Category Archives: Gaming

via the Verge: You can play nearly 2,400 classic MS-DOS games for free right now

Back in November, it was announced that the Internet Archive was making 900 classic coin-op arcade games available on their site for free. Now, they’re doing it again. The Verge reported today You can play nearly 2,400 classic MS-DOS games for free right now. According to their post, the games run in your browser and include:

That includes the likes of id Software’s Commander Keen, the apocalyptic RPG Wasteland, the original Prince of Persia, early FPS games like Wolfenstein 3D, and many more. There’s even Mario Teaches Typing.

They report the whole thing is in beta so it may be buggy and there are no instructions for each game. Call it an added layer of challenge in playing these old favorites! Personally, I’m looking forward to revisiting Caveman Ugh-lympics, Harpoon, and Dragonlance: Champions of Krynn! Use this link to get to the archive.

Image from Wolfenstein 3D

Dad, hubby, geek, nerd, gimp, cynic and optimist.

Uncharted 4 wallpaper via Forbes.com

Nathan Drake Will Make Me Get a PS4

I like to play a few video games. I’m not terribly good at console games what with being almost a half century old and a little thing called Cerebral Palsy, but I like to play anyway. Online shooters are almost an utter waste of time for me. There’s no way I can compete. My son could waste me in most games by the time he hit 6 or 7. So, I do mostly solo or co-op games where either ridiculous dexterity is not needed or the difficulty can be dialed down. If it’s an adventure game, I love good stories and cinematics. The best series for fun, story, acting, and visuals I’ve ever played is the Uncharted series.

Three years ago, I bought a PS3 just so I could play DC Universe Online and Uncharted 2. After a few hours of playing treasure hunter Nathan Drake in Uncharted 2, DCUO was pretty much forgotten. If you’ve never played, Drake is a modern day cross between Lara Croft and Indiana Jones, although a bit more violent at times than either of them. Developers Naughty Dog have created a series of games with wonderful characters and dialog, beautiful locations, and awesome action but easily accessible to even casual thumb stick jockeys. I was totally sucked in to Uncharted 2 and immediately bought its predecessor upon completion. A year later, Uncharted 3 came out and I tore through it as well. At the end of “U3,” the character of Drake was going to settle down and quit trying to get himself killed chasing his fortune. And Naughty Dog said they were done making Uncharted games as well so they could work on other things. There has been persistent talk of an Uncharted movie with Matt Damon attached, although fanboys really want Nathan Fillion instead or the real Drake voice actor, Nolan North. But, to date, nothing has come of the movie rumors. I figured I was done with Drake for good, sadly.

And, then, a few months ago, a reveal video came out depicting Drake waking up in a jungle a bit worse for wear, as usual. The video is accompanied by a voice over conversation between Drake and his mentor/sidekick Sully. Drake is asking Sully to help him get “back in the game” because he has “no choice.” Check it out:

I showed it to my son and we were overjoyed!

And then, today, I spotted articles about the Playstation Experience convention in Las Vegas and how Sony showed 15 minutes of actual gameplay video of Uncharted 4 from a PS4. The audience was so jazzed by it, that everything that followed in the presentation paled in comparison. It was like going on stage after Led Zeppelin. It is absolutely gorgeous! The game play and combat are reminiscent of The Last of Us, also by Naughty Dog. And, just like the other 3 games in the series, Drake is still just as acrobatic and sarcastic as ever as he jumps, swings, shoots, and punches. It looks fantastic!

One problem: I don’t own a PS4. I’ve always said I won’t get a next-gen console until there’s a game I absolutely want that only appears on one. Neither Xbox One, Wii U, or the PS4 have had that game. But, come later in 2015, Nathan Drake will be back. And, Daddy’s going to need a PS4.

Honey, don’t blame me. It’s Drake’s fault!

Dad, hubby, geek, nerd, gimp, cynic and optimist.

Gaming Company News: Asmodee Merges With Fantasy Flight Games

Just announced today, game publishers Asmodee and Fantasy Flight Games are merging. This follows a merger earlier in the year of Asmodee and Days of Wonder.

