Friday, October 24, 2014

News - SCU Health Care

My old college, Santa Clara University, has been having big debates over health care. You see, Santa Clara is a Catholic school, run by Jesuits. Last year, the Jesuits announced that they were getting a new health care plan. The new plan more closely follows Catholic teaching, and unlike the previous plan, it doesn't cover optional abortions.

My Facebook feed got messy when the plan was announced. Half of my friends shouted that women have a right to have abortions, no matter what. The other half shouted that abortion is murder, and it should never be allowed, no matter what. No compromise was reached.

The health care plan goes into effect next year. But this week, California Governor Jerry Brown stepped in and declared that all health care plans in California must cover abortions. No exceptions. So that makes the debate at my college null and void, more or less.

I wonder if the university will re-hire the staff members who quit their jobs in protest. Or if different staff members will now quit.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Cooking

My cooking experiment this week was Idaho Nachos. I got those at a Mexican restaurant two years ago. Basically, it's nachos, except they have potatoes where the chips usually go.



It's like that, except you use liquid cheese and taco meat instead of bacon.

Sadly, the so-called "easy recipes" on the Internet are hard. They say that you back the potatoes in the oven, which is easy. Then you cut the potatoes in half and scoop out the insides. This is the hard part. There must be a trick to scooping out potatoes, because a third of my potatoes fell apart, right at the start.

(Katie had an alternate recipe that cuts the potatoes into quarters. Sounds even MORE difficult.)

Next, you coat the potatoes with butter and oil. With, erm, a paintbrush. Is it normal to use paintbrushes while cooking? I just used my fingers.

Next, you broil the potatoes in the oven for two minutes. Flip them over, then broil them for another two minutes. This was the first time I used the "broil" setting on the oven. As it turns out, "broil" means "set off the fire alarm", because that's what happened each time. Another third of my potatoes were burned. That is, the skin became black and looked nasty. Despite this, Katie assured me that the meal was undercooked, because the potato skins weren't crispy enough.

In the end, the meal was okay. I kind of messed up on the cheese, because I have no idea how liquid cheese works. Maybe I'll make them again, when I feel like it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Dick Tracy

Dick Tracy finished its storyline with Little Orphan Annie. It turns out that Dick and Annie weren't really in the 1940's. They were on an island, where an evil man named Axel brainwashed everyone into thinking it was the 1940's. Basically, it was like Professor Layton 3, where the villain convinced scientists that they travelled through time, in order to force them to build a giant killer robot.

In this case, Axel was forcing a farmer-scientist to build a giant bomb. Still, I have to ask, "WHY BOTHER PRETENDING YOU TIME-TRAVELLED?!". If your goal is to force a scientist to build a bomb, hold him at gunpoint or kidnap his wife or something. Better yet, Axel, brainwash him. You've already proven you can brainwash people into believing anything you want. Why don't you brainwash the scientist into working for you? That should be much easier than brainwashing him into thinking it's the 40's.

Axel brainwashed everyone using a radio show. The story was pretty unclear on how this worked, but this makes me further question Axel's plans for world domination. Dude, you can brainwash anyone, by playing something on the radio! Why do you need a bomb to take over the world? Simply brainwash everyone into making you the leader of the planet! Again, that should be much easier than brainwashing people into thinking it's the 40's.

Oh well. The story is over now, and Annie can rest in peace. Dick Tracy appears to be going forward with a cowboy story. Yeehaw?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Deadly Device Speedrun

A couple months ago, I submitted a speedrun for Nancy Drew: The Deadly Device to Speed Demos Archive, the main speedrunning website. After a lot of processing, my run is officially up for public verification. Yay!

Basically, this means anyone can watch the run, comment on it, and recommend whether to accept or reject the run. After two weeks of this, the website's official person goes over what everyone said, then makes a final decision. If it's accepted, great! I'll do commentary and post it on Youtube. If it's not accepted, fine! I'll still do commentary and post it on Youtube!

"Public verification" is a bit of a false name, as you have to have an account with Speed Demos Archive before you can review it.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Haunted Halls 4

For Halloween this year, I'm playing Haunted Halls 4! Last year, I played Game One, Game Two and Game Three. Enjoy my spooky Halloween voice!



I wouldn't mind doing something else for Halloween, but I'm going to be playing Nancy Drew instead. Today will be my first attempt at beating the new game on Master Sleuth mode. Uh oh!

