Archive for the ‘gaming’ category

Grab A d12 And A Chess Board And Game!

March 20th, 2010

Kid2 has decided once again to invent a new game with his friends. This one involved a d12 and a chess board. Rules are as follows:

1) Set up the chess board as normal.

2) Grab your d12.

3) Rolling the die determines the number of spaces your chess piece can move up, diagonally or backwards.

4) If an opponent is in front, diagonally or behind you, you can attack.

5) If an opponent is directly beside you in any direction, you can kill them without having to move at the beginning of your turn.

6) If you are advancing, you can only advance as far as another team piece. Exception is the Knight, which can jump over other pieces as it advances on the board.

Last team standing wins.

So there it is. Pretty simple I think. It may sound like a stupid game to some, however I find it awesome that my 10 year decided to take one of his favourite games (chess), grab a die and create something new with it.

Roger Ebert Tweets Out Of His Ass

March 2nd, 2010

There seems to be a lot of things in this world that get me fired up. When I try and put one word that seems to link all of these seemingly different issues that cause me to rant quicker than c, that word would be ignorance. Being a nerd/geek/gamer, I face a lot of it. The entire community does and it really chaps my behind to put it nicely. I’m happy to report that my children do not seem to face the same sort of discrimination as my generation does and even worse, the generations before mine. However it still exists and it really needs to end, especially when this ignorance and discrimination comes from main stream media sources. If what is said was being said about Blacks, Jews, women, gays, Hispanics, Asians, Muslims (insert any other group that has a tendency to be largely discriminated against), the outcry would be deafening. So why are people like Roger Ebert allowed to continuously perpetuate a very negative stereotype regarding this topic. Case in point, his latest tweet:

You know what, I will be the first to admit that as a group of people, we can be an odd bunch. We like to argue the minutia of pretty much any subject that is the object of our obsessions and compulsions. We like to dress up in funny costumes and attend conventions where we unleash our geekiosity upon an unwitting city. We are a very passionate bunch of people and we will allow our passions to be spilled upon any poor unsuspecting person if given the opportunity. We may not always be the most socially graceful people but we have heart and we care deeply. We are willing to stand behind our beliefs despite rampant criticism from our peers.

But I want you to think about that for one minute. How are we any different from the “jocks” who attend their favourite sporting event dressed in team colours and faces painted, screaming and hollering from the stands? How are we any different than that same group of people spending hours debating over the merits of The White Sox vs. The Yankees? How are we any different than any group of people who attend any event in support of whatever it is that gives them that boost of adrenaline.

Ebert made mention of messy pigs. Have you looked into a frat house or looked in the home of the bachelor jock with their beer cans, pizza and take-out boxes, piles of clothes and miscellaneous debris all over the place? The geeks/nerds I know are way more obsessed with order and cleanliness that any other group of people I know. Maybe their gaming areas are not always the tidiest and I know that my desk always looks like it has exploded but I do not know of too many creative types where their creative space is not a complete hazard.

Apparently we smell too. That is a stereotype that really bothers me because again the group that seems to hate us the most (the jocks) have the exact same issue. Especially when it is down to play-off time and they wear their same lucky jersey for weeks on end without washing because it will ruin the luck. And let us not forget about the gross and disgusting play-off beard-o-luck. I have met some pretty stinky gamers in my time. There is no denying that but I will deny that the image of the lone gamer in his/her mother’s basement is far from the norm. It is a very unfortunate negative stereotype.

And now for screaming at the PC. Are you trying to tell me that is not a common occurrence? Because let me tell you something, it is no different than the testosterone-filled group massed together in the living room or bar, hooting and hollering over every single little thing that happens during their all-worshipful game. Are you trying to tell me that because it is being done in a pack it is more acceptable or are you telling me that because it is coming from the “cool kids” you are willing to overlook this same behavior?

