As I was reading about Mario Maker from Nintendo, I couldn’t stop wondering why people were getting so excited over it.  It is Nintendo after all.  A new year and a new Mario game?  Not that I hate Mario or anything, capable of creating a new character anymore?  It sure seems like all they can do these days is stick their old characters in new games and hope that is enough.

Beyond the fact that apparently Nintendo will never create a new franchise again, what’s the big deal about a level editor?  Sure it’s still early and they might add some kick ass story or something, but right now and they’ve showed so far is an editor.  Maybe because I’m more of a pc gamer then a console gamer I’m spoiled, but level editors have been pretty common as something you get for free for a while.  Hell even flash games have level editors now, and those are free.  There is even a flash game of a Mario clone that not only has the ability to create and share levels, but also has a full game for you to play.

MarioMaker2I guess I shouldn’t just be a negative nancy about this.  The interface for placing objects in the game did look very simple to use, and like LittleBigPlanet, I’m sure the game will be a huge hit.  The ability to switch between retro graphics mode and the newer graphics is also a nice touch.  Platformers like Mario, are also a great fit for a create your own levels type thing, which would help replayability of the game.  Just look at Trials: Fusion.  If that game didn’t have a level editor to create and share levels with, would people play it after the first few days when they play through the stock levels?

Like with most game announcements and previews, I’m going to hold my final judgement until the game is much closer to release.  I just feel like Nintendo should have either shown off more of the game if there is more to it, or packaged the editor into a new full featured Mario game.


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Needs More Tomato

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Image by:


Probably the last thing that comes to my mind when I think of new ways to create car parts would be to take the skins from tomatoes.  That’s what Ford is going to start experimenting with in a new partnership with Heinz.  I don’t know about anyone else but when I first heard about this idea, all I could think about was how amazing it would be to have the interior of your car made out of tomatoes so that if you ever got hungry you could just lean over and take a bite out of your dashboard.  Then I started thinking about how long I’ve had my current car and how it probably wouldn’t taste very good after sitting around for about 14 years.

TomatoCar2According to Ford, they are only going to use the skins of the tomato to create small things in the car like coin holders or wire brackets.  Not quite the giant tomato car that I was hoping for but I’ll take what I can get.  Heinz now also gets a new way to use the skins from the two million tonnes of tomatoes it uses every year.  I know what you’re thinking, “But Mumbo, what about the smell?” and Ford has that covered as well.  They have their crack team of smell police to make sure that any tomato parts don’t stink up the place.


Can I get a little automobile with my food:

Apparently this isn’t the first time the Ford has used food to create parts of their cars.  For a little while now they have been experimenting with using rice hulls and coconuts in some of their trucks.  Some of the resins found in leaves from plants have also been used as a replacement for the patrollium based resins that are found throughout cars.

Thankfully they are passing the savings onto us by giving out thousands of dollars with every car they sell.  It will be difficult to use the money of course, since it is shredded.  But at least if you drive a Ford, you can tell all your friends about the giant pile of cash you have been sitting on.

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Image By: SteelSeries

Image By: SteelSeries


Apparently the only thing separating the pro gamers from all the normal folk is their eye movement.  Thanks to SteelSeries; that will soon be a thing of the past.  Even for people who aren’t interested in turning pro, it will still provide valuable data on what part of the scoreboards you spend most of your time looking at.  Are you one of the guys that admires the people at the top or do you prefer to laugh at all the peons lounging around on the bottom of the lists.

See where you spend most of your time looking.   Image By: SteelSeries

See where you spend most of your time looking.
Image By: SteelSeries

Really though, this could be an interesting piece of tech and I hope I’ll get my hands on it someday. It is pretty important when playing games at higher levels to know your surroundings, see the whole field, and not just fixate on a small section.  Having something like this could be helpful to see how well you are doing that.  Or maybe it’ll be the proof you need to really tell yourself that you do need to look at the damn minimap more.

Even if some people don’t think it provides a lot of benefit, having more data available to people who want to take that extra little time to analyze it can never hurt.  When playing games at the highest levels, it’s the smallest things that can make the difference between a good play and a game costing mistake.


Beyond the competitive games:

Imagine using your eyes to direct the cone. Image By: Stretegy Wiki

Imagine using your eyes to direct the cone.
Image By: Stretegy Wiki

Outside of the analytical aspects that this new gadget can provide to select gamers, this could also provide some very interesting changes to the way we play video games.  Just think the next time you’re playing War Thunder, Watch Dogs or really any game that involves locking onto targets; instead of having to push a button to target them instead you just have to look at them. It’s more natural that what you are looking at is what gets targeted, and also frees you up from having to press that button and can instead focus on other parts of the game.

