Monday, December 28, 2009

Geektastic Holidays Ahoy!

Wormer here.

Lots of geek stuff happening for me personally. In no particular order of importance---

Swiney lent me trades of the entire Preacher series because he loves it and probably because I'm such a fan of Garth Ennis' "Battlefields" series.

I've read through the first three and "Ancient History" which covers the backstory of some of the secondary characters and I have to say I love it. It's a weird combination of things that Ennis mixes into his tale but it happens to be stuff that's right up my alley: westerns, Catholic theology (I'm a reformed Catholic,) vampires and such. There's also a faint subtext of Douglas Adams in much of the dark humor mixed into the story. Great stuff.

I got rid of my comics box a couple of months ago but picked up a ton of comics for the kid's stockings as I do every year. One of the titles was "The Marvel Zombies Return."

The original Marvel Zombies is a darkly hysterical take on an alternative universe where an infected superhero comes to earth, quickly turns the Marvel Zombies into the undead and they, in turn, eat everybody on earth in a matter of hours. Unfortunately the mini-series that followed this brilliant debut didn't quite measure up in terms of creativity with the zombie Spiderman and company conquering their hunger, becoming vegetarians and essentially nerfing the harder edge that had made the title stand out.

MZR has the series back to form. The zombies have been cast to other alternative realities where they suddenly regain their hunger and go all all you can eat buffet again. The first title has Spiderman falling into his own storyline from the 70's and trying to be a hero but winding up eating each and every archvillain that ever faced him, ultimately causing the plague all over again.

In my own Christmas Stocking were copies of the Weird War 2 expansion for the Savage Worlds rpg, the "Temeraire" series of books which Peter Jackson is going to make into a television series and Left For Dead 2 for the PC which will suck up some of my time when I get a chance.

I've played video games since I was a kid with a penchant for computer games. This means I literally have decades of experience tweaking settings, loading floppies, updating drivers or whatever the hell I have to do to make a particular bit of gaming software work.

At the top of my son's Christmas list was a game called "Section 8." It's a 3-D shooter set in the future, sort of a mix of Battlefront and Halo. He was especially excited to unwrap the thing.

What followed was about three days of hell as I struggled to get this software running. It will come as no surprise that Microsoft is the publisher of this monstrosity. Much of the problem can be traced to Microsoft's DRM scheme. They require an internet connection to their Windows Live gaming network even if you're playing single player. Naturally this didn't work and the game would crash every time it tried to connect.

After searching the net I found that we weren't alone in facing this problem and that many, many people who had bought the game had struggled with the same issue. Complicating this was the fact there was no one solution but a mix of removing and reinstalling Games for Windows and removing and installing Section 8 seemed to be what resolved the problem for most people.

The only reason I can assume that this software was released in this poor of a state has to be that Microsoft really wants to kill computer gaming so everybody that games will buy an XBox. No other theory makes sense.

--Dean Wormer

1 comment:

Swinebread said...

Sorry to steal you thunder in this monday but I just had to post the last post I did

Glad to see you are enjoying the preacher

and I'm even gladder about MZR

Sorry about the computer game I guess a console really is the way to go.