Category Archives: Things You Should Own

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Things You Should Own: Persona 4 (Playstation 2)

Persona 4 is not your father's RPG. In fact, it's not really the kind of RPG that you are most likely used to; even if you are a MegaTen fanboi like me. P4 starts with your silent protagonist moving to a quiet, foggy village and attending high school just as a murder spree begins. The high school and Social Links system will make sense to those who have played Persona 3.

To those who have not played P3, your social links and the people that you hang around with and stuff you do during the day in high school will affect your Persona (think summoned critters) abilities when exploring the Midnight Channel.

Which brings me to the Midnight Channel. The MC is basically the device to make role-playing action happen in the Persona universe (which is a splinter of the Shin Megami Tensei If universe which was a splinter of the Shin Megami Tensei II universe...confused yet?). You navigate through the various randomly generated dungeons and attempt to save people who have been dragged into the Midnight Channel. If you do not save them, then they will end up dead in the real world.

The artwork and presentation are stylistic and stellar, which should be no surprise to players of the previous games in the series. If you enjoy collection games and RPG's with a ton of content, great storylines, and wonderful characters that aren't afraid to push sensitive envelopes, I strongly recommend Persona 4.

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Things You Should Own: Dr. Awesome for the iPhone

Dr. Awesome is...well, awesome...for lack of a better word. I have played quite a few horrendous games on the iPhone, and while I love supporting indies and their games...there is a lot of crap coming from all quarters to the device. So I was pretty interested when I saw a game that looked kinda cheesy but had the name Dr. Awesome. I looked at the screenshots and thought "eh, why not? It can't be worse than playing PhatLewt or moving around in Nicky Boom, right?"

So I picked it up and started playing. The first thing that it did was import my large contact list. This is bascially a list of the people Marni and I invited to our wedding, so the damn thing is huge. So many lives to save!

And that is part of the fun. It uses your contact list to name the patients. Sure, it is cheesy and has repetative dialogue sections, but the gameplay is fun and strangely addictive. You basically control your microlaser with the accelerometers by tilting the iPhone. This cuts away infected tissue, isolating the viruses. It is pretty touchy, but works better than most games I've played on the iPhone that use accelerometers.

The dialogue is a appropriately cheesy, as one would expect from a game called "Dr. Awesome" and the characters are likable if also appropraitely overbearing. But if you have an iPhone, you should definitely pick up this app, though I warn may end up killing family and friends and not being nearly as awesome as your namesake!

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Things You Should Own: Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog on DVD

Joss Whedon is quite the amazing writer. He has written and produced some of the best moments that I have found on television. From Buffy to Angel to Firefly, Whedon has impressed me. And during the writer's strike, he impressed me again with a new tale: Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog. You can watch the episodes on Hulu or YouTube, but you can get the DVD and share them with your family and friends in your own home or apartment.

It has a villain you can love and a hero you can hate...and it is set to music!

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Things You Should Own: Nine Inch Nails – Pretty Hate Machine

Of the many albums that Trent Reznor has produced, Pretty Hate Machine is still one of my favorites. It may not have the clear definition of style that The Slip or The Downward Spiral have. It may not have the raw intensity of Broken or Fixed; but it has a razor-sharp edge that I still love to this day. PHM, developed while Trent was working as a night custodian at Right Track Studio.

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Things You Should Own: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

If you have been near a bookstore, or even a place that happens to sell hardbacks, or if you are just a subscriber to O, then you have probably heard of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. I know that it was an Oprah book pick (like The Road) because I still have not been able to get the damn sticker off of the jacket.

Edgar Sawtelle is an American Hamlet, and is one of the most beautifully written works that I have read in a while. The story, if you know Hamlet, is rather predictable, but then it doesn't really matter. West Side Story is Romeo and Juliet with music and "can't we all just get along?" racial overtones. My favorite episode of Moonlighting is a retelling of Taming of the Shrew. The magic is in the telling, not the originality.

From the publisher's book description:

Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life with his parents on their farm in remote northern Wisconsin. For generations, the Sawtelles have raised and trained a fictional breed of dog whose thoughtful companionship is epitomized by Almondine, Edgar's lifelong friend and ally. But with the unexpected return of Claude, Edgar's paternal uncle, turmoil consumes the Sawtelles' once peaceful home. When Edgar's father dies suddenly, Claude insinuates himself into the life of the farm--and into Edgar's mother's affections.

Grief-stricken and bewildered, Edgar tries to prove Claude played a role in his father's death, but his plan backfires--spectacularly. Forced to flee into the vast wilderness lying beyond the farm, Edgar comes of age in the wild, fighting for his survival and that of the three yearling dogs who follow him. But his need to face his father's murderer and his devotion to the Sawtelle dogs turn Edgar ever homeward.

It is a well written book that is well worth your time.

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: A Novel (Oprah Book Club #62)

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