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Ben’s Famous Fast ‘N’ Easy(tm) Chicken Tikka Masala
Oct 30th, 2012 by Pinback

When it comes to "foods people could eat every day", did you know that Chicken Tikka Masala is the only dish that appears on EVERY HUMAN BEING’S LIST OF THOSE FOODS? That’s right! Even the die-hardest seventh-level Vegan cannot resist shovelling this shit into their mouths on a daily basis!

FUN FAX: Did you know "chicken tikka masala" was actually invented in England? Because those banger-eating square-headed warm-beer-drinking a-holes couldn’t be bothered to learn appreciation for actual Indian food? It’s true, I think!

Now, everyone knows that the best version of Chicken Tikka Masala available anywhere in the world is actually in your local supermarket’s freezer section:

I’ve been all around the world and had CTM in thousands, THOUSANDS of different countries and restaurants, and this little frozen box is the best one of all of them.

However, you and I are BOYCOTTING these rat bastards, because they recently replaced half of the curry in the box with RICE. I don’t need RICE, you idiots. I got RICE. I know how to cook RICE. Gimme the goddamn STEW, you FAGGOTS.

Plus, who has the time and money to go to the store and microwave a box of food? Nobody! However, we all have the time and money to go to the store and cook it fresh!

But we don’t have a LOT of time or money, and plus we are not good at following complicated directions, which is why we need:

Ben’s Famous "Fast ‘n’ Easy(tm)" Chicken Tikka Masala

Alright. There’s two parts to this. The chicken, and the sauce. So as not to OVERWHELM your Scotch-addled brain with too much at once, we’ll cover these separately:

THE CHICKEN

————–

- a couple chicken bresses

- a cup of plain yogurt

- juice of 1 lemon

- 1 teaspoon each: salt, pepper, cumin, cinammon, red pepper (optional, for heat)

1. Cut chicken bresses into 1 inch cubes.

2. Mix yogurt, lemon, and spices together.

3. Put chicken in there, and let marinate for an hour. Normally I’d say "overnight", but this is FAST N GODDAMN EASY.

4. Cook the chicken, however you find FASTEST AND EASIEST. Me, I’d just throw that shit under the broiler for ten minutes, but you got your own life to live.

SAAAAAUCE

========

- 1 tbsp butter

- Couple cloves of garlic, minced

- 1 cup (8oz can) tomato sauce

- 2 tsp garam masala (you can find this! at your store! in the spices!)

- 1 tsp coriander (or just substitute another tsp garam masala)

- 1 tsp each salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, sugar, red pepper (optional, for heat)

- 1 cup heavy cream

1. Cook garlic in the butter for a minute.

2. Add tomato sauce and spices, stir and let simmer for five minutes.

3. Add cream, and let sauce simmer until thickened to the DESIRED THICKNESS. Which is thinner than you might think. It should coat the back of a spoon, but not hold its shape in the pan at all.

FINISHING IT UP

===========

1. Add chicken to sauce, simmer until warmed through.

2. Make some goddamn rice.

3. Garnish with chopped cilantro if you have any.

4. GO TO TOWN!

Thank you.

I’m here to answer your questions.

Red Dwarf Season 10: Episode 01
Oct 29th, 2012 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Here’s what I think of the British situation comedy Red Dwarf. Just so we can all calibrate ourselves. So you know where I came from. Ahem.

I think it’s the best situation comedy ever, and one of the top-five shows in television history.

I think that the book version of Dave Lister is the most-fun character in fiction. I think the television version of Arnold J. Rimmer is one of the few genuinely fucked-up people on television who hasn’t kil– er. Well. I was gonna say, “Who hasn’t killed anyone,” sort of separating him from the murderers that television likes to depict, but there was that whole matter with the crew of the Red Dwarf itself.

I think even bad Red Dwarf is good Red Dwarf. If it were up to me, each episode would have a ten minute conversation of Lister and Rimmer bagging on each other. My expectations for this, the 10th season, was low. So far, I have been pleasantly surprised.


