Monday, May 30, 2016

Book Reviews

I've got twelve book reviews that I've recorded right now. Four reviews each, from three series.

Boxcar Children #7 8, 9 and 35
Starfleet Academy #7, 8, 9 and 10
Nancy Drew Files #31, 32, 33 and 34

I'd post a poll asking which series reviews I should post first...but I know Nancy Drew Files will win, because it has "Nancy Drew" in the title.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Pizza Announcement Voice

Most workers at my pizza store make the mistake of using their normal voices when calling out pizzas. When the story is full and noisy, that doesn't work at all. The customers won't hear you, especially if you're trying to reach a customer on the far side of the store.

What I do is shout from my diaphragm, so my voice is extra-loud and can be heard everywhere. The way you do this is to fill your lungs with air, and speak from the bottom of your lungs. The idea is that it makes your voice deeper, so it carries farther. It's the same technique that you use in choir, to hold a note for a really long time. It's very similar to the projection technique that people use in theater. (I'm not very good at choir or theater, so I don't know the difference.)

So, I had a dumb idea! Could I make this a puzzle in my pizza delivery game? Like, the main character calls out pizzas, when a co-worker scolds them for not being loud enough. "You need to hold your breath, like you're singing a long note!" Cue a music puzzle, where the co-worker forces you to sing an annoying pizza jingle about five times, until you get it right.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Pepper's Adventures in Time

I just finished playing Pepper's Adventures in Time. It's an education game, about Benjamin Franklin. The story is that a girl has to go back to colonial times, to prevent Benjamin Franklin from becoming a hippie.

It's a nice enough game, and the walkthrough will be uploaded to my YouTube channel eventually. This is an early 1990's adventure game, and for the most part, I liked the old adventure game style of throwing puzzles at you, with little direction as to what you have to do. It makes you feel extra-smart, if you can solve one of those puzzles on your own. Fortunately, the game doesn't throw you to the wolves; it does a good job of giving you hints, if you're stuck, and it helps that a fair amount of puzzles have multiple solutions. Pretty much what I want/like from an adventure game.

The main problem with the game is that it's slow. The game pauses before and after every piece of dialogue, as well as pausing before and after every animation. At most, the pause is two seconds long, so it's not game-breaking levels of awful, but it's still very noticeable when the game pauses to switch screens, pauses to have your character walk onscreen, and pauses after your character walks onscreen, every single time. I'll give the game the benefit of the doubt and say the pauses are there, due to hardware limitations at the time of the game's release.

There were two puzzles I didn't like so much. First, the "wait for a minute, until a character enters the room" puzzle. I thought I had screwed up, because I kept clicking on everything, and nothing was happening! Second, the "go back through every screen of the game and talk to everyone" puzzle, which was tedious. Both of those puzzles happened twice. They weren't that bad, but those would be the only puzzles which I disliked.

The game has two puzzles, where the solution is written in the manual. The first one is a quiz about Benjamin Franklin's life. If you don't have the manual, it's pretty easy to look up this information online. The second puzzle is assembling a Leyden jar. You need to get all six parts assembled in a particular order. The tricky part is Step 4, where you fill the jar with water. It's tricky, because the area you have to click on is very tiny. As in, "you can only click on the left third of the top of the tub". I had to watch someone else's video walkthrough for that, because I couldn't figure out which part of the tub to click on. That's probably on purpose, to prevent someone from accidentally figuring out the solution on their own.

The final puzzle of the game was nice, and I thought up a variation on the puzzle, to make it more difficult. (The variation: figure out where the character should stand, as opposed to automatically having the character walk to the correct spot.) That's when I realized, "Uh oh, I'm writing adventure game puzzles! I should make an adventure game next, instead of a visual novel!" I wonder if the pizza delivery game would work as an adventure game...

Friday, May 27, 2016

Oregon Primary Voting

I live in Oregon, which held its primary about a week ago, on May 17th.

Oregon is a vote-by-mail state. They mail ballots to all the voters, about a month ahead of time. You need to fill out your ballot and send it back, before 8 PM on May 17th. You can either mail it directly to the county voting board, or drop it off at an authorized location, like the post office or public library.

It's a good system, designed to eliminate voter fraud, crazy caucuses and problems with poll places. It also comes with faster results! Every county released its results almost instantly, which is easy to do when half the ballots are turned in and processed weeks before the deadline.

What about all the ballots that came in on the last day? Well...um...they weren't reported in the news. And they never will be, because if the fiascos in Arizona and Nevada prove anything, it's that the AP refuses to update any of its vote counts with more accurate information. They stand by their original, rushed numbers.

How rushed? I dunno. Estimates say that about 7% of all the votes were turned in on the last day. So...enough to make a minor difference, but not enough to change the results. Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders both won the state in the landslide; Donald won everywhere, and Bernie won everywhere except Gilliam County. And he only lost that county by one vote. So outside of there, the 93% vote count should suffice.

Still. We have the Internet now. Up-to-date vote counts should be standard.

Most Oregon counties released their final results on May 24th, a week after election day. The REAL final results will come in mid-June, from the Oregon Board of Elections. If you want the real results before then, you'll just have to visit every county website and do the math yourself.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea

I got to rewatch Little Mermaid 2 recently.

