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Nerdrage 101: A Defence of D&D 4th Edition

This one's not really a ragey topic, it's just me showing some appreciation for the 4th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons as it draws to a close.
Being both an old roleplayer and just... old... I've had some experience with most editions of Dungeons and Dragons, starting with the Eye of The Beholder-game on PC back when most of today's internet-audience was still getting used to wearing diapers, breathing and screaming for food. And naturally, then on with Baldur's Gate before finding some actual friends to play with. Not to mention the beginning of Play By Post, which really opened the floodgates for me in terms of roleplaying.

But, I still remember the shouts and screams, the wailing of despair and the copious amounts of cursing coming from many an old-school fan back when 4th Edition came out.
Now, I wasn't all that happy with it myself. I still hold 2nd Edition and 3.5 as my two favourites. The class and skill-systems have been refined to a point where what you want your character to be is some scribbling away, and I find the new emphasis it brought to models and combat to be something I personally don't like, not to mention the challenge-curve has been smoothed to a straight line. I've heard it called "MMo"-ish and, I can see the comparisson.

But, I can see what they were going for. An easier game specifically geared to get new people interested and involved in what has over the years become one of my favourite hobbies for whenever I can find the time. And I like that. It's needed as most games become more and more complex and thus, more and more newbie-unfriendly. I think this is partially because of the overall culture around tabletop roleplaying that's come up in the decades since it's conception.
But, thing is... getting new kids interested in the hobby is a great thing. Wizards of the Coast, and their Encounters-initiative(look it up) have done alot in the hobby's favour. I love roleplaying games, tabletop and otherwise, and the thought of them dying out in this age of videogames would sadden me. So anything to counter this, I'm happy with, no matter how I personally find the mechanics.

No matter how you slice it, letting the new players find a common ground and an easier entry is a good thing, even if some of my older compatriots would disagree. But, see... I don't get the complaint... Us old-people saw some great releases in the wake of 4th Edition, including the very great game Pathfinder. And, it's not like our old editions suddenly became invalid. If you had it in your shelf, and your players didn't want to play 4th Editions, well... just bust out the old book.

And, in closing... 4th Edition saw the release of Gamma World. Something I am personally really grateful for since... it's just awesome and you should check it out. Any game that let's you be a swarm of pyrokinetic rats is a-ok with me.

Panda, up, up and away~!

A generic update

Hey guys! I just wanted to make a brief update about what's been going on.
Basically... right now I'm unemployed. Dropped out of uni, because the course I was on just... wasn't for me. I thought it'd be more Cognitive Psychology/Linguistics or Behavioral Science, but... it was mostly about Man/Computer Interactions. Not what I personally signed up for and, basically learned the things I wanted to learn about that stuff and... with over two years of it remaining I just felt it wasn't worth my time.
That's the long and short of that.
Also I'm really really broke right now. Which I don't like. At all.

But what else... Let's see, there's alot I should do, and there's some things I have planned for this blog. For instance I want to make some of my stuff abit more professional-looking and slightly less... inane-rambly-like. Nerdrage 101 will probably stay that way, kinda the point, but I want to get back to writing reviews and I'd love for the reviews to not feel like a NR-column. So I'm working on that. I will probably keep reviewing things that are less-new and more obscure. Things I personally like(or hate) that I feel needs either some more love or a second smacking-around that I feel it deserves.

I think that's about it. I have a rather large post in the process of being written that I'm not sure if I should make a single big post or break up into 500-word chunks. It's a big one, as I said, about World Building. My personal tips/tricks and sort of a beginner's-guide.
Stay awesome people!
Hello again.
Right to business, I'll explain my absence at another time but, long story short, insomnia.

I've given this topic alot of thought. And I just want to put my foot down and ask everyone to shut their mouths around the whole... "Casual Vs Hardcore"-argument in regards to gaming.
Because, seriously: Shut up.
"Casual" gamers are not "ruining the industry" as some seem to think. It's a market that has always been there, just look at the success of Tetris(which, granted is sitll going) or Pacman in the 80's. We've seen what we now call the "casual" games stay with the industry ever since, everything from puzzlegames to Mario Kart, various party-games like say Super Monkey Ball(which I loved by the way) are part of what in the modern console generation we call Casual.

