Archive for December, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Posted in Alcohol Involved, Annual, Christmas, Family, Holidays, Modern on December 23, 2010 by Divide By Zero

I know I’ve been slacking with the new posts and everything.  I know they’re supposed to be posted on a certain day, and I’ve rarely been getting to them on time lately.  But with the Holidays being upon us as they are, I wanted to take the time to let everyone knot that I’m going to be taking a hiatus from the blog.  Don’t cry, I mean a partial hiatus.  Between working my full time jobs, shopping, spending time with family, taking care of my puppies, and cooking/eating, not to mention playing video games, I don’t have time to write the blog.  Don’t worry though, I’ll be back.  Let us all cool the jets, shift back to neutral, and let our batteries recharge.  I will be back early, 2011.

(I’ll still be doing my local Friday posts, as usual.)

Merry Christmas to all!

The Jester.

Outback Chronicles: The time a few people got fired. (Then re-hired)

Posted in 2000's, Alcohol Involved, Drugs, Gourmet, Hell, Jeremy Dotson, Local, Modern, Outback Steakhouse on December 22, 2010 by Divide By Zero

At a restaurant, you have to understand.. there’s a core crew.  You’re either in that crew, or you’re not.  I never really knew where I fell in that crew.  I kept my mouth shut for the most part, and I saw how other people fell into the crew.  I could care less, as long as my paycheck was right.  Here’s one story:

Papa, you remember that guy.  He was a server, in the front of the house.  He was a jokester in the back of the house.  He showed up and did his job.  He did it very well.

Twice while I worked there, I found out that Papa was taking advantage of the dark parking lot on the side of the OS-Lounge.  He was taking advantage of it in a way that he wasn’t using it so much for parking, as he was using it for dealing drugs.  Well that’s all well and good right?  He never did it inside the restaurant, and he never did it while he was working, right?

Wrong on both counts.  He was the dealer for most of the restaurant staff, and a lot of the customers, from what I’ve heard.  I heard he served more pills/weed in the dining room of that restaurant while I worked there, than he served food.

He got fired twice, rehired twice, and then fired for the final time after I had stopped working there.  He was part of the crew.

Schmangle.  There’s another guy I haven’t talked about yet.  He was a 16 year old kid who could work the cook line (most of the time) better than anyone else could.  He got fired thrice by 3 different managers.  But always got hired back, because he was the “golden child”.  “He’s too young, he’s not mature” is what the owners/Ted would say.  He always left me out in the dust.  By that I mean he left an hour early which meant I had to stay 2-3 hours late.

It was ridiculous closing his station when no one else would do it.  He was part of the crew.
There’s 4 or 5 others that come to mind that run along the same lines, but I can’t give you the details, because then I would either put myself in danger, or someone else.  I don’t want to get anyone fired, and I apologize for this week’s entry being so short.  I promise I’ll have an awesome one for you this coming Friday.

Just remember that your cooks and waiters may not be who they seem.  Even though that doesn’t make them a good waiter/waitress, it makes them a different kind of person.  Do you want those people serving you your food, or even cooking it?  If it happens in this little place, it happens all over the place.

Keep that in mind the next time you order from a restaurant… exactly how much work goes into your food?

See you ordering off the vegetarian menu,

The Jester.

Top 10 Tuesdays 4: Christmas Break.

Posted in 1980's, 1990's, 2000's, Alcohol Involved, Dreamcast (Long Live the...!), DS, Modern, Playstation, PS3, Video Game, XBox 360 on December 16, 2010 by Divide By Zero

The season is upon us.. the Winter weather is finally here, and we’re starting to get more time off of work/school.  This is a special Top 10 list for the Christmas season, especially Christmas break.  Or it could be used for any random snow day you happen to have.  It might do really well for any day you actually play hookie from work, too.  This is for the days you are isolated, it’s cold outside, you don’t want to do anything you can’t do from underneath a blanket (Snuggies would work too).  This is for the days you are cut off from everyone and everything but your refrigerator, your video games, and maybe a coffee/hot cocoa maker.  You know those days, the ones where you have no obligations, and no one else is with you except maybe a roommate, a sibling, or a significant other.  The kind of days that just feel different, the way excused absences always do.

