• Image Gallery

    Featuring beautiful skylines, action figure shots, vacation photos, funny mobile phone pics and much more!

  • 2013 End of Year Awards!

    My favorite things from 2013, featuring Match of the Year, Album of the Year and Game of the Year!

  • Vicarious Views

    High-definition reviews of video games past and present await in Vicarious Views!

  • Featured Article

    A bad seed has been freed! Melonman is a felon made of melon out for melon supremacy. Watch it now!

March 27, 2014

The Simpsons Universal Expansion!

Posted by Delta Zero on 3/27/2014 05:47:00 PM





Ever wanted to see a real life Moe's Tavern, Kwik-E-Mart or Krusty Burger? Springfield USA brings the cartoon hijinx of The Simpsons into the real world! Watch my video tour above to see how insanely awesome this new expansion is! Classic Simpsons tunes play as you walk through the park. Check out these locales and ride the new Tilt 'N' Hurl ride at Universal Studios, FL.

Here is a selection of photos from my 2013 trip to Springfield USA:

Each restaurant is more or less a food court hidden behind staple Simpsons establishments.

The new Twirl N Hurl ride. It's Alien Dumbo.

There are now several carnival games outside of the original Simpsons ride.

Outside of Kwik-E-Mart is a Milhouse bench.

Barney's empty glass inside Moe's (actual quasi-bar). Love Tester in the background.






You can see the murals inside of Krusty Burger's cafeteria.

Moe's at night. It has all the decor you'd expect.

Twirl N Hurl at night. Notice the construction in the background? It's Harry Potter's 2014 expansion!

Me with ole' Uncle Jeb.

Me with Lard Lad. Just don't look, just don't look!

March 7, 2014

Disney World 2013: Video Tours & Photographs!

Posted by Delta Zero on 3/07/2014 05:30:00 PM


 For the past several months on the LivingVicariouslyHD channel, I've been uploading weekly videos of my 2013 trip to Disney World (the one in Florida). I had so many videos that I had to make bonus ones to publish in 2014! Rather than lump them all into a gigantic compilation, I tried a less daunting approach by breaking down the massive chunk of media into smaller themed videos. With this series finally complete, I will post a selection of them here along with the full playlist so you can watch everything all in one spot.

Watch in 1080p full-screen for best quality, or at the very least 720p! I put a lot of work into making these videos look good, and YouTube's craptastic bitrate and frame limiter doesn't do 'em justice.



Mitsukoshi Japan Store



This has become a fairly popular video of mine. In it, I tour the anime/manga/video game filled Mitsukoshi store in the Japan pavilion, at Epcot. There are Mega Mans, Megazords, Pokemen and yummy Japanese snacks to see! Watch me be startled by a strange noise.


Staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge



Walk through the halls of the Animal Kingdom Lodge (Jambo House portion)! I do a room tour, play some bongos in the gift shop, and show you what it's like to wake up to giraffes and zebras walking outside of your balcony.

The Foods of Disney World



Here is a bonus video going over the many, many, MANY culinary options you have at Disney World. I love food, and I love trying world foods, so this video should cover a pretty wide palette of things to try. The Tangierine Cafe hosts a delicious Moroccan pita counter-service, there's Earl of Sandwich for top notch deli sandwiches, and everyone who loves pineapple must try the Dole Whip/Pineapple Float over at Aloha Isle.

The NEW Test Track



High octane driving 'test simulator' Test Track has recently undergone dramatic cosmetic changes. Luckily, I recorded the old version several years back, so I have the footage to show how the ride looked before it turned into the love child of Tron and Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions. I also design an implausible car.


Magic Kingdom: Treehouse at Day & Dumbo at Night



Magic Kingdom is one of the iconic Disney parks. You can torture yourself at "It's a Small World", go to Neverland with Peter Pan, or even hang out with Winnie the Pooh. I do none of these things in this video, but you do get to see a kid get sprayed by a monkey, climb up a treehouse, watch me pull out* the Sword in the Stone, and hop aboard a night lit ride on Dumbo.
*by pulling out I mean failing to pull out...heh, I've heard that one before.


Animal Kingdom Park Tour



There is A LOT going on in this video. Crazy yeti roller coasters, the Kilimanjaro river rapid ride, wild mercenary parrots, a safari through Africa with a broken bridge...if you want to get a feel for all the cool things you can do at just one park at Disney World, you should probably hit play and patiently watch the pre-roll advertising.

