Video Games

Suggestions for Rocksmith

After trying to contact Ubisoft to provide them with feedback on Rocksmith (and receiving little more than an automated response,) I figured I might as well put my feedback here for all the good it’ll do. So here’s a list of things that I think they could improve.

  1. Why do I have to press 3 buttons to get into the game? Press A, Press Start, Press A… come on, I got 10 minutes to get my fix, and it takes 2 minutes to load up and get to a song.
  2. Consistent UI- press start, press A, make some noise- choose one and stick with it.
  3. The ability to navigate the menu with the guitar: pluck red open to select, purple open to go back. slide to scroll left or right (remember us lefties though).
  4. After finishing a song, the ability go back to the library, centered on the song you just played.
  5. After finishing a song, riff repeating.
  6. More lives/ easier method to reselect that riff.
  7. You say intonation is important, but provide no way to check intonation. Give us a way to check it.
  8. A mode where you can use the controller to rewind or fast forward, even use the left and right bumpers to skip sections of the song.
  9. The ability to string a couple of sections together for riff repeater.
  10. More games- “Name that Tone” might be a good one for teaching note recognition.
  11. Remember, most users are playing with their guitars, not their controllers- I good portion of them are using their toes to operate the controller. Plan accordingly.
  12. $3/song? That’s a bit steep. Give me a discount for buying in bulk at least. How about a discount if you buy all new songs at once?
  13. “Favorite songs” option in the main menu, as well as a “recently played”.
  14. When doing technique challenges and such, after I see the video the first time, I don’t care to see it a second time, ESPECIALLY if it means another load screen.
  15. Speaking of loading, restarting in the middle or even near the end of a song is instantaneous, but after finishing a song and hitting “play again” it loads… that seems silly. I don’t give a crap about your menu, keep that song in memory if it means no load time.


I’m sure I’ll have more as I continue to play the game.


Update (20111201)

I have a couple more I’d like to add to the list:

  1. Ghost mode- Show the full note patterns, but at 30% opacity. If you play a section correctly, your mastery is adjusted accordingly.
  2. Assessment mode- If I know a song 90% of the way already, it’s infuriating waiting for Rocksmith to “catch up” to my knowledge. This was a major turnoff for an excellent guitar player that I showed the game to. One note every three seconds for someone who knows the song by heart? (I hadn’t played the song yet myself.)
  3. Riff repeater, Riff repeater, play full song, continue journey, songs, song x, riff repeater. The bolded sections shouldn’t be required- I should be able to go from the finished song back to the riff repeater without all that other crap. Actually, Riff repeater after any finished rehearsal should be available.
  4. Saved playlists- I’d like to be able to select several songs and queue them up so I can play them back to back without it being an event. I’d also like to save that queue for use later.
  5. Rehease any song for an event- I see 4 songs for an event, 1 is qualified, 3 are not. I’d like to rehease those three. It should be trivial to navigate and select them- get a cursor on that list and let me select any of them right from the main menu.
  6. Rehearsal Reversal – ever screw up part of a song and be upset about it? Imagine being able to use the controller to reverse the music like a tape player.
  7. Better communication- I just downloaded a 4 meg update and have no idea why. Did it fix something? Communicate that info- I’m a big boy, I can take it. Gimme technical details.
  8. Open Tuner mode – Some times I just want to mess with my tuning. The current setup is very restrictive.

Again, great game, but I’d like to see some of these warts removed and make it an exceptional game.

Update (20111203)

Add to the list:

  1. When you finish a song, show your score, your last score, and highscore. Gimme some stats man, show me that I improved!

Humble Bundle #2

So this year I managed to snag the Humble Bundle package;  If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a pack of Indie Games bundled together. There are five good reasons why you should consider getting it:

  • Name your own price ($5000 or $0.01 – your call)
  • You choose who the money goes to (charities and/or developers)
  • If you pay more than the average donation, you get Humble Bundle #1 from last year.
  • All games work on Windows, Mac and Linux
  • No DRM

Our Christmas funds were already drained, but Jackie and I agreed that we could spare $15.  I’m going through and trying the games now and thought I’d write up my notes on them:


You’re a little bubble that propels itself by ejecting some of it’s mass in a given direction; the more mass you eject, the faster you go. As you float around, you see other blobs- some smaller, some larger. When one blob touches another, the smaller of the two is absorbed by the larger, bur as your mass grows, velocity slows. It becomes a balancing act of launching yourself to get blobs slightly smaller than yourself; if you eject too much, when you hit your target, you’ll be smaller and will be absorbed by your target (and thus dying).