For these kind of days, you want something a little challenging, but that’s not too hard to figure out either.  For most of us, that crosses Ecco The Dolphin right off the list.  It’s my opinion though, that in cases like this, you have 2 choices:  1) Either you go back and play games you’ve already beaten, and look for every secret level, and hidden item.  Or 2) you take a tiny step outside of your comfort zone and play some games that you wouldn’t normally play.

If you’re more into FPS games, go with a racing game, or RPG/RTS.  If you’re more into puzzle/problem solving games, go with a simple button masher.  If you’re more into fantasy, find something from the action/adventure section.  Let’s jump right into it with…

#10.  Final Fantasy Origins (PS1)

This game.. I have to be honest with you.  I was reluctant to put this game on the list.  I have never played it.  Well, I’ve tried it, by which I mean, I took over for a friend who had to use the bathroom.  But I’ve seen it played, probably all the way through, and just because I haven’t had the opportunity to get ensconced by something that defined several genres of video games, and spawned about a million sequels/movies/anime shows/etc.. who’s to say you won’t like it?  I found a copy of this at a flea market for $4.  Game, case, manual, lock, stock, and barrel.  Not a bad deal, and I plan on playing it soon enough.  Give it a try!  Fifteen million fan geeks can’t all be wrong.

#9.  StarLancer (DC)

I know everyone expected at least 1 Dreamcast game to be on here.  I’m pretty partial to this system, but I keep my bias under control pretty well.  This is one of those games you play when you have time to kill.  Yeah, there’s a plot, no one knows what it is though.  Yeah, the controls are a little weird and hard to get used to, but you don’t have to work today, so you have time to get used to them.  There are multiple unfair things about the game, and they’re all stacked against you, but it’s okay.  As long as you stay warm today, you win.  So grab some hot cocoa, and get to playing this game.  I guarantee you it does not disappoint as a gigantic time waster, and will keep you busy as well as it will not frustrate you to death.

#8.  BattleTanx Global Assault (PS1)

 

I’m going to be honest with you on this one too..  The only reason why it’s on my list is because I found it on eBay, and I paid $8.94 for it with shipping and everything.  I forgot how awesome of a game this is.  The replay value of it is ridiculous, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve beaten this game, only to come back to it an hour later and start all over again.  It’s perfect for a day when you have nothing to do, no work, no school, just you and a blanket on the couch.  That’s all you need.  Maybe some coffee, because more than once this game has kept me up all night.  They have another version on the N64, and they’re about the same, I think it’s a little cheaper if you want to find a PS1 disc though.  I’d be willing to wager you can get a PS1 system, controllers, and this game for less than you can just the game on N64.  Either way you want to go though.

#7.  Batman Forever (Genesis)

 

Those of you out there who know me personally, know that I am one of the biggest batman nerds there are.  And back when this game was new, I remember having it on the Sega Genesis, as well as the Sega Game Gear.  I never got past the first level because it is such a horrible game.  But if you’re used to playing puzzle games, this would be right up your alley.  The controls are cryptic, the doorways/entryways that take you from screen to screen are unnecessarily hidden in random places, and I’m pretty sure the programmers were drunk when they wrote the code for it.  Because a lot of the stuff that needs to be done by the player would fit perfectly into the programmers saying something like:  “How much would they freak out if we have them do [insert random game play here]?”.  It really is crazy, but it makes sense.  They followed up a pretty terrible Batman movie with a pretty terrible Batman video game.  I’m sure though, as long as you’re shrugging off anything work related, or school related, this is one of the best games for you to plug in and play.  Actually, I’d say it’s the 7th best, haha.

#6.  ZOOP!  (Genesis)

 

Yeah, this is old school.  This is one of those games that boggles the mind, challenges the wit, and makes you solve puzzles.  I recommend playing it on those Christmas break days we’ve been talking about.  I can’t even really accurately describe it.  You’re a thing that has to move other things a certain way in order to collect other things in a row?  I don’t know.  Here’s a video…

The title is the truth.  ZOOP! is a quirky little puzzle game.  It is easy to play, difficult to master, and a lot of fun regardless.  If you find one cheap (I got my copy for one dollar) it’s worth picking up.  Not a classic, but a good retro game to check out.

