The One with the Thoughts of Frans

Archive for Recycled

Warlords II Deluxe

This post is recycled, and was originally published on WatchZine on Thursday 2004-05-27 at 19:34:38 CEST. I tweaked some grammar and spelling here and there, but I resisted the urge to rewrite this entry almost entirely. I did not, however, refrain from commenting on myself.

Warlords II was released in 1993 as the successor to the successful turn-based strategy game Warlords. In the following years there were other additions to the series, such as Warlords III, it’s stand-alone expansion pack Darklord’s Rising, and Warlords IV. But Warlords II Deluxe has always been my favorite entry in the series.

Whereas Warlords II came with a limited number of army sets and maps, trapping the storytelling within the same imaginary place, Warlords II Deluxe came with hundreds of army sets, several different terrain sets and hundreds of city sets. This allows you to dive into a fantasy version of WWI today, while playing a mighty pirate the next. Or you could just play some fantasy setting, like the game was originally intended to.

For some 1995 polish to a 1993 game, the graphics look quite well. Just like with the original C&C, you don’t really see the pixels. [You did see them less on CRT monitors. But what I meant was that they were very well-done pixels, so that you didn’t notice them in an intrusive manner.] This is made possible because the units exist of one image, never changing. This also is the reason it is possible to create the hundreds of different settings I spoke about before.

I am not sure if Warlords II already contained it, but WIIDELUXE also came with a feature later introduced as “revolutionary”, Play By E-Mail. [Later introduced as revolutionary by whom? I guess we’ll never know. My best guess is that I was referring to Civilization III.] This shows us one of the positive things about turn-based games. Do what you want and send it to your friend. Such a game can go on for a long time. [A very, very long time. Let alone if you’re trying to play with more than two people. That being said, it’s still a lot easier to coordinate than trying to get online at the same tmie.]

Also the diplomacy is nice. Have a peace treaty with one player and have war with the other. For the time it was great, though it doesn’t come close to more modern games like Alpha Centauri and Civilization III. Regardless whether you’re playing Warlords II, Alpha Centauri, Civ or one of the Total War games, the AI’s diplomacy stance is always stacked against you from the moment of booking even the tiniest military success.

This is probably the only game I have regularly played since 1995. Because it doesn’t run on computers created after about 1997/1998 (unless they run an NT based OS) this is the main reason I still have my Pentium 100. [Well, there’s actually a patch for faster CPUs if you can still find it, although DOSBox is probably your best best now.] Quite amazingly, I don’t feel like the gameplay of Warlords II Deluxe has ever been beaten, except perhaps by Warlords III. But sadly Warlords III didn’t feature the many different settings of Warlords II Deluxe. [Truly, the game is incredibly elegant and well conceived. You can enjoy its gameplay through the open-source reimagining LordsAWar!, play the very similar online game warbarons, or you can even play the original Warlords II (not Deluxe) in your browser (!) over at]

But I’ve probably praised the game too much already. Let’s continue with the bad things. The AI isn’t the best available. When you are a reasonably experienced player, the computer opponents aren’t really difficult to defeat, even on the highest difficulty setting. There is a setting which tries to undo this (called “I am the greatest”). When you use this setting you are constantly at war with all computer opponents. This is indeed very difficult, but it doesn’t give the same feeling as using the diplomacy. For optimal gameplay you should play it with 8 humans. [I don’t think I ever played it with more than 4, maybe 5 people. But the more the better, I guess?]

The units, the buildings, the terrain etcetera are completely editable. But you can’t skin the entire game with the standard settings. For example, on the start of a turn there is a dragon, with the turn number. It would’ve been nice if you simply could’ve selected a tank for that in, say, the WWI scenario. [A tank? You mean a zeppelin!]

