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Monday, February 25, 2008


Anybody out there?

What happens if you have a game and nobody wants to play?

With some games, it's not that difficult to get somebody to play with you. You explain the rules, set up the board and you're off and running. After all, everything you need to play is in the box and strategies develop during set up or once play has started. In either case, everybody's playing the game and having fun.

But then somebody had to invent collectible card games.

In these games, not everybody is on even footing. By the very nature of the distribution of components, some folks are going to have great cards and some aren't. Technically, everyone who wants to play is going to have to invest in the game to have their own set of cards to play with. But if they don't, and you're willing to share some of your cards to play with them, it's still uneven, as you're likely to have kept all of the best cards for yourself and you've spent a lot more time getting just the right cards in your deck than your friend will ever have. Unbalanced? Maybe just a little.

And what do you do when you've found such a game, spent a lot of time getting just the right cards and you can't find anybody who will play with you? Or the game gets canceled?

Maybe we need rehabilitation so folks can learn to let go from games that used to give them so much enjoyment. But heck, I want to play now. Anybody out there? Anybody?

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008


The Game's Afoot!

Hey folks, it's another week and another cartoon.

If you're a mystery buff and/or like brain teasers then you'll love Professor Layton and the Curious Village on the Nintendo DS. It's a charming game and a charming story about a very clever man, his apprentice, and a strange little town with mysteries around every corner. The bulk of the game is about solving brain teasers - you know, the kinds of logic puzzles that often have trick answers that have you smacking yourself on the forehead when you realize the answer. Not all of them have trick answers, but more than a few of them seek to mislead you. But fret not! There are hints to the puzzles that you can purchase with handy hint coins that can be found hidden around the village.

As you solve the puzzles, more and more of the story unfolds, often presented with some very nice animated segments (there are 16 segments in all in the game and you're given the option of seeing them again once you've finished the game.

In addition to the main story, you will be collecting pieces to other puzzles that unlock bonus puzzle areas. In true Nintendo "gotta collect 'em all" fashion, you'll be poking into every nook and cranny until you've found all of the 120 puzzles in the game. With the 15 bonus puzzles, there are 135 puzzles in all and more available for download each week via a wi-fi connection.

This game strikes just the right balance between story and puzzle. Not once did I think "Oh, not another puzzle!" or "No! Not more exposition!" I was always eager for the next clue or challenge that the game presented to me.

If you're like me, you won't put the game down until you've reached the conclusion - at which point you'll be begging for more after only a few days of intense playing (a sequel appears to be in the works). But then you can finally get on to other things. Like those other games you bought.


Saturday, February 16, 2008


Guess who's back?

I've been having some internet problems lately, but while I work on getting caught up, please enjoy this preview of the new Indiana Jones movie.


Monday, February 11, 2008



I'm still struggling with the cold I caught, so just a few updates today.

This week's cartoon concerns priorities. Gotta have 'em, right?

There comes a time in many games where I hit a wall - I get stuck and have to decide how many times I'm going to put my head down and run full speed at that wall before giving up. In Star Trek Legacies, it happens with a mission full of asteroids and the assistance of three computer controlled ships that can't be trusted to blow their nose, much less guard a point and destroy oncoming targets. After much struggles, I have put that one away - maybe I'll take it up again later and wonder what all the fuss was about - but I doubt it.

Another game is Zoo Tycoon DS - in it you have a limited amount of time to breed two specific animals. However, (and the game itself admits this) there is nothing you can do to make sure the animals breed before time runs out. So time after time I would complete all of the other mission requirements, get one of the animals to breed, and wait for the other to do absolutely nothing!! Completing the mission depended entirely on luck - not the sort of thing you want in such an involved scenario. So thanks for nothing, Zoo Tycoon DS.

I have hit a couple of walls in Advance Wars Days of Ruin, but have managed to get past them after a few tries and searching the message boards on the internet. In at least one case, when I found the solution, I was surprised at how easily the computer opponent rolled over for me. To put it mildly, I crushed them after countless exasperating times when I was the one being crushed. So I technically haven't hit the wall on this one yet, but I've come close a couple of times.

So that's the news for today. Stay tuned for more.

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Be careful what you wish for (part II)

So my new camera arives and wouldn't you know it, we get a snow day as well. Everything is white and the snow shows no sign of letting up. Check it out.


Monday, February 04, 2008


Be careful what you wish for

Seems some folks around here are wishing for a snow day. Of course, when it snows, I'm the one who has to clear it away. We got 10 inches on Thursday and another 3-4 inches last night. Right now, it's raining. I wouldn't be surprised to see amphibians falling from the sky tomorrow.

I wanted to show you pictures of it taken with my new digital camera, but (unlike the snow) it hasn't shown up yet. And so it goes.


Sunday, February 03, 2008


Football has gone to the dogs.

If you don't really care whether the Patriots or the Giants win, maybe you'd enjoy watching this four-footed football game - Puppy Bowl IV.

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Friday, February 01, 2008


Like strategy games? Own a DS? Read on.

I have heard good things about the Advance Wars series, but copies of the game have always been scarce. So when Advance Wars: Days of Ruin came out, I rushed to the store to pick up a copy. If you like strategy games and have access to a DS, you must get this game. I'll give you folks a full review when I've played more, but suffice it to say that it is great, great fun.

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