Daily Archives: December 11, 2015

On the iPad – Monument Valley

If you follow me on Twitter, you might have seen me retweet the fact that the game Monument Valley was available for free at the App Store.  Too late now, but it was available for nothing earlier this week.

Still, I would say that it is worth grabbing at $3.99.

Like a lot of people, I became aware of the game when I saw Francis Underwood playing it during season three of House of CardsIt looked both visually interesting and like a decent little puzzle game.  I went straight to the app store to find it… and then I didn’t buy it.

I didn’t buy it because there is actually a reason why I don’t buy apps these days, in addition to the ones I have listed in the past.

I’m running on old hardware.

Often I am not buying your stuff because I have an iPad 2, which was a spiffy new piece of hardware back in early 2011, but today it is a few generations behind the curve.  It is only still supported by Apple on the latest OS because the iPad 2 was the basis for the original iPad Mini, which Apple sold for a bit longer than they probably should of.

I’ve read that older iPad hardware is a problem for Apple.  They don’t break or get stolen at the rate iPhones do, and apparently people don’t clamor to upgrade them the way they do iPhones.  My wife has an iPhone 3S when I bought the iPad 2, and has since upgraded to an iPhone 4S, and now has an iPhone 6… and I still have the iPad 2.

It isn’t that I wouldn’t like a nice iPad Air 2, which I think is the latest and greatest, I just have a list a mile long of other things on which I would rather spend that money.  And the iPad 2 still does most of the things I need it to do.  I can text my wife from it, the web browser is fine, Netflix and Amazon video both stream nicely enough, and when it comes to games, I would rather play them on my PC anyway, so I only have a few on there for the occasional idle moment.  Ticket to Ride, DragonVale, Candy Crush Saga, and Neko Atsume (now in English) are on my list for that.

But a lot of new titles won’t run, or won’t run well, on the old iPad 2.  Some, like Fallout Shelter, are pretty clear they aren’t for older platforms, while others are a bit more vague.  So I tend to err on the side of caution and, on seeing that Monument Vally was a new-ish game back then, I decided not to get it.

However, once it was available for free (additional content is available via in-app purchases, so this was giving away one part of the game to get you to buy others), I decided to give it a try.

And it runs great on my iPad 2.  So I could have been writing this post back in February.

The game itself is as charming and good looking as it seemed while Francis Underwood was playing it on TV.  It is made up of a series of Escher-esque perspective puzzles through which you must guide Princess Ida.  It starts off very easy, impressing you more with its style than any challenge, then ramps up as you progress.

I am currently stuck on the third stage of Act X, in which I am trying to rotate things in order to achieve a false perspective that Ida can then walk over.

I know I could just look up the answer on the web… what answers aren’t out there and just a Google search away… but I want to solve it on my own.  The game doesn’t have that many levels, so throwing away the challenge by looking up the answers seems like a sure fire way to make it all less fun.  Unless I get totally stuck.  I might peek then.

Anyway, that is a lot of words to say “cool game,” but there it is.

Who is Vote Brigading Today?

MMOGames, like a number of sites, has polls up for a range of “Best of 2015” items, including one for the “Best Crowdfunded Game of 2015.”

The category seems like a complete muddle to me.  Few of the games listed are actually finished or released, so how would you even evaluate that?  Also, most of them started their crowd funding before 2015, so even getting a sense of what the best new projects of the year is completely lost.  And what do you even say about the titles that failed in their crowdfunding attempt, yet appear on the list still?  And where is Shroud of the Avatar?  Given what else is listed, that belongs there as well.

So it seems to be more a measure of which player base is the most fanatical in support of their game.  Yeah, we can guess which group that is…

And the run away winner so far is...

And the run away winner so far is… the runners up aren’t even close

Well, at least it isn’t a Blizzard title I guess.

Me, I gave my vote to one of the lonely titles down the list.

That vote, that is me!

That vote, that is me!

Meanwhile, over in the “Most Anticipated MMO of 2016” the results are… not as lopsided, but you can guess see who has been getting out the vote there as well.  2K votes for Star Citizen and 19 votes for WoW Legion says something… well, it probably says a few things.

If you want to avoid the totally brigaded categories, you can always go to “Best New Online Game of 2015” or the rather narrowly focused “Best EVE Online of 2015.”

I voted for EVE Online in that last one.  What other game gets its own category? (Which may have been the result of vote brigading last year.  We’ll see if Star Citizen gets its own category next year.)

Quote of the Day – Your Name May Not Be a Name

Your user name may not be discriminating, unethical or otherwise offensive and may not contain a name.

-LEGO, on changes to their terms of service.

The fine people at The Lego Group dropped me a line to remind me that they have changed their terms of services.


They were concerned apparently because I had not yet read and accepted them.  Literal truth.

You are receiving this email because we have changed our user terms for your LEGO ID and we can see that you haven’t read and accepted them yet.

I haven’t read or accepted them because I haven’t logged on to anything LEGO or LEGO related in a while.  My daughter is now a teenager and far more interested in makeup, clothes, and what her friends are posting on Instagram than getting plastic blocks and building things.  She does occasionally get wistful when she  sees the LEGO minifigures… she keeps the golden C3P-0 on her desk… but not enough to actually dust them off and do something with them.  I should go do another minifigure roundup this year and drag her along.

Anyway, The Lego Group was kind enough to append a short list of the items that they felt were the most important of the changes to the terms.  Number one on the list is quoted at the top of this post, and it makes my head hurt.

I get “discriminating,” though through the quirkiness of the English language and custom, we tend to use that word to indicate a positive.  If you have “discriminating taste” it is a good thing, right?  So I might have phrased that differently… maybe “promotes discrimination” since “discrimination” is the usage that is always negative… but I get what they were shooting for.  Marketing and legal probably spent hours on that word alone.

I can also see “unethical.”  If you pick a user name that makes you look like an employee of The Lego Group, that would be well on the way towards “unethical,” though I still think you have to try and use it to misrepresent yourself intentionally before we get fully in the zone.  Whatever, I get it.

“Offensive” is a minefield in this day and age.  I dare anybody to come up with a workable definition of what “offensive” means in a world where people are offended that somebody has the last name “Lynch.”  But they have to cover themselves, and now they can site this statement if somebody complains about.  Yet again, I get it.

But then we get to the last phrase in that sentence (which should be separated with an Oxford comma dammit) and I start to think that they are trolling me.  My user name, the name with which I identify myself on the LEGO site, must not contain a NAME?

I might understand “must not contain your real name” or “must not include your surname” as stipulations, but they appear to be literally saying, “Your name… it may not be a name.”  That quote at the top, it is directly from the section of the terms to which the user is specifically required to agree.

If I go with all numbers, will that still be a name?  It all seems pretty silly to me.