Rude awakening: Why Fallout: New Vegas felt incomplete

"Welcome to New Vegas" sign and the Lucky 38

The Fallout series of role-playing video games have been well-received and popular since Fallout was released in 1997 as “America’s first choice in post-nuclear simulation.” Post-apocalyptic video games have been numerous, yet the Fallout games stand out for their immersion and complexity. Fallout has managed to transcend the traditional combat- and leveling-focused RPGs to satisfy players on a much deeper level.

At least, the Fallout games transcended the typical genre offering until Fallout: New Vegas. Never before has a canonical, major release Fallout game received such hedged reviews from fans and critics. Yet, New Vegas seemed to have all the ingredients of a stellar Fallout game: an expansive world, factions to meet, choices to make, and excellent casting, all centered around a sweeping and nuanced regional conflict. Why, then, did it feel incomplete? There was something missing from New Vegas that, as players and critics have remarked, makes it feel more like a really big Fallout 3 expansion rather than a Fallout game in its own right.

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Sheenisms



in the spirit of inflated celebrity burnouts and Live the Sheen Dream, i present Sheenisms:


NASA announced the space shuttle replacement is Charlie Sheen riding four porn stars.

Charlie Sheen alone holds up the economies of Columbia and Peru.

Charlie Sheen singlehandedly killed every Somalian pirate, equipped only with a floatation jacket and 28 grams of cocaine.

“Two and a Half Men” was canceled because Charlie Sheen bought the rights to the name for his penis. Continue reading

antenna armor: reinforcing a whip

a Yaesu VX-170 radio and armored Diamond SRH-320A

it's a bit long.

my EDC radio – and my only amateur band transceiver, in fact – is a Yaesu VX-170 topped with a Diamond SRH-320A antenna. this radio was a gift from my late Elmer, WA6UBE (“Elma”, “Elmette”?), and came with the Diamond antenna. as you can see, it’s a really big antenna, but it performs well in urban areas (and i don’t have the original duck). it pulled a fairly line-of-sight 5W 26-mile run to a repeater at S3-4 so, hey, not too shabby.

Yaesu VX-170 and Diamond SRH-320A antenna mounted to a Chrome messenger bag

radio in its usual EDC commute rig

my only complaint about the 320A is that it’s kind of thin-skinned. i usually carry the radio on a messenger bag or backpack strap, and the size of the antenna subjects it to a fair bit of flexing, bangs, and scrapes. it eventually picked up some kinks and a couple of small holes in the insulation after a year or so of carrying it around like this.
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Fallout: New Vegas: launch FEVer

Fallout: New Vegas launch in Sunnyvale, CA

so i’ll just say it: it’s everything we wanted.  (except for the performance glitches. and losing a couple hours worth of saved games.  sigh. back to Goodsprings.)

i’ll have more from the midnight release in Sunnyvale, CA…  but that’ll wait.  you think i’m gonna wait this long and put it all on hold for a silly blog?  no, no, i’m just killing time ’til i’ve woken up enough to face the Wasteland again.

Brock and awe: a little Shore Leave wordplay

who can kick ass with deadly sass? perhaps none more than Shore Leave of Adult Swim’s The Venture Bros. the closest you could get in real life would be if Louie Spence was a dual pistol-wielding agent of a super-secret American rogue spy organization.

from The Venture Bros., "Pinstripes & Poltergeists"

Shore Leave’s espionage and combat skills are second only to his sharp-tongued, laser-quick wit (and just ahead of his love of Jimmy Choo designs).  his special brand of ass-kicking homosexual machismo is just balanced by his (professional) partner Brock Sampson’s special brand of ass-kicking heterosexual machismo. initially presented as rivals, twenty years later they are fighting side-by-side against unchecked aggression – and have turned out to be an unexpected and satisfying comic duo.

Brock – seriously, no pun intended here – plays the straight man to Shore Leave’s unwavering humor, and Brock himself is often in Shore Leave’s sights. one of Shore Leave’s trademarks, next to his energetic use of “boom!”, are his plays on Brock’s name. it’s quickly become one of the most fun running gags in The Venture Bros., and his snappy chatter keeps fans’s ears perked for the next guffaw-worthy “Brockism”.

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Fallout’s Vault Boy meets hi-fi marketing

Vault Boy in Hi-Fi

Maxell never existed in the alternate Fallout universe.  instead, the people that would have run their marketing ended up working for Vault-Tec.

(Maxell man from the web, isolated in Photoshop and Live Traced in Illustrator.  head splatter from a Fallout 3 screen shot, Live Traced in Illustrator.  Vault Boy hand traced in Illustrator from a 161×127 “Bloody Mess” perk image.)

i started one of these things

i hate blogs.  or rather, what blogs came to represent.

first, there was the Internet, and no one cared.  then there was the World-Wide Web, and folks scratched their heads over what to do with it.  geeks would write things on message boards or personal web sites, and the information flowed freely.

then regular people discovered the value of the internet (no more capital “i”) for commerce and socializing.  they then spent the next ten years discovering everything the geeks and nerds knew all along. suddenly it was cool to be doing everything the dorky kids had been doing – without, of course, acknowledging where it all came from.

so “blogs” came along – they weren’t anything special, just dumbed-down content management systems that mimicked the hand-coded or hacked-up CMSes the OGs (Original Geeks) wrote.  ah, but the response from the masses was “ZOMG!!!!1!!! U CN RITE ON UR WEBZ AND PPL CN REED IT?!?”  internet innovators world-wide collectively smacked their foreheads.

it was like coming out with “wraps” while all the Mexicans stand around wondering how people are charging $9 for a burrito.  or Twitter “revolutionizing” communication by hacking together a very poorly written way to broadcast text messages.

i didn’t want a part of it.  i was content with my work, my experience, remembering what things were like in the days of 1200-baud modems, usenet, gopher, and telnet (TELNET!  pre-SSH!  “hi!  sniff me!”).  but, hell, i had to break down some day.

a big chunk of the reasoning is that there are a lot of valuable things on the internet that i use or am entertained by every day.  sometimes i fix something after finding nothing helpful on the web – maybe i should add some contributions of my own. and, of course, there are also a lot of stupid things said on the internet, so why not cast my lot in, too?

things you can expect here:

  • pixels:  photos, photochops, UI topics.
  • tools:  software and hardware fixes, hacks, firearms, electronics.
  • commentary.
  • complaining.

- emilio