Monthly Archives: October 2010

Here’s a bunch of links to cool Fallout: New Vegas thingies

So, there’s this game out that I’m currently obsessed over. I’m sure you can figure out which one it is. No, it’s not Ben 10 Ultimate Alien: Cosmic Destruction. Anyways, let me share some nifty links with y’all…

Over at Grimly Enthusiatic, a journal of the Courier’s days in the Mojave Wasteland. It’s not really an actual journal journal, as in “dear world, here’s what I did today, I am so lonely,” but rather a loglist of odd bugs and glitches. Looks like some desert folk can’t tell the difference between a male/female Courier.

Over at 1Up, read and take in their Fallout: New Vegas survival guide. Some very good tips, especially the whole “play to your strenths” one. Quick note: the guide contradicts itself by saying that Science, Repair, and Lock-picking are the best skills to tag and then says in the text that Science, Lock-picking, and Speech are the best. I’ve yet to really find a good use for lock-picking, but having a good Speech skill is nearly essential. Oh so essential. Tag it. TAG IT RIGHT NOW, KIDS.

Over at Popmatters, two interesting articles: Sex Workers and Sex Slavery in Fallout: New Vegas and Fallout: The Scrounging Simulator. I can’t really comment on the first one as I haven’t done any quests related to slavery and prostitutes in the latest game, but I do wholeheartedly agreed with the second article. During these tough times, it is important to learn to carry only what you need, only what will keep you going forward.

Over at G4TV, there’s a Fallout Fall Fashion Show. Pretty hilarious stuff. Actually, after watching, most of the outfits seem inspired more from Fallout 3 happenings rather than Fallout: New Vegas. Oh well. I’m sure many will still dig ’em. “Seriously, I’m gonna loot that body.”

Lastly, over at Kotaku, actor/rapper Ice-T is also dealing with the bugs and quirks in the Mojave Wasteland. Don’t really get it, but that’s just me. I’m still waiting for someone more like Zooey Deschanel to openly admit how much of a Fallout fan she is…

Okay, that’s all for now. Happy reading!

I hate the new

You know how the saying goes: nobody likes change.

But the revamping of, a website I would frequent often to scan my list of earned and unearned Achievements, catch up on what my online friends were doing, and play around a bit in the forums, has not merely been changed. It’s been made, more or less, unnavigable.

It took me a good number of clicks to find the forums, and even more to scan my list of games played as well as their progress towards 100%. What’s more annoying is that even when under my section of games played, clicking the game’s name or cover art box no longer brings me to my Achievement list; instead I am rerouted to the game’s hub page so I can hand over hard-earned money for DLC and Avatar items. Er, no thanks. No…see, I was supposed to click the “view Achievements” button off to the side. I don’t know. It’s probably a small thing to some people, but I used to think that all the covers and game names were connected to me and my progress. It is also harder to see what Achievements have been earned versus not earned; they used to be grayed out, but are now tagged the same style except they have “- -” next to the Gamerscore icon.

New features include the ability to edit avatars via the website, a combined view for messages, friend requests, and game invites, improved account notification; family reports so you can keep tabs on your household, and the ability to play web games with friends via the website or Windows Phone 7. Nothing to really jump around over. Couldn’t figure out how to play a web game with a friend via the site either.

Also, the fact that the new site incorporates so much white space gives it a vapid, unprofessional feel to it.

In short, ughhhhh. And I’ll probably end up using the site a whole lot less. Good job, Microsoft!

Found my first bugs in Fallout: New Vegas, and I’m not talking about radroaches or bloatflies

Fallout: New Vegas was only released like two weeks ago, and the world mostly knows it for being an extremely buggy game. And we’re not talking about a wasteland full of mutated swarms of praying mantises or radroaches; no, these are programming bugs, wonky coding and scripting that can totally ruin one’s gameplay session. Or, in my case, help keep me alive for a few more minutes. More on that later. But yeah, bugs. LET ME SHOW YOU THEM, says LOLCAT.

