Monday, December 24, 2012

Resolution: 2012

Back in January I posted about the games I was most excited about for 2012. Today we take a look on how that worked out.

Diablo III: Well, I got this for free with the WoW Annual Contract. In a word, Diablo III is OK. It's really fun the first time through, but the repetition is very rough over time (this is coming from a WoW player). Playing as a new class didn't seem to help that either. There was a huge fiasco about connectivity on launch day, but I didn't really care about that. I stayed in the hospital that night for a sleep study. Ha! This game is still pretty fun with friends and Blizzard's made some positive content updates. Still no PvP though....

Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm. Not out yet! There's a release date for march though, so not much longer to wait. I'm in the beta and that is a lot of fun. They've made some good changes and I'm excited to see how the eSports scene evolves. Can't wait for the campaign either.

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria: Excellent. It really is. I haven't played too much of it because I decided I needed to quit WoW to focus on other things, but the new content is fantastic and there's more on the way.

Mass Effect 3: Yeah, I never played it. Whoops!

DOTA2/Blizzard DOTA: DOTA 2 is pretty good. Really hard though. I've never been that good at MOBA games in the first place. Blizzard DOTA is still a work in progress. I've heard rumors that they're going to put more effort into it once Heart of the Swarm is released and out of the way.

Awesome indie games that came out this year: Um. I'm going to have to look these up. Ok...I haven't actually played any. I have Dustforce which is supposed to be really good but I haven't played it yet. Torchlight II is supposed to be great but I played enough Diablo to scratch that itch. I hear Journey is awesome but I don't have a PS3. I dropped the ball here this year.

And I did get and play more of all the games I mentioned at the end there. I have Bastion (and it's on iOS for only 99 cents now) as well as Trine 2. Both are great. I've gotten more Skyrim in but haven't gotten any of the DLC. The excitement on those keeps dying before it becomes available on PC. And Mass Effect...I think I spent a couple of minutes in there somewhere.

All in all it's been a great year in games. Video games continue to outsell movies and the eSports scene continues to grow in America and around the world. My Mom is still addicted to Angry Birds. If I can ever get my Dad to play Starcraft, all my Christmas wishes will have come true.

I'll bust out Anticipation: 2013 in a bit. Spoiler alert: Heart of the Swarm will be on that list too. I'll put together a most-enjoyed of 2012 as well.

Saturday, December 22, 2012


I've always wanted to have guest bloggers on this site. I don't care who you are or what game or whatever as long as it's modestly well written and presentable. I don't think I ever put it out onto the blog, but I think it would be awesome to have several people posting on here.

We have a first guest post incoming shortly! My lovely wife, Aubrey, does some gaming in her own right. And she's volunteered to throw down a post! She hasn't actually written one yet, but I wanted to build a little anticipation and introduce her a little, as well as encourage others to contact me if they're interested in posting here.

Anyway, Aubrey.
Aubrey has been a gamer ever since she convinced her parents to get her a Nintendo 64 when she was in middle school. Her first gaming love was Donkey Kong 64 and Dr. Mario 64. Professionally, she has been teaching secondary English for just about four years. She loves, as you might imagine, reading and learning. We frequently discuss game logic and motivations and their implications in engaging students and enriching the learning process. She is also prone to approaching games with literary critique (which is why she really likes the show Metadating). Her favorite games include straightforward ones like Dr. Mario, Civilization, and Starcraft. Also she's hot.

We should have a post from her coming soon. I can't wait!

Anticipation: 2013

It's the end of the year and it's time to take a look into the future. 2012 was a great year for gaming, so I feel safe in assuming that 2013 will be great as well. This is my list of games I'm most excited for, followed by everything else.

Take off work excited

Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm - I don't think I need to elaborate. I want this bad. And I don't want to hear a word about the story before I play/see it myself.

Elder Scrolls Online - I covered my mouth an gasped when I saw the announcement for this. I'm super excited for this one. I just hope that (1) They do a no-sub premium model like GW2. (2) It doesn't suck or end up like SWTOR. and (3) That it's just as awesome as playing an Elder Scrolls game. The only thing that could possibly improve that series is multiplayer. Let's hope they pull it off.

Looking forward to

Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs - Aubrey and I had a lot of fun playing/watching Day9 play Amnesia. With an eager audience and plenty of funding, the sequel should be great!

A Skyrim DLC sale - Sorry, I'm not paying $15/20 a pop for DLC. I'm just not. Especially when I have to wait so long for it after the XBox 360 gets it. If history proves right, I'll just be able to buy a complete digital pack at the end of next year for $20 anyway.

More Dungeon Defenders DLC or equal - Yeah this is kind of a lame entry. But I do really enjoy this casual game.

