Saturday, August 20, 2016

Video Buddy

Being born in the late 60s, we were teens in the 80s. Like most kids of this era, we grew up with video games. When we had kids, we were not adverse to exposing them to games as well.

A good bridge at the time was the Video Buddy system. Using a similar technology as the light guns, it had a console with colored buttons and a sensor that connected to the TV with a suction cup. It had a series of videos on VHS tapes. They would stop the show occasionally and ask a question and you would use the console to answer. The sensor would get the information from the sensor and would tell you if your answer was correct.

It was interesting enough but our kids weren’t super into it. We still have a bunch of the videos that haven’t even been watched. I checked with them to see how attached to it they were. My daughter wants to give them another try before we give them away.

In trying to streamline, my niece said that she would be glad to try them with her young child. I had to check with her to ensure that she had the requirements – a VCR and an old TV.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Intellivision Flashback

As a child in the eighties, I had arguably the best video game system available – the Intellivision. Arguably is the key word here. A lot of people said that the Atari 2600 was better – but they are wrong.

The graphics on the Intellivision were miles ahead of the even-more-blocky Atari ones. The Atari did have more ‘arcade’ games – but the versions available at home were nothing like the arcade ones. Most of the best Atari games were watered down ports of the Intellivision games. The complaints about the difference in controllers really falls down to a matter of preference. The Atari had an 8 position joystick and a single button while the Intellivision had 2 pairs of buttons, a 12 digit keypad, and a 16 position disc.

While most of the x-box or PS kids today would probably have no problems with the extra buttons, to a group that hadn’t played anything before the Intellivision controller must have been overwhelming. I had no problems with it.

A later addition to the console wars was the Colecovision. While it had arcade-level graphics, and actual arcade games, it’s base controller was a bit more awkward then the Intellivision one. It did have a stubby joystick knob instead of the disc, but placed it at the top of the controller rather than under the keypad. It also had a super complex controller for the time – the Super Action Controller – with 4 trigger buttons, a 12 digit keypad, a standard ball joystick, and even a speed roller.

When nostalgia calls, it is awkward to hook up the old Intellivision system through an RF switch to be able to play. The Intellivision Lives game (70 games) for the Nintendo Game Cube and the Intellivison Play emulator (25 games) were both disappointing as they both required modifications to the games to use on the modern Game Cube style controllers. I know as I had picked up both of them hoping for that old Plimpton experience but did not get it from either.

Intellivision Lives! currently has listed an Intellivision Flashback – with a mini deck similar to the old woodgrain unit and two classic controllers. It’s loaded with 60 games but is missing a few of the licensed ones. They even have a Coleco Flashback unit as well. I know that they are both going on my list.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Dune on the horizon?

The Dune board game remains one of my grail games. I have recently watched a few videos on the game and rules – drive run thru review, harsh rules, etc. It does seem like a game that I will like. The potential length may be a bit much for my gaming group though. With the Dune license tied up, Fantasy Flight released the basic rules as Rex – Final Days of an Empire by retheming it to their Twilight Imperium universe. I’ve never played Twilight Imperium and have no ties to that mythos, so I’ve no interest in getting that verson.

I printed out the rules and read through them. It doesn't seem much more complex than Diplomacy. Now I just have to find a group to try it.

While there are a few files on BoardGameGeek for printing your own version, I decided to use the one ‘Dirt Cheep Dune’ with simple graphics and low print requirements. With this, we can play a game or two and, if it plays as well as it seems, then I should be able justify picking up a game online or spending the time and effort to make a really nice print-and-play version of one.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Step down

There’s a meme that says “If a man says that he will do something, he will. There’s no need to keep reminding him every 6 months.”


Looking back, it was back in July of 2014 when we first rented a jackhammer to break up the concrete step in the backyard. Two years later, we rented a smaller jackhammer as well as an eight pound sledge hammer to finally finish the task.

