March 15, 2013

Indie game picks #1

There are a couple of nice game promos this week by GOG.com and Humble Bundle. GOG.com is doing a Pick 5 games promo and Humble Bundle is offering an Android spiced collection. There's still some days left to check out both offers.

Humble Bundle 5 got more interesting after the new games were added. I'm curious about the experimental games, such as Solar 2 and Splice. And all the games except Crayon Physics Deluxe come with soundtrack. Not bad at all.

GOG.com lets me be a patriot and choose two more Finnish games. My first pick is Legend of Grimrock. I already own Alan Wake, but the American Nightmare expansion is a good deal. I have to make some tough choices in picking the three remaining games. No final choices yet.

I'm being a collector again, already having a long list of unplayed games, but constantly going after good deals. I like to think that my small contributions help a little in keeping the indie scene alive and vibrant. I favor the indie bundles as a good way of making more indie developers get a share of the market.

March 09, 2013

Sports betting recap - February 2013

Total balance of betting accounts in February: -47.76%

As much as I would like to report a positive month, that doesn't seem to happen. But no worries. The total account balance has been so low that the percentage looks worse than it is. I have moved to more defensive bets in February. This has reduced the total number of bets significantly. The situation has been stabilized, and I've been also somewhat lucky for a change. And the Chicago point streak in NHL was surely helpful.

I've continued to work a my script that can hardly be called an application. There is a bit more number crunching, and I'm quite happy with that part currently. I have taken the first steps in studying the possibility of making a Qt based UI. The target is to make it as plain and simple as the current command line interface. I hope there's more to tell during the next few months.

March 03, 2013

Why I think XCOM matters

I'm a PC gamer by heart. The motivation to buy PS3 was mainly getting the Blu-ray, and gaming was just a bonus. In fact, PS3 is my first console and I was a bit surprised about how similar many triple-A games were to each other. A typical PS3 game seemed to be somewhere between either a first person shooter or a third person action/adventure, often with trendy "RPG elements". And then of course there were platformers, e.g. visually appealing Trine. In general some indie games do seem to offer more refreshing ideas for this console generation.

As a PC gamer my favorite genres are RPGs and turn-based tactics, so I was familiar with the classic games like X-COM and Jagged Alliance. Perhaps because of that my expectations for console games were not completely realistic in the first place.

My list of unplayed games is constantly growing and I rarely buy the new titles. The new XCOM was the welcome exception, which brought back the fond memories from the 90's. I tried the demo on both PC and PS3, and the spirit of the original X-COM was strongly present. As Steam bundled Civilization V with the pre-order, I was once again lured to buy the PC version. I was very satisfied with final game as well. Cleverly simplified and faster turn-based combat offered deeper tactical choices when the soldiers gained new abilities with promotions. And how to best use these abilities was mostly left for the player to discover.

For me the XCOM was the most exciting and anticipated game in 2012, and I tend to think that there must be other console owners thinking the same way out there. I'm just not that extraordinary person. Whether XCOM was a great success in console sales remains a question. But most importantly, XCOM proved that it is possible to make an enjoyable and deep strategy game also for console players (see: Kotaku or Rock, Paper, Shotgun). I really do hope to see more games like XCOM, especially for the consoles. In this case I don't mind at all if some game studio is trying to copying the formula. So, when the prices drop, perhaps I'll still buy the PS3 version, and hope that someone notices.