Jumping Right In… SKYLANDERS!

November 23, 2011

So, I blame e.

I am absolutely convinced that if anyone I know really passionately talks about anything…I mean ANYTHING…I will shortly find myself in possession of said things. Or at the very least digging into it. This is why I own a safety razor and a badger hair lather brush. (Thanks, @drewbenz!)

Anyway, when it comes to games, the threshold that needs to be surpassed is even smaller than any other category of stuff. And, of course, the vast majority of my friends are avid, rabid gamers, many of whom work in the gaming industry.

So e (@thevowel) started talking about Skylanders on Twitter and during the podcast he does with Team Dysfunction over at Xbox. He’s got a post about it on his blog. (I definitely encourage you to check out his blog…the post, if you’re interested. At the very least, you should follow him on Twitter. You know, if you can, you know, tolerate a stream of videogames, general geekery, gadgets, and the Oregon Ducks.)

The main thrust of his recent blog post is about which Skylanders he owns. See, the game itself is what I’d call a 3D Platformer…MAYBE a 3D Action game. Got some RPG elements to it, and it’s definitely got a kid-friendly spin going on there. But the truly demonic part of this game is that there are actual 3D figurines that you can purchase/collect separately…and once you HAVE a figurine, you can place it on a peripheral that’s attached to your game system (THE PORTAL OF POWER!), and then PLAY that character in game. Now, you don’t NEED all the different figurines (there are 32 at last count, not including limited editions, palette swaps, and other minor things there…) but there are benefits to having at least a few of each of the eight types. And there are bonuses (of course…) if you have more than one within a type.

Each of the figures has its own way of attacking and moving. Some move fast, others slow. Some are ranged attackers, and some are melee in nature. Some have area effect. There’s no WRONG way to get through the game…and any character or two can do just fine to finish the story. But of course, demonocity! They’ve placed gates in the levels that can only be opened by a Skylander of the right type. So if you’re a completionist (and who isn’t…?) you’ll NEED at least a few more of the figurines if you want to find ALL THE THINGS.

Naturally, the figurines are all sold separately…but, again FIE!…some are exclusive to certain retailers. Some are rarer than others. Some haven’t come out yet. Some are… you get the point. e talks about going to six stores to find Hex. I did the same thing…and at the sixth store, I didn’t just find the last Hex, but also Wrecking Ball…who is very, very funny.

There are also a few “adventure packs” which are effectively expansions – new levels that you can explore by placing the representative figure (like a mausoleum or a pirate ship) onto the Portal of Power (the peripheral mentioned earlier.)

Anyway, people are starting to get interested. Some have been, and are just waiting for that tiny little nudge to get them to purchase. Naturally, as people get involved, one of the questions you hear a lot is “Which ones do you have?” and “So which one should I get after the starter pack?” Of course, I leapt into the abyss with nary a thought, spending a day bouncing around the Seattle metropolitan area going from Target to Walmart, Best Buy to GameStop.

My Skylanders:
Magic: Spyro, Dark Spyro (3DS Starter), Wrecking Ball, Voodood
Earth: Bash, Prism Break, Terrafin (From the Pirate Expansion)
Water: Zap, Gill Grunt
Fire: Ignitor, Flameslinger, Eruptor
Tech: Boomer, Drill Sergeant (Walmart/Sam’s Club), Drobot, Trigger Happy
Undead: Hex, Chop Chop, Ghost Roaster (From the Mausoleum expansion)
Air: Whirlwind (Target), Sonic Boom
Life: Stump Smash, Stealth Elf

So anyway, if you were looking to get involved, Amazon’s having a sale on the starter, and Toys R Us is having a 2 for $10 sale in-store on the figures.

I’m a big fan of Trigger Happy. He’s armed with a pair of gold pistols that shoot coins. He throws a safe as his alternate attack. His special unlockable attack is that a pintle-mounted heavy machine gun springs up from the ground and lets you hose down the entire area with little gold bullets of doom. And of course, he’s completely insane, shrieking “MINE! MINE!” whenever he picks up any loot.

So if anyone finds a Slam Bam, Cynder, or Camo, go ahead and pick it up…I’ll pay you back.

Yeah. I can stop at any time. Besides…there’s only 32 of them, right?

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It…is…ALIVE! ALIVE!

November 23, 2011

So I’m dusting off the blog again. I’m finding that my tweets have me wanting to blather into cyberspace, so let’s see what happens…shall we?


Wow…Talk About Busy…

October 28, 2008

Very busy, so some quick updates.

Fable 2 is better than expected. Walks the line between storytelling and sandbox very nicely. I never feel pressured to have to go anywhere, but any time I do feel like advancing a quest, the steps I need to take are right there. Although some of the minigames are a bit repetitive, overall, it’s a lovely way to spend a few hours.

The COD5 beta is very enjoyable. The Pacific theatre stuff is a long time in coming. Game is out on 11 November. That’s already preordered.

Little Big Planet is amazing. At it’s heart, it’s a platformer. Get from the start of the level to the end. The big deal is the design and implementation. Absolutely gorgeous, humorous, and just plain charming as hell. To top it all off, during the levels, you’re finding bubbles filled with stickers, parts, materials, and costumes. With all of that, you can build your own levels, and share them with the world at large. Beautiful concept and implementation. If you have a PS3, it’s a must have.

