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Malik (5/10/10)

What a crap-tastic weekend. I went to the Friday night Mariners game, when they extended a seven game losing streak to eight games (which became nine on Saturday). It was nothing short of a train wreck of a game. Felix Hernandez gave up four in the first inning, followed by another four a few innings later. Since it was my first game I saw live this season, it wasn't exactly an awe inspiring occasion.

Still, I can't complain too much when it's a Mother's Day outing with my family and a good time was had for all despite the poor performance of the team. I mean I got the tickets at a major discount (about 40% off) and then got upgraded, due to family connections, to seats worth a good 400% above the price paid for entrance.

It only got worse when I watched the Sounders FC game on Saturday. I didn't expect a win, since Seattle was playing against Los Angeles...playing against the number one Galaxy. Still, a 0-4 loss is not as close as I expected. I thought maybe it would be 1-2 or 0-2, not a massive four point shutout deficit.

You can always tell when a game is especially bad when the team offers financial restitution to season ticket holders.  That's what the Sounders FC owners are that's just sad.  Yet, at the same time, it at least shows how awesome the Sounders FC are as an organization.

Anyway, I'm away from geek things lately. I'm trying to build a greenhouse, for my attempt to live a fantasy life of Harvest Moon. So, beyond some sports, my weekend was a nightmare of digging trenches and laying bricks to build a terrace so I can begin to build a greenhouse. In other words, I spent my waking time doing real world type of things over playing my neglected copy of Lunar 2. Maybe, now that the rains have returned, I may finally return to geek pursuits.


Malik (5/12/10)

I'm still mostly away from gaming right now. I did take advantage of the Humble Bundle deal that was going on (I'd put a link, but I think it ended on Monday night). It was basically a "pay what you want" deal for five indy games (plus one bonus one), with the money going to charity, as well as the developers. I only took advantage of the deal for two reasons; it included World of Goo and I like the Child's Play charity.

I never played World of Goo before, and considering all of the fanfare the game has received, I figured it was time to try it out. Plus, one of the other games looked pretty cool, although I cannot recall it's name right now. I am happy, at least, with World of Goo. I've yet to install the other games, but I'll find time between Lunar 2 and my more real world based of projects.

On a separate note, I don't know what to think of Lost last night. It was interesting getting some background on Jacob and the man in black. However, I think it felt a bit lame that in the entire episode, we never learned the man in black's name. Really? As a child, no one ever called him by his name? Is this supposed to be some sort of suspense element in which we are all blown away in the end to learn his name on the final episode? If so, that seems too minor to keep as a mystery.

Speaking of mysteries, at least we now know who the "Adam and Eve" skeletons are from the first season, as well as the purpose of the bag with two stones in it. I thought that would be a mystery never solved on the show, but I guess some loose ends, even old ones, will finally be tied down.

I just hope they explain, before 11 days from now (when the 2.5 hour final episode airs) we can learn about the statue, since man in black's people didn't seem advanced enough to build the statue of such a large size and we haven't seen any other people ancient enough to build something from that long ago.


Malik (5/14/10)

I took a break from back-breaking labor yesterday to play some more World of Goo. Like with all great indy games, WoG is just too short. I mean it's a great length for a small budget and small priced game, but I need more. This is one of the few games I know of that never left me disappointed. Not a single thing left me wanting, except wanting for more when the credits rolled.

I'd have to say that WoG is a perfect representation of why indy games are so popular and doing so well right now. While the major production and development houses/studios are making the usual marketable stuff (sequels, sports, FPS, and mindless explosion filled action), indy game developers are focusing on something that used to be mainstream; unique and innovative games. WoG is unlike almost anything else out there (unless you want to see the connections, of sorts, to blending Bust-A-Move with Lemmings). The same can be said about The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom, and Braid. Indy games are offering a breath of fresh air.

Of course, it is no surprise that major studios are not focusing on these unique game genres and styles. These are games that could fail. When a major game release can cost millions upon millions of dollars to develop and publish, it cannot be a game that may end up being niche. Yes, some indy games break out into being mainstream enough to be major successes, but most will always hope for a cult following to be a true mark of success. It's sad, but it's also reality.

I have complained many times about the lack of unique games from major publishers. However, it will always be the case now that games can cost more to produce than some summer Hollywood blockbusters. On the bright side, with PSN, Live Arcade, and Wiiware, indy games can find larger audiences than just the old PC-only route. However, it will always remain out of reach for an indy game to find a major (disk based) release on consoles when the games have to go through so much tighter of control to both be accepted by the console maker and by the retail outlets that would be expected to sell such games. Some indy developers don't seem to show this limitation on their releases, but many are stuck with knowing they will sell their title for a lower price point and thus they seem to be focused on offering less of a game (in terms of total size).

I started trying some other games in the Humble Indy Bundle, but nothing has captured my attention span like WoG did. I'm intrigued, at best, by a couple of the other games (and flat out annoyed with some others). However, when it's all said and done, I paid a certain donation price for these games, and I feel like I got my money worth since only WoG had me interested in the bundle to begin with.

I'm hoping to also return to Lunar 2 soon, but that's a different matter. I have some good sunny days in my future, and I need to continue with my big outdoor type project.


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