Symphony of the Machine (PC/HTC Vive) Review

Developer/Publisher: Stirfire Studios || Overall: 6.0/10

I met the boss in a dark internet alley. Real cloak and dagger stuff. He slips me a message shortly before he passes along a key. I was tasked with an important mission: review Symphony of the Machine.

My qualifications, you ask? I’m the only one with a VR headset.

Symphony of the Machine is a puzzle game that is something of an atmospheric experience. You start out as a druid of some sort, struggling against a mid-life crisis, waking up after a bender in the desert. Your character comes to, at dusk, precariously close to the fire they had been presumably sleeping next to. At first, you’re unable to do anything, but by picking up a ball on a pedestal and placing it inside of this thingy next to it, the player is able to teleport. It was at this point that the real game began, and I stepped into the projected life I’ve illustrated.

A gold ring appears on the ground, inviting me to teleport to it while my the objects in my hands whine at me to touch them. I touch them, not understanding how to satisfy them. As I look at the mural on the rock near me, I decide to figure out what the deal is with my hands. I rotate in place with a few taps of the touchpad, but the cries persist. The gold ring remains as I move on without understanding what it was trying to convey in the hopes to shut up my damn hands.

I pass through a small trench and make my way to a modest clearing with a tower. As I approach the tower, it appears that a control panel has had a button removed, with the button clearly visible next to it. I picked it up and placed it where it belonged. There was an up arrow and a down arrow, with the up arrow clearly the one to press in this situation. I did so, was rewarded with a nice song while I slowly raised up the tower.

On my way up the tower, I noticed the land was very barren – a desert-like mountainous area – and there was a very purple beam shooting toward the heavens from the tower I was currently ascending. The elevator reached its destination, I was free to walk around the area within the confines of the tower’s traversable platform. In the middle of this platform was a beam coming out of the floor, shooting right out of an opening at the tower’s apex. I moved to the next gold ring on the ground, just next to the beam, as I noticed a bundt cake-looking terminal with a hand floating above it. I placed my hand near it and clicked the trigger, bringing it to life. What happened next was the most surprising thus far.

This noisy thing sprung to life, bobbing around as it floated around. It moved toward a green glyph before looking back toward me and nodding. Then it moved to a purple one, a yellow one, and finally a blue one, repeating its incessant chirping and nodding, pausing before each glyph. It approached me, a big blue oval now pouring out of its head, a silver pane appearing within. Two graphics appeared near the area that was considered its face: a picture of a pane and a hand, and the beam bouncing off of the pane.

My purpose was to bounce this light, so I did. I shot it into a green glyph, basking in my achievement before the robot came to beep at me some more while the clouds began to blow around in the background. A bunch of transparent, green-edged hexagons popped up, obscuring the purple glyph. The robot’s obviously disapproving looks were tinted blue through the obstacle. “I meant the yellow one, asshole,” I imagined him tooting out as the graphics next to its head changed to show the yellow, eye-shaped glyph. I corrected my transgression, aiming at the yellow glyph by adjusting the pane. The green-edged hexagons vanished, yellow ones appearing in front of the blue glyph; dusk rolled back to reveal the sun and blue skies. The floaty bot happily bleep blooped as it moved over to a green pipe at the edge of the tower’s area.

The robot sucked up a bowl of dirt, doing the equivalent of an aerial saunter as it mosied over in front of me. It hovered expectantly in front of me, beckoning me to grab the grubby bowl, some pictures near its head to reinforce the duty. I attempted to outwit it by inaction. When that didn’t work, I picked up the bowl, the robot instantly spiraling back to its pipe to rummage for other things. I attempted to drop the bowl, but it hovered in place to spite me. The little robot returned with a seed, chirp, beep, whatever. You got the picture by now.

My purpose was now clear: it was my duty to place this seed in the bowl I was given. Such a duty was not wasted on me. I grabbed that seed and placed it into the bowl without so much as looking at the graphics that had appeared by my only friend’s head. It plopped in, the robot now implying that I had to grow it. I had been assigned as this tower’s guardian gardener, as decided by the fates and this little fucking noisy robot.

The robot had now become silent. I decided to lose myself in the plant I was now charged with, and to my surprise it had expressed, in the form of a graphic, that it desired something. I had come from a land where plants desired varying amounts of sun and water, but this plant had other needs: wind. “That’s weird,” I thought, “Not sure why a seedling would want to be blown.” I decided to help this budding plant become an adult, regardless of its strange fetishes.

I adjust the beam back to my original target: that stupid green swoosh that originally wasn’t “okay” to shoot at. I move the beam off the yellow glyph, which causes all these yellow hexagons that appeared in front of the blue one to vanish. I once again direct the beam to the green glyph. Hexagons reappeared where they originally had been the first time around, the wind began to blow as before. I had understood several times over at this point that each active glyph blocks clear access to another.