For anyone who has played Madden before, I’m sure they remember the quarterback passing cone that they tried out for a few years.  It didn’t work out to well then, but think of what they could do if they were able to integrate the eye tracking into that feature.  You could now actually look off defenders just like the pros do.  Imagine looking at one side of the field, seeing the defenders starting to cheat and shift over, and then snapping back to the other side to hit the wide open receiver for a big play.


It’s bigger than games:

Really this technology goes beyond gaming.  One of the common ways for people with disabilities to communicate who can’t communicate through normal means is through eye tracking.  This could lead to advances in the technology they are already using.  Police forces could use something similar in training to help make sure officers are paying attention to the important things in different training scenarios.  I’m sure advertisers would love to be able to pull down some data from a poster/billboard and see what got a persons attention and what people spend most of their time looking at.  Magicians, the masters of misdirection themselves, might even be able to find a use for the technology.  I’m sure they would love to be able to more easily see how well their distractions work, or what people are actually paying attention to when they are performing their tricks.

Whenever new technology like this comes out, it’s always fun to think of the different ways it could be used.  Really though, I’m just hoping that I get a chance to try it someday.

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Growing up, the one thing I wish I always had in my house was a personal arcade.  Sure we had our Nintendo or Sega Genesis but that just couldn’t compare to the fun of going into an arcade and playing all the cool games you could only find in arcades.  Even today when I go down to the beach, one of the things I enjoy the most is going to the boardwalk and spending some time in the giant arcades that are still there.  That’s why it brought a huge smile to my face reading this story about a man who turned his one bedroom apartment in New York into his own personal arcade.

Sure he might have lost his fiancé in the process and it cost him a little over $26,000 to build, but you just have to admire a guy following his dreams.  And when he does find that perfect gamer girl that we all dream of, he already has the perfect place to bring her back to.  I guess he really has his old fiancé to thank for this, since I can only imagine it all started when she wouldn’t let him build his man cave.

What he got:arcadeHouse2

  • One custom built 4 player cabinet with thousands of MAME roms loaded
  • Arcade machines for  Ms. Pac-Man, Tron, Street Fighter, Punch-Out, and Fix-it Felix Jr
  • Futon with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sheets
  • Street Fighter 2 action figures



This story made me remember that you should always follow your passions.  Now I just need to find the money to turn a few rooms of my place into a giant sloth cage and get my sloth buddy.

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0rbitalis, the casual physics puzzle game available on on Steam, is one of the few games on early access that actually feels like a complete game when you play it.  It’s a fun little puzzle game where you launch a small probe into space and watch it fly around with the gravity effects from the various objects pull it around to its eventual death.  To compete a level all you have to do is shoot your probe off in a way that it doesn’t hit any objects for a certain amount of time.  Later in the game levels add sepcific areas that the probe must stay within for the timer to count down.


As you progress through the game, you will encounter new types of objects that have different effects on the probe.  In all cases the larger the object is, the greater the effect on the probe.

  • White objects: Have a small amount of gravity that attracts your probe.
  • Red objects: Have a larger amount of gravity providing a greater pull on your probe.
  • Blue objects: Will repel your probe away from it.


With 50 levels, there is enough here to pass some time when you only have a few minutes or you’re waiting for your regular games to patch.  If you’re looking for more of a challenge, you can always try your luck at getting the top scores on the global leaderboards.  There isn’t a lot to it, but sometimes the simple things can also be good.  If you can find the game on sale or are happy with what’s provided in the demo, it it worth considering but for $6.99 there simply isn’t enough to justify the price.


What I liked:

  • Simple to pick up and play for a few minutes.
  • Nice variety of levels.
  • Global leaderboards provide good replayability.


What I didn’t like:

  •  Too expensive for what you get.
  • Difficult to navigate the level select menu.


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But Why?

Image By: martinblaaberg

Since I started streaming again, one of the questions I get asked the most is why I ever stopped streaming to begin with. I’m sure everyone has heard me answer how I got busy and had to stop, and how my computer was overheating so I had to take a break from it. Those are all true for certain periods of time during the break, but there is so much more behind the true answer.


