Archives for September 2004

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Start them when they’re young!

I always thought I’d still be playing video games with my grandkids. While the kids in the picture aren’t my grandkids, one of them is mine. The little girl on the left is my beautiful daughter, Corinne. (The others are my niece and nephews) This picture was taken in February a week or two before she had her first birthday. She is the best!

I think video games will play a part in my children’s lives, just a minor one. They will get to play games but they will earn their playing time. No mindless time wasting, I hope. I started playing games when I was seven or eight years old but I don’t think I ever over did it. Sure, I’ve had my marathon sessions of gaming but I never played so much that it was unhealthy. Hopefully my kids will like video games to some degree and come to appreciate them like I do.

More Fable

I did have a chance to play a little more Fable and I must say I’m beginning to see flaws become more apparent.

First and foremost, the game purports to be open-ended. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In each zone there are multiple paths you can take to get places but they really don’t let you go anywhere else. No exploring off the path, no random encounters in the woods, nothing. It’s just getting from point A to point B and doing X. Nothing open-ended about that.

Farting and flirting is also starting to lose its initial fun. Interactions with the NPCs are good but still feel canned and unnatural. I suppose I really need to give the game some more face time and let my character develop and see how that really works. Seeing the scars appear and watching him grow is still cool but I am just not feeling Fable right now.

Games this weekend

I didn’t have much time to play games this weekend, but Friday night the husbands got together while the girls went to the movies and we got some gaming in. We were going to play some one-on-one NCAA but didn’t get much football in. We ended up playing some Pac Man Vs.

The game was included in a copy of R-Racing Evolution I picked up for ten bucks at Best Buy. We played it while we were in Utah but this is the first time I’ve mentioned it. The game is actually pretty dang fun. It is simple and not very deep but it still holds our collective interest a lot longer than some games have. The concept is simple – one player is Pac Man and he uses the GBA and gets to see the whole board. The other three guys play the ghosts and only see a portion of the board. Pac Man then tries to clear the board while the ghosts try to catch him. Suprisingly, there is strategy and actual structure to the game. We like it a lot and it is a wife-friendly game, too. I highly recommend it.

Fable’s first impressions

I didn’t update last night, I was too busy playing Fable! Before I get my second crack at it this evening, my first impressions:

Presentation is pretty sharp. The graphics definitely aren’t the best in the world but it still looks darn good. The character models look great, if not a little over-exaggerated. The big gloves and boots you wear as a kid look a little disproportionate but it works. My adult character has already done a couple quests involving battle and he’s beginning to develop scars. That is pretty cool. Music is great, as well.

The openness of the game has been great. A game that will let me fart, burp and flirt at will has been great. Character interaction is pretty well done, too. As a little boy I decided to punch a little girl looking for her lost teddy bear. She screamed and ran away from me. The next time I talked to her, she cowered in fear and pleaded that I not hurt her and would I please find her bear. Then I ran into a town guard who informed me that if I was an adult he’d have to rough me up. Then later still my dad said he heard I’d been doing some bad things and pleaded with me not to sully his good name. I like that.

The gestures are pretty cool. I’m getting some renown and girls are already swooning for me. It’s fun to flirt and watch her heart grow as she gets enamored with me, then fart and make a mean face and watch her run. I just learned the “I’m sorry” gesture and now I think I’ll go punch someone and then tell them I’m sorry. I’ll be interested to see how that affects things.

So far I must say I’m impressed. I think I’ve barely scratched the surface (I’ve only played for about 2 hours) so I really can’t form a coherent opinion just yet. I like it a lot and I’ll reserve judgement for later.

Video games aren’t all bad!

For a while there, video games only received bad press. GTA-inspired shootings and murders involving an Xbox were the headlines. Now stories of what good can come of video games are starting to come out. There have been stories of surgeons who play video games have more success. Now, Wired News has this story about a “Games for Health” conference where game makers and health educators are getting together to talk about games. There are games that can be used for training –

Rosser, who heads the Advanced Medical Technology Institute at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, knows how he’d like to see games used. Since 2001, he’s worked with games like Super Monkey Ball, for Nintendo’s GameCube console, to train doctors in laparoscopic surgery. What Rosser found was that students who had played video games for more than three hours in one week — even once — had 37 percent fewer errors during the procedure, and got the operation done 27 percent more quickly.

And for treatment –

… which has used video games and digital worlds to treat more than 400 people with anxiety disorders. Patients there use the games to face their phobias. People afraid to drive play Midtown Madness, a racing game; those with fear of heights use a custom-crafted level from the Unreal Tournament shooter game, which features pixelated skyscrapers 50 stories tall.

Neocron 2 Open Beta

I’ve participated in a few open betas, most recently I played Planetside (which was okay but not worth picking up). So when I saw Neocron 2 was holding one I decided to give the game another chance. Maybe. My Neocron character, “I ain’t yer Pa,” is currently in a cryo-genic holding pattern since I cancelled my account last month. I figured I’d give Dome of York a chance, and now with an open beta I may just find out. If Neocron 2 is any good he may come out from his slumber.

I was a little confused, though, because I thought Dome of York was an expansion, not a new game, so I’m interested to see how that plays out. I’m currently Bit Torrenting my copy, but since this isn’t the WoW Stress Beta there aren’t too many seeds out there, resulting in a SSSSLLLLOOOOWWWW download. I probably won’t get around to it until tomorrow.

That presents a second conundrum. Fable is available tomorrow, too. I’ll give both a chance but since I’ll be paying for Fable I expect it will take more of my time off the bat. We’ll go from there. – Gaming’s Homepage – Gaming’s Homepage – It’s been said a lot here and there, but September is looking crazy for gaming! Along with Fable (a game I’ve been looking forward to for a long time, the reason why I bought an Xbox) there’s also Tiger Woods 2005, Burnout 3, Evil Genius (a PC game on the list!?), and of course a new Pokemon.

Craziness. Looks like I’ll be exercising my right to rent games.

Back from vacation

I took a week off last week from the internet and blogging (but not from video games!) while we vacationed with my wife’s family in Utah. A good time was had by all. Luckily my brother-in-law is a big NCAA 200* fan, so we played two seasons of my team on the big screen projector. Many good plays, celebrations and awards were won.

Now that I’m back I am super stoked about Fable coming out this week. I can already see myself punting chickens in my underwear, farting all the while! Can things get better?

We are the music makers…

I read about this a couple days ago, but I don’t think a Willy Wonka video game could be that good. There have been some great movie-based video games (Goonies on the NES being my favorite) but The Chocolate factory doesn’t seem to be one.

But I would like to see what a Vermicious Knid looks like.