Since I have well over a dozen videos, I will now just link the playlist as to not bog down this already media-heavy page. My other videos include a very cool History of Disney light-show transposed on Cinderella's Castle at Magic Kingdom, exploration of the countries at Epcot (day and night!), playing some fun arcade games new and old at Disney Quest, and Pixar's area with Toy Story Mania, aka the funnest attraction you can go on at Disney. You can watch all of these and even more on this playlist:





Here is a small selection of photos I took at Disney World in 2013.

Giraffes on the safari.

Epcot photography at night.

Me in my hotel room at Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Magic Kingdom had rain and a tree beaming light.

Cinderella's Castle at approaching dusk.

A lone ladybug at the International Food & Wine Festival.

Balcony view at my hotel. Zebras and giraffes will graze on by.

Scenic shot of Epcot and the monorail.

Exhaustion at Hollywood Studios. It's Burgertime.

Goofy's Candy Company sweets.


February 16, 2014

Vicarious Views #21: Donkey Kong Country 2

Posted by Delta Zero on 2/16/2014 04:33:00 PM








When I decided to review video games, I had a handful of games in mind that inspired me to do so. Some of these games were obscure and relatively unknown, so I wanted to bring more attention to them. The others? They defined my childhood, and I felt it was sort of my duty to give them some acclaim after they gave me so many years of memories. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest is one of the latter. It's a game I hold incredibly dear to my heart, and as hard as I try to do these reviews objectively, I simply can't help but become the kid within me as I play it. I compare the Donkey Kong Country games, this one in particular, to I Spy books (also from my childhood). I Spy books always had a whimsical theming to them, and even if you've already found all there is to find, you still want to go back and flip through the pages just to re-experience the magnificent photography and atmosphere. I get the same exact sense of gloomy wonder from many I Spy pages that I get from Donkey Kong Country 2; it's an absolute parallel for me, and they came from the exact same time period of my life. I think my attraction towards melancholia comes directly from DKC2 and it's untouchable soundtrack. David Wise used the limitations of the SNES to create magic. There's just nothing else I've ever heard like the music in DKC2. It's so layered, moody and dense. The folks at Rare put tons of thought into how they wanted this game to be conveyed. It just oozes nostalgia; I've felt this way even as a young teen only several years removed from my earlier adolescence. It makes me absolutely hate parents who let their kids grow up with violent shooters instead of something that can expand their imagination. But that's a social criticism worthy of a lengthy case study, so I'll refrain from harping about it and just say this: Donkey Kong Country 2 is an absolute joyous adventure that never gets boring, it's challenging in a very good way, and it's one of the most important games of my life. I'll forever treasure it.


December 30, 2013

Living Vicariously End of Year Awards 2013

Posted by Delta Zero on 12/30/2013 08:00:00 PM



 Every December, I like to look back at my favorite things that saw release within the calendar year. 2013 had a lot to love, so let's not waste any time! Here are the categories: Game of the Year, Match of the Year (wrestling), and Album of the Year. Remember, I can only judge what I've heard or seen, not what you've heard or seen.




The Last of Us | PlayStation 3 | June 14th, 2013
_______________________________________________________________________

I knew the first day I played The Last of Us that I was in for something special. Naughty Dog make the excellent Uncharted series, and with their track record, I was confident we'd get at least a stellar game. The Last of Us is a survivalist adventure game taking place in the post-pandemic future. Joel, a survivor of the 2013 outbreak, winds up having to deliver a teenage girl named Ellie across several states in pursuit of a radical group interested in her condition. What ensues is one of the most mature and emotional stories ever told within an interactive platform. I enjoyed this game so much that I gave it a perfect 7 on my Vicarious Views video game review show (here), an honor only Portal 2 currently shares. Watch my review for a more in-depth analysis of this must-play game. After two full completions, I knew this would wind up being one of my favorite games of this past generation.
_______________________________________________________________________ 


HONORABLE MENTION:
  • Pikmin 3 (Wii U)
  • Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon (3DS)
  • Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)
All my runners-up are on Nintendo consoles! I really enjoyed all three of these games. Pikmin 3 wasn't the incredible game I was hoping for, as I noted on my review, but it's still so much fun to return to the now-HD macro world of Pikmin. Luigi's Mansion 2 showcased how to adapt a unique gameplay idea to a handheld (and still make it pretty). And 3D World: my god, what an entry (and soundtrack) in the Mario catalog! Can't wait to play more of it, hopefully with friends. I did enjoy GTA V's setting - it's vast, colorful and interesting - but that story did not live up to its potential (Michael is a fantastic character, though), and I didn't like the multitude of underutilized mechanics or the online mode much at all. Still, it's the first GTA game I've beaten, and I've played them all, so that shows how much I liked the various environments. There are a few indie games I plan on playing in the coming year, but sadly, they couldn't make the cut-off since I've yet to play most of them.







