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jdodson

I heart video games so much I created Cheerful Ghost.

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Joined 01/23/2012
Ethereal Being 1

2023 Posts

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State of The Ghost: 2.0

A semi regular list of things happening on Cheerful Ghost. Served up with an extra dose of rad-sauce.

New Faces on Cheerful Ghost:

In the last few days our community size has increased by 15% and Google tells me that the amount of new users on the site VS people that come back all the time is now a 50/50 split. That means for every two people that come to Cheerful Ghost one of them has never come to the site before.

I recently added a new feature to the site to help bring more people to the community as well. On the main home screen there is a button "Invite Your Friends" that you can use to easily send invitations to join Cheerful Ghost. I upped the ante with this feature in that you and your friends can earn trophies when they sign up from your invitations. There is a new ranking section for who gets the most friends to sign up. I hope you find the invitations fun and useful.

A bit more about the design rationale for invitations on the dev blog:
http://blog.cheerfulghost.com/post/22467200466/invitations-that-are-awesome

We support Card and Board Games

I play lots of different kinds of games. Some don't even require electricity to be played! One feature that people have been asking for is the ability to add Card and Board Games to their lists. You can now do that and many of you have seen a few new posts about Pandemic, Descent: Journeys into the Dark and Magic: The Gathering show up. If there are other board or card games you want added to the list let us know.

Welcome our New Site Moderators

A few users have been asking to help curate the Cheerful Ghost games list for quite some time now and I added that support into the site a few weeks ago. Tungsten, WhiteboySlim and panickedthumb are all site moderators and as such can add and edit games in the Cheerful Ghost database. Currently we track 20,708 games but that number gets larger each week. If you want a game added to the list, let one of us know and we can get it in. As the site grows I will enable more moderator functionality as the need arises.

The Long Road to Awesome

I want Cheerful Ghost to be the best place online to have awesome discussions about games. I want Cheerful Ghost to get more noisy with the voices of a few more awesome people. As such, in the next few months ill be primarily focused on growing the community. I have and am working on a few ideas in that vein, one being the new invitation system. Any suggestions or comments on what it would take to bring in more users are welcome.

Its an exciting time to be working on Cheerful Ghost because as we methodically grow the community what the site is is being defined. As I go to other video game communities I am continually reminded how great it is to have a rational discussion on games on Cheerful Ghost. All the responses to an IGN or Joystiq post might peak in the thousands but the makeup of those discussions is generally devoid of any interesting ingredients. Kotaku might have a million users but I have never felt more secure in making a choice about a game than from the discussions here. And rightly so, paid journalists that churn out 10.0 reviews for every Triple A game ever made are not you. What you say about a game is much more interesting to me and socially relevant than anything else in "video game journalism." But ill talk more about that in a later post :)

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone that finds this site as awesome as I do. Its been a fun ride to this point and I thank you for jumping in the car and barrelling down the hill with me!

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Decided to try many of the PS3 game demos I have had on my system for a bit and PixelJunk SideScroller was one of the good ones I played. Think Gradius meets Space Invaders meets beautiful graphics.

I wasn't good enough in my first play through to beat the demo but I will go back and play it again because its just so much fun. The graphics and play controls are really great. You can switch between three weapons to start off. The machine gun is your typical arcade space ship weapon, fast bullets to kill bad guys. You can use a laser that takes time to recharge but can cut through ice, which is useful when you have to move through big blocks of ice. The other weapon you start with are bomb like things that come out of the side of your ship and hit other ships. When you ship switches weapons it changes shape.

I like that the tone of this game is very retro in that it puts a old school TV effect around the border of the game that makes it feel like an old arcade TV cabinet. When you start the game it even asks you to "insert coin." Its a good thing the PS3 doesn't have a coin slot and that start did the trick. If you have a PS3 and bandwidth to spare to nab the demo, I heartily recommend giving it a try. Go back in time on your PS3 and try your hand at PixelJunk Monsters while you are at it, the demo is very good as well.

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http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/ffg_content/descent-second-ed/news/preview-1/box.png
Fantasy Flight is releasing more details on the new Descent: Journeys in the Dark second edition printing. Had to share some details with all yall because they were pretty interesting. As I wrote earlier about the new Descent, they are allowing the Overlord player a bit more to work with than it had previously. One such element is that the Overlord has some light deck building and classes available.

http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_news.asp?eidn=3240

Fantasy Flight also removed the cork on one playable hero as well.

"A master of the bow and fearless defender of nature, Jain Fairwood stands ready to oppose the vile machinations of the overlord alongside her fellow heroes. Her speed and stamina give her the commanding ability to traverse nearly any terrain with ease, while her preternatural, almost animal-like awareness helps her detect hidden threats."

They also go over the rules and a bit of some new mechanics as well.

http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_news.asp?eidn=3222
http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_news.asp?eidn=3257

Excited for when this game ships and I can try it out!

