One of the oft mentioned things among non-gamers about video games is that they lack emotional appeal, that nobody will remember playing a game decades from now, so time is better spent making memories via going outside and doing something. This, as most gamers can attest, is categorically untrue. Many gamers have many good memories that last many years from moments in games. Not just a memory of a good score, or something, but genuine emotional moments. Back in 2003 or 2004 when I got to one point in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, there was a choice, and I went a path I’d never go in real life, and I could have gone a more reasonable, good path, but I went the Dark Jedi route, and I still feel guilt as of 2018, nearly 2019. There are other examples, but that’s one that sticks out.
One developer in particular has taken to the task of making games that one feels an emotional attachment to, to heart. Thatgamecompany. Their games have always been simple, elegant, games as art, that often engage the player emotionally.
Continue reading A Journey to Sky Light Awaits
Here is a simple enough game, my average error was 23 miles on my second time though. All you have to do is move a state to where it goes on the map.
If you get a few major states to fill out a few major spots early on, I think it would go easier. I never was off too much, even my first time though. If they really wanted to make it hard, the states would fade after you grabbed the next one so you don’t have anything to help line it up since after a few states are filled up placing the rest is fairly easy if you remember where basically where it goes and can line it up with the states that are already filled in.
The game takes up a good deal of the screen and covers up my menus and stuff so it will be below the break:
Continue reading Fun Game of the Moment
We have been borrowing Sara’s brother’s Wii and I have to say that it is a very fun machine. I can see its value as a good game machine to have around during a party, let alone just a general all round fun thing to play with. My last Wii Age was 29, the one before that was 78 and before that 28 (the lower the better), and I don’t test every day. Obviously I had a really bad day along the way. 🙂
I thought Nintendo should pull out of the hardware business (outside of handhelds) and concentrate on making games. It perhaps a good thing they didn’t.
If you got the money and can actually find one (they are still impossible to find due to high demand, not a problem with the other machines) then by all means get one you won’t regret it.
Another really cool game from the game competition that I talked about the other day. This one is called Sprout, and it by far one very nice game. Fairly easy, I did it without any hints or walkthroughs, but it was still fun. It took me a while to figure out how to get past the desert, but after that I started figuring out the rest of the puzzles fairly easy. It appears to have won first place and the audience award, and with good reason.
In Reunion you use some lights to guide a sleepwalking boy to find his cat around a maze in a side scrolling platform game of sorts. As you draw lines with the lights, how far along the line made with the other lights your leader light goes, the faster the boy will walk or jump. You’ll get it when you play it. It is sort of calming to play. I didn’t finish it though as we are going out today.
Build Grow the Robot is a really cool little game where you grow robots using fuses and Boolean logic gates to power the growth chamber. From Jay is Games, where I got the links to these games:
I can see on some of your faces that you’re perturbed by the words “array” and “Boolean,” but fear not, Starkraven Madd has made the game accessible to the computer programmer and the casual gamer alike by providing a short instructional animation and by the use of special shapes for each logical operation. The rounded boxes (AND) will only activate if the two inputs to it are active. The triangles with the curved bases (OR) will activate if either of the two inputs to it are active. Finally, the small triangles (NOT) will activate only if the input is not active. Although there may be multiple ways to activate the energy levels, Doctor Steel has only provided a limited number of fuses, so you should try to find the optimal solution
Seriously, this is cool, give it a chance. While you are at it, be sure to check out the rest of the games in the Casual Gameplay Design Competition #2, of which Grow the Robot is a part of.
Time yet again for another time waster, this one caught my attention right before bed last night and I ended up playing it until 4 am. Dwarf Complete (Lineage II), is a rpg along the order of Zelda, but far simpler… well it took two hours of my sleep time away from me so not super simple, but you’ll know what I am talking about when you see it. It’s a great deal of fun.
Apparently the game is made by the people who make the Grow games, and the sounds do indeed sound like it, but this is nothing like those games.
The first room you go to in the dungeon after leaving the room you start in (that is directly South of that first room) you may get stuck in this little room. Here is a Rot13 solution for what what was the biggest sticking point for me.
Ybbx ng gur funqbjf sebz gur jnyyf pnershyyl.
Once you learn that secret and a few other easy ones, you should be able to solve the game without any other hints. There is one timed puzzle that is a bit challenging, but outside of that I doubt anybody really needs to get hints. (Due to how late it was, I did end up getting a hint on an ice puzzle, but had I been more awake I probably would have solved that one without the hint.)
There is a really cool game called Rooms that you have to try out. Here is a screenshot from their homepage:
The idea is fairly simple. Using your arrow keys you move your character around, getting objects if needed. You then have to move rooms around like the old slider puzzles. So for the screenshot above, you would get the key, go up, then right then move the room down, open the door and then go up. The game uses Flash, so it should play on any computer that can play Flash games. Since so many people were playing it online, they took the online version offline and made it a download only game. Once downloaded and unzipped, you drag the rooms.swf onto the SAFlashPlayer.exe and the game will launch.
Trust me, it is a million times better than I make it sound here.
