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Archive for the ‘Ihmhi’ Category

Journalism at its finest

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

A national guard soldier from my city was killed in Afghanistan by an IED. I didn’t know the guy and I don’t really know most of my neighbors all that well, but his parents live a few houses down the block from me on the corner.

The police have been camped at the intersection for the past several days because the news media will not leave them alone. Sure, there was the standard feeding frenzy of reporters the day that they found out, but they seem to have failed to grasp the family’s message of “we’re in mourning and we don’t want to talk, please leave us alone”.

I understand the importance of the press, but there’s a point where trying to get the latest scoop can go too far. Intruding on the privacy of a grieving family to get a scoop falls under that purview in my book.

D This, D That.

Monday, May 9th, 2011

I’ve played Dungeons & Dragons (3.5) for a few years now. I’ve heard some great stories about happenings in Pencil & Paper RPGs (whatever version they may have occured in) from friends, strangers, and Skippy himself.

Regrettably, I only get to play about once a week. Granted, we have a 12 hour “play and hangout” session, but that’s because everyone’s work schedules (or, in my case, lack of a work schedule) all happen to link up nicely on Tuesday evening. That will probably not last forever, and then I’ll get even less D&D.

I’m going to try to keep this post as friendly and informative to people who have never been graced with the righteous feel of their very first d20 in their hands. (If you don’t know what “d20” means, don’t worry – I’ll get to it.)


The Wussification of Our Cartoons and Our County

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

What happened to our cartoons?

A disclaimer: this is not a “sit down with a snack” sort of post. It’s very heavy on the videos. This is a “pour a glass of scotch and light a cigar” sort of post.

I was born in 1986. I missed out on some stuff like G.I. Joe, but I sure as hell didn’t miss out on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I had the toys. I had the toys that were really, really, really ridiculous – the ones based on an appearance in a limited edition comic book that only came out in cereal boxes three states over. I didn’t, however, have the Turtle Mobile or any of the cool vehicles, so clearly my parents didn’t love me.


Ironically, I used to be just like this.

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Hullo fellow Skippy’s List readers.

I’m a regular reader of Slashdot. I saw particular comment that I felt I had to reply to in one of their stories, and once I started getting past the 1,000 word mark I thought perhaps I’m taking what is probably a troll far too seriously. The comment in question, for those of you who are curious:

As a professional photographer, I find the “semi-professional” title offensive. It’s like all the “engineering technicians” who claim to be engineers, college “professors” that don’t have their PhDs, and garbagemen claiming to be “sanitation engineers”. Actually, it’s worse. It’s like the kids who have changed a battery in their iphone and now claim to be computer repair specialists.

Honestly. I *hate* how society has come to a point where everyone believes themselves to be super-special.

I know how it goes. Don’t feed the troll. Ignore him, let it slide. The troll feeds off of your hate and anger, much like the Dark Side of the Force or the Youtube comments system. However, just as a video of skateboarding mishaps can teach a valuable lesson (always wear a cup!), I believe this (possibly willful) ignorance holds a potential lesson for all to learn. A lesson about language, how it changes, and how it can really, really piss off people who take the written and spoken word too seriously. This is the world we live in.

(Yes, I just ended a sentence with a preposition. Suck on that, grammar nazis!)

Let’s take this to the words themselves. I’m not going to jump into something about past participles or verb tenses or anything like that; I’m going to keep it real simple.


Example: A professional plumber. You can have good pro plumbers and bad pro plumbers. Plumbing is their profession, a job that is typically based on training they’ve had. The word has been diluted a fair bit over the years. First, anyone who did something for their livelihood – even if they weren’t trained for it – was considered a professional. Professional valet, professional short order cook, professional car washer. From that point, the word professional also divided into a term of being “elite”, i.e. “Man, that guy’s a pro[fessional] at Starcraft!”.

