Play Want Bin Expense: 2017-02-27

Is it out yet? Is it out yet?

This time next week, my weekly roundup post should hopefully include some Nintendo Switch! Until then, I have to make do with some old stuff.

Play

doshin the giantDoshin the Giant (GC)
The best of games. I really hope Nintendo make a sequel for the Switch. They won’t, of course, but it’d be nice. Even if it was just a slightly tarted up version of this. Some people would tell you that spending several hours moving trees from one place to another is tedious busywork. Those people are Wrong people.

Ribbit King (GC)
Only a little though. It’s great, but I’m playing this (and Doshin) emulated with a 360 controller and I’d not configured the deadzone on the sticks. Done that now, so next time the targeting reticle won’t move by itself and prevent me from taking shots. I did manage two games against my daughter, despite the Frog Drift, though.

Monster Loves You! (PC)
Something I picked up in a Humble Bundle. I completed it, but it was a bit weird.

Lumo (PS4)
I enjoyed this. And I wrote a review of it. Go and read that review.

Blimey. Is that all this week? Surely not?

Want

SWIIIIIITCH. My extra power cables have arrived. Just need something to plug them into.

Bin

Having to wait for a Switch to arrive.

Expense

Bioshock Infinite Season Pass (Mac/PC) £7.68

foreword.doc

Murder he wrote?

Today, I found two files on my computer from long, long ago (well, 11 years ago anyway). One is called “foreword.doc” and the other is “beginning.doc”. I don’t know why I created them, but I thought I’d publish them here. If you have any ideas exactly what they’re for, please let me know.

foreword.doc

Computers are, almost certainly, the most important invention of the last hundred years or so.  Yes, you could argue that without machines or calculating devices or electric generators or whatever the computer would have never been born.  But that isn’t important.

What is important is they’re here, they rule our lives, and we need them more and more.

Unfortunately, many people are frightened of computers.  They don’t understand them as well as the “experts” (who in reality, probably don’t know nearly as much as they tell you), and they all know that computers will, variously, rot your brain, eat your thesis, cause your hands to drop off, and force you to watch hardcore pornography.  This is a Fact.

beginning.doc

“Computers” is such an all-encompassing term.  If someone tells you they “work with computers”, it could mean they’re a programmer.  Or it could mean they design websites.  Or run a large corporate network.  It could even mean they develop new computer hardware, or, conversely, that they work in a bank and spend eight hours a day typing numbers on a keyboard.

Not that people generally tell you they work with computers.  This is partly due to the reason above, but it is mainly because people who work with computers are considered nerds or geeks, and nerds and geeks are sad, lonely individuals who spend all of their lives indoors with the curtains drawn, watching Star Wars and discussing the finer points of lightsabre battles with other nerds and geeks on the internet.  This is a Fact.

Interestingly, there is (in my mind at least) a distinction between nerds and geeks.  In terms of their perceived stereotypes, at least.

Chips

We hope it’s chips, is chips.

(This suggestion, once more, from @JayTay)

chips

Computer chips? Fish-and chips? Windscreen chips? Wood chips? That TV show, CHiPs? Whizzer-and Chips? People called Chip? Chips, as in Goodbye Mr? Pocket CHIPs? That Swedish band, Chips? Issues of CHIP Magazine? Chip shots? Betting tokens?

CHIPS

Some chip preferences:

Computer chip: Z80 – I can compile code for it by hand
Fish and Chips: salt, vinegar, tomato sauce AND curry sauce
Windscreen Chips: Sort them sooner rather than later
CHiPs: Never seen it
Whizzer and Chips: Whizzer, obviously
People called Chip: I don’t know any
Goodbye, Mr Chips: Not read it, but the TV adaptation with Martin Clunes was good
Pocket CHIP: Excellent wee thing that I still haven’t written about
Chips the Swedish Band: I know nothing of them bar that they exist
CHIP Magazine: I read one issue from 1993
Chip Shots: Most satisfying in PGA Tour Golf
Betting tokens: That one in Fallout New Vegas is the best
Daddy or Chips: Chips

Mystery Game Roulette (Part 2)

LET x=INT RND*7

Carrying on from yesterday, I present to you the Further Adventures with Mystery Game Purchases, from Green Man Gaming. Starting with my second three-pack (and bonus random game):

Second Three-Pack of Mystery Games

1. The Joylancer: Legendary Motor Knight (Steam Page)

mystery game: The Joylancer: Legendary Motor Knight

This looks like my sort of thing. It appears to be not dissimilar to Mega Man crossed with Rocket Knight. I won’t play it.

