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Buddy Walk 2009

December 6, 2009 Leave a comment

This year was our second time at the buddy walk in Cincinnati for the Down Syndrome Association. We went to support our 1 year old son Mason who has down syndrome. Along with our immediate family, lots of other family and friends came with us. We did a little better this year with organization but things were still a little crazy. Hopefully next year things will be pretty solid and there won’t be too many follies. Either way, it was a fun time and it’s a good cause and that’s all that matters in the end. The following is a small journal of how the day went.

We started the morning off moving kind of slow and rushed to get ready at the very end (most people who know us usually assumes this is how we will operate for anything with a deadline). We finally got the kids in the van and on the road and only 45 minutes behind schedule this time!

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On the way to the walk, I was starting to get very hungry due to skipping breakfast, so I asked my wife to stop at Mcdonalds. After yelling at each other through four or five stop lights, we both came to the agreement that I would get some Mcdonalds for all of us. 🙂 We were supposed to be at the walk by 9:30 A.M. since it started at 10, but we ended up running to Sawyer Point as the walk had already started! DOH. We had to stop and take a picture though!

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We finally met up with everyone and decided to go on the short walk. What we didn’t realize is that the short walk is VERY short. It took a group of about 20 people with kids to walk around the short walk in 5 minutes. That didn’t go very well but at least the kids got to play at the festival once we were done. Next year we will definitely do the “long” walk. Of course we had to take another picture before we were done. This pic shows everyone who came to the buddy walk to show their support for Mason, thanks guys!

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We got to do a lot of cool things with the kids after the walk and this was one the best parts of the day. The kids got to pet a snake, my daughter Jayden got to do some simulated rock climbing, there was free food, balloon animals, the works. I ran into my buddy Rob who also has a daughter with down syndrome and got to talk with him for awhile as well. Oh and darth vader was there as well. 🙂

[flashvideo file=”video/vader.flv” /]

Zero Tolerance (Genesis)

Last time, I talked about a Genesis FPS that kind of sucked. Amazingly, despite lacking any 3D hardware of any kind and in spite of being generally limited in the graphics department, the Genesis actually had kind of a bunch of FPS games, and this one is actually pretty good.

Zero Tolerance tells the totally original tale of some military types heading to space to battle an alien invasion. You can choose from a bunch of commandos, all of whom are exactly alike, then you get dumped into a big space station with a bunch of monsters and a metric ton of bullets. The game is pretty good looking- the engine smoothly draws textured walls (ray casting, I assume) and the open view of space above, coupled with big rooms, creates a feeling of being in a pretty open environment. Enemy sprites are pretty sharp looking, and features like opening doors are well realized. Gameplay is pretty rote “find keycard find bullets shoot stuff find exit” material, but it was the 90s so we can forgive that. Controls are smooth and responsive. One nice feature is a persistent minimap which helps you find your way around.

As an aside- this game is pretty tough. But it’s a fair kind of tough, unlike Corporation.

7/10

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Dark Messiah of Might and Magic

March 29, 2009 Leave a comment

There’s a good game hidden inside Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, but you have to ignore the hype to play it. The box for this game would have you believe you’re playing some kind of 5th-grade Might and Magic fanfiction, a dark, edgy game with blood and guts and killing and evil and death and also grit and nastiness. You won’t be. The game has blood and stabbing and whatnot, sure, but it’s not extreme or edgy or any of that. It contains wizards with silly voices, maidens fair, cuclopses (cyclopi?) and all that fun stuff you’d expect from a fantasy game.

If you actually were expecting BloodKillHackcorpes: The Deathening, well, you’ll be let down.

DMMM casts you in the mold of a generic fantasy hero who gets bounced around between incontinent old men performing quests. You get a hot spirit familiar who lives in your head because, you know, Halo, and you find and master an array of weapons. You also level up, learning various traits to become stealthier, stronger, or more magical. It’s basically a fantasy Deus Ex, which suits me fine- it’s certainly better than Deus Ex 2, so it works as a sequel, at least as well as Bioshock worked as a sequel to System Shock.

The big hook of this game is supposed to be combat, and it is pretty great. There’s an Errol Flynn pirate movie swashbuckling feel to fighting in this game, as you hurl debris, trip your enemies, and kick dudes off of things. Or into things. Or over things. Kicking quickly becomes your most valuable attack, due to its power to propel your enemies into the many, many, many environmental traps that abound in this game. You can also block, do special melee attacks, and cast all sorts of fun spells. You can even sneak, which is a viable option because enemies can dish it out at least as well as you in most cases.

So if you can ignore the “there’s blood and murder and EEEEEEEVILLLL” hype, this is a pretty fun FPS-RPG-action title. Just remember that F makes your dude kick, and you’ll be fine.

7/10