July 2007


Nintendo July 31st, 2007 by HMTKSteve

Mario Party DS

Following on the heals of the Mario Party 8 game released for the Wii we now have news of a November release of Mario Party for DS. No details have been released but I do have these few screenshots.

I'm going to make a guess and say the game uses local wi-fi for multi-player. I'm also going to hope that the game will also use the Nintendo WFC for global gaming!

Mario Party DS Mario Party DS
Mario Party DS Mario Party DS
Mario Party DS



Nintendo July 31st, 2007 by HMTKSteve
    10 interesting facts about Nintendo in the first half of 2007

  • Through the first half of 2007, the total Wiiâ„¢ hardware sell-through in the United States and Canada combined is more than 2.3 million units (2.1 million United States, 222,000 Canada).
  • For the first half of 2007, Nintendo represents nearly 70 percent of the industry growth in the United States and Canada combined.
  • In June alone, Wii was once again the top-selling home console with nearly 435,000 units sold in the United States and Canada combined (381,800 United States, 53,000 Canada).
  • In June alone, Nintendo DSâ„¢ was the top-selling video game system overall with nearly 608,000 units sold in the United States and Canada combined (562,000 United States, 46,000 Canada).
  • Nintendo remained the top video game publisher in the United States and Canada in June, as well as the top publisher for all of 2007.
  • In June alone, Nintendo has six of the top 10 best-selling games in the United States, including the top four: Mario Party® 8 and Wii Playâ„¢ for Wii, and Pokémon® Diamond and Pokémon® Pearl for Nintendo DS.
  • Of the top 30 best-selling games in the United States for all of 2007, half are for Nintendo systems.
  • The three best-selling games in the United States for all of 2007 are for Nintendo systems: Pokémon Diamond, Wii Play and Pokémon Pearl.
  • Wii already boasts more than 180 games, including 120 downloadable Virtual Consoleâ„¢ titles. By the end of the year, that total number will climb to about 330 games, including an additional 100 new games from every major third-party publisher, along with an additional 50 Virtual Console titles.
  • Approximately 300 games are already available for Nintendo DS, with another 140 titles expected by the end of the year from every major third-party publisher.

*Sources: NPD and NPD Canada




Games July 26th, 2007 by HMTKSteve

Playing Quartile

It has been a long time coming but I an now proud to announce the release of my new game, Quartile.

The original prototype of this game began under the name of "Quads" but was soon changed to "Quadrovex" after I found several other games already using the name Quads. Before final production was complete the game earned its third, and final, name: Quartile.

The first prototype was built from wood. I took a 2x2 and used a miter saw to cut it into little tiles. I then used a sharpie to mark up those tiles and test the game out. After getting the design down the way I liked it I moved on to marble. Yes, I said marble.

QuartileUsing marble tile from a tile store I was able to create some very beautiful prototypes to show around to publishers. Several publishers were interested in the game but only Simply Fun offered me a good deal. Before signing with Simply Fun I had already built 50 stone prototype sets, each with its own wooden box.

Why am I telling all of you this? Well aside from the fact that I would love for you to buy this game I am also offering up a contest of sorts.

If you would like to win one of my stone prototypes you can do one of the following:

  • Option one: Purchase a copy from me. Doing this will put your name in a drawing.
  • Option two: Blog about this new game (using this article as the article you link to and "Quartile" as the anchor text) and tell the world about it.

The contest will end on September 15, 2007 so you have plenty of time.

I only have a few marble copies left and once they are gone no more will ever be made. I sold some of the stone copies for $60, you can win one for free.

    There are a few differences between the two versions:

  • Original had only 36 tiles
  • Original comes in felt-bottomed box
  • Marbles tiles are all felt-backed
  • Boxes are signed and numbered

How to Play
There is a short flash video on the Simply Fun website that tells you how to play the game but I will give you the brief version here:

  • Mix up all 49 tiles into a facedown area called the quarry.
  • Every player takes four tiles.
  • Lay a random tile face down in the middle of the play area. This tile is "wild" on all sides and no one should know which tile it is.
  • Each player "bids" their lowest number tile. Winner picks who goes first. It is not always best to go first.
  • On your turn place a tile so that if it touches any existing tiles the outside numbers add up to the central number of the tile you are placing.
  • For everyside that matches (adds) up you score X points where X = (central number x matching sides).
  • At no time can you play a tile if all sides do not add up when touching other tiles. Thus if any sides touch other tiles they HAVE to add up correctly.
  • After you play a tile draw a tile from the quarry. If no tiles are in the quarry just play until all tiles are played.

