoman was the star of the show. Much like Joker was the star of The Dark Knight, I think Catwoman made The Dark Knight Rises worth watching. Without these key characters, I'm not sure if either film would have interested me nearly as much. In terms of plot, well... yeah. I largely agree with Alex's assessment. I did genuinely enjoy the ending (the twist was... eh, but everything after that was rounded out quite well). Some aspects of the film were a little too drawn-out, I think, particularly some fight sequences. And, as many have pointed out, there were quite a few logical inconsistencies throughout - although I don't really put much stock in this in terms of enjoyment. I mean, it's Batman. Anyway, I enjoyed The Dark Knight Rises probably as much, or more, than The Dark Knight. But for me, Bane was a let down and a wasted opportunity. That really dragged down the film overall in my view. Had either Bane been more interesting - or had we seen a fundamentally more interesting and unique character to replace him - I think the movie would have fared much better, personally.[/font]
  22. James

    Gaming Guild Wars 2

    [font=palatino linotype]I've missed the beta weekends for Guild Wars 2, but I think I will still be buying this game. I've read some of your comments about it here (as well as bits and pieces across the web), but generally I'm trying to go in with relatively little knowledge about the experience. I do have one question though - based on your experience with GW2 so far, does it feel much different than the original GW? Better/worse generally? I know those are very open questions that can't easily be answered based on a beta experience, but still, I'm curious. In some of the videos I've seen, it doesn't look terribly different than its predecessor. And yet at other times it seems to sport features that are quite dramatically different.[/font]
  23. [quote name='chibi-master' timestamp='1340244584' post='712060'] Dentist's chair. *shiver* My main concern is that I know very well that I would be one of those people that spews words when loopy. I really don't want to end up saying or doing something I shouldn't. [/quote] [font=palatino linotype]If it's in the dentist chair, then I don't really see why you'd be loopy. The dentist should use a local anaesthetic, rather than a GA. If you were going to hospital, they'd use a GA, and I think that can have weird effects on people. A local anaesthetic should be pretty OK, unless you are allergic to it or something.[/font]
  24. [quote name='chibi-master' timestamp='1340073435' post='712042'] I'm going to have my wisdom teeth taken out pretty soon and I'm extremely nervous. Not about anything going horribly wrong, but I've been watching videos lately where people are loopy beyond all reason after the surgery. I don't want to be one of those people. O_O [/quote] [font=palatino linotype]Here's a tip: don't ever watch surgery-related videos when you are about to get surgery. It never ends well. You should find that it goes pretty smoothly. Are you going into hospital or are you having the surgery done in the dentist chair? I think that can make quite a difference. I've had teeth removed, but only at the dentist so far (at some point I need to organise to have several extracted at once in hospital).[/font]
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