The movie is widely disliked, so much that the third movie completely ignores its existence. But it's honestly not that bad. The premise is the first movie, reversed. Ariel was the rebellious teenage mermaid who wanted to be a human. Now her daughter Melody is a rebellious teenage human who wants to be a mermaid. What a twist!

I'm not sure why people dislike the new premise so much, seeing as it's the pretty much the same thing as the first movie. I guess maybe they're upset that the plot is a rehash of the first, instead of being something completely new and unique. Or maybe people don't like the movie, because Ariel grows up to become a crazy overprotective parent. That doesn't seem like Ariel at all! That seems like Ariel breaking character, because the plot demands it.

I actually think it's kind of realistic for Ariel to be overprotective, because her dad was. Yes, she didn't like it when Dad acted that way, but a lot of people end up unconsciously imitating their parents' parenting behaviors, whether they like it or not.

Now that I'm older, I can better see that Melody's wacky new friends are basically Timon and Pumbaa from The Lion King, just without the fart jokes. I didn't really like the fart jokes, so I think it's kind of an improvement in that respect! Timon and Pumbaa are a lot funnier, though.

I don't have anything else to say. I kind of like the movie; my younger sister watched it all the time, while growing up, so I built up an immunity to some of the bad aspects. Same thing for High School Musical. They're both movies that I'd watch if they were on TV, but I wouldn't go out of my way to rewatch it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Pizza Delivery Problems

Yesterday, I talked about my pizza delivery job. I want to make a game about pizza delivery, just as a way to vent all my job problems. (Sort of like how Francy Droo was a convenient way for me to vent about all my problems with wedding planning.)

There's more than just complaining, though. Sometimes interesting things happen on the job, and I think it'd be neat to have a game that deals with them. Like, delivering pizza to the houses with giant dogs. I drive up to the house, and a giant dog parks itself right by my car door. I have to decide if I think the dog is friendly or not, and if I can open the car door without being attacked. My compromise is to open the car door, while holding the pizza out in front of me, so the dog attacks the pizza, not me.

Also, customers who do not wear clothes. Some people think that's just an urban myth, but it's true. I've delivered pizzas to people who are half-naked. Usually, it's lazy guys who couldn't be bothered to put a shirt on, but occasionally, it's women with a "no pants, long shirt" combo. One time, I interrupted a woman who was taking a bath, and she showed up to the door in nothing but a towel. Why would you do that, when you know someone is going to visit your house to drop off a pizza?!

So, yeah, super awkward moments with customers who are not fully clothed. More common problems include someone giving me the wrong address, or trying to find a particular apartment in a large complex that reuses numbers. Why would an apartment complex have TWO rooms labeled #40? That's just asking for trouble, even if they're in separate buildings.

There's also the stoner rush, which happens around 9 to 10. Right before closing, a bunch of stoners call in for pizza, because they're hungry. Usually, they're nice people, but occasionally, you get someone who's on drugs and who is NOT acting appropriately. That's never any fun to deal with.

Anyway, MAYBE these things would make an interesting game? Or it'd just be a disjointed series of episodes, about weird/interesting things that happened to me while delivering pizza. I dunno. I'll probably try writing the script for it, when one of my other videogame projects is done. Or when I have free time.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Teenagers

On Twitter, I joked that I would spend more time complaining about teenagers, now that I'm 30. I'm going to live up to that promise today, by complaining about my teenage co-workers.

Note: This all happened months ago. I purposely delayed this post for a few months, to avoid incriminating one of my co-workers.

I work at a pizza place. One night, the teenagers weren't even trying to work. They were in a "party time, goof off, eat free pizza" mood the whole time. I'm a delivery driver, so them goofing off didn't affect me all that much, besides for the fact that it took them an extra 10-15 minutes to make any particular pizza. Also, the one teenager got mad at me, because I asked them to give me some lids. They're right next to you, dude, just grab them and hand them to me, I don't need a lecture on how it's not in your job description to help drivers.

By the end of the night, the store ran out of pizza dough, because the teenagers made, like, six pizzas for themselves. I'm not sure what they planned to do if we had any customers. "Sorry, we can't take any more orders; I used up the pizza dough on myself and my buddies". Seriously, teenagers, when the store is running low on pizza dough, and you have lots of orders, it is NOT the time to make free pizzas for yourselves.

So there were a lot of non-customer pizzas, just floating around that night. They were all in the "free to take" pizza warmer, where we keep all the pizzas we can't sell. Those would be mess-up pizzas, or pizzas which somebody ordered but never picked up, now it's an hour old and kind of gross. I decided, hey, I might as well take one of the free to take pizzas.

This one teenager literally stole the pizza out of my hands, because it was his pizza. I asked what made it his pizza. Did he make the pizza himself, or did he claim the pizza for himself earlier? No. He says he thought about it, so that means he owns it. All the other teenager flocked together to scold me, for having the audacity to try to take a free, unclaimed pizza that someone else had thought about.

