Romero Bros.
God, Videogames, Heavy Metal, Faith, Politics, Art. A fresh conservative perspective on life & fun

Mar
01

Selphie sits on Zell's bed. Zell's Room Final Fantasy VIII screenshot
I’m still heavily playing Final Fantasy VIII, in fact it’s the only game I am currently playing (and I have now passed the 100 hour mark).

While doing so I came across a scene at Balamb regarding Zell’s room during the Galbadian occupation while you are searching for the Captain and Commander.

Because you can’t sleep in the hotel, Zell FINALLY allows you to see his room and enter it. And when you do so for the first time, each character will react differently to Zell’s “sacred space” (that is, the third character in your party will react differently, since Squall and Zell are in always in the scene).

Within the game, there is no way to see all of the character’s reactions unless you saved before entering Zell’s room and are willing to reset, switch characters, and then enter his room again with a third different character in your party. I was willing to do this, but even with the strategy guide, I didn’t realize not to save after seeing the room, because I thought you could see it, leave town, and then enter again and get a different reaction. But nope, the characters only react when it is LITERALLY your first time entering the room.

So having saved after seeing Irvine’s reactions, I couldn’t go back to see how the other characters would react. Bummer . . .

YOUTUBE TO THE RESCUE! I searched and lo and behold, I found a video someone posted of everyone’s reactions! Isn’t technology great? I literally would not have seen the other character’s reactions if it wasn’t for youtube.

And now I’m sharing the video for you all to see. 🙂

Even if you haven’t played the game before, it’s still funny to see how the different characters react. And it really gives you insight into each character’s personality. Doesn’t it? And if you’ve never heard of the game, it gives you a small look into what I’ve spent over 100 hours on. 😉

Zell's Room Final Fantasy VIII. Selphie's reaction... Lays on bed!

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Feb
17

Hillary Clinton signs autographs in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Here is the full video of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaking in Qatar to college students in a townhall-style Q&A session.

I always enjoy watching these, whether I am in full agreement with the government person speaking or not. And I love to read, hear and learn about the Islamic world and Muslim people, particularly women, so when I heard about this I definitely had to look for the video and check it out.

Sadly, I could not find the video ANYWHERE. Couldn’t find it on C-SPAN, on the official U.S. Secretary of State web-site nor even on youtube! Googling didn’t help either because I did not have the correct keywords and kept coming up only with stories ABOUT the Q&A which just had snippets of video, not the whole thing.

Well I finally found it thanks to this blog. Unfortunately I cannot find an embed code, but hit the link at the top of the story to go to the blog with the video.

Feb
07

The World Is A Thorn Deluxe Edition from Demon Hunter (picture)
There is more news on Demon Hunter’s The World Is a Thorn than I care to post about (which is a good thing) but I definitely want to try and update people since the album is only ONE MONTH AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!! It releases on March 9, 2010.

First up, listen to Tie This Around Your Neck from The World Is A Thorn by Demon Hunter on their myspace page! This is the first song that Demon Hunter has made available from the new album! However for a fan like me I’m going to go ahead and wait for the actual album to be in my hands before listening to any of it! But I hear the song is great so that’s good news!

Also, Demon Hunter has announced that the title track from “The World Is A Thorn” will be premiering all weekend on Full Metal Jackie Radio! To find a station near you carrying the “Full Metal Jacket Radio Show” click the link.

Last but not least, I wanted to update you guys on the various bundles available for the album.

The World Is A Thorn Deluxe Edition is what you can see in the picture above (click it for a look at the bundles) and it includes the following extras at a price of $25:

* CD with 2 exclusive bonus tracks.
* DVD featuring the making of “The World Is A Thorn”, and a live acoustic set.
* 20 page booklet with exclusive artwork, photos, and handwritten lyrics.
* 2 fold-out posters featuring original artwork by metal visionary Dan Seagrave.
* 3 photo cards.
* Demon Hunter handkerchief.
* Set of 4 buttons.
* Sticker.

If you want more (or less) stuff, then the following packages are also available.

