Tag Archives: gaming

gaming for bacon

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Getting older doesn’t mean you outgrow video games.  But you do outgrow the tickets that come out of games at places like Chuck E. Cheese (or our local Larry’s Pizza).  Most (if not all) of the prizes are worthless to adults.  But imagine if instead of a ticket, you received a similar-sized piece of bacon…

As awesome as that would be, obviously there are some logistical issues with the machines distributing bacon.  So instead the machines could spit out bacon tickets which could be exchanged for actual bacon strips.  And if you were to break the weekly or monthly high school, you could win other prizes like nachos or pizza or milkshakes.  They could also occasionally give out vouchers for more gaming tokens.

Why hasn’t someone done this?  Of course these prizes are more expensive than the stuff you get now, but they would also be increasing the audience by a large factor.  Plus they get food at cost, so it’s not as expensive as you might think.  More adults would play the games, which would mean more revenue, which would also fund the purchase / renting of games that adults would enjoy more.  It’s a win-win situation!  Someone definitely needs to make this happen!

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a urine-controlled game for public restrooms

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Sega has developed a urine-controlled game for public restrooms.  It’s called Toirettsu.  The goal is to control the aim and speed of your pee to succeed in mini-games.

That’s thinking outside the box!  I suppose it could make going to the bathroom a little more interesting, but I’m still skeptical.  Plus, there’s the additional cost that would conveniently be passed on to the customer — hopefully not in a charge for using the restroom, but it would probably be recouped in other ways.  I’d rather not pay more for my food or other products for a service I may not even use.

And what’s next — a game based on how much you poop or how much it stinks?  Even if you got the high score, would you want to brag about it?

Gaming is great and it’s good for companies to be creative, but not all ideas are worth pursuing…  And in this case, it would probably be best for the creators to laugh about it, maybe write about it on some obscure blog*, and let that be it…

* That reference is especially for Fab, and no, it does not refer to Buffet o’ Blog.

Super Mario Bros car decals

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This year marks the 25th anniversary of Super Mario Bros., so we’re seeing all kinds of nostalgic memorabilia.  If you want to show your gaming nerdiness to the world, you can get decals of World 1-1 for the side of your car.  I think they look cool!  If you have a hooptie (I’m looking at you, Mango-Man), this would surely make your vehicle look better!

The Gamerator

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Someone has built what they call “the ULTIMATE gaming machine in the world of home entertainment”, and they call it The Gamerator.  It’s an arcade machine with a 26″ flat-panel HDTV, two cup holders, controller option of trackball or dual joystick setup, and it comes preloaded with 100 arcade games.   It runs Windows XP, so you can load your own games on it.  You can also hook up almost any console to it, including the Wii, PS3, and Xbox 360.  But wait, there’s more!  It also contains a built-in refrigerator capable of holding a keg of beer (or tea), with a tap in the front so you can get refills without having to pause your game.

You can pre-order one for $3,249.  So it’s very expensive, yet very cool.  Since it looks like an arcade machine, it probably has a low WAF (Wife Approval Factor), but if you have a game room (and you should if you don’t), it’s perfect for that.

playing Tiger Woods golf game online

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Occasionally we’ve posted links to online games for your gaming enjoyment and for comparing high scores, and this time we have a great one for you.  It’s Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online.   In the demo, you get to play 3 holes.

Now you may be thinking this will look generic, like many Flash games, but it’s better than normal.  You have to install a plug-in called Unity 3D, which allows for 3D graphics to be rendered in your browser.  After that, there’s nothing to (permanently) install.  The data for the game streams to your computer as needed.  Some think this may be the future of game delivery.   Anyway, you can try it here for free.

Here’s the link to the free demo.

I’m not an avid golfer, but I can enjoy playing golf games, if they allow me freedom to hit bank shots off trees and buildings.  I like flexing my creativity to make a shot.   Below is a picture of a building I hit, and the ball actually landed on the upper deck balcony, then rolled off.  This was out-of-bounds, of course, so the next time I cranked it over the clubhouse.

Apparently the windows are unbreakable.

