Category Archives: Games

Destroy More Humans!

may have to metaphorically make a deal with the devil. And by ‘devil’,
I mean Robot Devil, and by ‘metaphorically’, I mean get your coat."

  - Bender

Destroy All Humans!
is one of my favorite games of 2005. My only complaint was that it was
too short (you can rent it and finish the entire game in one weekend)
but it sold very well, and I hoped that a sequel result. I hoped so
much, I was willing to "get my coat."

Looks like my deal with the Robot Devil is about to pay off:

Destroy All Humans Sequel Coming in Fall
The sequel will be set in 1960s Europe, where Crypto will face off
against ninjas, hippies, communists, and Godzilla-style mutant monsters.

read more | digg story

WWdN Poker tonight at PokerStars

And now, an infrequent reminder that you can play poker with me tonight, and every Tuesday night, at PokerStars (or just download the client and watch us play, though I don’t think you can chat with us unless you have at least $11 in your account.)

To sign up, go to Tourneys -> Private and look for WWdN:Change100 Invitational. I’m hoping for over 100 players this week, so the final two tables will pay out.

What: WWdN: Change100
Where: PokerStars.
When: Tuesday, April 18. 8:30 EST
Password: monkey
Buy-in: $10 +1

Additional details, and a whole bunch of WWdN tourney news is at CardSquad.

i wanna rock

"What do you want to do with your life?!"

"I wanna rock."

ell, shit. I’ve gone and found another game that not only do I totally love, but gives me something else in common with one of my kids. Productivity is down 75,000 percent as a result.

Guitar Hero
is the most fun I’ve ever had with a pretend guitar, and let me tell you something: I’ve spent a lot of time playing with pretend guitars, long before Journey make air instruments popular in the video for Separate Ways.

I saw it at IGN Live last year, and thought it was really fun, but I didn’t know if I really wanted to invest 65 or 70 bucks into the game, but when Ryan started talking about how he wanted it, too, we decided to split the cost so neither one of us would feel shafted if it wasn’t as fun as we hoped. Two weeks or so ago, we picked it up, and we haven’t stopped rocking.

The game is outrageously fun: you have a mini guitar controller (which you can outfit with stickers, including a totally rockin’ skull and some ass-kicking lightning bolts) that plugs into your PS2. There are five color-coded buttons on the fretboard, and a flippy lever thing on the body. You play along with the songs, DDR-style, by pushing the correct button (or combination of buttons) as the stream down the screen at you, while you strum along on the flippy lever thing. You get points and bonuses, including the totally rockin’ star power bonus, the more accurately you play.

You choose a character, and begin rocking out in some guy’s basement with songs like "I Wanna Be Sedated" and "I Love Rock & Roll," and work your way up to songs like "Bark at the Moon" in a stadium. Along the way, you can buy new guitars, new designs for your guitars, and unlockable characters. The only complaint I have is that you can’t buy hookers, blow, or tools to bury them when you’re done with them. But thankfully, I’ll always have GTA to fill that need.

There are different levels, and Ryan is much better than I am, completing all of Medium and the first level of Hard, while I’m still struggling to get past the second level of Medium. I’ve noticed that on the songs I know how to play in real life, I screw up the most, because my fingers get all excited and think I’m playing my bass for real (especially on Ziggy Stardust and Iron Man.)

Last night, Ryan and I were playing together (taking turns; we haven’t picked up a second guitar for what I understand is the greatest two-player game in the world), and we decided to take the game to a whole new level: in addition to the bonus points the game delivered, we gave each other style points based on how hard we rocked out (Chuck Berry-esque leg kicking and throwing the goat during extended wahh-wahh notes were both good moves.) We were both rocking pretty furiously and I took a huge lead, until Ryan went into his room, and came out a few minutes later with a necktie around his forehead, sunglasses, and a Hawaiian shirt open to the waist. He threw the goat and said, "I am ready to rock."

I immediately had to award him umptybillion points for that move, and Ryan took a nearly insurmountable lead. I tried to come back with some exrta rock of my own, but the best I could muster was, "Hey, get these bitches off the stage, man," when Ferris and Riley decided that our jumping and wailing was an invitation for them to come into the living room and play with us. I took away umptybillion points of my own, giving Ryan a two umptybillion point lead, which is just short of one brazillion.

Right around the time we were about to finish rocking, Nolan wanted to give it a try, so we set him up, and told him that he could finish the gig (did I mention how much more fun this game is when you play with people who aren’t afraid to be total dorks about it, and talk in a bad english accent and yell at the "audience" who are deep inside the TV?)

Nolan has only played once or twice, but he decided that he could jump right in on Medium (bad idea) and he picked Thunder Kiss 65 (worse idea – that’s a tough song to effectively learn on.)

He did pretty well, all things considered, until about halfway through the song. He missed some notes, and started to get frustrated. Ryan did the coolest thing, though: he said, very calmly, "Hey, Nolan, you’ve totally got this. Just relax and you’ll do great."

Nolan relaxed, and finished the song for a 3 star rating and 80% notes hit. That’s not bad for your third time playing, especially following in the shadow of your big brother who kicks ass at the game, and your stepfather who took the rocking out a little too seriously.

Last week, I said that I wanted to raise kids who are people I am "proud of, and I’d like to spend time with, even if we weren’t family:
honest, honorable, generous, compassionate, and responsible."

It would have been very easy for Ryan to be a dick to Nolan about it, or to tease him, or not say anything encouraging at all, but he chose to be kind and compassionate. He saw his younger brother struggling, and chose to help him through it.

