Hooty Tooty Pooty to You
Hey, baby. I got yer Slight of Hand Pro right here.
- Metal Gear Solid
- Gran Turismo 2
- God of War
- Persona 3
- Gears of War
- Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter
- Test Drive Le Mans
- Silent Hill 2
- Half-Life 2
- Rallisport Challenge 2
- Madden '92
- Halo: Combat Evolved
Synthia covers this here subject and does so very well, but this one broke it first and thus deserves praise.
And to add my own two cents, I remember when I first saw American Idol and read about Guitar Hero. I heard a great deal about Guitar Hero's rather obscure and somewhat lame playlist. I checked out an article on the subject and the developer more or less said, "Yeah, we pitched to the [Van Halen and Aerosmith] labels and they just didn't get it." Same goes for Idol. The overarching theme was "Pay our steep royalty up front or get lost!"
So why was it, in the early 2000's, that a guy like me, sitting on my coach in a ketchup-stained Dale Jr. tank top could IMMEDIATELY GRASP that artists like The Four Seasons and Kenny Rogers -- acts who haven't been relevant in decades -- could find new life and new exposure to an entirely new generation by handing out their B-sides?
Seriously, upon reading the above quote about Guitar Hero, I leaned back in my chair and shook my head: "What idiots. They're gonna be dying (and maybe even PAYING) for a piece of this once they get a whiff... "
And so that leads me to this: Why on earth are corporate ninnies so short sighted and scared white-hot sh*tless of anything they don't have 110% control over?
Have they learned nothing from Red Octane and Simon Cowell?
Relevance to a whole new audience. Fans doing all the work. Sales based on curiosity alone. Girl power.
Who knew my PS3 was also a time machine?
As I stated to someone else around these parts, I think 2006 was an excellent year in gaming and it sure was nice to go back and visit.
I'm really not even trying to be clever. I really didn't want to write about anything.
Consider this a PSA.
*sigh* Um.. I'll try this: Dust 514: It's what I call a "free-to-play jump around shooter".
- Take the first Halo. Lower the resolution. Slow it down. Reduce stupid jumping ability by 2/3's, but still keep it as main evasive maneuver. Require 8 to 11 center mass shots for kills. Add ineffective warthog variant and indestructible skorpion variant.
- Add vast, coverless pale Martian dunes. Spread them out. Put mechanical outcroppings, spawn points and military depots of various kinds throughout the vacuous, rolling terrain. Make sure the closest two are the equivalent of three city blocks.
- Offer the garden variety classes, but encourage sniping (see Martian maps) while making the "assault rifle grunt" class the only other effective option. Make sure specialized classes have no viable way of protecting themselves without the support of a squad (those snipers hopping around on that hill four hundred meters away?... that's your squad).
- Tack a story onto the experience that taps into your online PC cash cow. Promote a vague feeling of connection between the two and emphasize team play among strangers with high double-digit IQ's.
- Make it's free so people will actually try it.
I've posted this one before. It cracked me up when I did it. I crack myself up a lot. It's cheaper than therapy.
The left rear leg of one dog, another showing her true essence and a Christmas mess soon to be heading out the door.
The National Gallery of Art, East Building, Washington D.C.
I've worked on this project as a QA/QC inspector for about nineteen months. There are over seventeen thousand 28" X 36" (rough measurement) Tennessee pink marble stones covering this I.M. Pei work of art. Each one has been precisely located, removed, catalogued, refurbished and reinstalled. There are twelve measurements taken at reinstallation for each stone as part of the QA/QC requirements. The exposed brick area to the right of the tower crane represents the final phase of the project, which should be completed by February 2013. If I ever touch Tennessee pink marble again, I assure you it'll only happen in hell.
Can you guess what this building is? This photo was taken from the same vantage point as the one above. They have been preparing for inauguration since mid August. Above the statue is a gigantic, temporary wooden grandstand. In the lower left you can see some very important people I didn't notice as I took the photo. Maybe they were practicing a choral number. Maybe they were congressmen during a photo op. Who knows? Such is life in and around the District. I say this in true Johnsteed7 fashion: Whatever protest or historic event you may see on the news is generally little more than a traffic headache for me. I do love the cherry blossoms in spring, though.
Washinton Redskins MVP. The first eleven seconds are actually quite badass.
