Character Quotes – Bang Shishigami

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“Huh?! That white hair –that stupid-ass face… You must be the super-villain, Ragna the Bloodedge!”

 

Man… It feels like forever since I had an actual video game character in the Character Quotes section, which is kind of sad… But hey such is life sometimes, besides I’m going to make it up by introducing Bang Shishigami this week. Now for those not in the know, this character hails from the game Blazeblue (Blazblue? Whatever…); an anime-rrific fighting game title similar to Guilty Gear. Unlike that game though, B.B. is its own fighter with its own fighting system. Add to the fact the character’s are pretty cool and the story’s engaging (if not reaching little) and you got yourselves a pretty good game. Now Bang is the leader of a ninja clan who is also a ‘Vigilante’, the game’s equivalent to a bounty hunter. He, and other vigilantes, is after the main character – Ragna the Bloodedge. What sets him apart from the rest of the characters in the game is that Bang is a ham.

 

He treats every moment like it’s a battle to the death, proclaiming himself loud and proud as the ‘Vigilante of Justice!’ for all the world to hear. Effectively he’s the game’s joke character; but because of his dynamic personally and fighting style (one of his specials not only makes him super-powered but activates ‘his’ theme song throughout the round) it’s hard for me (and I defy anyone) to not like and respect this guy. Especially with quotes like this one I had found between Ragna and Bang before a battle.

This just in (or not) – R.I.P. Lou Albano

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Lou Albano – famed WWF wrestler and manger, entertainment partner to Cyndi Lauper, and of course the original Super Mario, died at 76 yesterday in New York of natural causes. I was either not around or too young to have enjoyed his storied career as a whole, but I’ll always remember the Super Mario Brother Super Show, and his role in it. It was one of the influences in my life to make me (and many others I assume) who I am today. So farewell Captain Lou Albano, you’ll be sorely missed.

Super Lou Albano bros

Wow, really… – Marge Simpson on Playboy

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A birth of a new category is a upon us all and it’s called ‘Wow, really.’ This one deals with the radically odd I encounter in the world wide web. Truthfully I cannot think of anything weirder to premier than Marge Simpson appearing on the Playboy cover.

That’s right the timeless homemaker all of us watched on TV over the decade, the woman who probably swears only once a season, is letting it all hang out on the world most well-known gentlemen magizine.

As Old Ben Kenobi would say – “There is a disturbance in the force.”

What led to this decision by new Playboy CEO Scott Flanders (Really…? Flanders? Hidy ho, CEO?) was, and I quote from the CNN.com report: “It had never been done, and we thought it would be hip, cool and unusual.”

Which is true for, at least, playboy because Marge will be the first (and I’m sure won’t be the last) toon to grace their cover. As such, the pose Mrs. Simpson is doing is a tribute to Darine Stern; who in 1971 was the first African American woman to appear on the cover.

Now as for the ‘It had never been done’ part, that’s not entirely true; the sultry Simpson appeared on the cover of Maxim 5 years prior.

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Scrubbing their trademark home in the most… Err… provocative way, and inside mag show more than a few racy pictures of her as well.

For playboy and how they’ll portray her, many say that the pictures will be ‘tasteful’ done.

As for me people I’m not quite sure how to take this; sure I can understand where Playboy is coming from. The economy has been tough on all of us, and their trying to grab new, younger readers while still appealing to their normal subscriber base. However Marge being on the cover is like your mother being on the cover, and that scares me (with all due respect to my mother and all mothers in general).

Then again not all people are like me, and those people see Marge as sexy (Deviant Art is proof positive of this). So tomorrow the magazine goes live, and then we’ll all see if the scantly-clad Simpson gambit pays off for playboy.

This just in (or not) – Super Street Fighter IV

I think the trailer says it all…

Well maybe a few more words from me then. This new game (not DLC) will include eight characters from both Street Fighter past and future (new characters, like Juri). It will also balance out the online fighting matches to make them more fair; so you people who whined about Sagat got your wish. I whole hardedly approve of this; though I’m not quite sure why they choose to release this as a stand alone game and not DLC for SFIV. Still it doesn’t matter; I’m going to get this as soon as it releases and all other fighting fans should as well.