* The World Is A Thorn Regular Edition
* The World Is A Thorn Regular Edition + Hat
* The World Is A Thorn Regular Edition + Long-Sleeved Shirt
* The World Is A Thorn Regular Edition + Long-Sleeved Shirt + Hat + Patches
* The World Is A Thorn Deluxe Edition + Hat
* The World Is A Thorn Deluxe Edition + Long-Sleeved Shirt
* The World Is A Thorn Deluxe Edition + Long-Sleeved Shirt + Hat + Patches

HUZZAH!

Feb
07

The Serpent Satan Tempts Eve
Looking for Ransom lyrics from Becoming the Archetype’s Dichotomy album? Below I will list my lyrics for the song (which is also called “The Serpent” as printed in the CD booklet).

I’ll also include a video of the actual song so you can sample it for yourself at the end.

Ransom is actually my favorite song on the album. Even though I love all of them, this is the most powerful song in many ways for me. And is the one I listened to over and over again after I first got the album. The line at the end is simply INCREDIBLE. Like with the song before it, it still gives me insane chills when I hear this song!

Ransom Becoming the Archetype Lyrics

The sky grows PALE
And the sea turns black
SOLID DARKNESS
Falls all around me

MAKES IT HARD TO BREATH
MAKES IT HARD . . . TO THINK

But the darkness IS NOT EMPTY
It is BEARING DOWN upon me

MAKES IT HARD TO BREATH
MAKES IT HARD
TO THINK
And I know this can’t go on!

Oh death my worthy adversary
You’ve
TORMENTED ME
For FAR TOO LONG

HE LEAPT
Into the arms of Hell itself
That gave birth
TO CORRUPTION
And battled
With the undead corpse
Until it’s face was SMASHED BEYOND
REC-OGNI-TION

. . . . . GO

My hands have taught me terrible things
His hands have SET ME FREE

My hands have taught me terrible things
His hands have SET ME FREE
My hands have taught me terrible things
Terrible things
TERRIBLE THINGS

My hands have taught me terrible things
His hands have SET ME FREE
My hands have taught me terrible things
Terrible things
TERRIBLE THINGS

Feb
07

Jesus Victorious From the Tomb!
Looking for Self Existent lyrics from Becoming the Archetype’s Dichotomy album? Below I will list my lyrics for the song (which is also called “The Tomb” as printed in the CD booklet).

I’ll also include a video of the actual song so you can sample it for yourself at the end.

Self Existent is arguably the most powerful song on the album. I love it because it is a song that directly speaks about Jesus Christ without there being any mis-interpretation as to the true meaning of the song because it is clear who the focus of the song is. Not only does the song STILL give me chills, but I love it because it also gives a very unique perspective on what it must have been like to witness the Resurrection first-hand. In my person opinion, this is quite simply one of the greatest Christian songs ever made.

Self Existent Lyrics

Into the darkened tomb . . .
I walked but only found it empty . . . .

MY MIND is tormented
MY SOUL is shaken

As a flame is tormented by the wind and rain
As the earth is shaken BY AN EARTHQUAKE

MY HEART
Has accepted
What MY EYES
Could never have believed

I WATCHED HIM DIE
I . . . WATCHED HIM DIE
I WATCHED HIM DIE!
I . . . WATCHED HIM DIE!

In the silence death is defeated
In my spirit THE BATTLE RAGES ON

And then I stepped into the light
I heard His voice
I SAW HIS FACE

AND THEN HE STOOD THERE BEFORE ME
A man buried . . .
BUT NEVER DEAD!

MY HEART
Has accepted
What MY EYES
Could never have believed

I SAW HIM RISE
I . . . SAW HIM RISE!
I SAW HIM RISE
I SAW HIM RISE!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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HE IS ALIVE

Jesus Christ's Ascension To the Heavens

Feb
07

Bold & Fresh Tour Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck review (artwork)
This past Tuesday, I went to see the encore showing of “The Bold & Fresh Tour” with Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck.

Being a rabid fan of Bill O’Reilly’s 9-years-running #1 cable news/opinion show “The O’Reilly Factor”, I knew as soon as it was announced that I was definitely going to make it to the show to see what it was all about.