There are two different types of play; “become the biggest” “absorb the ___”. Become the Biggest is played in a square or round sandbox, or it may be orbiting a massive blob; each has it’s own challenges.  Absorb the ___ involves trying to absorb moving targets- other AI blobs or repulsers (runs away from you). There may be more modes of gameplay, but I haven’t gotten to them yet.

I’ve only dug into it a bit, but it’s very addictive from what I’ve played. The only issue I’ve had is it occasionally freezes;  I have to alt-tab out of it and kill it when it happens.  It’s only happened twice, so it’s not that bad. I am grateful that the devs decided to package it as a .deb file so installing it is as simple as doing a sudo dpkg -i. Overall it’s an excellent game and easily worth $15 by itself. I could also see it ending up on the Wii due to it’s simplicity and controls.


Braid is one of those horrible horrible games like Tetris or Columns where the gameplay sinks into your brain and your start envisioning it everywhere you go.  The crux of the game is that your character can rewind time;  while it appears to be a side-scrolling platformer, you can’t actually die; so it’s closer to a puzzle game despite the running and jumping.

Each level you open up unlocks a new “feature” items that sparkle green ignore the reverse flow of time; even though you run backwards, the badguys keep moving, or the key stays where you left it. purple sparkles cause a shadow version of you to re-perform the actions you just performed; if you need to get in a gate but the purple lever is too far away and the gate closes before you get there, you can run to the gate, run to the lever, then pull it; rewind until you’re back to the gate and watch the shadow you run over and pull the lever. while he’s doing that, you can run through the gate.

I haven’t gotten very far, but the storyline is very interesting; we all wish we could rewind time and undo our mistakes, but eventually you will become a prisoner of other people’s expectations. Very fun, and again, easily worth $15. The controls are a little funky on my laptop, but this would be a great xbox arcade game. They just have a bin file which creates a dir on your system; it woulda been nicer if it had a .deb file so I could track it.

World of Goo

I’ve heard a lot about this game, but this is the first time I’ve seen it. It was actually part of Humble Bundle #1, but since I paid over the average ($7.53 at the time I purchased it), I got HB#1 as well. It’s a basic physics/building game; think tinkertoys made out of jello. The goal is to get these little goo balls into a tube; usually this is done by building some type of bridge or tower that the gooballs can climb. when you place a gooball near an existing structure, it forms a goo strut; if it only connects to one, it’ll flop like a joint. if you place it next to two, it’ll form a triangle which is relatively sturdy.

There are many different types of goo; some that drip like snot, some that can only be placed on a structure once, some that can’t form structures, etc. To top it off, if you build an awkward tower out of the gooball, the struts will bend and give way, causing the tower to collapse.

It’s a fun game, broken into many levels and chapters, but not really as enthralling as Braid. I could see this on the Wii for $15 or so by itself.

Revenge of the Titans

Revenge of the Titans is a simple tower defense game based around an alien invasion; the graphics are stylized  but simple, and the gameplay is nothing special. I’ve played probably close to 50 or so tower defense games;  It’s a little more fast paced than most and seems to just be one solid, continual wave.  It’s a well made and decent game, but I’m sorta burned out on the genre.


Samorost2 is a Myst-like puzzle game. Unlike the others so far, this one was flash based. The story revolves around a guy living on a small planet with his dog. When aliens stop to steal his pears and kidnap his dog, he follows them back to their base to rescue him. Each phase of gameplay involves a static screen with minor animations; you identify something on the screen that’s interactive, like a flower or ladder, and when you click on it, it triggers an animation. The gameplay is based on trying different combinations of events and timings. I was able to beat it in around an hour and a half, which makes it the shortest of the games so far. The artwork is great, but in the end it’s “just a flash game.”

Still worth a play for the artwork alone.

Lugaru HD

Lugaru appears to be a single-player  3rd person RPG, similar to WoW. The graphics are a bit rough, but it looks interesting nonetheless. Unfortunately, the controls aren’t great on a laptop, but if I had a mouse I’d probably be more interested in it. Walking through the tutorial, I got a feel for the combat, which seems crazy and fun. I’ll have to spend more time on it later.

So thats just a quick sample of what’s in the pack- I haven’t had time to play the other games. This pack is easily worth $15 several times over, and I sorta feel like I.  If you haven’t heard of the Humble Bundle, now is your chance to check it out. Hurry though, it’s not available after Christmas day.

