Monday, December 20, 2004

Player Of The Year

Saturday afternoon, at a special Christmas Chess-Party, I was officially given the title of "2004 Player Of The Year" by the Charlotte Chess Club. It is truly outstanding to be given this high honor, I want to thank NM Leland Fuerstman, Jon Pietras, and all the leaders of the Charlotte Chess Club, for their friendship and support over the years. I would not be where I am today without the support of such living legends of the chess world, nor would chess in general be where it is today without their herculean efforts to promote the Royal Game.

I would like to congratulate also everyone else who won prizes and awards at the Christmas Party, it was truly a wonderful afternoon for everyone. Also, its worth mentioning that NM Leland Fuerstman actually played the guitar and sang for all the members in attendance, and I think its fair to say that his musical stylings leave James Taylor, and other such musicians, in the dust.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!

I know its after Thanksgiving now, but a technical problem has prevented me from posting for a while, and I wanted to make sure that I told everybody Happy Thanksgiving :). Also, I'd like to fill everybody in on some other interesting news and information.

I would like to share some information about some video games Ive played lately. It has become obvious to me that EA Sports has become a clear 2nd to The ESPN 2K series, at least from what Ive experienced. Never has it been more clear than when I played the NCAA Football 2005 game by EA Sports. Its inferiority to ESPN NFL 2k5 is so extreme, its really intolerable, I cant stand to play it its so bad by comparison. The graphics, the gameplay itself, I played it one time with my cousin, and the term she used to describe the NCAA Football 2005 game was "primitive", and it was a very good description. Its very primitive, if you're looking for a good NCAA Football game, you need to hope that Sega puts one out, I know I sure do :).

But speaking of the ESPN 2k series, another gem that I have had the extreme fun of playing is the NCAA Basketball one, again only $19.95, and its the best basketball game Ive ever played. It has a super awesome "Legacy" mode too, that has super duper awesome recruiting options, and its very deep. The announcers are awesome, the graphics are top of the line, the sound effects are super duper, tons of different kinds of music, depending on where you're playing the game, the mascots, cheerleaders, coaches, its all there baby!

I'd also like to take this opportunity to review a game for the PC, that I have been playing for a while now. This review has to be very nuanced, because I dont want to give a mis-impression when I'm critical of certain aspects of it, it is overall an amazingly awesome game.

The name of the game is Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines Lets start right away with the one bad part of the game, so I can get it out of the way and focus on all the things this game does right. If you note the rating of the game, you'll see its rated M, and theres a very good reason for it, the language at times gets really bad. I hope that noone who is under 18 will play this game, and those of you who are over 18 and who do play this game, please keep in mind you can hit the space bar when you see bad words coming, and you dont have to hear them (the subtitles appear on the screen very often before the words are actually said). Also, the game at times gets a little bit gorey, but nothing really terrible, at least to me.

Now on to the main portion of the review. This game is amazing, the graphics are top notch, the people, and creatures, are super realistic. The sound effects, the background music, and the voice acting, are all superb, top of the line stuff. The game itself is what you would call an 'Action RPG', that is to say, a Role Playing Game that is played not in a turn based, 'Final Fantasy' style, but rather in an action based style, much like 'Fable' for the XBox. There are so many different awesome things to see and do in the game, I wouldnt want to ruin any of it for you by saying too much. Some points in the game are actually even scary, I was scared during portions of this game, it was the scariest game Ive ever played. If you dont like being scared, you can always turn the sound down, because while it will still be scary in these moments, the scary sound effects really make it extra super scary, and turning the sound down will help at least to make it seem less scary. I'm somebody who always loved vampire movies and stuff, and I love playing as a vampire in a game with lots of vampires and cool stuff related to vampires in it.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Awesome New Video Game Review!

I'd like to take this opportunity to review the amazing new game for the Playstation2, Rumble Roses. As you may know, Rumble Roses is a wrestling game, similar to the 'Smackdown' series, only this game doesnt involve WWE Superstars. This is an all-women wrestling game, but unlike real women wrestlers, these ladies can do lots of impressive moves, like regular wrestlers can do! Let's start with the obvious. The women in this game are definitely quite attractive. But so are the women in the Smackdown series. It takes a lot more than attractive women wrestlers to make a game good, much less great. One thing this game does NOT have going for it, is the wide range of match types of the Smackdown series. No Steel Cage matches, no Ladder matches, no Iron Man matches, no Tag Team matches, etc. All matches are 1 on 1, singles matches. There are regular matches which involves wrestling in (and out of) a regular wrestling ring and, 'Mud' matches, where the wrestlers wrestle in an area filled with mud. That seems to be it. I dont know why the match types are so limited really. But once you get over your lack of pre-game options, things really start improving with the ring entrances. Awesome music, and unbelievable graphics accompany your wrestler's entrance to the ring. These arent just as good as the Smackdown entrances, they're better, WAY better. After the entrances, its on to the game play itself. The game play is similar to the Smackdown games, the 'counter' system has been improved somewhat so that it isnt completely random anymore, it requires very specific timing. Much like the Smackdown series, you do have a meter you build up over the course of the match, that allows you to use your patented finishing maneuvers. You can leave the ring and go outside the ring and find various foreign objects to use against your opponent, if you so desire, as all matches seem to be 'No DQ' matches. Another considerable improvement over the Smackdown series of games, is the wrestlers TALK during the match. Not conversation, of course, but they say little things every once in a whlie, like kicking out of a pin and saying 'I'll never give up!', that really does make the game that much more awesome. If you're playing in "Story" mode, you get a special scene before and after each match, and you have to beat about a half dozen or so opponents to complete your character's unique 'story', and the scenes are quite good, the storylines are very interesting. In exhibition mode, you can turn each character good or bad, 'face' or 'heel', by doing certain things during the course of the matches. And you can also have title matches as well. So there is a variety of things to do in this game, and again, everything the game does it does VERY, VERY well. I strongly reccomend Rumble Roses for the Playstation2 to anyone who enjoys playing wrestling games. While I havent played every wrestling game out there, of the ones I have, this one is the very best!