Something new occurred this time, though. Much like those weird stones in The Fifth Element, the thing I didn’t fully understand in my hand moved, ever so slightly. I had progressed in my career, heights unheard of: I was an accessory in the blowing of a vegetable. I had become a hooker at coma ward.

You wouldn’t believe the fucking nerve of this thing, though! This plant now got thirsty – thirsty, of all things! Now it demanded I make it rain, but not like a hooker at a coma ward. I turned around and the robot surprised the shit out of me. “BOOP BEEP??” it blerped as it passed through my corporeal self, violating the space I considered my own. “NO ONE FUCKING ASKED YOU!” I politely replied.

I moved the metal pane and jumped through the hoop, moving the beam from green to blue. More hexagon trading. Wind to light rain. Sprouting. Finished, right? WRONG. The damn plant had more damn demands! Now it wants clouds. CLOUDS. What backwards ass plant wants some clouds? Shade? I’ll give you some shade.

I move the beam from the blue glyph, dragging the beam over the robot and plant to no avail. After a few minutes of that I decided to do as I was told and shoot the purple glyph, fulfilling the cycle and my role as custodian gardener. I’ve done you proud, father.

The plant had evolved into a healthy bowl of grotesque vegan-food. Atypically “salad” and a far cry from the barren dirt bowl it had previously been. I’ll probably never understand why it desired cloud cover, or why my machine was driven by glyphs I had to shoot beams at, rather than a lever or buttons or something. I do know, though, that my journey had ended. I had saved the day, providing this plant with care that it needed for an unknown – probably inordinate – amount of time. The robot, who had be crowding my every goddamn step, booped at me, expressing its desire to become a receptacle for the plant. I grabbed a metal pane and beat it aside, cursing its ancestors before placing the plant into it’s overtly oval and blue head cavity. It was satisfied, and for some reason wanted me to take the plant back.

I took the plant as it directed me to place my life’s work in the corner, across from the green pipe it constantly plumbed for things to fill my time with. I did so, trying to throw the plant on the ground in protest while it dandily floated in place, hovering in front of the cloudy backdrop. “BLEEP,” the robot interjected, ruining my moment.

The robot had some sort of weird t-shaped part. I picked it up out of its head, thinking it was a reward, but I quickly realized it was another tool to do my fucking job. It was a beam splitter, which, when placed in front of a beam, split it at two 90 degree angles. The robot had fucked off during my examination of the object, but it returned, prodding me with another empty dirt bowl. I raised my hands up. “Look, I know where this is heading,” I said, “I’ve done my thing and I’ve helped you. I know I-”

“BLOOP, BLEEP?”

I let out a long, exasperated groan. I took the stupid fucking bowl out of his head. Oh, you’re getting a seed for me to plant again? How surprising! Bring it here then, you stupid fucker! Here it goes, oh, look – a plant. What’s this floppy one need? Windy and sunny? Sure, why not?! I split the beam, overcoming the simple puzzle and bouncing it around the hexagonal obstacles that appeared. It’s now windy and sunny, the tower’s weather reflecting my changes. The plant grows, not unlike the first one.

Thus far, I had done it four times. Seventeen more times and I will have finished the game, along with this narrative. Just imagine that I copy and pasted a bunch of times and changed some words around.

Now, make no mistake, though; Symphony of the Machine gets slightly harder in difficulty despite the repetition. You are given access to another pane and another t-shaped splitter, along with two things that alter the beam to blue, which is cold, and red, which is hot. Using the hot and cold modifiers makes extra hexagons show up that you have to avoid, but they always appear in the same place. If you set up your light path in just the right way, you can avoid all the hexagons that can appear and just slightly move panes and t-shapes to activate and deactivate glyphs as needed.

Presentation wise, I don’t think there’s much to complain about. The music was fitting. Graphically it was fine, and the weather effects were actually pretty good, but there is a minimal amount of content here with very limited replayability. There are only seven plants in the game, with three stages each. After that, you unlock sandbox mode, where you can use the maximum amount of parts (three each, and one of the fire and ice modifiers) and solve all the plants you’ve already completed with no variation in difficulty. This is problematic, considering the high bar to play this game on PC and the distinct lack of replayability for a $20 game.

I think adjustments could be made. Considering all variation is tied to what glyphs are required for the puzzle and where hexagons show up, I figure a randomized mode could really make things difficult, or at least just more puzzles. The included content isn’t even difficult, so the trip is abnormally short. The only thing I didn’t accomplish in about 30 minutes of play time was experience every type of weather, at least according to the achievements.

Now, I’m not saying no one would enjoy a sort of causal laser puzzle game, but there’s already competition in this genre in VR, and I’m not sure if what Symphony of the Machine offers is more deserving of your time than those similar games considering its shortcomings.

