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A journal about...heck, I don't know, whatever I feel like writing about. Games and politics, I'm guessing.
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Jul. 12th, 2009 @ 03:21 pm More Fallout
Ending spoilers below.

I just finished the game (at least for the first time :))...while the ending was at least OK, I had one big issue.

During most of the game, you obtain passwords be acquiring an object with the password written on it. You might get this by killing someone, opening a safe, etc.

However, the end of the main quest involves activating a big gadget which has an activation code. In this scene you are just put in front of a keypad and have to start guessing.

To be fair, there are hints, which some might even call obvious. But since the entire game has been training you to expect a physical object with the password on it (an object which says "the password is: X", I didn't go into "figure out a puzzle" mode. I went into "WTF? Look it up on the internet" mode. When I did, I discovered the best part -- there are a couple of dialog paths which have you telling the code to someone else. If, in the final scene, I ask someone else to activate the gadget for me, I can tell them the code -- and the dialog option includes the code itself! Rather than figure out a puzzle, the game assumes I have figured it out.

Here is how it should have worked:

At the right point in the game, a side quest is spawned: "Figure out the Code". Your character has some way to try out the code (an option on the PIP Boy, another item, a console somewhere, etc.). Since it's a quest, maybe you can talk to a few people who might give you hints about how the code was created.

Once you enter the proper code, the quest is solved and the game knows that you have the code. If you enter dialogs involving the code before that, you can't tell anyone the code. If you have completed the quest, you can give away the code.

This would combine the dialog and puzzle solving objectives in a manner consistent with the game's engine and semantics.

I do get the feeling that the main quest was a bit forced.

Also, a color picture of clean water at the end would have been nice!
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Jul. 4th, 2009 @ 09:43 am Fallout 3
Current Mood: irritatedirritated
This is a good game, although I find the fantasy theme of Oblivion/Morrowind more interesting than the post-apocalypse. On the other hand, they did a much better job on the experience/level mechanics -- I don't feel like I am being punished for leveling up.

However, the part of the main story I just played through was really, really annoying.

(spoilers ahead)

I am talking about the section involving vault 112. (For non-players, the "vaults" are large bomb shelters built for long-term occupations -- your character in the game emerges from a thriving Vault society 200 years or so after the atomic war happened.) You are tasked with obtaining entry to the vault to help your father.

Since the Vaults are built to keep the occupants safe, I assumed that gaining entry to one would involve either trickery or large amounts of explosives. Instead, I just walked up to the door and activated the entry computer. Done! This was a bit of an anti-climax.

Inside the vault, I discovered everyone (including my father) sitting around in a set of VR pods. There was no information to be gained and no options other than to sit in the conveniently open pod and jack in. Sure enough, upon doing so you are trapped in a VR world and forced to play the controller's games in order to get out. This being precisely why I did not want to sit in the pod in the first place, it would have been nice to have some other way to get the information. It felt a bit forced.

In the VR world, you actually have two choices. One is the play the controller's games -- he wants you to mess with the other occupants (make a kid cry, break up a marriage, kill someone) for his amusement. Each of these things is considered an evil act (the game has a karma system). The other option is to activate a failsafe program which, the documentation indicates, will kill (in the real world) all of the VR occupants except for the controller (who will be alive but trapped alone in the VR). As I was one of the VR occupants at that point, this seemed like a sub-optimal choice. Imagine my surprise when I ran the program and found out that a) "all" really meant "all except me and my dad", and b) this is apparently considered a good act.


It almost makes me glad that I never got very far on the main storyline in Oblivion. :)

In other news, PixelJunk Monsters is goddamn hard.
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Mar. 9th, 2009 @ 07:48 am Cars
Current Mood: chipperchipper
The great Cars debate has brought me back to LiveJournal.

My thought after reading all the theories: what if the world of Cars is not an actual "humans don't exist" universe, but more of a secret world -- humans exist, but the Cars don't really pay attention? Think Toy Story but a few levels removed; the humans don't actually appear, the Cars don't spend time onscreen worrying about them, but they are there. Maybe most of those cars buzzing by on the highway have people in them.

