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carlforhan's blog

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Game on!

Well, I'm hauling the entire crew of MN Forhans to WI this weekend for Midwest Gaming Classic. I will be a vendor at the show as I have in the past, but it's been 7 years since I last attended! Time flies, you know...

You can learn more about the gaming goodness here:

http://midwestgamingclassic.com

Some of the organizers of this show even attend JagFest '99 which I organized nearly 10 (!) years ago in Rochester!

I know my older boys will love the show; they have never been to these shows at an age where they can appreciate all the games.

Smile

Tyler got baptized!

Alyssa and I couldn't be prouder of Tyler, who voluntarily chose to be baptized in water at church yesterday. He and 5 other kids plus 6 adults all got baptized during our Sunday morning service. He even had to get in front of the church and briefly share why he was getting baptized. It is incredible to see our "little man" taking these next steps in his life! Amazing that he turns 10 in less than two weeks...

I'd upload a picture, but I don't seem to have authority to do so! I've never been able to upload to any gallery. :(

Video playground

Earlier this year I purchased Pinnacle Studio 11, which actually runs pretty well on my ol' WinXp machine. Well, at least it does since I upgraded the RAM to 2GB, switched out the 2.6Ghz Celeron for a 3.06Ghz P4, and added a 512MB video card.Laughing

I've found I really enjoy video editing, although it's hard to find free time for it! You can see some samples of what I've done so far here:

http://www.youtube.com/user/jointheremnant

I'm hoping to put together a "MN Forhan" DVD from all our 2008 home movies. I probably won't do a lot of the fancy cuts and music, but it's still fun to learn the ropes.

 

P.S. - I tried to embed a YouTube video directly using the "html" button in the blog tool, but it didn't work. Is that something that can be enabled? Also, I don't seem to have a way to upload Gallery pics (again). Either I forgot how, or the link disappeared for me. Wink

Portal: Still Alive

I recently tried the demo of Portal on XBLA, and was really impressed by this offbeat game. I went ahead and purchased it (1200 points -- the only downside!), and have had a blast playing it. This is unlike any other FPS I've played, because the focus is all on the puzzle-solving aspect. A few maps have timing/agility aspects as well, but generally it's all about playing smart and staying alive.

The game did feel a bit short, but it was still very satisfying. The challenge maps, which are stand-alone maps not part of the main game, are a nice bonus for replayability because you are trying to achieve certain scores on each challenge map, like fewest footsteps, lowest time, fewest portals, and so on. There are also some cool easter eggs / achievements sprinkled throughout the game.

I think Pat would really appreciate the deadpan humor of this game, but I suspect all the bubbas would enjoy it. Try the demo out for yourself!

Orlando

We just returned from our annual Orlando vacation! 10 days in 85 degree weather. What a great time we had. We went to Universal Studios for 1.5 days (supposed to be 1 day, but they gave us some afternoon passes to come back within 48 hours due to some schedule misprints they had). We visited Clearwater beach near Tampa -- LONG drive and cool weather but the kids enjoyed the ~1 hour we spent in the ocean. Wink We played mini-golf and of course lots of swimming and tennis. Food was great as well -- we did everything from Texas Roadhouse to Maggianno's Little Italy to Cici's Pizza.

I'll try to post some pics if I get time & remember to do it. Smile

I own a Buffalo!

Well, not that kind of buffalo. I own a Buffalo LinkStation Pro. It's a NAS with two 500GB drives in a RAID-1 configuration. I have redirected my "My Documents" to point to the network drive instead of my C drive, so now all our photos, videos, MP3's, downloads, etc. are backed up instantly.

 

I bought it for $250 shipped at Buy.com (looks like the price has gone up since last week):

http://www.buy.com/prod/buffalo-1tb-linkstation-pro-duo-network-hard-drive-7200-rpm-raid-sata/q/loc/101/206531661.html

 

Highly recommended!

Gallery? What Gallery?

OK, I admit it: there are many computer things I just don't know yet. How on earth do I create a Gallery here so I can add to the "random image" sidebar? Smile

XBLA Undertow mini-review

So I finally played some Undertow over the last couple days... seems like a pretty nifty little game, with some very nice graphic effects. I enjoy "territories" game types (ala Halo 3), so this one is mostly right up my alley. Mostly.

 

Pros:

1. Really nice graphics

2. Fast and furious gameplay

3. Character selection and upgrade

4. Cool powerups

5. Multiple ways to traverse the map

 

Cons:

1. I have a really hard time figuring out how to switch my character in the base

2. Do I have any control over how often my teammates spawn, where they spawn, and what kind of characters they are?

3. Very limited life, and no way to ram people, so the bigger ships seem almost useless.

4. No real strategy for the solo game; it's just jump in guns-a-blazin'. And why don't my teammates protect our bases more? It's not like my one character can be everywhere at once.

5. Could the story mode have any more cheese in the cut scenes?

 

Summary:

 I like the game, and would really enjoy playing multiplayer to see if it improves some of the strategy limitations. I got mine free on XBLA so it's a great value overall, but would I have paid for it? Hard to say.

Turkey Day Excitement!

Well, we had a very nice Thanksgiving here in MN, with lots of food and family to go around. So, we got home, got the kids to bed, and had just sat down around 10pm to watch a show. Suddenly I hear a thunderclap and all the power goes out.

Alyssa and I fumble a bit for a flashlight, then we look outside to see what happened. We can make out what appears to be headlights in the trees behind our house about 150 yards away!

I get my coat on and rush outside, and sure enough a car ran off the road and into our woods. At first we were concerned about a downed power line, but as it turns out, he had sheared through the (non-powered) guide wire which whipped up over the live wires and shorted them out.

Police and ambulance were on the scene within 15 minutes (amazing!). The driver was standing by his car but bloodied, and they took him out on a stretcher. We were without power for about 2 hours, and then at 1am in the morning they were chainsawing more trees so the tow truck could pull the car out with a tow cable.

I cleaned up the mess a day later, and filled my garbage can with plastic debris. I actually found the driver's cell phone in three (still functional) pieces, so I put it together and called up his family who was grateful to be able to pick up the phone. The driver was a kid, college age I think, and he had some serious gashes in his head but was home from the hospital.

Whew! What a way to end the day.Smile

How come...

... computers can do so many amazing things, but only make life more complicated than it used to be? :)

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