Archives for category: Games

I try to listen to TED talks whenever possible. I must admit that I don’t do it often enough. Today, I thought I’d share some of the good ones that I have seen.

I like this one since it’s about gaming and how it can be productive. Although I am an ardent fan of video games, I never got the hang of playing online. Maybe I should invest some time in getting better at it – at least to save the world 🙂
http://www.ted.com/talks/jane_mcgonigal_gaming_can_make_a_better_world.html

The story of the CAPTHA:
http://www.ted.com/talks/luis_von_ahn_massive_scale_online_collaboration.html

Schools killing creativity. So friggin true. I have seen many schoolmates who stigmatized by teachers because they didn’t follow the path that way layed out for them. Some of them still found their way despite this treatment while the others lost their way.
http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html

Information bubble problem – very very true. You tend to notice this with facebook adicts (me included – when I was on it)
http://www.ted.com/talks/eli_pariser_beware_online_filter_bubbles.html

 

Those are the ones I remember off the top of my head.

Leave a comment and tell me what your favorite TED talk is.

*** Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers. ***

I finished the StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty campaign mode earlier this week. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience so I thought I’d share the joy. I haven’t played many Real Time Strategy (RTS) games, but of the few that I have played, SCII takes the cake.

Let me start at the beginning. It was around ’93 when the bro brought home Dune II:The Building of a Dynasty. We played this game for days. Little did we realize that we are playing a game that would become a cornerstone of an entire genre of games. During that time we also played a game called Cyber Empires, which wasn’t a really a RTS but had some similar elements. I know I promised to write about this game before, and haven’t delivered yet – but I will, soon. 🙂

The next RTS that I remember playing is Command & Conquer: Red Alert. Our computer wasn’t good enough to play this, but we had a house guest and her laptop was a new one. C&C came installed on it, so away I went. The late 90’s and early 2000’s saw a significant increase in RTS’s. WarCraft, various C&C expansions, the original StarCraft, and many more came out. I was able to play a bit of Warcraft and Starcraft when they came out. However, by this stage the monotone nature of RTS’s coupled with me being distracted as mentioned here, made them less appealing.

After a hiatus of a decade, I got my hands on a RTS last year. It was in the form of C&C3: Tiberium Wars. It was quite a nice treat to see how far games had come. The most striking feature was the  improved graphics. But, the story telling was also above my expectations and I was captivated enough to read up on the history of the series. The game ended leaving me wanting for more, the way all games should end.

Last week I was able to get StarCraft II. Boy, was it a treat. It was a bit hard to get agrip of the story which continues from SC and SC: Brood Wars. It is a convoluted story with many different characters, many of whom seem to have fought against and with each other.  So, I did a bit of background reading and caught on to the gist of it before continuing. The graphics were pretty astounding to say the least. Have a look at what I thought was the best scene:

The gameplay was also better than any other RTS I had played before. You see, in the old RTS’s you would build a huge army near your base while fending off minor attacks and then go about destroying the enemy once your army is ready. This wasn’t possible on many SCII missions due to various conditions forcing you to go with what you’ve got making game was more challenging. Another nice feature of SCII is that you have choose between a lot of things which influence how the rest of the game plays out, albeit all paths lead to the same ending. You’ve got to choose from several possible missions, how you spend your money, who you ally with, what you research into, etc. – each with it’s own pros and  cons. All in all it’s a great game and a must for any fan of RTS’s!

I’ll leave you with this tune, which has become the tune of the week for me.

If you are one of the handful of privileged long terms readers on my blog, you would remember my post about Carmen Sandiego. Well, there is good news for fans of the game. There’s a new version of this classic game on Facebook. The adaptation to FB is quite commendable.

Check it out and don’t forget to let me know what you thought of it.

I’ve been playing computer games for as long as I can remember. From what I can remember I used to be pretty good at it too. Playing games on the computer was all that I did in my spare time. But then I had to do a whole bunch of exams that I really didn’t want to take. First there was the Ordinary Level exams then the Advanced Level exams then a couple of Bachelors degrees and finally a Masters degree. So this cut down my gaming time bit by bit. But I kept telling myself I would get back in it when I got chance.

So finally I took my last exam last year and soon after got back into gaming. I started with the classics that I had missed. When I started playing I realized that in my absence, the world of gaming kept evolving and left me behind. The new breed of games could be put into two categories. They were either really difficult or really easy.

Last week, on the suggestion of a friend, I got into playing the most difficult game I’ve ever played. It’s Heros of Newerth . It’s a MMORPG and it’s got a HUGE learning curve. It’s got features of an RTS, FPS, RPG and action game all put together. There are quite a number of heros (characters) to choose from all with different attributes. Next, there are a helluvalot of power ups to choose from. All this is just up my alley ‘cos I love a complicated game.

So, “what’s the problem?” you ask. Well, it’s an MMORPG and it’s a team game. So you can’t play to practice without letting a bunch of your teammates down. Anyway I’m getting the hang of it, very slowly might I add. I actually won a game today, mainly because the others on my team were really good and pwned the other team.

