New Thing #284: Play Trine

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I’ve been meaning to play Trine since it came out for the PS3 and PC ages ago, but I was holding out for the elusive XBox version so that I could play with my friends. Unfortunately that version never materialized.

But, thanks to some great Thanksgiving weekend Steam sales, I picked it up for a song.

I half wish I had played it when it did come out regardless of platform based on the shear beauty and inventiveness of the gameplay. But I also love that I’m coming to it late in the game and am still able to fall completely in love with it. Sometimes games show their age quickly, this is not one of those cases.

The main conceit is that you switch between three different character types on the fly, each with a unique ability. Using these abilities you progress past ever increasingly difficult areas. Some you get through by using your wits, some through brute force, or some both.

The wrapper around the game is just stunning. I don’t think I’ve seen such beautiful art direction in a 2D game before and the soundtrack that accompanies it sets just the right tone. 

I think I might need to get another controller so I can play it with Shauna, or break down and try and remember how to play video games with a mouse and keyboard again.

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New Thing #277: Play PC Games with a Controller

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Some of you may have been following my harrorowing experience of installing Windows 7 on my Mac Mini over the past five days. I’m not going to lie to you, there were times that I didn’t think I’d make it. Times that I almost called it quits. Times that I wanted to punch a kitten. But here we are, nearly a week later, and all that frustration was good for something after all.

I LOVE PLAYING PC GAMES WITH AN XBOX CONTROLLER!

Yeah, I know what you’re going to say, I could do the same thing on my Mac without installing Windows. True. But the fact is that a lot of Indie game developers still program exclusively for the PC and now I have a computer that’s capable of running them without grinding the entire OS to a halt.

On top of that, I plugged in a USB Xbox Controller and with Steam installed (complete with achievements) it’s like I have a whole new video game console sitting in my kitchen. 

I love my Mac, and would never switch to this aweful operating system, but I will visit when it means that I have access to a whole new subset of games that I’ve been missing out on for years.

New Thing #259: XBox Dashboard Preview

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I was lucky enough to get into the XBox Dashboard preview program again this year and found the update sitting there waiting for me this afternoon. After a few minutes of installing, it was like I a brand new XBox sitting in in my living room.

It surpasses the last UI redesign in leaps and bounds, taking the Windows Metro interface and morphing it with the XBox’s. It’s much simpler to find content now and Kinect voice commands are even more prevalent across the system. And unlike the last dashboard, this one feels snappier than ever, maybe even more so than the original blade design.

I didn’t get a chance to delve as deeply into it as I’d like, but everything I saw impressed the heck out of me. It sure has been a great week of tech-geek treasures for me.

New Thing #188: Kinect Video Chat

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Every week I try to call my folks on Skype so Audrey can see them in between her running around like a crazy person for an hour. Sounds great, in theory. In practice though, Skype is a turd.

So, when I finally picked up a Kinect unit for my Xbox today the first thing we did was video chat.

For the most part it works pretty darned well. And laying on the couch, talking at a normal volume is way better than screaming into my laptop while Audrey spins my computer chair.

The quality seems better than Skype, the sound is definitely an improvement and I love how the camera follows you around the room.

The future is now people! Please show me to my flying car next.

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.

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