Good Wii Games I don’t have…

So I think I need to actually keep track of the Wii games I like so I don’t lose track of them. Here’s what I recall being worth buying, what I am anticipating, and what were good purchases.

  • Mario Kart Wii (bought)
  • Excite Truck (bought)
  • Mario Galaxy
  • Mario Strikers Charged
  • Warioware: Smooth Moves
  • PuzzleQuest
  • Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
  • Metroid Prime: Corruption
  • Spore (?)

More to come as I think of them. Any suggestions?

Puzzle Pirates

Why I would buy an XBox360 before a PS3

So those of you who know me, I’ve never really been a fan of Microsoft- so much so that I refused to buy an XBox on general principal. I’ve not really been a fan of Sony, either, but I still own and loved a PS2. So why the change on this new generation of consoles? Well, Sony has pissed me off quite a bit recently. The following is a list of reasons why I won’t be buying a PS3:

Sony: The Company

  • Sony is part of the RIAA- I disagree with their extortion tactics in general.
  • Sony is part of the MPAA- same as with the RIAA.
  • Rootkit CDs – remember when sony rootkitted all of their customers who bought certain CDs? They brought the word rootkit to the general public.
  • Continuously pushed DRM – Sony has been a big proponent of DRM. While pretty much all large tech companies have at some point (Apple, Microsoft, Google), it gives me one more reason to dislike them.
  • Sony Cameras use a proprietary usb cable format- I have a lot of regular interchangable usb-to-miniusb cables and only one for my sony camera. The camera is great, but it’s a pain in the ass to connect to. Hopefully they’ll change that in the future, if not already.

PS3 Specific

  • 10 year lifespan -Sony says that the PS3 should last 10 years, while the 360 will only last 5- here’s the thing to keep in mind:
    • Lifespan- How many high end pieces of technology do you have that are 10 years old? Mine are usually replaced or straight up die in that time. How about computers? Ten years ago, you were using a 300mhz processor with 64 meg of ram (if you were lucky). Still using that as your primary PC?
    • Warranty- I’d rather pay $400 every five years than $800 every ten because of the warranty- you’ll have more coverage if you were to get the machines more often.
    • Processing power- the xbox 720 that comes out in five years will be cheaper and much more powerful
  • Cell processor- it’s so powerful that it’s frustratingly difficult to program for (from what I’ve heard). That means games will be difficult to write and not use the full power of the cell proc. That’ll still be the case when the xbox 720 comes out 5 years later with as powerful of a processor that’s simple to develop for. Now, if you’re a production house, which would you rather produce games for?
  • patented “locking a game to a specific console” – Whether or not they implement it, it sort of frightens me that they might go that way. I’m sure 5 years down the road when they have their userbase, a simple firmware upgrade could implement this, then they could require all new games be require that the firmware be installed whether it uses it or not. From there, movies, games, whatever could be controlled by this, and since Sony owns the Blu-ray format, they can require that anyone who wants to sell in that format use the locking system. It honestly scares me a bit. Since Sony patented this, at least I know microsoft won’t do it.
  • Price – we can’t forget price. I’ve had my Wii ($250) for half a year. Will the PS3($600) be 2.5 times more fun? Are the games 2.5 times better? Are there 2.5 times as many games for this? I can pick up the newest xbox 360 elite for under $500. Will the PS3 be more fun than my Wii and a 360 combined?
  • And while I dislike Microsoft, I have more faith in their system than the PS3. The battle isn’t over, but it’s not looking good for Sony.

Review: Legend of the Dragon

Summary: Horrible- do not buy.

Jackie was planning on being out of town this weekend, so I asked her to rent a random Wii game for me while she was gone. She came back with Legend of the Dragon- looking at the cover it appeared to be some sort of RPG, and she knew I liked those so she picked it up.

Once I fired it up, I found the fatal flaw of this plan. For starters, this was a 3D cell-shaded fighting game similar to Virtua Fighter- between battles you move around this board finding temples to fight at. Well, “move around” isn’t the right phrase… imagine a board with 20 randomly placed points and lines connecting randomly between them… now hide all of the dots except the one you’re at and show the connecting lines leading off in that direction… you can move as much as you want, until you find a temple or some random guy hiding in the woods, then you go back into fight mode.

