Archive for December, 2011

Tiny Tower For Gaming On The Go

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on December 31, 2011 by thedavewsc

Tonight’s review refers to something I’m currently experiencing: Gaming on the go. I’m currently traveling around a lot, on Christmas break from college (my last one…), so almost the only gaming I’m doing is mobile. The devices available to me, for the record, are an iPod Touch and a Droid Incredible (I don’t recommend the latter).

Tiny Tower is a game I recently discovered through the suggestion of a friend of mine (known only as DJ RiVal). The premise is simple enough. You own a tower which contains apartments and stores, and you continually add floors to it as you gain money from these floors. It’s one of those sort-of-addictive-but-ridiculously-addicting things.

Part of the genius is the humanization of the Bitizens (the name for the dwellers and other customers of your tower). They are all randomly-generated, with apparently possible combinations numbering upward of four million, so they all look different, and you can change each of their appearances through a little menu. Alternatively, you can give them fancy little costumes (like a surgeon or a big heart) for a small cost of in-game money. Another layer on this subject is the inclusion of Bitbook, which is the Facebook of the Tiny Tower world. You get to go read status updates from your Bitizens, which range from, “We really need to restock the candle shop,” a helpful little reminder, to, “I just like smiling, smiling’s my favorite,” an admittedly less helpful but funnier comment.

There are also countless different floors for you to get. When building a new one, you choose a category (residential, food, service, recreation, retail, and creative), and one in that category will randomly be built. I have no idea how many options there are for each category, but people with towers of at least 100 floors have had no repetition. For example, in my tower, for food I have a pizza place, a smoothie shop, asian cuisine, and a pancake house, and they each look exactly what you’d expect them to, and you can change the colors (my entire tower has a blue theme).

Another layer to this is that in each shop you can have three Bitizens employed. And you don’t want to do this randomly. Each Bitizen has a ranking of 0 to 9 for each of the categories, and the higher the rank, the more of a discount you get on the product they watch over. And on top of that, each Bitizen has a dream job, and if you place them in their dream job, they become overjoyed and you get two tower bucks (in the game there are coins, gained from selling goods and used for stocking more goods and buying new floors, and there are tower bucks, which are gained from special events and can also be purchased with real money).

Basically there’s a lot to this seemingly simple little game. And best of all? It’s completely free!

In my research for writing this review, I even found a wiki specifically dedicated to the game. And it has hundreds of pages. I had no idea.

As far as mobile, addictive gaming goes, Tiny Tower gets a 9/10 rating from this reviewer.


Hello World… Finally

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on December 30, 2011 by thedavewsc

Hello everyone. Let’s call this my introduction post. Hell, maybe I’ll just manually change the post date to make it look like I actually did things in the correct order.

Basically I wanted to explain what this is. I intend this to be a blog about video games, and occasionally other forms of entertainment. Reviews, news, sometimes just talk or rumors. Most of these early posts have been a bit rushed, so expect things to get a little better; a little cleaner.

I invite you to give Alternate Reality a try. Follow it. Read it. Love it? In any case, basically I want some followers and I’d rather be open about that than be all douchey.

Feel free to ask questions in the comments. See if the blog is right for you. I intend to write it for a long time, and I can review games you request, if you’d like. I’ve played them all (seriously). If it keeps growing, I’ll get my own domain and all that, but that’s a ways off. Like. At last one comment on any post on this.

So. Yeah.

Here’s the first thing that comes up on Google Image search for Altered Reality. So you know it’s good.

Bit.Trip Runner Review

Posted in Review with tags , , , on December 29, 2011 by thedavewsc

Bit.Trip Runner is self-described as a, “Rhythm-based Action Platformer,” with, “Classic NES-Style Controls,” and a “Pounding Chiptune-Inspired Soundtrack.” There’s really no other way to describe it.

The game stars Commander Video (for the record, I highly approve of the Dallas Cowboys-esque stars) as a running (constantly), jumping, and sliding hero who you must guide through over 50 levels, avoiding dangers along the way. One wrong move sends you right back to the start of the level, which can get frustrating as the game gets a little tricky relatively quickly (by level 6 I had to repeat each level multiple times).

I’m a very music-oriented person, so I really like rhythm games, and while you can play this game on mute, I find it much more entertaining with the sound blasting. Each action you must perform syncs with a beat of the music, which is constantly going and keeping you pumped-up.

I haven’t yet beaten the game, so I can’t tell you about replay value or any sort of story (which there doesn’t seem to be), but I’ll tell you I’m addicted.

Bit.Trip Runner gets an 8.5/10 rating from this blog.

One Last Paul Christoforo Post

Posted in News with tags , , , , on December 29, 2011 by thedavewsc

Bar anything ridiculous happening, I will stop with the posts about the Ocean Marketing story now.

I’m posting this to show you two links. One is one I tried to find when posting my original story, in which we find out Paul has been a douche for a long time. This is by no means his first step into the terrible customer service business, and these two instances are no doubt not the only two.

The other link I wanted to show you came from another blog which I have now lost the link to, which is a police report showing that Mr. Christoforo has been involved in a domestic abuse case. How neat is that? What’s worse than insulting customers? Beating women.

Any part of me that didn’t hate the person Paul is so much as his antics has now gone away.

More With Paul Christoforo (Ocean Marketing)

Posted in News on December 28, 2011 by thedavewsc

MSNBC has just put up an article about the incident.

If you’re like me and don’t really want to read what weaselly things Christoforo has to say for as long as he said them in the real article, here are some excerpts:

“I didn’t know who that guy at Penny Arcade was,” he admitted. “If I had known, I would have treated the situation a little better.” – So, if he had known he was dealing with someone so much in the public eye, he wouldn’t have been as douchebaggy. Not helping his cause.