 

Livelock (PC) Review

Developer: Tuque Games | Publisher: Perfect World International || Overall: 8.5

Google needs a new name. As our eventual AI overloads, the name Google doesn’t have the required menace for when the program finally decides to go rogue and that mankind can no longer be left to its own devices. It’s just a hard name to respect as our robot betters. Imagine being gunned down by the “Google Drones” or being forced to work for the “Google Internment Camp”. Wouldn’t you rather a name like “Ocelot Corp” or “Gigadyne” be the starting point for the age of machines and the fall of mankind? This is where Cyberdyne Systems had a good idea and stuck with it. They knew that if their program ever decided that mankind worked better as target practice, it had the proper name to take them down with. A name that could be feared and also respected; not a name that could qualify as a toddler’s first words.

terminator-52

To be fair, the T-800’s searched for Sarah Conner would have been optimized if it was powered by Google.

It’s a robot-on-robot war for the fate of humanity and you’re smack-dab in the middle of all its top-down shooter glory. Publisher Perfect World and Developer Tuque Games are set to bring the robotic apocalypse to your PC with Livelock. Livelock sends you on a mission to shoot your way through hordes of robots to save humanity. With its guns locked and loaded, it hopes to not shoot any blanks.

Livelock takes place in a post-apocalyptic future where humanity is a distant memory and robots have taken their place as inheritors of earth. To that end, the world of Livelock is wonderfully realized. Most stages are barren wastelands where the remnants of humanity mix in with the discarded corpses of other robots that have fallen in the robot wars that followed mankind’s destruction. A fact that can be commonly seen in the way the art style treats the robots and the world they live on. The newer robots shine with a metallic brilliance while the rest of the world is diluted by dull hues to give a clear distinction on what’s old and new. To that effect, the weapon effects and explosions also light up the screen with a dazzling pop as the player violently weeds their way through their enemies. All this makes it clear to me that Livelock took some care when developing its art-style and graphics.

No joke here. I just really like the weapon effects.

No joke here. I just really like the weapon effects.

The story in Livelock continues to play with the duality of old and new. Mankind was given ten years before their eventual destruction, three human minds were downloaded into brand new robot bodies in the hopes of resurrecting humanity at a later time. Though the plan seems perfect, mankind fails to properly gauge the destruction and the time-table is set back by a few hundred years. Our three robot saviors are then resurrected by a satellite AI and are introduced to a world where three robot factions are fighting for dominance over the Earth. With the world in turmoil, the satellite AI informs them that the only way to save mankind is to stop the current war. This sends the player and the robots with human minds on a path of destruction for a chance to bring mankind back. It’s an intriguing narrative that blends the lines between robot and man to bring you a tale about perseverance and survival. Overall, it is a competent story with a satisfying ending even if it can be a tad predictable at times.

The gameplay can be best described in one word and, thankfully, that word is “fun.” At any moment there is a variety of things that can be happening on the screen and it’s the player’s job to properly balance out all the robotic bits. There may not always be a constant stream of enemies on the screen, but when Livelock decides to ramp up, it doesn’t really hold back the carnage. The player is almost constantly besieged by a variety of enemies both weak and powerful that require skillful uses of each robot’s three primary weapons and its varied abilities to survive. Furthermore, there are upgraded versions of every enemy that are beefier, stronger and, oftentimes, bigger than their normal version and require their own strategies to defeat.

The “variety of things” I talked about.

The “variety of things” I talked about.

The only real shame here is the fact that Tuque Games didn’t decide to diverge from the three most common classes when it came to the core robots. Putting it in MMO terms, the three robots fall into DPS, Tank and Support roles (or as I like to call them Shooty McShooterson, The Big Guy and The Red Cross). Though what they lacked in creativity, they make up for in execution as each gain an enjoyable number of weapons and skills to do away with the machine menace. Those skills can then be equipped, along with a variety of weapons, to build different setups for your robot. This means that there is a low chance that two robots would end up the same way, even if the same one is chosen.

And you’ll get plenty of chances to see those builds with the multiplayer. Overall, it’s pretty great. Any lag is hardly noticeable and the difficulty ramps up to a point where it is necessary to use your team to its full advantage. Thankfully, they also fixed the earlier connection issues and the multiplayer seems to run fine now.

Lastly, the variety of enemies is worth mentioning. Each robotic cluster has its own theme and the enemies you face play to them. Whether it is the hive-like structure of the Noesis cluster or the human-like appearances of the Praetorian cluster each robotic faction the player faces come with their own design and strategies. This not only keeps the player on their toes but also lends to the world building of the story. Each faction harbors its own desires and they play out throughout the course of the story to lend some life to the dead planet the story takes place on.

