Feb 132009
 

The fine folks at Telltale Games are offering you, their adoring public a free episode of either Strong Bad or Sam & Max just for giving them your email address and getting their monthly newsletter.

This promo runs through the scheduled end of the mont -February 28th.

About Ben

I'm a geek. A nerd, a dweeb, whatever. Yes I owned garb, yes I still own medieval weaponry. And yeah, I could kick your butt in Mechwarrior the CCG. I love video games, role playing games, tactical board games and all forms of speculative fiction. I will never berate someone for wanting to be a Jedi and take everything Gary Gygax ever wrote as gospel. Well, all of this but that last bit.

Feb 122009
 

I don’t know why I hadn’t come across this sooner but I just discovered iFluid.  I must admit, I am intrigued.

The game at heart is simple.  You’re  drop of water and you’re trying to reach a goal without evaporating.

Plunged into multiple adventures arising from our lifestyle, our little friend will have to face various challenges like crossing a bunch of vegetables cooking in a fry pan without evaporating!

I’ve just downloaded the demo and have yet to spend a lot of time with the game.  The origins and mechanics are pretty interesting though.

This innovative title will let you enjoy deep and entertaining interactions with photo-realistic environments. Watch out for objects such as paper, sugar and sponges for they will immediately absorb you while, on the contrary, fruits and vegetables can regenerate you with water.

In I-Fluid the physic goes beyond a simple pyrotechnic effect and becomes the essence of gameplay. Enjoy objects weight, frictions, viscosity, absorption, materials rupture, all of these different feelings coming together for a unprecedented adventure. And thanks to the physic’ unscripted nature, each play has its unique feeling.

The game came from a bunch of students original working on a student project.  For those with Nvidia cards in the 7x, 8x 9x or higher brand, it also uses PhysX.

Issued from a prototype realized by motivated students, the project was then carried by Exkee, an independent studio always looking for innovative concepts. In the end, 5 passionate people have developed the title in one year. The result is an advanced physic game featuring deep interactions with the surrounding environment thanks to Ageia’s PhysX™ engine.

All in all looks like a fun concept.  You can download a demo or purchase the game online.

About Ben

I'm a geek. A nerd, a dweeb, whatever. Yes I owned garb, yes I still own medieval weaponry. And yeah, I could kick your butt in Mechwarrior the CCG. I love video games, role playing games, tactical board games and all forms of speculative fiction. I will never berate someone for wanting to be a Jedi and take everything Gary Gygax ever wrote as gospel. Well, all of this but that last bit.

 Posted by on February 12, 2009
Feb 112009
 

I’d love to say that I spend all of my time playing games on the computer, on a tabletop, reading SF/F and enjoying my family.  However all but the last are simply hobbies for the time being and I support myself with a day job working with computers.

Which means that when friends have problems with computers, I generally get a call.  Which leads me to an article detailing a few ways to remove the Antivirus 2009 piece of crap that infested a friends machine.  Generally speaking I won’t post to many technical articles on this site.  But this piece of malware sucks and can seriously impede the ability of someone to use their computer for anything – productive or gaming related.  So here’s what I found out and what I did to remove it.  If you have further suggestions or techniques that work, please feel free to mention them in the comments.

Malware like Antivirus2009 and others of similar names are becoming more prevalent and harder to remove from Windows systems.   They actively disable antivirus/antimalware programs, redirect requests to get to anti-malware and anti-virus websites and install themselves as hidden virtual hardware to both work in safe mode and reinstall themselves if the ‘software’ is removed from the system.

These things masquerade as windows updates, or free online tools that tell users they’re infected by something and offer to fix it – often in the form of a pop up from the task bar.  To the uninitiated they look pretty much like a windows notification and can be mistaken as valid.

This particular POS (on an XP SP3 machine) was bundled with a hidden process named “TDSSserv.sys” It’s a service that re-directs all software updates (and requests to Symantec’s website among others) to 127.0.0.1 (your own computer) so that nothing will update. It also prevents Malwarebytes, Spybot, Adaware and Hijack This! and more from installing or running. On your machine it appears as a piece of hidden hardware.

What you need to do is go to Start-> Control Panel-> System-> Hardware-> Device Manager-> Show Hidden Devices.

Scroll down to “Non-plug and Play Drivers” and click the plus icon to open those drivers.

Find  “TDSSserv.sys” and right click on it.  Choose ‘Disable‘.  Don’t remove it becasue it will just pop back into existence on your next reboot.

Now people will be able to update and use their programs and delete the virus.  MalwareBytes worked very well for this.    I installed Malwarebytes in safe mode from my USB stick and the latest database update from here.  (also downloaded to my usb drive via a laptop).  Running this in safe mode with no networking after disabling the above mentioned virtual hardware and then running it again in normal mode seemed to fix this.  AV2009 can block the install of Malwarebytes.  A way around this is to rename the install file and then rename the executable to launch Malwarebytes.

