Posts tagged ‘gaming’

March 11, 2012

The Great Old One

Guest post by – Boise Card Games Examiner

Call of Cthulu offers some interesting artwork

Being a gamer living in a house full of gamers has perks. For example, I never have a shortage of willing opponents when it’s time to check out a new game. Having a roommate who is also a fan of the writing of H.P. Lovecraft is especially convenient when playing Call of Cthulu.

Published by Fantasy Flight this living card game has everything a Lovecraftian horror fan needs for a good time; mafia thugs, G-men, insanity rules, and antagonists with unpronounceable names. Players build decks out cards which are split between 7 factions, which can be mixed in any combination. Once both players have drawn their hands battle is done to control story cards which are laid out in the middle of the table. Resolving battles is a fun process of engaging some writhing mass of tentacles, horns, and teeth as you try to figure out what the heck is going on and maintain your sanity.

Call of Cthulu comes with a good mix of cards for each of the factions which my roomies and I had little trouble combining into three reasonably competitive decks for round robin tentacle waving. Instructions are clear and easy to understand for the first timer and if we can figure them out anyone should be able to.

If you enjoy doing battle with, or hanging out with the things that go bump in the night then Call of Cthulu (we think the call is “fwoop”) is definitely worth a look, and if you play your cards right you can even bring forth the great old one himself to send your opponent running for a padded room.

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March 9, 2012

KARA is amazing!

I want to preface this post with a little tidbit. The name KARA is said like karat, as in “Look at that whopping 20 karat diamond ring.” Think Kara Starbuck or Supergirl. The name CARA is said like CAR-uh. As in “Hey mechanic man, about my car… uh why is it making that noise.” 

PlayStation released this amazing new video a few days ago. “The KARA video was created by Quantic Dream solely to show the jump in development technology they have made since their last game Heavy Rain.”  This little technology exploration plays like a movie. The imagery is beautiful and I would love to see more. A few years ago, I read a novella called His Robot Girlfriend by Wesley Allison. I think if that book were to come alive it would look very similar to KARA.

Take a look.

 

March 5, 2012

Blizzard to Lay off 600 Employees…I feel so guilty

I totes feel like a jerk for canceling my WoW subscription, after reading the news that Activision Blizzard Inc. is laying off 600 employees. The layoffs will occur in the Blizzard Entertainment sector, but it is reported that most of the cuts will come from non-game development departments. Sadly, the number of active subscribers to World of Warcraft, Blizz’s cash cow, have dropped since the release of Trion’s Rift last year and EA’s Star Wars: The Old Republic a few months ago.

As an avid WoW player, I’m not surprised by the decline in subscriptions, as the standard of gaming is getting rather steep and gamers want more. After patch 4.3, which was anxiously awaited and was met with a resounding “meh” by players, defecting to greener pastures, such as Rift and SWTOR, wasn’t a far leap. Fans of SWTOR were waiting years for its release, and there was no way Blizz was going to be able to keep  those fans from leaving. Rift is a far superior game play experience for mature WoW players. When I left WoW to play Rift, I found that trade chat isn’t filled with obnoxious teenagers mudslinging and generally showing why it sucks to play with immature teenagers. Yes, I miss the beautiful music and gorgeous artwork in World of Warcraft, but I’m satisfied with what I’ve left behind because of the game play experience I’ve gained. Also, as a loyal Blizzhead and WoW player, canceling Blizzcon 2012 was bad for fan morale, and making me wait until quarter 4 of 2012 to release Mists of Pandaria is just not going to satiate me. There are too many ways I can get my fix now, especially with the news of Free to Play Everquest and DC Universe. Blizz, you became complacent and then figured out you needed to scramble to catch up. I think it’s sad that people have to be laid off, but something had to give and it hasn’t been Blizz giving to their fans.

February 23, 2012

Morgan Spurlock Geek Fan or Geek Foe?

Morgan Spurlock, best known for his award winning gut bomb Super Size Me, has teamed up with Joss Whedon, Geek God, to create a documentary about the human side of San Diego Comic-Con. Interviewing legends and fanboys like Stan Lee, Eli Roth, Seth Rogan and Kevin Smith, there is a real opportunity to break stereotypes and show that Comic-Con is not just for those who feel the need to fly their geek flag high each year, but that there are designers and comic book creators that use this as a platform to show their work. The potential to make dreams come true among the cosplay and collectibles.

