Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Something new by the Judgemen-t crew

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Oops, excuse me. I rhymed a bit there on accident. *Cough* It just kind of fell out.

The two of us put together a little video with my nerdy voice over and weird double-jointed hands, reviewing the adorable Kaname Madoka – Maiko Version Nendoroid, an Anime Expo 2013 exclusive-ish from the Good Smile Company booth.

Please let me know how you thought it turned out! I hope to do more of these in the future, I have… an absolute ton of toys that are yet unopened that make this youtube segment handy for me!

Click the image below to go Youtube and check it out:

Cintiq 22HD vs. Cintiq 21UX 2nd Gen

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Anti-glare coated, screaming bastard

I found a 22HD on eBay (I know, don’t even go there) for about $1,772, free shipping, no taxes because it was shipping from MD. I bought it, nearly two weeks later it came in, I was excited and set it up and saw the manufacturing date.

July 2012.

FUCK.

My chances of having the screaming capacitors of Doom went up by 90% upon being cursed with that manufacturing date. I took a deep breath and looked the rest of it over. There was a scratch in the bottom left quadrant.

WELP this was going to go back for sure. I booted it up anyways. Screaming capacitors confirmed. I could see the scratch while it was on. It got packed back up immediately.

May have a dead pixel, but at least the picture is clear

I went to Craigslist and found a decent stealdeal on a 2nd Gen 21UX Cintiq. $1,200. No scratches. Very decent condition (it does have one dead pixel and a bit of dust under the cover).

Now, not a lot of people have made comparisons from the 21UX to the 22HD.

I prefer the 21UX. Not just because it fits better into my desk setup, either.

The biggest issue of the 22HD is something we’ve all read and complained about: the anti-glare coating. The coating on the 22HD was extremely uneven, to the point that chunks of the screen looked like someone had pressed their greasy thumb against the screen in areas. It was more harsh than my matte-panel ASUS LCD monitor and the screen protector on my iPhone (which glitters like a Twilight vampire at high noon in the middle of summer) – mainly because of the thickness of the particles in the coating.

I sincerely can’t even imagine how terrible and unclear it would look with the (very necessary since Wacom is a bunch of cheapasses and doesn’t use Gorilla Glass) screen protector on it.

On the other hand, the 21UX does have some minor anti-glare coating. It’s less aggressive than my ASUS monitor, and everything is extremely clear. Comparatively speaking.

As far as color goes, I can safely say that the colors on the 22HD and 21UX matched almost exactly. The contrast is darn similar (even though the 22HD boasts a 1000:1 ratio while the 21UX is more in the 500:1 range). I didn’t notice this with the 22HD, but the 21UX is actually brighter than my ASUS monitor by a visual 50%.

There are other physical differences (other than the obvious 1080HD and size differences). The 22HD’s black paneling has a soft, velvety coating that the 21UX does not have. The lack of such coating makes it less dust-prone. I think the 22HD is a tad thinner overall.

One thing that the 22HD has over the 21UX (besides the 1080HD resolution, stop reminding me) is that the cables are replaceable. The 21UX, on the other hand, is one solid cable that octopuses out at the end with all of the connectors.

The following is a PSA to Wacom:

Stop adding “anti-glare” to your Cintiq devices.
We are willing to pay extra to have a screen protector on our Cintiqs, which comes in matte, gloss, and SUPAH GLOSS.
The “anti-glare”, whether in film or in “etched glass” versions is terrible, and lowers the value of your product.
Just add a clause in your warranty that allows for use of your brand of screen protector, and sell matte screen protectors! This will allow the consumers to decide what kind of coating they want on their Cintiq, and still give your Cintiqs the paper feel that you have such a hard-on for.

Personally, I’d rather have a solid glass surface, with no coating what-so-ever, and no screen protector. The only way I can get this is if they start using Gorilla Glass (which I swear the first press release for the 24HDs had, but I may just be crazy because I can’t find that anywhere now).

I’ve heard that the “etched glass” on the 13HD is a vast improvement over the 22HD and 24HD’s “film”, but I haven’t been able to see one in person and if I have $1,000 to blow on something, I’d much rather spend it on a Samsung Smart PC Pro.

SimCity – The New One

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

As in, not any of the old SimCity games, but the new one that was very recently in closed beta.

I was one of the people lucky enough to get access to the last closed beta. A bit bummed in the fact that I was only allowed to play 1 hour worth at a time, but I have to admit that this shiny new version of SimCity captured and held my attention well.

