REVIEW — Fallout 3 Anchorage Addon: Don’t Bother!

I played through practically the entire Anchorage addon for Fallout 3 in under three hours. It’s not worth ten bucks — seriously. Wait until the GOTY edition comes out and get it when it’s included in the bundle. Don’t waste ten bucks worth of MS Points on this silly thing.

PROS:
* Rather awesome plasma sniper rifle with 72dmg afterward (uses one entire MF Cell per shot)
* Rather awesome winterized armor afterward.
* Rather awesome special sword afterward.
* Graphics that are different than the same boring desert wasteland all over again.
* Tons of ammo and health regeneration everywhere.
* Tall cliffs, large caverns, fighting against a tank, a few big explosions, some cloaked enemies.
* One of your squadmates seems almost completely immortal, as if he had one of those crown icons from Oblivion, so he can come in handly.

CONS:
* Not free-roaming. You can only go in very limited areas. Very BIG con! The added size is about as big in areas as perhaps two of the harder Oblivion gates from ES4:Oblivion. You’re not allowed to wander about, you’re pretty much set within either terribly steep cliffs with nowhere to go but the path, or between trench-like cliffs taller than your head that you can’t climb over.
* You don’t get to bring your gear, and start with practically nothing.
* A very confusing moment when teammates start shooting each other/you, seemingly unprovoked.
* Really corny, unrealistic, absurdly simple miniboss at the end.
* Stylistically terrible copypasted use of the Nirnroot sound from Oblivion to locate ammo/health/weaps.
* Can’t open boxes, garbage cans, toolboxes, or anything else.
* Can’t pick items off bodies, they disappear after death.
* Harder enemies hinding in the distance easily outsmarted by novice-level VATS usage.
* Supposed immense treasure trove at the end is a very small, single room and a few shelves of regular junk, most of which you probably already had.
* Forced “fast travel” moments when, as you’re done with a particular task, you’re just blurred out and back into wherever you’re supposed to be instead of letting you walk around and pick up the pieces.
* No need for money, repairing weapons (since you can’t collect them from fallen enemies), lockpicks.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Fallout 3 so far, despite my initial frustration with many of the non-intuitive aspects of the game — but the Anchorage add-on flat out removes a lot of what makes Fallout 3 great (just while you’re in the simulation) and doesn’t add but perhaps a few nice weapons and maybe five hours tops, to a game I could easily spend 80-100 hours playing without even completing the main quest. Bad Bethesda! Bad!

Cuddle & Coo Doll Comments Summary

After looking at the zillions of comments I’ve gotten from people in the past couple months of my video’s run, here’s a list of all suggestions submitted.

islam is the light
israel is the light (pronounced iz-RY-el)
ismaliz delight
a smile is delight
ichabod needs the mike
israel is the life
aslan is the light
we all look alike
is lamb on a kite
Hitler is the reich (and thus invoking Godwin’s Law)
e-slaw is delight
his mom is a dyke
a smile in the night
I.S.K.C.O.N. is the light
anyone got a light?
it’s not near the light
islam is alike
England is the light
Eggland is the light
if you’re not here tonight
is mom here tonight
islam has my knife
lives long in the night
is mom alright
which one is alike
slammin down the light (in an aussie accent)
it’s sunny delight
i glow in the night
it’s on israelite
is ron in the lake (aussie accent)
his law is the light
his long israelite
kiss mom goodnight

There also appears to be a big rift between many of the commenters:
1. many are perfectly capable to discern individual syllables from the sounds and make up nonsensical “ig-la-ig-de-like” translations, others understand how “islam is the light” might be heard by someone who doesn’t know any better but just find it to be incoherent murmurs,
2. more suggested comedically that the message is actually a garbled version of “the [insert sports team] rule,” (or some otherwise unlikely variation), others who reason that “ig-la-ig-de-like” doesn’t make any sense therefore it must be some other combination of real words,
3. a few muslim commenters revelling in the victory of islam over American capitalism,
4. yet still others will adamantly *insist* that there is a message present of some kind and that it is ultimately some act of corporate conspiracy to destroy the minds of children and demand its removal from the shelves or they may just have some kind of aneurysm right this very second and it is all your fault.

I am among the first group, and I am frankly baffled by the last group. Here are a few from that last bunch:

//
“This doll obviously says “Islam is the light.” I can’t believe people aren’t fighting to get this trash out of America!

Um hello ITS CLEAR AS DAY!!!!!

Look IDIOTS…the point is the doll is defintely saying something. The timber of the voice changes and their is a meter to it’s speech. It is no longer “cooing”. So what is FP toys trying to feed our kids? They could clear all this up by simply making it public. It’s obviously saying something and since FP is “politicaly correct” it probably IS saying Islam is the Light to garner support from the enlightened peoples of the world. (roll eyes)

It sure sounds like “Islam is the light” to me. Regardless of what it says, I don’t appreciate a toy manufacturer slipping something other than a “coo” in this doll. I don’t trust their message and their messing with the minds of our children!!

