Paul Gray (1972 – 2010) part II

This is a video of Paul Gray being interviewed during the time the band was making the Voliminal: Inside The Nine DVD. I like the fact that he acknowledged each and every one of the Slipknot members, including Craig “133” Jones, the Silent One.

God, it’s so sad to look at this video when you’re a big Slipknot fan. You will be greatly missed Paul Gray. The number 2 will be a special number from now on.

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Rest In Peace, Paul Gray (1972 – 2010)

It is with deep regret that I have been informed that Slipknot bassist Paul Gray has passed away today on the 24th of May. The cause of his death is yet to be revealed, which I am eager to find out real soon. He was only 38 years old. Slipknot has been a part of my life since their debut in 1999. Their music, energy, and image are truly inspirational to me and have affected my life in positive ways and I owe them for that. Even though regular musicians can’t appreciate his low end bass sounds due to the heaviness of their songs, we “maggots” are fully aware that without Paul, there can be no Slipknot.

I am not certain what will happen to Slipknot because the band members have quoted a few times saying that if one of them leaves the band or due to natural causes, Slipknot will be disbanded. No compromise. If they stay true to their word, then I have no choice but to respect their wishes. To Corey, Mick, Clown, 133, James, Chris, Joey, Sid and Paul’s family members, you have our deepest condolences.

Rest In Peace, Paul. You were a true Rock Legend.

Your fan,

Psykhophear

Limp Bizkit is Back!

It was announced last week that the new album Gold Cobra is coming out sometime this year. It will be the first studio album after seven years with the original members- including Wes Borland, one of my favorite guitarists of all time. I see that he’s in his old self again, wearing those sweet make-ups and over the top costumes. I sure hope he’ll stick to the band permanently this time. Limp Bizkit will never be the same without you and you will never be the same without Limp Bizkit.

A track from the upcoming album is “officially” been leaked by frontman Fred Durst and it’s available at the band’s website. The new song Why Try is really cool but feels a little too short. Could’ve been longer. I really can’t wait to hear the rest of the album. Limp Bizkit, don’t let us down again.

Where Are You, Rachel?

I admit, video game chicks rock and Rachel from the Ninja Gaiden series is no exception. Rachel is my favorite video game chick with Kasumi and Mai Shiranui being second and third respectively and for good reasons. She’s strong, voluptous, sensitive and simply hot! That being said, a japanese toy company called Kotobukiya made a few Ninja Gaiden figures to complement with the XBOX title way back in 2004 and Rachel was one of them.

I’ve been wanting to own this figure for so long but for some reason, this particular Rachel figure is extremely rare and it only makes a brief appearance on eBay and Amazon. I did find this guy from Japan on eBay the other day who was selling this figure but I declined the purchase because I found it to be quite expensive. I tried bargaining with the guy but he refused. Sadly, the bidding ended a few weeks later and what was left were some unpainted Rachel figures from Thailand. No offense to the Thai people but come on, who the hell wants to second-hand paint job?

If anyone is planning to sell this gorgeous Rachel figure or knows anyone who’s doing the same thing, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I must have it for my collection! The least I can do for now is to watch this cutscene of her from Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2. Sigh!

-Phear

My id Software Addiction

Man, once again I’ve been neglecting with my blog updates. Bad. So very bad. Well the truth is I once again have been very busy with work and video games. Yeah it’s a curse and a blessing but let’s not go deep into that.

First of all, I’m currently hooked with the games on my iPhone. Street Fighter IV is surprisingly good. I’m not sure how Capcom is able to squeeze all the contents into one handheld game but whatever the case, it is awesome.

Playing as Ryu and Ken is always the best choice especially if you a Hadouken expert since the 90’s era. It’s a funny experience for me to play the iPhone version because I still haven’t played the console versions. Pretty lame I know. Other iPhone games I’ve been playing are Doom Classic, Doom II RPG, Wolfenstein 3D+ and Wolfenstein RPG. Yup, they are all id Software games. Since last year, I start becoming an avid id geek, reading about John Carmack and his team, learning about the id Tech engines and of course, playing their games. I recently finished playing Prey, a game made by 3D Realms and it uses the id tech 4 engine. It’s the same engine that powers the ever so powerful Doom 3.

I’m a huge fan of the id Tech 4 engine (Also known ad the Doom 3 engine). I just love gooey textures of the creatures, the metallic interiors, the weapon designs and just about everything. I’m sad to learn that the engine didn’t do so well in terms of licencing. id Software has a record of people fully utilizing their game engines starting with the Doom engine, id Tech 1, id Tech 2, followed by id Tech 3 which is also called the Quake III engine. Dozens of video games utilized these id tech engines over the years such as Half-Life, Star Wars: Dark Forces, American McGee’s Alice and more. id Tech 4 on the other hand only have seven games which utilized this engine and Prey is one of them.

I didn’t understand why it was not doing so well but then I realized it was because of competition. The biggest competitor the id Tech 4 has is the Unreal Engine and from what I understand, Unreal is capable of doing more stuff than the Doom 3 engine. Gears of War uses it. Batman: Arkham Asylum uses it. BioShock uses it. A hundred more are using it. It’s a sad turn of event for id Software because they’ve always been known for revolutionizing video game interactivity. But no matter what others think of it, I will always be a supporter of the id Tech 4 engine and I can’t wait for John Carmack to officially release it as open source sometime this year. I really want to harness the power of the engine so that I too can make a kick ass game some day.

