Monday, March 20, 2006


OMG, Spore is insane!

To quote a reviewer at IGN, "Will Wright is a mad genius of gaming." I've just watched Will Wright's presentation of Spore... At the beginning, I thought "Wow, this is completely different". As it went on, my mouth started hanging lower and lower. The word "Insane" started repeating in my head like a mantra.

There are several different stages/games, starting from pond amoeba, to multicelled, to village, city...

Ok, holy shit. He just zoomed out to the solar system. He's now talking about UFOs... He's so not going to transform that planet? Yup, you can upgrade the UFO to have terraforming abilities. Damn.

I think I'm going to waste a lot of time on this game. Seriously, this is like Legos, microscope exploration, biology all rolled in one. Do you know how excited that makes me? :D (Yes, I'm a science/biology freak. Don't ask)


TV Card Frustrations

I find I have to type my posts fast - Blogger insists on me logging in every few seconds, even though I have selected "Remember me" several times. Irritating.

I've been having a full-scale war with my Leadtek TV card since the day I bought the thing. Ok, let me rephrase that... the TV card SOFTWARE. Sure, it autoscans all the channels - just fine... if you have a signal! Granted, much can be blamed on the el-cheapo cable that a shop managed to sell me. I cut the cable yesterday, only to find that the main cable is half the thickness of our antenna cable, with a few strands of copper for "insulation". I'm not sure what it's trying to insulate - the humming of a mosquito maybe?

It could've saved me much heartache if the TV card software's fine-tune feature had been advertised on another page other than the hot keys list. Who looks at hot keys anyway? Here I was manually entering frequencies, hoping that the signal would improve... And thanks to the software adjusting the picture only after a few seconds, I was left screaming with irritation. It went like this:

"Ok, so it's picking something up at 835MHZ. Let's try better that with 836... "
"Hmmm, no change? Let's try 800? Hang on, the picture didn't change!"
"How about 200? What? Why isn't the image changing? Back to 835..."
"Wait, now it's not working, I'm only getting snow on a frequency that was previous working!"

Etcetera... Now I can use CTRL + and CTRL - to adjust on the fly! Wow! The configuration settings are a headache to figure out as well, but I won't go into that.

Anyway, due to low signal strength, I splashed out on a booster. Too bad the thing doesn't even power on. So back to Mica to get a replacement, and hopefully it will do the trick now. I also need to find all the different connections required... Didn't help that I cut the cable on the wrong side ("All these connections are female? I could've sworn there was a male here. Hang on... I cut the male one, didn't I? DAMNIT!")

That was a few precious hours wasted. It's pretty sad that I had more fun cutting cables, adding the connections and fiddling with cable setup than I did one minute of trying to use the Leadtek TV card software. I wonder if they've heard of *cough*Usability*cough*.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

The Law of Repeatability and its Relationship with Masochism

I've encountered the basic truth of this law many times in my platform gaming career. I've honed down the mathematical equation, so that I can now reliably predict exactly when playing a platform/action game turns from pleasure to masochistic torture.

The Law of Repeatability (Copyright Linda Solomon 2006) states that the ability to repeat a certain level, or stage between save points - R - is indirectly proportional to the number of times that the player has already repeated this area - n - and the number of hours passed normal bedtime - h.

In mathematical terms, R% = 1/ (n + h) x 100.

For example, in a certain *almost finished the game, gotta just do this last area* stage of Ico, I managed to get most of the way up a complicated structure. I had swum around for minutes, climbed ladders, rode spinning wheels, maneuvered my way over narrow poles and swung on chains. I had deftly defied bad camera angles that sought to thwart my progress, and judged distances and angles for jumps where little information was available. Alas, so close to success, I fell all the way back to the bottom.

So according to the Law of Repeatability, I had R% = 1 / (1 + 1) x 100 = 50% chance of repeating that area that I had completed. So I attempted it again, and managed to get a portion of the way, accidentally making a stupid jump which cost me another attempt.