How bad can it be? Well, the game shipped, and several players found a rather unsettling bug in the very first few minutes. Not a good start. Luckily, Doc Mitchell’s head stayed put for my first playthrough. Over the past few days, thanks to a patch, Obsidian Entertainment passed along 200 scripting and quest bug fixes for those connected to the Internet. Me? Nope, no Web yet. Still gotta call Comcast and get it all set up at the Leaky Cauldron, which means I’m playing vanilla Fallout: New Vegas, the true layer, broken and spotty, the way it was meant to be played because, well, the game shipped like this, and that’s actually a little sad. They had like two years to toy with that engine. But Fallout 3 prepared me for glitchy gameplay, and there’s nothing too terrible to really get me to put this game aside.

So, last night, while working on the quest My Kind of Town I came across three different bugs.

Buggy bug #1: I entered an NCR tent near Primm to find a trooper standing on top of a chair as if she was five years old and throwing a tantrum for a cookie before dinner. Tara and I laughed out loud and waited for her to walk off the chair back to the floor. Which she did quickly. Odd, all in all.

Buggy bug #2: Being chased by two radscorpions, which, if both hit me, would be certain death. Thankfully, one of the radscorpions walked into a rock…and got stuck there. Like…inside the rock. I could target it with V.A.T.S. and all, but it was not moving from that rock. Sweet. I took care of its brother and then left it to die a rocky death.

Buggy bug #3: Now, this is the one that worries me. Was in the NCRCF, taking out Powder Gangers left and right in search of a new sheriff when all of a sudden…my gun disappeared. Poof. Gone. No more 9mm pistol. Yet I could still fire and damage enemies. I just had no way of aiming, but V.A.T.S. still worked as well. I tried putting my weapon away and taking it back out so to speak, but nothing showed. So I hid in a corner, freaking out with a bunch of corpses and bent cans. Then, without reason or sound, the gun came back. Thankfully, the room was already cleared out by then. This kind of bug can be very damaging though, and I hope I don’t see it happen again.

But at least no quests have wonked out on me…yet. That would be the saddest thing ever, like not being able to finish one’s favorite meal. I love quests. I love starting them, following them, and finishing them. Especially Fallout quests; they are so inventive and open, and they can be done this way or that way or not even done at all.

So, yeah. Fallout: New Vegas is kind of a crappy game from a programming bird’s eye view. However, that won’t stop me from having a good time. Think I might even head to the strip soon…


…oh right! I forgot to mention that I unlocked the above Achievement eleven days ago in a tiny chapel in Kinnelon, NJ, but I can’t seem to find it in my big  online list thingy. Hmm. Maybe it’s glitched. Well, the ceremony oh so happened, I swear! Further proof is on my ring finger and in my heart. Love you, hon.

Oh, the folks you’ll meet in New Vegas: Doc Mitchell

Doc Mitchell is the very first in-game character you’ll meet in Fallout: New Vegas. He’s the surgeon in the small town of Goodsprings, as well as possibly a former vault dweller from years past. His main role is to help you, the Courier, with the character creation process, and he does this in a number of ways. First, he asks you for your name, which I told him was Jareth; he did not seem too impressed with this choice. Next he asks you to examine the Vit-O-Matic Vigor-Tester, which is how you assign your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. points. Lastly, he runs you through a word association quiz and some Rorschach tests to determine which three skills to tag you with. This system works much better than it did in Fallout 3, streamlining the process and just chugging along at a better clip.

Before you leave the doctor’s house, Mitchell will give you some items: a Pip-Boy 3000, pistol, and  a jumpsuit from Vault 21 (thus the reason I suspect he once lived in a vault for a bit). You can also find a number of items in his house. I found some ammo, a doctor’s bag, and miscellaneou junk that was ripe for selling. If you need to heal up or cure some radiation poisoning and want to pay a lot of caps for it (100 and 50, respectively), he’s the man to see, but I know there’s cheaper options available. Just go drink out of the rad-free toilet in his bathroom a couple dozen times.

