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Thank you Nintendo

Yesterday I was the best man in my best friend Steve’s wedding. (You might remember him from our Pixelnauts Play: Eclipse video!) In my preparation for this event I knew I was going to have to write a speech, and every best man speech has to regale some past tale of embarrassment to the audience right?

Well, Steve has always had horrible luck with electronic related things, including video games. He grew up believing there was a “Licavoli Chip” that knew he was playing and thus would glitch the game. I knew I had to mention this at his wedding, so I sent some emails out to Sega, Nintendo, Gearbox, Bioware, etc hoping they would play along and send me something back saying that the chip exists. Out of all the emails I sent, I got one response.

It was from Nintendo.

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Pixelnauts Podcast: Connecting & Disconnecting

This week we talk about devices, connectivity, social, the proliferation of services across all kinds of devices, and when we are too connected how should we unplug.

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Hour One: Assassins Creed III: Liberation

2013 may be the year that Assassins Creed 4 comes out, but it’s also been very Assassins Creed heavy in general to me. I started out this year by beating Assassins Creed 2, and then directly following it up with Brotherhood and Revelations. That got me through to mid February and I’ve since taken a little time off before jumping into Assassins Creed 3.

Since I just finished up Bioshock Infinite, I thought maybe the time had come. But then I got thinking, I have a Playstation Vita and I have the Assassins Creed for that. It’s also been really nice out and I wanted to spend some time off the couch. So I’ve been playing Assassins Creed III: Liberation for more than an hour now, and I’m feeling a little mixed on it.

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Impressions: Poker Night at the Inventory 2

I’m not much of a Poker player, but I made an exception for Poker Night at the Inventory. The idea of playing with some characters from video games made the idea of playing poker more appealing to me. Now, Poker Night at the Inventory 2 (or just Poker Night 2) released across many digital distribution systems. Once again we dive deep into The Inventory, a hidden speakeasy for video game characters to meet up, to play poker.

This time around we are joined by Brock Sampson (The Venture Bros.), Claptrap (Borderlands), Ash (Army of Darkness), and Sam (Sam & Max). It’s an interesting mix, and nice to see some non-videogame faces at the table. Oh and the dealer? It’s GlaDOS (Portal). So let’s deal in shall we?

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Is the CFL bulb a thing of the past?

Light bulbs are old tech. In 1879 Thomas A. Edison first publicly demonstrated the incandescent light bulb stating that ”We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles.” The idea spread, and was improved upon but settled out into a stable industry fairly quick with things like the Edison medium standard light socket sticking with us to this day.

But times do change, and with the government mandating a phase out of commonly used incandescent bulbs its time for a little soul searching. The compact fluorescent bulb is the reigning king of the hill, but there are big drawbacks to this bulb including: containing mercury (and thus being hard to properly dispose of), not being dimmable, and being slow to warm up.

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Review: Bioshock Infinite

When Bioshock came out in 2007 I remember starting it, but not finishing it. Before Bioshock 2 came out in 2010 I went back and took the time to not only restart, but to beat Bioshock.  Something on that second play clicked much better for me, and I found myself looking at the beauty of the fallen city of Rapture and enjoying the firefights on it’s broken streets. When I reached the parts in the story that came to a twist of what I thought I knew, I was in love with the title. Bioshock 2 was also enjoyable, as the story it told had strong feelings of protection and love that helped it be different from Bioshock.

But now it’s 2013, and Bioshock Infinite has been released after years in development. Developed by Irrational Games, who made the first Bioshock (but not Bioshock 2), we leave the city of Rapture behind for something more, “airy”. The city of Columbia, high above the clouds of 1912 America, is calling.

Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt. With these words, Booker Dewitt, ex-soldier/ex-pinkerton, is sent on a mission to find a girl in the city of Columbia and deliver her to unknown forces to rid himself of a great debt. But who is the girl? And is Booker up to the task?

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Pixelnauts Podcast – 4k Video

This week Scott and Carl tackle 4k Video, and its impending impact on the TV and gaming worlds.

Our theme music is Alternate Ending: The Power of Friendship by James Roach whose new album Pixel Kingdom is available on Bandcamp.com

Pixelnauts Play: Eclipse

Recently we’ve started playing the board game Eclipse at our monthly board game nights, so Scott and I decided to do a video. We were also joined by Steve Licavoli who is part of the Sanity Claws Radio Podcast over at DemonLobster.com

Eclipse is a sci-fi 4X style game for 2-6 players that’s published by Asmodee and Lautapelit.fi. It came out in 2011 and retails for $99.99, but can be found at places like Amazon.com and CoolStuffInc.com for more like $65.

In Eclipse the goal is to have the most victory points by the end of the ninth round. That is a pretty basic goal for many board games, but what makes Eclipse great is that there’s many ways to achieve victory points. You can earn points from fighting battles, diplomatic relations, scientific research, and exploration. Having so many options allows you to play the game differently every time.

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Paper Mario: Sticker Star – Review

I remember when Paper Mario came out for the N64. I thought the idea of a Mario Universe made of paper, a mixing of 2D and 3D elements not only looked really cool, but could hold some new ideas not seen before. What I got was a RPG I never finished, but I still thought the style was great.

Then came Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, which was still an RPG, but I thought it was really well done. Super Paper Mario dropped a lot of the RPG-ness, but really hooked onto the idea of a paper world, even if the game was kind of boring.

So the Paper Mario series likes to try new things, and the newest game for the 3DS explores a little more while kind of returning to it’s RPG roots. But is it a shiny sticker, or a dull scratch-and-sniff?

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Pixelnauts Podcast – Movies and Videogames

This time on the podcast Carl and Scott explore the depths and heights of videogame movies.

Movies:

  • The Super Mario Brothers (1993) An all-star cast including Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo and the legendary Dennis Hopper can’t save this bizarre dark take on the normally cartoony and cherry world of Mushroom Kingdom
  • Resident Evil (2002) Milla Jovovich stars in a pretty standard and not particularly memorable action zombie shooter, that somewhat abandons its namesakes tense atmosphere.
  • Tron (1982) A stylish and interesting take on what was becoming a new media at the time, Tron takes on the world of the computer and video games with style and classic hollywood vintage. Shot on 65mm film, the scenes in the computer world were actually in black and white so they could be blown up and color painted onto animation cells.
  • The Wizard (1989) Fred Savage plays a kid who, with his little brother, sets off on a trip across the country, ending up at the Nintendo world championship to play the pre-release Super Mario Brothers 3.
  • Wreck it Ralph (2012) A fantastic movie in the long standing Disney/Pixar tradition, except in this case Pixar had nothing to do with it – well, John Lasseter was the executive producer, but this was all Disney Animation Studios. John C Reilly voices Ralph a disillusioned videogame baddie in a classic arcade game who reluctantly must team up with a racer from “Sugar Rush” Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) so he can, he hopes, win the respect of his peer sprites.

Games

  • Back to the Future (Telltale, 2010) A pretty dang competent point and click adventure, that takes Marty McFly on new adventures
  • Back to the Future (LJN toys, 1989) You play as Marty McFly in sick dreary NES game that mostly involves collecting alarm clocks off the streets of Mill Valley.
  • Jurassic Park (SEGA, 1993) Fight your way through the areas of the island as Dr. Grant, or as a Velociraptor.
  • Jurassic Park: The Game (Telltale, 2011) an interesting take on a game, but a bit difficult to enjoy the gameplay, as Telltale struggled to find a mechanic that was not as inline with its adventure game roots.