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Saturday, October 29, 2005

A Guild Wars Halloween

I've been enviously eyeing the events over at World of Warcraft for Halloween. However, it seems the adventurers of Tyria won't be left without a little candy:

Tyria has changed. The citizens are unsettled, and no one knows the cause. But surely anyone visiting Lion's Arch now sees it in a whole new light, and has witnessed the plethora of unusual townsfolk, the unfilled graves, the glowing plants, a haunted pirate's ship, and more. It's cauldrons, and witches, and zombies, oh my! What has caused this change? Who can tell!?

Check Lion's Arch, Droknar's Forge, and the Tomb of the Primeval Kings for evidence of the temporal shift, and, perhaps, find clues to the causes in this cryptic poem:

When the moon rises high over Lion's Arch
And the wind moans through the most hollow of eves

Shutter your homes this holiday
Steer clear of the shadows
For on this night, they say,

A long-addled spirit returns from the grave
Pumpkin upon his head,
A wicked deed within his heart
A pint of witch's brew for all those who misbehave

Heed these words, all ye who dare enter here:
Bind your souls to the mortal realm
For the regent of madness draws near.

Come visit us! And if you're frightened, you can always bring your mummy.
-- Guild Wars Halloween Treats

They're also sponsoring a fan art Halloween contest, have the usual wallpaper fare, etc. I haven't had time to stumble online for the last week or so, but will definately poke my head in to see the sights.

BONUS POINTS: Ok, I poked my head in. It's really very cool. Merchants have been transformed, there's enormous ghastly things coming from the ground and deathly heralds for someone called the Mad King, who seems to really want you to buy some absinthe or witches brew (new collectors). I only saw changes in Lion's Arch and Droknar's ... although I don't remember the spirits at the Temple Of Ages willing to accept donations before either. Not sure what's that about.

Well done, ArenaNet.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Death in Sakkara

Via Alice I stumbled on the BBC web adventure game, Death in Sakkara. It's a fairly basic episodic outing, but well produced and entertaining. I'm still not a fan of arcade action done w/ Flash, because you essentially weed out slower computers from ever winning ... but I'll be back for the next episode.

Media Frenzied

How can you tell that video games have become a favorite bogeyman for the media? Here's how:

Investigators say Victorino organized the attack to retrieve an Xbox video game system he lost when he was kicked out of another house where he was squatting.

The four allegedly barged into the Deltona home with baseball bats and bludgeoned the victims, ages 17 to 34, and a small dog.
-- One of four suspects in Florida Xbox beating deaths pleads guilty

Sorry. I'm not buying it. Nobody goes into home and brutally beats to death six people and a dog in order to get a lousy Xbox back. There's a lot of evil in this world and these guys clearly had more than their share. They killed these people because that's what they wanted to do. I don't care what they say ... this clearly wasn't about retrieving anything. Pinioning that as the core of the story is just sensationalism.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

A Force More Powerful

Wired has an article about Serb student-resistance group Otpor, which apparently used a video game to help train in non-violent resistance called A Force More Powerful:

Can a computer game teach players how to defeat real-world adversaries – dictators, military occupiers, and corrupt rulers – by bypassing laser rays and AK47s and choosing instead a non-military strategy and nonviolent weapons?

The International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, York Zimmerman Inc. and BreakAway Ltd. think so. For the past three years they have been collaborating on A Force More Powerful – The Game of Nonviolent Strategy, now set for release in early 2006. The game features ten scenarios inspired by recent history --conflicts against dictators, occupiers, colonizers, corrupt regimes, and struggles to secure political and human rights of ethnic and racial minorities and women – to demonstrate the effectiveness of nontraditional “weapons” such as strikes, boycotts, and mass protests.

While some politicians and lawyers are still convinced that video games are nothing more than a violent medium, it seems that others are a little more open minded. I find the idea of learning strategy a lot more believing than being becoming a brainwashed sniper, but that's just me.

For instance, the US Center on Public Diplomacy also announced a video game contest. Public Diplomacy is essentially the diplomacy of the masses ... what goes on in open forums and not closed doors.

Better living through video games. That wouldn't be a bad t-shirt.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

How are Things in Glocca Morra?

