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What I’ve Been Doing 16 Dec 2013 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Dec 16th, 2013 by Dan

LEFT 4 DEAD

Brilliant game. (Photo by Eddie Shannon)

Thanks to a snowstorm Katie, Min, Lee, and I got to play some Left 4 Dead. I’d forgotten how sharp that game’s design was!

Movies

Nein.

TV

The Amazing Race – I was spot on with my predictions last week. Super fun episode and, surprisingly, Tim and Marie ended up my favorite racers by the end.

The Daily Show – Watched a few eps here and there, but the white/black Santa bit was…HILARIOUS. Definitely watch the opening 10 mins or so of the Evangeline Lilly episode. So hilarious.

Plays of the Month: April – We had to start somewhere. I was hoping for more Marlins/Orioles highlights, but it was still loads of fun. Under 60 days to pitchers and catchers!

Community – Saw a season 5 trailer and decided that I should actually watch the last two episodes of season 4. I didn’t really enjoy the retcon of the way the characters were all related, but at least it was funny enough. The finale was a little silly (it’s all a dream, seriously?), but I like where it sets up the show to go in S5. Plus darkest timeline Annie…wow…

Homeland – I’m baffled by how much critics seem to love the finale of S3. I thought it was kind of safe and convenient and every happy outcome that you’d expect happened. It felt too happy. Plus Carrie is a terrible employee of the CIA and shouldn’t be a station chief. I also would have liked to see the rest of the Brodys and how they reacted to Nick being on tv as a propaganda tool and his execution. Anyway, I found the season to be vastly inferior to the first and normally inferior to the second.

Project Runway: All-Stars – It feels weird that I recognize so many of these designers. As I’ve said before, still a decent show. Plus it teaches me a little more about fashion.

Music

I like Straight No Chaser’s version of the “12 Days of Christmas”

Books

Well Played 1.0: Video Games, Value, and Meaning – I finished the Super Mario Bros. section, but I found it to be a little to simplistic. It was covering stuff that I already knew too well. The Advance Wars section is more interesting and I’m appreciating some of the game design stuff I’m learning, but I’m hoping things get more in depth, a la David Sirlin’s writing about game systems.

Video Games

Super Mario 3D World – Just a few mins of this. Really excited to get down with it in Florida.

Rayman Legends – A few levels of this too. I liked the more complicated Murphy wheels.

Left 4 Dead – Kate got her first games in and she loved it. Makes me really happy because I’d talked up how good it was before. I hope she continues to love it and digs part 2 as well.

XCOM: Enemy Within – New game seems to be going better, but I’m losing some good men. I’m hoping for better luck on the council missions, because they’re really tough.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies – I’m pretty sure I mentioned that I beat case 3, right? Well case 4 involves…ASTRONAUTS! So cool. I wish I hadn’t seen a spoiler about the culprit, but it’s still been an interesting case so far and I’m a long way from that spoiler.

Rock Band 3 – Busted out this bad boy once again to play with Katie and Min. She dug drumming and I started to recover my strumming abilities. Just gotta start singing too next time. Our new band is awesome

Spelunky – I got cocky about beating David’s score and then…I died. Goddammit…

What I’ve Been Doing 9 Dec 2013 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Dec 9th, 2013 by Dan

Benedict  – 12 Years A Slave

Weird to see Benedict Cumberbatch with a Southern accent (Photo courtesy touchedmuch)

It’s been a surprisingly movie-filled week! I don’t usually talk about the sporting events I watched here, but that was a hell of a Ravens game yesterday, wasn’t it!

Movies

12 Years a Slave – What an intense movie. Extremely well-acted and a brilliant counterpoint to Django Unchained. Where Django took revenge for slavery, 12 Years a Slave makes it a hell of a lot more personal and is that much better for it. The flick is tough to watch sometimes, but it’s the best movie I’ve seen this year (so far).

Little Big League – My favorite of the baseball movies that came out when I was a kid. Holds up remarkably well as an adult. I don’t know if Min liked it as much as Kate and I did, but it’s pretty solid.

Love Actually – I expected it to be good and romantic, but I really didn’t expect the nudity or the swearing. I thought it was tame and PG-13 type stuff, but I think it’s way more interesting this way in that it’s not sanitized or too safe. Good movie!

TV

Brooklyn Nine-Nine – Terry’s back in the field! Andre Braugher does deadpan so hilariously, but the popping and locking was even better.

The Mindy Project – Heck of a dance number in the middle of that episode.

The Amazing Race – So the finale for season 23 is on my DVR and I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS! I’m thinking that the Afghanimals might get eliminated and Jason and Amy might win. We’ll see!