If Halloween isn't your style, maybe you would like the Indiana Jones Christmas game.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Game Development

Beta testing is finished for my Sherlock Holmes game. My next step is to submit it to Hosted Games and hope they pick it up. If they don't, I'll share the unpublished version with everyone.

On the other game front, the demo for Pride and Prejudice is done. The game is only about 25% done, but Diana and I are waiting to see how people like it before committing to writing out another 50+ pages.

Secret Project #1 is going well--the last thing I need to do is finish the artwork. Then when I see the game in action, I'll decide I hate the artwork and throw it out. Just like Secret Project #2, where I wrote the entire thing and later decided it is a horrible story.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

News

In the news this week, Apple and Facebook implemented programs, which allow their female employees to freeze their eggs. The idea is that the women will be able to focus on their careers, then have children later in life.

My cynical side is thinking that Apple and Facebook are just looking for a way to get out of paying for maternity leave. I would also point out what many people have already discovered: having children later in life is a good idea in theory, but in reality, it doesn't work so well. Once a woman is 35 or older, the odds of her having a healthy pregnancy dramatically decrease every year. But hopefully medical practices will improve on that front.

In other news, people made a fuss over the document the Catholic Church released. The final version of the document is set to be released today. I wonder what changes they're going to make, and what Pope Francis will do. I know he likes to throw out prepared scripts and make things up on the fly, but I hope he doesn't do that in this particular instance. The Bishops might be offended. (But not too offended, because he is their boss.)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Three Things Friday

1. I hear you readers loud and clear. I will make a Master Sleuth walkthrough for Nancy Drew: Labyrinth of Lies! I want to play the game a few times before recording, so my walkthrough will be crisp and professional. (I also want to try a speedrun because, oh my gosh, this game is fun.)

2. I'm done with programming my Sherlock Holmes game! This means I need beta testers to play through the game and let me know if any errors come up. I'm not sure how to find them. Maybe I should just post the link on Twitter and ask if anyone wants to test it out. But can they send me valuable feedback with a character limit?

The game is made up of four cases, so it'd be nice if I could get four people. I'd give one case to each person.

3. Last year, I played Haunted Halls 1-3 for Halloween. They released a fourth game, so I want to post a walkthrough of it for this year's Halloween. The walkthrough is already done; I'm just wondering when to post it. Before or after my walkthrough for Nancy Drew: Labyrinth of Lies? I don't want to miss the Halloween deadline, so it might be safer to post it before.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Wait

How long should I wait before starting my official walkthrough for Nancy Drew: Labyrinth of Lies? Should I even bother doing an official walkthrough? People seem to prefer the first playthrough.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sherlock Holmes Game

I am writing my Sherlock Holmes game right now. It's based on the original book, and so far, I've done the first three stories, which is about 30,000 words total. For the fourth story, I don't know if I want to do "The Boscombe Valley Mystery" or "The Man with the Twisted Lip". Any preferences? They're both fine stories, but "The Man with the Twisted Lip" is more popular.

The book has 12 cases, but I was thinking of only doing four. That way, if my game is popular, I can make a Volume 2 and a Volume 3. Alternately, I could do all 12 cases and use the second Sherlock Holmes book for sequel material, but that's tripling my workload.

Another option is to do four mysteries, and have The Valley of Fear as a finale case. That's a Sherlock Holmes mystery book, which is about three times longer than the average story. Seems like a good length for a finale case, right?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Dating Game

This is a Nancy Drew fanfic my fiancée wrote in May. I keep meaning to read through it / edit it.

---

Tag Line: "Who will Frosty pick? Will it be Miwako, Yumi, or Takei?"
Characters:
Announcer: Bob
Bachelor: Frosty
Bachelorette #1: Miwako
Bachelorette #2: Yumi
Bachelorette #3: Takei

Bob: Welcome to Arglefumph's Dating Game! Where love is in the pixels and ships are made. Episode #1 Nancy Drew Trail of
The Twister Meets Nancy Drew's Shadow at the Water's Edge. My name is Bob and I will be your host tonight. Thanks for
joining us folks. Let's meet today's lucky bachelor Frosty. Frosty come out and introduce yourself.

