Video games, fiber arts, and more.

Candy Crush Saga Review

Last weekend, I got to play some Candy Crush Saga on my friend’s phone. It was interesting enough, and different enough from Bejeweled, that I decided to download it and give it a more thorough try.

Candy Crush Saga screenshot, courtesy of Albert Hsieh
Photo credit: Albert Hsieh. Click the photo to see the original on Flickr.

Here’s the short version: the game isn’t necessarily bad. However, since it’s free-to-play, the designers have made some choices that I don’t agree with. They’ve created a game which requires strategy to beat, but luck can mess up all of your strategy. Their monetization strategies are also finely tuned to really eke money out of the players, for better or for worse.

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TorqueL, the Rolling Box 2D Platformer

I originally posted this on April 18, 2013 on my blog on Gamasutra. Cross-posting here because this game looks great. It’s on Steam Greenlight Concepts with a demo available, and I urge you to check it out.

Overcrowding at BitSummit meant that in the short time we had for looking at game demos, there was no time to see them all. I did see quite a few. Most of the games I saw interested me in one way or another. However, a simple platformer named TorqueL took first prize for being fun to play.

TorqueL screenshot
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Beauty and the Beast (TV, 2012)

Two nights ago, right before bed, I got caught up on watching Once Upon a Time and found myself surprised by one of the, “if you like this show, maybe you’ll like one of these” recommendations.

Beauty and the Beast 2012 - Title

Beauty and the Beast? The font didn’t make it look like the 1980s show, but… a quick Wikipedia disambiguation search confirmed my suspicion that someone had rebooted the classic TV series. (It wasn’t until later that I realized I probably could have just clicked through the recommendation to find this out, but hey. I’m a nerd. Google FTW.)

I went to sleep, but not before posting this.

Beauty and the Beast Tweet

When I got up in the morning, one of the first things I did was start watching the show. That ended up being just about all I did with my day. Because for all the ways this reboot differs from the original, it still retains the core premise and feel of the original love story.

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Tangled, Part 3

This is the third and final entry in my series of rants about the animated movie, Tangled. I liked the movie, but was disappointed that it wasn’t better. I believe it could have rivaled anything out of Pixar’s studio. Check out parts one and two, and keep in mind that there are spoilers ahead.

The Horse

Maximus, from Tangled

Maximus. Stalwart steed. When his human master fails to catch the thief, he carries on, doing a much better job than the incompetent guards can manage.

Until he decides to act like a dog.

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PyroFalkon’s Sims 3 Socialism Challenge

PyroFalkon's The Sims 3 Socialism Challenge

My friend PyroFalkon is a huge fan of The Sims. He was the one who introduced me to the Legacy Challenge, which has taken over how I play The Sims. He has created a new challenge which he calls the Sims 3 Socialism Challenge and is currently beta testing it in Let’s Play form on his YouTube channel.

I’ve enjoyed watching it and since much of my blog traffic is drawn to my Legacy Challenge scorecard spreadsheet, maybe some of you will like the Socialism Challenge, too. Today I’ll talk about the rules PyroFalkon has set up and my thoughts on how things have gone so far.

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MOOCs: Not Just a Moose Call Anymore

The internet is awash, lately, with sites aimed at making university-level education available for free to anyone with an internet connection. Such sites have generated a lot of excitement this year.

Apparently these Massively Open Online Classes have been around for a while now in one form or another. Now that the Ivy League universities are taking an interest in the idea, however, so is everyone else. And by “everyone else”, I mean millions of people all over the world. Literally millions. Multiple MOOC platforms have risen to popularity this year, with Coursera alone having something like 1.4 million registered users last I read. Even assuming that many, like myself, have created accounts on all the MOOC platforms they can find, I find it hard to believe that fewer than 2 million people have at least dipped their feet into the pool.

This post is the first in a series about MOOCs and my experiences with them. This first entry is about MOOCs in general.

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The Stage, My Life, and a Good Book

Theatre has played a huge part in my life.

Learning to Love Drama

I’d give you specific examples, but the truth is that theatre is so tied to who I am that an attempt at making an exhaustive list would fail to properly explain. I made my debut on stage a couple of weeks after I turned nine. I can’t imagine the course my life would have taken if I hadn’t.

My introduction to the theatre came in the form of a summer conservatory I attended every year for 9 years. That was the maximum the program allowed. My grandmother found it for me after my first ice skating lesson bored the tights off me. She wanted my brother and me to take up extracurricular activities. I, having never thought about any such thing before, was picking Things That Looked Fun at random.

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My Entry for the TableTop Father’s Day Contest & TableTop in General

Mid last month, I finally uploaded a video with my face in it to YouTube. It was for the TableTop Father’s Day contest. The prize was getting to be one of five videos compiled into one and introduced by Wil Wheaton. The challenge: to explain how gaming and your dad are tied together in 60 seconds or less. Here is my entry, which made top ten, but not top five.

TableTop is a YouTube show, the goal of which is to introduce awesome tabletop games to viewers. Each episode runs 25-30 minutes, during which Wil Wheaton explains the rules of the game, then plays through it with a few other nerdy celebrities so you actually get a feel for the flow of the game. Finer points of the rules are explained in text as they arise. If the game runs longer than the show allows for, they do a cut neatly stitched together with fun music and an overview of the score. Each episode is a compact yet thorough introduction to the featured game. Bonus points: the players are entertaining to watch.

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Tangled, Part 2

Sorry for the delay between the first post about Tangled and this one. Spoilerfest!

As I mentioned in part one, I have a healthy amount of respect for the backstory of the movie. The changes they made from the original tale left them a lot of room to maneuver while keeping the core story elements intact, and sometimes strengthening them. However, it raises moral conundrums which are never addressed in the movie.

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