CM Punk v John Cena | Raw | February 25th, 2013
_______________________________________________________________________

With the absolute joke of The Slammys ignoring this epic encounter between classic rivals, I feel like it's the responsibly of the fans to give it the love it deserves. This match was to determine who would face The Rock for the shiny new WWE title at Wrestlemania 29. What we got was a match that wound up making that Cena/Rock Wrestlemania match look like absolute crap in comparison. John Cena and CM Punk completely turned Dallas, TX, upside-down. These two have always had good chemistry, but damn...this match was one of the best matches in Raw's history. Punk even busted out a piledriver, which has been banned for years now. With lots of time and tons of back and forth, it became an instant classic that anyone who wants to see what the fuss of WWE is all about should check out.
_______________________________________________________________________

HONORABLE MENTION:
  • Cody Rhodes & Goldust v The Shield (Battleground 10/6)
  • Daniel Bryan v John Cena | WWE Title (SummerSlam 9/18)
  • Antonio Cesaro v Kofi Kingston | US Title (Main Event 5/1)



image

To be fair, it's been an amazing year for wrestling quality, so if you overlooked the excellent wrestling bout between Kofi and Cesaro on Main Event (May 1st), be sure to check it out. Bryan/Cena at SummerSlam was amazing with the perfect ending ...yes, including the Orton cash-in...just not so much what happened in the months ahead. Bryan and The Shield were the MVPs this year, especially on free tv. As great as their bouts were against one another, the Rollins/Reigns vs The Brothers Rhodes match at Battlefield was ultimately my pick. For a PPV that was awful, they absolutely stole the show two times over. And what an emotional match, too: we have the freshly returned Goldust who is wrestling like he's in his 20s, Cody who is as solid as ever, and newcomers The Shield, who were given the ball in 2013 and ran with it. This match wasn't the title change, but it had that equally eventful moment with Dusty and his two sons standing tall at the end ; truly a classic tag team battle and a monument of triumph.







Haken | The Mountain | September 2nd, 2013
_______________________________________________________________________

Out of the handful of records I've heard in 2013, The Mountain stands tallest. Haken hail from London, England. I was unfamiliar with their work before this album, so taking the climb up The Mountain was a totally blind journey. A couple songs, the greatest offender being "Cockroach King," had a jarring quirkiness at first, but I was left quite impressed with the breadth of the guitar solos and breakdowns (and those soaring crescendos!). I'm normally not drawn to this style of progressive metal, so there was clearly something there beyond the norm. As soon as I began digesting the record, I found myself going back to it once a day for several weeks. It's an album of memorable peaks and vocal harmonies. The songs are quite varied, too - they never get boring, and each song is uniquely distinguished from the other by doing something new. If you're in the mood for melodic prog -and a couple ballads- that'll get stuck in your head for days, you can't go wrong with The Mountain.
_______________________________________________________________________

HONORABLE MENTION:
  • "The Raven That Refused to Sing" by Steven Wilson
  • "All is One" by Orphaned Land
  • "Universal (live)" by Anathema

I was a bit disappointed by both The Dear Hunter and Blackfield's new albums this year. Blackfield's had only a few good songs, and they were criminally short; a real, but entirely expected letdown. TDH's was solid but came across as underwhelming - following the opus that was The Color Spectrum was all but completely impossible. Orphaned Land, however, repurposed their style and wound up creating one of the best albums in their career. Wilson's doesn't have high replay value, but it's another excellent solo album of his. I think the title track of Raven might be among the finest songs ever recorded. In addition to above new studio albums, I heard two live offerings this year, one of which was from A Perfect Circle. Their record label must be hard up for money, as they released both a 'greatest hits' album and a live compilation. The live album, Trifecta, covers all 3 of their studio albums, additionally adding a few covers and one new song. eMOTIVE sounds way better here than on studio, I gotta say. The other live album I heard came in the form of Blu-ray. Anathema's live Blu-ray was absolutely awe-inspiring. They played with the Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra specifically for this show. Everything from the setting (the Roman theatre in Plovdiv) to the sound made for a perfect evening. They're such a great band; a shame people at large don't appreciate good musicianship anymore.




