Blog'n the night away...

Enter the PSP

Sunday March 27th 2005
PSP! What an interesting and enjoyable toy. I pre-ordered mine from Best Buy. Granted, it didn't show up on launch day because I cheaped out on shipping. It did arrive on Friday, the day after launch though. I am incredibly impressed with the quality of design here. Hats off to Sony on this one. It should sell remarkably well. So far, I have picked up two games. Wipeout Pure and Lumines. I'll put up reviews of both when I can actually take my hands and eyes away from this little black box of sweetness. In my opinion, the PSP launch has done 100 times better than the Nintendo DS launch. I'm am more than a little peeved at the lack of good DS titles. I still only own 1 DS game. The DS was launched months ago. That is pathetic Nintendo. Looking down the road, there is only 2 games coming out in the next year that moderately interest me. Castlevania DS, and Mario Kart DS. Both don't come out until at least this fall. The DS has such potential, but it seems to me it will be spanked up and down the street by the PSP. It may end up as the second worst Nintendo product after the infamous Virtual Boy.

Last weekend my sister, her husband, and their 3 kids stopped by. They turned my house upside down. It needed it. It was a hoot having them around. They live pretty far away from the cities, so coming up here is a treat for them. The boys spent pretty much all the time on my consoles. There was a pile of PS2 and Xbox titles as they ripped through title after title. Even schooled me a bit in Burnout 3. Guess I need to practice a bit more. Thanks for coming up everyone. It was a blast.

Enter the Xbox

Sunday March 6th 2005
I finally broke down. I told Karen I was never going to buy an Xbox. My main reason was the lack of good games. A few months ago, I spent some time playing the in store demo Xbox at Game Stop. I played Crimson Skies and Mechassault while I was there. These two games changed my mind completely. The Xbox does have some titles that are not available on other systems. I'm still disappointed by the lack of games supporting 1080i on my HDTV. That is a problem that will not be rectified until the next generation of systems I'm guessing. I'm also excited about the upcoming Xbox remake of Conkers Bad Fur Day. I've seen shots of it, and wow. I'm also very happy that the Xbox actually fit in my entertainment wall. Due to the sheer girth of the Xbox I was worried. It now has a home directly underneath my PS2. I found some handy rubber feet that I stuck to the bottom of the PS2. The Xbox has a slight curve to its top. So these feet help keep the PS2 from sliding and scratching the Xbox.

I'm also trying a bit of Xbox Live. Some games come with a free 2 month trial, so I'm giving it a whirl. I can hold my own in Crimson Skies, but my attempt at trying to play Burnout 3 was a joke! My first race I came in 16 seconds behind the rest of the players. Some more time practicing in single player is needed me thinks. Look me up online, my Live gamer handle is laxdragon.

Game DB Additions:

I occasionally find a game that I missed, or forgot to add to the DB. So there is more additions than I list in the news. There is a search by date feature on the DB. Use that to get a real idea of what games have been added. For example: I'm just getting around to adding my Apple II games to the DB.

Game Database Updates

Saturday February 19th 2005
Ugh! Finally got my first head cold this winter. I was hoping I could avoid one this year. Nope! I usually get two, one at the beginning of the winter, and one at the end. Since this is more middle-ish, I hope I won't get another one. While I am leaking snot of of my nasal orifice I might as well update the site a bit. Shall we? Yes, lets!

More eBay this week. I ordered parts to really and for true update Bubba to the exact specs of Moonshine Zero. I have renamed Bubba to Clank. Seems a more fitting name of a system of its age. Clank is now a Pentium 200 MMX with a Sound Blaster AWE 64 Gold. I managed to find an ATX Pentium 200 motherboard on eBay for only 10 bucks. Talk about depreciation! I found the AWE 64 new in the box for only 5 buckazoids. These are totally pointless upgrades, and I know it. There really isn't going to be much of a difference other than I know it matches the old specs exactly. And THAT makes me feel better. Freak! The last benefit of the upgrade is that it is ATX and I can install it into the same case the other computers I have use. So they all look the same. Conformist nature hard at work.

A whole slew of new games in the game DB:

One final update before I go do something offline for a bit. I changed the look of the Game entries in the DB. The screenshots are now larger and are on the same page as the review. This wastes less space, and saves you on a click or two. Enjoy!

Happy Valentines Day 2005!