Were there issues? Yea, there were a few. No big, game-killing bugs, thankfully. Nothing that could have been taken advantage of, just silly stuff like the Sim walking through their porch instead of on their porch.

(I did report as many bugs as I could remember – at first, I had Origin incorrectly set up so I couldn’t submit from within the game. I’m linking this article that states that EA won’t block people for not reporting all bugs, because damn it! I tried! http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/01/23/ea-wont-ban-for-simcity-bugs-eula-changes-inbound/ )

The thing I hated most about the game, is being tied to a server. I don’t like being at the mercy of someone else’s connection in order to be able to play – not to mention my own, sometimes spotty, connection.

Not only that, but it’s a monitored server. Meaning someone is watching your every move in-game. No more naming your cities and Mayors after naughty body parts (fuck you, I can be a kid as long as I want!).

In fact, there was one round where I named my town something ultra mature and witty, like “Dickton” or “Cuntton”. After a couple minutes, my town’s name changed to “********”, and I was suddenly overrun by zombies.

Yes. I was “punished” by EA’s server monitoring staff by being given a plague of zombie-itis. A disappointment in the Big Brother side, but a grand tip-of-the-hat to them as well.

It makes me torn. I really don’t want to be spied on while I’m playing. I like making towns in the shape of dicks. But at the same time, being punished with zombies or randomly AWESOME disasters like that is pretty fucking cool. (Obviously, I wouldn’t be able to keep it up and get “punished” more, because eventually I’d actually be punished. With a server ban. That’s the downside of monitored server play.)

Other than that, it’s really just a pretty and more streamlined version of the original SimCity games.

They made some things more simple – you no longer have to lay down pipe or electrical wiring. That’s automatically done for you with the road. You still have to build utilities – electrical, sewage, water, and trash – and have to expand them to keep up with the city’s demand. Not to mention public departments, such as police, fire, education, finances, public transport, hospitals, etc.

Due to the server ball-and-chain, I won’t be bothering to get this game until it’s price comes down or it goes on sale. I’m assuming it’s Origin-only, so a sale on the digital version is a fat chance in hell – but I can still hope Newegg or someone will run a sale on the physical copy. Eventually.

(Or maybe EA will give it away for free, like they did with Dragon Age… Hmm…)

One last thing to mention, since I’m talking about the server again. There’s apparently going to be a multi-player function. Y’ know what?

I.
Don’t.
Fucking.
Care.

I don’t want fucking multi-player in my SimCity. This is something I would play in order to get away from my asshole friends. I just want to build towns in the shape of dicks named Cock City, release zombies on the population, and then blow them all up with a meteor shower.

(Sorry about the lack of purdy pictures in this one. I didn’t think about getting screencaps while I was tornado-ing the former town of Dickton, now called **********.)

Review of Steelseries Siberia v2 USB, and the RMA Process

Friday, November 11th, 2011

I am a recent purchaser of the Steelseries Siberia v2 USB headset, from the company that claims they make professional equipment for professional gamers.

I purchased the headset as “recertified” from Newegg.com, a company that I’ve grown to love and nearly trust. Having a “preferred account” (aka giving them interest payments on my credit) allows me to get free rush shipping and free return shipping if I log into the chat when I have an issue and need to RMA.

The headset I received was nothing less than used. I couldn’t believe any company would ship it out in that condition.

My face when I opened the box.

It smelled very strongly of cigarettes (I first thought that it was a plastic smell, from the packaging, but I very soon realized that it was simply the reek of a neckbeard who smokes indoors while gaming, gross.), some of the paint had chipped off of the metal plating on the drivers, and the microphone… It… It had something on it. I don’t know what, I don’t really want to know! Food, or gum, or something equally nasty like that.

I did try it on, to decide whether I’d want to get a refund on it or RMA it for an exchange. It was quite comfortable, but after only 10 minutes of wearing it, I had to go take a shower. I took the headphones off, wrapped the whole thing back into it’s box, and I could still smell the smoke clinging to my hair. For the record, I didn’t see the gross shit on the microphone until I had the headphones on.

Newegg had already run out of stock on their “recertified” headsets, and all they could do for me at that point was to refund me. :C So instead, I contacted Steelseries directly, hoping they would be willing to do an RMA and let me get a different headset.

I purchased the headset on Sept. 8th, and it arrived that Monday, which was the 12th. I contacted Steelseries by the next day, and it took until the 27th to get enough information out of them to get my package shipped back to them. Lordy. That’s two business weeks of interrogation.

