Tonight on GeekNights, we nominally talk about passwords and cheat codes (e.g., why PAKING PAKING PAKING PAKING and 8uuuuu uuuuuu uuuuuu uuuuuu work the way they do). We also talk at length about why World of Warcraft is fading so quickly, the Stanley Cup playoffs, and a new Adventure Time game is coming.
Tonight on GeekNights, it's Adventure Time! (Scott wouldn't sing the song). In the news, Venture Brothers is starting up a new season soon, physical media continues to die, and Princess Knight is getting a remastered release (but dub only).
Tonight on GeekNights, we consider what happens (and should happen) to your bits (i.e., your emails, tweets, hard drive, and collected digital output of a human lifespan), when your meat stops working (i.e., you die). Law, society, human drama, and fear make it a much more complicated issue than you might realize. Do the dead have rights? Should they?
In the news, the Ask.com Toolbar is malware, Ninite is the closest thing to a Windows repo you'll ever find, and Google Authenticator just implements TOTP, which you can totally use for two-factor authentication in anything. Also, Adobe updated their software suite to be subscription only (and this is a good thing).
Tonight on the GeekNights Lounge, we discuss camping. Several people we know have never been properly camping. Fires, hobo meals, pooping in the woods: it's all here! We also ridicule the remaining self-described anarchists who pull crap like this every May Day.
The long awaited round 3 has begun, and it is Galaga! At least for one round I'm just going to play favorites and pick a game I personally like, and this is it. This round will be testing skills of pattern recognition and manual dexterity.
This will be a standard high score competition, with only one catch. It's a one-chance competition! Practice all you want, but only one game counts. You must schedule a time with me, and I will watch you play one game of Galaga. Your score in that game will be your score with no re-dos of any kind. This will require most participants to use a streaming service like twitch.tv/XSplit or use a webcam with a Google+ Hangout, Skype, etc. Anyone with an Internet connection should be able to do this, which is everybody. You may also play your game for me in person at Anime Boston, Connecticon, PAX AUS, or plain old New York City. The deadline for streaming will be July 9th, before I leave for Connecticon and PAX AUS. The round will actually end when I return from Australia probably around August 1st.
Now, there are many many versions of Galaga out there for many platforms. That should make it accessible to almost everybody. However, because there are so many versions of Galaga, there is going to be confusion about which ones are valid. They are not all the same. We will be using the NES version of Galaga as the baseline. If you want to play the original arcade version, perhaps through MAME, you need to make sure it is configured properly. The player should start with three lives at the default difficulty of rank B (medium). And the player should not be able to have more than two shots on the screen at the same time. Any other version of Galaga for another platform that is configured the same way will also be valid per my judgement. Also, be careful not to accidentally play Galaxian, GaPlus, Galaga '88, Galaga Legions (DX), etc. Regular old Galaga is the game we are playing.
Start practicing and be sure to send an email to email@example.com to schedule an appointment for your one chance. Good luck.
Mastering Game Mechanics
Presented at PAX East 2013 on Saturday in the Tabletop Theatre, our 21st PAX panel/lecture, in "Mastering Game Mechanics" we take you through a variety of "game mechanics" and consider their use and purpose.
Despite the staggeringly vast variety of games out there in the world, they draw primarily from a core set of basic mechanics. Many games which at first seem very different share fundamental design patterns, subgames, and strategies. What is a “draft,” and more importantly, what is its true function? Where to rondels come into play? What is the purpose of an arbitrary decision? What does “skill based movement” mean for a game? Are all auctions created equally?
Whether you are a player, maker, or even simply observer of games, understanding these core components will provide a surprising degree of insight into their nature. Join us in our 21st PAX panel to explore the nature, lexicon, design, and strategy of game mechanics, drawing from videogames, board games, even role playing games and sports.
Book Club - The Player of Games
It was one of those weird coincidences where you suddenly hear about the same thing from multiple sources in a short time span. Multiple friends separately mentioned the Culture series of novels, and I became curious. Apparently they are about a far future utopia where there is no material scarcity. The second book in the series, "The Player of Games", is about a man living in that Utopia who is the best at playing games. If the back of the book is to be believed, he gets embroiled in some games with unusually high stakes.
Based on everything I have heard, I think this book, if not the entire Culture series, is more down the dead center of GeekNights alley than any book(s) can possibly be. If you listen to this podcast, you owe it to yourself to read this book. It may even be possible this book is more up our alleys than the Prince of Nothing.
Shortly after this book was selected we have learned that the author, Ian M. Banks, has terminal cancer. We are very sad that we did not discover or appreciate his works earlier in his life, and that not much more ink shall flow from his pen.