“Semi-professional” or “Semi-pro” can apply in multiple contexts here. It can apply to the training context, i.e. a semi-pro plumber – someone who hasn’t yet completed their vocational training. It can apply to the livelihood context, i.e. the case of the photographer who happens to be mentioned in the example comment. He surely doesn’t depend solely on his photography on his livelihood, and therefore in this context he would be Semi-professional. Lastly, there is the skill-based usage of the word, such as “Semi-pro” boxer. Semi-pro is simply a nicer way of saying “amateur”, because the word “amateur” itself (when used in a competitive or business context) has been diluted to a meaning of “talentless” and/or “incompetent”.

Engineering Technician

I had to look this one up, because I honestly had no idea what an Engineering Technician is. According to the Wikipedia article, “An engineering technician is a specialist who is trained in the skills and techniques related to a specific branch of engineering, with relatively practical understanding of the general engineering concepts.”

Going back to the word here, “engineering” refers to a discipline and “technician” is a person who works with technology (see how the “tech-” words are all similar-like?). Simply put, an Engineering Technician is “one who works with technology related to engineering”.


Professor means “one who professes”, i.e. the guy who gets up in front of a class and tells people stuff. You in no way need to have a PhD to be a professor. Are you honestly going to say that the guy who worked in a shop machining parts and building his own tool dyes (i.e. the parts of a machine that is used to build parts for other machines) for 30 years wouldn’t be qualified how to teach someone how to do the same job?

In this case, Professor is just a term typically applied to someone who teachers as a college/university level. There’s loads of professors who don’t have a Doctorate at all; some simply have Masters Degrees or a simpler Bachelor’s Degree with a couple decades of practical experience in the field. Professor as a term nowadays is simply a rank.

Sanitation Engineer

The term “Sanitation Engineer” actually applies to a specific discipline. A cursory Google search revealed this Wikipedia page, which explains that a Sanitation Engineer is one who applies engineering principles to improve sanitation. An example off the top of my head would be someone who designs a more efficient, environmentally-friendly way to process waste products at a sewage plant.

This aside, I’m quite sure the (probably troll) poster was referring to waste collectors (i.e. garbagemen) who refer to themselves in such a manner, just like janitors are “custodial engineers” and cafeteria ladies are “Culinary Technicians” (or something similar). I refer you to a movie called “Peaceful Warrior”, that stars Nick Nolte (of all people) in a wise, mentor-type role:

Dan: Hey Socrates [Nolte’s character], you know so much… how come you’re working at a gas station?

Socrates: This is a Service station. We offer service. There’s no higher purpose.

Dan: Than pumping gas?

Socrates: Service to others.

Granted this is a dramatization, and I’m sure there’s scores of people who work mundane, low-wage jobs who absolutely loathe them. But then again, there’s the man who’s a greeter at Wal-Mart or the woman who is a front-desk clerk at a little motel out in the countryside and they love their jobs. They have pride, and they really do believe that they are serving others in this respect.

So, the terms like “Custodial Engineer” are really a matter of pride about one’s work. Someone who calls themselves a Custodial Engineer isn’t someone who feels particularly bad about being a janitor; it’s someone who has pride in their work. It’s mind-boggling how anyone could find a job where you work hard and get your hands dirty as something to be looked down upon.

Ironically, I understand.

I see people use the word “Ironic” in situations that are not ironic. (See: “Ironic” by Alanis Morissette.) The term “Ironic” as it’s most often applied today is a new definition of the term – Situational Irony. Situational Irony is the classic scenario where a cartoon character would put a huge box of explosives next to something, run a wire back to a plunger, pull the plunger and have the plunger explode instead of the explosives.

I understand the point of view of the comment poster because I was once like him. I would see a news story say that the local baseball team was “decimated” and positively steam at the misuse of the word. (Decimation: removal of a tenth, a punishment in which soldiers of a Roman army unit drew lots and 1/10th of them were killed). Admittedly, seeing 10% of the Yankees executed by beanballs – firing-squad style – at the 7th inning stretch might pack the stadiums again and lower the overall team’s expenses. I’d bet the organ player would love to play a nice funeral dirge every once in a while. Drummer boys would be back in business! Even so, I’m pretty sure that the Sports Guy on W-TMF Channel 12 didn’t intend to insinuate that a tenth of the team was brutally murdered in order to teach the other 90% a lesson (although that would be pretty awesome). The constant misuse of “decimation” has added a whole new definition to the point where it superceded the original.

