Classic Dishes...

Maybe You Should Have Stuck With Blanka

From our “PWNED” file:

“I named him ‘Willy’…”

Electronic Arts announced today that there have been 100 million creatures created in Spore.

I am setting the over / under for “creatures that resemble male reproductive organs” at 4,000,000. PRACE BETS NOW

Apocalypse, Now

In the last 24 hours, Jack Thompson was permanently disbarred, Jammie Thomas was granted a mistrial in the only file-sharing lawsuit the RIAA had actually won, and Slashdot users slammed Apple and were sympathetic towards Microsoft.

Now, if you will pardon me, there’s a monkey making a mess out in the hallways of my office. And since it flew out of my ass, I suppose it’s on me to go round it up…

This Is Not A Lie

From the Coolest Thing I’ve Seen All Day files: “Still Alive”, the song from the end credits of Portal, done as a typographical video:

Whatever they have Jonathan Coulton do for Portal II (and really, if Valve doesn’t have JoCo write another end-credits song for Ellen McLain to sing at the end of Portal II, they should get out of the games business immediately), they could do a whole lot worse than to present it as something like this.

You Stay Classy, San Diego

I picked up Rock Band 2 today. We “B” Toyz had two copies left when I called them, and I hurried down and got one. Yay!

I came home this evening after a great day out with some friends, dropped it into Ye Olde Xboxe, and set about starting a tour. One of the nice things about RB2 is that there is no longer a differentiation between “solo tours” and “band tours.” It all seems to be lumped into one single game mode. I approve of this.

And this means my band needs a name. Awesome. The band name I used in RB1 was “Distinct Kicking Motion,” after a phrase used no less than eight times in the NHL Rulebook to describe one of the criteria for disallowing a goal, a rule change the NHL instituted in 1996, presumably to increase scoring, since that seems to be the intent behind most rule changes in sports. (Before then, if the puck went in off of a teammate’s skate, the goal didn’t count. Period.)

So. Tap-tappity-tap (or, in this case, a fair amount of tedious cursoring around with the D-pad on the guitar, since that’s where I was logged in and so couldn’t use my Chatpad), and I hit Start to lock it in. And I get this:

“Your intended band name is not what most would describe as “classy.” You can continue to use this name locally, but it will not be visible on Xbox LIVE unless you change it in the Band Profile.”

The hell?

I just went back and experimented for a moment (because I wanted to get the exact wording of the admonishment above), and I isolated the issue: “Kicking Motion”? No go. “Distinct Motion”? Nuh-uh. “Distinct Kicking”? Totally fine.

The word “motion” apparently triggers the RB2 obscenity filters.

Again, I say: the hell?

I’ve got an e-mail in to Electronics Arts demanding an explanation as to how I developed this whore mouth all of a sudden. I’ll let The Four Of You know when I hear back.

So, first off, I would like to thank the religious right for their vigilance, watching over the English language for my own safety and bitching and moaning enough that censorship like this has become part of the national discussion, so that I am protected from filthy, disgusting words like “motion.” Well done!

And then, a message for all of those 12-year-old kids who think band names like “The Bung Felchers” and “Cöckgöbbler” are the pinnacle of hilarity, such that EA is pressured to add the filter in the first place: Fark every single one of you. Go back to Halo 3 and leave the rocking to responsible adults, huh?

Get A Room

This was seen at the San Diego Comic-Con:


The Tetris-geek in me was appalled that the green L-shape didn’t manage to scoot over one space to the left on the way down. Then I realized that it was just as well, as it would have just made the unholy union of the purple and blue pieces stand out that much more.

Hex Gets The Square

My handwriting sucks.

Always has. I’m pretty sure I would have wound up as a computer geek regardless, but the advent of word processing sure as hell facilitated the transformation, and to this day I write in cursive in exactly two places: when I’m signing my name, and when I write a check. (Yes, I still write checks. Don’t start.) When I’m writing down a note and not putting it on my Palm, I block-print, and even that isn’t exactly neat.

So I’m reading through some of my video game news blogs, and I come across information on a new Nintendo DS title called Doodle Hex. Here’s a quote from the Gamer’s Universe review:

First off, to cast a spell you’ll have to draw the requisite rune on the lower screen, as opposed to holding a button down till everything in front of you melts. Do so with precision and your magic will carry additional weight, but make a dog’s dinner of things and it’ll fizzle out like one of our horrible punch-lines.

Needless to say, I will not be playing Doodle Hex. I bet this is what Hell is like: a small, dingy room, a comfy chair, a table next to it with a DS sitting on it, and this is the only game available to play.

(Okay, this and Deal Or No Deal.)

Quone: To Quone Something

I play Scrabulous on Facebook. I’m far from the best Scrabble player in the universe, but it’s fun and the folks I play aren’t so much better than me that I don’t enjoy the game.

Anyhow, a friend starts up a new game with me yesterday, and I click the link to look at the game. My opening rack is:


If we’re using the Howard Dean wordlist, I’ve got a bingo.