Article – Internet Security and You

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It’s time once again for a non-gamer article (written by me of course); this one’s about internet security, hacker history and how to protect yourself from malicious cyber attacks. Enjoy.

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“On the Internet, the world is flat.”

Said by Mark Yanalits, an information network engineer, who is a security and malware professional. He has been in the field of Internet security for 15 years.

“You can have a conversation with someone you’ve never met, in another country just by virtue of having the right type of cell phone or browser can pull up a site from Russia, wirelessly,” Yanalits said.

The Internet is a resource, an entertainer, a bridge to other places and even our friends; but people often forget that it can be used by those for ill will as well as good. Those individuals are called hackers.

Hackers are the ones who write malicious software that turns a PC and Mac from a highly efficient machine to a twisted shell of its former self.

While hackers were always a blight on computerized civilization, at their beginnings they were nothing but cyber thrill seekers.

When the Internet was just beginning to form and where desktop computers arrived at the workplace, they interconnected with other companies in other states and countries, the stakes increased.

This marked the arrival of small hacker communities in both America and Europe; with only one purpose, to see if they actually could hack a company system.

Hacker notoriety and personal reputation gained persistence through the ’80s and ’90s

When the millennium set in, desktop computers became really powerful and complex but vulnerabilities became more and more apparent. The vulnerabilities were exploited and hackers were able to gain full control of computer systems.

During this time, the Internet had become more accessible by the masses, and complex computer commands were being simplified by new programs, applications and easy user interfaces.

“Thanks to the speed, density and reach of the Internet and the powerful yet simplified abilities of the new desktop computers; when hackers attacked they did massive damage,” Yanalits said. “You can hack into a main frame computer inside a giant organization in a few seconds”

They did just that-Yahoo, eBay, CNN and Visa were all attacked and crippled by hackers and their own systems’ flaws.

“It was a big wake up call because suddenly on the Internet you had this malicious software created for street cred but had the capability to take down marquee institutions,” Yanalits said.

If they did not do something, big companies would be taken out of commission, and out of business.

“So in turn, those companies put up huge bounties for the writers of those types of software,” Yanalits said. “What the bounties did, and what the high profile arrests did was [drive] all the ‘script kiddies’ [a hacker novice, in it for the fun] out of the business and left people who were committed to use this capability for financial gain.”

Since 2003 to the present, the Internet has only gotten faster, computers have gotten faster and programs even more complex.

This only widens the attack range for computer criminals, which are serious about what they do. In Yanalits’ experience, the type of hackers that users encounter today are smart, calculating and experienced.

“You can go walk into a bank with a hand gun, and you can try and rob the bank, and might net you $11,000/12,000. That is if you don’t get any dye pack explosions or shot by the guard, it’s still a high risk venture.”

On the other hand, criminal hackers (or people who hire them) can build malicious software, get into personal computers and steal a person’s core identity. They can use it to open multiple credit cards in their name. They can easily steal two times the money compared to an armed robbery.

“The attractiveness of being able to perpetrate a crime from a distance gives a lot of incentive to engage computer crimes using the internet, because you don’t have to take the risk of actually being there,” Yanalits said.

Yanalits warns, it not just about money for computer criminals.

“The theft now, isn’t just a theft of money; it’s the theft of anything, and anything has currency,” he said.

Da'Hackers

If that was not bad enough, a skilled hacker can turn a user’s computer into a ‘BotNet’ if they’re not careful.

A BotNet is a small piece of user hacked computer (kept small so to not draw attention to the owners), where it is groomed and tuned up by ‘BotNet herders.’

These herders combine it with thousands of other BotNet computers and rented by buyers to deliver spam or attack other computer networks

“Suddenly it’s like a herd of cattle, hundred feet wide with spaces in between, goes down a narrow channel 25 yards wide,” Yanalits said, while describing what a wave of BotNets attacking a system, effectively crashing it.