Five years ago, I would have mostly agreed with the comment poster. Now? Not so much. I now know that every language is a living language that changes almost on a daily basis. Yes, I die a little inside when I see “LOL”, “OMG”, and other such words added to one of the most prestigious English-language dictionaries in the world. I am loathe to admit that those are words in common vernacular now.

So yeah, when someone misuses a word based on its proper definitions, correct them if you feel like it. Go easy on the anger and Light Ranch Dressing on the sarcasm – just enough bitterness with a hint of chives. However, keep in mind that if enough people keep misusing words and grammar for a few decades, that usage will be accepted as part of the living language. In this age of the Internet, that time will be shortened to a handful of years (or months!). People who are improperly use grammar and words enough times can eventually cause those uses to be integrated into the language.

Isn’t it ironic?

For those of you who are curious about what’s been going on with Pastor Danny Iverson’s little adventure in Iwaki, Japan, you can keep up with the latest about his mission at SpendYourself.org. There’s pictures, videos, and all other sorts of good stuff.

Chip In To Help Iwaki, Japan

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Hi, fans of skippy’s list, I’m back from the dead. Rather appropriate for
someone who primarily wrote articles about zombie games, isn’t it?

While I am currently trying to figure out some new material to come up
with, I have a much more pressing concern to talk to you about. We’ve all
heard about the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that has slammed into
Japan and caused devastation throughout most of the country. I’m sure some
of you have donated money or goods to the Red Cross and other similar
organizations. I’m writing here today to get the word out on a smaller but
nevertheless important mission.

For the tl;dr folks, you can find out how to donate as well as
information on who’s going over there and how the money will be spent at the
following link:


Here’s the rundown. Danny Iverson is a good friend of mine and a pastor
who runs a youth mission in Newark, NJ. I am by no means a Christian, but I
nevertheless consider him a mentor and good friend. He has never pressured
me about my religion, and the time we’ve spent together has been filled with
wonderful and thought-provoking debates on theology and other matters.

Danny was raised in Japan as a Christian Missionary and has spent most of
his childhood and adolescence there. He’s fluent in Japanese, and his
parents still live there running the mission and living in the

After the earthquake hit, Danny knew he had to go help. While the U.S.
State Department is advising Americans that traveling to Japan is a really
bad idea here, he is going to help out his family and the community that
they’ve become a part of.

The Red Cross, the Japanese government, and other relief agencies are
doing all they can, but it’s always the smaller towns and villages that
receive supplies and help fast. On Monday, March 21st, Danny and three
others (all of whom speak Japanese to one degree or another; relief workers
who can speak both English and Japanese are sorely needed, as an aside) are
going to Iwaki, Japan – 30 miles south of the nuclear reactor that is
currently not in the best condition. He’s bringing water filters that can
run through 15 gallons a minute so they have clean water, as well as other
necessities. They are also bringing in donated telecommunications equipment
so they can stay in contact with the rest of the world from Iwaki.

They’ve set a goal of $10,000, and Danny has already put $3,500 in plane
tickets on his own credit card – something he really, really can’t afford
right now. (As his friend, I take comfort in the knowledge that he’s very
fiscally responsible and can handle that level of debt coming out of nowhere
if he had to.) Every dollar can help. I’m as broke as an infomercial cooking
appliance, but I’m trying to scrape together what money I can to chip

Again, you can read all of the details at the link I posted above. If you
can’t spare any financial help (or very little) and still want to do
something to help Danny get boots on the ground in Iwaki, then please pass
the above link around to your friends, family, and co-workers. I thank you
for your time.


Random Army Pics

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

I’m a large fan of Leenks.com (NSFW) for their Random Pictures of the Week feature. (You can check out their galleries to see them; they go quite a ways back).

This week, Leenks gives us Random pics from the army and I thought I’d pass it along to all of you fine people.

It has, of course, some classics. There’s also some commentaries on alcoholism, gratuitous nudity, and of course soldiers doing what they do best – trying to cope with boredom.


Voodoo Farming #12 (10/21/09): Killing Floor “Level Up” Pack and more!