At first, they claimed that they didn’t sell any recertified products, except for their WoW mouse. I didn’t mention that I purchased it from Newegg when I first approached them (honestly didn’t think it was necessary, as I stated that I got it from a retailer and the condition I received it in – they didn’t even ask for my serial number), and was shocked that they just brushed me off like that. Newegg is listed on their website as one of their resellers, so when they told me that they didn’t recertify any of their products for resale, I was really confused.

Newegg has never, knock on wood, done me wrong yet. They even helped me to make sure my husband’s Christmas present arrived on time, and it got here on Christmas Eve that year. They’ve let me RMA components even when they’re a little past the 30 day return period. I couldn’t believe that Newegg was reselling something that Steelseries didn’t support.

It turns out, that they do support the recertified products that Newegg sells. Thank god. I don’t know why there was a mix-up, but I guess I should have mentioned Newegg to start with. That’s a little customer suck on my end, though I think the CS Rep should have asked where I purchased it from before jumping straight to, “We don’t sell recertified,” when they most definitely do.

I filed the RMA request with Steelseries while my PC was still working – it ended up crashing and burning during that period, and I had to ask twice over a period of four days in order to get them to resend my RMA email, which was lost in the abyss of my PC’s failure. However, once I had the address and shipped it out to them, everything else went quite smoothly! They received it, verified that it was in their possession and in the state I told them it was, and shipped a new one out the next day. I was pleasantly surprised, especially after how it seemed like communicating with them was akin to pulling teeth.

—————-

The replacement set of headphones arrived approx. 1 week later. It was shipped via UPS Ground from California. When I opened the box, I was extremely surprised and pleased to find a BRAND NEW set of headphones waiting in the box for me.

Overall, these headphones are great, and serve their purpose very well. They were purchased strictly to be gaming headphones for Skyrim (the review for which is currently in process), but I’ve also used them to listen to music. They give a really great depth, and have juuuuuuust a little bit of bass. The perfect amount for my use, at least. They’re obviously not studio quality headphones, but for gaming they’re excellent. The 7.1 surround really helps get you into the game.

The best part about this headset, besides the extremely comfortable suspension-style headband and the cooshy ear-pads that don’t have any hard edges to press into your ears like similar headphones do, is the retractable microphone. It actually gathers sound very well, surprisingly! It can be pulled out, and is very flexible, so the microphone can be in any position needed, so that it’s out of the way of snack foods/drinks/mouths/fingers/what-the-fuck-ever.

If you’d like to get a pair for yourself, here’s a handy-dandy link: Steelseries Siberia v2, 7.1 USB headset

I would say that my RMA experience with Steelseries ended very well, but I hope I never have to go through it again. At least if I do, I know the end result will be good.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica Review

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

This anime… This is one of the darkest little girl/mahou shoujo shows that ever will be. It’s directed by Akiyuki Shinbo, who is the director mentioned quite often in the podcasts as producing a lot of “Shinbo-isms.” He has very common elements that he uses in his animes, usually slow pan-shots (which he often uses when he has run out of money), characters with their heads tilted back in every other shot, and the now-classic Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei shot:


Other anime that he has directed includes Dance in the Vampire Bund, Maria Holic, Bakamonogatari, and the new show Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko. He’s also rumored to have been the director in some hentai, such as Blood Royale and Temptation, under the alias Juuhachi Minamizawa.

Shinbo is well-known for the dark elements in the shows that he directs. Tsukuyomi, despite being quite played up and comical, had very dark, depressing elements to them, and Madoka is no different. Madoka is about, well, Madoka. A young girl who finds herself at the center of a battle between witches and magical girls. She has a dream about a little cat-like creature, showing her a young girl getting beaten up and at the end of her rope. He tells her, she doesn’t have to fight on her own! You can help her! Just make a contract with me.

QB

There may be spoilers from this point onward! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

(more…)

Rocko’s Modern DVD

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Rocko’s Modern Life was an incredible show. It manages to present the crushing realities of living in the lower-middle class, spurning the horny advances of ugly people, and trying to get those around you to join in singing “The Lumberjack Song” (only to fail miserably). Just like life all around us, it’s funny because it’s equal parts inspiring and pathetic. With just a bit more focus on the latter.

