Saturday, August 29, 2009

Numbers can be . . . fun?

A while ago Lynsey and I were given the opportunity to check out two unreleased iPhone games and give our opinion. Since we both love Macintosh products and free stuff, we happily accepted. Our schedules have been rather busy lately with both of us preparing for a new semester but I have finally gotten a chance to sit down and play one of the abovementioned games called “Fortune’s Prime”:

The two games we were given the chance to check out are educational games. You can read more about the company and the games themselves here.

Now, as difficult as it is to create a good game I would image it would be ten times as hard to create a good and engaging educational game, let alone a math game. Yeah, I kinda threw up a little after writing that last bit. Math is not my friend.

Which is one of the main reasons why I was curious to see if I could get even remotely interested in this game. In “Fortune’s Prime” you are given several cards and then asked to identify the prime numbers within the cards. By successfully doing so you increase your score and open up opportunities for bonus points.

Seems simple enough - and it is.

What’s interesting though is that before I knew it a half an hour had passed. This game, despite its simplicities, really is somewhat addicting. Now, I’m not saying that I would play this game before Fallout 3, but if I had a child and was interesting in educational games for him or her I honestly would pick this one up right away.

It’s fun, engaging and educational. Not a common combination.

I hope the second game is just as good, which I plan to check out in the near future.

Now for some quick hitters: the other night my boyfriend sat me down and together we played about an hour of the original Halo and about two hours of Halo 2. Soon after that, Lynsey and I decided to take on campaign of Halo 3 which I had never done before though I had dabbled in the multiplayer.

Personally, I found the story in Halo 3 to be . . . alright. It wasn’t amazing but it wasn’t bad either. It had great moments and really tedious ones but I do appreciate the series now far more than I did before. I have also found myself craving the multiplayer mode which I never thought I’d say.

So if you see a pink Spartan with an orange cat emblem, say hello.

The only thing keeping me from playing more Halo 3 right now is that I rented Batman: Arkham Asyulm and will only have it until tomorrow night. That game is just . . . well, wait a few days for my review ;)

Also, Lynsey and I will have another podcast once she gets settled in her new apartment. Thanks again to everyone who downloaded the first show!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The impossible

I've moved, sort of. I head up to my permanent place of residence in Boston this weekend but Cary and I have been enjoying some in-between time with several games. I thought I should mention them now:

- Left 4 Dead
- 1 v. 100
- Halo 3

Yep. You heard it right. Cary and I have started playing a co-op campaign in Halo 3. I'm not going to lie and say I know exactly what is going on but that's not to the discredit of the Halo trilogy -- I know just a surface worth's material on the series. Like Cary, I do find that I quite like the Needler gun, and ooooohhh my god, the Hammer. I LOVE THE GRAVITY HAMMER.

Cary and I also thought that we would be able to finish a L4D campaign on Expert but it's been a slow work in progress. The farthest we have managed to get in a campaign on Expert was into Chapter 3 of Dead Air and we just want to say: a Tank mid-chapter and then ANOTHER Tank right before the safe room is just NOT fair, Valve.

I, myself, have rented the Ghostbusters game after actually kind of enjoying the demo. I'll have that rental until Friday or so. I hope to be able to finish the game this week and fill you guys in on it.

Also, I downloaded Shadow Complex on a whim and have NOT been disappointed. Again, I haven't finished that game but will talk about it once I have. It is much, much more than your standard arcade game and I'm excited to see where the story ends because I've heard great things.

What are you guys playing right now?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

UPDATE: Second Skin

Remember a couple posts down when I pointed out that the documentary Second Skin was available on Hulu and recommended that all interesting in gaming or MMORPGs check it out? Well, that was before I myself saw it. I’d now like to amend that statement.

Actually, no, I’d like to amend that amendment.

If you’re interested in the topic I would probably still recommend that you check it out but this is certainly not a film I would show to an outsider or anyone who has little or no concept of massively multiplayer online role-playing games or gaming in general for that matter. The reason for that is because I found this film to be extremely biased.

