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I Got Insulted By The CBS Fantasy Baseball Website
May 29th, 2013 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Welcome. Welcome! Welcome to the future. No, not the future where I finished the Neuromancer playthrough, nor the future where I realize that a bunch of home arcade games that made me very, very happy if you follow shunted x-rays into the part of my dick that gets giggly for ten years which made it repulsively glow in the dark, nor the future where the New York Yankees can’t take four random players off the 2007 Blue Jays and be in first place with them. No, this is the future where my fantasy baseball website employs a robot that tells me to go fuck myself.

A little backstory – remember that time someone told you about their fantasy team and there wasn’t an x-ray/cancer producing old television around to point at them? I will never do that to you. I will never go into actual baseball details. Please don’t stop reading. This isn’t actually backstory, but I was hoping you would settle in if I said it was.

All websites are in the process of becoming terrible and the fantasy baseball website at CBS is no different. Rather than just giving us a flat forum to use as a message board, each post has its own little solar system and is its own little rich-content thing. You can’t just click on the message list and see who is calling who names any more. It’s awful and I told CBS but, well, I cursed at their automated e-mail system and it gave me a sharp automated reply.

I think the automated system that handles complaints for CBS held a grudge. I logged on tonight to see this bullshit, auto-posted:

Coming into the game, Mr Bandwidth (editor’s note: that’s me!) had the second fewest points of any team over the last three weeks. This week Coach Robb Sherwin’s squad scored a non-embarrassing number of points, but it wasn’t enough. They got beat by Clown Shoes 204.3 to 233.43.

The loss makes it six in a row for Mr Bandwidth, dropping their record to 2 – 6. The victory makes it four in a row for Clown Shoes, bringing their record to 5 – 3.

Clown Shoes were led by the three-headed-monster of Mike Minor, Johnny Cueto, and Everth Cabrera, who together got 94.3 of their team’s 233.4 points. Quite an improvement for Cueto, who last week scored no points. His performance this week ended a six week streak of failing to perform at a league average level.

Meanwhile, Coach Robb Sherwin will have a hard time pinning the blame for this loss on any particular player. Mr Bandwidth had six underperformers, with John Gast (-1 points) being the worst. That was the 2nd fewest of any pitcher this season.

Mr Bandwidth also had to deal with a bad performance from Alex Avila, who scored 0.1 points. Bad performances are pretty common these days for Avila, who has now underperformed the league average catcher in three straight weeks.

Mr Bandwidth will be going against SodaPopinski’s next week. SodaPopinski’s will bring the league’s top player, Clayton Kershaw, into the game.

Meanwhile, Clown Shoes will take on Finding Nimmo. Clown Shoes has now been an underdog in both the last two weeks, and won both times. Maybe they’ll get a bit more credit going into their next one.

This was generated BY THE CBS WEBSITE ITSELF. That is a 262 word treatise on how much I suck. Reading this analysis, I became aware of how little effort it took the opposing manager to defeat me. I also became the second guy this week to think Johnny Cueto ought to get punched in the face.

I started thinking to myself, Hey! I only had a low number of points the last two weeks because I pulled my pitchers when it was obvious I would lose. Who is this guy (sorry, automated bot) to give me shit about that? And then I realized that I was getting defensive over something not written by human hands. An x86 computer tried to court martial Captain Kirk once, so he went back into time and made sure his spaceship in the new time stream looked like the clenched sphincter of an Apple Store.

Anyway, I’ll probably lose again, so I expect I’ll make it easy for the bot next time, who will just post the word “Ha” 200 times.

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Jolt Country is presented by Ice Cream Jonsey.
Twitter: @icecreamjonsey

Bundle in a Box – 7 Hours Left!
Apr 2nd, 2013 by Ice Cream Jonsey


Bundle in a Box, yesterday

I did a terrible job promoting the Bundle in a Box on my own site, which is unacceptable, because my game Necrotic Drift is part of the Bundle in a Box. I have some incredible excuses as to why I am typing this out with seven hours left to go. Rich, layered excuses. Think of these excuses as unlockable extras. Here we go!

- I went on my first vacation in a couple years, visiting my family in lovely Rochester, NY, right as the Bundle dropped, away from my PC.
- Both this site and my other site at Caltrops managed to go down for extended periods of time.
- I decided to sell my pinball table and needed a day to vacuum the cat hair off it.
- I took a Centipede cabinet as part of the trade for the pin, and it fell on me, almost snapping my leg and arm in half, on its way downstairs. Argh.

