Monthly Archives: May 2011

End of May Update

It’s been over three weeks last my last Game Journal update. While I haven’t played a ton, I have made progress on a few games.
Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony
I’m still putting decent progress into this. gem likes to watch me play this, so I can’t play it that often, but I’m enjoying it. I loved the original GTA4 more than the expansions, but I think I’m liking the Ballad of Gay Tony more than the Lost and Damned.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game
Last time I updated, I had just started playing Scott Pilgrim again. Last night Collin, Duncan, gem, and I finished the game on Average Joe, the normal, easiest setting. I had a blast and would definitely love to jump back into it and try on the harder difficulties.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II
Well, this is kind of funny. I couldn’t play this for months because I lost it, and as it turns out, I had just reached the last level when I misplaced the game. Check, another game completed.
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
My desktop died, so progress here is pretty much dead as well.
Portal 2
I didn’t make any progress here myself, but gem has almost finished the single player campaign. This relates to MY game progress because it means we can almost start playing the co-op campaign together.
My Hoard review is finally up, and I have played a bit more of it. It’s nice because it doesn’t have a campaign mode. It simply has a variety of short skirmishes available.
Up next…
I’m not sure what to play next. With my computer down, a lot of those options are out. I’m still going to be working on the Ballad of Gay Tony, and I might pick up Pokemon White again. I think Gish would be fun to play as well as Samorost and Samorost 2 on my laptop. As for consoles when gem’s not around, I think I’ll put more time into Super Mario Galaxy 2!


Hoard | Apple/Mac, PC, PC Games, Reviews, Real Time Strategy, Strategy

Big Sandwich Games recently provided me with two copies of their awesome new game, Hoard. To understand Hoard, I’d like to consider an RTS game. Villages grow and become cities while farms increase in size to feed the villagers. Carts of gold travel along the roads. Castles rise, training knights to eliminate the dragons the terrorize the country. Now consider controlling the dragon…
Hoard is a fantastic game because of the complex strategies available that have been boiled down into 10 minute chunks of gaming. Multiplayer is a great way to spice it up, but AI dragons provide fun when no one’s aound with whom to play…
Hoard is a complex RTS dressed up as a tabletop, miniatures wargame and served in small portions. It’s $10 on Steam and definitely worth the pricetag.

Are you a closet roleplayer?

Breakfast Topic: Are you a closet roleplayer?

Most players don’t actively roleplay in World of Warcraft — however, it sure seems like some people do without realizing it.

WoW Insider just published my second article! This one is a Breakfast Topic on creating back-stories or thinking as your character without actively roleplaying within World of Warcraft.I very rarely roleplay in the actual game, but I think I “closet roleplay” actively!

Batman Beyond Season 1

Oh, the glamorous and very adult life of Peter!
So I finished the first season of Batman Beyond! I haven’t really read much DC, but as a casual fan, I really enjoyed it. The new Batman seems to be fantastic at martial arts with the only explanation that he was once in a street gang. Overlooking that, having Batman be young and new to the job is an interesting take on the Dark Knight. I enjoyed seeing villains that I knew, but I think meeting the new ones was even better, especially the Blight reveal at the end of the season!

Parsing and Tiles Structures Complete

Excuse the bad art. They’re placeholders. I’m not an artist.
I finished the parser and data structures to hold terrain (ground, walls, ceiling, etc.) tiles. Of course, they will likely be changed over time to accommodate new types of tiles, because right now I only have one – grass. The point is that it works and that at this point it can go through the entire data structure of tiles during each update without any slowdown.
I’ll probably want to add a second tile type soon just to make sure parser and data structures can handle different types. I guess I should expect error and add in some error handling for when the data file has incorrect characters in it.
And then I’ll be on to gravity and, with it, collision detection for the ground.

Level Layout Parsing

I’ve been thinking that documenting my work on Mr. Bear’s Adventure might press me to work on it a little more. It’s a basic platformer (or it hopefully will be) that I’ve been attempting to make. The idea isn’t to make some fantastic game; rather, it’s to just make a platformer at all. The only way to get practice is to churn out some simple games.
I had already created some sprites and done character movement, excluding any kind of collision detection or gravity. So, I hadn’t done much of anything yet actually. When I returned to work on it, I started on the parser to read external data files containing the level layout. Along with it, I started working on the structures used to store the levels.

New Books

I’m still reading Little Fuzzy, the original book that Scalzi’s Fuzzy Nation rebooted. Despite having the same basic plot outline, it’s different enough to still be quite entertaining.
I have four books in my queue now thanks to the store making me impulsively purchase books. First, I still have Agent to the Stars, which is written by one of my favorite authors, has a plot that seems fun, and has a gorgeous cover. In the book, aliens want to make contact with Earth but realize we would find them ugly and foul-smelling, so they get a Hollywood agent to help them.
Anyways, today I purchased two more books. I picked up The Lonesome Gods based on a recommendation after feeling like giving westerns a try. I don’t really know what to expect, and I don’t have particularly high expectations. I should remind myself to give the genre another try if this book doesn’t work out. Lastly, I also purchased It’s Superman today. I saw it sitting on the counter a couple weeks ago and decided to grab it today. (Also, I like it’s cover.) I guess it’s a reimagining of Superman. Lucky for me I’ve never even read a Superman comic, so it’ll all be new.
I need to stop buying books.