And to those not sold on RG3. It's all quite badass, really.
Regardless of what anybody may think, the Redskins are a uniting factor among all races and religions in the World's Most Powerful City and life is better in this place, nay, the entire country when they are doing well.
Enjoy the videos.
You know, because it's so topical and I've got nothing better to do. I also love me a trip down memory lane.
Just so's you know, I exclude 2006 because launch lineups are anemic and we tend to go gaga over shiny, new graphics. Review scores, in retrospect, can often be mere pillow talk. The PS2 was still birthing relevant titles, so I'll begin things from 2007. Also, these aren't unknown indies that I thought deserved more credit. These are more than competent potential block busters with plenty of pedigree, good reviews and more than enough hype -- which they ably fulfilled. Let me stress that there is no fanboyism intended and my panties remain unbunched; I just simply think these are exemplary games that either got lost in the wash or were also-rans to juggernauts and I feel they should have been recognized in the moment for, you know... something.
And to any internet-smartypants-correcting-[ninnies], this refers only to GS scores and things like "Best Use of Bloom" don't count.
Bupkis Award winners:
-2007: Mass Effect. (GS score 8.5)
Was this the face that lauch'd a thousand ships and burnt the topless towers of Ilium? Well, methinks. And, oh, those topless towers! Do you know the color of Liara's eyes? Yeah, me neither. Sex appeal, real impact in decision making and a rich universe were just the salve for a grown up & sci-fi starved community. If not a thousand ships, this one certainly launched the most relevant space odyssey in this (or any other) generation.
Why no love? Well, a little compilation called The Orange Box might be one thing. Bioshock may be another. Then there's Call of Duty 4. And Halo 3. And Crysis. And Super Mario Galaxy. Would I be kicking it while it's down to mention God of War II?
Good year to be a gamer. Bad year to launch a new IP.
- 2008: Dead Space. (9.0)
I'm not going to throw a ton of words at this. (Li'l commentary incoming, though) I will say that of all entertainment genres, space-based science fiction is the most criminally under served, no matter which medium, and combining it with survival horror seems like a license to make money... at least to this damned fool. Resident Evil 4 comparisons certainly couldn't hurt matters, either. While it got a people's choice "best original IP" award (editors gave their nod the No More Heroes), I can't help but feel it deserved a little more in it's trophy case.
It was in good company, though, as GTA 4, Call of Duty: World at War, Gears of War 2, Devil May Cry 4 and even Fallout 3 were all crushed under the might of *reverent pause and breathless tone* Metal Gear Solid 4.
- 2009: Resident Evil 5. (8.5)
Alright, if there's flak to be had anywhere, it'll probably be with this. What can I say? It wasn't Resident Evil 4, but it was good. Great even. It wasn't GOTY material, but it was an excellent entry in a revered franchise and it didn't win squat. Developers often bemoan the "sequel tax" and this one falls victim to that affliction.
Copiously sequeled IP's faired poorly in '09: Arkham Asylum reinvented Batman games, Killzone 2 took home all praise for shooters. Uncharted 2 and Dragon Age made their mark as well, but it was the year of the under dog as Demon's Souls ambushed European and North American gaming to become the darling of the '09 awards.
-2010: Battlefield Bad Company 2 (9.0)
I admit I didn't play it (well... much, I was still stuck on Demon's Souls), but that's not the point. It was wildly popular, offered incomparable depth versus Halo:Reach and Black Ops, and offered a campaign that wasn't a lacquered series rehash (sorry, Reach) or a broken tutorial for multiplayer (not sorry, Black Ops). I suppose the couple-ten million dollars Samuel EA is still rolling in will be cold comfort enough, but two lousy nominations - Shooter and competitive multiplayer (lame platform awards don't count) - don't seem to do this one justice.
Halo: Reach stole it's thunder on the shooter front while Starcraft II took multiplayer honors. None of it mattered, though as God of War III gobbled up whatever chum Red Dead Redemption left in it's wake.
(Honorary mention, 2010): Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker (9.0)
Yeah, a special exemption for a Metal Gear Game. It's My blog. So sue me. Why they engineered a preemptive 70% drop in sales by putting it exclusively on the PSP is beyond me. An excellent game that consumed about 150 hours of my life. I have no regrets. It did win PSP GOTY, so there is that... But that's kind of like being voted skinniest girl at a Packers tailgate; the only thing slim is the pickin's.
