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April 13, 2006
MacBook Pro Review
February 09, 2006
WoW and Golf
Jane Pinckard asks the question Is World of Warcraft the new Golf? in an article over on 1UP.com.
Overheard, at brunch: two tech entrepreneur types discussing World of Warcraft. What server are you on? What guild? Oh yeah, me too, I heard it's a good way to schmooze.
Is that true? Has logging in to the world's most popular massively multiplayer online game replaced a few rounds on the links as the way to make the right business connections in a tech-driven culture?
The particular Guild discussed by the brunchers above was started by Joi Ito, who became a WoW fan after embarking on the game to do some research on social networks. Joi, the money-and-idea guy behind internet companies PSINet, Digital Garage, Infoseek Japan, and social software like Moveable Type, Technorati, and Socialtext, has quite a few hangers-on who hit him up for advice, money, or access to his Rolodex. [1UP.com]
The fun thing about this is that the guild I'm a part of, We Know, is the guild Joi started. It's become a fun group of people with more than a few people from various other startups and internet companies. It's kind of fun knowing that the person you're questing with could be the CEO of some company you've heard of for ages.
Is it the new golf? I'm not sure about that. Maybe it's like the new paintball instead.
Edit: It's even hit Slashdot.
December 20, 2005
Now you too can pimp your nutcracker.
December 18, 2005
Growing For The Holidays
I'm just starting to really get into the Christmas mood. And I just saw a link to a new GROW puzzle, this one with a Christmas Tree. It was pretty easy though. Enjoy!
October 22, 2005
Parents and Videogames
I always enjoy Halley's blog and today she posts about parents and video games.
I rarely find parents who take THE TIME TO SIT DOWN AND PLAY the games with their kids. That's what I've been doing for three years now. I stink at playing, but I know about a lot of games. Parents who don't play think Tetris, Splinter Cell, Jak and Daxter and Halo are the same -- and they are not.
As I mentioned below, even if you are a parent who has ZERO interest in actually playing videogames, please read the book "Everything Bad is Good For You" by Steven Johnson, to get a perspective on what a complex, artistic, challenging, educational excursion our kids are taking when they play. [Halley's Comment]
My sister is one of those parents who has no interest in video games. She watches the ratings of the games, but really has no idea about the content most of the time. To me it seems like issue of paying attention to what your child watches on TV. Just because a show isn't violent or whatever doesn't mean that you would want your child watching it.
Then again, I don't have a kid so I may not be qualified to say much about this. I do know that as a kid I would have loved it if my parents were more interested in the games I liked and wanted to play.
September 27, 2005
World of Warcraft, part 5
Joi's been playing quite a bit of WoW and has posted some of his observations.
As you may have noticed, my blogging has been a bit light these days. This is partially due to the rigor in which I have taken on my research into the World of Warcraft (WoW). I'm still level 36 (out of a maximum of 60) so I am still a "newbie" but I thought I might share some of my observations. [Joi Ito's Web]
It's fun watching others find various fun things in the game. Things that really don't do anything besides add atmosphere. Pets you can buy for yourself. Recipes for food that turn you into a ninja or a pirate. Potions that shrink you down to mini size.
I've actually been limiting my WoW time a bit. I used to be on quite a bit, now I try not to log in before 3 in the afternoon and not stay up late just to play. Though I have been having more fun again because I've been adventuring with friends more.
September 19, 2005
I've almost got it figured out!
September 13, 2005
Random World of Warcraft Stuff
Been a nice day for World of Warcraft. We got a new patch today with much goodness. Blizzard finally relented and put up two Role Play-Player vs Player servers. People have been asking for these forever and Blizzard had made it sound like it wasn't going to happen. On the downside, they only put up two servers and the wait for them was an hour last time I looked. I recreated my original RP character over on Emerald Dream and will be playing a bit there also. Look for Parfait if you go there.
And last but not least. A link Kynn paged me with about the perils of cybersex on World of Warcraft that made me laugh out loud.
September 11, 2005
FSM: The Game
Flying Spaghetti Monster: The Game. I loved it. It was better than cats. I'm going to play it again and again. Require Flash.
