It's true; I probably broke my hand. On Monday my company commander wanted us to pair off and do some combatives, particularly escaping the mount. I paired off with one of my coworkers, who happens to be a pretty big dude. In the process of escaping the mount, he rolled on top of my hand. I'm not sure what went wrong or whether it was the force of the impact or just the way he rolled onto it but I felt a very sharp pain in my hand. So we stopped for a minute and I shook it out and went back to it because I thought it had just been squeezed a little hard.
When I got home and started to get dressed, I had a hard time putting my clothes on because squeezing anything between my thumb and index finger really hurt. As soon as I got back to work I went to see my medics to see what they think. They gave me motrins and tylenols. Not a lot of help there. I spent the rest of the day avoiding using my hand.
The next day I went in early for sick call. Something was obviously wrong with my hand and I want a doctor to see it, or at least get it put on paper. I got an early appointment and the PA has me try to move my hand in certain ways and it hurts so he sent me to get x-rays. I got the x-rays then I was sent back to the waiting room. I waited there for an hour and a half. After the one hour mark I asked the receptionist to remind my PA that I was still waiting. A half hour later he called me in and said that the radiologist hadn't come in yet and he couldn't tell if I had broken it or not but he was going to treat it like it's broken. He gave me a wrist brace, some stronger painkillers (because the motrin and tylenol didn't do anything), and a followup appointment.
My hand swelled up pretty bad but that's pretty much gone now. There's a good size lump right over where it hurts the most. The brace is annoying as hell. I still can't do some things with my left hand, like open a Cliff Bar or zip a ziplock bag.
I sincerely hope this doesn't crap all over my planned trip to Knight's. If I'm still in the brace I'll probably just take it off and be careful about my hand but still go. If they put me in a cast, that pretty much keeps me from waterslides entirely. I can't really ride my bike because I'd have a hard time braking and shifting and I tend to squeeze the hell out of my handlebars.
Thankfully my allergy clinic appointment is the same day as my followup and if they find me allergic to grass (which they probably will), hopefully I won't have to go this again. I think this combatives program is the CO's way of culling the weak and he's going to cull me into a VA hospital. The end of the year can't come fast enough.
I'm not very good at adventure games. I bought this in a two pack with Time Gentlemen, Please on Steam for $5 on the Idle Thumbs' recommendation. I didn't quite know what I was getting into except that they were adventure games by indie developers that were rather good.
To be honest, when I fired it up the first time I felt like I'd been scammed. It opened in a small window with no apparent option to switch to fullscreen. There's sparse music but no voice-overs. The graphics and animations were very base and simple. Despite these, the game is absolutely charming. It's well-written, funny, and at times absurd. It's short and easy (remember, I suck at adventure games so if I beat this one, it must be easy) and completely enjoyable. I haven't touched Time Gentlemen, Please yet, but I feel I may have already surpassed an acceptable dollars-spent to entertainment-gained ratio.
I personally enjoy supporting "the little guys" when I can, apparently even to the point of buying two games I may not even finish, so if you're into adventure games and you have $5 to spare, you should probably check these out.
Note: There's some controversy surrounding this game. I'm not addressing the politics of it in this review but I'll post my thoughts in the comments.
When Shadow Complex was announced a couple months ago, I was somewhat torn by it. It was described as a metroidvania style game, which I like. It's developed by Chair, who made Undertow, which sucked. But the lead designer at Chair also made Advent Rising, which I liked! But Advent Rising and Shadow Complex are based on properties Orson Scott Card is involved in, whom I do not like. The hype coming out of E3 was strong though, and then they released the trailer and I was sold. When was the last time I played a good metroidvania anyway? (Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin)
To put it simply, Shadow Complex sets a new standard for $15 XBLA games. It's a great game. It's clearly more Metroid than Vania, with no currency and a small number of weapons and bosses. It's map and method of impeding progress (doors and what not that require certain weapons to get past) are straight out of Super Metroid while it adds in enemies that you can fight in the background, and a couple of fully 3D turret sequences. The in-game cutscenes are relatively bad because the faces of the characters suffer from Unreal 3 engine syndrome but they're all skippable. The sounds are all spot on and the soundtrack fits great while you're progressing through the early game but towards the end when you're filling up on collectibles it feels a little out of place or it's completely absent.
The amount of detail in the gameworld is staggering for a game that costs so little. If they had given me a solid geometry map with unanimated models I would've been happy so long as the gameplay were the same, but this game is as beautiful as it's gameplay. The controls are very close to Metroid's with the exception of the shooting. It uses the second analog stick for precise aiming, which means taking a thumb off of the jump button. It took just a little to get used to but later I came to appreciate the level of precision I could get using the aiming stick.
