Archive for September, 2011

City of Heroes: Freedom is Here!!

For those that haven’t heard, City of Heroes: Freedom is live! You can download the game from the official website and start your own superhero experience now!

Remember, if you are a previous subscriber that wants to return, you’ll still have everything you unlocked, and you can still participate in a monthly subscription to get lots of extra goodies if you want (you can see the breakdown of what each type of player gets here). Either way, if you haven’t tried this game, now is the time to do so!

Now if you’ll excuse me, my psychic-powered villainess, The Resulka, has some heads to smash.

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Good Old Games Is Giving Away A Ton of Free Games!

Yes, you read that right!

Good Old Games, an amazing website for classic retro computer games with a few modern titles mixed in, is approaching its 6 millionth game download, and they’re celebrating in a big way!

The person who is responsible for the 6 millionth download will get the entire game library for free. Yes, the entire library!

Don’t think that lucky person will be the only one getting some goods, though. For 48 hours after that 6 millionth download, everybody will be able to download Broken Sword: Shadow of The Templars Director’s Cut for free!

If you haven’t signed up at GOG yet, there’s no reason not to; not only are the games available from them awesome and very well priced, but you get four games for free right off the bat, including Tyrian 2000, which is an incredibly addicting shooter that I played to death as a kid. Also, as of right now, Ultima 4: Quest of the Avatar is still free for download, so you can nab that as well.

Why are you still reading this? Go sign up!

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Gamers Solve AIDS Mystery, Too Bad This Article Doesn’t Care!

This post is in reference to this article, discussing how a few gamers “have deciphered the structure of an enzyme of an AIDS-like virus that had thwarted scientists for a decade”.

Here is my issue with this article: it has nothing to do with the implications this could have on curing AIDS.

Oh, sure, it’s mentioned, but what this is really about is how shocking it is to these people that someone who plays video games actually contributed something positive to society. Just reading it makes me cringe.

This article paints gamers as some sort of dysfunctional pariah of humanity, specifically pointing out that this “is believed to be the first time that gamers have resolved a long-standing scientific problem”. Yes, because god knows no scientist in history has ever played a video game.

This article should have been about how this could change the way we deal with AIDS in the future, not about gamers. Maybe this is where my anger really lies, but this was my gut reaction when I read it.

Let me know your thoughts.

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My Video Game Collection: Game Boy Advance (And A Surprise!)

I’m starting a series of videos on my YouTube channel totally dedicated to video games, and I figured a good place to start would be to share my collection with everyone!

first up is my GBA collection. I also threw in a surprise game that I didn’t even realize I owned until I dug out my GBA boxes! Check it out, and look out for more in the future. My DS collection is next!

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How Minecraft Effectively Ended My Life

That’sssss a very nice houssssse you’ve got there…’twould be a shame if something happened to it…

So, you know, I have this stuff that I do in my life. I write, I blog, I do video reviews, I hang out with friends, that kind of stuff. At least I did, until I gave Mojang $21.95 and my soul for the glorious addiction known as Minecraft.

Two things set me on the path to buying this game: the insistence of my little brother, who is a mod on a fantastic Minecraft server, and the dynamic duo of Simon and Lewis over at The Yogscast, a wonderful YouTube channel chock-full of amazing Minecraft videos and features on mods for the game. Even though I finally gave in and bought the game, I figured I’d get bored of it pretty quickly.

Boy, was I ever wrong.

The first day I got it, I bought it in the late afternoon. I got a hold of my brother, and after finally convincing him that I actually did finally buy Minecraft, he logged onto the server he moderates and helped me buy a plot of land of my own from the admins so I could build my very own house and get myself set up to do some mining. I thought that the crafting was going to get overwhelming for me, but most of it is rather logical, and I even figured out how to craft some stuff on my own just by trying combinations of things. I made a plan for a simple wooden house, took some materials that my brother gave me to start off with, and went out to explore the wilderness.

By the time I looked away from my computer, it was one in the morning.

I knew I was in trouble at that point.

Since then, every time I come home and try to play another game, or watch a video, or write, I can’t concentrate; I simply have to fire up Minecraft. It’s insane how quickly I became addicted to the game. I found myself asking, what is it about this game that draws me in so deeply?

First of all, it’s my kind of game. I’m one of those rare gamers who actually enjoys item crafting, and exploration has always been a big part of video games in general. So, the two biggest points of the game happen to be two aspects of gaming that I love. That obviously makes it a good fit for me to start off with.