September 03, 2005
WoWing with Joi
Last night Joi IMed me and asked me to come by Khadgar server and join his guild. I hopped on over and am now one of the first members of "We Know". It seems like a decent group of people so far. Now I need to get up to his level so I can adventure with him.
August 16, 2005
WoW playing Mom Busts Kid
Okay, a lesson for you kids out there. It's very possible that your parents have more than a clue about computers these days. It's not like my generation where most of them have no idea how to do things like "lob on". From joystiq:
It used to be that a boy could play his favorite game all night and mean old Mom would be none the wiser about it.
But when WoW’s so popular that Mom’s playing too, Junior runs the risk of getting busted. In the thread linked below, little boy Brion makes a rather innocent-sounding forum post at 3:30 AM. Trouble is, his mother notices because she reads that same forum. She responds:
”Pardon me for hijacking the thread, here.. But, Brion - if you don’t want your mother to know you were up and on the computer at 3:29 in the morning - DON’T post on a forum that she reads. Busted. Grounded.”
July 22, 2005
Hey, You Got Your Sex In My Violence
Though I'm sick of all the news surrounding the hidden sex scenes in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas I enjoyed this column over on sfgate.com:
There's Sex In My Violence!
What's this lame soft-core porn doing in my ultraviolent "Grand Theft Auto"? I am outraged!
Suddenly that downloadable patch you installed last night kicks in and there's, like, a lame and badly animated sex scene, right there, right between the graphic bloody part where you bazooka'd the police helicopter and the part where the gang-banger gets his lame ass beaten with a large handgun, and suddenly you're like, what the hell? Who stuck this lame badly animated sex in here? Where'd my soul-numbing ultraviolent racism go? I am outraged. [sfgate.com]
June 10, 2005
While I was in the hospital a package arrived at my parent's place with a PSP (Playstation Portable). I was blown away at the gift, it was the last thing I expected anyone to get me. Now, I'm a big fan of portable gaming. I have a Gameboy Advance SP which I love. I'm still playing a fair number of games on it even after having it for over a year. And to be honest, the system I really want to try out is the Nintendo DS. I'd only been interested in the PSP as a curiosity.
All that changed once I took it out of the box and started playing around with it. The PSP itself sports a nice shiny black finish with a decent sized screen. You've got standard directional buttons, the familiar playstation square, circle, triangle, and X buttons, and a joystick type controller. There's also a left and right button at the top. It comes with a demo disk that doesn't have any playable games, but does have trailers from games and movies. The first thing that blew me away was watching the movie trailers, the quality of the video was really nice. The trailers from the games looked really slick too.
The PSP also multitasks quite well and, like Alton, I love a tool that multitasks. You can load photos, music, and movies onto the memory stick it comes with to view/listen to. Unfortunately the stick you get is pretty small. I'm already saving up to get a bigger one.
So, overall, I give it two big thumbs up with some comments as to things I think they could have done better. The first is including a slightly larger memory stick. The next would be to have at least some playable demos that come with the game. The next has to do with the kind of games. My friends also got me a game called Ape Escape. Which, while fun, felt like it would work better on the PS2 than it did on the PSP. I've since gotten Ridge Racer, Hot-Shots Golf, and Mercury. All of which feel quite comfortable on the PSP (And which I'll hopefully review in the next few days). Hopefully we won't just see lots of ports of PS2 games.
The one last thing I find myself annoyed at is the price. Though mine was a gift, if I were looking to get something for myself I'd be much more willing to just pay $150 for the Nintendo DS. I'm really not sure who Sony is trying to target with the PSP, it almost feels more like an executive toy. Especially with them releasing movies in the UMD format. Seems just the thing for the traveling businessperson.
March 14, 2005
Joystiq and Game Girl Advance both reported on Blizzard banning accounts that were used for "Gold Farming" over the weekend. For those of you not familiar with the world of MMORPGs, Gold Farming is big business. People go around, and just kill monsters for high priced items and sell it off to make in-game money. They then sell the in-game money on places like ebay for real money. This is also done with rare magic items. The practice has been going on for ages. I remember hearing about people doing the same with Ultima Online and Evercrack.