I bought this game for about 5 Euro in 1996. [Meaning about ƒ10,- (10 Guilder).] You can now purchase it on SSG’s website for a small price. [Alas, I don’t think you can buy it anywhere anymore.] If you have a computer at home made before 1998, and after 1993, I assure you, you won’t be disappointed by this game. Even my friends who don’t like strategy like this game. [I probably meant RTS.] Or alternatively, if you have Windows 2000 or XP, get yourself VDMSound and play this game on your brand new computer![Nah, get yourself DOSBox. Works like a charm.]


Intelligent Alien Life Does Exist, Otherwise They Would Have Contacted Us

This post is recycled, and was originally published on my former weblog on Saturday 2005-02-26 at 18:08:45. I tweaked some grammar and spelling here and there, but I resisted the urge to rewrite this entry almost entirely. I did not, however, refrain from commenting on myself. Sensitive souls beware: I added some brand new explicit content.

This is the only signature I had which really liked. [I guess I must really, really like it, for I still use it.] It looks like a quote from someone famous at first sight [(of course famous by no means implies not stupid)], or just a good old expression (you know, like “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”), but it is entirely a product of my brain. [Whoopee.] I don’t find that so very surprising all by itself; in what may be a form of narcissism, I say things I consider quotable quite often. [Saying quotable things sure is narcissistic. What’s that? You meant I consider things I say quotable quite often, did you? Very well then, carry on. On a very related matter, I’m not so sure if stupid jokes like You’ve got the first pickle (when offering a few pickles) as a play on first pick is all that quotable, though.] But still, this particular “quote of my mind” has a sort of uniqueness over it. [Oh boy. If that means it’s the magnum opus of my brain, I’m fucked.]

You should also know something about my browsing behavior to understand a bit about what happened when the quote came to me. I seldom browse with less than four pages open. [Even at the time that was a lie and you know it. I bet you rarely managed to browse with less than 10.] I basically just open what I find interesting and then read what I have opened one by one, or close it quickly if I see it is not what I expected it to be. [Most people, on the other hand, close pages they don’t want to see as slowly as possible.] I also start writing a reply to something, to interrupt it by going to some other page, after which I will continue writing the reply. [You were also doing that while writing this post, weren’t you?]

The situation where the general idea came into my mind was like this. I was filling in profile information on some site (I don’t remember which one, but it doesn’t matter) and I came to the signature part. I could use the quote which I made up with my Chicken avatar (“The chicken and the egg came at the same time”), but I wanted something new. [I’m sure that everybody knows what your Chicken avatar looks like.] Something catchy. So I decided to go to another site. Meanwhile, I could think about my signature.

It was quite a strange site I visited. A UFO related site, where they argued that UFOs actually were some kind of new technology from the Third Reich, whose descendants still resided on Antarctica. Utter nonsense and therefore enjoyable. [The perfect way to judge whether something is enjoyable.] But then suddenly this thought came into my mind, because of the combination between World War II and UFOs. [Suddenly, I wanted to kill myself.] Why haven’t aliens contacted us? If they’ve observed us they must have noticed the bloodbaths of Alexander, the expansion and fall of the Roman empire, the Conquistadors, Napoleon, and most important, World War II. So yes, obviously alien life is intelligent; if they weren’t, they would have contacted us. Intelligent alien life does exist, otherwise they would have contacted us. [Amazing!]

And there it was. The perfect signature. I had exactly the kind of bad quote I wanted my signature to be. I still like it. [I guess I can live with it for a while longer. Perhaps I should update it. Space dinosaurs do exist, otherwise they would not be extinct on earth.]


Violence in Games

This post is recycled, and was originally published on WatchZine on Wednesday 2004-03-03 at 14:00:00 UTC. I tweaked some grammar and spelling here and there, but I resisted the urge to rewrite this entry almost entirelyand rewrote fairly large portions of the text to make it flow somewhat better. To exemplify the relationship with the original text, I made extensive use of DEL and INS elements. I did not, however, refrain from commenting on myself. Sensitive souls beware: I added some brand new explicit content.

