I spent several hours (which I should have spent studying) making a font of my own! It's my handrwriting, and I call it, uh, JeffreyAtW. You can download it here - I think it's only for use in Windows, but it may have Mac capabilities also. One note - don't use it in Microsoft Word. The special kerning greatly mangles the font.
10/27/2001 03:22:35 PM

And then there's ICO. I had to make a choice between Gran Turismo 3 and ICO for the symbolic Returning of the PS2 Controllers to the Deprived SAT Tutoring Student (see below for the full story I think), and I chose ICO because I remembered that I needed an extra $100 steering wheel to fully enjoy GT3.

ICO has terrible character sprites. They have crummy animation, they're textured like they're from FF7, and composition-wise, they remind me of my old models of Oynx in 3-D. Does this sound like a bad note to start out on? Well, I'll make up for it by saying that this is one of the best games I've ever played. Simple story, simple premise, but AMAZING gameplay, graphics, sound, and most importantly, A.I.

Yorda, the ghostly princess that Ico helps out, reminds me of most of the girls in my school. They're spaced out, they don't pay attention, and they are terribly na´ve. (In contrast to Yorda, though, they're really loud and annoying.) She wanders off to play with birds, is terribly scared of chains (subtle Mr. T reference, perhaps? (whacks self)), and in a nutshell, acts like any other fairy-tale damsel in distress.

Changing the subject... let's talk about graphics (besides icky character sprites). The visuals in this game are astounding. Each room is frighteningly intricately textured and detailed. Light shines through church-like windows. Dust flies from old, ignored wooden platforms. It's amazing to look around the massive rooms of this seemingly never-ending castle Ico is trapped in.

The sound is also great. Ambience changes from one room to the next. If Ico is in a massive hallway, anything he does echoes through the walls. In a small passage (there aren't many), Ico's haunting breathing can be heard. The voice acting is really nice, also. Ico gasps and yells if he falls or hangs off a ledge, and Yorda gasps in surprise if Ico suddenly swings his stick. My only gripe is Ico's calls for Yorda. They're limited to two sound bytes of him yelling ("Oooiiiii!") and of him saying something French-sounding (sounds like "pourqoui?").

The puzzles in the game are challenging at times because of the massive rooms. Of course, Yorda becomes somewhat of an obstruction when it comes to solving puzzles. But these aren't complaints - the puzzles are fun yet DANGEROUS!

But I give ICO a ZERO because of too many cutscenes of Ico falling on his head and seemingly breaking his neck.
10/21/2001 05:22:03 PM

Yesterday, I made an epic trek to the mall to buy myself some anime. I ended up buying "Blood: The Last Vampire." It's amazing how something so beautiful can be so disappointing. B:tLV is an astounding film. It uses top-notch quality animation as well as sound and storytelling to bring the most fast-paced, pulse-pounding 30 minutes of anime I've ever seen. But it seems I always bring up the problem right in the middle of my positive messages... it's only 30 freakin' minutes long. All signs pointed to "feature-length film." The box read "83 minutes." "That's a bit short for a film," I told myself. "But it looks rather awesome anyway." I pop it into my VCR (I don't trust DVDs yet :P), and I get 10 minutes of previews, 15 minutes of "the making of B:tLV," and 5 minutes of a completely unrelated cracked-out Japanese music video. That leaves me with 30 minutes of an amazing anime... cut terribly short. For the whole movie, I thought I was watching an opening scene to hype me up for the real action. What I got for my hopes was a "the end."

This whole scenario is very similar to my encounter with Zone of the Enders. It comes with these great extra features (like the MGS2 demo), but leaves me wanting a HELL of a lot more. Fortunately, I'll be able to tell my anime club about my woes before I show this to them. They'll love it anyway.
10/21/2001 05:02:48 PM