de_cbble headshank

Ridding society of guns does not rid it of violence. Man is a killer. Remember that the Japanese were not pacifists until they got nuked and occupied into submission. An example of extreme violence in modern Nippon.

Beef Bowl: The Game

When the ban on American beef imports rang the death knell for gyu-don (beef bowl), the most popular dish served at beloved fast food chain/icon of Japanese culture Yoshinoya, I tapped out a hasty ode to it in this post (gyu-don photos are posted here). I sure miss the emotional comfort that Yoshi-gyu provided; no matter where you were, at any hour, drunk or sober (usually the former), chances were there was a Yoshinoya within driving distance ready to serve you up a steaming bowl of tender sliced beef and onions – for a pittance. Indeed, around 3 AM the local Yoshinoya was like a beacon for night people and you could always count on hearing conversations between truckers (almost always baseball), street racers (quite often lamenting accidents or trading info about new police hotspots – very useful for avoiding random stops), or groups of people getting off the graveyard shift.
BSE and the subsequent media hype killed the Yoshi-gyu experience. Menu substitutions such as “pork bowl” and “bowl o’ curry” simply do not share the status or emotional attachment of a beef bowl, so for the most part, the Cult of Beefeaters, at present, has dropped from sight. In the minds of all, Yoshinoya has lost its unofficial designation as Temple of Beef. I feel very deeply for those who never got the chance to enrich their lives with the One True Way and achieve the higher state of being that I will simply refer to as moo.
Do you doubt claims about the emotional attachment Japanese people have to a particular chain of stores slinging cheap bowls of beef on rice? I guess I really have no way of proving it to you in person anytime soon, but if you have a PlayStation 2, you may be able to have a virtual look for yourself, from the eyes of a Yoshinoya employee:

For the unwashed masses unfamiliar with the game and the Yoshinoya Corporation, allow us to bring you up to speed. Yoshinoya is a company that was founded over a century ago in Japan and that has built an empire around the simple pleasures of a bowl of rice with some thinly sliced beef and onion on top. The chain of reasonably priced foodstuffs has expanded from a family-run store, which opened in a fish market in Nihonbashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, in 1899, to more than 1,000 stores worldwide as of 2001. Having conquered the food sector over the last few decades, the chain has set its sights on the video game world with the help of Japanese developer Success and the simply titled Yoshinoya for the PlayStation 2.
So how on earth could a game even hope to capture the essence of such a company in playable form? Surprisingly easily. If you’ve ever played the classic game Root Beer Tapper, you’ll have a small sense of what Success has done. You’ll take the role of a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed trainee at a Yoshinoya store who must work his way up through the ranks of the apron-and-hat-wearing set to be the best employee to ever seat a customer, pour tea, prepare a bowl, and shout “Arigato gozaimashita!”

Read the full preview done by GameSpot.
Personally, I’d pass on this game as I have no desire to come home from my job everyday just to simulate another one (wait a minute – is being a T/CT considered a “job?”), but I think it’s an interesting concept and I hope it does well. If anybody who has played it reads this post, I’d like to hear what you think of it.
Hat tip to Joystiq, a new daily read.

Fragalicious

My aussie pal John is getting serious about Counter-strike; I think he’s hooked. Last time he came over to the house he played for five hours straight and ignored everyone around him, totally absorbed in the game. Yeah, I think I hooked him good. He bought a new PC and a new video card just so he could play… Next thing you know, he’ll stop eating “in real life” and be mean to his wife for trying to talk to him “when he’s defusing.”
I’ll get some screen shots of me owning him and post later.

Cake

Today’s tip for lonely nerds: Forget the present, it is over by the time you think about it. Instead, relive the past and play a text-based adventure game. Like this:

Welcome to Zork. This version created 11-MAR-91 (PHP mod 25-OCT-2001)
There are 2 users playing Zork.
You are in an open field west of a big white house with a boarded front door.
There is a small mailbox here.
> open mailbox
Opening the mailbox reveals:
A leaflet.
> read leaflet
Taken.
Welcome to Zork!
Dungeon is a game of adventure, danger, and low cunning. In it you will explore some of the most amazing territory ever seen by mortal man. Hardened adventurers have run screaming from the terrors contained within.
In Dungeon, the intrepid explorer delves into the forgotten secrets of a lost labyrinth deep in the bowels of the earth, searching for vast treasures long hidden from prying eyes, treasures guarded by fearsome monsters and diabolical traps!
No DECsystem should be without one!

I get very sentimental playing these games. The simulated command lines and monochromatic display of modern online versions effectively invoke that special 80’s hacker nostalgia. I fondly remember going to basic programming workshops in the summer and coding my mom a scrolling ASCII birthday cake for her next birthday (“just type R-U-N, mom!”). My parents were pretty cool that way, come to think of it – maybe the reason I never really got into the dark side like some of the other kids was that I was raised in a home where computing was openly encouraged from an early age.
Disclaimer: I did get busted once by my parents at about age 13 for calling phone sex and dial-a-joke numbers. I had failed at my attempts to make the calls for free and charges showed up on the monthly bill for 1-900-SEX-TALK or whatever. That ended my brief career as a phreak, and quite possibly affected the timing of the “birds and the bees” talk from my dad a short time later.

Condition Zero Review

In 3 words: Disappointing as hell.
Description: CS 1.6 with bots. There were a few new maps and minor tweaking of some old maps. Whoopee.
Worth 30 bones (at discount price)?
HELL NO! But if you are a CS junkie, you will buy it anyway (like I needed to tell you that)
Interesting note: If HL2 is this disappointing, I may smash my comp and only play sissy console games from now on.

Dead to Rights Game Review

Even though I haven’t posted forever, I feel the burning need to warn fellow FPS enthusiasts about the PC game, Dead to Rights. I am very glad I “test drove” the “free” version (thank you, BitTorrent!) of this dreck before buying it. This is an X-Box title ported to PC, and it apparent in its blockiness, difficulty of use, and bloated code. The cracked version is 4 CDs in size! (The fourth CD contains only the crack.) Dude! This game is GAY! Better yet, this game is FAG! To summarize, Dead to Rights is GAYFAG (half of a star out of five, almost as bad as Cool Darts). On one of the earlier levels, you suddenly switch from the role of the main character, a dual .45 packin’ cop with attack dog, into an exotic dancer. I shit you not. You have to tap arrow keys to the rhythm indicated on screen to make the dancer on stage shake her ass in order to create a distraction and allow your main character to sneak by the bouncers in the club. GAY FAG! I can’t even begin to express how gay this gender-switching role made me feel. I am secure in my homophobia, let me tell you. By the end of the scene, I was looking for exotic dancers in the room just so I could shoot them and work off some steam while making that icky feeling go away.
So have I made myself clear? Only homos play this game. (I finished it in one night.)
Also, a general observation regarding this whole genre of games:
Mandatory “auto-aim” sucks! I understand it as an option for the console game crowd, but people who play FPS on the PC platform are more sophisticated than that (or at least most of us like to think so). I mean really, why the hell have a scoped rifle in the game if you can’t even use the scope and aim it by yourself?
/end nerdrant