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Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate Edition - PC
Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate Edition - PC
Offered by AOOutlet
Price: $13.00
16 used & new from $13.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not sure how to feel about it., May 24, 2014
"New Vegas" is a sequel to Fallout 3; itself a sequel to two prior games. In a nutshell America turns into a sort of future retro 1950's that erupts into a nuclear war about 2075. Two hundred years later the survivors come out of the fallout shelters into the new world.

In Fallout 3 you started out from a shelter (called a Vault); in "New Vegas" you begin in the outside world, as a courier who is gravely wounded and enters the game as someone with no memory trying to find an identity.

Along the way you can make choices, ally with factions, obtain sidekicks, and so on. There is no one way to play the game, nor good or bad choices. Developers have tried to shy away from having "good and evil" character sets for something more realistic. In "Mass effect," for example, you can be a Paragon (virtuous but unyielding) or a Renegade (self adsorbed but doing what has to be done). In "New Vegas" (and the prior Fallout games) you have a negative or positive karma, but it's applied to how certain factions view you, and to please one often ticks off another.

It's something developers try to do is make a sequel that is bigger and better than the original. Well they did that, but it may also be the game's downfall. My time on completing it with most quests discovered and siding with one faction was 51 hours, almost twice what it was Fallout 3. To have tried to see how different faction choices played out would easily added another 20 hours. Overall I spent a few weeks on it, but looking back I honestly can't say I enjoyed it. The problems I had with the game are best run off as list:

A future where the economy runs on bottle caps (?) and despite 200 years of post apocalypse environment computers are still up and running; a 2075 computer looks an awful lot like 1980. This was also in Fallout 3.

If anything too many quests and complexity. To get one thing done you have to see someone who gives you three quests, and in turn someone else on one of those quests give you more, and so on. There is a LOT of searching and looking around, and the pointer telling you where to go is really only good for a general heading in the wasteland. Many of the vaults and casinos are literally mazes to find your way around in. This also results in things like you enter a room, surprise someone and get into a fight and kill them, then get a message you failed a quest you were never on as it depends on some decisions you made a few quests ago.

Navigating the wasteland can be difficult as you try to get to one place by climbing a ridge and run into a mysterious invisible block as they don't want you getting over it. A lot of "boss" characters have the HHF (Huge Hitpoint Factor) where it takes multiple hits with a grenade launcher or a sniper rifle to take them down, despite looking like any other character in the game.

As with Fallout 3 everything has a vague cartoony look and the color palette is a dull somber shading of browns, tans, greens, greys, and so on. I realize this is a wasteland but still a depressing landscape makes a depressing game.

Really? Follow ons to the Roman Legions and Mongol hordes?

The characters are nothing more than general roles (leader, follower, medic, seller, comic, etc.) with a repertoire of canned lines. That essentially is most video game characters but in many you identify with them as if a from a book or movie, they seem real even if they aren't. Here it just all runs together. It doesn't help that so many canned lines are repeated over and over.

The ending, however is what finally soured me on the game. Without giving it away it's a slideshow of about 25 or so vignettes; with from 4 to 6 variations depending on how you played each major part of the game. Some may never be present if you missed that set of quests. Therefore there is no "cutscene" at the ending, and easily a few hundred variations. Some turn out the way you expected, many were "well if I'd known *that* I would never have played it that way."

Basically I entered a confused and uncertain mess, expended an enormous amount of effort, and left the place an even more uncertain mess. Call it "real" or too much like reality, it felt more like a performance review than ending a game.

If you want to see a story done right that is involving, colorful, and still a large world to play in with a surprise ending, look at "Bioshock Infinite." As it is I doubt I'll play this one again.

Red Dwarf: The Complete Collection
Red Dwarf: The Complete Collection
DVD ~ Various
Offered by SNOWMAN
Price: $91.49
26 used & new from $83.86

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An overlooked gem, August 2, 2013
I've heard about "Red Dwarf" for years, but had really no idea what it was about until I watched it recently. The basic premise is a mining ship is heading out into deep space; the main characters you see are a slacker named Lister and his Napoleon fixated supervisor Remmer. Lister is put into suspended animation for bringing a pregnant cat onboard, and what he thinks will be a few months is three million years. Remmer had made a mistake with a radiation shield which failed, irradiating the entire ship and killing everyone but Lister and his cat. The ship's computer doesn't let Lister out until the radiation has died down, while in the meantime his cat's descendants have evolved into a sentient human like species, while Remmer comes back as a hologram of his former self.

The first two seasons were spare, consisting of an Odd Couple arrangement between Lister and Remmer with the computer and the Cat as supporting characters. It was funny, but not memorable.