This game is great for teaching basic math skills as well as spatial thinking and planning ahead skills. I know you will enjoy it just as much as I do.

Grim from grimjesta.com was one of my early testers. Check out his Quartile story here.

Internet July 25th, 2007 by HMTKSteve

I was doing some Internet browsing today and, on my way to Google, I mispelled the url. Instead of typing in google.com I typed in foofle.com. Imagine my surprise when I found myself at Google! This got me to thinking, how many other "typo" domains has Google purchased?

I focused entirely on common misspellings of the google domain name. I have no idea how many domain names Google may actually own and point back to itself.

    All of these go back to Google

  • g00gle.com
  • ggoogle.com
  • gogole.com
  • googel.com
  • googil.com
  • googli.com
  • googlie.com
  • googlr.com
  • goolge.com
  • gooogle.com

There are probably many more but these are the ones I was able to find by typing in URLs.

Internet and Pokemon July 24th, 2007 by HMTKSteve

We will soon be moving most of the Pokemon content to its own domain; PokeFarm. It will probably not happen before the end of the month but it will happen.

Right now I am spending some time to decide on what open source platform to use.

General and Star Wars July 23rd, 2007 by Force Drainer

with-john.jpg

Hi Folks,

On Sunday, July 1st 2007, the 501st Legion CT Garrison inducted John Ratzenberger into the Legion as an honorary member during Bridgeport’s Barnum Festival Parade. It was a real thrill to listen to him talk about his experiences on the set of Empire. After we inducted him, we gave him a handsome plaque, as well as some other 501st swag.

Mr. Ratzenberger was in the film “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back”, playing the part of ‘Major Bren Derlin’, though most people know him as ‘Cliff Claven’ from the television show, “Cheers”.

Cheers,

Paul Starybrat- The Force Drainer



General July 22nd, 2007 by HMTKSteve

After a very long week at Girl Scout Camp I am now back. Not only am I back but I am going to share a picture of my unit.

On Saturday we did setup. This consisted of going into the barn and taking out all of the equipment that was stored last year. I'm talking about everything from tents to coolers. Since my main job was to run the camp store I was in charge of getting the carport tent up to house the store and get the store ready for Sunday's open house.

Getting the carport up would have been a lot easier if I had directions in the box but I did not. Instead I had to figure out what poles went where. That was the easy part. The hard part was getting the sides and top on. They were connected with rubber band things and I was short a few.

Sunday morning I got the store ready for the open house and had some very good sales. In the afternoon we had a torrential downpour and I had to move some boxes off of the ground. The ground in the store never did dry out. Because we did not stay overnight I had to pack up the store every night and unpack it every morning.

Monday was out first real day of day camp and I was quickly sent to the Peter Pan unit. Peter Pan is a unit for the staff kids. Boys under 12 and girls who are not in first grade go here. I had two other unit leaders with me, Pooh and Newbee, as well as three program aides; Glinda, Wicked and Bulls Eye. Because of some trouble on Sunday our camp director (Archie) came down and gave the boys a stern talking to before I got there.

I was not expecting to be in the Peter Pan unit and my first thought was that I was being punished. I quickly found that I liked being in the Peter Pan unit. I chose Sir Lee as my camp name and only Newbee figured out the joke.

Over the course of the week we went through the various stations including singing tree, craft, program, games and archery. We also had the dreaded "free time" in which we were not scheduled for anything and instead had to find things to do. I'm not one for "busy work" so I dreaded this time of day.

Lucky for me I had two very good PAs (Glinda and Wicked) who showed great initiative during those times to keep the boys occupied. It also helped that I kept them in good spirits by sneaking them extra snacks!

One thing I learned from my army days that worked here is that you always take care of those under you. I made sure to keep my PAs happy and motivated so that they would do the same for the boys. It worked wonderfully. When Archie came around with brownies only for the unit leaders I gave mine to my two good PAs to split. I could have eaten it myself but a good leader always shares the spoils with his lieutenants.

With the exception on one rainy morning and one rainy afternoon the weather at camp held up very well. We had several interesting programs (you can read about them over at Clatter Valley's web site) and the only bad program involved a local Army National Guard parent who volunteered to drive a Hummvee over for the girls to check out. What a mistake that turned out to be. The guy was in full recruiting mode and the kids never even got close to the Humvee. Half way through the guys spiel I felt like calling him out for the weekend warrior that he is but I held back, I did not feel it was my place to speak up and I did not want to cause a scene.

Yes I was in the Army and yes I do consider it a viable career choice but, when you offer a service you deliver the service offered and agreed upon. I can not abide a bait-and-switch.

