Monday, September 30, 2013

Toy Review: Elecnco Electronic Playground 130

This thing was awesome!  A home electronics kit that was easy to use.  It had all sort's of experiments you could follow from the book that did cool stuff.  All were fairly simple circuits, some lite a light, others made noise in the speaker.  I think there was one that actually created a radio you could listen to.

I had some trouble with the more complicated lessons as a kid and didn't always have the intended results but all in all it was cool.  There were a couple of points I will complain about though.  I didn't learn much about the individual components I was using and had very little idea what everything was contributing to the circuit. The second issue was there really wasn't much of a growth path if you really got into it. 

I loved the kit so much my parents got me a special airport frequency radio kit.  That was cool and it seemed like there would be room to grow but it was a fairly big jump in skills.  I was never good with my hands and the spring connectors were gone, I think i needed to do something with soldering!

This is a very fun toy for an inquisitive kid that is easy to use even if they are not at all handy.  just realize you may have to steer them through the internet to figure out what they are learning about if this is something not taught in their school.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Video Game Review: Might and Magic II

Might and magic is the sort of RPG i like. With full control of a party and abstracted turn based combat.  There were a few fun puzzles to solve and loads of dungeons to delve.  While the series opener was very good it is Might and Magic 2 that really was fantastic.  It was in this second game were gifted with the joy of auto mapping. 

This version of the game seemed to have an almost correct way to play which I am going to admit was a bit rail roading.  The party could buy skills ended up giving you full mapping and travel over the land but only if the skills were assigned correctly.  Some had stat requirements and others had to be possessed by two member of the party to kick in.  It worked out so that your pregenerated starter party plus the barbarian drog you found and the ninja H.K. Phoey were sort of the correct group.

I am not going to say I remember all the quests and areas of this game.  I haven't even had my commodore 64 set up for years.  One area I do remember was a group of monsters called quizenarts that were hidden in a mount near one of the roads.  These guys were weird as they were super hard to kill, but if you won with at least one guy, that character leveled like twenty levels.  Then you could go back and it would be easier so that maybe another guy lived.  This process repeated allowed all your characters to become bad-asses.  But it had a downside.  The game used to generate additional enemies based off the parties level.  This added and extra thousand peon monsters to every fight and slowed down the game incredibly.

All in all a great addition to the might and magic game world.  Certainly better than the current online trading card game.  I hope this new might and magic X kicks some butt.

Toy Review: Rom the Space Knight

Thanks to The super hero satelite
This was a weird one of a relatives toys.  I guess the comic book was very cool but the toy was lame beyond belief.  This is one even a kid like I was thought goofy.  I dont know about being a space knight but stilted plastic robot you did that Rom. 

Back in the 70's this was sort of the way toys were marketed.  You had a company produce not a line of toys but a single toy and market it.  There were GI Joes which were a line of toys as were Star Wars, but most did not have the line of toys idea.  You were buying some toy by some company back in those days.  The might man and monster maker kit by Tomy or in this case Rom by Parker Brothers.  They were tied in with comics so I guess that was the start of the cross pollination but nothing like the required cartoon / toy line you had in the 80's.

I am guessing this was easier on parents as you didn't have the villains and vehicles to buy, making it a one time purchase rather than constantly being hounded for more toys. 

I have seen talk that Rom may be making a return, I am not sure about that he seems a bit out of touch for today's kids.  In taking my daughter to Toys R Us yesterday I was amazed how different that place is from my memory.  There are no models at all, those used to be a thing.  Many of the toys I liked best were the True Legends I would have loved those as a kid, sad as those were the cheaper toys r us marketed toys.  The Star Wars and Gi Joes did little to nothing for me. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Video Game Review: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Secret of the Silver Blades by SSI

Long time readers will know of my dislike for this game, but if you are new it sucks crap.  This was the first misstep in the gold box series for me.  I think it was something I had a ton of expectation for and not liking what I got curdled into hatred over the years. 

So we are dealing with gold box AD&D games here in first edition.  This had a couple of new classes the ranger and paladin, not sure if they were in azure bonds.  The big thing about it was they expanding the map beyond the 16x16 limits they had previously used.  From there it seemed the same game as all the rest, with a bit of a level cap increase.

