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Team Fortress 2: The Easter Eggs of Halloween Viaduct--Half Life 3 Confirmed

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So I did a little poking around in Garry's Mod (aka G-Mod) based on some very thready rumors that I may or may have made up myself that there were new Easter Eggs in the Team Fortress 2 Halloween Maps. What I found was astounding, and confirms everyone's greatest hopes--as far as video games are concerned at least. What? No this has nothing to do with Fallout 4...OK let's say this confirms hopes at least in the top 10 for most gamers. At least that's my opinion. Let me know what you think.

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Last Updated (Monday, 27 October 2014 21:47)


The Dark Secret of Skylanders Trap Team

Sunday, October 5th, Skylanders Trap Team hit the shelves, and my son received his copy. Ever the speed-runner when it comes to games, he had the game beat by the afternoon of the 6th.

Well, almost.

For the uninitiated, the Skylanders games use an RFID reading “Portal” to read the chips on figurines that represent characters in the games. Whichever figure you put on the portal automatically appears in the game.

The new Trap Team game adds in “Trap Gems” in different colors that correspond to types of enemies, and allow you to trap them. Once trapped, you can use the bad guy in the game as one of your characters.

So the whole game is based on capturing the bad guys in these gems. The game only comes with two, and there are something like eight types of enemies. Thus you've got to buy more gems to be able to get everyone. And of course it helps if you get more figurines as well, that have the trapping ability—the old ones don't.

Anyone with any familiarity with this series knows that every Skylanders is a pay-to-win sort of game. In swap force, you had to be able to mix and match figures of different types (they have magnetic tops and bottoms) to access certain areas.

So you know when you buy one of these things you're feeding the digital equivalent of a drug habit. You get that. You know that if you get stuck, then a trip to the store is in order. You head to GameStop because your kid is disappointed that he or she has awesome skills but can't get to the next level without a mud-type figurine.

Fine. So now Trap Team is out, and they've taken it to the next level.

Unless you buy the “Dark” limited edition, $99 version of the game, you don't get the “Ultimate Kaos Trap” gem to trap the final boss—the dorky little guy named Kaos. Limited numbers of this item are floating around loose, but are bringing upwards of $40 on Ebay and Amazon. Good luck finding them anywhere else. (Actually, as I was putting the links in, I tried to find one on Amazon again and I can't.)

I lucked out because my son burned through the game like a blow torch through warm butter, so we hit this point while some are still available. I won my auction for $27 on Ebay with about $3 S&H. Not bad.

However, at some point thousands of kids are going to find out that can't really beat the game. I mean they can beat all the enemies, but the reward system in the game involves enslaving them and making them do your bidding...which is admittedly a bit sick, even if they are evil. When they finally beat the big boss, and then find out they can't get him without the limited edition black gem, it's not going to be a happy moment for the lot.

Essentially this is like finding out you bought a copy of the board game Mousetrap without the cage. Oh you can play the whole game the same as always, but don't expect to be satisfied.

All I can figure out is Activision plans on creating panic to inflate the price, and then sell as many as they can to those willing to pay the premium. Will they release bunches of them later for $15.95? Or will they just punish everyone who didn't buy fast enough?

Look, I realize there are bigger problems in the world than frustrating video games, and the problem is not uncommon. (Valve, where is Half-life 2, Episode 3? We've only been waiting since 2007.)

But this has the potential to be a Cabbage-Patch style headache for parents, and I figured as a guy with a gaming blog, I'd give you the heads up. If you're going to get this game, get the Dark version—it will end up being cheaper. (Come to think of it, why are they rewarding people for buying the Dark version? What ever happened to gold editions?)

If you've got the normal version, and you're wondering why you can't get the final boss, now you know.


Thank you, Internet, for summing it all up for me.

Pepperidge Farm Remembers
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Last Updated (Wednesday, 08 October 2014 01:06)


[bass] Status Report September 21, 2014 (814AS)

It’s been ages since I've done a status update as to the current health of Base and System Services. It’s kind of an interesting time in the history of the organization, so I thought I’d bring you all up to speed.

