August 31, 2009

Public Option

The discussion topic this week is healthcare reform. The poll asks whether Democratic legislators should vote against a bill that doesn't include a public options, but here in the comments let's elaborate a bit: under what circumstances should Democrats vote against reform? Under what circumstances should President Obama veto a bill?

Video Game Night: Week 2

So the first VGN went rather well, with myself, Dan, Drew, and Jay playing quite a lot of Castle Crashers and getting our brand new characters very near level ten. After Drew and I quit for the night, Jay, Dan, and Dave went on further in Castle Crashers, though I can't say how that went. My guess is disastrously.

Last week's poll question was "What should be our core games for VGN?" Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 and Left 4 Dead both earned five votes, The Orange Box earned 4, and "An NHL Game" got three. So there's our core group of four games. Because it seems like most of us already own it now, I'm also adding Castle Crashers to the list. Now remember, what this means is that these games will be the core games that we play most often and which presumably we're all going to go out and buy so that we can play them together. I know money's tight for, well, pretty much everyone, but Castle Crashers is a relatively cheap XBLA game and both Left 4 Dead and The Orange Box have been out for a long time and are pretty cheap. I just looked on and Left 4 Dead can be had for $28 and The Orange Box is as little as $10.

As for the NHL game, as I said in the previous post, we probably want to wait until September 15 for NHL 10 to be released (the same day as Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2) to really decide on a hockey game. By then the reviews for NHL 10 will be in and NHL 09 will drop to below $20.

So there you go, two games under $20, one game under $30, one full priced game and one that could go either full price or cheap depending on what people want to play.

There has been lots of talk of games like Gears 2, or Call of Duty 4 (though they both only got 2 votes) and both those games are under $25 on, so there's something to think about as we expand out list of games. Also, feel free to use any VGN post to suggest other games that the group should pick up. I think it'd be fun for us to get either poker or UNO eventually.

Anyway, as you can see, I've put the poll up for next week's VGN and I've just used the three core games that we already have and thrown in one that's not a core game. I'd like to always have one game that's not a core game in the voting to just for variety's sake. So in addition to the many other topics I want you to discuss in this here post, everyone suggest four games that should be the Week 3 poll. I'm fine with just administratively choosing the games to be in the poll, but that's obviously going to heavily favor games that I want to play, so suggest away!

Video Game Night: Week 1

Here's one last thread for any and all thoughts/discussions about video game night. Also, I needed to let you guys know that I might not be there exactly at 8pm Eastern. Something's come up that I might need to be attending to. You all should mostly have each others' names, so I'll leave it to you to get some gaming going.

August 30, 2009

True Blood

Man, that was a crappy episode. You'd think with a thirteen episode season they wouldn't need any true padding, but seriously nothing happened. And it's not the good kind of "nothing happened" where we might get a fun little story. Nope, it was all about the big season plot, but they just moved the pieces around for an hour. I guess it's surprising that this is the first time I've felt this way. That's probably a good thing, I guess. Still, this episode was Poopsville.

Video Game Night: Week 1

Ok, so I think we've got enough people and enough kinks worked out to make this our first official Video Game Night week. As we decided, Video Game Night will start tomorrow, Monday August 31, 2009 at 8pm Eastern Standard Time and go until Midnight Eastern Standard Time. People are welcome to join in as their schedule permits. I'm sure that we're not all friends on Live yet, so we should probably use this post to post our Live handles.

As to the game of choice, we didn't get an opportunity this week to vote for a game, so I'm making the executive decision that this week's game will be Left 4 Dead. It seems pretty assured to be one of our four core games based on the current polling (if you know someone that hasn't voted in the poll, remind them to do so soon!). If you have a good reason why we shouldn't go for Left 4 Dead, post something in the comments. If you change my mind I'll make a post prior to game time.

August 27, 2009


Ezra tips me off to the controversial minotaur torture program. Link.

Heh, spine pile.

August 25, 2009

Compassionate Release

Scotland recently released Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, the only person convicted of the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 on compassionate grounds. Al-Megrahi has terminal cancer and was released to be with his family in Libya before he dies. Scotland also has a formal policy of compassion in their justice system.
Obviously, the relatives of people who died on that flight have been very vocally opposed, and have been joined by President Obama. Scots seem split on the issue. Supposedly Libya agreed that he would not receive a hero's welcome when he returned to the country, but was greeted by throngs of cheering people. There's also a rumor/conspiracy theory that Gordon Brown supported Scotland's release of al-Megrahi as a negotiating tactic in securing more trade with Libya.

