Friday, September 17, 2010

RIP, APB: All Points Bulletin Shutting Down... After Less Than Three Months

Seems like only yesterday that All Points Bulletin hit the mean, crime infested streets. Oh yeah, that's because it basically was. The cops 'n' robbers MMO launched on June 29 of this year, and, well, it had some issues. Not nearly as many issues, however, as its developer Realtime Worlds, who recently put an entire development team on the chopping block and declared bankruptcy.

And now, after failing to attract a buyer, it looks as though All Points Bulletin's gone straight from the cradle into the grave.

“APB has been a fantastic journey, but unfortunately that journey has come to a premature end. Today we are sad to announce that despite everyone’s best efforts to keep the service running; APB is coming to a close. It’s been a pleasure working on APB and with all its players. Together we were building an absolutely amazing game, and for that, we thank you. You guys are awesome!” wrote Realtime Worlds community manager Ben Bateman.

According to anonymous sources, APB's servers will be going dark tomorrow, never to see the light of day again. Which is a real shame, seeing as Realtime Worlds had a pretty solid roadmap in place for how to fix the game. Unfortunately, life's great Game Over screen appeared, and they didn't have enough coins to continue.

Those of you with virtual homes, possessions, and families, let this serve as a cautionary tale for you. They could all be snatched away – just like that! Now shower them with affection. Show them just how much you love them. Huh? You have to go tell your kids a bedtime story? The nerve! Can't they wait? You're in the middle of something important, after all.

Mario's Birthday on September 13th.

Holy smokes, we can hardly believe it's already been 25 years since Super Mario Bros. first launched. The only plumber in the world more famous than Joe the Plumber, Super Mario was released in Japan on September 13, 1985.
Super Mario really needs no introduction. Even if you weren't born when Super Mario Bros. first shipped on the NES, you've probably either played a ROM version of the original (it runs 500 Wii points) or at least watched a speed run on YouTube. Since then, Super Mario has appeared in 473 million other titles, or so it seems.
What's your favorite Mario game of all time?

Image Credit: Kotaku
You know, Activison CEO Bobby Kotick, maybe we were wrong about you. You've said some pretty ridiculous things in the past, but now you've gone and mentioned a StarCraft movie. Perhaps its time we learn to forgive and forge... wait. What did you just say? Sorry, what?!
"If we were to take that hour, or hour and a half [of StarCraft II cut-scenes], take it out of the game, and we were to go to our audiences for whom we have their credit card information as well as a direct relationship and ask, 'Would you like to have the StarCraft movie?', my guess is that ... you'd have the biggest opening weekend of any film ever," he said during Bank of America Merrill Lynch's Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference (via Gamasutra).
"Within the next five years, you are likely to see us do that. That may be in partnership with somebody, it may be alone," he added.
Oh, but that's not all. Instead of hitting the big screen, Kotick plans to put these suckers online, where he hopes the other kind of sucker – you know, the kind far richer in wallet than common sense – will spend up to $20 or $30 to watch them. So basically, he wants to charge more for less. 
We could fill an entire book with ways this idea could go horribly wrong, but instead, we'll sum it up with one word: Youtube.


So I have no more nerdy friends. I’ve disowned them all after not forcing me to watch this show. I’ve seen it all now, minus Serenity. Seriously. What the hell supposed “friends” of mine!? Some of you even HAD the DVD’s sitting not 3 feet from me, and we were all bored and looking for something to do. Sigh. Better late than never, I suppose.

My favorite character is Wash, by far. Or maybe its his dinosaurs. Nah, I think its him. Anyway,**SPOILER** Its a shame he doesn’t wind up making it all the way through the movie, from what I’m told. **END OF SPOILER** So much could be done with that universe, its unreal. Limitless, in fact. We were just coming to the actual start of the Summer/Simon plot too. I can’t wait to see the movie this weekend either, that should be a blast.

I tried for a bit to channel some of that spirit and energy into DnD campaigns, but it mostly turns out bland and generic without REALLY heavy modification. And at that point, its almost not a time saver.

But on a general note, the grit and rough and tumble of the show is perfect for a border province, and as a way to differentiate between countries in terms of accent and methodology and values. Who better for the country bumpkin with a good heart than Malcom Reynolds? Or an innocent savant other than Kaylee?

Munchkin - The Card Game

Munchkin, by Steve Jackson Games, is one of those insanely addictive, fun, social, and above all, simple card games. It follows a basic precept that might be the official motto: "Wander through a dungeon, kill monsters, take their stuff, backstab your friends." Thats exactly what the game is. Another analogy is that Munchkin in all its various incarnations, is a stripped down and light hearted Dungeons and Dragons game in principle.

My friends and I have spent many MANY nights and weekends playing this thing for hours on end.  The craziest thing about this game in particular is its range of appeal.  Half of my regular Munchkin players don't play DnD.  They've been approached by me, and they turned it down.  It's probably because I didn't shower and was basically begging them, but I'm going to just chalk it up to them drawing the line of nerdiness at Munchkin.

And thats perfectly fine.  Its a great way to merge two groups of friends: DnD regulars, and their less nerdy counterparts.  Its simple enough that anyone can learn it in about 20 minutes or through a quick demo game.  Its complicated and subtle enough that you can strategerize and barter and bicker about rules all night long.  Its goofy enough that its a great ice breaker, and encourages side conversations.

There are TONS of expansions for this game too.  Each one has its own theme, like James Bond, Westerns, Space, of Cthulu.  However, all these cards can be freely mixed and matched across the different versions.  So if you love Steve Jackson enough and buy everything he's done, you basically have two jenga towers of cards from which to draw.  And a whole table of people to hate you if you knock it over.

Here are some Youtube videos I found that really explain the basic rules and concepts better than I could.  So I leave you in the capable hands of Scuba Ducky and Camo Ducky.  These videos are NOT me, by the way.  I'm not lucky enough to own two ducks like that.

Throw a couple drinks in folks and you are REALLY looking for a good time with this thing.  Especially with couples.  You can barter and exchange services and real world goods for cards in the game if you really want, and well, couples are better at that than most if you catch my drift.

Definitely give Munchkin a try.  Its fun, quick to learn, and for some inexplicable reason, everyone wants to play it.  Ive seen some other reviewers call it the "Gateway Game."  And that is 100% correct.  To throw in extra nerdiness, I use d10's to keep track of everyone's level.  Its not like they are useful to me for anything else.

Welcome to my Site!

As a nerd, I have certain likes.  Some of these are card games, Dungeons and Dragons, Video Games, Books, and other such things.  Here I'll be tossing some of my experiences with these various aspects of my life online for others to view and comment on!  Enjoy!