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Hello you beautiful people you. Fans of Voodoo Farming, I’m sure you must have been wondering where the heck I’ve been. To appease those who may or may not be wrathful towards me, let me tell you all what I have been up to lately as concisely as possible.

I have just finished up a summer internship with Safe Haven Urban Redemption (a youth after-school program, It’s basically like the Boys & Girls club, but it’s held in a church) and I have subsequently been hired part-time for the duration of the school year. If you do not recall, I am indeed an Atheist, and yet paradoxically have found myself in the employ of a church. I work/volunteer there for a few reasons, namely:

  • The executive director is a good friend of mine for three years.
  • Regardless of the religious slant, they are doing a lot of good in a very poor community.
  • While most of the staff regards their Christianity as important, they have never once been pushy to me or anyone else. They will teach you if they ask, but they have never been anything but respectful of my and other’s beliefs.
  • I have seen firsthand the positive changes that have been made in the community.

If you have a few bucks to spare in these hard economic times, toss it their way. I’d appreciate it and I’m sure they would as well.

Aside from that, I have been taking jogging and weight-lifting back up. I’ve been very, very, sedentary lately, and after seeing Zombieland (spoilers: it’s awesome), I thought about the fact that I would probably be one of the first run down if it weren’t for all the awesome firepower and power tools we have sitting around the ol’ Ihmhi homestead. Moreover, a lot of my friends are making positive changes in their lives and it’s inspiring me to do the same.

I went to go see Moonspell live in concert at BB King’s in NYC on Sunday. I have loved the band for years and I was glad to get the opportunity to see them live since they are originally from Portugal and tour America sparsely. One of their videos was featured way back in Voodoo Farming #4. They played three out of the four songs I had wanted them to play (Sadly, I’ll See You In My Dreams was not in their setlist sad panda sad panda), and I’d like to share them here with you along with one other I liked:

Okay guys, happy sharing tiem over. Let’s get into the meat of the article. This isn’t so much a review as a preview – at the time of this writing, the content patch is not yet out (it drops Thursday).

In Voodoo Farming #6 I reviewed Killing Floor. Tripwire Interactive (the fine people who brought the mod Killing Floor up to retail standards) are much like Blizzard in that they treat their customers really well. A couple months ago they released a free “Heavy Metal” patch which included an AK-47, a Katana, a new map, and of course various bugfixes and whatnot. The devs vaguely hinted at something awesome coming in October.

The first awesome thing? Killing Floor is having a free weekend October 22-25. You can start preloading now. Like, right right now! If you are unfamiliar with free weekends, you can basically download, install, and play the game for free for the duration of this weekend with 100% full functionality. Take advantage of this.

And here we are – Killing Floor’s Level Up content pack. You can see some nifty screenshots and read about it over at IGN , but the basic rundown is:

  • A new perk (class), Demolitions Expert
  • Seven new weapons, including:
  • A new specimen, the Husk. The Husk apparently has some sort of fireball cannon. Flashbacks to DOOM’s Imps are guaranteed.
  • Three new maps.
  • And, of course, various other improvements I’m sure.

Tripwire raised a little bit of extra pocket money by having four new character skins as DLC for the low low price of $1.99. They are doing this again – ostensibly at the same price – with the release of this pack, and I only have one thing to say.


This is how developers should do things. Optional pretty stuff costs you money (but is cheap), and the core game updates are free. Tripwire gets the utmost respect from me for this.

I am, of course, slightly biased. I am the division leader for my clan’s Killing Floor division, and I ponied up the money so we’d have a server for six months. (I’ll likely do it again in six months.) We are, of course, recruiting, and I’d really like it if you filled out an application to join us or added me as a Steam friend (Steam account name: ihmhi) if you’d care to test the waters. [AE] plays regularly and we do Suicidal runs Sunday and Wednesday nights. We’re also casual as all hell, so we’re all about having the fun.

I am also very much biased because they added the AA12 (video) to my favorite perk (class), Support Specialist (basically Shotgun guy). This gun is the king of shotguns, and I can’t wait to try it out.