[bass] Infrastructure

The website , Facebook page , Twitter account , and YouTube channel are all being updated regularly, though the website has been primarily been updated via the Facebook and Twitter Apps. I have been including some content from shutamultimedia.com and vincentshuta.com(a.k.a .talesoftheblackknight.com) where I think it would interest those who visit this site. But I haven’t had the time to write a lot of content just for this page. Hopefully I can turn that around a bit.

The YouTube channel has been doing particularly well, and is my most popular channel. It’s getting around 9,000 hits per month, and has over 150 subscribers.

Oh, and we still have the forums ...*sound of crickets.*

Coordinated Gaming

There hasn't been a lot of this as of late—at least that I've heard. I think I’m the last of [bass] still playing Freelancer, though I still wear the [bass] tag. I've been playing sporadically at best, and not recruiting very much. The Freelancer Universe server seems to be stable with players online, and I've been maintaining the [bass] capital ships along with the Black Fleet and IIkami’s account.

I’m tagged up on my Steam Account, so [bass] continues in existence there. I haven’t hooked up with any other [bass] members online in a while. The only online gaming I've been doing on Steam is Team Fortress 2, and that’s mostly just dropping in on servers from time to time—nothing organized.

Freelancer is the only online game I can think of where we could all work together towards a long term goal while maintaining our individual schedules, and I think people are hesitant to invest more time in FL right now. After all, this January marks the tenth anniversary of when I joined the GOI forums as a member of [bass]. The game has staying power, but most of the team has moved on. The main hope for a revival comes from the hope for a new multiplayer space game, which is anything but EVE.

Oh, and we still have the forums which is set up for different games now...*tap tap*...is this thing on?

Star Citizen

Star Citizen is a crowd-funded project put together by Chris Roberts, the main man behind Freelancer. It’s still early in development, but I've already got a ship with a lifetime unlimited warranty, and I’ve established [bass] as a faction in the game. It looks like everything we ever wished Freelancer was. It also currently requires a top of the line PC to run, which I personally lack. My parents recently upgraded to an i7- 4771 based machine when theirs packed it in. It’s got on-board video because the builders said that you would need a 2Gig card to surpass what was on the board, and my parents are not gamers. Still I tried the hanger module on this quad core, 3.5Ghz beast and found it choppy at high res—and muddled at low res. Now the minimum requirements do not suggest trying this without a dedicated video card, so I’m not surprised. But I also know that my dual core 2.53Ghz is probably going to have to stay as my top machine for a while. That doesn't bode well in the short term for me flinging myself about a new galaxy.

On the plus side, there’s nothing holding me back on the administration side of things, and there is a plethora of information about the game online. I plan to start working on the back-history of [bass] in game as it relates to the in-game factions. Certainly our identity will develop, but we need a starting point. I will keep you posted as this develops.

I can tell you that as of now I plan to keep us—as much as possible—neutral to other factions so we have the classic [bass] ability to work with just about anyone. Player hunter/killers will probably still be our primary enemy, but then they usually pick that fight. If for some reason this doesn't make sense in the Star Citizen Universe, I’ll make sure I come up with something interesting that we can get into.

Final thought for today on SC: Just checked the website and we probably won't be rocking that universe until sometime in 2015.

“You need a new game."

Steam sales have left me with a ton of games that I haven’t even installed—including Skyrim, Bioshock Infinite and a few other space sim games that may be useful alternatives to Star Citizen for those of us without the latest and greatest machines. I plan on sharing these experiences with you as well as my continued wanderings through the Fallout universe.

The long and short of it, or “TL:DR"

We’re not online together a whole lot, but thanks to social media, the team has never fallen apart. [bass ] is still alive and well, and gaming in a hundred different universes. I plan to continue to wear the tag proudly, and maintain the infrastructure. I’m confident the day will come when we’re walking side by side in the same world once again. Until then, we share the same interest as fellow gamers, and friendships forged in steel.

There are good times ahead!

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Last Updated (Sunday, 21 September 2014 20:00)

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