… It really is quite painful. Flying to Rochester, I mean! hrewhrwhrwehrwe

But seriously, Benjamin “Pinback” Parrish said that if the Centipede game took my head off, my body should have sprouted another one. Jonathan “Roody Yogurt” Blask said that he would have appreciated the irony if I were maimed by a “crushing” game like Dig Dug. I feel that should I ever get into real trouble and bleed out on my floor, the IRC logs of my death are going to be hilarious. I’ll be entering “9 1 1″ into a high score table as I take my last breath to a cackling cacophony of wiseguys, as I get @kicked from life.

All right, so now that the apologies are out of the way, let’s talk about the Bundle. Here is the link that takes you to the page where you can buy it. The price is obscenely low. A lot of websites are obsessed with telling you how great their wares are, and why you should give them money. Since I screwed up, and managed to blog about it with seven hours left, I’ll instead link to this scathing review at Capsule Computing. Mari Shishido hated it! The people who dislike Necrotic Drift tend to dislike it a lot. Top this, Braid:

Necrotic Drift is a chore to play. Between the unbearable characters and the long parts of the game where nothing but awful banter happens, the game is not enjoyable. Having to guess at the exact word the game needs to move forward is boring and frustrating, while the rest of the time it is monotonous in that it will repeatedly allow one simple word to continue. This is a waste of time, even if it was free. Having to pay any money for it at all is unthinkable. It is not even so bad it is good, it is so bad that it is bad. 3/10

I’m glad that there’s a site out there off the 7 through 9 scale, but I have to think that a 1/10 is reserved for games that kill you when they boot. In all seriousness, I want to thank Mari for taking the time to play. Of course I wish that the game was more her thing, but the best thing about the Bundle in the Box is that you can’t beat it for the number of games included. There’s nine other games, and as soon as I have the functioning use of my nervous system again, I will be playing all of them.

Rock Paper Shotgun did a writeup on the Bundle here, so if you don’t trust me, trust them. And here is a review at GamingMomentum, where the reviewer seemed to enjoy it. I hope you get a chance to pick the bundle up. Every cent I get from it will be used towards my next game, which I’ll start blogging about here. Thanks, as always. :)

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Neuromancer, Update #1
Apr 1st, 2013 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Sorry it’s been so long, denizens. I realized that I have a backlog. And what really holds a man down besides his backlog?

I purchased a used Canon Digital Rebel XT for use in the game I am making next. I’ve had this backlog for 20 years or more. Games I’ve always wanted to play. Games I’ve always wanted to finish! Did you know that I’ve never finished Knight Orc? There is one last puzzle for me to solve. Knight Orc is my boy, but I have never solved it. Well, it’s time I took care of the backlog.

I have a couple other reasons for doing this. First off, the next game I am creating is going to be a CRPG. A character role-playing game. I am describing it like “A cyberpunk Bard’s Tale.” Or an RPG where Worm can’t murder everyone. I want to learn everything about CRPGs before I make one. (I mean, I have already started, but I can still learn things.) Secondly, this CRPG is going to have CGA four-color graphics. I remember… fairly well what games were like back then. Some days it feels like I don’t remember much else. But by playing through them again I won’t have to rely on just my memory. Lastly, I just love blogs that are about a dude playing a game, uploading pictures and giving his thoughts. So why not make Jolt Country a blog about old video games. Officially, I mean.

Some quick rules to how I am going to play these games: Should I get stuck for a picosecond, I am consulting a walk-through. I won’t read a sentence more of the walk-through than I have to, but I will not sit and get stuck unless things are crazy and I am really, preposterously enjoying things. If I start discovering solutions that I could have come up with on my own, then I will give the game time to breathe. I’ll put the game down, think about it at work and see if I come home with a solution. If I get stuck due to user interface stuff, then fuck it, I am getting help. All of these games have had like two decades for me to solve on my own.

I am going to try to play them on either the Amiga or Atari ST if I can. I grew up with DOS and I love DOS. But I missed out on the awesome alternatives to the PC, and now that I have an Amiga and Atari ST I want to give them both a shot. Lastly, every screenshot will hopefully be a shot of an actual screen. There are dozens of places to get crisp shots in emulation of games, but I want to create a sort of repository of ones on the actual monitor.

If this sounds good to you then please check in to the site. I promised the denizens of my forum that I would only start publishing these if I had 20 updates ready to go. If you’re seeing this, it means that I do. I am going to kick things off with Neuromancer and I’ll discuss the actual game next!