Not really a provable idea by its nature, but it seemed like an interesting alternate take.

P.S. Watchmen had more male nudity than I think every other non-porn movie I've ever seen combined. It's weird that it seems so unnatural to see naked people of both genders onscreen.
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Nov. 5th, 2008 @ 07:49 am Tap, tap
Current Mood: psyched
Current Music: Happy Days are Here Again
For President Obama's agenda: Fix Microsoft.

Back in 2000, the Justice Dept. lawsuit was well underway. Microsoft was on the verge of being broken up or otherwise dealt with -- in the ideal world, if they had split out the Office applications into a separate company, we could have seen a common file format and actual competition 8 years ago.

Then, suddenly, the Justice Dept. was saying it didn't matter so much, and the measures against Microsoft were lessened to near meaninglessness. Oh well.

Now's the time to pick up this issue. Microsoft is still playing games with file formats (having recently bought themselves an ISO standard for their Office 2007 file format...a standard which no one can fully implement but Microsoft). I'm sure Obama will have many other things to do, but please don't forget this one!
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Feb. 18th, 2008 @ 09:34 am teh Winnar!
So, it looks like Blu-Ray has won the format war. That means a lot more PS3's (by far the best Blu-Ray player, especially since they are still finishing the Blu-Ray spec and the PS3 is easily updated -- and it plays games I hear!) will be sold.

I may be helping out on that trend. :)

Sony has launched and lost so many format wars (BetaMax, Mini-disc, the PSP video format) that it's weird to think of them winning one. I guess we'll finally get to see what their master plan is...
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Feb. 3rd, 2008 @ 09:56 pm Superbowl
Current Mood: maudlin
Watching the Superbowl, which is almost over right now.

Obviously I would be happy if the Patriots won...but it's more because I want to see the achievement of a perfect season reached, and less because I am rooting for New England. If it were some other team, I'd feel the same way.

Of course, if it were baseball I would NOT feel the same way about the Yankees. :)
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Jan. 8th, 2008 @ 10:33 pm Resolution!
Current Mood: chipperchipper
Must post!

I got the new edition of Blade Runner...while it was good (I like the movie!), it did not seem tremendously different. (I'm guessing the effect changes mostly just made the movie's age less noticeable.) The chief differences I noticed were: Deckard's eyes stay open during his unicorn memory, and..."I want more life.../father/." The original swear word just seems better there somehow.

I also have to admit that director's vision or no, I kinda like the voiceover. Maybe it dumbs down the movie, but it also adds an interesting perspective. Oh well -- good thing the...

[Wow, I just closed this page by accident and it saved my draft! Sweet!]

...good thing the ultra-super-edition has that version too. :)

The Orange Box continues to entertain, mostly via Team Fortress 2 right now.
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Jan. 1st, 2008 @ 08:52 am Happy New Year!
Current Mood: awake
Current Music: Yeeeeoooowwww!!!!!!!
New Year's resolution: post more here. :)

One new Tivo later, problems are solved. Going without Tivo was...difficult, especially since it meant no Hi-Def TV! I have been watching a lot more of two shows: football (which looks really good, and by the way the Patriots are doing well :)), and CSI: Miami. How can you not like David Caruso?
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Oct. 27th, 2007 @ 03:04 pm Bad news and good news
Current Mood: divided
Current Music: GlaDOS, Still Alive
My Tivo is dying...locking up, slow menus, reboots. For those keeping score, this is the second Tivo death in 12 months (to be fair, the last one was several years old; this one is less than a year old). Tivo has good support reps, but it takes 20 minutes on hold to get to one (and sometimes 20 minutes times two, if you need to be transferred). Plus since Tivo doesn't let you make backups, I need to watch all the shows on there before sending it back. Next DVR may well be open-source...

Good news: Portal. It's a very brief game, but the writing and ending are exceptional. If you own an appropriate system, go get it!
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Sep. 16th, 2007 @ 10:02 pm Oh Shit
I joked about this before he was diagnosed with a fatal disease...now it has happened...

(UPDATE: Slashdot comment: "In the spirit of the man, friends and family of the deceased have requested that his eulogy be tedious and poorly written.")
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