“Not that I don’t have respect for anybody, but if someone’s badmouthing me or being a little punk or being a jerk, they don’t deserve respect.” – Yeah, a person whose money you took for a product you haven’t given them honestly asking where their product is and when they can expect it is suuuuch a jerk move! What a dick that guy was! (Not.)

“I don’t know the mayor of Boston,” he admitted. “That was taken totally out of context, I was just joking around.” – So, lying.

“Am I saying I care more about my reputation than money? Yes.” – …Because you think that will lead to more money down the road.

“If these people stick with me and follow me, a couple months down the road anything I say is news.” – If he thinks it’s positive, stop changing twitter names. It’s currently, as of writing this, @OceanDeepSea, by the way, which is the first of his Twitter names he managed to spell correctly.

In fairness not to Paul but to his family, here’s an important quote:

“My son’s two months old … that’s uncalled for, you don’t bring him into this situation.” – Agreed. Threats to his wife and child (and really, even threats to him) are uncalled for. Threats make you as bad as or worse than him. Just call him an idiot and move on. Maybe call him an idiot several times, whatever. Threats make us all look bad, though, especially ones against innocent people like his wife and two year-old son.

Basically what we take away from this article is what we take away from the ‘apology’ e-mails he sent Mike from Penny Arcade; he’s sorry someone with the power to get the word out there caught him.

Super Meat Boy: So Unreasonable

Posted in Review with tags , , , on December 28, 2011 by thedavewsc

I first played Super Meat Boy on Xbox 360. Here’s the story of that: My friend and I were sitting around in my dorm hall all alone, as it was Thanksgiving break but I stayed in the dorm and had him over. It got to be evening-ish, and we decided to find a new game to play, so we started browsing Xbox 360 Arcade games, as we tend to do.

We happened upon the weirdest-looking game: Super Meat Boy.

Long-story-short, we didn’t sleep until 9 AM the next day.

Super Meat Boy is one of the easiest-to-play, hardest-to-master games I’ve ever played. Basically you just run around, sliding on walls, trying to save your kidnapped girlfriend (classic). The thing is, the first two or three worlds go moderately quickly. The last three or four just get incredibly difficult and frustrating. But I assure you, it’s the kind of frustrating that will have you and the people in the room laughing your asses off. At least, that’s what was happening to us at 6 AM.

One amazing feature which just helps it be both hilarious and frustrating is that, when you finally finish a level, you get to watch a replay. But during the replay, you see every attempt you made. You get to watch yourself die potentially dozens (hundreds?) of times. But while you laugh at all the mistakes you made, you get to watch that one little Meat Boy successfully reach Bandage Girl! The hero! And it was you!

A whole other dimension of this game is… Well, the other dimension. There’s a dark version of every single level, which increases the difficulty a ridiculous amount. I won’t go over this in too much detail because it would only frighten you.

Also, you don’t have to be Meat Boy the entire time if you don’t want. You unlock various characters from other games (Gish, Commander Video, Alien Hominid, etc.), each of which have their own ups-and-downs. I’ll leave it to you to discover them all.

My advice: Get this game. I also advise you to get it on Xbox Live Arcade, as I find it significantly easier to control than the PC version.

Super Meat Boy gets an 8.5/10 rating (maybe 9/10 if you play it at 5 AM) from this reviewer.

Minecraft: Game or lifestyle?

Posted in Review on December 27, 2011 by thedavewsc

Welcome to my review of Minecraft.

I admit to resisting this game for a great while. When I first heard of it, it was via some news source saying that all the gaming industry big-wigs were getting addicted to this indie game. I refused to even look into it for fear it would consume me.

However, a little while went by, and I decided to look into it more. I watched some YouTube videos, read some articles, and thought to myself… ‘Hey. I want to make replicas of the USS Enterprise too…’ So I went over and bought the game without even getting the demo, as I tend to do.

Turns out I was right about it consuming me.

In the couple weeks after first picking it up, I did little else. But one thing I did do was to get all my friends addicted as well. One of them played so much he failed to go to class or study for a solid week, so the next week or two was all him trying to catch up, retaking the tests he could, and so on. It was a little unreasonable.

Basically, Penny Arcade has it right with these two comics. You start off with nothing in a random world that it’s likely nobody else has even seen (thanks to the random world-generation seeds). The first thing you’re asked to do is punch a tree. “That’s dumb,” you’ll think to yourself. But, just like in the comic, you figure you might as well try making some tools. And then night comes and the zombies and creepers come out, and you figure you ought to build a shelter. The next day you decide to make the shelter look a little nicer. Then you explore the map a little more. Then you start mining. And by this time you notice a week has gone by and you have to start retaking tests.

It truly is one of the most addicting games ever made, providing you’re okay with open-endedness. Like I said, the world you randomly spawn into has probably never been seen by anyone else, there are no NPCs giving you quests (though Notch, the creator, says this may be coming in a new game mode), you are jst set free to build whatever you can imagine.

One of the most fun things for me is showing off what I’ve made and seeing what my friends have accomplished, which is why we have a little secret Facebook group where we can discuss and post images. I highly recommend that.

I would post all kinds of images to entice you into playing the game, but I figure by now you’ve either seen them all or are actively trying to avoid it like I was. My advice is to simply give in. I know I’m sad I didn’t join the community earlier. If I had, I might have actually been able to go to Minecon. Oh well. Maybe next year.

Minecraft gets a perfect 10/10 rating from this reviewer for keeping me so addicted for so long.

The image I leave you with is of the creator of Minecraft himself, Notch. How can you say no to this face?!