Friday, March 30, 2007

Oh no you didn't!

I didn't know what to post about, until I read that last post. How DARE someone accuse me of spending more time arguing about games than play them. Just for that, I'll list every game I've played in the past seven days, including a few thoughts and/or impressions. And away we go...

Magical Starsign
It started fine, but the gameplay really hasn't evolved since then. It's still just: select spell, select target, execute a well timed tap of the screen to power the spell up, repeat.

Trauma Center: Under the Knife
What more can be said?

Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney: Justice for All
Sometimes the evidence presentation is a little less than intuitive, but that doesn't make it unplayable by any stretch. One of the best-written games I've played in a while.

Dance, Dance Revolution: Universe
What? I'm allowed to like DDR. For the record: "Diamond Jealousy," even on the basic difficulty setting, is still crazy hard.

Ar Tonelico
It's still good.

Pro Evolution Soccer 7
It's long periods of boredom and frustration, punctuated by brief moments of excitement and jubilation. In other words, it's a great simulation of soccer.

Motorstorm (demo)
Meh. The physics are good, but it's still a racing game. Probably not my cup o' tea.

Resistance: Fall of Man
I love Insomniac. It's like they have a machine that does nothing but spit out awesome weapon designs.

I started this a few weeks ago at work, but I forgot about it until yesterday. It has subsequently killed my productivity the last few days.

I saved flOw for last since I have the most to say about it. I had played it before on the PC, and while I didn't dislike it, there really wasn't anything about it that spoke to me. Maybe it's the fact that it's in HD, maybe it's because you move by tilting the controller, but I really love flOw on the PS3. I don't think it's a game that I could ever play for more than an hour at a time, but I think that it's a game that I will never get tired of playing. For me, it's the ultimate "casual game," something that I can pick up and play for 15-45 minutes when I feel like it, and then just walk away.

Look at that. Ten games. Ten. In seven days. I spend more time arguing about games than playing them? /spit.

Look upon my magnificence, and cower.

For the record, I lost at least 17.6% of my soul when I typed that /spit, but it was worth it. Crap, I just typed it again!

While the Boys Argue...the Girls will Play...

While you guys argue over command and conquer and various aspects of certain gaming systems *eye roll* I was busy actually PLAYING games....such as Fairy Godmother Tycoon (yes, I can't stop playing tycoon games...if it says "tycoon" I play it) and Chicken Chase. Both are excellent downloads. So, to all you women out there....when you want to tune out the men, download a free trial of Fairy Godmother Tycoon or Chicken Chase. Both are excellent...or EGGScellent as the case may be....

You can check out Chicken Chase and find Fairy Godmother Tycoon at

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Team Vampire Penguin

So, I decided to create a Folding@home team for the Vampire Penguin, and anyone who wishes to contribute is more than welcome.

Team Name: Vampire Penguin
ID Number: 62236

Re: A Clever Ploy?

So Incognito recently purchased a PS3, frightened by the loss of backwards compatibility. Is this some sort of trend?

Seriously, great post. Nice to see you're putting an emphasis on rich, content-laden posts. But seriously, though, you're great. No, you're great.

I wouldn't exactly say that I was "frightened" by the loss of backwards compatability. In fact, I'll just paste the whole email here:

No, I didn't get a deal on the PS3, but I didn't need one. I resigned myself to this purchase a long time ago. I knew I was going to get it, I just hoped that I could hold out longer. Alas the threat of losing hardware BC finally pushed me over the edge, you know what by PS1 and PS2 library looks like. What are the odds that half the games I own (Hoshigami, Alundra, Growlanser, etc.) are going to be supported by software BC? Zero. Also, the only reason I waited for a deal on the 360 is because it's MS. I hate them so much. I still haven't forgiven them for Windows Me, and I hardly even used it! Normally, buying a system is a magical experience, but not for me with the 360. I just felt so unclean; like I just made a deal with the devil.

I haven't actually played the PS3 yet, at least not a PS3 game. I have Resistance, maybe I'll start that tonight. I checked out folding@home, which is pretty cool, and I played some Ar Tonelico without having to move my PS2 out of the entertainment system. That was the driving force here: I needed a wireless controller something fierce, and since I knew I was going to buy the damn system anyway, and I could afford it, I just said "to hell with it."