__________________________________________









Well, that does it for 2013. On the topic of movies, my pick for best film is easily Captain Phillips. It's the Somalian pirate hijacking film with Tom Hanks; it's one of the most intense movies I've ever seen. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my list! See you in 2014...hopefully with the first new Tool album since 2006? Please? PLEASE!?

December 21, 2013

Funny/Cool Wrestling Stuff I've Made: Vol 1

Posted by Delta Zero on 12/21/2013 12:47:00 AM















Wrestling. A love of comedy. Decent graphic design skills. Mix well, wind up with a shameful gallery of the most random wrestling-related imagery to ever besmirch the internet. I've made A LOT of wrestling graphics over the years. They're mostly for one-off forum jokes, but with an ever-growing collection, I think it's high time I show it to the world in the form of volumes! While most of this stuff is comedy, I've also included serious things I've made, peppered with some animated gifs I also created. Let's begin...

Startin' off classy here, folks. Here's a mock-DVD case based on Cena rising above.. Be sure to read the back, too.

The match nobody wanted to see a second time, three times! Third time's the charm, right? Wrong.


Daniel Bryan's asshole heel run on Smackdown was hysterical. This was before AJ adapted the crazy gimmick.
With the recently united world & WWE titles, I felt it was appropriate to capture this rare moment (Hogan's just holding the belts, this was post-comeback run.)






This is my Owen Hart "King of Black Harts" tribute sticker. It also comes in t-shirt form at my web store.

Remember the time Triple H woke up one day and decided to win all the titles? Don't worry, he left one for Jericho...

Somebody on FAN Forums came up with a dream attire swap idea. I decided to create this Christmas miracle!

TENSAI PINS JOHN CENA!!! We got ourselves a future main event player right here...
Nine months later, he's wearing lingerie while burying himself with an invisible shovel.






What a heel!

Jakks thought this was acceptable to release into toy stores. Every little boy wants naked Mark Henry in their stocking!



November 28, 2013

Vicarious Views #20: Pikmin 3

Posted by Delta Zero on 11/28/2013 01:22:00 PM







Happy Thanksgiving! Ah, the long-awaited Pikmin 3. This was my most wanted title for the Wii U ever since it was announced. I got to play an early build at a Club Nintendo invite-only event in Chicago, and I walked away very excited for the game. Pikmin skipped the Wii console generation, so it's been quite awhile since we saw the last one. As my review stated, the game is a mostly fantastic, though a little underwhelming, entry in the series. I think ultimately Pikmin 2 is the best game of the three. With all the brand tie-ins like Duracell batteries and Snapple caps, and the very cool/funny museum thing you could view after finding those items, I found myself missing that element in the series. I liked that they focused on fruit, but it's not hard to find all 30 types. Some of them repeat too much, though I do appreciate finding the exotic fruits like the carambola, dragonfruit, and other things I enjoy eating from the local market. But other than being too easy, Pikmin 3 is a great game in my eyes. The ground textures were the only downside to the visuals - everything else was eye-candy. I found myself twirling the fruit around in the viewer in awe at how far we've come since the last Pikmin game. It's so nice to be able to see everything clearly. One thing I forgot to mention in the review was the depth-of-field - it adds to the feeling of being apart of this macro world of Pikmin. I think the most underrated thing about Pikmin 3 is the timed challenge mode. I have sunk hour after hour into that trying to best my score. They gave you brand new areas based on ones from the game, and you have to either take out all the wildlife or gather fruit. It really helps you hone in on your ability to multitask due to the very tight timer. I just, just, just was able to include the footage from the upcoming DLC in my review. I was finalizing my script with the footage all ready to go in place, and then Nintendo revealed brand new DLC maps for the holidays. Be sure to look out for that. So yeah, Pikmin 3 - if you have a Wii U, despite its flaws, this is one of the best on the platform. Just make sure you play with a Wii Remote+.





October 31, 2013

Silent Hill crafts

Posted by Delta Zero on 10/31/2013 03:04:00 PM

 
In high school, my friend Marcus and I were huge into Silent Hill. We'd regularly exchange ideas about the series and pondered about its lore between classes. I distinctly remember receiving several sheets of paper underneath a makeshift wall that divided our two different classrooms. The papers? A walkthrough for Silent Hill 2, a game we were going to tackle on the weekend. Being such huge fanatic who also had an interest in art and design, he'd make me these disgustingly awesome trinkets and plushes as gifts over the years. This photoset showcases a portion of his hard work.









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