Fallout 3 comes out today…so much for whatever little spare time I had left.

Speaking of little spare time, I’m playing World of Warcraft again. I’m almost 70…just in time for the expansion on 14 November. Whee…

Gears of War 2 is coming out on 7 November. Where the hell were all these games for the last 6 months?

The 31st of October is Halloween, yes…but it’s also my first wedding anniversary. I think it’ll be low key…taking the day off, getting dinner. Time flies…

Today’s Rock Band 2 downloadable content is a Siouxsie and the Banshees pack. Could I be any happier? No. Now all I need is an album release of Head On The Door, and I’m all set.

Off to work. Hopefully, my Tuesday will be better than my Monday….


In London…

October 6, 2008

Staying in a way too trendy hotel…

You know the type…trance in the lobby and elevators, large LCD panels in the lobby showing fronds of waving bamboo….

Anyway, the bed was pretty comfy, excellent shower pressure, and I hate to admit I like the ambient mood lighting that I can set to whatever color I like that also underlights the translucent stone desktop.

Waiting in the lobby right now for my co-worker so we can grab some breakfast before heading into the office.

Actually looking forward to working in London again. I like the tone, pace…and the expressions and accents are all comfortingly familiar.

In the cab on the way to the hotel, headed over the Hammersmith Bypass, passing that ludicrous “ark” building, my brain was saying, “then you’ll turn left at the Tesco, so you can head north to Hampstead, where you live…almost home….”

Funny, that. Haven’t lived in London since 2001…but in a way, it’s still very familiar….


Off to London…

October 3, 2008

Going to London tomorrow for about a week…

Probably have more time to write then. In the meantime, have some QuikThoughtz(tm).

There are seven games coming out between October 15 and November 15 that I would consider “must haves.” I wonder how much vacation time I have left this year.

If John McCain is a Maverick, does that make Sarah Palin a Goose?

I’m no longer a project manager by trade. It’s the first time in almost 15 years that my primary job responsibility isn’t project management.

The idea of having the responsibility of strategy for a job role is pretty much like saying “for some reason, y’all think my opinion is more valid than yours.” It’s going to take awhile to get used to that concept.

I’m really looking forward to going to London. I’m going to see a bunch of friends this time over. Some of whom I haven’t seen in almost 10 years.

I love my job. I love getting to think about gaming all day…and they PAY me for it!

Off to London tomorrow. More later!


Levels of Rage…Rising…

September 18, 2008

Thanks to the lovely and talented wife for the title of this post. She says it when I’ve obliviously done something suitably bone-headed…just to remind me of the thin ice on which I might currently be walking. It’s actually hysterical when she says it…or more commonly leaves it as a message on my machine when I was supposed to meet her 10 minutes ago and I’m blithely typing away on my laptop at work and didn’t hear my mobile phone ring.

Anyway, I find myself getting angrier and angrier at the entire election campaign. I remember when two politicians actually debated issues…whether they would be tough on the Soviets…whether they believed in space exploration…whether they felt nuclear power was a viable energy alternative.

Instead, while the Dow is plummeting hundreds of points a day, while two of the big four investment firms are declaring bankruptcy, while the government is bailing out AIG for almost 100 billion dollars, we have politicians spouting mock offense about perceived personal insults.

Don’t even get me started on Palin’s response to the AIG bailout. The sum total of her analysis? “Too bad taxpayers have to fund it.” Really? How about “My party is sorry that we’ve spent the last thirty years passing laws that created an environment that allowed investment banks and insurance companies to risk people’s life savings with impunity.”

Nah. Instead, we get “Don’t worry! I’m not like the rest of the republicans! Even though I voted with them on all of those bills and laws! Now I’m serious about cleaning up Washington!”

You weren’t before? Awesome….

Anyway, I’ve been spending a lot more time pinging/twittering. It’s pretty much taken over my blog as my spouting to the world.

Oh, I’m not quitting blogging…I’m just spending more time twittering. So if you’re looking for your dose o’ Glenn more frequently, you can follow me as justicar @ twitter!

See ya there!


You, too, might be a Vice-presidential Candidate!

September 4, 2008

Politics is a strange thing.

After hearing/reading Sarah Palin’s acceptance speech, one is seriously left to wonder how little qualification you need to be Vice-President of the United States.

The woman spent the vast majority of her time talking about how qualified McCain was, or the lack of qualifications that Obama has…as if somehow SHE was qualified to make amy sort of assessment.

I suppose the rigorous training of being a runner-up Miss Alaska, or erstwhile sportscaster, magically transforms you into some sort of political sooperpundit, capable of providing witty, insightful political commentary.

Frankly, kids, if I were in her shoes, I’d have tried to come across as competent. Talked about the challenges of being a small town mayor…or of being a governor in a state of a diverse populace, with unique challenges. Nah… She’s a Republican at a convention…which means she gets to be sarcastic, and be what effectively amounts to being a dick…all without ever having even the slightest idea of what it takes to hold the position for which she’s been nominated.

McCain is 72 years old. At last count, the average life expectancy of a Vietnam Vet with cancer and a heart condition is somewhere south of that.

Could you listen to Palin’s speech last night and say “Yeah, I’d want her as my president?”

Closing thought: If you think there’s no way she’ll ever make it to the Vice-Presidency, I offer two scary words: Dan Quayle.