Now let me tell you something about geeks/nerds/gamers. There seems to be a lot of press about violence and us. And the odd occasion that it does happen, it is shameful. But our instances of violence are not nearly as prevalent as one would like to believe. I will admit, we can be huge assholes to each other online. We have been known to troll the internet just waiting for the opportunity to allow our words on the screen to cause someone else to cry. We have been known to rage quit and some are even known to get a sick perverted sense of satisfaction when they know they are the cause of this rage quit.  But I do not think I have ever heard of a group of us destroying a city when our team has lost. I do not think I have ever heard of us ever getting into physical fights with someone in a bar or in our homes while we are drunk and someone says some stupid shit about our team. As a general rule, we are a very non-violent group of people who just like to anonymously run their mouths from time to time. It bothers me that you never hear about the dude who beat up his wife or the kid who went on a shooting rampage after watching a movie, reading a book, looking at a picture, attended or watched a sporting event (many more examples can be put here) but music and gaming seem to be two of life’s awesome things that like to get singled out because of agenda and not because it is the real cause.

I have nothing against jocks. The only reason I am using them here is because that is the group that is stereotypically pitted against the nerds. And this is one stereotype that does have a good basis of fact behind it unlike the stereotypes that people like Roger Ebert like to fart out of their asses and post on Twitter. When the reality is, if it were not for us geeks/nerds/gamers Roger Ebert wouldn’t be able to fart anything onto Twitter again because guess what, we invented the thing! All of these awesome technological things that people use without a second thought (computers, cell phones, social networking, blogs, intertubes, games, technology to create movies which Ebert makes his life from, engines, microchips, television, bridges, buildings, space shuttles, telescopes, sound mixers, etc., etc., etc.,), none of it would be available if it were not for us. Pretty much every job and every single person’s sources of entertainment would not exist if it were not for some geek spending hours dreaming of how to make something work. I think maybe the only exception to this would be painting as it does not require some type of mechanical device to do.

So Mr. Ebert maybe you want to think about that next time you decide to spew ignorance on the internet. We made it possible for you to still have a voice. You should be thanking us for all that we have given you because without us, you would have no way to hand out your venom.

Walking In My Footsteps

September 24th, 2009

I have written before that when I was younger I use to play a lot of make believe. When my friends and I played “Transformers”, “G.I. Joe”, “Justice League”, army etc., we did not play those games using toys. We would run around the neighbourhood and be those characters. We took RPG off of the page and into our environment.

Kid2 is now doing the same with his friends. He is home sick from school this week and he just told me the most awesome story.

They have created a fantasy-type RPG for the entire neighbourhood. One of the basic rules is you do not get to pick your race. Your race is chosen for you depending on which street you live on. Another rule is once you are Level 1, you need to kill 5 people to level up. Once you reach Level 2, you need to kill 10 people, Level 3 = 15 kills, Level 4 = 20 kills, etc. Once you reach Level 80, your character becomes a guardian of the newbies. Your role becomes the protector of the n00bs from other races.

If you are a Human (this is Kids2’s race) the classes you can be are: Barbarian, Rogue, Wizard and Blade Master. Kid2 has two characters: Human Barbarian and Human Rogue. If you are a Gnome, the classes you can be are: Wizard, Warrior, Druid and Shaman. If you are a Dwarf, the classes you can be are: Miner, Healer, Paladin and Hunter. If you are an Elf, the classes you can be are: Druid, Hunter, Warrior, and Wizard. If you are an Orc, the classes you can be are: Hunter, Warrior, Blade Master and Barbarian. If you an Undead, the classes you can be are: Wizard, Rogue, Hunter and Blade Master. If you are Goblin, the classes you can be are: Rogue, Hunter, Blade Master and Shaman. If you are a Half Wolf /Half Human, the classes you can be are: Wizard, Warrior, Blade Master and Shaman. If you are a Troll, the classes you can be are: Shaman, Wizard, Warrior and Rogue. If you are Tauren, the classes you can be are: Hunter, Barbarian, Warrior and Shaman.

Depending on class, you start of with a specific weapon which the player fashions themself. An example is if you are a Barbarian, you start off with a club. Basic game play is that you start off with basic clothes and weapons. There are quests that each of the players makes up. You need to talk to the other players to find out how to proceed throughout the game and level up according to the rules laid out by that player in order to  finish your quest. The player also has the ability to free play and kill monsters to level up. You can join groups and guilds, create your own guild and explore the whole entire world (AKA neighbourhood even so Kid2 states that eventually he and his friends are going to map the entire world and assign races to each street) in order to create and develop your character.

