ps238principal (ps238principal) wrote,


With the upcoming Mass Effect 3 release, I've been reliving the second game without having to actually play it by watching/listening to it via (warning: occasional swearing) Spoiler Warning. The players, like me, didn't care for the Cerberus-centrism of the game nor a lot of the apparent retconning of how the Reapers worked, but they, like me, enjoyed a lot of the recruitment and side quests. I think the same can be said for the most recent Fallout games and the last two Elder Scrolls games (though Skyrim's main quest was one of the better written ones). Looking at Skyrim especially, it almost seems to have several "main" quests, aside from the fact that the one involving dragons is supposed to save the world. The quests for the Thieves Guild, the College at Winterhold, the Dark Brotherhood, and the Companions are among those that are pretty involved by themselves, giving you some measure of status within each organization (or at least, better swag). What I'm thinking is, would a game like [INSERT MAJOR RPG FRANCHISE HERE] be more enjoyable if you had several long quest threads that you could take or leave without one that you were forced to deal with as much? Part of the time you wonder how you can get away with ignoring some pressing issue that needs to be resolved over in area X because you're having too much fun laying waste to the bad guys in area Y. I'm probably almost asking for a massive cinematic RPG where what's usually the downloadable content is the content and the "main quest" is an optional download that I'd probably never buy. :)

There's no feeling like realizing you've been driving with expired plates/tags for a year (oh, they were due in February of 2011? Whoops...). Having the care of a kid means even less driving than usual for me, and I've been parking my car in our driveway after what I suspect was a street sweeper clipped the front quarter panel on the ol' Civic. Not being parked on the street, it wasn't subject to a drive-by ticketing, and I hadn't apparently garnered enough attention to warrant being pulled over since my tags became worthless. While getting my plates renewed (at a City Hall where personal property taxes are payable by cash or check only, yet you can use debit/credit on the actual plates. I hear it's because the tax collection is privately run and the plates part is public. Funny world, huh?), I was told that police cars have/are getting a new feature: 360 degree plate-scanning cameras, which can be used to see if you've paid up on your vehicular fees (though it appears to mostly be used in stolen vehicle cases, finding out who was at a crime scene, etc.). If it's not called pay-dar yet, I call dibs on coining the term. Anyway, the law enforcement angle isn't what makes me groan as much as the possibility that this tech will probably be mounted on billboards and be used to pipe ads into your vehicle and/or cell phone. The day when a future-car's AutoDrive(TM) computer is overloaded thanks to popup ads for roadside "attractions" (we have a remarkable number of windowless buildings with neon signs along I-70 in Missouri) flooding into the vehicle's HUD probably isn't too far into the future. I suppose if you've gotta exit the world somehow, it beats having the last thing you see be an ad for printer toner.

And speaking of future cars, India will start seeing ones that run on compressed air. I've heard of these in the past, and they sound like a cool idea for congested cities, though what would happen if one of these met an SUV or a city bus remains to be seen (beyond a possible sudden gust of wind). On the plus side, if it has enough capacity, you could run a pneumatic drill off of the "fuel tank" to remove/replace the lug nuts on flat tire, I expect. Were I certain these would make it stateside, I'd move to trademark the parody product name (minor language warning) Perri-Air for a line of (literal) gas pumps that offer some claim of being a premium product over that pedestrian "atomospheric" gas the plebes fill their cars with. Of course, some convenience stores are already installing pumps dispensing other stuff, so your choices when you pull in are probably going to expand.

From that, we can segue into another story about stuff you might have available in your neighborhood. Before we do, I need to preface that I'm not condoning or encouraging drug use of any kind; this is more a commentary on how convenience in obtaining relief from nasal congestion has (at least facetiously) shifted from the legal to the illicit. Confused yet? One might one posit that, in some neighborhoods, one could more easily obtain illegal amphetamines than over-the-counter pseudoephedrine products (nasal decongestants that actually work, darnit). For the cold meds that actually work, I have to find a pharmacist, show I.D., sign my name, and hope that I don't need more of the stuff than whatever the monthly allotment is. With that in mind, some chemically-inclined people have presented a paper (and really, don't try this at home; it's more of a social commentary thing) about how to synthesize pseudoephedrine from, well, meth. If nothing else, it could lead the way to some kind of recycling program between pharmaceutical companies and law enforcement, right?

Onward to my deadline-looming projects. I hope to have news of a card game being rolled out by (I think) Gencon, for which I created some artsy stuff as well as more t-shirts, the third FFN volume (which should be here soon), and some preview pages from the next ps238 book (the first stand-alone trade). That's at least a weekend or two's efforts, provided I have proper caffeination beforehand (that is, just below the lethal dose). While doing "research" for my various tasks, I found the following peer-reviewed items:

- I'm trying to decide: Is this a superpower or an homage to the cartoon version of "Sweet Lou" Dunbar from The Harlem Globetrotters?
- Here's a kind of possible prop-treasure hunt for Star Wars aficionados: Did a prototype for the Stormtrooper helmet appear in The Blues Brothers? And if so, who has the original the mall versions were made from?
- We've seen the cigarette holder one before, but doesn't Bill Murray make a pretty incredible-looking FDR?
- Here's some creepy-fun point-n-click with The Old Tree. You're a green... something that has to solve puzzles to... well, just give it a try.
- And from a contest to create a game around the theme of "alone," here's The Love Letter. You've been given a note inscribed with a heart, but you have to read it where none of your classmates can see, before the second period bell rings (in 5 minutes).
- Ohhhhhhh, who's getting a movie in 2014? Some-Car-Toon-Show!
- Johnny "Tonto" Depp is back in buckskins as The Lone Ranger begins production. Most of that link is technical and credit information, and there's no mention of werewolves, so... I dunno. Claim jumpers are still a possibility, I guess.
- As is often the case with cloned mammoths, flying cars, and artificial sweeteners that taste good, someone is taking a crack at getting a space elevator to work. They still need some kind of system to keep some obnoxious kid from making it stop on every floor.
- In other science stuff, a fabric that converts body heat into electricity is being worked out. D-Class subjects used for testing the invention have thus far experienced instantaneous formation of ice crystals in all bodily fluids followed by electrocution. Ice zombies remain a possibility.
- And in SCIENCE! stuff, here's how to build your own life-sized Aperture Science turret. I'm assuming they'll post the plans for the slug-throwing mechanism later?
- If you have $1.4 million and nothing to do with it, you could buy a town in Montana, for certain definitions of "town."
- There might be something brewing involving the classic RPG Baldur's Gate. Because you didn't need the rest of your life anyway, right?
- Previously, some concept art for a canceled Steampunk Batman game, Gotham by Gaslight was unearthed. Now, this site has some recovered video of the game engine and its awesome cape-rendering abilities.
- I'm probably late to the party on this one, but I didn't realize that this song inspired the theme to Futurama.
- Shouldn't Davros or The Emperor Dalek be center stage in The Last Supper of the Daleks, or is it whoever hasn't been exterminated that gets to be in the picture?
- Indi Cannon isn't a misspelled title for an article about Dr. Jones and his continuity. Instead, you're firing a fedora-wearing archaeologist as far as you can... into adventure! Gather coins with as few "Indi" shots as possible.
Tags: cold medication, dmv, mass effect, role-playing games, skyrim, video games
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