Season 10 Episode 01: Trojan

The exchange between Kryten and Rimmer towards the beginning was really nice. I like that hologram Rimmer still wants to be an officer, and honestly, it would be nice if some of these characters got what they wanted if this is to be the very last season. God, someone getting what they want in the world, even if they are just fictional characters, would be a change.

On paper, I think Lister being on hold for almost the entire episode was great, and it worked pretty well in the show. Season 10 is weird because the show itself started 25 years ago, and there has now been 25 years of technology updates in the real world, so being on hold for something isn’t quite as annoying now that we all have the Internet to order things from. But I don’t care — if Red Dwarf keeps with the technology of 1998 in 2012, but really 3,000,000 years in the future, then that’s unique.

(Mostly, it is unique because nobody is bringing back sci-fi situation comedies from two and a half decades ago.)

The Cat showing up for Rimmer’s exam question was a terrific character moment.

I’ve read comments that Craig Charles was a little “off” in this episode. And I can kind of see it, but I have the benefit of having seen the next two episodes. He’s fine. They all are, in fact — HDTV makes everyone look 1,000 years old, so really, they’re fine. They are regular people.

And I really enjoyed the last act of the episode. Watching this, I have ever reason to think that Red Dwarf is back. I can’t believe it’s really happening.

Roody Yogurt Reviews IF Competion ’12 Games! (Part Two)
Oct 24th, 2012 by Roody Yogurt

The Lift by Colin Capurso

More so than any other type of game, weapon pedantry is really annoying in CYOA (“OH NOES YOU CHOSE THE KNIFE WHEN YOU SHOULD HAVE CHOSEN THE CROWBAR!”). Starting off with that kind of situation was an instant fail in my book. The only nice thing I can say about this piece is that the premise recalled the Outer Limits episode “The Elevator” for me.


The Test is Now READY by Jim Warrenfeltz
(I played the first version)

Starting your game off with someone shouting “run, you magnificent bastard!” is pretty funny.

That said, I hate games that explore morality (I saw another review call it ethics and maybe that is the better term). How I play games doesn’t have enough of a correlation to how I view the world to have any kind of meaning, so you’re really only signing up to hear what the author has to say about it. Even if the author’s point is about the ambiguity of it all, again, it’s a meaningless exercise that bugs me enough that I intentionally avoid it.

Oh, yeah, I had something to say about the intro, too. I think I would have preferred the fake-prompt method to keep the intensity up, where each keypress equals one letter in the prompt, although the full-command it does here will definitely be useful if somebody plays the game on something like the ifMUD’s Floyd bot. Also, the pedant in me doesn’t like the fact that the introduction uses a command that I can’t use (“LOOK BACK”).

Response-wise, the game could use some work:

Frank says, “God, Harry, I thought we were dead for sure – I mean… well, metaphorically dead, you know, not like… well, the walking dead.”

>talk to frank
That’s not a verb I recognise.

>ask frank about dead
There is no reply.

>

Between the lack of implementation and discovering that it was a morality game, I closed the book on this one after finishing the first section.


howling dogs by Porpentine

All of the slow, looping prose felt like the CYOA-equivalent of unnecessary-IF-pauses. While being far from deducing What’s Going On, I enjoyed the ideas of martyrdom/saintdom and its relation to the persecution of women and how it is injected into a futuristic setting, but the pace was far too plodding for me and I eventually threw in the towel before completion.


Kicker by Pippin Barr

By the end of a playthrough of Kicker, it’s clear that it isn’t really much of a game (nor is it trying to be). In it, you play a football (or “American football”, for non-US people) kicker. The entire game seems to be based on random outcomes. Even when it is time to kick the ball, your success seems to have no correlation to how many times you’ve >PRACTICEd, >STRETCHed, or >EXERCISEd (I couldn’t think of any other commands to improve my chances).