Sadly, there were no tour dates close enough to my Phoenix, Arizona location to actually see Glenn and Bill live and in-person, which would’ve been completely awesome. Thankfully though, Bill and Glenn came to the rescue with a great alternative, they would broadcast the Bold & Fresh Tour in over 500 theaters across the country in two separate showings (thanks to a company called Fathom Events).

The first showing took place on Saturday, January 30th and was going to be a live simulcast/streaming of the event directly to theaters as it went on in real-life. Sadly natural events caused the live show that was to be streamed to be cancelled (due to a state of emergency declared in the state on the day they were to have the show due to a snowstorm) so they simply broadcast the show that took place the previous Friday in Tampa, Florida. The second theater broadcast was simply an encore broadcast of that same Tampa show on Tuesday, February 2nd (just in case you missed the first showing). This is the show that I attended at a theater that luckily wasn’t too far from my home. I went with my friend Manuel.

Essentially, the Bold & Fresh Tour is kind of like stand-up comedy. Although you can’t really define it as such, because it wasn’t all comedy all the time; they also discussed their own viewpoints (mostly regarding politics) and serious issues, but with comedy always coming into play as they talked.

So the show was basically half an hour of Glenn Beck, half an hour of Bill O’Reilly, a 20 minute intermission then 40 minutes of both Beck and Bill together. The show consisted of them on stage, with a microphone, basically saying whatever came to their mind in front of a live (and packed out) audience.

Here is a video of Bill during one of the shows talking about common sense Healthcare.

The theater I was in was also packed with nearly every seat on the upper section taken. Though I must admit that me and Manuel may have been the youngest people in the audience and Manuel was one of only two Hispanics that I saw in audience, which was all white.

Although I think this is kind of a stupid thing to point out, but it is true nonetheless.

The show itself was very interesting. Glenn Beck I must say completely outshone Bill. Although I love Bill and he’s funny and awesome, he is simply not the natural comedian and entertainer that Glenn Beck is. And I truly believe that it comes to Glenn naturally. His goofy personality and hilarious facial expressions is simply who he is, and that makes him tremendously likeable, charismatic and laugh-out-loud funny on-stage. And I must say that none of it came across as scripted.

With Glenn though you already know what you are going to get even though he still makes his point extremely well and I felt really pumped up after the fact to get out and do something to change the country for the better (I am planning to see Glenn in person at a rally in Washington, DC with my friend Jenn this August).

Not only did Glenn make his stance on things well known and convey what he believed in an entertaining, humorous but also serious way, but he also went into detail about his goals for this year and for rallying people to the cause of getting back to the Constitution, the Bible, and Independence/Self-Reliance. But as always, there was a lot of Obama-bashing and Glenn saying the stuff that you expect from Glenn (including some pretty hilarious moments of making of Nancy Polosi, Joe Biden and Larry King). So that wasn’t surprising but the detail that he went into was. And I had a great time seeing and hearing it all.

After Glenn was Bill. And it was almost a system shock going from one to the other. Bill was not an Obama-basher and instead focused on where he disagrees with the President and he went over his stance on things. The problem is that Bill was not as funny as Beck, even though he really tried. So it was almost “dull” in comparison. Although I was glad to see that despite the tour being the “Bold and Fresh Tour” (named after Bill’s best-selling book for 50 weeks running, “A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity”), Bill didn’t talk much about his book or what is contained in it (which reminds me, I still need to buy it).

After Bill and the 20 minute intermission, they then they took the stage together, and this part I was NOT prepared for. I must say that I nearly laughed out loud the ENTIRE segment. And I don’t mean little laughs, but HUGE laughs. The whole theater was laughing up a storm. Glenn and Beck together is just pure magic, and this part is what really made the show worth the high cost.

The chemistry between the two was great. They played off one another in a very cool way and more fully than what you get to see when Beck is on The O’Reilly Factor. But the most interesting part was that Beck essentially “interviewed” Bill, and this is where the differences between them REALLY shone. Anyone who thinks that Bill and Glenn have similar views is mistaken in a huge way. They share some similarities but man, there are a heck of a lot of differences. So it was really interesting cause it’s rare that Bill is really “interviewed”.