Nearly every second of this documentary focused on people who have had their lives ruined or otherwise significantly negatively affected by playing games like World of Warcraft and Everquest. Though I myself spent about a year and a half playing WoW nearly every single day and understand the compulsion many people have to play some of these stories downright depressed me: people living in dark, unkempt houses, sitting in front of their computers for hours and hours and hours and hours at a time and virtually not sleeping. The wife of one of the film’s subjects even reported – while holding their newborn twins – that when the power went out her husband grabbed an extension cord to plug his system into the only working socket in the house.

This was the norm of the film and what bothers me is that nearly 12 million people hold subscriptions to World of Warcraft and for every case like the one above there are millions of people who play causally and are just fine. Rather than focus on the social aspects and relationship building experiences - which are very capable within such games - its creators decided to virtually only show the extremely negative side of gaming. In fact, the creators had a perfectly good opportunity to showcase such a positive relationship: Starman and Renata are the hosts of the popular podcast World of Warcast. At the time of this film’s production, they had been putting out shows together for over two years and yet had never met face-to-face. They finally met solely for the purpose of this project. A two-year friendship developed solely from the love of MMORPG and the makers of Second Skin stuck them in for an irrelevant 15 seconds. Such an immense waste.

If I had to pin-point my single biggest issue with the film though it was with one man who decided to join a support group for addicted gamers - Online Gamers Anonymous - and then went to a safe-house of sorts for that very issue. This man depicted in the film detailed how he would spend 16/17/18 hours in front of the computer playing WoW each day to the point he would pass out in front of his system, wake up, and then continue playing. He lost his relationship, his business, and his life because of it. He then went to this “recovery” center and had advice given to him by a woman who had absolutely no business whatsoever dolling out any type of psychiatric assistance.

This woman’s son committed suicide after his in-game relationship in Everquest dissipated. It’s a horrible and tragic story but the game was not responsible for this man’s death. Sane, rational, and healthy people do not commit such rash actions but still this woman thinks that by just getting the addicted gamer away from his or her computer and praying they’ll be perfectly okay. Not cool. And not true.

Ironically, the man who sought her out for help thought so too and left shortly after arriving.

Basically, if you’re a fan of MMORPGs you will probably find at least some of the documentary interesting but whatever you do, don’t show it to someone who has only heard the rumors and stereotypes: it will only enforce them.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Zombies, Avatars, and Patrick Stewart.

While our podcast is being reviewed at iTunes you can currently download or stream the first episode from our Podcast's new home.

I think Lynsey put it best when she said our show is essentially like the phone conversations we have only recorded. Certainly nothing formal but still fun I think. Even a little informative.

Any comments and/or suggestions would be most welcome.

Thanks guys!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Stand by to Receive Our Transmission

Ladies and Gentleman the day you've waited so long for has finally arrived. No, not that day. The other awesome one:

Lynsey and I have recorded the first episode of the Play Like a Girl Podcast.

*ooooo . . . ahhhhhhh*

With any luck, we'll have it edited and available within the next couple of days so watch this space.

Oh, and pwn noobs:

Monday, August 10, 2009

So what are you doing tonight?

From the time I saw the trailer almost two years ago I was unbelievably excited about the documentary,
Second Skin. It's a film that follows the lives of people who play MMORPGs, or, Massively Multiplayer On-Line Roleplaying Games such as World of Warcraft and Everquest. At the time of the first trailer's release I also happened to be very into the former of those two games - playing on a nearly daily basis for anywhere from 30 minutes to 6 hours at a time. Gradually, I lost interest in World of Warcraft and when I bought myself a new computer I found that I had no desire to re-install it. Still, it is with great fondness that I think of the time I spent playing that game.

I met dozens of interesting people whom I would consider friends. I had a fantastic time riding around Azeroth and finding people to hook up with to complete quests. I loved the excitement of looting a kill and finding that a blue item had dropped and I still remember being in Stranglethorn Vale and having that troll drop a purple dagger for me. So, so, awesome.

Therefore, it's very easy for me to understand how people can become so enamored and obsessed with virtual worlds and I do not pass any type of judgement but oh man does it fascinate me and this film delves right into the heart of it: real people who's lives have been changed - in one way or another - by MMORPGs. Plus, it has appearances from of the hosts from the podcast World of Warcast which I listened to religiously during my time spent playing WoW. Pretty cool stuff.