One reason I bring all this up, and a reason I feel this point needs to be made is the constant argument I keep hearing. Namely "But they're not true Gamers!".
To which I counter: Who the hell is?
Is not the entire point of this hobby to be amused? Much like any other hobby out there, end of the day it's a way to relax from everything else you do in your normal everyday life.
Me for instance? I go to university. When I get home, I cook, clean and do all the other house-stuff that needs to be done(like make vast amounts of coffee). If it's a busy week, schoolwise, I might just boot up something on my smartphone while on the bus. Sometimes I'll bust out my PsP and play something meatier.
When I have the time I like playing just about anything. Currently I'm playing Assassin's Creed and Final Fantasy 9.

I also enjoy drawing, writing(obviously), painting, reading, watching movies... I have many hobbies. Gaming's one of them. And I play what I feel like playing.
Sometimes this means a marathon of Final Fantasy 9, or as for a week or two ago, Resistance 2, sometimes this means just booting up some free app I found on the android market.

I ask you now, how is this approach to gaming any different from what we call the Casual-gamers? Because I do it on a PC, 360 or Ps3? Because my favourite genres are Fighting games and RPGs?
Is it because I sometimes just crash out an entire weekend on my couch and don't really do anything but play a game I've waited for if I have the time?
Over the past year, I've had fun with everything from Bulletstorm and Dragon Age 2, to Angry Birds and Tetris.
But according to this "True gamer"-mantra so many seem to be chanting, I am not a true gamer.

I've met quite a few of the so-called casual crowd. People who in no way consider themselves "Gamers", but still engage in the hobby from a different angle.
For instance, I had a girlfriend once who wasn't very interested in games as such, but she still had a thing for games like Mario Kart. Infact she kicked my ass several times in Double Dash.
I have a friend I've bonded with over movies. He too is not much of what we call a gamer. But he's more than happy for a friendly match of Mortal Kombat.

Because you see... End of the day, what this hobby is about is fun. To be entertained by way of a screen and a few buttons. Or a shit-ton of buttons depending what you play.

So shut up about arguing over what is or isn't "Hardcore" and remember why you play games. To have some fun. Pretty please?

Signed: Panda, your lord and master.
Happy Halloween everyone!
I told you I'd be back. And what better way than the best night of the year for horror-movies? I mean... Besides on time obviously.

Anyway, here are five horrormovies you might not have seen, that I think you should deffinetly check out. The ones that are Public Domain will be marked [PD] at the end of each entry. And the numbers are not for anything except to make it easier for me. The numbers mean nothing here. And yes, I have hinted at making it ten movies, but that would just become far too long.

1: Nosferatu(1921).
A horror-classic in the true sense of the word, revolutionary and easily one of the few that are still influencing film-makers to this day. Nosferatu, directed by F.W Murnau and starring Max Schrek as Graf Orlock, is an adaptation of Dracula for those who don't know that failed to get the actual license. And so just changed some names as they went. I know just about everyone's heard of this movie. But have you actually seen it? If you haven't... You really should. The surreal visuals, the nightmarish makeup and the atmosphere this movie builds hold up to this very day. Go see it. [PD]

2: The Wax Mask(1997)
This is a movie produced by legendary film-maker Dario Argento, and is an adaptation of Gaston Larouche's classic novel of the same name. And not as some believe of his other famous novel, "Phantom of the Opera". Argento did make a movie out of that one too, but... it was kinda shit. This on the other hand, might be the best adaptation of the novel. Even better than 1953's "House of Wax" with Vincent Price.
Oh yeah. I said it. And I stick by it. It's tight, it's grimy, it's got a fantastic score and  some seriously creepy moments. Seriously, go check it out if you haven't seen it. It's great.

3: The Eye(Thai version)
I've kinda had abit of a falling out with asian horror lately, but this movie(that I can't remember the date for), is something I picked up on a whim last week. And most of you have probably heard of, and ignored, the american remake from a few years back. But the original(I think), is a tightly directed little horror movie about a blind girl getting to see again with a cornea-transplant. Sadly it also makes her able to see ghosts. What follows, is a strangely psychological movie dealing more with the question of "Is she seeing ghosts or has it more to do with that she's just not used to seeing?". It's an interesting question, which is of course kinda swept under the rug, she's deffinetly seeing ghosts. Not really a spoiler. But after that it delves more to the psyche of the main character, who has never seen before, and now has to witness all these horrible things. And yet it manages to be pretty heartwarming at times and... Oh screw it: just go see it, it's good.

