Archive for the ‘games’ Category

League of Legends color commentary

Saturday, April 19th, 2014

I’m watching the 2014 NA LCS Spring Split -Semi-Final on twitch, and amused at how incomprehensible most of the color commentary is, as someone who has never really played the game.  It’s kind of like watching football as a kid, but the names are funnier.


“Bunny Foo Foo is on the run, but he doesn’t make it”

Forza 5 asphalt bug

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Lately, I’ve been racking up the big bucks on Forza 5, by racing around the Indy loop. I set the drivatars to unbeatable ( and yet they all slam on the brakes before every banked turn ), turn the laps up to 20, and jump in the best car for the job (oddly enough, not the most expensive car available, but pretty close…any of the indy cars will do). It takes about 15 minutes for the race to run finish, and very rarely, I’ve seen a bug, where, and this is the part that the programmer and tester in me finds interesting, a piece of the track won’t get rendered, and displays as a flat black square. When it happens, I can see the black square approaching from the distance, and I’ve never seen one get re-rendered before I run over it, nor ever one fail prior-rendering once it’s made it into view.

It’s not a track it down kind of obsession, just a curiosity. Did they see it in pre-release testing, or is it a side effect of the real world that they weren’t able to recreate in-house? Is it caused by network congestion, local machine inadequacy, or some other unconsidered factor?

Xbox Live Rewards failure

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

So far, it looks like Xbox Live Rewards is a poorly implemented act of desperation.  The first sign that you are about to associate with a complete loser of a program, it takes *2* days for your registration to be processed.  Seriously?  Microsoft can’t figure out how to build a real-time registration system?  It does not bode well for the level of integration between systems.  And you can see that in the forums, with tons of people posting about missing points.  Right now, they have a promotion for the Season Pass add-on’s.  By the letter of the offer, it’s a total scam, since you only qualify if you spend $50.00, and Season Passes are sold for $49.99.  But it gets more comically inept, because from the page where you learn about the promo, there’s a link to “Grab a Season Pass”, which takes you to the store, where….there are no Season Passes for sale.

The Season Passes for Forza 5 seem like a waste of money so far, anyways.  I didn’t want to buy one anyways. grumble grumble.

Ouya first impressions a mixed bag

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

So, after betting on a different Kickstarted android gaming console, yet to be released, of course the Ouya gets released first and with lots of press coverage.  The price is within my what-the-hell budget for geek toys, and I order one through Amazon, who managed to get it to me within 2 business days.

The packaging shows reasonable quality, and the machine itself seems solidly built.  I’m so-so on the controller.  I’ve yet to find a game that uses the touchpad effectively, and lots of navigation of the on-screen menus would be much easier if they supported it.

I have been checking out the emulators, and so far they show promise.  I was able to play one of my old favorite N64 games without extra hassle, getting about 97% faithful accuracy to the original.  The SNES emulators I’ve tried worked too.

Which gets us to the downside, which is the complete screw-up that is the store.  Currently it is terribly organized, with the most useful navigation method (by genre), hidden at the bottom of the list of possible methods.  Then there’s the fact that they deliberately hide the pricing of all games.  You can’t see anything until you’ve played the game up to the point it demands payment.  I can understand the developer appeal of a try-before-you-buy system that doesn’t display pricing.  But I don’t see any upside for the consumer, and lots of reasons it will be a disaster for dev’s, who will be forced to deal with individual questions about pricing on a constant basis, and will miss out on tons of sales from people who tried a game, but balked at the current price, who would have bought the game if it went on sale in the future, if there was only a way to see that the game had gone on sale.  As a developer, there’s no way to promote your game, other than name recognition, and the hope they will search for you.  If you are lucky and end up in the tiny selection that is displayed by default, you will be at a tremendous advantage over other devs.

The overall lack of forethought on game purchasing suggests that the primary intent of the Ouya has always been as a beard for a dedicated emulation box, with a few suckers tricked into developing new titles that will never recoup the invested time and money.  Maybe I’m wrong, maybe the designer really had never seen Steam, or any other app-store, and is so rich, he doesn’t care about prices.