So not only can hackers possibly steal everything you have, but they can also use your computer to attack some one else.

It almost makes you want to turn the computer off for good. Do not worry! Yanalits has some solid tips to prevent hackers from getting the better of you. The first of which is to keep software updated.

“The biggest threat to a person’s computer in present time is not keeping your computer ‘patched’ with software patches, including operating systems patches, from the vender of the software you’re using.”

So computers users should check often for security updates, or enable automatic updates, of whatever they are running to make sure their computer patches are up to date.

“The second thing owners of computers have to be aware of is not to be ‘sloppy’ and add a great deal of software to computer systems. Each program carries its own set of vulnerabilities beyond the computer operating systems that you’re installing.”

Meaning if you downloaded or installed a lot of applications like various Web browsers, media players, demo files, etc, each one of them could have a security weakness that hackers can use to get in.

“The most secure home systems are the ones that try and run with the lowest amount of additional software on top of it.”

Use Web based e-mails like hotmail and Gmail, do not receive and read them on a computer with Outlook or Thunderbird. Those are also applications with a possible weakness for hackers to exploit, plus it is e-mail so it is a double whammy.

“All home machines should be behind a firewall [A software firewall like Zone Alarm or a hardware firewall like router] if people don’t have the know-how to set it up then they should either find someone to pay to help configure it or should call their internet carrier,” Yanalits said. “Keep and groom it, on a daily basis your anti viruses software, keep it on a consistence state of scanning; every day if possible.”

Never leave personal information, such as finance, or tax records, on your computer, if you do get hacked and they find your information it will only take things from bad to worse.

Also clear your Web information from your browser “Keep clearing your Internet browser caches and don’t store pages in ‘history.'”

The final and most important tip is to be skeptical and think of yourself as your ‘human firewall.’

Know what sites and links are OK, and which to avoid because now hackers will use those users as well; do not open unknown email attachments, free music offers, and random virus, etc.

“The Internet cannot be trusted, because everyone on the Internet is a ‘dog,'” Yanalits said. “You have no idea who you’re talking to on the other end. The bad software is not coming to your computer; your computer is going to it.”

Champions Online Tips

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Hello, hello, hello all. Sorry for being MIA, but being the One True Omnigamer means being busy; especially with the fall of games bearing down a upon us. Currently I’m playing the last year champs (Fallout 3 & Fable II) to get me ready for this year’s fun. However I’ve also recently (and extensively) played the super hero MMO ‘Champions’ Online’; where despite its content issues I’ve gave it a Platinum Rating in my review. Now that the game has been out for almost a month and a half now I figure it only a matter of time before main-stream players come to seek this diamond in the rough out. Especially since it get better everyday, and will available on Xbox 360 soon.

So in my awesomeness to all the new players I will impart some heroic wisdom for CO to make the fight against evil a little less hair whitening.

1. Be who you want to be.

Accept for maybe Saint Row 2, City of Heroes/Villains, WWE wrestling games, and to some extent Fable II, I’ve never played a game with such an elaborate and detailed character creator. CO gives your imaginary characters form & function; they can look like, and do just about, anything (within reason of course). So go nuts… Just try to observe copy right law (but who are we kidding, right).

2. Regeneration + Teleport = Cheap!

I’m sorry pro ‘R & T’ users but they are, and I don’t want to hear: “I’ll do whatever to win” or “Don’t hate the player, hate the programmer” because I’m not buying those either. Now for those who don’t know, these two abilities’ give the players who uses them in PVP an unfair advantage. Regeneration automatically heals the player (through HoT) every time they receive damage, which is fine, but the lower their health the higher their percentage of them being heal. Which is not fine, because it makes setting up killing blows, or even causing lasting damage, impossible… Then there’s Teleport (or as it should be called: short range WoW Hearthing with a 5 to 20 sec cool down time – doesn’t quite roll off the tongue though – still); say by some chance you do cause more damage to a Regen player than their ability to heal and victory’s almost yours then – Poof! They’re gone, only to reappear a few moments later with near full health and techno colored death beams that shreds yours. Heed well my words new heroes, R & T are your best friends in PVE but your worst nightmare in PVP. They’re not impossible to beat but they’re certainly cheap! You have been warmed…

