Friday, December 31st, 2010
posted 8:41pm
"New Year's Eve"
Well, itís New Yearís Eve and Iím working on my website. Sad, but not really. I donít want to be out and Iíd like to get a few things done around here. Since the IF Comp finished Iíve been waiting for SPAG to release the latest issue, which I have a few reviews in, and since it's been two weeks I feel I can release my reviews for all 26 games.

OK, this is where it starts to get personnal. Christmas, well it was fun this year. I ended up having it with my family the night of the 23rd, having a Chinese dinner at my brothers and opening gifts after the meal. Then I spent Christmas Eve with the Aunts and Uncles and my Grandmother. It was great to see everybody, all the cousins too. And then my parents stopped by Christmas morning on their way up north. So it was a busy three days there, you could say one big Christmas. And I got some great stuff this year. Books, I love books. And of course I have to list them. I got: The Ultimate History of Video Games, one of the few books left that I donít have about the history of early games, Where Wizards Stay Up Late, a story about the origins of the Internet, Run to the Hills, the official biography for Iron Maiden, and Steven Pinkerís How the Mind Works.

You could almost say it was an Iron Maiden Christmas, because I also got Flight 666, the documentary about their second Powerslave tour, and a couple of other things like some picks and a t-shirt. I got a few other movies too, Hackers, which is a short about the history of early computers, and No Maps For These Territories, a documentary about William Gibson. I guess you could say that most of the stuff I got this year was non-fiction, but I try to learn in almost everything I do. Life is too short, and thereís too much to take in.

Oh yeah, the last book I got is 30 Years of Adventure, a coffee table book thatís all about Dungeon & Dragons. And itís a beautiful book, with amazing color pictures, that makes for something fun just to paw through, though I have such a love of D&D that Iíll read the entire thing. Making time for the books will be interesting. Iíve been so busy lately. And now Iím getting ready to play out with the band soon, so I got that going on in the background too. But this time of year is always hectic, Iíll be happy when it mellows a bit.

Enjoy the reviews - D

Currently Playing: Back To The Future: The Game

Friday, December 17th, 2010
posted 8:41pm
"The Shallows"
The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains is a must read for anybody using a computer now a days. Nicholas Carrís book feels like a 21st Century adaptation of Marshall McLuhanís book, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, as it covers how all media has changed us through the ages, from the book, to the radio, Television, and now the computer that brings us the seductive world of the Internet. But itís how the Internet is changing us, the way we gather information and process it, that makes this book an important read.

Carr goes into the physiology behind it, explaining how the brain is plastic and can change not slowly over many generations, but adapt quickly within a lifetime. He points to a number of studies that backs up what heís saying, like how non-computer users had changes in their cortexs after working with computers for only an hour every day. After a week their brains had adapted to the new environment, rewiring itself to handle a new set of goals. It's amazing that our brains are really this plastic.

The biggest problems we face with the Internet is itís nothing more than a big distraction, and thatís fine for a while, but weíre starting to live our lives plugged into these things with Facebook and Twitter. And with our brain overloaded with so much information, from E-Mail to RSS Feeds, it becomes impossible to take it all in, making it even harder to ponder. Because of this hypertext world we get snippets of information, but we donít go below the surface. There is no "deep reading" going on. No quiet contemplation of information that was just taken in and how it can apply to your life. Thereís just another link, where you glance over the content before moving on to something else more interesting.

It's this distracted behavior, if repeated long enough that becomes your main mode of thinking after a while. Where youíre no longer content to sit down and relax with a book, or where you find yourself skimming through the text that you read, not taking it all in as you surf the Internet. Not seeing the bigger picture.

It is the loss of "deep reading" that Carr is warning us about. A lose that is taking so many forms like the outsourcing of our memory to Google. This lose could change the culture itself. His words, not mine. To really see what heís talking about you'll have to take the time and read it yourself. Itíll open your eyes.

- D

Currently Listening To: Tormented Radio

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010
posted 9:46pm
"Hadean Lands"
Well Hadean Lands made over $31,000 dollars in a KICKSTARTER effort to get the thing off the ground. What is Hadean Lands you ask? Itís an IF game being written for the iPhone by Andrew Plotkin, the Piers Anthony of interactive fiction, and heís going to be selling the finished product under the App Store. And who said you couldnít make money off of IF. Congratulations Andrew, you deserve it.

As for my own efforts in IF, Across The Stars: The Forgotten Colony has just hit Alpha and Iím starting to play through it, finding all the holes I know are there but getting them on a bug list so I can go through them one at a time. Hopefully, by the end of the month, I can get a copy in a few testersí hands so I can see how well they story flows. Iím aiming at a quicker pace, and not as long of a game. Still, with depth.

Until itís released - D

Currently Playing: Make It Good