Puscifer, who recently announced a new album, Money Shot (Oct 30, Puscifer Entertainment), and the release of the “Grand Canyon” video, will be returning to the road, kicking off a six-week outing on Nov. 1 at the Monster Mash Festival in Phoenix. Continue reading “Puscifer Announces Fall Tour and Tracklist for “Money Shot””
Hello, Axixic. Your latest album is Dancing On The Moon. What significance does the title hold for you?
It’s a metaphor that I carried around for years to describe two contradictory ideas: living in the moment -or- doing one thing when you really should be doing something else. When I came to Mexico to write and record the album it seemed to describe what I was doing so I decided to turn it into a song. Continue reading “Axixic Interview”
The world of free online first person shooters is a bleak place, full of oddly cartoonish games with slow paces, goofy weapons, and an overall feeling of awkwardness. As poorly as many of these games stack against their non-free competition, you have to give it to the developers for trying, and sometimes they make a gem. One of these few and far between beauties is called Urban Terror.
Continue reading “Urban Terror (PC Game)”
Oh goodness me, what do we have here? Okay, this is actually sort of an older deal, but I recently discovered idoser, which is a website that makes some pretty brash claims all based on sound waves. In short, idoser is supposed to get you high using audio frequency. The science actually has some validity to it all, but without getting too much into complexities lets just say that it is far from fact that these doses actually work.
The way it works (just a little more basic science, I promise, then its on to the good stuff) is that the sounds you hear through your headphones (the only way it will “work”) is actually two different sets of sound waves that are set two specific frequencies. Supposedly when the two waves meet in your head they jumble things up a bit and confuse your brain into thinking it is having any number of experiences ranging from getting drunk, to shooting dope, to having a spiritual awakening. It’s called binaural beats and, as I said, there actually is a good deal of science behind all of this. I however do not have a competent enough grasp of the details to explain them, so if you are interested in specifics I send you on your way to google, where you will find more info than you can read.
The catch is that everyone has a different level of susceptibility to the doses, depending on the make up of your brain. From what I can tell though these rely heavily on similar parts of the brain that cause hypnogogic activity, and being someone who has dealt with hypnogogic hallucinations several times, I am assuming that I am pretty susceptible. If this turns out to be anything like those though, it will be a pretty bad experience since I normally just panic when that happens. (Hypnogogic hallucinations are actually just very vivid dreams that occur between being awake and asleep, so you know, I’m not a total nut job, just suck at sleeping.)
O.k., so lets test these puppies out! Normally with getting high I am not a big fan, but everything I have read said that this is 100% safe, so I may as well take a whack at it and see where I end up. It is important to note that while I am hoping these work, I’m not trying to assist them at all. My reasoning for this is to avoid a placebo affect. If these things really do what they claim though, then me trying shouldn’t have much of an impact…And off we go!
Beat 1. Alcohol. $3.95, 35 min.
The site claims that taking this dose is equivalent to “Shotgunning five glasses of gin, in force.” and as someone who quite enjoys alcohol, I can only hope so since there are supposed to be no side effects. It claims that “the effects come on strong, but mellow fast” whatever that means, and that I will be overexcited with a dash of “relaxation flightiness”. Well, down the hatc-…er, ear canal.
Thirty five minutes later: Well, nothing really. Since the effects were supposed to be pretty much “a good mood” it’s hard to say because I was in an okay mood from the get go. With something so subtle it is really hard to say what is from the sound and what is from me, so lets try something a little harder and see what happens.
Beat 2. Peyote. $4.25, 35 min.
From what I can tell this is the “strongest” hallucinogenic that didn’t have the word “unpleasant” in the description on the site (if they say its not fun, I’m not going to test their word). This dose is supposed to cause “a mystical loss of oneself, disorientation of the senses” and “a true altered state of consciousness” it is apparently “not a toy” and “not for MOST people.” In order to kick things up a bit I’m going to break my no encouragement rule turn on some trippy graphics on my pc screen, I would give you a link, but considering the dangers with epilepsy I am going to pass. From my experience, which we won’t go into, it helps to have some visual stimuli with this sort of thing. If only I had some good friends here with me to talk about…everything man.
Thirty five minutes later:
Well, I didn’t feel a damn thing. Oddly enough even looking at the visuals didn’t produce any sort of illusions. Looks like peyote is a bust.
Last one, this time I’m switching from the sounds billed to get you high to one of the more…out there ones. They have several on the site that they claim can help with depression or sleeplessness or even impotence, the one I will be trying however is supposed to give you an orgasm.
Beat Three. Orgasm. $3.95 10 min.
