I Should Be The Only Game Designer

I’ve been playing Final Fantasy XIII lately after receiving it from Gamefly, and I will say I’m enjoying it enough. (Moreso than the last game I received, Bioshock 2, which completely failed to grab me in any manner.) It’s not as special or gripping as Final Fantasy IX or Kingdom Hearts II, but it’s enjoyable.

But here’s the problem. I’m still working my way through its decidedly 33-hour tutorial and I’ve realized that, while making the experience smooth to ease into (or possibly easy to smooth into), I now have no reason to buy their sixty dollar game because I will never replay it from the beginning.

When it takes five hours to get to the part of the game where you can do something besides run forward into battle and select Auto-battle, never will I have the patience to sit through that again knowing that I could be experiencing the excitement of switching paradigms AND selecting Auto-battle.

I’d also like to mention that I had Listerine in my mouth for the entire duration of writing this post.

Monster Heatsink from Hell

I was looking up CPUs the other day (still haven’t decided exactly what hardware I’ll be using for my upcoming computer build) and found this picture on a post from Tom’s Hardware:

Giant CPU Heatsink from Hell

It's too big, Gus! (Click for full size)

Apparently they had used this heatsink, a Scythe Mugen-2 Revision B, to overclock an Intel Core i3-530 to roughly 4.3 GHz from its out-of-box clock speed of 2.93 GHz. Calling that “pretty impressive” would be a considerable understatement.

Unfortunately for me, this seems to have given me the idea that I could back off from the Core i5-661 (3.33 GHz) that I was planning on buying, to the considerably cheaper Core i3-530… and overclock it. You’ll notice the ellipsis. That’s because I’ve never overclocked anything, and in fact, have been kind of an opponent of overclocking most of my life. However, the ease with which this Core i3 seems to be overclockable, as well as the fact that I’m planning on using the ASRock H55M Pro motherboard (chosen because it’s slightly less expensive than, as well as reviewed better than the closest equivalent Intel board, and the added benefit of a second PCI Express x16 slot) which apparently has excellent overclocking options from the BIOS, means the temptation to overclock is higher than I’ve ever felt before.

All I can say now, though, is… we’ll see.

“Before It Breaks”, Song of the Month

Song of the month for April, 2010: Before It Breaks by Brandi Carlile.

I really discovered Brandi some time in mid October last year. My dad had bought her second CD, The Story, some time before, after hearing her on Pat Monahan’s (of Train) solo album Last of Seven. (The song is Pirate on the Run and it happens to be the best song on the album. The album has some other good tunes, but as a whole it’s a bit too “pop” for me.)

I had heard Brandi’s music here and there but never really paid attention until I started hearing some of her stuff playing at work, where we have all of our music on the server and have a rather large randomized playlist. I finally paid attention and realized it was some really good music.

Come Christmas, I gave my dad her new album, Give Up the Ghost, on vinyl, only mostly because he wanted it. 😉 As many new albums do, it took a bit of warming up for me; new and modified sounds and styles tend to throw me. But after a couple of listens, I knew that Give Up the Ghost was still great music, and one song in particular stood out to me.

That is, of course, Before It Breaks. Honestly, I don’t know what it means. I’m a bit slow on the uptake of song meanings; but with a beautiful piano lead (which happened to be inspired by Elton John, who spun another song from the album, Caroline, into a fantastic jam) and Brandi’s incredible vocals, this song quickly pushed its way into the rank of my “Temporary Favorite Song, Period”. That is to say, right now there is no song I like better, but it’s probably only a matter of time before that changes. Then again, it has been in the position since at least early February; I recall at the concert I had the pleasure of attending in Knoxville, Tennessee, I was practically the only one who clapped excitedly at the introduction of the song, though two others seemed to briefly follow my lead.

Speaking of concerts, even some of my least-liked Carlile songs became a thousand times better when experienced live. If you like any of her music, go to a concert. I hope I haven’t used the word “amazing” too many times in this post, because I’m too lazy to go check, but she and her band put on an amazing performance.

Anyway, the song was stuck in my head tonight, so spilling it into a blog post seemed like the right thing to do.