While not a small amount of work to code, I imagine, I can’t say Kicker is really “IF comp material” nor is it really enjoyable. It seems to me like it’d have been better done as a Textfire game or something, where it would have had the good graces to end after one quarter. Oddly enough, the Textfire games were released in the 90s, which is also the last time I really laughed at a kicker joke.


Valkyrie by Emily Forand

According to the blurb on the IF comp site, this game is a collaborative effort among community college students. I don’t think this is a successful game as it is, but I don’t want to be harsh. Technically, there are misspellings and ill-constructed sentences. After reaching a dead-end (yes, it’s a CYOA), the ‘go back to the start’ link didn’t even work.

I don’t think the tone of the writing works well as text, but I found myself imagining that it could work in some sort of audio-based CYOA system (isn’t that a thing? I thought there was a thing) where they read the passages aloud. That might force some urgency.


STAY TUNED FOR PART THREE!

Roody Yogurt Reviews IF Competion ’12 Games! (Part One)
Oct 21st, 2012 by Roody Yogurt

Transit by Shaye

Transit is a game from the perspective of someone separated from a friend at a foreign airport, with no means of communication. Looking over the prose again as I write this review, I see humor where I missed it before. For me, I think the humorous/surreal/exciting elements really need to be turned up some notches; it was really a struggle to care about the story when I initially played. It was only the small size of the game and a feeling that the author wasn’t ill-intentioned that kept me playing.

That said, I am biased against CYOA, and since I didn’t feel this piece elevated the form, I gave it a pretty low rating.


Shuffling Around by Ned Yompus
(I played the first release)

It seems that there are a fair amount of IF players who enjoy these wordplay games. I, for one, don’t since these games always seem to have a fair amount of puzzles that are stupidly arbitrary, allowing one word but not allowing another reasonable word. This game seems to try to avoid frustration by empowering the PC with a hint gadget, which I thought was interesting.

Still, I thought a game about anagrams that only accepts one word commands kind of keeps the limitation of the implementation on the brain. Also, the sad fact is, I couldn’t even finish the tutorial area when I couldn’t find some guard, but I was kind of happy to be given an excuse to quit.


Signos by M4u
(I played the first release)

This was an interesting game. I mean, the first time I played, within a handful of moves, I had gotten myself stuck in some dark room where I (seemingly?) couldn’t do anything. I thought that was enough to determine a score, but I figured I’d play around a bit more just the same. I have to say that I’m intrigued by the philosophy angle the other rooms I explored had, even if I didn’t accomplish anything meaningful in any of them.

It was kind of odd that the game provided options to GET characters. I imagine Quest has the capabilities to specify what kind of default commands are allowed with objects and characters and that the author just hasn’t learned how to do this yet. That’ll be a big improvement when it’s fixed.

I also thought the background music contributed positively to the mood of the game. While not successful in the making-making-me-want-to-play-it-to-completion category, I thought the tone was nicely not off-putting, so even though the game’s flaws really weigh it down, I also feel oddly endeared to it.


Changes by David Given

Changes starts off with a disturbing gory scene, and a pause. After the keypress, there’s enough of a scene change to make the pause’s existence justifiable. A couple of turns in is where the true moment of horror is, though, as I read the prose and thought, dear god have I woken up as a furry??

Fortunately, Changes doesn’t go as far down that path as one would worry it might. Overall, it’s one of the better comp12 games I’ve played so far. There are enough rooms to require mapping for somebody like me but not so many that I felt weighed down. The efficiency-lover in me wonders if it could be trimmed further, though. There’s also a certain daemon that is really tiresome if you trigger it before the plot calls for it.

The game is strongest in the “game proper”; the sci-fi backstory stuff is interesting but the prose is not really engaging yet. Maybe that could be improved.

