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April 18th 2007

I remember in 1996 I read in various magazines that the band Take That had broken up. Following that news and according to several other mags at that time a few people - mostly teenage girls - killed themselves after hearing that their favorite band was no more. And in 2006 the band actually came together again and announced tours and a new album. Now don't get me wrong, I don't really care about Take That. But what I find kind of interesting is that the suicide of those girls is now actually in vain. I mean, it kind of was in vain before as well, but now it's just twice as senseless. I wonder if the band members ever thought of that.

April 17th 2007

Just wanted to recommend a few things. There are several books available already for the webcomic Order of the Stick. The comic has it all: Unique art style, greatly developed characters, entertaining storyline and humor. If you don't know it, start reading now. If you want to buy the books start with "Dungeon Crawlin' Fools", continue with "On The Origin of PCs" (containing all new comics not available on the net), "No Cure for the Paladin Blues" and then finally "Start of Darkness" (again completely original story not available on the net), which is brand new and not released yet (pre-order!).

Same goes for the webcomic Sinfest. It's plain awesome and funny 99% of the time and there are three books available on

The new Nine Inch Nails album Year Zero is out. I guess it's something you have to hear for yourself to be able to form an opinion. You can listen to the whole album on the official site.

For more music, take a look around the internet for Morphine. It has been recommended to me by my friend blackjack. My favorite songs so far: "Whisper", "Shame" and "I Had My Chance".

And I've probably said it already, but short stories by Roald Dahl are very impressive. The book Collected Short Stories contains all short stories and is absolutely recommendable.

April 16th 2007

I've seen The Lord of the Rings Symphony. Wow. Simple words don't do it justice. I was and still am truly amazed.

Ever since the long sessions with Final Fantasy 3 during my Christmas vacation my DS had been collecting dust in the corner of my room. Then I finally decided to play the last two missions of Advance Wars: Dual Strike two weeks ago, and in total I can say that it was a very great game and I'd recommend it to anybody who doesn't have anything against the GBA-ish graphics. But now I'm keeping my DS busy again with the new Ouendan (or Elite Beat Agents). There weren't any releases recently that interested me, but I saw a lot of good responses for Ouendan, so I picked it up. This game is truly addicting and immensely funny. I heard the US version is a completely different game with different songs and all, and the Japanese version is way better, that's why I now own the latter. Although I might pick up the US version too, the gameplay is fun, so I guess the music won't really matter. I can't read nor understand Japanese, but all the little stories are illustrated like a comic, so you can figure everything out on your own. Having watched a few anime series helps, though. Especially to understand the humor.

And I finally got some time to play Command & Conquer 3. Well, what can I say. It's good old C&C gameplay. At last! And Kane's back. And the videos are awesome and funny. What more reasons do you need to play this game?

In case anyone remembers, I talked to my boss about reducing the weekly 40 working hours a bit, but I came to the conclusion that it won't matter. I'd still waste one hour by driving to work and home again every day. And my girlfriend is still 200 km away, which is another four hours of driving every week, so I'll probably quit the job and look for another one in Vienna. That wouldn't only solve the time problem, but would also take care of the gas expenses, the car repairs (which are getting more and more), and the overall problem I have with my work - which I still have to figure out. I think the job isn't the right one. Sitting all day in front of the screen in the same room with about eight other persons and then returning home only to sit even more hours in front of the screen for my personal projects is kind of ... straining. On the other hand it's quite convenient to sit in the office, having a fast internet connection and being able to talk to people I'd have never had the time otherwise to do so. But there are a lot of things that really bug me and I want to change this very fast.

Speaking of my projects, I guess there's a little update overdue on what's going on. Antaran is close to being finished. One more entry and then I'll go over the whole thing again, proof-read and check the story, then it's time to get it to and print it and then when I hold the thin book in my hands I put it on the shelf and get on with the next project: HQA Comics. There aren't a lot of comics left to do, but in the past year I kind of hesitated doing these for various reasons. Now the comic will get its ending. It should be around April/May.

Then with those two projects out of my head, the way should be clear for Halfquake's third installment.

However, my mind has been playing tricks on me again and decided to come up with ideas for another flash game, which is already planned out and in fact already playable. I'm not sure if I will continue making it though. I don't really want to have yet another reason to stall Halfquake 3. It's finally time to get it out there.

Next to all these things I'm also still trying to do some music with TheNameless and TaskBeenden under the name Taskless Sheep. We should be able to pump up another bunch of tracks pretty soon.

