Playing With My Weiner

Gaming at the mercy of miniature daschunds.

Review: World of Blood September 30, 2008

Filed under: 2 weiners,Games,Meta-Grinder,Other Folks,PC,Reviews — Gwyddia @ 7:05 am
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Originally posted by Leo on meta-grinder.com.

First, I must reveal a distinct bias -I loves me some soloing -so when I can’t solo a game most of the way through, I’m e’er so slightly pissed.

 

Second, I shouldn’t be disappointed that a RPG at a social networking site wind up being so friggin’ dependendent on society building.

 

But what really grinds my gears, and not in a good way, is the way the monetization of mana, or mana-tization, has messed up a perfectly good soloable set of games.

 

Anyways…

 

I got introduced to this group of web based games by a friend who is marrying another friend who played (in a stage play) the interest of a Latino thug who gets religion.  Note: I played the Latino thug.  (Leo pauses whilst those who know what he really looks like are ROFLing).

 

World of Blood [Elven Blood, Blood Lust, Skies of Blood, and City of Blood] is a group of Facebook RPG applications -thus requiring no additional software download.

 

Normal RPG concepts apply – a dashboard shows Life, Stamina, Character Level, XP, and Gold.

 

A horizontal navbar allows access to the main game functions:

 

Quests
Dog simple, fixed stamina cost, 1-click results (varying damages and gold gain). Too few artefact-only restricted quests, almost no user level restricted quests, far too many party size restricted quests.

 

Shop –
And I do mean shop. Not auction house. Fixed price sale of items, fixed price resale (50% of value)
potions are used instantly.

 

Group –
Here you can see your “party” and send invites to other FB people (read spamming) to increase your party’s size, which is critical to have access to quest above a certain level.  Can you do it without spamming your friends? Sure – but it’ll cost you some serious mana….

 

War –
PvP by any other name – fight directly, get XP and gold, but no mana….

 

Character –
Here’s where you allot your level up points (3 per level).  Stamina, Strength, and Dexterity level up at 1 point each.  Life only levels up at 5 points each.

 

Mana
Aye, here’s the rub….

 

If you want mana, (and you’ll need it to increase party size without spamming your friends)
you either buy mana directly [1 party member = 8 mana = $2.00 via Spare Change (via PayPal)]
or go the “win a free iPod” route by signing up for pay per lead offers or Netflix
for varying amounts of mana (the more the offer pays the app owners, the more mana you get).

That can get old really fast.

 

Scoreboard –
Self-explanatory. Really.

 

Other Weaknesses –
No game gold for mana (doesn’t fit the business model, I guess).

No auction house action.

 

But what do I want for free, right?  I’d give World of Blood 2 Gears, [or Weiners], out of 5.

 

 

Review: Mega Man 9 September 29, 2008

Filed under: 4 weiners,Games,Reviews,Uncategorized,Wii — Gwyddia @ 11:36 am
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Ow, my most of me.


Welcome back, Blue Bomber.  Forget Mega Man X, Mega Man Tutu Adventures, Rush eXtREME, and the rest. Mega Man 9 is the real deal.  8-bit graphics, delightfully tinny rock music, and punishing gameplay. Authentic flicker options complete the thing, making Mega Man 9 a worthy and true sequel.

 

For those of you who weren’t around or paying attention in “the old days”, Mega Man is a little blue robot designed by the wonderful Dr. Light.  He starts out by shooting little power pellets at his enemies as he leaps and bounds through painfully difficult platforming levels.  At the end of each level is another robot, this one designed by the Evil Dr. Wily.  When Mega Man defeats these evil robots, he acquires their sweet, sweet power. There’s a dog, too.  Rush, Mega Man’s canine companion starts with the ability to spring you to new heights, but can gain the abilities to race you across spikes and more.

 

Exciting new "box art"!

Exciting new "box art"!

Mega Man has always been part shooter, part platformer, and part puzzler, and MM9 is no exception.There is a “best” way to make it through the game in that some powers are designed to make traversing other levels much easier.   I won’t give away too much here, but isn’t Galaxy Man’s board shiny?

