Start of the new semester

Once again another semester has started. This will probably be my last semester here at IU Bloomington since I’ve applied for a teaching fellowship at one of the satellite IU campuses (I’ve tentatively accepted an offer from one but the paperwork hasn’t gone through I I’ll wait to mention which one lest I jinx it!)

Over the break I started playing a coupel games I thought I would mention. The first is probably not new to a lot of people: Peggle which is kind of a cross between Pachinko, The Price is Right’s Plinko, and bumper pool.
The next is probably less familiar but just as addictive to those of us that love FPS games and zombies: Zombie Master. There’s also Zombie Panic but I’ve not gotten around to playing that yet. ZM is kind of a combination between a FPS and an RTS with the zombie master playing from overhead god mode and using a control panel to spawn computer controlled zombies. I think I like it partially because of the zombies but also because the fact that they are zombies means that they are mostly slow which means that it isn’t really an advantage to use hacks or cheats and you don’t die right away from a headshot like you do in Counter-Strike. There also isn’t much trashtalking because you are all on one team and the zm will be someone different next round.

The final game I’m playing is probably the most obscure: You Are Empty. It is a Russian-made FPS that is set in the 50s-era Soviet Union (what is it with Eastern Europeans making FPSs lately?) It features mentally ill or handicapped people wearing head restraints and straitjackets running at you with sharp sticks, firefighters with flamethrowers, and ten feet tall killer chickens. To the best of my knowledge it is a 100% accurate depiction of life in Soviet Russia…

I have no idea what the name of it means but it is like 90% of the way to a decent game. It looks kind of like Half-Life 2 with the setting of a worn down deteriorating city but it lacks the Source engine’s physics or ability to pick as many things up. The main character is also the slowest character ever. He may be on crutches or in a wheelchair for all I can tell because when you are trying to run from a giant chicken you feel nothing but frustration. I wish they could give the company another 6 months to polish it (perhaps they need to Polish it to make it up to snuff?) or that someone would remake it for a better engine.

It wasn’t all great gaming over the semester break though as I did experience one gaming-related heartache. I tried to play Bioshock but my videocard is only a shader model 2.0b card and it requires a 3.0 card. There is a hack to make it work with my card but it says it could take up to 15 minutes to load a level. I think I’ll wait. Regardless, until I upgrade I’ll have to start reading minimum system requirements. Nooooo…!!!! The horror! The horror!

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