PC Games

Brettspielwelt! QuakeLive! A borrowed PS3! Our first dice game in a long time! Our summary of the games played in 2011.


JOURNAL: Local Woman Applauds Husband’s Progress In Dwarf Fortress

John The Canadien’s blogpost about our long Friday hangout, which includes taco bell anecdotes, reviews of a shitload of cartoons we watched (6 hours), music, and spiel about Dwarf Fortress.

A little bit of everything!

LINK URL: http://igottarambleon.com/2012/03/21/local-woman-applauds-husbands-progress-in-dwarf-fortress

TAGS: personal, journal, hangingOut, JohnTheCanadien, MarkI, Clint, Carolyn, cartoons, reviews, AdultSwim, Fox, Bob’sBurgers, FamilyGuy, TheClevelandShow, Queen, AmericanDad, SouthPark, Unspervised, TheSimpsons, Simpsons, DwafFortress

I seem to have invented a new kind of trolling. It’s called winning.

Dominion is won by whoever has the most victory points (estates, duchys, provinces, and colonies) when the game ends. The game ends when either all the colonies or provinces are gone, or when 3 different cards in the game are completely gone.

Board Game Meetup 6 year anniversary cake

Dominion Province card cake


So yea. This guy got mad at me for buying the provinces so quickly, and also mad at me for buying 3 different cards out while I was ahead and winning. It wasn’t til the 3rd game that we had a full, long game. He beat me by 1 point because I lost track and ended the game a turn too early. But it was funny — he still got all mad at me for winning! Here’s the log: (more…)

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] [Wikipedia link]

PLOT SUMMARY: A slacker musician must destroy the 7 Exes of the Girl Of His Dreams in order to win her heart.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Loser woos fickle slut by becoming insane serial killer.

PEOPLE: Where do I start? Soooo many people in this movie. A ridiculous number of characters! Band mates, roommates, 10 exes…

Directed by Edgar Wright (Shaun Of The Dead, Spaced, Hot Fuzz), who co-wrote it with Michael Bacall (who is actually a minor actor, in Inglourious Basterds and Free Willy).

Scott Pilgrim is played by Michael Cera (George Michael Jr. from Arrested Development), who, while being kind of annoying and making you want to punch him, is somewhat appropriate for the role. Still… He seemingly just plays his George Michael character from Arrested Development in every movie. He’s like a one-trick pony. It maybe could have been better with someone else, but he was the right person for doing this now. His love interest is played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Grindhouse:Death Proof, The Thing 2011, Final Destination 3, The Ring 2). His gay roommate is played by McCaulay Culkin’s brother Kieran (Home Alone, She’s All That, The Cider House Rules, godawful Music Of The Heart that I was forced to watch on my honeymoon Vegas plane trip, and of course 1 ep of Frasier). His bandmates are played by Mark Webber (Whiteboyz) and Johnny Simmons (Jennifer’s Body, Evan Almighty). His sister is played by Anna Kendrick (Jessica Stanley from the Twilight movies).

The League Of Evil Exes are played by: Satya Bhabha, Chris Evans (The Human Torch from Fantastic Four, Nick Gant from Push, Mace from Sunshine, Not Another Teen Movie), Brandon Routh (Superman in Superman Returns, Zack & Miri), [highlight for spoilers] Mae Whitmin (homely “Ann” from Arrested Development is now a lovely, legal-aged blonde lipstick lesbian), Japanese musician twins Shota and Keita Saito, and Jason Schwartzman [as Gideon] (Ash from Fantastic Mr. Fox, Funny People, Ringo Starr from Walk Hard:The Dewey Cox Story, I Heart Huckabees, Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, Spun, Slackers).

Scott Pilgrim’s exes include Kim Pine, Scott’s drummer, played by Alison Pill (Dan In Real Life); Brie Larson as Envy (bit part in 13 Going On 30, United States Of Tara), and [highlight for spoilers] Ellen Wong.

Aubrey Plaza (Parks & Recreation, Funny People) reminds me of Dildo Valerie in this movie.