Game Over

I’m in California this week, visiting my parents for a few days, then spending the latter part of the week in San Jose for the Sharks’ first two home games, before I fly back home on Sunday.

Well, today, because I haven’t had a good proper burrito in far too long, I went to one of my old haunts, Papa Chano’s, for lunch. (And, damn. You folks back in Seattle who always listen to me complain about Taco Del Mar are gonna get it with both barrels when I get home; I’d forgotten how good a Mission-style burrito is SUPPOSED to be. It was magical.)

After lunch, I went driving around town a little bit, partially because I needed to run my auto insurance card to Mom at work so she could photocopy it for some reason or another, and partially because I was interested in seeing how Monterey had changed in the three years since I’d been here. (And, really, the last trip home doesn’t count, either…I was sick as a dog and didn’t do much exploring.)

And I discovered that Edgewater Packing Company was no more.

Colloquially known simply as “The Carousel” because of the 1908 merry-go-round that was its centerpiece, I had first heard about Edgewater at the tender age of eight years old, when I was taken to watch a family friend play in a Little League game. An older friend spoke of this wondrous place that had this ginormous carousel, a huge video game arcade, and an ice cream parlor, all in one incredible building on Cannery Row. I was wide-eyed. This news was the closest I’d ever come to believing in a benevolent God. This was a place I HAD to go to.

And so I pestered my parents relentlessly to take me to this ethereal paradise, and finally, one weekend (it had to have been a weekend, as we went at night), my parents took me there. And it was EVERY bit as amazing as I had been told. I rode the merry-go-round, and ate ice cream, and played video games and air hockey and skee-ball, and we took home a giant box of caramel corn from the candy shop inside. There was a toy store upstairs, with a kid-sized entrance that looked like you were walking into the mouth of a lion. There was a MAGIC SHOP upstairs. It was the best thing EVER, and it was truly the start of my video gaming hobby.

Over the next, oh, 20 or so years, I would go back there. A lot. Almost every weekend through most of the rest of elementary and middle school, then later in high school, and even into college. I would be taken again by the folks, then I would ride my bike down there, then Mom would drop me off and I would have to remember to save back a dime to call for a ride home on the pay phone. Then, my friends got cars, and would drive us down there. Then _I_ got a car and would drive myself. Sometimes I would be there just to play games, sometimes I had business at the magic shop or the comic book shop inside (that pretty much covers middle school), but no matter how old I was, no matter where I was in life, I always had a reason to go to Edgewater.

Over the course of my life in Monterey, four arcades had come and gone; Electric Light Arcade, the game room at Weird Harold’s Sandwich Shoppe, and Time Out all had their little runs, but Edgewater Packing Company was first, and it was last.

And now it’s gone.

I did some digging to see if I could find out exactly when it closed up shop (Mom couldn’t remember), and I never was able to. I did find out that apparently some developer wants to turn the building into an IMAX theater. Which is all fine and good, but you can’t play Paperboy, or Cyberball, or Star Wars, or Tapper, or any of an entire GENERATION of pinball machines, at an IMAX theater.

Wikipedia has an article on That’s The Question, a game show on GSN that to date has aired exactly two episodes. It does not have one on Edgewater Packing Company.

And if you ever need proof that there ISN’T a benevolent God, there you have it.

Boardwalk With Four Houses: Priceless?

Before we start, here, let me state that I used to be a big Monopoly fan. A lot of my childhood memories focus around weekends sitting around the board with my friends, playing the game with MTV on in the background. (You know, back when MTV played music.) I even have a couple of books on Monopoly strategy. Eventually, though, I got turned on to European-style board games and realized that there was a whole world of decently-thought-out games that I was missing out on. So I don’t play Monopoly anymore.

That said, I offer this, from the Signs Of The Apocalypse Department: Monopoly is getting rid of the money.

Yep. In a special version of the game coming out soon, the $15,140 ($30,280 in the Deluxe Editions) in that classic paper money will be replaced with debit cards and a calculator doohickey that the Banker will use to perform all monetary transactions. Oh, and all of this is sponsored by your friends at Visa, who are Everywhere You Want To Be. (Page…two!)

Now, Monopoly isn’t a good game anyhow, but I don’t see this doing anything other than making it worse. Consider the following scenario: I land on the Reading Railroad, which is owned by Bob, and Bob owns a total of three railroads. In the classic game, here’s what happens:

  1. I hand Bob a $100 bill.

In this version, here’s what happens:

  1. I hand the Banker my debit card.
  2. Banker plugs my card into doohickey, deducts $100, returns card.
  3. Bob hands the Banker his debit card.
  4. Banker plugs Bob’s card into doohickey, adds $100, returns card.

Because Monopoly needs MORE bookkeeping. I know when I’m sitting around the table, I think to myself, “Ya know, I’m enjoying this utterly random, overly political, completely fiddly game, but there just isn’t enough tedium in the financial transactions! If only there were a way we could make an annoying process even more painful!”

On the upside, I suppose this could potentially have a hand in killing off the Free Parking jackpot