The latest Wolfenstein game uses the id Tech 4 engine (Heavily modified) but many critics have complained that the graphics is slightly outdated. I don’t care what they say but the game looks really good in my eyes. I’m planning to play the game on the PC this week. Will write a short summary of my experience in the next blog.

The next game I want to talk about is Daikatana: a controversial game back in the late 90’s and the year 2000. It was created by John Romero, co-founder and programmer at id Software until he was fired from the company in 1996. Long story short, he formed a new company called Ion Storm and claimed to the world that he’s going to make a game that would sell. Alas, he was unable to fulfill that statement. Due to arrogance, poor decisions and ambitious goals, Daikatan turned out to be a huge flop and was panned by the critics. Although it happened ten years ago, people do still talk about its suckiness and it was recently added at GameTrailers’ Countdown as the second most disappointing game of the decade.

I didn’t believe all of that. I thought the media were simply exaggerating and not taking the game seriously. I decided to give the game a try and after only playing a few minutes, I took it all back because yeah, Daikatana really sucks. But why does it suck? That’s what I want to know. After some extensive research on my own, I now know why people dismissed it so much. Here’s a preview of Daikatana, a year before it was released.

As you can see, John Romero and his team got both the press and the public all pumped up with excitement by telling everyone that Daikatana will be a great game thanks to its advanced AI, cool graphics and non-stop action. But when the game finally came out on store shelves, gamers found neither of those promises. The graphics are unimpressive and it looks so dull and depressing, both the enemies and your allies are incredibly dumb who’d do dumbfounded things, and the action level is pretty shallow thanks to its poor level design and pathetic weapons. I know this because I’m literally playing the game right now and it’s appalling to see how awful the game is. But having said that, I’m determined to finish the game until the end to see the final conclusion of Hiro Miyamoto and the gang. Despite the abysmal performance, Daikatana at least has a good story to tell that might make a curious gamer like me to check it out. I could go on explaining more about John Romero and Daikatana but I think you should find out yourself, or I could write it down in my next blog. We’ll see.

The last game I want to talk about is American McGee’s Alice. I just finished playing the game a few days ago after ten years of delay and overall, it was alright. The first part of the game is really exciting but as the game progress, it gets repetitive and you get to the point of wanting the game to end soon. And when it does end, it has the shortest and the most disappointing ending I’ve ever seen in a game recently. Sure, it’s a happy ending but I think it could’ve been better. I wanted to see Alice talk to the Wonderland characters before she departs to the real world but nope, that didn’t happen. Gamers who’ve played this game will know exactly what I mean. Again, it was an ok game. Terrific visuals and music score but the experience not so great. Looking forward to see how Alice 2 follows up.

You can tell that I’m into id games at the moment. I’m even reading the autobiography about the two Johns who changed video games forever. It’s called Masters of Doom by David Kushner. It’s a fantastic read especially if you’re an id freak like me. Highly recommend it

-Phear

January Update: Games and Music

2009 has been good to me for the most part and I hope 2010 will be better and a promising year for me. I missed quite a lot of good games last year which I’m very disappointed. I missed Uncharted 2, Modern Warfare 2, Assassin’s Creed II, Killzone 2 and many other games that probably ends with the number two. However I did play Batman: Arkham Asylum, Resident Evil 5, Left 4 Dead 2, Ghostbusters, Cryostasis and The House of The Dead: Overkill and I had a blast playing each game.

…I’m Batman!

Arkham Asylum sticks to me as not only the best game of 2009 but also the best Batman game by far. Way better than Dark Tomorrow :P. Everything about the game is so picture perfect and highly detailed from the characters to the backstory to the storyline and to the environments. It’s completely seven heaven from beginning to end. I look forward to the upcoming sequel. The next game that I had a great time is Ghostbusters: The Video Game, the very sequel I’ve been waiting for for a long time. Ever since the last movie they made in 1989, I eagerly awaited for next movie to come up but after a dead silence or almost a decade, I began to lose hope. But when it was announced that an official sequel will be made in a video game format, I was speechless. Who would thought a cult classic franchise will be making its return not as a cinematic picture but as a video game. And guess what? It was good.

Busting still makes me feel good after all those years.

I was initially skeptical with the game’s choice of letting you play as neither of the Ghostbusters members but as this new rookie. The thought kept lingering in my mind but after playing the game, it wasn’t that awkward after all. I bought Ghostbusters for the XBOX360, PC, DS and the PSP because I love the game so much. It’s a real treat for a Ghostbusters fanatic like me.

