Surf Report – 8/31/09

Standard

Surf ReportWelcome to a Monday edition of the Surf Report.

.: God :


.: Life :

Too busy. You?

.: Gaming :

Dragon Quest IVThis week I thought I would take a break from the great Pokémon experiment to instead talk about my recent adventures with Dragon Quest IV (DS).

As a gamer, I have had limited exposure to the world of Dragon Quest. My Japanese RPG experiences  to date have mostly consisted of the Final Fantasy series. Granted, I have deviated away from the Final Fantasy series occasionally and explored the worlds of Skies of Arcadia (DC), Golden Sun (GBA), and Chrono Trigger (DS). However, the Dragon Quest series is one that I have read much about but never played until now.

Dragon Quest IV marks my first experience in the world of Dragon Quest. The game is divided up into five chapters, with each chapter introducing a different character/ perspective that will eventually build into the final chapter that features the games main hero. Ten hours into the game, I have reached chapter 4. A tale of revenge, chapter 4 follows Maya and Meena on their quest to avenge their fathers death. Difficulty wise, chapter 4 seems too short on money drops and thus upgrading weapons/ armor has been a pain. Overall, I am enjoying the games simplistic gameplay and engaging storyline. If you haven’t jumped into the world of Dragon Quest, now is the time to do so.

Wave SplinterThat is it for this weeks Surf Report. Make sure to comment below and have a good week!

BlizzCon: Day 2

Standard

JBG at BlizzConJBG correspondents Scotto and Lord Andrew write from the depths of Blizzard Entertainment’s BlizzCon. Follow their adventures below!

———— Photo Update ————

StarCraft 2 Voice Actor Panel

They have brought all of the voice actors on stage to talk about the new Starcraft 2 installment.

Right as you walk into BlizzCon.

Right as you walk into BlizzCon.

Illidan!!

Illidan!!

Wow, Lord Andrew and I have had a chance to play a lot more of the new games.

Starcraft 2 is really fun. I wasn’t that excited about it before, but now I cannot wait for it! It is SO polished. The units are gorgeous. The in game cut scenes are incredible. Lord Andrew kicked my butt really bad but it was still amazingly fun.

Diablo 3 is great too. Lord Andrew and I stumbled into a dungeon this last time. The atmospheric effects are so cool. Everything is beautifully animated…and it runs very fast. I was playing the witch doctor this time and Lord Andrew tried the monk. The spell effects make it very fun too. I love that every creature had rag doll physics so the deaths always look different.

We’ve gotten to play both of the new races for the new WoW expansion Cataclysm. The Worgen look great. You start as a human and you can transform into a worgen whenever yo want. His racial is a swift run ability that you can trigger every minute or so.

The new goblin race for horde is awesome too. They added a ton of facial detail…he looks awesome! He probably has the most fun racials of any class too. He can rocket forward with a jet pack, and also shoot a missile!?? So good. We liked him a lot.

We just heard that they will be bringing the old Onyxia boss fight back….all new updated items and stuff. They are going to make it possible to do cross-server LFG’s with th new path. So you can do 5 man PUGs really easy now. WAY easier to find groups.

I‘m really looking forward to being able to go back through the original game and play it with all new content.

————  Update ————

We are leaving now 😦 so sad. Lord Andrew kicked my butt at Terran, Protoss, AND Zerg. Really really kicked my butt. Great way to end BlizzCon! Wouldn’t have it any other way.

(Note to self – build more units…build them faster.)

– Scotto

This concludes JBG’s BlizzCon coverage. Hope y’all enjoyed the ride!

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Announced

Standard

JBG at BlizzCon

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm

For the trailer click here.

–  Two New Playable Races: Adventure as one of two new races—the cursed worgen with the Alliance or the resourceful goblins with the Horde.
– Level Cap Increased to 85: Earn new abilities, tap into new talents, and progress through the path system, a new way for players to improve characters.
– Classic Zones Remade: Familiar zones across the original continents of Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms have been altered forever and updated with new content, from the devastated Badlands to the broken Barrens, which has been sundered in two.
– New High-Level Zones: Explore newly opened parts of the world, including Uldum, Grim Batol, and the great Sunken City of Vashj’ir beneath the sea.
– More Raid Content than Ever Before: Enjoy more high-level raid content than previous expansions, with optional more challenging versions of all encounters.
– New Race and Class Combinations: Explore Azeroth as a gnome priest, blood elf warrior, or one of the other never-before-available race and class combinations.
– Guild Advancement: Progress as a guild to earn guild levels and guild achievements.
– New PvP Zone & Rated Battlegrounds: Take on PvP objectives and daily quests on Tol Barad Island, a new Wintergrasp-like zone, and wage war in all-new rated Battlegrounds.
– Archaeology: Master a new secondary profession to unearth valuable artifacts and earn unique rewards.
– Flying Mounts in Azeroth: Explore Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms like never before.

