Archive for the 'Games' Category

Twelve Year Blogiversary!

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

Okay, so at this point I can hardly say that I’ve been blogging for 12 years — although I post regularly to Facebook, which automatically cross-posts to Twitter — but it was 12 years ago tonight that I started my brykMantra blog, back when about 1% of the population had even heard the word “blog”, so that’s something. And I like having my own domain name, so that’s something else. And when (hopefully) I can get a bunch of my songs recorded, this can theoretically be my promotional base.

So let’s talk about that music, in hopes of making this an ACTUAL blog post, and not just a “this is a post” post. Every day for about four years now (except for that one week in the hospital after my stroke) I’ve been practicing my guitar, and writing songs. My first two albums (I’ve mentioned those, right?) were instrumentals, and were recorded without playing a note. My new songs have actual lyrics — which means I’ll have to actually SING — plus there will be substantial guitar playing involved, so it’s a much trickier endeavor.

Okay, enough about that.

Are you on Steam, the online gaming portal? You should be on Steam. They constantly have sales, so I’ve been getting some fairly recent games for dirt cheap: I scored Fallout New Vegas and Borderlands 2 for $2.49 each! I only played FNV up to level 15, then got tired of the post-apocalyptic bleakness (and the deadingly-retro soundtrack). Borderlands 2, on the other hand, is colorful and full of possibilities, plus it’s funny as all heck. I’m playing the Techromancer class, which means that my Special Skill is summoning a killer robot to spend a couple of minutes helping me take out enemies.

I’m up to level 17 with no sign of being bored.

Okay, next subject: Oh binge-watching, where have you been all my life! I’ve been doing quite a bit of that this past year, starting with Breaking Bad. Yes, I saw the finale about a year after most of the rest of the world, but it was worth it: Instead of waiting a highly suspenseful week between episodes — and a year between seasons! — I was able to watch episode after episode after episode until it was done. I didn’t have to watch each installment trying to remember all the little minutiae that makes up the complex plotting. And the series ended for me with maximum impact.

By contrast, I decided to follow that by bingeing Arrow, the CW’s interpretation of DC Comics’ Green Arrow character. I got a watch two whole seasons in quick succession, then watch the first two episodes of Season 3 online … then had to start watching the rest of the series at the maximum rate of one episode per week! LIKE A CHUMP! How did we ever watch TV like this???!!! It’s excruciating!

ANYWAY: Twelve years ago tonight! I did a quick “more later” first post, then I wrote out my second post — by hand! Like a CHUMP! — at the laundromat and typed it in the next day.

Again, like that proverbial CHUMP.

Staking my homestead in the nascent social media landscape.

Thank you for reading this, which you didn’t, because nobody does any more. But it’s here. And so am I.

Video Game History

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

G4TV has posted what they feel to be the Top 100 Video Games of all times. As are most mass media lists of this sort, it’s about 25% trash, but still it’s an interesting trip down video game memory lane:

The reason I haven’t posted about this until now is because the site posted the games in the ridiculous slideshow format — that is, one game per page, and if you want see all 100, you have to click 100 times. But tonight I found the list in some gaming forums (geeks are an persistent, enterprising bunch!), so here it is!

100 Pong
99 Words with Friends
98 Pitfall
97 NBA 2K11
96 Guitar Hero II
95 Burger Time
94 Braid
93 Star Wars: TIE Fighter
92 Galaga
91 The Sims
90 Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn
89 Left 4 Dead
88 Double Dribble
87 Mass Effect 2
86 OutRun
85 Silent Hill 2
84 Wii Sports
83 Ninja Gaiden (2004)
82 Super Smash Bros Melee
81 Resident Evil
80 Gears of War 3
79 Psychonauts
78 Spy Hunter
77 Excitebike
76 Blades of Steel
75 Fallout 3
74 Star Fox 64
73 Mega Man 2
72 Mortal Kombat
71 Wing Commander II Vengeance of the Kilrathi
70 Star Wars
69 Double Dragon
68 Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
67 Minecraft
66 Assassin’s Creed II
65 Unreal Tournament
64 NBA Jam
63 Wolfenstein 3D
62 Civilization II
61 God of War III
60 Contra
59 Maniac Mansion II: Day of the Tentacle
58 Ultima Online
57 Pokemon Red Version
56 Super Street Fighter IV
55 Kingdom Hearts
54 Gauntlet
53 Deus Ex
52 Rock Band 3
51 Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando
50 Sonic the Hedgehog
49 Angry Birds
48 Tecmo Bowl
47 Myst
46 Red Dead Redemption
45 Metal Gear Solid
44 Grand Theft Auto IV
43 Quake III: Arena
42 Ghosts ‘N Goblins
41 Super Mario 64
40 Space Invaders
39 Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
38 Super Metroid
37 Halo
36 Batman: Arkham City
35 Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
34 Counter-Strike
33 Final Fantasy VII
32 Punch-Out!!
31 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
30 Super Street Fighter II Turbo
29 Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
28 Super Mario Kart
27 Chrono Trigger DS
26 Ico
25 Grand Theft Auto III
24 Madden NFL 2005 Collector’s Edition
23 Halo 3 Collector’s Edition
22 Panzer Dragoon Saga
21 Resident Evil 4
20 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
19 Diablo II
18 Ms. Pac-Man
17 Starcraft
16 Half-Life
15 Donkey Kong
14 Uncharted 2
13 Portal
12 Doom II
11 Legend of Zelda – Ocarina of Time
10 World Of Warcraft
9 Shadow Of The Colossus
8 Goldeneye
7 Super Mario Bros 3
6 Legend of Zelda (original)
5 Tetris
4 Asteroids
3 BioShock
2 Legend of Zelda: Link To The Past
1 Super Mario Bros.