I do hope that you guys will take this weekend to try out Killing Floor. I will certainly be spending an unhealthy amount of time playing it. Add me to Steam friends, let’s go shoot some Zeds.

Wrapping things up, I’m going to try to crank out a handful of articles as soon as I have the energy to do it. skippy is going to have his hands full soon, and I want to do my part to back him up. ;D

Thanks for reading guys. It feels good to write again. I hope you’ve enjoyed this issue. Stay tuned next time for Voodoo Farming where I review more Zombie stuffs!

Voodoo Farming #11 (09/09/09): An Assessment of My Zombie Preparedness

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

Welcome back to a very special issue of Voodoo Farming: A Not-Quite In-Depth Look At Zombies In Popular Culture. Today, we’re going to look at my Zombie Preparedness, and I hope that you will look at your own as well.


Voodoo Farming #10 (08/27/09): Left 4 Dead

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Welcome back to Voodoo Farming: A Not-Quite In-Depth Look At Zombies In Popular Culture. It’s been a little while, huh?

Today I decided to finally get around to Left 4 Dead.

What’s with Valve and Lighthouses anyway?

Threat Level:Brains...Brains...Brains...Brains...Brains...

L4D gets 4/5 on the threat level. If it were you against the zombies, it would be 3/5, but anyone who has ever played a cooperative game can tell you the most dangerous thing in the entire game is the idiot with a lot of firepower and no clue how to use it.

Did I mention that L4D always has friendly fire on?

Before I go any further – you now hear the valvE game intro bass riff:

What's with Valve and Lighthouses anyway?

What’s with Valve and Lighthouses anyway?

I am sick as shit of this screen. This is actually one of the many reasons that I dislike playing L4D, and I think I’ve worn out my ESC key. I constantly hammer the damn thing and mutter “Get to the fuckin’ title screen already, get to the fuckin’ title screen already…”

Look, Valve – you make highly successful games. No one disputes this. But you (and so many other companies) go to the trouble to have this seemingly unskippable logo screen at the start of every single one of your goddamned games.

I know it’s an industry standard. Fuck the industry standard. I have what is by all means a modern computer – not top of the line, but pretty damn good – and I want to get into my game as fast as possible. It’s just like booting an OS. If I have time to go make a sandwich while your game is loading and it’s still not done when I get back, you are doing something very wrong.<⁄rant>

Anyway, on to the goddamned game.

Because when it comes to zombie outbreaks, nothing bad ever happens in a forest.

Because when it comes to zombie outbreaks, nothing bad ever happens in a forest.

L4D doesn’t have maps insomuch as it has campaigns. Every campaign runs more like a movie than a game; the loading screen is even styled as a movie poster.

Zoey must have a hard time sleeping at night.

Zoey must have a hard time sleeping at night.

The camera majestically pans in, and the characters talk about their current situation. “I heard we need to $COMPLETE_OBJECTIVE so we don’t die!” That’s basically how every L4D campaign starts. I’ve yet to play any custom campaigns, but I just can’t wait to see a half-assed implementation of the game with the pre-existing dialogue shoehorned into a situation that doesn’t really fit.

'Source Engine' and 'Outdoors' are two things that don't always go well together.

“Source Engine” and “Outdoors” are two things that don’t always go well together.

Valve did a bangup job on the scenary. If you play Half-Life 2 with a critical eye, you can see the places where they cut corners on architecture (using bump-mapped textures instead of actually drawing geometry) so that the beastly Source engine can run better on low-end machines. You don’t notice that so much in L4D.

Here’s the UI – your guns, your health, and the health of your comrades. Cooperation is absolutely necessary in this game. There are many situations where you’re going to be completely helpless unless someone else helps you. Of course, nothing ever goes wrong in that kind of situation.

No more s'mores left?

No more s’mores left?

After a quick look around at the peaceful scenary, you immediately grab as many bullets you can stuff in your pockets. For the newer players, go with the shotgun as your primary weapon. I suppose the Uzi has its own advantages, but I stick with the shotty anyway.

Hey! Down in front!

Hey! Down in front!

