Monday, July 8, 2013

Weekend Review: July 6th & 7th

Every weekend there are new sights, sounds, and taste to consume. There are other sensory inputs that tickle my brain too, but saying there is stuff to feel sounds creepy. This is a weekly journal of my weekend endeavors. Enjoy!

Ginormous 4th of July long weekend wrap up incoming I've been heads down on work and home projects for two weeks now and dipped out on writing here as a result. So without further ado, the weekend review...and most of June too:


Dead Ahead (iOS)
Another game I fell in love with in the endless runner genre. I get really wrapped up in the repetitive nature of "just one more run". Dead Ahead is a 2D side-scroller set in a zombie apocalypse. You play a protagonist on a dirt bike running from a zombie hoard. The only way to keep them back is to accelerate or shoot (risky) them (limited ammo). The obstacles ahead of you include more zombies (that will slow you down) and cars (that will end your run). The mechanics and controls are solid. The pixel art and animation has a chibi look and is quite pretty. All that and it is free. It is ad supported though, so I dropped the $0.99 required to remove them. Well worth the price.

Deep Dungeons of Doom (iOS)

Triple D looks a bit like the combat portion of a JRPG. You control a hero on the left side of the screen and the creatures you face appear opposite you. It is real time and all you can do is block and attack. That sounds basic and it is, but the beauty is in the timing. Creatures can block and attack as well and learning their tells is a big part of the game. That is made easier by the fantastic pixel art and animation (noticing a theme?). This is a another free one, but unlike Dead Ahead the model for profit is not based on ads. After 5-6 dungeons D3 presents a pay wall. Pay $1.99 for 6 additional dungeons in not one, but two instances. Each dungeon took me maybe 4-5 minutes to complete. At that rate, I was good with the hour I spent with the game, but did not continue.

Block, Block, Block (iOS)

Block x 3 is a simple and beautiful concept. It takes the match 3 puzzle genre and places a hard emphasis on the puzzle element. You presented with multiple squares in pastel tones and are asked to solve the puzzles by matching three. The challenge comes in when you are presented multiple colors and a limited set of moves to complete the puzzle. Crystal and I both spent multiple hours stumped on various puzzles over the weekend. Another free one by the way.

Don't Starve (PC)

Klei Entertainment, makers of Mark of the Ninja (ma jam!) made ma new jam too. Don't Starve is a 2D-ish (it's a 3D engine with 2D assets) open world game in the vein of Minecraft. That is to say it is a survival game where the environment you are in provides the materials you'll need to survive. What makes the game intriguing beyond being another open world survival game is the amount of trust placed in the player. The game opens with an unnamed man who instructs you to find food before night fall and poofs away. From that point on there are no instructions. The tool tips provided for left and right clicking different things in the world are all you have. What is good for you and what can kill is a trial by error process. The reward is mastering the consistent systems in the world, not starving and ultimately thriving. Bonus content: Great article and video about Klei

Card Hunter (PC)

I got into the beta of Card Hunter mid-last week and spent two plus hours with the tutorial and a handful of encounters. The game's concept is a novel one. RPG video games originated from the tabletop and quickly did away with any of the tangible elements related to it. Dice rolls where under the hood and the character sheets turned into UI elements. Card Hunter is a game that brings the tabletop back to the screen. Your powers are actual skeuomorphic cards and your party looks like character tokens stood up on a grided map. The narrator is a geeky DM who makes references to snacking while laying the story elements on really thick. It is great and the beta is free, after a short wait to get in of course. How long I play it will hinge on how much the multiplayer hooks me though. My kingdom for some co-op.


Run the Jewels
Killer Mike and EL-P are two artist I can take in small doses most of the time. Too much and I go elsewhere with my musical taste. Combine the two though and you get a Reese's Cup of hip hop. Beats and raps from EL-P that are less experimental and a Killer Mike that is more consistent. I've listened to it on repeat for two weeks now and there is still a ton to love about nearly every part of this record.


My first listen to Kayne's much hyped and long anticipated new record was a good one. It was mostly listening to the beats and less so the lyrics. That is typical of how I usually consume music. I really liked what I heard at first. After three to four more plays though I started to focus in on the lyrics. What some might call controversial lyrics I found to be whiny. At this point he is a person of privilege. He certainly didn't start that way and he worked hard to make himself what he is now. There is a lot of complaining on this record for someone who has much more than probably 99% of those listening to it.


UFC 162 (Spoilers)
Anderson Silva finally got caught fucking around. He is an amazingly talented fighter. Arguably the GOAT in a very young sport, but he likes to openly mock his opponents. Most have no where near the talent as him, but instead of putting them away he sometimes extends rounds and whole fights just screwing around. It was disrespectful for sure, legitimately impressive and made for some awful main cards. Either age (he is  38), the level talent or luck caught up with him Saturday night. A moment after he pretended to be wobbled by a punch, he bobbed and weaved his way back into left hook from the young and talented Chris Weidman. The now former champ went limp to the mat, eyes rolled back in his head and saw an embarrassing end to his 10 fight title defense.

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Recently Finished:

The Wise Man's Fear
Dynasty of Evil
100 Bullets Vol. 07: Samurai
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100 Bullets Vol. 06: Six Feet Under the Gun
100 Bullets Vol. 05: The Counterfifth Detective
100 Bullets Vol. 04: A Foregone Tomorrow
100 Bullets Vol. 03: Hang Up on the Hang Low
100 Bullets Vol. 02: Split Second Chance
30 Days of Night
100 Bullets Vol. 01: First Shot, Last Call
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