The documentary COMIC-CON EPISODE IV: A FAN’S HOPE follows the 2010 Comic-Con, and so far the newly released trailer is getting good press. BUT this geek writer found exactly what I was worried about when perusing the interwebs this morning, an article written by Phil Brown last September on Collider.com where he states, “…the film is a rather sweet and loving portrait of the pop culture-obsessed attendees and the annual Mecca of their anti-social pursuits. The convention itself comes off as an accepting home to anyone who feels the need [to] sweat through a Wookie costume for a weekend while eating overpriced fast food and standing in line to get an autograph from their favorite B-movie actor. The documentary probably won’t win over anyone who despises this culture going in, but it should at least help explain why it exists.” 

Don’t we nerds, geeks, and dorks get enough flack for being nerds, geeks, and dorks? We don’t need another documentary that shows anti-social freaks. Several years ago a documentary was released about MMORPG players, mostly focusing on EverQuest and World of Warcraft, and depicted players who couldn’t go to work because of their addiction, a mother who blamed her son’s suicide on his gaming addiction, and a really sad couple who met in game. It was in no way a positive look at these games or their players, and I hope that this documentary doesn’t do the same injustice to the iconic Comic-Con.

Morgan Spurlock has a real fighting chance to show a different side of this genre. Putting celebs who are fan boys or in the business, rather than Morgan Spurlock’s usual post in the front of the camera, as the main focus is good; though it would have been nice to see a documentary film maker who isn’t in the genre right up front saying, “hey look, these people are normal, hard working people and this isn’t a freakfest.”

The trailer looks great. I am definitely looking forward to watchingTake a look and let me know what you think.

COMIC-CON EPISODE IV: A FAN’S HOPE
Have you ever imagined a place where Vulcans and vampires get along? Where wizards and wookies can be themselves? Welcome to Comic-Con San Diego. What started as a fringe comic book convention for 500 fans has grown into the pop culture event of the year that influences every form of entertainment, now attended by over 140,000 strong. COMIC-CON EPISODE IV: A FAN’S HOPE- a film by Morgan Spurlock explores this amazing cultural phenomenon by following the lives of five attendees as they descend upon the ultimate geek mecca at San Diego Comic-Con 2010.

(apple trailers)

February 21, 2012

Mass Effect 3- Aliens really do fall from the sky

BioWare and Electronic Arts have a treat in store for die hard Mass Effect fans. They will be launching copies of the game into space, well maybe just into the atmosphere, but either way it’s way cool. Starting Thursday, copies of the game will be launched via high altitude weather balloons from different locales around the world, starting at 7am Pacific time in San Francisco, then followed by Las Vegas, New York, London, Paris, and Berlin. Bioware’s marketing director for Mass Effect 3, David Silverman, said, “Depending on weather conditions, it could take anywhere from 2 to 3 hours to land back on the ground and the landing site could be anywhere from 50 to 300 miles of where they are launched from.” So those not in the direct path of the launch site still have a chance of nabbing this awesome collectible. The launched games will be hooked up to GPS tracking and an HD camera, and the location of the games will be trackable on the Mass Effect website. You will need to register as a user in order to access the tracker, unless you already have an EA account. If you have ever played an EA game more than likely you have one already. The game tracking site will be live starting Wednesday morning. So get your tracking shoes on and be the first one to grab this game before the release date  on March 6th. Good luck! In the meantime, here’s the new extended trailer for the game. It looks so fantastic. I’m not sure if Shephard did do a butt clench to get that assault rifle to pop up, he is so much of a bad ass he can just think “come to me” and that thing can appear.

February 17, 2012

Trion’s Rift Breaks World Record

Most of the time when a game is trying to break a world record one would think they were going after the most players or the most raiders, but not Trion. The hugely popular gaming company that created one of the top MMOs, Rift, went for the world record for in game marriages, on Valentine’s Day. Succeeding with 21,879 couples tying the knot in a 24 hour period, the entry will be made in the Guinness World Records Gamer Edition for 2013. Additionally, everyone in game who got in on the fun and married their Ascended love will be given the in game title of “The Avowed” starting next week.