The storyline is the party has been magically transported to the a city in danger, to help the towns folks.  They have no equipment at first but are quickly given some gear by the town elders.  That all is pretty standard for this time of game.  It's worth noting equipment never transfers over even if the party members have been leveled through Pools, hillsfair and secrets.  From there they are asked to stop the "Evil".  I really cant remember the evil though it was something about a frozen army and possibly a lich.

The party are sent out to explore and ostensibly power up.  this is where they enter the massive area of exploration that is the game.  You can just kill and kill and sometimes hit the locations you need to travel to.  Which would seem interesting but ends up being pointless as you never need to travel once you reach the portal zone.  I did find a +6 set of leather armor in a drawer once but after that nothing really of interest.  Once you reach the portal room you have a fight of decent difficulty for control of the portals.  After this you can travel back and forth.  There is a portal to the city you started in and eventually portals start opening that lead you were you need to go.  One is to a old dwarf fortress that is taken over.  Once you clear it you find an old dwarf that will heal and raise you for free, with no chance of con reduction.  That sort of breaks the game as well as you are always near a portal and then the fortress and can just use him whenever you are in trouble.

The last fight of the game is the only one where you really have a challenge.  I tried a couple of times only to die again and again.  The third attempt I actually buffed for the first time in the game, and it was cake.  One note give the ranger the giant slaying sword they have bonuses against them and he will kill a giant a round.

Toy Review: Waterful by Tomy

Another one of the toys I never actually had for today.  My friend Jesus had one, the ring toss or soccer i think.  These were weird little toys I guess for the time they were cool, but really seem pretty lame now.  The were little plastic tanks that you filled with water.  When you pressed the pump button a jet of coursed through the tank driving rings or balls in some direction.

There were several of these with different themes like Ring toss, pac man and Mr. mouth.  Each had some objective to complete or on the two player versions you were trying to outscore your friend.  It would have been a cool idea but in reality it was just a kid spasmodically pushing the pump button.  There was some technique of light pump then hard pump or whatever, sound like I am getting into a strange area now.  But in reality it was just a single button aquatic video game.  It ends up making the Atari's joystick look like a state of the art device.

They were great in cars, well until the game boys was released.  This is one of those toys I just never see making a comeback.  None of the art of Spirograph, none of the making stuff like creepy crawlers and none of the fine motor control of the Sears Giant Crane.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Video Game review: CBS Dream House

This was one of the weirder games I had.  I think my dad got it more for himself and realized it was not the drafting style home decoration software he wanted.  It was more like an editor for a graphical adventure game like Kings quest or something like that.  I remember making the house and filling it with things just to see if they animated.  That was the thing, some items would animate and others would not.

I vaguely remember two things about the actual game play.  the First was it would take forever to load, I mean almost a Datasoft "Bruce Lee" long load time for this sucker.  The second was the items were not universal.  So you could not take the folding bed and place it in houses other than the San Francisco style house.  That may have been for replay as it made me go through each of the houses to see what they did.  I can only really recall three houses one begin the San Francisco style another being a big fancy east coast style house.  The third I remember as a little cottage out of a kids story book.

I am guessing they were supposed to be saved onto a black 5.25 inch floppy but this never worked for me so my creations were only around as long as the game was running.  Which was fine as I never seriously intended to work on drapes and what not.

Toy Review: Sectaurs warriors of symbian

From the good folks at fruitless pursuits
This was actually one of the toys I wanted but never got.  I was a spoiled asshole especially and got way too much crap but this was one my parents decided they didn't want me getting into a new line of toys.  That is sad that they figured out i would need heroes and villains and a vehicle and maybe a play-set or two. 

These were sort of a he-man clone with less impressive sculpting.  The theme was insect warriors where everybody had an insect familiar or pal, ala cringer.  I guess I was super enamored with the guys that rode hand puppet fly's and dragonfly's.  I also remember a little bug that spit water, i guess it was pretty entrancing for a kid.  Again like Masters of the universe it was a strange, guns and swords fantasy mash up that made very little sense.  I mean if you have a flying tarantula and a laser gun you pretty much win.  I guess it was some sort of science and magic thing.  I mean crossing an arachnid with an insect that's insane right!

