The Adventures of Shorty, the Tiger-Camel

A few years back i set out on a journey around the city, a trip I did not trek solo. With me was a small plush animal… who I had nicknamed Shorty, the tiger-camel because of his appearance. Well turns out he had big plans…

“As far back as he could recall he had always wanted to see the world, he grew tired of just sitting atop Spacers monitor. As Spacer sat down one day at his computer, he heard a tiny voice calling out to him, “Spacer, please… help me accomplish my dreams! Help me see the World!”

Being both shocked that he was talking to a stuffed animal and moved at the sincerity and boldness of Shorty’s words, spacer agreed… and thus, the Adventures of Shorty the Tiger-Camel was born!”

So we set out together… you know what, here you can see for yourself.

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But remember, he waned to see it all… the world!

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So there ya go… it all ended as well as I could have hoped for… honestly I don’t know how he survived all that travel, do they let stuffed animals on airplanes flying alone? Oh well that neither here nor there. I think we can all learn a lot from Shorty, the Tigerl-Camel.

…oh, he also likes to party, him on new years:

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Firewatch: Hiking Simulator

A new and rising trend recently within PC gaming is the walking simulator genre, or games that are mostly story based an doesn’t involve much else but moving your character through the game world. Examples of these would be the acclaimed Gone Home or That Dragon, Cancer- both heavily grounded with a strong story. There has been some debate on whether or not these even qualify to be called games, but I believe they are as a video game is basically any type of entertainment that you can control and can make things happen within the game world. I believe when these particular games involve an intriguing story which fully immerse the player into the world they can become some of the very best examples of not only video games, but video games as art.

firewatch02Earlier this week a new entrant into this category of games was released to some mild fan fare and favorable critic ratings; Firewatch. A man, Henry, who has recently gone through some tough times with his wife who has developed early onset dementia takes a summer job at a Wyoming Park as a wild fire lookout. The game begins having you choose your way through a bit of dialogue that lets you connect with Henry on a personal level, then you are getting out of your pick up truck in a parking lot and you walk into the forest, your home for the next seventy odd days. This is where Firewatch really shines, it’s beautiful and sometimes breathtaking scenery of the park. While not ground breaking, the graphics work- it is a absolute joy to wonder around and discover the forest. I found myself taking screenshot after screenshot, and one of my huge gripes with the game is that there is not in game screenshot system. A game like this should have a bound key that takes a screenshot without the reticule and saves them to a folder in the game directory, but that is not the case. At one point in the game you find a disposable camera which you can use to take pictures and it is awesome, but again the game does not output those pictures to the game directory; however, you put in your email at the end of the game and it will mail you a link to the game website that has all the photos you took.

firewatch03Without getting too spoiler heavy I will say that the overall story of the game is quite intriguing, right up until it isn’t. I was sorely disappointed and underwhelmed when the plot finally came together and the ending mad me pretty upset. One of my other issues is the lack of any real choice in the story or ways to impact it in any way, though the dialogue is well written and the voice acting is quite good. The game is short, the main story being completed in about 4 hours, not withstanding any time you spend just walking around and exploring while not furthering the story. I would have to say it is a good game and edition to the walking simulator genre, well worth playing for the graphics and calming quality of hiking through a beautiful forest snapping some screen shots and using the cool in game camera, but the story really falls short and leaves me wanting so much more. (6/10)

Valiant Hearts: A Great Game

The first free game for the month of October on Xbox Live Gold is: Valiant Hearts: The Great War, a story intense action puzzler based in the trenches of World War I. You take control of a cast of characters whose stories weave in and out of one an others as you guide them through the ups and downs of life during the war. The game play is reminiscent of old school puzzle games like Monkey Island and the like, but much more action orientated. It can also be quite challenging as you must memorize certain sequences to get past sections and sometimes the answer to puzzling portions can be staring you right in the face and still be unclear, tho all very solvable. Graphically the game is beautiful, the art style is a perfect balance to the deep sometimes very dark emotional overtones that make up the story. The sound design is spot on as well. I was able to play through it on normal difficulty and reach the end credits in a very enjoyable six hours or so.

