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Ramblings from the Marginalized » 2009 » May

May 2009

video games May 27th, 2009 by HMTKSteve

Chronicles of Riddick: LARP

I would like to thank everyone who took the time to enter the contest. I'd also like all of you to know that we only received five entries! If you did not enter (for whatever reason) you blew an easy chance at winning an awesome $60 game!

We have a winner! Rob Pitt is the owner of a shiny new PS3 copy of the Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Athena game.

I have more swag to give away so keep an eye out for future contesta.

Entries that did not win:


Uncategorized and video games May 25th, 2009 by HMTKSteve
The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena

Where do I begin?

The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena is a game for the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. The single player storyline of Dark Athena is set after the events of the 2004 title The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay. Unlike its predecessor Dark Athena includes a large multi-player portion. The game also includes a remastered version of the original Butcher Bay game.


Sometime after escaping from Butcher Bay with Johns, Riddick's ship is found by the mercs aboard the Dark Athena who pull it aboard for salvage and body harvesting. Lucky for Riddick (and unlucky for the mercs) Riddick's cryo tank releases him before the mercs board the ship. While Riddick hides in the ceiling the mercs come aboard and take John's unconscious body away. It is during all of this that Riddick acquires his first weapon, a hatpin from Gale Revas's (the captain of the Dark Athena) head.

It is now up to you, in the role of Riddick, to escape from the Dark Athena. You will use stealth for most of the early part of the game. Guns are not acquired until much later though you can use the guns of defeated drones but you can't take the guns from them.

There are a few side quests that can be performed for achievements but these are not needed to complete the game.

video games May 20th, 2009 by HMTKSteve

Fallout 3: A boy and his dog

Since the release of Broken Steel I have been feeling more and more like starting Fallout 3 all over again and playing through as a new character. While this idea was going through my head I started to wonder what the core perks were that most players always (or always should) take.

After that little brainstorming session I came up with my top five list of perks that all players should take when playing the game. They are listed in the order in which they can be taken and do not include perks gained through questing.

Comprehension – This perk doubles the effectiveness of skill books by allowing you to gain two points on a skill rather than only one point when the book is read. With 324 skill books in the game (roughly 25 per skill) this skill turns what could be a 25 point bonus for each skill into a 50 point bonus. Couple this with the skill bobble heads and you have a whopping 60 point bonus for each skill.

Since each skill starts with a minimum of 7 (based on Intelligence) taking the Comprehension perk means that you will only need to add 33 points (or less) to each skill over the course of your 30 levels to max them all out. If your Intelligence is a 5 each skill starts at 15!

With that said it is important to understand that you want your skills to max out as soon as possible so even with an Intelligence of 5 you will be gaining 14 skill points per level for a total of 390 skill points (or 30 per skill with 30 points left over). When you add in your three tag skills (+45 skill points) you find yourself with a grand total of 1,083 skill points to distribute across 13 skills. That means you will be able to put approximately 83 points into each skill over the course of your character's 30 levels. 83 + 15 = 98.

So, assuming you started with an Intelligence of five (and never found the Intelligence bobble head) each of your skills will be at 98 when you hit level 30. OR you could have 12 skills at 100 and one skill at 74. Without this perk all of your skills would be 25 points lower after reading all of the skill books.

Scrounger – This perk increases the amount of ammunition you find in containers around the DC Wasteland. Closely related to the earlier perk Fortune Finder this one is clearly better.

What makes it better you ask? It's better because when you find caps you have to convert them into something else (by bartering) before they become useful. Ammo, on the other hand, is useful as soon as you put it on your weapon!

Ammo can also be sold for caps and is never worth less than one cap. Caps, however are not exchangeable one-for-one when purchasing ammo except when buying the lower end ammo.

Strong Back – After you get a few guns you almost never wade into hand-to-hand with the denizens of the Capital Wasteland so why bother raising your Strength? What is there was a way to get the carry bonus benefit for having a high strength without having to raise your strength? There is and this is the perk.

Every point you raise your strength raises your carry weight by 10 pounds. The Strong Back perk raises your carry weight by 50 pounds! That is a 25% bonus for a character with the minimum strength of 5 (200 lbs base carry weight) for the cost of one perk.

Once you start looting heavy weapons and armor off of the enemies you defeat having a high carry weight becomes extremely important. This is especially true when you raid the armory in an Enclave outpost and find yourself unable to carry all of the cool stuff you find! Nothing hurts more than having to decide which named weapon to leave behind because you can't carry everything!

Animal Friend – Fighting off Mole Rats and Wild Dogs is not much of a challenge after you get a few levels under your belt but there is one beast of the Wasteland that is strong enough to take out Radscorpions and even wounded Deathclaws. I'm talking about the Yao Guai. These mutated bears are tough, fast and like to hide behind things before they attack you.

Having this perk turns those animal enemies into neutral friends. Taking this perk a second time turns those same animals into friends who will help you in a fight! I have not seen a reason to take this perk twice because if a friendly animal is close by I can usually just run towards them and they will cheerfully attack whatever is chasing after me!