#5.  Frogger 2: Swampy’s Revenge (DC)

 

In my opinion, this is one of the best games ever to be released on the Dreamcast.  It is an awesomely modern twist on a simple, classic video game that we all know and love.  It was on a newer console, so of course you could save your progress.  That was a God-send.  If you’re familiar with Frogger, that’s what this game is.  Except all the things you wish about Frogger, happened.  It’s 3D, there are more obstacles, there are longer levels, more complex mazes, and the whole she-bang.  If you have a Dreamcast and don’t yet have this game, head on over to dcisozone.com and download/burn it.  It is well worth the 4 minute download time, and 15 second burning time.  Great overall game that would have scored higher if it weren’t for…

#4.  Assassin’s Creed: Altair’s Chronicles.  (Nintendo DS)


This game is awesome.  Especially if you’re a fan of the Assassin’s Creed franchise on XBox 360.  I didn’t really like the thought of this game being on a portable console, but once you sit down and play it, you love it.  It’s perfect for staying in bed, pulling the blanket up over your head, and just going to town on some vids.  Game Stop has been selling used copies of this game for $14.99 but I have seen them cheaper.  I think they’re like $7 if you don’t need a case for it.  Check it out, it gives great use of the stylus (which takes a little time to get used to, but overall is decent), the controls are fluid, and everything is easy to grasp.  I highly recommend this game to anyone, snow day or not.

#3.  Super Mario Bros.  (Wii)

 

I’m trying to put newer games on these lists, for the younger crowd.  But there are just some games that are great.  This one for instance, is like Frogger 2, it’s an awesomely modern twist on a simple and classic game that we all know and love.  That’s really all it boils down to .  People who never played any of the NES Marios love this game, because of the easy and fluid controls.  The hard core gamers love it because it’s what we wish we had way back in the day.  It’s elegant, it’s simple, it’s beautiful.  Go pick it up if you haven’t already!

#2.  Dead Rising.  (XBox 360)

 

This game missed being number 1 this week by an inch.  I love this game, and it’s even arguably better than the second one.  I don’t know for sure, as I don’t have the second one yet.  But of all the people I’ve talked to who also play this game, no one has anything bad to say about it.  It’s great for snow days, or for when you finally get that day off and want to take out your frustration on some zombies.  It’s great to play anytime.  It’s great to play overall.  It’s almost as great to play as…

The Winner, and #1 this week.  Arkham Asylum.  (PS3)

 

Oh.  My.  Gah!  I love this game, and everyone should have a copy of it.  It’s the best thing to happen to Batman fans since Christopher Nolan took over directing the Batman movies from Joel Shumacher.  People complain about the controls, and how depressing some of the music is, and how it doesn’t make any sense.  And to those people, I say.. Fooey!  Go play this game, go play it, go play it now.  The controls couldn’t be easier to understand… of course they get harder as you go along because you gain different abilities and you have to time some of them just right.  And the music is depressing & dark?  It’s BATMAN!  The music is ALWAYS depressing and dark.  I’ve also been told that this game coincides more with the comic books than it does the movies.  With all due respect on that note, it’s even more true to the Batman name than the movies are.  After all, he did first show up in comic books.  So everyone needs to get their story straight before they go bashing a game because they’re not a Batman fan.  This is an awesome game, and I’m here to tell everyone.  Go play it on your next snow day, day off, or right now.  It’s worth the money, and worth the time you put into it.

See you next week…

The Jester. 


*All images are property of their respective owners and may be subject to copyright laws.  Pictures obtained through Google Image Search.*


Nerdy Monday13: Bubble Bobble, anyone?

Posted in 1980's, 1990's, Nerdy Monday, NES, Video Game on December 16, 2010 by Divide By Zero

Let’s talk about some Bubble Bobble.  Remember that game?  It was first released in 1986 on the NES.  It then was ported to many different home PCs as well as other gaming systems.