Frosty: Thanks for having me Bob, it is an honor to be here today. You folks in the studio audience might remember me from
such fabulous games as Nancy Drew Trail of the Twister, and uh, that's about it. I am a photographer by profession and a
gentleman by choice. I hope to find a lovely lady that loves excitement and traveling to mundane Midwestern locals.

Bob: Thanks Frosty. Now let's go over the rules. Our bachelor will be introduced to 3 lovely ladies, and will be allowed
to ask them all 3 questions each. Then the tables turn and the girls will each be able to ask him one. At the end of the
question and answer portion, our bachelor will pick one lucky lady to go out on a date. But that's not all! She will also
win $10,000 and HER Interactive upcoming Nancy Drew game. But there is a catch. Our bachelor will not be able to see any of these ladies until he makes his choice.

Now let's bring out our lucky ladies:
Presenting Bachelorette #1 - Hi my name is Miwako. I run a successful hotel and uh, dismiss rumors.
Presenting Bachelorette #2 - Hi my name is Yumi. I run a more successful bento shop and let strangers into my apartment.
Bachelorette #3 - Hi my name is Takei. I teach traditional Japanese classes and I can teach you a thing or two sonny boy.

Bob: Ok Frosty what is your first question?

Frosty: Ok ladies: What is your favorite food and what would you feed me, if given the chance?

#1: I love plain rice and cold tea, but for you Frosty, I would make you plainer rice.

Frosty: Sounds, very plain.... Ok #2

#2: Frosty I would serve you the tastiest bento box, which would take me a full hour to arrange after much frustration. From there I would let you spoon feed me hot sauce at the empire state building.

Frosty: Sounds hot, #2. Going to be hard to top that #3.

#3 Oh my. Well I am a simple woman. I only like candy and that was all was to offer you, Frosty-san.

Frosty: CANDY! I LOVE CANDY!!! Oh #3 feed me candy.

#3 Oh yes, Frosty.

Bob: Ok kids, simmer down. Frosty, Question #2

Frosty: Ladies what are you wearing right now?

#1. A practical hotel uniform of course. It isn't haunted at all I can assure you.

Bob: Number #2

#2. A short fabulous dress that I designed myself.

Frosty: Sounds hot, #2. Going to be hard to top that #3.

#3. Oh my, well I am a simple women. I am only wearing a simple robe.

Frosty: What?! You simply scandalous woman.

#3 Oh yes, Frosty

Bob: OK Grandma keep it clean, middle school girls could be watching this.

#3 Yes, Bob-san

Bob: Last question Frosty, make it a good one.

Frosty: All right ladies, describe your ideal man.

#1 - uh a woman.

Bob: Awkward, #1, very awkward. Remind me to fire Michael after this.

Michael: What?! Ah...

Bob: Ok, #2
#2 - I want a submissive man that will support by ambitions and send cute avatars to me.

Frosty: I kind of like that. #3 going to be hard to beat that.

#3 Oh my. Well I am a simple women and I prefer pursing creative activities together that involve painstaking precision
with a high risk of failure.

Frosty: I can't wait to do some high risk creative activities with you #3

Bob: Ok ladies, time to turn the tables. #1 your turn to question Frosty. Remember you only get one, so make it a good
one.

#1 Ok Bob. Frosty: I have a certain, pest problem at my hotel -

Frosty: Did you say pest?! As in mice?! EEEEEEEE

#1 Never mind Frosty.

#2 My turn! Frosty: Are you scared of mice?

Frosty: Uh no, a big tornado chasing photographer like myself afraid of mice? No way.

#2 There's one by your chair.

Frosty: EEEEEE!!!

Bob: Knock that off #2. Ok #3 Your question.

#3: Frosty I like a man who is helpful. Do you often give directions, like what to put in a disaster kit?

Frosty: In fact I just did that in my last game.

#3 Oh my. Pardon by blushing.

Bob: All right Bachelor it is time to decide. Which lucky contestant will it be today? Will it be #1, #2, or #3?

Frosty: Well Bob I think it should be obvious, contestant #3 stole my candy heart.

Bob: Is that your final answer Frosty?

Frosty: Uh, of course it is Bob.

Bob: Ok ladies, come on out.

Frosty: Oh my contestant #3, you are so young and perky.

Bob: That is contestant #2 Frosty. Contestant #3 is her grandmother.

Frosty: Uh hi......