Moyo Go Studio is now available for free. You won’t be able to get technical support from the author, the database isn’t nearly as big as in the paid version, the printing/publishing module isn’t there, and you don’t get the lifetime of free updates, but if you wanted to check it out you now can. Just follow the previous link to the programs homepage. You will need to use some sort of torrent software such as Azureus or utorrent, as the file is fairly big (205 MB) and torrent is the only practical way of distributing it, plus, I am sure, it saves him tons on bandwidth.
My dad had given us a gift certificate for the mall, so I used a bit of it at the game kiosk to buy a Go Board. As a bonus, since the holidays are over they have everything discounted so the whole thing came under $20 even with tax.
Go Game with Wood Board
That is the board I got.
I review it below the break.
Continue reading I Got a Go Board
I got my first teaching game of Go today, but before I did that I played yet another bot on KGS. I paid no real attention to the marking of dead stones at the end and hit done quickly. Bad mistake, as the game thought Black (the bot) won by 360.5, when the reality was that White (me) won by 66.5. Unfortunately that was a ranked game and is part of my record. So the lesson from that is, pay attention during the mark the dead stones phase.
Anyhow, for my teaching game, I played a game against a gentleman from Germany (I won’t say his online name here as I am not sure the rules on such things). It was a quick 13 x 13 game where White won by resignation. I was Black and I had a 4 stone handicap, but was far too defensive. My weakness continues to be corners, which even with the computer I tend to loose out on.
Specific things I need to work on. 3×3 invasions when I am on the default 4×4 star point. Building corners period really. Remember to look to connect stones, even if I can’t make a second eye close to the one set, if the other set I might connect to has one eye, then all of them will live. I need to view more moves down the line as I tend not to view too many moves ahead.
Reading the review is a bit harder to follow than the initial time through it since the comments appear when they were entered in, and some of my reactions may have been when he was a few moves from where he mentioned something.
ChiyoDad Learns Go is my favorite Go Blog. It is a very good website, especially for beginners. It is where I first learned of Hikaru No Go, which I will probably talk about at some future point (warning, don’t read past the Spoilers warning on that page until you have finished the series). Anyhow, ChiyoDad Learns Go, GoDiscussions and Sensei’s Library (a wiki for Go) are all things that every Go player should have bookmarked and visit regularly.
I first heard of Go eons ago when Atari was the king of video games. I knew they were named for a Go term, but not much more than that. When they made their Tengen division, I again learned it was a Go term, but thought nothing more of it for a long time.
When Pente came out, I once again learned of Go. This time I gained a more active interest in it, but didn’t do anything about it.
Somewhere along the line I got back into it again and started learning the game. I learned some basics, and attended a local Go club meeting. Unfortunately for me, the club met at a time and date that didn’t work well for me and I was unable to go. They have since stopped meeting after one of the main guys in the club moved out of the area… not that it would matter since it would most likely still be a bad time for me. 🙂 After being unable to go to meeting, and too intimidated to do anything online, I stopped for a few years, once in a great while picking up a Go book and looking through it. As all things go full circle for me, I am once again pursuing Go, and this time will do more online since there are no local Go clubs. I am learning more this time, and once I get a few teaching games under my belt, I am sure I’ll be good to go (no pun intended).
I was looking ahead a bit in my reading of The Second Book of Go (Beginner and Elementary Go Books) and came across the following (I changed it slightly from the book by adding an extra letter, but otherwise is the same save this one is in color rather than 2d black and white):
Here we see the marked white stones has liberties at A and B and the marked Black stones have liberties and B and C. Generally when counting liberties that is where I would have stopped. However Black in this case has one more liberty.
White can play neither B nor C, else she puts itself in atari. That is, if she played B, Black would capture that stone and the marked stones by playing A. If she played C, Black would capture that stone and one more by playing D. So White must first play C, meaning even if White plays first she’ll loose as it would take one more move on her part. (Generally in a capture race, with everyone having the same number of liberties, the one who goes first will win.)
Here are the Go Books I currently have:
First is Janice Kim’s excellent Learn to Play Go series. These are basically English translations of books from the Korean Go Association. Very good books to have in your Go library. Some say the problem is that it is spread across so many books, and you get the lessons in one or two books from others, but I like them.
Learn to Play Go: A Master’s Guide to the Ultimate Game (Volume I) (Learn to Play Go)
A very good introduction to Go. As a matter of fact, I would say this one is nearly a must have for anyone who doesn’t know how to play Go at all. Once you know more than just the basics, it might be a bit to basic, but a great introduction.
The Way of the Moving Horse (Learn to Play Go, Volume II) (Learn to Play Go Ser)
I am nearly done with this one right now. This is probably the first book to get after the basics are learned, even if you skip the first book.
One of the must have books from Kiseido Publishing Company is
The Second Book of Go (Beginner and Elementary Go Books)
I plan on reading this soon. I started it a long time ago, but never finished it.
Go: More Than a Game
I am reading this one too right now. It is a nice book. Not an introduction to the game, but an okay book after you know the basic rules of the game. I like the other stuff it covers such as the history of Go and the like.