Third time lucky? This time I only had a 33.3% chance of making it all the way. Predictably enough, I made another stupid mistake, and walked off a narrow ledge. Back to square one.

I noted my odds of completing this section sinking with my pride. Now it was down to 25%, and falling. Ok, one more try. This time I actually got a bit further than previous attempts, but the swinging chains did me in. I tried to swing from a bit higher on the chain, and managed to miss what I had previously jumped. At 20%, I realised I was done for.

I've found that masochism starts kicking in at around 10%, where you may find yourself physically assailing your body in an attempt to feel physically the emotional damage being inflicted on your psyche. Should you have any sort of masochistic tendencies, stay away from certain games such as Prince of Persia, or ICO, when the Law of Repeatability falls below this fatal level.

This is one masochist signing off for bed....

Saturday, March 11, 2006


In the name of advertising, a wonderful new technology which results in double-underlined links all over the page that you're trying to read : IntelliTXT. Even worse when you're trying to use normal links, or copy the text for study purposes; or just innocently browsing a website.

The problem comes in with hovering your mouse over the links. Up pops up a advertising banner, in the middle of the text you're reading thank you very much. And it takes a few seconds for it to disappear, during which you sit and wait, waving the mouse around like a madman. This invariably causes another to assault your screen, much to your dismay.

At first I thought it was a wierd virus on my machine that had hacked into my browser. Alas, the faithful anti-virus program didn't even sniff with disdain at the idea. The solution proposed by a website I queried regarding this infestation? Avoid sites that allow IntelliTXT.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Girl Gamer sites?

Eh, remind me to never let this blog degenerate into a journal of my life.... Maybe they started out with good intentions, but most of the "girl gamer" blogs I've read were mainly diaries about the person's life. All very well, but not very interesting. :(

Anything remotely appealing usually focuses on WOW.

Some good sites that I have found during a boring hour at lunch are:

Woo, I managed to clear a area of ICO that I was stuck in this morning... only to get stuck again. It never ceases to amuse my boyfriend that I enjoy these puzzle games so much, and yet suck so badly at them. :P

Myst IV - The devil you know

Stuff I liked:
  • It's extremely immersive - you can literally tap any surface you like, the movement method is the best in the series, in my opinion, and the graphics gorgeous.
  • The satisfaction of solving puzzles (when I actually could!)

Stuff I didn't like:
  • Damn, those puzzles are nasty. And making me look for little pieces of paper in obscure places, when I didn't even know I had to be searching for them? - bad Myst, bad! *wields rolled up newspaper*.
This refers to an obscure puzzle on one of the ages, where I eventually resorted to UHS-Hints. The hints couldn't even help on the last puzzle on this age - had to go find a walkthrough. Do yourself a favour if you're playing this, and allow yourself to cheat if you can't solve a puzzle. It's not worth the frustration. :)
  • Pixel Hunting!! I HATE pixel hunting, and this game requires a full fledged mouse rifle to get them all.

Any particular room may hold many important clues to other puzzles. But you don't know what is clickable, and which objects are just scenery. So whip out the mouse and start clicking - books, papers, odd objects. Then you get to a puzzle, which usually consists of an obscure piece of machinery with knobs and dials. Again, clicking commences as you try to figure out what is clickable, and what can be ignored. Woe betide you if you miss a doo-dad, and the machine doesn't work. You'll sit there scratching your head trying to figure out what you've done wrong for a while.

Final Comments:
Enjoy, with a walkthrough. ;)


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

This blog is a still a baby, tread lightly...

Wow, I've joined the blogger craze... Yet another activity to take up my limited time

Ok, so this blog is going to be reviewing assorted games, books, movies etc. Anything that I like or don't like. I'm planning a "review" of ICO, ICO2 (Shadow of the colossus - that my super boyfriend just bought for me YAY!) and Myst IV. This will probably end up just a being a record of what I'm currently enjoying, so if you're interested, come back in a few days time, if you're not, then sod off to IGN. :)