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Random Gaming and Free Stuff Disa 
Posted by: Disa at 9:07 PM EST on 10/2/2004
File Under: Misc Tech

Another long hiatus, I know, and I doubt I was missed, but here I am once again to report on random things.

Final Fantasy XI (PC/PS2)
Yep, this is what has been mainly consuming my life for over a year now. Ever since the beta back in July 2003, I've been roaming the world of Final Fantasy XI with my character Neriya. The game is a lot of fun, but it has its drawbacks. Its hard to find parties, which is a leveling must in FFXI past level 10 or so. While some Japanese players will play with English speaking players, a large number will refuse to and put things like "JP ONLY" in their search messages. Also its hard to make money for the expensive items and gear needed. Unfortunately the economy has only gotten worse as various people have begun to make businesses out of just collecting gil and then selling it online. Due to people buying and encouraging this behavior, prices on auctioned items are steadily increasing. Regardless, I keep coming back to play this game, even after losing my level 60 White Mage/Summoner and having to start all over. I even recently bought the new expansion Chains of Promathia although I'm not high enough level to go through its new areas yet. If you are ever on the Kujata server, be sure to say hi.

Katamari Damacy (PS2)
A quirky Japanese game in the States?! It must be a mistake, but no. Namco has brought over their unique game to North America and gamers are really getting into it. Some are even comparing its surprising popularity to that of Animal Crossing. I'll do my best to describe the game, but to really do it justice you just have to play it yourself or watch someone else playing. Katamari Damacy is the story of the King of the Universe accidentally going a little wild after drinking one day and destroying all the stars in the sky. Of course the only way to rectify this mistake is to have his son, the prince, make new stars by collecting items on Earth into giant balls to be shot skyward. Yep, this is a game about rolling a ball around Earth and gathering up as much junk and other things, even people and animals, so that you can replace all the stars and constellations in the sky. The gameplay is simple, only focusing on movement with the two joysticks. Katamari Damacy has a lot of replay value beyond beating the game, which is refreshing to see these days. Rewards are offered for not only completing the set goals but for time records, size, and collecting every item. Let's put it this way, with a pile of like over 5 new games, my fiance and I keep on coming back to play this game over all the others. Its definitely worth giving a try, especially since Namco has priced this game new at $20.

Donkey Konga (GC)
I'm a sucker for music games and games with gimmicks, so its no surprise that I recently bought this game. For $50 you get the game and one bongo set. If you want to play multi-player, you'll have to get more bongos or use the Gamecube controller. The bongos seem to be well constructed and the clap sensor is sensitive enough to pick up even soft claps if you are trying to be mindful of those around you (although it is a music/party game and you should be loud and have fun with it). The game itself is pretty fun, although Nintendo didn't try hard with the music licenses they got. If you have any self respect, you'll probably not be touching Diddy's Ditties, BINGO, or Campfire Melodies, since they are all free domain songs that only young children sing. The more modern songs are ok, but sung by imitators. Some of the singers are ok, but the guy they got to impersonate the male vocals in the B52s for "Rock Lobster" was more than a little off. Of course Nintendo also threw in some remixes of their classics and theme songs from their anime series. Its a crime though to have the North American opening for the Kirby anime in anything. The game offers unlockables and a variety of minigames and high scores to beat. If you are looking for the next Parappa or DDR in terms of music, you may want to look elsewhere, but if you want a change of pace control-wise, you might want to consider this game. Maybe we can hope Nintendo will try a little harder for Donkey Konga 2.

Free TVs, Computers, and More...
The latest craze is the offers of free computers, TVs, iPods, and other things all from the company Gratis Internet. Scam you say? Well its actually the real deal and has been documented by places like CNN, Wired.com, and a variety of tech shows like The Screen Savers. All you have to do is sign up and have a few friends sign up under you and Gratis will send you your choice of a brand new item. You do have to sign up for one of their sponsor's free trials, but after you get credit for it from Gratis, you can easily cancel. Below are links to the free computer and TV sites as well as a site for help on getting referrals:

Free Flatscreen TV/Monitor
Free Desktop PC
Free Conga Site

Well, that's about it from me for now. I've gotta go play some more Katamari Damacy ^_^

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