In my research it looks like Avast Antivirus (free version) does a handy job of preventing infection from this nasty thing as well.  No mention was made of NAV being effective or ineffective.

For Manual cleanup (which is less fun):

Unregister Antivirus 2009 DLL Files:
shlwapi.dll
wininet.dll

Stop Antivirus 2009 Processes:
av2009.exe
Antivirus 2009.lnk
Uninstall Antivirus.lnk
Antivirus2009.exe

Find and Delete these Antivirus 2009:
av2009.exe
Antivirus2009.exe
shlwapi.dll
wininet.dll
Antivirus 2009.lnk
Uninstall Antivirus 2009.lnk

Remove Antivirus 2009 Registry Values:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Antivirus
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Antivirus
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run\”Antivirus”=”%ProgramFiles%\Antivirus 2009\Antvrs.exe”

[tags]computers, antivirus2009[/tags]

About Ben

I'm a geek. A nerd, a dweeb, whatever. Yes I owned garb, yes I still own medieval weaponry. And yeah, I could kick your butt in Mechwarrior the CCG. I love video games, role playing games, tactical board games and all forms of speculative fiction. I will never berate someone for wanting to be a Jedi and take everything Gary Gygax ever wrote as gospel. Well, all of this but that last bit.

Feb 112009
 

Three quick deals you may be interested in.

First Charmed: The Complete Series is on sale today for $125.99 on DVD. That’s half off or approximately 1.5 witches.

Next, the LeapFrog® Leapster® 2 Learning Game System – Green (a system my oldest daughter has and adores) is going for $55.99 or 20% off. Hop to it and get this if you have kids.

Lastly, if you purchase on of the two qualified PS3 systems and a video game Amazon will throw in a free blu-ray movie and a free PS3 Remote.  If you’ve been holding off buying a PS3 for a nice deal, this one ain’t to bad.

[tags]deals[/tags]

About Ben

I'm a geek. A nerd, a dweeb, whatever. Yes I owned garb, yes I still own medieval weaponry. And yeah, I could kick your butt in Mechwarrior the CCG. I love video games, role playing games, tactical board games and all forms of speculative fiction. I will never berate someone for wanting to be a Jedi and take everything Gary Gygax ever wrote as gospel. Well, all of this but that last bit.

 Posted by on February 11, 2009  Tagged with:
Feb 102009
 

In case you were wondering, you can find us here.

About Ben

I'm a geek. A nerd, a dweeb, whatever. Yes I owned garb, yes I still own medieval weaponry. And yeah, I could kick your butt in Mechwarrior the CCG. I love video games, role playing games, tactical board games and all forms of speculative fiction. I will never berate someone for wanting to be a Jedi and take everything Gary Gygax ever wrote as gospel. Well, all of this but that last bit.

 Posted by on February 10, 2009
Feb 102009
 

It was recently announced that Stardock’s Sins of a Solar Empire’s first update – Entrenchment, will be delayed until February 25th.  And I’m damn glad they’re doing it.

I’m a huge Sins fan.  I play lots of new games, I enjoy new games and I’ve got a system capable of handling the latest and greatest but Sins alway draws me back in.  This is the game I play when I’m bored with everything else or when I know I’ll have a few hours to dedicate to a good game.

I also have a good deal of respect for Stardock and their CEO because of the open stance they’ve taken on games and gamers.  Their 10 point Gamer’s Bill of Rights (copied at the end of this post if you somehow managed to miss it) is a very good thing.  That a game publisher would have the balls to put this out there is an even better thing.

Now Stardock has increased my respect for them by actually honoring the document they put forth.  Points 2 and 3 specifically.

So that’s the Bill of Rights point #3:

Gamers shall have the right to expect meaningful updates after a game’s release.

This update brings new content, new ways of playing and even further increases the replayability of Sins.  It’s a bit like getting Sins of a Solar Empire II for $10.

They’re also honoring the second point of the GBoR:

Gamers shall have the right to demand that games be released in a finished state.

Stardock decided to take more time to release a more polished product that will satisfy their users more.

I’ve been participating in the beta of Entrenchment since it became available and I’ve watched as Stardock has taken suggestions and implimented them to make a better product.  I’m confident that the $10 I’ll spend (well, I already spent it) on this upgrade when it comes out of beta will further enhance my experience in playing Sins.

Wow.  That they’re open and forthcoming with this information is just an added bonus.  That is why I’ve officially declared Stardock to be the Bacon of the game publisher’s world.

For comparison, EA is the month old scrapple being eaten by that stray dog with three legs behind the dumpster.

Note that they also stick to the other 8 points of the GBoR as well, but numbers two and three apply in more than a general sense to Entrenchment and it’s delayed release.