 

All of this is not to say that there is nothing new under the pixellated sun. This time around, Mega Man can collect screws that he can trade to his buddies Auto and Roll for power ups, including Shock Guards and Beat Calls, which will allow you to avoid one spiky death and and pitfall per purchase.  There are also a number of challenges, ala XBox Achievements, such as “Complete the game in 90 minutes” and “Don’t miss with the Mega Buster and finish the game”.  Yes, its layering brutality on top of brutality, but isn’t it fun?

 

The first lady robot in the series and she's a mermaid.

The first lady robot in the series and she's a mermaid.

 

In general, MM9 lets you party like its 1989 for only 1000 Wii Points and all the hair you can yank out of your skull while playing.  If you have any left, that is.  Apparently I’m old, because when I started playing MM9 in front of some of my late 80s baby friends, they began to giggle and squeal that the graphics were so blocky and the music was so annoying, and why did I keep dying?  After I threw them out of my house, I continued to enjoy myself, and decided to give Mega Man 9 four weiners out of five.

 

Spore DRM fun continues September 28, 2008

Filed under: Games,GamesLaw.net,Industry,PC,Spore — Gwyddia @ 4:42 pm
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The Spore DRM fracas has reached new heights. EA has been sued in federal court over their use of SecuROM. You can check out my article about it at GamesLaw.net.

 

A Sad Day in Weinerland

Filed under: Games,Tabletop Gaming — Gwyddia @ 4:36 pm
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Today, after yet another great gaming weekend with a bunch of friends, I say goodbye to one of them.  One of my oldest friends, J. is leaving the U.S. for two years for work.  I’m very excited for him, because this is the next logical step in his career path, and he’s going to love it.  That being said, no board game weekend can ever be the same without him.

 

Here’s to years of gaming past, years of games to come, and peace and safety in the meantime.

 

Peter Molyneaux Needs To Shut His Damn Mouth September 27, 2008

Filed under: Games,Rumors,XBox 360 — Gwyddia @ 7:04 am
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Ridiculous Lucky Captain Rabbit King!  As per Destructoid, Fable 2 will ship without multiplayer co-op.

 

What happened?  This feature, which was supposed to allow players to pop in and out of each others games, was the only thing that Peter Molyneaux presented at E3.  Sure, it didn’t look great then, but to make this little “announcement” just a few weeks before the game’s release, after pre-orders are in, is reprehensible.

 

Yes, Lionhead states that the mode will be available as DLC “a few weeks after release”, but who knows if that’s true?  More to the point, if you were looking to buy this game with a friend and play through together, so sorry.

 

Yes, I’m angry.  Online co-op was a major announced feature of Fable 1, and now it’s being bolloxed in the sequel?  No. Forget this.  I’m canceling my preorder immediately.  I’ll probably play the game, but it’ll be via GameFly – this blowhard jerk with diarrhea of the mouth isn’t getting another cent of my money.  Ever.

 

Preview: The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom September 26, 2008

Filed under: Other Folks,Previews — Gwyddia @ 7:27 am
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 “I say, old chap, might you have a bit of pie? “

 “Alas, dear friend, I had some, but I finished it not a moment ago with a spot of tea!”

 “Not to worry, dear sir.  *pop*  *pop*  Pie for all!”

 

Welcome to the world of P.B. Winterbottom, time exploiter and pie enthusiast.  The  game comes from students in USC’s Interactive Media Unit, and is similar to Braid  with a twist of Edward Gorey.

 

Life was simple for our silent film antagonist until he chanced to purloin a  Cherry Chronoberry pie.  Instantly, Winterbottom’s world turned upside-down.  And inside-out.  And a sort of side-by-side through thing he hasn’t quite worked out yet.  Not content with Braid-like “shadows” and time reversal, these (now graduated) USC students have designed a game where you can play both the hero and the villain, and be in up to six places at once besides.  

