Archive for the ‘Linux’ Category

Duck Guardian One

Saturday, July 26th, 2008

Videlectrix is the fictitious video game company that’s referenced on the Homestar Runner web site. Their ‘thing’ is that they create video games in a fairly old style, kind of like Atari 2600 or old DOS-style games.

Like Duck Guardian One, for example. It plays a whole lot like Lemmings, only instead of Lemmings you have Ducks, and instead of assigning various jobs to the Lemmings, you shoot the ducks with various ‘Rays’ that have different effects, like turning them around or making them jump. Your goal is to get a sufficient amount of them to the safety of the ship on the right side of the screen with minimal casualties.

Duck Guardian

And that’s pretty much all for this game. Every few levels you get a new gun and the ducks move faster and have more crap to avoid. The game apparently has some kind of ending to it, but I got bored about nine waves in, once I got the freeze ray. After that, there was too much juggling ducks and rays for my taste. Not to mention that I kind of ran out of ducks and my game ended.

No big loss, though. I’m actually pretty confident that I’ve seen everything in this game that I care to. And if I ever change my mind about that, I know where this game lives, so I can blow a few minutes reminding myself of what I thought about it, which wasn’t much.

Unreal Tournament 2K3

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

I never really could decide which game I liked better out of Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament. It was kind of a false dilemma anyway, so I just kind of played them both… poorly.

A few years later, though, and we got a sequel to Unreal Tournament, which a lot of the folks in this area gravitated to, and Quake 3 just kind of fell to the wayside. It’s interesting to me, then, that Unreal Tournament 2K3 actually started to look a whole lot like Quake 3 had.

I actually ended up playing this game a lot less than I had the original Unreal Tournament game. Mostly because I didn’t actually get the game until several months had passed since its release. Then, once I did actually get it, I only played it LAN parties. In fact, I only bought the thing so that I’d have something to do at the LANs. Then, a few months after I finally capitulated and bought the game an incremental sequel with slight tweaks and a few additions was released, Unreal Tournament 2K4.

That was the last straw for me. I refuse to be caught in the ‘buy a new football game every year with updated rosters’ upgrade treadmill. Not only that, but a scant couple of months after I bought 2K3 all the folks at the LANs I went to abandoned it and went to the new darling of first-person shooters. So, not only did I not get into 2K4, I removed 2K3 and resolved to not play it any more if I had to keep upgrading every year.

Unreal Tournament

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

At about the same time that Quake III came out, it was directly competing with another game with roughly the same premise: Unreal Tournament. It came from the Unreal series of games that I never did play, but instead of focusing on some kind of single-player story, this installment was all about the multi-player deathmatch.

In fact, this game is a lot like Quake III. The main differences are that the characters look less ‘chunky’, the selection of weapons is different, and the physics are a little different. Superfans of each game might tell you that there’s more differences than that between them, and they’d be right, but the other differences aren’t really anything you’ll probably care about unless you’re one of those superfans, so they’re really not worth mentioning here.

What I found that was kind of weird was that the people in my area that liked First-Person-Shooter type games would divide themselves into two camps, the UT crowd and the Q3 crowd. I’d go to one LAN party (Pr0ject-X) and Quake III would be the game everyone would be playing, then I’d go to another (AsylumLAN), and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who wasn’t playing Unreal Tournament. Well, either that or Counter-Strike, which was kind of popular no matter where I went.

But I never really saw the point of being a rabid fan of either game. I liked them both. They were each different enough that I could enjoy each of them in their own way. Which was actually pretty nice since one or the other seemed to rule the roost at the various LAN party events that I would go to.

And even though I played a fair bit of both games, my aim never really appreciably improved. I don’t really know why, but I suspect that, while I played each game for several dozen hours each, had I played each one for several hundred hours, I would have noticed some improvement. But I just didn’t have it in me to invest an amount of time that would qualify as a full-time job to get better at some game, when I had piles of other games sitting around waiting for me to play them.

Quake III Arena

Friday, April 4th, 2008

Quake II was pretty fun, but I only really played the multiplayer portion, and I know I’m not alone in that. And when the next game in the series finally rolled around it was nothing but multiplayer deathmatch stuff, which I always thought was kind of odd.

Quake III is a game where you go around shooting stuff. It’s apparently the far-flung future, so there are humans, aliens, cyborgs, that kind of thing, all trying to kill each other faster, better, and more efficiently than everyone else. It’s something that I had only experienced as the multiplayer facet of a full game. It was just kind of weird to play it as the focus for a change, and I’m not really sure I liked it better.