The thing I'm finding baffling about both the posts on this is they seem to be coming down hard on Blizzard. Joystiq asks:
So, you pay for the game, pay your monthly subscription, only for Blizzard to say "you did something we don't want you to do, goodbye", and they kill your account. That's $50 wasted since, as was reported a while back, you can't transfer the serial number. Once it's used, it's used. Where should the line be drawn on what you can and can't do in a game you pay for initially, and continue to pay for every month? If people are stupid enough to buy a game's currency for hard cash, why shouldn't that be a legitimate activity? [Joystiq]
The answer is simple. You are breaking the policies that Blizzard has set forth for how they will run their game. This was not some secret policy that nobody knew of. On the World of Warcraft Policy Page it's right at the top of the announcements link. They even say what they will do to people they catch doing it (Of course, this gets to an even larger rant I have about how people don't read any of the game policies when playing). If this had come out of the blue I'd be able to understand complaints, but it didn't.
March 11, 2005
Turtles on Parade
Hosted on Flickr
March 07, 2005
Reason #4 I Dig World of Warcraft
One of the things I love best about World of Warcraft is its sense of humor and pop culture references. I started a new undead character today and while running through starting area ran across three zombies. Their names: Daniel Ulfman, Karrel Grayves, and Stephen Bhartec. Every once in a while Daniel says things like "You really couldn't blame him...", "No one lives forever...", and "Where's the rest of the guys?"
I couldn't stop chuckling about it the whole time I was playing. Brilliant.
Edit: And I just had to kill Samual Fipps.
February 11, 2005
World of Warcraft - Dealing with Success
The New York Times had an interesting piece on Blizzard and their game World of Warcraft the other day. The game has blown away all sales projectections. As a result, Blizzard is having to scramble to do a level of expansion they'd plan to do over a year all at once.
It was in the evening, right before the game was formally released on Nov. 23. Blizzard had arranged for producers and designers to sign copies of the game at midnight at a hangar-size Fry's Electronics outlet in Fountain Valley, not far from Blizzard's base in Irvine, 40 miles south of Los Angeles. The company had set up a similar signing for an earlier strategy game, Warcraft III, and about 700 people showed up. Planning optimistically, the company had about 2,500 copies of World of Warcraft on hand.
"So I planned to roll over there around 11 p.m., and as I tried to get off the freeway I look over and I see this gigantic, dark, surging mass around Fry's, and I'm like, 'What in the world is that?' " said Paul Sams, 34, Blizzard's senior vice president for business operations. It turned out that the pulsing was more than 5,000 people.
"The cars were backed up on the off-ramp," he said. "I parked like a mile away, and when I get there the line is looped around the building, and then looped around the parking lot. It was like a football tailgate, with the R.V.'s and barbecues in the lot and everything."
By the end of that first day, about 240,000 copies of the game had sold across North America, Australia and New Zealand, the product's initial markets. The game has now sold almost 700,000 copies in those markets, and at peak hours about 250,000 people from those areas are playing the game simultaneously. [New York Times - Technology]
December 09, 2004
World of Warcraft, First Impressions
So I finally gave into the whole MMORPG craze. I'd played a bit of Asheron's Call back when it was in Beta and enjoyed it. And even played a tiny bit when it was released, but it never really sucked me in that much. But I have a good number of friends playing World of Warcraft, and it's one of the few games I can play on the Mac and still be able to play with them.
First off. Big high-5 to Blizzard for releasing a game that runs on both Mac and PC beautifully. More companies need to do this. I have no idea how much extra effort it requires on their part but they really do a great job. Thank you for giving me something cool to play while all my friends are off playing CoH.
So, about the game. It's beautiful. I took some screenshots that are okay, but nothing as nice as some of the ones shown on the World of Warcraft site. The colors are vivid and for the first hour or so that I played the game i just kept looking all around me. I can't wait to explore more and see what kinds of places I can find.
Next, gameplay. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this game was easy to learn. I saw the manual that came with the the game and was a little nervous at first. It's not huge, but it just looked like there was so much to learn. So, in proper geek form I just dove right into the game. After about 10 min I created my character and was on my first quest.