Doc Mitchell is voiced by Michael Hogan who is most notably known as everyone’s favorite one-eyed XO Colonel Saul Tigh from frakkin’ Battlestar Galactica. He’s not as rough-sounding in Fallout: New Vegas, and definitely slows down his words a bit, as if he has all the time in the world to tell you what you need to hear. Also, I love that Tigh and Mitchell even look very much alike:

Just throw a cowboy mustache on him and we’re good to go!

Currently, I’m gearing up to convince the doctor to help me in aiding the town against some nasty gang of escaped prisoners. I’m looking forward to seeing his role expand over time, but I suspect he might just be a one-shot deal, there only to help the Courier get started and nothing more. Time will tell, of course.

Not sure if this whole “oh, the characters you’ll meet in New Vegas” feature will be a thing or not, but I might write a bit more about other characters I meet as I traverse the Mojave Wasteland. Heck, there’s enough interesting folk in Goodsprings alone (come on, Ringo!) for at least four or five more posts…

Oh, hey, I’m back and you can now all cheer


::hooray yippee woohoo:::

Okay, settle down. It’s not like I’m–


Aw, so you did miss me, dear readers? That’s swell. I missed–

::so much frakkin’ confetti everywhere::

–you, too. But not too much–I was on my honeymoon in Walt Disney World after all. Hard to miss nearly anything when you’re in the happiest place on Earth.

Now…since this is a videogame blog and not a wedding blog, let’s see what I got to play over the last numerous days: Dragon Quest IX and Picross 3D.

THAT’S IT. I had my entire DS collection with me, and I only ever switched out the cartridges twice. Unless you want to count me not going crazy over missing out on Fallout: New Vegas fun as a game. Cause I played that a lot. A LOT. But I did a good job about not pestering Tara over it. And we’re still married! Hooray!

But yeah…I grinded in DQIX like never before thanks to airplane rides. I was able to raise my party of four by four whole levels from roughly 41 to 45, taking down both nasty forms of  King Godwyn, and have now made my way to the Realm of the Almighty for what I suspect is the final boss battle. I say that like it means something, but with DQIX, it really  doesn’t. Beating the final boss does not mean completing the game, but it will open up a slew of more sidequests, as well as give me more breathing room for grinding new characters and completing all those lists (alchemy, item, clothing, so on). Speaking of sidequests, I finished a couple of ’em, the most frustrating being Prat’s the Way to Do It, wherein I needed to get my Minstrel character to land two critical hits with the Pratfall ability. No easy task. Grinding helped though, and when I nailed the second one I was genuinely surprised and happy; I hate giving up a sidequest to make room for another one that seems impossible to do (uh, like that metal slime one). I also ended up completing two treasure maps, killing some legendary bosses like Shogum and Nemean–I think those are references to previous DQ games, but I don’t recognize ’em.

Oh, and the tally of completed puzzles in Picross 3D is now 279. Impressed? Well…you should be!

So, yeah. Not an amazing amout of gaming got done during the wedding/honeymoon time, as was to be expected. But that’s all about to change. Here I come, Fallout: New Vegas!

Be right back, getting married

Well, I gotta put Grinding Down on hold for a little bit as I’m getting married this Saturday. Random and pointless blathering about videogames will continue once I’m back from the honeymoon, and you’ll know when that is when you see posts here again. Fallout: New Vegas comes out when Tara and I are strolling the streets of the Magic Kingdom and Hogsmeade, and I guess that’s a pretty good tradeoff, but I have two things to say to those getting the game on the day it drops: 1) have fun, you lucky bastard(s) and 2) I hate you.

Be back soon, dear readers!

P.S. Those are the cake toppers Tara and I designed based off of my Supertown comic style. Adorable and faceless is the way to be.

The time to time-travel in Chrono Trigger is now

I’ve played the first hour or so of Chrono Trigger at least five times total over these many years of mine. But that’s all I ever played. The first hour–waking up in bed, going to the festival, losing Marle to some time vortex, following after her, the trial, eventually ending up in the future, which is all about being post-apocalyptic and  tragic–is pretty dang near tattooed in my brain, and I have shoddy ROMs to blame. Yup, I used an SNES emulator way back when to catch up on some games I missed, and it seemed like every time I got to Arris Dome (or one of those domes) the ROM would crash. And so, I never got back from the future, and I’m guessing my in-game friends of Crono, Lucca, and Marle all died terribly of massive hunger and depression. Robo’s probably still there unless his robotic comrades turned him into scrap metal.