For more information, please visit the Cataclysm FAQ.

BlizzCon: Day 1

Standard

JBG at BlizzCon

JBG correspondents Scotto and Lord Andrew write from the depths of Blizzard Entertainment’s BlizzCon. Follow their adventures below!

BlizzCon1

We are waiting for opening ceremony to start! We have our bags of “swag”. We got Starcraft action figures.

It has been quite the cultural experience. I’ve seen a few succubus, night elves, Druids…and one dude in leather…hmm…I think he was going for a tree. I’ve been surprised though. It’s at least 15% female. All of whom are dressed in black. I’m not wearing a dorky enough tshirt. I’m starting to feel self conscious about it.

– Scotto

———— Photo Update ————

Picture of statue from Blizzard's Irvine Campus!

Picture of statue from Blizzard's Irvine Campus!

The SWAG! (Lord Andrew modeling)

The SWAG! (Lord Andrew modeling)

————  Update 1:17PM ————

Listening to the WoW Cataclysm feature panel. This new expansion is going to be amazingly cool. They are changing the whole game.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Panel

————  Update 2:23PM ————

We just played Diablo 3! I loved it. Feels very similar to Diablo 2. I played the new “monk” class. Very fun.  – Scotto

—– : —–

Unless noted, all photos have been taken via iPhone.


Journal I: Guild Wars

Standard

Guild Wars

Once upon a time, many years ago, I journeyed to the land of Tyria for the first time.  Tyria was a land free of subscription based play and featured a unique content delivery system. Guild Wars was new, fun, and graphically impressive.

The recent stirrings of Guild War 2 news has me wondering, what has happened in Guild Wars since I left? Besides the three expansions (Factions, Nightfall, Eye of the North), does anyone still play this game?

Updating Guild Wars

Intrigued, I decided to download the client, install the game, and log in. I was then greeted with the the familiar load screen. Only this time, 24,408 files were in desperate need of download. Admission to Tyria was denied over my lunch hour. At least for today.

Guild Wars 2 Website is Smoking!

Standard

Guild Wars 2After a period of great radio silence regarding the development of Guild Wars 2, the folks at ArenaNet are beginning to chatter once more. Over on the Guild Wars Official Wiki, ArenaNet head Mike O’Brien writes:

Hey all,

Last week I promised you’d get your first glimpse of Guild Wars 2 “very soon now”. That day is almost here.

I want to thank all our fans for their patience as we developed the game to the point where we can start talking about it publically. I know you’ve all been anxiously awaiting this moment. You’ll soon understand how ambitious we’ve been and what we’ve accomplished during these past two years of development. We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but from here on out we’ll be able to provide you with more regular updates.

Guild Wars 2 is going to be a huge leap beyond the original. We have the best team in the industry executing at the top of their game, and I’m very proud of what our team has accomplished so far. As I said last week, I’m confident that when you get your first look at what we’ve been working on, you’re going to love what you see. Stay tuned for an exciting week ahead.

Mike O’Brien 20:31, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

Look to JohnnyBGamer.com for the latest in Guild Wars 2 news & information!

Distant Shore

Standard
"Walked out this morning, don't believe what I saw Hundred billion bottles washed up on the shore Seems I'm not alone at being alone Hundred billion castaways, looking for a home I'll send an s.o.s. to the world... I hope that someone gets my... Message in a bottle, yeah." - Sting and The Police

"Walked out this morning, don't believe what I saw Hundred billion bottles washed up on the shore Seems I'm not alone at being alone Hundred billion castaways, looking for a home I'll send an s.o.s. to the world... I hope that someone gets my... Message in a bottle, yeah." - Sting and The Police

Press Start:

Makers of the top paid application of 2008, Koi Pond, The Blimp Pilots have again unleashed upon the world an experience that is hard to classify. Distant Shore allows users to walk along sandy beaches, collect shells, and communicate with those beyond the horizon.