User Reviews: Mostly Positive
Current Steam Price: £2.09 (saving £1.80)

2. Alien: Isolation (Steam Page)

alien isolation

Far too scary for me. I think I’d actually have preferred the terrible recent Aliens game for the potential laughs it’d give, but whatever. I won’t play it.

User Reviews: Overwhelmingly Positive
Current Steam Price: £10.19 (saving £9.90)

Continue reading “Mystery Game Roulette (Part 2)”

Mystery Game Roulette (Part 1)

Like a tractor.

If you have ever visited Green Man Gaming’s website, you may have stumbled across their “Mystery Game” items for sale. You pay some money, and you’re sent one, three or ten random PC games. They could be awesome and expensive, or they could be terrible bargain bin dross.

It’s very exciting.

Since I had £1 of free credit, I thought I’d take a punt on their single random title (which at the time of writing was 49p) offer, which due to Green Man Gaming’s current Bl**k F****y deals, comes with an additional free random game. Bargain!

Sadly, they limit the number of times you can buy this Mystery Game item to one per customer. However, there seems to be no such limit for the three games (for £1.99). Which of course would be four games. Then maybe buy two of them. For eight games.

With Quidco and the £1 credit, I make that ten random games for about 29p each. What could possibly go wrong? Shall we find out?

First Mystery Game

Legends of Solitaire: Curse of the Dragons (Steam Page)

Mystery Game Legends of Solitaire: Curse of the Dragons

I’ve actually heard good things about this on a podcast, so was reasonably pleased with it. I won’t play it.

User Reviews: Positive
Current Steam Price: £1.19 (saving £0.90)

Free bonus game: Turbo Pug (Steam Page)

turbo pug

Erm, OK. I won’t play it.

User Reviews: Very Positive
Current Steam Price: £0.39 (saving £0.39)

Continue reading “Mystery Game Roulette (Part 1)”

Experiments with POKE

Utterly pointless.

While noodling about with PICO-8, I thought I’d have a go at POKEing random and semi-random values into the screen memory. As you do.

A long time ago, I used to do this sort of thing with the Spectrum, writing very simple assembly routines (and compiling by hand!) that made fancy screen wipes and transferred images from memory to the screen and stuff. So fancy were they, that I lost the comp.sys.sinclair Crap Games Competition one year for being too clever.

In case you’re wondering, POKE is a command that lets you store a value directly into memory without using variables or pointers or other things. On the Spectrum, it was pretty much the quickest way of outputting pixels to the screen outside of actual machine code, and was also used for modifying code. In fact, POKEing became the way of cheating. POKE a bigger number into the Lives counter, or POKE zero into the part of RAM that holds “how much should I decrease energy by?”. Devices like the Romantic Robot Multiface existed mainly for the purpose of enabling this functionality with ease – press a button, POKE, done. You filthy, filthy cheat.

No cheating here though, just a load of sort of pleasing GIFs of the output I’ve been producing. There’s something ethereal about them, if you can get past the pointlessness and eyebleed they suggest.

There’s also the command PEEK, which lets you see the contents of a memory location – useful to check if something is there already.

For these silly experiments, I was POKEing values into the memory range 0x6000 to 0x7FFF – 8K of RAM that make up the PICO-8 screen. Each 8 bit value is two adjacent pixels, reversed. The left 4 bits are the pixel on the right, and the 4 bits on the right are the pixel on the left. It’s a little confusing, but if you saw how the Spectrum arranged its screen you’d cry.

This means each pixel can have a value from 0 to 15, or 0000 to 1111 in binary. 16 colours to match the 16 colours of the PICO-8 palette. All very interesting, but all I was going to do was bung random stuff in there.