I just hope the box still works after the Ouya corporation has gone belly up.


Thursday, April 11th, 2013

After years of seeing them and PAX, I finally have my mitts on my very own steam-y copy.  Using a gamepad to play, instead of a guitar controller, at the moment.  As awesome as ever.  =)

I made it all the way through on the easiest setting, and even at this level, there were parts that were difficult to accomplish on a non-guitar controller.


Cards Against Humanity

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

From email announcing re-availability at amazon, to order placed, in under 5 minutes. Now to find someone to play with…and to play the game =p.

An amazing PAX 2012

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

When I missed my chance to get a 3-day pass, and got word that my usual ‘special guest’ hookup wasn’t coming through, I was worried. But on Saturday morning, when I headed down to the convention center, with the intent of saying hi to my friend on his way in, and spending my time in the non-pass-required areas, taking pictures of costumes…there was a scalper. OK, lots of scalpers, but one had VIP and Sunday badges for sale. Since I didn’t need a Sunday pass, I was able to talk him down on the VIP badge to half his starting price. In the end, it would have been worth paying full price.

The ‘Special Guest’ badge has no special privileges. The VIP badge though, lets you skip lines, and made vendor eyes open wide. More than once, I got the feeling someone really wanted to ask me who I was, but was afraid to admit they didn’t know. Other people did ask, but quickly got confused when I would try to explain who I do happen to know (leaving out that they didn’t hook me up, much less VIP me this year, tee hee), because half of them would hear Mike, and think K, when I was talking about F, well, friend of F, W. If I can score another one next year, I’m tempted to pretend to get offended if someone asks…depends on how up they look for a joke.

One of the places it got me was special seating at the Wil Wheaton Awesome Hour. I ended up seated on the side, at the very front, next to the door where he came in. He had two musical acts help out, one of which, Hank Green, he would leave the stage for, and stand next to me. I wasn’t certain if he wanted to sit down, and thought I was rude for not automatically moving over, or preferred to stand. I made room, he stayed standing, whatever. His anecdotes were funny, and somewhat more PG than his roleplaying was the night before (we all sat in VIP for that, and it was hilarious, and raunchy, and I hope some pictures turned out). His baseball story was heartwarming, not at all like my experience. He seems to be pretty happy with the life he’s lead, and it sounds like a decent one. It certainly kept a room full of people entertained. I had fun.

I was also able to finagle some Mickey ears out of the Epic Disney 2 booth, without having to wait in line for the demo. It took a managerial consultation during which I could hear the decision maker go, “I know what a media badge is, and a special guest, but I don’t know what a VIP means…”

Turns out, you just had to sing and dance a phrase, to get the XP prize (keychain this year), so the fact that the Guidebook app kept forgetting everything you scanned, and there wasn’t a single clue on locations to search, didn’t matter. I like to sing and dance. I think the amount of time I spent thinking about how I’d choreograph my presentation, brought them additional amusement, beyond their expected level.

The swag bag line seemed to work out OK. The MTG bag sure is shiny.

Grand total of 168 new street tags on my 3DS, a lot of new regions, a japanese check-in, a brit, a few new states. The WiiU looks droolicious. The controller-pad-thing was very sweet, and the games were nifty looking. I played one where you had a little cart made out of tinkertoy-ish wheels and girders, on a platform of girders you could move around. And I saw the new Pikmin, squee, so this time I’m working my contacts of contacts, at Nintendo, for access on this release. The 3DS-XL looked pretty cool too, but of less value to me currently.