There are plenty of sites that have full reviews of this game, along with “normal” screenshots.  I decided to have some fun with it, by seeing what it would allow me to do.  Following are a few more screenshots of some other interesting areas, including one where my golfer was trying to hit a shot while crouching, and his hands and the club would have to pass through his knees to pull off this angle.  But somehow he hit it.

I'm sure they tried to recreate realistic physics, but something here ain't right.

Believe it or not, this was the default view after one of my shots.

Feel free to post your high scores (or low scores) here for everyone to contemplate (and/or talk smack about).

As far as my review of the game (based on the 3-hole demo), I would prefer better graphics.  (I know, realistic graphics aren’t the most important thing — no need to start that rant.  But I’ve played older golf games with better graphics, so I expect more, especially since golf doesn’t require the same amount of graphics and physics processing of some other games.)  I don’t know if the full version has announcers or not.   Of course, they can sometimes get annoying, but they’re sometimes funny, and to me it was missing in the game.   I like the idea of them adding content (such as more courses) with it being online, but that can be done in the PC and console versions in most cases.  From what little I saw, I would prefer to install the game on my PC instead of having it “portable”.

Regarding gameplay, the advice it gives you on how much power to use made it easy, except on putting, where it doesn’t seem accurate.  I suppose that can be turned off, though.  Hopefully the camera angle can be adjusted, because sometimes the ball just disappeared over the horizon and I never saw where it went (even if it was onto the next hole, it should show me).

On a semi-related note, there’s a post here with numerous comments about how to make golf less boring.  If some of these had been incorporated into the game, it would be even better.  🙂

update on Jack Thompson’s career

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One year ago today, Jack Thompson was disbarred from practicing law.   For those who have anything to do with video games or just enjoy playing them, that was a victorious day.  Thankfully, we haven’t heard much from him since.  He gives gaming and Christianity a bad name.

But now there’s some current news about him.  He just issued a news release saying his ban from practicing law is invalid and he will begin to practice again on October 1, 2009.  As usual, he’s stretching (and inventing) “facts” that aren’t valid.  (And if you read his letter at the link, know that his claims aren’t all factual, either.)

Jack Thompson might’ve made a few good points, like that kids shouldn’t be able to buy M-rated video games, but he went way beyond what was reasonable.  If you aren’t familiar with him, let me give a few “career highlights”.  I’m getting these from this article: 10 Great Moments in Jack Thompson’s (Failed) Career.  But be forewarned that the article has some explicit language in it, so view only if you don’t mind that.  Hence I’m making a summary (because I know some of the regulars here don’t want to read that).

At the start of his career, Jack Thompson tried to become the state prosecuting attorney in Florida.  He went up against Janet Reno, who was the current attorney.  He passed her a note that said, “I, Janet Reno, am a:”, followed by 3 boxes: heterosexual/bisexual/homosexual.  That sounds like something you’d do in junior high, when you really have no idea of what is proper and/or tactful.  She walked over to him, dissed him, but put her hand on his shoulder while telling him he was stupid.  And as you’ll see with Jack Thompson, this is only the start — he does not know when to stop.  He filed a police report claiming that her touching him on the shoulder constituted battery.  That’s basically admitting that he needed police help against a 50-year-old woman.   Jack’s career only went downhill from there.

In 1990, Thompson attacked the rap industry, and he claimed he was Bruce Wayne, a.k.a. Batman, in his fight against the evils of rap music.  But this isn’t just verbal nonsense — he wore a Bat-watch and mailed out copies of his driver’s license with pictures of Batman edited in.  Note that at this time he is a certified, legal lawyer in Florida.   (Somehow he would stay certified for another 18 years!)

Doom screenshot

Doom screenshot -- does this look like a military-style murder simulator?

In 1997 he filed a lawsuit against the makers of Doom, MechWarrior, several other games, most of Hollywood, and porn websites, claiming their influence caused kids to become evil.  Fortunately the case was dismissed before it even started.  He claimed Doom was an extremely accurate military-style murder simulator.  If you’ve played Doom, you know better.

