It’s All Fun And Games Until Somebody Loses… the iPad?

donkey-kongMondays are video game day at the Campbell Household. We, the parents, try to limit the hours (and days) of video game entertainment here. (This is a learned behavior; after seeing that much less stringent limitations on video game time producing mean-spirited, selfish children, if not mindless automatons.)

As it so happens, today whilst I was cleaning up some virtual directories here at Ye Olde GregsHead (dot net) I came across a few video games I’ve shared throughout the years of this blog’s existence. I thought perhaps it might be fun—in that it is Video Game Day—to share them again (in one place) with you!

There’s the Penguin Game (which is quite surprisingly addictive…) and a funny little Christmas-themed game, as well as a Hulk Smash game (a favorite of our good friend, Chi).

In addition to those, there are a few other games that I have come across online, not to mention this entire site which seems to have every Nintendo NES game every sold ready and available for play through your favorite web browser.

Plus I found this Risk-like game a couple years ago that has been fun a time or two.

Do you recommend any online games? Do you play games on your computer? (The boys’ game of choice is Madden ’08, as that is the only one made for Mac. It has been known to catch my fancy a time or two, as well.)

Of course, my favorite games are word games! I have always been a big fan of Boggle in the real world. I also have fond memories of playing Scrabble with my Grandma when I was a young lad. Nowadays I can frequently being found playing either of those games against a distant opponent via a web browser, or more likely an iOS device. (Oh yeah, it’s your turn, Mom…) 🙂

Well, if you are looking for a brief distraction here on Video Game Monday… consider yourself well-supplied!

Basketball Solitaire?

Everyone is talking basketball these days. It’s March Madness time. Most brackets have been thrown in the trash. Four teams fans are still happy for now. (Including me! Go State!)

Well, I guess I’m getting in on the action. After a couple years “off”, I found another friend (with at least a slightly flexible schedule) who can play basketball with me some mornings. We’re getting a very slow start to our new routine (we’ve only actually done it once in the past three weeks) but it is going to be a good thing once we DO get to it! 🙂

Today, however, my friend wasn’t able to make it, so after 15 minutes of shooting around I decided that since I came to get a workout, I would to do try my basketball solitaire game. It’s quite tiring, actually! Full court, one person … non-stop running.

I could definitely tell that it’s going to take a few more weeks to get back into any sort of (good) shape!

But, next time you have a gym to yourself, perhaps you can get a good workout and try to beat today’s score? (51… not too shabby after a few years on the shelf!)

Mac Game: Burger Shop

Burger Shop

I found a cool game via a web link from Facebook, I believe. It’s a site that sells lots of games for the Mac, offering a free 1-hour demo of each. I saw this one called Burger Shop at #3 on their Most Popular list and decided to try it… it was a blast! I showed it to the boys and they loved it, too!

Basically, you fill fast food orders 🙂 Jen and I think this was made by the fast food industry, because when I was playing it with the boys, we were all really starting to crave burgers, fries, milk shakes and more. 🙂 It’s got a fun little story that goes along with the game, and is super fast paced but pretty simple. Click on the photo above to check it out.

If you don’t have a Mac… come visit me at the Apple Store… 🙂

A Lesson From Monopoly

It’s probably not even accurate, but tonight while I was playing a game of Monopoly with my nine-year-old son, Ian, I couldn’t help but notice how the game paralleled life – and how I did not like that.

First off, it was just a really fun night. We call them OK Nights. (One Kid Nights.) It’s been Ian’s turn for a while, but as my prolonged silences here at GregsHead.net demonstrate, there is not much time for, well, anything these days. Not much time, and not much money. Which factored into the decision to do Ian’s OK Night in our basement. (That, and the huge thunderstorms that were wreaking havoc on our entire area tonight…) It all worked out, as Ian loves the game Monopoly (and so do I!) and we shared a nice pot of tea while we played together.

Ian even learned how to find 10% of something tonight. Bonus home school lesson!

But my lesson was in the crazy notion that to make money you have to have money. It’s true in life, and in Monopoly, and vice versa.

Poor Ian had me on the ropes. He had Boardwalk and Park Place with 3 houses on each. I managed to find my piece on Boardwalk shortly following his new construction project, and owed him $1400! That’s a lot for Monopoly! I had to mortgage several properties, and spend all my cash, but I managed to stay in the game. A few lucky rolls, and I had enough cash to stick around long enough for Ian to land on one of my expensive properties. But somehow, that was his undoing.

He also stuck around for a while, but no matter what we tried to do, he just couldn’t dig out of the hole that the first big hotel stay got him into. The problem started to become that in order to pay his debts, he had to get rid of all the stuff that could make him money. So in essence, he was getting rid of any chance he had to win, even though he was still in the game.

I, on the other hand, kept collecting Ian’s money… and then, since my cash stash was growing larger, I invested in more houses. I even bought a mortgaged monopoly from Ian… paid the bank, built houses, and cashed in again on Ian. It was too easy. As I cruised effortlessly around the board (because of my cushy abundance of wealth) Ian fretted every roll of the dice.

It was so crazy to see how it really does “take money to make money.” I really couldn’t believe it. But it was true. Somehow, but a bit of strategy, and admittedly, a bit of luck, I managed to make the first amount of money, and then from there wise investing made the money earn money for me.

Right now my problem seems to be what Ian’s problem was. Debt and other ongoing expenses keep me in a position of not having any vehicles to earn income. If I do, it seems to be just a little, and then it goes right back out to someone else. That’s a frustrating place to be.