I'll stop now, since this is turning into a blog post. Hey there's an idea! I'll just post this to the blog! Cha-ching! 2 birds with 1 stone!

BC was simply one factor out of many as to why I bought the PS3. The final decision came down to what's coming in the future. At least, that's what I keep telling myself.

And yes, I'm still developing the skill of managing money. Baby steps.

Also, while I was linking this post, I noticed that Breath of Fire 3 is coming to PSP in a few months. For anyone out there who likes RPGs and has a PSP, and for whatever reason didn't play the original PS1 release, you really owe it to yourself to check out the best game in one of the most underrated RPG series ever.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Note to Self:

Never use 'Connection Speed: Any' when trying to automatch on a multiplayer game.

The subsequent C&C3 match took well over 30 min. with a recorded in game time of just 11 min. I eventually had to quit out of sheer frustration, though admittedly he had me beat, it was just a matter of having to wait the insufferable 7 in-game minutes for his ion cannon to charge.

Bleh. Luckily I went on to find a suitable 2v2 match and claim victory, hooray! Look me up if you happen to be playing C&C3 multiplayer, Online ID: AvengerX, otherwise I'll just have to keep beating on Sidious until he submits.

A Clever Ploy?

So Incognito recently purchased a PS3, frightened by the loss of backwards compatibility. Is this some sort of trend?

Monday, March 26, 2007


Seriously, that last post was classic.

And you'll have to ask Sidious about his Trauma Center experience on the Wii. Needless to say, his career choice of lawyer was also a good one.

Recognizing that Trauma Center in little to no way represents actual surgery, I'd be interested to see a real surgeon play the game. Might be fun...

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Good thing I'm not your doctor

Playing Trauma Center on my DS has taught me something: Civil Engineering was a good career choice. I lack the both the carpal speed and accuracy that surgery requires. And while Trauma Center is a good game, and lots of fun (where else are you able to cut someone open with a knife in a video game and have them survive), it sure is hard. Let's have a moment of silence in remembrance of the guy who just died on my operating table due to ruptured aneurysms in the intestines.


Oh, Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are caaaaaalling!


Thank you.

Oh those crazy Japanese

This has become one of my favorite new genres of music: Disney songs in Japanese. It's one of those things that didn't occur to me when I started listening to the Kingdom Hearts 2 OST: that "original" meant "in Japanese." Now, most of the songs on the KH2 soundtrack don't have lyrics, since they're just background music. However, this is not the case with The Little Mermaid songs. They really have to be heard to be believed, so I tracked down "Under the Sea" for your viewing/listening pleasure. I love how the Japanese always take ridiculous characters (Sebastian) and give them a suitably hilarious voice.

Re: Oh, the irony.

I'm betting on the latter, but that's just me...

Speaking of bets, Sidious and I have decided to set up a bet surrounding the imminent release of Command & Conquer 3 next week. Sidious has already declared it his "game of the year" (I think even he recognizes that's hyperbole), while I think that it will fall short of the acclaim that was lavished on Supreme Commander not more than a month ago. We are planning to use the Game Rankings overall review score as the objective criterion for judging this wager, but we are still working out some of the finer points. We will keep you updated as the situation develops...

Friday, March 23, 2007

Oh, the irony.

How ironic that you chose the phrase "Ring of Red forever," considering that's how long you have to play it to finish a battle. Even you have to admit that that turns in that game take ten times longer than they have any right to.

As a note to everyone out there on the internets, this Ring of Red argument between Avenger and myself is not new. It's been going on for at least two years now, and it will continue until he admits that I am right, or time stops.

It takes a little time sometimes...

You may be right.

Maybe it's just owning a PS3 at this point that is more depressing than Sony's actual outlook overall. I mean, it was a really big investment and most of the time I have spent with it has been playing PS2 games. I don't think that Sony is out of it yet, not by a long shot, but things are not trending in their favor right now.

It wouldn't take more than a few great games or at least better versions on multi-plat titles to change that, but it just hasn't happened yet. The original Xbox really managed to carve out a space for itself with better versions of multi-platform titles and a handful of great exclusives. They may not have "won" the last generation, but they managed to carve out a sizable portion of the market for themselves and get into power position for this generation.