Hmm…no good way to transition from that.

Well, last week, during a heightened stage of insanity from wedding stress and worries about [detail redacted], I picked up Chrono Trigger for the Nintendo DS. It’s a cartridge I’ve been wanting to add to my collection for some time now, and I found it reasonably priced at $20.00. Even though it was a used copy, it still came with the poster that new copies were shipped with…so that’s nice. Granted, I won’t really be hanging it up, but bonus stuff is bonus stuff.

And the even better news is I’ve broken out of my Chrono Trigger slump. I’ve played about three hours worth of the game now and even made it to the end of time. Dun, dun, dunnn. From there, I time-traveled to the land of dinosaurs, which, if I may make the joke, is more accurately known as the land before time. I really do hope I can throw a Lightning Slash against Ducky “Bigmouth” Saurolophus because, as it turns out, one can only listen to her “Yep! Yep! Yep!” so many times. Lots of places to visit there, but no clear quest direction, and I’m not sure how to get back yet.

So I got some grinding to do though as these dinos are actually really tough against my LV 13/14s, and I have to wonder if I wasn’t supposed to go here first; I did head back to the original timeline beforehand only to discover the town and such overrun by goblins and beasts. Not sure what to do about that yet, but regardless, I’m just glad to be experiencing more Chrono Trigger than I ever did before.

Also, the normal day-to-day enemy battles are really tense, much more than any of the boss fights so far. I really like that and miss that feeling of uncertainty and timing and importancy on paying attention to health points and where the enemies are on the playing field. No offense, Dragon Quest IX, because I do love you, but I can just button mash my way to safety each and every time. Chrono Trigger is certainly a refreshing RPG experience, which is funny considering it’s 15 years old.

The arduous task of deciding what Nintendo DS games to pack for the honeymoon

Five days to go until the wedding, and I’m still not even packed yet for the honeymoon. Hmm, might want to get going on that. Will have to make a note. Or, um, just look at this blog post again later. And I’m not even talking about packing clothes…just trying to narrow down what Nintendo DS games I can fit–and should fit–in my travel bag.

First, let me stop you and your finger-waggin’ assuming. Yes, this is Tara and I’s honeymoon, and yes, we’ll be doing lots of honeymoon-like things. Wink, wink. As well as going all over the place in Disney World and the Wizardy World of Harry Potter, dining fine and laughing and loving it up. I promise you, we will. But remember, there’s the airport waiting and flight itself to contend with, and if there’s one thing I’m really not a huge fan of…it’s flying. Anxiety and giant hunks of metal and wires magically floating in the air do not mix well. So I will need some distraction like woah, and thus enters my Nintendo DS. My travel bag can hold around 12 game catridges (I’m actually a little fuzzy on that; it might even be more), as well as another cartridge in the DS game slot.

Here’s the ones that fall under must definitely bring:

  • Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars
  • Chrono Trigger DS
  • Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies
  • Mario Kart DS
  • Picross 3D
  • Scribblenauts

DQIX will be perfect for killing time, as there are a bunch of sidequests and grinding to do. I also picked up Chrono Trigger DS last week and am enjoying that a lot too (more on that game later). Scribblenauts, while not perfect, is fun just to fool around with, and I think the others listed are self-explanatory.

And then here’s some filler:

  • Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
  • MySims Agents
  • Pokemon HeartGold


I think Tara is just bringing one game with her, and that’s Animal Crossing: Wild World. I have good memories of that game helping to soothe my sanity during a much longer flight from New Jersey to Arizona when I went to see my sister, meaning she’ll be just fine.

Either way, still lots to get done this week. Please pray for me.