So, I have not figured out in the real world how to take the next step to get just enough money to start making money from having money… but maybe some day.

Perhaps I should just play a few more games of Monopoly with Ian? 🙂

Some Things Currently Distracting Me

  • Quite a Stanley Cup Final… with Detroit winning the first two by shutting out the explosive Penguins, and then the Pens winning game three on the back of two Sid the Kid goals! Great stuff. Should (hopefully) go seven.
  • Phoenix successfully landed on Mars on Sunday and I have been intrigued ever since. The link goes to NASA’s website… tons of stuff there (photos, videos, etc). Pretty amazing that we can shoot large metal objects 420 million miles away, and hit a target with pinpoint accuracy – and not damage the highly sophisticated scientific research equipment. Incredible. And then we get to see photos back from it just a few hours later. Nuts.
  • Facebook games and chat have also occupied some time recently. I love word games, and it’s fun to play against friends (and Jen, too!) in between projects I am working on. It’s kind of a funny “mental break” (since you’re working your brain on your break?) but it’s been a blast. I have found games similar to Scrabble, Boggle, and one called Word Twist that is similar to no other game I know of… And, I’ve been playing a good friend of mine in Chess. He’s quite good. Haven’t beaten him yet. 🙂 Oh, and Facebook added an instant message feature which has been a neat way to chat “live” with people I haven’t talked with in a long time. Pretty amazing.
  • On top of that, we’ve gotten to see a couple cool movies lately, as well as some awesome episodes of the Knight Rider from season two DVDs borrowed from the library! 🙂

More to come, but there’s more to do… so, more here later.

Tecmo Superbowl ’06!

Tecmo SuperbowlI can’t really believe this, but someone is making new versions of THE GREATEST VIDEO GAME EVER! My boys and I are quite excited to have found a 2006 version of the classic Nintendo game. But I just noticed today that they are working on (and have a sort of “beta version” of) a 2007 version! Ha!

This means that our Bills have Trent Edwards at QB, Marshawn Lynch tearing up the field, and Paul Posluszny striking fear in the hearts of opponents.

All at 8-bits. It’s a beautiful thing. 🙂

Not sure of the legality of it? (Are Tecmo, and the NFLPA sanctioning this?) But man is it fun. It would be so cool if they could somehow release current roster versions to play on an actual NES, not an emulator on my Mac. 🙂

But… anyway… for you classic gamers out there. Check it out! 🙂

Luck

Sabres vs Thrashers
Last night Jen and I played a new card game called Tunge. (Not sure how you pronounce it.) She discovered it on a blog she reads and wanted to play it with me. I’m always game for a new … game. 🙂

So, we figured it out pretty easily and had a good time playing. Mostly. That is until I noticed that this game – as with many card games – is almost entirely won by luck. You just have to get the right card. “By the luck of the draw.” Those aren’t my favorite kind of games. I like knowing that I won (and you lost) because of my skill and cunning and craftiness.

🙂

But what all that reminded me of was my Buffalo Sabres.

See, this year, the Sabres – who last year finished the season with the best overall record – are not doing as well. At a quick glance, you might even think they were bad. I don’t remember if they were ever officially last in their conference… but they were at least second to last. (That in itself is deceiving as they were still only 6 or 8 points or so out of a playoff spot.) Most people do assume that the Sabres are just a shell of their former selves, losing their two captains from last seaons, Chris Drury and Daniel Briere.

It’s true that they miss the leadership and production of those two guys, but it’s not true that they are as bad as their record would indicate. Hockey is certainly a game of skill, on many levels. But it also involves a good bit of luck.

The bounces have not gone the Sabres’ way this year. They have outshot teams many a night, and come up losing by a goal. The goalie has made incredible save after incredible save, only to have a puck bounce off the boards behind him and either into the net, or right to the lucky opponent standing near the crease to cash in. Goal posts have rung, goals have been disallowed, injury after injury after injury have plagued this once-feared team.

We do not have cable this year, and so have only kept up with the team via radio (over the internet) and reading at sabres.com and NHL.com. We have also caught the occasional Sabres game on Versus.com. But from everything I have seen, this team is still very good. Very young, but very good.

I try and catch the post game interview with Lindy Ruff after every game. (Subscribe to the podcast at iTunes.) I like to hear what he’s got to say. He’s seen this team be the best, and now struggle through a year of seeming mediocrity. When things are bad, he says it. This year he has not said it. Almost every night he has nothing but positive things to say about the players and their effort and the chances they have created. He usually says something like, “It just didn’t bounce our way.” That has been my observation as well. The Sabres have just as much fight in them, just as much skill (though, more injuries to be sure) but they do not have as much “success”.

It will come. Luck works both ways. At least over the course of a whole season. The Sabres are coming out of a horrendous stretch of two wins in fourteen games. They have won three games in a row, looking for four tonight in Atlanta, where they play a Thrasher team that is tied with them in the conference standings.

Perhaps this small streak is the beginning of things starting to go our way. Maybe the Sabres will be on the more fortunate end of bounces, calls, injuries, etc.

If we’re lucky… 😉

Tecmo Superbowl

Pretty sure I have mentioned here that I am a fan of old video games, and the king of all of those games – at least in the sports genre – is Tecmo Superbowl for the Nintendo NES.

A friend sent me a link to a video today (first one below) and I found the “response” to the first video (second one below). Both are pretty funny (especially if you are a big TSB fan like me…) And, I’m posting them here for my boys to watch. 🙂

Enjoy!

Bo Jackson

Christian Okoye