Monday, June 30, 2008

Gates can't be that bad.

First, Read this Blog.

I have had the exact same frustration with trying to download something from the Microsoft downloads site.
I'm glad that Bill Gates has experienced this first hand and yelled at those responsible to get it fixed. 
Seems like he's just as much an end user as any of us. 

The thing that blows me away, is the fact that someone thought that no one would be trying to Download a Microsoft Product from the Microsoft Download site.

There's an adage that goes: The Combined I.Q. of a committee is that of the Lowest I.Q. in the group, divided by the number of members of the group. I don't know if there's any truth to that, but it seems true-ish. (There is an interesting Thread on the subject here, the final post may surprise you a little.) 

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Spore Creature Creator

I have been waiting for Spore for Three years now. Tuesday, the Creature Creator was released as a demo, as well as a way to make sure that the Universe is populated by all kinds of creatures when the Full product releases in September. I HIGHLY recommend downloading the trial version of the creature creator. The trial version comes with a limited palate of creature parts. But it is still very very fun to play around with.

So far most of the creature's I've created are pretty standard fare — I haven't really really branched out like I have with the Wii Miis.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

More about Wii Fit.

Last time I mentioned this, I explained that I had been foolish and had not pre-ordered. I was under the impression that I would not have a Wii Fit until the 16th of this month (that was when new stock shipments were due). Tuesday my friend that works in a warehouse called and told me that he was bringing one home for me.

First — when you are just playing this on your own and not messing around with a group of friends, you can really work up a sweat. Second — the game thinks it's funny. Since I had played it lightly a couple times and then the device went home to my friend's house, when I started into the game again it made fun of the fact that I had not played in a while, it acted as though it had forgotten my name. Third — it's a lot more fun to work up a sweat to Wii Fit than any other exercise program I've ever tried.

Thing is, I hate exercising, it's boring; but this makes it into a game — and I love to play games (sports do that too, but. . . I hate sports). So an hour goes by fast. When I'm jogging in place and my legs are hurting as my Mii is running all over a cartoony island jog park, I have to keep pushing forward, because it is a game that must be beaten. I keep saying to myself keep going, you've done this before, this "level" cannot defeat you. I really hope that they make more fitness titles that use the balance board.

So now that I've done it just about every day for nearly a week I can truly say I'm really pleased with the product. It's fun and will help me get in some much needed physical activity; I've really been turning into a couch potato.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


This is old news, but I wanted to mention it.

A couple weeks ago (see, old news) we had a game night at the home of a friend of ours. — I may have mentioned before that I like Games— We started the evening with some light chatting and then when it was time to bust out the games, we started with Zombie Fluxx.

The only reason I have the original Fluxx, is that I found it on clearance at Barnes and Noble. They had marked it down to $10, and if you bought one, you could get a second free. I quickly read the back and the concept of a game where the "Rules" were in constant Fluxx appealed to my Inner Demon that Loves all things Random. I picked up two. I gave one to my sister as a gift, and for a while it got thrown in to the Game Rotation.

As a game however it was lacking in something. Strategy and Goal setting mostly. Since it's always in "Fluxx," It's a total Crap-shoot as to who wins. So it gets a little boring, though I still like the concept.

I'm glad I got that original game, because it led to getting Zombie Fluxx when it was released (and anticipating the upcoming Martian Fluxx). Zombie Fluxx introduced a new element to the game: cards you do not want. This introduced a (small) element of strategy, as you are attempting to get rid of (or collect in some cases) said cards.

The Zombie theme itself adds to the game as well. Though it must be played with the right group of people, some people just can't get into the Campiness of a Zombie theme, but some can. Which is what happened a couple weeks ago. Everyone was having fun with the Theme, which puts fun into overdrive.

Naturally when the random winning wore thin (it always does eventually with this game) we busted out Zombies!!!.

It was one of the best sessions of Zombies!!! I've ever played. This game definitely has to be played with the right group. First of all, everyone has to kind-of "get" the whole zombie thing. I mentioned how I feel about zombies on my Sketch Dump Blog. I think if everyone playing has a similar attitude, and also understands that the rules of Zombies!!! are more Video Game than Ultimate-German-Style-Board-Game-Extravaganza, then everyone involved can have a good time.

Something I found Interesting, with previous groups that I've played with there has been a tendency to forget that you have cards in your hand. The cards, when played properly really enhance the game.

One thing I've noticed that happens in a lot of games, not just Zombies!!!, is the tendency for everyone to still be having a lot of fun when someone gets close to winning, so they gang up on that person —Realistically, I was only half way there (10 zombies in my pool) but cards were a flyin' and I found myself standing bewildered back at town square after all that had been thrown at me— That in and of itself is all part of the fun. However then what happens is that everyone spends the rest of the game ganging up on that person, regardless of who is now close to winning the game. That person becomes the person not allowed to win. I don't know what causes this behavior, but in competitive games where you can "stab-your-buddy," this seems to happen frequently.

