The Jury Talks Back


ACORN suspends operations

Filed under: Uncategorized — Scott Jacobs @ 12:43 pm

Via, we learn that in the wake of 4 seperate videos and the near certainty that there are more to come, ACORN has stopped taking on new clients for advising

ACORN chief executive Bertha Lewis said in a written statement that she was “ordering a halt to any new intakes into ACORN’s service programs until completion of an independent review.

Please.  We all know they are only halting “new” clients to prevent further videos from being produced/recorded.  I’m sure the idea is that if they stop now, there won’t be any more video evidence.

The problem is that I’m pretty sure the videos are older than a few days, likely made a month or so ago, and that there is a stockpile of interesting A/V material.

ACORN has literally just shut the barn door after the horse has long since escaped…

Additionally, they have the problem of “who do we fire first?”.  I mean, after they toss (with speed alacrity, I might add) those employees featured thus far under the ever-more crowded bus, who do they go after?

I mean, they must assume there are more videos, right?  If so, where are they taken – what offices?  What employee at the office is on the video, who was around and can be shown to overhear – but do nothing about – the “We’re going to import underage whores” aspect of the videos?

And even if they know, what office do they start with?  If they announce firings in a few cities, but miss one, what do they do when a video from – for example – Chicago shows people who weren’t fired?  What then?  Wouldn’t that destroy whatever credibility their “internal audit” might have had?

ACORN is playing catch-up, and doing a very bad job of it.

I guess they didn’t expect the “the video is doctored” deflection attempt to fail as badly as it did.

By Request – Fallout 3

Filed under: Uncategorized — Scott Jacobs @ 6:59 am

Gods, what can’t I say about this game?

I’ve been a fan of the Fallout series for ages and ages, ever since I got a copy of the original game for the computer.  The gameplay was good, the graphics awesome (for back then) and the story was incredible.  The franchise has had a cult following for forever, and Bethesda really delivered a game that held true to it’s roots (which was helped by ignoring, in much the same way Superman Returns ignored Superman 5, the horrible game of Fallout Tactics – by pretending it never happened).

ANYwho, the game.  You start out with some fun/interesting cinematic cut-scenes, where they slide in your ability to name yourself, and pick what your character looks like in what I think is a kind of clever way, all to the soft, gentle sounds of Liam Neeson.  Then you set your stats (also done in a way that doesn’t totally break the 4th wall).  You then run through a fairly short “intro” chapter that serves to show you how to do combat and use your inventory, and then you take a short “personality” test  that decides your starting skills (don’t worry, when you start the game proper, you can change these so it isn’t terribly important).

From your emergence from Vault 101, you have a number of side-quests and an involved main quest to find your departed father during which you learn a lot about him, and take you all over a “condensed” version of the DC area.

The game has a morality system that isn’t obtrusive or overbearing, and in most cases isn’t blatantly obvious (“Would you like like to rape and murder an entire orphanage, or would you like to donate to a charity for kittens with cancer?”).  It fits in well with the story,  and your actions/decisions affect the game in small (or in two cases a very big way), including short blurbs read over the game’s main “radio station”.

The music is largely 50’s/60’s style, and is really fun to listen to, and is played over that same radio station – there are something like 10 or so different songs, essentially played in a loop.  Another radio option later in the game is one with a couple of classical violin pieces.

The visual style, like the music, is a stylized/futuristic 50’s, from the “Nuka-Cola” machines to the cars and buildings.  The DC area includes all the big locations of DC proper, from the Capitol Building to the Jefferson Memorial.  Distances are compressed, but in all it is pretty darn faithful.

The equipment/map/combat systems are very well done, and I found them to be quite intuitive.  You pick up on them really fast, and they don’t get in the way of the game – exactly what you want in a role-playing game: mechanics that don’t get in your way.

The graphics are amazing, the voice acting is wonderful with several bigger names lending their talents (Liam Neeson, Malcolm McDowell, Ron Perlman and Willaim Bassett all make appearances).  The main story/quest line is – in my opinion – engaging, and you can find yourself actually caring about some of the characters.

The xbox 360’s version has, at the moment, all 5 bits of Down-Loadable Content (DLC), most adding side quests with their own “main” quest line.  The “Broken Steel” DLC increases the level cap from 20 to 30 (if you do all the side-quests you’ll hit level 20 well before you have down everything that comes on the disc), and continues the story (get it before you finish the game’s main quests – trust me).

The developers also just announced that, on the 360, if you have bought all 5 bits of DLC before the 22nd of Sept, you can get – for free – a premium theme for your console (usually these cost about 2 bucks or so), so that’s nice…

The PS3’s version does not – I don’t think – have the DLC, but they will very soon start getting them, and I think they will very much enjoy them.

This game owned me when it came out (I got the “middle” price-point pre-order which included a little bobble-head, the game, a small “art of Fallout 3″ book, all in a Fallout 3 lunch box, the high-end edition had a “Pip-Boy Alarm clock” that apparently was a piece of crap).  I literally would play it all. Night. Long.  You know how you start doing something, look at a clock, and 5 hours or your life had vanished without you knowing it?  Yeah.  That.

If you ever played the first two Fallout games, this is a faithful continuation of the IP.  Bethesda as a whole is obviously filled with people who truly loved the game, and wanted to do it justice, and they did just that.

It was very much worth my money, as was the DLC (I liked the last bit of DLC, “Mothership Zeta”, but many didn’t – your mileage may vary).

A bit of advice, though: the game does glitch/freeze at what appear to be random points.  While auto-saves are frequent – whenever you Fast Travel, enter/exit a building, or whenever you enter another section of a building – when you are outside or in a large area you can find yourselves losing literally hours of game play.  Installing the game to the HDD of the 360 solves this issue, removing my only complaint from when the game was released.  I don’t know if this issue existed for the PS3’s version, but best to not chance it.

In all, this game is amazing.  It pulled me in like Mass Effect did, and ME had some very less-than-intuitive game mechanics.

If you have the system, and don’t have this game, you are robbing yourself.  I have put probably well over 100 hours into the game including all the DLC and all the side quests.  Most people seem to consider the minimum required play-time for a full retail game to be around 10 hours, this more than does that.

Next (and by next I mean “within the next week”) I’ll talk about Halo 3: ODST.  That and Modern Warfare 2 seem to me to be the real “Game of the Year” contenders.

Translation: Get a 360.  If you have one, lemme know, and I’ll e-mail you my Gamertag (I have some slots left, and could stand to add some older folks so I have people to play multiplayer with).

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