Episodic Gaming & Two week countdown

Anyone heard of this new game coming out called American McGee’s Grimm? It’ll be on Gametap next week sometime. Anyways, it looks fairly interesting. One episode released per week, you roam around turning a happy fairy tale into a dark depressing one, Katamari-style. That’s my sort of game, short, fun, sweet. Like Sam & Max. Now there is a quality game.

And now I’m two weeks away from my last day here. I’m really excited to go back to school, don’t get me wrong. This year will be awesome. But…this summer has given me a really unique experience. Besides the internship and the job and all that, I’ve gotten to taste what life as an actual adult is like. Living completely on my own, fending for myself, etc. I gotta tell you, it’s rough. Besides having to learn to cook something other than pasta, living alone can drive a person crazy. You gotta make friends fast, because a weekend by yourself is just maddening and depressing at the same time. By Fridays I’m usually grateful to get some rest, but at the same time, I dread not knowing if anyone will be around. It’s rough. On the other hand, having no one to answer to but myself is awesome. The only responsibilities I have are to take care of myself, and that’s really an exciting thing. It’s a cool balance.

That reminds me. Two weeks means I need to schedule Comcast to come out and pick up my cable boxes before I go. I really hope they can come out as late as possible, because being in my apartment without internet or TV might make me go nuts. Moreso. (Also, look Jackie! I mentioned Comcast!)

Oh, and I realized I don’t actually know what classes I’m taking when I get back. I should probably look that up at some point. And I really want my OL group already. No nervousness this year. I succeeded beyond the call of duty last year, and now it’s easy to duplicate that. I hope.

What to do about the Mole?

I’ve always loved the Mole. Instead of embracing the stupidity that is reality TV, this show actually requires you to think, and lets everyone at home play along as well. It’s always been a favorite of mine, though I do miss Anderson Cooper dearly. So why is this season not as much fun?

Well, the simple answer is that everyone’s figured out the right way to play the game. Sabotage a mission, and everyone thinks you’re the Mole. Then they all fail the quiz and lose. Simple enough. The problem is, when everyone does that, they end up with no money. And so now the strategy has changed. It used to be “win the most money, figure out who isn’t doing that.” and now it’s “Throw everyone off the right trail”. This, in the end, means you won’t make as much money as they used to, but it’s now a Prisoner’s Dilemma. If everyone were to agree to make the most money together, they’d be awesome. But there’s a huge incentive for someone to sabotage it, so that everyone will vote for them on the quiz.

I’m not sure I like the new direction of the show, but it’s really nothing a producer can control…once people figure out the optimal strategy, players are going to run with it as far as they can.

My current thoughts on the Final Four:

Craig – If he’s the Mole, the producers must have been freaking out when he had to go to the hospital. What would’ve happened if he couldn’t come back? Show’s over! Not that this changes anything. Just an interesting thought. He could be, but it seems too easy of a choice. His natural inability to do anything physical caused a lot of money to be lost, but is that because he’s the Mole, or because he simply can’t keep up?

Nicole – She better not be the Mole. That’s all I’m going to say. It was a woman Mole way too many times, we need a guy to do it.

Mark – I really hope he is the Mole. He’s my pick, I suppose, but the only thing that’s holding me back is that I can’t find any evidence of sabotage. Can anyone name a game he took part in losing? And I’m not counting their “We’re not going to play this one game” revolution. That was everyone’s fault.

Paul – I would love for Paul to be the Mole. He’s all talk, he’s very strong in his personality, and I don’t think anyone’s ever thought it was his fault a game didn’t go right. But his explosive personality might not have been the best choice for Mole.

Oh, and for those interested, I was pouring over Clay’s math after last night’s show, to figure out what the hell he was talking about. I got it. Clay said “1947-1492. Add 8 to 1492 to make it 1500, subtract that to get 447, then subtract 8 out of it, 439.” That seems to make sense, but then you look at the problem again and see 1947-1492 clearly ends in a 5. So what happened? Well, when he added 8 to 1492, that was actually subtracting an extra 8 from the problem (subtracting 1500 instead of 1492). So in the end, he should have added 8 back in, not subtracted, giving you 455, the correct answer. God that was driving me nuts.

