Thursday, November 21, 2013
This is the video that a few people have been talking about of a "lap record" for Manhattan. If you havent seen the video, you arent missing much, because this isnt even close to the real record. For starters, the driver is not what you would call a racing class driver and takes bizarre, amateurish lines. Probably more importantly, it looks like it was done around 10-11pm at night, not 4:30am which is the only suitable, safe time for such a stunt. There were way too many cars on the road to do anything approaching a burning lap. The guy got arrested after the video made the news, and now cops want to try to confiscate his car to try to discourage anyone from trying to "beat his time" (lol).
Street racing is pretty much dead here in NYC, and although I do appreciate the effort and tribute to those who made previous videos, lets just say the real Manhattan lap record probably wont ever be published in a video or talked about on the evening news. The real record is well under 20 minutes, and I think if you had a true supercar with a pro level driver, and it could easily be done in under 15 minutes. I cant even imagine what sort of time a lunatic on a superbike like GhostRider could do.
353kmh is well over 200mph. Hey, you only live once :-)
Monday, November 11, 2013
Sunday, October 27, 2013
So I finally got Hotline Miami. Despite months of urging from friends and everyone I know proclaiming it one of the best indie games in years, I kind of resisted. Despite the fact that the game has my name written on the box - twitchy retro styled arcadey twin stick shooter/melee stealth action game with some sort of post-modern story and a truly epic soundtrack of electronic music, I didnt buy it. I probably played the demo 4-5 times. Finally, the game became free on PS Plus this month so with nothing to lose but time, I downloaded it, and oh man has it clicked. And yes, I agree with you Ubercrunch, the soundtrack is indeed 5 stars.
I recall the time I first heard Dinosaur Jr. It was at a friends house in high school and we had been drinking a lot. "What is this shit? It sounds fucking horrible..." Yet my friend Alex kept playing it, and after a great deal of struggling and resistance, I finally came around to Dino and eventually they became one of my favorite bands of all time. Sometimes, repetition is necessary, even if its against your own will. Sometimes, even despite all the evidence telling you that you should like something, some part of you resists it with all of your being. Sometimes, you are just wrong - it just takes time to figure these things out.
Friday, October 18, 2013
As a couple of you may have noticed, I rarely get on Xbox Live anymore. I miss the hell out of spending time online with you guys, but, unfortunately, this is how it's going to be from here on out.
I love gaming and that's not going to change. Last week I played the Battefield 4 beta on PC, Ni No Kuni on PS3, and even broke out some retro PS1 games on an emulator (Jumping Flash!). But one of my problems is that my time for gaming is usually very sporadic and happens in very short intervals because of work, family (kid #3 on the way - holy crap!), friends, other hobbies, etc. Another is that by the time most of you are online, I'm usually exhausted and ready to get horizontal. Even if I have the juice to stay up, I know that my kids will be up at 7am ready to conquer the universe. I used to push myself to stay up and deal with the repercussions, but it makes for a terrible next day and isn't fair to my kids to have to deal with grumpy zombie-dad.
The last year of my life has also seen a dramatic change to a different lifestyle altogether that has made significant improvements to my outlook on absolutely everything, which in turn has made me a better father/husband/friend/human and it's not something I want to lose. Instead of feeling like crap on Saturday morning, I'm usually up at 6:30am negotiating rough trails through a forest preserve on my Kona, running a few miles through downtown Chicago, or pushing through dead-lifts and power-cleans at the gym. In many ways, this new lifestyle is my new obsession; it's my new videogames. I know this sounds cheesy and I promise I'm not turning into a meat-headed douche-bag, but it's something that keeps me interested, motivated, and excited about life.
I may jump on LIVE occasionally and be lucky enough to see you guys online for a game or two, but more often than not you will not hear from me for weeks or months at a time. To most of you this probably doesn't matter considering that this is already the case, but I just wanted the few of you to know that it mattered to ME to acknowledge it and tell you that although I may be missing in action, I still love games, miss all of you, and haven't forgotten our golden years of Xbox Live glory.
