Author Archives: ssskinner

Birthday Stream, Fan Contest, and Facebook Page!

So people have been asking me for a facebook fan page! I kept saying I didn’t want to do it because it seemed egotistical, but I decided to finally make my own since I realized I’d like to be the one control of what’s posted on it. I’m not going to be posting a lot on it, because I have my twitter for random blurbs, but I am going to use it to talk to people, answer questions, and give immediate updates. It’ll be helpful for those of you who don’t use twitter and still want to keep in touch other than youtube.

The link is http://www.facebook.com/ssskinnerlps since someone already used ssskinner. I was surprised. I think that’s the first time in all of my internetting that that has happened to me.

Secondly, my birthday is coming up in a few weeks (May 3rd) and I’m going to be doing the stream I normally do for my birthday. It will be on April 30th this year since that’s a Saturday and my birthday is on Tuesday (plus I have to work the days around my birthday so the 30th is the only day close I can stream). I’m not sure of the time as of this posting, but I’ll figure it out by the time I post a video later today.

Along with the stream, I’m going to be holding a contest! Due to some people recently telling me they were out of stuff to watch of mine, I was wondering who was my “biggest” fan. I made up a list of questions that are available here and in order to enter you must be over 13, following me on either twitter or facebook, and email your answers to me by April 28th, 2011 at midnight my time. More information is on the page, at the bottom.

The top couple (unsure of how many yet) of people will be able to request a game from me and get in a skype call during my birthday stream! You don’t have to ask for a skype call if you are too nervous, but it’s just something I don’t usually offer with streaming.

The last thing I wanted to just add on really quickly is that I’m currently uploading a bunch of videos to ssskinner.blip.tv where the videos can be downloaded like podcasts for people who want to watch my LPs on the go or on their iPhones or whatever. I’ll post more information when I’m done uploading things (including a return of …well, something you all might enjoy!).

$125 Donation to PAWS :3

Just in case people were wondering, the money went through into my account from PayPal today. Since I got more money than I thought I was going to, I decided to give PAWS an extra $25, meaning that out of the $560 I ended up actually getting from PayPal (fees are a bitch!), $125 went to PAWS and the rest is going to Let’s Play/stream related items.

I’m buying a Hauppauge HD PVR, a new headset since mine broke (I’m actually buying a not shitty one this time), and a bunch of little things to get that Hauppauge to work right on my computer.

Again, thank you to everyone who contributed to the stream. Tonight I am going to be doing a very late stream where I’m going to get a couple of games done, so show up to that if you can! Otherwise, see you Sunday!

Left 4 Dead vs. Left 4 Dead 2

I don’t really play a lot of first person shooters. It’s because I get motion sick easily. Playing FPSes on consoles has always made me nauseated within a matter of minutes, but I’ve found recently that playing on a computer actually allows me to be able to play for hours if I want. And now that there’s Steam on the Mac, I have a lot more options of games to play.

I started playing Left 4 Dead 2 because Steam had it on sale for $5. I immediately loved it. Because I can play with my friends in co-op, it makes my lack of skill at FPS games not evident. It’s not my fault! People have been playing this genre for years and I just started. So I don’t like playing versus other people. I just die almost instantly. But together, it’s more fun.

Then I received L4D, the original, as a gift. I started playing it, knowing that all sorts of people, from my boss to my boyfriend, loved the original better. I was surprised — no melee weapons and it’s still better?

After playing through both games more than once, I have to agree. The first game is slightly better than the second. L4D2 does have melee weapons and two other kinds of zombies, it’s true. But the graphics either didn’t get much of an update or didn’t get an update at all. The three new zombie types, Spitter, Charger, and Jockey, are fun, but they don’t add that much to the game.

I do like the maps more in L4D, even though L4D2 adds more elements that interact with them like having to collect gas cans in order to get a car running. I don’t exactly know why, but they feel more natural to me, and the progression through them is more memorable. (Though I gotta say in L4D2 the “Dark Carnival” map is amazing.)

In L4D, you have two characters I immediately liked: Zoey, a tough ass female, and Bill, a veteran. Francis and Louis, the other two survivors, are okay too, but I don’t like them as much. In L4D2, both Coach and Nick are fun to play as, but Ellis is so annoying that whenever I hear his voice I immediately cringe. I honestly can’t, for the life of me, remember the other survivors name off of the top of my head. Oh, it’s Rochelle. I think.

All in all, both games are great. They’re not really like two games though, just like L4D2 is an expansion of the first one. I do think that if you have to pick between the two, the first one definitely eeks out in front of the second by a tiny bit.

Now I just have to play Killing Floor to see how it compares, or if it even can!

how I feel about the 360 now

A couple of years back, when Dan and I first started talking, he told me he wouldn’t buy a PS3 until games he wanted came out for it. He pretty much meant “when Metal Gear Solid 4 came out.” When it did, I made sure we got the bundle that came out with the 80 gig 4USB PS3 and the game. It’s been a pretty steady and stable system since we got it then. Our TV does 1080i, and everything looks great.