My first message in a bottle.

My first message in a bottle.

Ideology/ Worldview:

Based upon the mercy of the user and his/her own viewpoint. Experience will vary from message to message.

Interaction/ Gameplay:

Tap your way along the beach. Collect 5 shells to obtain a bottle. Write a message and toss it into the sea. Replies will be received via mail turtle.

Collecting shells...

Collecting shells...

In the End:

I am intrigued. Distant Shore is a modern day experiment in communication. The app weighs its entire experience upon users across the globe. The messages that are received and sent could contain almost anything from questions to statements to random thoughts. One will never know what message lies inside the virtual bottle. I will note that The Blimp Pilots have set up a system to report offensive messages. The subjective nature of what is offensive and what is not will surely keep the developer busy policing bottles. In the end, the longevity of Distant Shore will be based upon its users and the messages that they send. A curiosity at $0.99, the price of admission is low enough to recommend engaging in this social experiment.

– DEFCON Score-

DEFCON 4 Not perfect but highly recommended

– Level of Impact –

Low: Little to no impact. Game is good for pickup and play.

The Creeps!

Standard

The Creeps!

“I always feel like

Somebody’s watchin’ me…”

-Rockwell, Somebody’s Watching Me

Press Start:

As a child, bedtime always seemed to send a signal for my imagination to go into overdrive. With the lights turned off in my room, I remember the world suddenly becoming a very scary place.  Normal shadows and sounds quickly became monsters preying and lurking within the darkness. Super Squawk Software’s,  The Creeps, demonstrates that our imaginations did not lie. For indeed there were monsters trying to get to us; monsters even our parents could not help combat until now. The Creeps! is an imaginative tower defense app that allows players to protect an innocent child from the horrors of the night. Do you dare to combat the human imagination at its worst?

Ideology/ Worldview:

Monsters are real. No joke.

The Creeps! Gameplay Screenshot

Interaction/ Gameplay:

Boomerangs, glue, and laser turrets are but a few of the tower choices at your disposal against the creeps.  Strategic placement as well as tower choice determine the outcome of the battle.

In the End:

The Creeps! (link will open iTunes) is a fantastic addition to the App Store that revels in its unique art direction and imaginative game design. Priced at $2.99, The Creeps! deserves a spot on the iDevice in your life.

– DEFCON Score-DEFCON 5 Just buy it already

– Level of Impact –

Medium: Casual play. Does not require large chunks of time.

Surf Report – 8/10/09

Standard

Surf Report

Welcome to a Monday edition of the Surf Report.

.: God :

This week I have been going through a book entitled The Answer Is In the Questions by Kenton Beshore. The book discusses constructing questions to progress dialog in a Bible study setting (ie the book is about getting people to talk!). I’ll let you know what I think when I finish. A review could be in the works…

.: Life :

Sometimes a new perspective on life is what we all need.

.: Gaming :

Pokemon Logo

3 Guys (Ages 25-28).

3 Games (Pokémon: Platinum, Diamond, and Pearl)

A Summer Filled with Pocket Monsters.

Join JohnnyBGamer.com as we explore what happens when guys in their 20’s engage in the world of Pokémon.

Wave Splinter

So far:

Bryan (Platinum):

Oreburgh City’s Gym Leader, Roark, proved to be more talk than action. Revolver quickly dispatched this pathetic excuse for a trainer, and I obtained my Coal Badge! Revolver is now at level 15. Hopefully I will have more time to adventure forth in Sinnoh this week. I should note that I have yet to meet up with Shooter and Scotto in-game.

Roark the Weak!

Roark the Weak!

Shooter McGavin (Diamond):

Shooter has enjoyed the dialogue in Pokémon.

“My Karate awesomeness will pulverize you!”

“I’m a big man! And you’re just a little kid, this should be easy!”  “Ga ha ha. You’re a little kid, but you beat me!”

Scotto (Pearl):

Has entered the world of Pokémon!

Wave Splinter

That is it for this weeks Surf Report. Make sure to comment below and have a good week!