Anyways I should mention the plot. You start off by selecting one of three characters who is a martial artist that has mastered the way of the dragon (I chose young cocky guy rather than young whiney girl- the 3rd person wasn’t actually selectable I don’t think). Along comes this zodiac lord right as you finish your training and he takes over the world or something. Before you can take him on you must visit all of the zodiac temples and learn their secrets- ironic since neither the book nor the intro/storyline bits teach you how to fight or how the controls work.

Now, I haven’t even gotten to the best part. The Wii is known for bringing a new level of interactivity to the gaming industry with it’s motion sensitive controllers- the only time this is really used is when an opponent randomly changes into a costume and blasts you with a laser beam or some crazy shit like that- then it tells you to shake the controllers to “blast back”. other special moves the opponent uses require you to do a series of movements- I don’t know what those movements are, or how to do them, I just guess that it has something to do with the motion sensitivity since the analog stick and arrow keys don’t have any effect. I tried flailing with the controls as well, but to no avail. So to sum it up, the controls really suck. Probably the worst use of the wii controllers I’ve seen yet.

Speaking of special moves, I couldn’t figure out how to activate them- nothing in-game mentioned it, I even consulted the manual, but no joy. Fortunately the combo system was simple enough- they only gave you two attacks- punch and kick. combos consisted of AA, AB, ABA, etc. the booklet even mentioned AAA->AA, although I’m not quire sure what that meant, I presume it’s pretty awesome.

My third or 4th battle in, I had already established that the jump and kick fighting tactic along with the crouch and kick style of crap-fu were the most powerful in the game- I simply cornered the opponent and then jumpkicked them to death. Little did I know “the fat guy” would shake all that up- you see, he can only be hurt with combo attacks, and since he moves around, you have to time your “AA” or “AAA” combo attack so that the last hit hit him- if you hit him with the first attack, he bounce away from the second. fortunately there was no 60 second time limit like the previous battles, so 10 minutes later I finally killed him.

And what was my reward for defeating the slow moving, slow swinging fatguy who they called the pig master? I GOT TO PLAY AS HIM! First I fought myself and said “ok, I can see what they’re doing here- it sorta makes sense.” After that battle, I was fighting people I had previously fought and thought to myself “well, this is annoying, but I guess it’s to get you used to fighting as someone else.”

It wasn’t until I fought the second or 3rd random person I’d never fought before as fatguy that I got pissed off. I’d been playing fatguy for twice as long as I’d been playing young cocky guy- how long was this shit gonna go on? I just used the jump and kick move, only now it was the “jump and bellyflop”. After a while I just gave up and tried to quit- it warned me, “if you quit now, you will have to start this mission over again.” wondering wtf it meant, I quit, and found myself standing outside fatguys place ready to fight him for the first time. This is when I turned off the Wii.

And this marks the first game for the Wii that I actively did not like. Don’t buy this, don’t rent this, just ignore it and maybe it’ll go away. Ugh, normally I’d proofread an article like this, but I really don’t even want to go back and remember it. The only reason I’m writing this review is so I don’t have to repeat it.

Review: Metal Slug Anthology

I was really looking forward to this game- I vaguely remembered playing Metal Slug at a Pizza Hut many years ago, and was looking forward to seeing all the games wrapped up into one package (it even had a new sequel, Metal Slug 6, included). The game is a side scroller shoot-em-up where you get different guns and shoot the bad guys before they shoot you.

When I got it home and started playing it, I found a slight problem- it’s a perfect replica of the arcade game- you die quick and have to put in another quarter- only instead of quarters, you press start. I found myself pressing start every 30 seconds or so, again and again… and I beat Metal Slug 6 (the new one) in about 15-20 minutes.

It was fun as a one time rental, but there was no replayability. I honestly wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re really bored and have rented everything else. You can put this one on the third tier.

New Wii Reviews

ok, I’m gonna start doing reviews for the games I rent for the Wii- the ratings will go something like this:

First Tier Buy: Great game, you should absolutely buy it
Second Tier Buy: Decent- not the best, but still fun.
Third Tier Buy: If you’ve run out of things to try, give it a shot.
Don’t Bother: I won’t even recommend renting it.

Good Guy or Bad Guy?

So I was in a Gamestop yesterday buying an extra nunchuck for the Wii (I plan on getting Wii Play which comes with a remote), and I overheard this conversation:

[GSEmployee] Ma’am, you do realize that Call of Duty 3 is Rated T?
[Lady] I don’t know, is that appropriate for a 13 year old boy? Is it violent?

as a side note here, this lady was completely clueless that call of duty was a WAR gam, about WAR, where you SHOOT people. Now, I don’t play the Xbox 360, and haven’t really ever seen Call of Duty, but I could figure out from the pictures PICTURE OF A GUY SHOOTING A GUN ON THE FRONT OF THE BOX STANDING IN FRONT OF A WARZONE that yeah, maybe it was a little violent.