The following game that I was glad and happy to play is Resident Evil 5. I played the PC version because I don’t have my 360 with me at the moment but the experience is still the same I think. The graphics and the plot is pretty damn good as it follows the same mechanics as Resident Evil 4 but like the previous game, the gameplay can get really boring later on as you are to upgrade weapons, buy new stuff, slash boxes with your knife and maintain your inventory slot over and over again. I kinda miss the old fashion Resident Evil with its fixed camera angles, item boxes and most importantly zombies. I don’t understand when people complained about the fixed camera angles because it never occurred to me. I love it! The other thing that I don’t understand is the racism issue with 5. I’ll say it again and I’ll say it clear: Resident Evil 5 is not racist! Seriously, it’s not. Even the voice actress of Sheva Alomar said so. It just so happens that the viral outbreak takes place in South Africa and all its inhabitants are infected. That’s it. So what’s the fuss all about? Resident Evil 4 took place somewhere in the rural areas of Spain so how come you don’t hear anyone complaining about a guy killing spanish people? It’s all about popularity bullcrap. Just because you heard someone is talking about it you decided to join the club as well. It’s ridiculous. I think the reason the public went on to an outcry with Resident Evil 5 is because of the screenshots they saw before the game was released and assumed the worst.

(SPOILER STARTS HERE)

A well worth playing game.

There are two things I like and dislike about Resident Evil 5. The positive side is the (SPOILER ALERT!) final demise of Albert Wesker. When he died in the game I was like “yeah, finally! It’s about goddamn time that sonnafa bitch dies.” Don’t get me wrong, I like Albert Wesker but when an antagonist slips away more than three games in his career, it gets pretty silly and you just grow tired of seeing him getting away repeatedly. On the negative side, it was sad to see Excella Gionne, Wesker’s partner in crime, gets killed in the game. I thought she was a great antagonist for the Resident Evil franchise with her evil looks and devilish talking but unfortunately she died too soon. I was hoping for Capcom to use her as a replacement for Wesker but sadly, they don’t see it my way. Oh, well.

(SPOILER ENDS HERE)

Another great game I had fun with is Overkill. It is called the best game in the series by fans and the worst by the other party. If you asked me, I love Overkill. The plot and the humor is well done and I love watching the cutscenes. I even have all the cutscenes in my iPhone right now and watch them whenever I feel bored. That says it all. The performances for each character is well done especially Agent G, Isaac Washington and Papa Caesar. Their constant swearing and hatred towards each other is priceless and some of their quotes like “what does a brother have to do to pacify a bitch” still lingers in my mind to this day. I love that stuff.

If there’s one game I wished I could play is Brutal Legend. I only played the demo in a gaming convention and I wished I could play more. My disappointment with the game is that it’s not been made available for the PC. Previous Tim Schafer games have all got games for the PC fanboys so I was surprised that Brutal Legend didn’t have any PC port. Hopefully there shall be one someday. Other than that, I really don’t have any regrets of missing other games like Dragon Age and Demon’s Souls since I’m not a fan of RPG and Online play.

Now for some updates on music. Aside from video games, the next thing I love in life is music. Though I focus my attention more on Heavy Metal and Rock, I’m generally a universal listener and listen to all kinds of music. I stop listening to radio for a few years now because I really don’t have much love for today’s music. Today’s music has evolved into something really commercialized and too mainstream which hurts me in some ways. Music nowadays has evolved into new age R&B, strange mix of alternative pop and rock, clubbing and god knows what else. Majority of the new songs don’t leave an impression on me anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I love pop music and I like R&B in some angles but today’s music lack soul, melody, body and control. There’s no love to them anymore.  It’s all about fame, boobs and fortune. I dig good beats but when it comes to today’s R&B and clubbing music, they feel so empty.

I also don’t watch music videos on TV nowadays because it’s all dominated by clubbing scenes and soft porn materials which has become extremely excessive and very misleading. I miss the old music videos where it’s about stories, dancing, humors and fun. That is why I now stop listening to the new stuff and begin listening to the old stuff. I literally start listening to a lot of music which I grew up with and slowly make my way back to the basics. As a guy who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s, I started listening back to good ol’ music that these decades have to offer including pop music. Yeah, other than Metal, I also listen to pop music like boy bands stuff. Yeah, it might not be cool for some people but whatever man. I don’t care, I grew up with that s**t. I also listen to old influential artists like AC/DC, Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens, Elton John, Twisted Sister, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Megadeth, Motorhead and more. For dessert, that would be hip-hop and R&B like RUN-DMC, Toni Braxton, Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men, Beastie Boys and a whole lot more. Basically, I’m going all the way back rather than forward and it feels good.

So that’s my honest opinion about today’s music. If you love them to bits, good for you. But if you hate ’em, then sign me up. But having said that, I do like one or two of them. I hate to admit but Lady Gaga is pretty cool. Sure, her music is very clubby and such but there are some pop elements in them which I dig so overall, Lady Gaga just barely makes it out of my hate list. Nothing else to add except I also hate emo! Speaking of music, I enjoy video game soundtrack and I have a whole bunch of them in my iTunes right now. My favourites are Metal Gear stuff, Biohazard/ Resident Evil stuff and SIlent Hill stuff. Akira Yamaoka is the bomb but I’m disappointed that he officially left Konami in December of last year. What a tragic news. What will ever happen to the Silent Hill series now?

Well, that’s about it for now. Hope you all enjoy reading my long blog.

Psykhophear