Mike / MDSFX / MD Galaxy
Posted by md galaxy at 4:20 AM
Sunday, October 6, 2013
Ubercrunch (aka Chris Byrd) has been working on a piece about GTA V and Thomas Pynchon for Al Jazeera for a while and today it was published on their website. If you dont know who Thomas Pynchon is, he is one of the most important American writers of the last 50 years and he just released his new book, Bleeding Edge, on the same day that GTA V came out. Uber found this coincidence fascinating and decided to write a piece about the two works. Highly recommended, you can read it right here:
Should Thomas Pynchon Play GTA V? - Al Jazeera.com
Another friend and fellow New Yorker, who you might remember from his days as an IGN writer, Michael Thomsen, also recently wrote a piece about GTA V and our modern Surveillance State for the New Republic, which is very insightful and also highly recommended:
Videogames Are Making Us Too Comfortable With The Modern Surveillance State - New Republic.com
Saturday, September 28, 2013
My favorite parts of San Andreas were the BMX bike and the Stunt Plane, so you can imagine how disappointed I was when GTA IV featured neither. Rockstar apparently realized that an important part of a sandbox game is actually giving people some toys to play with, and they have righted the ship (and then some) with GTA V. Im having some wild visions in my head of a multiplayer game with stunt planes flying upsidedown under bridges and BMX bikes dropping onto them and flipping off while C4 charges explode oil tankers above and cars do burnout drift donuts around dancing throngs of people firing AK47s in the air.
The online potential is insane. Who needs an Xbox One when we have GTA Online?
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
As a Phil Collins fan, I was pretty surprised to hear this song featured prominently in GTA V. Not only is Phil Collins considered uncool by a certain segment of the population, but the song's slow tempo and unique production style dont exactly scream soundtrack material. However, Rockstar used the track brilliantly to elaborate on Michael's character, his dissatisfaction with life and his disconnection with his family. Nothing should surprise me when it comes to Rockstar, but GTA V has done so several times already.
You might think that this song is also referring to my attitude towards this blog, but thats not the case. The lack of updates is the result of both moving, and trying to setup my new place, and my laptop nearly dying. Well, only the keyboard, but it was enough to virtually get me off the internet for about a week. My new place still has a lot of work to do, and during this time Ive had Payday 2, Splinter Cell Blacklist and now GTA V to thank for their amazing ability to enable my procrastination to reach new levels. Its not that I dont care, Im just distracted and lazy - and thats when Im not playing poker 40-50 hours a week. Its just me being a human being. If you guys ever want to post something here during my lulls, please feel free to.
Overall Im not sure what the future of gaming holds for me, I mean theoretically I will probably buy another game console eventually but right now I just cant get the internal hype meter to budge at all. Of course, eventually some console exclusive arcade style game will be released which I just have to play (Resogun looks great), but these days I find myself happy to turn to my backlog of older games and systems. The 360/PS3 generation has a great case for being the best generation of gaming ever, as it certainly lasted the longest. Sure, I always want more fidelity and higher framerates, but it seems that as soon as new consoles are released, developers chase their tail by trying to up the textures, animations and physics to the point where they are happy achieving 30 frames per second at any resolution.
So, basically Im at a point where I dont care about graphics. I mean, I never have really, but everyone can appreciate a nice spectacle. Metro Last Light and FFXIV Reborn look amazing on PC, but thats not the reason to play them. I bought an Ouya. It still doesnt have enough games but Im trying to support it. The graphics are just not the point there. I still play on my Wii, in glorious 480p. I still fire up the old Xbox 1 (not Xbox One) and get enjoyment out of Burnout 3 and MechAssault. The 8 and 16 bit consoles will be on hiatus for a while as I made the difficult decision to scrap my 3 CRT TVs in the move, as the space they take up is ridiculous and Im at the point where explaining why I own them to normal people has become a bit of an embarrassment and certainly tiresome.
But life moves on. Im trying to make changes that are positive and explore some new directions. One of them might be taking a break from gaming for a bit, to focus on other things. But not yet. Not when the greatest game console ever - the Xbox 360 - is in the last waning days of its spectacular life, and certainly not when a game which may redefine what we expect out of videogames is squeezing every last bit of life out of it.