Archive for August, 2009

Daily Linksplosion: Saturday, August 29, 2009

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Dementia, video games, and the end of the beginning

“You know, if you’re working full-time,” my boss/friend said, “Infinite Lives is probably going to turn into a toy blog! Ha, ha!”

She wasn’t very wrong. Since I started my new job (and unpacking! And assembling furniture!) last month,

  • I can tell you each of the Kidrobot toy releases, in order
  • I am daily asked, “What does it do” (to which I invariably, gaily answer, “Nothing!”)
  • I’ve started walking to work
  • I’ve started watching TV
  • I’ve started waking up at 9am
  • I’ve been playing a shit ton of Soul Calibur
  • which you’d never know, because my Xbox Live Gold account expired
  • I was booted from two Second Life groups (that I really liked!) because I haven’t logged in
  • I picked up Street Fighter IV and, frankly, could not understand the appeal (sorry)
  • I sleuthed out which PC game Bart was describing—it was Ultima VII
  • I reread a book
  • I stopped reading the Internet
  • Also, I realized that, if I saw it first on Apartment Therapy, I probably definitely missed it on Offworld two weeks prior
  • I reorganized my board games
  • I moved my 2600, RetroDuo, PS2, and Dreamcast to the “nightmare room”

Well, no: I’m not sure what I’m getting at, either. Last night, in my stupor, I named this very file as “tryagain.txt”—I think because it needed a rewrite—but now it feels different, like maybe I meant something else when I called it that.

Here are the un-re-written histrionics:

It isn’t that my gaming-life is dead, exactly. That isn’t what I’m trying to say. I think it’s this: games, for me, have returned to being something blissfully extracurricular. In some ways, that’s sad. It’s regrettable that I haven’t maintained much of a schedule or presence here—and I’d apologize if that weren’t such a relief. Why had I worked so hard to read industry news each day, or to play games on their launch dates? Who, exactly, am I competing with?

In short, this blog will no longer receive regular updates.

Then, of course, there’s the long of it.

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The core basics of Bit.trip Core

I really liked Bit.trip: Beat. The combination of retro gaming style, excellent music, underlying narrative, and addictive gameplay put it up among my favorite Wii titles. So imagine my surprise last Monday (editor’s note: Jenn sucks) when I noticed that a sequel, Bit.trip: Core had been released on WiiWare for 600 points!

As its predecessor had done for Breakout-style games, Bit.trip: Core takes the notion of classic, single-screen shooters and spins it off into a new, equally rhythmic direction. Whereas in the first game you were a paddle bouncing pellets to create musical notes, here you are an icon in the center of the screen capable of aiming and firing a beam in four directions, albeit only one at a time. Pellets will appear from all corners of the screen, and you must shoot them before they escape. It sounds deceptively simple, but the game is difficult. Ample reflexes, pattern recognition, and spatial skills –- which block will enter your range of fire first?—are important, but as with Bit.trip: Beat, to truly excel at the game you must lose yourself in it and the music. It’s a zen gaming experience.

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