New Elder Scrolls Game!

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

I’m overdue to post something here, so here’s the amazing-looking trailer for the fifth installment in the Elder Scrolls series, Skyrim, due for release on 11/11/11:

As a reminder of how epic the previous game was, here are my screenshots from Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

Dark Tower & A Beauty Salon

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

I had a long post going last night, but it was too late to finish it … and I just don’t feel like it tonight, so here’s something different: Somebody on Flickr had pictures of dozens of board games he had gotten at resale stores over the years, and one of the games was The Dark Tower.

I thought I had blogged about it at one point in the past five years, since I know I found a flash version of the game online, but I guess I didn’t.

The reason I tried to find it was because a couple of commenters had never heard of the game, and some others of us were trying to explain it.

It was really, really cool: There was a big plastic tower in the middle of the board with a computerized number readout (pretty Jetsons for 1982!), and illustration slides that spun around to show your loot, your inventory, and your attackers. Bonus points: Orson Welles did the TV commercials! (It was a year or so before his death.)

Anyway, I found an even sweeter flash version, so click here to play it!

And speaking of Orson Welles, here’s a bizarre comedy sketch that features The Great Director, Dean Martin, and Jimmy Stewart:

Unrelated Things 11-2-07

Sunday, December 2nd, 2007

Here are a bunch of mostly unrelated things, many of them I’ve been saving up for a while, waiting for a chance to post unrelated things …

So here we go:

I didn’t post this with my last post because the video part isn’t much — it’s just the end credits of the video game Portal — but what’s important is the excellent song, “Still Alive”, sung by Ellen McLain (a voice actor in Portal, as well as the other two “Orange Box” games) and written by Jonathan Coulton, who also wrote the song that became the theme for the G4TV animated series, Code Monkeys.

Anyway: “Still Alive” is excellent, so run the video and listen to it:

Speaking of good music, we’ve been watching The Next Great American Band on Fox (mainly because there’s not much else TV on on Friday nights), and except for the mediocre “artists” they make the bands cover (especially Billy Joel and Rod Stewart), it’s pretty good. We’re especially impressed by Light of Doom, a hard-rocking group of kids with a great work ethic and a healthy respect for the classic rock acts.

Hey Spook, Here’s the business we should have gotten into: Selling tumbleweeds for $25 a pop. This woman was learning HTML a few years ago, and had to pick a subject to build a test site around, so she constructed a fake tumbleweed-selling site, offering the rolling shrubs at $25 each.

That is, it was fake, until people (Yankees?) with more money that sense started sending in orders …

Now she’s making a good living at it.

Maybe you can figure out how to sell sandstorms.

Remember, target Yankees.

One interesting by-product of the writer’s strike is the fact that the Tonight Show is showing reruns from Leno’s first year on the job. It’s interesting seeing Jay with dark hair and wide lapels, trying to make Johnny Carson’s old formula work.

His current strategy fits him much better, standing closer to the audience, and interspersing the monologue with skits and props.

Carson’s routine wouldn’t work for everybody — in fact, there were a lot of times it didn’t work for him.

What are the odds that Evel Knievel would die of something as mundane as diabetes and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis? He spent almost half his life doing crazy dangerous stunts, but death couldn’t claim him during that time.

Just goes to show you: You never can tell …

Do you have too much time on your hands? This person does: Cowscapes.

Everybody dance now!

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

Yeah, yeah, I need to post. Excuuuuuse me, I’ve been job-hunting.

Details later, but for now … I mentioned Oblivion (on Saturday, keep up), so here’s a hilarious (for the first 2 minutes, you can blow it off after that) “modded” sequence. Check out the innkeeper about 54 seconds in, and the monks at 1:30:

Everybody dance now!

In Tod We Trust

Saturday, November 3rd, 2007

It’s Todn8r‘s birthday today, and if he had bothered to give me his current email address, I would have already sent my birthday greetings personally, but since he didn’t, I feel forced to post this very flattering photo of him wearing the jersey of his favorite sports team in the world.

Isn’t that right, Todn8r? You like the ‘Skins, dontcha?

Anyway, happy birthday, old man! (I gave you your present earlier in the year, when I talked you into playing Oblivion. You’re welcome.)

Of Magical Cards & Invisible Braces

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

Okay, more random things, plus things I’ve been meaning to get around to:

There’s a card game coming to the market soon for PS3 that’s like a 3D version of Magic the Gathering. It’s played with cards, but a webcam is pointed at the playing board and each card is represented on the screen in glorious animated 3D. I can’t remember if I mentioned this when I first saw it on G4TV a couple of months ago, but now there’s some great YouTube videos that actually do justic to the concept:

Wow. The whole concept is mind-blowing.