Monday February 14th 2005

Just turned into Valentines actually. Here I am again up past midnight (past my bedtime) updating the website. I have a bunch of updates planned, but I won't get to them tonight.

I've been on a bit of an eBay buying spree. If you search the Game DB you'll find a few new titles. I'm happy to see I have past the 400 game milestone. Wow! Even as I look around my room here, I have no idea where I keep them all. I will say I only count games I actually own the media for. I had games on floppy disk, but I don't count them since I have lost all the floppies ages ago. I have had to resort to going onto eBay and re-buy some of said lost titles on CD.

I've added a DVD burner to Garfield. I plan on being better about backing up our photo albums and home movies to DVD. Some sysadmin I am, I have yet to date made much effort in home file preservation. That is going to change now. While I was gutting my PCs I went ahead and moved my internal floppy/6 in 1 flash card reader from Moonshine over to Garfield. I only boot Moonshine when I want to play games, so having the flash reader there seemed dumb. Though, using it under Linux is also a PITA. I'm sure this will improve over time with better HAL and D-bus support. It is at the very least functional. Now, when Nautilus (Gnome file manager) supports burning DVDs I will be very happy. For now, DVD burning is all command line baby.

Weight Loss Update: 65 lbs lost

Just had a physical this week. Looks like I am doing very well. One of the many reasons I decided to get serious again about weight loss was my rising blood pressure. It's official now, my pressure is back to normal. I think since I have added more exercise to my routine that things are really starting to work better for me ticker wise. I have been trying to go rollerblade twice a week now. I have been able to stay up on the blades for about an hour each time. In the last 3 weeks I have noticed that it has been easier to keep going. I can now maintain a longer duration of blade time. Karen and I go to the Metrodome to do all this blading. It's a great place. Nice smooth and fast surfaces. It takes about 2 and a half laps around the dome to equal a mile. Being winter and all, places to go blade are extremely limited. If you live in the Twin Cities area I highly recommend it.

Roland MT-32

Sunday January 16th 2005
First post of the new year!

I recently picked up a Roland MT-32 (Multi-Timbre Sound Module) from eBay. If you don't know what that is allow me to fill you in. Back in the late 80's and early 90's game companies such as Sierra and LucasArts would compose wonderful soundtracks to their games. Most of us PC gamers at that time owned either Adlib or Sound Blaster sound cards. We had music, and it was good. But, there was an alternative. A few of us knew that you could use a professional level a MIDI device such as the MT-32 for your game music. At the time the MT-32 was out of my league pocket wise. There was no chance of ever owning one and hearing the game music as it was meant to be heard. Never say never. Now some 15 years later it is possible to buy these forgotten devices for little buckazoids. I must say after playing with it all weekend: "The MT-32 is impressive". I spent a bit of time switching the games from Adlib sound, back to MT-32, and listening to the difference. If your ears are curious, check out Quest Studios. This site has mp3 recordings of various game soundtracks on the MT-32.

What makes all this classic gaming possible is my new favorite emulator DOSbox. (Sorry MAME.) DOSbox emulates all the hardware used in a 386 era PC. It includes a built in DOS so no original OS disks needed. I've been installing all my old classics on it. So far, every game I have installed has worked. You can use it in Linux, OSX, or Windows if you desire. I have installed it on both my Linux box and my Windows XP box. From what I can tell there is no advantage or disadvantage to the platform you want to run it on. Since my XP box is the fastest and I use it for games only, I use it mostly there. If there is a game that you want to run, but can't on your modern hardware, I strongly suggest you check it out.

I have been using DOSbox to take screenshots of games for my game DB. So far I've played through Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers and Willy Beamish. It seems like a lifetime since I dusted these CDs off. Some games have not aged well. Others are true classics and deserve a second look. I truly miss the adventure game genre. Ken Williams, why have you deserted us!

Added a few new classic titles to the game DB (thanks eBay):

Post Holiday Update

Tuesday December 28th 2004
Another Christmas survived! Got some pictures of how hard it was to make it through this years holidays. First off: My B-Day Party and Open House. Karen, as usual made an awe inspiring spread of food. The "No-flour Brandy Chocolate Cake" was a new addition this year. As a recovering chocoholic, it was very difficult to keep away from it. As usual, the famous Newman cheese-ball was a hit. This years flavor was spicy Mexican. I think I have a new favorite. It was good to see my neighbors, and meet the new neighbors. Thanks for coming y'all.