Every time there was a school shooting, like at Columbine and Virginia Tech, Jack Thompson was there, claiming video games were the cause.  And even when there was no proof found, Thompson never backed away from his allegations.  He can’t be bothered to let facts interfere with his statements.   I remember when Virginia Tech happened, that Thompson was on TV that day blaming video games before anyone even knew who the killer was or why he did it, and then it was found that he didn’t even play video games.  (I wrote more on that here.)

Years later, Jack Thompson offered $10,000 to charity on behalf of anyone who made a game representing the murder of Paul Eibeler, who was the boss of Take Two (which makes the Grand Theft Auto games).   When someone took him up on that, he backed away, saying it was just satire.  So he offers money to charity, then takes it away.  Doesn’t sound like a funny joke, does it?  But wait, there’s more!   A website called Penny Arcade donated the money on his behalf to the Child’s Play charity for sick children.  What is Jack’s response?  He called the police.  Why?  Because two men had donated their own money to charity.

In 2008, the Florida Bar Association finally had enough of Jack Thompson, and they ordered him to attend a disbarment trial.   He had to prove that he hadn’t been using the legal system as his own personal soapbox.  They also ruled that any further legal proceedings filed by Jack had to be cosigned by another member of the Florida Bar, which means he can’t use the legal system unless supervised by a responsible adult.  To this, he immediately filed an appeal without a signature.

Normal disbarment was for 5 years, but for Jack, they made it “enhanced disbarment”, citing 27 violations of professional misconduct.  That meant he couldn’t practice law for 10 years.  His response to this was to walk out of the proceedings, and he accused the judge of not having the authority to hear this case.  Realize that this case was from the Florida Supreme Court, and he said they don’t have legal authority over him.  This sounds like somebody who has lost touch of reality.  But, as I mentioned before, these crazy situations with Jack Thompson keep going and going and going.  He also accused the judge of being mentally unbalanced, and he started using phrases like “killing three thousand people“.  Given that this happened after 9/11, one shouldn’t use such phrases, particularly around law enforcement officials.  This childish act resulted in U.S. Marshals being dispatched to his home.  His behavior also resulted in a permanent disbarment from practicing law.

In his appeal to the judge who disbarred him, he said, “She is just making this stuff up as she goes” and “Maybe Dava Tunis is mentally impaired” and he called her a “raving wild woman … who had become unhinged”.   He also wrote a letter after the visit by the Marshals, saying “the purpose of that visit was to intimidate and harass me”.  And now the FBI won’t even talk to him anymore, after so many fraudulent claims.  Thompson wrote about that: “The FBI has done nothing and refuses to talk to me. … With all respect, either the FBI takes this seriously — the computer hacking, the criminal use of lunacy proceedings, the whole nine yards… or I and others will do what we need to do.”  I really don’t think it’s wise to threaten the FBI…

Jack Thompson’s written objection to his disbarment trial references the Holocaust and lynching of blacks, in comparison to how he’s being treated.  He manages to compare himself to John the Baptist and Jesus.   And he said the people who run The Florida Bar are fascists.   He told the judge she was a liar.  He says he’s being persecuted because he’s a Christian, and while such things do occasionally happen, in this case it’s because Jack Thompson promotes fraudulent lawsuits and participates in unprofessional behavior (including name-calling and threatening people).  He said they hate him without reason.

I could go on, but if you want to read more, there’s many more examples on the Internet of how he’s done stupid things and threatened people.

getting college credit by playing video games

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In college there were a few classes that I enjoyed taking, like various music performance classes, and athletic classes like tennis and bowling.   But there was never anything related to playing video games.  (Well, I did get to take one about programming for games.)

The University of Houston is now offering a class on Wii Performance.   The games used in the course will be Wii Fit, Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort, and Wii Dance Dance Revolution.   Their program coordinator said:

Our department conducts a host of research into the epidemic of obesity, not only its root causes, but ways to combat it and the diseases related to it. Using the Wii games can be both fun and an effective tool. We anticipate that many students will want to take this class.

I think their anticipation is right-on.   Of course many students will want to take that class!  If I could get college credit for playing video games, I know I would’ve!