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So, I haven’t posted in awhile… June 5, 2007

Posted by rytiko in Inside the Mind.

Lately I’ve been a bit preoccupied and haven’t had much to talk about. Well, nothing of incredible interest, anyway. For awhile now I’ve been incredibly bored, as the switch to Florida Virtual School has proved to be worse than I thought. The classes, though outrageously and almost sickeningly easy, are tedious. And most of them just started yesterday, postponing my Michigan trip for awhile. However, because of this, I’ve been able to arrange an agreement with my mother –

If I’m able to complete all of my core classes and Spanish in a month, then I can go to MI for the rest of the summer, and work on my elective class there. The elective being web design, I’m not even going to bother trying to complete it in a month’s time. It’s not worth the trouble. And in MI I’ll most likely be staying at a friend’s house who knows a bit about it for a month anyway, so it’ll be made at least somewhat easier in that regard. Talking with people online for minor assistance when needed is nice, but having someone right there is nicer.

Aside from the boredom and the somewhat exciting prospect of getting to spend a very long time in my hometown, things have been alright. I’ve had my ups and downs, as everyone does, but  things are definitely going pretty well. Because of a few decisions/changes in thought I feel a bit more freedom than before, and now I’ve got plenty to keep me occupied with my almost-all-day school thing (simply because I explore the internet between assignments) and my new Xbox 360.

Oh yeah. I finally got my hands on one, for an amazing price. It’s a serviced system, however I got the premium console with all accessories, minus the mic but with the addition of a wired controller, for an unbelievable $280, and that’s after shipping and handling and shipping insurance. So, when I get the time, my game reviews will probably be coming in at least somewhat more often.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got to say for now. My activity on wordpress will hopefully increase, though I’ll be taking a leave of absence for nearly a month after I finish my classes, because the first month in MI I’ll probably have very limited internet access. The final month, when I’m at my friends’ house, is when I’ll begin activity again. And, of course, when I return home.


Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner February 27, 2007

Posted by rytiko in Entertainment.
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I may sound like a bit of a Hideo Kojima fanboy after saying this, but it would seem that everything he touches turns to gold – Everything with the exception of the first Zone of the Enders game, which will forever be known as “The game with the MGS2 demo.” Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner, however, is EVERYTHING a sequel should be. The 2nd Runner is improved in every way imaginable – Characters, graphics, controls, combat, story, and you finally get the chance to pound that annoyingly impossible final boss of the first game.


Both Zone of the Enders games take place in the 2170’s, placed 3 years apart if I remember correctly. This is an age of war (Whoa! Shocker!), and what no futuristic anime-styled game would be without, Martians and space colonies. In this world we have a bunch of crazy discriminatory people (Earthlings) who see the people of Mars and beyond as weaker and less significant, eventually dubbing them “Enders.” This area is shockingly dubbed the “Zone of the Enders.”


Also bringing in what no anime-styled mech game would be caught dead without, there is a mysterious ore first discovered upon Callisto, a satellite of Jupiter. The ore is known as Metatron, and has seemingly magical properties. And, as with any new discovery made by humans, everyone was itching to use its new toy right away. Thus, the Orbital Frame was born in the Zone of the Enders to free Mars from Earth and the Space Force. A gun-ho group of militant extremists known as BAHRAM rose as well, taking a more attack-based view than the others, who simply wished to defend Mars. Naturally, two big shot frames are developed, and BAHRAM wants both of them, and shall go to any lengths to get them…


You may remember a particularly whiney anti-combat frame runner named Leo Stenbuck from the first ZOE game. Unfortunately he still hasn’t committed suicide; however the title implies that he is NOT the main character. His position is taken by an ex-BAHRAM pilot, and a masterful one at that. So it makes sense that he is able to manipulate Jehuty, one of the big shot frames and the “good guy’s mech”. Dingo Egret is out for revenge for his fallen comrades, and charges headlong into BAHRAM forces. And so The 2nd Runner begins his disappointingly short, but not at all boring, journey.


The game only has you going for 7-8 hours, maybe less. Every second of it is fantastic, though. The new and improved game play perfectly fits the anime-style mech combat that the first game was obviously influenced by but failed to provide. The combat is amazing, pitting you against a minimum of 3-6 enemies at a time, ranging up to a massive battle of possibly a thousand or more. In fact, the challenge can be more than overwhelming at times, and you’re sure to screw up somewhere and get totally pwned by the countless number of AI frames or fleet of battleships. After all, the AI is more than respectable, adapting to your fighting style and getting slightly more challenging each and every time you fight them. However, this challenge is made much easier by the amazingly smooth controls fitting to the stature and speed-orientation of the Orbital Frames. You’ll be carrying out an action so gracefully sometimes you’ll wonder if you even pressed the button to do that.


Also improved are the graphics. Rather than the attempt to make computerized anime style cut scenes, they actually did it anime style. The in-game graphics are also more than respectable, mixing in that anime style with the sleek beauty of the robots. You feel exactly as you should – like you’re fighting in a giant robot anime. And despite the constant action, countless explosions, and hundreds of laser beams, missiles, and beam swords flying by and flailing around, it maintains a consistent and smooth frame rate.


Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner truly is everything a sequal should be. The game is an improvement of the original in every way imaginable, and if it weren’t so short I would recommend that you buy it. There is a versus mode and extra missions to be unlocked, so you’ll still be playing long after you clear the single player campaign if you have friends to play the game with or if you just get a kick out of blowing some more stuff up. You can also replay the game with all your sub weapons or with different versions of Jehuty to tack on some more extra game play. Rent it for sure, and buy it if you really want to.


