Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Dungeons and Dragons

How many of you have played Dungeons and Dragons before?

I played all sorts of role-playing games in junior high and high school. There are a ton of good memories I have of friends in teh basement staying up until all hours of the night. Some good stories as well. Another time I'll even tell you a few.

I came across this a few months ago, but it came up again recently and I thought I'd share. It's pretty funny. It's a bit overblown, but it's essentially what happens a lot when kids get together to do this stuff.

Enjoy. =)

Thursday, January 26, 2006


Hey, anyone who hasn't seen Firefly, you should.

It's sort of a western / sci-fi TV show that was run for 14 episodes. The fans were loud enough to get a Movie made out of it. You can buy the series from amazon.com here.

It's worth the money.

If you care, there is a movement working towards making season 2 happen. You can help support them by filling out some information on how/why you'd like to season 2 right here.

Thanks for dropping by.

Monday, January 23, 2006


Okay. On to the fun.

Here it is, in all it's glory. I had the fun of drilling out my first lock saturday. The guy I bought this from didn't have they key. The front locks had been taken off. Who knew that it would take an hour and a half? (Partly due to a too small drill bit and my cordless drill running out of batteries) I hit home depot for some new locks and borrowed a drill from the friend who helped me get the machine home. Thankfully I found 3 that were keyed the same, though I probably got looked at funny while rummaging through all of the locks. =)

The first big problem/project that I'll be attempting is making the control panel look nicer by lowering it. Some nickel arcade somewhere apparently put this funky control panel on here that sticks up too high. It's on hinges, so it turns down for easy access to the wires and guts, but it looks butt ugly. That will be a time intensive project but shouldn't be too bad.

Finally, the coin door. I had to swipe the two boxy looking things in here from my defender machine as it didn't have the actual coin mechanisms. The coins go down the two grey pipes and into the bottom box with is separately keyed. I think this is so that a store owner could have access to only the coin box or vice versa. See the duct tape? (is that how you spell it?) The first thing my middle child did was go for the keys. The second thing she did (which was almost immediately after she got the keys) was drop them down a hole into the bottom of the cabinet. We fished them out and put a stop to that pretty quick. The back panel is segmented into two parts, the top part is removable and the bottom is hinged on the left side. the bottom quickly became known as "the farm gate" for the "horses". Sound effects and all.

The thing is HEAVY. it's quite a bit heavier than the other machine I have. It'll be fun to get into the basement. =)

It also dawned on me that this machine has what's called a JAMMA harness in it. Meaning that I can get another Jamma compatible board and put it inside the machine and convert it into another game. I'm going to be looking into a strider board on ebay for the next while.

Gotta get back to work, but I wanted to post some pictures since it's been a couple of days already.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Arcade machien update

Quick update.

I did get the arcade machine. I played with it a bunch yesterday, drilled out the lock on the back (the previous owner had lost the key) and took some pictures. I'm falling over asleep right now so I'll post some pics tomorrow with more details.

Friday, January 20, 2006

guilty pleasure

So, I was looking around at pinball machines last night. I came across this webpage. On their specials page (Yes, feel free to click on specials) I spotted an item I hadn't seen before. A magic sword arcade machine.

I hemmed and hawed about it for a while, because I'd consider having a dedicated MS machine in my house. And it was only $195, which is doable, though a bit at the top end of splurge. Also, you have to understand, I have to think hard about spending more than $50 or so on anything. To me that's still a "big" purchase. I'm naive that way.

I talked with my wife about it (after agonizing for a few minutes on if I should "make it real" by bringing it up). She was in a positive position on this, which surprised me. I'm always surprised when my wife says to go for something though. Anyhow, I think she even knew which game it was, which is a plus. =)

Fast forward to this morning. I wasn't sure on the price, it seemed reasonable, but something was nagging at me. So I posted on the arcadecontrols.com forums on the price and if I should go for it.

Here's where it gets really wierd/interesting. Small world. heh.

Long story short, I'm getting a magic sword arcade machine, barring any major defects, for $100 tomorrow morning. Half price and closer to my house to boot. A working, good condition arcade machine for $100. Who knew? =)

I'll post some pics tomorrow morning if I get it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Musings and a bit of hobby.

How is it, that I can feel so successful and so half-dead at the same time?

Today is wednesday and I'm exhausted. I'm ready for the weekend, even though I don't get much rest. I've got all sorts of things going nowadays, and I do pretty well. But right now I must be in one of the burn phases of getting stronger (or whatever you want to call making progress in life), because IT HURTS! =)

It seems like my life lately is one big fight between what I want to be doing and what I'm supposed to be doing. I know that I'm trying to do too much (on both sides), and yet there are things that I really ought to be doing that I'm not. And a bunch of things that I am doing that I shouldn't be. How hte heck do you figure life out? As soon as I get one section down I'm on my back again, rubbing my jaw, wondering where the last swing came from.