Overall, the puzzles are intuitive enough, but the execution of some could be improved (like the [rot13]qvirefvba bs gur qrre ureq[/rot13]). The only real stinker is the last puzzle (ohvyqvat n gevcbq bhg bs fgvpxf) which was so bad that it docked the final score several points. I think Changes could be a fully-successful game with some polishing. Hopefully, it gets there.


Lunar Base 1 by Michael Phipps

First off, I was a betatester for this game so I will not be rating it.

The other year, I wrote a review of his previous game, Hallow Eve. You can find it here.

Some may call his new game disappointingly railroaded, but I think that compared to his earlier game, it is nice to see the ideas within more easily accessible.

The game is odd within its own right. Things like, why are astronauts taking the time to reminisce about childhood? In a game like this, the point is not so much about realism as it is about telling an earnest story.

I imagine there are still some annoyances. I hope you can now look out that one window if the other astronaut is not in front of it. Some of the phrasings and punctuation didn’t sit right with me when I played it, but I never got around to compiling my issues for the author since in a way, those things are not the point of this kind of game. It tells its story well enough and is a fun little romp and succeeds in being more engaging than your average game.


STAY TUNED FOR PART TWO!

Roody Yogurt’s Midwest Gaming Classic Thoughts
Oct 7th, 2012 by Roody Yogurt

I intend to use this thread to chronicle the cool things I see at the Midwest Gaming Classic each year. Here are my thoughts on this year:

For some ten years, the Milwaukee area has been lucky enough to have its own gaming convention, the Midwest Gaming Classic. Now, I haven’t made it ever year- or even fully half of the years, I’m pretty sure- but I’ve always been impressed with the things they’ve done with it. In the early days, they had a strong Dreamcast homebrew presence (when I thought Dreamcast was going to be *the* homebrew console, considering the ease of playing games off of burned CDs) and, in general, welcomed a wide range of interest (the MGC was the *first* place I met Howard Sherman in person). Inviting pinball enthusiasts into the mix was also a good idea, as the increase in machines and bodies brought a quick respectability.

One year, I had a nice photo taken with Billy Mitchell. Last year, I was lucky enough to hear a great talk by Eugene Jarvis and share a story with Scott Adams (who, um, also gave a talk).

They don’t really do the best job of updating the web site with planned speakers until literally a couple before the show. I imagine this is because the speaker line-up is a fluid, fickle thing. In an case, I had no idea what to be expect. I kind of hoped that the speaker line-up would be exactly the same. That ended up not being the case, but there still were things that impressed me.

No Jarvis this year, but the arcade world was well-represented by Walter Day. He gave a talk announcing his newish line of videogame trading cards. The interesting thing is that the cards are not limited to arcade game record-holders, as one might expect from him. He also wants to make cards of influential designers (he specifically mentioned how he’d like to give Tim Schaefer a card), console game champions, and just people who have contributed to videogame culture in general (the talk also doubled as a card-awarding ceremony to the owner of Starworlds, an Illinois arcade, and the organizers of MGC).

Anyhow, I’m a sap, but the whole thing truly did seem less about making money as much as giving appreciation to those who rarely get it. I have to admit that I was touched by the whole thing.

Afterwards, we were invited to another room to pick up signed versions of the cards from the people they were honoring. Not really knowing what to say, I didn’t actually really want to talk to anyone, though, as nice as these people were, so I just tried to surreptitiously snag a couple cards and went on my way.

Unfortunately, other arcade/retro talks were by Skype, such as the ones by Ted Dabney and Scott Warshaw, but both fellows have gotten talking-by-Skype down pretty well and were generally entertaining.

Later that day, there was an open meeting by the International Game Developers Association Madison Chapter. At first, they were mentioning this event in Madison where people can show the games they’re working on, and I’m like, huh, maybe this group has some good opportunities. Of course, the talk at some point turned to Kickstarter, and the chapter president starts talking about how he didn’t contribute to the Doublefine Kickstarter like it was a point of pride and went on to brag about putting down $50 on Wasteland 2.