Livelock seems to have a bullet in every chamber. The story is competent, the gameplay is fun, the multiplayer works great and mixing and matching the different abilities and weapons is a treat. It’s also obvious that the developers took care and effort when developing the graphics and art-styles to fit the game’s setting. As of right now, Livelock’s chamber is full and locked and loaded for some fun.

When not implanting his human mind into a robot body as Unnamedhero, Eduardo Luquin can be reached at Unnamedheromk13@gmail.com.

*This review has been edited to reflect that multiplayer has been fixed upon launch.*

 

Heart&Slash (PC) Review

Developer: AHEARTFULOFGAMES | Publisher: Badland Games || Overall: 8.5

I need more money. I don’t mean the type of money that’ll help me in the short term, I mean the type of money that will prevent me from being a Walmart greeter when I’m old and gray. I constantly hear that the economy is in the shitter and that Social Security was a fairy tale they told good little boys and girls so they’ll have something to look forward too when they grow old. Now as an adult I fear that I won’t be able to simply put on a VR headset and lose myself in a virtual world for the duration of my golden years like I first dreamed of when I was a child. Instead, I’ll probably be picking up odd jobs here and there just to stay… y’know… alive. Think people would fund a Kickstarter that won’t give them anything back in return?

Social Security Benefits claim form

I imagine the other side of this form will say “Pysche!” in big bold letters by the time I get old enough to fill it out.

Straight out of Kickstarter and with all of the confidence other people’s money can give it, Heart&Slash is set to invade your computer with its button mashing goodness. Published by Badland Games and Developed by AHEARTFULOFGAMES, Heart&Slash is an attempted love letter to the beat’em-up genre of days past. Not only that, but it’s also an unforgiving Roguelike that demands the utmost concentration and ample amounts of manual dexterity to play. This exquisite combination lends to Heart&Slash’s unique style.

Originally advertised as Bayonetta meets the Roguelike genre, shadows of the former are obviously present in the combat. Heart (one of the game’s titular character) is quite the formidable little bucket of bolts. He’s equipped with a double jump and a control scheme that focuses on a two-button combat style that fans of Dynasty Warriors (or any of its derivatives) will quickly understand. Combine that with the ability to quickly switch weapons with the press of a button and the massive amounts of weapons available, each with their own combos and style, and Heart&Slash becomes quite the sandbox for said combos. Though, while not as deep as Bayonetta, it is a wholly satisfying system that isn’t a stranger to over the top combos.

It’s also just as punishing. The game demands a keen eye, the ability to multi-task, and dexterous fingers to play. A momentary lapse in either could result in the loss of health, or even worse, death, and in Rouguelike fashion that sends you right to the beginning of the game to do it all over again. Thankfully, Heart&Slash isn’t completely unforgiving.

The game is fair… I promise…

The game is fair… I promise…

Even if it isn’t in an overly-obvious way, Heart gets stronger. The formidable little robot doesn’t come back a completely clean slate after every death. He is allowed to bring any unused experience with him in the form of the bolts he collects from defeated robots. With these he can immediately upgrade any equipment he comes across. Heart also unlocks further equipment every play through giving it a plethora of combat options both weak and strong, as well as a few support abilities like a wall jump and displaying the health of every enemy. At that point, you just have to pray that the random number generator gives a good set of equipment.

Unfortunately, there are some things that the RNG cannot fix. There is quite the number of environmental bugs that plague the post-apocalyptic world that Heart lives in. It wasn’t all that rare for me to jump right through walls and for enemies to find themselves stuck into the floor. In some instances, that only proved a minor disturbance, and other times, I suddenly found myself falling into a vast sea of white and losing a fair bit of health in the process. Then there is the case of the camera. Like the 3D platformers of yesteryear, it can be clunky and unresponsive at times. This can be quite a problem especially in a game that requires as much careful planning and movement like Heart&Slash. I wouldn’t say it happened so much that it was excessive, but it was still quite off-putting when an enemy landed a lucky shot because the camera flickered away.

Now what Heart&Slash has an excess of is… well… heart. The developer seems to have a put quite a surprising amount of care into many small things about this game. The soundtrack rings with an upbeat retro track that easily becomes an earworm. The enemies you encounter are not only diverse, but also are as colorful as the protagonist; each requiring a different strategy to defeat, especially when they gang up on you. There are also plenty of little references besides the allusions to the beat’em up genre as a whole. If you take the time to look you’ll even be able to catch a Mario and Zelda references among all the other ones in the game. This all leads me to believe that the developers not only loved this game, but video games as a whole.

I’m pretty sure this is a Zoids reference, if anyone remembers that show.

I’m pretty sure this is a Zoids reference, if anyone remembers that show.

Heart&Slash may be plagued by a few bugs and a wonky camera, but it is a great experience overall. If you enjoy beat’em ups, high difficulty, or just quirky games overall, you should give this game a shot. Maybe then the TV-headed robot protagonist of this game will worm its way into your heart too.

