Tuesday, April 29, 2008

RPGs in Video Games

I was listening to some people talk about Grand Theft Auto, which I've personally lost affection for, and someone described it as the RPG that no one knows it's an RPG. There was some brief debate on the subject. It has a structure that tells a story, and it allows you to play a character with more freedom than most RPGs provide you. Eventually, someone ended up pointing out that it doesn't have twinking. That's right, video games can only be RPGs if you are messing around with numbers. THAT'S THE OPPOSITE OF ROLEPLAYING! This is the curse that Final Fantasy has brought upon the video game community.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


This is a fun little game.

Now playing: George Baker Selection - Little Green Bag
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Smash Bros Missing Character

There's one character that's missing in Smash Bros. Brawl: Me. That is to say, Mii. There wouldn't be any abilities, I guess, but they don't have to be balanced.

I think people would be happy to play as themselves, even if the character wasn't as good.

Now playing: Barenaked Ladies - Leave
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


I have a problem. I need Metal Gear Solid games like I need oxygen. Unfortunately, Metal Gear Solid 4 would cost me five hundred dollars (plus tax). I bought a PS2 to play MGS2, but there's no way I'm going to get a PS3 at this price.

I've been looking for The Twin Snakes for a couple weeks now, and I guess it's a bit of a collector's item, since no one's selling it for a reasonable price. (If you have it, and you're reading this, could you lend it to me? And if you're not reading this, go to hell.)

I know that some of you people haven't played the Metal Gear games. This is a problem. Fortunately, you can fix that. To get people up to date for MGS4, Konami is releasing Metal Gear Solid 1, 2, and 3 for thirty dollars. Thirty dollars! I highly suggest you get it.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


I rarely dream. I understand that people dream most times they sleep, so I guess I just don't remember my dreams. That's all right with me. I get enough nonsense in my regular life without trying to remember things that didn't happen, especially things that didn't happen that no one else has heard of.

When I do dream, (which is probably at a rate of once a year or less) it's nothing interesting anyway.

Now playing: Flight of the Conchords - Most Beautiful Girl in the Room
via FoxyTunes

Friday, April 18, 2008

Holes in Ancient History

There's so much we don't know about Ancient History. Do you know how gladiators would say, "Those who are about to die salute you!"? Well, they didn't. Or at least, we don't know if they did. There's one time in history where anyone was reported to have said that, so it's probably more likely that they didn't say it often. If it was a common event, why would it bear mention in an unusual event?

Anyway, there's all sorts of things we have absolutely no idea about. It's frustrating to the serious historian, even if the problem is invisible to the casual eye. To put it in comparison: There's a "mystery" about the assassination of JFK. Some insist that the killer is not John Wilkes Booth. Yet we do know the exact time, down to the second when he died. We know the injuries he suffered, and what gun shot him. That moment in history has had tomes written about it, and so much data that it could fill a small library.

Compare that "mystery" to another historical mystery: We don't know whether King David was a real person. He's the second king of historical Israel, if real, but we just don't know if there is a person that occupied that place and time. I think that puts it into perspective: 99.9999% certainty about a precise moment versus profound ignorance about an entire lifetime

Now playing: DragonForce - Above The Winter Moonlight
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Simulating Techno

The latest XKCD takes a shot at techno. And so does this (less recent) Strong Bad Email. I know of yet another way to produce techno music: play regular music on a computer that is overwhelmed with tasks. It'll start playing the same fraction of the song over and over again. If you really hit the sweet spot of overwhelming the processor, the song will progress a fraction of a second every time it repeats. At first, the song sounds like the original music, but if you keep listening to this repeating brief sound, it will take on a whole new, techno-ey character. I kinda wish I had some sound editing software to make my own techno out of Bob Dylan songs.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Naming Day

It's tough to think of names for things. Anyone in Role-Playing has first-hand experience with that fact, especially if they're the GM. Every character needs a name, and so does every place, and every object that doesn't exist in real life. There's even the joke where a player asks a character his name, then checks the GM's reaction: if he has the name written down, this is an Important Character.

Magic: The Gathering has an interesting approach to this problem, which is a huge one for their industry. Not only is it hard to think of names, they can never ever re-use a name for a card. The solution? Have setting specific prefixes. For every set, there's a new setting, with new countries and factions. For example, Mosswort is a recent name for green things, and boggart is a recent name for goblins. Let's say that Hasbro wants to make a card that is maniacal. Instead of naming the card "Maniac", they can name it "Boggart Maniac", make it a goblin, and they're set. Using this technique, they could make a new card whose name means the same thing for every set until the end of time.

Which seems to be roughly the plan.

Now playing: Beck - Sweet Sunshine
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Great Maze

No one was expecting the Super Smash Bros. solo experience to be amazing. And it's not. It has a few flaws, particularly with co-op mode.

Unfortunately, the Smash Bros team decided that the SubSpace Emissary had to be better, or at least longer. So they commit one of the worst sins you can: they make the player go back through the game again. You have to defeat every boss, and run through every level, all over again. Not entertaining. This is particularly bad because beating the SSE is the easiest way to unlock several characters.

I'm not saying it's hard; it's not. It is tedious and repetitive. It's the definition of repetitive. My question: Why? No one was expecting an amazing campaign mode. The Great Maze adds nothing but time. There are no cutscenes during the Great maze, and no new materials. It is clearly an attempt to lengthen the game.

It hardly kills the game, but it's a mystery.

Sunday, April 06, 2008


I'm finally getting a Wii of my own. Tonight. I'm quite glad.

Now playing: Apoptygma Berzerk - Moment Of Tranquillity
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Old School Gaming

I've been listening to the Retronauts podcast for a while now. I've realized something: new games suck. My XBOX 360 broke, I can't find a Wii, and I don't want to pay 600$ just to play MGS4.

I'm going to go back and find Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes, and once I'm done with that, I'm going to get a game that's older than that. Every time I finish with a game, I'm only going to get one that's older. Eventually, I'll have to start running ROMs. I guarantee you, the games will only get better as I get further back in time

Now playing: Mozart - Violin Concerto No. 3 in G K..
via FoxyTunes