What’s also amazing about Minecraft is the community. Literally thousands of players have spent hours creating player skins, adventure maps, and texture mods, and even game mods to add or alter things to the game. What’s also great about this is that Notch, the game’s creator, encourages all of this, and closely pays attention to the community, implementing many of the best ideas the players come up with into the official game patches. In fact, the last patch added pistons into the game, which actually started as a player-created mod.

Another thing about this game that makes it so addicting is the fact that it is truly a sandbox game. You can go anywhere, and do and create almost anything. Don’t believe me? There is a specific kind of Minecraft server out there called a ‘creative server’, which are totally dedicated to people building statues and pictures of all sorts. Go check some out, they are incredible! I also recently downloaded my first ever adventure map, which is a fairly faithful recreation of Castlevania, pieced together from the best parts of the NES titles in the series. Not only did the creator do an amazing job, but he made an 8-bit Castlevania-themed texture pack to go with it, and specifically designed the level so that, once you’re done with the puzzles he’s included, you can make the castle your base and go out exploring like you would in any other Minecraft map. Absolute brilliance!

But the morning sun has delivered this awesome texture pack!

(You can nab the map and texture pack for yourself here.)

Notch also put a lot of effort into making the game friendly for all players. You can choose different difficulty levels to play maps on, or you can put it on Peaceful mode and remove the monsters completely. Regardless of whether you want to simply build, or go killing hoards of Creepers, you’ll be able to get your fix.

This game also inspires true emotion in its players. To illustrate this, allow me to tell you about a dig that I went on last week. Brace yourselves.

There are different towns on the multiplayer server I play on. My brother came to me and said he wanted to show me a new area that the owner of the server had created. It’s a beach area called Sexy Cove (yes, it’s a stupid name). It was beautiful, with an awesome view of the setting sun, beach towels and umbrellas that everyone could claim as their own, and to top it all off, my brother built a beautiful house for the two of us on the edge of the water out of lapis and diamond (they later made him change the lapis. Sigh.).

It was so beautiful…;_;

My brother then proceeded to tell me that there was quite a bit of untouched wilderness very nearby (people are only allowed to dig in wilderness areas, the town areas are protected). I gathered my armor, my weapons, a diamond pickaxe, some torches and some cooked pork, and I was ready to go!

As I’m digging, my brother suddenly appears underground with me (he’s a mod, so he can fly and stuff. Lucky bastard.). He then says ‘Here, I’ll help you dig’, and proceeds to bust out some TNT. I immediately panicked, screaming at him over Team Speak as I’m running and he’s laughing and my mineshaft is being blown to pieces.

He found a natural cave pretty quickly using the TNT, where there are lots of monsters and lots of resources to mine. I started going crazy, mining red stone, lapis, and my first ever deposit of gold that I’ve ever found! My anger at my brother was quickly forgotten, and I was in awe of all of the goodies I’d found.

I should have turned around and gone back up to stash my new shiny things.

But no, instead, I decide to start digging a bit lower. It isn’t long until I hit bedrock, indicating that I’m pretty much as far down as I can get. It also means that lava is very close by. I of course wind up finding some, but I’m not a moron and I don’t dig directly under me, so I was totally safe. I went to go turn around to leave and finally put my new stuff safely away in a chest.

Then, a skeleton came out of nowhere and shot an arrow at me, pushing me into the lava.

I died.

I lost all of my stuff.

The best part is, there happened to be water right next to the lava. I could have jumped into the water and put myself out and saved myself, if I hadn’t panicked and tried to get on a ledge instead.

I sat there in silence, fighting back tears. All of my hard work, for nothing! My brother simply said to me ‘Well, that’s Minecraft. Just go make more tools and try again’.

So I did.

I found gold again.

This time, I turned around, went back to the surface, and put it in my chest. And it was awesome.

It really is amazing how a simple game can illicit such emotion. Notch really did a beautiful job of creating this game, giving people the power to build anything, with some effort, and to put your heart and soul into it, and then cry as a Creeper blows it to smithereens.

So yes, I am horribly addicted to this game, but it isn’t a bad thing. I’m a creative creature by nature, and the process of mining and creating is actually relaxing enough for me that I often turn to it when I want to play something nice and relaxing.

Until a skeleton knocks you into lava. Douchebags.

So, go ahead and buy Minecraft yourself and play it. It’s 25% off since it’s still in beta, so now’s the best time to pick it up. You’ll want to learn the basics before the next update; it’s an adventure update, adding experience points, a hunger meter, and a bunch of other challenging aspects to the game.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some diamond to mine.

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