Everyone's assuming that Sampras'll finish off this guy in just a few minutes. But there's a look on Sampras's face now that you have to be around sports long enough to recognize: He's scared. He's the greatest player in the world and he's been on the court with this guy way too long.
-- Sports Night

I'm not a big baseball guy. In fact, when caught in the inevitable Chicago crosshairs of which team I like, I generally refer people to Birk's Rule #172, any field is a legitimate place to drink. We're mostly there just to have few laughs, toss back a couple and watch people run around.

This series though. Wow. I mean, wow. Both teams want it so bad. Both teams have a really strong defense making that a difficult goal. And that was never more apparent than last night.

Sox and Astros played for five hours. Longest game in World Series history. Around 1AM, the television saw fit to tell us that in the time we had spent watching the game, we could have cooked turkey dinner. Or taken a long flight. Just a half hour before, the announcers were publically declaring that it would be quite OK if someone came to relieve them.

It was brutal. It was also a fine example what's best about sports. Two teams pushing each other to their athletic limits. You really don't have to be a baseball fan to be glued to your seat with events like these.


I just had over a hundred files open in Visual Studio, the result of a find in project and some basic line changes.

Know what Visual Studio doesn't have? Close All Files.

Best IDE in the world, my ass.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

CPU Shootout

The results of this Firing Squad CPU F.E.A.R. Test is pretty interesting .... everyone's a winner. Yup, pretty much every CPU they tossed at the game performed roughly the same. An Extreme Edition 3.6Mhz chip, costing about $300 performed roughly the same as $175 3.0Ghz P4. Bottom line being that most of the heavy lifting is clearly done by the video card, which in this case was a hefty 7800.

Course, they didn't dip down into the budget market, so it's hard to say how the CheapBox's Celeron D would fare in this lineup.

Pixelantes Raise $1700

Straight Loop sent out an email to all those who purchased the Pixelante shirts, saying that they were somewhat overwhelmed with the response. Right now the current take for Child's Play stands at $1700. They offer congratulations and beg for some patience.

Not bad for an army of brainwashed manchurian children, huh?

Monday, October 24, 2005

No, thanks. I'd rather not.

A Wendy's ad shown on IGN is asking that I "Do a Bacon Mushroom Melt at Wendy's". "Do it today" in fact.

Um. No? That just sounds wrong. I have never done my food. I don't even consider my food doable.

Doom Movie Reviews

A quick breeze with technorati's movie list shows that most people are still talking about Serenity and what a few bloggers thought of the Doom movie.

I saw the Doom movie this afternoon and I have to give it seven thumbs up. Lots of shooting and very little plot -- just the way I like it. It was the best movie I've seen today and the best videogame movie ever
-- Bryan Mitchell-Young's Popular Culture

Which is why the long awaited Universal film is such a dissapointment. Why? Because the script by David Callaham and Wesley Strick can't even stick with the few elements of id's game. The movie doesn't have one person fighting the monsters but a whole team of space Marines. The film doesn't depict the hordes of enemies that the game sometimes has but just a few (although there is one scene near the end with a bunch of human zombies charging at the main characters). Most importantly there is no interdimensional portal where the nasties are coming from. Instead its the humans on the planet Mars that have tapped into the genetic code and created the monsters from themselves.

So does the movie stand up on its own on its own terms? Sadly, no.
-- Gamecloud's John "JCal" Callaham

If I wanted zombies in space I'd ask George A. Romero to make a Planet of the Dead.
-- film-otaku

My original prediction - it would suck balls - was an understatement. It sucked monkey balls.
-- Cheese Wheel

Last night, we watched Doom. It was quite ok.
-- Riding the Mellow

It’s a single-player storyline with plenty of shooting to conceal the fact this is indeed a corridor crawl of the worst type. As if Doom 3 was not boring and repetitive enough, we are now treated to its “cinematic” version.

Finally, Ctrl+Alt+Del has teh funny on it.

It's got a 20% Tomato Rating at the time of this writing. Course, it also topped the box office. However, since it took $70 million to make it, it's got a long way to making a profit.

Sociopaths Sipping Malt Whiskey

Classic BatJack. For the record, I think he was trying to be funny.