Things I'll keep an eye on

Bioshock Infinite - You may ask why this is on the lower part of my list when lots of other people have been crapping their pants about it. I just never get that into first person shooters. I've played a little of the first one (which was great) but I look forward to an updated game made by the original production team. If it's good, I'll pick it up.

Destiny (Bundie game) - The first game made by Bungie in 10 years or something. They didn't even make the last couple of Halo games. There isn't a lot of info out about the project, but the team has definitely proven they can make a good game.

Tomb Raider - Lara Croft needs rebranding something fierce. This new game will feature her without the boobs and shorts and turns makes her more of a survivor. Could be just what the franchise needs. Plus I haven't been able to play any of the Uncharted games since I don't have a PS3 and I've been getting the itch for a good adventure game. I'll keep an eye on it!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Humble Bundle Giveaway!

Hey. There's a new Humble Indie Bundle. And it's a good one, too. You should definitely get it, and then play Dungeon Defenders with me because it's awesome.

Also, the Winter Steam Sale just started. I'm pretty sure that I won't be getting anything this year though.

I have some games to give away! Just comment on this post to enter. Make sure you're logged in to Google or something when you comment so I can get back to you. I'll pick a random person in a few days and send them a Steam key or few. EZPZ! Actually, I might just buy another Humble Bundle and give that away. Yeah, I think I'll do that. Yes. Ok, it's official: comment here for a chance to win a Humble Indie Bundle #7. It'll even be an over the average purchase. You only have a couple days, so make it quick!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Pokemon Trading Card Game Video Game

Once upon a time, when I was growing up, I was a huge nerd. 

This will probably not come as a surprise to most. But I still wanted to preface this post because we're about to go pretty deep into my geekhood. And it's not even cute or awesome like my Starcraft History post. 

So yeah, I was in middle school and a huge nerd. This was during the period of time where Nintendo was basically printing its own money in the form of Pokemon cards for the trading card game. it's embarrassing to think about just how much money I spent on those cards. I'm pretty sure they're still in my parents' basement too. But before I had any money at all to burn on Pokemon cards, I discovered that there was such a thing as the Pokemon Trading Card Video Game for the Gameboy Color. Yes, it was a game where you would collect digital versions of the cards, build decks, and play the card game against NPC's. In Japanese. Only obtainable (as far as I was concerned) through the wilds of the internets. So I got an emulator and downloaded that sucker so I could play the TCG w/o having to buy the cards.

This worked for about as long as it took for me to get through the intro video when you turned the game on. Turns out not knowing any Japanese will make playing a text-heavy game pretty difficult. I was eventually able to remedy this with a fan-made translation patch to edit most of the text into English. Or at least something that resembled English. 

I played the crap out of this game. Then I showed it to a friend of mine and he also began to play it a ton. Then, after a couple weeks, we started having problems progressing as the translator hadn't really finished his project and we were having problems understanding what was going on in the game. So we gave it up in favor of becoming completely addicted to the actual cards and dropping pretty much every cent we could get our hands on to buy more cards. 

I had three of these. It was a big deal.
That, too, eventually died out. The English version of the gameboy game was eventually released (I just checked wikipedia, it was almost a two-year gap between the release of the Japanese and English versions of the game) but I never bothered with it.

Fast forward to this past Monday. I was listening to some Familyjules7x (as should you!) and came across the boss music from the Pokemon TCG video game! A couple hours later, I started to get "the itch." So I again turned to the wilds of the internets, found myself a copy of the game in English, and fired it up. 

The game HOLDS UP! Granted, the official translation actually isn't much better than the fan-made one I found forever ago, but I'm willing to bet it's at least complete. I played during my lunch hour and I had a blast! Each match seemed way shorter than I remembered too. I doubt this game will entertain me quite as much as it did before. But hey, maybe this will finally be the motivation I need to jailbreak my iPod. 

Monday, December 17, 2012


Start video now. And then start reading. 

I've been trying to come up with a good idea for a blog post for a couple of weeks now. And not only has there been one right under my nose this whole time, but it's inspired a second post as well. How great for all of us!

Now that I'm working full time again I've been in the need for some good music to keep me going. I'm trying to work the kinks out of a couple of Pandora stations, but in the meantime, I've discovered something awesome! There's a dude that looks like Logan Eccles from Veronica Mars that's been making a video game music cover a week for the past two years.

Seriously, that's over 100 songs. There's a music video for each one and there are two mp3 packs (one for each year) if you want to just download them. He's only got about 41k subscribers on YouTube, so it doesn't seem like that many people really know about his stuff. We need to get the word out. 