R.I.P. Paperboy

Standard

Paperboy Menu

Growing up, the theater in my hometown had an arcade that was above the concession stands. I clearly remember the smell of popcorn mixed with games of Afterburner, Super Hang-On, and Paperboy. Killing time, both before a movie and afterwords, was never so much fun! Fast forward a decade…

Paperboy

My memories of Paperboy were recently rekindled when I came across vNES, a website that hosts Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) games. Dodging skateboarders, runaway tires,  and unsupervised children recalled a time when videogames were more simple. However, please don’t read the word simple as meaning easy. Paperboy was never easy for me. Everything in the world of Paperboy seemed built to kill. Hitting common fences, dogs, and even construction workers meant a loss of life. I truthfully do not know how the nameless paperboy portrayed in the game kept at his job. I would have quit long after the old lady ran out of her house in newspaper delivery rage. Perhaps the silent paperboy was well paid? I doubt it. More likely a virtual slave to programming. I dedicate this post to him, the 80’s, and memories of waiting to be picked up at the local theater. Thanks Mom!

Paperboy Calls It Quits!

Such a promising kid.

Addiction

Standard

Addict 1

*The month of February is most popularly known as being the month in which Valentines Day co-exists with a holiday dedicated to a stack of dead presidents.

Circle of Life theorists no doubt rejoice and hold massive parties on the savanna (in the shadows of Pride Rock) during this prelude to spring. A sweeping trend in both the mainstream and gaming presses this month (2/06) has been on the topic of gaming addiction. Long the whipping boy for politicians and presidential candidates, vide games have once again come to the forefront of the pathetically bored American Press. Love, candle-lit dinners for two, and discounted cars are all topics for another time and place. The topic of gaming addiction rules the day, and I wish to wade forth into this “dreaded” territory. I will warn you dear reader, we are about to enter a virtual abyss of stupidity. So please pull up a chair, and continue this adventure below.

Every new form of media has been met with intense scrutiny by the generations introduced to them. Radio at one time was probably called a great evil; television, a sign of the impending apocalypse. Scrutiny and distrust generally apply to the nouns we have failed to be properly introduced to. Nearly a decade since the inception of videogaming, the mainstream press continues to poke, prod, and accuse a media format they themselves know nothing about.

On the almighty chopping block of media’s grand altar, World of Warcraft (WoW) is actively being examined. Known for destroying many a marriage, this massively multiplayer online (MMO) game has claimed the lives of nearly 8 million subscribers. I don’t think that addiction is the problem here. I believe that the outcries from small African governments, who quake in fear over WoW’s powerful economy, have become too great for the media to ignore. In an age in which Hollywood often sets the political tone of the nation (or so they would like to think), WoW is soon to be the next campaign against Aids or even Darfur. Whispers that I have personally heard from the Internet (yes, it talks to me) have even gone as far to say that Al-Qaeda has integrated the games leveling concepts into their terrorist training camps. Addiction should clearly be the media’s last worry in the face of the global threat that is the World of Warcraft behemoth.

In closing, videogames indeed can be addictive. Although I would argue that they are just as addictive as any other hobby or recreation. Moderation and self-control are key to living. So wise up dear readers and learn to control yourselves! Otherwise, the government might soon be doing that for you…but that is a topic for another day.

*A note to our readers: This article was originally written/ posted to JBG in February of 2006.

YMMO? (Part 6)

Standard

YMMO Header

So, here it is the end. I have finally reached the point of wrapping up. For those of you who may have forgotten, or maybe the wily among you who like to read the end first, let me sum up my points as I tried to make them. First, I challenged the claims of MMOs as ‘social’ games claiming that their included instant messengers make them no more social than Pong was, and suggesting that all games are intended to be social. Next, I addressed claims of community within MMOs, claiming that if it is there it only exists because those in the community extend their relationships beyond the MMO. Third, I sent my guns against the games themselves, claiming that one could find better more thoroughly developed game elements in almost any single player game. Finally, I established the evils of the way MMOs charge both money and time, demonstrating how MMO pricing ideas are beginning to erode even the single player games I prefer.

After this chain of articles, I would hope that you could understand why I do not play these games, and shall continue not playing them in the future. Then again maybe not, I often have no idea how people actually understand the things I say. I am sure that some of you who have read this feel the need to tall me exactly where I went wrong or why and how my opinion is “the sux”. Maybe a few of you actually agree whole-heartedly, or think I was not harsh enough. It is even conceivable, though rare in cases of internet, that a one or two of you want to attempt further discussion on my ideas and see just how weird I really am. Whatever your cause or concern, you can feel free to comment below.