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My new (replacement) laptop came today. Hasn't crapped out on me yet, and its pretty kick ass. It's funny, as good as the machine is, what I like most so far is all the little extra touches. Things like the free (and surprisingly decent) mouse and backpack that came with it.

So, a big thumbs up to Asus for getting my replacement laptop to me expediently, and making what appears to be an all around solid product.

I haven't really tried any games on it yet, but I'm installing TESIV: Oblivion and Counter Strike: Source as I write this. They out to provide some pretty good metrics for this things performance as a gaming machine. Hell, I may have to go out and buy Supreme Commander and get my strategy on.

In other game-related news, I've been playing a good amount of Pokemon Pearl lately. Something about playing a Pokemon game makes me feel all dirty, like I should be doing something more useful and adult-like with my time. But this new iteration, like all the others, is a blast to play. For all their kiddy-ness, I maintain that Pokemon is a well put together and engaging game, not to mention one of the most brilliantly marketed products ever. I mean, what other franchise could get away with changing some pretty minor content and releasing two different games, then a year later combine the content from both and release a third, making ass loads of money off all three?
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The original Pokemon games (Red/Blue/Green/Yellow) were brilliant and were perfect for the Gameboy or Gameboy Color, and I was an adult when I first played them (and got hooked). Unfortunately they never seemed to update the basic gameplay that much; I'd have loved a Pokemon game with more tactics in the actual battles, or more personality for the Pokemon.

I haven't tried out the later games as I never upgraded from my Gameboy Color; is there much different in Pokemon Pearl? (I've only played Yellow and Silver myself)

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Sadly, the mechanics haven't changed much. There are some superficial additions, like using the touchscreen to navigate menus and 2v2 battles, but the core game mechanics remain much the same. The strategy comes in more when you put together your team, rather than in individual battles (which is a bit of a shame).

But I still find the games completely addicting, especially with the possibility for online multiplayer now.

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I don't know, I didn't really like Diamond too much. I haven't really played Pokemon since Yellow, and maybe it's just because I'm older now, but Diamond was far too easy to be interesting for me. Instead of making a team of 6 Pokemon, I decided to be a little bit more daring and make a team of 3. I thought this would make it more challenging, but what ended up happening was all my Pokemon were 10 levels higher than everything else, and there was no challenge.

I had a battle with Hippo, who was around the same point in the game as I, and he did it worse than I did. Rather than having 3 Pokemon in their mid/high 20's, he just had his starter at 40+, and some other random trash. Durrr. Apparently that works though, he said he didn't have much trouble with the rival battles. There are so many different moves, it isn't as hard anymore to get around resistances as it used to be.

I dunno. I just didn't enjoy it as much as the original ones. It's probably just me, but it seems to have lost a lot of it's charm; the added battle mechanics just make the battles go slower, and don't add a whole lot to the strategy side, I think.


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