#3: Yah, I am kind of disappointed too.

Bob: That's all for now folks. See you next time on: Arglefump's Dating Game!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Family Synod

As I mentioned earlier, the Catholic Church is holding an Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on Marriage and the Family. Week 1 (of 2) was made up of dozens of speeches, from people all over the world. Today, they released a summary document of Week 1, written by nine of the Synod members.

Sadly, the unofficial English translation is a little chunky. I'm going to try to summarize/explain it anyway.

---

Part 1. There are many social and cultural problems that people face today, such as selfishness, violence and crushing economic situations. People need to improve their emotional lives and grow as human beings. This means they must leave behind immature / emotionally-fragile mindsets, such as "refusing to change" or "ignoring the needs of others". The Church must help people in their search for growth, no matter what situation they are in.

Part 2-1. In Matthew 9, Jesus talks about the fact that marriage lasts forever. However, he acknowledges the fact that Moses allowed for divorce. This is how God works. God has an ideal standard that he directs people towards, but he meets people where they are, not where they should be.

Part 2-2. Holiness and truth can be found outside of the Catholic Church. In the same way, holiness and truth can be found in marriages which do not have sacramental fullness. That is, holiness and truth can be found in civil marriages, cohabitation, and with divorced and remarried people. It would be awful if the Church dismissed these people out of hand, because they do not fit the Church's ideal of marriage.

Part 3-1. Catholics must do a better job of reaching out to other people. This involves self-improvement, and it should not take the form of setting up rules and regulations. Rather, Catholics should be putting forward values, responding to the needs of others. After all, Christian marriage is not a cultural tradition or social obligation; it is a vocation that is accepted only after mature discernment.

Part 3-2. To help with marriages, there must be better marriage preparation and more community involvement. It would be helpful for older married couples to help and work with younger married couples. It would also be helpful if there was better training for priests and people who work in churches.

Part 3-3. Cohabitation, also known as "living together before marriage", should not be automatically condemned. Sometimes, this is done for economic reasons, or as a preparation for marriage. (Sometimes, this is done in order to avoid marriage, which is bad.) People in these situations can achieve authentic family values, and they must be welcomed with patience and delicacy.

Part 3-4. As for divorced or separated people, the Church must not automatically condemn them; more often than not, these situations are "endured", not chosen. It's difficult to talk about these situations in a way that covers every one, because each situation is unique. Rather than set up general rules, it'd be better for local churches to examine them on a case-by-case basis. Again, condemning them is not the answer; rather, the first step is to listen to them with love, with a view of relieving their suffering.

People made various proposals for improving marriage preparation and for improving the annulment process. Everyone agrees divorced people should be allowed to receive the Eucharist, but there was disagreement on whether divorced and remarried people can receive the Eucharist.

Part 3-5. Catholics must welcome homosexuals, who have good qualities and gifts to offer. Homosexual unions are not the same as marriages, and they may present moral problems, but the partners can provide precious support to each other.

Part 3-6. Oftentimes, having children is reduced to a variable in a couple's plans. For example, there are couples who want children, but don't have children, because they can't afford them. What the Church needs is realistic language, to address this problem. Being open to life is an essential part of marriage; we want to foster living in a harmonious and aware way, with communication between spouses, in all its dimensions.

Part 3-7. Education is important, and the community at large must help more with education.

Part 4. This is just a summary of what was said in Week One. Please do not mistake this for an official proclamation or decision on the part of the Catholic Church.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Nancy Drew: Labyrinth of Lies

Okay, I finished my first playthrough of Nancy Drew: Labyrinth of Lies. Now I can leave the house again.

I liked the game, and I particularly liked the ending. The ending part took me five videos to get through, so you could say that it was nice and long. Also, seeing Nancy from behind was five types of awesome.



The thing I liked least was probably all of the work you had to do in the museum, and the work with authenticating the art pieces. For whatever reason, I had a hard time with those challenges. I wonder if there is a faster way to get through them.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Deadly Device Review

Here's my review for Nancy Drew: The Deadly Device.



I have other game reviews that are half-written. They are Alibi in Ashes, Creature of Kapu Cave, Secret of the Scarlet Hand, The Silent Spy, Tomb of the Lost Queen and Trail of the Twister. I will finish writing them...eventually. I have to replay those games, first, because I don't have any of them memorized.