3. Block: Your frienemy.

Block is another innovation CO brought to the MMO landscape, well in a sense that you control your character’s block and not by an invisible adding machine in many other MMO’s. Of course the block blunts incoming damage toward your character, but it also causes your energy to recover much faster in battle. You start with a standard block in the beginning but can upgrade it soon after in many ways; a definite must by the by. Block is essential in CO but like R & T it can be annoying in PVP. So the best way to stop a blocking stalemate is to, at least, give one of your abilities’ ‘Crippling Challenge’. That not only removes the opponents’ ability to block for a few seconds but it also makes their next few attacks from them substantially weaker as well. Its only downside is that it does force the attention of NPC enemies to the user for about 4 seconds. Which is no threat for a tank-style characters but glass cannons should watch out.

4. No team, no problem.

World named target missions are easier to deal with in CO, not only do they spawn quickly but you don’t necessary need to form a team to deal with’em. What I mean is that if you arrive at the target’s location and find another hero or a group of heroes already fighting it you don’t have to wait for the next spawn (although you certainly could, it wouldn’t take very long) – join in! If you do a significant amount of damage you’ll get credit for the kill, as well as helping out your fellow heroes as well. Of course you’ll still need a team for high-ranked dungeon missions, but at least now you can get to them much quicker.

5. I only get two super stats?!

This game comes with a whole bunch of stats for you character, but you can only choose two of them to make ‘super’. Meaning the higher you make those stats due to training, equipment or leveling the more powerful your overall abilities will be. My recommendation is to choose the ones that most empowers your character. While it may be temping to add dexterity (increases the chance of criticals to your attacks) to your brick character, or constitution (more health) to your mystical mage hero; in the long run it will only serve to weaken your character with mismatched stats – so don’t be a maverick!

6. The third super stat… Sort of.

Ok I lied, you don’t get another super stat, but you ‘can’ focus on one more normal statistic through training and equipment to be just as high as a S.S. This will give you an extra advantage through that stat, though it won’t improve your abilities like a S.S. So you can give that brick a dex boost, or make the mage take the pain as well as give it. On the other hand, you could always take the jack-of-all-trades route but in this game I really don’t see any advantages to that; plus it only makes your job harder by constantly figuring out how to balance out your gear and training to make it work.

7. Be single minded in the beginning.

CO gives players I wide array of powers and abilities to pick and choose from (as I mentioned in #1) but in order to get the best ones you’ll have to unlock other tier powers. Now tier powers under the same category unlock faster than ones that are not, so it’s a good idea to focus on one main category for the beginning – at least till you reach level 13. The game is simple at first, but it does get tougher sooner than you think; having access to the Orbital Cannon or the Burning Chi Fist early will make the transition less traumatic (believe me …)

8. You are your own worst Nemesis.

Once you reach level 25 players will be able to create their own super villain rival – a Nemesis. Using the same tools to create your hero, your villain can easily fit your personally – or something crazy and completely off the wall. When you’re done however, you’ll come to find out; that your creation can kick your ass (again, learned that the hard way). Save yourselves the pain and bring a friend when you start the first nemesis mission. Once you finish it then congratulations; this is where things get interesting for you. Not only do you have to worry about the normal dangers that comes from being a hero in a crazy persistent MMO world, but now you have the added treat of get jumped by your nemesis’ crazy good henchmen – even (and especially) during missions. You’ll have to watch your back constantly; otherwise you’ll end up dead and lose one of your hero stars and that’s annoying… So if you need to afk; log off or stand next to a NPC hero.

Well that should be enough hand holding for all the rooks out there; follow these simple tips (and your own common senses) and players should be fine. Now go out there and save the world, or destroy it. I’m not that picky.