December in Review December 31, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online, Month in Review, Pokemon, World of Warcraft.
Tags: Nintendo 3DS XL, Pokemon X & Y, Steam
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How many extra embarrassment points to I get for misspelling the word “embarrassment” in the title of a post?
The usual story, I throw some text in the title as a placeholder, write the post, hit publish, and realize some minutes later that I didn’t actually look at the title. While I fixed the title here right away, the error was immortalized in the URL and on G+ and Twitter. Go me.
WordPress.com broke a few less things than usual this month and provided me with the 2013 version of their blog annual report:
I have flagged the report as public, so you can go and read it here if you want. There isn’t much to it really, just a few basic Top 5 lists. Interestingly, a couple posts that never bubble up to the top 12 I post monthly still get enough traffic over time that they end up on the top 5 for the year. Of course, they produced this report more than a day early, so if as few as 5,000 people suddenly decide to view one of my posts, it could be rendered incorrect. That doesn’t seem likely, but it could happen in theory. If you are really into this report, you can compare it with the reports from 2012 or 2011.
And I mentioned quite a while back that there was a huge surge in Brazilian email list and SEO spam coming in. That seems to have subsided. The new thing this month appears to be online casino spam in Swedish. Vive l’esprit international!
One Year Ago
I wrote a post looking at 50 years of James Bond. It included ranked lists for people to argue about.
Turbine announced that they were bringing back Asheron’s Call 2. I am not sure what became of that.
I was deep into my World of Tanks binge. I was up to the KV-2 on the Soviet heavy line, choosing that path after the three way split at the KV-1. (And the T-28.) I was also still working on the German tank destroyer line.
I crammed together all the ads I could find from the EVE Online splash screen. The launcher killed off those ads.
Five Years Ago
December seemed to be all about the micropayments and the like. Sony Online Entertainment surprised some by putting Station Cash driven stores into EverQuest and EverQuest II. The selection wasn’t great and the pricing seemed a bit off, but I was more interested to know what other SOE products would get the Station Cash treatment.
And then EA announced that Star Wars: The Old Republic would be microtransaction financed. Or maybe they didn’t.
In Azeroth we were still coming to grips with the Northrend instances. In Utgarde Keep we managed to kill off Prince Keleseth, but couldn’t hold it together to finish the instance. Outside, we were running around doing quests.
Meanwhile, somebody was working on a WoW code, akin to the old geek code that used to clutter many a .sig file back when Usenet was cool and we knew the spammers by name.
I actually found some time to play Lord of the Rings Online.
New Linking Blogs
The following blogs have linked this site in their blogroll, for which they have my thanks.
Please take a moment to visit them in return.
Most Viewed Posts in December
- Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
- Greetings from the Timeless Isle… of DEATH!
- Quote of the Day – CCP Layoffs and World of Darkness
- Shroud of the Avatar… It’s a Thing
- Do You Know the Way to Blackrock Caverns?
- Seated on the Throne of Tides
- Remembering Warhammer Online
- LOTRO and the Latest Insta-Level Scheme
- The Instance Group… Under the Sea
- Four Space Operas and a Funeral
- An Embarrassment of Options…
- Looking Back at 2013 – Highs and Lows
Search Terms of the Month
love strawberry hate raspberry
[I'm with you on that.]
eve online missiles or guns?
[As much as it pains me, guns.]
ccp mintchip fired
[Not that I have seen.]
why would someone transport plex?
[That is one of the mysteries of EVE.]
jita make lego bolo
[All those words mean something, but not when strung together.]
I passed the two year mark in null sec this month. Despite being in something of a lull for the last couple of months due to the lack of a really intense deployment, I still keep my hand in with a fleet now and again. I still enjoy a big fleet fight and sovereignty wars in general.
World of Warcraft
The Azeroth binge continues. I think I have said this before, but everybody in the regular group is playing at about their maximum rate. I know I have been playing WoW more than anything else by quite a margin. It is a combination of Blizzard smoothness, familiarity, and each of us discovering in turn that Mists of Pandaria is actually a pretty meaty expansion… and that there was still quite a bit left uncovered in past expansions. I keep going back to bits of The Burning Crusade with various characters. I feel like I haven’t done very much in that expansion to this day.
The Steam Winter sale has almost run its course. I did manage to find a couple of titles I wanted on deep sale. Company of Heroes 2 is the one I have actually spent some time playing. It isn’t bad, though it isn’t quite Combat Mission: Barbarossa to Berlin in depth. The other game I bought was Endless Space, which I have heard both good and bad about, but which dropped to a price point that I just bought it. Now to find time to actually play it.
It will be the new year, which means tomorrow I will have a post with some ridiculous predictions and such as well as a somewhat delayed yet probably very predictable 2014 MMO and like games outlook. Things I do every year so at least you can plot my insanity/inanity over time.
My daughter also got a Nintendo 3DS XL for Christmas, and immediately used some gift cards she got to go buy Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Pokemon X. She has played quite a bit of both since then. I will have to give the unit a closer look. It seems very nice and the big screen means I can read the text without my glasses. Anyway, there will no doubt be a post on that at some point in the not too distant future. Is the 3DS XL worth it, or would a DSi XL and a pile of older games be a better choice?
Then there is the ongoing adventures of the instance group, which I have been slacking on the last two weeks and all the things that go along with that.
And, finally, I have a Mystery Code from the EVE Online Second Decade Collector’s Edition to give away. There will be a contest. I expect it will involve screen shots. I can’t help it, I can sit and look at EVE Online screen shots all day.
A Farewell to Pokemon October 15, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in DS, entertainment, Nintendo, Pokemon.