And now there’s one reason to own a PS3.

I keep forgetting to mention that I got to see Dr. Mary, World’s Greatest Dentist, last week. That’s always a joy — and no, I’m not being my usual sarcastic self. She and her husband have been friends with my wife and her family for a long time, plus she and I have so much in common, and she has such a wonderful personality. I took out my camera to take her picture (since, surprisingly, we still didn’t have any pictures of her after all these years), she didn’t shrink back and play shy like everybody else does; she bared her teeth and got really close to the camera.

It turns out that she got some new Invisalign braces and wanted to show them off for the camera.

It’s a professional thing, I guess, like the time I showed off pictures of my computer’s shiny new power supply.

Anyway, here’s the picture of the dentist I’m always raving about, in case you were curious.

Remember The Verve from about ten years ago, from their catchy little hit “Bittersweet Symphony”? They broke up, but recently they recorded a fourteen-minute jam session — dubbed “The Thaw Sessions” — and now NME (New Musical Express, the legendary British music magazine) have made an MP3 of the sessions available for download — but only for a couple more days. Grab it while you can, because it’s pretty interesting.

I keep not mentioning this too, which I found out about a couple of weeks ago: There’s a Game Show Hall of Fame! Woo-hoo!

Sorry, I’m a game show geek from way back; the old masters like Cullen, Eubanks, and yes, Barker were better than sports stars to me.

And finally, thanks so much to everybody who have been writing in and calling all day — fellow bloggers, and former coworkers — to offer condolences as to my new condition of being unemployed … although in the case of the present and former employees of the company, it’s more like the living envying the dead. Those who are still there are all stressed and panicking, assuming the worst for themselves and most everyone else.

It’s very sad, especially for those of us who remember the better days.

Oh well. Like I said yesterday: I stared down cancer. I can definitely handle this.

Lots of Different Things Revolving Around One Related Topic, For A Change

Saturday, October 6th, 2007

Several things I’ve been meaning to do, and I’m sure I won’t remember them all …

I’m finally pulling out the autumn leaf bullet point, even though the daily high temperatures are still in the low 90s, despite the attempts of a couple of weakling little “cool fronts” to crash the party …

Still, though, it’s been worse in some years past — 2005, for example — with 100+ temperatures hanging on almost until Halloween. This is better, but tonight it’s so humid that the heat index is +5.

Fortunately, I’ll be going to see my mom soon, and the nighttime lows have been around 15 degrees lower for the past couple of weeks where she lives, so that’ll be a nice crisp break.

Speaking of my mom, who, by the way, turns 87 next month, went to a high school football game last week, and got hit in the face with a football.

Don’t worry, she’s okay. She’s tough, she shook it right off.

Old folks are resilient like that.

Speaking of going to see my mom: If I weren’t the kind of person who wants to make sure that the music industry gets every penny it wants, even from 40-year-old material that isn’t even in print, here’s the album I’d make my mom a copy of: Martin Denny’s Hawaii Goes A Go-Go.

Seriously, she eats that stuff up. That shelf-top CD stereo unit I got her a couple of years ago was a great move on my part.

It’s just too bad that I’m above making illegal copies.

Nope, those three spindles full of blank CDs in my computer room are strictly in case I need to back up lots and lots of data on short notice.


Also speaking of that upcoming trip: I could get internet access while at my mom’s, but it’s not worth the hassle. First of all, I’m having trouble installing the CMOS battery in my old laptop, since I’m wary of taking too many parts of it apart, since you eventually get to that part of the laptop that’s pretty much impossible to get back together. (You folks who work on computers know what I mean.) Secondly, the old laptop is Windows 98, and the last time I tried to connect there, it never would connect, and the Southwestern Bell tech support people on the other side of the freaking planet were zero help at all, seeing as they had no technical knowledge at all and thus were totally dependent on their scripted flowcharts. And I’m sure not taking our new laptop unless I absolutely had to, because between baggage handlers and the security goons, there’s no guarantee that I’d actually get there and back with the thing.

And besides, it would just be a dialup connection {shudder} so it wouldn’t even be worth the trouble of hauling it there and back.

Anyway, it’ll probably do me some good to take a break from my normal 16-hours days in front of computers. Even the geek’s brain needs a break now and then.

Don’t worry though, I won’t be totally tech-deprived: I mailed my old Sega Dreamcast and several games to her house last week, so at least I’ll have something to do while I’m there. And I can leave it there for next time. Plus, for those times that relatives with kids that visit my mom, if the kids get agonizingly desperate for something to do while they’re there, they can get schooled on semi-old-school games like Ooga Booga, Space Channel 5, Bust A Move, and, of course, Sonic. Assuming they’ll be open-minded enough to try before-last-gen gaming.

Which they won’t be.

Which is too bad, because just talking about the games is making me look forward to playing …

Unclear on the Concept

Sunday, September 16th, 2007

The caller in this video is unclear on the concept of 20 Questions — he can’t even handle three … :