The Rise of the Stream

When the stream started, I happened to be in a right place right time scenario.  Twitch had just broken off of and the Team Fortress 2 community was lacking quality streams.  Because of this the stream was able to quickly rise up the ranks to being, at the time, a relatively successful stream.  In a few months it went from having 10-20 views a session to easily getting over 1000 a day.  Everyone was having a grand ole time and things were looking up.

During that time streaming in general was becoming more popular, and specifically in TF2, the community was blowing up where more and more streams were popping up every day.  Soon after streams from popular YouTubers and invite players were started and it was looking like things were going to continue going strong.


The Big Mistake

Being the dreamer that I am and the early success of the stream, my mind started racing with different possibilities.  We were on the cusp of hitting a pretty big milestone at the time of average over 100 concurrent viewers, hit over 1000 followers and 100,000 views.  The first failures we ran into were in trying to expand to be more then just a TF2 pub stream.  As I got deeper into the competitive scene, my attention to the stream and the amazing viewers we had at the time started to slack off.  I didn’t realize it then, but one of the major reasons I was having the success I did was because of the interaction with the chat.  Once the interaction started slipping, the viewers started to lose interest and go somewhere else.

The big mistake however, was losing sight of why the stream was started and what it was all being done for.  Somewhere along the ling, I started to think less about just relaxing and having fun with all the cool people I had met, and instead started focusing on the numbers.  When the numbers started dipping I started to get frustrated at the situation and instead of keeping to the regular stream schedule, would regularly skip days between streams.  Over time the overall quality of the stream decreased, and eventually streaming became a chore instead of something I was doing for fun.  It was at that point that I took some time to reevaluate what I was doing and put my focus on something else for a while.


The Other Reasons:

The break ended up being a lot longer than I had planned because this silly little thing called life kept popping up in the way.  Here are the other major things that happened to delay the comeback:

  • I left my dream job to take a more secure position in the more boring industry of financial markets
  • Bought a house.  There was significantly more involved in buying a house then I had thought.
  • House fell apart.  I believe it was Murphy who said “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”.  So of course after I bought a house, everything on the house started breaking causing endless headaches and time to get it all fixed.
  • Computer couldn’t handle it.  When I tried to start streaming at the beginning of the year, my computer started overheating which made it so I had to choose between saving my computer of streaming.  At the time I chose to keep my computer alive longer.
  • I just plain got old.  It happens to all of us, and as it happened to me I had to take some time off from games to focus on other things


So now you all know the full story on why I took a break, and why the break ended up being so long.  It’s all better now though because things have settled down, I finally remembered why I started streaming to begin with, and we are back at it and having a blast.  Got anything else you want to know about, contact me or simply leave a comment here.

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Image By: Casey Bisson

Today is national doughnut day, also known to many as the day where you can walk into your nearest Dunkin’ Donuts or Krispy Kreme and grab yourself a free pastry.  There is so much more to it then that though, which makes this holiday one of the coolest holidays of the year.  Although it might sound like a holiday created by some marketing department trying to advertise a new doughnut; it was actually created by the Salvation Army as a way to raise funds?


The History:

DoughnutGirlIt all started back during World War I.  I would imagine spending all day in the trenches fighting for your life would be pretty demoralizing.  That’s why during the war the Salvation Army sent people to the front lines to meet with the soldiers and bring little goodies to take their mind off the horrors that were going on around them.  One of the things that they would do is bake some doughnuts for the soldiers out of one of their helmets.  Soon these sweet people were affectionately referred to as “donut lassies”.

Fast forward about 20 years to 1938, the Salvation Army needed a new way to raise money for all the extremely nice things they do.  As a tribute the doughnut lassies, they decided to create a doughnut day, where they would give out doughnuts to people and in return many people would donate some money.  It was such a hit that it became an annual occasion to help raise money.



Unlike some holidays that have completely lost their roots, national doughnut day is still just as important to the Salvation Army as it was back in 1938.  They still do their fundraisers through doughnut drives and still provide a vital service to many people in need.  In addition commercial companies like Krispy Kreme and Dunkin’ Donuts have taken hold of the holiday as a way to give back by giving out a free doughnut to whoever is brave enough to sit through the lines.


So next time you’re stuffing your face with your Gay Bar or Maple Blazer Blunt, think about the Salvation Army, and how awesome they were for creating this wonderful holiday.


Note: I thought about not writing this as the first post on the site and instead writing about one of the many interesting game related things that I read about today.  But with today being not only D-Day but also Doughnut Day, and reading the history behind it, I just couldn’t pass up the chance.  It’s just so interesting!

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