So, what are your thoughts? Should he have been released? Is the justification practical (increased trade) or moral (compassion)? Should there be a general policy of compassion in criminal justice and if so, are there exceptions (say, terrorists?)?

Poll Results

Well, it looks like we'll focus our gaming nights on Mondays from 8-12pm Eastern Standard Time, playing mostly on the Xbox 360. Again, there should hopefully be regular posts here on the blog about Video Game nights, so if somebody wants to suggest a game from another system or a substitute or additional night for a particular week, just drop a comment. So make sure you're checking back here at least somewhat regularly to see if there are any developments, but there's our standard setup.

I'm putting a new poll up now, as you can see. Vote on the four games that you think should be our poll. If you vote for a sports game, post in this comment thread which version of the game you think we should get. Depending on how the poll comes out I think we may need to expand the number of core games beyond four (if, for instance, there aren't four clear winners), but we'll see how it turns out. As always, use this thread as a general comments thread for Video Game Night.

August 19, 2009

Game Suggestion Thread

Ok, so we're getting game night up and running. I think it would be a good idea if we had 2-4 games that everyone in the group owned. That way we have a pool of common games that can form the core of the Video Game Night experience. This isn't to say that every week will have one of these games. Sometimes another game will be selected through the vote outside these games and some people will own it and others won't. Those that won't may decide to pick it up, but they're certainly not expected to. Who knows though, maybe every four months or something we can all vote on a new game that everyone will buy so we always have an expanding roster.

So let's have it, name up to four multiplayer games that you think everyone in the group should own. Ideally, suggestions should include multiple genres, and including cheaper XBLA or other downloadable titles is also encouraged, as well as retail games that aren't necessarily brand new, and therefore might be found at less than $60.

August 18, 2009

Cake Wrecks

Thanks to a comment on Drew's place, I found Cake Wrecks, and got a hearty laugh in the process. Except for the Doctor Who cakes post, which was freakin' sweet. Link.


As you can see, there have been a few minor changes to the blog. It took me forever to realize it, but I guess Blogger offers some more fancy pants options than they did, lo those five years ago when we started here (5 years!). Among those changes, as you can see, is a weekly poll. The inclusion of a poll was the main reason for the update, particularly because several of my friends have discussed a weekly video game night. I actually hope to run two polls simultaneously so that one poll is always unrelated to Video Game Night.

The first poll is what night we should play. I think it's a pretty settled issue that whatever day we play on, the festivities should start at 8pm Eastern and run to 12am Eastern. That allows a large chunk of gaming as well as hopefully accommodating people's schedules and time zone issues. Obviously, people may not be able to start right at 8 and they may have to leave before 12, but that's our window.

As to system, most of the people I know have an Xbox 360. I know there has been some interest expressed in playing some PC games, particularly some MMOs. Hmmm, this may need to be another poll question, though I'm pretty sure I can run it concurrently to the "day" poll.

After scheduling is established, each week I'll put up poll where people can vote on what game will be played that week. I think we should probably agree upfront that one game should not be allowed to dominate VGN week in and week out. We're dealing with a semi-large group of people here, and in order to ensure continued participation I think we need to make sure that different tastes are being accomodated. So what should the rule be? Should no game be permitted to win two weeks in a row? Three? What mechanism should we use to enforce variety? Also, how many games should be in the weekly poll? If we have too many options, no clear winner could arrise, but we want to make sure that a variety of games are represented over time. How should we establish which games get in the poll for a given week? Should I just have a pool of game titles that people in the group are interested in and cycle through them? Should be have nominations?

Finally, I know people aren't going to want to play every game that wins a poll, and I'm sure that almost everyone will be unable to afford to buy every game that someone in the group wants to play. So all I ask is that everyone try their best. To keep this going we just need to make sure that we get people showing up regularly at the same time.

August 10, 2009

Tycho Is Right

I love it when Gabe and Tycho argue publicly on the PA front page. Clearly though, Tycho is right here. Link.