I did get in trouble once. Archie yelled at me the night of the PA party because myself and five PAs were busy playing Candyman and making too much noise too late at night. I had intended to only teach the game and watch but, when one of the girls left I felt obligated to sit in for her.

There was an overnight event on Friday and I did not sleep over as I had to go home and feed the cats.

When I returned Saturday morning it was breakfast and clean up time. Several of the parents stopped by too thank me for helping their kids have a great time and it was all good. By about 1:30 PM everything was packed away in the barn and I was heading to the bookstore to pick up my copy of the New Harry Potter book, which I have since read!

I will be going again next year and I leave you with this group shot of me with my unit.

Peter Pan

General and Random and Stories July 20th, 2007 by Whitdjinn

It was a cool brisk fall evening when Joe happened upon the events that would change his life forever.

He had gone for a bite to eat after school that afternoon. Pizza, his usual choice, sausage and mushrooms. He had gotten 3 slices and finished them all, along with a large soda.
He carried his thin, wary form out the door of Mario's Pizzeria and onto the sidewalk running along Downtown. A quick breeze stirred the dirty blond hair that hadn't been cut in months. Stuffing his hands into the leather jacket he had gotten the previous Christmas, he held it closer to block out the wind that continued to blow around him.

Joe's mind began to wander the same way his feet were wandering - not along their normal route. Don't misunderstand - Joe's mind carried him off often, as with any teenage mind, but this time it wasn't the standard sports and girls or late assignments that drew his attention from the damp sidewalk in front of him. Something that Mrs. Underwood had said today during History class had sparked his interest to the point that he couldn't keep it from intruding on every class for the rest of the day.

"The only limits you need to observe, are the limits you place on yourself."

She had been talking about one of Ben Franklin's inventions innovating life at the time, but the comment instantly struck Joe as something to pay attention to. He had been limiting himself quite a bit lately. In Math he had purposely answered a few test questions wrong in order to prevent his sixth perfect test in a row; in Gym he had to slow his speed so that he wouldn't outrun Coach Bailey. Ever since starting at Carter High School he had been doing that more and more. His ability to do so well only served to make him feel more alone, further from the few friends he did have. He was still doing better than he ever had before, things were just so clear lately. He looked at a hard math problem, or at another hurdle on the track around the football field and it just ... made sense.

Joe finally found his way home, and as he was turning the doorknob to go inside when a bright flash of light drew his attention behind him. It was far off in the distance but he couldn't take his eyes off of it.

Another bright flash! This one was further away still. Joe couldn't explain it at all, but each time it would flash, his body would pulse in time with it. Three, four, five flashes later and he convulsed with each of them. One final flash brightened up the night sky and making it day again. Joe's body shook violently and he could feel the blood flow through each tiny vein as it pulsed along with the light. Suddenly, everything went black!

Joe lifted his head from the wooden slats of the porch floor to his family's house. It was still dark out. He looked hard into the darkness to spot the light he seen only moments ago. Or was it hours? he checked his watch and it showed 9:15 PM. That sounded right to him, fifteen minutes until curfew. That should be just enough time.

His legs moved almost on their own after that. He willed himself towards the small wood where the light had come from. The pounding of his blood through veins and arteries had subsided, at least for now. He felt mostly normal except for the increasingly heavy breathing from running. Closer and closer he came to the spot where he assumed the light had come from. As he ran the images of the light from earlier replayed in his mind. The picture in his head was so crisp, so clear, so real. He saw himself looking at the light, feeling his body react to the pulsing glow. He stopped the reeling in his mind before getting to the point where the blackout happened.

Joe took of his jacket, the sweat starting to build and becoming a hindrance. The cool night air felt almost cold against his moist skin. As he tossed the jacket aside he heard a noise. That noise should have been a plop on the ground when the jacket hit, but it wasn't. Curious, he looked back to the spot the jacket would have landed.

Small waves radiated from the spot the jacket had fallen into the water. In disbelief he looked around himself and saw that he was standing about a mile straight into the middle of the lake. His mind reeled once again at how this was possible, and how he was standing motionless on top of the water.

And then he wasn't.

I'd like to thank Steve for the opportunity to write for the site. I haven't seen any works of fiction up here previously, so I don't know how well it'll be received. Thought provoking I hope! If you like what you read, and would like to see a continuation of this story, or perhaps a new one altogether, I am starting up a blog: ProdigalKnight. I look forward to hearing your feedback and hope all is going well at the Day Camp this week for Steve!

editor's note: No works of fiction? Check out the story section!

~ Whitdjinn

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