4: The Funhouse(1981)
This movie's... slightly hard to explain. It's part Halloween, part Stephen King, part... this and that. And directed by Tobe Hooper, who gave us the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Yay. This is also one of those movies that I personally feel has kinda fallen under the radar as time went on. And I somehow doubt it was a big hit when it came out. But, it's honestly pretty darn good.
Taking place, in a funhouse(hence the title), where some teenagers(naturally) decide to sneak in and spend the night(naturally). And... I can't really say much more about this movie without giving away the twists and turns. But it's filled with some great practical effects, creative kills, and I'm gonna use that word again: some really good atmosphere. It's really all depending on how creeped out you personally are by images of clowns and classic Funhouse imagery. But as I said, it's a fun movie to watch and, if you haven't seen it... find it and watch it.

5: Behind The Mask - The Rise of Leslie Vernon(2005)
Here's another of those movies I tend to talk about quite abit when I just generally start talking horror-movies. I've talked about it on forums, I've talked about it in real life... It doesn't really matter. I think I even reviewed it here a while back,  I can't remember.
But anyway.
Behind the Mask, is a sort of mix between Found Footage(yeah I know, bare with me) and a classic Slasher-movie, where some college-students making a documentary, are interviewing and following the preparation-work of soon-to-be slasher-killer Leslie Vernon. Who's really putting in alot of hard work into making his big debute... memorable. Basically, for once we get to know the killer. And... I'd honestly buy this guy a beer! Seriously. he seems like a pretty cool guy to hang out with. Disregarding the whole psycho-killer thing but... whatever, we all have our flaws.
But if you've never seen this movie, do yourself a big favor and go check it out. It might just be one of the best slasher-movies made in the past ten years. It's simply fantastic.

Anyway. That's all for me. I hope you're all having a great day, get lots of candy and watch atleast one of the movies on this list.
So have a Happy Halloween, sincerely the Panda that's clearly not  hiding under your bed as you try to sleep tonight, just ignore the breathing. It's probably the wind. Probably.

I'm back!

Oh yes, I'm back.
So what the hell happened? Well... Motherboard. Byebye fryfry so me crycry.
Though new computer, even a new internetconnection now. So yeah. I have returned. Can't get rid of me that easily, even if for a big while.

Let's see... What else? Oh, as I've said I have an Xbox now(well, was now about 9 months ago but whatever) so, next game-review(which I'm working on) will be for that.

Also if you want to find me on xbox live, it's under RealDaiPanda. Unlike on twitter, the DaiPanda that IS on Windows Live is actually me. It just wouldn't let me import that profile without also losing all my xbox-progress... so... Anyway.

Other than that, I'm slightly busy right now, have started a new education in Cognitive Sciences and... well it's time consuming, and I have two exams coming up so... Not sure how much time I'll have to play coming up...

Anyway, I will be posting a review in a few hours, or possibly tomorrow.

Panda, awaaaay!

Nerdrage 101: Neverwinter Nights 2

Let me start by saying that I was going to do a review of this. I really was. Sadly I can't finish the damn game. But I'll get to that. There are 3 huge problems with this game.

1: The fucking plot-doors. Especially the big one. If you've played the game you know the one. You need to get into a district where some horrific murders-by-demon have happened, so naturally the city-watch seal it off the main-gate and nothing else, despite the demons being able to basically show up inside any non-warded building. This of course being common knowledge. So, you have to join the city watch to get in. Fair enough. Of course, first you have to deal with this band of assassins, some robbers, restore the city's watersupply that has been taken over by Orcs, save an ambassador and generally solve all the crime and troubles to ever grace the streets of Neverwinter ever! After that they might let you in. Actually, no, after those 15-ish hours follows another 5-6 quests at 1h each.
Even though in any other rpg you could just bribe the guards at the gate to let you in, saving you all this trouble. But no, "Shut up and do as you're told you silly person who payed money for this game.".
Naturally once you get to go in(escorted no less) to talk to the guy you needed to talk to, he says he needs a book to learn more about the Maguffin, so it's off to the library with you!
That's where I quit.

