All posts by Kingston

God of War 3

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It sounds like Justin over at Joystiq loved the third installment of God of War, even though he wasn’t as impressed with the first two.  It makes me wonder whether better graphics makes a game these days.  At first he talks about how it’s God of War HD, so, I’m getting the feeling that the game play is the same, except some nice upgrades to the visual department.  Doesn’t sound too compelling to me since I never finished the first one and never bought the second one.

All I remember of the first one, was some crazy special effects and my roommates wanting to only play the dirty parts of the game.  Unless there’s some groundbreaking changes to video games, this looks like I’ll have to pass.

Photography: Shooting Food

I’m a complete Photography noob, but I’ve inherited a Nikon D70 DSLR from dad.  So far, I’ve noticed that 98% of the time, my shots are horrible.  It wasn’t until recently when I started playing around with it more that I started to realize what I can do.  I’ve been wanting to help Samantha out with her blog, but I haven’t been able to take good shots without the pictures  coming out too dark, too blurry, or different shades of blue or red.  So, I’ve been systematically eliminating these problems.

So far, in terms of the images being too dark.  I’ve tried to slow the shutter to capture more visible light.  What that means is that I’m required to stay perfectly still for a very long time, which is near impossible unless I had a tripod.  If I don’t have a tripod, that’ll make all my images extremely blurry.

So, under low light conditions and with no tripod, what can you do?  Recently, I’ve discovered (or finally tried) adjusting the ISO.  What I have learned is that the higher the ISO, the better your shots will be in the dark.  However, you start to see some grain in your photos, which is bad.  So, the assignment here is figuring out the balance between Shutter, Aperture, and ISO.  I’m using a manual 50mm f/1.4, so I’m setting the Aperture to f/1.4, Shutter 50, and ISO I’m still messing around with.

In order to adjust the color, I found that changing the WB (White Balance, Duh!) definitely helped.  There are some settings on the D70 for low light conditions, different light bulbs, etc.

Well, I’m practicing right now in my room, but let’s see if I can make this work later.

Card Games: BANG! the Bullet

Oh, how I love the card game, BANG!  It’s just about one of the best games I have ever played.  No matter who we teach it to, they always end up wanting to play again.

In this game you are randomly given a role which determines what your goal of the game is.  There is a Sheriff, Outlaw, Deputy, and Renegade.  The number of players determines how many Outlaws, Deputies and Renegades you have.  The Sheriff’s role is to kill the Outlaw and the Renegade, the Outlaw’s role is to kill the Sheriff, the Deputy’s role is to keep the Sheriff alive and the Renegade is to be the last man alive.  When playing with my regular gaming friends, I find that the easiest role is usually the Sheriff and the most difficult role is the Renegade.  You may think that since the Sheriff is hard since they have the most enemies, but you must remember that the Outlaws usually do not want to give their identities away since the Sheriff has so many potential allies in the Deputy and Renegade.

Aside from your Role, you are assigned a special ability character.  These are characters that are named after famous Wild West characters, Willy the Kid or Bart Cassidy.  The special abilities can be great (Use any card as a Missed) or it can be weak (When a player dies draw 2 cards), but what sets them apart is the amount of lives you get.  Most of the strong characters will have less lives than the weak characters.  That definitely balances out the game.

While you play, you are able to draw cards to enhance your abilities or to perform an action.  The game consists of a distance concept.  Depending on how far you are sitting from someone determines how far away they are from you.  So, in a game of 8 players, the person furthest from you is 4 distance away.  In order to manipulate the distance you are from someone, you will need to close that distance by having a distance related character ability, using a gun or object that changes your distance, or kill the people next to you to bring you closer.  The actions that you can perform are attacking, defending, gaining life, forcing other players to discard cards, drawing extra cards and a bunch of other crazy things.  As you can tell, much of this game is the luck of the draw.  That doesn’t mean that this game doesn’t require skill.  Many times you will find that you need to fake people out, or get sympathy for having the weakest character.

Gameplay [rating:5.0] Replay Value [rating:4.5] Ease of Play [rating:4.5] [rating:overall] [amtap amazon:asin=B001037L8K]

Bang! Wikipedia
Bang.cz

TV: Stargate Universe

I’m taking a quick peek at this new show called Stargate Universe.  I’ve only been able to start on Episode 4 of the first season, but so far the show is watchable. Also, I’ve decided to start rating TV show episodes for fun.  I’ll start with Stargate Universe.  Not sure if the show is actually worth watching if I’m not familiar with the series though.  I’ve only seen some random episodes with a black guy where he has a medallion on his head.  Maybe I’ll have to look into watching the entire series sequentially.

Card Games: Citadels

We’ve been playing a new card game called Citadels. We purchased Citadels for Aron’s birthday along with a couple other games and expansions, Ticket to Ride: USA 1910 and MWAHAHAHA.

Gameplay
[rating:3.0] The point of this game is to build a city that is worth more than your opponents city. To do this you need to take on various roles on every turn: Assassin, Thief, Magician, King, Bishop, Merchant, Architect, and Warlord. Each role has a special ability to gain an advantage in building the cities, raising Gold, or researching new Districts. In order to build the city, you need to collect Gold to purchase Districts.

Replayability
[rating:3.5] The fact that you can switch roles every turn makes Citadel’s replayability very high, since the strategy will change every game.  The fact that you will be trying to fake everyone out every turn makes this game pretty fun.  Also, our set came with an expansion where you can switch new roles into the game.  I’m not sure what they are but I remember there was an Emperor and a Queen.

Game Mechanic
[rating:3.5] This game is all about faking people out, or guessing who will pick which role.  At the same time,  you have the luck of the draw when you are trying to “research” new districts to build.  The game itself doesn’t take very long, it’s the guessing and faking that makes it longer.

Ease of Play
[rating:4.5] It took us one manual read and a couple verification checks before we got used to the rules of the game.  I would say that this game is pretty easy to pick up.  The only complications are what the characters can do.

Overall Rating [rating:overall] [amtap amazon:asin=158994030X]

Food Poll: Prime Rib vs. Steak

Samantha wrote an interesting article on her blog recently about our recent visit to House of Prime Rib.  Terence, the clever sleuth that he is, discovered the article and started talking about steaks.  Then he posed the question, which do you like better, Prime Rib or Steak? Well, which one?

[poll id=”2″]