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Games

Baby Mega Man Suit

Etsy listing:

This listing is for a custom knit baby Mega Man suit. It includes a knit helmet, arm bands, long booties, and a diaper cover/soaker. All items are knit in 100% wool yarn. This Mega Man suit is knit in bright blue, with lighter blue accents. I can make this in virtually any color combination you would like. If you’d like something other than the blue, please include your color choice in the notes to seller at checkout, or through a convo. If no alternate colors are specified, the set will be knit exactly as shown here.

FRIGGIN’ RAD.

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Games

We Interrupt This Game

Jim Sterling:

You can’t count on a publisher to be original or inventive when it comes to our entertainment, but they always seem brilliantly innovative when it comes to selling us more crap. Sony is today’s bright little star, having patented a way to inject commercial breaks into your play sessions.

Sigh. As if the Dashboard ads on Xbox Live—a service I pay to use—weren’t enough.

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Games

Don’t Skip That Commercial!

EFF:

Television networks are having a busy month trying to stamp out new TV-watching technology, including telling a court that skipping a commercial while watching a recorded show is illegal. Yesterday, Fox, NBC, and CBS all sued Dish Network over its digital video recorder with automatic commercial-skipping. The same networks, plus ABC, Univision, and PBS, are gearing up for a May 30 hearing in their cases against Aereo, a New York startup bringing local broadcast TV to the Internet.  EFF and Public Knowledge filed an amicus brief supporting Aereo this week.

What’s next? Putting a camera on my TV to make sure I don’t leave the room while the commercials are on?

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Games

Why Won’t Toronto Fans Get Over Kerry Fraser’s Missed Call?

The celebration of this was yesterday, but I couldn’t not post it.

Sean McIndoe:

For those who don’t follow hockey, or who didn’t follow hockey about two decades ago, or who find themselves wondering why the one Toronto fan in the office has spent all week wearing a black armband and irrationally berating anyone who has nice hair, this Sunday marks the anniversary of one of the most notorious missed calls in hockey. It’s been 19 years since the night Kerry Fraser didn’t call Wayne Gretzky’s high-stick.

Detroit fans have plenty of hate still hanging around for the guy, too. Every time I see him as an analyst on TV I got a little reflexively grumpy.

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Games

Remember

Lily Burana for the New York Times:

What brings the tears to my eyes is not just the bereaved young woman, but the Marine who stands behind her. In an earlier photo in the series, we see him building her a little nest of blankets on the air mattress. Sweet Lord, I cry just typing the words, the matter-of-fact tenderness is so overwhelming. So soldierly. But in this photo — the one that lives on and on online — he merely stands next to the coffin, watching over her. It is impossible to be unmoved by the juxtaposition of the eternal stone-faced warrior and the disheveled modern military wife-turned-widow, him rigid in his dress uniform, her on the floor in her blanket nest, wearing glasses and a baggy T-shirt, him nearly concealed by shadow while the pale blue light from the computer screen illuminates her like God’s own grace.

I believe this photo has had such a long viral life not just because it is so honest but also because it is so modern.

For a lot of people, Memorial Day has become something that’s more about a day off work, cooking out, and sales at your favorite stores. It’s yet another thing that we’ve seen fit to over-commercialize until lots of people don’t even know what it really means.

Read the whole thing. Sadly, the Rocky Mountain News is no more, and I wasn’t able to find the original piece on the shell of a website they have left.

UPDATE: My buddy Ken found some related photos in a slideshow at the Times here.

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Games

Scorekeeper for iOS

If you regularly play games that require manual scorekeeping, you should check this out:

It’s from Matt Rix, the guy who made Trainyard (which was coincidentally enough one of the games discussed in the article I linked yesterday).

The static screenshots of the app didn’t convince me, but seeing it in motion really sells it. It’s a universal app and it’s free for a limited time.

Thanks to Lance Willett for pointing me to this.

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Games

Alpha Protocol, I Want to Like You So Much

That’s right; I backlogged a game! In between Gears 3 and MW3 and everything.

This is going to be brief, as there’s not a lot to be said that hasn’t been already. The tl;dr version is that if you find a cheap copy of this and you like Mass Effect 2-style RPG action titles but aren’t picky about a riveting story, you should give this some time.

Things I liked:

  • Neat ideas like putting conversation options on a timer to force you to choose
  • Consistent attitude-based conversation options were easy to understand
  • Conversation and mission choices actually had a noticeable effect on the game later
  • Espionage is a great idea for an RPG setting
  • First story twist was delivered early enough that I didn’t see it coming

Things I didn’t so much like:

  • Bad script, disjointed story, good voice talent, but bad voice direction = meh overall story impact
  • Every character is a striking archetype; there are few surprises
  • The main character is barely likable
  • Final story twists come all at once and make the endgame a total disaster
  • Suffers from typical Obsidian half-doneness

Things I hated:

  • Game design lets you make decisions that you might not want without any kind of warning because of bad level design
  • I don’t think I ever saw a character smile, except maybe that one time
  • Combat is uninspiring (even broken a lot of the time) and pistol proficiency is an “I win” button for boss fights
  • It’s an RPG with boss fights
  • Helicopters

Alpha Protocol is an espionage-based RPG, which was enough to get my attention when it was in development (I think this is a logical RPG setting). However, it hit some pretty rough reviews when it was released, so I tabled the idea and certainly wasn’t going to drop $60 on it. I had the opportunity to snag a copy for about $12, and I’m pretty happy I did.