Today I discovered that you can watch this documentary in its entirely on Hulu, something which I plan on doing very, very soon and would highly encourage the rest of you to do as well.

Click here, enjoy, and comment!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

News Time, Children!

Today was a most bittersweet one; I finished the final downloadable content for Fallout 3 entitled Mothership Zeta. In this installment The Lone Wanderer, being the ever-curious little scamp that she is, goes to investigate a strange radio broadcast in The Capital Wasteland and shortly after finds herself on board an alien spaceship floating hundreds and hundreds of miles above Earth.

With no idea of how she got there or how to get out, The Lone Wanderer teams up with other captives to figure out a way to get off the ship and back home – of course, it’s never as easy as that is it?

That being said . . . I . . .enjoyed this installment.

. . .

There really isn’t a more exuberant sentence I can think of to describe it.

It was certainly not my favorite of the 5 DLCs and in fact, I would personally rank this one just above Operation Anchorage. Interestingly enough, both of those additions have one big thing in common: neither one of them take place within The Capital Wasteland.

One of the reasons why I adore Fallout 3 as much as I do is because I love the environment. I love the dirt, the dry air and the grimy raiders looking to take my head off. Pew pewing through dozens of aliens just isn’t the same. Then again, I knew it wouldn’t be.

There were some pretty awesome moments in Mothership Zeta, don’t get me wrong, but to me it just wasn’t Fallout 3. It certainly wasn’t nearly as good as Point Lookout, The Pitt or Broken Steel but for what it is, it’s not bad. I am saddened however that this is the last DLC for this amazing game but having played over 100 hours of it I can certainly say I’ve gotten my money’s worth. Fallout 3 can, without question, hold a secure place in my Top 5 Games of All Time.

So thank you, Bethesda. Can’t wait for the next one.

Switching gears for a second, another fabulous developer came out with some very exciting news today. It seems that Valve has something new planned for Francis, Bill, Zoey and Louis:

Yup. Come September we’ll have a brand, spankin’ new campaign for the original Left 4 Dead. The Gameinformer article details that it will take place between the ending of No Mercy and the beginning of Death Toll. Apparently the helicopter pilot was infected. Go figure.

Lynsey and I talk a lot about Left 4 Dead here. We’re big, big fans. Needless to say, knowing we’ll get to play a new campaign a month before getting a whole new game has us pretty excited:

Also, new character dialogue teases me with thoughts of more Francis/Bill banter.

I'm still waiting for Francis to tell Bill smoking is bad for his health.

Pun totally intended.

This post was inevitable

Perhaps you could argue one thing about gaming on the 360: that perhaps there are iconic Xbox games that just don't reach out to some people for one reason or another. In this case, that scenario for argument involves Cary and any Halo game under the sun. But perhaps someone needs to step in: that's where I come in.

I've never played Halo. I've never watched anyone play Halo. You could say, I am (wholly) inexperienced in the realm of Halo. But after reading a post made by Brad on, I'm giving Halo some of my undivided attention. More specifically, Halo 3: ODST.

Brad claims ODST to be "the closest thing we will ever get to a Firefly game" and that was kind of all he needed to say. As a gamer, you can assume that I'm a big nerd. And a lot of big nerds/gamers are, generally, interested in lots of other things not involving gaming... and one of those things for me has always been the universe of Serenity/Firefly.

But I don't know enough about Halo to say "I WANT ODST WHEN IT COMES OUT" and that's where YOU come in, readers. Look at my profile, see what games I play, or take a look back at my posts. Should I consider diving into Halo-verse with a Halo game already out to test the waters? What are your thoughts on Halo 3: ODST?

Cary hates Halo; I'm not sure why, but I believe those were her exact words. (I think it had something to do with a certain lack of courtesy in multiplayer campaigns.) But she also hates God of War, and a lot of people loved that game. Obviously, Cary and I don't always agree on everything and when a game comes out that appears to be close to anything Firefly/Serenity related, I don't see myself staying away from it.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Like, OMG! Girlz play too?!?!1!

Saw this while browsing through a magazine at work:

I was . . . amused.

Does this mean I have to play Hannah Montana instead of the Fallout 3 DLC tomorrow night?