There are 100 levels in this game.  BEFORE you get to the final boss. It was a great game.  I used to play this with my mom (before my little brother was born) and we could never ever beat it!  It’s been about 20 years since I’ve last played this game, but I got it, I played it, and I beat it.  A special thank you goes out to my girlfriend for being my Player 2.  Let me tell you, we spent an entire day playing this game on and off.  And about 1/3rd of that time was spent on the boss level.

Before I even begin to get into the boss level, let me give you a rundown of the game.  Even if you’re a pretty hardcore retro gamer like myself, don’t even think about playing this game by yourself.  If you need to, call me, and I’ll come play this game with you.  It’s pretty tricky, and after going through all 100 of the levels, I realize why my mom & I never beat it when I was a kid.

You play as either “Bub” or “Bob”, as their names are given.  I can’t tell which is which, your guess is as good as mine.  And I don’t have the original instruction manual, because I wasn’t about to pay $30 extra dollars for it when the actual game cartridge itself was only $10 (another special thanks goes out to Ben at the Tri-Cities Flea Market).  You wouldn’t be able to guess the plot, not that it matters anyways.  But the plot of the game is that Bub & Bob go looking for their girlfriends who have been captured by monsters.  If you read the intro screen after you pick how many players you want it says:  “Now is the beginning of a fantastic story!  Let us make a journey to the cave of monsters!  Good luck!”

I hope you watched a little bit of that video.  And I hope you heard that music in the background.  It’s lighthearted, nostalgic, and a little kiddy/childish, or whatever you want to call it.  It also doesn’t stop for 100 levels.  That’s right, the music only changes when you get to the boss level.  So not only do you have to worry about your 3 lives being depleted in one level, you have to worry about whether or not you’re going to pull out chunks of your hair due to the monotonous looped music.  I almost did.  But the good thing about it is that the game gets pretty challenging early on, so you’re not really paying attention to the music.  You’re more worried about the enemies…

If you’re looking for a site that will give you all the information you need to know about this game, you won’t find it here.  But you WILL find it here.  That website told me that “Stoner” (pictured above) is in 96/100 levels.  So you’re going to be seeing that little bugger roughly 96% of the time.  Or something like that, I’m not a mathemagician.  All of the enemies do pretty much the same thing, the patterns the jump/run/fly around in differ slightly, but killing one isn’t any harder than killing another.  The only ones that you can’t kill are the “Baron Von Blubba’s”.  You see they only show up when you take too much time to beat a level.  If you’re playing 2 players, one shows up for each of you, and they chase you until you either beat the level, or you die.  Somehow your time resets if you die, whatever.

Overall, if you’re looking for a simple, almost mindless game to play, this is the game you’re looking for.  The skill required to play it is minimal at best, and everything seems to happen differently in any given scenario.  My girlfriend noticed it and said something like: “I think I’ve figured it out!  If you jump straight down onto one of the bad guys, and shoot a bubble as soon as you land on them, you kill them, and don’t die.”  I tried it about 45 times, and died every time, maybe the game is actually self aware and likes certain players over others.

The boss level.  If you added up the total actual game play time, I bet you my g-friend and I spend a good solid hour and a half battling this boss.  Then again, we didn’t look on youtube or read online anything before playing.  We just jumped in and tried to handle it.  It took us a while, but we had fun.  That being said, here’s a video of a guy named “DarkEvil87” that beat the boss level by himself in less than a minute and a half.  And judging from his score, he played the entire game on his original 3 lives.  Good job man!

That’s really all I have to say about this game.  Pick it up, and try it.  It’s definitely not going to be the worst game you’ll ever play.  And if you’re into those problem solving/puzzle games, you might find some cryptic stuff that works, that I wasn’t able to find.  Who knows?

[Also, if you’re wanting to find out about the boss level, and have your own copy of this game, the code to get there is “GEJJJ”.  That should let you bypass all 100 levels and find out how ridiculously hard that level is first hand.]

It’s also worth mentioning that there was a sequel to this game.  They go for around $150 on eBay now, because they’re pretty rare.  I mean, the first one was rare, and it took them 4 years after releasing it in Japan to bring it over to the States.  I’ve never played Bubble Bobble 2, and have had my eye on it for a while, I just haven’t forced myself to spend that much money on a 20 year old game.  I hope it is everything the legends say it is, and I hope to have my own copy (not an emulator) soon.  We’ll see.

