Wednesday, October 30, 2013

My Thoughts On OS X 10.9 Mavericks... So Far

Wow.  Wow wow wowee wow.  Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks is here, and it is FREE to all Mac users.  So, I will give you my thoughts on all that I have played with so far and see where that goes.

iBooks for Mac

FINALLY.  iBooks is on the Mac!  The store interface looks eerily like iTunes's, and it takes what was before just for iPhone and iPad to the Mac platform and I think it does it very well.  Also, reading in iBooks is absolutely cool, so there’s that.


Well well well.  I love Maps myself (and unlike the rest of the world I’ve had exactly zero trouble with it), but this is rather unique and awesome.  It does have some dicey points-of-interest still (searching for a public library doesn’t do well, just saying), but overall it’s a fabulous application and it is now on the Mac with Mavericks!

Calendar with Travel Times built-in

This is truly an amazing feature. I can get an idea of when I can leave to get somewhere at a time certain and I cannot be happier about that!!  For someone like me who has issues with judging timing, this is an absolute godsend and I cannot wait to use this more and more and more.

Overall Thoughts

I am actually really liking the fact that Apple finally got the inane memory requirements for the integrated graphics cards out of the way and I am no longer pegging the memory of my MacBook Pro with the apps I run on a day-to-day basis because they finally gave the integrated graphics chips dynamic memory (i.e. it won’t be such a blasted memory hog when you aren’t running graphics-intensive apps.  FINALLY!!!).  Now since I may very well be in the market for a new Mac sooner rather than later, I may actually consider buying a Mac laptop with the new Intel graphics chips now that Mavericks doesn’t give the integrated GPU so dang much memory!  Which is awesome.

Also, I haven’t gotten to play that much with the new iLife and iWork apps yet so those will get their own blog post once I get to put them through their paces enough to write eloquently about the updates.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

As The Steam/GOG Turns #13: The "Wow it's been much too long" Lucky Number 13 Edition

Welcome back to As The Steam/GOG Turns, the continuing story of two competing digital distribution services that compete for everyone's attention.

I'm baaaaa-aaaack!  Didya miss me?!  Yeah, I just lost all track of time, and I got swamped with well over a month's worth of releases. So, this edition will essentially be me playing a gigantic amount of catchup, and I'll be returning to my normal posting of this column come Friday, November 1st.

Also I won't feature any Early Access, DLC, updates, or Pre-Order / Pre-Purchase releases, only full releases will be featured this time around.  So, let's get this party started, shall we?!

First off, we have some GOG releases.  I wish to feature games that I may or may not have featured prior.  

So, with that in mind, I will start off by discussing the new Shadow Warrior game.  I know, I know, remakes aren't good, remakes never come to the level of the original, blah blah blah, but I think it looks like an interesting game.  Next is Re-Volt, a delightful little late-90s racing game where you race radio controlled cars.  Sort of like RC Pro-Am for the NES, but more interesting and with better graphics.  

Next up is PixelJunk Monsters HD.  Most of you who don't follow console releases don't know what PixelJunk Monsters is, but it's basically a cartoonish tower defense game that has been on Sony's platforms for forever and ever amen, but is FINALLY on the PC.  Next up is the full trilogy of The Legend of Kyrandia.  These are some of the most legendary point-&-click adventure games NOT made by the hands of LucasArts, and the games are now finally, finally available for wider release once again.  Great job on this one, GOG.

Next is a really, really, really wacky one: Long Live the Queen!  It is essentially a political thriller disguised by cute anime visuals and for $10, there isn't much where you can go wrong to at least give it a try.  Along those same lines but in the complete polar opposite direction is Democracy 3, with sliders galore (but no FOV slider, haha) and containing more bubbles than Lawrence Welk's legendary long-running variety show.  However, this gameis ridiculously overpriced at a mere $24.99.  However, for a hardcore political simulation, it is at least adequate.  I personally will wait till that one's on sale before I bite.

The final release I am featuring is Corsairs Gold.  Shiver me timbers, matey, and dominate the Seven Seas by any means necessary in a legendary real time strategy game series featuring (what else?) pirates.  This one looks absurdly fun, so that's going on my wishlist for later. Its $6 price tag means I'll probably snap that one up sooner rather than later.

Now before I get to the Steam releases, I want to very specifically highlight some of GOG's "Customer Love" in the adding of content to pre-existing releases with recent additions to the Bullfrog catalog, with the addition (FINALLY) of the American Revolt, Deeper Dungeons, Hidden Worlds, Promised Lands, and Undiscovered Worlds expansions for Syndicate, Dungeon Keeper, Magic Carpet, Populous, and Populous: The Beginning, respectively.