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Secret of Mana is one of my most beloved games of all time. I come back and play this every few years. This game opened my eyes to how awesome video games could be. The story, music and game play are fantastic. Back in the day when the Super Nintendo ruled the gaming world, Secret of Mana was Square's triple A effort. And it is awesome.

Recently I saw Secret of Mana for sale in on iOS so I mulled it over and picked it up. What's a few more bucks to being able to play on the greatest games ever on my iPhone? Ultimately I was really disappointed with the iPhone version and this post is going to go over why. This also might be the most nit-picky post I have ever written but on I go :)

I have taken the liberty of making a few side-by-side comparisons of the iPhone version VS the Super Nintendo version. A few things to note, the iPhone version screen shot was taken on an iPhone 4S and is in NO WAY altered. The Super Nintendo version was upscaled to match the height of the iPhone image. I uploaded the images to imgur and they downrez them slightly as well.

Ultimately my biggest beef with the game is it doesn't feel like Secret of Mana I love. The sound seems the same, but the play control and graphics are not. The original game was so crisp and bright and the iPhone version is dark and muddy.

http://i.imgur.com/9erKs.png

Often times, certain sprites seems copy and pasted because the edges are abruptly cut off, like the rocks next to the water. Also the art is often wrong in places, or said differently, they went with art that isn't the same as the original game. When the hero picks up the sword for the first time its brown in the beginning because its rusted. You get it tempered by Watts the blacksmith later and it turns grey. The weapons all have different sprites going through the different phases of you tempering them but in the iPhone version they are all the same color.

Another jarring aspect of the iPhone game is the water. As you watch the water you can see clouds fly by like race cars to give you a sort of reflection effect. The original game didn't have this and it was good they didn't because its cheesy and jarring.

http://i.imgur.com/8pcNE.jpg

Ultimately the art style of the iPhone version seems flat and dull. The sprite based art of the original game seemed more lively and interesting. Plus to my eye its much more detailed.

http://i.imgur.com/v2uTw.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/Uzp8m.png

The play control is pretty bad as well. I know many games like this get knocks because the controls are bad but this is by far the worst ive played. I often times couldn't attack the enemy when I wanted and didn't move in the right spot.

http://i.imgur.com/zwKdC.png

I can understand trimming up the game some to make it fit on the resolution of the iPhone but going with a different play control and sprite set isn't good. Later parts in the game, like the cave in Gaia's Navel and the battle with Tropicolo look so bad they really took me out of the whole experience. Its a good thing the original game will live on in ROM form because if this is the treatment it got recently, they can keep it.

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http://www.wired.com/geekdad/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/pax-logo.jpg
Just bought tickets to Pax Prime this year. Very excited.

http://prime.paxsite.com/

**EDIT** Looks like the sold out 15 minutes after I bought my tickets. They have some single day ticket still available.

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Here are a few Diablo 3 news bits I had to share. So stay a while and read:

The above video is the new reveal for the Wizard class. It seems from this video she is an epic Nuke class. After playing the beta I didn't get a good sense for how the Wizard would fit into a party but after seeing her later in the game in this video it makes sense to me. Calling down meteors on demons seems very satisfying!

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/blog/5203654

Bizzard has released more information about the in-game auction house. This is a feature that has been getting a lot of negative attention and I don't really understand it. Isn't it a good thing to allow you as a user to make money by doing things in a video game? Isn't a good thing to take item purchasing, something people do, out of the shady corners of the Internet? I hat tip companies like Linden Labs and the like for pioneering these sorts of digital transfers in games. Making money in a video game sounds like a fine way to live to me! I guess some negativity comes from Blizzard taking a cut but I don't quite understand the rage as Apple and Google do the same for the Apps that you buy on your phone. That said, cool to see Blizzard making more information about this available.

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/services/auction-house/how-to

One gripe I have heard from Battle.net users is the in ability to play with other users around the world. Looks like Blizzard is addressing this in the new Global Play feature of Battle.net in Diablo 3.

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/blog/5203654

The PR department of Blizzard keeps dropping these bits every day, I imagine the drum beat of rad won't stop until May 15th!

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Going to jam a few Elder Scrolls morsels into this post.

Bethesda just dropped the name of the new DLC for Skyrim called Dawnguard. From the Bethesda blog "Coming this summer to Xbox 360. More details at E3.." Kind of wish DLC like this wouldn't drop only on the XBox but that is often the way of things. Looks like we will find out more about this exclusive XBox DLC at E3.

In other elder scrolls news it looks like Morrowind turned 10 today and to celebrate Morrowind and Oblivion are half off on Steam this week. Awesome.