They have not created character sheets for this. They do this on an honour system and trust that everyone is playing the game fairly.

I think it is just beyond cool that Kid2 has herded his friends together and has brought the love of gaming to the outdoors.

Are You Sure You Haven't Had Sex With Ares?

August 9th, 2009

My children are a constant source of amusment and humour.  They ask me random questions all the time. (Note: my youngest is currently reading over my shoulder as I type this and is wanting me to correct the above to: My youngest is a constant source of amusement and humour and asks me random questions all the time.)  Today is one of those days.

I was trying to take a short nap before getting back to the crazy that is going to be my week getting everything together for my vacation on Friday, when my youngest asks as he is bursting through the door after being outside playing with his friends:

“Are you sure you haven’t had sex with Ares?!?”

I give my head a quick shake to make sure I heard him correctly before I respond with shock and amusment, “What?!?! Why would you ask that?”

“Well we both have orange hair.  I am fearless and a daredevil.  I am good in combat.  I find myself escaping near death situations all the time.  I am an Aries.  Like seriously mom, I should have died many times and I am still here.  I could be a demi-god!”

I chuckle and respond, “Honey, I don’t think I have had sex with Ares.  Ares is not your father.”

He walked out of the room shaking his head as if I were crazy to not see the simularities.  I ponder on this conversation for a few moments before I follow him down to the living room.  I then asked him, “What brought that question on?  That was a bit random.”

Looking at me like I should already know the answer, “Mom, this is me.  Most of what I say is completely random.  But seriously mom, just think about it for a bit.  We are like the same person. I know you don’t believe in luck so how else do explain my many escapes from death and my Ares like abilities.  I am a demi-god.”

I have come to the conclusion that I let him play way too much God of War.

And The Countdown Begins

August 1st, 2009
Today is the 1st of August. Do you know what that means? That means it is one more month until I leave for Seattle for PAX09!

I am so excited! On Thursday, I bought the supplies to make my costume for the Pre-PAX TriWizard Drinking Tournament and the dance off dual between myself and the Slytherin Muggle. SQUEE! My costume is going to rock! I have decided to go as a younger, sexy version of Professor McGonagall. I cannot wait to unveil my costume when the time comes.

Now not only am I counting down to PAX, but I am also counting down to another vacation. In 13 more days, I will be going on a short vacation. It has been almost 2 years since I have gone anywhere. It is long overdue. So of course I am beyond excited that I will be going on 2 vacations in as many weeks. The anticipation is started to really eat at me. Hopefully I remain sane waiting.

Can I has vacations yet? KTHXBAI

THE PAX 10 INDEPENDENT GAMES SHOWCASE 2009 WINNERS ANNOUNCED

July 16th, 2009
For immediate release from Flash Fire Communications

SEATTLE – July 16, 2009 – After sifting through over 150 submissions from a gaggle of gameplay types and a plethora of platforms, a panel of game industry experts have selected the ten best submissions to be recognized as The PAX 10.

Penny Arcade was pleased to announce today that The PAX 10 for 2009 are (in alphabetical order):

Now in its second year, The PAX 10 is a games showcase open to independent developers worldwide. Winners of The PAX 10 are invited to display their efforts at the sixth annual PAX gaming festival to be held Sept. 4 – 6 at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center. PAX’s Exhibit Hall will feature The PAX 10 booth alongside over 70 other exhibitors – including top publishers like Microsoft, Nintendo and Ubisoft – allowing those publishers, attendees and media to view their breakout potential.

“The judges were absolutely blown away by the polished and robust experiences offered by the 2009 submissions,” said Robert Khoo of Penny Arcade. “We’re impressed yet again by the amazing games that indie developers are creating and know that, when you stop by The PAX 10 booth at the show, you will be, too.”