[GSEmployee] Well, you have a chainsaw on the end of your gun that you can use to slice open the enemy and you’ll see their entrail rendered in 3d.
[Lady] Is that bad?

…I shit you not, she said that. That’s where I broke in. I wanted her not to get it at this point simply because she’s stupid enough to be shocked when she sees the kid playing it 3 months later that it has blood and then sue the store or something retarded.

[me] Excuse me ma’am, to help you put it in context, think of it as an R rated movie.
(side note, a PG-13 movie would be a better comparison, but she probably wouldn’t comprehend.)

[lady] I don’t know- is that bad? some [r-rated] movies are different…

At this point I’m flustered because she’s just NOT getting it. either she doesn’t want her son exposed to this kind of violence, or she does, but she doesn’t appear to have the mental capacity to infer what a violent R rated movie would be, so I come up with the best example as I can on the spot.

[me] Think of it like this- would you let your son watch The Predator?

[lady] well I wouldn’t even watch that….

(Then get a fucking clue!)

[lady] So it’s violent?

(I give up)

[me] Yes [turning to the kid to apologize] Sorry bud, [turning to the clerk] I hate to bust you guys on a sale, but yeah, the game is probably too violent.

[GSEmployee] hey, that’s cool- I’d rather not have it sold than deal with mad parents

[lady] ok Georgie, lets not get Call of Duty, ok?… [acting excited] how about Open Season instead instead!

The son, the GSEmployee and myself all hang our heads in defeat of this clueless mom who pretty much proved she had no idea what her 13 year old son liked or wanted.

My parents were pretty good about video games, and as I raise Ian, I’m gonna try to put in that extra effort to pay attention to what my son likes. Growing up as a gamer and dealing with the stigma has had an effect on me, and I don’t want to end up like this clueless idiot lady.

If I won the lotto

a couple of weeks ago the lotto hit $200 million, and I bought my annual lotto ticket.

The lotto has a strange effect on people. It gives hope where there is none. Even I sat at a redlight imagining all of the wonderful things I could do with that amount of money. Of course erasing family debt, replacing vehicles, real honeymoon with jackie, etc was at the top of the list, but what would *I* do after that was said and done? I wouldn’t have to work. How would I spend my time?

I’ve put a lot of thought into it. I call it my interests list. I thought I’d share them here with all of you. I’m going to continue to expand it as ago throughout life and hopefully knock a few off of here.

  • Move to Grand Rapids, MI (DONE!) (UNDONE!)
  • Study Lingustics
  • Study Comparative religion
  • Study Geology
  • Study Anatomy
  • Build a marionette
  • Study Mathamatics
  • Study music theory
  • Learn piano
  • Learn drawing better
  • Study Metallurgy
  • Learn sword smithing
  • Study chemistry
  • Study physics
  • Study Electrical Engineering
  • Study animatronics
  • Learn c++
  • Study Millitary Strategy
  • Study Philosophy
  • Learn Tai Chi
  • Learn Jow Gar
  • Build a trebuchet
  • Learn to Paint better
  • Learn Latin
  • Lose 30 lbs
  • See Europe
  • See New Zealand
  • See Vancouver
  • Build a library
  • Write a Fantasy Book
  • Write a Fiction/horror Book (DONE!)
  • Write an autobiography
  • Learn to play Bass
  • Learn to Sing
  • Write and record a Concept CD
  • Write and record a Blues Rock CD
  • Write and record a Modern Rock CD
  • Learn Spanish
  • Learn Mandrin
  • Learn to play Harmonica
  • Learn Photography better
  • Develop a 2d top-down RPG
  • Develop a 2.5d side scrolling fighting game(Ogg I’m lookin at you)
  • Get my A+ Certification
  • Get my Linux+ Certification
  • Get my Security+ Certification
  • Get my Network+ Certification
  • Get my LPI-1 Certification
  • Learn to play the Harp
  • Learn to play the Violin
  • Publish series of books called Diff: admining X for Y admins
  • Learn to play Trumpet
  • Learn to play Clarinet
  • Study Architecture
  • Make cheese
  • Start an Open Source Project (DONE!)

One day I hope I get that chance.

Go to Top