Every Go library needs the Graded Go Problems for Beginners. I have the first 3 volumes. Anything above the first volume right now is above my current level, though I can do some of the 2nd volume stuff.
Graded Go Problems for Beginners, 30 Kyu to 25 Kyu (Beginner & Elementary Go Bks.)
Graded Go Problems for Beginners, 25 kyu to 20 kyu (Beginner & Elementary Go Bks.)
Graded Go Problems for Beginners, Vol. 3: Intermediate Problems
Books I want:
Continue reading My Go Book Collection and Books I Want
A senior economist on Congress’ Joint Economic Committee, Dan Miller, says that it is just a question of when, not if, that people will be taxed for virtual assets, even if they are not converted to actual cash.
Let’s say you play World of Warcraft. Your character wins a sword with x number of virtual dollars. If you sell that sword to a trader, your character, gets this virtual dollars to buy other virtual items. Virtual, not real, fake… This guy says that the government should tax that transaction.
Since some people reading this might not understand let’s dive deeper into the insanity. The nearest equivalent would be the Monopoly board game. You own Boardwalk and Park Place, and somebody lands on it and they have to pay you the fee. If this was a virtual, online world, you would have to pay an income tax on that, even though it is fake money.
Full details here.
Now of course, this isn’t the IRS or Congress saying they are going to do it, yet, this is just an adviser.
I wonder if one can argue that the virtual character has no representation in Congress and therefore can’t be taxed? Probably not… since the income tax is illegal as it stands and you can’t get away with not paying it…
I have been playing SmartGo a bit… well I only played a couple games, but I have been playing with some of the other features and I have to say that if you have any interest in playing Go at all, you really should get this program. Speaking of playing games against it, here is my second attempt at a 13×13 board with it. I took a 5 stone handicap since I am still a high kyu player… probably lower then I think, but it has been a while since I played anyhow, so until I get used to thinking that way again I’ll stick to saying I am a high kyu player. I added comments to that game… To use that file you’ll need SmartGo or another good SGF reader, of which there are lots out there.
For those looking for a nice screensaver, there is SunXi’s Go Screensaver. This reads SGF files and displays them on your screen with a very nice 3D effect. Beautiful to watch.
I haven’t talked about Go for eons.
First up. I noticed my favorite Go program SmartGo has been updated to 2.3. It has been very much improved since I last used the game back when it was still 1.something… It has a 15 day free trial so give it a go (no pun intended). A few of the nicer additions is the ability to play on the IGS and a bunch of problems from GoProblems.com. It looks like they have added a ton more professional matches to study as well as a bunch more joseki. Is also has pattern matching so you can select a pattern in your game and find a similar match in a professional match to see how they responded.
I may update later with the books that I still need…
Check out the Wrestling ad on this page. Right after he says he is working with Hillary Clinton to limit inappropriate material (read censorship) in children’s video games he elbows the wrestler coming up behind him.
First there’s the fact there is no inappropriate material in children’s video games. There is violence and sometimes sexual content in games made for, marketed to and sold to adults but in games rated for kids you’ll have a near impossible time finding material that is “inappropriate.” It is parents who give the games to their kids, even though there is a giant, impossible to miss M on the game.
It’s odd how the liberal big government people in the media gave Republicans a hard time when the whole Janet Jackson Superbowl thing happened, and yet had the Democrats been in charge the exact same fallout would have happened. As a matter of fact, since the Democrats tend to be far more pro-censorship then Republicans they probably would have carried it further then the Republicans did. Of course, had Libertarians been in charge there probably would have been little fallout at all, probably fine for Janet due to public demand, but that would be about it.
Another odd thing is that Santorum was on the video game industry’s side just a few months before when he was one of only 3 Senator’s to stand with the game’s rating board with their educational efforts.
The funniest part of the ad however is that he just finishes talking about censoring violence out of video games and then elbows somebody. So violence is okay in political ads, but not video games?
Here is another fun game to play. It’s called Funny Farm, and I’ll spoil part of it here, the idea is simply to find what word goes in the orange blocks. As you find that word, it might open other paths.
You start with “on the farm” and have to find something like 14 things you would find on the farm. I’ll give away an easy one, cow, this opens up 5 more words. Some of those may link to other words of things you’ll find on the farm. Some will link to other pages where you need to find more words that relate.
A hint. Don’t always think literally. Just because you find Jesus on one page, doesn’t mean that what links to Him is related to Him at all.
Looking for a fun game to play online that forces you to use your brain? Submachine 3 is the game for you. It is relatively short, only 11 levels, and not too hard, I needed a hint on only 2 levels and the one was fairly easy without reading a full spoiler. It is a simple point and click game. Click the mouse on ladders or doors to move around the grid, click items to interact with them.
Level 0 you simply click the black spot on the floor below and to the left of the lever which turns it on allowing you to go to the next level. The item on the floor is your Heads Up Display and will show you where you are on the grid.
Level 1, go to the right and you will see a grid that shows you were the items you must interact with are at. I’ll leave you to solve the rest of that level yourself, it’s easy.
Sometimes the grid board is broken or missing, in which case there may be another hint somewhere nearby, or all the stuff you need are close by.
From there you are on your own. Good luck.