Almost Human – I love sci-fi shows. Love ‘em. I dig shows about robots too. This is the perfect match for me. It’s pretty much a police procedural in the future at this point, but that’s cool with me. Robots! With senses of humor!

Homeland – …I dunno. Everyone’s just so unprofessional and irrational in this show. I liked that the episode was an abbreviated retelling of the first two seasons, but I hate so much about this show this season and I really hope Brody either doesn’t make it out of Tehran…or he turns on the US and becomes the big bad for season 4.

Music

I really just love “Hannah Hunt” by Vampire Weekend. I’m sure I’ve posted it here before, but we’re doing it anyway!

Books

Well Played 1.0: Video Games, Value, and Meaning – Read the essay on Ico and I’m partway through the Super Mario Bros. one. Nothing groundbreaking yet, but I love reading this kind of stuff about games anyway, so I’m not too bothered by it.

Video Games

Super Mario 3D Land – Played the first level to activate SpotPass, but I’ve been focusing on beating Phoenix Wright first so that I can get to Zelda and finish Pokemon too. So many 3DS games!

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies – Case 3 is DONE! The culprit was who I thought it was (it was really kind of obvious, actually) and I wish that I hadn’t accidentally ended up spoiling the final culprit for myself, but Case 4 is certainly intriguing so far (astronaut defendant!)

Pokemon Y – Beat Lysandre (almost lost my Min pokemon to a Mega Gyarados. He held on with 3 HP) and I’m in some cave now. Gotta get the gyms and the elite 4 done, but I’m on the home stretch. Did lose my Pidgeotto, Sawyer. Replaced him with a Marowak.

XCOM: Enemy Within – I’m on my eighth save file trying to get it going right. Game 7 was going really well…until I failed the first part of Progeny and Daniel and David died. Then I completely wiped on Slingshot’s first mission, losing Katie, Molly, Lee, and Kunal. Another wipe meant I had to restart. MEC suits kick ass. Can’t wait to get it going again.

Exploring Sound in Super Mario Bros for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
Oct 18th, 2012 by Eric

Hey, Eric again. (Don’t worry, I’m not taking over Dan’s blog….yet) Dan’s comment in yesterday’s video (You Never Forget your First Time #1) made me want to explore the unique way that the NES produced sound for its iconic game, Super Mario Bros. Thanks to emulation we’re able to listen to the sound from different chips and see just how it works together to make a song.

You Never Forget Your First Time #1: Super Mario Brothers
Oct 16th, 2012 by Eric

 

Join me, Eric, in my new video game series where I try and remember what it was like to play games from my youth for the first time. Our exciting first entry, Super Mario Brothers.

The Most Epic Mario 30th Anniversary Tribute Medley To Date [ER/GO]
Sep 14th, 2011 by Dan

EDIT: The music they play during the Donkey Kong section is from DKC. That’s the only part that bugs me, really.

5-10-15-20 [GO]
Jun 2nd, 2011 by Dan

Dan helps Tony with Pokemon

I got this idea from Kill Screen (who got this idea from Pitchfork) to talk about my gaming life in five year increments. Pitchfork does it with music and really it can be done with any media, but I’m doing games.

AGE 5 (1991)

One of my first video game memories is sitting in my parents’ living room in Hialeah watching them play a Bowser level in Super Mario Bros. I remember being scared of the creepy black castle level. This was the launch year for the SNES, but I’m sure we didn’t get it until 1992 or 1993. Instead we mostly amused ourselves with Contra, Mega Man 2, and Bubble Bobble.

AGE 10 (1996)

I’m pretty sure my brothers and I discovered the JRPG in 1995 or 1996. We would have played Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VI, and Super Mario RPG over those two years and changed our gaming landscape forever.

Of course 1996 also marks the genesis of 3D gaming for me. The N64 came out that September, but we didn’t open it until Christmas. Super Mario 64 would be the first of many great games I had for that system.

AGE 15 (2001)

Big things were happening in the gaming landscape on the PS2, but I knew nothing of that. A $400 system was way out of my price range, so I missed the launches of GTA3 and MGS2.

It was freshman year of high school and we learned partway through that we were going to be moving to Tampa. My dad got a new laptop from his job that I used to finally play the PC version of FF VII on road trips to and from Tampa. I remember breeding a Golden Chocobo and thinking that it wasn’t really all that hard. Don’t think I ever beat FF VIII. I think I also played a lot of Final Fantasy VIII that way too. More importantly, that year I got Civilization 3 and tons of Lucasarts adventure games including the Monkey Island series, Grim Fandango, and Day of the Tentacle.