A pair of cameos: Clifton Collins Jr. (“I need you like my elbow needs an asshole” from Rules Of Attraction, Tack from The Stoned Age, which was originally going to be called “Tack’s Chicks”, Crank 2, Extract, Star Trek 2009, Traffic, Boondock Saints 2) and Thomas Jane (Thin Red Line, Boogie Nights, Buffy The Vampire Slayer the movie, Magnolia).

Oh, and kinda funny – the little girl drummer from the other band is Abigail Chu, who played young Dren in the movie Splice. WTF!

And Bill Hader (Year One, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, Adventureland, Tropic Thunder, Pineapple Express, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The Brothers Solomon, Superbad, Knocked Up) narrates.

HAIKU REVIEW: Seven ex-lovers —
Much like seven syllables —
are hard to manage.

QUIRKS: Based on a comic book, which is itself based on a song by Plumtree.

The director said it was done in the style of a musical, except instead of breaking into song, they break into fights. Videogame-esque fights of epic epicness.

Full of subtle and overt video game (Pac-Man, Mario Bros., Zelda, Sonic The Hedgehog, Street Fighter, Soul Calibur) and pop culture (Seinfeld, DuckTales, X-Men, Tank Girl, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, The Matrix) references.

Tons of trivia related to this movie.

Very purposefully mis-matched in pace. It starts out like an acid trip, and ends like a video game.

Very surreal.

VISUALS: Frenetic, video-game influenced visuals. Think Crank meets Code Monkeys (but live action, obviously). Great special effects. At first, it seems like they’re just adding visual english words for the sake of making it comicbooky, but by the end you realize this was just setting the pace for the later, more epic visuals.

SOUNDTRACK: I wasn’t particularly impressed, but I never am with made-for-the-movie music. It was passable for what it was. It worked. It could have been a lot worse. Sooo many soundtracks… I do like that rock beat electronica. Haaaaa!

MORALS: Any problem can be solved with enough violence. Even by Michael Cera.

GOOD STUFF: An epic of epic epicness! The tagline is kind of annoying if you haven’t seen the movie, but after seeing it, it really describes this well. Part comedy, part romance, part adventure, part action, part fantasy — this takes the best aspects of SO MANY EPIC GENRES and smushes them altogether into an amazing surreal fantasy-action-adventure-comedy-romance! It is said that this movie reverses your aging while you watch it. Chinese herbal medicine specialists are now conducting experiments to see if this movie has medicinal properties.

BAD STUFF: Variety says it is “an example of attention-deficit filmmaking at both its finest and its most frustrating” and that “anyone over 25 is likely to find director Edgar Wright’s adaptation of the cult graphic novel exhausting, like playing chaperone at a party full of oversexed college kids.” That sums things up well: If you’re a Watching Wuss, you might not be able to handle this. If you can hold your attention through something with crazy action, like Crank 1, Crank 2, or even The PowerPuff Girls Movie (which was quite good), then you can certainly handle this. This movie is more endearing than any of the ones I just mentioned. But yes, it might be too much for people. And people without a history of video games might not appreciate the references as much.

Personally, I had to think hard to find any flaw in this film. I did find two, but then realized one wasn’t even a flaw:

0) I didn’t like how Ramona Flowers [highlight for spoilers] “couldn’t control herself” [pff!] around Gideon. I think this means that she is somewhat not in mature control of her emotions and actions. This basically means that, even if they get married, she may just bump into a guy that she runs off with, since apparently certain people can make her not be able to control herself. It just makes her character less pure of heart, and thus less desirable, and thus a bit less perfect of a match than, say, The Princess Bride. But wait! Actually, she had a microchip implanted in the back of her head to control her mind. So really, this isn’t a flaw at all. It’s just another example of videogame surrealism.

1) I also had trouble with the beginning. At first I was like, “Oh no! This is some teen emo movie!” … It seemed too after-school share-your-feelings-y for a bit. But it was also paced like an acid trip during that part, so it took the edge off. It got SOOOO much better SOOO much faster. But still, it didn’t leap into perfection within the first 30 seconds like, say, Crank 1.