For the description of this beat, they tell you what an orgasm is and then make a vague claim that this beat will give you one. “ Orgasms are one of those things that are difficult to describe, but if you have one, you’ll know it. With [our] orgasm dose, you’ll know it!” they say. Personally, I love orgasms, so lets see whats happens. The dose I am doing is a “quick hit” and only lasts ten minutes as opposed to the 50 minute full length orgasm dose. What can I say, I enjoy quickies.
Ten minutes later:
Well, as a plus, it does sound like they may have actually listened to this one before claiming it did something. The only reason I say that is because with the other two it seemed to be just a wall of random sounds, but this one actually had some sense of an arc to it. Did I orgasm? Nope. Did I get anywhere close to it? No, in fact the sound came closer to making me sick than it did making me excited. Surprisingly enough though after taking off the headphones this time around the noise of my room had a slightly wavy sound to it, so if you are in to that sort of thing I guess it worked in this one respect.
So, what did I learn from all of this? probably nothing I already didn’t know, things about not believing something that seems too good to be true. On further reflection I remembered just how complex the human brain is. Modern science has only a basic understanding of how our brain works, so for these folks to be able to intently manipulate it using a method that is also rather mysterious to the best minds out there just doesn’t make sense. When you look at the massive range of things they claim these sounds can do, it gives you a clear picture of what is really going on, someone is sitting there making them, then just slapping a title on them and selling them for 4 or 5 bucks a pop.
idoser is pretty much a scam when you really get down to it. I would say that maybe they are just confused people, but when you see the two doses that sell for two hundred dollars, and consider the fact that if anything this site runs the risk of kids being mislead about drugs (imagine “I tried the crack dose and didnt feel anything, maybe real crack will be okay” it’s a stretch, I know, but still) and the whole thing is just a greedy, irresponsible mess.
My advice to those interested in binaural sounds would be to download something like Gnaural or sbagen (sbagen is the program idoser was built on) that are both completely free and will let you experiment with this concept on your own terms. Sbagen is a bit complex, but Gnaural is a relatively easy to use tool, which can be played with simply and intuitivly. I guess in the end if you want to get high you will have to do it the old fashioned way for now. I suggest reading a good book though, from my experience real drugs leave you feeling about how I did from this little experiment, that is unimpressed and slightly upset about wasting my time.
If you have read any of my reviews of Facebook games you may have noticed that I typically do not like them. Personally the majority of them seem like nothing but graphic versions of pen and paper RPGs (such as Dungeons and Dragons) minus the imagination and social stigma and after playing so many of them my patience has been worn out. To call them video games is something of a stretch for me, and I tend to consider them something completely different entirely. There is at least one facebook game however that shines like a polished chrome bumper in the sun, acting as a light of hope that video games really can work with Facebook. This possible savior goes by the name of Off Road Velociraptor Safari, and it is hands down the best facebook based game I have ever seen. Continue reading “Raptor Safari (Facebook)”
Social network games tend to be something of a breed all their own. Truthfully, I can barely tolerate the vast majority of them. However, I am aware that my opinion is the minority when it comes to this subject, and I cannot deny that these pseudo video games have a big market. The newest of these games Space Empires: Battle for Galactic Supremacy, sticks to familiar formulas and really doesn’t bring much to the table that Space Wars (another Facebook game) doesn’t already have aside from a chatbox, which provides some fun. Continue reading “Space Empires: Battle for Supremacy (Facebook)”
When I first saw Puzzle Agent, I had a good feeling. Coming from the same studio that gave the world the generally loved Sam and Max series (TellTale games), Puzzle Agent is a point and click adventure game designed around the graphic novels of Graham Annabelle. This first episode is a pilot, and from here Telltale will decide whether or not the series will continue. Perhaps the games biggest challenge to overcome will be the easy to make assumption that this is a game made for children. Continue reading “Puzzle Agent (PC Game)”
I first discovered Toribash about 2 years ago and I have loved it ever since. The game has gone through some changes since then (and even more since it was first released back in 2006) but the basic framework remains untouched and even after two years I still find myself firing up this little known indy gamin gem a few times a week. It’s rare that I would use words like elegance to describe a video game, but Toribash warrants such language. It is a game that thrives off of innovation and creativity, not only being completely unique in play, but also having more user made content than other games could ever dream of.
Toribash (TB) is first and foremost a fighting game, it is a game you can play with friends (via internet connection, sorry, no LAN) and beat the crap out of each other without the hassles of broken bones and severed ties. What separates TB from the average fighter is that the player has complete control over what their character does. In most fighting games, the player presses a button and triggers a predetermined event, traditionally called a sprite, so if you press the “A” button, you get the kick animation assigned. In TB however, the player is given the choice to apply movement force to any joint of their fighter, meaning no pre-rendered attacks and complete control over the action. It might sound a tad complex at first, and the pace of the gameplay takes some getting used to, but once you get going its one of the funnest free experiences to be had on a PC (and soon on Nintendo Wii for 1000 or so Wii points.)