2: The bugs! 
So many fucking bugs...
The most game-breaking for me was in that library where you have to read 4 books and solve 4 riddles to get through a door(that looks exactly like the doors I can smash). When you get to this point you should be at about the 30-hour mark which is fair enough. Sadly, those 30 hours of mine were completely wasted, because book nr.4 Did not spawn!! As you can imagine, this pissed me off enough to just uninstall the game, and good riddance.
Besides that there are severe camera-issues, including not being able to change it if you play in Windowed mode. Oh and random "Oh crap the game froze"-moments. And any number of other fun stuff.

3: The characters.
I'm just gonna focus on one character here. The elf-druid! I... hate her so much. Mostly because: she's bugged! And a whiny bitch. But for the first parts of the game, she is the only one who can heal, meaning you're pretty much stuck with her if you didn't roll a cleric/Druid/whatever.
Biggest problem is this one bug she has. No matter what script you select for her, she will always cancel any commands you give her and turn into a fucking badger! 

"Heal me!"
"Fuck you, I'm a badger!"

"Turn into a bear!"
"Fuck you, I'm a badger!"

So yeah... I hate her. Quite alot.

Oh and the plot itself only works because everyone who's not evil is a fucking moron. It's really that simple.
I really do hate this game.
And that's a shame because I wanted to like it. I really did. It's just either unplayable or annoying the hell out of me.
I hear the expansions improve alot though, and who knows, I might give them a go. But frankly I probably won't.

/Panda out.

Top 5 Movies that Pissed me off.

Sometimes you just have to take a few minutes and talk about something fun.
Well... this isn't one of those times. Granted, it's a fun thing to write, and I hope it's as entertaining to read. However these, are the Top 5 Movies, that pissed me off. Well, from the top of my head... There are alot of movies out there.

#5: X-Men 3: The Last Stand.
Now this movie pissed me off for a very specific reason, and that was how all the characters seemed to have gotten dumber since the previous movie.
That and Phoenix didn't get to do anything... Basically, this movie was a letdown. It wasn't as bad as it could've been, but it still pissed me off. Well, there were a few details I could rage on about too but, I could probably fill an entire Nerdrage-column with those.

#4: Spiderman 3.
What more could I possibly say about this movie I haven't already said? Go read that instead. It's like 3 posts down. Gogo. That's why the movie pissed me off. That and that stupid dance-routine he did in the bar.

#3: Nightmare On Elm-Street 2.
Oh... what can I possibly say about this movie?
It's bad. It's really bad.
Bad sequel, bad story, bad moral... I don't want to seem like I'm getting political here, but when you make the story of a Freddie-movie suddenly about homosexuality, you're just being an idiot. And they were with this-one. I mean... I'm sorry, it just pisses me off whenever I see it.

#2: H.P Lovecraft's The Tomb.
Poor, poor Lovecraft. Because...
I've already written a really long review about this movie, but I just want to ask one more time: How do you fuck this up?!
Well, apparently by making it a shitty Saw-ripoff!
The Tomb, the book, might be one of the most easily adaptable short-stories Lovecraft ever wrote. You could do the whole thing with about 10 people and a decent-sized house!
Ok... Ok... I'm going to shut up about that for now... Go back and read the review for more. It's just... GHA!

Time for the big one, time for...
#1: Highlander - The Source
Now this movie... What can I add to anything said about this movie?
I saw this shortly after it was first released, because I'd heard someone made another Highlander-movie.
I tracked it down, I saw it... And since I'm keen on keeping all this as short as possible, I'm going to summarize the entire experience like this:
Imagine if the first Highlander was a puppy. Not entirely bright, slightly annoying at times but you can kinda see that it's gonna grow up into something almost spectacular.
Now, The Source on the other hand, is as if someone took the puppy, raped it, set it on fire, pissed on it and then sold it back to you at $15!
Seriously, fuck this movie.

And there you have it. The Top 5 movies that piss me off. Hope you enjoyed reading the slow collapse of my sanity, now if you'll excuse me I'm going to go watch something good. Event Horizon maybe.

Generic update. Also Japan.

Holy crap, it's been two months since I updated?!
How'd that happen you may ask.
Simply put; I've been busy. I'll keep being busy this month with lots of projects in need of finishing.
I'll see about posting a review or two next week, or maybe just tomorrow. I'll see, it all depends on if I can finish this picture I need to do.
You can now find me on twitter now though: twitter.com/#!/Real_Daipanda
Say "hi" and follow that to keep track on what I'm up to abit easier.