-2011: Deus Ex: Human Revolution (8.5)
This one hurt. My pre-order must have been more than a year old by the time of it's release. I have to admit Eidos had the impossible task of living up to it's lineage, but where they lacked in innovation, they made up ground through complete and utter refinement in the mechanics from which they borrowed. To coin a new term from two completely overused ones, this game has a "sandbox linearity" that I just loved. Stealth or brute force were up to you and there was usefulness in every skill set regardless of how deeply invested the player decided to be. Great atmosphere, solid level design and a palpable sense of loss within the story completed the package.
... However this one got Susan Lucci'd in a strong year for gamers with Portal 2, Arkham City, The Witcher 2, Uncharted 3 and Skyrim. It did get one nomination for best action game, so yay for that.
-2012: Max Payne 3 (9.0)
Rockstar makes great games and I'll keep this one simple: One fleeting nomination for best shooter. One mercy nomination for best PS3 game. Moral of the story: Get released in May, Get stiffed in December.
2012's Bupkis Award winner.
Apparently, we gamers like to talk a good game about original IP's and the indie revolution, but...
- Of the Elite Eight, there are two non-sequels. Neither has yet mustered 30% of the total vote.
- One is a budget 2D side-scroller.
- One is a face-lifted (and to be fair, very well reviewed) rehash of a classic series.
- The remaining IP's have twenty games to their credit. Forza and Assassin's Creed combine for half that total.
- There were ten PC exclusives out of sixty four games. Four made it to round 2. Two made it to the Sweet 16.
- Both were free-to-play shooters.
- Only two non-North American games made it out of round 2. One is Japanese, the other is from western Europe.
- Nine games have "2" or "II" directly in their titles, six have "3" or "III", three have "4" and there is one "V".
- The one with "V" in the title is an expansion/sequel to another game with "V" in the title.
- The second highest achieving "indie" game was bounced from the Sweet 16 by more than 90% of the vote.
- The highest achieving "indie" game was published by Microsoft.
- Only two, original IP "indies" made it out of the intial round.
There you go. No axes being ground, just pure observation.
Make of it what you will and Merry Christmas.
19Oct 12It's been a while since I've done one of these little journal entries; I've always had the view - guided by my abbreviated attention span - that games are far better to play than to write about.
Thus, this blog is not about games (Except that I'm finding out that PC gaming is diabolical: You see, there's this thing called a Steam Sale... Also, I'm rumbling through Mass Effect 2, which is really good, actually. Excellent even. To me, it is a natural progression from the first one, but the first was so refined that the gazillion dollar budget of ME2 didn't *appear* to yield more than a step towards Action Jackson gaming convention. The first was certainly more of a "gamer's game" - I guess choosing armor and load outs is a real strain on the ol' ligaments for the Gears of War set - but when design decisions make sense and are executed at such a refined level, I don't b*tch. So far, playing every aspect of the game to death, from recruitment to resource harvesting to my sworn arch enemy: fetch quests, I have to say it all holds my interest and I tend to think carefully for almost every decision, good or bad. On a scale of one to ten, I rate it: "Found a five dollar bill in last year's winter coat".)
Just so you know, I rate Alpha Protocol a solid "Turns out she's not pregnant" and Nier "They forgot to charge me for a Venti", respectively.
So as for this blog that's not about games?
Well, the wife is out of town, son #1 was thrown in the direction of his best friend's house about thirty hours ago and in the same span my three-year-old son #2 has had Cheetos, corn dogs and bacon constantly thrown at him while I do some MAJOR room-shifting/ house purging. I think all four of us are finding the time awfully therapeutic.
In my travels I unearthed this here letter, penned by my great grandfather, Comer (say like "Homer") Smith and thought it would be neat to share.
He was a successful inventor living in Baltimore who was a rare man of wealth during the later years of the Great Depression. While I don't post this with a sense of heavy-handed deeper meaning (gather from it what you will), I will say it is a timely message and I can't help but say to myself "The more things change, the more they stay the same". ---------------------------
May 24th, 1940
Dear sister Jo,
Carrie & little Neal Comer had a grand visit with all of you and [are] still talking about it. Now you must run up to see us sometime soon.