“Halt” clearly the voice of a German soldier sounds.Halt! shouts the voice of a German soldier. After a well aimed shot in the head of the soldier‘s head, the player starts going tosearching for his next victim. A zombie appears. The player getstakes out a flamethrower, and some seconds after thatlater the zombie is somediminished to a pile of burning meat. Then, a group of German soldiers came togetherassembles [or gathers] and is (coordinated) attackingattacks the player in a coordinated fashion. Two of them are killed by the rocket launcher, the; pieces of bodies are flying aroundbody pieces go flying about. This is a scene from Return to Castle Wolfenstein. Some people say this is bad for the minds of growing children,: that it will make them criminals, or even terrorists. Nonsense? [It’s a reasonable introduction, but the end is rather weak. This is at least somewhat intentional, however, since in Dutch (high school?) argumentative essay writing the thesis statement is to be avoided until the conclusion. I always thought this was quite silly, and my present-day familiarity with American-style writing only reinforces this opinion.]

These days, games becomeare becoming more and more realistic. That makes them more violent. [Now that’s nonsense. It makes them appear more violent. Besides, I thought you were arguing against this point of view?] Ten years ago, in Wolfenstein 3D (the mother of all shooters, and still a game which is forbidden in a lot of countries [Like where? I don’t know of any countries other than Germany, and that was for Nazi symbolism, not for violence.]), the German soldiers died in big red pixels. [See? It was much more violent in those days. You don’t see those bad-ass blood splatters anymore these days.] No matter where you shot it, the body turned with you. Now, that doesn’t exist anymore. Every character is build fromconsists of at least three to four thousand polygons. Shoot something from behind: it falls realistically; you can do bad things to the body and walks around it. Would this be bad? No, you just need to keep in mind that it’s a game. At young age, parents should tell their children what’s fake and what’s real. Children are able to ‘goimmerse themselves into a game very good,well; that doesn’t matter, as long as their parents/ or friends keep them in the real world. Besides, every game has a parental lock option, which allows parents to reduce the amount of gore. [While I agree with the general gist of this paragraph, the point isn’t made as well as it could have been, and some poorly phrased examples detract from the strength of the argument. Kids are aware of the differences between fiction and reality as well as adults, but parental locks aren’t exactly a convincing argument in support of this, and are almost a red herring to the real issue. No matter how realistic games look and sound, they really aren’t any different from watching a movie or reading a book. Governments are messing up the world and are trying to get history books rewritten so that they only point out the positive aspects in history—or have already succeeded, like in America—. Games are a non-issue and if there are people who cannot distinguish between games and reality, we should be glad that they’re doing their vicious deeds in games.]

Then it’s possible to putSome people point a finger toat the shootings in the U.S. Why? Some people sayIt is alleged that theythe shooters did it because they played so-called bloody games like Duke Nukem and Quake (I think they aren’t bloody at all [I think you’re fucking wrong.]). The way they went through the school looked like they were finishing level after level in a game. Also, here in the Netherlands something like that happened,: a boy killed a girl, because he ‘got stressed by a game’. Okay, you can get stressed if you die again, but to kill your neighbor girl… That has nothing to do with the game, h. He would also have done that without the game; someone like that would also have done that if his lock refused to work. Indeed, those people we should protect, but not against games, just against themselves! [A good point is certainly made, but I’d have to check the Dutch original to see if the point was so poorly made, or if I lost something in the translation. Probably a bit of both.]

Of course you have the eleventh of september9/11 [Of course, who wouldn’t think of 9/11 when discussing violent games.]: some reporters said that the idea came from a game. Their action even was successful: some games, like Red Alert 2 (which has a scene with the destruction of NY – one of the coolest levels in the game [If it had been Chicago, I would have been up in arms. Go Wolves!]) and Flight Simulator 2002 were taken from the stores (or not released yet in the case of FS – hey, in a simulation you should be able to chrash!), o. Of course you take it from stores out of respect for the victims, but the terrorists surely haven’t gotdidn’t get their idea to chrus thecrash into the WTC from a game. [That may or may not be true—if they got inspiration from anything it would have been a movie—, but it’s really a red herring to the real issue.]

