Tip, “Is this game OK for my kid?”

I get the question “Is game X ok for my kid?” a lot, and while it I might have some knowledge about a game (and will gladly give you if I have an opinion).  I know very little about what you think is ok and not ok for your kid.

First you should look at the ESRB, though this is usually to general to make an informed decision in my opinion.  It is a good place to start.  Also many smaller games like the ones you get on your phone and tablet will not have ESRB ratings.  Getting an ESRB rating is a process and costs money…

Second go to Youtube and type in “Lets Play” X, where x is the name of the game.  You should find videos of people playing the game, sometimes all the way from start to finsih.  They often have comentary. The comentary may not be kid safe even for kid games.  Watching the Lets play does several things.

  1. Lets you see what the game is really like when being played, and without having to buy it.
  2. You can skip around the videos sampling the entire game without having to invest a lot of time.
  3. You do not have to learn any game controls.

Here is an example search for lets play Shadow of Mordor, (ESRB M).

F.E.A.R. Online

While I had nothing to do with F.E.A.R. Online, 4 of 5 images used on the Steam store were areas that I worked on as an environment artist on FEAR 2.  Looks like the lighting chagned a bit in the image below, but I have almost the same image on my screenshots page.

FEAR_Online

 

Open Source Software Download Tip

I have been using more and more open source software both at home and work… Python, Aptana, WinRar, VideoLan to name just a few, and one thing that I noticed is that when I search for these tools to download there are a lot of fake websites that either download not what you are after, or tag on other junk during the install process.  The trick that I have been using to get around these is to search for the tool on wikipedia which for me has always linked me to the organization, that is a site where the software originated from.  I have been sharing this with a few people and they seem to think it is a novel idea, so I thought I would share as an attempt to blog more often.

Fix for Heman Miller Mirra Chair Back

Work was getting rid of some broken chairs, one of them was a Herman Miller Mirra Chair, its back rest that was coming loose from the frame. The plastic had failed and broken loose form the fastener on one side.  Once home and two zip ties later, fixed like this, and probably only needed the one zip tie.ChairFixI figure my new office chair cost me about nickel.  Might add zip ties to the other side to make it look symmetrical.

 

Dirty Jobs, I have done that one.

My dad was a fish hatchery manager, which meant that I got to live along a bunch of cool rivers, but I would have to pitch in and help from time to time, feeding, spawning, tagging, cleaning out the ponds, among other things.  Flipping through the channels awhile ago I noticed a place that I had been before… Unfortunatly it was on an episode of Dirty Jobs, “Rocky Reach Dam” (season 5, episode 8).  About 29 minutes in Mike goes to a fish hatchery that my dad managed years ago.  I never tagged fish how they are doing now.  But I have been in those ponds.  I used a fire hose to spray the poo, goo, and dead fish out of those ponds, where I learned to breath through my nose rather than my mouth really quickly (think splash damage)!  Links to episode Netflix, YouTube.  Obviously not something I put on my resume but pretty cool to see that on the tube.

Pax 2013

I think I have been to at least half the PAXs now.  The last few years I have been able to work PAX at the WB Games booth. Interesting and fun to meet the consumer of your work.  This year I mostly worked with the Dying Light guys, great game.  Also really cool seeing Guardians of Middle Earth there again, with a respectable line, especially considering that the game is a year old.  One of the perks of working the show is getting see the expo early the three days that I went, I was able to play all the games that had huge lines during the day before the public was alloyed in, probably cutting about 4 -6 hours of line time out of my life.  Zero wait time for Titan Fall, BF4, Ryse, Forza 5, Rayman Legends, Knack, and Beyond Two Souls to name a few.

Pax13Line

About half the expo waiting area.

One of the favorite things about PAX is seeing a lot of games that really do not get covered by the mass media.  Here are my top 10 games that I thought deserved an extra shout out:  Betrayer, Cool graphics, awesome story.  Volgarr, Reboot of one of my favorite arcade games Rastan.  Garden Warfare, Gotham City Imposter / TF2 but with plants and zombies (maybe should not be on this list).  Galak Z, Cool 80s anime graphics space shooter.  Super Puzzle Delux, Joust + Match 3 type puzzles.  Life Goes On, Refreshing game mechanic twist.  Pixel Junk inc, Love the art! fun to play too.  Delvers Drop, Good old Zelda like game play.  Secret Ponchos Cool graphics. Tower Fall, Looks like an awesome party game, nice retro graphics.