I'll let you know if I figure something out. More than a leap of faith here and there, anyway.

I'm currently converting some old cassette tapes to mp3s in hopes that I'll keep them and be able to ditch the tapes that are really just taking up space. Kind of funny to hear on my most often used cassette in my beat up pickup songs from Nelson, Bush, Rush and some song from the pocahontas movie. (Really. Sad isn't it?)

I've also gotten some correspondence tapes started converting from different people when I lived out of state. I was such a different person back then, and yet much the same. It's interesting to listen to these tapes and remember people from the past. And see how clueless I really was back then. heh.



I've had this draft sitting, pretty much untouched since the beginning of January, so I may as well post it. Not sure if I'll add to this or not in the near future.

One of the reasons I think I've latched onto a pinball machine, even more than a MAME machine is that it will do a few things for me.

First It's mechanical. A pinball machine will cause me to curse, swear, sink money, and love tinkering with it to death. (Anyone who knows me at all knows that my MAME machine is always in various stages of beign worked on even though it's been playable for well over a year now)

Second, it's nostalgia. I remember playing pinball as a kid and being fascinated, but one fateful day in the early nineties I played the Addam's Family pinball machine. Ever since then I was a nut about pinball. It didn't help that my good friend in my later high school years also liked pinball. There was a local arcade that had 8 pinball machines running in it. We spend a few nights a week there.

Third, it's COOL. How cool would it be to have your own pinball machine? My wife one day wants to have a home theater type setup. What better compliment than a pinball machine and arcade machine? Along with a commercial style popcorn popper, how can you go wrong? I used to think that having an arcade machine would be SO COOL! Well, it is. Too bad most people think it's ridiculus. The kids sure love me though. =)

Fourth, it's a big sense of accomplishment for me. Some guys want a 4 wheeler. Some want a pickup. Some want season tickets. I just want a pinball machine. Fair enough?

Oh and lastly, it's something that I can be unique in, that has a depth and history, that helps define and communicate what is actually me. I need all the help communicating I can get.

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, January 13, 2006


Apparently I only had posting turned on for signed in users. Apologies if that caused anyone to not comment.

Here is an interesting link to find out how much your salary is really making for you.

More later.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

2600 and memories....

So, let's start at the beginning of my video gaming habits. The Atari 2600.

It started 1983, Christmas. I was a happy kid. The Atari 2600 was amazing. I had to have spent hours and hours playing with it. We got Air-Sea Battle, Combat, and River Raid. And at some point shortly thereafter we got Adventure and Pitfall.

Adventure, which you can play a flash reproduction web based version here. This was probably one of the pivotal games that made me want to make games when I grew up.

One of the gems that I eventually got, but my uncle had that we used to play was Atari's video pinball.

I played this game for hours, and got amazingly good at it. Of course being a kid, I preferred using the mode that allowed you to control the pinball a little, but still, This is definitely my first pinball love. Even then I didn't know it, but I was destined to become a pinball addict. It's funny to me to realize that there have been so many influences, directly and indirectly, for pinball for me. I wonder how many other things have done the same?

If anyone wants to get some good nostalgia going with their Atari you can now get an atari arcade flashback.

I remember once describing frogger on the Atari to my uncle. We were in my grandparent's basement in front of the TV. I told him how huge a friend of mine's TV was. "It was at least one times bigger than this TV!" What I meant was it was roughly double the size, but of course, my uncle corrected me. Still, trying to prove my point I lamely said "Well, it was 1.5 times bigger! The frog was this big!" Holding my thumb and index finger in a circle. He was pretty condescending to me, and though I was a kid I still picked up on that. I think he still can't take me seriously. Heh.

I need to re-hook up my Atari. My kids would love it.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The dentist ate my first webpage!

Or something.

I was going to post a link to my original web homepage (that is still up, despite not having an account with that ISP for years now), but for purposes of my wife's blog anonymity theme she's going with I won't post it. Not really worth seeing much anyhow, it's a cheesy 3 frame HTML box with a small sampling of family pictures. Including pictures of my ex-girlfriends wedding of all things. And my ex-wannabe girlfriend. heh.

Nothing much new today other than going to the dentist this morning. Two and a half hours of putting in a post for a crown that I have to go back for in 3 weeks. And the root canal was nasty enough to have to do in 2 three hour sessions previous to this. Oh, and I'm also paying hundreds of dollars to have someone stick the equivalent of a Black & Decker drill in my mouth for a few hours at a shot. And then going back for a jackhammer to remove 80% of what they did last time (a temporary crown)so that they can put another in. Meh. No offense to my dentist if he's reading this, it's the best dental care I've had in my life hands down. That still doesn't mean I have to like it though!