Sony just needs to realize that all the theoretical power in the world won't make up for a poor game library. It's all about the games, and it always will be.

Ring of Red Forever!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Why Sony is not dead. Yet.

Yes, Avenger, giant robots are cool. And yes, strategy is awesome. However, that doesn't make Ring of Red a good game. I can think of lots of better ways to spend 45 minutes than one round of combat in Ring of Red.

Now, at the risk of sounding like a Sony fan-boy, I feel the need to inject some positive opinions about Sony into everyone's day. Everyone knows that Sony has been almost hemorrhaging exclusive titles, from GTA IV, to DMC 4, and now maybe even FF XIII. For the most part, except for the Final Fantasy news if it's true, is to be expected. The costs of game development make it nearly impossible to all of your eggs in one basket, so to speak. This console generation, as least as far as the PS3 and the 360 are concerned, will come down to first-party titles. Everyone talks about Microsoft's first party IPs, mainly Halo and Gears, but Sony isn't exactly a slouch in this department. Check out this list:

Ape Escape
God of War
Dark Cloud
Hot Shots Golf
Shadow of the Colossus
Jak and Daxter
Ratchet and Clank
Rogue Galaxy
Sly Cooper
Wild Arms

That a list of franchises that Sony owns the rights to. This includes notable second-party studios like Incognito, Naughty Dog, and Level 5. I think that we all need to give Sony some time. They made a decision to continue supporting the PS2, and while I don't disagree with that decision (look at the sales numbers from this past holiday season), having games like God of War 2 come out of the PS2 instead of the PS3 has really handicapped their next-gen software library. Once we start seeing the new generation of some of these franchises, Sony will probably start gaining some major ground.

Also, keeping FF XIII exclusive wouldn't hurt.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

And my money goes to...

Armored Core 4 most likely.

The question then became which system should I buy it for, and sadly it seems that the 360 version is dominant. I say sadly because AC has always been a Playstation franchise, so it is sad to see it cross platforms, but more importantly, because yet again the PS3 version turns out to be inferior. The graphics are worse and its online functionality is not as robust on the PS3. Factor in the 360 achievements and it's pretty clear what is the optimal choice.

The sad fact of the matter is, as Sidious and I have been lamenting both on and offline, this is becoming the status quo for the PS3 and it's beginning to make the situation look pretty dire. With the stories of more exclusives jumping ship coming in seemingly every week and the 360 often having the preferred version when a game is cross platform the arguments in favor of the PS3 begin to diminish pretty quickly. I won't say I've given up on my PS3 just yet, but I will say I've lost a lot of faith in it and Sony's ability to do anything correctly in this space. Maybe they'll turn it around, but it's starting to look more and more likely that the PS3 will be relegated to last place this generation, barring some sort of miracle. As of right now the 360 is my favorite and will probably remain so for the foreseeable future.

As a final note, giant robots are cool, strategy is awesome, and thus Ring of Red is a sweet game. I'm sorry you don't get that, Incognito ;). If they decided to make a game like that (an HD Front Mission for instance) for the PS3, you can bet I'd be the first in line. Though I will be sure to check out Ar Tonelico following your rave "review."

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

It's not about pirates

I can't explain it, but every time I say Ar Tonelico, I say it like I'm a pirate. So, if you asked me what I'm going to play tonight, I'd say: "Yarrrr, I'm gonna be playin' Arrrrrrr Tonelico!" It's not like the game has anything to do with pirates, either. I just see that "Ar" there, and I turn into Blackbeard. If you think that I'm crazy, then we're in agreement.

Now that that's out of the way, I'll get on to the matter at hand. This just so happens to be Ar Tonelico. Mainly the fact that it's good. Really good. For the writers here who are familiar with my List (and for everyone else, said List will hopefully be added to the site), it may be top 15 good. We'll see. I'm only 7 hours in (plus of minus), so there is plenty of time for that to change, for good or for bad.

I won't ramble on about it here, but it does a lot of things that I haven't seen before in almost every facet of the game. It even goes so far as to create new facets altogether. The soundtrack is also top-notch. I usually don't notice the soundtrack to a game on the first play-through, but when you have a game about music, the soundtrack tends to stand out.