Anyway, these are some high quality covers. Every song is arranged, played, and mixed by the one guy. Then he makes a video for each one. Every week. Most of the songs are high in nostalgia, there's lots of Pokemon and Nintendo 64 covers. I'll post a couple of my favorites here, but I encourage everyone to run right over to the Familyjules7x YouTube page to peruse and subscribe so you get updates as they come out. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Positive Experience #6

So we're starting a 20 minute positive writing right now! It might get cut a little short though. PLus I"m on a weird keyboard so I'll have a lot more typos than usual. SOrry about that.

SO it's been a nice couple of days for the most part. There's been a little more snow, which is always cute. And work's been going really well. The company appears to be very big on investing in its employees, which is fine by me. they're easing us very slowing onto the phones and so I'm currently listening in on another person's calls and help her to do the paperwork side of it. She called me her minion earlier. That was a little bit funny, but it made me think about the minions on Despicable Me, which I was never that big a fan of. (Note: I liked the movie, I just thought we spent way too much time with the minions.)

Due to work, I've been a bit behind on Starcraft things, but that's aok. I read this awesome article earlier about the educational value of Starcraft and how it's like the new chess and would be better incorporated into schools. How sweet is that? I totally agree with the educational value part. And so does Aubrey, and she's a teacher (a good one, even) so it must be true.  :P

So I've been a bit under the weather for the past several days. It's been a little disruptive, but things have still been going good. This morning I started doing this thing where I would try to describe a kind of crappy situation in a cool way and then tweet it with #BeatThat! I won't lie, it's an awesome pick me up! My favorite one was that my stomach freaked out because of a kind of funny breakfast. So I put "Totally got a tummy ache from my wierd breakfast. but my office has free tums in its awesome kitchen area." The kitchen area is indeed 100% awesome. It can't be denied. 

ONe last thing: AUbrey and I wanted to play through the game Amnesia: The Dark Decent, but she always made me drive and it was indeed pretty scary. So we've been watching the Day9 playthrough and it's both funny and hilarious. Also, it means we have something cool to watch on our cool new tv. And even more cool it means we can cuddle on the couch in the dark. Win win win!

Have a great day!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Positive Experience #5

Sorry I'm late on this one. 20 (or maybe 10) min starting  now.

So it's been a really exciting month. We had two Thanksgivings, one with my sisters and their families up in Cow Town, and another with my wife's mother's parents and some uncles/aunts/cousins. Both had fantastic food. Aubrey's maternal grandparents are totally "do-it-yourself" types to an extreme degree (even though they're both super old and poor and have medical problems), and wouldn't even give us a food assignment for dinner. So we bought them a couple little presents and surprised them. That was really nice. It always feel good to help people who don't generally get much in return.

Also, I totally landed a job! It's for inthinc doing tech support. The pay's good and it's fully benefited  Yay! I feel like such an adult suddenly. From the sound of it, there's room to go up in the company as well, or at least sideways, once I get some experience and get farther along in my degree. I can't say just how lucky I feel about that. It's even in a nice part of town too. I took Aubrey to see the building after church today and there was even a little canal with ducks that I hadn't noticed before. Seriously, my workplace has a duck stream. I'm going to miss the library a lot. There were a bunch of cool people there and the benefits of working at a library are many. I think they'll still let me get away with fines but I don't think I should try to stretch it too much. I told my boss I was looking for other work a couple months ago, so it wasn't a surprise when I was leaving. But it was a little short notice for my last day. I feel a little bad about that.

Things are going well in Starcraftiness too. I'm currently on an 8-game winning streak and hopefully I'll be out of bronze soon. I've been getting a lot better but I psych myself out a little bit. The group I've been casting in Spanish for seems to have taking a liking to me too, so once I submit some casts in English I'll be able to cast for them in English too. Might even be able to make some moneys off of it one day when we get enough viewers. Sweet! Also in Starcraft streaming, I totally met a bunch of guys from Norway that play the Heart of the Swarm beta every morning (my time) that are fun to talk to/play with. Work's going to throw a wrench in that, but I'm sure I'll still see them around.

As a result of the Spanish casting, my Spanish has gotten much much better. I still forgot a lot of easy words. but things are much more fluid. I'm trying to stay sharp with that. I was hired at my new job in part for the Spanish skills (thanks mission and Starcraft!) so I've been reading "The Hobbit" in Spanish again to pick up more words and to get ready for the movie when it comes out. (Already got tickets!) I should probably try to watch some movies or something too to try and get better at understanding dialects. Unfortunately, most Spanish language TV we get here are Mexican news and soap operas...those don't really hold my attention. I guess Disney movies are all translated though, I should get out a new dvd's and watch them in Spanish. That wouldn't be bad at all!