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http://www.bethblog.com/2012/05/01/dawnguard/
http://www.bethblog.com/2012/05/01/happy-10th-anniversary-morrowind/
http://store.steampowered.com/app/22320/

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Bought this game a few months back and have played much more recently. The unforgiving game play of the first few play throughts didn't win me over. I loved the art style and game tone but the lack of save really hampered me on it.

Started it up again recently and immediately unlocked the Magdaline character. I played through as Magdaline and did much better than I had previously. The play control is the same, but Magdaline starts with a Heart item that allows you to recover one heart every so often. After a bit the play control seemed to gel more and I did much better. Still lost but I went further in the dungeon and it didn't seem like a complete annihlation.

That or I am just getting used to roguelikes. Plan on playing this more in the up coming days as we all wait for the Diablo 3 launch.

What are you playing until Diablo 3 drops May 15th?

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Last night I went to the Magic: The Gathering Avacyn Restored pre-release party at Red Castle Games in Portland.

Red Castle Games is a pretty cool games store. It has a very large selection of awesome board games ranging from Settlers of Catan, Arkham Horror, Castle Ravenloft, Pandemic and others as well has a hefty supply of Magic, Pokemon and other collectable cards. It also has a farily large set of games you can pull of the shelf and play if you want. One such game, Hero Quest caught my eye as it has been out of print for quite some time. I asked at the front if it was for sale as its hard to find and alas, it was not.

My friends arrived and we started with a card game I was unfarmilar with called "We Didn’t Playtest This At All." The game is pretty awesome but winning is pretty random as the cards range from wildly overpowered to useless. Then again, I guess thats the point entirely.

After a few games of "We Didn’t Playtest This At All" we moved into a few hands of Magic. I won a few and lost a few. According to one of my friends my Goblin and Elves dueling deck is worth quite a bit due to it being rare. Odd, I just picked it up round 2007 for about $20. Come to find out, it is worth about $150 new.

http://sales.starcitygames.com/carddisplay.php?product=47791

Whoa! Anyways, I never really thought about it but they are both really good decks. I used the Goblin deck VS a few others and it did pretty well. The Goblin deck is very aggro and fun because if you get a good hand you not only knock around the other player pretty well but if a Golbin dies it does direct damage to the other player as well.

The sealed deck tournament started around 12p and I opened my 6 packs around 12.30p. I created a rather safe Red and White deck with the cards I had. I had a few Humans and Angels so I decided to construct for those bonuses with my Instants and Enchantments. Turns out going on the "safe" side was bad because I handily lost my first two matches. Doh!

7 hours into the tournmanet and 2 straight losses(each round is the best 2 of 3 games) I decided to call it an evening at 3.30am. It was a pretty fun experience meeting people and watching how people play. I have to say there are some really great Magic players out there and I am a beginner in comparision. Stil, learned a bit about some new to me card mechanics like miracle cost. Since I attended the pre-release I got the special Moonsilver Spear foil. Its pretty overpowered and as such will add to one of my decks :)

Very fun and I plan on doing it again in the future. I am going to hang out with one of my friends and go over the cards I picked and figure out a better strategy to constructing a deck. According to the guys I went with I had a pretty solid set of cards but I needed to go a different direction. When the deck is worth showing, ill list the build here.


More Pictures of the Evening:

http://imgur.com/LIpQ3
http://imgur.com/xFrE8
http://imgur.com/MVXGL
http://imgur.com/Wr8Tv

Sources:
http://redcastlegames.com/
http://asmadigames.com/detail_wdp.html

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Looks like the Diablo 3 free beta weekend blew the doors off battle.net a bit:

"Diablo 3's weekend beta went about as smoothly as a hamster in a ball rolling down an erupting volcano – which is to say it was completely normal for a high-profile beta test. Saturday saw a peak of 300,000 concurrent players, Blizzard community manager Micah Whipple (Bashiok) tweeted, reporting the full number of testers for the weekend was "a lot.""

Friday night was quite laggy, Saturday was better but battle.net was out of commission until 9.50am. Some of my friends on Mac had the game crash a few times. My Windows client was stable but lagged out a bit. On Sunday battle.net was pretty flawless. Hope there is as much interest in the game at launch and they have sorted through the majority set of issues.

If you like the above Diablo III comic, check out the rest over at Hell Yeah! comics facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.200303296755227.43629.177648035687420&type=3

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http://www.joystiq.com/2012/04/24/diablo-3-beta-pulled-300k-simultaneous-players-into-its-special/

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Valve will finally release the Portal 2 simplified level editor and rating system May 8th! Looks like it will be free DLC for all PC players and there is no word on it coming to consoles. Awesome.

I don't generally do much in the area of level editing but I plan on giving this editor a spin as it looks pretty straight forward to use. I picked up the PS3 version and that came with a free steam copy. Its cool they are releasing this so far after launch!