The game runs in open GL, and with the latest addition of real time ray tracing it appears absolutely stunning with the graphics on high. Each joint on your fighter reflects the world around it, every inch of them is customizable, and even the environment in which the fights take place is left at the hands of the player through pre-set or user made environment shaders. As well as this a player has recently developed a script which allows for three dimensional settings, such as a desert. To run the game at full visuals takes a lot of CPU power however, so most people will have to do regular play with a slightly less pretty version, however recent changes to the basic graphics of the game make this a more aesthetically pleasing option than you might expect.
Before you jump into the game you should know that it has a pretty steep learning curve. For most people, when you first sit down to play it will feel foreign, but the enjoyment soon comes and, with a bit of practice, you will be lobbing off heads and breaking you opponent to pieces with ease. One of the best aspects of the game is that it is layered well so that it can be played casually in online mode with friends, or if perfection is more your cup of soup can be taken to insane heights in singe player mode where the object is to make intricate matches which save as replays. It has the wonderful adage “I moment to learn, a lifetime to master” floating somewhere in its description, and anything like that is normally worth the time.
Another great thing about TB is that you are far from alone when you play. The forums for this game are more lively than any online game I have ever seen save World of Warcraft, but also without as much crap as you get on WoW. On the forums you can find technical help, game play help, a place to share your replays, art, contests, and if you are into that sort of thing you can meet some pretty cool people as well. This (and youtube) is also where you can see just how far this game has been taken in terms of making the characters do whatever you can think of. The most skilled players of this game are capable of really amazing things, and there is even a whole subsect devoted to making movies and artwork for the game.
TB is totally free, unless of course you want to customize your character. The game makes its money selling these customizations, and while I cant recommend shoveling out hundreds of dollars on it, every time you buy something you know you have helped something independent, in affect you help encourage innovation. Toribash was designed and created by one man and a few friends, it has since grown into one of the best kept secrets of computer gaming. Give this one a shot for sure, it takes a bit of patience, but the pay off is a really good time.
Rock Paper Sumo is a new Facebook game from Firm studios, in concept the idea is a great one and sounds like it would be a blast, the execution suffers from similar problems to most Facebook games though. What problem is that? To put it plainly, not much happens in RPS. Unless of course you count clicking things that have no instant effect, and waiting. Continue reading “Rock Paper Sumo (Facebook)”
The people at OGPlanet seem to be trying hard with Hockey Dash, but that might be the problem. Hockey Dash is a new (officially launched on June 9th) online multiplayer hockey game, and I have to admit, it looks really good. Typically, I don’t expect much from online video games in terms of graphics. Most MMO’s are capable of being very pretty, but unless you have a very expensive machine you usually end up turning the graphics to their lowest setting to get the smoothest experience you can. I didn’t have to do this with Hockey Dash and my PC is nothing to brag about. If you ever played the old Sega Dreamcast game “Jet Grind Radio” than you can expect a similar look from Hockey Dash. They make good use of cell shading with lots of bright colors and kooky outfits for your players. Sadly, at this point, that is about all there is to Hockey Dash.
Don’t get me wrong, the game play seems like it could be very in depth and to get good at the game would require a decent amount of video game skill, unfortunately getting to that point would take far too long as the controls are complex and unintuitive. At all times during play you have to be conscious of what all six keyboard buttons do in either offensive or defensive mode. I suppose I could just be dense, but I had trouble making the sort of split-second judgment needed for hockey with all of that to remember. Also the shooting system takes too long, leaving you completely vulnerable as you aim your shot. The biggest difficulty this game faces though is that it depends on the keyboard for directional movement when the mouse would have been a much more natural and precise way to go. When playing hockey it is absolutely necessary that you have freedom to easily move in any direction, but using the keys limits you in that you can’t just press diagonal, but have to consciously decide to press both keys down at once. Had they simply worked out a movement scheme with the mouse, say using the left button to go forward and the mouse itself to control direction, then from there worry about body checks and spins moves and the like, I think the game could have a much less boxed in and forced feel.
For now I can’t recommend playing this game (which requires registration and download and logging into the OGPlanet system to play) but it also in its early stages of development and online games tend to change a lot when they are still new. If they can find a way to make the game more fun, than it’s a definite win. But as it is it’s more like work than play, and no amount of pretty can make up for that.