New Thing #221: Dance Central

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned from 220 posts that have come before this, it’s that I have no shame when it comes to trying something new.

That’s why I decided to post the video of me attempting to dance along with Dance Central, another Kinect game for the XBox 360.

You know, out of all the Kinect games I’ve played so far it performs, looks and senses the best. Unfortunately I have no natural sense for dancing and spent the entire time flailing about trying to match the moves onscreen.

It was still pretty fun though, and Shauna rocks at it, so I might check out Dance Central 2 when it’s released later this year.

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New Thing #220: Once Upon A Monster

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Double Fine, arguably the best video game studio for producing laugh out loud funny games, has had a Sesame Street game for Kinect in the works. And to be honest, Once Upon A Monster is one of the reasons I bought a Kinect in the first place.

The demo came out recently, so Audrey and I threw our hands in the air like we just no care (as Cookie Monster instructed us to) and jumped, roared and danced our way through a couple mini-games together. 

And it’s nothing special if you’re an adult, alone, grimacing at your TV screen. But when you’re a dad with your four year old pretending she’s Elmo dancing with Cookie Monster it’s pretty fantastic. The writing is spot on for Sesame Street and the graphics are really cute and whimsical. They’ve done a great job creating a world for these characters to breathe in.

I still don’t expect Kinect to take over the types of games that I like obsess over, but I love that it allows me to include Audrey in my favourite past time. We’ll definitely be buying Once Upon A Monster when it comes out. Audrey already told me so.

 

New Thing #216: Glitch MMORPG

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When I saw the trailer for Glitch, a new online roleplaying game from the guys that started Flickr, I knew I’d have to at least try it. It’s just too weird not to.

Everything about it sets it apart from the things you might want to compare it to. It’s a massive online world like World of Warcraft, but it’s a 2D sidescroller. You can farm and harvest food ala Farmville, but there’s characters, quests and a deep, deep leveling system.

At first glance it seems super simple, but within half an hour of playing it you realize there’s a much richer roleplaying experience there if you want it. The world is gorgeous and every item is really well designed and smartly written for. 

The gameplay seems simplistic enough, a lot of quests seem to be mostly chore based, but getting from one place to another is a joy. The world is just so engaging, you want to check out every corner of it.

I get the sense that it’s designed for a casual crowd at first and then, smartly, offers more and more for the user to do and explore. 

My only real complaint is that the whole thing is Flash based, so my computer sounds like a jet engine taxiing around the runway the entire time I play it. 

If I had a little more time in my life there might be a place for Glitch, but as it is I think I’ll check in from time to time to see what’s going on.

New Thing #212: Gears of War 3 Beast Mode

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I’ve been playing the hell out of Gears of War 3 since it came out last week. Campaign, co-op, Horde mode, everything. Everything that is except the new Beast mode where you get to play as any number of locust creatures battling the humans.

During our forty-five minutes or so of play tonight I got to utterly destroy COGs as, among other things, a friggin’ Berserker. If you’ve every played Gears of War before, you know how awesome that sounds. If you haven’t played Gears of War before, well, take my word for it.

Although it took a little figuring out at first, once we got the hang of it, Beast Mode was great fun. And it’ll end up being even better when there’s more than two of us going up against the enemy.

New Thing #204: Twister

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I little while ago I was given Twister as a sort of thank you gift at a Twister themed Proximity general meeting. Since then I’ve been racking my brain, trying to remember whether or not I’ve ever actually done the whole left-foot-green thing.

And, since I can’t concretely place myself on that mat with anyone before, I decided to try it out tonight with the family.

Twister is definitely a game for the young, or at least the bendy. I’m surprised I didn’t end up throwing my back out while my four year old turned into Gumby before my eyes. It was a lot of fun and it’s helping teach Audrey her left from her right. Now if we can just work on her not melting down every time she loses we’ll be in good shape.

New Thing #193: Rock of Ages

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Rock of Ages is all kinda of crazy. But crazy in a good way.