REVIEW: Samorost 2

Developer/Publisher: Amanita Design
Platform: Mac OS X [reviewed], Windows, Linux
Genre(s): Point-and-click puzzler
Mode(s): Single player
Rating: ESRB: No idea, but it was fairly harmless and I’d guess something like E for Everyone
Time clocked: Around one hour

Sadly, I had to pack up the Xbox 360 and TV yesterday as my father came up to help me move from one apartment to the next. He was, however, running late, and I had about two hours to kill in a room full of boxes and nothing fun to play with (please keep your dirty thoughts to yourself). Sure, sure, I had my Nintendo DS, but that was kind of tucked away in my travel bag, and I just didn’t feel like getting off my Mac at that point. Then, ashamed, I remembered that I got five six games for my laptop back when I purchased the Humble Indie Bundle. Five main ones, and the sixth one, Samorost 2, was a bonus for those that helped contribue to the cause.

And so I scanned the list, trying to decide what to play for a bit. I dismissed World of Goo because I’m stuck on one level and can’t do anything else, as well as Aquaria, which is a game I like, but I really need to be in a mood to play. Finally, I picked Samorost 2, knowing nothing about it, only finding the name intriguing.

Samorost 2 is, obviously, a sequel, a follow-up to a game I’ve never played, but from what I can gather–that’s okay. You can go into Samorost 2 knowing nothing about it and still have a great time. The game opens up with a couple of aliens landing on a small planet, eating some fruit, and then stealing a strange little man’s dog because it was barking a little too much. The little man, referenced on another website as a space gnome, doesn’t change out of his PJs and follows their spaceship in pursuit of his best friend. And that’s the plot: rescue the dog and return home. It’s simple, but it works, and the world and creatures and mechanisms that revolve around the plot help buffer it along.

And man, what a beautiful world it is. The quality of the visuals is striking; the space gnome, his dog, and alien lifeforms are presented in a cartoonish form, but animated very well, giving off a Monty Python’s Flying Circus feel to it. The backgrounds (and foregrounds) on each level are extremely detailed and colorful, with a variety of alien flora and fauna (pun-intended) to enjoy, all done in a collage kind of way.

Gameplay is point-and-click, and the cursor turns into a hand when hovering over an item or part of the level that can be interacted with. Breaking tradition, there’s no inventory system, meaning if the space gnome picks up an item, it can–and must–be used there and then to solve the puzzle and move forward. This is a good thing in my opinion; I’ve been currently carrying around a lot of the same items in Broken Sword: The Shadows of the Templars, and each time I try to use them I fall flat on my face. Stupid elephant carving. Anyways, yeah. You point, you click, something happens. Sometimes you have to point, click, and click again while something is happening, but it’s pretty easy to figure out if you pay attention to the level and what does what. There were only two times where I got stuck. The first was because I just couldn’t find the exact pixel to click on, which was frustrating, and the second time came at Samorost 2‘s end when you have to do a bunch of things in a very specific order or start all over again. I did those final puzzles three times before I got it right.

Samorost 2 features a very odd, atmospheric soundtrack. Some levels have just tiny bits of music to it, some have none at all. It works well, but ultimately it’s forgettable. Also absent…dialogue. Progression and plot is told visually, and again, it boils down to “rescue dog and return home.” Some alien gruntage and a few doggy barks pepper the landscape, but it really doesn’t need a narrator or the space gnome’s opinionated musings. Though I still don’t understand why the alien monster is watching soccer on his TV.

Alas, Samorost 2‘s biggest fault is that it is a very short game. Even shorter than Limbodun dun dunnn. Consisting of seven levels, all of which are re-accessable via an age-old password system, the game’s running time is estimated between one and two hours, depending how stuck you get or how slow you pace yourself. I gobbled the game up very fast though. It’s extremely charming, stylish, and deceptively tricky. There’s an invisible rope attached to your heart, tugging you forward, and when you reach the next room, you just can’t help but click around, and before you know it, you’re in the next room. And so on, and so on. If you got some time to kill, I definitely recommend it. You can play a good portion of the game for free over at its website. Hop to it, young space gnome wannabes!