That’s it for this week.

The Jester.

*All pictures and videos are property of their respective owners and may be subject to copyright laws.  Pictures obtained through Google Image Search.  Videos obtained through youtube.com.*

5 Guys. A Taste From Home.

Posted in 5 Guys, Downtown Bristol, Local, Modern, Restaurants on December 10, 2010 by Divide By Zero

This is an article I’ve been meaning to write for a while.  I don’t think I even really have to write it, it will write itself for me.  If you’ve ever been to a 5 Guys burger & Fries joint (5 Guys), you know all about it.  If you’ve never been, stop reading this now, go eat there, then come back and finish reading.

I don’t know how many of my readers know this, but I was born and raised in Northern Virginia.  Not too far away from Washington D.C.. Five Guys originated in D.C./the D.C. area, right in my neck of the woods.  I fondly remember going to 5 Guys after school when I first had my driver’s license.  We loved it, up there.  After school, hit the best burger joint in town, get some good food, with some good friends: wonderful.  One of the things we loved the most about them, 10 years ago, was the portions of the fries you get.  I just learned recently (on my last trip to a 5 Guys) that a “Regular”, or a small, serves 2-3 people.  A “Large”, or a large, serves 4-5 people.  They are not lying when they say that.  They definitely serve more than one person.  I’ve even gotten away with just ordering fries from there, and being set for my lunch.

Which brings me to my next point.. peanut oil.  We as Americans take peanut oil for granted.  It’s healthy, it’s delicious, and here it’s pretty cheap.  If you’ve ever read Anthony Bourdain’s book Kitchen Confidential, I ask you to remember the very last section of the book.  When Tony went over to Japan.  He suggested to a restaurant to use peanut oil instead of the crap they were using.  The Japanese fellow then told him that you could rent an apartment in Tokyo for what it would cost to keep the restaurant stocked with peanut oil.  Crazy?  A little bit.

Also, if you’re a nerd like me, or you enjoy writing like I do, you’ll notice upon entering a 5 Guys that their advertising is solely made up of banners that quote what past reviews have said about them.  An I’m not going to lie, I hope one of my quotes makes it up on their wall one day.  But they don’t need my support.  They have won countless awards in many different food magazines, in many different cities.  They are, for all intents and purposes, the best “fast food” joint ever.

The ingredients are what set it apart from other places like it.  In a world of greasy hamburger patties, soggy pickles, and stale buns, 5 Guys stands out as flavorful, crisp, and fresh.  They use a lot of local produce to cater to a wide customer base.  They keep it plain and simple, and they do it very well.  It is the epitome of what we as a nation should come to expect in our burger joints.  Not the watered-down, tastes-the-same-as-the-place-next-door, trash we have been force fed for decades.  Five Guys is the King of the Mountain when it comes to this sort of thing.

The opening of a 5 Guys in Kingsport, as well as right here at Exit 7 was glorious to me.  Being from the area this restaurant originated and the time frame it originated in, I didn’t think I’d be able to partake in their delicious, everything, when I moved down here.  Then they followed me.  It was awesome, and I can never repay 5 Guys for that.  I know they didn’t just do it for me, but having the ego that I have, it makes sense that they would.

So when you dine at this casual eatery, just know that your money is going back into the local community.  Also, apparently the 5 Guys company is on the cusp of a huge business expansion.  They plan to open up a lot more locations, and it is the hope, wish, and dream of this local jokester to see 5 Guys outnumber McDonald’s all across the world.  I believe the key to their success is that they do the same thing other people do, but they do it better.  They keep it simple food, done fresh, done right, and done delicious.

I’ll see you in line.

The Jester.

Top 10 Tuesdays 3: You’ve Broken Your Arm.

