Entries in Video Games (3)


Some Updates

Nothing too long-winded today.  The pants arrived safe and sound.  They fit and look work-appropriate enough, so this story had a happy ending.

The backup tracking app continues to plod along.  Currently one can view a table of backups, a table of hard drives used for backups, can add new hard drives, modify existing drives (not sure there's a lot of need for that, come to think of it), and add new backups.  Still need to add a page for modifying existing backups, and a way to delete entries.

I showed my wife the progress I had made a few days ago.  She did the best she could, but it's hard to get excited over something so simple as this tracking app.  I don't generally get any real feeling of accomplishment when I do things.  Usually the closest I get is relief that a particular task is over and I can move on to something else.  But this is different, somehow.  When I figure out a solution to a coding problem it's a genuine rush, if only for a moment.  It sucks that there's no way to convey that feeling when looking at the finished product.  She can't see the two hours of research, experimentation, and testing, she just sees a dropdown list that pre-selects the right entry when you hit Edit on the hard drive table.

I'm starting to update other areas of this site, slowly but surely.  Added a link to my Github profile.  I've updated LinkedIn and Google+, though I don't think they're linked here yet.  I still can't really bring myself to use all these social networking sites properly.  I think I just missed being part of the generation that cares about this stuff.  It's more than just the feeling of "who cares", it's the time.  Seems like there's precious little time to go around these days, and proper social networking seems like it would be a time sink.

Speaking of time sinks, Titanfall comes out on Tuesday.  I had a chance to play the demo a few weeks ago when they were stress-testing their servers, and I'm looking forward to getting my hands on the full thing. The link up there is to the ridiculous Collector's Edition, which clocks in at $250.  They're also selling "Professional Quality" branded headsets for $150, and even have Titanfall Xbox One console bundles.  This all seemed highly unusual for a new franchise until I did a little research and found this was being done by some of the original Call of Duty guys.  Some of the gameplay elements address some of the problems I have with these big multi-player shooters, plus it's got big-ass robots, so I'm in.  I'm sure I'll explore that in greater length in a future post.  This one has already gone on way longer than I intended.  Until next time!




In a world where I really don't update this blog as much as I would like to, it is perhaps silly to add more categories/areas of content.  And yet I can't help myself.  I liked the idea of adding reviews to the mix, and have decided to expand it to include beer and scotch.  I'm not much of a drinker, but I do enjoy good beer and, in recent years, scotch.  I should admit, this is as much for me as it is for anyone else.  I frequently find that I can't remember if I've had a particular scotch or beer previously, and thought it would be good to keep track of what I've had and whether I like it or not.

I think something about the seasonal changes makes me want to drink more.  In the summer, it's not uncommon for me to go over a month or more without drinking, but lately it's been several times a week.  I think I get seasonal depression, though I'm not sure if it's the lack of sunlight or the glut of commercialism that turns nice, normal people into rude animals.

Wow, that kind of went to a dark place.  Getting back to the point, I thought since I'm already doing reviews for movies and video games, and now adding reviews for alcohol, that I should create a dedicated reviews space.  So reviews will show up in the blog, but also in this separate area.  I will hopefully (knock on wood with crossed fingers) start pumping those out in the near future.  I've already done a few for some scotches, and I've got a fridge full of beer that's aching for review.  Enjoy.


Dead Space

Video games were my hobby of choice for the longest time.  They still are, quite frankly, but I just don't have as much time these days to play them. What I've noticed lately is that when I see an interesting sequel on the horizon, I get an insatiable desire to play the original game. This happened when I read Game Informer's preview of Dead Space 2. Dead Space had been on my radar for a long time (since the preview for it in the same magazine, come to think of it). The setting and design choices really appealed to me. And when I heard in the sequel's preview that fans complained it was too intense, I just had to have it.

Can you guess where this is going? I've had it for a couple weeks now, and I can understand what those people were talking about. This game is a blood-pressure raiser, for sure. The team behind it clearly put a lot of thought into it, and crafted the Ninja Gaiden of survival horror games. The game is relentless in delivering tension at every possible moment, and scaring the bejezus out of you regularly.

One of things I really like about the game is how they deal with user interface. Instead of a traditional HUD type UI, all the relevant information is on the character. The health bar is integrated into the spine of his suit, the weapons have ammo screens on them. Maps and items are accessed in real-time using a holographic interface projected from the suit. They also used a nice blue/red motif for interactive objects in the game. If a door or console has a red holographic interface, you know instantly you can't use it. If it's blue, you're good to go. All of this minimizes distractions and interruptions to the action.

What really struck me as odd about playing this game is the feelings it evokes. When I'm not playing it, I feel eager to get back into the game world and chop the beasties into little bits. When I'm playing it, though, I feel almost stricken at times with hesitation about moving forward. I'm far more paranoid about saving frequently in this game than in others of it's ilk. I had the damndest time putting my finger on why, but I think I realized what it was today: the audio! The game is filled with the creepiest sounds I've ever heard in a game. Every now and then you can hear people faintly screaming, things scratching, high pitched music that builds to prolonged crescendos that just grate at your ears. Just the other day I entered an area that was a larger than usual tunnel and as I was walking around, there was something making a moan/growl that I had never heard before. What I'm getting at is that the game maintains this aura of unease while you play it.

The controls are pretty solid in my opinion and use the over-the-shoulder controls popularized by Gears of War. As I'm playing it, when I screw up, I'm accutely aware that it's my aim that sucks, not some fault of the controls. This is a huge step up from the survival horror games I'm used to, namely the older Resident Evil games. So far, this game is fantastic and I'm really looking forward to getting even deeper into it. So, the short version is: This 2 year old game, that everyone says is great, is great.