About PAX: PAX is a three-day celebration of games and gamer culture. The festival includes an exhibition floor filled with playable builds of upcoming tabletop, console, and computer games; a conference program of game industry speakers; music concerts; freeplay areas; industry parties; game tournaments and more. Since its inception in 2004 the show has doubled in size year-over-year, growing from 4,500 attendees to 58,500 in 2008, making it the largest gaming festival in North America. For more information, visit www.paxsite.com.





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PAX 2009 KEYNOTE SPEAKER REVEALED

June 29th, 2009

From Flash Fire Communications to member of the media for immediate release:

Look Behind You, a Three-Headed Monkey!

SEATTLE – June 29, 2009 – PAX 2009 organizers humbly announced today that industry legend Ron Gilbert will grace the stage as keynote speaker at the sixth annual gaming festival to be held Sept. 4-6 at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center.

Legendary storyteller, game designer, programmer and producer Ron Gilbert has created countless classic video games, including the seminal LucasArts works Maniac Mansion and first two installments in the Monkey Island adventure series. His more than 20-year career in the games industry encompasses co-founding three game studios, creating the famous SCUMM scripting language and being inducted into the Computer Game Hall of Fame. He is currently creative director at independent development studio Hothead Games in Vancouver, Canada.

“This is an unbelievable moment for us,” commented Penny Arcade’s Robert Khoo. “I wasted an entire family vacation one year trying to figure out how to win that stupid spitting competition.” Gilbert joins an illustrious group of past PAX keynote speakers, including noted geek icon Wil Wheaton and innovative game designer Ken Levine.

In addition to the highly anticipated keynote address, numerous panels and game demonstrations, Omegathon and The PAX 10 independent games showcase, PAX 2009 will offer attendees an unparalleled musical experience with performances from Freezepop, Jonathan Coulton, MC Frontalot, Paul and Storm, Anamanaguchi and Metroid Metal.





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For the Children

June 18th, 2009
What a long ass two days this has been. I have this really bad habit of taking on these projects that I fool myself into believing they will be simple and quick, only to realize they are much much bigger. And then my OCD kicks in and I end up spending a whole bunch of time making sure even the littlest things that nobody but me will notice are all tickityboo. I am almost tempted to let people get a sneak peak at the site I am building even so it is missing a lot of content at the moment and the coding on some pages is not complete. I am always afraid that I missed a link or something because I have changed a few things so many times and there are so many pages. I have lists upon lists of pages I still need to create (at least the templates for) and ones that are already created where I need to change a few tags or templates that have been created but still need content. The past 24 hours or so has been spent messing around with javascript, php and mySQL. You know its great these things are available but at the same time, I really miss just working with only html. This has kept me so preoccupied, that I have completely forgotten about checking the sites I normally frequent on a daily basis and as of this moment, I have no show idea for my Geeky Pleasures show tomorrow night (now technically tonight).

There are two things I would like to plug however. The first one comes from one of the independent musicians that I frequently play. One of his songs is the theme song for the “I Am” Hope Project. Here is their statement:

Our objective is to encourage the youth: abused and neglected, orphaned, and cast-off children of the world. Through our action and through our vision, the world will become alive with the idea that our children are the future.

O.Y.I.E. Music Inc., a 501(c)(3), is determined to invest in the lives of children. We have heard the call and have taken the challenge to reach children worldwide. These children will make a positive impact in our community and the word.

By raising funds for the “I Am” Hope Project, the gifts of art and music that we bestow will build a better future. We will guide our future leaders on the path of tomorrow and will assist them with music, instruments, classes, performances, educational curriculum, scholarships, as well as continued assistance and encouragement.

Currently we work in foster homes; these children have already felt the impact of the “I Am” Hope Project. Next year, through your support, we are set to visit 4 orphanages internationally.

Although music is fun, our main focus is to teach the youth life-skills that will directly make a positive and encouraging difference in the lives that surround them.

How

For $1.00, you can encourage a child by downloading the song “I Am” as a unified worldwide effort to bring hope to our children and hurting world.
The song is amazing! Listen to it here

This Flash Player was created @ FlashWidgetz.com.


(sorry am not going to enclose it for google reader as it would take away from the charity) and download it here.