The one thing that really doesn't impress me is the storyline: 17-year-old boy goes on a quest to save the world, blah, blah. However, I will give them credit for an original world for said storyline: a world previously composed of numerous floating continents suffers two world-breaking cataclysms, leaving 1 continent and 1 tower standing between the clouds below, and an impassable layer of plasma above. I've played a lot of RPGs, but that a new one even for me.

So, I'll end it here before this turns into a review. In summary:
- Ar Tonelico is good
- No, really. It's good. Gust makes really solid games. Look at Atelier Iris 1 and 2.
- Avenger's last post was conveniently timed. I recommend this for you. You should like it. Hell, you liked Ring of Red. You should like everything.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Anything out this week?

This is the question I often ask myself on Mondays. I know a bunch of good stuff came out last week (Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2, God of War II) and good stuff is coming out next week (Command & Conquer 3), but what should I get this week?

My current front-runners are:

Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2
College Hoops 2K7

Does anyone else have any good candidates? I'm all ears...


I'm curious, do you listen to yourself when you speak? ;-)

Meanwhile, I've actually started building my first level for my level design portfolio. I am making a hidden desert oasis in NWN. I'll admit not the most original idea I've ever had, but I think it should be a fun backdrop. We'll see how it goes.

I spent most of Saturday just setting things up and trying to design a talking door that could open of its own volition. I figured it out, but now I actually have to build the whole desert-oasis-village thing. Oh well, at least I'm on my way. Game design school here I come!

Glitches and such

Mario 64, a game you might have heard of, if awesome. One of the best parts upon replay? Glitches. Beating it with 16 stars. Oh, the bunny can do amazing things! What other games truly have the ability to distract a group of adult males on New Years Eve from the debauchery supposed to be taking place?

I propose more glitches! Yes, that right, and not stupid ones like in Madden and fully without hot coffee. Cool glitches. Better Easter Eggs. Such things make games more entertaining upon replay. The first time through, we play straight, but its fun to go back and fool around. And think of the possibilities in a game like God of War! Seriously, Cratos should be able to bite things, or backflip through walls. I don't know. I'm not feeling clever. But a magic carpet would not have been out of order.

Symphony of the Night on XBLA

According to Gamespot:
One of the most highly regarded PlayStation games ever made has a date with the Xbox 360. Microsoft today announced that Konami's Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, one of GameSpot's Greatest Games of All Time, will debut on Xbox Live Arcade this coming Wednesday at 2 a.m. PDT.

As the first title to be brought over to Live Arcade from another console, Symphony of the Night will feature "modernized" sound, widescreen support, achievements, and leaderboards. Players will be able to choose between the original graphics or altered visuals that address sprite pixelation when the game is played in high definition.

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is rated T for Teen and will be available for 800 Microsoft Points ($10).
All I can say is, awesome.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Possibly Phantasic News

Why, oh why didn't I make this post from work. I would have posted before Avenger passively criticized the lack of posts, and I would have remembered where I read this. Oh well.

Does anyone remember a few years ago, Sega was supposed to release a compilation of Phantasy Star I, II, and IV for the PS2? I sure do. Unfortunately, it was canceled. But now, Sega has announced that they will release a Sega Ages compilation of the first four Phantasy Star games. Great news right? Not so much for people outside of Japan. As of now it will only be a Japanese release, but a man can dream. Hopefully, this will see the light of day in the US, so that we can all re-live the good ol' days: the days before Phantasy Star was a mediocre console MMORPG series.

Where'd Everybody Go?

I recognize I haven't been doing a great job of posting on the blog myself, but due to work and GDC and then subsequently more work I haven't had the time to get back on. I actually promised the writers for the site I would send out the weekly update two days ago (which is already over a week late) and still haven't done so. My apologies to the writers of the site for failing to keep things organized and to the reader of the site for failing to keep new material coming. This is a situation I will work toward correcting in the next few days.

