June 12 Can’t Come Fast Enough

To prepare for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, ESPN is doing a very nice job at covering every team until the tournament begins (32 Teams in 32 Days). Additionally, some cool, specialized artwork has been created for every team (you can see all of them here) and I’ve added some of my favorites below. The teams I’m rooting for, in no particular order: Italy, because I’m an Italian and and have greasy hair.  The Netherlands because I like their style of play and because they win the prize for brightest color in the tournament.  America, because, well….I live in America and the poster features a guy who looks like me (a bald tough guy). Can’t forget France, because I didn’t think it was possible to make French people look so intimidating.

 

My Declaration of Rights: A Missive From An Angry, Yet Hopeful, Assassins Creed Fan

Liberty, Equality, Fraternity. That was the motto of the French Revolution, which set in motion a series of events that breathed fresh air into ideas such as nationalism, democracy, and liberalism.  With the recently announced Assassins Creed: Unity,  Ubisoft itself seems to be breathing new air into its own marquee franchise, creating the very first Assassins Creed exclusively for the new console generation.  But will the old ideals of previous AC games make their way into the new and improved version?

For me, I was hoping that Assassins Creed 4 would rival Assassins Creed 2 as the premiere title  in the series. Instead, I got was the same game I’ve been playing the last four years.  Is this what passes for sequels now?  The same game, set in a different time period or location?  In other words: the series hasn’t changed.  I go into every AC game, hoping they cut out the unnecessary animus story but it’s still there.  Whenever it comes up, I just find myself increasingly uninterested and eventually losing interest and just burning through missions.

assassin-s-creed-black-flagOne thing I absolutely cannot gripe about, though, is Ubisoft’s attention to detail of said historic places. Ubisoft is just unbelievably talented at making everything look awesome.  Much credit to the design team because every game I am more in awe of the detail they put into the environments.  I anxiously await the chance to run pell-mell through turn of the century France. Actually, I’m looking to run pell-mell through pallid, consumptive Parisian whores. (ed. note: seriously; where’s my AAA-title sex mini game?)

So much like Impervious Rex says ever single year he’s NOT getting the new entry into the Call of Duty series yet does (ed. note: what a hypocrite), I promised myself that I wouldn’t get the new Assassins Creed unless it took place during the French Revolution.  Well, apparently Ubisoft has been spying on me because here we are. Damn you, Ubisoft, damn you all the way to the ATM for my $65 and change. Now let’s hope you can pull off something revolutionary worth my hard-earned francs.

Back with a Bang!!

Like the moon, I wax AND I wane! Though I never know which is which, so suffice it to say that I have returned. I know it’s been awhile but you can blame/thank the state of New Jersey who apparently wants people like me to play video games less and worry about educating their children more. LAME.

Why do teachers have to waste their time on such petty things like making sure students meet their SGOs (Student Goal Objectives)?  I didn’t get into teaching to change lives, I got into teaching for that first week in November where you work on Monday, have Tuesday off for Election Day (play the new Call of Duty), work again on Wednesday, then have Thursday and Friday off to go down to Atlantic City and gamble your face off (I mean…attend the Teachers Convention), recuperate over the weekend (Again, more Call of Duty), THEEEEEN, have Monday off for Veterans Day (You guessed it, more Call of Duty)  So while I’ve been slaving away, perfecting my lesson plans and making sure all the children of the Garden State get my best,my video gaming time has become scant.

For real though,  I love my job.  But the most recent  Call of Duty: Ghosts launch trailer has me just a wee bit excited for the first week in November. And the PS4…and Assassin’s Creed IV….and Killzone(ed.note: Killzone? Really??)……and Battlefield 4. Here’s hoping the state and the union agree on more of those five day weekends.

Winter is Coming…..But Football’s Here Now

Today is the day that most of America waits for (ed.note: not me). No, its not the first day of school. That’s just me.  My new school looks a lot like Alcatraz from the outside…and on the inside as well, surprisingly enough.  I don’t know how that place passes inspection every year.  What I’m mean is Thursday night is the kickoff off the NFL season.  Could it be possible that people who watch 300 pound guys brutalize each other over a ball also really enjoy fantasy political gamesmanship, dragons, dire wolves and 800 feet walls of ice? Eh, it’s probably the copious, copious boobs.  But if you ask The Bleacher Report, they would say “yes, yes, one thousand times yes” (ed.note: I checked with BR; they said they would never say that).  Here are some awesome pics of your favorite team getting the Game of Thrones treatment. Check out his page for the full list.  (via Djroomba)

What Kind of Life Will YOU Live?!?!