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I really enjoy this sort of take on a game about a war, where its not just you running around with a gun shooting everybody you come across into a faint red mist. Your actions have very real consequences. The game has achievements and some 100 items for collection that you find all through the game along with historical facts and letters from each of the characters written to one an other. I was very surprised by this one and recommend that you go download and play it immediately, after all it is free with your Gold membership! Enjoy.

Logitech G600 MMO Mouse Review

For the past few months I have been using a new mouse from Logitech, the G600 which is designed specifically for use with massively multiplayer online games, though not exclusive to such. Previous to the G600 I had been using the same mouse for the past eight or so odd years, Logitech’s MX-518 gaming mouse. It served me well and still works as well as it did the day I un-boxed it and put it to use in Team Fortress 2, but recently I have been playing MMO’s like World of Warcraft and Guild Wars 2 which promoted my search for a mouse that could help me manage all of the actions that those games require.

Logitech G600Probably the most iconic MMO styled mouse is the Razer Naga which was the first mouse to feature twelve buttons on its thumb side; however, I did quite a lot of research and the reviews are a mixed bag when it comes to not only the Naga, but the overall quality of Razer products. Now that’s not to say that most people who use the Naga swear by it and love it, but as someone who has never been let down by Logitech and was currently still using one of their mice that had lasted me for so many years, I just couldn’t rationalize jumping ship to buy a Razer product. Add to it the fact that Logitech now makes their own Naga styled MMO mouse, and the choice wasn’t a choice at all.

The G600 is quite amazing and has some features that out class the Naga like the G-Shift third mouse button that when held down will double the functions of the twelve thumb buttons, enabling you to bind up to 24 actions onto them. The buttons (they are buttons btw, not mechanical keys like the Naga has, more on that below) are divided up into two groups of six and each button is formed a bit differently to give them each a unique feel so finding the one you want to push is relatively easy. The twelve buttons are back lit by RGB LED’s, and you can set them to any color of the rainbow and with different lighting effects. The G600 is of solid build quality and it fits wonderfully into the palm of my hand, but I will admit it does take some getting use to as it is much wider than a normal mouse like he one I had previous. It has a tilting scroll wheel which also middle clicks, and two other buttons right behind the wheel which can be programmed (default they change the mouse profile, and open your inventory in most MMO) within the Logitech gaming software control panel which is a great piece of software. It also boasts a whopping 8200DPI laser sensor which is overkill for most games and windows use but it is a pretty standard DPI nowadays.

The pricing on Logitech’s website sits at $79.99, I personally found mine on sale from Amazon and paid just shy of $45 after taxes, it comes in both black and white with black trim. I am completely satisfied with that price, and probably would pay the asking price if need be as I believe in Logitech’s quality and customer service if any trouble were to arise.

G600 vs NagaI do have some complaints, a few things that I think they can easily improve upon with future versions of this mouse. Firstly the twelve thumb buttons; I think that they would function much better if they were indeed mechanical keys. They can be pretty stiff to depress and they do lack a responsiveness that mechanical function would greatly improve upon. Secondly I do wish that they would have added more LED’s to the G600– like the Naga has on the scroll wheel and around the base. Overall I am quite satisfied. The buttons take over the roll of keyboard keys that are hard to reach and help me avoid miss keying actions in my favorite MMO’s as well as adding extra buttons for numerous other games to utilize (I still play Team Fortress and other FPS’s, the extra buttons are great for reloading, grenades, callouts, etc) and even windows actions can be bound!

Because, the Internet….

As if one would need a better reason than that, amiright?

You do? Really… interesting. Then how about the return of Mary Mark and the Funky Bunch, yep I would not lie about this- how could I make up something so ridiculous? That’s right, performing for one night only to a sold out audience, straight from the mean streets of Boston and fresh off his hit TV reality show….. nah, nope. Nopeeeee.

Uhm…dunno whats going to go here next, if anything… but check back maybe– just don’t call me (maybe).