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Posts Tagged ‘video games’

The Best PS3 Games to Play While Pledging to WFMU

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

(If you’d like to donate to WFMU, the best listener-supported radio station in the world, then please go here – and make sure to pledge towards The Best Show so Tom can stay on TOP!)

Last year I skipped out on bible study so that I can listen to The Best Show on WFMU and donate during their pledge drive week.  This year was no exception and in both cases I played the PS3 while listening (after calling in my pledge of course – priorities, people).  It’s usually hard to play video games and concentrate on what’s happening outside of the video universe but I think I’ve found the perfect combination.

Last year’s game was an easy choice for me (at the time) because I had just rented Ratchet & Clank from GameFly and was trying to finish it so I could send it back.  It’s engaging enough so that your mind isn’t empty while playing it but the action and collection aspects of the game can be a good choice for those trying to focus on other things, while also trying to make progress.

While Tom Scharpling was yelling at his flock to call in and give money, I was at home collecting bolts and weapon experience to bolster my arsenal and defeat the weird fish aliens I kept encountering.  Don’t think I didn’t hear the Patton Oswalt bit that was just as hilarious as my rocket gun was devastating.  Don’t believe, for one second, that I didn’t hear Death Cab for Cutie’s/Zoey Deschanel’s  Ben Gibbard and Ted Leo taking requests for each pledge just as I was finally making that difficult jump.  I may have even finished the game during the marathon, but don’t you dare think I didn’t hear Tom reject my request for Just the Way You Are.

This year was a little bit easier for me in the engagement department.  I don’t have any current PS3 games I am trying to complete so I went with trying to make some progress in Hot Shots Golf 5.  This type of golf game is really the only type I can get into.  I don’t care much for the more realistic guess-what-strength-you-are-using Tiger Woods series.  I am an old school sports game fan at heart.  I need meters, meters and more meters.

The advantage of having meters in this game is that I don’t really have to pay attention much while I play.  I can just hit the button to make the club pull back, hit it again to mark my power and hit once more to mark my control.  Since golf games usually line you up straight with the pin, I only have to adjust my direction a little bit for the wind.  The rest is all buttons.

I probably blew through 10 rounds of golf while listening to this year’s pledge drive.  I felt like I had gotten something done for once in my life.  I’m always behind on my work and writing but I’m about 10 rounds ahead in my golf game.  Thanks be to Sony and WFMU!

Nathan Smart lives here. That's all you need to know.

Master Challenge #2

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009
http://www.vimeo.com/1634607 Jeff Stern is a Boston-based filmmaker, screenwriter and actor whose work has screened at the Woods Hole, Olympia, New Hampshire and Boston Underground Film Festivals, among others. He is the co-producer and host of Open Screen, a monthly forum for independent, underground films held at the Somerville Theatre in Somerville, MA. In January 2009, he finished production on the independent feature film "Good Work," in which Jeff stars as Jason. In summer 2009, Jeff co-produced and starred in the independent feature film "Party Like It’s a Verb." Both films are currently in post-production. Jeff currently plays in the band The Avon Barksdale. He is also a lifetime member of the musical baseball ensemble, The Farmhands. Jeff works at Bentley University, where he teaches Media Production. He lives in Cambridge near a bunch of baseball diamonds with his wife, Anna Goldsmith, and son, Leo Coolidge.

Cooking Mama (Nintendo DS)

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

Video games are great because they take you to another world. In video games you get to fight demons, pull off bank heists, run for 300 yards, build towering cities and pretty much anything you’ve ever wanted to do but weren’t strong or powerful enough to do. Cooking Mama for the Nintendo DS goes in the other direction and lets you do all of the things you can do yourself but actually makes them fun instead of tedious and necessary for survival.

Have you ever wanted to make fried chicken? Beef curry and rice? Spaghetti Neapolitan with Salisbury steak on top? If you have, then you’ve probably already made them. BUT! Have you ever made them while a cute, Japanese, 9-year-old mother with a temper watches over you? HAVE YOU?

In Cooking Mama you get to make a variety of dishes (mostly Japanese) using your stylus and some quick reflexes. In order to cook each meal, you have to cut cabbage, chop garlic, cover meat with flour and sauté onions all while being mindful of the time and being careful not to burn your items. Using real recipes, with real ingredients and cooking tools, you’ll be rolling up spring rolls in no time.

Every part of the process from cutting meat to frying is accomplished with very short minigames – think WarioWare meets Iron Chef, minus the competition and bad hairdos. You use your stylus to cut the meat, flip the frying pan, slice the eggplant and so on. You can even cool down your soup by blowing into the mic (spitting on the screen doesn’t help). Even though each minigame involves the same moves, it doesn’t feel like it because each meal is different and seeing the final product is what motivates you.

As far as graphics go, they aren’t even an issue when playing a game like this. It’s all Japanese anime style and so of course everything is exaggerated and colorful. I will say this though, I’ve ALWAYS been a fan of the way cartoon food looks – I really wish our food looked as appetizing and filling as colored in drawings do. I would never eat pasta with oyster sauce in real life, but in anime world I would lick my plate clean.

I’ve spent a good deal of my life wishing I could cook and now with this new game, I’m still wishing. But at least now I know that cooking is a real thing and not just a magical ritual performed by girlfriends and mothers. The only thing missing from this game is a microwave popcorn dish and an easy-bake oven attachment for my DS (get to work Nintendo!).

Nathan Smart lives here. That's all you need to know.