It’s also hilarious to see Bill’s reactions to Glenn. Glenn is so animated and does funny facial expressions and says things that Bill would never say. I believe that it’s because Glenn is not only from a younger generation (he made references to everything from Ren & Stimpy to He-Man to Beavis and Butthead) but also because he is a much goofier and “fun-loving”, if you will, person than Bill is. This also made for a very interesting dichotomy between the two. It was like yin and yang. Sometimes Bill would just stare at Glenn like, “You’re the nuttiest person I know” :mrgreen: But in a GOOD way!

You can see much of what I’m talking about in this hilarious clip of Bill & Glenn together from one of the shows.

And that is what made the show so great. Ultimately, I payed around $30 to see it. The tickets were $18 a piece and I paid about another $10 for popcorn and soda . . . which are necessities if you are seeing anything on the big screen in my humble opinion.

So I came away an even bigger fan of both Glenn and Bill than I was before. I was also entertained and informed and it really left you thinking about things. Which in my opinion is exactly what I want for two hours and my hard earned cash. If I had to score it, I’d give it a 9 out 10. 🙂

If you get the chance to see them live, definitely DO NOT pass up the change to do so. You will not regret it! I hope that they will continue to put on these shows and that they will eventually do one in Phoenix, cause I am DEFINITELY going if they do.

Jan
30

Artificial Immortality Becoming the Archetype lion picture - I AM A BEAST
Looking for Artificial Immortality lyrics from Becoming the Archetype’s Dichotomy album? Below I will list my lyrics for the song (which is also called “The Beast” as printed in the CD booklet).

I’ll also include a video of the actual song so you can sample it for yourself at the end.

Artificial Immortality is arguably my favorite song on the album. I love the concept and the lyrics, and the guitar at the end is madness. I also love the last line.

Artificial Immortality lyrics

Technology will conquer
Biology will FALL
Machines provide the means for the chosen few
To rise up and be “immortal”

DISCARD the BODY
To ELEVATE the INTELLECT

Remove the head-Remove the soul-Implant the artificial
Remove the head-Remove the soul-DEHUMANIZE
NO

Shake off the chains
The constraints of your mortality
This new evolution puts “perfection” within our grasp

DISCARD the BODY
To ELEVATE the INTELLECT

Remove the head-Remove the soul-Implant the artificial
Remove the head-Remove the soul-DEHUMANIZE
NO

“I am not a mechanism.”
“I am part of the resistance.”
I am an organism.
An animal.
A creature.
I am a beast.

I am not a mechanism!
I am part of the resistance!
I am an organism
An animal
A creature
I AM A BEAST

Jan
30

The World Is A Thorn logo (Demon Hunter 5th album)
Demon Hunter has announced The World Is A Thorn as their fifth studio album!

The new album follows “Demon Hunter: Live in Nashville” and “45 Days”, the last projects from Demon Hunter. The former being their first live album which was taken from the latter, a documentary film with matching soundtrack and DVD that showcased the band.

Their fourth studio album was Storm the Gates of Hell and released on November 6, 2007, so it’s been a significant enough amount of time since their last record that fans are pretty rabid now for new Demon Hunter material. And personally I CAN’T FREAKIN’ WAIT for it!

*SPOILER WARNING* Below is the tracklist for The World Is A Thorn followed by the official cover artwork! Read the rest of this entry »

Jan
27

Dichotomy album artwork Becoming the Archetype
Looking for Dichotomy lyrics for the song from Becoming the Archetype’s Dichotomy album? Below I will list my lyrics for the song (which is also called “The Tower” as printed in the CD booklet).

This is by far one of the best songs on the album (although I like every song). Ryan Clark from Demon Hunter (who got the band signed to Solid State) sings on this song and it is a very powerful verse when he does. I also love how the song both begins and ends with the same line. This song is truly full of emotion, and still gives me chills to this day.

I’ll include a video of the actual song below the lyrics so you can sample it for yourself! :mrgreen:

Dichotomy Lyrics:

IN THIS HOUR
THE TOWER SHALL FALL!