EA Sports NHL 2014 has been dropping videos and information like nobody’s business about this year’s offering.  An AI Improvements statement here, a goalkeeping improvement video there.  EA seems to be really getting us ready for the last major NHL game before the jump to next gen consoles and are just tossing out everything they can think of, Today there’s a brand new video highlighting the Be a Pro mode which made its debut in NHL 09.  More than just being a player in NHL 14, you also have this life outside of hockey.  Your personality will shine through and your formative trials n’ tribulations as a young lad growing up in the mean streets of Manitoba will show itself once you step on the rink.

Now its not just what you do on the ice that determines your progression to worlds greatest toothless guy who can probably squat around 690 pounds, its how you handle yourself off the ice which determines your career progression.  Thinking about carrying an unlicensed gun in a nightclub wearing sweaties? I wouldn’t do that.  Wanna go home with that stripper from the club while you’re wife is at home with two kids? Probably not a good idea (ed.note: Says you).

During your life as a professional you’ll have to learn how to handle the media.  You can be of the Tom Brady/Peyton Manning breed and constantly just say the right things and always do whats best for the team.  Or…..you can take the Sean Avery route. You decide.

You’ll be interviewed before you enter the draft. You’ll be interviewed about pre-game jitters and post-game regrets.  You also better watch out for those off the field instances that fell many a career.  Do you really NEED to have a dog fighting ring in your backyard?  Do you really NEED to bring weed on an airplane on the way to a music festival?  You love wearing Unforgiveable cologne by Sean John?  Play well enough and Diddy will be begging you to be the face of his product along with all other sorts of endorsement deals.  Finally, Likeability meters detect (ed.note: WHAT DO THEY DETECT??) how well you are like by your teammates, management, and most importantly, the fans.  You can be like Mariano Rivera/Derek Jeter and have people begging you to be their teammates.  Or you can completely isolate yourself like A-Rod and management will want nothing more then to get you out of the clubhouse.

Enough with the real life comparisons, I know.  On a serious not there are actually some pretty interesting concepts and ideas that are integrated in this completely overhauled mode.  My personal favorite is that if you’re a bad teammate, your teammates won’t pass you the puck as much.  A hockey regular season is 82 games plus the playoffs.  I believe it would be very hard to find time to enjoy 10-15 seasons of this.  My approach to these types of modes is simply just to not play every game, Play the important games and the playoff games.  Tight race for first with the three games to go…  Hop on in.  Middle of the season and playing a last place team… I’ll pass.  My one question, and this will determine if I do this…. Do I have to control just my player or can I play as the whole team like you can in the FIFA franchise?

For die hard hockey fans this really is an awesome and time consuming mode which gets you really involved. This, coupled with the plethora of new improvements to gameplay, shows that the NHL franchise on current gen systems is leaving it all out on the ice.

Friday Night Flix: Trollhunter

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Welcome to Friday Night Flix, where there’s never a need to leave the couch or put on pants. Each week I’ll recommend an under-the-radar movie currently available on one or more of the major streaming platforms. They won’t all be classics, but every selection is guaranteed to be 100% watchable or your money back.

I was one of the few people who after they saw The Blair Witch Project actually believed it was real. It wasn’t until a few hours after the movie that my buddy who I went to see it with told me it was fake.  He didn’t make fun of me or laugh at me, he just thought that I didn’t know much about all the hype surrounding the movie.  It makes me think that possibly somewhere in Norway there is a similar young child out there who shares those same feelings for the movie Trollhunter.  Granted, Trollhunter is a bit more sci-fi but some mockumentaries do a good job of camouflaging there real art.  It’s for this reason why I can’t just dismiss Trollhunter as a silly, run of the mill, goof type of movie.  Maybe for some 15 or 16 year olds, watching this movie will make them want to become explorers or mountain dwellers or even spelunkers.

The movie starts out with a bunch of college students researching a person who is going around and poaching bears. Things become interesting when the students begin to think that possible poacher is not so much after bears but after something else. They decide to follow this man, named Hans, in the woods to find out what his real MO is.  Not so much bear poaching, but troll hunting, in order to shield the people of Norway that trolls exist.  The students witness this and now Hans has no choice but to take them along for the ride.

It’s easy to say that a movie of this type would not take itself too seriously. But somehow, Trollhunter doesn’t go into the realm of the complete ridiculous.  Ridiculous. Maybe, but COMPLETE ridiculous. Not so much.  Trolls can’t eat humans with too much vitamin D or else they will turn to stone.  Better not be a christian, cause that’ll be the death of you.  See, ridiculous, but not too ridiculous.  Trolls passing gas while they sleep. Ridiculous….I better stop here or else I’ll have to change my stance.  America has been in a vampire funk for the last few years now and hopefully that phase will pass.  Are the trolls of Norway the vampires of America? Is this such a fascination to them as we are obsessed with Bella and freakishly pale Robert Pattinson?

As mentioned earlier, Hans is trying to keep the existence of trolls a secret from the people of Norway by the order of the government.  But what if we do encounter a troll?

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