Probably for the best I didn't get these.  I would have wanted the rip off castle greyskull they had going and spent all my parents cash.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Toy Review: Offical Advanced Dungeons & Dragons action figures

These were weird in that they totally were for kids like me but I never really went nuts for them.  Dungeons and Dragons was like my Star Wars, the life changing magic was there right from the start.  Action Figures were my go to toy but still they were not the crazy hit they should have been with me. 

I had three figures and that is it. It's weird because that is about what all my other friends had too.  I had Warduke and Thomas the paladin, along with Melf the elf.  My neighbor Alex had the two wizards. Our friend Jesus had the half orc assassin and a girl cleric.  And finally our friend Ryan had a Titan that looked like a viking and something else, maybe the ogre.

One thing that was pretty obvious with these things was they sucked as toys.  These guys had no movement, sort of like the star wars figures plus a bit more swing.  But compared to the Gi Joes they were pretty weak.  We wanted some crazy sword fighting action but they only gave blandness on par with the masters of the universe.

I have seen some better updates from folks that have more skill and free time than I ever will. They look pretty cool, wish they were for sale.

Video Game Review: Rad Warrior

On of the lamer games I purchased back in the day for the commodore.  It was very cool in promise and goofy as heck in execution.  It was a redistribution of a game by Epxy. 

You had two phases to the game both were incredibly short.  The first you were a jungle warrior throwing rocks.  the second  you had moved on to wearing powered armor and were defeating some evil enslaving device. 

This would have been cool if there were more to it but it was like a ten minute wash, rinse and repeat affair.  You would get screwed on occasion as you could run out of shields in a radio active area and have to get out of the suit only to die to the radiation.  That was actually the most interesting the game got as you almost always won. 

If i remember right you had to get the shields and guns for the suit then defeat the evil which was pretty easy to do.  It sort of reminds me of Metroid in a small way, but that also shows the Commodores flaws.  Compared to side scrolling on the consoles it was a total was of time.  I do like the Iron Maiden inspired character of the logo though.

Toy review: Huffy Wrangler bike

This was my first bike as a kid. None of my friends through it was very high on the cool scale as banana seat bikes were lame by that time.   Still it was good and popped wheelies for days.  Great beginners bike as it was completely coaster breaks and allowed you to do some awesome skids. 

In looking at it now I am shocked how country and western it was, no wonder my parents got it for me.  They loved that crap.  Still in the days when every kid had a toy cap gun it seemed to make sense.

I can remember being able to make turns so low the petals would scrape on the ground that was one cool feature you could really drop it and throw it around your hip.  Though that may have been after removing some of the parts.  I remember taking off my chain guard and the mud flaps to drop weight, i think i even removed the reflectors.  Stupid i guess.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Toy Review: Gi Joe Falcon Attack Glider

Perhaps the lamest of all Gi Joe toys I begged my parents for as a child.  I don't know if it lasted an afternoon. 

This was a fully flying giant foam wing that was intended to connect to one of your joes and fly across the yard.  Or in my case kitchen only to hit one of the chairs and break off its little wing.  Then in realization that it was broken play with the wing flaps to lean aeronautics or something. 

Being a bit of a pack rat, I held onto the little clip that straps in the figure for years and years after.  I don't know what i expected, but i would find it in a draw, recognize it, then throw it back in the draw.  Never tossing it in the trash next to the draw.  Its not like i was going to cut together a replacement out of old big mac and Mc DLT boxes.

Video Game Review: Ultimate Wizard for Commodore 64

I am not sure this is the exact version of the game I had, as I remember it as Ultimate Wizard Construction Kit for the commodore 64.  While I had some 50 levels of pre created game the fun was the creator.  We had a variety of levels mocking one of our friends, because apparently as a Kid I was a fucking dick.  I feel a bit more like shit considering Karazno was later killed somewhere in the redwood estates / Holy city area.  But one social reject giving another crap seemed like the thing to do back then.

Anyway this was sort of a lode runner clone with magic thrown in.  Your little guy had a few spells he could cast to do various stuff in the level. Often these were required to advance through the level other times they were just to fight monsters and make you feel good.  There was a pretty fun bug in one of them, the spell that teleported you down.  When you died you went through a little animation of your guy falling down the screen but should you have the teleport spell it would break the animation and place you alive on a lower level.