Initially they rationalized
With FUTILE SPECULATIONS
Which brought about their ultimately
FATAL CALCULATIONS

They sewed their own eyes shut . . .
TO PROTECT THEM FROM THE LIGHT
Closed the doorway of their minds . . .
BARRED AND SEALED IT TIGHT

Their foolish hearts were darkened
Their vacant minds deceived
The lies that they exchanged for truth
Became all that they believed

They exchanged the incorruptible
For the image of fallen man
Worshipped creature rather than Creator
THE IMAGE RATHER THAN HIS HAND

The heavens wait in silence
For the coming of the end
As man perfects his own imperfection
Destruction closes in

IN
THE
GRAVE They choose to make their beds
Now all that they’ve created
Comes crashing down
Down upon their heads
DEATH IS WAITING

IN THIS HOUR
THE TOWER SHALL FALL!

Jan
27

Final Fantasy VIII box artwork (PS1)
I’m 74 hours and 4 seconds in to Final Fantasy VIII, and the best and worst aspect of this fun and interesting RPG for the PlayStation 1 (now available on PlayStation Network for PS3) is the card game known as Triple Triad (which is also playable in Final Fantasy XI).

While the card game itself is fun and isn’t too hard to grasp, it is the way that the card game is integrated into the game and the side-quests it triggers that really hurts it.

In Triple Triad, cards are layed down face up onto a 3 by 3 grid using a hand of 9 cards that the player selects. There is a number on each side of the card, and if that number (with A = 10 being highest) is higher than the number on the card adjacent to it on either side, then you claim your opponents card and score a point. If your card gets claimed by your opponent, then you lose a point while they gain a point. The player with the most points at the end wins.

While this concept is simple to grasp, there are a ton of additional rules and variables that come into play and these differ depending on the town you are in. These rules are explained in the tutorial section of the game but it is entirely up to the player to understand and grasp all the rules, there is no actual in-game tutorial outside of the text and picture rule instructions in the “Tutorial” setting of the menu (I’ll explain the rules and variations in another article).

In addition, there are other “unknown” elements that are not fully explained to the player. Such as how the player can spread or change rules by how they respond to certain NPC’s (non-playable characters) and depending on which NPC’s they challenge to a game. These elements are almost impossible to figure out correctly without the help of a guide.

Almost any NPC can be challenged to a card game by talking to them with the Square Button. Certain characters will offer you rarer cards, with Monster cards being the most common, and Characters cards the most rare (with rarity going from Monster to Boss to Guardian Force to Character cards).

But the biggest knock to the Triple Triad Card Game, which the game offers in lieu of normal mini-games like you’d find in most RPGs (so if you don’t like the card game, then there really are no other alternatives for you in FF8), is the fact that Card Game-related side-quests and the consequences of your actions toward them are not fully explained to you before going in to them, and with one error in judgment, you can close your self off to an entire section of the game and its rewards that is only offered via the card game.

I went into this playthrough of Final Fantasy VIII with the express purpose of getting everything I could by using a walkthrough/guide to help me. Like all Square RPGs, some things are nearly impossible to know about or find on your own without the help of a guide.

Triple Triad Final Fantasy VIII screenshot

Luckily for me, I borrowed the official Final Fantasy VIII Strategy Guide from a friend to have handy while playing. Just to make sure I didn’t miss anything. However even the strategy guide does not tell you EVERYTHING, and a big focus of mine was going to be the Card Game.

This is only the second time I’ve played Final Fantasy VIII, the first time I played it I spent over 100 hours on it and I reached the third disc before I stopped playing. Thus FFVIII remains the only “modern” FF title (sans XI and XII) that I have not beaten. Like the last time I played it, my intention this time is to not only beat it, but to focus on getting every card in the game and playing Triple Triad to its fullest.

So branding this awesome Final Fantasy VIII Card Game guide from gamefaqs, I went into FFVIII focusing a ton of my time on the card game. I got every special card I could (even some that weren’t mentioned in the strategy guide, luckily I already knew about them from my first playthrough ages ago, and confirmed them with the above mentioned faq) and made sure to play the card game way, way, way more than you need too.

