Playing With My Weiner

Gaming at the mercy of miniature daschunds.

Give Toys To Sick Kids, Scrooge December 4, 2008

Filed under: Amazon,Other Folks,Penny Arcade — Gwyddia @ 4:11 pm
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Check out the shiny new Amazon wishlist button on the right side of the page. It links directly to the Child’s Play Charity wishlist for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

‘Tis the season – give early, give often.

And while you’re at it, buy a shirt.

 

Review: Guitar Hero World Tour October 27, 2008

This is not Rock Band.

 

Beat it!

Beat it!

I need to get that out of the way right now. I also need to state that we are playing this game on Xbox 360 with the Rock Band 2 drums and microphone, but the Les Paul Guitar Hero III guitar.  I have to admit that I went into GHWT thinking of it as a Rock Band 2 expansion pack. I quickly learned how wrong I was.

 

The art style of GHWT is animated and over-the-top, and each instrument and type of play has a series of hysterical cutscenes that just scream “rock”. The characters, both the pre-made type and the ones you can create are the colorful distorted, exaggerated “Judy Nails” types you’ve come to expect from GH. The venues, both real and imaginary, are fully rendered and complete down to the broken chairs and half-eaten wings. Maybe the venues are a little TOO realistic, as they are festooned with in-game advertising for real world brands.  I understand having Sabian cymbals and Marshall amps, but do I need to be told which fried chicken to eat while playing?

Screw my hair, check out my knobs!

Screw my hair, check out my knobs!

 

The controls and setup are so-so. Despite promises to the contrary, the Rock Band drums do not map perfectly onto the GHWT songs. Drummers are encouraged to hit silver-topped notes harder for more points, but the velocity sensitivity is variable at best. It is nearly impossible to deploy Star Power, as the regular set requires you to hit the Green and Orange cymbals together, and those two notes don’t usually show up together in the drum track. The tutorial is not available for drummers that aren’t using the GH set, either. We aren’t using the GHWT set because having tried them both at PAX, we found the Rock Band 2 set to be crisper, quieter, and more responsive, with a good spring in the pedal. The GHWT set we played was mushier, louder, less accurate, and just all around not as good as the Rock Band 2 set, though it was an improvement over the original Rock Band drum set.

 

Vocals are a nightmare. There is no “Tambourine Hero” fill section during long instrumental solos. Instead vocalists have fills which seem to be randomly inserted passages of swirls in which you can earn multiples of 9 points by saying “la” over and over and over.  Vocals Star Power can only be deployed through hitting your microphone or holding your controller the whole time and hitting a button. It lasts for about five seconds, and then you have to go back to hitting buttons like a rat hoping for a food pellet. There is no musical staff guiding your pitch adjustments, but rather one line for you to follow the whole time through. The accuracy level and pickup are just plain bad. I scored about 15% lower in GHWT on songs that I have completed perfectly on Hard in Rock Band 2.

 

All of that being said, if you’ve enjoyed Guitar Hero before, keep on keeping on. You’ll probably enjoy this game. The Guitar and Bass work just fine. If you are new to GH, or are trying it after Rock Band, keep in mind that GH is significantly different, and don’t count on the manual or the early tracks to help you find your way. The manual is eight pages long and barely goes farther than “turn the game on and play”. If you are eligible to play a tutorial, good luck finding it. You have to search around through stacks of menus to find the tutorials or anything else in the game.

 

I was disappointed in Guitar Hero World Tour. I guess I expected more after I saw the excellent track list. I did enjoy the cameos from rock icons such as Jimi Hendrix and Zack Wylde, and the game is fun to watch in general, but I’d almost rather watch than play, and that’s a bad sign. Maybe they’ll get it right on their inevitable next time out, but on their initial foray into the full band genre Activision has put too much focus on being different for difference’s sake and not enough on streamlining and gameplay.

 

For being a mediocre comparitor to Rock Band 2 when it could have been so much more, Guitar Hero World Tour earns 3 Weiners out of 5

 

Peter Molyneaux Needs to Shut His Damn Mouth Parts V and VI October 10, 2008

Filed under: Games,Other Folks,Penny Arcade,Pups,Uncategorized — Gwyddia @ 2:01 pm
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Why am I a moron??

Why am I a moron??

I didn’t realize this was going to be come a regular series, but so be it.

First, instead of fretting over having Fable II not become the laughingstock of the industry, Peter Molyneaux is fretting over the casual/hardcore divide. Of course, Fable II, which is all things to all people. Molyneaux is unhappy that Fable has been “pigeonholed” as an RPG, just because it has quests, leveling, character development, plot, etc. Poor, Peter Peter crow eater.

Second, if you ditch your dog in Fable II, you’re a terrible person who is going directly to Hell. Now I love me some animals, pups especially. That being said, I don’t like being made to feel guilty by games. Petey-boy says he decided not to have a dog disattachment option because “I wanted people to realize this dog loves you.” Of course, the first time you fight with the dog around he gets hurts, so that’s love, right?

That being said, Gabe and Tycho, I love you.

 

Weinercast 4 – Indy Gaming Edition September 24, 2008

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.

 

Wil Wheaton gave me Plague September 21, 2008

Filed under: Other Folks,Penny Arcade — Gwyddia @ 9:21 am
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No, it’s true!  Wil was beleaguered by ConSARS at PAX.  He gave my husband a terrorist fist jab because of their shared great taste in Minibosses t-shirts.  My husband developed a sinus infection, which, due to airplane pressure, caused a ruptured eardrum.  This week I followed suit, with objects coming out of my nose that could easily make the Creature stage in Spore. This week, Araan’s throat began to ache.