Grim Reaper's Sprint – Nothing says “this game loves me” like seeing your action points refill after killing an enemy. If you use VATS this is the perk you have to have. It is hands-down the best of the level 20 perks in the game.

What's that? A room with six Enclave Troopers in it? If you don't have this perk you better have some good FPS skills because after the first one goes down you will be out of action points. However, with this perk as soon as the first trooper goes down your action points will be full again and you can quickly target the next one! Wash, rinse and repeat!

The above list of perks are good no matter what type of character you are playing as. I try to avoid the perks that give you skill points to one or two skills because I find them to be a waste when you have the Comprehension perk. Those perks do speed up your ability to increase a skill but with the level cap increased to 30 those perks have lost much of their luster.

The Entomologist perk has gained some new usefulness with the introduction of the Albino Radscorpions. Those things have no real weakness so if you find yourself encountering them a lot you might want to consider grabbing that perk.

In the end the choice of perks is always up to you and the type of character you are trying to create. After playing the game you will find a certain archetype appeals best to you and breaking free from that mold can be hard (right Grimjesta the sneak-sniper?) but also rewarding.

video games May 16th, 2009 by HMTKSteve

Secrets: The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena

Listen up everyone. We just received an extra copy of The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena from the publisher and we want to pass it on to you!

Now, in order to make things interesting we have decided to go with a "demotivational" poster making contest. If you want to win this contest you need to take an image of Riddick (from a game, movie, wherever) and turn it into a demotivational poster. The winner will receive a free copy of the game for the PS3. (Don't have a PS3? Most 'big box' stores will allow you to take it back without a receipt and exchange it for the 360 version. Just tell 'em your uncle got it for you or something!)

How To Enter

1. Find a cool image of Riddick. (Here or via Google.)
2. Think up a witty thing to write on it.
3. Create the poster using Motivator: Create your own customized motivational poster or a graphics program.
4. Email your entry to me via steve (at) hmtk (dot) com with the Subject of "Riddick Contest".

On Wednesday May 20, 2009 we will pick a winner. That winner will receive a free copy of the game.

video games May 15th, 2009 by HMTKSteve
Fallout3: Broken Steel


Continue your existing Fallout 3 game and finish the fight against the Enclave remnants alongside Liberty Prime. Broken Steel moves the level cap for your character from 20 to 30, allowing you to experience even more of the game, including new perks and achievements.

You may have dealt the Enclave a serious blow at Project Purity, but their forces are still out there, and still pose a grave threat to the people and security of the Capital Wasteland. In Broken Steel, you’ll continue your current Fallout 3 character past the events of Project Purity, and work with the Brotherhood of Steel to eradicate the Enclave threat once and for all. Travel to new locations like the Olney Powerworks, wield destructive new weapons like the Tesla Cannon, and fight powerful new creatures like the Super Mutant Overlord.

    Key Features:

  • Battle your way to level 30, with all new perks and achievements to unlock along the way!
  • Extends the Main Quest, allowing you to continue playing your existing character and find out what happens next in the Capital Wasteland.
  • Acquire new high powered Enclave Technology, including a new devastating flamethrower, the Heavy Incinerator.
  • Tougher foes await in life beyond level 20, including new enemies like the Super Mutant Overlord.
  • Your decisions will inalterably affect the outcome of the Wasteland’s survivors.

That is how Bethesda describes the new DLC content for Fallout3. that sort of information is good to get a general idea of what a game offers before you buy it but let me tell you right now that it does not do justice to what Bethesda has created.

Technology May 11th, 2009 by HMTKSteve

I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I just got an email from Dell telling me about their new 'Della' service:

Introducing Della, designed exclusively for women where style, technology and mobility meet. Dell Home helps organize your busy life with ultra portable netbooks that go everywhere you do. Personalize your Mini 10 at Della with exclusive artist designs, and make it all your own. Experience the freedom, experience sophistication, experience Della today.

Introducing Della! Life is complicated. Technology should be fun.

After glancing through the Della site I had to wonder if this is something good or something patronizing. The gamer in me remembers all of those super cheezy 'games for girls' video games from the 90's that looked like something a guy who had never met a girl would design.

Designer 1: I hear girls like horses.
Designer 2: Yeah? I heard they like dolls.
Designer 1: Let's design a game with horses that are dolls!
Designer 3: I knew a girl once... She liked to clean.
Designer 2: We can make a series of mini-games where the girl cleans up horse poop!

Girl with game talking to parents: You bought me a game where I have to clean up virtual horse poop???
Brother of said girl: Are you done cleaning up horse poop? I've got muties to mow down!!!

So... After giving it some thought I asked my wife her opinion.

After spending a few minutes on the site she told me that this site is a good thing. That a site like this is good for Dell in that it is aimed at educating their target audience and helping them find the right computer for their needs. Whether that need is processing power or something that is stylish and matches her shoes.

In that end I pronounce the new Della service as a good thing.

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