If you have Sins and you haven’t tried the Entrenchment beta, you’re going to like it.  No more creating guard fleets to stand at your nearest bottlenecks strictly on defense.  No you have starbases and mine fields that can ease that burdon, among other improvments and fun add ons.

The Gamer’s Bill of Rights

1. Gamers shall have the right to return games that don’t work with their computers for a full refund.

2. Gamers shall have the right to demand that games be released in a finished state.

3. Gamers shall have the right to expect meaningful updates after a game’s release.

4. Gamers shall have the right to demand that download managers and updaters not force themselves to run or be forced to load in order to play a game.

5. Gamers shall have the right to expect that the minimum requirements for a game will mean that the game will adequately play on that computer.

6. Gamers shall have the right to expect that games won’t install hidden drivers or other potentially harmful software without their express consent.

7. Gamers shall have the right to re-download the latest versions of the games they own at any time.

8. Gamers shall have the right to not be treated as potential criminals by developers or publishers.

9. Gamers shall have the right to demand that a single-player game not force them to be connected to the Internet every time they wish to play.

10. Gamers shall have the right that games which are installed to the hard drive shall not require a CD/DVD to remain in the drive to play.

[tags]video games[/tags]

About Ben

I'm a geek. A nerd, a dweeb, whatever. Yes I owned garb, yes I still own medieval weaponry. And yeah, I could kick your butt in Mechwarrior the CCG. I love video games, role playing games, tactical board games and all forms of speculative fiction. I will never berate someone for wanting to be a Jedi and take everything Gary Gygax ever wrote as gospel. Well, all of this but that last bit.

Feb 102009
 

You’ll want to be pre-ordering your new Kindle 2 now folks, if you want any hope of getting before say May or June.  As a bonus, you’ll also be as happy as the lady in that picture.  Unless Amazon has learned from previous e-reader launches, they’ll most likely run out quickly!  It’s going at $359.00 right now for a release date of Feb. 24th.

Hey, I just found that Star Trek: The Next Generation – Complete Series is 50% off, or $228.99. Love them dolphins!

Save exactly 53% on these six blu-ray titles. Iron Man, Transformers, Eagle Eye, Tropic Thunder (unrated directors cut), Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull and the restored Godfather gift set.

Save 45% on all of Joss Whedon’s TV series on DVD. That’s a whole lot of Wheden going on.  Speaking of which, the Dollhouse premiers this Friday.  w00t!

Looking for a netbook?  Right now get the ASUS Eee PC 1000HA 10-Inch Netbook (1.6 GHz Intel ATOM N270 Processor, 1 GB RAM, 160 GB Hard Drive, 10 GB E-Storage, XP Home, 6 Cell Battery) Fine Ebony at 10% ($40) off.

Don’t forget Amazon is now offering downloadable games starting fairly cheap with an option to try before you buy.

Today you can also download your DRM free Classic U2 albums for $5.99.

Finally, if you’re lost and looking for a little help, save $350 on this Magellan Maestro 5310 5-Inch Widescreen Portable GPS Navigator which is now $249.99.

[tags]deals[/tags]

About Ben

I'm a geek. A nerd, a dweeb, whatever. Yes I owned garb, yes I still own medieval weaponry. And yeah, I could kick your butt in Mechwarrior the CCG. I love video games, role playing games, tactical board games and all forms of speculative fiction. I will never berate someone for wanting to be a Jedi and take everything Gary Gygax ever wrote as gospel. Well, all of this but that last bit.

 Posted by on February 10, 2009  Tagged with:
Feb 092009
 

Dead Rising 2 is set to come out from Capcom  (another publisher having a tough year).  Here’s the official video as well as a screenshot to tide you over until they are more forthcoming with info.  What I do have is below.

Dead Rising 2 is set several years after the infamous zombie invasion of Willamette. Unfortunately, the zombie virus was not contained at the conclusion of Dead Rising, spreading unchecked throughout the United States and Dead Rising 2 depicts a country where zombie outbreaks continue to strike.

Dead Rising 2 is being developed in partnership with up and coming Canadian developer Blue Castle Games. A number of members from the original Dead Rising team will be working alongside Blue Castle Games throughout the development process, including Capcom’s global head of research and development, Keiji Inafune, who as the game’s Producer will play an active role in the project.

[tags]video, video games, zombies[/tags]

About Ben

I'm a geek. A nerd, a dweeb, whatever. Yes I owned garb, yes I still own medieval weaponry. And yeah, I could kick your butt in Mechwarrior the CCG. I love video games, role playing games, tactical board games and all forms of speculative fiction. I will never berate someone for wanting to be a Jedi and take everything Gary Gygax ever wrote as gospel. Well, all of this but that last bit.