My son was very helpful with the sledge. We broke up the rest of the step parts, and broke up the landing part enough to move it to the side and remove the metal bits. He also clipped apart the wire mesh of the landing to make the pieces more manageable.

After clearing up, we now are at this point.


We still have a bit from the steps, but that is easily finished up with a crow bar as well as a hammer and chisel. We also have that pole – which will be a bit more trouble

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Wii Fit - 100 days

Today was my 100 days on the Wii Fit. I've been pretty good about getting on almost every day to do a body test at the least. I've gone up and down a bit, back up to close to 300 a few times but mostly trending downwards.

I was at my lowest of 283 lbs yesterday and at 285 lbs today. That's a solid 15 pounds since I started and I'm continuing to trend downwards. I tend to spike a bit on the nights we go out to the movies, and up a bit on Sundays, but usually recover during the rest of the week.

My daughter and a bunch of her friends also set up profiles and had set up a bunch of the records on a most of the games and then stopped playing. I've worked away at clearing them off but cannot make headway on some of them.

I find that weighing in every day is helpful - knowing that the weight can fluctuate day-to-day. It has made me a bit more conscious of what I am eating - especially the portions. (Do I need that extra piece of pizza? Yes. Yes I do) I am also aware that I could be losing a lot more, and quicker, if I did more of the aerobic exercises instead of spending my time playing the balance games. Most days I only find enough time to do my daily Body Test.

All-in-all I believe that it was a good purchase. As long as I keep up with it, I should be able to keep from packing back on too many of the pounds, and work away at bringing it down closer to the 250-260 range by the end of the year.

Friday, July 15, 2016

One more Grail game achieved

I’ve got another game off my Grail List. Noble Knight had a bit of a sale, and had an Attack of the Mutants available unpunched so I snapped it up. When I got it, I was pleased to find that inside it also had an unpunched copy of the mini game version included. I’m going to copy the counters onto cardboard so that I will be able to play this with the kids.

When Miniature Market had their sale earlier in the year, I also picked up the six prize packs for Arcane Legions for about $2 each. I am still looking for the Servants of Thebes to complete this set though.

Into the empty slot, I don’t have a game that has been waiting long enough to build up Grail status.
I have been looking at Dust recently as a good candidate. It is a Risk-like game with a lot of bits. It’s based in the same universe as the Tannhauser/Dust Tactics games – with an extended WW1.
I have also been looking at ThunderRoad. It is a Mad Max type of road race game. The rules are simple enough to do without the game itself. I was just too late to pick one up last year, and someone recently found one locally in the thrift store, so it is definitely around and on my radar.
The Willow game also looks pretty good. I remember not getting it back in the day even though I was a big fan of the movie. I might just be able to snap it up without too much trouble though.
Games Workshop has also come out with some new board games. While they look great, and are easy to find, they are very pricey. I am saving up to see about getting The Horus Heresy: The Betrayal at Calth, Deathwatch Overkill, and maybe The Lost Patrol. There is the Battle of the Five Armies – based around their Warmaster system which I wanted but didn’t manage to get before they pulled it.

I haven’t played any of these though. A game has to be very special, like the Dune game to achieve Grail status without even being played.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

White Dwarf - full circle

My weekly subscription to White Dwarf is churning along fine, apart from a few issues that went astray and which they quickly replaced. They are usually are later than they should be, sometimes not showing up until well into the second week following.

I got a letter from Games Workshop letting me know that White Dwarf will be returning to a monthly magazine.

The last weekly issue will be the July 30, and the first monthly issue will be September 2. Per the letter, since 4 of the weekly issues cost almost twice what the monthly issues will cost, they will convert my subscription and double my remaining period, plus three extra issues, plus an extra issue for the missing August. The said that this will now extend my subscription through to August of 2017.

The math seems a bit off but it seems to work out in my favor. I look forward to the new, old format. As long as they don't reset the numbering again.