I have to apologize to everyone we were playing with, I made a mistake concerning the rules. Don't worry, we ended up playing it right. I must have been thinking about another game (though I still can't figure out what game that is — Zombietown maybe) when I stated that you could combat another player. Someone asked how, and I couldn't remember exactly how (because you can't — though I know exactly how it could be done based on the current rules) so we continued on without even trying. The following is from the F.A.Q. located on the Twilight Creations website:


Can I kill other players?
Uh, no! You are trying to escape the zombie horde, not trying to become a world class murderer.
Source: Kerry June 16, 2005

But I really want to, can't I please?
NO! Now knock that off!
Source: Kerry June 16, 2005

Monday, June 02, 2008

D&D 4th Edition

For the past few years I have had jobs that have downtime. I've had to wait for a call to come in, in order to do anything. My current job is much more hands on, but it also has an element of waiting for things to break — as a result I have familiarized myself with a number of web comics.

One of the comics I read is Penny Arcade. (My only disappointment with PA is that they use strong language from time to time.) The artist and writer are very much involved in Video games and tabletop gaming, though they have very different taste in games. I also read PVP, which is written and drawn by the artist. PVP is video game/tabletop gaming related.

Dungeons and Dragons is coming out with the 4th edition of their rule-set in less than a week now. It's interesting to watch how people respond. Some act with apprehension (My GM for instance, because he has invested in well over $200 on 3/3.5 edition[which I totally understand, this is the very reason I do not even toy with the idea of CCG's]). Others are excitedly anticipating this new upgrade to the most well known Pencil & Paper roll playing game.

A few months ago Tycho and Gabe (a.k.a. Jerry and Mike) of Penny Arcade and Scott Kurtz of PVP got together with some marketing folks from WotC (pronounced wot-see: referring to Wizards of the Coast, publisher of Dungeons and Dragons) and played some 4th Edition D&D. They played Keep on the Shadowfell, which as of this writing is the only 4th edition product on the market. At the time they played it, it had not been released yet.

Background information given, here's what's interesting about all this. They recorded the game. They played for a good eight hours, they are breaking it up and distributing it in podcast form. The first of which has been released.

I listened to the episode. Here's what I found interesting:

As far as experience goes. One of them is a D&D veteran and has been playing for years. One of them is a Noobe and has NEVER played, and one of them used to play back in 2nd edition. They all picked it up very easily.

The magic system has been revamped, and there are 3 types of spells: At will, which can be used as often as wanted; some that can be used once per encounter, and some that can be used per day.

It seems that they have tried to simplify things a bit. No one ever did spot checks or listen checks; it appears they've lumped all such checks into a single perception check.

Healing. Everyone has a number of self heals they can do per day. These self heals are for a certain number of hit points and can be used once per encounter. If you have a cleric or other healer class in your party they may assist during an encounter to set off one of your heals on your behalf even if you have already used one during the encounter.

I'm looking forward to the rest of the podcasts in the series. There is some language though.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Last Night's Gaming Session

No fights, very little rolling of the dice, and a Mission that seems eerily familiar.

While I don't mind the High RP nature of the session, in fact I prefer it, but there's just something about the random number generation of a die skittering across a tabletop that excites something primal within me. What's going to happen? I don't know, but let's allow this die to determine the outcome.

I have now a mission from a ghost to seek out and find missing spell-books. Which is odd, because I had to do that in another game with a different GM.

I'm a little concerned that my GM has turned my character into Luke Skywalker/Harry Potter. I won't get into too much detail as to my meta-gaming thoughts, as he reads the blog.

I had a very set idea of who my character was when we started this campaign. I had a very fleshed out character to begin with because last campaign I felt like I had no motivation. I do not enjoy playing FI TOR. So I came up with a background. Nothing overly creative, more an amalgamation of several cliche's. But GM has expounded on my unknowns and I have no idea what my character is anymore, at least it's still interesting.

A friend of ours came over late into the game. Generally he's a munchkin, but last night he had pretty much missed the last 3 gaming sessions, and was really confused as to the nature of the current situation, so he reverted to his munchkin ways and his character just stayed in his room at the inn and made potions. There was only about an hour left in our gaming session when he showed up with his brother. Due to things my character had recently learned my character had a run in with his brother's character. It was late and I was quite tired. I fell asleep for a bit, while the two of them were conversing with a ghost.

I've noticed that in our group, when our characters are getting along we don't speak as our characters; but as soon as our characters have a disagreement, regardless of how small, we jump right into character.

This is when we have the most humorous gaming moments.