Posted in 1980's, 1990's, Jeremy Dotson, Modern, NES, PS2, Retro, Video Game, XBox on December 9, 2010 by Divide By Zero

Okay, so if you’ve been following my advice for the Top 10 Tuesday things, and your arm is in a cast. I’d like to think that at least one of the following scenarios happened:

  1. You finally cheesed your girlfriend off enough to warrant some kind of malevolence from her.
  2. Something happened on Black Friday, like you got punched by a guy getting the last copy of Mario Galaxy 2.
  3. You fell deep into a Thanksgiving Day food-coma and when you landed on the ground, fractured something.
  4. You got so stressed out during exam week, that you decided to climb a tree to relax… and it ended badly.
  5. You actually did one of the things I said in the Mad G-Friend post.  That’ll get you hurt!

Thar’s right, one or all of the above happened to you, and now your arm is all gimped out.  Don’t worry though, there are still video games you can play while your arm recovers.  Before you play any video games though, make sure you get everyone who wants to sign your cast, to sign it, and please come up with a good story to tell to people.  “My girlfriend doesn’t want me to play ‘Call of Duty’ anymore.”  Isn’t a good response to “What Happened to your arm, Champ?”  So let’s get right on to it this week with:

The Top 10 Video Games to Play While Your Arm is in a Cast:

For the entirety of the list, I’m assuming that your dominant hand is going to be the one attached to the cast.  It usually happens that way, more often than not your dominant hand is your “go-to” hand, and ends up being on the broken arm.  If your leg was in a cast, you can play whatever video games you want.  Or go play a real life game of basketball, or whatever it is people that break their legs do.

#10.  Hold The Button  (Web)

This game is as simple as it gets.  You get online, type in http://www.holdthebutton.com, and after the advertisement, you click the button and hold it.  Just hold the button.  See how your time holds up against the competition.  It’s cool because you can even use the arm that’s in the cast!  You’re barely using a muscle, and it might take a while before you have to switch off hands, if that happens at all.  How many muscles does it take to hold down a mouse button?  Like, 2?  Good luck!

#9.  Worst Game Ever  (Web)


The Worst Game ever is really exactly what it claims to be.  Get on over to Adult Swim Games and check it out.  The only reason why it didn’t come in last is the fact that, unlike holdthebutton, this has characters.  I enjoy Master Shake & Meatwad every week on their show, so why wouldn’t I enjoy them in their very own video game?  Oh yeah, because this game is the worst game ever.  All you do is go right.  Just hold down the “right” arrow on your keyboard, and occasionally hit the space bar to jump over obstacles.  Give me a break man, this game is horrible, but you shouldn’t have let your girlfriend break your arm.

#8.  Snake  (It varies)

This game is a little trickier, and it may even require BOTH hands to play.  What else can I say, you’re a snake, you have to eat balls that are supposed to represent apples, I think.  You run around eating the apples, and each time you do, you grow a little longer.  Keep going and don’t run into the walls or your tail, and you win.  You can play this on your Atari 2600, there are a few web based programs for it, and if you still have your very first cell phone, the kind that came out in the year 2000 (Nokia), it’s on there.  That’s where I remember playing it.

#7.  Ultimate Board Game Collection (PS2)

This game is technically a video game, but you’d honestly be better off playing the games in real life.  Who doesn’t have a checker’s set lying around the house?  Or at least some paper and pencils to play tic-tac-toe?  I picked up this game, not even opened yet, with the case & manual (obviously) for $1.99 at one of the local antique/pawn shops.  I had seen where they began the selling price at $20, then a few months later marked it down to $15, then to $10, then to $5, then to $3.49, then finally to $1.99.  If I hadn’t have come in that day, they would probably still have this game.  Who buys these games?  When you want a video game, you want something that you can’t do in real life.. like fly a space ship, be a black-ops marine, get in submarine battles.. not play 3-Dimensional tic-tac-toe, or virtual mancala (whatever the hell that game is supposed to be), chess & checkers.  I know who buys these games… people who have gotten their arm broken by their girlfriend, because they play too many video games.  And me.  I see a $2 video game, and I’m all over it!

