Archives for March 2006

A quick follow-up

Gamestop posted a summary of the Senate hearing on video games, which is referenced in my earlier post about the proposed video game legistlation.

From the review (you can get all the pertinent links, including testimony transcripts here), it seems like the testimony was stacked in favor of the legislation, but there was some heartening quotes, like this one from Paul M. Smith, a partner in the law firm Jenner & Block:

The attorney went on to explain that “Every court to have considered the issue has found ‘violent’ video game laws would not pass constitutional muster because the government lacks a legitimate and compelling interest in restricting video game content. Under well-settled First Amendment principles, expression may not be censored on the theory that it will cause some recipient to act inappropriately, unless it falls into the narrow category of speech ‘directed to inciting’ and ‘likely’ to incite ‘imminent’ violence.”

Unfortunately, that is countered with this argument from Kevin Saunders, a Professor of Law at Michigan State University:

Saunders’ second legal basis will likely prove the most troubling to gamers. This approach would argue that “is that video game play, like the play of pinball machines, is not an activity protected by the First Amendment.” It would legally differentiate the expression of a game designer, which would be protected, from the playing of games, which would not be. As an example, he compared a sexually provocative dancer’s movements, which is a performance and therefore expression, to a gamer playing in an arcade, which is not, even though others were watching him.

This definitely far from over, but there seems to at least seem to be a level of civility between both sides. No one attacked (verbally or otherwise) the otherside, so I guess that’s a good thing.

I guess they’ve never played Grand Theft Auto.

Subject: Clone Activated

Body:
2006.03.31 04:52
So you died? Well you have a Clone Grade Iota at Hulm VIII - Moon 2 - Republic University School Station. Enjoy your afterlife.

Yeah, so this is the cute little EVE Mail message I’ve sent to myself after I was podded (killed while trying to flee in my escape pod). How quaint.

EVE had seemed unstable all evening, but I found a sweet spot to mine some rare asteroids and no one was bothering me, so even with the constant disconnects I was hauling in some good ore. After a couple more disconnects, I logged back in and found myself targeted by two pirates. They didn’t seem too far out of my league, so I started lighting one up when I noticed two other real players in the same area. They decided I was to be their Minmatar red-headed-step-child and they unleashed a fury on me. I frantically tried to warp out but was unable. I think they had something to do with that. After my ship was destroyed (fully insured) I tried to make tracks in my trusty pod when it received a volley of thorn rockets that sent my poor character on his way to EVE heaven.

Dead. In space. What a horrible way to go.

A lot of things went wrong here. I probably shouldn’t have been in 0.4 space by myself, even if I was fully armed. I only had a couple cannons mounted as I was busy mining, so I shouldn’t have been so careless with that. At the first sign of trouble I should have bailed but I stuck around a little longer than I should have. Above all, I shouldn’t have been playing when EVE was acting so wonky.

So I have started “the list”. “idimmu69” and “golddiger” and the Corp, “Arcana Imperii, Ltd.” have just made themselves the first entries on “The List”. Fear the list!

Since I really don’t gain much from not revealing my identity, I’ll let you in on the gory details of my death. You can see them here and here.

(Let me just add that the amount of non-CPP EVE content out there is pretty impressive)

Related Posts:
EVE Online Impressions
Learning the ropes, the hard way…
Daddy’s got a new ship
EVE and Me

Listen up, people!

I keep hoping that the more I read articles like “Natural Born Regulators” the more people it is reaching. I know I bang the drum pretty loudly here, but I’m just background noise in the grand scheme of things. This article is another good look at the problem with politicians trying to protect the you-know-who.

From the article:

Indeed almost every important social indicator has been improving in recent years even as video-game use among youths has increased. Juvenile murder, rape, robbery, and assault are all down significantly over the past decade. Aggregate violent crime by juveniles fell 43 percent between 1995 and 2004. Meanwhile, fewer kids today are carrying weapons to school or are victims of violence in schools than in the past. Alcohol and drug abuse, teen birth rates, high-school dropout rates, and teenage suicide rates have all dropped dramatically as well. These results do not conclusively rule out a link between exposure to games and violent acts or promiscuous sexual behavior, but they should at least call into question the “world-is-going-to-hell” sort of generalizations made by proponents of increased regulation.

Heard that before, right? What about this one:

Finally, there might be some cathartic or educational benefits associated with many video games. From the Bible to Beowulf to Batman, depictions of violence have been used not only to teach lessons, but also to allow people — including children — to engage in a sort of escapism that can have a therapeutic effect on the human psyche. Kids know the difference between make-believe violence and the real thing. And many games today are remarkably sophisticated, offering players a “cognitive workout” that is far more stimulating, rewarding, and even educational than much of the other media fare that is available.

Yeah, heard that one before, too. Unfortunately, the one we hear the most is this:

In sum, the debate over video-game regulation is being driven by myths and misperceptions. Policymakers and critics should consider the facts before moving forward with efforts to regulate the gaming industry, especially since such rules could have profound First Amendment implications as well.

And that’s the problem. Those pesky facts keep getting in the way!

