WELCOME to the personal home page/blog of Matthew La France. Please enjoy your stay.


hot chick and pervert in oblivionSo I'm apparently losing my mind. I guess like Yahtzee I'm suffering from the effects of cosmic radiation. In any event, the previously mentioned thwarted Newegg order had something to do with a new video card for my PC and when shopping at the box store rather than online merchant of cheaper-shit-they-refuse-to-actually-send-you, I added a copy of Oblivion for the PC.

The ironic thing is that I already own a copy of Oblivion for the Xbox 360. There are some compelling excuses I'm using to try and distract myself from the fact that I just spent good money purchasing a game I already own, one of which is that the game can be modded on the PC.

I was quickly reacquainted with all of the downsides of PC gaming; game crashing bugs that reduced my XP Media Center Edition to a mass of quivering 1s and 0s, update patches, performance issues, trial and error graphics configuration, and about 16hrs worth of pouring over mod sites trying to piece together the incomprehensible agglomeration of disorganized and poorly documented material that social websites invariably create.

All this is somehow made worth it by the manner in which I'm able to soundly pummel Oblivion's most loath-worthy feature, it's butt ugly characters.

I'll pass thanks.

me in pia carrotI'll admit that I do get it. Oblivion is supposed to be a feudal land with medieval technology and in being slightly more "realistic" to that universe, is going for an unwashed masses kind of aesthetic. In contrast to a J(or K) RPG, I can tell Oblivion was trying to portray a world that is not solely populated by 16-25 year old androgynous supermodels. I hate to be the one to tell them this, but that is precisely the world I wish to inhabit when playing video games.

Now that I've made the map nicer looking, the menu nicer looking, the load screens nicer looking, the textures nicer looking, the weather nicer looking, the characters nicer looking, and most of the clothing and accessories nicer looking, I'm starting to wonder if there was anything that looked good to begin with. But far be it from me to criticise the people who made this game. They at least had the decency to give their players the tools to correct whatever errors they made, glaring though they may be. Besides I bought the game twice so they must have done something right.


I'm going to share with you the more minor of the two customer service sagas I've embarked upon in the past week. Here is the first:

Newegg "Welcome to Newegg.com and thank you for registering for your new account. Newegg.com is committed to making the online shopping experience fast, easy, and enjoyable for everyone"

Newegg "Sales Order Confirmation - Shipping Information (My PO Box which I had over-written with a street address on the order form)"

Newegg "In reviewing your account it appears that you were requesting to have the order ######## shipped to a P.O. Box. Please kindly note that we do not ship to P.O. Box locations as states online when completing our new customer registration form. Please contact us with a physical address to ship your order to."

I add the address to my Paypal account, call them up, and give them the right address. They say we're all set.

Newegg "Your Newegg.com sales order has been successfully charged from your Paypal account and order verification is now complete."

Newegg "Thank you for purchasing from Newegg.com, however, we have cancelled your order due to the shipping address you have listed in this account is not a confirmed Pay Pal address. At this time we cannot process this order."

Me "No problem. I'll just shop someplace else. Thanks."



I've been following E3 coverage a bit throughout the past 3 days, mostly keeping tabs on the videos at gametrailers.com. Some cool looking media for a lot of games. The star has been Resident Evil 5 which just looks amazing. Just looking at the footage gets my heart pumping.

Resident Evil 5, Mar 13, 2009

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that I may be most excited about a PC game or two. The more I hear, see, and think about it, the more excited I am about Dawn of War II.

FMV footage from Dawn of War II, Q2 2009

It seems like they are adding Tyranids as a race and I'm just kind of stoked about that, though they've been cryptic about it and haven't actually come out and said it so it's still up in the air. The game looks really nice esp. in comparison to Dawn of War which is a 4 year old game at this point.

I also am intrigued by a game called Disciples III. It got me wondering why I never encountered Disciples I or II but I guess I shouldn't be surprised since PC games have been off my radar for quite a while. This game has a really great visual fantasy style. It has a Korean game look, but it's Russian. The gameplay sounds fun and it's really gorgeous looking. Check out the video that shows some troop types and bits of gameplay for this strategy fantasy game.

Troop types and bits of gameplay for Disciples III, Q1 2009


I've been watching Grappler Baki. I don't really think of myself as the "fighting anime" sort of guy, but I really got into Shootfighter Tekken a.k.a. "High School Exciting Story: Tough". I'm liking Grappler Baki a lot though it's not quite as good as Tough, Baki is very compelling. I think it's one of those series that is as good as it's villain so to speak. Hanma Yuujiro, Baki's father is the man Baki is trying to beat. He's bloodthirsty and ruthless, and trying to raise Baki to be the strongest fighter. "Raising" might not be the right word, it's more like the song about the boy named Sue, but you get the idea.

I had a bit of a scare the other day. In addition to my 360 dying a few weeks ago, thankfully still under warranty, my PS3 started to smell like burning plastic while watching a DVD on a warm night the other weekend. Thankfully it still seems to work fine. I've updated to the newest 2.41 firmware. I don't see myself making much use of it in the near future, but it's nice to see the trophy system in place and all the functionality of Xbox Live more or less.

I did a little translating on WTPC. It's weird to be saying that again at this point, but there was some undumped text still lurking around which was recently dumped. I should be done with it relatively soon. I'm pleased with the progress on the project.


A couple of years late as usual, I broke down and watched Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu.

I was introduced to this series by a friend (hi Jared!) back when it first came out in '06 with the infamous "episode 0" which was probably a mistake since it left me with a skewed view of the series. What actually piqued my interest in it was a you tube video featuring voice actress Hirano Aya (Konata of Lucky Star among other roles).

Though I'm a fan of Hirano Aya, it was actually the premise of the video game that really got me interested in the show. Apparently the game consists of you guiding the characters from the anime in making their own video game. Anything that could spawn a game with that kind of premise had to at least be worth watching. So here's my review.

I liked Suzumiya Haruhi. I think it did itself a disservice in a few respects but made up for it in others such that the overall experience was positive.

The first negative element is the ordering of the episodes. Yes it is clever, and I picked up on one hint in one episode that let me know the outcome of the episode following it, but I found the benefits did not outweigh the drawbacks of this approach. The lack of continuity between episodes coupled with the generally uninteresting things that happen in a few of the episodes was almost enough for me to write the series off somewhere in the middle.

My perseverance however was rewarded with a genuinely interesting science fiction plot. This sort of non-space opera science fiction story is the most refreshing thing about the series and something I really enjoyed. The comedy is not pronounced enough, so it's this sci-fi plot that has to sustain the series, which makes for some rather dry episodes that focus on the characters trying to please Haruhi and the sometimes meager humor.

Where it shines additionally however is in it's authenticity. I really appreciate the main character's perspective on this wild situation and the way his struggle is almost entirely internalized in his thoughts and feelings. On the surface he seems to just be this somewhat weak and lazy character, but he's really a nice guy and has an amazingly strong sense of self-respect and a strong will. It is this perseverance that gets him through this situation where his life and the fate of the world are basically on the line. I also like the authenticity of Haruhi and the feelings she has. She is a weird girl, but in the end that's all. She is actually the one with very low self-esteem and I sympathize with her.

In it's authenticity the show holds up it's contract with the viewer and delivers a satisfying story. The sci-fi element is refreshing. The comedy is weak, and the goofy episode order really takes away from a series that otherwise has some really good things going for it. Not my favorite show but definitely above average and recommended.

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