The second charity that I have the pleasure of participating in came to my attention thanks to PAX2009. There is this Cookie Brigade that walks about PAX selling cookies. All proceeds go to Child’s Play. Last year they raised $5400.00. There are three ways that people typically can help with this. The first is to bake cookies and bring them to PAX. The second is to walk around PAX selling the cookies. The third is by doing both. Since I am goin to PAX from Canada and bringing food across the border is an issue, I will be walking around PAX selling yummy cookies. You are probably thinking to yourself, “Jules why are you telling us this if we are not going to PAX?” Well here is what I am thinking. If you live in the U.S. and want to bake for this but are not going to PAX, chances are I know of someone or know of someone who knows someone, who may be near you willing to get those cookies from you and bring them to PAX. There are PAXians from across the states who are baking and bringing cookies to PAX in order to help this charity. So either bake cookies and get in touch with my be email, or visit here to learn more or donate directly to Child’s Play to help this charity.





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Growing Up in the Age of the Arcade

June 4th, 2009
Ever have those moments when you are reminded of just how old you really are? Ever have those moments where you think HOLY CRAP was it really that long ago? Do you ever look at your children and think to yourself, sure they have a lot of cool high tech gadgets HOWEVER they will never know how cool it really was? I have those moments frequently. Lately however, those moments seem to be coming on an almost daily basis and the inspiration for those moments seem to be coming from the same source *glares at that dude who lives in California*.

The generation that is mine, grew up in a very magical time. We grew up in a time of rapid scientific advancement. We grew up in an era where almost overnight, computers went from these monstrosities that inhabited buildings the size of a city block to the person desktop computer. We grew up in a time, where almost overnight, you had to be rich to have a computer in your home to a time where having a computer is no different than owning a Tonka truck. Just think about it for a few moments. When my grandmother grew up (and it really was not all that long ago) not every house had running water or sewage. The television wasn’t even on the radar. How many years did it take from the advent of the light bulb to a time where it is common for all houses to have electricity? Even today, since the advent of the Internet, it is still common for people in small rural areas to have to rely on dial-up for their connection. But we all have our games.

Gaming, regardless of format, has been around since the beginning of time. I cannot think of one society where games and gaming have not been an important part of the larger community. In the past, depending on the society, losing the game often resulted in death. Take the lottery as an example. Not too long ago (if you look at history in a broad scope) winning the lottery did not mean millions of dollars, it meant death. Then something happened a long the way. Gaming turned into a family affair. And then the age of the computer started, and we have so many gaming opportunities, it would take a lifetime to explore the smallest fraction of what is available.

I grew up in the age of of the arcade which grew to console gaming and computer gaming. I grew up in an age where gaming exploded from sitting around the table with a group of people and interacting on a community scale to one on one interaction between the gamer and the electronic medium. I grew up in a time where you could not enter a store without seeing an arcade game and whole store fronts being dedicated to nothing but arcade games. I miss this time in history. And as much as I love to sit down with a console system or my PC, I miss the physical plunking of quarters into a machine for anywhere from minutes of fun to hours of fun. I do blame console gaming for this. Technology advanced to a point where it became cheaper and more practical to play the games at home instead of going to loud and funny smelling locations. I wish my children had the opportunity to enjoy the same joy and pleasure that I received from the simple act of plunking a quarter, hearing the 8-bit start up music and gaming. I have in a round about way shown them that pleasure by purchasing games that were once only available at an arcade game for console format. A couple examples, for their GameCube they have all the versions of Zelda ever on one disk, all the versions of Pac-Man on one disk and all the versions of Sonic on one disk. Thank you Nintendo for that! I have done my best to pass on the same love of gaming (even though they tell me all the time, poor you mom the graphics from your time are so bad) that was given to me by my mother. Yes, my mother.