The game is a mixture of a tower defense game and Super Monkey Ball; through the eyes of a History Bites.

You play Sisyphus who was condemned to forever roll a rock up a hill only to have it roll back down again. Each level introduces your opponent in great mocking Looney Tunes-esque sort of way. It’s very cute seeing the little demons poke Sisyphus in the bum over and over again while Cronos eggs him on. In another intro to a vampiric level they poke fun at Castelvania with a whip wielding, gargoyle smashing attacker squished by a big rock.

The gameplay itself is pretty solid too, and I found myself barely hanging on to beat my AI opponent by a hair, or vice versa. The graphical style is a little bit Monty Python, a little bit Borderlands and the lovely squishing sound that eminates from your enemy when you finally roll over him is just about the most perfect sound effect ever. 

So yeah, after trying the demo I bought this one. 

New Thing #182: Cycraft VR Racing Game

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Every year, one of Audrey’s friends has her birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese’s. And although it’s great to see her run around like a crazy person for four hours it tends to wear you out. And by wear you out, I mean makes you want to kill yourself.

So I took a little daddy time and tried out their Cycraft VR Racing Game contraption. And it was awesome.

Not only did I get over three and a half minutes of unprecedented video game value for a single token but I also got a workout.

The lurching, sliding and forced steering wheel feedback was so intense my arm muscles were strained by the end of it.

I never use the brake pedal when I’m racing so that probably had something to do with it.

My racing skills paid off though as I walked away victorious only to get another workout chasing a four year around the place for another half hour.

No I wonder how much one of those would cost for home…

New Thing #181: Play Magic The Gathering

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In highschool, while all the other geeks were busy gathering together Magic decks and dueling for their very souls, I focused my energies elsewhere: euchre.

Apart from the game seeming practically inpenetrable to a new player, it would have jeopardized my already minimal chances of ever getting laid even further. So I skipped it and stuck to ruining my OAC Finite Math grade by spending all my time in the caf trying to go alone in spades.

But after playing Munchkin a while back and enjoying that card battling game so much, I thought I’d give Magic a try. I had a few XBox credits lying around and picked up Majic The Gathering: Duels of the Planewalkers. What’s nice about trying the game on a console is that you can’t be judged by the person playing with you. What’s not so nice is how many rules you have to learn yourself in so little an amount of time. I played for a couple of hours and have the basics down, but there’s still so much that I don’t understand. 

But now that I’ve tried it, I wouldn’t mind sitting down with some real people and playing. The creature and spell cards are beautifully illustrated (the one thing that almost pushed me over to playing in highschool) and I love the interaction of playing face-to-face. Plus, I’m married now, so that getting laid bit isn’t as much of a worry.

New Thing #179: Shuffleboard

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Shuffleboard is one of those terribly cliché boring games that I have ALWAYS wanted to play.

The resort we’re staying at has not one, but two shuffleboard courts.

It’s everything I love about bowling, darts and curling all rolled into one. If I could build a court in my back yard, I would.

I’m such a nerd.

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New Thing #172: Trauma Video Game

I saw the game Trauma reviewed on The Totally Rad Show this week and, totally on a fluke I noticed that it was availale for the Mac on Steam today. So I picked it up; it’s cheap. Like less than a couple lattes cheap, so I figured why not.

It’s basically a cross between Myst and those hidden object style games that my Grandmother is totally addicted to.

I’m not sure where it was developed, but it sure seems to be eastern European in tone, style and the voice acting is definitely English as a second language. 

But it’s weird, and I think it’s weird in a good way. All the gameplay is done through gestures which works great with the Magic Trackpad. The puzzles aren’t exactly difficult or long, but the exploration of the world and the narration of the main character really make for an oddly compelling experience. 

It seems to be broken up into four sections, three of which I finished in about an hour. And did I mention you’re playing as a woman who’s in a coma, trying to piece her life back together? At least that’s what I gather from the story so far at least.

I’m not quite sure how I feel about this one yet, but it’s definitely a very unique game. I can’t say I’ve ever played anything quite like it before.

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