Not so soon after all

While I ponder the point of continuing the camp post at this late date, I would like to say that I think I may be an OSU fan now. 😎

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What’s old is new

Isn’t that a common statement for fads and fashion?  Well in this case I am referring to something else.  Once upon a time, one Nolan Bushnell founded a gaming company that would become big- very big.  In 1977 they would put out not the first, but the most popular video gaming system of the time with interchangeable games.  The same company also produced popular arcade machines and computers.  Well, sort of- there was a split at one point into Atari Games and Atari Corp, but I am not sure which company did what- I believe Atari Games was strictly the arcade division while Atari Corp was everything else.  In any event, following the dreaded video game crash of 1984 (1983?), Atari was never quite the same.  The 16-bit successor to their 400/800/XL line of computers, the Atari ST, was fairly successful, but that would be pretty much be the last of the computers, aside from the short-lived 32-bit TT.  As for the consoles, they would never again achieve the success of the VCS/2600 though they would try all the way through the Jaguar in 1993.  Of course, these failing years, and many of the successful ones too, were not run by Bushnell himself as he “left” the company (read: fired) in December of 1978 according to Wikipedia.  The failing years were in fact with the infamous Jack Tramiel in the hot seat, who not only oversaw the failing of Atari but Commodore as well, but that is beside the point.  The point being Nolan Bushnell, who is now in fact on the board of directors of the current company that calls itself Atari.  Make no mistake, this is not the same company that Bushnell founded, but rather the French company formerly known as Infogrames who found itself with Atari’s assets when they purchased Hasbro Interactive in late 2000.  However, it is nevertheless interesting to find Bushnell on the board of directors for Atari for the first time in over 30 years.  Will anything come of this?  I don’t know, but here is a link to an interview with him.  It has some mistakes, like dating the 2600 to 1984 instead of 1977, but is an interesting read:

Atari Founder Nolan Bushnell “Returns”

(added quotation marks mine)

A couple of old Atari commercials on Youtube:

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Gaming for an Award

Cub scout award for… video games??  Where was this award when I was in Cub scouts?  I would have aced this one easily.  Okay, there is some work involved, but still- video games?  Here’s the text from the official site:


Requirements

Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts, and Webelos Scouts may complete requirements in a family, den, pack, school, or community environment. Tiger Cubs must work with their parents or adult partners. Parents and partners do not earn loops or pins.

Belt Loop

Complete these three requirements:

  1. Explain why it is important to have a rating system for video games. Check your video games to be sure they are right for your age.
  2. With an adult, create a schedule for you to do things that includes your chores, homework, and video gaming. Do your best to follow this schedule.
  3. Learn to play a new video game that is approved by your parent, guardian, or teacher.

Academics Pin

Earn the Video Games belt loop and complete five of the following requirements:

  1. With your parents, create a plan to buy a video game that is right for your age group.
  2. Compare two game systems (for example, Microsoft Xbox, Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Wii, and so on). Explain some of the differences between the two. List good reasons to purchase or use a game system.
  3. Play a video game with family members in a family tournament.
  4. Teach an adult or a friend how to play a video game.
  5. List at least five tips that would help someone who was learning how to play your favorite video game.
  6. Play an appropriate video game with a friend for one hour.
  7. Play a video game that will help you practice your math, spelling, or another skill that helps you in your schoolwork.
  8. Choose a game you might like to purchase. Compare the price for this game at three different stores. Decide which store has the best deal. In your decision, be sure to consider things like the store return policy and manufacturer’s warranty.
  9. With an adult’s supervision, install a gaming system.

As most of you know, I was really into gaming back in the day. I spent hours at arcades and played my Atari and Colecovision systems to death. Ah, the days…  Speaking of scouting, JustJ would be pleased to know that the boy scouts are embracing modern technology in Geocaching.  One article mentioned a merit badge, but so far what I read on their site talks more of the activity than earning a badge.  Click here and here.  Scratch what I just wrote- merit badge information can be had by clicking here.

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Oh, you probably want an update on that quiz.  Of the three that garnered the most guesses, one of them is correct.  The one with no guesses?  You are correct in that it is not us.  The other video was among the two with a single affirmative response.  So without further delay, the two videos featuring our choir (at least in audio in the case of one) are:

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1. They Didn’t Know

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6. Rise and Sing

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Check out what the junior high kids do toward the end of the video-

I can name most of the boys from their time in 4th/5th grade, including

one who was in my cabin at camp two years ago.

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So, how did you do? 🙂

The Nerd

Since my friend C is in the play called The Nerd (hopefully still is, considering his medical troubles as of late) I thought I would share something I embarrassingly have enjoyed watching on the internet.  Embarrassing because it’s not exactly family friendly.  In fact, if you have young ones around, do not watch any of these shows.  In fact, don’t even go to the link I am going to provide.  You have been warned.  What does this have to do with The Nerd?  Well, the one I write about is James Rolfe, otherwise known as the angry video game nerd.  He unfortunately reminds me a little about myself playing video games sometimes.  I can get really angry after playing a tough game for awhile.  This is probably one of the reasons I don’t play them much anymore, and when I do they are often easy ones made for kids.  Anyway, Rolfe plays really bad video games on purpose just to show us all how bad they are, and to have a little fun with it.  Unfortunately, his reviews are laced with profanity during the “angry” moments (just an act I’m sure) which is why I only grudgingly admit to watching them.  Besides reminding me a little bit about myself, I am entertained watching video games which is probably why I continue to watch them.  I download video game movies from World of Longplays, Speed Demos Archive, Recorded Amiga Games, TAS Videos, and more.  This form of voyeurism, watching others play games, comes from when I was a young teen.  I enjoyed arcades a little too much.  When I would run out of money, I would stay and just watch others play.  As far as I remember, I didn’t get much strategy tips from this, just enjoyment.