When not coming back stronger after every death as Unnamedhero, Eduardo Luquin can be reached at Unnamedheromk13@gmail.com.

 

Assault Android Cactus (PS4) Re-Review

Developer/Publisher: Witch Beam  || Overall: 9.0

Déjà Vu is an odd thing. By its very nature it is a contradiction; a feeling of hazy familiarity in a completely unfamiliar setting. That’s not even to mention the inherent mystery in the whole process. Often you aren’t even sure where the feeling comes from; it is just a sudden hit of nostalgia that leaves you dazed and seemingly comes from outta nowhere. It could even be triggered by any number of things: going to a new area, performing a task or even reviewing a game you already reviewed a few months ago…

groundhog-day-driving
Things could be worse.

Déjà Vu is an odd thing. By its very nature it is a contradiction; a feeling of hazy familiarity in a completely unfamiliar setting. That’s not even to mention the inherent mystery in the whole process. Often you aren’t even sure where the feeling comes from; it is just a sudden hit of nostalgia that leaves you dazed and seemingly comes from outta nowhere. It could even be triggered by any number of things: going to a new area, performing a task or even reviewing a game you already reviewed a few months ago…

groundhog-day-driving
If you haven’t gotten the joke by now, maybe you should
give it another go-round?

Harkening (is that even a word?) back to a time where carpet shooters were a thing and all you needed was two buttons to play a videogame, Assault Android Cactus is now set to land its special brand of bullet hell madness to the PlayStation 4. Developed by Witch Beam, Assault Android Cactus was a pretty great game on the PC and seems willing to continue that trend on the new platform. Though, be prepared; this is a review of a game that I recently reviewed, so if you aren’t looking to hear a lot of the same just know it’s a great game and you should give it a shot if you haven’t. For those that wish to stay, get ready for me to abuse my “as expected,” “just like last time,” “also,” and “once again,” privileges.

 

As expected, the story doesn’t really change at all between versions. It is still a simple story set in a large ship full of robots that have just downloaded their mutiny protocols and are now dealing with their Three-Laws-of-Robotics-frustrations by way of wanton destruction. Of course, every story must have its heroes so it’s up to Cactus and all the other androids already on board to quell the mutiny and regain peace by way of wanton destruction. Thankfully, Assault Android Cactus’ titular character and all the other playable androids help to balance out all that wanton destruction with some charm. Each playable character has their own personal set of quirks that makes them stand out, and even their own combination of weapons that further separate them from the rest. These varied personalities and gameplay styles go well with multiple playthroughs of the game too. If only because the developers took the time to give each character their own unique and entertaining dialogue with every boss.

aac_004
WANTON DESTRUCTION!!!

Just like last time, the gameplay is the best part of Assault Android Cactus. It’s a sweet mixture of dodging and shooting that teases the nostalgia for old carpet shooters right out of me. It can be overwhelming but it hits that sweet spot where it still seems fair. Plus, it could even be considered a bit more forgiving than its 2D forefathers because getting hit isn’t a problem, instead time is. In a bit of innovativeness on its part, you are put on a timer instead of a life system, and while getting hit does lose time it is definitely not the end. In the upper-middle portion of the screen there is a battery that is slowly draining juice and the only way to fill it up is to pick up the battery packs that the enemies drop occasionally. This forces the player to keep up a constant pace of shooting, destroying and picking up the enemy drops. This is where the game excels. Very often, I would barely get the battery packs before the battery would completely drain, it timed nearly perfect to keep the tension high and the fun just as exciting. Overall, it was pleasure to pick up and play.

 

Also, it was easy to pick up and play. The control scheme isn’t overly complicated and only really requires the two top triggers and both analogue sticks. The right trigger is for shooting, the left trigger is to use your special ability and the analogue sticks control your movement and aim. This simple system is more than enough to control the game and aid you in your dance of death as you hard-reboot all the evil robots on board the ship.

 

Once again, the graphics and music of the game aren’t all that spectacular but don’t detract from the great gameplay. There are no drawbacks on either part that are particularly worth noting. Each is just enough to complement the game nicely but not enough to be spectacular. While on the subject, there are things to complain about, but they are nitpicky at best. For one, in multiplayer it is sometimes hard to keep track of your character and, occasionally, your character might drift off screen. For two, the isometric view this game uses, instead of the standard top-down perspective, can obscure your view near large enemies and objects causing you to be hit by hidden projectiles. Lastly, there still seems to be no option for online multiplayer forcing you to socialize if you want to experience it. These are in no way game changing, but they are definitely spots for improvement.

aac_001
Truth be told, it’s already easy to lose yourself in all of this mess.