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Fantasy Raceways
Mar 26th, 2013 by Ice Cream Jonsey

I was in Rochester, NY last week. I was born and raised there and since the Internet wasn’t on everyone’s Nokia Ngage when I was born (through no fault of the Ngage) I was forced to make friends in real life. Well, I made them through calling local BBSs. This is really getting preachy and judgmental (towards me) so let me just continue.

My friends Aaron and Jeff (you may have been insulted by them on the JC forum as “The REAL Man” and “Jethro Q. Walrustitty”) told me about Fantasy Raceways, in lovely Greece, NY. It’s at 3787 Dewey Ave in case this blog post inexplicably comes up when you are searching for it in the future. I took a careful look at my schedule, which was mostly the word “pizza” written seven times. I’d be able to fit a trip in, all right.

I brought my camera because I love taking pictures of arcades. Though Aaron and Jeff mentioned the slot cars, I really didn’t take them literally and I was surprised to find that, yes, there is an enormous slot car setup here.

Fantasy Raceways has a number of arcade games and pinball tables as well. By my meticulous notes, which is to say I took none, I counted Centipede, Monaco GT, Ms. Pac-Man, Mr. Do!, Donkey Kong, Space Invaders (not working), Environmental Discs of Tron, Tron, Missile Command, Galaxian, Monaco GP, Virtua Racer, Battlezone (don’t believe it was working), Sea Wolf as the arcade games. There was at least one other sit-down racing game that I forgot to get the name of.

Initially, I saw that the pins were Scared Stiff, Indiana Jones and Road Show.

However! I had to use the bathroom at one point. I went through the fire exit doors and took a left. (There was a Pole Position II back behind the store proper.) When I came out I saw that in one corner… was The Twilight Zone! I know that my arcade buddies are not impressed. I don’t care, I love it and made us all stick around for another half-hour to play the greatest pin of all-time.

There are two TZ on location in Colorado that I know of, and to have one in a place like this with nobody around was pretty special. Honestly, if I had one, there would be zero chance that I would let filth like myself play it. So kudos to the owner of Fantasy Raceways.

The three of us had a great time. Afterwards, we went to the new Nick Tahou’s that is in the suburb of Henrietta. Look, we’re hardened Rochestarians that could have gone downtown and enjoyed it without a problem or incident, psh. It just seemed like a better idea to go to the closest one when we picked up Walrustitty’s kids. Don’t look at us like that. Again with the judging!

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Cyberganked Photo Finale
Mar 13th, 2013 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Hey, everybody. It’s been weeks since I updated this silly website, and almost months since anybody cared. I haven’t been idle, however, I’ve been hard at work trying to make the best cyberpunk character role playing game I possibly can.

And I did it with your help! (With how little traffic this site gets these days, I am just going to assume that anyone reading at this point was directly involved in the contest.)

Flack announced the winner right here on his site. Flack filmed himself using a random number generator on his iPad, so you know it’s legit. Nobody going through that much trouble is going to fake the results. Although my background in statistics tells me that the position Flack rolled should have started with a “1″, which it did not. So perhaps the whole thing is as crooked as a Grimoire Indiegogo.

Here’s the album on imgur.com of all the people I have placed in the game so far: http://imgur.com/a/dxAZv/all

You can browse that album at your leisure, but since it’s imgur I am pretty sure that using that site without Jennifer Lawrence making an appearance every third picture is completely unauthorized. Browse safely, and I’ll inline a few after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Flack’s Amazon Gift Card Photo Contest
Jan 8th, 2013 by Ice Cream Jonsey

My pal Rob O’Hara is killing it with a contest he is running at robohara.com: send him a photo that I can use for my next computer game, and you will be entered to win a $50 Amazon gift card. I need several people to play the enemies and antagonists in this game, so this will hopefully help fill out the ranks. You get a copy of the game when it is finished, as well as credit and my ever-lasting appreciation. Rob’s got all the details here. Thanks, Rob!!

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Hugo Open House Competition 2013
Jan 6th, 2013 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Here are the entries for this year’s Hugo “Open House” Competition 2013!

C.H.U.M.S. by Jason McWright

Clockwork Boy 2 by Marius Mueller and Roody Yogurt.

Cyberganked Proof of Concept by Robb Sherwin. Not a text adventure, but a tech demonstration of using Hugo to make a CRPG.

Patty Flinger A game where you fling patties, by Paul Robinson.

Waiting by Paul Lee, with source code.

The authors have been playing each other’s games the first week of January, and you can read (and contribute!) some reviews here.