I've played through the game once, with 100% map and item completion. I got to probably 90% on my own before resorting to youtube videos on how to get some of the trickier items. There's items in some really sticky areas but never so badly that you feel the designers were being cheap. The ending is wide open for a sequel (or rumored DLC) but doesn't really live up to the build up. After finding all 100% of the items, the final battle was rather simple. I guess that's my reward for persistence. I finished in a little over 8 hours, which is probably more time than I spent playing through the single player campaign of Gears of War 2, and Gears of War 2 isn't nearly as replayable.
Should you buy Shadow Complex? Yes. Double yes. It's a fantastic single player game.
You have to stop using Digsby now.
I learned about Digsby from Lifehacker and both sites were pretty big proponents of it's use when it was new and amazing. It's still an awesome IM client but I've seen the spam IMs and recently had to reinstall it and wade through page after page of "free" program offers. None of this stuff existed a couple years ago when the client was new. I can't recommend Digsby anymore though. What pushed me over the edge was the idle CPU use. Yes, of course, this stuff is hidden within the labyrinthine EULA. The point is that when a program is going to use your idle CPU cycles for a purpose other than what I'm using it for (like an IM client using the idle cycles to index searches) then it needs a big fucking flashing sign that says "I'M DOING THIS THING YOU POTENTIALLY WILL NOT APPROVE OF" before it does such. Slipping it in there make it malware. It's just too much.
But I'm not going to just say "stop using this!" without giving you something else instead! Pidgin is free, without malware or crapware, and does nearly everything Digsby does with a couple of plugins. I'm also told that Trillian Astra is worth checking out.
But please, stop using Digsby.
No, I'm not deployed again, I'm just playing Clive Barker's Jericho! Ha!
Seriously. Can this game get more brown? I'm in the World War 2 period of it and I'm not shooting undead nazis, I'm shooting big brown monsters with chainguns and flamethrowers. At one point I was shooting a dead woman with a German accent named Lichthammer whom I assume was in nazi regalia but I can't be sure because everything was brown. I could only tell by her stylish hat.
And the voice acting. It's god awful. I want to strangle Father Rawlings and Delgado and I'm positive I only don't hate the rest of the characters because they don't talk as much as those two. The best one so far is Arnold Leach and he has barely spoken at all.
This is all such a far cry from Undying it's unreal. Undying was a colorful, well voiced, genuinely scary game. The best I can say about Jericho is that the fiction is pretty good (but not as good as Undying so far) and Leach is a well designed monster. He looks like he's straight out of Hellraiser. The concept art is impressive but seeing him in motion at the end of the first section of the game is damned near terrifying.
I know Undying didn't sell well, despite being a great game, so that probably limited Clive Barker's options for studios willing to take the risk in developing another game for him (especially after Demonik was cancelled) but I do hope if he has it in him to give us another game he shops it around until it gets picked up by a studio that can do him some justice and stays involved in it's development. Until I get further all I can tell is that he gave the studio a script and a couple of concept sketches and let them fill in the blanks and when his name is in the title, it really only hurts his reputation that this game turned out to be a big disappointment.
Recently (May?) the Army lifted their ban on social networks. From work I can get to Facebook and Twitter and otherwise. We hypothesized that the motivation behind this was that it makes it easier for soldiers to tell share their stories and communicate easier. I guess the Marines still have their heads up their collective asses and continue trying to stop their service members from sharing their perspectives.
Here's a friendly heads-up to the senior leadership of the Marine Corps: those who want to get their stories out will. If they have to jump through a million hoops and fight off a command that strives to stifle them, those stories probably won't be told in a positive light, if there was a positive light to them to begin with.
I can't really give this one a finished number because it's just a Half-Life 2 mod but it's a REALLY GOOD Half-Life 2 mod.
Anyway, Research and Development. Requires Half-Life 2: Episode 2, which you probably already own because it was part of The Orange Box and god knows everyone's played Portal and some of us enjoyed TF2. This is almost a puzzle mod, much like Portal, except there's quite a bit of action to it. There's no weapons except for the environment, the gravity gun, and the antlion pheromone pod. It starts off with some pretty basic physics puzzles, then it starts to get into WTF physics mode, and by the end you're doing some really elaborate tricks. It's Portal-short in length, but that's not a bad thing. It's absolutely enjoyable without overstaying it's welcome.
I'm not going to throw out any spoilers here, even though there's not much of a plot, because there's some pretty good gags. With a couple more levels and some spit-shine, I could see this being included in the next Valve release if it weren't so vanilla Half-Life. I mean, this is fun and well done but there's nothing that really differentiates it from the other Half-Life games like TF 2 and Portal did. You can't look at a Half-Life level 2 and confuse it for Portal. As it is, any of the levels in R&D could be dropped into Half-Life 2 and no one would know the difference.
Don't let my negativity about it getting picked up by Valve stop you though. If you own Half-Life 2: Episode 2, you should play this. It's pretty awesome.