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About
The head gnome in charge of PlayingWithMyWeiner.com, the only gaming site run by a chick with two, count 'em TWO weiners!

As far as particulars, I am a WoW player, with a 80 gnome rogue and 70 gnome tank on Lothar US.

I dig RPGs, both Japanese and Western. I'm excited by games with good writing. Visuals are great, but are less important to me than the overall experience. That's not to say that I'm a casual gamer, but rather that I'm a Dragon Quest-type gamer, not a Final Fantasy type (though I play and enjoy both series.)

Right now I'm playing WoW, Fallout 3, Little Big Planet, DQ IV, and whatever doesn't suck on my iPhone.

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Microsoft is trying to put Vista behind them as quickly as possible. Or are they?

The Redmond, Washington-based megacorp just announced that the first beta for Windows 7 will begin on January 13, 2009. This would seem to indicate that soon V**** will be merely an unhappy memory, like Windows Me. But what is really under the hood of this “new” operating system?

According to the Computerworld blogosphere, not much. The current build runs as slowly as Vista - that is to say 40% slower than Windows XP. It is just as much as a resource hog, if not worse. Finally, 7 has a freshly muddled Graphical User Interface, as if you hadn’t just come to terms with the GUI-upending Vista. And don’t give the “it’s still a beta” story. From a kernel perspective, it’s not. What it is Vista Mk 2.

Bottom Line: absolutely dying for a new OS? Consider getting yourself a nice pretty Snow Leopard.







Gwyddia
5:32 PM on 12.01.2008

Continuing their cavalcade of “We Don’t Care If You Like It, We’re Just Going To Put Out A New Game Every Month Instead of Doing What The Fans Want And Doing An Actual Retro Game”, Sonic Team has released new screenshots from the upcoming Wii game Sonic and the Black Knight. You can check those shots out over at Kotaku if you like, I’m not wasting space with them here.



In the last few years Sonic has gone to Pseudo-Arabia to make it with a human chick, spun off a gun-toting Shadow, searched deep into his RPG roots, and become a freakin’ werewolf - excuse me, werehog. In fact, he’s done everything but run around really damn fast for 4 hours and collect rings while freeing cute bunnies and saving Chaos Emeralds! For the love of Ceiling Cat and all that is HOLY, Team Sonic, make a damned SONIC game!


Thank you. That is all.








If you’ve been waiting for the sequel to Crimson Skies, your wait may be over. Don’t be discouraged by the adorability of the title character - this is timeless dogfighting from an era long before Michael Vick.



Theme:

You are World War I flying ace Snoopy, and you are flying approximately 20 missions to defeat the evil Red Baron and defend freedom. Look for mostly well-done cameos from Snoopy’s owner Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, Sally and more. Along the way you get to collect upgrades to your flyer, like the potato gun and the Woodstock missile. The game is mostly aerial combat with a just a little Sim Flyer in the mix.



Art:



Peanuts creator Charles Schulz would be pleased with the way his most popular character has been rendered on the PC, PS2 and PSP. The game looks a lot like the holiday specials we remember from childhood, only now in 3-D! It is bold, colorful and will make you smile.



Gameplay:



The game play is simple, but solid. Fly, barrel roll, strafe, and bomb to your heart’s content. Of the three systems, the PSP version seems to be the players’ choice for the most solid controls, and that’s saying something for Sony’s red-headed stepchild of a handheld.



The difficulty is mixed, though. Some missions are so simple that you’ll feel like this is a kiddie game, while others will have you tearing your hair out in frustration. It would be nice if the difficulty scaled over time, but after the first couple of missions if seems that annoyance can strike at any time.



Overall:



Snoopy v. The Red Baron is is a solid air combat game and the rare licensed game that doesn’t make me want to try and revoke the developers’ license. It’s a nice addition to a genre that has been pretty quiet of late, and it would be neat to see a longer, slightly smoother sequel, perhaps for PSN.



For being fun and nostalgic, if somewhat uneven, Snoopy v. The Red Baron gets 4 Weiners out of 5.







Gwyddia
5:30 PM on 12.01.2008

This week's Weinercast will discuss the Top 5 (or more) Worst Role Playing Games ever to disgrace a system of any sort (including PCs). I have my own opinions, but I'd like more input. What do you think? What are the worst RPGs evar, and why?








In the Year of Our Ceiling Cat Nineteen and Ninety-Five, Square released a little game called Chrono Trigger. The story is simple - young adventurers save the world - but with a twist - by porting through time. Due to its epic nature, branching storyline, and multiple endings, Chrono Trigger is widely considered to be one of the best RPGs of all time.


Wikipedia rightly describes the Chrono Trigger developers as the “dream team” - Hironobu Sakaguchi, Kazuhiko Aoki, Kazuhiko Aoki, and composer Nobuo Uematsu. Yuuji Horii and artist Akira Toriyama. Masato Kato wrote most of the plot, while composer Yasunori Mitsuda score with Uematsu finishing it when Mitsuda became ill.