I guess dude used to work for Raven and remembered talking to some guys at Activision who complained about Doublefine being behind schedule on Brutal Legend (but he did go on to say that, yeah, he just didn’t like adventure games, either). He also bragged about working on Wolverine for the Marvel Ultimate Alliance games. All I could think was this guy was such a company-man asshole. I bet he supported every jackassed thing that the Marvel Ultimate Alliance games do (they are pretty much the biggest example of doing the asshole thing where they stop selling DLC at some point just to screw over people who might *gasp* buy the game used or something).

Hey, I’m cool with people not liking adventure games, but I’m not cool with people being smug shits about it; you know dude will take that smug attitude towards text games or anything else his spineless soul can’t digest.

Okay, on to another cool thing- in one area, there was a setup by some high school programming class. They had designed this 4-sided (as in, controls on each side) cocktail cabinet thing and have been using their class to write 4-player multiplayer games. It is always (well, sometimes) nice to see kids doing cooler things in high school than I ever did.

Lastly, Scott Adams *did* give another talk this year. This time, he was even “beta-testing” a new game. I’m pretty sure I correctly identified Adams’ wife and daughter, too. Anyhow, what we played of the game was entertaining enough, but I do have to say that the kind of “correct commands” that Adams designs for are pretty crazy (for instance, there’s a wire you have to bend until it breaks. doing >BEND WIRE three times is not enough to break it. you have to do >BEND WIRE UNTIL IT BREAKS).

Adams said we could e-mail him and betatest the game FOR REALS (as our group session only played long enough to solve one puzzle). While I don’t expect a well-designed game, I was almost tempted, just because. Still, knowing that Adams is a 7th Day Adventist, I can’t help but remember this mysterious novel I got in the mail from an anonymous source years ago, basically the 7th Day Adventist book version of a Jack Chick tract. It tells the story of two families- one who mows the lawn on Sunday and one who mows the lawn on Saturday and how the latter dies horribly during the end of days but the former is saved. I threw the book out a long time ago, if anyone wanted it. Sorry.

I imagined I somehow got myself on someone’s radar, and in retrospect, I wonder if I had sent any e-mail to Adams back then and if it was possibly he who sent the book. Anyways, not wanting to receive anymore religious material in my mail, the chance was too great to risk.

Anyhow, in future years, I hope the convention has more attention on adventure games and RPGs and things, and I may even do my own IF booth at some point. We will see.

Pinback’s Cool of the Day: BALLOONS
Oct 1st, 2012 by Pinback

Today a bunch of hot air balloons flew over our place! Like, close enough where the people in them were saying, not yelling, “Mornin’” and taking pictures of us while we took pictures back. Apparently in this area that’s not a big deal, but it was by far the coolest thing that’s ever happened to me.

Well, I decided right then and there that I would get totally into hot air balloons for at least the rest of the day. “How do you steer them?” I asked myself! “How do you pilot them?” I asked myself!! “WTF?!!” I asked myself! Then I stopped screwing around and reminded myself “Hey, there’s probably a hot air balloon simulator somewhere.”

There is! It’s only 2D, but in terms of learning how balloons work and simulating control of one, this seems pretty spot on, as there are only two controls: make the air in the balloon hotter, make the air in the balloon not as hot.

Using those controls you are tasked with completing… a task (going somewhere, then turning around and landing where you started), and like all great human endeavors, it seems incredibly stupid and simplistic before you start, but then you realize it isn’t.

So my COOL OF THE DAY is:

http://balloonsimulator.com

And the most frightening thing I learned today was the answer to my original question, “how do you steer them?” Which is, in a very literal sense: You don’t.

The above link will give you due appreciation of that fact.

Enjoy!


Here was the balloon that said “Mornin’”, if you want to play along at home. They eventually landed in the backyard of the house about three down from ours.



I mean, imagine walking out of your house in the morning, looking up and seeing this. Wouldn’t you be, like, “whoa”? We were like, “whoa”.



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