And this is why I prefer the shotgun. In the early game, you’re going to have waves of zombies coming at you, often in big, juicy clumps. Personally, I burn through Uzi ammo way too quickly. I suppose that it’s useful for long distances, but why not just use the pistol with its infinite ammo? (One of Valve’s sick jokes is that the pistol actually does a shit-ton of damage.)

You’ll also come across two throwable weapons, namely pipe bombs and molotov cocktails. The molotovs are useful for covering a wide area with fire – they are very useful for fighting stuff like Tanks (huge, hulking infected that have thousands of hit points). When it comes to the regular trash zombies, however, the pipe bomb is superior. Simply throw it…

Beep beep beep beep beep beep...

Beep beep beep beep beep beep…

And laugh maniacally as a few dozen zombies are turned into a fine red paste:

Is it raining?

Is it raining?

The campaigns are split into five parts. Between each part is a safe house where you can restock on ammo and health, take a break, etc. Once you close the safe house’s door, the next section of the campaign loads and you’re treated to a variety of stats about your gameplay and some funky techno music.

Stats stats stats

Stats stats stats

I’d like to say that between Left 4 Dead and Killing Floor, I prefer KF hands down. But one of the things Valve gets right and Tripwire Interactive doesn’t is that they put flashlights on every single gun (and they look beautiful):

Cue 'Prairie Dog Surprise' music.

Cue “Prairie Dog Surprise” music.

In KF’s latest patch, they finally fixed the flashlight. It looks nice now, but it’s still only on two guns. Shape up, Tripwire Interactive.

You get the opportunity to pick up a second infinite-ammo pistol very early on. You will also typically get a shot at grabbing the second tier of weaponry sometime in the second of five parts of the campaign:

Choices, choices...

Choices, choices…

Between the Assault Rifle, Combat Shotgun, and Hunting Rifle, I almost always pick the Hunting Rifle. Why?

BOOM! HEA... I think I did this joke already.

BOOM! HEA… I think I did this joke already.

That’s why. Boom, headshot. If you’re skilled under pressure you can wreak havoc – even against Tanks (surprisingly). When the other players are crying about being out of assault rifle bullets, you’ll be sitting pretty with half your reserve of Hunting Rifle bullets still in your pockets.

Wrapping It Up:

L4D is an okay game, but I don’t believe that it’s worth the $40 I payed for it or the $50 that many more people shelled out for it.

Killing Floor literally cost me half of what I’ve paid for Left 4 Dead, and I’ve probably played it a hundred times as much. And while KF has had paid DLC (four new character skins for $2, and yes I bought it), they’ve been doing quite well with their free updates (see the aforementioned update).

Valve, meanwhile, decided to cause a shitstorm and announce Left 4 Dead 2 before they released any significant DLC for the first game (READ: new weapons, maps, creatures, etc.). No, Survival mode doesn’t count.

I’m not a member of that L4D2 Boycott group, but I don’t think that I’ll be buying it – certainly not at full price. Why? Valve has taken far too long to release any decent DLC for a very short game that they made a shit-ton of money on. When the price comes down, you’re going to get more content than the early adopters and at a better price. When it’s down to around $20, maybe I’ll buy it.

So should you buy L4D? I highly recommend trying it out at a sucke- er, friend’s place first, or perhaps renting the 360 version. Play through one whole campaign, and that’s the entire game over and over and over again. At least with Killing Floor you have DLC coming out at a steady pace and a dedicated community that has actually been making good maps.

Reader Mail:

No Reader Mail this week.

Special Message From Ihmhi:

I hope you guys haven’t felt particularly screwed over the last few weeks. I’ve fallen behind in my research for VF and had to actually take last week off because I couldn’t sit down to write anything. Part of it is that a friend of mine is really ill and that has been affecting my sleep, and another part has to do with my dad getting drunk on a near-nightly basis and playing polka music until 2am. I typically drown it out with something like loud techno music (which is what I’ve been listening to for the last two hours on loop). So… yeah. I SUFFER FOR YOU GUYS WORSHIP ME AS YOUR NEW GOD.