So if any of you are up for some MMORPG action, check out HoN and look for me, I go by lollygagger.

One of my favorite games of all time is Mortal Kombat. Me, my bro, and all our cousins would spend endless hours playing MK. It was one of the very first games with multiplayer capability on the same computer. Yes, there were the racing games and FPS games, but they had to use split screen systems and that made it less entertaining. The ability to bash each other up in the same screen using the same keyboard was quite and experience. So, MK stuck with us. We went through about half a dozen keyboards and went through all the MK games (that is the games that were for PC – except of course the Special Forces joke). We still find time to play this classic whenever we have a family reunion.

If you are wondering why I’m suddenly ranting off about MK, it’s because of this video:

Supposedly, this is a pitch for a new movie. If it does go though it would be sooo great. But a MK movie has been on the cards for a decade now – but hasn’t materialized due to many problems. So, let’s hope this does happen.

Anyway, this got me thinking. Going with this storyline I’ve also got some ideas. Here are some of the ideas I have for the characters:

– Shang Tsung could be a victim of Multiple Personality Syndrome. That could explain him changing into other people. He kills people and then becomes them. Something like in the movie Identity.

– How about a black magician for Quan Chi?

– Mileena’s wounds could be explained as plastic surgery gone horribly wrong. She has plastic surgery to try and look like Kitana. Kitana could be related to the president or some authority figure with power.

– What is Raiden had an accident like Jonny B in Mysfits of Science? Otherwise he could have created something like the energy weapon in Spellbinder.

– Cyrax and Sektor could be brainwhased ninjas – thus acting like robots.

– Nightwolf, Stryker, Kano & Kabal all have a good character story already. They can be made to fit somewhere in this story.

Well those are some of the ideas that I had on it. What do you think?

This week has gone by pretty fast thanks mostly to Crazy Charly, a game on FB. It’s a pretty simple game that requires some strategy and quick thinking. Basically you have to move around a maze placing bombs to kill enemies and blow up obstacles. Power-ups could be found once obstacles a blown away. It has a monkey theme too which you gotta love 😉

But the reason to love this game and make it my newest craze is actually not this game. It’s because we played a similar game  while at college. OK, a bit of background: I went to college at Pera and hung out with the coolest bunch of guys. We usually found ‘better’ things to do than attend classes like play card games (oh, we played so many card games), go to the gym (this would not be to workout or anything like that but to play a very ‘physical’ game of carom) or just sit around chatting.

Anyway, sometime during our three year tenure some of the  guys found this game called Explode Arena which can be played on mobile phones. The cool awesome phenomenal thing about this game was that up to four mobile phones could be connected through blue-tooth for multi-player action. Oh the fun we had playing different missions. The favorite mission was a 2 vs. 2 team based version of capture the flag. It was sooo much fun. We had these phones with their little buttons, you couldn’t move more that a foot away from the others (which we did quite a lot when someone got over-excited), and half the time we didn’t know what we were doing (at least I didn’t).

Booth was the best player among all of us (from what I remember). Now ‘Booth’ is just a nickname and I assure you he’s not related to John Wilkes in any way. It’s actually the shortened form of his nickname, Bhoothaya (භූතයා). His specialty was placing bombs and kicking (by getting the kick-enabling power up)them towards the enemies, so you were pretty much stuffed. Of course, you would team up with him if you had half a brain. Ah, those were good times.

That was on Explode Arena, but today we have Crazy Charly. There is no multi-player version yet, but the developers are promising it will be added soon. So, I’m excited to get in there and bomb all my FB friends. So why don’t you start bombing away right now with Crazy Charly!

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego (1993)

I’ve been digging up ancient games for about a year now. So far I’ve found and played Mortal Komat (the all time fav), Lemmings (the predecessor of Sims, imo), Cyber Empires (An awesome game – I should do a post on this game sometime), Space Quest 6: The Spinal Frontier and a few more. Today I found “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego” from the early ’90s. I hadn’t played this version of the game but played the later version which came out in ’96.

This is a detective game where you have to track criminals by following clues they left in different countries. The clues point to the next destination of the thief and also help identify which thief it is. It’s got Colombo as a destination, check out this pic with the wrong Independence date 🙂 (Sri Lanka, known earlier as Ceylon gained independence in 1948. It changed its name from Ceylon to Sri Lanka in 1972)

Colombo, Sri Lanka - Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego

If you hadn’t already noticed it’s got the good old VGA graphics – the joy of pixels. Anyway, I started playing and boy it’s a pretty hard to work out clues. Since I know very little about the world, I had to rely on Prof. Wikipedia to get through just a couple of missions in the game. Even so, it is still a good learning exercise.

It’s a bit sad that such games are almost extinct today. The last game in this series had come out in 2001. I guess the market calls for more Shoot-em-up games with blood and gore rather than anything where you have to actually use your brain. 😦

Anyways, if you want to give it a go you can download the game from here. Simply unzip the archive, run ‘snes9x.exe’ and from the file menu load the game.

Controls: Space bar (select), ‘v’(enter), and arrow keys.

Enjoy