The most overwhelming attention today seems to be focused on the subject of war. Hope it can be confined to Europe, but hope also the stern realities of it will bring home to our people the realization of the follies of squandering the nation's resources and the utter futilities of so called boon doggling.
Work has come to be a little wanted form of occupation, in my own case, I believe the necessity for it has at last taught things I never would have known otherwise. While it is true I have worked hard most of my life, It has only been in the last few years of trying to organize and run a business that I have learned of the infinite detail required to achieve success at it in the face of depression, excessive taxation and political interference.
We are making progress, but not yet can we indulge in relaxation.
Come to see us.
12Jul 12Other titles I considered: "Learning What I Already Knew", "The Zeal of a Convert" and "The Writing On the Wall For Sony".
So, on the heels of James "Jbul's" recent (re)discovery of the glorious splendor that is PC gaming, I just so happened to gain permanent access to an actual gaming rig. I've been researching to build an ARMA 3 machine (milsims are my second favorite genre, racing is my first -- thought you'd like to know) and lo n' behold, a longish-in-the-tooth gaming PC more or less just dropped into my lap. Let's just say it's good to have rich friends with similar tastes. The rig is a top fuel dragster from a full generation (and a half?) ago: Core 2 Quad 6600, twin 8800 GTX's and a slot for a third (which I WON'T be doing), lots of lights and fans... the works. A nifty machine and, if there is such a thing in the PC world, a modern classic. The Corvette Z06 of gaming PC's. It'll gallop along with anything truly cutting edge on medium settings and was certainly built, in it's day, for Crysis bragging rights. Oh, the headiness of it all...
The larger point of this here little journal entry is that, being relatively poor, I've been pining away for a game-worthy PC for quite a few years and it really strikes me, now that I have one, that it runs circles around all things console. It's no contest, even with a machine non-elitist PC enthusiasts would consider a museum piece. Yeah, like the illustrious Jbul, certain elements of "that" crowd tend to stick in my craw, and yeah, over the years they've been the most liberally targeted demographic for my occasional trolling whoredom, but the fact is PC gaming is superior on every single level and the cost of entry is lower than ever.
More and more, lately, I read it in forums and I hear it when I chat up fellow aficionados: This console generation has gotten ponderous and it's actually multiple generations behind what's possible on a PC these days. To be honest, I think developers must shake their heads when trying to shoehorn their wares onto PS3's and 360's, especially as this cycle draws to an end. I think what they do is borderline miraculous when I consider the technology - from day one on the drawing board, to adoption and adaption by console makers, to the present day - is every bit of a decade old. When I went to pick up the machine, I noticed a copy of Demon's Souls (a "10" in my world, btw), a neat stack of PS3 & 360 games and black XBox 360 under his 40" Samsung. A true gamer. Good people. As I waxed philosophical about all things Demon's Souls (and gaming in general), he agreed it was wonderful, but said he didn't ever finish the game. It wasn't the difficulty, he explained. It was... He didn't finish his sentence as he opened the case, showing me the SLI'd 8800's. He shrugged and motioned at the Xbox. "That thing's been collecting dust since my buddy and I built that one." he continued, pointing to the PC by his desk. "I mean, it's like in the last couple years it hasn't passed consoles by one generation. It feels like five times over..."
So, now I'm in the club.
I was up 'til 2:00 last night, screwing with graphical settings after loading Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising (so misunderstood) and Call of Pripyat. Even on medium, OpFlash looked markedly better and played noticeably more smoothly than the PS3 counterpart I've clocked 200+ hours on since it's release in 2009. Pripyat chugged and stuttered occasionally, but fell right into line when I cranked it down to "mere" high settings. I'm no expert, but I get the feeling it might behave the same with cutting edge hardware. Maybe I'll know when I throw 7850 into the rig this time next year... if I really feel the need. I'll be studying onto the mod scene for both games (and for ARMA 2 when I pick it up) over the weekend. I also find myself wanting to pick up old games like Fallout 3 and KOTOR - I still own the console copies of each - just to experience them the way they were intended. I know the feeling will probably pass.
I'm even considering stopping my progress in Red Dead (another "10"; better late than never, I guess) and grabbing the PC version, but a good night's sleep will knock that on the head. I am tempted, though.