I ended up playing this game quite a bit, but never really got very good at it. I just don’t really have the aim for it, or the patience to play the game enough to build up the aim to be very good at it. So why do I continue to play games like this? Mostly because my friends did, and that’s what all the cool kids did at the LAN parties I went to. And if I didn’t play them, there wouldn’t be much to do at the local LAN parties.

SimCity 3000 Unlimited

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

I only really played the original SimCity game on the Super NES and really liked it. But I kind of forgot about the series for a while until I found a copy on clearance at a local game shop and simultaneously remembered that I actually owned a computer.

Apparently I missed a bit in the interim.

It’s still city building, with the same Residential, Commercial, and Industrial zoning. The same making sure that your little Sims have power, building and maintaining roads, taking care of police and fire coverage, that kind of thing. But you also have to worry about building landfills, making sure your Sims get water, and making deals with your neighbors. It’s actually quite a bit to keep track of.

It turns out that I make a really bad mayor of a town. Especially when I have to be the one actually building the plumbing network, the power grid, the transportation infrastructure, manage taxes, and about a hundred other things. Oh, but I have advisors! Advisors who sit around and tell me how wrong I am instead of actually doing anything constructive.

Despite all of that I still played this game a lot. It’s mostly because it’s just about the only game that my laptop that I had at the time would run. So it was either this game or Eric’s Ultimate Solitaire.

Eric’s Ultimate Solitaire

Friday, July 20th, 2007

Keeping it short and sweet for today, I’d like to tell you about Eric’s Ultimate Solitaire. This is a collection of Solitaire games for your computer that will help waste great gobs of time. I know what you’re thinking, “I already have Solitaire on my computer.” Which is likely true. The problem is, it’s more than likely Klondike Solitaire. Klondike is probably the most well-known variation, but even with skilled play is very difficult to win. Heck, you can lose even if you make no mistakes. While Eric’s includes Klondike for completeness, it has around 20 more versions, with varying degrees of complexity and difficulty.

Of course, you could just buy a copy of Hoyle’s and a deck of cards for far cheaper than this game, but it has a few niceties that the deck doesn’t have. The game can be set to ‘auto play’. While it won’t play the game through by itself, the game can take the obvious moves and do them all for you. e.g. putting the next dozen or so cards on the aces on the top of the screen. Clicking on a card will show you all legal moves you can do, the legal moves will change color. By clicking on the wolf claw you can cheat (okay, you can cheat with real cards, too). And, perhaps most noteworthy, there is a silly cartoon wolf with a silly cartoon voice that talks to you through the game, offering encouragement, asking questions, and the like.

Try to get that out of a real deck of cards and a real wolf.

Heroes of Might and Magic III: The Restoration of Erathia

Wednesday, July 18th, 2007

I had always heard good things about the Might and Magic series, but somehow managed to miss all of the games in the series until the third installment. I picked it up for a song (and a smart little dance) and jumped right in.

The Might and Magic games have a ridiculous amount of lore to go along with them. Hit this link if you want to know the particulars, but to sum up: there’s a war, you need to raise an army and win.

There are a few features in this game that I would find out are hallmarks of the series.

Cities. Cities are hubs of activities. It is in the cities where most of the ’strategeries’ take place. You build training grounds to train and recruit units for your armies, trade resources, hire heroes, generate revenue, just about all of the micromanagement tasks you’d want to do. You’ll spend a great deal of time here, mostly building the buildings and recruiting/training allies.

So you raise up your army, but you need to have someone to lead it. Armies don’t lead themselves, after all. So you recruit a hero to lead your forces. Heroes are really only as strong as the armies they lead, so you give your hero some units and begin marauding across the countryside. In your travels you’ll come across enemy heroes and opposing random enemies. Taking them on will invoke the third hallmark, the battles.

Battling in this game takes place on a grid of hexagons. Each group of units is represented as a single creature with a number representing how many creatures it is. Colloquially known as a ’stack’. Heroes are stationed on the sidelines where they direct the battle and assist with special abilities. It’s up to you to use your hero’s cunning by proxy to outmaneuver and outwit your opponent to win.

Having said all of that, this game is hard. I played this game a few dozen times and was never able to finish the first mission, which is a little annoying since the mission can take upwards of several hours to complete. So I don’t actually know how good the game gets later.