The third season, however, was where the series took off. A new character was brought in who had made a cameo appearance before, Kryten the android, and the show show became more of an ensemble performance among the four lead actors with a bigger budget (still puny by US standards), and more adventuresome stories as they left the ship on side adventures and so on.

A few things seems odd to American audiences; each season is regarded as a separate series, with very short runs, 6-10 episodes. While the show's four main actors stayed the same from the third season on, side characters such as the computer changed and there were more twists and turns than in Star Trek, with a good portion of the middle part of the series having them running around the galaxy in a scout ship called a Starbug trying to find the Red Dwarf.

While a lot of the jokes are crude or related to sex (Lister is a slob and Remmer is always trying to get a girl), it was done to BBC TV standards so is overall clean--if you ever wondered where the phrase "smeghead" came from it was here.

Overall this is a very funny show and one you don't want to miss.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 13, 2014 5:53 PM PST

Greenleaf Beacon Hill Dollhouse Kit - 1 Inch Scale
Greenleaf Beacon Hill Dollhouse Kit - 1 Inch Scale
Offered by BabyAge
Price: $248.00
9 used & new from $168.99

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bad idea, June 30, 2013
= Durability:1.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:1.0 out of 5 stars 
First off this is an "adult" dollhouse intended as a decoration, not something for kids to play with.

I tried building one of these as a gift for a relative and what had looked like a quick job over a few weekends stretched out to months. The two main problems are the instructions are wordy with few illustrations, and the house is built by punching out parts from very thin plywood. A lot of rough edges to sand and shallow tabs to line things up. Even trim pieces are made by layering together 2-3 pieces of plywood.

I literally went through about three bottles of wood glue, and despite using pins, tape, and whatever I could to hold it together while the glue dried there were endless problems with gaps and sections pulling apart.

I've built motorcycles, computers, and fix cameras as a hobby so it's not like I'm a hamfisted amateur, but I still finally had to give up--this was probably the most frustrating project I ever tried. The end result is a house that wouldn't have looked much better than one made from plastic and painted.

Price: $2.99

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What was Ridley Scott thinking?, June 9, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Prometheus (Amazon Instant Video)
"Alien" was a genuinely scary movie--arguably it was just a haunted house/monster movie in space, but it created a surprisingly realistic look and feel. "Prometheus" was supposedly a prequel but not a prequel but based on the same "DNA" as the other movie. That's about as much sense as it's going to make.

Essentially the movie isn't scary, isn't very plausible, and most of it doesn't make much sense. It's essentially as if Scott wanted to redo Alien as a more intellectual and profound movie, and ends up falling flat in every way. Most Sci-Fi movies can at least make up for shortcomings by having good special effects but even these are pedestrian.

No Title Available

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The only B&W instant film left, June 9, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The one thing you probably won't be able to take advantage of with this film is it's 3000 ISO speed, as practically all cameras for it use an incredibly narrow aperture on the order f/32 or higher. In other words it performs about the same as an f/8 camera at ISO 400 or so. This was done to make the cameras "focus free" in an era when cheap cameras were manual focus and had at best a simple light cell metering. The film has a narrow range where exposures look good; over exposures are a little more tolerant, while under exposures tend to go very dark. Done right it captures the old school B&W look.

Windows 8 System Builder OEM DVD  64-Bit [Old Packaging]
Windows 8 System Builder OEM DVD 64-Bit [Old Packaging]

19 of 28 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The problem is the interface, April 21, 2013
Windows 8 has been compared to the previous "bad" versions of Windows, namely Vista and ME. However, there is a very big difference to note. ME and Vista introduced new technology and changes that were a little too much, and never worked well, and both had problems with driver support. ME brought us system restore, and Vista the User Access Control (UAC). Vista in particular was much maligned for slow performance, trouble in copying large numbers of files, and a system that actually would degrade over time. A lot of this was fixed by Service Pack 1, but the reputation never left.

Both were also attractive OS's---Vista in particular had one of the most calm and pleasing UI's I've worked with. And if you didn't like it or wanted to increase performance you could change the look back to Windows 2000-ish. Both also had incremental changes in the UI--if you'd worked with preceding versions of Windows you could with them, and just encounter new changes as they came.

By comparison, Windows 8 has good driver support, rock steady stability, and a lot of the features from network deployment to a warm reboot have been much improved--in particular I like the detailed task manager.

What sinks it is the absolute abomination of a UI. I've seriously gotten nauseous after a long day using Windows 8--the pink and purple color scheme, the "hard" look to windows with unnecessarily large borders, the loud unshaded colors. At first I thought it was a joke, this is almost like Windows 2.0 rather than 8. But no, it's not. I've tried changing the colors to green or blue but none really work, all are garish.