Grade: 86% B
Plot: 8; Visuals: 9; Gameplay: 9; Music/Sounds: 9; Replay: 8


For more game reviews, be sure to check out GeekCafe.org

Pokemon – Why is it still so popular? February 17, 2007

Posted by rytiko in Entertainment.
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Pokemon has been around since the mid 1990’s, celebrating it’s tenth aniversary nearly a year ago today (February 17, 2006). The franchise, immensly popular in Japan as well as many other countries throughout the world, has always targeted both sexes – The cute, sometimes cuddly looking creatures called Pokemon for the girls, and the intense battles for the boys. It has captured the interest of seemingly every youth group since its first appearance in society, maintaining a strong fan base even as other fans get older and view it as childish.

But what makes this franchise so great? How is it able to repeatedly capture the interest of the youth? Truly, such popularity even after almost eleven years is a notable contribution to pop-culture. Pokemon is more than that, however – it is not only a pop-culture icon, but a great kid’s show that preaches morality, friendship, and in many cases non-violent solutions to problems. It is a massive video game franchise that continues to amuse even the most hardcore gamers. It is even a card game that is fun and stresses organization and strategy.

Even as we get older, many people often get the feeling of anticipation and nostalgia when a new game or season is about to arise, which is why I’m posting this today. Pokemon Diamond and Pearl versions are scheduled for release in April, I believe, and the feeling is rushing through me once more. I look forward to visiting the newly styled, psuedo-3D, DS capable Pokemon games. You can expect a review sometime near the end of spring.

In my post, I was never able to give you a real answer as to why it is so popular. Hopefully, after revisiting the Pokemon world this spring, I’ll be able to clarify as to why I believe it continues to captivate us so many years later.

Inspiration February 6, 2007

Posted by rytiko in Inside the Mind.
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Well, it’s been awhile since my last post. Things have been relatively uneventful and uninteresting to me, and I had no desire to write anything. I don’t really have much of a desire to write anything now, however I’d like to keep the blog active, at least to some extent.

So, todays topic of interest is inspiration, or lack of in this case. To begin, I shall explain some modern theories concerning inspiration.

Psychology majors saw it coming – Sigmond Freud is perhaps the most prominent person to invade the psyche of the artist. As always, he was quick to associate this with childhood suffering. Inspiration, sudden bursts of creativity, were said to come directly from the subconcious  due to unresolved childhood trauma or psycological conflict. The artist was thought to be especially wounded compared to others in society. Perhaps due to more happening them, or perhaps due to an enhanced comprehension of those feelings of sorrow and conflict. It comes down to the romantic notion of genius, though. Freud was a believer that artists were fundamentally special, wounded, and genius.

Other theories follow this basic concept, and there are few variations. However, Carl Jung claimed the artist was one who was particularily in tune with conflict, his surroundings, and the archetypes of the human mind. Inspiration was from an impersonal source, by his theory.

Personally, I believe I’m closer to being Jung’s artist than Freud’s, though I’m still noticably inexperienced. Let’s face it though – as far as literature goes, the fifteen year olds have yet to put out anything spectacular. Eragon should never have been published, and was even worse as a movie. I’m still trying to find major plot differences between it and Star Wars.

Though my thoughts are beginning to become unorganized, I must stress the total lack of any inspiration lately. The ideas are there, and they’re creative and original, however creativity in my wordplay is seemingly non-existant lately. My writing skills have rapidly taken a turn for the worse, and I’m beginning to think that perhaps Freud was right – perhaps the artist is wounded, beyond that of what my good fortune has allowed.

What is it that makes the artist great? Sure, there’s talent, but don’t ideas count for anything? Concept is as important as execution, yet the concept will never be regarded if the execution is poor. However, execution of a bad concept is just boring. So there is a mixture of the two – Luckily execution can be developed.

As an upcoming artist, I hold true to Jung’s theory. An artist can be great without the wounds of Freud’s artist. But then, what sort of wounds does Freud’s artist have? Society’s collapse can be just as brutal as childhood trauma, I suppose.

The Stem Cell Research Just Keeps Coming January 23, 2007

Posted by rytiko in Science.
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I originally had a different first post, but I felt it rather lengthly and boring – it included a rough draft of an essay I wrote, though in the end I just didn’t like the essay and didn’t feel it necessary to make my readers suffer as well.

So, for my real first post, I’d like to adress something I found this morning. First off, let it be known that I am, in general, against stem cell research. As much as I love the idea of discovering a Panacea, I fear the lengths that humans will take it to. Science, after all, is known to cause nothing but destruction in the hands of the corruption that infests our world. I, for one, do not want to see a day when there are “Fetus farms”, nor do I want to deal with the inevitable moral issues associated with human cloning. The very thought of clones should be frightening to anyone who has the intelligence to see how they wouldbe handled.

But I digress. The news that I found stated that stem cells taken from human bone marrow have been manipulated by scientists at the Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute to produce cells called spheres that are similar to those found in neural stem cells of the brain. From there, they can be made into neurons and/or many other cells that make up the central nervous system. At least, they behaved as such when transplanted into the brain tissue of chicken embryos (a test used for many brain-related experiments).

With this discovery comes a well-supported concept of treating many neurological diseases, as well as brain tumors and even strokes. It would seem that we have overcome the moral issues of using fetal tissue and the saftey issues of using neural stem cells. Though not necessarily perfect, it would seem that science has found the ultimate medical treatement for almost anything relating to the brain.

Though safe and without moral conflict, the ability to cure diseases by simply removing cells from our bone marrow frightens me. This is the chance scientists have been waiting for – the chance to prove the usefulness of stem cells. How much longer will it be before society craves even more of the safety offered by this research? How much longer will it be before people are willing to proceed even furthur with the research, crossing the moral boundary we’ve used to block them for so long? Though it’s just my opinion, I believe it won’t be much longer before we live in the very world I fear.