We also got a Gamecube that year for Christmas and Super Smash Bros. Melee along with Pikmin, I think.

What a banner year for gaming, wow.

AGE 20 (2006)

By now I’m a sophomore/junior at university and I’ve got a job to help me pay for my video game habit. I picked up a PS2 in 2004 and started working through the back catalog of games I’d missed. Early in the year I remember playing two RPGs, Kingdom Hearts 2 and Shadow Hearts: From the New World.

They’re fun, but 2006 is a year of PC gaming for me. I spend WAY too much time playing World of Warcraft in 2006. I started the summer of 2005 and I end up quitting around Christmas of that same year, but I come back to it over the summer and it consumes a lot of my days and weekends as I try to power level my Horde character to join a raid guild with my friend Chris. It’s funny, I couldn’t remember why it was that I didn’t play so many console games this year until I remembered that my WoW habit started in force during 2006.

I also grew into the PC shooter this year with a lot of Counterstrike: Source with my roommate, Simon. We played that to fill a lot of our spare time and I also pushed through Half-Life 2: Episode 1 way too quickly.

Unfortunately I’m only 25 now, so I can’t really continue the feature until next year. I keep much better track of what I play nowadays, so it’ll be even easier.

The Truth About Peach and Zelda [ER/GO]
Jan 15th, 2011 by Dan

I always knew something seemed suspicious about their kidnapping frequency.

Frustration: The Weekend’s Scores That Matter [WMQ]
May 3rd, 2010 by Dan

It's Blooper!

I did a search for "blooper" in Flickr to express my frustration and this unexpectedly came up. Not what I had in mind, but it relieves some of the stress.

My PS3 decided to stop reading discs correctly for the second time in its lifespan, temporarily halting my video game NPB season with the Carp just about to widen the gap between third and fourth by beating the Swallows. Hopefully I get the system back before next week, but it’s leaving me at a loss for stuff to play this week. Looks like L4D2 and Sam & Max will be getting my attention.

30 April

NPB
Chunichi Dragons (0) at Hiroshima Carp (9). Nothing like a solid, blowout, shutout win to get the weekend started.

Orix Buffaloes (1) at Rakuten Eagles (2). Winning the close ones is key. Rakuten’s weekend rotation is among the strongest in the NPB, so it’s nice to see them get wins.

MLB
Boston Red Sox (4) at Baltimore Orioles (5). The only thing better than the Sox losing to the Orioles in a game is being there in person to witness it (which I was).

Washington Nationals (7) at Florida Marlins (1). What happened Ricky?

Kansas City Royals (3) at Tampa Bay Rays (2). Probably the only time all year KC’s bullpen will outduel anyone. There’s a reason Maddon is riding the starters hard in Tampa. Still, it was a strong effort by Jeff Niemann, yet again.

1 May

NPB
Dragons (12) at Carp (6). Chunichi gives back as hard as it took.

Buffaloes (1) at Eagles (2). Two nights in a row!

MLB
Royals (4) at Rays (2). Another late inning loss despite solid pitching by David Price.

Red Sox (9) at Orioles (12). Daisuke Matsuzaka’s first start back doesn’t go quite like he hoped, giving up six earned (seven total).

Nationals (1) at Marlins (7). This is what I like to see. Way to go Volstad, who throws a complete game gem against the Nats and finally gets his stuff together this season.

2 May

NPB
Buffaloes (2) at Eagles (3). Whoa! Series sweep! This puts the Eagles tied for fourth with their 15-19-0 record!

Dragons (3) at Carp (4). Hiroshima takes the rubber game and holds on for the series win. 13-18-0 has them a game behind Yokohama and half a game up on the Swallows.

MLB
Nationals (3) at Marlins (9). Another solid win for Josh Johnson who was not as sharp as last time, but sharp enough. Both Florida and Washington end their weekend at 13-12, tied for third, 1.5 back from first.

Red Sox (2) at Orioles (3). Another sweep for the weekend. These three wins put Baltimore at 7-18. They’re still in last, but now they’re only 9.5 games back.

Royals (0) at Rays (1). An old fashioned pitching duel between Greinke and Davis ends with Wade on top. The Rays go into this week still in first with an 18-7 record and a 1.5 game lead.

Bit and Run [ER/GO]
Apr 5th, 2010 by Dan

“bit and run” — Mario’s Ladder from Cory Godbey on Vimeo.

Trippy

The OneUps and SMB [Feedback/ER]
Feb 25th, 2010 by Dan

It’s pretty funny in an intentionally cheesy way.

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