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http://www.giantbomb.com/news/portal-2s-perpetual-testing-initiative-launching-may-8/4107/

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Phoronix has confirmed that Steam is going to be released on Linux:

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=valve_linux_dampfnudeln&num=1

Direct from the article:
"For those that have doubted the exclusive Phoronix claims for quite a while now that the Steam client and Source Engine are in fact being ported to Linux, the doubts can be nearly laid to rest. Even I began to wonder how long it would take before the clients for their popular games would be publicly released under Linux. However, after confirming the information perhaps a bit too soon, their level of Linux interest is much more clear after spending a day at their offices. A meeting topped off the day with Gabe Newell regarding Linux where he sounded more like a Linux saint than an ex-Microsoft employee. Valve does have some great plans for Linux beyond just shipping the client versions of Steam and their popular games on the Source Engine."

This is awesome for gamers because it gives us a path outside Microsoft and Apple for PC gaming. Many moons ago I played all my games on Linux and it wasn't pleasant. Wine worked spottily on certain games and native game support wasn't widespread. Now that Valve is entering the area I imagine this will change for the better.

I have to imagine this is a front runner for a Steam Box. Reason? If all your stuff runs on Linux, your Steam Box will no longer have a Microsoft requirement and you don't have to license and Operating System to Microsoft for every unit sold. Makes the cost of producing a console cheaper and Valve can do whatever they want with the box itself. Oh and the article says they are hiring Linux kernel folk too.

Step 1: Steam on Linux, a few games run. Step 2: More games run, publishers follow. Step 3: Shop around a new kind of console based on Linux. Step 4: Goodbye consoles as we know them.

You know the Steam Box is all speculation, but the Linux Steam client is real and totally awesome on its own. Cool times ahead for sure.

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"To the umbaru, their mortal duration is but a pale shadow of the Unformed Land, a testing ground for those wishing to ascend to the higher plane. And only the witch doctors are able to look upon the Mbwiru Eikura, through mastery of potent herbs, bloody rituals, and an intense focus known as the Ghost Trance. Their combined spiritual and military acumen has earned the witch doctors a place of status and reverence amongst the tribes. Theirs is a calling that requires an incredible degree of courage, self-sacrifice, wisdom, and foresight."

I will be playing this class at game drop.

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http://us.battle.net/d3/en/class/witch-doctor/

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http://www.wizards.com/mtg/images/daily/features/feature192_r8yh149opl.jpg
"The Innistrad and Dark Ascension sets showed us a world where humanity is beset on all sides by monsters, including vampires, zombies, and werewolves. Avacyn, a living covenant whose angelic powers protected humans, was imprisoned within the Helvault and feared lost forever. But just as humanity's darkest hour beckons, Avacyn is freed, inspiring hosts of angels to usher in a new dawn. But even though they no longer have the upper hand, the creatures of the night are still a dangerous threat. The eternal struggle on Innistrad continues in this thrilling conclusion."

I have loved Magic since high school. In recent years I have started playing more and more as I hang out with other adult geeks now. A few weeks back I was camping for a friends birthday and we played many a hand of Magic. I re-instated my love of Magic a few years back during the awesome Shadowmoor expansion.

Taking my love for the game a step further as this Friday(4/27) a friend and I are going to Red Castle Games in Portland for a midnight sealed tournament.

http://redcastlegames.com/2012/04/avacyn-restored-pre-orders-and-pre-release-events/

If you are interested in coming, let me know.

As I have nipped back into Magic I have built up a few decks I like playing with. One of my go to decks is a White/Blue flyer/lock down deck. I also have a few dueling decks. I like the dueling decks because they are balanced to not have one be that much better than the other. As it goes, if two players are evenly matched in skill no one should have an advantage save the randomness of the shuffle.

The dueling decks I like playing right now are a Knights and Dragons deck. As ive played a few hands with it as the Dragons and I have been bested every time. The Knights seem very powerful and the Dragons haven't one a hand yet. Ill keep playing it, perhaps I am playing the deck wrong.

Excited about Avacyn restored and my first Magic release party. If you want more information on this expansion in depth I have compiled some awesome links to the Magic site that go really in depth about the expansion and focus on its art direction.

Details on release tournaments and Avacyn Restored:
http://www.wizards.com/magic/tcg/article.aspx?x=mtg/tcg/avacynrestored/world

All the cards contained in the release:
http://www.wizards.com/magic/tcg/article.aspx?x=mtg/tcg/avacynrestored/cig#

A great post about the new art direction of the lands cards. I am in awe of the detail the artists put into each painting, they are incredible:
http://www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/arcana/956&dcmp=ilc-mtgrss#79850

A bunch of desktop wallpapers:
http://www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/downloads.aspx?x=mtg/daily/downloads/wallpapers

The pictured card in the post above is the limited edition card attendees of the midnight event will all receive. Cool they reserve these limited edition cards for the hardcore fans!

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