Doing so has it’s benefits. You get a “Card Mod” ability that one of your Guardian Force summons can learn, that allows you to modify cards from the Menu screen under the “Ability” section, and using Card Mod turns cards into important items for building better weapons at Weapon Shops, getting late and high-level magic earlier (without having to spend time in battle “Drawing” it out of enemies) and you can get some major benefits by “Card Modding” your rare Character and GF Cards into seriously helpful stuff that you couldn’t get any other way. For example, one of the rare Cards can be Card Modded into an ability that gives all three of your characters Auto Haste! This speeds up the amount of time it takes for you to react in battle, allowing you to Draw Magic twice as fast and easy and is quite simply one of the most useful abilities in the game. And it’s one that you CAN’T obtain unless you use Card Mod on a rare card.

And it is that last option that was my downfall. Unbeknownst to me, I decided to use Card Mod on my MiniMog GF Card . . . because it gave me a whopping and unheard of 100 “Pet Houses”, an item that restores the health of your Guardian Forces. BIG MISTAKE.

And herein lies the problem with Triple Triad, I did not know, nor could I know, that MiniMog was the ONE CARD I did not want to use Card Mod on. And here I had done as much research, more really, beforehand with the above guides than most people ever would before just diving into the game “blind”. If even I didn’t know that I shouldn’t use Card Mod on my MiniMog Card, how would “normal” people who don’t have two strategy guides at their fingertips while playing know not to Mod MiniMog? They can’t.

Turns out, of course (curse my luck) that the MiniMog Card is required to start the “Queen of Cards” sidequest. It is the first card that you need to allow her to take from you, and it is then transformed into a different card. A card that you can only get in this manner. Additionally, there is a whole host of other cards that you can only get in the same manner. And before you ask, no I couldn’t reload, cause I had already saved, convinced that Modding my MiniMog card for the 100 Pet Houses would be a huge help, I had already made it a done deal and couldn’t go back. *cries*

So now not only will I miss out on all the new cards that you get from doing the Queen of Cards sidequest, but I also will miss out on the rewards from said quest, and there are also OTHER items, cards and sidequests that I missed out on from not having started that one Queen of Cards sidequest.

At one point, the Official Strategy Guide mentioned a rare card that an NPC had. Even though this was after the MiniMog disaster (which briefly made me consider quitting the game altogether) since I had pumped so much time into the Card Game, I made the decision that I would still keep trying to get every rare card I COULD still get. And thus, I pumped match after match after match into trying to win this rare card (because rare cards do not normally appear until a few matches in, sometimes more than ten matches in). After doing this for such a long time period and coming up with nil, I was starting to question whether this NPC had a rare card at all.

But I kept playing . . . eventually I looked it up in the strategy guide again; Yes he apparently does have a rare card. I didn’t miss-read it. So why isn’t it popping up? Finally I turned to the gamefaq mentioned above (which is written solely about the card game) and somehow I wasn’t surprised to learn that although the NPC I was playing for so long DID in fact have the card I wanted . . . I couldn’t get that card because it was not “activated” for me to get since I didn’t start the Queen of Cards sidequest (because I Modded the MiniMog card I needed to start that quest). “CURSE THIS GAME!!!!!!!!!!”

And that is what is so frustrating about Final Fantasy VIII. The developers spend all their time and energy to prop Triple Triad up as THE main distraction to the main quest in the game and the only proper mini-game (not to be confused with a side-quest, which FFVIII has many of) in the entire adventure and yet they place so many barriers to your full enjoyment and full understanding of the game. Then they add the extra nail in the coffin by giving the player no warning ahead of time that they can ruin further quests and rewards later in the game by using bonus abilities like Card Mod . . . which is the whole point of the card game ultimately.

The cards themselves are nothing but collectibles, which you can view under the “Card” heading in the Menu, but they by themselves have no value or effect on gameplay. But that all changes with the Card Mod Ability. Which allows you to turn those cards into something valuable. So not telling the player that using this new ability may harm their ability for later quests, cards or items is quite simply bad design. But worst of all, it discourages people like me who were trying SO HARD to get all of the cards and get the most out of Triple Triad. And that’s a crying shame.

P.S.
Yes Final Fantasy VIII is an old game, but thank the Sony gods, because is now available in the U.S. for download on PlayStation Network onto your PS3 (and from there to your PSP if you have one). Hooray! It will also be released in Europe for PlayStation Network on February 4, 2010.