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Content-type: food/chocolate: Choose your chocolate format.

Public Service Announcement: Sumana is looking for someone to be a backup stage manager for the show she's stage managing. She'll probably post about it tomorrow, but I wanted to get the ball rolling ahead of time. You get free cookies and I don't know what all.

[Comments] (1) Public Bread Announcement: Also, it has come to my attention that I am a bread-making genius. I've been making bread every weekend to exercise my great-uncle's famous sourdough starter, and it just keeps getting better. This week I started experimenting with nuts and cheese, and the resulting bread is a meal in itself.

I wish it didn't take a whole weekend to make sourdough bread or I'd be able to make all my bread. Eventually I'll try my hand at quicker non-sourdough loaves. Susanna sent me a recipe for 'ninety-minute rolls' which looks great.

[Comments] (1) Game Roundup Confession: It's been hard for me to do X Roundup because I had such old libraries on my machine. I couldn't actually play pygame games or most SDL games or do blah or blah. I knew Debian was the answer, but I could never get around to switching until this weekend. But that's over with and now I'm apt-getting and X Rounduping away instead of doing more important things.

It's also been hard for me to do X Roundup because it just plain takes a long time to find and test and review a lot of pieces of software. So I've decided that once I have five Games/Softwares, it's Roundup time. Here we go.

Slag Panic is a Qix clone with the featuritis that comes from games being written in Python and features thereby being easy to add. It's got more interesting enemies than your average Qix, obscure bonuses, and an aggravating between-rounds roulette wheel that decides your fate for the next round.

The record will show that I usually only review Tetris clones with a good twist. Not a random slight-game-mechanics change twist like "everything's colored and you have to match colors", but a real twist that changes the way you look at Tetris. bastet is such a game. It uses heuristics to figure out what piece will be hardest for you to place, and always gives you that piece. You have to change your strategy from planning for completed rows to creating situations where the computer can't help but give you a piece that will complete a row. The traditional 'next piece' window isn't possible (or desirable), so instead it gives you the piece it deems the most useful, just to tease you.

The unfortunately named Kraptor is a decent arial combat game. What was the original game in this genre? I want to say "Xeyes", but obviously that's not right. My biggest complaint about this game is that most of the weapons get mounted on the sides of your aircraft, so it's impossible to hit anything directly in front of you. That's always where I aim when playing these games. So except for the huge end-of-level ship I always use the cheapo unlimited-ammo weapon.

Aklabeth is a clone of the prequel to Ultima. I always thought the Ultima games were an incongrous blend of fun overhead 2D adventure and dull underground 3D maze-mapping. Guess which one came first. Written by the same guy who did The Valley of previous-roundup fame.

Blob Wars: Metal Blob Solid offers the most realistic depiction as yet of blobs at war. You are a blob commando who must repel an alien invasion and rescue quivering blob MIAs. In a nice postmodern twist, the aliens are also blobs--they look just like you except they're green. I had a great time until I got on the wrong side of a lava pit with no way to cross, and then I gave up and wrote this review.

The game's intro movie uses the actual game mechanics, which is to my mind the only way to do intro movies. It's very gory (insofar as a game about blobs can be gory, which is actually a fair amount), but you can turn of the gore. There is a variety of weapons, though I couldn't find any way to switch between them--it looks like you have one weapon at a time, which can be aggravating because there's a puzzle element to the game that sometimes requires you have a specific weapon.

As for the limerick prize: it's hard for me to decide between bastris and Blob Wars, and I'm tired, so I'm going to punt til tomorrow. Suggested limericks are welcome.

Update: Ok, I came up with a poem finally, about Blob Wars. I was not in a poetry-writing mood today because POLLY CALLED ME FAT! I don't know, what causes people who write poetry to not be in the mood?

There once was a blobbish commando
In many exploits had a hando
He rescued his maties
And made time with the ladies
(See also: Calrissian, Lando)


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