While this was great fun game it has pretty limited graphics, as was true with most commodore games.  This , like all lode runner clones, was at its heart a platformer.  The Nintendo did this so much better that it is very hard to get past that fact and play the game now.  I mean something like any of the Mario's feel light years more advanced than this little guy.  Mario construction set would be fun though.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


This rocky comfort will capsize
leaving submerged souls and tide
Battered home or swept to sea
Your choice, blame either way

That shore doesn't look right
everything inverted misleading
Salt burns out eyes and my tender

Little attempts at pleasantries
Crack against the groaning rigs
Powers up lighting the skies

Ill give in hold fast for salvation
driftwood cold and dead remain

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

finger bones dissolved home

assume the ribbons and sinew gone
the delicate disturbed and sea bound
washed in undercurrent watershed
with finger bones dissolved home

No cricket silence the bowing leg
this pace is for beadles rusty or black
gloaming within the earthworks
crackle upon nearly hushed breath

Here pine needles await final decay
driving at our ankles fruitless hurt
Graven upon stones another end
forget the beginning its full of ends

And there it sits hung awaiting
some close

Material and Genetic

If I come down form the dreams and ether it all makes since.  The worry and struggle all fall into place and one realizes the lies for true.  The lies are everything mingled in the community the connections and obligation.  Truth is internal and the things that pierce the internal radiating out.  The choices that say no I will not let you dictate to me where one confronts the commune.

Where is my discomfort? With your values never my own, why would I feel disconnected with those I honor.  When you tell me my thoughts mean I am the slow and unkind.  I only wished to exist and proceed with my family and not let your values be those of me and mine.  I offer help to those I found value in, why can I not continue.  My must I give to those who I do not care about?  Why must I care?

Why do your fears affect me, when I don't trouble you with mine.  You give me no aid and shun my ilk where is the golden land you speak of.  I see some where I work head down my joys broken and yours held high in hand.  Yet you call me worthless when I say no.  Give me back my wonder the cities are grim and ugly, material and genetic.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I want to break this guitar and smash this horn.  I want to burn all the books and cut myself again.  I want to destroy something meaningful so you see how I hurt.  But I don't know if that has any meaning because I don't know if I have any meaning to you. 

So I think i should drive these things to friends who could use them and maybe my actions could have some worth.  Then I could throw everything in the car and drive to locations I don't know, because this is everything that has meaning to me.  But I'm not sure how that is reflected!  I think its sunk down to the less and less and sit somewhere under the stains of the dogs spot on the wall.  Scrubbed too long and its just a place not a home.

What where are the cherry trees and the forgotten bones.  The well worked stones of our memory, the shared distant reverie.  Locked up with clasps and bows tied so long they aren't touched for fear they won't hold.  There murky water rise up your Jerusalem with golden bow, sharp the arrows!

Geosmin and Petichor of sprinklers and suburban yards

Going into the course of blood
I'm morphine glassed bed white.
keep it in, keep it in just tonight
not a sound from you little man.

Just distracted and abstract
kind but removed it cant show
nothing can make them alert
for just a few hours so few.

let it go go go somewhere
anywhere that's not you or us
not them not to be noticed
until all are fast asleep, sigh.

Then out at night we'll dig
down deep and bury it gone.
None more of the chaos just calm.
cool air and earth filling sleep.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

I am getting stuck on a phrase

Waiting on the Earthquake is stuck in my head but its like a fucking extra pronged lego block.  Just doesn't seem to fit in which anything but I can't set it down.  I know I am read by eastern European hacking sites primarily but if you have an idea let me know.

I have vague feelings around it almost like a scale of experiences.  Very much the hills and rocks behind my house.  Vague feeling of places where it has been Ok to let time pass unspent with that.  But then there the very physical hillside with stones and grasses.  I am not sure but that seems to want to take everything over almost like a competing idea that threatens to swallow up or redirect everything. 

I am really having trouble taking off.  So I invite anyone to trade stanza's on the idea.  I will try start but not now, I need some time to let it cook into a soup.  I don't want to make any rules but my bits are mine yours are yours unless we all agree upon the whole.