Trion also went above and beyond for a few lucky couples, who sent in their love story. The winning couples were given special in game ceremonies by the Game Masters themselves, announcements were made game-worldwide, and their love story was featured on the Rift website. Also on Rift’s website, Scott Hartsman, Executive Producer on Rift and Trion’s CCO said, “Establishing this record was a monumental achievement for our development team and community of passionate players, and I couldn’t be more proud. Ascended Weddings were a great way to lift the veil on Rift’snew ‘Gatherings’ feature, social experiences that bring players together in new and interesting ways.  We look forward to expanding this great new gameplay element in the always-evolving world of Telara.”

This isn’t the first time loved has bloomed in an MMO setting, but it certainly was the biggest expression of love so far. Check out my wedding photos from Valentine’s Day in Rift. “Grats” to all the happy couples!

The Ceremony

Sealed with a /kiss

Checking out my new ring

I'm Bonafide!

February 2, 2012

It’s Big Brother…for gamers?

UK Channel 4 has created a new reality show of sorts, directly aiming at PC Gamers, or more specifically Sims fans. I personally love The Sims, played through Sims 3, before realizing I wanted some social interaction in my life. Where else could I be a successful and well-paid writer with the click of a button, have an abundance of free money and own a speeder bike as my first car? The new web series, SuperMes, is exactly like playing the Sims, but with a witty writing team and a perfectly timed narrator to point out the odd idiosyncrasies of all that is Sims 3.

Creators of the show set four Sims up with a nice house, gave them individual personality traits, and hoped for the best. What they got was very similar to reality TV. The two main female characters get into a fist fight, because one is away from home for the first time and not adjusting well, while the other is a self centered egotist who only wants to talk about herself. The male leads are oblivious to any issue in the house and seem to enjoy cuddling with each other.

Three episodes are currently available and watching the progression of the personalities is amazing. Remember, these Sims were basically set it and forget it. The actions they take and the decisions they make are completely of their own Sims will. According to the production website, “We hoped they’d all get on okay. We knew sometimes they’d all hate each other. What we hoped was that, whatever happened, it would be crazy, exciting, sad, happy and – of course – funny.”

To add to the experience, there are games that you can play, a Facebook page to interact with and a page of cheat codes for life. Apparently, these are supposed to help you outside of game. It’s big fun over at the SuperMes website and a bit easier to digest than Jersey Shore.

Watch the drama unfold in the first episode

February 1, 2012

More Free to Play Gaming Options

The reason for more storage on my computer just got exponentially larger with the news that not one, but two more MMO’s are calling to me telling me about more subscription options. EverQuest announced it is going Free-to-Play beginning in March, with 3 different tiered methods of play; Free-to-Play, Silver (low monthly fee with restrictions), and Gold (regular monthly no restrictions with bonuses). This announcement, along with the new Rift

riftgame.com

Lite, which allows a no time limit trial to level 20, similar to what World of Warcraft rolled out last year, is either showing a effort on the part of game developers to give players what they want by allowing flexibility in their game subscriptions, or it’s showing a dramatic decrease in the amount of paid subscribers and this is what it’s come to. I’m hoping for the former, but worried it’s actually the latter. Just last night I was discussing the need to have a game that allows me a weekly subscription option. I know it’s a bit silly, but I get so busy I will go 2 weeks without playing WoW, and then realize my subscription ran out.

I’m giving props to EverQuest for allowing the FTP option access to guilds. DC Universe Online added joining player leagues to their FTP option when they changed their subscription options. That isn’t available on trials with WoW, and it feels very lonely over in Azeroth when you are checking it out for the first time. Experiencing guilds is an important part of game play. Maybe WoW should create a few guilds specific to trial account players, then the paying player guilds won’t be affected by losing players, and noobs can experience the whole idea of what it is to be a fully functioning toon.

I’m really thankful to the companies that are opening the Free-to-Play option. It’s going to expand the game play experience for a lot of people who are on a budget, but love playing games. I have a real disadvantage being a mostly PC MMO gamer. Hubby buys a game for the Xbox 360, pays $60 for it, plays it through to the finish, and trades it in for at least half the money he paid, then moves on to the next best thing. As a MMORPG player, I am paying for an experience, and though I quite enjoy all that Blizzard has given me in World of Warcraft, the monthly fee plus expansion game costs don’t add up to getting as much bang for my buck. I can’t afford to play other MMOs out there without breaking the bank. Free to Play options are perfect for me. I will be able to put up with the restrictions and limits in game, for the most part, because it’s opening options for me to play more than one game. Now I will just cross my fingers SW:TOR will follow suit. (Ya, ya, I know.  Don’t hold my breath. Look how long it took just to hit shelves.)