(thanks to my bud Rightank for the tip)

What I’m playing

I’ve been pretty busy lately and it’s been cutting into my gaming time. We traveled home to my parents house this past weekend for the buttonSon’s first birthday and we’ll be heading to the button-In-Laws this weekend. What’s a gamer to do when he’s busy and on the road? What games should he play? That’s a great question. And the Nintendo DS is a great answer.

This past weekend I had some time to play a little more Metroid Prime Hunters. I’m searching for the perfect “grip”. I am still leaning towards using the touch screen for aiming but, as just about everyone has said, it’s hard to find a comfortable grip for a long period of time. I’d also like to use the right trigger for my fire button but that isn’t possible without reversing the controls. Neither are deal breakers but are not conducive to long periods of MPH gaming (which, coupled with a lack of save points, can be a pain, as Josh noted). During one of my MPH breaks, I jumped back into Metroid Fusion, which is still a good time. I think I’m close to finally finishing it. The DS and its GBA slot is almost a perfect little machine. The DS Lite can’t arrive soon enough.

I’m also still working off my Nook Loan. Thanks to my helpful commenters, I have been regularly opening my gates and increasing the value of my turnips. I have a flea market coming up this weekend, so I’m starting to hoard the expensive fish.

My Newest RideWhen I have a few moments to game at home, I’ve been playing EVE. I’m giving each of the “professions” a try. I’ve given manufacturing a try, churning out a bunch of small projectile ammo. I was hoping for a great “crafting” experience but it was a little too hands off for my liking. It still seems like a very viable way to make ISK so I haven’t sworn it off yet, I just didn’t get the crafting feedback I had hoped for. I upgraded my Probe for a Thrasher (pictured here) which was a big upgrade, fire-power-wise (even though it looks wimpy with those little turrets). With my newfound muscle I “ganged up” with BM reader Bobster for a little pirate hunting and that was a good time. Not entirely lucrative, but we weren’t going after the big boys. We’ll be trying some low-security mining soon, so we’ll see how that goes. I’ve also been running as many missions as I can.

Since I’ll be out of town again this weekend, I’m hoping to finish up Metroid Fusion, get some more MPH time in and finally crack the seal on one of the games that interested me in the DS in the first place – Trauma Center. Can’t wait.

What about you guys? Playing anything new? Outside of GRAW and Oblivion, there doesn’t seem to be a bunch of new stuff out there. I’ve been eyeing Galactic Civilizations II but I don’t think I can take on another game right now.

Bracketology

My bracket starting falling apart in the second round (curse you, Georgetown!) and went downhill from there. Your’s did, too, don’t lie.

This guy’s, on the otherhand, did not. I hope he had a lot of money riding on his picks. Amazing.

(via digg)

Carnival is around the corner!

So don’t forget your entries for the Carnival of Gamers, April edition. Cosmik will be our Carnival host, held at his blog, n3rfed.

Head over to the Carnival HQ if you have any questions. Newcomers are welcome and encouraged!

In my hands

Metroid Prime Hunters

Impressions to follow…

Update: Okay, while my DS is recharging, I’ve got a moment to comment on Hunters. I naturally started with the single player game and so far I like it. I am thoroughly impressed with the looks and sounds of the game. It definitely feels like a Prime game, complete with the scanning. That they shrunk it down to the DS’s size is quite impressive. I think I’m about quarter of the way through the first mission. I’m after some hot bounty and I’ve already had to vaporize a rival Hunter. Sorry about that, Kanden.

After finding my way back to my ship to save, I decided to give WiFi a go. I simply went with the vanilla death match and looked for some local players. I met up with “Doc” and no one else, so we went mano a mano in a struggle to the death. Actually, really just my death. He smoked me 7-0. I was sorta glad my battery was dieing so I could quit for the time being. The game was fast but it felt like we were both getting used to the controls. Maybe me a little more than him, since he did thrash me, but it looked like he was sorta fumbling, too. Just fumbling less than me. The actual game wasn’t too positive but the experience of getting started and connecting to a game were the best I’ve had with the Nintendo WiFi Connection. I hope this is the way Nintendo continues to use its WiFi service – no friend codes needed. There is, of course, a friend code, but this time it’s not as necessary.

So far, so good. I’m still trying to figure out which control scheme I like. At first I hated using the touch screen for looking/aiming/turning but I quickly got used to it (I was even using the little nub strap you get with the DS). When I played the WiFi match I tried the dual-control, which uses the buttons (ABXY) instead of the touch screen and that surprisingly felt awkward. I figured that would be the control scheme I used, but right now I’m leaning toward the touch screen. A little more playing time is in order. Right after the batteries (and my ego) have recharged.

When I do get on, I think I’m going to try and finish the first single player mission. Or maybe I’ll get in a WiFi match or two. If you’ve got the game, hit me up in the comments with your friend code. Mine is listed below:

Friend Code:
1289
1659
2568

Some thoughts…

I know blogging has been light lately, but RL keeps getting in the way. I’d like to say gaming has kept me away but sadly that isn’t the case. Gaming has been limited to EVE lately, with an occasional Animal Crossing break.

