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Showing posts from December, 2006

State of the Game

Despite all my good intentions about being selective in buying games for the Christmas period my old bargain hunting nose got the better of me. I am now the proud owner of the following 6 titles: Gothic 3 , Neverwinter Nights 2, Titan Quest, Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, Age of Empire 3, Rise of Legends. The whole lot cost me €120 bought second hand. I amn't really sure why I bought them. Apart from AOE 3 most of these games got fairly mediocre reviews and I am very wrapped up in Guild Wars at the moment. I guess they are for the collection. This all begs the question how long will I stick with Guild Wars? I have already been playing for two months and there is plenty more content to go even in the original chapter of the game. Add in expansions and epic missions and you can see how this game could keep me occupied for a very long time. I have to laugh whenever I read reviews of Guild Wars games where reviewers discuss how this is really all about PVP but that there is enoug

Operation Gamecube is crashing and Burning

My secret plan to buy "Happy Feet" for the gamecube hit a hitch when I discovered that that game is available on every platform known to man other than the gamecube. Gamecube games are disappearing from the universe at a frightening rate. So far I have only discovered two shops in my whole city which stock them. As recompense for the "Happy Feet" debacle I got a second hand copy of Mario sunshine adventure. This had been recommended as a great game for kids and my pair were very impressed by the intro. Nice story setting with Mario going off on Holiday. Then disaster struck - the game hung and it turned out that the disk has a big scratch. I shall be bringing the game right back but they have no other copies of the game in stock. Arghhhh.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Christmas is coming and Santa Claus is under strict instructions to visit the Mindbending household. Needless to say the girls have asked for a lot of stuff. They are both treasures however and I am sure Santa will be kind. Sadly nobody asked Santy for proper computer games despite my best efforts in operation Nintendo. Nevertheless I have a secret plan. My girls are going to see a movie called "Happy Feet" this week. By all accounts this is a great family movie so I expect they will be enthralled. I discoveered that the "Happy Feet" video game is available for the Nintendo Gamecube so I will sneak a copy under the Chirstmas tree and see what happens. Speaking of Santa it has been my custom to buy myself a couple of games every Christmas to see me through the holidays. The rest of the year I play scrooge and live on second hand and bargain bin offerings but at Christmas I will go full price if need be. A good shooter and a good RPG or strategy game usually keeps me

Guild wars keeps getting better

I'm a late comer to the GW universe. I only started Prophecies two months ago. I am not the fastest leveller either - sixty days in and I am still working my way through the Crystal Desert with my first character. However the game keeps getting better and better. I have just conquered Elona Reach with my trusty henchmen: mission, bonus and skill captures. I did the mission first where you need to collect three pieces of a crystal. It is considerd a faily difficult mission because there is a 30 minute timer and the area is swarming with patrolling snake creatures called "The forgotten" including plenty healers and elites. It took me three attempts with henchmen. The first two tries I wiped after pulling too many mobs. A particulalry nasty wipe happened when a forgotten sage healer hid behind a wall. This split my henchmen party in two as some of us went behind the wall for the healer and some got stuck outside. On the third attempt with careful pulling and targetting I pul

Artificially Creating Value

On the face of it an Olympic medal isn't worth much, about €83 according to this web page .Yet people who win one often consider it to be the greatest achievement of their lives. To a small nation like my own even a single gold medal is a cause for national celebration. The real value of a gold medal comes from the difficulty of getting it. In fact the medal itself is only a symbol of the heroic achievement that getting it entailed. If Mark Spitz threw away all seven of the medals he won in Munich people would still remember his achievement in winning them. Computer games strive to create this sort of value all the time. Most single player games reward you with a fairly inane final cinematic after downing the last boss. The cinematic itself is pretty worthless but the pride and satisfaction you get from overcoming the challenge of the game is certainly not. It is often possible to enable cheats and get to the end of the game that way. Fine if you really want to see the end credit

Operation Gamecube Update

My not so secret campaign to get other members of my family involved in video games through the purchase of a second hand gamecube is having mixed results. Donkey Konga is a big hit with my wife and the girls. The Lady of the house has firmly established herself as the best drummer in the family. I am not completely satisfied however - hitting a pair of plastic bongo drums doesn't feel like real gaming to me. Sadly the other games I bought seem to have less appeal. Most worrying is the fact that both my wife and girls have taken an aversion to the game controller. My wife announced that she is hopeless at using that kind of thing and the girls have more or less followed suit. In fairness to the beautiful lady when I explained to her that this was important to me she did spend a couple of hours with me playing through Monkey Ball Adventure. This is quite a tough game to control for joy pad novice because the rolling monkey balls have inertia and don't just immediately go the wa

So I finally caved in a bought a games console

After a lifetime of dedication to PC games I have finally bought my first ever games console. It's not actually for me - it's for the wife and kids. Most parents lament the excessive amount of time their kids spend on the playstation. My family on the other hand shows almost no interest in computer games leaving me a very lonely gamer. Partly this is temperament, they prefer other pastimes and partly this is due to type of game I play on the PC. My lovely wife and girls just don't like the violent often complicated PC games that I go for. So I've bought a games console in the hope that an infusion of Japanese monkey hopping and banana collecting will give my family a small appreciation of my own hobby. I bought a second hand Nintendo Game cube for €40. This is a console that was never very popular and has in fact just become obsolete. Only a few game stores even sell games for the cube any more. Before you accuse me of total miserliness I must counter with the fac

Where is the pink LEGO?

Yesterday I discovered LEGO's superb Digital Designer program (also known as lego factory). This is a fully fledged computer aided design (CAD) program that allows you to construct a vrtual lego model from a huge variety of bricks. The program is powerful yet extremely easy to use - a superb programming achievement. Even more amazing is the fact that having designed your virtual masterpiece you can then buy the pieces you need to make it all at the click of a button. There must be a very sophiticated warehousing system behind this that allows lego to pick individual kits for every order. I am happy to report that lego digital designer got the thumbs up from my two kids (5 and 7). However something became apparent very quickly as we built our virtual models. You can have any colour brick you want as long as it is a very masculine red or white, green, grey or blue. There are no pink or purple bricks. I thought this was surely an oversight. Surely lots of girls like to play with lego