2011-07-10

Elderlands

I have been enjoying the indie game Elderlands for quite some time now. Elderlands is made by the same people that made Dransik. Dransik is a game that has the same retro look to it, only with less polish. Dransik got a graphic update in an attempt to commercialize it, and became Ashen Empires. I'm not sure how that worked out, since I was never a fan of the graphic update. And I don't think I was alone in that, since there is now what's called Dransik Classic. Dransik Classic is basically free to play, but you probably have to atleast by the backpack upgrade in order to play it and keep your sanity. But luckily, thanks to Elderlands, we no longer need to play Dransik at all.

Elderlands is in Alpha, but with a retro game like this, I don't really care about that. Elderlands is free to play, so there really isn't much to loose.
If you like the game, you can of course donate to them.

Neverwinter Nights 2 and A Land Far Away

Steam is running a deal on Neverwinter Nights 2 right now: http://store.steampowered.com/app/2760/
It's the platinum edition, and as such includes the two expansion packs Mask of the Betrayer and Storm of Zehir. If you haven't played through these yet, you definitely should.

Another great way of enjoying NWN2 is A Land Far Away, or ALFA for short.
ALFA recreates the Dungeons and Dragons Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (aiming to cover the entire area of Faerûn

ALFA is heavily role playing oriented, and leveling takes time. In order to make sure that only roleplayers join the servers, there is an application process. One notable thing about ALFA is that it implements a permanent death system. If your character die, it's dead. There is no respawning. There are of course resurrection scrolls or powerful Clerics in the Forgotten Realms setting, but they are very hard to come by.

You can also get Neverwinter Nights 2 here.

OldUse

Olduse is basically Usenet, all over again. All Usenet posts are reposted to Olduse, but this time exactly 30 years after they were originally posted.

You can browse the posts at http://olduse.net, but since that's shared with all the other visitors of the site, I recommend using a news reader of your own. There is one built in to Mozilla Thunderbird if you are already using that. Just point your news reader to nntp.olduse.net.



There is also a forum if you want to discuss the "news" that pop up in olduse: http://olduse.net/forum/.

I quite liked one post were someone asked what these icons were that he had heard some newer operating systems used.

Olduse also tipped me of about this show:
Defense of the United States. It's a nice look into how the world was at the time.

2011-07-08

Shinsengumi (新選組)

I've just finished watching the 2004 NHK Taiga Drama Shinsengumi! (新選組!).
The story centers around Kondo Isami and the Shinsengumi, a group loyal to the Tokugawa Shogunate, created with the intent to keep the peace in Kyoto. It's a bit more complicated then that, if you watch the show, you will quickly notice.

Most of the show takes place right after the arrival of Captain Perry's black ships, a period of incredible political turbulence in Japan's history.

Kondo Isami is the third generation master of the Tennen Rishin-ryū, and he depended a lot on the help he got from his former students in the Shieikan dojo in Edo. The strongest support came from Hijikata Toshizō, the vice commander of the Shinsengumi. Hijikata was called the Demon Vice-Commander (鬼の副長, oni no fukuchou) because of his ruthless enforcing of the Shinsengumi regulations. It is believed that Hijikata created the Shinsengumi fighting style, Shinsengumi-Kenjutsu. Kondo also brought with him Okita Sōji, the captain of the first unit of the Shinsengumi. Soji was one of the best swordsmen in the Shinsengumi, having mastered all the techniques in the Tennen Rishin-ryu around 18 years of age. Another important member is Yamanami Keisuke, the general secretary of the Shinsengumi. Yamanami already held a license of total transmission from the Hokushin Itto-ryu. After being defeated by Kondo in a match, Yamanami joined the Shieikan dojo. Yamanami was a very soft spoken and educated man. The groups first leader Serizawa Kamo was an interesting man, full of ambiguity. After being released from jail instead of executed, he felt that he had a new life, and this one he would use to do whatever he wanted.

It's a great production and casting. The scenery is excellent, and so is the casting. I cared about the characters, and always wanted to keep watching.
Luckily, as most taiga dramas, Shinsengumi is 49 episodes long, of roughly 45 minutes each. The show is in Japanese, but there are English subtitles available.

Mr. Sunshine and Mad Love.

I was recently looking for new tv shows, and I found Mad Love, and Mr. Sunshine. Unfortunately the shows have already been cancelled, but they are still definitely worth the watch.

Mad Love features among others Jason Biggs, but no pies. Mad Love is basically How I Met Your Mother, only he meets the girl in the first episode. To really drive home the similarity, the girl is played by Sarah Chalke. I always liked Tyler Labine in Reaper, and this character isn't much different from Bert "Sock" Wysocki.

Mr. Sunshine features Matthew Perry as Ben Donovan, the operations manager in the Sunshine Center, an arena in San Diego. The big star in this show is Ben's boss Crystal Cohen, played by Allison Janney. She and Matthew Perry really makes this a fun show. The show is co-created by Matthew Perry.

You can watch Mr. Sunshine here.