January 25, 2012

Blizzard to Add In Game Advertising?

As a slightly obsessed, yet don’t find it difficult to stop for bathroom breaks and interact with the outside world, World of Warcraft player, I have the utmost respect for Blizzard Entertainment. I love that I can escape to another world, kick some much needed butt as a stress reliever and for once in my life have some pretty rad super powers (I can make it rain fire). With this in mind, I was a bit disheartened when I heard that the powerhouse that is Blizz is going to be adding in game ad content to their new project “Titan.” According to Blizzard’s current job board (sad that I read them, I know, but one day…) they are looking for a “Franchise Development Producer-NEXT-GEN MMO.” This job will be filled by someone who is able to

“Be the key liaison between the development team and other functional teams within Blizzard Entertainment (e.g. creative development, licensing, marketing, legal) to create brand-extending merchandise for the next-gen MMO franchise, including:

  • Books / Novels
  • Action figures
  • Comics
  • Short movies
  • Apparel”

Yay, I am so glad they are going to keep with the tradition of their other games, even though this “Titan” is rumored to be a casual MMO possibly leaning toward a more social aspect, and bring us merchandise. I am a collector. Merchandise is my thing. BUT wait…there’s more! This job will also need to “Work with major consumer brands to facilitate product placement and licensing within the world of Blizzard Entertainment’s next-gen MMO that enhances the gameplay experience.” Wait. Wha…Huh? I play games to escape to another world, not to be reminded to “Have a Coke and a Smile” while I’m doing major damage to a giant monster, or in some cases a giant mechanical chicken. How is this going to “enhance the gameplay experience?”

Is Blizzard short on cash? Because I know how much I’ve contributed to their profit margin. Is this game going to be free-to-play? Every day I deal with ads stuffed into my Android gaming apps, and I ignore them, because I am a cheap bitch who doesn’t want to shell out 99 cents to play an ad free game. Is this going to be a Warcraft with Friends type game? Fingers crossed. I know that having little social extras like World of Warcraft Remote on my tablet has made my game play experience all the better, or my obsession a little more worrisome, but I think having a more socially interactive piece to games is awesome. It also gives me something to fiddle with on my downtown, without firing up WoW.

At this time, there is nothing more that can be done but speculate. Some believed that Blizz would have an announcement at BlizzCon, but since they just announced there will be no BlizzCon 2012, they get to keep the “Titan” carrot dangling for as long as they want. I’m always looking forward to the brilliance that is Blizzard, and will look forward to whatever project “Titan” has in store as well.

January 24, 2012

The Doubleclicks Let their Geek Flag Fly

Blatant Pandering Cover Art

The Doubleclicks

Portland natives and sister musical duo Angela and Aubrey, better known as The Doubleclicks, have combined witty lyrics, a guitar, some ukulele action, with a cello and some geek girl flare to exact the perfect recipe, a new EP Blatant Pandering. With lead vocals, guitar and ukulele by Angela, and Aubrey on cello and harmonies, The Doubleclicks are deeming Blatant Pandering “an album of our geekiest of songs.” With songs about the Worst.Superpower.Ever, a true romance between two Dungeons and Dragons players, and why a Spock Impersonator would “not make a very good boyfriend,” this album is a riot that appeals to nerds or geeks of any variety.

Taking their geeky fascination with gaming (of the tabletop RPG persuasion) and their raw “nerd folk” talent, The Doubleclicks give listeners songs about iPhone users, a hatred for beatboxing, and my favorite breakup song, Always Be here (WoW), from their album Beta Testing 1-2-3. This sister act lets their geek flag fly proudly. “Most all of our songs are based on stuff that’s happened to us, or, failing that, stuff about which we feel very strongly,” says Angela about the brilliance behind the writing. I know I laughed out loud when I heard A Song about EVE online, from their Song-a-week project, a “songwriting/motivation project” that took place from February to August 2011.

I spent an entire evening listening to every one of their songs and you should too. Head over to their Bandcamp site, where you can download their new EP Blatant Pandering in name your price fashion, and look for a new full length CD out soon. For show dates and times check out their website and look for them at Norwescon in Seattle.

Here’s my favorite song. It’s time for you to find yours.