December Sun – A Web Comic

April 2, 2009

Bookworm Adventures – a fun (and time-wasting) way to keep the brain sharp

Filed under: 3,computer games — Tags: , , , — admin @ 12:06 pm

bookworm adventures screenshot.  great gameI get a kick out of the Bookworm Adventures from Pop Cap games, which is basically like a Scrabble/RPG variation with cartoons and sound effects.  It’s a clever idea, actually: you play as a heroic worm character(?), and on each turn, you fight battles by building words from a series of Scrabble-like tiles in the center of the screen.  The more complex the word, the greater the damage done to your enemy.  And the nice thing about the game is, as you advance, not only do all of the enemies continue to change, but more and more power-ups are granted, making for more interesting variations in gameplay (such as, trying to work x-y-z characters into words for more damage, etc.)  

Using word complexity as a weapon is a great idea: you can’t beat the game playing “CAT” and “DOG” words, but it’s the hefty-character words that do the most damage to the enemies (I managed to play “refridgeration” once, and I think I finished off the baddie of that stage instantly with that word.)

The campaign version of the game is the best way to play this.  I found the arena mode to be a chore (namely because it doesn’t give you enough time to figure out words.  Or I’m just slow.  Likely the later.)  

The only thing that I wish this game had was a player-vs-player option (which it didn’t have, last time I checked.  Maybe it’s since been upgraded, but I don’t think it has.)  I think it could be fun to face off with another thinking human playing this game.  Maybe in a future edition.

So where is there going to be a Bookworm Adventures sequel?  I want more!

March 21, 2009

Spam, zombies, and turning email into a shooter game

Filed under: 3,computer games — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 10:52 pm

I’ve often considered the idea of turning one’s personal email into a shooter game to be an entertaining, and completely stupid, idea, and it looks like someone finally is doing this. 3D Mailbox will eventually be releasing a game in which the user can apparently hunt down their spam email, but in the form of zombies(!), hunting these evil emails in zombie form by using a number of weapons. This sounds pretty cool (and silly) but at the same time, why not just do the ‘delete all’ option in your spam folder?

Anyhow, looking over the 3D Mail site, I see that they’ve got a couple other programs already: one apparently turns your emails into people at a beach resort, and the other one turns the emails into… commercial airplanes? Erm, ok. But all the same, I think they might be on to something here, and this is something that I wish I could utilize the Yahoo! API to do with my own email, and that is: turn static and boring email into something more interesting. Sadly, I just can’t seem to wrap my brain around the techy stuff behind making authorized web service calls and working with the somewhat limited Yahoo! API documentation. Or maybe it’s just my brain thats limited, who knows…

Anyhow, the more I consider it, the more I see the risk involved in casually disregarding (or, more specifically, blowing away!) spam mail in zombie form. The problem becomes, what if one accidentally terminates a valid email erroneously redirected to the spam folder (as too ofter happens with my own Yahoo! mail)… will the user given any sortof indicator of WHAT the spam mail is, like a hovering title or something, prior to taking it out with a rocket launcher? 3D Mailbox people… if you need a beta tester, let me know. Software QA is my daytime gig, and I’m sure there are numerous things like this that need the consideration of a tester (like, what happens if you’ve got a 3D avatar of a zombie spam mail, and the email was a viral one? Is the representation of the email based on title alone, or content of the message? And what if that particular message housed an attached chunk of viral code? What if the spam drastically outnumbers the normal mail? I’ve had days with the spam count in the thousands…. would a game level really feature that many enemies at once? (sounds like Serious Sam numbers…) Etc…)

Regardless, some of the screenshots look interesting and well-designed, and if it’s free, I might try it out.  Otherwise, manually deleting the spam stuff works fine for me too…

Here’s a teaser trailer from their site…

March 12, 2009

Clustermaps and Globetrotter

Filed under: 3,Code,computer games — admin @ 11:38 am

india and china - two countries that havent visited me yet

So I’ve got the Clustermaps widget on my site now, and this is a fun little application to see where people (and spambots!) are supposedly visiting from. And one thing I’ve noticed is that I don’t have any visitors from India (or China, for that matter.)  I wonder what the deal is: maybe my sketchy, experimental webcomic or my vague and mostly irrelevant blogposts just don’t have any appeal to these lands.  Or maybe I need to be leaving more blogs comments on commentluv-enabled blogs from India and China?  Or maybe if I did a writeup about something like the “Festival of Holi” or something (I don’t even know exactly what this is, actually, but I know that it’s a holiday for some of my co-workers.)  However, my blog posts already veer far enough off the topic of comic books as is, so I don’t know how that’s going to help anything.

a good and fair waste of time gaming onlineRegardless, on the subject or world geography, here’s a fun game I’d recommend that actually helps teach you where various cities and countries are around the world.  Called ‘Globetrotter’, it’s actually a lot of fun, and as you play, you’re learning things!  What a cool concept!  My skills with geography are right up there with my understanding of 16th century Belgian opera, so it makes for a good learning experience.

Granted, I’ve been dedicating myself to NOT wasting any more time online with games anymore, but this is the exception: at least with this, there’s a semblance of learning to be gained, that may or may not be valuable (if, for instance, I never leave my home.)

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