The interface itself is a kludge between a touch screen and a traditional desktop, and they just don't mix. Touch screens trend towards displays and programs that you just tap the screen to bring up a menu, slide your finger to move something over, and so on. With a desktop you're staring at what looks like a screen filling image with no clue what to do or where to go. On the desktop people are used to, and need, a button, control, or menu to know what to do. Leaving a blank space in the corner to hover over and hope it pulls up the Start Menu is just plain stupid, and there was several times it didn't seem to work. Similarly the Charms Bar on the right pops up when it's least wanted; I finally put Classic Shell on get around it.

Microsoft seems to have thrown in the towel on the evolution of the Start Menu, which went from a small menu in the early versions of Windows to branching out and becoming more complex, to finally becoming a screen filling monstrosity. Do we need all this? Apps are fun things to play with but they seem to get tiring after awhile and I find myself just going to a website to check the weather rather than rely on an app. Call it old fashioned, I call it getting more information over a quick fix.

A lot of positive comments seem to focus on how people just have to learn the new UI, it's simple once you get the hang of it, or we just need to move on into the future. The people making these comments also tend be to young tech types who like something new or different. People who aren't primarily techies, the office workers and home users, will hate 8. It's too much of a change for too little benefit. Tablets and mobile devices are a big part of the market now, but desktops and laptops will always be here and are the best way to get stuff done when you have to work on it all day.

Users who've gradually grown into the "old" Windows don't want to learn it all over, and to be honest I don't see why they should. 7 had changes that annoyed me at first but I soon began to see the improvement, 8 is plainly difficult. Even the last huge interface change; Windows 95, was a big adjustment but people began to adapt and see how it was better. I see nothing of the sort with the 8 Metro interface.

I normally run my Windows 7 machines with the "Windows Basic" theme for increased performance. The other day I enabled the full Aero desktop for the first time in a few years, and ran immediately into the same hit on speed, but it is simply a beautiful interface, and so much better on the eyes than 8. I really wish Microsoft had stuck with Aero as it's "theme" rather than forcing us into 8.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 4, 2013 1:22 PM PDT

Microsoft Windows 8 Pro - Upgrade [Old Version]
Microsoft Windows 8 Pro - Upgrade [Old Version]
Offered by Tax Software Store, Inc.
Price: $105.99
18 used & new from $99.95

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Really, what were they thinking?, February 20, 2013
Microsoft has had a thing for tablets for several years, so it was ironic it was Apple that made people start wanting to buy them with iPads.

In the meantime Microsoft released Vista, which was pretty but slow and clunky, and then 7, probably the best all around OS they've made. 8 really would be a better and refined 7--I've had no problems with crashes or incompatibility, and the tools like the task manager are even better--except for the cursed interface.

For reasons known only to Microsoft they put a tablet interface in all the versions of Windows, with some consideration made for desktop users. In a nutshell it's simply awful. Vista/7 were pretty, this is downright ugly, with plain blocky shapes and pastel colors in a a purple, blue and pink scheme that is nauseating to look at.

You don't have a start button anymore but an empty space in the left corner to move your mouse in, and a screen filling Start menu pops up. And it pops up all the time. On the right is a "Charm Bar" (their name for it) that also pops up with a mouse movement. While in Vista/7 they assumed you wanted a big clock on the screen to go with the one on the taskbar, you could at least turn it off. Here you can't. All day long I'm trying to scroll in a webpage or open window and *bing* the stupid Charm bar pops up again.

You have to know the gestures and places to click or move your mouse. Without wanting to you can click in the wrong place and pull up a screen filling program like TWINUI with no idea how to close it, how to run it, or even what it does. You have to find the right place to click to close it. And to be honest the gestures/click points don't always seem to work.

They seemed to think everyone now wants to use small devices with touch screens--and that may be true for mobile phone users and casual users who want to surf the web while watching TV on the couch. But for people who need to do work all day on a computer a desktop with a keyboard will always be better.

Thank goodness you can download some freeware programs that put a start menu back in the thing, but still it's clunky and after many tries of changing the colors this is one of the most hideous interfaces ever put on a computer. It's simply an abomination, and I hope Microsoft gets their act together for the next OS release.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 21, 2013 11:29 AM PST

Far Cry 3 - PC
Far Cry 3 - PC
Offered by Clover Media
Price: $3.50
44 used & new from $3.50

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than "Farcry2," the question is how much, December 28, 2012
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Far Cry 3 - PC (DVD-ROM)
I was a little disappointed that the original "Farcry" wasn't reprised in this one, and doesn't look like it ever will be. Yes, that game was very stereotypical with it's sci-fi setting, sarcastic ex-military hero, a heroine nearly as tough as him, and a scientist helper, but the game was aware of that and played it up. Farcry was fun, and was probably the first game to successfully create a jungle environment that worked.

Farcry2 had in common only the name, being set in Africa among warring factions. Mostly to anyone who played it the game seemed more like "Grand Theft Auto: Africa" and was a lot of driving to get anywhere.