2) Hipster culture assimilating the geek culture it once made fun of. That much is always going to be annoying. At least we won in the end.

3) Was Michael Cera right? Maybe, maybe not.

These flaws are really minor to the experience of watching the movie.

CONCLUSION: OMFG this movie was awesome on so many levels!!!!!!!!!!!!! I may have to seriously consider this movie for my favorite movies watched in 2010!

Clint: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 9.7/10. Not quite a perfect 10 due to the beginning not *instantly* being awesome. But still a 10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 9/10.
TwoBeans: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 10/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 8.1/10, Netflix: 4.4/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 5.0/5 stars!! Can’t think of a time it was so definitive!!).

RECOMMENDATION: OMFG! THIS NEEDS TO BE SEEN! I recommend this as the feelgood fantasy-action-adventure of the year!

SIMILAR MOVIES: Look for Scott Pilgrim Vs. The Animation on AdultSwim! It aired in August of 2010, and was produced by Titmouse (Metalocalypse, MTV’s Downtown, Megas XLR, G.I. Joe:Resolute, Freaknik:The Musical). I’ll try embedding a YouTube version of this, but it will probably be pulled by the copylords:


Wallace Wells: If you want something bad, you have to fight for it. Step up your game, Scott. Break out the L-word.
Scott Pilgrim: Lesbian?
Wallace Wells: The other L-word.
Scott Pilgrim: …Lesbians?

Scott Pilgrim: I’m in lesbians with you.

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Everybody seemed to absolutely love this. Everybody. Everybody.

COINCIDENCES: (The Toxic Avenger 3, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World) 2 movies in the same year with a plot involving the main character having to go through multiple levels in a videogame like manner, complete with on-screen displays indicating their progress. 5 levels for Toxie, 7 levels for Scott Pilgrim.

Ohhh NetHack… One of the most important and influential (it inspired Diablo, and countless spin offs) PC games of all time. It is basically Dungeons & Dragons for the PC. Yet despite being so influential, it is itself a variant of Hack, which is a variant of Rogue. But it was the variant that kicked ass enough to stick around for over 20 years.

How I love you, NetHack. How I hate you, NetHack. The only PC game from the 1980s that I still occasionally play today, over 22 years later. The only game I ever played where every letter of the alphabet did something different — for both capital and lowercase. And then some.

blacklights are cool .. so is nethack 106-0629_IMG
plays Nethack in 2002 (VGA tile style).

The only game I ever opened the EXE file up with with a hex editor and manually paged through the entire binary, reading all the strings of game events, and realizing that I would never, ever experience everything the game had to offer. It was just too much.

You may change your appearance — from ASCII, to extended 8-bit ASCII, to VGA tiles, to isometric 3-D to proper 3-D renderings — but you are still the same Nethack. The same damned, frustratingly impossible-for-me-to-win Nethack.

ASCII Nethack.

Now, beyond the fact that NetHack is an incredibly complex that fills one with a sense of wonder, one has to also consider that this game came to its existence in the great information blackout known as “BEFORE THE INTERNET”.

Well, there was an internet back then, but the common man did not use it, or even have access to it. I began playing in 1987 or 1988, when the 600K binary file – smaller than a 1 megapixel camera image – took up 6% of the family’s 20-meg harddrive. There was NO INFORMATION back then. You heard things from TV (and they didn’t talk about computer games), word of mouth (nobody cared about computers back then), or BBSes. And BBSes were, of course, a wild west for information seekers. The internet is tame by comparison. You’d fight to get a tiny bit of information, then you’d hold onto it as tight as you can.

So Nethack was quite mysterious. There were no forums. There was no way to reach the internet. And calling local BBSes, one at a time, dealing with busy signals, leaving messages for the next caller — didn’t exactly yield a lot of info.