Has your perspective of Azeroth changed over time?

Breakfast Topic: Has your perspective of Azeroth changed over time?

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider’s pages.
The very first time you load into Azeroth, you don’t know what to expect. If you’re familiar with previous Warcraft games, you might recognize some places, but many of the locations will be new to you. As a level 1 character, you can’t ride a mount at all, let alone use a flying mount. The world is huge, and it’s actually difficult to get across a continent.

WoW Insider just posted the first of three articles they purchased from me! I have to admit, checking their site has been the first thing I’ve done every morning since they purchased them. I’m very excited!


Winners, originally uploaded by theuser.

Barnes & Noblia (the B is silent), which is the full and official name, tied with Updog for most golds! We also had more silvers than them, so I think that makes us the winners. Of course, some teams only had 3 people, but I consider it part of our strategy that we showed up with a full team.
I had a ton of fun today. Also I guess I suck at video games. Oh well.

Fuzzy Nation

Fuzzy Nation, originally uploaded by theuser.

I just finished Scalzi’s new book, Fuzzy Nation, last night. I picked it up Tuesday when it was released, and it was definitely a fun read. It follows Holloway, a prospector on an alien planet. He discovers a rich mineral deposit but also creatures that just might be sentient. If they are, the planet belongs to them and humans can’t exploit it. The book is a reboot of H. Beam Piper’s 1962 book, Little Fuzzy, now in the public domain.
Last week I read Carrie Vaughn’s After the Golden Age. In it the daughter of Captain Olympus and the Spark, the city’s best two superheroes, has no powers of her own. Working as an accountant, she attempts to put her parents’ arch-nemesis behind bars but finds out some interesting family history while she’s at it. The book was definitely entertaining but read like a teen novel and had quite a few errors.
About a month ago I finished Moondogs by Alexander Yates, a strange tale about a man visiting the Philippines to visit his father, a kidnapping, and superpowered soldiers. Oh, and the kidnapper had a rooster for a sidekick. It was good, but it sure left me feeling discontent with the way it ended.
Now I’m starting Little Fuzzy, and then I plan on reading the final book in the Hyperion series, The Rise of Endymion!

Daredevil, The Ultimates

I mentioned a while ago that I read Daredevil Visionaries – Frank Miller Vol. 2, but I’ve now read Vol. 3 and Daredevil: Born Again as well. Daredevil is amazingly badass, and I owe Kyle for teaching this to me. Born Again was especially great despite the fact that for most of the comic, Murdock didn’t don the Daredevil persona.
I also borrowed The Ultimates 1 and 2 from a friend and read through those recently. The Ultimates are the Marvel Ultimate versions of the Avengers, and the graphic novels were excellent. The only other Avengers comics I’d read were Avengers Disassembled, which kind of assumed you knew the characters. It was great learning about the different characters in the Ultimates. Captain America is still one of my favorite heroes, and it was interesting to see Thor such a hippie. I’ll definitely need to read more of the Ultimates (and go see the Thor movie sometime soon)!

May Update

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
I’ve been much more active now that I’m back in Carpe just because there are so many more people around. Also, with the 4.1 changes to heroics, I can do multiple heroics on my off days and still get valor points for all of them. I did four tonight with guildies, and it’s very nice to be able to do this! I should be able to buy a new piece of valor gear soon, and I only have a neck piece and two rings to buy as far as honor gear. Of course, I need honor enchants as well. I’m at ilvl 350 in PVE, but I haven’t done the new dungeons because I’m waiting for gem. In PVP gear I’m currently at 2.8k resilience. Also, I finished Children’s Week, and I love the new lore in the quests!
Portal 2
I managed to play through the single player campaign in Portal 2, and it was fantastic. It wasn’t as good as the original, but it was still amazingly great. I’m looking forward to playing co-op with gem as soon as she finishes the single-player campaign. Alex has also played it a few times at my house, and it’s even wonderful just to watch him play.
I don’t really want to talk about this too much since I’m reviewing it for Game-Boyz, but I’ve been playing it too. It’s very fun, especially since each round is only about ten minutes.
Plants vs. Zombies
I finally got all the achievements in PvZ on iOS! The one I was missing was the achievement for getting all the plants. Of course, that was just a grind for money away! I kind of wish there was more to do in the game though. I know I could just play it for fun, but it’s more difficult to play when there isn’t a goal in mind. Even games that can’t be completed usually have a high score mode or something. Now this one is all done.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game
After all this time, I finally got to play Scott Pilgrim! I played with gem, Justina, and Collin. God, it is so much fun. It feels like such a great throw back to River City Ransom while containing modern gameplay mechanics and beautiful aesthetics. I can’t wait to finish it.
Rush is basically Chu Chu Rocket with more panels and a third dimension. I picked it up on Steam when it was on sale and have been having a lot of fun with it. I still have a lot of puzzles left to do, but it’s pretty interesting. There doesn’t seem to be any stages comparable to the arcade stages in CCR, but that’s okay, because the puzzles are fun.
Chu Chu Rocket
Speaking of Chu Chu Rocket, I started playing the iOS version of it again in an attempt to get more achievements. It has a lot of puzzles!
Capsized is a new, indie platformer on Steam. I downloaded the demo and enjoyed it but haven’t yet purchased the full game. You move your character with WASD, aim with the mouse, and can shoot, jump, and interact with the environment in a few other ways. The game is gorgeous. Check out the screenshots here.
Mass Effect
I didn’t play this at all, but I did pick it up when it was on sale on Steam. I’m sure I’ll get to it eventually!
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II
I found it! This had been lost for a couple months now I think, but I finally found the game today. Now I can get back to it.