This one combines the two; from Farcry we have again a jungle environment with Japanese ruins from World War Two, even older ancient ruins (this time Chinese), hang gliders that do more than short hops, and boats.

From Farcry2 we have the driving environment, radio towers, and a gradual buildup of skills and equipment. At the 3/4 mark the game shifts to a smaller island with more advanced weapons and challenges. We also have competing factions again, this time the native Rakyat, pirates, and privateers, who are all color coded by blue, red, and yellow.

New to the series is crafting medicines from plants and using animal skins to make carrying pouches and satchels. You also use an arrow--but it never has a point where you have to completely use hand weapons aside from some dedicated hunting quests. Having a segment of the game where you had to entirely improvise weaponry would have been appealing.

Changeups from Farcry2 is the radio towers are used to open up parts of the map, and a big improvement is each liberated fort can be used for instant "rapid" travel which is good, as the game is huge.

Neither here nor there is the repetitiveness. You have 18 towers and 34 forts. Each tower has a supply drop mission and each fort has a couple of hunter/kill someone quests. Unlike Farcry2 where, for example, the delivering medicine quest was always exactly the same thing each one of these is different, even the radio towers are a puzzle to climb them. Still, there's only so many ways to take over a fort.

The campaign--well, in Farcry Jack Carver was a jerk but he was a fun jerk. Jason Brody is a dorky kid. The game at times seems to edge into a psychological down the rabbit hole journey but never goes through. I sorely missed the humor of the original Farcry, although "Sam" added some needed comic relief. Still, in the end we had no sci-fi backdrop, just mercenary fighting, and no real development--that the character has really done much more than learn to fight real good. All the psychological/spiritual elements just go "poof" and you have two choices at the end, the "win" choice that almost everyone will take and a "lose" choice.

Overall just to do the campaign would probably be about 9 hours, to fully upgrade and liberate the islands about 16 hours, to complete all the quests who knows. You get your money's worth, it's an enormous game with lots of challenges, but still feels disappointing.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX30V 18.2 MP Exmor R CMOS Digital Camera with 20x Optical Zoom and 3.0-inch LCD (Black) (2012 Model)
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX30V 18.2 MP Exmor R CMOS Digital Camera with 20x Optical Zoom and 3.0-inch LCD (Black) (2012 Model)
15 used & new from $159.95

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really Surprised!, December 8, 2012
I'm normally a Nikon/Canon user who wouldn't even think of a Sony, but it was time to replace my carry-everywhere pocket camera and I began shopping and comparing. Usually my pocket camera has been a Canon compact, but I wanted a longer zoom and none of the "S" series of bridge cameras have done very good when I tried them--plus they are too big. So after seeing some posts about the low light performance I took a chance on this one.

I couldn't be more happy with it--it is not a replacement for a DSLR but is a near perfect travel camera. What has most surprised me is it can take clear pictures at the full 20X zoom, often in cases I thought a good photo would be impossible. But there is a requirement to make this magic happen--your subject has to be still. This is because the HX30V uses a lot of post processing to clean up the image, and in some cases there is a little of a "computerized" look to things. But in general I've gotten unbelievably sharp images even when shot from a bouncing car.

The other features are there that we almost take for granted--HD movies, scene effects, and so on. It has a 10 frame per second burst mode--but only for one second before it has to write the images to the card.

The night photos for a compact are very good--but for best quality in scenes lit only by streetlights it needs to be shot from a rest as the shutter speed drops to 1/8 second or so. In normal indoor lighting the photos have nicely saturated colors and are sharp.

There are a few things I wish could be better; if it had an EVF for sunny days, was a little smaller as it's at the outer edge of convenient pocket size, and in general had an overall faster operation. That's about it; and I wouldn't blink an eye to take this one with me on vacation.

FUJIFILM FP-3000B 3.34 X 4.25 Inches Professional Instant Black and White Film
FUJIFILM FP-3000B 3.34 X 4.25 Inches Professional Instant Black and White Film
Offered by aqua2209
Price: $12.67
17 used & new from $12.67

4.0 out of 5 stars The Yin and the Yang of it., November 28, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is the only instant B&W film left on the market. It's the intended film for the Polaroid Swingers, 100-400 series, Colorpaks, and other cameras that can use it. The whole purpose to the 3000 speed film was to get a superfast ISO with a narrow aperture and thus make a "focus free" camera.

It can be used in other cameras that are adapted for pack film or used the color film only--but then it's almost too much of a good thing. Most meters only go up to ISO 1600, and in bright daylight normal apertures of f/16-f/22 aren't enough.

However, it has superfast (15 second development), good contrast and rendition, and in general the old school B&W look. Buy it now, no telling how much longer it will be on the market.

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