I didn’t really like the 360 and never planned on getting one (mostly because of the horrible failure rate); however, there really are some things Microsoft has in their tight, cold grasp. Mainly, a few series of games I’ve always wanted to play: Mass Effect and Left 4 Dead. Since it was much cheaper for me to get a 360 than a PC, I decided to buy one back in March.

My 360 has been used quite a bit. I have been playing a ton of Peggle, Castle Crashers, Splosion Man, and Hexic HD. After this month, however, I don’t think I’m going to continue paying for XBOX Live. I don’t play as much on the system with games online to justify paying for it every month.

On the whole, I think that the 360 is quite a bit better than I thought it would be. The online service is amazing, but the problem with the system in general is that it’s reaching the peak of what it can do, while the PS3 is just getting started.

wtf Amazon? game selections for mom

Amazon does a lot of stupid shit. I just tumbled a link to the Mother’s Day Gift Sale, which was bad enough, with it’s pink and purple flowers and items like mixers, jewelry, and Kindles (wonder why THOSE are there). As I looked around though, I did find there was actually a link to a section full of video games for women!

I was skeptical, and when I checked, it was the obvious Yoga, EA Active, and Style Savvy for the DS. But a little more looking, and on the front page, I see this game:

 

 

Numbers and calculations can be fun! Take your lessons “to go” on your Nintendo DS with Learn Math. Progress through 10 different topics to learn, practice, and repeat lessons based on a syllabus for grades 1-4. Become a math wizard in no time!

Now I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t know what woman is a mom that early, but I’m just chalking this up to amazon’s sexist filing (though it’s not just them that does this) of women with children. The things women like are comparable to what children like, stuff like Carnival Games on the Wii, and shiny baubles.

the right hander’s video game world

When I was a child, I remember hating the fuck out of safety scissors. They never, ever worked. And then one day I realized, “Oh wait, you can’t use these in your left hand.” Being left handed isn’t really a big hinderance like other minorities are, but it can be a pain in the ass.

I had to retrain myself to use scissors in my right hand, swipe my credit card with it, open the fridge with it. My natural inclination is to do everything left handed, so I’ve had to do a lot of work changing small behaviors.

But now that video games are becoming more interactive, it’s becoming even harder. The wiimote, in most games, is designed to be used in the right hand. This means that I have to point with accuracy with my right hand, which fails quite often. I don’t have the same kind of precision with it.

yeah, that's wrong
(As a side note, this is why in the version of Twilight Princess for the Wii, Link is right handed and the sun rises from the west — they reflected everything in the world so it would be more comfortable for right handers to play as the left-handed Link.)

There’s another thing that’s even smaller and pretty much worthless to complain about, but I want to bring it up to see if any lefties or even righties have thought about this: in the more modern RPGs where you can change your hair color/length/hairstyle, scars, tattoos, skin color, eyes, body shape, and even make up/beard, there is rarely an option to make your character left handed.

It would great to program it so that left handers have stat bonuses or losses, depending. For me, I usually want to play as a version of myself in an RPG. Currently, in WoW, I am playing as a Tauren hunter — essentially a giant bull woman who has a pet following her around. I don’t necessarily need her to be exactly like me, but being left handed is something I think about in my daily life, so I would like it if she was able to use that as her dominant hand.

So my question is: are there RPGs where you have a player created character that you can make left handed? What main characters are left handed? (I do know that both Link and Kain from FF6 are.)

Video games can never be art

(Please excuse any grammar issues. I’m sick and have been drankin’ on Dayquil today.)

Today, I read Roger Ebert’s recent article, on his Suntimes blog, Video games can never be art. His opinion here is just inexplicably devoid of understanding, but I will try to critique it.

First off, to use a term like “never” blows my mind. Video games used to be single color pixels blipping across the screen in an almost arbitrary manner. Now, we have fleshed out story-told universes where almost anything goes. They have come so far and will go so far, it’s impossible to put such a harsh term on to it. He even admits to this, but also says, “Let me just say that no video gamer now living will survive long enough to experience the medium as an art form.” I have to say I think we’re already there and have been there for a while.

One obvious difference between art and games is that you can win a game. It has rules, points, objectives, and an outcome. Santiago might cite a immersive game without points or rules, but I would say then it ceases to be a game and becomes a representation of a story, a novel, a play, dance, a film. Those are things you cannot win; you can only experience them.

I do not see why here he is saying that art and games are mutually exclusive.

Games blend all art: visual, aural, and story telling. To say that an immersive game isn’t a game is just semantic arguing against your point so that you don’t have to define what you mean. An open world fiction that is not immutable is a game, something you play in and with. It contains elements of art and elements of game, and to say those two things are unmeshable just because you do not think it possible is ignorant.

The concept of chess may not be an art, much like the concept of an RPG is not art. But the board, if it is crafted beautifully, is art. A drawing of chess piece is art. A film of someone playing a game of chess is art. Once you see the visuals, listen to the music, and are enveloped in the story of Elder Scrolls: Morrowind, you realize that it’s not just the artistic elements inside the game that are beautiful and artistic, but that the playing of the game is art. What you are doing within the story is the art. Your experience is the art.

Games are performance art.