As a side note God of War II rules! Though it may have a bit of a "been there, done that" feeling, it is a good place to be with awesome things to do so I think we can overlook that. Alright, peace out y'all and start posting again!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Clearing out the backlog

Every once in a while, I tend to drift away from playing RPGs. The last few months has been one of those times, which can be largely contributed to me getting a 360; a system that has almost zero RPG representation. Usually, I'll gradually drift back into RPGs. It's a natural process: it's like sleeping, only with more reading.

Well, right now I don't have time for nature to take its course. Here's what's headed for the rest of the year: Odin Sphere, Children of Mana, Mass Effect, Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey, Persona 3, Shining Force EXA, and (hopefully) Dragon Age. That's one hell of a list. Plus, on top of that I'm still in the middle of: Rogue Galaxy, Magical Starsign, Ar Tonelico, Disgaea 2, Enchanted Arms, and Final Fantasy 3 among others. So, this weekend, it's time for me to glue my ass to my recliner and get some serious game-playing in. It's time to forcibly re-dedicate myself to RPGs, and try to make a dent in my huge (and I mean huge) back-log of games.

Also a few notes on GDC:
1. As Sidious mentioned, Warhawk losing its single-player campaign sucks. Apparently it's because "single player just wasn't up to par." Did I miss something? When did developers start scrapping entire halves of games? So what if it wasn't "up to par." A sub-par single player campaign is better than no single-player at all.
2. I read some notes on Miyamoto's keynote. Didn't seem very impressive. Maybe I needed to be there.
3. I'm always worried when there is a large congregation of people in the internets. The Home lobby seems destined to become the console version of the "Barrens' chat" phenomenon. Color me skeptical.

Finally, wtf is up with daylight savings starting this weekend? It's March! Welcome to the shortest weekend of the year. :(

Sony Phone Home

Sony's answer to X-box Live?
Described as "the first of its kind," Home is an avatar-based virtual neighborhood built on the shoulders of every PS3 owner who participates. Offered as a free download from the PlayStation Store, the new networked feature installs a unique icon to your XMB and then launches just like a game does. Once connected, users are able to join online games, go shopping, talk with other people, and mess around with various media types for as long as they see fit. And to be honest, it's actually pretty cool.


Once an avatar has been chosen, it can then move about the world freely and its first stop will likely be "The Central Lounge." Here, patrons will be able to see other people moving about and conversing with one another, and Sony has truly thought of everything when it comes to communicating (Quick Write options, USB keyboard support, and Bluetooth voice chat seem to integrate seamlessly). Clients can also use emotes to convey moods or just be ridiculous with motions like disco dancing, shoulder shrugs, pointing, waving, and plenty more.


The Hall of Fame. Sony's answer to the Xbox 360's achievement system, the HOF gives users the ability to view trophies they've earned from playing games in a real 3D way (some trophies even have audio or video aspects to them). What's more, is that patrons can even modify trophy cabinets and pick which trophies they want to show to friends.
Now, I admit that I have come down pretty hard on Sony in the last few days. But Home sounds like a giant leap in the right direction. Where X-box Live is by far the most successful online service, it literally is just menus upon menus. If Sony can successfully pull off the Second Life-like world it proposes in Home, then online gaming may finally be moving into the realm of "next-gen." Color me excited.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Multiplayer Mishaps

Do any of you remember the video game company named Origin? If not, it was the company behind the wildly successful Wing Commander, in which Luke Skywalker fought cats in space (only a minor exaggeration). Unfortunately, the success of Origin's "Ultima Online" service caused them to drop out of creating single-player adventures completely. Annoying no small number of Wing Commander and Ultima fans. Well the modern corollary to this party is finally here: Enter Warhawk.

The original Warhawk was one of the mainstays of the PS1 gaming. It featured interesting vertical as well as linear levels, and the cheesy FMV that fans of this site already know that I love. It featured a ludicrous storyline featuring the fight against "Red Mecury," and in perhaps its most original story element, essentially had a "bad" ending if the player beat the game in the most straightforward way. (Players had to defeat the end boss by flying the warhawk into its "mouth" and ejecting, any other way, ie shooting it, resulted in the bad ending). But know all that is over.