It becomes time that people will see that gaming is pure fun. Making sure games don’t contain violence and aggression takes a lot of time, which can much bettercould be used to do something about the real causes of violence and terror instead, and to help psychicologically violateddisturbed kids. [Like these guys?]

Frenzie (15 Februariy 2002) [This is positively ancient!]


Clawfinger – Use Your Brain

This post is recycled, and was originally published on my former weblog on Tuesday 2005-03-01 at 19:16:38. I tweaked some grammar and spelling here and there, but I resisted the urge to rewrite this entry almost entirely. I did not, however, refrain from commenting on myself. Sensitive souls beware: I added some brand new explicit content.

As you might have read, a couple of days ago I received the Deaf Dumb Blind and Use Your Brain reissues. So now I will be reviewing Use Your Brain, Clawfinger‘s second album; once again by going through my favorite tracks. [Once again, I added links to YouTube.]

* Bonus Track + Videos:
Pin Me Down, Do What I Say, Tomorrow

The second song of the album is Pay The Bill. The lyrics are sharp on the topic of what certain people think and say, but it’s the guitar (and drum stuff) which really gets the party started. [Sharp…on the topic? Say what? I suppose I meant to add a conjunction, i.e. The lyrics are sharp, and address what certain people think and say … Perhaps I should have specified “certain people” a bit more precisely, since I’m not sure which “certain people” I was referring to anymore.] It inhabits a couple of my most favorite style of powerful chords combined with powerful rap. [I didn’t use to be aware that a couple is meant more literally in English than in Dutch; I should have said a few. Inhabit doesn’t seem like the right verb to choose here, either.]

Pin Me Down, the third track, is of a different class. If you’re still unsure whether combining ‘metal’ with rap is a good idea, listen to this. I can’t say much more about it than that this is just what Clawfinger is. [Seriously, was I on crack!? Did the pot my neighbors smoked affect me? This is just what it is, man! You know, what it is!! It is, man!]

Do What I Say, the seventh track has a really interesting start. [Nice to meet you again, Mr Fanboy.] A kid starts off by singing: When I grow up, there will be a day when everybody has to do what I say. Then the metal guitars bash in [I don’t think you can bash something in. Maybe the guitars bash the poor child away? That doesn’t seem to convey the intended meaning either, though. Let’s just stick with “The guitars come in.”] and Zak starts singing like he’s the father, telling the kid to do what he says. [I bet you didn’t see that coming!] When I didn’t know Clawfinger very long, this was probably my favorite song. [I think I was obsessed with songs featuring children’s voices at the time, since Eminem’s My Dad’s Gone Crazy was also among my favorites.] The coolest part of the song is probably even when the kid starts rocking too. [It looks like I was indeed on crack. I clearly wanted to write The coolest part of the song is probably even cooler than the rest of the song, and I barely managed to save myself from complete and utter embarrassment by changing it to tell people when the song is “coolest.” Bet you didn’t count on me analyzing your words in ridiculous ways when you wrote that, sucker!] I’ve introduced Clawfinger to my friends and this one, Nothing Going On and Vienna were probably the most successful.

What Are You Afraid Of (track 9) is a great song about stupid politicians and the crap they say. [Fuck yeah! Um—I mean, I was on crack, man!] Actually the whole album is pretty much politics related and some of the stuff in this song is just so damn cool. [Sorry, I got ahead of myself there. I was on crack, man!] But anyway, I think that if you don’t like this song, there’s some chance you don’t like Clawfinger at all. [Indeed there is. Any more insights, Captain Obvious?]

The bonus tracks on this album are good, but for me they don’t match a song like Profit Preacher. [Same here—wait, what?] Three Good Riffs is probably the coolest bonus track [I need to stop using the word coolest, don’t I? Hopefully, I have since stopped using it this excessively. :P], although it’s not really good in the sense of… well, good. [Pothead!] Anyway, Zak on two of them: [Yup, right on top of them.]