Enjoy the games, everyone.

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The Great Kickstarter Scam
Dec 27th, 2012 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Jason Scott blogged about the inevitable changes of Kickstarter here. I found one passage particularly fascinating:

I am positive, as much as I am willing to be, that someone somewhere has rented an office and begun the careful, involved process of building a backstory and a history for their non-existent endeavor. This endeavor will come at you with the warm, smiling pitch of the talented grifter, with an answer for everything and a dream that’s just this side of crazy and therefore that side of compelling. They’ll have domains, a website, a phone number. They’ll give you a feeling of being at the start of something great. And you are. You most certainly are.

This got me thinking. What form would The Big One take?

The Big One, in this case, is the Kickstarter project that generates more than a couple million dollars with the owner immediately retiring on a tropical island. Money matters. This project, the “Videogame History Museum” helped a couple guys move their arcade cabinets across the country and hasn’t done anything else since it was successfully funded on September 1st, 2011, but it was only funded for $50,000. Diaspora* is an old fan favorite of a failed Kickstarter project (coupled with the audacity of their request for more money via e-mail a few months ago) but that was just for $200,000.

Looking at the projects that were so enthusiastically funded, the first two that come to mind are the Double Fine Adventure and Ouya video game console. In my opinion, why they really took off is what will make The Big One successful: they tapped into the righteous fury that nerds feel when something was taken from them.

(And I do feel that it will be a general set of nerds, dorks, geeks and spittles that fund the killer scam in a couple years. I mean, you are probably aware what web comic geeks will fund just on their own. It won’t be sports fans: without an official license from the NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA you aren’t getting far. Though I suppose there could be a Kickstarter project to do something with the Stanley Cup after hockey ceases to exist forever in two weeks.)

Did the Double Fine Adventure take off because people loved Tim Schafer’s games that much? I remember hearing for years how disappointing the sales were for Psychonauts and Brütal Legend. (Though Schafer has claimed that Brütal Legend has sold more than a million copies.) I think why the Double Fine Adventure campaign did so well was because people were sick that they couldn’t buy adventure games anymore. That was a perfectly fine genre that entertained people, but got marginalized due to the fact that you couldn’t make a five-million copy seller. I don’t believe it was because people were sick of the games or because there was suddenly something intrinsically wrong with pointing and clicking to advance a story and solve puzzles.

Ouya is another example, and I feel that it was a reaction to the locked-down systems of Windows 8, the 360, the Wii, the Playstation 3 and the iOS app store. Video game enthusiasts tolerate these models, but were clearly ready to support something open. To the tune of over $8 million in Kickstarter funding. The millions that the Double Fine Adventure, Wasteland 2 and Ouya generated has to have opened some eyes. Some fradulent eyes. Hell, on those occasions where I have described Kickstarter to someone, their first question is, “Why doesn’t someone make a fake one and run off with the money?”

So the idea is to protect ourselves, and to do that, well, personally I’m no longer supporting new versions of games I liked on the Atari 8-bit computer. Ha! Ha ha ha!

Ha ha ha hahaaha!

No. I Paypalled $100 to jumpman-jr-returns@kickstarter.com and that doesn’t even exist yet. No, instead I am going to try to predict what I think the scam to end all scams will be:

1) Firefly. Well, it’d have to be that, wouldn’t it? A show that Kickstarter’s target audience enjoyed that was stolen waaaaay too early by those damnable suits at Fox. Sssss! How they snake and slither! The problem in bringing this show back in order to take $10 million to the Cayman Islands is that you’d need to get the rights, which you can’t, and then the actors and actresses, which you won’t. So this won’t happen, though it is the web at its most vulnerable. At its softest underbelly.

2) The 3D Printed Assault Rifle. While typing this blog post, I’ve had to shut my window twice to drown out the sounds of gunfire from the spree shootings going on, and nobody lives in my town. The pasty dickhead’s nightmare of the government coming for your guns will pretty much happen in the next four months, because after shooting up kids someone will top it by shooting up the players during the fifth inning of a Yankees game, then a bunch of babies. At that point somebody WILL be coming door to door, individually, for your guns. It will be like the beginning to Inglorious Basterds, except that instead of cutting away to people living in-between the boards, Uzis will be in closets going like this: o_0;;;;;;;;;. Oh, and per household, the Basterds version will involve fewer guns. At that point a 3D Printed rifle project will be launched. (Though I assume Kickstarter themselves would not give the “go-ahead” for a 3D weapon, it’s the sort of thing I could see on IndieGogo, the “Gobots” of crowd-funding.)