So there you have it, harkening (I’ve decided, it’s a word now) back to my earlier review, Assault Android Cactus does a lot of things right and a few things wrong. It’s an overall great game and you should really consider giving this quirky, hectic, and fun romp a chance on PlayStation 4… or PC if you don’t have that. Either way, its hours of enjoyment and a pretty damn good time with friends present.

If you want a more in-depth review of the game, check out my PC Review for the same game here.

When not writing reviews as Unnamedhero, Eduardo Luquin can be reached at unnamedheromk13@gmail.com.

 

The Magical Dishwasher

One day a garbage collector, who was a female, was working, collecting garbage.

When she got to the old blue house, she exclaimed “why is there a dishwasher in front of this old blue house?”

Little did she know, the dishwasher was a magical dishwasher.  Once she held the dishwasher in her hands to put it in the garbage truck, it began to glow!

The dishwasher opened up and plates and cups began to float in the air, all sparkly clean.

“My, oh my, I wish my dishes were this clean after putting them in my dishwasher!”  Unfortunately for the garbage collector, the dishes surrounded her and began to take control of her body.  The dishwasher sucked her in, along with all the dishes, and the garbage truck.

Suddenly, the dishwasher turned into a large demon robot.  “My name is John Ramses!” the large robot exclaimed.  “And through political lobbying I will acquire all the waste contracts for LA County and make John Ramses the number one trash and waste power in the world!”

John Ramses picked up his demon robot briefcase and walked in the nearest City Hall, and slowly worked on his trash-picking empire.  By 2015, John Ramses had overtaken all the contracts in the world.

Moral of the story: Don’t take things that aren’t yours.

 

“Is Our Health On the Line?” Breakdown

This entry is part 3 of 13 in the series Dave's Breakdown

While I’m at work, I get to read Yahoo! News.  I’ve got plenty of time to catch up on everything that’s fucked up with the world, and all this stuff with WikiLeaks is going off into this weird place with people asking for the death of the founder and all this other conspiracy-worthy nutjobbiness.

Then comes Yahoo! Health.  Every time I read one of their stupid ass articles I get angry.  I don’t get angry because of the facts they present.  I mostly get angry in the WAY they do it.  Most of their stupid articles are about how a hamburger from TGI Fridays is the equivalent to 15 large chocolate smoothies or how an extra-cheese pizza is the equivalent to 29 tofu hot dogs without the buns.

But their most recent travesty of the English language comes in the form of an article named “Is Your Health on the Line?” — and if you couldn’t get the pun in the title of the article its about CELL PHONES!!!! OMG!!!!  THE LASER BEAMS ARE SHOOTING INTO YOUR BRAIN AND INTO YOUR PELVIS AND ITS GOING TO GIVE YOU CANCER SO STOP USING YOUR CELL PHONE AS AN ALARM CLOCK AND START JUMPING OFF BUILDINGS BECAUSE YOU’RE NOT GOING TO GET AWAY FROM YOUR CELL PHONE’S LIFE-STEALING RADIATION!

So I’m going to break down the article piece by piece, mostly by the quotes that I hate.

“Unless you’ve had your cell phone permanently glued to your ear, chances are you’ve heard the recent health buzz: …”

This opening sentence just rubs me the wrong way instantaneously, and really sets the mood for the whole article.  “HAHA FUCK YOU” is what the author is saying to everyone who might fit the description.  Gross generalizational remarks such as this are part of the reason why I hate writers who try to make their sensationalist bullshit something you should care about.

“… Mobile devices may cause cancer. While it’s true that the National Cancer Institute has ruled them safe, a growing number of independent researchers disagree.”

Okay.  So… they “MAY” cause cancer.  However, the leading institute of cancer research says its safe.  Soooo…. let’s find some random people who can say otherwise, and call them “independent researchers.”  Yes, these independent researchers that you’ve never heard of, but now are making statements that can affect your life and tell you what to do.  It’s bullshit like this that makes those random idiots out there say “THEY SAY IT CAUSES CANCER.”  Who is the ever elusive “they?”  “They” are fictitious “independent researchers” (aka experts, apparently) quoted by terrible writers who nominate themselves for Pullitzers.

Now, let’s take a look at how reliable the National Cancer Institute is.  Well, look at that, they have a .gov in their URL.  http://www.cancer.gov/.  So, a fucking governmental institute that has researched cancer as the sole purpose of their existence is not reliable enough to put the issue to rest.  So let’s get all the paranoid idiots of the world hyped up about cell phones shooting dangerous radiation into our skulls since there’s nothing else better to do.

“Most phones do comply with the federal standards, but SAR monitors only thermal effects. (In other words, if the radiation from your phone isn’t cooking your brain, it’s regarded as safe.)”

Sensationalism!  YES!  :zzz:  If a cell phone doesn’t FRY YOUR BRAIN it must be safe!! :zzz: :zzz: :zzz: :zzz:   I guess if a cell phone doesn’t signal an airplane to land on your face it’s also safe.

