Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A few recent months of cubing

So, having properly claimed that I have not fallen off the face of the earth, I try to catch up on cubing stuff, both personal and otherwise.

In a small group of people assembled by my sales manager for the express purpose of watching me solve a cube, I was able to do a 30-second solve with my black DaYan. I found it rather funny because five or six of the people had written times on a piece of paper to see who was going to be the closest, and right before I started the solve I spotted my operations manager and suggested to the group that he would be able to write my exact time down on the paper. He looked at the list, saw that the two closest times written were 25 seconds and 35 seconds, and quickly wrote '30' on the paper before I got started. I was a little amazed when I finished in 30 seconds as I felt that I had made a couple of mistakes, but I have been a few seconds faster on the DaYan than on my regular stock Rubik's cube lately. On a stock Rubik's cube, I average around 37 seconds or so but can occasionally get down towards 33 once in a while.

My older son reassembled a 4x4x4 for one of our friends while I made dinner the other night. Let me be clear on this - reassembled, not solved. I was still glad and more than a little bit proud of him. It had been dropped, and was brought to us in pieces in a Ziploc bag. His LEGO construction skills come in handy, and he still has good closeup vision and smaller fingers. I asked him to inspect all the pieces for damage, but this 4x4x4 appears to be a newer build than mine. My 4x4x4 is an Ideal Toy Company model, and the 'feet' that hold the center pieces in place are a little bit thinner than the one that was brought to me. As I recall, more than a few of my center pieces were glued back together with jeweler's glue and I still have to treat it like an antique. (But, it's a 30 year old plastic toy, so maybe it's almost an antique.) I like knowing that DaYan makes a stickerless 4x4x4.

Well, perhaps now that I feel a little more caught up, I can get back to writing more regularly.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

No, I have not dropped off the face of the earth.

Not having written anything here for a couple of months, there is some difficulty in finding a place to begin. However, looking at my own blog title, it occurs to me that I should start with the 'Gaming' part. I will have to gloss over some details, perhaps, but I think I can come up with the big picture items, in some sort of chronological order.

1) Both of my kids have 100% completion in LEGO Batman 2. I can't play any of the LEGO games without nodding off.

2) I still can't find my Gamecube copy of Pikmin. I used to play it before bedtime a lot, particularly the 1-day challenge mode, because I found it relaxing. At some point I will have to just find the Wii Play Control version. (At least it should render correctly on widescreen if necessary.) My replacement small-dose game before bedtime has been Resident Evil 4:Wii Edition in Mercenaries Mode, which is not particularly relaxing for me.

3) I still don't have all the ending movies unlocked in Tekken Tag Tournament 2, partly because there are a lot of characters and partly because I'm not willing to set it to a difficulty easier than 'Normal' and there are a few characters that I can't seem to get the hang of. (Lili, I'm looking at you.) Yes, I know I could just team her with a character that I'm better at and still get her ending movie, but I'm trying to be well-rounded.

4) I picked up the 'Game of The Year' edition of Batman:Arkham City, which includes some Robin and Catwoman missions on top of the hours and hours of Batman missions. I liked it a lot, and there was a lot more of the things I liked in the game, but it didn't scare me or creep me out like the original Arkham Asylum did. There was more emphasis on action in Arkham City, and it seemed like you interacted with civilians a lot less. I have finished the main story on normal, but I have not finished all the side missions.

5) I picked up the rather old (or at least old by PS3 standards) Burnout Paradise hoping that my younger son would appreciate the open-world aspect of it. Since he had so much fun running around the hub in LEGO Batman 2, and found all kinds of fun things to do outside the dungeons in Zelda:Twilight Princess, I thought he might get some enjoyment out of driving around at random discovering things, maybe have some fun crashing cars or jumping ramps and learning the layout of the city. However, it turned out to be a total non-thing to him unless he's watching me play. There are a lot of things to buy in that game and few of them ever became free or available on a disc, even five years after the game came out originally. My initial surprise/amusement was that downloading updates for the game took hours and hours and I woke up SuperMonkeyWife when the game rebooted and she was treated to Axl Rose's voice somewhere around midnight. (Somehow I slept through it, but I'm more of a fan of Slash than Axl.)

6) I found out that there is a another version of Street Fighter IV coming out- not that I'm surprised or anything. The four Street Fighter characters (Poison, Hugo, and Rolento from Final Fight and Elena from Street Fighter III) that they made for Street Fighter X Tekken that weren't available in other games will be included, and a new fighter that has not been announced yet will also be added. I can either upgrade my copy of Arcade Edition, or buy the whole thing and finally get all the other costumes. Capcom hasn't exactly spelled out the pricing or release dates yet other than to say it will be available in 2014 for arcades.

7) I picked up a used copy of Darksiders for PS3 for less than $8. (I tried to type this three other times and kept typing 'Darkstalkers' instead.) I was told that it was rather Zelda-like in terms of level structure, and I have not been disappointed in that regard. I have been a little disappointed with the controls, but the games that I'm comparing it to don't have as many items and functions to deal with.

8) My younger child discovered Soul Calibur V and Tekken Tag Tournament 2. He's not that good at the actual games yet, but he is endlessly entertained by the Character Creation/Costume Editor module in both games.

9) Both of my kids are playing the ever-loving daylights out of Minecraft. I have no idea what they are talking about a lot of the time.

10) Pokemon Y came out last weekend and caused my older child to try to adopt a position at dinner that involved having a fork in one hand and a stylus in the other hand. Even with this unorthodox approach, he defeated all of the Pokemon League by Wednesday. There are some side missions left, but I think he's already looking for a copy of Pokemon X.

I think that catches me up to now, gaming-wise. Next post: I know what cubes you did this summer.