The game does a very few things right but mostly throws out a few promising ideas that don’t seem to have been given enough time to bake. At first I found the game to be really exciting and novel, but as it wore on I realized that it was falling back on old ideas and in the end wasn’t particularly engaging. The characters were memorable enough and the stable of voice actors was pretty great—it’s too bad that the words they said weren’t as memorable, nor was the voice direction solid. A lot of the story came across as flat.

The largest sin that it committed in my eyes was that it tried to take the story threads and characters from the first three missions and then weave them together in the final mission as some kind of cohesive story. It didn’t work and just served to cheapen the impact of the choices that were made earlier. It felt like the writers ran out of ideas and had to stretch beyond their abilities.

That said, I did manage to enjoy it pretty well in spots and put in a couple of pretty long play sessions with it, so something was going right. At less than $20, it’s a decent buy if you like action RPGs. Just don’t expect anything revolutionary. I think it would have been a decent franchise to revisit in a sequel with some additional polish, but as it didn’t sell very well that’s not likely to happen.

It gets a “hm, this was interesting yet flawed” from me. Honorable mention goes to Nolan North’s turn as Steven Heck, which was one of the better parts of the game.

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Games

Tim Schafer’s Latest Game Pitch

I love this.

If you haven’t played a Double Fine game, you’re missing out. There are some great ones on Xbox Live Arcade, like Trenched, Stacking, and Costume Quest.

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Games

Child of Eden

Video games can be beautiful.

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Games

The Objectives of Baseball and the Line Score

A good first start for talking about how to play or watch a game is to begin with speaking of how you win said game. The objective of the game of baseball is deceptively simple:

At the end of nine innings, the team that has scored more runs is the winner.

This is a simple concept for those who have followed baseball for years, but for someone new to the game, I have just introduced three new concepts in that one sentence. We’ll break things down even more over time, but to help you in your understanding of how a game is won, the best place to start is to also teach you how to read the line score.

An Example Line Score and How to Read It

The best example is a real one. Here’s the completed line score as seen on from a game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs, played in St. Louis:

A few notes about how the line score is composed:

  • The home team (the team in whose city the game is played) is always at the bottom half of the line score. This is not merely cosmetic; the home team is granted an advantage in the game by batting last in each inning.
  • At the right end of the line score is the running total for the three basic stats for each team in the game. These are:
    • Runs, which are the only scoring tally in baseball and were discussed in the game objective above. A run is scored when a batter successfully reaches each of the four bases in succession and touches home plate,
    • Hits, which are recorded when a batter strikes the ball with his bat and successfully reaches base before being put out, and
    • Errors, which are officially recorded defensive mistakes where an out should have been made with what is termed “ordinary effort” but the defensive player did not succeed.
  • Some line scores will include a running total labeled LOB, which indicates runners who were left on base (or “stranded”) by reaching base but not touching home plate before the end of their team’s offensive half of an inning.
  • The remainder of the line score is broken into a grid that shows the number of runs scored in each half-inning. The game starts at the top of the first inning and proceeds from there.
  • In this line score, you can see that St. Louis won the game, with the final score being six to one.

Innings

A game of baseball is broken into nine innings. Each inning has a top and a bottom, according to the place in the line score. I’ll put the line score back up so you can see that again:

In the top half of each inning, the visiting team plays offense and the home team plays defense. This continues until the defense records three outs, which is called retiring the side.

After the third out, the teams switch sides and play the bottom half of the inning, likewise until three outs are recorded. The home team plays offense in the bottom half of all innings to give them an advantage, especially in later innings.

As an example, look at the fifth inning in this line score.

In the top of the fifth, the Cubs scored one run before their three outs, and the Cardinals scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth before their three outs.

(We’ll talk more about how outs work later.)

Note that there’s no clock in baseball of any kind. A team is permitted to continue their half of a given inning until three of their players are put out. There’s no limit to the number of batters who come up in a half-inning, and no rule placing a maximum on the number of runs that can be scored.

Two things to note about innings and how they work:

  • If a game is tied at the end of the ninth inning, additional innings are added to the end of the game until there is a winner. Both halves of the inning are always played to give the home team the chance to answer any leads by the visiting team. This is called extra innings.
  • If the home team has more runs after the top of the ninth inning, the bottom half of the ninth inning is not played. You can see this in the box score above, being marked with an “X”. Similarly, if the home team scores to take the lead at any point in the bottom of the ninth inning or in the bottom of any extra inning, the game immediately ends when that run scores (since there is no point in continuing play).

The Basics

What you’ve read here is the minimum necessary to understand how the game is scored and how your team wins the game. In future posts, I’ll cover more of the concepts listed here, such as how an out is made, how runs are scored, and how teams play offense and defense.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment. I’ll be happy to answer them for you.