 
The pathogenesis is clear.  Wil is Patient Zero.  We are in a hot zone.  Beware.

 

 

Penny Arcade puts their finger on the guild-building problem September 12, 2008

Filed under: Penny Arcade,World of Warcraft — Gwyddia @ 1:32 pm
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You try to recruit for a 5-man, you get 6 people.  A Kara run?  14.  Gruul or Mags?  30.  It’s a constant problem.  Gabe and Tycho illustrate this perfectly today.

 
Check it out here.

 

My favorite charity September 9, 2008

Filed under: Penny Arcade — Gwyddia @ 11:10 pm
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Before the soft geeky glow of PAX fades completely for the year, I want to make my pitch for the Child’s Play Charity. Known as “the gamers’ charity”, Child’s Play was set up by Gabe and Tycho of Penny Arcade. The charity gives toys and games to children in hospitals all over the world. Since 2004 Child’s Play has raised over $1.3 million for sick kids.

 

You can donate money directly via PayPal or snail mail, or, even better, buy some stuff from the Amazon wishlists set up for each hospital and have it sent directly to the hospital of your choice.

 

So next time you put in that Amazon pre-order, add just one item for a sick kid who would enjoy it just as much, if not more, than you. Thanks.

 

You can find complete information about Child’s Play at their official website, ChildsPlayCharity.org.

 

Hardware Review: PAX ’08 DeathAdder and Logitech VX Revolution September 6, 2008

Filed under: 3 weiners,5 weiners,Hardware,Indy,Penny Arcade,Reviews — Gwyddia @ 9:41 pm
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I know this is like comparing apples to oranges. The Razer DeathAdder is a gaming mouse, pure and simple. The VX Revolution is a wireless notebook mouse. So why bother? Because if you’re like me, using more than one computer in the course of your day, you find yourself needing more than one mouse. Hopefully this review will help suggest the right mouse for the right job.

 

I first bought the Revolution because I wanted a mouse to play WoW on my MacBookPro. I chose a cordless mouse to maximize my mobility. The Revolution connects to the computer with a small dongle that sticks out about an inch. Most of the time this wasn’t a problem, but one one occasion Indy ran by and knocked over my laptop. The computer was fine (thank you MagSafe adapter!), but the USB dongle snapped clean off and I had to replace the mouse.

Note the dongle.

Note the dongle.

 

A medium-sized mouse that fits well in my hand.

The Logitech VX Revolution

The Revolution has a nice form factor. I have small hands, and the Revolution is a smaller mouse. It is ergonomically designed and I never have any wrist pain when using it, even after hours and hours of scrolling and clicking. It is reasonably accurate without noticeable lag. the “Hyper-scroll” feature is great for heavy surfing and certain games. The battery life is reasonable – I have to change the two AAs about once every 3-4 months.

 

The DeathAdder is like butter. Within seconds of plugging it in I was experiencing the silkiest, smoothest mousing experience of my life. It had better be, with a 1800dpi Razer Precision™ 3G infrared sensor and a 1ms response (compared with 8ms for standard mice). This thing has pinpoint accuracy, and its almost a waste to be clicking on lootable bodies rather than fragging the heck out of some sucker in TF2.

It slides, it glides, it juliennes fries!

It slides, it glides, it juliennes fries!

 

Again, the form factor is nice. The DeathAdder is a little larger than the Revolution, but not overwhelmingly so. The cord is 210cm long, so I never feel that I’m pulling at it. If anything, it may be a little too long, because I had to find a place to tuck it out of the way. The exclusive PAX ’08 paintjob isn’t really that great looking, but there were only 400 made and I got one, so the smug feeling of dork accomplishment compensates for the bowling shoes design. This is my desktop mouse of choice.

Strike!  Oh, wait.  This is my megamouse.

Strike! Oh, wait. This is my megamouse.

 

In the end, it really does come down to the right mouse for the right job. For high-tension gaming, particularly in a desktop setting where mobility isn’t a factor, it’s going to be the DeathAdder every time. When a gnome’s gotta go, though, the VX Revolution goes with her, and does a serviceable and comfortable job.

 

Logitech VX Revolution Wireless USB Mouse (USD$69.99):

Weiner-worthy: Portable, accurate and comfortable
Be Curful: One good thwack at the right angle and you’ll need a new mouse.

3 Mousing Weiners out of 5

 

 Razer DeathAdder PAX ’08 Limited Edition (USD$59.99):

Weiner-worthy: Smooth, ultra-responsive, and comfortable.
Be Curful: Razer’s long cords can be a problem if you don’t have the room.
5 Mousing Weiners out of 5

 

3spot – Halo and Kingdom Hearts news September 3, 2008

Filed under: Bungie,Halo,Kingdom Hearts,Penny Arcade,PS3,Rumors — Gwyddia @ 8:25 pm
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Halo 3: It looks like we’ll be seeing a Halo 3.2 expansion pack coming soon from Bungie, bringing with it 60 new Achievements. I saw these maps and achievements myself at Bungie’s PAX booth, and the folks manning the booth would neither confirm nor deny my supposition. I don’t think this is the announcement that Microsoft scrubbed at E3, though – look for THAT at Tokyo Game Show.

Speaking of the Tokyo Game Show, rumor has it that Kingdom Hearts III will be announced at TGS as a PS3 exclusive. Huzzah!

 

Weinercast is go!

Behold, the first Weinercast!

Weinercast #1!