A funny thing happened on the way to the Blogosphere

So, I got this email…

Please send me your name and mailing address so I can send the box you won via Beckett.com. Thanks for your time,

Chris Olds

Editor — Beckett Baseball magazine

That never happens. Never. I’ve never won so much as my money back on a scratch off ticket. I might just have to do a video break for this one, lol. I’ll let you know when the box arrives 🙂

Game Review: Dungeon Defenders

With the concept of “hack-and-slash” dungeon crawlers completely entrenched in gaming lore as a sub-genre to the all-encompassing “RPG” category, and with Diablo 3 and TorchLight 2 right around the corner, I thought I’d take a minute to highlight a little indie game that I’ve become completely addicted to.

Dungeon Defenders, by Trendy Entertainment, is a hybrid Action-RPG and Tower Defense game. Even most non-gamers have played a tower defense game. Desktop Tower Defense, Plants vs Zombies, FieldRunners, Flash Element, Immortal Defense, and GemCraft all fall into that category. It works a little bit like this:

You select one of 4 basic characters (Apprentice, Squire, Huntress and Monk – younger versions of the more familiar “Wizard”, “Knight”, etc) and start off with the ability to use your weapon and put down the most basic of blockade. The enemies enter the level at point A (usually a door) and make their way to point B, your base, or in this case, your “crystal”. The crystals are what you’re defending. With them the monsters can take over, rule the world, etc, the usually good vs. evil sorts of stuff.

So, between point A and point B, it’s your job to stop the monsters. You set up traps, blockades, weapons and all sorts of things in their path to try and kill the monsters before they reach (and destroy) your crystal. For example, my Squire can set up spike blockers, harpoons, and turrets. More in line with the characters persona, my Apprentice (Wizard) can set up fireballs, lightning traps and the like.

As you progress, your characters stats improve, you get new abilities, new traps and new weapons. You get stronger, your traps get stronger, and you can take (and receive) more damage. Also, the enemies frequently drop armor and weapons, which you can also use to improve your character.

What Trendy has done is build a deep RPG like level system, with loot and collecting, on-top of a really fun tower defense mechanic. I’ve always been a fan of the tower defense genre, and Dungeon Defenders scratches all those itches and more.

The graphics, powered by the latest Unreal engine and bright, colorful and very well polished while leaving enough scalability wise to be played on older and slower systems. I can play DD equally well on my new Mac Pro, Macbook, Gaming PC, older PC and there’s even a version for Android/iPhone as well. Thanks to Steam and SteamPlay (cross-platform support), I’m able to do all of the above from a single account, having only bought the game once. Not only that, but it’s incredibly cheap. The entire game is $5. You can also buy add-ons, where I would suspect their real money comes from, for a couple dollars each, consisting of everything from new characters, extra maps, even fun holiday themed stuff and the occasional poke at pop-culture (there’s a Romney vs. Obama addon). The default maps and characters will do you just fine though, as you get at least 30 levels, with 6 levels of difficulty, ensuring a ton of re-playability. If that wasn’t enough, each level also features “survival” mode, which never ends and the monsters just keep getting harder and harder.

For the hardcore players, there’s also TrendyNet, an online only section where players can play “ranked” matches with other players for glory, stats and loot. If online competition isn’t your thing, you can simply play against the computer on your own machine (as I do). Dungeon Defenders is great for killing 20 minutes here and there but can also turn into multi-hour gaming marathons if that’s more your style.

At the end of the day, it’s $5, it’s a ton of fun, it’s a good time waster, and Trendy really hit a homerun with it. The occasional Steam-Sync issues aside, it’s just about as close to a perfect game as you can get for under a Lincoln.

Dungeon Defenders: 94/100

Gypsy Queen Update

With the additional cards Derek sent me over the weekend, and a couple spare minutes after dinner, I was able to put together a better list of where I am with Gypsy Queens as a whole. I need 157 124 out of the 300. I’m 7 cards under 50%. I also managed to be 1 card short of a complete (including SPs!) Red Sox set. All I need is the Youkilis SP, which I hope Topher still has and is willing to send me. I also have a complete 2nd team set (not including SPs) and if I mix those back into the master set, I’m actually 2 cards over 50%.

Here’s what I’m missing – red denotes incoming, received are removed:

Updated: 05/08/12

6, 7, 8, 12, 18, 21, 23, 26, 27, 34-38, 41, 42, 44, 45, 46, 48-52, 55, 57-59, 62-64, 66, 67, 72-74, 76, 80, 82, 86, 87, 90, 96, 100, 102-104, 107, 111, 119, 122, 128, 135, 136, 138-141, 143, 145, 149, 159, 152-154, 156-158, 160, 163, 166, 171, 175, 177, 179-181, 183, 187, 194, 196, 198, 203, 205-208, 215, 216, 220, 223, 225, 227, 231, 232, 240, 242-248, 250, 251, 253, 256-258, 260, 262-264, 270, 272-275, 278, 280, 281, 283, 293, 296, 297, 299.

157 124 and counting


Anyway, if you’re busting GQ and happen to have a huge pile of dupes, please let me know. I’ll have to see if there’s anything I have for your interests to trade in return. The tradebait is always open for the taking, and at the very least I can probably send you a big pile of base for your favorite team. This might be a lengthy project, which is ok, it’ll give me something to do in the off-season.

Last Vestiges of Spring

That sounds ominous doesn’t it? Fear not, it’s really just more cards, and a follow up to my last post.

So, a couple weeks ago (as I think I mentioned), the wife’s car broke down. That drained my excess card money and put a stop to most of my card buying, at least for the foreseeable future. The problem with that was that I had bid on… oh.. 40 or so items on eBay literally the day before. They were all 6+ day auctions, so they starting closing last week and I didn’t really have the funds to pay for them. True to my intentions, and because I wanted to maintain a good eBay account, I scraped together enough to cover it all. I actually ended up only winning a couple, but I’m beginning to appreciate them much more than I had a week ago. Admittedly, I had a bit of the eBay fever. That needs to stop, hard and fast. Cold turkey even. So, I’m putting myself on a card diet. For May, I will try to refrain from any card purchases other than already committed to group breaks or trades with fellow collectors. No eBay, no COMC, no sportlots. It’s going to be pretty damn hard, but I think it’s doable. The only things coming out in May are the Olympic set, which I’m sure I can hold off on, Bowman, and Topps Archive which I have zero interest in. Series 2 comes out the first week of June. If I can hold off until then, I’ll be in better shape. Hopefully I can pick up a few freelance jobs between now and then. Anyone need a website worked on, or some photos taken?

Anyway, these are the last cards I bought for the spring (hence the title). I appreciate them far more now that I did when I was bidding on them. I know that seems silly, they are just cardboard, but perspective changes everything.