Near the end of Sunday, I did have some woman working the Doom booth, testily ask me to not take any pictures of their screens. They had no signs up asking this unusual request, so her anger seemed misplaced, but I had to internally commend her on getting me to come in and start playing the game, before she made her demand. The 3D looks interesting, but is, as always, horrifically uncomfortable for someone who already wears glasses. Will no one ever think of the visually impaired when they build this cool stuff? Boo hoo, first world problems =p

Oddly enough, I didn’t see a single shirt I wanted this year, but did pick up two games on steam, one that ‘will soon’ support mac, and one that already did. I saw some interesting small form factor gaming rigs that seemed to be holding up to heavy usage, and at what sounded like reasonable retail pricing. We’ll see how widely available they are. One company had a cool device for adding a game-pad to your android phone, and had what looked like boxed product, ready for sale, all over the booth, but turns out they are still a few months out, and it was all fake boxes.

The game, Cards Against Humanity, I must have a copy. And people to play it with regularly. Preferably in public, where it can freak out the norms =) It is a game where my humor works well, assuming you are a person willing to play the game in the first place. When our group played it, I managed to win in sudden death overtime. I wish I had thought to record the winning phrases, in all the pictures I took, but it didn’t happen. I really didn’t take that many pics, compared to years where I’ve sat out front just to shoot people crossing the street in costumes, etc.


Monday, April 9th, 2012

I found a local board-game playing group on Meetup, signed up for a gaming session. Then they sent out the list of games for tonight. I’ve only heard of one of them, never played any. Some appear to be games that require personal card decks.

Oh well.

MAME for iPad

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Get it while it lasts, iMAME is a free port of the generic arcade emulator. I suspect it only got approved because there’s a big rush of apps being submitted before the Apple approvers go on Christmas break.

PAX Prime 2011 – OnLive

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

Easily the best giveaway this year is the OnLive game system, though it comes at the price of the most annoying line. Because it is so popular, the line reaches a point where it interferes with safety and traffic, and they have to cap it, so everyone who tries to get in line gets turned away until they reopen the line. So what ends up happening is that the smart people just start milling around and forming a proto-line on the other side of the corridor until a re-open occurs, whereupon they all smoosh over to the other side. I played the game, and got the system, woo hoo.

Plugged it in once I got home, had a few quirks during setup. One port on my router is dead, and I accidentally plugged the system into it during the first attempt, so even after I noticed and plugged it into a working port, I still had to unplug power to the game system before it would work on the network. But once I got past those problems, I was impressed with the quality of what I was seeing. As I suspected, the 9.99/month plan doesn’t include all the games they advertise having most heavily, but it does have some a-list titles, if not in genre’s I usually go for. And the non-plan games list has some interesting stuff. I played 20/30 minutes of my free-trial on Dirt 3, and was amazed at the graphics quality, no noticeable lag between my inputs and the game’s response, even though I was busy uploading the pics I took to flickr at the same time. I found a game on sale for under 3 bucks that looked nifty, found out that you can’t really hot-plug keyboard and mouse when the marketplace said I needed them before I should purchase the game (one of those quirks above), but after a reboot, the game purchase went through well enough. The game does look as cool as it did during the trailers, but the mouse sensitivity is WAY WAY WAY too low, and there’s no settings to adjust for it, so actually playing the game is way harder than it should be. One of the cool things about OnLive is that any game you buy, or plan you subscribe to, is available on any platform they support, presumably only one instance at a time. So I thought I had the obvious solution to the UI issue, my ipad, but annoyingly, it’s not a game the support on that platform. It ended up being playable on my iMac though, so all is well that ends well, on that front.

But all that is just preamble to my realization of the eve. There are a ton of games that I see coming out all the time, that look really cool, but I could never play well enough to enjoy like they should be. But with OnLive, I don’t have to. I can watch someone else playing games, in spectator mode, and it’s the same quality as if I was playing it, without the carpal tunnel. And that part is completely free. All I have to do is friend some people who are good at the games I want to see played, but suck at, like BioShock, and coordinate my watching with their playing. Lazy man’s gaming at it’s finest. =p

I should send my nephew an OnLive box and some credits for Christmas.

UPDATE: OnLive says they don’t support gifting games or subscriptions yet. But they did send me a promo code for another free system, so I will somehow survive.