I've started a draft of my pinball post. Trying to keep it short, informative, and cohesive for any of you who are vaguely interested. (Hi Bon!) My last post was off the cuff and really punctuated why I never could really write an essay. I can't stay on topic to save my life, jumping all over with tangents and details that have no bearing on anything in particular, especially to the main idea I'm trying to get across. Or rather, somehow in my mind it's important for people to know the tangents and stuff, but I end up giving out 10% of the total information I want to give out. Somewhere in that other 90% is the information that would tie all of that (especially the 10% tangent) back together with the main idea. I need telepathy, you know, the kind where you understand thoughts and ideas rather than me having to translate into English and then you having to hear the audio and re-translate into what isn't probably at all what I meant, but at least the general idea.

Maybe I just have a different native language than English and I have to find out what that is.

And look at that, off topic again. At least this time it seems connected a bit. A little bit.

Until later.

Oh, here's a distraction that might be fun if you have ever liked arcade games.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

And this...

... is why I'm a geek.

This is so freaking cool!


Oh, and a coworker sent me a link to a pretty spiffy game. It's not real clear on how to play (Read the directions anyhow), but it's basically a "kill the slug with salt" game.

Careful, it's addicting.

Go play it!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

xbox update

Quick update today as I don't have much time and new readers will (have?) come in vai my wife's blog.

Just before christmas I added a larger hard drive to my xbox. I went through the pains to get it updated so that the entire hard drive is useable. See this link for an example of the software I used for this. I didn't use the instructions on this page, but they're using the same linux boot that I did, and I wanted an example for you, the loyal reader. All two of you.

I'm still working on getting Dragon's lair to work on it, but I do have a few games on the hard drive now. And two DVD's just for fun.

Oh, and for you WoWers out there, My main character is Justicar, a lvl 51 Druid. If you're on the Bronzebeard server feel free to look me up.

Until later.

Monday, January 02, 2006

WoW? Warcrack...? er, wha?

The gamer in me is dying, due to malnourishment, priority shifts and downright adultness. It's tough to let this part of myself go. I've been a gamer ever sinve I was 5 years old. I still remember being in Sears with my family one evening where my dad pulled me aside and showed me the fateful life changing display of an atari 2600. I got one for Christmas that year and have never been the same since. I grew up interested in computers and had always wanted to be a game developer. As difficult as it was when I was 22 I gave that dream up. Now I think I'm better for it and my family will be better for it. I couldn't be the father I want to be doing game design. It's a lifestyle not a job. And I doubt my wonderful wife would put up with it. Anyhow, I'm rambling again.

Enter World of Warcraft.

A quick story. I was looking forward to this game when it came out just over a year ago. I convinced myself (and my wife) that I wanted to try it out. I ended up playing it for 30 days on average of 4 hours a day. This was from Dec 15 or so 2004 to Jan 15ish 2005. Needless to say, I didn't get much sleep then. I cancelled my account at the time because it wasn't very healthy for me. And my poor wife was suffering a lot from my addictive behavior to world of warcrack. (For more on the actualities of this crack-like behaviour see this article about it.

Apparently I was pretty pathetic because after 6 months of moping my wife finally gave me the OK to re-open my WoW account.

I still don't get much sleep, though not always for the same reasons. Some things never change. =)

In July I got the approval from my wife to re-purchase the game. (Another time I'll tell you my story of Guild Wars, and maybe even my "Game development" background.) Why you ask? Well, long story. The short answer, for now, is that I, as a gamer, am changing, evolving. And yes, maybe even dying. World of Warcraft is (probably) my last ditch effort to secure my place as a "hardcore" or "serious" gamer.

World of Warcraft (WoW for short) is quite fun. I'd say up until about level 45ish you can play all by yourself and don't have to have any outside help. This experience rivals any single player RPG computer game out there hands down. There's good reason why this game is so popular. (hint: the extra $15 a month is worth the price in entertainment value compared to other online games) And there's so MUCH to do, so much to explore. I like that part of it quite a bit. Discovery. Something new. The characters are varied and have great backgrounds. There's a good storyline going on and you can tell a lot of love went into the game at the early levels. My wife, the non-gamer even liked it.

WoW is where much of my free time gets spent, what little I have in the late hours of the night. Is it a waste? Sure, probably. Better than sitting in front of the TV for an hour or two a night though. And it keeps my inner child alive. All may be unwell in Azeroth, but having a peek is working out great for me.

As for me being a dying gamer... well, next time I'll say a bit about pinball and how that ties into all of this. Until then.