Well, back to AVGN.  Rolfe often has themes for the reviews he does.  When a popular movie comes out, he will do a series of games based on that movie.  Yep, he has recently done Indiana Jones and Batman games.  He also does some holiday themes, like halloween and Christmas.  From a technical standpoint, they are really pretty good.  I have watched nearly all of them (I skipped just one I think- a certain type of Atari game theme which makes his page pretty much not safe for family…).  This guy is quite popular too as he has had some knock-off reviewers.  One did I think just one video calling himself the Christian Video Game Nerd.  He just mimiced one of Rolfe’s videos substituting “nicer” words for profanity in places, but the “anger” is still there.  There is also a Happy Video Game Nerd, who reviews some of the better games.  He stole the AVGN theme song, substituting his own lyrics.  Anyway, if you haven’t done a search yet by now, the Angry Video Game Nerd site is at… Hmm.  I talked of one page, but it seems the page has moved.  The reviews are now categorized by year so they are not all family unsafe, but still be careful.  The site is at Cinemassacre.com.

Another review favorite of mine is a bit more family friendly.  Someone took it on himself to review all Nintendo (NES) games from day one of its Japanese release in the early eighties.  He calls his series Chrontendo (click for link).  He as also just started chronicling Sega’s SMS system from the same time.  I am in the process of downloading episode two of ChronSega right now.  If you have broadband, do yourself a favor and download the larger DIVX videos.  The quality is much better than the MP4 streams.

Anyway, that’s it for now for this look into the psyche of this substitute teacher.  I wonder if I should get a job with Comcast.  Still bad pay, but If I work eight hours daily I will start with what I am getting as a sub, plus I will have benefits and plenty of opportunity for overtime pay too…

Finally happening

The time was 1982.  With the popularity of video games and the reality of affordable home computers, this was a natural platform for the plot of a movie.  So Disney decides to bring us… Tron.  Starring Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner (side story- my parents apparently knew Bruce’s parents), this movie of course is not only about computers and video games, it is set inside a computer.  Only a moderate success in its time it became a sort of cult classic.  It spawned not one but two arcade games: the movie’s namesake Tron in 1982, and Discs of Tron in 1983.  In addition, several Tron games were created for home gaming systems of the time.  Today, one can still find Tron games being made including the somewhat popular GLtron, based on the light cycles from the movie, which has been a work in progress for several years.

Moving to 2003, a sequel to the movie had been talked about for the last few years and it seemed like we were finally going to get something.  Tron 2.0 was announced and then released this year.  Unfortunately, Tron 2.0 turned out to be yet another video game which I think we were told at the time would be the sequel to Tron.  Yippee…  For some reason I never bought it- it probably wasn’t in the budget as I was still going to school and not working.  And when I did start working as a substitute teacher in 2004, I wasn’t working nearly enough to be able to afford such delights as games.  Anyway, it would seem that the anticipation was over.  That is, until just over a week ago.  Actually more than a week ago- apparently back in 2005 Disney started working on a new script unbeknowest to me.  It was this year’s announcement that brought it to light.  From Wikipedia since I’m too lazy to summarize it:  😛

On July 24, 2008 Disney surprised San Diego Comic Con attendees with test footage from a sequel to Tron. The footage began with an update of the lightcycle duel from the original film, pitting a blue program against a yellow one with the two racing (where the rider is now exposed) through a futuristic landscape. The duel is being observed from a high, cliff-side structure by a human figure – an older, bearded Kevin Flynn played again by Jeff Bridges. One of the duel’s participants is revealed to be Clu, with the face of the younger Jeff Bridges. The footage ended with a ‘2’ appearing in the traditional Tron font and the title, TR2N, emerging around it, then fading away to leave the number.

That’s right.  The real sequel to Tron.  Hopefully this won’t turn out to be one of those bad sequels to a 20+ year-old movie.  However, this blurb should be cause for hope:

By now everybody knows that a trailer for Tron 2, aka Tr2n, surprised fans at Comic-Con during Disney’s panel for Race to Witch Mountain. Not only was it a surprise considering most people didn’t even know it was being made, but it also looked incredible – and there’s a reason for that. Jim Hill of Jim Hill Media revealed earlier today that the man behind this latest version of Tron is none other than Pixar’s John Lasseter. Hill goes on to explain that Lasseter has taken over for Tron‘s original director, Steven Lisberger, and replaced him with Joseph Kosinski (as we mentioned last year) and hired “Lost‘s” Eddie Kitsis and Adam Horowitz to write a new script. But that’s not all – there is so much more to this story!

(CLICK FOR FULL ARTICLE)

I can’t wait for 2010!