I’m going to try to keep VF going weekly, but I’m working on fun things like trying to get financial aid to go to college, find a job, etc. I honestly might not be able to dedicate the several hours of research and writing it takes to make an issue of VF every week and still remain sane. If it comes to that, I’m sorry, but I’d rather write quality work every week or two than come out with some crappy stuff every week on time.

That’s it for VF this week.

Ihmhi is a developer for Fortress Forever, a free, fast paced Team Fortress mod for Half-Life 2.

Voodoo Farming #9 (08/06/09): The Last Stand 2

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

A note to my readers: I’m currently in the market for a video capture card or device that can use the standard Red-White-Yellow cables. I’ve been bumming my friend’s computer and that arrangement can’t last forever, so I need to get something of my own so I can hook up consoles to take screenshots (and possibly video!). Any suggestions should be left in the comments or sent to ihmhi6@gmail.com. Thank you kindly!

Welcome back to Voodoo Farming: A Not-Quite In-Depth Look At Zombies In Popular Culture.

I am admittedly running late with this one. I’ve been pretty busy this week but I still try to deliver on time, so I’m staying up late (with work tomorrow, no less…) to get this out to you guys.

Thankfully, I always have material prepared for a future VF, so I didn’t have to start from scratch (*whew*).

There will be some changes coming in issue 10 or 11 – namely, I’m going to try to streamline VF a bit. If you read through the archives, you’ll note that the video game reviews are different from media reviews (like movies). I’m bouncing around potential changes in my mind, and I’ll detail my thoughts on that at the very very end of the post (after the reader mail).

But anyway, onto the game! Way back in Issue #2 I reviewed The Last Stand, and now I’ll be getting into its successor: The Last Stand 2.

Remember that helicopter you flew away in at the end of The Last Stand? Yeah, that's the fiery remains.

Remember that helicopter you flew away in at the end of The Last Stand? Yeah, that’s the fiery remains.

The Last Stand 2 is a significantly more challenging game compared to TLS and that’s a wonderful thing. I rarely lose in the original, but I often get my ass whipped in the sequel. I love a challenge.

Threat Level:Zombie!Zombie!Zombie!Zombie!Ducky!

Well first and foremost, no more “huge group of survivors armed to the teeth” backing you up. Now the survivors armaments depend on the weapons you’ve found, and they can’t use all of the weapons (such as the Chainsaw).

The enemies have gotten a lot tougher and your survivors can actually die during the game – not just while searching. (More on that below.)


In addition to many of the armaments in TLS, you have a few new toys. Downside? No more Barrett. Upside? In exchange, you get hand grenades, the M249 SAW, a compound bow, and a rocket launcher. A friggin’ rocket launcher!

It’s pretty difficult to get all of the weapons on account of the time limit you now face (40 days), but it can be done. Aside from the missing Barrett, all of the original weapons make their return.

The game mechanics are the same – infinite ammo, but manage your reloads.

You can also get your hands on “traps” – propane tanks, bear traps, and mines. that you can set up on the map beforehand to help take out crowds of zombies. The propane tanks can be troublesome and they seem to work best if you put them on the outside areas so you don’t accidentally hit them off. You or your barricade don’t appear to take any damage from something going kaboom.

Cause of the Outbreak:

Same at TLS… who the hell knows? You just wanna get the heck outta there alive.


A pure zombie game to the end.

Odds of Survival: Lower than TLS

This game is definitely way way more difficult. I cannot stress that enough.

Bang bang!

Bang bang!

Pew pew!

Pew pew!

Your survival is dependent partially on smartly managing your time and resources and mostly on picking a good weapon and using it skillfully. This isn’t like TLS where you can just load up 7 survivors and do amazing things.

The above pictures are one of the earlier levels. Although you visit different locations, they all follow the same basic formula of “make sure your barricade doesn’t go down”. A nasty addition: some zombies now carry weapons, and they can kill your survivors instantly if they get too close. As a result, you have to be very careful with prioritizing your targets. One swing of a cleaver or club and you have a useless corpse with a gun sitting next to it.

The Devilish Details:

I'm having flashbacks to Silent Hill.

I’m having flashbacks to Silent Hill.