Also I'm kinda bummed out right now. Partly on just a personal "What am I doing with my life"-level and also because it just feels like the start of this new decade has been... pretty damn scary, and it's all just starting to sink in in ernest.
Rebellion, civil wars, natural disasters...

First off: go go team Rebel in Libya. That's really all I'm saying on that.

Now, Japan.
What can I really say about what's going on in Japan?
Nothing. It's huge stuff, it's scary as hell and... Well, all I can say is that I wish I had the money to donate, I don't right now. I wish I did. 
Just take something as the fact that 10.000 people are missing in a town of 19.000.
That's half a town, that no one knows where they are.
Hard not to find it just abit scary.
My heart and hopes go out to the people of Japan. May you prevail through this.

Wow... what a downer to end it on.
Games Workshop is going to release an orangutan mechanic for Warhammer 40.000! 
Google Jokaero to see what I'm on about. Yeah, that's awesome enough to end on...


Nerd-Rage 101: Spiderman 3

New column! Here I will rage about a few things a number of friends have heard to death by now.

First up.. Spiderman 3. The movie. First I was planning to make a full review of the entire trilogy but it would only go "First two movies are great the third causes rage".
And no, Spiderman 3 does not cause me to rage because of Peter's silly dance under the influence of the symbiote, or because how forced the inclusion of Venom feels...
No. But there will be spoilers here, be warned.

What causes me to rage at this movie is the ending. Oh and the moronic thing revealed in any trailer: that it was Marco Flint(Sandman) who killed Uncle Ben f'real.
Which is incredibly stupid and I hate it when they do stuff like that.
However, what really pisses me off is after the final confrontation when Spidey tells Sandman he forgives him and Sandman drifts off on the wind.

Hold up a minute there and let that sink in... He's letting him go, because he forgives him... WHAT?! Aparently the countless lives and hundreds of thousands of dollars in property-damage ALONE towards the last half hour of the movie can all be just... washed away with "I forgive you.".. You know what? Fair enough that he forgives him for the murder of Uncle Ben. Sure. This does not however mean "Oh I'll totally let you just walk away and not even lift a finger to even try and stop you. Sure you robbed enough to buy a small country and you probably killed a few hundred during your little giant sandmonster-rampage. But that's ok because I forgive you for that one accidental shooting a few years ago. Also I forgive you for breaking out of prison."

Do you see why I have a problem with this? Because I really do. It pisses me off to no end. Not only does it go against the established character of our protagonist. It's also completely fucked up and incredibly stupid.
Actually that sums it up pretty nicely. I think I'll leave it at that. Now I need a cup of tea to soothe my rage.
Yeah, I won't be doing a worst-of list, I feel like being possitive.

Greatest Indie-Game:
What can I say about Chime? It's the game you should buy if you want to contribute a few bucks to charity. It's the game for you if you want a very good puzzle-game that will make you addicted in a second. It's the single best game for you if you love music.
It's simply great. If you haven't checked it out yet, I pity your soul.

Favourite Movie
Iron Man 2.
This is a suprise to no-one. Best movie of the year? No. But I loved every moment of it. And it has Scarlett Johansen in a low-cut skin-tight leather jumpsuit.
There are plenty of movies this year I simply missed though, I'll get to them. The local cinema kinda sucks like that so I end up seeing most of it on dvd.

Game of the Year:

Mass Effect 2.
Again, a suprise to absolutely no-one.
I was going to divide the list up into genres, and make a longer list, but frankly... Mass Effect 2 would win best RPG, best Action-game, best Story, best Character(Mordin) and so on.
It's just a spectacular space-opera from start to finish and despite one or two annoyances it really is just... fantastic.

Best FPS I haven't Had a  Chance to Really Play Yet:

The Ball.
FPS/Puzzler where you use a hammer to wack an ancient giant ball of Mayan Death onto monkeys, mummies, zombie-monkeys and pretty much everything else.
It's... really cool. But I haven't had a chance to really sink my teeth into it yet, full review to follow.

I'll really just leave it at that. Check out all 4 of the above and you are a better human being.


Daniel Laében-Rosén

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July 2012


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