So far, I love the game. As I play a bit more and get a little deeper into it I'll report back with more details. The screenshots are hosted at Flickr, and there is one other up there.
December 05, 2004
Nintendo DS in Action
A friend of mine sent me link to a demo of something for the Nintendo DS. It's streaming and using windows media, so you'll need that to watch. It starts out kinda slow, but around halfway through my jaw just dropped. Bonus points go out to anyone who recognizes what is played (I could name it in 4-5 notes). Even more points go to someone who can translate the japanese, since I can't read it (or understand what they are saying).
December 03, 2004
Why Popcap.com Sucks Now
The other day #!/usr/bin/girl posted about Bejeweled 2 over at Popcap.com. Having liked the original I hopped on over and tried to play. I click on the 'Click to Play' link and the familiar Popcap game window pops up with the instructions and no game. I hit reload a few times with the same result. I closed out the window and clicked on Bookworm, then original Bejeweled to see if they worked. Both played just fine (and wasted a good bit of my time).
So I fired off an email to their customer support asking for help. This morning I got back the following response.
Which Internet Browser are you using? Zuma, Insanaquarium, Bejeweled 2, and Astropop will only work in Internet Explorer on a Windows machine because they use Active X. ActiveX is a code that defines MicrosoftÂ’s interaction between web servers, clients, add-ins and Microsoft Office applications. ActiveX is MicrosoftÂ’s answer to Java technology from Sun Microsystems.
So, if you're a Popcap fan, forget running any new games from them for the moment. They seem to have ditched any support for other browsers/oses. The thing I find more annoying is that Insanaquarium used to run just fine on OS X, so I'm not quite sure when they made the switch. Bastards.
And yes, I know IE is still the most popular browser out there (Though it sounds like those numbers are being slowly chipped away at by things like Firefox). But the other thing that irks me is that I think these games are written in Java, at least that is what their web site indicates. Anyone know for sure? Oh yes, and Popcap support? ActiveX is not M$'s answer to Java. C# maybe, but not ActiveX.
November 30, 2004
Rock. A sequel to Katamari Damacy is in the works.
Namco is working on a sequel to innovative, um, "roll-'em-up" Katamari Damacy and plans to release it in Japan on the PlayStation 2 during its 2005 financial year, according to a report on IGN. [via] [via Waxy.org Links]
October 28, 2004
Some Mac game News
Some quick Mac gaming bits from Insidemacgames.com in the last week or two. The first is the re-release of a game that I found quite cool and quite disturbing when it came out: Bad Mojo.
Originally hatched in 1996 under the gleeful gaze of publishers Pulse Entertainment, Bad Mojo tells the quirky, Kafka-esque story of mad scientist and entomologist Roger Samms, who, one morning, wakes up to find that he's been temporarily turned into... a cockroach. Players are entrusted with navigating the reborn insect back to safety along a path of discovery across the giant obstacle course that has become his own apartment building. [insidemacgames.com]
And also, sometime next month or so we should give us the release of The Fool and his Money:
Further to yesterday's news item regarding the upcoming release of his new metapuzzle, independent game developer Cliff Johnson has contacted the IMG News Staff with further news regarding his current project, the long-awaited sequel The Fool And His Money.
According to Cliff, the current projected completion date for the new title has been pushed till December of this year; December 6th, to be exact, judging by the completion countdown clock on his web page.
Despite the game's numerous delays, the game developer's rabid fan base are standing behind the solo programmer, and are offering unconditional support to his latest effort. In his email to IMG, Cliff writes:
What has been and continues to be both thrilling and heartwarming is the tremendous outpouring of love and affection for The Fool's Errand (and 3 in Three) from True Believers all over the world, confirming what I've always suspected... that folks from all walks of life enjoy the game. To borrow the retired Mac slogan, "a game for the rest of us."
This is one I've been waiting to come out for ages (here's my post on it from over a year ago). I am so psyched to see it finally coming out. The Fool's Errand is still one of my favorite games of all time.