Rocko – a squat and honest wallaby with a legally retarded dog named Spunky – is living on his own for the first time. He has a crappy job he likes, crappy friends he tolerates, and no love or social life to speak of. He just wants to live out a simple, quiet life with his dog and his TV, but the world just tends to not let that happen. Normal episodes include him going grocery shopping, wasting away at the DMV, getting in over his head with his first credit card, and trying to keep his dog from fucking a mop. I’m not kidding, there’s an entire episode dedicated to Spunky having sexy time with a household cleaning item. At one point he helps his pal who suffers from OCD graduate… by fighting a giant mutant tooth, and drops the ball when he tells his best friend (who’s a steer) that he’s adopted. By wolves.

Having been created and produced by Joe Murray, a man who describes himself as “not having much experience with children”, Rocko’s Modern Life has a core of frustrated maturity wrapped in talking animals and barf jokes. While the formula of targeting children and adults simultaneously is as old as cartoons themselves, much of the show’s visual humor skews to either the disgusting or the absurd, while the dialog and stories themselves focus on the evils of consumerism, the bonds of family, death, bigotry and the horrors of… well, crap. I guess maybe Really Really Big Man doesn’t have much to say about these trying modern times. But he does have “Nipples of the Future”, and if that’s not worth a chuckle I don’t know what is.

Shout! Factory has released the first season in a $20 MSRP 2-DVD set, and it’s… well, it’s about what I expected. The show looks about as good as it’s ever going to. As was the norm through the 90s for American animation it was shot on film (I’m assuming 16mm), transferred to analog video, and then edited further by the episode directors from there. There’s dot-crawl, aliasing on some episodes, edge-enhancement, print damage, and a host of other video anomalies that fans of the show will be all too familiar with. These DVDs simply aren’t pretty, and anyone who’s gotten used to the clean, vibrant look of HD cartoons like Regular Show and Adventure Time might just puke a little in their own mouthes.

Unlike “classic” cartoons from the bygone era of theatrical releases and local TV studios using actual film prints, Rocko was intended for a modern TV broadcast from the get-go, so there was no perceived value in keeping the original film prints. You really can’t remaster a BETA tape beyond tweaking the colors a little or blurring out some of the analog noise, and it’s perhaps to Shout! Factory’s credit that they seem to have done very little else. Broadly speaking the show is totally watchable and free of distracting errors that aren’t a part of the show’s production history. Rocko honestly looks slightly better on DVD than I had expected, even if it’s not breathtaking. This is as good as Rocko has ever (or will ever) look, so don’t waste your time waiting for a Blu-ray; to quote Ralph Bakshi’s seemingly lost-in-licensing-Hell masterpiece Coonskin, “This is it, fellas. This is really it.”

Frustratingly, some of the episodes are censored. Again, it comes down to materials; Rocko’s Modern Life is a repulsive show laden with heavy innuendo even in it’s current form, but some of the most obvious “ew!” moments – like Heffer accidentally getting his schlong milked – are simply nowhere to be found. Nickelodeon never bothered to keep back-up masters for the uncut versions of their cartoons, so much like The Ren & Stimpy Show, the only way you’re going to see the original, uncensored broadcast versions is if you taped them nearly 20 years ago. Me, I’d totally hop in a time machine to watch Rocko accidentally crush a gorilla’s testicle in his fingers, but I imagine people will come up with much lamer uses first – stopping the Lincoln assassination, or teaching the middle ages to wash their food and avoid the plague… you know, dumb shit like that.

There’s no special features, not even trailers or alternate language tracks. You get 6 episodes per disc and some simplistic menus in a nice double keepcase with some painfully stock artwork. That’s all. I’d love to hear what Joe Murray, Tom Kenny and Mr. Lawrence might have to say about the show after all these years, but the latter two probably make more money voicing a goddamn Spongebob TV spot than Shout! was willing to pay for them to show up. It’s really a lost opportunity, and compared to the ample features Paramount lavished on the thematically similar (but also much more expensive) Ren & Stimpy DVDs, the total lack to place this unique and still highly stylish piece of entertainment into any sort of context is really disappointing.

The show is easy to recommend, and the DVD is – for the $15 I paid, anyway – well worth buying on the strength of the content alone. I’m deeply frustrated to see that not one ounce of time or money was spent giving older fans some conversations with the twisted but sincere minds behind the wallaby, but if you can live with your cartoons not coming with any scraps on the side the set is still worth your dime. Not having children I’m probably in no position to say “Buy it for your kids!”, but come on, what’s the worst thing that could happen?