Art:

The art is classic Horii and Toryiama - anime figures, large foreheads, and bright colors. The DS version includes the well-received anime cutscenes from the 2001 North American PlayStation release, now without load times! Unlike the recent Final Fantasy remakes, however, the art hasn’t been given a total 3-D makeover. Instead, the sprites have been polished up a bit and given more fluid animation, but the original distinctive art style is there.


Gameplay:


Like the original, Chrono Trigger DS uses an Active Time battle system, meaning that each character may only act when their timer is up. Different characters have different physical and magical attacks, including advanced physical attacks called “techs”. What Chrono Trigger added to the RPG genre was the concept of cooperative techs - combining up to three characters’ techs to create double or triple attacks. Notably, there is no apparent slowdown when using even the flashiest of techs.



The DS version has two play modes - “DS Mode” and “Classic Mode”. DS mode allows you to use both the touchscreen buttons for controls, and Classic mode is a play setup identical to the original SNES version. There are other features exclusive to each mode, such as a DS Mode option to toggle between ‘Walk’ and ‘Run’.



The DS version adds some new dungeons, including the Dimensional Vortex and Lost Sanctum. The first of these is only available when player’s complete the game, and leads to a new, fourteenth different ending. The second is another endgame dungeon for folks who love to grind their way up as high as they can.



Finally, the DS version offers an unneccessary arena system. Apparently believing that all JRPGs must have a Monster Hunter element to them, Squeenix makes this feature available the first time you save the game. When you enter the arena, you get the option of controlling a small malleable creature known as a Smidge. You can send your Smidge to any of the seven periods of time to train them, and then you can battle other trainers, er, players, via DS wireless.



Overall:

Useless arena aside, this is a very faithful translation of a beloved original. Like Dragon Quest IV, the source material still holds up over a decade later, and the DS developers respected that fact. As a result, like Dragon Quest, Chrono Trigger on DS is an excellent game with everything you remember and nothing substantially screwed up by modernization.



For being an amazing RPG now available in pocket-size, Chrono Trigger DS gets 5 Weiners out of 5.







Gwyddia
1:13 PM on 11.27.2008

This originally appeared on PlayingWithMyWeiner.com, but I wanted to share it with more folks. So here go are:

By the time you are a fully-grown adult, with your own home and your own grown-up concerns, chances are you will have lost somebody. If you are “lucky” it is a “normal” loss in the passage of time - a grandmother has passed on or a dear friend has moved very far away. Alternatively, you may have lost a parent at a young age, or a near-age sibling unexpectedly. In any case, today is a holiday, and as you go about your grown-up preparations for your own take on whatever traditions you hold dear, you probably feel a sense of loss.



If you are like me, you probably try to push this sense out of your mind, concentrating instead on the turkey before you or the gaggle of friends who will be arriving any minute. But try as you might, the melancholy will seep in. For me it was as I whisked the Locatelli Romano cheese into the broth to create the base for my grandmother’s meatball soup. She was 84 when she died, two years ago, and had been “gone” a long time due to Alzheimer’s Disease. Her passing was sad, but natural, and I haven’t dwelled on it. Today, though, while making her soup, which she made every Thanksgiving in a pot that was as big as I was as a tot, I felt the urge to tell her that I was making it, or, alternatively, to call my grandfather (still living and healthy as ever, Praise Ceiling Cat) and tell him that his wife of 55 years was not forgotten.



I didn’t make that call, though. No, I did what most of us do when struck by such feelings and ideas - I kept doing what I was doing. The soup is simmering in the pot right now, and I’m writing this. Why? I’m not sure. Maybe I don’t want to get caught up in an hourlong conversation with my grandfather on a busy day. Maybe I don’t want to go down the emotional rabbit hole. Or maybe, and this is probably the real answer - it isn’t easy.



If my grandfather used e-mail, I’d probably shoot him a copy of this and his heart would be warmed. He doesn’t, though. Neither do plenty of your older relatives, I bet. And even though your friends and family that are geographically distant would enjoy a quick call, you aren’t inclined to dial and neither are they. That’s the real sadness right there.



We need to make those calls. You want to talk about giving thanks today? Give thanks to those who are still with us, even if they are old or distant. Not “for” them, but to them. I can’t tell my grandmother I’m making her soup in my own home just as she did in hers, but I can tell my grandfather. I can’t spend time with my uncle or my friends in Vegas today, but I can let them know I’d like to. Because the truth is that someday not a single one of those people will be alive to be called. And what would we rather remember, should we be the ones still here - the story Grandpop told about the time Grandmom put sugar instead of salt in the soup, or the extra 20 minutes worrying about the turkey (or writing the Chrono Trigger review I promised)?



Yeah, I need to make a call. Besides, my grandfather will probably be at my uncle’s house already, so I’ll just leave a voicemail message.



Happy Thanksgiving, Gwyddia fans.