jdodson1

Joined 01/23/2012

I'm an Engineer and built the video game community Cheerful Ghost and text based mini-MMO Tale of the White Wyvern.

2485 Posts

In the totally awesome news camp, looks like PixelJunk is having a 5th anniversary sale. Today until May 15 they are selling Racers, Monsters, Eden and Shooter for $1 each! PixelJunk Shooter 2 and SideScroller are both half-off for $5.

Looks like a good excuse to pickup PixelJunk Monsters as I loved the demo and never pulled the trigger on the full game.

You going to pick any of these up?


http://www.ambrosiasw.com/assets/images/faqs/uplink_dupes.png
I picked up Uplink as part of a Humble Bundle. It reminded me of the "Hacker War" type games I played on the BBS'es of yore back in High School. The premise is that you are a hacker and start with a few bucks and take on assignments to hack systems and get money to upgrade your computer to hack into more difficult systems. I guess all that to say is that its a text based computer hacking RPG. And... its fun.

I created an account and the tutorial allowed me to make a few hacks easily enough. I found the UI of the game to be a bit confuzzling a few times. Its not hard to navigate after you figure it out. The game UI is essentially a re-visioned Operating System UI similar in nature to Fluxbox or IceWM Unix window managers.

http://fluxbox.org/screenshots/

I found the ambiance of the game to be on par with running a stripped down Unix system which is pretty cool. I mean the whole game is about computer hacking, so yeah, it fits the motif well.

I played a few games and lost at one point and had to make a new account. I am not sure what I did to get booted out of the hacking club, I think I got caught and didn't bribe an official or something. In the end if you are looking for a fun return to games like Hacker Wars or Drug Wars, Uplink is it. Plus its on steam and not too expensive.


http://i.imgur.com/hDklG.png
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!


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.


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!


http://i.imgur.com/o7Ri6.jpg
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.


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.



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!


http://cdnstatic.bethsoft.com/bethblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Dawnguard.jpg
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.


-

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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