Archive for the ‘Games’ Category

A couple of weeks ago Anson and I participated in PUZZLEHUNT 🙂

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Puzzlehunt, it is a weekend-long event held at Microsoft every…well, basically every time a group of people get together and write enough puzzles. Which, generally speaking,  has been once every couple of years. Groups get together and solve some pretty difficult puzzles all centered around a theme.  Actually, wikipedia does a pretty good job of explaining it:

Our team is called Cup<T> and we generally have about 10-12 people on it.  Now, I had every intention of taking pictures this year, but it just didn’t happen.  It’s just too easy to get caught up in all of the puzzle-related craziness to remember to pull out your camera. But, I assure you it was awesome! We made team t-shirts this year.  They weren’t super comfortable since they were made out of the standard Michaels craft t-shirts. But, we looked fierce walking around wearing them.  They were black and had this design on the front:

Cup of T shirt

The theme this year centered around a murder mystery on a train.  The more puzzles you solved, the faster your train would get to its next destination.  As you solved puzzles, you would get clues that would help you catch bad guys.  It even started out with a Carmen Sandiego-type intro (for those of you who remember that FANTASTIC game, we were ranked gumshoe). 🙂

It’s neat that this year’s puzzles and answers have been posted on the internet:

So, my east coast family can finally see what we’ve been up to!

I helped solve Duckworth Chant, which was a lot of fun.  Also, Fiona and I rocked the Love Triangle puzzle.  I don’t think I’ve ever solved a puzzle that quickly (though, I’m certain that we weren’t the first team to solve it—some people are super quick).

Anson and I solved our first cryptic crossword!  Wahoo! We’ve been married almost 9 years and we still find new things to do together <insert “awww”s and/or gagging noises here>.

One Thing Leads to Another almost killed us though.  Don’t try it unless you have and endless supply of caffeine and aspirin handy 🙂

Overall, it was great. We’re already excited about the next one—which probably won’t be for a couple years. That’s okay. We’re patient 🙂

Anson pointed out to me recently that I haven’t posted in a while. So, I thought I would write a quick post on what we have been up to 🙂

We’ve been working on getting achievements for xbox games. Anson has been playing a lot of Mass Effect while I have been working on Fable and CSI: Hard Evidence. CSI was pretty easy and only took a day. Fable is KILLING me. The game has many faults—the most annoying is that it makes your character fat. We looked this up and it takes about 20 minutes of having your character eat celery and then sleep to fix it. For some reason, it’s just not as much fun to play a fat character…and bald. The game also made me bald. ARGH! Anyway, I’m working on one more big achievement and then I’m giving up on it.

Aside from games, I’ve been reading book 8 in the Wheel of Time series. I’m halfway through and I can’t wait to get to the books Brandon Sanderson wrote/is writing (books 12-14). Anson just read a book by a new author he really likes. Unfortunately, that author hasn’t written anything else (yet!). 

The Easter Bunny was kind enough to give us some new books for Easter. Anson got The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell. You see, the Easter Bunny saw an interview with Sarah Vowell on the Daily Show. She talked about this book and the EB thought it would be perfect for Anson. I got Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith. It’s the same author who wrote Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, so I’m pretty excited to read it (both of those books are in my ‘to-read’ pile– I really hope the author is good). The EB also gave us a few seasons of 24, so we’ve been watching that in the evenings. Currently, we’re on season 5. Thus far, my favorite part of season 5 is when the CTU staff makes a statement about how the probable success rate of their plan goes down to less than 20% if Jack Bauer isn’t helping them. Hah!

I’ve been doing a bit of church stuff. I still play in the bell choir and our concert is coming up next month. Yay! I also teach a Sunday School class and am being trained to be an Assisting Minister. I guess I have technically already been trained, but they didn’t want to start the newbie out on the Easter services. I’m sure that I will eventually sign up to work some services 🙂

And, of course, I’ve been working on planning Angie’s baby shower, Mary’s bachelorette party, and Mary’s bridal shower (though Angie has been taking charge on the last one). I can’t give too many details here, since much of it is secret. I will say, however, that I have not yet been able to get photoshop to do what I want it to—but I will 🙂 MWA HA HA HA! <that comment was directed at YOU, Mary>