So now as the dust settles on my PS3 and XBox, both, and with the cloud, portable & tablet-based barbarians attacking from every direction, I can't help but feel it's four things that could possibly keep consoles afloat past the next generation: Mario, The Last of Us 3, expensive PC's and consumer ignorance. Hint: The first and last, I'd bet my house on. The middle two... not so much.
Nothing like a little perspective. Sorry for all (o.k., half) of the trolling. What took me so damned long?
16May 12Is it just me or has every single change to this hobby (and this site) more or less taken the true gaming loyalists, shoved their heads in the toilet and flushed twice?
What is this collective consciousness of the press, executives and dev's in this business that has resulted in such an across-the-board, complete, total and utter lack of direction and focus? I'm talking about this site. I'm talking about the industry.
Rather than shoring up weaknesses and filing down obvious rough edges, there is this need for reinvention and wholesale change with the intention of courting customers that may or may not ever really give a rip about anything beyond Call of Duty, Battlefield or Angry Birds while leaving those of us who have spent thousands - literally THOUSANDS - of dollars on this pastime feeling unheard, passed over and on the outside looking in.
Where there were map editors, there are now four-pack DLC "drops" at $15 a pop.
Where there was backwards compatibility, there are now HD collections and $10 "classic" downloads.
Where the customer was always right, we now have Cliff "I'm Trying Like Hell To Be Gaming's George Lucas" Bleszinski telling us that having multiplayer shoved down our throats should be a federal mandate.
There is day one, on-disc DLC... you know, for a small additional cost. [Edit: I did begin a new paragraph here! Tried to fix it. No dice. Hahahahaha....] Where there were ancient-but-active threads for obscure games that held a bond between fans, there is... nothing. They cleaned many of them out about a year ago. I guess they were old and in the way. Clutter. [Another failed paragraph here *sigh*] I felt the little nooks and crannies of this site were the character of this site. Many of the most interesting people I've met here resided there - and only there - in places like Sky Odyssey's and Zone of the Ender's forums, where topics dated back many years and those familiar with a "certain crowd" could converse freely in gamespot's closest version of a prohibition speak-easy.
I didn't always "friend" these folks. That wasn't the point. It was just a place to shoot the [breeze] without union constraints or oversight and the common bond for a particular subject could make you feel like you were in on the joke without the childish pettiness, lecturing and cliquish exclusivity we find all too often in GS forums these days.
Around the same time, FUSE came to be... thus insuring I could never (easily, if at all) track down any such users because my friends list is now linked directly and exclusively to it and clicking on their FUSE link sends me directly to their FUSE page. NOT their blog. To this day - and maybe I'm an idiot - I have found no way to access blogs of certain users without: A.) backing out and Google-ing them with their user name and "gamespot" for reference or B.) tracking down the blog of a common user and hoping that THEY have the subject account in their randomized friend queue. Sweet.
What's the point, the focus, of FUSE? Hell if I know, Connie. It was half-assedly trumpeted as the next evolution for this site, but like everything else around here, they seem to have lost interest in it's development and we have another half-baked, rudderless ghost ship of a feature. All it seems good for is holding my friends list hostage, housing seldom seen comments directed at me from various friends and increasing innocuous, random drive-by "friend-collector" traffic by 1000%.
Instead of featuring users and their content, we get The Second British Invasion (how much on-camera talent does Start/Select actually need? I lost count in the low twenties...) and what seems to be a new show or feature every other week. I couldn't pick out those Appetite for Distraction guys on a milk carton. I never thought I'd say this, but I'd gladly exchange a few bushels of sardonic & pithy British commentary for the ability to provide a link any day. Could we reallocate the production costs from one of Danny O'Dwyers half-dozen shows/featurettes (I'm sure he wouldn't mind paring down to three a day) for a proper comment system and the staff to install it? I'm asking.
Was the Giant Bomb thing a way to finally make sure Jeff Gerstmann would never be heard from again? Between the ex-pat GS haters thinking "sell out", to the rest of us who have since *not caught a whiff* of any meaningful result from the merger, I'd say that HAD to be the plan. The CBS interactive guys are smarter than I thought.
But then again, "IT'S" COMING! You'll see. The grand plan will make sense when you finally quit your whining and shed the entitlement (for the the record, wanting basic features to work falls under entitlement). These things take time and you trogs don't *understand* all that goes into programming such a vast site! There are things little brains can't grasp and it would only be confusing if we tried to explain.
