Andrew

I'm Andrew, and this is my blog. What is there to know about me? Well, I'm a 30-something gamer, software developer, husband, hockey fan, board game nut, and ultimate frisbee player. I have been blogging since 2003 in a variety of incarnations, but each site has been tightly focused and – given my attention span – I eventually burned out on all of them. For a glimpse of my electronic past you can look at the archives of Bound by Gravity and Of Teeth and Claws. My first blog, an Ottawa Senators fanblog, seems to have finally fallen off the Internet and I deleted 'Never Forget', a military history blog. This site is an effort to unshackle myself from the constraints of a single topic, and write about what I want when I want.

Longtime readers of my various blogs (from Bound by Gravity, to Of Teeth and Claws, to this current venture) are probably used to me dropping off the face of the Internet for months at a time, often with no warning – however I still wanted to poke my head in to let you know that I’m still here, although silent for the time being. This current blogging drought was brought on by a busy period at work:  these past two months have been the culmination of two years of work, and just last week we finally shipped the product that [... read the rest ...]

Post mortem: Nier

There are great games, and then there are games that are great despite actually being rather poor in the “game” department.  For some reason flawed gems like Nier (Mass Effect is another) end up becoming some of my favorites because they managed to overcome their shoddy implementation to tell a phenomenal story, and thus leave a lasting mark on my gamer soul.  I played through Nier twice in order to see the (first) alternate ending, and I almost never play a game more than a single time.  It was just that gripping. Nier puts you in the shoes of a [... read the rest ...]

In his latest Common Sense episode, Dan Carlin spent some time discussing a New York Times article that linked together many of the protests and unrest that are currently infecting nations around the world.  A couple of passages in the article stood out as particularly interesting to me, especially since I spoiled my ballot in the last Canadian federal election out of disgust with the main stream parties and the system in general. Speaking about the global protests, the Times writes: [F]rom South Asia to the heartland of Europe and now even to Wall Street, these protesters share something else: [... read the rest ...]

Post mortem: Radiant Historia

It has been nearly twenty-five years since I played my first JRPG, Final Fantasy, and as time has gone by I’ve played fewer games from the genre every year.  Although I like the formula that these role playing games bring to the table, there is no denying that innovation within the genre is all but dead.  I probably would have given Radiant Historia a pass if not for Jeremy Parish‘s enthusiastic review on the now defunct Active Time Babble podcast.  I’m glad that I picked up a copy – this is a Nintendo DS game that JRPG fans cannot allow [... read the rest ...]

The human mind is a strange and wonderful thing.  Not only can we learn to consciously perform complex tasks, but we can teach ourselves to perform seemingly impossible tasks without ever knowing the steps to do so.  Take the example of chicken sexers, as examined in the September 2011 edition of Discover Magazine: When chicken hatchlings are born, large commercial hatcheries usually set about dividing them into males and females, and the practice of distinguishing gender is known as chick sexing. Sexing is necessary because the two genders receive different feeding programs: one for the females, which will eventually produce [... read the rest ...]

My gaming history: Game Boy

I am a long time Nintendo handheld gamer, but were it not for a family tragedy when I was young I might never have picked up a portable system.  My brother, suffering from the leukemia (ALL) that would eventually kill him, was given a Game Boy and four games – shown below – by the local branch of the Lions Club.  I don’t know the reasons behind the generous donation, but it was a toy that was shared by the whole family and gave us some good times in the midst of pain.   Although we couldn’t afford any games [... read the rest ...]

Self piracy

Video Games Comments Off
Sep 162011

Why allow others to pirate your game, when you can pirate it yourself and pick up sales in the process? tinyBuild Games has found success in uploading its new game, No Time To Explain, to the Pirate’s Bay. [...] The game has a unique feature that the full-fledged normal version does not: all of its characters wear pirate hats in-game, along with an ever-present pirate theme. [...] “You can’t really stop piracy, all you can do is make it work for you and/or provide something that people actually want to pay for. For us this is humor, we like making [... read the rest ...]

Centennial Ridges Trail

Over this past long weekend my wife and I went camping at Algonquin Park, our favorite natural getaway.  On the Saturday we packed a lunch, lots of water, and trail snacks and headed to Centennial Ridges Trail, which was one of the only hikes at the park that we had yet to try.  The trail is a 10.6km loop, with a recommended minimum time of six hours.  Along the way you climb up to the top of five different ridges and visit five distinct lakes. Right from the start, Centennial Ridges lets you know that it means business; the path [... read the rest ...]

Post mortem: Machinarium

A couple of years ago I tried the demo for Machinarium and was not impressed.  After playing the three demo levels I was left with a bad taste in my mouth, and never even considered spending money on the game.  It turns out I didn’t have to – after gifting Lost Horizon to one of the hosts of the GameBurst podcast for a job well done, I was repaid with a generous gift of the Humble Indie Bundle #2 and #3, and specifically Machinarium.  Not wanting to be a prude, I fired up the quirky little puzzler and played it [... read the rest ...]

It’s way too early to declare that AAA gaming is dead or even dying, but as Bill Harris points out, there’s an unappealing aroma emanating from that corner of the market: Would I rather buy one $59 game or 20 mobile games? With almost no exceptions, I’d rather have a mobile games. They fit into my 10-minute lifestyle really well, and I can start them up in 5 seconds. I was slow to jump on this train, but Chris Kohler was right: this is absolutely the elephant in the room for Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft. Sorry, the market just isn’t [... read the rest ...]

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