Friday, November 17, 2006

best of 2006: random cool stuff

Today it looked like I would be the only person working the queues---which is too complicated and boring to explain here, so let’s just say being the only person working the queues SUCKS SQUIGGLY PIG CHOAD and leave it at that---but Giggles, who is either a shameless malingerer or the unhealthiest person who is still vertical, actually came in today!

It’s like Christmas in November!

I still have to fill in for the lobby receptionist during her afternoon break, though, which bites. Wonder what would happen if I accidentally-on-purpose hit the threat alarm?

As you may or may not know, I like to post “Best Of” lists at the end of the year. I’m starting a little early because I’m heading off on Thanksgiving vacation, and I get the feeling work will be crazy apeshit when I get back, so I might not have time to write for a while. (What did you say? Write on my off time? Heresy!) If something comes along between now and the end of December that begs to be included on one of these lists, then I’ll update accordingly.

Now it’s time for my list of random cool stuff from 2006. I played way more video games than usual this year, so this list is pretty gamercentric, but there are other things on here too.

A few notes:

  • Not all of these things first made their debut in 2006, but since I didn’t play/eat/hear/see them until this year, they belong on this list.
  • These aren't in any particular order.
  • Your mileage may vary.
  • All of the video games were played in PS2 format.
  • I'm sorry about the discrepancy in picture size, but I just couldn't be arsed to make them all even.
  • Some of the pictures have comments if'n you mouse over them.

Oh, shit, it's a mob of horny unwashed fanboys...RUN!
Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly

I enjoyed the first installment of this series, but this one was much better. The voice acting is greatly improved, the storyline (twin sisters wind up in a haunted village that participates in a nasty religious ritual) is more engrossing, and it features the biggest jump scare I've ever gotten from a video game. I was so startled I actually dropped the controller and shrieked, which has never happened before...not even during the infamous two-way mirror scene from Resident Evil 2.

Maybe this chopper will take me to a better fucking ending...
Indigo Prophecy

You begin the game as Lucas Kane, a man who awakens from a trance in a diner bathroom, only to find that he's brutally stabbed an innocent man to death. He goes on the lam, trying to find out what happened and why, with two detectives (who you also get to play as) in hot pursuit. The storyline takes a MASSIVE shit near the end, but up until then it's innovative and a lot of fun. It also has excellent graphics and a fantastic soundtrack, so despite the aforementioned collapse of the storyline, I have to give it props.

I couldn't find a picture of the cereal online, so you get this picture of blueberries instead, seeing as they're so obscure and all.  This is how dedicated I am to you, the reader.
Ralph's blueberry almond cereal

I bought a box of this on sale, and I've been buying it ever since. It's so freakin' tasty that it's hard to believe it's actually good for me.

"Samson" by Regina Spektor

A beautiful ballad that I've loved ever since I heard it on CSI:NY.

Martina Topley-Bird

Besides being a kick-ass game, Indigo Prophecy also introduced me to Martina Topley-Bird, whose song "Sandpaper Kisses" is prominently featured within. Her album Anything is as smooth and delicious as a glass of pinot noir.

Pirate Pearls

It's a pale imitation---pardon the pun---of the real thing, but I actually like white chocolate, so I happily devoured these limited edition M&Ms.

Jack Thompson's kid is having a bitch of a time getting through high school unscathed.

Okay, I’ll admit it; when this game was still in production, I had a knee-jerk reaction to the title and the rumors that claimed you played a bully who torments the weak. But once it actually came out and I found out it wasn’t the “Columbine simulator” its detractors claimed, I thought it sounded kind of fun, and when Daddy-O offered to buy me a game as thanks for helping him with his computer, this is the one I chose. You play Jimmy Hopkins, a teenage boy who’s been in trouble, but isn’t really a bad kid at heart. He winds up at Bullworth, a snobby prep school overrun by bullies, and he’s determined to protect the other kids from them. I’m not very far into it, but I can already tell it belongs on this list. It’s incredibly immersive, and it’s by far the funniest game I’ve ever played. Plus you can restore your health by not only kissing girls, but kissing other boys if you so choose. Well done, Rockstar…well done.

I've seen enough hentai to know this can't end well.
Rule of Rose

You play a teenage girl named Jennifer, who's off to an orphanage after a tragic airship accident claims the lives of her parents. But when she arrives, she discovers that the adults have long since fled, and the orphanage is ruled by an elite group of girls whose word is absolute. Jennifer must find out why everyone hates her, and she's aided in her quest by Brown, the loyal dog she rescues. This game has many flaws---crappy camera angles, terrible combat, voice acting that ranges from the ho-hum to the histrionic, excruciatingly long loading times, and a few very frustrating areas---but the award-winning CGI cutscenes, unnerving atmosphere, and the incredible plot more than make up for it. The story, once it fully unfolds, is the most emotionally devastating I've seen in a game since Silent Hill 2.

Stan Lee must have been hit with the Evil Stupid Ray right before he voted this guy off the show.
Who Wants to Be a Superhero?

I loved this reality show, in which the contestants vied to win Stan Lee's favor, so much I wanted to marry it. It was a much-needed breath of fresh air during summer's stagnant rerun season, although I was absolutely outraged when the funny and charming Major Victory had to turn in his costume. Major Victory, you'll always be the superhero of my heart.

Confirmed poonhound Hiro was shocked to find a doujinshi pairing him with his best friend Ando.

This TV show took some time to really hook me, but once it did, I eagerly awaited each new episode. My absolute favorite character---and this will surprise precisely no one---is Hiro, the charmingly geeky Japanese salaryman who delights in his newfound powers.

Two great tastes that taste like shit together

Every time I passed the freezer at Albertson’s, I was tempted to buy a box of these, and finally I succumbed. Unfortunately, the concept was much better than the execution. Pass.