Monster’s Inc Ride?

Found this post today. I sincerely hope it’s true. With the opening of Pixar Place at MGM (well, it’s not called MGM anymore but I refuse to call it “Disney’s Hollywood Studios” because that’s just dumb), all they have is one ride that just opened: Toy Story Mania. While I’ve heard it’s awesome, it’s obviously just one ride. So they’re going to be building a Monster’s Inc inverted roller coaster based off the awesome door chase scene at the end of the movie, set to open in 2011. The line will take you through the lobby of Monsters Inc, complete with interactive scream/laugh canisters that measure your lung power.

Also, if the rumors are true, they’ll be updating the Honey I Shrunk The Kids playground to fit in with A Bug’s Life, and there might be a Cars attraction as well. Just when I thought I’d be done visiting Disney for a while after this year…I guess I’ll have to find an excuse to go back in two. AWESOME.

Failure to Addict

I have a problem sticking to a video game. It can be the greatest game in the world, but if I don’t play it all in one or two sittings, I probably won’t pick it up again, or if I do, I’ll start over from scratch. Why is this?

Firstly, I love starting over. Playing the beginning of games is really exciting for me, and for some strange reason I love tutorials. I don’t know. I guess I just like learning, even if I already learned the stuff. It’s weird.

Secondly, I need a constant sense of accomplishment. I need little things along the way that push me to keep going. Achievements in Xbox games REALLY help with this, especially for the games that give you one for each mission you complete. Those games keep me going, at least until I get stuck. Then I’m done.

So, I enjoy sticking to short games. I’ve played Portal through at least four times now. It’s always fun, always challenging, and the writing is still funny. It’s a shame the sequel they just announced won’t have any new story, just new puzzles. Yeah, we enjoy the puzzles, but it’s the writing that made it what it was, I think.

There is a rare exception to this rule. I’ve stuck with almost all of the newest Nintendo first-party games. I know I went through my rant the other day, but I don’t have any Zelda game I haven’t beaten, I’ve completed all the Paper Mario series, Super Mario 64 and Galaxy, as well as the Wii’s Metroid. Why? On the one hand, it’s because I love those characters. But on the other, it’s because those also have those small sense of accomplishment. Every few stars you earn in Galaxy, you unlock something new. Zelda, you’re playing in order to keep exploring new places and unlock new areas, and try out new weapons. Metroid…well, it was just cool to play with an aiming device.

So, in short, I need to stop my gaming ADD. I need to pick up a good game, and play it. Maybe someday it’ll extend to my MMO habits, and I’ll actually be able to bring a character up to the maximum level. Haha, dream on.

E3 Wrapup (sorta)

I’ve finally had to come face-to-face with the fact that Nintendo doesn’t love me anymore. Ever since my very first video game console (a Game Boy), I’ve stood by them through everything. People said the Gamecube was terrible, I bought it anyway. Their first-party games have always been the best, and I’ve loyally remained a customer even as they changed their focus towards including everyone in games with the Wii. It didn’t bother me, because I don’t consider myself a hardcore gamer. I’m pretty bad at video games in general, so I felt like the Wii was a chance to play games and have fun. And it worked. For the first time, I beat a Metroid game, I beat a Zelda game without looking up a walkthrough. It’s always fun to play Wii Sports against my friends, and no one ever gets tired of punching someone in the face with a Wiimote.

But their presentation at E3 this week finally struck a nerve. They weren’t there to talk to me. They were there to talk to their new audience. Games like Animal Crossing, Wii Sports Resort, and Wii Music were all moving towards “not games”, and there was nothing there to appease me. This is the first time I actually feel like a different system.

I want my 360 back, so I can play real games. I see nothing in the future of Nintendo for me, and that is really disappointing to me. Sure, when some new first-party game comes out for the Wii, I’ll be the first to grab it, but unless they can manage to wow me with a new generation of consoles, I think I might finally make a complete switch to a different company. I’ve always been curious about Playstation, maybe this is my chance to get one and see what all the fuss is about.