 

The art style is a nod to both Victoriana and silent films, with, as I mentioned, an Edward Gorey cartoon twist.  The music follows suit, so prepare to fire up the old Victrola and go to town as you listen to ragtime piano and read 1920’s-era title screens to narrate the action.  The score is dynamic, sort of like Rez, where the soundscape changes and broadens bas the story unfolds.

 

IGN somehow lists The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom as both released and unreleased, so I can’t say when everyone will get the chance to play.   For more information as it is available you can visit the game website at Winterbottomgame.com. In the meantime, enjoy the trailers and “making of” video below.


Trailer #1.


Trailer #2.


The Making of Winterbottom.

 

Review: Alone In The Dark September 25, 2008

Filed under: 1 weiner,Games,PS3,Reviews — Gwyddia @ 7:40 am
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The day has come, Weiner fans.  This is my first 1 Weiner out of 5.  I tell you up front because I believe in fair warning, accuracy and succinctness, concepts with which the developers of Alone in the Dark are obviously unfamiliar.

 

Cutscene Brand Cutscene(TM).

Cutscene Brand Cutscene(TM).

The original Alone in the Dark series is the scary godmother of the survival horror genre.  These PC-based thrillers drew on such diverse source material as H.P. Lovecraft, H.R. Giger, and the voodoun tradition.  The original games starred Edward Carnby, a private investigator with a habit of treading into darker paths than he would like due to his passing sensitivity to the parnormal.  The original Carnby is a fairly unassuming detective – a bit of the “everyman” with just enough skill and verve to live to spy another day.  The original games had everything a gamer could want from survival horror – good stories, decent visuals, okay voice acting, and enough terror to make you want a night light for a while.

 

In 2005, Uwe Boll released another one of his cinematic abortions, this one based on Alone in the Dark. The movie starred Christian Slater as an overwrought Carnby who was experimented on as a child, giving him the power to see paranormal phenomena.  (Shockingly, Boll had to replace Slater with Korean-American actor Rick Yune for the upcoming sequel, because Slater “declined” to return.).  Most of the plot points in the film directly contradict the game, and the entire thing is a vomitous heap of bad acting and terrible visual effects.

 

So, which version of AITD did Atari choose to emulate when they decided to revive the series?  You guessed it – Uwe’s baby. Today’s Edward Carnby is a grunting whiner who believes that fire is the answer to everything.  The “immersive” Central Park setting is a repetitive grove of dark (and flammable) trees.  Yes, you can pick up and interact with almost anything (when the nice buttons announce you can), but the limited “hey, wanna buy a watch” jacket inventory system and the fact that every single thing in the game appears to be completely incendiary makes the whole thing a moot point. 

 

Visually, AITD is a dud. I played the PS3 version of the game, and it looks passably grim. Light help you if you attempt to play the PS2 or Wii versions. Even on the PS3, the cutscenes look like they were rendered by first-year students working on Grape iMacs, and the in-game character modeling has two settings: “brooding” and “undead”.

 

Give me pouty!

Give me pouty!

OK, dead eyes, dead eyes!

OK, dead eyes, dead eyes!

The controls do not improve the situation.   AITD handles like Resident Evil 1’s mentally challenged younger brother. It’s a shame, too, because every time you die you are kicked back quite a ways, and have to relive each cutscene or listen to the exact same ambient noise or dialogue as you burn your way to the next checkpoint.  And burn you will, because fire is the answer to everything and if you try to take the time to cobble together some items to find a new way of dealing with a situation, you will be killed thanks to Atari’s “innovative real time action”.

 

I found myself wishing that Atari had taken a page from BioWare and allowed for pauses to experiment with the inventory. That would have gone a long way toward making this a playable game. As it stands, after five tries, I don’t care if you’re trapped in the elevator ma’am, I just want you to shut your mouth.  Permanently.

 

In the end, AITD’s developers managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of very possible victory. They had a strong series of games to use as source material, and adequate time and processing power to make something awesome happen. Instead, they took the road less traveled (at least by cinemagoers) and followed Uwe Boll down the road to damnation.