So, apparently there are phones that don’t comply with federal standards, as proven by this article.  I would assume if this statement were actually founded, that cell phones that DIDN’T comply with federal standards should be reported.  Y’know, since that’s not exactly legal.  Or maybe it is.  In which case, where can I buy a microwave gun to shoot some people’s ovaries and testicles with so they never procreate?

“But mounting scientific evidence suggests that nonthermal radio frequency radiation (RF)—the invisible energy waves that connect cell phones to cell towers, and power numerous other everyday items—can damage our immune systems and alter our cellular makeup, even at intensities considered safe by the FCC.”

Mounting scientific evidence from the articles own, nameless independent researchers/experts?  WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE!

THE INVISIBLE ENERGY WAVES – OH NOOOOO!!  They’re invisible!  That must mean they’re bad!  Hey guess what, you fucktard.  VISIBLE ENERGY WAVES have more radiation in them than RF waves!  MIND BOGGLING!

Alter our cellular makeup, so we’re mutating right in front of ourselves?  Sweet, when do I get to turn into a puddle of water and hide behind the laundry machines?

“”The problem is that RF can transfer energy waves into your body and disrupt its normal functioning,” explains Cindy Sage, an environmental consultant in Santa Barbara, California, who has studied radiation for 28 years.”

OH LOOK!  It’s our first independent researcher.  Cindy Sage.  Hmm… Let’s see if we can find anything about her.  But before that, let’s take a look at the “RF can disrupt its normal functioning” statement.  What the fuck does she think we are?  Robots?  We don’t take signals from a cell phone tower to lift our arm, do we?  And another thing, “can” is a very interesting word to use.  It’s mostly used when you don’t know for sure one way or the other.  Meaning… YOU DON’T KNOW what the fuck you’re talking about apparently.

So, Cindy Sage.  Who are you and why do you think you’re so smart?  Let’s go look at your web site.  http://www.silcom.com/~sage/emf/index.html.  Wow.  So your web site is all about how you can decrease the intensity of electromagnetic fields… among other seemingly random things.  And you charge people for it, obviously.  So, I see a conflict of interest here.  Why wouldn’t you want people to freak out about EMF bullshit when you make money by decreasing the amount of EMF in a given area.  Let’s jump to later in the article:

“We’re going to wireless offices and living in wireless homes. Even beaches and parks are going wireless. We’re exposed everywhere.”

Because the sun never posed a threat in beaches or parks before cell phones.

“The good news is that you don’t need to ditch your gadgets. This advice will let you stay plugged in—and keep you healthy.”

Oh, good.  After seven paragraphs of saying how terrible any of these wireless “gadgets” are, you say we can keep them.  How terribly contradicting.  Yet, it soothes the minds of your readers after you’ve insulted them, because they can’t live without their high tech gizmos and gadgets.  I guess Aeriel from Little Mermaid got a brain tumor since she spent so much time with cell phones sailors dropped in the ocean.

“When your phone is on (which it probably is even as you read this) it’s constantly sending and receiving RF signals… The activity really amps up when you’re, say, driving through rural areas. Plus, within the close confines of a car, your entire core is exposed to the radiation.”

Oh no, my tumorous-causing, cancer-causing, soul-stealing cell phone is on and sending my position to the aliens!

I find it very misleading that “within the close confines of a car” you are exposed to MORE RF from your cell phone than if you aren’t in a car.  How does a cell phone’s RF signals all of a sudden expose your “entire core” to radiation as opposed to outside of your car?  It’s in the same place relative to your body.  If anything, the RF signals would be absorbed by the car around you instead of shooting into the 6 year old kid you always seem to have next to your cell phone so you can give them brain cancer.  Being in a car doesn’t do anything more than being out of a car.  In fact, having your windows closed avoids radiation from a more powerful source of energy – ULTRAVIOLET.  Yeah, remember that?  That’s actually something to be mindful of.

“The safer solution: Keep your phone off when driving until you really need it, says Carpenter.”

Well, Carpenter is an idiot.  How would we be able to desperately call for help in a car crash if our cell phone was off?  We’d have to wait 15 seconds for the cell phone to come on, and by then you could have already gone into cardiac arrest.  So, fuck that!  But, at least the bonus is you don’t have to worry about RF waves shooting into your exposed liver as your bleeding all over your face in an car turned upside down in the middle of the freeway.

“And no matter where you are, avoid holding a cell phone directly to your noggin… and use either speakerphone or a corded headset (not a wireless headset).”

So I guess if I’m in public it’s okay for people to hear both sides of the conversation, not like private information being leaked around is worse for you or anything.

“If you have a smartphone that’s loaded with games, music, and movies, turn your wireless settings off while playing or rocking out.”