Fantasy Flight Games, Asmodee Games, and Days of Wonder logos

Fantasy Flight Games, Asmodee Games, and Days of Wonder logos

 

As with the previous merger, today’s announcement states that the previously separate companies’ game studios will continue developing games independently. FFG gains access to Asmodee’s contacts and distribution in Europe and Asmodee gains access to FFG’s game development experience and titles like Netrunner, X-wing, Star Wars Edge of the Empire, Talisman, Battlestar Galactica board game, Battlelore, Elder Sign, and dozens more board, role playing and card games.

The previous merger with Days of Wonder gave Asmodee access to the Memoir ’44, Small World, and the Ticket to Ride game lines as well as Days of Wonder’s expertise in mobile game development. (DoW’s Small World and Ticket to Ride mobile games are exceptionally good.)

Asmodee is known for making a variety of games for both “gamers” and more casual/family players such as the Timeline series, 7 Wonders, Dixit, Seasons and many others.

All three of the previously separate companies were very successful in their own rights with large followings of players in several of their “cornerstone” games. I have a number of each company’s games in our home library including Timeline, Memoir ’44, X-wing, Mag Blast, and just about every variation of Ticket to Ride. Each had large exhibit areas at Gen Con last year and together would be the largest single exhibitor in terms of square footage at next year’s Gen Con should they keep the same “booth” size and demo areas. The combined companies are still dwarfed by mega toy and game makers like Hasbro, but have a combined library and distribution network much larger than other game con stalwarts like Mayfair, Steve Jackson Games, and Paizo.

The question is: Is Asmodee done merging and growing? If not, who do you think is next?

Dad, hubby, geek, nerd, gimp, cynic and optimist.

Dogs Playing D&D = Epic

So, it’s been a stressful, busy week. Perhaps, it has been for you too. So, instead of a long blog post today about something meaningful, I give you something I spotted on IO9 today

Dogs Playing Dungeons and Dragons!

Dogs Playing D&D painting for sale on Redbubble.net.

Dogs Playing D&D painting for sale on Redbubble.net.

Painting, for sale at Redbubble, complete with PHB, DM Screen, dice, minis, map, character sheet, Cheetos and Mountain Dew.

You’re welcome.

Dad, hubby, geek, nerd, gimp, cynic and optimist.

A Kickstarter Documentary: WoW MoM

There has been a lot of news in the last couple of months about GamerGate. It’s proponents say their “movement” is about ethics in journalism. However, there’s a large component of misogyny, bigotry, hate, and outright harassment of women gamers coming from nut job  GamerGaters. One upshot of all of this, of course, is giving a bad name to people who play games, especially video or online games. I’ve always been of the firm belief that games and gamer communities can be and are a force for good and are of benefit to people. For example, the local game con I help organize and do the website for, FlatCon, donates all profits yearly to Relay For Life. We play games and we do some good.

So, I think it’s important you know about how a game and its fans are helping in another way and a Kickstarter documentary wanting to tell the story. WoW MoM is a film in production about Terry Bolt, a grandmother who is coping with cancer by playing World of Warcraft. Terry was diagnosed in 2010 with Neuroendocrine Tumors (NET)/Carcinoids,  a rare and often misdiagnosed form of cancer that was responsible for the death of Steve Jobs. And, she was given 6 months to live. Four years on, she’s still with us. And WoW has helped.

Terry and Andie Bolt (via Kickstarter)

Terry and Andie Bolt (via Kickstarter)

While undergoing treatments and dealing with all of the side effects and despair, Terry was turned on to playing World of Warcraft as a means to cope. What she found in the WoW community and the game itself was not just an escape, but a new “family” who supported her and gave her an outlet for her pain and frustrations. As she says in the video on the Kickstarter campaign for WoW Mom, she can tell things to the WoW community she does not dare tell her family due to the stress and worry it would cause. Her daughter, comedian and voice over actor Andie Bolt, felt they should make a movie showing all of the positive effects WoW has had on her mom. In the process of making the documentary, going to Blizzcon, and being on shows like The Nerdist, they discovered many other WoW players in similar situations who have found love and support in their community.

Over 150 hours of footage are shot. Now, they need funding to get the rough cut done. Lots of cool perks have been donated by WoW and geek luminaries. I am kicking in a few bucks. I hope you can too.

Games can be good for you.

Gamers also can be.

Dad, hubby, geek, nerd, gimp, cynic and optimist.

Leveling the Gaming Table: 64oz. Games Is Live!