Tags: Nintendo 2DS, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo DS Lite, Pokemon X & Y
We were out shopping on Sunday. For some reason my wife asked me to come along and for equally inexplicable reasons I said yes. I do not like wandering around the mall “shopping” and begin to behave like an 8 year old in making up games and distractions to pass the time. This, in turn, annoys the crap out of my long-suffering wife, so clearly neither of us was thinking straight on this call.
But as we made our way through the electronics section of Target, my daughter went over to the Nintendo section and spotted the new Pokemon X and Y games.
She actually seemed both surprised and excited to see a new Pokemon game out. I knew it had shipped. I still get email updates from Nintendo and was aware that the new games were releasing world wide this past Saturday. I just hadn’t said (or written) anything about it. (Keen and Graev have some posts about the new games.) But I have to admit I have been interested in the game.
Pokemon used to be one of our things.
My daughter was attracted to the game a long ways back, when we saw a Nintendo DS on display at a store with Pokemon loaded up. It was colorful, the basic functions were immediately comprehensible to her, and the idea of capturing little pets and making them battle held an attraction for her. She was into bugs and dinosaurs and animals when she was that age. (Now, however, she screams bloody murder if there is a moth in the shower with her.)
Of course to play Pokemon you had to buy the hardware, a Nintendo DS. That was the stopping point, until we were about to go on a trip and my wife gave me the mandate to go buy one to keep our daughter entertained on the plane for five hours. So I went out and bought a pink Nintendo DS Lite along with LEGO Star Wars, Mario Party DS, and Pokemon Diamond.
I could have skipped the first two. We spent the whole trip playing Pokemon. My daughter was in kindergarten at the time and needed help reading some of the text in the game… this was before she had been trained by World of Warcraft to skip all quest text… so I spent a chunk of that time reading the game text aloud to her. That was a bit of a chore for me, but got her motivated to read.
The game was such a success that a couple of months later my wife bought me a cobalt blue Nintendo DS Lite and my own copy of Pokemon Diamond and we were off.
We played through that together, went on to Pokemon Platinum, and really hit our peak during Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver. We were wearing out Pokewalkers everywhere (and cheating a bit using physics and LEGO). There were mishaps and tragedies and meddling cats, but we were into it. We went to the Pokemon regional championships, played with Pokemon Ranch, and in went to the Pokemon Black and White tour when it showed up at a local mall. I even caught ‘em all, nabbing all 493 Pokemon that were available in the series up to that point.
But then Pokemon Black and White came along and we were not quite as interested. In part that was because we had played so much Pokemon up to that point. We might have been a bit burned out having burned through all the predecessors on the DS, plus a couple of the GameBoy Advance versions, which also ran on the DS Lite.
Then there is also the fact that all Pokemon games are very much alike at some basic level. You start out in the world as a youth, you meet some Pokemon expert, you get your first Pokemon, and you head out into the world to catch Pokemon, battle gym leaders, and eventually take on the regional champions, all while battling a rival and some oddly dressed organization bent on evil. And all of it takes place in a world completely obsessed with Pokemon and where all conflict is resolved by Pokemon battles.
After a few runs through that, you might get a little tired of it.
And then there are the special features each game brings to the table. My daughter and I used to enjoy playing together in the underground in Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum. It was a shared environment you could link up in on WiFi. We were also fond of the Pokewalker and the way your lead Pokemon would walk around with you in HeartGold and SoulSilver. In Black and White the key features were the graphics, which were improved, 150 new Pokemon (groan), and a lot of online WiFi connectivity (like Global Link) that did not really click with us. Neither of us finished Black or White and we never bothered with Black 2 and White 2. (Which I still think were dumb names.)
Finally, there were just other distractions. Other games to play, other things to do. My daughter was growing up and little things like Pokemon were no longer quite so important. So we have not been playing Pokemon for quite a while. I would say that we are at least two years past the last time either of us played with any read drive.
But the memory of those times, of playing together, of figuring out where to go next, of catching and trading Pokemon, that all remains. And I think some of that came rushing back to her when we were standing there at the counter looking at the new Pokemon. She was gushing a bit when she asked, “Can we get it?”
I had to tell her we could not.
While Pokemon X and Y have the usual range of features and even a slick way to transfer your old Pokemon over to the new games via the internet (assuming you have them all in Pokemon Black or White) using a feature called Pokemon Bank, there was a problem.
Pokemon X and Y are the first versions of the main line of Pokemon games that are exclusive to the Nintendo 3DS generation of handheld gaming devices. Our Nintendo DS Lites are now pretty much obsolete. When Nintendo stops shipping Pokemon on a platform, it is done.
There certainly seems to be some hunger for a version of Pokemon on the 3DS platform. It is on track to be a big seller, moving 4 million units on its first two days. The top Pokemon games of all time are Pokemon Diamond and Pearl which together move nearly 18 million units.
My daughter had an immediate solution to this problem, which was to buy new hardware!
I have clearly failed to instill any sort of sense as to the value of money in my daughter.
I had to tell her that wasn’t going to happen either. At least not right then. Something like a Nintendo 3DS is a Christmas/Birthday present (or maybe a going on long trip present) and not something we just buy on a whim while at the store on a Sunday afternoon. Even the more moderately priced Nintendo 2DS, about which I am a bit dubious given what I have read (turns out it has just one big LED panel for both screens), falls outside of the impulse buy price range in my opinion.
My daughter’s response was in the “Oh well” range of emotions. She didn’t seem all that put out by it and I somehow doubt that a Nintendo 3DS is going to make it to her Christmas list. And if it did, I think she is more interested in Animal Crossing: New Leaf than Pokemon.
So I suspect that we have had our time with Pokemon.