So it was this mysterious game. I never knew that you COULD win until the internet came along. I never really ran into other people who knew about it, or played. Not unless I talked to someone who was as similarly ahead of the tech curve as I was, and those people were few, far between, and had a wide array of interests. Even today, according to WikiPedia, “fans of NetHack consider an ascension without having read spoilers very prestigious; the achievement is so difficult that some question whether it has been or can be accomplished.”

Extended 8-bit ASCII Nethack.

When I finally got on the internet, I was the only human being I personally knew to use it until I went to Virginia Tech to study Computer Science. (And no, I wont say how. There weren’t ISPs back then, and I used a modem. People back then used programs to call WarDialers to call every phone number sequentially. I WarDialed for an hour a night some months.)

I looked hard for the “net” in nethack. I poured over newsgroups, but there still wasn’t much talk about the NET in it. I knew what networking was, and wanted to play a networked D&D game with someone. Obviously NetHack had to be multi-player — it has the word NET in it, for chrissakes!

VGA tile Nethack.

I eventually found out there were telnet servers that hosted NetHack. You could telnet to an address (this was way before the web was invented) and play Nethack there. I must have telnet’ed to every NetHack server on the planet. I was positive I would find another person in one of them. It had NET in the fucking name!

Early GL “barely 3-D” 3-D implementation. More like VGA tiles, but with fancier tiles.

Even once the web came around, I would, every few years, google around to see if anyone had perhaps developed a port that would let multiple people play at once. I’d think the game much more winnable if Carolyn could be at my side, instead of my cat. But still… IT NEVER EXISTS! NO MATTER HOW MUCH I WANT IT TO EXIST, IT NEVER WOULD!!!! GODDAMNIT I WANT TO PLAY!!!

3-D isometric Nethack (Vulture’s Eye). 3-D, but stuck at the same angle, causing things to be blocked from view, even though they wouldn’t be blocked from view in the original version.

Oh, if only I could go back, and tell young Clint, “This is Future Clint! Don’t look for the ‘net’ in NetHack! It’s a waste of your time!” Or if only I could go back and encourage some of the hardcore developers in the 1980s and 1990s to actually make a multi-player version of this!

Alas, I doubt this will ever happen. But at least Nethack continues to be played, even today. There’s Android and iPhone versions, but the Android has got to be better. Since every letter capital and lower does something different, it simply would be faster to play it with a real phone.

Anyway, that’s my sad childhood computer game fantasy story :) It was a FAIL.

“Proper” (rotatable, can see everything properly) 3-D Noegnut Nethack.

You can also read people’s Nethack experiences in the Nethack newsgroup, rec.games.roguelike.nethack — especially the official faq. Even today, people will post about seeing things they’ve never seen in the game. That’s just how awesome Nethack is!

Download NetHack at the official page.

For more pictures, check out the Nethack tag and Nethack photopool on Flickr, or do a Google Images search for Nethack.

Very large Nethack – “I said wallet sized, not wall-sized!”

Very small NethackiPhone.

Very small Nethack – Better phone implementation.

20101002 - too many NethacksToo many Nethacks!

Nethack humor.

Harder-to-read Nethack humor (click for larger image).

Nethack humor more people can understand than usual.

More humor.

For more pictures, check out the Nethack tag and Nethack photopool on Flickr, or do a Google Images search for Nethack.

  • WATER WARS: UN rejects access to water as basic human right — You have no right to live; you are a slave. “A hungry man is never free.” – Even truer for a thirsty man. They actually removed all references that recognized access to water as a human right from their resolution! Bottled water buyers have increased the potential profit so much that there are now likely corporate influences on global politics. The privatization of water has been one of the most important events to happen to us as a species in decades, is a much bigger deal than fighting over oil and energy, and is generally under-focused in the media. It’s only going to get worse. (tags: water rights UN)
  • Read on for more stories.. Lots more today———> (more…)