And this is what I made:

poke

Continue reading “Experiments with POKE”

Flappy Bird and Crossy Road

PRINT $verb.”y “.$noun

Verby Noun seems to be a thing for mobile games these days. Flappy Bird, Crossy Road, Twisty Board, Choppy Knight, Swimmy Fish, Flippy Bottle and – what the hell – Jumpy Tree!? Twee Verby Noun games are the new Games That Aren’t Boggle, or something. I don’t really know as I don’t use my telephone for gaming because I’m a grownup.

verby noun jumpy-tree twisty-board flippybottle choppy-knight

It did get me thinking though, about how easy it is to create a game concept simply using that naming structure. How easy? This easy:

Addy Sums
Alerty Klaxon
Announcey Tannoy
Applaudy Audience
Attacky Tiger
Bakey Cake
Barky Dog
Bitey Mouth
Bleedy Corpse
Blessy Priest
Boily Water
Bomby Plane
Bruisey Knee
Burny Fire
Burrowy Badger
Chasey Missile
Choppy Axe
Coily Spring
Comby Hair
Connecty Dots
County Sheep
Crushy Grapes
Cryey Baby
Cutty Knife
Dancey Party
Darny Sock
Dially Phone
Diggy Hole
Dividey Cells
Drinky Pop
Drippy Tap
Drivey Car
Drowny Kittens
Eaty Pie
Echoy Tunnel
Fally Rain
Floaty Boat
Floody Valley
Flushy Toilet
Followy Leader
Haunty Ghost
Hitty Boxer
Holdy Hand
Hoppy Bunny
Injecty Drugs
Itchy Bits
Joggy Bottoms
Kicky Foot
Kissy Face
Knitty Knots
Knocky Wood
Launchy Rocket
Licky Tongue
Locky Door
Marchy Band
Melty Blood 1
Mergey Traffic
Milky Cow
Moisteny Towelette
Openy Window
Packy 2 Bags
Parky Car
Painty Brush
Pointy Finger
Preservey Fruit
Pressy Button
Pricky Sausage
Pumpy Tyres
Punchy Face
Reversey Truck
Selly Shop
Shiny Star
Shocky Cable
Shooty Gun
Shouty Man
Sneezey Nose
Spanny Bridge
Squeaky Mouse
Stabby Dagger
Swervey Bike
Swoopy Bat
Tappy Shoulder
Tempty Treat
Throwy Stick
Tossy Salad
Turny Handle
Votey Candidate
Walky Path
Warny Sign
Washy Dishes
Wavey Flag
Whippy Horse
Wrappy Present

That easy. Every single one evokes an actual game just from the title, and each is a surefire million selling hit. Now, if only I could code well enough to make them. That and I suspect half of them probably already exist.

Notes:

  1. No, that’s a real one!
  2. Careful!

Bitten by a Tree

May contain gore. Oh wait, you’ve already seen it. Sorry.

The other weekend we went for a walk in the woods and somehow wandered off the main path and ended up lost. Not actually lost, because I don’t do lost, more I couldn’t figure out how to get where we needed to go rather than where we were.

Complicating things were hundreds of close-knit trees with low spiky branches blocking the path. I say path but clearly we were well past being able to formally identify a route as such a thing by then. Luckily, most of the evil twigs of death were rotten so were easily snapped so long as one was careful.

If one was not careful, then the following happened:

Firstly, I was bitten by the tree. Just a small prick in my forearm near my elbow, which stung a little at the time but after a few minutes became just a simple itch. Once we’d found our way out of the trees, I’d forgotten about it.

Until later that day when it started to swell and itch again. There was no discernible mark, just a lump under the skin. I couldn’t even see where it had punctured the flesh, and started to wonder if maybe it had just been a nettle sting instead.

The following day, a patch of skin about the size of a penny coin had gone red. The swelling was worse, it itched like crazy, and by the afternoon small even redder spots had appeared at Ground Zero.

The day after that, it started to ooze sap. Literally that – amber goo slowly trickling from the lump, even though the skin still hadn’t broken. Somehow I was bleeding tree-blood through osmosis, and it was setting firm, if a little sticky. The tree was clearly vampiric, and I was slowly becoming a vampire tree myself.

A little over a week later, and the lump has gone, the skin has been replaced by a covering of amber, and I’m currently awaiting my first leaf buds to appear.