As many of you know, when the PS3 was first announced, clips of Warhawk were a prominent part of Sony's campaign. As many of you also know, the PS3 has not exactly been deluged with quality exclusives. Warhawk was supposed to be one of those. Now, in this IGN article it is clear that Incog., the designers of Warhawk, have decided in their infinite wisdom to drop the single player campaign from Warhawk. Instead, Warhawk will no be solely a multi-player experience, ala Battlefield 2. I don't think that I can adequately express my disappointment in this forum. Suffice it to say, it didn't work for Origin and it won't work for Warhawk. Its too bad, because as developers and Sony continue to make such poor decisions, it is clear that Sony's market position is evaporating around them. Sony needs good exclusives and soon, and Warhawk, unfortunately, won't be among them.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Weekly PS3 Relevance Update

It was not too long ago that I was in this space asking whether or not Virtua Fighter 5 could be a system seller for the PS3. I think that after playing it for awhile, it is obvious that, though solid, the game just isn't unique enough to sell systems. That being said, today sees the release of the much anticipated Motostorm. So I will ask the same question here: Is this interesting, but not terribly unique racing game enough to sell the system? The answer seems fairly self evident to me, but what do I know...

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Nostalgia Part 2

Yesterday, all I was excited about was Command and Conquer. Today, all I am excited about is Command and Conquer...with one exception. As has been discussed in these pages from time to time, the Wii's virtual console offers fun to be had every single Monday, and this Monday was no different. Indeed this Monday saw the release of one of my favorite arcade games of all time: Elevator Action. Like reminiscing about Command and Conquer, just playing Elevator Action for a short time transports me to another time and another place. You see, Elevator Action was the one arcade unit present at one of my family's favorite restaurants during my youth. Whenever I was able to convince Dad to give me some quarters, I would spend almost the whole meal carefully guiding my spy up and down those crazy elevators. Now can you beat that? Excellent release Wii, I salute you.

Monday, March 05, 2007


So, in honor of Command and Conquer 3's imminent release (and, of course, in honor of the simultaneous re-release of cheesy full-motion video) I decided to pick up Command and Conquer: The First Decade this weekend. I must say that I am impressed on a couple of fronts. As a child of the 80s I have often purchased compilation packs, be they Space Quest, Mega Man, or Midway. Up until now, the Mega Man Collection has been my favorite. That collection featured re-mixed music and the ability to modify the earlier games' controls to mirror the refinements of the later games. It exemplified how cool a compilation could be.

Now, with Command and Conquer, I really feel that the same type of ease of use has come to the PC (and yes I know that the game has been out for quite a while). Unlike the Sierra compilations (or god-forbid, an illegal emulator), the C+C compilation is easy to use, and completely compatible with XP. And I couldn't be happier about it. Cruising around to tunes like "I'm a Mechanical Man" and "Fight, Win, Prevail," manipulating my little sprites to take out other little sprites makes me happy, and all the more excited about C+C 3. And wasn't that the point?

Friday, March 02, 2007

I got worms.

Actually, I don't have worms. Yet. Not until Wednesday, when Worms finally comes out for XBLA! This is my most anticipated Live Arcade game ever, by a considerable margin.

What's that? You want to play the original, Amiga released, Worms on an emulator? Where on earth would you go to get something like that?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Chrono Symphonic

I've been aware of this for some time now, and I thought that some people here (read: Avenger) would really enjoy it. I recommend To Far Away Times.

Reading Rainboooooowwwww

Ah, a Reading Rainbow reference. Good times.

Re: Rumbling and Grumbling

Incognito, I was actually surprised by how little I cared about the loss of rumble functionality. I will say this though. It does affect the enjoyability of driving games and it does affect the enjoyability of some PS2 and PS1 games built with the rumble feature in mind. (For example, a number of games in the last generation utilized the rumble feature as a kind of signaling device in lockpicking minigames). What is far more noticeable than the loss of rumble, however, is the loss of weight. The sixaxis controller is so light that it tends to feel fragile. Obviously, the feel of a controller hardly limits its functionality, but still, the sixaxis winds up feeling very much like a toy.

I think that the real reason that people are so upset at the loss of rumble in favor of tilting is that nobody uses the tilting feature, and when it is implemented it tends to be random at best. In other words, it can't compete with the Wii's functionality in any way, and the end result is that it feels like Sony's implementation of it was, like so many other aspects of the PS3, half-assed. But you don't have to take my word for it...