#6.  Pong  (It varies)

If you’ve ever played a video game in your life, you at least know of pong.  Maybe you haven’t played it, but you’ve heard of it.  You know it was the first successful game that basically launched a now billion dollar a year, world-wide industry.  Anyways, there are pong consoles out there (quite a few of them, actually), there are cartridges for the Atari consoles, there was a Dreamcast game released called “Atari 25th Anniversary Edition” which has pong on it, I’m sure you can find it online, or if you want to keep it cheap and old school, you should get yourself one of these:

I found one of these plug n’ play things at a yard sale for, I crap you not, a quarter.  It had batteries in it and everything.  It’s great, plug it into the tv, flip the switch, and you have 12 classic Atari games right there for you, and the controller looks, and even feels like the classic, recognizable Atari 2600 joysticks.  Like I said, it has 12 games.  Pong being one, and another being…

#6.  Breakout  (It varies)

Sometimes referred to as “Pong’s retarded little sideways cousin”, breakout too is an enjoyable game that requires minimal physical effort.  It’s very frustrating though.  You see, for those of you who haven’t played this game, you control that little red bar at the bottom.  You can move side to side.  The object is to make that ball bounce up to the top and clear a path so that it can reach the top and “Breakout”… of the… screen?  I guess?  Keep in mind this game came out in the late 1970’s, we had to use a lot of imagination to supplement graphics and plots and stuff, back then.

#4.  Galaga  (It varies)

Now we’re getting into some of the serious games.  Galaga has been a personal favorite of mine for over 20 years.  My cousin had it on NES while I was growing up, so I’d play all the time at her house.  If your dominant arm is broken (we’ll assume it’s your right arm, because the majority of the population is right handed), all you need to be able to do is press a button with it.  So if you can play “Hold the Button” with no discomfort, you can play this game.  Also, this game has been ported to many, many different consoles.  I see the game “Namco Museum” around a lot at the flea markets, and on eBay/Amazon.  That game is great, it has 5 classic games, one of them being Galaga, and it’ll only cost you somewhere around $5.  That game is even a cartridge for the Game Boy Advanced/Game Boy Advanced SP.  I bought 2 for $5 in that case.  Either way, in the game you use the joystick, or D-pad, or whatever with your left hand, and your right hand is just in charge of hitting one button.  ONE, button.  Just the fire button, there is no jump, there is no “move faster/run”, just fire.  That’s all you need to do.

#3.  World of Warcraft  (PC/Online)

As much as it pains me to say this; sometimes.. SOMETIMES, WoW is a good game.  If your arm is in a cast, you can definitely get some good video gaming in, and again, it requires only the most minimum amount of physical effort.  I am not a fan of this game, I have played it only a few times, and never have I ever had my own account.  But I do have a little brother.  That’s right, A1C Dotson, or my baby brother, Jay breaks the mold when it comes to WoW players.  Remember the South Park Episode of WoW?  Remember the “master player” that all the kids had to beat in order to play the game?  That’s a stereotype, and kind of a mean one at that.  But most stereotypes are rooted in truth, and in this case, it is (I’ve witnessed it first hand).  Jeremy Dotson is the exception to the rule that all WoW nerds are fat, awkward, and overall weird.  And like I said, this game is nice if your arm is in a cast.  Just don’t get too addicted.

#2.  Starcraft  (PC)

I think we all know and love this game.  Well, at least we all know this game.  Perfect if one or more of your extremities are stuck in a cast.  I liked playing this one, actually.  I haven’t played it much as of late, but it will always hold a special place in my heart.  This is another one my baby brother turned me onto, and is one of the first Christmas presents he bought me with his own money.  He was 9, I think?  It was a sweet gesture, and it gave us some time to play a game together that we both enjoyed.  It has a simplistic basis, and I’m sure playing on career/campaign, 1 player, you can zip through the levels pretty quickly.  The real challenge comes when you play against the other people.  And God help you if you sign onto a Korean or Japanese server, those people are wicked at this game.  Which brings me to…

The Winner, #1.  Starcraft II (PC/Online)

And here it is, the big mamma-jamma of RPG’s, Starcraft II.  It is light-years ahead of Starcraft 1, which isn’t a bad game, even now, 10+ years later.  This game is to RPS’s what Call of Duty Black Ops is FPS’s.  It is what Mario is to Luigi, it is what lasagna is to Garfield, it is what Halo 1 is to me.  It is the epitome of a great game you can play while having to sit around the house because your leg is in a cast.  Or arm.. or whatever.  Just a side note: there was an honorary holiday in Korea on the day this game was released because all the companies knew they would be hitting record numbers of people calling in sick.  That many Korean people can’t be wrong. Source.
Sorry about the arm,

The Jester.

