Thursday, June 26, 2008


OK so my lovely wife just posted an article listing the top 100 books according to someone or other and then went through the list highlighting the ones she had read. She's read 45 of the 100 on the list and wants to read another 10 of them. I could just blog the list and highlight what I've read.

Then one of our mutual friends with a delightful bent on reality wondered "who is this list according to". It's apparently compiled by a bunch of "stuffy Brits" but there is no mention of the methodology or selection criteria used in the compilation. He's read 47 of the 100 and would have read another 10 if he had followed through on all his assignments in college. I could blog about how clever that was and how often we ignore the motivations behind the headlines.

I've read 20 of the 100. And I'm pretty sure I've read all the ones on that list that I want to read. However I'm an avid reader. I think my friend has it right in his opinion that the list is clearly shaped by its creators. Were I to make the list it would look rather different. There is a serious lack of science fiction which is a shame. The literary world often exempts Sci-Fi from any serious consideration thinking it's just fluff. What a shame - some of the most insightful and compelling commentaries on society I've ever read have been science fiction. That's worth a blog article too but I'm not going to blog that either.

In keeping with the randomness inherent in this site and the wonderful serendipity of all creation I found this comic today which excellently highlights one of the problems I have with "classic" literature. Click the picture to go to the site and while you are there browse the rest of his excellent work. Enjoy.

Monday, June 23, 2008


The guys over at Strategy Informers have been working on getting more news items up. They don’t have a budget for it (yet) but promise to have one someday. In any case, I’ve volunteered to write a few news articles for them from time to time. I am definitely no hard hitting journalist. (Although, I do have a cool hat and I could probably figure out some way to get a press badge into the hat band.)

The first article I did for them was a quick blurb on engine optimizations for a game that I probably won’t play that make it better than a game I never played.

The second article is a silly piece on how players in a game I haven’t (and probably won’t ever) played have killed more imaginary bad guys than the entire population of the world. Fortunately I don’t think any politicians are trying to imagine up ways to use that stat to provoke knee jerk reactions from people who won’t (or when I’m feeling less charitable… can’t) think for themselves.

I’ve not been checking the comments from either of the news articles. Since they are news I’ve tried not to put much of my own opinions into them like when I do reviews. This should be drier than that. But it’s still fun to see my name up as the author and I can always aspire to gaining critics as good as these guys.

Thursday, June 05, 2008


It’s the dog days of gaming like it always is around this time of year. Most of the major releases are being held back for the big shopping season at the end of the year and the stuff coming out now is the lamer titles.

So..... I displayed what a massive Fallout fanboy I am by pre-ordering Fallout 3 now. I just have to wait until sometime in October (I hope) for it to be shipped.

In an effort to keep playing a game I picked up a copy of Mask of the Betrayer, the expansion to Neverwinter Nights 2. It hasn’t arrived yet. NWN2 wasn’t a terrific game but the buzz on MotB is that it is a vastly better game and game experience than the original campaign was. I understand that they are also working on a second expansion called Mysteries of Westgate. If MotB is good I may give that a shot too.

I reinstalled NWN2 in preparation for getting Mask and then was instantly bored. I have no desire to replay the original campaign. It made me mad for reasons well explained by others. So I went searching for user created modules. I found one. I found one that may delay my playing Mask until it is finished.

The user module Dark Waters is amazing. I have to admit I haven’t played very far into it yet but it has custom (and reasonably well done) voice acting, extremely clever custom scripting, a fascinating back story, custom music, custom sound effects, and new items. The readmes hint of pirate battles, new card games, and new powers. I love the ability to set things on fire and have them take damage from it. Just seeing that is worth playing the module by itself.

But the best part about it so far, is the story. You start as classic newbie adventurers from a small village who stumble into a way through the sealed door in the mountains above your village. You, of course, get trapped inside and in an effort to escape find the past coming back to haunt you in strange and mysterious ways. Historic rivalries and friendships become more meaningful to you as the story begins to unfold and the tension is slowly ratcheted up.

Again, I’ll grant that I’ve only played an hour or two of what I estimate to be a six to twelve hour game (counting both parts that have been released). I hope that they manage to keep it up but just going on this first look I’d have to highly recommend it. If you have NWN2 installed still go grab parts one and two and play them. If you don’t have NWN2 installed still, I can’t blame you. I took mine off too. But really, this user created content is WELL worth your time. Give it another shot. I did and I’m glad I did.
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