Category Archives: Video Games

Getting Back Into Video Games

Glorious PC Master Race

In terms of gaming I feel like I’m pretty inconsistent. There are times that I only played the big name games (like Grand Theft Auto and Skyrim) and basically ignored all the other smaller games. My interest in gaming ebbs and flows.

I think that a few recent events have gotten me back into gaming fairly regularly. About a year ago I subscribed to PS Plus, which provides monthly installments of games for your PS3 and PS Vita/PSP if you have them. I was introduced to a bunch of cool games that I probably wouldn’t have bought otherwise like Saint’s Row 2, Borderlands. As a result, I ended up buying Saint’s Row 3 and Borderlands 2.

It was also about a year ago that I built a PC for gaming. It’s kind of ridiculous how much cheaper it is to play games on a PC than to buy them for consoles. Plus, my PC has the added benefit of a better graphics card and more RAM (how the heck can the PS3 only have 256MB of RAM in the first place?).

During the 2013 Steam Summer sale I went a little crazy and bought more games than I can possibly play. It’s just way too easy to buy them when they cost $5 or less and provide a lot of entertainment, even if they’re kinda old. I ended up buying Fallout New Vegas (the ultimate edition or whatever) even though I originally bought it for PS3. Luckily, it’s a lot faster and less buggy now.

I’ve been playing a lot of video games in my free time for the past few months. While I sort of feel guilty that I should be working on web stuff or mobile stuff like side projects, I think it’s sort of necessary to avoid burnout. Plus I naturally tend to lose interest in games once I find a new piece of technology that I’m interested in learning.

The Angry Birds Secondary Market

So I was searching for Angry Birds on iTunes in order to get the link for it. I’ve already bought the game, and it’s an awesome one for $1.

I noticed that there are a number of “Angry Bird” apps, but only two of them are the original. Angry Birds and the lite demo version. The others are all either cheat/walkthrough guides, or random knockoffs. The insane thing is that the price of the actual game is $1, and so are the knockoffs! You can buy the game for the same amount as an unauthorized guide, which has information freely that’s available online! The craziest one is the app called “The Angry Bird,” which has an angry looking bird trying to kill worms or something. I am assuming all of these apps are legal under fair use and whatnot (if they’re only stating facts), yet something tells me they could be violating trademark rules…

I wonder if other popular apps have this same kind of thing happening to them. And I wonder if the developers of Angry Birds are bothered by it. If they got angry enough, they might be able to make a spinoff game called “Angry Developers of Angry Birds.”

Steam Slow Download Solution

I just bought Civ IV on Steam, because there’s some kind of sale. I started downloading it and it was giving me a measly ~200 KB/S download speed. This kind of sucked because I wanted to play pretty soon, and it would take a few hours at that rate.

I looked in the preferences for downloads, and noticed that I was connected to their Chicago datacenter. I tried switching it to Detroit and I still got some lame speeds. Then I switched to Phoenix, Arizona. And voila:

My hypothesis was that the datacenters were dying from the load of the Steam summer sale. So I tried picking a datacenter in a less sparsely populated area (Phoenix probably isn’t serving that much load compared to Chicago or New York), even though it was further away. I think my hypothesis stands. So if you’re experiencing slow downloads, try picking a datacenter that’s further away. Just wait until my download is finished first. ๐Ÿ™‚

Wii Fit Plus Review

wii-fit-plus

I’ve sort of been slacking with my Wii Fit schedule, but I just got Wii Fit Plus to see if I could inject some freshness into the routine. Wii Fit Plus is the pseudo sequel to Wii Fit, which includes a few extra activities and some new features as well.

One of the first things I noticed was that the female trainer (which I usually use) is showing a bit more skin! Take a look at some comparison shots:

Before:
Before

After:
wiifittrainer

I also like her new hairsyle. I wonder. If Wii Fit Plus means that the female trainer shows some more skin, will Wii Fit Plus Plus have the female trainer go topless? I guess we have to wait to find out.

One new feature that I was excited about was the ability to set up your own routines. So instead of picking each activity one by one, you can save a bunch and just go through them quickly without interruption. This should have been a cool feature, but it was ruined because picking an activity automatically selects the lowest number of reps, and I do the higher number of reps for almost every strength training activity. For example, I do 10 push-up side plank reps. But selecting it in the routine menu automatically picks 6. You could theoretically pick the exercise twice, but that would give you 12 reps. Plus you have to stop and start again (I thought initially the program would be smart enough to just combine them into one exercise).

Nintendo lost a lot of my respect for how badly they handled this feature. There are a lot of different ways they could have designed this, all better than the way they did design it. They could have just combined reps as I figured they should. They could also just ask you how many reps you wanted when you picked an exercise. The added complexity would be justified by the fact that you’d only have to do it once. They could have asked for default rep values somewhere else.

But instead the interaction designers (I’m assuming they have them, but now I wonder if they really do) at Nintendo decided to pull this shit. Maybe you can tell that I’m pretty unhappy about this feature. In the end, I think Nintendo err’ed on the side of simplicity, which ends up pleasing nobody. I usually like the way Nintendo products are designed, and for the most part I think Wii Fit Plus is designed well, but this feature was just not fully baked. I think I am going to email Nintendo and try and get an actual response on why this feature was done so badly.

Overall, Wii Fit Plus is better than Wii Fit because it just adds new features. I’d question whether they are really worth the extra $20 that the upgrade costs.

Wii Fit Anniversary!

So today is the very near anniversary of me starting Wii Fit. My first day was actually May 23rd 2008, but I think If I wait to post something I might forget to do it in two days. So here’s my anniversary post.

It’s actually kind of interesting that for the last few sessions I’ve been feeling pretty tired. Today I felt really energized though. I have no idea why. I was sick the past few days but today I feel pretty much at 100%. Maybe it’s because I got a lot of sleep while sick. I also had a Twig and Berry salad from Zingerman’s today for lunch.

Anyway, when I started Wii Fit about a year ago I was obese (according to the machine) and weighed about 202 pounds or so. Today the Wii Fit declared I am merely overweight and that I weigh about 179.9. So within a year I lost 20 pounds. I actually lost the 20 pounds between May and November, I wanna say. Then between November and now, I think I hit some kind of ceiling (or floor). I’ve sort of slowly been losing again. I think it might be a seasonal thing.

Besides the lost poundage, I’ve been consistently feeling better (physically) ever since I started, and have been getting better and better. These days I can walk to and back from campus very easily when a year ago it’d feel like a hike (it’s a little over a mile each way, I think). I believe my general endurance and energy levels have been better, too. I haven’t only been doing Wii Fit to get healthier though. I’ve also been trying to eat better and live more healthily in general. No more soda (pop) for me.

I’m pretty happy with my progress with Wii Fit so far. I wish I had done better between the November-Now time points, though I will admit that I made non-pound progress (I am now doing 20 push-ups instead of 10 and lunges are doable when before they were insanely hard). Hopefully I’ll be able to report back in a year with even better numbers and results.

Bonus actual anniversary update: (5/23/09)
I look at my time completed in Wii Fit and it appears that I did 83 hours and 33 minutes of working out. Not too bad. I know I did less in the beginning and have been ramping up to about 34-45 minutes of workout each session though I don’t do it every day. I’ll probably have more time to commit to working out over this summer though.