AudioSurf is great. Finally, a rhythm game that uses any song that you want! Free trial version, and it’s only $10 if you decide to buy it anyway. Of course it can be pirated, but you can’t be in the global (or local) high scores if you do that. Since it’s free to try, I’d check this out. You have to install Steam, a gaming service, to get this. That’s the only vendor. But again — it’s free to try. (more…)

http://www.acm.vt.edu/~clint/download/imagedump/police-brutality-thumbnail.jpgHandicapped woman (cerebral palsy) in wheelchair gets ticketed for not having a driver’s license, threatened w/future arrest. Utterly ridiculous. So if there are no sidewalks in town, would that imply that pedestrians walk in the street as well? So where are handicapped people supposed to go? Who else has to pay for a license just to walk/roll one mile to work? Would a bicyclist need a license?

http://www.acm.vt.edu/~clint/download/imagedump/apple2-and-disc-drive.jpgCOMPUTERS: “Eliza” programmer dead: Moment Of Silence: R.I.P. Joseph Weizenbaum.

The guy who made Eliza is dead? Maaaan. That sucks. I heard about this from Ryan’s blog. Before you could download on the internet… Before you could download from a BBS… before you could even connect to another machine… They would publish books full of printed programs. You would “download” them by driving them home, and then typing them in. As some computer science professors are fond of saying, “Never underestimate the bandwidth of a truckload of CDs driving down the highway.” Indeed, a few years ago there was a study, and it was found that Netflix alone transmits as much data as 25% of the entire internet. (Data has exploded since then, so this percentage is probably lower now.)

So — When I was 6-7, I spent pretty much a MONTH of what was possibly my summer vacation, spending hours each day typing up the Eliza program into my Apple2+ (48k memory). I wanted to chat, goddammit.
Then when I was done, for some reason I decided to type “NEW”, which cleared the program currently in memory. Then saved my work over the filename I’d been saving to. So, I saved an empty program over my one month’s typing.

Suffice to say, that was probably the first time technology broke my spirit (I think socially it was already broken by then).

I did download Eliza later, and remember it well.

And don’t forget Dr. Sbaitso, of course. I even once received a forwarded VirginiaTech PhoneMail (voice mail that you could forward) of Dr. Sbaitso reciting a dirty limerick (I have it on mp3, and it happened on Sep 25 1992 at 9:30PM). (more…)

What a crazy day. The tattoo of a cellphone that works as a blood-powered cellphone is very cool. Interesting links today. Especially the nethack porn, hahaha. Is Ricky Really a Sex Offender? NetHack Porn. Cellphone tattoo. Danish cops too scared of Muslims to do their job. White House Says Phone Wiretaps Will Resume. (more…)

Nice — Maybe this is why the girls I know who are really into real long heels are also really into sex? Also included is a decent gallery of “long and lovely legs” :) (Thanks, Ryan.)
Also, go past the jump for Apple][ emulation, including in-browser emulation of 1200 Apple2 games. (more…)

Read on.  Also: cop almost runs over dressed-up couple,  so he gets out, assaults the woman, and arrests them both.  Pig. (more…)

Frets on fire, Iraqi power nearing collapse, Rape Charges Dismissed After Sheep Fails To Testify, etc.  Click more for the complete description of today’s links… (more…)

It’s taken me 954 tries and over 7 years, but I finally got a “5” (maximum) moderation for a slashdot comment! The trick might have been that my comment was so confusing that people found it interesting. But it really specifically pointed out why the person was wrong… Yet even I have to read it at least 2 times in a row to really ‘get’ it. That’s the beauty. So, the article was about the 10 most important games ever. (more…)

POLICE “RAPE”: Forced sex show–women forced to perform oral sex on each other in a jailcell — but never arrested or charged
. (more…)

A FOOSBALL ROBOT?!?! Rocky Horror still plays in northern VA?!
Also: Study: Video games are good for eyes. (more…)

Kentris was the greatest tetris game ever. Graphs from An Inconvenient Truth – are on Flickr. VDOT Study Shows Red-Light Cameras Increase Accident Injuries. U.S.A. Wont Stop Secret Detentions. Record companies think CDs Should Cost $30+. ACTIVISM: Change.org – new social networking website for activists. (more…)