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Games. Tech. Musings.

Games offline and online. Technology. Random stuff.

Friday, October 29, 2004

The Play List

Enough political whining (for a few minutes at least).

Here's my current play list. I'd recommend any of the below games on the Actively and Occasionally lists. Note that I'm only playing PC games and PS2 games since those are the only platforms I own. I don't have enough time to play all the games I want to anyway, or I'd consider picking up a 'Cube for Pikmin 2 and the like. Or maybe the new Nintendo DS, which looks interesting.

Actively (i.e. more than 1 play per week):
Occasionally (i.e. less than 1 play per week):
Greedily eyeing (i.e. may buy soonish):


Tuesday, October 26, 2004

No Child Left Behind - Well, Kinda

Seems a little strange to me that although Bush doesn't seem able to come up with the roughly $10 billion required to fund his vaunted "No Child Left Behind" legislation, he can find $136 billion for what the Seattle Times calls "massive corporate tax cuts". Did I mention that they just bust the federal debt cap?

Ah, pork barrel spending. It's a wonderful thing, really.

Full disclosure: I actually stand to benefit from this bill since it allows deduction of state sales taxes from federal income tax. It's still a big barrel of pork and a dumb idea.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Tuckered out

Apparently Tucker Carlson (the bow-tied Crossfire host) was watching a different recording to the one I was. He seemed to think that Stewart "looked ridiculous". Wishful thinking if ever I heard it, Mr. Carlson.

Monday, October 18, 2004


I am a huge fan of the Daily Show. It appears to be one of the few shows that cover politics that point out the lies both sides of the American system continually spout. Which is nice.

Anyway, Jon Stewart got interviewed on CNN's Crossfire show. He took the liberty of pointing out that they (as in the media) weren't doing a very good job and they (as in Crossfire specifically) weren't getting politicians to deviate from their set "talking points". The results were absolutely hilarious. If you don't want to watch the video, there's also a transcript available.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Rome: Totally Patchy

I finally got Rome: Total War to work after a long session of installing drivers, etc. The problem turned out to be the 1.1 patch - while that was installed, the game wouldn't start. Specifically, after I tried to start a campaign, the intro video would come up and then the loading screen - but at the end of the loading progress bar, it would crash to desktop instead of showing the campaign map.

So, if you're having a similar problem, you may want to try reinstalling the game minus the patch.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Romans! Countrymen! Elephants?

After reading the nth fawning review, I downloaded the demo for Rome: Total War. Well, I was impressed. Any demo where I want to play it more than once is good. The actual game has a turn-based campaign/strategy/empire-building aspect on top of the battle engine in the demo, which is all good as far as I'm concerned.

I should admit that I do have a weakness for those ancient Roman types, since I studied Caesar's account of the invasion of Britain back in the day. In the original Latin. And enjoyed it, even. It seems like a generally solid strategy/tactics game anyway and the graphics and presentation are excellent.

I picked up the game so a more in-depth review will be forthcoming. In the meantime, go download the demo. It's a recreation of the Battle of Trebia, which was one of Hannibal's famous victories over the Romans. With elephants. Short of having flying monkey units too, you can't ask for much more.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Katamari Dagacy

I've played enough Katamari Damacy to conclude three things:
  1. It's the strangest game I have ever played.

  2. It was well worth $20.

  3. They really should have translated the name from Japanese, because people here can't remember it ("Katamari" means "clump", apparently. I have no idea what "Damacy" means).

You may well not be familiar with this game. In a short summary, I'd describe it as Pac-Man meets Monty Python meets a tank controller. The flavour and art style of the game is very reminiscent of Monty Python's collages. The actual gameplay consists of this: you roll a ball around and pick up stuff, which is then glommed onto the ball or (more likely) some of the stuff you already picked up. To roll the ball, you use the 2 joysticks more or less like a tank - 2 forward means "go forward" and so on.

Ok. So far so good. A few more tweaks. Your ball starts off pretty small, sometimes only a couple of inches across, so you're picking up coins, pencils, etc. But at the end of the later levels (where it probably started out as about 1m across), you're picking up larger things. Like people. Or houses. Or ocean liners. Or skyscrapers.

It's all very odd, really.

Anyway, I can't say I've ever played another game quite like it, the music is fabulous (I can still hear it now, echoing in my head) and all in all if you have a PS2 you have no excuse not to get it.

I suppose it would be churlish of me not to finish this post off with the obligatory Penny Arcade link.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Billionaire vs. Bush

I read an interesting and thoughtful post by George Soros. Couldn't agree more, really.

There's a huge list of things Bush has done in his presidency that I think are despicable, but Iraq tops the list. It's notable that the US has probably killed more Iraqis than Hussein did at this point. Not really surprising that they're not big fans of ours. Alas. I could do the "I told you so" spiel but it's kind of moot - you can't un-drop bombs. Whoever is elected President, Iraq will remain a disaster for a long time to come. Right now I'm thinking better-than-even odds of a civil war there within 5 years.

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You can't handle the truth!

Well, I think I finally worked out the connection between all the stories in ILB. Took me long enough. Take a look and see what you think.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Puzzle Noir

Well, I managed to at least get the method for a puzzle for the ILB update today. Didn't find time to actually solve it, so I can't claim full credit for this one.

If you haven't seen it, here are the puzzle clues for the one puzzle I managed to help with:

1) Clue 1.
2) Clue 2.
This is what I do when I imagine I am a femme fatale! ;-*
And this is what I do when I need help making my story better: :-/

Good luck!