… to have two posts in a row titled “can’t sleep.”  I haven’t posted in a couple weeks.  I’d like to say it was because I was too busy, but I think it has more to do with being too lazy.  I’ve been off my normal schedule ever since getting back from the Bahamas last month.  I’m unbelievably envious of people that can maintain a constant weight.  I’m either losing weight or gaining it.  I’m currently on the later half of that cycle.  Rach and I have several weddings coming up, so I figure it’s time to buckle down and start getting back in shape for the upcoming craziness.  I have to say I’m more than a little excited for the couples.  In just a little over two months Rach and I will be attending no less than 3 weddings (and we’d really like to attend 4 if 2 of them didn’t happen to be on the same day). 

Outside of work, which has been particularly busy recently, Rach and I have been re-watching West Wing and 24.  We finished West Wing a couple of weeks ago, and just finished season 2 of 24 this weekend.  West Wing is definitely one of my favorite shows of all time.  The beauty of the show is that it makes me believe in our government.  It’s obviously idealized, but I love that regardless of whether I happen to agree with the point that the character is trying to make, they are all incredibly competent.  It’s so easy to be cynical about what happens in D.C. and pretty much every time I hear Palin talk I want to gnash my teeth and gnaw at the furniture, but I continue to believe that with enough time and energy we can make progress.  You may hate the healthcare legislation but it gives me hope.  It gives me hope outside of the specifics; it gives me hope that our government isn’t so impossibly paralyzed by partisanship that it’s possible to tackle a problem of such infinite complexity and contention.    So thank goodness for Obama, and thank goodness for West Wing.  Hesiod was right, the box contains more than just earthquakes, snowstorms and war.

Rach and I have also been playing a fair bit of Xbox.  We just finished off King Kong, Lego Indiana Jones, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Assassin’s Creed 2.  King Kong was terrible… terriiiible.  It was a pretty easy 1000 gamer points, but they forgot to add the fun before releasing the game.  The problems are too many to list, but the highlights are the poor controls, amazingly poor combat, and a boring story.  It gets slightly better towards the end but it’s not worth playing unless you want quick points.  The rest of the games were all fun to varying degrees.  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was a very fast play through, but had a lot of fun moments.  It reminded me of the first time I saw TMNT on television; Aaron and I thought they had a misprint in the TV guide.  It’s geared towards kids, but Rach and I had fun playing it together.  Probably the biggest problem with the game is that the last boss is 10x harder than any other part of the game. 

Lego Indiana Jones was fun but definitely less enjoyable than Lego Batman.  LIJ follows the first 3 Indy movies very closely so there aren’t a lot of surprises.  The puzzles are also a lot less intuitive (in a puzzlehunt we would say they are ‘un-clued’ meaning that you just have to try different things until they work, there is no hint that points you in the right direction).   The other problem with LIJ was that there were too many achievements for which you really didn’t make any progress at all on during story mode.  I don’t mind a few, but a play-through probably only gave us half of the achievements, and the rest were things like ‘swing with Indy’s whip 250 times’. 

Assassin’s Creed 2 was amazing.  It’s one of the best 360 games that I’ve played.  I highly recommend it.  It has a good story line, phenomenal graphics, great game play, intuitive controls and a nice progressive talent disclosure system.  The achievements are a lot of fun, and there are really only one or two ‘annoying’ ones.  Grab this game if you haven’t played it yet!

I just started playing Mass Effect (the first one) and so far it’s really, really good.  It’s a ‘space opera’ RPG and the universe and story line seem great so far.  The game play takes some getting used to, and I currently have it on casual and still end up dying a fair bit, but I’m slowly learning how to control the squad, upgrade items, manage inventory, etc.  It’s funny because it reminds me a lot of one of my favorite games – Star Flight 2.  Star Flight 2 was a DOS game released in 1989 and I played it constantly when it came out.  Obviously there have been changes in 20 years, but it makes realize how astonishing SF2 was for its time.  It had hundreds of worlds to explore, and something like 30 alien races to interact with.  Its graphics are atrocious by today’s standards, but the scale of the game was epic for something that came on a 1.44mb floppy.  Ah, nostalgia…

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