3) A motorcycle-like piece of transportation. An open source motorcycle-like machine, delivered to your place, for a few thousand bucks that you could then totally mod? And give the finger to Big Oil at the same time? I mean, you played Rocket Jockey, you know how much fun it would be to have one of these.

4) Rocket Jockey 2. Whoops, that’s me and only me giving my life savings toward it. Don’t do this one at me.

5) Something Involving Movies. By this I mean that film is the one thing, beyond video games and music, that nerds feel they had taken from them, though in this case, they never really had it to begin with. I do know that running those anti-piracy ads at the start of theater movies has brought people to a slow boil. I could see a charismatic individual setting something up to fund indie filmmakers, distribute their stuff on-line and otherwise shape it so that the greedy pits running Hollywood (just “Hollywood”) don’t get a cut. I think this is where we are weakest and would most want a big change, one that results in some guy sitting on a mountain of money that forms his own private island.

Anyway, if you use any of these ideas, tell them you don’t know me.

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Jolt Country is presented by Ice Cream Jonsey.
Twitter: @icecreamjonsey

Q*bert Serial #1 Found!
Dec 13th, 2012 by Ice Cream Jonsey

koolmoecraig on the Killer List of Video Games arcade forum recently posted about finding the “first” Q*bert game – one that was still technically a prototype!

He says the following:

I scored probably my ultimate “grail”, the 1st Q*bert machine ever made. Complete with hand-drawn marquee artwork and one-off CPO artwork, the machine was purchased by a Gottlieb executive after being out on test and stored in his basement for the past 30 years. The cabinet is a 9.5 out of 10!

Notice that Q*bert wasn’t even in his final stage at this point. He still looks roughly drawn and more similar to concept drawings. He even looks different on the CPO artwork. Also, the Gottlieb trademark is above the “How To Play” instructions on the left side of the CPO. On production games it’s within the instructions.

The prototype cabinet has stencil painted side art. I assume they hadn’t decided on side art yet. There are no graphics on the monitor bezel. Just black paint on glass.

Lastly, I noticed the Gottlieb trademark on the attract screen itself. I’m pretty sure this is different than production versions but I have to confirm that.




Interestingly, this version does not appear to have the knocker installed… (the arcade version of Q*bert features a physical “knocker” that makes a BANG! sound against some wood in the cabinet when you lure Coily off the pyramid, or fall off the pyramid yourself!)

There’s more photos — including some gorgeous pics of the inside of the cabinet — and discussion on KLOV.

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Pinback And The Star Lords Alpha
Nov 2nd, 2012 by Pinback

You want to LORD over the stars! You always have! But you’ve grown up now, had a few kids, cleaned up more than your share of dog diarrhea off the couch, and you’re not sure you have it in you anymore. Maybe you’re not the "type" to lord over stars anymore. Maybe that’s for the youngsters anymore. The young bucks.

Well, what if the stars looked like THIS:

Yeah! YEAH! You’re ready to fucking LORD OVER SOME STARS NOW ain’t ya?

Of course you are, which is why I am happy to let you all know about the upcoming SPACE 4X GAME: STAR LORDS!!! I will be "championing" this game here, because I believe it will be the one space 4x game we’ve always wanted.

It is in early alpha now, but already it is showing signs of being the "chosen one". I mean, Christ! You wanna lord over some stars??

During your 4X-ing, you will of course come across other alien cultures, the exact same way you have since the genre was invented! Look, I am not saying this is going to break any ground here! I am just saying it’s going to take you back to when 4X was fun, and look great while doing it! Look! These alien cultures are about to go to war, because, you know, that’s what they do!

And unlike many recent space 4X offerings, when they go to war, you don’t just get a pretty "combat resolution" screen. You go to FUCKING BATTLE!!! In a TACTICAL BATTLE MAP!!! One… one simple word comes to mind here:

Isn’t this what you’ve always wanted? Since MOO, I mean? Of course it is. And that is why you should PRE-ORDER THE GAME for $20! Like I said, it’s in early alpha, some of the features are currently a little sketchy, and the user interface, while functional, how can I say it politely, "kinda blows wombat ass":

But that doesn’t matter. That’ll get fixed in time.

And now it’s YOUR time, to feel young, as when the world was new!

It is YOUR time…

…to be a STAR LORD.

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Jolt Country is presented by Ice Cream Jonsey.
Twitter: @icecreamjonsey

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