Redbox and Albuquerque west side doctors

At the supermarket the other day, I looked at a Redbox to see what games they were renting.  They were only renting 3 games for PS3.  Wow.  At least they were new.  If Netflix started doing that, it’d be sweet.

I just discovered there are apparently no doctors on the west side of Albuquerque…at least none accepting new patients.  Most doctors are apparently on the east side.  Also, the Blue Cross/Blue Shield site that helps you find a new doctor is either terribly out of date, or full of lies and deceit.

 

My system tray…it's full of stars.

EA is trying to compete with Steam by releasing their own game download manager, Origin.  They probably think they’ll suddenly have customers swarming from Steam to their service because of Battlefield 3?  Seems like they’ve tried this several times in recent years.  Their previous efforts were all horrible:

EA Downloader was launched in late 2005. It was replaced by EA Link in November 2006. In September 2007, it was once again replaced by the combination of EA Store and EA Download Manager, abbreviated EADM.

I don’t look forward to a future where my system tray is filled with EA, Steam, BattleNet, UbiSoft, and other download manager icons running all the time.

the great outdoors…in Minecraft

After giving up on getting Minecraft working on an old computer and putting Sean on a faster machine, we had the Minecraft experience I was hoping for.  I started up a server and we both connected to it.  Sean’s only 6 and it’s a great game for that age.  We hunted cliffside rocks for coal to make torches because it was getting dark.   My cousin joined the server and started digging out a cave for the night as I made torches.  We showed Sean how to hunt pigs for ham.  We made it through the night just fine, and expanded the cave during the night.  None of the blocky monsters got in.  The next day, my cousin showed us how to make stone axes to chop down trees.  Building things is half the fun.  All of this in less than an hour.  Of course, we had the crashing of a beta program throughout this, but it’s still a good game.

Minecraft

Minecraft is a neat game you can try out for free here.  Click on one of the Minecraft Classic links in the lower right.  It’s a game with 2 modes…Creative and Survival.  In Creative mode, which you can try for free, you just build freely in world of blocks.  Build a house, a ship…whatever.  You can watch this video and see if you’re interested in the commercial version, which has Survival mode…gather resources and make a shelter to make it through the night when the blocky monsters come out.  Sean and I have had some fun in Creative multiplayer.  Beware though, this is buggy beta software, so don’t assume things will work.  For example, I can’t get his computer to properly connect to my survival mode server, so we’re limited to single player in that mode for the moment.

Rock Band 3 MIDI keyboard

My MIDI keyboard adapter for Rock Band 3 arrived yesterday, so we tried it out with my cousin who’s visiting and knows how to play some keyboards.  (I don’t know how to play myself, but hope to learn something with this.)  We brought my Yamaha keyboard down to the living room…it’s getting crowded down there.  Playing keyboards in the game is hard as you have no point of reference for your fingers.  I might need to put some colored stickers on the keys or some kinda bumpy thing so that my fingers know the current position without looking.  The MIDI adapter can be clipped to your belt and has an overdrive button on the corner that I guess you could push if you weren’t too busy trying to find the keys.  There are a bunch of tutorials in the game that I plan to go through when I have a chance.  We just jumped into pro keyboard easy mode and were able to at least find some of the notes.  You’re playing the right-hand part of songs only.  A couple of problems with keyboard mode are that they couldn’t fit the span of the keyboard on the display so they have to shift it over sometimes, making you lose your place.  Also, if you try to play keyboard with 2 guitars, it goes into a lame “all instruments mode” that doesn’t score vocals.  Overall though, I think it’s great that they made the idea of learning an instrument a fun thing.

recent gaming hardware

We were at Best Buy last night and got to look at some of the new gaming hardware.  We tried the PlayStation Move and it looked pretty accurate as I played ping pong.  I hear that it asks to calibrate a lot, though.  Also, I can’t really picture paying $100 for the hardware unless there were some kind of must-have game.  We saw some people playing with the Kinect and it seemed to lag badly behind their movements as they played ping pong.  That one costs even more at $250.  We got to try the Gran Turismo 5 demo with Sony 3D glasses.  The glasses were heavy and uncomfortable.  I couldn’t picture wearing them for long at all.  Maybe that’s why the demo glasses in Costco are on stands where you can’t feel how heavy they are.

Rock Band 3

Rock Band 3 arrived and we got to try it out.  If you only have the old Rock Band instruments, it’s pretty much just more of the same with a better interface.  As fun as ever, though.  The big new thing is more realistic/expensive instruments and 7 player support (with 3 singers).  I ordered the MIDI controller for the keyboard, but it doesn’t come out until the end of the month.  I’m hoping to actually learn a bit of keyboard when it comes to it.  We tried a bit of online play with strangers and the lack of communication was frustrating.  We saw a pretty good keyboard player online.   I had fun outfitting my character with a colonel hat and a monocle.  I imported the songs from our other Rock Band games, so we have a lot of choice.  You can apparently only rate songs in cases where you don’t like them.  Hopefully they’ll show up less often.  (I was hoping for a delete function.)  They even threw in some Spanish songs, which was pretty cool.  And it’s got Roxette, Kelly!  🙂  So come over to our house and play some Rock Band.