Three good riffs is a simple lyric about all the cliches in this great industry of rock & roll, we’re all contributing to it whether we like it or not & the more serious we try and be as artists the closer we come to being pathetic…but hell I’ll gladly treat people to that! :mrgreen:

Armageddon down ha ha what is there to say, it’s just a pisstake on religion of all sorts and a play with words for the sake of being annoying and having a bit of fun, Armageddon down obviously means that everyone should get up on the dance floor and shake their booties, don’t really know what else to say about it? :mrgreen:

The bottom line: if you liked Deaf Dumb Blind, this is a must buy. If you came into Clawfinger by means of the newer albums, it is something you have to check out. It’s the last of the classic Clawfinger albums. [Ouch!]

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Clawfinger – Deaf Dumb Blind

This post is recycled, and was originally published on my former weblog on Saturday 2005-02-26 at 11:40:12 UTC. I tweaked some grammar and spelling here and there, but I resisted the urge to rewrite this entry almost entirely. I did not, however, refrain from commenting on myself. Sensitive souls beware: I added some brand new explicit content.

Yesterday, I received my reissues of “Deaf Dumb Blind” (1993) and “Use Your Brain” (1995): two classic, quintessential Clawfinger albums. In addition to the original tracks, they both feature three bonus tracks and the video clips of the released singles of the original CD in SVCD quality. Let me go through both of the albums by my favorite songs. [Use Your Brain will be reviewed in a later post: no, that’s not because I split this post in two for this special occasion or some such.] My less favorite songs are a little less good, but that doesn’t mean they’re bad. But you’ll probably have to be more of a fan to appreciate them. [I added links to YouTube so you can actually listen to the songs.]

* Bonus Track + Videos:
Nigger, The Truth, Warfair

The first track of Deaf Dumb Blind is Nigger. Nigger is a song which immediately steps out of the gray of bad songs out there because of the power it contains. [I understand what I was trying to say here, but steps out of the gray of bad songs? The gray what?] Some people might think it’s a racist song when they first hear it, but it is all but that. [I’ve all but finished this book, and it was anything but boring.] It is to be said that the chorus (repeating the word nigger a couple of times) is very easy to catch up with and some stupid racists might even like to sing along with it(!) Luckily that was all but the intention behind the song.

I would consider “Rosegrove”, the third song, sort of a ballad, although it doesn’t really sound like one, neither in lyrics nor in melody. It’s one of the more melodic sounds on the album and one of my favorite on the album. [Boy, I can sure eloquently express myself about one of my favorite songs on the album! Maybe you should have tried it in Dutch, just 19-year old self.]

Track 5 is “I need you”. It’s quite easy to play really, but it sounds just great and I did once meet a bitch this song perfectly applied to. [I did? I rather doubt that. Teenagers, eh?] So when you are in a sort of love/hate mood situation problem thing, just put this up loud. Very very loud. [I can’t comment on that (anymore?), but it is nice while working out.]

“Catch me,” the sixth track of the album, is one of the more interesting songs lyrical wise [I think you mean lyrically.] (and considering the general level of Clawfinger lyrics, that means a lot [Fanboy much?]). When I listen to one of my current favorite songs (Horse With No Name by America), I can almost imagine being in one by listening to the music. [One what? A desert? Are you talking about a freaking desert?] My personal fantasy is quite alright and I have no problem imaging deserts [No trouble imagining the vastness, at any rate. You don’t quite comprehend just how hot they are. And no, I still don’t.], but that song captures the spirit and puts you in one if you listen, disregarding your own imagination. [Are you on crack!?] The same applies to “Catch me”: it’s like Metallica’s “Fade to black” on steroids. [Whatever you say.] It just seems to come from deeper within, or maybe Zak, Clawfinger’s vocalist and lyrics writer, is just more on one line of thoughts with me, I don’t know. Zak said the following on the song:

Well Catch me is pretty much a direct translation from a Swedish punk song which I wrote an additional third verse for so the idea was already there! In other words it’s not a personal song even if there have been times when I have felt those feelings!