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Nerdy Monday: Emulators vs. The Real Deal

Posted in 1980's, 1990's, Local, Modern, Retro, Video Game on December 6, 2010 by Divide By Zero

A lot of people I talk to ask me why I have so many old video games.  I have a lot of them, and I scour the yard sales and flea markets for them.  Most of the time I don’t go too out of my way for them.  Though there are a few people I know at the Tri-Cities flea market AND Trader’s Village in Kingsport that sell video games, and I’m on a first name basis with them because I’m a pretty good, and loyal customer.

But it gets brought up a lot that I only have around 300-350 games when my other friends have every game that was released on every console up to… XBox, or whatever.  They have emulators.  Emulators are files that you can put on your computer that hold all of the games from certain systems.  When someone has a “complete 64 emulator”, it means that there’s a file on their computer containing all of the N64 games ever released.  There’s no real advantage to having them, other than bragging rights. For example:

This is a screenshot from Jurassic Park 2 on SNES.

 

The graphics aren’t any better, is my point.  And sure, you got them all within a week for free from a guy who called a guy who knows about these things.  That’s cool.  That’s very awesome.  It’s fantastic if you’re a person who just wants to say they have every game that’s been released.

But I’m not that kind of person.  For me it’s more about the hunt than it is the prey.  I love finding a few simple games at the bottom of a box in someone’s yard sale.  It’s cool because you get all excited “SONIC 1?! I’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR THIS!” is what you think.  Then you have to calm down and then hold them up and say “How much you want for this?”  while trying not to smile.  And it’s almost orgasmic when they say “How about a quarter?”  How cool is that?

I have met so many interesting people looking for these old games.  I also think there’s kind of a bond there, when someone is selling a sega genesis and 10 games/cases/manuals with all the hook ups and controllers and you find it.  That recently happened to me, and I am definitely sending that woman a Christmas card.  Call me nerdy, or geeky, or dorky, or just a tool, whatever.  I call that being grateful.  I call that networking.  She sold me all of that for $10.  She deserves at least a Christmas card.

You don’t get that kind of satisfaction from an emulator.  And really, out of the 800 or so NES games, how many of them have you actually played?  I had 3 NES’s growing up, and all of my friends had them, and my cousins, and even some of my friends in college had one, and I’ve still probably only played 80 different games.  And even that is stretching it.

I’m not out to own all of the games in every library ever made.  If that happens one day, great.  If it doesn’t, I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.

The Magnavox Odyssey.. sure, if someone gives one to me, I’m not going to turn it down.  Anything else “video game related” that people choose to give/send/donate/SELL to me, is awesomely accepted.  When I can’t buy something from someone, I definitely know or will find someone who will.

I’m addicted.  Have you ever seriously gone back to a game you played growing up?  Back then, your parents paid the bill.  You played that one game with your one friend for as long as your attention span allowed… maybe 5-7 minutes.  Okay, okay, I’ll bare with you, how many NES games have you beaten?  Me, wow, I’m a nerd and I’ve only beat 11.  eleven out of eight hundred?  1.38%.  Even if you rounded up generously, I’ve only beaten 2% of all NES games.

And that’s only because I am a nerd.  I love playing games, and I love playing them all the way through.  Have you beaten GTAIII?  I mean up to 100%?  I haven’t.  I am up to 99% and can’t get past it.  It doesn’t make it any less fun, it makes it more of a challenge.

I digress again.  Emulators don’t give you this.  They don’t give you this passion.  You have to be in it for the game, not “all the games”.

Here’s my bottom line.  If you’re unsure about an old game, and want to play it before you buy it, get an emulator.  If you want to have an adventure, meet some people, and  get excited over deals the way I do…

Go retro.  Fark spending $60.00 on a brand new video game.  I can take $60.00 and show you 17 games YOU’VE NEVER EVEN HEARD OF!

…then I’ll beat them all.  Right in front of you.  Just to prove that I am the master.

..”Say When!” ~Doc Holiday

The Jester.