Instead of simply managing your time carefully, you now have to pick out locations on a map to search. The weapons pretty much spawn in the same locations, so you can learn where the good stuff is and do better in successive runs. (An element of randomization in this respect would have been nice and made the game a bit more challenging.)

Searching buildings takes up different amounts of time, and on your first playthrough it’s pretty much a diceroll. Even if you are very careful, you can still end up having leftover time. Thankfully, until you submit your search pattern you can pick out different places and try to find the sweet spot. You will definitely have leftover time at least a couple of times in your run.

So many zombie scenarios take place in the backwoods... it'd be nice to see one take place in a huge city for once.

So many zombie scenarios take place in the backwoods… it’d be nice to see one take place in a huge city for once.

TLS2 isn’t as linear, either – you can pick different routes. As you’re searching through the houses, you gather supplies. Travelling from one place to another uses up some of your supplies. The basic formula (aside from SURVIVE DON’T DIE OH GOD DON’T DIE) is to gather supplies, weapons, and allies, and then move on to the next area when supplies permit.

Failing in this game can be fun in a way because you can get a hint of where you went wrong and try again. TLS2 will take a little bit longer to play than the original game simply for all of the stuff there is to do. For a free Flash game, this is a steal and a good way to spend an hour or two.

Wrapping It Up:

The Last Stand 2 adds elements of depth where there were previously very little. If you enjoyed the first one, you are going to absolutely love the second one. Give it a play and give props where props are due to the wonderful people who came up with such an awesome game.

Here’s hoping for The Last Stand 3!

Reader Mail:

Voodoo Farming #8: Super Ghouls and Ghosts

Sequoia Says:
July 29th, 2009 at 8:07 pm

This game sounds E.P.I.C. But alas, I don’t own a SNES.

There are systems out there that can apparently play both NES and SNES games. I’d get one if it weren’t for the fact that my NES(s) and SNES are still in excellent working order.

Billy Says:
July 30th, 2009 at 8:05 am

Now I can’t wait for you to do Silent Hill for voodoo farming. If those things count as zombies for you, i’m not sure. I still remember a magazine that, in describing the monsters in Silent Hill, Fatal Frame, and Resident Evil went in this order: Zombies, ghosts, creatures out of your most twisted ****ing nightmares! If you do a silent hill special, I will explain the cause of the threat, a freaking god of death and hunger decided to try to cross over to our world. And he still needs to be born in order to fully enter.

captcha: engaging lion, prepare to be eaten.

I’d love to do Silent Hill, but all of my SH games are currently lent out to a friend who’s out of state!

I would also need to get a video capture card. I’ve gotten most of my screenshots at my buddy’s (usually doing a few reviews in a clip), but his work has picked up so I can’t see him as often. ):

Hopefully in the next couple of months I can afford a cheap video capture card or device – any recommendations from my readers would be appreciated.

Upcoming changes/improvements:


Better WC3 compliance: A request from Mrs. Skippy. No more <i>s and <b>s – instead, <em>s and <strong>s! I like how <strong> sounds. Makes me feel manlier.

Streamlining of Formatting: I’m probably going to ditch most of the sections (like Armaments) and break it down to a simpler article. I’ve found that there’s quit a bit of overlap with some of the sections for some things, and no overlap whatsoever for other things. They’re a bit troublesome. I will be keeping Threat Level, though, because I love Threat Level.

More diversity: I’m constantly expanding my horizons and trying to find tons of zombie stuff to do. I’ve been trying to focus on analog (as in non-digital media, books and what have you) and I’ve found some very promising prospects.

More polish: No no, not Polish stuff. Pawl-ish. Like, making it look nicer. I have some ideas. I’m also waiting on some people to cook up some things for me. Sorry for vagueness, but I wouldn’t want to ruin the surpriseseses.

Whatever it comes down to, I’m going to try to come up with a consistent format for Voodoo Farming so it can apply to literally anything I put out.

Thanks for reading. G’night everybody!

Obama Zombie picture delightfully borrowed from Instapunk.com. Took me 30 seconds of Googling. I love the Internet.

Ihmhi is a developer for Fortress Forever, a free, fast paced Team Fortress mod for Half-Life 2.