I love all types of games. Give me traditional board games, like Monopoly and Clue, or old school card games, like Rummy and Pitch, or more stereotypically “geeky” games, like role playing games, “Euro games,” miniatures, war games, worker placement games, deck building games, etc. and I’ll at least try them. There’s just something about sitting around the gaming table and having some fun with a game that makes my world a little better. Sometimes, it’s the friendly competition, but most of the time it’s just the social aspect of it mixed with a great game that makes it worth doing.

We have a group of gamer buddies who have been playing various types of games together for a long time, a couple of us for 30+ years now. We’ve played just about every type of game. About a decade ago, some newer folks fell into my gamer orbit, including one friend, Tim, who is blind. Some games, like RPGs, don’t necessarily require sight to play. You just provide materials in Braille or electronic format that’s accessible to screen readers and add more verbal descriptions of visual aids like maps. Other more traditional card games are generally easy to manage because Braille playing cards have been around for a long time. But, some of then newer types of games, like card games with many different cards containing text on them, are harder to play without sight. We’ve always thought there must be a way to make some of these games more independently accessible to Tim. Luckily, someone else thought that and did something about it.

64oz. Games logo from their website

64oz. Games logo from their website

Tim turned me onto a Kickstarter last Spring for a small company called 64oz. Games. The company is a small start up designing their own games but they also wanted to make them playable by gamers who are blind. If you watch their video on the Kickstarter campaign site, they describe how, as they researched making accessible games, they realized no one was doing this or knew how to do it. They looked at lots of games and brainstormed what may be possible. They figured out what they’d need to create Braille lables and sleeves for cards as well as QR codes to embed card text readable out loud by a smartphone. (iPhones and Android phnes both have built in screen/text readers with iPhone’s VoiceOver being superior right now.) To make the Braille labels en masse, they needed a Braille embosser. (Think of it as a large, “printer” similar to an old dot matrix printer but with no ink. Just pins that poke the bumps into proper paper, card, or plastic stock. They’re expensive and loud.) Then, they selected a slate of games to offer accessibility kits for. They don’t sell modified games. I assume that would be a licensing hassle for a small outfit. But, what you got from the Kickstarter, depending on your backing amount, was one or more kits to modify a game of your choosing. Several in our group backed it and all chose different game kits so we could widen our selection of modified games in our collective libraries. (I chose a family favorite, Guillotine.)

Example of transparent sleeves with Braille for cards (via 64oz. Games)

Example of transparent sleeves with Braille for cards (via 64oz. Games)

Examples of QR codes added to cards (via 64oz. Games)

Examples of QR codes added to cards (via 64oz. Games)

They also researched and designed Braille dice, beginning with the symbol of game geekiness, the 20-sider!

Braille 20 sided die from 64oz. Games

Braille 20 sided die from 64oz. Games

I received my kit for Guillotine last week and, soon, I’ll get that game adapted and go play it for the first time with Tim! I also got the big 20-sider which looks alright. It’s got some funny edges here and there and I’m going to go old school and crayon in the numerals, but it’s nice to have. I’m very pleased with the quality of the kit overall. I’m glad I helped them get started.

And, “get started” is what they’ve done Today, I received an email that their web store is up and running at www.64ouncegames.com! On it, right now, I see kits for sale for:

  • Love Letter
  • For Sale
  • The Resistance
  • Coup
  • This Town Ain’t Big Enough For the 2-4 Of Us
  • CoinAge
  • Tiny Epic Kingdoms
  • Guillotine
  • Boss Monster
  • Kill the Overlord
  • Farmageddon

They had more choices during the Kickstarter, like a kit for Dominion, so I know more kits are coming. They also sell the 20-sided Braille die and their own tactile card game, Yoink! They promise color blind kits for games soon too, which is personally great for me. My stepson and my son are both color blind as well as are two other guys in my gaming group. Games with low color contrast between playing pieces, board illustrations, etc. can be a real impediment to playing so I’m glad these color blind adaption kits are coming!

Games can be a lot of fun and anyone who wants to play with their friends and family ought to be able to. I’m glad 64oz. Games is out there making this happen. Now, time to do some shopping. I think Tim would totally dig playing The Resistance.

Dad, hubby, geek, nerd, gimp, cynic and optimist.