Of all the rocking we did last night, that rocked the most.

Paging Leeroy Jenkins

My friend Sean Bonner is a self-described "casual player" in World of Warcraft. Sean is also the co-creator of, so he recently added Metroblogging: Azeroth to the list of Metroblogging cities.

Yeah, "casual," not "totally into it." I totally believe you, Sean.

I don’t play WoW (for reasons which will become apparent in a moment) but six million people do, and a Metroblog for a virtual city is just too geeky to ignore, so I interviewed Sean for SGNews Geekwire this morning:

W - Unlike something that would make a great April Fool’s gag, like Metroblogging: The Island from Lost, this could actually take off, because to many people, Azeroth is a real place. When you did it, did you think at all that it would have a life longer than the typical "I kiss you" meme?

S - Oh totally, we didn’t do this as a prank, and that’s exactly why we didn’t do it on April Fools. It’s something we’ve been thinking about for several months now at least and finally had enough people who wanted to give it a shot. So we put it together in all seriousness, just like one of our other cities, to see what happens.

[. . .]

W - How much time do you spend playing?

S - More than I want to admit?

W - Hah. That’s a great answer.

S - That’s actually a kind of deceptive question, but you wouldn’t know it if you don’t play.

W - Oh, perfect. Another Geek meme I’m not in on.

S - Dude, seriously, it’s nuts, you should check it out.

W - No way. I lost a year of my life to a MUD, and that was free and just text over telnet. I’m going to have to go to a meeting now, just because you brought it up.

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there is always soma, delicious soma

When I work on Games of our Lives, I usually listen to Fred on 44 or Ethel on 47. I used to listen to Lucy on 54, but it’s recently become totally unlistenable, thanks to the addition of Sheryl Crow (on the “alternative” station?), and the heavy rotation of Foo Fighters and Red Hot Chili Peppers, making my satellite radio just as annoying as my regular radio. Way to go, XM.

Today, however, I’m listening to some fantastic radio from the internets that I thought I’d share with the five of you who don’t know about it already: SomaFM, from San Francisco, specifically the Secret Agent station.

I used to listen to Soma quite often in the pre-Mac days, when I’d stream music over shoutcast on my Linux machine, but I usually listened to Groove Salad. I forgot about it until I found the Secret Agent station sort of by accident last night, and I’ve been listening to it pretty much nonstop since I got up this morning. So check it out, if you want to hear something you probably haven’t heard before, or are in the mood for something totally different.

And while I’m off to work on next week’s Games of our Lives, I encourage you to take a look at this week’s installment, Bermuda Triangle, which has some cool (in my opinion, anyway) Easter Egg-ish obscure references for your “hey! I got that!” pleasure. While you’re there, you may want to take a look at Guzzler, which I also think is pretty funny.

parked under the sunsphere

The kids are on Spring Break this week. Anne and Ryan are up in HellaNorCal, checking out colleges, and Nolan and I are hanging out with the dogs until they get back.

It’s been a really fun week so far: lots of Magic: The Gathering, Brawl tournaments, The Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles on TV, and walks with the dogs around the neighborhood when it isn’t raining.

I’ve also introduced him to Lost, and I have the feeling that he’ll run through Season One on DVD in five days, just like I did. Hopefully, he won’t become as hopelessly just-jam-it-into-my-veins addicted to the show as I am (I’m only up to Episode 4 of Season Two, so if you’re going to comment, please don’t post any spoilers, okay? I reserve a special type of wrath for that sort of thing) but I managed to hook him on Battlestar Galactica this way, and I apologize for nothing. Nothing!!1one!

Sorry. I got a little carried away there.


I’ve always felt that, as a parent, my job (and greatest hope) is to help my kids grow into the kind of adult that I’d be proud of, and I’d like to spend time with, even if we weren’t family: honest, honorable, generous, compassionate, and responsible. Sometimes, as part of the whole Pod People experience, I feel like those efforts are failing. Add the bonus of the really great and neverending loyalty conflict game (that I refuse to play, but have to deal with, anyway,) and it’s easy to wonder if any of the work will ever pay off. It’s been easy to lose hope.

But over the last couple of months, I’ve come to believe that the Pods were actually Chrysalises, because it feels like both Ryan and Nolan have emerged as young adults whose company I really enjoy (and I believe the feeling is mutual.) The moments of irrationality are still there, and I’m sure that I am still so lame from time to time, but I have lots and lots of hope.

If you’re a parent dealing with a Pod Person, don’t give up. One day, you may wake to discover that your Pod Person has vanished as quickly as it arrived, leaving behind an honest, honorable, generous, compassionate, and responsible young adult.

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When I was seven years old, my dad had one of those Mattel handheld football games, and I loved it. I bet if you grabbed a few Gen X-ers and told them to close their eyes, they’d all be able to identify that game by the click-click-click-chirrrrp! sound which is as linked to that game as "D’Oh!" is to Homer Simpson.

As a member of the video game generation, I’ve been through most of the console systems, watched the rise and fall of video arcades, and written extensively about some very memorable games. I am a sucker for anything that celebrates the games of our lives, and  Donald Melanson‘s A Brief History of Handheld Videogames at Engadget is hawesome. He starts at the aforementioned (and pictured) Mattel Football, and works his way through the Atari Lynx, past all the incarnations of the Gameboy, to the PSP.

We’ve come a long way in the last 28 years, baby.