Monday, November 08, 2004

Shocking Chicago Cubs News!

Some really sad news, as the #1 Chicago Cubs announcer, the man who was the sidekick to Harry Carey himself, the man who IS Chicago Cubs TV, Mr Steve Stone, has been run out of town by the Cubs management. Despite being beloved by the fans, despite being the best announcer that WGN has ever had, aside from Harry Carey himself, despite being arguably the most knowledgeable announcer in all of baseball, they ran him out of town because he dared question some of Dusty Baker's bonehead managerial decisions last season. Everybody knew Dusty was making some horrible judgement calls, but Stoney had the guts to say so, and that was unforgivable by the high-up types at the Cubbies. This comes AFTER Chip Carey, Steve Stone's broadcast partner, left the broadcast booth for very similar reasons. The team of Steve Stone and Chip Carey was the #1 reason to watch the Cubs each day on WGN. They were awesome. Now Chip is working in Atlanta, and Steve at present doesnt have a job, one hopes he will get one soon. The Chicago Cubs management has done it again folks, and speaking as a Cubs fan, I can say this. The Cubs management SUCKS! BOOOOOO!

Saturday, November 06, 2004

New Video Game Reccomendation

Ive been playing the brand new "Lord of the Rings" game the last few days, and I must say, it is TOTALLY AWESOME!! Its a very unique sort of game, the graphics are unbelievable, the sound is super cool, the game play is simple but you can make it complex if you want to, its got it all!! It is a 'turn based RPG' and has been compared to Final Fantasy, but there are plenty of differences. For one, you have tremendous control over character customization. For another you dont buy or sell ANYTHING in this game, you find all your weapons, armor, etc by opening treasure chests or defeating opponents. The lack of town exploration, buying and selling, and general in-depth character develoment, is the one down side to this game. The storyline advances the majority of the time simply by watching scenes from the LOTR trilogy, narrated by the original voice of Gandalf himself. He does a great job as always. All the voice acting is great in fact. Lord of the Rings: The Third Age for the XBox (I think its available for the other two systems also) gets two enthusiastic thumbs up from the Gladiator!

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Election Night Information

Its almost 9pm now, and the election is still way too close to call. But one thing we know is, the exit polls showed Kerry winning the election. But resutls so far seem to show Bush may be outperforming those exit polls in some states, including the exit poll that said Bush would only win NC by 51 to 49. So this election is far from over, and the exit pollsters may be wrong once again, like they were in 2000 and 2002, when in both cases their error was in the Democrats favor. So let the votes be counted, and the better man win!

Monday, November 01, 2004

Election Results Predictions!

As you know today is ELECTION DAY! And in less than 24 hours, we may very well know the outcome of the election! I would like to give my official Gladiatorial Predictions for the election.

First, in the Popular Vote, President George W Bush will receive 51.5% of the National vote, and Senator John Kerry will receive 48.3% of the National vote. On the electoral college, President Bush will receive 286 Electoral Votes, to Senator John Kerry's 252 Electoral Votes. President Bush will win Florida and Ohio, and lose Pennsylvania.

I have some predictions from my friends. First, "Rookmaster" says that it will be Bush by 3 points in the popular column, with around a 25 electoral vote margin. Secondly, "Savior" says Bush by 4 points, and by 3 electoral votes. And my friend Mr Gil Holmes, "Kassy", calls the race as 48% for Bush and 47% for Kerry, with Bush getting 285-295 Electoral Votes, and Bush winning Florida and Ohio, with Kerry winning Pennsylvania.

So the consensus of the "Chess Experts" says its Bush for 4 more years! You heard it here first folks, and you can PUT IT ON THE BOARD!

Sweet Victory!

A little while ago, I just defeated my cousin in TWO straight games of ESPN NFL 2k5 for the XBox, the final scores were 40-0 and 40-9. Oh man was she upset! She was accusing me of 'cheating' and generally not taking the losses very well :). Of course I was winning fair and square, Im a bigtime Video Gaming Gladiator!! :). If anyone here hasnt tried ESPN NFL 2k5 for the XBox yet, I heartily reccomend it, its only $19.95, and its arguably even BETTER than the 50 dollar football games out there! You can put it on the BOARD!


Good afternoon one and all! It is I, your friend and mine, the Gladiator!! This is my first ever Blog Post! Ive never done anything like this before!! Wow, this is cool!!

On this, the Gladiator Blog, I intend to provide you, the fans, with cool commentaries, hot information, and all around big fun!! So sit back and enjoy, and you can PUT IT ON THE BOARD!!

Election Predictions Coming Soon!

As you know, the Presidential Elections are almost here! Tonight, shortly after midnight, I plan to post here my very own Predictions, as well as possibly some predictions from some of my friends. So if you want your predictions to be included on the official Predictions posting, please send me your predictions now! What Im looking for is Predictions for both the Popular Vote Percentage, as well as the actual Electoral Vote numbers. And also specific Predictions for the 'Big 3' states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. If anybody wants to predict any other states also, like Wisconsin, feel free to do so, I may or may not include those predictions in the Official Election Predictions posting. Thanks!