Archive for the ‘Video Games’ Category

Fall, when games and leaves drop in distressing quantities.

30 Oct

OK, I love fall, the temperature drops to that magical point where one can walk around outside with short or long sleeves on without feeling too hot or too cold and the leaves turn amazing colors. Of course, I’d live fall a lot more if the leaves would stay on the trees with those amazing colors until they turned back to green in the spring. That’s the conundrum facing me as I frantically battled a setting sun to get the sticky piles of leaves I hand raked in the snow/rain last Sunday into bags with openings that are almost certainly designed to reject 25% of whatever you’re trying to put into them. *sigh*

But I digress, in the same bittersweet trend, this is the high season for all the video game companies to release their crowning achievements onto the expectant populace. Evidently video game marketers believe that everyone is more likely to buy a game in the run up to holiday buying, which statistically is somewhat true. However, it’s a bit of a chicken and an egg scenario, how much of those sales are related to the game simply coming out, and how much of them are related to the time of year.

Whatever the cause, what happens is that WAY too many games come out in a relatively short time frame. It wouldn’t be so bad if the games themselves were bad, but as the case may be, it’s usually the best games coming out at this time. Bringing a painful tug at gamers’ wallets and very limited time. Hence, you can find me in the back yard raking leaves while unopened copies of Fallout 3, Saints Row 2, Fable 2 and the first PlayStation 3 game I’ve bought (after owning the system for over a year!) Little Big Planet, sit on a ledge in front of the TV, taunting me. Let alone the slew of top tier games yet to be released before the end of the year, including Gears of War 2, Resistance 2, Valkyria Chronicles, Left 4 Dead, Tomb Raider-Underworld, Mirrors Edge, and Call of Duty-World at War and that’s just in November! There’s no way I’ll be able to buy all these games, let alone get the time to play them. If they were spread out a bit, into the games-release-desert between the months of March and July, it’d be so much easier to justify a purchase, and actually get some time in playing the games, instead of raking leaves and cleaning out gutters.

Oh yeah, and being a responsible parent does wonders for cutting down game time, but thankfully has more than enough rewards…


Added 11-04-2008: Those brilliant minds over at Penny-Arcade agree with this sentiment.


Too economically savvy for Guitar Hero? Try Budget Hero! (Much less manual dexterity required..)

29 May

Here’s a neat little game that lets you see if you can run the government better than our elected officials, which is surprisingly easy, and trying not to break the bank with Social Security and Medical Costs, which is surprisingly difficult! Here’s your chance to see how the budget would hold up if you were in charge!

All you do is play cards that represent changes to the budget, like cutting military spending, or revoking the Bush tax cuts andd then seeing how your budget holds up in the future. It’s fun, and you just might learn something!

 Budget hero

Note: What I learned is that we’re in some pretty serious financial trouble! No matter how you cut it! D’oh!


On politicians and the devils of the day..

21 Feb

I’m not sure if anyone is aware that I’ve been leaning towards giving Barack Obama my vote come this November, primarily on his stance towards the war and also based on his seemingly genuine desire to change the political tone in this country. Granted, this could just be the marketing talking, but I’d like to believe that someone has the ability to actually stand for something in the highest office in the country.

  That being said, he’s recently been saying some disparaging comments towards those of us who enjoy that newfangled device caled the “videogame”. Gamepolitics has an excellent article explaining how Obama has been using playing videogames as a metaphor for underachievement. Frankly I’m somewhat tired of people who ‘just don’t get it” (the minority of people in the country at the moment..) being seemingly concentrated in positions of power. Perhaps it’s an age thing, and this will become moot in fifteen to twenty years when our generation holds a majority of the seats in our government, but since we live in the “now”, I felt it was time to exercise a little citizenship participation. I went to Obamas website and posted this comment, in the inexplicably difficult to find feedback section. 

  “I came here with the desire to contact you about one thing, but immediately noticed something of a higher priority. The fact that you have this feedback page buried 3 layers in and relatively hard to find seems to be problematic for someone running to be the leader of a representative democracy. I’d get the feedback/comments page on the front page and make it at least look like feedback from your constituents is as important as raising money. (As it should be, although in reality probably isn’t. Don’t worry, I’m currently planning on voting for you, so this isn’t that kind of rant..)

  I wanted to give you some feedback on your position towards “Video Games” being a problem for our youth, and that people shouldn’t be wasting their time with them. Surely, you’re of a generation that should recognize that these types of devices (games, TV, etc) are allowed to become problems because of lax parenting, not because of their inherent problematic nature. If the majority of kids were actually as excited about reading books as they were playing games and watching TV, and spent all their time sitting on the couch reading, we (as parents) would still have to take the initiative to kick them off the couch and make sure their life has a good balance of activities.


  Please don’t venture too far down that well traveled path of ignorant politicians trying to villify videogames merely because they don’t understand why they’re the dominant form of entertainment in this day and age. If not, please take an equal measure of your time to disparage the nikelodeon, the record player, movies, the radio, television, walkmans/ipods, rock/rap music, the jitterbug, and Elvis Presly’s swaying hips for corrupting our youth; in the tradition of previous politicians looking for an easy cultual scapegoat.

  Perhaps if we focus more on the responsibility of parents to be more involved with their children it would solve the problems that come from this obvious disconnect. “

If you’re interested in giving Obama feedback, here’s a handy link to make your life easier. Also note that I haven’t mentioned the other candidates’ stance on video gaming simply because I don’t believe they’re going to be elected in November, but they have some pretty bad track records to date.

 (Update, here’s a great link I received from my friend Tom with some excellent factual information on the differences between the Democratic candidates using the cold, hard data of the bills that they’ve authored and how they’ve fared. I found it to be an excellent and well reasoned read. If you’re fence-sittong on Obama and Hillary, here’s a great source of data to compare the two.)