October 09, 2004
I Just Hope There Are No Spiders In This One
Irrational Games has started talking up Bioshock, the spiritual successor to System Shock 2. Gamespot has a preview of the game and I just may have to see how cheaply I can throw together a PC to be able to play this one when it comes out. System Shock 2 is still one of my favorite computer games ever. It was one of the creepiest games I've ever played.
Irrational Games originally conceived of its cult-classic hybrid game System Shock 2 as a "spiritual successor" to the original game. And Irrational's next game will, in turn, be a "spiritual successor" to System Shock 2. We're pleased to bring you the first official details on BioShock, a new game that will attempt to further the open-ended, emergent gameplay of the previous games by offering even more choices for players to creatively interact with the world around them and to solve the challenges that face them.
While System Shock 2 represented what Irrational general manager Ken Levine describes as "a convergence of technology and commercialism" (that game took place on a corporate-sponsored starship), BioShock will instead represent "a convergence of technology and biological life," or more specifically, genetics. It's important to note: BioShock is not a sequel to any of the System Shock games, nor does it have any official relation to those games. But like the previous games, this one will offer a horror-themed gameplay experience in which what you observe, and what happens to you, will be tempered by your own choices. "[At Irrational], we think emergence is the future," says Levine. [gamespot.com]
Btw, a request to the Mac gaming world. Please get in contact with these folks and do a Mac port of both System Shock 2 and Bioshock. Even though System Shock 2 is a few years old at this point, it's still such a kickass game that really does deserve a Mac port.
October 04, 2004
Reason #5 Katamary Damacy rocks: You can roll up cows. They Moo. Reason #4 is the music for the game.
If you haven't seen this game, check out this clip of the gameplay.
September 25, 2004
Gamesdomain.com now Yahoo!?
Buh, I was just trying to look up the GamesDomain review of Wario Ware for the GBA and I discovered that Yahoo! absorbed gamesdomain.com. And it looks like this happened a while ago. And on top of it, they've completely ruined it. This sucks. GamesDomain used to have an amazing database of reviews, most of which seem to be gone at this point. Thank you Yahoo for destroying something good.
More Wario Insanity!
September 24, 2004
A Blast From The Past
Years ago when I was in college there were a few games for the Mac that were quite cool. One of them was Solarian II. It was kind of like Galaxian with really cool sounds. Thankfully, it's now been ported to OS X and it's just as frustratingly cool as it was back then. I think I may even cough up the $10 for it once I get done with the trial runs.
Now, we just need are new ports of Arashi, Crystal Quest, Shufflepuck Cafe (remember the opponent who'd get drunk as he lost?) and Airborn (Hopefully I can find links to old pages with pictures of these). Now that I think of it, there were a ton of really simple fun games for the Mac back then. I remember the little DA version of Tetris that I'd waste hours playing when I was working in the computer lab.
September 12, 2004
Puzzle From Hell
My parents have a number of puzzles from ELMS Puzzles, Inc. They are a company that makes these beautiful hand made wooden puzzles that are usually quite hard. I took some pictures of the one we're working on right now. It is one of the more challenging puzzles I've ever done because the edges aren't straight. Also, they seem to like to put some pieces in that have a straight edge on them that go in the middle of the puzzle, helping to confuse you more. Oh yes, and there's no picture of what the puzzle will look like, so it is kind of cool waiting to see what the whole thing will look like.
August 31, 2004
I wonder if the is the Infocom one
Radio 4 is re-releasing an old Hitchhikers game.
A Douglas Adams game is revived to mark a new Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy radio series. [BBC News | TECHNOLOGY]
I really do wonder if this is the old Infocom game. I'll need to find some of that not tea I guess.
August 20, 2004
Insane Flash Game
From over at Waxy.org Links, one of the more maddening flash games I've ever tried.
May 28, 2004
Final Fantasy Tactics Advanced
Phew. After quite a long time I finally finished Final Fantasy Tactics Advanced. I'd zoomed through a bunch of it a while back, but hadn't had as much time to play recently. Overall it was quite fun. At times it was a little challenging, but never so hard that I felt frustrated by it. Definitely one of the better games to get for the Gameboy Advance.
Next up: Advance Wars 2
Posted by snooze at 10:05 AM