I bet some oil rich Musim @%&*!$# bribed Fisher Price just to get this out on the market!!! It’s to bad some Americans will sell there soul for a quick buck. And I wouldn’t buy one for a buck today even if I could sell it tomorrow for $1,000,000!!!! And anyone who buys one is supporting Terrorists! Think about it!!!!

official response is, “The only ‘word’ the doll is programmed to say is ‘mama’. all else is ‘cooing and gurgling”. asked her if she heard it herself. she said no. i told her that i had, and mama was not the only ‘words’ this doll said. i told her i will be boycotting fp/mattel products until they acknowledge the problem and make a public apology. whether they intended to produce this or not; it happened and they need to take responsibility for it.

I only have one thing to say: What in the hell is the reason for making these children’s toys to say things like I just heard. I am not deaf or hard of hearing. I will no longer shop at Target or any other store who carries these types of dolls or other toys that can send messages that parents should be giving their children. What happened to plain dolls that help little girls to learn to be good mommies? They went out in the the 60s. When I was young. We don’t need talking dolls at all.

Whether that is what it is saying or not, it is close enough to warrant concern on the part of any Christian. The doll will not be recalled for fear that it would offend the Islam community in the US. Christians have been offended and ridiculed for way too long now and I certainly do not want any child that I love and care for to have one of those dolls and, unless there is a formal apology, it will be a cold day hades before I purchase a F-P or Mattel product again.

What do you think it is saying? I hear it saying ‘Islam is the light’.
Obama, the secret muslim, is in cahoots with Fisher Price to brainwash America. This is a very sinister thing that has been uncovered.

//

Even still, I am thankful there are a few people with some sense out there:

//
I’m hearing “Ichabod needs the mike [microphone].” Either way, it’s just an example of apophenia. And not even a particularly good one; I’ve heard much better examples. Check out episode #105 of the Skeptoid podcast for some really uncanny examples made from only computer-generated sine waves. (BTW, I’m not associated with Skeptoid at all, I’m just a fan of it.)

Everyone is nuts!!!! it just sounds like baby talk…blah blah blah…People have way too much time on their hands.

This is the power of suggestion at work; it sounds like “Islam is the light” because that’s what we’ve been told to listen for. Fisher-Price has released the original (uncompressed) recording, and it’s clearly nonsensical baby talk.

Just go find the Chinese people that recorded and made this doll and you will have your answer. It probably really is something Chinese for “More American dollars for us!” XD

I rate you five stars for the way you present the video. It’s sounds like “Islam is the Light” to me, too. Of course, nobody really ever says “Islam is the Light” except this doll, so it’s hard to believe it’s a Muslim product. I think it’s supposed to be burbling like a baby, not saying anything. I have to admit, I would freak out if a doll I bought suddenly said something religious.

if i had listed to the doll without reading what it’s supposedly saying, i maybe would have just said that it was random mumbling but like you said, a case of suggestion, so i’m sitting here expecting it to say “islam is the light”

“ikluh eh da light” – That is what it sounds like to me. Sounds like babble…… What an amazing concept, a baby the babbles. Wonder if somebody put that in a doll. Hmmmmmm? How any of you hear Islam at all in the first word scares me. The doll clearly makes a keh sound in the first word. Unless somebody has changed it and not told me, and Webster, there is no “K” or keh sound in the word Islam

Im pretty sure that if you listen to it with the words Islam is the light going through your head then that is what you will hear.I have to admit,I couldnt make out anything other than an unclear voice saying Islam is the light.Somebody made the point about free speech,people have the right to suggest that Islam is the light.But,and its a BIG but,if as were meant to believe this is a crude attempt at brainwashing children then the disturbing thing isnt the words but their vessel.
//

However, there were a handful of people who took the opportunity to make light of the mess and post silly, funny, and smile-worthy remarks to lighten up the discussion:

//
It’s saying “I snort the nose, Lucifer! Banana! Banana!”

I want a Bud Light.

Afternoon delight. The doll is obviously a fan of “The Starland Vocal Band”

“Staaaaay in school! Bruuuush your teeth!”

Too bad it’s not uttering stock tips.

It also says: “Americans are paranoid !!”

“obama is white”

“e-slaw is delight” I’ve never tried e-slaw, but I did have an e-hotdog once.

it said “anyone got a light?” cus it’s a cool smoking baby

I just got done taking a shower! i just watched ur video while im naked! lol xD w

it says Estrella delight! 50 % Less Fat!

//

One final goofy commenter is while I’ll close with, which gave me a good chuckle it was so random:

igla is delight. This dates back to the original doll series back during the time of hedges which was shortly before the wheel. Igla was a shrewd fellow who enjoyed fig daltons (later becoming the infamous fig Newton) but spent quite a many nights with a fake friend dollumnaum. After many years of mispronouncing this fake creatures name, he decided to cut it short and just call it doll. Many years later….awe crumb..I’ve dropped my fudge.

I’m done.