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Scalzi’s Summer Movie Preview

Gaaah, Meh, or w00t! The 2011 Sci-fi and Fantasy Preview – Feature

Here’s my quick take on the summer’s science-fictional and fantastic would-be hits, which I grade, in order of increasing enthusiasm, as follows: “Gaaah,” “Meh,” “Hmmm,” and “w00t!” Because ranking by stars or letter grade is boring.

– John Scalzi
There are a lot more more interesting movies coming out than I realized.
Scalzi says Hmmm, and I’m going to have to agree. I’m interested because I like the Avengers, but Thor’s never been a character I’ve followed much. Although I’m looking forward to seeing it, I’m not sure how I’ll like it.
Scalzi says Meh. I’ve never heard of it before, but since all I know about it is that it takes place in a “future dystopic theocracy” and stars Paul Bettany, I’d give it a Hmmm.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
While Scalzi gives it a Meh, I’m going have to go lower and say Gaaah. Just stop.
X-Men: First Class
Meh. While Scalzi says Hmmm, I just don’t really care about the X-Men as much anymore.
Super 8
Meh, but since I don’t know anything about it and Scalzi gives it a w00t, I guess I should keep it in mind.
Green Lantern
I’m going to have to agree with Scalzi’s Hmmm here. It looks interesting even if Ryan Reynolds is annoying.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Yes Scalzi, Gaaah. I can’t believe they’re still pumping out Transformers. This needs to end.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Meh. While Scalzi gives it a w00t, and I do agree that it’ll probably be great, I can’t seem to get excited about Harry Potter now that the books have come to an end. I’m behind on the movies anyways; I haven’t even finished watching Half-Blood Prince.
Captain America: The First Avenger
How can you say meh? w00t all the way! It’s about Captain America, who is totally awesome. How can you meh Captain America? I hope the movie’s great.
Cowboys & Aliens
Here’s one we can both w00t over! While the graphic novel didn’t wow me, judging my the cast of Cowboys & Aliens, I think this one is going to be great!
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
I’m in agreement with meh. It doesn’t anger me or anything, but I have no desire to see this.
Conan the Barbarian
While gaaah seems fairly strong, I can say meh and look away from this one. But then again, maybe I’d say gaaah if I knew anything else about the movie besides that it’s apparently being released soon.

Identity Theft Protection for PSN Users

Sony to offer PSN users free identity theft protection for one year | Joystiq

…Sony has announced that it is partnering with Debix to offer 12 months of identity theft protection free of charge.

This is a fantastic move, and I’m actually surprised to see Sony making it. Thirty days of PlayStation Plus and the free “content” downloads weren’t enough. I will be curious to see what the free content that’s offered will be. I think they just give everyone credit to purchase whatever they want. It’d be a good way to make people run back to PSN after they feel safer with the identity theft protection.

Anomaly: Warzone Earth

Anomaly: Warzone Earth | Apple/Mac, PC, Reviews, Action Games, Real Time Strategy, Strategy, 11 bit studios, 11 bit studios

Anomaly: Warzone Earth is a fantastic new game available on Steam for both PC and Mac. Provided to me by 11 bit studios, Anomaly is a tower defense game… of sorts. Perhaps it’s better to call it a reverse tower defense or a tower offense game. Or better yet, we could just call it a strategy game! In Anomaly, you see the layout of turrets in the level while controlling a line of assault vehicles. You strategize by planning the best route, deciding which vehicles to use and upgrade, and using special abilities. If you plan carefully, your units can destroy the turrets, get through the defense, and reach the end of the level!