Even with the lack of blogging, I wanted to post a few thoughts I’ve had recently:

  • Even with two AAA titles out in the past couple of weeks (Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter and Oblivion), I still find that I’m not really gravitating toward the Xbox 360. All the trimmings on the periphery (Xbox Live Arcade, Gamer Points) still intrigue me but the games don’t. I’ve never played any of the Elder Scrolls games (even though I own Morrowind) but I’ve been fascinated by the excited anticipation surrounding Oblivion. I’ll be watching Adam’s blog, since he’s in the same boat and will be playing an Elder Scrolls game for the first time. Even with all the excitement, I’m still content with the occasional Halo 2 match with friends and a little NCAA 2006. I’d also like to snag a copy of both Mercenaries and Forza since I never finished either of those. And I also have a stack of games that I’ve only played briefly that I’d like to get to. So yeah, I’m really not feeling the 360 right now.

    So I’m not sure what will be the title that pushes me over the edge. Probably the next NCAA title. If not that, then certainly the next Halo.

  • That being said, I am currently drooling over the DS Lite. I don’t know when it hits our shores, but man I want that! It just looks sexy (something the original does not). While I’d really like to get a black Lite, I think the dark blue (Navy enamel or something) will do. I’m also pumped about Metroid Prime Hunters. If I have a chance, I’ll be picking up a copy later this evening, but you never know how that works. I was a little worried about the control scheme, but after reading Tycho’s blurb about it you can color me excited.
  • I’m really digging EVE-Online. So much so that I’m running a mission as I type. I never got around to Auto Assault and now I doubt I will. It’s not that I didn’t want to, but the gaming buffet is already overflowing. With Metroid and Tetris on the cusp, I just don’t need another time sink. It isn’t easy being a gamer.
  • I have a bunch of posts that are in various states of completion that I’d like to get to at some point. I’ve got stuff on MMOs (Sports games in particular), video game music (and other music-related stuff) and whatever else fills the empty space in my head. I’ll get around to them eventually. Right now, someone is in dire need of Antibiotics and I’ve got to deliver.

EVE and me

[EVE-Online] My current gaming time has been monopolized by EVE-Online. EVE is going good. I lost my first two ships the other night (thank goodness for insurance!). I took on a mission that I wasn’t ready for and I paid the price. Literally. I had to rescue some kidnapped VIPs from a rogue group of NPCs. The mission involved multiple encounters. Each one increasing in difficulty, of course. I warped out and was able to take the first two groups of bad guys out, but the third group were waaaay too tough for me. I’d warp into their space and they were on me fast. Two blasts would totally drop my shields, another two completely destroyed my armor and two more smashed my hull to bits. Holy crap on a stick, it happened fast. So there I was, in empty space, sitting in my pod. I flew my pod back to base, bought another ship, and asked another player for some assistance. Someone flying a Gallente Vexor offered me a hand. I tried to hide from the bad guys while he took them out but still got blown up again. Even though I was trying to avoid the conflict I still got punked like a sissy. He wasted all the bad guys so I went and bought yet another ship. This time I was able to warp to the last guy who I had to attack twice to beat. He was pretty tough but I saved the VIPs and received a handsome reward.

The thing is, up to this point, I’ve been playing EVE casually. This doesn’t work. EVE-Online isn’t a casual game. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. The simple fact is that EVE is a very deep game. So I’ve actually started getting into EVE seriously. I started reading the Player’s Guide (I should have done this a week ago!) and I’m getting involved with other players. Playing with other players works pretty well. EVE is really starting to suck me in.

Related Posts:
EVE Online Impressions
Learning the ropes, the hard way…
Daddy’s got a new ship

Turnip Market Crash!

B0009Z3MQK-01-_AA_SCMZZZZZZZ_.jpg[Animal Crossing: Wild World]: Either it’s Black Monday every Monday in my Animal Crossing town, or Tom Nook and Joan (the Turnip Lady) are in cahoots to financially ruin me. In the Gamecube version of Animal Crossing, playing the turnip market was very lucrative. I paid my house off in record time by simply buying low and selling high. That’s Investing 101, look it up.

Well for the past couple months, I’ve dutifully met up with Joan Sunday mornings and spent a fair amount of bells buying White Turnips at extortion-like prices. We’re talking almost 100 bells a turnip. That’s highway robbery. Then I check turnip prices daily with Tom Nook. He refuses to offer me more than 75 bells a turnip. That’s just not right. There needs to be a Wild World Securities and Exchange Commision investigation or something. Those two are ruining me. There’s no way I’m I’m paying that mortgage off now.

I tried my hand with a Red Turnip, which I sold to Nook for 16,000 bells. ONE fricken turnip! It must be some kind of controlled substance. No one pays that kind of money for a glorified root. I’d grow more to keep him hopped-up on a red turnip high but I keep forgetting to water them and they die on me.

Those poor things are delicate.

Update:This will take you to the old Friend Code post. Here is my AC:WW Town info. Add me and let me know you’re code, too!

Name: Tonester
Town: Pamplona
Friend Code: 2749-3859-8704