I HATE PEOPLE WHO SAY “ROCKING OUT.”  FUCK YOU.  I AM NOT ROCKING OUT, IT IS A FUCKING SONG THAT I LIKE TO LISTEN TO.

“Cordless Phones

These stealth wireless threats “have become so powerful, they’re often as strong as cell phones,” says Sage.”

My God.  They’re like worse than a Stealth B-2 Nuclear Bomber, the way they write this article.  At least we can control nuclear bombs.

“Preliminary blind studies have found that, when sitting beside a DECT phone base, some people experienced arrhythmia, a troubling heartbeat irregularity that could eventually lead to stroke or coronary disease, says Sage.”

If RF signals do that by themselves, then there must also be a frequency that stops arrhythmia, too!

“If the whole body is radiated by a router’s RF emissions, the greatest concern is cancer, especially leukemia,” says Carpenter. Also, be aware of your at-home router and any plug-in wireless USB cards you often use.

So, lets get this straight.  Wireless Routers cause leukemia.  Cordless phones cause arrhythmia.  Cell phones cause brain tumors and/or cancer.  Sounds totally real yet so very unproven!

“That Ethernet technology doesn’t leak RF and is often faster and more secure.”

So bad.  They make it seem like anything that uses RF technology UNINTENTIONALLY shoots out its RF signals.  As if that’s not what it’s designed to do!

“If you just can’t give up your wireless router (e.g., if you live in a home with a handful of computer users), make sure you sit as far away from it as possible, says Crofton, and turn it off at night and whenever you’re not online.”

That defeats the purpose of a wireless router.  Sitting as far away as possible from a wireless router gets you shitty reception.  Why would you want shitty internet intentionally?

“When you hold your laptop on your lap, what you’re essentially doing is radiating your pelvis,” says Carpenter, …”

And Laptops make you sterile…

“Indeed, early studies point to a heightened risk of testicular cancer for men who keep RF-emitting devices close to their belts.”

…give you testicular cancer…

“For women, adds Carpenter, “the studies aren’t quite there yet, but I think we can say that anything that might cause cancer almost always causes birth defects, so pregnant women—or those wanting to become pregnant soon—should take extra precautions.”

…give you ovarian cancer and makes your babies downy babies.  Death to RF!  I mean, death to light!  Does that make sense?

“The safer solution: Keep your laptop off your lap (if you have to rest it there, buffer it with a sturdy pillow that’s at least six inches thick).”

Because pillows absorb RF light or something?  How is a pillow supposed to stop that if it isn’t opaque to RF light?  It could be translucent, for all we know, depending on the material your pillow is made of, and the RF waves just go right through the pillows.  Not to mention you are creating a FIRE HAZARD by putting your laptop on a pillow and having the laptop heat up and possibly start smoking and blow up and burn you and your pillow and your ovaries and your house down.  Smart people are really dumb.

“Try to use a desktop computer at home and treat your laptop as an on-the-go convenience.”

Isn’t the reason that most people have a laptop because they don’t have room for a desktop?

“One thing to keep in mind: Laptops are a high RF radiation risk only while connected to wireless Internet, so when you’re watching a DVD, fiddling around with your photos, or writing that dissertation, just disable your connection and you’ll be much safer.”

Safe from what?  The invisible cancer waves?   I guess fiddling around with your secret porn collection is just as dangerous in the end, you never know who might see you doing stuff with them, and use that as justification to murder you.  Guess you don’t have to worry about invisible threats of cancer when you’re DEAD from an abusive relationship.

“Baby monitors release more RF than cell phones do, and putting them next to a crib is very, very unwise,” says Carpenter. He points to a recent University of Utah study that shows RF radiation can penetrate almost entirely through a child’s brain, which doesn’t form completely until nearly 20 years of age. “It’s very clear from all the existing research that the younger the child is, the more vulnerable he or she is to the effects of RF radiation.”

In one temporal lobe and out the other, I always say (I don’t)!  Did all of that “existing research” also say that the younger a child is, the more vulnerable they are to BELIEVING STUPID SHITTY ARTICLES ON YAHOO HEALTH?

“The safer solution: Consider not using a baby monitor. If you absolutely must use one, place it far from your baby’s crib—at least 10 to 15 feet away.”

That way it makes it easier for you to not know if your baby is in need of help!  Or makes it easy for some random guy to come in and steal your baby!  Guess you don’t have to worry about brain tumors and cancer when you don’t have a baby anymore.  Also, if there’s nothing in between the baby and the monitor, THE LIGHT DOESN’T GET ABSORBED.  In fact, you’re making sure to shower your baby’s WHOLE BODY with RF waves, and making everything around him absorb RF light as well so they can sleep in an irradiated crib.  According to the article’s logic, anyhow.

In conclusion, there is no conclusion.  This article is full of stupid crap and is trash.  This is one of the worst articles I’ve ever read.