My mother was not a good one by any stretch of the imagination. My childhood was far from ideal. But I do owe my love of gaming in any format to her. Unlike the parents of the other children I grew up with, my mother encouraged us to play arcade and console games. I use to live five city blocks from the coolest arcade I had ever seen. We were never discouraged from going there and spending hours playing games. We never had to not tell her in fear she would say no. To add to this, we grew up on Vancouver Island and at least once a year, we would travel to the mainland. This involved taking a ferry. This involved a lot of anticipation because there was an arcade on the ferry. My mother would give my sister and I each 10$ that we could spend on whatever we wanted during the 2 hour trip. That was like a billion dollars when you are in the 80s and in the the first to second decade of your life! Half of that I would always spend on some type of puzzle book from the gift shop. This would keep me occupied during the long drive ahead after we got off the ferry. The other half, you guessed it, would go straight to the change machine that would proceed to spit out 20 shiny quarters. Even so fighting would ensue between my sister and I over who got to play what game first, those trips were some of the coolest trips in my life.

The same goes for console gaming. My mom was just as much into it as we were. From our first console (ColecoVision in 1982) and hours of Lady Bug and Donkey Kong and then later when Nintendo came out with Duck Hunt and Mario, we would have to fight and pry the controller out of her hands. It was a constant cry of, “When do we get to play mom? C’mon mom, you have had it for hours!” For us, it was part of our family time. It was not seen as some thing that the children did alone which required them to be glued to a television set for hours at a time not being part of the family. Wow, I still have a hard time believing it has been 27 years since my first console gaming system.

The gaming did not end there. We played board games all the time. My mom was ruthless, let me tell you. She would never let my sister and I win. She taught us how to really play the game. This also translated to playing the Christmas family penny poker games. It would be the grandparents, aunts and uncles, parents and my sister and I at the dinner table as soon as dessert was over, sitting down to a long night of poker. I really do owe my love of gaming in all forms to my mom. That is the one thing I will always be thankful to her for.

And now I am passing on the same love of gaming, in all its forms, to my own children. Sure the graphics may be better. Sure the games may be more involved and more in depth. However, they will never have the joy of the arcade. And part of me thinks they even realize what they have missed out on. And this is what gives me that little hint. My youngest (10) wants to be the next Stephen King when he grows up. He is already writing many a wonderful story, comics and creating storyboards for future movies he wants to create. He had to do a creative writing exercise at school. Part of the exercise was creating a storyboard for the book after the brainstorming exercise. The time the story took place was the day and year of his birth. The location of the story was an arcade, which he describes as “smelling like flat cream soda and stale popcorn”. The boy in the story plunks his quarter into a machine. The boy does not realize the machine is broken and is unplugged. The boy suddenly gets whisked away into a different reality where he has to fight the 8-bit creatures from the video game. My child has never stepped foot in an arcade in his life.

Maybe the age of the arcade is not dead after all.





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PAX2009 Juicy Goodness

May 28th, 2009
So at first I was like YAY I get to go to PAX. And then I was like bummer dude because I am going alone and this being my first PAX, I know no one. And then I joined the forums and read a few in lurk mode. Then I saw this amazing thing! Threads dedicated to first timers and those coming alone. So I decided to follow the advice of one person and just jump into the discussions and I will start to meet people in no time. And sure as shyte, I have already “met” some pretty amazing people.

But to make this whole thing even more UBER COOL!! There is this thing that they do called the Triwizard Drinking Tournament. You sign up for the respective house (Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff) and you get this schedule and you do these little competitions while you drink! And you get to duel other houses! EVEN BETTER STILL YOU GET TO WEAR COSTUMES!! Now normally I am not a costume/con type of person. But seriously this is drinking, wizards and costumes. Can’t get any cooler. But then I think SHYTE!! I can’t drink but I want to be Gryffindor, so I ask if that is cool. There is some talk and I have now been named the official “muggle” (since I can’t drink I am a muggle) Gryffindor cheerleader. If you think that is cool, it gets so much better!

So there is one challenge where of course Gryffindor has to duel Slytherin. I figured there should be some type of duel between cheerleaders and since we cannot have wands, we must pick a different weapon of choice to fight to the death. As I am busy tweeting with the Slytherin cheerleader, the song “Baby Got Back” pops into my head and then the following idea pops into my head regarding the duel of the cheerleaders: DANCE OFF A LA AMERICAN WEDDING!

BOOYAH! And in costume! Oh yeah babies, this is so going to rock!



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