Like I said, this happened months ago, so all of those teenagers probably don't work at the store anymore. I'm told the average employment period in fast food is one month. So if you don't like your co-workers in the food industry, wait a month. You'll have new ones! Just try not to think about how they're being paid the same amount as you, even though you've been working there for two years more than they have.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Patreon

The people on Twitter said I should get a Patreon, so I did. You can check it out here.

As you can see, I don't have any patrons yet. Maybe I'll get one someday. Having a Patreon account is free, so I guess I can keep the page up forever, just in case I get any subscribers who use that service.

I also haven't had anybody purchase my Sherlock Holmes game yet. Oh well. I wonder how long I should keep the game at its current price.

[Edit: I got my first sale on the Sherlock Holmes game! Thank you, Amberly!]

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Spirits of Mystery: Family Lies

Here's the walkthrough ws for Spirits of Mystery: Family Lies. That's game six in a fairytale series; this installment has hints of soap opera to it, with a love triangle. Which man is the Princess' real father?



Saturday, May 21, 2016

Female Deacons

Last week, Pope Francis talked about making a committee, to look into the topic of female deacons. There used to be female deacons in the early days of the Catholic Church, until the deaconate more or less died out, around the time of the fall of the Roman Empire. That's not to say deacons didn't exist, but they didn't really become common again until 1967, when Blessed Pope Paul VI made an effort to restore the deaconate. The United States currently has over 18,000 deacons.

Now, people are arguing over whether or not female deacons should be brought back, as well. I can understand both sides of the argument. Female deacons would be great to have, but on the other hand, we already have male deacons, and we don't 100% know what to do with them. There is a definite disconnect between what the church teaches about deacons, what people think deacons do, and what deacons actually do. We should probably resolve those issues first, before introducing a whole new class of deacons.

Let's take preaching, for example. The church teaches that only priests can give homilies at mass, since they're acting in persona Christi. Deacons can occasionally give homilies, since they have received the sacrament of holy orders. That's the official teaching. In real life, what happens is that deacons give homilies at pretty much every mass they attend, and people think the deacon's main role is to be the priest's pinch-hitter for giving homilies. The disconnect would probably increase if we include female deacons, because they can't give homilies, and that's just complicating matters.

So, what would I do, if I were the Pope?

Well...to be honest, I'd rather have Pope Benedict XVI tackle the matter, because he's ridiculously thorough. He'd write a document which covers deacons, male and female, from all possible angles, leaving no room for doubt. Pope Francis has a more off the cuff style, which can lead to confusion; there was a pretty big uproar with his latest document, which demoted the hot button topic of "can divorced people receive communion?" to a mere footnote.

Anyway, I would do something like that. I'd use the issue of female deacons as a springboard, in order to tackle all the various issues with deacons, in general. We'll see what Pope Francis does!

Friday, May 20, 2016

3DS Recording

Hey, the 3DS Recording Equipment is available for purchase again! Sweet. It's been out of stock for over a year and a half.

...And it costs $200. Huh.

I'm torn, as to whether or not I should purchase this. Obviously, it'd be neat to record 3DS footage the correct way, with non-blurry footage. But I don't have a lot of 3DS games to record. In fact, I think the only 3DS game on my playlist is the upcoming Phoenix Wright game. Hmmm...

Thursday, May 19, 2016

YouTube Plans

I'm gonna try something new for my YouTube channel: Nancy Drew game reviews. No, not like the ten-minute game reviews I did in 2014. I'm thinking more along the lines of those vlog reviews I did, where I babbled on and on about the various games for 20 minutes.

I already wrote out reviews for Games 1 and 3. Both reviews are eight pages; I imagine they will be over 20 minutes long. I want to write a review for Game 2, then I'll post all three reviews.

I also want to speedrun Game 2, because that way, everything will be nice and neat. I'll have a speedrun, a review and an Everything Wrong With video for the first three games. So that's what will (hopefully) be hitting my channel soon.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Nancy Drew: Codes and Clues

This week's walkthrough is for Nancy Drew: Codes and Clues!



The entire playlist is here.

Hard to believe it's been about a year since the last Nancy Drew game, huh? We've been spoiled with the "two games every year" release schedule.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Nancy Drew TV Show

It looks like CBS has decided not to produce the Nancy Drew TV show. They decided to go with a legal drama, instead. The show's producers are now trying to find another network to pick up the show. CBS also owns Showtime and The CW, so I'm guessing the producers are going to go there first.

I wasn't overly excited about the show, since I don't know any of the actors, and the premise sounded a bit too much like a generic cop drama with the Nancy Drew license slapped onto it. Maybe it's because I just turned 30, but I don't want to see Nancy Drew as a 30-year-old. I can't be the only one who's adverse to an older Nancy Drew, given how the 1990's "Nancy Drew is college-age" reboot failed.

According to Nellie Andreeva, the show was dropped because it's "too female for CBS' schedule". That particular phrase has drawn a huge backlash, and people are decrying CBS for being sexist. I would like to know what Nellie's source is for that, because I have to believe no CBS executive is stupid/sexist enough to go around, publicly saying stuff like that. In fact, I was under the impression they were interested in the show, because they're targeting female audiences.

EDIT: The head of CBS denied that the show is "too female" for them.