April 12th 2007

Day 61 of Antaran's Journal has surfaced.

April 06th 2007

I'm currently on vacation and I'll be back for my regular life on April 10th, I guess. One week ago I attended a Nine Inch Nails concert. Few hours after the concert my allergic spring reactions finally set in. How I've missed it. With itching eyes and regular sneezing, and having a hard time breathing, you can imagine working on my projects is not really what I'm willing to do right now. Thus, I keep playing games and watching movies and series. The Longest Journey surprised me. I had played Dreamfall first, so going back to a game that was like ten years old wasn't as easy at first, but the world and the story sucked me in and in total I can say that I prefer The Longest Journey over Dreamfall. I really love both, but TLJ has a certain charm to it that I will surely remember from now on. After TLJ I started playing S.T.A.L.K.E.R. which I'd been looking forward to quite a while now. Well, after playing for a few hours I feel disappointed. The graphics are very nice, even if not up to Half-Life 2 standards. But what really bugs me are the absolutely senseless sidequests that have you running around for rewards that are completely unnecessary to you, because you don't need to buy ammo or food or anything because you get plenty of that stuff by looting your enemies' corpses, and thus you don't need to sell the sidequests rewards. And, what are they calling it - Al? Artificial Life, or something. Well, it might be true that Stalkers sit around the fire and tell stories (in russian), and sometimes whip out their guitars to play a few (nice) tunes, but overall it seems to be a bit buggy (when going to sleep they start snoring before even starting the lie-down-animation). And why does everybody have the same guitar? The animations for all models are below standards, and while talking they just open and close their mouth like fish, while even Half-Life 1 already opened mouths according to the volume of the given speech. Okay, normally I wouldn't really bash a game for its look if the actual gameplay were fun. But it somehow isn't. In total it's a dull Counter-Strike clone in a post-apocalyptic environment. Dark Messiah was fun. Half-Life 2 Episode 1 was fun. But Stalker lacks certain things. Oh yeah, did I mention Stalker has 5 different endings or something? Who the hell cares about different endings? It's only frustrating.
Anyway, the second game I played was Runaway 2, a point and click adventure. I really enjoyed the demo, that's why I picked up the full game. Now I liked the first three chapters of the game. Sometimes the puzzles were slightly too far-fetched for my taste, but overall it was a fun experience. The dialogs are witty and the art is wonderful. However, after the third chapter things started getting really ugly. The story suddenly involved aliens and other far-fetched stuff. Also, the character Joshua makes me wanna go kill somebody. Do you remember Jar-Jar Binks from Star Wars? Joshua is probably twice as annoying. And the most ironic thing is: In the end the demo was the reason I lost interest in the main game. Why? Because the demo let you play a part very LATE in the main game. That wouldn't be so bad, if they hadn't changed the puzzles, leaving out areas and one complete character! It was very frustrating to find out that when you thought it's just like the demo, it actually wasn't. I had to go through all dialogs again, and search all places once again even though I'd basically already done it. Which leads me to another "flaw" in the game: You find a lot of items in areas that you can't use. Although after talking to NPCs you need to go back to those areas and try all those items again, because your character now may think he needs items he previously didn't "know" he'd need, which in the end makes you search places more than just once, which, in my opinion, is extremely frustrating if items are already just a few pixels small anyway.
After the part that was somehow the same as in the demo the story revealed something about aliens. And I'm really tired of aliens used as explanation for mysterious events. It's like saying a villain kills people "because he can" or because "humans are stupid". Well, duh. Or after a long story the main character wakes up and realizes "it was just a dream". In the case of Runaway 2 I guess it was meant in a humorous way, but I'm just tired of it. The story up until that part was very entertaining and engaging, but I've lost interest in it. I probably will never play the remaining two chapters. Just like the first Runaway: Everything was nice until the one part with the weird transvestites. Somebody in the story department needs a swift kick in the ass.

I won't write reviews for Runaway 2 and Stalker because I won't finish them (well, maybe I'll finish Runaway 2 someday). And I realize that writing reviews doesn't have much sense anyway, so I guess I will probably take a break from writing reviews for a while and just recommend games and movies in the little MS box to the left. Giving scores to something is just a personal opinion anyway, and in the end it's either recommendable or not. And if it is, you'll read about it here.

Just in case you're looking for something interesting to read, try the interview with Ragnar Tornquist, the creator of The Longest Journey.




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