My other favorite song on the album is one of the bonus tracks, “Profit Preacher”. I will just quote Zak on the bonus tracks.

Profit preacher is about the American TV evangelists who preach faith, love & beauty, the more money you give them, the more blessed you will be! Obviously they are vultures profiting on peoples need for something or someone to believe in! I got the idea from Frank Zappa who has made a few songs on the same topic!

Stars & stripes, damn I hardly even remember the fucking song, I guess it was just an excuse to throw some shit at the United States for how they choose to angle their news reports and sedate their people into believing they are being told the truth! I’ll read it sometime soon and get back to you with a more detailed answer! 😉

In conclusion, despite this being their debut album and the Clawz having so much less experience than they have now, this album will still rock your house away. [Rock your house away? Whatever it will rock, it will most certainly not do that. Then again, I was probably just making up something as random as rock your socks off. Perhaps that’s a better way to finish this entry. “Deaf Dumb Blind” will not merely rock your socks off, it will rock your fucking house away!]

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I Love Spring

This post is recycled, and was originally published on my former weblog on Wednesday 2005-03-16 at 10:13:36. I tweaked some grammar and spelling here and there, but I resisted the urge to rewrite this entry almost entirely. I did not, however, refrain from commenting on myself. Sensitive souls beware: I added some brand new explicit content.

Oh yeah, throw open those doors and windows and let the fresh air dwirl through your house. [Oh yeah! By the way, dwirl is not a word. Twirl is, although I’m not sure if fresh air can twirl. For poetic consistency, I’m going to suggest Allow the spring breeze to enter your house and twirl your papers.] Plants growing leaves, flowers coming up; all those scents and colors, it’s just wonderful. [I wish I was two puppies, so I could play together.] The same applies to autumn, but summer? That’s boring and often too hot. [Word on the hot. Boring depends mostly on what you do with it.] It’s not bad at all, but boring in a way, that’s all. [Bravo! Excellent repetition.] But it’s about the summer nights after all… 😉 [Ew! Gross. Don’t tell me that, keep it to yourself. Dirtbag. Also, just so we’re clear on this: you’re saying that summer days are boring because they are too hot, but summer nights aren’t because they are…hot?]

This reminds me that I want a digital camera someday. [I’ve got two, sucker. One compact and one DSLR. No, you can’t play with them.] I hate (too) limited budgets like mine. [Boo–fucking–hoo. You’ve got bloody 100 Mbit Internet while I’m stuck with a theoretical 8 Mbit which amounts to 6 Mbit in practice. Keep on saving, spend your money responsibly, and perhaps you will own a nice camera or two in 4 years.]

It’s time to finally get in touch with the local library and read some fucking cool books outside! [Fuck that shit. We’re living in the future.]

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Virtual Recycling

Lately, I’ve been sorting out some old digital junk. Not because I’m short on space—I’ve got plenty—, but because some of it simply isn’t worth keeping. Most of the posts on my former weblog fall in this category, but about half a dozen of them I just couldn’t delete. I decided to integrate them with my current weblog.

Initially, I was thinking of just slipping them in at the temporal beginning of the weblog, so they would silently appear in the year 2005. However, while I was investigating how I could make the WordPress 1.5 database compatible with the current WordPress 2.8 database, I changed my mind.

It would be much easier to repost the entries on my current weblog, but that wouldn’t be right if I didn’t do it with a twist. While I was rereading some of the entries, I was thinking things like Were you on fucking crack!? Wouldn’t it be amusing to make fun of the things I wrote back then by actually adding these thoughts to the entries themselves? Additionally, this would justify reposting them as entirely new entries. If nothing else, at least it will be amusing to me. You can expect the first three recycled entries this week, and a few more may follow, but I’m not promising anything.

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