Researching “American Agencies” @ 1-877-728-8912

Note: This article is taken as true on “presumed honesty” and is more just a culmination of the Internet version of group-think — people posting semi-random remarks on the same subject, and drawing a conclusion from the total. The article’s authority is based on unknown degrees of honesty from anonymous sources.

After doing a little research online and looking up 1-877-728-8912, random-ish and mostly-anonymous reports seem to pop up from number-alert sites that a company called “ACA Receivables” (that may or may not appear on Caller ID) may be the one making these calls (according to a few commenters here and here): under the guise of a collections agency. Another commenter reports being told they owed money for AT&T and that after checking with AT&T him/herself, that AT&T hadn’t used them for collections for at least four years.

There’s a website for AmericanAgencies.comAnother similarly-named company, AmericanAgency.com deals with insurance, and I suspect they may simply have a similar name — plus none of their contact numbers appear to match up.

CallerComplaints.com’s Entry lists around 35 reports for this number, a few citing actually calling the number and getting runaround about past debt and asking you to verify your information by telling the “first five digits” of your SSN. Yikes!

American-Agencies-Complaints.US appears to be a written by someone uninterested in web design, but contains a bit of info about a lawsuit that occured in 2003 involving ACA Receiveables.

I also looked up a few governmental fraud reporting sites for possible scams, and FTC Complain Assistant seems like the best place to official submit alerts if you’re in the US, as they need reports to track areas that are being hit. From the CallerComplaint site above, it seems various parts of the country may be getting singled out and some complaints date back to around October of 2007.

Hope this helps out! This very well may simply be a legitimate credit agency who has a wrong number for someone who does actually owe money. However, it hasn’t gotten to the point of irritation that I’ve yet been bothered to call the number to find out. If you do or did, please tell me your results in the comments below! If you recorded your conversation — send it to ablestmage@gmail.com so the rest of us will know what to expect. Don’t give out any pertinent info like SSN digits of any sort, but perhaps just with exploratory questions to see whether they might actually be kosher.

R.I.P. Michael Crichton

Michael Crichton, the author of the world-known Jurassic Park series, has scribbled his final inkblot. According to family in this article, he has died after a battle with cancer, at age 66.

Tim Murphy: What do you call a blind dinosaur?
Alan Grant: I don’t know. What do you call a blind dinosaur?
Tim Murphy: Do-you-think-he-saurus?
— Jurassic Park (film, via)

Ablestmage.com Breaks 100,000 Hits!

I just got the sitemeter’s weekly report (a free counter than sends you e-mails with stats each week) and it looks like we’ve broken the 100,000-hit mark! Thanks for everyone who regularly visits — ablestmage.com rakes in around 3500 hits each week, averaging around 500 per day. Couldn’t have done it without my loyal readers ^_^

The domain was registered last year to the month (October 2007), but I didn’t begin actively pursuing the project until December of 2007. It is quite honestly my dream job to get this up and running, and it’s been a blast so far. Hopefully we can hit the quarter-million mark even sooner than a year this next go-around — and hopefully I can rustle up some advertisers by then, too ^_^

I currently make zero dollars from the site and it’s completely out of pocket, on the wager that it may someday turn a profit. I have no intentions of turning it loose anytime soon, so look out internets, we’re good for another year or twelve! ^_^

“A Chicken Goes… Cluck cluck cluck!” Website

There’s a spiffy little website (must open a pop-up window to work) that has pictures of animals of which you may click, to receive — not the actual animal sound, but children recreating that sound — and from around the world, at that! It is quite a delightful website. There also happen to be other things like ambulance sirens and general random things that a kid might know.

My favorites so far:

))) The german version of an ambulance (bottom left corner for ambulance, first of the middle row of ambulances for german)
))) the hungarian version of a duck (top right corner for duck, first of the bottom row of ducks for hungarian)
))) the uk version of a lion (two down from the top left corner for lion, first of the top row of lions for the uk)
))) the italian version of a cat (just below the lion, middle of the bottom row on the second page for italian)

Good fun!

Freez Pulls the Ole Bait-and-Switch Routine

There’re a few useful “freebie” software tools by the name of “Freez” and “Free” out there that let you use the program for free, but after a certain amount of time require you to register.

The software itself says the registration is free and once you’re registered, you can get the code for free, to keep using it. So I go to register..

…and log in, but it turns out, OOPS! there’s too much web traffic for the freebies so it’s been turned off. YEAH RIGHT.

Forget that. This place needs some serious Consumerist attention, methinks!

Edit — apparently, a site called NBXsoft does this bait-and-switch also, even with the identical layout!

As soon as you hit record, after using it for a few days, you get..

Ok, register, and bingo.

Do me a favor an express your disgust in the general direction of:

Qiang Zhao (dtwstm@263.net or zhoulin523@126.com)
+86.3322923320 // Fax: +86.2131321
No. 998, NR Rd.
NanChang, JI 33242321 CN

Both domains are registered to this same gentleman (different emails).

I’ve sent an e-mail to the fellow’s domain registrar, Namecheap.com, but we’ll see what happens.