Now on to the Steam releases.  Of which, there really ain't much to look at here.  There's Pac-Man Championshiop Edition DX+, and the full release of the Steam edition of King of Fighters XIII, and Batman Arkham Origins, and some weird release called Bunny Must Die! Chelsea and the 7 Devils which looks eerily like a shmup that I absolutely freaking HAVE to try, especially since it sort of reminds me of the Touhou series of bullet hell shmups I've only marginally heard of through friends.  But other than a few things (and Steam Controllers that look promising, and Steam Machines, and SteamOS, which if embraced by the major AAA publishers will be a huge deal for PC gaming, but I have exactly zero confidence that's going to happen), that is actually it.  So, my mini not-by-choice backlog is cleared out finally and I will hopefully see you Friday.

So, that does it for this week.  And until next time, the Steam/GOG conflict ever turns...

Friday, October 25, 2013


Yeah... it's been a bizarre, weird couple of weeks full of writers block.  This image probably will make some of you laugh:

My problem has become that I want desperately to write in my blog, and my brain is hardly functioning enough to do so.  Maybe it's a function of my Asperger syndrome, maybe it's just frustration, but today I went to the DMV and just about lost it.  Amazingly, I kept my cool with the DMV people, but boy I had that MMMMMARRAAAHHH moment this afternoon.  I guess all my writers block frustration had finally gotten to the point where it bubbled over or something, but I just gave out this almost primal-ish scream in the car where nobody could really hear me and after that I finally felt better than I had in weeks.  Sometimes you gotta do that and boy that really helped me.  Of course, having some time to decompress after all of that mess certainly helped.  Certainly helped with my writers block for sure.

I think I am getting better.  I'll have a few more posts up soon, but I am going to try not to litter everyone's feed readers and Google+ feed with my posts.  I finally have worked through those issues and I am going to start blogging again.  I've been playing with the new OS X, Mavericks, and I'll certainly talk more about this week's Apple event, but that will start up again on Monday.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Wrapping Up Nintendo #4: Sonic, Zelda, and Kirby, oh my!

Yes indeed, today was worth being miserable from recent sickness to watch the Nintendo Direct presentation.  So, let's go ahead and give you a full rundown along with my thoughts, shall we?

First, Satoru Iwata delivered some Wii U information, starting with Super Mario 3D World.  I have to say, the way they presented SM3DW looks INCREDIBLE and I can't wait to see what other people think.  New powerups like turning your character of choice into various blocks (nice one) and multiple versions of your character of choice and what is most likely the first "false exit" in the first Ghost House of the game seem almost inevitable that people will enjoy it.

Next, Wii Party U's House Party Mode was demonstrated.  The minigames looked bizarre to say the least but seem interesting enough for gaming weekends with friends and Thanksgiving w/ family I guess.

Then they confirmed a delay for Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze till February 2014.  That's okay, the release schedule in October and November was getting pretty crowded anyways on both Wii U and the Nintendo handhelds.

Then he talked about Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games.  The game actually has an online mode for the very first time, which is absolutely AMAZING.  Also they announced a Wii Remote Plus bundle for the game (which seems to be the theme of the day) and it's coming November 15th.

Then a BOMBSHELL dropped.  Sonic is returning to the next Super Smash Bros. game!  I was expecting it, but simultaneously not expecting it.

Then Iwata discussed the Mission Mode from Pikmin 3.  There's a software update for the game available now and it is required for paid Mission Mode DLC.  Luckily one of them is free, so...

After that, he tossed it over to Nintendo of America and Damon Baker from the licensing department talked about third parties on Nintendo platforms with release dates in parentheses:

  • Etrian Odyssey Untold The Milennium Girl (today)
  • Just Dance 2014 (October 8)
  • Skylanders Swap Force (October 13)
  • Lego Marvel Super Heroes (October 22)
  • Batman Arkham Origins Blackgate (October 25 )
  • Sonic Lost World (October 29)
  • Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag (October 29)
  • Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney Dual Destinies (October 24) - free demo available NOW on Nintendo eShop
  • Nintendo is attending Indiecade!  This is BIG news!
Then after all that, he tossed it over to the Treehouse's Eric Peterson with first-party updates:
  • Zelda Wind Waker HD Outset Island shirt QR code for Animal Crossing New Leaf for those of you who haven't burned out on the game yet
  • 2DS retail hardware shown, looks good.  I might even get the red one for once, who knows.
  • 6 StreetPass hits per Nintendo Zone StreetPass Relay point now
  • New Bravely Default trailer (looks interesting, almost like the graphical style of Final Fantasy 3 on the DS)
Afer that we went back to Iwata and got an update on the new 3DS Zelda, A Link Between Worlds.  This game bucks Zelda convention in that you can get the dungeon items early on and tackle the dungeons in any order you choose.  That is quite cool!

The final announcement?  A BRAND SPANKING NEW KIRBY GAME coming out in 2014!!!  YAY!  Can't wait!  Loved the old-school Kirby music too, can't wait to play that one.