So we won't.
You see, that's the thing. When it comes to all things technologically based, "it" -- whatever "it" happens to be -- is always "coming". "It" is always right around the bend. "It" will always be another way to combine our trophy/achievement/personal info with social networking. "It" will always be about removing features and selling them back in a "new and improved" form. "It" will always be about expanding the bottom line and not giving things with value away for free. "It" will always be about going multi media. "It" will always be about expanding and promoting the brand. "It" will be, here to fore, strictly business.
"It" will never, ever again be about reliable apostrophes, italics and line breaks. Nor will "it" be about our little journal entries and us getting them just right. Nor will "it" be about us.
Strong and dramatic words, sure, and really, they convey more feeling than I actually have for this place. I'm just fed up with the egos and business practices in modern..everything... (in this case, gaming) and it's clear this site is rapidly becoming an extension of those attitudes and practices.
It's a great database and it's structured far better than any other site I can think of, but it's lost something. It's becoming yet another time and place.
I'm not necessarily leaving, or even slowing down... yet. I'm just saying every time I hear an industry pro -- press, executive, developer or whatever -- open their mouth lately, I get closer to wrapping up the backlog, heading to Craigslist and calling it a day. As I've told others 'round here in the past: I'm a proud Washingtonian and some the best moments in my life have been with my dad and brothers at RFK stadium, getting pleasantly ripped and cheering on the Burgundy and Gold. As a former die-hard season ticket holder, if I can tell Daniel Snyder and my beloved Redskins to go scratch, I can certainly do it here.
12May 12Vanquish (a "10" by my somewhat mercurial standards) has made all other over-the-shoulder, cover-based third person shooters obsolete.
Not in "my opinion". It simply has. Well, unless there are arthroscopic bullet cams involved, that is.
In other news, I'm glad johnsteed7's dog story ended well. It really got me in the ticker after the first paragraph.
12Apr 12Ordinarily I wouldn't use this space for public service announcements, but the game and the price are extraordinary and shouldn't be missed. For those owning PS3's, the Atlus masterpiece, Persona 3: FES, is offered for sale at PSN for $9.99. If you you can't stand turn-based Japanes RPG's, please disregard. Or don't. It's worth a shot, being this cheap. If you haven't played it already, you have no excuse now.
Oh, and the Capitals will beat the Bruins in six.
28Mar 12And I mean this, now...
That Sony is working it's absolute hardest - it's absolute damnedest - to eliminate itself from the console business, if it isn't outright endeavoring to call it quits on the video game industry entirely.
Of course, I am referencing the latest news about PS4 or "Orbis" and Sony's intention to limit it's functionality (read: No used games. Only one account per system. Online-or-nothing DRM structure) from the get, as opposed to the slow and steady attrition we've seen with the PS3.
I really don't understand.
Or rather, I *do* understand: Modern business is about pushing the boundaries of what you can get away with to make a profit and the industry knows full well about the junkie nature of gamers at this point, so they're betting we'll go along because we'll pay just about anything to feed our addiction. I mean, they're not even bothering to dress things up in PR fluff anymore, which compels me to humbly submit the following questions ...
Is it good ol' Imperial Japanese stodginess? Is it hubris? Do they still feel the headiness of those days when the PS2 ruled all?
Do they understand spinning media devices are less than a decade from obsolescence, and that cloud-based gaming services are not going away? Do they understand that the price for entry into real, honest to goodness PC gaming has plummeted?
Do they realize Killzone 2 is the only Sony exclusive I've ever bought new and that Ratchet & Clank, Resistance and Uncharted - the titles that set them apart - are rehashed to death and played out? Do they really think Journey and PS Mini's are anything to stick around for? Do they notice their own constant outages?
I'm shaking my head, here. What could they possibly be thinking?
8Mar 12That guy is completely full of s***.
Back when he was in junior high, somebody told him he was smart and now it's world's burden to bare.
I promise if I ever make a reskinned Mario/Donkey Kong mash up and release it to XBL, I won't take myself one millionth as seriously and I certainly won't quietly savor the smell of my own farts the way this guy obviously does.
(I'll be very open about it)
Eat a steak, kiss a girl and make a shooter, you over-efforting erudite blow hard dandy.
Anyway, he says some interest... um, well, he says some stuff, so feel free to check it out!