 

For being a terrible remake of an excellent series due to shoddy controls, adequate visuals, and the waste of what could have been an excellent inventory and interaction system, Alone in the Dark “earns” 1 Weiner out of 5.

 

Review: Casually Hardcore on WoW Radio September 24, 2008

Filed under: 5 weiners,Other Folks,Rumors,World of Warcraft — Gwyddia @ 10:34 am
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Raiding raiding raiding.  Is World of Warcraft all about the endgame?  The folks at Casually Hardcore don’t think so, and they tell us all about it every Sunday at 12pm EST, 9am PDT (their local time) at WCRadio.com.  

 

CH is more than just a WoW show, however. The current hosts, Gnomewise, Iolite and Grail are all parents and “real live grownups” with jobs and responsibilities. As a result, CH becomes as much a show about balancing geekdom and family as it is about 5-man instances and in-game events.

 

The show doesn’t skimp on WoW content, though. During their recent “Masters of 5” series, Gnome, Io and Grail provided comprehensive walkthroughs of every 5-man Outland instance, complete with loot tables. Other shows have discussed the beta at length or talked about professions in exhaustive detail.

 

Interesting fan-made music and a weekly in-game dance party round out the program. Each week Gnome starts a musical preshow at 11:00 EST, 8:00 PST, and there is a lengthy music break during the show. Listeners can expect to hear everything from death metal to game-related filk, and everything in between. If you want to dance, head over to Booty Bay, Ratchet, or wherever Io throws the weekly party. Prepare to suicide like lemmings off the nearest cliff after the show.

 

For being an excellent, funny, well-balanced WoW-related radio show and podcast, Casually Hardcore gets 5 Weiners out of 5.

 

 

 

 

Casually Hardcore is available on Sundays at WCRadio.com, or via iTunes as a Podcast soon after the broadcast.

 

Weinercast 4 – Indy Gaming Edition

Filed under: Games,Indy,Other Folks,Penny Arcade,Pups,WeinerCast — Gwyddia @ 7:35 am
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I'm Indy, and I approve this message.

I'm Indy, and I approve this message.

As always, the Weinercast is available on iTunes.

And a non-iTunes link if you need it.

And here are the Indy gaming links I promised:

 

The PAX 10:

The Amazing Brain Train from Grubby Games.

Audiosurf by Dylan Fitterer.

Chronotron from Scarybug Games.

The Maw from Twisted Pixel.

Impulse by Rochester Institute of Technology students Dominic Holt, Joseph Plourde, Andrew Ray, Ben Solt, Paul Solt, Mike Thomas and Andrew Williams.

Polarity by Carnegie Mellon University students Howard Braham, Daniel Bryner, Przemyslaw Iwanowski, Stanley Rosenbaum, Gaurav Shrivastava, Samuel Spiro and Allison Theus.

Project Aftermath from Games Faction.

Strange Attractor 2 from Ominous Development.

Samurai Bar Sushi from Molly Rocket.

 

More Indy-approved independent game sites:

I has an itch for games.

I has an itch for games.

The Independent Gaming Source. If indy gaming runs in your blood, you have to be here. Since 2005, an incredible source for what’s out there, what’s coming, and what you need to do to get it done.

IndieGames.com. From the people who bring us such sites as GameSetWatch and Gamasutra, IndieGames bills itself as “a guide to the independent game movement and the very best indie video games.”

GameTunnel’s Top 100 Indie Games. If you can’t find something to play here, you’re not trying.

 

Support Tiny (and not so tiny) Dogs (and cats) September 23, 2008

Filed under: Indy,Pups,Sawyer — Gwyddia @ 2:05 pm
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Sawyer and Indy want YOU!

Sawyer and Indy want YOU!

 

There are so many animals who need homes and care.  PAWS, the Pennsylvania Animal Welfare Society, helps take care of these animals.  Now it is time to help them ourselves. Please click that link and support Playing With My Weiner as we walk for animals without homes.