And then, it was Christmas. All the best of Food, Fun, and Family. I hope your 2004 was good. Coming soon to a calendar near you, 2005.

One last note. It is easier to stop the wrath of Cthulhu than it is to keep on your diet during the holiday season. Weight lost for December: 0.

December Update

Saturday December 4th 2004
Is it December already? Where did this year go? Karen and I have spent our Thanksgiving vacation (5 day weekend woo!) redecorating our living room. It was lacking a bit of color. So, we decided to paint the town err.. Living Room red. What an improvement! Speaking of turkey-day, I ate my fair share during the great All-American gorge-a-thon. I even took a picture of my plate before setting in to satiate myself. Anyway, back to my diet. I have been noticing that I do fill up faster than I used to. That and I had to modify my belt. It seems I ran out of holes, and had to punch some new ones. There was so much extra belt that I had to cut off the excess. That's a good warm and fuzzy for today.

My Nintendo DS came in last week. What a sweet little gadget. Right now I only have two games to play on it. A demo for Metroid: First Hunt, and Super Mario 64 DS. What is a Nintendo system without a Mario game as a launch title. Granted, this Mario is a port of the Nintendo 64 game. It is just updated enough to be a new experience. See the game page in the DB for more info. I look forward to seeing what else this little system can do. I'm actually thankful, and my pocket book is as well, that the PSP (Playstation Portable) did not come out for Christmas. It's always at this time of year, that any gamer has to pick an choose what to buy. There is just too many games being released in a two month span.

Green Bay Trip

Sunday November 21st 2004
Updated the GameDB a bit. I changed the screenshot code to generate thumbnails on the fly, versus having to manually resize them in Gimp and upload them. This saves both space and my invaluable time. While I was in there, I spent some of said time cleaning up existing and adding new entries. Browse away.

Our Trip to Green Bay, WI. Karen's good friend had a baby shower. While she was at that, I spent some time taking a look around the town of football titles. While I'm not an obsessed football fan by any means, I do like catch a game from time to time. Just don't ask me to recite player stats from memory. I have better things to store in my head. Since I grew up in Wisconsin, I still have a bit of cheddar in my blood. The pictures may or may not reflect that fact. You decide.

I can already smell the Turkey.

Half-Life 2

Wednesday November 17th 2004
Half-Life 2. Wow!
(Please excuse the puddles of drool sitting around my keyboard.)

Site Updates

Sunday November 7th 2004
A whole mess of topics to plop onto the site today. I've learned there are 3 topics to never discuss with people. Politics, Religion, and the Great Pumpkin. I'll just say this, I'm very glad the election is over. On to brighter news. Halloween was a hoot. Much thanks to Chris for inviting us to his party. We didn't win for best costume, but I did get to drink from the trophy. The party was on Saturday, the day before Halloween itself. On the actual day of 'ween, Karen an I stayed home and handed out candy to the kiddies. Unfortunately, our neighborhood does not seem to be very popular. I think we only had about 10 kids stop by. Oh well.. more candy for me.

Weight loss status update: 45 lbs lost!
Karen has lost more than I, but for my continued health, I will refrain from posting her stats on the site. We spent part of this morning trying on old clothes. Since we haven't thrown anything out, I still have body coverings from the last time I was around this size. That was something like 6 years ago.

Updated the specs of my Clank system. Since I still haven't thrown out his slow p120 butt, I decided to search e-bay for parts to "upgrade" him to my 1997 era speed demon. VooDoo 2 SLI baby! This has been on my to-do list for awhile. I still have a few games that have very specific hardware requirements. Games like my Wing Commander IV DVD. For that game, I found the same Creative Labs Encore DVD setup that used back then. The only other game that really uses the DVD is Tex Murphy: Overseer. See those game entries in the game db for more info. To the untrained eye (whatever that means), it may seem like overkill to keep this system around for a few games. To my eye, sweetness... baby.

Started my computer archive. I am going to document all the computers I have owned/built/destroyed over the years. The first two: Metal Shade, and Tag Along.

My pre-order of Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault arrived this week. Another fine entry to the M.O.H. series. I couldn't stop playing (surprise, surprise) and quickly finished this game. I'll get around to writing a full review on it later. Currently playing with it a few more times to collect my thoughts. I still need to check out the multiplayer part as well.

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